Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fazilka: Upcoming Energy Hub of Punjab

Fazilka: Many might not have even thought about this, but this small town confronted with political ignorance from the state government would now be able to regain its lost glory, all thanks to the new addition to its geography named, Energy. In future this town would be known as "Energy hub of Punjab". Something knowingly and unknowingly which had happened over the past five years is going to make this possible.

The border city of Fazilka first shot into prominence form a period of oblivion when it was selected as the first Asian town for adopting the best energy saving practices to fight against global warming by Czech Republic Magazine Magazine[1] "Carbuster" in its 32nd issue. The focus of the magazine centering around 'faith and environment' mentioned how in order to curb the effect of global warming, religious messages quoted in Sri Guru Granth Sahib were installed at various palces.

On the occasion of Fazilka heritage festival 2007, another feather got adorned in the cap of this city when Fazilka pioneereed and promoted the use of CFL lamps in the city. The entire CFL electric dealer decided to sell CFL on no profit and no loss basis[2].

Within a year of this biggest international recognition the U.S.-backed $3.5 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project deal signed in Pakistan got a fillip too. Infact it was on this historic day that the 10th steering committee of oil ministers from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India agreed to start construction work on the much-delayed TAPI pipeline project in 2010. The pipeline which will be 1,420 mm in diameter will have a capacity of 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas annually to fulfill the energy needs of the country.

However, this is not where it ended all. After adopting best energy saving practices in all spheres of life, how could agriculture be ignored? And the answers to this speculation were put to rest with the setting up of first agriculture call centre[3] by a group of wise farmers of Fazilka where farmers could discuss their agriculture related problems to increase their profitability. To improve the condition of farmes further, another son of the soil, Mr Vikram Ahuja is credited with establishing the first agricultural equipment bank facility here. The bank provides state of the art international facility in the form of agriculture equipment like laser leveler, soil tensiometer especially for small farmers, who cannot afford to buy all these equipments. Malwa Water Management System developed by Mr Ahuja is going to save 7.5 billion liter of fresh water in agriculture.

Indian Defense forces have also played an important role in the prosperity of this town. Indian Army last year planted more than 10,000 trees along with the progressive farmers of this region, who also gifted more than 3000 'sheesham' samplings.

After agriculture, it was time to dare something new with the painstaking Transportation system. Fazilka showcased to the world a unique public transport system through the erstwhile cycle rickshaw[4]. This system was designed to promote the use of rickshaw as mode of public transport system, where the average trip length in the city is less than 3 km. Call centers were installed across the city to make rickshaw phone call away named ECOCABS. This concept was perfect amalgamation of tradition and digital empowerment which was indeed well taken by the rest of the world.

Within couple of years, citizen of this small town made thier importance on international map. This further attracted some global players when Moser Baer Photovoltaic Ltd[5] who in association with The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) made an announcement to install 5 MW solar energy plant in Fazilka.

Couple of years and India's smallest big town made its appearance in all the areas of energy saving like transportation, religion, agriculture, electric and solar energy. Indeed "where there is a will, there is way' can be at best suited to Fazilka and its people. While the government was busy developing a few cities of Punjab like Mohali, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Amritsar, this small township of backward region of Fazilka was being empowered by its residents setting new trends for many Indian cities who are still looking forward for help after independence from their state governments.

Edited By : Shivani Khanna