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October 22, 2001 - October 22, 2001

Garba deadline in Mumbai protested Monday, October 22, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The All-Gujarat Cultural and Festival Association has objected to authorities in Maharashtra putting a 10.30 pm deadline on garbas in Mumbai.

Prominent garba organisers in Gujarat will switch off all mikes for 10 minutes every evening as a mark of protest and to pressurise the government into changing their mind.

An officials release from the association said Gujaratis in Maharashtra always celebrate Ganesh Chaturti till late at night. Thus, the association feels this deadline is unjust and the timing should be extended.

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

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Security beefed after robberies at diamond units Monday, October 22, 2001

SURAT: Following three incidents of thefts and robberies at diamond trading centres at different parts of the city in the last few days, the city police have intensified security measures with additional deployment of one company of SRPF at sensitive points.

According to Additional Commissioner of Police Mohan Jha, police patrolling has been intensified from 8 am to 10 pm in Kapodara, Katargram and Mahidharpura where a number of diamond processing units are located.

Further, licences of arms are being granted to diamond merchants for security reasons, and all those whose guns have been taken back for necessary official verification are being given their arms back, as per a decision by the city police taken recently. All history-sheeters of the last 10 years from these areas are being cross-examined and kept under watch, Jha informed.

With the police already over-stretched on account of the on-going Navratri patrolling, maintaining strict vigil round-the-clock at vulnerable areas has become extremely difficult, a senior police officer admitted. In places like Kapodara, Pandol, Amroli, Mahidhapura and other parts with concentration of diamond processing units security has been tightened and local intelligence wing of the city police has been instructed to keep the officials posted with latest developments, sources said.

In Mahidharpura on Friday, robbers had entered one diamond unit but could succeed in stealing anything. They, however, inflicted injuries to the owner and others present there, police said. But, in Kapodara, the accused entered one unit when workers had left, and decamped with precious stones worth Rs 3 lakh. Another such incident occurred an a unit at Katargram three days ago.

In view of these incidents, Police Commissioner Vineet Kumar Gupta has been visiting these areas himself to keep up the strict security.

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

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No takers for GIL despite hype on IT Monday, October 22, 2001

AHMEDABAD: If technology is expected to be the catalyst for Gujarat's sagging economic fortunes, the state will need much more than just a laptop-sporting chief minister, many officials now say.

Apart from his technology-savvy approach to governance, Narendra Modi will need a dedicated band of officers who not only understand technology, but also have the ability to implement it before it becomes obsolete. For the time being, however, the new chief minister can't even find a dedicated official to head his information technology flagship, Gujarat Informatics Limited (GIL)!

During his major administrative overhaul recently, Modi transferred D Jagatheesa Pandyan from GIL to the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd. GIL's former MD, M Sahu was given additional charge apart from his responsibilities at the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority. According to sources at the Sachivalaya, Sahu has left for Manali without accepting his new charge, leaving Pandyan with both GSPC as well as GIL, and effectively leaving the latter headless.

But this is nothing compared to what the technology company has gone through in its short three-year history. For starters, it has never had a managing director who actually understands the intricacies of IT or even have a degree in electronics and related areas, giving some idea of how serious the government was in promoting the industry in the state despite the hype.

Although IAS officers generally prefer the independence of running a corporation, away from the politics of the Sachivalaya, the GIL posting has not been a hot favourite. "There is a learning curve involved in technology companies," a senior IAS officer told TNN. "You have to make extra effort to understand the various facets and do your homework, something many officials don't prefer."

As a result, all GIL has done in the last three years is make announcements on how it will soon launch citizen-friendly services. There is very little to show in concrete terms. Two such ambitious projects which have only remained on paper are the 15,000 kiosks planned with corporate giant Reliance and municipal bodies across the state and a citizen-centric multi-purpose card.

Both projects have enormous capacity as they would simplify a number of services like paying telephone and electricity bills and a single window for the availability for a number of government forms and applications. The card especially was supposed to help in identifying persons during elections or issuing passports. Many large corporates, associated in such projects, have even started questioning the viability of such investments if GIL has such a long gestation period when obsolesce is always lurking round the corner.

Most of the IT flagship's MDs, however, have had no background in the industry and have been running like they would run any corporation. Of the four MDs that the corporation has seen so far, K C Kapoor, Sahu and Pandyan have little knowledge of the industry. Its second director, Jayanthi Ravi, is believed to have been the most dynamic of the four. She, however, is today transferred to the Dangs.

However, many officials feel that if GIL is expected to be one of the drivers of a new-age economy in Gujarat, Modi will have to give it more that just good officials.

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

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UNESCO project to preserve heritage of Parsis Monday, October 22, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The UNESCO-funded PARZOR project aimed at preserving the heritage of Parsis in India has begun recording the community's demographic and medical profile in Gujarat.

The nationwide project aimed at 'Preservation of Parsi-Zoroastrian Heritage -- Campaigns and international conventions' in the country was flagged off in 1999 has special importance for

Gujarat due to the minuscule presence of the community in the state.
Alarmed with the steep decline in their population which is reducing at a rate 10 per cent in every decade, UNESCO founded the project under its worldwide programme to check the loss of culture and heritage of such diminishing communities.

It began with an exhibition of photographs at Hutheesing Visual Arts Centre shot all over the country wherever the community resides.

Parsis in India, a micro-minority, represents 0.01 per cent of India's population is currently facing a grim challenge to stop the 10 per cent decline in their population after every 10 decades.

The highest figure touched by Parsis was in 1941 when they swelled close 1.15 lakh but the figure remained unstable in the successive years.

"In Ahmedabad alone there are not more than 2,000 Parsis which is negligible in comparison with the Gujarat's population," says Delnaz Dalal, UNESCO's project co-ordinator for Ahmedabad.

"The project has a futuristic approach to realise that they are not preserving the past but a future for the Parsis," she added.

According to her, the basic reasons for the dwindling population of Parsis in the country was late marriages, outside-community marriages and indifference of the younger generation towards their culture and traditions.

"During sampling and data collection, I have come across existence of several customs and rituals associated with our community which I was not aware of earlier," says Monaz Vakil, a volunteer engaged with the UNESCO project.

The Parsis are the descendants of refugees from Persia who landed at the western coast through the sea route in the early 10th century. The community always remained at the forefront of the freedom movement, education, industrialisation, trade and commerce.

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

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Two held in attempt to steal jeep Monday, October 22, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Two persons among three were arrested by Mehsana police on Saturday after they tried to steal a jeep they hired in Vijapur.

The accused, two from Madhya Pradesh and one from Uttar Pradesh, who had hired the jeep on the pretext of transportation also injured a scooterist coming from the opposite direction while trying to escape the police in hot pursuit.

The accused were held after the jeep turned turtle in the wild goose chase that ensued between the police and the accused. The police also seized a country-made revolver and four live cartridges from the accused.

According to police, the accused drove away the jeep after forcibly throwing out its driver, Ismail Hussain, between Vasai and Gojaraia.

The district police swung into action after being alerted by the driver and intercepted the jeep near Libodara.

The arrested duo have been identified as Suresh alias Kaliyo Bushhilal Singh and Rajput Ramvir Singh Vijay Singh, both residents of Bhind in Madhya Pradesh. The third accused -- Amit Pandit, a resident of Etawah, managed to escape. The accused, who were injured, were admitted to Mehsana Civil Hospital and cases have been registered against them.

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

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