26th Children’s Science Congress off to a start

BHUBANESWAR: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday inaugurated the 26th National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) at Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (deemed to be) University here.

“The theme of the NCSC this year — Science, Technology and Innovation for a Clean, Green and Healthy Nation — has been aptly chosen as environment and health have emerged as the two major concerns of our times,” he said. “Technology plays a very important role in improving the quality of our lives. I think it is our collective responsibility to inspire the younger generation to take up innovative research in this direction,” he further said.

Naveen added that the NCSC aimed at inculcating a spirit of scientific research among children and his government had been focussing on the same by organising different science-based programmes at various levels. “We are establishing science parks and planetariums in districts to create an interest in various aspects of science and technology among the children,” he explained.

Describing Bhubaneswar as an emerging knowledge hub of eastern India with world-class educational and research institutions such as IIT, AIIMS, NISER, Institute of Physics and Institute of Life Science, Naveen told the delegates, “The city has a glorious heritage. I am sure you will enjoy your stay here.”

Nearly 800 children from across India and 10 Asean and five Gulf countries, besides 400 scientists, evaluators, mentors and parents, are attending the science congress. They will showcase innovative projects at the congress from Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, science and technology minister Badri Narayan Patra said, “A nation’s progress is invariably linked to science and technology. Indian scientists have achieved the feat of putting the Mangalayaan in the Mars orbit in their very first attempt, earning kudos from the global scientific community. The NCSC will go a long way in helping children take to science in a big way.”

Around 56 per cent of the participants in the NCSC this year were girls; attempts were being made to bridge the rural-urban gap with 40 per cent of the children coming from rural areas, said S Banerjee, coordinator of the congress. “The NCSC is a festival of science. Dream big so that you will achieve big,” he told the participants.

Adrija Gautam, a student of Class VII from Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, who has made a project on Waste to Wealth, said, “We are feeling awesome in Bhubaneswar and are excited to see Konark and the sea beach.”

The chief minister also released a special postal cover to mark the occasion. Among others, chief secretary A P Padhi, vice-chancellor of SOA Amit Banerjee, chairman of the National Academic Committee for NCSC T P Raghunath and science and technology secretary N K Dhal, were present on the occasion.