Stage set for PM to open Science Congress

Bhubaneswar: The stage is set for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to inaugurate the 99th Indian Science Congress (ISC) here tomorrow during which scientists will deliberate on issues like climate change, food security, clean energy and space technology. Some 15,000 delegates from across the globe, including about 20 Nobel laureates, are likely to attend the five-day mega scientific extravaganza whose theme is "Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation – Role of Women."

Headed by Geetha Bali, the Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka State Women`s University, the Congress would see scientists deliberating on topics like preventing maternal and child mortality, assisted technology for the disabled, science and education in rural areas, women in science, water scarcity and security. As part of the mega event, a Children`s Science Congress will be inaugurated by former President A P J Abdul Kalam on Wednesday and India`s Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao will be opening the Women`s Science Congress on Thursday.

The Congress, which will be attended by distinguished scientists, Nobel laureates, corporate bigwigs and leaders,is being hosted by Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) and National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER). Its venue will be at the KIIT University campus, which has a capacity to accommodate about 20,000 people. Around one lakh students are likely to participate in the Congress, which is being held in Odisha after a gap of 34 years, KIIT founder Achyuta Samanta said.

Hectic activities were seen in the KIIT University campus on the eve of the inauguration of the Congress as all the major programmes including the opening ceremony, Children`s Science Congress, Women`s Science Congress will be held in the same premises. The dining hall has been prepared to accommodate 3,000 people at a time, Samanta said.

Some of the focus areas of the Congress are climate change and food security, clean energy from renewable sources, space technology and human welfare, rural livelihood security, nanoscience and nanotechnology and food and nutrition security, according to NISER director T K Chandrashekar. About 1500 volunteers, including students of KIIT, have been engaged for smooth conduct of the Congress. Near the main Congress venue, an "Odishi Mandap" has been prepared to showcase the rich cultural heritage, art, history and traditions of the state.

The prestigious UNESCO-Kalinga award would be presented during the ISC while a science film festival would also be organised during the mega event. As a part of preparation, the road from Patia to Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) has been widened and the walls of different campuses decorated with wall paintings. The wall paintings show the theme of culture, history and heritage of Odisha while the wall paintings of the ISC venue having scientific theme. Elaborate security arrangements have been made in and around the KIIT University campus for the Congress as a precautionary measure.