First shot at trauma care
B-school boys chuck the bucks
Police attacked over inaction
Minister escapes bid on life
Sticky second lap for Nipamacha
Students go on rampage in Orissa
3 killed in Assam accidents

 
 
FIRST SHOT AT TRAUMA CARE 
 
 
BY SUVRO ROY
 
Calcutta, March 5 
A few months ago, 32-year-old scooterist Manoj Srivastav (not his real name) was knocked down by a speeding bus on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass near Beliaghata.

For the next one-and-a-half hours, Manoj lay unconscious, bleeding profusely. Finally, around 11 pm, a passing police patrol spotted him, took him to the NRS Hospital and informed his family. But the NRS authorities could not admit him because they did not have the ventilating machine for immediate artificial respiration.

For nearly five hours, Manoj lay waiting for treatment. By the time he was shifted to another nursing home, the damage had been done. He died three days later.

Manoj, and countless others like him, could still be alive if Calcutta had trauma-care units. According to the police, the road mishap toll has risen from 261 in 1993 to 450 in 1999.

The government has finally unveiled plans to build the first trauma management centre in the country at the SSKM hospital.

The centre will begin with 150 beds, of which 100 will be for male patients, 30 for female and 20 for children. The Rs 12.5-crore three-storeyed centre will be built opposite the Woodburn Ward.

The Armenian Holy Church has already come forward to help build the trauma unit and has offered to provide Rs 1.5 crore to the health department.

“The idea of constructing a trauma management centre was given to us by the health department following reports that there has been a rise in injury cases being brought to government hospitals. The concept of trauma hospital is quite common in the UK and the US,” said D.D. Chattopadhyay, surgeon-superintendent of SSKM.

The hospital will start off with a team of at least 20 doctors, two OTs and requisite number of nurses, anaesthetists, pathologists, radiographers and X-Ray technicians. It will also have a plastic surgery unit.

The city-based Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM) has been demanding such a centre in the city for the past three years.

“Lack of trauma-care facilities has resulted in greater number of deaths even though the number of road accidents compared to other parts of the world is less. In 1987, there were six lakh road accidents in Japan in which over 8,719 persons died. The same year, 29,000 people were killed in our country in 1.6 lakh mishaps,” said Sourav Koley, the ISCCM secretary.

Doctors like Koley point out that delay in treatment of trauma may lead to life-long physical disability and neurological disorders. They say that there are not enough ambulances adequately equipped to transport accident victims.

“In our country, the emergency wards are overcrowded with patients. They are completely inadequate for handling trauma patients,” a health department official said.

“At the trauma centre, if the patient is in a state of shock, he or she will be immediately put on drips of saline or dextrose. If the patients need blood, it can be provided immediately,” said Chattopadhyay.

While biochemists and pathologists will carry out the necessary tests, doctors and surgeons will attend to the wounds without delay.    


 
 
B-SCHOOL BOYS CHUCK THE BUCKS 
 
 
BY DEVDEEP PUROHIT
 
Calcutta, March 5 
He’s young, he’s bright, he’s bold — and he gets his kicks from risks.

Meet Anirban Saha. With a classic IIT-IIM combination in his kitty, he could have easily asked for the moon and got it during the annual placements on the sprawling campus at IIM, Joka. But when he was asked to choose between a salary of US$ 1,30,000 with a lucrative overseas posting, or just Rs 2 lakh per annum, plus a 25% share in profits, he did not think twice before grabbing the latter, an offer from IRIS (dotcom, of course).

Anirban is the new emerging face of the 20-something IIM-Calcutta graduate, for whom a shot at entrepreneurship is just doing what comes naturally.

“Higher salaries are no longer new. The focus is now on different kinds of offers which have opened new vistas for us this year,” Arun Nair, final-year representative in the IIM-C placement bureau, told The Telegraph. Elaborating on some of the “different” offers, he referred to “mind-boggling” employees stock options (or ESOPs) from companies like HCL, Mindtree Consulting and iNautix, beside the “way out” offer from IRIS. “The future of placements from IIM will depend on how guys like Anirban perform, and their success will definitely set a new trend,” added Arun.

Exploring the current “urge to be different”, chairperson of the placement bureau Prof. Leena Chatterjee felt that “students are looking for something more than just money. They are keen to take up challenging assignments and make mature choices”.

Anoop Abraham, a first-year representative in the placement bureau, took the same line and said: “Choices depend not only on quick bucks, but the thrill of seeking new opportunities and career prospects.”

In this year’s placements at Joka, the average salary more than doubled from the 1999 figure of Rs. 5.26 lakh per annum and touched the Rs 12 lakh mark. The number of global offers reached an all-time high of 70 for the 201 passouts. An average global salary of US$ 83, 000, with six offers of US $1,30,000 from investment bankers Lehman Brothers and consultancy major Mitchell Madison Group, set new standards and placed IIM-C in the big league of B-Schools.

The composition of the industry and area-wise offers have also witnessed a sea-change this year. Offers from dotcoms and start-ups have gone up from 25 % of the total offers in 1999 to 40% this year. Consulting companies, banks, investment banks and financial institutions have also made their presence felt by bidding aggressively for the MBAs.

However, offers from traditional players like consumer durables and FMCG, which accounted for about 32% of the total number of offers in 1999, have plummeted to just 14%.

The times they are a changing at IIM, where honey ain’t just money any more.    


 
 
POLICE ATTACKED OVER INACTION 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN BISHNUPUR
 
Calcutta, March 5 
The house of two suspected criminals was razed and 20 people, including policemen, were injured in a clash with villagers on Sunday over the murder of a daily wage-earner at Ramkrishnapur, near here.

In the random arrests, three Madhyamik examinees were among the 15 detained. The police did not the release the three despite several pleas by the villagers that they were innocent.

Unhappy with the police’s inaction in the murder case, the villagers torched the house of the suspects — Ram and Laxman Das. Both could not be traced.

The villagers complained that the body, which was found with its throat slit near a temple, was taken away without informing the panchayat pradhan.

As soon as the police arrived, they were attacked. One villager complained that the police resorted to unprovoked lathicharge. In protest, the villagers blocked Diamond Harbour Road till 3 pm. It was lifted after officers assured that a proper investigation would be carried out.    


 
 
MINISTER ESCAPES BID ON LIFE 
 
 
OUR BUREAU
 
Guwahati, March 5 
Ulfa militants made an attempt on the life of Assam minister of state for power and veterinary Hiranya Konwar in Upper Assam’s Sibsagar district today.

The attack comes a week after the outfit assassinated PWD minister Nagen Sarma in Nalbari district.

Konwar, who escaped unhurt in the ambush, told The Telegraph from the Sibsagar circuit house that it was “only because of the grace of God that he was alive”.

This was the second attempt on Konwar’s life by the Ulfa. His convoy was attacked last year in Nagaon district.

Konwar said he had gone to attend a shraddha ceremony at Rangoli Deogharia village near Moran in Sibsagar district. “One of our party activists from my own constituency had died in a tragic accident and I was there to pay homage to the departed soul,” he said. The function was scheduled for 12 noon and the minister reached the venue around 11.45 am.

“After about an hour, we started for Sibsagar along the Rajgarh path, a road constructed during the reign of Ahom kings,” he said.

Since the road was deserted and ran through forests, the police had provided “full security”, the minister said.

“I am also very careful as far as security is concerned,” he said. But the police failed to detect the bomb planted by the Ulfa on the kutcha road. The bomb had been planted only a few hundred yards away from the shraddha venue.

It was the same strategy they had adopted to kill Nagen Sarma, Konwar said. The bomb went off as soon as the minister’s car was over it but this time the rebels erred with the timing, missing the rear seat of the Ambassador car by a fraction of a second.

The impact of the explosion completely damaged the boot of the car. “It flew over, forward and landed in front of the hood,” Konwar said. “Had the explosion taken place a fraction of a second earlier, I would have met the same fate as Sarma,” he said. As in Sarma’s case, four others were accompanying Konwar in his car — Charaideo district president of the AGP Rohini Chetia (who had left behind his car to accompany Konwar in his vehicle), Charaideo district convenor of the Yuba Parishad, the youth wing of the AGP, Bipin Handique, a PSO and the driver.

Soon after the explosion, the rebels who were hiding behind trees opened fire, Konwar said. The police personnel accompanying the minister retaliated, forcing the militants to flee.

The minister later arrived at the Sibsagar circuit house in a different vehicle. Security forces have launched a massive combing operation in the area. Some people have been detained for interrogation, sources said.    


 
 
STICKY SECOND LAP FOR NIPAMACHA 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Imphal, March 5 
Seventy-year-old Wahengham Nipamacha Singh has emerged one of the most enduring politicians in Manipur.

The chief minister, who was considered a “stop-gap” arrangement when he came to power in December 1997, is all set to begin his second innings with an empty exchequer and opponents eyeing his throne.

He became the consensus choice of the Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) because of the tussle between Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports, T. Chaoba Singh and deputy chief minister L. Chandramani Singh.

Nipamacha Singh not only has to grapple with the acute financial crisis but also the deteriorating law and order situation. Besides, he has to tame both Chaoba Singh and Chandramani Singh and fend off the threat posed by BJP leader R. K. Dorendra Singh.

Nipamacha Singh has inducted a “jumbo-sized” ministry with 34 members. But portfolio allocation is proving tricky.

With newly-elected ministers gunning for lucrative portfolios, the chief minister has decided that ministers in the previous government will continue to hold their respective portfolios till the end of the current financial year in March.

He has promised his supporters a portfolio reshuffle after March. With this arrangement, Nipamacha Singh has managed to stem dissent within the MSCP ranks .

But after March, ministers may clamour for lucrative portfolios. The problem with Nipamacha Singh is that he does not have enough portfolios for the 34-member council of ministers.

Internal dissent has already surfaced in United Front of Manipur (UFM) coalition and sources fear that Nipamacha Singh may face a similar fate as that of his predecessor Rishang Keishing, who was ousted by him in December 1997.

With Chaoba Singh waiting for the right opportunity to strike, the chief minister cannot afford any dissidents in his ruling MSCP.

Political observers, however, say most of the ministers will not risk defecting from the MSCP because of the liberty they enjoy under Nipamacha Singh. Every minister is allowed to work independently without the chief minister’s interference. This style of functioning has landed the state government into a deep financial crisis. Nipamacha Singh’s inability to control his ministers has precipitated a financial crunch with overdrafts to the tune of crore of rupees.

State government workers are also not happy with the jumbo-sized ministry. “We will not get our salaries from next month as the entire money will be spent on the ministers,’’ said a middle-ranking government official.    


 
 
STUDENTS GO ON RAMPAGE IN ORISSA 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Bhubaneswar, March 5 
More than 200 college students participating in an annual youth festival went on a rampage at Bhubaneswar club early this morning.

A Maruti car and two motorcycles parked inside the club were set ablaze by the students, who also smashed window-panes and destroyed furniture. The rampage started at 1 am and continued for nearly an hour. It was not clear what sparked the violence. The police said some youth might have passed obscene remarks at a few girls participating in the Dreamshow 2000, triggering the violence.    


 
 
3 KILLED IN ASSAM ACCIDENTS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Silchar, March 5 
Three persons were killed and six injured, one of them critically, in two separate road accidents at the same spot last night. Both mishaps occurred on the same stretch of National Highway 44 at Chorgola in Karimganj district of south Assam.

The police sources said in the first accident, Abdul Bachit, 45, a mason of nearby Nayak village, was crushed to death when the bicycle on which he was travelling was hit by a truck on the highway.

Police said the second mishap occurred at the same spot when a passenger bus moving at high speed towards Karimganj town overturned. It fell into a roadside ditch within half-an-hour of the first accident. A bus passenger and a pedestrian were killed on the spot.

The pedestrian was identified as Rakesh Banik, 48. Banik, a trader, owns a shop in Karimganj town. He was accompanied by his daughter Mousumi, who was slightly injured.    

 

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