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May 24, 2001 - May 24, 2001

Officers, ministers claw each other in forest dept Thursday, May 24, 2001

AHMEDABAD: It is the law of the jungle - survival of the fittest - that seems to prevail in the state forest department. The top men of the elite Indian Forest Services are virtually clawing at each other in a display of unbridled malice .

The intensity of the power struggle has surprised even officers of other services who have their own ways of getting at each other but have never witnessed such a coarse conflict. Admitted a senior forest officer "all this washing of dirty linen in public is bringing a bad name to a department, the war at the top is dividing the rank and file of the department and delivering a crushing blow to the morale of the force".

While the battle between the principal chief conservator of forest D P S Verma and the chief conservator of forest (wild life) G A Patel has assumed epic proportions , what's come as worse news for the department is that the forest minister Kanjibhai Patel and his deputy minister for forest Prabhatsinh Chouhan have also fallen out with each other. Kanjibhai is said to have serious reservations about some transfers effected by his deputy and has directed the forest secretary not to approve of any transfer without his consent. Choudan has reportedly complained to the chief minister that he has been left with no work.

Verma who submitted a report last week to the government indicting G A Patel for allowing illegal tree felling in the Shoolpaneshwar sanctuary, is said to be armed with at least five other inquiry reports against Patel which he is holding back to strike at the right time. The murky mudslinging between top state forest department officials took a fresh turn on Monday when G.A. Patel shot a letter to principal secretary, forest and environment, K.S. Sugathan, to start an inquiry against his immediate boss, D.P.S. Verma, as also conservator of forests (research and working plan) Meera Agarwal.

Patel accused the two officials of "intentional involvement in adverse publicity in the press against government decisions by government officers with a view to embarass the government and harm his career."

In a separate letter, Y.B. Desai, financial controller, Gujarat State Forest Development Corporation (GSFDC) shot a month ago to state vigilance commissioner V.R.S. Cowlagi, says that Verma had purchased a 544.85 sq metres plot out of "benami income". Desai says, the plot, belonging to the housing zone of the electronics estate of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), Gandhinagar, was bought at Rs 15 lakh, yet on paper a mere Rs 5 lakh have been shown for purchase. Verma has allegedly built a huge bungalow of Rs 40 lakh over the plot.

Significantly Verma was the managing director of GSFDC before becoming the PCCF last year in a keen tussle where he pipped G A Patel to the post. Forest officials were surprised at Verma's appointment as he was branded as a Shankersinh Vaghela man because he was earlier made PCCF during the RJP regime before he was replaced by A P Mishra when the BJP returned to power.

Verma is said to favour Ashok Kumar to succeed him when he (Verma) retires in July but even Ashok Kumar is due to retire in September this year. Besides, as many as nine chargesheets have been prepared to be served to Kumar after a state vigilance commission inquiry against him.

This battle, confide forest department officials, is fast deteriorating into a son-of-the-soils versus outsider tussle which has already vitiated the working atmosphere in the department. G A Patel , significantly, has risen from the State Forest Services (SFS) and wears the 'local' tag on his sleeve . And he does have other challengers in the race for the PCCF's post which is getting hotter and dietier by the day .

Senior to him , apart from Ashok Kumar , is Dr Sanat Chavan but this officer has been on deputation for the whole of last decade to the Sardar Sarovar project and has almost dissociated himself with the parent department. There are three other officers of CCF rank- J P Agarwal , J R Parmar and Mohanlal Sharma who have an outside chance.

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

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Most surgeries here result in infections Thursday, May 24, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Those dead in the January 26 quake may be resting in peace, but for those who were wounded and underwent surgeries amidst difficult conditions in make-shift tents in Bhuj, the nightmare is not yet over.

The infection rate among the quake victims operated upon in Bhuj and other centres in surrounding areas is pegged anywhere between 40 to 50 per cent - an astounding 10 times higher than the medically acceptable 4 to 5 per cent.

This means that those "lucky" survivors who had escaped nature's fury with a fracture here and there and should have been on their feet by now rebuilding their shattered lives, still lie bed-ridden fighting wounds that refuse to heal.

Premchand Purabiya (78), for instance, faces a 50:50 possibility of having his leg amputated if he has to save his life. Ironically, the septuagenarian was considered lucky when he was pulled out alive from under the debris of his house in Soniwad, Bhuj, after six long hours with a simple fracture in the leg. Doctors at the Jubilee Grounds had hastily put his leg in a plaster and asked him to come after a fortnight. That's precisely when the nightmare began.

Left unattended, the leg developed swelling and later infection. When shown after 15 days, the surgeons there quickly decided to insert a rod. The infection persisted. Then it was turn of a plate but the infection kept eating into the wound. Finally, the doctors referred the case to Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai.

"He and his family had lost all hope and begged us to cut off his rotting leg. We have replaced the infected plate with a bone graft and are hopeful of saving the old man's limb. But the damage was big and it is too early to promise anything," said a leading orthopaedic surgeon in Ahmedabad who operated upon Purabiya later.

Then there is Gulabben Desai of Bhachau. Gulab had sustained a spine injury in the quake and was rendered paraplegic with no sensation in her feet at all. Not understanding her condition, a government doctor advised her to immerse her legs in hot water that has left the poor old lady with second degree burns on her legs which were devoid of sensation.

"Patients were cut open in tents with dust flying. They should have been transferred to all major centres with basic facilities," said a senior surgeon in the city who had volunteered his services during the quake and admitted to receiving at least two complicated cases of infections from Kutch everyday.

The extent of apathy is demonstrated best by what was done to Himatsinh Solanki of Bhachau, whose spine was fractured during the quake. Doctors in Gandhinagar Civil Hospital inserted a plate which experts say was not the size recommended for that big a fracture. The wound developed infection. The worst part was that not only was the infection ignored but that the patient was also advised to undergo physiotherapy at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad!

"They cheated us. Thankfully the doctors in Civil Hospital diagnosed the infection and gave emergency treatment. Otherwise those doctors had almost fooled us into believing that his wounds had healed," cries Himatsinh's wife. The victim still faces the grim prospect of remaining bed-ridden for at least a few more months.

Meanwhile, doctors in Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, frequenting Jubilee Grounds in Bhuj on duty concede that all the hue and cry about a sympathetic attitude towards patients notwithstanding, apathy persists. "Can you believe that four months after the calamity and donation of 56 generators by Honda, we were still forced to do complex surgeries in candle light," said one of them.

"Air-conditioners and state-of-the-art Image Intensifier TV (IITV), must for orthopaedic surgeries, lie outside the makeshift hospital but no one is ready to install the machines. Spine X-rays cannot be taken and patients are referred to private hospitals because the hospital in charge cannot arrange for the X-ray table to be shifted inside", the Civil Hospital doctor said.

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

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AMC clerk accused of harassment Thursday, May 24, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 23: A police complaint has been lodged against a senior clerk with the tax department of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation alleging harassment of a female resident of Jamalpur.

The complaint was lodged by deputy municipal commissioner J.G. Hingrajia at the Gaekwad Haveli police station against senior clerk Dadubha Gadhvi. The complainant, 21-year-old Khatmabanu a resident of Jamalpur approached Mr Hingrajia on May 18 after Gadhvi misbehaved with her at her home.

According to sources in the AMC, Gadhvi did not attend office on Wednesday last and is known to have just signed the muster and left. According to details three employees of the tax department had been to a house for tax survey in Jamalpur darwaja.

The occupants of the house are Ismail Suleman who stays with his wife, Khatmabanu, the complainant. On May 17 when the AMC men went for the survey, they found Khatmabanu alone in the house and taking this into consideration, the next day Gadhvi, under the pretext of filling an incomplete form, went back to the house and closed the door once he entered.

He tried to misbehave with Khatmabanu but she raised an alarm and he managed to flee. Khatmabanu later approached Mr Hingrajia who in turn lodged a complaint on her behalf. Gadhvi has been booked under section 345 of the IPC and police sub inspector R.G. Chavda is investigating the case.

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

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Congress to lobby for a state chief during Kamal Nath’s visit Thursday, May 24, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 23: The forthcoming visit of the state in-charge of the Congress party Mr Kamal Nath has geared up aspirants for the post of president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, which is lying vacant for almost three months.

All the contenders are busy preparing themselves for representing before Mr Kamal Nath, who will attend a function of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

Sources in the Congress party said that the aspirants had started lobbying for the post quite some time back however, due to the extended delays by the Centre in appointing the GPCC president, the lobbying had subsided, sources added.

As his visit is nearing enthusiasm has once again provoked Congress party members, and aspirants, to start lobbying for the post again. Congress state spokesman Hasmukh Patel said that Mr Kamal Nath’s agenda is to attend a general function of AMC and he would also meet the aspirants.

According to sources contenders for the post will throng the GPCC office on May 25 and Mr Kamal Nath is scheduled to meet the aspirants for eight hours in two shifts. Sources said that Manoharsinh Jadeja, a Congress leader, from Rajkot would come with a large numbers of supporters.

Another group is of Navinchandra Ravani from Saurashtra who is considered to be a strong contender for the post of party president. In the same way partymen and aspirants from all the parts of the state including veteran Madhavsinh Solanki and his group, Shankarsinh Vaghela, Amarsinh Chaudhary, Narhari Amin and Hasmukh Patel would lobby for the post.

Congress spokesman for Saurashtra region Mr Valji Bagda said that the chances of a candidate from Saurashtra are brighter this time for the post of the GPCC president. It can be recalled that last time when the high command nominated C.D. Patel as the president it was promised that the next candidate for the post would be from Saurashtra.

Leader of opposition in the state legislative assembly Amarsinh Chaudhary said that as Mr Kamal Nath is expected all the contenders for the post would come to represent from the entire state.
He said, “Though I am not lobbying for the post if I am offered the post then I will accept it.’ ’Sources said that many smaller leaders fancy their chance to become president.

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

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Advani to inaugurate Science City on May 30 Thursday, May 24, 2001

Gandhinagar, May 23: The foundation stone for the state’s first Science City project, which will be located at Hebatpur village on Sarkhej, will be laid by Union Home Minister L.K. Advani on May 30. The project is to be completed in phases and the first phase is likely to be over by January 2002.

Giving the details about the Science City, chief minister Keshubhai Patel said that the project was aimed at increasing the interest of the people in science. Located on the Gandhinagar national highway, the city will be located in a sprawling 500 acres of land.

The major attractions in the first phase are to be India’s first large format 3 D I-Max theatre. Series of twenty theme theatres like universe, evolution, earth, environment, ecology, health, bio-technology, physics, chemistry and defense will be put up.

It will also include a Nature Park, theme theatre, floating restaurant, jet fountain and virtual reality theatre. There will be three levels of open spaces-open spaces in and around individual pavilions, open spaces in and around the clusters and the central open space.

A demonstration working port will also be available.The pavilions in the city will be a unique concept where the visitors will not only be able to touch and feel the exhibit but also apply his or her mind in understanding the complex science phenomenon in a simple manner.

The experimentation and ideas advocated by the Nehru foundation and at display at Vikram Sarabhai Science Centre will be at display here. The visitors will therefore be able to understand the principles of science and also the applications of the principles in the technology.

The underlying vision for creating the science city is to facilitate “Edutainment” i.e. the “learn with fun” concept. The city is targeted to increase the scientific temperament from the city The city is expected to attract more that 10,000 people per year but the state government has not thought out any entrance fee structure for the same.

Minister of state for Information and Technology, Bimal Jalan said that the main attraction at the foundation laying ceremony would be capsule of simulator rides, planetarium, areo-modeling show, electronic havan kund and rocket show launching.

The work on the Ampitheatre and the water kund is near completion and the Tata Solar BP streetlights have been installed. The project report was prepared in consultation with Gujarat Council of Science City and Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology.

The concept of the project was developed by Tata Consultancy Services in association with eminent scientists like Dr Jayant Narlikar, Dr Saroj Ghosh and Mr Nansi Staber conceive the project.

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

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