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IIT Mandi hit by poor roads and poor road-connectivity: IIT Director

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IIT Mandi

SHIMLA- Bad roads and poor air connectivity is not only affecting the tourism sector in the state but also obstructing the education sector from flourishing. Renowned institute like the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, is facing a lot of difficulties in getting eminent resource persons in the institute to interact with students.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Prof Timothy A Gonsalves, Director, IIT-Mandi, said,

There is an urgent need to strengthen our transport system, especially road infrastructure and air connectivity, to derive real benefit from such institutes and draw more scholars from the country and abroad.

Presently, we are facing a lot of difficulty in drawing eminent resource persons to deliver lecture to students, sharing their experiences and success stories as we are lacking air connectivity in the district, while the condition of roads are miserable,

he added.

Appreciating the support of the state and Central government he said both governments should work together to establish an air strip in Mandi.

At present the students’ strength in the institute is 837 in postgraduate and PhD courses. The institute targets 5,000 students till 2029,

said Gonsalves.

He said though the Bhunter airport was near, but air connectivity in Mandi was essential to draw eminent scholars as well as resources persons to the institute.

He said now the state was going to become a hub of top class educational institutes like IIT and AIIMS, which would require such facilities in advance to reap the real benefit of such institutions for the welfare of society.

Photo: Jai Kumar

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As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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Nauni varsity’s Jagriti among world’s 30 research scholars who bagged International Scholar Award

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Jagriti of UHF nauni get international Scholar award

Solan: Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has been conferred with the US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018. She is among the 30 research scholars from across the globe, who have been conferred with this prestigious award. Jagriti is a doctoral student at UHF’s Department of Soil Science and Water Management.

The IPNI award has been conferred on Jagriti for her PhD thesis research synopsis. The regional committees of IPNI scientific staff select the recipients for this award. The award carries a cash prize of 2,000 US dollars and a recognition certificate, which will be presented to Jagriti during a ceremony at the University by IPNI.

Hailing from Bhuntar in Kullu district, Jagriti has completed her BSc and MSc degrees from UHF and is presently pursuing her doctoral research on the topic, ‘Standardization of irrigation and fertigation schedules for apple under high-density plantation’. For the past one year, she has been conducting research at the university’s high-density apple plantations, raised under the Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project (HP HDP).

Dr JC Sharma, her research guide at the university said,

Apple is a major cash crop in Himachal and therefore a lot of importance has been given to its high-density plantations under the HP HDP. The award recognizes our efforts and gives greater impetus to our research, which will help us to determine the water and nutrient requirement for apple under high-density plantation and ensure proper utilization of these resources.

Thanking her parents and University Professors for their guidance and support, Jagriti said that she will now work even harder to develop the irrigation and fertigation schedule for apple under high-density plantation which will be helpful for better utilization of resources and raising farm incomes. She is hopeful of developing the schedules within the next two to three years.

While congratulating the student and the research guide, Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said,

It is a proud moment for the university, as only 30 scholars were selected across the world for this honour. The award is a testimonial to the quality research being carried out at the university.

International Plant Nutrition Scholar Award

The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Board of Directors offers two awards of interest to graduate students and scientists working in plant nutrition and management of crop nutrients. Priority is given to the relevance of the proposed research in support of IPNI’s mission. Students in the disciplines of soil and plant sciences including agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology, and other areas related to plant nutrition can apply for the award.

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390 students attend St. Bede’s National Seminar ‘Celebrating Indian Science’

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St. Bede's National Seminar

Shimla: On Thursday, the Science Faculty of St. Bede’s College Shimla, in collaboration with Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), Shimla Chapter, hosted a one day National Seminar entitled ‘Celebrating Indian Science: From Past to Future’.

Around 350 Science students of the college along with 140 students from various colleges and schools of Shimla attended it.

These institutes included Centre of Excellence, Govt. Degree College, Sanjauli, R.K.M.V, Rajiv Gandhi Govt. Degree College, Chaura Maidan, Convent of Jesus and Mary, D.A.V School, Lakkar Bazaar, St. Edward’s School, Loreto Convent, Tara Hall, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jakhu, Govt. School, Sanjauli, Monal Public School, Model School Summerhill and Chapslee school.

St. Bede's National Seminar 2

During the seminar, the students were shown a movie on ‘The Quantum Indians’ in the first technical session of the seminar, and it was followed by On the Spot Quiz.

In the second session, Prof. P.K. Ahluwalia delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Impact of Innovation on Human Development through Science and Technology: From Past to Future.’

St. Bede's National Seminar 3

In the second half, Prof. Subhash Gupta delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Our Journey of Science – Future Ahead.’

In the third session, Prof. Jaspreet Sambi from Panjab University Chandigarh delivered a talk on ‘Indian Science Looking Back and into Future.’

To stimulate the idea of controlling pollution and protecting the environment and to share and discuss issues relating to it, a Panel discussion on the topic ‘Can Scientific Interventions Help Overcome the Curse of Pollution’ was also organized.

Towards the end of the seminar, students asked questions related to their queries which were answered convincingly. It was followed by a live demonstration of experiments by Physics, Microbiology, Biotechnology departments. The Department of Botany and Zoology put up an exhibition on medicinal plants and insects.

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