Chitradurga, Karnataka

Chitradurga is best known for its huge boulders and picturesque valleys. But that’s all set to change. Chitradurga could be the science hotspot of the country as four of India’s most prestigious institutions are set to strike root at Challakere in Chitradurga, 200 km from Bangalore. The Indian Institute of Science, Indian Space Research Organization, Defence Research and Development Organization, and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre will be located side by side in an integrated township spread over 8,000 acres. Such a concentration of space, defence, nuclear and pure science research will be the first of its kind and create one of India’s largest science hubs. The establishment of these institutions will generate a new equation between Bangalore and Chitradurga. “There will be a great number of scientists, research scholars and academicians travelling between the two cities, changing the profile of Chitradurga. The city and district will acquire a knowledge-city profile,” city-based scientists said.

The facilities in Chitradurga will be path-breaking — DRDO will be housing the cutting-edge unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme, in which it will be building and testing the latest class of UAVs for the country’s defence establishment. Additionally, it will have an airstrip that would enable UAVs to operate and potentially, even manned aircraft that are small. The BARC facility will be a key national resource in the country, where material enrichment will be undertaken. Major minerals like uranium, thorium etc which are related to national security are enriched to fuel nuclear plants. After Kaiga, Chitradurga BARC facility will be the second major nuclear centre in the state.Isro’s focus on communication and remote sensing is expected to match and supplement the national remote sensing agency at Hyderabad. The centre will be linked to space centres in Europe and USA, and high volume data transmission is expected between them.

Policy planners also say that “infrastructure and the civic get-up of Chitradurga will improve, which will see not only see better roads within the city but between Bangalore and Chitradurga” by the arrival of the science institutions. “Once a place is identified as a hub, economic activities also tend to pick up. We are hoping that Chitradurga will benefit a lot from this. The MP of the district has been at the forefront in trying to get academic institutions to the city and district,” planners said.

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