Monthly Archives: April 2012

Drunk drivers’ efforts to evade traffic police

HYDERABAD: With traffic police clamping down vigorously on drunk driving, revellers visiting high-end pubs and bars are employing new tactics to evade police detection.

Apart from hiring drivers to ferry them home, they are now winding up their parties only late into the night.

“Visitors of pubs and bars in posh areas are leaving the bar premises only after we wind up our operations, to evade police check posts put up during drunk driving enforcement,” a police official said. For last few months we have observed that not many customers come out of high-end bars till the time our check posts are in place, he explained.

That’s also because many of the high-end pubs serve liquor beyond the schedule time, he points out. As per rules, bars should close down by midnight, but quite a few of them serve liquor with their shutters closed.

Rate of accidents

The aim of controlling drunk driving is to reduce the rate of accidents, but if bars and restaurants allow patrons to leave their premises after the enforcement timings, the very purpose of the drive will be defeated, the police official said.

According to present regulations, bars should stop serving liquor by 11 p.m. and close by midnight. But most watering holes frequented by influential people/VIPs remain open till late in the night, admitted Andhra Pradesh Wine Shop Dealers Association president D. Venkateswara Rao.

Since most bars and pubs in areas such as Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills are kept open till late into night, most youngsters are now hopping to these places after ‘smaller’ joints close at their scheduled time, he explained.

As a police official points out with a shrug: “Traffic police does not have the authority to close the bars, so our law and order brethren should ensure that these bars are closed in time to help us in better enforcement of drunk driving.”

This article was published in The Hindu on April 23, 2012

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Homoeopathy is a misunderstood medical system

Hyderabad: Hoardings dotting the city claim ‘miraculous’ cure for a range of ailments through homoeopathy. From stopping hair fall to treating obesity and from bringing in hormonal balance to curing infertility, mushrooming clinics promise an answer to all.

But main stream doctors scoff at these claims and maintain that the very system of homoeopathy is a ‘scientific hoax’. And caught between claims and counter claims, patients are a confused lot these days.

“People have many misconceptions about homoeopathy and this is causing a lot of confusion. There has to be an informed debate about homoeopathy to help people in taking a better decision,” K. Gopala Krishna, General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Homoeopathy Association, said.

Homoeopathy depends on the principle(called ‘similia similibus curentur‘) which states that a disease can be cured by those substances which actually cause the disease itself, Dr. Krishna explained. Based on this principle homoeopathic doctors prescribe medicine that, if consumed in excess, can prove dangerous to a patient, he said.

“Since the ingredients of the medicine are very potent they are diluted to a large extent. Sometimes the dilution extends to the point where the presence of original ingredients in the medicine cannot be discovered by any available scientific procedures,” he explained. Homoeopathy is not considered as a scientific system because of this reason, he added.

Homoeopathic medicine are not a placebo pills

While some commentators maintain that homoeopathy relies on mere placebo effect, Dr. Krishna points out that people are getting physical relief by its medicine for last 200 years and this proves that homoeopathy is not just a placebo effect.

Placebo effect is a process where a doctor gives an ineffective medicine (placebo) to treat a disease and patient is cured because of the mere psychological effects.

“Each system of medicine has its own strengths and weaknesses. Homoeopathy is best suited for the ailments such as upper respiratory track infection, arthritis, allergic disorders, hormonal imbalances in women and spondylitis, among others,” he said.

On the other hand the modern medicine, also called allopathy, has gained technical expertise to such an extent that it has no match in emergency, interventional and surgical procedures, he said. Because of this expertise allopathy doctors depend excessively on surgical procedures, he added.

Approach of Homoeopathy and Allopathy different

“Even the approach towards treating a disease by both the systems is completely different and hence they should not be compared,” Dr. Krishna said.

Whereas allopathy concentrates on curing an ailment by killing the invading pathogen, homoeopathy tries to strengthen the body so that it can fight the pathogens by itself, he said. “Our surroundings are brimming with pathogens all the time and they cause an ailment only when the body becomes weak,” he explained.

Admitting that some homeopathy doctors are indulging in false claims, Dr. Krishna said that these claims are damaging the image of the system.

Homoeopathy, if practised properly, is cheaper, safer and effective for many ailments and can help body in gaining resistance against ailments, he said.

“Excessive dependence on western medicine is proving to be very costly. A judicial balance between both homoeopathy and allopathy will reduce the cost and also improve the health of a person,” he added.

This article was published in The Hindu on April 19, 2012

Cashing in on ‘infertility’

With more and more childless couple resorting to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to realise their dream of an offspring, newer avenues are opening up for desperate women to make quick money.

While becoming a surrogate fetches a poor woman about Rs.2 lakh, for those who do not want to take up long-term commitment of bearing a child becoming an egg donor has become a preferred alternative. Each time a woman donates her mature eggs, she is paid an amount of Rs. 25,000. ART technologies help a childless couple to get their genetic child through processes like test tube babies and surrogacy.

But those women, who cannot produce an ovum altogether, the only option left is to receive an egg from a donor. And with rising demand for such eggs, many women are coming forward to make a moolah.

“Earlier we had to solicit women to donate their eggs. But now they come to our clinic on their own, some of them regularly. We pay Rs.25,000 for each such donation. Regular donors often refer their friends or relatives to the clinic,” an official at a fertility clinic said.

But though donating eggs fetches handsome amount, it has its own set of problems. “To donate mature ovum, a woman has to undergo a hormonal therapy. Taking this therapy at frequent intervals can be very dangerous for the donor,” K. Anuradha of Anu Test Tube Baby Centre explained. “Due to the lack of proper monitoring mechanism, some poor women are donating their eggs almost every month by visiting different clinics each time. This practice can result in serious damage to the donor’s health,” she explained.

Plenty of choices

Childless couples, who want to receive an ovum from a donor, have plenty of choices. Though the identity of a donor is kept secret, parents can go through the complete profile of the donors, including their height, weight, complexion and even IQ levels, to choose an ‘egg’. And if money is not an issue, the couple can even give attractive physical traits to their surrogate baby by getting an egg from Caucasian women.

“Foreign couples prefer a Caucasian woman because of their attractive physical traits. They are flown down to the city in business class, stay in five star hotels and are paid about $5000,” a fertility clinic employee added.

This article was published in The Hindu on April 12

Ameerpet, Hyderabad becoming a hub for fake experience certificate racket

Java, SAP, Dot Net, Mobile Apps, Testing, Networking these may look like disjointed words, but for aspirants who want a share of the lucrative software industry pie, these are but keys to a dream job. And the popularity of these courses can be gauged even during a casual stroll through the narrow by-lanes of Ameerpet.

Aspirants throng the nondescript pathways displaying the pamphlets urging an aspirant to take up various courses for a brighter future. Whatever may be the educational background, if one can splurge enough money on learning proprietary software, institutes in Ameerpet assure that they can land a well paying job in a software company.

There are more than 500 engineering colleges in the State and only a handful of these manage about 100 per cent placements for their students through campus placements, Siddhartha Malempati of Forum for IT Professionals (ForIT) said. And for these students doing a course in proprietary software is the next available alternative, he said.

Many institutions in the city adopt a standard procedure. They charge a candidate anywhere between Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 1.5 lakh depending on the course. Then they train the person for about six months and arrange an experience certificate for the candidate to enable him in finding a job.

“Lured by these claims, fresh graduates from the smaller towns are flocking the city to do these courses and spend huge amounts of money and precious time,” Mr. Siddhartha said.

But aspirants land in trouble soon after they finish their courses. “In Andhra Pradesh craze for an IT job has put all other engineering streams into a relative disadvantage. When candidates do not get a job through campus placements they try to enter a company through backdoor and produce a fake experience certificates,” a senior HR manager from an IT company said.

“More than 80 per cent of fake experience certificates come from Andhra Pradesh and the largest concentration of training companies, who provide experience letters for dummy projects done during the training, is around Ameerpet,” he observed.

“To make an experience letter look genuine, candidates are indulging in illegal activities of fabricating fake documents like bank statements and salary slips,” he said.

With a rise in the incidence of fake certificates, the software companies have made the background verification of a candidate a mandatory procedure before hiring him, he said.

“Apart from the background verification, most companies screen out the candidates, who they feel, might be producing a fake certificate in the initial stages itself,” he said.

“As a precaution companies started rejecting a candidate carrying an experience certificate from an Ameerpet based company or institution. The only exceptions being those companies whose names are well known in the industry,” the professional explained.

This article was published in The Hindu on April 03, 2012

No jobs in Campus placements? go for higher studies instead!

(This article was published in The Hindu on April 02, 2012)

With academic year coming to an end the final year students in various engineering and other degree colleges across the State are getting ready to step into a brand new world of jobs and careers.

Each summer, the final year students indeed reach a crucial crossroad where they have to take a decision as to whether they should continue with their studies or take up a job. It is also the time when most engineering students dream of joining a software company in the hope of taking a slice of the lucrative IT and ITES sector jobs.

For the students who study in top rung institutions like NITs, IITs and reputed colleges options of taking up a job becomes very easy. With most companies preferring these colleges for campus placements, the students from these colleges are set to join better jobs.

But for those who did not study in a better college or those who failed to land a plump job during campus placements, taking a decision proves to be a daunting task. Should they join whatever job that is available for them? Should they take up some course in proprietary software and then join a job? Or should they continue with their further studies? “Only about seven colleges in Hyderabad get campus placements nearing 100 percent. Most students from other colleges have to either take up courses in proprietary software or have to go for further studies,” Siddhartha Malempati of Forum for IT Professionals (ForIT) said. For those who do not have a job in hand by the end of campus placements, taking a decision becomes quite difficult, he said.

While most students prefer to join a short term course and join a software company, HR managers from reputed MNCs believe that going for higher education is also a better option.

“Doing a B. Tech is sufficient to get a job in India and all big companies have a mechanism to induct fresh graduates. But the problem lies in the fact that all big companies have a clear ranking of institutions,” a senior HR manager from a MNC says.

Companies also choose the candidates for different streams based on the nature of work to be done and required skill proficiency, among others. For maintenance and support projects, companies usually hire non-engineering graduates and for software development and core projects they hire engineering graduates,” he explained. “So, for those who pass out from colleges, without many placement opportunities, it makes sense to pursue masters,” he opined.

But again the choice of institution selected to pursue one’s masters is very important. “A student should join for a masters program only from a reputed institution. Joining in a nondescript college or university for a master’s degree will not fetch the desired results as companies view the institutions with a clear hierarchy,” the HR professional says.