New Delhi, Mar 31: Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Ladakh, Brig (Retd) B D Mishra ) today called on the Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh at North Block here and discussed the progress of the upcoming India’s first Night Sky Sanctuary in Ladakh.
Wide range of other issues pertaining to development of the region also came under discussion. According to an official press release, Dr Jitendra Singh informed the Lt Governor that India’s first Night Sky Sanctuary being set up in Ladakh will give a fillip to Astro tourism in the Union Territory and generate revenue as well as livelihood. “Once the project is ready to become functional, on behalf of the Department of Science & Technology and CSIR, we will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate it at his convenient date,” he added.
In December last year, the government had 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 Hanle 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.
The Night Sky Reserve aims to promote Livelihood through eco-friendly activities of Astro tourism, spread awareness about astronomy and boost scientific research with reduced 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.