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August 19, 2001 - August 19, 2001

'Wells around golden corridor need to be examined' Sunday, August 19, 2001

VADODARA: A detailed study is required to examine the over 30 wells, in the golden corridor region, that contain poisonous gases that might endanger human life, say members of a city-based environment body.

The study, they say, needs to take into account the content of the water (in terms of metal content and persistent organic pollutants) and composition of the gases present.

The demand comes in the wake of the recent death of five men in Sindhrot after they went inside a well to examine an electric motor in it. The deaths were a result of the presence of methane gas, which as per the government reports was a 'natural' formation in the well - a phenomenon which, according to them, is a common occurrence.

However, members of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) say that a detailed inquiry needs to be undertaken as this is not a natural phenomenon. "Nor is this the only well where such a problem has been found."

Many wells in the golden corridor contain a combination of many other poisonous gases, which are a result of indiscriminate industrial pollution. In the past many villagers have shown symptoms of poisoning when they entered the well.

The PSS has issued warnings to villagers about the dangers of entering such wells, which often contain a large quantity of carbon monoxide.

"There are innumerable wells in the golden corridor region which contain poisonous gases (including carbon monoxide and methane) due to polluted underground water - a result of the indiscriminate dumping of chemical wastes by hazardous chemical industries here," says Rohit Prajapati of the PSS.

According to him, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board has not properly studied the incidence. The forensic laboratory report has made out a prima facie report that does not explore the possibility of a deeper problem in the area.

"We contend that the five men died due to a combination of gases as a result of the polluted water supply from the Mahi, and the large-scale dumping by industries in old, discarded wells. All of it together pollutes the groundwater, and such gases are released in the wells."

Incidents of villagers' reporting symptoms of suffocation due to poisonous gases in wells are common in Vapi and Ankleshwar regions, he says.

According to him, the GPCB must undertake extensive studies to examine these. "But despite being a monitoring body, GPCB does not have adequate equipment to investigate the problem. They do not have facilities in Gujarat to study the water composition in terms of presence of heavy metal and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)," he says.

"Neither does the GPCB have facilities to enable study of the composition of gases," he says.

There are many wells in this region that were made redundant due to the high level of pollutants in them. These wells, which are then discarded by villagers, are used by factories to dump chemicals, which seep into the underground water table.

During monsoons the problems of indiscriminate dumping of hazardous chemicals increase as rainwater washes away signs of dumping, claims Parajapati.

He says the large-scale dumping has claimed the life of the five men in Sindhrot, and that the PSS has started an awareness campaign to warn villagers to first insert a lit lantern into a well to ensure that oxygen levels in the well are high enough for a human being to enter.

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

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More 'artistic' outlets likely to hit City soon Sunday, August 19, 2001

By Binita Parikh, AsianAge
The City may be turning into a concrete jungle but there is always space for beauty and art. If the plas being discussed by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Authorities materialize, the citizens will have more public places to visit and more art to appreciate.

While the mayor Himmatsingh Patel had announced that the AMC might consider the proposal to start a Patri Knanipeni Bazaar on the Ellis Bridge, many people have criticized the idea. Rejecting the idea on the basis that it will lead to pollution of the river as the waste might get dumped in the river and will create terrific problems and vilify the monument, a goup of artists have submitted a proposal to the AMC to let them exhibit their paintings on the bridge. Citing example fo the New ouk’s Time Square, they said that the bridge will be a good place for the artists to interact with the citizens and become a part of the daily life.

The river in the backdrop and Old City on one side and New City on the other will provide a source of inspiration to the artists, they said, Meanwhile, idea to have music in the gardens already dveloped by the AMC is being floated. Soft instrumental music may greet morning walkers. This will be made possible by placing small speakers along the walking track, according to sources.

The city gardens may host open concerts in line of those being held in atre, which can be used to hold such open concerts. According to the proposal, they can also pay a small amount and invite local artist and folk artists to perform in the gardens. This will provide encouragement to talented citizens, argue the proponents of this idea.

However, AMC is yet to take a decision regarding these ideas. If all these proposals and ideas are made operational, the citizens can surely look forward to a colorful future.

News Source :
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Friday's spell of rain cools Amdavadis Sunday, August 19, 2001

Everyone saw it coming. On Friday, the sky was gradually enveloped by dark clouds late in the evening. Then followed heavy showers that lasted around 24) minutes, drenching most of the unsuspecting commuters. However, the showers one of the severest showers of this season thankfully subsided within minutes. The city has so far received 583.67 mm rainfall as informed by the control room set-up by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

On Friday, the city recorded an average nine mm of rainfall between 2pm to 8 pm. The East Zone recorded 14 mm, the West Zone 18.5 mm, the North Zone 4.5 mm, the South Zone two mm and the Central Zone received 10 mm of rainfall. A building collapsed at 1 am on Thursday in Relief Road area but nobody was seriously injured. Three cases of cave-ins were also reported in Odhav, Thakkarbapa Nagar and Isanpur area, as informed by the AMC control room.
Source - Express Newsline

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Another Congress MLA suspended Sunday, August 19, 2001

Congress MLA Kuverji Bavaliya was suspended for a day from the proceedings of the House for his derogatory remarks against the Council of ministers in the question hour, by majority vote on the proposal of the ruling party. Mr. Bavaliya alleged in the House that one of the reasons behind extravagant phone bills of the treasury benches might be that they are talking to terrorists of Kashmir on phone.

Mr. Bavaliya had asked administrative reforms minister to give total amount of phone bills of council of ministers during the last six mouths. Minister of state for administrative reforms, Rnman Vora, replied that the total cost was Rs 69.33 crores. BJP parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Mehta took strong objections to words used by Mr. Bavaliya and proposed to name him.

The proposal was approved by majority vote, following which, Mr. Mehta proposed to suspend the MLA. This proposal was also approved. Mr.Shah warned the Mr. Bavaliya not to use such derogatory language in the House.
Source - Express Newsline

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17 years, but syllabus remains unchanged Sunday, August 19, 2001

By Jignesh Vasavda, Express Newsline
17 years, but syllabus remains unchangedThe Post-Graduate Department of Psychology of the Gujarat University (GU) has never had it worse. The precarious building condition not with standing, a couple of courses that were once conducted here have been wound up for the paucity of funds.

There are not enough teachers to teach the students and worse of all, the syllabus hasn’t been updated since 17 years. And the authorities, especially the Board of Studies members who are to look into the changes of the syllabus do not feel the need to change the syllabus.

"The chairman has been approached a number of times, but does not seem to be interested in implementing any changes. Not only now, but for the future too he says that there will be no changes," claims Director and Head of the department of Psychology Pratlksha Rival. "The last time the syllabus changed was in 1973-74. Before then a revision was done only once, way back in the 1950s.

By this time the rest of the world, especially the West, has had many changes in their syllabus in accordance to the requirements of the industry", adds Raval. The stance of the Chairman of the Board of Studies Narhari Parikh is, "Where is the need for change? In Psyche where is the progress so effective that the need to change has been felt? The course remains the same only that there has been a number of serial volumes that have increased which the teachers can always teach in the class."

Countering this, Raval says, "Take Abnormal Psychology, where we have Diagnostic and Statistical Manual where we are teaching the first version, copies of which are hardly available while in the West they are teaching the fourth version. Similar is the case in Clinical Psychology where a number of branches have emerged, new therapies evolved, but we do not teach our students."

Additionally, Raval says thereislack of co-ordination among the faculty members of the various post-graduate course being run in the other two colleges, besides the QU department "We can all sit together and decide the changes, but that too does not seem to happen. Somehow there has been no motivation on the part of any teacher to tackle this problem," says Raval.

Further, the department suffers from acute staff shortage, not to mention that two post graduate Diploma courses had to be shut down because the University had not been paying the bills of the guest lecturers. "These courses had 90 per cent job potential," adds Rival. The students also rue the fact that the University library does not subscribe to national and international periodicals. There is a lack of exchange programmes and other courses. The students lament that this is proving to be a drawback in competitive exams and professions outside.

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