Tuesday, September 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Revamp PU poll process
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

THE fervour for elections to the Panjab University Campus Student Council has faded and the new council assumes office shortly. There exists a general opinion that the entire poll process needs a re-look for the university and the students to make improvements in the existing system. Certain critical issues include expenditure, participation of outsiders, lapses in canvassing and non-conformity to the code of conduct, besides others.


The amount of money flowing into the polls on the campus is amazing. The university on its part had not fixed any limits on the total costs for individual organisations. Each organisation indulges in attempting to outdo the other in display of posters, distributing pamphlets and arranging maximum vehicles for rallies. The campus witnessed an interesting scene this time with different organisations taking students for outings to cinema halls and restaurants and parties in private accommodation outside the campus.

There were also reports of hostellers having been planted in private residences outside the campus to be ferried on the campus just during the polling process. The Panjab University Students Union and the Students Organisation of Panjab University are the two prominent organisations on the campus and both enjoy the “privilege” of being backed by “powerful” senators. The victory parties of SOPU are known to have been held at the residence of one of the Fellows near the campus in the past and this time the PUSU’s party for victory was held at Panchkula.


The issue of voters is important for comprehension of the entire election scenario. The Basic Medical Sciences (BMS) block, Chemical Engineering and University Institute of Engineering and Technology, have the biggest vote banks on the campus. The students here are largely undergraduates. Numberwise, there are more than 40 other departments. Yet the departments of Professional Courses hold the key to final results. Law Department is an exception and coincidently all presidents have been to the Law Department. “A university is basically for postgraduation and for research. So this part of the polling process needs a rethought”, a research scholar said. Seniors also threaten these “youngsters” to be with them or leave the campus. “If you do not want to vote for us leave the campus”, is the common line, and hostels and classes wear a deserted look.

Interestingly, the university allows students of M.Phil I to cast their votes while the second year students are barred. The university, which is basically a ground for research, should not ignore its higher qualified students, it is felt.


The poll scenario each year witnesses a very heavy inflow of the outsiders on the campus. Young students from the local colleges are here “just for fun”. The heavyweight supporters from Punjab park themselves on the campus for nearly a month during the polling campaign and the trend continues unabated each year. Infact, the bulk of outsiders in election rallies is too common. One of the camps had a number of supporters from the political party to which it is linked for over a week. Interestingly, the same group also brought in a truckload of students from schools in their school dress.

Code of conduct

The code of conduct laid down by the university is openly violated in the election process. The party posters find place on the walls of the entire campus. The walls are lesser covered this time but aberrations do exist at a number of places. Students are not supposed to disturb the classes during campaigning. However, the campaign goes on openly in the classes. Despite a time limit on canvassing in the girl’s hostels till about 7 p.m. daily, the rush continues late till 10 a.m. in routine.

Plying of vehicles on the campus is voluminous during the campaigning days.


Each year the names that feature prominently in elections include students who have been involved in activities of violence. “This part needs a check”, Malwinder Singh Kang, the council president said. “The university should conduct a fair enquiry even into the incidents where my name has figured. In case found guilty I should be asked to leave the campus. This exercise should be carried in case of other students also and similar punishment be given The university has not set even a single example till date”, he added.

The university needs to clarify its stand on the part of the accused and the guilty to put more checks.

Police interference

The local police was on the campus in large numbers during election days and they did a commendable role. It ensured implementation of proper code of conduct during the polls.

A senior research scholar said the university should call representatives from all the organisations and define a new code of conduct, with amendments, to give some more grace to the exercise.


Counselling session for B.Ed aspirants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
There is a ray of hope for scores of students of the city seeking admission to the local B Ed colleges as the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Prof S.P Singh, has decided to hold the third counselling session for students of Chandigarh in one of the colleges situated here on September 20 or 21.

Prof S.P. Singh, when contacted, confirmed that the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Mr N.S Rattan, has given a nod to the decision, thereby directing the authorities concerned to give an advertisement in the newspapers informing the students.

Meanwhile, harried students, who contacted by the TNS today, disclosed that they were denied admissions to the local colleges in the city due to the irregularities committed by GNDU varsity while making admissions. One such student, Seema disclosed that even though her rank stands between 4000 -4500, she has still not got admission in any of the colleges as the university did not call them for the second counselling. “Since the sessions to the course have already begun since August 1, our studies are suffering,” she said.

According to reliable sources, 118 seats are still lying vacant in the humanities stream of B.Ed colleges and 38 in the B Ed (yoga) course. This includes 49 seats in Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, and 69 in Government College of Education, Sector 20, besides 38 seats in B.Ed (Yoga) course in Brahmrishi Yoga Training College in Sector 19 and Government College of Education, Sector 20.

The students, who have suffered at the hands of the university authorities are apprehensive of their future. “Unless the advertisement appears for the third counselling, we just can’t rely on the verbal assurances given by the university officials,” said one of the students. They maintain that the authorities should have opened the admissions to all categories well in time so that all seats could have got filled.

The Vice-Chancellor, on his part, stated that seats remained vacant due to lack of suitable combination of subjects approved by the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE). 


DAV school students win science quiz
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 15
A district-level inter-school science quiz contest was organised at Chaman Lal DAV Senior Public School, Sector 11, today. The quiz was organised by the Haryana State Council for Science and Technology and Education Department. The winners of the quiz contest were: First — Sumeet Malik, Vikas Dhiman and Anuka Sharma (Chaman Lal DAV School); second — Bhavika, Bharat and Prateek (Hansraj Public School); and, third — Karan, Sameer and Meghna (MRA Modern Public School). The winning teams will now participate in the zonal science quiz contest to be held at Ambala in November.

Grandparents’ Day

Grandparents’ Day was celebrated at Shemrock Smiles preparatory school today. The day started with showering of flower petals on grandparents as they entered the school.

The tiny tots themselves took their grandparents to a guided tour of the school and introduced them to their friends and teachers. Shashrika, a student of play group, enthralled the grandparents with “Dadi Amma Dadi Amma”. Children also presented a few dance items.

The children later engaged their grandparents in some indoor games.

Story telling contest

An inter-house story-telling competition for students of classes I to V was held at St Soldier Divine Public School. Two students from each house participated in the competition. Preetinder of Class III and Yachika of Class I were adjudged first and second in Group A, while Nishtha of Class IV and Manya and Anjali, both of Class V, won the second prize in Group B.

Cultural programme

A cultural programme was presented by the children of Satluj Public School during the Jayanti Sangeet Samaroh held this evening. The samaroh was organised by Saraswati Kala Sangam in association with the management of Satluj Public School.

Children rendered beautiful song and dance performances. Haryanvi, Punjabi and classical Indian song and dance items were presented, which left the audiece spellbound. Mr Ajay Chautala, MP from Bhiwani, was the chief guest on this occasion. He appreciated the efforts made by Saraswati Kala Sangam and said the organisation was rendering a great service by keeping alive the tradition culture through folk dance and music.


Vandana wins declamation contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
A painting competition and a declamation contest were organised by Chamoli Parvatiya Vikas Parishad at Garhwal Bhavan, Sector 29, here today. Mr Pramod Kashyap, Executive Engineer, Municipal Corporation, was the chief guest.

Following are the results :

Painting competition: Class I to IV : Arti Negi 1; Manju Rana 2; and Priyanka Kathait 3; consolation prize for Poonam Kathait; Class VI to VIII: Priyanka Rawat 1; Anju Negi 2; and Abhay Semwal 3; consolation prize for Akshya Semwal; Class IX to XI : Manju Negi 1; Baldev Negi 2; and Abhishek Pandey 3; consolation prize for Kailash Bisht.

Declamation contest: Vandana Jamloki 1; Manish Bhatt 2; and Samir Vashisht 3; consolation prize for Vandana Vashisht.

Mr Kailash Sharma of A.K. Vidyamandir gave away prizes to the winners.


Toy train is back
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
Terminated after an accident a few years back, the toy train came chugging down the narrow gauge this morning carrying excited children of Indira Holiday Home Preparatory School in Sector 24.

As the gleaming red and yellow train with “Jai Mata Di” printed in bold letters across the engine came to a shrieking halt at the station, the little ones rushed forward to board the “little wonder”.

Soon after the train, with grey smoke bellowing out of its single chimney, started for its kilometre-long run, they jumped and screamed with sheer excitement. The parents, sitting along with them, had a tough time forcing them to sit.

Preparations had been made for the run. In fact, the place was actually converted into a railway station with kiosks all along the platform. Standing there, you could even feel the hustle and bustle of the railway station.

Giving details, organiser Micky said all necessary precautions had been taken to ensure against the repetition of the incident which had created doubts about safety of the train among the residents.

He added that the worn out sleepers had been replaced to avoid any sort of mishap. “Last time, the engine had derailed because the train was run continuously for four rounds. This time, we will not take any such risk,” he said.

If you too wish to enjoy the ride, take out Rs 10 from your wallet. The children have to pay Rs 5 less. You do not even have to wait for sufficient number of passengers. “Rs 30 is enough for us to run the train”, he asserted.


One convicted under Wildlife Act
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
A resident of Uttaranchal, Hari Singh Negi, was today sentenced to one year’s rigorous imprisonment by a local court under the Protection of Wild Life Act. After getting information from the complainant the Assistant Director Wild Life, Mr D.S Gurum, the UT police had arrested Negi and recovered a leopard skin from his possession in September 2002 .

A Pakistan national, Abid Mehmood, alias Nihal Chouhan, who was lodged in the Model Burail jail on spying charges has filed a criminal revision petition stating that the investigation agency have not supplied him the documents submitted regarding a challan filed against him by the police. The court has issued a notice to the UT to file reply in the case by September 29.

Giving details in the petition, Abid stated he had earlier moved the application for the supply of complete documents, but the same was dismissed by a local court. He added that UT police had recovered highly sensitive matter from his possession including 20 photographs and a map, which was not supplied in the challan.

Abid Mehmood, along with Abdul Wahid and Mohammad Arif, both Indian nationals were arrested under the provisions of Official Secrets Act, Foreign Act and cheating and forgery charges on February 23.


Murder suspect surrenders
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 15
One of the suspect in the murder case of B.K. Chopra, Executive Engineer, S.A.S. Nagar, on February 17. Nitin Kumar Sharma surrendered in the court of Mr Ranjan Khullar, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar today. The court has remanded him in judicial custody till September 16 and issued a notice to the state in this regard.

The court has ordered that he should be produced before the Ilaqa Magistrate on September 16. Nitin pleaded in the court that he had been falsely implicated in the case.


A tale that tickles taste buds
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
They dance, they sing and they cook with equal zest. To top it, the audience gets to eat what they cook on stage. That is Neelam Mansingh’s “Kitchen Katha”, the opening play of the National Theatre Festival, 2003, which started at Tagore Theatre here today.

As the curtain goes up, you see a community kitchen — people chopping vegetables, grinding spices and making chappatis, singing joyfully, welcoming you to a world where love mingles with recipes, and kitchen ingredients bring back romantic memories of yesteryear.

As Tara, the protagonist, recalls her grandmother Chand Kaur’s love story for the benefit of a writer, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of a kitchen. The grinding and chopping culminates in a happy ending, symbolised by a grand feast, one goes through the moments of sorrow and joy felt by Chand Kaur.

She hides her tears by chopping onions or lets out her pent-up anger by grinding spice. And if you are wondering what a love story has to do with cooking, then writer Surjit Pattar offers a valid reason for it. In the end, Chand Kaur wins her man’s heart through his stomach.

The play bears the stamp of a Neelam Mansingh play, with an elaborate set, beautiful music and a touch of glamour and sensuality in her characters. Composed by the late B. V. Karanth, the songs have simple lyrics and have a folk touch which complements the storyline.

Ramanjit as Tara and Chand Kaur puts up a good performance. Others include Payal Chaudhary as the writer, and Mehar Chand, Bahadur Chand, Puran Chand, Amarjeet, Deshraj, Kabir Chaudhury and Prem Chand as members of the kitchen. Pamela Chaudhury, Somesh and Anil Sharma have lent their voices for the songs.

The play remains interactive throughout, with actors handing out pakoras and jalebis to the audience whenever the situation demands. Finally, they invite the viewers to a grand feast.

The theatre festival is being organised by the North Central Zone Cultural Centre, Allahabad, in collaboration with the Department of Public Relations and Cultural Affairs, Haryana.


Naseer’s play on September 25
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
The Durga Das Foundation, in association with Spice Telecom and The Tribune group of publications, will bring to the city a play from Mumbai, “Ismat apa ke naam”, on September 25.

The play is based on the writings of legendary and controversial Urdu writer Ismat Chugtai. It has been scripted, directed and produced by one of India’s most celebrated theatre and film actor, Naseeruddin Shah. It stars Naseer himself, besides his wife, Ratna Pathak Shah, and his daughter, Heeba.

The play makes thought-provoking comments on the life and times of the writer, juxtaposing them with contemporary trends and concerns.

The three-act play consists of three monologues. “Gharwali”, presented by Naseer, is a satire on the institution of marriage as well as the social mores of India in the 1940s. “Chuee muee”, presented by Heeba Shah, is a tribute to the power of rural women. “Mughal Bachcha”, presented by Ratna Pathak Shah, talks of the so-called successors of the Mughals, the landed gentry of Uttar Pradesh and their obsession with the white skin.

The play is being organised as a part of the Durga Das Foundation’s initiative to bring to the city high-quality offerings from the world of theatre, music, dance art and culture.

For invites, contact the office of the Durga Das Foundation at Nehru Bhavan, Sector 24.


Exponent keen to popularise odissi
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, September 15
Ranjana Gauhar’s scientific approach and keen observation of minute details stands her apart from other artistes of her genre. One of the leading exponents of odissi, Ranjana is using her experience and knowledge to bring back odissi from a phase of stagnation using different media, including writing a book titled “Kaishiki — Journey of odissi dance” which will be released soon.

“There is a lack of interest among organisers when it comes to odissi dance and by and large, even the media has been ignoring odissi dancers”, she says while making herself comfortable in a hotel in Sector 35 after arriving from Delhi today. Ranjana is visiting the city after nine years to perform at the festival organised by Pracheen Kala Kendra at its SAS Nagar branch.

“Another main reason for odissi not gaining as much popularity as other classical forms is that while odissi has been given the status of a classical dance, the same status has not been accorded to odissi music so far. Because of this gap, many people do not encourage their children to learn odissi,” she explains.

Though performance remains her first love, Ranjana is at the same time trying to explore ways for popularising this dance form, like documentary making. Her docudramas like “Odissi Chandrika”, “Nupur”, “Prerana” and “Odissi Nritya” have proved to be a mine of information in this field.

“Soon I will be visiting Latin American countries on an ICCR- sponsored tour for performance , after which I will visit Vietnam to establish cultural links between India and Vietnam,” she says.

Ranjana, who has evolved her own distinctive style of odissi by blending the finer points of Chhau dance — the martial dance form from Orissa — with Odissi. Narrating her story, she says, “I learnt kathak when I was 11 years old but by the time I was 16, I was thoroughly bored but went on drifting till I saw someone performing odissi in Delhi, my home town.” That was the turning point in her life and what followed later was hunting for a guru, which she found in Pt Maya Dhar Raut. There was no looking back after that.

It was the spiritual part of odissi which attracted Ranjana in the first place. “Odissi gives a wide scope for abhinaya, which is my favourite,” says Ranjana. While confining herself to the dictates of the tradition, she also reaches out to the contemporary.

Starting her performance with mangalacharan, an invocatory item based on a Kalidas poem about Goddess Sarasvati, Ranjana brought out an interesting aspect of romance. In a popular ashtapadi from Jaidev’s “Geet Govind”, Ranjana depicted Krishna’s restlessness and longing for Radha, which is conveyed to her by one of her friends.

Continuing to extol the magic of love in her next item, a dance based on an Oriya geet describing the eternal love story of Radha and Krishna, Ranjana concluded her performance with a self-composed item, “Dancing footsteps in the rain”, a Meera bhajan describing the monsoon.

Another major attraction of today’s programme was a presentation given by the three generation of the Bhatt family from Jaipur — the creator of Mohan Veena and India’s first Grammy Award winner, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, his son Salil Bhatt and grandson Satvik Bhatt.


Patients left high and dry
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 15
The one-day health check-up camp in Morni became the bane of residents of Panchkula. Hundreds of patients visiting the General Hospital, Sector 6, were left high and dry because most of the doctors were either away for the camp in Morni or for the Pulse Polio immunisation programme.

Even as patients poured in the hospital, there were no doctors in the ENT and Skin departments. Work in Paediatric, Gynaecology, Surgery, Dental and Pathology departments was also affected because doctors were away to Morni. In the Gynaecology Department, six doctors were attending the camp and one doctor was available for emergencies.

In the other departments OPDs were affected, not only because of the absence of doctors, but also due to the machinery being taken away to Morni. In the absence of technicians and physiotherapists, no ECG or physiotherapy was done at the hospital.

A number of patients at the hospital complained that they were forced to get their tests done from private doctors because of unavailability of doctors and lab technicians in the hospital. Ms Asha, a resident of the Rajiv colony, who was suffering from high fever, said she had to shell out more money and get her blood test done from a private practitioner outside the hospital.

Sources in the local Health Department said the hospital was short of 16 doctors, four Class IV employees and lab technicians and two drivers, among others.

The staff had been requisitioned for the camp, organised by Health Department, Haryana, and inaugurated by Mr Ajay Chautala, MP and a son of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. Other than this, five doctors were away for the Pulse Polio immunisation drive.

Meanwhile, as many as 970 persons attended the camp at Morni, where they were examined for ENT, skin, surgical, dental, orthopaedic, paediatric, gynaecological and mental ailments. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ajay Chautala, said the state government was giving special emphasis on promoting health care in the state.

He asked officers of the Health Department to ensure round-the-clock availability of doctors at the Primary Health Centre in Morni. He also announced that an ambulance would be provided there.

The Health Minister, Mr M.L. Ranga, said 267 free health camps had so far been organised in different parts of the state. He said the aim of organising such camps was to ensure that health care reached the door steps of the people, living in rural areas.Back

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