Space scientist terms Bush's view on price rise 'ridiculous'

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Hyderabad, May 12 (UNI) India's Space scientist U R Rao today ridiculed US President George Bush's statement that the growing prosperity of India's large middle class was responsible for the rising food prices across the world.

''It is highly ridiculous to put the blame on the Indian middle class'', said the former Chairman of the Space Commission, who was here to receive the prestigious A V Rama Rao Technology Award instituted by the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.

Prof Rao, who also delivered the national technology day lecture said India would witness serious food shortage, worse than the Bengal famine of 1943, in the next two decades unless urgent steps were taken to increase food production by harnessing space and biotechnology as production was now stagnating at 210 million tonnes, while the population was increasing by two per cent.

Productivity was very low at 1.7 tonnes per hectare in the country as against the world's average production 2.6 tonnes and the world's best 4.5 million tonnes, he said.

He also faulted the Developed countries for asking India and other Developing countries to reducing carbondioxide emission when the emission was only 1.3 tonne per capita in india as against 23 tonnes in USA and 11 tonnes in European countries. India had no no choice but to increase energy consumption to achieve at least eight per cent GDP growth. It would take at least 50 years to catch up with the USA's level of economic growth, he added.

UNI SM VV RL KN2121

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