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November 28, 2001 - November 28, 2001

District police nabs link man Wednesday, November 28, 2001

SURAT: One Kamrej-based Asif Alavi, operating as link man for gangsters from outside, was nabbed by the district police on Monday.

Alavi was involved in giving informations to one inter-state gang from UP, which was busted by the district police on November 8.

According to the police, Alavi had given information - in the November 8 incident - to the gang from UP about one local businessman, Raju Modi, that he (Modi) would go to a bank in Kamrej to deposit money. Accordingly, the gang tried to rob Modi, but their attempt was foiled. Three of the gang members were caught by the police.

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

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Certificate of merit for SMC Wednesday, November 28, 2001

SURAT: The National Institute of Urban Affairs awarded SMC with the certificate of merit for its efforts in e-governance in the administration.

Pune, Coimbatore and Faridabad civic bodies were also awarded with the same certificate. Vishakapatnam Municipal Corporation was declared the best website holder civic agency in the country.

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

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SMC to install cameras at octroi checkposts Wednesday, November 28, 2001

SURAT: The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) would soon install digital cameras at four main octroi checkposts here. The decision to this effect was taken on Monday to keep a check on octroi evasion.

According to Mayor Ajay Choksi, the digital cameras would not only curb duty evasion, but also assist officials to nab the potential offenders. At the same time, those manning the posts would also be monitored for their efficiency. Tenders would soon be floated for these cameras, he added.

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

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Mantri to mantri: Long leash of remote control Wednesday, November 28, 2001

It was a big rally of some twenty to twenty five thousand people at Morbi two weeks back, brought from the rural area in trucks and buses. Occasion was the usual reception to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, his ministers from the area, particularly minister Bokharia's field of influence, including Kutiana, from where Narendra Modi is believed to be planning to contest his assembly seat.

But then there dropped a fly in the cup. None of the organisers had expected this. It was a bolt from the blue. Narendra Modi was delivering his long sermon in his whacking and self-aggrandising tone. He declared that soon after coming to power, he had ordered all the taluka and district officials to convene the Gramsabha and, lo and behold, they already convened general body meetings in 18,000 villages within five days!!!

People paid rapt attention to his further claims, when a large group of those dusty villagers suddenly interrupted him by standing up and shouting. They wanted Narendra Modi to understand that none of the panchayat mantris in their area had held such a Gramsabha and such reports coming to him from districts had no truth in them. Some of those angry protesters waved papers in their hands and screamed that 'such reports are just pieces of paper' and nothing more. 'They are simply absurd'. 'Our mantris are good for nothing and most of them are corrupt'. 'They show up only once a week or a fortnight'. 'Those TDOs never visit our village'. 'We have never seen the face of our collector, too'.

I was told this on phone by a close friend at Morbi, who happened to be one of the local dignitaries sitting there on the dais. I had no reason to reject his story. I also did not feel like cross checking this with Narendra Modi's staff. Even if those rural folks had not dared to admonish Narendra Modi, I myself would have written to him on the fallacy of such a claim about Gramsabha, as I was told the same story by some other folks from Surendranagar and Bhavnagar districts.

It is really too much to believe, under the currently deteriorated and corrupt administrative machinery, such a claim of holding 18,000 gramsabha within five days. Narendra Modi could be too much of a novice if he really believed it. Most of the Panchayat mantris have become as despotic and corrupt as some of those top mantris sitting in the A/C chambers of Gandhinagar. Less said the better about the collectors, holding as much power as some sheikh of an Arab country but cut loose from any mass contact.

Sanat Mehta, former finance minister and member of parliament, once told a similar rally the other day that lack of sensitivity to people's ordeals had become a hallmark of the officials and present day politicians and they preferred to work mostly with remote control. They hardly go to the people and try to understand or feel about their problems. They grab their share of the booty most of the time sitting in their ante-room of the chamber or in the panchayat office itself. I agree to what this veteran old time politician says., because I have seen this with my own eyes in many villages. Even a small certificate needed by a villager would require a bribery of at least Rs 200 for a mantri.

All this is well known. Only surprising thing is our Narendra Modi's 'innocence'. Gujarat started implementing newly amended panchayat law from 1994. Article 4 empowers Gramsabha to take all major decisions. It is a must for every Grampanchayat to call the Gramsabha. Articles 93 and 94 stipulate the formality like who and when such Gramsabha would be convened. Every year before the end of May such a meeting is mandatory. At least twice each year such meetings must be convened by giving minimum seven days' notice to all the voters of the village. Any person authorised by either TDO or DDO is empowered to call such a meeting. At least 50% of the village resident voters form a quorum.

Now anybody having some knowledge of how our panchayats are functioning can tell you that no such provision has been enforced in any village. How can the TDO-DDOs implement it within five days?

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

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Trust gets latest MRI tech to city Wednesday, November 28, 2001

VADODARA: The city will soon be able to benefit from the latest Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology in a number of very complex medical applications. The latest model of MRI has been brought here by city-based Paramount Charity Trust which will provide the facility at subsidised rates.

The trust, which had also brought the first CT Scan facility to Vadodara, will ask doctors to prescribe the amount of subsidy depending on the financial condition of the patient. The new machine to be installed is a 'superconductor' (1.0 tesla) machine.

"This machine will be the first in the state. Patients will have to pay according to the doctors' recommendations," said Samirt Tuli of the trust.

"There is always a heavy rush for CT scans and spiral CT scans. This new model will not only make available this facility to the city, it will also help diagnosis in the growing number of patients here. The rush can be gauged by the fact that our centre alone gets about 450 patients every month," Tuli said.

The trust upgraded the CT scan to a spiral CT scanner in 1999, and has now invested Rs 3.5 crore to establish the Super Con (1.0 tesla) MRI scanner.

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

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