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August 26, 2001 - August 26, 2001

CEPT releases quake damage assessment data Sunday, August 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Centre for Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT) has come out with a compact disc that could provide answers to many unanswered questions on the nature of devastation left behind by the January 26 earthquake.

This CD, result of in-depth survey by the institute's students, covers eight earthquake hit zones of the city and has marked house collapse sites on a city map.

Take for example the case of western parts of Maninagar. The area has seen the maximum number of building collapses in Ahmedabad. This data, when super-imposed on the Geographical Information System (GIS) map, can answer queries like why an area like Maninagar west was unsupportive to its buildings.

The student-generated study, preceding the CD, catalogues 1,168 surveys, 44 case studies, 987 photographs, including 25 contact prints of all photo documentation. In all the 44 case studies of collapsed and heavily damaged buildings of the city provides details of the extent and nature of the damage.

The work had begun on January 29 with 26 students of CEPT headed by faculty in-charge and co-ordinator of CEPT's School of Architecture, Professor Miki Desai.

"Areas to be assessed and recorded were decided upon and groups were formed after working out the method, proforma and modalities of documentation. Preliminary observations, notes, sketches and photography were accepted as tools for this purpose. The students took up the job with missionary zeal, often putting in 12 hours on the trot," said Prof Desai.

The survey data was later fed into computers for a semi-interactive CD title Earth Quake Damage Survey of Ahmedabad. "What we have now is raw data of high value. We hope that interpretative analysis of this will given valuable insight into earthquake and its effects. It is however prudent to mention here that the survey has been carried out without any sophisticated measuring instruments. It is essentially a visual survey based on the surveyers' observations," said Prof Desai.

On Friday, at a function to mark the CD release, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority were given 50 CDs each.

AUDA and AMC are joint sponsors of this damage assessment survey, which is now being extended further for preparation of yet another CD that would contain details, along with city maps, on the building inspection reports.

"This CD will be of academic interest and a useful record for analysis. Though the corporation does not have GIS, we will put the data generated for our future course of action. The data will also be handed over to experts on earthquake engineering from Rourkee whom we have appointed for post-quake analysis," said an AMC official.

The reaction was much the same in AUDA.

Said Bharat Rawal, chief executive administrator: "The data will help experts look into the way buildings and soil types behave during natural calamities like earthquake. Once a GIS map for AUDA is ready, along with minute details, we plan to superimpose CEPT's data to learn more on the earthquake and its effect on an urban conglomerate like Ahmedabad."

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Police arrest 2 in bank burglary case Sunday, August 26, 2001

SURAT: With the arrest of two persons on Saturday, the district police claimed to have solved the bank burglary case which took place on Friday night at Akota village in Bardoli taluka. The police also recovered the entire cash. The arrested have been identified as Anil, a substitute bank peon, and Binod, an ironsmith.

The intruders had decamped with all the cash amounting around Rs 2.85 lakh and before leaving the premises, they had burnt all the documents and the registers kept in lockers.

According to DSP K L N Rao, in connivance with the substitute bank peon Anil, the ironsmith Binod - working in front of the bank for over the last two years - had planned to loot the cash from the bank. Taking advantage of the Ganesh festival being celebrated nearby, the two entered the bank from the rearside. As planned, the backdoor had not been locked by the peon on Friday evening and the concerned clerk did not notice it. The branch manager was not in the branch as he was away to other branch, also under his charge, in a nearby village.

On Friday night, the duo sneaked into the branch and collected the amount from the cash vault which was also left unlocked by the peon. Before leaving, they scattered all the files and other things in the bank to suggest that some break-in had taken place. The culprits also put all the papers inside the branch on fire, according to Rao.

On Saturday morning, the sweeper while doing the job found something wrong and informed the police.
The police nabbed Anil from his residence and interrogations revealed that the cash was kept at Binod's house in Kadad village. The police nabbed Binod and recovered the whole amount.

A case has been registered and further investigations are going on, Rao informed.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Home-made pickles spice up lives of NRIs Sunday, August 26, 2001

VADODARA: To spice up their life with Indian flavours many non-resident Indians in the US, the UK and other countries import pickles to savour the home-made delicacies that were a part of cuisine back home.

Over 15,000 tonnes of pickles are exported from Gujarat alone, and there are more than 1,000 varieties that make their way across the globe.

Exports of certain varieties of pickles to certain regions within a country is determined by the type of community that lives there and the type of flavour that they savour, say city-based pickles exporters.

"Our exports depend on the type of Indians that are predominantly settled in parts of the UK or the US," says Madhav Agro Foods Private Limited MD, Chandresh Shah.

"In Lester, for example, we export more of the Gujarati 'athanas', more specifically the sweet variety, as the region has a large population of migrants from Kheda.

"People in Kheda region savour 'goud keri' (sweet mango) pickles, and 'batakias'; therefore, the demand from Lester is predominantly for these varieties.

"In South Hall, there are two types of Indian communities: the Punjabis and the Gujaratis. For the Punjabis we send the special Punjabi pickles, with more fruit cuttings mixed in 'sarason ka tel' (mustard oil). For the community from Saurashtra we send more of 'khara athanas (salted pickles)," he said.

According to Dilip Parikh of the Harshad Mango Products Limited, the Indian population in US too is dispersed similarly, with some parts like Chicago having many Gujaratis from Surat.

"Surtis love 'khatta athanas' (sour pickles) and therefore most of our export to Chicago is of this type."

Gujaratis in New Jersey and New York are predominantly from Kheda and Saurashtra; they prefer the sweeter varieties like 'goud keri athanas'.

"In addition to Gujaratis, New Jersey and New York have a large population of computer professionals from South India. Therefore, our exports to these cities also comprises South Indian pickles, which are hotter and are in the form of paste. They are more blended," he says.

In LA and western parts of the US there is a comparatively larger population of Punjabis; therefore, 'sarson ka tel'(mustard oil) and fruits and vegetable-based pickles are exported to these two regions.

Parikh says there are also many Gujarati traders to whom we export raw materials in the form of pickle masalas and raw mangoes, which they manufacture and market on their own.

"The packaging of pickles is in quantities ranging from five kg to ten-kg, as per demand. We also send ready retail packs," he says.

In addition to the Indian community in South Africa, Australia and the Middle East (Dubai, Muscat and Saudi Arabia), we also cater to the tastes of the European palate.

"They generally prefer cooking chutneys (pastes) with Indian spices like ginger, garlic and chilli. Mango chutney (paste) is a hot favourite among them. The exports of these are also high, not just to the US and the UK but also to Europe, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore," he said.

According to him, from Gujarat 15,000 tonnes of pickles and pastes are exported. Forty per cent of this export goes to the US and Canada, 40 per cent to the UK and the rest is distributed among the European, South African and other countries.

He said, from Gujarat, exports to Saudi Arabia is lesser in volume as areas like Ulhasnagar, in Mumbai, cater to this demand. "They prefer pickles with vinegar, the 'khatta' (sour) varieties," he adds.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Indefinite curfew imposed in Dariapur area Sunday, August 26, 2001

Ahmedabad: Indefinite curfew was clamped in the sensitive Dariapur area of the walled city on Saturday after a mob resorted to heavy stone-throwing and arson, leading to serious injuries to a person.
The police fired 41 teargas shells to disperse the rioting mob, while in neighbouring Kalupar locality, a man was stabbed by some unidentified persons.
The victim, with serious injuries, had been admitted to a local municipal corporation hospital, the police said.
The curfew was imposed at 3.30 pm after the violence erupted in Dariapur. Sporadic incidents of violence were witnessed in the city on Friday, following a bandh call given by a local organisation over assault on hawkers belonging to the minority community in Maninagar area recently.
An FIR has been lodged in this connection but so far no arrests have been made, the police added.
The walled city areas like Mirzapur and Panchkuva, which witnessed violence on Friday, were peaceful on Saturday, the police said.
Source -

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Cong counting chickens before they are hatched Sunday, August 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: It is 18 months to the Assembly elections and the Congress is already debating on who will be the next chief minister! Riding on the wave of confidence rendered by events that have unfolded in their favour, the party is stretching out of its deep slumber and raring to go.

Little does it realise that victory could very well be that mirage in the desert which disappears just when you reach out to touch it. Far from behaving like an Opposition that critically examines and exposes the ruling party, the Congress has resorted to exposing itself. What better could the Bharatiya Janata Party have asked for?

Beginning with the handling of the Kargil conflict by the BJP ruled NDA government, the Tehelka scam, the droughts and earthquake in Gujarat, the kherwood smuggling racket, the Madhavpura bank scam and now the Unit Trust of India scam _ it happened only with the BJP.

Yet, instead of putting the saffron ideologues on tenterhooks, the Congress is busy fighting personality wars within itself. For over the last two years former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki has not shared the dais with any of the presidents of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, be it CD Patel or Amarsinh Chaudhary, even in the party's official functions. Tension between the Solanki and Ahmed Patel groups has mounted to an extent where each views the other like an opposition and would prefer to flex their muscles in each other's bastions instead of the BJP's.

Head-counting is the latest phenomena to have gripped this party with Solanki and Chaudhary making a special mention of the increasing number of listeners in the functions addressed by them, no matter how, where or who assembled them. So failed is the party in its spirit of camaraderie that it could not get together under a single banner even on Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary on Monday where the party split into four different venues in the state.

Chaudhary claimed that at least 15,000 people attended the Borsad function, while reports from Surat claim Solanki-supporter Rizwan Usmani pulled a similarly large crowd that day. Besides Solanki also managed to pull over former MP Irshad Mirza over to his side thanks to the Himmatnagar episode where Mirza's supporters reportedly boycotted Chaudhary's function.

Solanki loyalists claim that neither the local MLA Bharatsinh Solanki nor the District Congress president were invited for the Borsad function, so they decided to put up another show of strength by conducting a rally around the villages. "We too sought permissions from the high command, so why aren't our functions official?" argues, a Solanki-supporter.

Torn between these ego clashes are leaders like Shankersinh Vaghela who merged with the Congress in the hope of routing the BJP and now faces a crisis of identity, confused about following the leader Amarsinh, or the ally Madhavsinh.

Interestingly, while Narhari Amin has been nearly-fixed for the Sabarmati assembly seat, Vaghela supporter Madhusudan Mistry, whose name figures in the list of contenders for the Sabarkantha Lok Sabha seat, is yet to find supporters. Instead, there are more willing to bet on NRI Chandubhai Patel as the candidate. The driving logic being, "outsiders have always won in Sabarkantha".

"Groupism is the basic reality of any party", observes GPCC vice-president Hasmukh Patel who is confident about the Congress' chances of victory. "The BJP's failure coupled with the Congress' success in projecting this failure shows that now Congress only can rule", adds Patel.

So, the Congress finds the 'anti-incumbency factor' lent by psephologists as their final resort. "I just hope people vote against the misrule of the BJP in Gujarat," says Mirza, agreeing that the Congress would first have to get over its "weaknesses".

That is, as soon as they are unanimous about what these weaknesses are!

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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