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KU gets Centre of Excellence for Glacial Studies



KU gets Centre of Excellence

Secretary DST e-inaugurates Rs 8-cr project; VC Prof Talat vows to fulfil CoE mandate

 BK News

Srinagar, Dec 4: In a move which could give a fillip to research promotion and development at the University of Kashmir, the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has awarded the varsity with an ambitious Centre of Excellence for Glacial Studies (CoEGS) in the Western Himalaya.

DST Secretary Prof Ashutosh Sharma Friday e-inaugurated the ambitious CoE, budgeted at approximately Rs 8-crore, to boost the glaciological research activities in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR).

The CoEGS at KU is among three Centers of Excellence awarded by the DST as part of its National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE). Two other CoEs have been set up at Sikkim and Tezpur universities.

The CoEGS aims to quantify the past, present, and future climate changes in the western Himalayan region, reconstruct the past glaciation in the western Himalaya, conduct climate change impact studies on glaciers and water in the western Himalaya, and, study the linkages and impacts of the depleting snow and glaciers on springs and lakes to suggest long-term strategies for sustainable development of springs and lakes in the region.

In his inaugural remarks, Prof Ashutosh said: “I am glad to see this level of interest and commitment because climate change is one of the greatest socio-economic challenges of the century, rather for all centuries, and for the entire future of mankind on planet Earth.”

“The fragile and diverse Himalayan ecosystem is highly susceptible to natural hazards that trigger concerns about current and potential climate change impacts, including abnormal floods, droughts, landslides, loss of biodiversity, threat to food, water, and energy security,” he said.

In recent times, the receding glaciers due to climate change have led to global concerns, he said, adding that any slight change in the Himalayan ecosystem can drastically impact and alter millions of lives and impact them in substantial and adverse ways.

“So with these CoEs, we have to ensure generation and exchange of knowledge, wisdom, and information that they bring, and share the best practices amongst institutions, and document the same to add value to the NMSHE,” he said.

In his special remarks on the occasion, KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Talat Ahmad thanked the DST for recognising the varsity’s strenuous efforts to become a part of the country’s research and development initiatives on matters of great societal and scientific importance.

“Having such important Centers of Excellence makes us not only develop greater research expertise in critical areas like climate change and glacial studies but also open the doors of our university for collaborative research activities and exchange programmes at the national and international level,” he said.

In his remarks, Prof S P Singh, Ex-VC, HNB University Garhwal and Chairman DST Climate Change Programme Committee appreciated the widely-acclaimed Glaciological and Climate Change research work and activities being done at the University of Kashmir and hoped that the knowledge outcome from the three CoEs would inform policy-making in the mountainous IHR.

Prof Shakeel A Romshoo, KU’s Dean of Research said the CoEGS will focus on studying the past climate at century to millennia-time scale, reconstruct the past and future glaciations, and also assess the impacts of changing climate on glaciers and other water resources in the mountainous state.

“Such data regarding the past climatic changes is expected to help improve our future predictions of the climate change in the IHR,” he said.

Prof Romshoo is the Principal Investigator of the CoEGS, even as its multi-disciplinary research team comprises four more scientists, all faculty members at the University, and 16 scientific staff, including post-doctoral fellows, involved in conducting the proposed studies.

Pertinently, the University of Kashmir has established the National Ice-core Lab for Himalayan glaciers, first of its kind in the country in 2015 for the reconstruction of the paleoclimate from Himalayan ice-cores archived therein. The proposed chronological studies would help in determining the past glacial dynamics especially the Last Glacial Maximum in the western Himalayas.

The CoEGS inaugural session was attended by top DST officials, including Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Head SPLICE-Climate Change Programme DST (in online mode), Dean Academic Affairs KU Prof Akbar Masood and Dean College Development Council Prof GM Sangmi, Registrar Dr Nisar A Mir and various other participants from JKUT and north-eastern universities/institutes (in online/offline modes).

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Current Affairs

Darakhshan Andrabi granted MoS status



Andrabi granted MoS Status

BK News

Srinagar: J&K Waqf Board Chairperson Dr Darakhshan Andrabi has been granted the status of Minister of State (MoS) by the J&K Government.

Andrabi was last month appointed as a member of J&K Waqf Board and later elected chairperson.

“Sanction is hereby accorded to the grant of status equivalent to Minister of State (MoS) in favour of Dr Darakhshan Andrabi, Chairperson, J&K Waqaf Board,” an order issued on Friday by the Principal Secretary, GAD, Manoj Dwivedi reads.

“The Hospitality & Protocol Department shall make necessary insertion in the J&K Warrant of Precedence with the approval of Competent Authority,” it added.

Andrabi recently facilitated a successful meeting between Kashmiri business leaders with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Andrabi is a national executive member of Bhartiya Janta Party and BJP state spokesperson for J&K.

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Kashmiri researcher to speak at UNGA Science Summit



Kashmiri researcher to speak at UNGA

Srinagar, Sept 21: Dr Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad, a Kashmir-born Innovation Researcher, has been invited to speak at UNGA76’s second Science Summit (United Nations General Assembly UNGA76).

The UNGA Science Summit’s goal is to “increase awareness of science’s significance and contribution to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.” It will showcase efforts that will serve as examples for global science systems and activities supporting the SDGs, notably in the areas of science infrastructure and capacity building.”

Dr Sheikh Fayaz, a Kupwara resident, has been asked to speak at a session on ‘South-South/North Science Capacity Building and Research Collaboration for Advancing the SDGs,’ which will take place on September 22, 2021.

UNGA76 is seen as a unique and prestigious forum for science and development scholars to demonstrate “how policy and political leadership can benefit from innovation”. The second edition of UNGA76, Science Summit, is organized by ISC around the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York in September 2021.

Dr Sheikh Fayaz is working as a full-time innovation researcher with the School of Management, Zhejiang University, one of the top public universities in China. He works on ‘secondary innovations’ and regional development. Sheikh Fayaz holds his M.Phil and PhD from the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-India.

Prior to joining Zhejiang University, Dr Fayaz was a Visiting Scholar at the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal, under European Commission’s Crossing Boundaries Project funded by Marie Curie Actions, International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (2014), School of Management, University of Bradford, England (Oct- Nov 2014) and University of Sussex, London and Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, England, (2017). He is also a member of the Globelics community and is an alumnus of various Globelics innovation academies held in Finland, Kenya and Brazil.

The other speakers for the science summit include some of the world’s leading development practitioners, researchers, scientists, and politicians from different parts of the world. Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, President, International Science Council, George Church from Harvard University Wyss Institute, Dr Magdalena Skipper, Editor in Chief, Nature, UK, Prof. Intisar Soghayroun Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sudan and Dr Marcia McNutt President, National Academy of Sciences, USA, joined the opening plenary session held on September 14, 2021.

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Sufi poetry collection ‘Ganji Asrar’ released



Sufi poetry ‘Ganji Asrar’

Srinagar: A collection of Sufi poetry, ‘Ganji Asrar’, authored by Musadiq Alam, was released on Tuesday at a cultural event in Tagore Hall here.
The event was organised by Angel’s Cultural Academy in association with the J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
The book is a poetry collection of the legendry Sufi poet, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Dar Shutloohi. Dar has served for more than 40 years at Darbari Kashani Shalimar.

‘Ganji Asrar’ has been published by Sultania Book Depot Maisuma and will be available at all leading book shops of J&K.

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