To sign MoU to hand over CESS to Union Ministry soon

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Monday that the State government would soon sign a memorandum of understanding with the Centre to hand over the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) to the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Speaking after presenting the third Kerala Sasthrapuraskaram to M.S. Valiathan, he said the government was willing to hand over more State-managed scientific institutions if the Centre expressed interest. “Last week, the Union Cabinet had approved the takeover of CESS from the Government of Kerala,” he said.

Citing the case of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Mr. Chandy said the transfer of CESS to the Centre would enable it to flourish into a centre of national importance. The State, he said, has limitations in funding the development of scientific research institutions to the extent that the Union government can do.

Mr. Chandy said Kerala had responded favourably to a proposal to hand over the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute here to the Centre. The Chief Minister stressed the need to encourage young scientists and develop their talents.

Delivering the Sastrapuraskaram Oration after receiving the award, Dr. Valiathan warned that research institutions in the State would be rendered rudderless if they deviated from their stated objectives. He recalled the 1970s as the golden era for the science and technology sector in the State, marked by the establishment of institutions such as the Centre for Development Studies, Keltron, the Sree Chitra institute, CESS, the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, the Kerala Forest Research Institute and the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute. “The Achutha Menon government had clear objectives in setting up these institutions which flourished over the years. These objectives are relevant even today and any attempt to deviate from them will cause these institutions to drift aimlessly,” he said.

The Kerala Sastrapuraskaram is an annual award instituted by the government to honour outstanding scientists of Kerala origin. It carries a cash award of Rs.1,00,000, a citation and a memento. This year, the award committee, headed by R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, unanimously selected Dr. Valiathan for his outstanding lifelong accomplishments in the field of medical science. Besides his numerous contributions to the treatment of cardiac diseases and cardiac surgery, Prof. Valiathan is respected for his visionary role in twinning the sectors of medicine and technology.