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June 18, 2001 - June 20, 2001

‘50 per cent debris removed from quake-affected areas’ Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Gandhinagar, June 19: Small and medium irrigation minister Nitin Patel said here at a press conference that the state government has begun the task of disposing off the debris in an effort to achieve the targets for reconstruction set by it.

Mr Patel said the state government has managed to lift 22.5-lakh tonnes of debris from the earthquake-affected towns of Bhuj, Bhachau, Anjar and Rapar. “The total debris to be lifted from the quake-affected region is 50 lakh million tonnes,” Mr Patel said.

The state government has acceded to several requests of resettling by the quake affected people at the same place and has therefore taken up the work of removal of debris in right earnest, Mr Patel said. He said the irrigation and roads and buildings department has divided the areas into zones for the removal of debris.

He admitted that the despite the efforts, the state government has been able to lift only less than 50 per cent of the debris but assured that the entire job will be completed by the end of July.

“Removal of rubble in Rapar and Bhachau will be completed by the end of June whereas work in Anjar is almost on the verge of completion,” Mr Patel said. Mr Patel said the state government has given the job of removal of debris in the above towns to private contractors.

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

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Woman duped of gold jewellery Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Ahmedabad: Two unidentified youths cheated Lata Hirdani, a resident of Kubernagar and decamped with six of her gold bangles worth Rs 32,000 on Tuesday.

According to the police complaint, the two youths came to Ms Hirdani’s house claiming that they could clean utensils and gold jewellery. Taking her into confidence, the duo asked her to get some water and turmeric from her kitchen.

When she went the kitchen, the youths went off with her bangles. Police officials had detained a person for a similar crime on Monday but were looking out for his accomplice. They have registered a case and are investigating further.

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

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Court grants 9-day remand to ISI agent Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 19: The metropolitan court has granted nine days remand to Mehboob Chotubegh Moghul alias Mehboob senior, alleged to be an ISI agent who surrendered before the high court on Monday.

He has several cases of smuggling, extortion, and dealing in arms and explosives pending against him. Six months earlier the city crime branch had arrested two ISI agents and seized 14 pistols and 114 cartridge. During interrogation one of the agents revealed the involvement of Mehboob in ISI activities.

Police investigations revealed that Mehboob senior was also involved in the shooting of a Chotta Rajan aide outside the Mirzapur high court three months back in the city. However, his wife had appealed before the high court fearing the police would “finish” Mehboob in an encounter and thus he did not come out of his hideout.

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

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Toll reaches 28 as heavy rains continue to lash state Monday, June 18, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: Eight more people were killed as heavy rains continued to lash several parts of Gujarat for the third consecutive day on Sunday, taking the monsoon toll to 28.

Two deaths each were reported in Amreli and Jamnagar districts and one each in Kaira, the Panchmahals, Porbander and Mehsana. Twenty deaths were reported on Saturday as torrential rain lashed Saurashtra and other parts of the state, excepting Central Gujarat where the monsoon activity is yet to pick up. More than 30 talukas of the Panchamhals, Dahod, Kaira and Sabarkantha have not yet received even 100 mm of rainfall.

According to official reports reaching the revenue control room, Chotila and Dhrangadhra talukas of Surendranagar district received the maximum rainfall in the state recording over 225 mm in the past 24 hours. Other talukas of Surendranagar district such as Halvad, Lakhtar, Wadhvan, Sayla and Dasada received between 125 mm and 161 mm of rainfall.

In North Gujarat, Bechraji, Patan, Kadi, Mehsana received moderate to heavy rainfall, heralding a good monsoon for farmers after two consecutive years of drought. In adjoining Ahmedabad district, Ranpur and Viramgam also received more than 115 mm of rainfall.

The water level in dams, lying dry for the past several months, has increased in the past three days as heavy rains were reported from Junagadh, Amreli, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar districts in the past 24 hours. The monsoon activities have eased the drinking water crisis and fodder shortage in about 200 talukas, which were reeling under severe drought conditions.

Relief works director B R Patel told The Times of India' that of the 199 drought-affected talukas as many as 115 had received over 125 mm of rainfall in the past 48 hours. As a result, relief works in these talukas had been discontinued. However, the relief work schedule in Mandal, Sanand and Detroj would continue as the areas were yet to receive the required 125 mm rainfall.

A similar situation prevailed in Palanpur, Vadgam, Dantiwada, Tharad and Vav talukas of Banaskantha district. In Saurashtra, barring a couple of talukas in Amreli and Bhavnagar districts almost all talukas received more than 125 mm of rainfall.

In South Gujarat, Amod, Valia and Hansot talukas of Bharuch district received almost 125 mm of rainfall.

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

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Rains dampen spirits in quake-ravaged areas Monday, June 18, 2001

By Sourav Mukherjee, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD, June 17: There is a flip side to the rains lashing Gujarat for the last three days apart from the over two dozen deaths which have been reported.

While rains may be good news for the state facing one of the worst droughts of the century, they are causing concern in several quake-affected areas where it is feared that a number of damaged buildings, which are still inhabited, may come crashing down.

Repairs of buildings in Kutch and Ahmedabad are still on and the collapse of a school building in Maninagar two days back indicates the risk involved in occupying these buildings. In Kutch at least three buildings, including a school, have collapsed in recent weeks.

Let alone repairs, even demolition of severely damaged buildings, especially multi-storeyed ones, in townships of Kutch and in Ahmedabad are yet to be completed. The monsoon could spell doom for denizens of Bhuj, Rapar, Gandhidham, Anjar and Ahmedabad apart from causing discomfiture to residents who are staying in tin sheds and tents.

Ahmedabad has already been witness to a series of building collapses in the aftermath of the quake, the latest on Friday when a section of a municipal school in the Maninagar area collapsed.

Says AMC commissioner Kailashnathan, "We are focusing on two areas in the Walled City, namely Shahpur and Khadia. About 150 dangerous buildings have already been brought down and another 30 remain, mainly in the central zone of the city. Work on these are progressing on a war footing."

In Kutch district the situation is even more grave. Of the 337 buildings in the beyond-repair status, 108 are yet to be pulled down. While collector H N Chibber, hopes "nothing untoward happens before survey and demolition work is complete", the administration's efforts to hasten the process has run into rough weather.

A total of 229 buildings have been pulled down in various Kutch townships, a majority of them by detonation. With only a team of experts from Indore volunteering to help, the administration is running against time.

Discloses a senior official of the Kutch collectorate, "An all-India advertisement calling for demolition experts to augment our services has drawn a solitary response from a Rajkot organisation. That apart, the team from Indore is exhausted and the experts are feeling homesick." On Saturday they approached Chibber asking when they would get a break for a quick trip back home.

Says Chibber, "Though their fatigue is understandable, without a viable alternative in hand and an enormous task staring us in the face, I have requested the experts from Indore to continue with their job."

Monsoons may also spell doom for the over 400 buildings in Ahmedabad and hundreds of others in Kutch put under the G 3 category which suffered heavy structural damage during the quake.

Shallow foundation of buildings and poor structural design, are just a few factors which might play a dangerous role once the buildings are drenched and rain water clogs the foundation. Improper drainage in the locality and poor repair of buildings do not bode well for the quake-hit structures. That inspection of these buildings was through rapid assessment through visual examination has also put a question mark on the damage-driven gradation.

"Perusal of soil report, structural design and use of equipment like rebound hammer and ultrasonic testers are essential before the structural safety and strength of a building can be measured. But, these procedures were not followed in 90 per cent of cases," points out Amit Bhatt, a civil engineer in Ahmedabad.

Structural engineers from the Kutumbale Consultants and Engineers Private Limited from Indore have found that most buildings in Kutch suffer from shallow foundation and absence of tie-beams in their foundation. "Utmost care and haste is required to repair or pull down the structures before monsoon sets in," a member of the Indore team cautions.

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

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