On Day One of the Pride of India exhibition being held at Bandra Kurla Complex to coincide with the 102nd edition of the Indian Science Congress, displays at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) stalls attracted most of the crowd.
In a confluence of ideas and innovations from across the country, agencies ranging from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam limited, besides various colleges, have set up stalls at the exhibition, all highlighting their latest technologies and innovations.
The exhibition at MMRDA grounds in BKC, around 2 km from Mumbai University’s Kalina campus where the main events of the five-day science congress are being held, will be open till January 7.
The exhibition spread across approximately 15,000 square metres has participation of around 260 premier organisations.
The ISRO stall attracted a bunch of curious students and delegates wanting to find out more about ‘Mangalyaan’, the Mars space orbiter. The stall had the pictures of Planet Mars captured by the orbiter and detailed information regarding the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). “Today, we just have delegates, tomorrow we are expecting double number of crowd when the exhibition opens for public too. Most of them have questions pertaining to Magalyaan,” said Deviprasad Karnik, Director, Public Relations, ISRO.
Followed by this was DRDO, whose resource and development wing exhibited its strategic and tactical missiles — Agni, Prithvi, Nag, Akash, BrahMos and Astra, AEW&CS aircraft — popularly known as ‘eye in the sky’, Tejas (light combat aircraft) and other latest innovations.
Another attraction was ‘E- bag’ developed by Kaustubh Shivdikar, a student of VJTI. The Electronic Bagpack has an in-built laptop and mobile charging facilities. “Most of the delegates asked me what if they are carrying important documents of things in bag and there is a short-circuit. To that I have just one reply and that is the system stops functioning as soon as there is a threat of short-circuit,” he said.
The other interesting stall is by the National Innovation Foundation featuring innovations by common people from urban as well as rural setups. The stall displayed an incense stick-making machine, a machine to crack open walnuts and more, advanced protective headgear for mine-workers, all designed and developed by common citizens.
Scientist R A Mashelkar said: “Science is part of our day-to-day life and today common people are the ones who come up with innovations that can make their lives easy. This is how deep are the roots of science and technology. We had recently awarded a 30-year-old woman from Bihar, Shalini, who had developed a walker which enables her grandfather to climb stairs with ease. We could find just one Shalini but there must be hundreds of such people across the country. The Indian Science Congress is a platform for such people.”
Dr Rajan Welukar, Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University, said the aim of the organisers this year was to bring together people from different walks of life — whether in scientific field or not — to this arena. “This is not just about science and technology but also about innovation,” he said.
A stall by the Coffee Board of India was another one to attract a lot of people who wanted to know how good or bad was coffee for their health. Many also wanted to know how many cups of coffee one could have in a day. Besides, people looking to start a coffee shop of their own too thronged this stall as the board provides subsidies to such people.
Meanwhile, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology said: “This year the Pride of India exhibition has actually laid a foundation stone for India’s place in the science and technology arena globally.”
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