Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday batted for nuclear power as a "dependable and clean option", even as he underlined the need to ensure that all ingredients by which nuclear fuel is made remain safe and do not fall in the hands of terrorists and anti-social elements.
"Nuclear energy is a dependable and clean option to produce power. India is among the very few nations which have developed technology to install nuclear power plants and have achieved the capability to make nuclear fuel. Our aim is that in the coming ten years, we should achieve the capability to generate more than 27,000 MW nuclear power," Singh said in Haryana's Jhajjar district.
He was there to lay the foundation stone of two key projects -- the National Cancer Institute and the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership.
The prime minister said that "besides increasing our capability to generate nuclear power, what is important for us is to ensure that all ingredients by which nuclear fuel are made remain safe and do not fall in the hands of terrorists and anti-social people."
He said it is also important that the nuclear power plants maintain the highest standards of safety. He said "post the Japan nuclear accident case in 2011, we have adapted highest safety standards in our power plants design and management".
The prime minister said as the country's population grows and more urbanisation happens, the demand for power will also go up. Ensuring that there was enough power for our growing economy was the need of the hour, and while there were various sources like coal, hydro, wind, gas to generate power, nuclear energy was a viable and clean alternative, he said.
The cancer institute will come up at Bhadsa village in the district and the global nuclear centre will be set up at Jassaur Khedi village near Bahadurgarh.
Singh said, "We can say this with satisfaction that our safety standards are comparable with the world best and we will work to further strengthen this," he said, adding that in this direction the Nuclear Energy Partnership Centre would play an important role.
After becoming fully-functional, the Centre will work towards research and design on energy system's which are secure and do not fall in the wrong hands.
In nuclear energy area, the Centre will act as a common platform for Indian and international experts, and it will help bring Indian and international experts on one platform, which will help promote nuclear energy partnership, he said.
To fulfil these aims, the Prime Minister pointed out that India was working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency and countries including Russia, France and the United States of America.
He expressed his happiness that the project will directly benefit the people of this area, which is over an hour's drive from Delhi.
"I am happy that the people of this area will be directly benefited. For those whose land has been acquired for the project, besides getting compensation they will get annuity for 33 years so that they have a source of income for a long period," Singh said, adding that another sum of Rs 10 crore will be used for setting up of a college for girls, a school, and a computer training centre.
Speaking about the National Cancer Institute, the prime minister said that the 710-bed facility would come up in three-and-a-half years' time and over Rs 2,000 crore would be spent on it.
The cancer institute, which would be a Centre of Excellence, will function under the aegis of AIIMS, Delhi.
"Both (nuclear energy partnership and cancer institute) these projects are very important for our country. I want to congratulate the Haryana government, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Deepinder Singh Hooda (Rohtak member of Parliament) for making efforts and extending full cooperation to the Centre in this regard," he said.
"The National Cancer Institute will be the biggest project of the government in health sector... It will have 710 beds, 550 doctors and 2,200 nurses," he said.
Singh said with ailments such as cancer, heart diseases and diabetes on the rise in the country, the need for having institutes like the National Cancer Institute was more than ever before.
The prime minister congratulated Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the AIIMS for the cancer centre. "Both these projects are connected with the progress of our country. I want to assure you that our government is committed to make your future and the future of your children bright," he told the gathering.
On December 30, the prime minister had laid the foundation stone of the Rs 450-crore HomiBhabhaCancerHospital and Research Centre at Mullanpur town in Punjab on the outskirts of Chandigarh.
In his address, Azad referred to the prime minister's press conference in Delhi earlier today, and said whether the media or opposition parties give credit to the United Progressive Alliance or not, historians will write about the achievements made during the over nine years of the Congress rule.
He said the credit for these schemes should go to the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. He said the programmes taken up by the UPA government in the health sector had earned unprecedented acclaim at the international fora.
Azad said that the Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Rate in the country had fallen due to the steps taken in the past 10 years. He said six new AIIMS had started functioning in the country, and two more AIIMS had come up in Rae Bareilly in UP and Jhajjar. He said in the next four years each union territory and state would have at least one cancer centre.
Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and Rohtak MP Deepinder Singh Hooda were among those present at the stone-laying ceremony.
The chief minister said the two prestigious projects would put Jhajjar on the world map and thanked the prime minister and the UPA chairperson. He said that the state, which was once considered educationally backward, was now developing into an international hub.
Congress MP from Rohtak Deepinder Hooda said, on several parameters, Haryana was doing better than many states, including Gujarat which is ruled by BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He said the cancer centre would prove to be a milestone in the field of prevention of cancer, its treatment, education and research.