Government is reportedly planning to minimise the criteria for private coal companies to participate in the auction of 15 coal blocks in the country. In other words, things might get simpler for those who seek to rob the country of its natural resources for corporate gains. Remember the challenges faced by the  Adani Group in Australia due to protests from public spirited citizens?

Maybe, the government wants to do a good turn for its old friends through easing mining norms. A report published in the Economic Times quoted a senior official to suggest that government wanted to ease entry norms for commercial mining for private companies. “… There will be minimal experience or net worth requirements for eligibility. The companies will be asked to submit upfront payment and bank guarantees like in the case of captive coal mines and this should take care of most of the concerns,” the official said.

What a wonderful idea. Let’s invest more in fossil fuels, burn them, overheat the planet- and then let’s all die in our ‘developed’ countries.

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Image Via ET

It’s difficult to cut out fossil fuels- that much is obvious. Entire economies have been built on them ever since the development of the modern economic system. No one expects their government to shut down coal mines, plants, oilfields, and refineries tomorrow, or even next year.

But what we do expect is for our leaders to create and implement a systematic plan to slowly but surely transition from non-renewable to renewable energy sources; to deliberately, consciously stop investing in fresh sources of fossil fuels; to just as doggedly fund renewable energy projects, and where none exist, to develop them themselves- you know, do their job.

Of what use is development if it leaves the earth unliveable a mere 5 decades from now?

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Coal and oil should be left in the ground. In order to transition, our government should shift their focus to developing renewable energy and making it cheap and accessible to everyone (no mean feat, given the vast differences in income in India); let the coal, oil and gas sources exhaust themselves if we can’t shut them down sooner (it goes without saying- DON’T look for new ones); by the time they do, we should be ready to replace them with energy from solar, wind, biogas and hybrid sources.

It’s not an unachievable target; not by any means. But it requires our elected leaders to examine their duties, re-evaluate their stances on politics vis-à-vis governance, and prioritise the people and their future over the coal, oil and gas lobbies.

In essence, it requires our leaders to be better than they are now.

Posted by Malavika

Books, bells, and big dreams.

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