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October 8, 2001 - October 8, 2001

Modi does a balancing act Monday, October 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: For Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the formation of his first ministry was never expected to be an easy task. And, as events unfolded around midnight on Saturday, Modi was forced to make changes to the list and even add names he had serious reservations about.

In fact, when Modi decided to call on Keshubhai Patel last night with the list of ministers, he perhaps had an inkling that his predecessor might not give his approval so easily.

Not only did Keshubhai insist on the inclusion of Kaushik Patel and Nitin Patel, who were also members of the outgoing ministry, but he also strongly recommended the name of Vajubhai Vala, the Rajkot strongman who was the second most powerful person in the outgoing minister as minister of finance and revenue.

However, while Modi relented on the names of the two Patels, he put his foot down over Vala's name.

Kaushik Patel's was the last name added to the list and he was informed only around 1.30 am that he would be inducted. The rest of the ministers were informed just after midnight.

Keshubhai reportedly referred to a case involving a Narmada canal in South Gujarat when Modi brought up the issue of corruption charges against Vala. Keshubhai reportedly agreed to Vala's exclusion only on the condition that Modi also sacrifice Jaynarayan Vyas, the former Narmada minister who was asked to quit after calling Keshubhai a 'liar' in a Cabinet meeting earlier this year.

Keshubhai Patel did not offer much resistance over the names of Purshottam Rupala and I K Jadeja, known supporters of Suresh Mehta, whom he had kept out of the ministry despite persistent pressures for their induction.

Apparently, both Modi and Keshubhai are keen on wooing the Suresh Mehta faction which may play a critical role in tilting the power balance.

Sources close to Modi would like the media to believe that Modi had gone by two factors - clean image and merit - in forming his small team but the facts point to an intense power struggle within the party.

The ministry-making exercise was a balancing act keeping the three main factions - loyal to Kashiram Rana , Suresh Mehta and Keshubhai Patel - in mind, while also trying to bridge the regional imbalances.

The cabinet is likely to be expanded in the coming week and it is still to be seen whether Modi continues to fall in line with the demands of the outgoing chief minister.

Sources said Modi would like to drop several members of the 38-member outgoing ministry, including Bharat Barot, Bimal Shah, Gabhaji Thakore, Parmanand Khattar, Mahendra Trivedi, Prabhatsinh Chauhan, Khodabhai Patel and Pushottam Solanki.

Some of the former ministers of Patel ministry who would be reinstated in next phase are Mangubhai Patel, Liladhar Waghela, Ramanlal Vora, Ranjitsinh Chavda, Babubhai Bokhiria, Narayanbhai Patel and Bhupendrabhai Lakhawala.

It is learnt from reliable sources that former minister Jaspal Singh, who had a cabinet rank in earlier ministry, has been kept out from the new ministry because of his vocal and controversial utterances and recent hobnobbing with Samajvadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh.

Modi would have liked to induct him but for the strong resistance from within the state party organisation.

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


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Vadodara NGOs condemn swearing-in extravaganza Monday, October 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Many city-based organisations have condemned the elaborate and expensive programme organised for the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

According to the People's Union for Civil liberties Kirit Bhatt the BJP is 'callous in its attitude and is deluding the people of Gujarat'. "They are celebrating the failure of their earlier minister and creating a needless hype over it," he said.

Rohit Prajapati of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti said that in a country that is reeling under poverty, and a state which has more than a Rs 21,000 crore of debt, the BJP is indulging in a needless show of extravagance.

"The swearing-in ceremony of any minister does not warrant the kind of show that they indulged in. It shows that the state is being ruled by callous and irresponsible people," said Maya Valecha of the Inquilabi Communist Sangathan.

The people of Gujarat are reeling under economic hardships and this show is uncalled for. If Modi wanted to publicise this event, he should pay through his own pocket. The cost of transporting other leaders to the site too should be borne by them.

The people of Gujarat should be given a detail account of the funds spend on this event and the sources of funding, says Thakor Shah of the Vadodara Kamdar Union.

All felt there should be a complete ban on such extravagant spending.

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


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MSU faculty to provide vital info to industry Monday, October 8, 2001

BY SACHIN SHARMA, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Getting training in specialised management disciplines or looking for information about various industries and business opportunities abroad has always been a difficult proposition in Vadodara.

The Faculty of Management Studies of M S University might soon have a solution to all these problems.

The faculty has embarked on a plan to develop a Management Development Centre for training of working professionals. In the long run, the faculty plans to develop it as a centre which would provide valuable inputs to the industry for doing business in other parts of the country and even abroad.

Similarly, companies from other parts of the country or the globe would be able to get information about Vadodara and Gujarat from the centre.

The faculty has received a grant of Rs 16 lakh from the University Grants Commission. A grant of Rs 4 lakh will also be provided for the purpose by the state government.

This amount, faculty officials say, will take care of the immediate requirement of setting up the centre for the purpose of management training.

FMS dean Prof Mayank Dholakia said, "Specialised training for professionals working in the industry has always been a difficult task. The FMS had for the first time tried to experiment with the idea when engineering professionals of the Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited were to be trained. The idea was very successful, and was received well by the trainees as well as their employer. Taking a cue from this, we decided to go ahead with the task of starting the centre within the faculty."

According to faculty members, the idea would be to provide specialised as well as tailor-made courses for professionals.

"One cannot expect a person who is working for several years to go in for a master's in business administration programme. However, the same persons can be sent by their organisations for learning a specific aspect which is important for their working," said a faculty member.

Dholakia pointed out that the centre would provide fixed calendar programmes throughout the year as well as on specific demands by the industry.

"We can charge a stipulated amount as fees for the course from the organisation. This would depend on the need of the organisation," he said.

In the long run, the centre would aim at providing information to the corporate sector. "Often people in the industry are not in a position to collect such information on their own. Time and other constraints do not allow this. They would definitely be interested in outsourcing such work," Dholakia said.

The attempt is to make MDC a centre that could provide such vital inputs to the industry. The students can take up providing such information as a part of their projects.

"The internet, subscription to various journals and other agencies providing information can be used by the centre for the purpose. The information can be made available to those who are interested against a fee. This fees would be much less as compared to that charged by professionals," Dholakia said.

Setting up the information centre would involve an addition expenditure of Rs 20 to 30 lakh. The faculty is looking forward to support from its alumni for the purpose of collection of the additional amount.

"While the actual setting up of the information centre might take quite some time, we would set the ball rolling for the collection of funds. The faculty will need the support of its alumni for the purpose," Dholakia said.

Work for constructing a new building for the centre will begin soon. The building will come up near the present FMS building itself.

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


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Repair of quake-damaged slum quarters flawed Monday, October 8, 2001

BY SANJAY PANDEY, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Even over eight months after the temblor shook the city, the post-quake repair works being carried out in 24 slum colonies across the city is proceeding at a snail's pace.

The damaged structures and concrete debris still haunt the 3,500 families living in the slum quarters.

"We are still living under constant fear that some day our building might collapse as the repair work was not done properly," complains Prahaladbhai Solanki, a resident of Danilimbda slum quarters. He says the work undertaken by contractors was extremely slow and would take another year for completion.

Solanki, like many others, was dissatisfied with the kind of work carried out by the private contractors engaged by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

Most of the slum quarters were in dilapidated condition before the quake struck and with the impact of the tremor, the buildings have now become a virtual death trap for the residents.

"But nobody is listening to us, besides the repair work is not up to the mark," Solanki says.

He adds that contractors were not at all concerned about repairs in the basic structure and were trying to conceal the cracks visible on the exterior side of the building.

"Most of the residents are with the municipal corporation working as grade-IV employees, so nobody was bothered about their problems," Anjali Awate, the project co-ordinator of Kamdar Swasthya Suraksha Mandal (KSSM), said.

Sweepers, manhole workers and contract labourers are the main residents of slum quarters where education, information and awareness about the disaster was negligible.

The organisation tries to spread information about post-quake repairs through pamphlets, training sessions, periodical meetings and counselling to the affected families _ information about the repair work and the material used.

"Most of the repair work carried out was cosmetic one," says Chandrakant Lapsiwala, a resident of Gomtipur health staff quarters.

According to residents, the repair work was a sham as huge cracks were still visible inside the building. There are lot of other complaints about repair work inside the individual dwelling units, parapet walls besides miscellaneous works to be carried out.

There were also allegations about use of sub-standard quality of building material in the repair work.

"We have acted on the complaints brought to the corporation's notice about the use of substandard material," Badruddin Sheikh, the chairman of the AMC standing committee, said assuring that action would be taken against specific complaints.

"But why the corporation itself evolves a mechanism to check out the quality of construction material used," Hosla Prasad Mishra of the KSSM says while arguing about the futility of the exercise, as only the affected people were at the receiving end.

The state government released a sum of Rs 22 crore for the repair works in schools, hospitals and municipal buildings besides a separate grant of Rs 5 crore from the Centre for slum quarters.

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


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Repair of quake-damaged slum quarters flawed Monday, October 8, 2001

BY SANJAY PANDEY, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Even over eight months after the temblor shook the city, the post-quake repair works being carried out in 24 slum colonies across the city is proceeding at a snail's pace.

The damaged structures and concrete debris still haunt the 3,500 families living in the slum quarters.

"We are still living under constant fear that some day our building might collapse as the repair work was not done properly," complains Prahaladbhai Solanki, a resident of Danilimbda slum quarters. He says the work undertaken by contractors was extremely slow and would take another year for completion.

Solanki, like many others, was dissatisfied with the kind of work carried out by the private contractors engaged by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

Most of the slum quarters were in dilapidated condition before the quake struck and with the impact of the tremor, the buildings have now become a virtual death trap for the residents.

"But nobody is listening to us, besides the repair work is not up to the mark," Solanki says.

He adds that contractors were not at all concerned about repairs in the basic structure and were trying to conceal the cracks visible on the exterior side of the building.

"Most of the residents are with the municipal corporation working as grade-IV employees, so nobody was bothered about their problems," Anjali Awate, the project co-ordinator of Kamdar Swasthya Suraksha Mandal (KSSM), said.

Sweepers, manhole workers and contract labourers are the main residents of slum quarters where education, information and awareness about the disaster was negligible.

The organisation tries to spread information about post-quake repairs through pamphlets, training sessions, periodical meetings and counselling to the affected families _ information about the repair work and the material used.

"Most of the repair work carried out was cosmetic one," says Chandrakant Lapsiwala, a resident of Gomtipur health staff quarters.

According to residents, the repair work was a sham as huge cracks were still visible inside the building. There are lot of other complaints about repair work inside the individual dwelling units, parapet walls besides miscellaneous works to be carried out.

There were also allegations about use of sub-standard quality of building material in the repair work.

"We have acted on the complaints brought to the corporation's notice about the use of substandard material," Badruddin Sheikh, the chairman of the AMC standing committee, said assuring that action would be taken against specific complaints.

"But why the corporation itself evolves a mechanism to check out the quality of construction material used," Hosla Prasad Mishra of the KSSM says while arguing about the futility of the exercise, as only the affected people were at the receiving end.

The state government released a sum of Rs 22 crore for the repair works in schools, hospitals and municipal buildings besides a separate grant of Rs 5 crore from the Centre for slum quarters.

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


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