Thursday, February 05, 2009

Government way to promote Solar devices

As per a press release from the public relations department of Haryana Government, Gurgaon and Faridabad Cities of Haryana havebeen selected for development as Solar/Green Cities under the schemeof Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India. The release goes on to say that the project aimed at a minimum 10 per cent reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years.

Now the funny part, let me share the ground reality of the government endeavor to promote non-conventional or renewable energy. I wanted to promote solar lantern among my domestic help as well as among people providing everyday services like the vegetable vendor, gardner etc. So i called up the Aditya Solar Shop in Gurgaon and wanted two solar lanterns. As the official concerned knew me i coordinated with him the date and time when i could pick up the lanterns.

The lanterns are actually very well made and cost rupees seven hundred a piece. Now comes the interesting part. The purchaser has to fill a full-page form. The official confided that the form was more important than the seven hundred rupees i was giving him.

A form to buy an item which saves electricity and does not emit green house gases. which century are we living in? :(
The form has columns like

Subject: Request for purchase of _________________
Name of the beneficiary
Fathers Name
Village/Tehsil/District(Full Address)

If this was not all, you are supposed to submit a photocopy of either a ration card/voter id card/passport/ any other residence proof. (gosh!)

Then comes the best part. It says “ I hereby swear that i will not sale or shift the system purchased from Aditya Solar Shop under subsidised program. This is followed by a signature and seal from the sarpanch/counsellor of your area. :)

So what happens to the bengali maid who does not have any residential proof or the vegetable hawker who comes from U.P etc. Well they should not acquire a solar device as they don’t have a residential proof and hence they can’t go green.

So for whom are these devices for? People who have money and have a residential proof. Unfortunately most of these people don’t care about going green or environment. I have neighbours who have bought a heavy-duty generator so that all AC’s in their house can be switched on in case of a power cut. They won’t consider a solar device.

The government and its enlightened officers want to go green on its own steam without taking the public along, specially the teaming masses who actually would make a difference to the ambitious programs of the government. Does somebody actually care or is it just good for press releases, disbursal of funds and then restart on the ambitious program once again.

The success of a program lies with the people who are the target segment. A little moving out might do a whale of a good to officials who draft and implement government programs and then actually the government can reduce the demand of electricity by over 25% in the next 5 years.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Environmentally sustainable ideas for valentine day

The amazing part of Indian culture is its ability to soak all that is alien into it and in the process Indianize it. This is the reason we have been to incorporate things from people who made India their home as also from those who just came to plunder this country.

Ok, accept it or not valentine day is here to stay. This day in 2009 makes more sense then earlier years as there is so much gloom around regarding the financial markets and the loss of jobs.

Here are some ideas for expressing love in an environmentally sustainable way

Gift your love a replica of Taj Mahal. Taj is not only among the new seven wonders of the world but defines indian culture and is a symbol of love. The only condition is that the replica is not made of Ivory. (for the uninitiated ivory comes from the tusks of elephants who are killed mercilessly for their tusks) This will not only be a memorable gift for your love but would also encourage the indian handicraft industry. It would be durable and can lie in the showcases of your love’s house/room.

Gift a sapling or better plant a sapling together. If love is what you are expressing what better way than presenting life. In case both of you plant the sapling then you can actually see the sapling grow as your love grows. The sapling can be planted either in a public place or in a friends house. It would be great if the sapling is that of a flowering tree. As the tree grows and flowers, each flowering season will remind you of your love.

Gift a flowerpot. Gifting roses is lame. They wilt within a few days. On top of it you wrap it in plastic which is non-biodegradable and either clogs drains or pollutes air as normally people like to burn garbage. Give a rose plant. This can lie in your lovers garden, balcony or terrace. The flowering plant will be a reminder of your love for days, weeks or years depending on your intensity.

Gift pottery. It could be a pen stand, a vase, ornamental piece etc. Pottery is so cool and can decorate the room of your love. On top of it you will be helping the rural artisan earn a livelihood rather than giving your money for a product created by a multinational company who will anyway take that money out of India.

Gift ethnic ware like lampshades, mirror etc. In Dilli Haat and on roadsides I have seen a lot of ethnic mirrors.

Go visit Yamuna Biodiversity Park, Dilli Haat, Lodhi Gardens. Malls are lame, in fact today mall seems to be more rural than urban. these are the places visited by people who have not seen a big shopping complex. you don’t need to see a shopping complex, you need to see and talk to your love. Find a peaceful environmental place. Make sure you don’t litter or etch your name on the wall or bench of the place.

Love is in the air. Time to show it and also time to tell all those who say this is alien to Indian culture. If this is alien then lets destroy the Khujuraho temples, The Taj Mahal and burn all the karma sutra books.