Work towards energy independence: Kalam

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Aug. 14

THE President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today called upon the nation to work for attainment of environment-friendly energy independence in a time-bound manner.

In his address to the nation on the eve of the 59th Independence Day, Mr Kalam said the country should first try to achieve energy security by accessing fossil fuel across the globe by 2020 and attain total energy independence indigenously by 2030.

Mr Kalam said that energy independence would be an economy that will function well with total freedom from oil, gas or coal imports. "Energy independence has to be our first and highest priority. We must be determined to achieve this within 25 years, therefore, by 2030," he said.

The President stressed the task of achieving energy independence should be left to the younger generation. "This major 25-year national mission must be formulated, funds guaranteed, and leadership entrusted without delay as public-private partnerships to our younger generation, now in their 30s, as their lifetime mission in a renewed drive for nation-building," he said.

Highlighting that though coal remains the main source of energy, he said that India should attain energy security through enhancement of our 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 utilisation of hydro and nuclear power and enhance bio-fuel production through large-scale energy plantations like jatropha," he said.

The President also stressed on the need to evolve a comprehensive renewable energy policy within a year that would include areas such as generation of energy through wind, solar, geo-thermal, biomass and ocean.

Mr Kalam pointed out that the country has the potential to achieve this target. "India has knowledge and natural resources; what we need is planned integrated missions to achieve the target in a time-bound manner," he said.

Sympathising with the victims of the recent floods in Mumbai, he said Maharashtra needs support from everyone now.

Focusing on the larger issue of annual floods, Mr Kalam urged for speeding up the project of interlinking of rivers.

"Instead of thinking about interlinking of rivers only at times of flood and drought, it is time that we implement this programme with a great sense of urgency. We need to make an effort to overcome various hurdles in our way to the implementation of this major project," he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 15, 2005)
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