Such initiatives can go a long way in boosting the peace process between the two countries, says TERI Director General

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) — in collaboration with LEAD Pakistan, the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) Pakistan and the Buksh Foundation — will launch the clean energy “Lighting a Million Lives” (LaML) campaign in Pakistan on October 12.

“The aim of these initiatives is to create a consensus in Pakistan in favour of a cross-border clean energy movement while at the same time cementing the civil, political and cultural ties between India and Pakistan,” R.K. Pachauri, Director General, TERI, said.

Reflecting on the need for enhanced bilateral relations, Dr. Pachauri asserted: “India and Pakistan face common problems such as the lack of energy access for a large part of the population, particularly in rural areas. TERI has been at the forefront of solutions in this field. We are now extending our partnership to Pakistan, particularly with our programme of Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL). Such initiatives can go a long way in boosting the peace process between the two countries,” he added.

Over the past few years, TERI’s widely acclaimed LaBL campaign has garnered strong support across India, and has been instrumental in illuminating 3, 82,750 households across the invisible interiors of rural India. Following its successful interventions in Africa, South Asia and South East Asia, TERI is now focusing on Pakistan with the launch of the LaML initiative.

Through the campaign, TERI intends to facilitate the access and use of solar lighting devices among Pakistan’s rural communities.

According to an estimate, nearly 2.2 billion litres of kerosene are used each year for lighting purposes, while about 5.5 million tonnes of CO are emitted into the atmosphere by burning of kerosene. On the other hand, each solar lantern in its 10-year life replaces about 500-600 litres of kerosene, mitigating about 1.5 tonnes of CO. The Conference on Energy Access in Islamabad on October 12, where the campaign will be launched, will feature Pakistan’s leading policymakers, experts and business leaders. It will enable opinion leaders from India and Pakistan to formulate a coordinated strategy to strike the energy-poverty nexus at its roots.

Dr. Pachauri said Pakistan was facing a serious power problem. “A large section of population in Pakistan’s rural areas is deprived of energy supply. We believe that it is in the best interest of both countries to be able to work together and cooperate in the spirit of good neighbourliness,” he said.

The Institute will also inaugurate a wide range of renewable technologies and facilities established by its researchers in the Pakistani village of Gah — the birthplace of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — on October 13. TERI has adopted Gah under the aegis of its LaML initiative, which aims at integrating new and sustainable technologies for elimination of poverty by introducing Renewable Energy Technologies.

Highlighting the Institute’s work in Gah, Ibrahim Hafiz Rehman, Director, Social Transformation Division, TERI, said: “We are essentially providing technical support to boost energy security in Gah. We have connected several houses through smart grids and have set up 51 Solar Based Domestic Lighting Systems in the village since 2006.

Marking the culmination of these landmark events, a benefit concert will also be held in Pakistan’s culture hub, Lahore, on the evening of October 13 featuring Dr. Salman Ahmad of “Junoon” fame, and the popular Indian rock band “Euphoria” led by Dr. Palash Sen.

Bollywood actor Rahul Bose — who has travelled across Indian villages to muster support and spread awareness for the LaBL — will also be attending the event as a special Ambassador of the LaML campaign.