Lest We Lose His Energy

Hilal Ahmad Bhat’s dream of using his expertise in harnessing alternative sources of energy could remain unfulfilled for ever if he is not provided a proper platform, Ikhlaq Qadri reports

Pointing towards a maze of voltmeters, Hilal Ahmad Bhat is busy teaching his students the basics of electricity. Hilal, for two years, has been teaching physics in Sultan-ul-Aarifeen Model School, Kathidarwaza in Srinagar. Teaching Physics in a school was not what he actually wanted to do. Joblessness and lack of patronage from the government forced Hilal into teaching to earn his livelihood.

Hilal is the only doctorate in New and Renewable Energy from Kashmir earning his PhD from National Institute of Technology, Srinagar.  A 2003 year pass out from Kashmir University, Hilal, a post graduate in Physics spent two years as a contractual lecturer in a Higher Secondary School. Aiming to make a mark by choosing a different and challenging field, he joined NIT to pursue a doctorate in 2005.  

Understanding the importance of the alternative sources of energy and the impact it is going to have on our future, Hilal whole-heartedly  pursued his dream. He was also encouraged by the fact that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has a tremendous potential to harness alternative sources of energy.

Talking about the use of solar energy in the state and the benefits that can be availed by using new and renewable energy as the alternate source Hilal says, “We use fossil fuels for heating purpose in winters. If, instead, we use solar house for space heating application, it will be cheaper and eco friendly. We can use solar water heaters, solar cookers, solar photo voltaic system etc,” he says.

Having five international publications in which two are in the International Journal of Ambient Energy and one is in the International Journal of Arid Land Studies, Hilal is an expert in the subject of ‘Techno Economics of Renewable Energy Systems.’

Having a good understanding of the climatic conditions in the state, he is hopeful to harness solar energy. “A maximum of 5-7 kilowatt per metre square per day solar radiations fall which is sufficient for the thermal applications,” Hilal says.

Hilal has participated in various conferences and seminars including the International Conference on Solar Radiation and ‘Day Lighting’ organised by Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and Science & Congress organised by the Kashmir University.

 “Given a chance I will do my best to contribute to the society and will provide the alternate source of energy.”

However, Hilal is not happy the way things have turned for him. After completing his doctorate he was hopeful to get a job in a related field and hoped to make a contribution. Instead he landed up in a school teaching physics.

The main hurdle to his contribution is that the University of Kashmir has not started this branch or any program of research related to it. The other universities in Jammu region have already done that.  

Hilal is suffering because of favouritism in the JKEDA- the agency working for energy resources. “Many of those who do have a related background work there. But I being an expert with required qualifications am not able to find a place,” says Hilal.

“In JKEDA no post is advertised and if ever they do so the eligibility criteria is kept as engineering,” he adds.

Hilal fears that if the government cannot provide him a job, all those youngsters who want to come into this field will feel discouraged.
“I can’t change the system. I can only hope for the best.”

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