No end to obstacles in grant of one more RSC
JAMMU, Mar 22: The PDP-BJP Coalition Government is in dilemma over start of work on Sub-Regional Science Centre, which was sanctioned for Jammu and Kashmir by the Union Government over two and half years back in order to popularize science and technology for the benefits of the students. This is mainly because of inordinate delay in identification of land and change in the funding pattern by the Union Ministry of Culture.
Moreover, inordinate delay in establishment of already sanctioned Sub-Regional Science Centre at Srinagar has created obstacles in grant of formal sanction for similar centre in Jammu by the Union Ministry of Culture as there was clear cut stipulation in the scheme that second centre would be considered only after formal functioning of the first one.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in the month of August 2015 the Union Ministry of Culture sanctioned Sub-Regional Science Centre for Srinagar at a cost of Rs 20 crore (90:10 sharing pattern) and conveyed to the J&K Government that National Council for Science Museums (NCSM) would extend all technical support for establishment of centre soon after the State identifies suitable land for the purpose.
Even assurance was extended to the State Government that similar centre would also be considered for Jammu after the first one comes up and start popularizing science and technology for the benefits of the students.
However, despite lapse of over two and half years no positive development has taken place for establishment of Sub-Regional Science Centre at Srinagar as process of identification of suitable land took unduly long time, sources said, adding it was only in August 2017, two years after the sanctioning of centre by the Union Culture Ministry, that State Government allotted 25 kanals of land at Lalmandi in Srinagar to J&K Science, Technology and Innovation Council.
Thereafter, the J&K Science, Technology and Innovation Council completed all the formalities and finally approached the National Council for Science Museums, Kolkata for release of funds on 90:10 funding pattern. However, much to the surprise of the J&K Government the NCSM informed that Ministry of Culture has changed the funding pattern from 90:10 to 50:50 as such State Government shall have to arrange sufficient funds for start of work on Sub-Regional Science Centre, sources informed.
Though the J&K Science, Technology and Innovation Council has justified the demand of release of funds on 90:10 basis on the ground that this was the commitment of the Union Ministry of Culture at the time of sanctioning of Sub-Regional Science Centre at Srinagar yet neither the Union Ministry nor the National Council for Science Museums has considered the plea of the State Government till date, they further informed.
“In this way, the PDP-BJP Coalition Government is in quandary over start of work on the Sub-Regional Science Centre despite availability of land”, sources said, “besides release of funds on 90:10 basis the State Government is also seeking benefits on the lines of North-Eastern States as the same would substantially enhance the funds from the Union Government for the Sub-Regional Science Centre”.
Had the suitable land been identified on time, the PDP-BJP Coalition Government would have easily avoided the prevailing situation and substantial progress would have been made on establishment of first ever Sub-Regional Science Centre.
According to the sources, the inordinate delay in establishment of already sanctioned Sub-Regional Science Centre at Srinagar has also created obstacles in grant of such centre for Jammu as Ministry of Culture had made it clear to the J&K Government in 2015 that second centre would be formally sanctioned only after official functioning of the first one.
When contacted, a senior officer of J&K Science, Technology and Innovation Council said, “the State Government has now written to Minister of State for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma seeking his personal intervention in release of funds on 90:10 funding pattern and grant of Regional Science Centre for Jammu also”.
“The Government is also contemplating to depute a team of officers for holding discussion with the Ministry of Culture and National Council for Science Museums”, he further said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Sub-Regional Science Centre envisages setting up of planetarium, research centre and an innovation hub. It will have both indoor and outdoor scientific exhibits for the student community, educational and recreational appeal, planetarium and other facilities.
In addition to the static exhibition galleries, the Centre would also help in organizing many mobile museum travelling exhibitions, seminars, popular lectures, science camps/fairs and training programmes etc for teachers, students and others as well as out of school educational activities.