ANDHRA PRADESH

Checking the `red' brigade

Betel-chewing Indians in general and Southerners in particular are notorious for their habitual and indiscriminate spitting in public places, notably in staircase corners of multi-storey office buildings. They care two hoots for the `Do not spit' boards and merrily indulge in the unhygienic practice, unmindful of the fact that they are spoiling the otherwise clean ambience.

To control this nuisance, spittoons are kept, with the sign, `Spit here', as if commanding people to do that precisely. But then, these spittoons start overflowing in no time, due to the lack of periodic clearing of those containers.

An innovative method to stop the practice has been devised by the tenants of an office building located near Seethampet junction.

At all its staircase corners, they have positioned marble slabs with pictures of Vinayaka, Hanuman, Durga, Rama, Krishna, Sai Baba, Jesus Christ, etc. Thanks to the sanctity of these godly images, the gizmo is having a salutary effect, discouraging people with the irresistible urge to clear their mouths. Those spots look tidy now.

Not many readily believe the statistics and data prepared by the Government departments since the method adopted to collect the required data is not always scientific and the data collection is not done honestly.

The former University Grants Commission Chairman, Rami Reddy, had once said how callously the data was collected just for the sake of completing a job given to an official.

According to Dr. Reddy, a district Collector was asked to compile data on the number of animals in the district at short notice.

The worried official asked his Joint Collector to get the job done. The JC assured his superior not to lose his sleep and before the deadline had the data ready.

"How you could manage the job?" asked the Collector and the JC replied that the message had gone down the line from district revenue officer to revenue divisional officer to tahsildar to his deputy (in the old system) and down to village-level staff.

"How many animals are there in the district according to the data?" asked the Collector. The JC gave the number to the last digit. Then the Collector said, add two more to the number, me and you!.''

The Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University, L. Venugopal Reddy, at recent workshop on preparing the AP Human Development Report, narrated this anecdote.

Dental clinics, which have mushroomed in the city over the last few years, appear to be faced with several teething problems. Though the opening of several clinics is a welcome sign, compared to the awareness level in China and South-East Asian countries, the extent of unhealthy competition leaves a sore taste in everybody's mouth.

Even BDS-qualified doctors from India and as well as Russia, China and other countries, have started projecting their clinics as `multi-speciality/super-speciality' clinics/hospitals.

Legally speaking, none can dispute their claim, as a clinic with a BDS doctor and an orthodontist on-a-phone-call facility does automatically turns into a multi speciality.

In view of the serious repercussions of the unhealthy rivalry, it would be better if the `specialists in dentistry' refrain from extracting mileage from increasing awareness level among people.

By R. Sampath, G. Narasimha Rao and Santosh Patnaik

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