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November 15, 2001 - November 15, 2001

Blast at 'dargah' in Kalol taluka Thursday, November 15, 2001

AHMEDABAD: An explosion caused by a country-made bomb shook a 'dargah' in Sherisa village of Kalol taluka in Gandhinagar district on Monday. A wall of the religious place was broken in the blast.

According to the Gandhinagar district police, the 'Dolatkhan pir dargah', which also has a burial ground, was disfigured when someone burst a pipe stuffed with metal pieces and other explosive material in a window of the compound wall causing the wall to break. The sound of the explosion roused the villagers who rushed to the site. A police official said the explosive used was similar to the kind used in firecrackers.

A complaint was lodged at the Kalol taluka police station by the 'fakir' of the 'dargah', Hyder Shah Jivan Shah, and a case of defacing of a religious place was lodged.
Forensic experts rushed to the scene for investigations with a dog-squad, and the site was also visited by a superintendent of police.

Five die in accident: Five persons were killed when a speeding truck ran into the jeep they were travelling in Modasa on Sunday night. Three persons died on the spot, while two others succumbed to injuries at the Himmatnagar civil hospital, sources said. The passengers belonged to Dahod and were on their way to Shamlaji when the accident occurred near Davli village. Those dead were identified as Champaben Punjabhai Parghi (15), Bhurabhai Motibhai Damor of Dahod and the jeep driver, Ashok Pochumal, from Prantij. The rest were yet to be identified. Several other passengers who were seriously injured were undergoing treatment.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Carrots given to all Congress factions Thursday, November 15, 2001

AHMEDABAD: This Diwali is going to be good for the Gujarat Congress. Everyone's got a gift this year, thanks to party president Sonia Gandhi's formula of 'faction appeasement'.

Sonia's surprise, by way of appointing Naresh Raval as new Congress Legislature Party leader and Udesinh Baria as the deputy leader, is likely to put to rest all the bickering among factions which the largest opposition in the state has come to live with.

After all the anguish and questions raised on Sonia's leadership, people in the party are finally looking up to her. "Things got delayed, but at least now they've got ironed out," remarked a Member of Parliament.

One flip across the diary of last year's events in the Congress, and it becomes evident that this party has taken to factionalism like a duck takes to water! And the experience has taught the party's national leadership how to deftly handle the crisis by giving a piece of the power-pie to everybody. Thus, Amarsinh Chaudhary got the GPCC leadership, Shankersinh Vaghela got his men into Parliament, Narhari Amin from the Janata Dal group got the ticket to the state Assembly, Raval who is known to be staunch supporter of Ahmed Patel got the CLP leadership, and so did Baria who belongs to the Madhavsinh Solanki group.

And the top bosses retained their hold by appointing the steering committee with AICC general secretary Kamal Nath in it as the decision-making group!

After the bad attendance by the top brass at the convergence of the Narmada Jal Yatra at Kevadia colony last month, things are finally looking up especially after the grand success of the Mehsana rally where Sonia hit the BJP where it hurt the most _ the farmer votebank. "Now the farmers of north Gujarat are definitely thinking about the Congress," says a Member of Parliament.

When Narendra Modi took over as chief minister over a month ago, the Congress nearly saw its ready-to-sail ship sink. But now, the Modi threat looks tamer than the threats within the party, say sources.

The Narmada Jal Yatra, which was to bring out the failures of the BJP government in executing the project and be publicised as a plank which would "bring all the four chief ministers together", did not happen as desired. The entire group owing allegiance to former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki boycotted the rally and even stayed away from the meeting at Kevadia which had Balram Jakhar as chief guest.

In fact, the four-CM banner was represented only by Dilip Parikh and Amarsinh Chaudhary, with Shankersinh Vaghela and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel too unable to make it to Kevadia. "With four chief ministers in a party, you can expect ego hassles," confess partymen. "All of them have certain pull, and are keen to retain that," justify insiders. In fact, a former chief minister remarked: "After having led the state, would I be expected to shout slogans at a rally?"

Solanki and his group made an appearance only at the Sonia Gandhi meeting at Mehsana, and Solanki was seen sharing the dais with Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel, both of whom are known not to see eye to eye. "When it comes to a crisis, we are together," says a party member, however.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Fall in vehicle-theft detection rate Thursday, November 15, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The city has witnessed a significant rise in vehicle thefts compared to last year, with at least 1,450 cases being registered till October this year. Of these only 198 cases have been solved.

The city's crime statistics provided by commissionerate at an informal meet on Monday show the lowest detection rate (4.84%) in cases of chain-snatching, 50 cases of which were reported.

Incidentally, violent crimes like murder and attempt-to-murder have reported a high detection rate of 89 per cent and 95 per cent, although the number of cases have dropped compared to last year.

While break-in cases, which come in the category of 'serious crimes', have reduced in the corresponding period last year, their detection rate has been abysmally low, (between 17 and 20 per cent). Incidents of rioting and kidnapping have also recorded a minor drop.

According to the police department, at least 297 anti-social elements were arrested under PASA till October.

Wrapping up the crime scene in the last year, the most noteworthy cases were those booked against builders and their associates whose buildings collapsed during the earthquake killing at least 700 people.

The police arrested some 93 persons in this connection, of which 79 were builders, six society chairpersons and two architects among others. Cases of culpable homicide were made out against 127 builders, 12 architects, 23 structural engineers, eight civil engineers and other persons associated with projects. The projects were found to have lapses after investigations by Forensic Science Laboratory and the National Council of Cement and Building Materials, Hyderabad.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Cumin adulteration racket busted Thursday, November 15, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The state health department on Monday busted a racket of adulteration of cumin seeds with rotten fennel and seized 100 sacks of the impure stuff along with equipments, from a farm at Keliavasna village in Ahmedabad district.

State health minister Ashok Bhatt said the raid was carried out after the department received a tip-off about adulteration taking place in a big way in the said farm. The farm is owned by one Rameshbhai Patel.

A team led by assistant commissioner K M Shah conducted the raid and caught the culprits red-handed when the mixing of rotten fennel with cumin was going on in full swing. The team destroyed the adulterated stuff and kept few samples for taking necessary action.
Bhatt said the cost of fennel is around Rs 20 per kg, but when mixed with cumin, the same is sold at Rs 70 per kg in the market, making the adulteration an immensely profitable affair.

Conceding that the adulterated mixture was hazardous to public health, Bhatt said necessary action will be initiated against the persons involved. These persons in question are currently being interrogated by the police for more information.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Source of mystery disease likely from Saurashtra Thursday, November 15, 2001

VADODARA: The source of the recent mystery disease that has affected some villages of Naswadi taluka, also having left a large number of people down with fever, may be traced to Saurashtra from where labourers have been returning home for Diwali, feels the Vadodara district administration.

With as many as 236 cases of fever and one death being reported from Naogam village alone over the past week, the administration has now planned to check all labourers returning from Saurashtra at the Devaliya Chowkdi for any possible infection.

"We will set up a mobile clinic at the Devaliya Chowkdi that will screen all home-coming labourers from Saurashtra. We suspect that the infection may have been carried by people coming from places like Junagadh, Halvad and also Surat," said district collector Bhagyesh Jha. There are also apprehensions that these cases of fever could be due to a viral infection, malaria or dengue. District development officer (DDO) A B Panchal has confirmed six dengue cases in Naogam village alone. Unconfirmed sources, however, has put this figure at 12.

The exercise to screen labourers has already begun in some villages. According to Panchal, 132 labourers _ who came back to Nana Karada village of Karjan taluka from Saurashtra _ have been checked for infections.

Following a dengue scare that gripped the area, a high-level team led by Jha visited Naogam village in Naswadi. Others in the team included district development officer, MLA of the region, district health officer and district malaria officer. The team also visited the neighbouring village of Vantda where 33 cases of fever have been reported till now, with five reported on Tuesday.

An action plan has been drawn up by the administration that includes creating a specific zone of 25 villages for intensive surveillance. A team of doctors including paediatricians and pathologists have also been rushed for providing better treatment. A control room has also been set up at the Naswadi common health centre. Along with these measures, spraying of insecticides and fogging have also begun. A mobile comprehensive health care unit has also been pressed into service for these 25 villages. Three laboratory technicians have been posted at Naswadi to ensure that time is not wasted in conducting blood tests.

District guardian minister Bharat Barot and state health minister Ashok Bhatt have been apprised of the situation.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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