NU VC calls for systematic research to aid development
Nagaland University (NU) Vice Chancellor Prof. Bolin Kumar Konwar today said that road construction and maintenance in this mountainous Nagaland state having 60% slope, frequent earthquakes, high rainfall, landslides etc. call for systematic research.
“Soil conservation is of primary importance for all improvement related activities in the state,” Prof. Konwar said in his keynote address at the state level workshop on “Present Trend and Future Scope of Research in Nagaland” at organized by Nagaland University Research Scholars’ Forum, Kohima, in collaboration with SCERT, at National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology (NIELIT) at Meriema, near here.
He said serious and systematic research has to be taken up on prevention of landslides, various construction needs, soil erosion, soil physics and engineering as well as soil conservation.
He said Nagaland is situated in the major seismic zone of the world where the sub continent plate is frequently moving towards north as well as east hitting the Himalaya mass causing major and minor tremors. To augment this natural threat, he said, there is a need of early warning system to prevent loss of life and properties. He said geographical, geological and seismological research can contribute significantly in effective planning of economic activities in the state. The VC said the altitude variation, land topography and level of slope call for systematic research for the establishment of various harnessing and producing industrial enterprise.
Research on soil type, soil aggregation and structure, rock type, formation and mineral deposits would result major industrial and other economic activities, he said.
Prof. Konwar also stated that there is an urgent need of serious research on the every aspect of tradition of the Naga tribes to improve the lifestyle of the Nagas. He said that meaningful research should be carried out on the distinctive features of the Nagas, like dress design, culture, traditions, festivals, music and dance, folk tales and stories, food preparation, conservation and food habit, for converting them to viable economic enterprises for the people.
The unique dress designs and colours and special cottage industry items call for documentation and improvement to give commercial shape, he said.
The tribal system of administration and politics has to be studied to address the issues of rival competition. The tribal civilization and history have to be studied from all possible angles for unison and amalgamation, which will encourage establishing a sound relationship with neighbouring states, he said.
Referring to biodiversity of Nagaland, Prof. Konwar said development of database on plant and animal diversity of Nagaland, investigation on factors responsible for their population depletion, and development of conservation measures are utmost importance for the state.
He stressed on the need to develop steps and strategies for the institutional arrangement of community conserved forest, documentation of medicinal plant wealth, wild edible vegetables and fruits, spices and condiments, bamboos, orchids and valuable wood trees.
Wild animals including birds and fishes need to be studied and recorded, he said adding that systematic micro-biological study should be taken up to record microbial diversity in various eco-geographical conditions of the state.
On the indigenous system of medicine in Nagaland, he said Naga tribes have developed extensive knowledge and experience about the use of plants, insects, microbes and other animals against various ailments and transmitted from generation to generation through oral folklores.
The region provides an excellent scope for ethno-medicinal studies. It is the need of the hour to explore and preserve the biological diversity of these indigenous medical uses of plants and animals and to inject professionalism into the economic and market aspects of producing these plants and animals in the state.
The VC said that it was essential to explore the new microbes and novel genes for solving some of the major challenges with particular reference to sustainable agriculture, environment and human health. Microbial diversity exploration, detection of microbial pathogens in food, concepts and applications of microbial biofilms, classical and modern techniques for studying and tracking plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, bioremediation, phytoremediation and degradation of agricultural pesticides by soil bacteria. Biosorption of common heavy metals by microbial biomass and fungal-based agents in controlling plant pests and disease and production technology of mycorrhizal fungi have to be addressed. Research work shall be taken up in areas like fermentation technology, rumen and soil microbiology metagenomics and metabiome for industrial enzymes.
On development of agro-techniques, he said that established agro-techniques for mass cultivation or nutritionally valuable plants are still lacking in the state. In his, he called for urgent need for systematic investigations to authenticate and develop novelty from the rich biodiversity of the region.
The wide coverage of forestry calls for systematic exploitation for the development of the state with proper planning, he added.
Stating that health is a major area of concern in the state with high infant mortality, cancer, malaria and AIDS, Prof. Konwar said there is a growing need to take up research in predisposing factors and to find out control measures. “Similarly, animal health also calls for serious and systematic research,” he added.
SCERT Director Vipralhou Kesiezie in his speech said that the poor performances of the Naga students particularly in science and mathematics need to be studied in depth through investigative research study. He also felt that the University should introduce some new programme such as 4 Year Integrated Degree Course of Bachelor in Elementary Education, Bachelor in Secondary Education, Special education in existing colleges in order to prepare and supply professionally trained teacher to the school where the demand is so urgent.
He also made a fervent request to NU to introduce M.Ed programme at the earliest “as we need it badly.” “This is the time for all of us to have a re-look at ourselves and re-invent ourselves to meet the gigantic challenges ahead of us,” he said.
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