A Seminar was organized today at the Indian Social Institute (Lodhi Road, New Delhi) on the theme India’s Power Crisis and Nuclear Energy: Avoiding Power Black-outs, Avoiding False Solutions.

Chaired by Gen V K Singh (Retd.), the seminar was addressed by prominent experts on energy policy and climate change – Shankar Sharma, Soumya Dutta, Praful Bidwai, M G Devasahayam, Manish Ram and Neeraj Jain.

The nuclear lobby has cynically exploited the energy crisis in India, as was witnessed during the recent power black-outs, to push its case for yet more atomic power, regardless of appropriateness, safety, environmental soundness, and costs. The panelists in the seminar today critically examined these arguments in the light of experience, and discussed an alternative energy perspective for the country based on the principles of efficiency, sustainability, equitable energy, and decentralised energy system.

Praful Bidwai and Gen V K Singh in the Seminar

The obsession with GDP and growth has been behind the plans to expand the eco-destructive energy projects – be it nuclear, huge coal-based plants or large dams. An alternative model of development has to be evolved to deal with the present crisis, rather than going for dangerous illusions like pursuing nuclear power. People in Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Gorakhpur, Chutka, Kovada, Mithivirdi, Kaiga, Rawatbhata etc. are resisting these projects which stand to threaten their lives and livelihoods.

The lack of imagination in policy making and the vested interests are driving India towards a suicidal path where the country could face catastrophes such as Fukushima and Chernobyl at one hand and the large masses would still be deprived of access to electricity, health and education on the other hand, if the current model of development is blindly pursued.

The panelists made presentation based on rigorous research and extensive data and facts to demonstrate that a people-centric energy policy is possible, feasible and desirable. We need to put the entire energy question in a larger perspective and do cost-benefit analyses of the current projects in a transparent and holistic manner – taking into account the ecological and social costs of such obsession with GDP.

A book titled “Integrated Power Policy”, published by the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) and written by Shri Shankar Sharma was released on the occasion by Gen V K Singh. The panelists and the chairperson also resolved to take this issue to the larger society through all possible democratic and peaceful means.