(Dr. Piyoosh Rautela, Executive Director at Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority).
was conferred National Geoscience Award – 2019 in the field of disaster management this evening in a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi by Shri Amit Shah, Union Home Minister.
The award is conferred for exemplary work in various disciplines of geoscientific studies and Dr. Rautela was not the only one to receive this award. But then he is the only one amongst the awardees who does not have graduation in geology. Moreover he is the only one not representing a research or academic institution.
He therefore is worth attention, as he has not been carrying out research to get promotions or distinctions. Having interacted at depth with Dr. Rautela we agree his career to be turbulent and not that successful, but then he has stories to inspire younger generation.
Dr. Rautela actually has been guided by his gut feeling and this has not always helped him. Listening to what his heart said, he joined the very first batch of M. Sc. (Applied Geology) of the Department of Earth and Planetary Science (DEEPS) of the University of Allahabad. The geological community at that time dubbed us as Guinea Pigs of Prof. Alok K. Gupta as it was for the first time, at least in our country, that students were being inducted at post graduation course of basic sciences without having studied that subject during graduation. Of the 10 chosen for the experiment, exposure of Vikas Ranjan and myself to geology was limited to the informal late night interactions, with the researchers (Jayant K. Pati and Dr. Subrata Das Sharma) of a department that was established around our hostel premises, Dr. A.N. Jha Hostel (Muir Hostel), in an abandoned barrack of the University Dispensary.
While at DEEPS I was awarded CSIR Fellowship and thus landed up at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) at Dehradun to do research work on geotectonic evolution of Panjal Thrust zone under the guidance of Dr. V.C. Thakur. It was the training, exposure and peer learning at WIHG that transformed me into a true geologist. I had to however shift to Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) under CSIR Scientist Pool scheme.
Still at IIRS, thanks to Loy Rego and Ravi Chopra who convinced me to switched over to disaster management under an ADB funded ADPC project.This ultimately facilitated my induction to Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre (DMMC) that provided me opportunities of experimenting, exploring and innovating.
All credit goes to the visionary guidance and support of N.S. Napalchyal, then Principal Secretary of the DM Department. Now that a Guinea Pig of Prof. Gupta has finally been conferred National Geoscience Award by the Ministry of Mines, I am not sure if anyone without graduation in Geology has got it before. Sure I am however that only a few from state government departments would have got this. Having said so, it is my turn to look back and thank all those who have made this possible.
In our culture gurus come first and even before the God and so, my identity as a geologist is owed to Prof. Gupta and Dr. Thakur. I owe them both everything that I have achieved and accomplished as a geologist. The award however has been conferred for my work in the field of Disaster Management and this could never have been possible without the confidence reposed upon me by Napalchyal sir.
Thank you sir.
Peer learning does make one a competent professional – the colleagues at SSGK, AN Jha Hostel, WIHG, HIMCON, IIRS, ADPC, UNDP and DMMC as also USDMA are all thanked, particularly Dr. Dinesh Sati. Last but not the least, this all has been possible because of the friends and family members as also support and affection of late Dr. M.L. Dewan and Rakesh Bahuguna who stood by me during turbulent times and reposed faith and confidence in my abilities. Thank you Ma, Papa, Manisha, PutPUT and ChutPUT for being besides me when I was through my worst phase and needed you the most. In the end I would fail if I don’t express my gratitude towards our Isht Dev, Gol Jyu who has always given strength, energy and confidence to bounce back from adversities – every time and always and but for His guidance I would have been completely written off after the January 23 debacle.
So all love, affection and gratitude to Gol Jyu.