Rediscover Gujarat. Rediscover the Gujarati in you !!


Channels : Free Home Pages | Chat | Discussion Board | Graffiti | Music | Reminder Services | Calendar | Horoscope | Dating | Weather | Matrimonial | Jobs

Info

City Guides | City News | Education | Festivals | Food | Greetings | Earthquake fact file | Home

August 2, 2001 - August 2, 2001

Quake survivor gets a taste of English hospitality Thursday, August 2, 2001

BY TRIDIV VAIDYA, The Times of India News Service
BHUJ: Life hasn't been the same for 11-year-old Parth Joshi ever since the earthquake six months ago. His father Pradip Joshi, an officer with the Kutch Gramin Bank, had all but lost hope of finding him alive under the debris of their house when along came a rescue team from the United Kingdom and dug a tunnel to bring him out alive on January 29 -- a full three days after the temblor.

Since then, Parth, who lost his mother and brother in the quake, has gone places, in spite of having his left leg amputated. He has been to the Lord's cricket ground to watch a Test between England and Pakistan. He saw the match seated in the players' pavilion with England captain Nasser Hussain by his side.

Parth has also been to Oxford, Bristol and Cornwall; the last to watch a motorcycle race. And his birthday was celebrated at the British naval base at Devon, where he also tried surfing on the high seas and a enjoyed a helicopter ride as a birthday present.

The last six months have been a breezy affair for Parth, a long haul indeed from his collapsed house in Bhuj and the Army Hospital where his left leg was amputated.

Parth was flown to Mumbai and admitted to a private orthopaedic hospital in Mulund. This was where the UK rescue team, which had extricated him, managed to track him down after their job in Kutch was over and they were headed home.

Nick Spence, a member of the team reached the Mumbai hospital where Parth was recovering and presented the boy a doll made of wool. To Parth's surprise, he also invited him to visit the UK to have an artificial limb fitted.

In the second week of May, Parth and his father arrived at Heathrow where most of the team members were at hand to greet them. "We often talk about Indian hospitality, but let me tell you that what we encountered in England was an eye-opener," says Pradip.

The team had by then also managed a fund of 15,000 pounds by sending e-mails to potential donors. Ortho Services in Oxfordshire also chipped in with 12,000 pounds for Parth's treatment and providing him limbs till he attains the age of 18.

In UK, Jamnagar-based Chamanbhai Patel was entrusted the task of accommodating Parth and his father at his residence in Gloucester.

After the artificial limb was fitted on, many fun trips around the country were organised to enable Parth to unwind and get over his trauma.

Spence and other team members did whatever they could do to dispel the pall of gloom over both father and son. Rapid UK team director Graham Payne accompanied Parth and Pradip throughout their tour of Britain.

Parth and his father have returned to Bhuj but the difference the UK trip made to their lives is palpable. Parth is back in school and is in fine health though Pradip says his son still feels the loss of his mother (Kavita) and brother (Jigar).

Parth will have to go to England every year to get his artificial limb replaced; his dad needn't worry about the finance for the trip as it has already been lined up.

About his trip to England, Parth says, "Nick and the others were great though I was homesick by the end of it all. But I would like to go there again."

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Kutch's palaces no longer a draw for Bollywood Thursday, August 2, 2001

By ROBIN DAVID, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: Everyone is talking of Aamir Khan's Lagaan and how it has lifted the Mumbai film industry's sagging fortunes. No one, however, seems to spare a thought for the hopeless future of the once pristine palaces dotting the rustic Kutch landscape which Aamir shows so abundantly in the film. But if there was to be a sequel to Lagaan, Aamir may have to shift to a locale outside Kutch.

Owned by the former ruler of Kutch Pragmalji and others - the likes of Ranjitvilas Palace, Vijayvilas Palace and Pragmul Palace - are sitting on the edge of extinction, shattered by the earthquake. And no one seems interested in restoring them. Not even those Bollywood producers who used the region's architectural heritage to create exotica in their blockbusters. These include Sanjay Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Refugee which launched current heart-throbs Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor.

Hundreds of private heritage property owners in the state are struggling to put together every last penny to conserve what were once signs and grandeur and prosperity of both Kutch and Saurashtra. Even the state government's response has been lukewarm, setting aside a maximum of Rs 3 lakh for each of the property owners. The first instalment, which will run into a few thousands, would be enough just to "clean up these palaces", say some.

Says Pragmulji: "Bollywood has run away from all this devastation. These chaps want first class structures, not these broken down palaces which we have in Kutch today." He says while most of Kutch's heritage has been destroyed, it is perhaps best preserved on celluloid - in Refugee which had some excellent shots of the famous Chhatris built in remembrance of his ancestors. All the Chhatris have collapsed under the impact of the earthquake.

Former prince of Wakaner and convener of the Heritage Earthquake Restoration Task Force, Digvijaysinhji, has said that the state government is presiding over the annihilation of Gujarat's cultural heritage by fixing an upper limit on assistance for private property. "They are giving priority to temples," he says. "This does not make sense because most temples have substantial income from devotees and other sources. What about private owners like us who have no income?"

Desperate to help members of the task force, Digvijaysinhji, a former Union minister for environment, approached UNESCO. "They were helpful in passing on methodology and know-how on conservation, but not a penny in financial help."

The state government's youth services and cultural affairs secretary, Sudha Anchalia, who is responsible for disbursing the funds, accepts that their Rs 3 lakh ceiling is woefully short for about 40 severely-damaged properties. Having received a large number of applications, however, they are trying to help as many properties possible.

"We received 993 applications from private heritage property owners of which 350 have been scrutinised," says Anchalia. For the 138 applications cleared, the government has sanctioned Rs 1.25 crore. The first instalment of Rs 50 lakh will reach the recipients in the next 15 days. With about 190 applications rejected so far, she hopes to complete scrutiny by August 8.

The department has used experts like for Archaeological Survey of India assistant director K N Dixit, INTACH expert O P Agarwal and former director of archaeology from Deccan College Devlikar for the scrutiny. They are also planning a conservation cell where architects and engineers can help private heritage property owners with expert advice, apart from creating an inventory of conservation material like scaffolding.

For the princes and property owners this is nothing but a drop in the ocean of conservation funds they require.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Kutch's palaces no longer a draw for Bollywood Thursday, August 2, 2001

By ROBIN DAVID, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: Everyone is talking of Aamir Khan's Lagaan and how it has lifted the Mumbai film industry's sagging fortunes. No one, however, seems to spare a thought for the hopeless future of the once pristine palaces dotting the rustic Kutch landscape which Aamir shows so abundantly in the film. But if there was to be a sequel to Lagaan, Aamir may have to shift to a locale outside Kutch.

Owned by the former ruler of Kutch Pragmalji and others - the likes of Ranjitvilas Palace, Vijayvilas Palace and Pragmul Palace - are sitting on the edge of extinction, shattered by the earthquake. And no one seems interested in restoring them. Not even those Bollywood producers who used the region's architectural heritage to create exotica in their blockbusters. These include Sanjay Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Refugee which launched current heart-throbs Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor.

Hundreds of private heritage property owners in the state are struggling to put together every last penny to conserve what were once signs and grandeur and prosperity of both Kutch and Saurashtra. Even the state government's response has been lukewarm, setting aside a maximum of Rs 3 lakh for each of the property owners. The first instalment, which will run into a few thousands, would be enough just to "clean up these palaces", say some.

Says Pragmulji: "Bollywood has run away from all this devastation. These chaps want first class structures, not these broken down palaces which we have in Kutch today." He says while most of Kutch's heritage has been destroyed, it is perhaps best preserved on celluloid - in Refugee which had some excellent shots of the famous Chhatris built in remembrance of his ancestors. All the Chhatris have collapsed under the impact of the earthquake.

Former prince of Wakaner and convener of the Heritage Earthquake Restoration Task Force, Digvijaysinhji, has said that the state government is presiding over the annihilation of Gujarat's cultural heritage by fixing an upper limit on assistance for private property. "They are giving priority to temples," he says. "This does not make sense because most temples have substantial income from devotees and other sources. What about private owners like us who have no income?"

Desperate to help members of the task force, Digvijaysinhji, a former Union minister for environment, approached UNESCO. "They were helpful in passing on methodology and know-how on conservation, but not a penny in financial help."

The state government's youth services and cultural affairs secretary, Sudha Anchalia, who is responsible for disbursing the funds, accepts that their Rs 3 lakh ceiling is woefully short for about 40 severely-damaged properties. Having received a large number of applications, however, they are trying to help as many properties possible.

"We received 993 applications from private heritage property owners of which 350 have been scrutinised," says Anchalia. For the 138 applications cleared, the government has sanctioned Rs 1.25 crore. The first instalment of Rs 50 lakh will reach the recipients in the next 15 days. With about 190 applications rejected so far, she hopes to complete scrutiny by August 8.

The department has used experts like for Archaeological Survey of India assistant director K N Dixit, INTACH expert O P Agarwal and former director of archaeology from Deccan College Devlikar for the scrutiny. They are also planning a conservation cell where architects and engineers can help private heritage property owners with expert advice, apart from creating an inventory of conservation material like scaffolding.

For the princes and property owners this is nothing but a drop in the ocean of conservation funds they require.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Amarsinh has problem of plenty Thursday, August 2, 2001

LEENA MISRA, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The Congress high command's directive to slim down the executive body and make the organisation less top-heavy, has put the newly elected Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Amarsinh Chaudhary in a quandary.

He has at least three factions to pacify by appointing them in the crucial region and district offices and also getting things going for himself and the party which is presumably readying itself to rule the state. That is if the GPCC's plans to build a brand new headquarters in place of the old structure, which was near-crumbling in the earthquake, is anything to go by. And, Chaudhary has decided to appoint office-bearers only after the Sabarmati and the Sabarkantha by-polls, which are likely to be held in September. "Where will I accommodate them?" comes the desperate remark from the GPCC chief about the compromises he is expected to make.

"If I make the appointments now, it will affect the by-elections", Chaudhary told TOI. According to him, "people don't want to become office-bearers, because the newest directives in the party state that no office-bearer will be allowed to contest any election!"

Citing the case of Uttar Pradesh, Chaudhary says, "no one who is of consequence is ready to hold an office in the UP Congress for fear that they would not be able to contest the Assembly election".

Apparently, AICC general-secretary in charge of Gujarat, Kamal Nath, has directed Chaudhary to trim down the executive body of the Gujarat Congress. And this has put the chief in a dilemma. As the Congress executive body stands today, there are 18 vice-presidents, 20 general-secretaries, 17 secretaries, eight spokespersons and 36 district Congress committee presidents, apart from the PCC executive committee and other committees.

Interestingly, the factions in the Congress appear to be dissatisfied because they are not given positions in the party organisation. The faction of the erstwhile Rashtriya Janata Party headed by former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela had held a meeting earlier in July to vent their grievances on the issue and were reportedly assured that they would have their share of representations.

Then there is the faction headed by former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki who has refused to compromise and continues to hold parallel assemblies on the pretext of strengthening the party organisation. Not to miss the Janata Dal group which is in at relative peace with Chaudhary.

But ask Chaudhary about these developments and he reiterates that the divide in the party has closed in after he became president. "We have to all move together and stay together", Chaudhary is known to have harped at all his felicitation functions.

"They are holding the meetings because ... they want positions!" says the GPCC chief and quickly asserts that the Congress was a "homogeneous group".

According to him, merit, seniority, ethnicity and region would be the main criterion for appointing functionaries in the Congress executive body. "I will try to accommodate the rest in the 14 other departments, like tribal welfare, OBCs, labour etc.", says he, drawing up a brief plan.

But people who have recently merged into the Congress put forth the chicken-and-egg dilemma. "If we don't get a chance to work in the party, what will be the measure of our merit?" they ponder.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Centre issues excise duty benefit notification for Kutch Thursday, August 2, 2001

The Times of India News Service
GANDHINAGAR: The centre has issued a notification, providing excise duty benefits to new industries in the quake-ravaged Kutch district of Gujarat for a period of five years, state industries minister, Suresh Mehta, on Tuesday announced in the state assembly.

Making a statement in the house, Mehta said the relief comes in wake of announcement by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to this effect during his June 3 visit to the quake-affected areas of the district.

Accordingly, Mehta said the new industries would get excise duty relief and except certain items all other items would be given excise duty relief benefit till July 31, 2003.

The minister said benefits to be given after the production, for a period of five years, had been divided into two parts, with units having a capital investment upto Rs 20 crore and units having capital investment over Rs 20 crore.

Referring to benefits of sales tax announced by chief minister Keshubhai Patel during his visit on June 3, Mehta said the state government would shortly make announcement on this issue.

Mehta pointed out that production of new units would be verified by the chief commissioner of central excise, Baroda, and industry secretary.
( PTI )

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Gujarat | Pharmacy SEO | Copyright 2000-2006
 A eZee Web Solutions Presentation !

E-mail - webmaster@cybervapi.com
GSM - 9825130401