C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Axing: When accused are probe officers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The case relating to the felling of trees at several institutions, including Panjab University, has taken a new turn with doubts being raised at the inquiry report submitted to the central empowered committee of the Supreme Court by the conservator of forests (central).

The credibility of the inquiry report has reportedly come under a cloud with the conservator of forests, in its report to the committee, relying on the fact-finding report of the deputy conservator (forests) of the Chandigarh administration.

Hemant Goswami of the Burning Brain Society, an NGO, petitioned the committee in March, alleging large-scale felling of trees and “indifferent role” of the deputy conservator.

Gaurav Chabra, a filmmaker, through his video film documented that Panjab University was felling hundreds of trees without any valid reason and had sought permission from the adviser to the UT administrator in this regard by furnishing incorrect information.

It was stated that there was no need to cut any tree and the rationale provided/approved by the Panjab University VC was factually incorrect. A majority of trees, which were being cut, were healthy and did not pose threat to any building or person.

The petition alleged that the UT forest department had granted permission to cut the trees without any verification.

“The reliance on the report of the deputy conservator by the conservator of forests is unethical as we had accused UT officials of dereliction of duty regarding the grant of permission to fell trees,” Goswami said.

The deputy conservator had found no “illegality and irregularity” in the felling of trees by the PU, Punjab Engineering College and the PGI even as the Commonwealth Youth Asia Centre in Sector 12 was found guilty of felling 19 trees “unauthorisedly”.



Cadaver donation dies down
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Though a lot of people donate their bodies, their families

seldom honour such pledges upon their death due to emotional or religious reasons

Mere pledges?

Figures of the past three years at the PGI indicate that about 400 persons have donated their bodies, but the hospital has received only seven bodies in the past four years and most of them were not donors

Chandigarh, October 14
Girish Batra, a special assistant with Indian Overseas Bank, has received a congratulatory message from the PGI’s anatomy department for his noble deed of pledging his body to the hospital for research after his death.

He’s excited about it and has been calling up newspaper offices to highlight his cause. While there are no doubts about Girish’s good intentions, body donation as such has turned out to be a nonstarter. The primary reason is that families of donors seldom honour such pledges because of emotional and religious reasons.

If figures for donations in the past three years are any indication, there are about 400 persons in queue, ahead of Girish, at the PGI. But the hospital has so far received only seven bodies in the past four years with only one body being received during the current fiscal. And most of them were not donors.

Though it is possible that most of these donors are still alive and leading a healthy life, the hospital authorities have no mechanism to verify it. “We get around one or two cadavers in a year, but a majority of these are not through voluntary donations,” sources at the anatomy department said.

“We have a voluntary donation programme for those who want to pledge their bodies, but we don’t get many,” a doctor said, adding that they were always short of cadavers for students.

Admitting that there was no mechanism for a follow-up on such donations, the sources said: “We come to know only when the donor’s family informs us about the death. If they don’t, they continue to be on our list.”

According to experts, voluntary body donation for medical and research purposes is still a radical idea here. Senior medical professionals say that because of sentimental and religious beliefs and some times even superstition, relatives of donors do not come forward to donate the bodies. This is not confined to any particular religion or a class of people.

A doctor at the PGI said relatives of donors were apprehensive that the bodies of their loved ones might not be treated with dignity after their death. “We use the bodies for research and all care is taken. In return for their selfless and noble gesture, we give a sapling to the families so that they can plant it in the memory of their lost ones,” the doctor said.



Fireman hurt while dousing flames
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
A fireman was seriously hurt while dousing flames at a house that caught fire following a leakage in a gas cylinder in Sector 22, here this morning.

The fireman, Amarjit Singh Mavi, sustained 40 per cent burns and was admitted to the PGI. According to fire department officials, they received information around 8.15 am that a fire had broken out at a house and reached the scene.

The fire spread in a room following a leakage in an LPG cylinder. Two fire engines from Sector 17 and 38 fire stations reached the scene and put out the flames.

A sofa set and other articles lying in the room were destroyed in the fire. Two doors of the room were also burnt.

Mavi was the first one to enter the room, when he broke open the door to gain access and the fire spread. He was engulfed in flames before anybody could come to his rescue.

He was taken to the PGI, where he was admitted to the ICU. The burns affected his windpipe, said a fire officer.

Sources in the fire department said it was the second time when Mavi, a leading fireman, had been injured in a rescue operation. On May 1, he had sustained burns while fighting fire at a pharmaceutical shop in Sector 22.

A fire official said the department had yet to provide insurance cover to them, which is pending for approval in its final stage.



Firemen casualty of callous authorities
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The lofty claims of the Chandigarh municipal corporation’s fire department of having hi-tech fire and emergency services equipment, including safety gear, for their staff was once again exposed today.

The severe injuries received by Amarjit Mavi, senior fireman, in a Sector-22 house fire caused by a leaking LPG cylinder are a testament to the callous attitude of both the department and those supervising such operations.

The fire brigade was requisitioned to the scene soon after the fire broke out and the team was headed by Mavi. As he opened the door of the house without taking any precautions, he received severe burns and was taken to the hospital in a police ambulance.

Though the department claimed that all its fire tenders were equipped with requisite safety equipment, the first team led by Mavi to reach the scene had no safety gear, sources said.

The mishap occurred when the victim attempted to enter the house and was caught in an inferno, receiving 40 per cent burns on his chest and body.

Every fire brigade is equipped with fire suits and helmets, which are worn by the rescue team before they engage themselves in such operations.

Sources said the second fire tender that reached the scene had safety gear with it but it was of no use as the damage had already been done.

Besides, water gel blanket, which is used as first aid while handling persons with burns, was also not available in the vehicle. Experts say the disposable blanket is used to reduce the impact of heat on the body. Chandigarh fire service and emergency committee chairman M.P.S. Chawla admitted that the incident happened due to the negligence of the fire department.

Chawla, an MC councillor, said station fire officer of Sector 17 M.L. Sharma also reached the scene and visited the hospital to enquire about the well-being of the injured fireman. Interestingly, the report prepared by the department does not mention the fire rescue equipment used in the operation by the team.

Sources said there was a set format available with the department while preparing a report that necessitated the mentioning of fire equipment used in such operations. Chawla said he would take up the matter of the non-availability of fire fighting equipment with the MC commissioner.



UT website lost in time
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
At a time when the country is clamouring for right to information (RTI), the city administration is empowering people with “misinformation” through its official website.

The “net” result is that the administration’s endeavour to introduce application of information technology is a nonstarter with a website full of glaring mistakes.

Logging on to www.chandigarh.gov.in will reveal that information on the administration has not been updated. The site was developed by the department of information technology <http://chdit.gov.in>, UT, Chandigarh and the National Informatics Centre, Chandigarh.

As per the website, the DPI (schools) continues to be S.K. Setia even though it has been over a month since Samwartak Singh took this charge.

The website, further, shows Shurbir Singh as holding the portfolios of joint director, rural rehabilitation, joint secretary, marketing board and agriculture marketing committee, and ACO, agriculture census, but he has already been relieved for his new assignment with the government of Mizoram and the DC, R.K. Rao, and SDM (south) Prerna Puri are now looking after these departments.

Similarly, instead of Niharika Rai, the name of Jasbir Singh Bir is still on the website as managing director of CITCO. Further, Mohanjeet Singh has been shown as secretary, environment, while this portfolio is being looked after by finance secretary Sanjay Kumar.

There’s no mention of R.S. Verma, additional director (admn), GMCH, and Samwartak Singh who have been assigned additional charge of director public relations and director, tourism. The website says this section is being looked after by Vivek Atray, who along with S.K. Setia, has already been given farewell officially. Under its IT vision 2010, the administration had implemented e-governance, wherein all departments of would have to be automated and information relating to these would be available online.

Stale Info

The website also provides a column on news and updates in the link information technology. A news item on an entrepreneurship award being conferred on a woman a year ago and another one about a school that won the computer literacy excellence award in 2005 speaks volumes about how serious the administration is about updating this column.


Now, get passport in 3 days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
In a major relief to passport seekers of the region, the ministry of external affairs in collaboration with a private firm has decided to start a pilot “Passport Seva Project”, which will facilitate issuance of passports after police verification within three days.

Under the project, the process of issuance of a new passport will be completed within three working days, while passports prepared under the Tatkal (instant) scheme will be issued and dispatched the same day, subject to complete address and police verification formalities of the applicants.

For providing speedy, convenient and transparent services to people steps were being taken to improve communication between the police and the passport office for which online services and secure network was being created.

Under the project, Bangalore would also have new passport seva kendras by June, 2009. A sum of Rs 1,000 crore would be spent for opening 77 new passport seva kendras across the country, which will be fully computerised. The firm’s (Tata Consultancy Services) deal with the government will enhance the number of passport counters from the current 345 to 1,250 by 2010 and bring the entire process of issuing the travel document online.



Check 5 components while buying hallmark gold
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

  • Ask for cash receipt that helps BIS resolve complaints
  • Check fineness number mentioned on the gold corresponding to the purity (23 carat-958, 22 carat-916, 21 carat-875, 18 carat-750, 14 carat-585, 9 carat-375)

Chandigarh, October 14
All that glitters ain’t gold. Though a number of city-based jewellers claim to sell ornaments that are registered with “hallmark” that may not hold true in all cases. Those planning to buy gold this festive season, especially when prices are soaring, must keep the five checkpoints in mind.

Tipping city residents for the season, Bhupinder Singh, deputy director general, BIS Mark, asserted: “During purchase of gold one must ensure that it contains all five components that can only be seen with the help of a magnifying glass. In fact some jewellers may try to cheat by grabbing the attention of the consumers towards the purity fineness only, but one must insist on seeing all components. One must ensure that all five components are present on it, which can be verified with the help of a magnifying glass.”

“Most people purchase jewellery without checking its purity. The shopkeeper’s guarantee of gold earrings being of 24 carat is enough to convince us and we might end up buying spurious product.”

Explaining the five set standards Bhupinder stated: “A hallmark gold jewellery consists of five components i.e. BIS Mark. Take a look at the fineness number (corresponding to given caratage), check the assaying and hallmarking centre’s mark, jeweller’s identification mark and year of marking denoted by a code letter and decided by the BIS (e.g. code letter ‘A’ was approved by the BIS for 2000, ‘B’ for 2001 and ‘C’ for 2002 and ‘J’ for 2008). Also, ensure that the marking is done either using punches or laser marking machine.”

Agreeing with him, a senior directors of the All-India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (a recognised government body), Anil Talwar, said: “People should be careful in the kind of gold they are purchasing. One should never buy or sell gold in a hurry.”

Jewellers are a happy lot as the sales of the alloy — gold — has gone up, so have the gold prices with the outset of festive season.

Talwar averred: “The sale of the alloy has gone up and the response this year is much better in comparison to last year. In fact, the sales have just taken off now and will arrive at the crescendo near Diwali.”

On branded jewellers, Talwar stated: “There are no brands in jewellery in foreign countries and these brands usually have poor sales.”

There are 50 jewellers in the city that are registered with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Quoting the lowest and highest price of gold this year, Rajnish Singla of Shree Jewellers in Sector 19 said: “The least price of 24 carat gold weighing 10 gm this year has been Rs 11,624, while the maximum has been Rs 14,250.”



TN festival homecoming for Barnala, Raju
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Holding of Poompuhar-2008, a cultural extravaganza of Tamil Nadu in the city, is not only a homecoming for former Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala, but also for Jagmohan Singh Raju, an IAS officer of the 1983 batch allocated to the Tamil Nadu cadre.

Surjit Singh Barnala, who is in the middle of his second stint as Governor of Tamil Nadu, will deliver the inaugural address.

Jagmohan Singh Raju, who is currently Resident Commissioner of Tamil Nadu in the union capital, is the son of K.S. Raju, also an IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, who after superannuating settled down in Chandigarh. K.S. Raju also remained Deputy Commissioner of Patiala.

In fact Jagmohan Singh Raju is a product of Chandigarh. After his appointment to the IAS, he has held several important positions, both in the Tamil Nadu government as well as in the Union Government, including PS to a Union Minister from Tamil Nadu. He also had a stint abroad.

Poompuhar-2008 is being brought to Chandigarh as a joint venture of the North Zone Cultural Centre and the South Zone Cultural Centre. It is after a long time that an inter-zonal event is being held at the Sector 10 Leisure Valley.

The five-day mega event will feature dances like Bharathnatayam, Karagam kavadi, dummy horse, mailattam, kummi kolattam, devarratnam, Poru parai, silambatam, veera natanam besides Punjabi dances like giddha, bhangra and jindua besides ghoomer, phag, tokni and dhamal of Haryana.

There will be also crafts textile, spices and South Indian food stalls at different venues of the festival.

Jagmohan Singh Raju has been one of several bureaucrats the city has produced during the past few decades. Most of them are serving different states and union territories. Even the previous Commissioner of Delhi police, K.K. Paul, is from Chandigarh.

Arvind Kumar, who was Regional Passport Officer, and is now posted as Inspector-General in the Madhya Pradesh police, is also a product of Chandigarh. And Jagmohan Singh Raju belongs to that rare class of civil servants who have acted as a catalyst in bringing South Indian and North Indian cultures together.



Partial opening of flyover brings relief
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 14
Both lanes of the Zirakpur-Ambala flyover are likely to be opened to traffic by next week.

Though project director Col K.P. Sharma (retd) was not forthcoming on the issue, sources in the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) said the work of erecting streetlight poles on the median was in progress and minor works on one part of the flyover (from Chandigarh to Delhi) were under way.

The NHAI had opened one section of the flyover yesterday for the traffic moving from Delhi to Chandigarh.

An official supervising work at the site said all type of vehicles were allowed on a section of the flyover as it would enable the authority to see any last minute discrepancies. “The riding surface needed to be repaired at certain places on the opened section,” said Vikram, a commuter who was happy to see an end to the serpentine queues.

“Road marking, installation of streetlights and wiring of the streetlights is to be completed soon,” said sources. Talking to TNS, SDM (Dera Bassi) Sohan Lal Bhumbak said no final date had been fixed for the opening of the flyover.

Once opened, traffic coming from Chandigarh and Panchkula towards Ambala would be able to use the flyover.

Similarly, the traffic moving from Ambala to Chandigarh would be using the flyover.



Home secy inspects projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Home secretary Ram Niwas today inspected ongoing development projects, including Tagore Theatre, Bal Bhawan, Regional Institute for Mentally Challenged Children, Sector 31, and the Government Press, Sector 18.

UT chief engineer Krishanjit Singh told the home secretary that renovation work on Tagore Theatre would be completed till October 25.

He inspected the revamping of Bal Bhawan. Officials of the engineering department said the auditorium would be ready by December 31.

Ram Niwas, who is also the health secretary, examined the progress of the institute for the rehabilitation of special children, after the completion of which, the children of Prayaas, Samarth and the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children would be shifted to the new building.

The home secretary also visited the UT press to inspect the space allocated for the setting up of a drug de-addiction centre with a capacity of 40 beds.



Motorists caught in evening snarl-up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Scores of motorists were stranded in a traffic jam on Piccadilly and Labour chowks here this evening.

The vehicular traffic on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway moved at snail’s pace during the evening office hours.

The traffic on the intersections was clogged creating bottlenecks. Other roads leading to these junctions also witnessed traffic jams, as motorists began taking detours.

Two-wheeler riders, especially cyclists, were seen riding on roadside berms.

Traffic policemen were also at their wits’ end regulating heavy flow of traffic, as traffic signals kept changing with vehicles stranded.

With long-haul buses taking the route, congestions and traffic jams are commonplace here, said a daily commuter.

A traffic policeman said the situation was particularly bad during morning and evening hours. He, however, said there were no traffic jams as vehicles kept moving at slow pace.



Chinese lights craze among customers this Diwali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Chinese lights grab the city beautiful markets this Diwali. Numerous coloured Chinese electric lights have thrown the Indian electric lights out of the market due to price factor and introduction of a new variety every year, said city-based wholesalers.

A wholesaler, Jai pal, owner of Jaiswal Electrical, Sector 18, says customer generally demands Chinese lights due to less prices and more varieties as compare to the domestic lights. “Last year, the demand of Chinese lights were 80 per cent, while this year, they grab almost 99 per cent market just because of the demand.”

Chinese lights are less in price, said a wholesaler. He said, “They cost between Rs 20 to Rs 250, which is easily affordable, and the variety is abundant.” “Double fresher 80 bulbs” are the most demanding item as they have multi-colour bulbs and shine the whole house with different colours of light and are available in Rs 18-20 only.

Traditional lights are more costly than Chinese lights due to several factors, said Rajinder Pal Gupta, owner of Universal.

Though, life of Chinese light is less than the Indian light, but it does not pinch the customers due to its low cost factor. Rice lights are in fact the cheapest and more attractive item among city residents. The pictures of Ganesh and Lakshmi and other idols of Goddesses with soft lights were also in rich demand.

Buyer of Chinese light, Vinay Rajput, told TNS that these are not only cheaper but also more attractive than Indian lights.



Devotees take part in nagar kirtan
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 14
Local residents took part in a nagar kirtan to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib as “Gurta Gaddi Divas” here today. It was organised by the Kendri Talmel Committee.

The nagar kirtan commenced from Ram Darbar, Phase-I, and passed through Sectors 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 44 and 46 before culminating at the gurdwara of Sector 43. Hundreds of devotees from all over the region took part in the procession. Religious leaders were also present.

Shiromani Akali Dal local unit president Gurpartap Singh Riar said: “This is the first time when any Sikh organisation took out a nagar kirtan in the name of Bhagat Ravidas, whose verses are included in Guru Granth Sahib.”

He also thanked the Chandigarh administration and devotees for organising the celebrations.



Admn in no mood to hike VAT on liquor
Punjab sees red

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The UT administration seems to be in no mood to hike value added tax (VAT) on liquor, giving sleepless nights to the Punjab Government.

In fact, with UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues reportedly saying no to a proposal mooted by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to hike 4 per cent VAT on liquor to bring it on a par with Punjab, there seems to be no end in sight for liquor smuggling from Chandigarh to Punjab.

In the backdrop of large-scale liquor smuggling from the city to Punjab due to lower VAT, as compared to 12.5 per cent VAT in Punjab, Badal had reportedly urged Rodrigues to “rationalise” the tax structure.

However, the UT had dumped the proposal alleging that it was being taken at the initiative of Punjab’s powerful “liquor lobby”.

Recently, a move by Punjab a IAS officer, Roshan Sunkaria, who also held charge of excise and taxation secretary then, to hike VAT on liquor was reportedly opposed by deputy commissioner R.K. Rao, who is also excise and taxation commissioner.

The move ultimately resulted in stripping of Sunkaria’s powers of excise and taxation secretary.

It is an open secret that smuggling of liquor from city to Punjab, particularly Chandigarh's periphery, was a routine affair.

While the Punjab liquor lobby was crying hoarse, alleging losses due to less VAT in Chandigarh, the administration was of the opinion that tax structure could not be changed in the middle of the year.

Sources said the solution to the large-scale smuggling could be worked out if the Chandigarh administration and the neighbouring states rationalised the tax structure.

An acceptable formula on reasonable VAT on liquor could be worked out and implemented from the next financial year, a senior official added.



No takers for cycle tracks
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 14
The city administration has provided cycle/rickshaw tracks throughout the city, but no one really uses those.

With the increase in traffic, there is need to separate cycle/rickshaw traffic to reduce the risk of accidents.

A senior police official said ex-servicemen had been deployed to see that the tracks were being used for the purpose they had been set up for, but it did not work. Now, home guard volunteers had been deployed.

J.S. Cheema, DSP, traffic, said they were challaning violators and cycles or rickshaws were being impounded.

A random survey of these tracks revealed that volunteers were present only at two or three places and the situation was the worst in Sector 20.

The joint commissioner, MC, T.P.S. Phoolka, said the licenses of rickshaw-pullers were checked regularly and those not using the tracks were being challaned by MC officials and the traffic police.

Ramesh Handa, a resident of Sector 45, said: “Most of these tracks are in a poor condition and that must be the reason why these are not used. Also, volunteers deployed by the administration are usually absent.”

A rickshaw-puller said they were not used to the tracks and it would take some time before they start using those.



Ex-servicemen flay pay panel’s report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The Indian Ex-Services League, Chandigarh UT, at its annual general-body meeting held here on Sunday, criticised the anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission report, and the lowering of the status of armed forces and ignoring the demands of pensioners.

Members of the league also took note of alleged “anti-soldier attitude” of some ministers.

However, they were unanimous in their support to the three services’ chiefs for taking a united stand on the “unequal” and biased treatment accorded to the armed forces versus the bureaucracy.

The league urged the Prime Minister to correct the "anti-soldier attitude" of the bureaucracy and not allow it to usurp the powers of the ministries.



A clarification

In the news report, “Former SE gets 3-yr RI for graft”, carried on October 14 in the Chandigarh Tribune, it was erroneously mentioned that K.B. Goel who was sentenced to imprisonment was the superintendent engineer. He was a superintendent in the UT. The error is regretted.

A correction

A news, “Drug peddlers turn informers”, published in these columns on October 10 inadvertently mentioned wrong 24-hour drug helpline number (9915371000). The correct helpline number is 9915973100. — TNS




Employees harassed by RTI

This refers to the reports, ‘Empowered, people keep babus on toes’ and ‘No more public purpose’, published in the Chandigarh Tribune on October 14.

The RTI Act has become non-sense for the government officials and employees since the public do not get information purposefully but to disturb the authorities.

Most of the employees are busy in preparing the replies for the vague questions. Many applicants send 10 to 40 questions in one application relating to various departments.

The employees have to work even on holidays due to shortage of staff.

There is a need to amend the Act, otherwise it will be harmful for the employees.

Sahil Garg

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at [email protected] or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



PU to host symposium on biomedical research
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Panjab University is scheduled to host the prestigious 78th annual session and symposium on “"Novel Approaches for Biomedical Research” from November 21 to 23. The aim of the session is to promote biomedical research in Panjab University in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI).

Interestingly, 14 years ago the 64th session of the Academy was also held at Panjab University in 1994. NASI was founded way back in 1930 with the idea of establishing a forum for scientists, which would help them in publishing their researches and bring them together to discuss and find scientific solutions to the problems of the country. Prof Meghnad Saha, a great scientist, patriot and then Professor of Physics at Allahabad University, in 1929 had mooted the proposal.

Since then the academy has regularly been holding annual sessions in different centres of scientific and academic activities.

“The world is now witnessing a rapid change in the way biomedical research is being conducted. Rapid advances in science and technology have brought in new technologies to understand the disease process and find strategies for prevention and cure. There are areas at the cutting edge of science such as molecular medicine, genomics, immunology, which have revolutionised knowledge for finding rapid diagnostics, vaccines, new drug targets and other therapeutic measures. There is an urgent need that researchers working in the core health sectors like diagnostics, epidemiology, surveillance and cure are exposed to the latest advancements in knowledge and interact with international scientists in their respective fields of work”, said Prof R C Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU, and chief patron of NASI.

Prof R.C.Sobti has formed an organising committee to take care of various aspects of the three-day symposium. The committee includes Dr. V K Anand, University Librarian, along with Professor K P Singh, Department of Geology, conveners of the committee, Professor Naval Kishore, Department of Geology, Neelam Sharma, A C Joshi Library, Professor R K Kohli, Department of Botany, Dr V K Walia, Department of Zoology, Professor A K Saihjpal, UIAMS, Professor R K Gupta, Advisor (Finance), Professor M K Teja, Department of Sociology, Professor M M Gupta, Department of Physics, Navjeet Kaur, A C Joshi Library, Professor K K Bhasin, Department of Chemistry, Professor R K Singla, Department of Computer, Professor Meera Malik, Centre for Women Studies, and Dr. Tankeshwar Kumar, Computer Centre. The symposium would be divided into various technical sessions where scientists and delegates from across the world would deliberate over the theme.



NRI students join film school
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
“Muje hindi film ka song dance drama acha lagta hai isiliye main yahan aaya,” says Ravi Mahay struggling hard to get his Hindi right. Ravi is one of the three students who have reconnected with their roots for the “latka jhatkas” of Bollywood and have thus landed at Actor Prepares, Sector 11, the acting institute managed by Anupam kher in collaboration with STEPS.

Out of 15 students who have enrolled this year three of them are from England who are here for six months training in acting.

“Indian films are very different from British. It’s larger than life, though I confess at times you make fool of yourself but the glamour is irresistible. I have come here for training and will head to Mumbai to try my luck in Bollywood,” says Rishab Sharma as he settles on the wooden stairs with his friends after a tedious dance session.

Speaking of their dream roles, chirpy Rakhi Sharma is the first one to answer, “I want to be ‘basanti’ of ‘Sholay’. The character of an innocent bubbly girl is so amazing.”

“Want to be Sharukh of “Kal ho na ho” or his role in “DDLJ”. I want to romance heroines beat up villains and be popular among girls,” Ravi is quick to catch up. However, Rishab is a little shy to reveal, murmurs Hritik of “Dhoom 2” after a lot of persuasion.

Other than films and their course, the city itself amazes them. While cleanliness is one factor that bowls them over and they find city inmates quite warm.

“I like people here though they are a little conservative but I love them. The guys out here are hunks and quite courteous,” says Rakhi while both the boys have complains against girls, “At times city girls are arrogant and they walk with a ‘don’t approach me’ attitude so we are at times scared to even ask for some address,” they laugh.

So when all seems to be going well, Ravi pops up with a common complaint, “The food here is good but a paranthas every day bothers me. I was in proper shape before coming here but now I have gained some flab so please lets not pour all love through butter in paranthas.”



‘Youth fests are for amateurs, we are professionals’
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Panjab University’s youth festival might be an excellent opportunity for the students from the 178 colleges affiliated with the university, who participate in various competitions, showcasing their talents and getting recognised for the same, but sadly the students representing the university campus think otherwise. At least, the number of participating students depicts so.

Even though the university has its full-fledged department of Indian Theatre, but ever since its inception way back in the 1960s, the department has never participated or represented itself in any of the youth festivals, which are almost as old as the department.

According to sources, though students of the department participate individually in some events, but never has a play representing the campus or the department in the theatre category ever gone. The items under this category include skit, mime, mimicry, one-act play and histrionics.

If the students are to be believed, youth festivals are for “amateurs” as they are not for “professionals”.

A passed out student of the department, who is now in the field of direction, said: “The students, who participate in plays in the youth festivals, are amateur artists and we are professionals. Moreover, the quality of equipments, like lights, sounds, costumes and even sets, is all compromised. The judges are also not that experienced.”

Neelam Mansingh, noted theatre personality and former chairperson of the department, said: “Youth festivals have various reasons for their existence. It is like a variety programme, where students come with some particular talent. But in the department of Indian Theatre, we train students to become actors and directors. Many students, who come to the department, have already performed at youth festivals, and they come with their typical modes of performing and acting.”

“We are so busy throughout the year with our workshops, learning techniques and nuances of theatre that we are left with no time to participate in such events. But we participate in drama festival at more reputed institutions such as National School of Drama,” said a student of the department.

Moreover, even the department of music also started participating only three-four years back. Prior to that, they did not participate in youth festivals claiming the festivals to be for “amateurs”.

The campus itself started participating in the youth festivals only in 2003 after more than thirty years of their beginning.

However, the number of students representing the campus had slightly increased during last year’s youth festival as compared to previous records. Also, this time, the students from the campus are participating in around 30 events under four categories, including fine arts, music, dance and literary events. The Panjab University’s Zone-A Youth Festival (Chandigarh) will be held at Government College, Sector 46, from October 21 to 24.



DAV principal gets Haryana Rattan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 14
Anjali Marriya, principal of Chaman Lal DAV Senior Public School, Sector 11, was conferred upon ‘Haryana Rattan Award’ by A.R. Kidwai, Governor of Haryana.

She received the award during the 27th Punjab and Haryana state intellectuals’ conference held at SD College, Sector 32, Chandigarh, in recognition of her meritorious services in the field of education on Sunday.

A relatively recent entrant into the field of school administration, she has undertaken various plans and projects which seek active participation and involvement of the students in promoting environmental awareness, health, hygiene and also works collectively to help the under privileged children through its NSS wing.

The students of the school have been receiving gold medals at the prestigious 14th and 15th National Science Congress consecutively since the past two years for carrying out extensive field and research work on their innovative science projects organised by the department of science and technology, Government of India. Many students have also excelled at national level in badminton, judo and athletics this year.



‘The Wizard of Oz’ to be staged today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 14
Vivek High School, Sector 70 at Mohali, has adapted ‘The Wizard of Oz’ for live stage theatrical performance to be staged on October 15 and 16 on the school premises.

The students acting as actors, singers, dancers and musicians in traditional ways would narrate Baum’s vision of the fairyland.

The highlight of the play is the plaintive melody and simple lyrics of the song “Over the rainbow” with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. The song’s plaintive melody and simple lyrics depict a pre-adolescent girl’s desire to escape from the “hopeless jumble” of this world, from the sadness of raindrops to the bright new world “over the rainbow”.



Career counselling at YPS
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 14
The Old Yadavindrians Association (OYA), Mohali, organised a monthly career counselling session for the students of Class X, XI and XII of YPS, Mohali. It was the second such camp organised by the association.

Yesterday’s session was on merchant navy as a career held by Capt Namit Choudhary and Capt Viroo Sood, both members of the OYA, and presently serving in the merchant navy.

Malvinder Singh, president of the OYA, Mohali, said it was a highly interactive session aided by power-point presentation and video clippings. Prizes were also distributed to the participating students. The session was also attended by principal Harish Dhillon, vice-principal Anita Kashyap and other OYA members.

“This is the crucial stage where students need to plan their career. They need proper guidance and so we thought nothing can be better than an interactive session with the experts in various fields,” said Malvinder.



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