‘Make use of renewable sources mandatory for power generation'

Parliamentarians have sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in reining in mobile operators from misusing subsidised diesel for running mobile towers, which were causing massive environmental pollution.

They have urged Dr. Singh to ensure that strong provisions are incorporated in the National Telecom Policy, 2011, currently being finalised, making it mandatory for the use of renewable sources and technologies for power generation to run these towers.

On the initiative of NGO Greenpeace, around a dozen prominent MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have expressed their concern over the increasing exploitation of the diesel subsidy by the profit-making telecom sector and highlighted the need for substantially reducing the consumption of diesel by the sector, especially in their network tower operations.

These MPs have also stressed on mandating the public disclosure of emissions and the establishment of the progressive emission reduction plans within the ambit of the newly proposed NTP 2011.

The MPs who have written to the Prime Minister as well as Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal include Sharad Yadav, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Rajendra Agarwal, P. Karunakaran, Varun Gandhi, Basudeb Acharia, Tapan Sen, Shripad Y. Naik, R.C. Khuntia, Chandan Mitra and G. Devarajan.

In its report “Dirty Talking — A case for telecom sector to shift from diesel to renewable”, released earlier this year, Greenpeace had claimed that the exploitation of diesel subsidy by the telecom sector, as the second-largest consumer, was resulting in an annual loss of over Rs.2,600 crore to the state exchequer annually.

Greenpeace has also written to the government, asking it to ensure that telecom companies publicly disclose the carbon emissions of their entire business operation and establish progressive emission reduction targets, besides committing to shift the sourcing of 50 per cent of their energy requirements towards renewable energy sources and phase out diesel use in their business operations by 2015.