ISRO happy with Kerala land offer

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Bangalore, Apr 4 (UNI) ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair expressed happiness over the allotment of 45 acres of land for setting up the space agency's Institute near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, despite it being ''not as scenic'' as the previously allotted place, that had snowballed into a major controversy.

''Now we have this land adjacent to ISRO campus. We have started construction of the Institute by also using some of the land from the campus. It is not as scenic as the previous one. But we are happy,'' he told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

He said the space institute, for which the first batch had already enrolled, was expected to bridge the shortage of scientists.

''Our institute has started working and the first semester is over,'' he said.

The issue snowballed into a major controversy after the Government objected to the land sale deal for 81 acres between ISRO and a private individual Xavi Mano Mathew of Merchiston Estate, holding that the latter had no right over the land since it belonged to the State as per the Ecologically Fragile Land Act.

The Kerala Government later offered 70 acres of land near the organisation's Liquid Propulsions Systems Centre (LPSC) at Velliyamala near here along with the 20 acres at the upper sanatorium in Ponmudi for setting up the Institute of Space Science and Technology.

UNI RS GD RL HS1536

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