SHILLONG, Feb 27: Meghalaya’s unique living root bridges have been nominated by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) for national level recognition for grassroots innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge.
This was revealed at a press conference for announcing the holding of the Regional Innovators Conclave organized as part of the National Science Day (NSD) to be held in the state’s capital from February 28 to March 3.
Organized by the State Council of Science, Technology & Environment (SCSTE) in collaboration with Shillong Science Centre and Meghalaya Basin Development Authority, the science festival will be held at the State Central Library.
Around 44 indigenous innovations will also be showcased during the event, which will be inaugurated by the Deputy Chief Minister, RC Laloo, in which officials from the NIF will select for certification.
“The living root bridges as a community driven innovation have been nominated for the prestigious recognition by the NIF,” MBDA Knowledge Service Division senior manager Wankit Kupar Swer informed.
He also said that the nomination is under the 9th biennial competition of the NIF adding the recognition is not for any single community but is for all communities who are engaged in growing living root bridges in the state.
Some of the communities engaged in growing living root bridges include Nongriat, Nohwet (Riwai, Mawlynnong), Kudang Rim, Nongthymmai, Mawkyrnot, Nongblai, Khonglah, Padu, and Shnongpdeng.
“There are many lesser known communities that grow living root bridges which we are yet to identify,” Swer admitted.
He also opined the award will not only bring the root bridges into the limelight but will further promote the importance of preserving and conserving them because if there is insufficient knowledge, there is chance to lose them.
SCSTE Officer on Special Duty (OSD) A Suting also informed that the 44 innovations by the indigenous population from across the state will also be showcased in the festival.
“The NIF will decide on the certification based on the uniqueness of their innovations whether they are worth taking them up at the national level,” he said.
Only two individuals from the state had so far received the NIF certification for their unique innovations. They are (L) C Shullai from Jaintia Hills, who was the inventor of the first “Eco-Friendly Crematorium” and KD Kharkongor for his “Pest Trap”.
On the other hand, Meghalaya Institute of Enterprise (MIE) official BK Sohliya said that the institute is also looking at the possibility of commercialize these innovations and also find ways and means to upscale them.
“These innovations are not only with the objective to benefit the society at large but also the fact that they also have tremendous commercial application,” he said.
According to them, those innovations which will not be selected for certification by the NIF will be further up-scaled.
Meanwhile, over 200 school students from the different 39 blocks of the state will also attend the four-day National Science Day.
A march from Secretariat to State Central Library and brain storming session on innovations by various innovators from the North East including Assam and Manipur are some of the highlights during the first day of the celebration.