C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


37 in fray for PU Senate poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
As many as 37 candidates will be contesting the forthcoming Senate elections of Panjab University. The list of contestants in the fray was displayed after scrutiny of nomination papers today.

A number of sitting Senators will fight for the 15 seats of the graduate constituency. They include Mr Dharinder Tayal, Mr Ashok Goyal, Mr Hardiljit Gosal, Mr Paramjit Singh Pammi, Dr R.N. sharma, Mr Pawan Valecha, Mr Sanjiv Bindlish, Mr Mukesh Arora and Mr Vijay Pal Sood.

Among the new faces who have filed their papers for the graduate constituency of the Senate, councillor Ms Anu Chatrath, daughter of sitting Senator, Mr GK Chatrath, and former president of the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council, Malwinder Kang, and Mr Prabhjit Singh, an office-bearer of the General Category Employees Welfare Federation, are in the fray.

The last date for withdrawals is August 20. A couple of candidates are likely to withdraw since they have been fielded as covering candidates and the final contest will be among 35 candidates.

A total of 11 nominations were received for eight seats in the “Principals of affiliated colleges” category. Among them are Dr A.C. Vaid, Mr Subhash Marriya, Ms Harinderjit Kaur, Ms Tejinder Kaur and Mr Gurdip. As many as 22 nominations were received for the lecturers category for an equal number of seats. Dr R.P.S. Josh, Mr Dinesh Talwar, Mr N.P. Manocha, Dr Ranjay Vardhan, Mr P.S. Gill, and Mr S.S. Hundal are among those ontesting in the category this time.

Meanwhile Panjab University today clarified that the fee being charged from students of first year for the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) is as approved by the statutory bodies of the university.

The fee being charged in two instalments (July and December 2004) is Rs 42,560 and Rs 26,850 respectively. This includes tuition fee and other charges. In addition, Rs 1000 is being charged towards subscription to students society. A notice has been put up in the institute as well as at the venue of admission in the university. The fee schedule has been mentioned in the admission brochure as well as AIEEE website.



Sans facilities, hostel building lies unutilised
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 10
Students of Government College here have been deprived of hostel accommodation with the building still lacking essential facilities even after nearly two years of its completion.

The possession of the hostel building, after the construction of 10 rooms out of 40 by the Punjab Public Works Department (PWD), was handed over to the college authorities in December last year on the assurance that the essential facilities would be provided soon. However, even after nearly eight months of handing over the building, it still lacks a power connection, fans, lights and metal grills in the windows.

Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Punjab Minister for Higher Education, along with the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, had taken a round of the hostel building during an inspection of the college on May 13 last year. The construction of the building was complete even at that time, but the works to be done by the public health and electrical wings of the PWD were pending. The minister had asked the MLA to get in touch with the authorities concerned to get the work completed.

According to sources, the college authorities took possession of the hostel building on December 16 last year. A three-member committee was constituted to take possession of the building and also to find out the shortcomings in the building so that these could be got removed from the authorities. The members of the committee were Mr Baldev Singh Gill, Mr Gurmeet Anand and Mr Kanwar Rajinder Singh.

The committee had pointed out that the building was unsafe as the windows did not have metal grills and there was no boundary wall, the courtyard had not been levelled properly, there was no power connection and lights and fans had not been installed, a few windowpanes were broken and work in some toilets was pending.

The college authorities wrote a letter to the Executive Engineer of the electrical wing of the PWD on February 5 to complete the pending works, but nothing had been done so far. It is learnt that only some work related to the public health wing was done after handing over the building.

During a round of the hostel building today it was seen that there was wild growth all around. Rainwater had entered the building and four taps installed near the mess area had been stolen. There was no provision of a warden’s accommodation.

It is learnt that the building was constructed out of funds provided by the Union Government. A sum of Rs 40 lakh was given to the PWD on January 31, 2001, for the hostel building. A sum of Rs 6 lakh was given in 1996. However, the Punjab Government did not contribute its share for the project. According to sources, the college authorities have now requested the Director, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes Welfare Department, Punjab, to sanction Rs 12 lakh for the hostel, a share that was to be put in by the state government, so that pending works could be got completed.

The hostel was to be constructed for the benefit of the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes. The facility could be extended to other students if left unavailed.

Mr Harkuldeep Singh, Principal, told Chandigarh Tribune that students had been approaching him for the hostel facility but he was helpless. A number of students were coming from far-off villages and at times got late for the college, especially in winters. He said he was making efforts to get the work completed, but the authorities concerned had an indifferent attitude.



Student collapses while undergoing punishment
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 10
A Class XI student of DC Model School fell unconscious when he, along with 20 of his class mates, were asked to take 10 rounds of the school in scorching heat. They were being punished for talking loudly in the class.

The economics teacher of the commerce section had reportedly punished the entire class for indiscipline. One of the students, Surinder Anand, fell unconscious while running in the school ground. He was rushed to General Hospital, where he was administered first aid.

His parents were called to the hospital, and after being kept under observation for one hour, he was discharged.

Though the school Principal, Dr B.B. Gupta was unavailable for comments, the teachers accompanying the student to the hospital said he fell unconscious because he had not eaten well. She added that no harsh punishment was given to the children.



PEC counselling for general category today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The second day of counselling for admission to engineering and architecture courses in Punjab Engineering College (PEC), the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET) and the Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) went off peacefully.

The counselling was held for the reserved category candidates. A general merit list was displayed at the counselling centre, said an official at the counselling centre. The final list of admission status would be displayed after the court decision.

Officials at the college apprehend that tomorrow counselling for general category candidates could witness heated exchanges between those favouring 85 per cent local quota and 15 per cent for outsiders and the other section favouring 50-50 quota.

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while hearing a petition challenging the move by the Chandigarh Administration on reducing the quota for local students from 85 per cent to 50 per cent, had directed the Administration to prepare two merit lists-one as per the existing provisions of 85 per cent and 15 per cent seats for city students and outsiders and other as per the proposed division of 50-50. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a former Member of Parliament from Chandigarh, Mr Satya Pal Jain, today criticised the UPA government at the Centre and Chandigarh Administration for being indifferent to the genuine demand of the local students.

He urged the Union Home Minister to instruct the Chandigarh Administration to safeguard the interest of the local students who were seeking admission to Punjab Engineering College.



Science exhibition from Aug 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
To select the best brains, Intel in collaboration with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is holding a two-day science exhibition competition in the city on August 27 and 28.

Students from over 280 schools in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are participating in the event scheduled to be held at DAV Public School, Sector 15.

A senior officer in the board said the students selected at the regional level competition would compete in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Science Exhibition to be organised by National Council of Educational Research and Training in November this year. Students with best models at the national level would get a chance to represent the country at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to be held in the USA.

Students from Class IX to XII can exhibit their models , including the working and simulations.

The subjects on which the models could be based are food and health, energy, industry, transport and communication and biotechnology.

The official said the model or the exhibits could include schemes of devices or machines, indigenous designs of devices, improvised models and innovative designs and techniques.



College to start economics honours course
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 10
The local Government College has been given the approval to start honours classes in economics by Punjabi University, Patiala.
A team of three professors from the university headed by Prof Gurbachan Kaur Bhatia, Head, Department of Economics, visited the college today. The other members were Prof Vipla Chopra and Prof O.P. Miglani.

The team inspected the infrastructure available and the facility of a library in the college. The strength of the staff and the performance of students were also taken into consideration. Prof Bhatia suggested that some textbooks should be added to the library.



From Schools and Colleges
Carmel Convent holds music contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Carmel Convent School in association with the Parent Teachers Association of the school hosted Carmel Inter-School Music Competition 2004 today. Eleven schools participated in the competition. In the group song, Carmel Convent stood first followed by Sacred Heart Secondary School and the third prize went to St John’s High School.

In the solo item, Mitika Kanwar of Carmel Convent won the first prize, followed by Vipul Joshi of St John’s and the third position went to Prabhkirat Kaur of Vivek High School. The rolling trophy went to Carmel Convent School.

Orientation programme: An exclusive orientation programme for the students and parents of the first batch of architecture students of Chitkara School of Planning and Architecture was held here today. The objective of the programme was to familiarise the students with the course content and the multifarious facilities available at the institute.

Dr Madhu Chitkara, general secretary of the Chitkara Trust, welcomed the students. Col IJS Bakshi, Director of the school, addressed the students. Mr Vivek Saini, Manager (Examination), British Library, gave a presentation about its activities.

Building inaugurated: The new building of Government Model High, Sarangpur, was inaugurated by DPI( Schools), Mr D.S. Mangat. A tree plantation drive was held on the school premises. 



Mobile user ordered to pay Reliance Rs 20,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Intervening in a dispute between Reliance Infocomm and a mobile user, the Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services) has awarded an amount of Rs 20,000 to the company.

The company had approached the adalat seeking directions to Mr Gagan Arora, who had been dilly-dallying on the payment of arrears of charges for the use of mobile connection provided to him.

During the course of discussion and intervention of Mr R.P. Bajaj, Chairman, and Mr J.S. Kohli and Mr K.C. Jaggi, both members, both the parties mutually agreed to settle the dispute. The payment of Rs 20,000 on behalf of the respondent is to be taken as full and final settlement of the claim of the company. 



Fitness trail
Eye disorders now common among kids
Renu Manish Sinha

Eye disorders are becoming common even from early childhood due to modern-day lifestyle, especially with excessive exposure of children to TV and computers. Many eye disorders start from early childhood and leave a partial or fully damaged vision if not detected in time, says Chandigarh-based ophthalmologist Dr Rajan Chugh. Amblyopia or lazy eye is one such disorder which begins during the first 10 years of life.

Lazy eye is partial loss of vision, when a clear image is not available on the retina during the early growth period, says Dr Chugh.

It can develop when there is no active use of one or both eyes due to hazy or decreased vision in one eye or both eyes. The eye having less vision does not take an active part in the visual process and becomes lazy or inactive. Anything which interferes with the formation of a normal image on the retina during the first 10 years of life can lead to amblyopia. It can develop due to unequal vision in both eyes or if one eye suffers from nearsightedness or longsightedness than the other, says Dr Chugh.

Other causes leading to amblyopia can include strabismus, also called crossed eyes or squint in eyes. In this disorder the affected eye deviates to a side and does not participate in the visual process thus often leading to development of lazy eye.

Amblyopia may also occur if there is cataract (it can happen among children too) blocking vision in one or both eyes or due to the occurrence of some injury to the eye or some mark left on the cornea after an injury.

Amblyopia may also occur due to hereditary or genetic causes, formation of some tumour, deformity by birth etc, says Dr Chugh. Severe blurring due to nearsightedness or farsightedness can cause amblyopia.

But whatever the cause if the lazy eye relaxes, the vision in that eye can get worse leading to a vicious circle, asserts Dr Chugh.

Amblyopia is often detected during regular eye check-ups since its early symptoms are not acute. However, some of the symptoms can include decreased visual activity, cloudiness in eyes, any signs of farsightedness or nearsightedness, unequal vision, unnatural appearance of eye or eyelid or if the child cannot focus properly, says Dr Chugh.

Also if there is a family history of eye disorders, a regular eye-screening for children is must, asserts Dr Chugh.

Amblyopia can only be prevented if it is detected early and treatment also begins early. This is possible only with regular eye check-ups.

Dr Chugh also suggests a ‘one-eye test’ at home to parents. To do this get one eye of the child closed and ask him to describe things or read from a calender at a distance of 10 to 12 feet. Repeat the test with the other eye.

Treatment for amblyopia should start early. The younger the child the earlier the treatment. The process of lazy eye can be reversed, asserts Dr Chugh. However, the treatment is usually long and may test the patience of both the child and parents. The treatment can vary from one year to four or five years, depending upon the severity of the disorder.

Treatment normally includes diagnosing and treating the basic cause of amblyopia. It is also necessary to temporarily block vision of the better eye so that the child is forced to use and exercise lazy eye. Eye patches are a standard treatment for amblyopia. At times blurring drops in the good eye are used instead of patches.

In case of farsightedness or nearsightedness, glasses can also used to correct the vision in eyes. However, parents should not feel embarrassed at the use of spectacles or patches. These should not be removed at all during the treatment at any cost whatever the reason, warns Dr Chugh.

At times parents ask the child to remove glasses or patches for the sake of vanity or social appearance, but this should not be done as eye disorders should be treated like any other disease. Glasses or patches are a part of the treatment just like any other medicinal aid and should be treated as such, advises Dr Chugh.

The photograph is used for illustrative purposes only. The child shown in the picture does not suffer from conditions discussed in the article.



A window to raga Malhar and its 32 rich forms
Aditi Tandon

The romance of this season will come alive, with the celebrations of Malhar festival in the city from tomorrow. Being organized for the first time in this part of the region, the three day festival is an attempt to reflect the grand old traditional of Indian classical music which is replete with different varieties of Malhar.

Few people know that raag Malhar, mastered and popularized by Mian Tansen has no less than 32 forms, each exciting and vibrant in its own right. In the present shape, however, mainly two types of Malhar are being sung. These include Mian ki Malhar and Megh Malhar.

There are many other types within this raga, though their popularity is on a consistent decline. Some of the nearly extinct forms of Malhar which used to fill many a royal ambience with romance in the yesteryears include Gaud Malhar, Kedar Malhar, Nat Malhar, Ramdasi and Surdasi Malhar.

Given the gradual decline of a rich tradition, the celebration of Malhar festival seems much required. After along time, Pracheen Kala Kendra has taken the lead in this direction, and has chalked out a meaningful programme which throws light on the lesser known aspects of a raga, associated so much with romance and poetry.

In presence during the three-day festival which begins tomorrow with a seminar will be doyens of Indian classical music, including Pt Yashpal Sharma, Pt L.K. Pandit of the Gwalior gharana, Keshav Talegaonkar (Gwalior gharana) and Pt Harideo ji from the Shyam Chaurasi tradition.

The festival has been planned as a mixture of text and performances, all revolving around raag Malhar, its origin and its evolution. Discussions will be held on the practical aspects of raag Malhar. Speakers in this category will be Pt Yashpal, Pt L.K. Pandit and Dr Sulochana Brahaspati, who will also give lecture demonstrations on raag Malhar and its types.

To begin with, Chandigarh-based Dr Saubhagya Vardhan will open the function at 3.30 pm at Pracheen Kala Kendra, Sector 35 tomorrow. Another interesting paper will be read by Dr Pankaj Mala Sharma, Head, Department of Music, PU. She will focus on stories regarding the legendary association of musical ragas with seasons. The paper will reflect on how and why this association happened in the first place.

Every evening will see concerts by the participants, the most awaited one being the presentation by Pt Yashpal and Pt L.K. Pandit on the concluding day of the festival, i.e. August 13. Tomorrow’s presentation will include vocal recitals by Dr Saubhagya Vardhan, Keshav Talegaonkar, and Pt Harideo. The concerts will begin every evening at 6 pm. The festival will last till August 13.



Godmen’s invasion of your living room
Swarleen Kaur

Spiritualism has not died in the city. Not only senior citizens, but the young are also trying to satisfy their spiritual quest, essentially through the religious channels on television. Those who remain confined to their homes, like senior citizens and housewives, watch these programmes keenly.

One such resident, Ms Anchal Chaddha, is so smitten by Astha channel that she devote at least one hour daily to religious discourses. “Now I don’t feel the need to go to the temple. I feel that I am becoming more religious,” she says.

“I have not missed a single episode since I started watching Sanskar TV. Be it satsang or spiritual discourses, I feel I am part of everything,” says a bank employee, Mr Prem kumar.

A recent yoga camp was held by Swami Ramdev, who performed at Panchkula to teach people the art of yoga. Those who could not go to the venue, sat in front of the TV screen and tried to follow the asanas.

Sansakar is one among the growing number of religious channels that are gaining popularity. It is gradually establishing its presence among the India airwaves, dominated thus far by entertainment and news channels.

Channels like Aastha, Jagran, Sadhna and Quran TV cater to the followers of various religions. They have a devoted audience that ranges from housewives to senior citizens.

These channels have become so popular, that to in a short time, that even conventional entertainment channels like ETC Punjabi have started religious shows like the live telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

The Zee network has also launched its own religious channel, Jagran.

Despite their number, each channel has its own identity. Aastha focuses on values of life, Sanskar is more into devotion than spiritualism, while Sadhna has a mix of both. Sadhna also caters to children and features a child ascetic, Sri Bal Shuk Ji Maharaj.

Discussions, meditation techniques, documentaries and coverage of major festivals, besides astrology, all have a large viewership.

“I don’t believe in every doctrine preached. But certain programmes really appeal to my heart,” says a businessman, Mr Sohan Singh.

The popularity notwithstanding, the channels generate meagre revenue as they have very few advertisements. The reason they are able to survive is they have succeeded in providing relief to people from the routine of entertainment and news channels.

However, competition exists among the religious channels, but is limited to inviting famous gurus or religious experts, who are hard to come by.

Among Hindu preachers the most popular on the channels are Ram Dev, Sant Morarji Bapu, Guru Maa, Maa Jaspreet, Sukhbodhanji, Sudhanshu Ji Maharaj and Asaram Bapu.

The channels are still evolving and it is too early yet to say which ones will last. However, those that broad-base their programming are likely to last longer.

Says Mr Ranjit Singh, a shopkeeper, “A lot of channels have come up and I don’t like them at all because most of the things have no meaning. We should not follow them blindly. It is just a waste of time. I have seen my mother watching these programmes and she spent at least seven hours a day on these programmes. These cannot make you spiritual unless you cultivate inner strength. I feel programmes on astrology should be stopped. Many programmes promote superstition”.

“A friend of mine tried an asana after seeing a yoga programme. But it aggravated his backache because he didn’t take any expert’s advice before doing yoga,” he says.

Mr Raman Singh, an advocate, says these channels are promoting false beliefs too. I have seen in some programmes they invite gurus who have not earned anything in their life. “The other day, someone was joking that if you want to earn good money, you just become a spiritual guru and start giving discourses on religion.”

Youngsters have their own views.

“A lot of spiritual gurus are getting popularity from these kinds of programmes. They just satisfy your mind and don’t give you any inner strength. It is better to do something practical. Some of them give you wrong beliefs,” says Sheetal, a BA II student of MCM College.

Nandita Sharma, another college student, says, “People listen to all these discourses and follow them blindly. Most of them don’t even feel the need to examine the truth in them because most people take it that if someone is talking about religion, it must be true. But people should use their mind and search for the truth”.


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