Monday, July 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


‘Primary education needs boost’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 23 — A meeting of the Save Education Committee was held here today with Principal Jagmohan Singh in chair. A number of educationists participated in the meeting. Principal Sardool Singh emphasised the need for strengthening primary education and primary healthcare. Principal B.S. Bajwa felt the need of involvement of people for bringing about qualitative changes in education.

Dr Jagdish Chander observed that ragging, crushes the self-respect, dignity and confidence of newcomers. Seniors torture the newcomers physically as well as psychologically and make them accept their dominance. Juniors are also asked to make notes for them. The meeting decided that a letter be written to the principals of professional colleges and vice-chancellors of universities, urging them to take administrative measures to stop this menace.

Drug abuse among the students is partly an offshoot of our defective education curricula, opined Mr Jagmohan Singh. Some scholars felt that this problem needed an indepth study as many other factors like frustration, work, pressure and tension could also be the causes.

It was felt that books of private publishers were gaining popularity over NCERT books in various subjects which need a revision. Principal Jagmohan Singh was authorised to form committees for evaluating NCERT books of various subjects and suggesting changes. The issue of institutions acting as shops and selling careers to persons with means was also discussed. It was felt that every person, irrespective of his financial status, must get the education of his choice. It was possible if government spared sufficient funds and subsidised education for the needy and the deserving. Lack of infrastructure and facilities in some institutions offering high-tech courses like BCA, BCAM was also discussed. It was felt that the universities must ensure that each college offering such courses acquired the proper infrastructure.

The hefty fee hike by the various universities of Punjab was also assailed. The government was criticised for low budgetary allocation to education. The exorbitant charges of Punjab Technical University from students at the time of competitive examination and counselling were also deplored.

It was decided to give an organisational structure to the Save Education Committee Punjab on lines similar to the All-India Save Education Committee. For this purpose, a 15-member committee was formed, with Principal Jagmohan Singh as convener. Another important decision was to hold a seminar on September 5 at Punjabi Bhavan, Ludhiana.


UTI directed to pay compensation
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 23 — The State Consumer Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, has set aside an order of the District Consumers Forum here and ordered the Unit Trust of India, New Delhi, to pay compensation and costs to a consumer, Mrs Bharti Gupta, of this city.

According to a copy of the order received here today, the complainant had appealed to the state commission for compensation after the district forum here dismissed his plea for compensation for a delayed payment by the UTI. According to Mr S.S. Sarna, representative of the consumer, Mrs Gupta had to receive payment from the UTI in lieu of maturity of a scheme invested by her late husband.

However, she received the payment in June, 1997, one year after the death of her husband. some part of the compensation was also held back.

Uphelding her plea the commission directed the Uti to pay the consumer an interest at 12 per cent on Rs 53,904 from July, 1996, to July 10, 1997, and again interest at 12 per cent on Rs 30,000 from July, 1996, to June, 1999, along with Rs 500 as costs of the proceedings for deficiency of service.

Training centres in12 districts: ADGP From Our Correspondent Doraha July 23 — "Road safety in Punjab can tremendously improve if the police, public and social organisations join hands with each other," said Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, Additional Director- General of Police, attached to the Punjab Human Rights Commission, while addressing a road safety committee on national highway at first aid post in Doraha.The ADGP conveyed to the people that the Human Rights Commission had opened training centres in 12 districts in Punjab where activists of voluntary social organisations and personnel of the Punjab police were given training.Back


Deaf children are not dumb
From Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, July 23 — Any child who is handicapped physically or mentally, has to bear untold amount of hardship, discrimination and neglect. However, if this child is treated as a gift from God, life for him or her becomes worth living.

This is what happened to Kahan, son of a successful ENT specialist, Dr Naresh Malhotra, and his wife Anu. When the parents discovered that their son had hearing impairment, their world crashed. They kept asking themselves, "Why us!" Their elder daughter was normal.

After the initial shock, the parents decided to make their child's life as normal as possible. They looked around the world for a good doctor who could help their child. They visited the USA and attended courses at the Alexander Graham Bell Institute in Washington DC. They went to John Tracy Clinic in Los Angles, visited Canada, attended many seminars and finally, learnt to cope with the handicap of Kahan.

First of all, a good hearing aid was procured after tests. Impaired hearing has to be tested just like the eyesight. Some persons have a total loss of hearing, while the others have some residual hearing left. The test is carried out using an audiogram, after which, an appropriate hearing aid is fitted.

Ms Anu Malhotra said, "Generally, we club deaf and dumb together, which is wrong. Deaf children are not dumb. Their vocal organs like the sound box, the larynx and the pharynx are all fine. They cannot talk because they have not heard anything. For them, the outside world is just a vacuum." After Kahan was fitted with a right hearing aid, She spoke to her son all the time and soon, his vocabulary grew. At present, he is studying in Class V in a local school and doing very well. Ms Malhotra said in such cases, children could learn only one language, so, the CBSE had exempted Kahan from studying Hindi and Punjabi. This needed a lot of patience and determination. It was difficult for Kahan, too, but he picked up fast.

The parents of Kahan believe that he is the greatest gift of God to them. To help the other parents facing such a dilemma, they decided to set up a centre for children with hearing impairment.

Dr Malhotra said, "There are three types of hearing aids — body wear, which has two wires reaching the ears from a box which can be kept in a pocket, the BTE (behind the ear) and the ITE (inside the ear) which is very small, sophisticated and costs more than the other hearing aids. The ITE is concealed in the ear canal and perhaps that is why most persons do not know that Bill Clinton wears one."

Ms Anu Malhotra said the centre was her way of thanking God for making her son enjoy everything which a normal child could.

During a session in the centre, Bhavya, a student, was being taught how to measure. Her mother said, "Ever since she has started coming here, she has learnt a lot of new words and has become more confident. My elder daughter, aged 16, who suffers from the same problem, could not find a similar centre and knows much less than Bhavya."

Bhavya was made to stand on a weighing machine and note her weight. Then, her mother and teacher stood on the scale and Bhavya was able to tell who was the heaviest of the two. She studies in DAV School and her teachers have no problems with her. Ms Malhotra was continuously talking to her. "It requires a lot of patience, but it pays," she said.

She asked Bhavya to write who weighed the most. The child wrote at a good speed which showed that she was an intelligent girl. She was later read a story which she could comprehend. Her mother, performs five measuring assignments at home, so that the concept of measurement is embedded in Bhavya's mind.

The session ended with the teacher telling the child to open the cupboard as part of her "auditory training". In this case, there is no eye contact. The child took out a box of sweets and was given some out of it. Each similar session lasts half an hour. Madhu "auntie" speaks clearly and loudly, besides being loving and patient, which makes her students love her.

Ms Madhu said, "My son scolds me for talking all the time, but I have to do so because without constant listening practice, students cannot improve their vocabulary. Moreover, I have to constantly remind my students to keep wearing their hearing aids when awake. It is an irritant, but cannot be helped."

She said, "God has been very kind to us. We are not working here for financial reasons. To help these children is a prayer for us and gives us a sense of achievement. We want to help people find a solution to such problems."Back


Rise in TB cases in old city
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 23 — Rise in the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the old city has been a cause of concern among the doctors here. Most of the TB cases have been reported among the migrant labourers working in hosiery and dying units. A number of doctors practising in the old city reveal that there has been a constant flow of TB patients mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

According to Dr B.L. Malhotra, who runs a TB clinic on Gaushala Road, the migrant labourers because of their living and working conditions are most vulnerable to the disease. His argument is supported by Dr Bhajan Lal Aggarwal, a leading physician who practises in the Sunder Nagar area of Basti Jodhewal. The two doctors revealed that there was a steady increase in the number of TB cases among the migrant labourers.

However, Dr Malhotra sought to clarify that it was a wrong assumption that the migrant labourers were the only carriers of the TB. In fact anybody who had to live and work under the conditions they were forced to, could become vulnerable to the disease. He pointed out that the dirt and filth, besides pollution, increased the probability of TB anywhere.

One worrying factor was the alarming congestion within the old Ludhiana city, which had no longer remained a domestic locality. The people there had been using their premises for commercial and industrial activity. The old city had now become the hub of hosiery manufacturing, throwing all the norms to the wind.

But there was another serious dimension to the problem. The houses in the old city, which were now being used as industrial units, were congested and had no proper ventilation. Under these conditions anyone, particularly the labourers, who already suffered from extra work and malnutrition, became vulnerable to the disease.

Dr Malhotra revealed that in such congested places the people did not get adequate oxygen. Besides, Ludhiana had a dubious distinction of being one of the most polluted cities in the country, which added to the risk factors.

Dr Aggarwal pointed out that there was a wrong notion among people that the TB occurred to the people belonging to the economically weaker sections only. He said people from good economic background also suffered from this disease. Even some people concealed it for fear of stigma. He said TB was no longer an incurable disease and was as good or bad as any other disease. However, the TB needed regular and complete medication.

He said, the tendency among people, particularly the migrant labourers, was such that they discontinued the treatment midway presuming themselves to be fully cured. Discontinuing the treatment without doctors’ advice led to the complication as the infection developed resistance against the drugs. But even then the disease was not incurable and could be cured by sustained medication. The treatment, he informed, was quite affordable.Back


Training centres in12 districts: ADGP 
From Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 23 — "Road safety in Punjab can tremendously improve if the police, public and social organisations join hands with each other," said Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, Additional Director- General of Police, attached to the Punjab Human Rights Commission, while addressing a road safety committee on national highway at first aid post in Doraha.

The ADGP conveyed to the people that the Human Rights Commission had opened training centres in 12 districts in Punjab where activists of voluntary social organisations and personnel of the Punjab police were given training.


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