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August 23, 2001 - August 23, 2001

Hospital blamed for burn mark on newborn Thursday, August 23, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Parents of a five-month-old girl have filed a complaint in the Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS) alleging medical negligence left a severe burn mark on their daughter when she was just a few hours old.

Satish Arnold, a local resident, in a written complaint filed with the CERS, alleged that his daughter, Deepa, has sustained severe burns on her left thigh during the heat-treatment that was given to her on March 17 after she was delivered 34 weeks pre-mature and low-birth weight at the Samarpan Maternity Hospital, Thaltej.

"My daughter has sustained a -degree burn on her thigh during heat treatment that was given to her immediately after her pre-mature delivery. The worst part is that we were not even told about the burn and were misguided by the doctors into believing that Deepa had a huge birth mark. When we noticed the ugly blister, we were again misguided into believing that the mark was actually a mole that had got infected and needed to be punctured. It was only the paediatrician, who was present during Deepa's birth, who confirmed that our daughter had sustained burn injury from lamp heat," Arnold has charged in the complaint.

Deepa's mother Priya said, at present, they were consulting plastic surgeon Dr Sanjiv Vasa who has advised pressure garments and cosmetic surgery for Deepa in the longer run.
"The accident has caused us great mental harassment compounded by constant suffering that our tiny daughter is undergoing and huge medical bills which will not be reimbursed by my husband's Mediclaim cover provided by the company", says Priya.

It needs mention that the Arnolds have demanded compensation from the hospital in terms of financing the current treatment for burns and also for the cosmetic surgery that will required to be done at a later stage.

Meanwhile, the doctors at the Samarpan Hospital have termed the allegations of medical negligence as baseless and not conforming to medical details. "The child was premature with a low birth weight. The normal practise in such cases is to keep such babies under heat and treat them aggressively. The baby was kept at a safe distance for 25 minutes and was never left unattended. When the baby was handed over to the relatives, she was silent and sleeping peacefully... can a condition like burns leave anyone sleep peacefully", retort Dr Parul and Manoj Kapoor in the written explanation handed over to the parents.

The doctors conceded in the letter that even they are perplexed as to how a small part of the body got affected to an innocuous degree of heat and emphasised that their line of treatment was right. "We are sure that inspite of what happened unfortunately our line of treatment in giving the heat was absolutely correct and life-saving and there is no question of negligence on our part", the doctors have stated.

When contacted, the CERS official co-ordinating the complaint said that the society has sent a letter seeking the doctors to explain their position. "We have sent an official letter to the hospital to explain its stand. If found that the patient has been wronged due to medical negligence, only then we will take up the matter in the court", informed Umesh Bhatt, co-ordinating consumer complaints at CERS.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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BHAVNAGAR :: 2 lakh take dip in sea at fair near Bhavnagar Thursday, August 23, 2001

BHAVNAGAR: On the eve of Bhadarvi amas, the last day of Sravan nearly two lakhs took a holy dip in the sea at Koliyak village, 28 km from here. The event also coincides with traditional fair, wherein thousands of village communities participate.

This year devotess of all age groups, including children, began to throng Koliyak converting it into a vibrant, lively and humming spot by Saturday afternoon. State transport organised 250 trips to the village for ferrying passengers from Bhavnagar bus station. ST sources said that the corporation earned Rs.2.2 lakhs in a single day. Even other transport vehicles plied by private operators did a brisk business.

DSP Jayesh Bhatt said nearly 500 police personnel, including 70 officers and mounted police, 200 home guards, an equal number of volunteers of Gram Rakshak Dal and 50 swimmers were on bandobast duty. In all, 18 suspected miscreants, three of them women, were arrested by the police.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Special :: Slowly fading glitter of the diamond Thursday, August 23, 2001

COULD Surat's industrial boom flourish without Saurashtra's rural human capital? What would have happened to those 100 lakh people living on diamond industry of Gujarat without those semi-literate but highly enterprising six lakh teenage Patel boys and girls doing back-breaking, eye-soring and lungs-suffocating toil?

At least 10 per cent of the labour force is made of women. They bring foreign exchange worth Rs 2,500 crore every year. They have prospered and lived through many ups and down in the past 30 years. But now they are passing through a bigger crash.

The moot question is: Will India-Gujarat be able to beat China's vigorous competition in this sector? Pioneers of this industry from Saurashtra and Surat respond with a resounding YES, but with one reservation --- only IF some radical measures are taken fast!

First of all we must evaluate the worth of this industry on its own merits. It is pollution-free. It consumes minimum power. It does not consume water. Rough diamonds used to come from Rangoon in early Fifties and Sixties and only 15-20 diamond cutting units existed then at Surat. The method to cut and polish diamonds was primitive. They used no power but manually moved the grinders. Now a few of them use lasers, computers and electrical tools. Even import and export is done from Gujarat itself.

Why does then the fear of being beaten nag those entrepreneurs? Why is there a fear of a closure of this huge industry that produces 80 per cent of the world's quantity and 55 per cent of the value of world's polished diamonds?

China has launched a drive to establish this industry. Chinese experts have been visiting Surat and taking note of the intricacies of this business. Some Indian entrepreneurs have already gone there to take benefit of their better infrastructural facilities, according to the Surat Diamond Association.

What were the most urgent steps? Well, Saurashtra and Surat need at least half a dozen airports. Surat cannot survive without an international airport. Second, residential colonies for diamond workers! No government agency has yet surveyed how those half a million workers live --- from Surat to Sihore --- a sub-human life, worse than sweat shops in New York and on Mexico-US border.

Third is the urgent need for modern technology and information training centres, not just only in Surat but at Bhavnagar, Amreli, Rajkot, Ahmedabad and even at such smaller centres like Jetpur, Gariadhar, Gadhada, Atkot, Savar Kundla, Palitana and Dhandhuka.

Fourth, economic reforms must now allow foreign-owned rough diamond business firms to deal directly with the Indian dealers. A channel for cheap loan for new units, abolition of sales tax and labour law reforms are also vital. Educational facilities for the workers' families cannot be overlooked, either. A health unit for that matter.

New transportation links must be created in interior Saurashtra. What we see is an endless flow of locally manufactured chhakada ---three wheeler with capacity of six passengers but carrying over 30 human cargo at one go from villages to towns and back.

The forces of liberalisation now threaten the cozy lifestyle and privileged stratum of a vested interest groups of bureaucrats, intelligentsia, labour activists and some businessmen, too.

Chinese 'workers and peasants' state on the other hand has been dealing firmly with any kind of labour aristocracy, any bureaucratic hurdle while taking care of basic infrastructure and training. That is why both the ship-breakers of Saurashtra and diamond cutters now face a free-fall!

There are of course a few spots of silver lining at Surat itself. Take the case of the all-purpose Diamond City (Nagar) by a Saurashtra's 'illiterate' Patel Bhimjibhai, who not only built this complex without any government help but provides them with modern family quarters, supplies them with fresh milk, food grain and lush greenery around from the Nagar's own dairy and farm, provides pure drinking water from its source and transportation for carrying their kids to schools! At the complex around 2,000 cutters and polishers, mostly from Saurashtra, work all day and night.

Further, we also see the flashes of new technology in Surat set up by some bright young men of Saurashtra. One example is Sahajanand Laser setting up a diamond planner machine that makes it easy to recognise the worth of any big or small rough diamond and turns it into a glittering piece faster than any human hand can make. Dhirajlal Kotadia pioneered this. It works ultra-smooth at a rocket speed with a minimal brushing of 0.3 point with a laser. No surprise, polished diamonds exported from Gujarat-Mumbai to Europe and America have proved to be matchless.

Among other new technological tools set up now by some units are brooting machine, angle setting system, automatic blocking machine. That means, our people cannot be beaten in competition by anybody in the world, only if they are given enough facilities, I am convinced.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Vadodara cricket burning bright again Thursday, August 23, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Happy times are here again, at least for cricket in the city. While two of Vadodara's Ranji players -- Zaheer Khan and Jacob Martin -- are in the national squad touring Sri Lanka, young Satyajit Parab almost made it by the dint of his excellent performance against Railways during the Ranji Trophy final.

For a city of Maharajas who loved and patronised cricket, a trait that continues in the family (Ranjitsinh Gaekwad went all the way to the GSFC stadium watch the Ranji final held in Vadodara in April), and a city that gave Indian cricket many a big name, it couldn't have been better.

"That I was picked up after Sachin Tendulkar was ruled out due to injury is a matter of honour," said a jubilant Martin, who captains the Baroda Ranji team. And, he came very close on Wednesday to be picked up as there were doubts about Hemang Badani's selection. Zaheer, however, seems a permanent fixture in the team now.

All this has sent happy signals back home. Coupled with the Ranji win after four decades, Baroda cricket seems infused with a new lease of life. The seniors too are doing their bit -- Kiran More working hard at his academy to teach the basics of the game to young boys and trying to instil a sense of professionalism. Anshuman Gaekwad, who is both with the Vadodara Cricket Association and a member of the MS University cricket selection committee, is working on laying a new turf wicket on the DN Hall ground in the university campus, an attempt to give youngsters a feel of the wicket that the world plays on now. Going by the rising popularity of cricket in the city, it could perhaps happen that the city might well "eat cricket and sleep cricket."

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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NHRC report confirms govt delay in quake rehab Thursday, August 23, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Contrary to the state government's claim that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had "appreciated" the work done by the state officialdom in earthquake relief, a report finalised by the NHRC speaks of "the delay in announcement of rehabilitation package, and the slow progress of rehabilitation".

The NHRC report, which the state officialdom has been treating a secret while refusing to part with its text for two months now, recognises that "the task of rehabilitation is stupendous and will be long drawn". It emphasises that rehabilitation should be undertaken "promptly and without aggravating the hardships" of the victims.

Noting that power rested in the hands of those around Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, NHRC said this was a reason for the delay. It further says, "It is necessary that the administration, at the state level, is sensitive to the needs of the quake-affected. For promptly dealing with the grievances, it's necessary to decentralise powers and empower officers at the district-level."

It says, "Rehabilitation process will be aided if the decision-making process is simplified and more powers are granted to officers stationed at Bhuj. The commission requests the state government to sufficiently empower the officer stationed at Bhuj so that the problems of the affected people can be sorted out at the district level itself. Such a course will improve credibility of performance."

The NHRC has asked the state government to concentrate on completing the "enumeration of orphaned children, destitute women and elderly, and draw up a plan of action for providing relief and rehabilitation to people of each of these categories". The government should take special care of the marginalised sections of society, namely the SC/ST. The government should endeavour to ensure that relief for the affected members of this section is adequate and that there is no exploitation.

Pinpointing an instance of discrimination, the NHRC says, "The commission is concerned that the Dalits who have migrated to areas nearer to Bhuj from areas north of the district are being asked to go back. The reason for their migration is that they find better economic opportunities near the district headquarters. The return of the Dalits to their villages should be entirely voluntary." An NHRC source said the recommendation has been "accepted" and the forced eviction stopped.

Taking a serious view of the fact that "recently constructed multi-storey buildings collapsed in different parts of the state, especially Ahmedabad, which is 400 km from the epicentre", the NHRC asked the state government to "look at building by-laws, update them, and, most importantly, ensure proper implementation of the building by-laws".

A four-person group headed by PGJ Nampoothiri, special representative, is already on the job of identifying, community-wise, whether the packages announced by the state government are being equally distributed.

Next month, it expects to start public hearings in different parts of the state's quake-affected areas.

Within two months of its formation, the monitoring group has received thousands of complaints from Jamnagar and Surendranagar districts about lack of proper assessment of quake damage, and poor disbursement.

The group has also identified 160-odd paraplegia patients, mainly in Kutch, who will be bed-ridden for the rest of their lives. "We think paraplegia patients should not be given the same amount of Rs 50,000 as other permanently disabled ones," Sethi said. "There should be a permanent source of monthly allowance for them."

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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