Friday, October 13, 2000,
 Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Gambling on the rise as police looks the other way
By Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — With the festive season just round the corner, the gamblers in the city are having a field day with crores of rupees exchanging hands everyday in the organised form of the game. It is being alleged that this has been going on because of the overt and covert support of the local police.

Investigations made by TNS over the past couple of days reveal that as the gambling has just begun in the city and though it is still a bad start, business is likely to pick up soon. It is also learnt that this year a lot of people having lost a lot of money in betting on cricket games, the initial draw this year is poor. However, most people hope that as Divali approaches, people will find it difficult to stay.

It is learnt that gambling in the city is most often organised and the maximum stakes are here. This organised gambling is rampant in most parts of the city- and not just in areas like Narivehra near Deepak Cinema, Kathi Mohalla, Haibowal, Talaab Bazaar, Gur Mandi, Sewing Machine Market, Nim Wala Chowk, Subhani Building and Dhokkan Mohalla. Interestingly, a lot of local hotels owned by or leased out to politicians and other influential persons serve as a perfect venue as there is every immunity to the gamblers.

Investigations reveal that all those who are alleged to be running these gambling circuits are doing so in collusion with the officers of the police stations concerned. It is also alleged that a few Station House Officers are deliberately ignoring the gambling going on in their area- especially in Nari Vehra, Kailash Cinema chowk, Kathi Mohalla, Nim Wala Chowk, Janakpuri. In all these areas, each circuit goes in several houses at any given time and huge bets are placed. Since, the areas chosen for gambling is home to members of lower socio- economic groups, the police is allegedly reluctant to conduct raids and thus incur the wrath of their political bosses- who give patronage to the leaders of this community.

A hotel situated in Cheema Chowk and currently leased out to a councillor of the ruling party, another one situated near the Bus Stand and owned by a local leader of the ruling party, a Punjab tourism hotel, another one on the Ferozepur Road and in the vicinity of Punjab Agricultural University are also a few of the hotspots for gambling.

A few private farm houses owned by some local businessman( a few of these are also alleged to be cricket bookies) near Haibowal and Kohara are also alleged to be the rendezvous points for various gamblers as the owners of these are running the circuits themselves.

According to the information available, it is learnt that in Narivehra, the gambling circuit is being run by a local resident alongwith the above mentioned businessman who is also a bookie, in Janakpuri by a general merchandiser, In Daresi another businessman who is also alleged to be heavily betting in cricket games with the above mentioned general merchandiser. In Kailash Cinema chowk, the circuit is being run by a businessman in his own house and in the amusement park, the owners are alleged to be involved.

While, the gambling is done through the various card games or through dice throwing, the most interesting part is that the people who are running these circuits have been taking the services of a few financiers who are financing money to be invested in various games to the losers at astronomical rates of interest ranging from 50 to 100 per cent and that, too, on a daily basis.

It is worthwhile to mention here that last night only, a local police party had caught atleast 17 influential persons while gambling in Narian Mohalla and seized a sum of Rs 1.23 lakh . After the accused were caught and brought to the police station concerned, a large crowd had gathered there late last night. Somehow, the police showed a recovery of only a few thousands after the case was registered under the various sections of the Gambling Act.

It may be noted that just two days ago, a local industrialist won a whooping Rs 80 lakh approximately in one such organised gambling racket that is presently underway in an amusement park on the Ludhiana- Phillaur road. In another such racket underway in Nari Vehra locality, another businessman, who is also alleged to be one of the top bookies in the city, had won a couple of lakhs a few days ago. But there are also a few stories of failure wherein a lot of people (those running the circuit as well as those playing the games) have lost all tro their addiction.


SDM told to get encroachment removed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — About 40 complaints, most of them dealing with land disputes, revenue records and harassment by the police, were dealt with in the weekly ‘sangat darshan’ programme, presided over by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K.Sandhu, at the Mini Secretariat here today.

The Deputy Commissioner instructed the SDM, Jagraon, to get the panchayat land in Gagra village cleared of encroachment and to submit the action-taken report by Tuesday next. On another complaint of encroachment against the sarpanch of Raipur Bet village, the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) was asked to conduct and inquiry and submit his report.

Mrs Rachpal Kaur, a resident of Kila Raipur, village who lodged a complaint of undue harassment against the Dehlon police was assured that she would get justice and the DSP concerned was directed to submit a report within two days. Mr Sandhu asked the executive engineer concerned of the PSEB to report by the evening on a complaint of non-release of power connection lodged by Ajmer Singh, a resident of New Khaira Bet village.

A resident of Papran village in Samrala subdivision alleged that he had paid a bribe of Rs 500 to the patwari for entry of land deed in revenue records but the official concerned had demanded another sum of Rs 2000 for making the entries. The Deputy Commissioner assured the complainant that the necessary entries would be made within one week and stern action would be taken against the guilty official.

In view of the fact that most of the complaints submitted in the weekly Sangat Darshan programme were related to revenue records, Mr Sandhu asked the Assistant Commissioner (General) to ensure that Sub Divisional Magistrates or Tehsildars of all subdivisions in the district attended the programme from next week onwards.

Besides senior officers of various departments, the Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr S.R.Kler, SDM (West) Mr Manjit Singh Brar, SDM (East) Mr Kuldip Singh and the District Transport Officer, Mr Bhupinder Singh, were present. 


Kanshi warns against statute review
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshi Ram today charged the BJP led National Democratic Alliance government of trying to subvert the Constitution of the country in the name of reviewing it.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune before addressing a party rally, organised here on the eve of the Maharishi Valmiki jayanti, Mr Ram accused the BJP of imposing the “divisive Hindutva” agenda on the nation. However, he claimed, the BSP would not allow it. “We will not let anyone to subvert the Constitution drafted by Dr BR Ambedkar, which gives so many guarantees to untouchables”, he warned.

Contrary to the basic purpose of the Constitution review Mr Kanshi Ram has been trying to create apprhensions among the people particularly those belonging to the weaker sections that the motive behind reviewing the constitution was to “snatch all guarantees given to the untouchables by Dr Amedkar”. “But we have already preempted their move by already creating mass awareness across the country. They (the government) will not dare to do it now”, the BSP leader claimed.

He said, he had launched the awareness campaign from Kanyakumari on March 16 this year. The campaign will conclude on December 6 in New Delhi with a rally. Mr Kanshi Ram claimed, he had spread the message across the country about the “divisive agenda” of the BJP and it had generated a positive response.

Mr Kanshi Ram said he would welcome changes in the constitution provided they were in the interest of the untouchables. He refused to identify the untouchables with the downtrodden. He said, there was clear difference between the two. There were so many people who could be called downtrodden. “But we represent only the untouchables who have continuously been exploited for generations”, he disclosed.

The BSP leader ruled out any alliance with any political party in the forthcoming assembly elections to seven states, scheduled for next year. Referring to Uttar Pradesh, he said, the BSP was comfortably placed on its own. He said the party would go on its own and also form the government there.

Mr Kanshi Ram said, after completing the awareness campaign his party would focus attention on Punjab to broadbase the party network. He pointed out, the BSP had already a good network and was recognised as a national party with the Election Commission of India after the BJP and the Congress.

Mr Kanshi Ram participated in the Valmiki Shobha Yatra, which was taken out on the occasion of Valmiki Jayanti. Later addressing a party rally here he said, the BSP was committed towards the uplift of the untouchables.


PSEB told to pay for deficient services
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — In a significant judgement, the District Consumer Redressal Forum has directed the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to pay a compensation of Rs 4000 for harassment caused to a consumer due to deficient services rendered by the board.

It also directed the PSEB to hold an inquiry against the person responsible for it and said, after the inquiry, the amount of compensation may also be recovered from the person at fault.

According to a copy of the orders received here today, Ms Amandeep Kaur, a resident of Model House and the Punjab Khapatkar Sangh through their representative S.S. Sarna had sought compensation on the grounds that the PSEB had illegally recovered an amount of Rs 13, 304 from the consumer. She said when she sought details of the sudden heavy bill imposed on her, the board did not oblige.

The PSEB, however, in its reply justified the bill amount claiming that the meter of the consumer was changed twice and during the inoperative period of the meters the bill was charged on the average basis. It said the audit had directed the board to recover the amount on the basis of the actual consumption.

After hearing the two parties and verifying the documents the forum found that the board had not calculated the average consumption properly. While it calculated bill at 686 units consumed bi-monthly , actually it should have been 606 units. The forum also found that when the meter was taking actual reading, the PSEB still continued to issue the bill on the average basis only.

Calling it as a clear deficiency of service, the forum also note that the defective meters were not removed immediately by the PSEB and somebody had also committed the deficiency by not feeding proper data in the computer.

The forum found bill raised by the PSEB from December 1992 to June 1995 as correct but quashed the bill amount of period December 1990 to August 1991. It also directed the PSEB to calculate the bill by taking the average of 606 units bi-monthly.


Defer recovery of farmers’ loans: Barnala
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, former Union Food Minister, today urged the Punjab Government to defer the recovery of loans given to farmers by the cooperative societies in the wake of losses in the ongoing paddy procurement. He also demanded a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the party to discuss this issue.

Addressing the annual conference of the Punjab State Karamchari Dal opposite the Mini-Secretariat here today, Mr Barnala also requested the government to accept various demands of employees raised in the conference. He specially demanded payment of bonus for the employees.

The annual conference of the dal was held raise the demands of the state and semi-government employees and to criticise the government for inordinate delay in the implementation of already accepted and announced demands.

Mr Barnala also cautioned the opposition parties not to politicise or exploit the agony of the farmers for their own political interests. He said instead of criticising the government, the parties should come out with some solution of the recurring problem.

Ms Satwant Kaur, Minister for Social Welfare, assured the employees that she would take up their demands with Mr Parkash Sing Badal. She reminded the employees that whenever the Shiromani Akali Dal had come to power in the state, the employees had benefitted a lot.

Earlier, Mr Hari Singh Tohra, president of the dal, warned the state government against delaying further the acceptance of the demands of the employees. He also urged Mr Badal not to raise taxes and prices of essential commodities any more as the employees were already reeling under an acute financial burden.

The main demands out of a list of 21 put were amendments in the Anomaly Committee report regarding pay scales of subordinate employees, regularisation of workcharge and ad hoc employees, including those of the SYL, benefit of pension to employees having 10 years of service with the SYL, house rent allowance of 15 per cent to employees in Patiala and grant of bonus.


Exclusion of folk dances flayed
From A Correspondent

MACHHIWARA, Oct 12 — The Punjab School Education Board, SAS Nagar, came in for criticism for excluding Punjabi folk dances, gidha and bhangra, from the list of items selected for the annual academic contests. Mr Gurmukhdeep, director, and Mr Shammi Kumar Pehalwan, president, respectively Punjabi Sabhya Charak Kendra, Machhiwara, said the board had excluded gidha from the list the previous year and bhangra had been excluded recently. Mr Gurmukhdeep and Mr Pehalwan also said though ‘gataka’ was included as one of the items, the exclusion of bhangra was unfortunate. They added that by doing so, the board had shown that it was in tune with western culture. They demanded the inclusion of gidha and bhangra in the list.


Nanda’s craving for song and music
By N.S.Tasneem

Classical dance and classical music are ethereal by nature, whereas light music is earthy in essence. The common people develop a taste for geet and ghazal during their humdrum routine. There have been numerous occasions when Ludhiana hosted singers of national and international fame. Among others, Narinder Singh Nanda has been taking pains over the years to provide gala evenings of song and music to the citizens. He has been the president of the Punjab Sangeet Kala Manch, Ludhiana, for a pretty long period.

Craving for song and music is inherent in N. S. Nanda. He is a self-made person with many tastes. He plays on violin and mandolin, besides being a good bhangra dancer. By profession he is a hotelier and at present he is the president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab. I met him on World Tourism Day, celebrated in the city on September 27. On the conclusion of the function, I found him in an expansive mood, so I tried to get as much information as possible about his cultural concerns

In what way has he enriched the experiences of Ludhianvis in light music?

"In the year 1976 we invited Jagjit and Chitra Singh to Sham-e-Ghazal held at the Sangeet cinema. Mr Sarabjit Singh, Ludhiana (now Director General of Police, Punjab) was the chief guest. That was a memorable evening. The duo mesmerised the citizens as never before. I would like to mention here that, way back in the early sixties, Jagjit Singh as a member of the Ludhiana Amateur Club used to sing ghazals in our functions while I (the general secretary) played on the mandolin and S.S. Bhogal (the president) recited on the flute."

Which other famous singers has he invited to this city over the years?

"Before talking about others, I want to point out that in that Sham-e-Ghazal (1976), we introduced for the first time Jaspinder Narula who was barely six-year-old at that time. She sang Dama dum mast qalandar in the manner of Runa Laila at that tender age.

In 1986 the celebrated Pakistani singer Reshma was invited to the Sutlej Club. Mr. K.R. Lakhanpal was the Deputy Commissioner at that time and he was so carried away by the event that he started dancing on the stage to the accompaniment of Reshma's melody. She stayed at Nanda Hotel and cooked her non-vegetarian meal herself in our kitchen at dead of night when she came back from the Sutlej Club."

Balwant Gargi has mentioned in his novel "The Purple Moonlight' that Reshma talked about Nanda's hospitality in laudatory terms. What exactly was the remark that she made?

"You are right. She told Balwant Gargi that while in Ludhiana she stayed in a 'tiny hotel', other owner of which was a big man, himself an artist. This remark I have cherished over the years."

Apart from geet and ghazals, Nanda has been deeply interested in 'Sufiana kalam'. What have been his achievements in this field?

"Of course, we have been appreciative of the renderings of the ghazal singers like Ghulam Ali, Pankaj Udhas, Anup Jalota and Penaz Masani. But at the same time we have eagerly listened to Shankar Shambhu Qawwal, Sabri Brothers, Anisa Sabri and other such singers."

He opines that 'from music to films is but one jump." Has he anything more to say on this issue?

"Surely, I have a keen interest in the films. There was a time when, under the banner of the Punjab Sangeet Kala Manch, we used to honour the producers and artists of Punjabi films each year. Mention can be made of the films, such as Chann Pardesi, Yaari Jat Di, Long da Lishkara, Daaj and Sukhi Parivar. In fact I played a role in Inderjit Hasanpuri's film Daaj which had in its cast Manmohan Krishan and Daljit Kaur".

Nanda has also been the promoter of the club culture in the city. From time to time he has been the vice-president of the Sutlej Club, President as well as general secretary of the Model Town Club, President as well as Deputy District Governor of Lions Club and the president of the Citizen Club. He is the patron of the Punjabi Sahit Academy as well as Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation.

Lately, he has floated the Dhan Pothohar Brotherhood which honoured, some times ago, former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and renowned author Kartar Singh Duggal at the local Punjabi Bhavan.

Born at Darkali village (Rawalpindi) in 1935, he migrated to Ludhiana at the time of the Partition. He sough admission at that time in the fifth standard in the local government school but could not continue his studies due to straitened circumstances. His resolve to get education at any cost pushed him from pillar to post. Later he passed his matriculation examinations, got employment in the postal department and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts as a private candidate.

From a wine shop in 1972 to Nanda Hotel in 1981 was in fact a big leap in that direction. In the days to come he wants to play a still more significant role in the cultural growth of the city. Back


Facts about sun dials

THIS refers to the write-up “Timeless wonder lying in wilderness”. I wish to state that these sun dials were installed in canal colonies on the banks of the big canals of Punjab during the British rule. Rain gauges and weather cocks, along with sun dials were a must in every big canal colony.

Being the son of an official from the Irrigation Department of the Punjab Government in those times, I am well aware of these three objects and their working. We lived in a quarter given by the department in a canal colony. An overseer mate, a beldar, a chowkidar, a weather reporter and a ‘tar baboo’who worked on telegraph and telephone systems of the Irrigation Department also used to live there. It was the duty of the weather reporter to send information to the head office about (i) the level of water flowing in the canal (ii) weather and (iii) rain. On a clear day at 12 noon he noted the water level of the canal and struck the gong 12 times. The farmers near the colonies noted time from this and got water for irrigating their fields.

Whenever it rained, he measured the water in the rain gauge and noted the rainfall in millimetres. From the weather cock he noted the direction of the wind.

He reported all this to the “tar baboo”, who passed the information to the head office on telegraph lines.

Now in the age of wireless, all these things have become history. Nobody lives in canal rest houses now. 

Surjit Singh Chaudhary



Shifting of telephone not easy in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — How much time does it requires for shifting a telephone connection a distance of only 150 yards? Indefinite is the answer, if the Department of Telecommunication of the city is assigned the task.

This exactly has been the experience of Mr Ram Krishan Sharma, a resident of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, near Samrala Chowk here. The harassed resident has, in a representation to the General Manager Telecom, a copy of which was sent to Ludhiana Tribune also, aired the uncalled for problems he is facing in the shifting of his telephone connection.

Mr Sharma said he had requested the Telecom Department in April this year for shifting his telephone connection from Vishvkarma Nagar near Samrala Chowk to Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, which is hardly at a distance of 150 yards. However, till date, the telephone has not been shifted.

He said apart from written reminders, he personally requested the telecom officials for the redressal of his grievance, but still, the telephone was not shifted.

Urging the GM to help in the matter, Mr Sharma said he had almost approached the Consumer Forum for seeking justice, but was encouraged by the statement of the General Manager in a newspaper that telephone services would improve and decided to make a last try.


Novel way of sowing paddy appreciated
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — To review the agricultural activities in the district and to see the paddy fields without pudding, Mr S. R. Kler, Additional Deputy Commissioner, and Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation along with Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, Chief Agricultural Officer, yesterday visited farms of Dr Daler Singh.

Dr Rajajung briefed Mr Kler about the research conducted by Dr Daler Singh by which paddy without pudding was sown on ridges. This practice saves water due to decreased surface area, no lodging of crop and less attack of insect-pests. Dr Rajajung said with this practice the yield of paddy was recorded 36.80 quintals per acre. He said the Department of Agriculture, Ludhiana, would apply adaptive, innovative research on basmati rice cultivation in the next kharif season as this practice prevented lodging in crop.

Mr Kler appreciated the extension services provided to the farmers by the Department of Agriculture. He said the department should lay stress on quality of produce and paddy without pudding assured the quantity as well as quality of rice.


YC protest against price hike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — The Youth Congress workers, led by district Youth Congress president, Mr Parminder Mehta, took out a protest march on Rajpura Road in Haibowal area today to raise their voice against the increase in prices of petroleum products, effected by the Union Government.

Raising slogans against the Union and state government, the YC activists burnt an effigy of the SAD(B)-BJP government in Punjab.Mr Mehta remarked that consequent upon the increase in prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas, the prices of essential commodities and other daily use items had also shot up. He said the price hike, brought into effect during the festival season, spoke volumes of the anti-poor and anti-people policies of the government. 

The spiralling prices had upset the family budget of the common people and the economically weaker sections were the worst affected. He further alleged that the Union Cabinet lacked coordination and ministers, belonging to different political parties, were indulging in misuse of public funds for their personal political motives and to consolidate the vote bank for their respective parties. He charged the Union and the state government with pursuing a dual policy with respect to procurement of paddy in Punjab. 

While the Union Food Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, had long back made it clear that the FCI would not enter the market for want of adequate storage space and requisite funds, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had been giving false assurances to the farming community. 

He said a large portion of the population did not have two square meals a day, while millions of tonnes of foodgrain were rotting in the godowns.The DYC president urged the government to come to the rescue of the paddy growers and to streamline the procurement work. 

He also wanted that the increase in the prices of petroleum products be rolled back and proposed that the scheme of food for work be implemented without any further delay to provide some respite to millions of hungry people across the country.


Is dua more powerful than dawa?

Knee surgery on the Prime Minister has been a hot topic of discussion. In one of the news channel, a report by Dr Ranawat said he was doing fine and was walking with the help of an attendant. At the same time, the news caster said if doctors were credited with the success of his operation, then all people praying at Urs at Ajmer Sharif could be equally credited for the success of Mr Vajpayee’s operation.

Now the question is whether medicine is more potent than prayers and if ‘dawa’ is more curative than ‘dua’. Asking the opinion of a cross section of people, the correspondent came across varied opinions. Ms Surbhi Sharma, a student said: “I do believe that prayers play an important role. When one sends a prayers up, the blessings come down. And without God’s blessings, the operation may not have been successful and the prayers will help in his quick recovery.”

Mr Prit Paul Singla, a lawyer, also had similar views. He said, “Even one person’s prayer straight from the heart can reach God. If so many people are praying together, naturally their concerted efforts will definitely help in quick healing. How much people prayed for Amitabh Bachchan when he was fighting between life and death? It was a miracle that he came back from dead. It was the effect of the prayers only”

Even Dr Christan Barnard, the surgeon, who did the first heart transplant, was a nervous wreck before his first operation. He asked God to give him strength during the operation. Even some doctors have put up this poster in their clinics. “I treat He cures.” putting their faith in God and acknowledge that he is the supreme healer.

Mr Gautam Sarup, a businessman, who is an atheist said,

Mujhe yeh aitraf ki duan mein hai asar
Jaye na aaras pe ye duaon to kaya kare

Meaning if my prayers do not reach God then what am I supposed to do. He said: “I do not have much faith in prayers. Doctors have to do their best and rest is patient’s luck.”

A group of teenaged students gave mixed response to the question whether ‘dua’ was equally effective as ‘dawa’. Ms. Sheetal Ghai vehemently said, “If we keep offering prayers and do not offer any treatment, the patient is certainly going to die.

I believe in doctors and their skill to save the patients.” where as her friends Meghna and Aarti said, “Doctors can also perform well if they are guided by God. Sometimes doctors also make silly mistakes which cost a patient his life. The prayers of the relatives and friends help doctor in using his knowledge at the right moment in the right way.

Mrs Savita Gupta, a science teacher, said, “I definitely have faith in God’s curative powers. A patient will recover faster if people are praying for him with sincere hearts.

The role of the doctor is very important, and if the doctor also has faith in God, most of the times his diagnosis will be absolutely correct. His patients will recover quickly because he will prescribe the right medicines.”

One can only admire Babur for having tremendous faith in God when he took three rounds of Humanyun’s bed, who was just wasting away, and offered his life instead, and Humayun, his son, was miraculously cured whereas Babur died a slow death.

“Prayers can do miracles”, At times, when doctors also turn away the patients who are mortally sick, the patient starts recovering miraculously. Now, in this present age, many people in India and abroad, have been healed at ‘prayer meetings’.

So prayers cannot be dismissed easily and nor can the medicines and the doctors. 

— AA


Irate truck drivers block GT Road
From Our Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Oct 12 — Traffic on the GT Road, Sahnewal, was blocked by irate truck drivers, who alleged that some employees of the octroi post beaten up a truck driver when the latter refused to pay for the transit pass today. When other truck drivers came to know of the incident, they blocked the GT road. After sometime, a police party led by the inspector, Mr Jatinder Singh Kahira, arrived and took control of the situation. Only when the drivers were assured that the culprits would be booked the blockade was cleared and normal activity was restored.


Bausch & Lomb, NIIT tie-up
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 12 — To increase awareness about vision care and offer career counselling to students, Bausch & Lomb and NIIT have tied up to hold roadshows titled ‘Confident Look E-Fest’ at 10 colleges here.

One such roadshow was held at Khalsa College for Women today where optometrists conducted vision test. Free medical advice was given by specialists. The students got an opportunity to try an entire range of Bausch & Lomb contact lenses, including disposable and coloured lenses.

The most attractive part of the show was a special computer package which enabled the girls to virtually try 500 different hairstyles, makeovers and contact lenses. The girls also showed interest in a personality test in which they were to answer questions on the computer. The NIIT staff gave free career counselling to the students to suit their aspirations. Special discounts were also offered on select courses.

Mr J.P. Singh, vice-president, Bausch & Lomb, said, ‘‘Alarmingly, over 50 per cent of the youth between the 15-25 age-group were not aware about vision impairment. Contact lenses provide the wearer comfort, glamour and confidence, all of which has become important for youngsters today.’’

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