In a 40-page report, he comes out with Rs. 200-cr. plan

Even as a committee constituted by the Union government to address fears about the safety of the Kudankulam nuclear power project is 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, comprising experts in various disciplines that include radiation safety and reactor safety and the State committee, including the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police, will discuss the local people's apprehensions at the Tirunelveli Collectorate.

After a visit to the plant on Monday, Mr. Kalam certified that the Kudankulam plant was totally safe. Turning his attention to the economy around the project area, Mr. Kalam and his associate, V. Ponraj, have come out with a 40-page report in Tamil. It not only exhaustively deals with the plant's safety from a technical point of view, but also contains a 10-point programme for 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 component, should be extended to young entrepreneurs.

Further, housing projects should be created for coastal people, including multi-storeyed tenements, community halls and playgrounds, along with attendant infrastructure. Fishermen should be given mechanised boats, jetties, fish processing and cold storage facilities. The local people should be supplied one million litres a day of drinking water after desalinating the sea water. Water should also be brought from Pechiparai for agriculture and drinking purposes.

A 500-bed hospital of international 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 made by Mr. Kalam and Mr. Ponraj.

While extending all these facilities, the villagers' fears about the project should be allayed. They should be provided all information. The Kudankulam project should be implemented with their full cooperation, he said.

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