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Don’t let dreams of innocent students die, don’t letdown the democracy, Mr Chief Minister

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open letter to virbhadra singh

open letter to virbhadra singh

Dear Sir,

Thursday, September 19 was not as pleasant as the weather of Himachal these days, calm and cool. The heart-rending pictures of that day when democracy was being throttled and trampled, in my alma mater-the highest centre of learning in the state-Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), was quite painful.

Yes sir, not only me, but many of the alumnae of this institution have felt so. Sir, even the most sacred place, the HPU library was not spared. The walls still must be red with the blood splatter. The innocent students were just fighting for their legitimate right, equal and inexpensive education- guaranteed to them in the Indian constitution.

A day before this brutal murder of democracy, an incident, where the students, who wanted a clarification on the indiscriminate fee hike, stopping vice-chancellor’s vehicle (and as this official claims of assault on him) prompted the police and district administration to impose section 144 on the university campus- though the alleged assault on the top official of the university could not be substantiated in any way, as it was reported.

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Sir, no terrorists live in my alma-mater, they are only students, and thus have every right to ask questions, on what they seem could jeopardize their careers.

Many argue that the protest is not a way to put forward your point of view, but, sir it was unfortunate that when the students pursued the dialogue, they were ruthlessly told to “leave the university if you can’t pay the fees.” Was it not an insensitive answer on the part of an official, who was entrusted with a responsibility of safeguarding the rights of the students?

They (university authorities) claim that the institution’s development was marred by the fund crunch. Oh please! Don’t give such reasons. Sir, I will quote you from your Independence Day speech that, “`3,836 crore was being spent on education sector during the current financial year.”

If it is so, then why the HPU- the only university in the state imparting multidisciplinary education- is so badly starved of the funds. Sir, allocating `200 crore for the university, which so far, was providing opportunity to the poor for equal education and better future, is definitely not that much difficult.

hpu-fee

They justify this fee hike, in some cases more than 2000%, by arguing that the fee structure in neighbouring universities was higher. But, just once, compare the quality and standards of our university with those institutions- unfortunately my alma mater doesn’t have even 1% of the facilities available in those institutions- and nobody is ready to own the responsibility for this mess.

Then, why a student should be forced to pay such a massive fee when a “welfare state”, as defined in the constitution, can’t provide facilities to the students? And please don’t try to create those facilities by extorting money from them.

Click To Read “Black day for HPU: Police brutally beats, humiliates students, over 300 arrested

And here they are being charged even if the mistake is on party the university authorities.

Sir, have you ever tried to find out how the HPU is functioning? Here, a NET/JRF qualified student runs pillar to post, pleading before the authorities in a hope that one day he will realize his dream of getting admitted to Ph D, but the people, who have backing their political masters and are not even into regular studies, deprive him or her of this opportunity.

Just ask the university registrar Mr Mohan Lal Jharta that why his department sociology is locked for the last three months and what is his prime responsibility? These are just examples and if I will try to elaborate the sorry state of affairs, it will take me another 5,000 words, but I have keep constraints on my words- though I have already exceeded them.

So let me come to the point, this vice-chancellor- multicolor bearded man, ADN Bajpai- I will not hesitate to liken him with Nero. Sir, this Nero is burning your beautiful Rome. How cleverly he depicts himself as helpless and the students as demons. And the police, those wild beasts in Khakhi, who wag their tails and lick the feet of powerful, are his guests. They prey on the innocent students in the night. How they mercilessly thrash the protesting girls in the midnight, is just an example.

And those university officials, who are less teachers and more diplomats, indulged in a drama of resignations, are those who do a cackling together with this modern Nero, when state machinery strike democratic rights of students..

So, sir, don’t let the Nero burn this Rome this time. Don’t let the dreams of those innocent students die. Not everyone will be able to pay such hefty fee. The data of poor population released by your government are enough to substantiate this fact and after all how much of the Himachal populace have luxury to shop in the malls?

Yours sincerely
Naresh K Thakur
Staff Correspondent Hindustan Times.

Campus Watch

After CBSE, Himachal Postpones Board and UG Exams Till May 1st

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college and board exams in himachal pradesh postponed

Shimla-The ongoing examinations of the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education and under graduate classes have been postponed, a spokesperson of the HP Government informed today. He said that the state government has taken the decision keeping in view the health concerns of the students and parents.

These exams included the ongoing board examinations for Class 10th and 12th and UG examinations starting on 17th April to 17th May, 2021.

The government said that the situation would be reviewed on 1st May, 2021, and further directions would be issued accordingly. In a separate notification, the HPBOSE said that the schools exams for the two board classes were postponed till May 17, 2021. The Board also relieved all the staff engaged in conducting examinations including Superintendents, Deputy Superintendents, Flying Squads, Invigilators and Peons except Chowkidards. 

The decision of the government came after the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) today decided to cancel the examinations for class 10 and postpone exams for Class 12 due to the ongoing surge in daily COVID-19 infections in the country. The Board said that there was a constant demand for postponing the exams from students, parents, and the state governments.

However, the state government in Himachal Pradesh had decided to go on with exams amid the peeking second wave of the pandemic.

“The pandemic situation in the country is seeing a resurgence of COVID 19 positive cases in many states, with a few states having been affected more than others. In this situation, schools have been shut down in 11 states. Unlike State Boards, CBSE has an all-India character, and therefore, it is essential to hold exams simultaneously throughout the country,” the Union Education Ministry today said.

Looking to the present situation of the pandemic and school closures, the Ministry decided that the Board Exams for Class XII to be held from May 4thto June, 14th, 2021 would be postponed. The situation will be reviewed on 1st June 2021 by the Board. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before the start of the examinations.

 The Board Exams for Class X to be held from 4thMay to June 14th, 2021 were  cancelled.

“The results of Class Xth Board will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board. Any candidate who is not satisfied with the marks allocated to him/her on this basis will be given an opportunity to sit in an exam as and when the conditions are conducive to hold the exams,” the Ministry said.

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Campus Watch

Himachal’s Educational Institutions Closed Till April 4 Amid COVID-19 Case Surge, Pubic Holi Celebrations Prohibited, No Restriction on Tourism

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Himachal PRadesh closes Educationla institutes

Shimla– All the educational institutions in Himachal Pradesh, including Universities, Colleges, Technical Institutes and schools, would remain closed till April 4, 2021, as a precautionary measure keeping in view the spike in COVID-19 cases in the State, the government informed today. But schools would remain open for the classes having their examinations, it was informed.  

The decision was taken in a meeting held today that was presided by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

“Last year the spike in cases was gradual, but this year this surge is very rapid. In the last 20-25 days, the number of new cases has spiked from 220 to 2000, which is a matter of great concern for the state,” Chief Minister told media.

On being asked about tourist movement from neighboring Punjab – a state with massive surge in daily cases- the Chief Minister said that for now no restriction would be imposed on tourists given the peak tourist season starting from April.

Also Read: Himachal Reports Over 300 New COVID-19 Cases With 2 Deaths, Second Wave Could Peak in April & Last for 100 Days, says Report  

“Last year, the peak season was completely foiled. Therefore, it would not be favourable for the economy of the state and livelihood of the people to restrict tourist movement,” Jairam Thakur said.

“But if the surge continued and picked up more pace, then the government would review the situation again,” he told media. But the hotels and homestays would have to follow the SOPs while operating, he said. 

Chief Minister said that schools having residential facilities need not close their hostels, however, they would have to comply with all the SOPs to keep these residential areas cut off and appoint Compliance Officer to comply with all the orders. He said that teachers and other school/college staff would continue to attend the institutions.

Jai Ram Thakur said that no social and cultural events would be organized in the State by the Government and gatherings would be restricted to a maximum of 200 for indoor and 50 percent for outdoor events.

He said that nursing and medical institutions would continue to function as usual. He said that congregations and langers inside the temples would also be banned and other darshans would be allowed.

Chief Minister said that 3rd April would also be a holiday for all the offices in the State and there would be no public celebration of Holi.

He urged the people to celebrate Holi at their home with their family members only. He said that all the frontline workers would be sensitized to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest completing their second dose as per schedule.

It was also decided in the meeting that District Administration would take a judicious call on more restrictions keeping in view the positivity and fatality rate in their respective districts.

Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Additional Chief Secretaries R.D. Dhiman and J.C. Sharma, Secretary Health Amitabh Awasthi, Mission Director NHRM Dr. Nipun Jindal and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.

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Campus Watch

UHF Nauni Gets New Labs Equipped with Latest Technologies, Nature Park for Students  

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UHF Nauni Soil and leaf analysis lab

Solan- Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, today dedicated four projects to the students and farmers at the university campus. 

Among the project inaugurated by Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, UHF, was a state of the art Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory established with the financial assistance of Rs 4.55 crore (over seven years) from the World Bank-funded HP-Horticulture Development Project.

UHF Nauni Vice Chancellor

Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, UHF, Inaugurating Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory

The laboratory is equipped with the latest equipment like Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, CHNS Analyzer, Microwave digestion system, UV-VIS Spectrophotometers. It is well equipped to analyze the different soil properties including different macro and micronutrients and as per the analysis values, the recommendations are also given to the farmers.

NEW UHF nauni lab building

Soil and Leaf Analysis laboratory

The samples received from different HP-HDP clusters of the state are being analyzed in the laboratory and ad-hoc recommendations for High-Density Planting on clonal rootstocks are given. A field laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology constructed for Rs 14.17 lakh met out of the pesticide testing scheme was also inaugurated today.NEW Labs in UHF nauni

Two projects- Nature Park and a Commercial plantation model of wild pomegranate developed under the ICAR National Agricultural Higher Education Project were also unveiled today.

Lab facility uhf nauniv

The nature camp developed by the Department of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture has been developed as a recreation cum activity area for the students and showcases different landscaping methods. Under NAHEP,a commercial model of wild pomegranate developed by the Department of Silviculture and Agroforestry was also dedicated to the students and farmers. 

UHF nauni nature park

Nature Park

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Parvinder Kaushal congratulated all the team members behind the completion of the projects. He said that both the laboratories will be immensely beneficial for conducting research. Speaking about the development of projects under the ICAR’s NAHEP, Dr. Kaushal said that the university is in process of developing more such plantation models which will not only be beneficial to the students but also help popularize new technologies among farmers. The statutory officers of the university, heads of all departments, coordinator and team members of NAHEP IDP, students and staff were present on the occasion. 

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