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VCs of NE region discuss ways to combat climate change

A Correspondent
Tezpur, June 2: In a bid to combat climate change and its impact on various ecosystems, particularly in the Himalayan ecosystem of the north-eastern region, Vice-Chancellors of (public) universities of all north-eastern states held a brainstorming session at Tezpur University (TU) on Friday.

Initiated by Tezpur University, the brainstorming session was headed by Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Adviser Scientist-G and Head, Strategic Programmes, Large Initiatives and Coordinated Action Enabler (SPLICE) and Climate Change Programme, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and was attended by representatives of all central, state universities of NE region including Prof. Alak Kr. Buragohain, VC, Dibrugarh University, Prof. AK Ghosh, VC, Tripura University, Dr. Mridul Hazarika, VC, Gauhati University and Prof. VK Jain, VC, Tezpur University.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Jain said that the objective of the session was to explore possibilities of combining resources of all the universities of north-eastern region to create an integrated platform to deal with the issue of climate change and its implications for water resources, biological wealth (biodiversity), energy security, food security, tourism and sustainable livelihood of north-eastern States. He further said that since climate change would impact all, a regional climate change monitoring mechanism would help the north-eastern region. He hoped that the deliberations in the session would be a prelude to the Vice-Chancellors’ Round Table and national workshop to be held during June 28-June 30 in New Delhi.

Dr Akhilesh Gupta, while giving a detailed presentation on India’s recent progress in science discovery, said that India’s future was in the hands of the universities. “There is huge potential in our universities,” the noted scientist said. He observed that although the western part of the Himalayas was intensely studied; the eastern part of the Himalayas was not studied that deeply. “I hope that the outcome of the session would crystalize the thrust areas of research relevant to the needs of north-eastern region” he said.

Dr. Gupta further explained that the session would also provide useful inputs for the DST’s proposed programme ‘Human and Institutional Capacity Building (HICAB)’ in Climate Change and Himalayan ecosystem for Indian Himalayan Region as a part of the Government of India’s National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE). The entire HICAB programme is envisaged to focus on universities/national institutions and their research faculties.

“This programme (HICAB) comprises mainly four components, viz., Centres of Excellence (CoEs), Major R&D Projects (MRDPs), Human Capacity Building Programme (HCBPs) and Network Programme (NetPro),” he added. “The idea is to give all States to choose their own research area and come up with their proposed plan,” he further said. Under HICAB, each north-eastern State would have one Centre of Excellence and the deadline to allot CoEs would be by March 31, he said.