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October 7, 2001 - October 8, 2001

VMC begins inquiry in Navapura explosion Monday, October 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Gas department of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation has begun a probe into the probable causes of a gas leakage which led to an explosion on Saturday in the Navapura area.

According to VMC officials, the leakage was not caused by any digging by the corporation. The digging by some other person might have led to the incident, they said.

Officials in the fire brigade said that while the lines were old, no serious cases of leakage were reported so far. Station fire officer (Dandia Bazar) D P Gunjal said that incidents of fire or explosions due to gas pipeline leakage were rare.

"If the pipelines were the reason, there should have been more such incidents. This is not the case," Gunjal said.

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


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Festive mood missing on eve of Navratri Sunday, October 7, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SURAT: Hardly a fortnight away, Navratri, the annual festival of nine nights, is yet to infuse a festive mood coupled with a shopping spree as witnessed on previous occasions.

For a festival which is almost synonymous with colourful dresses and sparkling jewellery, garment stores and stockists of the ghagra-choli and lehengas are yet to witness any real shopping activity.

Most garment store owners across the city are echoing a similar sentiment - that the market is hit by heavy recession. Many of them said they are not expecting a big rush of shoppers on the eve of Navratri this year at all.

They have prepared themselves for a spell of low-profits. This, despite the myriad discounts and other schemes being announced by most shopkeepers to attract buyers.

Rahul Mehta of Sai Fashions on Ghod Dod road feels the market is definitely 'slow'. He feels the spending power of people has gone down by as much as half, compared to last year. Though primarily dealing in menswear, they have recently started accepting orders for ladies' garments.

But the section is not picking up as much as expected, specially with Navratri round the corner, he laments. The activity that is usually seen prior to Navratri is very much missing this time, he says. Even daily-wear items like cotton trousers have shown a downswing in sales, he says.

Kishore Chheda of Anantdeep fashions at Lalgate, Chakkapir Gali says that last year was definitely better. Echoing similar opinions, he feel the market is quite slow.

Shoppers are much more cautious and may even leave without buying anything at all. But he sounds hopeful of an upswing at the last minute too.

Jayantibhai of Zapata too says that customers are not buying clothes as freely as they were a year back. He also feels that the uptake of children's' clothes in their store is higher these days due to a discount currently on.

Also, the customers coming to his shop are not going in for costly garments usually worn on occasions of weddings and traditional festivals.

But he sounds hopeful when he says sales could pick up in some more time. One cannot say for sure, but sales of lehengas and ghagra-cholis could suddenly pick up at the last minute.

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


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Vehicle users facing problems in Surat Sunday, October 7, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SURAT: Due to lack of co-ordination between the Surat Municipal Corporation and the city traffic police, vehicle owners in the city are having a tough time with faded yellow-lines on the margins of stretches of roads and no boards to suggest the marked area as parking for two-wheelers or for four-wheelers.

Often vehicles unintentionally parked on road sides are towed away by the city traffic police.

The owners have to undergo a lot of harassment in getting their vehicles back from the traffic police station near Chopatty at Athwalines, and often penalty imposed are unjustified and the vehicles returned are not in original shape.

In absence of any distinction as which yellow-lined area is marked for two-wheelers or four-wheelers as most of these parking areas are without any notice boards to remind the owners specifically, these marked lines often become a trap zone.

Besides, the larriwalas are often found occupying the marked areas, making it difficult for vehicle users to notice them for parking purpose, as in the case of near the shopping complex just few metres ahead on left side of the road from Parle Point towards Sargam shopping centre.

As such, one is not sure if one has to cough up penalty and face humiliation in the public by the traffic police while parking one's vehicle.

Even in the case of roads near many schools and colleges, parking areas are rarely found to be full with vehicles, causing great inconvenience to the road users.

When pointed about one such across the road near V T Choksi Law College, traffic policemen manning the Parle Point said that these unmarked areas too are for parking purpose, though the area is not having yellow-marked space and even not any parking boards to suggest that.

The responsibility of maintaining yellow-marked parking areas is of the SMC, according to assistant commissioner of police (traffic ) P S Prajapati. When asked about absence of notice boards, he said that the SMC authorities are to maintain that.

Even the repainting of the faded yellow-lines, which at times are not visible due to erosion, should be done by the corporation, he pointed.

But, SMC executive engineer Nitin G Vaidya told TNN that parking boards should be displayed by the traffic police and he admitted that lack of an effective co-ordination between the traffic police and the SMC often puts commoners in trouble.

Prajapati, when confronted, said that yellow parking areas being occupied by larriwalas as in the case of areas near the Parle Point, the SMC officials should take stern action. Due to lack of any effective measure, the city's vehicle owners have to suffer.

Repainting of the yellow-marked areas numbering around 1,652 for two-wheelers and over 400 for four-wheelers in the city, is a cumbersome task, Vaidya told.

But, soon the corporation will take up exercises to repaint the marked parking zones in the city _ which after a heavy rainfall during the monsoon this year have lost its visibility _ causing much inconvenience to vehicle owners of the city.

For a city with over 7,65,655 vehicles as on May this year, the traffic scene is often chaotic during peak hours as the city does not have any public transport service except a skeleton city bus service by the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.

Frequent digging by telecom companies and gas companies for laying cables in the city leave the city roads gasping for space.

Lack of co-ordination among various wings, driving and parking vehicles in this city are more often at owners risk only with no support from law enforcing agency, which is more often worried about fulfilling the target of revenue by way of imposing fines, according to several road users of the city.

No wonder, little could be expected from the traffic police when vehicles parked on empty road sides even during midnight hours are source of being imposed with fines.

The city traffic police registered around 61,000 cases of traffic violation and imposed fines amounting to Rs 5,51,65,629 in 2000.

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


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No water at RMO hostel since 6 days Sunday, October 7, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Resident medical students of the new RMO hostel of the Baroda Medical College here were a harried lot. Since the past six days now, the hostelites were contending with a complete lack of water supply thanks to the apathy of the PWD and VMC officials.

Students of the hostel complained that there was no water in toilets, and the hostel mess has to make do with the 3,000 litres of water supplied through a VMC tanker both for drinking purposes and for cooking.

The VMC has cut the water supply of the hostel following a breach in the water pipeline belonging to the Public Works Department PWD and have issued a notice to the PWD to repair the line so that the water supply can be resumed.

"But the PWD officials say that they did not have any pipes to replace the old ones, and that they had passed on the request to the higher officials," said an enraged student.

"Despite repeated requests to the PWD officials nothing is being done and we are forced to drink the water from the tankers and go without toilet facilities. We are medical students and unlike the other MSU students we do not have time to engage in hooliganism and rowdy behaviour to make our point. That is why we are suffering," said another student who says that the lack of water and toilet facilities is taking its toll on their morale.

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


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Broadband makes forays into Vadodara Sunday, October 7, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Broadband seems to have become the latest buzzword in the IT industry to rekindle hope into its sagging fortunes.

Adding its own might to this new-found zest, the IT Forum of Vadodara collected a galaxy of big names on Saturday in the city to talk about how broadband can bring about the next paradigm shift in the industry and its emerging business opportunities.

Among the speakers were Reliance Infocom vice chairman B D Khurana, his general manager Sailesh Iyer, Bharti Telecom's chief technical officer Ramamurthy Kolluri, head of e-governance at TCS V Chandrashekhar and science and technology advisor to Keshubhai Patel when he was chief minister.

The gathering revived the days before the dotcom bust when hype managed to create interest in the industry where none existed. At one point Cognito Advertising executive director Harsh Purohit even said that those who have collected data in the hope of launching a portal should get ready for another boom in the industry.

Forum chairman Madhu Mehta wanted the participants to take maximum advantage of the opportunities created by the early availability of broadband in the state.

This will offer entrepreneurs a chance to set up new businesses and help existing ones to improve their offerings and operations, he felt.

The Forum members believe that Gujarat has a good chance to steal a march by about six months over the rest of the states in Broadband infrastructure with Reliance, Bharti and BSNL providing the 2 MBPS connectivity.

Broadband's high bandwidth is expected to open opportunities in areas like data centres, call centres, back office centres, applications service providers, VOIP and data warehousing, according to the forum.

Even a simple function that like transmitting voice and data through one connection can bring down costs by nearly 50 per cent, in the process creating more opportunities and making more area feasible.

Reliance's Khurana told the audience how convergence will not remain a fancy word out of reach of the common man once broadband comes in. He spoke of how consumers will have more choice.

"A single button on his phone will allow him to get on to the Reliance network. If he is not happy, he can press another button and go on to the Bharti network. Broadband will have such possibilities," he said.

Forum's secretary Parag Amin said, "It will not be an exaggeration to say that Broadband will change the way business is conducted. Even consumers stand to benefit. Watching a live telecast of a wedding on your PC even when you are not present there or getting video feeds of your favourite TV programmes will all be possible once the infrastructure is in place."

He is almost certain that the convergence of voice, data and video is bound to charm the consumer.

Currently, the only broadband facility being used is the Gujarat State Wide Area Network which connects the district headquarters with the Gandhinagar Sachivalaya. It is being used for communication between the various government officials only.

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


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