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India's lone missile test firing range faces sand erosion

May 11, 2013 20:55 IST

Changing sand patterns around India's lone missile test-firing range at WheelerIsland off Odisha coast is causing serious concern for Defence Research and Development Organisation and the agency is seeking assistance from Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology to control the erosion.

"The sand patterns around the WheelerIsland are changing. Due to erosion, some 300 metre of sand area have submerged sometime and some sand is showing up in other part of the island," DRDO's Chief Controller (R&D) Avinash Chander said.

Since WheelerIsland is technically a "sand bar" with a size of approximately 1 sq km in the Bay of Bengal and not a rock formation, water currents result in the change in sand patterns, he said.

Though DRDO has already planted over two lakh tree saplings including casuarina and taken other steps to control the situation, he said, adding that we have requested NIOT to send a team of experts to realise the situation.

WheelerIsland, located some 10 Km off Chandipur in Odisha, is the only missile test firing range in the country for defence purposes.

Chander earlier delivered the keynote address for the 'Technology Day Celebrations' at the National Institute of Ocean Technology.

Replying to another query, he said the country is designing a solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at its lab in Bangalore, which aimed at flying more than 36 hours with solar power.

Image: Agni-V missile is launched from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast on April 19, 2012.

Photograph: Reuters

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