Hawaii’s loss may turn out to be Ladakh’s gain. After protests in Hawaii in the US against the proposed Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) project, the largest to be built, alternative sites are being explored which includes Hanle in Ladakh.The project, aimed at exploring the universe, was to come up at Mauna Kea in Hawaii. But protests by the locals and indigenous population has stalled the project.“The construction was expected to start on Mauna Kea, Hawaii in 2015. However, it is now stalled due to the recent decision of the Supreme court of Hawaii revoking the construction permit on procedural grounds, reports PTI.“The State of Hawaii agencies are working on the permit process following the prescribed procedure by the court. TMT is pursuing the matter in consultation with the University of Hawaii (land lease holder) and other agencies. It seeks to construct TMT on Mauna Kea which is the preferred choice,” said Bacham Eswar Reddy, Programme Director.However, given the importance of the project, in terms of finance and its scientific value, the project partners are also looking at alternate sites, both in the northern and southern hemispheres.These include sites in Chile, Hanle, Ladakh and others which are all being evaluated for technical and logistical suitability.“It is expected that on-site civil work on the project may be delayed by about 18-24 months. However, work on telescope and observatory subsystems continues across the partnership,” Reddy added.
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