New Delhi : June 6, 2012 : On the occasion of World Environment Day, India took a giant leap in its endeavours to control climate change by declaring its mission of going 100% electricity-free by the end of the year. In doing so, the country is also expected to save billions of dollars spent in importing coal and gas used for power generation.
Emerging from the UPA cabinet meeting held in New Delhi last evening, a beaming Prime Minister told waiting reporters about the cabinet’s decision. “Today is a historic day for India. In one giant stroke, we have found a green answer to managing our economy. As of January 1, 2013, India shall become an electricity-free nation. Not only will our nation rid itself from the shackles of coal dependence on the outside world, we will also be the leading country in controlling its carbon footprint”, Dr. Manmohan Singh said. “This is our gift to the people, and India’s gift to the world”, he added proudly.
World powers have hailed India’s move. President Obama sent a personal note of thanks to the Prime Minister. “I am looking forward to visiting India again and experiencing how the proud people of your country used to live a 100 years ago. That is what real India is all about, I feel,” the note said.
The mission has been christened “Gol Bijli Gol!”. The symbol, to be made public shortly, is that of a smiling lantern. All existing power plants will be shut down in a phased manner, and their parts and transmission equipment sold as scrap. The government is expected to net almost Rs.4 crores from this sale. The railway ministry is aggressively working on replacing all electric locomotives with steam engines before the Diwali festive rush begins.
Inside sources in the government have revealed that while the cabinet was looking at several options for eradication this year, electricity won out because of the significant progress already achieved in this regard by important states like Delhi, Haryana, UP and Karnataka.
“We have already been training our consumers to live 10-14 hours without electricity. They will gladly welcome this new initiative for the environment”, said Mr. B. Urja, President of Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam (DHBVN).
Consumers seemed to be in agreement. There were joyous scenes observed in Delhi and NCR localities. Said Anju Sharma, a housewife from Vasant Kunj in South Delhi, “Thank God the government has decided this once and for all. The power supply is always so erratic that I can never plan my day around when it will be there or not. Now I can work tension-free.”
Surabhi, a school student in Punjabi Bagh in Delhi noted that studying in candlelight makes her revise her subjects better. “It is soooo (sic) romantic in candlelight! It is almost like I am studying History and Geography with Edward from the Twilight series!”
Politically, this is a shrewd move by the UPA government to counter its sagging fortunes ahead of the state and general elections. The largest trade union in the country, the Lal-Tain Maha Sangh, has thrown its complete support behind the government’s decision.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerji from Trinamool Congress has demanded that West Bengal get highest priority in eradicating electricity. She added this demand while publicly threatening the PM on other issues.