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April 20, 2001 - April 20, 2001

Rajkot in brief on 20th April 2001 Friday, April 20, 2001

Irrigation department urges RMC to pay up
The irrigation department has demanded Rs 96 lakh from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation for reserving waters of the Nyari dam for Rajkot city. The dam water, basically meant for irrigation , is now to be used for drinking purposes. The RMC, however, says that the water is to be supplied to areas under the Rajkot Urban Development Authority (RUDA) and hence payment must be made by them. But the irrigation department says that most areas under RUDA are now under the civic body, and therefore the RMC will have to shell out the money.

Report withheld

The Gujarat Engineering Research Institute (GERI) which collected samples of material used in building the Race Course Park housing complex has refused to hand over the report of the testing unless the Public Works Department pays up the required fees and expenses for collecting and testing the sample.

22 booked

Civic officials booked 22 people for obtaining illegal water connection. Surprise checks were conducted at the Bharatvan Society and Maheshwari society on Wednesday by chief vigilance officer P S Jadeja.

Liquor seized
Police seized 14 crates of foreign liquor from a suspended SRP constable at Gondal, identified as Ajaysinh Parmar, valued at Rs 33,609. One hundred and sixty-eight bottles were seized from his residence, police said on Thursday.

Show of paintings

Avinash Thaker, an artist from Rajkot, will hold a show of his painting works at Studio 51J at Mumbai from April 20 to May 31. His paintings focus on traditional dwelling places of Saurashtra etc.

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DCB sleuths bust 'chain-snatchers' gang Friday, April 20, 2001

VADODARA: City police detection of crime branch has busted a gang involved in looting and chain-snatching. DCB sleuths have arrested four persons and confiscated two .32 bore revolvers, seven cartridges and looted jewellery worth Rs 61,600.

Those arrested are Hanif alias Vohra Patel, Sultan Amer Malek, Mohammed Amer Malek and Ismael Hasan Malek. Police said Hanif was the gang leader and masterminded the loots while the other detainees were his accomplices. Hanif is a resident of Navinagri in Tandalja here. Amer, Mohammed and Ismael are residents of Padra. Police have also recovered a stolen motorcycle (GJ7JJ-8172) from one Allahshahi's house in Padra. Allahshahi is learnt to be Hanif's friend.

Police said 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, police said.

DCB sleuths said Hanif has confessed that he and his gang members had looted a jewellery shop about 20 days ago near Samyala railway crossing. "Hanif had stolen a motorcycle from Surat. He had contacted these people here and floated this gang. They lifted vehicles, snatched chains and looted jewellery shops," DCB investigating officer and police sub inspector RC Dave said.

Hanif was arrested from Vasna cross-roads in Tandalja late on Wednesday evening. A case has been lodged against all the detainees under section 41 (1) of CRPC.

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Family robbed of Rs 2 lakh Friday, April 20, 2001

VADODARA: A group of masked robbers tied up a family at Goyagate Society, on the RV Desai Road, and looted valuables worth Rs 2 lakh from their house between 3.30 am and 4 am on Thursday.

Police said about eight robbers broke into a house belonging to one Arun Chandu Vakil at Goyagate Society. All robbers had put on mask and were carrying iron rods and sharp-edged weapons, Vakil said in his complaint at the Navapura police station.

"I was tied up with ropes. Two of the masked men caught me by my shoulders. They threatened to kill me and my wife if we did not give them cash and other valuables," Vakil said in his complaint.

Police said the loot was executed in half an hour and all the robbers had sneaked into the night with the booty.

While Navapura police are inquiring into the case, the detection of crime branch (DCB) has been asked to probe the matter. DCB Police Inspector PP Kanani is investigating the case.

Police said the modus operandi of the loot indicates involvement of professional robbers. Police said the loot seemed to be pre-planned and the masked robbers may have come from outside Vadodara.

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DANGS-AHWA:::: Herbal Viagra income for uplift of tribals Friday, April 20, 2001

DANGS-AHWA: Medicinal herb 'safed musali' (chlorophytum tuberosum), popularly known as 'desi viagra' for its aphrodisiacal properties, is soon to be cultivated as cash crop for the economic uplift of poor tribal farmers in the forest region of the Dangs. The plan has been mooted by the state forest department.

Known for its medicinal properties to remove physical weakness and improve stamina, 'safed musali' is to be cultivated and marketed in a planned strategy. This year around 250 tribals would be given four kg of tissues of safed musali for plantation. The expected yield would be five times higher, at around 20 kg in each case, with an estimated market value of about Rs 20,000, according to deputy conservator of forest, Dangs, Ram Kumar.

As part of the mass-scale production planned in the near future, these farmers would be encouraged and trained to keep half of the production for the next round of plantation, so that in the coming few years, the income-generation could be substantial to keep the tribal households above the poverty line, Kumar outlined.

Though the Dangs, with its 98 per cent of population comprising tribals, has reserved forest area with 209 species of medicinal plants with a high economic value, in absence of any commercial exploitation of these shrubs and herbs, the region is among the most economically backward areas of the state. The soil conditions here are unfit for cultivation of any foodgrain, except for 'nagli', similar to 'bajara', which over the ages has been the staple diet of the poor inhabitants of this reserved forest.

Keeping this in view, the growing demand for 'safed musali' as a base, or buffer ingredient, for several health tonics and tablets is being viewed as a commercial opportunity for income-generation of the tribals.

One kg of 'safed musali' is available locally for Rs 400 which fetches around Rs 1,000 when sold to buyers from outside. Till date, unaware of the high value of this medicinal herb, tribals were not enthusiastic to grow it on a commercial basis.

Of late, the tag of 'desi viagra' has helped it attract attention of several pharmaceutical companies, who have reportedly approached authorities concerned for permission to cultivate the herb in this area on a large commercial scale.

This herb could be utilised as base for most of Ayurvedic medicines, including the antidiabetic ones. Cultivation techniques include small bed size with green manure and nutrition supplements for better yield. Planting of tissues obtained from the mother plants culture is done on wet soil having small deep pits, says Kumar.

Sources in the forest department say several pharmaceutical firms have approached them with various schemes to develop the area for large scale production of the herb. However, this 'Desi viagra' could be a cause of jubilation for those lacking in physical strength. But in absence of any patent or intellectual property rights, the herb is itself in the danger of losing its own local identity.

Commercial exploitation of 'safed musali' needs critical evaluation, as in the name of development, external agencies might attempt to dislocate tribals of this reserved forest, opines Satyakam Joshi of Centre for Social Studies.

But for now, if the proposed mass-scale cultivation plan by the forest department gets implemented and marketed successfully, the naturally grown 'desi viagra' appears certain to improve the economic lives of the tribals of this region.

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Herbal Viagra income for uplift of tribals Friday, April 20, 2001

DANGS-AHWA: Medicinal herb 'safed musali' (chlorophytum tuberosum), popularly known as 'desi viagra' for its aphrodisiacal properties, is soon to be cultivated as cash crop for the economic uplift of poor tribal farmers in the forest region of the Dangs. The plan has been mooted by the state forest department.

Known for its medicinal properties to remove physical weakness and improve stamina, 'safed musali' is to be cultivated and marketed in a planned strategy. This year around 250 tribals would be given four kg of tissues of safed musali for plantation. The expected yield would be five times higher, at around 20 kg in each case, with an estimated market value of about Rs 20,000, according to deputy conservator of forest, Dangs, Ram Kumar.

As part of the mass-scale production planned in the near future, these farmers would be encouraged and trained to keep half of the production for the next round of plantation, so that in the coming few years, the income-generation could be substantial to keep the tribal households above the poverty line, Kumar outlined.

Though the Dangs, with its 98 per cent of population comprising tribals, has reserved forest area with 209 species of medicinal plants with a high economic value, in absence of any commercial exploitation of these shrubs and herbs, the region is among the most economically backward areas of the state. The soil conditions here are unfit for cultivation of any foodgrain, except for 'nagli', similar to 'bajara', which over the ages has been the staple diet of the poor inhabitants of this reserved forest.

Keeping this in view, the growing demand for 'safed musali' as a base, or buffer ingredient, for several health tonics and tablets is being viewed as a commercial opportunity for income-generation of the tribals.

One kg of 'safed musali' is available locally for Rs 400 which fetches around Rs 1,000 when sold to buyers from outside. Till date, unaware of the high value of this medicinal herb, tribals were not enthusiastic to grow it on a commercial basis.

Of late, the tag of 'desi viagra' has helped it attract attention of several pharmaceutical companies, who have reportedly approached authorities concerned for permission to cultivate the herb in this area on a large commercial scale.

This herb could be utilised as base for most of Ayurvedic medicines, including the antidiabetic ones. Cultivation techniques include small bed size with green manure and nutrition supplements for better yield. Planting of tissues obtained from the mother plants culture is done on wet soil having small deep pits, says Kumar.

Sources in the forest department say several pharmaceutical firms have approached them with various schemes to develop the area for large scale production of the herb. However, this 'Desi viagra' could be a cause of jubilation for those lacking in physical strength. But in absence of any patent or intellectual property rights, the herb is itself in the danger of losing its own local identity.

Commercial exploitation of 'safed musali' needs critical evaluation, as in the name of development, external agencies might attempt to dislocate tribals of this reserved forest, opines Satyakam Joshi of Centre for Social Studies.

But for now, if the proposed mass-scale cultivation plan by the forest department gets implemented and marketed successfully, the naturally grown 'desi viagra' appears certain to improve the economic lives of the tribals of this region.

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