The first Switch Global Expo — an exhibition and summit for national and international players in electrical engineering — kicked off in Vadodara on Thursday. Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani inaugurated the five-day event in the presence of Union power minister Piyush Goyal, Deputy CM Nitin Patel, state energy minister Chimanbhai Shapariya, local MLA Saurabh Patel and other BJP leaders. Energy ministers from over 15 countries would be participating in the event, which has been promoted by the Gujarat government in association with Federation of Gujarat Industries, under the Urja Vikas Nigam Limited. The exhibition aims to “rev up India’s power sector”.
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Speaking at the inaugural session at Darjipura venue, where delegations turned up early in the morning, Goyal asserted that the central government was “committed from the bottom of our heart” to ensure power supply to the every person in India. “The farmers and the industries of India will continue to get affordable and sufficient power supply,” Goyal said. He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “vision for a power-sufficient India” and cited the example of Gujarat, which is leading in the sector.
“Modi has shown true leadership when it came to fighting against climate change and terrorism. Gujarat is a leading player in India’s power sector. When I took charge as power minister, I rushed to Gujarat to understand how this revolution in the power sector was carried out, and to take the experience of Gujarat nationally. This state has 24×7 power supply. Gujarat has also become the number one state in the distribution of LED bulbs under Ujala scheme. Gujarat has formed a habit of coming first,” he said, and stressed on the fact that no industrial development was possible without “cheap and abundant electricity”.
Rupani said, “As CM of Gujarat, Narendra Modi had put in dedicated effort to make Gujarat power abundant, with various visionary projects. We realised early that conventional sources of the energy will not be sufficient and we started focusing on solar and other sources of green energy. We are experimenting with rooftop solar system, and our efforts are to provide affordable power to tribal farmers and people in the coastal areas.”
Urging leaders of the power industries to work for the poorest of the poor, the CM said, “With such expos and exchange of the knowledge and technology, let’s work together for the well-being of the poorest of the poor.”Brigitte Collet, ambassador for renewable energy and preventing climate risk, Government of France, appreciated India’s move of signing the Paris climate agreement and the PM’s efforts to fight climate change. The expo — spread over 8.60 lakh sq ft — has a central food court over 50,000 sq ft, apart from a food zone in each of the four domes.
The event would witness a simultaneous “Innovation Lecture Series” by speakers, including MLA Saurabh Patel, Swaminarayan spiritual leader Swami Gyan Vatsal, badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, writer Chetan Bhagat, and former Chief of Army Staff General VP Malik. Switch Expo chairman Amit Bhatnagar said that the decision to invite speakers from other fields was to “generate public connect”.