'Cities should lead in non-conventional energy sources':Razdan

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) Power Secretary Anil Razdan today prescribed integration of rural and urban energy programmes saying that non-conventional energy sources should not be limited to rural areas only but the lead for demonstration of usage of non-conventional energy sources should be taken by urban mega cities.

In his address at the talk show organised by World Energy Council-Indian Member Committee's Energy Synergy Dialogue aimed to synergise the needs of half of the one billion population of rural energy poor of India, he advocated a power sector wherein freedom and facility to use electricity was provided to the people.

More than 2 billion people around the world do not have access to modern cooking fuels and 1.7 billion people to electricity. India alone accounts for 40 per cent of this population, NTPC Chairman R S Sharma said in his inaugural address at the talk show. He said while the country was surging ahead economically at a growth rate of 8-9 per cent of GDP, the need of the day was to ensure that the benefits trickle down to the economically underprivileged section of society.

Dr S K Chopra, Advisor (former special secretary), in an impressive presentation, emphasised that any endeavour to rural energy development should be "pro-poor, pro-women and pro-nature". Food security, nutrition security and ecology security require to be closely linked with energy security.

Highlighting these linkages, he expressed that even the fuel to cook food was a greater constraint then the food itself. Agriculture, which is the largest producer of bio-mass, itself needs energy for harvesting, food production and transportation. Recognising the essentiality of social engineering to involve the people, he called for "Sustainability Science, a mix of Physical Science and Social Science".

His model for sustainable energy security to rural India proposed an integrated rural energy programme with large utilities like NTPC to supply the grid power supported by distribution generation projects at local level which are self-sustainable.

Chairing the session, Professor M S Swaminathan, Rajya Sabha member, known as father of economic ecology, made three points: one, energy security has correlation with food security; costs of food goes up with the cost of energy.

Second, local people need to be empowered for rural energy development. The democratic set-up of gram panchayat can be used to facilitate its organisation, management and administration. He suggested that we must launch community rural energy manager in villages. Appreciating the initiative of talk show by WEC-IMC, he quoted that synergy in energy use is the pathway to sustainable energy security and wished for Indian Member Committee continued success in its effort to take energy to every home and heart in the country.

UNI SD RSA HT1816

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