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July 8, 2001 - July 8, 2001

State govt creates yet another corporation Sunday, July 8, 2001

By Our Special Correspondent, The Times of India News Service
GANDHINAGAR: Despite Gujarat government's commitment to reduce the number of boards and corporations with a view to bringing down wasteful administrative expenditure, two more were added within the short span of a week.

Only a week ago the state government set up the Most Backward Classes Board with the ostensible purpose of "uplift" of several Backward Classes. Another notification on Friday created Gujarat Safai Kamdar Development Corporation to finance and train Valmikis in self-employment schemes.

Well-placed Secretariat sources said if the new board required an yearly budget of Rs 10 crore, the corporation, formed after converting a board with similar name, would be allocated Rs 5 crore.

The two new bodies have been formed following an earlier decision to convert the three boards for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes into corporations, thus increasing their financial allocations from Rs 10 crore to Rs 50 crore. Claimed an official source, "The corporations and boards would be able to rope in Central money for Backward Classes' development."

The new bodies would have separate chairpersons and board members, apart from fresh government staff to be recruited soon.

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

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art connoisseur in the Hutheesing mould Sunday, July 8, 2001

By Swati Sucharita, The Times of India News Service
DEEPAK Hutheesing prefers to call himself a collector of art, of all things "ethnic and beautiful, of which there is no dearth in India". He also modestly informs you that he is merely a preserver of the Hutheesing heritage in Ahmedabad, and not its creator.

Though Deepakbhai holds an MBA degree from Stanford University and even received a job offer from the World Bank, family considerations forced him to move back to Ahmedabad, where he was the managing director of one of the textile majors those days, Aruna Mills. While Aruna Mills wound up in 1990, Deepakbhai preferred staying back in Ahmedabad, which he believes, is a very "business-oriented" city even today.

Going down memory lane, Deepakbhai is visibly moved talking about the ancestral Hutheesingh mansion, a few furlongs behind Hutheesing House (where Deepakbhai lives) in Shahibaug to which his family moved in the 1930s, which was demolished and at which place, "an ugly concrete structure stands today".

"It had been designed by British architect Bentley, the same gentleman who designed the superb architecture of the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai. Unfortunately, my brother who inherited the property sold off the house and settled abroad," recalls Deepakbhai.

Hutheesing House, which Deepakbhai built in the 1980s, is any art lover's delight, with artefacts, be it the marble statues, Ming vases, wood carved furniture, miniature paintings; in short, a treasure-trove of arts and crafts. Antique textiles and jewellery constitute his other passions, and the sourcing for most of his antique stuff is done from Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Mumbai.

His garden scattered with statues sourced from various places in Gujarat, like Patan and Khambat, is symbolic of his belief that "Art should be put out in the open, and not stuffed away in cupboards."

Having retired from active corporate life since 1990, Hutheesing is now trustee (along with wife Daksha and son Umang) of some of the Hutheesing charitable trusts which are primarily in health, education and religion. The family has also been a patron of cultural activities at the L P Hutheesing Visual Arts Centre, created in his grandparents' (Laila and Purushottam) memory.

A house-proud person, Deepakbhai remembers wistfully the days of yore when the family home was given a lot of attention, because "this was where the family entertained, and not at clubs and restaurants, as it happens these days."

He traces the Hutheesing lineage to almost 250 years ago, when their community first moved from Osia in Rajasthan (40 miles north of Jodhpur) to Khambat in Gujarat, where it started pursuing trade interests by sea.

Then, began the pirates' menace and despite the Hutheesings' cordial relations with the Mughal rulers, the former's ships managed to get confiscated, since the Navy during Aurangzeb's rule had already started deteriorating. Therefore, the family migrated to Ahmedabad, where they made their name as prosperous traders, trading in all sort of things, including wooden furniture, which was a rage in the US then, and jewellery (the Hutheesings were suppliers of kundan jewellery to Tiffany's in the US).

One can see the obvious pride on Deepakbhai's visage talking about the Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company, set up in 1881, by an American interior decorator, Lockwood de Forest, in association with his great grandfather, Maganbhai Hutheesing. Wooden furniture, like carved doors, cabinets, picture frames used to be very popular.

"I can see a revival of carved wooden furniture in the world market today and my son Umang (who happens to be the convenor INTACH, Gujarat chapter) is actively involved in its revival project. In fact, Umang is more a creator, I am merely a collector of art," he dismisses his efforts.

"The Hutheesings have been known to be a very cosmopolitan family," he informs, promptly offering you examples from the family tree. His mother was Marathi; his paternal uncle was married to Krishna Hutheesing, Nehru's sister; his paternal aunt married into the Tagore family; his sister is married to a Catholic; cousin to a Sikh, and so on.

"We have managed to imbibe the best of arts and cultural traditions," concludes Deepakbhai.

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

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Ahmedabad man elected Lions International chief Sunday, July 8, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: Lions Club of Karnavati member Pravin Chhajed from Ahmedabad was elected as the international director of Lions Clubs International on Friday night at the Indianapolis, US.

As the international director, Chhajed will represent 54 countries of South Asia, Africa and the West Asia. It is after 31 years that an city-based international director has been elected. The last director to be elected from the city was the leading industrialist Rohit Mehta in 1970.

Chajjed's tenure starting from July 1 would last for two years during which he would be expected to visit 54 countries of South Asia, Africa and West Asia to give direction to the Lions movement in India and abroad. During this period, he will serve as the vice-chairman and later as the chairman of Lions Co-ordination Committee of India.

The Lions International board comprises of 33 directors, out of which 16 are elected from the US and the remaining are from the rest of the world.

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

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Six crude bombs found on MSU campus Sunday, July 8, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: In what appears to be a large-scale design to frighten people in Vadodara, six more crude bombs of the size of a cricket ball were found lying abandoned on M S University arts faculty campus on Saturday.

The bombs lying scattered in the arts faculty garden near Premchand Hall were first seen by a gardener. The make up of the bombs was similar to those found from the south end of platform no 1 of Vadodara railway station last week.

Investigation agencies like FSL and city police bomb disposal squad strongly feel that the railway station bomb explosion have many similarities and hence can be related developments.

Police, however, maintained its stand that the bombs found in arts faculty campus too did not have any harmful material and can be dismissed as unreasonably big size crackers. The bombs however had a core consisting of gunpowder mixed with grates, packed in a paper and tightly wrapped up with jute rope.

Three of the six crude bombs were opened up by the gardener and a security guard of MSU before the Sayajigunj police arrived on the scene.

"This seems to be an attempt to scare people. Also we strongly feel that the finding of these bombs from arts campus has something to do with the last week incident at the railway station were similar bombs were find. Those bombs and the one we have found here are ditto same," Sayajigunj police inspector M S Patel told The Times of India.

He reiterated that the crude bombs were not harmful but the intent of those who had placed the bombs was definitely to create panic among people. "There is a clear intention of mischief. These bombs were not accidentally placed in arts campus or the railway station," Patel said.

City bomb disposal squad and forensic science laboratory experts had also rushed to the arts faculty campus. FSL is trying to find out whether the content of the bombs contained something that can be classified into 'harmful explosive substance'. Police had also combed other areas on M S University campus. M S University security was also on alert.

Teachers and students on university, meanwhile, were taken by surprise by the bomb scare. Initially many did not believe that crude bombs were found in university campus but later as the news spread and cops did rounds of MSU a sudden silence gripped varsity.

"I got to know from the security people. We don't know what types of bombs these are, or what the purpose behind playing such a mischief was. But this is definitely discomforting," said arts faculty dean P J Patel.

"This development should be viewed seriously. Security should be beefed up. Today it is crude bombs tomorrow somebody could place improvised explosive devices and plan to blow up the campus. We should pressurise the police to get to the root of this incident," said MSUSU general secretary Bharat Dangar. "Students lives can be in danger. The founding of bombs from university , in a way, suggests that our campus is vulnerable to mischief. We should be careful," said former MSUSU GS Prakash Verma. Another student leader and former MSUSU office bearer Amar Dhomse too felt that university should be vigilant. "Anti-social elements may try to disturb the peace on campus. We need to be alert," Dhomse said.

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

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Rs 479 cr first tranche disbursed to quake-hit Sunday, July 8, 2001

The Times of India News Service
GANDHINAGAR: A total sum of Rs 479.25 crore has been disbursed as the first instalment to 8,94,284 earthquake victims towards housing construction package, according to a spokesman for the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA).

The spokesman said Rs 288.11 crore had been distributed for completely destroyed 1,54,652 houses and Rs 191.14 crore for partially damaged 8,94,284 houses. With this, at this stage, no disbursement of assistance is pending except in the case of disputed properties.

The spokesman said that in compliance with the directive of the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, 4.5 lakh individual accounts had been opened in different banks in the last two months to facilitate the payment of housing assistance by cheque.

The state government had adopted a proper yardstick in the disbursement of housing assistance and on the basis of the resurvey, remaining assistance would be paid.

The spokesman clarified that the state government had never claimed that it was constructing houses and made it clear that the houses were being constructed with the involvement of individuals and voluntary organisations. As many as 9568 houses were being constructed by voluntary organisation in 184 villages by way of adoption.

Separate packages have been given to Bhuj, Bhachau, Anjar and Rapar towns for 27,798 completely destroyed houses, 37,438 partially damaged houses and each affected family was being paid Rs 12,000 for temporary shelter.

As many as 806 material banks were operating in the affected areas to provide construction materials at a cheaper rate. So far 21 lakh cement bags and 4,365 MT iron had been distributed in the earthquake affected rural sector.

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

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