The Indian Army is going in for an eco-friendly windmill and solar panel energy at Siachen glacier, the highest battle field of the world, to save the glacier from pollution, as also to cut down on the cost of the fuel and logistic efforts.
The government has sanctioned Rs 3,000 crore for putting into effect the plan for alternate energy at the strategically crucial glacier, which is in the global attention because of the presence of the Indian and Pakistani armies.
“Our effort is to set up windmills and solar panels at the glacier, and other frontier areas in Ladakh region,” General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt. Gen. BS Jaswal told Hindustan Times in an interview, while outlining the Army’s efforts to save the glacier.
This will help the soldiers stationed at the glacier to heat their huts and posts and lighting. The temperatures at the glacier dip minus 40 degree Celsius.
Till date, the soldiers – a brigade strength at Siachen glacier, have been dependent upon kerosene, diesel for running generators to heat their accommodation and lights.
While acknowledging that human presence does cause pollution. Gen. Jaswal said, what is hidden from the public view is the fact that how Army was saving the glacier.
“It is my hope that this year, we should be able to set up windmills and solar panels at the glacier. It will go a long way in helping protect the glacier from pollutants. It would be clean energy.”
The Northern Army Commander already has discussed the project with the Union Ministry for New and Renewable Energy.
“The presence of troops here is in the national interest. The phenomenon of the ‘glacier melt’ must be considered in terms of the mass of the glacial systems existing in the region in comparison to the quantum of troops present there. The ratio will indicate that the situation is not alarming,” he said, dispelling the fears that because of the Army’s presence the pace of the melting of glacier has speeded up.
“Glacial melting is part of the phenomenon of global warming. We are however, fully seized of the issue of the fragile ecology of the region and have instituted a number of measures to reduce the footprints. Eco-friendly measures adopted by us include pipeline based transmission of Kerosene - oil, greenhouses to grow vegetables and bio digesters."
“As a vision for the future we are identifying our power requirements in the areas of the Ladakh region which can be met through alternate energy sources, such as solar power and wind. We have instituted measures to further reduce the pollution levels on the glacier and have a structured system of waste disposal.”