Thursday, January 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


AIDS bomb ticking in S. Asia: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
There is a need to create awareness among people in India about HIV, Dr David Miller, Country Programme Adviser, UNAIDS (India), said while inaugurating a three-day sub-regional training workshop organised by the Commonwealth Youth Programme: Asia Centre.

Dr S.K. Sharma, PGI Director, who was guest of honour at the seminar, said youth could play an important role in creating awareness among young people about the disease.

Ms Kaushlaya, a resident of Chennai, who has been suffering from AIDS since 1995, said mental attitude made all the difference. She said her husband also suffered from the disease and had died a few years ago. She had drawn strength and regained health due to her string determination. She has been working with HIV positive women. She revealed that 11,000 persons are added every week to the list of HIV positive persons.

Welcoming the participants Ms Raka Rashid, Regional Director of Commonwealth Youth Programme, said nearly 20 years after the first clinical evidence of Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was reported AIDS had become the most devastating disease humankind had ever faced. Since the epidemic began, more than 60 million persons had been infected with the virus. AIDS is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa and Worldwide, it is the fourth biggest killer,” she said.

She told the audience that South Asia is termed as the new hotbed of HIV infection in the world. Experts warn that if appropriate preventive steps are not taken, within a decade, the region could overtake Africa in terms of the devastation by the epidemic. Out of the 5.3 million adults and children infected in 2,000, 14 per cent were from South and South East Asia. Between 1994 and 1997, the proportionate growth of HIV infection in the region has been doubled, a higher increase than in Africa. In 2,000 every day 2,000 persons got infected with the virus. Among the newly infected every day, nearly one third were young people.

She revealed that at the end of 2001, an estimated 40 million persons globally were living with HIV. In many parts of the developing world, the majority of new infections occurred in young adults, with young women being especially vulnerable. About one third of those currently living with HIV\AIDS are aged between 15 and 24 years. Most of them do not even know that they carry the virus. Many millions more know nothing about HIV or know about it to late to protect themselves against it.

Dr Ajit Saroha , Deputy Director of the Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society, said the primary aim of their society is to control the spread of HIV\AIDS and to strengthen India’s capacity to respond.

He said Chandigarh was luckily among those states where rate of HIV infection was low. He expressed the hope that with concerted efforts and commitment by the government and social organisations, India would succeed in combating this dreaded and complex epidemic which mainly targets the youth.

He favoured sex education at school level so that students could be taught about this dreaded disease at a young age and they could take preventive measures at the right stage.


Workshop on HIV and drug abuse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
The Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre organised a three-day workshop from today till January 25 on HIV and drug abuse at its premises.

According to the Regional Director of the centre, Youth Ambassadors from Positive Living and Young People either infected by HIV, rehabilitated drug addicts and healthy people recruited by the CYP Asia Centre to create awareness and educate youth on healthy living will take part.

He said the training programme would be attended by participants from Bangladesh, India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. It would be inaugurated by Dr David Miller, Country Programme Adviser, UNAID (India), and Dr S.K. Sharma, Director of the P.G.I.

The participants would be from varying background. An expert panel of resource persons representing international organisations such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV (UNAIDS) and United Nations Children’s Fund, would also be present.

The Youth Ambassadors for Positive Living Programme officially launched in January, 2001, is an adapted version of the Youth Ambassadors of Positive Living Programme of CYP African Region.

The HIV pendemic was threatening the socio-economic base of countries in the African region and CYP Africa Centre launched this programme in order to send out the message of positive living among people. The Youth Ambassadors recruited were either HIV positive or those unaffected by the virus but keen on spreading awareness among their peers.

In highlighting the critical nature of the situation and importance of an integrated effort, the CYP Asia Centre Regional Director, Ms Raka Rashid, said that HIV and drug abuse was the biggest challenge faced by the young in the 21st century.



Cycling championship from today
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, January 23
The Second National Mountain Bike Championship will begin here tomorrow in senior, junior and sub-junior boys and girls sections at the Kaimbala village slopes behind the Sukhna Lake. An MTB Race Course has been specially laid down as per international specifications which include forest path/track, fields, earth or gravel paths and water obstacle. Two types of races will be conducted during the championship in each category, Cross Country Mass Start Race and point-to-point Time Trail Race. The four-day meet is being organised by the Chandigarh Amateur Cycling Association.

According to Mr Som Prakash, IAS and Chairman, organising committee, the Mountain Bike event had become very popular sport in the West and was now an Olympic event also. This cycling event has the potential for growth, as there are good bike equipment manufactured in India required for this event and easily available, he said.

He said a total of 250 cyclists drawn from 21 states had confirmed their entries for participation. Twelve teams consisting of 136 cyclists and officials have already arrived in the city. The Services Sports Control Board having many strong promising riders has, however, expressed its inability to send its team for the participation due to prevailing tension on the border. The teams are lodged in hostels of Punjab University.

Mr Rakesh Mohindra, organising secretary, said a cycle rally would also be organised on the occasion to involve more young children to take to cycling for clean and healthy environment. He said cash award would also be given for best slogan and display of message during the rally, which will be flagged off from Gandhi Bhavan, PU campus, tomorrow at 10.30 a.m.. National Fertilizer Limited, IFFCO and KRIBHCO are the co-sponsors of the meet.


Tribune tennis results
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, January 23
On the final day of the Tribune Youth Club Table Tennis Tournament, Munish beat Rajan Raikhy 11-2, 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-8 in men’s singles, while Munish and Sukhwinder Sodhi defeated Vinay and Umesh 11-6, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9. In the third place in the singles section, Umesh beat S. Sodhi 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-7.

Results: Doubles:- Munish and Sukhwinder Sodhi 1, Vinay and Umesh 2, Rajan Raikhy and Navtej 3.

Singles: Munish 1, Rajan 2, Umesh 3.


Chandigarh Tennis meet

The Panjab University tennis team went down fighting GND University, Amritsar 1-3 in the semi-finals of the North-East Zone Inter University Tennis meet here today at PU grounds.

In the other semi-final, Delhi University got the better of Aligarh Muslim University, 3-0. The finals will be played tomorrow at 10.30 am.


17 auto drivers challaned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 23
The State Transport Authority (STA) and the traffic police challaned 17 autorickshaw drivers during a special drive today. They were found charging fare without fare meters in their rickshaws.

For the purpose special nakas were put up at various places, including at Piccadily Chowk, near the PGI, the CTU workshop and the Railway Traffic light points. 

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