M A I N   N E W S

Kalam calls for energy independence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
President A P J Abdul Kalam today laid highest priority to India achieving energy independence by 2030 and called for implementing with a “great sense of urgency” interlinking of the rivers programme.

“We need to evolve a comprehensive renewable energy policy for energy independence within a year. This should address all issues relating to generation of energy through wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and ocean,” Dr Kalam said in his address to the nation on the eve of the 59th Independence Day.

He said this one major 25-year mission must be formulated, funds guaranteed and leadership entrusted without delay as public-private partnerships to the younger generation, now in their 30s, as their lifetime mission in a renewed drive for nation-building.

By 2020, he said, the nation should achieve comprehensive security through enhancement of oil and gas exploration and production worldwide.

“By 2030, India should achieve energy independence through solar power and other forms of renewable energy, maximise the use of hydro and nuclear power, establish thorium-based reactors and enhance bio-fuel through large-scale energy plantations like Jatropha.”

Though nuclear power generation had been given a thrust by the use of uranium-based fuel, there would be a requirement for a ten-fold increase in nuclear power generation even to attain reasonable degree of energy self-sufficiency for our country, he said.

“Therefore, it is essential to pursue the development of nuclear power using thorium, reserves which are higher in the country. Technology development has to be accelerated for thorium-based reactors since the raw material for thorium is abundantly available in our country,” he said.

“Nuclear Fusion research also needs to be progressed with international cooperation to keep the option for meeting the large power requirement, at a time when fossil fuels get depleted,” he emphasised.

“Energy security leading to energy independence is certainly possible and is within the capability of the nation. India has knowledge and natural resources; what we need is planned integrated missions to achieve the target in a time-bound manner. Let us all work for self-sufficient environment-friendly Energy Independence for the nation,” he said.

The President, who focused largely on development-related aspects, emphasised on speedy implementation of river-linking projects, hailed the armed and police forces for their selfless service, paid tributes to freedom fighters, asked the states to help flood-ravaged Maharashtra and remembered the sufferings of the people affected by the recent rains and floods in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa.

Regarding interlinking of rivers, the President said “instead of thinking about interlinking of rivers only at times of flood and drought, it is time that we implement riverlinking programmes with a great sence of urgency.”

“We need to make an effort to overcome various hurdles in our way to the implementation of this major project...I feel that it has the promise of freeing the country from the endless cycle of floods and droughts,” Dr Kalam said.

As a measure for preventing flooding of streets in cities due to heavy sustained downpour, he asked the Union Urban Development Ministry and the state governments to mount a programme to rebuild and modernise the infrastructure and storm-water drainage systems.

The programme, he said, should include construction of underground silos to store excess water, which can be treated, processed and used at the time of shortages as practised in many other countries.

To construct underground water storage systems, the technology used in making underground tunnels for the metro rail system could be put to use, he suggested.

Referring to the recent havoc created by rain in Maharashtra, Dr Kalam asked the states to collectively help the people of Maharashtra in picking up the pieces of life after worst-ever rains and floods.

He also remembered the sufferings of the people affected by the recent rains and floods in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa.

But, he said, Mumbai and other areas of Maharashtra bore the brunt of nature’s fury.

Pointing out that earthquake was another phenomenon that caused heavy damage without pre-warning, the President stressed the need for accelerating research in forecasting tremors.

The country, he said, should have an integrated research team consisting of experts drawn from academia, meteorology and space departments for creating earthquake forecast modeling using pre-earthquake data collected from various earthquake occurrences in the country.

Mr Kalam also strongly suggested launching a programme of Earth Systems Science, an interdisciplinary area of research that calls for convergence between earth, climate, ocean, environment, instrumentation and computer sciences.

Hailing the armed and police forces for rendering selfless service, Dr Kalam paid tributes to freedom fighters for freeing the country from foreign yoke.

Recalling that he had met 137 freedom fighters from 27 states and union territories on August 9 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the First Citizen said “I saw their enthusiasm even at their ripe age, to bring back nationalism as a living movement.”

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