Monday, October 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Lakhs waiting for an eye, but almost no donors
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, October 28
The world is a beautiful place. But how many of us who see it everyday in all its vibrant hues are aware that there are innumerable pairs of eyes that have never, neither shall ever, see the world in its true color. Even though thousands of people died in the national Capital last year, “only 500” of them donated heir eyes, said K. L. Batra, manager of A. Edward Maumenee Eye Bank of the Venu Charitable Society.

“There are nearly 25 lakh blind people waiting that some one would donate their eyes in Delhi. Even as demand continues to rise every year, there has been no substantial increase in the supply,” Mr Batra told The Tribune.

Mr Batra said there are people who have been waiting for corneas, the glass like covering over the pupil of the eye, for the past 5 years. “I don’t understand why people refuse to donate their eyes after their death. How does it matter?”

In a reflective mood, Mr Batra felt that most people are unaware of the eye donation drive and even those who are aware of it, don’t understand the procedure as to how they should go about it. Mr Batra lamented that there are only about “ six eye banks in Delhi” and the services provided by them is not “all that great.”

In such a scenario, Mr Batra continued, “even if there are people who would be interested to donate their eyes, the hassles involved in the various formalities would discourage them,” Mr Batra said.

“There is a 17-year-old blind girl who has been waiting for a long time for a pair of young eyes. But youngsters rarely think of such donations. When a young person passes away and if we ask the relative for eye donations, the common refrain is that in this moment of grief, we are not bothered about the eye donation,” Batra elaborated.

Interestingly, reasons for not donating eyes after death, ranges from the naïve to the unbelievable. Surya Singh, an auto-rickshaw driver, said: “Hamare Dharam Mein Nahin Hain (It is not in our religion).” Faizal Khan, who owns a cigarette shop in South Delhi’s Okhla, said: “When eyes are gouged out after death, the body is distorted and the soul of the dead man would not go to heaven.” Dinesh Sehgal, a businessman, said he was least bothered. “It is a hassle. In India even donating your eyes is a hassle. Once I went to donate blood, they made me wait for two hours. They system is so bad.” Not wanting to be identified, a superstitious Lodi Colony resident feels that if he donated his eyes he would be “re-incarnated blind.”

Mohammad. Khalid, who was blind for 28 years before the Venu Eye Bank “gave him a new life” when they arranged a pair of eyes for him, said he went everywhere possible to regain his sight, to government hospitals, to institutions like the Guru Nanak Eye Centre as well as to National Eye Bank (AIIMS). But all he got was a series of date after date. To make matter worse, at one of the government hospital, “negligence” on the part of the doctor spoilt his case further. Effectively, “I was on the verge of committing suicide when I went to Venu (Eye Bank) where I got a pair of eyes in just 40 days. I consider myself very lucky,” said Khalid.

“Everyone should donate their eyes. What is the use of the eye after the death of the person. So why not donated it? Why not help another man get his eye sight,” was Khalid’s advice to the world at large. However, Mr Batra said that positive steps needs to be taken and publicity programmes on a mass scale should be undertaken to spread the awareness among the people so that more and more people come forward for this “supreme sacrifice. Even while we take our eye sight for guaranteed, for many it is only a dream. Will we ever allow them this hope? As one blind man lamented “ Aankh Hai to Jahaan Hai, Varna Sab Sunsaan Hai.”


Bhandari essays superb win at Noida open
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, October 28
Vivek Bhandari essayed a superb back nine charge to emerge victor at the nerve-tingling final round of the Rs 7 lakh Noida Open Golf Championship at the Noida Golf Course here today. Bhandari's final round five - under 67 handed him a winning tally of 19 - under 269 and the first prize cheque worth Rs 1,13,400.

It was the ninth leg of the Hero Honda Golf Tour, and was jointly sponsored by the Noida Authority and Oil India Ltd. A mere one-stroke behind the leader at 18-under 270 was second placed Mukesh Kumar. Kanpur's Shiv Prakash finished third at nine-under 279 while the trio of Indrajit Bhalotia, Basad Ali (both Kolkata) and Rohtas Singh (Delhi) finished tied-fourth at four-under 284.

Delhi's Arjun Singh finished seventh at 285. "If yesterday was one of the best round of golf I ever played, today was even better", Bhandari summed up his victory. Things were in balance till the very last putt was sunk. Mukesh Kumar was the man in charge for a large part of the day. The Mhow golfer wasted little time in increasing his overnight one-stroke lead to two with a birdie on the opening hole.

At about this stage, there wastremendous excitement at the course and a large number of spectators flocked to watch with the battle royal hooting up.

Mukesh Kumar once again asserted his superiority with back to back birdies on the 10th and 11th. The birdie on the 11th was the result of an unbelievable 40-foot left to right putt. "That was a fantastic effort.

I began to worry a bit after that putt as he (Mukesh) was on a roll", said Bhandari. However, the tide changed in favour of the Delhi pro almost immediately after. Mukesh dropped a shot on the 12th following it up with another bogey on the 13th. "After his second bogey, I knew I had a chance", said Bhandari.

His confidence restored, Bhandari birdied the 14th and 15th to further widen his lead. Thereafter, even Mukesh's birdie-birdie finish could not prevent Bhandari from winning.

There was, however, a slight hiccup on the final hole where with Mukesh birdying the hole, Bhandari left his birdie putt five feet short. Sinking the winning putt amid pindrop silence, he wrapped up his second title in three appearances on the Hero Honda Golf Tour. Bhandari's bogey-free 67 contained birdies on the 4th, 8th, 9th, 14th and 15th.

"I don't know whether to laugh or cry", said Mukesh Kumar. The Mhow golfer, who posted back-to-back wins at the GNGF Open in Chennai and the Sher-e-Kashmir Open in Srinagar has thrice thereafter fumbled at the final stage, with one fifth-place and two runner-up finishes in three weeks.


Simla Youngs, Glorious come out soccer champs
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, October 28
Simla Youngs and Glorious Club clinched the Delhi Soccer Association (DSA)- SAIL ‘A’ and ‘B’ Division Football League Championship titles when they prevailed over Buddhist Blue Stars 4-2 and Cosmos Club 3-0 respectively at the Delhi University ground here today.

Simla Youngs were made to fight a goalless battle by B B Stars before triumphing in the tie-breaker shoot-out.

In a listless match, both the teams failed to create goal-bearing moves during the regulation time. At the fag end of the match, Simla Youngs striker Budhraj Singh got a golden opportunity to score, but he missed the mark by inches.

In the tie-breaker, Rajinder Singh, Manoj Chaudhary, Budh Raj Singh and Pradeep converted their spot kicks for Simla Youngs, with only Sunil Rawat failing to hit the mark. For B B Stars, only Jai Pal Singh Rawat and Leonard Michael could find the mark, while Rajesh Barua and Arjun Pandit muffed their kicks.

In the ‘B’ Division final, Glorious upset the apple cart of Cosmos Club with a ninth minute goal, scored by Stephen.

On resumption, Anil Bara and Rajesh Kumar also struck goals in the 45th and 56th minutes to hand out an emphatic title victory to Glorious.


Kapil Dev lifts UTI Cup
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, October 28
Former Indian cricket team captain Kapil Dev, whose latest passion is golf, lifted the UTI
India Open Golf Tournament played at the DLF Golf and Country Club course, Gurgaon, today.

Kapil returned the 'Best Net Score' of 66, ahead of 43 other players in the tournament. A former golf star and now golf promoter, Brandon D'Souza, took the second position while former Test player and present national selector Madan Lal and former Delhi Ranji player Karan Dubey provided keen competition to Kapil. Microsoft's Rajiv Nair was another keen player.

Mr Alan Draper, the Asia Pacific president of UTI Worldwide, the logistics and supply chain management company organising the tournament, announced that the tournament would be an annual event in India. He was happy at the tremendous response the tournament has received.

Managing director of UTI India Rajiv Bhatnagar and marketing director Vikram Paul congratulated the excellent competition provided by Kapil and others to make it a memorable day.


Murali Kartik, Parida wreck Rajasthan
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, October 28
Spin master Murali Kartik enticed the Rajasthan batsmen to their doom to reduce them to 167 for nine in reply to Railways' first innings total of 292 on day two of the Central Zone Ranji Trophy match at the Karnail Singh Stadium here today.

Railways, who had made 271 for eight yesterday, added another 21 runs in 7.5 overs this morning, before being all out. The Railway innings was built on the strength of the brilliant knock of 126 by the left-handed one drop batsman Amit Pagnis. Opener Sanjay Bhanger (41) and Yere Goud (41) chipped in with useful contributions to give Railways a handsome total.

And later, the Railway bowlers, spearheaded by left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, with able support from off-spinner Kulamani Parida, put the Rajasthan batsmen on the backfoot with their cleverly flight deliveries, which gave no clue to the Rajasthan batsmen on a batting track.

Openers Vineet Saxena and Gagan Khoda looked like taking the battle into the rival camp, but once Khoda was out for 60, caught by Raja Ali at mid-wicket off Kulamani Parida, after putting on 92 runs for the opening wicket, there was a virtual procession back to the pavilion.

Vineet Saxena, Nikhil Doru, Sidharth Joshi, Rohit Jhalani and Mohd Aslam fell to the guile of Kartik, who had a final analysis of 5 for 57 off 23 overs while Parida claimed 3 for 62 in 23 overs.

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