Rediscover Gujarat. Rediscover the Gujarati in you !!


Channels : Free Home Pages | Chat | Discussion Board | Graffiti | Music | Reminder Services | Calendar | Horoscope | Dating | Weather | Matrimonial | Jobs

Info

City Guides | City News | Education | Festivals | Food | Greetings | Earthquake fact file | Home

April 27, 2001 - April 28, 2001

Quake-hit Gujarat now reels from drought Saturday, April 28, 2001

BABAJIPURA, India- Lakshmiben has to line up in the blazing sun for at least four hours a day just to get two buckets of water from a village well.

It's a long and tortuous wait but the 42-year-old mother of three in Babajipura village in Gujarat doesn't have a choice.

She is one of millions desperately in need of drinking water in the coastal region, already struggling to recover from a massive earthquake in January and now in the grips of a severe drought for the third year in a row, officials say.

"With temperatures rising day by day, I'm not sure where I'll be able to get enough drinking water for my family," said Lakshmiben who along with about 1,500 other villagers depends on one of three fast-drying wells in the village.

Last year, about 50 million people were hit and thousands of cattle killed in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in what was called the worst drought in 100 years.

According to the state government, 13,133 villages have been hit by the drought this year compared with only 9,521 villages in the state that has a population of more than 48 million.

With ground water levels in the parched province dropping to their lowest level in 10 years and lakes drying up, thousands of people are migrating to other areas, the spectre of disease looms over the region and brawls among desperate villagers are common.

"Women often fight among themselves as they gather around the well," Jeevanbhai Jhalubhai Patel, headman of the predominantly agricultural village of Babajipura, told Reuters.

"Men have no means to earn a living and are going to other parts of the state to look for jobs to support their families," he added.


FEAR OF DISEASE

Welfare workers said they feared the emergence of a host of health problems because water in the few lakes that have not run dry is muddy and the ground water is saline.

Government officials said there had been no reports of deaths but welfare workers feared eye infections and diarrhoea could increase as temperatures topped 45 degrees Celsius in the next few months.

"People are prone to diseases like eye infection, diarrhoea and dehydration during the summer," said Joseph Kuzhikattu, a priest who helps women and children in Chachana, about 130 km from Ahmedabad.

Villagers complain the government is doing little to provide relief to drought-hit areas because it is too busy grappling with relief efforts for survivors of the earthquake.

The quake, which clocked 7.7 on the Richter scale, killed at least 30,000 people and left millions of people homeless in Gujarat, India's second most industrialised state.

"We have heard that the government is providing food grain at cheap rates but no official has visited the village to find out the severity of the drought and needs of the people," said Patel.

Officials say the government has stepped up the pace of relief work by running "water trains" to drought-hit areas and launching food-for-work programmes.

The government runs a daily train with 750,000 litres of water from Bhavnagar district to Amreli district, covering about 200 km, to supply water to drought-hit people.

"It's true that the primary focus of the government is on rehabilitating the quake victims but it is not at the cost of those suffering from the drought," said G.C. Mumrmu, the state's additional relief commissioner.

Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Gujarat panel to review ordinance on illegal constructions Friday, April 27, 2001

Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has appointed a cabinet subcommittee to review an ordinance that could legalize unauthorized constructions in the state.

In the face of strong resistance by some ministers, Patel was forced at the last cabinet meeting to postpone finalization of the ordinance to regularize illegal constructions in the six major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar by charging an impact fee.

When a formula was mooted to lower the impact fee in view of pressure from the builders' lobby, at least two ministers -- Fakirbhai Vaghela and Jaspal Singh -- criticized the government. They said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prestige would get a further knocking as it was already facing strong criticism from the quake-hit people for its failure to provide rehabilitation and resettlement packages to their satisfaction.

The four hour-long heated debate was marred by sharp exchanges between several ministers. As the cabinet could not come to any unanimous decision, Patel appointed a subcommittee consisting of Industries Minister Suresh Mehta, Finance and Revenue Minister Vajubhai Vala, Urban Development Minister Parmanand Khattar and Road and Building Minister Nitin Patel. The subcommittee will submit its report before the next cabinet meeting.

The state government has to issue a fresh ordinance as the Assembly has not ratified the previous one promulgated by the governor and it is due to expire on April 29.

The cabinet also inconclusively discussed the issue of imposing surcharge on sales tax to mop up revenue to the tune of around Rs. 2.3 billion to compensate civic bodies for abolishing octroi duty from May 1, the foundation day of Gujarat.

Meanwhile, the chief minister, along with Mehta, Vala, Nitin Patel and Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya left for New Delhi to apprise the BJP's national leaders of measures taken by the state administration to rehabilitate and resettle the quake- affected people in the state.

Patel and his ministerial colleagues were to meet party president Jana Krishnamurthy, Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani and other Central ministers to seek more funds to tackle the aftermath of the January 26 quake, which killed about 25,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless.

Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Plan to hike Nuclear power output Friday, April 27, 2001

ANUMALA-SURAT: Plans are afoot to produce around 20,000 MW of nuclear power in the country by year 2020.

At present, nuclear power stations in the country generate a little over 1700 MW of electricity which is just over 2.5 per cent share of the total electricity generation in the country, according to R Bhiksham, station director of Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) at Anumala in Surat.

The need is to generate power through nuclear reactors in wake of the growing demand of power in the country and conventional methods to produce electricity being obsolete and costlier as well, Bhiksham opined.

Listing the achievements of KAPS to the media at Anumala on Monday, Bhiksham said KAPS had set a new record in power generation with a capacity factor of over 95 per cent during year 2000-2001, among all power station units in the country, under the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

KAPS, the fifth nuclear power station of NPCIL, registered a net profit of over Rs 317 crore in the last fiscal year. Each of the two units at KAPS have a capacity to generate 220 MW of electricity which caters to Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, besides Gujarat.

KAPS has been built at a total cost of Rs 13.65 billion. The units went into commercial operation in 1993 and 1995 respectively. Around 250 kgs of uranium is used everyday to produce 440 MW of electricity in these two units at KAPS.

Bhiksham said after the Pokhran test, the nuclear power stations had to face some constraints, in wake of withdrawal of technological support by international agencies. However, efforts at indigenous level have helped the power stations to overcome the earlier shortfalls, he added.

Now, nuclear reactors were being designed and constructed indigenously with sophisticated equipment, at par with international standards.

KAPS was recently awarded ISO-14001 certification for environment management and the Indo-German Greentech Environment Excellence award in year 2000.

In view of the power generation being cheaper through nuclear fission of uranium and thorium, compared to other means of generation, the need is for capacity expansion of the atomic power stations, he said. Four hundred and thirty-three nuclear power reactors are presently operational in the world and 40 reactors are under construction.

Considering the other fact that nuclear power production was environmentally friendly, the power from nuclear stations would be the only viable option in the future, Bhiksham said. Nine lakh trees have been planted in and around the KAPS, to make the area a green belt, he said.

When confronted, station director said that in view of the general misperception about nuclear power installations being only for the purpose of national defence and security, the need is to project the right purpose of these atomic power stations, which are like any other power generation units.

To contain the radiation level in and around the nuclear station, Environmental Survey Laboratory (ESL) head T A Sebastian said that the radiation level in the area over the years has been negligible and far below the prescribed level by the international agencies. However, the power station has been fully geared with emergency preparedness with radiation emergency plan, he added.

Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Plan to hike N-power output Friday, April 27, 2001

ANUMALA-SURAT: Plans are afoot to produce around 20,000 MW of nuclear power in the country by year 2020.

At present, nuclear power stations in the country generate a little over 1700 MW of electricity which is just over 2.5 per cent share of the total electricity generation in the country, according to R Bhiksham, station director of Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) at Anumala in Surat.

The need is to generate power through nuclear reactors in wake of the growing demand of power in the country and conventional methods to produce electricity being obsolete and costlier as well, Bhiksham opined.

Listing the achievements of KAPS to the media at Anumala on Monday, Bhiksham said KAPS had set a new record in power generation with a capacity factor of over 95 per cent during year 2000-2001, among all power station units in the country, under the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

KAPS, the fifth nuclear power station of NPCIL, registered a net profit of over Rs 317 crore in the last fiscal year. Each of the two units at KAPS have a capacity to generate 220 MW of electricity which caters to Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, besides Gujarat.

KAPS has been built at a total cost of Rs 13.65 billion. The units went into commercial operation in 1993 and 1995 respectively. Around 250 kgs of uranium is used everyday to produce 440 MW of electricity in these two units at KAPS.

Bhiksham said after the Pokhran test, the nuclear power stations had to face some constraints, in wake of withdrawal of technological support by international agencies. However, efforts at indigenous level have helped the power stations to overcome the earlier shortfalls, he added.

Now, nuclear reactors were being designed and constructed indigenously with sophisticated equipment, at par with international standards.

KAPS was recently awarded ISO-14001 certification for environment management and the Indo-German Greentech Environment Excellence award in year 2000.

In view of the power generation being cheaper through nuclear fission of uranium and thorium, compared to other means of generation, the need is for capacity expansion of the atomic power stations, he said. Four hundred and thirty-three nuclear power reactors are presently operational in the world and 40 reactors are under construction.

Considering the other fact that nuclear power production was environmentally friendly, the power from nuclear stations would be the only viable option in the future, Bhiksham said. Nine lakh trees have been planted in and around the KAPS, to make the area a green belt, he said.

When confronted, station director said that in view of the general misperception about nuclear power installations being only for the purpose of national defence and security, the need is to project the right purpose of these atomic power stations, which are like any other power generation units.

To contain the radiation level in and around the nuclear station, Environmental Survey Laboratory (ESL) head T A Sebastian said that the radiation level in the area over the years has been negligible and far below the prescribed level by the international agencies. However, the power station has been fully geared with emergency preparedness with radiation emergency plan, he added.

Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Work on Maliya canal inaugurated Friday, April 27, 2001

RAJKOT: Foundation stone for the Maliya canal of the Narmada canal project was laid on Thursday. The canal project would permanently solve the drinking water problem of Rajkot city, state water supply minister Narottam Patel claimed while talking to this correspondent at circuit house here on Wednesday night.

The minister said the canal from Maliya to Morbi would cost Rs 92 crore while the entire canal project would cost the government Rs 1200 crore.

Patel was in Rajkot for reviewing the relief work in Rajkot and Jamnagar districts.

He said the state government had already cleared tenders for canal work between Morbi and Tankara. The work was estimated to cost Rs 114 crore and would be completed within a year's time.

With the completion of the project, Rajkot city would get 250 lakh gallons or more of water every day. The small villages on the way from Maliya to Rajkot would get another 100 lakh gallons of water, said Patel.

According to the minister, 26 villages in Morbi, Wankaner, Padhadhari and Tankara talukas would be supplied water to rebuild their houses damaged in the quake.

Patel said 22,871 houses were damaged in these talukas. Administrative sanction has been given to sink 51 new borewells in these areas to augment the water supply which would enable the people to rebuild their houses. He said care would be taken to ensure that drinking water is not used for construction purposes.

Patel said Rajkot district had been allocated Rs 2.86 crore to tide over the water shortage for construction. The total sanction for the quake-affected areas in the district was Rs 12.50 crore.

Patel decried the constant complaint being made by the Rajkot Municipal Corporation authorities about the inadequate water supply from the Narmada pipeline project. He said the state government was committed to supplying the stipulated quota of water to the city whatever be the cost.

Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Gujarat | Pharmacy SEO | Copyright 2000-2006
 A eZee Web Solutions Presentation !

E-mail - webmaster@cybervapi.com
GSM - 9825130401