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July 11, 2001 - July 11, 2001

Constable sentenced to jail for accepting bribe Wednesday, July 11, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: Sessions court sentenced a police constable to three years' imprisonment for taking a bribe of Rs 50. Constable with Rangpur police station, Hilal Chaudhary was implicated for taking a Rs 50 bribe from Jingla Moham Rathwa in 1989.

"Hilal had beaten up Rathwa and his father and locked them up. He than asked Rathwa that he could be released if he paid Rs 50. Rathwa promised to do that and informed the Anti Corruption Bureau. A trap was laid and Hilal was nabbed red-handed," said additional public prosecutor Sanjay Bhatt.

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


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JAMBUGHODA:::: Villagers cage leopard in Jambughoda Wednesday, July 11, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: In yet another man animal confrontation, villagers in Jambughoda in the Panchmahals, managed to nab a leopard and caged it.

Forest sources said that the leopard had slipped into a village near the Jambughoda forest sanctuary. Sources said that unlike the Naswadi case, where villagers killed a leopard that attacked them and that had wounded six people, no such attacked happened in Jambughoda.

"Before the big cat could do anything it was nabbed", forest sources said.

In Naswadi, meanwhile, all the six people who were injured by a leopard on Sunday have been declared safe by doctors. The leopard had strayed into Simalkheda village of Naswadi. It attacked one of the villagers but was ultimately stoned to death.

Incidentally, in last two months there have been nearly one dozen cases of leopards straying in to localities inhabited by humans. In two cases including the recent Naswadi episode the beast has been killed by villagers.

In May a leopard was seen behind the City Resort. It reportedly killed six peacocks. In the same month a leopard had attacked four farm labourers in Waghodia. During the same time in Dahod, a mob killed a leopard that had strayed into a village and attacked people.

In June the big spotted cat got well within the city, devoured a couple of dogs before pacing the deserted campus of Mayo hospital.

Forest officials had reasoned that the diminishing numbers of herbivores in jungle had forced leopards to stray into human localities. Along with this leopard population was also on the rise.

For instance, the last census of wild animals puts the population of leopards in Jambughoda wildlife sanctuary at 34, around 15 in Samli, 12 in Ratan Mahal and about 4 in Surpaneshwar. Besides these sanctuary many leopards are found in forest and even non-forest area. Forest officials confirm that leopards have a quite healthy population in Central Gujarat.

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


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State team builds up case for higher crude royalty Wednesday, July 11, 2001

The Times of India News Service
GANDHINAGAR: The severe resource crunch has forced Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel to ask top officials to search for new sources of income which can be tapped to finance the annual plan 2001-02.

A top-level official delegation consisting of chief secretary G Subba Rao, finance secretary Sudhir Mankad and energy secretary Vijay Ranchan was in New Delhi for two days on July 5 and 6 to tell the Union petroleum ministry officials to increase the royalty being paid to the state government for the production of crude oil in Gujarat from the current Rs 800 each metric tonne to Rs 1,300.

The Gujarat delegation insisted that the current formula of paying a fixed royalty be changed. The royalty should be based on the international price parity for crude even while fixing the minimum to be paid to the state. "The Central officials agreed to finalise a report within 45 days enabling us the extra money," said a senior government official. "Currently, we get Rs 800 crore as royalty for 55 lakh metric tonnes of production. If all goes well, we would get another Rs 275 crore per year with effect from April 1, 1998. Which means, we may get an extra Rs 1,100 crore for the financial year ending March 2002, a big help to the exchequer in these times of crisis."

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


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Every year over 150 die on city's roads Wednesday, July 11, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: It was the morning of August 10, 1991, when Mohammed Salam A Sardar had set out on his bicycle for his first day to school. He had cleared his SSC exams and was very enthusiastic about getting into higher secondary.

Qayyum, as he was better known among friends, however, was unaware that his simple wish would never come true.

That morning while crossing the Shashtri bridge, Qayyum met with a fatal accident near Polytechnic. A speeding GSRTC bus hit him from behind. He was flung in the air and hit the road head-on. His suffered multiple fractures, a ruptured kidney and was bleeding profusely. He in SSG Hospital. He was the only child of his widowed mother.

On July 6, 2001, Janak Barot, a clerk with Polytechnic, was knocked down by a luxury bus exactly at the same spot where 10 years ago death had snatched life away from Qayyum. Barot too was on a bicycle when the luxury bus rammed into him. He too died. Last year, a schoolgirl died on JP Road. She too was on a bicycle and hit by a speeding bus. Another schoolgirl was run over by a bus in Illora Park. Last month a family of three was run over by a drunken car driver in Alkapuri. All three, including a child, died on the spot.

The number of road accident deaths in past 10 years runs into hundreds. In the past six years some 700 people have been killed on city roads in accidents. Last year 1916 accidents were reported wherein 147 people were killed. A year before that nearly 200 people died in about 2000 accidents.

"Every year on an average about ten people die near the Polytechnic circle. The traffic police have hardly done anything in these years. After Friday's accident we students got together and demanded immediate action from the traffic cops", said MSU students union general secretary Bharat Dangar.

Following mounting pressure from the students, city traffic police had to put temporary road dividers and ban entry of vehicles from the polytechnic side crossing over to the university office side. However, such swift action has been a rare sight.

While the traffic branch of city police say they do their best to ensure that accidents are prevented, citizens feel otherwise. Says activist of the social and cultural group of Vadodara Muktesh Trivedi: "If traffic department is taking adequate precaution where are the results. Why drunk drivers run over people or buses keep hitting cyclists".

"I was one of the persons who was involved in setting the bus on fire last year. This bus driver was driving at a break neck speed and had hit the bicycle driven by this girl so hard that she was flung over 20 feet in air before hitting the divider. Her skull cracked", said a resident of Rajlaxmi society wishing anonymity. "What happened after that accident. Is there any visible improvement on the JP Road. Have they put an signal post near the Malhar point?" the resident asks.

Teacher and a friend of late Qayyum Karansinh Parmar too feels that the traffic department has not been able to take adequate precautionary measures. "There are many simple things that can be done. When they claim of engineering why don't they blunt the ends of fences put up on traffic islands and small circles like the one near Polytechnic. Many a times this sharp edged fences kill people", Parmar said. He added that there are not adequate traffic signal posts. Incidentally, there are only 12 electronic signal installations for over 50 crucial traffic points in city.

Traffic police on the other hand says that it is next to impossible to stop accidents but the department has been constantly making efforts to instil traffic discipline among people and caution them against rash driving. At the same time, says traffic police, measures are also taken to punish irresponsible drivers.

"The number of accidents over the years has decreased. We are trying to educate people and at the same time enforcing traffic laws strictly", says assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Siddhartha Khatri.

He said that statistics prove that people in Vadodara have been consistently showing disregard to traffic norms. In the last three years more than 1 lakh people have been being fined for violating traffic rules every year. So far, this year, about a lakh of people have been fined. Last year 2.19 lakh people were fined while in 1998 and 1999 1.11 lakh and 1.69 lakh people were fined respectively.

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


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City Police Commissioner J Mahapatra speaks Wednesday, July 11, 2001

The Times of India News Service
We are emphasising on 4-Es to better traffic scene in Vadodara. These four Es are: education and awareness, engineering, enforcement and emergency aid.

Anybody can make out that very few people believe and follow traffic discipline. We are trying to educate people on traffic rules and regulation and the benefits of observing these norms. We take up various drives to do this job. Our traffic police go to schools, interact with teachers and children. However, I strongly feel this is not sufficient. Traffic should be taught as a subject in schools. It should be a part of school curriculum. This is must. But at the same time it is necessary that the grown-ups too observe traffic discipline.

By way of engineering we are broadening roads, putting up more traffic signals and making ample space for parking.

We are also commissioning hi-tech gadgets like breathe analysers and speed detectors. These gadgets will help us instantaneously detect the speed of a vehicle and check drivers for alcohol consumption. We will also be sparing a special mobile to chase and nab those who violate traffic laws. This way we will be strictly enforcing the traffic rules and regulations.

The traffic police will be providing more ambulances for road accidents in near future. We are talking with a couple of NGOs here. These ambulances will be equipped with emergency medical aid. This way we are trying to ensure that the loss of life in cases of accidents is minimum.

I would also like to inform people that shifting those injured in accidents to hospital does not require a police permission. People should not think that by helping an injured they will be bothered by police. We record statements of those who shift injured to hospital because it is mandatory. This is in no way to harass people. Besides it is a noble act to help save a life and will do all the needful to ensure that the saviour is not troubled in anyway.

The catalysts

* Enforce traffic rules strictly

* Broaden roads, put visible traffic signs and mark parking slots prominently

* Create traffic safety zones near schools and thickly populate pockets in city

* Regional Transport Office should insist on a rigorous test before issuing driving licences instead of being liberal

* Traffic police can involve corporate bodies and education institutes to elicit suggestions on better traffic planning and management

Who to contact:

Suggestions or complaints can be sent to the office of police commissioner, New Police Bhavan, behind SSG Hospital, Kothi. ACP Siddharth Khatri can be contacted on 423505. City police commissioner J Mahapatra can be contacted on 431414.

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


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