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IIT Delhi to hold own entrance exam

New Delhi: Following in the footsteps of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, the Senate body of IIT Delhi has rejected the new IIT entrance exam format announced by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal on May 28. The Senate, comprising of 200 faculty members, unanimously rejected his proposal yesterday.

 "We have rejected the proposal by the HRD Ministry. In the coming year, we will continue with the current entrance format and from 2014 we will hold our own entrance test like IIT Kanpur," said Sanajeev Sanghi, a Senate member and the President of the IIT faculty forum.

Sources have told NDTV that after Kanpur and Delhi, IIT Bombay and Kharagpur are also likely to follow suit and hold their own entrance exams. IIT Bombay Senate is expected to hold a meeting on this on July 6, sources add.

IIT Delhi Senate's strong stance comes in the midst of talks of a softening of stance by the ministry, following the meeting of the All India Faculty Federation of the IITs with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week. The Prime Minister is said to have conveyed to them that the autonomy of the IITs will be upheld. But on Wednesday, the minister hit out at the dissenting bodies saying if the IITs have a better idea, he was open to it.

"The changing of stance is hugely worrying. We are confused and angry with what the minister is doing" said Professor AK Mittal, the Secretary of the All India Faculty Forum.

The news of the IITs declaring their own entrance tests isn't going down well with IIT aspirants. "How should we react to it? Each IIT will hold their exam and we will have to take so many then. I also suspect the topper in Delhi will also be the topper in Kanpur. Then what happens. I may not stand a chance in that case," said Swati, a worried student, preparing for the IIT JEE just months away.

"This is just not acceptable. How can they inform us about the change in pattern when the exams are six months away? Now we need to prepare for both," said an anxious Class XII student Kanupriya. She now has to study for her boards as well as the IIT entrance test. "The minister said the exam is going to relieve us of stress. But this is double the stress. We have two exams," said Pramesha, another student spending close to eight hours a day on her IIT-JEE preps.

While students worry about studying for both their boards and the entrance test, the big question is will there be a domino effect with other IIT Senates taking the same stand as IIT Kanpur and now Delhi? "We do believe so. IIT Bombay is likely to join hands with us," said AK Mittal.

On May 28, the HRD Ministry had announced a new format for all centrally-funded engineering colleges, including the 15 IITs and all the National Institutes of Technology (NITs). As per the proposal, equal weightage will to be given to marks obtained in the Class XII examinations and those of the entrance tests. Engineering colleges will use a 40:30:30 formulas - with Class XII board results counting for 40 per cent, and the two stages of the entrance exam counting for 30 per cent each. The new entrance format, meant to kick in from 2013, also combined both the main test and the advance test to a single day.

 

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Maha fire: Crime Branch to begin probe

 

Mumbai: Fire fighters worked all through the night and finally managed to put out the massive Mumbai Mantralaya or secretariat fire in the early hours today - over 12 hours after it broke out. But by then, three people had lost their lives and at least eight other were injured.

Mumbai Police has registered an accidental death case. The Crime Branch of the city will begin an inquiry today to ascertain the cause of the blaze. Forensic experts will also inspect the premises. The cause is suspected to be a short circuit, but sabotage will be investigated as well, routine for an inquiry of this kind.

A senior fire brigade officer said this morning that while the flames have been doused, the cooling operation will continue for next two days. A special meeting of the Maharashtra cabinet will be held today to review the situation in the aftermath of the fire.

At least three floors of the Mantralaya, the government's headquarters, have been charred and soot marks have ruined the building's facade. But following their daily routine, Mantralaya officials hoisted the national flag on top of the building this morning. Yesterday, when the fire was raging on, the staff was seen folding the flag.

The massive fire began at about 2.45 pm on Thursday on the fourth floor of the Mantralaya. It spread quickly to engulf the fifth, and the sixth floors of the seven-storey building. Nearly 5,000 people were inside the building when the fire began. Some said it took more than 30 minutes after a phone call for fire engines to arrive. 

To battle the fire, more than 20 fire engines were parked at the building. On cranes, and via ladders and ropes, they rescued nearly 65 people trapped inside the building. The rest of the building was empty by now. Naval helicopters joined the rescue operations. The Navy sent a message through the media that those trapped inside should climb to the roof if they could, so that they could be airlifted. Vans equipped with oxygen tanks were rushed to the site from the nearby hospital for those who were emerging, their lungs full of smoke.

 

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HC says block links, not websites

  NEW DELHI: If you are sick and tired of your internet service provider frequently blocking some popular websites, you can relax now. The Madras high court has ruled that its April 25 order against internet piracy should not be used to block the entire website; only specific web links should be blocked.

On an appeal filed by a group of internet service providers, the court in a June 15 order clarified that the content owners should give ISPs the specific web links through which the copyrighted material was being shared so that the ISPs could block them. Following the HC order, most of the websites blocked by ISPs, except Pirate bay, have become accessible again.

In recent months, there has been a spurt in John Doe orders orders against unnamed entities in India. Film producers have gone to various courts and obtained such orders against those who might pirate their films. This has invariably happened a day or two before the release of the film. Armed with these orders, film producers have prevailed upon ISPs to block entire websites, leading to resentment among web users and a wave of protests by net activists.

The high court's June 15 order came after its April 25 John Doe order led to ISPs blocking several websites, including Vimeo. The move was severely criticized by internet users in India, who blamed ISPs for the inconvenience caused to them. The blocking of websites also prompted Anonymous, a hacker collective, to raise concerns over what it perceived as web censorship. Anonymous attacked several government websites in protest and even organized real-world protests in several cities.

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