The 34th Institute of Indian Geographers’ (IIG) conference began here on Thursday. Over 300 geographers from around the country are attending the meet being held at the Centre for Earth Science Studies.
With ‘Natural resources management and decentralised planning’ as its focal theme, the conference will have a number of presentations and discussions on topics such as climate, water, infrastructure and amenities, health care, migration etc.
After the inaugural function, lectures were delivered by professors from leading universities in the country like Calcutta University, Delhi University and Jammu and Kashmir University in the first session which was chaired by M H Qureshi of Jamia Millia University.
“The present perspective is not compatible with decentralised planning,” said Kuntala Lahiri Dutt, fellow in Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Programme, Australian National University, in the first session. “Geographers must accept new paradigms and be open to new theories,” she said. Geographers must move away from the utilitarian concept of ‘nature for man’ and accept that nature had been affected by culture, she said.
Anu Kapur of Delhi School of Economics said that geographers must create “special spatial resources” for people living with disabilities in India. “India has the largest population of disabled in the world,” she said. “Yet there are not enough amenities for them.”
Geographers, she said, can play a role by making maps showing the distribution of disabled population in the country, undertake field surveys and create special spatial resources like tactile maps for the blind.
Other papers presented dealt with transport infrastructure in India, changing patterns of household size in India and impact of climate change on glacial activity.
A C Mohapatra, president IIG, K R Dikshit, founder-president, IIG, and Srikumar Chattopadhyay, convenor of the 34th IIG meet, were among those who attended the inaugural function.