C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Home Loan interest
CHB wants a share of the pie
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
In a major step towards tiding over financial crises and raising additional finances, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has sought a share from banks financing applicants in forthcoming ventures. Share has also been sought on the processing fee attached with every application.

Mohanjit Singh, Chairman of the CHB, said: “We have planned a meeting with regional heads of all leading banks later this week and will deliberate on the issue and strike a deal.

“Simply put, when banks are making money from investors on our housing project, why should the board not benefit financially from the investment? The banks charge approximately 9 per cent interest on housing offers. We deserve at least 2 per cent.”

The board has already held a meeting with representatives of Axis Bank. The invitation for discussions has also been extended to prominent banks in the city.

Sharat Kumar, a bank representative, has asked the CHB for a formal proposal “which could be worked out for its financial implications for both parties.”

Arguing during discussions, a bank representative said: “It is not going to be easy for us to change the rate of interest. Customers will not pay a fixed rate of interest to the bank and a little more for the CHB.”

The board Chairman said: “Why should the interest rate be increased for a customer? We are not demanding a new share from them. We are only asking the bank to give us a share from its earnings. We have made an offer to all banks and hope it will be grabbed by some.”



PCR wing gets more teeth
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Need to strengthen PCR: SSP

“There is need to increase the strength of the PCR wing in the wake of the rising number of complaints and to curb eve teasing, street fights and beggary. The PCR has to be proactive and be able to react to any situation quickly. While on patrol duty, it can react to situations without any complaint or information.

— Naunihal Singh, UT SSP

Chandigarh, November 21
Pushed to the wall by public opinion over thin police presence on roads resulting in increased eve teasing, street fights and daylight robberies, the city police has worked out a multi-prolonged strategy, including more involvement of Police Control Room (PCR) personnel in checking roadside incidents of hooliganism.

Reckless drivers are also on the radar of the police. Senior police officers have come out with a proactive approach after getting public feedback. During recent public-police meetings, the police interacted with about 4,800 residents and out of 269 issued raised by them, 165 issues pertained to crime and the law and order situation and the remaining to traffic.

In order to get tough with eve teasers, the police has started special helplines for women (2705011, 2544444, besides 1090 and 100) for reporting such incidents. The police has prepared stickers carrying these numbers and asking victims to give information to the police.

“Any one who is being blackmailed, stalked or harassed in any manner should approach the police. The victim’s identity will be kept secret. We are displaying the stickers on the notice boards in women’s colleges and other public places, including bus stops, across the city,” said Rajinder Singh Ghumman, SP (Operations and women cell).

The PCR unit now has a strength of one DSP, four inspectors, 32 sub-inspectors, 21 assistant sub-inspectors, 129 head constables, 240 constables and 270 Home Guard volunteers.

Sources said in the past four years, the calls to the PCR had more than doubled. In 2006, 20,752 calls were received (an average of two calls an hour) and this year till October 31, 43,369 calls had been received.



Getting your kid into nursery costlier than MBA!
Sumedha Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, November 21
You now have to shell out more to get your tiny tot admitted into nursery class in a well-known private school than for securing admission in an MBA course in a reputed institute. While the admission fees at Panjab University’s Business School are Rs 30,000, which includes all charges for a year, the annual expenditure on fees, books and transport for a nursery student is over Rs 70,000.

Though the UT education department has taken several steps to streamline the school admission process, it has yet to pay attention to rationalizing disparate fee structures. Several prominent city schools charge anything between Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000 as “admission fund”, which is refundable in some cases, in addition to tuition fees averaging Rs 2,500-3,000 a month.

Averred HS Mamik, president of the Independent Schools Association: “While it costs the UT administration Rs 3,500 a month to educate a single child, the tuition fees charged by privately run schools are much less for a higher quality of education. In details obtained under the RTI Act we found the administration has to spend Rs 3,500 per child every month. However, the outcome is known to everybody - students struggle with poor infrastructure and falling academic standards, high pupil-teacher ratios and at times lack of even basic facilities like toilets. In the case of privately run schools, we justify every single penny we charge by providing quality education”.

Interestingly, former DPI (schools) SK Setia, who had spearheaded the move to rationalize fee structures, had maintained no school could justify charging exorbitant fees in the name of ploughing the money back into students’ welfare. Though he had sought balance sheets of these schools, the practice was continued even after his exit. However the education department has never reviewed the balance sheets or notified schools charging exorbitant fees.



Pvt hospitals not bound to treat poor for free
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Mohali, November 21
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has allowed a majority of privately run multispecialty hospitals to disregard their obligation to provide free treatment to families living below the poverty line.

Of the eight private hospitals in the town, only two are currently offering this facility which is in stipulated in their allotment letters. The decision follows a legal opinion give by the Punjab advocate general on a clarification sought on the issue by GMADA.

In the AG’s opinion, which was tabled at a recent meeting of GMADA board members, only those private hospitals that are bound by the condition in their allotment letters can be asked to abide by it. The authority has been asked to keep the clause in mind while allotting land to private hospitals in the future.

The eight hospitals that have allotted land over the years are Chandigarh Hospital & Research Centre, Sector 69; Grecian Super Specialty Hospital, Sector 69; Fortis Hospital, Sector 62; Cosmo Hospital, Sector 62; Singla Hospital; Sector 70; Silver Oaks Hospital; Sector 63; RGS Healthcare, Sector 69; Ivy Hospital, Sector 71; and Indus Hospital, Phase-I. Only two of these institutions - Grecian Super Specialty Hospital and Ivy Hospital - are bound to treat poor patients, said GMADA officials.

Mohali civil surgeon PK Sridhar said he would comment on the issue only after going through the decision. “I will take up the matter with my senior officials and the Mohali deputy commissioner”, he added.

In the past Punjab Health Systems Corp (PHSC) and GMADA had been holding meetings with these hospitals to persuade them to provide free treatment and facilities to a certain percentage of people holding “yellow cards”. At a meeting chaired by the state health secretary on September 12, 2007 it was decided the people living below the poverty line should be given treatment free of cost by these hospitals, which were given land at concessional rates by PUDA.

The free treatment was to be provided to 5 per cent of indoor patients and 10 per cent of outdoor patients. The multispecialty hospitals were asked to draw up a mechanism for referring patients from BPL families.

The records show only one hospital (Ivy Hospital) was providing free treatment to BPL families, while officials of five other hospitals had refused to do so on legal grounds and two remained silent.

On the contrary, officials of most of the hospitals contended they were allotted land under the PUDA policy of 1996 at a hefty premium rather than at concessional rates.



Zeal to serve tells PU student apart
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Rahul Gupta, a student of the German department of Panjab University who took responsibility to educate 100 poor children two years ago, has been shortlisted by a leading corporate firm as “India’s highly motivated youth” to travel across the country and meet leading social workers.

As part of an 18-day annual train journey called “jagriti yatra”, Rahul will accompany other young achievers who have excelled in social work and meet unsung heroes doing commendable work in all states.

He was selected from 18,000 applicants by a panel of 20 experts for his entrepreneurial potential and social work.

Teaching under-privileged children at Colony No. 4 has been a joyful experience for Rahul and his team. They began educating poor children in the lawns at Industrial Area and later shifted to alternative innovative education (AIE) centres.

The volunteers visit the school in the evening. The children, who are in the age group of 5-12 years, are also taught dance, music, painting and computers for two hours on Saturday.

“The biggest challenge I have faced is keeping the team members motivated. Serious work and serious fun is my motto. It is not only about doing social work, it is getting others to do it as well, especially the youth,” said Rahul.

“The yatra has been organised by a leading group of industries and the aim is to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship — both social and economic — among the youth by exposing them to individuals and institutions that are developing unique solutions to challenges facing the country,” he added.



Open House
Disharmony between private schools, UT admn
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

The Chandigarh administration seems to be going a little overboard in implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. It was being made to appear, by the administration, as if a majority of private institutions were nothing more than money minting industries and that government schools were providing the best possible education. Interestingly, wards of a majority of decision makers study in private institutions.

Schools charging hefty fee from students is one of the major issues that has courted controversy. There are two sides to the coin. The administration has a point in regulating the fee structure; however, schools, too, have issues like financial feasibility of running the institutions and paying the teachers.

Fairly speaking, no decision without involving private institutions will be possible on ground. Matters go to the court, more than often. One fails to understand why private institutions are not chalking out plans to implement the Act. Almost all state governments have sent a notification to schools in this regard. Letters asking schools to clear various shortcomings regarding infrastructural or manpower accounts are being forwarded to private schools seeking an immediate action. Besides, handling the school affairs, managing the relation with the UT administration has also become an equally important part of the principal’s dossier as was evident from a spree of group and private meetings in the recent past. Draft rules should be circulated to schools inviting objections.

Private schools are catering to a sizable population in the city. In simple figures, there are approximately 76,000 students studying in approximately 73 private schools against approximately 13,2517 students in as many as 106 government schools. The Act needs to be implemented as desired by the government, however, the administration needs to clarify on certain accounts before the process begins. Tall buildings should have a strong base. Similarly, the administration should have details of target groups, specific modal rules and clearly outlined responsibilities for better results. The administration needs to clarify on account of reimbursement of amount for free education. Clarification is also needed in specifying the particular office which will handle the payment and also a date schedule when payments will be made. In fact, the entire cost sharing mechanism needs to be clearly spelt out. The information about timing of reimbursement needs to coincide with the payment schedule of schoolteachers. Since the students in this category will be from the economically weaker sections, the cause of worry for schools will be those students who leave the session midway. Private schools are not unique to the city only. They exist all over the country. There are no reports of any “meaningful” discussions on the front of RTE between the administration and the private schools, at the moment.

No databank in place: There is no databank available on the sector wise division of students, in the UT, as sought under the Act. Under the Act, the state government has been asked to undertake school mapping and “identify all children belonging to economically weaker sections, including those who are differently abled and live in remote areas, within a year from the appointed date, and every year thereof”. When the UT has no data, it will be difficult to expect schools to have a list of its potential students. While the existing issue of reservation in schools had been raised in context of certain schools, in the recent past, it was learnt that a large number of other private schools, too, were not following the reservation norms. At the same time it is pertinent to point out that certain prominent private schools in the city, including Sacred Heart, had shown exemplary work in special education for the under privileged. The administration needs to settle the difference with private institutions. Certain adjustments have to be made on both sides. Reservation issue In the city, it appears that the department has hurried a little, as under the RTE, there should be 25 per cent reservation for students belonging to economically weaker sections, while some schools have received circulars asking them to implement the old provision of 15 per cent. It is worth pointing out that if the RTE was being implemented then the 15 per cent reservation had no relevance. At the same time, the issue of reservation for students of EWS category was pending in the court. It has been being argued that schools which were issued allotment letters before 1996 were never asked for any reservation, in any category. In the letters issued after 1996, the UT sought a reservation of 5 per cent which was later enhanced to 15 per cent. During the period, under question, it had also been reduced, once.

How to check tuitions: One is reminded of the Panjab University Senate’s decision, a few years back, following a directive from the Centre exactly on the same lines as the Right to Education bill for keeping a check on teachers engaged in tuition business. The Senate had decided that a complete ban be imposed on the “tuition business”.

The matter was greatly debated. It has become difficult for a normal student to try for an admission in any particular stream, particular in professional categories, without special preparation. Besides, the flourishing business of private tuitions, class teachers were always preferred by students. Cracking the questionnaire of any professional course needed specialised training which was definitely much more than simple classroom learning. As a result, a large section of students missed classes.

Administration’s take in court:

  • The administration has allotted land to all these educational institutions at concessional rates keeping in consideration the fact they would not become profitable business organisations.
  • The rates were as low as Rs 6, Rs 10 and Rs 15 per square yard. Privately run schools are charging exorbitant fees with difference as wide as Rs 1,903 per year in government schools against Rs 1,110,000 per year in one private school

Other fronts:

Private schools in the city accuse the UT administration for adopting a “pick-and-choose policy” in targeting particular institutions. Those being targeted are allegedly being denied any extension in their recognition “on flimsy grounds” while many others have been granted provisional extension on the same grounds. St John’s High School, Vivek High School, Shivalik Public School and Strawberry Fields School have remained in the centre of controversy for one reason or the other from the past more than a year. Certain matters have gone to the court. While administration definitely needs to keep a check on the functioning of private institutes, it probably needs to pay greater attention to the gaping holes in government schools to attract more students and teach them better by setting examples. One feels that with best infrastructure, supposedly better qualified teachers and heavy state backing, government schools should be showing better results.

Certain affiliations are being cancelled and others being questioned. Matters have also reached the court. In the overall perspective, the city education scenario looks unpleasant in context of private schools and administration relations.



Panchkula’s Sec-19 inhabitants unhappy with village-like amenities
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

A damaged road in Industrial Area, Phase I, Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, November 21
Despite tall claims made by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Sector 19, set up by the HUDA about two decades ago here, still lacks basic amenities. Roads are still not maintained, streetlights are not functioning, garbage is dumped in vacant plots and public parks are not maintained well.

Residents are upset with the MC authorities for not providing them with basic amenities even after a long time. Some residents say that roads had not been carpeted since they had shifted to this sector.

They added that during monsoon, rainwater gets collected in the streets, as there was no drainage facility.

Major roads from Amartex Chowk to level crossing were full of potholes and it’s not very easy for four-wheelers to travel on damaged road. The residents feel that they were living in a village, despite being a part of the Panchkula city.

Public parks here are also in a bad shape, as weeds and grass could be seen all over. Some of the dairy owners keep their cattle in parks. Greenbelts have been developed by the administration, but, after the sectors were transferred to the Municipal Corporation, no one seems to be bothered.

Residents alleged that most parks in the sector were dumping ground, as authorities had failed to maintain them. One of the residents Roshan Lal alleged that streetlights in our sector were always out of order and young girls, who go for their tuitions in other sectors feel unsafe while returning during late evenings.

BJP Councillor Ramesh Singh Bartwal said they had approached the HUDA for setting up of rehri market, as the sector was mostly inhabited by weaker sections of the society.

He said they had also urged the HUDA and the Railways for construction of rail over bridge (ROB) at the level-crossing. Patients, especially expectant mothers, had to suffer, as they had to wait for about half-an-hour at the level-crossing.

Naresh Narang, president, Sector 19 Market Association, said the sector lacks basic amenities, as there was no government dispensary and people had to rush to the Sector-6 general hospital in case of emergency.

He said the area is plunged into darkness, as there was only one streetlight in the market’s parking area.



Gurpurb: Devotees throng Nada Sahib gurdwara
Langar, blood donation camp organised
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 21
Over two lakh devotees from the tricity and other adjoining districts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh paid obeisance at the historic Gurdwara Nada Sahib to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev here today.

Reports of celebrations were also received from various gurdwaras of Chandigarh and Mohali.

Thousands of devotees from the tricity flocked the shrine since early morning to pay their obeisance at the gurdwara, the gates of which were thrown open around 2.45 am.

The Darbar Sahib was specially decorated on the occasion. Around 50 devotees were baptised on the occasion.

Arrangements for community kitchen were also made. Yellow rice and halwa, jalebi, fruits and vegetables were prepared for the occasion.

Martial artistes presented “gatka” show to commemorate the occasion at the gurdwara complex.

A blood donation camp was organised in which 98 devotees donated blood.

Gurdwara manager Bhupinder Singh said a new machine bought for the sanitation of the shrine was also commissioned.

Gurdwaras in other parts of the district, too, witnessed heavy rush. At Pinjore, Sahib gurdwara was thronged by devotees.

Even though the police had made arrangements to regulate devotees, complete chaos prevailed on the Panchkula-Barwala national highway No. 73, as most devotees had parked their vehicles on the highway.



Monkey scare more serious

The monkey menace in the city appears to have become more acute, with residents now fearing to leave their children alone at home.

In one case, a resident of Sector 8 narrated the experience of finding his two-year-old daughter surrounded by monkeys in the backyard of his house when he returned from work.

In another incident, monkeys were found fiddling with eatables in his fridge. Such is the fright among residents of certain sectors that they have hired ‘langur’ tamers for their areas.

Scam impact

Perhaps worried over the scams involving the education department, the police and the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, UT Home Secretary is now exercising caution.

Two notices have been put on the entrance door to his office. The first note, pasted months ago, warns persons not to ask him for any ‘sifarish’ for jobs.

To be more specific, a note warns people not to approach him for jobs in the education, transport and social welfare departments.

Going by the spate of scams hitting the UT administration, he may have to list all 25-odd departments he is heading in that note.

Jarring note

Though residents continue to lose lakhs to fraudulent cash withdrawals through cloned cards from various ATMs of nationalised banks, bank officials have a different opinion in this regard.

Serving officials are of the view that customers are responsible for fraudulent withdrawals while retired ones say the cloning of cards cannot be done without the help of bank officials.

Eyes only

One can often hear the public cursing policemen for all the wrong reasons. On Monday night, police personnel could be seen ruing the lack of public apathy towards accident victims.

A car hit a motorcyclist, injuring him seriously, at the Sector 24-25-38-37 roundabout around 11:30 pm. Nobody bothered to shift the injured to hospital despite dozens of vehicles passing by.

“You can stop to see an accident like a ‘tamasha’, but cannot come forward to save a life,” said a constable, shooing away people who were obstructing the road to have a view.

Helping out

Happy, a fruit-seller at Zirakpur, recently spent time searching for the parents of 13-year-old Pom Bahadur, who had got lost.

He reported the matter to the police and went to various sectors of Chandigarh for the identification of the child.

Later, he approached the Zirakpur traffic police, which called up the Chandigarh police. The police handed over the boy to his brother after verification.

Contributed by Neha Miglani, Smriti Sharma Vasudeva, Sanjay Bumbroo, Arun Sharma and Rajiv Bhatia



Now, check fair price shop details online
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
After attracting disrepute for alleged irregularities in maintaining records of the public distribution scheme, the UT administration’s food & supplies department has now brought a whiff of transparency in its functioning. Details of 27 of the 47 “fair price shops” in the city have been posted on its official website with a list of beneficiaries with their number of units, complete with addresses, drawing their quota of foodgrains.

Department officials claimed the list of beneficiaries would be updated every month to ensure new names were added or changes in address effected. They added details of all the fair price shops would posted on the website “very soon”.

The officials stated in order to further streamline the shops’ functioning and ensure transparency the administration would be fixing one day in a week when any city resident could make a “surprise visit” to any of the shops and ask to be shown its records.

The move comes after irregularities were reportedly detected in the records maintained by some of the fair price shops disbursing PDS foodgrains.

It was alleged certain shops were forging the signatures of residents who were not taking their quota of foodgrains and were selling them in the open market.

The Chandigarh Tribune had recently done stories under the Right To Information Act highlighting how five of the city’s fair price shops were functioning without valid licenses since 2008.

In fact, the CBI’s anticorruption bureau had indicted the food & supplies department for committing irregularities in maintenance of “below poverty line” and “above poverty line” cards and monitoring procurement, allocation and distribution of foodgrains.

A 10-page report prepared by the CBI following a surprise raids conducted by the agency at five of the 39 fair price shops being run by the administration had revealed all the five shops were operating without a valid license, which had not been renewed after March 31, 2008.



‘Focus on use of natural products on the rise’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 21
A five-day international conference on ‘New Developments in Drug Discovery from Natural Products and Traditional Medicines’ began at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) here today.

Harkishan Singh, Emeritus Professor, Panjab University, who inaugurated the conference, highlighted the contributions of Col Sir Ram Nath Chopra, founder of natural products and first investigator of systematic studies on Indian systems of medicine and natural products. MC Wani, Emeritus Professor, USA, and Prof David Kingston of the US were guests of honour.

Prof KK Bhutani, officiating director of NIPER, mentioned that there was a renewed interest in natural products and herbal research due to their low toxicity. The world is looking towards ‘Green India’ with its rich biodiversity and millennium-old traditional medicine system of Ayurveda, offers a unique opportunity for drug discovery from natural sources. “Research inputs to provide scientific basis to Ayurveda are need of the hour. This provides unique advantages for the pharma industry to enhance drug discovery programs in India,” he said.

The conference would provide a platform for networking international and national researchers, pharma industry and government agencies to derive the benefits from natural products and traditional medicines.

Bhutani stated that the conference aimed to provide scientists and executives from academia and pharmaceutical companies, with detailed information on drug discovery and development from natural products and traditional medicines. The prominent speakers at the conference included Prof D Kingston, Prof M.C. Wani, Prof Rene Gree, Prof Boustie, Dr Capet from France, Prof Pearce, Prof Bharat Aggarwal from the US, Prof S. Linder from Sweden, Prof. Ammon from Germany to name a few. Prof Sukh Dev, a well-known natural product chemist of the country, will also deliver a lecture during the conference.



Glass pieces in PGI patient’s food
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A contractor supplying food to patients at the Advanced Cardiac Centre (ACC) of the PGI was let off merely with a warning after a patient complained of glass pieces in his meal.

Under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, such an offence can attract a jail term of a minimum of two years, which can go up to six years with a penalty of Rs 2,000.

The contractor, however, claimed that he was “implicated” by an official having vested interest. The incident took place last month when a patient admitted in the private ward complained of glass pieces in his food. However, officials concerned only gave him a warning.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said food was prepared by the contractor under the guidance of PGI dieticians. He was warned of strict action if such a thing recurred, she said.

The contractor, Madan Lal Gupta, said he was a victim of vendetta. An official with vested interest was behind it and he had harassed him earlier also. “I have lodged a complaint in this regard with the Director of the PGI,” he said, adding that he had decided to quit when his contract expired in December.



Remembrance day observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
ArriveSAFE, a city-based NGO on Road Safety, observed the United Nations World Day of Remembrance for road accident victims at the Plaza, Sector 17, here today. The day is observed on the third Sunday of every November globally.

In a novel way to spread the message of road safety, the NGO hit a gong every 24 seconds (the average time a human life is lost in road accident in the world). “The sound of each hit on the gong signified that another person had lost his or her life somewhere on the world’s roads. Our idea is to spread awareness that people should think seriously about road safety,” said Harman Sidhu, president of ArriveSAFE.

Sidhu said approximately 1.3 million lives were lost in road accidents annually in the world. Most could be avoided through a set of proven, simple measures like wearing safety helmets, fastening seatbelts, obeying speed limits and avoiding the use of mobile phones and other distractions while driving.



Digging work puts residents to inconvenience
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Digging work being carried out by the Chandigarh municipal corporation is causing inconvenience to residents of Sectors 39 and 40.

“The work can damage water pipes, sewers and underground electricity cables in the area,” rue area residents.

A delegation led by SK Khosla, Ward Committee member, took up the matter with the Chief Engineer, MC, yesterday.

Residents said, “Labourers have been re-carpeting roads for the past six months.”

They rued that the width of roads was reduced to a great extent and there was hardly any space left between a road and their houses.

Residents said there were no streetlights in parks and they had sent a number of complaints to the electricity department in this regard.

They urged the Chief Engineer to get the lights installed at the earliest.



46 jhuggis gutted
Tribune News Service

Remains of jhuggis smoulder after a fire broke out in Phase VI , Mohali, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, November 21
Around 50 families were rendered homeless after their jhuggis were gutted in a fire that broke out in a slum area in Phase VI here this evening. Due to timely action by the PCR police and firemen, no loss of human life was reported.

The fire broke out to due to bursting of firecrackers by children in the slum area.

An official of the district administration said 46 jhuggis were gutted in the blaze.

Four fire tenders were pressed into service to control the blaze.

All affected families have been given shelter in rooms of the nearby truck union.

Mohali SDM Amit Talwar visited the scene on the instructions of the Deputy Commissioner.

The district administration will provide monetary help to the affected families tomorrow.



Mansa Devi shrine
Restoration of paintings
Tourism dept approached to invite specialists
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 21
The Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board (MMDSB) has asked the Haryana tourism department to invite specialist fresco painters to restore wall paintings at the historic Mata Mansa Devi shrine here.

Various teams of frescos painters from West Bengal and Rajasthan have already visited the shrine recently and taken pictures of the faded or damaged wall paintings. They will submit their sample reports with a week or two.

Confirming this, MMDSB chief executive officer DP Dattana said they had requested the Haryana tourism department to coordinate the restoration of frescos at the shrine.

He said the department had taken up the matter with various fresco painters from the two states who had visited the shrine recently.

He said the painters had taken pictures of the paintings at the shrine and would submit their project report to the tourism department, which would take further action in this regard.

In January, 2002, the shrine board had asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out restoration work on the frescos.

The work was completed by the ASI at a cost of Rs 1.21 lakh. However, peeling plaster, cracks, vandalism, dust, soot, salt and loss of pigment have taken their toll on these exquisite paintings over the decades.

The main reason for this was attributed to water seepage in the 200-year-old main structure.

The temple was built by the erstwhile king of Mani Majra, Maharaja Gopal Singh, and it was believed that the construction, which started in 1811, took four years to complete.

The murals have faded and have been damaged with the passage of time.



Debate on human rights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Chandigarh Police organised a debate competition on human rights at the Traffic Police Lines auditorium in Sector 29 here today to create awareness about human rights among its personnel.

Twenty policemen from the rank of constable to inspector participated in it. DSP (Crime) Satbir Singh convened the debate.

Sub-inspector Bachittar Singh, inspector Parvesh Kumari and constable Rohit Meelu bagged the first, second and third positions. SP (Traffic) HS Doon presided over the debate. He gave away commendation certificates to each of the participants.



From Schools

Chandigarh: Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, won the “Glass Palace Inter-School Choreography Competition”.The school defeated 10 teams. KBDAV School, Sector 7, Chandigarh, stood second, while Amravati Public School, Pinjore, stood third in the three-hour competition. The event was the fusion of Bollywood, classical and folk dances. More than 400 students, along with their parents, from the tricity participated in various competitions like painting, declamation, choreography, talent hunt, healthy tiffin and smart living. Winners were facilitated by Brijinder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, along with Ritu Gupta, director of a furniture company. Free dental and oral check-ups were held. — TNS


Panchkula: St Soldier’s School, Sector 16, held its annual function at Indradhanush Auditorium, Sector 5, on Sunday. Students gave theme-based performances like “Shiv Vandana”, “Khushhali”, “Zulu” and western dance. Chief guest Hardeep Kumar, financial commissioner, Haryana, gave away prizes to winners.

Bachpan School

Skits and dance marked the annual day of Bachpan School, Naya Gaon.

The function was held at the auditorium of Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Saturday. Students’ performances were were highly appreciated by all. Principal Rachna Malhotra gave away prizes to meritorious students. — TNS



Coaching classes for NET

Chandigarh, November 21
Coaching classes for National Eligibility Test (NET) have begun at the Post-graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG), Sector 42.

Principal Mani Bedi said around 38 students were attending the classes.

The exam, which is conducted by the University Grants Commission (UGC), will be conducted on December 19 and 26, 2010, throughout the country.

Dr Dalip Kumar, coordinator of the UGC programmes, said the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, had launched the scheme under the eleventh plan for colleges for the first time.

The aim is to ensure that more and more SC/ST/OBC candidates as well as students from minority communities and economically weaker sections become eligible to compete for teaching posts at institutions of higher education. College officials said they received a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the project. — TNS



Quiz, dance sum up PEC Fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The three-day PEC Fest 2010 concluded today. Popular singer Master Saleem, who has sung songs for Bollywood movies like Dostana and Love Aaj Kal, enthralled all.

TNT Rock Night, hosted by PEC, saw performances from bands-Old School Tie, Carrot Fish, Fire on Dawson and Thermal and a Quarter. Highlight of the day was bhangra competition “Bhangra-theque”. Final round of the solo-singing competition “Crochet” was held. Apart from other fun filled events, a quiz “Eureka and business” was hosted by quiz master Gautam Bose who came from Kolkata. “SAASC-the literary club of college” also conducted a group discussion. Various games were held. The fest saw participation of students from professional and other colleges of the region.



Qawwali: DAV steals the show
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 21
DAV Public School, Amritsar, Punjab Zone, stood first in qawwali during the All-India Mahatma Hansraj Aryan National Youth Festival that commenced at Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, here today.

Mohan Lal, secretary, Arya Vidya Sabha, DAV CMC, New Delhi, inaugurated the function.

The other dignitaries present were Justice AL Bahri, vice-president, DAV CMC, New Delhi, Subhash Marriya, manager, Hansraj Public School. Mohan Lal said such competitions explored students’ talent.

Around 500 students from 13 zones, including Bihar, Delhi, Haryana (Faridabad), Haryana (Panchkula), Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Ranchi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatishgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan, South, UP, WB and Sikkim participated in various competitions.


Qawwali: DAV Public School, Amritsar, secured the first position, while Murlidhar DAV Senior Secondary Public School, Ambala City, and DAV International School, Amritsar, stood second and third, respectively.

Ved mantra: Hansraj Model School, Panjabi Bagh, Delhi, secured the first position, while DAV Public School, Dehradun, and DAV Model School, Sector 15A, Chandigarh, stood second and third, respectively.

On-the-spot painting: DAV Public School Koyla Nagar, Dhanbad, stood first, while DAV Public School, rotary camp, and DAV Public School, Burhar, secured the second and third positions, respectively.

Greeting cards making: DAV Public School, Gandhi Nagar, secured the first position, while DAV International Secondary School, Amritsar, and DAV Public School, Ludhiana, stood second and third, respectively.

Rangoli: DAV Public, Kusunda, Dhanbad, stood first, while Shree Guru Jambheshwar, DAV Senior Secondary School, Haripura, and Major RN Kapoor, DAV Public School, Ambala Cantt, secured the second and third positions, respectively.



PGI exams go smoothly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Stung by the scam involving admission to postgraduate courses, the PGI authorities made good arrangements for MD and MS examination today.

Eleven centres were set up. In addition to invigilators, faculty members were deputed as observers to checked credentials of candidates.

While everything was videographed, the biometric system, which had been planned earlier, could not be introduced this time.

At least 9,500 medicos appeared for the 125-odd seats. This was the first postgraduate entrance conducted by the PGI since September 28.



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