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Bloody clash at HPU campus ahead of crucial NAAC team visit, 18 injured, 6 arrested

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HPU Sfi and ABVP Clash

An 11-member NAAC team has arrived at varsity on Monday, and is supposed to conduct detailed inspection of varsity in order to determine academic standard of the institute. Varsity will be ranked on the basis of this visit.

SHIMLA- Ahead of the three-day National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC)visit starting from October 3, Himachal Pradesh University campus turned into battle ground on October 2 as armed student groups clashed. Over about 18 students sustained injuries, some of which are admitted at the IGMC Shimla in serious condition. The bloody clash erupted on Saturday night at the Tagore Boys Hostel and continued on Sunday with student outfits flashing sharp-edged weapons, iron-rods, sticks etc. despite presence of police force that struggled to control the situation. On Monday, too, fresh clashes were reported.

So far, no source is able to confirm what exactly caused the violence, so both student organizations are putting the blame on each other and both have lodged FIRs. The sources suggest involvement of a section of tribal students too.

HPU SFI

Photo: The Tribune

Six students of SFI (only), mainly leadership, have been arrested and hunt for others is in progress. Cases have been registered under various sections including attempt to murder.

According to reports, on Saturday night around 9:30 PM, members of Student Federation of India (SFI) and Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad(ABVP)clashed in one of the hostel in which many students sustained head injuries and some suffered fractured legs. As per report, it all begun after a research scholar was attacked and abused in his hostel room. Both organizations blame that a group of students belonging to their respective organizations were attacked by the rival outfit students armed with sharp-edged weapons and iron roads.

The students had to jump out of the hostel windows to escape. Several students took shelter in nearby forest, hiding till Sunday morning. It was also reported that belongings of students in the hostel including books were set on fire.

Shimla Police

Photo: Punjab Kesari

A delayed police response, as alleged by both ABVP and SFI, also facilitated this violence to go on for hours. Police took over two hours to approach the hostel, students alleged.

On Sunday morning, SFI banners/posters were burnt at Summerhill Chowk by ABVP workers that further fueled the tension between two groups. Allegedly, ABVP attacked SFI members at the Chowk in the presence of police. The bloody brawl reached varsity library which was ransacked too.

HP University ABVP

Photo: Punjab Kesari

On Sunday, two groups clashed multiple times in the presence of police. To prevent further clashes, Quick Response Team (QRT) was deployed in the campus. On Monday, the entire varsity was turned into a fortress keeping in view the NAAC visit.

An 11-member NAAC team has arrived at varsity on Monday as scheduled. The Council is supposed to conduct detailed inspection of varsity in order to determine academic standard of the institute. Varsity will be ranked on the basis of this visit.

HP University

SFI has alleged that the clash was planned and was intended to present a negative image of varsity environment in front of NAAC team. This violent clash is also being associated with recent violence in Himachal’s other colleges.

It is noticeable that varsity had negotiated with SFI to end 153 day long student hunger strike and had appointed about 60 teachers in order to impress the NAAC. The violence has endangered reputation of the varsity. Deployment of QRT might prevent further clashes, but presence of such heavy force will speak for itself.

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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 9 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 the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Weed (Parthenium) Eradication Campaign Organized at UHF Nauni

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UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive

Solan-A parthenium eradication campaign was organized at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni on Friday. The Department of Environmental Science and the Estate Office of the University organized the event under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. All the university students, faculty and staff took part in the drive.

Parthenium weed is considered to be a cause of allergic respiratory problems, contact dermatitis, mutagenicity in human and livestock. Owing to this weed’s aggressive growth, it leads to the reduction in crop production and threatens biodiversity.

UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive 2

To undertake the drive, the staff and students were divided into nine teams with each group assigned the task of removing parthenium from different areas of the university. The drive was carried out under the watchful eyes of group facilitators and field guides. The proper disposal of the uprooted weeds was ensured by the disposal team.

UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive 3

Addressing the gathering of staff and students, Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor said it was important to organize such events along with tree plantation drives because they were important to conserve the biodiversity.

UHF Nauni Parthenium Eradication Drive 4

He asked the university staff and students to focus on the removal of the weed throughout the year. Dr Kaushal urged the university scientists to conduct further studies for the complete eradication of this weed.

Dr JN Sharma, Director Research of the university also spoke about the impact of parthenium on biodiversity and agricultural production. Earlier Dr SK Bhardwaj, Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Science gave an overview of the programme and the need for the eradication of the parthenium weed.

 

 

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HP Govt Schools Lag Behind in Imparting IT Education, Put Future of Children at Stake

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IT Education in HP government schools

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Government schools are lagging behind in imparting IT Education to children in the 21st Century in which this knowledge has become a basic requirement. The Centre government boasts of Digital India initiative and the state government never misses an opportunity to mention that Vidhan Sabha has gone fully digital. At the same time, government schools are awaiting critical reforms to keep up with the modern world.

As per information provided by MLA, Sarkaghat Constituency, Colonel Inder Singh, in Vidhan Sabha, in state’s government schools, IT is taught as an optional subject only from class IX to Class XII, that too only in Senior Secondary Schools. The subject is not available in middle and high schools. The students who opt for IT as a subject are charged Rs. 110. Students falling under SC and BPL category are given exemption of 50 per cent, he informed.

In Centre schools, on the other hand, IT is taught as a compulsory subject from Class III to Class X and as an optional subject from Class XI to Class XII, Inder Singh said in the Vidhan Sabha. The fee in Centre schools in Rs. 100 per student.

He said, in Navodaya Vidayalas, IT is taught as a compulsory subject from class VI to class X and as an elective subject from class XI to XII.

The private schools running in the state do not follow any set pattern in terms of the class from which the students are introduced to IT and fee charged for it, he added. However, there is no doubt that every student enrolled in private schools do receive IT education irrespective of the level at which the subject is introduced.

As far as the neighbouring states are concerned, Inder Singh said, in the state of Haryana, IT education is taught as a compulsory subject from class VI to Class VIII and as an optional subject from Class IX to Class XII. No fee is charged from students upto class VIII. Thereafter, Rs 30 is charged during Class IX and X and Rs 35 during Class XI and XII, he informed.

In Chandigarh, IT education is a compulsory subject from Class VI to VIII and no fee is charged from the students for it.

The MLA pointed out that our education system has serious loopholes when it comes to imparting IT education to children in a government schools. The students are introduced to this subject in class IX, which is very late considering the need of the time. Also, this subject is not compulsory. Moreover, as the fee charged for opting IT as a subject is higher, students who find it unaffordable to pay this fee remain deprived of this necessary knowledge.

The future of such students who could not afford to study IT could be imagined in the current scenario. They would find it quite difficult to adjust in professional courses at the graduate or postgraduate level. Later, in terms of career opportunities, they would lag behind, the MLA said.

Inder Singh requested the government to consider making IT Education a compulsory subject from Class VI to Class VIII and provide at least two to three computers at middle and high schools along with computer teachers.

Further, he informed that the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology is facilitating IT Education in 1,131 schools of the state, and 1,367 teachers have been recruited for this purpose. In remaining Senior Secondary schools, PGT (IT) teachers have been recruited by the Education Department.

The leader of the opposition, Mukesh Agnihotri, also supported this argument and questioned the government over non-delivery of laptops promised to school students.

In response to this request, the Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said that the total number of government schools in the state is over 18,000. Considering a lack of sufficient resources, it is not feasible to provide computer labs in all schools, he said.

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UHF Nauni Scholar Attends One-Month ‘Food Safety and Security’ Programme in Israel

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UHF Nauni Scholar Nitesh Sharma

Solan-Nitesh Sharma, a doctoral scholar of Department of Entomology, Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, successfully completed the ‘Summer Institute for Food Safety and Security 2019 in Israel. The one-month programme was organized by Manna Centre for Food Safety and Security, Tel Aviv University.

Nitesh had received the Planning and Budgeting Committee fellowship worth over 3,575 US dollars to attend the programme in which 72 students from 11 countries namely India, US, China, Israel, Italy, Vietnam, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Liberia participated. He was among the 14 students from India who got a chance to attend the programme.

The programme provided an insight into the past and present agricultural conditions of Israel and how the country is readying itself to cope up with the challenges of rising population, global warming and water crisis.

UHF Nauni Doctarate Scholar Nitesh Sharma

The participants were exposed to various aspects of the production of agricultural commodities especially under the protected cultivation and growing crops in desert and saline conditions using modern approaches.

The desert conditions are not preventing the farmers from growing quality agricultural commodities in good quantity as they are using water efficiently along with adopting other precision agriculture techniques. 

The pest problems encountered like whiteflies, thrips and aphids, in various crops grown under the protected cultivation are also being managed by using precision agriculture. The participants were also apprised about the use of Good Agricultural Practices to make the food safer for the end-users. Visits to small startup companies to observe their working were also organized.

Nitesh is presently doing his PhD on the management of fruit flies under Dr Divender Gupta, Professor and Head, Department of Entomology. Fruit flies are a direct pest of several fruit and vegetables and has attained a status of ‘pest of international importance’.

Nitesh is using eco-friendly techniques to check the fruit fly population. He is hopeful that he can implement that the knowledge gained during the programme for the benefit of Indian farmers. 

Dr Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Rakesh Gupta, Dean Horticulture and Dr Divender Gupta congratulated Nitesh for attending the summer institute and representing the University in Israel.  

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