Chandigarh: Haryana will set up a Rs.650 crore medical college with a 500-bed facility in the memory of India-born Kalpana Chawla in her hometown Karnal, an official said on Monday.

The astronaut was killed in a 2003 space accident. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda will lay the foundation stone of the medical college in Karnal, 130 km from Chandigarh on November 18. Kalpana Chawla Medical College would be completed in 25 months. An existing hospital in Karnal would also be made a part of the college, he added.

The state government has sanctioned 864 posts, including that of faculty for the new college. Chawla, the first woman of Indian origin to go into space as a NASA astronaut, had died February 2003 when the Columbia Space Shuttle bringing her and six other astronauts back disintegrated on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. She had earlier gone on another space flight aboard the same space shuttle Columbia as a mission specialist in 1997.

Chawla had studied at the Tagore Public school in Karnal before joining the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) in Chandigarh to pursue her aeronautical engineering degree. She later went to the US for higher studies and joined the NASA.


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