C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mixed bag for city in Union Budget
Non-plan outlay down by Rs 10.68 cr; plan budget up by 69 lakh
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
It was a mixed bag for Chandigarh in the Union Budget 2010-11. While the non-plan outlay for 2010-11 showed a decline of Rs 10.68 crore from Rs 1478.68 crore to Rs 1,468 crore than the last financial year, the plan outlay registered a marginal increase of Rs 69 lakh from Rs 449.22 crore to Rs 450.91 crore - a development which spelled good news for proposed projects.

However, the Rs 10.68-crore decline in the non-plan Budget is not likely to have impact on the UT's budgetary provisions as the Chandigarh Administration will not have to shell out huge amount on the payment of the arrears to its employees in the wake of the Sixth Pay Commission in the current financial year.

In fact, the budgetary provisions fell short of the expectations of the UT Administration, which had sought about Rs 800 crore and Rs 1866 for the plan and non-plan heads, respectively. Now, the UT administration was pinning its hopes on the revised plan Budget Estimates from the existing share of Rs 450.91 crore. The hope stems from the fact that the UT got a whopping Rs 120 crore more (up from Budget Estimates of Rs 319.22 cr to Rs 449.22 crore) in the revised Budget Estimates in 2009-10.

A close look at the Budget Estimates for 2010-11 showed that the urban development got the lion's share with Rs 178 crore, which was comparatively less than last year's figure of Rs 238 crore. The education got Rs 89.72 crore as against last financial year's figure of Rs 58.24 crore. The JNNRUM allocations have come down to Rs 60 crore from Rs 141 crore last year.

With Chandigarh bursting at seams with the launch of several housing projects by the Chandigarth Housing Board (CHB) the housing sector registered a major jump from Rs 11.98 crore to Rs 28.98 crore in this year’s Budget.

The energy sector also got impressive outlay of Rs 25.27 crore from last year's figure of Rs 11.77 crore. Similarly, science and technology received an amount of Rs 27 crore as against Rs 13.98 crore in 2009-10.



Major fire breaks out in Industrial Area godown
Goods worth crores gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Property worth crores of rupees was destroyed in a major fire that broke out at the Vardhman Industries plot in Industrial Area (Phase I) today afternoon.

According to an eyewitness at an adjoining workshop, a security guard of an official who had come to the area for repair of his car noticed the fire in the store at about 12:15 pm and immediately alerted the fire department. The official said the fire brigade operation continued for over four hours, adding two fire engines were stationed near the plot for safety in case of any flames again broke out. As there was no proper parking space in the area the fire tenders had to go through a great effort in reaching the scene in time.

MC additional commissioner PK Sharma, who also holds charge of the fire department, directly supervised the firefighting operation along with fire officers SK Gosain and ML Sharma.

According to fire department reports, the godowns at the plot where the fire broke out contained hundreds of containers filled with inflammable chemicals. After reaching the scene firemen immediately swung into action and, with the help of labourers of the enforcement & engineering wing, removed chemical drums from the plot. Officials said that left out drums in the store melted due to the fire and the situation became tense when drums containing chemicals began to explode.

Fire officials said a major mishap could have occurred , if the adjoining godown of Shalimar Paints, in which a huge quantity of paint had been stored, had caught fire. They added the godown’s owners had been immediately asked to clear their premises to prevent the fire spreading to their plot.

According to additional commissioner PK Sharma, the cause of fire was not immediately known. As the chemicals stored at the plot were highly inflammable, the fire department had to use foam in large quantity and over ten fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames, he said, adding, “No firefighting equipment was installed in the premises”.

Narrating the incident to The Tribune, an eyewitness, Happy, owner of the adjoining workshop, appreciated the efforts of the firemen and said, “It’s because of the fire officials that a big mishap was averted. The fire broke out at the store of the plot when a loud noise of something exploding was suddenly heard. Within seconds there was panic in the area as people realised fire had broken out. Most of the men working in the plot ran outside to save themselves”.

The Chandigarh Industrial Association appreciated the firemen’s timely action and donated Rs 11,000 to the fire department.

The additional commissioner asked people in the area to intimate the authorities if any factory owner had stored any such combustible materials. He also warned of strict action against those storing such goods in contravention of the law.



Chb Flats
HC nod to allotment to UT admn employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today paved the way for the allotment of flats under a special scheme launched by the Chandigarh Housing Board for UT administration employees by disposing of a bunch of petitions.

The detailed judgement was not available yet, but on-hand information suggested that Justice Jasbir Singh held that UT administration employees would be considered for the allotment, but Haryana or Punjab government employees posted at Chandigarh would not be eligible for the scheme. Besides this, employees of the Delhi Financial Corporation, providing financial assistance for commercial purposes to city residents, would also be considered eligible candidates.

The board had introduced the self-finance housing scheme in January, 2008, but it immediately came under the high court scanner, with bunch of petitions being filed, challenging the scheme on different grounds, including eligiblility criteria.

Thereafter, the high court stayed the scheme and finally, reserved its orders in October last. The board had received 6,450 applications for the scheme.

One of the petitioners to challenge the scheme was Hardayal Singh Rawat. He had stated that deputationists were being considered for the allotment, but those with the Punjab or Haryana civil secretariat or the Vidhan Sabha were not being considered, though they had spent their life in Chandigarh.

During arguments, the senior standing counsel of the Chandigarh administration asserted the employees on deputation to Chandigarh from Punjab or Haryana were not being paid any deputation allowance as they were being posted under cadre posts reserved in recruitment rules in a 60:40 ratio from Punjab and Haryana.



Engg dept washes hands off ‘wrong challan’
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Caught in a piquant situation after the challaning of an alert motorist for obeying a wrong traffic sign, the authorities are passing the buck to wash their hands off the goof-up.

Five months after a car driver was challaned by the Chandigarh traffic police, the UT engineering department claimed that the traffic police had installed the wrong signboard on its own.

The complainant, Harman Sidhu, had asked the authorities as to who would pay for the challan. The engineering department made it clear that it was not liable to pay for the challan.

Chairman of the road safety NGO ArriveSafe, Sidhu was travelling in his car in August last when the traffic police challaned his driver
for taking a wrong U-turn on the road separating Sector 31 and Industrial Area.

Sidhu darted a query to the municipal corporation under the Right to Information Act in September and since then, the matter had been shuttling from one wing to the other.

On February 24, the engineering wing replied, “The department has not installed a ‘no U-turn’ board. The words ‘no U-turn’ have been got written by the traffic police on our safety pole plate. The placement is not as per IRC standards. The department is not liable to pay the challan.” Sidhu said he would approach the traffic police for a clarification and ask it to pay for the harassment he and his driver had been subjected to.

This was not an isolated instance of road signs being installed without conducting proper surveys, he said.

“Drive down the road separating the PGI and the PU leading to Mullanpur. A road sign displays 65 kmph as the speed limit for light motor vehicles, which is probably the maximum speed allowed within city limits. The traffic police should suggest drivers to slow down in view of the heavy rush of vehicles near these institutions to avoid mishaps,” he pointed out.


Budget has failed to check price rise: Residents
Nidhi Bhatia & Chhavi Garg

Chandigarh, February 26
A ‘growth oriented exercise’ is how city residents today described the 2010-11 budget proposals presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. However, most rue the major issue that concerns them -spiraling prices - has not been tackled and they will now have to pay more for fuel.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, a crosssection of residents felt though the budget will give a fillip to overall economic growth, it should have done much more for the common man. The only solace is the increase in income tax exemption limits by putting them in three slabs. However, the hike in petrol and diesel prices has everyone worried.

“A rise in fuel prices affects every single person as it has a cascading effect on the prices of almost everything else. If we talk about housing, the increase in cement and steel prices will be a major setback for the poor and the middle class. The majority of Indians don’t own a house and the situation will worsen for those planning to buy one,” said Surinder Bahga, chairman of the Indian Institute of Architecture, Chandigarh.

Industry, however, is quite upbeat about the budget. RK Saboo, chairman of Kamla Dials & Devices, said though the budget might not give a sudden spurt to the economy it has laid enough emphasis on the social sector. “Though not a reformist budget, it will definitely continue to propel industrial growth. By paving the way for gradual reduction in stimulus measures announced earlier, the budget has kept industry’s interests in mind,” he said.

The medical fraternity, too, has welcomed the budget. “Duty on medical equipment has been reduced, which will make healthcare more affordable. This will be beneficial for the poor as well as the middle class. While government employees are reimbursed for medical expenses it is always the poor who have to suffer, having at times to even sell their land to get treatment. A reduction of even Rs 100 means a big relief for them,” said GMCH-32 director principal Raj Bahadur.

“Though there has been a sizable allocation for primary education, I feel there should have been better provisions for the higher education. Skill development has got the government’s attention but it’s not enough. However, I’m happy cellphone prices have come down as this will allow me to indulge myself. But I feel sorry for my elder sister who was planning to buy a new car. With prices of SUVs having gone up there will be a bigger hole in her pocket,” said Ravjot Kaur, a Panjab University student.

MPS Chawla, a leading industrialist, said: “The budget has nothing to offer for industry in particular. In fact, the government has just completed the formality of a budget without any insightful thought for curbing the ongoing surge in prices and a collapsing economy for the common man”.

Ankit Gupta, member of the managing committee of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Chandigarh, said the budget had failed to lower the depreciation rate from 20 per cent to 10 per cent. “The proposal to grant investment linked deductions for companies planning to set up hotels of two star and above category is a welcome step, especially since the hospitality industry has been neglected in previous budgets. This would help in increasing the room inventory and well as in securing cheaper loans,” he added.



Gets CII thumbs-up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Union Budget for 2009-2010 has laid down a good basis for a strong economy and a strong social fabric. The Finance Minister has taken care of fiscal discipline by bringing down fiscal deficit.

There is focus on agriculture, environment-friendly technology and products, infrastructure and renewable energy. More importantly, the Budget gives a strong directional focus with the roadmap for the implementation of GST and Direct Tax Code by April, 2011.

These views were expressed by Harpal Singh, chairman, CII Northern Region, while talking about the Budget.

“Provisions for agriculture and agro-industry will enhance productivity levels and provide greater engagement opportunities for private-sector players. Commitment to issues relating to the opening up of retail trade and the impetus provided to the food-processing sector, including tax concessions, measures to reform fertiliser subsidy, focus on conservation farming and enhancing productivity of dry-land farming, will go a long way in strengthening the agricultural sector. Since agriculture is strong in the North, we hope that the region will benefit,” he added.

The special focus on women farmers was interesting, added Charu Mathur, regional director, CII Northern Region.

“It is in the true spirit of inclusiveness that the Finance Minister has increased the plan allocation for women, children, health, education and backward classes. The outlay on rural development has been enhanced. We hope that the social fabric will 
be strengthened.”

Partap Aggarwal, chairman, CII Chandigarh, said, “The good directional focus on taxation with the roadmap for GST and Direct Taxation Code laid down for April, 2011, makes the Budget a forward-looking one. The Finance Minister has mostly left indirect taxes unchanged, with continuation of service tax at 10 per cent and a 2 per cent increase in excise duty from 8 per cent to 10 per cent. The decrease in surcharge on corporate tax from 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent is a welcome step.”



MC panel approves paver blocks for roads 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Road Committee meeting of the Municipal Corporation was conducted under the chairmanship of Resham Chand Jakhu, which gave approval to various items on the agenda today.

At the meeting it was decided that patchwork repairs would be a continuous process and all materials would be readily available with the road wings. The committee has accorded approval to various items on the agenda, including providing and fixing of 60mm thick paver blocks in front of Government Primary School, Sector 33 B and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33 B. It will cost Rs 15.75 lakh. A 40-mm thick rubber mould paver blocks will be fixed inside the park in front of plot number 411-417, Industrial Area, Phase II, at a cost of Rs 10.23 lakh.

They will also fix 60mm thick paver blocks in front of the dispensary along V-4 road in front of the Nehru Park, Sector 22 A and B costing Rs 10.22 lakh and will lay 40mm thick asphaltic concrete on V-5 road in Sector 45 C and D costing Rs 18 lakh.

Besides the committee also proposed to fix 60-mm thick interlocking paver block around a park and 40-mm thick interlocking paver blocks inside a footpath in Sector 5 costing Rs 19.52 lakh. Revised estimate for the construction of snacks, juice, tea and coffee counters in the Community Centre, Sector 45-C costing Rs 1.15 lakh were made. A proposal to have barbed wire fencing to encircle the area of pocket No 8, Mani Majra costing Rs 16.24 lakh was made. A proposal to construct a paved footpath in various green belts in Mauli Jagran was made.

Meanwhile, the electricity committee has recommended some agenda items at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Anju Beniwala and attended by other members of the committee and other officers of MCC concerned.

The committee accorded approval for providing a 16-meter long high-mast lighting system in park, at Hallomajra village, at a rough cost estimate of Rs 3.93 lakh. The committee also proposed one high-mast lighting system in green belts of Sector 52 and 61 and one in a park, in Kajheri village.



PGI doc heads orthopaedic body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Prof MS Dhillon, Head of Orthopaedics Department, PGI, has been elected as the president of the North Zone Indian Orthopaedic Association at the recently concluded annual conference at Jammu.

Dhillon is perhaps the youngest president of this 29-year-old association consisting of nearly 700 orthopaedic surgeons as members. Dhillon, who has a special interest in sports medicine, arthroscopy and joint replacement, will be focussing in disseminating the science and art of sports injury management in surgeons of the region during the years of the Commonwealth Games as well as the cricket world cup in India.

A paper co-authored by him was awarded the best paper award and a poster co-authored by him was selected as the second best poster at the same conference.



To-Be Retirees Seeking Extension
Interim relief for 10 UT employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Ten UT employees today got interim relief as the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) ruled that UT employees who were to retire on February 28, but had applied for extension, would be entitled to all benefits.

This would be applicable in case orders of the Punjab government were made applicable to UT employees by the administration. The case would again come up for hearing on March 25.

“The applicants who are to retire on February 28 and have applied for extension of service will be entitled to all benefits in case orders of the Punjab government are made applicable to UT employees by the respondents,” the order read.

Ten persons from various UT departments had filed a petition with the tribunal recently. They were DSP KIP Singh, DSP JS Cheema, inspector Raghubir Singh, inspector Hari Chand, Prakash Chand (non-medical science master-cum-officiating headmaster, Government Model Senior Secondary School), Gurmeet Kaur (SS mistress, Government Model Senior Secondary School), Krishna Saini (lecturer, physical education), Avtar Singh (associate professor, Government College for Boys), Priti Phoolka (associate professor, Government College for Girls) and Rajesh Minhas (deputy director, adult education).

Most of them had applied for extension in service in accordance with the Punjab government’s letter dated January 27 as administrative approval was not likely before the end of this month. The counsel for the applicants cited judgements of the apex court and the tribunal that the orders of the Punjab government were part of condition of service and no specific orders were required to be passed.

Since some of the applicants were to retire on February 28, they had prayed for directions to the respondents to allow them to continue in service till final disposal of their petition.

The counsel for the administration argued that no administrative orders on the subject had been passed so far as the orders passed by the Punjab government were neither amendment in service condition, nor a decision which had been notified.



Fire breaks out in quilt-making enclosures
Our Correspondent

Fire breaks out at Madanpura village in Mohali on Friday.
Fire breaks out at Madanpura village in Mohali on Friday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, February 26
A fire broke out in two quilt-making roadside enclosures in Madanpur village here today destroying cotton, fibre and other material stocked there. A minor boy working in one of the joints sustained burn injuries.

Two fire tenders were pressed into the service to bring the fire under control. The engines and machines used in the quilt-making process also got damaged in the fire.

Abdul Rahim, who hailed from Bihar and owned one of the enclosures, said a spark from a running machine fell on the fibre, which was stocked there for making quilts.

Soon the fire spread and later engulfed a neighbouring shop. One of his workers, Irfan Khan, sustained burn injuries and was taken to the Civil Hospital.

Jagdish Singh, owner of the second shop, said he was out of the station when the incident took place. He said he had suffered a loss of Rs 3 lakh.



States told to submit proposal on traffic mgmt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Justice Rajiv Bhalla directed states of Punjab and Haryana to submit a proposal how the traffic could be streamlined in Amritsar and Gurgaon.

As Punjab’s inspector-general (traffic) R.P.Singh and Haryana’s assistant inspector-general (traffic) Rajshree Singh appeared before the court, they were asked to prepare a proposal for reducing the traffic chaos in Gurgaon and Amritsar and submit it before the court next week.

The court also directed Chandigarh superintendent of police (traffic) HS Doon to explore the feasibility for deputing the paramedical staff to provide immediate medical aid in case of an accident.



‘Mahekti Shaam’ a treat for audience
Neha Walia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Call it a celebration of flowers or promotion of tourism through Bollywood, the cultural extravaganza put forth by the students of ITFT, Chandigarh, was more than a regular song and dance sequence. A part of the ongoing Rose Festival celebrations, the show, Mahekti Shaam at Liesure Valley-10 traced the journey of Bollywood from 1947 to 2010, through songs, which had a mention of flowers.

A team of over 40 students performed 23 sequences, with songs old and new, Hindi and Punjabi numbers giving alternate flavour of entertainment to an open audience. The hit list includes Mehbooba from Sholay, old classic Baharon phool barsao, latest chart toppers Zoobie Doobie from 3 Idiots among others.

Though the dose of entertainment was constant, the crowd shared the energy along with the performers on stage. While the old classics were enjoyed in all their subtlety, the current Punjabi hits made the crowd dance to their tunes. “The show is an endeavour of ITFT and the Chandigarh administration to promote talent from the city as well as utilise a platform like Rose festival to promote tourism here. The Rose Festival is a popular annual event and a useful promotional tool in that respect,” says Gulshan Sharma, executive director, ITFT and coordinator of the show.

The following evenings will see a fashion show, performance by Bollywood actor Koena mitra and singer Kunal Ganjawala. 



Mohali fire brigade keen on hi-tech vehicles
Demands hydraulic platform worth Rs 7 cr
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 26
The Mohali fire brigade, which has been crying for hi-tech vehicles and equipment over the years, has once again demanded a hydraulic platform costing Rs 7 crore to tackle fire in high-rise buildings in the town.

Fire brigade officials have brought to the notice of the Municipal Council that there were many high-rise buildings in the residential as well as commercial areas of the town and many more such buildings were under construction at present as Mohali was expanding rapidly.

The fire brigade was ill equipped to fight any major blaze in these high-rise buildings. Keeping in mind the safety of the life and property of the residents, it was essential for the fire service to own a hydraulic platform having a height of 54 m. Such an equipment will have to be imported by an Indian company.

It was further stated that since the development of the town was being done by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority, which also cleared all building plans and the industrial area was taken care of by the Department of Industries, it was the responsibility of both these departments to provide essential services in Mohali. As such both these departments should arrange Rs 7 crore for the purchase of the hydraulic platform keeping the interests of the residents in mind. The council did not have funds to purchase such a costly vehicle.

The proposal of the fire brigade will be put up for discussion at the general house meeting of the council scheduled to be held on March 5.

In December 2007, a proposal to purchase three hi-tech fire -fighting vehicles at a cost of over Rs 6 crore was cleared at the meeting of the civic body. The directions to purchase the vehicles were issued by the Department of Local Government, Punjab, and the cost of the vehicles was to be shared by the civic bodies of Mohali (Rs 1.10 crore), Patiala (Rs 1.34 crore), Rajpura (Rs 70,000), Dera Bassi (Rs 33,000), Zirkapur (Rs 77,000), Kharar (Rs 65,000), and Kurali (Rs 22,000).

According to the proposal, these vehicles were to be stationed in Mohali and provide free service to all those civic bodies, which were to contribute for the purchase. The plan, however, did not materialise as other civic bodies were reportedly reluctant to contribute funds for the hydraulic platform.

The Mohali fire brigade is still working with old vehicles and outdated equipment. It has also been plagued by acute staff shortage.



Kanwaljit’s daughter vents pain in blog
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, February 26
Manpreet Kaur Dolly, daughter of the late Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has expressed anguish over the death of her father in her blog dollydhillon.wordpress.com.

She has asserted that there is no sense of justice in Punjab though a year has passed since the death of her father.

He could have been saved had he been taken to a good hospital at Mohali, she claimed. She expressed shock over the truck drivers’ release from jail four or five days after the fatal accident.

The writing of the blog coincided with the first death anniversary of Capt Kanwaljit Singh. “If a VIP is not cared for, what about the common man,” she wrote.

Through her blog, she wanted to give a message to the common man. “Since my father’s death, I have been exposed to politics. It is a task to get to the administration and leaders,” she wrote.

She remembered every word uttered by her father. Youngest of the siblings, her father had never refused her anything. She mentioned an incident where she wanted to go to the UK with him.

Her passport had expired, but it was renewed in no time, she wrote. The UK embassy in New Delhi was kept open beyond the scheduled closing time for her, she added.



Cops preparing sketch of girl’s abductor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
A day after the five-year-old girl, Mehak, who was kidnapped from her house in Phase X here last evening, returned home after being released by her abductors in Ambala, the police is again reconstructing the sequence of events leading to the incident.

In a bid to tighten its noose on the abductors, suspected to be four in number, the cops are preparing a sketch of one of the suspects who had entered the girl’s house to kidnap her.

While the girl’s family members maintained silence on the entire episode, sources said the abductors, in a bid to dodge the police, kept on calling from STD booths while moving from Mohali to Ambala through connecting link roads. The operators of the STDs are now being asked to provide a description of the abductors. Another matter that was troubling the investigators was that the abductors made little use of mobile phones.

Various phone calls are being analysed to trace the abductors who, the sources said, were apparently aware the girl’s father had recently struck a property deal. “This means someone indirectly known to the businessman was aware about the deal and demanded a ransom”, said a police official.

However, the cops believe that, going by the suspects’ modus operandi, it appears to have been the handiwork of professional kidnappers or someone acquainted with the girl’s family members.



Higher Education for Differently Abled Students
Colleges don’t care despite UGC grants
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Despite efforts of Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal and the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the promotion of higher education for differently abled students, there are no takers for such a scheme in the city.

Barring the Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11, which has a special section in its library that caters to 12 visually challenged students, no other college in the city has ventured into higher education for students with locomotive or visual disabilities.

Repeated circulars sent by the HRD Ministry to various colleges in the city, offering them grants to encourage education of differently abled students in colleges, have fallen flat. Awareness about lucrative schemes floated by the UGC and the Centre’s funding agencies is lacking in the colleges.

Under the ‘Higher education for persons with special needs’, a special UGC scheme, colleges that provide education to students with special needs are entitled to a grant of Rs 10 lakh.

The UGC offers Rs 15 lakh for evening remedial classes in all subjects in colleges and Rs 7 lakh for enhancement of capacity building, which includes new innovative courses, teaching programmes and furniture.

Under the 14 merged schemes, floated by the UGC, a special provision of opening equal opportunity centres in colleges has also been given. Colleges can provide extra training to teachers who do not have adequate teaching skills, which is applicable to office staff, administrative staff and Class IV workers.

The UGC advocates adoption of computer and technical skills by college staff and allots Rs 5 lakh for establishing UGC resource centre in colleges.



Delay in CAT result worries students
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
With CAT online examination results expected in the next few days, MBA aspirants in the city are in a fix, as the top non-IIM B-schools are already done with their admission process.

When CAT results were declared in the first week of January this year, the process had been delayed by nearly two months due to some technical snag in systems at various testing centres.

Consequently, top B-schools like FMS, Symbiosis and IIFT are on the verge of completion of their group discussions and personal interviews.

While the IIMs continue to remain students’ top preference, some of these colleges have even asked the selected students to deposit fee.

In addition, three IIMs, including, Bangalore, Lucknow and Shillong have also announced to give more weightage to performance of students in graduation and less to CAT score.

“Students are being asked to deposit fee in other top institutes, and the IIMs are the top choice.

The declaration by a few IIMs to give weightage to academics will further discourage students who had been focusing on CAT examination and had an average score in graduation,” said Akash Gautam, All-India consultant, Career Launcher Pvt Ltd.

“A lot of students have lost interest in the entire process, as only 30 per cent of students appeared in the re-test of online CAT examination. Additionally, all BA, BCom students will appear for their final examination in April, which can clash with interviews,” said Hridesh Madan, Bullseye.

“IIM Ranchi has been added to the list of the IIMs now. Despite several flaws in the online Cat examination system, students continue to have a fascination to crack CAT examination.

The list of institutes which accept CAT score is available on the IIM website,” said Anshu Kataria, Aryans Business School. 



Writers explore perspectives in literary realms
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 26“Literature is a creation of three factors, races, milieu and moment,” observed M Taine, a French literary historian. Over 250 prolific writers, including 20 from abroad, are engaged in exploring new perspectives in the literary realm at the ongoing international conference on “Contemporary issues: Literature and culture since 1980” at PU, Chandigarh.

Credit goes to Manju Jaidka and her team of Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy in organising the three-day literary fest in collaboration with Panjab University and Melus-Melow at the English Auditorium.

Inaugurated by Vice-Chancellor, Prof RC Sobti, with encouraging comments from IAS Pradip Mehra, the international seminar has brought the literary luminaries of world recognition to interact with fellow writers on culture, a much wider term to include literature.

In the opening session, Dr Harish Trivedi delivering the keynote address on India, America and world literature delved deep to evolve explosive truths.

Focusing on the issue of dominance, Prof Williams spoke of bipolarity, which existed in the world because of globalisation on the one hand and religion on the other.

Paper presentations ranged from critical perspectives of Dalit literature to representation of contemporary reality in award winning novels to homosexuality and terrorism in Indian visual media.

The added attractions remained poetry sessions, especially in English by poets led by Nirupama Dutt, an acclaimed writer critic and journalist.

Besides Kailash Ahluwalia, Balpreet Kaur, Lalita Jangwan, Aradhana Sharma, Saurabh Gupta and Devashsish read out the poems. The themes varied from nature, relationships and pain formed the leitmotif of the verses.

Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu segment had award winning poets like TN Raaz, Yojana Rawat, Roshan Sharma, BD Kalia, Rupa Saba, Taaran Gujral, Santosh Dhiman and Atul Vir Arora, who shared their thoughts on life and living in their poetry.

The “meet the writers” session will be held tomorrow from 9.45 am at the English Auditorium. Prominent among them are Shashi Deshpande, Mamta Kalia, Dr Chander Trikha, Namita Gokhle and Malashri Lal.



National Science Day observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
National Science Day was observed at research and developments institutions in the city by holding lectures and opening laboratories to the public.

At Central Scientific Instruments Organisation Dr Ashwagosha Ganju, director (Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment), gave a talk on ‘Snow Study for Avalanche Defence and Climate Change in the Himalayas’. He emphasised that snow was an important constituent of earth's crust and it modulated weather conditions, initiated formation of glaciers, and regulated water flow in various river systems besides being an intriguing element for scientists.

He stressed upon the need of sensors and instruments for continued recording to study the climate change and strengthening environmental protection. He delved upon the challenges and opportunities in this field pertaining to systematic and long-term studies with state-of-the-art equipment to provide authentic analysis from accurate data for the government to take up sustainable development programmes and adaptation strategies in mountains.

Earlier, Prof N Sathyamurthy, director of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, gave a technical talk on ‘Playing with Bucky Ball’, pertaining to football like hexagonal molecular structure of water at DRDO laboratory here. A presentation on ‘A prototype Model for Integration of Topographical and Meteorological Parameters for Avalanche Hazard Analysis’, was made by SK Dewali, scientist at SASE.



Poor coordination by admn hits school garden contest
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The UT administration’s move on the ‘best-maintained government-school garden’ competition during the ongoing Rose Festival seems to have failed miserably because of lack of coordination among its departments.

The category, expected to get maximum participation, given that there were over 100 government schools in the city, got only one, which according to officials, was too substandard to be considered.

“We got one entry in this category. When judges visited the school, it was found to be below expected standards. We decided not to award anybody. We expected all schools to participate, but surprisingly, none did,” said a horticulture department official.

The competition, under the H4 category, was a move to encourage government schools to maintain and beautify their gardens, but interestingly, the education department failed to apprise government schools of the competition, leave aside ensuring participation.

“No government-school principal knew about any such competition. Nobody from the administration told us,” said a government-school principal.

There was only one entry, garden of the Bapu Dham School, being maintained by the LIC Cricket Club. When contacted, senior officials of the education department passed the buck to organisers, saying they were never informed.

“We were never informed about the category. They should have informed us rather than expecting us to search papers. The problem is on their part,” said an official.

Meanwhile, Som Nath of 1584, Sector 35-D, won the first prize in the vegetable and fruit-carving category and BC Josan of DAV College, Sector 10-D, secured the first position in the cut-flower category.



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