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Updated: September 11, 2012 11:52 IST

Kalam for boosting local economy to allay nuclear fears

K. Venkataramanan
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The Hindu

Suggests Rs. 200-crore plan to win villagers over to Kudankulam

Even as a committee constituted by the Centre to address fears about the safety of the Kudankulam nuclear power project was set to meet an experts panel of the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday, the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has recommended a massive Rs. 200-crore special development plan for villages around the project site.

The 15-member central panel, consisting of experts in various disciplines including radiation safety and reactor safety, and the State government committee, including the Tirunelveli Collector and the Superintendent of Police, will discuss the local people's apprehensions at the Collectorate.

After a visit to the plant on Monday, Mr. Kalam certified that the Kudankulam plant was totally safe. Turning his attention to the local economy around the project area, Mr. Kalam and his associate, V. Ponraj, have now come out with a 40-page report in Tamil, dealing with the plant's safety from a technical point of view, but also containing a 10-point programme to boost economic activity and upgrade infrastructure and amenities in the area.

Suggesting that it be titled ‘Kudankulam PURA' (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) scheme, Mr. Kalam said four-lane roads should be laid to connect villages in a radius of 30 km with highways leading to Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Madurai. Industries should be started in locations between a 30-60 km radius around the project site with direct employment potential for 10,000 people. Self-employment loans, with a 25 per cent subsidy, should be extended to young entrepreneurs.

Housing projects should be created for the coastal people, including multi-storeyed tenements, community halls and playgrounds, along with infrastructure. Fishermen should be given mechanised boats, jetties, fish processing and cold storage facilities. The local people should be supplied one million litres of drinking water a day after desalinating seawater.

A 500-bed hospital of global standards, mobile diagnostic facilities, five schools with hostel facilities, broadband connectivity for all villages, a disaster management centre, and facilities for imparting coaching for selected students from these villages to help them pursue higher education were the other suggestions.

While extending all these facilities, the villagers' fears about the project should be allayed, and all information they needed to know should be given, he said. , adding the Kudankulam project should be implemented with their full cooperation.

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This plant is surrounded by small fishermen communities. Most of the
people are poor and less educated than from the other parts of Tamil
Nadu. Also people are mostly Roman Catholics or Christians. This plant
is not going to do anything good for these communities except constant
fear and in case of an accident they will lose everything including
their life.
Someone should tell them, why should they sacrifice all those for
other people's benefit. These communities had been neglected for a
long time, found their voice in expressing their fear and anger.
The federal government can forcefully remove the protesters and
operate the plant and put a barricade and constantly watch the
protesters or they can make an offer for the communities that will
enhance their life. The protest is not going to end unless an economic
benefit package large enough that they cannot refuse to accept.
The experts are wasting their time explaining about safety features
that does not make any difference with this crowd. Arresting the
Priests and Bishops will make situation worse. In the end the
government will have to deal with them for a settlement.

from:  poulose
Posted on: Nov 19, 2011 at 04:41 IST

As rightly pointed out by V.S.Venkatavaradan in this comments section, for commissioning the project - people cannot be bribed - people would have been mute spectators if the govt. had carried out developments earlier - now promising the people that we will do this / that is like bribing the people.
No body has forget the great Bhopal disaster. Congress was in power during the time of Accident & till now the poor suffering people are not provided proper compensation - same will happen to Koodankulam people also. So the fear of anti KKNPP people is genuine. We dont want electricity or nations development by ruining the lives of innocent people.

from:  Kishore Kumar
Posted on: Nov 9, 2011 at 10:09 IST

Kalam's PURA project has been in existence for at least a few years now. What he suggested is not a bribery.

from:  Kalyan
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 23:24 IST

Doesn't Dr.Kalam know that people living around Kudankulam nuclear power plant are fighting for their right to life,a healthy life at that and not for jobs and roads? In any case isn't it unfair to suggest that agitators in Kudankulam can be bought over by giving them some economic benefits?

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 20:14 IST

Amid hundreds of scams in various offices,see there is a person who,even out of his office, really concerned about the ground development of the real Bharat. Hats off to You Mr. Kalam !

from:  smita dutta
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 16:48 IST

Supporting Nuclear Energy Mr. Kalam has downgraded his reputation himself. Though he clarified that he is not a maddleman but it itself proved that he acted on behalf of Manmohan Singh's govt. and openly opposed the masses viewpoint (including TN assembly resolution). Nobody can say that Nuclear power plants are 100% safe. Nobody can assure on behalf of nature and technical faults which are always out of control of men including scientiests ( may be Mr. Kalam himself). While many nations have decided against it through public ballot, why India is insisting and putting lacs of people's life in danger. Moreover it is not cheap power also. Only facts is that western nations will dump their waste material in India and in future also if they are remain powerful....God only knows..what happen..and Mr. Kalam and Mr. Manmohan Singh will not be their to watch the disaster.

from:  Rajni Kant Mudgal
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 16:44 IST

It is unfortunate that such a great person like Dr.Kalam has chosen the route of a kind of bribery and offer of freebies in the form of subsidy etc to cajole the protesters to give up their agitation! The sudden love that has descended on the poor villagers from the heart of Dr.Kalam reminds me of a famous quote of one of my Chemistry professors in the college to the erring students,"Not that I love you less but I love my department more!" However,with his suggestions, Dr.Kalam has reminded the Government that the people of the concerned districts deserve all these facilities and alerted the people to clamour for the same after winning the cause for which they are fighting now. I couldn't resist saying,'Et tu Kalam,sir?'

from:  Tharcius S.Fernando
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 16:06 IST

I congratulate Kalam and his team for coming out with such a nice 'PURA' package for Kudankulam and its neighborhood.The concept should be extended and should be applied to all areas- like zones of thermal plants,mines,chemical plants which apart from carrying an element of risk tend to degrade the environment of those regions.For example,how coal mines have ruined Bellary is very well known.Every where such 'PURA' packages must be implemented.

from:  R.Srinivasan
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 13:32 IST

As a scientist & technologist, Dr. Kalam has given his considered opinion on the safety aspects of the KKNPP with full justification & as a good human being (which he has always been), he has proposed a wonderful Rs.200-crore socio-economic development plan for areas around the Kudankulam nuclear plant based on his favourite PURA model. Combining geography & history, Dr. Kalam has, like a great teacher, linked the non-occurrence of earthquakes in Tamil Nadu with the world-famous Devi Meenakshi Temple, the 1000-year old Brihadeeshwara Temple of Tanjavur & the Kallanai (Grand Anicut) built by the famous king, Karikala Chozhan. In my opinion, human beings, being God's best creation, should exploit every opportunity provided by God for the benefit of humanity. Dr. Kalam, in his joint report with his advisor, Thiru. V. Ponraj, has rightly concluded that "Nuclear power is God's boon to the human race & to make the best or the worst of it, totally lies in our hands."

from:  S. Balakrishnan
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 12:59 IST

A.P.J.Abdul Kalam's recommendations, included under Kudankulam PURA, extend to four lane roads, industries, employment potential, self-employment loans with subsidy, housing projects, community halls, playgrounds, mechanised boats and other facilities for fishermen, daily drinking water for the people, water for agriculture purposes, hospitals with international standards, five schools with hostels, coaching for higher education and, finally, a disaster management centre (first priority?), all in return for the 'full cooperation' of the villagers, looks funny. It reads, as if, the poor villagers would be denied the above-mentioned facilities, in the absence of their cooperation for an atomic power house in their neighbourhood. This is nothing less than bribery. Perhaps this is the Group Bribe in its Highest Order (GBHO).
In Sunday's (The Hindu, 6/11/11) special essay, Kalam himself admits that a relation between radiation exposure and cancer exists and adverse results of "the long term impact of radiation and nuclear disaster across generations" cannot be completely ruled out. The long list of offers poured out to the villagers do not substitute the risks. Hence, to reject the argument, that "nuclear accidents and radiation fallout would continue to impact generations to come" as 'probable myth', is far from truth. To describe the true fear in the minds of the people as 'comic-book imagination' is more cruel. Also, comparing nuclear tragedies to air-crash, ship-wreck or rail accidents is no sense. No democratic government has authority to subject the citizens to nuclear radiation under any circumstances, for 'no innocent person shall be punished'. The Hindu (print edition), for reasons best known to it, has so far rejected all letters from its readers, expressing opposition to Kalam's views on some point or other.

from:  P.R.V.Raja
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 12:35 IST

Dr. Kalam is 100% right. These projects will create a massive local job market for engineering, skilled workforce, accommodation and resturent, conferences. Two things I want to make clear.(I have the necessary qualifications & experience to make following statements) 1) 3rd Generation and 4th Generation reactors are totally different than what we had in Japan. Those Japanese reactors were almost 50 years old(1st generation and needed no stop cooling).
2) If I am right the reactors at Kudankulam have gas heat extractor (inert gas) as emergency safety mechanism. In case of excess heat, inert gas is used to remove it instead of water. Inert gas does not decompose as water does at extreme heat in H2, which lead to explosions. Which makes the system very safe.3) I pebble type reactors, one cans witch them off any time and gas cools the reactors. Then that is the safest technology. "Sefety is solution not the fear"

from:  S. Sheoran
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 11:35 IST

These steps can pacify peoples anger for a short period only till they are lured by developement activities.But Govt. have to be beware of other forces in society who always need an issue for their survival.For protecting KNPP from their hands,Govt. have to educate people largely about security measures taken in the plant.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 11:09 IST

Kudos to Kalam Sir for the wonderful idea! Surely the locals need to feel that even they are getting benefitted and they are safe -- the ideas provided by our beloved former President need to be heeded by the Government even as it tries to deal with the leaders of the agitation. At the end of the day, if people are happy no vested interests can jeopardise the Russian Project.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 10:58 IST

This certainly looks like an over ambitious proposal. I agree that KKNP is certainly one of the assets of India given its high end technology and well hailed safety features, but the bone of contention here is the fears of the villagers, they must be convinced that the plant will only augument their occupations be it agriculture, small industries, or factories which will get un-interrupted power supply, in turn spur the growth of jobs and accrue more revenue to the state. Many countries may have decided to scrap nuclear power, but they have feasible back-ups to sustain their power requirements. India on the other hand must do all it can - in a sustainable way - to diversify its power requirements as India needs more power every day to keep it going.

from:  bharath
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 10:40 IST

An excellent suggestions by the former President of India A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. PURA is the only way to develop rural India where the majority of the people reside and vote for a government. I salute the Missile Man of India.

from:  Vijay Agnihotri
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 10:36 IST

Consequence of mishap is applicable for any type of work. In the recent earthquakes in Japan, lot of petrol bunks also got burnt. Should it then mean that we should close all petrol bunks? If such approaches are followed then we will never take off. That is what exactly Dr. Kalam meant. In addition to the packages suggested by Dr.Kalam, I would suggest that priority for employment (in all categories) and major share of power production should be given to the state which spares land for the nuclear projects. And also the number of reactors should be confined to at the most two only at any site so that even in the worst mishap, it will be easier to bring back normalcy.

from:  Ram Prasad
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 10:35 IST

Very good suggestions from a great man. Local people who are swayed by religious politicians should heed to his advice. It is not easy to influence and educate the type of people who are protesting (how much they know about engineering and science?). Economic incentives should motivate them to support the power plant. Tamilnadu government cannot shirk its responsibility and follow a hands off approach.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 10:34 IST

am worried about people just making the 13000 c project in hanging condition. and also wondered how our government is waiting for their approval.. government has all power to get the land of the public.. since we are democractic our government is slowly pulling the people to her side.. think about china. a communist country no one can even ask question even if the government demolished the ones building for constructing the government buildings or public relation buildings..This project also binded with russian government, so lets stop this stupid protest and enjoy the facilities.. Life is short please enjoy it

from:  kumar
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 10:08 IST

Our ex president is showing his impatience as a corporate project manager,who sees the narrow interest of profit.But let us not overestimate competence of our senior officials in scientific departments and PSUs like NPCL,ECIL etc, where these are only bureaucrats in the garb of scientists,managers or with fancy designations! His thought of a hospital is a sure indication of his own doubt also!

from:  Atis
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 10:03 IST

Appeasement? Bribe? What has all this got to do with allaying fears about the hazards of the nuclear power plant?

from:  witan
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 09:20 IST

The kind of development activities put out by Mr. Kalam shoudl also be extended to other regions in TamilNadu, which are left out by our politicians. This will ensure overall growth in India and will fulfill our vision of being a developed nation by 2020.

from:  Alagurajan Karunakaran
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 08:58 IST

The title of this article is rather insensitive. 'Boosting the local economy to allay nuclear fears' means to me that the suggestion is for buying the people. A newspaper such as The Hindu should exercise more caution in printing the news.

from:  E. Arunan
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 08:50 IST

A very sensible and timely suggestion from Dr. Kalam! People around the plant should be able experience the economic gain from the NPP. If the local people has a stake in the NPP they would be much more amenable to having the NPP in their neighborhood.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 08:38 IST

It is unfortunate that arrogance of Nuclear Scientists as seen also in Television debates fail to recognise the inhabitants around N-Plant as `living`. Dr Kalam's Dose of 40 pages is Quack for Safety.In his 40 page recommendation Dr. Kalam advocates post plant social audit but fails to address Safety.It is unfortunate that Dr. Abdul Kalam failed to identify and address technical safety measures around Nuclear Plant to the millions of inhabitants concerned.His Excellency Ex-Pres-Kalam has never been a Scientist but an honest Technocrat and an administrater to promote works of his Defense team.In short he is more of a salesman/promoter of Government works.This fact was mildly exposed several times when he was contesting President Election but since he was supported both by Congress & BJP-RSS during his election his real identity was never discussed in media or this fact was ignored broadly by conventional media at that time.

from:  Rakesh Manchanda
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 08:27 IST

Kudos to Abdul Kalam and his genre. He has come out with a right strategy and plan in mitigating the fears and also use this as a fulcrum for all round development of the area.

from:  ravindraprakash
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 08:21 IST

The role Dr.Kalam is adopting now is much commandable...he is trying to induct confidence in the common man., who has been taken for a ride. And its a pity that local politicians who have lost their face in many fronts are trying to gain out of this. The resolution in the TN assembly too is a political move. where else we can look for the energy we need? the natural fuel is drying fast., and the cost too is raising and we are directly experiencing it in the regular rise of fuel prices. The alternate source like sun air and water is very costly and can never fulfill the the amount of need we have. Accepted., there is a amount of risk involved., but that applies to everything in life. We cannot lose our day today fearing something which may or may not happen tomorrow.If we don't do it now, the future generation when finds the natural fuels are no more, will blame us for not doing anything for them.Come on young generation., lets get behind Dr.Kalam and move our country forward.

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 07:42 IST

The "koodangulam PURA"scheme is in a way a sort of bribery to keep the protesters at bay,by luring out a sizable numbers.It is akin to the freebees and cash distributed during the elections in TamilNadu.Why four lane highways?It will be of use only to hose associated with KKNPP project.A good hospital may be of use,but it will be a failure if tey have to pay for the treatment.These are suggestions that can be dreamed about,but in reality, they have nothing to alley the fears of the people of the ipending dangers.

from:  K.Sugavanam
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 07:23 IST

Will our missionaries who are spearheading this agitation accept Mr. kalam's proposal?

from:  Lancy
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 07:22 IST

One cannot comment on whether the nuclear plant is absolutely safe or not; the apprehension of the people is understandable. Nevertheless, the plans for development of the area including PURA are commendable. If such programmes were implemented for all large projects in the country that would do justice to the Project Affected People and there would be no opposition to industrialization or for the acquisition of land. Presently the PAPs get a shabby treatment and uprooted from their homestead as in the case of Narmada Dam.

from:  C S JACOB
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 06:54 IST

Fantastic! Will the state Govt. listen to him??

from:  Gayathri
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 06:36 IST

Did Kalam give this proposal of development before the protests began? If not, why not? I have a feeling that these days even the best of us are merely promoting their own dear babies, though they talk of all-inclusive growth. Everyone knows Kalam is a promoter of nuclear energy.

from:  Rabi Mishra
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 05:47 IST

Is it not another form of Bribery?--wooing Koodamngulam people by improving economic prosperity! Nuclear Energy, if useful, should stand on its own merits. Not by lobbying.

from:  V.S.Venkatavaradan
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 05:27 IST

Excellent idea about Disaster Planning, Contingency Planning for the villages. Government should do this proactively not reactively after the protests.

from:  Bharathi
Posted on: Nov 8, 2011 at 05:21 IST
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