C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI OPDs may be closed on gazetted holidays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The holiday culture seems to be creeping into the hospitals too as the PGI, the only hospital in the city where the OPDs are still welcoming the patients on the gazetted holidays, is contemplating to close its doors during such holidays.

At the recent staff council meeting of the PGI, headed by the Director, PGI, Prof K.K. Talwar, it has been decided that the OPDs would not function on gazetted holidays except under exceptional circumstances.

The exceptional circumstances, as defined in the meeting, include those days when there are two consecutive gazetted holidays.

It should be mentioned here that the OPDs of the other two main hospitals — Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and General Hospital, Sector 16 — are already closed on the gazetted holidays.

While a large number of patients coming to the PGI from far off places may get adversely affected by this decision, the faculty at the hospital defends the decision by saying that the off-days on the gazetted holidays will give the “much-needed rest” to them, especially when the patient attendance on the holidays is “poor.”

However, the data of the patient attendance, culled out from the PGI records, indicates that around 1,000 patients on an average do visit the OPDs on the gazetted holidays while the number of patients visiting the OPDs on a normal working day ranges between 2,200 to 2,500.

Sources say on the last gazetted holiday, on account of Id, in January, around 990 patients visited various OPDs.

Explaining the decision taken at the meeting, the Chairman of the PR Committee, PGI, and Head of Department of Ophthalmology, Prof Amod Gupta, says the decision is likely to be finalised by the end of this month.

“We have observed that the number of patients visiting the OPDs drastically falls down on the holidays. Its better if the doctors, who are already stressed get a day off and produce better quality work,” says Prof Gupta.

The staff council has further decided that the timings of the OPDs would not be changed even during the summer vacations in the month of June.



Cancer in children curable: experts
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
Twentyone-year-old Prince Randhawa cannot spell out the disease that he has been suffering from for the past seven years. All he recalls is that he spat a few drops of bloods before PGI became his second home. Participating in the painting competition organised by the Sahatya Cancer Sahyog to mark the International Childhood Cancer day at PGI today, Prince, the oldest participant, has come a long way since then.

Currently studying in final year of mechanical engineering at Pathankot, he came alone from his home-town Batala to take part in the contest. He is a symbol of hope and inspiration for anyone diagnosed with cancer at an early stage.

Undeterred by the early hardships, he beams, “I want to become a automation engineer,” while submitting his sketch on flowers at the end of the competition.

“Look ahead, for the road after cancer remains beautiful and unobstructed.” This is the message that more than 50 cancer afflicted children willingly put across, while taking part in the painting competition organised at the Advanced Paediatric Centre (APC) today. And the lessons are not only for those affected by cancer but also for the families who go through the emotional pain when their dear ones are fighting the disease.

“Cancer does not remain a single person’s disease but involves the entire family. We encourage the parents of the patients to have hope as there is a very high chance of full cure these days,” explains a Sahatya volunteer.

Echoing the same sentiment, Mr Amitabh Mohan, father of 15-year-old Nitya, who was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was just seven, is elated after his daughter has successfully overcome the battle with cancer.

In-charge of Paediatric Oncology, PGI, Prof R.K. Marwah gave away prizes to the winners, while counsellor, Mrs Niramla Chaudhary, addressed the queries of the parents of the children participating in the contest.



Tennis tourney begins today
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, February 4
Inayat Khosla among girls, and Kinshuk Sharma among boys, both from Chandigarh, have been given direct entry into the main draw of the ITF Junior-under 18 (Grade 3) Tennis Tournament, the qualifying rounds of which begins at the CLTA, Sector 10, Tennis Stadium here tomorrow.

Sanam K Singh of Chandigarh who is ITF 87th ranked however dropped out at the last minute from the boys singles.

According to Mr Rajan Kashyap, Chairman, Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association, which is conducting the tournament under the aegis of All-India Tennis Association (AITA), Navaneetha Kannan, Navinder Pal Singh, Raj Kanwar Singh and Shiva Sangwan have been given wild cards in the main draw. Besides, two special exempts will also figure in the main draw.

While 28 boys get into the main draw on the basis of their ranking in the International Tennis Federation, four competitors will qualify through qualifying rounds starting tomorrow.

Favourite Jeevan’s ranking in ITF is 73rd (605 AITA points), Vivek Shoken who is leading in the AITA boys under-18 ranking as on January 31, 2005, is the third hightest ITF ranked (110th) player in the draw.

Competitors in the boys singles main and qualifying draws are from Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Lebeanon, Romania, South Africa,

Sri Lanka, Russia, Great Britain, Malaysia, Japan, Canada and India. Those who figure in the main draw are: Jeevan Nedunchez, and Vivek Shoken (India), Xiao Peng Lai (Hong Kong), Vaja Uzakov (Uzbekistan), Kaushik Raju (India), Christopher B Rungkat, Ayrton Wibowo (both Indonesia), Sumit P. Gupta (India), Bassam Beidan (Lebanon), Faisal Aidil (Indonesia), Christian Hodel (Romania), Brad Brinkhause Williams (South Africa), Sivendran Nishendiran (Sri Lanka), Ronald Chow (Hong Kong), Stas Zhuravski (Russia), Ned Boone (GK), Andrrei Plotny (Russia), Kinshuk Sharma (India), Agung Bagus Dewantoro (Indonesia), Aleksey Namozov (Uzbekistan), Rikus Devilliers (South Africa), Navaneetha Kannan, Navinder Pal Singh, Raj Kanwar Singh and Shiva Sangwan (all India).

In the girls singles, Madura Ranganathan of India is the leading player with ITF ranking of 107. Kseniya Palkina of Krygystan is the second highest ITF (117th) ranked player in the fray. Sandhya Nagraj of India is ranked 122 below Palkina. Akshita B Raj, Vishaka Sheoran, Inayat Khosla and Alisha Talwar, (all from India) got wild cards in the main draw.

Other girls which will fight direct in the main draw are: Dilyara Saidkhodjaeva (Uzbekistan), Amina Eakhim (Kazakhstan), Else Potgieter (SA), Tanina Wickmayer (Belgium), Yulia Parasyuk (Russia), Sandri Gangotri, Shweta G Kakhandki (both India), Claudia Sanua (SA), Goele Lemmens (Belgium), Penporan Chantawannop (Thailand), Andre Laura Ioana (Romania), Suzelle Devin (Namibia), Mariya Kovaleva (Kazakhstan), Asha Nandakumar (India), Nigora Sirojiddinova, Eleonora Sitdjemileva (both Uzbekistan), Martina Lautenschlager (Switzerland), Daria Bykodarova (Russia) and Mariya Malkhasyan (Ukraine). Two special exempts will be announced after the qualifying rounds.


Shruti to represent city at WTA meet
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, February 4
Chandigarh -based Shruti Dhawan, ranked 732 as per Women Tennis Association (WTA) ranking, will be the lone contender from the city for a berth in the women singles main draw round when she will stake her claim by taking part in the qualifying rounds of the $ 140000 prize money Hyderabad WTA Open-2005 tennis meet which will begin tomorrow at SAAP Indoor Tennis Stadium, Hyderabad.

Before leaving for Hyderabad to take part in this prestigious tennis meet, Shruti was ecstatic for getting this opportunity of watching and playing in the presence of likes of Martina Navratilova and other top ranked women players. Shruti, who is training in London for the past many months, has been a force to reckon with in Indian tennis. Tall, athletic bodied Shruti had been practising for years at the CLTA Tennis Stadium, Sector 10, and also in the Lake Club tennis courts before moving to UK for better practice and exposure.

Shruti said the Hyderabad tournament would give enough boost to Indian tennis after the splendid performance of Sania Mirza in the Australian Open, which gave a new twist to women tennis in the country.

Shruti said India needed such tournaments as it also gave the opportunity for local players to gain entry in the main draw through wild card and thus the chance of playing with star players.

Shruti said playing tournaments, gave an edge to improve rankings at world level. She had been the winner of many ITF tournaments and also played abroad and beaten many ranked players.



Army did not approach me: DC
Exclusion of servicemen from voters’ list

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 4
The controversy over the non-inclusion of 60,000 servicemen in the electoral rolls in Ambala has taken a new turn, with the Ambala Deputy Commissioner (DC) claiming that the Army had never approached his office in December for the registration of servicemen. The Army authorities on the other hand have claimed that not only have they got the receipt of the letter delivered to the DC in this regard, but they were also misinformed about the last date for filing the registration forms.

An ex-servicemen’s association had earlier written to the Election Commissioner of India, stating that despite the Army authorities writing to the DC in December and again in January for the registration of servicemen as voters, no action was taken.

According to the DC, Mr R. P. Gupta, no letter was received by him in December. Army sources, however, maintained that a DO letter was written by the Administrative Commandant, Ambala, Col A. Mathur, on December 17 and was addressed by name to the DC. The receipt of the letter is on record. The letter requested that 60,000 Form-6 be made available to the Army for the registration of servicemen.

Sources at Ambala claimed that on receiving no response from the civilian administration, an officer visited the DC’s office on January 8. He was told that the last date for filing Form-6 was January 9 and the service voters would be registered only if they could submit their forms within 24 hours. The Army sources said they later learnt through electoral officers that the last date was January 17.

Though Mr Gupta said the Army personnel who visited his office were given the forms, the Army contended that they had only got back a couple of forms for using as samples. Mr Gupta added that till January 27 no form was filled by Army personnel and it was on January 28 that he received a list of Army personnel based in Ambala who were eligible to be registered as voters. Since Form-6 was not submitted, service personnel were not registered and it was communicated to the Army on January 29.

Ex-servicemen, meanwhile, have blamed the Deputy Secretary (E) in the Defence Ministry for failing to create an appropriate establishment for soldiers to register their names at their respective place of posting. They added that the secretary had also failed to take proper cognisance of the Supreme Court rulings and various directives issued by the Election Commission, Ministry of Law and Army Headquarters.


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