Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One primary health centre services forty two thousand people in rural MP

Health infrastructure in the state of Madhya Pradesh needs urgent attention as the state endeavors to bring down its high rates of infant and maternal deaths. Though state has introduced many schemes, and has number of programmes in this regard but they are not enough, until and unless it has adequate infrastructure to support its implementation.

State of Madhya Pradesh in its recent human development report provides data of health infrastructure based on the year 2006 records. State has 103 district and civil hospitals and each hospital serves more than six and half lakh people of the state, which is huge to be managed by one hospital. The exact figures provided in the report are 668079.

In rural areas primary health centre (PHC) is crucial health facility and there is lot of dependence on it particularly by weaker section which cannot anyway afford the private facilities. The data provides that rural population served per Primary health centre is 42665 and there are 1152 PHC’s in the state. In Madhya Pradesh in last twelve years the number of PHCs has gone down, the reason cited for it that it is because of conversion primary health centres into community health centre. This change has brought down the population serviced by each community health centre from over 3.6 lakhs in year 1994 to 2.6 lakhs in year 2006, thus leading to some improvement but that is not adequate. As per Government of India prescribed norm for the population served per primary health centre is 30,000 which also is debated as more by many especially since India has high rates of infant and maternal deaths. While in Madhya Pradesh we exceed the norm substantially, indicating that we have adequate health infrastructure for rural people of the state.

In fact we look at the health institution together in the state vis a vis at population served per health institution it is 6645 which is far less than what is needed. Their also is shortage of quality manpower and other basic facilities at the health centre and even at hospitals. In fact the human development report categorically state that state needs to do something innovative to improve access and quality of health care for its people. Though State proclaims to reduce and infant and maternal deaths rates as its first priority, and has introduced many schemes and pushing for increasing awareness among communities but needs to strengthen its supply side and fasten pace for increasing its infrastructure both physical and human resources immediately.

Anil Gulati

India : NE potential risk zones of bird flu

PTI reports that a "prediction map" has been prepared by research associate Dr Dibyendu Adhikari and Arun Chettri of the Department of Botany, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), which was made public on Wednesday, claimed that some areas in Northeastern region were vulnerable to the H5N1 virus. The map also highlighted areas in West Bengal, which has already been affected by the out break of the virus, and most districts of Bangladesh which had a "suitable environment for proliferation of the bird flu". Though the map covers potential risk zones of bird flu in almost all northeastern states, including Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram, the hilly areas in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have been identified as lower-risk zone.

Adhikari and Chettri said the prediction map of the potential risk areas of bird flu in the Northeastern India was made through the technique of Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM).

ENM involves using artificial intelligence algorithm called Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Prediction (GARP) along with the Geograhic Information System (GIS) technology, they said. They called for precautionary measures like proper monitoring of the areas visited by migratory birds in Assam to check spread of avian influenza in the region. In earlier studies, the technique successfully predicted the prevalence of infectious diseases like ebola, chagas, human monkeypox, malaria and dengue in different parts of the world, Adhikari and Chettri said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tribals forced to eat human excreta in Betul - Act a blot on humanity

This story was reported in today Hindustan Times, Bhopal Edition & Rajya Ki Nai Dunia. It is total violation of human rights, an act which not only needs to be condemned by all but needs immediate reaction by the State. This is blot on HUMANITY and should not be accepted at any cost.

Betul,Madhya Pradesh: Six persons, including the husband of a village "sarpanch" were arrested for allegedly forcing two tribals to consume human excreta in full public view, police said.While the police claim the act was preformed by the accused over the dispute related to theft of wood, the tribals, who were admitted to the hospital, alleged the treatment was meted out to them as a punishment for demanding job cards under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes (NREGS).

The victims, Nathuram alias Dhannu and Mainu Adivasi, claimed they had approach Mannu Gond, husband of the village sarpanch who handle all her official affairs, and sought their job cards under their scheme. Infuriated by their demand, Gond and five others forced them to consume human excreta in front of the villagers, they alleged.

Cases were registered under various section of IPC against six person for forcing Dhannu and Mainu to consume human excreta.

No new bird flu reports from West Bengal

No reports of avian flu have come in from new districts in West Bengal. As of now 13 have been affected. The culling of 22 lakh birds in areas affected by the disease so far was expected to be completed by Tuesday, Anisur Rahaman, Minister for Animal Resources Development, told media. The culling target was revised to 25 lakh birds in the wake of the more recent spread of avian flu and should be met within the next two days, the Minister added.

Indonesia Reports 100th Bird Flu Death

Meanwhile AP reports from Indonesia a nation which has beeb hardest hit by bird flu, that it has recorded its 100th human death as the virus picks up speed across Asia. Health officials are bracing for more possible outbreaks during the upcoming Lunar New Year, when massive numbers of people and poultry are on the move. In Indonesia, the H5N1 bird flu virus killed a 9-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman from the outskirts of Jakarta, said Joko Suyono of the National Bird Flu Center AP reports.

The boy fell ill Jan. 16 and died Sunday in Jakarta after testing positive, Suyono said. The woman developed symptoms Jan. 19 and died in a hospital. Two other Indonesians in their 30s, who also tested positive, were being treated in the capital, Suyono said. Indonesia has recorded nearly half of the 222 human deaths from bird flu detected worldwide since the virus began decimating poultry stocks in late 2003.

Monday, January 28, 2008

13 districts affected in West Bengal due to Bird Flu

South 24 Parganas and Paschim Medinipur have been struck

Parts of two more districts South 24 Parganas and Paschim Medinipur have been struck by avian influenza and spread now is across blocks in the 13 districts of West Bengal. About 15.75-lakh poultry birds have been destroyed. Reports of fresh outbreak in new areas keep pushing upwards the targets set for culling. State as per media report have stated that health authorities prepared to meet any eventuality. The total loss is estimated at more than Rs. 150 crores.

Meanwhile death of 17 cows since Saturday night triggered panic in some West Midnapore villages. Villagers of Rajarbagan, Bisripat, Pathra, Hatihalka and Gobindopur are scared that now the avian influenza have affected their cattle. The samples have been sent for tests to a Kolkata laboratory. The district officials as per media reports feel that the cattle could have been affected by anthrax.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

MP may soon have steel bullock carts !

newswhichmatter team

Madhya Pradesh may see new model of bullock cart on its roads in rural areas. Costing around Rs 10,000, this cart is made of stainless steel and has capacity of two tonne. This cart was designed in Bhopal-based Agricultural Engineering Institute. On receipt of feedback from this sample cart, the Institute decided to manufacture 720 such carts that would be distributed to farmers in the state. This sample bullock cart was displayed in Vidisha, Hoshangabad, Indore and Dhar Melas (fetes). Madhya Pradesh Agro-Industries Corporation has been made nodal agency for distributing these carts with a subsidy of Rs 5,000. Senior Engineer of the Institute JP Sharma told that this is entirely new concept brought in the state. Stainless steel hollow square bars have been used in this to reduce its weight. The overall weight of the cart is distributed on both the wheels and thus, the bullock would have less weight on its shoulder. He said, "This cart has been designed in view of condition of roads and requirements of farmers. After going through the response from the farmers, the bulk production of this innovative cart would commence."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Media raises concern on Bird Flu in West Bengal

Media reports on bird flu

Amarnath K. Menon and Swagata Sen in India today in their piece titled as 'Crying fowl' point out that the Bird flu in West Bengal is steadily getting worse and could easily spin out of control if it acquires a virulent form. The latest outbreak of the avian influenza sweeping West Bengal is the most serious India has ever faced—with grim portents of affecting the nation’s poultry business. The media report says that spread could have been contained had the state taken timely preventive measures. It points out as preparations for Eid were in full swing at Margram in Birbhum district, on December 15 last, Murshida Bibi, a small-time chicken farmer, noticed her flock of 33 behaving in a strange manner. The birds would go into a stupor, totter drowsily and fall. By the next morning her entire flock was dead. The village panchayat, on instructions from the local block development officer, said: “It is winter, chickens die of cold.” It also bring out an issues of communication that villagers blame the Government for not informing them about the hazards of bird flu even as many admit to roasting and eating the dead birds. Some tried to smuggle chicken, even to Bihar, to avoid losses.

Meanwhile AFP reports from Kolkatta that West Bengal, and calls it as country's worst outbreak of deadly bird flu, say that State Government has appealed to the federal government to send "all possible help to defeat" the virus. The call by state animal resources minister Anisur Rahaman came as authorities struggled to stop the disease spread. "We have to control the disease immediately as the deadly H5N1 virus has been spreading fast," Rahaman said to AFP, adding "avian flu is knocking on the doors of Kolkata," the eastern state's congested capital of 13.5 million people. "I'm urging the federal government to send all possible help to defeat the virus before it affects the humans," he told AFP.

Meanwhils PTI Reports that unseasonal heavy rains has slowed down the culling of poultry in the bird flu-affected districts of West Bengal and has also raised hopes of containing the flu virus, Animal Resources Development Minister, Anisur Rehman, said Saturday. "It has to be admitted that the culling operation is being affected in some places due to the rains. But scientists say that the rains also prevent spread of the virus," Rehman told PTI from Murshidabad.He said to PTI that there was no report of any fresh outbreak of the disease from anywhere in the state on Saturday.

Bird flu spreads to 11 districts in West Bengal

Sify reports that authorities of West Bengal Government on Friday had confirmed the spread of the diseases in two more districts of Purulia and Howrah. "The High Security Animal Disease Laboratory of Bhopal has confirmed positive result for Avian Influenza (H5) in respect of samples from the Sankrail block of Howrah district and Santuri block of Purulia district," an agriculture ministry statement said in the capital. The ministry further said that avian influenza strains have been found from the samples of Mayureswar -II and Khoyrasole blocks of Birbhum district, the epicentre of the current outbreak, in eastern India. Kandi block of Murshidabad too have been found positive.

With this confirmation the diseases now has spread to over 11 districts - Birbhum, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan, Bankura, Malda, Hooghly, Cooch Behar, Purulia and Howrah.

The outbreak of bird flu was confirmed on Jan 15 in two districts (Birbhum and south Dinajpur) of West Bengal. No human infection has been reported so far. All nine human samples tested in Delhi and Kolkata have been found negative.

Friday, January 25, 2008

10th district in West Bengal affected with Bird Flu

Media reports say that Purulia district became the tenth district in West Bengal to be declared affected by the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. District Magistrate Deepak Ranjan Kar said bird flu surfaced at Ramchandrapur village under Santuri block in the district for the first time. Samples from the district sent to central laboratories tested positive, he said to media. Culling operations would begin in the village on Saturday, he added.

Nine of the 19 districts of West Bengal - Bankura, Burdwan, Cooch Behar, Hooghly, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, Dakhin Dinajpur and Birbhum - have already been affected by the avian influenza. Meanwhile West Bengal has nearly culled over one million poultry birds in the past 10 days even as the avian influenza continues to cause havoc in the state and impact its rural economy.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Avian Influenza in nine districts of West Bengal in India

Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Govt. of India has notified Avian Influenza in poultry in a number of blocks spread over nine districts, namely Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Bankura, Malda, Cooch behar, Burdwan and Hoogly.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India has initiated a series of actions to assist the state in the containment operations and restrict further spread of the disease. The contingency plan of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been implemented in affected districts. Seven Central Rapid Response Teams are assisting the State in containment operations. In all the affected areas, active human surveillance is being undertaken in the 0-3 Km zone and being further stepped up in 3-10 Km area. Persons having Upper Respiratory Infection [URI]/ Fever are being monitored. Health care facilities have been identified with isolation ward and critical care facilities for management of human cases of Avian Influenza. The animal health staff involved in the culling and sanitization operations and those involved in human health surveillance are being provided chemoprophylaxis and their health status is being monitored. No suspected human cases of Avian Influenza have been detected. Five samples tested so far have been reported negative.

MOHFW has supplied 1,20,000 capsules of Oseltamivir, 5000 personal protective equipments, 5000 N-95 masks and 5 ventilators. This is in addition to 10 ventilators and 10 semi automatic analyzers supplied earlier. An additional supply of 1,00,000 capsules of Oseltamivir, 100 bottles of Oseltsamivir syrup and 5 ventilators have been sent on 23.01.2008. There is adequate stock of Oseltamivir and Personal Protection Equipments to meet further requirements.

States of Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam that share a common border with West Bengal have been instructed to ban and prevent any entry of poultry or poultry related products from West Bengal into these States. Other States have also been put on alert. Central teams have been deputed to the states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and other North Eastern States to review the level of preparedness and fill critical gaps. The preparedness of the districts bordering West Bengal is also being reviewed through videoconference with state/ district authorities.

MOHFW has initiated a campaign to sensitize the community through the visual and print media. A control room is functioning from the Emergency Medical Relief division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in New Delhi from 8.00 AM to 8.00 PM. The control room number is 23061469.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Humans safe from Bird flu in WB , 20 lakh birds to be culled

PTI reports : Fears of bird flu spreading to humans in West Bengal were laid to rest with eight persons showing clinical symptoms of the disease medically cleared while authorities on Tuesday, raised the target of culling poultry to 20 lakh in the next one week.

Blood samples of the eight sick persons from the bird flu affected districts of South Binajpur and Birbhum were tested negative for the deadly disease by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases giving much wanted relief to a harried state administration.

NICD Director Shivlal told the media in Delhi that three samples which had been sent to NICD, New Delhi,had tested negative on Monday and its Kolkata branch , which tested five samples, confirmed on Tuesday that all of them are negative for the presence of Avian Influenza.

The state administration set a daily target of culling three lakh birds over the next seven days from tomorrow in the seven affected districts Birbhum, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, Burdwan, Nadia, Bankura and Malda. Three lakh birds have been culled since the outbreak of the disease last Wednesday. After Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss slammed the West Bengal government saying its delayed action contributed to the rapid spread of the disease.

"It could have been handled better", Ramadoss told reporters in Delhi but added that "things have now been put on track." Union Animal Husbandry Secretary Pradip Kumar said in Kolkata that another 100 teams would be added for the culling operations taking the total number of teams to 600 amid fears that bird flue may spiral out of control. He said West Bengal's border with neighbouring states have been sealed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bird flu update - Bird flu spreads to sixth district in West Bengal

PTI reports that Bird flu in West Bengal spread to a sixth district Bankura and poultry deaths were reported on Sunday from new areas of the state including in northern districts of Darjeeling and Cooch Behar. Meanwhile culling of birds is stepped up in the West Bengal. The Centre has also sent a team to neighbouring Jharkhand and Bihar to monitor the ground situation there. Teams will be also sent to Mumbai and north-eastern states.

As per the report of HSADL, Bhopal, the sample from Bankura has also tested positive. Further more samples from Nadia, Birbhum and Mushidabad districts have also tested positive," the Union Animal Husbandry Department said. The Centre said that more samples have been sent to the HSADL, Bhopal, from Howrah, South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Kolkata, Burdwan, Malda and West Midnapore.

Bird flu update - No human being has been affected by bird flu in India

No human beings had been affected by bird flu in India so far and no cases have been reported, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss shared with media on Sunday, as PTI (Press Trust of India) reports from the state. In its report PTI says that he told reporters here on the sidelines of a function that "Not even a single case has been reported so far" His remarks come in the wake of the outbreak of bird flu in five districts in West Bengal. Since its outbreak on Jan 15 in Birbhum, the bird flu has spread to western and Northern areas of the state. The government has also stepped up culling operations. The Health Minister said people in Tamil Nadu need nor harbour any fears about being affected by the disease as no cases of bird flu had been reported in the state.

The five districts of West Bengal which have been affected with H5N1 virus are Birbhum, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia and Burdwan.

IANS reports from the state that around 1,00,000 poultry birds have been culled in West Bengal since Wednesday as the dreaded bird flu virus engulfed five districts, and the State government staved off criticism over its handling of the crisis. "We have culled around 1,00,000 birds in the first four days and the culling operation is on in full swing. Now we have 250 Rapid Response Teams, each team comprising five people," West Bengal Animal Resource Development Minister Anisur Rahman told IANS.
The State government has allocated Rs 3 crore as compensation for those losing their poultry birds. Farmers were being handed over tokens at culling sites and asked to contact their panchayat or village block offices for the money. The payment is Rs 40 for a country chicken, Rs 30 for a broiler and Rs 10 for a chick. Meanwhile broiler chicken and egg prices have crashed by 25-30 per cent in various parts of the country following the confirmation of bird flu in West Bengal. Consumption of poultry and egg has come down by about 25 per cent, leading to a crash in prices of these products.

As this blog is seen by many in media too, we are hereby listing some contacts in the State - (The info is as per state web site)

Animal Resources Department

Sri Anisur Rahaman
Minister – Animal Resources
Writer’s Building
Kolkatta – 700 001
Tel – 221 40564, 22145600 extnb – 4236/4502
Fax – 221 45213

Principal Secretary Animal Resources
Tel 22143690 Fax: 22145006 Email:

Health and Family Welfare

Dr. Surjya Kanta Mishra
Minister Health and Family Welfare
Swastha Bhavan,
GN-29, Sector-V,
Salt Lake
Tel 2357-3600;
Fax: 2357-7910

Additional Chief Secretary
Swastha Bhavan,
GN-29, Sector-V,
Salt Lake
Tel 23575899 Fax: 23577907

Bird flu spreads in two more districts of West Bengal

Bird flu spread to two new districts in West Bengal as State government steps up its bird culling and awareness-building drive. The H5N1 virus was found in dead birds in Burdwan and Nadia, taking to five the number of infected districts in West Bengal. India, which is witnessing its fourth bird flu outbreak in poultry since 2006, has not reported any human infection.

This time a major shift from protocol is being done to help prevent its spread Centre has now asked the government of West Bengal to initiate culling operation of poultry even in areas where the virus is "suspected" to have struck. Though as per protocol, birds are culled in and around the infected area only after the presence of the deadly H5N1 Avian Influenza (AI), or bird flu virus, is established. The state government aims to slaughter 4 lakh birds in a 5 - 10 kilometre radius of the affected areas by Monday, after which cleaning up and disinfection operation will start.

State is also asking panchayats to advise people in the affected areas not to either consume chicken or trade it. However there is need to there was a need to increase awareness so that people did not dump dead birds in ponds or wells, which act as the source of water for villages. Bird flu has begun taking a toll on India's poultry business with Oman banning the import of all Indian poultry products. Domestic sales have also been affected.

Friday, January 18, 2008

PTA president gives his life for want of school building in Madhya Pradesh

Shiv Prasad Ahirwar was president of Parents’ Teacher Association of a primary government school in Bhagwanganj area of the Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh. He had burnt himself in protest and frustration on January 7, 2008. This was not for any of his own personal demands but for want of school building for the children of the school of which he represents. He had suffered 80 per cent burns and then he succumbed to death in the Bhopal government hospital. This incident is probably first of its kind in India when someone had given his life for a cause of school building for children.

In this case, money had been approved for the school building, in fact had lapsed twice but the problem was that land could not be allocated. Why? Probably the district did not have any government land to be allocated for the school in the area, because of which he protested. Majority of children in the school are harijans and his point was that if the land could be provided for other buildings then why not for a school, a point which leaves all of us to ponder. Hope his sacrifice does not goes unnoticed, and brings light to problem of poor children in this area and across India in years to come.

At a time when government of India spends more than 32,000 crores on primary education and a special cess of 2 per cent is levied on citizens of India for making sure that each and every child of India goes to school, this incident bring us back to the question of implementation of the much pronounced schemes and the kind of glitches which get into the way of providing each child the basic right to education. Let his fight which he has started not get lost but ignite more momentum to civil society and media to push hard for the implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Let’s not allow more Shiv Prasad Ahirwars to place their life at stake for need of a school building. It may be important to mention here that this is not the only one school in the district, which does not have a building, but as per District Elementary Education Report Card popularly known as DISE report, 6.9 per cent children are enrolled in schools without a building in Sagar district. It is also reported that more than 46,000 schools in India don’t have a school building, one of the basic minimum needs for making sure that all children go to school to gain knowledge.

anil gulati

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nano’s entry brings Indian paradox into focus

Anil Gulati

MEDIA IS full of interesting features and articles on the ‘Nano’, the world’s cheapest car, unveiled just a few days back in India. It is a statement of pride and an engineering marvel, no doubt. It is said that Nano will change the way people travel in India, particularly rural India. Hope it also helps in changing the rural infrastructure, like roads. Better roads will not only help Nano make inroads into the Indian market but also contribute to better connectivity for delivery of services like health. Better roads facilitate quick access to hospitals and the overall health delivery system; it can bring down the high infant mortality rates and maternal mortality rates. Rural India, with its impassable roads (the records state otherwise!) is the litmus test for Nano; many villages in India still don’t enjoy any road connectivity.

Media reports quoting Crisil Research state that Nano’s entry into the Indian transport sector could translate into a 65 per cent increase in the number of families that can afford a car. This would bring down the cost of ownership of an entry-level car in India by 30 per cent, making a new car affordable to families with an income of Rs 2 lakh per annum. The frenzy aside, we may also like to ponder over the plight of the other but bigger chunk of India which still subsists on less than a dollar a day and ekes out a living.

Recent media reports quoting World Bank, say 80 per cent of India’s 1.1 billion people live on less than two USD a day, meaning more than a third of the world’s poor live here. One out of every three Indians lives on less than one USD a day, meaning they are extremely poor. This brings to the fore India’s paradox and the major divide - many out of the 200 million, constituting the Indian middle class will go overboard to buy Nano; the other, which unfortunately is in a majority, will still struggle – something to ponder over, even as we celebrate Nano’s entry!

source -

Friday, January 04, 2008

Teen smoking impacts concentration

As per an article published in the ‘New Scientist’ titled as ‘Teenage smokers risk badly wired brains’ quotes a study of Leslie Jacobsen of Yale University School of Medicine and colleagues who had used diffusion tensor imaging, which measures how water diffuses through brain tissue, to study the affect of smoking in teens. The study reveals that the development of the brain could be affected due to smoking in teenage. Researchers found that young smokers, particularly boys, are more likely to suffer from hearing disorders. Brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of tobacco during adolescence, the time when it rapidly matures. Some young smokers suffer from hearing problems and also find it hard to concentrate in their classes. The teens studied were a group of young students aged between 14 and 19. The changes, found in the regions responsible for relaying signals to the ear, were greatest in the smokers, suggesting the brain is at heightened risk while maturing during adolescence.

Study also points out that teenager who smoke, or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, are also more likely to suffer from auditory attention deficits, meaning they find it harder to concentrate on what is being said when other things are happening at the same time. It may be pertinent to mention here that Smoking and chewing tobacco contribute to some 800,000 deaths in India every year.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Request to media on reporting about Satna case

There has been a very sad incident of crime by Juvenile today in the District Satna of Madhya Pradesh. It will be reported but request to media is to kindly consider the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act when reporting about the incident which are as follows -

As per Section 21 of the Juvenile Justice ( Care and Protection of Children ) Act, 2000 ( 56 of 2000 ) as amended by the Juvenile Justice ( Care and Protection of Children ) Amendment Act, 2006 ( 33 of 2006 )., states that: “Prohibition of publication of name, etc., of juvenile or child in need of care and protection involved in any proceeding under the Act-( 1 ) No report in any newspaper, magazine, news-sheet or visual media of any inquiry regarding a juvenile in conflict with law or a child in need of care and protection under this Act shall disclose the name, address or school or any other particulars calculated to lead to the identification of the juvenile or child shall nor shall any picture of any such juvenile or child shall be published: Provided that for any reason to be recorded in writing, the authority holding the inquiry may permit such disclosure, if in its opinion such disclosure is in the interest of the juvenile or the child. ( 2 ) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section ( 1 ), shall be liable to a penalty which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees”.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Chhattisgarh ban's sale of 'Gutka'

January 1, 2008 onwards State of Chhattisgarh has imposed a five year ban on manufacturing and sale of gutkha (chewing tobacco) and polythene bags which are less than 20 micron thickness. The state’s media release said 'Those who violate the decision will be imprisoned from six months to three years, besides economic penalty under provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954,'

The State Government in its media statement said that it had banned gutkha as school and college children were increasingly being found chewing gutkha which has immense risk to their health. According to an official estimate, around Rs.100 million worth of gutkha is sold in the state every month. The State Government of Chhattisgarh in order has also banned the use of polythene bags with a thickness of less than 20 micron, saying it was causing great damage to the environment.

The major challenge which state will face will be of enforcement of this ban. Need will be to launch an awareness drive simultaneously to educate people about health implication of use of tobacco and the ban or else this ban will not have much impact but may illegal sale of 'gutka' at higher prices from neighboring states.

According to data, more than 250 million people in India use various tobacco products like gutka, cigarettes and bidis and millions of them die, many suffer with heart and lung diseases because of this habit. The data says one in two Indian men and one in seven women use tobacco in the country. Tobacco causes 40 per cent of all cancer disease in India.

Amitabh Bachhan, Preity Zinta and John Abraham in the movie ‘Welcome’ !!

The three stars support awareness campaign against human trafficking which is shown before the start of ‘Anil-Nana-Akshay-Katrina’ starring ‘Welcome’ movie

‘Welcome’ is a comedy movie which stars Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal, Feroz Khan and Mallika Sherawat. The film is based on Hollywood’s ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’, and is directed by Anees Bazmee, produced by Feroz Nadiadwala and written by Rajiv Kaul and Praful Parekh duo. But there is surprise after its initial censor board certificate; one sees Amitabh, Preity and John there. They are in it to make public service announcements for UN.GIFT, the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. This inbuilt video spot in the film is part of UN’s awareness initiative with Indian Film Industry and is produced by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for South Asia.

This two minute spot which is part of the movie is on the crime of human trafficking in India. One Life, No Price precedes every show of the movie ‘Welcome’. The spot aims to sensitize millions of movie-goers to this form of modern-day slavery and galvanize action to prevent and combat human trafficking by civil society and law enforcement partners. The spot powerfully shows how children get affected by trafficking and how it exposes them to abuse, and reason to focus on the issue.

UNGIFT is the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) which was conceived to join forces and coordinate the global fight on human trafficking in March 2007 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UN.GIFT provides a framework for, and action by, all stakeholders—governments, business, academia, civil society and the media—so that they can support each other, work in partnership, and create effective tools to fight human trafficking.

The Global Initiative is based on a simple principle: human trafficking is a crime of such magnitude and atrocity that it cannot be dealt with successfully by any government alone and needs many stakeholders.

Contributed by Anil Gulati