Significance of observing fuel conservation month

       WITH limited sources of natural energy it will be wishful thinking that people of Manipur will not be affected by the global trend of rapid exhaustion of stock of conventional energy reserves. Though absence of big industrial units in the state could be assumed as a blessing in disguise for use of petroleum products are mainly confined to operation of motor vehicles and cooking purposes, Manipur too cannot fiddle with its responsibility of conserving natural sources of energy and should indeed take the initiative of creating awareness and involving the citizens on the importance of economical usage of petroleum products. Imminent exhaustion of the petroleum products and its adverse impact upon the people could be comprehended from the clarion call given by Governor Dr Najma Heptulla during the kick-off function of Saksham 2017, which is a month long event to drive home the point that conservation of fuel is the responsibility of one and all. The Governor administering pledge to the student participants to conserve petroleum products and emphasising on educating the youths to abstain from wasteful use of petroleum products as well as to opt for cleaner fuel to maintain the ecological balance should have enlightened all concerned that the role of future pillars of the society at present will be equally important in deciding their own fate. Another significant remark made by Dr Heptulla was the reminder that the progress of human civilisation has been extensively linked with the wealth underneath the earth’s surface, natural resources like petroleum products to be specific.

       While there is nothing much policy makers in Manipur could do in contributing to the national stock of natural resources, increasing demand for energy compared to the fast depleting conventional sources of energy calls for chalking out viable policies to at-least tap the potential of non-conventional sources of energy such as solar, wind, biomass and even energy from waste material. Even though the state may be deprived of two other important sources of non-conventional energy namely tidal and geo-thermal sources, due to its geographical location, it is an undeniable fact that there is no shortage of solar, wind, biomass and waste material. Energy generated by the said sources are renewable or inexhaustible and neither do they cause environmental pollution nor entail require heavy investment, and as such absence of natural resources to convert them into petroleum products could be compensated by focusing on purposeful generation of energy from the sources available. As MANIREDA had already experimented potential of harnessing wind energy with success, there should be concerted efforts in expanding the area for tapping the non-conventional sources of energy as it would not only ensure convenient living of the people in the windy hill areas but will also be helpful to the farmers in the plains. In the same way, framing policy for providing solar panels at affordable price will encourage the farmers to adopt multiple-cropping system as they would not need to worry on footing power bills. In view of improvement in the power distribution scenario in Manipur since the introduction of pre-paid meter system, the need for providing cheap power to the farmers should not be ignored in order to achieve the goal of self-reliance in food grain production and help the state’s economy.

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