Monday, December 14, 2009

Haves and Have-Nots of Energy Sector”


                                                                   By : S.K.Sood

As per the  newspaper reports, Mr. R.V.Shahi, Power Secretary ,Govt. of India,  has projected  funds requirements to the tune of Rs. 9,00,000 Crores in 10 th and 11 th five year plans for fresh capacity additions and to meet the cost of renovation and modernization of existing electricity transmission and distribution network.


Probably, an equal amount will be spent by state governments and private sector to increase the power generation capacity. Other central governments ministries like Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Coal, etc will also be spending huge amounts to meet energy requirements of the people.


My estimate is that we will be spending not less than Rs 50,00, 000 Crores in the next 8-10 years to meet our energy requirements. This is in addition to what will be spent to create infrastructure to transport energy like railways, shipping etc.


After spending such huge amounts what we will be getting? Same power cuts, power thefts, poor quality power, pollution? And will our villages get power and fuels?


 We have been spending about 30 % of our budget to meet the energy requirement. Our import bill for petroleum products has already crossed Rs 80,000 Crores mark.


 A serious look into the whole matter will reveal that we need to take hard decisions on our energy policy, if any. We have to increase our budget substantially for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy technologies. Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources and Bureau of Energy Efficiency have to come forward with a concrete plan to reduce dependency on the conventional ways of meeting the demand. 


Presently, how many people are involved in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, petroleum products, coal etc.?  And in comparison, how many people are engaged in conservation of energy and generation of renewable energy?  Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies can provide jobs with lesser investment.


The fact that remains in the end is - like other walks of life, energy sector also has its "haves" and "have-nots". People propagating energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies belong to the later category. Of-course within the "haves", there are "have-nots" and within "have-nots," there are "haves". I am a pure "have-not" of Energy Sector!



94, Kunjan Nagar, Ph-2,

Hoshangabad Road, Bhopal-462026

 E-mail: Ph. 0755-3132792


Energy Security – Efficiency Vs Capacity Addition


 When we talk of Energy Security, it should cover the entire spectrum of fossil fuels, bio-fuels, renewables, power etc, rather than confining to power sector alone. India imports more than 70% of its oil requirements.


 Wise energy policy creates both healthier economy and healthier environment. But energy policy does not work in isolation. A coherent national approach combining energy, economic and environmental security, reduces the costs, and the risks of importing fossil fuels, and huge amounts of domestic capital.


Both energy and economic policy must share- a least cost, resource-efficient emphasis. The ultimate goal should be an "Industrial Ecosystem", which means an industrial process that minimizes both inputs of energy and materials and outputs of waste products and pollutants.


 The Capacity Addition embodied the myth that economic vitality requires steadily increasing energy consumption, which includes inefficiency and wastage, and particularly so  when Indian economy is three times more energy intensive per unit of output, than most other countries.


Energy Security


Energy Security is better defined as the Nation's ability to sustain adequate, reliable Energy Services, in ways that maximize economic competitiveness and minimize environmental degradation. For Energy Security, the Supply and Demand Side factors need to be tackled simultaneously.


  It appears that more emphasis seems to be given to capacity addition of power sector, Coal & Nuclear, rather than suppressing the demand by adopting more energy efficient equipment, devices, process, technology etc and by opting for stand alone equipment and devices based on renewable sources of energy.




There is an urgent need to put in more effort on suppression of Energy Demand, rather than on increase of supplies and capacity additions. The emphasis has to be on a) increased Research and Development in New Technologies, improved Manufacturing Processes to promote Efficiency in energy utilization and for adoption of cost effective Renewable Sources of Energy b) Allocation of adequate funds in the Five-Year Plan periods for R&D and c) Targeting 5% growth rate of Green Power (Renewable Sources ) in every 5-Year Plan Period for the next 25 years.


Power Plant Ruling Was Not Activism

Daily Views: Editorial - Posted on August 13,2008

In a news article published by The Albany Herald on July 30, Georgia Chamber of Commerce President George Israel expressed his discontent with a decision made by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, calling her an "activist judge" whose decision to deny Dynegy's Longleaf coal plant would drive up energy costs and stifle economic growth across Georgia for years to come.

Mr. Israel's statements are misleading and couldn't be further from the truth. This plant would have produced 9 million tons of global-warming CO2 pollution each year, equal to the pollution of adding 1.3 million new cars on the road. The Clean Air Act requires that EPD permits for massive new sources of pollution, like the proposed power plant, must limit the amount of all pollutants that are subject to regulation under the Act.

In her decision, Judge Moore simply applied this straightforward rule to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, recognizing that CO2 fits squarely in the middle of the statutory requirement. All Judge Moore did was enforce a law written by our elected officials.

In contradiction to Mr. Israel's alarmist tone, Georgia can generate more power more quickly by investing the $2 billion cost of the Longleaf Coal Plant in efficiency, solar and wind power and save money without any of the negative drawbacks of continued dependence on coal. Georgia currently ranks 38th in the nation on state spending for energy efficiency programs. Estimates suggest that we could reduce our energy consumption by 30 percent simply by using existing conservation technology and thereby remove the need for this plant. Increasing efficiency is the simplest, cheapest way to meet many of our energy needs.

Where efficiency ends, wind and solar can take over. A wind energy study completed in 2007 by Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute indicates that offshore wind could produce 10,000 megawatts of energy and another potential for 4,000 megawatts in North Georgia. Also, Georgia has so much solar power potential that start up Suniva in Norcross was able to raise $50 million in venture capital earlier this year to build photovoltaic panels.

Where does all this potential get us? Jobs! According to a report from the Blue-Green Alliance, a partnership of the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, investing in renewable energy today could create over 16,000 clean, good- paying jobs in Georgia. The jobs potential is way higher than the 100 jobs promised by Dynegy corporation to Early County officials to run the Longleaf coal plant.

In this same article, Georgia Chamber Director of Government Affairs Ryan Mahoney states that no court anywhere in this country has ever ruled that CO2 is regulated. This is completely false. In March of 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts vs. EPA that the Environmental Protection Agency not only had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases but furthermore ruled that the agency could not sidestep its authority to regulate greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change unless it could provide a scientific basis for its refusal. Judge Moore did what she had to do: issue her ruling according to the law of the land, which is the opposite of an activist judge.

When it comes down to it, this Dynegy plant is not about what is best for Georgia. The $2 billion investment in the coal plant is recovered through the rate-payer process of people paying electric bills, which will continue to rise as transportation costs bringing coal into Georgia and mining coal rise.

Dynegy is trying to sell us yesterday's technology at tomorrow's price. Georgians deserve better. We're saddened that the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is willing to miss the opportunity to be a leader in new technology job creation, and chose not to take what is obviously the more fiscally responsible course.

is state director of the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Utilization of Fly Ash Generated by Thermal Power Plants

The Ministry of Environment & Forests, GOI, issued Notification S.O 2804(E) dated 3-11-2009, amending the earlier Notifications, restricting the excavation of top soil for manufacture of bricks and promoting the utilization of fly ash in the manufacture of building materials and in construction activity within a specified radius of hundred kilometers from coal or lignite based Thermal Power Plants (TPPs)

Failure to Achieve Stipulated100 % Utilization

The latest Notification is necessitated, as the concerned agencies failed to achieve the target of 100% utilization of Fly Ash based products, by 31 st August 2007, stipulated in the original Notification of 1999.

Salient Features of Notification of 3-11-2009

Some of the salient features of the Notification are summarized below:

* The term Fly Ash means and includes all Ash generated such as ESP Ash, Bottom
Ash, Pond
Ash, & Mound Ash,

* Every Construction Agency engaged in the construction of Buildings within a radius
of 100 Kms from TPPs, shall use only Fly Ash based products for construction such
as: Cement or Concrete,Fly ash Bricks or Blocks or Tiles or a combination or
aggregate of them in every construction project.

*It shall be applicable to all Construction Agencies of Central or State or Local

Government and Private or Public Sector and it shall be the responsibility of the
agencies either undertaking
construction or approving the design or both to ensure
compliance and submit Annual Returns to State PCB.

*No Agency, Person or Organization shall, within a radius of 100 Kms of TPP,
undertake construction or approve design for construction of Roads or Flyover
embankments with top soil. The guidelines issued by Indian Roads Congress from
time to time, regarding use of Fly Ash, shall be followed

*No Agency Person or Organization shall, within a radius of 100 Kms of TPP,
undertake or approve or allow Reclamation and Compaction of low lying areas with
soil. Only Fly ash shall be used reclamation and compaction.

*The CPWD, State PWD, Development Authorities, Construction Agencies etc shall
specify the use of Fly Ash and Fly Ash based products in Tender Documents,
Schedules of Specifications, appropriate Standards and Codes of Practices within
four months from the date of issue of the Notification.

Fly Ash Based Products

The particulars of minimum Fly Ash content, by weight, to be used in the products to qualify as "Fly Ash Based Products" are given below:

· Fly Ash Bricks, Blocks, Tiles etc - 50% of Total Inputs

· Clay based Building Materials - 25% of Total raw Materials

· Cement -15% of Total Raw Materials

· Concrete, Mortar& Plaster -Use of PPC or 15% of OPC Content

· Paving Blocks, Tiles, etc - Use of PPC or 15% of OPC Content

Targets for TPPs for Utilization of Fly Ash Generated

All TPPs in operation before the date of issue of the Notification ie 3-11-2009 ,are to achieve the targets of utilization of Fly Ash given below:

At least 50% of Generation in One Year

At least 60% of Generation in Two Years

At least 75% of Generation in Three Years

At least 90% of Generation in Four Years

At least 100% of Generation in Five Years

The New TPPs and, or expansion Units commissioned after the date of issue of the Notification ie 3-11-2009, are to achieve the targets of utilization of Fly Ash within in the period stipulated below from the Date of Commissioning

At least 50% of Generation within One Year

At least 70% of Generation within Two Years

At least 90% of Generation within Three Years

At least100% of Generation within Four Years

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Save Country from Market Overlords

  Mr. Harish Khare, Media Adviser to Prime Minister of India, delivering a lecture on "Making the State Work" at University of Hyderabad on 14 th November, observed that the country's political apparatus has to be saved from the interference of Private parties and Market overlords, who dictate terms on public policy.

He said that the country will be able to function properly only if its citizens reciprocate the concerns of the State. This is possible only if the policies of the State cater to a broader section of citizens.

He further said that there is a growing influence of Private parties and Market leaders in political policy making which has to change. He added that the nexus between the State and the Market Overlords should be broken, referring to the recent developments in States like Karnataka. 

He observed that the Nehruvian model of a 'Caring State' which is capable of protecting the interests of all its people should be revived. He said that Nehru had an idea of an activist, caring and autonomous State, which is not Vulnerable and does not get affected by external vested interests of the market. To revive the idea of the Nehruvian nation state, we should take a fresh look at political culture and the role of the State as a provider and evolve a new political culture.  

"God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West… it would strip the world bare like locusts. Unless the capitalists of India help to avert that tragedy by becoming trustees of the welfare of the masses, and by devoting their talents not to amassing wealth for themselves but to the service of the masses in an altruistic spirit, they will end either by destroying the masses or being destroyed by them."
                                                                                                       - Mahatma Gandhi




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Share of Solar Power in India

The National Solar Mission of India projects the Solar Power generation capacity of 20,000 MW by the year 2020, to be increased to 100,000 MW by the year 2030, and further to 200,000 MW by the year 2050.

Taking into consideration the good sunshine in most parts of India for about 300 days in a year, about 5/6 Kwh energy can be generated per day by 1KW Solar PV. To generate 6.7 MU over 300 days (Equivalent of 1 MW Fossil Thermal-Coal), the daily generation will have to be 6,700,000/300=22,400 say 23,000 Units per day. Therefore 4 MW of Solar PV capacity (4000KW or 4 MW x 6Hrs),is required to generate the energy (KWH), equivalent of 1MW Fossil Thermal(FT- Coal).

The projection of 20,000 MW Solar power (equivalent of 5,000 MW FT) by 2020 may appear to be huge, but in absolute terms, it may work out to be hardly 2.5% of the expected total installed capacity of 200,000 MW by 2020 The projection of 100,000 MW Solar Power(equivalent of 25,000 MW FT) by 2030 may work out to be just about 3% of expected total installed capacity of 800,000 MW by 2030.

To increase the percentage of Solar Power in the total power mix, the priority needs to be given to "Solar Thermal", instead of focusing on Solar PV only in the initial period of the Solar Mission Plan and even Space Based Solar Farm at a latter stage.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA) -Comments

At the outset, I would like to compliment the Hon'ble Minister for Environment & Forests, for putting the document in the public domain for comments & inputs.

Highlights in the Document

The document is frank enough to admit that there are gaps in the Institutional Mechanisms and implementation has not kept pace with the Legislative and Policy Evolution and the entire ambit of "Environmental Governance" needs to be reassessed.

It acknowledged that Judiciary has played a major role in matters related to enforcement of Environmental Laws. While this had a salutary impact, it has also brought into focus the weakness in the executive. Quite clearly while our Environmental Laws have been progressive, implementation by government agency has left much to be desired.

What has come out clearly that Government Agency ie MoEF, has failed to ensure Good Environmental Governance, by not ensuring the "Rule of Environmental Law" The Judiciary can only point out Bad Governance and highlight its adverse impacts, but it cannot bring in Good Governance.

Report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on S&T;E&F

The committee, in its 192 nd Report placed before the Parliament, expressed its anguish over the fact that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) created for the purpose of control and abatement of pollution is being given such a raw deal so much so that it has virtually been reduced as a near defunct body.

If all the powers and functions were to be concentrated into the hands of the central Government/Ministry of Environment & Forests, the very need to have such an apex body is untenable. The Committee recommended that Environment Protection should be included as an item in the Seventh Schedule to The Constitution in the concurrent list and

Specific Comments

a)Basic Structure for effective Environmental Governance

i)Legislation and not Policy - To be the responsibility of MoEF

ii) Policy, Regulation, Monitoring and Enforcement to be the responsibility of the proposed NEPA

iii) Adjudication to be the responsibility of NGT

iv) Full -Fledged NEPA, subsumes CPCB and SPCBs

b) Key Principles for establishment of NEPA

While agreeing with the Key-Principles for establishment of NEPA stated in Item IV, the following are suggested:

i)Item 3- The method of appointment of Board Members and CEO should be clearly stated in the Parliament Legislation for creating NEPA .

ii)Item 5- The Polluter Pays Principle should be sensitive to Social Inequalities and Income Disparities, while being ruthless to the Corporate Polluters

c) Role of NEPA

While generally agreeing with what is stated under Item V, the main object of NEPA should be "To Protect, Improve and Safeguard Natural Environment-Air, Water, & Land- and to Protect Human Health". The NEPA should be independent and should exercise its executive functions outside MoEF. The environment protection should be included as an item in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution in the concurrent list

d) Role MoEF and PCBs

The MoEF should confine its role to framing Legislation, related Parliamentary matters and executing centrally sponsored projects leaving all other aspects of Policy making, framing Acts, Making Rules, Coordination etc to NEPA

With the creation of an Independent and Full-fledged NEPA for effective enforcement of Environment Laws, there may not be a need to continue the top-heavy MoEF in its present farm and shape. This may be an opportune time to segregate Ministry of Forest from Environment which may be merged with Science and Technology, if its separate status cannot be justified

e) Options

The options 1, 3 & 4 are nothing but new vine in a new bottle with a cosmetic effect. The Option 2 alone some what resembles a real change and needs to go through a Sea -Change, before it is zeroed on

f) Why do we need another Institution?

Where is the question of having another Institution, when there is no suitable authority to comprehensively and effectively implement The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, as admitted in Item II of the document?

We need an institution for providing "God Environmental Governance and Management", which is Transparent, Accountable, Sensitive, Responsive and involves the stake-holders in the decision making process.

Hope NEPA will be permitted to function the way it ought to and provide "Good Environmental Governance "which the country is in badly need off ?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Myth of Per Capita Energy Consumption

Syndrome of Per Capita Consumption

As per conventional thinking, the GDP of developed nations is closely linked with per capita consumption of energy. The per capita energy consumption of primary energy in India is one of the lowest in the world. India consumed only 439 kg of oil equivalent (kgoe) per person in 2003, compared to 7835 of USA, 4210 of Germany,4052 of Japan,3906 of UK, 1090 of China and 1688 of World average. If we get caught in the syndrome of per capita consumption, India, with its population explosion and its limited natural and financial resources, can never even dream of reaching the development levels of the developed countries.

High Energy Intensity is Symptomatic of Inefficiency

India's energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of GDP), is higher by 7% to 25% than that of Japan, UK, Denmark, Brazil etc. This indicates inefficient use of energy and cheap and abundant power supply will further encourage inefficiency and willful wastage, resulting in increased consumption not related with productivity or GDP growth.India must get out of the myth, that economic vitality requires steadily increasing energy consumption. In today's competitive global market, the country's energy programmes should focus on lower energy intensity, conservation of resources and protection of environment. The ultimate Goal for the Nation should be an "Industrial Ecosystem" which means an industrial process that minimizes both inputs of Energy and Materials and outputs of Waste Products and Pollutants.

Decouple Energy Supply from Consumption

But the planners & policy/decision makers, having been overtaken by the events and used to crisis management, tend to create more generating capacities to meet ever increasing demand and tide over the crisis situation. It is of utmost importance & urgency, to decouple the energy supply from consumption and link it with realistic demand based on efficient utilization and not on consumption. This approach alone can maximize India's economic competitiveness.

The oil shocks & sharp price hikes of the 1970s led America to promote energy efficiency & renewable energy sources. It was also realized that energy consumption and hence energy supply, need not rise in lockstep with economic growth & they could be decoupled. The real GNP grew at an average of 2.5% a year from 1973 to 1986, but energy use did not grow at all, avoiding an additional 150 billion dollars a year in higher energy bills. From 1979 to 1986 the United States was estimated to have got seven times as much energy from savings, as it did from net capacity expansions.

The Sweden is already among the world's most energy efficient countries, even though it is cold, cloudy and heavily industrialized. By doubling its electric efficiency and switching over power generation to natural gas and biomass fuels, it is planned to support a 54% increase in real GNP from 1987 to 2010, while phasing out all nuclear power plants. The costs of electrical services are expected to fall by nearly one billion dollars per year.

Potential for Electrical Energy Efficiency

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the utilities' think-tank of USA, estimated in early 1990s, that electricity use in USA could be reduced as much as 55%, through cost-effective means, at an average cost of three cents per kilowatt-hour (unit). It was also estimated that as much as four-fifths of all energy then being used for lighting and half of all energy used to run motors, could be saved by technical improvements. Thus better lighting and motor systems could save nearly half of all U.S electric power generation. What would be the potential for energy saving in India?

Indian Power Sector Scenario

India, with installed capacity of about 160,000 MW, is reported to have recorded per capita consumption of 533 units, against 13,066 of USA, 7816 of Japan, 6898 of Germany, 1379 of China etc. It is planned to increase the installed capacity to 800,000 MW by 2031-32, to cope with the growth rate of 8% The talk of increasing the per capita consumption and increasing the Installed capacities alone may prove to be expensive and counter productive for Indian economy.

Supply Side Management (SSM) Measures

Before planning any more additional capacities, the optimum utilization of the new capacities as well as the existing capacities, need to be given the highest priority by adopting the following SSM Measures:

a) Gross Fuel Conversion Efficiency of Coal Thermal Plants to be aimed more than 40%, by adopting advanced technologies

b) Plant Load Factor of Coal Thermal Plants be aimed beyond 75% against the present National average of about 68%

c) In many States the metered and billed energy is reported to be less than 50% of the energy purchased and supplied by the Utilities, incurring heavy losses. All Services, including those offered free power, should be metered, in accordance with Section 55(1) of The Electricity Act, 2003.

d) Transmission and Distribution (Technical) Losses be brought down to below 20%, by making Energy Accounting and Audit mandatory and bringing in accountability at all levels as per Section 55(2) of The Electricity Act, 2003.

Energy Conservation - DSM Measures

It is more than 7 years since The Energy Conservation Act, 2001, has come into force on 1 st March 2002, with avowed object to provide for efficient use of energy and its conservation. But, unfortunately, the impact of Energy Conservation has not been felt so far in suppressing the demand, at least to cope with the shortages of power. Neglecting this cheap and readily available source of power, the thrust seems to be on expensive and time consuming capacity additions alone. The emphasis seems to be more on "Conversation" than on "Conservation".
Hope the National Mission Plan for "Enhanced Energy Efficiency" will have some tangible impact?

The focus will have to be on, right energy policies, for implementation of SSM and DSM measures, for ensuring optimum utilization of the resources and the energy generated and to suppress the demand. The missing link is Efficiency and Sensible Energy Policy. The obsession of higher per capita consumption adds to the problem.

Extracts from Prime Minister's Speech
-On NEC Day, December 14, 2004

"Without an Economic Pricing Policy, albeit one that is sensitive to social inequalities and income disparities, it will not be possible for us to sincerely address, the challenge of Energy Conservation"

"Theft of Power is not getting captured and is instead being reported as 'Transmission & Distribution Losses' or as "Free Power" being supplied to Rural Areas---"

"The free supply of power in rural areas, has the effect not only on encouraging excessive use of power, when it is on offer, but also encouraging the wasteful use of Ground Water"

Dr.Man Mohan Singh

Prime Minister of India

Friday, September 25, 2009

Urban Land-Saving for Future Or Selling the Future?

Urban Land- A Commodity?

First the humanity must learn to acknowledge that a system of natural ecological infrastructure exists everywhere, that it functions with or without our presence, and that when we interfere with its functions, the resulting effects are cataclysmic-- despite our attempts to reconstruct, duplicate or mend it. Therefore, it is in our best long- term interests to keep as much of this natural infrastructure as healthy and as intact as possible.

Second, and perhaps the most important lesson to be learnt is that we did not fully realize, the powerful influence that sensible Urban-Land use planning has on the quality of our natural environment. As a result the urban land is simply regarded as a commodity and not part of larger continuum, intimately linked to the surrounding air, water, vegetation & life, inflicting environmental damage.

Impact of Unchecked Urbanization

The urbanization has long been seen as a necessary step, in economic development and cities have been referred to, as engines of development, that fuel economic progress. The well planned and managed cities of compact size, offer economy and efficiencies in the use of energy, water, and land for a large number of people in a limited area. But the cities are also increasingly being seen as the prime machines that pollute and degrade the environment, because of overcrowding. As cities grow beyond the sustainable limit, their adverse impact on health and the quality of life gets multiplied many fold.

Mega Cities Vs Smaller Cities

Therefore the Mega-Cities jeopardize the very hope for better living and quality of life for which the city dweller aspires. The concept of Mega Cities is a high-risk solution, with high-risk population, the combination of which spells danger. Smaller Cities or towns dispersed all over will provide lasting and cost effective solution for sustainable urban development. The well-thought out Land-Use planning, Environmental Regulation and Demand Side Management (DSM) measures can completely offset, concrete and steel solutions, saving thousands of crores of rupees and ensuring sustainable urban development

DSM Vs SSM Measures

The urban planners and the governments are driven to expand infrastructure and to create new facilities to meet ever increasing inadequacies and shortages created by growing urban population. The cumulative effect of this vicious pattern of "Supply Side Management" (SSM) has created financial obstacles and crisis. These hurdles are compounded by overuse and degradation of urban land, depletion and pollution of Water Bodies etc The administration is always overtaken by the events, which are being chased as part of crisis management. It calls for a paradigm shift in planning- from Supply Side Management to Demand Side Management, from Control measures to Precautionary measures, from Capital Investment to Innovative Cost effective solutions

Urban Master Plans

The Urban Master Plans are to ensure planned, balanced and sustainable development of the notified Urban Areas..The land uses normally proposed in the Master Plans, are Residential, Industrial, Commercial, Institutional (Schools, Hospitals, Public Bldgs. Utilities etc), Transport (Roads etc), Recreation (Parks, Playgrounds etc), Reserved Forests, Water Bodies, Conservation etc areas.

The Hillocks, Valleys, Lake shores and River Banks are normally earmarked as Recreation Zones, prohibiting development activity involving any material change in the land use. Therefore the commercial recreation activities such as Amusement Parks and others requiring structures should not be permitted in notified recreation areas such as Parks, Playgrounds, Water -fronts etc.

The Violation of the provisions of Master Plan or the regulations that accompany it, are like the violation of any other law. But the violations of Master Plan and Building Regulations, which can be compared with the Indian Penal Code, are not being dealt accordingly.

Govt. is the Main Culprit

The glaring aspect is that large chunks of recreational/conservation areas are being converted into residential/ commercial uses and being auctioned by Urban Development Authorities themselves, to mobilize funds for fancy projects like fly-overs, ring roads, necklace-road etc

The State Govt is also resorting to allotment of large chunks of Govt land, covered under reserved forests, water fronts etc to various private parties, camouflaged by fancy names such as Botanical Garden, Night Safari, IMAX Theater etc in the name of promotion of tourism, unilaterally modifying the land use notified in Master Plans.

As a result the Master Plans have become superficial as they are frequently modified to suit individual requirements and irrational Govt policies and decisions, with utter disregard to sustainable development and long term adverse environmental impacts. Most of the disaster causalities in India are reported to be a consequence of shoddy planning and non implementation of Land-Use plans.

AP Urban Scenario by 2020

As per 2001 Census, Andhra Pradesh recorded a total population of 7.57 crores with an urban population of 2.05 crores. Unlike some other States where several large cities and towns are spread all over the State, Andhra Pradesh has a distinction of Hyderabad Metropolitan Area (HMA) accounting for nearly one-third of the State's urban population, followed by Visakhapatnam (VMA) and other cities &towns that are much smaller.

By 2020, AP urban population is expected to be 50% of the total population. As a result the requirement of urban land for residential, commercial, institutional, transport etc uses gets more than doubled, reducing or converting more than 50 percent of the existing conservation areas. This phenomenal growth is going to be at the root of most problems of Urban Agglomerations.

At present, lured by bright lights, fly-overs, employment opportunities and other fancy projects concentrated in HMA and VMA or driven from the country side by political and economic turmoil, lack of basic necessities, neglect of rural areas etc, lakhs of people have been migrating. Therefore, there is an urgent need to curtail urban population growth rate, particularly in HMA &VMA, by arresting and reversing the migration of rural population, through intensive and all round development of the District towns and Mandal headquarters in the State,

Let Us, not SELL and SAVE HMA & VMA for Future Generations

The district towns will have to be developed, by an integrated urban development planning, as counter magnets, and not by development of HMA or VMA in isolation. This will have to be targeted through an integrated approach, by dispersal of administrative machinery, by providing basic civic amenities and by improving connectivity by reliable transport and communication networks. This will serve the dual purpose of developing the district towns bridging the gap between urban and rural divide and easing the pressure on major urban centers like Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.

Otherwise, the "Common Good" with a view to achieving urban areas that are safe, efficient, sustainable, clean, and economically vibrant and take care of the needs of all sections of the society, will remain a pipe dream. The important aspect to remember is that HMA & VMA alone is not Andhra Pradesh.

Hyderabad endowed with heritage and nature, Visakhapatnam blessed with deep blue of the Bay of Bengal, aesthetic eco-systems of Eastern Ghats will have to be saved for the future by Proper Land use Planning and management and not by treating it as a Commodity , which amounts selling their future.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

India's Solar Energy Program- All Set for Lift Off

September 23, 2009
Analysis by: Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) Expert Contributor
Analysis of: India warms up to Solar Energy
Published at:


The Indian government has unveiled the National Solar Plan and this promises to be the start of an fast and exciting ride into Solar energy for the country. It is blessed with abundant Solar Insolation as well as a power starved economy. The National Solar plan touches upon the right levers to galvanize the players and solar markets.


India is a "Sunshine" country with most of the parts of the country enjoying more than 300 days a year of sunshine with an energy density between 4 to & Kwh/Sqm/day. This translates into 5000 trillion Kwh. Even if 1% of the Insolation falling on India is harnessed, it can meet most of India's power requirement. India is currently a power starved country with peaking demand exceeding its current installed capacity of 146000 MW by about 10 to 15%. Even worse, the growth in installed capacity(projected at 7000MW/year) will continue to fall short of the growth in demand for power due to high GDP growth rate of 6 -9% .Thus the gap between demand and conventional sources of power is bound to increase further.

India has seen some activity in the Solar PV area with companies like Tata BP Solar, Moser Baer PV, Titan Industries etc setting up solar module & Solar cell (Moser Baer) manufacturing plants. However, most of their production has been export oriented as there were no large scale in-country requirements. The government of India has also been in the wait, watch ,experiment mode with regard to Solar energy and had announced a pretty small, capped(Total 50MW) incentive program for Solar PV generated power. Certain states, like West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra etc have utilized this opportunity and have set up or are in the process of setting up MW scale power plants.

The Government of India has recently unveiled the Draft National Solar Plan which lays down the road map for achieving Solar energy generation of 20,000MW by 2020 in 3 phases : Phase 1(5GW by 2012-13), Phase 2(6-7 GW by 2017), Phase3(20GW by 2020).

The following are the concrete steps that will enable this to happen :

1. Government mandate of Roof Top Solar PV power for all sizable government controlled
buildings throughout India.

2. Actively promote commercial scale Solar PV plants.

3. Mandate 5% of all new thermal power plants (Coal, Gas,Oil) to generate solar energy.
This will straight away add about 350MW per year of Solar energy.

4. Make necessary regulatory changes to enable net metering from Solar Plants.

5. Government will install a few "Technology Demonstration" Concentrated Solar Power plants
in the 50-100 MW capacity range.

The following incentives will be available :

1. Feed in Tariff (FIT) will be announced by State Electricity Regulatory Authorities based on
guidelines by the National Solar Mission & power purchase agreements for 20 years will be on.

2.10 year Tax Holiday

3. Exemption of Custom duty & Excise duty on Capital equipment.


About $25 billions will be required over the next 30 years. Government will levy cess on Coal($0.5/T),Petrol & Diesel to fund Solar program. Currently there is an installed capacity of about 20-25 GW of Diesel generated power (mainly privately owned) to meet the peaking power shortage. The cost of electricity generated from these DG sets is about $0.3/Kwh and Solar PV power is already in that range. With all the incentives and net metering etc, these polluting and uneconomic DG sets will be utilized less.

Clearly, this approach is modeled on the Wind Energy program that India adopted some time back and which led to India becoming one of the leading wind energy players with giants like Suzlon emerging from India. Watch this space for the Suzlon of Solar Energy to emerge from India

This author consults with leading institutions through GLG
Analyses are solely the work of the authors and have not been edited or endorsed by GLG.
Contributed by a Member of the GLG Energy & Industrials Councils

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shifting Pattancheru to Srikakulam?

North Coastal Districts of AP

The north coastal districts of AP-Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram & Visakhapatnam- in spite of their abundant natural resources and the vast coastline, have been lagging far behind in economic development, mainly because of neglect of medium and minor irrigation projects, for full & optimum utilization of available water resources. The industrial development of the area, based on the local resources, has also not received proper attention, except for the public sector industries concentrated in and around Visakhapatnam.

Even this development had taken place ignoring sensitive environmental issues. The haphazard industrial development and utter lack of control and enforcement of 'Land-Use' plan are mainly responsible for many of the environmental problems of Visakhapatnam area. Today an alarming stage has been reached, where long-term environmental management is a lesser issue than that of safety of life and property for the citizens of Visakhapatnam.

Ecological Disaster around Hyderabad

During Eighties and Nineties of the last century, large number of Bulk Drug and Chemical units were permitted to be set up in and around Hyderabad, in the name of rapid industrialization of backward Medak and Ranga Reddy districts. Due to lack of corporate commitment to the community and as the benefits of non-compliance are more attractive to the industry, irreparable and irreversible damage had been done to the life and livestock of large number villagers, polluting the air, land and water bodies including ground water, in these districts.

The presence of toxic substances beyond the permissible levels, have been detected in ground waters & blood samples taken in Pattancheru, downstream Musi& other industrial areas. These are mainly attributable to toxic metals & organic halogen compounds, which are highly toxic, carcinogenic, bio-accumulative and persistent, contained in the effluents discharged by the bulk drug units and others.

Failure of Regulating Agencies

The Supreme Court in 1998, directed Central and State Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) to take measures to control the pollution in the above industrial areas. But unfortunately, having failed to control the pollution, the PCBs have come up with the proposal of laying a pipeline (18 KM), for discharging untreated or under treated industrial effluents into municipal sewers, ultimately finding their way into Musi River.

This is nothing but shifting the pollution problem from Pattancheru and Jeedimetla, to the far of villages, down stream of Musi, that too cleverly camouflaged in the pipeline. The river is already highly polluted and contaminated, adversely affecting the quality of life of people in about 40 villages down stream, who are deprived of safe drinking water due to pollution of ground and surface water sources.

Shifting of Bulk Drug Units

As the villagers downstream of Musi are agitating against the discharge of effluents through pipelines, there seems to be another attempt to shift the pollution problem of Pattancheru &Industrial areas around Hyderabad, to another backward district of Srikakulam, in the name of its industrial development. The justification given is, that effluents generated by these units, containing predominantly dissolved inorganic salts, which are being discharged into water bodies in and around land locked Hyderabad, can safely be discharged into sea by laying a pipeline deep into sea. The Parwada Pharma City and many Bulk Drug and Chemical units set up around Pydi Bhimavaram are already discharging effluents into Bay of Bengal.

There is no guarantee that persistent and toxic wastes from the bulk drug units, which found their way into surface and ground water sources in and around Hyderabad, are not being discharged into sea, particularly when the detection is going to take much longer and becomes much more difficult. What needs to be remembered is, that the people of North Coastal districts should not be subjected to the misery and hardship, to which the large number of villagers around Pattancheru are exposed due to discharge of effluents by the bulk drug units.

Adverse Impacts on Marine & Coastal Environment

The discharge of toxic effluents into sea, even though they are diluted to some extent, is bound to have an adverse impact on aquatic life in the years to come. as the total pollution load being discharged remains the same.This is going to hamper the fish stock availability, affecting the livelihood of the large fishermen community in the area apart from health hazards for people consuming contaminated fish. It goes against the main objective of Coastal Area Development Regulations, which are aimed at integrated development of coastal areas, ecosystems and resources of the land-sea interface and to improve the quality of life of the communities dependent on coastal resources and helping coastal areas attain sustainable development.

Taking into consideration the fragile nature of coastline and the hinter land of north of Visakhapatnam, highly polluting and water intensive industries such as Bulk Drugs, & Chemicals, Air polluting Coal based Thermal Power Plants, Hazardous Nuclear Power Plants etc. are not to be permitted in this area. Stop shifting of pollution problems of Pattancheru to this area under the garb of development. Let us not create another Pattancheru in North Coastal districts.

Protect "City of Destination"

The industrial development of north coastal districts is to be confined to industries based on locally available minerals, marine and forest produce, agricultural and horticultural products. maintaining ecological balance of Eastern Ghats and Bay of Bengal.Then only we can hope to preserve and maintain Yellow Beach, coral growth and Deep Blue of the Bay of Bengal, aesthetic Eco-Systems of Eastern Ghats and make Visakhapatnam the "CITY OF DESTINATION".

Monday, September 21, 2009

Does Separate State Benefit Telangana People?

About Telangana

The ten Telangana districts, covering an area of 1, 15,000 (AP 2, 75,000) and population of 310 Lakhs (AP 762) is about 40% of the Area and Population of AP State. The SC & ST population of Telangana is around 25% against the State average of 22%. The urban population of 30% in the region compared to the State average of 27%, highlights concentration of development efforts in and around Hyderabad and the Urban-Rural disparity. The percentage of literacy is around 41% against the State average of 44%.

The Telangana, with about 40% of the area and the population of the State, is rich in natural resources such as coal, lime stone and other mineral deposits, forest wealth etc apart from the fact that the main rivers Krishna and Godavari and their tributaries pass through the region. But unfortunately many parts of the region suffer from scarcity of safe drinking water, lack of assured source of water for irrigation, huge unemployment, large scale abject poverty, illiteracy, superstitions, exploitation, lack of basic civic amenities and deteriorating law and order situation.

Neglect of Telangana

No doubt, the present system of governance has failed to deliver the goods particularly in respect of Telangana, mainly because of lack commitment to the region, due to improper deployment and/or miss utilization of material and human resources. It has also failed to recognize the importance of irrigation water on agricultural production and rural employment and the land productivity in general.

The talk of major irrigation projects on Godavari/Krishna Rivers for the benefit of Telangana region was going on for the last 50 years or so but they have not materialized till to date mainly because of lack of political commitment. On the contrary the integrated and well established irrigation network of tanks and reservoirs developed by Kakatiya Rulers in the region, have been neglected and destroyed over the period.

The length of roads per 100 of area in the State is much lower, when compared to three neighboring southern states and the road length in Telangana is even lower. Apart from the inadequacy of road network, the condition and the riding quality of the State and District highways in Telangana region are comparatively poor. The situation in respect of railway network is no different. The long talked about Peddapalli-Karimnagr- Nizamabad line is yet to be fully commissioned, while Badrachalam- Kovvur and Mahabubnagar-Munirabad lines remained non starters. The gauge conversion of Secunderabad-Nizamabad-Mudhked line has been unduly delayed, having its adverse impact on the development of the area.

Change for Better

The fundamental objective of any change proposed in the governance of the region should be to bring about rapid and sustained improvement in the quality of life of the people of the region. The only durable solution to the curse of poverty is sustained growth of incomes and productive employment in Agriculture, in Industry and in Services. Such growth requires investments in irrigation, in industry, in power, in road/rail network and, above all, in people. The important aspect is to ensure that material and human resources are deployed and utilized in the most productive manner.

Infrastructure services are critical for all sectors of economy namely agricultural, industrial and services, and they have emerged as the single most severe bottleneck to development of Telangana. The present day problem of law and order in the region, which is mainly due to unemployment, poverty, exploitation, inequitable distribution and concentration of wealth, will only subside with the overall economic development of the area and ensuring equitable distribution of wealth generated, bridging the wide gap between the "Haves" and "Have-Nots"

Questions Remain Unanswered

The separate state for Telangana provides the system of governance exclusively for the region but how is it going to bring about rapid and sustained improvement in the quality of life of the people of the region? Is it going to be any different from the present system of governance ie integrated Andhra Pradesh? Can't the objective of rapid development of the region be achieved in the present set up itself, by ensuring certain statutory safeguards, protections and budgetary allocations for the region?

Is Small Beautiful?

If the objective can be achieved in integrated AP itself, why go in for a separate state involving additional financial burden on the State which has already been faced with huge debt burden? Is it essential to go in for smaller states, in the name administrative convenience, when we are talking of Decentralization and Devolution of Powers and Responsibilities to Districts, Mandals and Panchayats, to function as Institutions of Self Government? Doesn't Information Technology help in ensuring better administration and control of even bigger states with much less establishment costs of having Smaller States?

Who are Going to be Real Beneficiaries?

Do we want separate Telangana State for the sake of a Smaller State, for the benefit of a few Select and Privileged Sections or for the Overall Uplift and Benefit of the Masses? Does a separate state really benefit the Rural Areas and Masses of Telangana? Who are going to be the real beneficiaries of a Separate State?.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Proliferation of Bureaucracy in India

Non-Productive Govt. Expenditure

While everybody in the Government agrees that the size of the bureaucracy is bigger than it should be and very little has been done to actually reduce its size. The reduction of non-productive government expenditure is linked with the question of downsizing bureaucracy and there is an urgent need to announce a timetable for each department, to reduce the sanctioned strength of the staff at least by 10% by 2012, through an attractive Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS)

The Prime Minister should take the initiative for reduction of non-productive government expenditure by drastic pruning of Council of Ministers and Departments. The recommendation on administrative reforms, that the strength of a Ministry should not exceed a tenth of the combined strength of two Houses, should be strictly implemented by the Centre and the States.

Redundancy & Inefficiency

With deregulation of Industry, Trade and Finance, as part of reform strategy, the role of the government will have to shrink to match the requirements of the post-reform era. If the liberalization required PSUs to be unloaded, on the logic of trimming redundancy and increasing efficiency, the same logic must apply to the gigantic bureaucracy, whose sole purpose appears to have become self-perpetuation.

Non-Productive & Unaccountable

Many developed and developing countries have focused so much on the renovation and restructuring of their governments, in the midst of their reforms, to be purposive, responsive, effective and accountable in the key functions they perform in society. This is a far cry, by what we see and hear, in our country. There are strong advocates in government for increased public spending, but hardly any that assure matching outputs or productivity or accountability from government.

A bureaucrat, who finds himself unequal to the task he is assigned and feels insecure, becomes an authoritarian, using his position than his ability, to assert himself. He would be obsequious before his superiors or benefactors and indifferent and inaccessible to those he is supposed to serve. Regrettably, the majority falls under this category. As a result the bureaucracy is perceived to be the single biggest obstacle to development.

Downsizing & De layering

The Fifth Pay Commission recommended that public services have to sub serve the new goals of the State in 21st century. From mere controllers and regulators, they have to get converted into catalysts, promoters and facilitators. Their numbers need to be right sized. The government itself needs to be restructured by closing down departments or amalgamating them, by transferring subjects and institutions to the State Govts and Panchayat Raj bodies and by encouraging autonomous bodies, to take over some of the functions of the state.

There has to be delayering, in order to reduce levels and consequent delays. Large, unwieldy sections have to give way to small business like desks and the vast number of ministerial staff may be gradually replaced by executive assistants.

Top Heavy- Too Many Chasing Too Little

The large bureaucracy has inherent disadvantage of slow response, low value addition and lack of accountability. The top-heavy administration ceases to be productive and reacts to situations only under pressure and political influence. The overcrowding at top levels of the civil services, too many chasing too little, results in personality clashes, making coordination impossible.

This is what is happening today, with too many Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries, DGPs/IGPs, Principal/Chief Conservators of Forests etc. The episode of latest Tragic Helicopter Crash of "YSR"of AP, is a classic example. Therefore what is needed is an exit policy for bureaucracy at the top, doing away with overcrowding at top levels latest by 2012, for the good of the service itself.

Tapered Pyramid Structure

Just as in Defense Services there should be drastically tapered pyramid structure, with a gradation in retirement ages at various levels. The job security and automatic promotion to top level posts based on years of service, irrespective of the sanctioned strength, are mainly responsible for non-performance and irresponsibility. The performance is to be reviewed every five years, restricting time scale promotions only up to first 15 years of service.

The merit promotions after 15 years of service should be selective based on competency, performance, knowledge acquired and of course the sanctioned vacancy. Those who do not qualify for merit promotion should be retired at the age of 45 years and others who do not make to the next merit promotion should be retired at the end of 4 or 5 years tenure in that position. This will ensure wide base at the field level where it is required and drastic reduction in numbers at top level, providing the necessary tautness and effectiveness to the administration.

Experts from Other Sources

The senior officials over 50 years of age, who are unlikely to be able to meet the new demands of service that will be made on them, be offered golden hand shake under VRS. The experts in fields, as diverse as Agriculture, Biotechnology, Informatics, Energy, Environmental Management etc, be brought in from the private sector, universities, technical and professional institutions, to modernize the bureaucracy and to run a lean administration which will have managerial and technical skills.

A good beginning has already been made by appointing Mr.Nandan Nilekani as Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India. Many more required to follow.


The highest priority should be given to streamline the administration and free the Nation from the millstone of a Fat, Lethargic and Corrupt Bureaucracy. But no party seems to have the political will to do it. The bureaucracy too will resist it with all its might. The remedy, however slow it may be, lies with the public--People's Power--the Paymasters.