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July 1, 2001 - July 3, 2001

Pranlal and the art of vintage car maintenance Tuesday, July 3, 2001

By Swati Sucharita, The Times of India News Service
Ahmedabad: This gentleman drives vintage cars, according to his fancy, "depending on his moods". A tough choice, indeed, considering that he has to make his pick from the shimmering silver grey Rolls Royce's, the sleek Jaguars, the German Maybach of 1937 vintage, (which happens to be the rarest of its kind in the world today), the grand Cadillacs, the classic black 1940 Packard (which has an intriguing history of its own), Buicks and other classic coaches that adorn his collection.

And now the good news for car buffs, as Pranlal Bhogilal, founder-president of the Vintage and Classic Car Club of India, now promises a launch of his collection soon at Autoworld, the museum located in the premises of Dastaan, his sprawling farmhouse at Naroda, some 30 km off Ahmedabad.

"During the Second World War, the governor wanted to have our family car, a 1940 black Packard, for war purposes as there was no car manufactured those days," says Bhogilal, recalling how his tryst with his classic cars began. "My family, even while being the third largest land-owning family in India, was in the forefront of the freedom movement and my paternal grandmother Rani Adityabai, was known to be a formidable woman. She stuck to her guns and refused to part with the car. She would rather scrap the car than surrender it to the British!"

The car was smuggled out, wrapped in bales of cotton, to Baroda, which did not fall under the then British empire. After the war and Independence, people flocked to see this historic car. "Princely families owning rare vintage cars, and wanting to sell them off as they could no longer afford them, also came to us in due course of time, as our family's reputation of 'car collectors' came to light. In fact, we also have a Daimler which belonged to the King George IV of England," he informs.

"Exotic cars are like works of art, says Bhogilal reminiscing wistfully of the days of yore, when "it was wonderful how one could just buy the chassis and engine, and have the coach (as the car was then known as) custom-built. In these days of mass production, this would be a frightfully expensive proposition," he rues.

"It takes me at least 10 years at a time to restore these cars, some of which had been mothballed away for ages. It is not easy to maintain these cars either. We have our in-house mechanics, electricians, tin workers, upholsterers," informs the Mumbai-based Bhogilal, who is in the city to supervise the finishing touches to Autoworld.

On the advisory board of Sotheby's, Bhogilal also has a yen for the arts. "Our family collection of some 5,000 paintings and 2,000 bronze antiques is among the best in the world. Our art collection is, especially, a veritable who's who, of European masters, Hussain, Ravi Varmas," informs Bhogilal.

The fact that he has never had a corporate designation - "Our family were never CEOs or MDs, they were only owners or shareholders" - however, did not stand in the way of Bhogilal serving as the ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) president at Delhi between 1994-95.

Coming back to his plans, Bhogilal promises visitors rides in the vintage cars, besides offering, at an entry fee, of course, all that one wanted to know about these cars in an information kiosk. "We also plan a restaurant, a souvenir shop selling Autoworld memorabilia and the fact that it has a farmhouse ambience will definitely appeal to the discerning visitor."

While he modestly accepts the fact that he has the largest collection of vintage cars in India today and probably among the largest in the world, his parting shot is, "It is not how many cars you have that matters, finally. It is what kind of cars you own."

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


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Workshop held on clean environment Tuesday, July 3, 2001

A Staff Reporter, The Times of India
VADODARA: The Society for Village Development in Petrochemicals Area in collaboration with the Vadodara district panchayat has organised a workshop for environment cleanliness on July 2 at 9.30 am at Vanijya Bhavan at Race Course.

The workshop would discuss the role of officers in conservation and cleaning of environment. District development officer B Panchal and the Swadesh convenor Dhiran Bajpayee would be present on the occasion.

Health care education: Olakh a non-government women's organisation has organised a special workshop for teenage girls to educate them on adolescent health care, physical and mental changes in adolescence and women's rights. The workshop would be held on July 1 (Sunday) at Jyoti Park School number one at Karelibag at 11.30 am.

Vocational training for women: The Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped Women at Karelibaug which is currently organising vocational training for women in needle work, hair and skin care, weaving and tailoring would soon have many other courses. This was discussed during a committee meeting organised at the premises on Friday. The central ministry of labour funds the centre. Director of employment and training Rajkumar who attended the committee meeting said that there should be larger co-ordination amongst government organisations and NGOs so that existing training facilities can be effectively utilised. He said that commercial sale of the products manufactured at the centre should also be encouraged.

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


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GANDHIDHAM:::: Liquor haul at Gandhidham Tuesday, July 3, 2001

The Times of India News Service
GANDHIDHAM, July 2: In two raids, the police seized liquor worth Rs. 1 lakh and a car. The house of Kishor Punja Maheshwari at plot No.146 in Vidyanagar was raided and 60 bottles of foreign liquor worth Rs.18,000 seized.

On questioning him, the police got further tip and intercepted a car and seized 274 bottles of liquor worth Rs.82,000.

Jitendra Janaksinh Juravad and Raman Ratnaji Vanzara of Ahmedabad were arrested. Manji Magan Maheshwari escaped. The police have registered the case against the accused and also against Jagnayaksinh Bansnathsinh, an ex-serviceman from Ahmedabad who is believed to have sent the liquor from Ahmedabad.

Swimming camp: The Kutch District Badminton Association organised 20 days swimming training camp at Gandhidham. Kishor Bhagwat, coach of Sports Authority of Gujarat guided participants how to cover more distance in less time and how to prepare for tournaments. Bhagwat said that with two years' coaching, Azal Jyot Singh of St.Xavier's school, Adipur is performing well at Gujarat level. The camp ended on July 1.

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


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Nadiad civic body in financial mess Tuesday, July 3, 2001

The Times of India News Service
NADIAD, July 2: The state of affairs in the Nadiad municipality is in a very peculiar state ever since the elected body (House of 42 councillors) came to power in January, 2000.

The citizens' wrath could be gauged following frequent agitation against the municipal administration for not being able to solve problems like drinking water, street lights, bad roads, flow of underground drainage water and bus service facilities.

The president of the Nadiad municipality, Dr Durgaben Jeswani, said the financial condition of the civic body is not sound, as at present it has a debt of more than Rs 16 crore in which GEB dues alone is Rs 8,28,00,000. An estimated Rs 4 crore is yet to be paid to municipal contractors and Rs 5 lakh to other small traders. An amount of Rs 2 crore is due to depositors of municipal shopping centre. Nearly 200 daily wage earners are yet to be paid their monthly payment since December 2000. However, the permanent municipal staff have been paid their monthly salaries upto April, 2001.

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


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AMC schools to remain close till administrative wing gives a nod Sunday, July 1, 2001

AsianAge
Ahmedabad, June 30: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation schools will be closed for an indefinite period till the administrative wing of the AMC gives the stability certificate to each and every school building, informed Ganpat Parmar, school board chairman. Mr Parmar said that the school board would also wait for the list of stable buildings from the AMC.

Mr Parmar also said that the report submitted by the deputy commissioner Vinay Vyasa seemed to have a lot of loopholes. “The basic question like the terms of contract fixed with the contractor and status of the work done is done and followed up by the engineering department are not taken up in the report.

Reading the report, I feel that Mr Vyasa had not gone to the place, but relied on the reports of Mr Jhalawadia, the deputy municipal commissioner, east zone and his officers,” he added.
Moreover, education supervisor and principal have complained that their version has not been related or given due importance by the report.

Mr Parmar said that the school board is responsible for taking all the action and will depend on the report of the committee that it has appointed. The question of suspension of the principals or any action against them and the education supervisor will be taken after the committee’s report is submitted on Tuesday.

“The committee has spent a lot of time in the exact vicinity, talking to the people concerned, the people in the area and in the immediate vicinity of the school,” said Mr Parmar. Meanwhile, all the 16 School Teacher’s Associations have announced that they will go on a pens’-down protest from July4 to protest against this.

“It is surprising that they found only the school board authorities to be guilty. In fact, we have the least amount of authority and say in the matter,” they said.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]


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