PM opens science congress amid tight security


Visakhapatnam : The 95th Indian Science Congress (ISC) began here Thursday at the sprawling Andhra University campus amid tight security and fanfare.

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The five-day session, inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the presence of many dignitaries, including Nobel laureates and top scientists, has attracted over 6,000 delegates from India and abroad.

Singh also unveiled the science exhibition christened “Bharat Expo” after declaring the session opened on a warm day.

The mega event, being held in this scenic port city after a gap of 32 years, is focusing on transforming India into a developed nation in the coming decades using science and technology and creating a knowledge-based society.

The inaugural venue – the varsity’s engineering college grounds – was turned into a fortress, with a swarm of special protection group personnel and gun-toting commandoes throwing a security blanket around the VIP enclosure.

About 2,000 policemen were deployed in and around the grounds to maintain vigil and screen every delegate using metal detectors and frisking.

After the ceremonial invocation and lighting of the lamp, Indian Science Congress Association ((ISCA) president R. Ramamurthi set the tone of the session by highlighting the objectives of the ISC 2008 and the thrust areas that merit attention and priority of the academia, industry, society, government and allied agencies.

“Science and technology vision is linked to social vision and action. It is imperative that an enabling environment has to be created for combining the twin visions. Similarly, to create a knowledge-based society, we require several components, including traditional knowledge, education and application of technologies in a mission mode,” Ramamurthi noted.

In his address, Union minister for science and technology and earth science Kapil Sibal exhorted the scientific community to conduct research in climate change for assessing its affect in the sub-continent.

To facilitate the research, Sibal said his ministries would set up a group on climate change adaptation to provide appropriate technology for tackling the adjustment problem.

“The twin ministries will set up a centre for climate change at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune for studying the scientific issues related to global warming and climate change. We are also modernising the weather forecasting facilities in the Indian met department,” Sibal declared.

Among the dignitaries present on the dais were Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy, central ministers from the host state Dasari Narayana Rao, M.M. Pallam Raju and T. Subbarami Reddy.

Noted scientists and scholars, including scientific advisor to the government R. Chidambaram, M.S. Swaminathan, C.N.R. Rao, M.G.K. Menon, U.R. Rao and Nobel laureates Roger Kornberg and Paul Nurse from the US attended the inaugural event.