The Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that India can now boast of being one of the most scientifically advanced countries to tackle any situation effectively arising out of natural calamities and disasters. Inaugurating the Multi-Parametric Geophysical Observatory set up by the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism at Shoal Bay No. 8 in Port Balair on Andama & Nicobar Islands this evening, the Minister attributed this to the invaluable contributions made by our scientists who, he said, continue to make relentless efforts for their scientific innovations for the development of the country.
Lt Governor, Lt Gen. AK Singh (Retd), Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray, Chief Secretary, Shri Anand Prakash, and senior officers from the A&N Administration, were among those present on the occassion.
Dr. Harsha Vardhan further referring to the December 2004 Tsunami disaster which shook the entire Nation, said that Tsunami was new to all of us and our country was not at all prepared to tackle this natural occurrence. However, after that tragedy, our scientists joined together and we are now well equipped with early warning systems to tackle any eventualities due to disaster like earthquake etc. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, India is much ahead in terms of Early Warning Systems and this is evident from the fact that about 28 nations depend and act upon the real time data provided by India, which, he said, is a matter of great pride for all of us.
The Minister, who himself is a physician, also noted with appreciation that the Medical College project for A&N Islands which was sanctioned during his tenure as the Health Minister, is moving in the right direction and it will fulfill the long pending demand of the people of these Islands. He also acknowledged the painstaking effort made by the Lt Governor, the Member of Parliament and the local leadership for regularly meeting him in Delhi to get the Medical College project sanctioned.
Dr. Harsha Vardhan said it was his dream from childhood to visit these islands which was fulfilled today. He highlighted the contribution of Veer Savarkar in the freedom struggle who was incarcerated in the Cellular Jail. Dr. Harsha Vardhan opined that A&N Islands is a place of pilgrimage where the freedom fighters have made supreme sacrifices in the cause of the motherland. “If there is a sacred place in the country it is Andamans where the National Memorial Cellular Jail is a testimony to the great suffering of the freedom fighters”, he added.
In his address on the occasion, the Lt. Governor appreciated the move made by the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) for setting up of the Geophysical Observatory here in the Islands, considering that these Islands lie in Seismic Zone 5 and that the setting up of such Laboratory is going to be immensely beneficial to the Islands. The Lt. Governor also lauded the efforts of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Science (INCOIS), Hyderabad for their frequent updates and early warnings on natural disaster such as earthquake, cyclones etc.
The Lt. Governor also urged the Union Minister to help the Island Administration to set up a Desalination Plant at Mayabunder or Chowra on a pilot project basis in order to overcome water scarcity in these places. He also requested for setting up of Biotechnology Research Centre and said the Administration is ready to extend help, if needed, in this regard.
In brief address on the occasion, the Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray expressed his happiness that a useful asset has been created in the Islands.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chairman, Governing Council, IIG, Dr. V.P. Dimri said altogether 14 Geophysical Observatories including the one at Shoal Bay No.8 are functioning under Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) in the country for mitigating natural disaster of varied origins. He said the Geophysical Observatories are placed in different parts of the country and the country has taken a big leap in the field of Science and Technology over the past few years.
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