Patna: Greenpeace India, the environment protection organisation, has charged Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led coalition government in Bihar with going back on its promises, especially on renewable energy.
The group has said that the government, enjoying a huge majority in the state assembly, should have taken brave and visionary steps towards ending energy starvation in the state.
Greenpeace India raised the charge in its reaction to the Bihar state budget presented Feb 25 which, the group said, reflected the government`s apathy to the issue of renewable energy.
"The budget of any government shows the vision and the direction that the state is going to take in the next five years. This budget sadly lacks the vision," Ramapati Kumar, campaign manager of Greenpeace India, told IANS.
The government is still banking on coal linkages and blocks as in its last tenure, and continues to ignore alternatives which have great potential in the state, he alleged.
According to Kumar, after Greenpeace India last year urged political parties to end the energy crisis by committing to a policy change for adoption of decentralised renewable energy in their poll manifesto, the response of the ruling Janata Dal-United and Bharatiya Janata Party was positive.
The JD-U and the BJP had mentioned a renewable energy policy for the state and measures to improve generation capacity and investment for renewable energy in their manifestos. The JD (U) had promised to allocate Rs.8,466 crore for 21 projects to generate 988 MW of electricity over the next five years, he recalled.
However, the government has allocated only a little more than Rs.71 crore, just 4.24 percent of the total energy budget, Kumar rued.
Arpana Udupa, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace India, said: "It is evident that, for the development of both the people and of the state of Bihar, finding solutions to the energy crisis is going to be absolutely necessary. No government can afford to ignore the role renewable energy can play in delivering this."
Bihar is reeling under a power crisis. It has the lowest per capita power consumption - 93 units as against the national average of 715 units - and the highest peak deficit at 33.7 percent.
Kumar said there was tremendous scope for developing decentralised renewable energy in the state.
A Greenpeace India study said Bihar needs an energy revolution now and decentralised renewable energy can fuel that change, he insisted.