C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chaos runs supreme at marathon
Lack of route map, marshals, checkpoints leaves athletes fuming; row over winners
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Sunil, who was awarded a medal, argues with an official after his name was dropped from the winners’ list
Sunil, who was awarded a medal, argues with an official after his name was dropped from the winners’ list. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 14
Mismanagement and ill-preparedness on the part of the UT Administration marred its much-hyped Chandigarh marathon, which was flagged off from the Rock Garden today. The marathon was organised without any route map, checkpoints to record the time and marshals to guide the participants.

The chaos led to a controversy after the declaration of the results as several participants alleged that they were overlooked while declaring the winners and the UT played favourite and gave away the winning titles and cash prizes to others who took longer time to complete the race.

Athletes from the Chandigarh Police, the Army and Punjab, who claimed to have finished at the top three spots, alleged that the organisers indulged in favouritism while declaring the winners.

The organisers, who held two marathons, a 42-km full marathon and a 21-km half marathon, were ill-prepared for the event as no route map was provided to the runners. Besides, there were no marshals all over the route to keep a track of the participants.

“It was a sheer mockery of my talent. I was ahead of everyone and completed my run (21 km) in one hour and 10 minutes. However, a participant, who completed the run in one hour and 35 minutes, was awarded the prize money. There was no proper check and the organisers were themselves not aware of the route and the rules,” alleged Vikas, a participant from the Chandigarh Police.

“Several participants congratulated us for winning the race. However, we were shocked when the organisers announced other names during the prize distribution ceremony. Later, when we opposed the decision, the organisers approached our seniors to silence our voice. We are ready to run the marathon again and show them the time. They should have installed checkpoints for recording the time taken by each one of us,” said Rajesh, another participant from the Chandigarh Police.

Ashish Kapoor, DSP (Central), was seen consoling the participants from the police and assuring them that they would get certificates.

Another participant, who claimed to have secured the third spot, said, “The organisers disqualified many participants saying that they failed to follow the route. It's shocking as no route maps were provided to us, nor were we given any brief. Earlier, I was declared third, but later they dropped my name,” said Randeep from Ambala.

No cash reward for third position

The organisers failed to felicitate the third position holder in full marathon with a cash reward of Rs 15,000, leaving the runners fuming and fretting. Sepoy Baljinder Singh of the Punjab Regiment bagged the third spot in the 42-km marathon. “According to my coach and the timing I clicked, I secured the second spot, but the organisers declared me third. I took it in my stride, but was shocked when they did not award me with the cash prize despite having announced a reward of Rs 15,000,” said Baljinder.

Athlete embarrassed

It was an embarrassing moment for Sunil, a resident of Jind, when he was denied a cash reward even after being adjudged the winner in the full marathon. After finishing the race, Sunil was awarded with a certificate and a medal, but later his name was dropped after the organisers reworked the list. According to one of the organisers, Sunil was mistakenly awarded with the top honour.

What the Tourism Director says

A special ‘expo-theme’ was organised a day prior to the run, where all participants were given detailed information about the route. During the run, our volunteers were present at every point. A map was drawn on every bib (chest number). Despite this, the participants were found wanting in the matter of sportsmanship. Many of them were seen taking shortcuts to win the race. It was decided at the last minute that only the top two position holders would be given cash prizes

Tanvi Garg, Director, Chandigarh Tourism



five km fun-run
Athletes find fault with organisers
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Nine-year-old Alam and his mother from Ludhiana take part in the Chandigarh Marathon on Sunday
Nine-year-old Alam and his mother from Ludhiana take part in the Chandigarh Marathon on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 14
For some, the Chandigarh Marathon remained a high affair of official’s hazards. But for the participants of 5km fun-run, it was a reason to cheer near the Sukhna Lake, here this morning.

The run that started at 8.30 am witnessed the mass participation of all ages. The catch among them was the old-club of the region. More than 30 veteran athletes and regular runners participated in the run, in order to give a message that age is no bar, when it comes to stay fit.

Bhadur Singh, a 72-year-old regular runner mentioned that staying fit is an important part of life. “Running is as important as breathing. I have not participated to win medals. But to set an example for others that if you run, you will live,” said Bhadur.

Kurmail Singh, his contemporary, and a resident of Sector 46 said that running is his second life. “I am a regular runner and to remain fit and active, I usually run in neighborhood green parks. The mass participation is a real motivator for aged people like us and I am happy to be a part of this race,” said he.

Another athlete added, “Being a veteran athlete and a regular runner, I am happy to be here. Athletics and running is a different aspect. In athletics, one competes while in running one tries to remain fit. The fun-run was to encourage the participants and I hope like me, others will also understand the importance of running,” said Ashok Dua.

Not happy with facilities

The participants, coming from outstations, also faced a hectic time in overcoming the misstatements of the Chandigarh marathon. “We were expecting a good show by the organisers. But after coming here, we are disappointed. The ambulances were moving in between the group participants while leaving behind the tail-enders, there was no facility of sign boards and it went to a total chaos. On one hand, the organisers were welcoming the chief guests and on other they flagged off the run,” said 43-year-old Paramjeet Kaur from Ludhiana, who participated with her 9-year-old son.

High registration fee

The high registration fees remain a cause of worry for the participants. “The organisers have given us a discount-card, a certificate and a T-shirt against registering us by taking Rs 350 per person for the fun-run. The organisers have sponsors and they should have at least organised the event properly,” said a group of Sachin, Ajay, Amit, Monu, Ajay Kumar from Rohtak.

Participants said that the organisers have claimed to have registration fees of Rs 1,200, per athlete for half marathon and Rs 1,400 per athlete for full marathon.

Fitness freaks

Many Chandigarh policemen were seen strolling during the 5km fun-run. “We are here to fun. We run everyday. But today we are having fun,” said a personnel.



City sees surge in crime against women
100 cases registered in first three months this year; increased awareness reason, says IGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Blame it on the unsafe city or increased awareness regarding their rights among women, cases of crimes against women have witnessed a steady rise with the UT police registering 100 cases of rape, sexual harassment and molestation during the first three months of this year.

So far this year, the UT police has registered 74 cases of molestation and obscene acts under Sections 354 and 294 of the IPC, 14 cases of sexual harassment under Section 509 of the IPC and 12 cases of rape.

The figure has risen considerably as compared to last year when the police had registered 107 cases of molestation and eve-teasing till December.

Statistics available with the police reveal that there have been more cases of harassment on buses and in parks where women have often complained of youths passing comments at them.

UT IGP RP Upadhyaya said it was due to increased awareness among women that cases of molestation were rising and the police was also ensuring that no such incident went unreported.

“We have been going to colleges, schools and offices to create awareness and urge women to call the police control room in the wake of any such incident. The results have started to show and that is why the number of cases is now more,” he said.



On a new high
Liquor set to cost more in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Come May and the City Beautiful will lose its tag of being a "boozers' haven", especially for the connoisseurs of expensive liquor. Bringing the prices of the Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and beer more or less on a par with those in Punjab, the UT, in its new excise policy for 2013-14, has substantially increased the excise duty by 20 per cent per proof litre (PL) to 400 per cent per PL and the assessment fee by 33 per cent.

"As compared to cheap brands, consuming expensive brands such as scotch will go up by around Rs 300 per bottle," said an official of the Excise Department.

The new policy will come into force from May 1.

In a policy that is apparently more oriented towards watching the interests of the powerful liquor lobby of Punjab and overlooking the populist policy of Haryana, the minimum retail price of the IMFL has been enhanced by 10 per cent to 25 per cent, meaning that a bottle of liquor will now cost Rs 70 to Rs 100 more while the price of a bottle of beer will go up by around Rs 15.

"While liquor traders in Punjab do not stick to the minimum retail price, the rule of the minimum retail price in Chandigarh may result in the liquor prices remaining marginally less by around Rs 10 a bottle," said an official.

In the red for incurring a projected loss of over Rs 75 crore due to closure of 27 vends following the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, officials apprehend that the projected revenue could be less as compared to the projected revenue of Rs 270 crore last year. "The exact picture will become clear once the vends are allotted," said the official.

Continuing with the existing policy, the licences will be granted by inviting tenders for allotting vends from May 1, 2013, to April 30, 2014. The maximum number of vends has been kept unchanged at 65 (country vends) and 152 (IMFL vends). Last year, the department was able to sell only 155 vends.

Against the anticipated move of bringing down the liquor quota, the UT Excise Department has kept the annual quota of country-made liquor unchanged at 27 lakh PL and of the IMFL at 2 crore PL. In the current policy, the liquor quota has not been lifted in full even as the policy is ending on April 30. Despite this, the UT has not decreased the quota.

The UT has announced that the reserve price for a liquor vend will be kept equivalent to the licence fee of that particular vend last year.

Interestingly, the excise duty on beer has been enhanced from Rs 10 per bottle to Rs 26 per bottle for light beer and from Rs 17 per bottle to Rs 26 per bottle for strong beer. The excise duty on country-made liquor has been enhanced form Rs 15 per PL to Rs 25 per PL.

Taxing year for city residents

Not used to a heavy tax regime, city residents, after facing a substantial hike in the road tax, will now have to brace for a hike of around 45 per cent in the power tariff and around 15 per cent in the water tariff. The increase in liquor prices will add to the bills of Bacchus lovers.

UT to regulate bars

In order to regulate bars being run by restaurants, the UT has announced that while starred hotels and restaurants will be allowed to apply for the licence on the commencement of their operations, other restaurants and hotels will have to apply after six months of the commencement of their operations and the licence will be issued only if they have paid a minimum of Rs 30,000 as VAT for the corresponding period.

For the grant of a new licence in form 10B, it will be necessary for the departmental store to have been in existence for the past two years. For the renewal of an existing L-10B licence, having paid a VAT of Rs 50,000 is a must. The licence fee for departmental stores will be enhanced by 22 per cent.

What's in the excise policy

  • Minimum retail sale rates of the IMFL enhanced by 10 per cent to 25 per cent, of beer by 16 per cent to 30 per cent.
  • Assessment fee on IMFL/imported foreign liquor (IFL) enhanced by 33 per cent
  • Holograms to be introduced during the excise year 2013-14 on the IMFL, IFL and country-made liquor
  • Excise duty on wines, champagnes, cider, RTD liquers enhanced to Rs 18 per PL.
  • Additional licence fee on the IFL enhanced to Rs 247 per PL
  • The fee of wholesale licences of the IMFL, IFL , beer and wines enhanced by 12 per cent to 20 per cent approximately
  • Permit fee and import fee on the IMFL, beer and wine enhanced
  • Bar licence fee for restaurants, hotels and clubs enhanced by 40 per cent
  • Licence fee of bottling plants enhanced by 30 per cent



Investors in tricity panic as gold loses glitter
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
With the prices of gold falling by Rs 1,250 in a day, anxiety has gripped gold investors in the tricity. The investors have not indulged in panic sales yet, but are keeping a close watch on the prices.

Driven by anxiety, several of them made hundreds of calls to gold dealers during the past two days to keep themselves abreast of the latest trend in the gold prices.

Vinod Talwar, president of the Jewellers Association of Chandigarh, said during the Navratras, the rates of gold generally used to go up, but this time gold suffered a big single-day fall of Rs 1,250, which was never seen before.

"During the past two days, we have received a number of calls from our customers regarding the gold prices. They are neither interested in selling nor buying gold in the current situation," Talwar said.

Ramesh Verma, another jeweller, said the market was mostly driven by global markets and futures trade, while there was hardly any physical buying. In the tricity, people had adopted a wait-and-watch policy. Residents were only enquiring about the prices, but were neither purchasing nor selling gold, he said.

Businesswoman Neeru Verma, a resident of Sector 7, Panchkula, said she, along with her husband, had planned to make some investment in gold, but as the gold prices were crashing, they had decided to wait for a few more days.

Echoing similar views, Puja Bedi, a housewife and resident of Sector 8, Panchkula, said she was checking the prices of gold from jewellers daily and would soon decide on investment in gold as they were expecting the prices to fall further.



open house response
Education Dept should cap book prices

Getting education for one's child has really become a Herculean task for parents. To provide the best quality education, the parents run from pillar to post to seek admission in the reputed schools. The schools take advantage of the condition of parents and charge hefty fees from them in the absence of a stringent cap. To overcome this problem, first of all, the Education Department must issue guidelines to the private schools to set a standard fee amount. Next, the Education Department must make the government schools in the tricity well equipped that the parents stop hankering after the private schools and send their children to government schools instead. Private schools must be told strictly not to compel the parents to buy the books from a particular shop only. The parents should have the freedom to go to any shop in the tricity to purchase books.

Shekhar Juneja, Chandigarh

Education needs complete overhaul

Over the years, India has tried many approaches to improve the quality of school education, especially the primary education. Last attempt has been made after enactment of the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE 2009), before we ponder over this gigantic issue being faced by parents in respect of payment of high fee, exorbitant rates of books etc we have to go to depth in our education system. In past, private educational institutions were opened by religious and social organisation with a missionary zeal. Now, the missionary zeal has been taken over by the professional zeal to mint money. Consequently, there has been a mushrooming of private schools across the city to mint easy money and they fleece the people with all might under their command by increasing hefty fees, charge exorbitant money like building funds, stationery charges, transport fees, school bags, books, uniforms, stationery, building funds, educational trips, tuition, extra-curricular activities and the heavy amount spent on prospectuses. Apart from this, they desire that the parents should buy uniforms and stationery of their wards from a particular shop where they have contacts. Since the administration has failed to exercise a check, even the publishers have the nexus and they print MRP on the books as maximum as they desire. Equal fee should be fixed for government and private school to be by the administration. Besides, all schools should introduce NCERT books. If the administration can ensure regulating fee structure along with continuous improvement in the standards of education and quality infrastructure, including filling up the regular posts of teachers Chandigarh has a high potential to emerge as a knowledge hub for the whole of North India

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Unholy cartel

With a monopoly of publishers, the unholy cartel has roped the establishment of private schools to make it obligatory for parents to buy the books at the heavily inflated prices. This eventually hits the parents. These prices, justified in the name of glossy covers and eye catching visuals do send a chill in parents spines at the time of their purchase from the designated shops. It is the role of the Education Department to feel the pulse of the hapless parents and come to their rescue by reining in the unholy cartel of the publishers .

SC Luthra, MHC Manimajra

Strict control by government needed

Government aid and strict control is very much the need of the hour to put a cap on the increasing fees and prices of text books of the school going children, particularly in private schools. The government time and again keeps announcing that education is the fundamental right of every child and free education up to high school level will be provided but the ground reality is entirely different. The corporate sectors could considerably help in setting up book publishing houses, where textbooks will be offered at affordable prices.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Private books should be banned

The education system is becoming costly day by day. It is the duty of the government to keep education within reach of a common man. Most of the students leave the education at primary level because they can not afford costly books and other required things. The use of prescribed syllabus books in all private and government schools should be regulated. Private books should be strictly banned in the schools.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

Price rise affecting education

Education cost escalates with each passing year. The reason being the rise in petrol and diesel prices which indirectly hits the education cost. The direct sufferers of this menace are the low paid private employees who actually feel the burden of rising school fees and costly books coupled with the cost of school uniforms and other necessities of the study material.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Parents should form association

Every year school either adds any new fund name or increases existing funds. Best solution for this would be that every school has a parents association. Schools should display the details of all require deposits on their wall for current year and last two years information. Last year, a school in Sector-45 asked their students to take the winter track suit in summer and I found parents were discussing about this but no one came forward to raise an issue with school administration because parents always fear about their child's future. This year Rs 4,000 was added as a development fund in one of the schools and no one raise an issue.

Shishu Paul, Chandigarh

Government should check prices of books

It has become a Herculean task for every parent to get their wards admitted in the best schools. Once they succeed, they have to pay the huge fees. The price of books, bags and other things are touching the sky. Already inflation has disturbed the budget of every household and now the admission time has added to their already existing woes. The government should keep a tab on the price of commodities to ease the parents of such pressure.

Dr Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Boards should get books printed

In March, every parent finds himself in a piquant situation and that relates to admission of their wards into the next class. The annual charges, fee component and expenses on books and stationary have been going up unchecked. Various schools have adopted a novel way of providing books to their students by setting up a book counter in the school itself. A few of them tie-up with certain book sellers and school's related books are available only at such outlets. The aim seems to establish a monopoly and thus, fleece the parents. Nexus also gets set between school managements and the publishers who vie to grab the maximum market share for their profits. This nexus has to be broken and the steps must come from administration/ education departments of the states/UTs. The ICSE board and the CBSE boards must prepare the curriculum for various classes and get books printed by them and deliver these to schools for further distribution among students. Along with the quality of the contents the price factor must also be kept at the minimum. Even if some subsidy is being given to make books affordable, the Education Department should come forward to sanction the amounts.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh


The City Beautiful has become an expensive city to live in. Not used to heavy taxing regime, city residents have been made to reel under substantial hike on road tax besides waiting for a hike of around 45 per cent in power tariff and around 15 per cent in the water tariff. Is the administration justified in levying these taxes? What can be done in order to spare the residents of the burden? Write your replies to openhouse@tribunemail.com


fire safety week
Eight firefighters honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
City Mayor Subhash Chawla said to encourage people to adopt fire safety measures and to minimise the increased losses due to fire out-breaks in the high rise buildings of the urban areas and industries, a special programme would be initiated.

Chawla was addressing a gathering at a function organised to mark Fire Services Day by the MC at the Sector 17 fire station. He said that during the fire services week (April 14 to 20) experts will talk on fire safety measures.

On the occasion, Fire Brigade jawans held a parade that was inspected by the Mayor, followed by a flag-hoisting ceremony. MC Commissioner VP Singh was also present there.

Earlier, the Mayor, Commissioner and others laid wreath and paid homage to fire brigade jawans. A two-minute silence was also observed in the memory of all those firemen in the country who lost their lives while on duty. Later, the Mayor and the Commissioner flagged off the procession of fire fighting vehicles, including, hydraulic turn table ladders. The vehicles took round of V-3 and V-4 roads of the city.

The Mayor and the Commissioner honoured eight firemen on the occasion for their performances last year. They are Balinder and Dharambir Singh, Firemen Mani Majra and Industrial Area, Phase I, Satyabir, Kuldeep Singh and Gurlal Singh, firemen from fire stations of Sectors 17, 38 and 11, Abdul Gani and Sukhwinder Singh, firemen from Sector 32, and Industrial Area Ph-II and Dharmender Singh, fireman from the office of the Chief Fire Officer.



Water wastage to invite penal action from today
Those found watering lawns, washing cars to be fined

Chandigarh, April 14
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is all set to act strictly against those found wasting water by watering their lawns or washing their car from April 15 onwards. The municipal corporation (MC) has set a heavy amount of Rs 2,000 as fine, this time. The MC had increased the fine amount from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 this time for the same.

From April 15 to June 30, watering of lawns, washing of cars and courtyards using hosepipe will not be allowed during morning hours. A fine will be imposed in case of leakages in pipes, overflowing water tanks or water coolers.

MC teams headed by an SDO will conduct checks during the morning hours in order to prevent water wastage. The challans will be handed over to the violators on the spot. The fine will be added to the water bills.

Last year, the MC had increased the amount of fine from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. It was also decided that no notice would be issued for the first violation as was the practice earlier, rather, a fine would be imposed. — TNS



Light showers, gentle breeze bring residents outdoors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The city experienced light showers this evening, and residents were seen enjoying the gentle breeze outdoors. The weather in April has not yet played a spoilsport. As per the local weather department, the day temperature in April is already two to three degree less than last year’s and is expected to remain normal even in the days to come.

Surinder Pal, regional Met officer, said that the temperature would not go up for the next five to six days. He said that rain was also expected on April 16 and 17 and could further bring down the temperature.

The temperature in the city has not risen due to continuous western disturbance. According to the information, the maximum temperature recorded last year in April was some where close to 37 degree Celsius, whereas in 2011, it was recorded at around 39.5 degree Celsius, but this year, it has not gone beyond 35.6 degree Celsius, so far.



Food Processing
New policy to aim at attracting more investments: Minister
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 14
The new Punjab Directorate of Food Processing was inaugurated yesterday by Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, minister in charge of the department. Kairon said the new department, which was created on March 16 last year, would administer Central schemes and be instrumental in evaluating the competitive advantage/disadvantage in various sub-sectors of the food processing activity.

The focus would be on studying each sub-sector individually and carving out a policy which would address the concerns of entrepreneurs and industrialists in each sub-sector. Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon indicated that tax rationalisation, wherever required, would be done to build the competitive edge of the state food processing industry. The focus would be on higher quality crops which had export potential, namely basmati and duram wheat.

He said new policy for attracting more investments would be announced soon. This would make Punjab the best source for the cheapest raw material and processed food for the wholesale and retail markets.

Procedural simplification by studying other models such as single-window clearance and SEZ was also on his mind. DS Grewal, Secretary, Food Processing, said most of the agriculture produce in the state was sold to the Centre or exported in the form of raw material and the current level of processing in food was low. The processing ability available with the state was mostly in primary processing namely the milling of coarse grains or oilseeds. Secondary and tertiary processing in the state was negligible. Now, with the renewed focus on the food processing sector the state government wants to move ahead in the areas of processing which had scope to add huge value to the crop. This would help in the diversification of agriculture.



‘Benefits not reaching the disabled’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 14
Various benefits under different schemes meant for the physically challenged by the Punjab Government are not reaching them. This was said by Youth Akali Dal senior vice-president Harsukhinder Singh Bubbi Badal today.

Bubbi Badal, who was speaking to representatives of the Physically Handicapped Association, Punjab, said the demands and problems of this section would be brought to the notice of the Chief Minister. He said that a meeting between the association representatives and the Chief Minister would also be arranged by him.

He suggested that a directory should be brought out in which details of the educational qualifications and age of physically challenged persons should be included. He said the Bubbi Badal Foundation would bear the cost of bringing out the directory.



Israeli theatre group casts a spell
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The local audience enjoyed a spectacular circus that rather had magical animals cheering them. It was a show called “Cubic Circus, presented today at Tagore Theatre by an Israeli theatre group “The train theatre”, as part of the ongoing Chandigarh International Puppetry Festival.

A rib-tickling 40 minutes performance had two clowns creating surprise magic by transforming the three dimensional cubes in to different animals and things followed by cheering and hooting of the crowed that had kids in majority.

Most trivial kind of situations transforming to pleasure were the major highlight of the performance. An interesting aspect was that the show had no narrative rather it was the cubic material that infused the visual text in to performance and rest was driven by the powerful performance of two artists, acting as clowns.

There were instances when they wore cubes and themselves transformed in to animals. Inspired by Bauhaus dance theatre and popular children book Tsafuf, this performance combined modern puppetry, dance and mime acting.

Later, after the performance, the artists said that the whole purpose of the performance was to entertain the audience. Actor, Renana Lotem, said these objects allowed them to create freedom for creativity. “Unlike other puppetry styles, we did not have any folklore supporting our performance. Rather we used cubic material as a triggering point and then proceeded with creating world of its own out of this, giving the audience a chance to leave the auditorium with their version of the performance,” said fellow actor Nir Landa.




Office shifted

Defence Pension Disbursement Office, a sub-office of the CDA, Meerut Cantonment, under the Ministry of Defence, had shifted its premises from SCO-114, Sector 47, to Pr CDA (WC), Sector 9, near the Punjab Police Headquarters, said Sanjeev Malhotra, DPDO, Chandigarh.

Lecture on organ donation

The Gastroenterology and Liver Forum along with NGO Anti-Crime Anti-Corruption Organisation organised a public lecture on organ donation at DAV College. PGI Director YK Chawla was the guest of honour. Over 300 persons participated in the lecture. Dr Dhavan, president of the forum, said everyday around 60 people from around the world undergo organ transplant surgery.


Doctor appointed

Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali, today announced the appointment of Dr Sananda Bag as consultant urologist and transplant surgeon. Dr Sananda will be responsible for providing comprehensive services relating to various urological and kidney transplant surgeries.

Training programme

Dr MP Poonia, director, National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR), today said developing passion, dedication and commitment towards work, sharpening communication skills, and cultivating a positive mindset could help an individual in achieving corporate and personal success. He was addressing the valedictory session of the five-day ICT-enabled Induction Training Programme for technical teachers at the Doaba Institute of Engineering and Technology, Kharar. Dr Poonia was the chief guest on the occasion. Dr SK Dhameja, professor, NITTTR, was the guest of honour. He highlighted the salient features of the programme. Manjit Singh, executive vice-chairman, Doaba Group of Colleges, welcomed the dignitaries. — TNS



University Business School
Cut-off down, courtesy fewer applicants
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The lesser number of applications received by PU’s University Business School (UBS) for the session 2013-14 has also led to drop in the cut-off marks for admission to the department. A candidate with 81 percentile CAT score has also got an interview call as compared to 86 percentile last year.

The number of applications received by UBS that has gone down during the recent years has also shown its impact on the cut-off. The department received only 1,850 applications for the 2013-14 session, out of which 893 applicants have been shortlisted.

Hirdesh Madan, North Head of a MBA coaching institute, said with a considerable drop in the number of applications, the cut-off had dropped by around 5 percentile.

“Last year, students above 86 percentile CAT score had got an interview call at UBS. However, this time students with 81 percentile have also been shortlisted for group discussions and interviews,” he said.

“It’s simple, lesser the applications lower the cut-off,” Madan said.

In 2012-13, a total of 2,558 applications were received for admissions, while in 2011-12 2,858 applications were received, which is almost 3,000 applications less as compared to 2010-11, during which 6,078 applications were received for admissions.

Karamjeet Singh, a senior faculty member at UBS, said: “The department needs to increase the industry interaction, built its strong alumni base for placements and do aggrieve marketing to ensure good students and better placements”.

With top business schools across the country, including IIMs, completing the admission process, UBS has also begun the last step for the admission with a total of 893 shortlisted students in the race for getting admissions to 140 seats in various MBA sections. Group discussions and personal interviews of the shortlisted candidates have already begun, which will stretch up to the last week of April.



SOPU holds cleanliness drive to woo students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
If protests were not enough, the student parties at Panjab University are resorting to issues like cleanliness drive and star nights to grab the attention of students. The SOPU organised one such cleanliness drive at the Student Centre today.

Close to the new academic session, the student parties have pulled up their socks and have started making efforts to attract students.

While the first week of April witnessed music nights and protests held by both Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), the student parties have now come with strategies like cleanliness drive.

The cleanliness drive initiated by the SOPU at the Student Centre with a handful of party leaders seemed more like a political stunt as cleanliness was restricted only in the area outside the Student Center building, which usually remains clean.

Mehar, one of PU students, said if the student party was so concerned about the cleanliness on the campus then they should start it with boys’ hostels.

“I feel that the party should volunteer by cleaning the hostel premises and areas near the canteens of various departments,” he said.

Manish, another student, said the parties were more interested in publicising themselves rather then focusing on the problems of students.

SOPU leader Vikramjit Meddukhera said it was just the first day of the cleanliness drive. They were going to organise similar drives in other parts also in the coming weeks.

“We want to wake the university authorities from deep slumber and attract their attention towards the filth on the campus,” he said.

Rashpal Hakuwala, another party leader, said they would hold the cleanliness drive on every Sunday.



40% eligible students not opting for mid-day meal scheme in city
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The dichotomy between the rich and the poor prevails prominently in the Centre-run mid-day meal scheme in government schools of the city. More than 40 per cent of the eligible students are not opting for the mid-day meal scheme as their parents think that they are “sound” enough to afford food for their children.

Against over 1,00,000 eligible students, the average figure of students, who took mid-day meal food in 2012-13 was nearly 34,000 for primary classes (I-V) and 21,000 for upper primary classes (VI-VIII).

The stark difference is found due to the poor response mainly in urban centric 35 to 40 model government schools, which have students from comparatively “good” families and their parents have strong resistance to this scheme.

A majority opting for this scheme are from slums and migratory colonies who study in schools situated in the periphery.

A head of a model school said parents of children in urban government schools had a misconception that the mid-day meal scheme was meant for poor students only. They strongly resist their children from opting it, despite the fact that the Education Department provided them good quality of food.

An official said: “Only 30-40 per cent students opt for this scheme in urban schools and the rest bring their own tiffin boxes”.

“Recently, a parent created a scene in the school for offering mid-day meal food to his son and said it should be used for others who could not afford it,” said another school head.

He said sometimes they had to distribute the food among class-IV workers to avoid the wastage.

Experts on the other hand see this trend a major community loss. BS Ghuman, senior professor of the Public Administration at PU, said though the intended benefit of the mid-day meal scheme was to improve attendance, retention and nutritional status of children, there were several unintended benefits which needed to be propagated by the Education Department.

“If well-off parents have resistance to this scheme, then they are losing the opportunity of letting their children acquire a sense of equality and togetherness. There is no harm in parents allowing their children to opt for mid-day meal food since it can bring children closer to each other,” he said.

Dr Rakesh Sachdeva, principal of DAV-15, said: “The Education Department should not lose the opportunity to convince the parents through regular counselling about the hidden benefits of the mid-day meal scheme”.



Delay in release of promotion list worries teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The delay in the release of the new promotion list of 187 government teachers has made them anxious and worried. Over 100 teachers met here in Sector 20 to express their resentment against the delay. They also decided to meet the department officials on Monday to discuss the matter.

Last week, the Education Department approved the promotion of Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs) as lecturers after the gap of 22 years and promised to release the selected list soon, which was still pending.

What is worrying the teachers the most is a fresh litigation in this matter by guest faculty teachers, who went to the Chandigarh Administration Tribunal on Friday against their anticipated termination on the pretext of the promotion of these 187 permanent teachers.

A teacher, whose promotion is due, said the department should not waste time and release the promotion order at the earliest to avoid any legal confrontation on the issue.

“Several teachers retired without getting a single promotion. The right to promotion of UT teachers should not be denied at any cost,” said Swarn Singh Kamboj, president of the UT Cadre Education Employees Union.



Over 300 students visit education fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Over 300 students visited an education fair at Hotel Taj here, which saw 21 Canadian institutes promoting education in Canada. Top officials from institutes like Capilano University, Seneca College, Conestoga College, North Island College and many more interacted with students desirous of going to Canada for higher education.

Karuna Ausman, manager (International Recruitment and Partnerships), University of Waterloo, said the biggest advantage to Indian students wanting to pursue higher education in Canada was that the education sector there was controlled by the government.

The fair was instrumental in helping prospective students know about the courses offered by Canadian higher education institutes.

Manish Paitka, CEO, Charms Education & Immigration Services Private Limited, said: “The fair got a good response. Our company will provide admission and visa guidance to students who have registered for various courses here.”

At the fair, admission queries were answered and visitors were provided with latest information on student visa processing for Canada. The programmes that are in demand include Post Graduate Studies in Technology, Business, Trades, IT, Health, HR, Imbedded Systems, Megatronics among others.




Baisakhi celebrated with fervour

Tiny tots of Saupin’s School-32 celebrated Baisakhi with religious fervour. The children were told about the importance of the festival. A power point presentation was also shown to students. The children engaged themselves in paper-tearing activity and pasted it on a big cut-out of a 'dhol'.


The Peace Club and the Legal Literacy Club of GMSSS-19C, Chandigarh, celebrated the Baisakhi week. Members of the Peace Club sang patriotic songs and recited poems. Students performed a skit based on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Principal Sukhneer Sekhon told the students about the Satyagraha Movement of Mahatma Gandhi.

Firstep Montessori School, Panchkula

Tiny tots of Firstep Montessori School, Panchkula, celebrate Baisakhi
Tiny tots of Firstep Montessori School, Panchkula, celebrate Baisakhi. A Tribune photograph

Students of the school celebrated Baisakhi with a traditional touch. Dressed in traditional attire, the students participated in activities like kite-making and flying, wheat sorting and grinding. The students of the pre-primary section experienced the joy of creating their own flour by grinding and pounding wheat crop, whereas tiny tots of the school separated wheat grains from the crop and then worked on traditional wheat grinder to create their own flour.

St Joan's Public School, Zirakpur

Students of St Joan's Public School, Zirakpur, celebrated the festival with great zeal and fervour. Speeches in Hindi, English and Punjabi were delivered to make the students aware of the importance of this festival. A colourful cultural programme, which included skits, shabad kirtan and bhangra, was presented by the students. Principal Meenakshi Mathur congratulated the students as well as their parents on the festival.

Ashmah International, Mohali

The festival was celebrated with religious fervour at Ashmah International School, Sector 70, Mohali. Students of the school presented a colourful cultural programme. The programme started with the Shabad “shubh karman te kab hu na daru…” It was followed by speeches by students on the importance of the festival. A stage show was also enacted on the life of BR Ambedkar.

Lawrence Public School, Mohali

The school celebrated its 29th foundation day. The students also celebrated Baisakhi on the day. They entertained the gathering with a number of cultural programmes. Addressing the gathering, Veena Malhotra, principal of the school, said since the beginning, the priority of the school was to convert students into responsible citizens by providing them education based on moral values. — TNS



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