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September 8, 2001 - September 8, 2001

Excise dept conducts preventive checks Saturday, September 8, 2001

SURAT: The Central Excise and Customs Department conducted preventive checks on four textile processing units in the city on Wednesday evening. The officials were looking into matters relating to duty evasion. The checks were termed as routine in nature.

Commissioner AP Verma told 'The Times of India' that documents were being scrutinised, and any conclusion could be arrived at only after a thorough investigation.

As of now, nothing can be said, he informed.

He said the investigations were preventive in nature, opposed to reports of surprise raids in a section of the local press. He also said some of the local press had blown things out of proportion.

However, sources in the textile industry talk of a panic-like situation among the processing units following the preventive checks.

Verma said officials from the preventive department of the commissionerate had carried out preventive checks on four processing units. He further said that since the checks were routine in nature, the process might be continued.

Verma took over as commissioner of Surat-II some ten days ago. He replaced Anant Ram, who was transferred to Delhi as chief commissioner.

In the past fortnight, preventive 'nakabandi' have been carried out in industrial areas of Pandesara, Katargram and Scahin. The motive: thwarting any attempts at duty evasion.

Sources in the industry say the steps taken by the central excise department have created a furore in the industry. Many feel the measures are akin to those from the 'Inspector Raj' days. Several units have upped their defences, and are reportedly on the guard.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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High stress levels put police in fragile mental health Saturday, September 8, 2001

VADODARA: Increased stress levels among police constables have manifested into mental, physical and sexual frustration. Six out of 100 police constables suffer from 'sexual frustration', almost 90 percent of them have turned nihilists, many are scarred and get nightmares and nearly all are absent 'husbands, fathers and sons'.

Constant mental pressure, insults and the 'stigma' of corruption attached to their profession is slowly killing the men in khaki.

Attending a mental health workshop at 'centre for addiction and mental health' in Nizampura, police constables are opening up like never before.

"These men in uniform are indeed living a life less ordinary. Most of them have psycho-somatic problems. They have clinical depression, which means that if not cured it will result in chronic illness of one or the kind", says consulting pyschiatrist Dr Yogesh Patel.

About 30 police constables from the district police are attending the mental health workshop at the centre run by Patel. "There are couple of cases where stress and depression have manifested into sexual frustration. The person feels deprived of sex and is scared that he will get a call in the middle of the night and prefers keeping away from his wife at night. This frustrates both partners and manifests into other problems affecting the overall health of the person", Dr Patel said.

"When I was posted to Dabhoi I had arrested a few bootleggers. A few days after that event when I was passing by the Bodeli-Dabhoi road I was attacked but was saved. Every time I pass that road I fear that somebody will attack me. This fear has lived with me for ten years now", said police constable Karsan (name changed).

His fellow mate Budha (name changed) gets nightmares. "Invectives is the order of the day in our police stations. We get scolded very often for no fault of ours and the language used is cruel. We feel humiliated and this feeling lives on. We cannot tell anything to our superiors. As a result we often vent our anger on our family members", Budha said.

Another constable said his son has now fallen in bad company and does not concentrate on studies. "I have hardly seen him grow. We don't get time to spend with our family. We have to work for 18-20 hours a day. One fine day my wife told me that my son is dropping out of school and that he won't budge from his decision. I tried but could not convince him", he said.

For some constables, haphazard transfers, had forced them to lead a life of nomads that left their familial ties in a mess. "We are not asked our choice. I have two daughters who are in HSC and a son who is in SSC. One fine day they told me that I was transferred to Rangpur. My family has settled in a place near city and my children go to school there. I cannot overnight shift them to Rangpur", said a constable. He said that his immediate bosses interpret his unwillingness to go to Rangpur as an act to shun duty. "But that's not the case. I am ready to go anywhere but I would be happier and able to concentrate better if my posting is at a place from where I can keep in touch with my family", he said.

Such cases are abound in the constabulary and though appearing simple led to mental depression, feels Dr Patel. He terms the condition of constables as one of conceptual stresses where the man is in conflict with his own self and over a period of time cultivates a self-defeating attitude.

"Here we are trying to help them reflect on their own lives. We are teaching them to feel, express and live. We don't tell them to control anger but manage it," Dr Patel said.

District superintendent of police Keshav Kumar said the workshop exercise was to help policemen cope better with stress and frustration. "This will help nurse their psychological problems. If policemen are healthy and fit, both mentally as well as physically, they will be able to perform better," Kumar said.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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Nature comes to rescue to reverse salinity ingress Saturday, September 8, 2001

RAJKOT: Salinity ingress on the Saurashtra seacoast has been a problem for years inspite of a spate of measures taken during the last three decades or so. So much so that Mahuva town in Bhavnagar district _ the 'Srinagar of Saurashtra' _ famous for its scenic beauty, has lost its glory, at least for now. More or less similar is the plight of the places like Mangrol and Chorwad in Junagadh district.

In the wake of the two successive droughts, the salinity ingress on the Saurashtra seacoast has gone deep upto one km, causing serious damage. The coconut plantations in Mahuva and other places have been badly affected.

However, with the satisfactory monsoon this year and reservoirs full with water, hopes have soared about the reversal of the trend. Perhaps, nature has come to the rescue to apply the much-needed "brake" to the salinity ingress.

The check-dams, about 400, built by the salinity-control agency, are almost full and may act as bulwark against salinity ingress. The areas known as 'Lili Nagher'(green belt) in Junagadh district and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district are poised to retrieve their lost scenic beauty.

The Saurashtra coastline is 1125-km long out of the 1600-km long Gujarat state coastline. And almost 70 per cent of the Saurashtra coast is covered under the impact of salinity ingress, causing immense damage to ground-water resources and causing untold hardships to the people in the coastal areas with respect to drinking water.

The problem of salinity ingress caught the eye of the Gujarat government some quarter century ago when in 1976 a high-power committee headed by the then chief secretary H K L Kapoor was set up to examine the issue of salinity ingress in its totality and suggest ways and means to overcome it, covering the entire area from Una in Junagadh district to Madhavpur in Porbandar district. The Kapoor committee had recommended a project costing Rs 64 crore covering Una-Madhavpur belt.

Again, two years later, another high-power committee headed by another chief secretary K Shivraj was set up to study the issue covering Una-Bhavnagar and Madhavpur-Malia belt for which works estimated to cost Rs 168 crore and Rs 370 crore were recommended respectively.

Former MP Junagadh Viren J Shah, who is now Governor of West Bengal, had also contributed in a big way to bring the problem of salinity ingress into sharp focus.

According to the official sources, a number of the recommendations of both the Kapoor and Shivraj panels were taken up for implementation over the period of last few years. Till June, 2001, a total sum of Rs 268 crore has been spent on various works undertaken to control salinity ingress.

The works undertaken included 546 check-dams, seven re-charge tanks, 399 recharge wells, seven retaining walls and 17 'bandharas'. Over and above these works, 5867 hectares were covered under forestry. The agency is constantly monitoring the situation by collecting samples of water and crops coming up in the coastal areas.

There appears to be a wave of optimism among the people of Mahuva, Mangrol, Chorwad and Madhavpur that even though the official agencies did play their part well, it was nature which has ultimately come to their rescue to restore the "original beauty" of their land.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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City schools may not start functioning before Mon Saturday, September 8, 2001

VADODARA: The week long holiday that most secondary school students have had since August 28 due to the teachers' strike, may come to an end. However, schools might not start functioning till Monday.

The administrative heads in most of the city's grant-in-aid schools have received circulars from the District Education Officer asking them to immediately start teaching and take action against striking teachers.

Though in many schools, a few teachers reported to duty, regular teaching could not start due to lack of adequate numbers. Vadodara has a large number of such schools comprising Baroda High School Alkapuri, BHS Bagikhana, BHS ONGC, the Rosary school, Bright school, St. Basil school, Convent of Jesus and Mary school, Auxilium Convent, Rosary and Don Bosco schools to name a few.

The management in most of these schools have decided to start classes, however, as information has not yet percolated to students and teachers, most remained closed.

In some schools like Baroda High School, a few of the striking teachers reported to duty. However, due to lack of adequate number of students, classes could not start.

In a few schools like St Basil school, information was passes on to students to come to school, however, no classes were held as not all teachers reported to work.

Baroda High Schools trust chief administrative officer Pathik Mehta said they would inform all concerned that schools would resume. "If it is possible we will start on Saturday. But if that's not possible then regular classes will start from Monday. We will like to start regular classes as soon as possible as students are loosing out due to the strike," he said.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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NAVSARI :: City tense after group clash Saturday, September 8, 2001

NAVASARI: An altercation among students near Garda College, in which one student was injured, assumed communal overtones on Friday with a mob gheraoing the police station in the sensitive town.

Shops and other commercial establishments soon put up the shutters as people feared further violence.

The incident was reportedly triggered by an incident of eve-teasing on the college campus. One Akil Ashraf Memon (26) was seriously injured in the clash and hospitalised.

Following the incident, a mob of around 2,000 people gathered at the town police station. They dispersed only after the senior police officers promised to nab the culprits by Saturday morning. The police have tightened security in the town.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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