High Tech US Company Taking up India’s Low tech Challenge

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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New Jersey – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s international visits continue to create many ripples around the world, and one such surfaced itself as a promise for the Swachh (Clean) Bharat (India) campaign. This time on the radar is the Florida-based Holtec International and its commitment of $100 million to address sanitation issues in India.

Joining Modi’s Clean India brigade is the India-born US entrepreneur Dr Krishna P Singh, a la Kris Singh, President and CEO, Holtec International. The Florida-based Holtec International is the largest exporter of capital equipment in the US nuclear industry with its current backlog alone over six billion US dollars.

Singh has already drawn out a plan for launching the prototype toilets. Initially, six of them will be installed in different places in Bihar. “We have identified the contractors and the work is going on in full swing,” said Singh, who plans to replicate it across the India based on the success of the model project.

Six million Dollars have been earmarked currently for improving sanitation in Sindri, Bihar, Singh’s home town. Holtec will soon launch the National Sanitation Project (NSP) basing itself in Pune, where Holtec’s South Asia operation center is located.”We have budgeted 100 million Dollars to be spent in 10 years for building toilets and providing basic sanitation facilities in India,” he said.

India’s tall promise of building 11 crore toilets in five years is an invitation to NRI players that is aimed at funneling investments towards the novel initiative.

“We wanted to invest in India years ago but bureaucratic bottlenecks prevented us from doing so”, said Singh who moved to the US for higher education in the late Sixties. “It is nice to hear PM Modi’s mission to make India a clean country. We feel the need to invest in the social change. The past two years of our stay in Gujarat, while building our plant in Dahej, has been impressive especially with the positive governmental support that we have received.”

Singh was part of the business delegation that had lunch meeting with the ‘fasting’ PM. Gushing about the ‘magic’ spell cast by PM Modi, he said “my wife does not know a word of Hindi but she could understand every bit of Modi’s speech just by reading his gestures.” He termed the scrapping of the Planning Commission (the end of license raj) as the “best thing ever to happen to India.”

Holtec will be releasing the $100 million sum for the clean India campaign in phases. Under the project, the installed toilets will have provisions of treating the biological waste and its proper disposal too. Solar panels have planned in places to make these toilets self power driven.

Singh, a well-known philanthropist in the US, has outlined a grand plan and his words — “I have made a lot of money through my inventions and patents. It is time for me to give back to India. And this is the best time for me to give a hand for the Swachh Bharat campaign” — will indeed sound like music to the ears of the beneficiaries! His charitable causes include his $20 million gift for setting up a Nanotechnology center in the University of Pennsylvania.

“For a hi-tech company like ours, a low-intensive technology project of filling the sanitation gap necessities is not a daunting task but far more gratifying,” said Singh, reassuring his commitment to the Sawchh Bharat initiative.

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