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September 3, 2001 - September 3, 2001

GSEB moots measures to check copying Monday, September 3, 2001

AHMEDABAD: If Gujarat Secondary Education Board (GSEB) has its way, it will become increasingly difficult for students to use unfair means in examinations.

Growing criticism in wake of incriminating evidence that mass copying continues unabated, in most cases in connivance with the teachers and centre supervisors, during the HSC/SSC exams, has finally prompted the GSEB to introduce changes to plug loopholes in the examination system.

In the general meeting of the GSEB held on Thursday, it was decided that the board will print three or more versions of one exam paper and photographs of the HSC/SSC candidates will be scanned through computers on the fee receipt or the entry-slip instead of being stuck with glue.

"It was found that a number of candidates used to replace the photograph and let dummy candidates write exams in their place. Computerised scanning of photos will ensure that they are not easily tampered with", said board chairman P V Trivedi.

It may be noted here that at least four dummy candidates were caught in the board exams this year. In Bilimora, one Dakshesh Kapadia was caught writing the Social Studies paper in place of his younger brother Bhupesh Kapadia.

Next, three or more versions of an exam paper will be printed to discourage students from copying in the exam halls. Mass copying in exam halls is rampant especially in rural centres. "Each paper will have the same questions but in different order. This step can go a long way in curbing copying in exam halls", felt a member of the board examination committee, Bhaskar Patel.

One of the most revolutionary changes envisaged by the board is to finalise the various kinds of disciplinary action to be initiated against teachers and other staff involved in examination process in case of their indulging in malpractice or found to have faulted in dispensing with their exam duties. "A committee of five board members has been constituted to submit the entire list of disciplinary actions that can be initiated against erring teachers or staff to the working committee of the board in a month's time", said Patel who has been voicing this demand for a long time.

Students have often been found to be copying in connivance with the supervisors, teachers, school principals and the exam centre conductor who aid students by providing them with answer materials, just letting them copy or even dictating answers.

For instance, in Shri Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Aklacha village this year, the teachers were found helping students in copying by turning a blind eye to their writing down answers straight from chits and even guides. Same with Sheth J H Sonawala High School in Mehemdabad and a large number of other rural centres.

Curiously here, despite such cases of malpractice being brought to the board's notice, no action could be initiated against the erring supervisors or teachers as the board self-confessedly has no such powers. Formulation of the 'punishment-table' is expected to give the board considerable teeth in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat Rajya Madhyamik, Ucchatar Madhyamik Shala Sanchalak Mandal have urged to step up vigilance at the sensitive exam centres across the state. The mandal will deploy experienced and senior principals to keep an eye on these sensitive centres and ensure that the malpractice is curbed.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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BJP campaign picks up pace Monday, September 3, 2001

AHMEDABAD: After facing the worst debacle in the civic elections last year, the ruling BJP is making concerted efforts to fight the crucial by-elections of Sabarmati and Sabarkantha for which the frontal organisations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad will join hands to trounce the Congress.

It is learnt from reliable party sources that those selected from the Sangh Parivar have already completed preliminary assessment of six municipal wards falling under Sabarmati constituency which has been an anti-Congress bastion for the past 10 years. The wards are Sardar Patel Stadium, Naranpura, Nava Wadaj, Juna Wadaj and Sabarmati. While some of the top leaders of the RSS have already reached Sabarkantha to organise canvassing for the BJP.

Though the plan will remain a secret as usual, the trained RSS workers will soon be assigned the pockets in the urban areas in Sabarmati as well as in Sabarkantha where Sangh Parivar's Vanvasi cell has been activated to persuade adivasis about a series of welfare activities taken by the government under the Gujarat Pattern for the development of adivasi areas as suggested by the Bhuria committee.

For example, Mukesh Dasani will look after Juna Wadaj having a sizeable population of Sindhi community. Similar arrangements will be made for other wards also.

In the last civic elections, the BJP has won eight seats and the Congress seven in these municipal corporation wards which showed that despite the resignation of sitting MLA Yatin Oza, the party's position has remained intact in the constituency.

The campaigning is hotting up if a rally by BJP on Friday was any indication. A convoy of around 50 trucks carrying men and women wearing saffron scarves was for a while mistaken as Ganesh Utsav procession in the Sardar Patel Stadium area. The inauguration of Narhari Amin's election office by former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela also drew a good crowd, however, senior leaders of the party were conspicuous by their absence.

Though the Tehelka tapes coupled with the controversial CAG report indicting Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and some ministers may prove harmful for the party, the clearance of revival package of Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank by the Reserve Bank of India and repealing of the provisions of Gujarat Rents Control Act for 10 years by the state Assembly on Friday might help brighten the prospects of BJP candidate Babubhai Jamnadas Patel who enjoyed a clean image as a building contractor.

The ruling BJP has introduced a unique saffron sticker this time not showing either the candidate or Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel or the smiling face of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee or Union home minister L K Advani but displaying a growing plant reminding the voters that they have nursed the BJP and that they must continue doing so in the coming days too. The writing on the sticker is "Aapno Uchherelo Paksh". Some of the workers in the area have been associated with the organisation since the Jan Sangh era.

Explaining the slogan, Shashiranjan Yadav of the BJP media cell says, "The slogan and colourful sticker are to remind those who might have forgotten that they had played a pivotal role in bringing this party to limelight in the nineties".

A majority of the residents of Sabarmati constituency have shifted from the Walled City after the communal flare-ups of 1985 and 1992, and the Hindu backlash which helped them take reins of power first in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and then in Gandhinagar.

Senior BJP leaders of the party are confident that Babubhai Patel's clean image and good track record in the party organisation and as chairman of the Gujarat Dairy Development Corporation will put him in an advantageous position as compared to the Congress nominee Narhari Amin, the former deputy chief minister, who has been defeated twice by Yatin Oza, a lawyer, in the last two terms.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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VMC, BJP on collision course Monday, September 3, 2001

VADODARA: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the administrative wing of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) seem to be on a collision course, thanks to a temple allegedly constructed without permission by BJP leader and former Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist Niraj Jain on Waghodia Road.

The Hanuman temple, built on ground meant for sports activities near the Rajiv Gandhi Swimming pool of the VMC, has now sparked a controversy with VMC authorities slapping a notice on Jain, asking him to remove the temple from the site on his responsibility and expenses. The notice, given on Saturday, also threatens to pull down the temple if Jain failed to do so on his own.

And, both VMC's standing committee chairman Shabdsharan Brahmbhatt, who is also the city BJP president, and city Mayor Bharti Vyas, have refused to comment on the notice, saying that they would "look into the matter soon."

However, Jain is in no mood to relent. "The temple was not built illegally. A water-hole in the area remained closed for a long time. We only renovated it and added the temple," he says.

Jain pointed out that the temple was located on the site for three years now. "We began renovating about a month and a half back. Nobody objected to it all this while despite the fact that mammoth gatherings were held there for religious functions. The sudden action on part of the VMC seems to be politically motivated," Jain claimed.

He added that VMC authorities had acted only after a complaint was filed with the VMC. "Why were they quiet all this while? Residents now have religious sentiments attached to the place. They will not tolerate the VMC action," he said.

According to sources, the Hanuman temple is located on a ground meant for sports near the Rajiv Gandhi Swimming Pool of the VMC. Earlier, a water-hole for children playing on the ground was located at the site. When the water-hole became non-functional, Jain and another BJP member Dayaram Kahar renovated it and constructed a temple there.

However, the temple was not brought down till Sunday evening. Jain, who was recently appointed as the convenor of the city BJP's legal cell, said that any attempts to remove the temple would have a strong backlash.

Commenting on the construction of the temple, Brahmbhatt said, "I am aware of the
issue, but could not look into the matter due to Ganesh immersions on Saturday. We will do something about it when offices reopen on Monday."

City mayor too avoided commenting on the issue saying, "I will have to investigate the matter. We will let you know about the details on Monday."

Deputy mayor Shailesh Mehta said that the corporation should have acted well in advance. "The construction of the temple should not have been allowed. Now that an idol has been installed, it cannot be removed," he said.

Congress councillor Manoj Thakore alleged that the issue was raked up for political mileage by the BJP. "Jain is being used by BJP for gaining ground in the area where it is weak," he said.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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Women's writings find place in Sanskrit syllabus Monday, September 3, 2001

VADODARA: The syllabus of the MSU department of Sanskrit Pali and Prakrit would now include study of women writers in Sanskrit dating from the Rigveda period to contemporary writers.

The changes in the syllabus are aimed at making it more enjoyable for students and bringing in a contemporary flavour, informed head of department Uma Despande.

Despite having a vast treasure of women's writings from Vedic period, to the 13th century to the 20th century, until recently the Sanskrit syllabus did not contain mention of any of these, says Deshpande.

"Earlier the syllabus contained many archaic and ornate literary works, which were
difficult for students to grasp and enjoy," she says. According to her, instead of working with archaic texts we decided to create more interest both in the language as well as in the literature so that students find the study more exciting.

According to her, the ancient writings of women were forgotten after the country was invaded and women were relegated to the background. "But now we are bringing about this change so that their contributions can be analysed. The importance of their writing is that it reflects the society they lived in. The social problems and the attitude towards women in those days," she informs.

For example the work of Apala, a poetess, describes the problems of a single woman who is deserted by her husband. Similarly, works of Gosha, Vishwawara and several others indicate the social problems of the period they lived in. "This is unlike the works of the male poets which did not contain any references to the contemporary society of their lives," says Deshpande.

Amongst other changes that the department has brought in is introduction of Kautilya's Arthashatra, various epics and selected poems and prose which can be of contemporary interest.

Also, despite the department having Pali as one of the languages, it was not incorporated in the syllabus until recently. "We have introduced the Pali text of Dhamapad- the teachings of Lord Buddha in the syllabus."

A Prakrit play Kapurmanjari too has been introduced in the syllabus so that the students are made aware of the language.

Despande said though the number of students in the Sanskrit classes are not as high
as in other departments, the demand for Sanskrit in the field of school education has increased.

"Those who pass out as Sanskrit scholars get incorporated in research and those with a graduation get employment opportunities in schools where the languages is increasingly becoming popular," she says.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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BBA to strike work till Wednesday Monday, September 3, 2001

VADODARA: Advocates of the city have decided to refrain from work till Wednesday to press for their long-pending demands.

According to Baroda Bar Association (BBA) executive committee members, a decision in this regard was taken recently at a meeting. The members will also go to the High Court and secretariat in Gandhinagar on Tuesday to submit a memorandum over the issue.

BBA president Narendra Tiwari said that the advocates would hold a public meeting near Nyay Mandir to create awareness about demands. The demands include setting up Benches of the Debt Recovery Tribunal and the High Court in the city.

Tiwari said that several demands could be taken care of within a day. "However, it is appalling to note that the government is taking so much time," he said.

On Wednesday, advocates will take out a rally in the city along with teachers and health workers to press for their demands. Tiwari said that they would continue with the agitation till the issues were resolved.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]

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