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April 25, 2001 - April 25, 2001

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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Stolen goods worth Rs 3.75 lakh recovered Wednesday, April 25, 2001

RAJKOT: The police here on Monday nabbed a notorious bag lifter and recovered stolen goods worth about Rs 3.75 lakh. Around 20 cases of bag lifting from ST bus stands and private bus operators' offices have also been solved with the arrest.

According to PI G K Zala and PSI Pravinsinh Jadeja, they managed to nab Bhavesh Pujara from his house while he was asleep. The police was tipped off by some local persons that their neighbour used to come home with new suitcases every now and then, which they found unusual.

The police kept a watch at the suspect's residence, and on Monday they raided his house and caught him off guard. During preliminary interrogation, he confessed of stealing 20 bags from the ST bus depot and other places. He also told the interrogators that his first theft was lifting a bag from a private bus operator's office in which he found a huge sum of money. Eventually this became his prime activity.

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Blending global outlook, Indian spirituality Wednesday, April 25, 2001

CHHARODI: The Swaminarayan Vishwavidya Partishthanam (SVP) School here has a judicious blend of international outlook and Indian spirituality. The English medium school teaches subjects like Sanskrit, computers and spirituality under one roof.

The school, having roots in the Swaminarayan Gurukul at Rajkot, combines the best of ancient values and modern methods to inculcate ethics among the younger generation. Equal stress is laid on computers as on Sanskrit and the Vedas.

A group of reporters from Rajkot were on a day's visit to the institute, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Spread over a 75-acre campus - which also cultivates herbs for medicines, fruit and vegetable plants - the school also has plans for water conservation and its recycling.

Though the school, having English as medium of instruction, has at present only students from the kindergarten level to the fifth standard, the authorities have decided to add one class every year and eventuality have 1,500 students - including 750 resident students.

The school has also tied up with University of South Carolina Aiken, US. This will enable Indian students to get American accreditation, as a result of which students from the SVP would get the opportunities for further studies in US.

Giving this information, school chairman Swami Shree Madhavprasadji said, "Twenty scholarships would be reserved for students of SVP for studies in the US university along with reservation of accommodation at Pacer Downs campus. American teachers will come to the campus at Chharodi to train teachers and students, while teachers from Chharodi will go to the US university for additional training."

"The aim of the SVP is to enable students to get the best of Western and Eastern academic advancement and cultural values," Swami Madhavprasadji said adding that "this would lead the students to have a global perspective of life." The school activities include special classes for music, arts, crafts, computers, yoga and meditation horse riding and skating.

In the school's computer room, children of 7-10 do their arithmetic on the computers and play quiz on the machines.

Said one of the students working on the computer, "My computer is almost like a friend sitting next to me on the bench." Ghanshyam Patel, father of another student said he was happy to see his son work with the computers and music instruments with expertise. He is being blended like into someone who can master all arts.

The school, however, charges hefty fees. Parents are asked to pay Rs 25,000 per year, and another Rs 10,000 as admission fee. Other institutions run by the Swaminarayan sect at times charge Re 1 per year from the students. The standard of education is never compromised.

Swami Madhavprasadji defends this saying, "The institute at Chharodi will meet the deficiencies of all other institutes. The expenses incurred by this institute would be benefit all other institutes run by the organisation. If we are to gain international standard education, we will have to spend some money." He, however, added that "at a later stage, some 15 to 20 needy students per class would be imparted education at Re 1, as was being done elsewhere."

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Pak agents attempt to sneak into Kutch Wednesday, April 25, 2001

RAJKOT: Police inspector of the border village of Dayapar Krishnakant Vaghela said on Monday three Pakistani agents had tried to sneak into Indian territory somewhere between Lakhpat and Khavda. While one may have managed to slip into Indian territory, two apparently returned to Pakistani territory.

Giving this information to TOINS, the police inspector said the local police and the BSF, during a search operation, recovered some items of Pakistani make. The BSF personnel also identified the intruders' foot marks.

Vaghela said, after inspecting the foot marks it was established that the intrusion had taken sometime last week. Police and the BSF have taken the issue with very seriously and a massive search operation has been launched in the Dayapar and Lakhpat areas.

According to Vaghela, the three had tried to use to the large Rann of Kutch region and the region near Lakhpat which was sparsely populated. However, as they neared the Lakhpat fort area, the BSF men patrolling the area got suspicious of some movement at night and diverted the floodlights towards them. While two intruders withdrew to the interiors of the Rann under cover of darkness, one managed to enter the Indian territory and hide somewhere near the desolate fort area. The area was searched at daybreak and the items recovered, the police official said.

The police and BSF men have formed separate groups which were questioning suspected people in the area. The watch on the border near Lakhpat and Dayapar has also been intensified, Vaghela said.

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Pak agents attempt to sneak into Kutch Wednesday, April 25, 2001

RAJKOT: Police inspector of the border village of Dayapar Krishnakant Vaghela said on Monday three Pakistani agents had tried to sneak into Indian territory somewhere between Lakhpat and Khavda. While one may have managed to slip into Indian territory, two apparently returned to Pakistani territory.

Giving this information to TOINS, the police inspector said the local police and the BSF, during a search operation, recovered some items of Pakistani make. The BSF personnel also identified the intruders' foot marks.

Vaghela said, after inspecting the foot marks it was established that the intrusion had taken sometime last week. Police and the BSF have taken the issue with very seriously and a massive search operation has been launched in the Dayapar and Lakhpat areas.

According to Vaghela, the three had tried to use to the large Rann of Kutch region and the region near Lakhpat which was sparsely populated. However, as they neared the Lakhpat fort area, the BSF men patrolling the area got suspicious of some movement at night and diverted the floodlights towards them. While two intruders withdrew to the interiors of the Rann under cover of darkness, one managed to enter the Indian territory and hide somewhere near the desolate fort area. The area was searched at daybreak and the items recovered, the police official said.

The police and BSF men have formed separate groups which were questioning suspected people in the area. The watch on the border near Lakhpat and Dayapar has also been intensified, Vaghela said.

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