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Kolkata Science City explores new horizons

Shobha Roy | Updated on September 26, 2013

The Science City in Kolkata

Rs 35-cr project showcasing how life evolved on Earth coming in 12 months

Do you want to know how life on Earth evolved? Or, about India’s scientific heritage?

Science City, Kolkata, will help you know soon, as it is in the process of setting up a Science Exploration Hall to trace back the evolution of life.

“We constantly keep upgrading our infrastructure to meet the changing needs. As a step towards that, we are setting up a Science Exploration Hall that will have 3D models on the evolution of life, a panoramic presentation of human evolution and a section on Indian science and technology heritage,” said A. D. Choudhury, Director of the largest science centre in India.

The Rs 35-crore project has received approval of the Ministry of Culture, he said.

The Science Exploration Hall will be thrown open to the public before September next year , he said.

Science City is promoted by the National Council of Science Museums, the apex body of science museums and centres in India.

Science City, Kolkata, consists of two facilities — the Science Centre and the Convention Centre.

The Science Centre complex has Space Odyssey, Dynamotion, Evolution Theme Park, Maritime Centre, and a Science Park. The Space Odyssey houses India’s first large-format film theatre, time machine, 3-D vision theatre, mirror magic, and exhibits on space science, motion, electricity and virtual reality.

The Dynamotion Hall has a Butterfly Corner, Aquaria, an exposition on giant robotic insects and host of interactive exhibits on science and technology that will both educate and entertain visitors.

Nearly 70 per cent of Science City’s revenues come from the Science Centre while the Convention Centre accounts for the rest . “The Science Centre attracts 1.5 million visitors annually. Nearly 50 per cent of them are repeat visitors. If this trend has to continue, we have to continuously upgrade our facilities,” Choudhury said.

Science City, Kolkata, is 100 per cent self-sufficient and tries to plough back much of its revenues to upgrade infrastructure, he said.

Interactive sessions

“The demand for pure science as against medical or engineering is slowly picking up. Our aim is to reach out to young minds and encourage them to pursue science education,” he said.

To attract young minds, Science City organises interactive sessions with experts in the field. “We had arranged for special lectures by the likes of Sunita Williams (Indian-American astronaut) and Anita Sengupta (a member of the team that manned NASA’s ‘Curiosity’). They addressed a packed auditorium of nearly 2,500 children. Following the lecture, children were also given an opportunity to interact with them through a question-and-answer session,” he said. This apart, Science City has tie ups with several schools offering subsidised entry fee to the students. It also offers steep discounts to the underprivileged and children from BPL (below poverty line) families, he said.

Convention Centre

The proposal to expand the Convention Centre, which is currently with the Ministry of Culture, should be on board by early next fiscal.

The project, which will include development of a permanent structure in its exhibition ground, the setting up of a food court, a 200-room budget accommodation facility and the construction of a multilevel underground parking space, may entail an investment of Rs 250 crore. It will be executed on a public-private partnership mode.

“We have submitted our proposal to the Ministry of Culture. They have examined it and given us their observations. The project will happen once we comply with the norms. Then, we will start the tendering process,” Choudhury said. The convention centre complex comprises the grand theatre (to seat 2,232), one mini-auditorium (392 seats) and a seminar building with 11 halls with seating capacity ranging from 15 to 100, and exhibition space both indoor (270 sq.m.) and open air (20,000 sq. m).

(The author is a freelance journalist.)

Published on September 26, 2013

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