C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Human chain to spread awareness on AIDS
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, December 1
The State Aids Control Society, UT, and the Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, today organised a human chain of school students to spread awareness about AIDS on the occasion of World AIDS Day. Over 5000 students from various schools of Chandigarh formed the human chain stretching from the Sector 4 roundabout to the Sector 16 cricket stadium roundabout. The enthusiastic students displayed banners, placards and slogans in support of the AIDS awareness movement.

According to Ms Niti Sareen, Joint Secretary, Blood Bank Society, “AIDS is like a time bomb which is waiting to explode in India. We need to sensitize our school children so that they can further spread the message of this monstrous disease. Prevention is the only option to safeguard yourself from this disease.”

A panel of judges comprising Ms Hema Venugopal, President, Air Force Wives Welfare Association, (AFWWA), Ms Sunita Mohan wife of Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, UT Administration, and Mr Rajeev Shrivastava, Joint Secretary, Finance, UT Administration inspected the human chain. Travelling on the hop on — hop off bus, they examined the overall display and discipline of the participants in the human chain. Star donors and members of the Blood Bank Society accompanied the judges on the bus. The prizes were given in two categories — best discipline (school) and best display (school). The best discipline(school) award was bagged by Ajit Karam Singh international Public School, Sector 41, in zone 1 and GMSS School, Sector 10, in zone 2. In the best display (school) category, the first prize was won by Shishu Niketan School, Sector 22, in zone 1 and GMSS School, Sector 10, in zone B.

A number of other events were also organized in various city schools. At Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, a slogan writing competition on AIDS awareness was organized by the NSS unit of the school, in which as many as 50 students participated. A lecture on the same was delivered by Dr Avnish Jolly, member of the servants of the People Society, an NGO. The programme was also attended by people from Kaimbwala and various colonies.

An AIDS awareness rally was taken out by students of Government Model Higher Secondary School, Sector 39. The rally was flagged off by the Principal of the school, Kamlesh Chauhan. In addition, a poster-making competition was also organized on the topic ‘Know more about AIDS’. A similar rally was also taken out by students of Government Senior Secondary School, Mullanpur Garibdass.

The Population and Development Education Cell, RRC, Panjab University, observed World AIDS Day in collaboration with the Family Planning Association of India, Mohali, at Badhmajra village in Kharar block.

Dr Dazy Zarabi, programme coordinator, discussed the theme, “Stop AIDS: keep the promise”. Dr Vivek Chopra and Dr Kulbir Kaur Lamba discussed the present scenario in India. Mr Manjit Singh, programme officer, FPAI, also spoke on the occasion.

Yuvsatta in collaboration with the NSS unit of Government College, Sector 46, and the State AIDS Control Society, organised a campaign “Be the change” to mark the day. An HIV counselling centre was formed in the college.

Dr S.K. Sandhu, president of the Family Planning Association of India, Mohali, and Dr Varsha Gupta, Reader, Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, spoke on the occasion.

Collage-making and slogan-writing competitions were also organised.



Time to check AIDS hydra, says Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Amidst the usual back-slapping exercise complete with lectures, colony visits, interactions with AIDS patients and a public function on World AIDS Day, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd), today, seemed a truly anguished man.

Perturbed by statistics screaming an increase in the number of AIDS patients and dissatisfied with the performance of the various agencies trying to ‘‘create an awakening’’ in the masses, today, when schoolchildren rallied against ignorance about the virus along the Jan Marg, General Rodrigues raised a war cry.

‘‘Creating AIDS awareness is no longer a mission, it's a war against the virus and this is one war that I welcome,’’ he said speaking at a function organised by the State AIDS Control Society of Chandigarh (SACSC) at the Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, here today.

Urging ‘‘genuinely interested’’ NGOs to put their thinking caps on and come up with innovative and definitive solutions to check AIDS from spreading its tentacles, the Administrator prodded them to ‘‘analyse’’ to find an efficacious solution.

‘‘A patient must be asked where and why he got the virus despite our drives to educate him. This is not about the city alone but about the entire region. In fact, we can have a joint exercise in coordination with Punjab and Haryana as well to control the spread of AIDS,’’ he stated.

Mincing no words and stating statistics which pegged the number of cases at 96.55 per thousand of those screened at the VCTC against last year’s 49.3 per 1000, General Rodrigues emphasised, ‘‘I think we are targeting the wrong people. I think the organisations involved in the exercise are not doing enough or they are doing exactly the wrong thing. After spending Rs 3,000 crore, are we fighting a losing battle.’’

Maintaining that the figures available were only a tip of the iceberg, General Rodrigues said there were a lot more people who still haven't come forward for the screening exercise. ‘‘I apologise for not being able to give better results to you. That's what hit me while I was going through the records. This is the bottomline and it has to have an impact on our conscience to be able to make a difference,’’ he concluded.

Earlier, the Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan, read out statistics to highlight the status of AIDS in the country, pointing out that we were second only to South Africa in the number of infected patients. ‘‘India has five million AIDS cases and the number is growing,’’ he said.

The Project Director, SACSC, Dr Sonia Trikha, said the AIDS campaign was on the threshold of the third phase and the department and agencies involved in anti-AIDS campaign were targeting and reaching out to the high risk group among the population besides spreading awareness by holding lectures and encouraging people to be forthcoming. The Director Health Services, Dr I.K Walia, proposed the vote of thanks.

Later, the Governor's wife, Ms Jean Rodrigues, visited the Community Care Centre at Khuda Ali Sher and interacted with patients. Most of them sought permanent income flow to make both ends meet. She responded by saying that they would work out a programme to train these women in a vocation. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K Rao, was also present at the centre and interacted with these patients who were primarily from Punjab.



Novel VOICE project against AIDS
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
It’s about shaking people out of their slumber, changing their ‘it-can’t-happen-to-me’ attitude and awakening them to the reality called AIDS.

Lending “their” VOICE (Voluntary Organisation Indulged in Community Enlightenment) to this message, Mr P.S. Kalra has come up with an innovative project to “target” hotel staff, dance girls and policemen to spread the word of caution around.

“Most agencies like ours have their hands full educating and counselling the high risk group and the vulnerable group about precautions to be adopted to keep AIDS at bay. However, after going over this exercise, we have realised that the hotel staff, dance girls, discos and policemen can be catalytic in bringing about a change,” says Mr P.S. Kalra, a volunteer of VOICE said.

Through their project, they have decided to sensitise this “target group” about AIDS. “In hotels and guest houses, we will hold an interaction with the staff, especially the front office and the house-keeping personnel. We will not only tell them about AIDS and its fallout but also urge them to place safe kits comprising condoms and educative pamphlets in their bathrooms,” he said.

Different from commercial sex workers, the dance girls “operating” in small time bars and at parties are also on the “hitlist” of VOICE. “These women, invariably, know a lot of “undercover” women who are not commercial sex workers but are in business for their lust for money to pander to their lavish lifestyles. We have been able to identify a handful of these dance girls and talks are on to facilitate meetings with the ‘actual’ workers,” he adds.

Poilcemen, too, are on the list since their nature of job is such that it involves keeping an eye on everything and everybody. “The policemen are the first ones to reach any accident spot. Since it involves handling bleeding patients and proper handling, it is essential to sensitise them to the nature of the problem. Also, they are, invariably, aware of all kinds of businesses in their area which means they can be of help in reaching out to the target population,” Mr Kalra explained.

The project director, UT State AIDS Control Society, Ms Sonia Trikha, said that the NGO had initiated this as a pilot project of their own.

‘‘I'll commit suicide’’

"I will commit suicide if your picture gets published in any paper in relation to anything to do with AIDS." This was stated by a teenaged daughter of an AIDS patient whose husband and son too are infected with the virus.

‘‘I was shocked at her statement especially since she’s the only one who has tested negative from among the four of us. I think she too needs some counselling to accept our condition as just another disease and nothing more. She was worried about the reaction among her peers, she later admitted to me. I'll get her here very soon,’’ the mother said.



Talks, rallies mark World AIDS Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
World AIDS Day was observed today at Kendriya Vidyalaya II, 3 BRD, in order to enlighten and educate the students about the dreaded disease. A talk on myths and realities of the disease was held and students pledged to work for awareness regarding the disease.

The day was also observed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) today. Mr DS Guru Secretary (health), Government of Punjab said educating the masses was the only solution to prevent rapid increase in the HIV/AIDS cases. Emphasising the role of CII, he informed that focus this year was on galvanising awareness and support of the industry towards the issue. Mr Krishan Goyal, Chairman, CII Chandigarh council, and Dr Ajay Wanchu, Professor Department of internal medicine, PGI, also spoke on the occasion.

Hundreds of schoolchildren participated in a rally organised by Haryana AIDS Control Society to spread awareness regarding HIV/AIDS. The rally was flagged off by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Parveen Kumar, from Old Panchkula. Students, carrying placards with messages on AIDS awareness walked through various parts of the township, before reaching Sector 6, General Hospital. Later, a painting competition for the schoolchildren on AIDS awareness was also organised.

Virasat, an NGO, too, organised an advocacy meeting at Barwala in association with the Haryana AIDS Control Society. The meeting was held in the premises of the village anganwadi and was attended by 25 women.



Free AIDS test at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
To check HIV/AIDS the Government of India has launched a campaign and in this regard a circular has already been issued to the PGI. According to the new circular, HIV testing at the voluntary counselling and testing centre (VCTC) has been made free for the next two months.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Sunil Arora, Department of Immunopathology, PGIMER, stated that this was part of the government’s campaign to screen as many people as possible so that if detected with the virus the progression of the disease could be stopped.

The free testing, he informed, would be from December 1 to January 30.



Health camp
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 1
A health camp for students was held at Euro Kids, Phase IV, here yesterday. The students were checked for ENT problems, height, weight, growth, skin etc. The data will be processed by the doctor and feed back provided to parents.

Dr Gaurav Gupta, child specialist, conducted the check-up.



Bindra, Manavjit for shooting nationals
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, December 1
A big shooting contingent from Punjab led by Olympian Abhinav Bindra and Manavjit Sandhu will take part in the National Rifle and Clay Pigeon Shooting Championship to be held at Hyderabad.

The 15 days camp-cum-trials for the shooters concluded today at Markfed shooting ranges, Phase VI, Mohali with the Director Sports, Punjab, Pargat Singh going round the ranges and conveying good wishes to the participants. Mr KS Sidhu, secretary of the Punjab Rifle Association, said Punjab shooters deserved to win medals in various events. He expected a rich haul of medals from both rifle and clay pigeon shooters.

Mr Sidhu, however, lamented that despite Punjab shooters performing well in the nationals, the association had not received any grant from the government for the welfare of the shooters. He said a few of the top shooters of the state had migrated to other institutions like Indian Airlines, petroleum boards as Punjab had not given any job security which had ruined the sports careers of many talented shooters.

Mr Sidhu said qualifying scores of both GV Mavlankar meet and the nationals had gone up, which was good for the shooting sport.

In clay pigeon, apart from Manavjit , others who will vie for top honours are Hari Sandhu, Aroz Paul and Kanwar. In air weapons, apart from Abhinav Bindra the shooters to watch in the forthcoming nationals are Sukhmanpreet Sidhu, Kabir Ghuman, Tavleen Sidhu, Saurabh Gill, Smith Singh among others.



Siti Channel to run PHL promos
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
“The PHL Cup should not go outside Punjab.” Jugraj Singh and Baljeet Dhillon, representing Chandigarh Dynamos and Sher-e-Jalandhar, respectively, mutually agreed upon this after a friendly tiff. In town for a press conference regarding the promotion of hockey in Punjab, both were confident of winning the cup.

In an effort to promote the Premier Hockey League in Punjab, ESPN STAR Sports, and Western Union Financial Services have launched marketing activities to attract the masses.

Last year, Western Union had announced that it would sponsor two teams from the state — Sher-e-Jalandhar and Chandigarh Dynamos for three years. Besides, their key role would be to market, produce and broadcast PHL for 10 years.

ESPN STAR Sports has also tied up with media channels of Chandigarh like Siti Cable and Future Cable Network (FCN) to launch a marketing campaign. Under the initiative, Siti Channel and Channel 4 will run PHL promos and contests from the second week of December.

Gagan Ajit Singh, captain, Sher-e-Jalandhar, and Rajpal Singh, captain, Chandigarh Dynamos, could make their presence felt only through their message on the screen as they were attending the final phase of coaching at Chennai, for participation in the Champions Trophy.



‘Great opportunity to see more players’
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
“It’s a great opportunity to see more players,” says Jugraj Singh who has joined the big league after recovering from injuries. He will be representing Chandigarh Dynamos in the second edition of the Premier Hockey League scheduled to start from January 5.

Known as a penality corner specialist, Jugraj has many honours in his professional career. During the Champions Trophy he emerged as one of the best drag-flickers and a penalty corner expert. He scored two goals against Pakistan in the league.

Jugraj was involved in a car accident near Jalandhar in which he broke thigh and elbow bones, just before the Afro Asian Games. Jugraj has been following India’s progress and wishes the team all the best. “I had been enjoying watching them play,” he said.

He was replaced by Dinesh Nayak in the Asia Cup in 2003. “I never felt like this and this win was the biggest gift from my team mates,” he told emotionally.

Regarding the Premier Hockey League, he said, “I do believe it’s a blessing to Indian hockey. Today’s sport requires a lot of media coverage both electronic and print, and television makes it more glamorous which attracts the youth most. This is the only way you can sell it. With PHL matches being telecast live by ESPN, the youth will once again start looking at hockey.

It will definitely boost the morale of the players for other major tourneys”.



“Glamour in Indian hockey”
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, December 1
Ace legendary hockey player of the country Baljit Singh Dhillon has admitted that glamour has finally entered Indian hockey. He expressed these views during the pre launch function of the Premier Hockey League (PHL) II here today. Thirty-two year old Baljit, a veteran of more than 300 internationals and former Indian captain was all praise for the efforts made by the ESPN, Western Union and the Indian Hockey Federation for giving the desired thrust to hockey.

He said despite a national game, hockey could not penetrate Indian homes, but with encouragement of this kind when every success will be accountable, it will boost the morale of the players who are also on the verge of emerging semi stars. Baljit said the first edition was held in Hyderabad and now with second edition being staged in Chandigarh, hockey which is in roots of Punjab and Punjabi culture will get tremendous boost.

On the selection of Indian hockey team for the forthcoming Champions trophy in Chennai, he expressed satisfaction and hoped the team would give its best.

On the future tournaments, Baljit under whose captaincy, India won the Prime Minister’s Gold Cup at Dhaka and the Champions Challenge Trophy at Kuala Lumpur in December, 2001, said after 1998, again men’s hockey will find place in the 2006 Commonwealth Games to be held in Melbourne from March 15 to 26.



Training camp from today
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, December 1
The three-day National Choi Kwang Do martial art training camp will be held at Skating Rink, Sector 10, from tomorrow.

The camp will see participation of more than 200 youngsters in various age groups. According to Mr BS Thapa, Technical Director, the latest techniques evolving martial art would be demonstrated to learners. The camp will begin tomorrow at 9.30 am.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |