The proposed Land Acquisition Bill of the Modi government will make it difficult to acquire land for large solar power projects, leading industrialist Sanjiv Goenka said in Kolkata on Thursday.
Goenka, chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, who was part of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s delegation in her recent UK trip, said: “Today, coal is a precious thing and is very expensive. Thereby, the power that we generate from it will also be expensive. Technology is bringing down costs. Give it another couple of years and cost will go down even further.”
“I think this is when solar and wind projects will take off in a big way. The challenge is going to be land. With the new Land Acquisition Bill that has been proposed, it’s going to be difficult or almost impossible to get land. And if you don’t get land, getting solar energy will be out of question,” he said during an interactive session held by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Goenka said unless the government intervened, it will not be possible for individuals to acquire large tracts of land which is required for big solar projects.
India plans to quadruple its renewable power capacity to 175 GW by 2022. Of this, 100 GW is to consist of solar energy. The government has sought more than $100 billion in investment to achieve this solar energy target and ensure that the contribution of solar power to the country’s energy portfolio is raised to 10 per cent.
To members of the CII youth wing, Goenka said young entrepreneurs should have a clear vision about their aims, do research on it and back the same with data. “This way, it will not be very difficult to find capital,” he said while adding how he, at 27, had dreamed of turning a loss-making public utility service to a profitable one and went on to achieve it.
“When you are 27, you are somewhat stupid, wanting to turn a city that is notorious about powercuts, into a city with no powercuts. I was viewed with scepticism and greeted with hostility but I decided to go on with my dreams,” he said.
Later asked about the UK trip, Goenka told mediapersons that it was very good and in fact better than the Singapore tour in August last year. “There will be no immediate investment but this is the beginning of a process. The negative perception about Bengal has been corrected to a large extent and slowly, you will see the perception changing more and more. People interested in investing in India will start considering Bengal as an investment destination,” he added.
Referring to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, he said: “Fundamentally, I believe economics and politics should not be mixed. Economic decision making should be independent from politics. I think GST is an important tool for the economy.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines