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India’s first Night Sky Sanctuary to set up in Ladakh: Jitendra Singh

The proposed Dark Sky Reserve will be located at Hanle in Ladakh as a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary. It 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.

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New Delhi: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said that India’s first-ever “Night Sky Sanctuary” will be set up in Ladakh within the next three months.

“The proposed Dark Sky Reserve will be located at Hanle in Ladakh as a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary. It 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,” the minister said, adding that it will be completed within the next three months.

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.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology and Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences, Singh said all the stakeholders will jointly work towards the preservation of the night sky from unwanted light pollution and illumination, which is a serious threat to the 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.

The Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, RK Mathur called on Singh to discuss projects on the leather centre, Leh Berry, Education Fair and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) supported schemes.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under the aegis of 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.

The minister also thanked the Ladakh administration for taking the decision to start the commercial plantation of “Leh Berry”, which is gaining popularity in the entire region.

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