An India 1st, Night Sky Sanctuary in Ladakh

Milyway rises over Pangong In Leh. Representational Pic

An India 1st, Night Sky Sanctuary in Ladakh

DST will set up in 3 months

Sanjeevani Booty medicinal plants to be grown at 15,000 feet high in the Union Territory

NEW DELHI, Sep 3 (The CONNECT) - In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Department of Science & Technology (DST), will set up Night Sky Sanctuary 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.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh a tripartite MoU was signed recently among the the UT administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for launching the Dark Space Reserve. He said, the site will have activities to help in boosting local tourism and economy through interventions of Science and Technology. 

Dr Jitendra Singh, who met Ladakh Lt. Governor R.K. Mathur, said that 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.

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.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, 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 UT has a very rich and wide variety of animals for leather research and industry and to promote bio-economy of animal skin-derived products.

Charthang in Ladakh has over 4 lakh animals mainly pashmina goats, besides Sheep and Yak. He also complimented CSIR for organising 4 training workshops, two each at Leh and Kargil for treatment of diseases of famous Pashmina Goats.

Dr Jitendra Singh also thanked the Ladakh Administration for taking a decision to start the commercial plantation of “Leh Berry”, which is gaining popularity in the entire region. 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 said, as per the vision of Prime Minister Modi’s Ladakh visit in 2018, the local entrepreneurs will be provided gainful employment through farming, processing and marketing of about 100 odd products from sea buckthorn plant like jams, juices, herbal tea, vitamin C supplements, healthy drinks, cream, oils, and soaps in a completely organic manner.

Mathur said commercial cultivation of three medicinal plants will begin this spring season at the height of above 15,000 feet. This also includes “Sanjeevani Booty”, locally known as “Sola” which has a very high life saving and therapeutic properties.

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