C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT electricity dept fails to pay interest to consumers
  Has no record of security amount deposited by consumers since 1966
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The UT electricity department is all set to put an additional burden on residents with the proposed power tariff hike, but it has failed to pay the interest on Rs 24 crore deposited by the consumers as security of meters.

Besides, the Administration has no record of the security amount deposited by the consumers from 1966, when the Central government made Chandigarh a Union Territory (under Section 4 of the Punjab Re-Organisation Act, 1966, with effect from November 1, 1966) to 2011.

The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) had issued directions to the department to pay the interest on Rs 24 crore to power consumers, but the department failed to do so. Presently the consumer is paying security deposit varies from Rs 1,000 to 12,000 depending on the connection.

The JERC had directed that under Section 47 (4) of the Electricity Act, 2003, the UT electricity department should pay interest on the security deposit collected from the consumers. The JERC had directed the department to pay interest at the prevailing bank rate.

In the tariff petition, the department stated that it had prepared a detailed list of consumers and their security amount for 2011-12 and 2012-13. The list has been given to the billing agency, NIELIT (formerly DOEACC) to pay interest on consumers’ security deposit.

However, the data pertaining to actual consumer security deposit since the inception of the electricity department (1966/67) is being prepared which may take some more time, said an official.

UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said the security deposit collected by the department was with the Central government. “The interest will be paid to the consumers after the compilation of the data, he said. 

Over 2 lakh power consumers
There are 2,09,602 power consumers in the city. Out of this, 1,78,883 consumers come under the domestic category, 25,806 under commercial, 104 in large supply, 1,291 in small power, 1,152 in medium supply, 122 in agriculture, 867 in public lighting, 383 in bulk supply and 994 in other temporary categories.

Public hearing today
The JERC will hold a public hearing session on March 15 in the Institution of Engineers (India), Punjab and Chandigarh State Centre, Sector 19 A. Meanwhile, general secretary of the UT Powermen Union Gopal Joshi said they would raise the issue of staff shortage in the department before the commission. 



Evening general OPD at GMSH-16 from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Patients will no longer have to restrict themselves to the morning hours for visiting Government Multi-Speciality Hospital’s OPDs as doctors will now be available at the hospital in the evening too.

While the evening OPDs in the department of eye and oral health are already running from 3 pm to 8 pm since past two weeks, the general OPD will be made operational from Friday.

Besides, counsellors for the adolescent reproductive sexual health (ARSH) programme will also be available at the hospital in the evening. The facility will help school-going children who until now had to miss the school for going in for a check up.

The evening OPD, between 3 pm and 8 pm, will not only cater to patients coming for the general OPD, but also attend to queries and problems of adolescents and children.

By the next month, all OPDs will start and gradually all departments will be functional from 3 pm to 8 pm. These include the departments of medicine, gynaecology, surgery, ENT, dermatology and paediatrics.

The contractual workers recruited under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), including doctors and paramedical staff, will be put on duty for the purpose.

We will gradually start the OPDs in all departments. For now, we have started with eye and dental departments to see the response, said Dr Rajiv Vadhera, acting director, health services.

Schoolchildren under the school health programme face inconvenience in coming to the hospital or any other primary health centre for their check-up as the OPDs close by the time they get free from the school. They have to take leave for coming to the hospital. The evening OPDs and sessions will do away with this limitation, said Dr Vadhera. 



annual convocation 
PGI all set for Pranab’s visit today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
A dress rehearsal was conducted at the PGIMER today ahead of the 33rd Annual Convocation, which will be presided over by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, tomorrow.
Police personnel carry out security checks at the PGI in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Police personnel carry out security checks at the PGI in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

A dog squad also visited the PGI campus. The convoy of VVIPs, including the President, Union Minister for Telecom Kapil Sibal and Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad, will reach the campus at 3.45 pm.

The main gate of the PGI will remain closed for public entry for a few minutes when the convoy will enter the campus. To avoid inconvenience to patients, security guards will be deputed near the gate to guide them to the other gate, said the PGI officials.

During the convocation, 393 students will be honoured and four students will be awarded gold medals for academic excellence.

No mobile phones, handbags or cameras will be allowed at the convocation venue on the PGI campus.

None of the students will be allowed to carry mobile phones, cameras or even handbags inside the auditorium during the function due to security reasons.

Panjab University’s gate no. 1 (opposite the main gate of the PGI ) will be closed for 3 hours,

from 2 pm to 5 pm on Friday. Exit from the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, on the Madhya Marg will remain closed from 2.30 pm to 5 pm. Patients will be allowed entry from the same gate in case of emergency. The exit and entry gates on the Rose Garden side will remain open.

PGI’s stamp to be released
Telecom Minster Kapil Sibal will release a stamp of the India Post featuring PGI’s Nehru Hospital during the convocation on Friday. The Rs 5 stamp, which was issued by the India Post in January this year, will be released by the institution to commemorate the golden jubilee celebrations, which started last year.

Airport road recarpeted
The Chandigarh Administration has recarpeted the Airport road. The road had been in a very bad condition since sewerage lines were laid along it six months ago. Charanjit Saini, a resident of Zirakpur, said it was a nightmare to drive on this road, but thanks to the President' visit, the authorities had recarpeted it now. 



president’s visit
Flight timings changed
 Airfield to be shut down from 9.30 am to 12 noon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Several airlines operating at the domestic airport have changed their flight timings in view of President Pranab Mukharjee’s visit to the City Beautiful tomorrow. According to the instructions issued by the Chandigarh ATC, the airfield will remain shut down from 9.30 am to 12 noon due to the President’s landing and some military exercise to be carried out on his arrival at the airport.

The runway is also expected to be closed for about 40 minutes, probably after 3 pm, for which the schedule has not been disclosed due to security reasons.

Following the schedule, three airlines, namely Air-India, Indigo and Go Air have rescheduled the timings of their morning flights for tomorrow.

For instance, the arrival of the Indigo’s Mumabi-Chandigarh flight has been advanced to 8.45 am from 10.15 am earlier. The departure to Mumabi will be at 9.10 am (10.35 am earlier).

Similarly, Go-Air's Mumbai-Chandigarh inbound flight, which was scheduled to arrive at 11.05 am, has been postponed at around 12.10 pm and its departure will be after 12.30 pm

Air India’s arrival from Delhi has been rescheduled at 12.20 pm instead of 10.35 am earlier. The same flight will take off from Chandigarh at 1 pm.

Some flights may get delayed by about half an hour in the afternoon when President Pranab Mukharjee will leave Chandigarh.



World Consumer Day
City most consumer literate in the region 
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Chandigarh has achieved the distinction of being the most consumer literate city in the region if the analysis of the Chandigarh Consumer Courts Bar Association on the number of persons per 1,000 residents moving the consumer forum is something to go by.

An analysis of the statistics available with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission reveal that in Chandigarh, 56 of the 1,000 residents move the consumer forum, followed by 16 of 1,000 in Delhi, nine per 1,000 in Haryana and six per 1,000 in Punjab.

“In spite of its area and population being on the lower side, almost 60,000 consumer cases have been filed since the inception of the consumer courts in early 1990s,” said Pankaj Chandgothia, president of the Chandigarh Consumer Courts Bar Association.

Rajesh Gupta, a resident of Sector 21, said: “This is because of high level of consumer awareness among citizens. People here do not hesitate to file cases regarding products priced as low as Rs 10.”

In the neighbouring Haryana, only 10 out of every 1,000 residents file such cases, while in Punjab, just over six per 1,000 file cases. Even the national capital Delhi is way behind with only 16 persons out of 1,000 bringing their grievances before the consumer court.

The disposal percentage of the cases at the district level is also the highest in the country for Chandigarh.

It is as high as 97.48 per cent for Chandigarh as against the national average of 90.97 per cent. 



Fastest trial: Evidence recorded in an hour
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
In one of the fastest trials in the history of UT district courts, the evidence in a case of rape attempt on a minor was recorded in an hour today.

The case, which was registered 12 days ago on March 2, is now in the final stage with the court likely to pronounce the orders by the end of this week.

Four prosecution witnesses were today examined in the court in the first-ever case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The court had framed charges on March 12 against the accused, Ram Bahadur, alias Veer Bahadur.

The police had filed a chargesheet in the case five days after the incident. The police had arrested 40-year-old labourer Ram Bahadur for attempting to rape a three-year-old girl. The

accused, a resident of Kajheri village, is the victim’s neighbour. In a complaint to the police, the family of the victim alleged that the accused, who was in an inebriated state, took the child to a secluded area and attempted to rape her. The victim raised the alarm and neighbours rushed to her rescue. The accused was thrashed by residents of the area before being handed over to the police.

The father of the victim is an auto driver. The chargesheet has been filed under Sections 8, 18 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

Public prosecutor Manu Kakkar examined the witnesses in the court. The victim’s mother stood by the statements given to the police and said she had caught the accused red-handed in an inebriated state while he was trying to rape her daughter. The next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. 


CAT’s no to relief for Raj Bahadur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
In a petition challenging the extension being granted to Dr Raj Bahadur as the Director-Principal of the GMCH, Sector 32, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today turned down an applicant's prayer seeking interim relief for Dr Raj Bahadur.

Dr Jagdish Chander had moved CAT last month, challenging Dr Raj Bahadur's extension as the Director-Principal on the grounds that "the latter had exceeded the maximum period of deputation from his parent institution and was given eight extensions without the consensus of the competent authorities".

The arguments in the main case have been scheduled for March 26.

Dr Raj Bahadur had joined the GMCH in 2008. His three-year deputation period ended in January 2011.



Chandigarh Social Welfare Board faces financial crunch
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Chandigarh Social Welfare Board is facing an acute financial crunch due to the non-plan budget cut and delay in the release of grant-in-aid for the financial year 2012-2013. Recently, a communication was sent by the authorities to the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board that on all sub-heads under the non-plan budget of 2012-13, excluding salary of the staff, there will be a budgetary cut of 10 percent.

Adding to woes of the board, the UT Administration has also failed to release the grant-in-aid of Rs 17 lakh as the last installment of the current financial year. Sources in the department revealed even if the Social Welfare Department released funds, they would be unable to utilise it, as the board had not been constituted by the administration so far.

The UT Social Welfare Department Director, Rajesh Jogpal, said the grant-in-aid had been delayed as the Government of India had failed to release funds.

Chandigarh Social Welfare Board Chairperson Kamlesh said a number of reminders had been sent to the UT Administration for the release of the pending grant-in-aid, but till date no action had been taken. Sources in the board said due the paucity of funds, the department was forced to delay the payment of salary to 11 employees in the month of March by 10 days.

Administration fails to notify new board

The UT Administration has delayed to notify the constitution of the new Chandigarh Social Welfare Board by over four months. The administration is yet to notify the appointment of new chairperson Kamlesh who was appointed by the Central Social Welfare Board in November last year.

A number of reminders had been sent to notify the board and chairperson. Chairperson Kamlesh said she had recently requested the administration to speed up the process. She said as the board had not been constituted, it failed to take up any issues with Directors of the Social Welfare Department, Public Instructions, Schools, Technical Education and Health, who are also the ex-officio members of the board.

UT Social Welfare Department Director Rajesh Jopal said the final decision on the selection of board members would be taken by the administration. The department had forwarded all the request letters and the proposed names to the officials concerned, he said.

Records of the social welfare board revealed that during the three-year tenure of the previous chairperson, Lalit Joshi, not a single meeting of the board was held, as it was not notified. Even after the expiry of the last tenure, no fresh panel for the board's chairperson was sent to the central board for consideration. Sources said three reminders were sent to the administration for recommending the panel for the appointment of chairperson but no proposal was sent by the authorities. The central board had to appoint the chairperson.

As per norms, members of the board comprise of four social workers from the city and four ex-officio members.



Air Chief releases airbase magazine
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, today released the second issue of “March Towards Excellence” at the Air Force Station here. The magazine depicts the feats achieved and operations conducted by the Chandigarh airbase.

The Air Chief arrived at 12 Wing here on the eve on the presentation of the President’s Colours to two IAF establishments, No 3 Base Repair Depot and the Air Force Central Medical Establishment.

Addressing the station personnel, he recalled some of the strategic decision making and achievements in the transport fleet operations. He also said the induction of the much awaited C-17 heavy lift aircraft would soon become a reality. He commended the vital role being played by the station in achieving various milestones.

Earlier, on his arrival, he was received by Air Commodore SC Chafekar, Air Officer Commanding, 12 Wing.



Anti-encroachment drive: 65 challans issued at Sector 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The enforcement wing of the Municipal Corporation conducted an anti-encroachment drive in Sadar Bazar, Sector 19. During the drive, 65 challans were issued to the encroachers.

The drive was conducted under the directions of Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach and supervision of Superintendent, Enforcement, Kashmira Singh.

MC staff seized readymade garments, cylinders and rehris. Ten-truck load of items were seized during the drive.



City RLA confiscates fake receipt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Chandigarh Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) today confiscated a fake receipt of registration documents from a Panchkula-based applicant. The applicant, Yadu Ram, after buying a Scorpio car from Panchkula had deposited documents for registration of his vehicle at the RLA office in Chandigarh.

Officials got suspicious when the receipt did not tally with their record. On probing into the matter, they found the vehicle owner had submitted fake documents, including fake stamps of the RLA. Against a payment of Rs 38,000 he was issued a receipt of Rs 25,800. RLA in-charge Mahavir Kaushik said the documents had been handed over to the police for registering a case against the erring agency.



City records highest rainfall in March in six years 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The city has recorded the highest rainfall in the month of March in the past six years. The sky remained overcast, with showers lashing the region on Thursday.

A rickshaw-puller braves rain
A rickshaw-puller braves rain; and (below) schoolchildren enjoy the showers on their way to school on Thursday. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan 
schoolchildren enjoy the showers on their way to school on Thursday.

As per the Met department, till Thursday the city received 11.4 mm rainfall, with the maximum temperature being recored at 20 degree Celsius and minimum at 15.6 degree Celsius.

Records of the Met department revealed that in the past six years the city received the highest rainfall (5.2 mm) in 2011 while there was no rainfall in the month of March in 2008 and 2010.

In 2009, there were mild showers while in 2012, 2 mm of rainfall was recorded.

Met department director Surinder Pal Singh has predicted showers next weekend.

He said the day and night temperatures would decline due to rain.

As per weathermen, the sky will remain partly cloudy and the minimum temperature will be 12 degrees Celsius on Friday. 



world sleep day 
Sound sleep a thing of past
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Obstructive sleep apnea (breathlessness which leads to sudden waking up at night) has turned out to be a common problem. As per experts, two to three new cases are reported every week at the PGIMER's department of pulmonary medicine, with people complaining of sleep apnea.

While such lifestyle diseases are often overlooked by many people, they can lead to long-term problems, including hypertension, disrupted mental function, and also make the person prone to accidents due to drowsiness during the day, said experts.

"Sudden waking up at night and drowsiness during the day or excessive sleep at odd time is a common problem with people suffering from sleep apnea," said Dr SK Jindal, head, department of pulmonary medicine, PGIMER.

The key causes for the onset of sleep apnea, including alcohol intake, smoking and also obesity. "Mostly, the patients suffering from sleep disorders are obese. Alcohol intake also leads to gradual breathing problems," Dr Jindal added.

Maintaining hygiene and avoiding smoking and alcohol can help control the problem. It is important to wash hands and face before going to bed to relax the body and mind.

"Due to inadequate sleep at night, these patients remain drowsy throughout the day. This poses a high risk of accidents while driving," added Dr Jindal.

Sinus is another cause of breathlessness at night. Inadequate sleep also leads to woes and worries of a person. The experts suggest that such problems should not be taken lightly and one must consult a doctor in case of sleeplessness.

"Snoring is one of the major indicators of unhealthy sleeping habit, as against the common perception that it signifies a sound sleep," said the experts.



Mohali police plays Cupid
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 14
They may shoo away lovers from parks or isolated places, but that does not mean that they do not understand love, affection and attraction. Making up for the absence of annoyed parents, Mohali police officers solemnised the wedding of a couple today.

Earlier the officers, who were not letting the couple marry at a local gurdwara in Phase VI, not only convinced the families of the two to give their consent, but stayed at the gurdwara till the couple tied the knot.

Bridegroom Ravinder Singh is a resident of Chanalo village, Kurali, while the bride, Amandeep Kaur, resides at Solkhian village, Ropar.

Earlier, high drama was witnessed at the gurdwara when the family members of the girl reached there and started blowing up the girl. On receiving information, the police reached the place and brought the couple to the Phase I police station.

Following the claims of Ravinder Singh and Amandeep Kaur that they were major, the police produced them before Mohali SDM Lakhmir Singh, who checked their birth certificates and declared them major. Amadeep Kaur is preparing for the PCS examination while Ravinder Singh is a property dealer.

The police told the families that they should accept the two as no legal action could be taken against the couple.

Following which, the family members of the bride gave in writing to the police that they had no objection to the marriage.



Saupin’s school gets minority status
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The number of schools with minority status has increased to 14 in the city after Saupin's school, Sector 32, has been awarded the minority status by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, New Delhi.

Many more private unaided schools here are in the race to get the minority status as it will exempt them from the reservation clause of the Right to Children Act-2009 as ruled by the Apex Court last year.

The hearing of three private schools, Vivek High School, Sector 38, St Kabir, Sector 26, and New India Public School, Sector 18, is pending before the Minority Commission and is scheduled for next month.

The applications of several other schools are also pending with the Education Department’s committee, which is examining their cases for the minority status whether or not to recommend to the Minority Commission in Delhi.

Amarbir Singh Sidhu, principal of Saupin’s school, Sector 32, said: The minority status has been given to us since the school is being governed by a minority society and one of its functions is to take care of the religious and social needs of the minority community, even as we are open to students of all caste and creed”.

On the question of reservation of 25 per cent seats, which the school kept during its admission for 2013-14, Amarbir said: “We are confused about the implementation of the RTE Act in Chandigarh”.

“We are now not obliged to adhere to the RTE Act. The latest notice of the Education Department is forcing us to adhere to the reservation of 15 per cent seats for the EWS in lieu of the concessional land given to us,” he said.

Other schools in Chandigarh include St John’s High School, Sector 26, Carmel Convent, Sector 9, Sacred Heart, Sector 26, St Anne’s, Sector 32, Mount Carmel, Sector 47, and others.



PU Convocation
Two varsity staff submit reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Two out of the four Panjab University (PU) employees, who were issued show-cause notice for confusion and disorder at the 62nd Annual Convocation held at the university, have submitted their reply to the authorities concerned.

PU Registrar AK Bhandari said two of the employees had submitted their reply, while the same was still awaited from two others.

"We are waiting for the reply of the remaining two officials before proceeding with the inquiry,” he said.

The employees who have been served the notice include two assistant registrars, a superintendent and a senior assistant working with different branches of the university.

Union Minister for Human Resource and Development Dr M. Mangapati Pallam Raju presided over the function.

Panjab University Staff Association president Deepak Kaushik said all officials who organised the convocation should be asked to submit a reply over the entire incident.



PU officials told to interact with media only through DPR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
In a surprising move, the Panjab University (PU) authorities have decided to interact with the media only through the Director, Public Relations, (DPR) for any queries. The PU administration has decided that all queries sought from officials should be responded through the DPR.

Archana R. Singh, Director Public Relations (officiating), said the Public Relations Department would act as a liaison between the media and the PU authorities.

“Any mediaperson who wishes to contact any senior official of Panjab University such as the Vice-Chancellor, DUI, Registrar, etc., may do so through this department,” the DPR said.

The DPR said the department would connect the media to the officials, carry forward the queries to them and receive their feedbacks.

Official sources said creating a barrier between the media and the officials was an exercise to avoid contact with journalists following some stories carried by them in the recent past.

A couple of years ago, a similar order was issued during the tenure of former Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, which was later reversed within a few days.

A PU official, while reacting to the decision, said the process of gathering information through the DPR office would add burden on the office, which could also lead to communication gaps.



Teachers get tips at workshop

Chandigarh, March 14
The Regional Institute of English (RIE), Sector 32, Chandigarh, and the British Council, New Delhi, organised two workshops for teachers of schools and colleges of the region yesterday.

Marie Delaney, Director, The Learning Harbour, Cross Haven, Co Cork, United Kingdom, conducted the workshops.

A trained educational psychotherapist and a teacher trainer, she conducted her first workshop of the day on “Motivating the Unmotivated”. Teachers and principals, who attended this session, found it useful, motivating, and meaningful.

Dr Bindu Bajwa, officiating director, RIE, said the motive was to address the needs of a larger audience, which were being fulfilled through these workshops.

The second workshop was for college lecturers on the theme “Unblocking the Learning Blocks”. Over 60 participants from various local colleges attended the workshop.

Vandana Lunyal, convener of both programmes, said the aim of the workshop was to share useful tips to be used across disciplines. — TNS



School Uniforms
Government schools to recall bids
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
More government funds are set to go waste as the Education Department issued instructions to government schools to again advertise tender notices for school uniforms.

The instructions came after the last tender notices of the government schools did not get any response from the uniform suppliers. These notices were issued in response to the recent guidelines of the Education Department, which necessitated each government school to procure its own uniform and utilise the funds earmarked for buying it till March 25.

While all schools have again begun their process for re-tendering, several said it, too, was feared to meet the similar fate.

“We have no hope from the suppliers to come forward when they did not respond to our earlier tender,” said a school head.

Another school official said it would unnecessarily add to burden on us to repeat the similar exercise. “Moreover, it seems a wastage of money as none of the suppliers is coming forward to supply us uniforms due to tough specifications and lesser amount offered in the official guidelines,” he said.

Every school will now again spend about Rs 6,000-Rs 7,000 for getting the advertisement published in local newspapers. A school head suggested a common advertisement on behalf of all schools.

Many school heads said: “Unless the government amends the policy and makes some changes in the upper ceiling of the rates, the suppliers will not come forward”.

As per information, some schools managed to get applications. But, over 95 per cent of the schools are going for re-tendering as their last tender did not fetch them requisite amount of financial bid. They need at least four applications for opening the tender.

Quantity orders missing
Several government schools, including GMSSS- 43A, GHS-Dadumajra, GMMS-Khudda Jassu, GMSSS-10, GMSSS-23, have not mentioned the quantity of their orders in the tender notice uploaded on the Education Department’s official website.



Students promote cultural fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
A promotional event for the upcoming cultural literary fest Goonj was held on the Panjab University campus here today. Students from the University of Institute of Engineering and Technology took to the roads to promote their fest.

Unfazed by the downpour, students from the institute took part in the road show with great zeal. The fest will kickoff on March 15 and will continue till March 17.



Stress laid on preservation of environment at seminar

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 14
Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University organised a seminar on “Preservation of Environment: Challenges before Humanity” to commemorate the Gurtagaddi Diwas of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib.

Padam Sri Baba Sewa Singh, chairman, Nishan-E-Sikhi Charitable Trust, Khadoor Sahib, inaugurated the seminar, whereas Jathedar Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, and the chancellor, presided over.

In his inaugural address, Baba said in Sikh doctrines, the place of nature was supreme but human beings were destroying it to achieve selfish motives. He condemned the ruining of nature for religious rituals.

Jathedar Avtar Singh said the SGPC, the main governing body of Sikhs, had initiated the drive to plant saplings at all SGPC institutions across the country. He called upon the Sikhs to follow in the footsteps of Gurus for taking care of the environment.

Dr AS Reddy, Head, Department of Energy and Environment, Thappar University, Patiala, said science and technology had made the life of human beings comfortable, but it had led to the exploitation of natural resources.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, member, SGPC, said Sikh concepts provide strong basis for the preservation of environment.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Gurmohan Singh said the conference had provided a common stage to environmentalist, scientists, professors and research scholars from different universities, institutes, science institutions to deliberate upon various issues related to the preservation of environment.

Dr Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, Dean Academic Affairs, Dr Kanwaljit Singh, Dr Pritpal Singh, Registrar, and a number of scholars from different universities, colleges and science institutions also addressed the gathering on the occasion. — OC



Cultural event begins at IIT-Ropar

Ropar, March 14
The third annual 3-day cultural festival of the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, “Zeitgeist 2013”, kicked off with a bang on the campus here today.

The ceremony started with the recital of “Ganpati Vandana”, which was followed by classical songs sung by students of “Ambuja Manovikas Kendra” and a satirical play by “Performer’s Association Punjab”.

The students of Ambuja Manovikas Kendra again came on the stage to leave the audience spellbound with their classical chorus and skit performance. The ceremony also saw a Gatka performance by Amar Shaheed Dhan Dhan Baba Deep Singh Ji Gatka Akhara, Gurdwara Bhatha Sahib. The festival was then announced open by Kamal Kumar Chaudhary, faculty in-charge of the Board of Cultural Activities. — TNS



From colleges
95 donate blood

The Aryans College of Education, Chandigarh, organised a blood donation camp on its campus situated at Nepra village in Banur. Around 95 students of BTech, MBA, BBA, BCA and BEd donated blood on the occasion. Dr Usha Rao, Blood Transfusion Department, PGI, said one unit of blood could save three lives.

Cultural event begins

The two-day annual cultural event, “Parhelion-2013”, to celebrate 11 years of establishment kicked off at the GGS-Sachdeva Group of Educational Institutions, Kharar, today. On the first day, “Glamorama” (fashion show), brain buzzer, electro junkyard, CAD designing and cultural events were held. Apart from this, literary and fun events like “Rukhsat-e-Khayal”, youth parliament, brainteasers, etc., were also held. As many as 7,000 students from various regional engineering colleges took a keen interest in all events and participated passionately. A beautiful cultural programme comprising bhangra and giddha left the audience spellbound. - TNS



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