Pangong Lake in Ladakh is likely to become a point of debate between the environmentalists and the Jammu and Kashmir government with the State Wildlife Department giving the go ahead for the establishment of indigenous National Large Solar Telescope (NLST) near the lake. If all goes well, it would be one of the world’s most powerful solar telescopes for which land has been identified at Merak village near the shore of Pangong Lake of Ladakh, officials said.

Local environmentalists, especially from the Ladakh region, have said the establishment of solar telescope near the lake will have an adverse impact on it. “It is a treasure of environment for us. It is not only a water-body, but is home to rich flora and fauna. The State Wildlife Department should not have given permission for disturbing the lake,” said Sonam Wangchuk, a local environmentalist.

Forest Minister Chaduhary Lal Singh has assured that no compromise has been done regarding the safety of the wildlife in the lake, the officials of the Wildlife Department said their concerns have been overlooked by the minister. State Wildlife chief Deepak Khanna refused to comment on the issue.

If the powerful telescope is established it would be the highest performing solar telescope. Deepankar Banerjee told the media that the telescope project will usher in a significant new economic development in the Ladakh region and will also provide employment for the locals.

A section of the Ladakhis, especially the people living near the Pangnong Lake, feel that this Central government project will help bring economic development and jobs.

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