Energy and Environmental Sustainability: Some Key Issues in Rural Kolar, Karnataka, India
Pramod Dabrase and Ramachandra T. V.
Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Center for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012
Abstract :

The term sustainable development was coined by the UN Bruntland committee to describe a development, which satisfies the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It has birth to cope with the development related environmental degradation. When development takes place keeping environmental consideration in mind we follow the concept “sustainable development”. But unfortunately shortsighted developmental planning and overlook over environmental damages has severely affected the ecological balance of the region making the very existence of Planet earth unstable. Burgeoning population and resource scarcity demands maintaining environmental quality and economic progress too. Now with growing awareness, knowledge about causes and effect of environmental degradation, changing attitude and technologically advanced skills, we can arrest further damage to our resources. Though the process is difficult, the world leaders have decided to achieve the goal of Sustainability. The progress in this direction is seen in the form of spreading awareness, which is clearly seen in the form Earth Summit (Rio ’92), taking up voluntary program for sustainable development in poor rural countries, developing and practicing strict legislation and tools to control further environmental degradation.

Kolar  district in dry arid zone of Karnataka is chosen to develop an Integrated Regional Energy Plan considering the resource availability, present consumption patterns and developmental priorities. Suitable methodology is proposed to implement the energy plan taking in to consideration the present administrative structure of the district. Kolar district is one of the drought prone areas and is worst hit by natural calamities. These situations arise mainly due to unplanned resource use and growing population. Scarcity of water and bioresources has necessitated an integrated approach in natural resource management in order to ensure the sustainability. The district at present is plagued with many environmental problems such as soil erosion, deforestation, water scarcity, tank siltation, changing climate, energy scarcity, etc..

This district depends on agricultural economy, in recent years, sericulture has become major activity in taluks such as Sidlaghatta. Sericulture processing is an energy intensive process and further stress is expected on bioresource base in the district. Energy survey carried out in 2500 households covering all zones of the district indicates that Kolar district mainly depends on bioresources, and the dependence is of the order of 80-82%. Energy intervention through biogas program in villages with sufficient organic residues (animal residues) has shown success in recent years. Resource assessment shows that biogas can cater to the domestic needs of 30-40% of the total population. Biogas has helped in improving the indoor environment as well as cutting down drudgery involved in fuelwood collection, etc..

Two ecologically distinct cluster of villages – Anthragange (Kolar taluk) and Andarhalli (Chickballapur taluk) were chosen to explore the criteria and indicators of sustainability and role of non-conventional energy interventions such as biogas, solar, etc. on sustainability. The paper also brings in relationship between energy and related environmental degradation and tries to focus on sustainable energy technologies.

Citation : Pramod Dabrase and Ramachandra T.V., 1999. Energy and Environmental Sustainability: Some Key Issues in Rural Kolar, Karnataka, India. In. Criteria and Indicators of Sustainability in Rural Development - a Natural resource Perspective, Anil K. Gupta (ed), Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, pp. 222-240.

Corresponding Author :
  Dr. T.V. Ramachandra
Energy & Wetlands Research Group,
Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, INDIA.
  Tel : 91-80-23600985 / 22932506 / 22933099,
Fax : 91-80-23601428 / 23600085 / 23600683 [CES-TVR]
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