Indian science centres to be set up overseas

August 29th, 2008 - 4:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) - a premier organisation in the field of science communication that has 27 centres in the country and one in Mauritius - is all set to have more branches across India and abroad, officials said Friday.By 2011, eight new NCSM centres will be set up across the country and the Mauritius government has requested NCSM to extend support for the second phase of expansion of its Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre with additions of a planetarium, upgradation of the existing galleries and new thematic galleries.

“The Mauritius government’s request is being considered, while talks for setting up new centres are on with the governments of Nepal, Malawi, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia,” an NCSM official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“There is also a proposal to set up science learning centres and science centres in South Africa,” he added.

Sources said Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni recently chaired a meeting of NCSM officials in New Delhi, which was also attended by officials of the culture ministry.

At the meeting, she was told that footfalls at NCSM centers across the country had reached the 9.5 million mark and were growing in number every year.

“These centres are primarily engaged in popularising science and technology through a wide range of science activities and interactive programmes. These centres have become trendsetters in the field of science communication nationally as well as internationally,” the official said.

As there is a continuous demand for setting up new science centres from different states, NSCM is now planning to establish similar centres at Solapur in Maharashtra, Ranchi in Jharkhand and Raipur in Chhattisgarh by 2009 as well as Dharwad in Karnataka by 2010.

By 2011, centres will be established at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Mangalore in Karnataka, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Pimpri-Chinchwad in Maharashtra and Puducherry.

As NCSM has indigenously developed several display techniques proved to be effective in science communication, it has earned recognition as a world-class science institution. It has to its credit export of exhibits to Turkey, Britain, Israel, Iran, Bangladesh and Australia.

Sources said they have received proposals from the governments of Karnataka, Assam and Himachal Pradesh for setting up science cities in Bangalore, Guwahati and Shimla respectively.

“The proposals are under active consideration and a decision is likely to be taken by the end of 2008,” the official added.

Due to the recognition of the expertise of NCSM in setting up state-of-art science centres and related activities there is an ever increasing demand for setting up more science centres even in those states where the science centres are already operating, the official said.

During the 10th Five Year Plan period, NCSM set up science centres in each of the northeastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Now, a new science centre at Jorhat in Assam is in the process of being readied and work on it will be complete by March 2011. Apart from Jorhat, the official said they have received a request from the Sikkim government for expansion of the science centre at Gangtok.

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