Gangotsav (23rd-24th March, 2001)

This two-day aquatic festival on the river Hooghli was hosted in collaboration with the Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of West Bengal, to highlight the deep-rooted influence of the Ganga on our social, cultural and economic lives.

A colourful array of programmes like aquatic sports and display, panel discussion, exhibition and cultural shows, were organized to infuse in the people of the city love and affection for the Ganga and remind them of their obligation to keep the river free from pollution.

The panel discussion on the subject ‘Mythology and Science Concerning the Ganga’ attracted a host of luminaries like Dr. Ashish Ghosh, former Director General of the Geological Survey of India, Mr. Pranab Roy, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal, Mr. Nrisingh Prasad Bhaduri, eminent litterateur and Dr. K. K. Bandyopadhyay, former deputy hydraulic engineer, Calcutta Port Trust. Young swimmer of eminence, Ms. Bula Chowdhury was felicitated on behalf of the Institute by Mr. Hirak Ghosh, Principal Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Government of West Bengal.

Coast Zone Management of West Bengal (1989)

The coastal zone of West Bengal – a part of the complex Ganga-Brahmaputra estuarine system – supports a wide spectrum livelihood-seeking activities. These include maritime forestry, agriculture, port-based industry, tourism and the like. However, indiscriminate denudation of forests, unscientific land reclamation, unplanned land use, heavy discharge of pollutants, over-use of the water resources, and above all, natural disasters have served to wreak havoc on the eco-balance and mushroomed into a crisis of overwhelming proportions.

The All India Workshop on Coast Zone Management of West Bengal was held on 14-16 December, 1989.

It was sponsored by the Department of Ocean Development, Government of India, and organized by SEI in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of West Bengal, aimed to provide a forum for all those deeply concerned.

coast-zone-mgtDiscussion and deliberation over a matrix of topics ranging from fishery, forestry and eco-culture to disaster management and agriculture underlined the magnitude of the problem and indicated avenues for its solution.

Dealing with some critical matters related to estuarine and coastal environment in West Bengal, this  book emphasizes the need to draw up an action plan for coast zone management.

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Round India: Rowing & Wind Sailing Expedition (1988)

Maitree Yatra (Calcutta-Rameswaram, Delhi-Calcutta, Cochin-Porbandar)

round-indiaSEI plunged into the world of marine adventure sports in a blaze of glory with its first major expedition (Maitree Yatra) with trainees from the Institute on January 12th, 1988.

The run-up was marked by intensive training and a trial voyage that set off on the first day of the year. A sailing boat with complete equipment travelled up to Sandhead and returned to base on January 5th.

Maitree Yatra was conceived to celebrate 40 glorious years of Indian independence and give a call to dedicate the nation to the cause of communal harmony, national integration and world peace. The three-phased expedition, launched in collaboration with the Indian Navy and extensive government patronage, was envisaged as a Yatra round the country by a rowing boat and canoes.

The first phase consisted of a 56-day journey from Calcutta to Rameswaram along the sea coast by the historic boat, ‘Kanhoji Angre’, used by the founder of the Institute, Dr. Pinaki Ranjan Chatterjee in his expedition to the Andamans some 20 years back. Back in 1969, Dr. Chatterjee, along with George Albert Duke of the Indian Navy had rowed the non-motorised Kanhoji Angre – given by Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers – for 32 days to reach Port Blair in a pathbreaking expedition.

The Maitree Yatra was flagged off by the chief minister, Mr. Jyoti Basu, and the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Ajit Panja, on January 12th, 1988, also celebrated as ‘Youth Day’ to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The entire journey was unescorted.

The valiant voyagers, under the leadership of Mr. Rathin Mukherjee, one of the secretaries of the Institute, included Sarbasree Malay Bhattacharyya, Ranjit Karunakar, Tridib Chowdhury, Arindam Bose, Ajoy Roy and Prabir Roy from the Institute and Lt. Chandrasekhar of the Indian Navy. They sailed past Paradwip, Vishakhapatnam, Kakinara, Madras, Pondicherry and Pamban to reach Rameswaram after covering about 2,500 km by sea. Received by sundry dignitaries along their way, the crew succeeded in spreading the message of the Yatra among the local people of the shores they touched.

The second phase of the Maitree Yatra was a journey by kayak from Delhi to Calcutta. It was flagged off on Independence Day, 1988, by the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi from his residence, and subsequently from Okhla Bridge on the Jamuna by the Union Minister for Sports, Mrs. Margaret Alva. The crew, once again under the command of Mr. Rathin Mukherjee, paddled across 2,400 km in 41 days, touching Agra, Etwah, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Farakka, Nabadwip and Chinsurah, before reaching Babughat on 26th September.

Kanhoji Angre set forth on the third and final phase of the Yatra which commenced from Cochin on November 18th. It was flagged off by Commander-in-Chief, Southern Command, Vice Admiral L. Ramdas of the Indian Navy and Dr. Sheuli Chatterjee, Secretary General of the Institute.

The destination was Porbandar, but the voyagers faced an unforeseen obstacle. Soon after they sailed from Bombay, the sea turned turbulent and the wind turned opposite. As a result, the boat drifted back to Bombay. On the advice of the Western Command, Indian Navy, the expedition was held up at Bombay till the wind changed course.

The voyagers, however, were determined to complete the journey. So great was their enthusiasm that the Indian Navy granted them permission and the last lap was undertaken from Bombay on April 11th, 1989. They were escorted by the coast guard vessel, CGS Rajhans, under Lt. Commander Sekhar. The final phase was completed under the leadership of Ranjit Karunakar.

The seamen reached Porbandar on April 14th, 1989, having covered about 6,142 km over a period of more than a year.