C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UGC plans speedy allocation of funds to varsities
Tribune News Service


*Four such meetings between the UGC and universities would be held all over the country

*All universities using their funds in the stipulated period would be given 20 per cent extra grant

*The UGC is considering giving fellowships to research scholars directly through banks

*A monitoring and review committee to be constituted to study the status of projects, their impact and utilisation of funds. 

Chandigarh, January 31
For speedy disposal of fund-allocation to universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) would set up a monitoring and review committee for all projects. This was announced by the Vice-Chairman of the UGC, Prof VN Raj Shekheran Pillai, during a meeting with Vice-chancellors of various universities and their representatives held at Panjab University here today.

Urging universities to exhaust their stipulated grants within the specified period, Prof Pillai, said the UGC would give 20 per cent more grant as incentive for the same.

“The universities are not utilising the grants sanctioned to them. Consequently, we are releasing lower grants and, in turn, getting less from the government to forward to the universities. This is a cycle which can be broken if the universities use the funds sanctioned to them in the given time period. It is now our collective responsibility,” he said.

Prof Pillai said the UGC was also considering the release of fellowships of university scholars through banks. “It is important that the students get the benefits of these scholarships which get delayed most of the time. However, it is too premature to be even talking about this experiment since it is still at the planning stage,” he claimed.

In yet another step towards being considerate to needs of universities, a scheme with more funds at its disposal for universities in “difficult terrain” would be tabled in the next meeting of the commission.

“Most of these universities, like those in the hills, have specific problems of their own. They need greater allocation of funds and certainly cannot be equated with those in the plains. We are alive to this problem and have formulated a scheme for them,” he added.

Stating that this was the first of the four meetings with vice-chancellors to be held all over the country to identify the problems faced by the universities, Prof Pillai said the idea of holding such sessions was to discuss issues of the universities pending with the UGC.

He informed the vice-chancellors that they could give in a status paper of all pending issues with the UGC, which would be dealt with on a war footing by their department concerned. “This would put the universities at ease and help in tackling important issues on a priority basis,” he informed.


UGC urged to relax rules on utilisation certificates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The problem of timely furnishing of utilisation certificates dominated the first-ever meeting between officials of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and vice- chancellors and representatives from as many as 40 universities of the north at the ICSSR Complex, Panjab University, here today.

The university authorities were sore over the fact that the UGC did not release the second grant unless it received the utilisation certificate of the first grant. They appealed to the UGC to relax the conditions for release of grants since payment of salaries and bearing overhead costs was dependent on these.

The Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University, Prof LR Verma, the Registrar of Kashmir University, Srinagar, Prof Meharajuddin, pointed out that they needed greater funds in their universities.

“The wear and tear of infrastructure is greater, we cannot have playfields in our universities, the costs of construction are almost double in comparison to plains and we need more hostels to adjust students who come from far-flung areas. The UGC must keep all that in mind while sanctioning our grant,” Prof Verma said.

The Vice-Chancellor of Indira Kala Sangeet University, Khairagarh, Prof Indrani Chakravorty, said the UGC had taken the meeting as an opportunity to tell them that there were objections on grants released to them 30 years back. “I have been VC for two terms. How can I answer for grants used 30 years back? I am sure we will have no record of the funds spent then. They are threatening to withhold our grants now for something that was not explained long back,” she rued.

The Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof KN Pathak, said the UGC had made no provision for the Campus Development Fund in its 10th plan. “New universities need this fund for building up their campuses, while old ones need it to maintain their campus. It should be provided for as has been the case in previous plans,” he added.

The Finance and Development Officer, Panjab University, Mr AR Bhandari, said that there was a wide gap between sanction of grant by the UGC and its release, which led to under-utilisation of funds.

The participants also urged the UGC officials to invite the Higher Education Secretaries and Finance Secretaries of governments to such interactions. The time-to-time amendments in the Career Advancement Scheme and their date of implementation also came up for discussion.


Geo-economics gaining importance in Subcontinent
Tribune News Service
Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi
Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi of  Department of Political Science, Panjab University, delivers a speech on ‘Geopolitics of Indo-Pakistan Relations’ in Chandigarh on Saturday.

Chandigarh, January 31
There was a need for India and Pakistan to work in unison in the changed world order. Study of geo-economics had become more important than study of geo-politics in the changed world order, said Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, Department of Political Science, Panjab University, here today. Dr Chaturvedi was speaking at a talk on ‘ Geopolitics of Indo-Pakistan relations’ organised by the local unit of the Association of British Scholars.

India and Pakistan needed to understand the importance of petroleum in the current world scenario. The West had reached a plateau of its oil supply while the Asian countries were still in the process of using a heavy quantity of oil. In this background the political history of the two countries needed an immediate reconsideration. He said that, “Excessive geopolitics was one of the reasons of Partition”, in the world order.

Dr Chaturvedi said that boundaries did exist between countries but factors like new roads, railway tracks and trade, oil pipelines and economic conditions would have a major role in shaping the future world.

He said Pakistan consciously incorporated hostility in its ‘cultural DNA’ to influence its young minds against India. Quoting a document of the Federal Ministry of Education, Pakistan, Dr Chaturvedi said it had asked students to “make speeches on ‘jehad’ and ‘shahadat’; be conscious of India’s evil designs; demonstrate respect for leaders of Pakistan; demonstrate by action a belief in the fear of Allah; and understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan.

Dr Chaturvedi was also critical of the criterion adopted for the Indian partition. “They (British) mapped India of their choice”, he added.


Education institutions go green
Ruchika M. Khanna

Education institutions in the city are going green. Creating awareness about environment, waste management, and optimum utilisation of non-renewable resources are as much a part of the curriculum as history, science or mathematics. Gone are the days when eco clubs or nature clubs in schools and colleges here were redundant bodies, where the teacher in charge of the club would hold a meeting at the beginning of the session and once a year take the student members out for a nature walk.

Mr Atul Khanna, Principal of Strawberry Fields, says “ Environment education was always an ignored subject of study, but no longer it remained so. We are inculcating a love for the nature in students from a very young age. Besides taking students for weekly nature walks, we teach them the basics like how to avoid wasting water, importance of trees, etc.”

Indeed, today's eco clubs are doing much more than what they used to do before. They believe in the preservation of environment. Vermicomposting, creating herbal gardens, banning polythene, planting saplings, duck weed biotechnology, using solar lamps or rain-water harvesting, removing weeds like congress grass and lantana are the activities being pursued by schools like DAV- 8, St Kabir, Shivalik Public School and colleges like GCG-11 and Dev Samaj College of Education. You name it and activities like these, and many more, are now being pursued by the green brigade in the schools and colleges. This is a far cry from the time when the eco clubs woke up only around World Environment Day and did nothing more than participate in “save environment” marches or ban the use of polythene on their premises.

Mr Ravinder Talwar, Principal of DAV-8, who along with Dr Vikas Kohli pioneered the Green Movement in the city schools, says “Since we both believed in giving back to the nature whatever we got from it, we embarked upon the idea of instilling a sense of respect for the environment amongst children. Thus we relaunched the Dayanand Eco Club in the school and now 200 student members are involved in a variety of activities.”

Thus the school now has solar lights; a successful rain water harvesting system; a drip irrigation system for its vast greens; a vermicompost project that is considered a model for other educational institutes; duck weed biotechnology pond; and an upcoming herbal garden. In fact, seeing the enthusiasm among the management of various educational institutions in preserving environment, the UT Administration has now decided to promote the setting up of mini herbal gardens in schools. TNS


Priyanka crowned Miss DAV-15
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 31
They got the taste of college even before passing their Class XII examinations. And for so many of them, the experience of sashaying down the ramp in the MCM DAV College auditorium was “simply great”. Little wonder, the outgoing students of Sector 15 DAV Model School were all smiles even though it was their farewell party.

The function was shifted to the college auditorium due to imprisoning rain. But the showers failed to dampen the spirits as girls came out in the open in their “festive best”.They adjusted their sarees after descending from cars in front of the college.

As they entered the hall, Class XI students presented skits and mono acting items, besides dancing to the beats of hit numbers. Priyanka Goswami was crowned Miss DAV, while Gurleen was declared first runners up. Neha Mahajan was adjudged second runners up. Supreet Sethi was crowned Miss Beautiful Hair. Sheenam was declared Miss Beautiful Costume.

Addressing the gathering, School Principal Rakesh Sachdeva asserted that being magnanimous human beings was as important as being learned students. Principal of Manali’s DAV School Reetinder Gurung was the chief guest.


Fun, glitz at freshers’ party
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 31
Fun and glitz marked the freshers’ party organised by students of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University (PU), at its Law Auditorium here yesterday.

The evening started with Saraswati vandana followed by a semi-classical dance, a skit, a parody, solo and group singing, bhangra and other western dance items presented by both seniors and freshers. The show concluded with a competition to select Mr Fresher and Ms Fresher.

Mr Ganesh Kumraj, chief of vaccine production, Panacea Biotec Ltd, was the chief guest on the occasion. Inaugurating the cultural evening, Mr Kumraj applauded PU’s initiative for introducing courses like micro electronics, bio-technology, tele communication and IT etc., which hold key to the future.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof B.S. Sohi, Director, UIET, said preparations for such cultural programmes provided an opportunity to the freshers to interact with their seniors and their classmates, besides helping in bringing out the hidden talent among them. Mr G.S. Sethi, Head, R&D, QUARK, Mohali, was the guest of honour.

After four rounds of Mr and Ms Freshers competition, Kartikeya Bahl was declared Mr Fresher, while Neha Mohindra won the Ms Fresher title.


Olympiad in physics, maths

Chandigarh, January 31
To encourage the spirit of excellence and to enable students of class XI to test their preparation for entrance examinations for engineering and medical careers, an Olympiad in physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology is being held on February 15, 2004 in Chandigarh. Those desirous of participating in the Olympiad may register themselves at 3104, Sector 35-D, Chandigarh, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. up to February 9, 2004. Handsome prizes and scholarships will be awarded on the basis of performance of participating students in the Olympiad. TNS


High Court
CAT jurisdiction limited to rules adherence

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was “limited to examine whether rules of natural justice had been observed by the department concerned in coming to conclusion against a delinquent officer”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held in a significant judgement.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by a post office employee, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, further ruled: “It is not the function of the tribunal or the court to examine the findings of the facts recorded by the inquiry officer as an appellate court”.

Janak Raj was earlier charge sheeted for the non-delivery or non-payment of two money orders, besides the non-delivery of 32 ordinary letters. After an inquiry, the charges were held to be proved. The petitioner was given due opportunity of hearing by the appellate authority. He, however, failed to provide any evidence to show that he had performed his duties in accordance with the law.

The matter was again examined by CAT. The tribunal observed that the applicant had himself admitted the non-delivery of the letters received by him in the branch office.

After hearing the arguments in the case, the Judges observed: “The tribunal has gone through the entire record and found sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that the applicant was guilty of the charges.... We are, therefore, unable to hold that CAT orders suffered from any illegal or error of jurisdiction”.

The Judges added: “It is not the function of the tribunal or the court to examine the findings of facts recorded by the inquiry officer as an appellate court. The tribunal has rightly observed that its jurisdiction was limited to examine whether the rules of natural justice were observed....”


Film Review
The innocence of ‘Paap’

Udita Goswami and John Abraham in "Paap"
Udita Goswami and John Abraham in “Paap”

Rama Sharma
Pooja Bhatt’s “Paap” exhales innocence of passion. Kaya (Udita Goswami) has been brought up in a quiet and disciplined environment of Spiti monasteries. She has been conditioned by her stern father (Mohan Agashe) to believe that denial is the only way to higher truth. The loving father wants his daughter to rise above the mundane and the worldly. The search for the eternal truth is the only bliss, he tells her.

However, Kaya’s heart wanders into territories common for a girl of her age. She yearns for love. Her repressed emotions keep on bubbling up.

Newcomer Udita doesn’t disappoint. She has a few lessons for the heroines. She is without any make-up or jewellery. Attired in long, flowing full-sleeved Tibetan gowns, she looks graceful. She portrays quite well the intense yearning for a man. But the face does not fully reflect her inner conflict. And she hardly speaks. Some dialogues would have injected life into the character.

John Abraham plays the beefcake role to the hilt. As an object of Kaya’s desire, he delivers well. Some of the best dialogues are reserved for him. And he rolls them up with enough passion. “The desire to be desireless is another desire,” he tells Kaya. There is a love scene which is sensuous minus the titillation.

However, the film falls short of expectations. The first half lacks pace. There are not many interesting scenes. The movie tends towards seriousness.

Some shots of the Spiti valley are breathtaking. The background music is soft and refreshing. Songs “Garaj baras sawan” and “Lagan laagi” sung by Pakistani singer Rahat Ali Khan are good.

Director Pooja Bhatt shows some innovative streaks. She has derived some sense out of interplay of passions against a Buddhist background.

Some of the Mahesh Bhatt’s dialogues are nuggets of wisdom. “A monastery is not for those escaping from life”. And the priceless advice of a lama to Kaya: “God fulfills the desires of those persons whom he wants to punish.”

The concept is seemingly inspired by Zen master Osho who gave the vision of a complete man — “Zorba-the Buddha”. — TNS


Spectators join artistes on stage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Members of the visiting performing art troupe from Re-union Island virtually recreated their cultural landscape by the spirited presentations they made at Makhan Shah Lobana auditorium in Sector 30 today. The group was here for a performance on an invitation from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Almost all music and dance sequences, that had been especially handpicked to portray the cultural richness of the Island, more than served their purpose. Not only did dancers and the musicians draw tremendous applause for their vibrant yet graceful movements on stage, they also managed to achieve a high level of audience participation. The most applauded form of dance was Sega, the popular dance of the Island.

By the end of the performance, that was made up of 14 special items drawing on the folk culture of the Island, apart from its costumes, and customs, almost all children gathered in the hall, had become a part of the performing troupe. The last presentation — a song dedicated to world peace — also had every visitor to the auditorium stand in reverence and support.

Cultural exchange in its true form was thus there for all to see when on a single request from the dancers, the exuberant kids rushed for the stage, falling in rhythm with the dancers and trying hard to match their pace. It was the African dance movements that the dancers and the children together presented for quite a while on stage tonight.

All other items focused on love and longing in the Re-union Island. The themes of musical presentations varied — from the lovers beckoning their women in the full-grown sugarcane fields to smiling pairs picking up ripe carrots for a special gourmet preparation.

Called Canne D’eau, the group was created in 1995 by Marie Paule Delltour, dedicated to preservation of the island’s tradition. The group combines various dance techniques to weave a web of loveliness. African movements dominate the style of these dancers, who have been able to keep their culture alive in the heart of France, where their small island is located.

The vocalists and instrumentalists included Isabelle Ladague, Jacky Noutousamy, Gerone Nisne, Frangois Megros, Rene Paul Velleyen, Keny Niacavere. The four dancers for the evening were arie Paule Deltour, Charly Turpin, Said M’Chinda and the African sdancer Gokilah Toinette, who has picked up the nuances of Bharatnatyam from Kalashetra.


Dog’s skin is the index of its health
Sandeep Kumar Rana

SKIN disease is a common problem in dogs and the condition of the skin can often tell you a great deal about your dog's general health and condition. Unlike the skin of people, your dog's skin is thinner and more sensitive to injury. It is thick and tough over the nose and feet pads and is thin and most susceptible to injury in the crease of groin and beneath the arms.

The growth of a dog's coat is controlled by number of factors. Some dogs by selective breeding, carry a more abundant or more stylish coat. Dog's hair grows in cycles. It grows for a short period, then rests. Then it dies and it sheds before the cycle begins again. The coat of the average dog takes about 130 days to grow, but there is wide variation within the breeds like Afghan Hound up to 18 months, thereafter it sheds.

Most dogs shed or blow their coats at least once a year. Bitches sometimes blow their coats after heat, during pregnancy or after nursing.

Some dogs have a double coat composed of a long outer coat of guard hair and an under coat of soft woolly hair. When double coat dog begins to shed, his appearance may be quite alarming and at first suggest a skin disease. This is because the inner coat is shed in a mosaic or patchy fashion giving rise to a moth eaten look. However, this is perfectly normal. Dogs don't shed their coats evenly or in waves. Shedding is influenced by changes in the surrounding light. The more exposure to light, the greater the shedding. This is why domestic dogs, exposed to long hours of artificial light, seem to shed excessively.

When shedding begins you should attempt to remove as such of the dead hair as possible by daily brushing or in some breeds with thick double coats by the bath which first loosens the dead hair and then make it easier to remove by thorough brushing. Dead hair next to the skin is irritating to the dog. It often leads to an itch scratch cycle which damages the skin and may cause further skin problems.

Brushing your dog for a few minutes each day will help to keep him free of problems of the skin and hair. Establish a routine and try to adhere to it. Make it a pleasurable experience. In puppy grooming, session should be relatively brief. When brushing your dog, use special care to see that any soft woolly hair behind the ears is completely brushed out. This is one area where lumps of fur form if neglected. If such lumps are present, use sharp scissors and carefully cut away from the skin into the fur ball in narrow strips, then tease these out with your fingers. Slide a comb under the mat and cut on top to avoid cutting skin. Cleaning of ears are also important, remove any foreign material if present. Trimming of nail, especially dew claw prevent unnecessary injury to skin.

Bathing a pet is important to keep him away from skin disease but over-bathing can remove natural oils which are essential to the health of his coat. It is difficult to lay down specific guidelines on bathing since this varies widely among the dogs with different coat types. In general, dog with undercoats, such as the German Shepherd are best bathed in spring and fall and at other times may be kept clean with dry shampoo and brushing.

Grooming, clipping of nails, cleaning the ears and proper bathing are few minute things which prevent your pet from any routine skin problems and maintain your pleasure to keep a pet.

Man's best friend

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. He is best companion of us who is alive and appeals, though it may be attractive to him or not. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness, as a best colleague. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintery wind blows, hot summer fires and snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that comes while encountering with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince in all hardship gods gave to him whether it is summer, winter or rain. He is the best friend. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through heavens. He undoubtedly enriches our lives and we would be very poor without him.


Don’t fall into the ‘cheap’ trap
Monica Sharma

Imported second-hand jackets for Rs 35! It may sound incredible, but it's true. If you visit the Sector 17 market plaza before lunch, you will find quite a few vendors selling such garments at throwaway prices. But do not take home the stuff, no matter how attractive the offer sounds, lest you pick up infections and allergies along with it.

Or, in case you find the bargain too good to resist, do not wear the apparel without washing it thoroughly. This is what dermatologists suggest.

If you still have any doubts about it, listen to what a city-based skin specialist, Dr Malika Sachdev, has to say in this regard. "If the clothes picked up at the sales are not properly washed prior to use, the wearer can suffer from skin infections." Giving details, the doctor warns: "Unwashed clothes can cause body lice and scabies. Even mites get transmitted from one person to another."

Also make sure that the garments you have picked up are of a good quality. "If the quality of the cloth is poor, you can have an allergy known as textile dermatitis," Dr Sachdev asserts, adding that this is caused when the skin comes in contact with clothes high in synthetic content. If you have purchased a jacket or any other garment and worn it without washing, then look for the telltale signs of infection and other related problems.

"It begins with itching, which may spread all over the body. It may lead to rashes. If you catch an infection, you may have to take medication for about 10 days," the doctor observes. The newly bought garments can also be kept in the sun for a day or two after washing them with a good detergent.

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