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July 4, 2001 - July 4, 2001

Temple looted at Gondal Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: A gang of robbers looted the Ashapura Mata temple at Gondal and took away temple jewellery worth Rs. 9,700 on Friday. They injured the temple guard.

According to the police, three men entered the temple at 1.45 a.m. after attacking the 65-year-old guard Narsinhbhai Patel.

They tied a handkerchief on his mouth and asked for keys of the sanctum sanctorum. When the guard said he did not have the keys, he was dragged to the steps and his head dashed on the steps.

He was injured in the head. One of them caught hold of the guard, and the two others broke into the deity room and took away the jewellery and fled towards the Ashapura dam site.

The temple priest sleeping in an adjacent room was spared as the target was the jewellery.

The guard told the police that the miscreants had covered their face with towels. So he could not identify them.

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

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AICTE approves 1,924 more seats in professional courses Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: After the record high 70.62 per cent HSC (science) result, there is good news for students aspiring for admission in professional courses. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has approved an additional 1,924 seats for Gujarat in degree engineering, MCA and MBA for the current academic year. Most of the new seats have been allocated to self-financed colleges.

The result this year would have made admission into professional courses a difficult proposition even for students with high merit as it would have pushed cut-off marks higher. With the representation of the state government to AICTE for higher allocation of seats yielding positive results, there will now be more seats available in professional courses.

Minister for higher education Bharat Barot said there would be an increase of 1,234 seats in degree engineering, 470 seats in MCA, 120 in MBA and 40 seats in town planning course. The increase means that there will now be 8,881 degree engineering seats, 1,241 MCA, 1,855 MBA and a total of 280 seats available in town planning course.

Meanwhile, AICTE had also approved 60 seats each to degree course in computer engineering and electronic and communication engineering to Government College, Gandhinagar.

As far as MCA was concerned, 60 seats have been approved in the National Institute of Co-operative Management Society, Gandhinagar and Shri Swaminarayan Institute of Technology, and 30 seats in the Chaudhary Technical Institute, Gandhinagar.

Barot said higher education opportunities provided to students in the state through the increase of 2,104 seats in technical education will indirectly result in savings Rs 200 crore for students in the state.

Barot said efforts were on to seek further approval of seats to the state-run institutions, self-financed institutions and non-government institutions. Barot also hinted at the possibility of an increase in seats in diploma engineering studies too.

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

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Dispute in AMC's legal department Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The person incharge of legal services of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, senior advocate Suresh Belsere, tendered his resignation on Monday. The move, say sources, was triggered by a dispute over a year's extension to Belsere in the corporation's legal services.

While the Congress was "not too keen" on retaining Belsere, the BJP (which had appointed him in the present position) is opposing the move to allow his contract to expire.

Despite denials of senior officials of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, a revolt of sorts was brewing in the legal department following the Congress' move. Sources also disclosed that the name of renowned advocate Sudhir Nanawati was being considered as the next to take charge of legal services in the AMC.

AMC's Leader of Opposition Dharmendra Shah said: "We have also heard that Congress was considering Sudhir Nanawati's name, but as the matter has not come up in any committee meeting it is too early to comment." Other leaders of the saffron brigade, however, disclosed that proposing a pro-Congress incharge of the legal department could spark off some more resignations from the panel of 30 lawyers whose services are now used by the AMC."

Talking to TOI, Commissioner K Kailashnathan said: "Some changes in the set-up of the legal department have been suggested by the elected members of the AMC. We are perusing over the proposals and will arrive at a decision shortly."

AMC officials revealed: "The Congress has advised that the AMC decentralises power in the legal department, and put expert lawyers incharge of different sections like civil cases and legal issues concerning lower courts. These changes in the functioning of the legal department, however necessary, are being opposed by certain officials of the same department."

That apart, complaints of AMC lawyers working contrary to the interests of the civic body have also brought in some changes. Four lawyers were taken off AMC services last month. "These lawyers were not delivering the goods despite the fact that we pump in crores of rupees every year to deal with the huge number of legal cases. The corporation cannot be party to incompetence, and if this triggers off resignations then so be it," said Liyaqat Ghori, a practising lawyer and chairman of AMC's water supply and sewerage committee.

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

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No takers for Impact Fee forms Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has recently filed cases against 10 builders of the city for non-compliance to installation of fire-safety norms.

Sources said that with the civic body's authorities being frequently pulled up by the court for non-compliance to fire-safety norms, AMC has taken the fight to the builders' lobby.

But, despite all the so-called alacrity in completing this job only about 70 buildings have fire-safety equipment installed after the High Court's directive in this direction. "There are a total of approximately 410 buildings to be covered by fire safety norms. The progress may seem slow but getting fire safety equipment (that too according to specified quality standards) in buildings spread over 192 square km is difficult and time taking," reasoned a senior AMC official.

But fire-safety norms are not the only problem for the corporation. Lack of takers for its Impact Fee forms is also giving AMC authorities sleepless nights.

Of the over 5,000 defaulters to be charged with the Impact Fees, that looks to regularise illegalities in commercial and residential buildings in Ahmedabad, only 16 have shown willingness to get the matter sorted out.

According to official sources in AMC only 100 forms pertaining to self-disclosure of irregularities and levy of Impact Fee have been taken at all AMC's five zones of which only 16 have bothered to return the filled-up documents.

Poor response not withstanding the corporation is hoping that more self-disclosures would be forthcoming before the stipulated six-month period expires on December 20. "After December 20 we will start issuing notices to ensure compliance to regularisation of illegalities through Impact Fee. Failing to do this will ensure that the construction has no building use permission and therefore open to demolition or disconnection of water and gutter lines," a senior official said.

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

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Registering police complaints will soon be just a click away Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: A house break-in? Dacoity at a shop? Log your complaint at "police commissioner on-line".

Following the project where the police commissioner receives calls personally for two hours every Monday, the proposed "Police commissioner on-line" project may soon get the city police closer to the people with the help of information technology.

And, the city police are scouting for call centre facility so that people could remember a single number to get to the police when in distress. At the same time, the police would not be loaded with calls, including prank calls, all at a time.

i2imedia, that runs Easy Call, a pioneer in Call Centre business, has put up a proposal for receiving and screening calls from citizens before forwarding them to the police authorities. City police commissioner J Mahapatra will be visiting the Easy Call centre on Tuesday to inspect the facilities.

"We would like to make use of information technology as much as possible to get the police closer to the people and serve them better. Taking help of a call centre is a good idea and we will forward it to the home department for consideration," Mahapatra told 'The Times of India'.

To be named "Police Commissioner On-line," the Call Centre will publicise a phone number that any citizen in distress can call.

"A recorded message in three languages -- English, Gujarati and Hindi -- will welcome the caller who can register his complaint over telephone. This message will then be either forwarded to the police official concerned or stored for later use depending on the urgency and seriousness of the complaint," says Shantanu Ganguly of Easy Call.

According to Ganguly, Easy Call will put four persons to monitor the calls. "These persons will be sent to the police headquarters and will be trained in aspects relating to the police like various sections of the IPC and types of crime. This will help them discern among serious and ordinary calls and single out prank calls," said Ganguly.

While the urgent calls will be routed immediately routed to the police commissioner, the police control room and the concerned police station, the less serious calls will be stored and forwarded later for action to be taken.

"Easy Call is the only call centre to initiate such a project. We have given our proposal to the police commissioner and the state legal department. We are waiting for their go-ahead. The objective of the project is to make people aware and send the message that they are free to call any time they want to log in their complaint," says Ganguly.

A number that would be easy to remember will be publicised by the state legal department through advertisements and hoardings.

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

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