Monday, 28 April 2008

NGRI: Earth Test To Determine Pollution

April 28, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The National Geophysical Research Institute has come out with a unique geochemical baseline mapping system which will serve as a watchdog for polluters.
The pilot project is being implemented in the backward Medak district of Andhra Pradesh. According to NGRI scientist Dantu Sujatha, the experience gained from the regional geochemical baseline mapping in Medak district will be useful for efficient planning and promoting the methodology for developing low cost environmental baseline data in other places.
Geochemical baseline is the concentration of a given chemical parameter in a given sample of geologic material at a given point in time. This is in contrast to geochemical background, which is the natural abundance of an element in a particular material with no human interference The concept of geochemical baseline mapping gained importance during 1986 after the explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Geochemical baselines are very important in environmental legislation, which prescribes limits for heavy metals in contaminated land and other surface materials as defined by environmental authorities, she said.
"While it does not appear that we are going to neutralise the threat of heavy metal toxicity in our communities nor decrease our utilisation of the many commercial goods that they help produce, we can take steps to understand this threat and put into action policies of prevention and treatment that may help to lessen the negative impact that these agents have on human health," Sujatha told this correspondent.
The increase/decrease in trace elements in soils is an important factor in the development of urban and agricultural areas as these trace elements may adversely affect the soil, environment, agricultural production or crop quality and ultimately ground water quality.
The Medak project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology. The aim of the study is not only to provide reliable analytical data to display large patterns of geochemical signatures on the regional scale, but also to investigate the different factors influencing these patterns, notably bedrock geology, climate and human influences.
Distribution patterns reflect the geological and climatic variation, differences in topography, age of the soil, land use changes, agricultural practices and pollution. The resulting database and maps would help the policy makers to decide the future industrial areas, land use, agriculture
activities etc.
The entire study area (9699 km2) is divided into 10/10 km grid and from each such grid; soil sampling is carried out based on the knowledge acquired from geology, morphology, vegetation, soil and hydrology maps.
The top layer usually comprised the plough layer which is vertically homogenised by agricultural practice. It is assumed that human activity primarily influenced this soil layer. The subsoil samples are assumed to represent the pristine soil composition.
Soil samples after processing are analysed for 10 major heavy and 14 trace elements.
A detailed geochemical database and preparation of high-resolution easy-to-read maps illustrates regional patterns. The visualisation of the geochemical maps aid in the integration of geochemistry with the regional geology. These maps can indicate areas where there is the potential for trace element deficiency or toxicity, enabling expensive veterinary or medical investigations to be better targeted.

Monday, 21 April 2008

International Vaccine Institute develops needle-free vaccines

April 21, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Scientists working on animal models have developed a special process to deliver vaccine onto the skin using a patch, without needles.
When it is applied in human beings, vaccination will become quite simple and virtually painless. Vaccines like cholera vaccine can be delivered without the use of needles.
Researchers at the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea, of which India is a member, have now successfully discovered the mechanism by which a vaccine applied onto the skin can cause an immune response in the gut, as well as in the body.
The International Vaccine Institute is an international organisation which has been working for development of vaccines for the developing world. India is also a beneficiary of the IVI research. This new method is called transcutaneous immunisation or simply TCI. It involves applying a vaccine onto the skin using a patch. In previous animal and human studies, TCI was found to induce robust immune responses in blood and in mucosal secretions.
IVI's Tae Kyung Byun told this correspondent from South Korea that the IVI team had found in an animal study that dendritic cells (cells that capture vaccines and carry them to the immune system) were induced by TCI in the lymph nodes draining the gut. They were involved in the initiation of intestinal antibody responses, which are essential to stopping bacteria and virus infections.
"Such findings provide an explanation why intestinal immune responses are induced after skin immunisation, the reason for which had remained elusive until now," said IVI's post-doctoral fellow Sun-Young Chang.
The study suggests that an efficient "cross-talk" exists between the skin and gut immune systems and appears to be mediated by specialised dendritic cells in lymph nodes draining the intestines," said Dr. Kweon Mi-na, who led the study.
The IVI's study challenges the traditional notion that ingesting vaccines is the only means for inducing immunity in the gut. The results reported by Dr Kweon's team not only supports the notion that administering a vaccine in a skin patch can do the job but also provides a clue as to why this approach works, Tae Kyung Byun observed.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Nizam's Money Was Meant to Buy Rifles To Fight India

April 20, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 19: Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hyderabad, had transferred one million Pounds to Westminster Bank in London during 1948 as part of a secret deal to purchase 1,00,000 .303 rifles to strengthen his forces to withstand the might of the Indian Army.
The Nizam was sure of an impending "attack" by the nascent Indian union to accede Hyderabad state. He was ill-prepared for a physical showdown and hence kept pending the issue of merger either with Pakistan or India or declaration of independence. His idea was to buy enough time with the Indian union so that he could arm his forces well.
But before the Nizam could get his supplies of one lakh of .303 rifles, then Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel launched police action and dethroned the ruler.
Changing his stand Mir Osman Ali Khan declared that the money was transferred to Westminster Bank by his finance minister without his knowledge. It was too late by then and the Indian union had already claimed that the money belonged to it and the Nizam had no right whatsoever over it. Pakistan too came out with its own claim forcing the bank to withhold the money for more than six decades.
The ammunition theory has gained momentum with historians backing it as the most likely reason for the Nizam to transfer his money to London, all of a sudden, a few months before the Indian army intervention. The other theory, which is equally, strong is that the Nizam wanted to help nascent state of Pakistan, which was not in a position to pay even the salaries of its employees. The Nizam had already helped Pakistan with a generous donation in the past and the one million Pound was to help the Muslim country tide over its financial crisis, though temporarily.
The one million Pound has now grown into 31.9 million Pounds or Rs 250 crore. The
Nizam family's share is likely to be around Rs 60 crore to Rs 70 crore, if one goes by the jewellery formula. And which of the Nizam's descendants should get the
money is wrought with legal wrangling.
Says city historian Muhammad Safiullah, "there's evidence that the money was transferred to London for purchase of .303 rifles for the Nizam's army".
But one cannot conclude on this theory for the simple reason that "we do not have any
official records, receipts or documents of the Nizam's administration".
Safiullah, who has obtained three PhDs on Nizam's family and governance,
further says that the records were burnt rather deliberately soon after the police
action. "The bank's receipt (counterfoil) of transfer of money to Westminster Bank is also missing. Had the Nizam's heirs got it in their possession, the story would have been quite different," he points out.
As the mystery over the transfer of funds begins to unravel, the stage is
now set for a multiangular legal fight among the heirs of the Nizam. Indian government may succeed in convincing Pakistan for an out-of-court settlement, but it will find it quite hard to bring the heirs to an amicable agreement.
Experts in Nizam family feel that it will take another six decades for the dispute to resolve, should India and Pakistan agree for out-of-court agreement. Since the Union Cabinet has recognised the share of Nizam's legal heirs, it is imperative
that the family should first sort out the differences. Unless the legal heirs come to a common agreement, the dispute will continue unendingly, says researcher B Moinuddin.
The issue of succession (legal heirs) in the case of the Nizam's family is
quite different from ordinary succession. "It's a royal family succession or titular
succession where not everyone in the family can lay his or her claim. Only the head of the family will have the right to the share. Even if other family members wants their share, the head of the family will get the lion's share. In this case, Mukarram Jah is the head of the family as he was chosen by Mir Osman Ali Khan to succeed him," argues Safiullah.
In reality, it is not going to work. Mukarram Jah is not accepted by other
family members as their head. The Nizam had 16 sons through 12 legally-wed wives. Some of his sons are still alive. He had around 17 daughters and a few of them are also alive. Their children and grandchildren have also laid claim on the Nizam's money.
Nizam's grandsons Nawab Mir Meraj Ali Khan and Nawab Mohammad Mohiuddin
Khan say the money should be divided equally among all the legal heirs.
"Finance Minister Moin Nawaz Jung transferred the money without the knowledge of our
grandfather. The money belongs to us. Mukarram Jah and his former wife
Esra are not the sole claimants. We will explore all legal and political possibilities we will not rest till we get the share," they warn.
As the Nizam's legal heirs fight it out among themselves for their share,
the question arises after all who is the real claimant. India, Pakistan or Nizam's
family or the three and if so, in what proportions?
Nizam's grandsons Mukarram Jah and Mufakham Jah say the money belongs to
them. His other family members claim that Mukarram Jah and Mufakham Jah have no
right. The Pakistani government says it is the sole owner. India has changed its
stand and now wants distribution of the wealth among three claimants.
Begum Scheherazade Javeri, who served as principal advisor to the Nizam's family, is of the view that the money should go entirely to Mukarram Jah. "It is for him to decide. If he wants to give it to others, it is up to him. But he is the real claimant," she says. She recalls the decision of the House of Lords, UK, which in 1957 felt that the money should be lifted from the bank only the warring parties come to an amicable agreement.
Legal experts are of the opinion that India should get 50 per cent of the money while
Pakistan should get 30 per cent. The remaining 20 per cent should be given to the
Nizam's family. Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani officials have decided to hold a meeting on May 21 to discuss India's proposal for an out-of-court settlement.
But, the Nizam's heirs are busy preparing for a legal battle on the money,
this time in Indian courts.
"We too have the right over the money. We are going to play an important role. The government should give the share to me and my mother. We will claim the funds," says Shahmat Jah, Nizam's grandson.
According to sources Mufakham Jah and Mukarram Jah are also planning to explore legal means to claim funds, but are waiting for the response from Pakistan government at the May 21 meeting. "The Indian government has made its intentions clear. Pakistan is also a party to the dispute. Unless Pakistan government agrees to the proposal, the dispute
will not get resolved. Once the matters become clear, we will lay claim. The money is ours and we alone are the legal heirs," one of the grandsons of the Nizam told this correspondent requesting anonymity.
Nizam's fabulous jewellery

Mir Osman Ali Khan, the VII Nizam of Hyderabad, had a fabulous collection of
diamonds, jewels and precious stones. The treasure is now valued at more than Rs 3,500 crore. When the Central government purchased the jewellery from the heirs
of the Nizam for Rs 218 crore a decade ago, its value in the international market then was between Rs 1,800 crore and Rs 2,300 crore.
The jewellery collection consists of 173 pieces, which are of great antique value. The notable among the collection is the Jacob diamond weighing 184.75 carats
and a seven-strand pearl necklace containing 150 big size pearls and two diamond
pendants attached to it. It also contained emeralds, diamond-set belt, rings, swords studded with jewels, brooches and gold buttons.
The Nizam's jewellery was locked up in the lockers of a private bank in Mumbai for
decades before the Central government won the legal battle in 1995 and purchased the
collection from the ruler's heirs.
Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Nizam of Hyderabad

Hyderabad's last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had a fancy for diamonds, jewels,
weapons and the finest of clothes. He was the richest man of his times.
The Nizam could best be described as a "benevolent despot", who despite being autocratic was known for his philanthropy.
The Nizam had a fabled collection of diamonds including the world famous
Jacob's diamond. While other princely states decided to join the nascent Indian
union after Independence, the Nizam could not decide on Hyderabad state for quite some time, leading to utter chaos and breakdown of law and order, resulting in what
has become to be known as "police action".
Mir Osman Ali Khan had married 12 times and had 16 sons and 17 daughers through
them, though there are unconfirmed reports that he had a number of concubines and
illegitimate offspring.
The Nizam bypassed his eldest son Azam Jah to declare grandson Mukarram
Jah as his successor. In the Nizam's jewellery case, the largest beneficiary was
Mukarram Jah, followed by his younger brother Mufakham Jah. The other descendants shared the rest of the money from the sale proceeds of the jewels.
Now, Mukarram Jah and Mufakhan Jah claim that they alone had a share in the money
lying with the Westminster Bank in London. And of couse, their claim is challenged by
other family members.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Yoga helps breast cancer patients

April 14, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Simple Yoga exercises help in fast recovery of breast cancer patients, who undergo surgery. Pre- and post-operative distress in breast cancer patients can cause complications and delay recovery from surgery. But Yoga has beneficial effect on such patients.
"Our research results suggest benefits of yoga in reducing postoperative complications in breast cancer patients. After surgery, breast cancer patients experience particularly high levels of distress manifested as anxiety, depression and anger due to the effects of surgery and the disease itself on life expectancy, physical appearance and sexual identity. Furthermore, concerns regarding one's physical condition, postoperative recovery, hospital admissions, anticipating painful
procedures, image problems, confronting cancer diagnosis and worries about
survival and recovery can contribute to the already prevailing distress and psychological reactions," says senior scientist M Raghavendra Rao.
His team at the department of Yoga Research, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, conducted studies on 98 people diagnosed with stage II and III breast cancer. The team compared the effects of a yoga program with supportive therapy and exercise rehabilitation on postoperative outcomes and wound healing following surgery.
According to him, the results suggest a significant decrease in the duration of hospital stay, days of drain retention and days for suture removal in the yoga group as compared to the controls. There was also a significant decrease in plasma TNF (tumour necrosis factor) alpha levels following surgery in the yoga group, as compared to the controls.
Regression analysis on postoperative outcomes showed that the yoga intervention affected the duration of drain retention and hospital stay as well as TNF alpha levels."Distress is known to impede wound healing in early phases of wound repair. Wound healing is important in this
current context of breast surgery as exaggerated inflammation, infections and collection of seroma at the wound site lengthen hospital stay, warrant more medical attention, cause distress and lead to delayed wound closure.
Although the use of anaesthetics and opioids for effective postoperative pain management has been shown to reduce plasma cortisol levels related to poorer wound healing, they nevertheless cause distressing side effects such as headache, nausea and gastrointestinal distress and are not cost-effective," the study pointed out.
He said since Yoga is a psychotherapeutic intervention, it helps in giving relief from stress. It consists of a series of breathing exercises or Pranayama, postures, relaxation and meditative techniques. These techniques are known to alter certain physiological functions that are known to reduce the effects of stress.
The study found that these functional alterations include bringing about a
stable autonomic balance, improvement of physical efficiency, increase in cardiopulmonary functions, improved immunological tolerance, improved neuro-endocronine functions, improved mood states and a tranquil state of mind to combat stress.
"This could be particularly useful in the current context where apart from reducing psychological distress, yoga could be used to alter endocrine and immune function to lower the risk of infections and enhance wound healing.
Distress could also impede recovery by reducing compliance, for example, it is known that breathing exercises reduce the risk of pneumonia following surgery and incorporating yoga interventions that use breathing, stretching and relaxation interventions could help hasten the recovery process following breast surgery," he said.
The research team invited subjects and their caretakers to participate in an introductory session before surgery where they were given information about surgery and the management of its related side effects, taught shoulder exercises and mobilisation by the physiotherapist and provided the answers to a variety of common questions.
He said both the interventions were imparted at the patient's bedside by trained personnel during the pre- and postoperative periods and subjects underwent four such in-person sessions in the hospital.
Following their discharge, subjects were asked to practise their respective interventions at home daily (for half an hour) during the next three weeks.
"The results showed that our intervention was effective in reducing postoperative complications. The type of surgery (mastectomy vs breast conservation) did not affect postoperative outcomes in our study which is consistent with earlier findings. We propose several mechanisms for action for our yoga intervention. The internal awareness and relaxation associated with these practices are known to alter perceptible thoughts and emotions and reduce reactivity to stressful situations or stimuli thereby altering stress responses and reducing distress," the study
pointed out.
The effects could be attributed primarily to the reduction in distress in the immediate postoperative period that could have buffered the effects of stress hormones, facilitated recruitment of inflammatory cells at the wound site and reduced the rate of infections and the sustained elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines at a later period. Secondly, various yogic breathing practices are known to increase oxygen consumption that could hasten wound repair.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Hyderabad Nizam: The Fate of Forgotten Money

April 12, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 11: Hyderabad is all set to witness yet another battle royale among the Nizam's family members following the Union Cabinet's decision to go in for an out-of-court settlement on the Nizam's funds now lying with a bank in the UK.
As much as 30 million Pounds has been lying in a freezed account with the National Westminster Bank in London since September, 1948 after a dispute between India and Pakistan. Soon after Independence, then Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan transferred one
million Pound Sterling to the London-based bank for onward transfer to Pakistan government.
Indian government objected to the transfer arguing that the Nizam was not an independent ruler and he had no right to send money to London. India prevailed upon the bank authorities to freeze the account. Since then both India and Pakistan have been battling out in court claiming the money.
After 60 years of protracted legal battle, the Indian government favoured an out-of-court settlement with Pakistan and the legal heirs of the Nizam. According to Muhammad Safiullah, cultural advisor to the Nizam's Trust, India will be the biggest beneficiary followed by Pakistan. "Since there's no Nizam government now, the Nizam's
trust and his legal heirs will also get a part of the money," he says.
Mir Osman Ali Khan's grandsons Shahmat Jah, Mufakham Jah and Mukarram Jah, granddaughter Fatima Fouzia and other family members are now laying claim on the money. Each of them claims that they are the rightful heir to get part of the funds.
"We have the right over the money. We are going to play an important role. The government should give the share to me and my mother. We will claim the funds," says Shahmat Jah.
According to sources Mufakham Jah and Mukarram Jah are also planning to explore legal means to claim funds, but are waiting for the response from Pakistan government.
"The Indian government has made its intentions clear. Pakistan is also a party to the dispute. Unless Pakistan government agrees to the proposal, the dispute will not get resolved. Once the matters become clear, we will lay claim. The money is ours and we alone are the legal heirs," one of the grandsons of the Nizam told this
correspondent requesting anonymity.
Mufakham Jah is currently in Hyderabad and Mukarram Jah is now in London along with his lawyer. They are said to be waiting for the decision of the Pakistan government. The Nizam's family may get at least 15 per cent of the total funds, as per an estimate.
If the grandsons and other family members approach court, it will be the second major legal battle in the Nizam's family after the jewellery case.
Safiullah, who had obtained three research doctorates on Nizam's family, said the nascent Pakistani government in 1948 had no money to pay even the salaries of its employees. Nizam happened to be the richest man on the Earth in those days and the Pakistani government approached him through Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, then Pakistan
High Commissioner in London. The Nizam through his finance minister transferred the money to London and from there he wanted it to be sent to Pakistan.
An alert Indian government then sent a telegram to the bank and stopped the transfer process. The Pakistani government went to court and since then India and Pakistan have been locked in a legal battle.
The matter went up to the House of Lords. It held that the legal title to the money vested in the Pakistan government, which was not asserting a beneficiary title to the fund.
Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said, "we decided to restart the negotiation process with Pakistan to know how much the private beneficiary should get."
Begum Scheherazade Javeri, former principal advisor to Prince Mukarram Jah, argues that the money solely belonged to the Prince.
"It's neither India's or Pakistan's money. It was not given to Pakistan or anyone else. The money was invested in the Westminster Trust. Even the House of Lords judgement states that the beneficiary of the Westminster Trust, which was formed by the late Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, and invested in the Westminster Bank is the
present Nizam HEH Prince Mukarram Jah," she said.
Javeri added that it was for the Prince Mukarram Jah to decide whether to share the money with his brother.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Corporate Governance: Andhra Pradesh Govt. Introduces Hire and Fire

April 11, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 10: Giving a corporate touch to the State administration, the YSR government has introduced performance-linked incentives and disincentives to the employees involved in the national rural employment guarantee scheme and Indiramma housing programme.
Employees, who put in exemplary performance, can earn up to Rs 6,500 a month as incentive. The non-performers will lose a part of their monthly remuneration and those repeatedly failure to live up to the expectations of the State government will be shown the doors.
This is the first time that the State government has come out with a sort of "hire and fire" scheme for its employees. To begin with, the scheme is now being implemented for NREGS and Indiramma housing employees, who were specially recruited for these two pet programmes of chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy. With elections just a year away and crucial by-elections in Telangana round the corner, the State government does not want the employees involved in these two programmes to be lax.
These employees were recruited under the provisions made in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 in 19 districts where the programme is under implementation. The new hire and fire rules are made applicable to field functionaries overseeing the programmes including additional programme officers, technical assistants, computer operators at mandal level, and field assistants at gram panchayat level.
Since the demand for wage employment in rural areas is relatively more during the agriculture off-season (between February and June), the employees will get incentives/disincentives only during this period. "To meet the labour demand in the season, the commissioner rural development has submitted a proposal of incentives and disincentives in proportion to the increased workload," a senior official in the rural development department said.
K Raju, principal secretary, panchayat raj and rural development, issued orders implementing the new rules. Those failing to meet the fixed target in the first month will not get their pay. If they do not meet the target in the subsequent month too, they will be removed from the service after termination of their contract.
The minimum incentive for a field officer is Rs 1250 a month. It goes up to Rs 6,501 depending on the number of work days generated by them in the area assigned to them. The minimum target is generation of 100 days of employment for a minimum of 50 households per year.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

DPEP scam: Sarasa Devi the biggest scamster in 50 years history of Andhra Pradesh

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 10: Sarasa Devi, the prime accused in the Rs 40 crore DPEP scandal, is by far the biggest scamster in the 50 years history of the State.
Though the State has seen several scams by individuals, the amount has never surpassed Rs 10 crore. Even the scandal involving fly-by-night chit fund companies in the State is meagre when compared with the DPEP scam.
Sarasa Devi has obscured even the Krushi Bank scam with is put at Rs 35 crore. Though the Charminar Bank scam was more than Rs 400 crore, individual scamsters including its late chairman had not swindled more than Rs 7 crore each. Only Krushi Bank's chairman K Venkateswara Rao, who topped the list of CID's most wanted till recently, is the only person who comes anywhere near Sarasa Devi in terms of money involved in the white collar crime.
Incidentally, Sarasa Devi is the only woman so far who has baffled the investigating agencies with her meticulous planning to swindle public money. The other prominent "bad women" in the police records were those caught in running prostitution racket, chit fund companies and cheating. But none of them was a mastermind in their areas of operation.
The State has witnessed several women criminals including lady don Farah, drug peddler Durdana Begum and prostitution pimp Kalavathi. But the money involved was a few lakh of Rupees, Rs 25 lakh being the highest scam involving Kalavathi. She bought a house worth Rs 25 lakh in Posh Banjara Hills locality a decade ago.
Even now the two topmost "wanted criminals" in the State CID list are "worth" only a couple of crore Rupees. Manmohan Mongia, who tops the list, has cheated just Rs 1.46 crore while Huzefa Ibrahim Bahroin of Charminar Bank is not even wroth that much.
DPEP co-scamster V Subrahmanyam, who helped Sarasa Devi, had cheated the State government of less than Rs 3 crore. According to Sarasa Devi's confession, Subrahmanyam's "share" was Rs 2.75 crore.
There have been allegations of scams against political leaders and ministers in the past but those who levelled the charges failed to prove them before the media, leave alone in a court of law.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Reservations for Muslims: AP Govt explores new strategies

April 9, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 8: The State government is exploring new legal ways to ensure that Muslim students get four per cent quota in professional educational institutions during the ensuing academic year too.
The 2008-2009 academic year is scheduled to begin in June-July and unless the government obtains special permission from the AP High Court before the admission process begins, Muslim students will not the quota. Since this is the election year, the government does not want to deny four per cent reservations to the principal minority community in the State.
"We are seized of the issue. The government will request the High Court to speed up the process of constitution of seven-member larger bench in view of the new academic year. Alternatively, the government will urge the court to grant special permission to continue with the reservation process pending final disposal of the case," Minorities Welfare Minister Muhammad Ali Shabber told this correspondent.
The Muslim quota case has been pending in the High Court for the past six months. The court directed that the government go ahead with the counselling process during 2007-2008 but should not confirm the admissions. The matter was later referred to a seven-member larger bench, which is yet to be constituted.
Nearly 8,000 Muslim students benefited because of the four per cent quota in the last academic year. The government wants to extend the facility this academic year too by seeking HC's permission to continue with the reservation process during 2008-2009.
Meanwhile, two medical students G Sreenath and K Malathi, challenged in the High Court on four per cent quota for Muslims in medical PG degree and diploma courses. They sought that the court order that the government should not implement the quota and should rectify the roaster system.
Advocate-General CV Mohan Reddy said the matter was pending with the court and urged it to speed up the process of constituting the larger bench to hear the case.
"As per the oral court orders counselling in professional courses has been completed but the admissions have not been not approved," he said.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

DPEP scam: Kingpin Sarasa Devi had a tryst with the booming real estate biz

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 8: Multi crore DPEP scam kingpin Sarasa Devi had a tryst with the booming real estate business too and she had developed a township in Rajendranagar mandal in association with an influential realtor from Kadapa district.
According to highly placed sources in the city crime station police, Sarasa Devi along with realtor M Ramachandra Reddy, who is the son-in-law of a senior Congress legislator from Kadapa district, borrowed Rs 28.31 lakh as loan under account No. CCM 182 from Vijaya Bank on September 28, 2000. Sarasa Devi did not repay the loan.
The Vijaya Bank management issued a demand notice on December 10, 2003 (also published in newspapers) to Sarasa Devi and Ramachandra Reddy, managing director of Anuradha Properties and Township Private Limited stating that they had defaulted payment and the loan amount had shot up to Rs 42.91 lakh with interest. The police had seized the demand notice and are in possession of the loan documents.
Sarasa Devi and Ramachandra Reddy, both classmates, had borrowed loan from Vijaya Bank on the pretext of purchasing a 4840 square yard plot under survey No. 96/6 at Bandlaguda in Rajendranagar mandal. The plot was sold two years prior to obtaining loan.
The scamster developed a township on the plot and adjoining land and sold it. Two years after selling the plot they managed the Vijaya Bank to obtain the loan.
The demand notice was issued by the bank to their addresses at: Sarasa Devi, Saroos Advertisement and Communication, plot 113, 4th main road, Balamrai, Mahendra Hills, Secunderabad and M Ramachandra Reddy, managing director Anuradha Properties and Township Private Limited, G-9, right wing, Amrutha Villa, Somajiguda, Secunderabad

Monday, 7 April 2008

Medical Miracle: Repaired kidneys the new hope

April 7, 2008
By Syed Akbar
A group of Japanese doctors has been removing cancerous kidneys from patients, repairing them on the surgical table and then transplanting them in people, whose kidneys have stopped functioning. This is a medical miracle as the diseased kidneys, which otherwise find their way in hospital surgical wastes, have been saving the lives of kidney-failure patients.
And Indian doctors say this Japanese medical practice could be replicated in the country to meet the acute shortage of donor kidneys. India has one of the stringent organ transplantation Rules and cadaver transplantation is still seen as a taboo here. But doctors say it will take some time for Indian health experts to make the Japanese practice an Indian reality.
"Kidney repair is quite possible and 'repaired" kidney can be used for transplant. From oncology perspective, if a cancer kidney is to be used for transplant, the tumour should be small, less than 4 cms. If the cancer size is big, it makes it impossible for transplantation," says Dr Vijay Anand P Reddy, director of Apollo Cancer Hospital.
But there's a warning attached to the repaired kidney transplantation. The tumour may recur in the rest of the kidney.
Dr Shiro Fujita of the Department of Urology, Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital, Ehime, Japan, one of the pioneers of "kidney repair" technology, however allays the fears of the Indian doctors and patients. Says Dr Shiro, "graft survival rate of restored kidney transplantation appears to be comparable to that of deceased kidney transplant when donor age and multiple previous transplants are taken into account. As far as donors/patients and recipients understand the risks and benefits, restored kidneys will be a last resort, a novel source of renal allografts in countries where the deceased donor is scarce".
Dr Shiro and his team obtained between January 1991 and September 2006, 42 kidneys from 38 patients. The lesions were removed and repaired outside (ex vivo), then transplanted.
"One, five and 10-year patient survival rates of restored transplant patients were 92.9 per cent, 79.3 per cent and 63.8 per cent, respectively. The graft survival rates of restored kidney transplant patients were 78.6 per cent, 51.8 per cent and 42.7 per cent, respectively for these years. There were no recurrence of small renal cell carcinomas.
There was one recurrence of ureteral cancer in the transplanted kidney 15 months after operation," Dr Shiro told this correspondent.
Dr Ch Subba Rao, head of the department of urology, King George Hospital, Visakhapatnam, agrees with Dr Shiro. He says repaired kidneys are possible
in certain cases in India too. "It may prove to be helpful in a state of organ shortage, but the disadvantage is the possibility of donor disease recurrence. It is going to bring down the cost of kidney transplantation."
"Because of the grave shortage of deceased kidney allografts in Japan, we have embarked on a new source of organs; restored kidneys from living patients," Dr Shiro said.
Senior urologists like Dr V Raja Gopal, however, feel that the Japanese technology cannot be replicated in India. "It is very difficult to replicate the method in a country like India. It is very risky and is associated with a lot of complications in the kidney transplant recipient.
It will be much more expensive with high risks involved. This kind of work reported from Japan has not been reproduced elsewhere in the world. In a country like India, it is not going to be answer to organ shortage," he argues.
The Japanese technology is not cost effective, points out nephrologist Dr T Ravi Raju. "Since kidney repair and transplantation are done together. Both have advantages and disadvantages. It is not cost effective". The team led by Dr Shiro has opened a sort of debate among Indian doctors on the need to introduce such a system in India where the waiting list for kidney donation is quite high.
"Urologists encounter not only patients in need of renal transplantation, but also patients who need nephrectomies. This is because we came up with the idea of using kidneys destined to be discarded to those in need of renal transplantation. Instead of autotransplantion of kidneys with aneurysms or small renal cell carcinomas after back table repair, we transplanted the kidneys into third party recipients as an innovative practice," Dr Shiro said.

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Mother's Care

Mother's Care
Minnu The Cat & Her Kittens Brownie, Goldie & Blackie

Someone with Nature

Someone with Nature
Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Under the shade of Baobab tree

Under the shade of Baobab tree
At Agha Khan Akademi in Kenya

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Convention on Biodiversity

Convention on Biodiversity
Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity