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This battle Kanwaljit lost
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

"I was sitting at the back of the car while Captain Kanwaljit was sitting in the front, next to the driver. The last thing I recall is that we were turning into Kharar when a truck coming from the opposite direction hit us. Our car overturned thrice
— Personal security officer

Chandigarh, March 29
Even as doctors at the PGI struggled to revive Capt Kanwaljit Singh for over three hours, it was already a lost battle for the Captain.

Onlookers said vital 20 minutes were lost to pull out the injured minister from the mangled remains of the car, but he was too critically injured to be saved.

“He died of head, chest and bone injuries,” Dr KK Talwar, Director of the PGI, said addressing the media after Kanwaljit was declared dead at about 8.30 pm here.

Kanwaljit was brought to the PGI at 5 pm by his son Jasjit Singh Bunny who rushed him to the emergency ward. Kanwaljit’s PSO, Rattan Singh, and driver Parminder Singh were also admitted with serious injuries.

Doctors on duty tried to revive Kanwaljit for over three hours, but finally declared him brought dead. Doctors took turns at cardio pulmonary resuscitation, but sources said he was wheeled into the hospital without any pulse or any other sign of life.

Rattan Singh, who has been the PSO of Kanwaljit for over a decade, said they were returning after attending a wedding at Ludhiana.

“I was sitting at the back of the car while Captain Kanwaljit was sitting in the front, next to the driver. The last thing I recall is that we were turning into Kharar when a truck coming from the opposite direction hit us. Our car overturned thrice,” he said.

Having suffered fractures and chest injuries, Rattan Singh, said some of the onlookers helped them get out of the car. “I am not bothered about myself, but I want Sahabji to survive,” he said. Rattan Singh was not informed about Kanwaljit’s death in the PGI.

Kanwaljit’s wife, Sarabjit Kaur, his daughter Dolly, sister Harpreet Gill and son-in-law, besides other relatives, were present at the emergency ward praying for his well-being.

Dr AK Gupta, medical superintendent, said Rattan Singh’s condition was stable while Parminder Singh was critical until the filing of the report.

The wife of Punjab Chief Minister Surinder Kaur also visited the emergency ward. Gaganjit Singh Barnala, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, DS Cheema and NK Sharma were also present.

A host of bureaucrats, including Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, BC Gupta, G Vajralingam, Gagandeep Singh Brar, Deputy Commissioner SAS Nagar PS Mand and Mohali SSP JS Aulakh were also at the hospital.

As the news of Kanwaljit Singh’s accident spread, thousands of his supporters gathered outside the emergency ward. The hospital authorities had a tough time trying to stop the supporters from entering the ward to see Kanwaljit Singh.

Family members reportedly requested for an exemption from postmortem on the body of Kanwaljit. The SDM Kharar granted the exemption, after which the body was taken away by them.

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Shock, disbelief at home
Amit Khanna

Chandigarh, March 29
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as the body of Capt Kanwaljit Singh was brought to his residence from the PGI with his family members, supporters and friends gathering to pay the last respects to the leader.

The tragic news triggered off a wave of shock and disbelief among city residents. Till the time of filing of the report, people from all walks of life were thronging his Sector 9 residence.

The first ones to reach was Harjinder Kaur, ex-Mayor, Chandigarh. Expressing shock at the news, she said, “This is the sad moment for all of us and I do not have the words to express the loss which the nation has suffered with the death of the great mass leader”.

“He was a grassroot worker and the void created by his absence will be impossible to fill,” she added, while rushing to the PGI.

Scores of persons from the Banur constituency, represented by the Akali leader, were seen standing in groups enquiring about the leader.

“He was very close to all of us and used to come to our houses whenever he visited our area. Now, who will take care of us and our region” said an inconsolable Jaspal Singh of Banur.

“He was a leader who earned respect and the number of people outside his home is a testimony of the fact that we loved and revered him,” said Amreek Singh, one of his family friends.

Many described him as the only Akali leader who used to speak his heart out on every issue.

“With his demise, we have lost not only a politician but a leader, who was trusted by one and all for his thoughts and views,” added Sukhdeep Singh.

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Driver fights for life
Tribune News Service

Dhakoli (Zirakpur), March 29
As fate would have it, 21-year-old Parminder Singh, who was driving the ill-fated Hyundai Elantra car that met with an accident at Khanpur in Kharar, survived with serious injuries, but Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab Cooperation Minister, died.

Rattan Singh, personal security officer (PSO) of the minister who was sitting at the rear of the car, also survived.

At the site of the accident, mangled sheet of iron had pierced into the upper part of the minister’s body and even the open air bag could not save him. On the contrary, the driver suffered fewer injuries even though the air bag in front did not open.

Hailing from Dhakoli, Zirakpur, Parminder was driving the car of his employer, Prem Singh, sarpanch of Dhakoli. For the past few months, Prem Singh, a staunch supporter of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, gave his personal car, along with the driver, for elections. Parminder Singh had been driving vehicles of the sarpanch for the past some years. Due to the code of conduct, the official car of the minister had been withdrawn.

At the house of Parminder Singh an eerie silence prevailed as his wife Manjeet Kaur was in a state of shock. She said she knew nothing and her mother-in-law had gone to the PGI. The only earning member of the family, Parminder has two sisters and aged parents. Till the filing of the report, the condition of Parminder Singh, who was admitted to the PGI, was said to be serious.

Enquiries reveal that the car, while trying to get past a truck coming from the opposite side, hit the rear wheels of a stationary truck. It then hit another truck head on.

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KBDAV School in trouble
Green belt being used for parking

Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The recognition day celebrations at the KBDAV School, Sector 7, today turned sore when cars were parked in the Chandigarh MC green belt that led to a confrontation between the residents of the area, school authorities and corporation officials.

Basically, the problem started when parents parked their cars in the developed green belt area near the school.

As soon as the MC authorities came to know about this, Arun Kumar(EE), horticulture wing, along with the area SDO and JE reached the spot.

The officials later talked to the school authorities about this but in vain.

Meanwhile, the residents also joined in and complained that many cars were parked on the road making it difficult for anyone to pass through it.

The police officials said they received calls from the residents about the same while no prior permission was sought neither from the police nor the MC authorities to park the cars in the green belt.

Principal Madhu Behl claimed they had two parking lots and the school authorities should not be blamed if the parents parked vehicles on the roads or the green belt.

Whereas the parents claimed that there was not enough space to park the vehicles.

Moreover, contrary to the guidelines of the education department that if there is a function in any school, the school authorities are bound to take care that it does not adversely affect the traffic.

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Friction in UPA brightens NDA chances: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The break-up in the UPA alliance has brightened the prospects of the NDA to form the next government at the Centre, said Kiran Ghai, BJP national secretary and co-in charge of Punjab and Chandigarh.

Ghai, who was in the city to take a stock of the preparedness of the party for the May 13 elections in Chandigarh, was addressing a meeting of party workers at the BJP office “Kamalam” here today.

The BJP leader alleged that the country had a weak and helpless government for the past five year and now the voters had virtually decided to change the government at the Centre.

Later, BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain said the Congress was seeking votes for its failure after having failed on every front in Chandigarh.

Jain was addressing several public meetings in Sectors 15, 18 and 20. He said people of Chandigarh did not want a helpless representative.

BSP campaign: Giving momentum to his poll campaigning, BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan addressed a number of public meetings at the Railway Colony in Manimajra, the Booth Market in Mauli Jagran and Faida village, besides flagging off Sai Palki at Sai Temple in Sector 29.

Meanwhile, Satinder Dhawan addressed a gathering of women at the Colony No. 5.

Bansal's campaign: Congress candidate Pawan Bansal today promised that need-based changes in houses of the Chandigarh Housing Board would be allowed on the pattern of marla houses and the shop-cum-flats (SCFs).

Addressing a meeting in Sector 45, Bansal said due to the Congress' initiatives, Chandigarh had emerged as one of the cities having the best civic amenities in India.

Meanwhile, addressing a rally in Dhanas, Bansal claimed that development works during the past five years was the testimony of the promise and commitment to people.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were BB Bahl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, former Punjab Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, former city Mayor Pardeep Chhabra and area councillor Sheela Phool Singh.

Delegation meets Bansal: A delegation of social activists of Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51, led by Satish Chandra Sharma and S S Bhardwaj, general secretary and co-chairman of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council, today called on Bansal and assured him their support in the coming general elections.

Janata Dal(United): Candidate of Janata Dal(United) Goswami V.B. Bharti visited Sector 56 and promised to take up various problems of the residents such as water, electricity and education with the authorities.

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Cong candidate begins campaigning
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 29
Congress candidate from Anandpur Sahib seat Ravneet Singh Bittu yesterday kicked off his campaign from the city by addressing a large gathering in Phase 1 here.

While trying to strike a chord with the party supporters, he said youth had an important role to play in the elections. He said he had been given the ticket seeing the sacrifice made by his family. He said he would work hard to provide gainful employment to unemployed.

Talking about the claims made by the SAD regarding providing drinking water in the constituency, “I would try my best to provide drinking water in the holy place of the Sikhs.”

Reacting to the statement of Bittu, the SAD secretary and party candidate from Anandpur Sahib seat, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, said Rahul Gandhi had played a cruel joke on the electorate of the constituency by allotting the ticket to a person who lacked experience and education.

Dr Cheema said it was surprising that Rahul Gandhi could not find a single educated candidate for the Anandpur Sahib seat. He said he proposed to start a literary movement “Jago Bittu school chalo”.

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1 TIMER
Elect only responsible nominee

An educated and responsible candidate should be elected as people’s representative only as an aware person can understand the problems faced by the masses.

While voting in elections, no importance should be given to caste or religion of candidates in the fray. We have long suffered for dividing ourselves on these lines and it is high time we make amends by choosing the right people for the job.

I urge young voters to come out and vote in big numbers and elect a responsible government, who works for the betterment of the society by solving their problems.

I am excited at the proposition of voting in the elections as this is a powerful instrument in our hands to bring a change in the political set-up.

Parminder Kaur

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Patient’s kin complain of inflated bill
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Can the charges for a treatment for a disease commensurate with the paying capacity of the patient? The answer would be in the negative, especially when the doctor, hospital, machine and material are the same, but the experience of a family who admitted a patient to the PGI for the surgery of a brain tumour has a different story to tell.

The treatment by gamma knife therapy, recently introduced at the PGI cost a patient dearly when the PGI authorities asked her to deposit Rs 50,000 more than that she was told before the treatment as it was found that she was admitted to the private ward.

Now, the patient is stuck at the PGI, even after doctors discharged her.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said the charges for gamma knife therapy had been fixed at Rs 1 lakh for patients in the general ward and Rs 1.5 lakh for those in the private ward.

Sarojini Devi of Dehra Dun was admitted at the PGI for the open surgery, said Arvind, a relative. Doctors advised them to keep the patient in private room after surgery to avoid infection. So, the family had arranged for a private room with a tariff of Rs 1,200 per day, he said. They were told that the total expenditure would be incurred around Rs 60,000.

Before the surgery, the family was given an option for treatment through gamma knife, saying that it did not require longer hospitalisation and the results were better, he said.

The therapy would cost Rs 1 lakh, they were told, he said. The money was deposited with the PGI and the surgery was performed yesterday. The patient was allowed to be discharged today.

The family was, however, shocked when they were told to pay Rs 50,000 more.

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Mono act play on Kabir
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 29
If spiritual wisdom and eternal mystic utterances of Saint Kabir has influenced the social and cultural life of masses across the centuries, the one-man ensemble of Shanker Sen has paid a rightful musical tribute to the saint poet in his spectacular aesthetic spectacle “Kabir”.

The 245th show of the biographical mono act play staged on the second day of the Chandigarh Art and Heritage fest at the Tagore Theatre yesterday submerged the intrusive audience in devotion.

Depicting life and teachings of the great revolutionary saint poet by creating an ambience of 14th Century AD was a theatrical wonder.

He employed his adroit mastery over music with immaculate voice modulation and the acting prowess with instantaneous shifts to diverse roles and portraying over 20 characters.

Backed with perfect light sound and audio visuals, Sen enacted the episodes from raising of Kabir by Muslim weaver couple of Neeru and Nimma to his being God incarnate.

Crafting a judicious blend of live musical rendition of Kabir’s potent poetry, depiction of Kabir established in humility and always reveling in glory of God. The live dialogues replete with rich ethical content were rendered in perfect synchronisation with the recorded music was indeed a treat to watch and the captivating performance will be a memorable event for city art lovers.

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Spiritual soiree enchants audience
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 29
Spiritual fervour pervading Mata Mansa Devi Mandir attained an inevitable climax as the acclaimed bhajan and Bollywood playback maestro, Anoop Jalota, cast a divine spell at the ongoing Navratara fair here today.

Amidst lofty applause from the cheering crowd he commenced with a blockbuster “Aisi laagi lagan” which melted into “Tere mann mein Ram”. The maestro presented “Jag mein sunder hain” and many more as the requests poured in.

Another co-artiste Simran Sood from Mumbai presented “Itni shakti hamein dena”, which was well received. Having established instant rapport with the devout audience Anoop Jalota, however, mesmerised them with vocalism of sargams, his forte.

Earlier Kumar Bandhus, noted Sufi and bhajan maestros set the pace with their renditions of devotional compositions. They brought alive the sanctified feel in bhajans like “Tum mery rakho laaj, Baso mere mann mein” and “Bhajan bin” before baring their mystical spirit.

An array of accomplished musicians Prof Murlidhar, Debashish Dhar, Praksh Nepali, Vijay and Dharampal embellished the performance.

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City Scope
Just piecemeal effort not enough
Raveen Thukral

This weekend, I finally managed to take my long pending trip to Kasauli, which I referred to in my last column. And undoubtedly, the drive through the post demolition Kalka was much better, even though a lot yet needs to be done.

No, I am not writing another column on illegal encroachments. Nor I am telling you what I did in Kasauli. But yes this column has a lot to do with my visit to a chemist shop to buy Avomine tablets (anti nausea), which I normally pop up before embarking on any hill journey.

Like all males, who hate to move their butts when their better halves are around, I sat in the car while my wife went in to pick up the tablets. A few minutes later she returned smiling cynically and before I could ask, she shot back, “Tribune Impact ho gaya. He's not giving me the tablets and is asking for a prescription”.

I didn't know how to react, as I hated the thought, of both, going without the tablets and wasting time in either arranging for a prescription or scouting other shops that could sell me the medicine. And frankly, I did feel a little angry at the chemist's refusal to sell an innocuous medicine like Avomine, likes of which, used commonly to deal with motion sickness, are available in stores (not only chemists) off the shelf throughout the world. Anyways, since Avomine is also a Schedule H drug or in easier terms a prescription drug, I couldn't do much about it, so I left hoping to find a sucker chemist on the way.

However, the thought that The Tribune expose on the clandestine but open sale of Schedule H and addictive drugs like buprenorphine and pheniramine maleate, the former being a substitute of morphine, on the streets of Ram Darbar and Industrial area, had had such an impact was a great feeling. But at the same time I wondered how long this vigil by the administration would last and how long will it take for things to return to normal - drugs being again available on roads freely and chemists selling whatever is asked for without bothering for the prescriptions.

I don't want to sound cynical but the way things happen in our country, such knee jerk reactions of the administration - sealing a couple of chemist shops in the city- and the police - conducting raids and arresting a few people- are common. However, as days pass things start returning to normal (if you can call it so) and it's only a matter of time when business is back to usual for all such crooks.

It would be naive to even think that such a well organized sale of illegal drugs, about which the residents and shopkeepers of Ram Darbar were well aware of, was going on without the knowledge of the local police. The audacity of these peddlers can be well imagined from the fact that in a small city like Chandigarh , which is the residence of two governors, two chief ministers and numerous other VVIPs, they were offering free “home delivery” of the drugs without any fear of the law of the land.

Though the police have arrested the two suspects caught on the camera by The Tribune team, there are many more like them, who may have gone underground for the time being and are waiting for things to cool down. While I sincerely hope that the UT police does something about it, I have my doubts as a week has already passed and things seem to be moving at a snail's pace.

Surprisingly, no action has yet been initiated against any of the police personnel posted at Ram Darbar or Industrial Area. While majority of the people in the city would believe, and rightly so, that such activities cannot go on without an active police-drug mafia nexus, even if one presumes that they were holy cows and were not involved in the trade, they have miserably failed to perform their duties to prevent such activities and hence deserve no mercy. Some heads must roll, if the administration and the top brass of the UT police is really serious in dealing with this problem and breaking the cop-peddlers nexus.

The tardy pace of the investigations is apparent as no serious effort has yet been made to ascertain and nail the source of these drugs. As per information collected by The Tribune team, the suspects used to buy these drugs in large quantities from Ambala but the police have made no headway on this lead. While alacrity is the key to such investigations, delays willy-nilly prove helpful to the suspects as they get enough time to cover their dirty tracks and ‘manage’ things.

The administration has done well with the crackdown on the erring chemist shops but the pressure has to be kept. And something must also be done about the numerous chemist shops that dot the boundaries of the city.

Such steps could surely sometimes put genuine customers in a spot but when harsh decisions are to be implemented in the larger interest of the society every one has to contribute their small bit.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com

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City Scope Letters
Implement law on encroachment

This is with reference to the article “This endless land-grabbing mania” published in Chandigarh Tribune dated March 23 written by Raveen Thukral. It is a wake up call for the government and its workforce. It is easy to occupy the vacant government lands along with the national highways or any link road; one has to raise a temporary mandir, gurdwara, grave or church. Our government officials shall pass on the details of such vacant lands, which are common and disputed, illegal operators can get the advantage of our offender-friendly judicial legal system and of course with the blessings of corrupt officials for not vacating such lands in the end. At present prices of lands are skyrocketing and the land mafias are proactive to identify and encroach such lands under the guise of religious places. It is commendable that the High Court has vacated all stay orders and given a final green signal for demolition of all illegal structures along the main road. The government is duty bound to rehabilitate suitably all victims by allotting land for their commercial or residential places. The best way to tackle this problem is to allot vacant lands so that new potential business centres can be carved; there are huge chunks of land, which can be utilised for such purposes.

Amar Jeet Kumar
SAS Nagar

II

Yes, it is the time that each officer was made accountable to citizens for not looking after assets given in their charge. It is high time that the land asset of the city is looked after and for this the best constable should be responsible. The government land should be marked and each police station should be responsible. A large amount of money and risk of confrontation divert all energies of SDO building and AEO to the law abiding group of persons, who had to construct their own plots to accommodate their growing families or to take on schools for building violations. The officers are at their best to harass the law abiding citizens but fail to explain as to how these huge colonies were constructed where more than two lakh persons reside. The administration must be accountable for frittering away the assets of the city due to their neglect of duty.

The officers assert their right for privileges but fail to respond to being accountable. I think a movement should be started to provide fast track courts for all who deserve VIP status i.e. MLAs, MPs should also be provided with the special courts who decide the case within a time limit. This would certainly help to cleanse the system and provide proper governance.

HS Mamik
Chandigarh

III

I visited the backside of the High Court and lake and I am quite surprised to see mushrooming of residential building. The area is spread right up to the restricted forest area. The private housing society has sold these plots at high rates and the current price of a 10 marla plot is around Rs 55 lakh.

The Chandigarh Administration is launching mega projects like Film city and Medicity, which require a big chunk of land. The administration is least concerned about providing houses to citizens living in the city from the last 30 years. The recent housing projects launched by the Chandigarh Administration were like a lottery system i.e. without having any sense to design a scheme by which common man is facilitated with house.

Kuldeepak Sharma
Chandigarh

IV

If one had visited Zirakpur at the time of construction of the over bridge and after the completion of over bridge, one could easily see that all the roads had been widened only by removing the encroachments. Probably no new area had been added and only by clearing the government land, the road area had increased. Had this encroachment not been allowed, there was no need to construct the over bridge. In fact the construction of over bridge had not increased the road area or we can say motor able area rather the same area i.e. same as the width of over bridge, had been used to construct the base of the over bridge. Hence there is no addition in the motor able area. The over bridge only helps in avoiding one traffic light, and crore of rupees spent on the construction of the over bridge could have been saved. It is the public money and time, which was wasted on removing such encroachments and I strongly believe that money spent on the Zirakpur over bridge could have been used for some other purpose. I also feel that all the cost incurred to remove such encroachments should be recovered from the officers under whose tenure these encroachments were made. There should be a clear law on encroachment and the total cost should be recovered from the concerned officers, who allowed the encroachment and those who were responsible to get the government land vacated, but did not do so during their tenure.

Arun Aggarwal
Chandigarh

(To be continued)

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Significance of meditation discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
A person who thinks positive, contributes towards creating a positive environment, this was stated by Brahma Kumari Usha Didi, a senior Rajyoga teacher and international self-management trainer from global headquarters of Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya at Mount Abu during a seminar “facing challenges through meditation” held at the Bhargava Auditorium of PGI here today. PGI director Dr KK Talwar was the chief guest who explained the concept of mind power.

The mind is a good servant but a bad master. A sound value system is reqiured for the mind to fulfill its role as friend whereas an unhealthy mind will be desiring, complaining and demanding, and will be affected by the external environment. BK Usha Didi said meditation developed power to face the obstacles and hardships headstrong.

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FCI holds rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Employees of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), Punjab region, observed a gate meeting in front of office of General Manager in Sector 31, here.

The rally was organised yesterday to mobilise the process of election for the recognition of trade unions at the national level to be held on Monday on March 3 at Chandigarh.

Yogesh Jairath, state organising secretary of the FCI, said in rest of the Punjab region, the process of secret ballot was completed on March 26. The Bhartiya Khadya Nigam Karamchari Sangh (BKNK Sangh) is being supported by the FCI Class-IV employees Union-2779, the FCI Staff Union, 179, the FCI SC/ST Welfare Association, the FCI Employees Congress and the FCI Retired Employees Welfare Association in these elections.

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Press Club elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Elections to the governing council of the Chandigarh Press Club were held heretoday.

Out of total 537 voters, 455 gave their votes for the aspiring candidates during the Press Club elections.

Sarabjit Pandher has been re-elected as the president and Balwinder Singh Jammu has been elected as the senior vice-president. And Naveen S Garewal has been elected as the new secretary-general of the Chandigarh Press Club.

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Malavika’s dance regales audience
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
In the ongoing heritage festival, the Bharatnatyam danseuse, Malavika Sarukkai, regaled the audience at the Tagore Theatre here today. She delineated all components of dance forms like Alrippu, Jatiswaram, Shabdam, Varanmaam and Thillana through captivating compositions. Commencing the recital with a Ganesh Stuti before a choreographic spell of ‘Nrityanjali’ in laudation of lord Shiva, she presented the transformation of a baby girl to an adult woman.

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Rodrigues gets Mother Teresa award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues was conferred with the Mother Teresa Lifetime achievement award at Kolkata today.

This award is presented by Mother Teresa’s International and Millennium Awards Committee every year to eminent personalities in India and abroad for their lifetime achievements. Shyamal Sen, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, West Bengal, presented the award to Rodrigues.

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Bansal hailed

Chandigarh, March 29
In a novel way to thank Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal for his effort in denotifying Deep Complex in Hallo Majra, Akali Dal (Rural) district president Kesar Singh and former chairman of the Market Committee today got the Congress flag unfurled at his residence here. — TNS

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PU convocation a mismanaged affair
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The 58th Annual Convocation of the Panjab University held today turned out to be a bitter experience for hundreds of students and their parents who had come from all over Punjab to collect their degrees. Utter chaos marked the event as the parents and their children scrambled their way through the Gymnasium Hall, which was the venue for the convocation.

While inside the hall, students kept looking for the seats which did not seem enough to accommodate all of them. Outside the venue the parents were resenting the decision of the authorities to not allow them inside the hall. To top it all, once inside, the students were not even allowed to go out and it was literally a house arrest for them.

With no arrangements even for drinking water inside the hall, parents and students protested against the mismanagement of PU authorities in conducting the whole affair.

“I came all the way from Bathinda as my daughter was to get her degree but we were not allowed to go inside. If they could not make apt arrangements, they should not have invited us at all,” said Gurbachan Singh, an agitated parent.

Though the university authorities had put big LCD screens right outside the venue for those standing to watch the proceedings, nevertheless, it could do little to calm down the agitating parents.

Similarly, some mediapersons also complained of the mismanagement even though they were issued appropriate gate passes beforehand. Many of them claimed that they were harrassed when they tried to gain entry from the respective gate number.

Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti, when contacted, said the students were told well in advance that once inside the hall, none would be allowed to leave before the convocation address. As far as the arrangements were concerned, he said, “All arrangements for water and washrooms were made inside the hall and there was no problem on that account.”

Meanwhile, as many as 678 students received degrees, medals and prizes at the convocation. Dr NK Ganguly, former director general, ICMR, and adviser to Union Minister for Health, delivered the convocation address and Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, chairman, UGC presided over the funcion. Out of 493 students who received their degrees, 350 comprised girls and out of 185 medal winners, 149 were girls students.

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UGC set to frame mandatory anti-ragging guidelines
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Recent spurt in the incidents of ragging has left the entire nation shaken with the seriousness of this menace, which continues to grow unabated in the colleges, universities and educational institutions.

Even after 10 years of the existence of the anti- ragging guidelines, UGC is now in the process of formulating anti ragging regulations to be strictly followed by the colleges and universities.

This was stated by UGC Chairman Prof Sukhadeo Thorat on the sidelines of the 58th annual convocation of Panjab University held here today.

In fact, it was the death of Aman Kachroo, a medical student in Himachal Pradesh, who died earlier this month after being ragged by his seniors, that woke up the authorities from its slumber to frame mandatory guidelines for institutes.

Talking to mediapersons, Thorat said UGC had set up a four-member committee to frame the regulation to curb ragging. It would take around a month for the committee to finalise the regulations and the institutes will have to implement the regulation from the next academic session.

The report of the committee of the new regulations will be sent to all the universities and colleges for implementation, said Thorat.

The draft regulation proposes to make it mandatory for all students and their parents to furnish written undertakings that they would never indulge in ragging and were well versed with the laws and punishments for ragging.

Under the provisions of the new regulation, a student found guilty of ragging can be expelled and moreover, financial grants of the institution where the incident takes place, can be withheld or stopped, Thorat said, adding the regulation will be finalised shortly.

He said even though there were existing guidelines earlier as well but in the absence of regulation, they were not enforced.

UGC was also trying to have it clearly mentioned in the prospectus and application forms of the institutions that ragging was banned and anyone found guilty of ragging or abetting ragging was liable to be punished, he added.

UGC is also going ask the institutions to set up anti-ragging committee, anti-ragging squad and monitoring cell on ragging. To create more awareness about the same, UGC is also meeting with other regulatory bodies like the All-India Council of Technical Education and the Medical Council of India to get their views before finalising the new measure.

The institutes will also need to put up billboards and banners in prominent places on the campus asking the students to prevent or not to indulge in ragging and also indicate the names of the officials to be contacted in case such incidents occur, he said.

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Education eludes 8,700 city children
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
With 8,700 city children yet to be part of the education system for several reasons, it’s still a long way to go for the ongoing Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan here.

The startling revelation has been made by the UT education department in its “Out of school children’s survey” conducted in the slums and labour colonies across the city.

The survey conducted with a sample of 40,000 households showed that these children opted out of schools for several reasons with employment as domestic help being the prime one.

Around 962 children were being forced to earn for their families by working as domestic help, while 603 had to stay at home to look after their siblings.

Many of them were also employed in various shops across the city or worked as rag-pickers and vendors. The figures also bring to light the faulty enforcement of the laws pertaining to child labour in city.

Interestingly, contrary to the repeated promises by the UT administration of eradicating beggary amongst kids, around 176 kids till date are found on signals rather than schools but the most disturbing is the group of 2,247 kids who prefer loitering to attending schools.

While these kids belong to the age group of 6-14, 2000 are below seven. Around 1,148 belong to the SC category and 717 to a minority community.

Though the survey has exposed the tall promises of the department, it still claims to be all ready to counter the sorry state with a promise of ensuring direct admission to those in the age group of 6-11 while those above shall be made to attend AI centres.

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From Schools & Colleges
Special children awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
After the successful completion of one year of study by 350 students of ‘Saral Ahsaas’, a school for underprivileged children at KBDAV, Sector 7, Chandigarh, adopted from Bapu Dham Colony, were given medals, trophies and certificates yesterday. Principal Madhu Bahl said, “The recognition in the form of an award ceremony will awaken creativity in the faculty that lies latent in every child.”

The chief guest, Ashwani Kumar, estate officer, Chandigarh, and the guest of honour, Prerna Puri, SDM (South), Chandigarh, distributed the medals to academic toppers and children excelling in calligraphy, sports, dance besides other categories like most well dressed and most confident child etc.

Meanwhile, the KBDAV, Sector 7, celeberated the annual recognition day of the pre-primary wing here today.

Around 800 children were awarded with medals and certificates for their academic excellence and achievements in various fields. A cultural programme highlighted the grace of the show by the junior wing of the school. On a special invitation from President’s Secretariat Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, a group of 43 environment activists led by NK Jhingan participated in the nature camp held there. These included 35 students and teachers from 21 schools in the tri city. An initiative ‘Roshni’ makes the President’s Estate a green and energy efficient and zero waste model townships, showcasing its rich bio-heritage.

Cultural event

An NGO Chandigarh Police and Youth United yesterday organised ‘Smiling Future II - a cultural programme’ for children with special needs. UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar was the chief guest on the occasion. The aim was to raise funds for providing assistance to special children. There are about 1,000, children at the centre, Kumar said.

Children from various schools, including Prayaas and Samarth mesmerised the audience by presenting cultural programme. The main attraction of the programme was a play on female foeticide by Hamari Kaksha.

Concluded

A three-day awareness programme on Fruit and Vegetable Processing concluded at GGDSD College here yesterday. RK Bakshi, consultant, industries department, Chandigarh, distributed certificates to the participants. It was organised by the postgraduate departments of entrepreneurship and economics in collaboration with M/s. Agro Processing Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Chandigarh. About 110 students, prospective entrepreneurs and faculty members participated in the programme.

Awareness camp

A eight-day awareness camp for the needy women was organised by the Indira Social Welfare Society in collaboration with the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board. The camp, which was organised at the Panchayat Complex, Sector 41, concluded with lectures on different topics like Women and Health, Food and Nutrition.

Blood donation camp

A blood donation camp was organised at the Namdhari Sangat in collaboration with the Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16, at Namdhari Dharmshala, Sector 30, here today. About 60 units of blood were donated according to Gurbachan Singh Namdhari, president, Namdhari Society.

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