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March 31, 2001 - March 31, 2001

Leading bullion trader’s premises raided, important papers seized Saturday, March 31, 2001

Ahmedabad:The Central Bureau of Investigation sleuths of Mumbai raided the official premises of a leading bullion trader Rajni Bhansali in Manekchowk on Friday and seized important documents.

Senior sources in the CBI told that the documents reveal that Bhansali Associates have a direct involvement with the bullion scandal. These details were submitted to the special court, where the accused have been produced for their remand and judicial custody.

The CBI officials also said that they had sealed Bhansali’s residence at Chandanbala apartments in Paldi on Wednesday. Subsequently, Rajni Bhansali who was absconding along with his family for the past three days, surrendered himself before the CBI on Friday.

Sources said that he was interrogated for some hours and then released. State Bank of India had lodged a complaint with the Mumbai CBI after it suffered a loss of Rs 41 crores as pay orders against which it had furthered gold bounced.

Advocates appearing for Naresh Choksi, the main accused in the bullion scam and the proprietor of K.L. Choksi firms informed the court that Naresh Choksi will appear before the court very soon. It was also learnt that the team from Mumbai CBI will leave for Mumbai on Friday night alongwith the seized documents.

Meanwhile, the special CBI court sent Jignesh Choksi, the son of the main accused Naresh Choksi, to judicial custody after his remand period got over on Friday. CBI had arrested him on Tuesday and special judge A.J. Bhatt had ordered a three-day CBI remand.

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Surat tops population-growth rate list Saturday, March 31, 2001

AHMEDABAD, MARCH 29: The provisional Census figures reveal that urban areas of the State, including Ahmedabad city, have recorded a very high population growth rate in the past decade, with Surat city registering a phenomenal 85 per cent growth, something unheard of in the recent past.
Interestingly though, the sex ratio (the number of females to every thousand males) which is considered an important social development parameter, has been decreasing in urban areas of the State while tribal districts like Dahod, Amreli, Dangs have shown a rise in the sex ratio, which is a positive trend.

Jayant Parimal, Director of Census Operations for the State, told reporters on Thursday that urban areas of the city had registered a very high growth rate in the decade. ``While Ahmebabad urban agglomeration has crossed the 45 lakh figure, Surat city is the fastest growing in the State with the population almost doubling in the last decade,'' he stated.

He also added that the reduction in sex ratio from 934 (number of females) to 919 in the past decade is primarily because of a decline in the sex ratio of urban areas. ``If this trend continues, the State could be faced with a serious social problem in the next few years,'' he commented.

In a startling revelation, the census figures state that the sex ratio for the age group of zero to six years of age in 2001 is just 878, as compared to 928 in 1991. ``Sex ratio among adults can change because of male migration, but there is a drastic rise in the sex ratio among children as well, and this situation is definitely alarming,'' Parimal stated. The sex ratio for children below the age of six is markedly lower in urban areas than rural areas, he added.

In the Ahmedabad UA (Urban agglomeration), besides the AMC areas, 17 areas outside the corporation limits and the cantonment were counted. In Vadodara, ten areas outside VMC limits were counted, in Rajkot, nine areas were counted, three areas outside Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation were counted.

In Jamnagar, 12 areas outside the corporation limits were counted and in Surat, 23 areas outside SMC limits were counted as part of the urban agglomeration.

Provisional census figures have also pointed out that there are 27 cities in the state that have crossed a population of one lakh, while the four major cities of the state Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot have crossed the 10 lakh mark.

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Of turtles, snakes, quakes and mythology Saturday, March 31, 2001

"Sins have increased on the earth and therefore the Shesh Nag which holds the earth on its head gets disturbed. When it finds it difficult to hold the earth properly earthquake occurs." If this does not feel convincing, there is yet another theory. The earth is held up together by four elephants who are standing on the back of a turtle. And the turtle is standing on the cobra hood. When any one of them move, the result is an earthquake.
These are some myths that were discussed at a seminar on earthquake here on Thursday. These might be brushed aside by the scientific, rationale minds of the modern age, but they are still a part of various cultural traditions in India and world wide. The love legend of Jesal and Toral is still afresh in the minds of quake-affected Kutchis. They believe that as the samadhis of the two lovers come together earthquake occurs.

This demonstrates how myths and legend still persist in our minds inspite of the scientific theories of modern times. The Japanese believe that land floats on water in the ocean. Human beings, plants and animals live on the land and beneath it are the fishes. Amongst the fishes, there is a giant catfish which is calmed by the nature god, Kashima. And when the catfish is not calmed, it writhes causing earthquakes. Egyptians believe that when the sphinx gets tired from a long weary walk, it collapses causing the quake.

These were only some of the myths and legends that were discussed in a seminar organised by the final year students of the Faculty of Social Work, M.S. University. The students attempted to understand as to how these myths were created to explain the fear of natural calamities.

"We tried to explain that there is a logical understanding behind these myths which our ancestors might have reached out of their experiences" explained one of the students who had presented the subject.Prof.L.M.Joshi, form the department of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit, who was one of the resource person at the seminar explained, "The interpretations of the earthquake prediction in Brahat Samhita has not been properly understood. These predictions and beliefs have a scientific basis, as they are based on the experiences and observations and intuition and logic need to be applied to find out the truth."

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Constables go through school again Saturday, March 31, 2001

SURAT, MARCH 29: In a yearly routine replicating school general knowledge quizzes, constables and head constables are put through such questions as who is the municipal commisioner? who is the city unit president of the Bharatiya Janata Party? and what is a cognizable offence?
The results are important, for failure can work against their promotion. But deputy superintendent B.V. Pawar sees in the tests more than mere routine: ``Yes, it is indeed a routine test, and it helps the department know the level of its personnel. But there is another side to it. For me how much a constable scores in the test is not that important. What is much more important is what he gets to learn from the very taking of the test. He may go back and learn about what he did not know, either by reading or by asking around.''

The questions are framed to suit local needs. For instance, constables at the Bardoli Police Station were asked questions such as who is the president of the Bardoli Taluka Panchayat? which party governs the local taluka panchayat? and who is the president of the taluka unit of the Congress?

Some general questions test knowledge of law. Among them are tests of practical application of law: if you register non-cognizable offences more than once against a hawker for putting up his larri at a particular spot, but he continues to do so, what stricter action can you take against him?

Says Puwar, ``Many constables do not know that they can even arrest a hawker under certain laws. Having learnt such things, they will be able to utilise the knowledge, of course, in the interest of society.''

Although Pawar makes light of the importance of a constable's score in the test, for promotions it counts.

Deputy superintendents take into consideration the scores when deciding which constable will be promoted and move up the ranks. If a candidate for promotion has failed, or has barely passed the test, and there are other candidates who have done well, the deputy superintendent's choice will clearly favour those who have passed.

Though there exists a system for training constables, it is applied only in the immediate few months after his recruitment. After that, constables undergo a refresher course 15 years later. And since paperwork is done only by head constables, those below that rank hardly get to learn administration and case work.

Some officers, like Puwar, say that these tests serve to bridge that gap but only to a certain extent. What constables really need is more frequent refresher courses.

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Pakistan to free 160 fishermen Saturday, March 31, 2001

RAJKOT: The state-level convenor of the National Fish Forum Premjibhai Khokri said on Friday that 160 Indian fishermen, presently lodged in Pakistani jails, would be released within a week's time.

Kokhri said the forum held a detailed discussion with vice-president of the Fishing Co-operative Federation of Pakistan, Shafi Jamade, and the two sides had agreed to release 160 fishermen from each side.

Jamade, who was in Porbander to oversee the release of Pakistani fishermen from Indian jails, had taken up the issue of release of Indian fishermen recently arrested by Pakistani Marine Security men.

Indian boats that may be freed include Nayanrai Ramirai, Maplisagar, Parasmani, Rojikrupa, Madhvi, Devdeep and Rajkumar. Around 112 fishermen, arrested a year and a half ago from Saurashtra, Kutch and Diu areas will also be released, Kokhri said.

State fisheries minister Babubhai Bokhiriya, who had also taken up the issue of release of Indian fishermen with the Central government, said both Indian and Pakistani fishermen would be released simultaneously to avoid any controversy.

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