Claims at protest there’s a move to privatize ISRO
The Congress on Wednesday criticized the reported move to shift a prestigious space project from Bengaluru to Gujarat.
“Without a green signal from PM Modi or the government of India’s consent, nothing can be done,” KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar said at a protest by the Congress and NSUI outside Antariksh Bhavan, the ISRO headquarters in Sanjaynagar.
The demonstrators opposed any move to privatize ISRO. They demanded that the Gaganyaan project should not be shifted to Gujarat.
“It (ISRO) is a pride of Karnataka. Bengaluru is a knowledge-based centre. We want to protect the interests of our state, land and scientists,” Shivakumar said.
He also hinted at “internal conflicts” within ISRO. “I have information but don’t want to disclose it.”
Rakesh, an NSUI member, expressed his concern over the shifting of the project. “If the plan is successful, the name of our state will be highlighted in the entire world. Why do they want to shift the project?” he informed The Observer.
Around 70 police personnel were deployed at the place. There were barricades at the start and end of ISRO Road. There was a traffic jam at the junction of 4th Cross and 5th Cross.
But police inspector Balram K. maintained: “Traffic management was smooth and the traffic police managed everything.”
Surabhi Dwivedi, national secretary of the Indian Youth Congress, said all projects cannot be shifted to Gujarat just because the Prime Minister is from Gujarat. “This was supposed to be a symbolic protest. If ISRO does not come out with a clarification soon about whether they are shifting the project or not, we will protest in massive numbers,” she said.
Some NSUI members were clueless about the protest when The Observer asked them about it. They said they “just came here”.
Five days ago, Shivakumar wrote to Modi to appeal to him not to shift the Indian Human Space Flight Program from Bengaluru to Gujarat. “If it happens, the people of the state will feel the government at the Centre is ignoring, betraying and giving scant respect to the feelings of Kannadigas,” the letter said.
ISRO refused to comment on the protest and the claim that ISRO will be privatized.