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April 27, 2001 - April 27, 2001

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.

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70 shops demolished in Rajkot Friday, April 27, 2001

RAJKOT: The Rajkot municipal corporation demolished 70 shops at Hanuman Madhi Chowk on Thursday to widen the Ring Road by 24 metres.

Town planning official B.H.Rupani said three JCB machines, two dumpers were deployed amid heavy police security before the drive. Tensions ran high and local BJP leaders came to the rescue of the shop owners and tried to stall the demolition but to no avail. Some shop owners squatted on the road.

Shops demolished included a fuel depot that had two barrels of kerosene. So the fire brigade was on stand by. Power in the area was shut down.

The civic body was widening the Ring Road to 80 metres from Hanuman Madhi to Raiya Road. Notices were issued in September last year. While some did remove the illegal structures, others did not.

The authorities had barricaded the area to ensure that citizens did not hamper the operation. Traffic was diverted. However, 60 more shops were yet to be demolished.

The area was not part of the original plan. After these areas were merged into the municipal corporation in 1997, the TP scheme was applied to them.

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Ranji win rejuvenates Vadodara cricket Friday, April 27, 2001

VADODARA: Jacob Martin's boys have inspired an entire generation here by winning the coveted Ranji Trophy cricket championship after a long wait of 43 years.

From DK Gaekwad to Jacob Martin, Vadodara Ranji squad has come a long way and so has this cricketing citadel of Gujarat. While Vadodara had always been associated with cricket and enjoyed a pride of place in the cricketing arena, the sultry afternoon of April 23, when speedster Zaheer Khan uprooted the off stump of Railway's lastman, will be remembered as a defining moment - one that marked resurgence of Vadodara cricket.

The winning squad as well as cricket fans here are ecstatic. The great grand senior cricketer and captain of Baroda squad who got the Ranji trophy four decades ago, DK Gaekwad had this to say: "Our boys have done proud to our city. They have brought a rare honour and nation-wide fame. I am very happy. This is Vadodara cricket's moment of glory".

Ask the lanky former India opening batsman Anshuman Gaekwad and he shoots: "You can see it on my face. I thrilled, excited and very happy". Another star cricketer and one of the most loved players of Vadodara, Kiran More, considers the victory as a great leap in the field of cricket by the Vadodara team. "This victory means so much to the youngsters. Especially those who dream of becoming cricketers and are sincerely training themselves in the game", More said.

He shared that there was tremendous enthusiasm among the boys in his cricket academy after watching Vadodara team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

"They are extremely happy and enthusiastic about the Ranji trophy. Lot of youngsters have been encouraged to play serious cricket", More said. He added this academy expects increase in new entries post Ranji trophy championship victory.

Atul Bedade, nicknamed the sixer man, feels that words are inadequate to summarise the joy of winning Ranji trophy. " I feel sad that I was not a part of the Ranji team but at the same time I feel extremely joyous and thrilled that we have won the trophy", Bedade remarked. He is sure that the victory will pull more budding cricketers. "I am sure that many youngsters will be encouraged to play better and sincerely. Not only those who play cricket but even their parents will feel encouraging their wards", Bedade observed. He added that Vadodara squad would try to repeat this feat. "We will try our best to maintain this form", he said. Cricket playing children are most thrilled with the Ranji win. Said 12-year-old cricket buff Dushyant Chauhan "I feel very glad. I think the bad days of cricket are over. I feel celebrating", Dushyant says.

Aditya Mohite, who led west zone under-16 and under-19 teams and played in the Ranji team, avers that the Ranji win will instil confidence of competing and beating the top teams. "For many young cricekters this team will become a role model. They would like to emulate this win when they play in the Ranji tournament", Aditya said.

"This victory is a great impetus. We will remember this for a long time. And after all those match fixing episodes this seems to be the true picture of cricket. Like old times", said 24-year-old Sameer Dashputre, former MS University cricket player.

Interestingly, the present squad that defeated Railways in the final comprised of MSU boys - all the more reason for MSU fraternity to be happy. Said avid cricket lover, head of political science department and former dean of MSU arts faculty Dilip Mohite: "This victory is historic in many ways. Many families don't think that cricket can be a good career. This win will appeal lower middle class people to back their boys who play cricket. The incentive of cash prize and job offers is a great boost for up coming cricketers, professor Mohite said.

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Sweaty Barodians choose cool getaways Friday, April 27, 2001

VADODARA: For Barodians the best way to avoid the boredom and the heat is to move out to the countryside, to Ajwa and Sindhrot - the two 'cool' getaways that are proving to be Mecca for the city's youth. And with summer vacations started, the crowds are back and numerous programmes have been lined up for the long summer ahead.

The Ajwa Fun World and Water Park and the Awesome Speedway (go-karting getaway Sindhrot) have lined up lots of entertainment and fun programmes in May. So, while temperatures soar in May, Barodians can look forward to a 'cool' month.

Rajiv Patel of Awesome Speedway says crowds have already increased in the past few weeks and plans are afoot to have many more entertainment programmes.

"On an average day we get as many as 300 youngsters. But on weekends this number increases to close to a thousand," he says. After 6 pm the place gets filled up and the ambience is perfect. As Sindhrot is far away from the city, the atmosphere gets cooler and it gets pleasant. It's the best way to get away from the heat and boredom of the city," he says.

The good news is that youngsters can now also opt for basketball and mini-golf which are to be added as part of Awesome Speedway shortly, says Patel. A remote control car-racing track is also on the anvil, along with a special 'All Baroda Open Go-Karting championship' to be organised sometime next month.

The Ajwa Fun World and Waterpark too are finding many takers. "We get youngsters and families from Vadodara, Surat, Ahmedabad and other areas too. Most prefer to spend the mornings and afternoons in the water-park and later go to fun world.

The Rajwadi village here is an ideal place to spend late evenings. In addition to camel rides, mouth-watering cuisine and folk dances and songs, the village provides a rustic atmosphere," says Rajesh Jain proprietor of Ajwa Fun World and Waterpark.

According to him the crowds are likely to increase more as the heat get unbearable and new programmes are introduced. "We have invited the 38-member Kalyanji-Anandji troupe for a special function next month. We are expecting a great response. Anandji too would be present for the programme," he said.

Meanwhile, the Baroda Rifle Club is organising a special 15-day Air Rifle Shooting Camp beginning Saturday. The aim is to promote and develop the art of shooting. Youngsters interested in learning handling, usage and maintenance of firearms can participate in the camp to be held at the Western Railway Police parade ground near GPO everyday between 4 to 6 pm.

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Seminar on occupational health held Friday, April 27, 2001

VADODARA: Every year there are on an average 200 deaths in Gujarat due to accidents at workplace. In some cases deaths could have been avoided if proper medical aid had been given in time.

The People's Training and Research Centre has organised a special seminar on occupational health and the measures that can be taken through insurance schemes for employees so that workers suffering from occupational health diseases can be given prompt treatment.

He said the Factories Act too should be implemented to ensure that measures are taken to compensate workers' families in case of fatal accidents at workplace, says Jagdish Patel.

The seminar, which will be held on Saturday (the World Worker's Memorial Day), will be attended by the state minister for labour, experts in the field of occupational health, ESIS director Nitin Vora and National Institute of Occupational Health deputy director Jagdish Parikh.

According to Patel, the figure of 200 is under-reported, as they comprise merely those that have been reported from the organised sector. "The actual figures are likely to be higher as there are many units that are not registered and in some cases even the registered units do not report such cases," he says.

According to him facilities at ESIS hospitals and Occupational Disease Centres are not up to mark yet. "There are several discrepancies in their functioning which need to be addressed. We are hoping that this seminar, which is being attended by state's minister for labour Bhupendra Lakhawala and other senior officials, would address the issues," he said.

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