C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Demand to send back deputationists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The executive body of the Government Teachers Union at a meeting today said deputationists should be sent back in a phased manner and the transfer policy implemented in totality while the seniority list should be declared.

The union said teachers were disappointed at the attitude and working style of some principals and heads of the government schools.

Further, the members were surprised that guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission had been implemented in every department of the Chandigarh Administration, including the ministerial staff of the Education Department, but these had not been implemented in the case of some officials of the department who were holding assignments for over 10 years.

At the meeting, the inflow of deputations was viewed seriously because some junior principals and officials were joining and ruling over senior teachers.

They were being taken against the promotion quota posts. Deputation was always for a fixed period and not for an indefinite period. It was, therefore, demanded that the deputation quota should be abolished and all deputationists be repatriated in phased manner, said the union.

The transfer policy formed by the Education Department should be implemented in totality and transparently.

Promotions of the UT teachers should be made without delay and strictly on the basis of the existing recruitment rules of the department as per their seniority.

Meanwhile, the meeting welcomed the decision of the government to merge 50 per cent dearness allowance in the basic pay.


CBSE considering grading system for Class X

Chandigarh, February 14
The Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) was making efforts to introduce a nine-point grading system for Class X in the academic session 2005. But no formal announcement in this regard has been made so far, confirmed the Controller of Examination, CBSE, Mr Pavnesh Kumar.

In the present system of evaluation, students are denied admission even for a half a mark, creating undue stress and an unhealthy competition among the students. The grading system would check this.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune over phone from Delhi, the controller said Principals of all affiliated schools would be intimated well in advance before adopting the system. He said the CBSE was trying to initially introduce the system for Class IX in the next session. He said till then the present system of giving numbers along with the grade would be followed.

Sources in the CBSE said the grading system could be implemented after an agreement with the state board and universities over the acceptability of the grading system. A number of state boards were still following the system of giving numbers.

The grading would focus on the evaluation of various skills of the learners. The board officials stress that the system can’t be a success until introduced from Class I. According to sources said the board would ultimately get rid of fail/pass system and instead decide on the qualifying and non-qualifying grades. An official at the regional office of the CBSE here said in the forthcoming examinations, the physically handicapped and spastic candidates would be given an additional time of 60 minutes to write their answers.

The blind students would also be allowed to answer the paper, using typewriters and computers. Meanwhile, Principals and academicians have welcomed the announcement made by the CBSE regarding the introduction of the grading system. Dr V.P. Paul, Principal of Chaman Lal DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 11, Panchkula said , “it would reduce stress among the students”. The race for tuitions to be get the extra score would also end, said Dr Paul. The Principal of the Shivalik Public School, Mr D.S. Bedi, who is also the President of the Independent Schools Association, said it was high time that the grading system was introduced. “All over the world the grading system had been adopted. It would change the way in which the professional colleges admit students on the basis of their percentage,” said Mr Bedi. TNS


From Colleges
300 students take part in inter-college contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
As many as 300 students from 18 colleges in the city participated in an inter-college competition which was organised at the Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, yesterday.

Dr Satinder Dhillon, in her speech, welcomed the chief guest, Dr Sawarj Singh, a renowned cardiovascular surgeon from the USA.

Prize distribution function

The annual prize distribution function of the MDAV High School, Sector 22, was held here yesterday. Dr Vikram Vivek, Head of Department of Sanskrit, Panjab University, Ms Uma Khosla, president of the Istri Arya Samaj , Sector 22, and Mr B.R. Arya, president of the Arya Samaj, Sector 22, were present on the occasion. A cultural show was presented by the students of the school.

A clarification

The chairperson of the Panjab University Joint Admission Committee for Session 2004-2005, Mr Jagdish Saini, said two new courses — bachelor of engineering in mechanical and electrical was being started with effect from session 2004-05 at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University. In a new report on the subject published in these columns today , the word “mechanical” had been erroneously mentioned as ‘medical’.

Result declared

The Controller of Examination, Panjab University, yesterday said the result of BE exams held in November/December last year has been declared. The result of the following BE exams has been declared - BE (mechanical) 5th and 7th semester, BE (information technology) 3rd and 4th semester, BE (chemical) 4th semester, BE (Computer Science) 7th and 8th semester, BE (Electrical) 5th semester, BE (C and Ec) 7th semester, BE (production) 5th semester, BE (Mett) 5th semester and BE (Aero) 7th and 8th semester. The enquiry about the result can be made at the university enquiry counter on all working days between 9 am and 5 pm.


Judicial remand in flesh trade racket
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 14
Seven accused, who were arrested for their involvement in a flesh-trade racket from a Sector 12-A house yesterday, were today remanded in 14-day judicial custody by a Panchkula court.

The police has also laid a trap to nab certain other members of the gang with the help of five mobile phone sets that were seized from the girls by the police. The main pimp, Kanta, who runs the trade in this part of the region, is still at large

It may be recalled that the police had arrested seven persons, including four teenaged girls and two pimps from a house in Sector 12-A.

The police had also arrested the owner of the house, Poonam, for providing rented accommodation to the gang and dealing with the customers.


Voice that blends melody with sensuality
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Sanjeev AbhyankarChandigarh, February 14
All of 34 years, Sanjeev Abhyankar, the young maestro of Mewati gharana, has already entered the coveted league of famed musicians. Most well known for his celebrated tutelage under the living legend Pandit Jasraj, Sanjeev is highly sought after not only for renditions in the concert circuit, but also for background scores in some of the finest Indian films ever made.

Not a professional singer by any means, Sanjeev has sung for acclaimed film makers like Gulzar in ‘Maachis’, Govind Nihalani in ‘Sanshodhan’, Mahesh Manjrekar in ‘Nidaan’ and Vishal Bhardwaj in the recently released ‘Mian Maqbool’. The winner of National Award for his heart-felt rendition of “Suno re suno re bhailo...”, in the Shabana Azmi-starrer “Godmother”, Sanjeev could well have been a top singer in Bollywood, had it not been for the love of classical music, that he nurtures deeply in his heart.

And though he is being highly regarded for a voice that blends melody and sensuality at the same time, he has no plans to divert his attention from a vocation he chose as an eight-year-old boy. Literally born into music, Sanjeev still remembers the day he sat in his first concert. “I was just 11 years old then. As I finished my recital, doyens like Gangubai Hangal and Pt Bhimsen Joshi walked up to my mother and told her that I should be groomed to serve music. Ever since, I have been practising Hindustani classical music full time. I was fortunate to have Pandit Jasraj as my guru. He taught me the nuances of Mewati gharana, best known for its delightful interpretation of ragas. We use the art of singing to keep the beauty of raga intact.”

Having stayed with Pandit Jasraj in his Mumbai house for 10 years, Sanjeev absorbed all that he could have ever dreamt of. And soon after the basic training was over, his guru left him alone in the world of music to master himself and evolve as a performer. Sanjeev admits, “Beyond a point, Pandit Jasraj stopped facilitating me directly. He never spoon-fed me in the first place. That was why I could sit in concerts confidently and overcome the anxiety that precedes every spell of presentation.”

Having performed in 200 cities across the world, Sanjeev devotes most of his time practising music. For the future, Sanjeev has no plans.


Bhaskar Rao Sammelan
Barman brothers, Sanjeev spill divine rhythms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Percussionists par excellence, Madhusudan and Gopal Barman recreated magic with sreekhol and tabla during their jugalbandi on the second day of the Bhaskar Rao sangeet sammelan that opened yesterday. Even as they began their recital this evening, most listeners could easily recall the spiritual aura they had created last year when they sat together in concert at Tagore Theatre. It was the same venue today and nearly the same aura.

Before focusing on the richness of the recital, it is important to talk about the history of sreekhol, an instrument essentially associated with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who created it for his divine offerings. Gopal Barman, who is one among the few sreekhol players left in the country, says, “Sreekhol is made out of clay and is a highly sensitive instrument. It is extremely breakable because of its delicate built. Developed by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who used to play it during his offerings to the Lord, sreekhol is now a rare musical instrument. We have very few sreekhol players in India. At this pace, time is not far when this instrument will adorn museum spaces.” In their own way, the Barman brothers, who have also given music for some Hindi films like Krantikari, are striving to keep the legacy alive. Today they reflected some part of their fine training, which came from their father, Barendra Mohan Barman. Commencing the jugalbandi with Peshkar, the brothers went on to delineate various technical aspects of instrumental music. They later presented parans, tukre, chakradar and gat, among other technical pieces.

Together the two filled the ambience with rhythms divine, paving the way for yet another classic recital coming from Sanjeev Abhyankar, who appeared extremely poised on stage. Having performed widely in India and abroad, this rather young musician owes his finesse to his guru, Pt Jasraj, and his mother, Shobha Abhyankar, who was his first guru. Sanjeev commenced his recital with raag Bageshri in which he first sang in a slow tempo and then moved on to set the pace with the fast tempo. Sanjeev was accompanied by acclaimed harmonium player Mehmood Dholpuri and Kale Ram on tabla.


Film Review
A novel concept goes awry
Rama Sharma

Sanjay Dutt in ‘Rudraksh
Sanjay Dutt in ‘Rudraksh

The evil power of Ravana wakes up from slumber. Manishankar with his fertile imagination weaves a mythological tale which blends with the present with lots of special effects and SFX.

An excavation work is being carried out in Sri Lanka. A wild and furious guy, Bhura ( Sunil Shetty) is assisting the archaeologists. All of a sudden, he becomes the medium of the devil. He gets hold of a unique rudraksh -a multidimensional hologram in the form of seed. It transforms him to a demon with power to cause a change in the genetic structure of living beings. Lalli (Isha Koppikar) is his consort.

Varun (Sanjay Dutt) is the healer with mystical power. He is the subject of the study of a US researcher, Dr Gayatri (Bipasha Basu). Sanjay Dutt in long hair is a delight to watch. As an enlightened being, he is the epitome of the positive forces. But he could not deliver much as the screenplay dithers.

Linked to the divine internet (swapana aakash), he tries to fathom the evil. He looks fresher. The dialogues in Sanskrit perfectly suit this noble soul. But this leaves the poor viewers become apologetic .They curse themselves for failing to understand the potent mantras. Bipasha Basu as a researcher looks frivolous in short dresses. She ,too, follows her beloved’s footsteps. She mouths technical mumbo jumbo --- electromagnetic fields, solar plexus etc and all in English. The director has not made the effort to make the things clear to the common man .

Sunil Shetty is up to the mark and is at his best in action scenes. Isha Kopikkar offers some entertaining moments.

Background score by Sashi Preetam is apt. Cinematographer Surendra Reddy has managed to create the heightening effects. The action scenes have been executed brilliantly.

But the emotional quotient of the movie do not keep pace with the technical front. You do not identify with the good or feel disgusted when the evil gains momentum. The meandering script fail to carry you to the assured journey.

Mani Shankar’s novel concept fail to drive the point home. And you are left with the feeling that the drama missed a vital dimension just on the threshold.


Western Film Review
A comedy you will relish
Rajiv Kaplish

CHANDIGARH: Comedy can be box office dynamite. And who knows it better than director Donald Petrie whose “Miss Congeniality” drew the audiences in droves.

He now oversees the crazy proceedings of “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days” (Kiran, Fun Republic) which has fun and frolic written all over it.

It’s the kind of movie you have been waiting for. Not for its hail of histrionics, but for its potential to blow your blues away. Picture this: a fashion magazine reporter (Kate Hudson) and an up-and-coming advertiser (Matthew McConaughey) playing a game of deception with each other. She has to pretend to love and lose him in 10 days. He has to con her into falling in love with him in 10 days. You won’t be safe from its hilarious twists and turns. Easy on the eye Hudson and handsome McConaughey use every trick in the book to drown you into a pool of laughter.

The basketball game and the Celine Dion concert sequences are especially humorous. But the so-called ‘‘duet’’ near the climax and the slogan for selling diamonds to ladies (‘‘frost yourself’’) are appalling and could make your tummy go tango.

It may not be a laugh riot but it comes as a whiff of fresh air to an audience fed on a staple of mind-marauding Hollywood flicks. 


Rock Garden renews its rustic appeal

The Rock Garden is getting a facelift. Thanks to the six members of the Nek Chand Foundation in Britain and members of the Friends of Nek Chand, the garden is slowly acquiring back its rustic appeal and beauty, as they plaster each inch of the place to remove the ugly graffiti.

The volunteers, led by Wilfred Wood, sculptor and graphic designer, have almost finished plastering the concrete walls in the second phase of the Rock Garden. Using the age-old Indian tradition of plastering floors and walls with mud, cow dung, and adding cement, the mixture has been applied on concrete walls to hide away the ugly scars left by vandalism. The place has suddenly acquired an earthy appeal.

The mud plastering on the concrete walls has eroded with time and weather. The new mud plastering being done now is expected to last for two years. The British experts say it will have to be redone again after two years. Foreigner at work in the Rock Garden are drawing a curious response from visitors, like the creations of Nek Chand.

Explains Rene Rice, a stone mason, who is giving technical advise for the removal of graffiti: “ We will first cover the concrete walls with the mud plastering, and remove the graffiti on the ceramic and concrete sculptures. We will be doing only as little repair work on the sculptures, as possible, so as not to interfere in Nek Chand’s creativity.”

They are using simple soap and water solution, with solvents like acetone to remove the graffiti. But sculptures marred with crayons need a paste of caustic soda and flour. It will later be neutralized with vinegar.

This batch of volunteers also includes Abi Isherwood, curator, Iain Jackson, architect, Isabel Brunt, a fine arts student; and, Holly Hall, editor with publishing house. They are being assisted by the Creator Director of Rock Garden, Mr Nek Chand, employees of Rock Garden and members of Friends of Nek Chand. TNS


Love in the hills
Ruchika M. Khanna

Love’s destination was uphill for the just-in-love and very-much-in-love yuppies. With the city police playing spoilsport for the third Valentine in a row, the Valentine Day spirit ruled in the colder climes of Timber Trail, Kasauli and Barog.

The sleek Corollas, Honda Citys, Lancers or the Santros, Marutis and, even, bikes and scooters, with the cosy two-some, glares and scarves in tow, preferred to enjoy their special day in the serenity and solitude of the hills. From early morning till about 11 am, the love birds from the city, and its satellite townships of Panchkula and Mohali, kept pouring in the hills to fill the Valentine’s Day with togetherness and bliss, even as the Chandigarh Police took the fizz out of the celebrations.

While the posse of 400-odd cops continued to man the almost empty geri route, Sectors 17 and 35, on the occasion of St Valentine’s Day, the lovey dovey couples had little option but to trickle in the hills. The first lot of revellers had begun entering into the hills from nine in the morning and Kasauli and Barog were the hottest destinations for the revellers.

Employees at the toll tax collection centre on the Haryana-Himachal border, who are in-charge of the collection of toll tax, informed The Tribune that the rush today was more than two times than on normal days. They informed that by 2 pm almost 900 cars had gone uphill, with almost 450 of these having couples and Valentine paraphernalia of red balloons. On any other day, not more than 400 cars cross the border, they added.

As The Tribune drove uphill to check out the celebrations, it discovered that most of the couples, unlike earlier years, had become more expressionist in their approach. From the roadside chana-kulcha wallas just before Timber Trail Resorts, to the dhabas serving special masala chai, or the trendy Kasauli Resorts, Baikunth Resorts and Timber Trail Resorts, the mushy couples decided to shed their inhibitions and openly declare their togetherness. The cosy two-some were seen sitting hand-in-hand, sipping their masala chai with pakoras in the dhabas, or having their Spanish omelettes, juices and yoghurts at the swanky retreats in Kasuali and Barog.

Not that the couples did not disappear in the hills. All along the highway — from Parwanoo to Barog — cars were seen parked on the roadside, while the heart shaped balloon-weilding couples climbed downhill with their knick-knacks, to celebrate the day of togetherness — in bliss amidst nature’s bounty. Meenakshi and Bhagwan Das of Chandigarh, who have been going around for the past eight years and were quite a twosome at Timber Trail Resorts, said that they had chosen the uphill destination to avoid the nosey cops in the city. Rahul Sharma and Mandeep Kaur, another city-based couple, we caught getting mushy at a tea stall near Jabli, too, said that the hills added to the romance, and also allowed them private moments. TNS


When cupid came riding on balloons

More balloons were exchanged than hearts on St Valentine’s Day.

As guys took to the streets in the morning looking for affection, one thing became apparent — feelings did not matter and emotions were not required. Armed with balloons, they marched towards the girls on two-wheelers after parking their vehicles along the roadside. They handed over the heart-shaped balloons to each other.

Little wonder, cards in bright envelopes were not required in 2004 for wishing girls as the guys escaped the vigilant eyes of baton-wielding cops deployed all over the city to present balloons.

This was not all. The boys drove in cars decked up with cheerful balloons. Explaining the trend, a college student Raman said, “balloons may not be a girl’s best friend, but they say it all”.

That is why most of the shops and gift galleries were offering balloons specially designed for the occasion. “We had youngsters buying balloons dyed in different hues of affection. In fact, they presented balloons in baby pink, icy blue and even happy orange colours with love messages printed across in bold letters,” said Ms Raman of a gift shop in Sector 11. OC


SMS spree despite tariff hike

The recent hike in Short Messaging Service (SMS) tariff notwithstanding, SMS traffic on Valentine’s Day shot up, with mobile service providers reporting a significant increase vis-a-vis normal days.

The traffic, though reported to be below the voluminous increase which marks festivals like Divali or occasions like New Year kept youngsters busy pressing the keys of their mobiles.

Even as a few subscribers complained of instances of difficulty in accessing mobile numbers, telecom companies claimed that the increase in traffic did not affect services and lines remained unclogged.

Confirming the increase, Mr Mukul Khanna, Deputy General Manager of Spice put the increase at an estimated 50 per cent, while Mr Manav Deep, Airtel’s, official looking after the SMS service claimed that their SMS traffic today was about three times the routine traffic.

The increase in traffic is also being attributed to a series of packages, games and contests specially designed by private service providers to cater to the youth on this day.

BSNL, perhaps the only mobile service provider which has not introduced any contest or package also reported a 50 per cent increase in SMS traffic on its net. Till six in the evening, our network has handled about 38 lakh messages,” its Deputy General Manager, Mr Vivek Dixit remarked.

Exact figures of all networks, however, would be available only tomorrow as they expect messaging to go on well past midnight. Some subscribers also joked that the real effect of the hike in tariff too would be felt later when they receive their bills. TNS


Are you game for coloured stones?

Are you game for pearls, coloured stones or the gold patra jewellery? Then Emm Ell’s designer studio is the place to be.

The studio that promises the first of its kind offering of gold foam jewellery, pink, peach, grey and white pearls from Hyderabad, semi-precious gemstones, or evergreen diamonds, and designer Indo- Western and traditional suits to suit every silhouette, was inaugurated in Sector 17 today.

Mr Vinod Gakhar, proprietor of the studio, said they offered a wide range of polki sets, kundan sets in gold-foamed jewellery, besides the Cygnus diamond jewellery range in 14 carat gold. From Rs 100 onwards for a pearl jewel, to Rs 1,000 onwards for a gold patra piece, to Rs 1,000 diamond ring or pendant, the designer studio is meant to suit each pocket.

The clothes in the designer studio are the creation of budding fashion designer — Mansi Oberoi. TNS

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