Thursday, July 7, 2011

Coal Story-The Dark Side

Government has promised to provide electricity to every household in coming few years. According to their roadmap, they are to install 800,000 MW of power production units with 70% of total production coming from coal based plants. Now, when I am writing this article, India’s total power production from coal based plants stands at 80,000 MW through hundreds of plants distributed across the country. India’s increased stress on coal based plants has a little, if not full (though some reports say otherwise), inspiration from China’s power policy where a new coal based plant was commissioned every 15 days for the last two years.

But what policy makers of India are trying to ignore in their resolution to generate 560,000 MW from coal, are the increased challenges at social and environmental fronts. Increased population and industrialisation are already demanding large share of land for housing, industry and infrastructure. Apart from these, we need fertile land to feed and provide employment to our giant population. Problems like these make it difficult to acquire land for plants and their support systems. India’s thermal power plants are already facing shortage of coal supply. Adding to these is the problem of transportation of coal from mines/ports. A rough estimate says that one 40 wagon train full of coal is needed to run a 220 MW production unit for a day. Now, imagine the load on railways if 560,000 MW has to be produced. And aren’t we forgetting that coal reserves are bound to last for some decades only? What will happen after that?

There are some other areas too where we could derive inspiration from China viz. the pollution from coal based plants. A recent survey conducted in China declared 50% of their river water unfit for human consumption. Prior to Beijing Olympics, China took several steps to reduce environmental pollution. Those steps included decommissioning one power plant per month in Beijing’s nearby areas. These plants emit greenhouse gases. Increasing forest cover is the most efficient method to curb the problems arising from Greenhouse gases. But unfortunately percentage of land under forest cover has only decreased every year. If we were to believe a report titled,” Coal Combustion: Nuclear resource or danger” by Alex Gabbard, coal based plant exposes people of neighbourhood areas more to nuclear radiations than a nuclear power plant does, provided that the nuclear power plant abides by the government regulations. Global warming has increased sea level and coast lines are receding fast. Unexpected weather conditions are estimated and experienced in last few years.

These days, renewable sources like solar, small hydroelectric plants, and biogas based plants are not efficient enough to be connected to grids. Though, the dreadful future predictions have accelerated research in these areas but a lot more is expected than what is being done. Warning bell is ringing. Hope we respond to it fast.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A word says it all

Vinita Dawra Nangia, a prominent columnist at TOI, in her recent article, talks of a single word that explains a person. As she advocates her concept, she elucidates that each one of us represents a word and that word stands for our expectations, love, aspiration, courage and for the very reason of our existence.

Amitabh Bacchan is ‘Angry Young Man’ and the legend of Hindi Cinema, Dilip Kumar is ‘Tragedy King’ on the 70 mm silver screen. If we can give words for reel life, we can find words for real characters too. It is difficult indeed, because I see this word as a tunnel to the world of our liking from the world where we have been made to live. As I appreciate this concept, I link it with the goal of our life. Right at this juncture, my youthful mind dreams of everything that I missed at some point of my life and I think those all are under my reach. I want a car; I want to live with my family; I want to visit different places. Will these things give me pleasure? I suspect. Probably I will think of opening a school some years later or may be creating any organisation to uplift rural lives. This is how our life works; priorities keep on changing and so do our likes and dislikes. At least, this is true for me. So, how come one word can describe me? In one sense, my dilemma signifies that I am still unsure of my destination. Though several destinations and roads leading to them come to my mind but the best one is hard to choose. Even sometimes, the most promising is a long one and the path to the closest destination is composed of a maze where the entry gates close once you are inside. Given my lack of experience, I could have gone wrong in the aforesaid words.

I started writing this after I asked my friends about that one word for them. One of them said, “Existence”. He explained that he considered his existence before everything on this planet. But is this not the word that explains all mango people? Yes, certainly. But then, some words are like cuisines that you find in the menu of every restaurant and then their menu have something distinct. Does this mean that our search is for the “special” in us? Well, I feel so.

A dear friend of mine is fond of astrology. Though I am neutral to this ‘beyond the world’ science, I relate to many things that he predicted on the sole ground of my birthdate. As I experience and my friend’s astrological predictions affirm, I often experience mood swings. As such, it is difficult to find a word that embodies me. But I will not lose hope; French, German, Sanskrit……….I will find it one day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ye Ishq haye....

15 days to end of PS. Mixed feelings. I got many new friends, learnt many new things and I have to go home. When I first stepped in this village(Rawatbhata), scorching sun, leafless trees, dry canals and lot of pigs on otherwise lonely road of summer afternoon greeted us. Evenings were spent at juice stalls seeping sugarcane juice, watching girls racing on their pep+ resembling foolan devi with scarf wrapped around faces to protect from hot winds. But last few days have no adjective to describe them. First few rains of monsoon have changed the whole surrounding. Trees get leaves, canal get water and we get uncensored beauty. Once my PS gets over, I will say more of it. Just some moments before writing this post, I was talking to …….umm leave his name; Shakespeare too said, “What’s in the name?” He is a close friend of mine. While talking, he doesn’t seem to be himself; I asked him if everything was all right.

Friend: yaar, feels like vacuum created in my stomach.

Me: Why you skipped dinner? Acidity can be fatal later.

Friend: uff..tu to kuch samajhta hi nahi hai. You remember that girl. My childhood buddy??

Me: Yes, one who wakes you up every morning? Some pratap I guess.

Friend: Yes…Yes…Prachi the same. I am crazy about her. I am in love.

Me: Then say her.

Friend: I hinted her before coming to PS and you see this PS is a too long affair. I am mad after her. I feel irritated, incomplete and lost if it go two days without talking to her. I am her friend since she knows what is to be friend. She credits me with everything that she had. Isn’t this show that she loves me. We talk for hours now.

Me: Indeed, everything shows. But this love thing is not a good thing.

Friend: It may be negative. But what a movie without villain! Similarly, our life should taste this handsome feeling at least once. These memories walk with you all through your life. Even if the memory is of short extent, it has ability to stir emotions.

Me: You look like a gone case.

Friend: (in fake anger) You won’t believe it and probably will never. But you will realise my words. It feels like heaven with her and you don’t need anything else.

Me: oye..pagal ho gaya kya,…

Friend: I am going to propose her.

Me: How? Are you going back home?

Friend: No, I will write mail. In fact I have many drafts saved in my mail account for that purpose. I write one every day when I want to propose her, hold her hand and go for stroll.

Me: Abe filmy!! Aaj kal kaun kaun si movie dekhta hai?

Friend: I went for transformers but scene to veer-jara ke hi yaad aa rahe the. I listen to old hindi songs.

(Starts humming: lekar pehla pehla pyaar, bhar kar aakhon me khumar, jadu nagri se …………)

Suddenly stops and says: I will not mail her. I will go home and I will propose her.

Me: hmm…

Friend: Now let me sleep..wish me GN and PD.

To avoid embarrassment, I googled PD to get the full form. I didn’t get anything other than Potential Difference.

Finally, I asked: What is this PD? Never heard of it!!

Friend: You can’t. It is Good Night and Prachi Dreams.

Wait for the result :)