A group of survivors of the 2004 Bhopal gas tragedy and people living in the areas near the abandoned Union Carbide factory held a protest outside the residence of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister

Urges people not to be swayed by “unscientific prejudices”

Underscoring food security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday favoured genetically modified crops, urging the people not to be swayed by “unscientific prejudices.”

Lays foundation stone for 2,800-MWe project in Haryana

Reiterating the government’s commitment to ensure full safety of nuclear power plants, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday expressed confidence that the country would meet the target of raising its nuclear power capacity to 27,000 MWe over the next 10 years.

Scientists and others, who are in favour of genetically-modified (GM) food crops, have got support from an unexpected quarter — a Nobel laureate.

Richard J. Roberts, who won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1993, on Monday made a forceful case for promoting research on GM food crops and their use for public consumption, saying they were needed to at least take care of vitamin and other deficiencies in the developing world.

40 feared dead in Iran, 20 in Pakistan; shockwaves felt in North India

Pakistan, specifically Balochistan, appears to have borne the brunt of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Iranian border province of Sistan-Baluchestan on Tuesday afternoon. While Pakistan confirmed the death of at least 20 people following the earthquake, there were conflicting reports from Tehran which ranged from no deaths to 40 dead. However, given the remoteness of the region from both capitals, the last word has not been said on the casualties.

The Union budget presented in Parliament on Thursday has provided an allocation of Rs. 150 crore for a neighbourhood development project at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, where a 2000 MW nuclear power plant is coming up.

The provision follows the Tamil Nadu government’s announcement of a Rs. 500 crore development plan for the region around Kudankulam. A note in the budget document stated that the allocation would be used to provide relief and rehabilitation to “project-affected” people of the area.

Authorities want systems to work “exactly textbook like” before plant is commissioned

There was no major issue behind the delay in the commissioning of the 2000 MW nuclear power plant at Kudankulam, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission R.K. Sinha told a group of reporters here. Dr. Sinha said that since it was the first reactor of its kind to be constructed in India, the authorities wanted the systems worked “exactly textbook like” before the commissioning of the plant. This was the main reason for the delay.

Manmohan Singh presents lifetime achievement award to four DAE scientists

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday reiterated that while the Centre went ahead with its nuclear energy programme to meet the growing energy needs of the country, it would continue to ensure that nuclear power remained totally safe. “The Fukushima incident in 2011 [has] raised justifiable safety concerns about nuclear power … We will ensure that the safety and livelihoods of people are not jeopardised in our pursuit of nuclear power,” Dr. Singh said.

In a rather unusual move, Railway Minister P.K. Bansal on Wednesday announced an across-the-board hike in passenger fares less than two months before presenting the Railway budget. The hike comes into effect from January 21. As a consolation, however, Mr. Bansal said there would be no further fare hike in the budget.

The increase ranges from two paise a km in the basic fare for second class ordinary (suburban) passengers to 10 paise a km for AC chair car and AC first class.

It will help in understanding the process of creation and decay of sunspots

Work on the world’s largest solar telescope is likely to commence in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this year. The telescope, with an aperture of two metres, is expected to be of great help in understanding the process of creation and decay of sunspots, apart from furthering cutting edge research on other fundamental processes taking place on the Sun.