Daily Archives: March 27, 2012

Ex-Jyoti Vihar VC alleges plagiarism in PhD thesis

Former Sambalpur University  vice-chancellor  Arun Pujari has accused varsity students of reproducing the same thesis for obtaining PhD batch after batch by making minor changes only.

Enraged with the allegation of plagiarism, university teachers have taken up the matter with VC Bishnu Barik and resolved not to associate Pujari with any academic activities of the varsity. A citizens’  forum on Monday sent a memorandum to the chancellor and the chief vigilance commissioner, seeking an investigation into Pujari’s claim on his blog.
Pujari, who was the varsity VC from August 2008 to August 2011, in his blog www.sweekaarokti.blogspot.in posted a write-up ‘Plagiarism and Jyotivihar’ on March 10 alleging that he came across plagiarism in PhD thesis of the varsity frequently. “All the departments suffered from the disease…Life science, mathematics and chemistry. Thesis in history department on medicinal plant was a copy of another work in life science department. I felt helpless. I had other priorities,” Pujari wrote. “I had sufficient  proof for a thesis to get cancelled.. a clear example of plagiarism. I took view of the  Syndicate members none of whom were serious,” he added. Stating that teachers were party to the crime of plagiarism, Pujari wrote that a  professor published 10 research papers in 12 months, which is humanly impossible unless the  researcher copies those.

Sambalpur University Teachers’ Association (SUTA) condemned Pujari for the blog and described the allegations as baseless. “All the allegations are baseless. The PhD thesis goes through a very strict system of evaluation, including by external examiners not known to the guides. Thesis preparation is guided by stringent regulations,” said  SUTA adviser P C Mishra.
Regarding publishing 10 papers in 12 months by a professor,  Mishra said the person may have worked them over years. Just that they were published in the same year. “If Pujari came across anything wrong during his tenure he should have corrected it then as vice-chancellor instead of trying to ruin the university image now,” Mishra said.

Mishra said the SUTA on March 18 passed a  resolution not to involve Pujari in any future activities of the varsity. SUTA has also taken up the matter with the current VC, he added. Sambalpur Citizens’ Forum on Monday sent a memorandum to  governor M C Bhandare, who is chancellor of universities, besides the CVC and  director (vigilance), seeking an inquiry into Pujari’s charges.
The memorandum said a university stands for its good quality research work. By indulging in plagiarism, the persons/teachers have undermined the name and fame of the university. A proper inquiry should be done to unearth such a big scam in education sector, it said.
“Plagiarism is a crime. Jobs and promotions obtained on basis of such plagiarized research works and publications are illegal,” said Surendra Sahani, a signatory of the memorandum.

Despite attempts, Pujari was not available for comment. Current VC Barik, when contacted, said the matter of his predecessor’s blog was already discussed in different forums. “But I will not comment on his opinion made on an unofficial platform,” Barik said.

Sambalpur sizzles at over 40 degree Celsius

With the temperature crossing the 40-degree-Celsius mark in March, normal life – over the last few days – has become unbearable here and the adjoining areas. The streets are empty in the afternoon as people prefer staying indoors to avoid the unbearable heat. Even as environmentalists warn of the drastic effects of climatic change, local people put a lot of the blame on the rampant depletion of forests and the mindless industrialization.
“Last year the maximum temperature was 46 degree Celsius in Sambalpur. But, keeping in view the present weather condition, we apprehend the temperature will go higher this year. The government machinery at various levels should educate the people on how to survive in such drastic weather conditions,” environmentalist Rusi Patra said on Monday. He also asked the people to save forest and plant more trees to fight the situation.
Sambalpur was earlier surrounded by three hillocks – Pati-jungle,  Brookshill and  Budharaja – and the greenery around the town acted as a protector of its environment. With the rapid growth of the area and the ensuing encroachment of land under forests, the greenery began to be lost.
“Nature has kind enough to the town by giving natural protection. But we are destroying our protection by cutting the trees on the hillocks. Brookshill has already been converted into a concrete jungle. Now, a part of the Budharaja has also been destroyed,”  social activist  Anil Padhi said. He appealed to the people to come forward to protect Budharaja and asked the government to take stringent steps against the illegal occupants of the hills.
On the other hand, people also held the government responsible for the deteriorating situation as thousands of acres of forest land in the district has been given to private companies for industrialization. “The government should ask these companies to create new forests in-lieu of the forest land in their use,” social activist  Ranjan Panda said.

Odisha Government discusses ash disposal plans with NALCO

Appreciating the criticality of ash disposal from NALCO’s Captive Power Plant at Angul, Shri Debi Prasad Mishra, Minister of Forests & Environment, Govt. of Odisha, held a meeting with Shri B.L. Bagra, CMD, NALCO, on Monday evening.

Shri Mishra appraised the plans prepared by NALCO and advised to evacuate maximum quantity of ash from its existing ash ponds for utilization in low-lying areas and abandoned stone quarry voids. Besides, he suggested that pond ash could also be utilized in construction of roads, viz. Puri-Cuttack National Highway, Sambalpur-Manguli National Highway and Angul-Chhendipada-Budhapal State Highway. In this regard, the Minister assured NALCO the full support of the State Govt. to pursue the matter with National Highway Authority of India and Works Dept., Govt. of Odisha. The Minister also advised to expedite the construction of Ash Pond-4 and Lean Slurry Pipeline to evacuate ash into mine voids.

In turn, NALCO requested the State Govt. to grant permission for raising the level of ash pond dykes from 107 mtr. RL to 110 mtr. RL as per the technical design submitted by Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. However, the State Pollution Control Board, Odisha (SPCB) reiterated the stand of the Ash Pond Safety Committee restraining further increase in the dyke level. In this context, the Minister agreed to have a third opinion from any reputed IIT, to be referred by SPCB.

Finally, the Minister advised NALCO authorities to take care of the local needs of Angul-Talcher area and assured support of District Administration to maintain harmony.

Shri R.K. Singh, MLA, Angul, Shri Khageshwar Behera, MLA, Chhendipada, Shri R.K. Sharma, Principal Secretary, Dept. of Forests & Environment, Shri Dinesh Singh, Director-Environment, Shri Siddhanta Das, Member Secretary, State Pollution Control Board, Odisha were notably present in this meeting. On behalf of NALCO, Shri S.S. Mahapatra, Director (Production) and Shri K.S. Sreedhara, Executive Director (Production) accompanied Shri Bagra.

New Sainik Schools in Sambalpur

At present, there are twenty four Sainik Schools under the Ministry of Defence in the country.

Sainik Schools are established on receipt of a request from a State Government agreeing to provide land alongwith funds for the creation and maintenance of basic infrastructure, equipment and facilities besides scholarships for the cadets of the states. A Memorandum of Agreement is also required to be signed by the State Government to this effect.

As regards opening new Sainik Schools, proposals have been received from the State Governments of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh for setting up new Sainik Schools in Sambalpur, Sagar and Chittoor districts respectively. After site inspection by officers of the Ministry, ‘in principle’ approval has been accorded for setting up new Sainik Schools in these States. The State Governments have been requested to transfer the land, build up basic infrastructure and sign the Memorandums of Agreement.

This information was given by Minister of Defence Shri A.K. Antony in written reply to Shri Gopal Singh Shekhawat in Lok  Sabha today.