Saturday, August 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Need to supply safe blood to the needy

This has reference to the report “Fake firms supplying AIDS kits” (Aug 2). It is shocking how fake firms supplied AIDS kits to the blood banks at Hissar and were getting payments from the Health Department. There is every possibility that the kits were also fake and thus the blood screened not safe. The Haryana AIDS Control Society is supposed to supply AIDS kits to the blood banks and is supposed to keep a watch on the spread of AIDS. How and why many of the patients have been exposed to the HIV virus unknowingly is a matter that needs investigation.

As directed by the Supreme Court, State Blood Transfusion Councils (STBCs) were constituted to ensure that safe blood is supplied to the patients after proper screening and professional blood donors were banned to donate blood. The STBCs are supposed to keep a watch on the licensed blood banks in the state and make sure only safe blood is supplied to the patients after proper screening for AIDS, hepatitis, malarial parasites and so on. Haryana’s Indian Medical Association is also a member of the STBC but its meetings are rarely held and the decisions are never implemented. No committees have been formed to regulate the working of the blood banks in the state.

The only source of supply of blood to government hospitals and private nursing homes is the licensed blood banks. The blood is supplied only after it is tested. The patients and doctors believe that blood is screened and is safe and being tested at the blood banks at civil hospitals and it is being transfused. In case the firms supplying the AIDS kit are fake, where is the guarantee that the kits are genuine and the reports correct?


Many innocent patients have been exposed to the HIV virus unknowingly. The state drug authorities are supposed to check that only genuine firms sell drugs and genuine blood testing kits are available in the market. Are the authorities performing their duties properly?.

The STBC, the Haryana State AIDS Control Committee and Drug authorities should hold regular meetings and take action against the persons violating the Drug Control Act. Committees should also be formed at the blood bank level comprising IMA, blood donors, media, NGOs and teachers. Social workers should run the blood banks in a transparent manner. Only then, we will be able to provide safe blood to the needy.

DR D.S. JASPAL, Past State President, Indian Medical Association (Haryana), Ambala

LIC pension scheme

The much-publicised LIC Varistha Pension Bima Yojna for the aged has many flaws which need to be removed. The monthly return works out to only 8.65 per cent as against 9 per cent promised by the Union Finance Minister. The exit options after 15 years are meaningless for this age group. The maximum ceiling on investment at Rs 2.77 lakh is unrealistic. Tax exemption is totally missing and the scheme provides no insurance cover though the misleading name purports to suggest that.

In contrast, the PO Monthly Income Scheme appears more attractive. It offers 8 per cent interest payable monthly plus an additional 10 per cent bonus on maturity at the end of six years thus giving an affective yield of 9.66 per cent, a flexible exit option, at 5 per cent discount after one year, on a par after three years and with 10 per cent bonus after six years, besides providing a higher ceiling up to Rs 6 lakh and the usual tax exemption under Section 80L.

If the PO Monthly Income Scheme is also promoted alongside the LIC pension scheme on the similar pattern of 9 per cent assured return, it will be heartily welcomed by senior citizens as they find it more easily accessible and convenient. Over to the Finance Minister for his kind consideration.

WG-CDR C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar

On the right track

Cable mania has struck most of the young and the old but still Delhi Doordarshan retains its charm and it certainly cannot be ignored. Still there are people who cannot afford to pay hefty amounts to the cable operators. For them, DD is the best source of clean entertainment.

DD has progressed manifold during the past few years and now provides quality viewing to the people. DD has a conspicuous role in educating the masses. The various advertisements on family planning, AIDS control, adult and child education and educational serials for children by UGC/CET make many complicated things easy to understand. The quality of news is much better than any other news channel. The news bulletins are well presented and keep oneself abreast of the latest happenings around the world.

But then, DD has to go a long way to restore its old glory. Fortunately, it is going on the right track. Very soon it will establish itself as a bench-mark in the network of channels. Best of luck, DD!


Tree plantation

A number of NGOs and government agencies are celebrating Vanmahotsav with great pomp and show and the media is giving full coverage to the same. VIPs are shown digging the earth and putting saplings with the beat of drums. This practice has been going on for the last so many years.

I would like to impress upon all those engaged in this noble cause that it is not the number of plants that is important but the number of plants which are preserved and looked after. Proper arrangements should be made in this respect. Otherwise, it would be an exercise in futility.

K.G. SAPRA, Amritsar

Road accidents

I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the rising number of road accidents in North India. Unnatural deaths take place almost everyday. Children become orphans, mothers and sisters mourn for their sons and brothers. But no one comes to console them and provide them financial help. The main cause of such a state is reckless driving. People don’t care to follow the traffic signals. The pedestrians tend to cross the roads from anywhere they want and some of them are hit by speeding vehicles. The truck drivers, generally drunk, the young rash scooterists — all add to the number of accidents on the roads.

A few strict steps like imposing fines and forfeiting the licences of the offenders could stop the people from going wild on the roads. Constant checking and vigil, specially at crowded crossings during peak hours may help improve things.


Too many law officers

This has reference to the editorial “Parkinson’s law officers” (July 23). This clearly exposes the double standards being adopted by the Punjab Government. On the one hand, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh laments the shortage of funds being faced by his government while, on the other, he increases the strength of the law officers with impunity.

More important, the government does not seem to have confidence in the law officers it appoints. Reports say, the government's law officers have been totally sidelined in the PPSC-related cases at the trial, the High Court and the Supreme Court levels in which private counsels have been engaged at enormous expense. In addition, where is the transparency in the selections as promised by Capt Amarinder Singh? There is absolutely no reason why the law officers should be selected on the basis of patronage.



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