C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Curtain down on Diwali mela in Sec 17, 22
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Why not?

  • Exorbitant ground rents by the MC
  • Most franchisee outlets unwilling to take part
  • Own shopping festivals by major brands
  • Indifference of the administration, MC

Chandigarh, October 10
Thinking of mega prizes during Diwali melas ahead of Diwali and New Year? It may not be possible now as Diwali melas in the two major commercial centres — Sectors 17 and 22 — will not be organised this year also. The high ground rent for the display of prizes by the MC coupled with the new trend of opening of franchisees by major brands will play spoilsport in the holding of melas by shopkeepers.

“Steep ground rent by the MC, which goes up to Rs 10 lakh during the festival season, is the primary reason for the discontinuation of the mela in the Sector 22 market,” Arvind Jain, president of the market welfare association of Sector 22-D, said, adding that cumbersome procedures for obtaining permissions were another deterrent for the festival bonanza.

President of the Chandigarh Business Council Jagdish Arora claimed that the MC’s classification of the melas as “purely commercial” activity was largely to be blamed for the discontinuation.

Besides being a commercial activity, the melas brought huge revenue to the MC and the Chandigarh administration by way of taxes on the transactions. These fairs should be treated as part of the growth of the city’s economy.

The general secretary of the traders’ association, Sector 17, JPS Kalra, said Diwali melas should be merged with the World Tourism Day celebrations beginning September 27 as Diwali usually fell in October/November. The administration, the MC and major shopping centres should collaborate in organising the shopping festival which could go a long way in making the city a shopping and tourism destination.

However, MC sources said charging rent for the displayed mega prizes in the markets was according to the policy governing the renting of commercial spaces. An amendment to the policy would be needed to give space on concessional rates, an official stated.

While officials and shopkeepers shift blame, shoppers fondly remember the shopping festivals. “While shopping is an annual ritual during the festival season, it used to be carvinal time shopping in Sectors 17 and 22 and waiting for prizes amid the cultural extravaganza,” reminisces Renu Satija, a resident of Sector 19.



PU ranked 380 on Web portal list
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Adding wings to the global aspirations of Panjab University, it has been ranked 380 by a web portal “highimpactuniversities”, which is affiliated to the University of Western Australia. Only two other Indian institutes — the IIT, Kanpur (rank 222) and Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore (rank 273) — have been ranked higher than the PU. The other IITs, including those at Roorkee, Chennai, Bombay and Kharagpur are ranked below it.

In a pilot study by the international portal, 1,000 universities across the world have been evaluated in 500 disciplines. According to the website, the PU has received a “g-index” (a parameter) of 86 in the discipline “pure, natural and mathematical sciences”.

G-index, has been defined as “a numerical measure of the quality and consistency of publications or research output (higher is better). The website mentions that g-index is similar to h-index, which is a popular measure to review scientific work.

The PU shares the rank and g-index with seven other universities in the world. These are Curtin University (Australia), University of Lille (France), University of Guelph (Canada), National Central University (Taiwan), Pusan National University (South Korea), Royal Holloway University of London (UK) and Georgetown University (US).

In the same discipline, the top ranked universities are the University of California, Berkley (g-index 284) and California Institute of technology (g-index 284).

Although the PU could not make it to the top 500 universities in the overall results displayed by the website, figuring under one discipline has brought laurels to the university’s science departments. The achievement was highlighted at the senate meeting held here today.

However, the issue also sparked off a controversy when some members pointed at the “world ranking” to debate on certain other issues concerning affiliated colleges.

High-impact universities

highimpactuniversites.com is a global web portal affiliated to the University of Western Australia which has conducted the study by evaluating 1,000 universities across the globe in 500 disciplines. It has formulated a g-index to rate the universities for their research work. The PU has been ranked 380 in “pure, natural and mathematical sciences” along with seven other universities across the world

Rs 5,000 fine for concealing info

In a crucial decision today, the Panjab University Senate resolved to increase the penalty from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 on students who deliberately concealed information in admission forms. The matter was brought to the Senate to deal with cases in which students debarred from other universities applied at the PU.



PU Senate Meeting Highlights

Issues related to colleges debated

From salaries of teachers to research work by departments, various issues related to colleges dominated the Senate meeting today. For settling on whether the colleges or university manage add-on courses well, a committee was formed. It was suggested that uniform fine be imposed on the colleges in future. Fellows debated on non-compliance of rules for affiliation by certain affiliated colleges.

PU checks admission details

The House of Senators was today informed by the VC that following the PEC admission scam, in which foreign students were found forging documents to seek admission, PU has also begun the process of verifying the documents of foreign students.

Convocation robes

On the proposal of doing away with the black robes during the convocation, a discussion took place in the House with members having different opinions on the topic. Where one quarter of fellows said the colour of the convocation gown was being misunderstood, another section of Senators agreed that PU must take a lead in setting a new trend and designing a new dress code. Eventually, the VC formed a committee to send recommendation to the Syndicate.

A lopsided ratio

The VC highlighted that as per the MHRD guidelines, the teacher to non-teacher ratio in the campus has to be 1:2.9, which has been reduced to 1:1.9 already. This is still not acceptable and the ratio needs to be brought down to 1:1.7 for the university to get more funds from the Union government.

Heated debate

A heated discussion took place in the zero hour on the issue of removal of associate dean college development council (ADCDC), after which certain fellows walked out of the House. A fellow (college principal) alleged that they were assured that the ADCDC would be removed within 25 days and no file would be routed through him. He claimed that despite assurance, colleges have received certain letters from his office and they felt cheated on the issue.

Mathematics compulsory?

On the issue of forming a condition that mathematics in Class XII is mandatory for seeking admission to BCA or MCA course, the House had varied opinions. Eventually, a committee was formed on the suggestion of fellows to provide recommendation to the House in the case.

Punjabi mandatory for teachers

The issue of making a two-year course in Punjabi compulsory for teachers at PU’s regional centres in Punjab was discussed, although the House was divided on the subject. Fellows raised various questions. The Syndicate, at an earlier meeting, had approved the issue.

Evaluation by colleges

What has now become a ritual, a heated discussion was held today on the issue of colleges handling the examination for their courses. The VC offered the colleges to take care of the first year examinations, which were then argued upon by certain Senators. A fellow later said to begin with, the university could consider permitting the colleges to conduct examination for “add-on courses”.

Research chairs occupied

It was announced at the Senate meeting that Govardhan Mehta has accepted the charge of Rajiv Gandhi chair. Jaspal Kaur Kang will now occupy Guru Nanak Sikh Studies chair and Nahar Singh was given charge of Guru Ravidas chair.

Student council chief not allowed to speak

The new student council president, Gurwinder Singh Aulakh, was pleasantly “surprised” after witnessing the Senate proceedings for the first time. Although a students’ representative has been permitted to witness the meeting, Aulakh said he was still not allowed to speak anything or raise any issue related to the students. “I have requested fellows to raise certain issues related to the students,” he added.



Project Implementation
MC could teach admn a thing or two
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
When it comes to successful implementation of projects, the Chandigarh MC can teach a few lessons to the UT administration whose mega projects are mired in controversies. The MC, which allotted a housing project at Manimajra and a luxury hotel to private players, not only got Rs 500 crore through land auction, but also the projects have been successfully completed.

While the high-end housing project allotted to Parsvnath for Rs 821crore by the Chandigarh Housing Board failed to take off, the MC fetched Rs 108.01 crore for the Manimajra housing project. It received about Rs 20 crore per acre for the project while the housing board allotted it at Rs 6.5 crore an acre. The Manimajra project is ready for allotment, but the Parsvnath project has been dumped, resulting in financial loss to the administration.

Similarly, the MC got Rs 101.37 crore from the auction of a hotel site in Sector 35, which is nearing completion. At the same time, the administration’s major projects like the theme-cum-amusement park, film city and medi-city are in the doldrums.

The film city and medi-city projects were not taken up due to controversies over land allotment. The IT park is also a flop story as land was allotted to companies on the rate of Re 1 per sq ft for 99 years on lease, the but majority of IT companies did not turn up.

Unlike the administration that allotted land for the projects at nominal rates, the MC improved its reputation for handling mega projects.

On the basis of anonymity, a senior MC official said the administration should auction land to companies in one go, which would not only benefit it financially, but also keep away controversies. He said the MC had no funds in its kitty before auctioning the Manimajra housing project.

Nod awaited

The MC has submitted proposals to the administration for permission to auction sites of a five-star hotel and a shopping mall at Manimajra, but the administration has not given its approval yet.


Open House Response
No compromise with discipline in schools

I was horrified to read about students posting obscene remarks about their teacher on the Facebook. We definitely need to think about who formulated the rules, which teachers thought gave students freedom and brought teachers under checks? We as Indians were at one time proud of our teachers and the teachers used to be proud of their students. Do we really want to get into the same social mess like the West?

In my opinion, all teachers in the country should resign and let the parents teach their children or get the government to ask teachers to maintain discipline in whatever shape or form they wish. Parents should, rather, side with teachers. There should be no compromise with discipline. Let Indian culture not be destroyed. Implement what is good for the common man.

Ashwani Lakhanpal, Coventry, UK

Fair action taken

Action taken by the school is fair. Parents of the kids, who are opposing this decision, should get into the shoes of the teacher against whom these comments were made. They should try and understand what the teacher must have felt against whom the comments were made.

Freedom of speech is important, but it has its limits. The comments of students, in this case, infringe on dignity of the teacher and should not be tolerated.

Ashish Parbhakar, Wilmington DE, USA

Check indiscipline

We are dismayed that students in the schools are becoming rude to the teachers. Where are we heading? I am not in favour of the corporal punishment in the schools, but indiscipline cannot be allowed. No doubt, self discipline is the best discipline, but students in the schools are not mature enough to understand.

Even at home, parents give punishments to their kids to make them disciplined, then why not in the schools. I have been teaching in the schools for 30 years and find it difficult to control the rowdy students without proper way of punishment. If a student slaps a teacher in the class and the teacher stands helpless, how can we think the teacher can command respect from other students?

Agreed that some teachers may have some shortcomings, but the students should not be allowed to take law into their own hands. They should rather be encouraged to approach the head of the school for the redressal of their grievances.

Nagindar Singh, Abbotsford, Canada

Teachers not given due respect

Yes, it’s true that the students do not respect their teachers these days because they know that there is absolutely nothing that the school or the teachers can do against them. With corporal punishment banned, the schools’ hands are tied and even a small action is blown out of proportion. Another day, a teacher was slapped by a student when he scolded him. The teacher was questioned as to why he scolded the child.

Such is the plight of teachers that they are often mistreated and insulted by students in the schools. A small incident of corporal punishment is blown out of proportion, but the incidents of teachers being insulted are ignored by and large.

A government schoolteacher

Watch out for dangers

Dear students, how come you are arguing on your freedom of expression? I am sure you were also taught about your duties in addition to your rights. All over the world, people posting wrong things on Facebook have lost their jobs. Many have not been able to secure jobs, as their prospective employers have had a look in their personal life.

These things are going to haunt you for the rest of your life because everything you post on the Internet, the whole world has the access to it.

And parents what’s wrong with you? You support every wrong deed of your children and do not want authorities to take any action. What your kids do outside the home shows what they have learnt. Have a bit of control and discipline on your children, so that they are not a problem for society when they grow up.

Shelley Sharma

Think about reforms

I live in Canada and my son is in grade 10. I really feel sad whenever there is news that students are abusing, threatening and slapping their teachers. Here in Canada, whenever this type of incident happens, a student is suspended or the police complaint is lodged and even the student is instructed to perform community services for couple of months.

Bal Sandhu, Canada

Education dept lacks maturity

What Vivek High School has done, it should have been done much earlier when a student at Kaimbwala school slapped a teacher earlier this year. It was sad that the teacher was punished, instead.

The education department has not shown maturity in handling related matters in the past. The school reaction is totally justified in the suspension of the erring students.

Bhagwan Sharma, Government High School, Daria

Parents more responsible

I feel incorporating values lay more in hands of the parents than teachers. Underage drivers, eve-teasing, chain snatching and drug addiction show a weak family hold on a child’s personality.

Negative parental support for healthy upbringing reflects heavily in the conduct of a child in schools and colleges. We remember our teachers like angels. I vividly remember the name of all our teachers and share nostalgic memories with my classmates. It was very different then and everyone agrees.

Dr Parminder, Zirakpur

Use sites judiciously

Social networking sites are a great mode of networking and connectivity. I cannot thank Facebook for connecting me with many of my ex-students. I feel so proud to read their comments, see their pictures and see them doing so well in life.

Today’s news where some schoolchildren were involved in slapping a teacher and were suspended for the same, has raised certain questions. They need to be tackled accordingly; the social networking sites are here to stay. What are we doing as grown ups to help the students use such sites judiciously and meaningfully.

If children err, it's time for the grown ups to introspect.

Neena R Peter, Educationist

Education turned into business

I agree with the viewpoints of all principals and teachers on elements missing in respect for teachers. Education has turned into a pure business transaction with students feeling that they had paid the money and then wanted services according to their whims and fancies.

Law now is purely on the side of the students and teachers are sufferers. A teacher is now expected to give lessons only and not be bothered about values in life. Parents first need to define their own role in imparting values to their kids.

We have heard about incidents of teachers being slapped, however, none of the newspapers have followed the case in the long run. In case something serious was done against the erring students, even that needs to be displayed prominently for others to dissuade from the same.

Shishu Paul, EDEC - Mohali



For them, charity begins at hospital
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
For Jagdeesh Lal Ahuja, a city businessman, serving langar to over 1,000 persons — lunch at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and supper at the PGI — is second nature. Philanthropist Ahuja, on this mission for the past 28 years, has not only come to the rescue of the ailing community but has been a source of inspiration to others as well.

Employees of Jagdeesh Lal Ahuja, a philanthropist, serve food among the poor outside the GMCH, Sector 32; and (right) a langar being organised by sewadars of a gurdwara, at the PGI, Chandigarh.
Employees of Jagdeesh Lal Ahuja, a philanthropist, serve food among the poor outside the GMCH, Sector 32; and (right) a langar being organised by sewadars of a gurdwara, at the PGI, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Gurmeet Singh, head sewadar at a gurdwara in Mohali district, embarked on the noble cause eight years ago and, with the permission of Ahuja, started a langar at the PGI, where he had stayed for a few days looking after a relative.

“I had stayed at the PGI to look after my cousin eight years ago and had relied on the langar served by Ahuja then,” says Gurmeet Singh, head sewadar at Gurdwara Jhanda Sahib, Padiala village, and employed with the Chandigarh police.

“I then decided to serve the humanity and took the permission from Ahuja to hold a langar for patients and their attendants, who come here from different parts of the country,” he said. The food is enough to serve 400 persons.

While a large-sized chapaati, along with rice and dal are sufficient for children and the elderly, an adult gets two chapaatis, rice and dal.

Besides, over 250 litre lassi is served daily, irrespective of the season. Every day, chapaatis are prepared with 70-kg wheat flour.

Two utility vehicles ferry the food from the gurdwara located 25 km at Kurali every day.

At least 10 volunteers from the adjoining villages offer their services. They are picked up and dropped at their villages by the vehicles.

Ahuja (76), who now serves lunch to the poor at the GMCH and tea at the PGI, has employed 21 persons for the charity.

Besides food, Ahuja caters to other needs of poor patients like clothes, blankets and shoes. His pockets are also full of candies for children.

Ahuja’s menu is elaborate with chapaatis, kulchas and puris forming part of the menu on different days.

Growing age and declining heath has, however, started to worry Ahuja about the future of the langar.

“I am growing old and not keeping well now,” says Ahuja.

“I have sold three houses, two in Panchkula and one in Chandigarh, to keep the langar going but the future of this mission seems to be bleak, as no help from the administration has come forth in spite of my repeated efforts,” he says.

He had submitted a proposal seeking allotment of a small piece of land to prepare langar but to no avail.

“Now the venue for the tea langar at the PGI has been converted into a parking lot, making it difficult to run it,” added Ahuja.



BJP exhibits rot in godowns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The local unit of the BJP organised an exhibition on “Criminal wastage of food grain worth Rs 58,000 crore” at the party headquarters here today. The exhibition was inaugurated by BJP national secretary Kirit Somaiya along with local unit president Sanjay Tandon.

The exhibition included photographs of various godowns and open plinth, used for storage of food grain by the Food Corporation of India, visited by the BJP delegation led by Somaiya.

Besides, samples of rotten food grain collected from various godowns and open plinth were also displayed.

After the inauguration, Somaiya said in spite of reprimand by the Supreme Court, the central government seemed little concerned about Rs 58,000-crore worth of rotting food grain.

During his interaction with FCI’s senior officials in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi last week, it had come out that 180 lakh tonne food grain was still lying in the open at various godowns in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and UP belonging to the Government of India under the central pool, he claimed.

The FCI had admitted that out of 64,21,000 tonne food grain of the central pool in Haryana, 50,11,675 tonne was lying in the open, which was around 78 per cent.

Similarly, out of 20,45,573 MT food grain in Rajasthan, 15,05,318 MT was over 15 months old.

A team of the BJP under his leadership visited 28 FCI godowns at different states, including Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Maharashtra, Punjab. The BJP was worried about the status of food grain lying in open godowns.

Somaiya said on the one hand, Rs 58,000-crore worth of food grain was rotting at godowns, on the other, infected food grain was being mixed and supplied to the poor through the PDS and liquor industry.

In a recent case, consumers of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, were given rotten food grain through the PDS.

BJP area councillor Sarita Sharma and other leaders reached the scene and informed senior officials of the administration, who later withdrew the food grain.



Red Ribbon Express to chug in on Oct 13
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The Red Ribbon Express, train specially designed to create public awareness on the spread of the HIV and AIDS, will arrive in the city on October 13. The eight-coach train will remain stationed on platform No. 5 for four days as part of its third phase.

The exhibition on board the train will remain open to public from 9 am to 6 pm.

Though the admission is free, only those above 12 years will be allowed into the exhibition.

Besides having their doubts cleared, visitors can also attend counselling sessions at special cubicles in the train and take doctor’s advice, if necessary, free of cost.

While the first three coaches will have material on educating public on the HIV and AIDS, the fourth coach has been converted into a conference hall and the fifth into a counselling hall.

A makeshift dispensary has been established in the seventh coach.

The express also aims at disseminating information about primary prevention services, creating awareness against stigma and discrimination, strengthening people’s knowledge about preventive measures and propagating healthy habits and lifestyle.

It will have on display bio-medical aspects of the HIV and AIDS, including interactive touchscreen and 3D models, material with focus on HIV/AIDS and associated care, support and treatment services.

Besides, material with focus on HIV within the socio-developmental context for enabling environment that can ensure stigma and discrimination-free communities, will also be displayed.

The Red Ribbon Express project, conceptualised by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation as a national campaign, is being implemented by the National AIDS Control Society (NACO) as a multi-sectoral project to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS and promote safe behavioural practices.

The train after a four-day halt in the city will move on to Kalka for its two-day halt there.



PUDA ‘eases’ promotion rules for a few
3 chief engineers benefit; resentment among engg cadre
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 10
Resentment is brewing within the engineering cadre in the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) over the alleged relaxations in rules over the appointment of regular chief engineers.

At a meeting of PUDA recently, the way for the promotion of three superintending engineers (SE) as regular chief engineers, Rajiv Moudgil, Tarlochan Singh and HS Sodhi, was cleared with amendment to the PUDA Employees Service Regulation, 1999.

All officials at present hold the additional charge of chief engineer of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), chief engineer, PUDA, and chief engineer, Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA).

But the authority realised that 11 years after the service regulations were framed, the rule of a candidate having 30 years of experience in total from the post of an SDO was coming in way of the promotion of the officiating chief engineer of GMADA as he did not fulfil the criteria and the additional chief engineer of PUDA also had one year less.

The only candidate to fulfil the criteria was a chief engineer of GLADA who had completed 30 years.

In the name of restructuring of PUDA and other development authority, an agenda on relaxing the service rules on the pattern of the Punjab Service of Engineers (civil wing), public works department, was approved at the meeting.

The rule of having a minimum work experience of two years as superintending engineer was approved. The relaxations were also aimed at benefiting an executive engineer (XEN), who would get promoted as SE after three posts were vacated with the promotion of the three chief engineers.

PUDA chief administrator Sarvjit Singh said the PWD rules had been adopted in wider interest as the 30-year criteria was blocking departmental promotions. He said the rules had been relaxed to benefit all.

The PWD rules notified in 2005 have been adopted now and were not adopted at the time of promotion of Balraj Kumar as chief engineer.

The relaxation in rules should be adopted in case of future appointment, as it would affect a large section of engineers who have put in a long service. Sources said a meeting of the Department Promotion Committee (DPC) was called on October 6 and the case for promotion of the officials as chief engineers was put up. The formal orders of the promotions are expected in the coming days.



Chanalon focal point cries for amenities
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Chanalon, October 10
The focal point at Chanalon — about 18 km away from Chandigarh in Kurali — is a far cry from being an industrial area. Potholed roads, inadequate water supply system, lack of effluent disposal system, and non-functional streetlights mark this focal point that has 331 plots, 130 of which have been developed. The nearest fire brigade is 25 km away from the focal point.

Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) had developed this 120-acre area in 1991-92 as focal point. Till 2004, the focal point had just a handful number of industrial units.

However, spiralling land prices of Chandigarh and Mohali made industrialists venture towards Chanalon.

The area now has forging units, cable manufacturing units, chassis and automobile parts manufacturing units, aerated drink bottling plants, chicken processing and others units.

“With opening of Baddi-Siswan link, this focal point has assumed new proportions. With roaring Ludhiana industry on one side and Baddi industry on the other, industries have got much wider scope for growth than before,” observed vice-president, Chanalon Banmajra Industries Association, Gurmail Singh.

The association had, in the past one-and-a-half-year, already spent Rs 45,000 on repairing the streetlights.

“There were innumerable incidents of theft, especially at night. We had no option but to do the work what the PSIEC is supposed to do,” added general secretary Harcharan Singh.

The area was provided with four borewells for water supply, two of which never functioned, while third one went out of order couple of years ago. Entire cluster of industries now grapples with water supply from single borewell and the situation worsens during summers.

Road network in industrial area was laid at the time of its inception. Since then not even a single patchwork has been done. With increase of heavy traffic meant to ferry products of industries, roads have given way to potholes and has virtually become non-existent.

Industries do not have an effluent disposal system. Entire sewage waste, comprising of toxic metals released from industries, is pumped out into 13 acres in the area, raising stink all around.

As per rules, the focal point was to be handed over to the municipal council, Kurali, within five years of its inception. “The PSIEC was supposed to develop the area and hand it over for maintenance to MC, Kurali. Now, whenever we talk to MC authorities they refuse to take over the area pointing that it is underdeveloped,” said finance secretary RC Grover.

The PSIEC managing director SS Rajput said that the government had earmarked budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore for developing many focal points in Punjab and Chanalon was one of them.

“Ideally, the focal point should have been handed over to urban local body concerned within five years of its setting up. But it has not happened. This focal point may be developed by the end of March 31, next year,” he asserted.



Politics even in hospitals

The politicians cannot see beyond politics even in hospitals. Journalists witnessed a glimpse of it on Thursday when Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was admitted at PGI and his adviser Daljit Singh Cheema was interacting with the media. Cheema was counting on the names of VIPs who visited the Chief Minister to know about his wellbeing. The names Cheema took included Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister of Punjab. This was however a surprise for the local reporters who knew that Manpreet was admitted at PGI for the treatment of dengue fever a couple of days ago. A woman reporter of an English daily, merely to quench her curiosity asked “Oh, whether he is fine now after suffering from dengue?” Cheema, however, took it otherwise in the light of the ongoing controversy over the Central package for Punjab following statement by Manpreet Badal that Punjab had missed a Central grant. Cheema quipped “Journalists bhee kaise kaise swal poochte hain,”(Journalists ask embarrassing questions) and moved away.

Swings banned

Much to the dismay of children,huge swings at the Mata Mansa Devi Navratra Fair have been banned by the district administration keeping in view the safety of the people. As the main route to the shrine has been diverted, the shops near the shrine complex are also wearing a deserted look. Only few devotees could be seen making purchases at these shops. Small time shopkeepers who used to sell toys, cosmetic items and other traditional items during the fair occupied spaces on both sides of the main road leading to the shrine.

Navratras — 'fast' way to lose weight

Navratras have inspired a new tradition, with girls looking at the nine days of piety to lose weight, going on fruit diets, sweets and potato-based food. Many don't realise that these foods are fattening. Geeta, a resident of Sector 29, said I eat fruits and aloo tikkis during Navratras. Even my parents don’t protest. After all girls are learning to carry forward the legacy of fast in the much- revered Indian tradition! So here we have one to two girls on an average in every city home. Options are endless. Fruits, dahi, sweets, endless preparations of potatoes made with ‘sendha namak (rock salt), and the list goes on.” Jyotika, another girl with a strong will to lose some good kilos in these nine days said, “I happily gorge on goodies high on calories and extremely rich in fat content. So here, a majority of the girls, are participating in the ‘fast’ way to lose weight contest.

Directives of austerity only on paper

Directives of austerity are best implemented on paper in Punjab. An interesting example of the opulence was visible at the Chappar Chidi function when various bureaucrats and political appointees by the Akali government were comfortably seated on the elevated stage, their private security officer (PSO) and drivers were seen relaxing in their vehicles with the air conditioners on. Most of the vehicles parked in the VIP parking had their AC's on.

Going places

Kanwar Deep Singh (or KD), a Chandigarh-based businessman and Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, is literally going places. His election to the Upper House of Parliament recently took KD, who has penchant for hot wheels having among his fleet a Lamborghini, to the USA. The businessman-turned-neta, whose closeness to the who’s who of the Indian politics is well-known, reportedly met Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States Congress at the Capitol Hill - the home to the US Congress. Various issues, including terrorism faced by the countries, the Kashmir issue and the increasing Maoist activities in Jharkhand besides Indo-US nuclear cooperation were on the agenda. Well! from Chandigarh to Jharkhand then to New Delhi and ultimately to USA - the high-flying KD takes various place in his stride!

Interesting arguments

In a bid to win arguments, Panjab University fellows today revealed several stunning facts related to affiliated colleges in Punjab. While one senator highlighted that a government college in Punjab had only one permanent teacher, another faculty member pointed out that certain other colleges did not even have a single regular teacher. On the issue, the VC remarked that to get affiliation, colleges were required to fulfill conditions that were mandatory as per the UGC guidelines.

Contributed by Arun Sharma, Sanjay Bhumbroo, Anil jerath, Rajmeet Singh, Pradeep Sharma and Neha Miglani



Kannad dance drama treat to art lovers
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, October 10
After Nautanki from UP and Marathi Tamasha, the city art lovers were treated to another 500-year-old traditional theatre form of “Yakshagana” from South Karnataka in the ongoing Festival of Theatre Traditions organised by CSNA in collaboration with the Sangeet Natak Akademy, New Delhi, at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

The Sri Idagunji Mahaganpati Yakshagana Mandal, Keremane, Karnataka, staged Kannad dance drama “Kartheerayrjun Kalaga” under the direction of Shivananda Hegde. Based on a mythological themed episode from the epic of Ramayana, the musical dance drama depicted the valour of king Kartaveerya of Mahishmati, who was challenged by king Ravana, defeated him in a ferocious battle.

The episode was full of witty and sarcastic conversation, especially when Vidushak attempted to halt enraged Ravana on way to the battlefield. Lead actors, Shivam Hegde and Sanjay Vellu, Annapa Gowda, Laxmi N Hegde were duly supported in the dance drama by male artistes attired as females.

Despite the language barrier, the city crowd kept swelling, while a segment of the audience from South India, including Sushma V Dabak, principal accountant general (audit), clapped in appreciation for their improvised moves and impromptu dialogue delivery.

Chief guest Dr Prahlad Aggarwal honoured the artistes.



Students find new ways to cheat
Writing names on answersheets is fad
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
A latest trend observed by Panjab University’s examination branch officials is the mention of candidate’s names and their colleges in answer-sheets to plead mercy and seek more marks from evaluators.

Cases in which candidates “beg for sympathy” or else write “religious remarks” have been a perennial formula of seeking more marks from the evaluators in the past, but disclosing names in the answer-sheets is the latest in the row of gimmicks being adopted by the students during the examination time.

Not only this, tech-savvy students have found innovative ways of cheating in the examination halls. Bluetooth in mobiles are a fad among students during the examination time that has caused PU to tighten noose on such students.

A case was reported to the examination branch in the past where a student was caught carrying images of 25 pages of his textbook in his camera phone and later zoomed the screen to copy contents in the examination. In another case, a student was caught with a bluetooth wireless adjusted in his ears and his mobile was recovered from the toilet, which received inputs from a distant town, where a person was dictating contents of the book to him inside the examination centre.

On an average, nearly 200 cases of “unfair means case” (UMC) are registered with the PU authorities, reported from over 300 examination centres across Punjab and Chandigarh. Out of these, 50 per cent verified, while offenders in other cases escape due to the lack of evidence.

Two separate committees are formed by the Vice-Chancellor to deal with the cases individually. PU conducts examinations for nearly 2.5 lakh students and such incidents of “high-tech cheating” are brought to light every year.

“Such cases do come up often and to deal with such cases, the VC has formed two separate committees headed by VK Sibal and Chaman Lal Sharma. When the examination branch is apprised of any such cases, they are forwarded to the committee, who function independently,” AK Bhandari, Controller of Examination, Panjab University.



Lawn Tennis Meet
Spring Dales, Carmel Convent emerge champs
Tribune News Service

A player in action during the North Zone CBSE Lawn Tennis Tournament in Chandigarh on Sunday.
A player in action during the North Zone CBSE Lawn Tennis Tournament in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, October 10
Spring Dales of Delhi got the better of Carmel Convent School, Chandigarh, by 2-1 in the girls’ under-14 final of the North Zone Central Board of Secondary Education Lawn Tennis Tournament at The Banyan Tree School (BTS) Academy courts in Sector 48 here today.

Starting on a disappointing note, Spring Dales’ Rashi lost to Karishma by 1-6, 4-6. However, Mallika restored parity by beating Ishdeep 6-0, 6-1. Rashi and Mallika clinched the title for Spring Dales, as they defeated Carmel Convent duo of Karishma and Ishdeep 6-3, 6-3.

Delhi Public School, Sector 40, Chandigarh, finished third, beating Mount Carmel Convent, Delhi, by 2-0. In the first singles, Tanya Batra defeated Pritika 8-2 and Saumya Saxena account for Priyansha 8-4.

Carmel Convent, Chandigarh, grabbed the girls’ under-19 title by defeating DAV Model School, Sector 15. The final match was decided in the doubles.

Iktesh and Sonali overcame a stiff resistance from Shilpa and Harnoor by 7-5, 6-3.

Sadhu Waswani of Delhi won the bronze medal at the expense of Satluj Public School, Panchkula. Dimsha and Smriti beat Aashm and Aditi 6-0, 6-3 in the doubles.

Chief guest KS Bharti, Chandigarh district sports officer, distributed the prizes to the winning teams. BTS director and Chandigarh Olympics Association general secretary Ravinder Talwar and principal Rattana Dhar were among those present on the occasion.



Mansa Devi murals to be restored
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 10
The Archaeological Survey of India would help in restoring the 200-year-old murals at the Mansa Devi temple, announced Deputy Commissioner and ex-officio administrator of the Mansa Devi Shrine Board Ashima Brar here yesterday. Work, she hoped, would commence in the second half of November at the completion of the Navratra fair. The murals have faded and have been damaged with the passage of time.

The temple was built by the erstwhile king of Mani Majra, Maharaja Gopal Singh, and it is believed that the construction, which started in 1811, took four years to complete.

Brar admitted that not too many devotees and visitors to the temple were aware of the history, background and details related to the temple. The shrine board, she said, would soon be putting up information boards at different places on the complex.

The board has also decided to set up four computerised collection centres that would be connected to the central server in the administrative block. The DC added that devotees would be advised to use these counters for making their donation rather than place currency into the existing boxes or “goluk”. The counters would issue receipts for the donations received.

Steps, she said, were also being taken to install 38 CCTV cameras within and outside the complex. As many as 32 cameras would be installed in the main complex, while six cameras would be set up near the “Patiala temple” and the parking lots outside.



48 Squadron is IAF’s best transport unit
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, October 10
Sustained operations to the world’s highest airfields as well as services rendered in aid to civil authorities during natural calamities, has earned Chandigarh-based 48 Squadron, Chief of the Air Staff’s Citation for the best transport Squadron. The award was presented to the unit at the Air Force Day.

After the maiden landing by an An-32 at Daulat Beg, Oldi two years ago, an unpaved strip located at an altitude of 18,700 feet, making it the world’s highest landing ground, the squadron has been regularly flying to the remote airstrip in the Karakorams in support of ground troops, setting a record of sorts.

Besides, it also activated two more advanced landing grounds, Fukche and Nayoma in Ladakh and is undertaking similar operations to these unpaved strips.

Activation of these airstrips has significantly enhanced the logistics capability of the armed forces in remote areas, besides boosting the morale of troops deployed in the harsh and inhospitable terrain. These airstrips also have strategic implications for national security.

Relief operations, following the devastating cloudburst in Leh earlier this year, saw the squadron in the thick of things being the first to fly in with aid. Along with other units, it carried out sorties relentlessly to carry out relief operations and evacuate casualties. These tasks were undertaken in addition to its regular air maintenance role.

Popularly known as Camels, the squadron was raised was raised at Srinagar in 1959 and moved to Chandigarh in May 1986 after having served in all the operational commands of the IAF. Equipped with the An-32 tactical transporter, its prime responsibility is air maintenance to northern sector and remains the lifeline of troops based in Ladakh and Kargil through the year.



Asian Tour golf stars to play in Panchkula
Donald Banerjee

Panchkula, October 10
Asian Tour stars Gaganjeet Bhullar of Kapurthala, Bangalore’s Anirban Lahiri, C Muniyappa and Indian circuit leader Mukesh Kumar will be among 120 top professional golfers of the country who will tee off from the picturesque greens of the Panchkula Golf Club here on October 20.

The cream of professional golf will be vying for the Rs 40 lakh prize money in the four-day Haryana Open Golf Championship being held under the aegis of Professional Golf Tour of India.

On October 24, amateurs of the tricity will rub shoulders with the top professional golfers in the pro-am championship.

The Chandigarh challenge will be led by Sujjan Singh who is ranked seventh on the PGTI Order of Merit. Other city stalwarts in the field are seasoned Harmeet Kahlon, big-hitter Gurbaaz Mann, Harendra Gupta, Ranjeet Singh Ghotra and Ajeetesh Sandhu.

The main tournament as also the pro-am event are being sponsored by HUDA, Unitech, Ireo Management and PGC.

Situated on the Ambala-Panchkula-Kalka highway, the Panchkula Golf Club is spread over 135 acres.

With more and more prize money golf coming to India, the Haryana government plans to upgrade all facilities at the club to bring it to international standards. Brigadier Punia, manager of the club, said the Chief Minister wanted the Panchkula Golf Club to have the best golfing facilities in the country.

Managed by a governing body under the chairmanship of Haryana Chief Secretary Urvashi Gulati, the design of the course is a challenge for players. The Management Committee is headed by the club’s vice-president KK Jalan.



PU admissions to go online from next academic session
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Admissions for most courses at Panjab University would now be done online from the academic session 2011-12. This announcement was made by Vice-Chancellor (VC), RC Sotbi, in the senate meeting held in the Golden Jubilee hall at PU here today. Possibility of an online test was, however, ruled out by the VC due to technical intricacies and loopholes in such online exams.

The House of Fellows was also informed that in future, the University would be required to give a detailed account of “every lecture” to the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development . A debate was held on permitting faculty members of affiliated colleges to resume guide research work.

After a heated round of discussion on the issue, Dean University Instructions, PU, informed the house that rules had already been framed for research work to be conducted in affiliated colleges. It was resolved that to approve “research development centers” under which excelling departments of colleges were entitled to carry out research work, inspection committees would visit colleges to decided if they could carry out research work.

A heated discussion was also held on the issue of mandatory learning of Punjabi for teachers in regional centers. Among several issues raised today regarding affiliated colleges, members of the house suggested that PU must observe uniformity in imposing fines on affiliated colleges.

For add-on courses suggested by the UGC, a committee has been formed by the house to look into the issue of giving autonomy to colleges to run the courses. Yet another crucial matter highlighted was about making mathematics compulsory for students to get into BCA and MCA courses. A committee under the chairmanship of AK Bhandari, Head, Department of Mathematics, has been constituted to suggest guidelines on this issue.

On imposing a fine of Rs 500 on a student, who conceals information from PU in the admission form, the Fellows could not reach a consensus and the decision was kept pending till a committee (yet to be formed) submitted its view on this case as well.

In the case of removal of Associate Dean College Development Council (ADCDC), Keshav Malhotra, for which several Principals have protested in the past, a senior fellow today lodged protest against inaction in the matter by the PU authorities. The VC, however, maintained that evidence be given in writing against the ADCDC to the committee formed by him.



Crafts Mela to showcase North-East
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Painters who recently participated in the Dubai Shopping Festival are these days busy making murals and paintings on bamboo huts at Kalagram, where preparations are in full swing for the upcoming second Chandigarh National Crafts Mela being organised by the Chandigarh administration and the NZCC from October 26.

According to Secretary (Cultural Affairs), UT, Ram Niwas, this year’s celebrations would be centered around the North-East.

Around 60 artisans have been working for the past one month to make huts designed on the pattern of those found in the North-East, he added.

The artwork and paintings on bamboo huts have been given a mythological look, bearing testimony to the rich cultural heritage of the North-East.

Paintings reflecting traditional festivals, folk and community dances will offer visitors a delightful insight into the tribal heritage in all its richness and variety.

The picturesque landscapes to be designed by the municipal corporation and the engineering department of the administration will have colourful flowers and verdant flora blended for a breathtaking experience.

This year, the entry to the crafts mela will be ticketed. Adults and children would be charged Rs 10 and Rs 5, respectively.

In addition, special buses for Kalagram would run from Sector 17, 43 and other venues during the mela days.



CTU Recruitment Scam
Rubber stamp seized from suspect’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
In a latest development in the CTU recruitment scam, the CBI is said to have seized a rubber stamp and some other documents/articles from the residence of Amit at Hisar during a raid.

Amit was arrested for taking the CTU’s examination in place of original candidate Gajender Bairagi.

According to sources, the CBI was conducting raids at several places to get more clues.

The scam involving recruitment of conductors was unearthed by the agency on October 5.

Besides Amit, main suspect Sandeep along with Newton and Gajender Bairagi has been taken on police remand for further investigations.

The others impersonators who were arrested while taking examinations in place of original candidates included Sanjay Bhardwaj, Rajeev and Rinku.



Bhajan submerge audience in spiritual fervour

Chandigarh, October 10
While spiritual fervour pervaded the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine at the Navratara fair, the well-known duo of music maestros, Agnihotri Bandhus from Lucknow, submerged the audience in the spirit of devotion at the Sanskritik Sthal here today.

The twin brothers, Rakseh Agnihotri and Devesh Agnihotri, commenced the recital with an invocatory Ganesh Vandana. In a specially composed bhajan, “Ya devi sarv bhuteshu”, they eulogised Goddess Mansa Devi through her 54 names before paying reverence to Hanuman ji in another bhajan. “Ab toh palak uthaao bhagwan…” was a soulful spiritual offering to Lord Shiva.

After a series of bhajans from their albums, the Agnihotri Bandhus concluded with another devotional offering “Sun meri deva..”

Chief guest Ramendra Jakhu Sahil, principal secretary and Financial Commissioner, honoured the artistes. IAS Shakuntla Jakhu and Panchkula DC Ashima Garg sat through the programme.

Acclaimed playback and ghazal maestro Chandan Das will present devotional bhajans tomorrow at the same venue and time. — OC



Armed men try to take possession of house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 10
High drama was witnessed in Sector 2 on Sunday afternoon when 5 to 6 persons armed with weapons tried to take possession of a house. Later, the police was called and they intervened in the matter.

The police said that property dispute was going on between two parties regarding a “Kothi” in Sector 2. On Sunday afternoon, both parties entered into a heated argument and later the police was called. The police found a double-barrel gun with them.

Om Prakash, SHO of Sector 5 police station, said that they had licensed weapon with them. Moreover both the parties struck a compromise therefore they did not take any action, he added.



Badal still at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who has been receiving treatment at the PGI since Thursday after he slipped from stairs of his official residence and got injured, has been recovering fast. Doctors did not discharge him from the hospital today.

Doctors attending on Badal made him walk on the fourth floor where he has been admitted while reviewing his health condition. Yesterday, Badal had complained of pain in the chest region of injury.



Triplets born
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
A family of Sector 45 rejoiced after the birth of triplets at Government Medical College and Hospital here yesterday.

The father, Vikram, who is running a business of pest control said first he was blessed with a daughter who was born at 1.17 pm followed by two sons.

The infants and mother Sangeeta (33) were in good health, said the doctors at the hospital. Sangeeta is a first-time mother.



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