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Sikh author from Pakistan – “I experienced nothing but love in Pakistan”

After US tour, Sikh author of Pakistan travelogue heads to London

#nuclear plants may be located in heart of city #joke" data-image-description="<p><a href=";" target="_blank"><b>New nuclear plants may be located in heart of city</b></a><br /> <a class="zem_slink" title="Diyarbakır" href=",40.24&amp;spn=0.1,0.1&amp;q=37.91,40.24 (Diyarbak%C4%B1r)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">Amid</a> a raging debate on atomic energy, scientists are busy designing <a class="zem_slink" title="Nuclear reactor" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">nuclear reactors</a> that can be located in the heart of the city.</p> <div>24 Oct, 2012, 04.09PM IST, PTI</p> <h1>New nuclear plants may be located in heart of city</h1> <div> <div></div> </div> <div><a class="zem_slink" title="New Delhi" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">NEW DELHI</a>: Amid a raging debate on atomic energy, scientists are busy designing<a href="" target="_blank">nuclear reactors</a> that can be located in the heart of the city and construction on which may begin within the next five years.</div> <p>The much-delayed 300 MW <a href="" target="_blank">Advanced Heavy Water Reactor</a> (AHWR), which has been on the design table for nearly a decade, has several in-built safety features that would allow the power plant to be located even in densely populated areas.</p> <p>“The AHWR has a number of in-built safety features that would require very little <a class="zem_slink" title="Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone" href=",30.005&amp;spn=0.25,0.25&amp;q=51.3,30.005 (Chernobyl%20Nuclear%20Power%20Plant%20Exclusion%20Zone)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">exclusion zone</a> and can be built right in the heart of the city,” Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj, Director (Technical), <a class="zem_slink" title="Nuclear Power Corporation of India" href="" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited</a> (NPCIL) said here.</p> <p>He said the construction of the AHWR was expected to start during the 12th Plan period.</p> <p>The safety features in its design would enable meeting next generation safety requirements such as three days grace period for operator response, elimination of the need for exclusion zone beyond the plant boundary, hundred year design life and high level of fault tolerance, officials said.</p> <p>The AHWR also has high level of fault tolerance and provides for a much greater immunity even from insider threat.</p> <p>A site for building the AHWR, designed by a team of nuclear scientists led by former <a href="" target="_blank">Atomic Energy</a> Commission Chairman <a class="zem_slink" title="Anil Kakodkar" href="" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Anil Kakodkar</a> and incumbent Ratan Kumar Sinha, is yet to be finalised. The AHWR uses thorium as fuel.</p> <p>The AHWR is also expected to ease the land acquisition worries of the nuclear establishment as the reactor may not require any exclusion zone beyond the plant boundary.</p> <p>In conventional <a href="" target="_blank">nuclear plants</a>, the exclusion zone extends to 1.6 km radius from the reactor, which is followed by a sterilised zone which extends upto five km from the reactor and an emergency planning zone which is the area in a radius of 16 km from the reactor.</p> <p>The exclusion zone is directly under control of the nuclear power plant administration, the sterilised zone is a low population zone, where the growth of population is limited by administrative control.</p> <p>The outer-most zone defines the minimum distance to a high population centre.</p> <p>Land acquisition for nuclear reactors has run into protests in Haryana, Maharashtra and <a class="zem_slink" title="West Bengal" href=",88.3697&amp;spn=1.0,1.0&amp;q=22.5697,88.3697 (West%20Bengal)&amp;t=h" target="_blank" rel="geolocation">West Bengal</a> and the AHWR may allow the nuclear establishment some flexibility in handling the vexed issue.</p> <p>A typical nuclear power plant requires acquisition of 600 acres of land, most of which forms the exclusion zone.</p></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-8821" src="" alt="Amardeep Singh-book" />

Author Amardeep Singh shares a story from his travelogue. Photo: Beena Sarwar

“I experienced nothing but love in Pakistan,” says Amardeep Singh, author of the photo-illustrated travelogue “Lost Heritage – The Sikh Legacy In Pakistan”, published in January 2016 (Himalayan Books).


Lost Heritage book jacketHe is also grateful to the Pakistan government for granting him a non-police reporting, 30-day, countrywide visa that enabled him to travel around the country with no restrictions.

Boston was the last leg of his hectic 10-day US-tour. He is now headed to the UK, where he has five speaking engagements — in London, Leicester and Birmingham — between June 22-26th, 2016.

Singh makes it a point of only speaking at events entirely organised by local community members who take care of his travel and stay. His US visit was made possible by a grant from Boston-based tech entrepreneur Dr Amar Sawhney, who also hosted Singh at his own home. Dr Sawhney’s mother, who was also present, is a Partition-survivor, born in what became Pakistan after 1947.

The Boston event was organised by friends from the local South Asian community — Umang Kumar, Hardeep Mann and Jaspal Singh. My role in the event was that I had connected Singh to them following our email correspondence. They managed to find the perfect venue — a book-lined room in the Encuentro 5 (e5), a collaborative project and space for progressive movement-building downtown, run by Massachusetts Global Action (MGA) and TecsChange: Technology for Social Change.


Animated Q&A session following the talk, at a well attended gathering (considering the holidays and beautiful day). Photo: Beena Sarwar

He urged audience members to make the trip and experience the country and people for themselves, beyond religious pilgrimages and organised tours. He himself is eager to return to Pakistan – this time, with his book.

Born in Gorakhpur, India in 1966, Singh is a Singapore-based former banker who has also lived and worked in Hong Kong. His own trip to Pakistan proved transformative, catalysing him to leave his 25-year career in the corporate world – most recently as head of revenue management at American Express credit cards in the Asia Pacific region — to pursue his passion for photography, travel and heritage.

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“I did not go to write a book” – Singh in Boston. Photo: Beena Sarwar

Since the book’s publication, he has given over 40 presentations on his “labour of love” in various cities around India, besides Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bradford.

After his upcoming UK tour, Singh will return to Singapore, then head to India for a well-deserved holiday with his family.

His motivation in traveling to Pakistan was initially to explore his father’s watan (homeland) and re-connect with his family’s past but he ended up making much wider and deeper connections beyond that.

He said he felt his month-long journey across Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan-administered Kashmir was driven by “an invisible force” that led to the weighty, 504-page coffee-table volume.

For details on the project, visit Singh’s website.

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