Bathinda, April 22: Central University of Punjab, Bathinda (CUPB) under the patronage of Vice Chancellor Prof. Raghavendra P. Tiwari celebrated International Earth Day by organizing an International Quiz & a special lecture on ‘How to develop an Earthquake Resilient Society’. The keynote speaker of this programme was internationally acclaimed Geophysicist Padma Shri Prof. Harsh K. Gupta, President, Geological Society of India, Bangalore. CUPB Dept. of Geology conducted this programme.
Around 3175 participants comprising different age groups from almost all states of India and 10 foreign countries took part in ‘International Mother Earth Quiz’. Total 30 questions were asked on the topics of Sustainability, Climate Change, Planet Earth and Biodiversity during this Quiz Competition moderated by Dr. Felix Bast, Department of Botany. Mr. Jayakrishnan V.M. (Kerala), Mr. Honey Kumar (Punjab) and Mr. Suraj Sharma (Delhi NCR) secured the first, second and third positions respectively in this competition aiming to spread awareness about making earth a better place to live.
In his keynote address, Padma Shri Prof. Harsh K. Gupta shared the details of the earthquakes that occurred in the last few centuries and highlighted that despite scientific & technical developments, the impact of earthquakes / tsunamis keeps increasing in 21st century by citing examples of Muzaffarabad Earthquake in 2005, Haiti Earthquake in 2010 and others. He informed that the Himalayan region was the most active recipient of severe earthquakes and three out of seven most devastating earthquakes of 21st century (with magnitude of 7 and above) had occurred in and around the Indian subcontinent. He stated that till now there is no accurate mechanism to predict earthquakes and with the increasing urbanisation it is very important to develop Earthquake Resilient Society to reduce the causality and loss of infrastructure in any uncertain natural calamity. He stressed on the need to strictly implement Disaster Risk Reduction protocol in urban areas to make development projects insulated from disasters. During his address, Prof. Gupta also discussed the initiatives of National Disaster Management Authority, GOI in sensitizing about the consequences of large earthquake scenarios in Himalayan Region, facilitating mainstream earthquake management in state governments and spreading awareness by conducting mock drills & school sensitization programmes in earthquake vulnerable states.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Raghavendra P. Tiwari mentioned that Prof. Gupta is one of the greatest scientists in the field of Seismology and this is a great opportunity for our students to listen & interact with him. He stated that over the last few decades our mother earth is turning out to become an unsuitable place to live due to the ‘More is Less’ paradigm of modern human civilization against the ‘Less is More’ paradigm of ancient Indian civilization discourse. He emphasized on the need for adoption of sustainable development means i.e. natural processes and emerging green technologies to preserve all the spheres of planet earth such as Biosphere, Lithosphere, Hydrosphere and Atmosphere. He appealed to everyone to put their efforts to “Restore our Mother Earth”, which is the theme of ‘International Earth Day 2021’. He further stated that since earthquakes cannot be predicted and these will continue to occur in future, the only option available with the mankind is to learn to live with this natural disaster through the adoption of ‘Earthquake Resilient Society Model’.
At the start Dr. Sunil Mittal, Dean School of Environment and Earth Science delivered welcome address. Prof. Vinod K. Garg, Dean Student Welfare, introduced the keynote speaker. Dr. Jitendra K. Patnaik, HoD, Dept. of Geology, conducted the programme and proposed a formal vote of thanks. Faculty, research scholars and students from different institutions across the world virtually attended this programme.