Beyond Chak De euphoria
Country women hockey players struggle for an identity
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
With Bollywood going gaga over hockey, one may believe that the sport is back with a bang. Sadly, the inside story is not that glossy. “Chak De” girls may have conquered the world, but the hockey girls in the country are still struggling to find a foothold.

At a time when men hockey players are making careers on the turf and getting employment as well, the women hockey champs have nothing to look up to, except for vacancies in the only sector Indian Railways, which started recruiting women hockey players in 1977.

Men hockey players are working with some of the best companies like the Indian Oil Corporation, Indian Airlines, Air-India, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Railways.

While talking to The Tribune over the phone, former chief coach of the women hockey team Satinder Walia said, “Being a national game of the country, the women hockey players should also be given equal prospects to settle their careers. To boost the standard of women hockey it is must that they should get placements with banks, airlines and other companies.”

Even as the women hockey players earned accolades for their performance in hockey, they could not get much in terms of their jobs. Some of the best known players like Neeru Bala, Pritam Siwach and Simmerjit are all working with the Indian Railways.Rajvir Kaur

Olympian Rajvir Kaur says, “It is only the Indian Railways which has been providing job opportunities to women hockey players. As compared to this, men not only enjoy a flourishing career but also enjoy the privilege of easy placements in various departments.”

Nearly all the women hockey players rued that they had limited career options. Most of them try to get into the Railways. The Railways simply recruit them as junior clerks with fewer chances of promotions ahead. At the most a few go on to be superintendents.Surinder Kaur

“If not anything else, the state government should at least make a women police hockey team which will not only give a fillip to the game but provide employment to budding hockey players. Above all if men hockey players can get employment with airlines and in the banking sector, why can’t the women players get it,” rued Indian Railways skipper Surinder Kaur.

Rajinder Singh JuniorFormer chief coach of the men’s hockey team and Olympian Rajinder Singh Junior puts in, “The girls have always been very enthusiastic about the game but lack of financial security makes it difficult for them to continue with it. Some of them end up getting married and others just continue their struggle but all this happens up to a particular period. As a result, a majority of girls are forced to leave their promising career midway.

Though a player always remains passionate about his or her game, it is out of question to continue without any job”.

While talking about the forthcoming Beijing Olympics, 2008, Walia maintained, “There are 70 per cent chances that we may win a gold medal this time. Even the girls are also in good form. If there is any contender against whom the women hockey players need to improve, it is the USA. If we are able to take on this team, our victory is sure.”

On the other hand Director Sports Punjab, Pargat Singh was not avalible for comments. 



Young World
National women’s hockey team visits Mayor school
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
Students of Mayor World School got a chance to interact with the Indian national women’s hockey team as it visited their campus on Wednesday. Students were also excited to meet Nisha Nayyar of “Chak De India” movie fame.

As the team entered the school, the campus reverberated with the music from song numbers in the movie. Students took a few tips from the players and got their autographs.

S. Kohli, managing director of Rakshak Sports, which organised the event in Jalandhar, also visited the campus.

Annual functions

The annual prize distribution function of CT Public School was held on the campus. Students recited a shabad, “Jeevano Mein Jeevan Paya.” This was the same team which had participated in Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan.

Students staged a one-act play, “Pepper the phantom pet,” which gave the message of value of truth and to avoid pretence. Sahil Kumar of XII was honoured for being selected for South Asian Games, Yuvraj Singh for being a young web designer and Tanu Loyal for ranking 13th at the international level of the Informatics Olympiad of the Computer Literacy Foundation, New Delhi.

An annual function was also organised at Kanya Maha Vidyalaya on Thursday. Local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia was the chief guest. He donated Rs 2 lakh to the college. On the occasion, 324 students were given prizes for academics, 25 for sports and 25 for cultural activities.

Campus placement

A two-day joint campus placement by Infosys Technologies began at Lovely Professional University (LPU) on Thursday. Nearly 1,200 students from seven colleges across the state attended the programme.

Students from Lovely Institutes and LPU, who are studying in MCA final year and B.Tech final year (all departments) are appearing for the interview and will be joining the company after the completion of their course in 2009.

Sixteen final-year students from the DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology have secured placements at Afcons Ltd, a Mumbai-based infrastructure development company. The students have been offered a starting annual package of Rs 2.4 lakh.

Declamation contest

The Red Ribbon Club of Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya organised a declamation contest for social awareness on issues related to AIDS, drug addiction, female foeticide and water conservation.

Twentyfive students participated in the event and gave their views. Kangan, Richa and Harpreet won the first, second and third prizes, respectively.



Chak De India
A chat with ‘Soi-Moi’
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
Call her “Soi-Moi” and she gives you a cheery smile. Perhaps this was one reel-life character from last year’s blockbuster movie “Chak De! India” which became popular with her innocent dialogues and body language.

Meet the real life goalkeeper Neesha Nair from team Bombay, who is presently here in the city for the ongoing 55th Rakshak Senior Women National Hockey Championship being held at the Surjit Hockey stadium. Before interview, the player got ready for a picture for The Tribune for which she quipped, “Ho-Ho! Cheese! I am well acquainted with photo shoots now.”

So how did this “Chak De! India” thing happened? “This is destiny or may be I was present at the right place and at the right time. I was playing for ‘Tommy MR Gold Cup’ in Mumbai when our team received a call for auditions by Yash Raj Studios. Though the auditions were conducted during the initial days of the film but I joined the reel-life team at a very later stage of the film,” she replied.

Talking about her first stint with the camera, light and action series, she remarks, “Well that was a wonderful experience. As all of us were debutants, our cameraman Sudeep Chatterjee supported us very well. And above all, the crew was awesome.”

She added not only her but also her friends were equally excited about the break to work with one of the biggest banner and finest actor in Bollywood.

And finally how was Shahrukh as a co-star? For this she gasped and said, “The moment I saw him the only thing I said to myself was ‘Wow! Is that Shahrukh?’ He actually came back from the shooting of ‘Don’ and was looking gorgeous. But as a costar he was very helpful. I still remember his first hug and the way we played hockey on the sets.”

The reel-life hockey team members are quite in touch with each other. Just recently all girls gathered for the Star Screen Awards at Bandra Curla Complex in Mumbai.

A student of B.Com-III at St Andrews College, Bandra, Mumbai, she has been playing hockey for the past eight years. Post “Chak De! India,” though she received some film offers but presently she is focusing more on her game. Neesha has equally been an active athlete and a player of football during her schooldays. “It is my coach Ignatius D’souza who has taught me the techniques of good goalkeeping,” she added. She said wherever she went, people call her with this name ‘Soi-Moi’ and simply smiled with the dialogue ‘Happy Diwali and Ho-Ho’. But ask her about good scene in the movie which she enjoyed and she says, “Of course my introduction session in the movie.”



LPU to give students a ‘smart’ blow
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
If you plan to throw a party for friends after having money from your parents on the pretext of paying fee, the trick will perhaps not work if you are a student of Lovely Professional University (LPU).

The university authorities have decided to introduce the smart card system on the campus. The facility will not only record the attendance of every student but will also work as plastic money and library card.

According to the mechanism, parents will have to deposit some money with the authorities and the credit would be entered in the respective smart cards of their children. Whenever the students have to pay for any of the expenses on the campus, their cards will be swiped in machines fixed at cafeteria, library, fee counter and fine counter. Interestingly, the parents can even check various bills and the amount spent by their wards.

The new system is another point of worry for the students as it will not allow proxy attendance any more. The machines, which work on biometric system, will ask for the students’ fingerprint every time when they go to attend a class.

Giving details, public relations head Aman Mittal said the whole idea behind the mechanism was to make the system paperless. “The authorities are very strict as far as attendance is concerned and the mechanism will ensure that attendance is not fudged,” he added.

He said the system has already been introduced for the staff. “There are 13 machines outside various departments and around 1,000 staff members mark their attendance through the machines. We soon plan to add another module which will make the leave system online. Under the module, all staff members will be given a unique user name and password which will enable them to get their leaves sanctioned online,” said the public relations head.

“The whole system is being developed in-house by the staff of the software development cell. Since there are more than 12,000 students it will take another few months to get smart cards for all the students,” added Mittal.

Agreeing with his colleague, assistant registrar Munish said, “The system is really helping as staff can retrieve salary slips online. Besides, the details of the salaries can be compiled easily.”

However, the students are still wary about the system. MBA student and hosteller Jimmy said, “We need to keep certain secrets from home. God knows how we will manage our parents from keeping a tab on us now.” His friend Ankur Mahajan said, “I am not worried at all because I am a day scholar.”



Winter Break Duties
Teachers to hold protests today
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
Members of 18 teacher unions, under the banner of the Save Government School Education Manch, have decided to hold protests at the district-level tomorrow. The teachers are demanding withdrawal of suspension orders against nine teachers.

Manch convener Sital Singh Chahal has reiterated that the teachers who had been suspended on the charge of protesting against the decision of the government to hold courses in the winter break be reinstated.

Protesting teachers are also demanding withdrawal of “false” police cases registered against 24 teachers in Moga, rollback of the decision to hand over schools to private companies, regularisation of teachers appointed on contract basis, filling vacant 40,000 posts on a regular basis, promoting 100 teachers in all cadres, providing full grades to computer teachers and cancelling the proposal of adarsh schools to work for the uplift of standards of all government schools.

Members have called on the government to improve the general infrastructure and fill vacant posts as mere networking of schools via Edusat was not enough to improve the lot of the schools.

The members said it was disgraceful that the standard of government school education in the country had fallen to the 23rd rank. Chahal said the members were also planning to hold a protest march in Kapurthala on February 17.



School Scuffle
SDM partial, says teachers’ union
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
Government school teachers from Shahkot and Lohian blocks gheraoed the office of the SDM of Shahkot for more than three hours on Wednesday evening over an inquiry related to a dispute among staff members of a high school at Roopewal village.

The matter pertains to an incident that took place three days back. Hindi teacher Rajesh Kumar found that the students of the school were doing computer work while he was taking their class.

The teacher, in a fit of rage, is said to have admonished the students and torn the pages of the copies of some children.

When computer teacher Esha Sood took up the matter with Rajesh, the latter, along with drawing teacher Nandan Jeet Singh reportedly dragged her out of the school.

Sood brought the matter to the notice of the SHO and the SDM.

The group, led by Rajesh and Nandan Jeet, however, has a different version. They said Sood used foul language and was trying to disturb the school atmosphere. They denied having dragged her out of the school. The village panchayat, the Democratic Teachers Union and the Pendu Mazdoor Union have been siding with Rajesh’s group and levelling allegations against SDM Jasbir Singh of being partial towards Sood.

Sood also alleged that her computer laboratory had been closed since then.

The SDM said he had gone to the school to get it opened. He said that he had even tried to convince both parties to reach a compromise but to no avail. 



Bawa Murder Case
No headway even after a month
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
Even after a month, the district police has failed to make any headway in the murder case of KMV principal Rita Bawa and three other persons.

SSP Arpit Shukla constituted four teams, headed by two SPs and two DSPs, but the teams could not solve the case of the blind murders committed on the midnight of January 5.

While the police is working on every possible theory but failed to get any specific lead so far. The police also took the help of an RBI team to ascertain the source of Rs 37 lakh found near the principal’s body but its report is yet to be received. The huge amount found in a briefcase lying near Bawa’s body on the floor of her bedroom had raised several questions.

Bawa’s cook, Kishore Mandal, and her security guard, Shamsheedin, who had been working with her for the past over 12 years, were among the persons murdered with her.



This transformer stands in middle of road
Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
The university road in the Ladhewali area of the city is giving a hard time to the commuters. The road, which leads from the Chugitti area to the Guru Nanak Dev University regional campus, is a huge bottleneck for the residents as well as the commuters. 

A transformer, which extends almost to the middle of the road at a place where the road bends and narrows down a bit, is causing chaos.

The problems have also increased because of the construction of the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar flyover, due to which the traffic from that area has to pass from the university road. According to sources, the flyover would be completed in six months but until then there seems no respite for the residents.

Shop owner Kulwinder Singh Parmar instantly comes out with a list of grievances when reminded about the transformer. “There is a curve in the road right at the point where the transformer stands which narrows the road a bit. Traffic jams have become a regular feature. The people, who are new to the road, come at high speed and face the danger of an accident. Also, traffic jams create a huge problem.”

Property dealer Onkar Singh Khalsa, who has his office in the area, says, “Scooterists, who sometimes misjudge or are not able to see the transformer, meet with accidents. The authorities should remove the obstruction before something serious happens.”

Amarjit Singh Arora, a resident of the nearby Gulmarg Avenue, says, “Two vehicles pass from the spot simultaneously with great difficulty. People who are new to the area stand a huge risk of ramming into the transformer. Possibilities of accidents and traffic jams increase due to a marriage palace being right near the spot.”

K.S. Duggal, head of the mass communication department at the GNDU regional campus, says, “The students travel through this road and the transformer is a big risk for them. Traffic jams cause disturbances during classes on the campus.”

When contacted, superintending engineer Kulwinder Singh of the municipal corporation said, “Once we get a complaint, only then we can act on it. We will have to talk to the PSEB and will act according to the estimate put up by it. Now that we have received information, we will do something regarding it.”

However, PSEB executive engineer R.P.S. Randhawa said, “The work on shifting the transformer is in progress. Poles have already been put up.”

When asked about the delay, he said, “The forest department's land being close by, we were facing difficulty. Now the problem has been sorted out. The work will be finished within a month or so.” 



DD Awards
DD Jalandhar walks away with 10 prizes
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
Doordarshan Kendra Jalandhar won 10 national DD awards at a function held on February 4 in Mumbai. Constituted seven years ago, the national DD awards aim at promoting positive competitiveness among the regional DD centres across the country.

Talking to The Tribune, DD Jalandhar’s officiating director Surendra Pal said, “Our kendra received 10 awards in different categories. These include four first and four second prizes and two awards in the category of public service broadcasting.”

Describing the award winning programmes, Pal said, “The documentary prepared by DD Punjabi in charge Lakhwinder Johal played a vital role in winning public service broadcasting award, 2007. The TV programme was based on the efforts of Ek Onkar Trust chairman Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal and presented his campaign of cleaning the holy bein.” Besides, a special national award was given to the kendra for promoting Hindi under the guidance of Hindi officer Sushma Gupta, added officiating director.

The other programmes which were adjudged best in their respective categories were a star night programme produced by Jasbir Singh, drama “kulfi” produced and directed by Madan Prashar, serial “Eh Tera Apman” produced and directed by Manohar Bharaj and documentary “Kadam Dar Kadam” on agricultural development produced by Gurdip Singh.

Coming to other categories, Lakhwinder Johal, Keemti Lal and Pawan Mahinia were adjudged second in the TV shows category, while Rajmal Bharmauria and Jeetraj Bhagat won second prizes in art direction and cinematography, respectively.



A life full of colours
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 7
Clinching medals and trophies in the field of fine arts has been a habit with Apoorva Lall, a student of the Apeejay College of Fine Arts. A budding painter, her talent was recently recognised by the district administration as she received a merit certificate on the occasion of the district-level Republic Day celebrations here.

A first-year student of bachelor of fine arts, she got the first prize in poster-making, second prize in landscape painting and third in sketching competitions held in the college.

As a student of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Nehru Garden, till the last session, she won innumerable prizes. She was declared the best painter in the district in landscape competition organised by Kala Utsav in 2006. She won the second prize for landscape painting in an open contest held at Lyallpur Khalsa College last year.

Apoorva is also the winner of a silver medal in a regional-level painting contest organised by the Punjab School Education Board in the previous session. She had then won a gold medal at the district-level contest.

Her skills had also come to the fore when she won the second prize in a painting competition organised by the district administration on the occasion of Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas in 2006. Her creativity brought her the second prize in a stamp-making competition organised by the general post office in 2005.

Apoorva is also an expert in making catchy posters. She won the first prize in one such contest organised on International Wetland Day by the education department two years back. The same year, she bagged another first prize for her poster on the theme of World Earth Day by NGO Pahal. She won a second prize in a poster-making competition on the theme of Monsoon Environment Week organised by the same NGO.

Her mother Sudha, a lecturer of English at the Government In-Service Training Centre, said, “Even though Apoorva is a very submissive child, she is gifted with artistic skills. Principal Bowry of Innocent Hearts School, where she had been studying earlier, realised her potential in the field and encouraged her to continue.”

A good Casio player as well, Apoorva said she was also interested in music. “I like to listen to music while I work on my canvas. My younger sister Anooja too helps me around,” she said, adding that she aims to make a career in advertisement designing and brand promotion.



Unimplemented decision

The municipal corporation recently declared tow-away zones on certain roads in the city. But the traffic police does not seem to be interested in implementing the decision. One such road is Kapurthala road. One can witness a large number of vehicles parked on both sides of this road, particularly the stretch between BMC Chowk and Mission Chowk which is a two-away zone. The haphazardly parked vehicles not only make the busy road congested but can also lead to accidents. The corporation should implement its decision to tow away the vehicles parked on the road in letter and spirit. This will ensure smooth flow of traffic.

                                                                           Karamgeet Sidhu, Jalandhar

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