In a tribute to late former president APJ Abdul Kalam, the Odisha government on Friday named the Wheeler Island after him. The territory will now be known as Abdul Kalam Island. Wheeler Island, located off the coast of Odisha, houses an Integrated Test Range that is used by India to test missiles. It is one of the key missile testing facilities in India. The island is located some 150 kilometres from Odisha’s capital Bhubaneshwar.
“It’s a humble tribute to the People’s President. The Wheeler Island will henceforth be named as Abdul Kalam Island,” Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said. “Renaming the island as Abdul Kalam Island will inspire our youngsters to work dedicatedly for the scientific research,” Patnaik said.
The island was originally named after an English commandant Lieutenant Wheeler. The first successful land-to-land test of the Prithvi Missile was conducted from the mainland and it landed on the then uninhabited ‘Wheeler Island’ on November 30, 1993. It may be recalled that Kalam was also known as the ‘Missile Man’ in honour of his contribution to the missile development programme.