C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Engg students with painted faces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The annual function of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) was held at Law Auditorium on the Panjab University campus here today. Prof B.S. Sohi, Director of the UIET, talked about various activities and courses offered at the institute.

The results of various contests held today are as under:

Debate — Sunny and Japinder 1; Anudeep and Nakul 2; Volte-Face —Gurveen 1 and Neha 2; Quiz — Ashmeet Oberoi and Rohit Kaul 1 and Reety and Aarti 2; Rangoli — Priyanka and Isha 1 and Mala and Rajat 2; Cartooning — Rohit 1, Ruchi 2, and Shruti 3; Just A Minute — Chmmaya Prakash 1; Spin A Yarn — Swedha, Ekta, Neena and Gurveen 1, Kunal 1, Aditi, Sudeepa, Smriti 2; Collage Making — Amandika and Abhishek 1, Ruchi and Shweta 2; Mock Press Event — Aditya 1, Rohit 2 and Subodh 3; Antakshri — Pooja and Pallavi 1, Surabhi and Aditi 2.

Seminar: The fifth day of the six-day training programme on “Research Methodology with focus on Designing and Implementing Research Proposal in Social Sciences” was held at the ICSSR complex of Panjab University here today. Prof B.S. Ghuman and Dr Subash Gakhar spoke on “ Participatory Action Research”. Prof Ghuman said participatory action research was the most suitable approach for undertaking research in areas relating to disadvantages group. Dr S. Gakhar, Prof Gopal Krishan and Prof Indu Banga also spoke on the occasion.

Yesterday, the speakers talked about softwares, including a statistical package meant for social scientists. Dr Kiranpreet Kaur, while speaking on “Qualitative Research Methodology,” highlighted the limitations of existing paradigm, namely logical positivism in social science research. She strongly advocated the use of emerging paradigms, particularly critical theory- including interceptive approach. Dr Meena Sehgal of the Department of Psychology highlighted the merits of case study approach as part of qualitative research in social sciences. She also cautioned about the limitations of the approach.

Last date extended: Panjab University has extended the last date for receipt of application forms for five-year BALLB and first year of MBBS, BHMS and BAMS and BSC (Hons school) courses to April 12. The entrance test would be conducted on May 25.



Chaos at PU exam branch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
For the second consecutive day, chaos prevailed at the examination branch of Panjab University, here. Students appearing in the postgraduate examinations, beginning from April 12, were seen running around to get duplicate roll numbers. A number of students were from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

Ms Kuldeep Bath, an MA-I student from Ludhiana, lamented that she had not been able to get her roll number after running around for the entire day.

Officials of the examination branch disclosed that the students who had filled wrong addresses could not get their roll numbers as these could not be delivered by courier.

Meanwhile, with lecturers of local government colleges proceeding on election training as scheduled, staff shortage was seen at a number of examination centers across the city today. As a result, non-teaching staff was being asked to invigilate in undergraduate examinations at several centers. Putting college teachers on examination duty has badly affected the evaluation work. A large number of teachers of city government colleges condemned the order of the administration. The teachers have also written to the DC to withdraw the order that might jeopardise the ongoing examination.



Tips on networking
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 9
Specially designed training programmes for international participants on “Advanced course on networking management” and “CADD” concluded at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing here yesterday.

Each programme was of 12 weeks’ duration. As many as 40 students from different countries, including Abidzan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cuba, Egypt Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho and Madagascar, attended the programmes.

Mr R.N. Sarwah, Scientist G.SASE, DRDO, was the chief guest of the valedictory function. He said students of developing nations were a part of “education diplomacy” being pursued by the government. Mr Sarwah distributed certificates among participants. Mr J.S. Bhatia, Director-in-Charge, C-DAC, highlighted the high-end training, R and D and consultancy activities of the C-DAC. He announced that M.E. (VLSI) was likely to start from July this year. Ms Inderpal Kaur, Senior Design Engineer and course coordinator, proposed a vote of thanks.



Stay on seat reduction in PEC 
by Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 9
A Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the operation of the notification issued by the UT Administration on February 10, 2004 through which the number of seats reserved for the students of Chandigarh in Punjab Engineering College (PEC) were reduced from 85 to 50.

In their petition, Anshul Sood and other students had challenged the notification on the grounds that it was arbitrary and illegal. Today, the court was informed that the UT Administration had stated that the reason for the reduction in the seats was that PEC had been made a deemed university. However, the counsel for the petitioners said that as per its own written statement filed in the Court in another case recently, the UT Administration had claimed control over PEC. After hearing the counsels for the petitioner and the respondents, the Bench, while staying the order, adjourned the case for May 18.



Now reel life Indo-Pak ties
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Pakistani film producer Rashid Khwaja is dreaming big. He plans nothing less than a major cinematic collaboration with his Indian counterparts who he hopes will help him with all the technical knowhow they have gathered over the years. Having worked with the best Indian hands in his earlier film productions in Pakistan, Rashid is aiming at an Indo-Pak film for which he is already networking in India.

While his latest Urdu feature film, “Salakhain”, already has an Indian connection with top Indian singers Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam doing background scores for it, Rashid has also formalised his new venture with an Indian producer, Iqbal Dhillon. This new Punjabi film, titled, “Pind di kudi”, is all set to become the first film to be co-produced by an Indian and a Pakistani.

In Chandigarh along with Dhillon today, Rashid talked about the creative bond with great interest. He could not also help mentioning the fact that India was being warmer this time around. “The recent peace moves have made a great difference to the attitude of people across the borders. Not that the Indians were not hospitable earlier, but they are much more accommodating now. The post production of my latest film, ‘Salakhain’, is going on in Mumbai. And I am getting all the help I need for the same. The film also has Indian dancers for the songs.”

About his agreement with Iqbal Dhillon, who earlier produced a Punjabi film on Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rashid said, “Pind di kudi” has been worked out for both the countries. We will release the film in the open markets in India and Pakistan. We trust there will be no problem in doing so because the authorities in both the countries are aware of the purpose of my visit to India. We got visas on grounds that we would be engaged in post production in India and will also be working out the modalities for the new Punjabi film which will have a huge market in both Pakistani and Indian Punjab.”

“Pind di kudi” will feature Pakistani TV actor Irfan Khosat in the lead role along with Veena Malik, also a famous actress. The lyrics will be written by Khwaja Parvez, who has done lyrics for Indian singers like Gurdas Mann earlier. Rashid said, “The new film will have the best of Indian and Pakistani brains. It will be shot both in India and Pakistan. We want to inspire friendship through cinema. The age of war films is over. It is time for both the countries to stop bashing each other on the big screen.”

Admitting to piracy, especially with regard to hit Indian films which are a rage in Pakistan, Rashid said, “Piracy happens because there is no permission to watch Indian films in cinema halls. It is important that healthy exchange happens. If Indian films can be watched openly, piracy will also reduce.” Rashid also said that Pakistani cinema has a long way to go before it gains maturity. “In Pakistan all the educated people prefer television to air their creativity. Cinema still depends on a handful of intellectuals.”



Dreaming of Bollywood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Music for Daljit Gharuan, a Punjabi singer, is an outlet to pour out his emotions. It was the freak accident which turned Daljit’s destiny from becoming an ace athlete of Punjab to a singer, but there is no room for despair in Daljit’s life.

Taking Punjabi folk as his medium of expression, this singer - performer is not just ready to take the music world by storm but also on his way into playback singing. Daljit emerged as a professional singer with the release of his debut album “Paranda” in the year 2000. Polishing his skill under famous folk singer Jaswant Singh Bhawra from Jalandhar, Daljit came out with his second album ‘Sapni Ban Patlo’. Daljit harbours the dream of becoming a part of Bollywood’s playback singing brigade. 



A show of master crafts

Master craftspersons got together to share their creative experiences with people yesterday. Moving out of Lajpat Rai Bhavan, which is the venue for the Akhil Bharatiya Dastkar Samiti handicraft exhibition, seven artisans gave a demonstration of their crafts.

The handicrafts corner was in control of women. Where Jamna Bai from Ahmedabad, Gujarat spilled magic with her patchwork skills, Swaran Bai from Tamil Nadu breathed life into dead fabric by setting it into beautiful “smoking patterns”. She then sold tiny frocks for about Rs 100 per piece — a deal fairer than one can ever imagine.

Coming from the family of weavers, both the women have ample knowledge of technique, as Jamna Bai says, “We were literally born into this craft. Mirror work and patchwork are like second nature to us. I find myself unfit for anything else”. Swaran Bai spoke little, but exhibited a lot through her stylistic handling of cotton. In an hour, she stitched five frocks and placed them on the counter, ready for sale.

Among men, Kasmik Din Ansari from Delhi attracted visitors for the sheer vibrancy of his zardozi patterns on silk. His beautiful peacocks, stitched with silken threads, sell for Rs 7,000 per piece. He has in his kitty ‘Shilp Samman’ of the Udaipur Administration and also a certificate from the Directorate of Art and Craft, which praised Ansari’s contributions to the cultural fair organised in Goa this year.

Vitthal Kumar from Banswara in Rajasthan sold beautiful archery items from dart boards to wooden arrows and bows. Anil Kumar’s works different from that of Vitthal Kumar, who supplies wooden arrows to the Sports Department in Rajasthan. Anil concentrates on Madhubani paintings with traditional themes. But he clarifies, “We have to take care of decorative value also. Otherwise people don’t buy.”

Another artiste who held the visitors in a sway was Kailash Chand from Jaipur. Hailing from Kala Dera, Kailash Chand has been producing in jewellery for years. He has now diversified and started using jute to create beautiful anklets, bracelets and hair beads. About 20 girls were busy getting their hair beaded from the artisan. Vinod Sharma from Delhi also demonstrated his jewellery designs.

Apart from these artisans, the ongoing exhibition has wares of 50 other craftspersons. Among the most interesting products on display are camel and tortoise shaped leather central tables and stools by artisans from Indore and decorative items made out of coconut shells, also by Indore-based artisans. The exhibition, being sponsored by the Ministry of Textiles, will be open till April 13. TNS 



Panchkula hotel industry comes of age
Ruchika M. Khanna

IT is boom time for the hotels in Panchkula. After years of being treated as the poor country cousins of the chic and swanky hotels in Chandigarh, the hotel industry in downtown Panchkula is finally looking up.

The two four- star hotels in this satellite township to Chandigarh are boasting of 100 per cent occupancy, while the remaining two claim that occupancy is over 80 per cent. With Panchkula emerging from the shadow of Chandigarh and the increase in population, the restaurants and banquets in these hotels are also doing a flourishing business.

For the past almost two years the hotel industry in Panchkula has had a complete image makeover. Gone are the days when the occupancy of these hotels was less than 30 per cent; Aggressive marketing, improvement in service, plush interiors and quiet stay, away from the hustle bustle of city life, are their USP. Hotel North Park, on the outskirts of Panchkula, is shining after the Bollywood Superstar, Mr Amitabh Bachchan, chose to stay there for almost 10 days while visiting the city for a film shoot. The other hotels have spruced up their ambience and service, roping in not just the clientele in transit to the cooler climes of Himachal, but also a major chunk of corporate clients, headed for MNC units in Baddi, Lalru and Dera Bassi.

So if Baddi, Lalru and Dera Bassi are the hottest industrial destinations in the region, with units of MNCs like Godrej, Hindustan Lever Limited, Vardhaman, Unichem and Dabur, the hotel industry in Panchkula is also reaping the rich dividends. These companies have permanently booked rooms in hotels for any of their corporates visiting the region. The business meetings/conferences/dealer meetings have also now shifted base to hotels in Panchkula. It is thus that Haryana Tourism’s Hotel Red Bishop added 12 new rooms last year, to keep with the rush of customers.

“The reason for the emergence and, in other cases resurgence of the hotel industry in Panchkula has been aggressive marketing, coupled with providing the best of services”, says Mr Naveen Kanwar, Front Office Manager, Hotel KC Cross Road. This hotel, along with North Park provides facilities like swimming pool, gymnasium, health spa, and even in- house taxi service and free valet service to and from Chandigarh Railway station. Mr Mehtab Ali, Manager, Food and Beverages, North Park, agrees that connectivity to Chandigarh and lack of commuting facilities was the bane of the hotel industry in Panchkula a few years ago. “It is thus that we have an in-house taxi and valet service, to plug the discrepancy as compared to the hotels in Chandigarh”.

When hotels in Chandigarh are not keen on frequent changes in ambience, the hotels in Panchkula are going out of their way to provide plush interiors, with change being the mantra. Italian marble floors, rich leather sofas, teak beds with the latest in linens, murals /original photo prints to adorn the walls- these hotels offer style and comfort. With almost 50 percent of the budget being reserved for maintaining the ambience and stylish interiors, the hotels offer value for style, and service.

Says Mr S.K. Sharma, General manager, Hotel Prabhat Inn,”Sectors 22 and 35 in Chandigarh, where a majority of the hotels are located, are getting congested. Most of the clients prefer a quite place to stay, with proper parking facilities. It is here that the Panchkula hotels score”. Agrees Mr Mehtab Ali of North Park, “The USP is the peace and quiet, the distance from Chandigarh not withstanding.”

The hotels are also wooing the restaurant and banquet clientele by updating their menus, organising food festivals and corporate get- together. So while Punjabi food festivals, Kashmiri food festivals and Rajasthani cuisine attract visitors on one hand, monthly corporate get- togethers are being organized to show off the hotels as the best bet for conferences and dealer meetings. 



Final fragrance matters
Monica Sharma

Mercury is rising again, despite showers on Friday. That is why you have picked up some nice cotton shirts, along with canvas trousers, to beat the heat. You have also purchased a bottle of perfume. But somehow you are not very satisfied with the product. The reason is not hard to see. The scent was different when you first sniffed it.

Well, a scent right out of the bottle will always smell differently after it dries. So you should always buy perfume with caution — at least this is what city-based beauty consultant Neeru Sidhu has to say after doing a course from abroad.

For you, Ms Sidhu has some useful tips. “The first whiff”, she explains, “is called the top note which is different from dried down scent”. She adds, “It is the final fragrance that matters. That is why you should first spray some perfume on your wrist and sniff it after five minutes or so for getting a sense of what you will eventually smell like”.

Another thing. The scent you wear should have a lingering effect. “Too much of it will simply drive people away from you. As such you should not overdo a scent,” Ms Sidhu claims. “Otherwise also, you should apply less of scent if you have oily skin, or if it is too hot”.

In case you are having any doubts about the right quantity of perfume to be applied, one quick spray is enough before you leave your room. Otherwise, a puddle as large as a fifty-paise coin is adequate.

Also, the scent you put on in the morning should be different from perfume you wear in the evening. Go in for citrus scents during the day. For nigh, go for musk or spice, Ms Sidhu advises.

Men, she asserts, should avoid dabbing cologne on their visage as scent rises. “It should be applied on the chest and inner sides of your arms. You can also apply perfume on the back of neck”, she said.



Coolex-2004 opens

Heavy discounts, attractive freebies and a wide range of latest products in refrigeration and air-conditioning is what Coolex-2004, a four-day exposition organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), is all about. It was inaugurated by Mr S.C. Chaudhary, Commissioner and Secretary, Industries, Haryana, here today.

Leading brands , including LG, Voltas, Carrier, Daikin Shriram Air Conditioning Pvt Ltd, Whirpool, Hitachi, Fedders International , Electrolux, Godrej and Boyce, Videocon, Aircon, besides some local companies like Sidwan Refrigeration and Everon are participating in the fair.

An annual feature in the city since 1998, Coolex has come to represent value both to the industry and consumers as an established platform to generate exposure for contemporary technology, showcase the latest product offering and gear up local industry for competition.

The companies are offering discounts between 2 and 10 per cent , easy finance schemes and freebies like holiday tours and other consumer durables.

With an eye on cornering a greater share in the home air-conditioner market, Voltas has on display two models of sub-one Vertis ACs priced around Rs 10,000. It also has the entire range of Coldcel range of refrigerators launched this year.

Shriram Honda has displayed the ``dakin ‘’ range of air-conditioners for residential and commercial use. They were also catering to the premium segment, said one of the executives at the stall.

All major players in this segment are offering zero per cent finance facility on certain models and special discounts. A number of visitors thronged the venue on the first day. Whirlpool has put up a complete range of refrigerators, besides a few models of the air-conditioners. Hitachi has come with its new range of air conditioners based on Kaimin technology, which in Japanese means “comfortable sleep”. It adjusts the temperature automatically throughout the night to suit your body needs. Godrej and Boyce, which have just got into the air-conditioning market has also displayed its range of air-conditioners for the first time in coolex.

Inquiries at Aircon and Symphony brought out that demand for coolers has come down considerably and they were waiting for customers. While Voltas is the associate co-sponsor, The Tribune is the media partner for the event. TNS



Boom time for contact lens industry

Changing lifestyles and increasing emphasis on beauty has ensured that the contact lens industry is coming of age in urban India. In fact, the invention of contact lenses is considered one of the 100 most important inventions of the last century.

Gone are the days of the gawky spectacles — irrespective of Preity Zinta sporting these in ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’, or Jassi sporting these in the f(l)avour of the season on television- “Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin”. The Gen Z, cutting across the gender divide, would rather be caught dead than hiding their faces behind the spectacles, says Mr Viney Vatal, Regional Business Manager, Bausch and Lomb, the pioneers in getting soft lens in the country.

In the past 14 years, when the premiere eye care company made its foray in the Indian market, the vision correction has been totally revolutionised. No more suffering the pain of wearing the hard and rigid gas permeable or semi soft lenses. In are the soft contact lenses, which are considered as one of the 100 most important inventions of the last century.

Says Mr Vatal, “Vision correction is the most ignored segment in health care. Almost 40 per cent people all over the world require vision correction; in India a mere 18 per cent of the population knows that it requires vision correction. In this scenario, the soft contact lens industry has grown to a Rs 65 crore industry. Though a mere 2 per cent of the populace use lenses, lack of awareness for vision correction, and of the easy availability and comfort level with regards to wearing lenses have resulted in a slow growth of this industry. Interestingly, over the years, the age group of contact lens users has fallen over the years. As compared to people above 16 years of age using lenses, now children in preteens, from 12 years onwards prefer lenses over spectacles”.

Mr Vatal also describes the various kinds of lenses now available in the market, and the journey of eye care aids from the days of hard lenses.

Disposable lenses:- Launched in India in 1998, and are the fastest growing category in lenses. Almost 20 per cent of the people opting for lenses prefer the disposable lenses, which are more hygienic and can be disposed off after a month’s use.

Coloured lenses:- Those with a ‘phoren’ fetish simply drool over these. Especially the cool blue and the cat eye colour.

Toric lenses:- A boon for astigmatic vision correction (cylindrical power). Since 40 per cent of those who require vision correction are astigmatic, these lenses are God sent for such cases, who till two years ago had no option but to wear spectacles.

Extended wear lenses:- As the name suggests, the lenses can be worn continuously, even while you snore away in the night. In spite of its high price, this category of lenses has been doing well in the metros. TNS



New optical store in city

Himalaya Opticals today joined with Kodak lenses for a Kodak Lens Vision Centre, a state-of-the-art optical store in the city. The store, featuring the latest eye diagnostic and testing equipment, will dispense the entire range of Kodak lenses for eye problems.

This is the 20th outlet of Himalaya Opticals and the first showroom of Kodak Lens Vision Centre in the country. The showroom offers world-class brands in eye wear lenses, shades goggles and spectacle frames. Dolce and Gabana, Calvin Klien, Boss, Versace, Cartier, Mont Blanc, Espirit and other top of the line shades and sunglasses are available besides world-class lenses and frames for spectacles. The price of these products range from Rs 800 to Rs 80,000.

The store also has a computerised eye testing facility, a slit lamp for detecting cataract, and an optometrist. A free trial for lenses would also be available, said the Director of Himalaya Opticals, Mr Sharad Binani.

The unique display of products in the store also adds to the ambience. Instead of placing products in cabinets, the specially crafted wall units offer an open display. TNS


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