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September 10, 2001 - September 10, 2001

MSU poll campaigning spills on to streets Monday, September 10, 2001

VADODARA: Speeches are the in thing these days at the campus. In addition to the normal slogan-shouting and displaying of placards, speeches to a captive audience _ within the classrooms in the university campus and coaching classes is now in vogue.

Most student leaders are busy giving speeches _ filled with promises for the future and exhorting them to understand the benefit of electing them.

Elections in MSU campus have spilled out on to the city roads. At various cross-roads, banners of student leaders are visible and coaching classes, especially the ones at Sardar Bhavan near Jubilee baug, have become a campaigning ground for students. The faculty of commerce main building remains a favourite with all candidates to launch their campaigning for the day.

Many student leaders are opting to catch prospective voters in their coaching classes itself where they find them in large numbers. "Many don't come to the university, so we though that it would make sense to approach them at the coaching classes," says Jignesh Patel who is contesting for the post of vice-president against Bharat Dangar.

Dangar, on his part, is also into public speaking to win over students at the campus through hectic rounds of speeches in the faculty of commerce main building as well as other faculties.

Meanwhile, on the last day for withdrawal of nominations here on Friday, Sargam Gupta who was contesting for V-P has dropped out, leaving Dangar and Patel to fight it out. The contest for the post of general secretary too is likely to be close with Amit Gotikar, Mehul Lakhani and Deep Choksi in the fray. Some student leaders believe this year election results would be close as competition is keen.

One candidate has withdrawn his nomination from the commerce faculty, over six have withdrawn from technology, polytechnic and medicine one each.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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GSRTC staff threaten stir over arrears Monday, September 10, 2001

VADODARA: Employees of the Gujarat State Transport Corporation (GSRTC) have threatened to go on a state-wide stir if their demands of payment of arrears and stopping the privatisation process are not met at the earliest.

Gujarat State Transport Mazdoor Mahasangh (GSTMM), a union affiliated to the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, stated that the state government was dilly-dallying with the payment of arrears. The employees are demanding that the arrears must be paid in one instalment.

A demonstration to press for the demand was held on June 15 and a three-month deadline was set to solve the issue. However, the government was yet to take steps in this direction.

GSTMM acting president Chetankumar Desai said a meeting with senior officials of the state government was scheduled for August 31. This meeting, Desai said, was cancelled due to unknown reasons.

The union has also come down heavily on the functioning of GSRTC, alleging that the state government had not paid a large amount due to the corporation. "If this sum, running into crores of rupees, are paid to GSRTC, it will get rid of the tag of a loss-making corporation. The government has hired our buses on several occasions, but never bothered to pay the cost," said Desai.

A Mahasangh release issued here said GSRTC was running buses on several loss-making routes. These routes resulted in a loss of Rs 75 crore per annum.

GSTMM has threatened to bring the state transport service to a standstill in October. "We had given them a three-month notice. We will wait till it expires, and then take action," said Desai.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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Schools strike a success in Surat even after ESMA Monday, September 10, 2001

SURAT: Teachers in over 230 schools, out of 262 grant-in-aid schools in the district, remained away from their respective schools on Saturday, despite the government invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act against striking teachers.

Though parents and students have been asking the several school authorities for holding classes, the school management have been telling them that they would not be able to do much in this regard.

It is a tussle between the government and the teachers, and the school management stand nowhere in this matter, according to Ramesh Oza, the secretary of Sarvajnik Education Society, which runs several schools in the city.

Oza added none of the parents have approached the society with any representations, although they have been expressing their concern about the state of affairs. He further said that certain remarks made against the school managements in general were not in good taste. However, he refused to elaborate further.

Most of the schools here on Saturday wore a deserted look. No teachers or other non-teaching staff were found in the Experimental School near Parle Point. When inquired from the locals there, it was learnt that no teachers of secondary classes had reported for duty on Saturday. However, this could not be confirmed.

Even the premier St Xavier's School at Ghod Dod Road did not have any teaching activities on Saturday. The school officials, however, could not be contacted despite several attempts. But, a lady teacher at Lourdes Convent School near Indoor Stadium, on condition of anonymity, said that there was growing frustration among the students and no effort was made by the school management to resume teaching in the school.

Several other schools at Athwalines, Piplod, Adjan and Randert in the city, which this correspondent visited, also wore a deserted look, and on inquiry it was found that most of them were closed as Saturday being a holiday.

The district education officer, P N Dave, told TNN that several schools' management have informed that they would resume teaching from Monday onwards. On Saturday, 24 out of the 254 schools on strike were reported to be open, Dave informed. Things would be more clear in a couple of days and certainly, many schools will be open by Monday, Dave added.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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Torturous journey to Tirupathi zoo begins for circus lions Monday, September 10, 2001

SURAT: It will be a safari but with a difference. For years, the animals used to move along with the caravan from one place to another for performances, it would finally be curtains for the 14 lions and a tiger at the Rambo Circus, presently in Surat. The journey to freedom commenced on Saturday as the animals set off for the rescue centre at Tirupathi Zoological Park.

With this, the officials of the Union ministry of social welfare and justice monitoring the developments from Delhi, countless animal lovers and the local forest officials heaved a sigh of relief. For the last one week, the adamant circus officials had kept the authorities on tenterhooks.

The translocation of the 14 lions and one tiger to an alien environment was a cause of utter concern. Some of the lions are over 25 years old and sick and are likely to be traumatised en route, according to sources in forest department. Hence, to make them traverse the distance of over 1,485 km between Surat and Tirupathi, assistance of the circus authorities was required, which they were not willing to offer initially, according to deputy conservator of forests, Vyara, B K Sinha, who had effected the seizure from the circus on August 30.

The circus authorities moved the city civil court on Friday expressing their inability to provide the cages and handlers (persons for the journey). However, good sense prevailed on the part of the circus management and finally, they agreed to assist the forest officials for a safe and comfortable journey for these animals by letting the authorities to use the cages along with handlers, according to Anil Johri, the conservator of forest, Surat range.

The animals were impounded on August 30 by the forest department, following cancellation of ownership by the office of chief conservator of forest, Nagpur, which had earlier issued the permission to the circus authorities for keeping these animals.

At the behest of the Union ministry of social welfare and justice, the Central Zoo Authority on August 29 had instructed the forest officials in Gujarat to impound these animals, as the government had imposed a ban on exhibition of wild animals like lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, bears and monkeys, through a notification way back in October, 1998.

Along with the three handlers, one assistant conservator of forest Amit Kumar, one range officer and three forest guards are accompanying the seven trucks carrying these animals on their four-day journey, Johri informed.

The journey will commence at 5 pm on all the four days and will continue till 5 am next morning, as journey during day might be unsafe for these animals and may also attract the attention of curious passers-by, Johri said. A veterinary expert from Sakkarbag zoo, Junagadh, Dr C N Bhuva, will be the doctor on attendance during the journey. When asked, he said that these animals will be given light meals and regularly be checked up during the journey. For immediate assistance, a first aid kit along with medicines would be kept handy. Cost of travel and other logistics is being borne by the concerned ministry, Johri told TNN.

In case something goes wrong, the respective area forest officials would be approached for assistance and for this, all forest departments along the route have been informed about the journey, according to accompanying forest official Amit Kumar.

Meanwhile, to keep these 14 lions and one tiger with their respective handlers, who have been giving them company for years in the circus, a request is being forwarded by the forest authorities here to the Union ministry to appoint them as keepers at Tirupathi Zoological Park, Johri informed. Otherwise, these handlers are likely to be rendered jobless.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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Mumbai police serve notices to fishermen associations Monday, September 10, 2001

SURAT: Keeping in view of the chances of deteriorating law and order situation at Bhaucha Dhakka in Mumbai, in the face of no solution to the fishing row between Gujarat and Maharashtra, the Mumbai police served notices to the office-bearers of various fishermen associations to restrain themselves from any unlawful activities at the fishing jetty.

According to Laxman Y Chouhan, officer-bearer of Trawlers Owners Association (TOA), the local police have made bandobast, though the situation is quite normal as fishermen from the coastal areas of south Gujarat are still hoping that some favourable solution to the continuing imbroglio would come any day because several leaders across the political parties have assured them to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, some of the fishing boats which landed near the fishing jetty had to face harassment by the port authorities as they did not possess 'parvanas' (licences) to sail into the sea for fishing purpose. But, most of them have been reported to have offloaded their catch after paying a hefty sum as bribe to the concerned port authorities, Chouhan alleged.

However, in view of the difficulties, it is most likely that all the boats _ numbering around 750 _ from the coastal region of south Gujarat would have no option than to return to their respective areas and from there to launch a movement against the Gujarat government, as no sincere efforts have been taken up by the authorities despite several representations by the Shree Gujarat Vahanvatu and Machhimar Sangh (SGVMS). For this, a general meeting would be convened shortly, if nothing is done to end the deadlock, sources in SGVMS said.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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