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August 8, 2001 - August 8, 2001

Vadodara Phone numbers to be changed Wednesday, August 8, 2001

VADODARA: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has proposed a seven-digit numbering scheme for telephone subscribers in Vadodara city and district.

The seven-digit number scheme will soon be introduced whereby all telephone numbers in city, which have six digits at present, will be changed. However, the code for Vadodara telephone subscribers will continue to be 0265, said a press note issued by Vadodara Telecom District (VTD) principal general manager Ashok Bhandari on Tuesday.

The press note also noted that the timings of public meeting with VTD officers without appointment for telephone subscribers have been changed. "Now, all officers, who have public dealing, will meet subscribers for their problems on every working day between 12.00 pm and 1 pm."

The VTD has also announced that booking of telephone connection with initial registration charge of Rs 1,000 has been extended up to September 30. However, in the first bill, security deposit of Rs 3,000 (refundable) equivalent to a year's rental and Rs 800 (non-refundable) installation charges will be charged, and registration fee of Rs 1,000, along with interest accrued on it, will be adjusted, the press note said.

Clarifying on the telephone scheme for senior citizens, the VTD said no registration fee is charged from senior citizens but they are liable to pay security deposit of Rs 3,000 equivalent to rental for one year, which is refundable and a non refundable sum of Rs 800 as installation charges. Thus, senior citizens will be issued first telephone bill of Rs 3,800.

However, if the senior citizens desires, counter clerks have been instructed to accept Rs 2,000 as first instalment and issue a supplementary bill for Rs 1,800 with due date of next cycle.

For senior citizens who have been billed by 18-07-01 with security deposit of Rs 3,000 plus installation charge of Rs 800, they are allowed to deposit the amount in four instalments, if they so desire, said the press note.

The press note adds that while submitting the bill for payment senior citizens can request for the pattern of instalments they wish to have. Instalments cannot exceed beyond four parts. However, they can pay the bill either in two instalments or four instalments.

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

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Additional engineer arrested for taking bribe Wednesday, August 8, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested additional assistant engineer employed for the Narmada canal works on charges of accepting an illegal gratification of Rs 5,000 from a contractor for awarding him a certificate.

The contractor Kalubhai L Modhera who was employed by a sub-contractor GK Constructions for building a sub-canal from Rajpara from the main canal in the Vadodara division, which was to be supervised by additional assistant engineer Pradeepkumar J Patel.

In order to issue a completion certificate and clear the work of objections, Patel asked for Rs 10,000 as bribe which was to be given to him near the Golden chowkdi in Vadodara.

Modhera lodged a complaint with the ACB and a trap was laid where Patel was caught accepting the money and was arrested.

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

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Bringing romance back to city cricket Wednesday, August 8, 2001

VADODARA: It's been the nursery for many a good cricketer. It's a ground that gave India and the Baroda Ranji team some of its finest players. And, as the Vadodara Cricket Association (VCA) begins to re-lay the pitch of the DN Hall in the MS University campus and talks are on to fence it, the "city of cricket" is all set to get another ground.

While VCA has already begun building a turf wicket, the MS University Syndicate has
requested the university's board of sports to study a proposal to have a picket fence around the ground resembling county grounds in the UK.

And, the DN Hall ground could well add another cricket ground to the city along with the IPCL ground, GSFC ground and Moti Baug. And, add to the romance of the game that, old timers allege, is slowly losing its charm in the city.

Syndicate members feel that with the turf wicket being laid out and the ground fenced to keep off grazing animals, it could prove to be a sporting track to organise Under-19, inter-university, inter-city or district tournaments.

"The syndicate discussed a number of options for fencing like a brick and mortar wall, a cattle trap and picket fences. The board will now study the feasibility of putting up picket fences like the grounds in the UK. Its not just a matter of keeping off animals, it's a matter of aesthetics too. Picket fencing will give the look of a county ground and with the majestic DN Hall as the backdrop, the ground would look picturesque," says MS University syndicate member Cassim Unia.

It was former Test cricketer and former national coach Anshuman Gaekwad who took a lot of initiative to get things happening. "I have a lot of affinity for the ground as I began my career playing there for my university," says Gaekwad, who was in an advantageous position of being both on the VCA managing committee and a selector for he university team.

"There are many other reasons. I felt that there was a gap between the Under-19 and Ranji stages here. There was a need for a good wicket and ground in the university to bridge this. And then, most games today are played on turf wickets. So, providing the university boys a turf wicket will prove to be helpful in the long run," says Gaekwad, who feels that infrastructure like seating arrangements for spectators, dressing rooms, a pavilion can follow subsequently.

"The ground is also centrally located and looking into all these factors, I spoke to both Jaywant Lele and the university's director of sports. This ground, once prepared, will probably meet aspirations of a number of young cricketers dreaming to be reach the Ranji stage and then the national side," adds Gaekwad.

"The move to work on the DN Hall is laudable as the ground is steeped in history, being laid out during the time of the Baroda College, more than a century ago. A number of players like D.K. Gaekwad, Deepak Shidhan, J.M. Ghorpade, Ansuman Gaekwad have begun playing on this same ground," says former head of political science department at the MS University Dilip Mohite who was in-charge for cricket in the Board of Sports till he retired recently.

"So much of cricket nostalgia is still attached to the ground. In 1956-57, an inter-university match between Bombay University and Delhi University went on for seven days as there were no over restrictions and the decision was dependent on who takes a first innings lead in the match. The match, which had players like Ajit Wadekar and Balu Gupte playing, drew a crowd of about 8,00 people. Even inter-faculty matches earlier would attract about 2,000 spectators. However, this enthusiasm is waning and this move will certainly infuse new life into cricket in the city and university," adds Mohite.

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

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MICA to tie-up with UAE firm Wednesday, August 8, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad will soon tie-up with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government-backed Dubai Media City (DMC) to set up a state-of-the-art communications and media centre at Dubai. It will be one of the many institutions that DMC is planning to collaborate with from around the world.

The proposal is still in its infancy and institute director was working out the modalities with DMC officials who were on the campus on Monday. Tandan said MICA and DMC can join hands for mutually strengthening the communications and media environment.

DMC is part of several UAE government-promoted centres like the Dubai Internet City (DIC) and venture capital incubation centres that fall in the Dubai free trade zone. Equipped with the infrastructure, these centres are looking for private initiatives for manpower as well as investment from countries like Lebanon, Egypt, South Africa, and India.

According to Tandan, MICA's strong links with the industry can promote DMC among Indian communication companies. The possibility of exchange programmes between faculty and students is also being discussed between the two institutions.

The partnership proposal also says MICA could offer an integrated marketing communication programme for students from other countries from where DMC plans to source its talent. Executives from DMC could participate in several professional development programmes and short term courses organised at the institute.

Earlier, project manager with DMC Arif Mubarak Hamid made a presentation to the students about the DMC and the Ibdaa awards.

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

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Wanted, broader foortpaths Wednesday, August 8, 2001

VADODARA: Ever tried walking in the city? Gaining a toe-hold on city roads could pose a challenge to even the most consummate prima ballerina.

Sanskar Nagri has some beautiful monuments, gardens, parks and shopping complexes but few well-constructed footpaths.

So, if a citizen wished to walk short distances on foot, the task would be one involving innumerable impediments. One would have to contend with the plethora of encroachments on footpaths, the sheer absence of smooth flooring on them, parked vehicles, garbage dumps, cows and pigs and hawkers. Walking in Vadodara is a challenge.

Walking is possible if there are footpaths. In many city areas there are no pavements at all, they are either taken over by parked vehicles or engulfed in road-widening exercises. Sometimes one can hardly make out the difference between a shop entrance and the footpath road.

In almost all shopping areas in the city, viz. Alkapuri's R C Dutt road, Raopura main road, the M G Road, Mangal and the Nava bazaar, a well-maintained and well constructed footpath is a sight for sore eyes.

Furthermore, many important crossings on the main roads in the city do not have zebra crossings (near the cross-roads on the RC Dutt road, the ever-crowded railway station, ST depot and many other city areas).

"It appears that the city's town planners had no provisions at all for pedestrians," says Smita Ruparel a city resident.

And ironically enough sources in both VUDA and the VMC say that their main concern is construction of roads, pavements are what remains as leftover after the main road (for vehicles) is constructed. "In some city areas, especially old city areas like MG Road, the increasing traffic has forced the authorities to narrow down the footpath," said a senior officer in VUDA.

"It's a ubiquitous problem in Vadodara. When I first came here I wanted to walk around the city to know it better. But when I tried it out, I discovered that it was impossible to walk on footpaths without endangering oneself. I gave up due to uneven roads and opted to use my two-wheeler even for short distances instead," says Rita Upadhyay a resident of Navapura.

"My 10-year-old daughter was recently hurt when she went to the market. To avoid a cow coming headlong at her, she moved to the side and in the process sprained her ankle due to the uneven footpath. Roads are not safe to walk on, but then nor are our pavements safe," she says.

According to R Trivedi, shopping in Alkapuri too is difficult especially if one tries to walk across from one shopping complex to another. "There are footpaths, but they are uneven. At all places there are hawkers and parked vehicles which makes walking very difficult. This is especially so if we come with our children, we have to be specially careful to ensure they do not sprain their ankles," he says.

"There are many tourists, especially foreign tourists, who prefer to walk in the cities they visit, but unlike in other cities most of them avoid walking in Vadodara," says Hitesh Desai, who played host to some French tourists.

He says, "If a person tries to walk for example from the majestic Kirti Mandir towards the Baroda Museum and Picture gallery in Sayajibaug, he would have to walk on the road where hawkers have encroached upon the pavement. Further down this road one has to cross the Vishwamitri bridge where pedestrians have to walk on a narrow lane which has a huge pipe taking over the pedestrian walk. The footpath that was constructed on this bridge during the Gaekwad era has been converted into a road for two-wheelers. This leaves absolutely no place for pedestrians to walk," he complains.

According to him this is the case even on the periphery of the historic Sursagar lake and the majestic Nyay Mandir where footpaths are uneven and taken over by parked vehicles, hawkers and cattle.

* Encroachments on footpaths.
* Cattle and garbage heaps leave no place for pedestrians to walk on.
* Vehicles parked on footpath.
* Lack of zebra crossings at main cross-roads in the city.
* Badly laid footpaths.

In The Line of Fire:
K K Shah VUDA chairman:
There are plans made to construct roads in the city. These follow certain guidelines. There are specifications for the width of the pavement of the roads. But per se there is no plan for a pavement alone. Sometimes the pavements in the city are damaged and uneven and can injure a person walking on them. But the repair and maintenance of footpaths is the responsibility of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation.

Who to complain
VMC's complaint cell: 434216

Madan Jhampa Road is virtually taken over by shopkeepers who display their wares. Such a sight is common to the entire city.

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

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