C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No stopping sale of liquor, tobacco near schools
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

What rules say

No liquor vend shall be permitted to be opened at a distance of at least 50 metres from the main gate of a place of worship, educational institution and place of public entertainment.

The liquor vend on the national highways/ state highways are to be located as per the provisions stipulated in the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Area (Restriction of Unregulated Development) Act, 1963.

The administration reserves the right to refuse permission for a vend at a particular location for the reasons of public morality, public health and public order.

The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, says there should be no sale of cigarettes or tobacco products within a radius of 100 m of educational institutions.

No sale of tobacco products to minors.

No direct or indirect advertisements of all tobacco products.

Chandigarh, August 24
The city administration has been blatantly violating law by allowing liquor shops and sale of tobacco products near educational institutions here.

Take, for example, Punjab Engineering College (PEC) in Sector 12 here. Apart from liquor, all kinds of “forbidden delights” like tobacco, gutka, paan masala and ‘hardhitting smoke’ are at a stone’s throw from its premises.

Two liquor taverns, which fall in the Nayagaon township of Punjab, share the common boundary wall with Shiwalik Hostel on the PEC premises. This hostel caters to first-year students of the college.

In absolute disregard of prohibition orders, two other taverns are located just 10 metres away from the boundary wall of the deemed university.

M.S. Brar, additional excise and taxation commissioner, Chandigarh, said “These shops are away from the entrance. Since these shops fall under the Punjab area, the UT administration cannot take any action”.

When questioned, a vendor too said, “So what? Mind your own business. This area does not come under the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh Administration. It is in Punjab and the state government has never raised any objection. So, what’s it to you?”

These vends providing intoxicants close to the educational institutions reflect the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned, which appear to have done nothing so far in tackling the ever-increasing menace.

A survey of some other educational institutions, especially schools, revealed some hard-to-believe facts.

‘Prohibition warnings’ are painted in bold on the boundary walls of almost all 109 government schools, informing the ban on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products within 100-metre radius of the school.

Yet, shops and kiosks located just a few steps from the schools openly offer for sale the banned products to students.

These tobacco vendors boast of a regular clientele from schools, which includes
teachers too.

A vendor, sitting just adjacent to the boundary wall of Government Senior Secondary School, Karsan, admitted: “I sit from 8 am to 3.30 pm. We cater to teachers and nearby shopkeepers. When it comes to schoolchildren, I usually restrict to flavoured paan masala. Since the teachers know me well, I offer them stuff on credit too.”

The “service” is even better opposite the main gate of Government Model High School, Manimajra. A barber who runs his business from the footpath opposite the school gate, provides cigarettes, tobacco and ‘special stuff’ too. “Bachhon ko nahin dete hai, sahib.”

There are shops displaying gutka packets and other tobacco products at walking distance from the gates of Government High School (GHS), Mauli Jagran; GHS, Kajheri; and schools in Colony No 4 to name a few.

Here, some vendors reportedly sell cigarettes and other tobacco products while ostensibly running juice, chana kulcha or tea stalls.

Similar shops were noticed opposite GMSSS, Mani Majra, and some being run from houses opposite the wall of Kendriya Vidyalaya-29. The situation was no better near the schools on the outskirts of the city.



Ice-cream vendor beaten to death
Relatives gherao police station, demand probe
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 24
A 25-year-old ice-cream vendor Sunil Kumar, who was allegedly beaten up by two persons in Phase VIII here on Friday night, succumbed to his injuries late last night in the PGI.

The victim’s relatives alleged that the police had not booked the assaulters till today morning. The furious relatives gheraoed the police station in Phase VIII this afternoon and demanded that an FIR should be lodged.

Sunil was walking back home with his ‘rehri’ in Phase VIII when he was allegedly attacked by two motor cycle-borne persons. They attacked Sunil with sticks and rods and then sped away.

A retired Army officer Abhijeet Shahi reportedly saw the whole incident along with another person who knew the victim. They rushed him to Fortis from where he was shifted to the PGI. Sunil died late last night.

According to police, Sunil used to load ice cream from factory in Phase IV industrial area where he had some tiff with workers of a paint factory in the neighbourhood.

Sunil’s relatives alleged that they tried to contact the police after the incident but no action was taken.

As the news of Sunil’s death spread, furious relatives gathered at the police station and gheroed it, raising slogans against the police and the district administration. The relatives demanded a probe into the murder. A case was subsequently registered.

Sources added that the police picked up at least 12 persons for an identification parade before the eyewitnesses of the incident.



RITES told to report on city traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Chandigarh administration has asked RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Services) to give a comprehensive report on total traffic management in the city and its peripheral areas.

The suggestions would form part of the comprehensive mobility plan for the city’s mass rapid transit system (MRTS) being undertaken by the agency.

In the report, which has to be submitted in the next five months, the agency has been asked to stretch its scope of study to the management of non-motorised mode of transport like rickshaws and bicycles.

The aspect would be in line with the ministry of urban development directives
to the administration to promote walking and professionally manage use of
non-motorised vehicles.

RITES has also been asked to suggest any particular areas where certain category of vehicles could be banned or promoted.

Suggestions regarding widening of roads and strengthening of infrastructure for traffic management have also been sought.

The feedback would be beneficial for the tricity and other peripheral areas where the metro has been planned.

“Since senior officials of Punjab, Haryana and the UT are part of the working
committee on the MRTS, the suggestions would go a long way in managing the
traffic,” said an official.

Apart from studying various parameters like roads, public health network, population, movement of vehicular traffic and concentration of population, alternative linkages between the tricity would also be suggested so that the mobility study was complete in all aspects.


Lakhs visit Iskcon temple
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
On the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami, the local chapter of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) organised various colourful programmes in a tastefully-bedecked temple hall at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today.

Several lakhs of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to its local president Nand Maharaj Dasa Prabhu.

The celebration started with mangala aarti of Sri Sri Radha Madhav at 4.30 am, followed by tulsi aarti, prabhat pheri, guru puja.

Chanting of Krishna’s name with melodious tunes enthralled the thousands of
devotees present.

The festive mood was enhanced due to the kirtan that went on the whole day. The new traditional attires (outfits) were offered to the Lord.

The main attractions of the programme were flower decoration in the temple hall, 108 kalash abhisheka of Sri Laddo Gopal and 108 pradeep aarti and Maha Abhisheka of the Lord at the pandal. A souvenir on Krishna Janmashtami festival was also released on the occasion.





Schools ignore hygiene norms
Sumedha Sharma

Chandigarh, August 24
While the entire city is busy taking best possible precautions against dengue and malaria, city schools are blatantly ignoring even the basic hygiene directives, the latest example being GMSS-35.

The school has a water tank, where the water has been logging for months and the massive algal growth and stink is putting students to health risk and inconvenience.

Most of the students, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the water logging since many months and said the tank vicinity was rarely cleaned. Some students even mentioned incidents of snakes being spotted in the area.

School principal Ravi Raj Kaur said: “I have been out for 10 days so could not take care of it. I do agree water tank is dirty. But we have already put a barbed wire for students’ safety. The problem is that there is no water outlet and the cleaners are demanding more money for this. I have already got kerosene put in it and will look into the matter on Monday.”

A trip around the city schools is enough to reveal their pathetic condition. While the administration has already issued direction regarding trimming of grass and water logging, city principals find it tough as Indira Beniwal, principal of GMSSS-10 puts it, ”Administration provides only four cleaners to every school irrespective of the size and requirements. If we have the freedom to employ people ourselves, it will solve the issue.”

S.K. Setia, DPI (S), however, dismissed all this as mere excuses, saying, “They can always employ more people on temporary basis for such special jobs.”


Residents of southern sectors a harassed lot
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Hefty GPA charges opposed

Members of the cooperative group housing society have termed the Chandigarh administration's decision to charge hefty amounts for the regularisation of the general power of attorney (GPA) as "autocratic" and "anti-people". The GPA conversion should be done with nominal charges, the members demanded.

Chandigarh, August 24
The north-south divide in Chandigarh is getting wider with the each passing day. Despite tall claims by the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation, residents in certain parts of southern sectors continue to cry for civic amenities.

Even as more and more cooperative group housing societies are being inhabited by the owners and tenants in the Phase-III sectors (from Sector 48 onwards), the residents of Sectors 50, 51 and 63 are up in arms against the "step-motherly" treatment meted out to them by the authorities concerned.

Miffed at the indifferent attitude of the authorities, office-bearers of the Joint Action Committee for the Development of Sectors 50,51 and 63 met mayor Pardeep Chhabra the other day and pleaded with him to impress upon the authorities to spare a thought for their long-pending demands.

"In fact, our location adjoining the Colony No. 5 seems to be working to our disadvantage. Shifting of the colony from our vicinity seems to be the only solution to our sufferings as the anti-social elements rule the roost besides giving a shabby look to the scores of cooperative housing societies," committee president Raghbir Singh Sandhu alleged.

In the absence of streetlights and uneven vacant land, the area had become drivers' nightmare, complained general secretary of the society J.S. Benipal.

Besides, several roads, including the one from the Sector 50-C gurdwara to YPS School, have not been completed.

Residents alleged the demand for the individual water connections to the group housing society members had been hanging fire for a long time.

Similarly, the absence of traffic lights on the road separating Sectors 49 and 50 had made driving a risky affair.

"Reaching these sectors is a Herculean task as poor CTU bus service inconvenienced the residents. Moreover, there are not enough bus stops for the CTU and school buses," Benipal alleged.

A sense of insecurity, particularly during nights, prevails among the residents as there was no provision of 24-hour patrolling by the police.

The mayor assured the residents that he would urge the administration and MC to speed up the development works in the area.



UT engineering dept scam
2 years on, admn yet to hold probe
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Chandigarh administration has been going soft on probing a scam involving financial irregularities in servicing of vehicles and replacement of machine parts at the mechanical sub-division of the UT engineering department.

Almost two years after receiving a missive from the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) regarding the complaint of financial irregularities committed by officials of the mechanical sub-division, the administration is yet to probe the matter.

The UT and MC Mechanical Workers' Union, in representations to different departments, had demanded probe into the financial irregularities.

Another letter from the PMO in March 2007, regarding inaction on part of the administration to probe the matter, is also gathering dust in official records.

Acting on various letters received from the PMO, the SP (CBI) and SSP (vigilance) and the UT chief vigilance officer (CVO) had written more than once to the secretary (engineering) to file a report at the earliest.

The CVO wrote letters on November 2006, December 2006, April 2007, May 2007 and July 2007.

Interestingly, some of the officials named in the complaint have already retired
from the service.

The facts on tardy progress into the probe have come to light after the president of the Mechanical Workers' Union sought information from the central public information officer under the Right to Information Act.

The official records revealed that the SSP (vigilance), had sought permission from the CVO to register a regular enquiry so as to dig out the truth.

In the entire inter-departmental communication, a report from the engineering
department was desired. The representation had quoted specific examples with
vehicle numbers.

In all representations, the union had alleged that repair of vehicles had been shown on papers and no sanction had been sought.



Engineer turns vehicles into brand promoters
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
For those who are hit by the rising fuel costs, a young IITian has come up with a solution. You can now get a fixed amount of petrol/ diesel absolutely free, provided you allow the usage of your car's door bar as an advertising space.

Raghu Khanna has now launched a venture called 'CASHurDRIVE.com'. Across India, the company is registering private vehicles on its website, which can be used by advertisers for their brand promotion.

The idea is to give these vehicle owners petro cards of different oil marketing companies for a fixed sum each month, which can be used at designated petrol stations for getting fuel.

The amount of fuel to be given to a particular car owner will vary, depending on the area where he travels, parks his car and how much he travels in a day.

All these cars will be fitted with vehicle tracking system so as to keep a check on them. "We have tied up with Hi Tec Black Box company, which will provide these systems. All advertisers will be given a code so that they can log on to the Hi Tec website and then can check the vehicles advertising their brand through the global positioning system," says Raghu.

He adds that to avoid any misuse of the advertising material on the cars (which will be vinyl stickers), the petrol pump owners will be requested to give free fuel only if these stickers are in perfect shape.

"As of now, we have already registered over 3,000 private vehicles and are in advanced stages of talks with some leading cellular operators to offer these vehicles for their advertising campaign. With the fuel costs rising, more and more people will be interested to get some free fuel in exchange for use of their vehicle exteriors as advertising space. Since we propose to use only the space near the door bars of cars as advertising space, without modifying the original shape of the vehicle, it does not interfere with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act," clarifies Raghu.

This IIT engineer was all set to go to the UK to study in the prestigious London School of Economics from this September when he got the business idea.

"I was caught in a traffic jam, and looking at the cars I realised how much these vehicles could help in brand promotion. As luck would have it, private equity firm, V C Hunt, agreed to fund the project by pumping in Rs 10 million," he says.



Cyber cafe owners to keep watch on visitors
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 24
In order to check the misuse of networking services, including e-mail, the district administration has asked cyber café owners to keep a watch on visitors.

Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria has ordered the cyber café owners to prohibit the use of cyber café by unknown persons before their identity is established. They have also been asked to maintain the record of the visitors.

The district administration, which had already issued the guidelines on similar lines earlier, had already been alerted after a mail was received at police headquarters bearing the threat to the life of Sacha Sauda dera chief a few months back.

The local superintendednt of police Sandeep Khirwar even convened a meeting of cyber café owners that time.

Now after the bomb blasts at Bangalore and Ahmedabad, the local administration has against started evaluating the preventive measures taken by it.

Though it was not possible to stop the misuse of cyber café completely, still these directions prove a deterrence for anti- social elements, said Khirwar.



Spinal injury centre looks for philanthropists
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Want to donate?

Persons willing to donate to the RSIC can contact the project director, Prof Raj Bahadur, at 0172-2676037 and 98765-21777.

Chandigarh, August 24
The Regional Spinal Injury Centre (RSIC), the state-of-the-art upcoming centre for the treatment and the rehabilitation of the spinal injury victims at Mohali, is in search of philanthropists.

Run by a charitable society under the chairmanship of minister of social security, Punjab, the donations, which are exempt from the income tax, would go a long way in adding extra facilities to the centre aimed at bringing Mohali to the medical map of the country, according to sources.

"Since the centre is dedicated to the general public, the society should also chip in with funds as part of its social responsibility as every donated penny would be accounted for," Prof Raj Bahadur, project director, said.

Conceived in 2000, the work on the project, spread over an area of five acres in Sector 70 of Mohali, started last year with the Punjab government approving an amount of Rs 2.8 crore for it.

"Although it is providing the physiotherapy services for the past more than two years, yet the centre would be fully functional in three months,” said Prof Bahadur .

The prestigious project, which will be first of its kind in this part of the country, shall be supported by the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

In fact, collaborations with leading hospitals, including the PGI, Chandigarh, are being planned in near future.

With the region having the highest vehicular density in India, accidents are a routine affair and the region accounts for one of the highest rates of spinal injuries.

The centre at Mohali, which has already emerged as the hub of medical treatment, would go a long way in mitigating the sufferings of the spinal injury victims.

Last year, an NRI from Hoshiarpur, Lajpat Rai Munger, had pledged an amount of Rs 12 lakh for the welfare of the patients at the RSIC.



Awareness programme on rheumatology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Rheumatoid arthritis is the world's most common autoimmune disease, striking up to 1 in 100 in course of a lifetime.

It is most often diagnosed in people aged from 30 to 60 but can occur at any time, including childhood, said experts at the continuous medical education (CME) in Rheumatology at GMCH-32 here today.

GMCH-32, in association with the Indian Rheumatology Association, organised the CME. Prof. S.D. Deodhar, doyen in the field of rheumatology and chief guest on the occasion, was honoured for his contribution in the field.

Prof Ajay Wanchu from the PGI said as with other autoimmune diseases, women were three to four times likelier than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

However, other rheumatoid diseases like osteoarthritis are not as common as rheumatoid arthritis in females.

Talking about the disease, Dr Sandeep Chauhan from GMCH-32, said the ailment caused chronic joint inflammation and progressive destruction of cartilage at the ends of bones, which could result in an inability to use the affected joints.



'Bollywood is a battlefield, no one is yours'
Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, August 24
“Mauja hi mauja”, “Tum se hi” (Jab We Met), “Sajna ve sajna” (Chameli) are some of the songs that will make you dance to their tunes.

Well, we all know who acted in these flicks and who sang these songs but perhaps we do not know our own city boy Irshad Kamil has penned the lyrics of these songs.

Kamil has given lyrics in more than 10 Bollywood movies, including Jab We Met, Dhol, Neil n Nikki and Karam.

It was because of his interest in writing that he did his PhD in Hindi in contemporary poetry. He has been writing since his college days.

In the beginning of his career, Kamil worked as a journalist for about three years and later, got an opportunity to work with serial producer Tandon.

This became Kamil’s first serial for which he wrote dialogues and from there on, he inched his way towards Bollywood.

“I was never in a hurry to go to Mumbai, I always wanted to go there with work in hands that is why I made my entry through serials,” says Irshad Kamil.

“There is cutthroat competition in Mumbai and everyday hundreds come to the tinsel town with a hope of becoming a star. Everyone there is in the battlefield where no one is yours,” he quips.

“Nowadays writers are educated in the industry and are well paid. They are all aware of their copyrights and we have the Film Writers’ Association at Mumbai to take care of this part,” says the lyricist on being asked about writers’ remuneration.

Kamil says, “TV is not a creative media, it’s a media of delivery and deadlines are the first priority. In films, more emphasis is laid on quality, as time is no constraint.”

His lyrics have a blend of humour and romance. He feels, “Till the time one does not feel from heart one cannot write well. Writing is easy when you know what you have to write.”

His upcoming projects are a film with T-Series and two films with Gurdass Mann. This perfectionist aspires to cast Tom Hanks in future.



Dev Anand film fest ends with “Prem Pujari”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,August 24
Pawan Kumar Bansal, union minister of state for finance, inaugurated the concluding show of Dev Anand film festival, with the screening of movie, "Prem Pujari" today at the Government Museum and Art Gallery.

He appreciated the organisers for bringing this festival to the city. Later he also visited the photography exhibition and admired the collection.

The seven-day evergreen "Dev Anand Film Festival", organised by Millionaire Trust, in association with Chandigarh Tourism, the Chandigarh administration and STEPS concluded today.

It proved to be a success, with the screening of Dev Sahab's four hit films. The festival had the screening of Dev Anand's super hit films, "Desh Pardesh", "Jewel Thief", "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" and "Guide".

The festival was dedicated to Dev Anand, the evergreen romantic superstar of Indian cinema, who visited the city beautiful last year and had promised his fans to have a special film festival of his movies for them.

The festival also had a section on photography exhibition on Dev Anand. It had the rare collection on Dev Sahib's life, depicting some of the important personal and professional moments of his life.



'Sach di Mehak' released
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, August 24
An anthology of Punjabi ghazals titled “Sach di Mehak”, authored by poet Joginder Singh Jogi Talwandiwala, was released at Randhawa Auditorium at a literary function held under the aegis of Kavita Kender and Punjabi Lekhak Sabha here today.

The book was released by Prof Anup Singh Virk and Shangara Singh Bhullar, former editor, Punjabi Tribune.

Noted literary critic and poet Joginder Singh Rainkh and Siri Ram offered critical appreciation on the book in their exhaustive research papers.

The scholars complimented Jogi for articulating burning issues like consensual homosexuality, AIDS, farmers committing suicide etc.

A prolific lyricist, Jogi has weaved his songs in the rustic idiom which had been recorded by leading Punjabi singers, they added.

Dr Labh Singh Kheeva, Dr Sukhdev Singh, Dr Sarabjit Singh and Dr Charanjit Singh presented their views on the book.

While Jogi himself rendered a few ghazals, it were singers Amar Virdi, Rajinder Mohini and Kulbir Singh who regaled the audience with ghazals from ‘Sach di Mehak’.



Consumer suffers for firm’s mistake
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
In spite of having returned a Tata Indicom WLL connection last year and having received a no-dues certificate, a Mohali resident was forced to appear in a lok adalat in Mohali and clarify his position.

Anil Sharma had reportedly taken a Tata Indicom connection in June 2007. He was not satisfied with the service and decided to return the connection within a month.

"I was enticed by the company's sale staff to retain the connection by switching me from a higher tariff plan to a lower tariff plan. But after three months, I returned the connection," he said.

However, he alleged that it was after numerous calls and visits to the company sales outlets that they finally agreed to take back the connection and instrument.

"I finally received a no-dues certificate from the company in October last year and thought that my worries were over," he said.

Sharma said in the beginning of this year, he again got a notice from the company's lawyer asking him to pay back the dues.

"After I called up the company's sale office, I was told that the notice had been sent to me by mistake. A few days back I was again sent summons to appear before the lok adalat in Mohali and settle my dues with Tata Indicom. It was only after I presented all my papers in the lok adalat on August 23, that I was finally discharged," he said.



Suman best folk dancer
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 24
More than 30 teams, comprising 500 participants, brought alive the grandeur of the folk culture during the three-day state-level Haryanvi folk dance competition “Haryana Ki Dhoom”, which concluded at the Indradhanush auditorium here today.

Scintillating dance performances by the four winning teams provided a grand finale to the mega event organised by the Haryana State Kala Parishad.

Elegantly dressed dancers captured the essence of the folklore enmeshed with patriotic and religious themes. Besides, noted folk artistes Gulabh Singh, Jyoti, Poonam and Kanupriya presented raginis.

Parishad director Usha Sharma welcomed the chief guest, Justice Surya Kant, who gave away prizes to the winning teams.

The first prize of Rs 1 lakh went to Suman Jaiswal of Chandigarh while Parkash Malik of Sonepat won the second prize of Rs 75,000 and Mukesh Rani of Jandli bagged the third of Rs 50,000. A special award of Rs 20,000 based on public vote went to Aslam Khan of Gurgaon.

The chief guest lauded the efforts of the parishad and emphasised on the need to preserve and revitalise the folk culture which was facing threat from the growing popularity of pop and western music.

Akademi vice-chairman K.C. Sharma gave an overview of the cultural calendar for 2008-09. Jainendra Singh of AIR, Lucknow, compered the programme.



Pritika, Deep win singing contest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 24
Final round of the Singing Star Contest 2008, organised by Playback Harmony and Live Life More Foundation in collaboration with North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) and STEPS, concluded at the Kalagram on yesterday evening.

As per Ajay Bakshi and NZCC officer Yashwinder Sharma, following were declared winners out of 78 contestants:

Junior category: Pritika Bhasin (1st), Dikshant (2nd), Harnoor (3rd), Puneet
Kaur (consolation).

Senior category: Deep Kataria (1st), Priyanka Singh (2nd), Jaspreet Jassal (3rd) and Vinay Kumar (consolation).



Sarv Dharam Sthal at Chandimandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
A Sarv Dharam Sthal (abode for all religions) was inaugurated at Chandimandir military station today.

The unique institution epitomises the symbolic union of different religions under one roof. Sarv Dharam Sthal truly symbolises the essence of tolerance, brotherhood and unity in diversity.

Senior army officers, junior commissioned officers, other ranks and their families were present to witness the inauguration ceremony, which was characterised by solemn recital of religious chants by priests from different religions.

The immaculately constructed dome shaped structure of Sarva Dharam Sthal contains ample space to accommodate several devotees with specific corners assigned for different religions under one roof.



Veggies on the boil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Floods in Punjab, heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh and the agitation in Jammu is all affecting the household budget of the local residents.

All three reasons have led to a sharp hike in prices of most fruits and vegetables in the city.

While the price of fruits like mango and pomegranate has shot up drastically over the past one week, price of vegetables like tomatoes, peas, onions, potatoes and cauliflower, too, have hit the roof. Vegetable and fruit traders in the city say that the supply of these has been severely hit because of the floods in Punjab and heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh, leading to road blockades at several places.

The price of peas has shot up from Rs 45-50 a kg last week to Rs 55- 60 a kg now. Tomatoes are available at Rs 25-30 a kg, up from Rs 20- 25 a kg last week.

Earlier in the week, the tomato prices had shot up to Rs 40 a kg But reduced by Rs 10 a kg by the end of the week.

Onions are up by Rs 3 a kg as compared to last week, while potatoes are up by Rs 5 a kg. Cauliflower prices too have shown a sharp rise of Rs 10 a kg.

In fruits, while apple prices have remained stable, price of mangoes, which are now on their way out and pomegranate have shown a sharp rise.



Utilise youth energy

There are hundreds of thousands of directionless youths in the country today, who are supposed to be a source of creativity.

Even though the government and the UN are doing their bit to acquaint youth about social issues, each one of us has the responsibility to encourage youth to participate in social activities.

In almost all the social movements in history, youths have had great contribution. We should make them aware of themselves as force in the development of society.

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.



Singapore students visit city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
A 34-member delegation from Yishun Secondary School, Singapore, which includes 29 students, a parent and four teachers, today paid a visit to the city.

The visit had been planned under students’ exchange programme initiated by
education department. Vice-principal of Yishun Secondary School, I. Apollos,
led the delegation.

S.K. Setia informed that the educational exchange from Singapore is result of two similar exchange programmes organised by the department, in which students and teachers from Chandigarh visited Singapore.

“Yishun Secondary School hosted the visit there. Now, its' our turn to show their hospitality and our culture,” he said.

During three days of their stay in city, the education department will organise an interaction with local school principals and librarians at Government College for Girls, Sector 11, where I. Apollos will share the TLLM (teach less, learn more) technique, which they follow in Singapore.

He will also throw light on 'Read Singapore Campaign', which inculcates reading
habit among youth.

Thereafter, the guest will visit Gurukul School, Sector 20, in Panchkula and pay obeisance at Nada Sahib. Special interaction session at NAC branch of Gurukul has also been planned.

At KB DAV-7, teachers from Singapore will be demonstrating IT lessons for teaching some common topics which are common to Singapore and Indian maths syllabi as well as a games approach to get weaker students interested in topic of equations.

In between arrangements have also been made for cultural programmes like bhangra show with 200 performers from KB DAV-7 and visits to GMSSS-16, KB DAV-7, Gurukul and Manav Mangal School.

Mayor Pardeep Chhabra was also present on the occasion. Today DAV Model School, Sector 15, hosted a lunch at Mountview for the delegates and later tourism department gave a dinner at UT Guest House. The visitors also enjoyed the boating at Sukhna Lake.

The delegates also intend to visit Agra and on their way back. Pawan Kumar Bansal, minister of state for finance and parliamentary affairs, had arranged a visit to Parliament and Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi for them.



Protesting teachers to boycott Teachers’ Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
As many as 500 teachers, representing the UT coordination committee of teachers, yesterday decided to boycott Teachers’ Day which falls on September 5, in protest against Chandigarh administration’s lacklustre approach towards their demands.

This, among other resolutions, was got approved in a general-body meeting held at Sector 20 Masjid grounds here today.

The meeting was addressed by Jit Singh Somal, Harbir Singh Anand, Khushali Ram Sharma, Shavinder Singh and Bharat Mittar Sharma.

They all showed their resentment against the policies of education department and termed it as just to demoralise the teaching community.



PU in dilemma over ragging
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Recent incidents of ragging, which rocked Panjab University within weeks of the beginning of the academic session, have one thing in common.

In all incidents, victims either tried to withdraw their complaints or asked the university authorities to go lenient with the offenders.

In earlier two incidents that took place in different boys hostels involving students of UIET (University Institute of Engineering and Technology) and DCET (Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology), the accused students were suspended from the departments and expelled from the hostels.

In the most-recent incident, wherein some final-year students of department of Indian Theatre and some other passout students were also allegedly involved, the university authorities taking a stringent view expelled senior students both from the department as well as the hostel.

In this case, however, the complainants first gave a written account of what happened with them in the name of ragging but after two-three days they withdrew their complaint. But the university decided to stick to its grounds this time.

According to sources, there is a lot of pressure from various quarters on the PU authorities to rollback its decision on expulsion of students.

The university officials are divided on the issue as some experts believe that if the accused students decide to approach the court, in the absence of a complaint and the complainant, the university’s action to expel the students may stand null and void in the eyes of law.

“PU is an autonomous body and even if there was a complaint earlier and later it was withdrawn, the university nevertheless starts its own enquiry in the matter. If in the absence of a complaint, the students go to the court, PU has a right to conduct enquiry and the enquiry report cannot be negated,” said one of the lawyers on PU panel.

A noted theatre personality from the city opined that there was no denial of the fact that what the students had done was very wrong and it was an aberration.

But at the same time, the students had been given too harsh a punishment,
expulsion. “The students could have been fined or told to take re-admissions,”
she said.

One of the students, whose name also figured in the ragging incident of theatre department, said, “We all are artists. We didn’t mean to harm anybody. The authorities should give us a chance and we will do a play on the ragging menace and take the play in every nook and corner on the campus and spread the much deserving message.”

Last year, university expelled five engineering students on ragging charges. What remains to be seen is what stand does the university take further in the incident.



English lessons for teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
As many as 35 teachers from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh learnt the technique of polishing English language during the workshop conducted at The British Library, Sector 9, here, today.

The workshop was titled as, The Toolbox: Useful techniques for Teaching English. Christina Singh, deputy manager, British Library, said the aim was to discuss different attitudes toward teaching English.

Illa Vij, a freelance ELT professional, was the resource person for the workshop told about how to give effective instructions in the classroom.

Illa has been teaching English for over 20 years and has worked very closely with children in the age group of 5-18 years.

“We need to develop four skills - reading, writing, listening and speaking. Just doing grammar isn’t enough, as the students need to practice using it in realistic situations that they are sure to encounter outside the classroom,” told Illa.



Counselling schedule for MEd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Panjab University has released counselling schedule for M.Ed to be held from August 25 to 28 on PU’s website.

The candidates for their merit marks should click <http://admissions.puchd.ac.in/>.

The counselling would be held in English Auditorium on the opening day at 10.00 am for candidates securing merit marks of 66.00 and above and at 2.00 pm, the candidates with marks 63.50 to 65.99 should report.

From August 26 to 28, the counselling will be held at Law Auditorium. On August 26, candidates with merit marks between 61.00 to 63.49 will have to report at 9.00 am.

The candidates between 59.00 and 60.99 will report at 11.00 am. At 2.00 pm, the candidates between 57.00 to 58.99 merit marks will report.

On 27th, the candidates with merit marks between 55.00 and 56.99 will report at 9.00 am in the Law Auditorium. At 11.00 am the candidates between 53.00 to 54.99 merit marks will report (if the seats still remain vacant).

However, the same day all eligible SC category students will report for counselling at 2.00 pm in the Law Auditorium.

On August 28, the eligible candidates of all other reserved categories will report for counselling in the Law Auditorium.

At 9.00 am reserved categories, ST, BC/OBC, BA, KM, RV and FF will report.

At 12.00 noon eligible physically handicapped students and at 2.00 pm, the candidates in reserved quota of defence and sports will report.



Budding artists showcase talent at Manav Mangal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 24
More than 2,000 people, incuding students and their parents, visited a two-day exhibition ‘Images 2008’, which concluded at Manav Mangal School here today.

The exhibition served as a platform for budding artists to showcase their talent. The little skillful hands gave shape to their creativity with colours displaying models, charts and posters. Stress was laid on catastrophe of global warming.

Land features of Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala and many other states was particularly appreciated by the visitors.

Nisha Mehta of New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, was adjudged first from the town in poster-making competition held to mark Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Diwas last week. However, she was third among the winners from tricity.

Janamashtmi celebrations: New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, celebrated Janamashtmi. Students, colourful dresses, danced on the tunes of ‘Maiya Yashoda ye tera Kannaiya’. A tableaux on Lord Krishna was also prepared.


Students and staff of Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology, Phase-II, here celebrated the fresher’s day, which was organised by students of BBA-I.

J.S. Bedi, Chairman, GJIMT welcomed the freshers and exhorted them to imbibe the values of hard work, discipline, versatility, punctuality and to develop a personality with positive attitude.

The celebrations included solo songs, group dances, skits, games and other activities. The first-year students walked the ramp with aplomb and answered the questions intelligently.

The seniors showcased their passion for life through different mediums like skits, dance, music and a host of other performances.

Results of various events are Mr. Fresher-Nicolas of BBA-I, Ms. Fresher-Anshul Sharma of BBA-I, Mr. Personality-Karan of BBA-I, Ms. Charming-Jaskiran Kaur Sandhu of BBA-I.

The main performers were Sumati, Rahila, Puneet, Richard, Nicholas and Nimit. Earlier the chief organiser, Dr. Aarti Mahendaru and Kavita Arora, cultural co-ordinator welcomed the chief guest.



Education Fest draws crowds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
A substantial number of students visited the Education Fest organised by Aryanz at Hotel Shivalik View here today.

Around 15 organisations from India and abroad participated in this fest, including Aryans Business School, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes, Chanakya Institute of Management, Animation Live and Pricad Computers. The participants from abroad included Apic Australia and Kangaroo Studies Private Limited.

Shweta Singh, event head, said the fest catered to students of Classes X, XII and graduates who need guidance about various career options.

Also, students who wish to pursue their studies abroad would benefit from the fest, she added.

SEMINAR: A seminar on “Management as a Career” was held at Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, here, today. The seminar was organised by Pace Setter in collaboration with A.K. Vidyamandir.

Speaking on the occasion, Sunil Gupta, business head of the institution said, “Our goal is to empower students to become job creators rather than job seekers in the present competitive economy.”

A number of experienced faculty members were present, including D.P. Singh, head of the department of quants and data interpretation and Prabhjot Singh, head, knowledge team. Study material on NMAT, SNAP, MAT, MCA, GRE and GMAT was supplied to the students.

WORKSHOP: A three-day personality development workshop was held for final year students at Guru Gobind Singh College-26, here. The workshop was conducted by the placement cell of the college in association with Career Launcher India Ltd.

The aim of the workshop was to help the students in selecting a career and then preparing for their chosen field. The students were informed about various career alternatives after graduation, the nuances of a good resume and how to prepare
for interviews.

Freshers’ nitE: Residents of all the three hostels at Government College, Sector 11, organised ‘Freshers’ Nite Party’ to welcome new comers. Energy-packed events, all meticulously planned, were instant hit with large crowd gathered in auditorium.

The programme started with shabad singing. Boys were at their best in songs, dance, skit and comedy items. Earlier, chief warden Dr Avtar Singh accorded warm welcome to chief guest Dr A.L. Gauba, college principal.



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