The XXXI INCA International Congress organized by Department of Geography Panjab University Chandigarh under the aegis of Indian National Cartography Association was inaugurated at 9:30 am on October 15th 2011 at Park View Hotel, Sector 24, Chandigarh. Shri Anil Kumar Sinha, Vice-chairman, Bihar State Disaster Management Authority, Government of Bihar was the Chief Guest. Prof R.C. Sobti, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh presided the function.
Prof. Sobti on this occasion mentioned the significance of such a conference in the context of public private sector partnership. India according to him is the Asia’s largest and most vulnerable country to disasters. It is prone to various natural and human induced disasters such as earthquake, flood, cyclone, droughts, avalanches etc. The non-judicious use of agriculture and haphazard urbanization and industrialization are making people more vulnerable to disasters. He stressed on integration of GIS in planning and development at all spatial scales. He opined that biotechnology can make our life sustainable and it can solve the emerging problems. He supported a pro active approach in disaster management.
Shri A.K. Sinha in his inaugural address very lucidly compared Japan and India in managing disasters. He highlighted that hazards are natural but disasters are unnatural. He suggested a disaster preparedness plan for Chandigarh which falls under seismic zone IV similar to the plan for seismic zone V. He stressed to ensure the safety of structure. He pointed out about the need of disaster management plan for every department and it must begin with home disaster management plan. He guided that what to do at the time of disaster is not that important as how to do at the time of disaster. Mock drills are better options. He pointed out following 10 themes followed by the Japanese people in managing disaster that included: patience, skill, selflessness, management, sacrifices, kind heartedness, training, conscience and the role of media.
Shri R.N. Nanda, Secretary General, INCA introduced about the association, its objectives and functions.
Prof. Surya Kant, President INCA and Professor of Geography, Panjab University, Chandigarh, in his Presidential Address discussed that there is a much better realization of adverse effects of disasters and it is reflected in the shift of government policies from relief centric approach to management based approach. He mentioned the need of conceptualizing cartography for disaster management. Geographers with a sound knowledge of location are most suited for such jobs.
On this occasion, the National Atlas Thematic Mapping Organization, Kolkata got its publication released by Shri A. K Sinha. An atlas of Chandigarh, an atlas of Punjab and district atlases of different districts in Punjab were released. The INCA Map Quiz award winners were also awarded. The first prize went to the students of Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun. The second prize went to Oak Groove School, Mussoorie Hills. The third prize was bagged by St. Kabir School, Sect. 26, Chandigarh.
Dr. Krishna Mohan Organizing Secretary, INCA and Chairman, Department of Geography Panjab University, thanked the chief guest, dignitaries, delegates and all the institutions and individuals for their financial, administrative, technical and moral support.
After the inauguration two memorial lectures were organized. Professor G.S. Gosal chaired the Todar Mal Memorial lecture and Prof. S.P. Chatrjee memorial lecture. Prof. David G. Dickason, University of Western Michigan, USA, delivered Todar Mal Memorial Lecture on “The Future of Historical Cartography”. He elaborated on three major issues: time and historical maps, how cartography is changing and the challenges, opportunities and historical cartography in digital age. He traced the evolution of maps and the various changes which have taken place in the field of map making. Cartography continues to evolve in both expected and un expected ways. He concluded that platform like INCA and NAGI can provide the leadership to make a future for India consistent with Raja Todar Mal’s vision. Anyone who does so will become modern day ‘navratana’ of this great nation.
Prof. Josef Strobl, Director Centre for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg, Austria, delivered Professor S.P. Chatrjee Memorial Lecture on the theme “Map Interfaces for Disaster Management”. In his lecture, he presented three phases of map interfaces for disaster management. Cartography as a communication, maps are ill suited for storing information, disasters are spatial phenomena managed by humans.