C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI misses out on vaccine trials 
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Blame it on official apathy or procedural delays: PGI, as of now, has missed the bus for being part of the first phase of human trials for swine flu vaccine imported from abroad. While Delhi’s Lady Harding Medical College and Pune’s Bhartiya Vidya Peeth have taken the lead and completed the trials, PGI could not even begin the process, thanks to the delay in receiving approvals from the institute’s ethical committee.

According to officials, in the first phase of the trial the vaccine was to be administered to 100 people and its effects were to be studied. While PGI had been given a quota of 40 trials, the hospitals in Delhi and Pune were to conduct 30 trials each.

Interestingly, while the trials could not commence at PGI for want of the ethical committee nod, the Delhi and Pune hospitals tried the vaccine on 50 people each, completing the entire task. This clearly reflects the mood of the health ministry, which apparently had no desire to wait endlessly for formalities at PGI to be completed.

When contacted Prof A Chakrabarti of PGI’s medical microbiology department, said: “It’s difficult to give a green light on an issue of such magnitude overnight”. However, he could not justify the reasons for the delay in light of the fact that the Delhi and Pune hospitals must have also undergone similar procedures for the tests.

Binod Patro of the community medicine department, who is the principal investigator of this project, admitted PGI had missed the bus for want of an approval. However, he hoped the institute would be able to participate in the third phase of the trials, in which he said a large number of people will be involved, provided a nod comes from the ethical committee.

“In the first phase the trials were to be carried out on a few ‘perfectly healthy’ people with the purpose of determining how the drug acts on them. In such cases the dosage is usually very low and the volunteer is monitored to assess several parameters including the time it takes to metabolise and eliminate from the body,” said Patro.

He stated, “The next phase will, however, have a larger base to assess the drug’s tolerability and safe dosages. The phase III trials will be conducted on the community and large involving many people”, adding the next meeting of the ethical committee is scheduled on February 20.

Though these French vaccines, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, are being used abroad, the Indian Council of Medical Research had wanted to try them on Indians before approving their use.



Public Money, Private Use — II
Former Home Secy’s foreign trip unauthorised
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The ghost of foreign jaunts has come to stalk former UT Home Secretary Krishna Mohan again. Close on the heels of allegations that he splurged about Rs 19 lakh on four overseas junkets, the office of the Accountant-General (AG) has termed his visit to Rome and Venice (costing around Rs 1.54 lakh to the state exchequer) as unauthorised.

The visit of the senior bureaucrat, posted as the Haryana Home Secretary at present, from New Delhi to London en route Rome and Venice was unauthorised in the absence of approval from the Government of India, the AG’s audit report stated.

Krishna Mohan had visited the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London from November 12 to November 15, 2007, for the “promotion of tourism and travel industry in Chandigarh”.

However, picking holes in the administration’s claims that the visit was “project related”, the AG’s office said project-related visits were those where officers were required to travel abroad in connection with the execution of different components of the projects such as negotiating or signing agreement and project-related training as classified by the government in the letter dated February 28, 2002.

“As no project of the Chandigarh administration was being executed in Rome and Venice, the visit cannot be construed to be bona fide,” the report said. The administration had claimed that the short stay of tourists in Chandigarh was not because of the absence of historical buildings, night life or other tourist attractions, but on account of inadequate publicity abroad.

The administration stated: “There was no necessity to obtain cadre clearance separately for each and every place visited. It may be observed that the cadre controlling authority grants clearance to the visit of officers going on tours abroad and not for each and every city visited.” The approval to go abroad was granted by the administration and included Rome and Venice.

It was claimed that the visit would go a long in promoting various projects like the amusement park and film city. 



Panchayat to move court
Dubious claimants fight over prime land
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 1
Three acres of prime land at Jhampur village, adjoining UT’s Maloya village, has become a bone of contention between the panchayat and certain “outsiders” who claim that the land has been willed in their name.

While panchayat members claim that the owner of the land, Maghi Singh, died issueless 50 years ago, those staking the claim have produced two death certificates issued by the Registrar, Birth and Deaths --- one mentioning November 5, 1998, as the date of death and the other August 8, 2008.

Interestingly, the Registrar, Birth and Deaths, Ropar, issued both certificates. Smelling a rat in the land deal with the involvement of revenue officials and the land mafia, the panchayat is set to fight a legal battle to bring forth the truth. It was pointed out that under pressure from officials, the revenue record looks to have been tampered with.

The DC, Prabhot Singh Mand, said it was a serious issue and would be probed.

Producing documentary evidence, sarpanch Swaran Kaur, panch Sadhu Singh and lambardar Kulbir Singh said despite a difference of opinion among officials in the Mohali administration, the former SDM, Raghbir Kaur Khera, after verifying the documents, ordered “intakal” in the name of Rajinder Singh, one of the claimants. After passing the orders on November 8, 2009, the papers were sent to the tehsildar for action. The SDM retired on November 31, 2009.

Another claimant, Skatar Singh’s claim was rejected by the SDM on the ground that the record had been tampered with by the patwari concerned. She had suggested action against the patwari and an official at the office of the Registrar for the serious lapse.

Panchayat members alleged that after retirement of the SDM, a senior official directed revenue officials to enter the name of Skatar Singh in the mutation instead of Rajinder Singh. Since the presence of the members of panchayat was required to testify the entries in the revenue record, the panchayat was approached and the case came to light.

The SDM, DS Walia, said since he was new he was not aware of the case. The patwari, Surinder Rana, was not available for comments.

“We are being threatened to testify the entries, but we have refused and would file a case in the High Court,” claimed Kulbir Singh.



Ajmer Singh’s body donated to PGI
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Living in today’s materialistic world one would rarely come across people who are willing to offer help to others without any self-interest. However, at the same time there are a few selfless people who want to help others even after their death.

Prof Ajmer Singh, an Arjuna awardee, who died on January 26, is one such man. His wish that his body be donated to PGI’s anatomy department to enable students learn the intricacies of the human body was fulfilled by his family yesterday.

Singh’s deed has once again proved he not only lived a worthy life but died worthily too. The country’s only physical educationist with an Asian Games gold medal, during his lifetime he was known for loyalty to his profession, kind heartedness and honesty. He held the post of vice chancellor of the Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Gwalior.

The fact that Singh’s family fulfilled his wish without getting into the arguments relating to body donation is commendable. Though many people pledge their bodies their family members rarely fulfill their wishes because of superstitions and beliefs attached with the act.

So far more than 400 persons have got themselves registered for body donation but the hospital only gets two or three cadavers every year. The department actually needs 25 bodies a years for its research.

Head of PGI’s anatomy department Prof Daisy Sahini told The Tribune that Singh’s family members called her up yesterday morning to inform her about his death and their desire to fulfill his wish. “Accordingly, the arrangements were made and the body was embalmed for preservation to be used at the right time,” she said.

Sahni said every one knows about organ donation but only a very few people are aware about the importance of body donation. “We need fresh dead bodies of natural deaths which have not undergone autopsy. The organs of the body of natural death do not decay instantly and students can be taught about the intricacies of the human body. This is not the case when the body is that of a person who died due to extreme heat or cold or any disease,” she explained.

She added though advanced hospitals and medical institutes use 3D details of the human body nothing can beat the real thing.



Chill returns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
After a brief respite, chilly winds returned today, with the minimum temperature falling by 2 °C in the city. The minimum temperature was recorded at 6.8 °C while the maximum temperature was 22 degrees.

The city witnessed a misty morning and icy winds gave tough time to commuters.

Though residents saw mild sunshine in the afternoon, there was no respite from the cold. “Intense cold wave running through the northern plains has led to a sharp fall in both day and night temperatures. In most parts of the region, the mercury remained two to three degrees below normal,” a met official stated.

The cold wave conditions are likely to continue in the next few days due to snowfall in the upper areas. The situation would improve if clouds are formed leading to rain in the region.

However for tomorrow, the weatherman has predicted a clear sky with a thin layer of mist in the morning. The minimum temperature would hover around 6 °C. 



Administrator for prompt grievance redress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Chandigarh administration will adopt a positive attitude in dealing with various problems of the general public and initiating development projects in the city, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V. Patil said here today.

Talking to mediapersons at the UT Secretariat in Sector 9 here, Patil said he had instructed officials to be prompt in redressing the grievances of the people.

Meanwhile, he held his first public hearing session at the Secretariat, in which heads of all departments concerned were present.

Patil asked senior officers of the administration to strengthen public grievance mechanisms in their respective departments to improve service delivery systems.

Most of the problems were sorted out on the spot and the remaining issues, which needed examination at different levels, would be expedited within rules and procedures by the departments concerned.

Later, holding an introductory meeting with heads of all departments of the administration, he asked senior officers to prepare a long-term master plan, which must be vigorously implemented to benefit the public.

He asked officers to create a culture in their respective departments to quickly respond to general problems of the people and find answers keeping larger interests in view.

He also told them to be easily accessible to the public to enable needy persons to find appropriate solutions to their problems.

Among those present during the meeting were Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra, Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Secretary to the Governor MP Singh, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, DC Brijendra Singh and DIG Mahabir Singh.


Goof-up mars DGP’s farewell
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
A goof-up due to ‘indiscipline’ marred the farewell parade of Director-General of Police (DGP) Shanti Kumar Jain today when he failed to meet mediapersons during the function.

The Chandigarh police organised a farewell parade in honour of the DGP, who had served the force as its head for the past over three years.

The parade was scheduled to be held at 9:15 am at the Police Lines in Sector 26 and a massage had been conveyed to mediapersons in this connection. The programme was advanced by an hour, but the police failed to update the media.

When mediapersons reached the venue at 9:15 am, they were a surprised to see the DGP sitting in his official car, which was being pulled by policemen with flowery ropes.

The DGP met some journalists while sitting in his car, telling them that he was sorry as he could not interact with them before leaving the Chandigarh police.

Admitting the lapse, DIG Mahabir Singh said the goof-up was the result of a communication gap. The programme was rescheduled in haste in the wake of a meeting with the UT Administrator.

Police sources said the programme was rescheduled last night and all officials who were to attend the ceremony had been duly informed.

The public relations officer, who might have been ill-informed, send a wrong message to the media at 7:27 am today that “today U R invited for the function of farewell parade in the honour of W/DGP/UT at P. Lines S-26 Sharp by 9:15 am”.

A police officer attributed the goof-up to ‘gross negligence and indiscipline’ in the force, which had earlier also harmed the image of and placed the Chandigarh police in unsavoury situations.

This was not the first instance of indiscipline as the DSP (South) was left with loss of face during a press conference at his office yesterday.

He had called the press conference to share information about the cracking of a murder case which had been leaked two days earlier.

The DSP had nothing to say beyond what had already been published. UT SSP SS Srivastva, when asked, said he had marked an inquiry to SP (City) Madur Verma to look into the episode.



Patil honours NCC cadets 
Were placed second in R-Day parade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh NCC Directorate bagged the runners-up position at the national-level Republic Day Camp held in New Delhi in the month of January. As many as 17 directorates participated in the camp. This is the directorate’s best performance in the past 34 years.

Cadets from Punjab, part of the directorate contingent, were honoured by Governor Shivraj Patil at the Raj Bhawan here today.

Addressing NC officers and cadets, the Governor stressed upon developing leadership qualities in the youth as the future of the nation depended on them.

Patil said steps have been taken to train NCC cadets in disaster management. Stating that NCC cadets can also be trained in civil defence, he added that the scope and ambit of NCC activities was increasing and it was a good sign.

Approving the increase in the strength of girl cadets, he said while Punjab was doing a lot for ex-servicemen and the NCC, there always was a scope of doing more. This would ensure that more students join the NCC.

NCC deputy director general Brig Rajendra Singh gave a detailed picture of the directorate’s prospective future planning. Stress was being laid on training cadets in shooting and adventure activities, he said.

During the R-Day camp, Haresh Kumar of Shimla group was adjusted best parade commander, while Manpreet Kaur of Ludhiana group was declared best VIP marching pilot.

Aero modelling team comprising Sankit Kumar, Lokesh Dutt Sharma and Pinkoo Sharma of Ambala won the All-India Remote Control Trophy and gold in radio control powered, remote control glider and control line aerobatic categories. In static aero model Neha Sharma and Rajvir Singh won silver medals.

Horse riders led by cadet Sukhjinder Singh and Beant Kaur from Ludhiana won the Dr Roopjyoti Sharma Trophy, while the All-India Best RVC Squadron Trophy was won by cadets from Hisar. Sunil Malik was adjudged the best show jumper. 



Departments owe Panchayat Bhawan Rs 5.5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The UT Guest House is not the only building when it comes to pending bills. The Panchayat Bhawan in Sector 18 has also to recover amounts from departments of the administration.

If one goes by information sought under the Right to Information Act, the Panchayat Bhawan has over Rs 5.5 lakh as outstanding amount in December last.

While the UT Guest House has over 10 lakh as outstanding amount, the Panchayat Bhawan has Rs 5,55,379.40 as outstanding amount for the last 15 years.

Those defaulting on payment include offices of director public relations, UT election department, state election commission, director hospitality, CITCO chief general manager, joint director sports and director cultural affairs.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Government Museum and Art Gallery and the State AIDS Control Society, besides some officers of the UT administration, are also included in the list.



MC issues ad display guidelines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The municipal corporation today issued Advertisement Control Act guidelines for the display of advertisement banners and boards to traders to avoid stringent action against them by the authorities.

MC assistant commissioner Kamlesh prescribed the size at places allocated on the ground floor of each shop at the markets to representatives of traders’ associations.

He informed traders that the size of boards on upper floors was yet to be decided and would be considered after a few days.

Traders of all markets met Kamlesh and requested him to give them some time and postpone the drive to remove hoardings which were not in accordance with norms.

Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, president of the Sector 17 Traders Association, said Kamlesh assured them that they would postpone the drive if the traders themselves complied with advertisement norms.



Construction of 2,000 houses on hold
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 1
The project related to the construction of about 2,000 houses for the economically weaker sections of society, announced by the Punjab Chief Minister more than a year ago, has failed to take off, as the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is reeling under severe financial crunch.

During a vikas yatra in Mohali on January 17 last year, Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, had announced that GMADA would be constructing 2,000 houses in Sector 66 for the economically weaker sections. The project, which was placed on a priority list for some time was later kept on the back burner.

Sources said as per the plan, more than 2,000 houses were to be constructed by GMADA in Sectors 66 and 57. An area measuring about 15 acres in Sector 66 was identified for the construction of these houses and it was also decided to use a small pocket in Sector 57 which was lying vacant for the construction of group houses.

GMADA chief administrator VP Singh today said the housing project could not take off, as the development authority did not have required funds. A sum of about Rs 90 crore was needed for the construction of EWS houses. GMADA could not earn much during the last auction and now the trend during the next auction would also be seen.

Whatever revenue GMADA had earned from disposing of a big site to the LIC was used on constructing roads for the airport area.

However, he said, correspondence with HUDCO was in progress to avail subsidy from the Central government for the housing project. A loan from HUDCO would also have a lower rate of interest. GMADA was also looking into another option of going in for public-private partnership for the construction of EWS houses in which case the main responsibility of arranging funds would be of the private party and the contribution of GMADA in such a case would also be lower.

He said houses would be constructed to rehabilitate residents of Jagatpura Colony and others who figured in the survey carried out by GMADA. He said estimates for the work had been prepared. The work would start in March.



Fire engulfs HUDA office
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 1
Fire broke out at HUDA’s office in Sector 6 here today, creating panic in the area. The fire, which reportedly erupted due to a short circuit, destroyed the duct of electricity wires on all four storeys of the building. The building houses the offices of the administrator, estate office, chief town planner and chief architect.

It took the fire brigade around 45 minutes to control the fire. Four fire engines were pressed into service for the operation. However, no major loss was reported in the incident.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire was first noticed on the ground floor in the duct near the office of the administrator and it soon engulfed all wires across the floors.

A fire engine that reached the spot was of no use as it had no provision to take water to the fourth floor. More fire engines were requisitioned and the fire could be controlled only by 4.45 pm.

Estate officer SS Saini said the superintending engineer (electrical) and superintending engineer (civil) would probe the incident and submit a report. The offices on the ground floor are expected to function as usual tomorrow.



No lovers for portraits at National Gallery
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Despite repeated efforts of the UT administration to revamp and digitised National Gallery of Portraits, Sector 17, the gallery awaits visitors.

Surprisingly, neither the funds nor the notices issued by the UT education secretary last year helped to pull visitors to the gallery.

“It is a museum that has no parallel in the country. I have devoted 40 years of my life to collect the material,” affirms its creator Malwinder Jit Singh Waraich.

The museum is one of the three national galleries (other two in Delhi and Kolkata), which have rare material on “re-awakening of India - from the First War of Independence in 1857 to the attainment of freedom in 1947”.

The gallery that started with a foundation of 125 portraits, inaugurated in 1977 located at the basement of the Central State Library building in Sector 17, now has about 41 digitalised panels consisting rare pictures, news clippings of 100-year-old newspapers (many excerpts from The Tribune), documents, and portraits and rare pictures of freedom fighters. Besides, it also has nearly 1,000 books related to India’s freedom struggle, the martyrs and Indian mutiny as a part of its library, a number of statue heads, ceramic murals and illumined glass box tableaux.

The inscription- “Dedicated to the sacred memory of freedom fighters: Known and unknown”, on the front panel inside the gallery and the patriotic songs in the backdrop, catch attention.

“The UT administration has been working towards making the gallery popular, but if people are unwilling to walk in, we cannot force them,” says NPS Randhawa, director of the museums.

However, despite efforts of the administration the visitor’s register shows not more than 10 visitors each day. The UT Homes Secretary Ram Niwas said: “ We will now try to make the gallery popular among students and youngsters.”



Punjabis more aware about safe sex than Haryanvis
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
If the sale figures of condoms in this part of the region are an indication, Punjabis can surely be said to be more concerned about safe sex than their counterparts in Haryana.

With a population of approximately 9.25 million males above the age of 18 (registered male voters in Lok Sabha elections 2009), Punjab records a sale of a whopping 100 million condoms every year.

However, Haryana, which has a population of about seven million adult males (as per registered male voters in 2009 Lok Sabha elections), records a sale of 58.7 million condoms. The two states, as per 2001 census, have a total population of 24.29 million and 21.19 million, respectively.

Arun R Gangadharan, state programme manager of Hindustan Latex Limited, said during fiscal year 2008-09, Punjab recorded a sale of 100 million condoms and this was likely to go up to 120 million in 2009-10 as the state had already registered a sale of 60 million condoms in the April-October period - a 20 per cent increase.

In Haryana, increase in condom sales in 2009-10 is likely to be only 11 per cent. In the April-October period of the current fiscal the state had recorded sales of 33.1 million condoms as compared to 58.7 million in the last financial year.

Officials in NACO admit that there had been an overall increase in the sale of condoms throughout the country following the massive awareness programmes.

According to figures released by the Punjab AIDS Control Society last year, the state has almost 18,000 persons suffering from HIV-AIDS, with the highest number (6,200) in Amritsar alone. The figures also indicate that almost one person dies every day of AIDS in the state. 



Trends in joint replacement discussed 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Navigation in joint replacement surgeries has proved to be a boon to patients, as it helps in reducing post-operative problems in patients, says pioneer of computer-navigated surgery, Dr Frank Lampe from Germany.

Dr Lampe, who was at Parwanoo near here, to inaugurate the international Navi-Knee Meet said, as human eye was not designed to measure small differences in joint angles, the use of modern technique eliminated unpredictability involved with conventional knee surgery.

Dr Harsimran, consultant orthopedics and joint replacement, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, outlined improvement in patient satisfaction by the computer navigated knee surgery.

The computer navigation system had reduced time required for registration of intra-operative data and chances of error in system were negligible, he said adding that the system did not require any CT or X-ray images, which eliminated chances of radiation exposure to patient. The virtual planning option of system allowed surgeon to plan surgery, he said.

More than 30 surgeons from all over India and abroad are participating in the conference to study the trends in knee replacement surgery.



Sale of adulterated vegetables goes unchecked
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 1
Adulterated vegetables are on a rampant sale at Zirakpur and surrounding areas. The residents claimed that they had mostly bought the vegetables from local mandi or the vendors that comes at their doorsteps.

Narinder Chaudhary, a resident of Baltana, said he bought gourd from a street vendor who had brought these vegetables from Sector 26, Chandigarh. He claimed that the colour of the gourd changed after it was rinsed with water.

When he enquired the vendor about the shop from where he had purchased the vegetable the latter refused to tell.

Chaudhary said the authorities concerned should take strict action against those doing adulteration in vegetables as the sale of unhygienic and adulterated vegetables not only poses health hazards to the consumers but also violates the rules.



Sub-committees of MC constituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The city Mayor, Anu Chatrath, today constituted nine sub-committees for this year. All committees comprise of nine members. For the road committee, Resham Chand Jakhu has been appointed chairman and HC Kalyan vice-chairman while for the water supply and sewerage disposal committee, Vijay Singh Rana is the chairman and Ram Sumer Morya vice-chairman. The sanitation committee chairman is Sarita Sharma and Dr Neelam Malik is the vice-chairman.

Anju Beniwala is the chairperson of the electricity committee while Sheela Devi has been appointed vice-chairman. For the environment and city beautification committee, Manjit Singh has been made the chairman and Jagjit Singh Kang vice-chairman while for the fire and emergency services committee Arshad Khan is the chairman and Jagjit Singh Kang vice-chairman.

Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri (retd) has been appointed chairman of the arts, culture and sports committee and Dr Neelam Malik the vice-chairman. For slum development committee, Kuldeep Singh has been appointed chairman and HC Kalyan vice-chairman.

Regarding the enforcement committee, Jatinder Bhatia is the chairman and Ram Sumer Morya the vice-chairman while for the apni mandi committee, Jagjit Singh Kang is the chairman and Ram Sumer Morya the vice-chairman. 



Visa Woes
UK to act tough with private colleges
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
After the quarterly report of Australia’s immigration department related to increase in fraud cases due to private colleges, the UK government has been quick to identify the ripple effect.

Besides, experts in the city claim that New Zealand and other European countries are next in the queue to put a sealing on influx of students from the region.

Instrumental in luring students to study abroad, role of several agents engaged by private colleges overseas has been identified.

Besides, a sudden increase in the number of applicants to study abroad is an indication of foul play by agents.

While the representatives of the British Council maintain that the suspension of visa in North India is due to increase in applications, which shot up nine times in last quarter, the ground reality is different, claim experts.

Most immigration consultants agree that a large numbers of students have been “abusing the visa” and using it as a back-door entry to settle abroad.

“Since there was a sudden increase in the number of private colleges in UK, the applications shot up proportionally, the government was smart to check the inflow of students. After Australia and UK, New Zealand will be the next in line,” said Naresh Gulati, Oceanic Consultants.

Deterioration in quality of private colleges overseas had been a matter of concern among parents. “Applying for universities is a better option,” said a concerned mother who had come to confirm the suspension in the UKBA centre at Sector 8.

Notably, the city observed a 50 per cent drop in queries related to study abroad, particularly in Australia.

Going by reports, visa rejection has increased form 6.5 per cent to 33.2 per cent in the last quarter. The quarterly report also states the reasons for visa rejection, particularly from Punjab and Gujarat, since there was a significant increase in number of fraud cases.

Nearly 11 colleges have closed down and 10 more would be shut soon in Australia turning the focus to universities, experts add. “Students are advised to opt for long-term courses and not from settlement, as the laws change frequently,” said Gulati.



PU students condemn endorsements on campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) opposed the policy of the university authority to promote the commercial activities on the campus.

“University authorities are allowing brands like Aaj Samaj, Idea, and TATA Docomo to promote their products on the campus,” said Deepika Thakur, general secretary, PUCSC.

In a press note, released today, she stated that university is an academic institution and hence only academic activities should be promoted on the campus. “Instead of promoting legendary quotes, teachings of learned personalities, scientists and academicians to motivate students, authorities are promoting non-academic activities,” added Deepika.

She claimed that the PUCSC had decided to condemn such a trend on the campus by submitting a memorandum to Vice-Chancellor.

However, the Vice-Chancellor and the dean student welfare could not be reached for their comments, but a senior functionary of the university dismissed the issue and said if the council was opposing these promotions, the pop singers invited by the council during events and the banners of sponsors should also be discontinued.



Students exhibit talent at education fete

Mohali, February 1
In a unique social initiative, Quark Prayas, a community development initiated by a group of volunteers, provided a platform to students of underprivileged institutes in and around Chandigarh to exhibit talent by organising an education fête here.

Rock Garden curator Nek Chand was the chief guest. Others present included Dr Ashok Chitkara and Madhu Chitkara of Chitkara University and Satnam Singh Sandhu, chairman, Chandigarh Group of Colleges.

After inviting entries of children from educational institutions, the five winning students - Prahlad Verma (Sikhya School, Sector 46, B, Chandigarh); Karan (Sant Sar School, Sector 38 West, Chandigarh); Avneet Oberai (Gur Aasra Trust, Mohali); Satpal (Jeevan Mukt Shulk Vidyalaya) and Vishal Kumar (Ashiana Children Home, Sector 16, Panchkula) - were awarded with computers and other electronic gadgets.

Delivering the keynote address, Sofi Zahoor, director, HR India Operations, Quark, said: “It is exciting to harness such talent and intelligence that could otherwise be lost if not backed with enough opportunities. The creative thoughts shared by them suggest that they do not need help but just that little bit of encouragement and the right avenues to explore. For volunteers, it has been an overwhelming and a humbling experience.”

The day saw the shortlisted candidates give Power Point presentations, thus reflecting their thoughts and opinions creatively through the use of computers.

In a competition, three of them were given prizes as a token of acknowledgment of their commitment towards their own self-growth.

The participating students were the beneficiaries of over 100 computers given by the computer company to various underprivileged institutes.

The schools that took part in the initiative were: Sikhya - The School of Learning, Sector 46, Chandigarh; Jyoti Sarup Kanya Aasra Society, Randhawa Road, Kharar; Gur Aasra Trust, Palsora; CARES, Dhanas village; Ashiana - Children Home, Sector 16, Panchkula; Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Kharar; Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Sohana; Bal Niketan Society, Sector 15 C, Chandigarh; Sant Sar Public School, Sector 38 West, Chandigarh; Jeevan Mukt Nishulk Vidyalaya, Jagatpura village, near Sector 48, Mohali; Dhudial Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Patiala; Sant Baba Waryam Singh Ji Memorial Public Senior Secondary School, Banur; Lion Public School, Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara, Milk Colony, Dhanas; Guru Ram Rai Public School, Katli village, Ropar; and Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Kurali. — TNS



Project on animals concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Project Roar, a four-month project on animals, concluded with a wildlife exhibition at The British School, Sector 44, here today.

Classes from nursery to Ist created one section of sea life, desert, forest and farm animals. All were put together to create a comprehensive wildlife exhibition.

The project started with trips to Sukhna Lake and Chhatbir zoological park to spread awareness on wildlife.

During the past four months, students participated in animal stories, scrapbook making and animal handwork.

School staff painted animals on wood, which were placed in a three-dimensional forest.

Parents were also part of the project. Students participated in animal quiz. Wildlife certificates and badges were given to participants and trophies were distributed among winners.

One of the student’s mother was honoured for her dramatised animal story and beautiful animal scrapbook, Sukhnaz and Harkoovar were honoured for their animal files, Aarnas Lakhani’s parents were honoured for their wildlife video of the Kenyan Forest Reserve, Aryan Sahu and Praleen were honoured for making for best scrap books. Staff member Anna Sergeevna from Kazakhstan was honoured for her presentation on animals in the Arctic and Antarctica.



Workshop on women, research

Chandigarh, February 1
On the fifth day of the workshop “Capacity Building for Women Managers in Higher Education -Sensitisation, Awareness and Motivation (SAM)” held at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Dr Shashi Kaul spoke on “Women and Research”.

She emphasised that women in academic field should pursue research work, which is needed for career enhancement and for self-development. She informed the participants about the procedure and areas where research could be taken up. The participants felt that it was a wake up call for them.

During the workshop, fifteen technical sessions were conducted on women’s studies perspective, women and governance, women and academic leadership, personal and professional roles and women and research. The valedictory function was presided over by Dr Pam Rajput. She gave away certificates to the participants. — TNS



Career counselling week ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The career counselling week concluded at GGDSD College, Sector 32, today.

The programme, which began on January 25, was organised by the guidance and career counselling cell of the college.

Dr Tarun Deep, a registered counsellor and a lecturer in the department of psychology, along with psychology students of the college, conducted an aptitude test for students of Class X and Class XII.

Nearly 200 students took the aptitude test.

For the first session, as many as 100 students were registered. Each student took a comprehensive test series, including tests like aptitude, interest, intelligence and personality. 



Session on cyber safety
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
St Kabir School at Sector 26 conducted an interactive session for students on ‘Cyber safety for kids online’ here today.

The session was conducted by Dr Sanjeev Sofat, head of the department of computer science and engineering, and Divya Bansal, associate co-ordinator with the PEC University of Technology.

The target of the session was to make Internet safe for children by familiarising them with cyber crimes like morphing, harassment and stalking.



Founder’s day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, celebrated its founder day here today.

Preneet Kaur, Minister of State, External Affairs, Government of India, was the guest of honour.

An akandh path, shabad kirtan and ardas were held on the college premises. 



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