India is becoming increasingly ungovernable. It is good that people are becoming aware and asserting their rights. Lack of accountability in our ruling class has made this assertion even stronger and justification for it more powerful. No body seem to agree what governments propose for development of economy.
India needs electricity for domestic consumption, as well as for industrial production. Most of India do not pay for electricity and majority do not even get a regular supply. In this scenario, India desperately needs energy source. However, question is how does this energy gap be met?
Conventional sources like thermal energy is polluting, dams generating hydroelectricity are susceptible to earthquake. Besides dams flood large tracts displacing people and change is flow of river causes ecological change. Solar and wind spowrs are not cost effective.
In this scenario, it is baffling that people are protesting against Kudankulam and Jaitapur nucelar power plants.Nuclear power is non polluting. However, storage and disposal of spent fuel remains an issue. However, that may come 50 years down the road. Kudamkulam plant has been allowed by Chennai highcourt to start functioning. A P J Abdul Kalam has visited the plant and declared it safe. Kalpakkam power plant is in operation for some time now. Fishing activity around it has not been a problem.
However, protestors are unrelenting and a petition is being filed in Supreme court. No amount of assurance is good enough. Why not take compensation and move out of the place? But NGOs will not even allow people to take compensation. Noting less than decommissioning of plant will do.
If every decision is challenged, how can India function? How will India meet energy need, when some NGO or other will oppose every decision that government will make? For example, Prashant Bhushan opposes nuclear power, Arundhati Roy is against mining of coal, Medha Patkar is dead against dam.
This opposition is not restricted to nuclear power plant, recently, TATA motors were evicted out of West Benga,, Posco is not being allowed to setup plant in Orissa. There is opposition to Vedanta group from setting up their plant. These are few high profile examples. Doing business is so cumbersome and there are so many regulations that no honest business man can function honestly. At the same time there are dishonest business men. I think because government does not allow honest capital to come in, crony capitalims thrives in India. People opposing industrialisation are unable to differentiate between genuine capitalism and crony capitalism. Ultimate losers remain people of state and country.
There has to be a balance for greater common good. Projects important for national interest must not be stopped or subjected to blackmail. India has a 1 billion plus populaiton, can 100 – 200 families interest supercede rest of the country’s interest? I think not. At the same time, people being displaced must be adequately compensated for a better life in a different place.