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July 14, 2001 - July 14, 2001

'Operation Daman' to enforce dry law in Surat Saturday, July 14, 2001

The Times of India News Service
SURAT: Beware worshippers of Bacchus. The prohibition and excise department of Surat division will conduct 'Operation Daman' at frequent intervals to check the trafficking of hard liquor in the city and other parts of south Gujarat.

Prompted by the success of the two-week 'Operation Daman' last month in which 517 cases were registered and 532 people arrested, the Surat division covering the south Gujarat area, has planned to hold such exercises regularly.

Proximity to Daman attracts residents there, for among other reasons the easy availability of hard liquor, that too at a low price compared to Mumbai and elsewhere. According to deputy commissioner of police, prohibition, I M Desai, out of 517 cases, 237 related to bootlegging and 19,099 bottles along with several vehicles, worth over Rs 69 lakhs were seized during the operation carried over a fortnight from May 30.

All the 15 points on the border between south Gujarat and Daman, were sealed and checking made on incoming vehicles and those persons entering the state in an inebriated state, Desai informed.

When asked, he said for such a massive exercise involving continuous vigil, personnel from prohibition department and other divisions had been requisitioned, along with companies of SRP.

The operation would have continued but for the Rathyatra in June last week, for which the SRP personnel had to be sent back. Desai said. But, with the help of the prohibition staff, the exercise is continuing but at times it is hard to keep the whole stretch under constant watch.

Whatever strength they have in terms of the number of personnel the attempt is to instil fear among bootleggers and also among those who think that getting drunk there and then returning back would be anything but not an offence, Desai narrated.

In recent months, the bootlegging was carried out on a massive scale from Daman to Surat and other parts of south Gujarat. Those involved in this illegal trafficking had in fact been in very in their whole modus operandi and in two separate cases sometime back had even thrashed two constables of the prohibition department near Pardi in Valsad. Both of them later had succumbed to their injuries in the hospitals.

It had become absolutely essential to have 'Operation Daman' type of exercise, primarily to instil a fear among bootleggers and also to enforce a blanket ban on all sort of trafficking in hard liquor through the porous points on the border.

For making the enforcement exercises more extensive, the heads of the prohibition and excise departments are to attend a meeting being convened on July 19 at Gandhinagar, where several measures in regard to enforcement of prohibition would be discussed.

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

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Student leaders held in Vadodara Saturday, July 14, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA/AHMEDABAD: Varsity campuses in Ahmedabad and Vadodara on Friday remained tense with normal activities paralysed over increasing incidents of student violence.

The police arrested nine M S University student leaders in Vadodara even as in Ahmedabad, a delegation of angry college principals met minister of state for home Haren Pandya seeking an end to the wave of violent unrest.

MSU union vice-president Parth Joshi and others were picked up from their houses in a preventive swoop just before a 'bandh' to protest against self-financed institutions was to begin. MSU vice-chancellor Anil Kane had lodged a police complaint apprehending trouble during the 'bandh'.

Many student leaders, including general secretary Bharat Dangar and commerce faculty general secretary Amit Gotikar had to go into hiding to evade arrest. About 200 policemen moved into the MSU campus in the morning to prevent any trouble. However, despite heavy security, student leaders sneaked into classrooms and brought the university activities to a halt.

The MSU authorities had installed a new iron gate at the university office to block the entry of protesting students, but a crowd managed to reach there shouting slogans against Kane.

Gotikar later wrote a letter in blood to the city mayor, MP, MLA and municipal councillors. The letter informed them about the cause of the student agitation. "If Kane doesn't relent we will continue to bleed ourselves," the letter warned.

In Ahmedabad, 14 colleges run by the Gujarat Law Society (GLS) remained closed on Friday to protest against the assault on CB Raval, principal of HA Commerce College.

The issue of attacks on city colleges, including the assault on three principals by NSUI leaders on Thursday, was taken up at an emergency meeting convened by Haren Pandya and higher education minister Bharat Barot.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Gujarat University, college management associations, principals and the police.

"It has been found that violent incidents have been on the rise on the GU campus for the last one-and-a-half months. The state government and GU have decided to hold consultations with political parties to warn their student wings against indulging in any anti-social or violent activities on the campus henceforth. If they do the police department has been given the go-ahead to initiate strict action," GU VC Naresh Ved said.

He said most of the student leaders found inciting violence on the GU campus and across city colleges were not students but anti-social elements. "A policy decision has been taken to isolate these anti-social elements from the student bodies and weed them out from the GU campus," he added.

Bail for leaders
VADODARA: A city court on Friday evening granted bail to nine student leaders with a stipulation that they will not be allowed to enter the Sayajigunj police station area. The MSU campus falls in the area.

Student leaders alleged that the MSU administration and the police had plotted to crush the agitation against payment seats in commerce faculty.

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Vadodara's travelling libraries lie in shambles Saturday, July 14, 2001

By Jahnavi Contractor, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: They were the mobile reservoirs of knowledge, dispersing latest scientific information and literature to the public in the remotest corners of Vadodara district.

Today, however the mobile science laboratory of the Vadodara District Education Samiti, the mobile museum van of the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery and the wooden 'travelling libraries' of the Mandvi Central library, all lie grounded.

Their trips to the villages, now cut short due to lack of maintenance and funds. While the state government does have a mobile library system for villages in all districts these are not a patch on what used to exist during the Gaekwadi-era, say library lovers.

Vadodara was the pioneer of the 'Travelling Libraries' movement when the erstwhile Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad introduced the concept for the first time in India in 1911. The aim was to devise a cheap yet effective means to diffuse "enlightenment and knowledge by means of books in remote and scattered places where conditions do not permit of setting by a small local library", writes Newton Mohun Dutt the erstwhile Baroda State libraries curator.

According to him the Maharaja wanted knowledge to spread not just to those who have access to them in the main Baroda town but also in the remotest corners in villages so that his citizens may be enlightened and develop a love for reading.

Today though the mobile library concept exists, it is not as effective as it used to be says Gujarat Pustakalaya Sahitya Sahakari Mandal chairman Ambubhai Patel. According to him the state government is not committed to the concept of spreading knowledge to remote areas and villages as in the time of the Maharaja Sayajirao.

The fate of the mobile museum,the mobile science laboratory and the wooden mobile libraries indicate this.

Vadodara district education officer RM Baria said the mobile laboratory that used to travel to schools in various village in the district disseminated knowledge about science and held demonstrations for students. "The van was gifted by some donors, but after it broke down we did not have enough funds to repair it and maintain it. Besides unlike the case earlier today all schools have their own science laboratories so we do not need to run the mobile van anymore," he said.

However, sources said the 'Vigyan Melas' (science fairs) that used to be organised in villages used to be popular not just amongst schoolchildren but also adults. "But Vigyan Melas are not conducted anymore, nor does the post of the driver exist anymore. The state government does not want to spend funds on it and if it has to be started again it would be an expensive affair," he says.

The fate of the mobile museum (or the Museo Mobile) which used to the visit various villages in the district is no different. To show the rare artefacts and painting in its collection to villages, this mobile museum would travel across the state. When contacted, the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery director TL Chauhan was not available for comment.

A proposal to re-start the mobile museum was planned a couple of years ago but it has not seen the light of day yet and meanwhile the van remains unused at the museum premises.

For a city that had ushered in the concept of mobile libraries for the first time in the country in 1911, today Vadodara has regressed so badly that neither is it able to continue its old traditions nor has it been able to start any new ones.

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

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VC rallying public support over decision Saturday, July 14, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: In an apparent move to garner public support MS University vice-chancellor has shot off open letters, explaining why he decided to implement the self-finance scheme for commerce faculty.

The letter says that this year HSC commerce result was the proverbial last straw for the commerce faculty. It says that for several years commerce faculty has taken tremendous strain due to the sheer number of applicants. "The staff of commerce and the MSU, on the whole, have carried out brain-storming sessions to come out of this awful situation. We, at MSU, believe that the welfare of the varsity includes that of students and the welfare of society at large. We had to arrest the downslide in commerce education, and for that some bold decisions were necessary," the letter says.

It further adds that due to the large number of students in commerce faculty the university could not focus on quality education. "After deliberating this issue at all levels we decided to restrict admissions to the 4770-mark and give admissions beyond that in the self-finance category. Simultaneously, we are also issuing no-objection certificates to commerce colleges. This is to ensure that in longer run the number of students in commerce faculty per class room comes to 135," the letter said.

It added that all students hailing from the socially and economically backward class of the society will be given admission and would be well within the 4770 mark. "The higher fee has fixed in keeping with the long-term interest of the university. This is happening universally and we will have to face this situation if we want our educational system to survive," Kane says in the letter.

Later, talking to TOI, he said the money generated through the fee would be used for constructing a new building for the commerce faculty and getting more teachers. "We want to arrive at the ratio of 80 students per class," he said.

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

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SC stays all directives in Gandhinagar land case Saturday, July 14, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The Supreme Court has granted an interim stay on all directives issued by the Gujarat High Court in the case of property owned by government officials, MLAs and MPs in Gandhinagar.

An interim stay was granted by a division Bench of the SC earlier this week after the state government challenged an order by a division Bench of the Gujarat High Court that stayed such houses and plots of land from being transferred, regularised or even being given on rent.

The Supreme Court stay will now allow such owners to let out their properties or transfer them to others or even regularise them. The HC had also stayed two resolutions of the state government that facilitated such action, had asked the state not to regularise any constructions, or transfer the property, until disposal of the case or until further orders. It had also ordered principal secretary urban development Manjula Subramaniam to inquire into irregularities committed by plot-holders, and had directed her to file preliminary report. Gandhinagar district collector was also ordered to give details about 137 plots in which notices were issued earlier.

The SC observed that the court could not take up inquiry on its own and the person concerned had to make an allegation through an affidavit. A division Bench comprising Justice JB Patnaik and Justice UO Banerjee had passed the interim order. Solicitor-general Harish Salve, advocate Avantika Wahi and government pleader Arun Oza appeared for the state government.

It was submitted before the court that the High Court could not monitor an inquiry. The state government had also submitted that if all these directions were followed, the development of Gandhinagar would come to a standstill.

It was also argued by the state that an anonymous letter could not be treated by the court as a petition and admit it. An affidavit should be filed by such a person.

According to details of the case, after Gandhinagar was established plots were allotted to government employees and others at reduced rates. Various circulars were also issued by the government regarding allotment.

It was in October 2000 that the HC admitted the letter as a PIL. In March 2001, the HC passed orders against implementation of government resolutions passed in this regard and appointed a court commissioner.

The High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of an anonymous letter about illegal transfer and unauthorised construction on the large plots that had been allotted in exchange.

A state government resolution dated April 3, 1999, permitted let-out of property with certain conditions. The conditions were that the houses could be let out only for residential purpose after completion of construction and a 5-year occupancy certificate being granted.

The owner was, however, restricted from disposing of the property by executing a lease deed for 99 years. Yet another resolution was passed by the state government on November 25, 2000, allowed granting of property on rent after obtaining permissions from appropriate authority under the rules. As per the resolution after the completion of five years --from the date of construction and occupancy certificate -- the property could be given on rent for residential purpose only.

It was also resolved that if the property was not given on rent for the purpose other than for residence then within a period of three months the property shall be vacated.

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

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