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July 14, 2001 - July 14, 2001

Rajkot in brief on July 14, 2001 Saturday, July 14, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RPF drive
The Railway Protection Force detained over a hundred people who were trying to cross the tracks at the Bhaktinagar station here on Thursday and fined them Rs 50 to Rs 100. Residents of Laxminagar, Mavdi Plot, Udyognagar and Amarnagar have been using the tracks as short cut. Those who did not pay the fine were sent to jail.

Parekh makes it to Limca Book
Social worker Hasmukh Parekh has found a place in the latest issue of Limca Book of Records for his services like combating fire and accidents and for blood donation. He has also won the President's gold medal, chief minister's medal, Lions Club and Rotary Club awards and Jaycees award for outstanding person and of course, the Rajkot Ratna award.

Coin distribution
State Bank of Saurashtra has begun coin distribution through vans. Some branches have already exchanged 25,000 pieces of notes worth Rs 1.15 lakh. The van facility has been extended on Palace Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Sorathiawadi. On Sunday, the bank would distribute coins with the help of local bodies.

Computerised ration card issued
The first computerised ration card was distributed to residents of Lodhika in Rajkot district. Collector P N Patel and Rajkot-3 MLA Madhubhai Babaria attended the function on Friday. There are 8.5 lakh ration card holders in the district. As many as 15,000 computerised cards would be distributed in Lodhika.

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

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Lok mela from Aug 10; I-Day venue shifted Saturday, July 14, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: The traditional Lok Mela on the occasion of Janmasthami would be held here from August 10 to 14 at the Shastri Maidan, collector P N Patel announced here on Friday.

So the flag hoisting on the Independence Day would be done at the police headquarters. Committees would be set up to finalise various facets of the mela.

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

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Industries continue to quit Gujarat Saturday, July 14, 2001

By Ashraf Sayed, Indo-Asian News Service
Gandhinagar, July 12 (IANS) Lack of social infrastructure and government sluggishness in Gujarat continue to drive big Indian companies and multinationals away.

The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has told the state government that it is no longer interested in setting up a 1,000 megawatt power plant at a cost of Rs. 40 billion at Savli, near Vadodara, about 135 km here. A non-resident Indian (NRI)-founded company, Syntel, has already shifted to Pune, Maharashtra, its $40 million information technology project, saying Gujarat lacks a cosmopolitan atmosphere and has a paucity of skilled manpower.

Multinational giant Enron, which was to lay a network of optical fiber cables alongside the Gujarat Electricity Board line for enabling direct-to-home (DTH) access, pulled out in the second quarter of last year because of the state government's delay in taking certain crucial decisions. Enron moved to Karnataka, which cleared the project and in just three months and enabled the company to implement the scheme.

Confirming Enron's withdrawal, sources in the state Secretariat said the company's officials were fed up with running from pillar to post to persuade senior government officials to take an early decision. "They were told that the government was still looking into the feasibility of the project," an official in the industry department told IANS.

Another multinational, tyre manufacturer Michelin, was to set up its plant in the Panchmahals district of Gujarat with an initial investment of Rs. 15 billion. Michelin walked out and set up shop in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, saying Gujarat lacks the proper social and educational environment.

"The new generation of entrepreneurs and executives don't just want a conducive business environment but now they also accord equal importance to the social and educational aspects," says Sunil Parekh, senior director of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-Gujarat.

Attributing these setbacks to lack of "political will, foresight and conducive educational and social background," a CII spokesman said the Keshubhai Patel government would have to move fast if it wanted Gujarat to retain the number two position in the list of industrialized states.

Industry in Gujarat has been facing several other problems too. The textile, engineering, chemicals, gems and jewelry, cement, mineral and agro-based industries, plastic and electronic units have been hit hard by the acute recession and dumping of foreign goods.

According to the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president Kalyan J. Shah, trade, business and industrial units in the state are passing through the worst recession. The impact of the economic slowdown was to the extent of 50 to 60 percent in large-scale industries and about 60 to 70 percent in small-scale units, he said. Even the commercial sector was showing a slump of about 50 to 60 percent, he added.

"Such a pathetic situation will only result in large-scale closure in industry and trade as most of them are now working at one-third to one-fourth of their capacity," Shah said.

Lack of efforts at modernization, high management overheads, poor quality control and depleting profit-to-turnover ratio have hindered the Gujarat industrialists' bid to compete since the World Trade Organization (WTO) came into force. Products made in the state are finding it difficult to withstand the onslaught from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Europe and the U.S., industrialists conceded.

An Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association (ATMA) official said the entry of products from across the world has had a devastating impact on the textile industry in Gujarat. "It has been almost thrown out of competition by countries such as (South) Korea, China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, chiefly because the industry has not shown adequate interest in modernization and quality improvement," he said.

Though the Central government has launched a Rs. 25 billion scheme for modernization in the textile industry, it has received applications for only Rs. 3 billion, the ATMA official said. "It is a game of survival of the fittest, where the industry would have to stand on its own as the role of the government is decreasing with the opening up of the economy and global competition," he added.

News Source : Indo Asian News Service [ No.1 Website for the NRI's ]

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Training facilities extended to urban unemployed in Gujarat Saturday, July 14, 2001

By Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) The Union government said Wednesday it would extend the skill up-gradation training facilities program to persons above the poverty line in Gujarat state.

The Urban Self Employment (USE) program, launched by the government in 1997 for imparting training to the urban poor below the poverty line, will be offered to people who have been affected by the earthquake that hit Gujarat on January 26.

"The exception of extending the program to people above the poverty line is being given only for Gujarat so as to help people who have suffered in the earthquake," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan told reporters after a cabinet meeting here.

The Gujarat earthquake killed over 20,000 people and destroyed large-scale public and commercial properties in the state.

Under the USE program, a loan is given to persons for setting up "gainful employment" enterprises, an official statement said. Seventy five percent of the scheme's loan is covered by the Central government while the state governments contribute 25 percent of the scheme.

News Source : Indo Asian News Service [ No.1 Website for the NRI's ]

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Govt declares Vadodara 'cholera-threatened' Saturday, July 14, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India
VADODARA: While the state government has declared the city "cholera-threatened" with cases being reported from many parts, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has come under severe flak from city doctors who say that complaints of polluted water supply for the past one month have fallen on deaf ears.

And, with the rains clogging drainage lines and waterlogging roads, doctors fear that the city, which is already in the throes of jaundice, diarrhoea and dysentery, may soon be hit by typhoid and malaria.

City-based physician Amit Desai blames the VMC for its failure to handle the issue of polluted water supply. "Cholera is a water-borne disease. So are jaundice and diarrhoea. Though these diseases are common during monsoon, this year the problem has aggravated," he said.

According to him, the common complaints against the VMC officials are that they have failed to respond promptly to complaints of the people. They have been apathetic in their attitude and they have not taken prompt action.

Dr Chaitanya Joshi says though he has not received any confirmed cases of cholera, two patients under his treatment are suspected to be suffering from the disease and have shown clinical symptoms of cholera.

Though laboratory reports have not confirmed the disease, Joshi feels tests may not provide the correct analysis if the patient has already begun treatment for the disease. He too blames the VMC for not providing clean drinking water, which, he feels, could be a reason for the many diseases.

Meanwhile, doctors also warn that Vadodara may soon have to brace itself to face the problem of malaria and typhoid due to dirty water pools in various city areas. "The water bodies are ideal for mosquito-breeding, and there is a likelihood that within the next 20 days people could be affected by malaria and typhoid, if adequate precautionary measures are not taken," says Dr Shailesh Shah.

The symptoms of cholera include diarrhoea, vomiting and a fall in blood pressure coupled with marked dehydration, which can even lead to death.

According to Shah, roads should be cleaned properly and adequate measures should be taken to ensure that water does not accumulate. If there are such water bodies they should be removed immediately.

Meanwhile the VMC has said that 11 more cases of diarrhoea and vomiting have been reported at the Jamnabai General Hospital. Four cases of Cholera were reported at the Infectious Diseases hospital and an additional new case surfaced here on Thursday. While all cases of suspected cholera are from Fatehpura, one case is from ward number five.

The VMC officials have said that they are now taking all precautionary measures as per the norms of the BPMCA Act to ensure that the problem of cholera would be kept under control. All larris, restaurants, cinema halls and other public places in the city would have to ensure that cleanliness is maintained. If this is not done, these would be sealed.

No private hospital in the city would be allowed to admit a cholera positive patient as an indoor patient. If found positive these cases should be sent to the ID hospital at Karelibaug. At no city areas sugar cane juice of fruits that are cut would be allowed to be sold as per the norms.

Do's and Dont's :

* Drink only boiled water.

* Do not eat stale food or uncovered food.

* Keep roadsides clean, do not allow stagnate water to remain accumulated at one place.

* Keep all overhead and underground water tanks clean and disinfected.

* Do not eat from larris.

* Use mosquito repellents

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

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