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June 28, 2001 - June 28, 2001

Surprise! The rush is for arts course Thursday, June 28, 2001

The Times of India News Service
The problem of admissions is a recurrent head-ache for the universities and the managements of colleges. It becomes more acute when results are liberal --- sometimes beyond the expectations of students, parents, administrators, and academicians.

The NGU is fortunately one of the few universities in the state which has never had to run helter-skelter to accommodate those seeking admissions to institutions under its jurisdiction. Sometimes the entrants to the university departments especially those of management and computer courses do face problems, but these have been resolved in the past with due care and understanding.

This year the only problem which seems to have engaged the attention of the university is that of students seeking, surprisingly, admissions to arts colleges. So, it is not a question of a run for the commerce or science stream alone.

Compare this with what is happening in Gujarat University where the strength in a science classes runs up beyond 200. One does not know what teaching can take place in classes where the students have to be accommodated together without keeping in mind the norms for seating in the colleges.

Here it is that one feels that in an emergency like this, the vice-chancellor needs to be given special powers to recognise the institutions immediately to ease the situation. There is no reason to believe that the executive council alone can decide objectively the criteria for some of these colleges especially self-financing ones, for not all members of the executive council or the politicians who recommend the granting of affiliation to these colleges are necessarily above board.

The statement by some of those who have been responsible for recommending affiliation of such institutions have naively declared that they had nothing to do with the fees structure in them. Such a statement would evoke laughter in a well-managed nursery. However, it is the function of the government also to see to it that sanctioning more classes to colleges is speeded up immediately after the results if the situation so demands.

We have come full circle; from 150 to 110 and now to 200 and more. These days the famous edicts of the educational manual do not seem to be having any impact at all.

Journalism course

The NGU is starting a department of journalism as part of its development in different directions. It is hoped that the faculty would be manned by persons of integrity and scholarship and who are interested in maintaining the highest standards of journalism. Those who are interested in promoting a particular newspaper should be discouraged from lecturing to the students. At the same time, it is hoped that the journalism course will provide information, and impart training in various facets of media, not merely reporting for a daily newspaper. A training in the use of language - English, Gujarati or Hindi should be an integral part of this training.

There should be enough discussions on the design of the paper and its contents, too. It is surprising that newspapers devote a lot of space to what it called entertainment --- which often includes photographs of models, singers and hotels. And yet despite a number of pages devoted to sports or entertainment, most of the newspapers hardly have any investigative reporting worth the salt, or a page devoted to literary articles and book reviews.

Even in an age of electronic media, the need for reading books can hardly be avoided. And information on them is a must for every newspaper.

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


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Sex ratio decreases in Mehsana Thursday, June 28, 2001

By Kiran Mathur, The Times of India News Service
MEHSANA, June 27: With its literacy rate standing at 75.54 in 2001, Mehsana stands fifth in Gujarat which holds fifteenth rank in the country with 69.97 average.

The 1991 census had recorded 68.39 literacy rate in the district which was bifurcated in 1997 and Patan was carved out of it. The reconstituted Mehsana is a bit ahead of Surat and Anand whose respective average literacy rates are 74.59 and 74.95 and it is only a shade behind Rajkot whose average is 75.88.

Mehsana is also among those 10 districts whose average is above the state average. On the contrary the newly formed Patan with its literacy rate of 60.50 is among those 12 districts whose average is lower than the state's. Patan's overall position in the state is 20th.

In 1991 in male literacy undivided Mehsana with an average of 81.05 stood fourth in the state. Though this average in the reorganised district has recorded an increase of 6.7 per cent with 86.52 average in 2001 it has slumped to fifth position after Kheda whose average stood at 86.58 in the recently concluded 11th census of the country as against its 1991 figure of 79.83.

In female literacy, Mehsana has recorded an increase of 15.9 per cent during the past decade. its 2001 figure stands at 63.96 whereas as it was 55.22 in 1991.

However, the district lost its fifth rank which it held in the previous census before bifurcation in 1997. Now it stood sixth after Gandhinagar whose score was 64.85.

If Gujarat with only 919 females per thousand males ranks 22nd in the country. Mehsana's position among its 25 districts is far from satisfactory. With 926 females per thousand males it holds 12th rank in the state which is far below 933:1000 in Patan, which holds 9th position.

In 1991, the then Mehsana had ratio of 951 and held the 9th rank in the state. The decrease in sex ratio in the district between 1991 and 2001 is an alarming 2.7 per cent as against the state's 1.7 % in the past decade.

The district like elsewhere in the state and the country has revealed the trend of decreasing sex ratio except in 1951 when women had just outnumbered men with the ratio of 1002.

The female-male ratio in the district had shown an increase in 1931, 1951 and 1981. However, the overall decreasing trend continued with an average of 947 since 1901. The 2001 figures of 926 is alarmingly below the average dip.

As per the provisional figures of population of Mehsana put at 18,37,696 the male segment accounts for 954,006 and women 883,690.

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


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PORBANDAR:::: Porbandar joins tax holiday chorus Thursday, June 28, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT, June 27: The Porbander District Chamber of Commerce and Industry has demanded tax holiday for industries in Saurashtra, too, akin to what was been promised to Kutch.

Its message to Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha stated that along with cities and towns, industries in the region had suffered loss to the tune of Rs 150 crore in the quake. So they, too, must get the benefit of tax holiday.

Chamber president Ravindra Agraval said that favouring only Kutch industry was discriminatory and sent wrong signals to the industry in Saurashtra. The special package announced by the Prime Minister during his trip was welcome and could boost the industry in the region but then it should cover units of Saurashtra as they too suffered in the quake.

Such a step-motherly treatment could lead to unemployment and industrial unrest in the region which was quiet and away trade unionism.

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


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Student dies as school building collapses Thursday, June 28, 2001

By a Civic Reporter, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD, June 27: All misgivings about unsafe school buildings and the reluctance of parents to send their wards to schools damaged in the quake were, after all, well-founded!

Eight-year-old Sheikh Aftab Alam was crushed to death on Tuesday when a wall of his school building near Rakhial fell on him. The school had reopened on Tuesday after a five-month break following the January 26 quake.

Alam, a student of Class 2, breathed his last at 11 am in the municipal school premises at Rajpur before the fire brigade could pull him out from under the debris.

Following Alam's death academic activities in the municipal schools were, once again, put off till June 30.

Repair of municipal school buildings in the city have been a victim of political one-upmanship involving the Congress-run AMC and the BJP-led state government.

While the AMC promptly ordered a departmental enquiry into the episode, its authorities seemed more interested in shifting the blame on to the principal of Rajpur municipal school Number 17 and 18 in Sunderamnagar.

The building was one of the 17 municipal schools that were to be demolished after structural engineers from Indore categorised them as irreparable. On Tuesday, as many as 11 teachers and 129 children reached the school premises at 7.30 am and parted soon after the assembly was held, as the building was not in a condition to be used.

Alam, who was to attend the afternoon school session had just entered the premises when the wall collapsed on him, according to AMC municipal commissioner Kailashnathan.

Municipal school board chairman Ganpat Parmar said apart from putting off academic activities, he would ensure that no one entered the 81 school buildings that had been declared dangerous.

The commissioner went a step ahead and said that the authorities would ensure that the 101 "dangerous" school buildings out of the total 247 in Ahmedabad remained out of reach of students and staff.

The partial collapse of a school building in Maninagar on June 15 had resulted in suspension of all academic activities in municipal schools till June 25.

While Mayor Himmatsinh Patel agreed there had been a "slight" delay in repair and retrofitting of the municipal school buildings, Parmar put the blame on the lackadaisical attitude of officials of the AMC's engineering department.

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


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CERC seeks total ban on liver tonics Thursday, June 28, 2001

By A Staff Reporter, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD, June 27: Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, has called upon the Drug Controller General of India, Dr Ashwini Kumar, to impose a total ban on liver preparations as they were unsafe in any composition and had no justification in therapy.

In fact, CERC said in a representation that the continued use of the mammalian liver extract posed "a serious risk of transmitting infections from animals to human, like the mad cow disease BSE."

It pointed out that in the Indian market there were now several liver preparations available, in combination with vitamins like B12, folic acid and minerals including iron and zinc.

Vitamin B12 is a dietary essential for growth and good health, like other vitamins which are obtained from food or pills as they cannot usually be produced by the body. Liver preparations have no place in modern therapy. They are unsafe and irrational, the letter said.

Tracing the background of the use of mammalian liver preparations, CERC said these were prescribed before the development of folic acid and vitamin B12 in pure form. Since then, there is no mention of any liver preparation in any pharmocoepia or any standard medical text book. Liver preparations were official in BP 1948, USP XV, and IP, 1966.

CERC debunked the argument that liver extract helps in absorption of Vitamin B12 etc., by pointing out that folic acid and Vitamin B12 were available in pure form for injection or oral administration, and therefore liver preparations have become outdated.

CERC said since liver preparations carried more risks than benefits, they should be banned outright. In the interest of consumer health, their use may be banned under section 26A of the Drugs and cosmetics Act, 1940, CERC added.

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


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