Four-lane highways, a mega desalination plant, construction of houses, schools, hospitals as well as cold storages are amongst the suggestions to the central government made by former president APJ Kalam for the development of Kudankulam and surrounding areas in Tamil Nadu.
In a report, Kalam, who Sunday visited the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tirunelveli district and believes the plant is totally safe, said the 10-point Kudankulam PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) programme should be implemented by 2015. It involves an outlay of around Rs.200 crore and is aimed at benefiting Kudankulam and its 60 odd neighbouring villages.
The 39-page report has been authored by Kalam and his advisor V Ponraj. It has been submitted to the state and central governments, Ponraj told IANS.
The report asks New Delhi to link Kudankulam and other villages in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, with Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Madurai.
Industries that can provide direct employment to around 10,000 people should be located within a 30-60 km radius of Kudankulam and youth should be extended subsidised loans for starting their own business ventures, suggest Kalam and Ponraj.
They also suggest the building of 'green houses', apartments for people living along the shores of Kudankulam and neighbouring areas.
For the benefit of fishing community small jetties, fish processing units, cold storages should be built.
On providing drinking water to the populace, Kalam, a former nuclear and missile scientist, has suggested setting up a one million litres per day desalination plant and also bringing water from Pechiparai dam for drinking as well as agricultural use.
The report has also recommended building a 500-bed hospital in Kudankulam area, setting up tele-medicine hospitals in all villages and two mobile hospitals with facilities to carry out diagnostic tests.
The setting up of five state board and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) stream schools with hostel facilities, provision of broadband connections and disaster management centre and provision of higher education with proper training to selected youth and placing them in a permanent job are the other suggestions.
According to the report, the government should also start other schemes in consultation with the local populace.
It should allay fears of the people about the Kudankulam nuclear power plant by providing them proper information.
The report went on to say that the central government should join hands with the state government to start generation of power at Kudankulam that houses the safest reactors in the world.
India's nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam.
The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,160 crore (over $2.5 billion).
However, villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the population.
Their agitation has put a stop to the project work, thereby delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months.
According to the report, Tirunelveli district is expected to attract an investment of around Rs.20,000 crore with the setting up of the 4,000 MW (2,000 MW existing and 2,000 MW in the future) nuclear power plant which would feed the state nearly 50 % of the power produced.