February 20, 2009

Buddha ready to lend a hand and land to Pachauri

Kolkata, Feb 20, 2009: West Bengal is all set to get a research centre dealing with climate-related issues under the guidance of Nobel laureate R K Pachauri. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) will be starting its Kolkata chapter as soon as the state government allots land for the project.

“We will be setting up an institute to look into the prospects of bio fuel, renewable energy and create more energy-efficient buildings in the state,” Dr Pachauri said. He said about five acres of land will be required for the institute.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said: “West Bengal has been working closely with Dr Pachauri for a long time now. We will be happy to give them land at Baruipur to set up their institute.” The chief minister and Dr Pachauri were speaking on the sidelines of an environment summit at a city hotel on Thursday.

TERI is already working on a project on the Sunderbans delta, a fragile ecosystem now threatened by rising sea-levels. “West Bengal has a delta as well as snow capped mountains and thus, the effects of climate change here, will also be equally diverse,” said Dr Pachauri.

The study, which is partly sponsored by the West Bengal government, will take another year for completion. “We are already working in the Sunderban region and would like to extend our study to the entire state,” he added.

According to Dr Pachauri, one of the major environmental challenges in the state is that 94 per cent of Bengal’s power comes from thermal sources. “We need to form a strategy and develop alternative sources of energy for the state,” he said.

Bhattacharjee also stressed on the fact that auto emissions, drinking water, medical wastes and depletion of greenery and water bodies were the major challenges facing the state. “We need to move away from petrol and diesel — towards bio fuel and electricity-run vehicles,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Pachauri had launched a scheme for green-rating of environment-friendly buildings in the city. This rating, being introduced for residential as well as corporate buildings, would be given by the TERI in partnership with the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Green Power Corporation, the corporate entity of the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency, which is headed by S.P. Gonchaudhuri.

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