Going by a Deccan Herald newsreport, a US-based technology firm is willing to set up a 50 MW solar plant in Karnataka, if the govt. is interested. A sales guy from the company is quoted as saying they would even arrange institutional loan covering 85 percent of the project cost. Which means the govt. has to chip in upfront just about Rs.11 crores for a Rs.750-crore solar project.
The offer appears tempting. The company got no response when it first made a proposal for 20 mw solar plant to the UP govt. Now they are willing to do a deal with Karnataka. I view this as an opportunity for Mysore to lobby for a solar plant. An earlier move by the government to put up a thermal power plant at Chamulpura, near Mysore, got shot down by agitationists. Here is a chance for them – NGOs and environmental care-takers – to get something done. Here is a green alternative to Chamulpura.
Mysore has a mayor in Sandesh Swamy, who is out and about on the streets of the city every other morning, listening to public grievances. He goes about his padayatra with a platoon of supporters and municipal officials. Dry municipal taps, choked drainage, uncleared garbage in street-corners, and unannounced power shutdown are the issues residents come up with.
Mr Swamy may not be able to clean up the mess, but he makes headlines in the local media, on a daily basis. Would the city mayor use public support and media goodwill to take up the case of solar power plant for Mysore? He is chairman of the city corporation’s solar cell, tasked to review a master plan for energy conservation and promotion of renewable energy among residents in the city. Karnataka Renewable Energy Dept. is reported to have santioned Rs.50 lakhs for preparing a master plan and running a campaign. The civic body has outsourced drafting of a master plan to Mumbai based firm (Is it Darashaw ?). A solar power plant fits in with such scheme of things.
Agreed. The city mayor can’t bring a solar plant home, even if he has political clout. But he can surely move party leaders and the bureaucracy in Bangalore. He can take intiative to write to shakers and movers in the government. He can Google, and connect with the company executives for details on the proposal, locational and land requirements, terms of funding, timeline of the solar power plant and its employment potential.