IIA to build new two-metre solar telescope in Leh

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Bangalore, Nov 28 (UNI) The Indian Institute of Astrophysics has sought funds from the Centre to build a Rs 100 crore two-metre diameter solar telescope, the first in Asia, to be located in the trans Himalayan region, its Director Siraj S Hasan said.

Speaking to newspersons after the inauguration of the second UN/NASA Workshop on 'International Heliophysical Year and Basic Space Science' here yesterday, he said the Institute had sent an initial proposal and the final proposal would be submitted later.

''Ideally, we want to set up this telescope in Leh or Hanle.

Wider telescopes help study the sun at greater spectro detail. Good sight and processes of the data can help study the sun better. It would take five years to complete the erection of the telescope,'' he said.

Dr Hasan said IIA was also facing dearth of highly trained manpower like other centres of higher learning, including IIMs and IITs.

''We wanted to hire ten post-doctoral students this year, but we could get only three. The exodus of talented minds to IT and other technological fields is continuing. What we need to do is to give a better package to scientists in the research institutes and teaching staff in the higher learning institutes. Money is important. But more important thing is to create opportunities for these people to pursue their ideas and projects. The public-funded institutions need to give more money and create better opportunities. It is time we end the problems affecting these institutions like red tapism,'' the Institute Director said.

Advocating higher allocation for the science sector, he noted that the present outlay amounted to just 0.8 per cent of the GDP and said it should go up to one per cent next year and two per cent in three years. ''This is inevitable for a country which wants to do research and development in cutting edge science. Critics never realise how much is spent on other sectors, mainly defence.

Development of science needs to be given more money in India.'' UNI RS GD SY PM0905

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