Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 4:
The long association of former president APJ Adbul Kalam with Odisha has been fittingly reciprocated by the state re-christening the Wheeler Island as Abdul Kalam Island.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday renamed Wheeler Island, where the missile testing facility of DRDO is located, off the Bhadrak coast after former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who passed away in July this year following a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at a college in Shillong.
“You would be glad to know that the state government has renamed the Wheeler Island in the name of the late president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. He will inspire our youngsters to work with dedication for scientific research. It is a humble tribute of Odisha to the People’s President,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said here while announcing the decision.
It may be mentioned that former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik had given the go-ahead to Defence Ministry to establish the missile test range at Wheeler Island on a request from Kalam.
Wheeler Island, named after an English commandant Lieutenant Wheeler, 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.
During his numerous visits to the test range, Kalam was inspired to pen his book ‘My Journey’. He has also described the Wheeler Island as his ‘Theatre of Action’.
Earlier in the day, Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi was renamed as APJ Abdul Kalam Road.