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August 11, 2001 - August 11, 2001

JUNAGADH :::: Teachers plea on GPF, school timings Saturday, August 11, 2001

JUNAGADH: Problems pertaining to education were discussed at a joint meeting of the Junagadh Teachers' Association and the Junagadh District Education Committee here, according to a press release of the association here on Wednesday.

The secondary teachers felt that teachers should get their general provident fund after retirement directly by cheque and not through their institutions. The GPF form which is in English should be in Gujarati as many teachers find it difficult to fill up all the details in English.

The association also demanded publication of the teachers' seniority list as on January 1, 2001. Other demands included fixed school timings in one shift between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and not between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as is the practice now.

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

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Gujarat blames MP for Narmada deadlock Saturday, August 11, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government has blamed neighbouring Madhya Pradesh for creating hurdles in the way of raising the Narmada dam height beyond 90 metres.

Speaking in the state Assembly, state irrigation minister Nitin Patel said on Thursday that the MP government was "too slow in resettling the oustees whose villages would be submerged at 95 and 100 metres." Nitin repeated the accusation thrice during a three-hour debate on Narmada while seeking House approval for a budgetary allocation of Rs 299 crore for the Narmada project and another 1,134 crore mainly for big and medium irrigation projects.

According to the Supreme Court directive dated October 18, 2000, the dam height could not be raised if the oustees were not resettled in advance. The apex court, while lifting the stay dam construction, had insisted on "pari-passu" dam construction. Nitin's sharp critique of the MP government came after the Opposition Congress attacked the state government of "not doing enough to convince the Narmada Control Authority about the need to raise the dam beyond 90 metres when it was convinced that no new villages would go into submergence."

Nitin asked the Congress to use its good offices to "convince" MP's Congress government about the need to resettle the oustees at the earliest. He regretted slow movement on this score in the neighbouring state despite its deputy chief minister Jamuna Devi's open criticism of anti-dam forces, especially the Narmada Bachao Andolan. When here recently, Devi had said the NBA was creating problems for the dam's completion. She had agreed, there was an urgent need to deal with the resettlement problem.

Senior Congress leader Subhash Shelat, while opening the debate, criticised the Chief Minister's Office for the delay in building the dam even after the apex court's clear-cut directive. Shelat said, "When Jay Narayan Vyas was Narmada minister, the dam work was going on quite smoothly. He sought consensus and moved ahead. But now no more. A partisan attitude prevails. Vyas could easily obtain the apex court nod. But after he was ousted, the CMO took over all Narmada work. Already deep in too many jobs, it failed to concentrate on Narmada in the same way as Vyas."

Though the department is with the CM, Nitin, who looks after all other irrigation projects except Narmada, was asked to reply all Narmada-related issues. An official note said on Thursday that in Gujarat alone 1,403 MP oustees and 33 Maharashtra oustees would need to be resettled by December 2001, to raise the dam height to 100 metres. It does not mention how many oustees would need to be resettled in MP.

Shelat accused the CMO of getting involved in shoddy work in much the same way as the Prime Minister's Office did in Delhi. "It gave contract to a Delhi-based firm to do designing of the Narmada branch canals for crores even though expertise was available with the Narmada Nigam", he said. He also criticised the state government for giving contract to do the lining work of the Saurashtra main canal with clay-bricks to preferred Morbi parties instead of doing it with cement-concrete, as was the case elsewhere on the upstream.

Another senior Congress MLA, Siddharth Patel, son of late chief minister Chimanbhai Patel, said during the stewardship of his father in early 1990s, the anti-dam activists were quite strong and tried their best to stall the dam work. "But Chimanbhai mobilised all the political and non-political forces and ensured that NBA leader Medha Patkad did not succeed", he said. "The dam work was successfully taken to 80 metres. The first SC stay came after first the BJP came in power -- on May 5, 1995. Though the apex court has now allowed raising the dam height to 138 metres now, the current BJP government too has not been able to take the height to beyond 90 metres."

Siddharth said Narmada Control Authority chairman B.N. Nawlavala recently gave a "clean chit to the state government" by declaring that no new villages would be submerged if the dam height is taken at 95 metres after an aerial survey of the area. He found that though the monsoon waters crossed 95 metres, no fresh villages were affected.

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

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'State opposed to shifting of lions from Gir' Saturday, August 11, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Forest minister Kanjibhai Patel on Thursday told the Assembly that the state had not received any directive from the central government for shifting of Gir lion sanctuary to Madhya Pradesh. He said the state would oppose such a move.

Replying to a debate on budgetary demands pertaining to forest and environment departments, Patel said the government would take the Assembly into confidence, if ever there was such a move.

Several members from Saurashtra had expressed apprehension on the issue and demanded that the state not succumb to any threat in this regard.

Referring to charges of his son's involvement in smuggling of Kher wood from forests of south Gujarat, Patel categorically stated that the allegations were baseless. Barring Mansukh Vasava, none from the Opposition benches brought up the issue, which had earlier created a major furore. The minister said he would not tolerate activities of gangs involved in smuggling of Kher wood. The state government, he said, had in the past few months detained three smugglers under PASA and sent them to jails. The government had also compelled the Union government to close a plant producing gutkha in the Union territory of Daman. He assured the House that the government was determined to check the menace.

On the map scandal issue involving senior IAS and IFS officials the minister said the matter was sub judice. The CBI was looking into it, he said. On the charge made by former forest minister that forest officials were hand-in-glove with the gangs, he said probe had been started against 75 officials, including five Class I officials and 70 Class II officials, of whom 35 have been placed under suspension. He denied any shady deal in the transfer of Range Forest Officials.

He said pollution control measures were being monitored regularly. The pollution control board officials recently sealed a chemical plant for illegally diverting industrial waste. Thirteen common effluent treatment plants were functioning at present and seven new plants were being set up, he said.

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

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'3 yrs jail for killing bride is too lenient' Saturday, August 11, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has issued notices for enhancement of sentence to mother-in-law and father-in-law accused of hanging their daughter-in-law, after observing that the three years of simple imprisonment sentenced by the trial court was too lenient.

Justice B J Shethna, while admitting an appeal, turned down their bail plea and also observed that the punishment of three years was very lenient.

The appellants Chanchal Soni and Magan Soni have been accused of killing their daughter-in-law, Nayana, who was married to their son, Lalit, on January 31, 1998. The bride was killed three months later in April.

The court observed that as Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code provides a maximum of 10 years of punishment in such cases, the trial court could have sentenced for more than three years, considering the circumstances.

The court took strict note of the fact that the accused were very orthodox and forced their daughter-in-law to keep 'laj', and she was also taunted for many other reasons from the day one of her marriage. Following these revelations, the High Court observed that the court did not take a strict view.

Appearing on behalf of the accused, advocate A D Shah argued that as per the rules, bails can be granted as the accused were punished with a three years simple imprisonment.

However, assistant public prosecutor B Y Mankad argued that the girl was killed within three months of her marriage and was also tortured. Her husband too wanted to live separately from the parents, which is indicative of the torture and hence bail cannot be granted.

The court then refused the bail plea and also directed that a copy of the judgment should be circulated amongst all the sessions and additional sessions judges of all the districts to take note of the court's view in such cases.

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

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Rajkot accountant gains entry into Limca book Saturday, August 11, 2001

RAJKOT: Hashmukhrai P Parekh, a homeguard volunteer who was instrumental in starting the Rajkot blood bank way back in 1960 has found an entry in the annual Limca Book of Records for 2002 for his meritorious services in 'fire fighting' as home guards man.

Parekh, (64) has been associated with the home guards for a long time and has helped extinguish 575 fires in various parts of Saurashtra. An accountant by profession, he has donated blood for over 50 times in the past 40 years.

Be it his services in home guards or blood donation, they have been without any remuneration. And in recognition of the services, the Limca Book of Records through a communication has intimated to him that he has found a place in the book of records for having been instrumental in extinguishing 175 fires in the region.

Parekh besides winning many prizes is also recipient of the President's gold medal for his fire services. He got that in 1976.

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

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