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JK sends officers to southern states to know how much do school bags weigh

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By Irshad Khan

Srinagar, Mar 24: Snubbing its own expert committee’s recommendations on reducing weight of school bags, the School Education Department would send a 3-member ‘study group’ to Tamil Nadu to address the issue.
The department, as per an order issued on Friday, has also deputed three officers each to the states of Karnataka and Rajasthan to “study” the “models” of Human Resource and School Management Committees (SMCs), respectively.
Each of the three groups would stay in the respective states from March 25-28, the order said.
The School Education Department has failed to act on a report filed in November by a 4-member expert committee on reducing the weight of school bags.
The committee was constituted on the J&K High Court’s on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the issue.
There was no need for the School Education Department to travel to the southern-most state of Tamil Nadu to find ways for reducing the weight of school bags, Prof A G Madhosh, one of the expert committee members, opined.
Rather than searching for answers from other states, Prof Madhosh said, the department “should have placed our recommendations before a working committee”.
The study group constituted by the department would simply “make another report”, Prof Madhosh said.
“But as far as a scope of taking action is concerned, I do not think there was something wrong with our report,” he added. “They do not need to go to Tamil Nadu. The issue of school bags is same everywhere.”
Questioning the School Education Department’s sincerity to address the issue, Prof Madhosh said, “It is not that the department constituted the committee intentionally, but it was just to give an answer to the High Court”.
“Now that the issue has come in public domain, they have gone for the (study) group as they do every time. They do not address the problem sincerely,” he added.
To mention, the expert committee has already recommended “avoiding textbooks for primary classes”.
The committee claims that it has actually “customised” the recommendations of the Yashpal Committee of 1992 to “suit Kashmir”.
The expert committee, Prof Madhosh said, had even recommended that “if the department cannot apply our recommendations across the state at once, but at least set up some model schools where the recommendations can be adopted.”
Secretary J&K Board of School Education, Veena Pandita, also a committee member, however, said the government was “at liberty to study practices outside and later take a final call”.
“Although we have also filed recommendations, but the best practices outside the state can be studied and eventually the best decision taken,” she said.

 
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After Noori, Kashmir scientists planning to clone Hangul

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Apr 25: After successfully cloning Pashmina goat in 2012, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at SKUAST-K is now contemplating to make clone of Kashmir Stag (Hangul).

Realising that the Hangul was gradually getting extinct from the valley, the scientists at Department of Biotechnology SKUAST-K Shuhama came up with this idea.

“This project is in infancy as we require permission from Wild Life department, local government and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA),” said Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of SKUAST.

 

Shah said the execution of the project would require heavy funding and creation of the advanced infrastructure in the research centre.

“First of all a Deer park in needed where there these animals must have been already reared. Then advanced infrastructure is need as we currently have some basic machinery here. So overall this project can be only executed when the government is serious in accomplishing it,” he said.

He said the cloning could be achieved by using the body cells of some other inter-species including a goat or a sheep.

While the initial work including the framing of paper has been done, Shah said the tracing and catching this rare animal was becoming equally challenging for the concerned department.

“They usually die on being caught by the people. Still it could be managed but they are not being currently traced in abundance in the forests here,” he said.

 Shah believed that cloning of the deer can be an equally effective process like breeding procedure done to improve their population.

Official data reveals that population of Hangul has reduced to from 5,000 to 182 in last 118 years.

Department of Wildlife’s data shows the population of Kashmiri Hangul in 1900 was 5,000, spread over 65 miles from north to east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab valley.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is also all set to declare it a ‘critically endangered’ species to protect this beautiful animal from disappearing from earth.

In 2012, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat. The healthy female goat was born using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique.

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Assembly polls in JK: EC to convene meeting today

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New Delhi, Apr 25: Election Commission of India (ECI) officials will meet on Friday to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government are also expected to attend the meeting to assess whether the state assembly elections can be conducted in June this year.

While announcing the seven-phase Lok Sabha election schedule on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said that elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly would not be conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections. In June 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had withdrawn support to the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti in the 87-member state assembly.

 

Since the fallout of the coalition government, the state has been under President’s rule.

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IT Dept searches premises of kin of ex-minister

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Apr 25: The Income Tax Department Thursday carried out searches at two premises of a kin of Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, for alleged tax evasion, officials said here.

They said the income tax officials, assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the CRPF, carried out the searches at a business complex in the upmarket Karan Nagar where locations of North Point Complex were searched by the tax personnel.

Later, a team was sent to search another premises of the family at Alamgiri Bazar in the downtown Srinagar.

 

The income tax officials maintained that Thursday’s raids were carried out on a business family and were in no way connected to Ansari, a politician who switched over to People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone.

Ansari’s sister is married to the family whose premises have been raided.

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