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September 4, 2001 - September 4, 2001

More than 15 per cent below poverty line in Rajkot Tuesday, September 4, 2001

BY NARANDAS THACKER, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
RAJKOT: The population of Rajkot, the prime city of Saurashtra, has crossed the million mark. And, add to this 'floating population' of two lakh!

The 'floating' segment is mostly from areas within a hundred km radius. Many of them commute daily either to attend government and semi-government offices, or private firms and factories. They cannot afford Rajkot's exorbitant rents which have sky-rocketed even though the estate market in Rajkot, which was like a hot cake has been witnessing a terrific slump for the past couple of years.

A two-room, kitchen, toilet block would need between Rs.3000 and 4000. A one-room block would be around Rs. 2000. This despite the fact that hundreds of new flats are vacant --- unsold, unrented.

With the rentals high, people working in Rajkot prefer to live in the nearby areas like Gondal, Virpur, Jetpur, Junagadh, Paddhari, Dhrol, Aliabada, Hapa, Jamnagar, Khambhalia, Wankaner, Morvi, Than, Kasturbadham, Sardhar, Atkot and Amreli.

Not that only working class prefers to commute. There are those who would come for marketing --- both purchase and sale, as the farmers bring their produce here.

A recent survey by the Rajkot Municipal Corporation revealed that 1.5 lakh peep, of 15 per cent of the population of Rajkot, lives below the poverty line.

The survey was undertaken by the social welfare branch of the civic body in collaboration with United Organisation of Vadodara. It was conducted house-to-house and covered 150 backward localities and slums. It revealed that the number of families living under poverty line was 45,000 and the total number of people comes to one and a half lakh. This survey could prove to be a boon to the people living below poverty line as they may hope to get benefits under various government schemes.

This was the first such survey in the backward localities and slums in Rajkot. How much time-lag would be there between the submission of the survey report to the authorities and the accruals of the benefits due to them is anybody's guess.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Sabarkantha :: Caste decides, but does not rule in Sabarkantha Tuesday, September 4, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: If one were to go by the difference in reception Sabarkantha gave to BJP candidate Upendra Trivedi and Congress candidate Madhusudan Mistry at Himmatnagar when they went to file their nominations, one could bet on who might win.

But the Sabarkantha parliamentary constituency has the reputation of throwing up surprises.

It has elected candidate Gulzarilal Nanda thrice and given the country a prime minister. Then there has been H M Patel, Arvind 'Ravana' Trivedi of Ramayan fame and Nishaben Chaudhary. Patel and Chaudhary have been elected twice from Sabarkantha.

But the irony is that of the 11.5 lakh voters in Sabarkantha, at least 35 per cent are tribals, followed by the Chaudhary-Patels who comprise 20 per cent of the votebank. The other decisive votes are those of Scheduled Castes and Muslims who comprise roughly 10 per cent each of the consituency. In this many-hued constituency, Nishaben Chaudhary was the only candidate who was a tribal and was elected from here twice by a huge margin.

Upendra Trivedi is Arvind's younger brother, and having won as an Independent candidate from the Bhiloda Assembly constituency, he could very well take over the parliamentary constituency, except that the district panchayat here is dominated by the Congress.

Unfortunately for Trivedi, when he went to file his nomination on Saturday, he was met by the striking school teachers who reportedly gheraoed him and told him of their demands. The mood naturally turned sour till some senior BJP leaders intervened to end the scuffle.

Contrarily, first-timer Mistry was flanked by three former chief ministers Amarsinh Chaudhary, Shankersinh Vaghela and Dilip Parikh, besides Urmila Patel and Raju Parmar when he went to file his nomination papers on Monday. But these things have never determined the political fate of Sabarkantha. It has been the Adivasis, the Chaudhary-Patels, the Muslims _ and this time the voter turn-out and electronic voting machines (EVMs) _ which will determine it.

"A majority of the people here don't know how to use EVMs, and there is not much time to train them. So there is scope for manipulation," observes a political functionary.

The contest is between the Congress and the BJP, but the other candidates in fray are Ramesh Nanjibhai Bhambhi from the Bahujan Samaj Party who is a Scheduled Caste candidate and has contested earlier, and Ramesh Dharmabhai Patel from the Samajwadi Party.

Of the Assembly constituencies in Sabarkantha LS seat, Vadgam, Danta, Khedbrahma and Bhiloda were in the favour of the Congress in the 1998 elections, while Idar and Himmatnagar and Modasa went in favour of the BJP candidate Kanubhai Patel.

Both parties have their fingers crossed this time, since even an outsider like Nanda and NRIs have been sent to Parliament by Sabarkantha. So, no one's betting as yet.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Sabarkantha Elections :: Caste decides, but does not rule in Sabarkantha Tuesday, September 4, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: If one were to go by the difference in reception Sabarkantha gave to BJP candidate Upendra Trivedi and Congress candidate Madhusudan Mistry at Himmatnagar when they went to file their nominations, one could bet on who might win.

But the Sabarkantha parliamentary constituency has the reputation of throwing up surprises.

It has elected candidate Gulzarilal Nanda thrice and given the country a prime minister. Then there has been H M Patel, Arvind 'Ravana' Trivedi of Ramayan fame and Nishaben Chaudhary. Patel and Chaudhary have been elected twice from Sabarkantha.

But the irony is that of the 11.5 lakh voters in Sabarkantha, at least 35 per cent are tribals, followed by the Chaudhary-Patels who comprise 20 per cent of the votebank. The other decisive votes are those of Scheduled Castes and Muslims who comprise roughly 10 per cent each of the consituency. In this many-hued constituency, Nishaben Chaudhary was the only candidate who was a tribal and was elected from here twice by a huge margin.

Upendra Trivedi is Arvind's younger brother, and having won as an Independent candidate from the Bhiloda Assembly constituency, he could very well take over the parliamentary constituency, except that the district panchayat here is dominated by the Congress.

Unfortunately for Trivedi, when he went to file his nomination on Saturday, he was met by the striking school teachers who reportedly gheraoed him and told him of their demands. The mood naturally turned sour till some senior BJP leaders intervened to end the scuffle.

Contrarily, first-timer Mistry was flanked by three former chief ministers Amarsinh Chaudhary, Shankersinh Vaghela and Dilip Parikh, besides Urmila Patel and Raju Parmar when he went to file his nomination papers on Monday. But these things have never determined the political fate of Sabarkantha. It has been the Adivasis, the Chaudhary-Patels, the Muslims _ and this time the voter turn-out and electronic voting machines (EVMs) _ which will determine it.

"A majority of the people here don't know how to use EVMs, and there is not much time to train them. So there is scope for manipulation," observes a political functionary.

The contest is between the Congress and the BJP, but the other candidates in fray are Ramesh Nanjibhai Bhambhi from the Bahujan Samaj Party who is a Scheduled Caste candidate and has contested earlier, and Ramesh Dharmabhai Patel from the Samajwadi Party.

Of the Assembly constituencies in Sabarkantha LS seat, Vadgam, Danta, Khedbrahma and Bhiloda were in the favour of the Congress in the 1998 elections, while Idar and Himmatnagar and Modasa went in favour of the BJP candidate Kanubhai Patel.

Both parties have their fingers crossed this time, since even an outsider like Nanda and NRIs have been sent to Parliament by Sabarkantha. So, no one's betting as yet.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Gujarat High Court judges transferred Tuesday, September 4, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Justice M R Calla and Justice P K Sarkar of the Gujarat High Court have been transferred to the High Courts of Rajasthan and Assam respectively following an order by the President of India.

While Justice Dipak Kantilal Trivedi of Mumbai High Court has been transferred to Gujarat High Court.

All the three judges are expected to take charge of their new positions by September 11.

Justice Trivedi started practice in Gujarat in 1973 and remained assistant government pleader and additional public prosecutor during 1982 to 1990. He was appointed government pleader and public prosecutor in 1990 and was appointed a judge in Gujarat High Court in 1994, and subsequently transferred to Mumbai High Court.

Meanwhile, Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari appointed senior advocate Kamal Trivedi as the new additional advocate general of Gujarat. The post had been vacant since last year following appointment of additional advocate general S N Shelat as advocate general.

Amongst the major achievements of Trivedi is that of Sardar Sarovar case, in which he appeared for the state and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd in the Supreme Court. The case paved the way for furthering work on Narmada Dam, which was stalled.

Meanwhile, Justice A K Trivedi of Gujarat High Court retired on Monday.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Heavy bandobast at jetty Tuesday, September 4, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SURAT: With several fishing boats which sailed into the sea for fishing without 'parvana' (licenses) likely to return to the fishing jetty at the Bhaucha Dhakka in Mumbai in next couple of days, the situation appears to be fast turning into major confrontation between the fishermen from the south Gujarat and the Mumbai Port Trust (MBT) authorities there.

These boats will have no space for offloading their catch in absence of permission from the port authorities.

Keeping this in mind, heavy police bandobast have been made at the fishing jetty since Monday to thwart any untoward incident. According to sources at MBT, though there efforts were being made for reconciliation among the concerned parties, resentment prevailing among fishermen from coastal areas of south Gujarat region might escalate into a law and order problem.

Over 400 fishing boats from south Gujarat have assembled there for seeking 'parvana' from the port authorities, Mumbai Machhimar Vyapari Sangh president Laxman Y Chouhan told TNN.

Chouhan told this correspondent over phone from Mumbai that any further delay for a solution to the imbroglio would definitely result into major crisis, as port authorities have been acting tough on the behest of the concerned ministry of Maharashtra. So far, the fishermen from Gujarat have kept their cool, but conflict between them and the port authorities assisted by the local fishermen, could not be ruled out. Any rough behaviour by the port officials would be resented strongly in any manner that could demand on the occasion, sources informed.

The fishing boats from south Gujarat coastal areas, which may not be allowed to land at the fishing jetty at Bhaucha Dhakka to offload their catch, might be difficult for the fishermen from Gujarat to tolerate as patience was fast giving way to frustration, Chouhan opined.

Sources in Shree Gujarat Vahanvatu and Machhimar Sangh said that the fisheries ministry of Maharashtra appeared to be adamant in its position by not reconsidering the applications for grant of licenses. However, much hope is being put on the visit of the officials from Gujarat on Thursday for an amicable solution in the row between Gujarat and Maharashtra. Sources said authorities from both the governments will take stock of the situation and try to find a way to solve the crisis.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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