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March 30, 2001 - March 30, 2001

Demand to declare Maliya under seismic zone 5 Friday, March 30, 2001

RAJKOT: Residents of 47 villages that make up the Maliya taluka are demanding that the area be declared under seismic zone five as it has suffered heavy damages in the quake. A taluka agitational committee, with 188 members, has been formed to press for their demand.

The committee passed a 23-point resolution on Wednesday evening. Saying the taluka had suffered total destruction, they decried the fact that it had been put under seismic zone 4, and said it was unjustified. Demanding fresh aid, they said families who had not received cash doles and relief material should be given the same immediately. The committee also demanded that the government pay up the remainder of the crop insurance money for 1999-2000 as soon as possible, as the farmers had no money.

The members flayed officials for neglecting the area and not even bothering to visit it.

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Life in Kutch still at standstill Friday, March 30, 2001

RAJKOT: Congress spokesman Valji Bagda said here on Thursday that life in the quake-ravaged areas of Bhuj and other towns of Kutch continues to be at a standstill. Debris have not been cleared and smell of rotting bodies remains. No help has reached the unfortunate people in the interiors of Kutch.

Bagda told TOINS that heaps of debris are still lying in Bhuj which shows that things have not improved much since January 26 when earthquake struck. Though some roads have been cleared, interior areas are inaccessible. The condition of villages is worse. People still sleep in the open.

Two months have passed since people lost their near and dear ones apart from houses. Many sufferers have not been given the promised cash doles. This has forced them to launch agitation and sit on dharnas in front of government offices.

He said the government had promised people to clear debris and pay Rs 40 per labourer. Till date, not a single relief work has been taken up. Labourers are yet to receive the promised amount of Rs 40 per day. People are spending days in a state of helplessness and have been forced to beg for bread.

The Congress spokesman, who spent two months in the quake- ravaged region, said the state government had promised to pay Rs 12,000 to those who lost their houses so that they could construct temporary dwellings. Now the government has changed its stance, saying people would be given eight to 10 tin sheets, two bags of cement and some bamboos to erect make-shift houses.

Bagda said people are not interested in tins and cement but want cash payment. He ridiculed the chief minister's statement of constructing eight lakh houses before monsoon. "It would be nice on part of the state government to provide even temporary shelters," he said.

The government had posted senior officials in the quake-ravaged areas so that relief and rehabilitation work could be speeded up but they were given no powers. For even small things, they have to look towards Gandhinagar. Even GRs brought out by the government time and again are confusing with the result that officers have to seek clarifications from political masters sitting in Gandhinagar, said Bagda.

Farmers of the Kutch region have lost their electric motors, oil engines and farming equipment. Yet the government has made no effort to pay them in cash or even look into their plight, added Bagda.

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Life in Kutch still at standstill Friday, March 30, 2001

RAJKOT: Congress spokesman Valji Bagda said here on Thursday that life in the quake-ravaged areas of Bhuj and other towns of Kutch continues to be at a standstill. Debris have not been cleared and smell of rotting bodies remains. No help has reached the unfortunate people in the interiors of Kutch.

Bagda told TOINS that heaps of debris are still lying in Bhuj which shows that things have not improved much since January 26 when earthquake struck. Though some roads have been cleared, interior areas are inaccessible. The condition of villages is worse. People still sleep in the open.

Two months have passed since people lost their near and dear ones apart from houses. Many sufferers have not been given the promised cash doles. This has forced them to launch agitation and sit on dharnas in front of government offices.

He said the government had promised people to clear debris and pay Rs 40 per labourer. Till date, not a single relief work has been taken up. Labourers are yet to receive the promised amount of Rs 40 per day. People are spending days in a state of helplessness and have been forced to beg for bread.

The Congress spokesman, who spent two months in the quake- ravaged region, said the state government had promised to pay Rs 12,000 to those who lost their houses so that they could construct temporary dwellings. Now the government has changed its stance, saying people would be given eight to 10 tin sheets, two bags of cement and some bamboos to erect make-shift houses.

Bagda said people are not interested in tins and cement but want cash payment. He ridiculed the chief minister's statement of constructing eight lakh houses before monsoon. "It would be nice on part of the state government to provide even temporary shelters," he said.

The government had posted senior officials in the quake-ravaged areas so that relief and rehabilitation work could be speeded up but they were given no powers. For even small things, they have to look towards Gandhinagar. Even GRs brought out by the government time and again are confusing with the result that officers have to seek clarifications from political masters sitting in Gandhinagar, said Bagda.

Farmers of the Kutch region have lost their electric motors, oil engines and farming equipment. Yet the government has made no effort to pay them in cash or even look into their plight, added Bagda.

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Halwad Dalits go on the rampage Friday, March 30, 2001

RAJKOT: The 10-day-old agitation launched by Dalits in Halwad took a violent turn on Thursday when a mob of nearly 1,000 marched to the Mamlatdar's office as well as police stations and started pelting stones and raising slogans.

A Dalit youth, Vinod Rathod, was arrested when he tried to immolate himself. Later, he was released on bail. The rampaging mob also attacked the jeep of DSP Garchar and broke its window panes.

The police burst two teargas shells in self-defence and tried to disperse the mob.

Dalits were agitating against discrepancy in distribution of relief materials among the quake-affected people in Surendranagar district. They also expressed anger against the slipshod manner of survey work in the affected areas. They had submitted a 10-point charter of demands and became restless after the district administration failed to do anything.

Halwad police inspector Harshad Dave told TOINS he had filed a complaint against Dalits for illegally getting together and attacking police jeep and cops on duty. Not to be cowed down, the Dalit Samaj of Halwad and Surendranagar has decided to go ahead with the agitation programme.

Surendranagar DSP Vinod Mal said that Dalits were agitating against step-motherly treatment meted out to them in the distribution of quake relief materials. After one Dalit tried to immolate himself and his subsequent arrest, the situation went out of control and attacks on policmen began, he said. The police had to burst teargas shells.

Police patrolling has been intensified in Halwad. The situation is now under control, said the DSP.

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Bar Association elections on Saturday Friday, March 30, 2001

VADODARA: With just a day left for the Baroda Bar Association elections to be held on Saturday, the corridors of Nyay Mandir have taken on a different look, with hectic campaigning on among lawyers here.

The Bar Association of Vadodara has a strength of 1,495 lawyers and is the second largest in the state. The elections are slated to be held at the Nyay Mandir complex from 10.30 am. BBA president Narendra Tiwari who has held on to his post since the past 10 years will be contesting for the 11th time for the same post. Advocate Kamal Pandya is his opponent for the post while Kiran Dave and Nalin Patel will be contesting the post of vice-president.

For the two seats of secretary, eight nominations have been filed including that of Nikhil Shah (Tony), Vilan Pradhan, Rabindra Ghotra, Prakash Thakkar, Jaikrishna Pandya, Ranjit Rathod, Ramesh Gujjar and Abu Vora. For the 10 seats of the BBA managing committee, 20 candidates have filed nominations and for the two ladies reserved seats, five ladies are contesting the elections.

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