December 14th, 2011, New Delhi: Concerned over the increasing exploitation of the diesel subsidy by the profit making telecom sector, representatives from across the political spectrum, have urged the government to take measures to accelerate a shift away from diesel and to renewable sources and technologies. 1 These include members of Parliament, cutting across party lines, including members of the standing committees for Energy, Communication and Information Technology and Environment and Forest.
In their letters to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Communication and Information Technology Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal, and through parliamentary engagement, the politicians have specifically raised the need for substantially reducing the consumption of diesel by the telecom sector, especially in their network tower operations. They have further stressed on mandating the public disclosure of emissions and the establishment of the progressive emission reductions plans within the ambit of the newly proposed National Telecom Policy. In response, while the government has acknowledged the large-scale exploitation of diesel by sectors such as telecom, it is yet to put in place effective and appropriate mechanisms to address this concern.
Earlier this year, Greenpeace in its report 'Dirty Talking – A case for telecom sector to shift from diesel to renewable', highlighted the aggressive exploitation of diesel by the sector, as the second largest consumer, resulting in a loss of over Rs. 2600 crore to the state exchequer annually.3
"It's been over 3 months since the Bharti Airtel led Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) failed to deliver on its commitment by coming up with a clear roadmap for the disclosure and progressive reduction of emissions by September 2011," said Mrinmoy Chattaraj, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India. 4 "Given their unwillingness to act voluntarily (5), such a transition is best delivered through mandatory norms, including policies and fiscal mechanisms which encourage companies to transit substantively to renewable sources," he further added.
Greenpeace has been engaging with the telecom sector, operators in particular, to:
- Publicly disclose the carbon emissions of their entire business operation and establish progressive emission reduction targets
- Commit to shift the sourcing of 50% of their energy requirements towards renewable energy sources and phase out diesel use in their business operations by 2015
1) The list of politicians includes- Mr. Sharad Yadav, Mr. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Mr. Rajendra Agarwal, Mr. P. Karunakaran, Mr. Varun Gandhi, Mr. Basudeb Acharia, Mr. Tapan Sen, Mr. Shripad Y. Naik, Mr. R C Khuntia Mr. Chandan Mitra and Mr. G. Devarajan.
2) The questions raised in the parliament over the issue can be accessed at the respective websites of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha
3) For further information- http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/What-We-Do/Stop-Climate-Change/Green-Electronics/switch-off-diesel/
5) In the Carbon Disclosure Project's recent report (https://www.cdproject.net/CDPResults/CDP-2011-India-200-Report.pdf ), none of the telecom companies feature in its top 100 Indian companies. Similarly, in the fortune 500 list of telecom companies on transparency and disclosure (https://www.cdproject.net/en-US/Pages/global500.aspx), none of the Indian telecom companies feature on this list.
Shashwat Raj, Media Officer, Greenpeace India: +91 968686 1974,
Mrinmoy Chattaraj, Campaigner, Greenpeace India: +91 990220 1201,