Total visitors: since 25-02-04

CSIR NEWS

 

 

 

ISSN 0409-7467

 

 

VOLUME 54

NUMBER 1

15 JANUARY 2004

 

On-line Freeness Tester

 

Two units of the on‑line freeness tester were fabricated and supplied to M/s Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd, Erode, for trials. One of these was used as a calibration unit with circulation pump and storage tanks and the other installed for on‑line testing on a by‑pass line. Pulp from the CWP Refiner 1 on Paper Machine 5 was taken. The system  performed very well and the field results matched the lab results. Mill personnel have been trained on the operation and maintenance of the system. An operator's instruction booklet has also been provided to the users.

 

Features

        -              in the pits to monitor wood quality

        -          in beaters to track refining

        -          in head box to monitor blending, and

        -          after refiners.

 

Machine Vision System for On‑line Sorting and Grading of Fruits

 

THE Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute's Chennai Centre, has developed, with financial support from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, an on‑line system to sort out and grade fruits. This system will help the farming community to get proper market value of its produce, particularly through exports.

 

The system developed consists of a conveyor assembly, diffused uniform illumination system, CCD cameras and image processing algorithms. Though developed for sorting and grading of apples, it can also be used for other fruits like orange, mango and tomato. The system performs complex colour, size and shape based classification, comparable with human vision but with far greater speed, repeatability and reliability.

Features

 

C‑band 60 W Space TWT

THE C‑band 60 W space TWT designed by CEERI and jointly developed with BEL, Bangalore, has met all the electrical and RF specifications, including overall efficiency of more than 55% with the laboratory power supply. The tube was successfully packaged by BEL, based on CEERI design of potting and packaging with base‑plate and cover, as shown in the photograph. The packaged tube was tested on SAC designed Electronic Power Conditioner (EPC). It achieved 60 W power output over the required band of 3.6 GHz to 4.2 GHz at the desired beam voltage of 3.1 kV and beam current 75 mA. The overall efficiency with EPC was around 45‑50%.

Packaged Space TWT

 

New Project Briefs

 

1. Biscuit Inspection System (sponsored by Department of Science & Technology, Sanctioned amount: Rs 2.07 million)

 

The objective of the project is to develop a machine vision system capable of effectively measuring colour, physical dimensions like length, breadth and height, and dough consistency in a production plant, for controlling the quality of biscuits.

 

Industry Sponsor: M/s Virtual Instrumentation & Software Applications Pvt. Ltd, Chennai

Industry Facilitator: M/s Britannia Industries Limited (R&D Centre), Chennai

 

2. Software Tool for Herbal Authentication (sponsored by Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakal, Kerala and Department of Science & Technology through Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Sanctioned Amount: Rs 900,000).

 

Under this project, CEERI shall be developing an image processing software to help authenticate raw medicinal herbs, using their stem/root cross‑sectional images for isolating the genuine herbs and plants from their look alikes.

 

PL Host — Bioinformatics Software for Protein‑wise Comparison of Organisms

THE GN Ramachandran Knowledge Centre of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi, has indigenously developed a  bioinformatics software called PLHost.

 

The software makes a protein‑wise comparison of several organisms simultaneously and assigns functions to the proteins in a short period of time.

 

It has already been utilized to screen the SARS‑virus sequence and has managed to assign functions to about six out of the 11 proteins.

 

The software would help in identifying potential drug targets. Priced at $1,000 for academic institutions, the software empowers the `small machine' and runs on a Linux‑server.

 

Discovering functions of proteins based on various tools of comparative genomics is still a challenge in bioinformatics.

 

The indigenously developed software has been patented abroad and has helped identify around 70 new bacterial targets. IGIB has utilized the expertise of Ernst and Young to develop and market the software.

 

 

HOTSPOT Human cDNA Arrays

 

PRODUCED under a joint venture between the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and Genotypic Technology (P) Ltd, HOTSPOT arrays can cut down the analysis time by up to 90%. They consist of PCR amplified, sequence verified cDNA clones immobilized on a glass slide or nylon membrane.

 

The genes have been selected after extensive literature searches. The spots are duplicated and the arrays also contain positive and negative control spots.

 

 

Expression System for Producing Anthrax Vaccine

 

THE Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi, has developed an expression system for producing large amount of protective antigen protein of anthrax toxin. Immunization of animals with this protective antigen alone could save them from the lethal challenge posed by the spores of pathogen. The technology for anthrax vaccine developed in collaboration with the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been transferred for commercial exploitation. IGIB is also working on the development of molecular markers for pathogenic organisms, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

 

Supercritical Fluid Chromatograph Facility at IIP

 

DR K.S. Balaraman, Executive Director, Centre for High Technology (CHT), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, New Delhi, inaugurated the recently installed supercritical fluid chromatograph (SFC), a modern instrumental facility, on 16 December 2003 at the Analytical Sciences Division of Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun. It will be used for determination of total aromatics and polynuclear aromatic contents of diesel fuels as per standard test method ASTM‑D‑5186‑99 of ASTM, USA.

 

This facility for petroleum testing is available only at selected one or two laboratories in the entire country. At IIP, it has been procured at a cost of around Rs 3.40 million, with funding from CHT and IIP.

 

Dr M.O. Garg, Director; Dr A. Datta, Head, ASD; Dr I.D. Singh, Dr S.N. Sharma, Mr C.D. Sharma, Mr H.C. Chandola, Mr P.V. Dogra were among those present at the inaugural function. The function was organized by Mr Basant Kumar.

 

IIP gets ISO 9001:2000

 

THE Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun, has been recertified by DNV, New Delhi, for the New Quality Management System ISO 9001:2000 w.e.f. 16 December 2003, after intensive recertification audit  by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), New Delhi, on 15 & 16 December 2003. With this, IIP has become one of the few CSIR labs to have achieved this distinction. The institute was earlier certified by DNV, New Delhi, for ISO 9001:1994 version in 1998.

 

Under the leadership of Dr M.O. Garg, Director, IIP and with the thrust of IIP management to continuously improve the quality, the institute has revised its quality policy, setting new quality objectives. The New Quality Policy of the institute is:

 

 “Indian Institute of Petroleum is committed to excellence in Research and Development and in providing globally competitive technologies and technical services to hydrocarbon and related allied industries”.

 

For implementation of this new ISO System, the Consultancy Development Centre (CDC), New Delhi, rendered highly appreciable noteworthy services as ISO consultant to IIP.

 

According to Shri R.L. Mendiratta, Management Representative, ISO and Dr H.U. Khan, Scientist and Dy. M.R. ISRO, it is the result of team work, in which the cooperation of all the employees at all levels and quality leaders has helped in getting this prestigious ISO certification for implementation of this new Quality Management System. A task force has been constituted to continuously monitor the functioning of the laboratory to maintain quality as per the requirement of this new ISO standard.

 

 

In vitro Insulin‑resistant Skeletal Muscle Cell Model

 

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize‑winner Prof. Chinmoy Sankar Dey's Work

 

 

PROF.Chinmoy Sankar Dey, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), SAS Nagar (Mohali), Punjab, has been chosen, along with Dr Anil Kumar Mandal, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Medical Sciences, for the year 2003.

 

During the last five years Prof. Dey's laboratory has developed a novel model of insulin‑resistance in cultured skeletal muscle cells based on insulin signaling proteins. Using this model system, Prof. Dey and coworkers have identified p38 MAP kinase as a new drug target against insulin resistance and demonstrated the potential of this model for molecular target‑based screening of prospective anti‑diabetic compounds. They have also made fundamental contributions in elucidating insulin‑mediated complex interactions between extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton components, and a variety of signaling molecules in regulating diabetes and myogenesis. Furthermore, they have demonstrated that the interaction of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) with insulin possibly assumes a common target for integrin and growth factor signaling network in muscle cells and regulates myogenesis, which is in conformity with earlier reports on insulin resistance. This has resulted in publications in high‑impact peer‑reviewed international journals and filing of patents to USPTO and PCT. A summary of these major contributions follows:

 

A. Development of in vitro insulin‑resistant skeletal muscle cell model to screen the anti‑diabetic compounds against insulin resistance

 

By the year 2025, there will be approximately 300 million people affected by diabetes mellitus worldwide including India. Only a few animal models are available for screening anti‑diabetic agents. But there is not a single validated in vitro model of insulin resistance available to screen large number of anti‑diabetic agents. Prof. Dey's group has developed an insulin‑resistant skeletal muscle cell culture method based on the reduction in the tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor (IR) and insulin receptor substrate‑1 (IRS‑1) and decrease in glucose uptake. The model was validated by clinical drug, pioglitazone. This method of resistant myotube culture can be used to screen the compounds whereby any biological effect of the test compound on insulin signal transduction may be monitored by the increase in the activation of IR and IRS‑1. The model eliminates the need for the use of animals for primary screening of compounds. It is much cheaper, faster and reproducible as compared to the animal models. This model also has the potentiality to provide insights into the defects  in the signalling mechanisms in insulin resistance. This work has been filed for patent to USPTO and PCT.

 

B. Identification of new target(s) in insulin resistance and mechanism of drug action in in vitro insulin resistant skeletal muscle cells

 

Various mechanisms involved in the glucose uptake and in insulin resistance are incompletely understood. Result from Prof. Dey's laboratory showed that insulin activation of p38 was impaired in insulin resistant myotubes, which was restored by clinically used drugs like pioglitazone, metformin and gliclazide treatment (British Journal of Pharmacology; 137, 329, 2002; impact factor: 3.689; Biochemical Pharmacology; 65, 249, 2003; impact factor: 3.340); Journal of Experimental Biology; 205, 3739, 2002; impact factor: 1.989; Life Science; 2003, in press; impact factor: 1.824; Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 2003, in press; impact factor: 1.583).

 

 

C. Insulin signal transduction and FAK in myogenesis and muscular dystrophies

 

Prof. Dey and coworkers have reported for the first time that specific inhibition of insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity abolished the insulin‑mediated dephosphorylation of FAK (Cell Proliferation; 35, 131, 2002; impact factor: 0.955). FAK was directly associated with insulin receptors and dependent upon the association with PI 3‑kinase activity and MAP kinases (Journal of Cellular Physiology; 193, 187, 2002; impact factor: 3.474). PKC activation increased the tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK and paxillin as well as tyrosine kinase activity of FAK and was dependent upon integrity of actin cytoskeleton (Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility; 23/4, 269, 2002; impact factor: 2.117). It has also been demonstrated that PKC down regulation results in enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK, Cas and paxillin, thus promoting the establishment of Cas‑CrkII complex, leading to activation of JNK, and that these interactions are dependent upon the integrity of actin cytoskeleton during muscle cell differentiation (Differentiation; 70, 257, 2002; impact factor: 2.353). Interaction of FAK has been reported to be possibly involved in insulin resistance.

 

Prof. Chinmoy Sankar Dey (born, 18 March 1961, Kolkata) did his M.Sc. (Zoology) from the Calcutta University, in 1984 and Ph.D. from the Jadavpur University, in 1990. He was a Ph.D. Fellow at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology during 1984‑88; Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, USA, during 1991‑92; and Pool Officer at the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, during 1992‑94. He joined NIPER as Assistant Professor in 1994, became Associate Professor in 1999 and Professor in 2002 — the position which he holds till to date.

 

Prof. Dey has 40 publications, 1 US Patent, 1 PCT Patent (100 countries) and 2 Indian Patents to his credit. He has supervised 4 Ph.D. theses and 6 M.Sc. theses, and is presently supervising 3 more Ph.D. theses. He has served as a reviewer for Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology (Elsevier Science, USA), Federation of European Biochemical Society Letters (Elsevier Science, USA), Indian Journal of Medical Research, ICMR, New Delhi; Member, Editorial Committee of Current Research & Information in Pharmaceutical Sciences, NIPER; Member of the committees for evaluating project proposals submitted for funding to CSIR, ICMR & DST; and expert for evaluating Ph.D. theses submitted to Jadavpur University, Kolkata; and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has also served as a Sectional Secretary, 91st Indian Science Congress Association, 2003; Organising Secretary: Molecular Basis of Drug Discovery; Member, Organising Committee: Indo‑US Symposium on Recombinant DNA Technology and Its Application in Drug Discovery; and Member, Organizing Committee: Workshop on Molecular Modeling and Pharmainformatics, held at NIPER.

 

 

Fourth National Conference on Computer Applications in Mineral Industry

 

THE Fourth National Conference on Computer Applications in Mineral Industry (ICCAMI‑2003) was held on 7 & 8 November 2003 at Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Bhubaneswar.  The conference was attended by a large number of delegates representing mining, mineral and information technology industry, and educational and research institutions.

 

Welcoming the guests, Prof. Vibhuti N. Misra, Director, RRL – Bhubaneswar and Chairman, ICCAMI‑2003, said that computers play a vital role in all spheres of life and mineral industry should not lag behind.  He stressed the importance of IT applications in mineral industry.  Prof. D.D. Misra, Director, Central Mining Research Institute, Dhanbad and Co‑chairman, ICCAMI‑2003, spoke on the genesis of the series of conferences held on this topic in the past and explained the schedule of the present conference.  The Chief Guest Shri K.S. Raju, Controller General of Mines, Nagpur, stressed the need for adoption of computer‑enabled appropriate technology for enhancing productivity of the industry.  He said that India should not be carried away by the fast growing technology scenario in this field, but bring about changes that are very important particularly in the area of mine safety and mine planning.  Dr N. Ramakrishan, Director, Regional Research Laboratory, Bhopal and the Guest of Honour, gave an account of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and its application in assessing various parameters in cyclone separator.  Shri K.K. Rao, Scientist and Convener, ICCAMI‑2003, while giving the vote of thanks, expressed his gratitude to all sponsoring agencies who had extended their financial support to this conference.

 

Presentations were made on computer applications in mine planning, mine safety, and the importance of computers in communication systems in mines, process simulation studies, application of fluid dynamics in mineral processing, statistical designs & analysis and IT applications, system needs, system designs and computer networking were discussed.  Subjects covered include wireless networking systems for mining applications, blasting optimization & simulation, use of AUTOCAD in mine planning, IT auditing in mineral industry, blast information management system, analysis of material flow in a conical separation chamber using computer simulation, optimization technique using response surface methodology, computer applications in design & development of coal preparation, impact of IT for sustainable development in mineral sector, and application of neural network in mineral processing.  A paper on indigenous software developed for mine ventilation networks, application of internationally acclaimed software, SURPAC, was also presented.  All the papers presented have been published in the form of a proceeding volume.

 

The concluding session was chaired by Dr S.K. Tamotia, CEO and Vice President, INDAL.  Speaking on the occasion, Dr Tamotia said that the conference was of topical interest.  He gave a brief account of various computer applications implemented in aluminium industry and highlighted some examples of these at NALCO in the mining area.  He also stressed the need for cooperation among the industry, educational and research institutions for a heal‑ thy growth of this important area.

 

Indo‑US Workshop on Modelling of Transport of Air Pollutants

 

THE National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, organized a three‑day Workshop on `Modelling of Transport of Air Pollutant' in collaboration with Ohio Super Computer Center, USA, during 11‑13 November 2003.  The workshop was sponsored by Indo‑US Science and Technology Forum, Department of Science and Technology and CSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology, New Delhi.

The workshop was inaugurated by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Chairman, Task Force on Inter‑linking of Rivers, Government of India.  In his address Shri Prabhu expressed  that merely framing of laws and enforcing them will not solve the problem of pollution in the country.  People will have to  be given scientific evidence of potential damage to the environment owing to increasing pollution, to make them part of the world community that would help save our planet from destruction.  Modelling can act as a good scientific tool to prove the point to masses who suffer from the harmful effects of pollution. Environment can never be a concern of one country alone as the world is an integrated eco‑system and all countries are stake‑holders of environment. Scientific modeling should take roots in India as a tool that can generate awareness based on facts.  The collaboration between India and USA can yield good results as USA was a scientifically advanced country while India has the biggest pool of scientists in the world, Shri Prabhu added.

 

Dr Sukumar Devotta, Director, NEERI, gave the welcome address and listed R&D activities of NEERI in various fields.  He appreciated the keen interest and concern voiced by Shri Prabhu towards deteriorating environment and need to restore the same.

 

Dr Moti Mittal from Ohio Super Computer Centre, from Ohio, highlighted the workshop background and briefed about its objectives.  Dr R.N. Singh, ex‑Director, NEERI, proposed the vote of thanks.

 

The workshop was attended by five US Senior Scientists and about 20 Indian scientists from across the country, representing various institutions/organizations and around 15 papers were presented.  The topics covered ranged from application of various models to predict air quality, dispersion and transport of particulate matter, effects of air pollution on agriculture including soil health and productivity of crops, health problems owing to air pollution in rural and urban India, and indoor air pollution.

 

An Open Forum was conducted at the end of the workshop, which was chaired by Dr A.P. Mitra, ex‑Director‑General, CSIR.  In this session, summaries of individual sessions were presented.  Compatible research interests of USA and India in modelling air pollutants and emission were identified.  The workshop made a number of specific recommendations towards strengthening of collaboration between India and US regarding use of latest models and training of scientists from both the countries.

 

The workshop provided an excellent environment for promoting the dissemination of scientific information and exchange of ideas between US and Indian scientists.

 

 

Workshop on Solvent Extraction Technologies in Refineries

 

A 3‑day workshop entitled `Solvent Extraction Technologies in Refineries' was jointly organized by the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun and the Engineers India Ltd (EIL), New Delhi, during 29‑31 October 2003.  Twenty‑one participants from Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd; Indian Oil Corporation Ltd; Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Mumbai; Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Vizag; IOC‑Gujarat; IOC‑Haldia and Kochi Refineries Ltd attended the workshop.

 

In the refining industry, solvent extraction has emerged as an important process for separation, second only to distillation.  Its applications are wide, ranging from treatment of LPG down to lubes and short residues.  More recently, solvent extraction has also emerged as one of the key alternative to meet future fuels specifications, particularly with respect to aromatic and sulphur.  IIP and EIL have licensed technologies developed jointly to several units in Indian refineries.  These units cover the entire range – BTX extraction, food grade hexane / special boiling point solvents from naphtha, lube extraction, propane deasphalting, etc.  All of these units, based completely on indigenous know‑how, have been operating satisfactorily.

 

The workshop was inaugurated by Dr S.J. Chopra, Chancellor, University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Dehra Dun, who recalled his long association with IIP and the early years of collaborative research.  He highlighted the capabilities of IIP and EIL and emphasized the need for technological growth through collective efforts of researchers and industry.  He dwelt upon the importance of cooperative research and emphasized the direct participation of industry in such programmes for technological issues.  He said that applications of solvent extraction are vast and not confined to petroleum refining only.  He stressed that research in this area area should continue and lamented upon the fact that interest in solvent extraction among the academics is very less.

 

Dr A. Datta, a Senior Scientist at IIP, talked about the importance of organizing the programme, which took into consideration issues ranging from basic science to engineering.

 

Shri M.K. Joshi, GM (Process Design & Development), EIL, New Delhi, in his brief presentation gave a profile of EIL, its vision of becoming a globally competitive organization and its range of services.  He talked about the importance of clean fuels, para‑xylene production, flow scheme optimization, etc.  He emphasized upon the need for R&D process technology, challenges before the industry and capability of IIP and EIL in the area of refining.  He gave a brief account of the course schedule, its coverage and methodology.

The course contents were specifically designed to address the role of solvent extraction and to provide in‑depth knowledge on basics, process design, operation and advances in this area.  It was also intended to enable the participants to understand the interaction between the feed constituents and process operating conditions, and help them optimize their current operations.  The course covered recent applications for meeting Bharat‑II and Bharat‑III fuel specifications.

 

The inaugural address was followed by technical sessions where scientists/engineers of IIP and EIL delivered lectures.

 

Dr S.J. Chopra, Chancellor, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, highlighted the various separation processes used, their state‑of‑art and potential.  He stressed the need for basic research in understanding the science behind these processes and future R&D requirements for the development of indigenous technologies.

 

Dr M. O. Garg, Director, IIP, explained applications of solvent extraction in petroleum refining and emphasized the importance of characterization of feedstocks, solvent properties and thermodynamics in the designing of extraction columns.  He informed about various extractors and their design methodologies and recent developments in the extraction processes.

 

Dr M.K. Khanna, Scientist, IIP, described various solvent extraction technologies for the production of food grade hexane, Special boiling point solvents benzene, toluene and xylenes.  He also discussed about the IIP's recent work on cyclopentane, an environment‑friendly substitute for ozone depleting substances like CFCc smf HCFCs.

 

Dr G.S. Dang, Scientist, IIP, gave a presentation on solvent deasphalting of short residues.  He covered deasphalting process and effects of solvents, operating conditions and column internals on the process performance.  He also explained the energy efficient approach by using super critical route for the solvent recovery.

 

Shri R. S. Kaushik, Scientist, IIP, described the various solvent extraction technologies for lube base stock production and explained the merits and drawbacks of each process.  He also explained the Indian lubricant scenario and role of crude oil on the properties of lubricants.

 

Shri A. K. Jain, Senior Manager, EIL, covered the stage‑wise and rate‑based approaches used for the simulation of extraction columns.  He informed about the various thermodynamic models used for the representation of gas and liquid non idealities.

 

Shri S. K. Handa, Senior Manager, EIL, gave a lecture on technologies to meet future LOBS specifications.  He informed about specifications for Group I, II, III and IV lube base stocks.  He also covered the technologies for the production of these stocks.

 

Shri Handa and Shri Jain jointly discussed trouble shooting of extraction column operation.  They explained the various parameters which affect the operation of the extraction column and control techniques used for smooth operation of the plant.

 

The course concluded with a lecture by Dr S.M. Nanoti, Scientist, IIP, on `New Applications of Solvent Extraction Equipment'.

 

 

Workshop on Carrying Capacity‑based Development Planning of Damodar River Basin

 

THE Central Mining Research Institute (CMRI), Dhanbad, organized a Workshop on `Formulation of Follow‑up Actions for the Final Report on Carrying Capacity based Development Planning of Damodar River Basin' during 30‑31 August 2003.

 

Inaugurating the workshop, Shri R.R. Khan, Advisor (CT), Ministry of Environment & Forests (MOEF), Government of India, said, “The development of any region can only be sustained if it is within the carrying capacity of the region. Damodar river basin, which is one of the important mineralized zones of the country, has witnessed tremendous industrial growth, leading to serious environmental degradation and shortfall of basic amenities. The situation has further aggravated owing to pressure of added population which migrated to basin because of the job opportunities created as a result of increased industrial activities. Keeping this dismal situation in view, MOEF made CMRI a nodal agency of a study group in 1993 for investigating the carrying  capacity of the region and suggesting appropriate developmental plans for the basin”.

 

On this occasion, Shri Khan also released a research report prepared by the study group. According to the report, environmental pollution in the Damodar river  and adjoining areas was a result of unplanned mining practices in the past, and indiscriminate discharge to the river from washeries, thermal power plants, steel factories, coke ovens and domestic waste points has become a serious threat to the areas situated in the Damodar river basin of both Jharkhand and West Bengal.

 

Prof. D.D. Misra, Director, CMRI, while welcoming the guests and participants to the workshop, intimated that the project has been completed successfully in three phases. He also highly appreciated the cooperation received during the study from other organizations like NEERI (Nagpur), CME (ISM, Dhanbad), CISMHE of Delhi University, MECON (Ranchi), NISM (Kolkata) and DVC, which were closely associated with the project.

 

Prof. S.P. Banerjee, former Director, ISM and member of the Environmental Appraisal Committee on Mining, while explaining the intensity of pollution of the Jharia coalfield, dubbed Jharia as Ruhr of India, and also pointed out that Damodar river basin has great potential for development.

 

Prof. B.B. Dhar, former Director, CMRI, under whose stewardship this multi‑institutional mega project was initiated, said, “During 10 years of exhaustive study, efforts have been made to establish supportive capacity of natural and human resources and the regional assimilative capacity with respect to different co‑occupants of environment like land, bio‑diversity, air and water. A number of recommendations have also been made”. “Now it is time for take off. The concerned state governments should implement these recommendations so that development of the region continues”, he added.

 

Dr M.M. Bhattacharyya, Scientist G, CMRI, also spoke on the occasion.

 

Dr B.K. Tewary, Scientist F, CMRI and Convener and Coordinator of the workshop, expressed optimism about effectiveness of the futuristic model of the new concept of carrying capacity‑based development planning of the region presented by the study group.

 

The inaugural session was followed by technical sessions. In the first session, Dr C.V. Chalpati Rao, Scientist of NEERI, explained the concept of carrying capacity‑based development planning of Damodar river basin and Dr M.K. Chakraborty, Scientist, CMRI, explained the prevailing condition of the basin.

 

A press conference was also organized, where Prof. B.B. Dhar briefed the media about salient findings of the study. Prof. D.D. Misra, Shri R.R. Khan, Prof. S.P. Banerjee and Dr C.V. Chalapati Rao were also present.

 

On the next day, presentations were made on alternative and preferred scenarios during the second session.

The third session was devoted to finalizing the recommendations of the workshop, which included:

 

 

 

CGCRI celebrates CSIR Foundation Day

 

LIKE all other CSIR laboratories, the Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata, celebrated 26 September 2003 as the 61st Foundation Day of CSIR.

 

Prof. Bikash Sinha, Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) and Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) and Vice Chancellor, WB University of Technology, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Prof. K.L. Chopra, ex‑Director, IIT, Kanpur, was the Guest of Honour. Dr H.S. Maiti, Director, highlighted the significant R&D achievements of the institute, its future programmes and proposed new areas of R&D work. He also appreciated the contributions of the staff members and stressed the need for their continued dedication and sustained efforts in order to achieve the vision through the globally changed competitive research and developmental work in Science & Technology.

 

In his address, the Chief Guest reminded the Scientists and the Technologists their responsibility to the common people and expressed the need to reorient the work culture accordingly. The need of present time is to be the leaders in innovations and bring economic benefits to the nation rather than merely being followers, to attain global recognitions and competitiveness. He wished every success to this institute in its future R&D programmes.  Prof. K.L. Chopra lauded the institute for its R&D attainments.

 

The Chief Guest Prof. Sinha also presented mementoes to members of staff who had retired and those who had completed 25 years of service during the past one year. Prizes were given to the winners of various cultural competitions such as recitation, sit‑and‑draw, quiz, etc. held for the wards of the staff members and of the debate on `Astrology'/'Feng Sui is not a Scientific Subject', for the staff members. The institute observed `Open Day' for public and arranged an exhibition on its significant R&D achievements. Students of the local schools were invited to visit the institute provide them an opportunity to know about its R&D activities.

 

In the second part of the day, the concluding function of Hindi Week/ Fortnight and Fourth Golden Jubilee Lecture were arranged. Renowned essayist and Hindi writer Dr Krishna Behari Mishra delivered the fourth Golden Jubilee Lecture. Sahitya Academy Award recipient Padmashri Prof. Nabanita Deb Sen graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Dr H.S. Maiti, Director, presided over the function. Results of the competitions held during Hindi Week were declared and prizes were given to the winning participants by the Chief Guest.

 

Vote of thanks was offered by Shri S. Chakraborty, Vice Chairman, Official Language Implementation Committee.

 

An Organizing Committee and nine different sub‑committees under the Chairmanship of Dr Samir Kumar Das, Scientist `F', made the occasion a great success with their dedicated efforts.

 

 

CSIO celebrates Foundation Day

 

THE Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, celebrated its Foundation Day by organizing a guest lecture by Prof. R.S. Sirohi, Director, IIT‑Delhi, on `Technology & Nature' on 30 October.

In his address, Prof. Sirohi, highlighted that technology can be dangerous as well as useful, depending upon how it is used. Technological positive impacts have helped in fulfillment of our needs of shelter, food, clothing, health care, communication, transportation etc. The negative impacts of technology are terrorism, environmental pollution, global warming, increased consumerism and resource depletion. He elaborated how centralized living in cities and emergence of industrial areas have polluted the environment. He brought out how air, water and food pollution along with creation of slums has added to our woes. While use of plastics has led to negative impact, it cannot be denied that plastics are most useful materials. Plastic materials have saved close to 20 million trees over the past 10 years through their use as wood substitute. One cannot think of living without technological advancements in health care, which have reduced our sufferings. He concluded that whenever new technology and new materials are developed and put to use, one faces new challenges, but the solutions are also in our hands. The balancing act between technology and nature is the key.

 

Earlier, Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director, CSIO, welcomed the Chief Guest and highlighted the significance of the Foundation Day. Mentioning the achievements of CSIO, he informed the august gathering that this year has been a year of achievements for CSIO, as the organization bagged over 20 new projects while another 20 were successfully completed.

 

A major achievement was the signing of a Rs 1.5 crore agreement with Bharat Electronics Ltd for transfer of Head‑up Display (HUD) Technology. Held on 27 January 2003, the event was witnessed by Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for HRD and Science & Technology and Vice President, CSIR. This is highest ever in the history of CSIO. CSIO Annual Report for the year 2002‑03 was also released on this occasion.

 

The programme concluded with a vote of thanks by Shri J.K. Chhabra

 

 

CSIR Foundation Day and Hindi Fortnight Celebrations at CSIO

 

THE CSIR Foundation Day Celebration programme at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, included a lecture by Prof. B.D. Gupta, Emeritus Scientist, PGIMER, Chandigarh; observing open day for the general public; and presentation of mementoes to the staff members who had retired or completed 25 years of service. Essay writing, speech/ story/poem, and quiz competitions were also held and the winners were given prizes.

 

Prof. Gupta spoke on `Technology Development in Health Care and Emergence of Nano Technology in Medical Practice'. In a very simple language, he outlined the revolutionary changes taking place in the field of medical diagnostics and treatment. Some of these are small sized robots which can be administered in the blood streams and these robots can sense and cure as well. Administration of small doses of medicines at required site as per need and molecular or atomic level monitoring of body biochemicals is already a reality and not a science fiction. Small sensors would make diagnostics possible in real time so that treatment can start even before the symptoms appear.

 

Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director, CSIO, welcomed the Chief Guest and highlighted some of the up‑coming, new and revolutionary technologies in the field. He also presented an overview of the future plans of CSIO.

 

CSIO celebrated Hindi Pakhwara (fortnight) during 14‑26 September 2003. Various competitions were organized to encourage the progressive use of Official Language Hindi in day to day work. These competitions received an overwhelming response from the employees. The chief guest gave away the cash prizes to the winners.

 

Shri J.K. Chhabra, Co‑ordinator of the programme, proposed a vote of thanks.

 

 

RRL – Thiruvananthapuram celebrates Silver Jubilee

 

THE Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Thiruvananthapuram, celebrated its Silver Jubilee Foundation Day on 6 October 2003. The Foundation Day lecture was delivered by Dr Harsh K. Gupta, Secretary, Department of Ocean Development, Government of India, on `Global Scenario of Exploring the Ocean'. Dr B.C. Pai, Acting Director of the laboratory, presided over the function.

 

RRL‑T celebrated its Silver Jubilee Year (2002‑2003) and organized several programmes, including one international and five national seminars during the year.

 

The laboratory was kept `Open' for the public and more than 200 students from various colleges and university departments from Kerala and adjoining states visited the laboratory. The visitors were shown the video describing the achievements of CSIR, followed by those of RRL‑T. They were also taken to various sections of the laboratory. RRL scientists and research fellows explained the various research activities of the laboratory.

 

 A quiz competition was organized for the children of the staff of the laboratory and also for selected students from various schools in Thiruvananthapuram.

 

The RRL Recreation Club organized a cultural evening for the staff and family of the laboratory.

 

The prizes for the science quiz conducted by the Academic Programme Committee as well as various competitions conducted by the club were presented in this function.

 

Cleaner and Greener is SmarterCSIR Diamond Jubilee Lecture by Prof. M.M. Sharma at NEERI
 

PROFESSOR M.M. Sharma, FRS, Emeritus Professor of Eminence, University Institute of Chemical Technology (UICT), Mumbai and a doyen of chemical engineering, delivered the CSIR Diamond Jubilee Lecture on `Cleaner and Greener is Smarter' on 22 September 2003 at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur. Prof. Sharma spoke on various aspects of green chemistry and green engineering and cited several chemical reactions and processes to show that cleaner and greener technologies can be designed for almost all processes to make these environmentally benign. Tracing the history of chemical processes from 1860 till date, Prof. Sharma said that history of chemical industry is replete with penchant for green technology and proactive manoeuveres. He gave the classic example of LeBlanch process for soda‑ash manufacture which was later on replaced by much cleaner Solvay process. He explained that over the years, process of manufacture of caustic soda has changed from causticization of soda ash to modern membrane cell which may well witness in‑built fuel cell to further cut down energy consumption. He then cited the example of lead chamber process for sulphuric acid which was subsequently replaced by the cleaner Double Contact Double Absorption (DCDA) process to cut down SO2 emissions. He also explained how tanning of leather was made cleaner by using new chromium complexes and also the retention of chromium increased to 98%., He also gave examples of chemical processes in which use of hazardous acetylene was replaced by non‑hazardous ethylene for making the process environment friendly. Prof. Sharma said that organic processes can be made cleaner and more efficient by appropriate modifications. He gave the example of synthesis of ethylene oxide by chlorohydrin process which was suitably replaced by cleaner process involving direct oxidation of ethylene with oxygen.

 

Prof. Sharma also cited the improvements in AlCl3 catalyzed reactions in which recovery of dissolved AlCl3 was done in the form of saleable Poly Aluminium Chloride (PAC). To illustrate that chemical processes can be made cleaner and greener by the replacement of toxic chemicals by safer chemicals, Prof. Sharma gave examples of synthetic reactions in which highly toxic phosgene and HCN are replaced by non‑toxic chemicals. He gave several examples, where changeover from high pressure to low pressure operation mode made the chemical process safer. He also gave examples to show how safer and cleaner processes can be developed by changing the mode of operation from batch to continuous. He also explained how developments in superior materials of construction such as titanium and tantalum lined vessels have enhanced the safety of chemical reactions and processes.

 

Prof. Sharma gave many examples of chemical processes in which the principle of recovery and reuse is applied for converting liabilities into assets and waste into value‑added products. The classic example cited by him was the recovery of phenolic substances (phenol, cresol, resorcinol, nitrophenol, etc.) from wastewaters and flue gas desulphurization with lime slurry to give gypsum of board grade/cement grade. Another example cited by him was the recovery of H2S from sour natural gas and from hydro‑desulphurization processes. Recovery of H2S via absorption/desorption as well as conversion of H2S to sulphur via Claus Process is a typical example of successful green technology, he pointed out.

 

Stressing the importance of membrane technology in making chemical processes cleaner and energy efficient, Prof. Sharma gave the classic example of drinking/process water from sea water, using reverse osmosis (RO). He further said that nanofiltration (NF) is allowing recovery of organic solutes with molecular weight greater than 250, even in highly polar medium of methanol/DMF/acetonitrile, etc. Prof. Sharma mentioned that the contribution of different membrane separation from microfiltration to ultrafiltration to RO to NF can solve a variety of problems in a cost‑effective way.

 

Prof. Sharma concluded his lecture by stating that cleaner and greener technologies are definitely smarter and are also rewarding to the chemical industries as well as to the academicians.

 

Earlier, Dr Sukumar Devotta, Director, NEERI, introduced Prof. Sharma to the gathering and recalled his early encounters with him. Dr Devotta described  Prof. Sharma as a moving encyclopedia and paid rich tributes to his outstanding talents and academic achievements which have won him many national and international honours and awards.

 

The CSIR Diamond Jubilee Lecture was attended by a large number of renowned scientists, academicians, and media representatives of Nagpur, besides scientists from NEERI.

 

The programme was compered by Dr (Mrs.) Atya Kapley. Vote of thanks was proposed by Dr S.P. Pande, Scientist & Head, RPBD Division.

 

 

NGRI Foundation Day Lecture

 

SHRI Kuldeep Chandra, former Executive Director, KDMPIPE, ONGCL, delivered the NGRI Foundation Day Lecture `Petroleum Systems in Sedimentary Basins in India: Stratigraphic and geophysical perspectives' on 11 October 2003. In his lecture he pointed out, “sedimentary basins are ubiquitous habitats of petroleum and provide 50% of commercial energy in the shape of crude oil and natural gas. It is geophysics which has made petroleum exploration a truly scientific and technological endeavour”.

 

He explained the recently developed petroleum system approach and underlined the need for understanding of petroleum system for successful and efficient petroleum exploration. He overviewed the concept of petroleum system and described the petroleum system for the Cambay and KG basins as examples.

 

He said that among various petroleum systems, the Cambay – Hazad and Panna‑Bombay petroleum systems have continued to be of interest for exploration as these are associated with good quality volumetrically significant source rocks and extensive reservoir rocks.

 

Earlier, Dr V.P. Dimri, Director, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, introduced the speaker.

 

 

Dr S.P. Chavan bags OPPI Scientist Award

 

DR S.P. Chavan, a Senior Scientist in the Division of Organic Chemistry: Technology at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, has been awarded the `OPPI Scientist Award: 2003' of the Organization of the Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), Mumbai, for his research in the area of pharmaceutical chemistry. The panel of judges in particular appreciated Dr Chavan's work on the development of novel, non‑infringing patentable processes for advanced pharmaceutical intermediates.

 

The award, carrying a memento, a citation and a cash prize of Rs 25,000 was presented to him by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minster for Health & Family Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs at the 37 Annual General Meeting of OPPI on 27 September in Mumbai.

 

Dr Chavan has made outstanding contributions to the total synthesis of various complex biologically active compounds and developed some extremely exciting synthetic methodologies. He has made original contributions to the synthesis of novel therapeutic drugs of diverse nature by developing stereoselective synthesis of natural products.

 

His current areas of interest include strategies towards the synthesis of biologically active compounds, natural and non‑natural products, novel methodologies for functional group transformations using mild conditions and catalytic protocol and metal oxide as well as zeolite – mediated transformations, enzyme – mediated transformations and processes for commercially important chemicals.

 

Dr Chavan has more than 57 international publications, eight U.S. patents and several Indian patents to his name. He has so far guided nine Ph.D. students.

 

 

Prof. Ashok Pandey nominated as Chairman of ISFAE (F&H)

 

PROF. Ashok Pandey, Head of the Biotechnology Division, Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Thiruvananthapuram, has been nominated as the Chairman of prestigious International Society of Food, Agriculture and Environment (ISFAE) (Food & Health Section). The society has its headquarters at Finland and is promoted by World Food RD, Finland. Dr Pandey is also an Editorial Board member of International Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment, published by ISFAE. He is also on the Editorial Boards of Process Biochemistry, Bioresource Technology, Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology, Indian Journal of Biotechnology, Indian Journal of Microbiology, Journal of Microbial World, Bhartiya Vaigyanik avm Audyogik Anusandhan Patrika and Journal Chemtracks.