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October 26, 2001 - October 26, 2001

AUDA uses Canadian tech for quake-proof housing Friday, October 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority has constructed about 1,400 'quake-proof' dwelling units for the economically-weaker sections (EWS) using Canadian technology. The four-storeyed box-shaped units have been made entirely with cement and concrete mixture to withstand quake impact of higher magnitude.

The blocks constructed have been made on steel structures filled with concrete giving an additional strength to the structure. "We have decided to build 5,000 such units under EWS scheme, and 2,000 of these would be allotted to beneficiaries by March 2002," AUDA chairman Surendra Patel told reporters.

Moreover, AUDA has decided to itself build dwellings under EWS scheme on the 5 per cent land allotted in its every town planning scheme. The move was aimed at discouraging builders from illegal purchase of land for commercial purposes. "EWS land was misused in the past for commercial purpose, and beneficiaries were deprived of their right," Patel added.

He said the dwelling units were safe and prepared speedily using aluminium shutters which give a smooth finish to the units. AUDA has put a price tag of Rs 65,000 per unit for 21 yards construction area, with a Rs 50,000 loan available.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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A crash course in avoiding accidents Friday, October 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: It is not a cost-cutting exercise and drivers of government vehicles are not being laid off. But guess what Class I and Class II gazetted officers of Gujarat are getting trained in these days? Well, many of them are attending a course on "basic auto mechanics and maintenance" to try and understand their vehicle better and learn to repair it if it breaks down.

The government sanctioned funds last year to train senior officials in "skilled driving" and tackling vehicle problems. The programme comes in the wake of instances in the past where officials have either died or suffered injuries while driving, or were stranded as the vehicle broke down.

The officials come out all greasy and laden with dust after the course, which offers practical tips on tending to minor mechanical problems. The proposal was mooted by Commissioner of Training (Gujarat) Fateh Singh Jasol, who is also director of Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration, in April last year.

SPIPA is offering a single-day package targeted at gazetted and IAS, IPS and IFS officers. The programme is being conducted in collaboration with Western India Automobile Association.

It covers detailed engine functioning of four-wheelers _from age-old Ambassadors with carburettors to the latest multi-point fuel injection system used in computer-guided modern cars. Mechanics of diesel engines are also explained to the officials, as a large number of government vehicles are powered by the fuel.

About 94 officials have so far attended the classes, where they learnt about the functioning of brakes, transmission of power from engine to wheels and lubricating and cooling systems.

"We give them practical tips on driving in different terrain, night driving and tackling emergencies," informs course co-ordinator Sameer Pathak of WIAA.

The course is divided into six sessions comprising auto mechanism, maintenance, scientific methods of driving, drivers' physical and mental aspects, city driving and highway driving. It also covers speeding on different surfaces and braking, avoiding pedestrians, parking techniques, overtaking, tunnel travel and driving on hilly ways.

While the government has recognised the importance of the programme, there are very few takers. Till date, the institute could mobilise candidates for just five classes. "There is no shortage of funds but shortage of officials," remarks Jasol.

Those who have attended the course are all praise for it. Says additional collector VP Patel, " I now enjoy driving. Earlier, it was a burden."

N S Vora, director of Employees' State Insurance Scheme says, "We can understand our engine, its requirement better." Vora, who had met with an accident while on his way to Ankleshwar, admits he feels much more responsible while driving.

"It's a very relevant training, says IAS officer and additional commissioners in the Sale Tax department, Raj Gopal. "The course should be made compulsory for all seeking licences."

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Cable operator's suicide bid at Star office on C G Road Friday, October 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: A cable operator was detained by the police on Tuesday for allegedly attempting suicide in the STAR TV control room on C G road.

According to the police, Ishwar Kishanlal Chaudhary or Lala Chaudhary, a cable operator at Bapunagar, had gone to the STAR TV control room located in the Rembrandt building in the afternoon apparently to make a payment and after a scuffle with the control room manager doused himself with kerosene and attempted suicide.

The argument reportedly erupted over increasing the number of connections for which the control room manager demanded more money. "Chaudhary apparently insisted that he wanted connections now and would payt later", said police inspector AC Jadeja.

However, Ahmedabad Cable Operators' Association president Pramod Pandya alleged that the control room manager had tried to set Chaudhary on fire. "Chaudhary wanted that he increase the number of connections for which the manager demanded Rs 75,000", said Pandya.

But the police have statements from the watchman in the building to establish that Chaudhary had poured kerosene on himself allegedly in a bid to commit suicide. The incident occurred around 2 p.m. but the FIR was registered late in the night.

Chaudhary has been arrested under section 309 of the IPC. When contacted for his version, STAR TV regional manager in charge of Gujarat Rajnish Mathur said, 'nothing has happened, there is just a misunderstanding that needs to be sorted out'.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Six accused in Gondal attack case out on bail Friday, October 26, 2001

RAJKOT: The additional sessions judge at Gondal, N C Vora, has ordered the release of all the six accused in the Govind Desai assault case on bail of Rs 25,000 each. The court has, however, directed them to follow certain guidelines after their release.

The six includes Gondal BJP legislator Jairajsinh Jadeja, his brother Hardevsinh, Gondal Nagrik Bank chairman Jayanti Dhol, Milan Shukla, Raju Mevada and Bhupat Dabhi. All the six were arrested on Septemebr 29 for their murderous attack on social worker Govind Desai.

In its release order the court said all the six must surrender their passports before the court within 10 days, make themselves present everytime the investigations officer calls them, not to leave the state's boundaries without the court's permission, to be present at the police station every second and fourth Monday between 9 am and 3 pm and not to terrorise any of the witnesses.

It has been argued that there were no prima facie evidence to prove their active involvement in the crime and it could not be proved if the attackers had any relations with the attacked party, so their involvement in the crime could not sustained.

District government pleader Anil Desai had submitted an affidavit stating that the six should not be released on bail and that there was evidence against their involvement in the crime. Govind Desai had also submitted an application alleging the fear that there were evry chances that if the six were released on bail the investigations wuld be hampered and they would use their power to subvert the invetigations.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Surendranagar BJP men quit over denial of ministership Friday, October 26, 2001

RAJKOT: The fall-out of the ministry formation in the state is being felt in parts of Saurashtra where a section of the BJP is not only vocally protesting over non-inclusion of several stalwarts in the Narendra Modi ministry but also the non-representation of several cities which hitherto had a lot of political clout.

Dissatisfaction is brewing in centres like Rajkot, Jamnagar and Surendranagar. However, the revolt by the Surendranagar unit the was most significant as 125 BJP members have resigned to protest the exclusion of Kiritsinh Rana in the ministry. They had sent their letters to state BJP president Rajendrasinh Rana.

Surendranagar BJP unit president Prakash Soni said a meeting was organised in a farm house near Limbdi where the decison was taken to oppose Kiritsinh's exclusion. The meeting was organised by leaders like BJP secretary Bipin Dave who said the move to keep out Kiritsinh could be suicidal for the party as he had played a major role in the party's electoral victory in the assembly and Lok Sabha elections. They felt leaders in gram panchayats would also desert the party now.

A similar move was brewing in Rajkot where BJP leaders were planing to resign en masse, overtly to give the chief minister a free hand to revamp the organisation. However, this is a pressure tactic to convey their displeasure at the injustice done to Rajkot in the ministry making exercise.

What irked the region was that senior ministers, Parmanand Khattar from Jamnagar, Mahendra Trivedi from Bhavnagar, Bechar Bhadani from Amreli and Kiritsinh Rana from Surendranagar have been shown the door.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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