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August 2, 2001 - August 2, 2001

Plantation drive in city on Aug 3 Thursday, August 2, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
VADODARA: Vadodara might become the first administrative unit in the world to register the highest number of plantations in its jurisdiction in the shortest available time.

District collector Bhagyesh Jha has planned a 'forest festival', something the district has not experienced before.

The district administration, along with the state forest department, has decided to plant 11.11 lakh trees in 30 minutes across the length and breadth of Vadodara.

The plantation drive, which is being organised as a part of 52nd Van Mohatsav, will kick off at 4 pm on August 3. At 4.30 pm on the same day, just in thirty minutes, a mammoth staff of district and forest department will sow 11,11,111 tree saplings in Vadodara, Waghodia, Padra, Karjan, Savli, Dabhoi, Shinor, Sankheda, Jetpur-Pavi, Chhota-Udepur, Naswadi and Kanwat taluka here.

Some 7000 primary schoolteachers, 861 talatis, 271 gram sevaks and scores of others will achieve the target in 4856 places in the district.

"This is an environment awareness exercise. This time we are doing it a bit differently as to have an impact on society as a whole. We want to send the message of planting trees across the district," Jha said. The exercise is dubbed as Narmada Forest Festival - 2001. A variety of perennial trees will be planted during the drive.

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


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Panic over 'doomsday' (Aug 4) in Bhachau Thursday, August 2, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
BHUJ: Predictions of a 'doomsday' on August 4 have spread panic in Bhachau area of Kutch district with these rumours playing on the minds of the quake-stricken people.

Some miscreants have used name of a television channel which, they say, had predicted the doomsday. According to the rumour, entire Bhachau would submerge into the sea. When this correspondent travelled to Bhachau through Bhuj, making halts at villages, everyone was found frightened and were discussing about the doomsday. At Manfara Char Rasta, highway hotel owner Pratap Jadeja asked, "Should we leave this place"? At Samakhiali village, even some government officials and employees have decided to go on a leave from August 2 onwards.

A bridge between Bhachau and Samakhiali is under repair as some portion of land beneath the bridge has developed a crack. People believe that this piece of land is a clear indication of the fact that earth has been split into two from this place.

The district administration has so far not done anything to put people at ease or try to find the source of the rumours.

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


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Panic over 'doomsday' (Aug 4) in Bhachau Thursday, August 2, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
BHUJ: Predictions of a 'doomsday' on August 4 have spread panic in Bhachau area of Kutch district with these rumours playing on the minds of the quake-stricken people.

Some miscreants have used name of a television channel which, they say, had predicted the doomsday. According to the rumour, entire Bhachau would submerge into the sea. When this correspondent travelled to Bhachau through Bhuj, making halts at villages, everyone was found frightened and were discussing about the doomsday. At Manfara Char Rasta, highway hotel owner Pratap Jadeja asked, "Should we leave this place"? At Samakhiali village, even some government officials and employees have decided to go on a leave from August 2 onwards.

A bridge between Bhachau and Samakhiali is under repair as some portion of land beneath the bridge has developed a crack. People believe that this piece of land is a clear indication of the fact that earth has been split into two from this place.

The district administration has so far not done anything to put people at ease or try to find the source of the rumours.

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


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Con woman, two others caught in sex racket Thursday, August 2, 2001

BY A CRIME REPORTER, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
AHMEDABAD: The Navrangpura police busted a sex racket in Paldi and arrested a man and two women, one of who claims to be a Samata Party worker and a journalist!

The prime accused is Meera Harishbhai Shankarlal Panchal, besides Deepak Babulal Patel who runs the 'Downtown Travels' in Kalpana Complex in Memnagar area and Sunita Damodarsingh Khimansingh Rajput.

The trio cheated Chandrakant Naranbhai Patel (25) of Kadi, by luring him into a sex racket and extorting money.

In his complaint, Chandrakant stated that he was on his way to Kadi from Ahmedabad on Saturday when he was approached by a girl while he waited at the Paldi bus station. The girl asked him, "programme karne ka hai?" and he obliged. "He was taken to a room in 'Rest and Ride' guest house at Paldi and just as he settled down, a woman who identified herself as a police inspector from the crime branch said that the place has been raided and that he would be arrested", said Navrangpura police inspector O N Majumdar.

She then struck a deal and fished out Rs 1,300 from his wallet and said that a mobile van waited for him downstairs. But Chandrakant found nothing when he went down. Meanwhile, the woman who identified herself as Meera Panchal, instructed a girl waiting downstairs to let him go.

Later, on Monday she called up Chandrakant at Kadi and threatened to expose him unless he agreed to give them Rs 1 lakh. Panchal made the call from 'Downtown Travels' and was with Deepak Patel.

Chandrakant said he doesn't have that much money, to which they agreed on a part payment arrangement which was to be paid to Deepak.

Someone then tipped-off the Navrangpura police and they caught the two red-handed from Kalpana Complex at Memnagar. The third accused, Sunita, is the girl who waited downstairs at the guest house.

Panchal is learnt to have claimed before the police that she was well-connected and also dropped names of some influential politicians to press for her release. Samata Party state president Pravinsinh Jadeja was indisposed and could not be contacted for his comments.

Meanwhile, the police discovered that Panchal was into black-mailing and extortion. In the FIR she stated her residential address as Adinath Nagar in Memnagar, while the visiting card showed it as 'Shankar Nivas' in Gheekanta.

According to Majumdar, one Harshad, who runs the guest house was deep into this sex racket.

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


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Decision on shifting Surat courts soon: Minister Thursday, August 2, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
GANDHINAGAR: Law minister Hemant Chapatwala informed that the state government would in consultation with authorities of the Gujarat High Court and Bar associations decide whether the courts in Surat city should be shifted to new premises or not. The existing court complex building is in a dilapidated condition, as it suffered severe damage in the Republic Day earthquake.

While replying to supplementaries arising from original question of Dhansukhbhai Patel in the Assembly, the minister said that the damage caused to the court building was around Rs 2.10 crore in addition to the Rs 60 lakh the government has spent on repairs in the last seven years.

He said after the earthquake, the courts have been shifted to a multi-storeyed building and in old government rest house in Nanpura.

When two BJP members from Surat _ Atmaram Parmar and Gulabdas Khasi _ complained that the new arrangement was congested and the lawyers have to write 'Vakalatnamas' sitting at a tea stall, the minister replied that the temporary arrangement was also made after consulting the lawyers.

Chapatwala said the government was also considering a proposal received from a section of lawyers that atleast two storeys of the six-storeyed court complex should be demolished to make it more safe.

The government will finalise the new building plan for the courts at the earliest. As compared to 26 courts, Surat city will have 10 new metropolitan courts and all these courts would have to be accommodated in the proposed building.

Wild ass sanctuary: State forest minister Kanjibhai Patel assured the Assembly that the government has decided to denotify 589 square km area of wild ass sanctuary spread in five districts of Saurashtra and Kutch for development of salt industry.

Replying to a host of supplementaries on a question from Vadsanbhai Ahir, the minister said the decision has been taken following a report submitted by GEER which was entrusted the job due to a special civil application filed in the Gujarat High Court. The wild ass sanctuary has been declared under the Wild Life Protection Act since 1973 but the government has received several representations against the sanctuary area.

The government, he said, has appointed settlement commissioner to dispose off the claims and once the survey is over, all the 4,321 claims would be settled. Senior BJP member I K Jadeja criticised the government for inordinate delay in the settlement of claims.

The forest minister told Devanand Solanki that the vigilance commissioner was inquiring into the charges of irregularities in forest division of Bhavnagar and stern action would be taken against those involved in the purchase of seeds and polythene sheets.

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


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