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November 21, 2001 - November 21, 2001

Badge worn by Sardar's daughter returns home Wednesday, November 21, 2001

VADODARA: A part of India's history of freedom struggle is back to where it belongs. After being bought by an American couple from a shop in Mumbai, who took it to Honolulu, the "billa" or badge worn by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's daughter Maniben during her days in the Yeravada Jail in Pune in 1932, is now with a Gandhian here. The badge will now be given to the Sardar Smruti Museum in Ahmedabad.

Ruzicka Johnson had come to India in 1973 to complete her dissertation on Mahatma Gandhi and the country's freedom struggle. She stumbled upon the badge in an antique shop in Churchgate area of Mumbai when she came back to the country with her husband two years ago.

Johnson, who did her dissertation at the Honolulu Institute and later associated herself with "a peace institute" in France, sent the badge to former director of the National Gandhi Museum and Library in New Delhi Ramanikbhai Turakhia, a month ago. Turakhia, who is based in Vadodara since his retirement in 1986, had helped Johnson with material on Mahatma Gandhi during her dissertation.

"Around 1973 end, I visited you at your Gandhi Museum and ... you helped me a lot in search of reference material on Mahatma Gandhi ... I was at Bombay in the company of my husband and ... one day we were going round some shops near Churchgate. In one antique and rare book shop, I found one metal badge bearing some words as 10429 _ Maniben ... 13.8.32 etc engraved on it. We thought it must be carrying a history of its own. We purchased it paying $ 10 ...," wrote Johnson in a letter to Turakhia, from France.

The badge remained in the luggage box of Johnson for almost two years. She then sent it to Turakhia, whom she calls the "museum man", through an Indian friend, Jatin Das.

Das, who works with an MNC in Honolulu and was travelling to India, managed to find Turakhia's address from New Delhi and handed over the badge while on his way to Mumbai from New Delhi by train about a month ago. Turakhia then wrote to the museum to find out more about the badge and whether they had badges worn by Mahatma Gandhi.

"Maniben was sent to the Yeravada Jail in 1932 along with Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Mahadev Desai. I plan to contact the Sardar Museum authorities in Ahmedabad. It will perhaps be the only museum to have a jail badge worn by any freedom fighter," says Turakhia.

The two-inch-by-three-inch badge, made of an alloy, has Maniben's name, the class she was lodged in and the period of jail term inscribed on it. "We can find out that she was lodged in jail on August 13, 1932 in the B-class cell and was there for a year and three months," says Turakhia.

"It's a noble gesture on the part of Johnson to have sent back this badge to us. While I will ensure that it is preserved at the Sardar Smruti Museum, people possessing such historical articles should also come forward to deposit them at museums so that they can be preserved for posterity," says Turakhia.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Chudasama posted in charge of city crime branch Wednesday, November 21, 2001

AHMEDABAD: In a routine transfer of police officers, the state government gave independent charge to three IPS officers who had returned from training and gave permanent postings to seven who were on probation.

Thirteen unarmed police inspectors were promoted as unarmed deputy superintendents and 13 officers of the DySP rank were transferred. The vacancy created in the city crime branch by the shifting of ACP Subhash Trivedi will be filled by SS Chudasama promoted from a police inspector in Bharuch.

The IPS officers posted are ASP (Banaskantha) Brajeshkumar Jha as divisional police officer, Viramgam, ASP (Patan) Ajaykumar Chaudhary as DPO Jetpur and ASP (Anand) Wabang Jamir as DPO in the same district.

Police inspector (CID, intelligence) at Gandhinagar VS Jadeja has been promoted as assistant director in ACB, KK Patel has been posted from DPO Anand to ATS Ahmedabad as DySP, ACP GL Singhal has been posted as DPO, Gandhinagar from 'D' division in Ahmedabad and will be replaced by DK Bava who was DySP at CID (Intelligence) in the Gandhinagar zone.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Court summons Bt. cotton seed company officials Wednesday, November 21, 2001

AHMEDABAD: A metropolitan court issued summons to three senior officials of Navbharat Seed Private Ltd, a firm that allegedly sold genetically engineered Bt cotton seed to farmers of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, reportedly endangering environment and health.

Managing director D B Desai, chairman Rajiv Patel and director R J Dhannawat have been told to be in the court on December 15.

The summons were issued by chief metropolitan magistrate Smita Shah in response to a ministry of forest and environment (MF&A) complaint which stated the Ahmedabad-based firm sold genetically modified variety without the approval of the ministry's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC).

The complainant said the seed 'Navbharat 151 Hybrid', marketed by the firm, was not tested and approved by the GEAC. The firm was involved in the 'production and marketing of genetically Bt cotton without the approval of review committee on genetic manipulation under the department of biotech and the ministry of science and technology and the GEAC'.

It stated that the accused sold the seed by misleading farmers that the variety was resistant to the ballworm pest, which often attacked the cotton crop and 'knowingly suppressed information' that the seed was genetically engineered.

According to MF&A, the incident was brought to the notice of the GEAC by a Maharashtra-based unit. Then the seeds were subjected to testing for the presence of a protein Cry 1 A(c). This is a protein produced in the seed by a gene present in the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The presence of the protein indicates the seed as being transgenic and such variety of cotton is classified as Bt cotton.

The test conducted by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plant, Delhi University affirmed that Navbharat 151 variety was genetically engineered and 'eight out of the 10 seeds tested had positive results' the government said.

Underscoring the activity of SEPL of producing engineered variety and launching them without the approval and testing of the authority the government in its complaint said that the firm and its official committed offence under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 and the rules' guiding the 'manufacture, use, export, import, storage of hazardous micro-organisms or genetically engineered cells' of 1989.

After the testing of seed samples, the government also sent a two member team of scientists from the Central Institute of Cotton Research, Nagpur and Department of Biotechnology New Delhi to the fields of Gujarat, where farmers had used Navbharat 151. The spot test, comprising gene analysis and the Enzymo Linked Immuno Sorbant Assay (ELISA) checks indicated the cotton was of Bt breed _a genetically engineered variety.

The accused, however, claim that they had not imported, nor processed, manufactured, used or sold any seed which had been produced by the firm by genetic engineering or were aware of the fact that the seeds were a genetically engineered hybrid not approved by the GEAC. But the government maintained that Desai was awarded a PhD in Agronomy-Seed Technology by US State University, Patel and Dhannawat were in the seed production packaging and marketing business for quite some time.

Investigation revealed the NSPL had sold similar variety of Bt cotton hybrids to Andhra farmers in the name of Jay, Vijay and Digvijay, the complainant told the CMM.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Multi-speciality SAL hospital opened Wednesday, November 21, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat got its first-ever corporate multi-speciality hospital with the launch of Shah Alloys Limited (SAL) Hospital and Medical Institute here in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Situated at Drive-In area of the city, the 300-bed hospital, with a project investment of Rs 30 crore, will offer medical services in more than 18 super-specialities under one roof. The specialities include cardiology, nephrology, urology, trauma centre, gynaecology, orthopaedics and all types of endoscopy, to name a few.

Special out-door clinics for asthma, diabetes, de-addiction, pain, sex, vaccination, menopause, AIDS and even yoga will be provided at the hospital, where more than 100 medical specialists will offer consulting services.

The high-point of the hospital would be the state-of-the-art cardiac cathlab _ claimed to be the first in the country _ as well as virtual endoscopy that would provide the doctors with real-time positions of where the surgery has to be carried out.

SAL Hospital is promoted not by the medical fraternity but industrialists manufacturing steel. So, is healthcare emerging as a potentially attractive commercial venture for industrialists in the state? SAL managing trustee Rajendra Shah does not feel so. "For us, hospitals are not a venture for profits. We have built this hospital for recognition in society and as a means to serve the public at large," he said.

Shah said reputed names of the state's medical fraternity have been made part of the hospital. The promoters have laid specific stress on employing doctors from the state as they felt that the local doctors were more enthusiastic in working towards progress of the health-care in the state and would make good use of the state-of-the-art facilities provided by the hospital. Though there is no technical collaboration with foreign hospitals in the offing, SAL officials indicated that there will be tie-ups with international experts for enhanced medical education of doctors here.

It needs mention here that Adarsh Foundation, which is promoting SAL Hospital, has obtained the permission of the Central and the state government to start the first-ever private medical college, 5 km away from the hospital. The college was slated to be started from the current academic year, but got delayed because of some significant administrative hiccups. "We are ready with starting the college at the earliest for the benefit of students of the state who are forced to expend huge amounts and go out-state to study medicine. But one needs greater support from the administration", refrained Shah when asked when is the college expected to start.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Racket of sales tax evasion unearthed in Surat Wednesday, November 21, 2001

GANDHINAGAR; The state sales tax commissionerate has unearthed a major racket of sales tax evasion in Surat district in which pure ghee worth Rs 3 crore was smuggled in Gujarat from Maharashtra through Songadh check post in Surat district.

State Finance minister Nitin Patel who paid surprise visit to the check post on Diwali day following complaints he had received regarding sales tax evasion, told reporters that a senior official of the department has been asked to probe the transactions involving an Ahmedabad-based businessman who used to purchase pure ghee from a co-operative dairy in Baramati district of Maharashtra.

The minister himself checked one of the trucks laden with tins containing ghee from Maharashtra at Songadh check post and found that the truck owner had no valid documents pertaining to sales tax. Later on inquiries revealed that the Ahmedabad-based businessman used to buy ghee regularly from the dairy through bogus bills without paying the sales tax. The truck was impounded with the tins of ghee worth Rs 8 lakh as sales tax amounting to Rs 1.33 lakh was not paid by the businessman.

According to Patel the sales tax commissioner has been directed to organise more surprise checks by senior officials and newly constituted flying squads at various check posts to plug sales tax evasion indulged in by traders dealing in commodities like groundnut oil, pure ghee and also on marble, kota stone and granite brought from Rajasthan taking advantage of loopholes in the rules.

The campaign launched during the Diwali days against sales tax evasion has stepped up the income from sales tax at various places in the state and the government has earned at least Rs 10 crore through penalty and sales tax recovered from defaulters.

Patel said the government would further tighten the noose against those who evade sales tax and recover more revenue which was badly needed to manage the financial crisis that has arisen following heavy expenditure on relief and rehabilitation in earthquake affected areas last year and earlier on account of drought for consecutive two years.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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