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November 29, 2001 - November 29, 2001

HC stays earlier order on STD, ISD call racket Thursday, November 29, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has stayed operation of its earlier stay order granted in a petition by Pramukh Communications, challenging disconnection of its telephones by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for alleged involvement in an STD and ISD call racket.

A division Bench comprising Chief Justice D M Dharmadhikari and Justice R R Tripathi stayed the order passed by Justice Kundan Singh, after the BSNL appealed against the order.

It was submitted by the petitioner that once the licence is terminated and if stay is granted against disconnection, then it amounts to allowing the petition at the admission stage.

It was also submitted that Pramukh Communications has violated the terms 12 and 19 of the agreement entered by it with the BSNL. According to these terms, all the phone connections of an EPABX network will be governed by the Indian Telegraphs Act 1989 and rules framed under it.

As per clause 19, the licencee should intimate the Telecom authorities about the attachments made to external users's terminals.

It was also submitted that petition was not entertainable under Article 226, as there was no violation of fundamental rights and it is a case governed by the Contracts Act for which a civil suit has to be admitted and not an SCA.

BSNL had launched an FIR at Navrangpura, alleging that illegal STD and ISD calls were made by the Wipronet Limited from its office at Mithakhali, through the telephone numbers of Pramukh Comunications. It was then that BSNL disconnected the telephone lines.

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

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Congress corporator held for slapping VMC official Thursday, November 29, 2001

VADODARA: The arrest of Congress corporator Meenakshi Fund on Wednesday on charges of assaulting a government official may lead to a stormy session when the Vadodara Municipal Corporation board meets on Thursday. She was later released on bail.

The Makarpura police arrested Fund, corporator from Manjalpur, for "assaulting VMC deputy engineer Yogesh Shah and threatening to kill him." Shah had lodged a complaint against her with the Makarpura police station after he was allegedly slapped, abused and threatened by Fund over a drinking water-related issue at Manjalpur ward office on Tuesday.

Makarpura police inspector Janaksinh Sarviyya said a special women squad of police was sent to fetch Fund from her house in Manjalpur around 11 am. "Fund showed up at the police station at 1 pm and was arrested. She was produced in the court in evening," PI Sarvaiya said. Fund was detained at the police station for about three hours before she was produced in court. Police had registered an offence against Fund under section 332 and 506 (2) of Indian Penal Code.

Sources said Shah apparently skirted a query from Fund by saying that "the issue she was raising was not related to his department." Shah's reply, said sources, angered Fund who then slapped him twice and swore to "teach him a lesson". Sources said Shah had to bear the brunt of the angry corporator who had marched into the ward office with a huge crowd of local residents.

At 5 pm on Tuesday, Shah, after consulting his officers in the VMC, lodged a police complaint. As the complaint concerned a woman corporator and had the making of a political controversy, Makarpura police decided not to take any action on Tuesday evening or night but arrested Fund on Wednesday.

While the city Congress leaders termed the incident as unfortunate, they blamed the attitude of the VMC administration for the incident. "The ruling wing of the VMC has lost control over the administration and employees. Some of the officers are not willing to take up genuine problems raised by the elected representatives. This often leads to friction and incidents like the present one take place," said leader of the Opposition Dalsukh Prajapati.

Prajapati pointed out that lady corporators, in particular, were getting a raw deal from the officials. "Something must have happened from both the sides. It would be wrong to blame only the corporator for the incident," he added.

Congress leaders ruled out taking any action against Fund at this juncture. "We will wait for the strategy to be adopted by the ruling BJP-Samata combine on the issue. The general board is scheduled to meet on Thursday. We will decide the future course of action after that," a senior Congress councillor said.

Meanwhile, the engineering staff of the administrative ward where the incident took place went on a work-to-protest against the incident. The staff joined work later in the day after convincing by senior VMC officials.

Both the mayor and the deputy mayor, however, denied commenting on the issue. Mayor Bharti Vyas said, "It is their (Congress party's) matter. I would not like to comment on the incident."

Deputy Mayor Shailesh Mehta said he had not been approached by any of the parties involved. "So, there is no point in our getting involved in the issue," he said.

Engineering staff of the VMC protesting the slapping of the deputy engineer.

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

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Vartu-1 dam to gain height Thursday, November 29, 2001

RAJKOT: The state irrigation department seems to be learning its lessons pretty fast. Realising that there is no alternative to improving the storage capacity of water so as to tide over the frequent droughts afflicting the region, it has decided to increase the height of Vartu-1 dam by a metre at a cost of Rs 5 crore. The increase in height would enable storage of more water.

Minister of state for mines and minerals Mulu Bera told 'The Times of India' on Tuesday that with the increase in dam height, the problem of drinking water shortage in Bhanvad taluka of Jamnagar district would be reduced to a great extent.

Bera said that in Bhanvad itself, 22 watershed programmes out of the 54 proposed had already been implemented. The entire project would be completed at a cost of Rs 48 lakh and would be taken up in two phases. All together 236 watershed projects had been sanctioned for the entire Jamnagar district.

The minister said that to solve the drinking water problem in Jamnagar district,
work on the Narmada pipeline project had also been speeded up. The project to supply water through pipelines would be completed at a cost of Rs 56 crore, he added.

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

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Police take possession of kidnapper Thursday, November 29, 2001

RAJKOT: The city police arrived here on Wednesday evening with their prize catch _ Ashif Razakhan alias Rajan, mastermind behind the kidnapping of two youth from Rajkot, who were later released after a sum of Rs 6 lakh changed hands.

The police took possession of Rajan after the Delhi and Kolkata police had interrogated him. The police would conduct an identification parade of Rajan, after which full-fledged investigations would be launched.

According to police sources, Rajan had used the ransom money for carrying out anti-national activities in the state. The police said that Rajan was closely involved with dreaded terrorists, who were released following the Kandhar plane-hijack drama two years ago.

Rajan was arrested while in the company of three terrorists, and during investigations he and his accomplice had made startling revelations of carrying out terrorists activities in the country. The police would seek Rajan's remand, to get to the depth of his alleged links with the terrorists.

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

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Scientists dismiss any Saraswati link to Narveri Thursday, November 29, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The water that spurted out of the ground near Narveri in Kutch after the quake and continued to flow for months belongs to an underground reservoir more than 10,000 years old, say scientists.

This was revealed after the age of the water was determined using the 'helium-radon method'. The water samples were estimated to be between 12,000 to 89,000 years old. The study was conducted by Physical Research Laboratory and Space Applications Centre scientists in Ahmedabad.

An interesting conclusion of the research by senior scientists SK Gupta, N Bhandari, PS Thakkar and R Rangarajan was "...the Narveri waters are not related to the Vedic Saraswati or Sindhu rivers, which were postulated to have been reactivated by the January 2001 earthquake". These Vedic rivers are considered to be around 4,000 years old.

The conclusion on the age was arrived at on the basis of the exceptionally high helium concentration and the high helium and radon ages of the gases in water.

"On the basis of the measurement of helium, radon, chloride, sulphate and considering the sodium concentrations and temperature, it was determined that the water and escaping gases at Narveri had a deep confined source with a reservoir age in excess of 10,000 years," explained Gupta.

The groundwater which oozed out of a small well and other spots located between Kalo Dungar and BSF Post (north of Khavda) continued to flow forcefully with gas bubbles for at least six months, till the area was covered with the tide waters flowing from the Gulf of Kutch. The samples used for the study were collected after four-and-a-half months.

Attributing the spurting out of the groundwater at many places to mobilisation of water from the shallow sources of water due to liquefaction at sites, the scientists observed that the phenomenon stopped shortly after the quake at all other places.

While water oozed out from many places in the state after the temblor, but for Narveri all other sources dried up in a short time. Samples were also collected from Motibaru in Ahmedabad district and Nada in Bharuch district for analysis.

But Narveri was the only site where the samples showed unusually high dissolved concentration of helium gas "...significantly above the air equilibration value".

The scientists explained, "Water in equilibrium with the atmosphere usually shows low concentrations of helium. In groundwater, helium and radium can be high if injected or released through fissures and faults from deep sources, where they are produced by the decay of uranium and thorium series radionuclides."

Moreover, during a quake, because of rock expansion and fracturing during initial movements of the fault lines, both helium and radon level can be high in groundwater, they said.

The simultaneous outflow of gases and water, indicate that due to stresses developed in the deep aquifer the pore fluid is forced up and the dissolved gases get released due to drop in hydrostatic pressure during their ascent.

The calculated ages lead to the conclusion that there is significant component of confined water being injected into the shallow groundwater at Narveri.

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

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