C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Hostellers stranded without food on festival night
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Most city residents may have been gorging on mouth-watering delicacies and sweets on Divali, but those Panjab University hostel residents who had opted to stay back on the campus had a harrowing time scouring for food as the hostel canteens had shut down at 5 pm.

An average of eight to ten students in every hostel had opted to stay put during the festival to avoid the long journey back home.

Most of them were from either the northeastern states or other far-flung areas of the country and chose to study for their semester exams scheduled for November end.

A few of these students, mostly girls, fearing closure of eating joints in fearing closure of nearby eating joints in nearby areas, were compelled to leave the campus as early as 6 pm. Others preferred to drive out farther into the city searching for ‘dhabas’ and 24-hour eating joints after 11 pm.

“I went out with my friend to have dinner at 6 pm at an eating joint in Sector 15, apprehending the shops would close after dusk. All hostel canteens were shut down after 5 pm,” said Ashima Thakur, a PhD scholar.

Not only did the quest for food vary for these students, even the way of celebrating the festival was different for each of them.

While in the newly constructed hostel 7 girls made ‘rangolis’, lighted candles, performed ‘Laxmi pujas’ and even burst crackers along with their warden, in some other hostels aside from a formal treat of ‘samosas’, tea and ‘rasgullas’ there were no “proper” Divali festivities.

“There was no celebration at all in our hostel on Friday night and I really missed home. I hail from Manipur and it takes nearly two days to reach home by train. I chose to stay put and have already booked my tickets for November 20 once I’m done with my project submission,” said a student requesting anonymity.

For residents of boys’ hostels who stayed back this weekend searching for food proved to be an exhausting chase on Friday night. “Other students in my hostel had kept a stock of snacks ready for Friday night, but I had a tough time finding food. Almost all eating joints in nearly areas shut down after dusk,” said Pulkit, an engineering student on the campus.



No noise, NO pollution pledges go up in smoke 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
All anti-cracker rallies and the “No noise”, “No pollution” and “Go green” pledges went up in smoke on the Divali night, with the city witnessing one of the noisiest and polluted Divalis in recent years amidst cracker-bursting that lasted seven long hours.

So pronounced was the smog caused by the smoke emanating from the bursting of crackers that the stars were rendered invisible after 9.30 pm and “reappeared” only around 2 a.m. Many city residents continued to burst crackers until as late as 2 am, which was well beyond the 10 pm deadline.

Although the UT Pollution Control Board is yet to assess the data on noise and air pollution, paradoxically this may not show in the data. The reason: the bursting of crackers was staggered over seven long hours. “The figures may have depicted a higher level of pollution if all cracker bursting had been compressed in a briefer period and had ended by 10 pm,” said UT Pollution Control Board chairman PJS Dadwal who felt that more crackers were burst this time. “But the real picture would be cleared only after getting the required data,” added Dadwal. The exact figures will be known next week.

The cracker bursting started just a little after sunset and slowly picked up pace until it gained a seemingly unending momentum. The thick smoke forced the asthmatics and patients with other respiratory diseases to shut indoors last night. 



137 incidents of burn injuries reported
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, November 6
City hospitals recorded 137 incidents of burn injuries and eye damage due to the bursting of crackers in the city and adjoining areas on the Divali night.

The Advanced Eye Centre of the PGI received 21 patients. Five of them had suffered serious eye injuries and the quantum of damage to their vision could not be ascertained now, said doctors.

While most of the people, including children among the injured were bystanders, many of them reached city hospitals with hand injuries.

Except for six patients who suffered eye injuries, all others were discharged from the hospitals after providing them first aid.

The high number of patients showed that there was no let-up in the injuries from crackers despite the fact that strong awareness campaigns on the issue were initiated during the last couple of years by media, school authorities and NGOs.

Last year, there were 161 injuries in the region caused by crackers, while in 2008 and 2007, the number of injured stood at 123 and 150, respectively, on the Divali night.

This year the maximum number of patients were reported at the Government Multi-specialtiy Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh. A GMSH spokesman said out of the 71 patients who reached the hospitals, 10 suffered eye injuries. Two of them were referred to the PGI, while all others were discharged after providing them first aid, said the spokesman.

At the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in addition to 10 patients with eye injuries 26 were treated for burn injuries in their hands.

A patient with burn injures was treated at the emergency, said PGI spokesperson. Eight others were admitted at Cornea Centre, a private hospital in Sector 22.

Thirteen of the injured admitted to the PGI were between the age of five and 20 and hailing from different parts of Punjab, Haryana, Parwanoo and Chandigarh. Out of 26 patients with burn injuries at the GMCH, 24 suffered injuries on their hands.

Sanjay, a 14-year-old, said he was injured when he lit an “anar” (flower pot cracker) and kept holding it in his hand, believeing it would release only sparkles. However, after sometime it blasted, injuring his right hand. Sanjay was not the only one. There were 17 such other cases at GMCH alone. Rajiv, from colony No 5, was hurling crackers on road lighting it in his hands. His luck, however, deserted him when one of the crackers went off before he could throw it leaving a big would in his hand.

Many others were victims for no fault of theirs.

Roshan, a teenager from Khudda Lahora village near Chandigarh, who suffered injuries on his forehead, was standing in his street, while a few children where bursting the crackers. One of splinters hit me and fortunately it did not hit my eye, he said.

Panchkula: About 100 cases of burn injuries were reported from the town, out of which about 69 cases were reported in the Sector 6 general hospital alone. The emergency ward remained abuzz with activity last night due to burn injuries caused by crackers. However, no serious cases were reported and all the injured were discharged from the hospital after treatment. Out of the total 69 cases, nine patients came to the hospital with eye injuries. Similar cases were also reported from other private hospitals in the town.

A senior doctor at the hospital said that cases with minor hand, eye and face burns were reported at the OPDs. Five cases of burn injuries were also reported at a private skin hospital in Mansa Devi Complex. Out of these cases, three were children and the youngest being 13 year old boy of Sector 20 who had to be operated for facial injuries following cracker burns.



Admn directives flouted, residents burst crackers past midnight
Sanjay Bumbroo and Rajiv Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Panchkula/ Zirakpur, November 6
The directives issued by the civil and the police administration went up in smoke as the city witnessed one of the noisiest Divali in the recent years as people burnt firecrackers for about five hours late last night.

Even though the district administration had issued directions in this regard, advising people that Section 144 of the IPC has been imposed and action would be taken against those found using firecrackers after 10 pm, the residents violated the same by continuing to burst firecrackers till 1 am.

A random survey conducted by this reporter in almost every sector of the city after 10.30 pm revealed that people continued busting firecrackers on the streets. Even though some of the law abiding residents stuck to the time frame set by the administration, most of the residents actually started busting firecrackers after 10 pm without having any concern for people suffering from hypertension and respiratory disorders.

Neither any official from the district administration nor any policeman was available to comment over the issue. SK Nayyar, president of the Citizens Welfare Association, said people continued to throng the firecracker stall in Sector 5 even after 10 pm.

He said the authorities should wake up from its deep slumber to initiate punitive action against the law violators. He said there was a need to create awareness among the general public about this. He said on one hand people claimed that they don’t have money to make both ends meet, but on the other hand they buy fire crackers worth thousands of rupees to celebrate the festival.

Meanwhile, five cases of fire were reported in the city during last night. Fire station officer RP Dhull said a fire tender was rushed to Tagra Hasna village after they got information that hey stacks in about 4 to 5 kanal agricultural land had caught fire. He said the fire was controlled in few minutes and stopped from spreading to nearby fields.

He said washing machines, air conditioners and clothes were also destroyed at various residences in the city and added that fire tenders were dispatched to these places to stop further damage to household goods. He said the carelessness of residents had come to the fore as the families lighted diyas on washing machines kept in the open galleries.

Meanwhile, defying the district administration orders Zirakpur residents continued to burst crackers till midnight. However, the festival of lights passed off with no major burn injury, even though two vehicles were gutted on Divali night in the town.

According to the information, two vehicles, including a scooter and a car, caught fire in Baltana.

A senior doctor at the Dera Bassi civil hospital said three persons came to the hospital with minor burn injuries.

Meanwhile, least bothered about the orders of the local administration that firecrackers would be sold only in designated and open spaces, shopkeepers continued to sell crackers in the busy markets. In Zirakpur, the administration had designated three open spaces for shopkeepers to sell crackers.

A shopkeeper in the Baltana market said they did not get any notice or information about the designated places from the administration. 

Fire at factory

On Saturday morning, fire broke out in a pipe factory at Pabhat godown area. The incident took place at around 8 am and it took more than an hour to extinguish the fire. “We reached the spot on time and managed to douse the flames,” said a fire official. He said the exact cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained. 



Safest Divali in 5 years 
No major fire incident reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Chandigarh had the safest divali in the last five years as no major fire incident was reported from any part of the city. Only 16 cases of minor fire incidents were reported yesterday.

As per information provided by the fire department, a cow shed in Hallo Majra caught fire due to sparks of a rocket. Incidents of minor fire were also reported from Sectors 38 and 49, Panjab University, Industrial Area, Phase I, Mauli Jagran and Mani Majra as wild dry growth caught fire due to bursting firecrackers. The fire brigade staff managed to control the fire in time as firemen remained on toes throughout the Divali night. An official said most of the incidents were controlled as fire tenders were deployed in sensitive areas.

A fire tender each had been stationed in the major fire-prone areas of the city, including markets of Sectors 15, 19, 22 and 26, Burail and Mauli Jagran. A senior official said after a long passage of time, firemen on duty winded up their work by saying happy Divali to each other and they remained busy in compiling reports of fire incident or in some fire rescue operations. 



Four cases of eye injuries in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 6
Four cases of eye injuries, 19 of superficial hand burns and four incidents of minor fire were reported from Mohali and surrounding areas in connection with the Divali celebrations. A three-year-old child from Badmajra , Avinash Kumar, came to the local Civil Hospital this morning with injuries in both his eyes. He was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, as the injuries sustained by him were of a serious nature.

Three other persons who suffered eye injuries had come to the hospital last night. Raja who had come from the Balmikli colony had suffered an injury in his left eye. Manu Bhuj (30), a resident of Phase I, and Rajinder (25) also reported to the hospital on the night of Divali.

As many as 19 persons, who had suffered superficial burn injuries on their hands, came to the hospital for treatment. While 16 of them came last night, three of them visited the hospital this morning.

Dr Rajiv Bhalla, SMO in charge of the hospital, said all patients who came to the hospital with Divali related injuries, except the small child, were given first-aid and discharged. They were advised to visit the OPD for the follow-up treatment.

Meanwhile, three incidents of minor fire were reported from houses falling in Sector 71 and Phase X. In one case, fire broke out at a kitchen in Sector 71 after a burning cracker fell in the area. The fire in the Phase X house could be tackled by house owners before the Fire Brigade could reach. Some plastic and dry wood stocked on the roof of a welding shop at the rear of Ranbaxy also caught fire but was easily managed by employees of the fire brigade.

Lesser fire incidents this year in Fatehgarh Sahib

Fatehgarh Sahib: Lesser fire incidents were reported this Divali as compared to the last year. Doctors at the civil hospital here said while 15 cases were reported last year, no burn injuries or cases of irritation in eyes were reported in government hospitals this year.

People complained minor ailments due to thick smoke and minor burns in hospitals at Sirhind, Bassi Pathana and Khamano. Doctors in these areas revealed that the number of such patients has reduced this Divali.

“Though there were five burn cases last Divali, this time there was only one victim and that too was suffering with minor burn on a finger,” said Senior Medical Officer Dr Jaswant Singh at Khamano.

Dr Shashi Kant, deployed as SMO at Khamano hospital, said this time they received only one asthmatic patient as compared to four patients last year.

Dr Gurmahinder Singh, SMO at Bassi Pathana government hospital, said there were few patients last year who complained irritation in eyes, but there was none during this Divali.

“Either people got aware of the disadvantages of burning firecrackers or they burst crackers cautiously,” said a doctor. 



Divali smoke raises day temp by 2 degrees 
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The city witnessed a slight rise in the day temperature following a thin layer of smoke created by the bursting of crackers after Divali celebrations last night. The early morning chill, however, persisted.

The maximum temperature, which was recorded 29.2 degrees C on Friday, rose to 31.0 degrees Celsius today, but the chill during night persisted at 14.2 compared to yesterday’s 15.2, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“The minimum temperature recorded this morning was one degree above the average. The weather will remain clear through the day tomorrow although the evening will remain chilly,” an IMD official said.

The official said the use of crackers made from sulphur compounds did raise pollution levels that increased the maximum temperature. Otherwise, the day temperature remained between 28 and 29 degrees throughout the week, he added.

"Sulphur dioxide concentrations on Divali will intensify the smog conditions in the days to come, said the Met official. During the festival, sulphur dioxide concentrations ranged between 8 and 113 micrograms per cubic metre as against 10 and 45 mg per cubic metre, he said.

Besides crackers, the increase in sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) may be attributed to adverse meteorological conditions, like decrease in the average temperature.

The Met office has forecast that the sky will remain clear but shallow fog will be there early on Sunday. The maximum humidity was at a high of 91 per cent, while the minimum settled at 43 per cent.

The maximum and minimum temperatures on Sunday will be around 31.0 and 14.0 degrees C, respectively. 


Rly ticket counter at High Court soon
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Keeping pace with the demand and an annual increase of 10 per cent in train traffic volume from the tricity, the Ambala division of the Northern Railway will open a passenger reservation system (PRS) centre on the Punjab and Haryana High Court premises this month.

The centre will provide all amenities to meet the growing demand of commuters.

Following representations made by Chandigarh Bar Association members to provide ticket reservation facility on their doorstep, the division has chalked out the details and is in the final stages of setting up the centre.

Talking to The Tribune, GM Singh, senior divisional commercial manager, Ambala division, said: “The division has already written to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association and it has allotted a space to open a PRS on the Bar room premises. It will cater to the huge demand from the High Court fraternity.

“The aim is to ensure that reservation point effectively caters to the needs of the High Court fraternity. Instead of rushing to the bus stand or railway station, they will soon be able to book train tickets on the court premises.

As per the feasibility study, the PRS at the court is expected to surpass the norms set for minimum booking of reservation forms per counter,” he said.

This will be the 13th location in the city providing railway reservation.

Currently, the railways is running two PRS offices at the Chandigarh railway station, one each at the ISBT-17 and 43, Mohali railway station and Western Command at Chandi Mandir, besides six PRS counters at various post offices in the city. 



Help on autism via video-conferencing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Medicos and other professionals involved with autism will be able to get tips through video-conferencing sessions from world renowned faculty at Government Medical College and Hospital.

The plan of tele-conferencing was finalised during the international symposium on autism held early this year. It has been decided to have 11 tele-conferencing sessions starting November 9.

The staff working in the clinic at the Regional Institute for Mentally Handicapped (RIMH), Sector 31, will get an opportunity to discuss some of their difficult cases.

Even parents can discuss their problems directly with staff of the University of New Mexico, USA, said Dr BS Chavan, joint director, RIMH.

Dr Jane McGrath, professor of paediatrics, Dr Cate McClain, director of the Centre for Development and Disability at the Health Science Centre, and Dr Patricia Osbourn, director, Neurodevelopment Services Division, University of New Mexico, USA, will be available during the sessions, he said.

Autism is one of the most puzzling and challenging developmental disabilities in children.

Due to lack of awareness and knowledge, the underlying potentials of these children goes waste.

Teachers and special educators are facing immense crisis dealing with autistic children in their classroom.

“Through these sessions, we look forward to helping special educators and teachers to understand the needs of these children with a better approach. This will be a certificate course and this programme will help develop a self-help group of parents concerned to understand the strengths and needs of their autistic children in a better way.”



MC selective in clearing waste 
Areas inhabited by top officials cleaned, others left untouched 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The special teams of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation reportedly adopted a pick-and-choose policy to clear the waste of crackers from streets today.

While the team cleared the area in Sector 22 where top officials reside, the other areas were left untouched till the afternoon. In some sectors and colonies, including Sectors 20, 24, 38 and 45, Ram Darbar, Hallo Majra and Mauli Complex, no team turned up till the evening. Even in those sectors where sanitation teams visited, the story was no different as the MC failed to lift the waste.

The MC medical officer of health said two special teams, including one for the market and another for the residential areas, had been constituted to clear the waste of crackers in each sector.

President of the Development and Residents Welfare Association, Sector 38, Pritam Singh said for the last two days, no sweeper had visited the area to clear the waste.

Ram Darbar Colony councillor Ram Lal rued what was the use of constituting special teams when the regular sweepers don’t visit the area to clear waste.

President of the Residents’ Welfare Association, Sector 34, NS Malhi said the teams had visited both the market and residential areas for removing the waste generated by crackers, but the whole exercise was meaningless as they cleared the garbage lying on the roadside. 



City wakes up to Divali garbage 
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
A day after Divali, city roads were littered with burnt crackers, extravagant gift-wraps and empty sweets boxes. According to official sources, the waste produced by the city increased by nearly 30 percent on the day after Divali.

Despite clear-cut instructions to the stall owners from the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation authorities to clear the space before leaving it, empty boxes and were seen littered in all the markets throughout the city.

Though there is a blanket ban on the sale and use of polythene bags in the city, heaps of polythene packing bags were seen littered in the markets. The vendors failed to abide by the rules and regulations set by the MC, including keeping the area neat and clean.

An MC official said: “We had categorically asked vendors to ensure that the area is cleaned after they dismantled their stalls. We will communicate to them that they clean the area immediately, otherwise they will be blacklisted and will not be given permission to set up stalls next year.”

Residents, too, flouted the norms with impunity as they burst crackers till midnight. The city woke up to piles of cracker waste in the morning. “Till the midnight, people were bursting crackers and in the morning nobody bothered to clear the waste,” said Parvesh Luthra, a resident of Sector 30. “The entire area has been turned into a garbage dump,” he added. 



District Administrative Complex
Govt delaying release of funds for land transfer
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 6
The Akali government seems to be least interested in upgrading the basic infrastructure in the four-year-old district. A glaring example of the government’s apathy is the allotment of land for the District Administrative Complex-cum Judicial Complex in Sector 76 here.

A few months after releasing a sum of Rs 25.63 crore for acquiring land for the proposed DAC, the government is now delaying the release of another Rs 5 crore needed for the purpose.

Around Rs 30 crore was required as 50 per cent of the cost of the land demanded by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

In a last communiqué to the district administration, the state finance department, while releasing the money for the DAJC, has asked the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board to transfer the funds to the government treasury. The funds are to be used to acquire 14 acres of land in Sector 76 here.

Administration officials said the funds would be given to GMADA as 50 per cent of the cost of acquiring land, whose price is estimated at Rs 9,200 per sq yd.

Against the earlier allotment rate of Rs 7,500 per sq yd, the authority had revised the land prices for government institutions to around Rs 9,200 per sq yd, up by 20 per cent.

GMADA officials believe that going by the tentative area of 14 acres required for the project, the cost of the land comes to around Rs 60 crore.

“Despite half of the amount needed to acquire land being released, it may take another year or so before work on the project commences,” said an official.

Consequently, residents are at the receiving end due to inadequate space from where the district administrative complex and district courts are currently functioning.

While the funds for the former were to be released by the finance department, those for the judicial complex had to come from the home department.



Sanitation stinks in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 6
Sanitation continues to be in a state of neglect in the town with the municipal council authorities least bothered about improving the situation.

Residents have been complaining about unhygienic conditions near garbage dumping points because of overflowing bins and the failure of sanitation contractors to clean the localities on a daily basis.

Councillors have been raising a hue and cry about the state of sanitation in the town during monthly meetings of the council but not much improvement has come about despite work being allocated to contractors with stricter terms and conditions.

Councillor Phool Raj Singh, a resident of Phase VII, said: “Nothing exists in the name of sanitation in the town.”

Sweeping by safai sewaks was done once a week even when this work was to be carried out on a daily basis under the terms of the contract. Requests had to be made to get a locality cleaned. Garbage was often seen scattered near the dumping points. Kerb channels were filled with wild growth. The sanitation was poor as no supervision was being done by the authorities concerned.

Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Phase II, said heaps of garbage, dry leaves and garden waste were often seen lying in different parts of the town. Garbage could also be found littered along the main road next to the mango garden.

In order to bring about an improvement in the state of sanitation, the council had proposed to divide the work into two parts — cleaning the town, including curb channels, and dumping the garbage from collection points — during a monthly meeting on September 23.

While the civic body had proposed to spend around Rs 2.23 crore on the cleaning part, over Rs 50 lakh had been estimated to be spent on dumping garbage.

Council president Rajinder Singh Rana and executive officer Vijay Kumar Gupta were not available for comments.

The town has been divided into four zones for cleaning purposes:

Zone I: Phases I, II, III, IV and VI

Zone II: Phases III A , III B 1, III B 2, VII and VIII

Zone III: Phases IX to XI, Sector 48 C and Industrial Area, Phase IX Zone IV: Sectors 70, 71, Phase V and Industrial Area, Phases VII and VIII



Newly wed couple get police protection
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 6
Acting on a plea of a newly wed couple from Narayangarh, the court of District and Sessions Judge PL Ahuja today directed the police to provide protection to them till November 17.

The boy (29) belongs to the Ramdasia Sikh caste and is a native of Narayangarh. On the other hand, the girl (21) is from Kashyap caste and also hails from Narayangarh. The couple was residing in the city for last couple of months.

The counsel of the couple said the boy and the girl fell in love and wanted to marry. They had even informed their parents about this but they refused. Finally, they tied the knot in a temple in Sector 24, Panchkula, on November 2. 



Workers celebrate Vishwakarma Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The New Auto Motor Market Association, Sector 48, celebrated the Vishwakarma Day here today. Mechanics and shopkeepers organised a function to worship Lord Vishwakarma.

Union minister of parliamentary affairs and water resources Pawan Kumar Bansal was the chief guest on the occasion.

Mechanics of the market took up their grievances with Bansal, who assured them of cooperation. Association president Kehar Singh and vice-president Baldev Singh later thanked the chief guest.

Workers in Mohali and Panchkula also offered prayers to Lord Vishwakarma and organised cultural functions. Some worker organisations held community kitchens to observe the day.

The workers offered prayers at their workplaces and cleaned their tools in the morning.

The Private Construction Labour Contractors Union, Chandigarh, and the Ramgarhia Sabha organised a function at Ramgarhia Bhavan in Sector 27, Chandigarh.

Members of the Baba Vishwakarma Sabha, Phase IX, Industrial Area, celebrated the day offering prayers in the morning. A colourful cultural programme was also organised.

Hundreds of employees and labourers working in the area attended the function.



Garden, green belt unveiled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Minister for parliamentary affairs and water resources Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurated Cycas Palm Garden in Sector 15 besides a green belt in Sector 7 here today.

The Cycas Palm Garden is the 23rd garden developed by the municipal corporation. The garden is spread over 2.68 acre having various shrubs, playing equipment for children and bower system for Cycas palms.

The green belt in Sector 7 is the 46th green belt developed by the corporation on 2.62 acre. It has huts, benches, climber stands, plantation of various ornamental trees and shrubs.

MC Mayor Anu Chatrath, MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria, area councillor Chandermukhi Sharma and officers of the corporation were present. 



CSIO to enrol students for MTech
CSIR to award degrees
Neha Miglani/TNS

Chandigarh, November 6
In a significant development in the field of engineering studies, the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, will now enrol certain BTech students for a newly incepted research-oriented MTech programme.

For those engineers who wish to pursue a career in research, the course offers an add-on proposal to do research with the CSIO and take up a job there or in any other affiliated laboratory.

Involved in developing innovating technology and undertaking research projects for the country for the past five decades, the CSIO has come out with its maiden academic initiative under the flagship of the Council of Scientific and Instrumental Research (CSIR).

For this new course, each year, a screening committee comprising experts will select a batch of 10 students through interviews.

A pilot batch for the two-year master’s course was started in 2009 at the CSIO in which nine students were enrolled. Yet another batch of 10 students was selected in 2010.

However, with the official confirmation of the CSIR becoming an Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, the degree for this course will be awarded by it now and the CSIO will enrol students as the constituent laboratory of the CSIR.

A CSIO official said out of around 39 laboratories working as constituents of the CSIR, nine have been permitted to enrol students for this course and the CSIO, Chandigarh, is one of them.

“We are planning to enrol 10 students for the MTech course each year and these students will be selected through a special screening committee consisting of experts and top scientists. Most students enrolled will pursue their PhD and will then be equipped with working in laboratories across the country,” said Dr Pawan Kapoor, director, CSIO, Chandigarh.

The officials said the advertisement for the programme would be published in April-May each year.



PU gears up for biotech fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Science students at Panjab University will now be able to sell their ideas to the industry through its first official national-level science festival “Biotechnica Chandigarh 2010” (BTC).

Two events — transformation of ideas into products and industry-academia interface — will be the attraction at the “BTC-2010”, which is scheduled for November 16-18, for which preparations are in full swing.

The event is being organised in association with the department of biotechnology (DBT), Government of India.

The “BTC-2010” aims at discussing latest developments in the field of biotechnology and the focal theme of the conference-cum-fair is blue, green, red and white faces of biotechnology, signifying marine, agriculture, medicine, and industrial products.

The event, besides participation of young scientists, has been modulated to attract school and college entries.

Vice-chancellors of Delhi University, Jamia Hamdard University and NDRI Karnal and vice-presidents of leading biotechnology companies will deliberate on various issues pertaining to biotechnology.

Besides, scientific sessions by these internationally acclaimed personalities, activities like poster presentation, biotech exhibition, student biotech expo, biotech debate, biotech quiz and biotech essay competition will be held.

The concluding day will have a panel discussion on job opportunities, entrepreneurship and prospects for biotechnology in career forum session for young biotechnologists.

The PU has extended the last day for registration in various events to November 8, 2010.



Physical education to be daily fixture in schools
Sumedha Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, November 6
Physical education is all set to become a daily affair in schools with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) making it mandatory for all affiliated schools to dedicate a period every day for it.

The array of physical education activities will also form a basis of student’s evaluation under the CCE.

The move, though intended to return the sheen of sports activities in schools, has left several city principals complaining with most schools struggling to complete curriculum before exams.

“We are already overburdened with CCE projects and it is virtually impossible for us to devote so much time to sports for senior secondary classes. If the board wanted a mandatory physical education period, it should have done it at the commencement of session before formation of time tables,” said a principal of a Sector 26-based school.

A government resolution issued by CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi on October 27 gives unprecedented importance to physical education and sports. Schools will now have to set aside at least 40-45 minutes for physical activities or games for students of classes I to X daily.

For classes XI and XII, 90 to 120 minutes will have to be dedicated every week to physical education.

In the past, the CBSE has promoted physical education across all its schools by directing them to set up health and wellness clubs.

The circular states that children lead happier lives as a result of being actively involved in sporting activities and it has long been established that fitness and improved academic performance go together.

What CBSE circular says

n There should be at least 40-45 minutes of physical activities or games period for classes I-X everyday

n For classes XI-XII, it should be ensured that all students participate in physical activity/games/mass PT/yoga for at least two periods per week (90-120 min/week)

n In case the school has constraints of space, climatic conditions, presence of enough PE teachers or coaches, it may consider indoor activities like aerobics/meditation/yoga & asanas

n The school can also hold mass PT in the morning keeping in view the climate conditions

n As part of continuous and comprehensive evaluation, students will be assessed on participation and performance by choosing any two activities from the 13 given for classes VI-VIII and eight for Classes IX-X



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