According to reports, Dispur has directed all government and provincialised colleges across the state to install solar-powered equipment for consumption of power.
Director of higher education Phanindra Jidung, in a letter to the college principals, said according to the recent directive from the Union ministry of new and renewal energy, colleges should procure a substantial amount of power from solar technology.
The director asked the colleges to follow instructions in the letter (attached with the directive) written by Ratan P. Watal, secretary, Union ministry of new and renewable energy, to the Assam government in this connection.
Watal’s letter said India has one of the richest solar sources in the world and if this resource was properly harnessed and utilised, then the country could fulfil its energy requirements “with ease”, without depending on the import of fossil fuels.
It stated that state governments should direct government educational institutions, institutes, offices and organisations to meet significant percentage of their power requirement by harnessing solar energy. The ministry’s letter said at least 15 per cent of the power consumption (under government) should be from solar energy.
The ministry’s directive mentioned that solar power could be generated by installing solar power plants on rooftops of buildings or on spare land. “As the cost of solar equipment is coming down drastically, it is now possible to generate solar power at competitive rates, comparable to the rate at which most power distribution companies supply power to industrial and commercial consumers,” Watal said in the letter.
The letter further suggested that government institutions, establishments and organisations could approach renewable energy supply companies to install small power plants on their premises and in return buy power from them (the companies).
It also said conventional power distributing companies, too, could be asked to procure the required quantity of power separately from generators at a central level and then supply the same to government establishments through their distribution network.
The letter said the Union government has started procuring solar power centrally from distribution companies for some of its offices and establishments.
The Union secretary urged the Assam government to direct government educational institutions, institutes, offices, organisations and establishments to implement the Centre’s new solar policy.
In a related development, Jidung has asked government colleges and the seven universities (not private) in Assam to submit proposals to his office relating to the construction of connecting roads, water supply schemes and power connections, which will be forwarded to the DoNER ministry for funding.
He said the ministry in a recent letter to the Assam government has asked for such proposals or concept papers from universities and colleges for funding under the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources scheme.
In the letter, DoNER joint secretary V.B. Pathak had stated that the ministry would be funding infrastructure development in the higher education sector and accordingly, the government should prepare a priority list to be sent to the ministry.