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May 20, 2001 - May 20, 2001

Gujarat gets nod to raise Narmada Dam height Sunday, May 20, 2001

By Ashraf Sayed

Gandhinagar, May 19: India's Attorney General Soli Sorabjee has given permission to Gujarat to build a three-meter-high hump on the inter-state Narmada Dam project, a technical requirement to pre-empt damage to the dam during monsoon flooding.

Describing the legal clearance by Sorabjee as a "major victory for Gujarat", P.K. Lehri, the principal secretary to Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, told IANS that the state government would now be able to start the work on this crucial hump once the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) gave its final approval.

The NCA had sought the opinion of the attorney general following objections raised by the Madhya Pradesh government and opponents of the dam.

Having obtained legal clearance, NCA Chairman Babubhai Navlavala, who is also Union water resources secretary, will grant formal permission to Gujarat to start the work on the round-shaped hump that will reduce the intensity of the waterfall from over the dam during flooding, Lehri said.

"We have made all preparations and work will be completed within a month," Lehri said, adding that Madhya Pradesh had created an unnecessary controversy over an issue that was a technical requirement to ensure the safety of the dam.

The Madhya Pradesh government had strongly opposed Gujarat's proposal to raise a hump on the dam at a meeting of the NCA on May 4 over the question of resettlement and rehabilitation of the people affected by the project. According to Lehri this question did not arise as at the present stage Gujarat was not going to raise the height of the dam beyond the permissible limit of 90 meters.

Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) leader Shipad Dharmadhikari said permission for building the hump would contravene a Supreme Court order allowing pari-passu construction of the dam.

"If the hump is allowed, we would not only serve a legal notice on the NCA, but will take the matter to the apex court, too, because we were given to understand that hump would form part of the dam height by the Supreme Court," he said.

Leader of Opposition Amarsinh Chaudhary said the state government should not have gone to the NCA to get the clearance, as "a hump is not considered part of the height of the dam". He alleged that the Keshubhai Patel government had not only shown "criminal negligence", but also "deliberate neglect" in building the dam.

Lehri, however, clarified that the NCA clearance was being sought in the larger interest of Gujarat.

Work on the dam has been stopped at 90 meters for almost five months following the Mahdya Pradesh government's argument that Gujarat can raise the height of the dam to 95 meters only after completing the resettlement and rehabilitation of the families that would be affected.

The Narmada Dam is an inter-state multi-purpose project said to be one of the largest under implementation anywhere in the world. It is sponsored by the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

The Narmada rises near Amarkantak range of mountains in Madhya Pradesh. It is the fifth largest river in the country and the largest one in Gujarat. It traverses through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat and meets the Gulf of Cambay. The total length of the river from source to sea is 1,312 km while its length up to dam site is 1,163 km.

News Source : Indiaabroad News Service [ Website for the NRI ]


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Celforce launches voice assisted standard messaging service Sunday, May 20, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Celforce, the leading cellular service provider of Gujarat, has launched a host of innovative voice assisted services, which allows mobile phone users to send standard short messages, receive logos and download musical tones.

A new voice response based system will enable Celforce users to send a predefined message, without having to type a message. Users just have to dial 2025 and follow simple instructions in a language of his choice, a company release said here on Saturday.

At present, fifty such frequently used standard messages have been developed, which can be used for business and personal communication, it said. (PTI)

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


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Plan prepared to repair monuments hit by earthquake Sunday, May 20, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 19: The state government has prepared a relief package for repair of archaeologically important buildings, which were damaged in the earthquake.

Culturally and historically important buildings, which are not in the list of protected sites of the archaeological department, would be covered in the package, said an official press release of coordinator of archaeological department of the state government.

The massive earthquake of January 26, which took more than 20,000 lives also, damaged the property in large scale throughout the state. These archaeologically important buildings are the worst affected due to the quake.

Almost all the old buildings in Limbdi town, which is full of old buildings, have been damaged in the quake. The palace of the erstwhile Limbdi State, which has been turned into memorial of the Swami Vivekanada, is also severally damaged.

The buildings covered in the relief package are palaces and castles which are more then 100 years old. These Buildings are architecturally beautiful and have different types of the stone works or sculptures in it. Religious places like temples, Mosques, Gurudwaras and Churches figure in the relief package. Lakes, `kunds’, `vavs’ are also included for relief operations.

The package would give relief only to damaged buildings on the basis of particular damages. Fully collapsed building would not be included in the package as the Government has already put them under “A” category and declared relief package for them.

Assistance in this package would be given upto Rs two lakh for repairs of cracks, fallen walls and ceilings. The officials, after receiving the application, would categorise the building and decide on amount of relief assistance.

For the buildings like school and library, which are included as heritage buildings would be given financial assistance upto Rs five lakh.

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


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Plan prepared to repair monuments hit by earthquake Sunday, May 20, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 19: The state government has prepared a relief package for repair of archaeologically important buildings, which were damaged in the earthquake.

Culturally and historically important buildings, which are not in the list of protected sites of the archaeological department, would be covered in the package, said an official press release of coordinator of archaeological department of the state government.

The massive earthquake of January 26, which took more than 20,000 lives also, damaged the property in large scale throughout the state. These archaeologically important buildings are the worst affected due to the quake.

Almost all the old buildings in Limbdi town, which is full of old buildings, have been damaged in the quake. The palace of the erstwhile Limbdi State, which has been turned into memorial of the Swami Vivekanada, is also severally damaged.

The buildings covered in the relief package are palaces and castles which are more then 100 years old. These Buildings are architecturally beautiful and have different types of the stone works or sculptures in it. Religious places like temples, Mosques, Gurudwaras and Churches figure in the relief package. Lakes, `kunds’, `vavs’ are also included for relief operations.

The package would give relief only to damaged buildings on the basis of particular damages. Fully collapsed building would not be included in the package as the Government has already put them under “A” category and declared relief package for them.

Assistance in this package would be given upto Rs two lakh for repairs of cracks, fallen walls and ceilings. The officials, after receiving the application, would categorise the building and decide on amount of relief assistance.

For the buildings like school and library, which are included as heritage buildings would be given financial assistance upto Rs five lakh.

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


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5,000 check-dams to check water shortage across state Sunday, May 20, 2001

Gandhinagar, May 19: In order to fight the water crisis in the state afflicted with drought for the second consecutive year now and facing the aftermath of the earthquake, the state government on Thursday declared an ambitious project to construct as many as 5,000 check dams across the state during the current year.

The check dams will be constructed as a part of the Sardar Patel Participatory Water Harvesting project of the state government. This was informed during a meeting of officials concerned who reviewed the progress of the project on Thursday.

The construction of all these check dams will conclude by July 15, informed small and medium irrigation projects minister Nitin Patel. “In order to facilitate agriculture in a drought prone state, it is important that the rain water which gets wasted in absence of adequate storing facility, should be stored.

Thus, under the SPPWH, government built about 10,700 check dams during 2000-01,” the minister further informed. The success of these check dams encouraged the government o construct as many as 16,724 check dams across Saurashtra and Kutch, two of the most affected areas, he added.

The government assured that despite the staff at the check dams being diverted at the earthquake relief sites, it has not compromised on its project to attend to water scarcity. “We built about 6,520 check dams — 1,051 in Amreli, 1,639 in Jamnagar, 692 in Junagarh, 1,119 in Rajkot and 108 in Surendranagar,” Mr Patel informed.

Minister of state for small and medium Irrigation Projects Manubhai Bera further informed, “Despite poor monsoon in Jamnagar and Rajkot during last year, agriculture in the region did not suffer simply because of the presence of check dams in the region.

Even the ground water level has shown an increase after the construction of the check dams,” the minister informed. During the meeting, chairman of the Saurashtra Jaldhara Trust, who revolutionised water harvesting in the region through check dams, Mathurbhjai Savani observed, “The project can only succeed if local people are convinced about the importance of it.

People’s cooperation is a must for the success of the project.”

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


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