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Govt to institute twin awards for scientists
Staff correspondent

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal addressing the State-level National Children’s Science Congress at the Dibrugarh University in Dibrugarh on Friday. – AT Photo
 DIBRUGARH, Oct 14 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today announced the institution of State Awards for promoting scientific research and studies in the State.

Inaugurating the four-day 24th State-level National Children’s Science Congress at the Dibrugarh University Ranghar auditorium here, the Chief Minister said that the awards would be instituted to honour scientists for research in science and technology. “One award will be for an upcoming young scientist, while the other award will be for an established scientist. The job of identifying the beneficiary scientists will be entrusted to a recognised NGO or scientific organisations,” he added.

The Chief Minister also announced that a national-level Vigyan Mela (science fair) would be held in the State in the near future where a cross section of people from villages, tea gardens, hills, char areas and river banks could get opportunities to explore and discover the capabilities of science and technology. “We want to take science to the remotest of areas and also make it accessible to all,” he said.

Altogether 273 child scientists from 27 districts of the State have converged for the prestigious four-day scientific event at the varsity with their teacher guides and district coordinators.

The focal theme of the event is ‘Science, technology and innovation for sustainable development with special emphasis on accessibility for differently abled persons.’ The sub-themes are ‘Natural resource management’; ‘Food and agriculture’; ‘Energy’; ‘Health, hygiene and sanitation’; ‘Lifestyle and livelihood’; ‘Disaster management’ and ‘Traditional knowledge system.’

The budding scientists will present their innovative and creative ideas through project exhibitions during the event. They will also get opportunities to interact and exchange views with eminent scientists from the country and abroad during the sessions and also through video conferencing.

The four-day State-level National Children’s Science Congress is being organised by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, in association with the Dibrugarh University. The event is being supported by the district administration. The State organiser of the conclave is the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC).

Keshab Mahanta, Minister for Science and Technology, Information Technology and Water Resources, stated that the State Government had plans to bring in eminent scientists from outside the State and the country for holding interactive programmes in educational institutions.

Eminent scientist and professor Bhupendra Nath Goswami, former Director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and Emeritus Fellow, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, urged the State Government to create an environment to motivate young minds to work on scientific topics. “Students must get inspired and motivated through research and scientific environment,” he added.

Dr Arup Mishra, Director, ASTEC, stressed on the development of the scientific temperament among students by adopting innovative methods. The participating child scientists, during their morning assembly, pledged they would conduct scientific activities under a cooperative spirit and not competitive spirit.

Some of the highlights of the event are the book fair and science exhibition, display and presentation of the child scientists’ projects, visit to the university laboratories, learning science with fun activities, quiz, cultural events, sightseeing, etc.

Dr Debi Prasad Duari, Director, Research and Academics, Birla Planetarium, Kolkata; Pradip Saikia, Principal Petrophysicist at Schlumberger Oilfield Services, Luanda, Angola; Dr Achinta Narayan Bezbaruah, North Dakota University, USA (via video conferencing), among many others, will interact with the participants, the organisers said.

Dibrugarh Deputy Commissioner Laya Madduri, Dibrugarh University Vice Chancellor Professor Alak Kumar Buragohain, Jorhat MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, MLAs Prasanta Phukan, Chakradhar Gogoi, Bimal Borah and Teres Goala also attended the inaugural function.

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