Fears of terror strikes could cast a spell and keep off the Nobel Laureates from participating in the 96th Indian Science Congress hosted by the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) here in the capital of Megahalaya, a state in the remote part of the country.
According to the organisers of the congress, Noble Laureates Steven Chu, Yuan Lee and the climate warrior, Al Gore were contacted for participation. They did not turn up due to "some reasons" known well to the organizers. It has become a tradition with the Science Congress to invite Nobel Laureates.
This is the first time that the Science Congress is being hosted in northeastern India.
In the last Science Congress of January, 2008, Noble Laureates Paul Nurse, Roger Kornberg, Robert Floyd Curl participated. In the previous year Nobel Laureates, Aaron Ciechanover and Hartmut Michel registered their presence.
However adequate security arrangements have been beefed up at the venue of the Science Congress, this year and according to organizers 3000 have registered as participants.
The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh addressing the mediapersons after inaugurating the Science Congress expressed concern over the recent terror strikes in Guwahati and said that insurgent groups had taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh and infiltration continued through the porous border. "We will take up the issue of insurgents taking refuge in Bangladesh with the new government. We hope that the new government in Bangladesh would take appropriate measures and see that its soil is not used for terror acts against India."
He hoped that some sense would prevail over Pakistan to handover terrorists accused of the recent Mumbai attack for trial. He made clear that "war is no solution" to the problem. Pakistan should listen to the voices of the civilized world and cooperate with India in booking the terrorists.
The Union minister for science and technology, Kapil Sibal addressing the Science Congress echoed the same concern and said "terrorists use sophisticated technology to their advantage and in the process spread terror. My response is simple and straightforward. Technology is a tool. It is an instrument, which is value neutral and can be used for good and bad. The answer to the problem lies not in embracing a technology denial regime, but to act in the belief that technology alone can provide answers to those who seek to misuse it."
In his inaugural address, the Prime Minister said that Indian Science Congress movement was closely linked to our freedom struggle and our national movement. Our fight for political freedom was also our battle for development and modernization, he said.
An institute for stem cell biology and regenerative medicines would be set up in Bangalore. New institutes for researches in Himalayan glaciology, molecular materials, nano science and technology would also be set up. The Union ministry for science and technology would adopt Cancer Research Institute in Chennai, Institute for Advanced Study in Science and Technology in Guwahati and the National Innovation Foundation as grantee institutions. Government would implement the Performance Related Incentive System (PRIS) for scientists as suggested by the Pay Commission.