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Shimla: HIMCOSTE Arranges Viewing Solar Eclipse to Promote Science Behind it & Remove Superstitions

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Shimla solar eclipse viewing by himcoste

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh would witness a celestial event in the form of solar eclipse on 21 June, 2020. This would be an annual solar eclipse visible from most parts of the state. The eclipse would start at 10.23 AM and would be maximum at 12.03 PM and would end at 1.48 pm. The solar eclipse would be 95 percent around noon. Such event is happening after 25 years in Himachal Pradesh.

The first solar eclipse of this year takes place on the summer solstice, which is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere. While people living along the path annular eclipse passing through Anupgarh, Suratgarh, Sirsa, Jakhal, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Dehradun, Tapowan and Joshimath will be able to see the annular phase, people in rest of India can witness a partial eclipse.

“If we miss this opportunity, in India, we have to wait for about 28 months for the next solar eclipse.  The next solar eclipse , which will be a partial solar eclipse, visible from India will take place on October 25, 2022. It would be visible in the western part of India”

said Aniket Sule, Chairperson, Public Outreach & Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India.

To popularise and promote the science of eclipses and remove the misconceptions and superstitions associated with such kind of celestial events, the Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology & Environment (HIMCOSTE) is arranging for viewing of solar eclipse for limited viewers at some places such as near parking of Ellerslie Building, HP Secretariat, State Headquarters Shimla and Padam Dev Complex, The Ridge, Shimla.

The HIMCOSTE has sought write-ups/ppts from students on their experiences of watching celestial event. The write up should not be more than three pages (less than 1500 words) or power-point presentation having maximum of 10 slides. The students can send their entries at ([email protected]) latest by 23 June, 2020. The best entries will be suitably awarded.

The HIMCOSTE has asked all Deputy Directors of Elementary Education in respective Districts to arrange for solar filters and make them available to general public to witness this unique event. The general public can witness the solar eclipse at a place designated by Deputy Director (Elementary Education) office in their respective districts.

Looking at Solar Eclipse Directly Dangerous, Could Harm Eyes

Sun is a very bright object, and looking at it directly can cause severe damage to the eye and vision. There are special goggles made for looking at the Sun.  These goggles filter the sunlight for safe viewing.

“Often the Public Outreach and Education Committee of Astronomical Society of India and other astronomical institutions/ planetariums and other science popularisation agencies usually make arrangements for safe viewing of the eclipse. However, due to the lockdown this time, we are not able to make solar filters available. Further, we strongly advise people not to gather in large numbers to view the eclipse given the pandemic situation. There are easy tips for viewing the eclipse from the safety of your home”

says Arvind Paranjpye, Director, Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai.

Allying rumours that the eclipse will mark the end of coronavirus,  Aniket Sule said

“Solar eclipse is caused when the Moon comes in front of the Sun for a short time. As seen from Earth eclipses occur somewhere in the Earth 2 to 5 times a year. Eclipses do not impact microorganisms on Earth. Likewise there no danger in eating or stepping out during an eclipse. No mysterious rays come out of the Sun during an eclipse.” 

Tips for viewing the eclipse:-

  1. Do not use sunglasses, goggles, exposed x-ray sheet or lampblack over a glass. They are not safe. Nor is viewing the Sun’s image on the surface of the water.  
    Welders glass #13 or # 14 can be used to see the Sun directly with naked eyes.
  2. Make a pinhole in a card sheet and hold it under the Sun.  At some distance, keep a screen of white paper.  Image of the Sun can be seen on this sheet. By adjusting the gap between the sheet and the screen, the image can be made larger.
  3. Look at the shadow of a bush or a tree. With the gaps between the leaves acting like a pinhole, numerous images of the eclipsed Sun can be seen on the ground. 
    You can use a strainer for making pinhole images.
  4. Cover the ‘compact’ makeup kit mirror with black paper, with a small hole at the centre. Reflect the image of the Sun on a distant wall in shadow. You can get a projected image of the eclipsed Sun.

Bhuj will be the first town in India to see the beginning of the eclipse 9:58 a.m.  The eclipse ends 4 hours later at Dibrugarh, Assam at 2:29 p.m. Ghersana at the western boundary of India will be the first to witness the annular phase of the eclipse at 11:50 a.m. It will last for 30 seconds. Kalanka peak in Uttarakhand will be the last major landmark to see the annular eclipse at 12:10 p.m. lasting for 28 seconds.

Misc News/Press Release

While People Await Relief Amid Pandemic, HP Govt Minister Faces Backlash for Buying New Luxury Car

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GOVind Singh Thakur luxury car purchase

Shimla-While the Himachal Pradesh is getting buried under a mounting debt of over 54 thousand crores and people struggles due to economic crisis amid pandemic, a new report regarding the purchase of a luxury vehicle for a Cabinet Minister has sparked a controversy. All Ministers already have SUVs, but that doesn’t seem to have satisfied their desires for more comfort and higher status. Also, this purchase was made at a time when Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is advocating cutting short unnecessary expenditures.

According to a report published in media, the state Education Department has purchased a Rs. 18 lakh ‘Tata Harrier’ SUV for Education Minister, Govind Singh Thakur.

According to the report, the minister already has two government vehicles – a Fortuner and an Innova- and ‘Harrier’ was the third edition to his fleet. Responding to media quarries, the Department has justified the purchase by reasoning that the Innova had got older and was not fit for use.

The report also said that the decision to buy a new luxury car was taken during the tenure of Suresh Bhardwaj as the Education Minister, who later delayed it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The earlier proposal was to buy an Innova Cresta. The new Education Minister, however, didn’t show reluctance like Bhardwaj and went ahead with buying an SUV amid the pandemic.

It’s pertinent to mention that the nation, as well as, the state is reeling under the wave of an economic slowdown. The state government is taking loans worth thousands of crores on the pretext of this slowdown. The government is facing criticism over such unnecessary expenditures on the luxury of ministers while the public still awaits relief.

This is not the first such instance where the public tax money was wasted despite financial crisis. Earlier, the state government had allegedly not only purchased a Rs. 25 lakh SUV but also bought a VIP number for Rs 1 lakh in March this year. A media report had said that though the SUV was registered in the name of the XEN, IPH Division, Dharampur, it was being used by a Minister’s son. The officials remain in the field from morning to evening so they require AC cars, the Department had justified.

Earlier, as the Transport Minister, Govind had also remained in news over the alleged misuse of a government vehicle by the wife for visiting a parlor in October 2019.

Also Read: Why was HP Transport Minister’s Wife Using Govt Vehicle for Shopping, Parlour Visits: Public and Opposition Ask

Political leaders, as well as, the public had raised the issue and asked as to why the wife of Govind Thakur was using government vehicle to go to a beauty parlour and for shopping in Chandigarh. After facing a backlash from the public, the Chief Minister had ordered an inquiry, which never saw the light of the day.

Photo Credit: FB/Govind Singh Thakur

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UHF Nauni With Western Sydney Varsity Launches Online Course on ‘Agri Skills Empowerment’

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UHF Nauni online course on agri skills launched

Solan-An international agricultural research programme between several Indian agricultural Universities including Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni and Western Sydney University (WSU) was launched recently through online mode, informed the Public Relation Officer of the varsity, Suchet Attri.

He said that the online programme titled ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme- Entrepreneurs’ has been started under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Agricultural Higher Education Plan (NAHEP) funded by the World Bank. Under NAHEP, UHF has been awarded the Institutional Development Project(IDP). Some of the agricultural universities, who are a part of the NAHEP have tied up with WSU for this programme. 

A total of 60 final year UG students from three colleges of the university will be undertaking the 20-week course. These students will also get an opportunity to visit WSU and have an opportunity to interact with researchers to develop an awareness of new research areas and business leaders to learn real-life examples and cutting-edge research, he informed. 

The online programme launch was done by WSU which was attended by Dr A. Arunachalam, ADG (International), ICAR.

Speaking at the event, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal congratulated the WSU and all the partner agricultural universities.

 He said,

“We are keenly looking forward to this partnership as our students and faculty will be exposed to contemporary knowledge in both innovation and entrepreneurship and a range of techniques and tools that have practical importance.”

The objective of the programme is to develop an Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme for high performing final year undergraduates in Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Science which will provide prospects for students to explore opportunities to become future leaders in research, academia or business. The programme will provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic and business leaders to identify and understand technology gaps, business ideas and strategic choices that lead to innovation-driven advantages in the agritech sector. Student learning will be through the exposure to research-informed new knowledge and business cases from the industry that will inspire students towards entrepreneurship.

UHF recently signed an MoU with WSU and three short-term courses on Entrepreneurship Development, Remote Sensing and Scientific Numeracy for the UG will also be started soon. 

The Vice-Chancellors of partner agricultural universities namely Dr Parvinder Kaushal, VC UHF Nauni; Dr Nazeer Ahmad, VC, Sher-e-Kashmir University for Agricultural Science and Technology; Dr Anupam Mishra, VC CAU, Imphal; Dr Ajoy Kumar Singh, VC, Bihar Agricultural University; Dr S Rajender Prasad, VC UAS, Bangalore and Dr RS Srivastav, VC Dr Rajendra Prasad CAU also joined the launch ceremony. 

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Read Cabinet Decisions on Regular School Classes, UG Students, General Tax Relaxation on Land/Buildings, Police Recruitment & More

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Himachal Pradesh- Regular school classes

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on October 27, 2020, held a meeting in which it took several decisions including resuming regular classes in schools. The Cabinet decided to conduct regular classes from 9th to 12th standard in educational institutions in Himachal Pradesh from November 2, 2020. Besides colleges of the State would resume classes by following the SOP/guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 

The Cabinet gave its approval to promote students enrolled in 1st and 2nd year UG courses for academic session 2019-20 to the next academic year based on the UG guidelines keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic.

It gave its approval to provide an extension in services of already engaged SMC teachers of various categories in Elementary and Higher Education Departments for the academic session 2020-21 and their remuneration may also be disbursed to them for the academic session 2020-21 subject to the outcome of Special Leave Petition (Civil) pending in Hon’ble Supreme Court.    

The Cabinet decided to raise the honorarium of IT teachers engaged on an outsource basis in the Education Department by 10 percent from 1st April 2020. This would benefit 1345 IT teachers.

The Municipal Councils of Mandi, Solan and Palampur would be upgraded to Municipal Corporations by the inclusion of adjoining areas, the Cabinet decided. It also decided to create six new Nagar panchayats – Kandaghat in Solan district, Amb in Una district, Ani and Normand in Kullu district and Chirgoan and Nerwa in Shimla district. It also gave its nod for re-organization of these Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). This includes Ner Chowk and Karsog in district Mandi and Nagar Panchayat Jwali in Kangra district by exclusion and inclusion of certain areas.

The Cabinet decided to exempt land and buildings in newly included areas of these Urban Local Bodies from payment of general tax for a period of three years and to retain the customary rights as provided in the Wazib-Ul-Urz in the record of rights.

Election to the ULBs in the State (including newly created Nagar panchayats) and newly created Municipal Corporations of Mandi, Solan and Palampur would be conducted in January 2021, after consultation with State Election Commission, the Cabinet decided. The elections to Municipal Corporation Dharamshala would also be conducted with all ULBs in January 2021. The elections for Shimla Municipal Corporation will be conducted in due course in 2022.

The Cabinet gave its nod to fill up:

  • 1334 vacant posts of Constables which includes 976 male and 267 female and 91 drivers on regular basis through direct recruitment.
  • 32 posts of leading fireman, 11 posts of driver cum pump operator in newly opened Fire Posts at Sansarpur Terrace in Kangra district, Bahawalnagar and Sangla in Kinnaur district and Patlikuhal in Kullu district.
  •  22 posts of Copyists in 22 Subordinate Courts of the State on regular basis.
  • 9 posts of different categories in the State Food Commission for its smooth functioning.

The Cabinet also decided to restore ‘Janmanch’ Programme from 8th November this year.

It gave its nod to allow one-time amnesty by redefining zero dates for projects which are under investigation and clearance stage where Implementation Agreements (IAs) have already been signed and by redefining Scheduled Commercial Operation Date (SCOD) for projects under construction stage.  This decision will benefit 221 power projects having a total capacity of 1060 MW.

The government has also decided to rename Government College Takipur in Kangra district as Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government  College, Takipur.

It also gave its consent to create and fill up one post of Assistant Professor in Super Specialty Surgical Oncology Cell in Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla.

The Cabinet decided to employ Miss Tanzin Dolkar sister of martyr Tanzin Chhultim of the village and P.O. Karpat in Lahaul-Spiti district who laid down his life during terrorists in Srinagar on 3rd August 2017. She would be appointed as Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis in the office of DFO Lahaul-Spiti. 

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