C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Strike raises stink at PGI
Situation set to worsen today
Tribune News Service

PGI attendants protest in support of their demands at the rally ground in Sector 25, Chandigarh, on Sunday.
PGI attendants protest in support of their demands at the rally ground in Sector 25, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune photographs

The emergency ward
The emergency ward. Tribune photographs 

Toilets of the PGI present an unhygienic picture.
Toilets of the PGI present an unhygienic picture. Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, December 5
Heaps of garbage have started piling up at the PGI as the strike by contractual staff, numbering over 500, entered the second day here today. Though the authorities had roped in some employees from the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and cancelled holidays of regular staff to cope with the situation, things seemed to have gone out of control at almost all wings of the institute.

The employees protesting the arrest of five colleagues, allegedly for damaging PGI property and rioting, included sweepers, ward attendants and operation theatre helpers.

A visit to the hospital revealed that sacks full of garbage and biomedical waste had been lying in every corner. Many a trolley were lying with blood stains as no one was available to clean those.

With no cleaning being carried out for the last two days, all washrooms were stinking. The delivery of food to patients in wards was delayed due to staff shortage.

The situation seemed set to worsen tomorrow, when all departments of the PGI, including administration, research and OPDs, would open after the weekend.

Meanwhile, striking employees sat in a day-long dharna at the rally ground in Sector 25 till 5 pm, demanding the release of their five colleagues, Jai Bhagwan, Gopal, Rohtash Thakur, Parveen Kumar and Sonu, who were under arrest since Friday evening.

PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar, when contacted, said efforts were being made so that there was no problem to patients. Employees on strike were being contacted for talks to resolve the issue, she added.



Chatrath-Vaid alliance sweeps Syndicate poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
In what is being seen as the commencement of a new era in the Panjab University academic leadership, an ages-old coalition has given way to a new alliance.

With its decade-old ‘marriage’ with the Ashok Goyal group turning sour, the GK Chatrath group swept the Syndicate elections with its new-found ‘courtship’ with the AC Vaid group by winning all seats in six faculties.

The old alliance had ended over various university appointments, including that of registrar and deans.

The victory not only left the Chatrath group elated, but also marked the entry of the Vaid group, which had been confined to the Senate till now, to the Syndicate.

The elections this year were important, not only because of the realignment between different Senators and Syndics, but also as it it was being speculated that those would change the power centre at the Syndicate.

These were the first major elections after the much-publicised break-up between Goyal and Chatrath, who had, according to Senators, ruled the Syndicate and the Senate for a very long period.

With the record-breaking results, Goyal and Keshav Malhotra had lost the Syndicate elections for the first time.



Rush hour at RLA
Road tax hike likely next year
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The final two months of this year are witnessing a peculiar upward trend in vehicle registration. What is shocking even the UT’s registration authorities is the unprecedented rush during the last fortnight alone.

Blame it on the perceived hike in road tax, which has added to registration fee, residents of the tricity are buying cars despite all leading automobile manufacturers launching their rejigged models in the first quarter of 2011.

The UT administration had recently announced an increase in road tax on the lines of neighbouring states, which would significantly change what one used to pay for the registration of a four-wheeler until now.

Bearing testimony to this, the latest series, CH01AE, was booked within a month, unlike in the past, when a series would last at least three or four months.

The series, with almost 10,000 numbers, was booked within a month, with over 250 numbers being registered each day. Consequently, the authorities were left with no option but to announce the new series, CH01AF, within a week from now.

The proposed hike in road tax was based on the cost of the vehicle, unlike the present system, which was based on the seating capacity of a vehicle. For a four-wheeler costing upto Rs 6 lakh, the owner would have to pay 1 per cent of the cost of the vehicle.

For a vehicle costing between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 20 lakh, the owner would have to pay 1.5 per cent of the cost of the vehicle. For a vehicle costing above Rs 20 lakh, the owner would have to shell out 2 per cent of the cost to get the vehicle registered.

Interestingly in 2008, the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) registered 9337 cars priced at upto Rs 6 lakh, 5047 that cost between Rs 6 lakh and 20 lakh and 442 costing above Rs 20 lakh. In 2009, it registered 11,373 cars priced at upto Rs 6 lakh, 4954 costing between Rs 6 lakh and 20 lakh and 538 that cost above Rs 20 lakh.



Admn to challenge CAT order on contractual docs
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh December 5
The uncertainty facing doctors recruited on contractual basis over their fate continues with the UT health department having decided to challenge the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order directing the administration to consider them as regular employees.

According to sources close to the department, an application challenging the tribunal order will be filed in the Punjab & Haryana High Court on Monday.

It was only three months ago - on September 11 - that CAT had directed the UT administration and the director of health services to consider these doctors as regular employees. The order came after Dr Anjali Gupta and six other contract doctors filed an application stating they were appointed against sanctioned posts of assistant medical officers (class III) on various dates between 1997 and 2006. Disposing of the petition the tribunal ordered the doctors should be considered as regular employees from the date of their completion of ten years of service within a period of three months.

In fact there were eleven sanctioned posts of assistant medical officers. Thirteen years ago, in 1997, the administration turned these posts into contractual basis on the excuse of facing a financial crunch. As of now only eight doctors recruited during the last 13 years have been working in the health department while three posts have been lying vacant for years.

The three vacancies could not be filled up as no one is willing to work for at such a meager salary, the sources said.

Interestingly, the doctors recruited on contractual basis had to work with the same designation of assistant medical officer even after 13 years of service without receiving any of the perks except a consolidated salary of Rs 21,000. This was despite the fact that doctors who had put in equal number of years of service in the neighbouring state of Punjab were drawing a salary of more than Rs 70,000.

“Ironically, the salary overhead costs incurred by the administration for some pharmacists and even peons employed by the UT health department has been greater than those for these contract doctors”, said one of the doctors on condition of anonymity.

The doctors employed on contractual basis are not only paid a pittance but are not entitled to any of the facilities including earned leave or health care. “While these doctors are entitled to one month’s leave, they have to pay for medical treatment even in their own hospital” the sources added.



Blaring loudspeakers shatter residents’ peace
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 5
The tranquility of hundreds of residents living in the vicinity of places of worship across the town is being rudely disturbed day in, day out. In what has become a daily nuisance early in the morning, loudspeakers blaring sermons and music wake up residents from deep slumber. Residents go through the same jarring experience late in the evening with civic officials and the police doing little to check the blatant violation of noise pollution control norms.

Officials at the police control room acknowledge receiving scores of complaints about the noisy loudspeakers, especially those at late night wedding functions. Karnail Singh, a Sector 69 resident, complained loudspeakers at a gurdwara in Phase 8 blaring in the wee hours was not only disturbing peace in the nearby residential areas but patients at Fortis Hospital (a designated silence zone) were also facing great discomfort.

One can imagine the plight of residents living around 30 places of worship, including ‘mandirs’ (Hindu temples) and Sikh gurdwaras, located all over the town. Indu Sehgal, a former councillor who heads the Mohali Mandir Commitees, said following a meeting with the Mohali subdivisional magistrate all the committees had been asked to strictly adhere to regulations on noise pollution. “If anyone has a complaint a written representation can be submitted to the SDM”, she added.

In Phase X residents have complained about loudspeakers blaring at a gurdwara in Sector 49.

Beena Thakur, a housewife, said the noisy loudspeakers directly affected two educational institutions and residential areas in Phase X. In some cases, prerecorded cassettes were being played at a high pitch, she added.

Mohali deputy commissioner Parveen Kumar said suitable action was being taken on receiving a specific complaint. “If there is any other complaint necessary action will be taken”, he averred.

According to noise pollution control norms, a loudspeaker, public address system, any sound producing instrument, musical instrument or sound amplifier shall not be used at night time except in closed premises for communication within, like auditoria, conference rooms, community halls and banquet halls or during a public emergency.

The noise level at the boundary of the public place where a loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source is being used, shall not exceed 10 dB(A) (A-weighted decibels) above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75 dB(A), whichever is lower.

The peripheral noise level of a privately owned sound system or a sound producing instrument shall not, at the boundary of the private place, exceed more than 5 dB(A) the ambient noise standards specified for the area in which it is used.

Hardeep Singh, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said according to regulations the noise level should be audible only within the specified premises.

Only recently the district administration had called meetings with officials of the places of worship to ask them adhere to the norms.



‘Gaz Foot Inch’ tickles audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 5
The Chandigarh Institute of Performing Arts (CIPA) in association with cultural affairs departments of Haryana and Chandigarh administration staged the 77th edition of their prestigious production “Gaz Foot Inch” at the Randhawa Auditorium here today.

The comedy written by Padamshri KP Saxena and directed by Shyam Juneja was laced with several mirthful moments, which tickled the funny bones of the audience.

The play revolves around clumsy young Tillu, enacted by Shyam Juneja. A

Straight forward yet utterly simpleton Tillu converses with all, including his would-be wife Jugni in the metaphors derived from his cloth selling business that creates several funny situations much to the embarrassment of his parents.

No wonder, he wins over Jugni with his innocent, sincere and honest behaviour, spreading humour throughout.

Audience enjoyed the comedy despite its repeated performances.

Leading the cast was noted actor and retired session judge KK Doda (father) with Preeti Arora (mother), Monika Punwar (Jugni) Navneet Kaur (Gullo), Rinku Jain (Yuvak) and also Shyam Juneja, whose persona suited the role well.

Cheif guest Arun Grover honoured the artistes. 



Is UT concerned?

It seems that the Chandigarh administration has chosen to sleep over all pending works. For example, it has failed to level the road adjoining Kisan Bhavan in Sector 35 (see photo), even though the poor condition of the road has been highlighted by various media organisations a number of times.

Simro, a resident of Mohali, had a narrow escape on Saturday when she fell on the roundabout. She, along with her daughter, was going to a bookshop in Sector 22. She fell and broke her shoulder bones and was shifted to the PGI for a major surgery. She said, “Those who rushed me to the hospital told me that a woman had died in a mishap at the same spot a day before.

I learnt about more such accidents, but it seems the administration is not bothered about the residents’ safety.” She added that it was difficult to negotiate a turn on the road, especially at night. “The apathetic attitude of the administration has surprised me. I have read reports on the issue in several newspapers. The traffic police should be deployed at the spot.”

‘Vanishing’ act

The Chandigarh municipal corporation Mayor is unavailable these days. Not because she is busy chalking out strategies, but it’s the number of days left for completion of her term that is apparently keeping her away from making public appearances. With just 26 days left for the completion of her term, Mayor Anu Chatrath has not only stopped interacting with mediapersons, but has also started avoiding the queries of general public. Interestingly, she is also skipping her office schedules.

Slapping incident goes unnoticed

It seems that the PGIMER authorities do not believe in punishing the guilty.

This is what appears from the hospital authorities’ reaction to the slapping incident, in which Sarita Thakur, a contractual employee, was slapped by security staff. Despite a written complaint, the authorities showed no reaction to such a major development in the case of a female employee being slapped, even after two days of the incident.

A hospital employee said, “What can we expect from the management of a hospital, where even female employees are slapped and the authorities chose to remain mum on such incidents.”

Changing colours of PU politics

One permanent feature of the Panjab University Senate is to keep allowing changes in power groups. Principal AC Vaid joining hands with GK Chatrath in the Senate, for the Syndicate elections on Sunday, is just a reminder of the feature.

The two leaders have remained at loggerheads in the Senate for the past several years.

The hot exchange of words had always remained a highlight of the meetings they attended.

There is no deep thought needed to understand the change in stance, this time. Like always, groups are changed to counter another group. This time the rival group is headed by Ashok Goyal who till some time back was close to Chatrath.

Just to mention, at one point of time, Vaid and Ashok Goyal were one in the house and had held great position in all academic debates in the Senate. At the meeting on Saturday, it was amusing to watch the principal following Chatrath on the floor of the house.

Checking overspeeding

After Chandigarh, it is the Mohali transport authorities’turn to keep a check on overspeeding vehicles. Instead of school buses, the state transport department is focusing on heavy vehicles, as these have been seen as one of the main reasons behind fatal accidents. Operators of all heavy vehicles have been asked to install speed governors in the next few days, failing which strict action will be initiated against them.

Tedious task

Managing PR seems to be a tedious task for India’s perpetual opposition party-BJP. While top functionaries of the party’s local units continue to crib about the “poor coverage” of its activities, its management strategy is in a mess.

A regular faux pas is that it always sends vernacular press notes to English newspapers, including

The Tribune.This is despite the fact that its top leadership has been apprised regularly that for getting the party’s press notes published, those must be written in English. Well, the saffron party really needs to put its PR act together in the run-up to the municipal corporation elections next year.

Contributed by Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Aarti Kapur, Arun Sharma, Rajmeet Singh and Pradeep Sharma



Open house response
RTE: Govt needs to do groundwork

IN present times I wonder what is it that RTE is expected to achieve. I agree with Sanjeev Singh Bariana that it’s a good idea, but its implementation is flawed beyond rectification.

It can only cause grief as the implementing agency is the same as the one that runs 75 per cent government schools in the country.

At present these schools have not been managed with accountability. How can the same people implement and run all schools? The track record speaks for itself.

It would have been better if government schools were targeted to deliver with a certain time frame and handed over to local committees to manage the affairs.

Subsequently, other private schools should have been included in the effort. Now, rules will only encourage corruption as authorities are required to give recognition to private schools.

Illogical condition needs rectification and concentrated effort is needed to improve the standard of government schools.

RTE is much applicable to government schools as to private schools, before March 2011. Government needs to first set the groundwork before implementing it.

HS Mamik, Chandigarh

UT shirking responsibility

The independent schools of Chandigarh have already stated that they are fully endorsing the RTE Act.

However, they are highlighting that free education is for children of disadvantaged groups and the administration is responsible for them as stated in the RTE Act.

Here in the city it seems the government is more inclined towards beating the independent schools into submission, whereas, their entire effort should be to get their own schools fully prepared with the infrastructure, teachers and curricula. At present, the administration's focus is not on its main responsibility.

Joginder Singh, Chandigarh


My son is studying in Class V in a school which was recently in news. One day my son asked me “Is it true that our school managers are some sort of criminals? Their pictures are being flashed in newspapers very often. Are they are really overcharging us?”

I didn’t have any reply to his questions. However, I feel the issue had been blown out of proportion. The administration is not handling the matter properly. There is no news of any attempt or any meeting to reach any compromise.

The administration is acting on the lines that private schools were doing nothing more than making money which is wrong.

Besides administrative matters that need to be sorted out for better functioning, there is no denying the fact that an average middle class family wants to send their children to a good private school. There are reasons that need to be respected too. Find out where do children of the top bureaucrats who are on a mission to reform the entire education system studying and you will understand the peculiarity of the situation.

Except for a couple of government schools in the UT, the administration needs to give examples of what it had achieved in bigger campuses backed with their claim of better qualified teachers.

Nandita Sharma, Sector 38 (W), Chandigarh

Overpriced books

It is interesting to learn about the issue of overpriced books, school bags, dresses and shoes being used as money-making mediums by private schools.

Why does the administration not interfere and look into the matter?

Even if schools get profit shares out of shops, the process was important to give uniformity to the entire system. School uniform is meant to bring uniformity.

I feel that instead of branding the schools as money-making industry, administration should listen to the case of private institutes and work out means for better education.

I appreciate the work being done by government schools. They are catering to a big section of the society. However, despite good infrastructure and most qualified staff, results are not as satisfactory as parents get from private institutes.

Regarding RTE bill, the UT administration needs to appreciate the fact that government schools can’t be compared with private institutes on majority of fronts.

There is a big difference in the functioning of the two. There are many pressures that need to be handled to maintain the standard of private institutes. The administration needs to address issues and work out possible remedies to the benefit of the education as a whole.

Col DS Sharma (retd), Chandigarh

Pick and choose policy

Besides negligence of Chandigarh administration to ensure uniformity in education standards, it seems that the administration is following a pick and choose policy. Except for a few schools, it appears that all the other schools are functioning as per norms.

We have only been reading about Strawberry Fields, Vivek High School, St John’s and Shivalik Public School to have erred on different accounts.

Recently, we read that several other schools were erring on account of not providing the stipulated reservation to the EWS sections.

There has been no action there from the past several years. Despite promise, administration had not been uniform in its approach. While more than 50 schools have united on a common front, it is important to point out that majority will not like to be quoted publicly on the issue.

The administration must initiate discussion with private institutes for finding a workable solution rather than being engaged in a meaningless exchange of words. Private institutes have nowhere said that they were not in favour of implementing the RTE. Certain issues like the strength of the possible target students need a clarification before any action.

Dr Surinder Kohli, Chandigarh



what next ?
Syndics Speak

Having worked with the PU academic bodies for a very long period, Chatrath is generally called the power centre of PU and a man to speak his mind loudly at times. “I have been working with this body for a long time and have seen it evolving. I look forward to helping the house with my experience and learning a few more things from the new young blood joining in.”
— GK Chatrath, law faculty

A renowned journalist and writer, Gurmeet Singh, is called the crusader of language faculty. He is known best for playing with Hindi words and putting across his points through poised compositions rather than heated exchanges. “I have been and will always strive to be the voice of those whom I represent. I will use this opportunity to voice the concerns of languages departments and get them their due credits,” 
— Gurmeet Singh, languages

A man of a few words, DPS Randhawa is the youngest Syndic Panjab University has ever got. Having been a popular student leader, he is known to be the one struggling hard to take up students’ issues before the PU academic bodies. “A decision taken by a body affects students, so they need to have a voice to raise their issues. I will use this opportunity to ensure that issues related to students get a priority in the Syndicate and they are benefited.” 
— DPS Randhawa, combined

Having been a seasoned member of the PU Syndicate, AS Bedi claims to be well apprised of the loopholes in PU’s working and claims it to be his strength. “I know where we lack and will continue my battle for perfection. I will use this opportunity to play my role in the university’s development.” 
— AS Bedi, arts

A novice to the house, Gaur wants to use this opportunity to instill freshness into it.“Being a newcomer helps giving a new approach and thought to any issue. I will try to play my bit in PU’s development by being a part of this esteemed house.” ID Gaur, combined faculties 

— ID Gaur, combined faculties

For Jas Vir, this selection comes as an opportunity to execute her duty towards the faculty concerned. “I come here as the voice of arts faculty and will try my best not only to voice their concern, but even get them the deserved benefits.” 
— Jas Vir Chahal, arts

A first timer in the Syndicate, SS Randhawa has been toiling for affiliated college’s autonomy since long. “I will strive to ensure that affiliated colleges progress in proportion with the university. I will stand as the voice of colleges there and ensure that they not only get heard, but also get the due benefits.”
— SS Randhawa, sciences

Having been a prominent face of the medical fraternity, for Dr Raj Bahadur getting into the Syndicate comes as yet another opportunity to strive for the betterment of medical colleges and students. 
— Dr Raj Bahadur, medical

Known for his smart one liners, HS Goshal is one of the most popular Senators who keeps the the environs jolly. The man with an amazing sense of humour has a knock to make his point with smart jokes. “I will use this opportunity to get things better for colleges. Affiliated colleges are in a bad shape and we are toiling to get them there due. I believe that shouting is no way to make a point, certain things get imbibed better with laughter and smiles.”
— HS Ghoshal, combined

Known as “Iron Man” of the Senate, Rabinder Nath has never abstained from speaking his mind. The man is known for fearlessly standing against even the PU authorities over certain issue. “For me being a member of any academic house is an opportunity to voice the concerns of the university. I don’t say anything to appease anybody. My pills may be sour but they are for the betterment of all of us.” 
— Rabinder Nath Sharma, languages

One of the youngest members, Lucky is best known for raising students’ concerns in the Senate. Now in the Syndicate, he wishes to use this opportunity for the betterment of student fraternity. 
— HS lucky, law

Dahrinder Tayal sees this election as an unprecedented opportunity as the university is undergoing a renaissance. “It’s a great opportunity for me to use my experience and exposure to play a role in the biggest makeover movement of the university. It’s a pleasure to realise that every single word will play a part in deciding future of this renowned establishment.” 
— Dharinder Tayal, medical

Akin to his name, Josh wants to use this opportunity to toil for the university’s and colleges development with a new fervour and zeal.

— RPS Josh, arts

Being a seasoned member of various academic bodies of PU, ML Aeri sees it as yet another opportunity to use his experience for the betterment of Panjab University.

— ML Aeri, science

Popularly known as a one-man army of the Vice-Chancellor, Naval Kishore is a silent worker and a man of a few words. Not very vocal on various issues, he, however, is known for having raised commendable issues armed with facts. “Serving the university is the key criteria for me and having a representation in house is just like lending a helping hand in PU’s progress.”
— Naval Kishore, sciences



Services children to get concessional education
Scheme for personnel killed, disabled or missing in action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Following the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, children of Armed forces personnel killed, disabled or missing in action will finally get education at concessional rates. A circular to this effect was issued by the Controller General Defence Accounts a few days ago.

The scheme will be implemented with effect from September 1, 2008. Under the new instructions, wards of such personnel will be entitled to full reimbursement of tuition fee, including transportation charges by school bus or railway, while studying in government or government-aided recognised institutes up to the degree level.

The students will also be entitled to full reimbursement of hostel charges, if applicable and

Rs 1,000 per annum towards cost of books and stationary. The rules also provide for Rs 1,000 as allowance for uniform for the first year and Rs 700 per year, thereafter.

Significantly, the educational concession will have no bearing on the performance of the ward. Even if the ward fails in a particular class, the re-imbursement cannot be stopped. Re-imbursement can be claimed for two eldest children, except in cases where the number of children exceeds two due to second childbirth resulting in multiple births.

The Army has decided to close down the Army Officers Contributory Education Fund at the end of this fiscal. The Controller of Defence Accounts has been directed to stop deducting subscription to the fund form officers’ salary from April 1, 2011. Officers on the rolls of the Army as on March 31, 2011, who have not drawn any benefit from the fund will be refunded their entire subscription with 6 per cent interest.



City-based architect elected VP of Indian Institute of Architects
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,December 5
Eminent Chandigarh-based architect-planner Jit Kumar Gupta has achieved another milestone in his illustrious career. He was recently elected national vice-president of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) by defeating Maharastra’s Prakash Deshmukh in closely-contested election for two years(2010-12).

Currently working as Director, College of Architecture at the Institute of Engineering and Technology(IET) at Bhaddal, near here, Gupta has vast experience in the areas of urban planning, development, management, planning legislation, policy planning and architectural education over the past four decades.

A Fellow of Indian Institute of Architects and the Institute of Town Planners (India), Gupta is a member of Board of Studies of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjab Technical University and Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar.He was awarded Vishwakarma Award for contribution to the field of architecture and planning in 1994.

Gupta is presently working as member of the committee for preparing revised Master Plan of Chandigarh and six master plans in Punjab, including metropolitan centre, Amritsar.

In fact, Gupta’s victory is seen as a major morale booster for the nascent Chandigarh-Punjab chapter of the IIA which is going from strength to strength under the leadership of its chairman Surinder Bahga. After becoming the chariman Bahga has revamped the chapter by opening several sub-centres in important cities of Punjab.

Set up in 1917, the IIA is the apex body of architects in the country with over 17,000 members.The institute plays a major role in promoting the profession of architecture by organizing and uniting in fellowship the architects of India to promote aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession. 



Back to roots, and how!
SAARC Folklore Festival concludes
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 5
Negating the general belief that founts of folklore are drying up and its streams are getting polluted and diluted, 185 folklore artistes from eight SAARC countries brought alive the folk music culture of their respective regions here for three days.

The cultural bonanza of folk theatre, music and dance brought to the city by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature was high on the spirit of artistes, but low on the audience rush compared to last year.

The artistes got tremendous appreciation during their day performances at Chandi Mandir and local schools.

The participation of 35 postgraduate art-loving volunteers led by Jayant was the redeeming perspective, disclosed Ajeet Cour and Manmohan Mitwa.

Folk artistes from Rajasthan ruled the roost on the final day, with Omar Farookh and Zahoor Khan featuring in an folk instrumental ‘jugalabandi’ on ‘bhopung’ and ‘bapang’ and a recital by Mehmood Khan.

Ustad Roza Khan and Jeta Khan (Alwar), Manginyar singers, captured the mystic essence of ‘Dama dam mast kalandar’ and ‘Radha sagi bansuriya’ before Latif Khan captivated the audience with a folk tune on the ‘morchang’, a folk music instrument.

Dancing dolls from Rajasthan presented ‘kalbelia’, displaying verve and vitality in eloquent and geometrically measured movements.

On request, the ‘Malangs’, led by Hazrat Shafi Dera Madho Lal from Pakistan, danced again, enrapturing in the glory of their ‘Murshid’. They repeated their performance while partnering the concluding ‘quawwali’ recital by Kuldeep Qadri and party.

Young boys from Manipur excelled in the festive ‘Dhol Cholom’, with Holi as the theme, dancing in perfect synchronisation to the drumming of ‘dholak’ and ‘dhol’. All of them had to walk 35 kilometres to catch the flight for the fest, disclosed Mitwa. The Gotipua dance performed by artistes from Orissa exuded spiritual fervour as they danced in a serene mood.

Folk and ghazal singer Ustad Fayyaz Nadeem from Wazirbad in Pakistan doled out ‘kafis’ of Shah Hussain, including ‘Syioni assin’. Hailing Shiv Kumar Batalvi as the most sung Punjabi poet, he proudly presented ‘Raat gyi kerr taara taara’.

Folk guitarist Waheed Kalaavehi from the Maldives presented his interpretation of folk tunes from his land. An author of 14 books on literature, Waheed was the winner of India’s Sahitya Akademi Award for literature this year.



Mohali don, student to represent India in Japan
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 5
Dr Sarbjeet Kaur Sohal, lecturer, and Harhem Neel Kaur, a student of Government Senior Secondary School, Mohali, have been selected by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to represent India during an exchange programme in Japan from December 8 to December 17.

The duo would be part of a 10-member team selected from different parts of the country.

Dr Sohal, a recipient of the National Award to Teachers- 2009, said the aim was to invite future leaders from the South-West Asia.

Participants would interact with students of other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and would present report on present state of environment and energy problems in their respective countries.



Double standards, admn style
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Double standards seem to be the hallmark of the Chandigarh administration. With uniformity eluding policies governing the transfer of plots and flats in group housing societies in Chandigarh, residents are up in arms against the lop-sided policies.

In fact, tired after sending representations to various functionaries, the residents have sent an SOS to the Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator, Shivraj Patil, to interevene in the matter.

Currently, two sets of rules govern the transfer of property allotted to cooperative house building societies. The lock-in period for sale of plots in certain societies in Sectors 42, 43, 44 and 46 (Category I) has remained 15 years. The period for certain societies in Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51 (Category II) has been reduced to five years.

The societies affected in Category I included the Telecom Society, the IAS Society, the Chandigarh Accrediated Press Society, the Friends Society, the Punjab Society, the UT Teachers Society, the Chandigarh Journalists Society and the Shantivan Society.

“It is illogical that we are having two diametrically opposed rules for societies allotted land under same terms and conditions,” said AC Chhabra, a resident of Sector 44.

On February 7, 2008, the Chandigarh administration amended the Chandigarh Allotment of Land to Cooperative House Building Societies Scheme, 1991, by allowing original allottees to transfer dwelling units after five years, as against 15 years under the original scheme.

It was for the same amendment that members of Category I societies were pleading with the administration. Sources in the administration stated that the matter would be examined keeping in view various legal complications.



Buddhist perspective to today’s challenges
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
A seminar on “Resurgence of Buddhism in the land of its birth” was organised by the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC), Leh and Ladakh, at Indradhanush Auditorium in Sector 5 here today.

A number of delegates and eminent scholars deliberated on various challenges of the contemporary world like terrorism, religious fanaticism, economic and environmental crisis, consumerism and the nuclear threat from a Buddhist perspective.

Dr PR Trivedi, Charlie Chai, Lieut-Gen SS Grewal and Dr DR Chaudhury presented their views on Buddha’s teachings, global weather changes, ancient medicine for the modern world, humanistic Buddhism, peace through Vipasana meditation, terrorism, fanaticism, spirituality and materialism.

Bhikshu Sanghasena, head of the MIMC, said the purpose of conducting the seminar was to spread the message of peace, harmony and balance among all communities throughout the world.

Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia, who was the chief guest, inaugurated he seminar. Artistes from Ladakh and Malaysia presented a colourful cultural programme at the conclusion of the seminar.



INLD seeks more time to enrol fresh voters
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
District Indian National Lok Dal women wing president Seema Chaudhary has written to the state chief electoral officer seeking more time for new eligible voters to get enrolled in the voters’ list.

A special drive had been carried out by the district administration to enable new eligible voters to get enrolled in the list by November 30.

Urging the chief electoral officer to extend the date till December 31, Chaudhary said since proper, error-free and accurate electoral rolls were a must for a free and fair election and reducing electoral malpractices, Chaudhary said it was essential to improve the quality of electoral registration process. Adequate stress had to be laid on the preparation and revision of the electoral rolls.

Chaudhary added that migrants, especially from Kashmir, did not possess any identity documents regarding their area of current residency and were being deprived of the right to vote.

She further said the issue regarding the date of birth of fresh voters was also causing confusion as there was no clarity on the cut-off date.

She said the drive had not been properly advised, as a result of which the masses, especially those living in villages and belonging to economically weaker sections, were not aware of it.

“The period of revision of electoral roll was also not right, as a lot of people had gone to their native place for festivities. They could either not be informed or failed to return, hence their constitutional right was not being guaranteed,” she added.



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