Distant dream? Jharkhand wishes to generate 500MW of solar energy by 2017
Ranchi, Sept. 8: A bright idea that could have powered Jharkhand’s dream of becoming energy-efficient by 2017 seems to have got eclipsed for the moment, thanks to lack of consensus among various government departments.
A draft of Jharkhand Solar Policy, 2013, which was formulated in June and sent to all departments for their views, could not be placed before the new cabinet, which had its first meeting on September 2.
Sources in the energy department told The Telegraph that the draft wasn’t fit to be placed before the state cabinet because of objections raised primarily by the state finance department followed by the law department.
“The policy can be sent to the government for approval only after clearances are obtained from these departments,” explained a source.
So what’s the current status of the solar policy, a draft of which was also made public, inviting suggestions and recommendations latest by July 15 ?
Energy department under-secretary said M.M.P. Tripathi, who is looking after the project, didn’t sound positive.
According to him, some time back, a departmental review meeting was held under the aegis of chief secretary R.S. Sharma, where the policy was taken up.
“We apprised him of the objections raised. He suggested that a common meeting be held with representatives from departments of energy, industry, finance and law so that the objections or suggestions could be discussed and incorporated. That is yet to happen,” he said.
However, he could not elaborate on the exact nature of objections.
“We aren’t sure about the exact status of the policy as the file was sent to the energy secretary along with the points raised by finance and other departments. But the secretary wasn’t well for a few days and hence, it is not clear whether the file is still lying with him or has been processed for necessary action,” Tripathi added.
A source in the department said organising a joint meeting to discuss the fate of the proposed policy was an elephantine task.
“Waqt lagta hai yahan cheezon ko badne mein. Sab ki sahmati se date niklega meeting ka. Sahmati kab hogi yeh koi nai jaanta kyun ki yeh priorities ki baat hai. (It takes a lot of time for things to happen here. This is because a joint meeting has to be fixed after taking the consensus of all. One does not know when the consensus can be reached as it is all about priorities),” a senior official admitted.
The solar policy was mooted to achieve solar power generation of 500MW by 2017 and 1,000MW by 2022 in the state. It proposes incentives for generating companies to the tune of 50 per cent duty and cess waivers so that dependency on non-renewable energy can be minimised for greater good.
Tripathi said that the state gets close to 300 days of sunshine and there were several potential sites where the sun’s energy could be tapped. Logically, therefore, foraying into solar energy would put Jharkhand on the path of progress.