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ASTEC event on climate change, biodiversity
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, July 5 – The three-day concluding function of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council’s (ASTEC’s) year-long sensitisation programme on biodiversity and climate change ended at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here on Saturday. The concluding event was named the state level camp on biodiversity and climate change. The year-long programme was supported by the state’s Science and Technology Department.

Coordinator of the programme Chandra Barooah told this newspaper that the year-long programme started in September last year and it covered 25 colleges and two higher secondary schools of 27 districts of the state.

The activities undertook during the programme included plantation of 40 species of ecologically important trees like Bokul, Siya Nahar, Barhamuthuri, Banpitha etc, preparation of 200 herbarium sheets of 100 species and documentation of flowering plants within the five kilometer radius of each of the individual institutions involved in the programme. Each of the institutions was also asked to organise sensitisation programmes involving students, teachers and local people.

Each of these institutions was also asked to organise their students in two groups – Lower (comprising students belonging to class IX to XII) and Upper (comprising students belonging to undergraduate level) and to hold extempore speech competitions among the students of both these groups, essay competition among the students of the Upper group and drawing competition among the students of the Lower group, among others. The focal point for all these competitions remained the same – biodiversity and climate change.

Best performers of each of these groups, accompanied by one escort teacher, were nominated by the head of the respective institutions to join the three-day state level camp.

At the state level camp, essay and extempore speech competitions for the Upper group and drawing and extempore speech competitions for the Lower group were also held, besides the orientation programme for the escort teachers and student participants.

At the valedictory function, an interactive session of the participant students and teachers with scientists was also held. The scientists who took part in this session, included Prof SK Barthakur, Head of the Department of Botany, Gauhati University (GU), Prof Arup Kumar Sarma of IIT, Guwahati Civil Engineering Department and Dr Pradip Kumar Sarma of Cotton College Geography Department. ASTEC administrative officer Sazad Alam also took part in the session.

Prizes among the winners of the essay, extempore and drawing competitions were also distributed at the function. The first prize winners in the competitions include – Meenakshi Das (essay competition) of Karimganj College, Banyajyoti Dutta (extempore speech competition Lower group) of Madhabdev College, Raj Kumar Goswami (extempore speech competition Upper group) of Pub Kamrup College, and Mriganka Deka Baruah (drawing competition) Doomdooma College.

At the inaugural function of the camp, held on July 2, noted environmentalists Prof Parimal Chandra Bhattacharya and Prof Abani Kumar Bhagaboti spoke on status of biodiversity and issues connected with it in the context of Assam and North East. ASTEC director Bijoylakshmi Barua Gogoi welcomed the guests and participants of the camp, while Jaideep Baruah, head-in-charge of the ASTEC Environment Division provided a brief background of the programme, and ASTEC administrative officer Sazad Alam delivered the inaugural address. Chandra Barooah of the ASTEC Environment Division coordinated the programme.

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