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I recently read an opinion piece in the Hindu Businessline which argued that the subsidy given to diesel for non-priority sectors should be removed. Sane enough, and who knows, our even our government might become sane enough to do it!
Just imagine the consequences. At about Rs 45 per liter, a number of industries (in tens of thousands, easily) are already feeling the pinch as they use significant quantities of diesel. In India, diesel occupies about 33000 MW equivalent of power today – that is a humungous amount. The telecom sector alone uses over 2 billion liters of diesel every year!
I have always believed the best way to make folks follow sustainable practices is to raise the price they pay for unsustainable practices. If diesel prices were to increase to, let’s say Rs 60 per liter from Rs 45 per liter, I have little doubt that the telecom towers in the country will naturally start pushing for the use of solar and maybe even biomass for power production.
A few thousand telecom towers in the country have apparently adopted solar in a rather hesitating fashion, a volunteer from Greenpeace told me recently, also letting me know in the same breath that converting these guys from diesel to solar was not so easy after all.
I can bet that a significant price hike for diesel (OK, only for non-priority sectors), will make the job of Greenpeace that much easier.