119 years of Trust F E A T U R E S

Sunday, November 7, 1999
Chandigarh Tribune
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PGI’s CT scan non-functional
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 4 — With the only CT scan at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research not functioning for the past several days, scanning in various government hospitals has come to a standstill, forcing patients to go to private clinics in the city.

The facility of CT scan is only available at the PGI. Patients from General Hospital, Sector 16, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and other nearby areas used to rush to the PGI to avail themselves of these services. The PGI, which had two scanners, is now left with one as the other has outlived its life due to continuous use.

Sources reveaed that for the past two months, the CT scan was being sparingly used for emergency cases or from the wards where immediate decision about the line of treatment of a patient was to be taken. Most patients from the OPDs of the PGI and from other government hospitals were being forced to go to private clinics for these tests.

Patients revealed that they were paying between Rs 1,700 and Rs 2,500 for the CT scan of the head, for which they had to pay Rs 300 in the PGI. For general body scan, patients have to pay one-third of the actual charges if the cost of the test is less than Rs 1,000 and 50 per cent of the cost if it is more than Rs 1,000 in the PGI.

Narinder, one of the patients disclosed that the rates of these tests varied from clinic to clinic and one was forced to pay what they demanded. Another patient alleged that the PGI scan was often out of order, because doctors referred cases to particular clinics to allegedly get "rewarded".

Doctors in the Department of Radio Diagnosis and Imaging have been giving patients month-long dates for the test, which are otherwise required to be done immediately. In some cases, when the machine is in working order, patients in the emergency department are also asked to come and collect the reports after two days.

Official sources in the Department maintain that keeping in view the heavy rush of patients for this test, the PGI requires a minimum of three machines, one in emergency ward and other two in the department. The scan is normally done in a number of abdominal tumours, abysses, head injuries or trauma cases. When the machine was in working order, it had been taking a workload of 70 cases per day. However, taking into account the wear and tear of the six-year-old machine, which would have had a complete breakdown if used for 24 hours, they decided to restrict its use to emergency cases and those admitted in the ward, wherein an immediate line of treatment was to be decided.

The sources further disclosed that the machine, which was out of order for want of replacement of a spare part, MRI facility was being used in case of emergency. The second machine, which is out of order, is likely to be replaced shortly with a new machine as its purchase has been approved.

Highly placed official sources in the Administration stated that a new machine was likely to be requisitioned in the department if the firm which had quoted the lowest rates agreed to supply a sophisticated latest model at the same rate. If the firm refused to oblige, the entire exercise would be undertaken again and it would take another 4 to 5 months, they added. The other machine, which was temporarily non-functional, would become operational once the defective part was replaced, they said.

Meanwhile, a committee has been constituted to give recommendations with regard to the rates which members of the CT Scan Association should charge from the patients who are reffered from the PGI and other government hospitals. The committee should fix a uniform cheaper rate for various tests in these clinics, which get their business from these government hospitals. Among the members of the committee are senior radiologists, physicians and surgeons.Back


Expansion of TA under consideration
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 6 — The country’s second line of defence, Territorial Army (TA), celebrated its golden jubilee here yesterday.

Sources say that though there was a noticeable increase in applicants for getting a commission into the TA in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict, problems arise when officers, due to personal or professional reasons, are unable to spare themselves for long-term assignments.

About 1,000 aspirants had applied for commission in the TA during the last enrolment process carried out in the previous quarter by the Western Command TA Group here. Preliminary screening resulted in about 500 applicants being called for a written test, with call letters for interviews being sent to about 90 applicants. Interviews held by a five-member board of officers forwarded the names of 40 candidates to the Army Headquarters for final interview by a regular service selection board (SSB).

A majority of the applicants for the TA are those employed with the private sector, including doctors, engineers, lawyers, bankers and teachers. No doctor, however, had turned up during the last recruitment process. ''Only about 5 per cent of the volunteers are government employees,'' a TA officer here said.

''Like in the regular Army, there is a shortfall of officers here, though the situation is not so alarming,'' a TA officer said. ''We manage to make up for the shortfall in units being detailed for operations by detailing officers from other units,'' he added.

Though there was no embodiment of TA units for Operation Vijay in the Kargil sector, two infantry battalions of this group had been deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir during that time, with a third being inducted later.

Citizens who are gainfully employed and are medically fit are eligible to obtain a commission in the TA, in the process forming a reserve bank of officers who can called in during an emergency.

TA regulations require officers to undergo an annual two-month training capsule. If the need arises, they can be engaged for long-term assignments, for example, in counter-insurgency duties or operations during war. While all TA officers are paid a monthly honorarium and are entitled to several other facilities applicable to defence personnel, during the period of embodiment they draw the pay and perks of regular Army officers.

Though TA officers generally turn up for the two-month training, sources say that there have been instances where officers have found it difficult to get away from their professional activities for long engagement without inviting adverse consequences.

Meanwhile, plans to expand the 40,000 volunteer force are also being considered. Officers say that keeping future security concepts in mind with the increasing use of hi-technology equipment and force multipliers, the current thinking among a section of defence planners is to follow the pattern adopted by some western countries, which lays stress on a TA-like military set-up.

This, sources say, would reduce the need for maintaining a large standing army and serve as effective cost-saving measures as well as reduce the current administrative and logistical burden boggling the services.

Further, a proposal to expand the concept of the TA to the Air Force and the Navy is also lying pending with the Defence Ministry, while there was a reported move to induct women officers into the TA. If this comes through, women officers would be inducted for certain select appointments on a pattern similar to that in the regular Army.

The TA is organised on the basis departmental and non-departmental units. the former are those units in which enrolment is restricted to volunteers from the department concerned for which the unit is raised.

Existing units in this category include 11 Railway Engineer Regiments (six financed by the MoD and five by the Railways), two MoD-financed Railway Bridge companies, one oil sector-financed Engineer Refinery and Pipeline Regiment, one ASC Battalion (Marketing), one Engineer Regiment from the ONGC, seven General Hospital units, one Signals and Telecommunications Regiment and five ecological and wasteland development battalions. These provide services during emergencies or disruption of services in their respective fields.

This apart, there are 25 non-departmental infantry battalions, made up from civilian volunteers and are affiliated to different infantry regiments. These are primarily meant for military tasks, including defence of vital installations and line of communication, escort duties, organisation of prisoner-of-war camps as well as counter-insurgency operations.Back


Youngsters plan a ‘different’ Divali
By Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 6 — Revellers’ battlefield is all clear. The loathsome study table evacuated. The hi-tech 6000 watt speakers are positioned for firing heavy metal music. Operation Pick for decorating the “dancing queen with the shortest skirt” is scheduled for the Divali evening at a Sector 15 residence.

The European Law Students Association Coordinator, Parul Sharma, here from Stockholm for celebrating the festival with cousins after 19 years, may be “shocked”, but dance parties — religiously detached from tradition — are hot-of-the-fire passion among the City’s teenyboppers in the Divali of 1999. So many are being organised in the City.

“We also light candles, explode fire-crackers, even go in for cultural shows in the evening, but modernisation of religion is something unheard of among non resident Indians out there in Sweden,” says 24-year old Parul, perplexed at receiving an invitation card. “I cannot understand what is going on out here in Chandigarh. Such parties were simply unheard of a few years ago.”

Celebrations here are indeed “different” this year. “Laxmi and Ganesh Puja is just not in with our generation,” asserts university student Rajiv Nanda, hosting a dance party at his residence. “We will shake, rattle and roll till our first floor room is saturated with smoke, sweat and sweet perfume. Then we will go to the roof top for fire works, purchased after pooling in the moolah”.

“The entry to the bash”, he asserts, “has been restricted to couples only and is strictly by invitation”.

But what’s a ball without a little “booze”. Neeraj Sharad of Sector 4 Panchkula is mixing a “punch” for the evening at his residence. “A little bit of gin, rum and ginger ale with coke, soda, apple, mango and pineapple juices, topped with fresh citrus fruits, is all you need for preparing irresistible mugs of invigorating punch,” elaborates the spirited college-goer.

“We’ll have Monkey’s Brain, Screw Driver, the all-time favourite Pina Calado and the likes. The non-drinkers can stick to soft drinks”.

Complaining about the discrimination on the basis of gender, a couple of college students are also organising “stag party”. “So what if we are not being invited to such only-for-couple parties. We have our own arrangements. Friends, after celebrating the festival with parents, will come over to my place late in the evening for having a blast,” says Rohit Kapoor of Sector 24.

If dance parties on Divali are so popular among youngsters, can the discotheque be inactive? Gala bashes, featuring top models, are being organised on the Divali afternoon.

Explaining the trend, young sociologist Seema Nanda says, “Due to a different mindset and changing attitudes majority of kids today are not able to identify with age-old traditions and customs. They do not feel very comfortable celebrating festivals with their parents or grandparents. The friends want to be together, doing things differently. So private parties are the best solution. Otherwise also dance parties now-a-days are being organised on all occasions — from birthdays to Halloween.”Back


Roads need repair
From Our Correspondent

SOHANA, Nov 6 — Road and telecom services need to be improved in Sohana.

The main road as well as the link roads are in need of immediate repair. Local residents complain that no road repairs have been carried out in for past three years. Potholes on roads are common. Absence of streetlight causes inconvenience, said a local dhaba owner.

Water supply is also far from satisfactory. Water pressure in the area is very low. Several residents complained that despite numerous complaints, nothing had been done to provide water connections in the area.

A number of telephone subscribers complained that their telephones had become ''showpieces''. It was very difficult to get even a local call. Generally, there was no one to register their complaints at the telephone exchange.Back


Panchayat disappoints residents
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, Nov 6 — Though the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat has completed more than six months, residents of this town are facing various problems. The residents, who used to go to the office of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) repeatedly to obtain no objection certificates (NOCs) to get power connections from the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) regularised, continue to face the same problem in the office of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat too.

Residents of the villages and colonies in the nagar panchayat, who were tired of various visits to the PUDA office for the past one year, hoped that after the formation of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, their long-standing problems of getting NOCs to get unauthorised, constructions regularised, would be solved.

To make Zirakpur a Notified Area Committee, residents of this area kept away the enforcement wing of the PUDA and used all means to press their demands through politicians.

Mr Khushali Ram of Bartana complained that he had visited the Panchayat Office more than 10 times to obtain NOC from the officials. ''Besides depositing Rs 6,383 as development charges and submitting an affidavit in August, I have completed all the formalities but the Nagar Panchayat authorities have not issued an NOC so far,'' he alleged.

''I am tired of visiting these offices to get an NOC for the past one year. In spite of fulfilling all the conditions and getting an 'OK' report from the Electricity Department for the power load in my house, the Nagar Panchayat authorities rejected it, saying that the building was not constructed according to the plan of a first-class architect,'' lamented 70-year-old Fakir Chand.

A resident of Bishanpura complained that the employees of the civic body made excuses whenever they were approached for solutions to his problems. Moreover, the Nagar Panchayat charges higher development charges as compared to other municipalities and the nagar panchayats of Punjab.

An Akali leader, Mr Sukhdev Singh Changera, said no development work has been done by the panchayat since it came into existence. Working of the Nagar Panchayat was theoretical and not practical. The development of the area was possible only after the formation of an elected body of the Nagar Panchayat, opined Mr Changera.

Mr Amrit Lal Bansal, Executive Officer, said to verify and tally revenue records with building maps, submitted for obtaining NOCs, took two months. The NOCs would be issued after proper checking. Admitting shortage of staff, he said all those who had applied for NOCs would be issued these within one week as the government had appointed one more employee here. Back

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