Daily Archives: April 23, 2012

Lawyers ransack Collector’s Residential office

Sambalpur (Odisha), Apr 23 (PTI) Irate lawyers in Odisha’s Sambalpur district today allegedly chased the District Collector, abused her in filthy language and ransacked her residential office alleging highhandedness, police said. Collector Mrinalini Darswal and Sambalpur Bar Association president Pramod Kumar Rath lodged FIR and Counter FIR against each other at the Town Police Station here.

 “We have received three FIRs in this connection. While lawyers lodged an FIR, one each FIR has been made by the District Collector and the deputy sub-registrar (DSR), Sambalpur,” Western range DIG R P Koche told PTI.

The unpleasant incident took place over protest by the lawyers against increase in valuation of land in January. An argument also took place at the office of the DSR over the issue this morning. Subsequently, the advocates and the Collector had arguments over the issue during which the lawyers allegedly tried to confine her at a place and chased her hurling filthy abuses when she wanted to escape.

The irate lawyers then turned their ire on her residence and hurled stones, destroyed flower pots, furniture and electronics equipment. Revenue Divisional Commission K C Barik, DIG R.P. Koche rushed to the spot and resuced her. While Collector Darswal accused the lawyers of trying to manhandle her, hurling filthy abuses at her, damaging furniture at her residential offices, president of the district bar association Pramod Rath claimed the Collector was responsible for the “unfortunate” incident.


Lawyers ransack Collector's Residential office



More central funds to counter Naxals

With the increase in activities of Left-wing extremists (LWEs) in the State, more funds will be at the disposal of the Government to counter them. The Centre recently included four more districts from the State in the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had been demanding inclusion of Bargarh, Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts in the SRE scheme for the last two years. The districts will receive funds from 2012-13. With this out of the 30 districts, Odisha will receive SRE grant support for 19 districts this fiscal.? The State Government in the beginning of the financial year sends the Annual Action Plan (AAP) for the SRE districts. The Government makes a projection of expenditure to be taken up in various sectors in it.

 During 2010-11, the State Government submitted the AAP of ` 145 crore for 15 districts keeping in view the expenditure for erecting facilities for the five battalions of Central Para Military Forces (CPMFs) deployed in Koraput and Malkangiri districts.

The State Government drew up the AAP of ` 90 crore for 2011-12 and this year it has hiked funding for SRE districts to ` 127 crore.

These expenditures include fortifying police stations and outposts with fencing and boundary walls in Maoist-affected areas, erecting barracks for paramilitary forces, funding joint operations, expenditure on chopper, vehicle fuel, community policing, insurance expenditure and payment of ex gratia for civilians killed by the rebels. In the first phase, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal, Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Deogarh, Nayagarh, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj were in the SRE scheme. Centre has also included 16 more districts under the SRE all over the country. These include three districts in Jharkhand, four in Chhattisgarh, seven in Bihar and one in West Bengal.

While in other Central Plan, the Centre releases funds on production of utilisation certificates, SRE scheme funds are reimbursed on presentation of completion certificates.

Intellectuals demanded to convert GM College to a unitary university

The Gangadhar Meher (Autonomous) College, a premier educational institution of western Odisha organised a meeting for development of the institution.

The meeting was attended by academicians, intellectuals, former principals, students and former students, where participants demanded unanimously to convert the college to a unitary university.

A focus group was formed with people from all walks of life and also those who are interested in the development of the college. The group would make consolidated efforts for the development of the institution, said Gangadhar Meher college principal Prof Gangadhar Mishra. The members of the focus group proposed to upgrade the present autonomous college into a unitary university, Mishra added. The participants further discussed about other issues of the institution such as staff crunch, infrastructure development, camps beautification and maintenance of the buildings.

The contractual teacher system is a reason behind the deterioration of the educational standard of the institution, which needs to be abolished with immediate effect, said Dilip Panda, a former lecturer of the college.

The students also raised the problem of staff shortage and encroachment of the campus by outsiders. We are facing a lot of problems because of the shortage of teaching staff. We feel it proper to convert the college to unitary university. But at the same time, all other problems should also be solved. Particularly, vacancies in the teaching staff should be filled in on emergency basis, some students said.

Elephant electrocuted, power supply hit

An elephant was found dead near Dangapal village in Chuliakani Khesra forest under Bamra wildlife division, on Saturday night. Sources said the elephant got entangled in live wire after an electric pole it was rubbing its back against crashed. It died on the spot.

Villagers said suddenly power went off in the night and when they came out of their houses they found that an electric pole had collapsed. The dead elephant entangled in the live wire was lying near the pole.

DFO Sankarshana Behera rushed to the spot on Sunday morning and seized the carcass for autopsy. He said the elephant had strayed into the village looking for water. It was around 45 years old, he added.

Copying, fudging, plagiarism

EVEN from an early age in school copying and fudging were frowned upon, to say the least. What was referred to as tracing was also forbidden most of the time, tracing being the duplication of a map or other figure by following outlines seen through a sheet of translucent paper. Some clever students (I’m using this adjective rather pejoratively) would trace a figure, erase part of it and deliberately redraw the parts incorrectly in an effort to deceive. However an astute teacher would discover enough tracing whereby such students did not go unscathed (to use a word made popular by one of our politicians).We did not use the word plagiarism but the above are all forms of it.

Plagiarism has always been frowned upon and is a serious offence in academia incurring harsh penalties for students and academic staff alike. Universities have been beset by the issues of plagiarism and collusion and in more recent times have formulated strict guidelines on plagiarism, collusion and other forms of what is considered cheating. There have been several famous (or more appropriately infamous) cases of plagiarism, even among celebrated authors and other outstanding, even revered, figures in history. But it is only fairly recently that it has gained much greater prominence, particularly with the advent of the Internet.

A very prominent recent case of plagiarism was reported in March this year where Semmelweis University in Hungary revoked the doctorate of the country’s president, Pal Schmitt, after an investigation found that large parts of his 1992 thesis, based on the modern Olympics, were plagiarised.

Schmitt was Olympic fencing champion in 1968 and 1972 and was the head of the Hungarian Olympic Committee and a high ranking member of the International Olympic Committee as well as the European Parliament. There had been pressure for Schmitt to resign, naturally from the opposition party, but, as to be expected, from other quarters as well.

The investigating committee tried to soften the impact of the revocation, effectively absolving Schmitt of much blame by saying that the university was at fault for not being more vigilant. Schmitt had initially refused to step down, claiming, in true political denial, that he was vindicated by the university’s report. “I wrote my thesis to the best of my abilities. It was an honest piece of work,” Schmitt said. He continued, “I accept that I have been stripped of my diploma, but I complied with the rules of 20 years ago. To be honest I can see no link between the plagiarism affair and resigning”. However the pressure was too much and a few days later he resigned.

 In Germany last year, the Minister of Defence, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, had also resigned after his doctorate was revoked by the University of Bayreuth for plagiarism. There are cases of denial in universities.The former vice-chancellor of Sambalpur University in India alleged large-scale plagiarism in PhD theses in the university but was largely condemned by student and staff representatives for bringing the matter to the fore.

The Internet is a two-edged sword — it is a massive font of information and greatly facilitates research but it also provides an equally great temptation to the lazy and dishonest to steal ideas or at worst to simply cut and paste. Students and academic staff, particularly in tertiary institutions, are enjoined to declare their sources of ideas and other information in their writings by way of explicit references. Out of an abundance of caution, some even include conversations of significant relevance to the work. In journalism and other forms of communication the citation of sources in the manner of academic writing makes for tedious reading but out-and-out plagiarism is seen for what it is and is just as censurable.

Our academic evaluation systems tend to be so given to regurgitation that to many cutting and pasting is simply an extension of this trend. The standard examinations of two to three hours duration, including those at university, are based largely on regurgitation of well-known facts, concepts and application techniques.

In mass education with standard curricula, with the exigencies of time and other resources, among many other constraints, this is difficult to change radically, notwithstanding the best will and intentions of reformers. Despite the criticism of many, memorisation and regurgitation have their place in education but must not supplant independent and critical thinking.

 The latter approach should start from early childhood whereby the natural curiosity of children should be encouraged and nurtured by inculcation of an innovative spirit. This should be continued throughout the education system. Open-book tests and more open-ended problems had been measures instituted for acquisition of more creative problem-solving skills. Term papers and other projects are also designed to provide the opportunity for independent research and are therefore expected to engender the analytical and critical thinking that complement more rote-type learning and serve to complete the individual’s education. Dissertations and theses have similar objectives. Capstone projects are also geared to stimulate the creative juices as well as capture and synthesise knowledge and skills gained in compartmentalised delivery of specialised subject matter.

Over the years universities in particular have added increasingly more reports as assessment measures as opposed to conventional unseen written tests. However the trend towards such assessed coursework has created its own problems regarding the “ownership” of the work submitted. Term papers on every imaginable subject are available on the Internet for sale. On the flip side the very Internet also provides a ready means of detection through several software packages such as “Turnitin”, one of the most popular used by universities, which makes it more difficult for plagiarisers to go unscathed.