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May 28, 2001 - May 29, 2001

Manekchowk shop raided Tuesday, May 29, 2001

The Income Tax department raided the residence and shops of a Manekchowk businessman and seized 250 kg silver worth Rs 25 lakhs amd Rs 5 lakh cash. According to sources in the IT department, the raid began on Friday and is still on. During the investigation, the accused admitted tax evasion of Rs 1 crore.

The officials raided five premises, including all the offices and the residence of the accused and have found that the accused also owns a construction company.

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

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Notice of closure to six movie halls in city Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Ahmedabad: May 28
For the first time in the city, six cinema halls will be served closure notice on Tuesday, following a police raid on cinemas halls where they were found to be screening bits of pornographic material along with the regular licensed films.

Madhuram theatre in Gheekanta, Vasant in Madhavpura, Aradhana in Kankaria and Mangalam, Geeta and Gauri in Odhav were found to be violating the provisions of the Cinematography Act. Police inspector Jani said that they had information of 12 cinema halls violating the provisions. But only six cinemas halls were found screening pornographic material. He said the police would be on look out for such errant cinema halls.

One cinema owner said most movie halls faced stiff competition from multiplexes and many resorted to such act to cover the expenses and survive in the business.

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

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Cyclone most probably to hit Gujarat coast by Monday evening Monday, May 28, 2001

May 28th, 11:15am:
The cyclone, building up in the Arabian Sea for the last couple of days, is likely to hit the Gujarat coast on Monday evening.

State authorities are evacuating people from vulnerable areas and defence forces have been asked to remain on full alert.

The storm is now located 450 km south-west of the port town of Porbandar in Gujarat and is expected to hit the state coast by Monday evening between Veraval and Nalia, Indian Meteorological Department said.

Though the cyclone has weakened from "very severe" to "severe", it is still capable of causing extensive damage.

Over 8,000 people from low-lying areas have already been shifted to safer places and fishermen advised not to venture out into the sea, senior state officials said.

The Ministry of Defence is monitoring the situation round-the-clock in association with the IMD.

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

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Thank God, cyclone did not engulf Ahmedabad Monday, May 28, 2001

By Jaimini Devta

Ahmedabad, May 27: Even though the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation officials claim to be fully-equipped to face the cyclone, which might hit the coast of Gujarat, the reality is otherwise.

Quake-affected buildings succumbing to the cyclone, road-blockades due to uprooting of trees and water logging in the low-lying areas are some of the serious issues that the AMC is yet to ponder over.

For a city with population of more than 40 lakhs, the AMC has just one set of hydraulic tool, which would undoubtedly be overburdened to handle rescue operations. “For a city as big as Ahmedabad, minimum six hydraulic sets are necessary to efficiently carry out rescue work at different places, informed a senior AMC official on condition of anonymity.

“If weak buildings collapse due to the cyclone, hydraulic tools like lifting bags of different capacity are required. Mechanical and hydraulic jacks of different capacities, hydraulic cutters and spreaders, crowbars and shovels are the basic requirement, in absence of which the workforce of relief operations will be hard pressed,” he said.

The high velocity wind accompanying cyclones are known to uproot trees and cause menace on the roads. “Last year, a sizeable number of roads got blocked after uprooted trees fell on them. We do not even have sufficient tree-lifting woodcutter machines to help clear the block roads, and the AMC needs at least 10 such petrol woodcutters,” said another official.

Cyclone accompanied by high velocity wind and heavy rains has been causing waterlogging in several low-lying areas of the city. To deal with this situation, the AMC should have pumps of various capacities to drain out the rainwater. “Each monsoon we witness heavy water logging, yet we do not have sufficient equipments to deal with the situation.

It is ironical that we have to rely on the state government during such crisis,” he said.
“In eastern side of the city, even five inches of rain causes water logging in the entire area. Life jackets and lifeboat is required to rescue people.

It was very difficult for us to rescue people in the waterlogged areas near Kharicut canal in 1998. We had only one eight-seater lifeboat to rescue more than 40,000 people. We then borrowed boats from Kankaria lake and fisheries department that did not really help.

For rescue operations we require machine boats,” said a fire official. “ In such situation the most important equipment is snorkel. Our department has only one 86 model snorkel made by British Leyland Company, which has closed hence many spare-parts which needs replacement cannot be replaced.

During emergency, the snorkel would not be of much use” the fire official said. Another officer said “ During earthquake if our department would have been well-equipped the rescue operations would have been ten times faster and we could have saved many more lives.”

When contacted, deputy municipal commissioner A R Bhatt told The Asian Age that the corporation is ready with all the equipment to face the calamity. Mr Bhatt, however, said, “There are only three fire tenders with all the required tools, which are not sufficient to handle a crisis of greater magnitude.

On asking about the purchase of equipments, he said, “Immediately after the earthquake, we pressed demand for those equipments. But, since these rescue tools are foreign-made and hence expensive, we have to wait before the government sanctions the demands.”

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

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VERAVAL:::: Fishermen raring to venture out in Arabian for livelihood Monday, May 28, 2001

Veraval, May 27: It’s noon at Patthar Godi and Lalji Khoraba and Dahyalal Parmar are raring to venture out in the Arabian Sea again. For these fishermen the hindrance is only an order given by their association president not to venture into waters unless the cyclone has subsided.

These two fishermen along with 18 others, who had gone in deep sea in two medium sized boats on May 22 afternoon, almost had a miraculous escape. On Wednesday night when they reached Mangrol covering around 40 nautical miles and also venturing into deep sea they realised that something was wrong with the behaviour of waters.

Experts in judging the nature of sea, they soon figured out the severity of the cyclonic conditions. Luckily, engines of their boats were working properly. Back home, Mr Khoraba’s 65-year-old mother had become quite nervous as the news of cyclone had already spread in the area. Tension writ large on the faces of the 10-member crew led by Mr Khoraba.

Used to brave adverse conditions, all they did was pray to Sea God Varun Div. Water started entering in their boat “Vishal Sagar.” The water current was high and the waves were rising three times higher than it would have been in normal circumstances, recalls Mr Parmar, the khalasi.

The waves were surging at a height of around 15 to 17 feet, he says, adding that they all mustered courage and pulled the net into the boat with great difficulty. “Although our licenses to go in the Sea expired on May 15, we went ahead in the choppy sea for it was a question of our livelihood,” says Mr Khoraba.

“Of course, I did have apprehensions about the behaviour of the sea,” he says; adding that he had experienced similar situation during the cyclone that diverted to Kandla three years ago. One has to get used to such conditions or else die without having food, says Mr Parmar, who like others, earns his livelihood in the off season depending upon the catch.

The last trip of their boats Vishal Sagar and Jal Jamana was not fruitful. The only respite for the crew was that they could return back home on May 24 night. On returning they and their family members heaved a sigh of relief.

The crewmembers were not only re-united with their dear ones but they also gave them accounts of their adventure. “In normal circumstances, it would have taken four to five hours to return from Mangrol. But due to adverse conditions, we took nearly nine hours to anchor at the shore,” Mr Khoraba and Mr Parmar say.

Other boats were not around to give them psychological support. In the vast sea only Vishal Sagar and Jal Jamana helped each other. Tulsi Dari, a boat owner, explains that usually boats of fellow fishermen try to locate the stranded boats.

He alleges that in most of the cases the Coast Guards are not available in the deep sea. The fishermen say that help of the Coast Guard is available only in particular area. Had the engine developed snag, we would have been put in great difficulty, the crewmembers admit.

As Jal Jamana’s engine worked a bit slow, the boat returned the shore two hours later than Vishal Sagar. Let the Association president give a nod and I will be back in the sea, Mr Khoraba says.

Mr Parmar too agrees with him. “Our life is uncertain and our family members are fully aware that whenever we go into water, we might not return,” the captain says, requesting more facilities from the government. For the crewmembers this is an another experience that they have already left behind and are looking forward to their date with deep sea.

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

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