Prof N Irabanta Singh: A distinguished academician / administrator from NE

Prof Akhilesh Kr Pandey *

I have great pleasure to testify the following lines about Prof. N. Irabanta Singh, former Professor (Higher Academic Grade), Life Sciences and former Dean, School of life Sciences, Manipur University who has served the institute for three decades.

I have seen his research career mainly focus on Aerobiology of North East Indian relevant to plant and human diseases. In addition to this he has contributed profusely in the field of organic farming technology and its transfer viz.
i) Blue Green Algae from the rice fields soils of NE India for biofertilizer technology
ii) BGA and Azolla biofertilizer for NE India
iii) Azolla biotechnology for social-economic upliftment of SC/ST population
iv) Stem Nodulated plant as green manure for rice cultivation in NE India.
V) Phosphate solubilizing fungi as biofertilizers for ginger cultivation including organic control of pests and fungal diseases are highly referred by the bio-scientists of the country.

As such I would like to highlight the milestones he has crossed in his long illustrious academic journey of four decades.

Dr. N. Irabanta Singh is a bonafide resident of Imphal, Manipur. He took his B.Sc. Botany(Hon) and M.Sc.(Bot) from Gauhati University, Guwahati. He Obtained his Ph.D. in botany with Specialization in Aerobiology under the Supervision of Prof.(Mrs.) Parukutty Baruah of the Gauhati University. He holds diploma in Higher Education and bachelor's degree in teaching. He also holds M.A in Public Administration, PG Diploma in rural development.

Dr. N. Irabanta Singh joined Manipur University as Associate Professor of Life Sciences, in 1984 after working as lecturer in Botany St. Edmunds College, Shillong, Meghalaya (1972-1981) and assistant professor microbiology at the Manipur Agriculture College, Iroishemba (now college of Agriculture, Central Agriculture University) (1981-1984) .

He was elevated as professor of Life Sciences in 1992 and placed in professor (Higher Academic Grade) in 2014. He has served as Head of Life Sciences Department (1996-1998) and Dean, School of life Sciences (2012- 2015) and chairman, Board of PG Studies in Life Sciences (2012-2015). He also served the university at various capabilities such as member, academic council, Senate, Syndicate Executive Council etc.

He was coordinator, center of Bioinformatics Infrastructure faculty attached to the life Sciences department with funding from DBT/GOI He has also entrusted with various activities connected with the revision of syllabus, starting new courses on vocational subjects funded by UGC, New Delhi, Conduct of P.G. Examinations and evaluation of answer scripts for P.G. Courses and selecting the awardee for various prizes offer by the Manipur University.

He played a major role in the recruitment of faculty and personnel for administrative posts like Finance Officer, Deputy Registrar etc. in the Manipur University. The research career of Dr. N. Irabanta Singh is quite unique in the field of Aerobiology and hence recognized as a legendary Aerobiologist of India.

Dr. Singh has prepared a database of the aerospora of Manipur state, his research for alternative food for human consumption let to the identification of more than 40 species of wild edible fleshy fungi of Manipur and developed technology for cultivation of Plurotus and Auricularia .

Other important technology developed by Dr. Singh include eradication of allergy producing plants, Parthenium occurring along railway tracks and roadside of highways including biological control based integrated management of parthenium for saving environment, health and biodiversity in NE India. He also propagated water mimosa (Neptunia prostosta) as vegetables. Dr. Singh has also developed technology for management of bacterial diseases of oak tasar silkworn in Manipur.

Dr. N. Irabanta Singh have so far guided successfully 7 M.Phil. and 27 Ph.D. students. He is also a recognized guide for Assam university, Silchar and Gauhati university, Guwahati. Dr. Singh has taken sincere efforts to popularize Science and technology and Create awareness about the importance of Aerobiology, allergy and allergens, crop diseases etc. by broadcasting through AIR Imphal, DDK-Imphal, ISTV and UGC Gyandharshan.

He carried out several outreach programmes to farmers on biofertilizers, mushroom cultivation, organic manure technology, vermicomposting etc. through hands on training and workshop organized with funding from DST, DBT, CSIR Government of India and ICFRE, Dehradun.

Dr. N. Irabanta Singh obtained financial grants from funding agencies like DST, UGC, DBT, ICMR, CSIR, Ministry of Environment and forest, ICFRE and AICTE. So far, he has completed 15 Major research projects including 8 institutes coordinated projects entitled "Developing a digital database of Bio- resource of North East India through network approach among North Eastern States funded by DBT, Government of India.

He has good record of quality research publications with high impact factors. He has participated in International conference on Aerobiology in Stockholm, Sweden and World Weed Congress at Hangzhou, China. He was recipient of the Indo-USSR visiting scientist award under UGC-USSR cultural exchange programme.

Dr. Singh was adjudicator of 60 M.Phil. / Ph.D. thesis from different universities of the country. He served as subject expert to UPSE/MPSE, Major research project selection meeting of DST and UGC and selection committee of Gauhati University and Tripura University.

The Indian Mycological society, Kolkata honored him by awarding 11th Sir. E.J Butler Memorial Lectureship (2012). He also delivered 3rd Prof. Sunimal Chandra memorial lecture of the Indian Aerobiological Society (2018).

He also edited two books viz.
i) Endemic bioresource of India - Conservation and Sustainable development with special reference to North East India (2007)
ii) Microbial resource of Indo-Myanmar (Burma) Hotspot regions- conservation and sustainable development with special reference to North East India (2017)

Both the books were published by Bishen Singh, Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun. He also co-authored a book entitled "Parthenium menace in the Indo-Myanmar hotspot region- its impact on biodiversity and management" Published by Lambart Academic Publishing, Germany. Dr. N. Irabanta Singh was bestowed with several honors and award for his sincere and useful contributions to the society.

He is an elected fellow of
i) Indian Phythopathological Society, New Delhi
ii) Indian College of Allergy, Asthma and Applied immunology, New Delhi
iii) International Society of Conservation of Natural resources, Varanasi
iv) Indian Aerobiological society, Kolkata
v) Linnean Society of London
vi) Indian Mycological Society, Kolkata
vii) Society of Biology, London.

He was also admitted to chartered Biologist and Chartered Scientist of UK. He served as president, Indian Aerobiological Society (2007-2010) and was conferred with the prestigious life time achievement award for his contribution to Indian Aerobiology in North East India in the 16th National conference held in Devangere, Karnataka (2010).

After retirement from the life Sciences Department, Manipur University Dr. Singh was utilized for 1 year and 6 months by Manipur University as honorary Consultant to newly established Forest and Environmental Science Department, Manipur university. The last assignment he took up was Controller of Examination, Global Open University, Nagaland H.Q. Dimapur where he served for 7 months (Jan-July 2017) and returned to his native place Imphal due to family problem.

During his short stay at TGNOU, he drafted rules and regulations for the examinations and constituted an adhoc sub-committee for Examinations. Dr. N. Irabanta Singh publications on
i) Governance of higher (University and colleges) education and
ii) academic standards on our university and colleges in the popular daily of Manipur are classic that proved his ability as an administrator at the higher education. Thus, Dr. N.Irabanta Singh is unique combination of Academician and Administrator.

I wish Dr. N. Irabanta Singh is bestowed with such assignment in his own home state.

* Prof Akhilesh Kr Pandey wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is chairman, MP Private Universities Regulatory Commission, Gyan Vatika, Bhopal, MP. He can be reached at akpmycol(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on June 11 , 2018.

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