Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 03 February 2023 5.14 PM IST

May thorium be light for Kerala


Kerala has always looked outside the state for sources of growth. This is also the reason for Kerala's decline in many fields. It has been more than half a century since Keralites started going to the Middle East and other foreign nations. The living conditions in Kerala improved only because of this. Kerala is also the largest buyer of goods produced in other states-be it a car on the road or a tile on the floor. Our purchasing power is high because money is coming in from abroad. Although great strides have been made in the fields of health and education, other states are far ahead in terms of higher education institutions. Kerala's money flows to other states and abroad in that respect as well. Even though we talk about our rich green state, the groceries to make our food have to come from other states. Now our state is in a debt trap and the government is borrowing to pay salaries and pensions. At least now, we have to look within our state to find the sources of growth. The biggest wealth of the state is our black sand. Unfortunately, we have no plans to monetize it. As a small light in the darkness, the electricity department has come up with a good scheme. The central government has announced its support for a project to generate low-cost electricity from thorium available off the coast of Kerala. The assurance in this regard was received during a meeting between state Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty and Union Power Minister RK Singh.

As per estimates, there are two lakh tons of thorium deposits in the black sands of the Kerala coast. This can be extracted and brought to the 30 MW thorium plant started at Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant to generate electricity at a low rate. On this occasion, the government should also give impetus to other industrial activities in the black sand sector. People are ready to give up the land around the minerals company in Chavara, but the government is delaying the acquisition. All governments continue to be ghosts guarding the treasure, that is the black sands. This situation must change. If the government alone is not able to implement the project, the support of the private sector can also be sought.

Kerala needs only black sands and tourism development to become the most economically stable state in India. At this stage, when the whole world is moving towards economic recession, Kerala will turn into a poor state if the flow of money from abroad stops. For fear of controversies, the government should not abandon areas that could turn out to be milestones for Kerala's ultimate development. Let the electricity department's plan to turn thorium into Kerala's light be the beginning of a big change.

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