C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ranjit Bajaj arrested from home
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 3
A month after filing a case of attempted murder against Ranjit Bajaj, son of retired IAS officers Rupan Deol Bajaj and BR Bajaj, the district police finally managed to nab him at his home in Sector16, Chandigarh. He had applied for anticipatory bail in a Panchkula court on which the hearing was scheduled for tomorrow.

It may be recalled that on January 30 Gurmohan Singh Bedi, son of a high court judge, lodged a complaint with the Panchkula police alleging Ranjit had tried to kill him at the town’s North Park Hotel the previous night during a party organised by the St John's Old Boys Association (SJOBA). The suspect was accompanied by two gunmen, Bedi had stated in his complaint.

Following this the police registered a case against Ranjit under sections 323, 506, 307, 295A & 34 of the IPC. The cops then conducted a search at his house in Chandigarh though the suspect could not be arrested as he had already left for Mumbai to appear in a TV channel audition.

Later on the same day, Henna Singh, a girl residing in Chandigarh, filed a complaint against Bedi claiming Bajaj had a tiff with the suspect when he (Bajaj) tried to protect them from Bedi’s overtures.



Infosys SEZ in city under lens

New Delhi, March 3
A special economic zone in Chandigarh being developed by Infosys has come under scanner of the revenue department for allegedly breaking certain norms which the company denied.

SEZ rules require that land should be vacant for getting approval. The Revenue Department in the Finance Ministry claimed that it had found some structures on SEZ land even before the approval was given.

"Land was not vacant, some structures were there. Investigation has come up. Information has been sought," a senior CBEC official told PTI.

When contacted, Infosys director, Human Resources and Administration, Mohandas Pai, said, "We are very surprised at this statement. We have complied with the SEZ regulations. Our site has been inspected by the authorities and full disclosure has been made to the Board of Approval."

When contacted, revenue secretary Sunil Mitra said the commerce and the revenue department were likely to discuss the matter on March 9. "We are discussing with commerce secretary (Rahul Khullar). We are discussing this on March 9. Hopefully, we will find a resolution," Mitra said.

He said the issue would be discussed within North Block tomorrow with CBEC chairman V Sridhar, who would meet the commerce secretary on March 9. — PTI 



Cops accused of bias in hotel manager’s arrest
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
A day after the police booked a hotel manager for violating prohibitory orders by not maintaining a record of guests, the hotel’s owner accused the police of being biased in the matter and claimed he had provided the record that the cops had “ignored”.

Surinder Thukral, a resident of Sector 44 and owner of Hotel Shagun in Attawa, Sector 42, told TNS some policemen from the 36 police station came to his hotel on March 1 at about 4 pm and took away the entry register with them. He asserted the manager, Bharat Natyar of Uttranchal, was not in the hotel at that time.

Later, when Natyar went to the police station to enquire about the matter, he was arrested after the cops registering a case against him under section 188 of the IPC for not maintaining proper records of guests. Thukral further stated the next day Natyar was produced before a local court where the police formally informed him about arrest of his employee.

Thukral asserted he had provided all the details in the application for bail, which the court granted to Natyar. He maintained all 23 rooms of the hotel were given for two days to a group of girl students from Jammu & Kashmir and an entry was made in the hotel register under the name of their group leader, Farooq Ahmed, head assistant in the technical education department at Government Polytechnic for Women, Bemina, Srinagar.

He added the hotel manager had also put a copy of Ahmed’s identity card issued by the Jammu & Kashmir government in the register along with the information that 23 rooms were given to a group headed by him.

Thukral claimed his hotel had six pages of records containing lists of students and their faculty members, which he said the police “did not take into consideration”.

On the other hand, the Sector 36 police station SHO stated, “We’re not disputing whether they (the hotel) had provided us the information or not. Our stand was that the records were not maintained as per the guidelines issued by the authorities”.

“According to the rules the name of the occupant hiring a room shall be legibly written in block letters in his or her own handwriting, which was not done in this case. The occupant of the room should also provide a copy of his ID proof, complete address and a contact number”, the SHO added.



IT survey on Bhushan group
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Income tax sleuths today conducted search and survey operations on the premises of Bhushan group of industries here today.According to information, the operation was conducted simultaneously at all 48 offices and industries of the industrial house based in Chandigarh, UP, Orissa, and Maharashtra.

Around 250 officials, including deputy directors and assistant directors from the department, carried out the operation.

While the IT sleuths are yet to ascertain the amount of tax evasion, sources said tax evasion worth several lakhs had already been detected.

Enquiries revealed that besides the factories in the Industrial Area Phase 1 here, the team also targeted the residential premises of the directors of the group.



PU lifts curbs on research in colleges
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Research work in nearly 80 postgraduate colleges affiliated to Panjab University is set to resume after a committee set up by the varsity to look into the matter recommended academic restrictions on research in colleges be removed.

Initially selected faculty members will be permitted to engage in research work according to the specified criteria and format. The committee’s move will help in research work resuming in all colleges in Chandigarh barring one, since all of them offer postgraduate courses.

“To begin with research work would be conducted in a selective manner as decided by the panel,” said PU dean of university instructions SC Vaidya, the committee’s coordinator.

The issue of doing away with academic restrictions on research work by faculty members in postgraduate colleges was intensively debated at the last PU senate meeting, following which the vice chancellor had set up the panel.

The decision on allowing only selective research has been made to tackle the problem of a gradual decline in academic and research standards, as claimed by the PU administration, which subsequently led to a curbs on research work.

“The step, which is in sync with central government directives, will give a boost to college teachers. Those in Chandigarh colleges will no longer be in a dormant state and will be able to rise to a national and international level,” said Dr Dilip Kumar, a Senate member.

Hundreds of PhD aspirants had been waiting for a chance to undertake research work at PU as a decision on resumption of research in colleges was pending and the only option college students had was to come to PU for the purpose.

In a bid to control the deteriorating standards the university had stopped college teachers from ‘guiding’ any research work about two years back. Consequently, not only did the teacher to student ratio for research work become lopsided but it also injected a “sense of inferiority” among senior teachers, claimed some of the teachers.

Although the University Grants Commission does not bar any college teacher who has taught postgraduate classes for five years from guiding research work, the practice was halted after some cases of fraud and manipulation in colleges came to PU’s notice. 


Boston Case
Discrepancies in PU attendance records

Chandigarh, March 3
Discrepancies have been found in the attendance records of several departments of Panjab University.After the late arrival of students of Department Of Law and UILS, who had gone to attend the 56th Harvard National Model United Nations, the university authorities summoned the chairpersons of all departments to submit the attendance records of the past one month. The office of the Dean, University Instructions, had assessed the same.

 As per the rules laid down in the university calendar, the list of students, who had been absent for more than 7 days should be sent to the Dean, University Instructions, and the name of the ward was struck off temporarily. According to sources, it has been found that many departments were not following the pattern. The university is yet to announce the action to be taken against such students and departments. Meanwhile, the war of words has begun in PU among student leaders after a series of press conference by the PUSU. SOPU leader Brinder Dhillon is reportedly back in campus after attending the conference in Boston and has accused PUSU of manipulating the documents. — TNS



Body of drowned youth recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 3
The search operation for the body of Gurmeet, a youth who was drowned in Tikker Taal on Monday, was ended when it was recovered by a diver from Madhuban here today. The search for the body started last morning when his friends informed the family about the incident.

The deceased, a resident of Nada village, near Panchkula, had gone on a pleasure trip with his friends to the picnic spot on Holi.

At Tikker Taal Gurmeet, along with four others -- Mamraj, Balwinder, Jagdev, Lal Singh from the same village -- reportedly had a bet on getting a bottle of beer thrown in the Tikker Taal. Gurmeet dived in the lake but did not come back.

Following the incident the youths reported the matter to the staff of tourism centre who searched Gurmeet in the lake but did not find him.

They suspected that the youths were under the influence of liquor and had made fun of them.

Later, all four returned to their homes and did not tell anything to their parents. It was last morning when family members of Gurmeet made inquiries only to know about the incident following which a search operation was started, but the body could not be traced.

Today, the search operation was joined by Anil, a diver from Madhuban, who traced the body around 3.30 pm in a pit on the base of the lake. The body had been sent for autopsy by the police.



Does Chandigarh need mega projects?
Will help make it tourist destination

Chandigarh has grown with the times. From a sleepy town inhabitated by babus and retired persons, it is the new metro on the horizon of North India. In this backdrop, the setting up of mega projects in the city is not only desirable, but in line with expectations of the burgeoning population, particularly Generation Next.

Currently, barring a couple of tourist spots like the Sukhna Lake and the Rock Garden, there is nothing for tourists and residents to look forward to in the city. The setting up of mega projects, including the amusement park and the film city, will go a long way in making the city the tourist destination of the North, giving a boost to the tourism industry in particular and the economy in general.

Haphazard construction around Chandigarh threatens to throw architectural controls out of the window. We can develop these projects in Chandigarh, where architectural control and building bylaws are strict and there is no harm in setting up mega projects.

With Chandigarh bursting at seams in the wake of the coming up of the international airport, state-of-the-art IT Park, MNCs and big corporates, these entertainment facilities are a prerequisite for a growing city. We cannot stop the march of civilisation and well-regulated planning in the sectoral grid is far better than the unregulated growth in Chandigarh’s vicinity.

The alleged irregularities in land allotment to controversial mega projects is no alibi for the scrapping of the projects. In fact, the Chandigarh administration should strictly enforce various architectural norms and bylaws and act as a facilitator. The farmers, whose land is being acquired for the mega projects, should also be given a fair deal and treated as stakeholders in the projects.

A development dilemma is staring Chandigarh in the face. The need of the hour is to take a holistic view of development, taking into account population’s expectations and the city’s basic character. Government agencies of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana should sit together to chalk out a comprehensive development strategy for the region.

Like in other cities of the world, mega projects will not spoil the character of an emerging city like Chandigarh. We will have to provide for entertainment and other needs of the people working in the city here itself. Tradition and modernity can co-exist.

Suresh Sharma is the MD of Allengers  Medical Systems Private Limited

Better to develop these in periphery

The setting up of mega projects, including the film city, the medicity and the amusement park, will open a Pandora’s box. With land at premium in the city, mega projects will take its toll on the city’s infrastructure, already under strain as it is also being used by people of neighbouring states.

Chandigarh is not a metro. The self-contained architecture marvel created by Le Corbusier is sufficient to meet the entertainment and other requirements of residents. Mega projects basically do not gel with the distinctive character of Chandigarh, developed as a clean and green city by its founders. Since mega projects require hundreds of acres, the city cannot spare such huge chunks of land for these projects, which are already under the scanner of the Central Vigilance Commission and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The acquisition of land for the projects is already giving sleepless nights to the administration. Once the new Bill replacing the Land Acquisition Bill, 1894, comes into force, the acquisition of land and rehabilitation of oustees will become a Herculean task, driving last nail in the coffin of the controversial mega projects.

History shows that the mega land deals result in mega scams worth thousands of crores. You can see the fate of mega land deals in Chandigarh during recent years. Most of the mega projects seem to have turned into mega scandals, in which lands worth thousands of crores has been gifted to big realtors for a song by the powers that be.

It will a better idea to develop these projects in the backward areas of Punjab and Haryana in the periphery of Chandigarh to give a boost to the economy of these areas. Chandigarh is a developed city and the Chandigarh administration should not be a party to the usurping of poor farmers’ land by the land mafia in the name of mega projects.

The need of the hour is to bury the ghost of mega projects once and for all. Let Chandigarh remain an oasis of greenery and beauty in the concrete desert that the region is threatening to become. Let us hope that better sense prevails over politicians and bureaucrats, bent upon destroying Chandigarh’s unique character.

Brig KS Kahlon (retd) is president of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha



Pay Scale
CAT gives 3 months to consider retiree’s case
Sonika Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today directed Hisar-based Central Sheep Breeding Farm to consider the case of its retired employee Ram Prakash and pass necessary orders within three months.

“The case is disposed of with a direction to the respondents to consider the case for grant of pay scale at a par with electricians working at other Central government offices, which is Rs 4000-Rs 6000, with effect from the date of filing his original application as their two objections of qualification and experience stand removed by amendment of rules,” the order passed by a Bench comprising Shyama Dogra and Khushi Ram read.

Ram Prakash has filed an application under Section 19 of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985, submitting that he had been working as electrician with the Central Sheep Breeding Farm, Hisar, since 1976.

He was a matriculate and had passed a two-year ITI course, besides having three-year experience in the maintenance of electrical wiring and fittings, repair of generators and air-conditioners and other electricity related work.

He had been working on a single-post cadre and retired on July 31, 2008, as per an order dated February 16, 2008.

“There was huge workload at the farm, which was taken care of by me singlehandedly,” Ram Prakash had mentioned.

He had added that electrician at the farm had a pay scale of Rs 3050-Rs 4950, lower than the pay scale of Rs 4000-Rs 6000 of electricians working at other Central government offices under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying And Fisheries.

He had filed the original application before the tribunal, seeking a direction to the respondents to consider revision of recruitment rules by upgradation of qualification for the post of electrician and accord him the pay scale of skilled electrician at a par with those at other departments.

With a notification dated January 3, 2005, the amendment was made and the qualification was raised to matriculation. By an order dated April 8, 2008, the claim was rejected.

Ram Prakash had claimed that he was entitled to a pay scale of Rs 4000-Rs 6000, given to his counterparts at other departments. His pay scale had to be compared with those at other Central government offices.



MC to prepare list of abitual encroachers
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The municipal corporation will prepare a list of habitual encroachers again to take stringent action against them and check the menace.

A decision to this affect was taken during the enforcement committee meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Jatinder Bhatia.

The authorities had earlier been taking action against such violators, but it was not dissuading them, who used to escape by just paying a meagre fine.

Anti-encroachment drives and the deployment of special enforcement teams in main sectors had ended up nowhere as most encroachers were back after paying a fine of Rs 500 per day.

Most roadside ‘rehris’ at the ‘rehri’ market in Sector 19 had encroached upon MC land whenever they got a chance to do so.

The authorities had removed a private crane and trucks from the parking site of the motor market at Mani Majra, but they were back again.

The situation was similar at other markets of the city where anti-encroachment drives had been conducted.

The issue of increasing the fine for encroachment was tabled in the house and most councillors spoke against it and got it rejected.

They suggested that the fine be reduced from Rs 500 to Rs 100 as most encroachers belonged to the economically weaker sections.

Enforcement committee ex-chairman and nominated councillor Arshad Khan had made a strong plea for heavy fines and registration of cases.

A senior official opined that there was no use preparing a list of violators and taking action till the amount of fine was increased.

Officials added that most of the time, elected councillors used their powers in relaxing the fine, which motivated violators in continuing encroachment.

They suggested that there was need to formulate an action plan if the corporation wanted to control the menace.

They favoured joint drives of the corporation and the traffic police and hefty fines on and challans and cases against violators.

During the committee meeting, members stressed that the enforcement department should avoid a pick-and-choose policy.

They proposed that permission be given to shopkeepers for loading and unloading goods near their business premises.



Plots Measuring Less Than Two Kanal
Small industrialists seek parity for conversion
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Ahead of the UT administration’s new industrial policy, industrial plot holders having less than two kanal in area have put forth their demand to bring them on parity with others for conversion.

The UT administration ended its conversion policy, which allowed plot holders to convert land use of their industrial plots into commercial activity and services.

Till last year, the administration had allowed it to those with industrial plots of over two kanal under the conversion policy.

A group of industrialists met the Home Secretary yesterday and apprised him of the disparity. There were about 1,000 plots at Phases I and II of the Industrial Area.

The industrialists claimed that those with an area of two kanal and-a-half were allowed commercial activities while they were not. In 2008, the Chandigarh administration had amended the conversion policy for industrial plots in the Industrial Area.

It was stated that two or more adjoining plots allotted under the less-than-two-kanal category were to be considered for conversion if the area was two kanal or more after amalgamation.

The Chandigarh administration had incurred losses on account of not reviewing conversion rates for projects and delay in payment for conversion in the Industrial Area.



New sanitation policy in P’kula
Councillor resents ‘inadequate’ manpower
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 3
The new scheme introduced last month to keep the city in a better condition has started crumbling. VK Sood, a councillor from ward No. 4, comprising of Sector 6 and a part of Sector 7, resented against the “inadequate” manpower deployed in his ward and had warned of not heading the ward executive committee formed for the purpose.

The town has been stinking since the scheme was launched last month and it was not possible for him to head the committee formed for it as the authorities had failed to redress the problems brought to their notice time and again, said Sood while addressing a press conference here today.

“In fact I had written a letter to the executive officer of the municipal council to bring the issue towards his attention in the first week of the last month and a copy of the letter was submitted to the principal secretary and financial commissioner, local bodies, as well,” he said.

However, neither the authorities took any step to solve the problem nor they bothered to reply to the correspondence, rued Sood.

“Now, I want to inform the authorities through the media that it would not be possible for me to run the scheme in case sufficient manpower was not provided in the ward within next 10 days,” he said.

Lifting and disposal of garbage in the town had been handed over to the ward executive committees and the scheme was extended to all parts of the town on February 1. Earlier, these responsibilities were looked after by a contractor of the council.

Now, 18 employees were deputed for every ward and amount against their salaries were being disbursed by ward committees.

The scheme, however, attracted the sharp criticism from all sections of society.

The EO, municipal council, KK Jain, when contacted said Sood had a discussion over the problem with him only today.



SDM meets councillors over sanitation
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 3
The poor state of sanitation in Mohali was discussed at a meeting held by SDM Ravinder Pal Singh Walia at the Municipal Bhawan here today.

Municipal councillors and representatives of welfare bodies who attended the meeting pointed out that sanitation was in a state of neglect in the town even when the municipal council was spending crores of rupees to maintain cleanliness in Mohali.

They alleged that sanitation contractors were even violating rules laid down in connection with solid waste management. Even when residents were not satisfied with sanitation work, the civic body failed to take any strict action against the contractors concerned. In fact, they said, the amount to be spent on sanitation work had now been increased to Rs 3.35 crore.

The SDM said the meeting was called on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner. He said that routine checking of sanitation work would be carried out from time to time and efforts would be made to implement some of the suggestions given by councillors and others.

Surprisingly, the meeting was attended only by 12 councillors out of a total of 30 even when most of them raised their voice against poor sanitation at the monthly meetings of the civic body.



Panches allege land misuse, suspended
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 3
At a time when the Mullanpur Garib Dass gram panchayat was keenly contesting the case of alleged wrong mutations of around 500 acres of shamlat land of the village in the Supreme Court, suspension of members of gram panchayat by the director, rural development and panchayat, had raised many eyebrows.

Acting on a complaint of Dewan Singh, sarpanch of the village gram panchayat, the director had suspended Niab Singh, Lal Singh, Kulwinder Singh, Paramjit Kaur, Kirna Devi, Ajnala Latava, and Amarjit Kaur - all panches.

Though the sarpanch had stated that they did not participate in a meeting called to check illegal cutting of wild grass on the village land, the panches contended that on February 11 they had given in writing to the SHO, Mullanpur, and sought action against illegal sand quarrying and cutting of wild grass. They claimed that they had been suspended after they sought details to go through the expenditure and status of development grants from the sarpanch.

There are differences among the panchayat members over different issues. They pointed out that one of the sitting panchayat members was involved in selling the shamlat land.

“Instead of taking action against such elements who were working against the interest of the village, the director had suspended seven of the panchayat members,” said one of the suspended panchayat members.

The Supreme Court had ordered status quo on the shamlat land. The prime land worth crores of rupees had been under contention for the past several years as the panchayat claimed ownership of the land, stating that it was shamlat.

On the other hand, a few villagers belonging to the Choe Reclamation Society had been claiming that the land was private and belonged to them. The village panchayat had filed an SLP in the apex court.



Carnival time for special children
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 3
It was a carnival time for over 200 special children from Chandigarh as G4S, a multinational security consultancy firm, organised a fun-filled “Happy Day” for them at a resort on the Landran-Sirhind road near here today. Celebrations were in the air, as the special children, including physically challenged, visually challenged and orthopaedically challenged, enjoyed camel rides, musical chairs, singing contests and other games with G4S staff.

Municipal Corporation former Mayor and chairperson of Punjab Arts Council Harjinder Kaur complimented G4S for its corporate social responsibility initiative for the underprivileged. Lieut Col Hardev Singh, vice-president, Chandigarh region of G4S, informed that the initiative attempted to bring happiness into the lives of these children.



15 pc reservation for economically weaker sections
Schools guilty of not providing update
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
If one goes by the UT education department’s latest update on mandatory 15 per cent reservation of seats in the city schools for economically weaker sections (EWS), almost all schools, including aided ones, have been either found lacking or guilty of not providing an update so far.

While the administration in the last couple of months has been trying to tighten the noose on the defaulting private players, it is shocking to find that the EWS list updated this month has no information on the reservation status in seven aided schools except for Sri Guru Gobind Singh High School, Sector 35, which has 15.7 per cent of EWS students.

As far as the renowned private schools are concerned, the list brings forth the dismal figure.

Strawberry Field World School that has reportedly adopted students from various slums has a perturbing percentage of about 3.75 per cent.

While its kindergarten branch has just 0.35 per cent, DAV Public School, Sector 8, has 1.7 per cent, DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, has 6.78 per cent, Saupin’s School has 5.88 per cent, St Anne’s Convent School has 5.38 per cent, Stepping Stone School has 4.7 per cent, St Joseph’s Public School has 3.56 per cent and Mount Carmel School has 4.2 per cent.

Shivalik Public School, which recently got disaffiliated by the CBSE and faced ire of the administration, has admitted just 5 per cent of 
EWS kids.

Even AKSIPS, which was recommended for the disaffiliation, has same number of students.

It may be noted that, interestingly, many schools like St John High School, who have been taken to task for violating this norm, have been declared minority institutions in this list with a passing reference to the number of EWS students rather than exact percentage.

Schools like Vivek High School according to sources are yet to provide any information regarding their EWS quota.

“We have updated the list this month because now we will be dealing with all schools sternly. Yes, there are many schools even the aided ones, which have not given us the information and they have been given final notice to do so. Minority or no minority, all schools will have to abide otherwise they will loose all facilities given by the administration and face threat of the disaffiliation,” said a senior official.



Rose Fest
School wins top spot in cut flower category
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 3
Small Wonders School, Phase VII, won accolades at the recently concluded Rose Festival in Sector 16, Chandigarh.

Director Sandeep Singh said in the cut flower category, the school’s entry from rose hybrid secured first place. In the categories of larkspur, rose hybrid tea, rose hybrid, carnations and any other flower, the school bagged the second position.

For the second potted plant category in brachyome, the school entry secured the first and second positions.



Mayor inspects Sectors 50, 51
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Anu Chatrath, Mayor, today visited Sectors 50 and 51 to look into the problems of residents of the area regarding streetlights, roads and public health works.

She instructed the officials concerned to make a provision for boosting pumps for regular water supply to the fourth floor of houses in these sectors; widening of V-5 and V-6 roads and provision for installing high mast lights to avoid theft of streetlight lamps.

She also directed officials to level low-lying vacant areas of both sectors and resolve at the earliest the problem of open defecation.

She also assured residents to take up the issue with the administration why it was charging commercial rent of electricity from the residents of these sectors.
Meanwhile, members of the joint action committee of Sectors 50, 51 and 63 submitted a memorandum to the Mayor regarding their grievances.



UT’s quality of life one of the best in world, says Patil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
"We all envisage making Chandigarh one of the best cities in the world in terms of quality of life, social infrastructure, civic sense, green and clean environment along with world class health care and educational facilities. But it is equally important to maintain the uniqueness of Chandigarh, for which it is known for, while focusing on the development of the city." This was stated by Shivraj Patil, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, while addressing a select gathering at a session on "Chandigarh: new direction, new paradigms" organised at CII here today.

Endorsing CII’s vision to make Chandigarh the civic capital of India and focus on connectivity and coordinated development, Patil said, “ It is heartening to note that the government and the CII are at the same wavelength and it is possible to translate the plans into action when we work in collaboration.” 



Ibsen’s play ‘Lille Eyolf’ staged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Henrik Johan Ibsen, a famous Norwegian playwright and poet, with his play, “Lille Eyolf” (Little Eyolf), meant to describe the illogical and that is exactly what Neelam Mann Singh did today evening by staging the Punjabi/English adaptation of the play at the Rock Garden’s amphitheatre.

The play titled the same, translated by Surjit Patar and directed by Neelam Mann Singh had actors of her troupe, “The Company”, brought out the meaning of each character from the original play.

Apart from the justified performances, the highlight of the play was water symbolism created on the stage. The characters, which fitted too close to life frame, reflected multi-layered personalities.

The play, which had earlier won great reviews in Delhi Ibsen Festival in 2008 had the same effect here too.

In the city, the play has been organised as an annual fund raising activity by the People for Animals (PFA).



IIMs prefer candidates with work experience
Nidhi Bhatia

Chandigarh, March 3
A visible effort by IIMs to hide CAT online exam crash down mess by reducing weightage of CAT exam and giving preference to candidates with work experience this time has led to reduce number of calls in the city. While freshers felt that they received step motherly treatment from the top management schools this time, emphasis being given to Class X and Class XII exams have added to their woes.

Four IIM’s, namely Ahembdabad, Shillong, Calcutta and Lucknow, are out with the shortlisted candidates for the next step in the selection procedure, the number of students who received calls are lesser than the previous years. The other IIMs are yet to come out with their lists. “Suddenly the IIMs came out with a notification about reducing the weightage given to CAT result. And now they have decided to give work experience more weightage. Almost 50% students who appeared in CAT exam are freshers. Such a change should have been announced earlier, it is a wastage of students’ time, money and energy,” Hirdesh Madan, region head, Bulls Eye.

Though the performance of the students has improved this year, despite the crash down, the number of calls from the IIMs has reduced to more than 50 per cent. The main reason being cited by experts is the lack of experience among the students. Around 50 per cent of those who appeared for the exam and also scored well are freshers. “The main reason behind giving more weightage to the work experience is recession. If the IIMs fail to provide placements to the students, their image will receive a major setback. Since the placement scene is not vibrant even for the IIMs, they made this change in the policy, as it is easier to place the students with the work experience,” added Madan.

Gunjan Kapoor, a final year student of UIET, Panjab University, who scored 99.81 percentile has not got any interview call yet. 



PU decides to reduce holidays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
During a meeting of chairpersons held at Panjab University today, it was decided to reduce the number of holidays by 10 in the wake of semester system implemented in the university.

Earlier, the faculty members enjoyed holidays for a stretch two months.

The VC also gave instructions to the chairpersons to send out results of the students on time in future.



Research facility inaugurated in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 3
The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) research facility was inaugurated on the new campus of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) here today.

The inauguration was done by Prof P Rama Rao, chairman of the Board of Governors and former secretary to the Government of India, department of science and technology.

Dr Jagdeep Singh, coordinator, who issued a press release on behalf of the director, Prof N Sathyamurthy, said the NMR research facility would open up new horizons for inter-disciplinary research ranging from structural biology to quantum computing.

The facility currently housed two state-of-the-art, ultra-high field NMR spectrometers (400 MHz and 600 MHz) with custom-designed sophisticated RF probes, provision for an auto-sampling facility and low temperature facility.

The 600 MHz NMR spectrometer was first of its kind in this region and the IISER Mohali NMR research facility was poised to contribute significantly to research in this area and embark upon collaborative inter-disciplinary research with other institutes of the region like IMTECH, NIPER, NABI, INST, CSIO, and Panjab University.

He said the IISER, Mohali, was established by the Government of India through the ministry of human resource development to integrate quality science education with research. Prof Sathyamurthy, who is a fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences as well as the Third World Academy of Sciences, and is currently vice-president of the Indian National Science Academy, joined as the director of the institute in 2007.

IISER’s Mohali campus is coming up on 125 acres allotted by the Government of Punjab and is a part of the Knowledge City being set up in Sector 81. The institute has started dual-degree MS programme and PhD programmes. There are 164 students in MS programme and 34 PhD students.



CBSE Board Exams
Mixed bag of feelings
Chhavi Garg

Chandigarh, March 3
The CBSE class X and XII board exams began today with nearly 22,000 students appearing at various centres in the city.The class XII students appeared for physics from non-medical stream and also various vocational subjects, while class X students appeared for music. The exams went off smoothly and there were no hiccups in administering the exam.

Relief was evident on the faces of students as they rushed out of the examination centres. “I was under tension before the exam but when I saw the paper, I was quite relieved as I knew most of the questions. And now I am happy that I will get a good score,” said Satander Singh, a student of class XII.

There were mixed reactions from class X and XII students about their first board exam.

“When I first looked at the paper, I was very happy. I spent too much time on one-mark questions and was left with less time to 5 marks questions. I think overall questions were easy but I could not manage the time properly. We friends have realised the importance of time management, which is more important than just studies,” said Abhinav, Mount Carmel School.

However, his friend Sahil found the exam neither easy nor difficult.While Jatin Uniyal, student of GMSSS-22 said, “ The exam was difficult. I studied really hard for the exam but I am not happy with the outcome.” Neha Sinha, a student of 18 Model School was not happy either, she said, “ There were many unimportant questions which we did not prepare for the exams. Such questions were not there in sample papers.” 



Prize distribution function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The University School of Open Learning (USOL) organised the annual prize distribution function today at the department auditorium.Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, was the chief guest. The function began with lighting of the lamp by the chief guest and rendition of a prayer by Dr Shruti Mala and her team.

The Vice-Chancellor distributed two categories of prizes, which included academic and extra-curricular activities. Prof Sobti gave away the prizes to meritorious students of the department on the basis of their academic performances and ranking in the university examinations and also to those who secured first three positions in the extra-curricular activities.

Prof Jaspal Kaur Kaang announced the prizes for the extra-curricular activities, while Dr Swarnjit Kaur announced the academic category prizes. Some of the students were the university toppers as well.

Prof RC Sobti commended the achievements made by the department. He also announced to sanction a grant of Rs 10 lakh for renovation of the auditorium of USOL. This is in addition to replace the existing elevator in the department. Prof Sobti also released the USOL magazine on the occasion.

Department chairperson, Prof Neelam Grover, read out the annual report highlighting the achievements of the department.



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