Thursday, September 3, 1998
Army drive to green the foothills
THE defence authorities have launched a special environmental conservation and ecology rejuvenation campaign in the foothills of the Himalayas. Under this campaign, the 87 Mountain Brigade of Holta Camp has started plantation of different plants suitable to this hill region. Over the past month, jawans and officers of this unit have planted more than 6,000 plants in the region.
Harayali mahautsav was organised here to celebrate the plantation drive in the local cantonment in which jawans, school children and Army officers participated. Stress was laid on the importance of a pollution-free environment and contribution of the army in achieving the same with the active cooperation of the public.
Addressing the gathering Col A M Sethi, quoted the example of Suratgarh, which had become greener after the Army launched a drive there.
During this mahautsav, the defence authorities organised several lectures and demonstrations of various eminent personalities including forest officials, CSIR scientists and other universities experts dealing with plantation and conservation.
Apart from awareness lectures, the Army authorities also carried out environment-friendly activities. This Army unit has been working hand in hand with the civil authorities to maintain the greenery of Palampur and its adjoining areas.
A painting competition was organised in which over 120 students from different schools participated . The main topic of the painting competition was environmental conservation and protection of wild life.
Colonel Sethi says that the Army would continue its efforts to maintain the ecological balance in the Himalayan region, which is also catchment area of major rivers like the Ravi, Beas and the Sutlej which play a major role in the economy of the country. To save the plains from the floods, special measures for the energy plantation should be taken soon, particularly in this region.
Eye care in his blood
Dr Rajbir Singh, an eminent ophthalmologist, belongs to the third generation of his family which has specialised in eye care. Ophthalmology is in his blood. He is a renowned retinal surgeon of the region.
His grandfather, Sardar Bahadur Sohan Singh was one of three eye surgeons of his time in pre-Partition Punjab. The other two were Dr Mathura Dass and Dr Harbhajan Singh Gojra. In recognition of his services to eye care, the British Government bestowed on him the title of Sardar Bahadur in 1938. After Independence, he was honoured with Padma Shri.
Dr Sohan Singh was Head, Department of Eyes, Government Medical College, Amritsar, from 1919. He was the first specialist in vitero retina in the northern region.
Dr Ranbir Singh (now 82), his son, had also retired as the Head, Department of Eyes, in the same medical college in 1976.
Dr Rajbir Singh, born on March 1, 1944 studied at the prestigious Doon School. He did his MBBS in 1967, DMS in 1969 and MS in 1972 from the Medical College, Amritsar. He served the college as Registrar in the Department of Ophthalmology before his selection for a fellowship in vitero retina diseases at University of California, San Francisco.
After mastering advanced techniques in posterior segment surgery, he returned to Amritsar and converted the family's "haveli" into an ultra-modern retinal centre in the heart of the holy city, named S B Sohan Singh Eye Hospital, after his grandfather.
This hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment like Fundus Camera and the latest generation of Argon and Diode lasers to treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy and other vascular disorders of the eye. He is being assisted by his younger brother, Dr Preetam Singh, and Dr Vipan Kumar Vig, both trained in advanced vitreous surgery at Sankara Nethralaya , Madras, under the guidance of Dr S S Badri Nath.
Dr Rajbir Singh along with his team is a ray of hope for hundreds of people who have lost sight due to eye injury, advanced diabetic eye disease, hypertension, vascular occlusion, vitreous haemorrhage and above all retinal detachment.
Uplift of the poor her goal
In today's materialistic world, there are very few people who care for others.
Ms Leela Jaswal, principal of Mother Teresa International Convent School, Fatehabad, is one such woman. Taking inspiration from the late Nobel laureate, Ms Jaswal has been serving the cause of the poor.
Though she runs a private school, she goes out of the way to provide free education to children whose parents cannot afford to pay the hefty fees of private schools. The only criterion is that the student should be good in studies.
Ms Jaswal, a member of the local Inner Wheel Club, has been organising food preservation camps in her school during holidays through the club. Experts from the Union Human Resources Development Ministry have been imparting training in food preservation to participants. Hundreds of women and girls of the town and surrounding areas have been benefited from these camps.
She has also hosted medical check-up and other camps organised by the Rotary Club and the Inner Wheel Club. She is always a front-liner in programmes organised by the club.
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