Kerala allots 100 acres land for Space Institute

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 21 (UNI) The Kerala Cabinet today decided to allot 100 acres of land free of cost to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Ponmudi, a hill station near the state capital, to set up the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST).

The Cabinet decision came in the wake of a controversy over the land purchased by the ISRO from a private party.

Opposition leaders alleged that the acquired land was notified as Ecologically Fragile Land in 2000.

Briefing newspersons, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said the site offered to the space agency at Thenur village in Ponmudi, instead of the earlier Merchiston Estate land, was revenue land.

The government would provide road connectivity to the site.

He criticised the Divisional Forest Officer, who filed a report to the government that the new site was also a forest land.

''It is not correct. We have checked the documents and found that it is revenue land,'' he added.

The Chief Minister said the ISRO was examining the new site offered by the government.

ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair had recently visited the site to find out whether it suits their requirements.

Suitable height was the major specification cited by the space agency, since it plans to set up an observatory at the institute.

The institute to train space scientists for ISRO's future programmes had already started functioning from a temporary campus at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) near here.

UNI

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