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April 25, 2001 - April 25, 2001

Water scarcity bane of Bapod Jagat Naka Wednesday, April 25, 2001

VADODARA: Residents of Bapod Jagat Naka have to deal with water scarcity, overflowing drainage and garbage dumps, bad roads and the problem of stray cattle.

The residents' nightmare begins with the problem of water scarcity which is quite acute compared to other places in the city.

Residents complain that in some areas they don't get water regularly from the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). "Provision of drinking water is a big problem here. Fights and arguments over water among residents have become a common feature," complains Radheshyam Agrawal, a resident of Ganeshnagar Society. Generally they get water for about 15 to 20 minutes a day. But as the water pressure is low, they get very little water.

"As there is not enough drinking water, we are forced to walk in the scorching heat to areas where there are hand pumps to fetch water. This is a tiring job," said Rama Vasava. She adds the household chores are delayed because of water scarcity.

In some areas in Bapod Jagat Naka, people have installed bore-wells in order to overcome the water crisis. "We had spent a fortune to install the bore-well, but it has hardly reduced our woes. The water is saline and can't be used for drinking or even washing clothes and rinsing utensils. Despite several complaints to the VMC, no steps have been taken to ensure that such problems do not arise," said a resident of Indrapuri Society on condition of anonymity. He added that often they are often forced to purchase drinking water.

Another problem plaguing the area is that of garbage disposal. The whole area wears a dirty look with dogs and cows feeding on the garbage. "It seems that there can't be a permanent solution to the problem of garbage disposal. Every morning, people from the VMC come to clean the area and lift garbage but within an hour the situation is back to square one. Improper garbage disposal system and the vegetable vendors who throw their waste in the open are responsible for this," said Ramesh Rajput.

"The area gets flooded during monsoon, with pigs and cows adding to the mess. People also throw domestic garbage and waste in open plots, dirtying the whole area," he said and added that even overflowing gutters has become a cause of worry for residents here.

But for many, it's not accumulated garbage and dirt but bad roads and traffic congestion and resultant accidents that are more bothersome. It is one of the busy roads with private buses, four-wheelers and two-wheelers cramping it as the roads leads to the Waghodia industrial estate.

"It's extremely difficult to drive through the roads at Bapod Jagat Naka. There is always a fear of an accident. Besides, the life of the vehicle is reduced as well as one is forced to drive on these roads everyday," said KP Ramesh, who goes to Waghodia industrial estate everyday.

Residents complain that compared to the flow of vehicles in the area, the roads are narrow and hardly maintained. "I have been living in this area for the past 20 years. The roads are hardly maintained. During elections they start work on roads, but leave it mid-way once the polls are over," alleges Paresh Ratwa.

"Though accidents are a common feature on these narrow roads, no traffic policemen are not posted in the area. Most of the time people solve their differences and go their own ways," said another resident.

According to residents, the roads in the area have not been repaired for the past four to five years.

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Country-made guns make come back on crime scene Wednesday, April 25, 2001

VADODARA: Country-made guns are making a come back on the crime scene of the city. Most of the recent crimes committed in city and its vicinity received a boost with proliferation of hand-made guns commonly known as 'desi tamancha, or crudely a 'katta', over last few months.

Sources in police investigating the recent crimes confirm that revolver has made a come back and that it is fast becoming a fad with unscrupulous elements - even those who indulge in petty crimes like bag-lifting and chain-snatching.

Sources also reveal that there is an established channel of notorious criminals and middlemen who facilitate the smuggling of short consignments of hand-made guns, most of the times procured from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. The consignment, say sources are brought in two to three pieces at a time and are brought through the Chhota Udepur -- Alirajpur route.

"Vadodara has also become a conduit for revolver smuggling. Middlemen procure the revolvers from Jhabuva district of MP and off load them to dubious elements in some slums of Vadodara city, villages of Padra and Jambusar taluka and Bharuch district", said a senior police officer. He said that though the smuggling was not rampant the influx of MP-made guns has increased of late.

Besides being used by city-based small-time criminals these guns have been more depended upon by notorious elements in Bharuch and Jambusar taluka villages.

A case in point is the confiscation of .32 bore revolvers from the chain-snatching gang led by Hanif Patel of Tandalja Navinagri. The detection of crime branch sleuths confirm that Patel and his accomplices -- Sultan Amer Malek, Mohammed Amer Malek and Ismael Hasan Malek had procured MP made guns from middlemen. "The guns we have procured from this gang seems to be smuggled from MP", said investigating sub inspector of DCB R C Dave.

Hanif was involved in several cases of loot, vehicle-lifting and chain-snatching in Surat and Ahmedabad. He had served three-year sentence in Sabarmati jail and had masterminded the loot of Rs 61000 at a jeweller's shop near Samilyala railway crossing. Hanif and his aides had used hand-made revolvers to pull off the loot in mid-March. Interestingly, while Hanif hailed from Vadodara city his aides, who police say were instrumental in getting revolvers, were all residents of Padra taluka.

Sources also claim that the guns that are procured from MP are bought at Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 each. "These same guns are than sold at Rs 10,000 or above in Vadodara, Bharuch and Jambusar markets. There are middlemen who have contact persons in Jhabuva who can get these guns for even less than Rs 1000 and sell it at premium in central and south Gujarat markets," said a source.

It is learnt that the police have identified one Salim of Bhadara village of Padra taluka as one of the main agent supplying guns made in MP in the region. Salim, say police, is a notorious criminal and some of his family members were allegedly involved in the PK murder case in Bharuch. "There are many such agents in the region who are in the business of supplying such weapons to needy gangs. Procuring such weapons is a major boost to petty criminals who than catapult into big players on the crime scene", said a police official.

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Mercury crosses 43 degrees in Vadodara Wednesday, April 25, 2001

VADODARA: It was a hot day for the citizens of Vadodara, with the temperature rising to 43.3 degree celsius on Monday, the highest this year.

With the memory of two hot summers and two failed monsoons, Monday's temperature left people expecting the worst.

According to the Vadodara meteorological department Monday was the hottest day in the city this summer. "The temperature had soared up in last few days. But on Monday it was at extreme with 43.3 degree celsius. Even Sunday and Saturday was hot with 42.6 and 39.3 degree Celsius temperature respectively," added the source.

Meanwhile, many avoided going out of their house in order to avoid the scorching heat. "We were planing to go to the city for shopping in the afternoon, but later cancelled the plans as it was extremely hot," said a resident of Manjalpur Sonal Patel.

It was a terror for the commuters to drive in the heat. Many travelled, with their eyes covered with goggles, face with scarf and hand with gloves, to avoid getting sun burnt.

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Two Rabari boys were burnt Wednesday, April 25, 2001

RAJKOT: Two Rabari boys were burnt alive on Sunday night after they accidentally set on fire the fodder stocked in a room. The two have been identified as Suresh Somar (8) and Vijay Somat (5) living near the Dhoraji-Upleta highway.

According to the Dhoraji police, the two children accidentally threw a burning match stick on the stack of fodder the were playing on. The fodder bundles immediately caught fire, catching the boys in flames. Parents of the tow boys were away when the incident occurred.

On seeing the blaze, local residents cried out for help and attempted to put it off. The fire fighters which arrived at the scene did extinguish the flames, but could not save the two boys.

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Union territory status sought for Kutch Wednesday, April 25, 2001

GANDHIDHAM: Disillusioned by the delay in announcing a rehabilitation package for earthquake victims, a recent meeting of trade and industry convened by the Gandhidham Chamber of Commerce and Industry has decided to demand Union territory status for Kutch.

The meeting, attended by representatives of different trade and industry organisations besides a group of intellectuals, felt the state government had in fact insulted the people of Kutch by misleading the group of marchers under the banner of Group 2001 in calling off the march right at the fag end near Ahmedabad.

Even this march for a genuine cause and by selfless people was viewed in Gandhinagar as a beauracratic problem and not a human problem which had virtually destabilised and uprooted thousands of people in the region.

Traders, particularly from the four towns of Bhachau, Bhuj, Anjar and Rapier, regretted that neither the state government nor the non-government organisations had taken note of the extent of damage in these four towns which had suffered the maximum damage.

They felt if the problems of Kutch were to be solved, the Kutch district should be separated from Gujarat and accorded Union territory status.

The meeting appealed to all participants to chalk out a strategy for a plan to demand Union territory status for Kutch and strive to achieve this goal. Traders felt that the state government has failed to solve the problems in the aftermath of the earthquake which continues to have its impact even now.

According to Mahesh Tirthani, secretary of Gandhidham chamber of commerce and industry, yet another meeting would shortly chalk out an action programme.

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