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July 4, 2001 - July 4, 2001

Car thefts register an upward trend Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: In a span of three days, three cars have been stolen in the city. Though police officials say these are stray incidences of car thefts and are not a regular feature, sources say the rising number of thefts of vehicles is a cause of concern.

While two cars thefts were reported at Fatehgunj police station here on Sunday and Friday, at Jawaharnagar one car was registered missing on Saturday. Vadodara police commissioner J Mahapatra said members of the public should use double-locking systems and other 'anti theft' technologies that are available in the market.

He said often citizens do not take preventive measures and after cars are stolen they claim insurance for the same. He said the incidence of car thefts has gone down and since 1999 the number has decreased.

According to him vehicles should not be left unattended on roads for unscrupulous people to pick them up.

The police control room officials said Tushar Uttamchandani of Sama and Mohammed Fazal Farookhi of Jawaharnagar have both reported the theft of their Maruti cars.

Sources said Maruti cars of the 1996 model are more prone to thefts due to their locking systems which make them easy targets.

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

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CERC seeks ban on tobacco, 'gutkha' ads Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, has urged Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel to pass a resolution in the state legislative Assembly supporting a central Bill prohibiting advertisement of tobacco products, including gutkha.

The Bill, the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, production, supply and distribution) Bill, 2001, is being considered by Parliament.

The Bill aims to cover, besides cigarettes, tobacco products like gutkha and other chewing tobacco, in respect of prohibiting their advertisement. When it is adopted by Parliament the reach of the Bill would escape those states which had not opted for it through a legislative resolution.

In the larger interest of the citizens and consumers of Gujarat, CERC said, the state Assembly should adopt the resolution requesting the Central government under Article 252 to enact the proposed law and make it equally applicable to the state.

CERC pointed out that the focus of the international tobacco companies had now shifted to countries like India following "a massive class action litigation in the United states". The courts in the US have awarded damages worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the tobacco companies for causing cancer and death.

The CERC letter to the chief minister said, "All statistics of the past and prediction for the future indicate that the Third World countries will be paying a huge price in terms of toll of human life and sufferings in the years to come, as the diseases arising out of, and associated with, tobacco and tobacco products, particularly, non-smoking tobacco products, gutkha and other chewing tobacco, will be far more enormous."

In response to CERC letter, IP Gautam, chief minister's secretary, wrote the matter is being referred to secretary, health and secretary, legislative and parliamentary affairs departments, for further necessary and immediate action.

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

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GANDHIDHAM:::: Couple killed in road mishap Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
GANDHIDHAM: A couple lost their lives when their moped was hit by a truck on Gandhidham Adipur road.

Their son was saved miraculously. Choithram Bhagwandas Kheswani (40), and his wife Mamta (34), were going from Adipur to Gandhidham with their son Hitesh (8) on their moped when a truck coming from the opposite direction by overtaking a vehicle before it dashed with the moped near St.Xavir's turning on the Adipur Gandhidham main road.

Both Choithram and Mamta sustained serious head injuries and died on the spot. Hitesh was saved. The truck sped away after the mishap. The couple lived at Bharatnagar and was returning after darshan of Swami Lilashah.

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

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Civil Hospital to get a face-lift Wednesday, July 4, 2001

By Radha Sharma, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The name Civil Hospital invariably conjures up images of long queues, apathetic staff, filthy wards and unhygeinic surroundings. But if a government plan to revamp the place is anything to go by, Asia's largest public hospital is all set for a drastic transformation from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan!

Majestic entrance gates, concrete pavements lined by blooming flowers and lush greenery, spacious out-patient halls, comfortable chairs for patients-in-waiting, clean and renovated toilets, refurbished special rooms, garbage chutes to ensure cleanliness ... the list of proposed makeover under the 'Operation Face-lift' is almost endless.

For anyone who has had the misfortune of visiting the Civil Hospital as a patient would swear at the sheer number of queues one is supposed to stand in to get one's case-paper. And, if one wants to also consult a doctor from another department, queue up once again. You are an old patient and have come for a follow-up? Never mind, stand in a queue again! "All this will change with the booklet we propose to give to patients. No standing in queues for case-papers; just get an entry made in the record book, and that's it. It will be like your permanent passport at the hospital," says principal health secretary SK Nanda, the brain behind the face-lift.

It is often referred tongue-in-cheek that if you do not have money to get the sophisticated treadmill stress-test done, go to Civil Hospital as a patient! Sans any patient-guides or direction-boards for guidance, patients are put to a real stress-test as drag themselves from one floor to another, from this building to the next in search of that elusive X-ray or diagnostic test facility.

"We realise that lack of proper guidance inconveniences poor patients. To overcome this we have planned to put up 450 direction boards giving precise directions across the hospital," says hospital superintendent Dr Anil Chaddha.

Work on pavement has already begun as has work to put the ornamental gates in place. Work to whitewash and paint the buildings, spread over 110 acres, has also begun. Plans are also underway to beautify small corners across the hospital, to lift spirits of sick patients and gloomy relatives.

But is the makeover going to be purely cosmetic?

"We are planning a major thrust on academic training with almost 7-8 courses short-term courses on intensive-care training, blood banking and other specialised aspects being worked out," said Chaddha.

In a significant bid to strengthen hospital services, plans are afoot to form an "ethical committee" that will monitor, regulate and standardise the use of drugs in the hospital. It needs mention here that unofficial figures indicate that patients end up buying almost 80 per cent of the medication from outside the hospital. "Only cheap medications are supplied by the hospital, quality of which is not always dependable," says a former member of the hospital board.

There is also a need to improve security at the hospital, what with the number of anti-social elements cheating poor patients increasing by the day.

"Recently, a patient from Porbander lost his bag and belongings inside the X-ray room. Police constables on duty had to pool in money to buy him a return ticket," informs a staffer. Or worst, the case of indoor patient Narmada Dave who was asked to shell out Rs 300 two days ago in return for a service by a staffer of the superintendent's office. Finally, Dr Chaddha had to intervene to see that the money was returned.

"Not only are we working towards tightening security by possibly employing CISF, we are also looking to addressing the problem of staff shortage," says Dr Chaddha. An estimated 110 posts of class IV employees are vacant but have not been filled because of the employment restrictions of the state government.

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

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JAMNAGAR:::: Checkdams in Jamnagar help to recharge groundwater Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
JAMNAGAR: Groundwater level has been sinking all over Saurashtra for decades now. Yet there is positive trend in the past two years, specially in the district despite inadequate rains last year. This was possible as many check dams were built and the Sardar contributory water conservation scheme. All these dams are overflowing with the first spell of rain, easing the drinking water problem to a great extent in the district.

Geologists and scientists from Central Groundwater Board and Water Conservation Corporation of Gujarat have surveyed the groundwater. They visited all the check dams under the Sardar Sarovar project and inspected the wells adjoining the check dams and found that the water level had risen by three to 17 metres at many spots. Out of 34 wells, 22 were had water level up by four metres.

Farming activity has begun and farmers have sown even those crops which require more water.

During the current year, out of 4628 check dams, 3620 were overflowing in the first spell of rains and several wells also got recharged. Once the district gets its full quota of rain, the water crisis which prevailed in the past two years, will be solved.

Paper leak Denied: The question paper for entrance examination for post graduate (MD-Ayu) of Gujarat Ayurved University has leaked, complained a student and the university set up an investigation committee, which has denied the charge.

However, the complainant Vikash Sharma, who hails from Surat, alleged that out of 42 questions, 24 were found in the leaked version, too. He said he was called by the dean at an unknown place and given a typed question and answer sheet. The dean with one lady member of the investigation committee provided question and answer to those students with whom they have made monetary dealings, he said.

On receiving Sharma's complaint, the police rushed to the examination hall and stopped the examination. The question paper along with the answer books were collected and given to the investigation committee. Sharma alleged out of 42 questions, 25 questions appeared similar to what was given to him.

Diesel seized: Civil supplies officials inspected a petrol pump at Salaya Tower of Khambhalia taluka on Friday and found accounts were faulty. They seized unaccounted diesel worth Rs. 99 lakh. The pump is run on co-operative basis by Salaya Fishermen Co-operative Society, to provide diesel to fishermen.

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

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