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Booking profit on students
Shopkeepers sell NCERT books at inflated prices
Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh: Opening a new chapter in unscrupulous marketing, many bookstore owners and stationers across the city are selling school books by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) at more than the printed rates.

So open and blatant is the illegality that shopkeepers do not even hesitate in issuing cash memos with inflated prices. Most of the times, their action goes unnoticed by the harried parents in a hurry to buy the books!

Just in case they happen to read the fine print, the shopkeepers take little time to claim a slip-up and apologize. As a second line of defence, they claim extra money is being charged for binding. It's something you haven't asked for. And the shopkeepers do not ask you to choose between paperback and hardbound. So you end up paying extra money without even realising it.

The modus operandi is almost the same in all the cases. The shopkeepers take little time to slide the book into a paper bag and pen down the puffed up price on it. Unsuspecting, the buyers simply read the price written by the salesman on the paper bag and takes home the book.

The business actually flourishes just before the beginning of the academic session every year when parents simply purchase books in bulk. The parents simply pick up the bundles without really caring to check the total.

Only recently, a young executive with a multinational information-technology company paid Rs 36 for the mathematics textbook for Class VI after reading the price on the envelope. Just as he was about to leave the Sector 19 shop, he realised that the book was costing Rs 30.

"I immediately brought it to the notice of the owner, but he tried to dismiss the entire matter by saying it's just a question of Rs 6," says the executive. "Well, I told him clearly that money was not the matter of concern even though it was hard-earned.

The issue here was that of being cheated and taken for a ride. In any case, they must be minting money by charging even small amounts from so many customers".

After listening to the argument, the shopkeeper initially refused to hand over the cash memo, and then gave one without the sales-tax number. Finally, he did issue a proper cash memo, but in the process mentioned Rs 6 as cost for binding.

"My argument is simple: You cannot charge over and above the printed price no matter what you do. You have to give me the option and charge extra for binding only after taking my consent, not by cashing in on my time crunch that prevents me from noticing the printed price. This is like handing over a coke bottle to me in a jazzy packet without seeking my option and charging extra for it. I haven't asked for it". He is now working out the modalities for moving the consumer courts against the malpractice. 



Punjabi varsity youth fest concludes

Mohali: The three day long “Youth Festival” of Punjabi University concluded at Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences at Mandi Gobindgarh.

Declaring the first session open, chairman of the Desh Bhagat Group Dr. Zora Singh and Shalini Gupta director general stressed on the imminent need for the conservation of culture, heritage and folk art in Punjab and reminded the custodians of our nation to do the needful. Around 570 students took part today in skit, mime, debate, elocution, poetic recitation and bhangra in performing arts whereas embroidery, pakhi making, mehandi, gudia patola, tokri, mitti de khidone, chikli, peerhi, sewain, nala bunnan, rassa, chikko, innu, khiddo, paranda and crochet initiated under fine art and folk art items. Over 22 colleges from all over Punjab took part in the festival. Bhangra was the main attraction of the day.

In the evening Captain Kanwaljeet Singh, cabinet minister for co-operation distributed the prizes to the winners. The winning teams include: skit - Khalsa College Morinda, mime - DBIMCS Mandi Gobindgarh, debate - DBIMCS Mandi Gobindgarh, elocution - Khalsa College Morinda and poetic recitation - Desh Bhagat College of Education Mandi Gobindgarh.

Folk items competition included: embroidery - DSG College of Education Dera Bassi, pakhi - Khalsa College Morinda, mehandi - Khalsa College Hansali, gudia patola - PMN College Rajpura, tokri - PMN College Rajpura, mitti de khidone - Khalsa College Morinda, chikli - Govt. College Dera Bassi, peerhi - Mata Gujri College Fatehgarh Sahib, sewian - PMN Rajpura, nala bunnan - JLN Mandi Gobindgarh, rassa - Govt. College Dera Bassi, chikko- PMN Rajpura, innu - Lincoln College of Education Sirhind and khiddo - DBIMCS Mandi Gobindgarh.

Overall Trophies went to: music - Mata Gujri College Fatehgarh Sahib, dance – DBIMCS Mandi Gobindgarh, literary events - DBIMCS Mandi Gobindgarh, fine art - Govt. College Dera Bassi, folk art - PMN Rajpura, best dancer (male) - Wassan Singh (Mata Gujri College), theatre - Khalsa College Dera Bassi, best actor and best actress were Hardeep Garcha (DBIMCS) and Rubina Querrshi( Morinda).

Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib won the overall Championship.—TNS



PU dept names to go literary 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
Panjab University’s departments of English, Hindi and Punjabi might soon be named after literary stalwarts. While the Department of English might bear the name of Dr Mulk Raj Anand, the department of Hindi might be known after Munshi Prem Chand. Punjabi Department might be named after Shiv Kumar Batalvi. The syndicate will look into the recommendations for these changes.

Also, the English auditorium will be named as “Tagore Auditorium”. This was announced by vice-chancellor of Panjab University Dr R.C. Sobti during the inaugural function of the two-day Chandigarh Language and Literature Congress that started today at PU campus.

Earlier, the Governor of Haryana, Dr A.R. Kidwai, inaugurated the congress. Secretary of Haryana Urdu Academy K.L. Zakir was the guest of honour. He spoke on the study of Urdu language and literature in the era of globalisation. Dr A.R. Kidwai emphasised the role and importance of language and literature in the changing world. He was appreciative of the way Indian statesmen solved the linguistic problem confronting the nation after independence. He said, “We could learn from them, because it is essential in a pluralist society like India to foster the growth and development of all languages, international, national, and regional.”

Prof Anil Raina and Prof V.P. Upadhayaya highlighted the theme and objectives of the congress on “Language and Literature Studies in a Globalised World”. 



From Colleges

Mohali: Indo Global College of Engineering organized campus placement in association with Insurance Major ICICI Prudential. As many as 16 MBA students of 2008 batch were selected. The process involved a presentation by the company about its network across the country and its expansion plans, brain storming session in the form of group discussion, written test and the final interview. Chairman of the Indo Global Colleges Sukhdev Kumar Singla informed that those selected will be paid a package of Rs 2.3 lakh per annum during the training and Rs 3-4 lakh per annum after completion of the training.

Students’ council

Students’ council of Shivalik Institute of Education and Research, Mohali was sworn in at investiture ceremony. The chief guest Satwant Bedi, Principal, Shivalik Public School, administered the oath to office to the newly elected council. The ceremonial light of knowledge was handed-over to the college head girl, Guneet Cheema, by the chief guest. The other members include, Shail Vasudeva and Guneet Kaur (literary society), Mandeep Singh Virdi and Lovepreet Kaur (discipline society), Rajni Sharma and Nisha (refreshment society), Navneet Kaur and Sameeksha (cultural committee), Mangla Bhardwaj and Geetika (fine arts), Jaskaran Singh and Anupam (sports society), Poonam Sharma and Sonpreet Kaur (class representatives). —TNS



One in 5 Delhi school kids obese: Study

One in every five school children in Delhi is overweight, as they love binging on fast food, says a study.

The study, which was carried out in eight private schools of the capital by the Delhi Diabetes Research Centre, says that children start developing interest in fast food from class three onwards and this pattern reaches its peak by the time a child completes fifth class.

It founded that almost 44 per cent of the 1,155 children covered, have at least one soft drink everyday, and 39 per cent prefer burgers and soft drinks.

Another 31 per cent love pizzas with soft drinks. Only 11 per cent like eating fruits.

It also showed that as the children grow in years, their preference for fast food increases. It said that over 66 per cent of those interviewed in class five vouched their love for fast food.

“Overweight children have 70 per cent chance of becoming obese adults. Obesity and diabetes are becoming synonyms and we are forced to call this state Diabesity.” the study said.

“Change in food habits plays a very important role in making children overweight. Therefore, intervention should be initiated by family members, media so that children get inclination towards healthy food habits,” the study said.

The questions were framed in such a way to gauge their preferences for such food and to know how they get motivated to go for it—whether it is due to TV, advertisements, fast food outlets or pocket money among other things.

Agreeing with the conclusions, Ranjana Kaur, mother of an 11-year-old says, “Mainly it is TV and peer pressure. They all love the Big Mac so much that they try to extract a treat on one pretext or the other.” But Vibha Mehta, who teaches in a private school, feels that early intervention is a must to curb this habit. “We try to encourage students not to eat junk food and they are not allowed to get such stuff in their tiffin boxes, except may be a day or two in a month,” she added. — UNI



NIPER signs pact with Chicago college

Mohali, November 2
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between NIPER and and the Chicago College of Pharmacy, Midwestern University, USA, during the 40th Annual Conference of the Indian Pharmacological Society, here, today.

Prof P. Rama Rao, director, NIPER, said the MoU will bring two institutions closer and would help to collaborate in the fields of medicinal chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology, pharmaceutics and pharmacy practice. Dr Nancy Fjortoft, dean and professor, signed the MoU on behalf of the College of Pharmacy, Chicago. — TNS



Sahodaya Conference
Set up thinking schools, says CBSE chairman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
“Learning is not confined to the walls of an institution nor is it confined to the pages of textbooks,” opined CBSE chairman Ashok Ganguly while delivering a lecture during the XIV CBSE Sahodaya Schools Conference at PU Law Auditorium, here, today.

Ganguly advocated setting up of ‘thinking schools’, which maintain physical as well as spiritual quotient.

Eminent scholars and educationists are in the city beautiful to decide on the future methods of education and to divulge ways and means to take it to the reach of the downtrodden and deprived sections of the society.

More than 400 principals of schools across the country and abroad are participating in the conference that would hold various brainstorming sessions on the innovative practices adopted by different schools and their impact on the educational scenario 
at large.

Santosh Bhandari, chairperson of Sahodaya Schools Complex in Tricity, said Sahodaya was a unique concept with a motive to develop a strong bond of togetherness to scale new heights.

Under the chairmanship of T.V. Kunnunkal, Sarita Manjuja, principal, Apeejay School, New Delhi, and Priyadarshini, principal, New Era Senior Secondary School, Vadodara, spoke on anywhere anytime and lifelong learning-designing institutional roadmap to harness informal and formal learning.

G. Balasubraminain, former director, academics, CBSE, headed the team of Raghu Raman from Kochi and N.N. Nayyar, principal, Apeejay School, Mumbai, who threw light on the application of educational technology to individualise and enrich learning and assessment.



Unanimous elections in five colleges, campaigning in rest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
With five city colleges already electing their candidates unanimously, only six colleges are left where the elections would take place.

The colleges which have already elected their candidates are Government College, Sector 11, Government College for Girls, Sector 11, GGDSD, Sector 32, MCM DAV, Sector 36, and Government College, Sector 19.

Meanwhile, members of all organisations of GC-11 met their principal today and said they were willing to work for the welfare of the students.

Campaigning at DAV College-10 was on in full swing with the students canvassing through handwritten posters.

Students of SGGS College, Sector 26, protested against biased teacher, who allegedly completed the attendance of a candidate. The students went and complained it to the principal. They also alleged that no list was displayed yesterday when the college authorities were supposed to do so.



Students display varied talents

Chandigarh, November 2
As many as 400 students from different schools of Chandigarh and Panchkula took part in various competitions organised by the Aeronautical Society of India here.

Professor Kripal Singh, an eminent educationist, was the chief guest. The competitions were conducted by Wg Cdr D.P. Sabharwal (retd), vice-chairman of the society’s Chandigarh chapter. The results are: Scrap book: Manik Mahajan (Hansraj, Panchkula); intelligence quiz: Ishan Preet Singh (St John’s); Aviation and space quiz: Damanbir Sekhon (St John’s). — TNS



IETE should reach out to rural folk: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) should extend its operations and set up its centres and sub-centres at the block level as well as in towns so that the youth and women in these areas can be imparted vocational and computer training. This was stated by S.S. Aggarwal, former chairman of the IETE, Chandigarh, while addressing a gathering on the foundation day of the IETE.

He said the operation of the institution, established in 1953, remained limited to the urban areas only as all 52 centres of the institute were located in metros or district headquarters.

The information and communication technology (ICT) had also been concentrated in the urban pockets and the rural population remained deprived of benefits of the boom in technology, said Aggarwal.

The goal of achieving the vision to make India a developed nation by the year 2020 was possible only when the ICT-based advancement and developments were made in villages at a faster pace, said Aggarwal. 



Contempt notice against Mohali DC withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
Accepting unconditional apology of Mohali deputy commissioner H.I.S. Grewal in the local municipal council election matter, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today withdrew the notice for contempt issued to him.

The bench, comprising Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Nawab Singh, ruled: “The contemner, who is at present DC, Mohali, in his affidavit dated September 27, 2007, has tendered an unconditional apology, apart from narrating the whole incident as to what had happened that day. After hearing the arguments, going through petitions and averment of affidavit of Grewal we think it is in the fitness of thing that the notice given for contempt be withdrawn and apology of the officer as tendered in his affidavit be accepted.”

Ward No. 15 councillor Gurnam Bindra Singh’s counsel had earlier claimed that the recounting of votes in the local MC elections was ordered during the pendency of a transfer petition in the High Court, which had on May 7 stayed the passing of final order.

The counsel had submitted that during the process of recounting, the deputy commissioner had allegedly shouted at and intimidated the petitioner’s lawyers and had also allegedly made mockery of the law.

The recounting of votes was ordered by the deputy commissioner on May 8 here.



Lawyers protest setting up of shed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 2
The Mohali police had a tough time keeping the tempers reined in at the district court complex here today.

A group of lawyers was insisting on making space for themselves in the complex, which was objected to by another group. When one group undertook the setting up of sheds in the complex, the other group raised a loud protest. The situation got tense and the police was called in.

It is pertinent to mention here that there is an acute shortage of sitting space in the complex and the lawyers are divided into groups.



She now makes music for soul
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh: Versatile Bollywood singer Hema Sardesai, was in the city recently.

Talking about her experiences, Hema shared her journey to stardom.

Born and raised at Panjim in Goa, she is now settled in Mumbai. She said her musical genius was discovered by her maternal uncle when he overheard a musical taan, weaved by her in a melodic pattern and decided to put her into put her into the tutelage of some classical music teacher.

But at the age of 6 Hema was the naughtiest girl in the family. So it was indeed a challenge for her tutor to keep her glued to the tanpura, recalls the singer. "At the age of 13, I went to learn under Pandit Sudhakar Karadiker of Gwalior gharana.

"During my studies I competed in an international musical competition where artistes from 20 nations were performing at Dresdun in Germany. To my surprise I was the winner of the competition. A little-known music prodigy Hema Sardesai was hogging headlines in a foreign country than her native country."

Having given playback in over 50 films, many of them major blockbusters, including 'Chak De India', 'Josh', 'Biwi No 1', 'Janam Samjha Karo', 'Soldier', 'Khushi' and many more, Hema is still not complacent and keeps on striving hard to contribute to the social life of the society.

Ever since she sought the divine blessings of Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, she feels herself transformed and finds life an all-together different experience with the causes of universal humanism and social commitments getting priority.

Her project against female feticide after inspiration from her mentor Sri Sri Ravi Shanker has been widely acclaimed.

More social projects on women empowerment and welfare of the downtrodden segment of society are in the offing for which she will be frequenting the City Beautiful which she hails as the soul of the region. 



King Khan turns 42

The undisputed Badshah of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan turned 42 today.

Shah Rukh, aka SRK, has a huge fan following from Mumbai to Manhattan and from Bangalore to Boston. Born on November 2, 1965 in New Delhi, he came to Mumbai and made his debut in TV serials like 'Fauji' and 'Circus'. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004.

In a career spanning nearly two decades, he has re-written box office records with films such as 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge' (1995), 'Dil To Pagal Hai' (1997) and 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' (1998) to name a few. He was the first actor who never harped about a positive image for a leading man and did negative roles in films such as 'Anjaam', 'Darr' and 'Baazigar'.

He has won 13 Filmfare Awards (out of which six in Best Actor category), ten Rupa Cinegoers Awards, six Star Screen Videocon Awards, six Sansui Viewers Choice Movie Awards, four Zee Cine Awards, four People's Choice Movie Awards, three IIFA Awards and three Zee Gold Bollywood Awards.

SRK is married to his childhood sweetheart Gauri Chibba and they have two children Aryan and Suhana.

He founded a production company 'Dreamz Unlimited' with pal Juhi Chawla and Aziz Mirza.

Shah Rukh was conferred with the Best Indian Citizen's Award in 1997. In 2002, he was given the Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence in the field of Entertainment. — UNI



Ash celebrates special day with special people

It can't be anything but destiny. Aishwarya Rai, who will be playing Mumtaz Mahal in Ben Kingsley's film on the Taj Mahal, celebrated her 34th birthday in Agra with husband Abhishek Bachchan.

"You make it sound so dramatic and romantic. It's nothing like that. I've brought it in with Abhishek, Ma (mom-in-law Jaya Bachchan) and Pa (father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan)," Aishwarya, who turns a year older Thursday, told IANS.

"Abhishek was shooting an ad in Agra on Wednesday. So I joined him with Ma. And then Pa also joined us. So you could say it's a perfect birthday by the Taj Mahal, though not quite at the Taj Mahal — have you seen the crowds over there? We can't risk going to the Taj Mahal, but a stone's throw away. It's a pity my parents couldn't join us here in Agra," she added.

She says that her birthday in Agra was very special.

"My birthday in Agra was just too special. Someone up there has answered all my prayers." It's been a hectic time for Aishwarya. She has just come home after two months in Boston and will be heading straight to Karjat after her birthday for the last two days' shooting of Ashutosh Gowariker's "Jodhaa-Akbar".

However, the actress is in a celebration mode since her arrival.

"I came back from the US from shooting 'Pink Panther' in time for Karwa Chauth. God knows how the TV cameras got our shots, probably from neighbour's premise. We're just leading our lives normally. I don't know why or how the press has this hunger to know about us." This is Aishwarya's first birthday at the Bachchans after her much-hyped wedding with Abhishek.

"This is my first birthday after marriage and therefore a very special occasion. But that apart, you know me. Spending time with the people I love is my greatest joy. I'm in a very happy place. And I don't mean Agra. Just being with three people who mean so much to me makes my life complete. God has been kind. There's great fulfilment in love and in being loved, by not just my husband, but his parents, who are now my parents. We're one family and we all love one another." "Well if you say I glow, it's the glow of happiness. I couldn't have asked for more." She's excited about doing the Taj Mahal film with Kingsley.

"On the first day of shooting 'The Last Legion' with him, he (Ben Kingsley) walked up to me and said, 'I've this idea.' And he told me about the Shah Jehan-Mumtaz Mahal film that he'd like to do. You know, how many Taj Mahal scripts have come my way. I told Ben there have been many occasions when this subject has come to me.

"But there was something exceptionally interesting about the way he approached the subject. And yes, the whole process of discussing the subject with him was participative. After 'The Last Legion' I kind of put it in the back of my mind. But earlier this year he confirmed it was on." At the moment it's "Jodhaa-Akbar" that occupies Aishwarya's mind.

"You know me. Once I get into a subject, I'm totally into it. But yes, I'm looking forward to working with Ben again." What does she want for her birthday? She thought for a while and said: "Just blessings and good wishes. Apart from that god has given me everything." — IANS



Sapna, Ashwani win GTE titles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The freshers’ party of GTE Computer Education was held here today. A cultural programme was organised.

Among other items, students of the institute presented Himachali dance, Haryanavi dance, skits etc.

Mr GTE title went to Ashwani while Sapna Kaundal was crowned with Miss GTE title.

Kulwant Singh, director of the institute, gave away the prizes. Entrepreneur Inderjit Singh was the chief guest.

Prem Kumar Matta, head of the institute, exhorted the students to shun social evils like drug addiction and dowry system.



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