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July 18, 2001 - July 18, 2001

City's ancient ved shala to be revived Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: Plans are afoot to revive the ancient "ved shala" (astronomy laboratory) that was set up at the Baroda Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya more than 80 years ago by the erstwhile ruler of Baroda state Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad.

The old laboratory contains innumerable traditional brass equipment that was used to study astronomy in the olden days without the use of telescopes. Though none of this equipment has an in-built telescope, a person well acquainted in the science of astrology and vedic mathematics can calculate the exact distance and speed of the various planets from the earth with the help of these 'yantras' (equipment).

"While some of these 'yantras' still exist, there are many that have broken and need to be replaced. We have therefore approached the University Grants Commission (UGC) to help us in reviving this ancient 'ved shala' which is one of its kind in the country" Baroda Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya principal HM Pande told 'The Times of India'.

He says Maharaja Sayajirao had seen the ancient 'ved shalas' of Benaras and Ujjain and wanted to set up a similar but smaller version of it in the BSM where in addition to the study of Vedas and Karmakand, the study of Jyotish or astrology was to be conducted. Today India has merely a handful of such Ved Shalas the most famous being the Jantar Mantar in Delhi and the Jaipur ved shala.

"Now that the UGC has given recognition to the Jyotir Vigyan (astrology) courses, we are hopeful that they would also consider our application for a grant to revive the old astro-laboratory" he said.

According to him though the BSM 'ved shala' was a smaller version of the other ved shalas that existed in the country, this ved shala was well equipped and helped in calculating the distances of various planets from earth.

Dhara Vyas, one of the lecturers of the BSM who teaches Sidhanta (the law of astronomy) to students of Jyotir Vigyan, says there are many interesting equipment that they have at the BSM.

"One of them is the 'Nalika Yantra' which helps in calculating the distance of various planets from earth and its exact position in the celestial plane. All this is done without a telescope and yet the vedic mathematical calculations are so precise that they give the exact location of the planet as calculated by modern equipment," she says.

There are many other elaborate equipment which with help of vedic mathematical calculations help in determining the 'lagna' or the ascendant in one's chart. Still others that make use of the principles of 'triconmiti" (trigonometry) to calculate distances and influences of planets that are far away from the earth, says Vyas.

Though most other ved shalas in the country such as the one at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and the Benares Hindu University's ved shala are bigger ones, the one at BSM is small. Maharaja Sayajirao wanted to have a smaller version of these 'ved shalas' here, says Rajendraprasad Vyas, who also teaches at the BSM.

Most of these brass instruments along with a huge revolving model of the earth have intricate markings etched in Devnagri script representing latitudes and longitudes, time presented in seconds, minutes and hours.

Though the ancient Indian astronomers and astrologers did not have telescopes to observe the universe. There are some ancient 'yantras' that can be used to set the 'panchang' (calendar) for 100 years, it enlists in detail the exact day and hour of the waxing and waning of the moon and solar and lunar eclipses that would occur.

According to Udayan Shukla, who also teaches at the BSM, these equipment are priceless. "Maharaja Sayajirao had established the BSM on September 3 1915. His aim was to ensure that the science of astrology, religious rites and ancient vedas should be taught at a university level.

Later when the BSM was integrated with the MS University in 1951, the grant that used to flow in was stopped and the BSM was not able to maintain its 'ved shala'. Now with the UGC recognition we would be able to once again establish the 'ved shala' with help of funds, he said.

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

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Rains damage roads; VMC indifferent Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: While sons of the soil in villages are ecstatic with the second round of monsoon, the situation is quite different for those living in city.

Not that the urbanities don't like rains but the downpour has made life miserable for city dwellers. A good spell of rains has virtually scraped the tar off many concrete roads in city. It has dotted roads with potholes and manholes. In several areas ditches on roads and in the interior of societies have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and pigs. Besides causing general inconvenience to people, bad roads have also led to an increase in number of accidents. The wear and tear of vehicles has also stepped up. Thanks to an every day rough ride on city roads, the average middle class owner of scooters and bikes has to shell out more money for repair and maintenance of his vehicle.

As city populace virtually run from pillar to post to get there area roads repaired in monsoon, a seemingly indifferent Vadodara Municipal Corporation blows its bugle of "it happens every monsoon".

People have tried pursuing their area municipal councillors but have not met with much success. Those who have argued with the VMC engineers have invariably got the flak instead. Those religiously believing in writing complaint letters and submitting it to ward offices too have been disappointed.

With skies cracking to deliver a bounty of rains every day, problems of people are compounding. Downpours continue to cast-off lumps from roads laid with public money while VMC keepers ostensibly prefer a monsoon siesta.

"The Makrand Desai road connecting Gotri and Syed Vasna roads was laid last year. This was dubbed as a model road. Have a drive on that road and you will know what the model has turned out to be", said angry residents of Maitri Mandir Co-operative Society (MMCS).

If rains created craters on this road, VMC worsened its surface with digging it apparently for laying a drainage line. Last year when the model road was built, says MMCS president Bhatt, the VMC had forgotten to provide for drainage. "Now they have dug up the entire area. Rain and drainage water spill out on the roads. One can't make out what is the road and what is a crater. There are pot holes and commuters face risk of accidents by travelling on that road", Bhatt said. A complaint letter has been shot to VMC ward office, municipal commissioner Vilasini Ramchandran and area corporators Anuj Patel and Shabdasharan Brahmbhatt (who is also the standing committee chairman) but there has hardly been any action.

The condition is ditto for other societies in the area - Morari Park, Green Park, Maheshwari Society. Travel off the model road and ride on the Rajesh apartment road leading into interior areas of Gotri and you can't help scoffing at VMC's concept of a road. "They have made this triangular island like thing in the middle of the road. Its barely few inches in height and difficult to see. Many people bump into it and meet with accidents. Craters and potholes are a permanent feature here", said S Gajjar, a resident of Lalitanagar Society on the Rajesh Apartment road in Gotri.

Now cross over the model road towards Syed Vasna road and enter into Tandalja. By the time you come out of Tandalja, your vehicle will start coughing, screeching and if it's a bit old you are bound to lose a nut bolt or two on the way.

Old Padra road, one of the posh areas in city, too has become a drivers nightmare. Residents in Ami Society, Diwali Pura and in vicinity are forced to curse VMC engineers as they drive on this pot-holed road. "Last week thrice my Kinetic Honda broke down. Every week I have to get my vehicle repaired. My vehicle repair and maintenance cost have shot it. This is all because of bad roads in our area", said Trupti Bhatt, a resident of Diwali Pura.

"Pigs who now a days live on road side dashed into my bike. I had a narrow escape", said S Sharma a resident of Gotri. Conditions are similar or worse in Sama, Waghodia, Makarpura Susan road, Tarsali, Harni road, areas of Nizampura, ring road Kishen Wadi, Kotyark Nagar in Panigate, some of the old city area and over half a dozen other residential areas in Vadodara.

"The railway underbridge near Priyalaxmi mill is a bench mark of VMC's work. Every two months they repair it and with every down pour it is washed off", said Advard Fernandes, a resident of Alka Nagar near Priyalaxmi Mills. "Even the university road leading to Shashtri bridge has developed pot holes", Fernandes added.

Residents of Vishranti Park near Deluxe in Nizampura have a different set of complaint. They don't have any roads in their area. "When it rains we have to cross through ankle deep sludge to reach the main roads", said Varsha Jain, a resident.

"The roads were already bad. Now with VMC drainage chambers lying open, risks of accidents have increased", said Makarpura resident Biji Verghese. Open drainage chambers lie on a sub-road leading towards the church from the GIDC-Vadsar main road. Residents of societies like Viral Park, Ambaji Park, Nandanvan and other localities commute on the road daily. "Many school children use this road. Open drainage chambers on road poses threat and can lead to fatal accidents. We have complained to VMC but nothing has been done so far", Verghese said.

"I live in Dandia Bazar area near the Piramatar road. The road on the backside of my house has turned into a big ditch where pigs breed. The conditions are very unhygienic and if VMC doesn't act there might be a risk to our health", said Urvashi Amdavadkar, a house wife residing behind Nilkantheshwar Mahadev Temple in Dandia Bazar.
Source - The Times of India News Service

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Gujarat CJ visits Nyay Mandir Wednesday, July 18, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: Gujarat High Court Chief Justice DM Dharmadhikari visited Nyay Mandir here on Sunday to hold meetings with members of the Vadodara district legal establishment.

After visiting the historic Nyaya Mandir, Dharmadhikari praised the spectacular architecture of the monument and the marble statue of Maharani Chimnabai placed in the central hall.

He also held an informal meeting with the various district judges and members of the Baroda Bar Association.

Speaking on the occasion Dharmadhikari called for a need to improve the legal functioning, and said legal proceedings should be qualitatively dispensed of. He said the younger junior lawyers too should be allowed to participate actively in the legal proceedings.

University employees' meet: Members of the Gujarat State University Employees' Federation (GSUEF) organised a state-wide meeting here on Sunday to discuss the recent GR issued by the state ministry of education to grant transport allowances to teaching staff of the university.

GSUEF secretary Harshad Shah said the members have resented the non-inclusion of non-teaching staff in the GR. He said earlier the education minister had announced that non-teaching staff too would be provided this grant. According to him delegation would be sent to the minister if no action is taken, the GSUEF would undertake a state-wide agitation, he added.

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

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Police obtain crucial evidence in ISD scam Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: City police have laid hands on the record of telephone numbers on which calls were made between January 1 2001 and till the time when the multi-crore ISD scam was busted.

The record sheet has been obtained from BSNL, Mumbai, and has telephone numbers running into thousands.

While RT Sharma, kingpin of the Rs 22 crore ISD scam, and his coterie manipulated the console terminal in Makarpura exchange to bypass ISD billing, all phone calls made illegally were recorded via satellite in BSNL headquarters in Mumbai. This record was stored on a hard disc in form of electronic data.

The police had sought data of those telephone calls from BSNL Mumbai. The data was obtained this week.

Police are also in the process of getting similar telephone record sheet of ISD calls made before January 1 2001. Police expect to get the second record sheet in a fortnight.

Meanwhile the telephone records currently obtained from BSNL Mumbai are being scrutinised to ascertain whether anti-national elements had taken advantage of the illegal facilitation of ISD calls provided by Sharma and Co, highly placed police sources told TOI.

"It is a tedious process to scan the telephone record sheet that we have procured from BSNL, Mumbai. But we are determined to invest time and technical expertise to extract as much information as we can", said senior police officer wishing anonymity.

A rough estimate disclosed to TOI by the city police pegs the number of ISD calls made since January 1 2001 through Makarpura Fetex exchange at over 30,000! Most of these calls have been made to Middle East and Gulf countries. There are also a couple of phone calls made to African and European countries, police sources said.

"This fact sheet of telephone numbers is yet another crucial evidence that we have collected. It strengthens our case against the perpetrators of the ISD scam", said a police officer.

Police have already traced eight international agents appointed by the gang hand picked by Sharma. Salim was appointed as an agent in Saudi Arabia, David, Geeta, Suresh and Jhonny were appointed in Muscat while in Kuwait Babubhai and Sobha worked as agents. They were identified by code words given to them by the gang running the illegal exchange in a small house Manjalpur.

International agents fed a list of Indians in Gulf countries their names and telephone numbers. A list of telephone numbers and addresses of relatives of those employed in Gulf countries were also furnished. Caller and called parties were given fixed time slots and ISD calls were sold for Rs 200 per 10 minutes to Indian parties. Agents in Middle East and Gulf countries had their own system of commission and charging customers. They charged 20 per cent less than the billing rates of their respective countries.

Between 1995 and 2001 about Rs 22 crore were transacted through 'hawala' (Vishnu Kanti Angadiya Pedhi in Vadodara). Police said this money was pocketed by Sharma, his accomplices Kiran Rana, Shailesh Chandpure and Suresh Mahurkar. A part of the money thus earned was given to Kalpesh Shah, Ashish Modi, Amit Bhatt, Jayesh Patel, Ketan Joshi and Kaushik Patel - who ran the illegal exchange on behest of Sharma and Co.

While police have already arrested Mahurkar, Shah, Modi, Bhatt, J Patel and K Patel; Sharma, Rana and Chandpure are still absconding. Significantly BSNL's actual loss due to the ISD scam touches Rs 100 crore.

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

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JUNAGADH:::: Majevadee Gate area gets sodium lights Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The Times of India News Service
JUNAGADH: The area inside the Majevadee Gate here was gifted with sodium lights. Municipal president Aarati Joshi switched on the lights on Friday.

On the other hand , it has become a talk of the town as to how the municipality would afford the new lighting system when it has been unable to pay the electricity bill running into crores.

It is still fresh in public memory that the GEB had sent a notice and the intervention of collector Sunayna Tomar had saved the civic body from an ugly scene of darkness.

Cable operators' rent: Collector Sunayna Tomar has called a meeting of the cable operators on July 20 to impress upon them the need to withdraw the hike in their charges. Meanwhile, Sorath Development Committee's Mukund Dawe has said that if the operators do not withdraw the cable rent hike by July 20, the committee would begin a door to door campaign and elicit viewers' opinion about the high profits against the poor and incomplete reception of the signals through the cable. The committee would not allow them to fleece viewers.

Thus, the Junagadh Public would compel the cable operators to withdraw the unreasonable rent hike, which is up to 35 %. At many places, they paid Rs. 150 per month.) Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajarang Dal , have also supported the committee.

Water supply every alternate day: Due to the satisfactory rainfall in the first round itself bores, wells, lakes and majority of dams have nearly become full. So Junagadh municipality will supply water to the city every alternate day. So far it was supplied once in three days.

Open Gujarat dance contest: The Junagadh municipality and Janvadee Jawan Sabha have jointly organised the open Gujarat dance competition , on the occasion of Jaagran (on Phool Kajalee festival on August 7. Those, who want to participate may contact Batuk Makwana and Dinesh Tailors, Chhita Khana Chowk, Junagadh.

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

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