Published: Monday 30 June 2003

Online: http://wii.gov.in
"My favourite actress is Kareena and my sister's name is Mini." But why would the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) want to tell us what 16-year-old Upasna Sharma likes and dislikes? Upasna attended a Vacation Training Programme on Bioresources at the WII between 8 May and 4 June. She was asked, along with 26 other school children, to design their respective websites. The WII duly put it up. Upasna chose to tell of her favourite actress.

The website leaves one stumped. It makes one wonder what the dribbling textual sketches of a handful of kids have to do with the supposed agenda of the allegedly premier institute for wildlife sciences in the country.

What the website could have mentioned, but fails to, is what research has been carried out in the large acreage campus of the Dehradun-based institute over the past some years. As one insider says, "Little has been accomplished in past some years. One has never heard of any research being put on the web for dissemination. Isn't the web meant to disseminate information generated through the research or is it to be used as a sketchbook for kids?" Stuck without a permanent director for quite a while now, mired in controversy about financial mismanagement, and struggling to justify its autonomy, is the institute taking the phrase "the future lies in the hands of the children" a bit too seriously?

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