NEW DELHI, Mar 20: India’s first Night Sky Sanctuary is being set up in Ladakh, which will give a boost to Astro tourism in the Union Territory and generate revenue as well as livelihood.
This was disclosed here today by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh when Chairman, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Tashi Gyalson called on him at his Parliament House office here and discussed wide range of issues pertaining to development of the region as also the organisational matters pertaining to the Ladakh unit of BJP.
Gyalson was accompanied by BJP Ladakh President Phunchok Stanzin and General Secretary Skalzang Dorjay.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed the Ladakh leaders that on behalf of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India, “we will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Night Sky Reserve at his convenient date,” he added.
In December last year, the Ladakh UT Administration notified the proposed Dark Sky Reserve at Hanle village in Eastern Ladakh. Spread over 1,073 square kilometers, the Night Sky Reserve is located within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary and adjacent to the Indian Astronomical Observatory, the second-highest optical telescope in the world, of Indian Institute of Astrophysics at Hanleat at an elevation of 4500 meters.
“This Dark Sky Reserve is among only 15 or 16 of its kind in the world that will offer a spectacular view of the night sky. Because of its altitude and location across the Himalayas in the rain shadow area, this Night Sky Reserve is the ideal place for star gazers almost throughout the year,” said Dr Jitendra Singh when a delegation led by Tashi Gyalson, Chairman, LAHDC, Leh, called on him in New Delhi today.
“On behalf of the Department of Science & Technology and CSIR, we will request the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Night Sky Reserve at an early date,” he added.
The Night Sky Reserve aims to promote livelihood through eco-friendly activities of Astro tourism, spread awareness about astronomy and boost scientific research with reduction of artificial light and wildlife conservation.
Dr Jitendra Singh said projects are afoot on developing food products from Leh Berry, the nutritionally rich and exotic fruit of the region.
Dr Jitendra Singh thanked the Ladakh Administration for taking a decision to start the commercial plantation of “Leh Berry” from last year. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Science & Technology is promoting “Leh Berry” which is an exclusive food product of the cold desert and also a means of wide-ranging entrepreneurship as well as self-livelihood.
Tashi Gyalson, Chairman, LAHDC-Leh complimented Dr Jitendra Singh for approving the setting up of an exclusive Examination Centre at Leh for conducting the Civil Services Examination by the DoPT. “This brings huge relief for students who were compelled to incur huge expenses travelling to other Centres like Srinagar or Chandigarh,” he said.
The delegation also discussed strategic issues in the border region and local administrative matters.
India’s first Night Sky Sanctuary being set up in Ladakh: Dr Jitendra