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July 12, 2001 - July 12, 2001

BHAVNAGAR:::: Malpractice detected at filtration plant Thursday, July 12, 2001

The Times of India News Service
BHAVNAGAR: One Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation filtration plant manager and a laboratory technician were suspended on Wednesday.

Investigations on purchase, maintenance and use of huge amounts of alum used at two filtration plants were initiated last year. It was found that the filtration plant manager and laboratory technician maintained the false records of 16 trucks of alum, which was never delivered at Bhavnagar. The municipal commissioner said cross-checking showed that octroi for the said purchase was never paid.

The filtration plant clerk used to enter larger quantity of alum in the register and excess payment was made to a company. The commissioner added that due action would be taken against other defaulters working at the filtration plants.

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


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GODHRA:::: Godhra emerges as conduit to kher out of the state Thursday, July 12, 2001

By Sajid Shaikh, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: Gangs based in central Gujarat have virtually mastered the craft of smuggling kher wood. Networked by key elements - agents and brokers - these gangs hire vehicles to transport kher wood, provide a pilot to guide the consignment out of the state borders and even get work done by lesser smugglers in the region.

Mostly concentrated in Godhra, these gangs also convince innocent farmers to chop off kher trees grown on cultivation plots. "Godhra is the nerve-centre of kher smuggling, it has emerged as a conduit to smuggle kher wood out of the state. These are mostly brokers and agents who have created a network of sorts," said a senior forest official wishing anonymity.

A list of such 'brokers and agents' procured by The Times of India has names of Iqbal, Yusuf, Taiyyab Hussain, Firoz Dadi, Chhotiya (one of the biggest kher broker) and Yakub Bidi of Godhra. All the listed members have gangs known by their names. 'Chhotiya gang' for instance. Besides doing independent jobs, these gangs also broker deals and get margins of Rs 50,000 per consignment. Forest sources confirm that these gangs have operating bases or contacts in Vadodara, Rajpipla, the Panchmahals and Halol other than Dahod.

"There are a couple of names of 'parties' in Ahmedabad too. However, we are in the process of collecting evidence against them before putting them on the list," said the official. He said gangs in and around Godhra buy tempos and trucks, sell them in cities of Madhya Pradesh, and again repurchase them with a registration number of Gujarat. These vehicles are then used for transporting kher wood.

"Brokers ensure a safe passage for trucks carrying kher grown in forests of Dahod, Chhota Udepur, Narmada and south Gujarat to destinations like Delhi," the official said. Cases of tree felling in last two years suggest a shift in kher wood smuggling. Earlier, forests in south Gujarat, especially those in Valsad and Navsari, were targeted, but now kher cultivated on private plots is also sawed down.

"Kher is declared a reserved tree. Its felling is tantamount to an offence. It's only the state government body that can auction kher wood, but despite this, organised groups of brokers and agents convince kher cultivators and lure them into deals," said range forest officer of Chhota Udepur division M R Patel.

Forest officials confirm that gangs engaged in kher smuggling guarantee pilot vehicles to check out the passage from where the consignment is to be transported. At MP-Gujarat border, arrangements are made to change the pilots, and a road or route map is carefully drawn in order to avoid or pass through the least number of forest check-posts. This is furnished to the truck drivers transporting kher.

Last year, the Chhota Udepur division had raided a tempo-truck from a village near Dabhoi. The vehicle was carrying kher logs (sapwood) worth Rs 2 lakh and was on its way to Delhi. It also had a pilot to escort the truck safely to the state border. The consignment originated from Sathor village in Tilakwada area of Narmada district.

Between May 2000 and April 2001, several vehicles carrying kher wood worth over Rs 12 lakh have been raided. Nine vehicles, mostly trucks repurchased from Surat and Indore, were impounded. Eight of these vehicles had kher consignment, while one had teakwood. The total worth of these seizures was Rs 30 lakh.

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


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Godhra emerges as conduit to kher out of the state Thursday, July 12, 2001

By Sajid Shaikh, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: Gangs based in central Gujarat have virtually mastered the craft of smuggling kher wood. Networked by key elements - agents and brokers - these gangs hire vehicles to transport kher wood, provide a pilot to guide the consignment out of the state borders and even get work done by lesser smugglers in the region.

Mostly concentrated in Godhra, these gangs also convince innocent farmers to chop off kher trees grown on cultivation plots. "Godhra is the nerve-centre of kher smuggling, it has emerged as a conduit to smuggle kher wood out of the state. These are mostly brokers and agents who have created a network of sorts," said a senior forest official wishing anonymity.

A list of such 'brokers and agents' procured by The Times of India has names of Iqbal, Yusuf, Taiyyab Hussain, Firoz Dadi, Chhotiya (one of the biggest kher broker) and Yakub Bidi of Godhra. All the listed members have gangs known by their names. 'Chhotiya gang' for instance. Besides doing independent jobs, these gangs also broker deals and get margins of Rs 50,000 per consignment. Forest sources confirm that these gangs have operating bases or contacts in Vadodara, Rajpipla, the Panchmahals and Halol other than Dahod.

"There are a couple of names of 'parties' in Ahmedabad too. However, we are in the process of collecting evidence against them before putting them on the list," said the official. He said gangs in and around Godhra buy tempos and trucks, sell them in cities of Madhya Pradesh, and again repurchase them with a registration number of Gujarat. These vehicles are then used for transporting kher wood.

"Brokers ensure a safe passage for trucks carrying kher grown in forests of Dahod, Chhota Udepur, Narmada and south Gujarat to destinations like Delhi," the official said. Cases of tree felling in last two years suggest a shift in kher wood smuggling. Earlier, forests in south Gujarat, especially those in Valsad and Navsari, were targeted, but now kher cultivated on private plots is also sawed down.

"Kher is declared a reserved tree. Its felling is tantamount to an offence. It's only the state government body that can auction kher wood, but despite this, organised groups of brokers and agents convince kher cultivators and lure them into deals," said range forest officer of Chhota Udepur division M R Patel.

Forest officials confirm that gangs engaged in kher smuggling guarantee pilot vehicles to check out the passage from where the consignment is to be transported. At MP-Gujarat border, arrangements are made to change the pilots, and a road or route map is carefully drawn in order to avoid or pass through the least number of forest check-posts. This is furnished to the truck drivers transporting kher.

Last year, the Chhota Udepur division had raided a tempo-truck from a village near Dabhoi. The vehicle was carrying kher logs (sapwood) worth Rs 2 lakh and was on its way to Delhi. It also had a pilot to escort the truck safely to the state border. The consignment originated from Sathor village in Tilakwada area of Narmada district.

Between May 2000 and April 2001, several vehicles carrying kher wood worth over Rs 12 lakh have been raided. Nine vehicles, mostly trucks repurchased from Surat and Indore, were impounded. Eight of these vehicles had kher consignment, while one had teakwood. The total worth of these seizures was Rs 30 lakh.

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


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Protest against payment seats in B Com continues Thursday, July 12, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: Student leaders continued their protest against M S University's proposal to convert some seats in commerce faculty into payment seats category.

Student leaders quoted B Com applicants who were asked to pay Rs 750 for an application form. They were also told that they would have to pay Rs 6000 as term fees. The faculty has not clarified its stand on the issue. Commerce faculty students association general secretary Amit Gotikar, however, said that the protests against self financed programmes will continue.

"We will continue our agitation till the MSU scraps its self-finance admission proposal in the commerce faculty", he said and added that protests against minister for higher education Bharat Barot will also continue.

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


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Bohra leader's birthday celebrated with eclat Thursday, July 12, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: The 90th birthday of Sayedna Mohammed Burahunuddin, the spiritual leader of the Bohra community, was celebrated on Wednesday with pomp and show in the Saurashtra region.

Marriage of 15 couples at the Noor Masjid, a colourful rally in the morning were the highlights here.

A 90 kg cake was the star attraction. It was 16 ft long and 4 ft wide. Two bakers had come from Mumbai to prepare the cake which used 350 eggs, 40 kg of maida, 30 kg of cream, 30 kg sugar. Baked in a bouque style, the process took 40 hours. It was for the first time in the state that a cake of this size was made. It was decorated with 150 flowers.

Janal Kavarsher Ali Kumshi cut the cake amidst thunderous clapping. Each Bohra family in the city was issued a card and on presenting it the family was given a piece of the cake. In all, 1,500 families took the cake.

The spiritual leader is in England and his discourses and message were heard live at the Noor Masjid in the afternoon. The people prayed for long life of their leader and for peace all round.

Students from standard 5 to 12 were felicitated. They were given a prize and a memento. A documentary film of the visit of the spiritual leader to Rajkot in 1997 was also screened.

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


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