GUWAHATI, Dec 13 - The Vigyan Mandir at Sonapur in Kamrup district, set up around 1953, under a Government of India initiative, to spread scientific temper and conscientise the people of the country, is now in a deplorable state. Two Vigyan Mandirs were set up around that time, � one each in the State�s Brahmaputra Valley and the Barak Valley and placed under State�s Education Department. While the Brahmaputra Valley one is located at Sonapur, the Barak Valley one is located at Hailakandi.
According to noted popular science writer and academician Prof Kshiradhar Baruah, the instruments and the buildings of the Sonapur Vigyan Mandir are in a dilapidated condition. Ripunjay Bardoloi, a popular science movement activist, who visited the Sonapur Vigyan Mandir together with Prof Baruah, sometime back, expressed the fear that the herbariums of numerous fern species and taxidermies of numerous spider species collected from different north-eastern areas, hundreds of books on scientific topics, the seismo meter, the instrument for tissue culture, among others, which were there in this institute are all lost. Both Prof Baruah and Bardoloi attribute this deplorable condition of the Sonapur Vigyan Mandir to the apathy of State�s Education Department.
However, the Hailakandi Vigyan Mandir is in a good state. This Vigyan Mandir is running the projects of the Assam Science, Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) since 1996. Earlier, it was coordinating Children�s Science Congress in Hailakandi areas. It was also the district nodal agency for Hailakandi for the National Green Corps till 2018. Now it is implementing the Mukhya Mantrir Bijnan Darshan in Barak Valley, on behalf of the ASTEC.
T V Venkateswaran of Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi, said in his �Vigyan Mandir Experiment � The First Mass Scientific Literacy Effort in India,� that the Vigyan Mandir experiment began as the initiative of Dr S S Bhatnagar, the then Head of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in 1953 with the aim at undertaking science consciousness campaigns among the rural populace.
Meanwhile, North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) Director General Arum Sarma said the NECTAR and the Union Department of Science and Technology-supported non-Government organisation Bijnan Bharati are ready to extend all sorts of support to State�s Vigyan Mandirs if the State Government comes forward with a request for support.