News > Rubber Board Scientist Dr T A Soman Bags B C Sekhar Gold Medal >
Rubber Board Scientist Dr T A Soman Bags B C Sekhar Gold Medal
29 August 2013
Dr T. A. Soman, Scientist, Rubber Research lnstitute of India (RRII), Rubber Board, has won the prestigious Tan Sri Dr. B C Sekhar Gold Medal 2012, instituted by ‘Rubber Asia’, the leading magazine on rubber, published by Dhanam Publications.
Dr Soman will be presented the medal by Dr Salmiah Ahamed, Director General, Malaysian Rubber Board, during the India Rubber Summit & Dinner 2013 to be held on September 7, 2013, at Ramada Resort, Kochi.
Renowned US rubber scientist late Dr Alen Gent was the recipient of the first award in 2011.
The Gold Medal has been instituted in honour of late Tan Sri Dr B C Sekhar, one of the most renowned natural rubber scientists. Hailing from Kerala, Dr Sekhar, who was widely known as ‘Mr Natural Rubber’, steadfastly championed the cause of natural rubber (NR) at a time when synthetic rubber (SR) was making aggressive inroads into the global rubber industry. It was under his dynamic leadership that Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM), Tun Abdul Razak Rubber Research Centre (TARRC) in Hertford, Britain, and the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) rose to great heights and gained international recognition and Malaysia emerged as a major international hub of natural rubber based products.
Announcing the award, Sri. P.C. Cyriac IAS, Chairman of the international jury, said: “Dr Soman was selected for the Medal in recognition of his innovative achievement in the development and standardization of ‘Root Trainer’ rubber planting technology, which has the potential to revolutionize rubber planting practices in the country and across the world”.
The root trainer rubber propagation technique developed by Dr. Soman was approved by the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Rubber Board in December 2007. In this new technology rubber saplings are grown in scientifically designed root trainer containers in which cured coir pith is used as potting medium. As no soil is used, and as the cups are reusable, the technology is more ecofriendly that the other practices in vogue. Tap root coiling is prevented by subjecting it to natural air pruning and the lateral root production is enhanced by the artificial stress provided by the hardening process. In addition to enabling significant improvement in the quality of planting materials and the high rate of survival of plants, the root trainer planting technique has proved cost effective and labour friendly also.
Dr T.A Soman (59) is working at Heavea Breeding Sub Station of the RRII at Thadikarankonam, Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu. He joined Rubber Board’s service in 1985. His wife is Smt. Anilakumari and daughter Kum. Neelima.