Monday, November 21, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh today described India as the “dirtiest and filthiest” country in the world where people with mobile phones go out to answer the “call of nature”.
“In one area in which India can claim success in the social sector is education. We can’t say the same thing in health, we can’t say the same thing in nutrition, we certainly can’t say the same thing in sanitation because we do remain the dirtiest and filthiest country,” he said.
He said around 65 per cent of rural houses had been provided with toilets but didn’t use them. “Today, if you go to many parts of India, you have women with a mobile phone going out to answer the call of nature. I mean it is paradoxical,” the minister, who also holds charge of sanitation, said at an event here.
I do not know why Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh used such harsh words to make a point. A healthy topic of sanitation is now going to be lost amidst the din of controversial remarks. Why do responsible persons use extreme superlatives, when soft-spoken words can accomplish better results? And why single out women? These remarks are insensitive, brash, and regrettable.
"He, however, made it clear that there is no option before India but to go out to produce nuclear power because it is the cleanest and greenest form of energy."
"The plant is completely modern and safe. I can vouch for that. India is a power hungry nation and 2000 megawatt of power would be produced at the Tamil Nadu plant. We need it".
"We have no option but to switch to alternative sources of energy,like solar energy, nuclear energy and bio energy" Kalam added.
1. I am unable to understand how the superlatives like "cleanest" and "greenest" form of Energy can be attributed to Nuclear Energy, ignoring the 800-lb gorilla of recycling nuclear waste.
2. However noble a person Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is, still, nuclear safety and Energy Policy are issues that need to be redressed by a neutral Nuclear Energy Regulatory Authority. Till date, India does not have one and a fledgling bill is before the Indian Parliament.
3. I agree, nuclear as one amongst the other alternative sources of energy like solar, biomass, wind, etc. However, to tout nuclear as "cleanest" and "greenest" is ersatz at best.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Imbued in thoughts at work, out on a short stroll; mesmerizing,withering foliage outside. Thank God for nature!
Monday, November 07, 2011
If the great Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I had believed for a moment that his monumental structure would be brought down in an earthquake, would we have got the magnificent Brihadeeswara Temple?
Or, if Homi Bhabha had decided that radiation is too harmful for citizens, would the country be running a safe and successful atomic power programme for the last 40 years, producing 4,700 megawatt of nuclear power?
Hyperbole and rhetoric. Sad. Even the Bhopal victims cannot buy these arguments. Nuclear-safety is a very important topic when a country is ready to formulate its Energy policy investing billions of dollars and millions of lives. India does not even have a neutral Nuclear Regulatory Authority as USA or other developed nations.
Instead of rhetoric, why can't science and technology engage in a meaningful discourse?
On Germany's decision to give up nuclear power by 2022, he said it was a power surplus developed nation, which could afford to lose a few plants. “More importantly, Germany has completely exhausted its nuclear resources. Thus, nuclear energy never fits into their goal of energy independence.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has been dismissive of the tough decision Germany had to take in wake of the Fukushima accident by implying it as a Hobson's choice. Truth is not as Manichean as he states. With this tough decision to curtail its nuclear fleet, Germany will be compelled to rely on fossil-fuels, which will make its aggressive goals to cut down Greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, very tough. To Germans that is more of a discomfiting problem than operating their nuclear fleet. Yet, Germany took this hard decision in wake of Fukushima. Global decisions on important matters such as nuclear-safety are taken after significant evaluation of those countries' necessities and often reasons are not as simplistic as the sound-bytes are.
I have profound respect for former President Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam. However, I am concerned the way he bulldozes concerns by pushing arguments for nuclear energy by merely saying how much Energy it can bring. Sure, none of those villagers, who are protesting are going to oppose the notion of brining in additional 1,000 mW generation per day from each reactor in Kudankulam. They are genuinely concerned about safety and their future. This is now a concern in other developed nations too. Some of the parallels drawn by Mr. APJ to dismiss those concerns are ersatz at best and not helping to dispel doubts in the minds of those people who are on a fast to scrap the project.
What I also found too condescending and deeply regrettable was the feedback from some readers. A majority of them think as though those villagers, who are worried about their future are gullible masses, who know nothing! Many are advising that Tamil translations of the article be provided to them. That's the elitist view that is going to precisely turn those people off.
As Engineers and Scientists, I feel we are not good at Public-Relations. To understand the public's concern and to treat them with utmost respect, by dispelling wrongful notions with abject scientific truths, while remaining brutally honest to our neutral elements of Science, is our calling. When we wear elitist hats, we just turn those people off. We really need to work hard at conveying scientific truths to the general population, without being seen as having a hidden agenda.
That is easier said than accomplished. But, there lies an opportunity that is larger than generating power through nuclear energy!
Within the prescribed limit, I have dropped by $0.02 in the comments section in The Hindu.
"As an Energy Consultant,I am a cautious supporter of Nuclear Energy. While Dr.Kalam's article is edifying, it is disconcerting for several reasons:
1. He is obsessed with economic prosperity while flippant about real nuclear threats.
2. He chastises fearmongering with images of mushroom-clouds of the A-Bomb, while he fearmongers by insinuating foreign nations trying to subjugate India's energy ascendancy! Truth is nations like France & US are eager to earn India's huge nuclear-pie!
3. His cavalier attitude to nuclear safety is evident by equating a realistic threat of a cataclysmic nuclear event with his conjured folklore of first-flight accidents!
4. His deafening silence on terrorist-threats on nuclear plants is chilling, when India is on the seismic belt of terrorism.
5. Equating Japan's ER system to India's is an overstretch.
6. He's stoic on India's huge population density.
7. His dismissive attitude implies he thinks those who have concerns are Luddites.He is not right."
Here is the Op-Ed: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article2601471.ece
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, please understand that a power-starved state of Tamil Nadu and its populace crave for power to get out of the draconian power-cuts that have become the norm. So, they too support efforts to add more nuclear power generation methods to the overall mix. However, please don't tout that alone to floccinaucinihilipilificate their valid concerns!Originally blogged by me at http://randzoom.posterous.com/added-my-comments-to-thehindu-on-drapjs-op-ed at RandZoom.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Originally blogged by me at http://randzoom.posterous.com/just-got-latest-time-issuereplace-america-w-a at RandZoom.
Friday, November 04, 2011
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Despite distances of space and time, precious memories are innate, immanent, and within. I am afar, yet, very close.
(Minor corrections made, since original post.)