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April 29, 2001 - April 29, 2001

UNDP-supported shelter project in quake-hit Kutch Sunday, April 29, 2001

By India Abroad News Service

Rajansar, Apr 28 - A community-based shelter project supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which aims at providing quake-proof, one-room housing in this Gujarat village before the monsoons was inaugurated here Friday.

Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubahi Patel laid the foundation stone for the Shelter Project in the Rajansar village of quake-devastated Kutch district. UNDP resident representative Brenda Gael McSweeney was present at the inauguration.

The Kutch Navnirman Abihyan (KNA), a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), will implement the project. The UNDP hopes the project will set standards for community-driven housing, reducing risk and vulnerability of dwellings to natural calamities. The January 26 quake in Gujarat killed 25,000 people, the majority of whom died due to the collapse of faulty housing structures.

The initiative will strengthen the deployment of community-based care support to affected communities in the Bhachau Rapar and other "talukas" (sub-districts) and provide wage employment opportunities to deal with multi-hazard situations in Rapar, Anjar, Bhachau and Bhuj.

UNDP is supporting the community-led drive for construction of disaster-resistant, one-room shelters in rural Kutch, especially in far-flung smaller villages that have been completely destroyed.

For facilitating the reconstruction of shelters, UNDP has recruited engineers and masons from Latur, Maharashtra, who will draw from their experience in the rehabilitation process in that region in the aftermath of the 1993 quake there.

UNDP is also working to provide community-based integrated livelihood restoration in Kutch, Surendranagar and Patan districts by focusing on women and children and working with long-standing partners like Banaskantha Dwera Mahila Sewa Association (BDMSA) and Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS).

UNDP's priority is to work for the reduction of social vulnerability, particularly with respect to women, children and the aged. The long-term strategic approach is to facilitate sustainable recovery from the complex disaster presented by the compounded impact of earthquakes, droughts and cyclones affecting the population in the region.

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UNDP-supported shelter project in quake-hit Kutch Sunday, April 29, 2001

By India Abroad News Service

Rajansar, Apr 28 - A community-based shelter project supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which aims at providing quake-proof, one-room housing in this Gujarat village before the monsoons was inaugurated here Friday.

Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubahi Patel laid the foundation stone for the Shelter Project in the Rajansar village of quake-devastated Kutch district. UNDP resident representative Brenda Gael McSweeney was present at the inauguration.

The Kutch Navnirman Abihyan (KNA), a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), will implement the project. The UNDP hopes the project will set standards for community-driven housing, reducing risk and vulnerability of dwellings to natural calamities. The January 26 quake in Gujarat killed 25,000 people, the majority of whom died due to the collapse of faulty housing structures.

The initiative will strengthen the deployment of community-based care support to affected communities in the Bhachau Rapar and other "talukas" (sub-districts) and provide wage employment opportunities to deal with multi-hazard situations in Rapar, Anjar, Bhachau and Bhuj.

UNDP is supporting the community-led drive for construction of disaster-resistant, one-room shelters in rural Kutch, especially in far-flung smaller villages that have been completely destroyed.

For facilitating the reconstruction of shelters, UNDP has recruited engineers and masons from Latur, Maharashtra, who will draw from their experience in the rehabilitation process in that region in the aftermath of the 1993 quake there.

UNDP is also working to provide community-based integrated livelihood restoration in Kutch, Surendranagar and Patan districts by focusing on women and children and working with long-standing partners like Banaskantha Dwera Mahila Sewa Association (BDMSA) and Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS).

UNDP's priority is to work for the reduction of social vulnerability, particularly with respect to women, children and the aged. The long-term strategic approach is to facilitate sustainable recovery from the complex disaster presented by the compounded impact of earthquakes, droughts and cyclones affecting the population in the region.

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JUNAGADH:::: Nine women arrested for gambling, cash seized Sunday, April 29, 2001

JUNAGADH: Police on Wednesday raided a house and arrested nine women who were gambling. The police party, including a lady constable, also seized Rs 3,600 cash from the women. The arrested women were identified as Hansa Dhandhukiya, Hamida Pathan, Usha Shah, Savita Modhwniya, Rasila Popat, Prabhaben Unadkat, Hansa Lohana, Rekha Jethva and Fatema Pathan ,yesterday. Legal proceedings have been launched against the accused.
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Surat police Singh detained under PASA Sunday, April 29, 2001

SURAT: For commissioner V K Gupta, the interrogation of O P Singh and the political fallout of the details revealed by him, means this one will be one of the toughest assignments in his distinguished career.

Having worked for a top secret cell of the Central Bureau of Investigations, a cell whose actual work, name and existence is one of the closely guarded secrets of the Indian government, Gupta may be quite well equipped in dealing with such sensitive security-related information.

But with O P Singh revealing quite a lot about the Chhota Rajan and other gangs including Dawood Ibrahim and their connections with who-is-who of Surat, Gupta is dealing with fire.

Sources close to investigators say the ball is now in the government's court and the government has to decide on its line of action. It is believed that a number of government functionaries may be exposed if the Surat police pursues the case to its logical conclusion.

And if the Surat police is not able to nail the underworld after obtaining such detailed information, it might have a telling effect on the career of quite a few officers. And they would certainly like to do a good job of it, high ranking officials in the city police said.

As of now, the involvement of some of the powerful people in South Gujarat needs to be probed thoroughly and for that the government has to give the green signal. On the other hand, the police needs time to work on a lot of information revealed by Singh and till the jigsaw is not pieced together, it has become important to keep Singh in Gujarat.

Commissioner Gupta told The Times of India that the police had enough time for interrogation and the court had been very supportive considering the impact that Singh and his disclosures can have on the security of the country.

The government can start with packing off Singh in PASA, said a high ranking official close to investigations. But that should be done after the Surat police exhaust all avenues to keep Singh in their custody. Out of the eight cases against O P and his gang, the police has already remanded him in custody of three cases and soon the police will run out of reasons to keep him in their custody.

"If you can keep those builders in Ahmedabad under PASA, the government can certainly make provisions to keep Singh under PASA. The police can then work on these eight cases and at the same time also register fresh offences", the police said.

But the moot point is, is the state government willing to do an honest job?

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Don't reverse telecom policy, CERC urges FM Sunday, April 29, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, has called upon the Union government that it should not "reverse" its progressive telecom policy of making available the latest technological facilities on demand and at affordable prices to villages and the other remote areas.

In a letter to the Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, CERC disapproved of the moves to edge out basic operators or fixed-time service providers (FSPs) offering limited mobility through the Wireless in Local Loop (WiLL) technology.

The controversy in this regard, the consumer organisation said, has been created by vested interests to derail the progressive measures and policies, transparently framed by the government in 1999. The National Telecommunication Policy (NTP -99) stipulates that the benefits of the telecom technology should reach all villages and other remote areas, in the most effective and affordable manner.

This aspect of the policy could be achieved only with the use of wireless technology, it added. Praising the Union government for developing a policy framework which was a win-win situation for consumers, CERC said the present controversy followed the announcement of the spectrum allocation procedure on March 23, 2001.

With this, CERC said, circle cellular mobile service providers, or (CMSPs), suddenly find their inflated valuation reducing to realistic levels with the possibility of issuance of more and more FSP licences. "It brushed aside the CMSPs' stand that the entry fee for per MHz of spectrum paid is much higher than that levied for FSPs. A comparison of the fee rates reveals the position as otherwise," it stated.

CERC therefore urged the Union finance minister to see that the interest of consumers remained paramount, which also has been the core of the NTP-99.

The letter said under no circumstances the competition should be limited, artificial restrictions on the use of technology be imposed, and at all times, customers should receive quality service at affordable price.

The CERC letter to Sinha pointed out that contrary to the public perception that the government has been more favourable to CMSPs as against FSPs, there exists a level playing field in respect of levy of spectrum charges to both the wireless and wired operators.

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