Nuclear power plant proposed in MP

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Bhopal, Nov 19 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said a nuclear power plant would be set up in Madhya Pradesh as part of government efforts to meet the power paucity.

''The Congress, in its manifesto for the state's assembly polls, also promised to establish the plant with central assistance,'' Mr Mukherjee told reporters here after releasing the manifesto.

India's total power generation capacity in all sectors stands at 1.64 lakh megawatt against a demand for 3 lakh MW. The shortfall was likely to go up to 4 lakh MW by 2030 and 8 lakh MW by 2050, he explained.

Defending the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement, Mr Mukherjee said the deal was not country-specific as India signed the first agreement with France. Differences between India and Pakistan over a gas pipeline would be sorted out through composite dialogue, he said.

On inflation, he said both the Centre and the state governments should collectively check it. Inflation, which touched 12 per cent, declined to 9.8 per cent last week and it was hoped that it would come down further to 6 or 7 per cent in a couple of months.

Stating that oil-marketing companies had to bear heavy subsidy on petroleum products, the Minister said an in-built mechanism had to be devised to absorb subsidy. Defending the Congress promise to supply wheat at Re 1 to Antyodaya families, the minister said that it was possible as such schemes were already in operation for years in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Admitting that subsidy burden on the government was rising, Mr Mukherjee said that subsidy on fertiliser alone touched Rs one lakh crore. It was planned to set up fertiliser plants in Qatar and Pakistan, while gas found in the Godavari basin would be used for a fertiliser project.

UNI SP AC AKJ RK1815

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