On the former President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s second death anniversary, Odisha government has officially renamed its Wheeler Island to Dr. Abdul Kalam Island. The Wheeler Island lies in Bhadrak district of Odisha.
The minister of revenue and disaster management, Maheswar Mohanty, said that after receiving a no objection certificate or NOC from the Ministry of Home Affairs, a gazette notification was released by the revenue and disaster management department on 25th July regarding the change in the name. It was then forwarded to Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik. The CM of the state had announced earlier that Wheeler Island will soon have a new name.
Dr. Kalam had spent most of his time at Chandipur in Balasore district and Wheeler Island in Bhadrak district while developing missiles which would be helpful in protecting the country in the times of war. It is due to this emotional attachment that Wheeler Island has been renamed to Dr. Abdul Kalam Island.
This island is situated almost 10kms off the eastern coast of India in the Bay of Bengal. It is around 2kms in length and 390 acres in area. This island served as an integrated test range for missiles which explains Dr. Kalam’s long stays here.
He was not known as the ‘missile man’ for nothing. With deep interest in Physics and Mathematics, he became involved with DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment in 1960. Thereafter, he was made the project director for Satellite Launch Vehicles while being shifted to ISRO in 1969. The project was indeed a success. His contribution to nuclear power too are very impressive.
He received the Bharat Ratna award in 1997, Padma Bhushan in 1981 and Padma Vibhushan in 1990. He became the 11th President of India in 2002 and held office till 2007. His simple and down-to-earth nature got him to be like by the lot and therefore he was also known as the ‘People’s President’.
He loves teaching. Children were his favourites as were students. He used to impart knowledge about science to the kids. The day he died, he was doing what he loved the most, teaching. He was lecturing at a podium in IIM Shillong to hundreds of students when he faced severe cardiac arrest and fell to the floor. Even at his final moments, he made sure he did something worthwhile for the youth.
Renaming Wheeler Island to the name of the most loved and revered former President of India has not only honoured his soul but has made the common people happy too. Honouring a humble man of a high stature in the most respectable way has us applauding Odisha and its government.