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HPU’s Disabled Students Denied Reservation and Basic Facilities Despite Court Orders

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Disabled Students and Youth Association, Himachal Pradesh

Shimla– It is not less than an embarrassment for the Himachal Pradesh Government and the HP University that even disabled students are compelled to fight for their rights. The apathy of the system is such that these students are not getting any relief despite orders of the State High Court to reserve no less than five percent seats for disabled at higher educational institutes.

This indifference toward such students is apparent from the fact that the accessible library for the disabled students of Himachal Pradesh University, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on July 22, 2019, doesn’t even have a washroom and students, especially visually impaired girls, are facing difficulties. It was revealed by the disabled students of HPU in a memorandum submitted to the Governor and Chancellor, Bandaru Dattatreya, on December 13, 2019.

It is not shocking then that the Chief Minister inaugurated a library facility for the disabled students without basic facilities because it was merely a formality performed in response to an order of the State High Court passed in a PIL filed by a disabled student, Banita Rana, in 2014.

Victims of this apathy on part of HPU’s administrative officials, the Disabled Students and Youth Association (DSYA), Himachal Pradesh,  approached the Governor. The Association alleged that the HPU Administration is blatantly violating not only the educational rights of the disabled students but also not following the orders of the State High Court issued in November 2018.

Research Scholars, Mukesh Kumar and Saveena Jahan, Convener and Co-Convener of DSYA respectively, alleged that the Registrar, HPU, Ghanshyam Chand, disregarded orders of the court to reserve five percent seats for the disabled students during admissions. He went on with admissions for the session 2019-20 without implementing the order in any of the courses, they alleged. The disabled students were also not given this reservation while allotting hostel facility.

A visually impaired student, Indu Kumari, native of Chamba, had filed a PIL, while hearing this petition on November 5, 2018, the court had directed all institutions of higher education to reserve five percent seats for the disabled students.

“Therefore, we dispose of this petition by directing that all institutions of higher education and other higher educational institutions receiving aid from the government in the State of Himachal Pradesh, shall not only reserve not less than 5% seats for persons with benchmark disabilities but said reservation to the extent of 5% shall be provided each time when the institution initiates the process of admission to academic courses,”

the court had directed in its judgement.

The Registrar was also a party in the said PIL, despite that, the Association said, the Registrar is not afraid of attracting contempt of court by not implementing the order.

Further, the Association also complained that the said accessible library lacks several basic and necessary facilities.

“This accessible library in its new shape was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on July 22, 2019. The disabled students who come to this section of the library are still deprived of the necessary equipment including talking software, Internet (LAN) connection, sufficient compute-chairs, tables, newspapers, e-journals of different subjects, periodicals, good quality heater and curtains on the windows,”

The Association also alleged that a budget to the tune of Rs 5 lakh, which was sanctioned and mandated to purchase talking software for visually impaired students, is about to laps since the Registrar did not make any purchase.

The Association also alleged that out of a total of 17 computers installed in the accessible library, only four computers are in working condition and have the necessary software installed.

The Association also complained that a Junior Office Assistant (JOA), who was appointed in the library to assist the blind and other visually impaired students, was transferred on September 24, 2019. Since the transfer, no replacement was provided and the library is without a JOA for the last three months.

The students alleged that the Registrar is not paying heed to the directions of the Vice-Chancellor as well.

The Association urged the Governor to look into the matter and protect the legal rights of the disabled students.

The Association also requested to provide a recourse room for the visually impaired students in the varsity where they can access reading devices, make recordings and books in Braille.

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UHF Nauni Gets BSI High Altitude Regional Centre to Explore Floristic Diversity of Western Himalayan States

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BSI regional centre at UHF

Solan-Very recently, the High Altitude Western Himalayan Regional Center (HAWHRC) at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was inaugurated by CK Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), GoI, on February 26, 2020. 

High altitude regions of Western Himalaya required an intensive floral exploration as this region has a rich diversity of many EET and medicinal plant species. It was very difficult to adequately explore this area due to the long distance from the BSI Headquarters in Kolkata and Northern Regional Centre, Dehradun. The HAWHRC will carry out intensive and extensive field surveys to explore and document the floristic diversity of Western Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Ladakh with an area of over 1.57 lakh sq km under its jurisdiction.

The centre will not only give the basic data about plants but will also help in building up the rural economy by conserving and judicious management and utilization of the plants’ resources of these floristically rich areas. The data of this unit will be of basic importance to the Institutes involved in Himalayan ecological studies. Initially, the office has been set up at UHF Nauni. The University will provide land near its campus for buildings and experimental botanic garden as per the MoU signed between the two institutions.

Speaking at the event Mishra said,

“India has a diverse flora and fauna and it is important to pay critical attention to this area and collect and pass scientific data to the future generations. The focus should be on regional setups and the establishment of this centre at the University should substantially increase the capacity to gather and spread knowledge”.

He lauded the efforts of the Institutions of Excellence like UHF Nauni which had played a major role in this area.

Hailing the new chapter in the history of the University, Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal, thanked the MOEFCC and BSI for establishing the centre in the university campus. He informed the gathering the university has produced top scientists, administrators, managers in horticulture, forestry and allied fields who have made immense contributions to these sectors.

Dr AA Mao, Director BSI thanked the University in the support for the establishment of the centre. He said that the facilities, which will be developed by the centre must be fully utilized by the researchers, students and other departments associated with the field. Calling for proper identification of wild plants in the remote areas, Dr Savita, PCCF (Wildlife) Himachal Pradesh said that diversity of the higher reaches of the state can help to increase the livelihood of the local population. Dr Kailash Chandra, Director Zoological Survey of India also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier Dr Kumar Ambrish, Scientist in-charge of HAWHRC welcomed the guests and briefed about the objectives and the functions of the centre. The efforts of Dr Sandeep Chauhan, Additional Director MoEF&CC, who played an important role in the establishment of the centre at the university were also acknowledged.

Botanical Survey of India Centre in Himachal pradesh

The brochure of the centre was also released on the occasion.  Besides Director Research Dr JN Sharma, Director Extension Education Dr Rakesh Gupta, Deans Dr Kulwant Rai and Dr ML Bhardwaj, Dr PK Khosla, Vice-Chancellor Shoolini University, Dr KS Dogra, Scientist-D, statutory officers, HODs, scientists from BSI and ZSI took part in the event.  

 

 

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HPPERC Chairman Flees Office When HPU Students Try to Meet Him in Wake of ‘Fake Degree Scam’

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Himachal Fake Degree Scam

Shimla-Schools and higher education institutions are ‘temples’ where the future of children and youth is shaped. Imparting quality education is elementary to strengthen the society of a democratic state. But corruption has plagued the education system and evidence of the same have shown up in the rather docile state of Himachal Pradesh.

Instead of becoming accessible, education is becoming inaccessible due to the government’s ignorance and apathy. Failure of the governments to ensure quality education in government schools has left no other option for parents but to opt for private institutions, which are generally unaffordable. Parents are helpless and have to pay the hefty fees for the future of their children because they don’t have faith in the government institutions and their education system.

To complement the situation, now it is official that private institutes have been selling fake degrees without attracting any action from the state government or the HP Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commission. Lakhs of fake degrees have already been sold.

A huge question arises over the intentions of the government as it did not take any action despite the information provided by the University Grants Commission through a letter.

UGC had written a letter to the Government of Himachal Pradesh on August 30, 2019, informing that two private universities have sold nearly five lakh fake degrees during the past seven years. These two private universities mentioned in the letter are the APG Shimla University and Manav Bharati University, Solan.

The letter clearly said,

“APG Shimla University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, has not sold Degrees this year but has sold more than 15,000 Degrees for almost all the courses they are offering in the campus. Even the courses where seats are limited, they have sold the Degrees which are restricted by Statutory Bodies like AICTE, NCTE, BCI.”

Regarding the involvement of Manav Bharati University, the letter said,

“Manava Bharati University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, has sold more than 4.5 lakh Degrees during the last 7 years with the help of Agents from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Bihar, Delhi, West Bengal and parts of South India. They never informed the HP Private Universities Regulatory Authority that they had sold so many Degrees.”

The letter further said,

“The Founder of this University made good money by selling the Degree of Jayasurya’s Open University for Complementary Medicine, Sri Lanka, by printing these Degrees himself without informing Lord Pandit Prof. Dr Anten Jayasurya.”

The Chairman of the Commission, KK Katoch, however, claims that he received this letter only in January 2020.

After the news broke out about a week ago, students affiliated to two major student organizations of HP University- Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Student Federation of India- have come out to protest the failure of the state government to monitor and regulate private universities.

Both organizations wanted to question the Chairman as to why he did not take any action despite having the information regarding this scam. The matter was already brought to his notice seven months ago through a UGC letter, they claimed.

On February 25, ABVP staged a protest at the Office of Regulatory Commission, Shimla, against fake degree scam by the two private universities. The Chairman of the Commission, KK Katoch, ABVP said, fled the office to avoid questions. ABVP alleged that other officials at the Commission told them that they faced pressure from the Chairman and were unable to discharge their duties adequately.

ABVP has demanded removal of Katoch from the post of Chairman along with a warning of larger protest if no proper action is taken against the private universities.

ABVP Protest Against Fake Degree Case

On February 26, SFI also staged a protest at the Office of the Commission. The Chairman remained absent from the office. SFI leaders accused the Chairman of escaping questions regarding the scam. SFI pointed out that the Commission has not even inspected the private institutes for the past several years. The Commission isn’t willing to move a muscle, it added. This is why instead of the Chairman or other officials; we are instead seeing a heavy police force.

It is only after the protest from the student bodies that the Commission has asked the State Police to hold an inquiry. The Director-General of Police, SR Mardi has confirmed that records and preliminary inquiry report are sought from the Commission relating to the scam.

There would be no wonder if these universities still continued to operate. This is how the unending cycles of corruption works in India.

There is no dignity left either in politicians or wealthy investors who establish private educational institute only to make money through unethical means. The ruling governments of both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have been seen standing on the side of private institutes and encouraging privatisation of education.

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Nauni’s Varsity PHET Centre Ranked 2nd Among 31 AICRP Centres of India

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PHET Centre Ranked Second

Shimla- The All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (AICRP on PHET) Solan centre of the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has once again brought laurels to the university at the national level. The centre has been adjudged second in the Best Centre’ for the year 2019-20 among 31 AICRP centres from the country.

The award was presented during the 35th Annual workshop of AICRP on PHET held at JNKVV Jabalpur. The research engineers and scientists of AICRP on PHET centres from across the country participated in the workshop and presented their progress report. Dr Devina Vaidya, Dr Manisha Kaushal and Dr Anil Gupta from the Solan centre also presented their progress report, shared new project proposals, and machinery and process protocols developed by them during the meet. The work was evaluated by Dr SN Jha, ADG (Agricultural Engineering), Dr SK Tyagi, Project Coordinator AICRP on PHET, Dr SM Ilyas, Former Director, NAARM; Dr BS Bisht, Former Director, CIPHET, Ludhiana and Dr Anwar Alam, Former VC, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences. The award was given on the basis of outstanding contribution in development of technologies, NAAS rated publications in national and international publications.

The Solan Centre is in operation since 2004 in the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST) and is working on pome and stone fruits, kiwi, mushroom, ginger, aloe vera and some underutilized grains of the state. Last year the centre had bagged the ‘Best Centre Award’.

“The assessment for the award was based on yearly progress made by the centres in the field of development of process protocols, designing of machinery, pilot-scale testing of developed technology, entrepreneurship development and dissemination of developed technologies among farmers and scientific community. Several process protocols for the development of aloe vera based products, mushroom fortified products, the complete value chain for apple, gluten-free protein-enriched pasta, utilization of bichhu grass and gethi for bakery and extruded products have been developed by the centre,”

 said Dr Devina Vaidya, Principal Investigator of the centre.

Dr Anju Dhiman, HOD of the Department of Food Science and Technology told that the PHET centre has signed MOUs with three entrepreneurs of the state and complete protocols developed by the centre has been transferred to establish their industries.

University Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal congratulated the scientists on the achievement. He said that the centre has been a consistent performer and the same has also been recognized by the ICAR.

Dr Kaushal added that the department has been making sincere efforts in developing efficient technologies and have ensured that the same is transferred to the farmers and entrepreneurs of the state from time to time. Director Research Dr JN Sharma, Dean Horticulture Dr ML Bhardwaj, and other faculty and staff also congratulated the scientists for bringing laurels to the university.

 

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