Paud is a prosperous, developing settlement about 25kms outside Pune. Twenty minutes on the SH60 (from Pune) will get you here, and while it isn’t particularly spectacular, it is buzzing with life, among other things. A blink and miss diversion from Paud leads you to a narrow winding road, which will lead you to my home, among other things. Like barking deer, and annoyingly, peacocks.
More annoyingly, half way between where I live and Paud is a Bio Fuel plant. It is nothing but a spot of plumbing and some barrels hurriedly arranged together. And the security man there, there’s just one, wears his Night Visibility jacket all the bloody time. Even to bed. Nothing suspicious, not even in a Secret Seven kind of way. He’s just poor, and that is the only garment he has ever owned in his life.
The plant is unused, untouched, and if there ever was to be a Concourse de Elegance for padlocks, the plant’s would probably bring home gold. In this Maharashtrian dominated settlement, exists a Church. And the Church, notably, has more on its hands than the Bio Fuel plant. I have never been a fan of religious places of worship, nor of religion, to be honest, but this one success to the Church gives me a little tickle of joy. Or something like that.
I’ll be honest with you; I don’t understand Bio-Fuel and its siblings. I don’t know whether it slows down motorcycles and cars. And lastly, I don’t care whether it helps the environment. What I do care about though, is the stink it generates bang in the middle of a hot summer noon. During the brief period that the plant was functional, all of the nine people living in a radius of four hundred metres from the plant thought of Cyanide at least once, and three of them even thought of Marie Gold Tea biscuits. Which are like cardboard circles with drainage holes; the Tata Indica of biscuits.
In 2009, 3am in this village felt like being strapped to the rear seat of a Tata Sierra. In the Sahara. With the windows glued shut. And a brick on the accelerator pedal. Leading to the Valley of Death.
Here then, is my plan. See, I’ve always believed that our men in power need better PR. And agriculture is the backbone of India. So if they keep pissing farmers off with Bio-Fuel plants, very soon, we are going to have to survive on day-old food from Pakistan, or China. And that, as we all know, is never going to happen. They are simply going to block our food pipes, and we will soon become what will be remembered as the world’s largest mass burial.
What our power men need to do, is to set these plants up within urban limits. Firstly, it will do a whole lot of visual publicity if it were placed right next to, say, the Pune Municipal Corporation building. Conjunctively, it will also ensure that the PMC folks actually get out (run out with their noses covered, to be precise) and get some work done. Importantly, urbanites will find the stench unbearable, and will promise to make honest and efficient use of fast extinguishing fossil fuel. Motoring enthusiasts, of course, will begin driving like they’re being chased by death, going hard-throttle on every drop of fuel, revving their engines to eighteen thousand rpm, and getting killed.
The smarter race (who drive WagonRs) will move out somewhere close to where I live. And then they will be killed by the stink. And the even smarter ones, who drive the Tata Nano and may not have died in an 80kmph fire, will die of starvation.
Because Nepal won’t be of any help either. You see, ninety per cent of Nepalis live in India anyway. And one in nine is manning a Bio-Fuel plant, stark naked but for a Night-Visibility jacket. Dear Diana, please help…