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Pune hospital to treat acid, burn victims for free




A hospital here founded by the doctor-son of a daily labourer and which celebrates the birth of every girl child will now set up a one-of-a-kind burns centre that will treat all women victims of acid attacks or burns free of charge.

“Women who are targets of acid attacks or dowry and torture burns shall be given completely free treatment at this centre. However, if there are male victims, they will be charged as usual,” Ganesh Rakh, doctor and founder-owner of Medicare Hospital of Hadapsar, a suburb of Pune, told IANS.

The idea came to Rakh a couple of months ago when a 22-year-old newly-married woman became a victim of dowry harassment. She was allegedly set ablaze by her in-laws and was brought to his hospital.

“We don’t have the specialised treatment for such cases and the sole private hospital in Pune quoted Rs.30,000 per day for treatment for an indefinite period,” Rakh said.

When he informed the woman’s family, they said if they had that kind of money, they would have agreed to the dowry demands and their daughter would have escaped her current fate.

Rakh was moved by the woman’s plight and decided to do something about it.

After consultations with colleagues and experts, he decided to set up a burns centre that offers free treatment to women victims from any part of the country.

Rakh’s “Save the Girl Child” campaign, launched Jan 3, 2012, has already earned him a huge fan following as it celebrates its third anniversary this Saturday.

In the past three years, the 50-bed maternity hospital has conducted 314 free deliveries of female infants, natural or through Caesarian section.

In August 2014, Rakh took another step of opening a 15-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at a cost of Rs.2 million.

The unit offers free treatment and care to all premature female newborns till they are fit to go home.

“In our modest way, we have tackled the issue of female births, taking care of them and now we shall pay attention to their future,” Rakh said, explaining the philosophy behind the burns centre.

He plans to use the excess income from the maternity hospital (where male child birth is charged normal rates) and the NICU (ditto for male child) in the burns centre.

“It will be the most modern centre of its kind in India and will cost around Rs.10 million. I have sought a bank loan, but in case there are delays, a private firm has assured us all the required equipment on a hire-purchase basis,” Rakh said.

The facility will be inaugurated in April, he said.

Rakh said that even 68 years after independence, many girls become victims of acid attacks, are slashed by blades, and married women are burnt for not meeting dowry demands.

“Anything happens to them and they are disfigured and shattered for life. The tragedy is that a vast majority are unable to afford the expensive treatment. There are government hospitals, but the facilities there are basic and mostly intended to save the victim’s life.

“But what about preparing the victim to face society and living a normal life again, as nobody looks at them, socialises or employs them and all avoid them,” he said.

The burns centre will have a care department, a sophisticated operation theatre, a burns ICU, plus plastic surgery and other post-operative requirements.

“It will be a one-stop burns centre. The victims who come here will step out with a new look to face life confidently,” Rakh assured.

Given the financial constraints, at least a dozen plastic surgeons and burns care specialists from Pune and other parts of Maharashtra have already committed to offer free services to patients.

Quoting current figures, Rakh said a victim with just 40 percent burns would need to spend a minimum of Rs.1.5-2.5 million for complete treatment — which will be done for free at the Medicare Burns Centre.

He said the hospital will also arrange for the lodging of the victim’s relatives so that they are not compelled to live in miserable conditions outside.

When he started the hospital in 2007, after begging for loans from friends and relatives, most people ridiculed his plans.

“If you don’t charge for female child’s deliveries, how will you repay your Rs.1 crore loan?” aghast lenders demanded.

The son of a daily labourer Adinath (now 68 years old), and domestic worker Sindu (now 61), Rakh who qualified as a doctor in 2001, set up a roaring private practice, simultaneously completed his gynaecology specialisation and went ahead with his pet plans from day one.

Hailing from a very poor family in Solapur, his parents migrated to Pune in search of work. As Rakh was good in academics, he secured scholarships in school and college till his medical degree. “It’s now my turn to repay society,” Rakh said.

Canadian News

Joint statement from the Greater Toronto Area & Hamilton Mayors and Chairs



Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory take part in a candlelit vigil to honour the victims of a deadly shooting in Toronto on Wednesday July 25, 2018. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ont., and 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto were killed in Sunday's shooting attack, and 13 other people were injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

We are united in fighting COVID-19 – protecting our residents and saving lives.

While the measures we have taken to stop the spread of the virus have made a difference, this virus has still taken far too many lives in our communities and continues to threaten the lives of our residents.

At the same time, there is no denying the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Jobs have been lost, many businesses have closed or are at risk of closure, and many families are worried about their financial future.

We’ve been hit hard but that’s why it is so important that we keep moving forward and come back as strong as possible.

Today, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the region and how our municipalities can work together on the economic restart and recovery.

We know the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area alone is projected to lose 355,000 jobs and 28% of GDP along with $894 million in lost wages and $3.7 billion in revenue losses for businesses. This will be felt right across the GTHA but it also threatens the provincial and national economies.

A strong recovery right here in the GTHA is crucial to healing the economic damage done by COVID-19 and helping the families and businesses all governments have been working to protect throughout this emergency.

Ontario’s economy and Canada’s economy need the GTHA to come back stronger than ever when the restart begins.

We are determined to deliver this recovery and we agreed today that the GTHA municipalities will be working together to successfully and smoothly reopen our vital regional economy when the time comes.

We also discussed how we can in a consistent way achieve significant, necessary financial support from the other governments to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect our ability to contribute to the recovery. A strong recovery needs strong cities and regional governments.

We have agreed we will work together to share information about our respective financial positions and explore together measures we can advocate to the other governments which will help to ensure the financial stability of local and regional governments in the GTHA.

Our child care and recreation programs help parents get back to work.

Our emergency services keep people safe.

Our transit systems get people to work and home safely.

Our major infrastructure projects – often built in conjunction with the other governments – will help kick-start the recovery and create countless jobs.

Our economic development activities attract jobs and investment.

We built a strong and vibrant GTHA and we know that we will need to come back even stronger and as quickly as we can in order to keep Canada’s economy going.

With the cooperation and support of the provincial and federal governments, we are ready to rise to this challenge.”

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Canadian News

Four People Charged in Mississauga Pedestrian Fail to Remain Fatality



Investigators from the Major Collision Bureau have charged four people in Mississauga’s most recent fatal fail to remain collision.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, at approximately 8:40 p.m., the victim, a 61 year-old female from Mississauga, was struck by a south bound vehicle as she was crossing Mavis Road in the area of Knotty Pine Grove in the City of Mississauga. The vehicle did not remain and the victim, having suffered major injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Saturday, February 17, 2018 shortly before 7:00 p.m., Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM, a 60 year-old male from Brampton, and the driver believed to be responsible in this incident, surrendered to police at 22 Division. Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM has since been charged with Fail to Remain Cause Death.

Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, a 25 year old female from Brampton, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN a 28 year-old female from Brampton and Gowtham SATKUNARAJAH a 28 year-old male from Brampton have each been charged with Accessory After the Fact in relation to this incident.

Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM will answer to his charge on March 12, 2018. Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN andGowtham SATKUNARAJAH will answer to their charges on Monday March 26, 2018 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, have dashboard video footage of the incident or who may have any information regarding this incident is asked to contact investigators with the Major Collision Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3710. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) with the word ‘PEEL’ and then your tip.

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Canadian News

Justin Trudeau in India: Hug missing! Mounting pressure?



The much publicized and anticipated visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India was marred with questions. The questions were centered on the kind of welcome he would be given in the Sikh dominated state of Punjab. Also the famous hug by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being anticipated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally made his much-touted visit to India. He landed on the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi only to be received by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat not even a Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi’s government.

He is presently the second rank Minister of State for Agriculture.  That comes in complete contrast to the warmth that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA government has generally displayed towards the visiting dignitaries.  Only a couple of weeks ago, when the heads of the 10 ASEAN states arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t receive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the airport, as he has previously done with many leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t join him is all surprising even when Prime Minister Trudeau visited Gujarat. This is unusual because the Indian Prime Minister has set a trend that he always accompanies head of the state when they visit his home state.

Even Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath did not show up, let alone accompany Prime Minister Trudeau to the Taj. However, during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 15 January visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra, Yogi Adityanath had received Netanyahu and his wife and shown them around as well as hosted a lunch for them. For first three days, none from the executive or the elected representative held any meeting with the delegation.

Media in India is trying to spread a message that the cold treatment given by Prime Minister could be because two of the four Sikh members of Trudeau’s cabinet – Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi – support the Khalistan movement. However, had that been the case his visit to Punjab would have got a similar response.  However, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh rolled out a red carpet during his stay at Amritsar and even the two leaders held some fruitful discussions.

Thus putting an end to those criticisms that that Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit was devoid of any warmth.  Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, for instance who met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau setting aside his earlier prejudice that he exhibited during the visit of Defence Minister Harjeet Singh Sajjan.

In recent months, Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Canada, the United States and Australia have banned Indian officials from visiting gurudwaras and the moment started with Gurudwaras here in Toronto. Could that be the reason for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not accord one of the warmest welcomes that he is known to provide?  Or the use by Canada’s parliament of the term genocide to describe mass killings of Sikhs in India in 1984 has left the Indian Prime Minister disturbed?  However, more than Prime Minister Modi, this could have left the Congress party in troubled waters, but that was also not the case as Amarinder Singh hails from the same party.

The lukewarm welcome to Prime Minister Trudeau can have its political ramifications too. Will it hamper the significant 2015 deal, in which Canada agreed to supply 3,000 metric tons of Uranium to power India’s atomic reactors?

Somewhere Prime Minister Modi has not taken the issue of non allowing entry of Indian officials to Gurudwaras and the statement on Genocide too lightly. Prime Minister Modi however has failed to understand that Canada cannot curtail the right of freedom of speech and expression of its citizen.

Two nations perhaps failed to resolve the matter before Prime Minister boarded the flight from Canada and not welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau could be a tactical decision to put pressure on him. With Prime Minister Modi preferring to meet him at the far end of the tour has conveyed a lot about the myopic approach of Prime Minister Modi.

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