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Defying the odds, this visually-impaired HPU student became Himachal’s Youth Icon for upcoming assembly polls

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Himachal youth icon muskan thakur

Shimla: The Election Commission has elected a visually impaired girl as the ‘youth Icon’ for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly polls. Muskan Thakur, 22, is a singer and a student of music at the HP University. Muskan will be encouraging the youth of Himachal to participate in the polls and cast their precious vote.

The Chief Election Commissioner of India, A.K. Joti, awarded the Youth Icons Muskan along with the noted Pahari singer Vicky Chauhan at a function organized by Election Department at the Gaiety Theatre on September 26.

It is for the first time a special person is given such a responsibility, said Ajai Shrivastava, the HPU Nodal Officer for matters related to disabled students. He confirmed receiving an official letter regarding the selections of Muskan and termed the occasion as a historical event for the state.

Muskan hails from Chirgaon of Rohru region in Shimla district. After a legal battle over the right to education, the varsity has enrolled four visually impaired girls for the first time. Muskan is one of these four girls. Earlier, she had obtained her B.A. Degree in first division from the Rajkiya Kanya Maha Vidyalaya (RKMV) in Shimla.

It is pertinent to mention that she was also among those special students, who were hardly receiving any attention of the government until a Public Interest Litigation was filed by Ajai Shrivastava in the court to highlight apathy of the government. She made the best of this opportunity and defied odds to make her parents and state proud.

While Muskan remained the center of attraction at the festival, volunteers of Gian-Vigyan Smiti also presented drama show to highlight the importance of aware elector in the election for a stronger democracy. A film produced by election department for awareness of elector was also shown on this occasion.

The winners of various other competitions organized by election department include Pritam Kharka (Kullu) Jiwan Ram (Mandi), Alisha Rai (Kangra), Shalu Thakur and Manjula Verma (Shimla), Saijal (Hamirpur) and Jagmohan (Una) received prizes from the Chief Commissioner.

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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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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Schools in Himachal to Open for Non-Board Classes from Next Month, Admissions for 2021-22 Session from April 1: Education Department

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HP Govt School admissions 2021-22 session

Shimla-The Directorate of Higher Education, Himachal Pradesh, has issued a notification announcing the opening of schools for non-board classes from April for session 2021-22. All educational activities would be resumed in all school across Himachal and students would begin receiving education from April 11, 2021, the notification said.

The decision came amid a sudden surge in new COVID-19 cases in the state and restrictions announced by the state government in wake of it.

Yesterday, the state reported 200 cases in various districts and three COVID-19 deaths. Today, the state reported 157 new cases and four fatalities till 7 pm. Also, expressing concerns over this surge, the state government had recently issued SOPs asking the district administrations and police chiefs to ensure strict compliance with preventive guidelines. Organization of fairs was prohibited and restrictions were imposed on number of persons in any indoor and outdoor social gatherings. 

Pertinent to mention that the Centre government had recently expressed fear of the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak as several states including Himachal’s neighboring state Punjab are reporting a massive spike in daily cases. Six States- Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu- are reporting a surge in daily new cases. They together account for 80.90% of the new cases (40,715) reported in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 24,645 (60.53%). It is followed by Punjab with 2,299 while Gujarat reported 1,640 new cases.

The schools would have to follow previously issued guidelines of the Centre Government. Students and teaching and non-teaching staff would have to ensure wearing masks, using sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing (2 meters).

The notification asked the school Principals/Headmasters to conclude yearly examinations of non-board classes by March 27, 2021, and declare the results by March 31. The admissions for the next session would be open from April 1.

For summer closing schools in Himachal Pradesh, the admissions would be open from April 5 and the these schools would remain shut from 1-4 April.  

Students who are taking board examinations of class 10, would be given provisional admissions to Class 11.

However, the notification mentioned “all students” and it’s not still clear whether these directions would also apply to primary classes or not.

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