Wednesday, April 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Camp on mental retardation
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 18 — The Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children, Sector 32, will organise a community awareness camp on April 23 at Government Middle School, Karsan, to identify mentally retarded children. The identified children will be subsequently referred to the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children for scientific training in special education and associated therapies.

Figures reveal that nearly 2.4 per cent of the population comprises mentally retarded persons and approximately 16,000 persons in the city have low intelligence. Survey has revealed that a large number of these children are not getting systematic training and programme due to the lack of awareness and training facilities, stigma attached to mental retardation, besides training and educational aspects etc.

The community plays a vital role in rehabilitating persons with mental retardation. So, the focus of the camp will be on imparting proper knowledge about the causes of mental retardation, prevention, signs and symptoms, training and educational aspects.

According to an official press note, the facilities available in the camp include the IQ and behavioural assessment, counselling of parents, assistance in getting various benefits provided by Central and state governments.

An exhibition highlighting education, functional skills, teaching methods and teaching aids used in training mentally retarded children will also be put up. Video films to educate parents and community regarding mental retardation will also be shown. Another highlight will be a sale counter where articles made by mentally retarded children will be displayed and sold.Back


"Malaria on the decline but we are taking no chances"
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 18 — The Central government is contemplating a move to stop supplying insecticide spray to control malaria, keeping in view a decline in the incidence of the disease over the years, it is learnt.

The figures available with the malaria wing reveal that the number of malaria positive cases have declined from 11,196 in 1996 to 456 in 1999. ( These figures, however, indicate only the cases reported in government hospitals, dispensaries and polyclinics).

The Assistant Director of Anti-malaria operations, Dr G.C. Bansal, while claiming these figures said that there is no room for complacency and they have already chalked out various measures which will be undertaken to tackle malaria, dengue and other vector-borne diseases in the coming months. The malaria wing, which has only this month been shifted from the Municipal Corporation to Chandigarh Administration, is all set to further bring down the incidence this year. Only ten cases of malaria were reported in the first two months this year as against 27 in the corresponding period last year.

He disclosed that effective larval measures are undertaken round the year at weekly intervals where mosquito breeding places are treated with larvacides. Special stress is laid in labour colonies and low-lying areas, which are more prone to the outbreak of malaria, he added.

Dr Bansal also pointed out that presently 28 malaria clinics are functioning in the city hospitals and dispensaries where blood samples from fever cases are collected and examined free of cost. The presumptive treatment to fever cases and the radical treatment to the positive cases is also given on the spot.

As part of the anti-adult measures, two rounds of residual insecticide spray are carried out annually in the rural areas, slums and labour colonies.

“These are the places where mosquitoes breed, so naturally we are targeting these areas for insecticide spray,” said Dr Bansal. The spray operations are synchronised with the states of Punjab and Haryana as per the guidelines of the Central government. Even this year, the first round of DDT spray shall be carried out in the month of June and the second round shall be carried out in August this year. The situation in the sectors is reasonably okay, but we shall be spraying both insecticide and larvacide.

Besides these routine measures, certain extensive measures will be undertaken by the authorities, when they observe the anti-malarial month in June. Field operations will be further geared up to check the breeding of mosquitoes on fresh water. Emphasis will also be laid on health education activities to increase the level of awareness of the residents of colonies and villages. “We plan to organise at least 5-6 camps in labour colonies to educate people about malaria, its symptoms and precautions. Door-to-door surveys will be carried out in some of these areas for spot detection, examination and remedial measures,” said Dr Bansal. Community leaders will also be involved in the exercise of imparting awareness through group discussions, seminars, live demonstration, talks, lectures. Live demonstration, radio talks and street plays will also be used to educate the common masses. A panel discussion will also be organised as part of these activities to devise a strategy to implement the national programme.

The special activities also envisage the orientation training of the staff. Interaction will also be arranged with the sarpanches/panches before the start of the spray operation so that they can impress upon the residents the need and importance of getting their dwelling units sprayed to combat malaria. A special drive will also be launched to treat the mosquito breeding places in the choe area running through Sectors 3,10, 16, 23, 36 and 42.

Dr Bansal further disclosed that the theme of the programme is “Malaria control — Everyone’s concern.” The main thrust will be on early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Disease surveillance will be undertaken by deploying survey teams in labour colonies.

Some do’s and dont’s

Go to a doctor and get your blood tested as soon as you feel feverish, for the fever may be malaria.

If malaria is detected, the doctor will prescribe a five -day course of chloroquine. Do not stop taking the medicine once you start feeling better. Complete the course and do not take the medicine empty stomach.

Keep your surroundings free of stagnant water all the time.

Keep your coolers clean and your water tanks closed.

Do not throw discarded containers, used tyres on rooftops as the water that gets accumulated in them is ideal for mosquito breeding.

Mosquito nets and repellants should also be used by the sector residents. Back


Seminar on learning disability today
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 18 — A seminar on specific learning disability will be organised tomorrow at the Sector 24 Indira Holiday Home under the aegis of the ODE foundation. The purpose is to create awareness about learning disabilities and their effect on the academic performance of school-going children.

Learning disability is a comprehensive term that covers a host of disabling conditions that hamper a child’s ability to do well in academics. Eminent psychologists and educationists will share their views in various interactive sessions. Possible solutions in our present education system will also be discussed. Back


Hearing time again for 5 soldiers
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 18 — Five soldiers who faced imminent career regression due to hearing disability have virtually been given a fresh lease of life with the Western Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, introducing microscopic ear surgery this month.

Claiming 100 per cent success in rare and precision surgery, doctors at the hospital said the hearing of a major, a JCO, an Air Force sergeant and two Army jawans had been restored to meet military standards. Loss of hearing in these cases was up to 60 per cent. Two cases are to operated upon this month.

Pointing out that these were cases of disorder rather than disease, head of the hospital's ENT Department, Lt-Col S.S. Panwar, said loss of progressive hearing was a result of the ear bones, stapees, losing ability to vibrate. Stapees is the smallest bone in the human body and lies in the inner ear canal. It receives vibrations from the ear drum and passes these on to the ear fluid and the ear nerves for transmission to the brain. If it stops responding to vibration, no waves can be passed onwards, leading to hearing loss and social and psychological problems.

This disorder is genetically determined and is not noise or pollution induced, as is the case in most of the hearing disorders. It is painless with no discharge from the ears, keeping the affected person ignorant about it till hearing loss is significant. Doctors said survey of cases revealed that this disorder was more prevalent in southern states than in northern states. The disorder is not very common, with rough statistics putting it at 1 or 2 cases per 10,000 persons.

Called neuro-otological surgery in medical parlance, the actual process takes around 20 minutes, but requires a high degree of precision and expertise. Done under local anaesthesia, a small incision is first made on the edge of the eardrum and it is deflected to reach the site. A minute hole — 0.3 mm to 0.6 mm — is then drilled in the stapees, which itself measures just 3 mm. The entire process is carried out under the magnified vision of a microscope, with no cuts being made in the outer ear.

Considered to be the finest surgery in ENT, any mistake by the surgeon can result in total deafness and the patient losing his sense of balance, besides opening a channel of infection to the brain. Even at the best of centres, the success rate of this surgery, which costs about Rs 26,000 in civil hospitals, is stated to be about 90 per cent.Back


Rubber girl stretches herself
By Arvind Katyal

CHANDIGARH, April 18 — ''It is my aim to represent India at the international level and show magnificent performance,'' said Rajni Sharma, a gymnastics prodigy of Patiala, who was here yesterday to meet her aunt. Rajni was a star of the 45th National School Games at Patiala in February. At the meet, his cute damsel walked away with three gold and one silver medals in rythmic and artistic gymnastics.

She has taken her Class XII examinations as a student of Government Victoria Girls Senior Secondary School, Patiala. She practices under the able guidance of many coaches.

Her aunt said it was actually badminton which brought her niece to sport field. However, she was influenced by her younger sister, Suman, a regular gymnastics trainee, and Rajni took up gymnastics at the age of 12. Daughter of a PRTC employee at Patiala, Rajni's initial success came in 1996 in the Punjab State Gymnastics Championship at Patiala. There she won one silver and three bronze medals in various artistic events which included hoops, rope and ribbon.

The "Rubber Girl" of Patiala recently saw Uzbekistan gymnast Alexandria at the South Asian Gymnastics Meet at Patiala in December last and began admiring her. ''The international meet was real exposure for her as she got to learn many off-game things like when to warm-up and eat, besides the kind of diet she should take.

"In a gymnast, there should be a will to perform to one's optimum capacity in front of large public," said Rajni. She was coached initally by Ravinder Rishi, Jasmel Kaur Handa and Narinder Kaur. They took pains to see Rajni improve and grow. She responded well by securing a rich haul of medals in various tournaments.

Rajni's other achivements included a gold medal in the National School Games at Pune in 1996. She won one gold and two silver medals at the 1998 Nationals School Games at Surat. At the Udaipur Senior Nationals and Federation Cup in Delhi past year, she won a bronze medal in each. Rajni said the sport did not have much patronage in India, may be due to insufficient attention devoted by the government. She said though we had good coaches, they also needed advanced training. She said they could really use foreign assignments or liasioning with reputed foreign coaches.

Inadequate sponsorships and minimal job security is destroying gymnastics in India. Here, gymnasts, after their careers are over, either become clerks or coaches. She practices seven to eight hours daily at Polo Ground Hall at Patiala. "Dedication will only be justified if I win medals in international events," she said.Back


Industrialists for better health services
From Our Correspondent

PARWANOO, April 18 — Industrialists and residents of the town have demanded better health services for them.

The industrialists said that after lots of efforts, the Employees State Insurance Hospital had been opened for the workers of this industrial town but it is in a bad shape due to want of funds. They added that for any expenditure in this hospital, the State Government has to provide 1/8th share. For many years there has been no provision for this share by the government in the State budget, hence 7/8th share to be spent by the ESIC goes unutilised every year. The ESIC is not able to reimburse the medical bills of the workers lying pending for the past many years, which has created financial burden on the low-paid workers.

The industrialists said that the town is located on the National Highway No. 22 and numerous road accidents take place here and the ESIC Hospital requires two ambulances. They added that an present there is one ambulance which is not functional. They urged the Himachal Pradesh Government to sanction at least one ambulance for the town and a fair price shop for the sale of medicines to be opened within the hospital premises.



Industrialists cite problems
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, April 18 — The Managing Director of the Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation, Mr G.S. Pirzada, today, said recreational facilities, hotels and other related services were required at SAS Nagar in order to attract the IT industry in a big way.

Mr Pirzada, who was interacting with the local entrepreneurs at a programme organised by the Mohali Industries Association here, said a club would soon be established in the ELTOP area of the town. The club would have sport facilities besides other standard amenities.

The President of the association, Mr S.S. Sandhu, listing to the problems being faced by entrepreneurs. He urged the Managing Director to declare that industrial sheds allotted by the corporation in late seventies were for general purposes. Conversion of leasehold system into a freehold one on the pattern of the the PSIEC was also demanded. Flooding of ELTOP area during the rains due to inadequate storm-water drainage was also highlighted.

Mr Pirzada assured all that he would look into the problems of entrepreneurs.Back


Computer company opens regional office
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 18 — The Aptech Computer Education inaugurated its local regional office, covering the northern region, here today.

Mr K. Ramesh, divisional head,while addressing a press conference, said that uptil now the entire northern region was being looked after by the Delhi centre.The Chandigarh office, having 104 centres, will cover Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, besides local institutes.

Mr Ravi Khanna, a senior Vice-president, said that the country would need over 22 lakh high-quality workers in software-related areas over the next few years.

The institute awaits a formal clearance by the government for the status of a deemed university and an application in this regard had already been filed, it was said.

Mr Ramesh said that the course in the national context had been designed in eight different languages. Special courses had been designed for television channels.

Mr Khanna said that the local centre will have 100 centres under it.

The Aptech had opened placement centres at Delhi, Lucknow and Chandigarh. Mr Ramesh said the government could serve as a controlling agency to maintain education standards. There have been cases when certain institutes opened centres ,charged students and wound up the institutes within months.Back


‘Hotel business growing rapidly’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 18 — “Global hotel industry is growing rapidly and is expected to create three million new employment and business opportunities in the next few years,” said Ms Margaret Hess, an expert from Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu, International Hotel Management and Regency Hotel School. A large number of students keen to pursue higher education in Hotel Management got free career counselling from the expert here today.

Ms Hess said the Institute was considering to set up a campus in or around Chandigarh. The institute is placing around 800 students for Sydney 2000 Olympics including around 15 students from Chandigarh and Punjab”, she added. The institute assures post-course completion placement and allows students to work during course tenure.Back

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