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CSIR NEWS

 

 

 

ISSN 0409-7467

 

 

VOLUME 54

NUMBER 2

30  JANUARY 2004

 

With a part of earlier grant of Rs 38.50 million by OIDB, a National Facility for Surface Geochemical Prospecting of Hydrocarbons, comprising Continuous Flow Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (CFIRMS) and Gas Chromatographic (GC) techniques, has already been set up at NGRI by Dr B. Kumar, Dy. Director and his team.  Using this facility, NGRI has been carrying out surface geochemical prospecting of hydrocarbons in the frontier sedimentary basins of India to help risk reduction in petroleum exploration and to meet the challenges of `India Hydrocarbon Vision 2025' for the Exploration and <%‑3>Production sector. 

 

The present MoU will facilitate the augmentation of geochemical techniques to accomplish geochemical surveys in varied geological conditions.  With the add on facility, the Surface Geochemical Laboratory at NGRI will become a state the art laboratory in South Asia.

 

Prime Minister compliments CSIR for Its Accomplishments in Patent Filing and NMITLI Programme

PRIME Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his address* at the 91st Indian Science Congress held in Chandigarh during 3-7 January 2004 complimented the Science and Technology establishment in the country for its remarkable contribution to the growth of all socio-economic sectors. Highlighting India's accomplishments in the field of Agriculture, Food, Space, Ocean Development, Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, Information Technology, etc., the Prime Minister said, “Indeed, today there is not a single area of India's socio-economic development that does not bear the signature of Indian S&T in some form or the other. In the years to come, this signature will look even more bold and pleasing as we script the story of making India a Developed Nation by 2020.ª

 

Praising CSIR for its initiatives in IPR, the Prime Minister said, “A latecomer in industrial R&D, India now ranks the highest among all countries in the rate of growth of patent filings, which is now around 300% per year. In this context, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has done India proud by securing, under the Patents Cooperation Treaty, No I position as the highest filer of patents from all developing countries, including South Korea, China and Brazil. We want to make India a place that can compete with the best in the world in terms of generation of intellectual property and its commercialization on sound business principles.ª

 

Reiterating the Government's support to S&T, Shri Vajpayee said, “As you are aware, our Government not only checked the alarming decline in funding of science and technology, but also has steadily increased it in the past five years. I assure you that we will continue to raise it further towards our goal of 2 per cent of GDP. However, in this endeavour, we should make it attractive for the private sector to further increase its share. For this, we should encourage public-private partnership in the widest range of scientific programmes and projects. We should adopt intelligent and result-oriented initiatives, such as CSIR's New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative, in which about 50 private sector companies and 150 institutions have already participated.ª

 

“Howeverª, the Prime Minister further said, “ all of you would agree that excellence cannot be achieved simply by increasing levels of funding. I am deeply disappointed that, in several projects and programmes, even available funds are not sanctioned and used in time. In my address at the Lucknow Science Congress in 2001, I had called for an end to bureaucratism in our S&T institutions and overhauling of procedures for clearances and approvals. I would like this to be implemented effectively and without any further delay.ª

 

“More than in any other endeavour, time is a precious resource in R&D. We should be in a hurry to achieve results that can effectively address our national priorities and make the world to take notice. Ultimately, good science is done by good scientists, not by committees or administrators, however essential they may be. Therefore, to fill up the ranks of Indian researchers with great scientists, there is only one way to go. We have to attract nurture and retain the brightest and most talented minds, especially young and dreaming minds, in large numbers. Therefore, we simply cannot let extraneous factors obstruct the onward march of Indian science,”stressed Shri Vajpayee.

 

*Address read out by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Minister for HRD and S&T, as Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not attend the function.

 

 

ONGC Extends MoU with NEERI

 

THE Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited, with successful record of collaborative work, has extended the tenure of its fifteen years long memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, for a further period of five years.  The MoU will now remain in force till December 2008. The MoU signed pertains to collaborative R&D dealing with contemporary environment related issues of ONGC's operations and assist ONGC in pollution control, environmental management and green socio‑economic development of onshore and offshore oil and gas fields.  Under the provisions of the MoU, NEERI will extend necessary technical support to ONGC in the domain of Environmental impact and risk assessment for onshore and offshore seismic surveys, exploratory and developmental drilling of oil/gas fields, processing and transportation of hydrocarbons; Bioremediation of crude oil spills and biotechnological recovery of hydrocarbons from oily sludges; Development and customization of software packages for design and efficient operations of water treatment plants; Environment management for exploration, extraction and commercial utilization of natural gas contained in coal, bituminous lignite beds and gas hydrates; and Sustainability assessment of ONGC's policies, plans and programmes for exploitation and management of hydrocarbon bearing formations, etc.

 

The MoU was signed on 8 December 2003 at ONGC's Regional Office at Mumbai, by Er. R. C. Gourh, Director (Onshore) of ONGC and Dr Sukumar Devotta, Director, NEERI.

 

 

NEERI-ONGC Collaborative Projects completed during 1988-2003

Sl. No.

Title

Cost

(Rs in lakhs)

1988

 

 

1.

Environmental impact assessment for C2/C3 facilities at Uran Terminal, Maharashtra

4.5

2.

Environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas field at Gandhar, Gujarat

20.0

 

 

24.5

1989

 

 

3.

Process package for treatment and disposal of produced water from oil wells at Balol/Lenwa fields near Mehsana, Gujarat

4.0

4.

Environmental impact assessment for crude stabilization unit at Hazira Gas Processing Complex, Gujarat

15.0

5.

Environmental impact assessment for NGL fractionation and dearomatization units at Hazira Gas Pocessing Complex, Gujarat

15.0

 

 

34.0

1990

 

 

6.

Environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas field (Bombay High) in west coast offshore area

24.0

7.

Environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas field (Heera/Ratna) in west coast offshore area

24.0

8.

Environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas field (Bassein) in west coast offshore area

24.0

9.

Environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas field (Tapti) in west coast offshore area

24.0

10.

Process package for treatment and disposal of wastes generated from oil/gas well drill sites at Changartalai, Himachal Pradesh

4.0

 

 

100.0

1991

 

 

11.

Environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas field (PY-3) in Cauvery offshore basin and onshore terminal facilities for processing and transportation of hydrocarbons at Thirumullaivasal, Tamilnadu

45.0

12.

Environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas field (Ravva) in Godavari offshore basin and onshore terminal facilities for processing and transportation of hydrocarbons at Surasaniyanam, Andhra Pradesh

45.0

13.

Process package for treatment and disposal of produced water from oil wells at Santhal field near Mehsana, Gujarat

4.0

14.

Process package for treatment and disposal of produced water from oil wells at Sobhasan field near Mehsana, Gujarat

4.0

15.

Environmental impact assessment for desalting plant at Navagam, Gujarat

20.0

16.

Environmental impact and risk assessment for gas collection station and allied pipelines at Tatipaka, Andhra Pradesh

12.0

 

 

130.0

1992

 

 

17.

Environmental impact assessment for phase-III developments at Hazira Gas Processing Complex, Gujarat

10.0

18.

Environmental impact assessment for gas gathering station at Narimanam, Tamilnadu

20.0

19.

Environmental impact assessment for phase-II developments at Gandhar oil/gas field, Gujarat

5.0

 

 

35.0

1993

 

 

20.

Environmental appraisal for development of gas fields (S-1 Sand, South Heera Phase II and Marginal fields) in west coast offshore area

4.5

21.

Environmental impact assessment for LPG recovery plant at oil/gas field in Lakwa, Assam

30.0

22.

Environmental appraisal for in-situ combustion facility at Balol oil field, Mehsana, Gujarat

2.5

23.

Environmental appraisal for in-situ combustion facility at Santhal oil field, Mehsana, Gujarat

2.5

24.

Environmental impact assessment for commissioning of in-situ combustion facility at Balol oil field near Mehsana, Gujarat

10.0

25.

Environmental impact assessment for commissioning of in-situ combustion facility at Santhal oil field near Mehsana, Gujarat

10.0

 

 

59.5

1994

 

 

26.

Environmental impact assessment for phase III developments at Gandhar oil field, Gujarat

5.0

27.

Post-project monitoring studies around Ravva offshore oil gas field

12.0

28.

Post-project monitoring studies around Ravva onshore terminal facilities at Surasaniyanam

10.0

 

 

27.0

1995

 

 

29.

Environmental appraisal for development of oil/gas field PY-1 in Cauvery basin

5.0

30.

Environmental appraisal for phase II development at PY-3 oil/gas field in Cauvery basin

5.0

 

 

10.0

1996

 

 

31.

Integrated environmental impact assessment for development of oil/gas fields in west coast offshore areas

130.0

1997

 

 

32.

Environmental impact assessment for drilling operations at deepwater locations in Kerala – Konkan basin of west coast offshore region

30.0

1998

 

 

33.

Environmental quality assessment for development of oil/gas

50.0

2000

 

 

34.

Environmental impact assessment for Pipeline Modification in Bombay High Fields

15.0

2001

 

 

35.

Environmental impact assessment for 5 NELP Blocks in East Coast and 2 NELP Blocks in the West Coast

24.0

36.

Environmental impact assessment for seismic study and preparation of EMP for 14 NELP Blocks

40.0

37.

Environmental impact assessment studies for proposed developments in GS-15/23 project of ONGC in East Coast Offshore Region

20.0

38.

Preliminary EIA for the proposed seismic survey in and around Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh

10.0

39.

Environmental impact and risk assessment for the proposed Tatipaka Mini Refinery Project

20.0

40.

Rapid EIA for proposed exploratory drilling operation in Gulf of Mannar Remnad (onland) and Palk Bay Area

10.0

41.

Environmental impact assessment of proposed developments in Bombay High Field in Western Offshore Region of India

5.0

42.

Environmental impact assessment of proposed developments in Neelam Oil Field in West Coast Offshore Region of India

5.0

 

 

134.0

2002

 

 

43.

Preparation of EIA/EMP report for South Redevelopment Project in Mumbai High

5.0

44.

Environmental audit of ETPs in onshore and offshore installations

37.8

45.

Environmental impact assessment for exploratory drilling in two NELP Blocks (MB-OSN-97/4 and KK-OSN-97/3) in West Coast area

7.0

46.

Environmental impact assessment for drilling exploratory well in two blocks GS-DWN-2000/1 & 2000/2

7.0

47.

Environmental impact assessment for drilling exploratory well in MB-OSN-2000/1

3.5

48.

Environmental impact assessment for 4 drilling wells in NELP-II offshore block WB-OSN-2000/1 in Bay of Bengal

14.0

 

 

74.3

2003

 

 

49.

Environmental impact assessment for drilling exploratory well in blocks MB-DWN-2000/1 and MB-DWN-2002 under NELP

7.0

50.

Environmental impact assessment studies for exploration of coal bed methane in Bokaro, North Karanpura Blocks

25.0

51.

Environmental impact assessment studies for exploration of coal bed methane in Jharia and Ranigunj Coalfields

25.0

52.

Environmental impact and risk assessment for exploratory drilling in NELP-II offshore Blocks in West Coast of India

72.5

53.

Environmental impact assessment for seismic survey in 5 Blocks under NELP-III in West Coast offshore area

17.5

54.

Environmental impact and risk assessment for drilling and production of oil from D-1 South Marginal Field

15.0

55.

Environmental impact assessment studies for seismic survey and exploratory drilling in CB-ONN-2001/1

9.5

56.

Environmental impact assessment studies for drilling exploratory well in offshore block CY-OSN-2000/2

3.5

57.

Environmental impact assessment studies for drilling exploratory well in NELP Block KG-DWN-98.4

3.5

58.

Environmental impact assessment studies for drilling exploratory well in NELP Block KG-DWN-97/1

3.5

59.

Environmental impact assessment studies for drilling exploratory well in NELP Block KG-DWN-98/5

3.5

60.

Environmental impact and risk assessment of proposed developments at G-1 and GS-15 offshore projects and expansion at Odalarevu Terminal in KG Basin

25.0

61.

Environmental impact assessment for seismic survey in 2 blocks under NELP III in Tripura and Mizoram

12.0

 

 

222.5

 

Qualitative Transformations in Matter: Border Collision Bifurcations Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize‑winner
Dr Soumitro Banerjee's Work

 

IT is known that all matter continuously undergoes changes in its state of existence and state of motion. Scientists studying these changes have found that most of the changes are quantitative in nature. But there are also times when there is a qualitative transformation. Since all matter exists in motion, such qualitative changes are found both in its state of existence (like ice turning into water), and in its state of motion (like a regular periodic behaviour changing into an aperiodic and unpredictable one). The qualitative changes in the state of motion are called bifurcations — which have been the subject of investigation of Dr Soumitro Banerjee, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, who has been chosen, along with Dr Atul H. Chokshi of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Engineering Sciences, for the year 2003.

 

He has studied these bifurcation phenomena in a particular class of dynamical systems, which involves some kind of switching action that makes the system toggle between two or more different types of dynamical behaviour. Common examples of such `hybrid systems' are the power electronic circuits, mechanical systems where impacts between bodies take place (like walking robots), the human heart, etc. Dr Banerjee has shown that such systems undergo a special kind of qualitative change, known as `border collision bifurcation'. He has been instrumental in developing the theory of border‑collision bifurcations, which has been widely used in application areas to understand why certain abrupt and drastic changes occur in the dynamical state of a system when a parameter is smoothly varied.

Dr Banerjee started with the investigations on the dynamics of power electronic circuits, and by 1995, had accumulated enough numerical as well as experimental results to show that a new and peculiar class of bifurcations occur in such systems. At that time, bifurcation theory was well developed in the context of discrete‑time dynamical systems (maps), which are smooth (i.e. everywhere differentiable) in nature, and the various types of bifurcations that may occur in such systems were well known. What he found was that the bifurcations that occur in switching circuits do not fall into any of the known classes, and at that time, there was no theoretical explanation of such bifurcation phenomena. Dr Banerjee discovered that the new bifurcations observed in switching circuits result from a phenomenon called border collision which occurs in piecewise smooth maps.

Indeed, this was the first known example of border collision bifurcation in a physical system of practical importance. So far, mathematicians had considered piecewise smooth maps only as a theoretical possibility, and did some preliminary investigation of the dynamics of such maps. But the discovery that such phenomena occur in a class of engineering systems generated great excitement, and a flurry of activities followed.

Dr Banerjee showed that power electronic circuits in general yield piecewise smooth maps when modelled in discrete‑time — a result that was later extended to encompass all hybrid systems. This proved that border collision bifurcations should be generic in such systems. Following this, a host of researchers — including Dr Banerjee's group — explored the dynamics of various configurations of switching circuits and investigated the bifurcation phenomena from this new point of view.

It was soon realized that the theory of border collision bifurcations, developed till that time by mathematicians, was not sufficient to explain the bifurcation phenomenon observed in many switching circuits. Dr Banerjee then took the lead in developing the mathematical theory in collaboration with the Chaos Theory Group at the University of Maryland, USA. In general, a border collision bifurcation occurs when a fixed point collides with the borderline between two smooth regions in the discrete state space, resulting in an abrupt change in the system behaviour. In understanding these phenomena and to analyze the bifurcations observed in practical systems, one needs to know under what conditions a border collision will result in a particular type of observable system behaviour (say, a periodic orbit bifurcating into chaos). It is this problem that was essentially solved by Dr Banerjee in the context of one‑ and two‑dimensional piecewise smooth maps.

As it stands today, researchers around the globe are finding ever newer examples of systems that are modeled by piecewise smooth maps, and are applying the theory developed by Dr Banerjee in analyzing the bifurcations. Apart from various power electronic circuits, this includes the Colpitts oscillator, Alpazur oscillator, switched reluctance motors, and neural networks; even the human heart has been found to follow piecewise smooth dynamics.

Dr Soumitro Banerjee (born 1960) did his B.E. from the Bengal Engineering College (Calcutta University) in 1981, M.Tech. from IIT‑Delhi in 1983, and Ph.D. from the same institute in 1987. He has been in the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT‑Kharagpur, since 1986.

Dr Banerjee has 55 research publications, most of which are in the IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, and some are in physics journals like Physical Review Letters and Physical Review E. He has published a book titled Nonlinear Phenomena in Power Electronics (IEEE Press, 2001), along with Prof. G.C. Verghese of MIT.

Dr Banerjee has delivered invited talks in different areas of his work at leading institutions including the MIT, University of Surrey, UK, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Potsdam, Germany, Technical University of Dresden, HÖhere Technische Bundeslehranstalt Salzburg, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana‑Champaign, and North‑Eastern University, Boston.

Dr Banerjee has also contributed to the popularization of science. He is the General Secretary of the Breakthrough Science Society (a non‑governmental organization engaged in science popularization and propagation of scientific temper among people). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the English popular science magazine Breakthrough, and is the Chief Editor of the Bengali popular science magazine Prakriti.

 

Geochronology of Large Igneous Provinces and Geo‑ and Thermo‑chronology of Collisional Tectonics

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize‑winner Prof. Kanchan Pande's Work

PROF. Kanchan Pande, Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, has been selected, along with Dr G.V. Prasad, University of Jammu, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, for the year 2003.

Born on 14 March 1958 in Nainital, Prof. Pande had his education in Nainital itself. After obtaining M.Sc. (Geology) degree from the Kumaon University, Nainital in 1981, he came to the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad and received his Ph.D. degree in 1990 under the guidance of Prof. K. Gopalan. He spent a year at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1985‑1986) during his Ph.D. and was a Post‑doctoral Fellow at PRL during 1988‑1990. He subsequently joined the Geocosmophysics group of PRL as Scientist‑D, becoming Reader in 1998 and Assistant Professor in January 2003. In May 2003, Prof. Pande moved to the Department of Earth Sciences, IIT  Bombay, as a Professor.

Prof. Kanchan Pande is one of the pioneer 40Ar‑39­ geochronologists in India. He has contributed significantly to our understanding of the association of large igneous provinces with mantle plumes, continental rifting and mass extinction events, and hypothesized on correlations and genetic links amongst them, using geochronological constraints. He, along with Dr T.R. Venkatesan at PRL, set up and operated the first and only 40Ar‑39 Ar geochronology laboratory in the country. During the last two decades, this 40Ar‑39 geochronology laboratory has earned international recognition, both for significant scientific contributions and the high‑quality production.

Prof. Pande's primary research interests are in the fields of: (a) geochronology of large igneous provinces and (b) geo‑ and thermo‑chronology of Collisional tectonics. Towards these goals he has successfully exploited the 40Ar‑39Ar technique. Some of the major contri butions of Prof. Pande are as follows:

There has been an ongoing debate regarding the Deccan flood basalt (DFB) and its hypothesized link to the Cretaceous‑Tertiary Boundary (KTB) events, the Réunion mantle plume and breakup of India. The debate is primarily owing to lack of precise and unequivocal age data which could permit perfect resolution of the inception and duration of volcanism. Prof. Pande, who began his geochronological research career by dating Deccan basalts, has made some very significant contributions in delineating the various phases of Deccan volcanism. The 40Ar‑39Ar ages of Bombay trachytes and Gilbert Hill basalts obtained by him and his co‑workers (Dr H.C. Sheth and Dr R. Bhutani) provided the first concrete evidence for a Palaeocene phase of Deccan volcanism. These ages, along with the ages of Deccan lavas of the Western Ghats, demonstrated an extended duration of Deccan flood basalt volcanism and showed that it was episodic, and the main pulse of tholeiitic flood basalt volcanism in the Western Ghats could not be linked to the Cretaceous‑Tertiary boundary events (KTB). His research with Dr J.S. Ray added a new dimension to the KTB‑Deccan volcanism debate by establishing that carbonatite‑alkaline complexes of the Deccan Province were emplaced the KTB and these could have rapidly injected large amounts of CO2 and SO2 into the atmosphere adding to the environmental stresses that led to the K/T extinction. Firm evidence for the presence of KTB layer within the Deccan volcanic province was also provided based on the 40Ar‑39Ar ages of the lava flows sandwiching the Ir‑rich intertrappean bed at Anjar and alkali basalts from Kutch, India.

Recently, Prof. Pande and his co‑workers (Dr H.C. Sheth and Dr R. Bhutani) provided unambiguous geochronological evidence that the St. Mary's Islands volcanics (coastal Karnataka) represent volcanic activity associated with India‑Madagascar breakup. He established that these volcanics along with the contemporaneous Karnataka dykes and the Madagascar flood basalt province constitute a single, `Indo‑Madagascar' large igneous province, distributed over southern India and Madagascar.

Prof. Pande initiated a programme to decipher the tectono‑thermal evolution of the Trans Himalaya in Ladakh sector in particular and the India‑Asia collision zone in general, using the temperature sensitive 40Ar‑39Ar technique. In a significant study, he and his student Dr R. Bhutani, have estimated the time of the Karakoram strike‑slip fault activation. These data, along with the earlier estimates, clearly show the simultaneity of its activation with the extensional regime in Tibet, and indicate a causal relationship between strike‑slip movement along the margins of Tibetan plateau and extensional normal faulting in the Plateau.

The above research activities were planned and executed primarily by Prof. Pande. He has also actively participated in several projects such as geochemical and Sr isotope studies of Indian rivers, isotope geochemistry and geochronology of Indian carbonatites, Rb/Sr dating of granitic rocks from India, and noble gas and geochemical studies of upper mantle xenoliths within the Deccan province. Several important results on crustal evolution, mantle dynamics and weathering in Himalaya have emerged from these studies of Prof. Pande.

 

 

Indo‑Sudanese Workshop on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants at NBRI

THE second Indo‑Sudanese Workshop on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants was organized at the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, during 11‑14 November 2003, under the sponsorship of Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.  Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, Minister of State for Science & Technology, inaugurated the workshop.

 

Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, Minister of State for Science & Technology, delivering his
inaugural address during the Indo-Sudanese Workshop on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

 

In his inaugural address Shri Rawat said that presently there is a revival of interest in plant‑based drugs, pharmaceuticals, perfumery, cosmetics and toiletry, etc. the world over, which has resulted in an ever‑increasing demand for Medicinal and Aromatic plants.  A large number of these plants are collected from forests and the indiscriminate exploitation of these precious wild plant resources has led to their depletion and, in many a cases, even their extinction.  There is therefore, an urgent need to arrest this destructive trend and develop appropriate R&D programmes for conservation and sustainable utilization of these plants.

 

The Third World countries, Shri Rawat said, are rich in medicinal and aromatic plant diversity and with associated knowledge systems, have got the best opportunity to tap this situation to their economic advantage as well as for taking care of their own health security.  Medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation and their processing up to the final finished products can generate mass rural employment and bring prosperity to these countries.  Therefore, many Third World nations consider the progress of this sector as a powerful developmental strategy for their rural masses.  But almost 80‑90% of the medicinal and aromatic plants are found in wild conditions and most of the Third World has no scientific expertise for the sustainable exploration, including the cultivation and processing of these plants. Shri Rawat expressed his happiness to note that the present workshop is addressing these vital issues.

 

Shri Rawat further said that although the Third World countries have a rich heritage of herbal remedies and herbal cosmetics, these have never been considered in the form of any commercial venture and therefore these countries are lagging behind in the global herbal market.  Most of these countries are confronted by problems of providing scientific methods and practices to make their herbal system acceptable to the world.  In this context, countries like India and China have some of the best expertise, particularly in cultivation, post harvest handling and development of value added herbal drugs, pharmaceuticals and cosmaceuticals.  In India, a number of CSIR laboratories like NBRI, CDRI, CIMAP and RRL (Jammu), have made commendable contribution to the field of herbal drugs.  “I am happy to inform our honourable foreign delegates that some of our laboratories, like NBRI, have evolved protocols for genetic upgradation; cultivation and post‑harvest handling as well as for developing scientifically validated and standardized herbal products.  Many of these products not only have been patented but also transferred for commercial production and are available in the market.  NBRI is also focusing on reviving the traditional medicines for primary heathcare.  The institute also has a very strong eco‑education cum demonstration division for popularizing home gardens and to teach the housewives the correct use of medicinal herbs for primary health care.  “Therefore, I feel very happy to inaugurate the Second Indo‑Sudanese Workshop on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants organized by NBRI.  Also on behalf of the Government of India, I welcome all the delegates particularly the distinguished scientists from Sudan to our country and wish them all a very happy, comfortable and fruitful stay in this historic city of Lucknow,” Shri Rawat concluded.

 

The Sudanese delegation was headed by Prof. Mohamed Galal Mohamed Ahmed. Prof. Ahmed, who was the Guest of Honour at the workshop, said, “The economic structure of the world is changing very fast.  Today, the world stands at the threshold of a new economic era.  This era is marked with very rapid increase in technological and industrial progress in the next decade.  Consequently, the new developments in the international economic structure will rely heavily on the advances and breakthroughs in research laboratories”.  Prof. Ahmed emphasized that the relation between India and Sudan is progressively attaining new heights in many areas of collaboration, and expressed that the the collaborative work needs to be concentrated specially in the areas of capacity building, inventorization, domestication and cultivation, quality control and standardization and Intellectual Property Right (IPRs) and other specific issues of development, the means and avenues that would facilitate the utilization of research outputs in the production system and services across various sectors of our societies.

 

Dr B.N. Dhawan, former Director, CDRI, in his presidential address stressed on the need for increased use of herbal‑based traditional medicines, as the modern drugs result in many side effects.  Citing the example of USA, he said that the side effect deaths in USA are more than the death occurred during the World War II and Vietnam War.  He called upon the delegates and policymakers for inclusion of herbal drugs in the essential drug list.  Mentioning the example of China he said that out of 1000 essential drugs listed by them, 500 are herbal drugs.  Therefore, for the increased use of herbal drugs, there is an urgent need for standard operating procedure required for testing and manufacture and increased use of herbal drugs in hospitals, for their wider acceptability.

 

Dr Usha Sharma, Adviser, DST, New Delhi, gave the genesis of the second Indo‑Sudanese workshop.  She said that DST, Government of India and the Sudanese Ministry of Science and Technology, under the framework of bilateral inter‑governmental agreement for S&T cooperation, have agreed to organize Indo‑Sudanese workshops on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Sudan and India.  As per this agreement, the two countries are also expected to explore joint research programmes in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants, particularly in areas like inventory, documentation, cultivation and development of value‑added herbal products.  She informed that first Indo‑Sudanese workshop was held at Khartoum, Sudan, during 14‑16 January 2003 and Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI, had led the Indian delegation.  She hoped that the second Indo‑Sudanese workshop, being organized at NBRI, would go a long way in the joint S&T cooperation between the two countries  She expressed her optimism that the next workshop on IPR/Patenting, proposed to be held in Sudan, would also be successful.

 

Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI and Coordinator of the present workshop, spoke about the identification of this joint venture in medicinal plants by the Governments of India and Sudan, and emphasized the urgent need for characterization, validation, documentation and improved cultivation practices for the wider acceptability of herbal‑based drugs internationally.

During the workshop, scientists and experts for India as well as Sudan presented case studies and discussed issues of common interest, world scenario and status of respective countries in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants research, product development and future markets, including Intellectual Property Rights issues.

Conclusions as given below were drawn from the deliberation and panel discussions at the end of the workshop.

 

1. Inventorization

 

It is crucial for Sudan to initiate inventorization of the biodiversity resources.  Sudan has a rich heritage of not only biodiversity resources but also traditional knowledge retained by traditional healers, local population and tribals.  Following issues need to be addressed:

 

a. National register for accessioning of Sudan's biodiversity

b. Registration of varieties

c. Developing descriptors of genetic resources

d. Geographical indicators

e. Prioritization of species (listing of medicinal and aromatic plants has already been done by Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research Institute, Khartoum) on the basis of variability, utility, prospecting potentials, resource assessment, etc.

f. Databases and Digitization of resources – It can be initiated as a project, which will have a component of training.  The core issue of the project will be Resource Assessment.

 

2. IPR

IPR is a crucial issue and should be addressed immediately.

It may include:

This will help develop national awareness.

 

It was decided that IPBD Cell of CSIR might be approached for this activity.

 

3. Neem Programme

 

Neem is a good plant resource common to India as well as Sudan.  Sudanese delegation showed interest in Neem for biopesticides, biofertilizer as well as medicinal purposes.  It was proposed that a programme be developed between India and Sudan, which will cover:

 

 

The Sudanese delegation also showed interest in Organic Farming as a part of this programme.  So it was proposed that the programme be broadened to cover Organic Farming as well.  Other potential resources like Pongamia, Jatropha and other potential local resources may also be included along with Neem to develop a comprehensive programme for Organic Farming that will include not only pesticides but biofertilizers too.

 

4.  Bioinformatics

Sudanese delegation showed interest in the ILDIS database and proposed that linkages be developed with ILDIS programme.

 

It was also proposed that a programme on database of associated knowledge may be developed between the two countries to document the knowledge that will be useful for proper utilization of resources, IPR and protection of rights of the biodiversity by Sudan in the light of WTO and CBD.

UNIDO has already assured support for the database.

 

5. Plant‑based Dyes

This was identified as a potential area where the two countries can develop a programme.  This area has a great potential for value addition and utilization of local resources.

 

6.Conservation

Conservation is an important area; however, it may be taken in phase II.  It may cover development of in situ medicinal plants conservation areas (project mode)

 

7.  People‑based Vocation‑based on Biodiversity

Large number of people are displaced owing to development activities in Sudan.  Programme should be developed for these people where they can use local biodiversity and develop not only vocation for livelihood but also for value addition and developing marketable products.  This programme can be covered in a project mode or a consultancy assignment.

 

 

Training cum Demonstration Programme on Waste to Energy

 

THE National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, organized a training cum demonstration programme on `Waste to Energy' during 22‑26 September 2003.  The programme was sponsored by Ministry of Non‑conventional Energy Sources, Government of India.  In all 16 personnel of various designations nominated by state nodal agencies, research organizations, universities of various states, took part in the training programme.

 

The training programme was inaugurated by Dr Sukumar Devotta, Director of NEERI, Nagpur, on 22 September, 2003.  In his inaugural address Dr Devotta stressed the participants to update their knowledge and skills in the field of renewable energy. On this occasion an Audiovisual was shown to the participants highlighting the role of NEERI towards Sustainable Development.

 

The training programme was coordinated by Dr D.M. Dharmadhikari, Scientist and Head, Environmental Analytical Instrumentation Division.  Lectures were delivered by the coveted faculty members of NEERI, who are experts in the concerned field.  Experts from outside agencies working in the field of renewable energy sources were also called to share their experiences with the participants.

 

Dr Dharmadhikari delivered the first lecture in which he stressed on the role of non‑conventional energy against the backdrop of non‑renewable sources.  Several core aspects such as role of non‑conventional energy, future environmental consequences of waste to energy projects, energy recovery from waste through various treatments such as thermal, biomethanation were thoroughly discussed.  Some case studies were also presented for the benefit of participants.

 

Live demonstrations on characterization of waste, calorific value of waste, quantification of energy from waste, biogas generation from waste, biogas plant using design modifications and feed back stock amendment were shown to participants to get them accustomed to the latest technological advancements in this field.

 

On the concluding day, feed back from the participants was obtained.  The participants opined that the training programme has updated their knowledge base, the lectures, demos were very useful for them to bring in use in their future R & D areas.  The participants were explained the latest technological pathways for energy generation from solid waste and desulphurization technologies, etc.  The main message `Waste as a resource' was well conveyed through the explanation of various technologies, the participants observed.

 

A visit to Govigyan Anusandhan Kendra, Deolapar, Dist. Nagpur, was also arranged for the participants to get hands on experience about the noble work done in this institute.  The participants expressed their high regards for the institute.  A manual prepared in English highlighting lectures of the training programme were presented to the participants.

 

The concluding function was chaired by Dr Sukumar Devotta, who also presented certificates to the participants for successfully completing the course.  Dr Devotta called upon the participants to apply the knowledge they have gained from this training programme in their respective fields.

 

Dr Devotta also thanked the Ministry of Non‑conventional Energy Sources, Government of India, for sponsoring the training programme and also expressed his desire to jointly organize many such programmes in the near future.

 

 

Prof. Ajay Sood delivers Prof. McBain Memorial Lecture at NCL

 

PROFESSOR Ajay Sood from Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, delivered the third Professor J.W. McBain memorial lecture at National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, on 7 October 2003. Prof. McBain, a doyen in colloidal chemistry, was the first Director of NCL (1949‑1952). Prof. Sood spoke on `Carbon Nanotubes: Paradigm for New Science and Technology'.

 

Prof. Sood, a condensed matter experimental physicist, described the formation of nanotubes and their exciting potential applications. Carbon nanotube is a part of the whole gambit of nanoscience and nanotechnology. He asserted that this area offers cutting edge research opportunities and possible technologies emerging in very near future. He gave glimpses of his work on carbon nanotubes in the last few years.

 

The diamond and graphite, two allotropic forms of carbon, have the contrasting properties arising from different ways of bonding. Nanotubes are graphite sheets rolled into a cylinder in concentric sheets. The diameter of inner tube is in a few nanometres range and the length is typically few microns, i.e. thousand times longer than its diameter and hence has very high aspect ratio.

 

Prof. Sood explained lucidly his recent work on experimental observation of flow induced voltage in single wall carbon nanotubes. This work has attracted wide global attention. He provided the theoretical background for understanding this unique phenomenon.

 

The single wall nanotubes were discovered in 1993. These nanotubes are formed either by laser pulse evaporation, electric arc method or by chemical vapour deposition method. These are the three dominant methods of growth where an arc is struck between two graphite electrodes in the presence of right catalyst like nickel or cobalt in helium atmosphere. The single wall nanotubes are formed in the presence of catalyst and if right catalyst is not present multi‑wall nanotubes are formed. The flow of electron is along the length of the nanotube and motion is linear and circumferential direction is highly minimized. This is a beautiful one dimensional conduction and a single element laboratory where the beautiful science can be done in one dimension. The same carbon material, depending on the way it is rolled, can be either a semiconductor tube or a metallic tube and can be suitably tuned with very interesting consequences in nanoscale electronics like single electron transistor.

 

For electric field induced field emission, a prototype is already available, and these are the best known field devices. Prof. Sood hoped the market for emission devices will open up in less than a year or two. Carbon nanotubes also hold significant interest from the point of view of hydrogen storage. In near future, carbon nanotubes can be used as interconnect between two metallic layers in a chip. These nanotubes can carry about 1000 times more current density than the conventional copper wire and would have less electron migration problems. Another exciting finding that has attracted wide spread attention is the formation of super‑tough carbon nanotube polymer composite, which is four times tougher than spider silk and seventeen times tougher than the Kevlar fibre used in bulletproof vests.

 

Earlier, Dr S. Sivaram, the then Director, NCL, welcomed the audience and in his brief remarks paid tributes to the contribution of Prof. McBain and his wife, Mrs Evelyn McBain to the creation of NCL, including its infrastructure such as housing colony, school and garden. The lecture was organized under the auspices of NCL Research Foundation, a non‑profit trust created to foster all‑round excellence in science and technology.

 

 

Prof. S.K. Joshi delivers CSIR Foundation Day lecture at NCL

 

PROF. S.K. Joshi, former Director General of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, delivered CSIR Foundation Day lecture at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, on `CSIR: 60 Years Behind and 60 Years Ahead'. Looking at the past, Prof. Joshi said these sixty years have been very eventful and turbulent for CSIR. Prof. Joshi also elaborated on his perspectives of CSIR for the next 15 years.

 

Prof. Joshi remarked that CSIR has rendered a great service to the nation. This organization has its genesis in the vision of Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar and Sir S.S. Bhatnagar. CSIR was formed in 1942, two years after the recommendation of Board of Research, a really remarkable happening especially when war was on. The first DG of CSIR, Sir S.S. Bhatnagar was a man of great vision and dynamism and also a trusted comrade of Pt. Nehru. Sir Bhatnagar visualized and created the blue print of CSIR and also saw to it that twelve of its laboratories become fully functional in his life time. CSIR has all over it a large shadow of Sir Bhatnagar.

 

Looking at the future, Prof. Joshi said that we have not yet crossed the barrier of independent thinking. We are affected by a unique syndrome in which for everything we look towards Western nations for guidance, approval and practise. To protect our future, we will have to charter our own course and avoid failures. With its bright record of performance, CSIR has ushered many research centres in science and technology and has given birth to many new disciplines. CSIR is touching every citizen of India through its various programmes like, CPYLS, research fellowships, research associateships, through the emeritus scientist scheme. CSIR has so far awarded 80,000 research fellowships through its national level examination network.<R>

 

Prof. Joshi also counted CSIR's contribution to the society at large. He said that about 5,000 industries are benefiting from its technologies and are generating the turnover of over Rs 5,000 crore annually. Amul has become household name and Swaraj tractor is ubiquitous in our villages. CSIR has given eleven new drugs and developed processes for over hundred known drugs and drug intermediates. CSIR leather technology mission reaches to the most downtrodden strata of the society. It has world class capability to develop catalysts, and composite components for the 14‑seater aircraft, Saras. CSIR has also placed great emphasis on the quality of science.

 

Prof. Joshi said that CSIR's initiative on intellectual property has now spread across the country. CSIR has as many number of PCT applications as Samsung of Korea, though its R&D budget is only one‑tenth of Samsung. Science has its own schedule, even Prof. Rutherford, pioneer of nuclear science, could not predict the enormous power of nuclear energy much in advance before first nuclear bomb was exploded. Still we have to identify certain core sectors to become world leader, he said. For this, choice of sector is very important. Another issue where we have to concentrate is on human resource. We have to attract the best minds for our further growth and research. We will have to further increase our partnership with academia and industry. Most of Nobel Laureates have done their award winning work in their early thirties.

 

CSIR will have to make very special efforts to attract the best young minds from within the country or from abroad. We will have to modify recruitment practice and also change appraisal system to retain them. Along with hiring the best talent, CSIR will have to upgrade the skills of existing staff. He also urged for closer interaction between CSIR labs and major academic institutions. We have to look at our past constraints to have a clear vision of the future. “We have to develop our own technologies for our needs”, Prof. Joshi concluded.

Earlier, Dr Sivaram, the then Director of NCL, welcomed the audience and outlined Prof. Joshi's contribution to CSIR during its turbulent years in the early nineties. He said the founding fathers of CSIR in their deepest wisdom created an organisation which makes imminent sense even today for a country like India with its vast population, a large natural resource‑base, high intellectual capital and several unsolved problems. An active intervention of the government in the research process was not only necessary sixty years ago, but is relevant even today. On this occasion mementoes were given to retiring staff and also to those who had completed 25 years of service in CSIR. Awards to meritorious children of staff were also distributed for their outstanding academic performance. Prizes to the winners of science quiz competition were also given.

 

CPYLS at NEERI

 

THE CSIR Programme on Youth for Leadership in Science (CPYLS), held at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, during 20 & 21 November 2003, was attended by 19 meritorious students selected from Nagpur and Vidarbha region.

 

The programme was inaugurated by Dr Sukumar Devotta, Director, NEERI, who welcomed the participating students and their parents, and informed them about the challenging problems faced by the humanity in the areas of environment and energy.  Dr Devotta said that the slogan for the future should be: "Waste to Wealth", and, citing an example, said that a young research scientist of the institute was doing research on converting the waste of walnut shells into useful activated carbon.  He advised the students that there are many opportunities for the youth to solve the challenging problems in the area of environment and energy, and called upon them to take science as their career in the future.

 

Dr S.P. Pande, Scientist and Head, R&D Planning and Business Development (RPBD) Division and Convener of this scheme, explained in detail the CPYLS scheme.  He also explained the major activities being carried  out at NEERI under different disciplines of environment. 

 

Two audio visuals, viz.  'NEERI Towards Sustainable Development' and 'On the Wings of Science ‑ Prosperity, Security & Dignity' were screened during the inaugural session.  A series of lectures were then delivered by senior Scientists of the institute, covering the various aspects of Environmental Biotechnology, Water Pollution, Air Pollution, and Diesel Exhaust Emission.

 

The students then visited the Environmental Biotechnology Division, Geo‑Environment Management Division, Air Pollution Control Division, Environmental Materials Unit and the Library & Documentation Division of NEERI.

 

On second day, the morning session was devoted to lectures on Environmental Genomics, Solid Waste Management, Environmental Instrumentation, Environmental Impact & Risk Assessment, Environmental Instrumentation, Mathematical Modeling, and Waste Water Treatment. 

 

The participants were then shown the Permanent Exhibition and given copies of the latest annual report and technical brochure of NEERI.  In the afternoon, the students visited the Environmental Genomics Unit, Solid Waste Management Division, Instrumentation Division, Glass Blowing Section, Environmental Systems Design and Modeling Division, Waste Water Technology Division.  The students took enthusiastic part in the discussions and raised various queries on the use of Biotechnology in solving the waste management problems, use of various techniques for defluoridation, catalytic converter and preparation of useful material like zeolite from flyash, recycling of waste through composting and preparation of biodegradable plastics from waste.  The students took keen interest in the operation of various instrumental and computational tools and in the use of GIS in the planning process.

 

In the concluding session, the students expressed their immense satisfaction and expressed gratefulness for the opportunity given to them by CSIR, for getting acquainted with the frontline research being carried out at NEERI.  They expressed their desire to visit NEERI again and for a longer duration.  All the students were given certificate of participation by the hands of Dr S.N. Kaul, the Seniormost Scientist of NEERI.

 

The programme was co‑ordinated by the RPBD Division of NEERI.