Letters to the editor: Roadways

Updated: Jun 27 2013, 06:08am hrs

This refers to your recent editorial Bye bye, PPP. Referring to the highways sector, it pointed out that with economic conditions worsening, developers are looking at renegotiating the projects. Perhaps the main reason may be the delays caused in execution for various reasons that are to be remedied. But that has made the government to turn to the old EPC mode, engineering procurement construction contracts. The defects in this mode are well known. So, a Chinese model followed by the Gujarat government is being suggested. In this method, sufficient powers at every level of decision making and execution process are given and total accountability is ensured at all levels. But whatever the mode, it needs a strong government machinery to monitor and implement it. The Centre and states should get ready.

Jacob Sahayam


Thorium power

India, having failed to reach its annual targets of increased electricity production, now faces a deficit of 8.5% on its base electricity load from 2010-11. Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive chemical element, hailed by some even as the biggest energy breakthrough since fire. India has among the worlds largest thorium deposits, eight times that of its uranium deposits. It, thus, makes sense for us to develop thorium reactors. Our plans are to obtain a quarter of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. If some reports are to be believed, Indian scientists are working on a thorium reactor. In fact, on date, the basic physics and engineering of the thorium-fuelled Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) are in place, and the designs are ready. Construction of the AHWR will begin after that. And the reactor could be operational by the end of this decade. The reactor is designed to generate 300 MW of electricityabout a quarter of the output of a typical new nuclear plant in the West. If everything goes right, we can sustain on our thorium reserves for hundreds of years.

R Narayanan