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November 30, 2001 - November 30, 2001

When the chief minister comes calling Friday, November 30, 2001

SOURCE - TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Vadodara is preparing for the big day. With Chief Minister Narendra Modi planning to visit the city for the first time after assuming charge, BJP workers are keeping no stones unturned to ensure a "dhamaka" reception on Sunday.

Both the city and district units of the party are working overtime as plans are being drawn up to instal huge gateways, banners, party flags along the road that the Chief Minister's entourage is slated to travel. While a plan to organise a reception at the airport itself was shot down by the city BJP top brass, apparently because they thought 9 am may prove to be "too early for most of their party workers to attend and thereby cause an embarrassment," Modi's meeting at Tarsali is billed to be a grand affair.

His route too has been carefully planned _ ensuring that the entourage passes through the heart of the city by taking the Mandvi-Chowkhandi route rather than the VIP Road _ so that people get a glimpse of the BJP's "strength".

The chief minister's visit has also left the district administration and the Vadodara Municipal Corporation in a tizzy. The telephones of top district administration has been ringing constantly as the itinerary is being drawn up to the last details. City Mayor Bharti Vyas has been ringing up district collector, who also drove down the proposed route for Chief Minister's entourage along with a deputy municipal commissioner on Wednesday.


Samras and the art of persuasion

It's a matter of choice. And, whether the choice is voluntary or forced is the question. It's this question that has been playing on the minds of district officials as the state braces up for panchayat elections and the Congress alleges "government diktat" to ensure Samras or the concept of unanimous choice where villages can select their panchayat rather elect. Government officials claim that no directive has come from Gandhinagar. Yet, they admit that allegations by Congressmen are bearing on their minds and even an attempt to make villagers aware of the concept of Samras is being seen with suspicion. "It's a precarious situation," admits a senior official. An official also pointed out that the Samras concept originated in 1992 when Amarsinh Chaudhary's Congress government had given out the GR in this regard. While Samras becomes a key issue in the state's politics, it's the government officials who are having to bear the brunt, mostly psychological, as they go about their duties.

Will VCA now learn its lesson? The victor stands vanquished. And, that too in the hands of the minnows. November 25 may probably remain a black day in the annals of Ranji champion Vadodara after the drubbing they suffered at the hands of Gujarat during their recent Ranji tie. The loss may have been just for nine runs.


But, the damage to the team's moral is enormous. Though the team did not have the services of its key players like Connor Williams and Zaheer Khan, but a loss to Gujarat team is hard to digest. Many are now blaming the Vadodara Cricket Association for indulging more in rivalries than in the well being of the team. For cricket lovers in the city, the recent Kiran More-Jaywant Lele stand-off is fresh in memory, and they feel that such ugly incidents do cast their shadow on a teams performance. Let this loss come as a wake-up call to the VCA officials who can now start thinking about the team and not personal differences.

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


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CM to dedicate 156 MW GSEG plant on Sat Friday, November 30, 2001

SOURCE - TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: Chief Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the 156 MW gas-based power plant of the Gujarat State Energy Generation Company (GSEG) to the people of Gujarat on Saturday at the project site in village Mora-Hazira road in Surat.

Giving details, managing director of GSEG D J Pandian, said "Based on the availability of the natural gas from its gas wells in the Hazira area, GSPC decided to set up a power project of 156.1 MW at an estimated cost of Rs. 576 crore with natural gas as fuel. Proximity of the project to fuel source, low gestation period resulting in low IDC - low capital cost, strong promoters are some of its major strengths."

"The project progressed fast and we could complete it in record time. GSEG has set up a benchmark for all power projects in the country - both in public sector and in private sector", Pandian added.

The combined cycle's commissioning would be done by the year- end. From Saturday, 100 MW power will be added to the GEB grid and it is expected to reach the full capacity of 156.1 MW by March first week when the combined cycle is put into operation.

GSEG, promoted by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), in association with other state sector companies and central sector PSUs like KRIBHCO and GAIL, is developing a 156 MW gas based combined cycle power generation project at Hazira. On September 30, it completed synchronisation of its first gas turbine and within 15 days synchronised the second one, too.

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


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Technocrats dominate list of probables for MSU VC post Friday, November 30, 2001

SOURCE - TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Technocrats seems to dominate the proceedings when it comes to find an incumbent for the chair of the M S University (MSU) vice-chancellor (VC). Scientists and engineers, heavily dominate the list of probable candidates to replace the last V C Anil Kane, an engineer by profession and a technocrat.

According to well-informed sources, the names of about a dozen probable candidates were discussed at the meeting of the search committee to look for the next vice-chancellor. The committee had held its meeting in Delhi on Monday.

Well-informed sources said that the list of names discussed at the meeting included a large number of engineers and scientists. "Many of the names figuring in the list are from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). If the chairman of the committee has his way, we might have another technocrat as the vice-chancellor," a source said.

Notably, director of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) R Mashelkar is the chairman of the panel. According to officials, Mashelkar has so far dominated the proceeding in the meetings. The stress on scientists and technocrats is said to be on his insistence.

Next meeting of the panel is likely to be held in second week of December. A clearer picture of the stance taken by the committee is likely to emerge by then. Insiders said that the committee will either have a very short list of names after the meeting or may even come up with the final list of three names to be sent to the state government.

However, sources pointed out that the other two members of the committee might have their way in pushing a name that might eventually end up becoming the next MSU executive head. "While the chairman might make all his efforts, the committee has persons with BJP leanings in majority. They might try to get at least one of their names through," said a senior university functionary.

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


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Tissue bank to come up soon in Ahmedabad Friday, November 30, 2001

SOURCE - TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: A bit of skin from a donor or a piece of bone could make that crucial difference to a third-degree burns patient or accident victim with multiple bone breaks. But ask any patient and they'll tell you just how hard it is to get such components in an emergency.

Not anymore. On the lines of eye and blood banking, the country is all set to have its first tissue bank where one can buy bone, skin, tendon and fascia (both sheets or band of connective tissue separating or binding muscles with organs). What's more, the bank will come up in Ahmedabad!

Thanks to donations by a Non-Resident Gujarati from Vadodara Kiran Patel, the University of South Florida (USF) has decided to team up with Indu Health Research Foundation (IHRF) to set up this tissue bank in Ahmedabad under its Centre for HIV-AIDS Research and Training (CHART) programme. The bank would be operational in six months, the promoters claimed.

Beata Herman of the USF has been camping here for the past three days, training microbiologists and technicians the nuances of procuring body components from donors and processing the same to remove histological markers so that the donated components are imbibed by patients with zero infection or rejection rate.

Explaining the operation, Herman said they would follow a stringent three-step procedure in procuring the tissue from the dead. "Consent of the dying person and also that of the next of the kin will be obtained and reconfirmed for donation. On the pathology front, it entails having the total the medical history of the patient. If at any stage the patient is found to carry infection, all the tissues will be discarded to ensure 100 per cent quality assurance", she said.

USF will provide specific technical help like the state-of-art equipment and training. The IHRF on its part will provide infrastructure; the foundation people are scouting the city for a site.

Outlining the potential category of beneficiaries IHRF chief Vijay Shah said they included patients with chronic back injuries (that has no prosthetic device replacement so far), trauma patients with multiple-bone injuries, third degree burns patients and even cancer patients who have suffered major loss of bone or skin.

About cost, Shah said the details were being worked out. Giving an instance nevertheless, he said that a donor bone graft could cost Rs 2000. "The same when taken from the other bones of the patient would also cost the same considering the surgery and the increase in the hospital stay", he reasoned.

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


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Eco aspects of Bt cotton need separate focus Friday, November 30, 2001

SOURCE - TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: As the Centre's decision to crack down on use of Bt cotton has raised a major hue and cry, especially in Gujarat, bio-technology experts feel there is a need to address the two core issues - the issue of bio-safety and that of the economic consequences of using or not using Bt cotton - independently.

"We have been mixing the two issues and the scenario at present seems a bit muddled," says head of MS University's Bio-technology Centre Bharat Chattoo.

Chattoo, who has also had a stint in the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and is working on the concept of building incubators for development of new ideas in the field, feels that the two issues "need to be dealt with separately."

"As far as bio-safety is concerned, a number of field trials have been conducted and the government has put into place a whole series of controls to ensure safety," says Chattoo, who cites the example of any such product going through numerous channels before being certified.

"At the development or laboratory level, the project goes through the department of bio-technology of the government of India, then to the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, the Institutional Bio-safety Committee and the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation," he says.

"At the next stage, it goes through the department of environment, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, the State Bio-technology Co-ordination Committee, the funding agency and a principal investigator. There is nothing clandestine about the whole process," he adds.

He feels that the economic aspect needs to be looked into independently of the safety aspect. "India has the largest area covering cotton yet contributes only about 13 to 15 per cent of the world's produce. The production per hectare of land is also the lowest. We use about $700 million on pesticides, roughly 50 per cent of which is used on cotton fields, with about 10 to 15 sprays being made every season," he says.

"Data collected from field trials in various locations have proved that there could be a 30 to 40 increase in yield and at the same time the spraying frequency will go down considerably, easing the load on both environment and the economy," informs Chattoo.

He says that China has used Bt cotton in a big way and 1.5 million small farmers are being covered. "When a new technology is adopted, the society has to learn to deal with it in a new way. We should not be making laws so cumbersome that the whole revolution passes us by," says Chattoo.

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


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