Hon’ble Chief Minister inaugurates additional facilities at Sikkim Science Centre, Marchak

Gangtok, November 20 (IPR): The Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang inaugurated 8 m dia Digital Planetarium, 52 Seater 3D Theatre, Innovation Hub, and Bio-diversity Gallery as Additional Facilities at Sikkim Science Centre, Marchak, today.

The additional facilities were developed by the Government of Sikkim with assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

The program was attended by Hon’ble Minister for Science and Technology Department Shri Karma Loday Bhutia, Cabinet Ministers, Area MLA Martam-Rumtek constituency, Heads of Departments, DC East, Officers, Principals and Teachers with students of surrounding schools.

In his address, the Hon’ble Chief Minister congratulated and thanked the Department of Science and Technology. He extended his greetings to the students on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day. He expressed his happiness by stating that these additional facilities viz. 8M Dia Digital planetarium, 52 seater 3D Theatre, Innovation Hub, and Bio-diversity gallery would educate, entertain, and enlighten the people, particularly the students. He urged the students to be committed towards their goals and asked them not to nurture preconceived notions of fear regarding subjects like Science and Mathematics. He assured them that nothing is impossible if one is determined and has the sheer will to move ahead. He encouraged the students to make complete use of these facilities and equip themselves with knowledge, creativity and innovative ideas. He said that the State Government believes in true equality in education and added that the State will cater to the grievances and problems that the student faces in the education sector. He said that everyone should have the privilege of proper education and the university of his/her choice.

He clearly stated that all financial spending in the education sector is an investment and not expenditure and announced that on the 26th of November, all students from classes 8 up to 11, would receive a smart TV. This will enable them to take their recorded/online lessons in a drive and study at the convenience of their homes. He spoke of developing Chakung Science College as the Centre of Excellence and also added that the standard of Burtuk College will be raised so that it will be equipped to cater to the students from the state as well as outside the State.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister also spoke about the PM eVIDYA scheme and the advantage of online education courses. In this context, he also mentioned that Sikkim will soon have her independent BSNL Administrative Centre, which will allow internet connectivity to reach homes in rural areas and schools all over. He stressed the importance of the IT sector and said that for any state, nation to proceed forward, it is of utmost importance to be technically sound and stable. He also mentioned that currently 17 BACs are connected through the internet with the administration.

He also informed that primary education would be placed at the top of the priority list. He said that proper infrastructure and amenities would be mandatory for all upcoming Primary Schools and the State Government is devoted to supporting and developing the Primary Schools throughout the state.

He reiterated the works done by the government in the field of health and agriculture and said that in spite of the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the State Government has been working tirelessly to make sure that there are safety and development both. He also announced that once the COVID vaccine is made available in the market, it will be provided free of cost to the people of Sikkim.

He concluded his speech by asking everyone to diligently follow the protocols against COVID-19 and to remember that the disease is still prevalent. He also extended greetings on the occasion of Chhath Puja.

Hon’ble Minister for Science and Technology Department, Shri Karma Loday Bhutia spoke about the additional facilities inaugurated at the Science Centre and said that this would broaden the minds of the students as well as create avenues for them to explore and invent. He urged the students, in particular, to take full advantage of the planetarium that he described as “an indoor universe.” He applauded the Hon’ble Chief Minister for being able to take the projects forward and deliver development to the people.

Additional Chief Secretary, Science and Technology Department, Shri M.L. Srivastava, in his welcome address outlined the vital role of the Science and Technology Department, citing various significant functions of the department. He stressed the Intellectual Property Rights, GI (Geographical Indication) Tag, Patent and Trademark/copyright, and other responsibilities of the department.

DG, National Council of Science Museums, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Shri Subashish Das gave a detailed report on the additional facilities. He said that the digital planetarium in the Sikkim Science Centre is unique as compared to other bigger and larger planetariums in the cities. He stated that a digital planetarium gives freedom to the operators for flexible astronomical programs as compared to a conventional optomechanical planetarium. The planetarium has an 8 m dia hemispherical sky, a state-of-art-projection system with surround sound for an immersive experience for 60 visitors at a time.

He also mentioned that the bio-diversity gallery will ignite the curiosity of the people as it provides thorough information and understanding of the importance of bio-diversity. It exhibits and explains the rich bio-diversity as well as describes the flora and fauna endemic to the region. The 3D theatre will give the people an experience where their near realistic visuals will appear to come out from the static screen right in front of their eyes. He said that 3D makes science learning effective with fun.

He added that the Innovative Hub is a multi-disciplinary Science laboratory for senior and college students. The underlying idea of the hub is to promote critical thinking, innovation, and practical solving ability through science projects and hands-on activities. Shri Das also thanked the Hon’ble Chief Minister, the Science and Technology Department. He added that Birla Industrial and Technology Museum, Kolkota assisted immensely in the second phase of the four facilities.

During the program, Secretary, Buildings and Housing Department, Shri Rajen Sharma provided the technical report for the extension of the sub-regional science center and construction of the 8M planetarium. The report said that the total area in the present work is 5577 sq. ft. He stated that the building and dome are in reinforced cement concrete of appropriate specification with necessary brick partition, steel windows, door shutter enhanced by vitrified tiles for flooring and galvanized plain sheet in roofing along with necessary acoustic treatment and waterproofing. The work was completed in 2015 and handed over to the Science and Technology Department.

Later, the Director, Science and Technology, Shri Dorjee Thinlay Bhutia delivered the vote of thanks.

Earlier, the Hon’ble Chief Minister, along with the Cabinet Ministers and other dignitaries also visited the additional facilities.

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