C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mumbai Attack
2 Mohali families lose their kin
* 22-year-old daughter of DIG (ITBP), training at the Oberoi, shot
* Retired Major-Gen’s daughter-in-law, grandsons die of asphyxiation at Taj

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

IN HAPPIER DAYS WITH DADDY: Jasleen with her father, Maninder Singh Bhurjee
. Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, November 27
The dance of death in Mumbai cast its shadow even in Mohali. As a horrified nation watched the aftermath of the bloody terror attacks in the country’s financial capital, closer home the kin of two Mohali-based families spent the day making arrangements to bring back the bodies of their children.

Maninder Singh Bhurjee, a DIG with the ITBP, Bhanu, lost his 22-year-old daughter Jasmine, a hotel management student with the Oberoi Hotel. Only yesterday, he and his wife were planning an akand path to celebrate the newly constructed upper floors of their house in Phase IX. They were expecting their Gurgaon-based engineer son, Parmeet, to be with them.

But a phone call from Himanshu, a co-trainee with their daughter, shattered their world. Gurdyal, the victim’s maternal aunt, told The Tribune that the girl’s parents and brother had gone to Mumbai.

Jasmine was pursuing a two-year postgraduate degree in hotel management from Oberoi, Delhi, and was on a five-month training with eight other students in Mumbai.

She was at the reception along with Himanshu when the terrorists sprayed bullets. She died on the way to hospital after being wounded in her arm. “Her duty was to get over by 10 pm. But destiny had something else in store for her,” her paternal aunt said.

After doing her schooling and college from Chandigarh, she had done her graduation in hotel management from Jaipur and then went to Shimla and later Delhi to pursue her career. Himanshu also told them that some women were accompanying the terrorists when they entered the hotel.

Meanwhile, Maj-Gen J.S. Kang (retd) of Kandala village here lost his daughter-in-law Neeti (43) and grandsons Udhay (14) and Samar (5) in the attack on Taj Hotel. His son Karanbir is a general manager with the hotel. While he was away, his wife and two sons were trapped in a fire started by the terrorists. They reportedly died of asphyxiation.

Maj-Gen Kang, who is suffering from blood cancer, and his wife are with their daughter in Behrain. A relative who lives in Phase X said they got information about the tragedy from her nephew, Karanbir. “He was in constant touch with his wife. Hearing gunshots, she had locked herself in a bathroom and refused to come out,” she said.



Plain Lucky
City students took refuge in bank
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
“Those moments were the most horrible ones in my life and I could see death in front of me.” recalls D.S. Thakur, professor at the Government College of Arts here, who, along with 40 college students, was stuck in a bank in the fort area of Mumbai the whole of last night.

He said they were lucky to be alive. “We were shopping when some students wished to go to an ATM to withdraw money. When we reached the DM fort area, we heard explosives. We thought these were crackers, but soon realised that these were gunshots and rushed for shelter in a nearby bank.” he said.

The group of 40 students and three teachers took refuge in Deutsche Bank where they spent the entire night.

“We were lucky that we got refuge there. The staff was good and offered us tea and coffee. But we were scared and with each passing moment, the situation deteriorated,” Nitin, a student, said.

Their relatives also spent an anxious night. “My son called me at around 11 pm and told us that there was some firing. Earlier, I thought it was a minor incident, but when the news started coming in we got scared. I spent the entire night praying for my son’s safety,” a mother said.

Meanwhile, V. Kumar, a Sector 33 resident, was also reportedly stuck in Colaba, Mumbai, last night. Speaking to The Tribune over the phone, he said: “I had a harrowing time as I had gone to the Taj to attend a ceremony, but got stuck in the vicinity as the entire area was sealed. Every body was running for cover and many had been shot.”



Security in place: IGP
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Hospitals on standby

The deputy medical superintendent and head of the disaster management, health department, Chandigarh, Dr S.K. Bhandari, said city hospitals were prepared to deal with any eventuality. As many as 100 beds are vacant and our paramedics and ambulances are on alert round the clock. The PGI and the GMCH-32 is also prepared for any such situation. 

Chandigarh, November 27
“It requires an alert intelligence wing to ensure the preparedness to tackle any eventuality like Mumbai attacks,” says S.K. Jain, UT IGP.

Reacting to the terrorist strike in Mumbai, he claimed that the force here was more or less prepared for any such eventuality.

“The stronger the intelligence, the better it is for the force to handle such situations,” he said, adding that actually the preparedness of the police was linked to prior intelligence reports.

However, the top brass of the local police feels that the intelligence machinery needs augmentation. “Certainly, there is need to enhance the intelligence machinery. If we have prior intelligence information of such attacks, we can react effectively to prevent it or deal with it. An attack of this magnitude is serious. To handle with such a grave situation, a lot of preparedness is required, besides the paraphernalia,” Jain said.

He reiterated that there was no need to worry as elaborate security arrangements were in place in the city in case of any emergency.

Giving details, he said: “The entire force, including two quick reaction teams and over 75 commandos, and units of three different reserve forces are on high alert. The forces of the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana can also be sought during an emergency.”


Foreign tourists lay low
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Foreign tourists visiting the city have reacted strongly to the Mumbai attack. “It is frightening and we are anxious about the development in Mumbai,” says Ricky Nielson, a Briton.

“Till yesterday, we were enjoying our holiday in India, but we are wary after the attack on tourists in Mumbai,” he added.

Like him, several foreigners, wanted to return to their native places. “Our friends who were going to Mumbai have delayed their visit for 10 days and are now reluctant to go there,” Rihea, also from the UK, said.

They revealed that they had got directions from their respective embassies to be cautions and not to interact to strangers. “We received directions from our embassy early this morning, warning us to be cautions,” Rihea said.

“Right after the incident, I received a message from home enquiring about my safety after my family watched news on television. This shows what kind of affect the blast had,” Peter Robinson, another tourist, said.

“It was unexpected as this kind of incident has happened for the first time in which foreigners have been targeted. And I think the British and Americans are now being singled out in blasts,” he added.

Even hotels where foreigners are staying have been given special instructions not to let them talk to anyone. “We can’t allow you to talk to our foreign guests as we have been given a strong direction that they should not even talk to the media,” a PRO of Hotel Taj said.



Bookings take a hit
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The airline and rail traffic to Mumbai was affected today. There are reports of passengers delaying their travel schedule. Compared to other days, the number of passengers boarding flights to Mumbai was less. “Today, we had 80 seats booked for Mumbai, but it has declined to 60 because of the tragedy in Mumbai,” said Gurbaksh, an official with Jet Airways.

It was the scene with other airlines too. An official at the ticket counter of Kingfisher Airlines admitted that the response was poor. Alok, the manager, said they had guidelines from their head office for not sharing information regarding this.

“We don’t want to take chances and have delayed our programme by a few days,” a passenger said.

Even those who boarded the Mumbai-bound Paschim Express were anxious. Most of them knew that the trouble was in South Mumbai and the train terminated at Bandra.

But there were reports of cancellation of bookings. Around 40 passengers approached the Chandigarh station to cancel their bookings.

A group of students were among those who cancelled their reservation. “Only those who have urgent work in Mumbai are going there,” a railway official said.

“I have an official meeting tomorrow and that is why I am going there. My family was to accompany me, but won’t do so now,” a passenger at the railway station said.

Even travel agencies are feeling the heat. “There was no ticket booking today,” Prakash Negi, a sales officer at Bajaj Agency, said. “We had 10-15 cancellations today,” said Rajvinder Sandhu of Teji Tours and Travels.



Allow free trade of industrial goods via Wagah border: Traders
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
India and Pakistan must work towards pooling their resources and working towards economic prosperity in the region. The neighbouring countries cannot continue to work in isolation or at cross-purposes. The most important step in this direction would be to allow free trade of all industrial goods via the Wagah border.

This was the common sentiment expressed by the industry leaders and trade representatives from the two countries, during an international seminar on Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South Asia, at Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here this evening.

Though the two countries have been trading in agricultural goods, via the Wagah border, the industrial goods are sent to Pakistan via the sea route. “This is a very expensive preposition for the industrialists from Punjab, who first have to send goods all the way to Mumbai and then via sea or air to Karachi.

If the two governments were to open the Wagah border for free trade, the trade between the two countries would increase manifold and would lead to economic upliftment of the region,” said Kamal Monnoo, an industrialist from Pakistan.

The Indo-Pak bilateral trade has been progressing at a steady pace. From trade worth $300 million in 2002, it had increased to $1.98 billion now. By the end of this year, the trade is expected to increase to $2 billion. A. M. Sawhney, deputy managing director of Punjab Tractors, agreed with Monnoo on allowing free trade via Wagah, and said that this would go a long way in uniting the two Punjabs.

“PTL is exporting combine harvesters to Pakistan via the Karachi port. The transportation cost via Karachi is $4,000, which could be reduced to just $1,000 if allowed via Wagah,” he said.

Sukhdev Raj, a hand tool manufacturer from Jalandhar, even mooted the idea of having joint ventures with the Pakistani businessmen.

“Pakistan is strong in surgical equipment, and we are good in hand tools. Industrialists from both the countries can work together and we would then become a force to reckon with in the South Asian region,” he said.

Syed Faisal Hassan, a rice miller from Lahore, said both Pakistan and India are leading basmati rice exporters.

“If we were to join hands on common issues related to basmati trade, millers and farmers in both countries will prosper,” he said.



MC special meeting a farce
Councillors, officials skirt real issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The issue of status report of projects took backstage during a special meeting convened today, as councillors and officials of the Chandigarh municipal corporation engaged in a futile exercise of discussing other issues.

During the meeting, councillors deviated from the main issue and remained busy levelling allegations and taking up petty issues of their areas.

The seriousness of councillors was gauged from the fact that they did not allow discussion on the agendas prepared for the meeting in the two-hour-long proceedings.

Councillors raised minor issues of their areas rather than discuss about the projects approved by the house in the past two years for the benefit of city residents.

BSP councillor Ram Sumer Morya threatened to resign from the house if the authorities did not take care of the development works in the colonies of his wards. Also, Congress councillor Davinder Singh Babla pointed out the problem of leakage of sewerage in his area and installation of play equipment in city parks. A number of councillors raised the issues of shortage of staff, lengthy procedures, limited number of contractors, low quality and lack of monitoring of development works and want of coordination among councillors and officials.

When MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria started discussion on measures to resolve these problems, the councillors did not show any curiosity to discuss them further.

No concrete result could emerge out of the proceedings as no unanimous decision could be reached to remove bottlenecks in the present system.

The house concluded without taking any tangible decision. Almost all councillors who participated in the meeting pointed out petty mistakes in the report relating to their statements in the house or wrong information about the status of projects passed by the house. Also, shortcomings in the report exposed the seriousness on part of officials preparing it.

BSP councillor Jatinder Bhatia, pointed out that under the agenda of menace of cattle, dogs and monkey no decision was put up and under the action taken report column it was written that dogs bylaws had been framed.

Congress councillor Anu Chatrath raised the objection that a statement presented in the report was never said the in the house. After the drama, the councillors stood up in praise of officials for the efficient work and found the system smooth and productive.



Agro Tech 2008
Gateway to latest global technologies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Mechanisation of farms for pre and post-harvest, adoption of better farming practices, strengthening of logistics infrastructure, establishment of more state-of-the-art processing facilities and easy availability of finance - these are the areas that can help Indian agriculture reap the benefits of rapidly increasing demand in domestic and international markets and also usher in a new era of prosperity for the farmers.

These are also the key focus areas of Agro Tech 2008 in keeping with the theme “Enhancing Technology & Business in Agriculture”, said Gautam Thapar, chairman Agro Tech 2008, while launching the 8th edition of the biennial agro-technology and business fair, to begin from tomorrow here.

He said it would help provide Indian farmers with a gateway to the latest global technologies and help make Indian agriculture a highly viable economic activity in the international environment. “This would be possible as international agencies and companies from seven countries, state governments, corporates and niche producers are displaying their large array of agri-products and services in the areas of food and beverage, dairy, biotechnology, corporate advisory services, post-harvest systems and consultancy,” he said.

Salil Singhal, chairman CII northern region, stated: “There would be a strong focus on extension services and outreach to develop and expand the capacity of farmer to utilise the benefits of technology, communication and facilities. “Agro Tech has always been supported by both the corporate world as well the government,” said Gokul Patnaik, chairman, Agro Tech Conferences.

Agro Tech 2008 will see senior government functionaries, captains of the corporate world and international experts hold discussions on various issues like organised retail on food value chain, diversification of agriculture versus food security, new drivers in food processing sector, etc.



Himmat Singh Gill cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The last remains of Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd), a prolific writer and noted defence columnist, who died here on November 25, were consigned to flames at the Sector 25 cremation ground, here today.

Family members of Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill at his cremation in Chandigarh on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Hundreds of persons from different walks, including defence forces, administration and media, attended the funeral. Khushwant Gill, son of Gen Gill, and M.S. Gill, union minister of state for sports and youth affairs, his elder brother, lit the funeral pyre. Wreaths were placed on the body on behalf of several organisations, including his regiment Hodson's Horse.

Son of late Col Partap Singh Gill, a former Lt-Governor of the erstwhile Goa, Daman and Diu, Gen Gill held several important assignments during his distinguished career, including defence attache at Kabul (Afghanistan). He also commanded an army division in the North East. The bhog and antim ardas will be held at the Sector 8 gurdwara from 12.30 pm on November 30.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal mourned the sad demise of Gen Gill. In a condolence message, Badal recalled his meritorious services in the defence and diplomatic circles and described his passing away as a national loss.



Arrears to Farmers
Govt relief comes just in time
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
In a dramatic turn of events, the Punjab government announced to release Rs 17.5 crore as arrears to farmers in December and promised the rest of the amount in January just as the police initiated action against protesting peasants here today.

It also appealed to the Bhatri Kisan Union, Punjab, (BKUP) to end its stir here.

The announcement was made by the OSD (officer on special duty) to Punjab’s chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at the police station-17, where the police had taken the protesting farmers after rounding them up.

The police, after sharing information with intelligence agencies, decided to remove the protesters from the open area near the Parade Ground in Sector 17.

Confirming the development, BKUP president Balbir Singh Rajewal told the TNS that the OSD announced to release Rs 17.5 crore in December and the rest of the amount in January next year.

He also assured to fix a meeting of the union members with the chief minister on other demands.

He requested the union to defer its protest assuring that the demands would be met at the earliest. Rajewal, however, stated that they would conduct a meeting on Friday on the further course of action.

The police was in the process of booking farmers under preventive measures and was about to fulfil the formalities when they received a phone call from chief minister’s residence. The proceedings were stopped when they were told that the OSD was on the way, said sources.

The protesters had staged an indefinite protest on November 25 demanding release of arrears of Rs 37 crore pending against Sugerfed, besides several other demands.

The police, earlier justifying its action against the protesters, said they had told them to move to the rally ground in Sector 25, which was the designated place for protests.

As the protesters refused to move, the action was taken against them. The protesters, on the other hand, alleged that the police used force on them and did not allow them to collect their articles.

They also dragged some of the elderly farmers and pushed them into police vehicles. The police, however, maintained that they did not misbehave with the protesters.

The protesters were insisting for fixing a time limit to release payment for sugar crops, immediate release of tube-well connections to the general category farmers and action against the sand mafia, which was harassing farmers by not allowing them to quarry sand from their own fields.



‘Krishna’ leaves audience spellbound
S.D. Sharma

Panchkula, November 27
The Sri Ram Bhartyia Kala Kendra presented a divine dance drama “Krishna” at the Inderdhanush auditorium under the aegis of Haryana Kala Parishad.

The three-hour spectacle on the life of Lord Krishna depicted many episodes, which gave a complete index of his divine incarnation, immortality wisdom, valour and statesmanship. Much that we know through the holy epics like the childhood prankster, indulging in fun and frolic with divine consort Radha and her sakhis were brought to life by over 30 accomplished classical dancers and actors.

Every episode from his birth, childhood in Mathura, killing king Kans, saviour of Draupadi from indignation and Pandvas at all junctures were perfectly executed with adroit dancing mudras in all dazzling dances based on classical dance genres of kathak, chhau and kalairipet.

The lead actors Vidya and Rakesh Saibabu were at their best while depicting the agonies and pangs of separation of their respective characters Radha and Krishna.

The large audiences submerged in devotion were enraptured with the skilled and geometrically measured acting and dancing movements besides the gems of wisdom.

The thought provoking divine utterances of Lord Krishna, as enshrined in then holy Bhagwad Gita defining religion as an ingredient of mind and soul of man were well received. It brooks no self-esteem and postulates a culture that drives you on for the welfare of all with animosity towards none, enunciated Krishna.



Rs 4.25 lakh earmarked for basant mela
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 27
For the first time in the town the Municipal Council has proposed to organise a two-day ‘basant mela’ in the Silvi Park in Phase X and a sum of Rs 4.25 lakh have been earmarked for the purpose.

The proposal, prepared by an 11-member committee, would be put up for approval at the meeting of the civic body tomorrow. There is a plan to organise a traditional dress competition, folk dances, plays on historical themes, sufi songs and kite flying competition during the mela.

The committee had also decided to name the open air theatre in the Silvi Park after the name of Balwant Gargi and purchase furniture, apart from getting a power connection, for it.

The committee was constituted at the civic body meeting held on July 29 which was asked to chalk out programmes for the open air theatre on the pattern of Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh so that the facility could be properly utilised. While nine members of the committee had knowledge about the culture of the state, the president and the executive officer were made the permanent members of the panel.

The members of the committee who have been entrusted the work of encouraging cultural activities for the open air theatre are Rajinder Singh Rana and Amna Kumar Goel, president and executive officer of the council, respectively, Charan Singh Sindhra, Dolly Guelaria, Manmohan Singh Daon, Gurkirpal Surapuri, Surinder Singh, Davinder Daman, Anita Shabdeesh, Gurdarshan Singh Bal and Phool Raj Singh.



Conference on global financial crisis tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 27
Even as the government of all major economies around the globe are unable to tame the financial crisis even after injecting trillions of dollars, the expert believe that the harder times, detrimental economical growth and liquidity crunch, is likely to stay here for atleast another two years.

Understanding the importance of the global economic scenario, Chandigarh Business School, Landran, is organising a national conference on “Global Financial Crisis and its likely impact on Indian economy” on 29th November.

To address this grave problem, some of the eminent persons from academia and industry would offer their opinions on the recent turmoil in the stock market and the fluctuation of Indian currency.

Among the representatives from academicians’ front are Dr S.C. Vadiya, dean Punjabi University; Dr R.S. Ghuman, dean and head economics Punjabi University; Dr J.S. Pasricha, head commerce department Punjabi University; and Dr A.K. Vashisht, Prof Punjab University etc would throw light on the issue.



Sanitation services to go private
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The Chandigarh municipal corporation will privatise sanitation services of villages, colonies and sectors of the city. The decision to this effect was taken at the general house meeting of the municipal corporation held here today.

MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria told the house that the corporation was going to appoint over 850 employees to collect garbage in the city.

He said it had been decided to have free door-to-door collection of garbage in villages and colonies.

On the issue of re-fixing of reserve price of commercial property for auction on leasehold basis, a number of councillors suggested that the corporation should not go in for auction during global economic meltdown. The house approved the agenda.

Other agenda items approved by the house included rough cost estimate of V6 road in Sector 44, estimate for deep bore tubewell at Faidan village, rough cost estimate for providing and fixing mat finished paver blocks in Sector 17, estimate for boring of tubewell in water works, Sector 26, and minutes of meeting to discuss the issue regarding holding of mega lok adalat.



Terror Attack
BJYM activists hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) today organised a rally in protest against the terror attack on Mumbai.

The BJYM activists gathered at the Aroma trafficlights in Sector 22 and burnt the effigy of terror.

The information technology cell of the BJP also condemned the attack.

The Iqra Foundation of Minorities, while terming the the attack “shameful, highly condemnable”, urged the state and central governments to act firmly against the terrorists.

Meanwhile, UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues expressed shock over the loss of lives in the incident.



‘C’ Forms
Admn extends deadline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The Chandigarh administration today extended the last date for submission of “C” forms for the annual return for the year 2007-08 to March 31, 2009, on the Punjab pattern. Meanwhile, Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, has thanked the administration for realising the difficulties of the traders. This will provide more time to traders to file their returns.



100 intravenous stands donated to PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Jai Bhawani Jagran Mandal, Sohana, today donated 100 IV stands to the medical superintendent, PGI, for use in emergency and other wards of hospital.

The organisation has already donated 100 plastic benches for patients especially in the emergency.

The mandal is a religious organisation and aims to help the needy persons. While, Life line, an NGO, has donated 10 patient’s trolleys to GMCH-32.



No water supply

Chandigarh, November 27
Due to urgent repair of the water supply pipe line at Sector 32-33, V-4 road roundabout tomorrow, there will be no water supply in Sector 20-C and D, 21 C and D, 31, 32, 33, 34 and 44, 45, 46 and 47. As per the corporation that there would be no water supply from 9 am to 7 pm in these sectors. — TNS



NAAC report has some praise for PU
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
It’s bouquets and brickbats for Panjab University by the NAAC (National Accreditation and Assessment Council) team that visited the university recently. The report submitted by the eight-member committee, has praises as well as shortcomings and challenges for the university.

Surprisingly, the challenges in front of the university include dealing with the increasing trend of politicising in elections to student bodies and managing with the shortage of faculty. The report also mentions it as a challenge to resolve the issue of uncertain flow of grants from the state and the centre. On the macro level, creation of new central universities, private universities and other world-class universities also pose a competition as well as a challenge to the PU.

Besides, the NAAC team members have also recommended that the university should systematically adopt e-governance with basic principles of transparency, which the university has already adopted vigorously.

According to the report submitted by the NAAC team, the university has excellent quality of research work going on in various departments, including pharmaceutical sciences, physics, chemistry, zoology, biomedical sciences etc. Also, the university boasts of rare patents, industry partnerships in different departments, good quality research papers and publications that are published in both national and international journals.

Several departments are recognised as advanced centres and have got grants under various schemes of the UGC, which is a rarity. Above all, impressive infrastructure, well-stocked library, state-of-art equipments in labs, sports, facilities, staff quarters, hostels etc that gives the university a ‘unique residential character’. The university holds a good track record and also has a ‘location advantage’ and can attract meritorious students from the region. In the field of engineering and technology, education and dental sciences new research projects are being taken.

The report also mentions the advantages of the distance education. The report has a special mention of university’s innovative managerial initiatives taken up in the recent past in creating infrastructure in the field of basic sciences and applied sciences, and other collaborative researches.

The shortcomings as listed in the report mentions the shortage of faculty members in some departments, very less usage of IT (information technology) in the social sciences departments, not enough students support facilities, central placement cell needs to be strengthened, university needs to link itself with institutes of national repute. The report also suggests that there is a scope for tapping alumni and the university must stress upon strengthening of soft skills of students.



Evening studies fail to woo council
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
First, it was the UGC team that visited the university early this year in order to sanction grants and projects for the departments, which observed that the department of evening studies has outlived its relevance. Now, even the members of the NAAC team observed the same and have suggested the university to close down the department as it has “outlived its utility”.

Not only this, the NAAC team also suggested that the teachers of this department should be shifted to other regular departments or they be utilised given the current crisis of faculty in various new departments of the university.

As per records, the department has lost its sheen over the years. Not only in terms of the results but the number of students opting for education from this department has drastically gone down.

The number of students who have enrolled for the courses such as BA, BCom, MA has dropped significantly.

According to the data available with The Tribune, in BA part I, II, III in the year 2007-08, the number of students is 198 in the first year, 65 in the second year and 66 in the final year.

Whereas last year the strength was 229 in the first year, 91 in the second year and 86 in the final year.

In the postgraduate courses, the situation was still worse. In MA English (I), only 31 students have taken admission this year, whereas last year there were 45 students enrolled.

Even in the second year, the situation nearly remains the same. The worst hit is MA Punjabi, which had 13 students last year, and only four are left now. Now the report given by the visiting NAAC team will be tabled in the executive council of the NAAC for a final approval.



Play to benefit Vatika students
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 27
All performing or visual arts are regarded as noblest obsession and the strength of this concept is complimented when a particular performance is meant for a noble cause of charity. The St. Soldier’s Mohali and Punjab IAS Officers Wives Association (PIOWA) teamed up to produce the musical extravaganza, The Pied Piper for raising funds for the deaf and dumb students of the Vatika High School.

The English play “The Pied Piper” a production of the St. Soldier’s School, featuring two hundred prodigious student artists opened to a grandiose start today at the Tagore Theatre. Based on a Victorian poet, Robert Browning’s popular poem of the same title the academician theatre director, V Tiwana, also the school principal evolved a theatrical spectacle bringing alive the moral, ethical and virtues of compassion besides, the contrasting evils of treachery and hypocrisy.

The social and intellectual content of the play was thoroughly substantial and convincing unlike the sheer fantasy. The student artists especially Ankur Passy, Adhiraj Singh, Prabhsimrat, Manpreet, Ritwik, and Lakshay justified their roles while the credit goes to the musical score and the technical virtuosity. Students for Vatika School also made a special appearance.

Tiwana expressed gratitude to Simrat Badal for patronage, who will be the chief guest for the final show on November 30 at 3 pm. The regular shows of the play will be held for four days.



From Schools
Dictionary quiz held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 27
A dictionary quiz was organised at Swami Ram Tirtha Public High School here in order to enrich the vocabulary of students.

Four teams participated in the quiz, which were named as Elizabeth, Christopher, Scythia and Victoria. Five rounds were organised which comprised of complete the word, make it correct, jumbled letters and dictionary. The quiz was conducted in informative yet fun-filled mode, which kept audience engrossed. The jumbled letter round was entertaining as it also tested the wit and presence of mind of the students. Christopher was declared as the winner.

Annual function

Fun, excitement and entertainment was all inthe air as Ashmah International School celebrated its annual function with a cultural extravaganza here yesterday.

The function was inaugurated by Rahul Bhandari, deputy commissioner, by lighting a ceremonial lamp. This was followed by Saraswati vandana by little school kids.

Rupinder Ghuman, principal, read the annual report highlighting the achievements and accomplishments by the institution.

The play “We are the world" conveying the subtle universal message of care for mother nature was admired by audience, who were moved by the spectacular emotive enactment by young students. Bollywood numbers, jingles, dance beats and bhangra were also appreciated.



Annual Function
Gurdas Mann enthrals audience
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 27
On the completion of 10 years, Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Derabassi, organised a cultural extravaganza “Lamhe-08’'.

A scintillating performance by Gurdas Mann, who belted out melodious numbers like Dil Da Mamla hai and Babe Bhangra, marked the celebrations. The chairman of Sukhmani group, Prof Avtar Singh, informed the motto of the annual function was to bring the youth together and tie the knot of unity and tranquility through dance, drama and songs. The chief guest of the function was Dr N.P. Singh, dean examination.

Other events like solo song, group dance, salsa special, one act play, mimicry, skit, giddha, bhangra etc. A “Rock Show” was performed by engineering students of the institute. Another highlight was the traditional Punjabi folk dance by the institute students.



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