'Isro reduced Odisha cyclone casualties'

Casualties in the Odisha cyclone would have been higher had there not been Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), asserted scientific advisor to Isro V Koteswara Rao.

Ever since the launch of its ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission, Isro has been facing questions whether the country should afford such costly research programmes. The question once again surfaced on Thursday when Rao was taking questions from the public at the end of his lecture on “Recent flights in Indian space programme.” The event was organised by the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI). Rao was invited to deliver the Jawaharlal Nehru birth centenary memorial lecture.

When somebody in the audience asked about the need to spend Rs 450 crore on space programme, Rao said: “You are not the only one but the entire nation asking us the rationale behind spending Rs 450 crore. These space programmes have been benefiting crores of people across India and abroad. It saved thousands of lives from the Odisha cyclone. The seven victims of the natural disaster lost their lives because they did not agree to leave the place.”

He added that Isro, through its satellites, has been helping fishermen by locating fish in abundance and directing them to get a big catch. The officer also gave details of various programmes of Isro with a special emphasis on the Mars Orbiter Mission and Chandrayaan.

Speaking on the occasion, the executive director of the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) said the corporation will start laying a power corridor from Raichur to Sholapur in Maharashtra from March. He also indicated that the CPRI should take up more research work in the transmission of power while the PGCIL can handle the operation. 

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