C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


GMADA foils Ranbaxy’s plans
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 20
In what could lead to a major showdown between the Punjab government and Ranbaxy, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has scuttled a move by the company to “own” a prime piece of land in Mohali.

The 4.9 acres of land is adjoining the company’s Fortis Hospital in Phase VIII and is worth at least Rs 250 crore. Ranbaxy is claiming its right over the land, claiming that PUDA had allotted the land to it in 2001. The company intends to set up a super-speciality cancer hospital on the land.

Sources in GMADA admitted that the government had allotted the land to Ranbaxy for Rs 5.15 crore. The letter of intimation for allotment issued to the company, however, stated that it would pay at least 10 per cent (Rs 51 lakh) of this amount within 30 days of the issue of the letter, failing which the allotment would be cancelled.

Instead of paying up, the company wrote a letter to PUDA, requesting for a three-month extension in payment. PUDA did not reply, and even after three months, the company did not make any payment.

Early this month, Ranbaxy wrote to GMADA and asked for the possession of the land. The company even attached a legal opinion of a former Chief Justice of India to strengthen its claim.

However, GMADA rejected the claim, saying that non-payment of dues had led to the automatic resumption of the land.

The chief administrator of GMADA, Vivek Pratap Singh, said Ranbaxy’s claim had been rejected, but refused to divulge any details.

Sources said the “well-connected” company bosses were trying to put pressure on the government to give the land despite the fact that the company had not paid a single penny and had no right on the land.

The development authority has decided to auction this land and is expecting at least Rs 250 crore for it. The Sector 62 (Phase VIII) master plan has laid down “mixed use” for this land and it is a coveted area. The Chief Minister is said to have given his nod to the auction.

Though the company’s head, Shivinder Mohan Singh, could not be contacted, sources in the company said they had been in touch with the authority regularly. They said they would take legal recourse if the land was auctioned.

They said the company had been asked by the government to set up a cancer hospital and Ranbaxy was ready to pay a reasonable price for the land keeping in view the increase in its cost.

Will move court if land is auctioned

PUDA had allotted 4.9 acres (worth about Rs 250 crore) to the company in 2001, but GMADA has rejected the ownership claim of Ranbaxy, saying that non-payment of dues had led to the automatic resumption of the land



17-year-old girl bludgeoned to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The defaced body of a 17-year-old girl, who was bludgeoned to death, was found in the jungle area near Kajheri village in Sector 52 here this morning. The victim has been identified as Parmila of Kajheri village.

The body was found in an overgrown area near the village which is generally used by villagers to answer the call of nature.

The victim’s face and other parts of the body were burnt as the killers had sprinkled some chemical to conceal her identity, indicating that the murder was planned.

The victim was wearing a black salwar-kameez and her dupatta was found lying near the body. The police believes that she might have been strangled with the dupatta before being bludgeoned to death.

The police did not rule out the possibility of rape. One of the victim’s slippers was missing, but there were no visible signs of struggle. However, a bloodstained stone, supposedly used by the killers, was found near the body.

The police suspects that the victim might have been killed elsewhere before the body was dumped here. The gruesome murder came to light at around 11 am when a passer-by noticed the body and informed the police. Forensic and central forensic science laboratory experts, along with a dog squad, examined the spot and picked up clues.

The police also recorded the statement of the victim’s family regarding her disappearance. The time of her disappearance is unclear as a villager claimed to have seen her a couple of hours before she was murdered.

The victim’s family told the police that they last saw her at the house last evening. Geeta, her elder sister, told the police that she went to sleep at around 8 pm last evening and Parmila was at home then.

Parmila’s brother stated that he came home at 11 pm and left for work early in the morning. The victim’s father said he usually stayed at his working place and seldom visited his family.

Jaswant Singh Khera, DSP, said: “The motive behind the murder is still a mystery and it is not possible to say if she was raped until the postmortem is conducted.”



Cleanliness Drive
‘Done earlier, our kids would’ve lived’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula/Chandigarh, July 20
It has taken seven cholera deaths to shake the Panchkula administration out of its slumber. After dilly-dallying for five days, it finally undertook a massive cleanliness drive in Rajiv Colony and Indira Colony.

Today also, patients suffering from various water-borne diseases, especially diarrhoea, continued to pour in. According to doctors at the general hospital, 42 fresh cases were 

Senior district officials, led by the DC, Rajinder Kataria, reached the affected colonies to supervise the cleanliness drive. The team of officials comprised personnel from the health department, the MC and HUDA.

Truckloads of earth was dumped to fill low-lying areas where rainwater and sewage had accumulated. Besides fumigating the area, DDT was also sprayed and labourers were deployed to clear garbage and impound stray animals. The operation continued till late evening.

“Had they done this earlier, our children would have lived,” Gopal, a resident of Rajiv Colony, remarked ironically.

Civil surgeon Kamla Singh said programme officers had been put on duty to supervise and visit their respective areas. They would also supervise Pinjore and Kot areas.

Meanwhile, following the outbreak of cholera and water-borne diseases in Panchkula, the Chandigarh MC woke up to the threat and carried out inspection and awareness drives in various slums across the city.

A team of the Chandigarh health department, sanitation wing and the public health department took a round of vulnerable areas in Mauli Jagran, Vikas Nagar (Mani Majra), Darua and Kishangarh.

A health awareness camp was also organised at the civil dispensary in Mauli Jagran.

Officials informed that 25 cases of fever were examined, but these were not of serious nature. Blood samples were also collected from patients of suspected cholera.



Pay for interviews; get judged by clerks
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Can a clerk vouch for the calibre of a lecturer? It seemed so during the interview sessions held recently for the posts of contract lecturer at government colleges here.

Setting a new precedent, the staff of the department of higher education (DHE), Chandigarh administration, and the director, social welfare department, appeared as their nominees “but at a price”. They were paid Rs 2,000 per day for their “services” while subject experts, who were supposed to determine the capability of a lecturer, were given Rs 700 only.

It has been learnt that apart from clerks and subject experts, principals of the respective colleges were paid Rs 2,500 everyday for conducting the interviews.

Dr A.L. Gaba, principal of GC (co-ed), said: “I am not supposed to reveal the details of the money collected and given as it is top secret.”

Due to the decentralised system, each candidate had to shell out Rs 250 for each college. Also, no receipt was issued to candidates. This implies that if a candidate had applied at five government colleges, he would have had to pay Rs 1,250.

Earlier, no fee used to be charged from applicants and the interviews used to be held on a centralised pattern.

Promila Kaushal, principal of GCG-11, said the amount and mode of application money was decided at a meeting of principals recently. “The application fee was fixed to ensure that non-serious candidates did not apply,” she said.

About 1,700 candidates had appeared for the interviews for 300 posts. This means around Rs 5.10 lakh must have been collected from the candidates by selling the application forms. The money was not deposited under any government head, rather the principals put it in the “processing fee account”.

K.S. Saluja, principal of GC-46, said since he was not present at the meeting of the committee, he just followed what was decided during the course of the meeting. The UPSC charges Rs 50 as application fee for recruitment, that too in the form of fee stamps.



Conversion Policy
Admn set to increase floor area ratio
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Chandigarh administration is in a mood to appease big plot holders in Industrial Area here. Under the three-year-old conversion policy, enabling entrepreneurs to change their industrial plots into commercial units, the UT is all set to increase the floor area ratio (FAR) of converted plots measuring three acres and above.

Apparently ignoring the parking chaos being witnessed at a recently opened multiplex in Industrial Area, Phase I here, the UT has proposed to increase the FAR from 2. to 2.5. This means that after every one acre, there will be an increase of approx 18,000 sq ft. Increased FAR means increase in flow of human and vehicular traffic.

This has left the owners of plots measuring less than three acres fuming. The administration will invite direct competition between small and big converted sites.

The largesse is not restricted to the Industrial Area. The administration has also proposed to increase the FAR for plots in Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) from existing .75 to 1.5. It is not clear whether the benefit will be applicable to the previous allotment or future allotments. The parking problem at the upcoming IT park is also well known.

“It was not the Industrial Area or the IT park, the administration was also increasing the FAR for commercial and residential plots. One has to be realistic while reviewing the building bylaws,” said official sources while defending the proposal to increase the FAR.

Coming back to Industrial Area, the immediate beneficiaries will be the owners of large plots like the 22 acre site being developed by L and T, hotel sites and other future deals of large plots. The FAR of the 22-acre plot will roughly increase by around 4.5 lakh sq ft.

The existing width of roads (along which the big sites are coming up) varies between 30-44 feet. The administration has not been able to spend a single penny out of the money earned as conversion fee. The money earned has been deposited in the receipt head of the Central Government and cannot be spent for any other purpose.

“Whatever development has been done has been out of the funds of the MC. But the work has not been completed due to insufficient funds. Once the sites get converted, there will be chaos. Services should up upgraded before sites are converted,” said an official.

“At the time of introducing the conversion policy, an environment assessment of the entire Industrial Area should have been done,” feels J.K. Gupta, former chairman of Chandigarh and Punjab chapter of Institute of Town Planners.

At the time of introduction of the conversion policy in 2005, senior UT officials, due to certain reasons, overruled the objection of the urban planning department to the policy.

Sources in the administration said the fault lied in the norms of the National Building Code (NBC) that do not cater to the increased parking requirements in multiplexes.



‘Print media should adopt modern trends’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
There would be a sea change in the media in the years to come as it has been transformed into an industry but was earlier considered to be a mission. This was discussed in detail during a one-day seminar on ‘Changing Trends in Media’ organised by the department of media, Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Science, Mandi Gobindgarh, here today.

Various panelists opined that besides print and electronic media, other media channels like the Internet, mobile phones etc were gaining prominence among selected segments of the society. They said earlier newspapers were the prime source of information but now with the advent of satellite channels, important latest news was dished out to the masses within minutes of its occurrence.

They further said newspapers were devising new ways for survival by adding a number of supplements to retain their readership. A panelist, referring to the figure of 200 news channels which are in the pipeline, wondered how quality of news would be maintained when the numbers are increasing at such a high pace.

Criticising the role played by present-day media, a number of panelists opined that a section of the media was not playing the constructive role of the fourth pillar of democracy but was becoming a source of entertainment and developing into a consumerist industry.

A panelist stated that media had entered into page 3 reporting to cater to the readers who were not interested in serious stories. He said the media had become like an animal hungry for news without any concern towards the society.

A.J. Philip, senior associate editor, The Tribune, who was chief guest of the valedictory session, stated that print media would face a huge crisis if modern trends were not adopted. Referring to the miserable condition of the western print media, he said in the past one year, a number of small publications had shut down due to scarcity of advertisements. He said the condition of newspapers in our country had not become so bad but the day was not far when we would also witness a slump.

Philip further added that the biggest challenge before print media these days was presentation of news due to mushrooming of electronic channels that provide prompt updates to the public about latest happenings around the world.



Vigilance guidelines on transparency
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
UT chief vigilance officer has issued a slew of guidelines to various departments to increase transparency in the sale and purchase of articles.

According to the direction the UT public relations department, the DPR will forward complete information of tenders, meant for publication in newspapers, to the vigilance department on a daily basis.

Besides, the departments will also provide information about the tenders on their websites and portals to introduce transparency in their functioning. The tenders were not put on websites even after publication of information in this regard in the newspapers, points out a vigilance officer.

Sources say that the chief vigilance officer in a communiqué to the heads of various departments, boards and organisations in the Chandigarh administration said the central vigilance commission had issued directions to increase transparency. The commission had been issuing such directions to various departments for strict compliance with the directions.

Sources add that the UT vigilance was asked to follow newspapers, advertisements and websites of the departments and organisations of the administration regularly and to keep track to ensure that the directives of the commission are being complied with. The commission has also appointed director, information technology, Manjit Brar, as UT nodal officer for the purpose.

It is learnt that the deputy-inspector general of police (vigilance) had apprised the department that various offices under the administration had a practice to send requests to the director, public relations, with the details of tenders to get these published in newspapers and mention the website for tenders.

However, it was found that even after an advertisement is published in the newspapers, the tenders are not available on the website. The vigilance cell also pointed out that among others the market committee and local bodies were not putting tenders on the website.



Only 23 pc of hydroelectric potential exploited
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir can replicate the success of Bhakra dam to meet the future energy requirements of the country in the backdrop of their immense hydroelectric potential and exploitation of only 23 per cent of it in India.

In fact, the hydroelectric power offers a virtual inexhaustible source of power at affordable prices as such power plants are generally cheaper in the long run than the natural gas-based plants, which are constantly at risk from fuel price increases in the global market.

Power generation for peanuts

Hydroelectric power offers a vast potential at affordable prices. For instance a unit of power produced at Bhakra costs only 10 paise as against costly power through thermal plants, which also has environmental hazards.

A concept paper circulated on the eve of the one-day conference of power secretaries being organised at the PHD Chamber on July 22 in New Delhi says that there is an urgent need to reduce dependency on coal-based thermal energy. Hydroelectric power when developed in accordance with good environmental and social practices has the advantage of producing power that is both renewable and clean, as they emit lesser greenhouse gases compared to traditional fossil fuel plants.

While hydroelectric power plants have large upfront capital costs, they also have long and productive lives, which significantly help reduce costs over time. For example, the Bhakra Nangal plant, now more than 40 years old, has operating costs of only Rs 0.10($ 0.002) per unit, the paper claims, adding that the northern states could replicate the successful Bhakra experiment.

The conference is to be attended by Anil Razdan, union power secretary, besides power secretaries from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. It assumed importance as the National Energy Security has emerged as a major issue because of the increasing oil prices and limited coal reserves.

Emphasising the need for harnessing the solar energy the concept paper says that India needs to accelerate the solar policy initiative from the present level of 50 MW to 5,000 MW. The major deterrent for adopting solar-based power generation has been the high capital cost resulting in tariff levels, which are perceived to be very high and unaffordable by the state utilities.

However, promoting large-scale solar-based power generation is urgently required considering the high oil price and the high oil subsidy being borne by the Central government. Redirecting the savings in the oil subsidy achieved through solar power plants can enable a large number of projects to be taken up, it says.



North India tourism bhawan to come up in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Chandigarh Tourism Advisory Committee meeting was held here recently under the chairmanship of secretary, tourism, Jasbir Singh Bir.

Addressing the meeting, Bir desired the participation of representatives from neighbouring states to initiate a concerted effort in a coordinated way to promote tourism. The meeting suggested the promotion of north India as a whole with an integrated effort by the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. A North India Tourism Bhawan will be set up in Chandigarh.

It was decided at the meeting that improvement was required at the ground level and attempts should be made to bring four states together for tourism promotion.

The meeting decided to form two committees headed by Punjab special secretary, tourism, Jaspreet Talwar for coordination among the states and UT director, tourism, Vivek Atray for addressing the problems of local hoteliers.

Discussing the vital issue relating to the connectivity of the city with the country, members said a proposal would be made for starting more buses, adding another Shatabdi and increase in the number of flights. For the better facilitation of tourists, it was also proposed to set up a telecom centre at the airport.

At the meeting members also wished for the right kind of publicity to be given to the major tourist spots and said packages for nearby places should be made available at reasonable expenses. Entry points of the city would also be aesthetically designed.

Other points that were discussed at the meeting included promoting Chandigarh as a world-class tourism destination. Promoting entertainment in the city to make Chandigarh famous as a "city of events", collaborating with embassies and missions of various countries on a constant basis to boost mutually important areas of the tourism sector, setting up an information centre in the Capitol Complex, improving the taxi and auto services within the city and promoting medical tourism for foreign visitors.



Fast forward to City Beautiful in 2025
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
There is a need to change the consumer city into a place having production base. This was the view expressed by Aditya Parkash, former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture and member of the Le Corbusier team, during a seminar on ‘Chandigarh 2025’ organised by a literary magazine ‘Shubh Tarika’ at Panjab University here today.

Speakers from the field of education, journalism, medicine, art and culture, expressed their views during the seminar.

They expressed concern over the increase in vehicular traffic. By 2025, a solution to the problem should be found.

Yash Gulati, a senior journalist, expressed concern over the depleting land resources in the city and increase in the crime rate.

While honouring Dr Sansar Chand, a well-known astrologer, Naresh Kaushal, the editor of Dainik Tribune, expressed concern over lack of interest of the young generation in the literary world.

Others who were honoured on the occasion were Dr A. N Wig, a former adviser to the World Health Organisation, Arun Aditya, Madhvi Katria, Radhey Sham Sharma, Satya Pal Sehgal, Kailash Ahluwalia, Yojna Rawat, Prem Vig, Vijay Kapoor, Subash Rastogi, Atul Veer Arora, Prasoon Prasad, Sudha Jain, Shari Prabha, Dr Rajinder Kanaujia, Pankaj Malvia, Indu Bali and Jasbir Chawla.



Inflation, not N-deal, is issue: Dhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
It is the spiraling prices of the commodities not the nuclear deal which is the most important issue before the nation that needs to be addressed at the earliest. This was stated today by Harmohan Dhavan, former union minister and president of the local unit of BSP during a discussion held on ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal’ in Sector 40-C, here.

Dhavan said the rising prices had serious consequences on the poverty ridden masses of the country. In the wake of withdrawal of support by the Left parties, it had become imperative to think about the deal, which could be rendered irrelevant by advancement in solar and other forms of energies.

Shyma Negi, former deputy mayor and president of Mahila Wing of local unit of the BSP, organised the discussion on the issue.

Negi made a scathing attack on the Congress party, which has kept the people in darkness over this important issue facing the nation. She said even the MPs who are casting the vote on July 22 did not know the real contents of this deal. “In the absence of detailed data how can the Congress say the deal will be beneficial to the country?” she asked.

She said since the Congress had failed to apprise the people, the government should dissolve the Parliament on moral grounds.

General secretary of the welfare association Jagmohan Sharda also apprised the audience that the ruling parties were misguiding the people. Among others, who condemned the deal terming it harmful for nation were councillor Jitender Bhatia and Inderjit Grewal secretary, CPM, Punjab, Chandigarh unit.



Mayor opens community centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Pardeep Chhabra, mayor, municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), today inaugurated a community centre in Sector 21, here, which has been renovated at the cost of Rs 20 lakh.

According to Chhabra, this is the 35th community centre in the city and more will be developed soon. Besides this, 55 more bus queue shelters would be developed in coming days.

Regarding community centres, he stated that rules would be changed and the centres would be soon equipped with library, computers, besides providing sports facilities. He announced a grant of Rs two lakh from the mayor’s fund for the centre.



Marathon to promote culture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Arts, culture and sports committee of municipal corporation has taken a unique initiative to promote arts, culture and sports in the city and has planned a marathon for men and women of various age-groups in end of October.

A meeting was held under chairmanship of Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri and attended by members of the committee. The committee has decided that art and culture will be promoted by holding various events in collaboration with tourism department of the UT.



Irked by delay, plot allottees hold protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 20
The plot allottees of Sectors 76 to 80 today held a protest march to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) office here.

The allottees are protesting against the delay in the development of the new sectors. President of the Plot Allotment Sangharsh Committee Sucha Singh Kalor said GMADA had not given them allotment letters but ‘allocation’ letters so that the allottees did not ask for possession of the plots.

Blaming GMADA chief engineer Rajiv Moudgil for the delay, the allottees alleged that he was creating a lot of problems for the contractors who had undertaken the development work the area and many of them had left the work unfinished due to the harassment.

Kalor added that they had given three more days to GMADA to restart the development works failing which they would intensify the stir.



Book of poems released
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 20
The Academy of National Literature and Culture organised a literary function at hotel Aroma complex to mark the release of a Punjabi poetry book ‘Rooh Diyan Ramzaan’. Performing the book release ceremony, former Punjabi Tribune editor Shangara Singh Bhullar complimented the author Manjit Kaur on her second poetry book. Dr Lekharaj Parwana presented the keynote address while Dr Sharanjit Kaur read out a paper on the critical appreciation of the book. Over fifteen poets read out their verses in the poetic symposium. Neelam Rani, Pardeep Cheema, Bhupinder Bhinder, Satpal Singh Noor, Gurvinder Johal, Raj Zakhmi, Dr Tejpal and Gurbax Saini were also present.



Cong failed on all fronts: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The local unit of the BJP today called upon the people to Chandigarh to overthrow the Congress in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections as the party had failed miserably on all fronts.

This call was given at a resolution passed during the first meeting of the newly constituted state working committee meeting of the party held here today. The meeting was presided over by local unit president Kamla Sharma.

In his concluding speech, Satya Pal Jain, former MP and member of the national executive, made a frontal attack on the "anti-people" policies of the Congress-led UPA government 



Nuclear deal need of hour: Assn
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 20
Members of the Mohali Industries Association have urged the general public to support the nuclear deal.

In a prèss note issued by the association, the members stated that the present power situation was very poor. “There are compulsory weekly off days for the industry, resulting in huge losses, and to opt for nuclear power is the only solution. With oil prices having risen to an all-time high, nuclear power will be cheapest and safest. The thermal energy being used at present is also getting costlier and the electricity boards are finding it difficult to provide the required electricity,” stated the members.

“In the present scenario, we should keep aside the myth of Punjab having a locational disadvantage of a border state and therefore, not suitable for a nuclear power plant. Our resources are not adequate to meet the demand of power supply and the need of the hour is to opt for resources which will be beneficial for the next generation,” added the members. 



‘Hold referendum on deal‘
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The working committee of the Akali Dal 1920 today demanded a referendum on the nuclear deal, saying that elected MPs had other considerations rather than national interest in mind.

According to its president, Ravi Inder Singh, the July 22 test trust vote in Parliament cannot be termed as a referendum on the deal.

The party would approach the President of India to hold a referendum on the issue.

He, however, urged MPs belonging to the SAD to see the “nefarious” designs of the BJP.



Construct children’s museum

Though there are many reputable schools in the city that offer quality education, there is not a single museum for the children.

Administration should build a world-class children's museum and provide city residents with a vibrant place to share educational and cultural experiences. It would also promote cultural tourism. Children would have an opportunity to get knowledge of UT’s history, culture and geography.

Though the construction of museum is not an easy task, The administration should take it as an investment in community education.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



‘I am in control of things now’
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Taking bouquets and brickbats in his stride, the vice-chancellor of Panjab University, Prof R.C. Sobti, who completes two years in office on July 22, is upbeat about his plans for the university, faculty members, colleagues and most importantly, the students.

When he joined as the VC, the varsity was not in a very good state of financial health, but Prof Sobti, who was instrumental in setting up the department of biotechnology and has 17 papers and three books to his credit, has managed to put up a great show so far.

Recipient of the prestigious Young Scientist Award of the Indian National Science Academy in 1977 for his doctorate work on cancer and genetic disorders, he says, “I am in control of things now and know the territories I am treading. Now, I can do much better for the university and its people.”

Excerpts from the interview...

After the completion of two successful years in office what are your plans now?

Much has been accomplished in two years, now I want to consolidate everything that we have done. Bringing stability in all new courses that we started, getting permanent faculty and curriculum review wherever necessary are on top of my priority list. Besides, completing projects such as construction of the building for centre for emerging areas in science and technology, Guru Teg Bahadur Bhawan, College Bhawan, hostels, medical hospital for dental college, old age home, alumni building, renovation and sprucing up of the old buildings etc.

How would you sum up the past two years in office?

Now I understand the psychology of the people around me, including my colleagues, staff members, students and even media (he laughs). I am in control of things now. Also, I have been able to change the mindset of the people to a large extent, if not completely and I could bring them together in the mainstream for the developmental purpose. This even helped me to understand the genuine demands of the students and teachers equally.

List your achievements as the vice-chancellor.

Rationalisation of fee structure in private colleges tops the list. No hike in fees this year and reduction in revaluation cases are some of the other achievements. Besides, getting rid of financial liabilities, sustaining pension scheme for employees, computerisation and starting 48 new courses were some of the challenges, which we managed to overcome. Ours was the first campus to be smoke-free and we have been on a sapling plantation spree.

What about the increasing student politics on the campus?

Yes, some of the incidents were very disheartening, although such things have been happening in the past as well. But I am for the students and always try to reach out to them. Also, unlike in the past, the number of student groups has gone up and what add to the problem are the political influences on these groups. I have decided to hold ‘open houses’ with students once in three months to iron out things.

Any regrets or unfulfilled goals?

The role of a vice-chancellor is to provide academic leadership to students and teachers, that’s one front I think I am yet to do my best. It’s because I am pulled so much in the nitty-gritty of the varsity that I am hardly left with any time for that. I would certainly want to improve in that area. Examination system is in my control and now I want to have a hold on the finances to develop the university and bring it on the global academic map.



PU to have rural campus near Moga
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
After starting 48 courses and six institutes this year, Panjab University is now set to concentrate on educating the rural children.

The university is going to start a regional campus for rural children in Nathwana near Moga very soon.

The first of its kind, regional centre will have a university institute of basic and professional courses. Both bachelor and post-graduate courses would be offered. The campus would spread over a sprawling 16 acres land given to the university by a 90-year-old NRI Harcharan Singh Brar from Canada. A society formed by Harcharan Singh will be funding the construction of the building and would bear the recurring expenses of the centre for next three years, including the cost of infrastructure, equipment, staff and other expenditure.

Though the land deal is yet to be signed, the PU vice-chancellor said that as soon that was done, the building would be constructed within nine months. “Hopefully, by next session, the centre would be operational,” he said.

To work out on the modalities, the university has formed a committee, which includes S. S. Virdi, Anil Sahijpal, Lalit Bansal besides others. The committee is expected to submit a report on the project by the end of August this year.

Vice-chancellor R. C. Sobti said, “We are very concerned for our youth in the villages. They are equally talented as the urban children. They only need right guidance and opportunity to prove their mettle. So we are going to provide them with a platform where they can choose from a variety of courses”.

It is pertinent to mention here that PU has conducted counseling session for rural toppers of four districts of Punjab last month, which drew a huge response from students. Taking it a step ahead, this time, the university has decided to extend the counseling facility to all the rural students in the month of October.



Software to analyse engg colleges’ result
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
It is that time of the year when thousands of students seeking admission in the engineering colleges of Haryana are at their wits' end about the choice of the college. However, the students need not be misguided by self-congratulatory advertisements by the respective private colleges. S. C. Sood, an assistant professor at Ambala College of Engineering and Applied Research, Ambala, has come to the rescue of the students to help them choose the right college based on educational institutions’ past performances.

Sood had developed a software for the analysis of the results of BTech examinations held in December, 2007, of various colleges affiliated to Kurukshetra University (KU). "The software would prove to be a boon for students planning to pursue a technical degree in the engineering colleges as it would help them to choose the right college based on the latest results," Sood told The Tribune. It may be mentioned that the students and parents faced a lot of difficulty in selecting the right college as there was a virtual deluge of advertisements, some of them misleading, by the college managements about their results.

Though the results of the examinations conducted by colleges in December, 2007, were declared in May-June, 2008, and were available at university's website http://www.kukinfo.com, yet analysing and compiling data was an uphill task for common students and their parents. And it is here that Sood's software would come to the aid of the students. Sood said he was planning to put the software online for the convenience of a cross-section of society. Currently, Sood is available at 092165-08708 and 92165-15715 for free consultation.



BTech students attend orientation programme
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 20
Gian Jyoti School of TQM and Entrepreneurship, the first school of excellence affiliated to Punjab Technical University, held an orientation programme on its Mohali campus for the sixth batch of students, who have enrolled for BTech Industrial Engineering and Management with specialisation in total quality management.

As many as 124 working diploma holders from 70 organisations of the north-west region with experience ranging from 2 to 20 years have enrolled in the sixth batch of this unique distance learning programme that was launched in November 2005.

Dr Ashok Kundra, former secretary to Government of India, who was the chief guest, said the changing economic scenario in the country in the post-liberalisation and globalisation period required a new cadre of professionals with intellectual curiosity, futuristic thinking and knowledge of contemporary concepts.

Chandra Mohan, chairman of the school's Governing Council, commended the organisations that had nominated their working professionals to upgrade their knowledge and skills by participating in the programme which had been developed by top-notch professionals and industry experts to meet the need for promoting a culture of TQM in this region.



Airhostess institute opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Maples International Institute of Airhostess Training organised an event called ‘Maples Grooming Session 2008’ at Hotel Solitaire here on Friday.

Addressing a press conference, Rewa Thapar, academics head, also marked the launch of its centre in Chandigarh.

During the session, students were given valuable tips on makeover, body language, posture, communication skills, soft skills and personality development.

Talking to TNS, Thapar said, “The aviation industry in India is going through a challenging boom and job opportunities for cabin crew are galore. The need of the hour is well-trained professionals who can render impeccable top-class services in the sector. At Maples, we train our students in sync with strict international guidelines. We will keep bringing experts from aviation and hospitality industry to our students in Chandigarh so as to instill confidence in them and give them an industry overview from time to time.”



Tiny tots give green message
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 20
Manav Mangal Smart School, Phase X, organised a fancy-dress competition for the pre-primary wing. Most of the tiny tots were dressed in green giving a message to protect the environment.

The students, dressed as flowers and trees, were seen jumping on the stage. Students of nursery were taken on the stage of the auditorium for the first time.

Director of the school Sanjay Sardana said such types of competitions removed fear from the mind of little children.



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