Emulating Modi: Naidu Plans To Make Andhra Next Big Thing In Nuclear Energy

Emulating Modi: Naidu Plans To Make Andhra Next Big Thing In Nuclear EnergyChandrababu Naidu. Photo credit: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/GettyImages
Snapshot
  • Andhra Pradesh, under Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership, is all set to be transformed into a nuclear energy hub in the country.

Most of us are aware of the controversy surrounding Ratan Tata’s ambitious Nano factory project in West Bengal’s Singur which had run into controversy in 2007 over the contentious issue of land acquisition and how Narendra Modi, then Gujarat chief minister, lobbied hard to convince the businessman to shift the plant to Sanand in Gujarat.

N Chandrababu Naidu, whose administrative acumen is often compared to that of Modi, seems to be following in the latter’s footsteps. Andhra Pradesh, under his leadership, is all set to be transformed into a nuclear energy hub in the country.

Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a visit to the US last month, Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric had announced  that it will be relocating a proposed project to build six nuclear reactors from Mithi Vardi in Gujarat to Andhra Pradesh.

Today (21 July), The Hindu reports that Russian state nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, also wants to build its next phase of six reactors in the coastal state.

These are still very early developments and there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. However, if everything goes according to the plan, Andhra Pradesh will be home to a total of 12 nuclear reactors. To put this in perspective, India has only 22 reactors in operation today, almost seven decades after independence.

How will this change the fortunes of the state?

For starters, it will become a nuclear hub and a torchbearer for renewable energy in the country, given the nature of nuclear power. Soon it will become a power surplus state, with capacity to export electricity to its neighbours like Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand and Kerala - states that often find themselves in power crisis.

This will create a virtuous cycle of its own, leading to proliferation of all kinds of industries, which will generate thousands of new jobs. Industries from neighbouring states may also look to shift shop there.

In the long run, Andhra Pradesh can project itself as a nuclear power hub. Having feet firmly planted on the ground, it can then look forward to getting in the business of nuclear manufacturing for domestic or even export purposes. Opportunities will galore once the state decides to walk the talk.

Chandrababu Naidu has proved himself to be a forward-thinking chief minister with big plans for his state. His administrative credentials to execute big ticket projects are well established. One hopes he is successful in steering these projects to their logical conclusion before the Left-NGO-activist nexus comes out with its full might against him. It’s not a question of if but when.

Whether he will succeed is anyone’s guess. But, try he must.

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