Jorhat, Oct. 31: The winners of Investigatory Project Competition, organised among students by North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST), fired a volley of queries to the scientists, ranging from why electricity could not be harnessed from lightning to what was the function of anti-podal cells in embryo sacs.
They were present here this afternoon for the prize-giving ceremony.
This premier research institute under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, had aimed to involve school students to research and learn about the biodiversity of the area they lived in, through the competition and inspire them to delve deeper into the topic.
The various themes of the competition were — (a) Biodiversity of your locality (b) Traditional knowledge in healthcare and medicine like ethno-medicine, ethno-medicinal plant, traditional knowledge on single plant phytomedicine and others (c) Traditional knowledge of water harvesting (d) Ethnic and traditional food (e) Land and river erosion (f) Traditional construction material and (g) Superstition and its eradication.
About 10 scientists from NEIST fielded questions ranging from the man-animal conflict to soil conservation and many more from about 40 students present on the occasion.
Altogether 67 students had been awarded prizes in the first, second and third categories.
The competition, which was a part of the programme for NEIST golden jubilee year celebrations, was divided into two groups — Group A comprised students of Class VI to X (between 12 and16 years) and Group B comprised students of Class XI to degree-level (between 17 and 21 years).
In response to the question whether all plants were medicinal or not, a NEIST scientist said all plants had medicinal properties and World Health Organisation had recently reported that about 3 lakh plant species were used for medicinal purposes.
However, only around 20 per cent plants had been authenticated till date.
“While plants are largely used by traditional societies for medicinal purpose, our knowledge about this is limited. We would like to involve you, the young talents of our country to increase this knowledge bank by finding out and noting down all the indigenous ways of water harvesting, plant medicines in use, soil conservation efforts and traditional construction material used in your region by traditional societies,” he said.
Km Jocelyn D, team leader of Vivekananda Kendriya Vidyalaya from Kuporijo, Arunachal Pradesh, won the first prize in the A category for studies on the diversity of home gardens wanted to study medicine, but her interest has now switched to medicinal plants.
The second winner in the same category for soil as a habitat of various soil faunas, Km Honiya Dakpe, also a team leader of the same school said she was interested in journalism.
However, she would like to be engaged in soil conservation efforts, as this would benefit her people.
The project reports were evaluated under state-level and Northeast-level phases and the winners were awarded prizes, certificate of appreciation and a CSIR-NEIST golden jubilee year plaque.
There was only one contestant from Nagaland in the group B category, but there were no contestants from Sikkim, Tripura and Meghalaya.