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Technology Day: PM Modi To Lay Foundation Of Gravity Observatory LIGO

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory – India (LIGO-India) on Thursday, when the country celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Pokhran-II nuclear tests.

PM Modi will also dedicate to the nation a Rare Earth Permanent Magnet Plant at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre campus at Visakhapatnam and a Fission Moly-99 Production Facility in Mumbai, to produce the radioisotope used in more than 85 per cent of imaging procedures for early detection of cancer and heart disease.

May 11 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1998 nuclear tests carried out at Pokhran test range, including its first test of a thermonuclear device, which has since been celebrated as the National Technology Day to honour scientists, engineers and technologists who made the tests possible.

The prime minister will lay the foundation stone and dedicate to the nation multiple projects related to scientific and technological advancement in the country, worth more than ₹ 5,800 crore, an official statement said.

The projects whose foundation stone would be laid include Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory – India (LIGO-India), Hingoli; Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Jatni, Odisha; and Platinum Jubilee Block of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

Last month, the Union Cabinet gave its nod to a project to construct and set up a LIGO-India at an estimated cost of ₹ 2,600 crore which is likely to be completed by 2030.

LIGO-India will be an advanced gravitational-wave observatory to be located in India as part of a worldwide network. It is envisaged as a collaborative project between a consortium of Indian research institutions and the LIGO Laboratory in the USA, along with its international partners.

LIGO-India had received the government's in-principle approval in February 2016. Since then, the project reached several milestones towards selecting and acquiring a site and building the observatory.

The United States will provide key components for the lab worth USD 80 million, which amounts to ₹ 560 crore.

The LIGO-India project will be built by the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology, with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Science Foundation, the US, along with several national and international research and academic institutions.

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