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India’s top radio observatory, the Giant Metre Wave Telescope (GMRT), is facing a severe shortage of engineers making it impossible to utilise its full potential, a top radio astronomer said.
The telescope, installed near Pune in Maharashtra by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, is used by astronomers to understand the past of the universe and also detect possibility of life on planets from distant galaxies.
The GMRT also faces a serious shortage of motivated science students who could take the unique research programmes of the institute forward, Govind Swarup, who took lead in installing the telescope, told PTI here.
“We have only eight students doing PhDs at GMRT when the number should actually be 50,” he said pointing out that more foreigners were using the telescope for their research.
Astronomers from all over the world regularly use this telescope to observe different astronomical objects such as galaxies, pulsars and supernovae.
Swarup said there was a need to expand and set up institutions across the country.
“We should have at least 100 leading laboratories that would produce 3,000 PhDs every year,” he said.
The emeritus professor at the NCRA said educational institutions across the country needed to be strenghtened to attract bright minds to science.
“There is 27 per cent shortage of teaching staff at the IITs against the sanctioned strength of 3,800,” he said adding that this gap must be filled