Sunday, 17 December 2017

DBT plans floating lab on Brahmaputra

22 September 2017 | News

The nearly 3,800 kms long river, one of the longest in the world, traverses three countries to empty itself in the Bay of Bengal. Union Science and Technology minister Harsh Vardhan said the project is expected to commence by the year-end. Anchored by IIT-Guwahati, the project is also supported by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).

A new project of the Department of Biotechnology aims at starting a lab on boat on Bramhaputra river for biological analysis of the river system.

The ambitious project also proposes to have multiple mobile laboratories on the river and its tributaries along with providing access to local research institutions, officials said. The first laboratory under the Bramhaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat (B4) initiative will cover Pasighat, Dibrugarh, Neemati, Tejpur and Guwahati in Assam.

"B4 will establish a large barge on the river with a well-equipped laboratory for the analysis of all components of the entire ecosystem of the river and its surroundings," Department of Biotechnology secretary K Vijay Raghavan said.

The nearly 3,800 kms long river, one of the longest in the world, traverses three countries to empty itself in the Bay of Bengal. Union Science and Technology minister Harsh Vardhan said the project is expected to commence by the year-end. Anchored by IIT-Guwahati, the project is also supported by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).

The minister said although institutes under the Ministry of Science and Technology have several research vessels, it will be for the first time the ministry will have a dedicated boat/ barge for the research of a river.

Vardhan also announced the projects of Phyto-Pharma Plants Mission and Frugal Microscopy - for the north-east region, to be carried out by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

The Rs 50 crore Phyto-Pharma Plants Mission programme will promote cultivation and conservation in the north-eastern states.

Under the Foldscopes programme, the DBT will supply frugal paper microscopes costing less than Rs 70 to schools and colleges in the north-east, officials said.

The Department of Biotechnology has received 525 applications from schools, colleges and citizen scientists seeking foldscopes, they said. "The prime ministers thrust has been on the north-east region. The DBT has committed to dedicate 10 per cent of its budget for the north-east," Vardhan added.

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