C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Self-certification a non-starter
Since scheme’s implementation in 2005, only one case
has come for approval
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Chandigarh administration's self-certification scheme for residential building plans has been a non-starter.

Thanks to the “indifferent” attitude and the “vested” interests of the authorities concerned, the staff at the UT Estate Office has left no stone unturned to make the process of self-certification tedious to suit the interests of a handful of architects as the common man find it difficult to obtain various clearances under the scheme that was, otherwise, envisaged to make the process simpler, said sources.

Ifs and buts

n Who checks the quality of the concrete, steel reinforcement placing and the time lapse between making the concrete and pouring it?
n Why do they put objections quoting the electrical system, plumbing, sewerage and drainage system, structural arrangement, or even the formation levels of the lawns and gardens?

Under the Building Rules, 1952, contained in the Punjab Capital (Development and Regulation), the administration, three years ago, had issued a notification that any person who intends to erect or re-erect a residential building, could opt for self-certification through his or her architect, subject to the condition.

Sources, however, allege that anything between Rs 30,000 and 2,90,000 exchanges hands for obtaining the clearance certificate of the residential building plans.

Sources in the department alleged, that it is an architect-official nexus that does not want the scheme to be a success as it suits their interests.

The process to apply under the scheme is so wearisome that since its implementation in 2005, only one case came for approval at the SDO (building), Estate Office, which, too, is hanging fire till date for want of one paper or the other.

The case pertains to Jaspreet Takkar, a Sector 7-based architect, who had applied in 2006 for self certification of a building plan for House No. 1584, Sector 38-B. In March 2008, when Jaspreet approached the building branch for seeking completion certificate, she was told that the papers she had submitted with the department had been lost.

“The officials of the building branch told me to apply afresh with the whole case again as they had lost the file. Even the demand draft got misplaced but was never encashed. I did that too, but till date I have not got the certification from the department,” she rued.

Pallav Mukherjee, the brain behind the scheme, lamented that the original self-certification system submitted was later amended. “It has been designed to self destruct with the SDO (building) office having carefully drafted the conditions totally in contrast with the self-certification system that was researched and brought over by me from the offices in NOIDA and other places,” he said.

When contacted, SDO (building), Estate Office, K.D. Batra, admitted that the scheme has been a flop show. For, the formalities prescribed in the format are very irrational and obsolete. "Since, we have to follow each and every instruction described in the notification, it becomes quite cumbersome to fulfil that. It is because of this reason that in three years, only one case came through this scheme. The applicants feels that we are harassing them unnecessarily,” he said.

“The architects, too, feel hesitant to take the sole responsibility of the safety of the building and when the onus falls on the department, stipulated formalities need to be completed,” said the SDO.

About the case in question, the SDO said that the required affidavit from the architect had been received just three days back and the case would be expedited.



NAAC team leaves, ‘satisfied’
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
“All’s well that ends well”. The saying goes right for the Panjab University after the four-day visit of the NAAC team concluded here today.

While the university officials made sure that the media was kept at an arm’s length from the team during their visit, nevertheless, they did not let go the opportunity to ensure that the praises which the team members showered today during the exit meeting with the university officials, is publicised enough.

3.8 score for PU

According to sources, the NAAC team, which was impressed by the university’s infrastructure, its optimum utilisation and the students, has given PU a score of 3.8 out of 4. While Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has got a score of 3.5, Punjabi University, Patiala, managed 3.4.

However, if the remarks about the department of evening studies left a bad taste (NAAC members were of the view that the department should be closed down as it has outlived its utility), the “threadbare” description of the infighting between the faculty members of the department of history, would also remain etched for a very long time in everybody’s mind.

According to sources, when it was the turn of the members of the department of history to make a presentation before the NAAC team about the department, its plans and developmental work, instead of doing that, some members started arguing amongst themselves over their petty-personal issues.

Not only this, a senior faculty member of that department accused a female colleague of having given a wrong complaint against some other faculty members.

Following this, another faculty member alleged that there were some teachers in the department who have fiddled with the marks of the students and that the matter is still being enquired. Another teacher accused the other for hampering his promotion under CAS (Career Advancement Scheme) scheme after manipulation. While the NAAC members were stunned with the teachers washing their dirty linen in public, it was finally the chairman of the team, Prof C Thangamuthu, who intervened and said to the arguing faculty members that “this was not the right platform to discuss all this. All these things should be deliberated and discussed in a proper manner according to PU rules.”

Meanwhile, Prof C. Thangamuthu, during the exit meeting stated that for the whole team it was a very enlightening experience to have had interactions with some of the best brains during their four days stay on PU campus.

The team was impressed by the fact that more than 50 per cent of the students were outsiders who were attracted to the university because of its reputation.



‘We want to earn a living in the future’
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
While for most people “independence” means a lot but not for the six juveniles who preferred to stay within the four walls of the Juvenile Home as they have nowhere to go.

The Juvenile Justice Board today released six juveniles who were caught committing minor thefts. However, four of them preferred to stay back in the home. Families of two juveniles would be coming in a few days to take them, but they have expressed a desire to be sent to the vocational training centre to be inaugurated on October 27, in Maloya. Krishen and Raju (name changed), while talking to the TNS said, “We will go back to our families, celebrate Diwali and come back to get training at the centre.”

The twosome, with guilt on their faces, said “Both of us along with two older boys decided to steal an air-conditioner (AC) from a house in Manimajra which they had dismantled to sell to a junk dealer. Someone noticed us while we were dismantling it and informed the police. In fact, we were immature to indulge in such an act. We want to learn something that might help us to earn a living in future.”

Estranged by his parents, who left Jaru (name changed) from Rajasthan came to the city to become a trained mechanic. He had stolen 3kg iron to return borrowed money. Jaru’s parents did not even know that their son was in the Juvenile Home. Jaru said, “I had no clothes to wear and was paid only Rs 500 by the owner of mechanic shop. So, I borrowed Rs 200 from someone to return the money. This was the first time I stole something. I had stolen iron from a house where construction was being carried out. I had to burn it to make copper out of it.”

Bunny, 14, (name changed) who reached the Home for stealing brass taps on September 10 this year. He stole eight taps with another Ramesh, 8, (name changed) to sell them so that they can buy things of their choice. Disclosing details about Bunny an official at the Home said, “He was suffering from epilepsy when he came here. He took medicines on the advise of the doctors and is fine now. In past one and a half month no one from his family has ever come to meet them and they are all set to go to the vocational centre now.



Terror Threat
Police steps up security in city
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
With intelligence reports indicating possibilities of a terrorist strike in Chandigarh during the festival season, the UT Police has heightened security in markets and other crowded areas of the city.

Talking to The Tribune a senior police officer said that reports reveal that terrorists could strike at crowded areas, especially the tourist spots. Hence a general alert had been sounded.

Sources said that interrogation of some Indian mujahedeen terrorists, arrested in connection with the Ahmedabad blasts, had revealed that Chandigarh was on their target list.

Though officials claimed that there was nothing to panic, they have appealed to the people to be cautious.

In an effort to intensify surveillance, the police has deputed personnel of the operation cell and CID in plain clothes at crowded places and tourist spots in the city. The police has also launched a drive to identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants settled in the city.



Nod to judicial complex site in Sec 76
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 25
A site in Sector 76, near Sohana village, has finally been approved for setting up the district administrative and judicial complexes here. The formal approval for the site was granted at a recent meeting of the building plan approval committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The meeting was chaired by Justice Mehtab Singh Gill. Deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandhari, president of the Mohali district bar association Avtar Singh Sidhu and other officials attended the meeting.

The Sector-76 site is one of the several sites shown by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and district administration to the committee members. The district bar president told The Tribune that 16 acres of land was required for setting up the two complexes. The site is near the developed sectors in the centre of the Mohali master plan. The site is also close to Sectors 76 to 80 being developed by GMADA.

He said the residential quarters of the district administrative and judicial officers would also be located near the complexes. Land at the approved site stands acquired by the GMADA.

There was a lot of opposition to an earlier site identified near Sanetta village. The site was located about 20 km away from Mohali. The site had been chosen keeping in view the fact that in the next 10 years, the site would be the heart of SAS Nagar as many new residential colonies were being planned in the vicinity of the village. But following the opposition by lawyers and political leaders, the site was dropped.

The district administration had also identified a site in Badmajra village and another in Sector 82. A GMADA official, after receiving a formal communication from the government, said the site would be put up for approval at a board meeting of GMADA. “It has to be seen whether the site was free from legal encumbrances. Sectors 76 to 80 are in litigation,” said the official.

Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu said: “The site is ideal for the city residents. Since the development of Mohali is towards south, the site is ideally located. The traffic moving towards the district administrative complex would be using the wide roads connecting the Kharara-Banur road and it would be accessible to the people coming from the rural areas of the district.”


UT hotspot for property buyers
NRIs find it most livable.
Emerging as hub of corporates and retail
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The global meltdown and recession in the real estate market have failed to dampen the spirits of property buyers in Chandigarh. The city has again lived up to its reputation of being the favourite destination for those wanting to settle and invest in property here, what with the Estate Office auction virtually breaking all previous records. In a way, the auction brought cheers to realtors in Chandigarh's periphery who had been reeling under severe recession for quite some time now.

"Given its world-class infrastructure, property in Chandigarh is much sought after by the high-end buyers, including the NRIs. They want to settle here since it was the most-livable city in the country," BK Sanghi, president of the Haryana Group Housing Federation, told Chandigarh Tribune.

Chandigarh is the only city where property prices have gone up even during severe recession. Sanghi went to extent of predicting that given the past trends, property prices here would rival the metros in the months to come. With coming up of mega-projects, including the IT park, property prices would skyrocket, he claimed.

Officials, who were apprehensive about the success of the auction in the wake of the flop of the Chandigarh Housing Board(CHB) auction recently, said the current prices (Rs 55,299/square yard for the residential and Rs 3,18,862/square yard for the commercial) showed encouraging signs. In the December 2007 auction, the prices were Rs 50,000 and Rs 2.9 lakh, for the residential and commercial property, respectively.

Meanwhile, MPS Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, claimed that commercial property was on an upswing in the city despite it being sold on leasehold basis. It was on account of the emergence of Chandigarh as the retail centre and hub of the big corporates, Chawla added.



36 nominated to PU Senate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The much-awaited list of 36 senators, who were to be nominated by the Chancellor of Panjab University, who in this case is the vice-president of India, was reportedly released today for the newly constituted PU senate.

According to sources, rumours were doing the rounds since morning in PU regarding the release of the list. If insiders are to believed those who have made it to the senate for a period of four years, 2008-12, include professor Shelley Walia, department of English, PU, Dr Krishan Gaba, Dr. H.S. Judge institute of dental sciences, PU, Satyapal Jain, former Member of Parliament, dean faculties of laws, Pawan Kumar Bansal, union minister of state for finance and Sadanand are among the 36 candidates who have been nominated by the Chancellor.

It is most likely that officially the list of Chancellors’ nominees will be released by tomorrow by Dr R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, PU.

It is pertinent to mention here that 47 members have already been elected from various constituencies for the senate, six senators are ex-officio members, two members are to be elected from the PU, other than 36 nominated members, making it a house of 91 members. The tenure of the new senate will begin from November 1.



Public safety at stake
Fire brigade cries for updated vehicles, equipment
Kulwinder Sangha
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 25
Despite the town expanding rapidly and high-rise buildings planned for the future, the fire brigade is still making do with ramshackle vehicles and outdated equipment. Neither the government nor GMADA is ready to loosen the purse strings to modernise the fire-fighting arrangements.

As the municipal council failed to arrange funds to purchase vehicles, it approached the government and GMADA authorities to provide financial help in this regard but could not receive any response.

The fire brigade has only two fire tenders, one water bouser, one mini fire tender and one fire jeep. One of the fire tenders is about 25 years old (1983 model) and the other is about 14 years old (1994 model). The fire jeep (1983) was also about 25 years old. The water bouser was purchased in 1996 and the mini fire tender in 2001.

Sources said the fire brigade officials had sent a proposal to the civic body in July last year in which it was pointed out that the vehicles and equitment were quite old. According to the recommendations of the Standing Fire Advisory Committee, it was necessary to replace 10-year-old vehicles in view of public safety.

The proposal was put up in a meeting of the body held on October 23, 2007, and was unanimously cleared. It was later sent to the office of the director, local governments for approval. The authorities concerned gave the required approval in June this year for the purchase of three fire-brigade vehicles saying funds would have to be managed by the civic body.

Responding to the letter, the executive officer (EO) of the municipal council requested the director through a letter dated September 11 for granting funds to the tune of Rs 20,82,636 for the purchase of chassis for the three vehicles as the civic body was fund starved. The council would, however, manage to arrange funds for the fabrication of the vehicles.

Next day, the EO wrote a letter to the chief administrator of GMADA in which it was stated that since the authority did not give any share of the income it earned from clearance of building plans in the town to the civic body, it should release a sum of Rs 40.87 lakh for the purchase of fire brigade vehicles.

The demand for a sky-lift has also not been entertained as the cost of the vehicle was about Rs 5 crore. The government had decided that the vehicle be purchased jointly by civic bodies of nearby towns, but the plan failed to be materialised as it was reported that other civic bodies were reluctant to contribute funds for the sky-lift.



A friend, mentor and guide to many
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
It is a sad comment on the times that we live in. Times in which a smiling face can hide an infinity of sorrow, times in which the closer we get, the farther we become. Times in which we never share what is closest to our hearts, times when we have no time to look deeper into the weathered eyes and discover that lurking tear.

Even a week after AS Chhatwal’s death, his colleagues who used to meet him every week or talk to him daily are unable to come to terms with the knowledge that he is no more.

“One day he was laughing into the telephone and the next day we hear he has chosen to leave us. Rejecting life, rejecting the most precious gift of God. Whatever the reasons, everything had a solution. I wish he had talked his heart out. I wish we had discussed our personal troubles also like we discussed our work,” say D.S Saroya, assistant secretary NRI affairs. Saroya knew Chhatwal since 1992 and recalls several incidents that changed the course of Chhatwal’s life.

Chhatwal, whose parents are teachers, did his schooling from AS Secondary School, Khanna and later went to study at AS College there. A brilliant student, Chhatwal went on to do MBBS from Government Medical College, Patiala. He married his colleague Manpreet in 1983. Then he decided to join the civil services.

He secured the sixth rank in the IAS entrance examination in 1986. One of the first students of the IAS Coaching Centre at Patiala to top, his teacher Vinod Sharma was proud of him. He retained Chhatwal’s mark-sheet for years.

As a young trainee officer, Chhatwal was attached with Shivinder Singh Brar, now financial commissioner taxation. “During the nine-month training he used to be with us every day over lunch. What struck me about him was his maturity even at that age. Later, we continued to be in close touch and many times I consulted him and even sought his advice. I often used him as a sounding board as I found him to be balanced and well-informed. It is a big personal loss,” said Brar.

When Chhatwal joined as SDM Talwandi Sabo, D.S Guru who is now the principal secretary to the chief minister was the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda. “He was a hardworking, sincere and honest officer with whom our professional relationship evolved into close family ties,” said Guru. Guru remained with Chhatwal’s family during the cremation and also accompanied them for the immersion of ashes.

Ever smiling, Chhatwal was affectionate and kind-hearted. “He was a man who gave, always. Never expected anything in return. His did all he could for his family and friends. People flocked to him, colleagues for advice, journalists for ideas and Civil Services’ aspirants for inspiration. His shoulders were strong and we all thought he would be there always,” said Ivninder Pal Singh, his cousin.



Diplomacy can help in shaping foreign policy: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Public diplomacy is an emerging area in international relations and fills in gaps where traditional diplomatic measures cannot enter. Stating this, while delivering a talk at Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Amit Dasgupta, joint secretary, public diplomacy division in the ministry of external affairs, said public diplomacy in India was born as recently as 2006 with the public diplomacy division being carved out at South Block.

Citing the creation of the division as a unique development since foreign policy was till then essentially seen as an exclusive reserve or prerogative of the government and of the Indian foreign service, he said.

However, engagement with society, academia, business community, industry, Parliamentarians and the media had become increasingly inescapable.



Thefts on rise in Zirakpur
Limited police force ineffective
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, October 25
There might be increased infrastructural development in and around Zirakpur but the town is also seeing a spurt in the incidents of theft and other crimes. Heinous crimes apart, daytime burglaries are becoming a headache for residents who have spent their hard-earned money to settle here.

Keep a watch

l Switch on your TV if you go out only for a night
l Do not lock the main gate of the house
l Inform your neighbours about your visit out of town
l Before going out, switch on a tube lights

The police officials admit that with a scanty force, it was impossible to map hundreds of residential colonies that have mushroomed in Zirakpur and surrounding areas. The accidents on the national highways passing through the town are enough to keep the cops busy. At times, cops do not even bother to visit the spots of thefts or burglaries.

“I went to the police to lodge the complaint. The cops registered the case simply on my complaint and there was no follow up,” said a resident of Ekta Vihar.

Ajay Bhagat, another resident of Ekta Vihar, alleged the police had not been able to solve any burglaries in the area last month.

Since January this year, around 43 cases of thefts have been reported. Recently, the police registered two separate incidents of thefts in Ravindra Enclave at Baltana. The thieves decamped with cash and jewellery after breaking into the houses.

According to the police, the most common modus operandi of the burglars was to enter the house after breaking the main door of the houses. The thieves mainly targeted locked houses after carrying out a survey of the target area.

There have been reports of migrant labour being involved in the thefts. With the increase in population of migrant labourers, the police was not in a position to keep tabs on their activities and trace their background and criminal links.

While talking to The Tribune, Ranjodh Singh, SHO, Zirakpur, said the cops were trying to trace the cases and keep vigil in the area. The police has also increased night patrolling.

The SHO has been appealing to the residents not to lock the front gates to hoodwink the thieves, who are on lookout for locked houses.



Principal shows ‘power’ to union leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
In an unprecedented show of brute force, a group of outsiders, at the behest of principal of the DAV College B.C. Josan, manhandled the leadership of the DAV College Employees’ Union yesterday evening.

In separate complaints filed with the president of the DAV College management, vice-chancellor of Panjab University and director, higher education, Chandigarh administration, the union has urged them to intervene in the matter and take immediate steps to put a stop to this kind of intimidation by the principal.

Prof A.K. Taneja, president of the DAV College Teachers’ Union, said: ‘The representatives of the union, along with the staff secretary, have been meeting the principal to chalk out the modalities for arranging a function for about 15 employees, who were awaiting a farewell since April 2007.

‘On October 24, the members of the staff were shocked to learn that without taking the staff secretary or the union leadership into confidence, the principal went ahead and unilaterally announced the Diwali dinner the same evening without any farewell function. The leadership had hoped that the Diwali dinner would also see a proper farewell for their colleagues, but because this did not happen, the union executive decided to boycott the function. The same decision was unanimously approved at the general body meeting the same afternoon. The office-bearers were asked to convey the decision to other members, who could not attend the meeting.”

Prof Anil Sarwal, secretary of the DAV College Teachers’ Union, said: “As per these directions, when Prof A.K. Taneja and Prof Avanindra Chopra, president and staff secretary of the union, and Som Nath, president, Non-teaching Employees’ Union, reached the college in the evening and were sitting in their union office, principal Josan, along with six-seven outsiders, barged into the room and threatened them with dire consequences even pushing and shoving the staff secretary who attempted to pacify the aggressive and abusive principal and his friends.”

“As if this was not enough, when I arrived, I was heckled in the college parking lot by a group of outsiders at the behest of the principal. Suddenly, a couple of them advanced towards me, using the most filthy and abusive language while trying to land punches on me. All this time, the principal continued to threaten us with dire consequences,” he added.

“Meanwhile, the police arrived and one of the outsiders accused me of being drunk when everyone knows that I am a teetotaller. When I insisted for my medical examination, the officer in charge, Sohan Singh, refused saying that he was quite sure that this was not true and no examination was needed,” he further said.

Staff secretary Prof Avanindra Chopra said: “This is our blackest Diwali ever. Perhaps this is an aftermath of our successful struggle for the CPF and leave encashment. We have also been trying to bring to the notice of the college authorities the gross irregularities in college admissions, especially in much sought-after courses like BCom, BBA, BCA, etc. wherein many deserving students were denied admission, and some other instances of mismanagement. No meeting of the college academic and staff councils or other statutory bodies has been held despite several reminders. All this has enraged the principal who has acted in the most unbecoming manner.”



DAV-8 courts controversy
Principal’s husband ‘interferes’ in school affairs
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Controversies seem to have become synonymous with DAV Sector 8. An otherwise innocuous incident of the principal’s husband doing a routine security check may snowball into yet another controversy with chowkidar Jaspal Singh, questioning his authority to do so.

In a written complaint addressed to the principal, the chowkidar said at 5 am, he spotted a man trying to take a bicycle, who later turned out to be none other than principal Vibha Ray’s husband, who claimed it to be on a routine security check.

Questioning his authority to do so, Jaspal Singh said, “I am a peon who is being forced to work as a night guard. He has no right to check me. When I complained to the principal, she not only pressurised me to withdraw my written complaint by tearing it off, but also threatening me with suspension if I took up the matter, as according to her she was authorised to allow anybody to check me. I will not do this night duty now.”

The matter that could have otherwise been solved by negotiation was blown out of proportion by the act of tearing the complaint. According to an official, “She tore off all the copies, even the ones marked to the union. She openly threatened him of suspension, if he took up the matter.”

Meanwhile, the union of the non-teaching staff of the school is in no mood to relent. “Every employee has a right to complain. Tearing of his complaint was unjustified, we will hold a meeting on Monday to decide the further course of action,” president Pawan Paul said.



Diwali mela at Chandi Mandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
A two-day Diwali Mela began at Chandimandir Military Station. Stalls set up by the inmates of Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Mohali, and by the special children from the AWWA-run Asha School, Chandimandir, are the special attractions. The mela is organised to celebrate the festival of lights with gaiety and enthusiasm. Joy rides, shooting, archery, fast food and various stalls with fancy items like brassware, glassware and hosiery are all at a display. The mela was inaugurated by the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen T K Sapru. A grand fire works display will be held on Tuesday evening as part of the Diwali celebrations.



Don't rely on MC website
Not updated since August
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Don't be too sure about the authenticity of the information you get from the official website of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) as the authorities seemed to have forgotten to update it for a long time. If you dial the number of MP Pawan Kumar Bansal available on the website, your call would be attended by the corporation mayor, Pardeep Chhabra.

If you make a call to the mayor at the number existing on the website, it would be ringing at his predecessor Harjinder Kaur's phone. Strange, but it is true. It seems that while updating the names of the councillors, the officials of the information technology (IT) department did not remember to change their contact numbers.

If one goes with the information available on the website, no house meeting was convened by the corporation after the month of August. As per the decision taken by the house in August, every agenda item tabled in any committee or house meeting would be available online for the public. But while going through the website, one could find that nothing new has been made available online to the public so far. It is strange that neither the councillors nor officials are bothered to get this decision executed.

Surprisingly, in a section of the IT achievement column on the website, the corporation authorities claims that the development of the website is one of their major achievements. As per the records available on the website, a team of three IT personnel, including one computer programmer and two data entry operators, are responsible for the upgrading of web pages, designing and development of the website. Interestingly, nowhere on the website it is mentioned as to when it was last updated by the authorities.

A nominated councillor, Dr A.P. Sanwaria, stated that the officials were violating the decision of the house by not updating the website timely. In this IT age, the corporation is still depending on paper work by not providing any online information to the public.

A member of the intellectual cell contacted the corporation authorities a number of times to update the website, but all in vain.



UT officials visit Tagore theatre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The officials of Chandigarh administration visited the Sector 18 Tagore Theatre today to inspect the last-minute progress of the renovation work.

The home secretary, Ram Niwas, along with chief engineer Krishanjit Singh were also present there. They also witnessed the rehearsal of the function, which is to be held on its formal inauguration day on October 29.

The senior citizens’ group along with other artists rehearsed on the newly made dais of the theatre.



Eco-friendly sports in vogue
Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, October 25
With environment being a major concern world over its time for the sports fraternity to execute their share of responsibility.

The concept might seem surprising but it is the driving force behind the project green vision, being professed and undertaken by a city-based NGO, Eco-Friendly Sports.

A brainchild of Vivek Lakhanpal, an employee of Haryana electricity department, the project was an outcome of concerns flying past the sport, “I have been playing table tennis for past 25 years and it might amaze you that even while watching sports I wonder how much power is being exhausted by those big lights and the carbon released in environment,” he said.

The main aim of the project is to use CFL lights, which are considered more cool and bright, by replacing the halogen lamps and metal halide lights, which are used in the table tennis hall and other sports complexes.

“A 30 watt CFL has equal potential to that of a 100 watt ordinary bulb thus we can save 70 per cent of the energy by using CFL lights and this saved energy can be utilised installing ACs in sports complexes and stadium halls, with no extra cost to pay,” he opined.

This saved electricity can also be helpful in raising the infrastructure of sports like solar powered sports stadiums and solar heated swimming pools where our sportsmen can utilise the facility throughout the year especially in winter.

“Even this year in the Beijing Olympics the CFL lights were used in the table tennis halls,” he said.

This electrician professes that even the simple methods like harvesting the playgrounds through rainwater, dip irrigation and planting trees around the sports stadiums can be helpful. “It might take an extra effort but the outcome is very effective for the environment,” he quipped.

He is confident of raising the standard of sports arena and of organising the tournaments of International level, with his tools. “If we want our players to perform at Olympic Games then it also becomes our duty to create that kind of environment for them,” he said.

The sports loving persons, who will be helpful in first of its kind of venture, includes Sanjeev Kaushal, MD HPGCL, Vijendra Singh MD, UHBVN, R.S. Singh, director principal, NPS and organisation who have the knowledge of environment challenges.



Chasing dreams, all alone
Youth today are moving to big cities and metros, away from their family and friends, in search of better prospects
Ravia Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
“If no one listens to your call, walk alone
if in fear they cower, mutely facing the wall,
open your mind and speak out alone.”

These lines perhaps describe exactly that was going on in Rajiv’s mind when he left his small town in Rajasthan almost five years back and came to the city to fulfil his dreams.

Rajiv Garg (25), an MBA, initially worked with the ICICI Bank in the city, but later moved on to open Dance World, a dance school in Sector 17.

When asked how he feels being alone here away from his loved ones, the reply, though was not very clear, as he was neither contented being in a small town of Rajasthan nor is he thrilled with the city lifestyle here.

He seems to be in a fix as he says he cannot leave an established business here. But then, it’s the happiness which he feels is lacking in his life.

On the contrary, Michael Matthow (25), a dance instructor, feels just the opposite. Matthow says he likes being here and never enjoys when he goes to his hometown in Delhi during vacations. He doesn’t have a peer group back home as all his friends have moved out. And those who are there, are busy with their routine work and don’t have time to strengthen that old bond.

Over-vaulting ambition and materialistic success is haunting Anu (28), who is in the city, not out of choice, for the last one year. After her husband’s death, she was left to fend for herself with her close ones turning their back on her.

For Anu big bucks hold no meaning, as she has no one around to share her success or failure. Wondering if relationships are increasingly mediated through money, Anu says even though she was earning well back home in Himachal, she was still left alone and for her it’s not the money which binds a relationship.

“Ants are a curious race, one crossing with hurried tread, the body of one of their dead isn’t given a moment’s arrest,” describes well the sate of Varun’s mind. A journalist by profession, Varun Rattan, who was doing well in Delhi, failed to find a support system there and decided to go back to his roots in the city.

According to him, he was just another face in the crowd there whom nobody ever knew except for his colleagues. “Fighting the wild corporate world outside with the support of my family here is the reason for me to be with my loved ones in the city.”

An upwardly moving society is on its toes in search of better prospects. The loss of primary relationships like family and friendship, are perhaps looked down upon.

Kumar Bibek (30), an IT professional, opines: “This is where we all are zeroing in. We will all become mechanical one day. With a spurt in IT jobs, concentrated mainly in the metros, people are moving away from homes. They often forget the birthdays of their dear ones, cut short their vacations even for their own marriages.”

According to psychologist Ribhu Goyal: “Emptiness is a perceived phenomenon. Till the time we perceive ourselves as lonely or alone, we have higher chances of falling prey to what is called as emptiness syndrome.

When people move out of their homes, they are bound to take time in adjusting with the changes. It is observed that any kind of change is stressful and one needs time to get over that stress of change. It is likely to become a problem if too much time is taken to adjust with the change. Once this maladjustment starts affecting the routine life of any given individual, it’s time to seek professional help. It’s not bad to be alone, but it’s always bad to be lonely. This is what we need to practice in order to attain a positive outlook and optimistic attitude in life,” she concludes.



Soulful sitar recital marks 2nd day of sangeet sammelan
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, October 25
The melody magic brought alive by young maestros yesterday was further augmented with a soul sitar recital and a versatile vocal performance on the second day of the ongoing 31st Chandigarh Sangeet sammelan organised by the Indian National Theatre at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

The Kolkata based acclaimed sitar maestro, Debaprasad Chakraborty, opened up with exposition of raga ‘kedar’ bared its melodic essence while delineating the raga form through an elaborate alaap, ‘jod’ and later the ‘jhalla’. He doled out a slow paced (vilambat) composition in ‘teen tal’, followed by ‘drut’ gat. He concluded the recital with a dhun in raga ‘pilu’. The maestro virtually sent the inqusitive audience into a scintillating reverie by maintaining the pristine purity of raga and displaying nimble finger work and layakari. Young tabla virtuoso, Avirbhav Verma, provided equally brilliant accompaniment.

In the second session the maestro from Mumbai, Pandit Raje Kale, too maintained the pace of excellence. A confident and assertive Raja ruled the stage supported by equally competent accompanists Padmashri Mehmood Daholpuri and Dr Paramjit Singh on harmonium and tabla respectively. His potential of professional excellence was perceptible, as he commenced the bada khyal composition “Mein yun hi’ in raga ‘maru bihag’. Amidst applause the maestro presented more compositions in a rare raga ‘Dhanbasanti’ and a ‘thumri’ in raga ‘mishar kafi’ before concluding the recital with a Tulsidas ‘bhajan’. Accompanying on tanpura, Preeti, and his disciple Shyam Joshi provided vocal support. Vocalist Vinita Gupta conducted the programme.



Poetic Symposium
Eminent poets regale audience
S.D. Sharma

Panchkula, October 25
Well-known poets from the region read out their verses on diverse themes of socio-cultural relevance at a poetic symposium organised by the Haryana Punjabi Sahit Akademi in association with Kidar Adabi Trust at the akademi bhawan here today.

The poets articulated the struggle, strife, sufferings of a common man consequent to the current political and administrative turmoil in the two-hour literary treat.

Opening up the ‘mushaira’, B.R. Diwana defined his ghazal as wishes for friends, while Gurbax Saini delineated the cruelty of rule in couplet “Issa nu bhi tangya suli samein samein sarkaran ne”. The septuagenarian humorous poet, Hari Singh Dilbar, had a dig on yoga in “Taadiyan mareyan vadhe je nazr loko, phir khusre kyon ainkan layi firde”.

On persistent request, chief guest Ramender Jakhu, also a poet of national eminence, too, gave a glimpse of his poetic potential pulsating with idealism. On friendship he said, “Jab dost keh diya hai phir khamiyan naa dekh, tukdon mein jo kabool ho voh dosti nahin”. Prominent poets who regaled the audience included Siri Ram Arsh, Kidar Nath Kidar, Manjit Indra, Kulwant Rafiq, Harbhajan Komal, Harbhajan Renu, Sufi Jagjit, S.S. Surjit, Saini, Balwant Lali, S.L. Kanwal. Noted poet Sham Singh conducted the ‘mushaira’ with admirable competence.

Earlier, the akademi director, C.R. Moudgil, and Adabi Trust president Kidar Nath Kidar welcomed and presented mementos to chief guest Ramender Jakhu, commissioner and secretary, Haryana government, and guest of honour Rajender Kataria, deputy commissioner, Panchkula, who later honoured the poets. Kataria exhorted the poets to take the message of social relevance laced in their poetry to the masses.



‘Jhankar 2008’ creates musical ambience
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 25
Throbbing beats, pulsating music and overwhelming ambience marked the annual function ‘Jhankar 2008’ at Swami Ram Tirtha Public High School here.

A peppy display of dance steps by tiny tots was greatly applauded by the audience.

Highlight of the show was the giddha and bhangra. Awards were distributed among the academic achievers of the past year. The programme concluded with a fire dance.



Schools and Colleges
Rajesh wins quiz
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Maharishi Dayanand Public School, Daria, Chandigarh, organised a quiz on popularisation of science in collaboration with Chandigarh Renewable Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society. Rajesh and Kusum stood first. Nikhil and Sushil bagged second position. Amarjit and Geeta were third.

Programme in charge Prabha Bhainsora said the main aim of the competition was to popularise science. Principal Vinod Kumar gave away prizes to the winners.

Drawing Contest

‘Have a pollution-free Diwali’ and ‘Save the nation’ were the themes of a drawing competition held to celebrate the festival of lights on the campus of Kendriya Vidyalaya, No. 23, BRD Air Force Station here today. Students also took part in folk dance competitions.

Folk-song contest

An inter-college Punjabi folk-song competition was held today at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh, as part of Chandigarh administration’s action plan for gender sensitisation. Raji P. Srivastava, director, higher education, was chief guest.



Pre-Diwali celebrations at schools
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 25
Diwali was celebrated at Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi. A pre-Diwali programme was organised by Prof Gurpreet Kaur, dean, cultural activities.

Golden Bells: At the Golden Bells, Sector 77, the students celebrated Diwali on school’s premises. The students of the school pledged not to burst crackers.

Shivalik Public School: Students from KG to Class III of Shivalik Public School, Phase VI, here, participated in a week-long celebration with various activities. Students of Class I participated in colour competition and made celebration cards. Students of Class II and III participated in card-making competition.



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