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April 11, 2001 - April 11, 2001

Surat may face water crisis in June Wednesday, April 11, 2001

SURAT, April 10th: Water sources of the Tapi are depleting at precarious speed due to which the level of water in the river has dropped sharply. Fearing this might lead to drinking water crisis for Surat in coming months, District Collector and Municipal Commissioner held a private meeting today - most probably to plan in anticipation for the same.

According to information received, the capacities of the French wells, Intake wells and tube wells on the Tapi were discussed during the meeting. Gujarat state is experiencing severe water shortage on account of two consecutive weak monsoons. District Collector Sangita Singh and Municipal Commissioner Mohapatra held three to four hour long meeting to discuss ways in which to ensure that Surat did not face drinking water problems on account of the crisis. Reliable sources inform that the meeting was held to discuss methods of maintaining drinking water supply to the city in month of June. Since two years, insufficient rain in catchment area of Tapi, Ukai reservoir has not been filled upto its full capacity. Below average water level has also affected production of electricity.

At present, water is being supplied to farmers for farming via canals from Ukai dam. Sources inform that serious consideration is being given to stopping this supply of water for agriculture and reserve the Ukai dam water fro drinking purposes. Fears of shortage of drinking water for Surat city and its surrounding villages are being harboured. Though at present, SMC seems to be maintaining the water supply level.

Irrigation department informed Collectorate that level of water in Ukai reservoir has dropped heavily. In such conditions, the department has asked Collector's office to ensure that Surat does not face drinking water problems. The water level at the Weir cum Causeway constructed within the city limits is also depleting constantly.

If water in Ukai reservoir was to run out, such an incident would adversely effect not only Surat city but also the industries situated in Hazira belt. But as per information received, no problems are likely to arise until June 15th.

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Student caught for appearing for SSC exam as a dummy Wednesday, April 11, 2001

SURAT, April 10th: Flying squad today caught hold of a 'dummy' student who had tried to appear for SSC Board exam, alongwith 8 students who had attempted to copy during today's paper.

Surat DEO, Mr. P. N. Dave, informed today Nakarni Kamlesh Haribhai, an eleventh standard student of Ramkrishna Vidhya Bhavan, had attempted to appear instead of Bhikhadia Sharad Popat, a tenth standard student of Saraswati Vidhyalaya on A. K. Road, but was caught by the squad members. Kamlesh was debarred from appearing in today's exam and a criminal case was lodged at Varacha police station. Squad also caught hold of six students (HSC- commerce stream) and two students from SSC while attempting to copy during today's exam.

In all nine cases were registered today, including one for the 'dummy' student case. DEO added that five supervisors were debarred from examination services for three years as they had abetted to copy during Board exams. These supervisors were from 2 from Mandvi, 2 from Sayan and 1 from Madhi centres.

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CM says Narmada water will usher in prosperity Wednesday, April 11, 2001

BHAVNAGAR: Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has claimed that availability of the Narmada waters would usher in prosperity among the people of Saurashtra and Kutch regions, who were facing perennial shortage of drinking water.

While dedicating supply of Narmada waters at Sidsar sump to 6 lakh residents of Bhavnagar recently, he said if the earlier governments had taken proper action, the water shortage would not have assumed such a critical dimension.

Patel advised the authorities not to lift any more water from the dams primarily built for irrigation purpose.

Pointing at a group of slogan-shouting by Youth Congress workers, Keshubhai said instead of resorting to such practice, they should approach him or the officials concerned with constructive suggestions which could be considered.

Mayor Mahipatsinh Gohil said the citizens were upset by the fact that the city had run out of a viable drinking water source in February last. However, water supply minister Narottam Patel promised the BMC to reach the Narmada water by March 15. This encouraged the BMC to complete the supplementary works and, as a result, the water crisis had been overcome.

Gohil appealed to the CM for additional supply of 20 mld water and additional funding to the tune of Rs 8 crore for constructing one more sump at Sidsar and laying a pipeline up to the Bhavnagar filtration plant.

Keshubhai promised an additional 10 mld supply from May. He also asked the residents to be satisfied with the allocation while pointing out that the government also had to supply the Narmada water to hundreds of villages and towns in Saurashtra.

Narottam Patel, youth and cultural minister Mahendra Trivedi, deputy minister Puroshttam Solanki, MLAs, state BJP chief Rajendrasinh Rana and other dignitaries were present at the function.

3 die in mishap: Three members of a labourer's family died on the spot, when their moped was hit by a jeep near Talaja town, 52 km from here. A passenger of the jeep succumbed to injuries in hospital.

According to the police, Hipabhai Jerambhai (35), his wife Kashiben (33) and his son Ghugha (10) were going to their native village for a function.

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GEB extends 20-hr power supply to farmers Wednesday, April 11, 2001

VADODARA: A virtual revolt against Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel by as many as 13 MLAs has led the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) to supply 20 hours of single-phase power to farmers all over the state.

This is in addition to two hours of three-phase power supply to farmers of North Gujarat for meeting their irrigation requirements.

The new arrangement for power supply to farmers, which has been worked out by GEB chairman Nalin Bhatt, will remain in force till June 30, state energy and power minister Kaushik Patel told 'The Times of India'.

During his visit to Rajkot last week, the chief minister had admitted that 13 of the 19 dissident MLAs had expressed their unhappiness over the state government's inability to resolve issues relating to power supply. Some dissident MLAs had demanded an increase in the period of three-phase power supply to farmers of North Gujarat.

Conceding their demands, GEB has begun supplying nine hours of three-phase power to farmers of North Gujarat while seven hours of three-phase power is being supplied to the remaining parts of the state. The supply, however, will be discontinued between 8 am and 12 noon.

The GEB has also drawn up an action plan to meet the ever-increasing demand for power by the farm sector, said a GEB official.

With summer season advancing, the demand for power from the farm sector is going up by 15 million units per day and may rise further.

Bhatt had convened a meeting of chief engineers of various circles of the GEB from different parts of the state to work a solution to meet the rising demand and tackle the situation before it worsens following a capacity shortage at a later stage.

The action plan includes bringing back on stream closed units, improving the plant-load factor of thermal power stations and buying power from independent power producers. The GEB, however, does not have any plan to increase the hours of load-shedding.

The meeting also discussed the issue of the inability GEB and its counterparts in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh to draw more power than allocated by the central sector power projects owing to an emphasis on observance of national electricity grade.

GEB, which had managed to acquire additional assistance of power from the central sector power projects falling in the western sector of the country, may not get it due to several factors this time.

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Kerala to re-build a quake-hit village in Gujarat Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Thiruvananthapuram, April 10: Kerala government will re-build one of the earthquake-devastaed villages in Gujarat spending 80 million from Kerala Chief Minister's quake relief fund and the Gujarat government contributing a matching amount.
Chief Minister E K Nayanar told a cabinet briefing on Tuesday that details of the proposal would be worked out by the state earthquake monitoring committee in consultation with the Gujarat government.

The CM's quake relief fund had netted Rs 79.4 million and the state had released Rs 20 million shortly after the quake.

The proposal was to re-build all houses, government schools and hospitals in a quake ravaged village.The village to benefit from Kerala's gesture is yet to be identfied, he added.

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