C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City schools charge exorbitant fees
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
As if the money paid to prepare their kids for interview at upmarket city schools was not enough, the parents are being forced to pay exorbitant fees.
After securing a seat for their tiny tots at these schools for the new academic session beginning soon, the parents have to arrange the fees, varying anything between Rs 15,000 and Rs 40,000.

The parents have every reason to worry. The rising cost of “quality” education, as claimed by elite schools has made the school education out of bonds for the salaried class and those from the middle and lower income groups. Reports of certain schools accepting donations in the name of development fund can not be ruled out.

Said the Regional Officer of the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), Mr P.I. Sabu. “The fee structure of the school is governed by the Department of Education of the respective state”.

Affiliation bylaws of the CBSE state that the fees charged should be commensurate with the facilities provided by the respective institution under the heads prescribed by the Education Department of the respective state for schools of different categories. Charging capitation fee or voluntary donations in the name of the school can lead to disaffiliation of the school, he said.

Managements of the private schools state that high cost of land being allotted by the Chandigarh Administration had led to exorbitant fees. “In Chandigarh, the allotment rate varied around Rs 1,800 per sq yard. At a recent auction in Panchkula, a school site was sold for over Rs 2 crore,” said the Director of the Gurukul, Panchkula, Mr Sanjay Thareja.

Mr Ajay Pal Singh, who had to shell out Rs 20,000 to secure a seat for his daughter in Kindergarten Class in a city school, said, “Why should be a parent forced to pay for the cost of the land. It is for the school to arrange funds and offer quality education”.

Requesting anonymity, the owner of a private school said the exorbitant fees were justified. He said, “Private schools operate in the education market and they had the right to make decent profit. The real issue was quality. If there is profit in education, new entrepreneurs would come forcing the schools to improve quality or lower fees, solving the problem of high fees”.

Different schools had different pattern of charging fees under various heads. The annual expenditure per student, including the tuition fee, bus fare, books and the school uniform works out to around Rs 50,000.



Librarian’s role discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
A UGC sponsored refresher course in Library and Information Science on the “New Frontiers in Management of Academic Libraries” was inaugurated by Prof S.L. Sharma, Dean, Faculty of Arts, at the library here on Thursday.

In his presidential remarks, Prof S.L. Sharma, highlighted the importance of academic libraries and role of librarians in the present age of “literature explosion” and technological changes. He also reminded librarians of their social, professional and ethical responsibilities in the academic system.

Twenty participants comprising college librarians, assistant librarians from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh , Uttar Pradesh are attending the three-week course.

Prof H.R. Chopra, chairperson and course co-ordinator, welcomed the guests and participants. Others who spoke at the inaugural session were Prof Sewa Singh, former Head of the Department of Library and Information Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Dr Jayanti Dutta, Deputy Director of the Academic Staff College.

Meanwhile, a Fellow of the Panjab University Senate, Mr R.P.S. Josh, has written to Vice-Chancellor Prof K.N. Pathak, requesting the conducting of a refresher course in Economics.

In a letter signed by Senators, Mr Josh has said that the course to be conducted by the Academic Staff College in collaboration with the Department of Economics had been cancelled.

“Since lecturers are eligible for the senior and selection grade after attending the refresher courses in accordance with UGC rules, the Academic Staff College be persuaded to conduct the course as planned,” the letter said.



Conference lays stress on role of HR professionals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
“The role of human resource (HR) professionals is to bridge the strategic gap between Indian companies and world class companies by increasing productivity and quality. Product innovation and customer orientation are other areas in which Indian companies need to work upon,” said Mr Arvind Aggarwal, HR President of the RPG group.

He was speaking on the topic “Investing in HR for Globalisation” on the concluding day of the three-day conference of the National Institute of Personnel Management held at Panjab University here today.

Mr Aggarwal highlighted the impact of globalisation on the corporate sector while emphasising the need for global tie-ups.

Citing an example from the RPG, he asserted that performance orientation could be improved if HR professionals adopt problem-solving strategy, which includes identifying the problem and its causes, generating alternatives , selecting solutions and them.

The Vice-President, HR, Hughes Software System Limited, Mr Jayaram Easwaran, said, “It is all about acquiring a global mindset, benchmarking and competing with the best global companies. Wake up and smell the coffee, catch people, do things right and if you have a young team, inculcate idealism and learn to be comfortable with anonymity,” he exhorted the audience.

Terming “excellence of execution as the key to success”, Mr Vijay Michihito, management consultant, stated that big profits would go to those who manage information better, irrespective of the status of their physical assets.

“The role of HR has changed from reactive to pro-active solution-focussed role. The emphasis, therefore, should be on consensus building and managing teams rather than commanding and controlling,” he advised.

Mr J.S. Ghumman, Country Manager, Convergys India Limited, spoke on various factors affecting business process outsourcing. “It is by virtue of core competence of the business process outsourcing in terms of talent and technology that helps them deliver efficient services,” he explained. He cautioned that contingency planning, disaster recovery and exit strategy must be in place before a decision to outsource business processes is taken.

The GM-Corporate, HR of Daksh-e-services, Mr D.P. Singh, said the first step in outsourcing is to identify core and non-core activities. He divided outsourcing into two broad categories of tactical outsourcing which involves non-core, short-term, single process services and transformational outsourcing which involves core and non-core, long-term and multi-process services. 



Day of fun, frolic for YPS kids
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 7
It was a day of fun and frolic for students of Yadavindra Public School (YPS) on the opening day of a two-day fete here today.
Excited children, many of them with their faces painted, were seen enjoying themselves at a variety of games at “YPS Extravaganza”. The school playfield was dotted with stalls offering games like tambola, “pin a tail” and “try your luck”, eatables, including cakes prepared by teachers, and craft items made by students.

There were also items prepared by students from recycled paper like photo frames, envelopes and small carry-bags. A raffle draw was among the attractions.

A fete organiser and senior teacher, Mrs Anita Kashyap, said the money collected from the fete would be used for charitable purposes. A corpus had been created out of which funds would be provided to students who could not afford school fees.

Yesterday, children were brought from Colony No. 4 in Chandigarh, which has been “adopted” by YPS, to the school. The children from underprivileged families had food in the mess and enjoyed free rides on the school premises.



‘Parveshika’ training camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7, 2004
A four-day “Parveshika” training camp of Hindustan Scouts and Guides began at Maharshi Dayanand Public School, Daria village, here today. The camp was inaugurated by the Mayor, Ms Kamlesh.

Addressing a gathering of around 100 scouts and guides, the mayor said the scouts and guides played an important role in helping the people to fight social evils. She said such camps were essential to make a child a responsible citizen.

Mr Ajay Chowbey, state secretary of the Hindustan Scouts and Guides, spoke on the nature of training.

Earlier, Mr Vinod Kumar welcomed the guests — Mr R.S.Dutt, Mr R.K.Munjal, Dr Vikas Kohli and Ms G.K.Walia.



Lawyers to boycott CJM’s court

Panchkula, February 7
Members of District Bar Association (DBA), Panchkula, today held an emergency meeting and passed a resolution to boycott the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Panchkula. The members, in a press note, said the meeting was chaired by Mr Satish Kadian, president, and the resolution passed with thumping majority. Mr Kadian said the decision has been taken against the non-cooperative “behaviour and indifferent” attitude of the CJM. OC



17 PNB cases settled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 7
The State Legal Service Authority, Chandigarh, organised a Special Lok Adalat to settle outstanding dues of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) here today.

The adalat was presided over by Mr Sant Parkash, Member Secretary-cum-Judge, Permanent Lok Adalat. Mr Harwant Singh, General Manager, and Mr N.K. Mankotia, Senior Manager (Law) of the PNB, represented the bank. The adalat was organised under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Twenty cases were taken up, out of which 17 were settled and a sum of Rs 7.79 lakh was awarded. A sum of Rs 2 lakh was also recovered on the spot from the borrowers.



Punjabi music body to form anti-piracy cell
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Association of Punjabi Television, Cinema and Music Industries (APTEC) Minds today announced music awards in the world of Punjabi music. At a media interaction, organised to discuss issues critical to Punjabi music, cinema and television industry, Mr Arvinder Singh, president of the association also announced the formation of an anti-piracy cell to be headed by a police official who would look into discrepancies rampant in the field.

Mr Arvinder Singh raised the issue of rights of singers, musicians, lyricists and cinematographers, who have contributed immensely to the success of Punjabi music and cinema. Stating facts like the existence of 15 Punjabi music channels, the dominance of Punjabis in mainstream cinema and the increasing popularity of Punjabi music that forms about 60 per cent of the music played on channels, Mr Singh said the issue of copywright had become very important.

“We have formed the APTEC Minds to give Punjabi musicians and others in the field their due. We will also gradually ensure proper copywright so that those responsible for the popularity of Punjabi music and cinema get financial returns that they rightfully deserve.”

Elaborating on legal aspects of the industry which has still not been researched properly, Mr Shekhar Menon talked about lack of proper registrations and licensing in the area. “We have many cases of intellectual property rights pending in courts.

More often than not, the cases are weak because of lack of registration documents. Even the licensing part is not being taken seriously. Once we get into action, we will ensure that the singers and even the music company gets the financial return in accordance with the frequency at which a particular Punjabi song is played, either in hotels or in discotheques. Currently there is no system that monitors all this.”

The APTEC Minds will also determine the size of the Punjabi music industry by conducting proper researches. International sales of Punjabi music will also be looked into. Finally, as Mr Arvinder Singh pointed out, “We are here to draw a road map to derive revenues from the intellectual properties created by Punjabis in India and abroad, and direct the same to the real beneficiaries”.



Film Review
Bold theme, poor screen play
Rama Sharma

Mehul Kumar’s hard-edged realism is back again in “Jaago” after “Krantiveer” and “Tiranga”. This time it is based on a true life incident of the rape of a 10-year-old school girl in a train in Mumbai.

Shruti (Hansika Motwani) is the daughter of Srikant (Sanjay Kapoor) and Shraddha (Raveena Tandon). She commutes to her school by a local train everyday. One day she gets late and by the time she boards the train, it is night. Three drug addicts are also in her compartment. They rape her right in front of three passengers.

Kripa Shankar Thakur (Manoj Bajpai) is the cop handling the case. As an officer who finds courage to fight the corrupt, he gives an excellent performance. His outburst in court when the judge is about to pronounce the verdict endures. He delivers the dialogue with reassuring energy.

Sanjay Kapoor’s performance is on a par with Bajpai’s. Except for a few scenes, Raveena Tandon is also convincing. Akhilendra Mishra as a despicable guy shows spark.

Apart from Manoj Bajpai, the movie derives its solace from K.K. Singh’s dialogues.Terse and unsparing,these complement the director’s zeal to deliver a non-conventional fare. It is another matter that it does not satisfy the discerning viewers.

Nevertheless, Mehul Kumar deserves kudos for choosing to portray a stark truth. For the movie offers moments which connect you with reality as hard as nail. The rape scene jolts you.

Devoid of songs, this socially relevant theme is let down by bad screenplay. The director loses his grip in between. The Puru Raaj Kumar track should have been edited. The Background music is below average .



Western Film Review
A movie made in dream
Rajiv Kaplish

CHANDIGARH: Only a Hollywood director can do it. Go to sleep and make a film in his dream. Incredulous ? Lawrence Kasdan has done it by creating “Dreamcatcher” (Kiran). At first, it seems to have the makings of a psychological thriller — four young friends, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis and Timothy Olyphant — gaining uncanny powers in return for performing a heroic act. Then it appears to be an adventure movie with the four, now adults, going on a hunting trip in the Maine woods and getting caught in a blizzard. The audience has hardly started enjoying their daring exploits in the midst of the vicious storm when the narrative takes the shape of something which suspiciously looks like science fiction. An evil alien force is posing a threat to their as well as the world’s survival. Countering its menace is now the sole aim of the four. As we start settling down for the invasion of the unknown forces, warplanes suddenly start hovering over the sky. A military vigilante, Morgan Freeman, is out to slaughter innocent civilians. His understudy, Tom Sizemore, opposes him and pays the price with his life. As military machines roll on amidst a cacophony of squeaks and rattles, we jolt director Lawrence Kasdan out of his reverie with catcalls and forgetting the movie like a bad dream make it to the exit. 



Discard “expired” beauty products
Monica Sharma

Make-up kits and beauty products available in the market often do not mention the expiry date. In fact, cosmetics are not required to specify the “best before” date. But products can still go bad. No doubt about it. And if you think “expired” products will merely fail to produce the desired result, you are mistaken. They can irritate skin, result in allergies, even cause eye infection — this is what the dermatologists in the city believe.

They warn that lotions, creams and some other water-based cosmetics can attract bacteria over the months, resulting in skin problems. Powders are relatively safe, but no chance should be taken.

Doctors say the products, tightly sealed and stored away from heat and direct sunlight, can last for over a year, but you should toss them into the dustbin as soon as you detect the first signs of their going bad.

“The process of degeneration — if we can use the word for cosmetics — begins from the day the product is opened and exposed to air and light,” says make-up artist Neeru Sidhu, running a beauty centre in Chandigarh after doing a course from London. “As such, you should use the cosmetics, instead of preserving them for some gala event in not-so-near future”.

Lipsticks should best be used within two years of first use. “The colour fades. Once shining, the lipstick looks dull. It also becomes brittle and breaks,” Neeru claims. “But that is not the only reason. The oils inside turn rancid and can cause irritation”.

Eye and lip pencils can last for years together, but you should make it a point to sharpen it every now and then and before every use to prevent bacteria from striking roots. You know it is time to throw the pencil out of window once the thing begins to crumble. Mascara, on the other hand, should be used within three to six months. “It develops clusters. So many youngsters add water as soon as it the clumps appear. Rather than helping, it introduces microbes and can cause irritation”, she adds. City resident Radhika Verma has been taking medicines ever since her eyes developed inflammation due to use of spoiled mascara. “I was going for a close relative’s wedding. While getting ready, I realised that the mascara was not transferring evenly onto the lashes, but I did not pay attention. I am paying for it now,” says Verma. Foundations and other lotions in bottles should preferably be used within six months. Tubes should be disposed of within a year. Otherwise the texture thins or thickens. So use the products but with caution, Neeru concludes.



Plasma TV launched 
Tribune News Service

Decibels India, today launched Fujitsu Plasma TV in the city, during the Electro Expo- 2004. Mr Sunit Mathur, Managing-Director of Decibels (India), which has all-India distribution/marketing rights of international electronic majors like Fujitsu, Denon and Jamo, launched the television.

Speaking to TNS, Mr Mathur said that the market for plasma televisions and home theatre systems had shown an annual growth of 100 per cent. Even in the city, the growth of these high-end products was over 50 per cent, though in Punjab, the growth was 100 per cent. He said in spite of the high price of plasma tv’s- they cost anywhere between Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh- they were getting popular in the city because of superior picture and sound quality.

He said the latest Grade-7 Plasmas were now available from Fujitsu — which provide for good picture, brightness and highest contrast ratio, besides the advanced video movement chip. 


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