Lack of plan leads to chaos at Science Congress

The third day of the Indian Science Congress witnessed chaos and confusion after its general president R C Sobti left the mega congregation of scientists with delegates alleging that it is the worst-managed science congress ever.

The reason for Sobti’s departure was Thursday’s meeting of vice-chancellors (VCs) with President Pranab Mukherjee, which exposes lack of coordination within the government.

“He is one of the 50-odd VCs meeting the President, while he is the main person in the science congress. He should have stayed back,” a former general president of Indian Science Congress told Deccan Herald.

Most of the first grade researchers and top brass of various science departments skipped the event.

Sample this: On Wednesday, veteran fossil hunter Ashok Sahni was to chair a symposium in the morning. When scientists and delegates reached the venue, they came to know that the session’s chairman was absent.

A retired professor of Jammu University contacted Sahni, who in turn pointed out that university officials sought his concurrence a few months ago but there was no follow up later. As a result, he did not even know that he was to chair a session.

Organisation of technical events was so chaotic that a few hours after its inauguration, Department of Science and Technology Secretary T Ramasami had to open the lock of a seminar room by himself and arrange for a projector from another department to start a session he was chairing.

The original venue of his session was changed at the last moment to accommodate a cultural event without any alternative arrangement. Chaotic scenes were seen in the registration counters daily and many delegates did not even receive a programme copy.

When officials from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) began their public outreach programme on nuclear energy on Wednesday, there were only seven men in the audience, six of them being DAE scientists waiting to make their presentation.

Bharat Ratna C N R Rao missed the 101 session of science congress though his name figures prominently in the programme and he was present in Delhi almost at the same time.

Months after sending a space probe to the Mars, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) skipped the five-day science meet inaugurated by the Prime Minister. “We are not participating due to austerity measures,” said an Isro spokesperson.

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