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NEIST scientists bag CSIR innovation award

By The Assam Tribune

GUWAHATI, Oct 1 � At a recent function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi to celebrate the 68th foundation day of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the CSIR Technology Award, 2010 in the category of �Innovation� was formally conferred on NEIST scientists for the development of the process for making �high-strength proppants�, a press release received via e-mail stated. The award was given away by Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of Science & Technology to Dr DK Dutta, Dr Pinaki Sengupta and Dr Avinash Garg in the presence of the Director General of the CSIR, Prof Samir K Brahmachari. The award carries a cash amount of Rs 2 lakh along with a plaque and a citation.

The award-winning and patented innovation is a breakthrough for hydraulic fracturing operations for economic recovery of oil and gas and the know-how developed is the first in the country in this field. The know-how was initially developed at the laboratory scale in collaboration with the Keshava Deva Malaviya Institute of Petroleum Exploration (KDMIPE), ONGC, Dehradun and later scaled up to 50 kg/batch with the financial aid of the Oil Industry Development Board, New Delhi. The production conforms to the recommendations of the American Petroleum Institute (API). The proppant utilises bauxite of Indian origin and the cost of production is very low.

As India has abundant high grade bauxite deposits, the innovation can make the country self-sufficient and take a leading position in the manufacture of high-strength proppant cutting down on the imports in view of the possibility that oil production activities in the country can be expected to increase manifold in the coming years vis-�-vis its increased demand. The innovation has both huge market potential as well as the added advantage of generating a lot of employment opportunities.

The work for this technology was headed by Group Leader Dr Dipak Kumar Dutta, Scientist F of the Materials Science Division of NEIST and the other members included Dr Pinaki Sengupta, Scientist F, Dr Ranju Duarah, Scientist G, Dr Avinash Garg, Scientist G, Umesh Chandra Borah, Scientist G (retired) and Dilip Kumar Dutta, Scientist G (retired). Two external members, Gajendra Singh Pundeer and Vinay Chandra Rundwal, both joint directors, KDMIPE, ONGC, Dehradun were also involved and contributed significantly to the innovation.

The CSIR Director General gave the welcome address in the function. As a special invitee, Prof Raghavendra Gadagkar of the Centre for Ecological Science, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore gave the CSIR foundation day lecture on �War and peace: conflict and cooperation in an insect society.� The lecture was followed by the presentation of the CSIR Young Scientist & Technology Awards, 2010 as well as the CSIR Diamond Jubilee Invention Award for Schoolchildren, 2009 by Union minister Prithviraj Chavan who also addressed the gathering. Prof Samir K Brahmachari announced the SS Bhatnagar Prize winners for 2010 and the CSIR Award for S&T Innovations for Rural Development, 2009.

In a separate function, the CSIR-NEIST also organised the 68th CSIR foundation day at its auditorium recently. Dr JCS Kataky gave the welcome address. The CSIR foundation day lecture was given by the chief guest, Prof GP Dubey. As many as 29 retired NEIST staff were felicitated with mementos and sanman patras and those staff who have completed 25 years in CSIR service were awarded with mementos. Awards were also given to winners of the on-the-spot essay writing competition, SC/ST students, those who excelled in sports during 2009-10 and winners of the quiz competition.

A NEIST publication, Golden Jubilee Brochure on CSIR-NEIST was also formally released by Prof Dubey, former dean, Faculty of Ayurveda, Banaras Hindu University. Dr RC Boruah, scientist-in-charge, NEIST, who also presided over the function, presented a memento to the chief guest which was followed by the presidential lecture.

The function concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr BG Unni. The occasion was celebrated as �open day� for the visits of students and public and interaction with NEIST scientists. About 500 students along with their teachers visited the laboratory, the press release added.

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