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Students ‘Chakka Jam’ at Summerhill after answerless VC flees from HPU

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Reporting today’s student protest against massive fee hikes and for not conducting SCA elections, a newspaper reported (Online Update) that ‘police cane charge after students scramble with the HPU VC.’

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An HW member arrived at HPU Summerhill at 8:00 AM, 45 minutes before the protest begin and before any media person arrived, and captures many images and a video showing what exactly happened. Take a look at the video first. It was a very unfortunate sight to see how Govt. and HPU authorities are misusing police; a tool in state machinery meant for the protection and safety of its people.

HW had been following HPU campus from couple of years, we brought images from SCA elections, SCA functions, and protests for our readers. We always received very encouraging feedbacks from the readers. With respect to the trust of our readers in HW, we would describe the scene as a witness, and not as manipulated news by some bound reporter.

For last 18 days, students are on chain hunger strike, but no authority member of Govt. representative bothered to even listen to their grievance. Before that, students have been staging regular protest against innumerous student grievances, but nobody moved a muscle. The Vice Chancellor and the state Govt. did not consult democratically elected SCA before making massive, rather absurdly unjustified, hike in various HPU fees along with all affiliated colleges in whole Himachal. Some fees are hiked by hundreds of times, while some of them went beyond 1000-2000%.

Click here to read a related HW article on HPU fee hike

However, no one considered the growing unrest among the parents and the students. Afterwards, the VC defers the SCA elections for the present session, which were due to be held in Aug-Sept. A couple of days ago, a student body of research scholars had approached the VC with a plea to take back such huge fee hikes. They received a rude and absurd answer from him. He said, “Quite University if you can’t pay the fee’.

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Today, when the anger reached almost its peak, the students gathered at HPU campus gate in the morning and stopped VC’s car by blocking the road in an effort to make him talk to the students, answer their distressed calls and questions, about providing a justification of such huge fee hikes, the VC literally ran away from Summerhill under heavy police protection. Not even a finger touched his coat, no one abused him, and there was no scramble. But our media seems to be either partially blind, highly manipulative, and biased.

The title by that newspaper wins all sympathy for the VC and stage students as violent creatures. Instead, the students had to bear a light canecharge, and abuse by policemen.

The video uploaded above showed how policemen are overdrunk with wearing the power vested in ‘Khaki’. The students struggled to reach the VC and to stop him so that they could talk to him, but their anger grew as the VC ran away from the situation taking a cover of police protection. What should be expected from suffocating students, who are burdened with unjustified fee hikes while the standards of education and basic facilities rots at HPU?

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What should we expect from frustrated research scholars who are forced to come out on streets against the unjustified economical burden imposed on them for nothing?

It’s not about SFI or ABVP, it’s just about what is right; the truth. The Directive Principles of State Policy, enshrined in Part IV of the Indian Constitution reflects that India is a welfare state. Article 38 of the Constitution reads

The State shall make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

The Govt. extract taxes from the public on everything they earn or spend. These taxes also include education cess. While proposing this tax, Govt. had claimed it justified on the grounds of commitment that government will provide universal access to quality basic education. It means that the parents are already paying annual installments to the Govt. to meet the expenditure of their children’s education. However, students are again asked to pay fee to get education in a Govt. institute, and on top of it, you raise these fees to such an extent that the institution appears to be a sort of shop where education is being sold, and those who can’t afford it, are left on their own.

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These students, who were ignored when they tried to protest peacefully, are now busting with anger. Their anger is well justified. The university is meant for students. A Govt. educational institute must not be converted into a shop, especially when majority of public is struggling for economical stability. A nation with a low literacy rate is expected to make every possible effort to provide education to unprivileged section of society at the minimum cost possible. Does it make sense to extract profit from education in a nation where a huge number of students are forced to drop their school in order to take up job to earn and to survive.

What kind of economical background should we expect from the students who come to attend the only Govt. higher educational institute in the state?

These students, who are on hunger strike for over last two weeks, need support from all of us.
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Today, while the police was readying their water cannons and canes, waiting for the orders to charge on students, the students instead of dispersing put their bag and purses in a corner, joined hands like they are ready to take up repressive forces of the Govt.

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Take minute to contemplate as to why over 500 students would choose to be a subject to canechare or why they would bear water cannons, and still come back to face the same fate again and again? Their motivation doesn’t lie in political interests. Rather, it’s the zeal to fight for their rights, stand for the truth, and follow the principals that true revolutionary freedom fighters had laid down.

We would request all to stop assuming the situations based on what media says, and try to adopt a critical approach. These students aren’t foreigners. They hail from different parts of Himachal and as insiders, they have every right to protest and fight for their rights.

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Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Campus Watch

Two JRF among HP Varsity’s 11 disabled students who cracked UGC NET 2018

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Disabled HPU Students Clears UGC NET

Shimla-Crossing milestones in academics, disabled students of Himachal Pradesh continue to achieve what is otherwise considered insurmountable for them.

Eleven differently-abled students have cleared UGC’s National Eligibility Test (NET). Two of them qualified for the Junior Research Fellowship. Five of these students are visually impaired.

It’s important to mention that disabled students had to fight a legal battle to claim their right to higher education in Himachal Pradesh University. Even after ‘The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016’ was passed, the students had to fight for its implementation as the government did not make it easy for them.

Two students who qualified for the JRF include Saveen Janha, an M.Phil in Hindi, and Pankaj Sharma, P.hD in Tourism Administration. Both are physically disabled, informed Ajai Shrivastava, a member of the State Advisory Board on Disability and HPU Executive Council (EC).

Indu Kumari, a visually impaired student, who is pursuing her M.A. in Political Science, cleared the NET examination in her very first attempt. Similarly, visually impaired Roma Negi, a resident of Rampur, has cleared the exam in History in her first attempt. She wants to pursue her P.hD from HP University.

Other names include Anuj Kumar (Economics), Vinod Sharma (Political Science), Jasbir Lubanand (Political Science), Vinod Sharma Yogacharya (Yoga), Priyanka Thakur (Law), Ajay Kumar (History). Some of these students have cleared the NET examination twice. Raj Kumar is a Ph.D in Education and has cleared the NET exam in the same. He had also passed the NET examination in History and this time cleared the exam in Political Science.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikander Kumar has congratulated all these students and appreciated their hard-work despite facing hardships due to their disability. He said these students have brought laurels to the State.

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Nauni Varsity Admissions Open for Diploma in Fruit, Vegetable Processing & Bakery products

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Nauni varsity admissions for diploma

Solan-The Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has invited applications for its one-year Diploma in Fruit and Vegetable Processing and Bakery products. The diploma will be run by the Department of Food Science and Technology of the university.

This year, the university has also reduced the fee charged for the diploma to Rs 5000. Earlier, the fee for this diploma was Rs 20,000. The decision was taken to ensure that more and more people can apply for the programme.

In addition, the programme has also been linked to the Skill Development Allowance scheme of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Any person enrolled in the programme can also apply for this allowance.

The minimum educational qualification for this diploma programme is Class 10+2 with at least 40 per cent with no age cap for admission. The last date of application is 17 January 2019 and the counselling will be held on 19 January.

A total of 35 seats are available in the programme. Prospectus and application form can be downloaded from the university website(www.yspuniversity.ac.in).

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Nauni scientist bags award for book on ‘increasing farm incomes via solar drying’

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Nauni Varsity scientist's book on solar drying

Solan-Dr RK Aggarwal, Scientist of the Department of Environmental Science at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has bagged second prize from the Government of India for his book on through solar drying of fruits and vegetables.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), GOI has awarded the national level prize under its natural energy award scheme. The prize has been awarded for the year 2016 to Dr Aggarwal’s Hindi book titled, ‘Saur Urja Dwara Fasalon se Aaye Vridhi’.

It includes a cash award of Rs 60,000. The book contains various aspects of solar drying technology based on his field experiences since the year 1990.

While thanking the University for providing opportunities to work in the field of renewable energy, Dr Aggarwal said,

The book is focused on improving the quality of dried products along with considerably enhancing markets rates of the produce. Because of it being highly cost-effective, solar drying will immensely benefit the farmers, particularly women. The value addition of products will not only increase the income of farmers, but will also empower the women.

He added that the book would also be useful for students and other stakeholders working on solar drying. He also thanked the MNRE and Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED) division of DST for funding the projects for over 25 years to develop solar dryers for the farming community. These dryers established under this project have been established in various parts of Himachal and Uttarakhand.
Dr Aggarwal has an experience of over 25 years in research and development in the field of renewable energy and seven years experience in climate change and environmental science.

He is credited with the development of indirect solar drier of 25 kg capacity for the drying of fruits, vegetables, seeds and medicinal plants.

Solar dryer by Dr RK Aggarwal

Indirect Solar Drier & Improved Stove for High Altitude Areas

He has also developed an improved version metal cook-stove for the high altitude areas for cooking, water heating, and space heating under the National Programme on Improved Cook-stove.
He completed his B.Sc, M.Sc, and M.Phil from the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. In 2003, he completed his P.hD from the Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.

Dr HC Sharma, Vice Chancellor of the university, congratulated Dr Aggarwal for bringing laurels to the university and the state. He added that the solar drying techniques elaborated in the book could help to meet the twin goals of reducing food waste along with enhancing farm incomes.

Dr PK Mahajan, Dean College of Forestry and Dr SK Bhardwaj, Professor and Head of Department of Environmental Science also congratulated Dr Aggarwal on the occasion.

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