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November 28, 2001 - November 29, 2001

Tissue bank to come up soon in Ahmedabad Thursday, November 29, 2001

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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Lobbying starts at SGU for VC's post Thursday, November 29, 2001

SURAT: A visit to the South Gujarat University (SGU) campus would perhaps certainly impress upon one to feel that things other than academics are fine and smooth but with a little digging one would unearth the sorry state of affairs in the wake of sharp political undercurrents prevailing there.

With many self-claimed aspirants to the post of vice chancellor, in the wake of the present vice chancellor's terms ending on February 19, 2002, the game of politics at this university is taking an ugly shape.

Various camps at SGU are divided sharply and lobbying is at its best to grab this opportunity, as for long the post of vice chancellor meant being nearer to the power corridors rather than having anything to do with academics. Sources say the
varsity is a platform for political big-wigs to show one's right connections.

So not to be left behind, present vice chancellor Prem Sharada is trying hard to get a second term, revealed inside sources. And to achieve this, he is banking on his connections with Union home minister L K Advani and Union HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi. Hailing from Chandigarh, Sharada is known for striking the right note at the power corridors in a very subtle manner, sources among his close associates said. He is said to have impressed upon the central BJP leaders through his sister-in-law Savita Sharad, a Rajya Sabha MP, that he be given another term to complete several projects at the university, SGU sources said.

His rivals are said to be banking on Sharada's failures to improve the status of the university, including a complete academic overhaul, the fancy blueprints of which never saw the light of the day.

The opposition camp is trying to impress upon state law minister and minister for higher education Hemant Chapatwala that someone from South Gujarat be considered for the post.

Other contenders in the fray include present pro-vice chancellor Jayendra Bhatt. He is being projected as having a good academic background. Bhatt is known to be very close to the RSS. Those with political connections in Gandhinagar and New Delhi include Girish Rana, son-in-law of Union minister Kashiram Rana, and Arun Goel, the government nominee in the university syndicate.

However, with the search committee yet to shortlist names for the next vice chancellorship, the rule of the game, as of now, is how much one could pull the political strings at the right places.

Perhaps, for Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari it would be difficult to give his approval for the appointment of the next vice chancellor as none of these aspirants seem academically oriented and having able administrative skills to revive this varsity.

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

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Famished AMC gives new car to political bosses Thursday, November 29, 2001

AHMEDABAD: What would you do if you are going through a lean financial phase ? Cut down on expenses and save for a rainy day?

If you're looking for an exception to this virtual thumb rule, then take a trip to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. You would find two new Maruti Esteems being washed and polished, waiting for the exalted occupants to arrive. Walk up the wooden staircases of the corporation to the various civic committee offices and you might chance upon excited chats and preparations for excursions.

Compare that with the AMC's dipping financial health and you have got the picture. While the octroi collections continue to stand at five per cent below last year's collections and property tax earnings show a bigger dip, celebrations for the political wing continue unabated. Post-Diwali these expenses could make a dent in the civic body's finances to the tune of Rs 30 - 35 lakh.

Thanks to a resolution by standing committee, deputy mayor Khemchand Solanki and chairman Badruddin Sheikh have new Esteems. Had the now much-talked about cash flow been as usual the leader of Congress and BJP, too, would have new Maruti Esteems at their disposal while yet another one would be a stand by. After all one has to consider the image of the country's oldest civic body (established in 1858).

While five such cars could cost Rs 22 lakh (the two already bought have taken Rs 11 lakh off from corporation's coffers), the recreational and cultural committee has sought Rs 5 lakh from the AMC for a trip to Ooty.

That's not all. The housing and improvement committee left on November 24 for a visit to slum quarters of Mumbai and Pune with an advance of Rs 1.5 lakh. The water supply and solid waste management committees, too, have proposed trips to Bangalore and other cities of the South, ostensibly to study systems there.

The paradox does not end there as the cash-strapped AMC has stopped payments to the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services. The municipal transport committee on Wednesday passed a proposal to demand for Rs 19 crore from the administrators of the corporation. "This amount was set aside for AMTS in the annual general budget. But, no monetary sanctions had yet been made from April," the committee stated.

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

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French govt aid for heritage conservation project Thursday, November 29, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The French government on Wednesday bestowed a million Euros (approximately Rs 4 crore) grant to AMC for the heritage conservation project of Ahmedabad. The money will be used to part-finance preservation of the Walled City.

Ambassador of France in India Bernard de Monteferrand made the announcement during the inaugural function of Sambhav III _ a seminar on the conservation and revitalisation of urban heritage of Ahmedabad.

The programme is the first-ever Indo-French heritage exercise in the country that looks to adopt the legal structure to prevent damage to heritage structures in the Walled City, to garner financial assistance for repair and maintenance of privately-owned heritage buildings, and to preserve the physical and socio-cultural structure of Ahmedabad's Kot Vistar (old city).

Monteferrand said, "President of France, who was the guest of honour during the 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations in India in 1998, had proposed for co-operation in the field of heritage conservation. Ahmedabad was chosen as the city where the first comprehensive joint exercise is being undertaken. Ahmedabad presents a unique combination of historic urban architecture and interesting contemporary architecture to which French technicians have made significant contributions in the past."

He added, "One of the key challenges of an enterprise of this kind is to preserve heritage, at the same time improving living conditions in the historic city and enabling the citizens to access modern amenities of life. This project is multi-disciplinary and there has been a remarkable co-operation between Indian and French experts. The product of this two years of reflection has been a set of very pragmatic and specific proposals on technical, legal and financial aspects of the Walled City revitalisation."

Earlier, Mayor Himmatsinh Patel said, "The city has already lost many of its heritage structures due to ignorance among the masses. But, now that AMC has taken upon itself this responsibility of conservation, one is sure that the future generations will have the old Ahmedabad city retained in its age-old ambience complete with artefacts and heritage buildings".

The exercise has its genesis in 'Sambhava I' and 'Sambhava II' which were held in the city in 1998 and 1999 respectively. During this period the French experts had pooled their experience with Indian counterparts (namely Heritage cell of the AMC) and INTACH. This was after the signing of an MoU between the government of France and the AMC. Sambhava III, which highlights the conclusions of this couple of years' worth exercise, has also got a significant addition to its list of heritage conservationists _ Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO).

HUDCO has volunteered to be the steering body for getting financial assistance and give out loans for conservation of privately-owned heritage structures in the Walled City. Using the French contribution, worth Rs 4.5 crore, interest on loans given out by HUDCO to residents of the Walled City will be lower than the going market rates.

Municipal commissioner P Panneervel told TNN: "We are looking at an interest rate that will hover around five per cent." P S Rana from HUDCO added, "A strategy for heritage financing has been jointly designed by the French government, AMC and our experts. This will be fine-tuned during this three-day seminar. We will have brainstorming sessions to arrive at interest rate to be charged for giving loans to heritage building owners."

Apart from the multi-crore grant, which was made in view of the damage caused by January 26 earthquake, the government of France has also decided to depute a French architect who will work in close collaboration with AMC and HUDCO.

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

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Religious’ loss of Rs 1.5 crores for corporation Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Source - The AsianAge
Ahmedabad: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation will incur a loss of about Rs 1.5 crores as the standing committee has decided to give away land to various religious trusts. The decision was taken on Thursday.

The committee earlier gave the land to the trusts at market price but it was decided to subsidise it by Rs 2,000 per square metre as the trusts had protested that the market rates were too high.

Meanwhile, it was also decided to hold an appellate court to hear about 16 complaints from the employees next week regarding leave applications and dismissal from service. The standing committee meeting of the corporation was over in a record 20 minutes with the traditional zero hour being skipped.

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

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