Environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s green signal for the Jaitapur nuclear power plant on Sunday is an example of sound environmentalism. India’s reliance on fossil fuel power plants is not only environmentally unfriendly but is also expensive. With oil production beyond “peak oil”, substituting oil with other sources of energy makes much sense.
One can see this clearance as part of a coherent pattern. Ramesh’s concern at the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector, mostly of a personal, private variety, too, is in the right place. The better way to attain the goal would be an upward repricing of environmentally unfriendly fuels. Market determination of the prices of these hydrocarbons would result in efficiency of the kind that no government fiat can. Fuel price decontrol is a goal that Ramesh should push for and it deserves the support of his cabinet colleagues.