Jorhat, Nov. 1: The Assam government is offering the people of Upper Assam, especially children, an out of this world New Year gift in the form of the Jorhat Science Centre-cum-Planetarium.
The construction of the double-storey building has been completed and installation is in progress. The project, coming up next to the Ahom-era Rajmao Barpukhuri, is likely to be inaugurated in January.
The building is being constructed on a six-bigha and four katha plot of land at a cost of Rs 5 crore approximately, and will be the first of its kind in Assam with Dispur and Delhi both funding the project.
The Assam Science Technology and Environment Council is the implementing agency of the project and the National Council of Science Museum has designed the project and all its technical specifications.
Jorhat deputy commissioner R.C. Jain, who is the chairman of the executive committee comprising 13 members supervising the setting up of the centre, told The Telegraph here today that the equipment, gadgets and variety of scientific models for the centre have been arriving and the installation process was under way. Jain said if thi-ngs progress according to the plans, then the centre-cum-planetarium could be opened by the first half of January. He said the centre is expected to serve not only Jorhat, but the entire Upper Assam and there will be a variety of interesting features for the school and college students as well.
Elaborating on the special features of the project, the curator of the centre Pranabjyoti Chetia said in an outdoor park various interactive models like energy to draw water from tubewells when seesaws were played, the science behind pinhole cameras and projectors, models of moon and the sun, a big swing and different objects used in day-to-day life, were being prepared.
A 50-seater modern state-of the-art digital dome-shaped planetarium to show an artificial sky and different celestial bodies and systems through a US-made projector system, a thematic park with functional models on the process of extracting crude oil and refining it along with tapping of the natural gas, will be projected in this section.
There will be write-ups in English and Assamese for visitors. Chetia said there would be a fun science and a special children’s section in which interesting models to show strange scientific phenomenon will be displayed.
Mirrors showing funny images, illusions as shown by magicians, an unending pond, and others will be available in these two sections.
A hall to screen 3-D videos on scientific themes, a temporary exhibition hall, and a telescope to watch the night sky from the first floor balcony will be housed in the centre.
Chetia said one unique feature will be complimentary training for senior citizens on basic handling of computers. He said along with him a project assistant and two technicians have been appointed and security has been entrusted to a private firm. Another 10 persons will be required to run the centre, and the recruitment will be done by the executive committee where the curator is the member secretary.
Principals of Jorhat Engineering College, Jorhat Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat Government Boys’ School and MP School are also members of the committee.
Additional deputy commissioner Biren Baruah, who is also a member of the committee, said to run the centre, an entry fee would be charged.