Social Scientist. v 12, no. 130 (March 1984) p. 60.


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REPORT

Energy and Power: Report on a Seminar

THE ELECTRICITY Employees Federation of India held its first all India conference at Trivandrum during January 13-15, 1984. The conference started with a one-day national seminar on "Energy, and Power". The seminar was presided over by Dr Vasudev, chairman, Kerala State Committee on S & T. Six technical papers were presented by experts in the area. This Was followed by group discussions based on which the seminar arrived at a number of conclusions which have an important bearing on the national policies of the Government of India on matters related to energy and power.

Welcoming the delegates and speakers, E Balanandan, M P, highlighted the importance of such technical seminars which were integral to the growth of the trade union movement. He emphasised that the working class organisations should assimilate the essential technologies of the concerned sectors as well to enable themselves to conduct trade union struggles in more effective ways.

In his paper "Energy Policies and Practices since independence", Ashok Rao, president, Federation ol BHEL Executives' Association, brought out the basic maladies in the governments' policy on energy and power for the past three decades. Emphasising that there is a stiaight-. line correlation between the GNP and energy consumption, lie contrasted the performance of India with that of the People's Republic of China. In 1952, both had similar energy bases. In 1979-80 China produced 620 million tonnes of coal,* 106 million tonnes of oH and 300 billion KWH electricity, whereas for India the corresponding figure^ were only 114 m tonnes, 10.5 m tonnes and 112 bKWH respectively. The major reason for this disparity is that, concurrent with the differing socio-political systems, China based its development on the secure foundation of solid fuel coal, its own natural resource, whereas India based its development on the slippery foundation of imported oil, giving totally inadequate attention to its vast resources of coal. Unless this policy is corrected, according to the Working Group on Energy (1979), India may be spending 75-50 per cent of its entire export earnings towards the purchase of oil by 2000 AD (assuming a certain rate of increse in India's export and a steady plateau in oil prices at 18 dollars per barrel)! Since Indiaa coal has high gas content and nothing significanthas been done to upgrade it, the foreign-designed turbines are con'tinuously under stress and breakdown^ thereby bringing down the availability factor of these stations and causing



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