Statistical institute in Tezpur

Stats hub at Tezpur varsity

- Tie-up with Indian Statistical Institute


Guwahati, Nov. 18: The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) will soon open its doors in the Northeast, making it possible for students of the subject in the region to realise their dream of studying at the institute.

A memorandum of agreement will be signed between the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, and Tezpur University on Sunday at the Circuit House here.

The agreement will be signed by the director of ISI Calcutta, Bimal Kumar Roy, and Tezpur University vice-chancellor Mihir Kumar Chaudhuri in the presence of Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the chairman of the Council of the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, and chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

Sources said ISI authorities visited numerous university campuses in the Northeast before selecting Tezpur University for starting the centre.

The state government has identified a 20-acre plot of land near the university to set up a full-fledged centre of the institute.

A senior academician of North Eastern Hill University (Nehu) has been selected to run the ISI centre. Recruitment for other posts is under way.

An official at Tezpur University said, “We are happy that the university has been chosen as the ISI centre in the Northeast and will endeavour to provide all facilities.”

The university does not offer any degree in statistics at present but offers a degree in mathematical sciences with a paper on statistics.

Tezpur University was established by an act of Parliament in 1994.

Its objective, as envisaged in its statute, is to strive to offer employment-oriented and inter-disciplinary courses to meet regional and national aspirations. It also aims to offer courses and promote research in areas having special and direct relevance to the region and in the emerging areas of science and technology. In the process, it aims to develop Assam.

The ISI is devoted to the research, teaching and application of statistics, natural sciences and social sciences.

Founded by P.C. Mahalanobis in Calcutta on December 17, 1931, it gained the status of an institution of national importance by an act of Parliament in 1959.

Its headquarters is located on a sprawling 30-acre estate on the Barrackpore Trunk Road (BT Road) in the Baranagore suburb of greater Calcutta.

It has two teaching centres in Delhi and Bangalore, besides offices in seven places in the country.

Research in statistics and related disciplines is the primary activity of the institute. It holds classes mainly in Calcutta, Delhi and Bangalore. Its offices located in other cities of the country are primarily engaged in projects and consultancy in statistical quality control and operations research


Centre for speeding up waterways projects in NE

Centre to speed up waterways project


Guwahati, Nov. 19: The Centre will expedite inland waterways projects in the Northeast despite the dismal response to the scheme for promotion of smaller waterways in the region.

The Centre has found that the main reason for the lack of proposals is non-availability of technical organisations and expertise with the various state governments to prepare the proposals and seek its sanction.

Sources said the matter has been reviewed at the highest levels and a decision has been taken that such shortcomings on the part of state governments should not be allowed to become a reason for not harnessing the potential for inland water transport in the region.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India, the apex organisation in matters of inland navigation, will help the state government identify water transport projects and prepare specific project proposals to be implemented by various states, the sources added.

The state governments will also set up separate inland water transport organisations to look after and execute various inland water transport projects.

As the first step, the Centre, with the help of consultants, will identify, enumerate and prioritise potential inland navigation development projects in each of the states by referring to all the available reports/data/statistics, through interaction with officials of respective state governments and also selectively visiting such potential river sections and locations.

It will prepare separate project reports for the schemes on each of the identified projects by undertaking reconnaissance surveys and data collection specific to each project and in consultation with the implementing agencies under the respective state government.

These reports will then be made available to the respective state governments.

Sources said the Centre would help the respective state governments submit their proposals to the Union ministry of shipping, seeking its approval for schemes.

It will co-ordinate between the state governments and the administrative ministry at the Centre to facilitate the sanction for the projects and timely implementation by the state government.

Inland water transport is operationally cheaper, high in fuel efficiency and environment friendly and has a vast potential to act as an alternative mode of transportation.

However, it has also made it clear that the proposed identification study will not include the Brahmaputra and the Barak, for which separate action is under way, in accordance with policy applicable to the National Waterways.


ICFAI venture in Assam

ICFAI to set up varsity in Assam


Guwahati, Nov. 11: Assam is reaping the benefits of wooing the private sector to invest in the state’s education sector.

After Don Bosco University, it is now the turn of Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) to set up a university in the state. The Hyderabad-based institute has got the letter of intent, allowing it to set up a private university at Sonapur in Kamrup (metro) district.

“The Assam government had issued a letter of intent in July 2008 for establishment of the university with a validity of two years. On expiry of that period, a fresh letter of intent was issued in October 2010. We have acquired 53 acres of land near Tepesia stadium in Sonapur and construction work has already began,” J.J. Kawle Director, NorthEast university cell, ICFAI, told The Telegraph today.

Dispur had passed Assam Private University Bill, 2007, paving the way for establishment and incorporation of private universities in the state. This was done to provide the best education facilities here, as large number of students from Assam go outside the state to seek quality education.

Kawle said construction has started and should be completed within a year. He said in the first phase, about 1,26,000 square foot, comprising academic and administration facilities, would be constructed. “We expect to commence academic activity in Assam by 2012-13,” he added.

“On submission of the compliance of conditions of the letter of intent, the state government will take up the bill for notifying the university through an act,” he said.

The cost of setting up the campus in Assam is estimated to be Rs 30 to 40 crore.

At the start of the academic activity, the university will offer BTech, Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Bachelor’s in Computer Applications, Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management and BSc at the undergraduate level, and MBA and MCA at the post graduate level.

In Northeast, ICFAI has universities in Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram. Kawle said on November 12, the foundation stone-laying ceremony of a university campus would also be held in Tura, Meghalaya. Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma will lay the foundation stone.

“The university in Tripura is doing very well and already has 1,500 students,” he said.

Kawle said the idea behind the university is to create and disseminate knowledge and skills, in core and frontier areas, through innovative educational programmes, research, consultancy and publishing. It also aims to develop a new cadre of professionals, with high levels of competence and a deep sense of ethics and commitment to the code of professional conduct.


india-bhutan join hands in wildlife

India, Bhutan to jointly monitor Manas tigers


Guwahati, Nov. 10: The forest authorities of India and Bhutan have agreed to start a joint initiative to “camera trap” tigers moving across the international border from November 20, marking the beginning of a new chapter in cooperation between the two countries for wildlife conservation.

This was decided at a meeting between representatives of Manas National Park India and Royal Manas National Park Bhutan at Bansbari in Manas today. The idea behind the exercise is to monitor the movement of tigers between the two parks having contiguous areas.

The field director of Manas National Park, A. Swargiari, told this correspondent that both the countries had decided to go ahead with the joint camera trapping from November 20. “This is a historic day for both the countries in wildlife cooperation, and both sides have assured their support,” he said.

Around 450 square km will be covered on both sides of the boundary and the exercise will continue for two months. In Manas India, the areas covered would be Bansbari and Bhuyanpara while in Bhutan, authorities would be covering the Manas range of Royal Manas National Park.

Bivash Pandav from WWF International, who was present at the meeting, said the results of the first-ever joint camera trapping should be out by February and a joint report would be brought out. “This would be the biggest area covered jointly with another country,” he said.

Royal Manas National Park manager Tenzi Wangchuk represented Bhutan, which has provided full support to the exercise.

The meeting discussed the concept of Greater Manas which has already got the support from World Heritage Committee. The need for trans-border property cooperation and for having regular joint meetings was also discussed. A resolution was passed for conservation of greater Manas landscape.

While Manas India has an area of 500 square km, Royal Manas Bhutan covers 1,057 square km and tigers move from Phibsoo wildlife sanctuary in Bhutan to Manas tiger reserve, Buxa tiger reserve and Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary in India.

Standard monitoring protocol will be followed for the entire exercise, a senior forest official said.

The meeting also discussed the idea of having a similar exercise for monitoring elephants.

Apart from WWF, Aaranyak and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment also rendered their support.

The World Heritage Committee has been saying that the co-operation was highly valuable and even necessary for wildlife conservation for which Manas was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan has been saying that disturbance on the Indian side affects them and working together would be beneficial to both sides.


water data for private developers in NE

Group favours ease in hydro data access
Guwahati, Nov. 8: The ministry of water resources has been asked to review its guidelines regarding release of “classified” hydrological data on Brahmaputra and it tributaries to private developers to facilitate accelerated development of hydroelectric projects in the Northeast.
Sources said the inter-ministerial group for hydro-power development in Northeast India, in its report, has asked the ministry of water resources to review its guidelines to facilitate access to hydrological data by private developers for expeditious development of the hydro-power potential of the region. This will be done keeping in place the required safeguards to serve national interest.
The inter-ministerial group was constituted by the ministry of water resources on the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office to evolve a suitable framework to guide and accelerate the development of hydropower in the Northeast.
The report said with the shift in government policy, hydroelectric projects are being given to private developers, who are facing difficulty in getting access to the all-important hydrological data. The state governments are reluctant to provide the secrecy undertaking on behalf of the private developers, even as a number of hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh are being executed by the private sector.
Sources said earlier projects were executed by government agencies and there was no problem in acquiring hydrological data on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries from the ministry of water resources or Central Water Commission as per existing guidelines. These guidelines stipulate that no hydrological data should be released to international and private agencies. They provide that in case of requests for releasing data to private parties in the country, the secrecy undertaking should be obtained from the concerned ministry, department or public sector undertaking.
The Brahmaputra is a major international river covering a drainage area of 580,000 square km. Of this 50.5 per cent lies in China, 33.6 per cent in India, 8.1 per cent in Bangladesh and 7.8 per cent in Bhutan.
The hydrological data of any river is the foremost requirement for planning and designing of any hydropower project. The existing guidelines, issued by the ministry of water resources, say that hydrological data may be released to central or state government offices, including public sector undertakings, only after obtaining a secrecy undertaking from an officer of joint secretary rank.
“The data of these basins are classified, and hence is provided to bonafide users on request following a set procedure for release of classified data. Wherever required, the approval of ministry is sought for release of such data,” a water resources official said.
Sources said the non-availability of hydrological data for Brahmaputra is resulting in delay in preparation of the detailed project reports for the hydroelectric projects, and that it would be most helpful if that the procedure for obtaining it is put up on the website of the Central Water Commission.
Apart from Brahmaputra, Indus, Ganga and Barak river basins have been categorised as classified river basins.

NID for NE designs
Motif clinic to help local industry
- National Institute of Design to provide inputs for product patterns ROOPAK GOSWAMI
Guwahati, Nov 8: The micro, small and medium enterprises sector in the region is poised to get a facelift, design-wise, with the proposed setting up of a “design clinic” by the National Institute of Design (NID) in Guwahati.
The Ahmedabad-based premier design school of the country has agreed to set up a regional centre in Guwahati and a memorandum of understanding will be signed on November 11 with the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) under the design clinic scheme.
NID has been appointed as the nodal agency to implement the scheme, which was launched last year by the development commissioner, ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises, for providing design expertise to micro, small and medium enterprises in the Northeast.
The design clinic is a tested strategic model of design intervention, where a solution to an existing design problem is diagnosed and remedial steps suggested by a multidisciplinary team of design experts. In this scheme, value addition to an idea or a concept is imparted simply through interaction, thereby reducing related costs.
The primary focus of the clinic, which will be the first of its kind in the region, will be on design development for the products of artisans, individual units and clusters, a majority of which are being implemented by the IIE. The institute is involved in implementation and technical support to 22 clusters spread all over the region. A cluster is a group of enterprises and organisations having common business opportunities and threats within a given geographical area. The defining variable is the product or service, which generally includes a product range.
“Better designs will make the products more marketable and saleable, helping the artisans earn a better livelihood,” an official of the institute said. The institute will also provide office space and administrative support to operationalise the centre and implement the scheme.
The IIE has been working on improving the product designs with the help of some local designers.
The official said the convergence of two premier national organisations will bring in accelerated development for the micro, small and medium enterprises and help mitigate the scarcity of qualified designers in the region.
Under the design clinic scheme, design sensitisation seminars, awareness programmes and design projects will be held. This will help to generate awareness about design methodology and approach for the sector.
The official said the opening of the extension centre for the Northeast zone would help bring the micro and small sector in the region and design expertise onto a common platform and provide expert advice and solutions on real-time design problems, resulting in continuous improvement and value addition for existing products. “This will help bring design exposure to the doorstep of the large number of small and medium clusters in the northeastern region,” he said.
The micro, small and medium enterprises sector in the country is a major contributor to the GDP growth, accounting for about 8 per cent.