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May 7, 2001 - May 7, 2001

PALANPUR:::: Happy to be back from the brink Monday, May 7, 2001

PALANPUR: Dinesh Kumar Rohatgi, who has been transferred from Bhuj and has taken over as new general manager of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at Palanpur, has not yet come out of the fear of the of Black Friday (January 26) when the entire building of the Nigam in Bhuj collapsed killing a number of employees. Property worth millions was also damaged. He is happy to survive, but can't forget how several of his staff members were crushed one by one before his own eyes on the terrace of the BSNL building. "I am witness to the entire building tumbling down like a pack of cards. I too lost valuable household items, including my car, under the debris of my collapsed building. But, I am thankful to God for my life and my family's, who were in Ahmedabad that day."

Deeply touched by the destruction, Rohatgi has turned philosophical. He's even begun lamenting over the worthlessness of life. He's turned religious too, saying he now devotes half-an-hour reading religious scriptures. Citing a couplet from 'Ramayan', Rohatgi says, "Life is nothing but a bridge one should not think of building a house over, because it is not a safe place for permanent settlement."

Relating this to his life, he says every transfer in the life of an employee is bridge one should not be carried away by its attraction. Bhuj was a bridge for me when in Bhuj, now Palanpur - and so on. In the journey, though monotonous, one should try to fill into it colours of imagination.

After listening to his beliefs about mortal life, this scribe could understand as to how many eye-witnesses of 'The Dance of the Destruction' might have changed their outlook about life and attitude and behaviour towards others.

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Turning a shoddy workshop around Monday, May 7, 2001

NADIAD: In-charge of Nadiad ST division D T Chauhan has proved his efficiency since he took charge as senior mechanical engineer at Nadiad ST division in March 1996. Even transport minister Bimal Shah and GSRTC chairman Kamlesh Patel have expressed their satisfaction over Chauhan's efforts to change the face of the workshop of the ST division. He has turned it around as a neat and clean workshop, besides increasing the income of ST. When Chauhan took over five year ago, the condition of the ST workshop was pathetic with heaps of scrap lying all around. He immediately took up the task of launching a cleanliness operation at the workshop.

Chauhan sought ST workers co-operation to improve the workshop and the workers obliged. He arranged different items of scrap in order. The systematic arrangement led to increase in price of the scrap at auctions. Last year, Rs 52 lakh were realised during auction - a record for the Nadiad ST division.

Chauhan's another endeavour was adopting a new and economical method of spray-painting ST buses. This way workers could save time and effort. Impressed by Chauhan's method, ST authorities arranged a demonstration of spray-painting at the workshop. Later, Chauhan's spray-painting method was adopted at all ST divisions.

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Not losing sight of responsibilities Monday, May 7, 2001

NADIAD: For a refreshing cup of tea one must visit the larri run by 40-year-old blindman, Maganbhai Solanki, near the gates of the Mahi canal office here on Court Road. Before taking up this occupation, Maganbhai was a security guard (watchman) at the Mahi canal office. But in 1993 he lost his vision. He lost sight in the left eye after it was badly damaged by a tennis ball which hit him. The right eye, which had poor vision, was damaged during a cornea operation. However, Maganbhai is one who did not lose hope despite the disability. He was encouraged by his wife Manjula. They together put up this tea stall.

Maganbhai's former colleagues also supported him, for while working as watchman, he would prepare tea for the staff club. Maganbhai, however, was not lucky to get his wife appointed in the office as his tenure in the job wasn't long enough. He did, of course, manage to get pension from his former office.

One staffer of Mahi canal office, Rameshbhai Brahmbhatt, said Maganbhai was known for his honesty and sincerity. He is also gifted. Maganbhai, besides finding a new source of livelihood, he also supplements his income by repairing scooters by the roadside.

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Might is right on these roads Monday, May 7, 2001

NADIAD: Well-known eye surgeon and former president of Nadiad Medical Association Prashant Joshipura was seriously injured here on Santram Road when he was knocked down by a speeding ST bus. He suffered serious fractures and was rushed to Dr Alkesh Shah's orthopaedic hospital where he was operated for fractures in his legs and hands.

Dr Joshipura told TOINS here that he had become a victim of reckless driving by the ST bus driver. He was thankful for the miraculous escape despite injuries. The police registered a case under IPC 279, 337, 338 against the driver.

Meanwhile, traffic chaos reigns supreme in Nadiad - the biggest town in Kheda and Anand districts - particularly on Santram Road, Patel statue traffic circle area, mill road and interior parts of the town covering Dabhan Bhagol, Ahmedabadi bazar etc. where narrow roads and haphazard parking create traffic snarls causing great deal of hardships to pedestrians and motorists.

One reason for traffic chaos has been the poor strength of traffic police. There are only 15 traffic personnel looking after a vast area of the town. In addition to this, there are only a few traffic signals, no zebra-crossings, no systematic traffic circles. Parking rules virtually don't exist. However, neither the municipality nor the local police bother to solve the traffic problem. Local social service organisations aren't doing much.

In Nadiad town, more than 200 accidents were reported last year which claimed 14 lives.

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JAMNAGAR:::: Lack of irrigation taking toll on crops Monday, May 7, 2001

JAMNAGAR: During the last monsoon, Jamnagar district got considerable rains in the first phase in July compared to the district average of 550 mm, but after July only some parts of the district got adequate rains which adversely affected the kharif crop.

During cultivation, only 62 villages yielded 8 to 10 per cent of crop, while most of 466 villages had 4 per cent to 6 per cent yield. All 99 villages below 4 per cent yield were declared scarcity affected villages while 466 are declared semi-scarcity hit.

Today, almost all dams in the district have gone dry, and to fulfil the daily minimum demand of 30 litre per head and cattle, public health buildings department has prepared a master plan for water supply which was forwarded to the government for approval.

In the plan, Rs 14 crore has been earmarked for Jamnagar Municipal Corporation, Rs 2 crore for four towns of the district, while Rs 1282.81 lakh for 437 villages of the district.

Provision has also been made for borewell of 350 and 100 mm at 210 villages, 72 to 159 mm bores at 72 villages, deepening of 21 old wells and seven new wells for 211 villages under individual water supply scheme. Some 383 villages will receive water through tankers.

As per the relief work master plan, 1007 budgeted works of different departments are being provided daily wage to 99,882 labourers, and a provision is made for relief wages to the tune of Rs 1548.09 lakh. Under the employment assurance scheme, district panchayat has initiated 186 works providing employment to 23,450 labourers. About Rs 410.63 lakh have been estimated for relief wages.

In scarcity and semi-scarcity areas, 1,058 relief works have been started under the district panchayat, and 92,657 labourers have been engaged.

Labourers at relief works are being given 10 kg wheat and 3 kg rice per head at a rate of Rs 2 and Rs. 3 per kg respectively. The cost is recovered from the wages paid.

The district has 4.83 lakh cattle heads and the demand of fodder is estimated at 4,909 lakh kg. So far, 12.32 lakh kg has been distributed for the quake-affected Godiya taluka. Some 31 grass depots have already been opened, while provision has been made to give cattle subsidy in panjarapoles and goushalas.

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