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May 19, 2001 - May 19, 2001

Gastro cases rise in city Saturday, May 19, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 18: The number of water-borne disease cases has been on the rise since the past fifteen days. On an average 30 cases are being reported from various parts of the city daily. On Friday, 37 cases of gastroenteritis were reported.

Four cases have been reported in VS hospital, 11 cases in Shardaben, 10 cases in L G hospital, and six cases in civil, two cases in Bapunagar general hospital and four in infectious disease hospital. Four cases of jaundice have been reported in infectious disease hospital.

Three cases of typhoid have been reported at V S hospital and one case in L G Hospital. According to health officials, 310 kg of solid food and 44 lt of liquid was destroyed and Rs 29,000 was charged as penalty on Friday. The health department has till date collected more than Rs 2 lakh as penalty.

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


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Will Rana replace Keshubhai as CM? Saturday, May 19, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: A possible move to replace Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel with the present state BJP president Rajendrasinh Rana has come as a bolt from the blue for Keshubhai loyalists in the state.

Sources said the move, which is still under wraps and has the support of some quarters of the RSS and central BJP leadership, has taken the loyalists by surprise.

The move has already sent shock waves through the dominant group in the party. Some of the close confidants of Keshubhai have already lodged their protest and warned the central leaders that any step in this direction would prove disastrous for the BJP.

It is learnt that the central leadership of the BJP has evinced keen interest in the proposal but the dominant group has decided to fight tooth and nail against the possible and have conveyed their feelings to important party leaders.

Rajendrasinh Rana's name has been in the reckoning, along with that of Union textile minister Kashiram Rana and Union minister of state for heavy industries Dr Vallabhbhai Kathiria, but it is now becoming clear that the BJP chief has emerged as the main contender for the coveted post.

It is at the behest of central leadership that the state unit president Rajendrasinh Rana has effected some minor changes to the organisation, giving more importance to sincere and old party men in Kutch and Surat district committees.

Similarly some changes are expected in the ministry in which some dissident ministers are likely to be dropped and at least five to six new ministers inducted.

Political circles feel that the results of assembly elections in five states has given a fresh impetus to pro-changers, and the supporters of the CM have once again united to fight any move for change in the leadership.

Rana carried out revamping of the party last week for strengthening the organisation as suggested by the Bharat Barot Committee appointed to probe the debacle of the BJP in civic and panchayat elections last year. This seems just the beginning of changes likely in the state.

Reliable sources in the party on Wednesday indicated that senior leaders, including Rajya Sabha member Dr AK Patel, Dr KD Jeswani, Sooryakant Acharya and Vadibhai Patel and some other senior ministers, have opposed the move to replace Keshubhai and have strongly pleaded that under no circumstances will they tolerate removal of the 'popular' leader.

During a recent visit of Union home minister LK Advani, supporters of CM had registered their protest in this regard.

They had pleaded that in view of the dismal performance of the NDA in just concluded assembly elections in five states, the party should adopt a cautious approach before taking such a crucial decision.

A BJP leader, on condition of anonymity, admitted that the central leadership had hinted of change in the leadership but it was not an easy to dislodge Keshubhai Patel before he completed the full term in 2003.

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


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Kutchis plan to take New Delhi by storm Saturday, May 19, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Failing to move the state and Central governments the Kutchis are planning to take New Delhi by storm. After a 350-km trudge from Anjar to Sarkhej, followed by writing over a 1,000 letters with their own blood, the Kutchis now are planning to parade in the streets of New Delhi armed with a huge banner written with their blood.

Clutching on to nearly 250 letters written with blood of Anjar residents, a two-member team from Kutch recently went to New Delhi seeking an appointment with the President. The duo - Prakash Mansavala and Kalpesh Suratiya - returned on Wednesday after having met V. Aiyaswamy, principal secretary to the President and S.K. Agarwal , director of President's secretariat.

"The President has recently undergone a surgery and is now recovering so we could not meet him. But, the officials apart from being very supportive and sympathetic towards our plights promised to fix up an appointment with the President after May 26," said Prakash Mansawala.

On Wednesday the Kutchis met former defence minister George Fernandes and submitted a memorandum containing their charter of demands. "Fernandes met us and expressed his dissatisfaction over the poor rehabilitation and inadequacies on the relief package. He assured us of help," said Chinmay Banerjee, member of Group 2001 that has taken up cudles on behalf of Kutchh against neglect meted out to the quake-hit areas by the Gujarat government.

The Kutchhis are also readying themselves to give an 'unique' welcome to the Prime Minister who is scheduled to visit the quake-hit areas on June 3. "We will be in touch with the Gujarat government and the Centre. If we find that the PM is visiting Kutchh without a revised relief and rehabilitation package we will call for a Kutchh bandh," added another member of Group 2001.

Leader of Group 2001, Dr Syamsunder K. said: "Age seems to be catching up fast with the chief minister of Gujarat. Even after meeting with us at Gandhinagar, hearing out our problems and assuring us of a comprehensive rehab package that would address all our needs, he holds out peanuts instead of help to the homeless and heartbroken Kutchhis. Now he even denies having even met us. We have photographs and letters written by government officials referring to our meeting with the CM."

Group 2001 has already begun gearing up for June 3. "We are in touch with residents of Bhuj, Bhachao and Rapar. None of the localities are satisfied with the state government's pro-builder and anti-people relief package. Prior to the PM's Kutch visit we will hold joint meetings and if Vajpayee does not come up with any changes keeping our problems and sentiments in mind, he will be greeted by locked doors and deserted streets," said Dr Syamsunder.

What has further irked the Anjar residents is the blatant involvement of a local builder, who has seen at least two of his buildings collapse , killing seven.

"The Anjar Urban Development Authority has been formed and sources say that soon it would shift to a new office built by this builder in New Anjar. Take one look at the state government's relief package and one can see what hold builders have over Gandhinagar. Now we see the builders' lobby and the authorities joining hand which could spell more trouble for quake-battered Kutchh," said a resident of Anjar not wishing to be quoted in fear of retribution from the powerful builder-politician-authority nexus.

Dr Syamsunder, "The state government has categorically stated that if anybody wishes to acquire more than the maximum of 100 square metre offered in the package then we should approach private developers who have acquired acres of land along the Anjar-Adipur road. And, it is along this stretch that the new Anjar is to be developed, one does not need any more proof than this of the evil-designs of the state government."

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


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Kutchis plan to take New Delhi by storm Saturday, May 19, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Failing to move the state and Central governments the Kutchis are planning to take New Delhi by storm. After a 350-km trudge from Anjar to Sarkhej, followed by writing over a 1,000 letters with their own blood, the Kutchis now are planning to parade in the streets of New Delhi armed with a huge banner written with their blood.

Clutching on to nearly 250 letters written with blood of Anjar residents, a two-member team from Kutch recently went to New Delhi seeking an appointment with the President. The duo - Prakash Mansavala and Kalpesh Suratiya - returned on Wednesday after having met V. Aiyaswamy, principal secretary to the President and S.K. Agarwal , director of President's secretariat.

"The President has recently undergone a surgery and is now recovering so we could not meet him. But, the officials apart from being very supportive and sympathetic towards our plights promised to fix up an appointment with the President after May 26," said Prakash Mansawala.

On Wednesday the Kutchis met former defence minister George Fernandes and submitted a memorandum containing their charter of demands. "Fernandes met us and expressed his dissatisfaction over the poor rehabilitation and inadequacies on the relief package. He assured us of help," said Chinmay Banerjee, member of Group 2001 that has taken up cudles on behalf of Kutchh against neglect meted out to the quake-hit areas by the Gujarat government.

The Kutchhis are also readying themselves to give an 'unique' welcome to the Prime Minister who is scheduled to visit the quake-hit areas on June 3. "We will be in touch with the Gujarat government and the Centre. If we find that the PM is visiting Kutchh without a revised relief and rehabilitation package we will call for a Kutchh bandh," added another member of Group 2001.

Leader of Group 2001, Dr Syamsunder K. said: "Age seems to be catching up fast with the chief minister of Gujarat. Even after meeting with us at Gandhinagar, hearing out our problems and assuring us of a comprehensive rehab package that would address all our needs, he holds out peanuts instead of help to the homeless and heartbroken Kutchhis. Now he even denies having even met us. We have photographs and letters written by government officials referring to our meeting with the CM."

Group 2001 has already begun gearing up for June 3. "We are in touch with residents of Bhuj, Bhachao and Rapar. None of the localities are satisfied with the state government's pro-builder and anti-people relief package. Prior to the PM's Kutch visit we will hold joint meetings and if Vajpayee does not come up with any changes keeping our problems and sentiments in mind, he will be greeted by locked doors and deserted streets," said Dr Syamsunder.

What has further irked the Anjar residents is the blatant involvement of a local builder, who has seen at least two of his buildings collapse , killing seven.

"The Anjar Urban Development Authority has been formed and sources say that soon it would shift to a new office built by this builder in New Anjar. Take one look at the state government's relief package and one can see what hold builders have over Gandhinagar. Now we see the builders' lobby and the authorities joining hand which could spell more trouble for quake-battered Kutchh," said a resident of Anjar not wishing to be quoted in fear of retribution from the powerful builder-politician-authority nexus.

Dr Syamsunder, "The state government has categorically stated that if anybody wishes to acquire more than the maximum of 100 square metre offered in the package then we should approach private developers who have acquired acres of land along the Anjar-Adipur road. And, it is along this stretch that the new Anjar is to be developed, one does not need any more proof than this of the evil-designs of the state government."

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


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Crippled conman dupes handicapped persons Saturday, May 19, 2001

AHMEDABAD: He is devilishly handsome. Nearly 35 years old, he is curly haired, fair-skinned and with a boyish face marred by a scar on the forehead. The man is soft-spoken and dresses impeccably in formals, expensive sports sneakers and wears a thick gold chain.

This is the description of Ashok alias Mahesh alias Ramesh alias Raju alias.....(the list of assumed names could go on and on) who is wanted for duping at least 60 gullible handicapped persons of an estimated Rs 15-20 lakh over several years. And, significantly, this conman is himself physically handicapped.

Recent victims have been 23-year-old Rajesh Kumar and other eight handicapped persons, including an aged man and a woman, from Chakkargadh village in Amreli who were fleeced of Rs 3,500 each on a false promise of getting them auto-tricycles worth Rs 28,000 for free from the state government.

The conman, posing himself as Ashok Chandulal from the social justice department of the state government, brought several handicapped persons to Ahmedabad on Tuesday. He then deserted them at an ST bus stand and the civil hospital, with not a penny on them. Having pocketed nearly Rs 28,000 from the gullible, he later disappeared with the booty.

"He lured us to Ahmedabad promising us tricycles and later just vanished with the money. He was so nice and said such good things to us....how could he then cheat us despite being a handicapped himself?" says Rajesh of the man who posed himself as an official of the social justice department of the state government.

While Deepak and another aged man, who were left in lurch at the civil hospital, have managed to get back to their homes borrowing money from one of their local relatives, there is no clue as to what happened to the six others. Of these, four were stranded at the Geeta Mandir bus stand, while he vanished with the paralytic woman and her husband.

It might sound ironical, but it is the handicap which this man has that he has been effectively using against his physically-challenged counterparts. His modus operandi is very simple. He goes to a village posing as an official from the social justice department, and lures people into his trap by offering to arrange for tricycles, wheel-chairs and auto-tricycles at throwaway prices. Of course, he is a smooth operator, but mainly wins the confidence of fellow handicapped through his own disability. "He immediately wins the confidence of other disabled persons," says Blind Person's Association (BPA) co-ordinator Jayanti Panchal.

Panchal also warns that the trickster is much more dangerous. Apparently, two years ago, he had lured a young woman with both legs paralysed to the city on a false promise of getting a tricycle free. "He took the helpless woman to a hotel on Sarkhej highway and raped her. We barely managed to save the girl, but could not catch the culprit," informs Panchal who had personally initiated a manhunt after the girl was reported missing by her father-in-law and younger brother.

Curiously, the conman in question has been apprehended twice in the past but released on grounds of sympathy. "He was once arrested by Surendranagar police, but was let off after a warning. We at BPA too had hauled him once as he was cheating a local boy whom he severely beat up. But at that time, we did not know he could be so dangerous," says Panchal.

Meanwhile, Rajesh's brother-in-law Hasubhai told TOI that they would file a police complaint against the cheat in Amreli if the all others victims, especially the woman, did not reach the village safely.

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


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