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March 29, 2001 - March 29, 2001

NGO renders yeoman service in Rajkot Thursday, March 29, 2001

RAJKOT: The Area Networking and Development Initiatives (ANANDI), a non-governmental organisation, has been rendering yeomen service to Rajkot district. Not only has it conducted relief operations in quake-ravaged villages, but also plans to take up rehabilitation work in a big way.

ANANDI said on Wednesday that it plans to construct temporary shelters in Virvadaraka and Khirasara villages. To begin with, five families of Rabari community in Virvadaraka village and five families of Bharwad community from Khirasara, will be helped. The organisation will provide tin sheets and other construction material to these families to help them build shelters. The families will contribute the material provided to them by the government. ANANDI also plans to reconstruct school buildings in 10 villages besides providing tents for schools and stationary for students.

Volunteers also completed a assessment of quake-affected areas and found that several families had not received cash doles distributed by the government. The report prepared by the organisation with assistance of volunteers of Tata Institute of Social Sciences was made on basis of a survey upto March 15.

It was found that out of 46 villages in Maliya taluka, 40 had yet to receive relief material, and a village called Lavanpur was most in need of support. The villagers comprising salt pan workers had received negligible support from the government and other relief agencies so far.

ANANDI has been active in Gujarat since 1995 in tribal belts of Panchmahals and Dahod, besides Saurashtra. In Panchmahals and Dahod the organisation has mobilised women under units called Devgadh Mahila Sangathan and Panam Mahila Sangathan.

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$10-m aid gives much-needed fillip Thursday, March 29, 2001

VADODARA: The Kalpasar project, Gujarat's dream project to turn Gulf of Khambhat into a huge fresh water lake, received a major fillip with the Netherlands-based Nadeco Company committing $10 million (about Rs 46 crore) in aid.

The state government, in turn, has agreed in principle to accept the aid. Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel is sending a four-member team comprising Kalpasar Core Committee chairman and chief co-ordinator of the project C C Patel, project conceiver Anil Kane, additional secretary U K Sarvaiya and secretary Narmada and major irrigation projects M I Mehta to the Netherlands in May.

Simultaneously the state government is also setting up a Kalpasar Development Authority to administer the funds. Already Rs 18 crore have been poured into the project since its conception in mid 1980's. The total project cost is estimated at Rs 25,000 crore.

"This is a major boost to Kalpasar. The Netherlands is known for great dam building and if a company of that country has shown interest in our project it means big", Kane told 'The Times of India'.

He said Kalpasar envisages bridging the Gulf of Khambhat with a 24-km-long dam that will connect Bharuch and Bhavnagar. Besides providing drinking and irrigation water to the entire Saurashtra and Kutch, Kalpasar will generate 6000 mega watts of power, Kane said.

"Saline water will be replaced by fresh water. About 400,000 hectares of land that is of no use today will be reclaimed. This fresh water lake than will have fantastic harbours and flourishing fisheries," Kane said.

Till date five exhaustive volumes on feasibility of Kalpasar project and six survey studies have been put out by the Kalpasar core committee.

Kane said that Reliance Industries, Larsen and Tubro, Tata Hydel and Tata Housing Development have appreciated the 6000 mw power generation aspect of the project. "They have shown keen interest. Some of these companies are even enthusiastic to manufacture and supply us turbines against the kind of power generation we estimate through Kalpasar," Kane said.

Nadeco, on the other hand, is interested in the building part of the dam. "They specialise in building big dams. Holland has one of the world's best dams in Islemeher through which they have reclaimed land submerged under the sea and converted it into a world floriculture centre. In Kalpasar also they see good business opportunity and hence are offering the aid", Kane observed.

Nadeco has suggested to the state government that its aid should be used in institutional strengthening of the Kalpasar cell. This deals with procuring equipment, technology exchange or transfer and manpower. Nadeco has also suggested for a GIS, data base on environment baseline, project regime modelling and association with Central Water and Power Resources Centre (CWPRC) in Pune has also been demanded. The CWPRC's intervention is sought to study the impact of Kalpasar on sedimentation, salinity, currents and other technical aspects. National Institute of Oceanography's involvement has also been sought.

When asked about the astronomical cost of the project Kane said that the major expenditure was on power generation. "However the power we would generate here will be less than Rs 2 a kW for an hour. And unlike Enron, in Kalpasar there is no need for foreign exchange", Kane remarked. He added that the other benefits of Kalpasar was that there was no displacement of people or inviting natural disasters by disturbing earth's crust.

"Even if Narmada dam is built to the height of 138 metres, 90 percent of Saurashtra and 95 per cent of Kutch would not get water. Kalpasar is a feasible alternative and in five years can change the face of Saurashtra and Kutch," Kane said.

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Software to identify hazardous areas Thursday, March 29, 2001

VADODARA: A special software that would asses all industrial zones in the country by analyzing the concentration of chemical and hazardous industries and giving a detailed vulnerability analysis in case of an accident is being developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF).

The MOEF Hazardous Substances Management Division additional director Dr Saroj, who was in Vadodara recently, said the special computer software is being developed with the help of Geographic Information System (GIS) of the NIC. This software might later be available for all the central control rooms in the country to tackle emergencies, she informed.

According to her, the Vapi industrial zone has been selected as a model for this software.

The software would help in identifying the hazards in a specific area. It would also simulate the effects of an accident and delineate the vulnerable zone and provide risk contours for all offsite accident scenarios.

"The data collection has already started in the four main industrial zones where Emergency Response Centres have started, these include Vadodara, Thane, Bhopal and Chennai. The GISNIC plan includes the collection of a detailed data base of each industry in an area, its construction plan, details of storage and use of hazardous chemicals and the surrounding area around the industrial unit," she informs.

"The data collection, compilation and plan for Vapi has already been made. It includes computerised graphics that explain the extent of damage that might occur in case of a chemical spill or gas leak," she says.

The software has inbuilt chemical dispersion models to examine the area that might be covered in case of an accidental spill of hazardous chemicals. The wind direction at the time of the accident and the exact type of chemical leak and its location can be fed into the software which would in turn provide a detail mapping of the high-risk zones and the risk contours.

The data that would be collected would be spatial and non-spatial so that it can help analyse the kind of dispersion that would take place. All wind directions are taken into consideration for drawing up the risk contours since the direction of wind is a variable factor and it plays a decisive role in case of a gas leak or chemical spill.

"We have already started mapping all the industrial zones of the country and are compiling a database of all industries with details of the chemicals and hazardous substances that they store or manufacture. The NIC would provide the software to the Ministry of Environment and later this software might be available at all Central Control Rooms in the country so that they can act swiftly when a crisis strikes," she said.

The software requires collection of spatial and non-spatial data of various natures to avoid risk of major accident or at least reduce its impact to the least. Periodic safety audits hazard assessment, onsite emergency plans and creation and maintenance of database is also a part of the plan.

She said that the idea of creating such database plans and computer software would be successful only if they are available for the public so that awareness about risks and hazards and safety measures is increased. "If possible the ministry can even try and make these available on the Internet," she said.

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Software to identify hazardous areas Thursday, March 29, 2001

VADODARA: A special software that would asses all industrial zones in the country by analyzing the concentration of chemical and hazardous industries and giving a detailed vulnerability analysis in case of an accident is being developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF).

The MOEF Hazardous Substances Management Division additional director Dr Saroj, who was in Vadodara recently, said the special computer software is being developed with the help of Geographic Information System (GIS) of the NIC. This software might later be available for all the central control rooms in the country to tackle emergencies, she informed.

According to her, the Vapi industrial zone has been selected as a model for this software.

The software would help in identifying the hazards in a specific area. It would also simulate the effects of an accident and delineate the vulnerable zone and provide risk contours for all offsite accident scenarios.

"The data collection has already started in the four main industrial zones where Emergency Response Centres have started, these include Vadodara, Thane, Bhopal and Chennai. The GISNIC plan includes the collection of a detailed data base of each industry in an area, its construction plan, details of storage and use of hazardous chemicals and the surrounding area around the industrial unit," she informs.

"The data collection, compilation and plan for Vapi has already been made. It includes computerised graphics that explain the extent of damage that might occur in case of a chemical spill or gas leak," she says.

The software has inbuilt chemical dispersion models to examine the area that might be covered in case of an accidental spill of hazardous chemicals. The wind direction at the time of the accident and the exact type of chemical leak and its location can be fed into the software which would in turn provide a detail mapping of the high-risk zones and the risk contours.

The data that would be collected would be spatial and non-spatial so that it can help analyse the kind of dispersion that would take place. All wind directions are taken into consideration for drawing up the risk contours since the direction of wind is a variable factor and it plays a decisive role in case of a gas leak or chemical spill.

"We have already started mapping all the industrial zones of the country and are compiling a database of all industries with details of the chemicals and hazardous substances that they store or manufacture. The NIC would provide the software to the Ministry of Environment and later this software might be available at all Central Control Rooms in the country so that they can act swiftly when a crisis strikes," she said.

The software requires collection of spatial and non-spatial data of various natures to avoid risk of major accident or at least reduce its impact to the least. Periodic safety audits hazard assessment, onsite emergency plans and creation and maintenance of database is also a part of the plan.

She said that the idea of creating such database plans and computer software would be successful only if they are available for the public so that awareness about risks and hazards and safety measures is increased. "If possible the ministry can even try and make these available on the Internet," she said.

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Water crisis in Saurashtra Thursday, March 29, 2001

RAJKOT: Notwithstanding Narmada water reaching Rajkot and other places in Saurashtra, there is no let-up in water crisis in the region. Village women continue to traverse a long distance for fetching a bucketful of water.

On Wednesday, woman residents of ward number 18 of Rajkot city staged a noisy demonstration in front of the municipal commissioner's office. They were demanding distribution of water through tankers as there are no other sources.

In a written statement, they said they were facing acute water shortage as there is no facility to procure water. They demanded allocation of a standpost or an alternate arrangement for getting water.

Residents of Upleta town are not getting water for the past 15 days. They have decided to launch agitation in case they are not supplied water soon. Crisis has aggravated in Upleta for the past three weeks. People are also ready to purchase water since there is no source.

Water was supplied from Moj dam till beginning of this month. After it became dry, plans were chalked out to supply water from Venu-2 dam. Due to some reasons, the required quantum of water is not being lifted by the Nagarpalika as a result of which people are out on the streets for water.

Residents of Soni Bazar, Jakaria Masjid Chowk, Panchhati, Darbargadh and Mandap Road are having no water. Long queues of people carrying water pots could be seen. Senior citizens feel if water problem is not solved on a war footing, riots might break out in Upleta.

In Dhoraji town, women gheraoed the Nagarpalika office on Wednesday as there is no water supply for the past 11 days. The situation became so serious that policemen had to be deployed outside the Nagarpalika office to prevent people from going on the rampage. Civic employees are working under constant threat of mob attack.

Residents of Upperwas were getting water from Nani Paravdi bore but the quality was so bad that they could not consume it. "Not only impure, it was stinking," said water works committee chief Jivanbhai Patel. Youth leader of Dhoraji town Harkishan Mavani says that not a single zone out of the 11 has received a drop of water. Due to frequent power cut, the required quantum of water is not lifted from the bore project.

In Sondarda village under Keshod taluka, women have to walk four kilometres each day in search of water. A group of 150 to 200 women put up their problem before the Mamlatdar, who assured them that water problem would be solved within four days.

Meanwhile, Narmada water has reached Jetpur taluka. It would soon reach Jasdan taluka which would get 23 lakh litres of water. All the 101 villages under this taluka have been divided into four zones for supply of Narmada water.

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