Chandigarh : A National Seminar organized by Geography Department, Panjab University on “Northwest India: Issues in Sustainability” was inaugurated today, 23rd February 2012, by Padamshree Professor R.C Sobti, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh at 10.00 a.m. at ICSSR, Panjab University, Chandigarh. In his inaugural address he emphasized the relevance of the seminar theme for northwest India. He lamented the degradation of the environment by citing the example of the dried up course of the river Yamuna at Agra. He attributed the rising incidence of cancer to pollution. In this context he highlighted the sensitivity of Indian culture to environmental conservation within which he saw the path to sustainability.
Professor Harjit Singh of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi delivered the keynote address.
He viewed consumption oriented development as anathema to sustainable development. He further emphasized the need to balance ecology with development and use technology to promote sustainability. He expressed the view that individual values drive social change and in order to preserve the environment we need to deepen our collective responsibility towards our region, community and future generations.
Professor Emeritus G.S Gosal delivered the presidential remarks. He bemoaned the disappearance of several species of rice and wheat which existed in ancient India by stating that the replacement of traditional practices is detrimental to sustainability.
Shri Vivek Atray, Additional Transport Commissioner, Haryana was the guest of honor at the occasion. He lauded the efforts of the organizers for convening a seminar on a theme of such current relevance. He emphasized the role of sustainable technologies and appreciated the need to spread awareness regarding sustainable practices so that these benefit the common man.
Professor Smita Bhutani, Coordinator Center of Advanced Study in Geography, welcomed the dignitaries and delegates who included academic luminaries like Prof. Dinesh Talwar, Prof. RK Kohli, Prof. RK Pathak and Prof. BS Ghuman.
Professor Karanjot Kaur Brar, Chairperson and Convener introduced the theme of seminar by stating that the challenges that India is facing related to a growing population, and a shrinking natural resource base coupled with land degradation and above all the issues of sustainability. As northwest India has experienced the highest levels of agricultural development, its implications are best manifested here. This region is therefore appropriate for deliberations such as will be forthcoming in this seminar for drawing an agenda for future policy inputs.
At the end of the inaugural session, Dr Navneet Kaur, Convener, presented a vote of thanks.
Following the inaugural, serious deliberations took place on the theme of seminar that saw the participation of various eminent scholars. A total of 118 presentations shall take place over 2 days on themes ranging from sustainability, water issues to food security in northwest India.