Odisha's Wheeler Island to be renamed after APJ Abdul Kalam

  • IANS, Bhubaneshwar
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:03 IST

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday renamed Bhadrak district's Wheeler Island after India's recently-deceased former president APJ Abdul Kalam.

"The chief minister has named Wheeler Island after the Missile Man," said a statement from the Chief Minister's Office.

Patnaik hopes the move will encourage the youth to further pursue a scientific temperament. It will be Odisha's humble homage to the legendary scientist in return for his unstinted love towards this land, he said in the statement.

It was during the tenure of then chief minister Biju Patnaik that Wheeler Island was given away to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Kalam's request for missile testing in 1993.

"At that time, Biju babu had proposed to make such a missile that could reach China in a bid to strengthen the Indian defence sector and Kalam nodded."

There was a growing demand across sections of society to rename the island after the former president, who described the island as his 'Theatre of Action'.

Wheeler Island, located off the coast of Odisha, is used as a missile-testing facility by the union government. The maiden successful test fire of the land-to-land Prithvi Missile was conducted from the mainland and it landed on the then uninhabited Wheeler Island on November 30, 1993.

The island was previously named after an English commandant Lieutenant Wheeler.

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