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July 15, 2001 - July 16, 2001

PALANPUR:::: Date farming can be a boon for Kutch Monday, July 16, 2001

By Pramod Panwar, The Times of India News Service
PALANPUR: Date farming in Kutch district is a lucrative venture and may change the fortune of the toiling farmers who have been falling prey to successive natural calamities: scanty rain or no rain, cyclone or earthquake.

Revealed a survey by Gujarat Agricultural University vice-chancellor M H Mehta, with a team of the scientists that the arid part of the Kutch provided the right environment for date cultivation. The tissue culture that identifies this result-yielding plants in the arid coastal land proved that the date palms are a blessing for Kutch.

The GAU is all set to convert the natural disaster earthquake into an opportunity to repair the fortune of affected people. It has identified the areas and means to achieve the results for hundreds of calamity victims.

For successful implementation of the project on Kutch M S Swaminathan Father of Green Revolution who was with Indian Council of Agricultural Research, World Food Programme and Israeli project among other things had Rs.1 crore sanctioned from the Dorajbi Tata Trust of which he is a trustee, said Dr Mehta.

About 1200 makeshift residential houses cum green houses provided by the GAU with the help of and technical guidance of NGOs and other agencies to the people in the surrounding villages of Bhachau, Mundra, Halvad and other places in the quake-affected Kutch district.

Scientifically erected houses now converted into greenhouses have brought miraculous results and amazed the people, claimed the vice chancellor. The cheaper green houses used as dwelling huts have been reactivated with lush green vegetation after favourable monsoon in the regions.

The people have been virtually pleased finding their wonderful yields - enhanced qualitatively and quantitatively. "The farmers once reluctant to use the green houses have on their own approached and asked us to help in cultivation he added.

Citing an instance, the vice-chancellor said one farmer who in the first phase mocked at the plan faced tough time and adopted scientific method of harnessing the greenhouse method evolved by the university. "Now we have started growing spinach, coriander, chillies, tomatoes."

Replying to query Mehta said cultivation of any sort in the green house is more scientific and earns greater profit. With nominal irrigation one can harvest much greater products. During my visit to Kutch last month, several villagers opposed our suggestion to grow the vegetation in the green houses because they were totally alien to the new technique of cultivation.

One among the dozen using the green house for dwelling purpose so far termed the new technology as snobbish and a mere publicity.

Rejecting the advice he reacted bitterly: We do not use spinach; it is worth fodder only. Persuasive by nature, Dr Mehta however replied, you and your wife though look hearty and healthy yet you might have iron deficiency.

On the next visit, added Mehta, he found he had abundance of spinach grown in the green house. He was all appreciation for the spinach which he had made apart of the food habit, the vice chancellor said with a smile of satisfaction. People, however, illiterate or ignorant can be brought on the right track, through proper persuasion and guidance.

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


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Date farming can be a boon for Kutch Monday, July 16, 2001

By Pramod Panwar, The Times of India News Service
PALANPUR: Date farming in Kutch district is a lucrative venture and may change the fortune of the toiling farmers who have been falling prey to successive natural calamities: scanty rain or no rain, cyclone or earthquake.

Revealed a survey by Gujarat Agricultural University vice-chancellor M H Mehta, with a team of the scientists that the arid part of the Kutch provided the right environment for date cultivation. The tissue culture that identifies this result-yielding plants in the arid coastal land proved that the date palms are a blessing for Kutch.

The GAU is all set to convert the natural disaster earthquake into an opportunity to repair the fortune of affected people. It has identified the areas and means to achieve the results for hundreds of calamity victims.

For successful implementation of the project on Kutch M S Swaminathan Father of Green Revolution who was with Indian Council of Agricultural Research, World Food Programme and Israeli project among other things had Rs.1 crore sanctioned from the Dorajbi Tata Trust of which he is a trustee, said Dr Mehta.

About 1200 makeshift residential houses cum green houses provided by the GAU with the help of and technical guidance of NGOs and other agencies to the people in the surrounding villages of Bhachau, Mundra, Halvad and other places in the quake-affected Kutch district.

Scientifically erected houses now converted into greenhouses have brought miraculous results and amazed the people, claimed the vice chancellor. The cheaper green houses used as dwelling huts have been reactivated with lush green vegetation after favourable monsoon in the regions.

The people have been virtually pleased finding their wonderful yields - enhanced qualitatively and quantitatively. "The farmers once reluctant to use the green houses have on their own approached and asked us to help in cultivation he added.

Citing an instance, the vice-chancellor said one farmer who in the first phase mocked at the plan faced tough time and adopted scientific method of harnessing the greenhouse method evolved by the university. "Now we have started growing spinach, coriander, chillies, tomatoes."

Replying to query Mehta said cultivation of any sort in the green house is more scientific and earns greater profit. With nominal irrigation one can harvest much greater products. During my visit to Kutch last month, several villagers opposed our suggestion to grow the vegetation in the green houses because they were totally alien to the new technique of cultivation.

One among the dozen using the green house for dwelling purpose so far termed the new technology as snobbish and a mere publicity.

Rejecting the advice he reacted bitterly: We do not use spinach; it is worth fodder only. Persuasive by nature, Dr Mehta however replied, you and your wife though look hearty and healthy yet you might have iron deficiency.

On the next visit, added Mehta, he found he had abundance of spinach grown in the green house. He was all appreciation for the spinach which he had made apart of the food habit, the vice chancellor said with a smile of satisfaction. People, however, illiterate or ignorant can be brought on the right track, through proper persuasion and guidance.

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


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13 new gastro-enteritis cases reported Monday, July 16, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: With eight new cases of gastro-enteritis reported at Infectious Diseases Hospital and five at Jamnabai General Hospital here in the city, the outbreak of gastro-enteritis continues to take its toll. The total at present has reached 40.

Doctors at Jamnabai General Hospital said the situation is under control with no new cases of cholera being reported. However, there are many experts who say that unless a patient is tested immediately after symptoms manifest and before he has been given anti-biotic treatment, the pathology reports would in most cases not show a cholera-positive reading.

Therefore, they caution that the city is still in the throes of infectious diseases, and the general public should continue taking precautions and drink only filtered and boiled water.

Suresh Amin, a leading pathologist in the city, said they have not tested any cholera-positive cases so far as most patients are sent to the ID Hospital or to the Jamnabai General Hospital. "But we are testing the stool samples sent to us. Thus far, none of them has shown to be cholera-positive," he said.

According to him the bacteria of cholera are sensitive to anti-biotic medicines, and, therefore, unless a specialised culture test is conducted it might be difficult to find out if the case was cholera-positive, if the patient is already put on anti-biotic treatment before the test.

Most patients brought to Jamnabai Hospital with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting are immediately given IV fluids and anti-biotic treatment and tests are conducted later, therefore, even if there are cases of cholera these are not manifested in the report, said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, when contacted late on Sunday evening Mayor Bharati Vyas said she was unaware of the number of patients at the hospital and had no information on the situation.

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


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Little response to water harvesting in Rajkot Monday, July 16, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: People have shown lukewarm response to the municipal corporation's water conservation scheme. Out of the 10 lakh population, just one person has shown interest in it.

According to corporation sources, the civic body held public awareness meetings at 40 places in the city and organised seminars to create awareness on the need to conserve water. There has been a need for the project in view of the frequent drought and water shortage in the city.

The corporation undertook the programme with an aim of lifting the ground water table which could be used in times of crisis. Under the plans bores and pond recharging were also planned and people were asked to join the water conservation programme especially during the monsoon and stop the water from flowing away.

After the second round of rain, just one person has recharged his bore. Officials of the water conservation programme said on Friday that so far none of the societies where they had organised meetings had come forward to inform them of their water conservation plan.

"However, we would now go to them and ask them if they had gone in for water conservation plan as was explained to them. All efforts, including a seminar at the Maniar Hall, meetings, putting up hoardings, have virtually gone down the drain", lamented an official.

The civic body had even dug up 160 pits in government offices, schools, colleges and public libraries to enable the rain water percolate into the ground. Even the required filter bed of sand and mud was also prepared.

Besides, bores were also drilled at airport, Shastri Maidan, and Race Course to enable the rain water flow into the ground. The civic officials said that during rain around 50000 litres of water is filled up in the pit and 15 to 20,000 litres of water flows into the bores which would help in ground water recharging.

It was high time people understood the importance of water conservation and recharging the groundwater which would be of immense use in a lean year.

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


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Vaghela to review merger with Congress Sunday, July 15, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: At least 300 members aligned with the erstwhile Rashtriya Janata Party faction headed by former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela will meet on Saturday afternoon reportedly to review their merger with the Congress exactly two years ago.

Incidentally it was on July 17, 1999 that the merger was realised when Congress president Sonia Gandhi visited the state. The meeting was earlier scheduled for Sunday but was later preponed. The meeting will be held at Sughad farms on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway.

While Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarsinh Chaudhary seemed upset by the turn of events (earlier the Madhavsinh Solanki group had flexed its muscles), he tried to keep his calm when TOI contacted him. He said, "They are going to pass a resolution to compliment me on my appointment." Asked to comment on this meeting which would go against his presidential declaration of "unifying the party", he retorted, "No comments."

Chaudhary insisted that the former RJP members had no problem in the party. However, in the same tune Vaghela described it as a "routine meeting to get apprised about what was happening in the districts".

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


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