CHANDIGARH, MARCH 14
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, today said that it’s essential for developing countries like India to take science to the masses , especially the rural areas, but before that the scientific community and the academics should inculcate scientific temper amongst the masses and improve the knowledge-base of rural communities.
The Chief Minister was speaking after inaugurating a three-day International Geographical Union Conference on Geo-Informatics for Biodiversity and Climate Change at Mahrishi Dayanand University in Rohtak today. More than 500 delegates from countries like USA, Russia, Japan, Australia, Iran, Ethiopia are participating in the international conference.
Mr Hooda questioned whether we look at environmental issues merely for environment’s sake, or, we look at them for the survival and betterment of human beings. “While I leave the philosophical issue to be debated and discussed by the intellectual community, I would prefer to look at environment related challenges in the context of improving the quality of life of common man across the globe. Today, more than ever before, it is easier for the global community to put their heads together and seek answer to some of the most complexed issues. Technology has made it possible. Geo-informatics also belongs to realm of technology”, he added.
Mr Hooda said that the scientific community, which is responsible for generating most of the brilliant ideas, must learn to share these ideas within themselves regardless of geographical or political boundaries. It is also their duty to translate all complicated concepts into layman’s language. “Because, in my view, the importance and relevance of every great idea has to be tested at the touchstone of its utility for the ‘consumers’ of technology. The readymade example before us is the technology of mobile phones that has revolutionized our lives especially of the common man”, he added.
While referring to the issue of ‘Bio-diversity and Climate Change’, he emphasised that human ingenuity has an infinite potential. Therefore,he said that he would not like to go along the view-point that human race is destined to perish under the impact of environmental degradation. “I am tempted to recall the times when about half a century ago, western experts had come to believe that in countries like India people would die of hunger as we would not be able to produce enough to feed them. Our agricultural scientists and farming community have proved that these prophets of doom were wrong. Similarly, I have no doubt in mind that our scientists would eventually come up with solutions to the new challenges, one by one” he added.
Referring to the concept of the Gandhian philosophy, he said “ It says that the mother earth has enough to meet the needs of everyone but certainly not the greed of a few. In this context we indeed have to confine our argument to a simple question of ‘need versus greed’. The underlying principle is self reliance and self respect of everyone. I firmly believe that the western society, more than anyone else, has to restrict its ever increasing consumption of natural resources. We are well aware of the irrational use of energy by the western people. Energy security of each and everyone across the globe, is intimately linked to the over-exploitation of energy sources by a few. The west has to give up its quest for luxurious living. The amount of energy consumed by an average individual in the western countries would be enough to meet the basic needs of hundreds of people in societies like ours” added.
He said that apart from energy, water is another critical natural resource, without which life cannot sustain. Here he said that he would put the blame on ourselves for unscientific and irrational use of water. As a matter of fact , he said that he would call it wasteful use of water and added that western countries have been able to subject themselves to a disciplined use of water. We need to learn from them and preserve this precious resource for future generations, sooner than later.
He said that the shared goal of global community is to seek happiness for everyone. That is, to enhance the quality of life of everyone regardless of caste, colour, creed or community, he added.
Mr Hooda also I complimented the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. R. P. Hooda for organising the conference.
Later, talking to media persons, Chief Minister Mr Hooda said that it was a matter of pride that IGU conference in India was being held after year 1921 and Haryana has been given the honour to host it. President of International Geographical Union Prof Vladimir Kolossov said that issues of bio-diversity and climatic change were very important for the humanity. By developing modern technology and different tasks, this challenge could be met. He praised the contribution of Indian Geographers and the available infrastructure in the University campus and described it as ‘wonderful campus’. He also lauded the green revolution in the field of agriculture in Haryana.
Earlier while welcoming the Chief Guest and the delegates who had come from various parts of the country and abroad, Prof. R.P. Hooda said that the deliberations in the conference would not only strengthen our geography department but also our understanding of the challenges being faced by the mankind.
Others who also spoke on the occasion included past president of IGU Prof. Ronald F. Abler, Vice President Prof. Dietrich Soyez, Director of IIRS Dehradun Dr Y.V.N. Krishnamurthy, IGU Vice President Mr R.V. Singh, Organizing Secretary Dr. Mahtab Singh.MLAs Mr B.B. Batra, Mr Anand Singh Dangi, Ms Sakuntla Khatak, District Congress President Mr Jaideep Dhankhar, Mr Sandeep Singh, Mr Chakarwarty Sharma and a number of distinguished guests were also present on the occasion.