State planning to start three regional science centres: VS

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here on Monday that the State government was planning to establish ‘science cities' in every district in an effort to tap young talent in the field of science and technology from the rural areas of the State.

Inaugurating the National Technology Day programmes organised by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, Mr. Achuthanandan said the government would also start three ‘regional science centres' in the State.

“The Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) will also be implementing region- specific development projects using modern technologies in the backward regions of the State,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the State government had already implemented various schemes for the development of science and technology like the renovation of Malabar Botanical Garden at Kozhikode, setting up of the School for Mathematics in Kozhikode and the Centre for DNA Bar Coding for preparing a database of endangered flora and fauna of the Western Ghats.

Focus on biotechnology

“In view of the possibilities in the field of biotechnology, the State government has also set up the Biotechnology Commission. The government will take steps to leverage the findings in the field for industrial purposes,” Mr. Achuthanandan said.

He added that the KSCSTE had also been directed to set up an environmental science institution to study the implications of industrialisation and modern lifestyle on our environment.

Awards

Mr. Achuthanandan also presented the Science Literature Awards at the function. M.R.C. Nair, P. Sujanapal, H. Nagesh Prabhu, Payas O.L., Sajeev V.B., K. Babu Joseph and Adarsh V.K. won the awards this year.

Education Minister M.A. Baby, who presided, said the State government had devised schemes to make a conscious intervention to develop scientific temperament among students.

“We are implementing a project by which talented school students, studying from class eight to 12 and selected through written tests, are exposed to the best science resources, laboratories and faculties available in the universities and higher education institutions in the State,” Mr. Baby said.

“Besides, the government has also set apart Rs.15 crore for providing scholarships to deserving students for pursuing higher education in social sciences and basic sciences,” he said.

Delivering the keynote address, University of Kerala Vice-Chancellor A. Jayakrishnan said although India produced the highest number of engineering graduates every year, the quality of higher education in the country was not comparable to that of foreign countries.

“There is a direct link between quality of education and technology. Quality of university education is also an important factor for determining the quality of competence and prosperity of a country,” he said.

KSCSTE Joint Director Ajit Prabhu V. and Executive President C.T.S. Nair were also present at the function.

The inaugural function was followed by technical sessions on ‘Green Technologies for Sustainable Development' by R.V.G. Menon and ‘Creative Technology Projects' by honorary director of Centre for Bioinformatics Achuthsankar S. Nair.

Planetarium show

School and college students who participated in the programme were also taken for a special planetarium show and visit to the Science and Technology Museum.