Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Every growing season, agronomists play a vital role in providing expertise and support for farmers. Once again this season, farmers can show their appreciation for their agronomic support teams during Agronomy Week to be celebrated April 2-6.Launched last year by the DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brands, the annual event takes place the first week of April to help farmers recognize the contributions of their agronomists, seed dealers and crop consultants who help them get the most out of every acre.Pete Uitenbroek, DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brand lead, notes that Agronomy Week was created as an industry-wide celebration.“We’re proud to promote recognition for agronomic team members throughout our industry,” he said. “These dedicated professionals work closely with farmers throughout the growing season, guiding key decision-making and monitoring crop performance to help them maximize their success.”During Agronomy Week, farmers, regardless of seed brand, can pay tribute to their agronomic team by nominating up to three individuals. U.S. farmers who submit nominations will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a daily prize as well as the grand prize — tickets to a NASCAR race for one farmer and up to three members of their agronomic support team.Farmers can nominate their agronomic professionals and enter the sweepstakes at AgronomyWeek.com or by posting the professionals’ names on the DEKALB Asgrow Facebook page or Twitter with #AgronomyWeek and #contest.Returning this season to help encourage farmer participation in Agronomy Week will be NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, who spoke with farmers about the event at the recent Commodity Classic show in Anaheim, California.“Growing up in Kansas, I have a great appreciation for farmers,” Bowyer said. “I’m honored to support such a worthy industry and excited to be part of Agronomy Week again.”Uitenbroek notes that in farming, like racing, an experienced support crew is essential for a strong start and winning performance. “We encourage all farmers to participate in Agronomy Week and help establish this celebration as a strong tradition throughout our industry.”
Saying that the historic 1818 battle of Bhima-Koregaon represented a watershed moment for the Dalit community in their struggle against caste prejudices, newly elected Gujarat Assembly legislator Jignesh Mevani on Sunday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governmentrepresented a ‘neo-Peshwai’ mentality.Mr. Mevani was among several notable progressive speakers who addressed a humongous congregation at the Elgaar Parishad at the historic Shaniwarwada to commemorate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon of January 1, 1818. As many as 500 soldiers of the untouchable Mahar community had fought alongside the English to defeat the forces of Peshwa Bajirao II in the battle.Lashing out against regional parochialism, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student activist Umer Khalid “apologised” for not delivering his address in Marathi. “Ours is not the xenophobic credo of the ‘Marathi Manoos’ but a celebration of plurality and diversity … forces are aware that the battle of ideas cannot be won by words and hence are resorting to bullets,” said Mr. Khalid.Relevance todayCommenting on the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Communist leader Govind Pansare, scholar M.M. Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh, Mr. Khalid said the Bhima-Koregaon bicentenary was not merely a commemoration of the struggle of the Mahar community against the Brahminical Peshwa rule, but had modern-day echoes in the ongoing fight of progressives against Hindutva forces.Radhika Vemula, the mother of the late research scholar Rohith Vemula, said, “The Bhima-Koregaon battle was a defining moment for the Dalit community. Today, the BJP government represents the ‘neo-Peshwai’ mentality … it is this mentality and their agents, be it ministers or legislators, who conspired to killed my son and persecute Dalit scholars like him.” Ms. Vemula said that people must take inspiration from the 1818 battle and form a joint front of progressives to combat the ‘new Peshwai tyranny’. Earlier, following much controversy over the event, the police eventually granted permission to organisers with several caveats, specifying that the programme would not include objectionable slogans, posters, banners or feature acts that would “hurt sentiments of members of any caste or religion”. The event had met with considerable opposition from Hindu outfits and pro-Brahmin groups.Groups from across StateThousands of people from more than 250 progressive social outfits, including several left-leaning, Ambedkarite groups across Maharashtra, participated in the event which was symbolically held at the Shaniwarwada fort, the erstwhile seat of Peshwa power. For Dalit activists and progressives, the narrative of the Bhima-Koregaon battle is emblematic in the ongoing struggle against caste oppression and Brahminical domination.The six-hour event, which began at 2 p.m., featured cultural programmes by groups like the Kabir Kala Manch. Later in the evening, the speakers joined lakhs from the Dalit community to visit the Koregaon Ranstambh (victory pillar), a memorial dedicated to the battle in the village of Bhima-Koregaon, 30 km from the city.
For the third consecutive phase, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a very poor turnout of 16.4% for the urban local body elections, with the Kashmir Valley registering the lowest of 3.5% on Saturday.“The Jammu division recorded 81.4% polling in Samba, while the Kashmir division witnessed average 3.5% polling. However, the Uri Municipal Committee recorded the highest turnout of 75.3%. The lowest of 1.8% was recorded in Srinagar,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shaleen Kabra said.The cumulative poll percentage in all the three phases till date is 41.9%, with 68.4% voting in Jammu division and just 6.7% in Kashmir division.In the third phase, 365 candidates were in the fray for 96 wards of eight civic bodies, spread across Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla and Jammu districts. The final phase is on October 16.The boycott by J&K’s main regional parties, National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), impacted these elections, as 49 wards remained uncontested. Separatists had also called for a boycott and issued a shutdown call, impacting the normal life.The impact was visible in volatile Anantnag’s Aishmuqam tehsil where out of 13 wards, eight remained uncontested. “Anantnag saw only 3.2% and Srinagar 1.8% turnout,” said an official.“It’s high time some people get off the moral high horse. Anybody who disagrees with the two regional parties is labelled a BJP puppet. The fact is both NC and PDP have been in alliance with the BJP before,” said Junaid Mattu, an independent candidate, who cast his vote at Srinagar’s Barazulla. Mr. Mattu quit the NC recently.The only positive turnout came from Kashmir Valley’s Uri, close to the Line of Control, where voters participation touched 75.3% . Women showed equal enthusiasm in the elections here. “Our area is backward. We voted with the hope this these civic bodies will address the issues of basic amenities,” said Asma Bi, a resident of Uri.Omar blames CentreNC vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah blamed the Centre’s handling of Kashmir for the poor turnout.“From the highest turnouts since 1987 in 2014 to the lowest turnouts ever recorded in 2018, why is the Modi government able to get away with its disastrous handing of Kashmir almost unquestioned?” Mr Omar Abdullah said.Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also asked the Centre “to read the writing on the wall”. “Instead of going for cosmetic and coercive measures to continue the status quo, it’s time Government of India to pay heed to the clear message emanating from the rejection of these elections. People want resolution of the dispute once for all,” said the Mirwaiz.Militant killedOne militant was killed and another injured in an operation in Pulwama, while a policeman was killed in his house by unknown gunmen in Baramulla.The police said Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Shabir Ahmed Dar alias Ahsan of Samboora Pampora was killed in an operation in Pulwama’s Babagund village. One critically injured militant, Showkat Nazir Dar, was admitted to a hospital. Police officials said Army soldier-turned-militant Zahoor Ahmed Thokar escaped from the spot.An AK-47 rifle and three magazines were recovered from the spot. Slain Dar was working for the LeT for the past three years. Hundreds participated in his funeral, sparking clashes in parts of Pulwama.In a separate incident in Baramulla’s Sopore, the police said militants on Friday night barged into the house of policeman Javeed Ahmad Lone and fired on him. “He received critical bullet injuries and was evacuated to nearby hospital for medical attention; however, he succumbed to his injuries,” said the police.Dar is survived by ailing mother, wife, five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.
In a suspected case of rape and murder, a teenage girl was found dead on the railway tracks in neighbouring Palwal two days ago, the police said on Tuesday. Based on the complaint of the girl’s father, a case of rape and murder has been registered against two minors. Both the juveniles in conflict with the law are on the run.The police said the post-mortem report was awaited to ascertain the cause of death and confirmation of rape. “The post-mortem was conducted on Monday, but the report is still awaited. The girl’s viscera has also been preserved and sent for further examination,” said Assistant Sub-Inspector Bhim Singh, posted at the Palwal Government Railway Police Post. The girl was found dead on the railway tracks on June 2 around 7.30 a.m.In a missing complaint filed at the Chand Hut police station on June 2, the family said the girl went out with the duo after she received a call on her phone in the early hours. While the girl left her own phone behind, she took along her father’s cell phone, which is also missing.Father’s allegationAfter the body was found, an FIR was registered at the GRP Palwal Police Post by the girl’s father alleging that his daughter was raped and murdered by the duo. The two have been named in the FIR.Mr. Singh said police teams have mounted raids at several places in search of the duo, but they were still at large. “The girl and the two boys are all school drop-outs and were known to each other. The girl’s father is a farmer,” he said.
Will it be safe for athletes and officials to go to Delhi? The Delhi Police’s security blueprint for the Commonwealth Games is sure to quell fears raised by a spate of reports in the foreign media that suggested athletes from several countries are considering pulling out of the event, fearing for their safety.Paramilitary personnel guard the Thyagaraj stadium.In terms of manpower and planning, the Game security plan surpasses the arrangements during the Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations in the Capital. More than 80,000 Delhi Police personnel, 17,500 paramilitary personnel, 3,000 commandos, 100 anti-sabotage teams, over 200 dogs and 15 bomb disposal squads will work day and night to ensure the safety of the more than 10,000 athletes and one-lakh foreign visitors expected in the city during the event.If a medal is what the athletes will aim for, the biggest achievement for Delhi Police officers will be an incident-free Games. Athletes, officials, dignitaries and foreign heads of states arriving in the Capital will be covered by a four-tier security cordon from the moment they step out of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).AIRPORT The parking lots around IGIA will be sanitised days before the Games and slots reserved for vehicles that will ferry athletes, officials and dignitaries to hotels.Each of these vehicles will be assigned an RFID (radio frequency identification tag) and their drivers issued with unique IDs. Anti-sabotage, commando and sniper teams will be deployed in and around the airport. A team of commandos will escort buses ferrying officials and athletes.advertisementBetween the airport and the Games Village, the Delhi Police will set up 15 posts. Armed guards stationed there will be ready to act in case of an eventuality.HOTELSCorridors and rooms of hotels that will host athletes and visitors will be sanitised and only verified hotel staff carrying ID cards provided by the Delhi Police will be allowed access. The hotels will have watch towers and access control. Even the food and water for athletes and officials will be first tasted by security personnel and food experts.VENUES The “impregnable security” plans of the Delhi Police get tested here. All persons except for state guests will get ‘park and ride’ facility at the first tier with only designated, pretagged vehicles allowed inside the outermost cordon manned by the traffic police.In the next cordon, spectators will be guided to their designated entry gates leading to seating galleries.The galleries will be under electronic surveillance with officers moving around in plainclothes.Snipers will be positioned on the rooftop of the stands.In the next cordon, security personnel will screen the barcode of tickets being carried by spectators, and keep photocopies of spectators’ ID and photos for record. VIP vehicles entering this zone will be checked for their special RFID tags and I-cards of the drivers verified. For the first time, licence plate scanners will be in use. There will be separate entry gates for athletes, Games officials, dignitaries and spectators.The entry gates where the RFID tags and vehicles will be checked will have boom barriers, tyre-killers and road blockers in place. In case any vehicle doesn’t comply with the mandatory RFID and other checks at the entry gates, all these gadgets will automatically activate.The exclusion zone, within 30m radius of the stadium, comes next. Here, even athletes will have to get off their vehicles and go through doorframe metal detectors, hand- held detectors and manual frisking. Baggage will be put through X-ray scanners.The X-ray scanners will have a memory back-up, saving images of 250 items last scanned.The zone will be CCTV-secured.Vehicle-mounted scanners called ‘mobile cargo container inspection equipment’ have also been hired to inspect cargo without opening containers. “This gadget can scan 20 containers in an hour,” a police officer said.GAMES VILLAGEThe Games village will have unprecedented security. “In fact, the steps beat the Parliamentary session arrangements in terms of checks and counterchecks put in place,” a police officer said. The place has a 3m-high perimeter wall with a 1.5m-high iron grill running over it. “But once inside athletes will feel free to move around,” the officer added.Only RFID-tagged vehicles driven by drivers with valid IDs will be allowed in. Tyre-busters and boom barriers will be installed at the entry gates. This apart, commandos, anti-sabotage teams and intelligence officials will be deployed in and around the complex.Each of the 574 vehicles assigned to ferry athletes to venues will undergo mechanical and anti-sabotage checks every morning.When athletes and officials staying at any of the nine designated hotels or Games Village venture outside the dedicated lanes, they will get a helicopter escort.advertisementOPEN EVENTSThe trickiest part of the security plan is to provide security for events such as marathon, cycling and walkathon, which passes through busy markets and residential areas. “We will not only put restrictions on movement of vehicles but even open telephone and electricity boxes and windows will be sealed for the duration of the event,” a police officer said. Snipers will be deployed along the route along with commandos.