Ioacon in Kolkata
Ioacon in Kolkata
Kolkata has hosted four national level Orthopaedic conferences – 1975, 1985, 1996 & 2007; and this one in 2019 is the fifth one. Looking back, it is interesting to observe how the conferences have gradually changed its character into the present form & format – the delegate volume, their aspirations & desire, global recognition & participation and last but not the least, trade participation. There has been a sea change in all these matters in the last 50 years or so. In the light of last 50 years, it is also interesting to foresee the changing pattern in the coming 50 years.
Let us begin from the beginning.
1975 IOA had not born yet. It was “Orthopaedic Section” of ASI. IOACON In those days used to be held as summer conference, in July. Late Prof Arun Kumar Das, ex president of IOA, was the organizing secretary. The venue was Great Eastern Hotel. Although this was an iconic & heritage hotel, space crunch would have been an issue in today's perspective. But that conference went off without much hitch because the volume of the delegates & trade exhibitors were much less. It was a two-and-half day affair, from Friday to Sunday post lunch. No Event Managers; instead there was a dedicated force of volunteers derived from the residents and PGTs of the four medical colleges, who did a Yeomen's job. Starting from receiving the delegates at the railway station (majority of the delegates used to come by train then), transporting them to different designated hotels & guest houses in reserved coaches and again bringing them to the venue every morning in time – the volunteers used to be everywhere. Of course, the guiding forces were the teachers, who also spent hours at the venue supervising everything. The one thing missing these days is the total, full-time involvement of the whole Orthopaedic fraternity of the host city.
1985 IOA was an independent body now; the conference was held in winter. Dr M S Ghose, who became President of IOA later, was the organizing secretary, and the venue was Park Hotel, another iconic hotel. Number of delegates was around 1000, including spouses. The four banquet halls and the adjoining lobby were good enough for the three-and-a- half day conference. Mother Teresa graced the conference by her presence at the inaugural ceremony. One of the highlights of the cultural event in the evening was folk songs & dance rendered by the famous Calcutta Youth Choir.
1996 The 41st IOACON was held at NRS Medical College, Prof D P Baksi being the organizing secretary. The famous artisans of Kolkata, created a 2-story temporary auditorium with bamboo, cloth and plywood in an open ground, where the inaugural ceremony was held. This beautiful pandal earned the appreciation of all.
2007 The 4th time Kolkata got the opportunity to host the conference was in 2007. Dr T K Moitra was the organizing secretary, and the venue was the sprawling campus of Science City, situated at the eastern fringe of the city. The main auditorium here had a capacity of more than 1000, while about 4-5 satellite halls were there, each with capacity of about 400. Yet, it was felt that there was space crunch. However, the conference went off well, largely because of whole-hearted involvement of almost all the members of WBOA.
The present conference is being held at Bishwa Bangla Convention Centre, which can match any state-of-theatre convention centre in the World, with large auditoria and satellite halls and all other facilities a modern convention centre should have; and again the whole WBOA is bent on making it a grand success and the delegates to take home happy memories. Come & enjoy Bengal's sweet hospitality.