PUDUCHERRY: As Puducherry joins the nation in paying homage to former President A P J Abdul Kalam, his vision of Puducherry as a developed city flashes through the minds of the people here. Puducherry, with its potential, could develop like Singapore, he said after unveiling a plaque on the ‘Golden Jubilee of Freedom of Pondicherry’ in November 1, 2004.
“Puducherry has a spiritual atmosphere and an educational and economic infrastructure to accomplish the missions. What is needed is sustained hard work. Five lakh youth of Puducherry are the most powerful resource to realise the missions. A developed Puducherry will add strength to the prosperity of developed India,” he added.
Later, while addressing a session of the Puducherry Legislative Assembly to mark the Golden Jubilee of Pondicherry defacto merger day on November 1, 2004, speaking intermittently in Tamil and English, he placed before the Puducherry Legislators 10 ‘immediate missions’ for the sustained prosperity of the Union Territory. Accomplishing the mission would provide employment to one lakh people, said Kalam.
Among the key missions, which Kalam had, were -- Cent per cent literacy for all and healthcare through medical insurance; seven PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) clusters, three in Puducherry, two in Karaikal and one each in Mahe and Yanam; development of 20,000 acres of wasteland for producing 15,000 tonnes of biofuel (jatropha) annually; total self-sufficiency in dairy products, vegetables, fruits and poultry through intensive commercial agriculture; sustainable water resource management by arresting ingress of salinity and setting up of small desalination plants; development of Information Communication Technology to generate revenue of `500 crore; infrastructure to double tourist arrivals; aqua culture and deep-sea fishing that would lead to a target of `300 crore-business a year; and establishment of value-added garment industry with an export target of `1,000 crore.
Kalam’s association with Puducherry dates back to the times when he made his first visit to UT as the President to inaugurate Aravind Eye Hospital in February 2003 and interacted with students at Raj Nivas.