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ISSN 0409-7467



15&30 MARCH 2004



The average cotton yield in the country is only 319 kg per hectare compared to the world average of 603 kg/ha. It is estimated that insecticides worth Rs 30,000 million are used annually in Indian agricultural, of which Rs 16,000 million account for cotton crop and of this, Rs 12,000 million is spent on the control of bollworms alone. High expenditure incurred on bollworm control dramatically increases the cost of cotton cultivation, thus making the produce globally less competitive, besides reducing the net income of the cotton farmers.


NBRI has synthesized two Bt‑genes, i.e. Cry1Ac and Cry1EC and transformed cotton with both the genes. When these genes are stacked in a single cotton hybrid cultivar, they provide a broad‑spectrum protection against cotton pests (bollworms). Joint initiative between NBRI and SBPL is expected to result in the development of commercializable Bt‑cotton cultivars. The NBRI‑SBPL initiative marks the development of a valuable high‑end biotechnology in CSIR.


NBRI Technology Transfers                                                     


Herbal Gulal


THE National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, has transferred the know-how, on non-exclusive basis, for the preparation of Herbal Gulal to Shri Shyam Bihari of M/s R.B. Herbal Colour and Gulal, Guriya Wala Pech, Hathras. The agreement to this effect was signed on 24 November 2003 and the know-how was transferred on 18 December 2003. The period of license is 10 years. Details of the know-how, e.g. process description, process flow-sheet, layout plan, raw materials required, drawing, list of equipment and machinery with specification, etc. have been provided to the licensee.




Polynutrients/phytochemicals present in herbs and food products play an important role in the general health care system. Taking clues from the traditional knowledge, NBRI developed Nutra-Diab, which has specific functional attributes for the diabetic, and validated the product using modern scientific tools and concept of functional foods.


NBRI has transferred the know-how for commercial exploitation of the process know-how for preparation of Nutra-Diab to Shri Rahul Verma, Managing Director, M/s Shivalik Herbs & Nutraceuticals, Mahanagar, Lucknow. The agreement was signed on 23 April 2003 and the know-how transferred on 12 November. The period of license is 7 years.



Science Spectrum


Crystal Engineering of Supramolecular Assemblies


THE molecular chemistry is based on the atoms and the covalent bond, same way, supramolecular chemistry is for the molecules and the intermolecular bond. Supermolecules are not just the collection of molecules; their structure and characteristic properties are distinctly different from the constituent molecular species.  'Crystal Engineering' is the design of functional three dimensional crystal structures from molecular‑scale components. These processes are important to the development of new materials, since many properties like non‑linear optical, electrical conductivity, magnetism, solubility, photochemical stability, porosity, etc. are determined in part by the crystal structure. Practical applications of crystalline materials are also strongly influenced by the ability to grow crystals of suitable size and morphology.


Dr. V. R. Pedireddi's group at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune,  has demonstrated the concept in the synthesis of novel supramolecular assemblies of benzenetetracarboxylic acid with various aza donor molecules such as phenanthrolines, phenazine and bipyridyls. Some of the examples are shown in Figure 1.




Figure 1


The assemblies formed divide into two classes, host‑guest systems and assemblies with infinite molecular sheets. The complexes of acid with 1,10‑phenanthroline, phenazine and 4‑N, N‑dimethylamino pyridine belong to the former class, the assemblies of acid with 1,2‑bis‑(4‑pyridyl)ethane and 1,2‑bis‑ (4‑pyridyl)ethene form molecular tapes, which are arranged in two dimensions to form sheet structures. However, acid with 1,7‑phenanthroline forms both the types of complexes.


In all the host‑guest assemblies, water plays a crucial role by facilitating the formation of cavities in accordance with the dimension of the guest molecule. The number of water molecule utilized in this study are from 0 ‑ 4 (Figure 2) according to the size of the incoming guest molecule. However, if the molecular dimension is beyond a threshold limit, naturally a large number of water molecules may be required to facilitate the formation of appropriate cavity to accommodate the guest molecule. Hence such components obviously adopted different structural patterns such as sheet structures as seen in 1,2‑bis‑(4‑pyridyl)ethane and  1,2‑bis‑ (4‑pyridyl) ethene (Figure 2).



Figure 2: (1) Host-guest complex of 1,2,4,5-benzenetetracarboxylic acid and 4-N,N-dimethylamino pyridine.
(2) Host-guest complex of 1,2,4,5-benzenetetracarboxylic acid and 1,10-phenanthroline. (3) Host-guest complex of
 1,2,4,5-benzenetetracarboxylic acid and 1,7-phenanthroline. (4) Sheet-structure of 1,2,4,5-benzenetetracarboxylic acid
with either 1,2-bis-(4-pyridyl)ethene or 1,2-bis-(4-pyridyl)ethane



This work has been published as the cover page of Journal of Organic Chemistry, Page No. 9177, Issue No. 24, 2003.


For further information on this work, contact Dr. V.R. Pedireddi.


Related references:

(1) Arora, K. K.; Pedireddi, V. R. J. Org Chem. 2003, 68, 9177.

(2) Pedireddi, V. R.; Prakasha Reddy, J.; Arora, K. K. Tetrahedron Lett. 2003, 44, 4557.

(3) Arora, K. K.; Pedireddi, V. R. Tetrahedron 2004, 60, 919.

(4) SeethaLekshmi, N.; Pedireddi, V. R. Tetrahedron Lett 2004, 45, 1903

(5) (a) Desiraju, G. R. Crystal Engineering: The Design of Organic Solids, Elsevier: Amsterdam, 1989.

5(b) Desiraju, G. R. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl.1995, 34, 2311



Synthesis, Structure and Reactivity of Inorganic Clusters, Rings and Polymers Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize‑winner Prof. V. Chandrasekhar's Work


DR V. Chandrasekhar of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, has been chosen, along with Dr Santanu Bhattacharya, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Chemical Sciences for the year 2003.





Prof. V. Chandrasekhar is a main group inorganic chemist and has contributed significantly to the chemistry of area of main group inorganic and organometallic chemistry with emphasis on the synthesis, structure and reactivity of inorganic clusters, rings and polymers. Through his work in the last decade, he has unraveled many synthetic and structural problems that are present in this difiicult and challenging area and has been successful in the understanding and utilization of structure‑property relationships that exist in these complex systems. He has contributed significantly to the development of new synthetic methodologies for the assembly of organotin clusters, cages and supramolecules. He has also pioneered the design, development, and coordination chemistry of new dendrimeric multi‑site coordination ligands supported on inorganic ring scaffolds. He was able to apply this methodology for preparing a new family of polymeric ligands. The transition metal derivatives of these polymeric ligands were utilized as novel polymeric heterogeneous catalysts in phosphate ester hydrolysis, DNA cleavage and in organic synthesis. His interests in unusual hybrid inorganic‑organic polymers have led to the development of a new class of polymer electrolytes, polysilane precursors for ceramics as well as inorganic ring pendant containing polymers.


Stannoxane frameworks have an amazing structural diversity as well as structural plasticity. The delineation of the various factors that determine the outcome of stannoxane based organotin cluster structures has been one of the main interests of the research group of Prof. Chandrasekhar. This endeavor has led to unexpected outcomes. Thus, a robust hexa‑ferrocene assembly supported on a stannoxane framework was synthesized in a one‑step high yield synthetic procedure. This has led to the recognition of using other inorganic rings and cages as supports for electroactive peripheries. For the first time, using organotin motifs, supramolecular structures have been designed and assembled. The utility of organotin cations in organic synthesis has also been demonstrated.


Studies on a new family of phosphorus based ligands led to the discovery of multi‑metallic assemblies containing phosphonate ligands. Subsequently, the deliberate use of phosphonate ligands along with ancillary ligands such as pyrazole have allowed facile synthesis of metal assemblies where the metal nuclearity as well as the topology of the multi‑metallic cages could be readily varied. The general applicability of this methodology makes this very attractive for the synthesis of homo and heterometallic clusters. These studies are also important from the point of view of designing magnetically interesting materials such as single‑molecule magnets.


By a careful application of synthetic strategies several novel multi‑site coordinating inorganic ring systems have been developed. These have been shown to possess varied and interesting coordination behavior towards transition metal ions. A variety of homo and heterobimetallic derivatives have been assembled having significance from a structural and catalytic view point. These simple models have been extended to polymeric systems and new transition metal containing heterogeneous polymeric catalysts have been developed for phosphate ester hydrolysis, DNA cleavage as well as for synthetically useful reactions such the Heck reaction.


The development of new hybrid inorganic‑organic polymers has also been an on‑going programme in Prof. V. Chandrasekhar's laboratory. Thus, the presence of inorganic groups as side‑chains of an organic polymer or inorganic elements in the back bone of a polymer is likely to endow special properties to such polymeric materials. This feature has been utilized to prepare thermally stable polymers, polymer precursors for ceramics and polymer electrolytes.


Prof. V. Chandrasekhar (born 6 November 1958, Kolkata), did his Ph.D from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 1982 under the supervision of Prof. S.S. Krishnamurthy. After a post‑doctoral stint at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1983‑86), Chandrasekhar joined Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited, Vadodara, in 1986 as a Senior Research Officer.


He moved in 1987 to the Indian Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, where he has been a full Professor since 1995. His research interests are in the area of Main Group Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry. He has published several research papers and book chapters.


He has been an invited speaker at several universities in India, USA, Germany and Japan. His research contributions have been recognized both nationally and internationally. He is recipient of INSA Young Scientist Award (1989), Homi Bhaba Fellowship (1999‑2000), Friedrich‑ Wilhelm‑Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2002). He has been elected to the Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore, in 2003.



An Efficient Characterization of Prime Numbers Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize-winner Prof. Manindra Agrawal’s Work


PROF. Manindra Agrawal, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, has been chosen, along with Dr Vasudevan Srinivas, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Mathematical Sciences, for the year 2003




Prof. Agrawal’s SSB prize-winning work pertains to efficient characterization of prime numbers. How do we determine if a number is prime? The interest in this problem dates back to ancient Greeks and Chinese. At one level, the problem is very easy: by definition, a number is prime if it is not divisible by any smaller number except 1, and so by trying to divide the given number by all smaller numbers one can determine if the number is prime. However, this method gets very cumbersome for large numbers (doing this for a 50 digit number would exhaust several lifetimes). So the quest was to come up with a new and interesting characterization of prime numbers that would also provide a fast method for determining primality of a number. The widely accepted definition of a ‘fast’ method is that of polynomial time, i.e., a method that requires at most (log n)c operations for some constant c where  n is the given number. The above trial division method is not polynomial time since it requires order of n = 2logn divisions — far larger than permitted (we will always take logarithm to base 2 in this write-up).


Over the centuries, several mathematicians have wondered about such an efficient characterization.1 Karl Friedrich Gauss, arguably the greatest mathematician of all time, wrote in his Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (1801):


“The problem of distinguishing prime numbers from composite numbers and of resolving the latter into their prime factors is known to be one of the most important and useful in arithmetic. It has engaged the industry and wisdom of ancient and modern geometers to such an extent that it would be superfluous to discuss the problem at length. Nevertheless we must confess that all methods


that have been proposed thus far are either restricted to very special cases or are so laborious and difficult that even for numbers that do not exceed the limits of tables constructed by estimable men, then try the patience of even the practices calculator. And these method do not apply at all to large numbers ... Further, the dignity of the science itself seems to require that every possible means be explored for the solution of a problem so elegant and so celebrated.”


Ancient Chinese (ca. 400 BCE) believed that the following characterization holds:


            n is prime if and only 2n = 2 (mod n).


In other words, 2n – 2 is divisible by n. Later, this was proven wrong — the smallest number for which the characterization fails is 341: it is a composite number, 341 = 11 * 31, yet 2341 = 2 (mod 341). In 17th century, Pierre de Fermat proved that one direction of this characterization is always correct. In fact, he proved a much stronger result:


            If n is prime then an = a (mod n) for every a.


From this result of Fermat, the following possibility arose:


            n is prime if and only if an = a (mod n) for every a between 2 and k.


The number k above can be taken to be, say, 100 or even 100 log n and yet the method will be polynomial time (see discussion below). This characterization, for example, will not break down for n = 341 since 3341 ¹ 3 (mod 341). However, even this characterization was proven incorrect. Carmichael (1910) [Car10] showed that there are composite numbers n for which an = a (mod n) for every a! The smallest such number is 561 = 3 * 11 * 17.


While the above characterization fails, it is interesting to note that verifying if Fermat’s equation holds for a given a and n is easy: to compute an (mod n) one first computes a2 (mod n), a4 (mod n), a8 (mod n), ... by repeatedly squaring the numbers and then multiplies an appropriate subset of these. This requires at most 2 log n multiplications which is polynomial time. For this reason, efforts continued to obtain a characterization based on a similar “exponential” equation but none of them were completely successful. There were partial successes though. Miller (1973) came up with the following (somewhat complicated) characterization:


n = s * 2t+ 1 (s is odd) is prime if and only if n is not a prime power and for every a £ 4(log n)2, either as = 1 (mod n) or for some u < t.


This can be quickly verified [requiring of the order of (log n)3 multiplications], however, Miller could only prove the correctness of the characterization under the assumption of Generalized Riemann Hypothesis, a famous open problem in mathematics. There were some probabilistic characterizations obtained too. For example, Rabin (1974) [Rab80] gave a variant of Miller’s characterization in which instead of trying all a’s up to 4(log n)2, one randomly chooses an a. Rabin proved that the resulting characterization holds with high probability (over the choice of a’s).


In the above-mentioned line of attack, proving the correctness of characterization was a problem but the verification was quick. There were some other directions taken where the opposite was true. For example, Wilson (1770) proved that


            n is prime if and only if (n-1)! = -1 (mod n),


and the proof is straightforward. However, verifying the equation requires computation of (n – 1)! and thus a large number of multiplications (of the order of n).


This was the state of affairs until Prof. Manindra Agrawal working first with Somenath Biswas (1999) [AB03] and then with Neeraj Kayal and Nitin Saxena (2002) [AKS02] proved a characterization of prime numbers that can be quickly verified. The characterization generalizes Fermat’s idea to the ring of polynomials over variable X. The starting point is the simple observation that


       n is prime if and only if (X + 1)n = Xn + 1 (mod n).


Although it is a Fermat-type equation, the verification of the equation is expensive: as one is working over large degree polynomials here, even a single polynomial multiplication could need of order of n ordinary multiplications! The next step is the critical one which restores the quick verification property. Let polynomial



where R = 16 . (log n)5 and A = 4 . (log n)4. Then the following characterization holds:


            n is prime if and only if (X + 1)n = Xn + 1 (mod n, Q (X) ).


In other words, (X + 1)n - Xn – 1 is in the ideal generated by n and Q(X), or (X + 1)n - Xn – 1 = n.P(X) + Q(X).R(X) for some polynomials P(X) and R(X). Since the degree of polynomial Q(X) is small [order of (log n)14], this equation can be verified quickly (now polynomial multiplication is always of small degree). The number of operations needed by the method can be further improved to be of the order of (log n)7.5.


Prof. Manindra Agrawal (born 20 May 1966, Allahabad) did his B.Tech. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from IIT – Kanpur in 1986 and 1991, respectively. He was a Research Associate at IIT-Kanpur during 1992, Fellow at the School of Mathematics, SPIC Science Foundation during 1993-98, and Humboldt Fellow, University of Ulm, Germany, during 1995-96. He rejoined IIT-Kanpur as Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science in 1996, became Associate Professor in 2000, Professor in 2001 and N. Rama Rao Chair Professor in 2003. He is also a Member, School of Mathematics Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, USA.


Prof. Agrawal has 16 publications in prestigious journals and 21 publications in conference proceedings; one of his papers has been accepted for publiction. His research interests include: Complexity Theory, Algorithmic Number Theory and Cryptography. He has designed, ‘Trinetra’ and ‘Indra’, new private-key encryption algorithms – the former being used by Indian Navy and the latter, by Indian Air Force.


Prof. Agrawal is Editor of Theory of Computing Systems  journal (Springer). He has served on committees of several conferences including the 44th IEEE Symposium on Foundation of Computer Science held in October 2003, in Boston. In addition to the present Bhatnagar Prize Prof. Agrawal is also a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT-Kanpur, Clay Research Award (2002) and ICTP Prize (2003).




[AB03] Agrawal M., Biswas S. “Primality and Identity Testing via Chinese Remaindering.” Journal of the ACM 50(4), 429-443, 2003.

[AKS02] Agrawal M., Kayal N., Saxena N. “PRIMES is in P.” Preprint posted at the website To appear in Annals of Mathematics.

[Car10] Carmichael R. D. “Note on a New Number Theory Function.” Bulletin of American Mathematical Society 16, 232-238, 1910.

[Mil76] Miller G. “Riemann’s Hypothesis and Tests for Primality.” Journal of Computer and System Sciences 13, 300-317, 1976.

[Rab80] Rabin M. O. “Probabilistic Algorithm for Testing Primality.” Journal of Number Theory 12, 128-138, 1980.


1 Although the notion of polynomial time was formally defined only in 1960s, at an intuitive level, it has been around for a long time.



New Laws Governing the Properties of Elementary Particles
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize‑winner Prof. Biswarup Mukhopadhyaya's Work


PROF. Biswarup Mukhopadhyaya, Harish‑Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, has been selected, along with Dr G. Ravindra Kumar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Physical Sciences, for the year 2003.




Prof. Biswarup Mukhopadhyaya has worked on new laws governing the properties of elementary particles. Presently, the world of such particles is assumed to be controlled by the Glashow‑Salam‑Weinberg (GSW) theory for weak and electromagnetic interactions and quantum chromodynamics for strong interactions. However, it is being contemplated for various reasons that some new physics, based most likely on additional symmetries, is lurking around the energy scale of a TeV or so. While efforts are on to discover signals of such new physics at the various up‑and coming accelerator experiments as well as information from extra‑terrestrial sources (involving, for example, the world of neutrinos), it is a rather difficult job to correlate the various pieces of observation with logically consistent theoretical models. Prof. Mukhopadhyaya's recent work, as itemized below, as mostly concerned with such attempts.


Supersymmetry and Neutrino Masses: The concept of supersymmetry (SUSY) as a symmetry between fermions and bosons has been haunting physicists for about three decades now. However, no experimental signal of SUSY has been discovered yet. The only area of electroweak interactions where glimpses of new physics have appeared is the neutrino sector; the solar and atmospheric neutrino anomalies, persistent in practically all experiments carried out in recent times, can be explained if neutrinos have mass and mixing. He has contributed in showing that certain types of supersymmetric theories, namely, those with R‑parity violation, can solve the puzzles involving neutrinos. Prof. Mukhopadhyaya's work also reveals how certain interesting properties of the SUSY theory give us insight into the neutrino mass and mixing patterns, and how the lessons learned from neutrino data can be verified independently in high‑energy collider experiments.


Collider Physics : He has done substantial work on the search for new physics at high‑energy colliders. This includes both electron‑positron colliders and hadronic machines. The major areas in which he has been able to provide theoretical ideas related to collider observables are the signatures of supersymmetry (a symmetry between bosons and fermions), the search for the Higgs boson (the yet undiscovered pillar of the Weinberg‑Salam theory), and theories of additional spatial dimensions.

Gravity with Torsion : Spacetime torsion is an extension of the general theory of relativity, which has been under serious study for a long time. One consequence of torsion is a new source of parity violation. Prof. Mukhopadhyaya participated in a series of works on developing a consistent scheme for incorporating this possibility. Some recent work of him extends this study to currently popular theories with extra dimensions and unveils some new understanding.


Prof. Biswarup Mukhopadhyaya (born 1 August 1960, Kolkata), did his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D from University of Calcutta, in Physics, in 1981, 1983 and 1989 respectively. He worked as a Lecturer at Barasat Government College, West Bengal (December 1987 – November 1989) and as Post‑doctoral Research Associate at Oklahoma State University, USA, (December 1989 – May 1992). He was a Visiting Fellow at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (July‑October 1992); and Fellow (October 1992 to January 1997), Reader (February 1997 – January 2000) and Associate Professor (February 2000 – January 2002) at the Mehta Research Institute, Allahabad. He has been working as Professor at the Harish‑Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, since February 2002. He has visited DESY, Hamburg, Germany (September 1988); Universities of Dortmund, Aachen, Karlsruhe, and Heidelberg, Germany (October 1988); International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy (October‑November 1988); Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA (November – December 1989); Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, USA (July‑August 1991); Aspen Center for Physics, USA (January 1992); University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA (March 1992); International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy (May‑August 1994); University of California, Riverside, USA (April‑June 1996); KEK Laboratory, Tsukuba, Japan (July 1996); CERN, Geneva, Switzerland (April‑May 1998); DESY, Hamburg, Germany (May‑June 1998); University of Vienna, Austria (April‑May 2000); CERN, Geneva, Switzerland (May‑June 2000); Joint Institute of Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia (June 2001 2002); University of Helsinki, Finland (May‑July 2002); University of Durham, England (July‑August 2002); and Korea Institute for Advanced Study, Seoul, Korea (May 2003).



Modeling and Optimization for Performance Enhancement in Process Engineering Science and Engineering Research Council School at NCL


TO facilitate sharing of knowledge possessed by the experts in various fields and to create a broader knowledge‑base and expertise for doing research in frontier areas of scientific/ engineering/ technology disciplines, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the auspices of Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), conducts schools to train individuals and groups in different educational and research institutes in India. An SERC School in chemical engineering on `Modeling and Optimization for Performance Enhancement in Process Engineering' was organized during 19‑22 January 2004 at National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, to make use of the strong expertise available at the Chemical Engineering Division of NCL in the areas of process modeling, simulation and optimization. About 30 participants from universities, R&D institutions and industry attended the school.



Participants of SERC School at NCL along with the course coordinator and faculty members



Dr B.D. Kulkarni, Deputy Director and Head, Chemical Engineering and Process Development Division and the Course Coordinator, while opening the course introduced the central theme of the SERC School to the participants and elaborated on the relevance of process modeling and optimization to chemical engineering education, research and practice. He stressed that most chemical engineering operations involve a range of length and time scales over which events occur and different types of models are necessary to capture the underlying physico‑chemical phenomenon. Dr Kulkarni elaborated  the role, scope and appropriateness of computational flow modeling, special types of phenomenological models and their solution methodologies, artificial intelligence‑based models as well as large scale global optimization methods. He introduced the stated modeling and optimization formalisms with a view to summarizing and supplementing the more detailed presentations on the respective topics that followed subsequently.


Dr Vivek Rande in his lecture on `Computational Flow Modeling for Chemical Process Industries' detailed how computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can help in carrying out the desired chemical and physical transformations in a large scale reactor in the best possible manner. He stressed the need for acquiring complete knowledge of the fluid dynamics in order to push the performance limits of existing process technology and hardware. Dr Ranade's lecture unambiguously demonstrated that CFD simulations enhance accuracy in design and allow detailed and speedy analysis for less money and lower risk. He further elaborated on various aspects of computational flow modeling and outlined relevant methodologies and strategies.


Dr V. Ravikumar's lecture on `Analysis Control and Optimization of Systems‑exhibiting Complex Dynamics and Spatio‑temporal Pattern Formation' covered a wide spectrum of phenomenological models of interest in chemically reacting systems. He specifically dealt with systems exhibiting interesting features like spatio‑temporal patterns and complex dynamics. His talk and tutorials included case examples illustrating operational and control strategies for improved performance, methodologies for dimensionality reduction and characterization of systems exhibiting chaotic dynamics and multi‑resolution analysis of operational data from running plant employing wavelets as well as control strategies.


Notwithstanding the power of phenomenological models, especially in terms of the fundamental understanding that they provide, they are beset with difficulties such as requirement of the detailed knowledge of the underlying physico‑chemical phenomena and extensive time required for their development, testing and validation. These requirements cannot be fulfilled in many industrial processes owing to the inadequate knowledge about underlying phenomenon and complex nonlinear interactions between the governing variables. In commercial practice, process related problems require quick solutions and thus solutions based on the phenomenological models may not be feasible. In recent years, data driven models based on `Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools' have gained considerable popularity. Dr S.S. Tambe in his lecture on `Process Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence' outlined the basic tenets of building such models using various AI formalisms such as artificial neural networks (ANNs) and Genetic programming. A number of different types of ANN architectures along with methods of their training, testing and validation were illustrated through case examples. Dr Tambe also covered the popular AI based optimization methodology namely Genetic Algorithms (GA). Additionally, details of two hybrid AI‑based modeling and optimization methods namely ANN‑GA and GP‑GA were presented, substantiated with illustrative examples.


Although several elegant methodologies exist for solving process optimization problems, yet, being derivative based, they are beset with convergence problems. Dr V.K. Jayaraman in his lecture on `Applications of Evolutionary Algorithms and Machine Learning Techniques in Process Engineering' introduced a number of novel meta‑heuristic methods based on `ant colony behavior' tabu search, simulated annealing, etc. and stressed on their potential as powerful tools for solving discrete and continuous optimization problems. Recent advances in machine learning, statistical learning theory and artificial intelligence have indeed made a great impact on process modeling. His tutorial on Support Vector Machines provided a sampler of the elegance of this novel methodology.


The elaborate `Hands on sessions' after each lecture provided interactive discussions, case studies, discussions and software demonstration and training. The participants were familiarized with two artificial intelligence software packages, namely `Enciel‑N‑Net' and `Enciel‑GA.' Both these packages have been developed in‑house by the Artificial Intelligence Systems Group (AISG) of NCL. The packages Enciel‑N‑Net and Enciel‑GA are meant for developing ANN‑based process models and for conducting GA‑based function maximixation/minimization, respectively. The course notes for the SERC School were cut in the form of a CD‑ROM as well as `hand‑outs' for easy reference. These include considerable reference material, which along with the lectures, hands‑on‑sessions and group discussions would provide necessary insight for acquiring knowledge and skills to initiate research in modeling and simulation.


In the concluding session, Shri Rajiv Tayal, Convener, Chemical Engineering Sub‑Committee of DST, highlighted the role of DST in general and SERC in particular in imparting knowledge to young researchers with a view to enabling them undertake independent research in cutting edge areas of science and engineering. Dr Kulkarni in his closing remarks summarized the theme and objective of the school. A number of participants in their feedback highlighted usefulness, organization and content of the SERC School.



National Seminar on Membrane Science & Technology:
Challenges and Opportunities


A national seminar on `Membrane Science & Technology : Challenges and Opportunities' was held at the Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Jorhat, on 12‑13 February 2004. Inaugurated by Prof. P. Bhattcharyya, Vice Chancellor, Tezpur University and Mr O.P. Taylor, Resident Director, Assam Petrochemicals Limited, Namrup, the seminar was jointly organized by RRL‑J, and Indian Membrane Society (IMS) and Indian Desalination Association (InDA), and attended by eminent scientists and technocrats from different parts of the country.


Dr P.G. Rao, Director, RRL‑Jorhat, welcomed the distinguished scientists and guests, and spoke on the importance of efficient membrane system in petrochemical, refining and fertilizer industries .  He also highlighted the pioneering work done in this important area at RRL‑Jorhat and discussed the possibility of application of a new membrane system in different industries of North‑East India. Dr Ram Gopal, UGC Visiting Professor at JNV University, Jodhpur, briefly described the history of development of Indian Membrane Society and contribution of the Society towards the progress of this important field of science. He also highlighted the various uses of membrane in defence and weapon systems. Dr P.K. Tewari, Head, Desalination Division, BARC, Mumbai, described the contributions of Indian Desalination Association and spoke about water problem in India and its management through various methods, e.g. rainwater harvesting, storage, filtration, water recycling, and desalination using suitable membrane system. The various uses of membrane in water purification were also highlighted. Prof P. Bhattcharyya, said that although he was not a membrane scientist yet he was aware of wide range of applications of membrane in industry and biosciences. He advised the young researchers to develop new ideas in this emerging area. Mr O.P. Taylor, released souvenir brought out on the occasion and spoke on activities and accomplishments of Assam Petrochemical industry. He stressed on the application of modern membrane technology in petrochemical industry, which would lead to upgradation and economic development of the industry. Dr M.H. Mehta, former Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Agricultural University and present President of Indian Membrane Society, in his presidential address, highlighted the application of membranes in several priority areas like biotechnology, biomedical, food and milk industries, electronics, environmental industries, etc. He opined that no high industry could develop without the use of modern efficient membrane systems. Around thirty papers were presented in seven technical sessions.



International Symposium on Recent Developments in Organic Chemistry


FOLLOWING the Tenth NOST Symposium at Goa, a one‑day International Symposium on Recent Developments in Organic Chemistry was organized at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, on 3 November 2003.


Welcoming the guests and delegates and introducing NCL to the speakers from abroad, Dr S. Sivaram, Director, NCL, expressed that the presence of distinguished speakers would specially benefit the NCL colleagues who could not participate in the symposium in Goa and listen to many of the recent developments in organic chemistry.



Dr S. Rajappa, Chairman of the first session, welcoming Prof. Michael Schmittel by offering a bouque and
 Dr S. Sivaram delivering his welcome address at the International Symposium on
 Recent Developments in Organic Chemistry



Prof. M. Schmittel, University of Siegen, Germany, in his talk on `Photochemical and electron transfer‑induced cyclizations of enediynes and enyne‑(hetero) allenes' said that biradical intermediates can react in an intramolecular way to give [4+2] or [2+2] cycloadducts and ene products. They are versatile intermediates for the construction of various ring systems. He demonstrated this concept in regioselective cyclizations with enyne‑ketenes and enyne‑ketenimines.


Prof. Vinod K. Singh, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, spoke on `Enantioselective allylic oxidation of olefins and propargylation of carbonyls'. He said, “Asymmetric allylic oxidation of olefins to allylic esters is an important transformation”. The reaction is performed usually using per‑esters in the presence of a metal catalyst in a chiral environment. One of the drawbacks of the reaction was the longer time required for its completion, ranging from a week to a month. This shortcoming was overcome, to some extent, by using phenylhydrazine/phenylhydrazone in the reaction mixture. “Chelated amino acid ester enolates are suitable nucleophiles for palladium‑catalyzed allylic alkylations”, said Prof. U. Kazmaier, University of Saarland, Germany. The advantage is that they react under very mild reaction conditions, even at ‑ 78°.


Camptothecin and related alkaloids were identified as the molecules of interest, in keeping with the programme and philosophy that we strongly believe in the utilization of chemistry to meet the societal needs and synthesis of bioactive molecules, said Dr S.P. Chavan, Scientist, NCL. He presented the practical and efficient synthesis of camptothecin and related compounds. His interest in these alkaloids has led to the synthesis of biologically active alkaloids like mappicine ketone, nothapodytine B, luotonins (‑A, ‑B and ‑C), vasicinone and rutaecarpine. He also elucidated a facile and practical synthesis of constrained cyclopropane amino acid.


Prof. Toshiro Harada, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Japan, successfully used chiral Lewis acids in many face selective reactions. These acids are prepared from amino acids, sulfonyl chlorides and dihaloboranes. Properly designed oxazaborolidinones are effective both in an enantiotopic face selective reaction and in a group selective reaction.


Prof. Bernhard Breit, Institute of Organic Chemistry & Biochemistry, Freiburg, Germany, described a new concept for the construction of bidentate ligands for homogeneous metal complex catalysis. This concept relies on the self‑assembly of monodentate ligands through hydrogen bonding where a chelate is formed in the coordination sphere of a transition metal center through unusual pyridone/hydroxypyridine hydrogen bonding. This hydrogen bonding stays intact in a catalytic reaction as proven in highly regioselective hydroformylation of terminal alkenes.


Prof. Morris Srebnik, Hebrew University, Israel, talked about the vinylphosphonates, which are important both as synthetic intermediates and as biologically active substances. These compounds are synthesized by metallation reactions involving titanium, zirconium and boron reagents.


Dr M.S. Shashidhar, Scientist, NCL, spoke on trans‑esterification of racemic 2,4‑di‑O‑acyl‑myo‑inositol 1,3,5‑orthoesters in the presence of sodium carbonate to yield the corresponding 2,4,6‑tri‑O‑acyl‑myo‑inositol 1,3,5‑orthoesters and 2‑O‑acyl‑ myo‑inositol 1,3,5‑orthoesters, in the solid state. Single crystal X‑ray diffraction studies show that these diesters assemble to form helical assemblies in their crystals. Correlation of the crystal structures of inositol orthoester derivatives with their reactivity reveals that although the relative orientation and proximity of the electrophile (C=O) and the nucleophile (OH) at the tetrahedral angle are important for the reaction to take place, other weaker intermolecular interactions such as C‑H....â and C‑HO between the non‑reacting functional groups contribute significantly to decide the facility of the reaction. The existence of such weak interactions in crystals could decide the outcome of chemical reactions.


Prof. Oliver Reiser, University of Regensburg, Germany, stated that Y‑butyrolactones are prominent constituents in biologically active compounds. They are found in 10% of all natural products where they are part of complex ring systems. Cuprous ion catalyzed asymmetric cyclopropanation of furan as cheap starting material gives rise to intermediates for Y‑butyrolactone.


The symposium was convened by Dr Ganesh Pandey, senior scientist, Organic Chemistry



Eleventh National Convention of Electrochemists (NCE‑11)


THE Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi; Society for Advancement of Electrochemical Science and Technology (SAEST); and Bishop Heber College (BHC), Tiruchirappalli, organized the Eleventh National Convention of Electrochemists (NCE‑11) during 26‑27 December 2003.


The convention proceedings included 187 papers and four invited lectures. The technical programme was held in six technical sessions with 45 oral presentations, 115 posters and 27 presentations in scholar session; 230 delegates from various parts of the country attended the convention. Special features of the convention were the Prof. K.S.G. Doss Memorial lecture, and presentation of Smt. Annapurana Award and Best Electroplater Award.


Dr M. Jayachandran, Secretary, while welcoming the delegates and dignitaries told that NCE is conducted in the various reputed academic and research institutions all over India, with the aim to encourage and create research interest among the young brains of post‑graduate and professional students and research scholars in the area of Electrochemical Science and Technology and related fields. It has succeeded in attracting their enthusiastic participation and presentation of research ideas in the midst of learned professors and scientists. Shri S. Krishnamurthy, Vice President, SAEST, gave a briefs account about SAEST and NCE‑11.


Shri Ramachandra N.Galla, President, SAEST and Executive Chairman, M/s Amara Raja Batteries Ltd, Karakambadi, Tirupati, presided over the function. In his presidential address he spoke on the applications of electrochemical technologies pertaining to power sources. He quoted that the advances made in the field of lead acid batteries has led to their use in battery powered automobiles, leading to conservation of fossil fuel and reduction in atmospheric pollution.


Prof. D. Swamiraj, Director, Bishop Heber College, delivered the inaugural address highlighting the role of electrochemistry in the present energy scenario and technological development. He expressed that CECRI is doing excellent R&D work in this fascinating field. He lauded the scientists for the guidance they offer to students from BHC as well as from other academic institutions all over Tamil Nadu. Dr A. Rajendran, Deputy Director, CECRI, presented the Smt. Annapurana Award for the year 2002 to the paper titled `Comparative studies on the corrosion performance of steel in concrete in natural, polluted and marine environments' authored by Anand Parande, S. Muralidharan, G. Venkatachari, S. Srinivasan and M. Raghavan, of CECRI. Best Electroplater Award for the year 2001 was presented by Shri Ramachandra N. Galla to Dr (Mrs.) Sobha Jayakrishnan, Scientist & Head, Electroplating and Metal Finishing Technology Division, CECRI. Dr D.C. Trivedi, Deputy Director, CECRI, released the souvenir and abstract book. Shri T. Raju, Jt. Secretary, proposed a vote of thanks.


Prof. A.K. Shukla, Director, CECRI, delivered the Doss Memorial Lecture on `Fuelling Future Cars'. He made an appraisal of the various electrochemical power systems, viz. rechargeable batteries, fuel cells and super capacitors for an electric car. He stressed that these power systems should reach an advanced state so that they can display comparable range and speed, long and reliable life and be manufactured at a cost comparable to internal combustion engines.


Invited talks were delivered by Dr H.S. Maiti, Director, CGCRI, Kolkata, on `Materials Research for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell'; Prof. A.Q. Contractor, IIT‑Mumbai, on `Electrochemistry of Polyaniline Langmuir‑Blodgett Films'; Dr S. Sampath, IISc‑Bangalore, on `Electrochemical Biosensors using Modified Surfaces'; and Dr M.V. Sangaranarayanan, IIT‑Chennai, on `Thermodynamic Analysis of Electron Transfer Process at Metal Electrodes'.


In the Technical Sessions, research papers were presented in the following areas: Fundamental Electrochemistry and Electro‑analytical Instrumentation, Materials Science and Power Sources, Electrochemical, Chemical and Corrosion Engineering, Electrodeposition of Metals, Semiconductors and Composites and Biological Science and Environmental Pollution.


In the valedictory function, Shri S. Krishnamoorthy, Vice President, SAEST, summed up the NCE‑11 proceedings. Dr M. Marcus Diepen Boominathan, Principal, Bishop Heber College, Trichirappalli, presided over the function, delivered the presidential address and presented the `Best paper oral presentation' awards to five winners. Dr K.R. Murali, Treasurer, presented the `Best Poster Presentation' awards to six winners. Shri T. Raju, Joint Secretary, presented the `Best Scholar Presentation Awards' to three research scholars. Shri S. Krishnamoorthy presented the mementos to the Judges of the NCE‑11 technical sessions. Dr M. Jayachandran, Secretary, honoured the Local Organizing Committee Chairman & Convener and proposed the vote of thanks.



Workshop on Emerging Materials for Environmental Applications


THE National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, and National Institute for Material Science (NIMS), Tsukuba, Japan, jointly organized a two‑day workshop on `Emerging Materials for Environmental Applications' at NEERI, during 20‑21 January 2004.  The workshop was organized under the research collaboration programme between NEERI, NIMS, in the field of `Development of Advanced Materials for Environmental Applications'.


Molecular approaches to environmental problems present researchers with enormous challenges wherein many questions related to materials can be addressed.  The ongoing R&D in materials science all over the world, therefore, focuses on the field of structured nanoporous materials, including approaches in the synthesis and functionality, accompanied by structure elucidation/documentation and more recently, molecular modeling‑aided interpretation/prediction of structure property relationship for a variety of materials.  Such studies are bound to add to the existing knowledge of molecular design of tailor‑made materials for specific applications including those environmental applications.  In order to address these emerging areas the first NEERI‑NIMS workshop on Development of Advanced Materials for Environmental Applications was organized during 7‑8 January 2003.  The workshop stressed on the importance of understanding the recent advances in materials synthesis and characterization, and the applications of materials for environmental pollution control.  This second workshop was organized to offer an opportunity for direct interaction not only between NEERI and NIMS scientists but also scientists from other Indian R&D institutes, and had scientific presentations on recent advances in molecular design, synthesis, and characterization, of various materials, including catalytic materials, photo‑catalytic materials, zeolites, mesoporous materials, functionalized materials, surface and thermal properties of oxide materials and environmental applications.  The subject selective catalysis for green chemistry was presented and discussed in detail.  Some papers on new materials such as surface modified MCM‑41 materials; photocatalytic materials; substituted and un‑substituted pervoskite materials; visible‑light‑active TiO2 photocatalysts; gold nanoparticles entrapped in organo‑functionalized mesoporous solids; thermally stable perovskite type ruthenates; waste materials based carbon for treatment of waste‑gas; Ru‑bronze: Na3Ru4O9, hybrid precursor from rice husk; and synthesis of zeolites and related microporus materials with emphasis on their selectivity using new synthesis strategies were also presented and discussed during the workshop.  These materials were projected for their potential environmental applications in the areas of indoor air quality, diesel exhaust emission control, hydrogen storage and supply, catalytic methane combustion, artificial photosynthesis, water and waste‑water treatment, etc. The catalytic potential of nanosized gold particles in partial and complete oxidation of hydrocarbons, hydrogenation of carbon monoxide, nitric oxide were also discussed.


The institutes which participated in this workshop include Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad; Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Centre, Nagpur; Nagpur University; National Chemical Laboratory, Pune; National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad; and Regional Research Laboratory, Bhopal. The Japanese delegates included Dr H. Haneda, Dr S. Hishita, Dr T. Mitsuhashi, and Dr A. Watanabe. The delegates from Indian institutes included Dr S.S. Amritphale(RRL, Bhopal); Professor A.P. Joshi, Nagpur University; Dr K.V. Krishnan (JNARDDC, Nagpur); Dr Rajiv Kumar (NCL, Pune); Dr S. Sivasanker (NCL, Pune); Dr R.N. Singh (NGRI, Hyderabad); Dr M. Subrahmanyam (IICT, Hyderabad), and scientists from NEERI.


The following lectures were delivered in the workshop: Selective Catalysis for Greener Chemistry — Dr S. Sivasanker; Introduction to NEERI's Activity on Environmental Materials — Dr Sukumar Devotta; Synthesis and Characterization of Visible‑Light‑Active TiO2 Photocatalysts — Dr H. Haneda; An Overview of Development of Nanomaterials for their Environmental Applications — Dr S. Rayalu; Synthesis and Applications of Gold Nanoparticles Entrapped in Organo‑functionalized Mesoporous Solids — Dr Rajiv Kumar; Crystallization Kinetics and Photocatalytic Activity of TiO2 — Dr T. Mitsuhashi; Environmental Applications of Perovskites and Ruthenium — Dr Nitin K. Labhsetwar; Materials Modeling: Quo Vadis — Dr R.N. Singh; Waste Material‑based Carbon for Treatment of Waste Gas containing Pyridine and a Picoline— Dr R.A. Pandey; ZnO‑based Photocatalysts — Dr S. Hishita; Emerging Materials for Energy and Environmentally Benign Technologies — Dr M. Subrahmanyam; Preparation, Characterization and Application of Low Temperature Supported Perovskites for VOC degradation — Dr Rakesh Kumar; Efficiency of Photocatalysts and Photoreactors for Wastewater Treatment — Dr N.N. Rao; Hydrogen Production via Reforming of Iso‑octane over Bimetallic Catalysts and Effect of Plasma — Shri Rajesh B. Biniwale; Material Characterization by X‑Ray Technique — Dr K.V. Krishnan; Preparation and Characterization of Ru‑Bronze: Na3 Ru4O9 — Dr A. Watanabe; Industrial Waste Water Treatment using Advanced Oxidation Processes — Dr Rashmi Naidu; and A Novel Process for Making Hybrid Precursor from Rice Husk, Useful for Environmental Applications — Dr S.S. Amritphale.


Following the plenary lecture and scientific presentations, a panel discussion was organized to summarize and identify potential areas for collaborative research. The panel experts included Dr R.N. Singh, Dr Rajiv Kumar, Dr H. Haneda, and Dr T. Mitshuhashi. It was resolved to have continuous interaction of NIMS scientists, possibly through joint workshops, with NEERI and other participating institutes, exchange of information and exchange of scientists between participating institutes and NIMS. NEERI and NIMS should make efforts towards receiving sponsorship from various agencies for joint research projects. Indoor air quality and CO2 sequestration using innovative environmental materials have been proposed to be explored for collaborative research, while the research on Ruthenium‑based materials would continue as per the existing plans.



Workshop‑cum‑Training Programme on Vehicular Pollution


THE Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun, organized a one‑week workshop‑cum‑training programme on Vehicular Pollution, for personnel of the Motor Transport Department of the country, starting from 19 January 2004.


DR M.O. Garg, Director, IIP while inaugurating the programme said that the institute organizes such programmes regularly to create awareness among the personnel of motor transport department, regarding the latest developments in the area, with a view to improving the air quality particularly in urban areas. “With the enormous increase in the number of vehicles in the country in the recent years, it is very important to control the alarming proportions of resultant pollution”, he said. Dr Garg informed the participants that a committee headed by Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, has already submitted a report on autofuel policy which the government has accepted. It has been decided to implement EURO III/Bharat III norms by April 2005 in metro cities and seven other cities and by April 2010 in the entire country. Euro IV/Bharat IV norms will be implemented in metro cities and the seven cities by April 2010. By April 2005, the entire country will follow Bharat stage II norms. He said that it is the responsibility of the Transport Department to enforce steps for controlling and reducing pollution. Amongst others, steps should be taken for controlling and regulating traffic, and improving the quality of roads which will go a long way to achieve good results. Long term planning at country level is required and government has taken measurable steps for cleaner alternative fuels like using CNG, LPG which have helped in keeping air clean, he said. Dr Garg told that IIP is making efforts to propagate the use of fuels from renewable resources like ethanol and biodiesel. IIP is undertaking research in these areas and the immense potential of use of biodiesel from a plant commonly known as `Jatropha carcus' or `Ratan Jot' will not only reduce pollution but also save huge amount of foreign currency.


Dr S.K. Singhal, the Course Director, informed that the faculty for the programme has been drawn from senior scientists of the institute and the programme is designed to impart training on theoretical as well as practical aspects of vehicular pollution and its control. Shri A.K. Jain gave a presentation on emission norms, fuel quality and engine technology of gasoline vehicles. Shri A.K. Aigal delivered a talk on Central Motor Vehicle rules for CNG and LPG vehicles in respect of emission norms, safety norms, type approval and test procedure. Dr Mukesh Saxena, Head, Engine Laboratory of IIP, talked on alternative fuels like gaseous fuels, biofuels, hydrogen and fuel cells. Shri R.L. Mendiratta and Shri Nishan Singh talked about engine lubricants and their effect on emission, deposit rating and field data. Practical and laboratory demonstration was given by a team headed by Shri A.K. Jain. Dr Santosh of Central Road Research Institute, New Delhi, delivered an invited lecture on `Urban traffic and its effect on air pollution'.


A total of 21 participants from transport departments of Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Pondicherry, Guwahati, Goa, Uttranchal and Himachal Pradesh participated in the programme, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Road Transport.



Training Course on Latest Techniques and Practices of Energy Conservation


THE Central Mining Research Institute (CMRI), Dhanbad, organized a five‑day training course on `Latest Techniques and Practices of Energy Conservation for Cost‑effective Production in Mining and Allied Industries' during 19‑23 January 2004.


Inaugurating the course, Dr A. Sinha, Scientist F and Coordinator of the Geo‑mechanics and Mine Design Group of the institute, said, “Rapid industrialization in India has called for effective energy conservation and its judicious utilization for smooth development of the country”. In this context, he stressed the need for increased awareness regarding energy conservation and its proper management based on the latest techniques and practices. Earlier, Dr B. Kumar, Scientist F and Incharge of the HRD Group of the institute, welcomed the trainees and faculty members. Shri Rajendra Prasad, Scientist, Energy Audit Cell of CMRI, expressed that mining is a major consumer of electrical energy as it uses various heavy machinery. Explaining the probable sources of energy losses in mining industry, he said, “There is tremendous scope for improving energy efficiency in this industry by correct selection of machinery, shutting down of ineffective equipment and improvement of power factor”.


Shri A. Mahato, Scientist, CMRI, said, “corrective actions towards optimum utilization of energy at every stage of operations can save energy and make production economically viable”.


Dr M.S. Alam, Scientist, CMRI who coordinated the function, proposed a vote of thanks.



IIP participates in Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight


THE Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun, actively participated in the Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight, organized by the oil industry all over the country under the aegis of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), during 15‑31 January 2004, in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. The aim of this event was  to spread the message and create awareness regarding oil and gas conservation, by educating students, villagers and general masses on efficient utilization of LPG, kerosene, petrol and diesel.


Shri Sudarshan Agarwal, Governor of Uttaranchal, inaugurated the Fortnight by administering pledge for Oil Conservation to a large gathering in the campus of IIP. Inaugurating the fortnight, Shri Agarwal said, “Conservation of petroleum products is not something to be left to others. It can only be achieved with the involvement of each one of us”. Addressing the gathering of scientists, dealers and retailers of petroleum products, school teachers and students, he pointed out that consumption of petroleum products in India has gone up by 35 times since Independence, while indigenous production has lagged far behind. Over 70% of India's needs have to be met from abroad, placing a severe burden on foreign exchange reserves. He further said that the shortfall has been compounded by the decline in use of coal and supply of electricity. The solution lies in conservation of petroleum, which basically means best possible use of this resource through efforts made by every individual citizen.


Dr M.O. Garg, Director, IIP, also emphasized the need for conservation, stating that even the rise of a dollar in the cost of a barrel of oil means an additional Rs 9000 million spent by the nation, on its import. In a scenario where 20‑25% of the nation's foreign exchange expenditure goes on petroleum and with 40‑50% of India's energy resources are met by oil, he said, conservation was an absolute must. Dr Garg recalled that IIP, in the past 43 years, has made an immense contribution to the oil industry. Debunking the belief that the industry was opposed to the search for new, renewable sources of energy, he asserted that it actually looked upon it as an opportunity. The IIP, for instance, was in the forefront of development of bio‑diesel, use of natural gas, etc.


Shri R.K. Chaudhary, Uttaranchal's State Level Coordinator and Senior Retail Sales Divisional Manager, Bareily, informed that India consumes approximately 130 million tonnes of oil every year, of which only 33 million tonnes is produced indigenously. Conservation is therefore an economic compulsion, he stressed. Organizations like PCRA are, for this reason, focusing on obtaining maximum output from minimum input. Informing that 1300 programmes were undertaken in Uttaranchal last year during the petroleum conservation fortnight, he said, as many as 1400 are slated to be held this year. These would be directed towards increasing awareness levels in the agriculture, farming and domestic sectors. Workshops would be held for farmers on better use of their diesel pumps and other machines; for drivers so that they could learn better driving habits; and for the domestic users of LPG, kerosene, etc. He opined that savings of 15 to 35% are possible through conservation measures, and pointed out that this would also serve to lessen pollution levels. On the occasion, the Governor flagged off IIP's bio‑diesel bus and participated in human chain formed to create awareness of conservation causes.


During the fortnight, Dr Garg, inaugurated a programme, `Vehicle Pollution Under Control'. The programme was organized in association with PCRA and RTO, Dehra Dun. Engineers of IIP checked vehicles for pollution/emission on 20‑21 January 2004 as a part of this programme. Shri Madhup Srivastava of PCRA; Smt. Sunita Singh, ARTO; Shri Dhirender Kumar, Admn. Officer; Shri Mukesh Khanna, Stores  & Purchase Officer and senior scientists were present on the occasion.


Also, a workshop on `Good Driving Habits' was held on 20 January 2004 at IIP. Quiz and essay competitions on conservation were held at Kendriya Vidalya, IIP. Dr Mukesh Saxena, Head, Engines Lab coordinated the programmes.


Dr H.K. Madan, Scientist, IIP, gave a talk on `Importance of oil conservation' to 120 women trainees and 30 teachers and staff of Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) for Women, Dehra Dun on 17 January 2004. He said that consumption of petroleum products has increased to nearly 103.5 MMT in 2002‑2003 from merely 3.5 MMT in 1950‑51. This was leading to an alarming situation. “We should give highest priority to conservation of oil to reduce gap between demand and indigenous supply of oil”, he said. With proper conservation efforts and a little care, 15‑20% of fuel can be saved and this would reduce pollution also. He also apprised of the R&D efforts carried out by IIP to develop efficient LAP industrial burner, LPG stove, kerosene wick stove, hurricane lantern and deva lamp and industrial gas burner. A drop of oil wasted per second amounts to a loss of 2000 litres/year, said Dr Madan.


Shri Madhup Srivatava of PCRA explained the precautions to be observed for safe use of LPG and gave tips for saving fuel in domestic sector, at ITI.



Training Programmes organized by NBRI


THE training programmes organized by NBRI in the recent past include :



Engaging People in Conserving Nature Prof. Madhav Gadgil delivers NCL Foundation Day Lecture


PROFESSOR Madhav Gadgil, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, delivered the NCL Foundation Day lecture on `Engaging People in Conserving Nature' at National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune. NCL celebrated its 54th Foundation Day on 3 January 2004.

Prof. Madhav Gadgil delivering the NCL Foundation Day Lecture on
 'Engaging People in Conserving Nature'


Prof. Gadgil said, “There is a great deal people can do and people have been doing”. He gave new insights on conserving nature from both natural and socio‑political sciences. Prof. Gadgil added that religious prescriptions, social conven‑ tions, legal enforcement and positive incentives are the factors that are contributing towards implementing conservation measures. India is one of the few countries in the world with high level of biodiversity as well as cultural diversity and nature conservation is even today being practiced on the basis of variety of traditions.


“Larger the bird, more likely it is to be threatened”, said Prof. Gadgil. Game birds have more than double the chances of early extinction. But peafowl, a large size bird and also ranked as a game bird, is not a threatened species in India. Out of 1200 and odd bird species in India, about 10% are listed as seriously endangered or threatened. He said that the world ecological survey's efforts to find out the prudent animal species that deliberately restrain themselves in harvesting their food, led to the conclusion that there was no species other than humans who have adopted practices that do not destroy nature while harvesting their food.


He said, “in India, we need to have plurastic approach towards conservation, but instead we are practicing a narrow control and command approach to operationalize our nature conservation effort” and opined that people are bearing the cost of conservation of ecosystem; they are spending more on conservation of environment than the government. Compared to what government gets or government spends, people are in fact, spending much more in the conservation effort. The costs of wild life sanctuaries and national parks management are largely being borne by relatively poor people living on the boundaries of these areas. He cited many examples of people's involvement in conserving the nature.


He referred to the example of Bamboo Resource Management wherein the Karnataka Government was giving bamboo to the paper mills at the rate of Rs 1.50 per tonne against the market rate of Rs 1500. The local basket weavers‑‑mostly landless labourers from the poorest segment of the society, who were getting much of their employment during non‑farming season by weaving baskets using bamboo—had to buy the bamboo at the market rate. Though the government hiked the royalty later, nevertheless, the disparity remains.


Mentioning the Bharatpur wetlands, Prof. Gadgil said, that earlier it was the part of Bharatpur Maharaja's territory and was made a hunting preserve in which Maharaja permitted continuation of rural uses and also large number of buffalo grazing. Concerned with the issue of nature conservation, Dr Salim Ali, after Independence prevailed on Pt. Nehru to have the Bharatpur declared as a bird sanctuary. But as a sanctuary, the buffalo grazing, non‑timber and rural uses continued. Dr Salim Ali and even International Crane Foundation were convinced that rural uses and buffalo grazing were undesirable. In 1981, Bharatpur sanctuary was declared a National Park and with that grazing and other rural uses were banned. While doing so we did not realize the importance of the role the buffalo grazing played in the ecosystems. This is a very interesting reflection on how little we understand about the behaviour of ecological systems.


Scientists, who were monitoring this reserve, found that since the buffalos grazing was banned in that area, the grass began to grow rampant and very soon the wetlands were all covered by grass. In fact, the very purpose of creating a National Park with a view to providing secure sanctuaries for birds was defeated. Secondly, the Siberian Cranes also stopped coming to this reserve since they found these habitats much less worth while, useful and attractive. Earlier, the villagers were permitted access to this area which has lot of khus grass. The villagers used to dig up the ground to extract the khus to sell in the local market. It exposed the underground tubers and worms and attracted the Siberian Cranes. By denying access to the local population, the sanctuary became less hospitable to the Siberian Crane.


Prof. Gadgil urged a more scientific approach should have been adopted for the management of such complex ecosystems. Buffalo grazing could be allowed partly, and so also access of the villagers to the park. There is an urgent need to shift from `control and command' to `inform and share' and `adopt, facilitate and encourage' approach to conserve the ecosystem. The biological diversity act of the Government passed last year, has provided for biological diversity management largely involving the biodiversity management committees throughout the country and involving indigenous people. This is a good augury.


Earlier, Dr S. Sivaram, Director, NCL and Chairman, NCL Research Foundation (NCL‑RF), in his welcome address reminded the audience of the genesis of NCL. He presented few clippings of historical importance and also read the mandate to the laboratory as enunciated by Sir Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar during his inaugural address at the opening of NCL in 1950. This mandate rings true even today. NCL has been celebrating its Foundation Day since 1991 and the function is conducted under the auspices of the NCL RF, which is a private trust within a public organization created by endowments from individuals and industry. By using these funds Dr Sivaram said, “We perform many pleasant duties such as honouring those colleagues of ours who have done us pround during the previous year”.


Prof. Gadgil presented the NCL RF awards including `Scientist of the Year Award', `Technology of the Year Award' `Highest Industrial Earning Award' and `Individual Merit Award'.


CBRI celebrates Foundation Day


THE Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, celebrated its 57th foundation day on 10 February 2004. Speaking on the occasion Shri V.K. Mathur, Director, CBRI, congratulated the staff members for their accomplishments. CBRI, which originated in 1947 as a small research unit of CSIR, grew into a National Laboratory in 1951 when it was renamed as Central Building Research Institute with the mandate to conduct research on building in general with special emphasis on indigenous building materials & designing. Some of the major contributions made by the institute are: utilization of industrial & agriculture wastes for building material, disaster mitigation by developing techniques of building construction for regions prone to natural calamities and planning & design of Navodaya Vidyalayas in the country. He mentioned that the institute has also rendered commendable service to the earthquake hit areas of Latur in Maharashtra, Uttarkashi and Chamoli in Uttaranchal and Bhuj in Gujarat, by constructing low‑cost shelters and repairing damaged structures.


Shri Mathur pointed out that while on one hand our scientists are engaged in finding most appropriate and economical solutions for housing for the poorest of the poor of the country, on the other our expertise is being utilized for designing highly specialized structures for nuclear waste for Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Metro Rails, etc.


Dr C.L. Verma, Scientist `G', threw light on historical events of CBRI. He told that at the time of foundation laying ceremony on 10 February 1951, the institute was honoured by the presence of great leaders of that time including Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Shri Sri Prakash, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and many others, while very recently in November 2003, President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam alongwith Shri Sudarshan Agarwal, Governor and Shri N.D. Tiwari, Chief Minister of Uttaranchal, honoured the institute by visiting its various labs.


Dr T.P. Sharma, Scientist `G' introduced Prof. T.K. Dutta of IIT‑Delhi, who delivered the CBRI Foundation Day lecture. Prof. Dutta congratulated scientists of CBRI for their research work in the field of low‑cost housing for the people of the country and encouraged them to work in future with great zeal and vision.


He said that CBRI is recognized as a nodal agency for certification like IITs in the country. He also mentioned about the CBRI's contributions towards providing prognostic damage scenario of existing buildings of metropolitan cities and prepare vulnerable and hazard zonation maps of the cities which are prone to earthquake, landslides and cyclones.


Shri N.K. Shangari, Scientist `G' proposed a vote of thanks.



Technology Trade Pavilion at IITF‑2003


THE Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) organized a Technology Trade Exhibition at Hall No. 18, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, during the India International Trade Fair‑2003 from 14 to 27 November 2003, showcasing select technology‑ intensive and high value‑added products, technology processes, machinery and equipment.


Major sectors included construction and new materials. A few selected technologies developed by various CSIR laboratories put up on display at the Pavilion by Unit for Science Dissemination (USD), CSIR, included the following technologies/processes/materials developed by CBRI: C‑Bricks, sand‑lime bricks, concrete block making machine, mini‑climbing crane, boring and skirting machine, automatic free fall hammer, fire‑resistant steel door, house construction with alternative building materials, pollution control in fixed chimney brick kiln and electric curing of concrete. The displays of the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, were explained by the institute's Delhi Centre staff. The visitors showed keen interest in the technologies, especially those related to materials.


Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, being shown around the CBRI display at
Technology Trade Pavilion at IITF-2003


Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, who visited the pavilion on 18 November, appreciated the impressive work done by CBRI. He was shown around various CBRI displays by Shri V.J. Nene, Scientist Incharge, CBRI Delhi Centre. Shri V.K. Mathur, Director, CBRI, visited the Pavilion on 27 November 2003. The Pavilion was awarded Silver Medal by India Trade Promotion Organization Jury for Excellent Display of Innovative Technologies at the Fair.



Flower Shows at NBRI


THE National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, organized its annual bright and colourful events, viz Chrysanthemum and Coleus Show on 6‑7 December 2003 and the Rose and Gladiolus Show on 17‑18 January 2004.


Chrysanthemum and Coleus Show


A large variety of Chrysanthemum – potted as well as cut flowers, large and small flowers, and arrays of Coleus were displayed on the green lawn of NBRI. Local exhibitors as well as exhibitors from outside of Lucknow took part in the show. This year, 103 exhibitors participated in the show by sending 804 entries as against 146 exhibitors and 1077 entries received last year owing to delayed rains in the month of September affecting Chrysanthemum and Coleus adversely. There were many attractive and inviting themes in the thematic arrangements displayed in the show.


The prize‑distribution function was organized in the Open Air Theatre of the institute, amidst the swaying blooms of vast array and splendid varieties of Chrysanthemums and Coleus. Prof. R.K. Pathak, Director, Central Institute for Sub‑Tropical Horticultural, Lucknow, Chief Guest, presided over the function and he and Smt. Pathak presented the prizes. In all, 359 prizes and 23 running challenge cups, shields and trophies were awarded to the successful competitors.



Main prize-winning entries at the Chrysanthemum and Coleus Show at NBRI

Top row: (from left) Close up of the Queen and the King of the show; 

Left: The entries adjudged as the Queen of the show,  the King of the show; Prince of the show and Flower  of the year


This year, U.P. Power Corporation Ltd, Lucknow, got first place by bagging as many as eight challenge cups/shields/trophies. H.Q. Central Command House, Lucknow, got second position by winning four cups/shields/trophies. Shri S.K. Sharma of Sicko Cables of India, Lucknow, won three trophies. The other winners who got single trophy/shield/cup include: Swati Gupta, Lucknow; Sarika Mehra, Lucknow; Brigadier A.M. Sharma, Lucknow; Shri Mehmood Ahmad, Shahjahanpur, U.P.; Bal Bharati School, Lucknow; Siddharth Sharma, Lucknow; Director, CIMAP, Lucknow and HAL, Lucknow.


Shri Mehmood Ahmad of Shahjahanpur won the Ranjit Singh Memorial trophy for the `King of the Show'. `Queen of the Show', i.e. Smt. Ranjit Singh Memorial Trophy, was lifted by Bal Bharati School, Lucknow. Shri S.K. Sharma, Seika Cables of India, Lucknow, won `Qazi Syed Masood Hasan Running Challenge Trophy' for `Prince of the Show' and `Flower of the Year – R. Venkatraman'. `Best Coleus specimen of the show' came from HQ, Central Command, Lucknow.


Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI in his welcome address emphasized the significance of such shows and elaborated the work being carried out by NBRI. The interest among the general masses towards floriculture is growing and the floriculture today has taken the shape of multibillion industry throughout the world. NBRI is striving hard to develop a large number of novel varieties of different types of flowers, he informed.


Prof. Pathak appreciated the flower show and lauded the contributions of NBRI in research in this area, specially for developing the tropical varieties of gladiolus. He also talked about the possibility of export potential of floriculture products.


On this occasion, the institute also exhibited its research and development achievements in the area of floriculture.  It displayed the new flower colour/shape varieties developed through different traditional and modern methods. Recently collected germplasm of the Chrysanthemum was also on display. To educate the students and general public the flowers were displayed according to different bloom types. It may be mentioned that intensive research by NBRI on Chrysanthemum since 1966, has been directed towards enrichment of germplasm by introduction and breeding. Presently, the institute is maintaining more than 250 germplasm collection of chrysanthemum comprising almost all colours and types. Of these, 80 were evolved by the institute by conventional or mutation breeding methods. Some of these important varieties have become immensely popular among growers and consequently found mention in the leading nursery catalogues.



Rose and Gladiolus Show


The Annual Rose and Gladiolus Show this year attracted a total of 593 entries belonging to 56 competitors from Lucknow and outstation. The enthusiastic crowd was seen all over the show ground and its various enclosures admiring the riots of colours and spectrum of splendid flowers vying with each other for their intrinsic beauty.



Some of the prize-winning entries at the Rose and Gladiolus Show Å First Column (from top): 
Best Indian HT Rose, Best Fragrant Rose and Best Yellow Rose; Second Column: Main prize-winning entries,
 and Best Gladiolus spike of the show


Otherwise a feast of colours, a fantasy of romantic and highly literary names, wafts of heady fragrance, imaginative and appealing theme arrangements put up in the show were very attractive and appealing themes like, `Bhor ki Lalima', `Basant Bahar', `Gulabon ke Krishna', `A Contract with the Future', etc.


This year, awards for the Best red rose of the show 'Christian Dior', Best Fragrant Rose of the Show `Sugandha' and Best Striped/Streaked Rose of the Show `Anvil Spark' were lifted by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Lucknow. Awards for Best Red Rose of the Show `Kentucky Durby' was lifted by Shri C.V. Gupta, Lucknow; Best yellow Rose of the Show `Gold Medal' and Best Pink Rose of the Show `Silver Jubilee' by Commercial Auto Products, Lucknow; Best Bicoloured/Blended Rose of the Show `Love variety', by Director, CIMAP, Lucknow; Best Gladiolus Spike of the Show `Venetie', by Smt. Nalina Nair, C/o DGP, U.P., Lucknow.


Like last many years this year also the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Faizabad Road, Lucknow stole the show by lifting as many as ten running challenge cups/shields/trophies, namely, Commissioner's Running Challenge Cup for the highest score in class‑A (jointly with Director, CIMAP); Raja Bhadri Running Challenge Shield for the Best Indian Bred H.T. Rose in Class D‑1; Ch. Akbar Hussain Memorial Running Trophy for the Best Fragrant H.T. Rose of the Class E‑3; Hirday Prasad Tiwari Running Challenge Shield for the Best H.T. Striped/Streaked Coloured Rose of the Show in class E‑4; Mall Nursery Running Challenge Cup for the Best Rose of the Show in Class G; Bonanza Decorator's Running Challenge Cup for the highest score in the Potted Roses in Class‑H; Baljit Singh Memorial Challenge Cup for the Best Potted Floribunda Rose in Class‑I; Motor Sales Running Challenge Shield for Best Collection of 12 specimens blooms of different varieties of H.T. Roses in Class K; H.C. Gupta Memorial Challenge Trophy for the best collection of 12 stems of different floribunda roses in Class‑L; and Bonanza Decorator's Running Shield for the highest score in the show.


Smt. Nalina Nair, C/o DGP, Lucknow, was awarded three cups/shields/trophies, namely, Syed Gulam Abbas Kazmi Memorial Running Challenge Shield for the Best Gladiolus Spike of the Show in Class‑O; Motor Sales Running Challenge Cup for the best collection of 8 gladiolus spikes of different varieties in Class‑J; and Smt. Usha Kacker Memorial Running Challenge Cup for the best collection of Indian bred three stems of different roses (D‑5).


The CIMAP Director won three cups/shields/trophies, namely, Sir Padampat Singhania Memorial Running Trophy for the best collection of 27 specimens blooms of different varieties of H.T. Roses in Class‑N; Lt. Col V.R. Mohan Running Challenge Cup for the highest score in Class E‑7 to E‑15; and R.V. Sitholey Memorial Challenge Cup for the Best H.T. Bicoloured/Blended Rose of the Show in Class E‑2. CIMAP also shared Commissioner's Running Challenge Cup with HAL, Lucknow.


Commercial Auto Products Pvt. Ltd, Chinhat Lucknow, got two cup/trophy, namely, Sulabh Tewari Memorial Running Challenge Cup for the best H.T. Yellow Rose of the Show in Class E‑5 and Smt. Kumud Rastogi Memorial Running Challenge Trophy for the best H.T.. Pink Rose of the Show in Class E‑6.


Shivi Gupta, Ashok Marg, Lucknow, got Percy Lancaster Challenge Cup for the best H.T. Red Rose of the show in Class E‑1, Shri E.S. Francis of HAL, Lucknow, lifted Ch. Muzzaffaruddin Memorial Running Trophy for the highest score in Class‑C (C12‑C14) for the Fragrant Roses.


Ms. Ishita Singh, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow won Jugal Kishore Jewellers Running Challenge Trophy for the highest score in Class‑F (F‑6 to F‑16). H.C. Gupta Running Trophy for the best collection of 6 stems of different Polyantha Roses in Class M was lifted by Prabhari, Alankrat Udyan, Aliganj, Lucknow. Army Commander Challenge Cup for the best collection of 12 gladiolus spikes of different varieties in Class Q was lifted by Major Sushil Sharma, Military Farm, Lucknow. HAL Club, HAL, Lucknow  Division, Faizabad Road, Lucknow was awarded Movie Mughal's Running Challenge Cup for the highest score in Class B; Shri S.C. Nagpal, Lucknow Cantt, won Commissioner's Running Challenge Shield  for the highest  score in Class‑C.


A very eye‑catching section of the show was that of gladioli where a large number of colourful varieties were on display. Most of the gladiolus cultivars evolved by the institute, were on display. The NBRI also displayed its choicest collection of exotic varieties of Indian Bred Roses, besides gladiolus cultivars both exotic and indigenous, for the benefit of garden lovers and to boost nursery trade.


Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI, Lucknow, while welcoming the Chief Guest, Shri V.K.B. Nair, IPS, Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh, at the prize distribution function, highlighted the R&D efforts of the institute in evolving many new varieties of ornamentals and their release for nursery trade. He emphasized the need to develop more and more new value added varieties of roses and gladioli by making use of modern biotechnology techniques. Shri Nair in his presidential address lauded the efforts of NBRI in this direction. Shri Nair and Smt. Nair gave away the prizes to the successful competitors. Dr A.N. Sharga, Scientist and Convener of the show proposed a vote of thanks.





In the news item `Prof. S.K. Joshi delivers CSIR Foundation Day Lecture at NCL', published in the 30 January 2004 issue of CSIR News, please read the first sentence of the last para (p31) as: " Earlier, Dr Sivaram, Director of NCL, welcomed the audience and outlined Prof. Joshi's contributions to CSIR.....". instead of "Earlier, Dr Sivaram, the then Director of NCL......".

 We very much regret this indvertent error.