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July 5, 2001 - July 5, 2001

Surat district panchayat chief dead Thursday, July 5, 2001

The Times of India News Service
SURAT: A pall of gloom descended on the city with the demise of district panchayat president and senior Congress leader Amritbhai Patel on Wednesday morning in a fatal road accident near Vyara.

Patel and his driver died on the spot when a speeding truck (MP 26, B4960) coming from Dhulia side hit their car in a head-on collision. The impact of collision was so great that the car got completely damaged and a crane had to be called in to extricate the bodies from the mangled car.

District superintendent of police K L N Rao told 'The Times of India' that Patel and his driver Rafiq Ahmed were going to Vyara in a Premier Padmini car, and a truck heading towards Surat from Dhulia hit them at a very high speed on the road near Vyara.

The bodies were taken to a Vyara hospital for necessary dressing of the torn limbs, and were brought to the city later in the day. Patel's body was kept at his residence and then at the district panchayat office at Bahumali. The body would be taken to Mandavi, native place of Patel, for the final rites, sources in the city Congress said.

Rao said investigations were on and the area was put under combing operation to trace the driver of the truck who was absconding. A case has been registered and assistance from the neighbouring districts has been sought to nab the truck driver.

On hearing the news of the demise of district panchayat president, city Congress president Pratapsinh Kantharia and other leaders who were on their way to Gandhinagar rushed back to Surat. Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarsinh Chaudhary also arrived in Surat to pay his last respect to the departed soul.

Describing Patel as seasoned and highly-respected leader with a mass base among the tribal regions in the district, several Congress leaders termed Patel's death as a great loss to the party.

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


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55,000 farmers give consent to GEB drive Thursday, July 5, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: The Gujarat Electricity Board's (GEB) move to attract farmers to opt for metered power supply got a boost as about 55,000 farmers have given their consent till now.

This was achieved as the last date for concessional rate for metered power supply, which is provided at 40 paise per unit, was extended to May 31.

Many GEB officials, however, say that the board had hoped to persuade about one lakh farmers to switch over to metered power supply.

But, a section of officials feel that the number of farmers who have consented till now is considered a good sign as this figure was achieved despite resistance from the Gujarat Khedut Samaj, a state level body of the farmers. The Samaj had asked the farmers not to opt for metered power supply and giving their consent letters to the GEB.

Khedut Samaj leaders have been opposing tooth and nail, the metered power supply to the farm sector since the announcement of the power tariff order of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) in October last year. The commission had suggested introduction of metered power supply to the farm sector.

A conference of chief ministers and power ministers from different states held in New Delhi recently had passed a unanimous resolution on metered power supply for all categories of consumers and set a time-frame for it.

The GEB then started the process of getting farmers to switch over to metered power supply whereby meters will be installed at the point of electrical connection.

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


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Race Course complex builder gets clean chit Thursday, July 5, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: The builders in the controversial Race Course housing complex have been given a clean chit by the Gujarat Engineers Research Institute (GERI).

The institute engineers gave a clean chit on the basis of external observation of the controversial building after it suffered damage in the January 26 earthquake. The residents had also named the son of finance minister Vajubhai Vala as a partner with Sheth Builders who had built the complex.

As a result of the clean chit to the builders given by GERI, almost half-a-dozen complaints filed for damaged houses would be cleared without even the case going to the court. Initially, the police had also filed an FIR against Vala's son, but later retracted its steps and withdrew his name. The residents had lodged a police complaint against Sheth Builders on charge of cheating and giving sub-standard houses at a high price, and even denying them the facility of a common plot.

The GERI officials submitted their report to the police commissioner on Monday evening. According to the report, which was prepared after physically seeing the building, "The structural part had no problem, while the beam, columns and slab did not also show any cracks. Some cracks were visible on the non-structural parts which could have been due to the quake anyway."

The officials have mentioned that the report had been prepared only after physically examining the building. It did not mention the result of the testing of samples taken from the beam and column. It has also been mentioned that there was no need for any such report.

The investigating officer, the incharge police inspector of the Pradyumannagar police station Digubha Vaghela, said further action on the case would be taken after consultations with the police commissioner.

With the clean chit to Sheth builders, it is now certain that the probe against many builders in the city may be dropped. Some other buildings, including Sumati Apartment, Om Apartment, Gujarat Housing Board flats and Swaminarayan Chambers, were also damaged in the earthquake and police cases were field against these builders also. However, the fate of these cases has yet to be decided.

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


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Wankaner project enthuses Rajkot Thursday, July 5, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: The people's hopes soared on Wednesday as the news flashed through the municipal water department that the underground water level at the Wankaner bore project rose by 30 foot.

Water works officials said the level near Moti Vidi and Nani Vidi where most of the bores had risen due to rains in the catchment areas, has been encouraging. The depleting water level was a source of concern for the authorities as the city depended on the Wankaner bore project as all sources had dried up. They were planning to cut the withdrawal of water from the bore due to the falling levels.

The water level at Moti Vidi was at 72 m and was pumped at 61 m. It had gone down to 55 m due to continual withdrawal. So was the case with Nani Vidi. Even if the monsoon failed, the water level was sufficient to last for one year, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the relief works in all districts, barring Rajiot and Jamnagar, have been stopped in view of rainfall. Sources in the drought relief office said relief work would continue in areas where the rainfall was below 125 mm.

The authorities have shifted 50 lakh kg of fodder that was lying in the open to a safe spot so that rain does not damage it.

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


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100-year-old lake damaged in rains Thursday, July 5, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: Barely a fortnight after the Pratappura lake breach that inundated three villages near Asoj, another breach developed at the minor irrigation lake at Manorpura village about 40 km away from here in Savli taluka on early Wednesday.

No one was injured. The lake is over a hundred years old.

The damage occurred after incessant rains on Tuesday pushed the water level in the lake by 10 feet. Water overflowed through the 15-metre breach in the wall to low-lying areas.

The district development officer, the deputy collector, Savli mamlatdar and additional engineer and irrigation officials immediately reached the lake site. They said work on repair would be undertaken immediately.

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


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