C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Traffic cops to man schools
Target: Underage drivers

Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 16
After upping the ante against traffic violators across the city by setting up checkpoints and initiating challaning launching drives across the city, the traffic police has now set its eyes on city schools.

In their firing line are now schoolchildren and their parents for allowing underage drivers to drive vehicles to schools.

The traffic wing under ASP Maneesh Chaudhary plans to observe this as a week to educate school heads to discourage students from driving down in their vehicles without proper documents and driver’s licence.

Come Monday and traffic policemen will welcome students to their schools.

They will be posted outside elite schools to challan students coming without helmets and driving vehicles without a driver’s licence.

Spearheading this drive, Chaudhary said challaning was certainly not the objective of the campaign.

“Our idea is to create awareness among schoolchildren about what they can and can’t do under the rules. It is also to sensitise parents about discouraging underage driving. The school heads will also be involved in the exercise to educate students about adhering to law,” he said.

Using challans only as a deterrent, the police will continue the drive till errant students fall in line and parents, too, ensure their wards do not drive down to their school without authorisation.

“In case of underage driving, the driver is challaned Rs 500, while the owner of the vehicle is fined Rs 1,000. The challan amount by itself should dissuade parents from giving their vehicles to their wards,” Chaudhary added.

While this is the second attempt at checking traffic violations by schoolchildren, the police had earlier failed to follow-up a similar exercise started during the tenure of SP Balbir Singh.

Though the police had sought co-operation from schools by asking for student data and those who come on their own vehicles, there had been no response from schools.

The drive had fizzled out in view of the schools’ non-cooperative stance.



Mobile phones in schools
Ban order fails to make impact
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The order of the Chandigarh administration banning the use of mobile phones in schools has failed to yield desired results. Under the orders, while the administration has no objection to students and teachers carrying their mobile phones to school, their use is disallowed on the campus. Also, the order fails to mention that action will be initiated against errant staff and students.

Taking a cue from the Delhi and Karnataka Governments, the administration tried to impose the model in city schools without actually following the same. The governments of the two states have completely banned mobile phones on school campuses.

In view of this ambiguity, principals of the schools are finding themselves helpless in imposing a blanket ban on the use of cell phones.

DPI (S) S.K. Setia, when apprised of this, agreed that the circular regarding mobile phone ban in schools dated October 31,was sans “clear-cut instructions”.

“Fresh notice according to the guidelines issued by the high court will be circulated among the heads of all schools soon,” Setia said.

Dr Rakesh Sachdeva, principal, DAV-15, stated that the parents were too agitated against the cell phone ban.

“A parent had even filed a PIL against us when we imposed the ban. The case is still pending in the court. We had even imposed hefty fines and confiscated the sets but students continue to bring phones to school. Once clear cut instructions are issued by the education department, we will sternly impose the ban,” she said.

Many parents feel that their kids should be allowed to carry mobile phones to school as that it is the only medium through which they are able to get in touch with their children. “Instead of putting a ban on carrying it, the children should be taught about how and when to use this gadget. The children should be instructed to put the phone on silent mode or even switch off when they are taking their classes,” said N.P. Singh, a parent.

Welcoming the ban, majority of the teaching community believes that well-being of the children is the prime responsibility of the school authorities. “In case of any emergent situation, the school authorities can be contacted on the school phone. Infact, it is a better way to find out about the whereabouts of the kids. Otherwise, how can the parents be sure that their children are telling them the truth about their whereabouts as they carry the phone wherever they go,” remarked Surinder Singh, principal, GMSSS-44.

Punita Singh, counsellor at Carmel Convent School opined that use of phone at such tender age distracted the child’s attention and was a hindrance in the overall development of the child. “Children get addicted to this gadget which is like a time bomb in their hands. They tend to become dependent on it.”

The CBSE maintains that it is the individual freedom of choice to carry a phone or not and has never issued instructions on this issue. “India is a democratic country. How can you impose such restrictions? It is for the DPI (S) to decide whether to allow it or not in schools,” said D.R. Yadav, joint secretary, CBSE Regional Office, Panchkula.



PU Notes
2-day historical treat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
To commemorate the 150th year of India’s first War of Independence, the Haryana Police Academy, Madhuban, will organise a two-day light and sound musical drama ‘1857: Bharat Ka Swatantrata Sangram’ under the guidance of director of the academy V.N. Rai at Panjab University on November 17-18. Around 800 people have worked together for months to come up with this historical treat. As many as 25 trained horses are also taking part in the event. An open invitation has been extended to everyone around the city. Prof R.C. Sobti, vice chancellor, will preside over the function on the opening day.

Symposium ends

The three-day national symposium on ‘Recent Advances in Phycology: From Molecule to Ecosystem’ ended today at Golden Jubilee Hall. Three sessions on ‘Algal Biotechnology and Molecular Aspects’, ‘Nutraceuticals and Culture Collection’ and ‘Algal Diversity and Applications’ were held. Prof L. Uma, NFMC, Trichy, spoke on ‘Adaptive Mechanisms in Cyanobacteria to cope up Oxidative Stress’. Dr Shoven Mandal, IIT, Kharagpur, spoke on preparing scenedesmus biomass as a potent source of raw material for biodiesel production. Dr S.L. Gupta, BSI, Allahabad, spoke on ‘Bioinformatics and Algal Taxonomy’.



From Schools

AWARENESS CAMP: With a view to educate school and college students about their rights, the Consumer Forum, Chandigarh, will organise the third consumer awareness camp at Sharda Sarvhitkari School, Sector 40, tomorrow on the school premises. A quiz contest on the subject will also be held.

SEMINAR: The department of physics of Government College, Sector 11, organised a seminar on ‘Role of Physics in Development of Communication Systems’ on the college campus today. Various teams, comprising science students, made power point presentations on various topics like nanotechnology, digital electronic systems etc. A quiz was also conducted by Prof Ranjjan Verma, head of the department, physics.

CELEBRATED: A week-long festivities were witnessed during the Children’s Day celebrations at all branches of Eurokids in Chandigarh and Panchkula. Teachers revealed the significance of Children’s Day to the toddlers. ‘Colour well event’ provided the children with hours of fun whilst developing the vital skills of concentration, hand control and visual awareness. The week ended with a film show where children were shown the popular movie ‘My friend Ganesha’.


FETE: The Ex-Hansarians Students’ Association (EHSAS) will organise a fete, Rapture-07, at Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday. The highlight of the event will be a performance by Crimson, a rock band from Delhi, at 3 pm. — TNS



10-yr RI for 3 under NDPS Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The district and sessions judge, S.K. Aggarwal, today sentenced Ashok Kumar, Balbir Singh and Ram Kumar to 10-year rigorous imprisonment under the NDPS Act. He also imposed a fine of Rs 1.15 lakh on them. Ashok’s wife, Jagir Kaur, who was also a co-accused, has been acquitted in the case.

As per the prosecution, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) got information that the accused were taking contraband from Jalandhar to Chandigarh on November 22, 2004.

A naka was put up and the NCB team seized 760 kg of poppy husk from a truck. The accused had claimed that the truck did not belong to them.



Young dancers rock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The city witnessed excitement and anxiety of kids participating in 'My School Rocks', India's biggest inter-school dance competition, today. The competition was held at the auditorium of Lobana Bhawan, Sector 30, here.

Inspired by Disney channel’s original movie - High School Musical 2, thousands of dance and music lovers from as many as 70 schools of Chandigarh and Punjab participated in the competition. The participants displayed their original choreography to the foot-tapping music of the Hindi soundtrack of the movie. Their performances will further be reviewed by celebrity choreographer Shiamak Davar.

The auditions will also be held at seven other cities, including Delhi (November 20, 21), Hyderabad (November 23), Lucknow (November 21), Mumbai ( November 26, 27, 28), Ahmedabad (November 27, 28), Bangalore (November 22) and Kolkata (November 27, 28). One team will be chosen from each of these cities. The vignettes of the final performances would be aired on the Disney channel.

The winning school team, chosen on the basis of an audience poll and Shiamak's points, will get the opportunity to star in a music video to be choreographed by Shiamak.

Antoine Villeneuve, senior vice-president and managing director, Walt Disney Television International (India), said, “My School Rocks offers kids a unique nationwide opportunity to express themselves and celebrate teamwork.”

“This year, the competition has reached out to over 6 lakh kids eight cities. In addition, Shiamak Davar's Institute for Performing Arts will support and inspire the budding talent,” said K. Seshasaye, head, Corporate Communications.



Erstwhile Pak TV actor visits Jaspal Bhatti’s acting school
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 16
For those who have grown up on Pakistan television comedies would know the remarkable actor Aurangzeb Eshai.

He featured in ‘Khwaja and Sons’, a brilliant TV comedy series that ran in Pakistan the 1980s.

Playing the brother of nine sisters, Aurangzeb, playing ‘Jawadji’ became a household name in India as well.

The ageless actor was on a flying trip to Mohali during which he visited Jaspal Bhatti’s acting school here and interacted with the students. “I am a big fan of Jaspalji,” he said adding that he has always respected serious comedy which is situation based. “Comedy that involves contorting the face and canned laughter accompanying it is not my cup of tea,” he said.

A renowned TV and film actor in Pakistan Aurangzeb now intends to open an acting school at Lahore, where he lives. “I would be tying up with Jaspal Bhatti and get into a joint venture,’ he said. Giving acting tips to students of ‘Mad Arts’ the comedian told them to believe in whatever they undertake. “Don’t work for money. Work for the art of acting,” he said.

When asked to react to the current political situation in Pakistan, he said, “Like every Pakistani I too want democracy to be restored in the country. I feel that every person should stick to doing what he or she has been trained in,” he said.

The actor accompanied by his wife Sameena was shown around the acting school cum joke factory being run in Industrial Area here. Jaspal Bhatti and his wife Savita Bhatti recalled the actor’s role in the various series they had watched.



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