New Delhi: Stating that India is facing "energy famine", the government on Sunday said agitations against setting up of power plants, such as the one at Kudankulam nuclear plant, are preventing the country from achieving its energy requirement.
Stressing that India needed to look beyond coal-fired power plants to meet its massive energy requirements, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: "...coal linkages, coal production is fine...but the other sources of energy (need to be exploited) because the country is having energy famine."
Speaking at a CII function, he said: "...if everywhere the agitation starts, then how the energy requirement from multiple sources could be met?"
He said that the country has never achieved energy target in five year plan periods.
"Last five year plan, our target was 78,000 MW, revised target was 62,000 MW and ultimately we would not achieve more than 54,000-55,000 MW," he said.
The finance minister lamented that agitations against nuclear power plants are going on in almost all the states following the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year.
"Almost every state, which earlier showed its interest for the nuclear power plant are coming back and agitation is going on about the acquisition of land because some accident in some parts of the world has completely seconded it...each and every state, agitations are going on," he said.
Referring to the Kudankulam nuclear plant agitations he said: "Thank God that we have been able to resolve the issue of the Kudankulam".
He regretted that even after the UPA "risked the existence' of the government to bring the civil nuclear cooperation agreement to augment the country's energy supplies "domestic agitations are going on". Mukherjee said that it is not only the nuclear plants but others such as hydel power plants are also suffering due to agitations.
Three hydel power projects, including Lohari-Nagpalla where investments upto Rs 700 crore have been made, were abandoned due to agitations, he added.
It is not only in upstream rivers, "but even in the downstream run of the river project, agitations are going on. For hydel, sources exploitation are becoming more and more difficult", Mukherjee said.
" is really becoming (a) challenging task and where we could have achieved much more without making any problem but always we change our mindset", he said.