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Court panel to monitor solar power spread

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By OUR LEGAL REPORTER
  • Published 2.12.10
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A high court bench on Wednesday said it wanted to set up an expert committee to monitor the state government’s progress in the introduction of solar power in Bengal.

The court also directed environment activist Subhash Dutta to contact the attorney-general within two days and request him to ask agencies like the Solar Power Energy Corporation to help the Bengal government use solar power.

Dutta had moved the court, alleging that the state government had not done anything to implement the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC)’s recommendation that at least 7 per cent of the total power consumed be solar. In Bengal, solar power does not figure in the electricity consumption chart.

The court made the Centre a party to case because the Union government had decided to promote solar power. The additional attorney-general represented the Centre in the court on Wednesday.

The bench of Justice P.C. Ghosh and Justice Shukla Kabir (Sinha) directed Dutta to suggest the names of experts to the attorney-general so that he could place a list before the court for setting up the monitoring committee.

State advocate-general Balai Ray told the bench that the state government had filed an affidavit in court in January stating the action it had taken to introduce solar power in Bengal.

“But the situation has changed in the meantime and the government is inclined to furnish a fresh affidavit stating details about the progress,” Ray added.

The division bench asked Ray to submit the affidavit within 15 days and scheduled the next hearing of the case on December 22.

“At a time the central government has exempted tax on the purchase of equipment used in producing solar power, the state has imposed vat and other levies on it. As a result, the spread of this pollution-free power supply system has suffered,” said Dutta in the high court.