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July 31, 2001 - August 1, 2001

Award on Sardar instituted by Gujarati Samaj Wednesday, August 1, 2001

A STAFF REPORTER, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The Vishwa Gujarati Samaj - an apex body of the associations of Gujaratis settled in various states and abroad - has instituted an award in memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as a part of the ongoing celebration of 125th birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India.

The 'Shri Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award' will carry a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000 and will be conferred every year to persons spreading the philosophy and ideals of Sardar Patel.

A three-member committee of judges will finalise the nominations received for the award, which will be conferred on Sardar Patel Jayanti, according to a press release issued by the samaj here on Sunday.

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

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DEO invites statements from public Wednesday, August 1, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The Ahmedabad District Education Office (DEO) on Monday invited statements from parents and any other citizen in the know of the Nutan Prakash School tragedy, which can be of use to the inquiry committee.

Three students were killed and more than 20 others injured in a stampede which occurred in the school two weeks ago as panic-stricken students ran all over each other. Different theories were forwarded for the break out of panic amongst the students, prominent among them being shot-circuit, smoke from waste burning by a Rabari in the vicinity of the school and even a ghost angle!

Following the tragedy, the DEO had instituted a five-member inquiry committee to investigate into the cause of the tragedy and other aspects of the functioning of the school as well.

"It has been decided that the inquiry committee will also take into consideration whatever information parents and other informed citizens can forward about the tragedy and the regular school functioning in order to come up with a clearer picture," DEO S B Mandlik said.

The statements can be sent to inspection inspector G K Patel, Ahmedabad DEO, Ellisbridge by post. The committee is expected to submit its report in another five days time.

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

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JAMNAGAR:::: 2 cheats 'out to double money' held Tuesday, July 31, 2001

JAMNAGAR: Two persons have been caught red-handed for cheating a citizen. Vijay Parmar, a resident of Saru-Section area was lured by three men with an offer to double the value of currency he could give them. Vijay suspected their motive and alerted DSP Varma, who instructed the LCB to take up the investigation.

They laid a trap and gave Vijay Parmar Rs. 5,000 worth genuine notes of Rs. 100. He went to the municipal garden where the trio - Lakhu Marvadi, Keshav and Haja Parbat - came with duplicate currency. When the suspects gave the currency bundle to Parmar, the police caught two men. The third man escaped. The police found that only upper and lower notes were of Rs. 100 denomination. The bundle had blank papers.

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

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Ragging takes form of grooming exercise Tuesday, July 31, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Sporting black trousers, white shirt and black shoes, their heads nearly tonsured and thin black neck-ties hanging from their buttoned collars, they nervously walk up to their institute every morning on the look-out for nasty seniors .

These are the first-year students of the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Ahmedabad, who are in the second week of their session, trying to conform to the strict dress code and hair-do imposed not by the college but their seniors.

While most carry on with their day-to-day activities abiding by the laid norms, some rebellious freshers often revolt against such restrictions which they call ragging.

"We have been directed not to wear anything other than the specified dress and it is tough if a senior spots you loitering in the evening - he may ask you to wash his clothes!" says a first year student from Mumbai.

And when they meet a senior on the way, they have to bow with the salutation "Your highness, most respected sir".

While the boys have their hair closely cropped _ "zero cut" as it is called _ the girls have been asked to oil their hair and comb it into two side pleats with red and blue ribbon knots. A dress code of simple 'salwar kammez' with 'dupatta' and canvas shoes has been prescribed.

But the girls revolted. One of the student organisations came to know about this and warned the seniors against any high-handed behaviour.

The seniors however, do not take kindly to interference from outsiders.

"The grooming is essential for the freshers as we only try to tune them up for the hospitality industry," claims a third-year student, who hails from Jaipur. He maintains that the exercise is just to make the freshers realise they should be ready for rough treatment in the hospitality industry from customers and have to keep on smiling even in adversity.

The seniors point out that the treatment faced by the current batch of freshers is nothing in comparison to the grilling they had to undergo a couple of years back.

Meanwhile, Principal G Upadhyay has come out against ragging, keeping in mind the unpleasant events of the past. He has put up a notice against ragging on notice board, which cites the Supreme Court ruling banning ragging, labelling it as an offence liable to imprisonment and/or fine.

But the freshers can't still ignore the code. The college authorities obviously won't be around every time some robust seniors confront them.

"If the students cannot take it in the right spirit, such practices should be disallowed", says Upadhyay. On the submissions of senior students that they are actually trying to groom the students for the hospitality industry, Upadhayay retorts, "There are experienced faculty members who can take care of this."

Upadhyay says the code of conduct could become an ego hassle for both the seniors and the freshers and there have been occasions where the ragging had acquired unpleasant dimensions.

The Seniors have made it clear to the freshers that if they do not conform to the 'grooming exercise' they will not be made part of any function or gatherings.

Some freshers, too, have charitable comments to offer about the seniors. "They (seniors) are extremely helpful as far as extending help in academics is concerned," says an obedient fresher who feels the freshers of today would be doing the same thing as 'seniors' next year.

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

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Govt decided on 2-child norm Bill Tuesday, July 31, 2001

ANDHINAGAR: Cabinet's No 2 Suresh Mehta has suggested that the new Bill on fixing the two-child norm, likely to be presented in the coming session of the state Assembly, would go "beyond the national population policy" which insists against any disincentives as the means to control population. Talking informally with newspersons here in Gandhinagar on Friday, Mehta, who holds temporary charge of the health and family welfare department, said, however, that he would ensure that the Bill did not "in any way contradict the national population policy."

Mehta said, "I have finalised the Bill from my side. It is now being given final touches at the official level." After that, the Bill would go to the Cabinet for approval, and then placed in the state Assembly. Asked why experts invited to the officially-sponsored workshop in Ahmedabad recently oppose any plan to legalise the two-child norm, he replied, "This is because they have still not seen what we are coming up with. Things would be clear once the Bill is presented in the Assembly. We had called experts to take their views on the issue. We are still in the process of collecting opinion. We want a public debate."

Meanwhile, minister of state for higher education Bharat Barot told the state Assembly here on Friday that the government was planning to come up with a Bill to ban ragging. Speaking at the end of a 35-minute debate on the issue, Barot said, "We have already taken the opinion of a committee formed to fight ragging in the state, consisting of vice-chancellors of four different major universities. We will study the laws banning ragging in other states. We will then come up with a Bill." However, he did not say when such a Bill would come, whether it would be presented before the next academic session or not.

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

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