Imphal > Shifting of venue at the last minute has hit the Indian Science Congress (ISC) hard, organisers said, adding that fewer delegates will attend the science carnival starting here today and plenary sessions will not be held.
As many as 12 nobel laureates, who had confirmed their participation in the ISC, have backed out due to change of dates from January to March.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the science carnival today. It will continue till March 20.
The annual science carnival was to take place from January 3-7 this year at Osmania University in Hyderabad. However, the varsity later conveyed its inability to host the ISC due to tensions on the campus.
Following this, the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) decided that any university that wishes to host the ISC in the future must produce a letter from the chief minister and the governor of that particular state assuring all support to the event.
ISCA general president Achyuta Samanta said nearly 12,000 delegates, scientists and academicians attend the ISC, but this time the number will dip to 5,000.
"Twelve nobel laureates had confirmed their participation. But due to change of dates, they will not attend the event," Samanta said, adding that nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus may participate in the science carnival. Ashok Saxena, the former general president of the ISCA, said every year the ISC has 32 plenary sessions with experts from across the world taking part and this gives students an opportunity to interact with them. However, Samanta said, "There will be no plenary session this year."
The organisers have blamed the Osmania University for their “hardships”. "They (the Osmania University) have damaged us. We are the one who are suffering," Saxena said. The new dates of the Indian Science Congress have clashed with exam schedules of students. Several delegates had to face monetary loss due to cancellation of tickets, the organisers said.
"The nearest railway station is at Dimapur (Nagaland). Then the delegates have to travel by road to reach Imphal in Manipur. This has led to several of them cancelling their plans," Saxena said.
This is also perhaps the first time that the ISC had to be postponed. After the Osmania University expressed its inability to host the event, the ISCA got requests from five varsities, including the Manipur University to host the science carnival.
With militant outfits calling for a bandh in Imphal tomorrow, vice-chancellor of Manipur University Adya Prasad Pandey, has appealed to them to not to bother the university staff and students who are assisting the delegates in reaching Imphal.
The ISC will have sectional seminars on Agriculture and Forestry Science, Animal, Veterinary and Fishery Science, Chemical Science, Earth System Science, Engineering Science, Material Science, Mathematical Science, Medical Science, New Biology, Physical Science and Plant Science.
Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya will inaugurate the Children Science Congress on March 17 while his West Bengal counterpart Keshari Nath Tripathi will inaugurate the Women Science Congress the next day.
The ISC is an annual event, usually held in the first week of January, and is attended by top scientists from the country and also from different parts of the world. The last science congress was held at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh in January this year.