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May 2, 2001 - May 3, 2001

Chargesheets filed in three more building-collapse cases Thursday, May 3, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Three more chargesheets were filed on Tuesday before the city trial court in connection with three cases of collapsed buildings at Maninagar in Ahmedabad.

The cases pertain to Mangalam Flats, Divyalaya, and 15 August Avenue which collapsed during the January 26 quake killing 35 people and injuring several others.

The accused named in the Mangalam case includes builder Maganbhai Shamjibhai Patel, who was arrested on March 2 on charges of culpable homicide, has been in jail since then.

Others who have been named in the case and shown in column two (accused but not arrested) of the chargesheet include structural engineer Shailesh Patel, and two officials of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The AMC officials are assistant TDO Ashok Modi and town development inspector M R Shah.

Those chargesheeted in the Divyalaya case include Kartik Gunwant Pasawala, Mihir Jagdish Shah and Vinod Chand Gandhi, the three builders who were arrested by the police on March 2 and are in judicial custody till date.

The other accused who have been shown as 'not-arrested' include another builder partner Nimish D Parikh, structural engineer Sachin Shah, civil engineer of the building Gopal Pipalwa and four other AMC officials.

The AMC officials named include ward inspectors Dinesh Patel and M R Shah, deputy town development officer Ashwin B Shah and assistant TDO Porus B Gandhi.

Among those who have been chargesheeted in the 15 August Avenue case includes builder Nandubhai Manilal Shah, who at present is in judicial custody. Others named in the chargesheet, but not arrested yet, include structural engineer B M Patel, architect K J Shah. Officials of the AMC named in column 2 include town development inspector Dinesh Patel and assistant town development officer Amit Engineer. According to the police, the plan of the building was passed in 1995 and it was ready for occupancy around 1997.

While the collapse of Mangalam left 22 dead, 10 people were killed in Divyalaya and three in 15 August Avenue.

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BJP assesses performance on election promises front Thursday, May 3, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday claimed that with abolition of octroi from municipalities and panchayats the BJP had implemented as many as 216 promises, out of a total of 279, of its party's 1998 election manifesto.

State Programme Implementation Committee chairman Vijay Rupani told news persons that supply of Narmada water through one of the biggest pipeline networks, covering over 1,000 villages and 27 cities of Saurashtra, was the major achievement of the BJP government.

He said the government was committed to implementing the second phase of the drinking water pipeline for the remaining districts, including Rajkot, Jamnagar, Surendranagar and Kutch, by the end of next year.

"The government would continue to insist that classes in schools should begin by playing Vandemataram and the national anthem, as had been promised the election manifesto."

Despite natural disasters such as cyclone, drought and the earthquake striking the state with regularity, the government had maintained the pace of developmental projects. Not only that but the government had also made new beginnings in the field of information technology and human resources development in core sectors.

References were also made to the concerted efforts of the state and the people on the Narmada dam front. He sought to remind that after a gap of around six years, the government had been allowed to raise height of the Narmada dam by five feet. In past few months, the height had been increased to 90 feet.

In regard to welfare measures for farming community, Rupani said the government had provided more facilities to farmers in existing crop insurance scheme. The government had also provided 25 per cent relief on electricity bills for consumption up to 100 units.

The ambitious Gokul Gram Yojana had made new strides as more than 10,000 villages had been covered under this unique programme of integrated rural development.

When asked about promises that had yet to be fulfilled, Rupani said the government would set up an Agricultural Price Commission and evolve a new agricultural policy.

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Palej lion recuperating in city Thursday, May 3, 2001

VADODARA: Divisional Forest Office (Rajpipla) has handed Vadodara zoo custody of the lion that had been in captive at a circus in Palej. The lion, Shanker, will be rehabilitated in Sayajibaug zoo.

The forest department took custody of the lion after booking an offence against the circus owner under Indian Wild Life Act, 1972. Lion is a Schedule I animal under the Indian Wild Life Act and it is mandatory to have an ownership certificate from the Chief Wild Life Warden.

In this case, Samrat Circus owner Kailash Chauhan did not have any such certificate. A licence had been issued to Chauhan in 1988 which had expired in 1992.

"We've followed legal procedure. We had two choices in mind for rehabilitating the lion: One was Shakkarbaug zoo in Junagadh and second was Sayajibaug zoo in Vadodara. We decided to move the animal to Vadodara zoo," Divisional Forest Officer (Rajpipla West division) AP Singh told 'The Times of India'. He said the lion had been examined by a veterinary on Tuesday.

The lion had been confined to an 8 X 10 ft cage near Valan railway crossing in Palej for the past 23 years. The caretaker of the lion, Dinesh Thakore, claimed that the beast had been bought from Borivali National Park for Rs 14,000. Thakore said Samrat Circus had bought a lion and a lioness in 1988 from Borivali National Park. The lioness had died in captivity about four years ago, Thakore said.

At Palej, the lion had been kept in a cage. Villagers complained that the lion had been abandoned and was not being fed well. Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) activists alleged that the lion was in a pathetic state, undernourished and extremely feeble.

Meanwhile, the Sayajibaug zoo authorities here have put the newest member of the zoo family in a specially designed cage. Zoo curator Vijayraj Jadeja said the Palej lion could not walk properly and limped from years of confinement.

"After years of walking on wooden surface, the lion has hurt his toes. We are putting sand and mud in its cage. We are ensuring that he gets a big enough place to loiter around, is properly nourished and his wounds, if any, are nursed," Jadeja said.

He said the zoo vet had taken blood samples and stool of the animal for examination. "We will be sending these samples to Anand veterinary college to check for any ailments," Jadeja said. He said, in general, the animal was okay and would return to normal in the course of time.

The Sayajibaug zoo has decided to put the lion on a nutritious diet and give regular doses of tonic and vitamins.

BPLEO:

Shanker rests in his new home at Sayajibaug zoo in Vadodara on Wednesday.

FOLLOW-UP

TRAILING THE LION

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Tense, but brave, quake-hit students take board examinations Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 2 - More than 4,000 students from the earthquake-ravaged areas of Kutch and around 55 from Gujarat's principal city Ahmedabad are these days writing the higher secondary certificate (HSC) and secondary school certificate (SSC) examinations organized specially for them.

Gujarat Secondary Education Board (GSEB) chairman P. V. Trivedi told IANS that after the quake, students of the two regions were not in a position to take the examinations last month. So the Gujarat government and various other organizations decided to hold supplementary examinations for students in the two regions.

"Now the HSC and SSC students are feeling comfortable as they got some time to catch up with their studies so badly disturbed in the wake of the quake. We saw some students were still tense, but that is the case with all examinations," Trivedi said Wednesday, the second day of the examinations.

A devastating quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit Gujarat January 26, less than six weeks before the examinations that were scheduled in the first week of March. About 25,000 people were killed and tens of thousands left homeless in the temblor.

The state government postponed the examinations by two weeks, but further delayed the examination for the students of Kutch and Ahmedabad.

Students at the Government Girls' High School at Raikhad in the city seemed tense, but brave at the examinations. One of the students, Shreya Dikshit, who lost her father in quake, said her father had said she should never neglect her studies.

The center of all attraction, however, was Kuldeep Maniar, a cerebral palsy patient who was taking his HSC (general stream) exams. Kuldeep is writing the papers himself. He suffers 85 percent disability and moves around with a walker.

His mother, a biology teacher at the local C.N. Vidyalaya said Kuldeep's only disadvantage is that he writes a little slow. "Kuldeep is never able to finish his paper. He ends up not being able to write at least one and a half questions despite knowing the answer," says his mother, requesting the government to modify rules to help children trying to rise above their disabilities.

Trivedi said the board was looking for good results from the students. The quake-hit students had some psychological problems so the marking scheme would be a little liberal for them, he said.

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Tense, but brave, quake-hit students take board examinations Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 2 - More than 4,000 students from the earthquake-ravaged areas of Kutch and around 55 from Gujarat's principal city Ahmedabad are these days writing the higher secondary certificate (HSC) and secondary school certificate (SSC) examinations organized specially for them.

Gujarat Secondary Education Board (GSEB) chairman P. V. Trivedi told IANS that after the quake, students of the two regions were not in a position to take the examinations last month. So the Gujarat government and various other organizations decided to hold supplementary examinations for students in the two regions.

"Now the HSC and SSC students are feeling comfortable as they got some time to catch up with their studies so badly disturbed in the wake of the quake. We saw some students were still tense, but that is the case with all examinations," Trivedi said Wednesday, the second day of the examinations.

A devastating quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit Gujarat January 26, less than six weeks before the examinations that were scheduled in the first week of March. About 25,000 people were killed and tens of thousands left homeless in the temblor.

The state government postponed the examinations by two weeks, but further delayed the examination for the students of Kutch and Ahmedabad.

Students at the Government Girls' High School at Raikhad in the city seemed tense, but brave at the examinations. One of the students, Shreya Dikshit, who lost her father in quake, said her father had said she should never neglect her studies.

The center of all attraction, however, was Kuldeep Maniar, a cerebral palsy patient who was taking his HSC (general stream) exams. Kuldeep is writing the papers himself. He suffers 85 percent disability and moves around with a walker.

His mother, a biology teacher at the local C.N. Vidyalaya said Kuldeep's only disadvantage is that he writes a little slow. "Kuldeep is never able to finish his paper. He ends up not being able to write at least one and a half questions despite knowing the answer," says his mother, requesting the government to modify rules to help children trying to rise above their disabilities.

Trivedi said the board was looking for good results from the students. The quake-hit students had some psychological problems so the marking scheme would be a little liberal for them, he said.

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