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CSIR NEWS

 

 

 

ISSN 0409-7467

VOLUME 54

NUMBER 17

15 SEPTEMBER 2004

 

 

 

 

However, a major factor in the unsuccessful commercialization of bio‑inoculants has been the inconsistency of field test results as their establishment and performance are severely effected by environmental factors especially under stress conditions encountered in soil e.g., salt, pH, and temperature. Therefore, it would be desirable to provide stress tolerant microbes as inoculants.

 

The National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, has developed novel plant growth promoting microorganisms (Pseudomonas and Bacillus and Trichoderma strains) based products, which have the ability to control phytopathogenic fungi, promote plant growth, tolerate abiotic stresses, and solubilize phosphate even under abiotic stress conditions. The products are useful as plant growth enhancers and biofungicides for seed, soil and foliar applications. The products are backed by years of working experience in the area of Agricultural Biotechnology. The technology is scientifically sound, easy to use, and proven to deliver consistent and meaningful value.

 

Dr H. B. Singh, Head, Plant Pathology Group, NBRI, has developed the technology  in collaboration with Shri Chandra Shekhar Nautiyal, Head, Microbiology Group, NBRI, under the guidance of Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI. The microbes have been carefully isolated, identified and characterized under quality‑controlled conditions. NBRI has invented the process of commercial manufacturing for the products in view of local needs and/or national / international marketability potential. The powerful consortium consisting of novel Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Trichoderma strains constitutes a synergistic, stable blend of inoculants that may be applied to agronomic crops, flowers, vegetables, to digest organic wastes such as pressmud, farm manure and vermicompost etc., and to recover degraded ecosystems.

 

Gujarat Agri Processing Company Ltd, (GAPC), Vadodara, a company jointly promoted by Gujarat State Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd, (GSFC), Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation (GAIC) and Gujarat National Fertilizers Company Ltd, (GNFC) has signed an agreement for the Trichoderma technology transfer between NBRI and GAPC. GAPC is paying license fee as royalty to NBRI for providing this technology. Under the technology transfer, NBRI will provide GAPC with mother cultures, process parameters, help in setting up production units, QC/QA, and R&D for better formulations. Due to proven quality production capabilities and intensive marketing and national network of GAPC, the technology transfer will ensure that the maximum benefit reaches the farming communities. In terms of societal benefits, the value of this technology is immense due to improvement of soil and plant health, thereby ensuring high productivity and environmentally sound and sustainable agriculture. This technology made available to the farmers is one of the major contributions of NBRI in the service of nation.

 

 

CIM Tea—CIMAP's Value-added Health Drink

 

THE ordinary tea available in the markets consists of the processed leaves of one species of Camelia sinensis, though blends such as Tulsi-blend etc., are also available. `CIM-Tea' developed by the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Lucknow, is the product of a strategic combination of tea with medicinally important plants especially a sweet mint genotype CIM Madhuras of Mentha piperita, which has sweet aroma, and cooling and refreshing effect, with a special variety of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) which has anti-microbial and expectorant properties, and also some other especially selected plant species possessing anti-oxidant properties. The sugar has been replaced by super-sweet Stevia. All the plants used are of defined genotypes with known quality standards available only with CIMAP. The product has been tested for oral toxicity and the animals checked for any biochemical abnormality.

 

Such a combination is not available in the market. Volunteers have appreciated the aroma as well as the typically mood-refreshing effect of the tea whether served as hot or cold beverage.

 

CIMAP is now approaching the tea companies for technology transfer of `CIM-Tea.'

 

 

Pest‑resistant Plants from NCL

 

THE National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune has demonstrated the effectiveness of a novel approach to thwarting pests by identifying proteinase inhibitors (PIs) that could be used to develop a pest‑resistant variety of chickpea. This approach embodies environment‑friendly agriculture with decreased use of energy and chemicals and without the risk of releasing pesticides into the environment.

 

To defend themselves against insect attack, plants synthesize a wide range of molecules. Of these, the PIs, which are part of the plants natural defense system, block the digestive capabilities of the insect and so, are detrimental to the growth, development and reproductive potential of insects. However, the proteinase inhibitor synthesized by a plant might not be effective against all insects. To engineer defence against an insect, the particular proteinase inhibitor that inhibits growth of that specific insect has to be identified. Plants that do not naturally produce such PI can then be protected against that specific insect by transferring the genes responsible for production of that specific PI to its genome. This will produce a transgenic or genetically engineered plant variety that is inherently pest‑resistant thus negating the use of chemical pesticides.

 

 

The Gram Pod Borer (Helicoverpa armigera) is a devastating pest of many commercially important crop plants including cotton, chickpea, pigeonpea, sunflower, tomato and okra. Dr Vidya Gupta and her team at NCL found that the Pod borer disarms the host plant's natural defense mechanism by inactivating proteinase inhibitors and, then feeds on them. As the PI found in the host plant is ineffective, Dr Gupta's team screened several other plants that were resistant to the Pod Borer and identified PIs from these plants. Their studies revealed that when PIs from winged bean, bitter gourd, capsicum, potato and groundnut were fed to the Pod Borer, its growth and, egg‑laying/hatching abilities were dramatically retarded.

 

Dr Gupta's team focused on four PIs from the seeds of wing bean that were found to be most effective against the Pod Borer. They then isolated the genes responsible for these PIs and successfully transferred these genes to bacteria and yeast. The PIs synthesized by these organisms show effective activity against the Pod Borer. The NCL team is now working towards transfer of these genes to plants (specifically the chickpea that is very susceptible to this pest).

 

This significance of this work has merited recognition and it has been highlighted on cover page of the journal Phytochemistry‑‑ the international journal of plant chemistry and plant  biochemistry  and molecular biology.

 

 

Inauguration of Journal Bearing Rig

 

SHRI S.C.Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India, inaugurated the Journal Bearing Rig at the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun on 31July 2004.

 

Shri S.C.Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, inaugurating the
 Journal Bearing Rig at IIP. Dr M.O. Garg and Dr Y.B. Sinha (ONGC) are also seen

 

This is a specially designed, fully instrumented and automated rig with unique features and the first of its kind in the country.  It can be operated under wide range of tribological conditions covering all regimes of lubrication from boundary to fully developed hydrodynamic regime to study boundary lubrication mechanism in the area of nano‑tribology.  The studies include characterization of lubricant additives molecules for their physical and chemical properties, nano‑tribological studies, molecular modelling and macro‑tribological stud‑ies to elucidate actual performance in engineer‑ing applications.  The rig will be used to validate the structure‑performan‑ces relations at the molecular and nano‑ tribological scale. The knowledge generated from the approach being followed in the project is expected to lead to 'designer'lubricant additive molecules.

 

 

Shri S. C. Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas stresses Need to Build Linkages Between Research and Application Sectors

 

SHRI S.C. Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India, while visiting the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), DehraDun on 31st July 2004, underlined the gap between the academic institutions and the industry and the role CSIR laboratories can play in bridging this gap.  He highlighted the unique situation of the IIP and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and said that a synergy between the two can set an example.  The oil companies can take advantage of the demonstration units set up by such research institutions.  Stressing upon the need to build linkages between the research and application sectors to achieve their common goal, he pointed out the need to indigenize, upgrade and modernize the technologies that have been already developed .  “We may file many patents and publish many papers, but what the commercial companies are looking for is profit,” he said. `Critical mass' is necessary, he said, "to bring the lab work to the commercial field.”

Shri S.C. Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas addressing scientists of IIP

 

Earlier Dr M.O. Garg, Director, IIP, welcomed Shri S.C. Tripathi and talked about the role of IIP in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.  Dr Garg also presented a graphic profile of the IIP and suggested that with its huge knowledge base, IIP could also serve as a Think Tank for the oil industry.

 

Shri Y.B. Sinha, Director (Exploration), ONGC, talked about the present ONGC‑IIP relationship and emphasized the need to generate true value for crude oil.  Referring to helium extraction and other topics, he hoped for a future cooperation with the IIP. Dr Mahendra Pal, Senior Scientist, IIP, conducted the programme and proposed a vote of thanks.

 

An in‑camera meeting of Shri Tripathi with the senior scientists of the institute followed the talk.  Shri Tripathi proposed greater interaction with the oil industry so that these can benefit from the research findings of the institute.  He wished the scientists great success.  Shri Tripathi  visited the various laboratories of the institute viz. Adsorption Lab, Biodiesel Pilot Plant, Crude‑Evaluation Lab, Nano Tribology Lab and Engine Testing Lab of the institute.

 

 

Seminar on Recent Trends in Building Materials

 

THE Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Bhopal, recently organized a seminar on `Recent Trends in Building Materials', jointly with Materials Research Society of India, Bhopal Chapter. It was sponsored by CSIR, New Delhi; CBRI, Roorkee; DST, New Delhi; BRNS, Mumbai; BMTPC, New Delhi; MPCST, Bhopal; HUDCO, New Delhi; NALCO, Bhubaneswar; MOEF, New Delhi and Millipore, Bangalore.

 

While inaugurating the seminar, Dr Ramprasad, VC, Barkatullah University, Bhopal, who was the Chief Guest, underlined the role of RRL in developing new building materials from wastes such as fly ash etc, which are otherwise great environmental hazards. Disposal of industrial wastes, is a big problem, he said. He exhorted the NGOs to promote the use of non‑conventional building materials through skilled persons, as they are the best ambassadors for propagation of such materials.

 

Dr V. Suresh, Ex. CMD, HUDCO, New Delhi, who was the Guest of Honour, in his address highlighted the steep rise in housing finance volume and so underlined the growth of housing sector. He said that there is a need for developing energy saving and disaster resistant building materials. Low cost materials should mean – cheaper, durable and good quality material instead of cheap and low‑grade materials, he said. He suggested that new materials should also be included in the syllabi of universities and new quality standards should be made for them.

 

Earlier, Dr N. Ramakrishnan, Director, RRL, Bhopal, introduced the theme of the seminar and advised that special disaster resistant building materials should be developed, and their quality and cost effectiveness should be improved. There is a need for customization of these materials as per the requirements.

 

Convener of the seminar and Scientist, RRL, Dr Mohini Saxena highlighted the recent trends in building materials developed from industrial wastes such as fly ash, red mud, mine tailings, phosphogypsum etc. Use of these new materials will save the environment abating pollution and abandoning deforestation. More R&D efforts should be made in the area of rural and low cost housing, she said.

 

The Chief Guest released the souvenir of the seminar on this occasion. He also inaugurated an exhibition on new building materials put up by various R &D organizations, entrepreneurs and builders. Dr A.K. Jha, Secretary, MRSI, Bhopal Chapter and Scientist, RRL Bhopal proposed the vote of thanks.

 

During five technical sessions of the seminar, about 45 research papers were presented and deliberations were held. The experts recommended better coordination between flyash producers and users; detoxification and fixation of waste materials; performance durability study of any product made of it; increase in acceptability of these products; betterment of quality and design and development of intelligent materials for disaster resistance in respect of development and use of innovative building materials. Recommendations on taking flyash as valuable and useful material; use of flyash in agriculture and road construction; characterization of other natural fibres; use of phosphogypsum and participation of users in such seminars were also made during panel discussion by experts.

 

 

International Workshop and Field‑excursion on Tectonics and Evolution of the Precambrian Southern Granulite Terrain, India & Gondwanian Correlations

 

THE Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi, has actively supported many integrated geotransect projects across important geological terrains of India. One such programme was executed over the last five years along a N‑S geotransect (from Kuppam to Palani) across the northern part of the Southern Granulite Terrain (SGT), Southern India.

 

Participants during the field-excursion examining and discussing the geological history of outcrops

 

The SGT is one of the largest exposed Precambrian deep continental crust consisting of multiple deformed Archaean and Neopro‑ terozoic high‑grade metamorphic and magmatic rocks. The recent study carried out on the Kuppam‑Palani geotransect indicates that the SGT comprises of an ensemble of fragmented and imbricated crustal blocks. The transpressional deformation with major strain partitioning along the shear zones is associated with Moho up‑warp and crustal uplift. These shear zones are characterized by: divergent seismic reflection fabrics and variations in crustal velocity structure; bipolar Bouguer gravity and magnetic anomalies; and high conductivity. These features together with new geological and geochronological data are consistent with a Precambrian collision tectonic model for the SGT. Based on these results, the DST has further supported the extension of Kuppam‑Palani geotransect toward south up to Thiruvananthapuram cutting across the Neoproterozoic Madurai block, Achankovil shear zone, and Kerala Khondalite belt. These will be taken up shortly by the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, as a nodal agency.

 

In the light of the above background, an international field workshop, across the SGT was recently organized by NGRI, aimed at discussing recent geological, geophysical and geochronological results along the Kuppam‑Palani geotransect and the plans and stragtegies for the southerly extension of this geotransect as well as other international geotransect programmes e.g. the one across India‑Sri Lanka. The workshop also provided a glimpse of the geology of the SGT with particular reference to the spectacular crustal‑scale shear zones that bound the different and distinct crustal blocks. The international participation in this workshop provided a rare opportunity to discuss the models of correlations of the South Indian granulite blocks and their distinctive tectonic features with those of Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Antarctica and other continental fragments of East Gondwana.

 

This workshop is unique in that the specialists of all the themes of geology and geophysics with varied experiences in different Gondwanian continents got together to examine the basic field relationships and to have on the spot discussion on several aspects of metamorphism, geochronology, deformation and tectonics of the Southern Granulite Terrain vis‑à‑vis the Supercontinent reconstruction models.

 

 

Field Excursion

 

Two special lectures were delivered during the inaugural session at Thiruvananthapuram, on the `Continental Evolution through time: New insights from southern Indian shield' (Shri T.M. Mahadevan), and the other on `The structure of shear zones' (Dr C.W. Passchier). The second and the third day, the participants had the glimpses of some critical quarry‑outcrops, exhibiting intense migmatisation, moderate to strongly developed fabrics, relict as well as new incipient charnockite patches and poorly developed stretching lineations largely around Achankovil Shear Zone which separates Kerala Khondalite Belt to the south, and predominantly 550 Ma old charnockites of Madurai block to the north. The participants examined the spectacular outcrops of extensive shearing, migmatization and melting, often associated with anorthosite intrusions, pseudotachylytes, mafic and ultramafic complexes within the popularly known `The Cauvery Shear Zone System'. A field excursion was made across the well‑known classic prograde amphibolite‑granulite transition zone at the northern limit of the SGT.

 

A one‑day technical seminar was also arranged at Hyderabad. About 13 scientific presentations dealing with regional overviews on geology and geophysics of south Indian and many other Precambrian shields, complex structural aspects of shear zones, and the problems concerning the evolution of Rodinia and Gondwana supercontinents were made and discussed. `Lithospheric structure of east Gondwana land' became the main focus for the panel discussion in the concluding session to plan and chalk out the future strategies of Lithospheric Evolution of Gondwana East from Interdisciplinary deep surveys' (LEGENDS) initiative, in general, and India‑SriLanka geotransect in particular. A volume comprising 39 abstracts, a field guide together with adequate background information for 30 outcrops covering over a total distance of 1500 km has been published. An up‑to‑date bibliography of literature related to Southern Granulite Terrain has been included. A total of 39 earth scientists (11  from Australia, Germany, Sri Lanka and USA; and 28 from India participated) in the field excursion while a few more reputed earth scientists from India joined the technical seminar at Hyderabad. The programme was sponsored by CSIR, NGRI, DST and Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS).

 

 

GRA Technology Fusion Workshop on Health

 

THE National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, on behalf of CSIR, a member of the Global Research Alliance (GRA) hosted a 'Technology Fusion Workshop on Health' from 11‑16 July 2004 in Pune, under the auspices of the GRA. The aim of the workshop was to examine ways in which the combined energies, skills and facilities of the GRA membership, consisting of nine of the world's top publicly funded science and technology agencies, can be pooled to address one of the most critical challenges of our time, namely, good health for the people.

 

The GRA was formally launched in January 2003 when representatives from nine leading S & T Institutions from around the world met in New Delhi, and agreed to establish a Global Research Alliance with the objective of applying 'global knowledge pool for global good through global funding'The GRA is a powerful means of combining top S&T expertise from around the world and creates a vehicle for combining the contexts and understanding of both the developed and developing world scenarios inherent in the membership to address world‑wide problems, especially in the area of water, health, energy, transportation and the digital divide.

 

About 25 scientists from five continents representing six members of the GRA attended the workshop. In addition to the host organization CSIR, member organizations Battelle (USA), CSIR (South Africa), CSIRO (Australia), Fraunhofer‑Gesellschaft (Germany) and Technical Research Centre (Finland) have committed time and resources to diagnose problems and formulate scientific and technological responses and a plan of action to address the manifold issues related to health.

Speaking prior to the start of the workshop, Dr S Sivaram, Director, NCL commented, “Members of the GRA are united in their commitment to combining scientific and technological knowledge to produce innovative solutions to help address this global problem. The United Nation's clearly articulated goals of reducing the mortality rate among children, reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other major diseases and improving maternal health can, we believe, be effectively supported by leveraging the multi‑disciplinary skills across the member organizations.”  

 

Participants of Global Research Alliance (GRA) Technology Fusion Workshop on Health at NCL

 

Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, delivered the keynote address on 11 July 2004, on 'The golden triangle – the alternative pathway to new therapeutics'. He urged the participants to combine traditional knowledge with modern medicine using the tools of modern science to realize the potential of affordable healthcare for the deprived millions and to reduce the cost of new drug discovery.

 

Other distinguished speakers included Prof. V. Mohan, President and Director, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai who spoke  on 'Challenges in diabetes with specific reference to developing countries', Prof. G. Padmanabhan, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, ('Winning the battle against Malaria'), Dr N.K. Ganguly, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, ('Challenges in public health issues in developing countries'), Prof. M.K. Bhan, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, ('Biotechnology for public health'), Dr Krishna M. Ella, Managing Director, Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad, ('Preventive health through vaccines: opportunities in the developing world'), Dr C.B. Koppiker, Cancer Care Centre, Pune, ('Cancer scenario in the Indian perspective and Dr Narendra Bhatt, CEO, Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd, Mumbai, ('Indian traditional medicine and health care').

The Technology Fusion Workshop on Health was the fifth in a series of workshops organized by the GRA. The delegates at the workshop identified twelve key focus areas, which were grouped under three major themes:

 

 

 

First South Asia Meeting on Control and Management of Ballast Water

 

FOR hundreds of years, ships carried rocks and/or metal as solid ballast. Ships of modern times use seawater for ballasting. When a ship empties its cargo, it takes in water as ballast to maintain its stability and structural integrity. Conversely, when it loads cargo, the ballast water is discharged usually in the vicinity of ports just prior to loading the cargo from an exporting country. Seawater loaded for ballast purposes contain a gamut of organisms and their propagules. In the native environment, organisms live in semblance and are controlled by ecosystem interactions. Once in an alien environment, introduced species can turn out to be a threat, bringing about untold, often undesirable imbalances in the ecosystem. The introduction of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens to new environments via ships ballast water has been identified as one of the four greatest threats to the world's oceans.

 

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is working to address the ballast water vector through a number of initiatives. The Global Ballast Water Management Programme (GloBallast) is funded by Global Environmental Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is executed by IMO. The First Phase had the participation of six pilot countries (Brazil, China, India, IR Iran, South Africa and Ukraine) representing different bioregions. This is now being extended to other countries in the region and India is coordinating the initiative in South Asia. Directorate of General of Shipping the Focal Point for this activity in India and the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, the lead R&D organization together are playing a very important role in the replication process.

 

The first South Asia Regional Meeting on Control and Management of Ballast Water was recently held at NIO.  It was inaugurated by Shri Kidarnath Sahani, Governor of Goa. Country representatives from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Project Coordinating Unit of GloBallast, IMO, London, participated in this meeting to evolve a strategic action plan for South Asia.

 

The meeting was organized by the Global Ballast Water Management Programme of IMO, Directorate of General of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping and attended by Mr Steve Raaymakers, Chief Technical Advisor, IMO;  Shri D.T. Joseph, Secretary (Shipping), Government of India;  Shri G.S. Sahni, Director General  of  Shipping; Dr  S. R.  Shetye, Director, NIO; Shri. Ajoy Chatterjee, Chief Surveyor of DG Shipping; and representatives of Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Bangla Desh and Maldives. Dr A.C. Anil, Head, Marine Corrosion & Materials Research (NIO) is primary contact for BWRA in India and Chief Surveyor of DG Shipping is lead agency for general BW issues.

 

Core activities of the GloBallast Programme are being undertaken at Demonstration Sites in above mentioned six pilot countries. These will be replicated at additional sites in each region as the programme progresses. One of the GloBallast core activities (overview and work schedule) has been to trial a standardized method of BW risk assessment (BWRA) at each of six Demonstration Sites. Risk assessment is a fundamental starting point for any country contemplating implementing a formal system to manage the transfer and introduction of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ship's BW, whether under the existing IMO Ballast Water Guidelines or the new Convention.

 

One of the significant activities of the GloBallast Project in India was the compilation of a final report, "'Ballast Water Risk Assessment for Mumbai and Jawaharlal Nehru Ports' which was released by Shri Sahani during the function. Also the GloBallast Programme was adjudged the best international environmental project in October 2003 and awarded Queen of England's Golden Jubilee Medal. A replica of this citation was presented by Shri Joseph to Dr S.R. Shetye, Director, NIO for partnering with the DG Shipping to implement in India this South Asia programme.

 

 

CDRI organizes Collaborative Science Awareness Programme ‑ cum‑ Health Camp

 

THE Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, in association with the Department of Health, U.P. and Industrial Toxicological Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow, Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Lucknow, National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute (SGPGI), Lucknow, organized a two‑day Science Awareness Programme‑cum‑Health Camp at Community Health Centre, Chinhat, Lucknow during 14‑15 June 2004. The programme was inaugurated by Padma Shri Dr S.C. Rai, Mayor, Lucknow.

 

A view of national healthcare programme participating in the event

 

The event was organized under the banner `Year of Scientific Awareness‑ 2004'. Detailing the objective of the event, Dr C.M. Gupta, Director, CDRI, said that the programme was organized in a mixed rural and urban setting in order to bring direct benefit of scientific aspects of health awareness to the common man. He said that health and environment were major challenges to the society. Therefore, the programme was organized not only to  make the public aware about health issues, topics relevant to science and governmental programmes but also to provide free consultation, diagnosis and treatment.

Dr S.C. Rai, the Chief Guest in his address expressed the hope that in future CDRI would organize similar programmes in other remote areas of the city for the benefit of the people. He later inaugurated the exhibition and health camp organized in cooperation with the participating institutions. The programme was presided over by Dr V.P. Kamboj, former Director, CDRI.

 

All the local CSIR laboratories and SGPGI displayed their programmes and carried out various activities. The Department of Health, U.P. provided information on National Healthcare Programmes, viz. Malaria, Tuberculosis, AIDS, etc. The Community Health Centre, Chinhat, organized a Health Camp in which experts attended to patients and prescribed treatment. Free medicines were distributed.

 

About 2500 people from the adjoining areas visited the exhibition and health camp. About 1000 people registered for treatment in the health camp while 200 people were tested for blood group and diabetes and provided instant results. The advantage of the programme was that it led to instant detection of several probable cases of tuberculosis and diabetes.

 

Several distinguished scientists spoke on the occasion. Prof. Kartar Singh, Director, SGPGI, spoke on `Harmful Effect of Alcohol: How & Why' and very strongly advocated against this societal evil. He distributed copies of a booklet containing excerpts on the harmful effects of alcohol from the documented views of Mahatma Gandhi.

 

Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI, spoke on `Food Medicine and Nutraceuticals' and traced the need for consuming seasonal vegetables and fruits to keep healthy. Dr Y.K. Gupta, Director, ITRC, covered in detail the need to preserve the environment for the benefit of posterity. He called on the public to actively participate to protect the environment. The senior scientists of CDRI such as Dr P.Y. Guru and Dr A.K. Srivastava spoke on `Mysteries in Biology' and `Diabetes and its Treatment' respectively. Dr A.K. Singh, senior scientist from CIMAP, spoke on various useful agro‑technologies developed by CIMAP.

 

The valedictory function of the programme was held in the presence of the local MLA, Shri Rajendra Yadav, Mahona, who lauded the effort and said that the event was very beneficial for the local population in educating them about healthcare and providing free medical services. Shri Yadav distributed prizes to the winners of the quiz competition.

 

At the end of the programme, the convener Dr Zaka Imam, Deputy Director & Head TIILP Division, CDRI thanked the Director, Dr C.M. Gupta and all collaborators and participants for support and cooperation in fulfilling the objectives of the programme and making it a success.

 

 

Training Programme on Oil Expelling Technology

 

THE Mechanical Engineering Research And Development Organisation (MERADO), Ludhiana, recently organized a 5‑day training programme on Oil Expelling Technology for operation and maintenance of one tonne/day Oil Expeller.  The training was organized especially for the trainees from Manipur. Seventeen trainees benefited from the deliberations of the course.

 

The programme was sponsored by the Technology Mission on Oil‑Seeds, Pulses & Maize (TMOP&M), who had supplied 65 units of one tonne/day oil expellers based on MERADO technology to the beneficiaries from Manipur in the recent past.

 

Entrepreneurs undergoing training in operation and maintenance of one tonne /day Oil Expeller

 

During the deliberations of the course Shri R. Nigam, Scientist In‑charge, informed that the oil expeller designed and developed by MERADO, Ludhiana, extracts better quality pungent oil, oil cake in comparison to that derived from ghani.  The oil expeller developed is an efficient machine, which leaves 8‑9% residual oil in cake in comparison to 15‑18% residual oil left in cake by a ghani.  This is for the first time in the world that mustard oil has been extracted with the help of an expeller.

 

The topics covered during the course included: (i) Oil Expelling Technologies: Various Methods, Advantages/Disadvantages; (ii) Introduction to oil seeds and processing parameters; (iii) Introduction to oil expeller and its operational aspects; (iv) Concept of water cooled chamber & its construction; (v) Important design parameters of oil expellers: Compression ratio and extraction efficiency; (vi) Trouble shooting in one tonne/day oil expeller operation; (vii) Screw conveyors; design, installation, operation and maintenance; (ix) Storage of oil seeds; (x) Selection of spare parts and specifications for their procurement.

 

The lectures were followed by practical sessions on (i) Seed preparation before oil expelling; (ii) Assembly of water‑cooled chamber; (iii) Operation of one tonne/day oil expeller by the trainees.

A working demonstration of the one tonne/day and six tonnes/day oil expellers developed by MERADO were also arranged.

 

Shri M.P. Dhupar informed that the TMOP&M has sponsored a project at MERADO for fabrication, supply and commissioning of 50 units of one tonne/day oil expellers with provision of subsidy for promotion of this improved expeller and that interested individuals entrepreneurs, NGOs, cooperatives/State oil federations/KVIC, farmer groups, oil millers (Small scale) etc., can apply for the allotment of one tonne/day oil expeller.  He informed that only a limited number of the oil expellers would be available under this scheme.

 

 

Training Programme on Microelectronics Technology at CEERI

 

THE Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI), Pilani, recently organized a  laboratory‑training programme on 'Microelectronics Technology' for M. Tech students of IIT, Delhi. The programme was aimed at imparting training on different aspects of IC technology. Thirteen students attended the programme.

 

A view of the laboratory training session(top) and participants of the training programme
with the Director, Senior Scientists and other officers of CEERI

 

Scientists of the institute delivered lectures on topics that included: clean room concepts, chemical cleaning, oxidation, diffusion, chemical vapour deposition techniques, metallization, ion implantation, dry etching, photolithography, IC testing and IC design.

 

Students were also associated with processing of polygate N‑MOS transistor. At the end of the process training, testing of fabricated transistors was carried out and transistor action was demonstrated. Students were also given exposure on semiconductor device packaging techniques such as scribing, dicing, die mounting and wire bonding.

 

A committee of senior scientists evaluated the trainees through a viva‑voce examination and awarded performance‑based grades.  The inaugural as well as the valedictory sessions of the training programme were presided over by the Director, CEERI, and attended by senior scientists and members of the scientific and technical staff who acted as faculty for the training.

 

 

CSMCRI celebrates Foundation Day

 

THE Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar, recently celebrated 50 years of its service to the nation.

 

A seminar was organized on Reminiscences of former Directors and Envisioning Kalpasar Project. Dr R. Rangarajan, Chairman, CSMCRI Foundation Day Celebration Committee, greeted the dignitaries and invited the former Directors to share reminiscences about their association with CSMCRI. He said that celebration is a way to bond people to one another and to reaffirm shared values.

 

Dignitaries seated during CSMCRI Foundation Day Celebrations  (from left) are Dr (Miss) S.V. Joshi, Dr S. D. Gomkale,

Dr D.J. Mehta, Dr P.K. Ghosh, Prof. M. M. Taqui Khan, Prof. P. Natarajan, and Dr R. Rangarajan

 

Dr D. J. Mehta, former Director, CSMCRI, gave a concise account of his 36 years of service at CSMCRI. He reminisced that the institute was renamed Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI) during his time and that Dr D. S. Datar, the then Director decided to establish Experimental Salt Farm and to open the four disciplines in 1964. He recalled the varied achievements such as installation and commissioning of 150 kg per day bromine plant in the Experimental Salt Farm of the institute in 1967‑68 and transfer of know‑how to about ten parties for manufacture of bromine from bittern, initiation of activities on desalination of brackish water by Reverse Osmosis technique and installation of Tubular Reverse Osmosis plant in Amreli district of Gujarat. He also reminiscenced about his USA visit that gave him excellent exposure to hollow fine fibre unit used in desalination of seawater. Activities on solar refrigeration, solar stills, and solar thermal pump and hot water‑hot air systems were started thereafter. Community solar still plants were set up in no‑source villages during 1978‑80. Dr Mehta mentioned that Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, visited CSMCRI when he was Deputy Director. He met Smt. Indira Gandhi once again, in connection with CSMCRI's Mandapam Field Station when he was heading the institute. There was a move to close down the field station, but he convinced her about its importance and utility by explaining the importance of cultivation of Gelledelia and received the go‑ahead to pursue the work at Mandapam.

 

A group photograph of former and present Directors and Maharaja Shivbhadrasingh, present during

Foundation Day Celebrations. Standing (from left) : Prof. P. Natarajan, Shri Ashwin Shroff,

Prof. M. M. Taqui Khan, His Highness Maharaja Shivbhadrasingh, Prof. V. S. Chauhan,

Dr A. S. Kane, Dr D. J. Mehta , Dr S. D. Gomkale, and Dr P.K. Ghosh

 

Prof. M. M. Taqui Khan who was the Director of CSMCRI from 1982 to 1991, recalled how Smt. Indira Gandhi took an interest in reverse osmosis (RO). In 1983, she asked for the RO mobile plant to be brought to Delhi and personally came to see the unit. She was enamoured by the desalination technology of CSMCRI and gave the motto: 'self‑sufficiency and self‑reliance.' He added that in those days, Smt. Gandhi used to be present during Directors' conferences also which proved that scientists got prominence. Subsequently, Ion Exchange Discipline developed electrodialysis (ED) technology for desalination of brackish water. ED plants were set up at a number of places all over India. The discipline of Coordination Chemistry and Homogeneous Catalysis was born. Distinguished Professor A. E. Martel from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA, who came to participate in the international conference at CSMCRI was honoured. RO desalination plant was set up at Thailand, which heralded CSMCRI's technology arrival overseas.

 

Prof. P. Natarajan who was Director during 1991‑1997 elaborated on the areas such as desalination, biosalinity, and membrane separation that got tremendous boost during his tenure. He said that he was delighted to know that CSMCRI has set up a one million‑litre desalination plant at CPCL, Chennai, based on RO technique, which is a culmination of earlier efforts. He recalled that Dr S. Varadarajan, former Director General of CSIR had provided unstinted support to CSMCRI in the initial phase of globalization. He said Prof. M. M. Sharma, who was then Professor and Head of University Department of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, too aided and encouraged the efforts. Prof. S. K. Joshi, former DG of CSIR generously funded the efforts to enrich and modernize the CSMCRI library. For the first  time  in the history of CSIR, NALCO set up a zeolite plant based on CSMCRI know‑how and the expertise provided by CSMCRI scientists fetched the highest premium (Rs 13.50 million) in CSIR during that time.

 

Dr S. D. Gomkale had served CSMCRI in various capacities for 35 years. He had ascended to the position as Acting Director during 1997‑99. He recalled his association with activities such as desalination, process development on salt and marine chemicals and solar thermal energy utilization. He recalled that NRDC gave recognition to the major activities of CSMCRI and helped in selling the process technologies. During this time, the institute won many awards for developing good technologies. CSMCRI experts visited Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh for setting up salt farms and Somalia for setting up a solar still plant. The National Solar Energy Convention was held at Bhavnagar in 1978 and several experts from all over India participated along with delegates from abroad.

 

Dr A. S. Kane spoke on the Envisioning of the Kalpasar Project. He mentioned that at present sufficient quantity of good potable water is not available on a sustainable basis in Saurashtra areas of Gujarat. Ground water levels are depleting at an average rate of 0.5 metre per year. Irrigation dam water is used for drinking water supply at many places in Saurashtra. Salinity is ingressing at a rate of 0.5‑1.0 km per year and out of 4889 villages 4577 have been declared no‑source villages. Under Kalpasar Project, a 64 km‑long dam will be constructed across Bhavnagar (Ghogha) and Bharuch (Dahej) on the sea and saline land will gradually be converted into fertile land within a couple of years. Once the project is completed, it will provide about 1,390 million m3 water for domestic and industrial requirement and 6,100 million m3 water for irrigation. If the total submerged area becomes about 1,469 square km, it will generate 15,600 MW power. Thus, implementation of the project will not only solve the immediate problems of water and power of this region but will transform Gujarat into a most prosperous state in the country.

 

At the next session, Dr A. S. Mehta welcomed the guests and Dr Rangarajan formally welcomed the dignitaries and gave a brief account of the genesis of CSMCRI and its achievements till today. He said that the many CSMCRI‑societal missions bear testimony to its commitment to society. CSMCRI has several National and International level collaborative programmes. He said that TEAM CSIR has today transformed into TEAM WORLD.

 

Each former Director of CSMCRI was presented a shawl and a memento by the Chief Guest in recognition of their past contributions to CSMCRI.

 

Prof. V. S. Chauhan, Director, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, delivered the Foundation Day lecture on `Research in Infectious Diseases.' He vividly traced the development of vaccines and drugs for various diseases such as malaria and its deadly variants, tuberculosis, AIDS, etc. He said that the country has made tremendous strides in combating several diseases. He recalled that during his recent tour to various institutions in Pakistan, he was told that India enjoys its special status economically and from research point of view because India has been fortunate to produce visionaries like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi who had immense foresight and perspicacity. He said Biotechnology has become a predominant discipline today and it has a bright future. He pointed out that only highly motivated people can contribute to advancement of science and technology.

 

Shri Ashwin Shroff, Managing Director, Excel Industries, Mumbai, was the Guest of Honour. He lauded the joint ventures between Excel Industries and CSMCRI, and he reminded the audience about the RO desalination plant set up by CSMCRI at Kutch in the aftermath of earthquake there. He said that the people at Kutch are very happy with the quality water produced from the plant even today. He mentioned about the contributions of the Bhavnagar royal family including the building housing the institute, which happens to be a gracious gift from Bhavnagar's princely rulers. He commended the leadership of Dr P. K. Ghosh, Director CSMCRI, under whom, he said, the institute has gloriously and exponentially catapulted to its presence eminence. He complimented the former Directors for their foresight and wisdom, which contributed towards a robust identity for CSMCRI. This institute's role in fighting environment pollution too came in for praise. He said that salinity ingress has become a major bane of Gujarat and that he foresaw a CSMCRI role in collaboration with Excel in combating this menace. He reiterated that care should be taken of societal needs and technologies for this purpose should be developed.

 

 Dr P. K. Ghosh profusely thanked the dignitaries for their appreciation of institute's efforts. He said that great visionaries had headed the institute in the past. They had put the institute on a robust pedestal, thanks to the technological breakthroughs of that time. The institute produced stalwarts and very good technologies. Consequently, the institute is now well recognized internationally and has networking research programme covering Germany, Korea and other countries. Dr Ghosh mentioned that during its fiftieth year, CSMCRI has successfully completed the following scientific accomplishments:

 

 

He thanked Prof. Chauhan for his excellent discourse on disease fighting measures and successes. He also praised Excel Industries and its leadership for devoting considerable time, manpower and funds for the betterment and welfare of human beings. He foresaw a bright future for CSMCRI and was optimistic that the next 50 years will bring many new laurels to the institute.

As a part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee Year of CSMCRI, wall clocks were given as a memento to all staff members of CMSCRI. A video show depicting achievements of CSIR and CSMCRI during the last fifty years was arranged on a big screen for public viewing.

 

 

IHBT organizes Chamba Lavender Diwas

 

THE Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur organized the Third Chamba Lavender Diwas on 2 June  2004 at Salooni in Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh.

 

Dr P. S. Ahuja, Director, IHBT, was the Chief Guest at the function. Dr C. L. Acharya, Director, Extension Education, Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Palampur (CSK HPKV), senior scientists of IHBT and CSK HPKV, various NGOs and farmers were present on the occasion.

 

Due to the joint efforts of IHBT and CSK HPKV, a nursery base of Lavender, Lavandin and Geranium was established at a Research sub‑station of the Agricultural University at Salooni. The planting materials raised in the nursery were supplied to the farmers. Necessary agro‑technology and processing technology were provided by way of training imparted by scientists of IHBT and CSK HPKV.

 

Dr Ahuja in his address presented a strategic plan for faster development of lavender in the region and announced an award of Rupees Five Thousand to be given to the best nursery grower next year. He also assured that IHBT would support R&D backup for processing and quality profile of the end‑product.

 

It was informed that the State Horticulture Department provides financial grant of Rupees Five Thousand per acre to farmers in Himachal Pradesh for plantation of medicinal and aromatic crops. Shri. R. P. Sharma, BDO, assured that Block‑level facilities would be extended to the lavender growers.

 

The representatives of the farmers and NGO groups shared their experience and problems of lavender cultivation in the district. The gathering was informed that the farmers of the region are enthusiastic about taking up plantation at a much faster rate and that they have even composed a Lavender Song.

It was proposed that Chamba Valley, which is linked with tourism, be projected as the Lavender Valley of Himachal to promote lavender plantation in the region.

 

 

NCL Scientists invited to the Editorial Board of International Journals

 

THE following scientists of the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, have been invited to the editorial board of prestigious international journals.

 

Dr Murali Sastry of the Materials Chemistry Division has been invited to join the Editorial Board of Journal of Colloid and Interface Science (Academic Press, USA). This is a rare honour indeed as he is only the second Indian to be so invited. He has also been invited to join the Editorial Board of Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology to be published from 2005 by the American Scientific Publishers.

 

Dr Anjanikumar J. Varma of the Chemical Engineering and Process Development Division has been invited to join the Editorial Board of the journal, Carbohydrate Polymers (Elsevier Publishers, UK).

 

Dr Rajiv Kumar of the Catalysis Division has been invited to join the Editorial Board of the journal, 'Applied Catalysis A: General' (Elsevier Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

 

 

Dr T S Prahlad gets H K Firodia Award

 

DR T S Prahlad, former Director, National  Aerospace  Labora‑ tories (NAL), Bangalore, is the recipient of the H K Firodia Award II for the year 2004 from the H K Firodia Memorial Foundation. The award, in recognition of his contributions to aerospace engi‑neering,  includes  a  cash  prize  of   Rs 1 00,000. Dr Prahlad will receive the award at Pune on 1 November 2004.

 

 

Dr G.Parthasarathy selected for PRL Award

 

DR G. Parthasarathy, Scientist, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, has been selected for the PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) award for the year 2003. The award is given once in two years to outstanding Indian scientists, who are below 45 years of age, in the area of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

 

Dr Parthasarathy has made significant contributions to the area of high pressure mineral physics and mineralogy.

 

The award carries a medal and a cash prize, and was presented to Dr Parthasarathy, on 12 August 2004, at the birth anniversary of Dr Vikram Sarabai, at PRL, Ahmedabad.

 

 

Dr S.N. Choudhuri gets NASSI National Fellow Award

 

DR S.N. Choudhury, Scientist, Plant Sciences and Ecology Division, Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Jorhat has been awarded the National Academy of Sericultural Sciences, India (NASSI) National Fellow Award, for meritorious scientific contributions made by him in the field of sericultural research during the last two decades.