C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Musical extravaganza by Bhavan kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
An enthralling musical extravaganza, “Jasma Odhan”, depicting myriad nuances of social fabric ranging from the majestic and mighty to the poor and downtrodden, was staged by the students of Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, to mark the annual day celebrations at Tagore Theatre, here today.

The proceeds of the play would be used to fund education, books and uniforms of students of “Unchai”, a project of Bhavan Vidyalaya. The programme began with a multi-media presentation on Unchai made by the Principal, Ms Meenakshi Mohindra.

With dance and music as the medium, the play, set in medieval India, contemporary in essence, touched upon social issues, the most prominent being women empowerment in a male-dominated society.

The protagonist, Jasma, is an ‘apsara’ born in the Odh tribe of labourers of Gujarat. After being cursed by a sage, she is destined to marry dim-witted Rupa and later faces the wrath of an arrogant king, obsessed by the lust of her beauty and ends up wrecking havoc on innocent people.

From dialogues in Gujarati dialect to vibrant dances and melodious tunes, the team of 97 performers, seemed to have mastered it all in the play choreographed by Pandit Brijmohan. With two more shows slated for tomorrow, the school is staging the play with double caste for the main characters. The lead role of Jasma was played by Divya Dharmani and Jaspreet Kaur of Class XII and Xi respectively.

The show was inaugurated by the Governor of Punjab, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), who was all praise for the school being run for underprivileged children. He added that the school was fulfilling its founder, Mr K.N. Munshi’s vision of removing disparities in society.

The chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mr R.K. Saboo, said the aim of Bhavan Vidyalaya was to inculcate high moral values in its students and made lauded the efforts of the school in opening Unchai to cater to underprivileged children of society. To mark the end of the show, the entire cast of the folk play was introduced.


PTU Academic Council finalises exam schedule
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The 13th meeting of the Academic Council of PTU, Jalandhar was held at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran, yesterday. About 40 Academic Council members reviewed the academic performance and upliftment programme of the university.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Y.S. Rajan, vice-chancellor of the PTU. The university has established 10 regional centres for its M.Tech. courses for the improvement of the faculty of the college and education standards.

Academic Council finalised the examination schedule and academic calendar. It also reviewed the earlier action items.

The council decided to confer honoris causa degrees to some eminent technologists, engineers and academicians at a special convocation on December 2 to be presided over by the Chancellor, Justice O.P. Verma.


Scouts, Guides attend science workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
To popularise science, a workshop on the subject was organised by the local unit of the Hindustan Scouts and Guides in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, UT, at St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, here today.

A science exhibition with models on display, a declamation contest and skits and songs on science were a part of the workshop attended by 100 scouts and guides from local schools.

Inaugurating the workshop, the Director, Science and Technology, Mr Vivek Atray, emphasised the need to stick to the basic sciences. He answered queries of students varying from the use of technology to cell phones.

The project director of Science and Technology, Mr G.S. Bains, spoke on making safe drinking water available a fundamental right. The state secretary, Mr Ajay Choubey, gave an account of the activities of the Scouts and Guides in promoting the spirit of brotherhood.

The results of the science exhibition and declamation contest are as follows:

Best model: Davinder and Jatinder of MS Public School, Ram Darbar, consolation: Geeta Thapa of Merigold Public School, Mani Majra.

Declamation contest: Manju Anqrish and Radhima Sharma of St Stephen’s (1), Prabhjot of Jainendra Public School (2).


Youths take part in kar seva
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Garibdass (Kharar), November 26
Over 70 youth of Mullanpur-Garibdas village today participated in a kar-seva to level the ground opposite the S.M.L. P Government Senior Secondary School in the village. Members of the village panchayat also participated in the kar seva.

In the absence of a proper play ground, the school children and those from the village are forced to go to the neighbouring villages for their sports activities, said villagers.

Mr Lajpat Rai, Rajya Sabha, MP, had announced Rs 5 lakh from the MPLAD Fund for constructing a stadium in October, 2002. Sources said the money was sanctioned to the school authorities about six months ago but the construction work was yet to start. The Principal could not be contacted for comments.

The Youth, Welfare, Sports and the Health Club, Mullanpur, provided the funds required for the kar seva. “A JCB machine and a tractor was used to level the ground”, said Mr Arvind Puri, Chairman of the club and added, “The seva would continue in the coming days as the club has limited resources”. Mr Naib Singh, a former Sarpanch of the village, who also participated in the kar seva said the more earth would be required to level the ground.


College students pledge to eradicate dowry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
As per the orders of the state government to observe November 26 as anti-dowry day every year, students and staff members of Government College, Naraingarh, organised a function in this regard on the college campus today.

The students and the staff members (teaching and non-teaching) took an oath before the Principal of the college, Dr P.K. Aggarwal, to help eradicate the evil of dowry from society. Dr Aggarwal urged the students and the staff to spread awareness among their friends, relatives and acquaintances about the ill-effects of dowry practise.


Staff shortage hits studies
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
Studies at Government Elementary School in Phase V here are suffering due to the shortage of teachers. Ms Deep Kaur, Municipal Councillor of the area, said there were 150 students on the rolls of the school but it had only two teachers for five classes. Earlier, the institution had adequate staff. The problem arose when the Ropar District Education Officer transferred teachers from the school. She said the grievances of parents of the school had been brought to the notice of the Punjab Principal Secretary (Education) and also that of the Deputy Speaker and Kharar, MLA, Mr Birdevinder Singh, but to no avail.

The councillor said in the memorandum submitted to the MLA it had been pointed out that the building was also not being maintained and it should be handed over to the local Municipal Council for its proper upkeep.


Hamara School
A home away from home

Anee’s School, Sector-69, Mohali, is being run under the aegis of Aggarwal Educational Trust, an NGO committed to the task of quality education among the masses. The management comprises people of calibre in the field of education, medicine, law etc. who took over this daunting task with an unwavering commitment.

Spread over an area of 4,250 sq yard, the school has facilities for multimedia education, computer education, a mini-theater, provision for alternative learning classrooms, spacious play room, library, a splash pool and is in the process of developing a mini-zoo.

Regular outdoor activity within the spacious school campus and nature visits form an integral part of the school activity calendar. Learning through playway technique helps take the pressure away and the children consider the school a home away from home.

The school curriculum focuses a lot on extra curricular activities which form an integral part of personality development. From various inter-house activities to celebrations of all important festivals and sports activity etc, children are exposed to myriad experiences, so that they grow up to be stable individuals and prove an asset to society.

There is a lot of focus on individual attention in the classrooms. The rooms are aesthetically done and can accommodate only 18 children. With the teacher taught ratio of 1:18, the child is attended to as individual and not pressurised to achieve structured norms. Personalised care is ensured through an assistant to a teacher in each class. 


Child shouldn’t be deprived of his childhood

Being entrusted with the responsibilities of primary education is a colossal task for any one, be it the policy-makers, the educationist, practising teachers or the parents. All of us need to assume responsibilities ensuring that the child of today will grow up to be assets for the nation tomorrow. The word education is a very vast term and connotes different meanings to different people. Many parents that I have come across have an understandable anxiety but misplaced enthusiasm for accelerated achievement which hinders rather than helping the pace of development of the child.

Compulsions which expect to start the child as early as possible on academic instructions retards his growth by not letting his own creativity come to the fore. We may thus steer them all into one stereotyped pattern and not let their potential flourish. I wish to ensure that child is not deprived of his childhood in the name of education. Let him not become a robotic machine.

Rate of intellectual development is most rapid in the formative school years and let us all policy-makers, administrators, teachers and parents work together to see our children grow at a natural pace. We in our school are taking all possible measures to see that our students love coming to school and are enthusiastic about learning and not bogged down by preconceived notions of what the elders think education means.


Remand for one in illegal exchange case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 26
The police has approached the Spice Communications, a mobile phone service provider, to get details of 24 SIM cards seized from the illegal telephone exchange, which was unearthed in Sector 22 yesterday. The SIM cards were allegedly used to switch over calls originating from foreign countries to local subscribers.

In a letter to the Spice authorities, the police has asked for the number of calls and duration made from the SIM cards. A police official said the Spice had also been asked to provide all other relevant details like when the SIM cards were issued and to whom.

Based upon the information, the police would make an estimate of the losses caused by the illegal exchange to the government exchequer and international long distance operators (ILDOs).

Though the police is yet to ascertain from which countries the calls used to land up at the exchange, preliminary investigations have revealed that maximum calls were from the USA and Canada.

“The exchange operator was getting money from the telephone service provider abroad. In this case, the service providers were paying less than it would have to shell out if the calls had been routed through the licenced ILDOs”, said a police official.

Meanwhile, Mohinder Pal Saini, who was arrested by the police in this connection, was remanded in two days’ police custody by a local court.


Production warrant against O.P. Saini
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 26
The UT police today procured a production warrants against, Om Parkash Saini, who is alleged to be main suspect in the extortion racket busted by it. Meanwhile the four accused Satpal, Sanjeev, Anil Kumar and Ramniwas were remanded in police custody till November 28 by the UT Duty Magistrate. The police had sought police custody of the accused to take them to other places for recovery.

The UT police arrested two of the accused from near St Kabir School in Sector-26 on November 24 claiming that the accused along with others had been planning to commit a dacoity and kidnap the son of the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Golden Forest.


City FM’s ‘Drive on’ turns 100
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Rhythm’Z Infotainment’s “Radio Kaan laga ke” is all set to celebrate the success of its major programmes, especially the much-loved “Drive on”, which completes its 100th episode on Chandigarh FM tomorrow. Besides, another Chandigarh FM programme, titled “Health Beat”, will celebrate its golden jubilee tomorrow. Programmes being aired by other production houses are also generating good listener response.

Having launched three programmes of distinct flavours in the city in August, this year, “Radio Kaan laga ke” has come a long way since. Four months into business, “Drive On” has already achieved the distinction of being the first such programme brought to the listeners by a private production house to have hit a century. Its quality is reflected by the fact that it will complete 100 episodes tomorrow.

The success of both the programmes on FM can be attributed to a young and enthusiastic team of Rhythm’Z. The team has been working hard right since the launch of programmes to ensure national-level quality programmes while keeping the local flavours alive.

This is what some of the people associated with “Radio Kaan laga ke” have to say on its achievement:

Dr K.C. Dubey, Station Director, All India Radio, Chandigarh appreciates the programmes, saying, “The programmes are innovative and different from routine. They have drawn a tremendous response.”

Mr Bhupinder Singh, Programme Executive, All-India Radio, feels the FM channel has introduced a new trend in infotainment, which has been received very well by the masses. The same is evident from the response that the programmes are drawing from the listeners.

Mr Pradeep Sisodia, Director, Rhythm’Z Infotainment, adds: “We have tried to offer an unconventional way of advertising and FM has come a long way since it was introduced in Chandigarh. A notable shift has been noticed in the listenership of radio and these days, people prefer to listen to radio than to routine cassettes while driving. We are soon going to launch our channel at other AIR stations as well, including Jalandhar and Shimla.”

“Drive On” is a programme that deals with specific destinations in India and abroad. The programmes gives in-depth details about the chosen destination and inform the listeners of the ways to get there, the best time to visit it and the other details connected with the place. The programmes are also punched with many musical fillers, provided by radio jockeys Vaibhav, Megha, Manu, Piya, Reet and Puneeta.

‘Health Beat’ is based on health and fitness issues Rachna Aneja, a city-based dietician, conducts the programme.


New Transport City-Panchkula sky bus offered
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Benefits of sky metro

  • No traffic jams, no waiting.
  • Shareholders travel free while others pay just Rs 250 per month for unlimited travel.
  • Airconditioned comfort at up to 100 kmph speed.
  • Clean and comfortable cafes, business centres, restaurants on the sky top.

Can you dream of a pollution-free, fast and cheap transport from the Panchkula bus terminal to the railway station, bus stand in Sector 17, Chandigarh, and the PGI? Yes, you can. Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd, (KRCL), which has executed a historical railway project between Mumbai and Goa, is offering this technology here through its sky metro project.

The technology, which has been developed indigenously by the corporation’s engineering department in collaboration with 34 associate companies, is all set to revolutionise the mass rapid transport system (MRTS), once it becomes operational at Goa and other towns in the next few months. The technology is already in use in the USA and some European countries.

Says Mr M. Srinivas, Deputy General Manager (Projects), KRCL, “We are offering the safest, pollution-free and fastest transport service at an unbelievable price of up to Rs 30 crore per km. The technology has been fully tested and cleared by international quality control and financial agencies.”

If he is to be believed, the city residents could enjoy the ride of a sky bus within two years, at 50 paise per km, even cheaper than the local bus service of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking. Once the critical mass of required traffic is generated, one could travel from Panckula to the PGI with a ticket of Rs 6 or Rs 7. The CTU ticket between the two destinations costs Rs 10.

Since the sky bus would be run with electricity along the current routes through an elevated structure, there would be a lesser chance of accidents. Adds Mr Srinivas, “The buses would be air-conditioned and totally driverless. They would have all the safety measures through video cameras. There would be no need of demolition of structures or gardens, and would be simply run on roads with flyovers.”

The total cost of project would not be more than Rs 500 to Rs 600 crore for the 20 km-track, but it would solve the problem for at least two or three decades. About the funds for the project, he says, “The UT administration and Haryana Government could set up a company that could take a loan from financial institutions and even offer 150 shares of Rs 100 each per share at a total share value of Rs 15,000 to the residents.” Further, special environment tax could be imposed on car and two-wheeler owners to partially meet the cost of the project, he adds.


Home Decor
Romancing Rajasthan with jhoolas, jharokhas
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

A riot of colour brings the romance of Rajasthan to the Chanana house in Sector 6, Panchkula.

Encompassing the elements of light and air, this picture-perfect house shows the fusion of tradition and modernity. “I ensured that the house had a modern outlook, with its roots embedded in the Indian tradition,” says the lady of the house, Mrs Gauri Chanana.

Though a painter herself, and having a great sense of aesthetics, she gives full credit to her interior designer father, Mr S.K. Nagpal for doing up her home. Built on a one-kanal plot, with a covered area of 7500 square metres, the house is so designed that it looks much larger in area.

As one enters the house, one is awed by the rangoli patterns that adorn the floor of the lobby. With a jhoola and a traditional wooden carved kabootar ka chabootra as the main furniture in the lobby, the place looks life a collectors’ gallery. A palanquin has been put in one corner that serves as the pooja ghar, for keeping the idols of various gods and goddesses.

In fact, the owners’ love for Rajasthan is visible in each nook and corner of the house. Jharokhas made of wood, camel bone, silver and other metals with carvings can be seen everywhere. The Radha- Krishna jodi can be seen at various places, be it through paintings or through the various decoration pieces. The fact that it is a painter’s house is evident from the beautiful paintings, some self made, and others collected from numerous trips abroad, adorn the walls in most rooms.

But it is the exquisitely done drawing room and the living room that take your breath away. The drawing room has been divided and two sitting places have been created — one traditional (with Persian rugs, silver plated Louis XV couch, sofas, a parrot perched atop a branch and a silver jharokha) and the other modern with leather sofas, crystal artefacts (like a gold flake filled crystal horse bust, vases etc.). An exquisitely carved fireplace in green marble adds the English country home touch.

The dining area overlooks the drawing room, separated from the drawing room by a wooden cabinet. The basement of the house has a discotheque, besides a small seating arrangement. “We have left most of the space vacant so that the children have an open play space,” says Mrs Chanana.

The master bedroom has a four-poster double bed and barring two chairs, most of the space is left vacant. The children’s room too has more of space, with the beds and study tables being the only furniture items. One of the unique things about the dressing rooms is that instead of the regular almirahs, shelves have been created for storing clothes and the only almirah has a glass facade. 


It’s my life!
I design wearable dresses

I hail from Ambala cantonment. My great grandfather, Mr Jaswant Rai, has been a well-known educationist of the area and remained the Principal of a local college for years. We have a big joint family at Ambala. My father, uncle and many others are in the merchant navy. So they are away at the sea for long periods. But when they come home they are here for months together. My mother runs a small boutique at Ambala.

I have always been good at sketching and designing. After I did my matriculation, I appeared in a career test conducted by a local newspaper. They advised me to adopt fashion designing as career and here I am at the NIFD learning how to design clothes. My father raised no objection to my choice.

Fashion scene in India has changed over the past few years. A lot of western touch is being given to the traditional Indian dresses. Then there has also been an invasion of foreign brands. Everybody seems to buy and wear good brands.

The dress should be wearable. One should feel comfortable in it. Not everything which is seen on the TV, fashion shows and magazines is wearable. But these can be made wearable with a little change.

— As told to A.S. Prashar


City’s first multiplex opens tomorrow
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh’s first multiplex will be formally inaugurated by the Governor of Punjab and the Administrator of UT, Chandigarh, Justice O. P. Verma (retd), on Friday ushering in a whole new concept in mass entertainment.

Christened Fun Republic, the multiplex is the first such facility in this part of the country offering as many as four cinema houses under one roof together with restaurants, food courts, shopping stores, kid’s play area, including video games and music stores. The multiplex has blocked two Hindi movies, Shahrukh Khan-starrer, “Kal Ho Na Ho”, and Fardeen Khan’s latest offering, “Janasheen”, along with a Western movie, ‘S.W.A.T,’ for the launch of the complex.

Located at Mani Majra on the Chandigarh-Kalka highway, the multiplex has 40,000 sqft of shopping area. McDonald’s which is opening its first fast food restaurant in this part of the country after Doraha, near Ludhiana, occupies the pride of place at the multiplex. Workers at the huge project are working round the clock to finish the interiors before Friday.

According to Mr Atul Goel, CEO and Director of E-Entertainment Pvt Limited, the project is part of a chain of such multiplexes being set up by the Essel group across the country. Two such complexes are already operating in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The group also owns Zee TV besides Playwin Lotteries, Agrani Switches, Essel World and Water Kingdom. The project in Chandigarh is estimated to cost about Rs 15 crore and is set up in collaboration with the Dhillon group of companies which ran Dhillon theatre earlier at the same place.

The shopping area in the multiplex complex in Chandigarh has been able to attract some of the best brands in town. Besides MacDonalds, these include Pizza Hut, Levis, Dockers, Lilliput, Giny and Jony, Reebok, Rockport, Greg, Norman, Oleega, Café Coffeeday, Ethos, Planet M, Ruby Tuesday, Nzyme, Provogue, Numero Uno, Hangten, Fen Feng, Gwalias, Sagar Ratna and Tikk-a Express.

In a talk with TNS on Wednesday, Mr Goel urged the UT Administration to exempt multiplexes from entertainment tax. “In the neighbouring Punjab, the state government has already exempted multiplexes from entertainment tax. This should be done in Chandigarh also because that will ensure not only the viability of the project but also lead to the construction of many more such projects in the City Beautiful.”

He said a city like Ahmedabad had as many as 10 multiplexes because there was no entertainment tax there. Multiplexes in turn had led to a boom in the real estate business. All of this could happen in Chandigarh too.

Mr Goel said the UT Administration had been very helpful towards speedy completion of the project and he had been assured that his plea for the exemption of the multiplex from entertainment tax would be favourably considered.

Explaining the concept of multiplexes, he says, not long ago, cinema houses used to be big and majestic, offering up to 1400 seats. But with the arrival of the video and satellite TV, cinema houses have stopped pulling in crowds. Even big banner movies would not have a full house after the second or third week. A large number of cinema houses have either closed down or switched to other businesses.

It was then the concept of multiplexes offering four or more small theatres with 200 or 300 seats under one roof was evolved. A movie could be run in all theatres of the multiplex to begin with and then taken off gradually as and when it stopped pulling in the crowds. Alternatively, each theatre could screen another movie offering a wide choice to the visitors. A cluster of four or more small theatres together with a shopping mall offering a variety of facilities could be an unbeatable combination. It had already been tried out successfully abroad. It has been doing well so far wherever it has been tried out in the country. 


Sea Food
Fish rules palate in winter
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Fish bought well is half the battle won. Yes, going to the fish market or shop is no less than a crusade, with you battling the smell of sea fare that seems to attack you from a yard away. Any semblance of a good mood left takes a beating when confronted by the muscular fish man dripping in sweat slicing through the body of the aquatic fauna with the big butcher’s knife. Even hardcore regulars admit that they have yet to conquer the overwhelming stink. It’s only the drooling thought of the end product on your plate that takes one back to the shop.

And a visit to the Sector 21 fish market in Chandigarh reveals that there are a good number of white meat lovers in City Beautiful. The demand picks up with the onset of winters and continues till spring. The product is banned during June and July by the Administration — when you have to make do with the canned variety.

“The huge singhara machhi is the favourite pick of most of my customers,” says Mr Sunil Kumar of Atul Fish and Chicken Shop in Sector 21. It comes both from the sea off Mumbai and the rivers and nehars of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and costs around Rs 100 to Rs 120 per kg. If you want to fry pakoras or don’t like kanta in your curry, select the boneless singhara (actually it has one big toothlike bone that can be easily removed before cooking). The one with bones is for those who relish the meat that comes off the kanta.

“The other sought-after regional species are rohu, katla, mali and sole as they are reasonably priced in the range of Rs 50 to Rs 70 per kg,” says Mr Ved Parkash Burgujar of Rajinder Fish Center, Sector 7. While those preferring seafood go in for pomfrets, prawns, betki, hinsa and surmai. These are transported from Mumbai in ice boxes and kept fresh on ice. The prawns with their high price tag of Rs 200 to Rs 600 per kg are usually reserved for special occasions and you may even have to place an order for them.

Even as government officials keep checking the shops for cleanliness and quality, most fish sellers maintain that since it is a fast selling commodity, the stocks are not stale. They are kept in good condition blocks of ice or deep freezers. While there are fish shops in Sectors 31, 47 and a couple of others, the fish stalls that spring up in Bapu Dham Colony every evening (illegally) also attract a number of customers, especially of the economically weaker sections. Fish caught from nearby fish ponds and farms are spread out on wet tarpaulin sheets, with some still struggling for breath.

Select right

  • A good buy is likely to result in a treat on the platter. While a bad one, much like its fetid smell, will in all probability end up with you crying foul. So, select right:
  • Press the fleshy part of the fish with a finger and remove the finger. If it feels soft and leaves a dimple, leave it you are fishing in troubled waters as it is stale. A straight, hard fish is fresh.
  • Check under the gills. Go for it if the colour is red or pink. Discard if it has had a sea change and turned blackish. 


The oldest shop of the city

“We have grown with Chandigarh,” says Mr Ved Parkash Burgujar of Rajinder Fish Center in the inside market of Sector 7. His grandfather, Seth Nathu Ram Burgujar, bought this small booth for peanuts way back in 1953 to start a meat shop. His father and uncles not only continued with the business, but also expanded it to newer sectors as City Beautiful expanded. Now, the third generation is at it. The family has opened shops in Sectors 31 and 47, too. They have been witness to the structural changes — everything is cleaner, pucca and concrete now. No more kutcha verandahs or corridors with dust flying around.

But, the taste and preference of fish lovers remains the same, he informs. It was singhara, pomfrets, rohu, surmai, hinsa, sole and sole then. Ditto, today. And they come from the same rivers of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and sea off Mumbai. The only difference, Mr Burgujar rues, is that the size of the fish has reduced. The fishermen bring anything that is caught in their net and it is sold too as demand exceeds supply with the population of UT multiplying manifold. In the good old days, the small catch was let go of in the waters.

His booth, with Italian tiles, is a far cry from the original modest structure. The business is booming with the firm supplying fish to Citco, Punjab Bhavan and city hotels, besides individual regular customers. But he wishes the Administration should allot big shops for their trade and not small booths where customers don’t have much place to stand and select.


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