C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


BPO education next big need: Expert
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
“By the end of 2009, there would be at least 10 crore direct jobs in the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) sector and another 15 crore indirect jobs would be created by the sector,” said Mr Romi Malhotra, Managing Director, Dell International Services, India, here today. Mr Malhotra was in the city for the inauguration of the Dell Computer Centre at the Institute of Blind here.

Stating that BPO education would be the next big need of the nation, Mr Malhotra added that out of the 22 lakh graduates passing out of colleges across the country each year, about 1.5 lakh join the BPO sector straight out of college. “And there are another lakh graduates who can with a little training and shine be prepared to join the sector each year,” he said.

Dell is one of the larger BPOs in India and is currently employing over 14000 persons at its four centers at Mohali, Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Bangalore. Mr Malhotra is responsible for running Dell’s operations in India and charting the company’s progress in implementing its services strategy from India. “We opened in Gurgaon two months ago and intend to expand once only when we feel Gurgaon has reached its potential,” he said

With about 2000 employees at the Mohali’s centre that started two years ago, Mr Malhotra feels Dell has peaked out here. “The main limitations at a place like Chandigarh are infrastructure, talent and incentives by the governments,” he said, adding that cities like Pune, Hyderabad and Gurgaon were better poised for attracting IT companies and BPOs.

If political parties vying for power are selling IT dreams to Punjab then the state will have to work on providing support infrastructure in terms of connectivity, transportation, hotels and security etc. “The fact that Chandigarh is a wonderful city to live in also has to be sold,” he said. Despite the presence of good educational institutes in and around the city, Mr Malhotra feels there is still a shortage of quality manpower. “BPO education should find a place in state list of priorities. For that the academia, industry and governments would have to collaborate and that is yet to happen,” he said.



Dell centre at Institute for the Blind
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The first Dell computer centre in Chandigarh was inaugurated at the Institute for the Blind here today by Ms. Jean Rodrigues in the presence of General S F Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab, and Mr Romi Malhotra, Managing Director, Dell International Services.

Set up with funds from Dell Foundation, the centre has 12 Dell desktops and two laptops. The hardware is enabled to support software programmes for the visually impaired children to aid their education. The centre will also provide opportunities for “Dell community champions ” to make a difference to the lives of the children, by extending a caring hand and sharing their knowledge with them.

Appreciating the effort of the company, General Rodrigues emphasised the need for empowering countless under-privileged children by imparting education, vocational training and creating other development programmes for them.

Soliciting cooperation of professionals and experts from different walks of life, General Rodrigues said: “We need their time, knowledge, compassion and expertise for contributing in such social initiatives.” He said he had already asked Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University to identify a group of professionals who can work with commitment to remove disparities.



Protest against price hike at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Members of the Panjab University Students Union yesterday staged a protest outside the Vice- Chancellor’s office against the hike in cost of food items at the Students Centre. Led by Abhishek Puri, PUSU president, the students demanded that the VC should intervene in the matter and ensure that the students get food at reasonable rates.

In a press note issued by the students later, they also highlighted the unhygienic conditions prevalent in the kitchen of various hostels where food was cooked. They pointed out that the number of hostellers had increased in the past 30 years and though the number of rooms and other infrastructure had been increased to accommodate these students, the kitchen and the mess area remained the same.



DAVC students up in arms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Students of DAV College are on the warpath again against the college authorities for not allowing them to organise a star night during their annual festival - Lakshya 2007.

Last week, the students had locked the Principal’s office protesting against the decision of the Principal that no star would be called during the festival to perform. The students were also told by the Principal that orders to this effect had been issued by Panjab University.

However, members of the Panjab University Campus Students Council yesterday stated that there was no such ban on star nights by the university for colleges.



Voting rights sought for scholars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Members of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) and the Panjab University Research Scholars Association (PURSA) have demanded voting rights for research scholars of the university during student elections.

Mr Abhishek Puri, PUSU president, told mediapersons today that a five-point charter, including this demand, had been submitted to the Vice-Chancellor. The other demands include subsidisation of cost of food items at the Students Centre, renovation of messes and canteens of the hostels, provision of computer labs for research scholars of arts faculty and provision of state of the art facility at the gym. It was decided that PUSU and PURSA would jointly work on these issues.



Certificates distributed

Mohali, February 7
As many as 50 persons participated in a certificate distribution function organized by Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, at its field office at Rora village, Kharar, here today. Certificates were distributed to students who had successfully completed vocational courses in artificial flower making and mehndi application.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dildar Khan, Director of the organisation, highlighted the importance of acquiring vocational skills for gainful employment in the present era. TNS



High Court
PIL on marriage Act moved
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 7
The complete mess created by certain conflicting provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955, and the Special Marriage Act, 1954, on many vital issues concerning the marriages of persons of different faiths, particularly Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhist, figured in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. A PIL, seeking quashing of the conflicting provisions, came up for preliminary hearing today.

The petitioner, advocate H.C. Arora, has highlighted the glaring conflict between the provisions in the two Acts on the subject matter of “conditions for solemnisation of marriage" and “conditions for registration of marriages, grounds of divorce etc” Appearing before the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice Vijender Kumar Jain and Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla, the petitioner argued that a marriage solemnised under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act or the Christian Marriage Act can be registered under the Special Marriage Act only if the male and female parties to the marriage have completed the age of 21 years, whereas under the Hindu Marriage Act, marriage can be solemnised if the male is 21 years and above but the female is 18 years and above.

It was further stressed that the marriage solemnised is void if either of the parties to the marriage has not attained the requisite age, but such a marriage solemnised under the Hindu Marriage Act would not be void though punishable under the Child Marriage Restraint Act. Similarly, if a spouse is undergoing sentence of imprisonment for seven years or more, it is valid ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Likewise, if one party has renounced the world by taking sanyas, it is a valid ground for the other party to seek a decree of divorce whereas such a ground for seeking is not available to the parties under the Hindu Marriage Act. A married minor girl, whether her marriage was consummated or not, on attaining the age of majority, can repudiate her marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, but she cannot do so if her marriage was solemnised under the Special Marriage Act.

The petitioner argued that these conflicting provisions were only illustrative, whereas several other aspects of conflict between the two enactments have been highlighted. He has prayed that out of the two sets of conflicting provisions under these Acts, any one set of provisions should be quashed and as a consequential relief, the quashed set of provisions of one act be directed to be substituted by the corresponding set of provisions in the other Act till the respondents appropriately amend and reconcile the provisions of the two Acts.

Today, the Division Bench issued notice for May 2 to the Union Government as also to the governments of Punjab and Haryana and the Chandigarh Administration.



Forging ties with music
Grammy award-winning US group to perform in city
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Cultural Affairs Wing of the US Embassy is busier than ever these days. Besides building ties with India in expected realms, it is now nurturing an all-new relationship with the country. Or so it seems from the fresh commitment of the Embassy, which is ready to bring to India Ozomatli, the Grammy award winning Latin hip-hop music group, which will be touring the country between February 12 and 22.

And what makes the event special is an exclusive show for Chandigarh as well. In the city to make an announcement to the effect, Ms Robin Diallo, First Secretary, Cultural Affairs, US Embassy, said the show had everything to do with her fascination for the Rock Garden. A marvel in architecture, Diallo though the garden was just about stones until she visited it a while ago.

“I was smitten by the beauty of the concept. I had never known stone and scrap could be so beautiful until I saw the garden. And I don’t have words to tell how impressed I was to see the garden’s beautiful amphitheatre. All I knew when I saw it was I would bring a rare show to this theatre some day. And here it is,” said Diallo.

Ozomatli will perform in Chandigarh on February 14 - the Valentine’s Day and though the choice of the day is not great, organizers are hoping to attract a good number of youths. In fact, the whole idea behind inviting Ozomatli to India was to introduce young Indians to something new and different.

Diallo said, “We have long exposed Indians to authentic American cultural influences but this time around we thought of bringing to them something that would represent America’s multiculturalism. Ozomatli is one such fine group which brings a fresh perspective with it.”

The group is most famous for its unique ability to integrate instruments from around the globe into dazzling jams. The group has won two Grammy awards, a Latin Grammy and two Billboard Latin awards. They have participated in US tours with Santana and several other musical geniuses.

In India, Ozomatli will be touring Delhi, Bangalore. Nepal will also have its share of this rare musical experience. In Chandigarh, the group will perform at Rock Garden. Entry is free and passes are available at the Rock Garden. Entry to the show will be from Phase III, High Court side.



Norwegian trio on ‘mission cultural awakening’
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, February 7
“Unlike many European countries, Norway has a rich folk music tradition epitomising the cumulative expression of many ages,” said members of the Tindra Musical Trio here today. Ashlid Vetrhus, Irene Tillung and J. Marie Rypdal Kvenberg comprise the group.

The Tindra group, winner of the Norwegian National Crown-2003 for music, was in the city for a performance at Chitkara International School on the invitation of the SPIC MACAY. The trio is well versed in classical folk and contemporary music.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune leader of the group, Ashlid, said mere exchange of folklore art could generate a bond of union and harmony between people of different cultures. “That is the driving spirit behind the SPIC MACAY in India and Rikskonsertene, a socio-cultural organisation in Norway, for teaming up to create cultural awakening through dissemination of folklore through live concerts, seminars and other cultural exchange programmes,” added vocalist Irene Tillung.

While playing “Ram dhun” and other Indian compositions with amazing dexterity on an improvised violin, Marie Kavernberg said the Indian classical, folk and film music was sublime and melodious, but complex in pattern. “The growing influence of popular American fusion music on Norwegian traditional music and dance has posed a challenge for us,” she said.

Earlier, the trio kept the students spellbound at Chitkara International School during a live interactive performance. Their repertoire of presentations, designed specially for small children, included dances based on folktales, action songs and instrumental music on violin and accordion. The school Principal, Dr Niyati Chitkara, honoured the artistes.



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