Now the blind can become tech-savvy
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
Innovation by students of Police DAV Public School is all set to make the visually impaired as tech-savvy as persons with normal eyesight. The students have produced a keyboard that not only punches letters in the computer like Braille but also makes it possible for the blind to read it on the screen as the computer is equipped with a special output device. Priced at just Rs 200 for the keyboard as well as the output device, this is certainly good news for the visually impaired.

The students presented the hardware and the software for the “Blind-can-read-computer” project at the Initiative for Research and Innovation (IRIS), organised jointly by Intel, the CII and the ministry of science and technology at Pune University, from December 5 to 8. The innovation was among the final 18 projects selected out of a total of 1,500 entries that the organisers received, according to class XI students Pardeep Kumar and Jagneet Kaur.

“Our project involves a ‘feel-to-text utility’. An output device attached to the computer helps sense the Braille comprises six electromagnets that are formed through the process of coiling of copper wire giving about 1,000 turns to a pipe,” says Pardeep. “A nail is placed between the electromagnets and when current is given to the electromagnets the nail moves up. This is felt through a button. The sequence in which the six buttons move up determines the letters. As a computer is insufficient to give the required current, therefore, it is supplied through a 12 V DC adapter. The switch operates the adapter and ultimately the computer operates the switch through parallel port,” explains Pardeep.

“The six buttons are used to denote a letter while the other two are used for space and the enter buttons. As we enter the text in input device in Braille, the programme automatically converts the language into English,” says Jagneet while explaining the functioning of input device or an eight-button keyboard.

Team guide Anuj Sharma said the students were trying to further improvise the technology. “We are thinking on developing a system where a chip or a pen drive could only be used instead of the whole computer system or a laptop. We are also planning to come up with a Braille printer which will cost Rs 15,000 only which is much less than the market price of Rs 2 lakh. Since there are not many readers or CDs available for the visually impaired and many people in India are not that resourceful, such low-budget devices can really prove to be a boon,” he said.

Principal Rashmi Vij said the students had even tested the device by inviting a few visually impaired persons to the school.

She said that the other two projects, including that of signature verification and recycling of CD were also sent which were selected among the top 120 models but not in the final screening.



‘Over 70,000 Punjabis suffer from AIDS’
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
“According to unofficial estimates, over 70,000 Punjabis are suffering from AIDS.” This was stated by philanthropist and NRI Dr Raghbir Singh Bains while talking to The Tribune.

Settled in Canada for around 18 years, Dr Bains is nowadays in India and is spreading general awareness about AIDS, especially among the youth.

The 72-years-old NRI, who usually comes to India every year, has addressed a number of seminars at Khalsa College, Jalandhar, and other educational institutes in Nawanshahr and Kapurthala districts.

Asking the Punjabi youth to remain vigilant against the deadly disease, Dr Bains said, “More than half of the new HIV victims are in the age group of 15 to 24 years. According to the revised figures by the government of India in 2007, more than three million people are living with HIV or AIDS in India.’’

With an aim to educate youth, he carried out a state-level rally against AIDS in Jalandhar on World AIDS Day with the help of Prof Naranjan Singh Dhesi. His initiative was backed by the Lyallpur Khalsa College Governing Council (Jalandhar), the Volunteer Health Association (Punjab), UNAIDS (India), the Punjab State AIDS Control Society, the health department, Punjabi Sath Punjab, Dhart Suhavi Punjab, Savi Dharti Punjab and dozens of colleges and other NGOs.

Already recipient of several awards and titles, including the Order of British Columbia, Order of Khalsa, Sikh Scholar of Computer Age and Community Mentor Award, Dr Bains was recently felicitated by Press Club Fatehgarh Sahib with the “Drugs and Aids Education award 2007” for his services.

Dr Bains came into limelight with his encyclopaedia of Sikhism that was released by the Canada’s Prime Minister in parliament. He won laurels in the world by producing the robotic and LCD touch screen “Multimedia Sikh museum”. His hard work bore fruits when his biography was included in the book “Canadian Who’s Who”, which depicts biographies of famous people in the country.



Adampur shivers at 8.8 degrees

Jalandhar, December 13
Light showers lashed Jalandhar city this afternoon, bringing a considerable fall in the temperature. According to a defence spokesman, the minimum temperature recorded at Adampur airbase in Jalandhar district was 8.8 degrees, whereas at Halwara airbase in Ludhiana district it was 8.9 degrees. 

Amritsar was cold at 7.7 degrees, while the minimum temperature in Pathankot hovered at around 11 degrees. The Weather Office has predicted morning fog with mist, cloudy sky during the day and partial haze in the evening in the next 24 hours. — UNI 



Vajra Corps’s mock drill from today
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
Vajra Corps will conduct “Vajra Sahayata,” a mock exercise for tackling nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC)-related disasters for the civil administration on December 14 and 15 in Haripur firing ranges and Phagwara.

The mock exercise will be conducted for practising NBC mobilisation and deployment drills, quick reaction team, quick reaction medical team and internal security columns.

The Army disaster management internal security column has a capability of treating 400 to 500 patients. In addition to providing technical assistance to the civil administration, the exercise will provide an opportunity to train troops in disaster management.

On the first day tomorrow, a lecture and demonstration on the drills of teams will be organised and will be attended by senior army officials, deputy commissioner and SSP, Jalandhar, disaster management cell, BSF and PAP representatives.

Defence PRO Naresh Vij said the public had been asked not to panic seeing Army men moving with gas masks from Jalandhar cantonment to Phagwara on December 15 morning. On the second day, the Army will carry out a mock drill to practise actions in case of poisonous gas leakage in the industrial area.



Staff strike at PTU
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
Employees of Punjab Technical University today gave a call for indefinite strike on the campus here.

The employees who have been working on contract for the past few years have been demanding their regularisation. The employees have been agitating on the issue for quite some time, but an advertisement for inviting applications for the post of driver sparked off their protest.

The staff worked for an hour on Thursday after which they went on an indefinite strike, saying that they would resume duty only after they would be given an assurance that no outsiders would be taken and the existing staff of 300 contractual workers would be regularised. An effort by vice-chancellor Dr S.K. Salwan to pacify the agitating staff also proved futile.



Man held with 31 passports
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
Anti-fraud cell of the police conducted a raid at the office of a fake travel agent and arrested his servant, alongwith 31 passports and around Rs 2.77 lakh, here today.

Talking to mediaperons, DSP (detective) RS Sandhu said the police had received information that Bhupinder Singh, who runs a ‘Manpower Consultancy’ in the Defence Colony, had committed fraud with some persons.

He said a police party led by anti-fraud in charge Manjit Singh raided Bhupinder Singh’s office and arrested his servant Harsh Dev Singh. During the preliminary interrogation, the servant revealed that Bhupinder Singh was in Chandigarh. Efforts were still on to nab Bhupinder, added DSP Sandhu.

Meanwhile, Manjit Singh said the investigations were still on whether seized 31 passports were fake.



A night for the husbands
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
It was a fun-filled husband’s night organised at Gymkhana Club last weekend.

The event began with a welcome song, ‘Are ho….O piya dil diya itne naaz se’, presented by Munmun, Gunjan and Kashish. The programme had songs from every era starting from 60s to the latest hits. Old memories were revisited as Hitesh and Shammi presented a medley of songs, ‘Mast kalandar’ and ‘Nagara nagara’.

Surprise games were organised by the husbands. This was followed by a fashion show by the female members.

A qawwali by women, on the number ‘Bada lutf uthaya jab kunware the hum tum’, mesmerised one and all. A talent show was performed by Amita Arora, Ranju, Yashu, Parminder Channi, Vandana, Shailja, Pinky, Indu and Gunjan, who performed on numbers ‘Chalte chalte’, Piya tose’ and ‘Kahe chhed 
chhed mohe’.

The curtains on the event were drawn with the performance of the choreographer of the event, Vivek Aggarwal, on the song ‘Jabse mile naina’ from Saawariya. 



Rural docs get step-motherly treatment: Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
The statement of the health minister that 250 medical officers (MOs) will be recruited on contract and 150 specialists appointed on regular basis has come as a surprise for the doctors.

The Rural Medical Services Association, Punjab, has opposed the move of the government. State general secretary Dr Rishi Bhardwaj has asked as to why such discrimination was being done against doctors working in rural areas. He pointed out that due to job insecurity rural doctors were losing their interest in jobs. Almost 200 doctors have already left the job and poor villagers were bearing the brunt of the absence of doctors.

He further said, according to the government policy, entry level for the state is MBBS. “While there is no special level of entry, then it seems ridiculous that specialists are appointed on regular basis and medical officers, who are taking care of a larger chunk of population, are appointed on contract basis,” he said. 



Crash-worthy coach inaugurated

Kapurthala, December 13
Sabita Gopal, general manager, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, inaugurated the first crash-worthy coach at the RCF here on Wednesday.

With this, the series production of crash worthy coaches has commenced at the RCF. During 2007-08, 242 crash worthy coaches are planned to be manufactured.

Sabita Gopal took a round of the workshop, including computer-aided design centre available in the RCF. While appreciating the high class manufacturing facilities at the RCF, she said the organisation was making the best use of its infrastructure and thus was able to reduce the cost of the coaches effectively.

On the occasion, RCF general manger S.K. Suri said the RCF and the ICF were involved in similar works and both the organisations could interact with each other to adopt the best practices. — TNS



Young World
Consumer awareness camp held
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
A consumer awareness camp was organised for the staff of Delhi Public School. The thrust of the workshop was on facts related to various properties of oil and latest recommendations of food and nutrition experts about an ideal edible cooking oil.

Dr Sanjiv Sharma, diet and nutrition consultant, gave a presentation on the quantity of oil to be consumed daily, fat composition of common edible oils and need of physically active lifestyle for a healthy life.

Divinity quiz

The primary wing of Guru Amar Dass Public School organised a divinity quiz and turban-tying competition on the occasion of martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur on Monday.

In quiz, participants of Baba Mohan House bagged the first prize. The team of Bibi Bhani House bagged the second position and Baba Mohri team stood third. In the turban-tying contest, Simranjit Singh was declared first, Arshdeep Singh second and Gagandeep Singh third.

Annual function

The annual prize distribution function of Tagore Day Boarding Senior Secondary Public School was held at Red Cross Bhavan. Registrar of Punjab Technical University Sarojini Gautam Sharda was the chief guest.

Coordinator of the school Ruchika read out the annual report. A cultural programme, comprising qawwali “Vatan ki shaan rahe” and song “Rang de basanti” was appreciated by one and all.

Students who had stood first in classes X and XII were presented role of honour. Students who had stood first, second and third in their respective classes were given prizes and medals.

Campus placement

Six students of Lovely Institutes have been shortlisted by pharmaceutical company Glaxo during a campus placement. The team of the company conducted the programme in different sessions, including written test, group discussion and interview.

Students of, MSc (chemistry) and M.Sc (bio-technology), with first class marks in their previous academic career, were eligible to appear in the programme. During the probation period, the students will be entitled to an annual compensation of Rs 3 lakh.

Teachers’ training

Around 75 teachers from three schools participated in the teachers training workshop organised by Kanya Maha Vidyalaya for the school teachers. Various activities including know yourself, learning through fun, group discussions and question answer sessions were a part of the event.

Highest grades

A class VI student of Mayor World School, Raghav Sharma, has secured the highest grades in English in Punjab in the 2007 International Assessments for Indian Schools 
Examinations held by Macmillan India Ltd. As many as 174,527 students of classes III to XII from 2,243 schools in India participated in the examination in which English, science, mathematics and computer skills are tested.

Raghav is a keen and avid reader.

AIDS awareness

The Citizens’ Welfare and Protection Council, an NGO, organised an AIDS awareness camp at Public High School, Kukkar village. Dr H.S. Lamba, an expert, talked about the causal factors causing diseases and dispelled myths about the disease. He called for sympathetic behaviour towards the victims. 



St Soldier boys win silver at school nationals
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jatinder Pal Singh
Jatinder Pal Singh
Deepanker Joshi
Deepanker Joshi

Jalandhar, December 13
Deepanker Joshi and Jatinder Pal Singh, students of St Soldier Collegiate School, Lidran, have bagged the silver medal in the water polo event at the 53rd National School Games organised by the School Games Federation of India at Surat recently.

Jatinder and Deepanker Joshi, both students of class XI, were part of the Punjab water polo team that clinched the silver medal for the state, perhaps for the first time. The team had won a bronze medal in the last National School Games after a gap of nine years.

A freestyle champion, Jatinder Pal has also been selected for the Asian camp to be held at Pune soon where he will get coaching in water polo.

The 16-year-old began swimming at the age of eight and bagged a silver medal in the relay event in 2002 at the district-level championships. He has also been winning gold medals at the senior state relay swimming championships for the past two consecutive years held in Jalandhar last year and Ropar this year.

The swimmer says he derives inspiration from his elder brothers Gagandeep Singh and Harmohan Singh, both of whom have been national champions in swimming. He also credits Regwinder Bhatia, lecturer in physical education at his school, and Om Prakash Nagi, his coach at the Sports and Arts College, for his success.

Deepanker Joshi missed an opportunity to take part in the National School Games last year despite being a member of the state team that won a gold medal. “I was to prepare for my class X examinations and could not spare time to go for the nationals. I am happy that I made it this time and helped the team bag a silver medal,” he says. Deepanker began swimming in 2001. “I had never aimed at making it to the nationals as I pursued the sport for fitness. I had even took part in the junior national event held at Chennai,” he said.

The boys said their only grouse was that they were unable to practise these days for want of an all-season or an indoor pool. “All we have been doing is going to the gym regularly and doing running every morning to stay fit. Though the district has the maximum number of swimming pools, they remain closed for at least the next six months,” they rue.

Their school coach Bhatia, who has twice been a national champion representing Doaba College and Kurukshetra University, says, “Since the boys can practise only for six months a year, it is difficult for them to compete at the national level where participants from Pune and Kerala turn up after practising all through the year.”

Matul Kalia from Greatway Public School, Arjun Khanna from Sain Dass School and Chamkaur Singh from Sports School were the other swimmers from Jalandhar who were a part of the 13-member water polo team.



Minister lays 3 stones

Phagwara, December 13
Punjab technical education minister and local MLA Chaudhary Swarana Ram laid three foundation stones here on Tuesday.

The minister laid the foundation stone of Rs 5-lakh community hall near Gurditta chowk, Hadiabad. Then he laid the foundation stone of a project to replace sewer pipes near Satnampura railway overbridge. SDM Amarjeet Paul was accompanying the minister.

Swarana Ram laid another foundation stone at Baba Sipaharia to install new sewerage pipes. — OC



Forgetting the past?

Constitution is the necessity of any democracy. The Constitution of India is the result of research and deliberations of eminent personalities of the country. One of such personalities was Dr Rajendra Prasad who was born on December 3, 1884, at Ziradei in Siwan district of Bihar. He played a crucial role in the freedom struggle of India. He became President of the Constituent Assembly in 1946 and it was under his guidance that the Constitution was formed. He then became the first President of free India. But what respect are we showing to him. His birth anniversary on December 3 passed like any other normal day. Neither the government nor the media - print or electronic - made any effort to highlight the importance of the day. The media do not forget the birthdays of film personalities. This kind of partiality is unfair on its part. The media should highlight such important days so that the people do not forget the glorious past of the country.

— Akshima Tyagi, Phagwara

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