Current land act impedes solar power growth: Sanjiv Goenka

Kolkata, Aug 13 (IANS) The current provisions of the land acquisition bill will impede the adoption of solar power, Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group which provides electricity to the metropolitan city of Kolkata, said here on Thursday.

“With the new land act bill as proposed, it is going to be difficult to get land or almost impossible to get land and if you don’t get land, solar power will definitely be out of question,” he said in response to a question at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries.

Coal, as the primary raw material to generate thermal electricity, has become expensive and alternate sources of energy needs to be promoted, he said.

“Today coal is one of the most expensive thing and thereby the power you generate from coal will be expensive,” he said.

Goenka, who has the largest shareholding in CESC Ltd, an RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group company, said wind and solar power may prove to be the viable options for generating electricity in the future.

However, he said “the challenge there (in adoption of solar power) is going to be land”.

He said technology is advancing and the cost of power from solar and wind sources is gradually coming down.

The BJP-led government had pushed for amendments to the 2013 central law to smoothen acquisition of land for developmental purposes but met with strong resistance from the opposition parties, leading to the BJP changing its stance to bring back some provisions of the exisiting act including those relating to consent and social impact assessment.

Unable to get the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha where it does not have a majority, the government has now formed a joint committee of parliament to look into the bill and its report is most likely to be submitted during the winter session.

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