India’s first-ever “Night Sky Sanctuary” will be set up in Ladakh within the next three months, Union minister Jitendra Singh said on Saturday.
“India’s first-ever ‘Night Sky Sanctuary’ will be set up in Ladakh as a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary and the proposed ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ will be completed at Hanle in Ladakh within three months that will boost astro-tourism in India and will be one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infra-red, and gamma-ray telescopes,” said Mr Singh.
A tripartite MoU was signed recently among the UT administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for launching the Dark Space Reserve.
Mr Singh said all stakeholders will jointly work towards the preservation of the night sky from unwanted light pollution and illumination, which is a serious threat to scientific observations and natural sky conditions.
“It may be noted that Hanle is best suited for the project as it is located in Ladakh’s cold desert region, away from any form of human disturbance and clear sky conditions and dry weather conditions exist throughout the year,” the minister added.
Meanwhile, Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur called on Mr Singh to discuss projects on the leather centre, Leh Berry, Education Fair and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-supported schemes.
Mr Singh conveyed to the Lt Governor that from next year, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) will establish a distinct and huge pavilion for Ladakh Education Fair, which will be an annual feature. He said DST will actively participate in correct subject choice, scholarships, career guidance, skills development and apprenticeship with the prime focus of employability of youth, an official said.
The minister further said that a high-level delegation of scientists and officials from Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai will visit Ladakh by the end of this year to explore the possibility of setting up a regional branch of CLRI, as the Union territory has a very rich and wide variety of animals for leather research and industry and to promote bio-economy of animal skin-derived products.
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