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June 17, 2001 - June 18, 2001

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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Students not allowed to sit in classes: Mayor Monday, June 18, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD, June 17: Students are not being allowed to sit in at least 23 municipal primary schools in the city, damaged in the January 26 earthquake, Mayor Himatsinh Patel said on Sunday.

All the 23 schools were being run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and of them six were comepletely demolished in the quake, he said.

Meanwhile, the start of the academic year in the city has been extended to June 25 after a portion of municipal school in Maninagar area collapsed on Friday last, he said.

"No classes has been allowed to be conducted in the collapsed schools bulidings as it was in the demolition list of the damaged schools and therefore the question about allowing the students in such school building does not arise", Patel said.

A special team of structural engineers from Indore had been inspecting the school buildings damaged in the quake, which had been sealed, he said and added that around four lakh students were studying in the primary schools run by the AMC.

At least five students had lost their lives when the school buildings collapsed in Ahraiwadi area of the city in the quake, Patel added. (PTI)

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


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Six killed in road mishap Monday, June 18, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD, June 17: At least six people were killed and two injured when the jeep they were travelling in collided head-on with a state transport bus on the Ahmedabad-Mehdabad highway near Kankamba village in Ahmedabad rural on Sunday, the police said.

Eight people were travelling in the ill-fated vehicle when the accident occurred, the police said. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the bus driver, the police added. (PTI)

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


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Gujarat govt to construct tribal community halls Sunday, June 17, 2001

The Times Of India
AHMEDABAD, June 17: The Gujarat government would set up community halls in each tribal-dominated taluka that would serve as a rest house for the tribals, who visited the taluka for purchase of domestic goods, Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel said on Saturday.

Patel, who was participating in the state BJP executive meeting at Khedbrahma in Sabarkantha district of north Gujarat, exchanged thoughts with the tribals and also took part in community lunch with them.

Patel said, "In last three years, as many as 4,000 tribals were provided employment." (PTI)

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


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Death Toll mounts to 20 due to heavy rains Sunday, June 17, 2001

AsianAge
GANDHINAGAR: Drought-prone Kutch and Saurashtra regions of Gujarat and other areas of the water-tarved state continued to experience heavy rainfall on Saturday even as rain-related deaths mounted to 20 with three more persons killed during the last 24 hours in the state.

Three rain-related deaths were reported from Amreli, Jamnagar and Porbander in the last 24 hours, official sources said on Saturday.

The remaining deaths had occurred in Gandhinagar (one), Jamnagar (four), Surat (five), Vadodara (four) and Valsad (three), they added.

In the last 24 hours, various districts of the state have together recorded 59.95 mm of rainfall and the season's total till Saturday was 145 mm, the sources said. (PTI)

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


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