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August 15, 2001 - August 16, 2001

'Gujarat's economy stable despite calamities' - Keshubhai Patel Thursday, August 16, 2001

Times News Network
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel on Wednesday said the state's economy was stable despite a series of natural calamities that rocked it during the past few months.

Speaking after unfurling the national flag here on the 54th Independence day, the chief minister called upon the people to work with sincerity and devotion for the state's development.

Warning that the divisive forces were out to destroy the country, he urged the people to help the government in tackling law and order problems in the state.

The day was also celebrated across the state with unfurling of the tricolour at district headquarters and schools.
Source - The Times of India

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I-Day special :: In anticipation of Mahatma Gandhi Thursday, August 16, 2001

By Punit Srivastava

Year 2001, 15th August: Another celebration. But this celebration is a national one, not any festival, in which people irrespective of religion, region and gender participate with full enthusiasm. It's called with great pride "The Independence Day."

The day came into existence due to the official freedom that India achieved From foreign dominance in 1947, the independence struggle has its own glorious tale to tell and Indians relive the moments with pride. Almost the entire country participated in it without thinking about individual interest.

There was only one common goal, independence from external hands at any cost. There were leaders and supporters as it happens in every revolution. We gained independence through this biggest revolution of its kind in the world. The movement achieved its goal. Gandhi was truly decorated with the felicitation "Father of the Nation."

But this independence brought us a major setback also. This is quite evident after more than 50 years of independence. According to our Constitution the nation is ruled "by the people, for the people and of the people." But how true is it after so many nation-shaking scandals?

There are reports of various scandals and crimes happening almost all over India. But where are the People now? Relaxing happily in their drawing room in front of the TV? Trying to get a nice sleep just thinking the new scam as another daily routine? Or are some of us too busy in one's living to have the time to think about anything that does not directly affect their interest?

Over the decades after independence, this has been the worst thing that has happened to our nation. Literacy has grown substantially on paper. But it has failed to achieve its major goal of enlightening people. That's why despite all nation-shaking major events, India is not even near to the beginning of mass uprising like the French Revolution.

The people's apathy towards the nation is of major concern. The people have a fixed frame of mind now where they have fully given the power of decision to elected bodies as if people's duty is only to elect them.

The persons we elect are getting into scams after scams everywhere and in all parts of the country. But the people are only too happy to read the details in the papers, discuss it in every nook and corner and watch it on TV. The discussion everywhere does boil our blood. We do little to punish these scamsters and save our country. When the discussion finishes everything is forgotten. For us it is now become a routine like another cup of tea which we sip on with great interest every day.

Recently, there was a sensational murder or rather another routine sensational case. In this case a week back, a youth raped and murdered a minor girl inKolkata. For him it was act of revenge because some years back, he had been imprisoned on the complaint of that girl. The most astonishing fact in this case was the public apathy. The culprit after returning from jail was determined to be back to jail again. On every nook and corner of the colony he claimed that he would take revenge. He will not only rape, but this time will kill her also. Nobody raised an eyebrow over his vicious threats. Probably, everyone was waiting for someone else to take the lead to check the nuisance before it happened. The result: the same person again raped the girl and this time he also killed her.

The police again had the excuse it always has on such occasions; that there was no complaint lodged on which they could act in advance. But will the police care to answer a simple query? The police claims to have its sources everywhere in order to get information. Where were those highly regarded sources when the culprit was boasting in advance openly that he would do what he proudly did?

The police keep passing the buck, and of course it always finds an excuse. But where is the savior of democracy, the people? Can't they act unless something happens to them personally? Or do they always look for a leader to guide them? Or is their job only to cast vote and relax, while their elected MPs and MLAs shoulder all responsibility?

If it is so, then is it surprising that the scams and the irresponsible acts of these elected bodies are increasing day by day? The case of fire in an asylum of Tamil Nadu brings us to another serious concern. The local elected person has given a statement after the incident that he had serious apprehensions about the sad state of such asylums and what was worse, he even had reason to believe that the young women in these asylums are sexually exploited.

Strange but true, the elected body had apprehensions about the dubiousness of the institution, but he never felt the necessity to act. The result: a brutal death for its inmates. So the great saviors of democracy, the people, must learn a lesson from this revealing statement of the elected body. You can't relax by just casting your vote. The people need to compel their elected representatives to act.

It has been a long journey since we gained independence. The independence didn't come easily. A lot of struggle was required to achieve it. It was not only Gandhi. Almost every Indian was involved in the struggle.

So where are those sentiments now? Why have we turned so apathetic towards our nation's problems, our social problems? True that these problems affect one of us at a time. But it won't be long when it will affect each one of us directly. Corruption is rising. It has entered almost every section, even the armed forces has faced it.

SO what are we waiting for now? Why can't we act? Or are we waiting again for a Gandhi to mobilize and lead the struggle?

If it's so, then this time it will be even difficult for a Gandhi to succeed in a struggle. The independence struggle was won due to various reasons. One of the biggest reasons was that the enemy was external. Nobody related oneself with the enemy. So one and all joined together to fight and achieve independence. But this times its no external hand. Thescamster, the criminal or any such anti-national person must be related to some of us. So the common struggle does not happen.

But still what we can learn from the independence struggle is to forget about personal interest to fight for nation's interest. It is only in the nations interest that our development and security lies. A Gandhi coming and rescuing all is a nice idea. But when will we realize that legends like Gandhi don't come every year or decade or century. If they come every time, then there won't be any greatness about Gandhi. Everyone will be a Gandhi then.

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Collector’s office to be IT savvy, citizen friendly Thursday, August 16, 2001

By Binita Parikh, AsianAge
Ahmedabad, Aug. 14: The district collector’s office plans to go hi-tech with the local area network being set-up in the office and inter-departmental connectivity being achieved with 21 nodes.

Being heralded as the first step for changing the government focus from treating the people who come to the office as “citizens, rather than applicants for service,” the district collectors’ office is all set to become more citizen-friendly.

All citizens submitting an application will be given a unique code and the status of the application will be available even on phone. Four clerks who have got special training from National Informatics Department will man the Information Gallery. Plans are afoot to give training to the staff for change in attitude and behaviour with Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

This will also enable a single-window clearance of all the applications and make it an information hub rather then just a place for collecting applications. The target is to have 60 such nodes in a year’s time. While all the applications received after Wednesday will be given the code, plans are afoot to clear the backlog too.

A new concept of “citizen’s friend” is also being floated. This will mean deputation of an experienced deputy mamlatdar for helping people interact with the DC office. This concept will be put in place on experimental bases and is targeted to make the system more transparent and effective.

The wide-area-network concept will mean that all the information is just a click away and the citizens can hope for a tighter administrative control and stricter implementation of the Citizen’s Charter. Putting all the information on the Internet, so that it is just a click away for the citizens, is a part of the plan for long-term basis.

Reportedly Asia’s largest and the first of its kind WAN in district collector’s office, the employees are also eagerly waiting for the inauguration of the system on Wednesday by chief minister Keshubhai Patel.

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Varsity meet to discuss renovation of buildings Wednesday, August 15, 2001

By Our Correspondent, AsianAge
Ahmedabad, Aug. 14: The executive council of Gujarat University met on Wednesday to chalk out an elaborate action plan in regard to the Central government grant, worth Rs 14 crore, following the earthquake. A five-member committee was constituted to monitor process of renovation of university’s quake-affected buildings.

The five-member committee comprising KS Shastri, Dr RK Shah, Narhari Amin, D Panchasra and Jagdish Bhavsar would kick-off the process on a war footing.

“After the quake, a committee of university officials assessed the damage to the property, including hostels and laboratories. The report was sent to the UCG which sent grant worth Rs 14 crores to the university,” informed Mr Amin.

Council members, including Mr Amin and Mr Shastri addressed high fee-structure of architecture courses and regularisation of administrative work at the university. Members also discussed upon measures that should be initiated for sports at the university.

The council decided that Asia Charitable Trust, Shugnabai Charitable Trust, Lokhandwal Charitable Trust, Satsang Siksha Parishad, Nadiad Education Society, St Xaviers’ College and Sonpal Charitable Trust whose proposal to open new colleges were rejected by need committee and would be sent back to academic council for reconsideration.

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Rickshaw driver stabbed to death, police clueless Wednesday, August 15, 2001

The AsianAge
Ahmedabad, Aug 14: A rickshaw driver was found dead in his rickshaw in the wee hours on Tuesday near BBC Mithaiwala Hall Maninagar. He was stabbed in the head with a sharp weapon and some other stab marks on the body. The murder took place before 6.15 am, according the police officials.

Maninagar police identified the body as that of Girish Misra, 50, a resident of Vashishnagar, Bhaduatnagar. He was living here with his relatives while his wife and children are living in Uttar Pradesh. A complaint was lodged at Maninagar police station by the owner of the rickshaw Bhaskar Datare.

Maninagar police inspector K.N. Patel said that they have not been able to establish a clear motive yet so they are looking into all the leads available at present.

Incidentally, Maninagar police had seized a white Maruti van, which they suspect was used in the murder. They had called the Forensic Science Laboratory experts to check the car for finger prints and blood spots.
Source - The AsianAge

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