Science Cong ends sans venue for next meet

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Visakhapatnam, January 8: | Updated: Jan 9 2008, 02:02am hrs
The 95th Indian Science Congress came to a close on Monday, failing to decide on the venue and the theme for the next Congress to be scheduled in early January next year. Intense discussions which ran into extra hours could not resolve the issue.

The General President of the 96th Indian Science Congress- 2009, T Ramaswami, who is also the Secretary in the Department of Science and Technology at the Centre, however, indicated that the theme for the next Congress would be science education and its relevance to society.

As per convention, the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Madhavan Nair was elected General President for the 97 th Indian Science Congress.

The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh while inaugurating the 95th Indian Science Congress had said : Let us make the year 2008, the year of revitalising science education in India.

He said that the Centre would work with the state governments and universities for launching a new revolution in modern education, particularly relating to science education.

Five possible options for the venue for the next Congress are, however, before the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). They are, Northeast Hill University, Shillong, Nagpur University, Nagpur, Punjab University, Chandigarh, National Institute of Technology (deemed university, Suratkal near Mangalore and Magadh University, Bodhgaya.

The ISCA decided to form panels which would review the viability of the proposed venue for holding the next Congress, particularly relating to accommodation and connectivity The five panels will have three common members.

After the reports of the five panels, ISCA will take a decision on the venue within next two months, said the General President of the 95 th Indian Science Congress, R Ramamurthi.

According to sources, Shillong may be the possible venue with a view to give chance to the northeastern part of the country a chance to host the prestigious conference. Others are of the view that the ruling UPA government at the centre may want the next Congress to be hosted in one of the Congress-ruled state.

Though ISCA is an autonomous body based in Kolkata, it depends upon funding from the Centre to convene its annual ritual Science Congress.

Some are pressing for Bodhgaya to be the venue as it is a pilgrimage centre and the state government is building a big convention centre in collaboration with the private sector. However, the place suffers from bad air connectivity.

The nearest airstrip at Gaya has no direct flight connectivity to any city in the country, expect Kolkata. Gaya has international flights from Bangkok and Sri Lanka via Kolkata. Gaya , however, receives some charterd flights.