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Power gridlock: Need to adopt ‘smartgrid’

The power grid system has its inherent weaknesses (news item ‘Near-miss warning was ignored”, Aug 5). It is a unidirectional process from the point of generation to the point of consumption. Power is distributed through various stations and substations. Intense manual supervision is required to control the grid through SCADA system (Supervision and Control and Data Analysis). Power cannot be stored. Consumers have practically no control over the grid system. They can at best, restrict its use. However, they cannot participate in power production and distribution.

Use of alternate technology called ‘smartgrid’ can be useful in this regard. It allows two way flow of power and information. It allows real-time monitoring of power use. Communication systems are digitalised. No individual can take the system to ransom.

Consumers participate and have a stake in power generation and transmission. Power outage management is much more efficient. It prevents widespread blackouts by prioritising distribution as per pre-set instructions.

Many countries like the US, European Union, Australia, and New Zealand have already taken a lead and are in an advanced stage of using ‘smartgrid’. India is also considering this option and it is at the proposal stage. However, the government needs to take this up as a mission and must make an attempt to change the grid system of the country rather than blame a few and further invest in defunct systems.

It is here that, private players and the engineering colleges of the country can play a vital role. In public-private mode, engineering colleges may be allotted some limited geographical areas around their institutes and they be mandated to set up smartgrids. Private players should join them in this endeavour and together, if multiple small-scale projects are carried out across the length and breadth of the country, we can script a success story.



The recent grid failure needs to be taken as a lesson as far conservation and distribution of electricity is concerned. Unfortunately, we did not learn anything. When Delhi Metro was being fed by power borrowed from Bhutan, the mindless Metro staff did not bother to switch off escalators and lifts to save electricity. It is high time that state governments enforce forcible usage of solar operated fans and lights in offices and households. Installation of windmills across national highways and in fields will surely minimise load on coal generated power.


Murders in gurdwara

The insane shooting in a US gurdwara strikes at the very foundation of religious freedom on which the United States of America was founded (editorial ‘Murder in a gurdwara’, Aug 7).

There is also a strong feeling among the American Sikhs that the Obama administration should start a comprehensive awareness campaign about the identity of the Sikhs. Such an initiative should have been taken up immediately after violent attacks against members of the Sikh community in the wake of 9/11 terror attacks. Unfortunately, inadequate steps at that time have resulted in a grave loss 
this time.



That no tangible measures were taken by the US government after 9/11and no perceptible pressure was put on the US by our government has become amply clear with this gory incident. My own son was brutally attacked in Pennsylvania in 2008 but he managed to survive. My SOS communications to the Ministry of External Affairs did not yield the desired result and the incident was never brought to light. This kind of insecurity in a multi-racial society like the US should not be tolerated at any cost.

S C CHABBA, Panchkula

Auditing learning

It is time to audit the outcome of education (editorial “ Basic learning first”, August 7). It is true that education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world. This target can be achieved if education is oriented to objectives broader than those taught in schools because when you know better, you do better. Learning outcome tests are the real parameters to assess the worth of curriculum-based learning. The trend of learning outcome tests will change the scenario of education in the country. This purpose can be served by taking student’s mind not as mere vessels to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. Students should be taught not what to think, but how to think. Without basic learning, the purpose of  education is futile.



The private as well as social rate of return on investment in education can be highest if it ensures good quality which is otherwise a challenge for want of commitment and will power of the stakeholders. There is a trade off between quality and quantity.

Every effort should be made to enhance the information value of education instead of attaching economic value to every kind of education. There is a strong case for proper, productive and practical (3Ps) use of hands, head and heart (3 Hs) which constitutes real education instead of literacy which produces half-baked products.

Dr MM GOEL, Kurukshetra

Self-regulation must for judges

No system of selection and appointment of judges can be foolproof, be it the collegium or the Judicial Appointments Commission (R Sedhuraman’s article “Should the executive judge?” Aug 6). Whatever the mode of recruitment, once a person is appointed a judge, he or she should be above suspicion like Caesar’s wife. A judge is a conscience-keeper of society.

There is scope for mischief due to the veil of secrecy in which the procedure for choosing judges is shrouded. A sound thing would be to let the entire Bar know how the search for judges is being made and who are the persons available. Errors in judgement are bound to occur, but an informed legal fraternity would be able to correct and survive the errors. As things stand now, there is a need for continuous review and assessment of professional excellence in these highly-esteemed services. We need learned and upright judges who have triumphed over self-interest.

More than any other profession in civilised society, the legal profession is one that can be developed and improved through a process of self-regulation.




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