C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Schools ask students to delete Facebook accounts
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Taking a cue from the recent incident at Vivek High School, Sector 38 here, many government and private schools have joined hands to curb the social networking menace prevalent among students.

Sources say several city schools have asked students to delete their online social networking accounts and discontinue school communities, failing which action would be initiated against them.

The schools have also prepared an advisory for the parents to ensure that the Internet and, specifically, the social networking sites don’t end up being misused.

“All these schools will not only be counselling the students but also send an advisory to parents on Monday. We accept that social networking is an indispensable part in students’ life today, but it has to be dealt with caution. We just want parents to be more vigilant and cautious and ensure that the child is exposed to online life at the right age and for right purpose,” said DS Bedi, director, Shivalik Public School.

Sixteen class XII students of Vivek High School were suspended for three months for posting obscene and abusive comments about a female teacher on social networking site Facebook.

“Students today are emotionally choked and these sites are providing them an outlet, which is often misused. It is not just about abusing or obscenity, but also about the safety of students, who become vulnerable to many unwanted elements. Parents are the best to keep a check on the misuse of the Internet,” added DPI (S) PK Sharma.

According to Madhu Bahal, principal, KBDAV, Sector 7, the only way to check the menace is a collaborative effort between parents and schools.

“We need to join hands to deal with deteriorating attitudes and values among children. They are born in online age but parents should ensure that these sites are not misused. On our part, the school does not allow such activity, but a similar restraint needs to be exercised at home,” says Bahal.

Students infuriated, parents confused

“We have a life beyond school also and the authorities have no right to poke their nose into it. Our teacher asked us to withdraw all our networking accounts today. Until I am abusing anybody, it shouldn’t matter that I have an account at age of 13 or 3,” said a student of St John’s High school. The principal Kavita Dass, however, claimed to have issued no such instruction. The parents, meanwhile, are left confused, as according to the president of a Sector 26-based parents’ association, “Children say that they need Internet and social networking sites to keep pace with times. We read about the news on Vivek but when we asked the children to withdraw their accounts, they refused doing so and sulked the entire day. The school, on other hand, is asking us to keep children away from these sites. What do we do?”


l A student below the age of 16 should preferably be discouraged from indulging in social networking

l Parents need to keep surveillance on friends and contents of their ward’s networking accounts till the age of 18

l Ensure that a child doesn’t misuse the Internet on the plea of doing school projects

l Limit the number of hours spent by a child on Internet

l Keep a tab on websites being visited

l Install a firewall to bar unwanted web pages

l Avoid buying mobiles for a student below class XII

l In case of urgency, ensure that it is not a Hi-Fi set with Internet-enabled features

l Children should not be allowed to carry cell phones to school under any circumstances

Symptoms of social networking addiction

l Urge to remain continuously online

l Anxiety when unable to access networking accounts

l Posting hourly updates at times in status messages

l Revealing deep-seated emotions of pain, joy etc on the accounts

l Sticking to the computer and decreasing face-to-face interaction with parents and friends

l Disturbed food and sleep patterns

Social networking has become an addiction these days. Many students lie about their age while registering on these sites. Everything right from anger, joy, pain, break-up and even suicidal thoughts are posted online. Every second, the status message changes wherein children update their details. Many parents approach with the complaint of children getting overanxious to check online accounts. The only way to deal with it is increasing interaction with them and lending emotional comfort. — Dr Adarsh Kohliof the PGI

When contacted, officials of the cyber crime unit in Chandigarh expressed ignorance about the Vivek incident and asserted that nothing could be said or done without a formal complaint being lodged by the school or the teacher concerned



Sensory Park sans aids for visually challenged
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The country’s first Sensory Park, located in Sector 26 here and designed for the visually challenged, has not come up as per the plan. Reason: The municipal corporation, after spending Rs 10 lakh on half acre land, has offered nothing more than a routine green belt developed in any other sector of the city.

The idea behind visualising this park was to develop an amusement park designed in a classic style and decorated with various exciting playing machines and fun places, besides fantasy land, dream garden and adventure land. It was also proposed that several aromatic plants would be planted in the park, the details of which will be provided in the Braille language to benefit the visually impaired in gaining knowledge about the flora and fauna through sense of touch, taste and sound.

Even the proposal about the Bird’s Corner was approved, where blind children could be acquainted with the shape of artificial birds and their sounds to know about the species of the birds.

During a visit to the park with a few visually challenged students, it was found that nothing special has been installed in the park. No sensors had been installed by the authorities to guide the blind about the path in the park. Even at the entrance to the park, a revolving grill has been installed due to which a majority of students are not able to locate its entry.

In the name of special flowers, only routine flowers have been planted, which have no fragrance to help the blind to know the variety.

Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Chief Engineer SS Bidda is, meanwhile, unaware about the allocation of more funds for this park and for re-developing it.

He said the department, at present, had no plan to re-develop or install anything new in it.

It may be mentioned that the MC faced several stumbling blocks, as the project site was earlier earmarked for an electricity sub-station.

Park’s History

In December 2008, the foundation stone of this park was laid, for which a budget of Rs 10 lakh was allocated. The horticulture department of the MC developed it and UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas inaugurated it in 2009. Even Pawan Bansal, local MP and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources had also given Rs 3 lakh from the MPLAD fund for the development of the park. An additional amount of Rs 50 lakh was approved by the MC last year to re-develop the park on the lines of a Bangkok park 



Electoral List
UT poll body invites objections from residents
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
If for some reason your name doesn’t figure in the latest electoral rolls survey, which was carried out recently, here is your chance to get it included, courtesy the UT Election Department.

Following the erroneous deletion of names of over 40,000 residents of the city from the revised electoral rolls recently, the UT Election Department has invited objections from residents pertaining to the same.

The revised electoral rolls were released last month wherein close to 45,000 residents names were found missing. To make up for the loss, the department has invited objections from the residents between October 30 and November 23.

The department has stated that all those whose names are missing from the electoral rolls and even those whose voter I-cards carry incorrect information or those who have shifted their residences can approach them.

It must be mentioned that the Election Department had released the revised electoral rolls in September. As per the rolls, the number of voters went down by almost 45,000 compared to the last revision.

During the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, there were almost 5.22-lakh registered voters. At the same time, these elections witnessed numerous complaints from the residents regarding missing names from the voters list. Some of the residents whose names did not figure in the list even had voter I-cards. This happened despite the Election Department claiming that their staff went door-to door for details.

Before the 2009 elections, the rolls were revised and the number of registered voters was close to 5.22 lakh.The recent revision of electoral rolls has brought down the number by over 45,000. The revised list is expected in January.

It must be added that political parties and NGOs in the city keep taking up campaigns to make people aware about getting their voter ID-cards made and casting their vote from time to time.

The Election Department officials said that a large number of names had been deleted as people had shifted homes and many of these were not at home even after the staff went repeatedly. 


Anti-encroachment drive
50 shopkeepers challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
An anti-encroachment drive was carried out at Sadar and Rehri Market, Sector 19, here today. Fifty shopkeepers were challenged during the drive, which was held under the supervision of Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach, inspector KD Sharma and Kashmira Singh, along with the MC’s enforcement staff.

The enforcement staff cleared the passage, where shopkeepers had kept clothes and other stuff.

In another drive, the enforcement staff seized five cars and challaned 10 shopkeepers in Burail Kabari Market this afternoon.

The Additional Commissioner said similar drives would be carried out in future also.



Governor calls for preserving wildlife 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Presiding over the valedictory function of the Wildlife Week-2010 at Kansal Forests in Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil called for harmonious integration of wildlife preservation and promotion with forest and garden culture.

He said the administration was in the process of setting up of a butterfly park where more than 40 verities of butterflies will be visible. The administration, for the first time, is going to conduct the wildlife census in the sanctuary to ascertain the variety, variability, species, richness of fauna and their habitat to ensure better and scientific management of the sanctuary in future, he added.

On the occasion, the Chandigarh administration, in association with the Department of Posts, Government of India, is releasing a special cover depicting the state bird of Chandigarh - the Indian grey hornbill. The administration is also releasing a poster consisting of the state flower, the state tree, the state bird and animal of Chandigarh, he added.

Congratulating prize-winners of various events organised during the wildlife week, the Administrator asked officials to periodically identify violations and encroachment on reserve forest areas and government land occupied by individuals under the guise of promoting environmental heritage in the UT, Chandigarh.

Conservator of Forests Santosh Kumar gave a detailed account of the steps being taken by the administration for the preservation of forests and wildlife and educating people about the need of preserving and promoting flora and fauna.



Wildlife week concludes
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 9
The week-long wildlife week celebrations at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir, concluded here today.

Punjab Chief Wildlife Warden Gurbaz Singh was the chief guest. Besides, forest conservator SS Bhatti and other zoo officials were present.

The function started with the inauguration of sample sign boards of the Rural Tourism Scheme by the chief guest. The photo exhibition was also organised.

Later, Gurbaz Singh honoured the winners of various competitions. NGOs and volunteers were also honoured.

Chhatbir Zoo director Churchil Kumar said a private telecommunication company had adopted the entire lion safari, four leopards and a jaguar.

He said the company will bear the expenses, including diet, expenses of the adopted animals on annual and semi-annual and monthly basis.

“We are planning to give special ticket discounts to schoolchildren and will also provide more facilities to visitors,” the zoo director added.



MC tries to ‘encroach’ village land
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 9
Residents of Nabha village alleged that the Zirakpur municipal council yesterday tried to encroach upon the common village land. They claimed that they had stay orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to villagers, the enforcement wing of the council had reached the village along with a JCB machine. Before the enforcement wing could start the “encroachment” on a piece of land, a group of villagers raised slogans against the council.

The residents of the village had filed a petition in the high court regarding the common land and they got the stay order copy on October 5, said a resident of Nabha. 



46,000 throng Mansa Devi temple

Panchkula, October 9
About 46,000 devotees paid obeisance to Goddess Mansa. Cash worth Rs 9.46 lakh was collected as offerings, besides 25 silver ornaments were offered by the devotees on the second day of the nine-day Navratra.

Haryana Governor Jagannath Paharia and his wife Shati Paharia also paid obeisance at the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine and performed a yajna here today.

Senior officers of the district administration, including DC Ashima Brar, Additional DC Sanjeev Verma, SDM Kalson and City Magistrate Rajesh Jogpal were present. — TNS



Lavani dance casts spell
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, October 9
The Raghuveer Khedakar Kantabai Starker troupe captivated audience during the ongoing CSNA festival of traditions at Randhawa auditorium.

Sensing response of audience, actors interspersed their chaste Marathi dialogue with Hindi, but with Marathi accent much to the delight of theatre buffs.

Commencing with the invocatory Ganpati gaan by artistes, versatile danseuse Amrita Thora and others brought alive the vigour and vitality of the rustic Marathi folklore in a welcome Salami dance weaved in perfect “Shingar ras” amidst deafening applause. Artistes led by director Raghuveer Khedaker and Vinod Rokde performed the usual Gaulan, depicting the interaction between Lord Krishna, his divine consort Radha and gopikas. This was followed by Bataoni, a sequence of humorous dialogues with exaggeration but enacted to perfection to generate more laughter.

The crispy dialogues were mostly impromptu and natural with stage movements skillfully improvised in a gripping performance.

Vivacious Manda Rani in glittering costumes spelt magic with a dazzling Lavani dance performance enchanting the audience, which was matched by another scintillating Lavani by Aparana Khedkar.

After a Sandha, an intervening skit, versatile danseuses Chhaya Khelgaonkar and Maya Khelgaonkar exhibited a grand nimble footwork, body movements and gestures to bring alive the thematic content. Earlier, Manda Rani enraptured the audience with a song.

Transcending the barriers of Marathi language, the intrusive audience relished the captivating performances asking for more.

The redeeming perspective remains the fact that all artistes, actors and dancers perform with involvement of mind body and soul, drawing full pleasure from their own performance. Chief guest Dr Virender Mehndiratta, theatre director, honoured the artistes. 



PGI tells Raj Bahadur to vacate house
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Facing a shortage of staff quarters, the PGI has written a letter to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) authorities for providing it a house in lieu of the PGI house retained by GMCH director principal Dr Raj Bahadur.

The letter written to the GMCH by the PGI, stated that “In view of the decision of the governing body, the GMCH should provide a house in lieu of the accommodation retained by him on deputation, otherwise, he will have to vacate the house retained by him”. The PGI is short of at least 20 quarters of Type VII, one of which had been allotted to Raj Bahadur.

Raj Bahadur, a professor at the PGI, in the department of orthopedics, has been on deputation with the Chandigarh Administration since December 1, 2007 when he was posted as the director principal of GMCH.

While Raj Bahadur decided to stay in his old house provided to him by the PGI in Sector 24, the official accommodation meant for the GMCH director principal had been converted into a guesthouse.

It was last month only when the governing body of the PGI gave a nod to his extension. However, the permission to retain the PGI house was denied. 



Badal recovering

Chandigarh, October 9
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal admitted to the PGI on Thursday is recovering fast and doctors attending on him will review the situation tomorrow morning.

Badal was admitted to the hospital when he slipped from the stairs of his official residence while going for morning walk. He sustained a small cut on the right eyebrow and soft tissue injury in the chest region. Dr Rajinder Singh, head, general surgery, who is treating the Chief Minister said the patient complained of the pain in his chest near the region of injury today, following which an X-Ray was done. health condition of the Chief Minister would be reviewed at 9.30 am tomorrow. — TNS



PU Syndicate Meeting
‘Bulky’ Syndicate details to be discussed
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Details of Panjab University Syndicate proceedings are back in the agenda of Senate meeting, which were earlier scrapped due to its ‘bulkiness’.

The Senate, being the supreme governing body of the university, included only the resolved part of the agenda at the Syndicate meeting last time. Syndicate, on the other hand, is the lower decision-making body of the university and any issue worth considering is taken up first by the Syndicate before being passed on to the Senate.

After a round of agreements and disagreements on whether the Syndicate details should be included in the Senate agenda, which otherwise makes it ‘bulky’, the details are finally back in the Senate agenda this time.

The next senate meeting is scheduled for October 10. Details of enquiry reports to be tabled before the Senate are included in the Senate agenda list, which contains nearly seven thick booklets.

Other details attached with the agenda include details of forms of candidates, who had applied for teaching posts and had been selected and other candidates, who are in the waiting list. The agenda consists of promotion cases of more than 50 faculty members of PU and other issues like transfers and resignation cases.

“Unless the details are given in the Senate agenda, how are the fellow members expected to know what exactly is the case? The university can’t be swayed by fickle ideas and discussion must take place if the details are to be scrapped. If we look at the agenda of any prestigious university, they are all bulky and why we should print only the resolved part,” said a fellow member. 



MEd Counselling
Only 1 gets admission under sports quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Students called for counselling of MEd course (under the sports quota) in Panjab University and affiliated colleges today returned disappointed from the university campus. In a grievance letter addressed to the Chandigarh Tribune, students pointed out that out of 15 students called for the counselling by PU today, only one was granted admission.

The issue was about being granted fresh certificates by the Punjab sports department (between 2006 and 2010), which the students claimed was not awarded in case the best performance of a sportsperson has not changed till date.

“PU officials were adamant about a clause mentioned in the admission prospectus, which was wrongfully quoted. The university officials did not want to hear our plea that the rules of Punjab sports department and their methodology of awarding certificates must be considered by it. We are seeking admission in Punjab colleges and not PU campus. Is it fair to turn back so many genuine sportspersons when you have seats vacant and the sportspersons are begging the authorities to check their information?” said a student on the condition of anonymity.

“We have been denied the right to education by an prestigious institute like PU. We have been issued certificate by the Punjab sports department and without checking rules with them we were denied admission. The department issues fresh certificate only if you have set a new record and that your last best performance, but PU officials did not care to check it. They agreed to their mistake and said they would be careful while publishing prospectus in the future,” said another student.

Yet another student was already given admission by Punjabi University, Patiala, in the general category, he refused and instead came to the PU’s counselling since he wanted admission in a PU-affiliated college. University officials could not be reached for their comments on the issue. 



Syndics’ no to change in convocation dress code
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Panjab University Syndicate has refused to consider a change in convocation black dress code.

Prestigious Central universities like Visva Bharti University founded by Rabindernath Tagore in West Bengal, which was conferred the status of university of national importance in 1951, is a classic example of the universities that chose to do away with the black robes during convocation.

Not only this, the universities like Guru Ghasidas University, the new Central university in Chhattisgarh, have declared that the state’s traditional dress would be worn during its first convocation.

At the convocation ceremony of yet another institute of the national repute- the Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) in Gujarat, students and administrative functionaries wear “angvastrams” and handloom kurta pyjamas matched with Kolhapuri footwear.

Fellow Dharinder Tayal proposed the issue of re-considering the colour of the convocation robes, however, the Syndics, at its earlier meeting did not approve of a change.

The matter is now being coming up before the highest governing body of the university, the Senate, at its meeting tomorrow.

“These black gowns are Colonial legacy and it is the time that Indian universities discard these robes. We should bring a change and Panjab University must be a pioneer in setting its own style and giving direction to other universities in the country. Why should we follow others blindly, PU should be a trendsetter instead,” said Tayal.

The fellow was of the opinion that once PU sets its own style, other universities in the country would follow suit. 



Charity finds its way among youngsters
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Charity is no longer tagged as a task taken up by senior citizens, instead city youth are now engaging in social activities with great enthusiasm.

Consider this: in just a week’s time, students of the Panjab University’s Centre for Social Work have collected 186 kg of old clothes, 310 kg of waste paper, 50 kg of torn off paper, 76 pair of shoes and tonnes of used home products and appliances. All this may be “useless for some”, but is actually “somebody’s need”, as these students identify it.

The students of this centre, which is a part of the University Institute of Emerging Areas of Social Sciences, have taken up this task of collecting used household material as a part of the “joy of living” project.

The material would now be forwarded to a non-governmental organisation that will distribute it to the poor and needy people in 21 states across the country.

“We got to know about this project being undertaken by the students across the country, so we decided to join the campaign. We collected the used material and stationery from different households and will handover to Goonj, an NGO,” said Preeti Rawat, a first year student of masters in social work.

“Neither are the students being awarded any marks for doing this task nor have they hesitated in spending time for such activities, which are aimed at continuing our journey on the path of social service,” said Gaurav, a faculty member of the centre.

Not only this, the students have also collected Rs 21,000 for the Prime Minister’s relief fund for the Leh-Ladakh cloudburst and flash flood victims.

Last year, the students of the same centre had successfully completed a vaccination programme for the kids of labourers on the campus. Children below the age of five were escorted to the university health centre for vaccination programme by the students.



Seminar on honour killing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
A seminar on “Honour killing: role and responsibility of society and media” was organised at ICSSR complex, PU, here today.

The seminar was organised by the department of life long learning and extension, Panjab University, and International Care and Aware, a social organisation.

RC Sobti, PU Vice-Chancellor, inaugurated the event. He highlighted the issues of honour, gender, caste, class and culture, lack of political will and widespread social indifferences.

Sobti praised media for sensitising society about the brutalities inflicted on women and children in our society. He said, “Media should play a constructive role in shaping up public opinion against the evil called honour killing.” The seminar was held on the 76th birth anniversary of late Narendar Mohan, who was a writer, scholar and former member of Rajya Sabha. 



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