Category Archives: Science & Technology

Software for tiger watch in Buxa

Alipurduar :

The Union ministry of environment and forests has launched a software to ensure better monitoring of tigers that will be introduced in the Buxa Tiger Reserve by April.

The software has been made in collaboration with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for all tiger reserves in the country.

“MSTrIPES”, a hi-tech monitoring system, would be introduced in Buxa Tiger Reserve by April and each beat officer will get an Android phone with the software inbuilt that will help to monitor tigers in the habitat, Ujjal Ghosh, the field director of the BTR, said.

There are 42 beat offices in Buxa with one officer each.

MSTrIPES is a GPS-based software that will provide patrolling protocols and record wildlife crimes.

The software will also handle ecological monitoring and store data related to tiger monitoring.

Ghosh said: “The forest guards will have to fill in information about the area they patrolled and number of tigers spotted daily in the Android phones. This information will be passed by the beat officer to the forest range officer who will forward the same to the division officer, followed by the state government. The state will then pass on the information to the Tiger Control Cell of WII in Dehradun. Through this system, there will be a statistical analysis of data regarding protection and monitoring of the tigers.”

According to a forest officer, the BTR is important to the NTCA because ‘Tiger Augmentation Programme’ would be held here this year.

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by Our Correspondent / Thursday – February 23rd, 2017

Doctor far-off, care close by – Satellite health unit set up at remote Rimbick

A patient being treated at the medical unit at Rimbick. Telegraph picture

Darjeeling :

An idea that bagged an award from the Acadèmia de Ciències Mèdiques, a forum of healthcare professionals in Barcelona, Spain, has blossomed into a fruitful project that is saving human lives in one of the farthest corners of Darjeeling district in Rimbick.

Plaban Das, a medical director of Planter’s Hospital in Darjeeling, during his advanced medical studies at La Santpau hospital in Barcelona, had through his Spanish friends proposed an idea in 2009 to create a satellite healthcare unit in remote areas.

The idea we bagged the Beques de Cooperacio Academia del Mon award that carried a prize money of 200 Euros in 2009.

“Anna Goma, a Spanish doctor, has presented the idea to the academy and it bagged the first prize. It was just an idea then and wanted to replicate the same in Rimbick, where I had conducted a medical camp in 2007,” said Das.

He mulled over the idea for long and once social media, more particularly WhatsApp, became common among people, he started working on the project.

“The basic idea was to ensure the people of Rimbick and its surrounding areas quick medical intervention during emergencies so that lives could be saved,” said Das.

Rimbick is about 90km from Darjeeling and one has to trek 6-7km further to reach the villages of Srikhola and Daragoan.

“With the help of local people, we formed a 12-member committee and set up the Rimbick Singalila Health Care Centre, a no-loss-no-profit venture which was inaugurated on September 13, 2015,” said Das.

Das made a personal contribution of Rs 2.5 lakh, along with the prize money of 100 Euros (the remaining 100 Euros was used in a project in Nigeria), while local people contributed around Rs 1 lakh. “Dr Hem Gosai, who practices in London but is from Darjeeling, later contributed Rs 1 lakh when he heard about the project,” said Das.

Two nurses, one para-medic and two technicians run the two-bedded centre at Rimbick with ECG, X-ray machine, nebuliser, oxygen cylinder and lab equipment.

“Whenever there is an emergency, the nurses contact me through WhatsApp. Primary tests are done there and they send the report on Whatsapp to me. Then I prescribe preliminary treatment right away, which is important in cases like brain stroke and heart attacks,” said Das.

Prakash Gurung, GTA Sabha member of the area, has also donated an ambulance to the centre.

In fact, this year, the centre observed a Stroke Survival Day, where five patient who had become paralytic and fully recovered because of immediate medical intervention were felicitated.

Shiva Rai, a hotelier, said: “I would not have been speaking to you had the centre not been there. I had gone to bed normally but in the morning, I found that my hands were paralytic and my face slanted. I could recover fully because of immediate medical intervention.

Binod Kumar Rai, a teacher of Rimbick Higher Secondary School, said: “I had a bee sting followed by fever and diarrhea. I recovered immediately. Importantly, my relative who had a stroke also recovered well.”

The centre needs Rs 30,000 on an average a month to function. “They charge a minimum amount. If we were to go and meet Dr Das in Darjeeling we need to spend anything between Rs 2000 to Rs 3000. But treatment is much cheaper and efficient at the Rimbick centre,” said Binod.

Das, along with other doctors visit the centre, once a month. A group of doctors from Zion Hospital in Nagaland held a free medical camp on February 15 there.

“People from Nepal also visit the centre now,” said Das.

Apart from the Spanish doctor, Anna, Martha Gallego, a nurse, Pau Casan Bonet, a pianist, and Begonya Crespo Bosque held a musical event in Barcelona to support the centre.

A similar project is being worked out for Badamtam tea garden, about 20km from Darjeeling.

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by Vivek Chhetri / Monday- February 20th, 2017

Film on messiah of pavements to hit Kolkata screen tomorrow

Kolkata :

At 87, this doctor bends over to listen to heartbeats. He bends slightly more these days, but there is otherwise no sign of fatigue on his weather-beaten face. You may have not been lucky to come across Jack Preger — the healer on Kolkata pavements as, he is popularly called — at work, but here’s a film that captures the journey of the British farmer-turned-doctor who has been serving destitutes on Kolkata streets since the 70s.

The film, ‘Doctor Jack’, directed by French filmmaker Benoit Lange, is an 83-minute film that has already won a coveted international award and is likely to enter some more competitions this year.

It will be screened by Alliance Francaise for a select audience on Thursday and will open for public screening at a popular south Kolkata movie hall the next day.

The French/Swiss film released in those two countries in 2016 and won in the documentary section of the prestigious Solothurn Film Festival, Switzerland. Camerawork by renowned European cinematographer Camille Cottagnoud has received critical acclaim worldwide. The filmmaker has donated the entire amount of 20,000 Swiss Franc to Preger’s organization, Calcutta Rescue.

Born in 1930 in Manchester, Preger’s life has been extraordinary. After graduating from Oxford University with economics and political science, he took up a career in hill farming. It was during this time that he realised that he had a different call in life and that he should spend the rest of his life trying to take medical benefit to the poor who cannot afford structured treatment.

After training as a surgeon at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Preger decided to leave the first world for good and go to Bangladesh to treat war refugees.

Thereafter, he reached Kolkata and started his clinic on the pavements of Middleton Row. For years, he ran this clinic before Calcutta Rescue spread its wings crisscrossing pavements of the city.

“It took me four years to make the film, such is the mystery of the man. Where does he get so much strength from? I call him the Don Quixote of modern times — a farmer metamorphosing into a messiah. What an exceptional destiny,” said Lange.

Preger, however, in his characteristic humour explained, “Sometimes you don’t choose life…life chooses you.”

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey / TNN / February 16th, 2017

Air to water device produces purer drinking water

Kolkata :

The technical report of the functioning of the air to drinking water converting machine have been submitted by state Public Health Engineering department engineers.

Results from the Central Testing Laboratory have shown that the quality of water that is produced by the machine is many times purer and better than the typical water purifier devices.

The Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) authorities are now planning to install a few such machines in different parts of New Town.

“A sample of water produced from the device was sent to the Central testing Laboratory through PHE engineers to find out how pure the water is. The water has been found to have purer quality than the normal water purifying devices. We are planning to install some such devices in Eco Park and other commercial spots,” said a Hidco official, adding that plans are on to install the device at the Mother’s Wax Museum canteen on a trial basis and a few other places like gate No.3 of Eco Park, police outposts, traffic signal kiosks and places inside Eco Park in phases.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Suman Chakraborti / TNN / February 13th, 2017

Diversity makes US great, says Nasa scientist from Kolkata

Goutam Chattopadhyay.

Kolkata :

A jet propulsion scientist at Nasa who grew up in the suburbs of Kolkata believes America owes much of its success to immigrants.

“The driving force of America is the assimilation of people from all over the world; people who are talented and have used the opportunities to drive innovation. That is what makes America great,” said Goutam Chattopadhyay, who migrated to the ‘land of opportunities’ in 1992 and lived his dreams.

Growing up in utter poverty in Konnagar, Chattopadhyay was not allowed to sit in a Class III exam as his school fee (Rs 8) hadn’t been paid. Still, he finished second in class that year, the only time he did so as he topped his class right up to his engineering degree in Electronics & Telecommunication from BE College, Shibpur. He had even cracked IIT entrance exam but could not study since his family could not afford it.

From BE College, Chattopadhyay went to TIFR in 1987. That’s when his horizon widened. “Till then, I wasn’t sure what to do other than take up a job to support my family,” the senior scientist recounted. As a design engineer at the premier institute, he was part of the team that designed the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT). Chattopadhyay designed the Local Oscillator System that converts the signal that comes from the sky into lower frequency signal that is easier to process.

In 1992, he went to the US to pursue higher studies, doing his masters at the University of Virginia and then PhD at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). There, he was in the group that developed Terahertz that will come into commercial telephony when 5G is rolled out.

On completion of the PhD in 1999, he got a call from Nasa. “Looking back, it has been an amazing journey and it has been possible because the US has been welcoming. I don’t think Indian students will be affected by what is happening right now. These are short-term bumps. I hope this will not stop the flow of talent to the US,” he said.

Chattopadhyay is currently working on a project that could help President Donald Trump overcome some of the fears on homeland security. His team is using Terahertz to do a remote pat-down of suspects. A project for the department of Homeland security, it is a device that allows law enforcement agencies to remotely scan a person to detect guns or bombs hidden under the jacket. “It can work at a 30-40 metre distance and be of use in airports and stations,” he explained.

Talking of airports, Chattopadhyay missed the crowds waiting at LA airport to welcome immigrants to protest against Trump’s ban on seven Muslim-majority countries as a judge in Seattle had put a stay on the executive order a day before he took his flight to India. Though he wasn’t worried about taking this trip as there are no restrictions on travel from India, fellow colleagues in Nasa who hail from the countries under the scanner won’t risk a visit ‘home’ anytime soon.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / TNN / February 09th, 2017

Now, Rs 5 wonder sachet to help you save teeth, bone


. Scientists have developed an inexpensive kit to test the fluorosis level in the body

. The fluoride level detection kit that will soon be available in shampoo-like sachet

Kolkata :

Scientists at a top-notch research institute in Durgapur have developed an easy-to-use, inexpensive kit to test the fluorosis level in the body so that one can take corrective measures before it causes teeth and bone deformity.

A team led by CSIR-CMERI scientist (surface engineering and tribology division) Dr Priyabrata Banerjee has developed the fluoride level detection kit that will soon be available in shampoo-like sachet. The sachets, to be priced around Rs 5 each, will contain two kits comprising two vials and a strip of colour-coded paper. While one vial will be empty, the other will contain a chemo-sensor liquid.

“All that a person has to do is spit into the empty vial, then pour the chemo sensor into it, close the vial and shake it vigorously. There will be an instant colour change, indicating the level of fluorosis in the body. If it is orange, it will indicate unsafe level of more than 1.5 ppm. Yellow indicates safe level of less than 1.5 ppm. The vial can be placed against the colour coded strip to match the colour and the fluorosis level it indicates,” Banerjee pointed out.

The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) is a leading mechanical engineering R&D institute under the aegis of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) that has developed technologies to provide societal solutions.The folurosis level detection kit is one such that has already been provisionally patented and technology tranferred to small scale industry for commercial production. The institute showcased this and other technologies at the 31st Indian Engineering Congress organised by the Institute of Engineers (India) in Kolkata recently.

“We expect the kits to be available in health stores in rural Bengal, particularly villages in Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum where fluorosis is a problem,” said Banerjee, who is the key inventor. Fluorosis can be dental, skele tal or non-skeletal and cause motteled teeth or deformity of limbs.

Banerjee’s team has also developed a chemo sensor station costing around Rs 2,000 each that will be placed at the primary health centres in fluorosis-affected districts where people can get the samples electronically verified.

“The salivary fluoride level detection kit is the latest technology that our scientists have come up with. The patent for this product was filed on November18,” said CSIR-CMERI director Harish Hirani.

Another technology that the R&D institute demonstrated was a smart card operated and pluggable energy meter through which one can instantly measure the energy level of an electrical installation using a smart phone. “One only needs to have internet connectivity or bluetooth to link a smart energy meter with a smartphone,” said a scientist.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Suman Chakraborti / TNN / December 20th, 2016

Kolkata shipyard develops new vessel for Coast Guard


Kolkata :

Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), on Saturday, commenced work on the first in a series of Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) it has developed and will be building for the Coast Guard. Among those present during the ‘Plate Cutting Ceremony,’ the first step towards construction of a ship, were Rear Admiral (retd) AK Verma, chairman-cum-managing director, GRSE and other senior officials.

The order for the FBVs was placed in March, 2016 and the first ship will be delivered in February, 2018, Verma said. “The design of these ships is unique. They are cost-effective, fuel-efficient and ideally suited for patrolling, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching and rescue operations. They are an improved version of Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPVs) built earlier by GRSE for the Coast Guard. The FPVs are designed and developed by the in-house design centre of GRSE. Thanks to active support and participation of internal workforce and business partners in various shipbuilding activities, GRSE’s capabilities are constantly increasing. These ships will add punch to the Coast Guard’s capabilities in maintaining maritime security,” the CMD added.

The FPV is 48.9 metres long, 7.5 metres wide and has a displacement of nearly 300 tonnes. It is capable of attaining a maximum speed of 34 knots. At 12-16 knots, these ships have endurance of 1,500 nautical miles. They are fitted with three water jet propulsion systems powered by marine diesel engines, each developing 2720 KW of power and will be fitted with CRN-91 indigenous 30 mm gun. The ship has modern habitability conditions with accommodation for 35 personnel.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> India / by Jayanta Gupta / TNN / August 14th, 2016

Tea tool for planters

Jalpaiguri :

The Tea Board of India today gave plucking machines to 150-odd small growers in the district.

Officials said the machines had been given away with a 50 per cent subsidy to be borne by the board. The remaining amount will be paid by the beneficiaries in three-four installments.

“Getting workers in the tea sector has become a major problem.The small tea sector here is also facing this shortage. That is why the tea board has decided to offer the machines to small growers,” Ramesh Kujur, deputy director of the tea board, said.

The tools that cost between Rs 40,000 and Rs 72,000 were given to planters from Rajganj, Sadar and Mainaguri who had applied for them.

“It can help growers in tackling manpower crisis and also increase the amount of leaves plucked,” Kujur said.

Jalpaiguri has 10,000-odd small planters.


source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,Indai / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / Wednesday – August 10th, 2016

East India’s first cadaver liver transplant in Kolkata

Kolkata (IANS) :

Bolstering efforts to carry out cadaver organ transplants in West Bengal, a team of doctors at a private hospital here on Tuesday night performed what is possibly eastern India’s first such liver transplant in the city, the hospital said in a statement.

Family members of a 53-year-old male patient – Samar Chakraborty – who was declared brain dead on Monday assented to the procedure to transplant the liver that is expected to bequeath a new lease of life to a 46-year-old female recipient with liver damage.

The liver, the most important solid organ in the body, was transplanted to 46-year-old Madhuri Saha, a patient with a known case of autoimmune hepatitis, decompensated cirrhosis, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy and hypersplenism by a team of doctors at the Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals.

Following the necessary tests to validate an adequate match, gastroenterologist Mahesh Goenka and his team undertook a successful harvest and transplant of this vital organ.

Chakraborty had a history of diabetes and hypertension, and was suffering from chronic kidney disease. Admitted only recently at a hospital in north Kolkata with Intra Cerebral Haemorrhage, he had gone into a deep coma, suffering irreversible brain damage.

He was shifted to Apollo, where a panel comprising leading doctors from the hospital and the health department of the West Bengal government evaluated his condition and declared him brain dead.

The family consented to multi-organ retrieval, and following the completion of necessary formalities regarding blood type and stability of the organs, the process was undertaken.

Last month, a 70-year-old brain dead woman here bequeathed a new lease of life to four persons, with her kidneys and cornea successfully transplanted in the city’s first multi-organ cadaver donation operation.
–IANS / ssp/pgh/

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / IANS / July 27th, 2016

IIT-Kharagpur to confer Distinguished Alumnus Award at the 62nd convocation


Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur will confer the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of the 62nd convocation of the Institute which will be organized on July 30 and 31.

Seven eminent alumni have been selected for the award for their exceptional professional achievements in the industry, in the academia or as entrepreneur. The awardees are – Dr Anurag Acharya, Ajit Jain, Asoke Deyasarkar, professor Gautam Biswas, professor Indranil Manna, professor Supriyo Bandopadhyay and Professor Venkatesan Thirumalai.

Dr. Anurag Acharya (IIT KGP B.Tech./Computer Science and Engineering/1987 batch), Distinguished Engineer at Google USA. Dr. Acharya is key founder of Google Scholar which since its inception has become an indispensable service for the global academic and research community.

Ajit Jain (IIT KGP B.Tech./Mechanical Engineering/1972 batch), President of Reinsurance Division, Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group, USA. Shri Jain is a visionary in the global investment sector, having led Berkshire Hathaway to great heights. He is a well-known philanthropist as well funding the Jain Foundation with the mission is to cure muscular dystrophies.

Dr. Asoke Deysarkar (IIT KGP B.Tech./Chemical Engineering/1971 batch), CEO and Chairman, PfP Industries, USA. Dr. Deysarkar has blended his research with entrepreneurship in Chemical Engineering forming a billion dollar conglomerate of companies. The Deysarkar Family has helped establish the Trans-disciplinary Program in Petroleum Engineering at IIT KGP. Dr. Deysarkar is also known for his philanthropy activities.

Professor Gautam Biswas (IIT KGP Ph.D./Mechanical Engineering / 1985 batch), Director, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. Prof. Biswas has an illustrious academic career of 25 years having taught at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur and in various international universities and known for his leadership at IIT Kanpur, Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur and IIT Guwahati. His fundamental research on heat transfer phenomena is well recognised in the international academic community. He was the Founder Director of Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), New Delhi.

Professor Indranil Manna (IIT KGP Ph.D./Metallurgical and Materials Engineering/ 1990 batch), Director, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. He has been an exceptional academician and researcher having a long-standing association with IIT Kharagpur as faculty and thereafter leading the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata and IIT Kanpur. His significant contributions in advanced material science and engineering have been well recognised by national and international bodies.

Professor Supriyo Bandopadhyay (IIT KGP B.Tech./Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering/1980 batch), Commonwealth Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA. Recently he was named Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist and is known globally for his interdisciplinary research. He directs the Quantum Device Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering which has been frequently featured in national and international media for exemplary research in nanotechnology.

Professor Venkatesan Thirumalai (B.Sc./Physics /1969 batch), Director, NUSNNI-NanoCore, National University of Singapore. He is known for his pioneering research in laser technology. Prof. Venkatesan was Founder of the PhD/MBA program in NUS and the Surface Center at Rutgers University.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is one of the highest recognition given of accomplishment and contribution of an alumnus/alumna from the Institute.

The awardees will be given a gold medal and a certificate.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / Somdatta Basu / TNN / July 12tj, 2016