When Biju Patnaik Asked APJ Abdul Kalam To Make Missiles To Scare China & Other Stories From Odisha
Bhubaneswar: This year we are celebrating the 91st birth anniversary of APJ Abdul Kalam, fondly known as the ‘Missile Man of India’, who was born on October 15, 1931.
Kalam had spent considerable time in Bhadrak and Balasore districts as part of his efforts to launch missiles for the protection of the country and as a tribute to the former president, the Odisha government formally named Outer Wheeler Island, one of the country’s most advanced missile testing range approximately 10 kilometres off the Odisha coast, in Bhadrak district as APJ Abdul Kalam Island in 2017.
While addressing a public meeting during by-election to Balasore Sadar Assembly constituency in 2020, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that his father Biju Patnaik used to tell Kalam to make such a missile in Chandipur (in Balasore district) which can scare China.
Kamal was associated with the DRDO between 1992 and 1999 while Biju Patnaik was at the helm in Odisha from 1990 to 1995, his third stint as chief minister.
The former president had also helped Odisha immensely in an eco-conservation mission that was crucial to the survival of endangered Olive Ridley turtles by ensuring that the bright lights on the nearby missile testing facility nearby were masked during the nesting season. These lights invariably distracted the young turtle hatchlings while making their way back to the sea from the beach and many used to get killed in the process.
Odisha’s second planetarium in Sambalpur district has also been after Kalam.