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Solar power push in city highrises

Use of solar power is set to be made mandatory in new multi-storeyed buildings.

The West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) has urged the urban development department to make necessary amendments to the laws as early as possible.

The agency has recommended that plans for multi-storeyed buildings be rejected if they don't have a provision for use of solar power.

'We have held meetings in this regard. The issue was discussed with power minister Mrinal Banerjee and urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya,' said Santipada Gan Chowdhury, director of WBREDA.

The government has every reason to welcome the proposal, as solar power is eco-friendly and economical (each unit costs 30-40 paise less than conventional electricity), and helps save power.

Besides, mandatory use of solar power will also create employment opportunities.

'Solar power is necessary, especially at places where population density is high. We are considering amending the laws immediately to make its use compulsory,' said minister Bhattacharya.

Gan Chowdhury said that in buildings, solar panels and other related gadgets are usually installed on rooftops.

Manas Roy Chowdhury, a developer in south Calcutta, thinks steps such as the one mooted by WBREDA will pave the city's future.

'Use of solar power will help people save electricity and will not increase the cost of a flat,' he pointed out.

Asit Mitra, a businessman, said solar power is becoming popular in the city. 'We have installed solar devices in households and also at Mizoram House, in Salt Lake, where a 1,000-litre water heater is running on solar power.'

Hiranmoy Biswas, a resident of Salt Lake, stopped using his electric heater after he bought one run on solar energy. 'I am satisfied,' asserted Biswas.

According to Gan Chowdhury, solar panels and related devices are now manufactured by only 15 units in the state. He laid stress on opening more units if the government really wanted to popularise the use of solar energy.

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