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October 5, 2001 - October 5, 2001

MSU faculty vying for Rs 30-cr WB grant Friday, October 5, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: The M S University's faculty of technology and engineering is vying for a special grant of Rs 30 crore from the World Bank to upgrade the faculty and bring it on par with the IITs.

The World Bank has announced a special project grant of Rs 30 crore each to institutes that have adequate infrastructure and research potential to embark on an ambitious upgradation programme to bring it on par with the best engineering institutes. The state government has sent information to various colleges across Gujarat after it received a notification from the Centre early this year.

The faculty of technology and engineering dean HG Shah said they have already submitted their project proposal to the state government to be forwarded to the Centre.

"We are staking our claim to the grant announced by the World Bank as a part of its project to finance engineering institutes in India. We believe that we are the only institute in Gujarat that fulfils the criteria that they are looking at."

According to him the MSU faculty of technology and engineering in Vadodara is the only one of its kind in the state which has over 56 different academic programmes coupled with faculty to teach undergraduate, graduate and research-level programmes.

"We have 3,400 students, 240 full-time teachers, 100 temporary teachers and at least 88 teachers who hold a PhD. Furthermore we have almost 100 registered students of PhD. These statistics are unique to MSU and no other institute can surpass our academic infrastructure," he said.

"I am confident that our well laid out project that is submitted to the state government would definitely get the WB grant," he said.

Meanwhile the Surat engineering college is identified as one of the 17 regional engineering institutes, which would be upgraded by the Union ministry of human resources in collaboration with the ministry of finance in Gujarat. This is a separate project undertaken by the Centre.

"Though the World Bank grant may still take a few years to materialise, we are confident that the MSU would be selected for upgradation. The country does not have enough quality engineering colleges and many students are unable to get admission to the IITs due to limited number of seats.

"The series of upgradation that are being planned to bring other institutes on par would benefit these large number of students," said Shah, who is an IIT, Mumbai, alumnus.

"Gujarat," he said, "needs an institute that is on par with the IITs, and the MSU is ready to take up the challenge".

According to him in addition to teaching staff that has a strong research inclination, engineering and technological institutes require state of the art equipment, laboratory and libraries for its students. All of which require funds.

In the past, too, the MSU faculty of technology and engineering has received financial support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the USAID in addition to grants from the University Grants Commission. It already has its own library building, and a workshop, which is one of the best in the state.

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


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AMC school board chairman tenders resignation Friday, October 5, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Chairman of the municipal school board of AMC, Ganpat Parmar, tendered his resignation to Mayor Himmatsinh Patel on Wednesday.

Parmar's resignation brought the long-drawn controversy which dogged the political wing, especially the Congress in AMC, to a close. Parmar, a member of the regional Congress committee of Gujarat, was elected with BJP support as the municipal school board chairman on January 25, despite strong opposition from Congress leadership in AMC.

In his resignation letter addressed to the mayor, Parmar has said that he has obeyed the party direction. With Parmar's resignation, the suspension order he issued was also nullified by Chaudhary. On Wednesday Parmar withdrew the suspension order he had slapped on the administrative officer of school board, N N Qureshi, a couple of days ago.

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

AMC school board chairman tenders resignation Friday, October 5, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Chairman of the municipal school board of AMC, Ganpat Parmar, tendered his resignation to Mayor Himmatsinh Patel on Wednesday.

Parmar's resignation brought the long-drawn controversy which dogged the political wing, especially the Congress in AMC, to a close. Parmar, a member of the regional Congress committee of Gujarat, was elected with BJP support as the municipal school board chairman on January 25, despite strong opposition from Congress leadership in AMC.

In his resignation letter addressed to the mayor, Parmar has said that he has obeyed the party direction. With Parmar's resignation, the suspension order he issued was also nullified by Chaudhary. On Wednesday Parmar withdrew the suspension order he had slapped on the administrative officer of school board, N N Qureshi, a couple of days ago.

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


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Parties may scramble for Patel votes Friday, October 5, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

HMEDABAD: Keshubhai Patel may have given in to the BJP central leadership's directive to step down from office and make way for Narendra Modi, but the powerful Patel community, which had been calling the shots during his tenure, may not take things lying down.

Political observers say the Patel votes, which are crucial to the BJP's electoral fortunes, will swing in favour of the Congress if the main Opposition party plays its cards well. There could be a scramble for the Patel vote bank, which is considered economically, socially and politically strong.

The BJP has already lost its OBC vote bank to the Congress, as was evident from the panchayat and municipal election results as well as the more recent by-elections, which led to political upheaval in the state.

BJP insiders say it is imperative for the party to keep Keshubhai Patel in good humour and repair the damage to some extent by nominating a Patel candidate as the state BJP president.

The appointment of Rajendrasinh Rana as state BJP president was, in fact, done to send positive feelers to the Kshatriya community, which is at odds with Patels. However, the strategy didn't work out as the Congress has two of the most powerful Kshatriya leaders in Madhavsinh Solanki and Shankersinh Vaghela.

BJP sources say Dilip Sanghani, a three-time party MP from Amreli, where Patels constitute over 40% of the electorate, is most suited for the job of BJP organisational head as he is a Patel.

Almost 47 MLAs of the total of 116 the BJP has in the Assembly are Patels. Four of Keshubhai's Cabinet ministers are Patels. BJP's chief whip (Vadibhai Patel), state treasurer (Surendra Patel) and general secretary (Gordhan Zadaphia) are also Patels. In effect, Keshubhai had been running a Patel-dominated establishment all these years, so much so that, often, he was accused of giving precedence to Patel interests.

However, a minister known to be against Keshubhai says, "The Patel card is being overplayed. The Patels have already deserted the BJP as is evident from recent elections. The community has the habit of staying with a party that has the best chance of winning the elections."

The minister says it is good the party did not choose a Patel as successor to Keshubhai. This would have meant status quo and further alienation of other castes from the BJP.

Congress sources say the party could exploit the disenchantment among Patels after the exit of Keshubhai. The Janata Dal (G) constituent of the Congress has a strong support in the Patel community because of the legacy of the late Chimanbhai Patel. This could be further tapped by making a Patel, preferably Narhari Amin, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

Amin, a former deputy chief minister, won the Sabarmati by-election last month with strong support from the Patel community despite the fact that the BJP candidate, too, was a Patel.

Parliamentary seats with high Patel vote
Seat Patel %
Amreli: 41.14
Mehsana: 40.57
Godhra: 33.84
Anand: 29.14
Junagadh: 28.93
Patan: 28.29
Rajkot: 27.60
Dhandhuka: 24.29
Gandhinagar: 24.02
Porbandar: 23.93
Kheda: 23.57

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


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Junagadh :: Visavadar seethes over treatment to Keshubhai Friday, October 5, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VISAVADAR (Junagadh): For the people of Visavadar, Keshubhai Patel's constituency for the past two terms, the loss could not have been greater. Basking under the status of a VVIP constituency, the residents of this town feel that the BJP has been thoroughly unfair to a 'Kisan Putra' or 'Dharti Putra' as Keshubhai is affectionately called here.

Not surprisingly, the Congress which wrested control of the Visavadar taluka panchayat from the BJP last year, was elated at the unceremonious ouster of the former chief minister.

But the mood is quite despondent in the town as such, more so in the local BJP office. The office-bearers of the local BJP in Visavadar were anxiously awaiting signals from Gandhinagar to chalk out the future course of action, and they were still confident that a battle for supremacy could be on the way. "It is a hasty decision taken in panic by the BJP high command," said Kanubhai Bhalala, Visavadar party president and poll campaign manager for Keshubhai.

Most of the party office-bearers in the former chief minister's constituency were stunned by his ouster and angry over the way the entire issue was handled. Most of them opined that "Narendra Modi had taken his revenge on Keshubhai after he was asked to leave Gujarat after the 1996 crisis in the state BJP".

Kanubhai said, "As result of this decision by the party high command, the morale of party workers has plunged and they were drawing up a new action plan." Asked if they were planning to revolt against the party, Kanubhai replied, "It is difficult to say which way this would go. It would, however, be a collective decision."

Prafulbhai Arkhani, who looked after the BJP office in Visavadar, said, "Instead of backing Keshubhai in times of crisis, the BJP high command left him high and dry." During the last two elections, he said, the BJP had been garnering votes in the name of Keshubhai, and now the party had lost the advantage of cashing in on his name.

When asked what the party workers would do to support Keshubhai, a dejected party worker Amit Patel said, "If the party legislators sitting in Gandhinagar could not save Keshubhai how can we? But we will still fight for Keshubhai and see that he emerges victorious and take over the reins of power once again."

Popatbhai Ramani, who looked after Keshubhai's office in Visavadar, said, "This is the second time that he has been asked to quit unceremoniously, and we will not tolerate such a humiliation. The high command decision was one-sided."

On the other hand, the Congress which controls the Visavadar taluka panchayat was elated at the ouster of the former chief minister. Many Congress workers burst crackers when the news reached Visavadar. Kirti Kamdar, a senior Congress leader said, "We have started preparing for the by-elections after hearing that Keshubhai is planning to take sanyaas, and we would like to repeat the Sabarmati show in Visavadar."

He said the former chief minister had neglected his constituency and had just made four flying visits to Visavadar. A number of works that he had promised were still lying unattended, and the people were the sufferers. Citing examples, Kamdar said, "Keshubhai had promised a state transport depot for Visavadar, but he finally landed up doing just the modernisation of the bus stand."

He said money was not allocated to 32 road projects which were lying unattended, and each time Keshubhai visited Visavadar he would dish out new promises. Even administrative clearance for work on major dams like Hasnapur, Kalavadla, Moti Manpari and Ojat-1 were still pending. The fate of the three sub-stations of 66 KV at Balgam, Baradia and Jetalwar was no better. "Keshubhai was a master in making promises, and if he did not work for the welfare of his own constituency, how could one expect him to improve things in Gujarat," he asked.

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