Tuesday, March 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Lagaan’ creates history, despite losing Oscar
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
“Lagaan” was not conceived for the purpose of fighting a cinematic battle in any case. So whether or not the epic-scale film gave a tough time to the winning Bosnian film “No Man’s Land” is of little significance. Of greater significance is the fact that the film managed to create history by earning the third Oscar nomination for India. Prior to this, only two Indians have won Oscars — Bhanu Athaiya was awarded for her costumes in Gandhi and Satyajit Ray who was honoured with the life-time achievement award by the Academy.

Where the Indian expectation from the historic dream of director Ashutosh Gowariker was only natural, the loss faced by ‘Lagaan’ at Los Angeles yesterday is thankfully not being dubbed as its failure. The city may not be wearing its usual charm, but surely it is celebrating for placing India again on the Oscar map.

As most people say: “Lagaan” earned rave reviews even from critics and created space for India at the level of Oscars is, in itself, a big success.” Even actress Madhuri Dixit confirmed on television today when asked how she reacted to “Lagaan’s” failure. She maintained, “Lagaan’s success would have brought happiness, but its loss has not caused disappointment in the literal sense. “Lagaan” is, in any case, a hallmark for Indian cinema. It has opened doors for film makers to pursue the coveted honour. I don’t treat its loss as a failure. It’s a matter of pride that a film of our soil travelled so far...after so many years.”

Madhuri Dixit’s words are inspired by the strength of ‘Lagaan’ as a great piece of film production. So even while the final race has not been won, the hype remains. News has it that ‘Lagaan’ was being rated as a hot contender in the foreign film category of Oscars. In fact, the real contest was said to be between the French film ‘Amelie’ and ‘Lagaan’.

The film faced criticism at the hands of some British historians, who felt that it highlighted the British in the wrong perspective. Interestingly though, the British actress Rachel Shelley, who played Elizabeth in the movie, defended the film stating that the British had been colonial in their approach.

The Indo-British aspect apart, ‘Lagaan’ stood as a strong competitor in the Oscars simply because it was more about spirit, inspiration, cinematic brilliance and emotion than anything else. India’s third nomination for the Academy Awards, “Lagaan” voices simple concerns of average people. The film harps neither on violence and sex, nor on elaborate sets and sequences. It purely works at the level of inspiration.

No wonder, the recently held free show of “Lagaan” in Mumbai and also many of its shows in theatres across the world were well-attended. With a strong cast in Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley, Paul Blackthorne, Raj Zutshi, Raghubir Yadav, Kulbhusan Kharbanda, Amin, among others, the film fetched great business in 40 theatres of the USA and five of Canada.

Most city residents are feeling proud over “Lagaan”. They believe that the film was brilliant with all its elements: sensitivity, social relevance, technical finesse and music. The real strength of “Lagaan” is the people behind it. Ashutosh Gowariker took care of direction, story and screenplay. Anil Mehta was amazing with audio-visual effects. Nitin Desai gave the village a touch of the yore and Bhanu Athaiya finished the costumes with reality. A.R. Rahman´s musical genius, enriched by scores from Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Ustad Sultan Khan, teamed up with Javed Akhtar’s lyrics to create history for “Lagaan”, never mind if it were not at the Oscars!



School board decides to go online
Tribune News Service

Board budget

A Rs 66.21 crore budget was approved at the meeting of the finance committee of the Punjab School Education Board here today. However, the estimated expenditure was shown to be about Rs 70 crore (a deficit of about Rs 3 crore). In the budget, Rs 21.25 lakh have been kept for sales of books. The budget will be finally approved at tomorrow’s meeting of the board.

SAS Nagar, March 25
To have faster communication and reduce paperwork, the Punjab School Education Board has approved of a plan to have online connectivity with various government departments and education boards of the other states. Now, it is for the Punjab Government to approve this project.

The cost of the project, estimated to be about Rs 1.50 crore, would be shared by the board and the Punjab Government. A Rs 40 lakh budget for the project was passed at a meeting of the finance committee of the board here today. The board is expected to invest another Rs 40 lakh in the project. The report of a feasibility study in this regard by the IBM has already been forwarded to the state government for approval.

Once the system is in place, there would be several computers connected to terminals in the offices of the State Education Minister, the Education Secretary, the DPI (schools), the SCERT and the District Sales Book Depots, besides many other departments. Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the board, said it would ensure a two-way flow of information and reduce reaction time.

The board aims at improving its communication with the District Sales Book Depots. As of now, this communication is via mail. The system will also reduce examination work.

The finance committee decided to have a panel of experts for implementing demands of the board employees. It also decided to give them a special allowance on the pattern of the state Secretariat employees. However, the allowance will be released after universities in the state give it.

Meanwhile, the board has decided to club various fees charged from students under one head to reduce paperwork.



Bid to steal car of PUDA dy chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Deputy Director of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, Mr Promod Kalia, lodged a complaint with the police here today that there had been an attempt to steal his car from a Sector 17 paid-parking lot. Mr Kalia wants compensation for the damage caused to his vehicle in this attempt.

Mr Kalia said the Municipal Corporation employees and officials at the paid-parking lot had been “irresponsible”. No case as yet has been registered at the Sector 17 police station in this regard.

The police said it had done preliminary investigation, but it needed to probe further before taking any action. The MC officials deployed at the parking lot were on a holiday today on account of Moharram, according to the police.

Mr Kalia said his Maruti Zen (CH-01-W-0805) had been parked in front of the CMC and he had even obtained a parking ticket from the MC men. When he returned, he found that the lock of his car had been opened with a duplicate key and the steering lock broken, which had damaged the steering line. The wipers and light levers had also been damaged in the attempt.

He said when he had reported the matter to the head of the parking-lot staff, Mr Mohan Lal, he had refused to listen to him. He allegedly told Mr Kalia to approach the MC Roads Executive Engineer, Mr S.K. Chadha. Mr Chadha allegedly told him that he would have done something only in case of a theft.

When contacted, Mr Chadha said action could only be taken by senior officials after the police finished its investigations. Mr Kalia said none of the MC officials deployed at the lot had been around when he had been looking for someone to take down his complaint. When contractors manned the lots, the MC had told them that they would be responsible if any vehicle was found damaged or stolen. The MC has now removed this condition.



Karisma leaves fans gasping
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Karisma Kapoor left the winds whirling today. On a stormy visit to the city, the actress wore a very apprehensive look all day, asking her bodyguard to keep the frantic fans away from her. Flanked by security personnel, Karisma did not appear any less than a heavy-weight on the hit list of many outfits. Naturally the fans, as also the media, on trail of the actress, had a hard time trying to catch her glimpse.

Not only were they left wondering over when the actress arrived and when she vanished, they were almost left gasping for breath. The actress was so conscious of public presence that her bodyguard actually kept jostling many people out of her way. While the schedule of the actress was kept a top secret, it almost got divulged the moment she arrived in the Sector 9-D market where she was supposed to inaugurate a store.

The Fiza girl’s car was parked right at the entrance of the store so that she does not have to walk even a yard to get into the car. Even before she arrived, dressed in red, the crazy fans made the market appear like some film shooting spot. While some men were busy doing bhangra, the others kept beating the “dhol”. Never mind the fact that the actress had no time to notice them. Right after the arrival, she headed straight for the store, her bodyguard keeping fans at bay. The only saving grace was that people, unlike in the Sonali Bendre case, did not crash into the store and break open its glass door.

After Sector 9, Karisma went to Sector 10 and then to Sector 17. It was only towards the evening that one got the real picture of what Karisma looked like after her last visit to the city for launching SAB channel. Dressed in yellow, she looked ravishing. And as was expected, she made a very brief appearance in the Forest View farms on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway which was the venue of the magic musical evening where the actress was the guest, apart from the singer sisters Preeti and Pinki (of Piya piya fame).

While Karisma appeared on the stage for a total of seven minutes, the sisters kept the people’s hope alive by beginning with a remix of old Hindi numbers. Then they sang their own hits.

The three Karisma look-alikes (Navjeet, Manjit and Deepti) hunted on the occasion were given a certificate signed by Karisma, apart from an Airtel magic card. The three lucky draw winners who got a chance to dine with the rushing star were Ajay Sakhuja, Rajesh Khanna and Mitali.

Lensmen punched!

Karisma Kapoor’s bodyguard was so busy attending the call of duty that he actually punched two photojournalists who were at work. Most of the journalists failed to get into the store which was jampacked with acquaintances of the owners. As a result, what happened inside the store remained a mystery. The actress, however, spent just about seven minutes in the store. She then entered the car parked right at the store entrance and rushed to Sector 10 where she visited another shop. Later, she went to the Airtel showroom in Sector 17.



PU to consider differential fee structure
M.M. Puri asked to reply to misappropriation charges
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Keeping in mind the economic disparities in society Panjab University is seriously considering the option of charging a differential fee structure from students. This was announced by Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, in reply to observations regarding hike in fee in the forthcoming academic session. The Vice-Chancellor also gave charge to Prof P.P. Arya to work out modalities in identifying the deserving students who could not pursue higher education because of financial constraints. The university would work out the details later.

The Senate decided to give a one-month notice to the former Vice-Chancellor Prof M.M. Puri, regarding misappropriation of funds. The university will also send the earlier committee reports on the issue. The Senate decided to question the former VC about the non-availability of certain documents pertaining to the past more than three decades, which have been sought by him. Then the Senate will decide the future course of action.

Mr Ashok Goyal said since the allegations were “very serious” all relevant records should be forwarded to the fellows. Mr Tarsem Bahia said the university should frame the charges clearly. Prof Charanjit Chawla said a list of charges should be sent to Professor Puri and a reply be sought immediately.

The university has decided to enhance the fee for opening of new colleges. The arts, science and home science colleges will be required to pay Rs 20,000, education, physical education and physiotherapy colleges Rs 50,000; and engineering, medical, ayurvedic, homeopathic, nursing and architecture colleges Rs 1,00,000.

The university has also decided to increase fee by 10 per cent in all colleges. The official note says the increase will be made on account of “other charges” like examination fee, price for forms and fee for certificates. Prof M.R.Agrawal said the university should work out a rationale in increasing the fee with proper information to students.

The university has decided to increase by two-and-a-half times the existing rates of tuition fee and laboratory charges for students joining the first year in the professional courses.

The Senate decided that to incorporate the element of continuous evaluation colleges would conduct two mandatory house examinations (September and December). The September test will carry a weightage of 40 per cent for the total 10 marks of the total for house examination. Prof Satya Pal Gautam said colleges which did not send the required marks list to the university within the specified time should be penalised. Principal A.C.Vaid said colleges were ready to do the needful for the timely dispatch of in-house examination results.

With regard to the case of varying birth certificates submitted to the university by Prof Gopal Iyer (Sociology Department) the university has granted him four months to submit the original papers.

With respect to the university decision to cancel the entrance examination for certain classes the Senate decided that in case the number of applicants was more than the number of seats, the university should conduct an entrance examination.

All formalities with regard to opening of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology were cleared by the Senate for commencement of the course from the forthcoming academic session.

Yesterday’s day-long deliberations had finalised just two items of the total 44 on the agenda. Rest all were completed after the debate today. Today’s meeting saw Mr Gopal Krishan Charath (along with his supporters) absent from the meeting in protest against his disagreement on the university decision regarding the suspended FDO, whose suspension has not been revoked.

Dr H.S. Chawla, Head of the Department of Oral Health Sciences, PGI, has been elected university member of the Dental Council of India.



City may soon be magnet for tourists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The city may soon be an ideal weekend destination if plans of the Administration work out. The aim is to have world-class convention facilities here, besides opportunities for eco-tourism comprising treks into upcoming eco-wildlife park at Kansal and Nepli.

Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake will still remain in focus. The Administration has already allowed restaurants to remain open till 1 am and clearance has been given for more bars where liquor would be served. A hop-on-hop-off open-roof double-decker bus has been introduced for the budget tourist.

A big place for holding exhibitions where prefabricated structures would remain erected throughout the year is part of the plan. It will be like Pragati Maidan of New Delhi. The open space near the Beant Singh Memorial is a likely site for it. Chandigarh can easily be an alternative convention centre for those who head towards New Delhi now, as it offers clean environment, world-class entertainment facilities and proximity to hills. This makes city an ideal place for families of visiting delegates.

The Managing Director of the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO), Mr S.P. Singh, says: “We have agents in places like Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Panipat to market the city. There has been a tie-up with Rajasthan Tourism and the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) for sending tourists here. A train from south India would have been welcome, but CITCO still offers package tours to Shimla, Kasauli, Vaishno Devi and Amritsar.”

An international tourism conclave in New Delhi between April 14 and 18 will help Chandigarh position itself as an ideal stopover destination or a gateway to Himachal Pradesh. Delegates will visit the city and see what it has to offer. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will hold its annual conference in India.

Chandigarh does not lack in infrastructure. The Director of the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends, Major Gulshan Sharma (retd), says: “From October, Chandigarh will be part of the diplomatic-tourism package, with people arriving here via Shatabdi Express on Saturday morning. A round of golf and camping will be thrown in along with a trip to Ludhiana.”

Top restaurant chains and lifestyle stores have already opened shops here. The president of the Tourism Promotion Society of Chandigarh, Mr Man Mohan Singh, says that the city needs to focus on core things like Rock Garden, which is the strongest invitation that city can offer to visitors. All others are add-on facilities.



PM’s early return surprises many
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, arrived here today around four hours in advance en route his return journey to Delhi from Shimla. His early return from Shimla is being linked to the special joint session of Parliament scheduled for tomorrow.

His early return surprised even officials and politicians. Number of officials who received the Prime Minister at the airport was less than yesterday when Mr Vajpayee had a ten-minute stopover in the city while going to Shimla.

The Prime Minister’s helicopter was accompanied by two other helicopters and he left for Delhi through an Indian Airlines aircraft around 12.50 pm.

The Prime Minister was received at the airport by the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J. F. R. Jacob, the Haryana Governor, Mr Babu Parmanand, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, the Punjab Dairy Development, Fisheries, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Mr Jagmohan Kang, the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, and his Haryana counterpart, Mr L.M. Goyal.

The Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, the Home Secretary Mr R.S. Gujral, the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, the Inspector General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi, a former BJP MP, Mr Satyapal Jain and the local BJP adhoc committee convener, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, were also among those who received the Prime Minister.



Moharram observed in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 25
A large number of people participated in the procession held to observe Moharram. It started from Sector 29 and passed through Sectors 27, 18, 19, 20 and 30.

The procession was led by the resident of the National Muslim Welfare Movement, Mr Mohammad Shakir, chairman, Mr GoharAli Sabri , Mr Jamil Ahmad and Mr Nazmul Islam.

Chief Khalifa Habibullah Sabri offered prayers. On the way, “chhabils” were set up. “Kichra” was distributed among devotees and “gatkha” was performed by children and experts.

The president. appealed to people to maintain harmony and integrity.



1 killed as car falls into ditch
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, March 25
A person was killed and another sustained serious injuries when the car in which they were travelling fell into a ditch after hitting an electricity pole near the Saini complex on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road late Saturday night.

According to sources, the driver lost control over the vehicle which was being chased by a night patrolling party of the local police.

One of the victims, Vijay Kumar, died at the PGI, Chandigarh, while the other, Mr Inderjit Singh, is in a critical condition.

The sources said the duo were the employees of a factory located in Saidpura and were allegedly drunk. They were going to pick up their third colleague from the local bus stand. Some police personnel indicated them to stop but they sped away the car which led to the accident.

The police has registered a case and handed over the body to the family after a postmortem examination.



Ezra Daniel is no more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Dr Ezra Marcellus Daniel, a former Chief Sub-Editor in The Tribune, died at Orleans , Ontario in Canada yesterday following a massive heart attack. He was 49.

An alumni of St Stephen’s College, New Delhi, he did his doctorate in Philosophy from Panjab University before joining The Tribune in 1982 as a Sub-Editor. When he left for Canada in 1996, he was a Chief Sub-Editor.

He leaves behind his wife , a son, a daughter, mother and two sisters.

Known for his smiling face and helpful nature, Ezra was an allrounder. A keen tennis player, he covered several prestigious international events of the sport, including Davis Cup matches for The Tribune. He was an adventurist. Hiking, trekking and mountaineering were his favourites.

He also looked after Education Tribune.



Excel in the allotted role

THIS world is a stage with a play on. Your role is defined and you can only improve your performance. So excel in the allotted role, smile and thank the Lord, come what may.

This is the guiding philosophy of Omica Sahni, a Class VII student of Satluj Public School, Panchkula. She has been declared amongst the seven top students in the country in the Procom Computer Quiz Contest, 2002. She was selected from amongst 12,000 candidates and was declared second in the North Zone.

However, this young prodigy is one of the few people who strongly believe that self-betterment becomes irrelevant if one is not contributing to the betterment of society. “I believe that If God has been kind to you, it is your duty to spread His kindness amongst the less fortunate.” she says. She aspires to be a doctor, so that she can serve the humanity.

She says that it is by her sheer grit, determination and dedication that she has finally made a mark for herself. TNS



Ayyappa Temple's prathishta day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Sree Ayyappa Temple will celebrate its 12th prathishta day on the temple premises here tomorrow. Thirty artistes from various fields will participate in the function. The ceremony will start at 4 a.m.

The main attraction of the ceremony will be ''thalappoli'' — a procession with ladies in their traditional attire and a caparisoned elephant accompanied with traditional drums of Kerala. The procession would start from the Sree Ayyappa Temple to the Kartikeya Temple in Sector 31.



2 killed in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 25
A 15-year-old boy was killed in a road accident near HMT factory in Pinjore this morning. His father and younger brother were also injured in the accident.

The victim, Avinash, was riding a scooter with his father Bahadur Yadav, and brother, Sachin (6). A car reportedly hit their scooter from behind and the scooter fell down. They were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Sector 6, here.

While Avinash died at the hospital, his father and brother are still in a serious condition.

Another youth was killed when he was hit by a tractor trolley near village Burj Kotian village yesterday. The accused — Harilala, Amar Singh and two others, also tried to destroy evidence by disposing off the body.

According to an FIR registered on the complaint of Khateru Ram, father of the victim, his son, was killed when he was hit by the tractor. A case under Sections 279, 304-A and 201 of IPC, has been registered.

In another accident, a Tata Sumo hit a scooterist, Sahil, in Sector 16. He sustained serious injuries and was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh. A case under Sections 279 and 337, IPC, has been registered.

One arrested: The Chandi Mandir police has arrested Palram and seized 20 kg of ‘lahaan’ (country-made liquor) from him. He was arrested yesterday from Khaduni Bhoj Tipra village. He has been booked under various Sections of the Excise Act.


1 held: The police has arrested a resident of SAS Nagar, Kulwant Singh, for allegedly trying to pass two fake currency notes of Rs 100 denomination at a wine shop in Sector 52. The accused has been booked under Sections 489 and 489-C of the Indian Penal Code.

Held for defacing property: In different incidents, two persons were arrested from Mani Majra for allegedly defacing public property by hanging advertisement banners outside showrooms. The accused have been identified as Sanjiv Kumar and Ashok Kumar.

Stolen: A Sector 38 resident, Nand Lal, has reported that a large number of sanitary and hardware items, worth about Rs 10,000 were stolen from his residence. The police has registered a case.



Police remand for murder accused
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 25
The UT Duty Judicial Magistrate, Mr Baljinder Singh, sent Ashish Arora, an accused in a murder case, to the police custody for two days here today. Ashish is accused of having murdered his brother-in-law, Joginder Singh, in Sector 23 here on September 28, 2001.

The Chandigarh police had sought police remand of the accused to recover the murder weapon. The court was told that the Mumbai police had arrested the accused in connection with some other case. Medical examination of the accused had already been done.

The police had already arrested Ashish’s brother, Sanjay. According to the police, the accused is involved in several other cases as well.

A five-member team of the local police led by a Sub Inspector had left for Mumbai after a local magistrate had issued warrants against the accused.


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