Monday, July 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Researchers a deprived lot at PU
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH July 16 — Research in Panjab University seems nearing its nadir with scholars witnessing a low morale and complaining about lack of desired cooperation and research facility infrastructure.

Interestingly, one problem area is cited right at the beginning of the research process. Scholars said candidate was expected to give his title right at the beginning. There is no change in the title after the study is approved. Changes of any are made after a cumbersome process, sources reveal.

Prof P.P.Arya, President of the Panjab University Teachers Association, said the research scholars were a worried lot. A senior scholar said it was very normal that the scholar finds new aspects and maybe different from what he has suggested in the ‘title’. So, often the findings were twisted to get in line with the approved title which needed to be changed.

Mr Chand Singh Madaan, Chairman of the Haryana Students Association, said the RDC committee on research work had also shown irregular time-table. Non-availability of rooms for scholars in teaching departments was another issue. Except a few cases, the students at a crucial stage of writing PhD theses did not have a respectable place to work in the departments , Dr Mehar Singh said.

Lack of infrastructural growth is cited as one of the reasons for paucity of space. Three teachers are found to be sharing one room in several cases.

Theses and periodical books which have immense value for researchers are unavailable on holidays as the concerned section remains closed. The holidays otherwise are thought to be better working days for scholars.

Interestingly, Panjab University, has no scholarship for research scholars. Even, the JRF and SRF candidates have complained that the amount reached them only after six to eight months.

Mr Madaan complained that research scholars were treated neither as teachers nor as students. The university at least should consider giving them representation in the student council because even they had problems which needed a forum for representation.

For seminars and conferences outside the campus, research scholars remained in the dark . Though about representation was unthinkable, students were best used as organisers for programmes if university was the host, covering all menial tasks, said Dr Mehar Singh.

This aspect, however, was not fully supported by Professor Arya. Not denying that students were often used as menial workers, the conferences and seminars were usually brought students to light.

The viva -voce time often was given more than a year after submission of thesis in large number of cases. After submission of thesis, research scholars are given the hostel accommodation on a daily basis.

One suggestion to is streamline the research at university to prepare a chart showing possible and suggesting research areas and concerned academicians. This was an area where students often spent considerable time. If the university thought that PhD was not undertaken seriously, the university should conduct an eligibility test for the course.

The area needs attention at any cost since research was the aim of universities, a scholar said.


Acrimony at PU Senate meeting
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 16 — The Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Prof M.M. Puri, made his exit amid a noisy Senate meeting here today. This was the last Senate meeting under his chairmanship.

“Shame! Shame!” was the response of members to an “unknown letter” of the Vice-Chancellor to the UGC sent without the House’s knowledge. The letter, relating to the curtailment of the powers of the Senate was said to be a step towards “usurping democracy”. Interestingly, the budget, which was the issue for the special Senate meeting, never came up for discussion.

The House, by and large expressed “contempt” for the letter of the Vice-Chancellor. A majority of the members expressed surprise at the letter being sent to the UGC without the consent of either the Syndicate or the Senate.

The Vice-Chancellor’s reply was interrupted midway on several occasions. Finally, following a tea-break, he got up and said that the views of the members on the letter, which would be on the official record for anyone to see, were welcome.

“Yes, we welcome the new Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak,” Professor Puri said adding that he would be best suited to head the proceedings henceforth.

Senate members said the issue was serious and needed immediate attention because university letters were doing the rounds at the UGC and the Punjab Government level. Objections were raised to the following words in the letter: “In particular, the need to change the Senate from the ‘supreme authority a deliberative body which provides interaction between the university and society, make the Syndicate the board of management with membership attuned to this purpose and to reduce elections to such bodies to the minimum.”

Dr R.D. Anand, bringing out the letter at the initial stages of the proceedings, said it was pointless to discuss the budget till the contents of the “derogatory” letter were brought to the knowledge of the House. The Chair was asked to react, Dr Anand was supported by Dr J.S. Yadav, who asked the House to be silent and hear Vice-Chancellor. Dr Anirudh Joshi said the contents of the letter were “derogatory”.

Dr Anand asked: “Is the VC saying that the Senate be dissolved?” Prof Charanjit Chawla said the Vice-Chancellor could not have given his opinion on the issue without the consent of the House. Prof P.P. Arya and Dr Mohammad Khalid emphasised that the letter should be withdrawn. Ms Sneh Mahajan also said that the House should have been informed.

The letter mentions that “elections to the Senate should be minimised. Some element of election will be needed but an attempt should be made to have members who by their eminence and academic as well as administrative acumen can contribute positively to the university objectives.”

The letter also refers to the giving of representation to the students as well as the non-teaching staff of the university. The Senate was basically being seen as a deliberative body.

The pandemonium got an impetus with members arguing for and against a television reporter’s right to live coverage of the proceedings. Dr Yadav said the media had the right to cover the proceedings. Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath said that “live coverage” was not allowed in the House. Following the scene, the House dispersed for snacks before reassembling.

Dr Ram Parkash said the university needed a review of the “information booklet” circulated today in which at least four academicians of national repute did not find mention. 


Vocational courses become popular
By Monica Sharma

CHANDIGARH July 16 — Compared to the past year, more students have opted for vocational courses this year. According to officials, students who get more then 60 per cent of marks do not normally join vocational courses. A lack of awareness among students makes them believe that vocational courses are not as beneficial as the others, whereas, it is not so.

Students who get more than 50 per cent marks prefer to join vocational courses. If they are unable to get admission to the preferred course, they join a humanities course. Some students said vocational courses were good because after finishing these, they would gain valuable practical knowledge.

According to officials, this year, a good number of students, even those who have got good marks, have opted for the information technology course.

Kulwinder, who has got 55 per cent marks, and Ruby Dhiman, who has got 50 per cent marks, have joined vocational courses. They said, ''We find it useless to join a humanities course, but, after finishing a vocational course, we gain useful knowledge."

Anuradha, who has got 51 per cent marks, has joined the commerce stream. She says, ''I have opted for the commerce stream because after graduating, one easily get a job in the industrial sector. If not this, I would have joined some vocational course." The admissions of students who have scored above 55 per cent marks have begun and the seats for vocational courses have started filling up.

Till date, 4,293 students have been admitted to various government schools this year and the admissions will continue till July 18. In all, 2,107 students have joined the science course, 862 the commerce course, 834 the humanities courses and 490 the vocational ones. Seats in science, humanities and commerce streams have been filled up.

Today, about 900 students reported for admissions to various government schools, out of which 786 could get admissions. 


Workshop ends with cultural function
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA July 16 — The summer workshop of the Ghoomer Academy concluded with an exhibition and a cultural programme by the participants at Hansraj Public School in Sector 6 here today.

On display at the exhibition were a variety of items prepared by students in the workshop which started on April 2. These included cutting, tailoring and intricate embroidery work done by the girl participants of the workshop. kathak and vocal and instrumental music were taught to the participants.

A separate fine arts workshop was also organised by the academy. This included classes on oil painting, stain glass painting, pot painting and stuffed toys. The participants were taught the art of mehndi.

Later, a cultural programme by students of the dance class marked the conclusion of the programme. The bhangra item added colour.

A Haryanavi dance to the tune of gher ghoomta sawan aya to mark the Teej festival also proved to be an entertaining programme. They swayed in the multi-coloured lehngas to the rustic music of the number. Children between the age of nine and 12 years gave the audience a memorable evening.

Later, the chief guest, Mr Sandeep Garg, Administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority, distributed participation certificates among the children. The Regional Coordinator of the Nehru Yuva Kendra, Mr S.K. Khanna, was the guest of honour.



A rainbow for your garden
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH July 16 — Zoologists say that Chandigarh and Panchkula are pollution-free and an indication is the number of butterflies which are considered to be “bio-indicators.”

“The beautiful little insects which are natural indicators of pollution, thrive in areas which are relatively pollution-free. It has already been established that more than 25 species of butterflies belonging to different families, including Papilioidiae, Nymphalidae and Saturnidae, are found in plenty here,” says Dr H.S. Mehta, Deputy Director of High Altitude Station of Zoological Survey of India at Solan.

The same holds true for Chandigarh’s sister city, Panchkula. Thousands of butterflies can be witnessed on the city roads, feeding on the roadside plantations, green belts and the greenery in the open plots.

The city is witnessing a large population of white and pale butterflies for the last 10 to 15 days. They are found everywhere, moving from one plant to another in search of nectar — the juicy secretion of flowers that they feed upon. One can see them in parks, on roadsides, in lawns and wherever there is greenery. They are seen particularly during the morning and evening hours. With the rise in temperature they hide themselves in the branches of plants.

According to Dr D.K Walia, an entomologist in the Department of Zoology, Panjab University says “these butterflies belong to genus Catopsilia of family Pieridae and are found in plenty during the months of April till July. Due to the congenial temperature and humid climate, nowadays, more and more pupae are metamorphisising into adults.”

“This is not new to the city. For the past many years we have been noticing a large number of butterflies in and around the city. They are found throughout the year but their population fluctuates depending on temperature and other climatic conditions. In fact, their population was much higher during the late 1950s if we compare the data of those years with that of recent years”, says Dr Walia.

The butterflies are pollinators as well as pests. “These are friendly butterflies as they are effective pollinators and prove to be a friend of the orchards. They add to the beauty of a place with their magnificent colours”, says Dr Mehta.

The species found during this season lay their eggs on various ornamental plants including amaltas, chakunda, butea frondosa and bauhimia racemosa. They are found more on the roadside since these plants are grown ornamentally on the roadside. The larvae of butterflies are voracious feeders and destroy the foliage of plants.

“They can’t do much harm to these plants as they are not of much economic importance. However the apices of the branches will be destroyed. But we have to decide in favour of the side. For how long can we kill beautiful creatures of nature labelling of them as our enemies? In my opinion there should be a butterfly garden in the city on the lines of the botanical garden”, says Dr Walia. 


Courses for artistes
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH July 16 — The Delhi-based Drama Cine Link has decided to start courses with a view to preparing artistes for various TV channels.

According to a press note, the courses have been designed to cater to the needs of the TV channels as there was dearth of trained artistes. Among the courses offered are acting, TV journalism, film direction and modelling, editing and script writing.

The institute will soon start as a production house.


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