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November 25, 2001 - November 25, 2001

Junagadh :: All set for the Girnar parikrama Sunday, November 25, 2001

JUNAGADH: Girnar parikrama is this year scheduled from November 26 to 30. Due to moderate rain this time, streams and rivers are still flowing and to that extent authorities will be relieved as it means lesser drinking water arrangement.

The authorities have appealed to the people not to carry plastic carry bags and plastic material in the forest in view of the ecological damage it entails. Forest officials said they had arranged for picking up left-overs to keep the forest clean. People are being advised to lift water from the sides of streams and from river banks, to keep water clean and useful for others as it will be less contaminated. Sick and disabled people will be allowed to bathe and shall be provided sticks by the department.

Devotees who halt at Jheenabawa's shrine, Matwla and Bhavnath areas are tempted to eat the open food leading to severe health hazards. So authorities have begun a campaign against eating contaminated food.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Meet on Saraswati and other ancient rivers in Rajkot Sunday, November 25, 2001

AHMEDABAD: It is a unique attempt trying to locate and if possible use water from the ancient rivers and natural drainage systems that used to chequer the landscape of Gujarat.

To make a realistic assessment of the scarce water resources of the State and to consider various ways and means of augmenting them, a three-day symposium on 'Palaeodrainage and Water Resources in Gujarat' is being held at Rajkot from November 26.

The programme is being organised by Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan Gujarat (SNSSG), a voluntary organisation working to locate mythical Vedic river Saraswati believed to be passing through Gujarat, in collaboration with Arvindbhai Maniar Jankalyan Trust.

Giving details about the event Dr Baldev Sahai, a retired remote sensing expert and president of the Sansthan said that 'Palaeodrainage' refers to the old or ancient drainage systems, which may have become defunct over the ages due to tectonic movements or climatic changes, but still hold a great promise for augmentation of water resources.

The Sansthan believes that this 'old' drainage system can be very easily delineated using satellite imagery. Archaeological sites belonging to the pre or early Harappan, mature Harappan and late Harappan periods, hundreds of which have been discovered in north-western India including Gujarat, during the last 80 years, provide further support to such a system. This is attributed the fact that most such settlements were on the riverbanks.

Symposium will also take stock of various efforts made in the state to augment water supply such as rainwater harvesting, construction of check dams, watershed development, recharging wells.

Eminent scientists, engineers, and researchers encompassing various disciplines like earth sciences, space sciences, archaeology, water resources management, etc. are expected to participate in the symposium by presenting state of the art reviews and original research contributions. Besides, a very large number of NGO's devoted to water resources development and management in the state, have been invited to share their experiences.

An exhibition is also being arranged during the symposium with the help of Indian Space Research Organisation to educate the general public about the use of space technology and imagery for development and management of water resources.

While the scarcity of drinking water is a world-wide phenomenon, with Asia having 60 percent of the world population but only 36 percent of the fresh-water resources, Gujarat is worst off. It has 4.03 percent of the country's population, but only 2.63 percent of the freshwater resources of the country.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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'Van Chetna' centre opened Sunday, November 25, 2001

VADODARA: The state forest department inaugurated 'Van Chetna Kendra (forest sensitisation centre)' at Alamgir, 10 kms from here on Friday. The centre that has come up at cost of Rs 15 lakh was declared open by forest minister Dolatrai Desai.

"We need to put the common man in the centre of all this action. If the common man takes the centre stage all problems that are plaguing the forests will be solved", Desai said in his address. He appreciated the concept of forest sensitisation centres. "I hope these centres live up to the purpose for which they are set up", he said.

Desai nonetheless did some straight talking as well. "It is a tragedy that while school children enthusiastically plant about 300 plant saplings the social forestry division dilly dallies the issue of giving them tree guards.

Such an attitude is not acceptable", Desai said when briefed about the problem faced by students of Itola School. Desai also insisted that the van chetna kendra should not become mere picnic spots instead of being knowledge centres. Principal chief conservator of forests S A Chavan and district collector Bhagyesh Jha were also present at the function.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Computer courses thrive in Surat Sunday, November 25, 2001

SURAT: The city is yet to make a mark in the field of education as proved by the high drop-out rate in several colleges. Reason: many students try to balance between academics and business pursuits _ a difficult proposition.

Hence, serious academic endeavours are yet to gain foothold in this city of business enterprises, many of them family-owned, with the second generation often being prompted to join soon after high school.

Any wonder, the city of silk and diamonds has the distinction of lagging behind in higher education. But for many to keep pace with the time and technology, pursuing computer learning abilities have become a sort of necessity, for reasons ranging from managing family business to keeping a date through E-mail and to obtain a qualification in computers with the hope of building a career abroad.

Take the case of Jaffer Sheikh, a first year BA student at Navyug College. He is attending a computer course and plans to reach a higher level which will enable him to help out in his uncle's business.

The reasons are different for the 24-year-old college dropout Akshay Seth who aspires to strike it rich in the US. He has enrolled for a software course which, he hopes, will secure him a visa under the quota for software professionals.

But centre manager at NIIT Surat Sanjay Nandwani, says the recent global developments have led to fall in the number of aspirants who wanted to learn computers for the sole reason to go abroad.

Besides, with the US economy facing a slowdown, things are not all that bright even for Java professionals, says Nandwani. But he is hopeful of a positive change in the scenario by January.

Aptech computer centre marketing head Sudhir Gaur agrees that the number of registrations has seen a fall in recent weeks. But, things are appearing bright with a kind of stability ushering in after the sudden shock-waves as fall out of the terrorist attacks in New York two months back.

However, for girls, computer course is still not a must compared to the boys. Both Nandwani and Gaur put the number of girls studying computers to be way below that of boys. With a ratio of 30 girls to 70 boys, they blame the societal attitude towards womens' education. Conservative Surti families do not like daughters to go out to work.

But with many employers preferring computer literates, the situation is changing, though at a slow pace with more girls compared to previous years getting registered for computer education, Gaur explains.

For example, Pinal Patel (20), comes from a conservative background. A commerce student, she has enrolled in a computer course for three months. She plans to work and computers offer a very wide range of careers, she feels. Also, Pinal feels that graduation alone will not help her in securing a job.

For Madhu Beria, a second year BA student, computers have become part of life and cannot be ignored. She has enrolled for a basic course in computers but plans to take up programming in the future and take up a job, she says firmly.

Similar plans have been charted out by Aarti Joshi and Payal Shah. They hail from a business family where women are not encouraged to work outside but have decided to study computers since they feel it gives them the freedom, according to their schedules.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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30,000 'bogus' ration cards detected Sunday, November 25, 2001

RAJKOT: Distribution of computerised ration cards by the civil supplies department has had an unexpected fallout. It has led to detection of some 30,000 'bogus' ration cards in Rajkot district.

The racket in 'bogus' ration cards came to light when the scheme, under which consumers were to hand over their old ration cards and obtain a computerised one in its place, was implemented.

Ironically, the latest census figure has put the population of the district at 30 lakh which does not include the quake-affected areas. At the same time as many as 8.50 lakh ration cards were issued which has registered names of 37,19,709 people who avail of the benefits, a clear gap of 7 lakh people!

The issue cropped during a day-long meeting of civil supplies officials from the Saurashtra region with minister of state for civil supplies Bharat Barot here on Friday.

Barot is believed to have told his officials to ensure that genuine consumers are not harassed and to keep the supply lines at fair price shops open throughout the month.

He said the state government had enough stock of edible items including oil, wheat and rice and hence people living below the poverty line should not be put to any kind of hardship.

He also told the officials to be strict with all those indulging in black-marketing and hoarding, especially of edible oil.

While briefing the media on the proceedings of the meeting, a senior official of the department said that out of the 14 talukas in Rajkot district, work of distributing computerised ration cards was almost over in 12 talukas. Work in Morbi and Wankaner talukas was yet to be completed.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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