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President calls for ensuring energy security


New Delhi : India must harness alternative sources of power generation including nuclear energy if it is to ensure energy security and achieve the goal of sustainable development, President Pratibha Patil said Thursday.

“We will need a new paradigm of energy security to address our development goals – this would imply not only assured supply of energy to our vast population, but also energy that is environment-friendly and leads to sustainable development.

“Along with coal, oil and gas, we need to develop other energy sources such as hydro, nuclear and renewables,” Patil said at a function to release a commemorative postage stamp and present renewable energy awards.

The stamp was released as part of the celebrations to mark the silver jubilee of the ministry of new and renewable energy.

“The removal of poverty is an immediate imperative for us. The ambitious development goals that we have set for ourselves will require increased use of energy. Today, as we aim for a 10 percent growth rate, we must recognize the critical importance of energy security. Though fossil fuels will continue to be our mainstay in the near future, we will need to realize that they are finite,” she added.

Patil pointed out that electricity access had been provided in over 4,000 villages and hamlets through renewable power sources.

“This has been achieved through the use of indigenous resources and people’s participation, while creating employment and new economic opportunities,” she added.

“We need to remind ourselves that despite the progress that we have made in rural electrification, about 45 percent of our rural households continue to have no access to electricity. We must ensure that electricity for all households is provided in a time- bound manner,” Patil said.

She maintained that energy needs of cooking, lighting and power in remote and tribal areas and the rural hinterland could be met through simple devices such as improved chulhas, biogas plants, solar lanterns, or systems run on locally available biomass.

“Such interventions could bring about energy security at the village level through active community participation,” she added.

“The quality of life could be significantly enhanced, particularly of women who most often carry the burden of managing energy and water in rural households. Access to energy will have dramatic impact on productivity in the rural economy and will create opportunities at all levels,” Patil said.