The first day of the Indian Science Congress created lot of noise for all the wrong reasons. To begin with the day started with media persons reporting in the PCR complex here in the winter capital. From there, they were huddled inside the SRTC buses and taken to the University campus, the venue of the Science Congress. But before the media teams arrived on the venue they met with certain road blocks due to strict security bandobast.
As soon as the media buses reached outside the front gates of the Jammu University campus the security personnel present at the main gate directed them to come down for security check. When some media persons raised their voice claiming that they were coming from PCR after proper security check and none of them came out of the bus commandered by the members of the security wing why another security check was necessary. Argument bore fruit and finally the media buses were allowed entry inside the University gates. Once inside the buses covered the distance to reach the main venue outside Zorawar Singh Auditorium.
But here too when media persons approached the pandal they were told to return and enter the main venue from a different gate in the opposite direction. While media men were returning they saw senior scientists and eminent scholars too were subjected to mandatory security check without paying due regard to their stature in the field of scientific world or special guest status. Once media men went marching towards the entry gate another round of face off was waiting them.
At the entry gate large number of security personnel were deployed to keep a hawks eye on the movement of the suspected personnel but very few security men were stationed to verify the credentials of media persons.After another round of attendance one by one media persons gained access inside the pandal and found their way to the cozy seats in the hall. The media persons managed to gain access inside the hall before 8.20. Another battle to lay access on the publicity material and other literature began. The smartly dressed volunteers were all over the place but were not given exact instructions on how to discharge their duties.
As guests started trickling in the front rows the volunteers started distributing publicity material for their reference. The media persons selectively approached them and managed to lay hands on the material but those who waited on their seats were not given the literature. Left with no other option the media persons took charge and picked stuff on their own without facing any resistance from the volunteers. The media convenor also roamed around but never bothered to ask the media whether they have been accommodated properly or have received the literature. The onus on providing material fell on the responsible staff of the state Information Department and they discharged their duties appropriately. As the VVIPs arrived and the formal ceremony took centre stage there was pin drop silence in the pandal. One by one speakers made their speeches and when it was the turn of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh once again there was lot of confusion in the pandal.
The camera persons started chasing each other to grab the best shot of the Prime Minister without paying heed to requests made by the state Information officers to avoid breaking the rows. The real drama was waiting to happen outside the main pandal after the formal ceremony was over. This time the venue shifted to the media lounge and it witnessed lot of commotion. This time the noise was raised by the media persons after they were denied proper communication facilities to smoothly complete their job.
The convenor of the Media/Press committee exchanged words and even shouted at them for alleged misbehaviour. Before things could have taken an ugly turn the Vice Chancellor of Jammu University arrived on the scene and some how resolved the issue. The tug of war between the media guests and the organising committee members left a bad taste as tempers ran high.
The continuous rainfall made matters worse for the organisers as scientists were seen struggling to keep themselves dry while waiting for the SRTC buses under tree shades. One by one they started trickling inside the food court and satiated their hunger by enjoying plateful of tasty food.
By late evening the media voices were heard again as they complained for not receiving the timely invite to cover the special lecture by missile man and former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.