Friday, January 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn, not MC, to take up infrastructure works
Special plan drawn up for Sectors 39 to 56 
By Ajay Banerjee and Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Jan 4 — The controversy over who will carry out new development work in the city has finally been resolved. The UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), has okayed a system under which the Chandigarh Administration and not the Municipal Corporation will carry out development works to create fresh infrastructure in the city.

The issue had been hanging fire for the past four years, with the cash-strapped MC saying it just cannot do any infrastructural development activity, costing crores of rupees. The MC, which has no means to generate its own resources, is even finding it difficult to maintain the existing facilities and is in no position to develop new places.

Once a notification is issued, building of roads, setting up power houses, laying of water supply, sewerage and storm water lines will be carried out from money under the Capital project which is handled by the Administration. The Administration will also develop parks , parking areas in markets, bus queue shelters and recreational centres which are so far lacking in the phase III sectors.

The Administration is preparing a blue print for a project named “Infrastructure initiative for phase III sectors’’ . Focus will be to raise the level of facilities to match those existing is the phase I and phase II sectors. With a new class of professionals, first-generation businessmen and salaried class settling down in phase III, demands have been pouring in for better facilities.

The issue of new and major development projects will now be undertaken by the Chandigarh Administration, sources in the Administration said, adding that this has been done to finally sort out the issue of fresh development. Already some major development works like those in case of lands allotted to societies and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) housing colonies like the one in Sector 38-West is carried out by the Administration.

The decision has been taken after a series of incidents when the MC refused to carry out the task, saying that it was short of funds. In Sector 31 along the Dakshin Marg, several new office complexes are coming up. The MC reportedly expressed its inability to take up infrastructure work and ultimately the Administration had to take up the job.

About six months ago, neglect and worsening condition of the sector-dividing roads in the city had forced the Chandigarh Administration to put pressure on the MC to re-carpet these roads. Repair and maintenance of these roads, known as V-3 roads under the master plan, is otherwise in the hands of the Municipal Corporation.

Some of these roads cater to large volumes of traffic and are the busiest roads in the city. Another road caters to all trucks and heavy vehicles passing through the city. 


City can look forward to brighter nights 
Privatisation of streetlights on anvil
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 —The Municipal Coroporation of Chandigarh today took the first major practical step for privatisation of streetlights by broadly laying down the terms and conditions for operation and maintenance of nearly 16,000 light points in the City Beautiful.

The terms and conditions will be given finishing touches by the Finance and Contract Committee (F and CC) before according its final approval.

With the MC moving a step closer on the issue of privatisation of streetlights, the city can now look forward to brighter nights and optimum utilisation of available power. The move is expected to go a long way in solving the long-standing problem of non-functional streetlights which even the Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken cognisance. The matter was raised before the High Court following a random survey in the city which revealed that a majority of the streetlights were non-functional.

The MC had earlier contended in the court that poor maintenance of streetlights is on account of the shortage of staff. The officials had pointed out that when the function of maintenance of streetlights was transferred from the Administration, only skeletal staff was given.

The MC Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, said that the House had authorised them almost a year back to go ahead with privatisation of streetlight points. Since meeting the shortage of staff by creation of more posts was not possible due to lack of finances, privatisation was the next best possible solution. Mr Singh said that the terms have been finalised at the official level and are subject to any change, after it is placed for discussion before the F and CC. Moreover, most other corporations have already gone ahead with this.

Sources reveal that despite repeated requests for additional staff, the MC still has only 10-15 per cent of staff actually required as per the norm. It has nearly 15,700-odd streetlight points, mostly with underground cables to look after. Officials maintain that privatisation is the need of the hour, for, in the government set-ups, particularly at the lower rung, the work culture is not satisfactory.

Chief Engineer Puranjit Singh said that they plan to divide the city into 4-5 zones for the purpose of undertaking privatisation in a phased manner. The contract will also be given to atleast 2-3 parties so as to ensure better services. He further said that additional staff will also be needed to monitor the privatisation of these lights.

The terms and conditions envisage that the bidder will quote rates pointwise separately for tubelight, M.V. lamp and S. V. lamp for single, double, triple and four poles. The contract will be valid for a period of 2 years and the contractual agency shall engage adequate staff for monitoring and working of these lights. The streetlights on the circuits, which are 100 per cent functional, shall be immediately taken over by the contractor for maintenance purposes, while the others will be made functional by the MC before handing them over. On expiry of the contract, the agency will hand them over to the MC in the same condition, in which they had taken over.

The terms further specify that the operation and maintenance of streetlight points shall include replacement of lamps, tubes, blasts, igniters, cables and other allied accessories and the maintenance of feeding lines in co-ordination with the electricity wing of the Administration. The contractor will have to ensure that the streetlights are operated and maintained properly, failing which penalty will be imposed. A joint inspection will be carried out daily by a representative of the contractual agency and a representative of the MC every day.

The agency shall not have any authority to change the site/nature of the streetlight points without prior permission of the MC and will strictly observe the timings for switching on/off the light points.

The conditions further stipulate that the electricity consumption charges will be paid by the corporation. The machinery tools and plants will be arranged by the contractor for maintenance purposes.

The contractor shall be responsible for any accident/mishappening resulting during operation/maintenance of the streetlight system to any of his own staff or member of the public on account of any defective material supplied by him or bad workmanship on his part. The contract can be terminated by giving 15 days’ notice in case the performance of the firm/contractor is not found satisfactory, or in case of violation of terms and conditions, and the earnest money/security shall be forfeited, besides recovery of penalty charges.


PU dreams to declare results on schedule
By Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — If everything works right, Panjab University this time has chalked a clear line of action of save over a month’s period in declaration of the annual examination results as compared to the past several years.

Examination for the general category classes in BA I and B Sc I commence from April 4. The results are expected by June 6. This saves nearly 26 days in the arts faculty and 34 in the science stream as compared to the last year, highly placed sources said while talking to Chandigarh Tribune.

The examination for all the three years of the commerce stream also commence from April 4. The results are expected by May 31. This would save 19 days as compared to the last year. Also scheduled for the same date are examinations for the second and third year of the arts and science stream for under-graduate classes. This will save more than 25 days in terms of declaration of results.

Mr Ashok Bhandari, Joint Controller of Examinations, said the commencement of the regular examination will be preceded by the compartment examination for the English paper on April 3. A rough estimate of 35 days has been kept aside for the total duration of the examination.

The date-sheet committee will meet soon to decide the formal dates. The committee which is headed by the Controller of Examinations ( Registrar in case of PU), also includes the joint controller, AR( conduct) and about a dozen college principals.

The postgraduate examinations are scheduled for April 17 and papers in Gyani, Prabhakar and Acharya are scheduled to commence from April 24. Details of the expected dates of declaration of results for these classes are still to be finalised, Mr Bhandari said.

One common problem faced in the result compilation is ‘‘untimely receipt of answer-sheets’’, an official said. Sometimes answersheets are returned unchecked by the examiners.

The official said that the teacher’s delay went off unnoticed in most of the cases. There have been plenty of cases where only a fraction of teachers on the checker’s list have turned up for the official job. The teacher themselves have to take up the issue at their forum and find suitable answers, he added.

A senior teacher said that the delay in declaration of results was often due to poor management in compilation of the results. There were other related aspects which needed a re-assessment. Both the wings need to sit and deliberate at a common platform for definite results.

The CET in the medical and engineering fields are scheduled for May 19. Other entrance examinations for various courses like MMC, LLM, LLB, MA (Physical Education), MP Ed and B Lib are scheduled between June 9 and June 14.

The proposal if implemented provides a significant improvement, particularly to those who seek admission in Delhi University, Jawahar Lal Nehru University and some other leading institutes where admissions close by the time results are declared in PU.


‘Instant nurse’ can be a curse
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — The Punjab Red Cross in collaboration with a privately-funded trust has been churning out “instant nurses” for the past more than three years.

The number of such “extensively trained” “instant nurses” runs into dozens if not hundreds.

The intentions of the trust — Vikrant Memorial Trust — and the Punjab Red Cross, may be good. But it is the end product which seems to be creating problems. The use of the term “nurse” to describe those who have undergone the four-plus-one-month course has drawn flak from none other than the Trained Nurses Association of India. The association has pointed out that the “course is not only illegal but also unsafe.”

The fate of a seriously ill patient in the hands of such an “instant nurse” can be well-imagined. According to the rules and regulations of the Indian Nursing Council (INC), private bodies can conduct short-term courses in first aid at their own level but they certainly cannot term these as courses in ‘‘nursing’’. Neither can the persons trained through these courses be called ‘‘nurses’’.

The Punjab Red Cross calls this service wherein one can hire the services of a ‘‘nurse’’ for Rs 100 a day as the “Home Nursing Health Care Assistance”. Naturally, the girls too believe that after a short-term course of four months with a one month practical training, they actually acquire the status of a qualified nurse.

Mrs Amrit Ahluwalia, former Registrar, Punjab Nurses Registration Council and member of the INC, said as the training programme by the Red Cross was not recognised, it could not be registered.

The minimum duration for any nursing course, like that of an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife or a multipurpose health worker is one and a half years. “These NGOs can run a first aid course but not of home nursing,” she adds. In fact, she also doubts the claims that these girls are actually able to make a decent living. ‘‘If these NGOs are so keense provide a better future to the girls they can start proper courses like many other agencies in the state.’’

The Chandigarh unit of the Trained Nurses Association of India is also up in arms against the arbitrary use of the term “nurse”, for persons having this training.

Alleging that the training imparted by these NGOs is unauthorised, the Trained Nurses Association of India too says that the curriculum and duration of each programme is prescribed by the Indian Nursing Council and any agency or institution which conducts any of the programmes in nursing has to be recognised not only by the INC but also by the State Nursing Council.

“Besides, anyone who is not registered with Nursing Council can not claim to be a nurse and is not authorised to practice nursing. If anyone does so, it is considered to be illegal and also unsafe for the consumers”, asserts Ms Rajinder Dhadda, president of the Chandigarh branch of the association while talking to The Tribune here today.

As per Ms Dhadda, a training, however extensive it may be as claimed by the NGOs, in mere three to four months cannot train the girls to be qualified nurses. “Perhaps authorities concerned of both these NGOs are not aware of the fact that the Indian Nursing Council —1947 Section 13 covers the entire nursing education in the country to bring uniformity and standardisation in nursing education, keeping in view the safety of the patients.”

The curriculum and duration for each such programme of nursing education is prescribed by the INC. “Not only this,’’ adds Ms Dhadda, “every trained nurse too has to be registered with the nursing council. Without registration, she is not authorised to practise nursing and is thus malpracticing. This way total nursing education and practice is controlled by the Indian Nursing Council as well as by the state nursing councils.’’

She asserts that the association is not against any agency imparting training to poor and needy women to work as attendants thereby enabling them earn a decent living. “But they have to be called as such and not nurses. It gives a completely wrong impression about the profession to the general public. There are nurses with graduate, postgraduate, M. Phil and doctorate degrees.

Even worse is the fact that after being trained from such agencies, the girls often find jobs with nursing homes. They are employed there as their services come cheap. This not only gives a bad impression about the profession but also puts the safety of patients in jeopardy,” Ms Dhadda said.

She said “the minimum training for an auxiliary nurse, midwife which are currently called multipurpose health workers is for one and a half years and for general nursing and midwifery it is three years. For a post basic graduate degree another two year period of training is required.”

Clearly, one cannot become a nurse in just four months. “The representatives of the NGO had approached us, asking us to provide practical training to the girls but we had asked them to get permission from the INC,” said Ms Dhadda.

The coordinators of the courses, Mr Mohan Bindal, Deputy Secretary, Punjab Red Cross and Ms Rajinder Bedi, State Training Officer and in charge of the Vikas Memorial Trust, Dr B.D. Gupta , could not be contacted as they were out of station. Sources, however, added that the objection about the misuse of the term ‘‘nurse’’ had been aired earlier also.

However, according to Mr Ramesh Aggarwal, also a Deputy Secretary with the Punjab Red Cross, the girls undergoing the training are provided basic training in first aid and home nursing. “ I agree that calling these girls ‘‘nurses’’ would be highly inappropriate. Our aim is just to help these girls and those in need.”

The certificate issued by the national headquarters of the St John’s Ambulance, at the end of three-month training also states that the candidate has undertaken training in first aid and home nursing.


Vineeta may be relieved on Jan 12
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Vineeta Rai, is likely to be relieved from here on January 12, official sources said. She has been posted as Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Affairs.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is likely to appoint new Adviser in the coming couple of days.

Major snag in phone exchange
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Almost 20,000 phones in the Industrial Area, Phase II exchange, developed a major snag at around 8.30 p.m., disrupting communication and causing harassment to subscribers. The fault could not be corrected till the filing of the report.

Upon picking up the receiver, subscribers could hear a recorded announcement “only emergency services are available”. However, even these emergency numbers like police, fire or the ambulance services could not be accessed.


City records coldest day of season
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Residents of Chandigarh and the surrounding areas today shivered through the coldest day of the season so far with the city recording a day temperature of 11.2°C, 9°C below the normal average for this time of year. This was 3°C less than yesterday.

A blanket of fog over large parts of the north-western region aided the cold wave conditions as city residents preferred to remain indoors and use blowers and heaters. Office-goers were huddled around heaters and the attendance dropped in schools and colleges. The poor huddled around bonfires. The difference between the day temperature in Chandigarh and Shimla was less than a degree as the hill station — which is cased in snow — recorded a day temperature of 10.5°C.

Fog reduced visibility to a few metres, delaying long-route buses and trains, while fog remained in place for the second day in succession today. But unlike yesterday, when the sun was out in the afternoon, today the fog did not lift entirely. Mr S.C. Bhan, Director of the local meteorological office, said that the conditions would persist for the next 48 hours.

Owing to foggy conditions, buses to places like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Ferozepore, Ludhiana, Patiala, Hisar, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Karnal, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Kulu, Dharmsala, Chamba, Mandi, Una, Jammu, among other areas, were delayed by anything between 1 hour and 3 hours.

Fearing a mishap on some hill routes, various roadways authorities have asked their drivers to stop buses on the roadside and wait for the fog to clear. The note of caution is more specific for the Chandigarh-Shimla sector and the Chandigarh-Una sector leading up to Kangra and beyond. A similar advice of caution has been given for the Ropar-Jalandhar sector where the road runs parallel to a canal.

A section of passengers that has been hit comprises the daily commuters who come to Chandigarh from Ambala, Ludhiana, Kalka , Patiala, Parwanoo and Dera Bassi, besides other surrounding areas. The buses are delayed, making them late for office.

Meteorological Department sources said, the minimum temperature recorded in Chandigarh was 7°C, which was within the normal range. It is a drop of almost 2°C since yesterday.

UNI adds: A number of trains in the region were running behind schedule by 40 to 70 minutes. The Indian Airlines flight from here to Delhi was delayed by three hours.

The traffic, too, was affected right from Udhampur and Jammu to Suratgarh in Rajasthan, Saharanpur and Ghaziabad (UP), the National Capital Territory of Delhi and Sirsa in Haryana due to the early morning fog which reduced the visibility to a near nil.

According to the meteorological department here, Jammu, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, received a rain of 0.3 mm. The maximum temperature there stood at 10.6°C and the lowest was recorded at 6.1°C.

The people in some areas of Srinagar in the Kashmir valley woke up to find their water taps frozen as the night temperature dropped here to minus 3.3°C. However, the day temperature was slightly better than Chandigarh at 11.6°C.

In Shimla, however, it remained sunny and local residents and tourists thronged the famous Ridge and The Mall.

People in both Punjab and Haryana braved icy winds during the day with the maximum temperature dipping to 12.6°C in Hisar in Haryana. The lowest temperature was recorded at 9.6°C. Ambala was slightly better with 17.3°C and 7.7°C, respectively. 


Protest by Sector 26 vegetable vendors
Collection of tax by commission agents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Jan 4 — Business was affected in the Sector 26 vegetable market when hundreds of members of the Subzi Mandi Phari Association took to the streets to protest against the collection of an arbitrary tax of Rs 2 per bag by the commission agents here today.

This malpractice had been highlighted by The Tribune on January 1. The protesters alleged that this practice had been going on for quite sometime and members who had previously resisted had been allegedly “blacklisted “ by the commission agents. Now they could not do business with any of the 130 listed agents of the market committee.

The complainants added that they were “petty and marginal traders” and the levy was hitting their business. They said on an average 20, 000 bags arrive in the market which means the agents pocketed Rs 40, 000 daily.

This incident has again highlighted the need for stringent controls and streamlining of the market committee fee structure. Presently, the traders are reportedly submitting only a minimal fee just to evade any penalties. They are said to maintain two sets of books thereby pocketing huge sums causing loss to the exchequer and the committee.

The connivance of the market committee officials in this matter cannot be ruled out, the sources added.

On the other hand, the agents maintain that they were collecting the amount only from the persons who bought from them on credit. Huge payments were pending with the protesters and this was a way to make good their money, they said.

A meeting between both the parties in the afternoon ended in a stalemate.

Interestingly, one of the directors of the committee is also a commission agent, but he is said to have expressed his inability to intervene in the matter citing pressure from his fraternity.

Sources said business worth lakhs was transacted in the market everyday and the lack of any checks by the authorities had emboldened the agents who leave no opportunity to fleece vendors who are forced to pass on the surcharge to the customers and the farmers who bring in their produce from the surrounding areas.


Custodial death case
Police told to hand over clothes of victim
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — In the alleged custodial death case, the Central Forensic Science Laboratory has reportedly asked the Chandigarh police to hand over the clothes worn by the 29-year-old Dr Amanjeet Singh when he fell off the police vehicle.

Sources in the Police Department claim that the authorities at the CFSL have also asked the cops to supply the photographs of the spot taken after the occurrence.

It may be recalled that Dr Amanjeet Singh’s father, Mr Mulla Singh, in his petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court had alleged that the victim’s clothes were not dirty and as such there was no indication regarding his falling on the road.

Seeking probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the death, he had stated that the police version regarding the “victim” dying accidently in August last year “was far from reality”. He had added that his son was either murdered in Sector 39 police station after being subjected to third degree torture or was thrown out of a moving vehicle.

Going into the background, he stated that Dr Amanjeet had left his house on August 10 last year but never returned. A call stating that the victim had met with an accident was received by a neighbour at about 4 a.m. the next morning. Upon reaching the Sector 16 General Hospital, the petitioner had added, he was taken to the mortuary where he saw blood oozing from the back of the victim’s head.

Refuting the allegations levelled by the police regarding the victim being under the influence of liquor, he had stated that his son was a teetotaller and had never consumed liquor either at home or publicly.


Change of guard at IAF installations
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Two major IAF installations here — No. 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) and No. 12 Wing — saw a change of guard with the respective Air Officers Commanding (AOCs) assuming their new assignments today.

Air Cmde Ambrish Kumar has taken over as AOC, 3 BRD, from Air Cmde Arvinda Agrawal, who has been posted as Deputy Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters Maintenance Command in Nagpur, while Air Cmde V.S. Govindarajan assumed command of 12 Wing from Air Cmde S.K. Banerjee, who has proceeded to Air Headquarters, New Delhi, to take up his new assignment as Director Operations (Transport and Helicopters).

Prior to assuming their respective assignments, both incoming AOCs were undergoing a course at the prestigious National Defence College in New Delhi.

A ceremonial parade marked the handing over of the command at both units. After taking a general salute, the outgoing AOCs reviewed the parade and handed over charge of their respective units to the new incumbents, who were then given a general salute.

Commissioned into the technical branch of the IAF in 1968, Air Cmde Ambrish Kumar is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He served with a bomber squadron during the 1971 Indo-Pak war and subsequently held various appointments in field units as well as at Command and Air headquarters. He was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal in 1996 for distinguished services.

Air Cmde Govindarajan, a qualified flying instructor and a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, is a former Commandant of the IAF’s Paratroop Training School at Agra. Commissioned into the Flying Branch in 1968, he has a flying experience of over 6,000 hours on Dakota, Packet, HS-748 and AN-32, besides trainers. He has also served as Chief Flying Instructor at the Basic Flying Training Establishments as well as the Transport Training Wing, besides Officer-in-Charge Flying Training at HQ Training Command. He was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal in 1995.


Police to get tough with truckers
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — The Chandigarh police is planning to act against truckers whizzing down the city roads with mud-coated, or blurry number plates. The cops are launching a special day-long drive on Monday for challaning truckers driving through the city with poorly visible number plates.

The drivers will reportedly be challaned if the registration number is painted on the back of the truck and not on the plate. They will also be proceeded against if the number is hidden with the help of a wire gauze or is coated with mud. The drivers will not be spared even if the number is not clearly painted on both sides of the vehicle.

The decision to act against such drivers is significant as several truckers could not be identified in hit-and-run cases as their registration number was not clearly visible.

In Chandigarh, over 330 “non-fatal” accidents were reported last year out of which 12 per cent could not be worked out. In the category of fatal accidents, about 115 cases were registered and 17 per cent remained unsolved. Cops believe that truckers were involved in most of the untraced cases.

Sources in the Police Department add that about 4,500 trucks pass through the city everyday while about 1,500 actually enter the city.

For the purpose of challaning, the police is reportedly setting up 20 barriers all over the city. Special vigil will reportedly be kept on the Sector 16 General Hospital roundabout, besides the Sector 18 government press roundabout and the Sector 10 museum roundabout.

Over 100 cops are also being deputed for carrying out the challaning. The help of the regular police is also being taken. Information about the drive has already been sent to all the 11 police stations in the city.

The Station House Officers of all the police stations have also been requested to join in the drive,” says Superintendent of the Chandigarh police, Mr Balbir Singh. “In case they are engaged with some other assignment, they are being asked to send in their representatives”.

Expressing desire to carry on the drive in future also, the SP says, “The intention behind the drive is not to harass the truck drivers but to instill a sense of confidence among the residents by telling them that the police is serious about ensuring their safety”.


Braille Day celebrated
Colourful programme by visually impaired children
From Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, Jan 4 — Students of the Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, presented a colourful programme to commemorate the 192nd birth anniversary of Louis Braille. A lively session of antakshari was the highlight of the occasion.

The students were divided in three groups — Ajanta, Ujjain and Nalanda, and presented various songs. They were excited about the whole event and put in their best performance. They also interacted with the chief guest and other invitees later on.

The performers displayed their skill and never faltered for a moment. A cross-section of the students expressed their excitement and said that more cultural events should be organised. Many of them said, ‘‘we rarely feel that we are visually impaired. We are indebted to the teachers who put in a lot of effort and encourage us at every step of life.’’

The headmaster of the institute, Mr J.S. Jayara, highlighted the importance of the day. He said, ‘‘Louis Braille lost his eyesight at the age of three due to an accident. He put in constant endeavors to invent some system so that visually impaired could read and write, effectively. He invented Braille script in 1825, but it received universal recognition 1854, two years after his death. He opened up the doors of knowledge for the visually impaired.

The chairman of the Physically Handicapped Association, Punjab, Mr Ajit Salani, also interacted with the students. He asked them to come forward and participate in various cultural programmes. The students who sing well would be given a chance to perform in television programmes, he assured.

The Home Secretary, UT, Mr R.S. Gujral, was the chief guest of the function. The chairman of the institute, Maj Gen Rajinder Nath, manager, Col Bindra, and principal, Mr K.R. Sood, were also present on the occasion.

The programme was sponsored by Director, Ideas for Advancement, Ms Pragiti Gandhi.

Develop low-cost hearing aids: Jacob 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today underlined the need for taking concerted measures to check noise pollution.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 53rd annual conference of the Association of Otolaryngologist of India at the PGI here today, the Administrator said that noise pollution was causing irreversible damage to the ears. He said that even in a city like Chandigarh, the noise level in certain areas was quite high.

General Jacob said that although 10 per cent of the population of the country was facing the problem of deafness there were a very few ENT specialists to look after them.

Underlining the need for developing low-cast hearing aids, the Governor said that those available in the market were beyond the reach of a majority of the affected population.

The Governor regretted the fact that print as well as the electronic media was being used to promote the sale of harmful products like cigarettes and pan masala. Earlier, Prof Sandra Desa Souza was installed as the President of the association.

The General Secretary of the association, Prof SBS Mann, Director, GMCH and former head of the ENT Department, PGI, read out a report of the various activities of the association.

The AOICON conference began in the morning with a live demonstration of a surgical procedure called thyroplasty for correcting hoarse voice. Conducted by Prof SBS Mann, Dr Ashok Gupta, Associate Professor, ENT Department, PGI and other senior residents, the procedure took about 40 minutes.

According to Prof Anoop Raj, Treasurer, AOICON and Head, ENT Department, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, during the conference, for the first time, scientific sessions had been arranged in three tiers. These included hi-tech sessions on phonosurgery and endoscopic procedures, hi-tech procedures for mediocre institutions, besides those giving basic information on topics like tonsils and nose surgery.


Disabled for implementation of Act
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Sore over the successive governments inability, both at the state and the Centre, to implement the Persons with Disability and Equal Opportunity and Rights and Full Participation Act, 1995, hundreds of activists of the National Handicapped Welfare Council, Haryana, have demanded more reservation in the polity in order to pressurise the powers that be to take a more sympathetic view of them.

This demand was raised during the two-day All-India Seminar of Disabled Persons and the 193rd birth anniversary of Louis Braille that concluded at Indira Holiday Home here today. The seminar was organised by the National Handicapped Welfare Council, Haryana, in collaboration with the Lions Club of Panchkula.

Decrying the attitude of the powers that be for the implementation of the Section 47(B) of the Act that stipulates that there would be no discrimination against the disabled in any government or public building by making provisions for a lift or a ramp to make these offices more accessible to the physically disabled, it was felt that no efforts were being made to introduce these facilities in various government buildings.

Mr K.C. Wadhawan, convenor of the council, while talking to TNS, lamented that even the new government or public buildings that were being constructed were not disabled-friendly and the provisions of the Act were being ignored.

Supporting his views, Mr S.S. Shukla, general secretary of the council, said that there were only a handful of examples where the administration had given some thought for the convenience of the disabled. Citing these examples, he said that at a few places in Ludhiana, Delhi and Mumbai, the administration had set up computerised traffic lights where the traffic signals were spoken through the computer for the benefit of the visually-impaired. “But for the disabled all across the country, there is still no reprieve,” he complained.

Most of the participants in the seminar demanded that they should also be given adequate representation in the Central and State Executive and Coordination Committee made under the Act for quick redress of their grievances. They also demanded that a disability welfare commission be set up with a disabled person as its chairman in order to highlight their problems and find ways and means to solve these.

Interestingly, another important point of discussion during the two-day seminar was the need for having more IT-savvy disabled and special software in the local language that could best suit their needs. Mr Amrit Pal Singh, Head of the Music Department in Government College, Kalka, said that it were the Americans who had taken the lead by creating special software like Milleneum 2000, JAWS and Kurzweil 1000 that read aloud any kind of literature to the visually impaired by scanning the pages and then routing the sentences to the computer.

He said that it was because of this software that he had been able to have access to so much of information, but felt that the Indian software engineers should develop this software in the local language so that others like him, who are not very well conversant with English, could avail of its benefits.

Perhaps with this purpose in mind, the office-bearers of the Council have now decided to set up an IT laboratory in the National Institute of Disabled being set up at the cost of Rs 50 lakh in Panchkula.

Other demands put forth in the seminar were reservation for the dependents of disabled in the field of education and vocational training and priority in government jobs on the Punjab government pattern; five year’s concession to those disabled in the government job seeking voluntary retirement from service after 10 years’ of continued service; people even with 40 per cent disability be allowed to avail free state transport. 


Early diagnosis can prevent deafness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Jan 4 — Out of every 1,000 live births, there is one case of congenital deafness. Besides conventional causes like old age and discharging ear, extraneous circumstances like noise pollution and unmonitered use of certain autotoxic drugs also lead to deafness.

Incidentally, continuous use of walkman at very high intensity could be a reason for partial or even complete deafness. According to ENT specialists attending the ongoing Annual Conference of Association of Otaryngologists of India (AOICON) at the PGI, even the traffic policemen manning congested roads can eventually suffer from deafness. As per the specialists, except perhaps congenital deafness or deafness due to accidents and old age, all other cases are preventable.

Deafness affects as many as 10 million Indians. The fact remains that problems complicate if patients do not get proper treatment in time.

According to Dr Jagdeep Hundal, consultant at the Guru Ramdas Medical College, Amritsar, one of the main causes for the discharging ear, which in itself accounts for 40 to 50 per cent of the total cases of partial deafness, can be prevented if detected in time.

“The reasons for discharging ear, besides persistent cold, are also poor socio-economic status of the patients. As a result most of these cases go undetected till it’s is too late, “ he adds.

Antibiotics given in injectable drugs and anti-malarial drugs, besides noise pollution, are other causes of deafness. Industry workers are highly susceptable to deafness. As per Prof W. Draf from Germany, every care has to be taken that industrial workers are not exposed to more than 80 to 90 decibels of sound for more then eight hours. The workers should compulsorily wear ear plugs, he advises.

According to Prof Sandra Desa Souza, Head, ENT Department Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, 15 million people in the country are suffering from severe deafness and their numbers are increasing every year. A survey conducted four years ago revealed that 9 million people were suffering from severe deafness.

The causes for severe deafness besides congenital defects and accidents include infections and fall-out of disease like meningitis. In fact, 50 per cent of the people who have meningitis could later develop deafness of the inner ear.

Dr Hundal adds that whereas complications which develop later due to a disease or accident are beyond control, congenital deafness, if detected at an early stage can help a person to get rehabilitated with the help of a hearing aid.

All the new-born bodies should be screened, he says, adding that the parents with children having less birthweight, jaundice or hypoxia should be extra careful. A hearing aid at an early stage can help develop speech , he adds.

Even schools should play an important role in identifying children suffering from ENT problems in school health programmes.

The deafness of the middle ear can be corrected with the help of hearing aids. Surgical procedures include replacement of tympanic membrane and ossicles.

A completely deaf ear, especially in those who cannot wear a hearing aid, are best solved by a cochlear implant. According to Prof Desa Souza, the implants are embedded in the skin, increasing the quality of sound unlike normal hearing aids.

A coil is put in the inner ear which catches the sound by the receiver. The receiver transmits sound signal in the form of an electric signal which is amplified and sent to the inner ear. Signal is picked up in inner ear and then transmitted to the brain.

According to Prof W. Pirsing from Germany, men snore more than women. Though this has not been properly investigated, it seems that the women are protected by their hormones. Incidentally, after menopause, at 50 years, 50 per cent of the women start snoring.

Prof Pirsing adds that although he would not call snoring a disease, at times it could be indicative of a complication.” In any case, the people who are obese and consume alcohol are more prone to snoring.” 


Consumer fair opens
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Intense cold did not dampen the spirits of residents who flocked to the consumer, auto and computer fair, which started today at Hotel Shivalikview here. The five-day fair attracted more than four thousand visitors on the first day itself.

“Despite the extreme cold , we are getting a good response”, said Bhawna Sagar, career counsellor of the Web Univ Infotech, which is starting their operations shortly .

More than 90 exhibitors are participating in the fair against the expected early 150 due to the sudden shifting of the venue, informed the organisers. “The fair was scheduled to be held at the parade ground but due to hassles in permission from several departments, we had to shift the venue and many companies who were earlier participating had to be refused “, said Mr Pradeep Chhabra the one of the organisers.

The fair which has been sponsored by the ICICI has participants including dotcoms like apnapunjab, Avlon, Inalsa Appliances, Moulinex appliances, etc. The stalls including hosiery, kitchenware, electrical appliances, leathergoods and footwear, jewellery, books, eatables, IT and computers have been put up. The fair will continue till January 8.


Shopkeepers want power connections
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Members of the Traders Association of Sector 17 have requested the UT Administration to grant individual electricity connections to owners of the shops in Anand Complex. A memorandum in this regard has been submitted to the UT Administrator.

Members of the association have said that they have not been granted individual electricity connections on the basis of the assumption that they had violated the building bylaws. They have alleged that owners of more than half of the commercial undertakings in the UT have been violating building bylaws, yet enjoying individual electricity connections.

The association, in a press note issued here, has said that a demand notice for the grant of electricity was given in 1982, after which, 120 MM high-tension underground cable was laid from substation 18 to Anand Complex. However, shopkeepers have still not received the connections. “Officials say that the building is under the control of the Liquidation Officer of the UT because of a financial dispute between its owners and a bank. However, we are tenants and it is certain that no case is pending with the electricity department,” Mr Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, President of the association, said.

He has also said that the occupants are prepared to give indemnity bond required for the grant of the connections and obey all rules.


PU security guard ‘taken for a ride’
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — A security guard at one of the gates of Panjab University campus was literally ‘taken for a ride’ by an autorickshaw driver here this morning after he stopped the latter from entering the campus.

A senior police official, however, said the incident was not a case of kidnapping.

Sipahi Rai, who was on duty at Gate No 3, stopped the three-wheeler at the gate at about 9 a.m. and asked the driver where he wanted to go. The autorickshaw driver told him that he had to go to PGI, Sector 12. There was a heated argument between the two as the security guard told the autorickshaw driver that he could not use the campus route.

After some time the driver asked the security guard to take him to the officer who had passed such orders.

Sipahi Rai reportedly agreed to take him to the Chief Security Officer of PU. He reportedly sat in the autorickshaw and told him the way to CSO’s office. But autorickshaw driver instead of taking him to the CSO’s office, took an U-turn and sped towards Sector 17.

The dazed security guard managed to jump from the three-wheeler near Sector 22. The matter was reported to Mr R.K. Singh, CSO of the PU. The CSO was, however, not available for comments.

Confirming the incident a senior police official said they had received a complaint in this regard but no case has been registered.


Goindi mourns Sheela's death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Jan 4 — Dr S.S. Goindi, a local Gandhian, today mounred the death of Dr Sheela Nayar, the last of the Gandhians who lived with Mahatma Gandhi.

"Her death leaves a void in the world of Ghandhians. She was the most active of the Gandhian activists till the time of her death. She was the Chairperson of the Kasturba Natinal Memorial Trust, Indore, started by Gandhiji himself," he said in a statement issued here today. During Nehru's time, she was Health Minister, Government of India.

She had recently taken over as Chancellor of the Gujarat Vidya Peeth on the death of the then Chancellor. She was life President of the Kasturba Health Society running the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Science and Kasturba Hospital, Vardha, Maharashtra.

Three hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Three persons were injured when a Punjab Police Gypsy collided with a bus on the road dividing Sectors 32 and 33 here tonight. The three unidentified persons were admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32. 


Youth commits suicide
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — A 22-year-old city resident, working in the Punjab Accountant-General’s office, hung himself to death late last night. His body was pulled down after being discovered in the basement of the building this morning.

Sources in the Police Department said Kuldip Kumar of Sector 7, working as a part-time water pump operator, reportedly hung himself with an electric wire after tying it to a water pipe.

Kuldip Singh, according to the sources, said in the note that he was ending his life on his own will and no one was to be blamed for it. He, however, did not specify the exact reason behind taking the extreme step. Kuldip Singh was unmarried.

Senior police officials, when contacted, said the body had been sent for a post-mortem examination and proceedings under Section 174, CrPC, initiated.


Woman hospitalised
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — A 40-year-old city resident, Asha Rani, was admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital after sustaining burn injuries.

Sources in the Police Department said Asha Rani of Colony No 5 tried to end her life by pouring kerosene before setting herself on fire. Sources added that the housewife was admitted to hospital with 25 per cent burn injuries. Her condition was reported to be stable.

It was added that Asha Rani's husband was a rickshaw-puller and the couple had three children.

One injured
A Khajeri village resident was admitted to the PGI after the Moped she was driving was hit by a scooter.

According to sources in the Police Department, the accident took place at the turn of Sectors 36 and 37.

Beaten up
A Mauli Jagran resident was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital with injuries after being allegedly thrashed by a Sector 38 resident. In his complaint to the police, the victim alleged that he was threatened and thrashed by Rakesh near Neelam cinema in Sector 17. The accused, according to sources, has been arrested.

Radio stolen
In a complaint to the police, Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh employee Darshan Pal Singh alleged that his trunk radio set was stolen from his car parked in the Sector 37 market. Taking up the complaint, the police has registered a case of theft under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code.

Stereo theft
A car stereo was stolen from the Gypsy of a Sector 18 resident while it was parked in front of a house in Sector 34. According to sources, a case of theft under Section 379 of IPC has been registered. 

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