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IIT Madras Suicides Spark Outrage Among Student Groups Demanding Action

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IIT Madras Suicides Spark Outrage Among Student Groups Demanding Action
Photo:- ThePrint

Student groups both on and off the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) campus have been demanding action against continuing suicides at the institute. The recent death by suicide of Stephen Sunny, a 27-year-old research scholar from Maharashtra, and the attempted suicide by another student on the campus on February 13, have sparked a new wave of protests on the IIT-M campus.

According to students, little has been done by the institute’s administration to arrest the suicides on the campus. The premier institute in Chennai also witnessed massive protests in 2019 following the suicide of Fathima Latheef, a student who allegedly faced religious discrimination. Citing information received under Right to Information (RTI), students say IIT-M holds the dubious honor of having recorded the highest number of suicides in comparison to any other IIT in the country. In the last 10 years, IIT-M has reported 14 suicides on its campus.

The recent suicides at IIT-M have put a spotlight on the issue of mental health in educational institutions. Suicide rates among students are a growing concern across the world, and India is no exception. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, over 10,000 students in India have died by suicide in the past three years, with academic pressure being cited as one of the main reasons.

Experts say that the high-pressure environment of educational institutions, combined with other factors such as lack of social support, financial constraints, and pre-existing mental health issues, can contribute to suicidal tendencies in students. However, the stigma associated with mental health in India often prevents students from seeking help, further exacerbating the problem.

The recent suicides at IIT-M have led to calls for the institute’s administration to take concrete steps to address the issue of mental health on campus. Students are demanding the creation of a dedicated counseling center and the hiring of more mental health professionals to support students. They also want the institute to be more proactive in identifying students who may be at risk and providing them with the necessary support.

In response to the protests, the IIT-M administration has promised to take steps to address the issue of mental health on campus. In a statement, the institute said it would set up a mental health task force to review its existing counseling services and to recommend additional measures to support students.

The recent suicides at IIT-M and other educational institutions in India have highlighted the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to addressing the issue of mental health among students. Educational institutions must prioritize the mental health and well-being of their students and take proactive steps to provide them with the necessary support. Only then can we hope to stem the tide of student suicides and create a healthier and more supportive learning environment for our young people.

Karnataka

Karnataka Council Passes FAR Amendment Bill

Karnataka Council approves FAR Bill amidst uproar. Premium FAR capped at 0.4%, Transferable Development Rights at 0.6%.

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Karnataka Council Passes FAR Amendment Bill
(Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar | File Photo PTI )

The Legislative Council approved the bill enabling the sale and purchase of premium Floor Area Ratio (FAR) despite the BJP members staging a walkout during the session on Thursday.

Presented by Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, who oversees Bengaluru City Development, the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill 2024 received passage in the Council after its prior approval in the Assembly. This legislation permits developers to augment building floors by acquiring additional FAR through a fee payment equivalent to 40% of the guidance value, as sanctioned by local planning authorities. Furthermore, the bill sanctions the sale of FAR.

According to Shivakumar, the inclusion of premium FAR provision is anticipated to augment the revenues of local planning authorities, enabling investment in developmental endeavors. The premium FAR allotment is capped at 0.4%, with Transferable Development Rights limited to 0.6%.

The bill mandates that the proceeds from premium FAR fees be allocated towards land acquisition and the enhancement of basic amenities. Presently, FAR determination hinges on factors like road width, zoning regulations, and other pertinent parameters.

Expressing concerns, BJP MLCs cautioned against potential traffic congestion arising from the proliferation of buildings due to additional FAR. They proposed referring the matter to a select House committee for comprehensive deliberation, while some members advocated for an in-depth discussion before tabling the bill.

Shivakumar defended the legislation, asserting its simplification aimed at benefiting all stakeholders and bolstering the revenues of local planning authorities. He underscored that the previous BJP administration under Basavaraj Bommai had intentions to amend this law.

“We’ve introduced certain amendments to the law. Premium FAR has been operational in Mangaluru for some time now, generating approximately Rs 3,000 crore in additional revenue over the past six years. This amendment extends the same benefit to the entire state,” remarked Shivakumar.

However, BJP members opposed the bill and subsequently staged a walkout from the Council.

In addition, the Council ratified the BBMP Property Tax Amendment Bill, which previously received approval in the Assembly.

Shivakumar elucidated that the bill aimed to rectify an oversight from the previous government, which led to substantial penalties on property owners. He highlighted that the 15th Finance Commission stipulated the release of grants contingent upon property tax aligning with the guidance value, necessitating the introduction of this amendment bill.

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Karnataka

Forest personnel in Karnataka search for leopard, find dog

Forest officials in Rajarajeshwari Nagar were on high alert on Monday and Tuesday in response to reports of leopard sightings from concerned residents.

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Forest personnel in Karnataka search for leopard, find dog
(Representational Image)

Forest officials in Rajarajeshwari Nagar were on high alert on Monday and Tuesday in response to reports of leopard sightings from concerned residents. However, their efforts were met with an unexpected discovery. Despite the urgency of the calls, upon investigation, officials determined that the alleged leopard was, in fact, a dog.

Responding to multiple calls from RR Nagar residents who claimed to have seen a leopard in their vicinity on February 11 and later on February 19, forest personnel conducted a thorough search operation. However, their efforts yielded no evidence of a big cat prowling the area.

Even as some residents maintained night vigils in hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive creature, no leopard was sighted. The situation escalated when residents of a local apartment complex shared CCTV footage capturing an animal moving along the road, albeit unclearly.

With concerns mounting, residents promptly alerted forest authorities, presuming the creature to be a leopard. Forest officials mobilized their resources for a comprehensive search, only to discover that the supposed leopard was, in reality, a domestic dog.

The incident highlights the importance of accurate identification and prompt response in wildlife management, even in urban areas where encounters with wildlife are rare but not unheard of.

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Karnataka

Karnataka mandates state anthem for all schools

The Kannada & Culture Department reversed its decision, now mandating all schools to sing the state anthem. Confusion stemmed from a “printing mistake.

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Karnataka mandates state anthem for all schools
(Representative Image:tclnigerialtd)

The Kannada and Culture Department, which previously issued an order excluding private schools from singing the state anthem during assemblies, has now reversed its decision. In a new government order issued on Wednesday, it has been clarified that all schools, including private ones, should sing the state anthem. Kannada and Culture Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi attributed the confusion to a “printing mistake.”

The issue was brought up in the Assembly by Leader of Opposition R Ashoka, who questioned the initial order’s intention of excluding private schools from including the state anthem, “Jaya Bharatha Jananiya Thanujathe,” penned by Kuvempu, in their assemblies. He expressed bewilderment at why private schools were being excluded from the purview of the education department.

Ashoka criticized the officials for such decisions and expressed frustration with Minister Tangadagi’s apparent lack of control over them. The BJP state president BY Vijayendra demanded an apology from the state government, citing a recent attempt by an official from the Social Welfare Department to alter Kuvempu’s slogan in residential schools as another instance of disrespect towards the poet.

Senior BJP MLA Suresh Kumar emphasized the Kannada and Culture Department’s responsibility to safeguard the Kannada language and questioned the rationale behind such orders. Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao downplayed the issue, stating that it was a minor matter that has already been rectified, but his statement was met with condemnation from BJP members.

Tangadagi clarified that the confusion arose during the preparation of the government order, where the term “all schools” was inadvertently changed, leading to the exclusion of private schools. He termed it a “printing mistake” and assured that it has been rectified. Law Minister HK Patil acknowledged the lapse and promised action against those responsible for the error. The latest government order issued by the department now includes all schools, irrespective of their ownership status.

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