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March 26, 2001 - March 27, 2001

74 horses from Dubai reach city Tuesday, March 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: About 74 thoroughbreds gifted by an official of the Dubai ruler's court arrived in the city today morning. They were brought in 10 trucks from a farm near Pune where they were being reared.
All the horses, including the 13 that are pregnant, are in excellent health. The horses have been gifted by the secretary of Dubai's ruler for use in quake-affected areas and will be used by the State mounted police.

Of the 74 horses, 34 are mares of which 13 are pregnant. There is one stallion and of the remaining, 16 are below one year of age and as many below two. The State Government had sent two officials to check the horses and their health after the unusual gift was announced last month by Indian Consul General in Dubai. Given as part of relief aid, the donor has left it to the State Government on how to use them.

The horses which arrived today are being kept at the `ghoda camp' of the mounted police headquarters in Shahibaug.

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BSNL hand being probed Tuesday, March 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The time taken to get a new telephone connection after applying with the BSNL can range from a week to several weeks. But interestingly, the BSNL can give as many as 100 telephone connections to people with dubious background in a jiffy.
Twice in the last year, ISD-STD rackets being run from Satellite area were busted leading to arrest of kingpin Dushyant Bhojak and four senior BSNL officers. Despite this, Subhash Alekar, a resident of Kankaria, managed to get 24 telephone connections in September 2000 from which he was running a racket of international and national calls while paying BSNL bills for local calls only. Alekar was arrested on Saturday night and the police found that instruments used by Bhojak were also being used by Alekar.

Alekar admitted that he got the 24 connections courtesy the then sub-divisional officer (telecom) D M Prajapati. However, sub-divisional officer Mahendra Patel who has replaced Prajapati says, ``since I have taken over recently, I have to go through the papers on the basis of which Alekar was granted 24 connections. But I believe Prajapati collected all documents as per norms of the company before giving him connections.''

Alekar had a simple modus operandi. ``He managed to get a ultra-modern dish antenna from New York which he installed on the roof of Nirman House and then connected with a satellite,'' Patel said. Once the dish antenna is connected with a satellite, one can make ISD and even STD calls even if one has connection for local calls only. ``It was the same system adopted by Bhojak in Konark Towers in Judges Bungalow. After his arrest from Mumbai and subsequent release, he simply changed the place of operation to Nalanda Complex in the same area,'' said a CBI officer. ``But even after Bhojak's arrest, BSNL did not disconnect the 100 lines given to him,'' he added.

Four BSNL officials involved in the Bhojak case were later arrested and suspended from their department. ``This could not have been possible without the connivance of BSNL officials,'' said Senior Inspector Jadeja. ``We are also trying to dig out possible involvement of BSNL people in this case,'' he added.

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Punjab National Bank manager held in A'bad Tuesday, March 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Manager of Maskati Market branch of Punjab National Bank S R Khataukar was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Gandhinagar on Sunday afternoon for his involvement in the bullion scam.
A case under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for corrupt practices using his official position has been registered by the CBI against the bank official and also for forgery and cheating under provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Meanwhile, a CBI team raided residence of Suresh Garecha, chairman of Class Co-operative Bank Limited on Saturday night and found the house locked. However, later the CBI investigating team broke into the flat and seized several documents, which are suspected to be about illegal transaction by the chairman.

An intensive search has been initiated by the CBI officials to track down the absconding chairman, sources said. Searches have also been initiated to track down atleast four officials of two nationalised banks, whose involvement also have been found by the CBI in its primary investigation, as their houses too were locked.

Senior regional manager of Punjab National Bank S M Mishra told Express Newsline on Sunday that Khataukar was suspended from his services for a temporary period on March 21. His suspension was ordered when top officials of the bank lodged a complaint with the State Superintendent of Police, CBI, Gandhinagar on the same day following detection of some corrupt practices by the Branch Manager. "Infact, we have noticed all these practices by him and we conducted inquiry into the matter on our own and being sure of his involvement, we lodged complaint with the CBI," Mishra said. Khataukar will be produced before the special CBI Court on Monday for his remand in CBI custody for further investigation.

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North Gujarat University stresses on inculcating basic values Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Along with giving importance to pursue practical academic activities which is the order of the day, North Gujarat University is also stressing on the need to inculcate basic values in the students.

The need for value education is slowly gaining ground here, thanks to the initiative taken by the vice-chancellor of NGU, Dr Balvant Jani.

While Udichya, the fort nightly mouthpiece of NGU, provides information on its academic and special activities as well as of various colleges in its area, it also provides enough material on what is now called value education. A column Adivachan in the magazine depicting the sayings and views of religious teachers and modern concept of work ethics has a far reaching effect on the readers, particularly those associated with the university.

Lecture series: A series of lectures on Sanskrit was organised at the university this month. Dr Gautam Patel of the Sanskrit Academy of the State spoke on Kalidasa's Meghdoot, the pictorial art and sculpture. The works of Dr Manibhai H Prajapati, the author of "Contribution of Gujarat to Sanskrit", was lauded on the occasion.

Earlier Dr A Prajapati, the head of the Sanskrit department, welcomed the guests and later Dr Anil Shastri, a reader in the department, gave the vote of thanks.

National seminar: A national seminar on "Modern Sanskrit Poetry" was held at Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar recently. As many as nine Sanskrit teachers of the university participated in the seminar. Research papers (including on poetry and Dhwani by Dr A Prajapati) by Dr Sanat Joshi, Dr Revaprasad Dwivedi, Prof Rakesh Rana, Dr Narbadaben Parghi, Prof Tulsidas Patel, Prof M Prajapati, Dr Jagruti Patel and Prof V Raj were presented on the occasion.

PhD award: Research and PhD work at NGU and colleges continues as usual. As many as four people were honoured with PhD recently. Those who have been conferred with the PhD include Dr M K Patel, Prof Kinnari Dubal, Prof R Patel and Prof D S Patreya.

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Malaria outbreak could be at hand Monday, March 26, 2001

VADODARA: The Vishwamitri, with its stagnant water and banks littered with garbage, is the bane of a number of localities including the thickly-populated Karelibaug and Fatehgunj areas. It has also become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This has become a cause of worry for many residents in these areas.

City doctors say stagnant water may have become a breeding ground for anopheles mosquito, which causes malaria.

Sources in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) reveal that drainage and sewage water from residential societies along the river are discharged directly into the river. And, with two successive failed monsoons, there is not much water in the river to flush out the discharge.

"The internal garbage line and the main gutter line outside were not in the same level. The VMC too did not care to check while providing permission to these societies. Residents of these societies had no option but to open up outlets directly into the Vishwamitri," a VMC official informed under condition of anonymity.

"Earlier, the VMC used to flush the river twice a day, in the morning and evening. This has been reduced to just once a day with water scarcity facing the state. Flushing is done only in the morning now. Even the amount of water used for flushing has been reduced. Due to this, the drainage water gets accumulated in Vishwamitri river, making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes," says municipal councillor of the area Manoj Thakore.

But residents blame the VMC's apathy for the problem. They complain that the VMC never bothered to spray oil or insecticides on the water to prevent mosquito breeding.

Moreover, those residing in the adjacent Kalyannagar and Govindnagar slums have illegally connected their drainage line with the storm water drain, which opens into the river.

Residents complain that though mosquitoes are in abundance in the area, the VMC sprays insecticide only once a month. "Despite several complaints, no one in the VMC cares to look into our problems. In fact, we are tired of the VMC's lethargic attitude towards our problems," says Jignesh Patel of Gurukrupa Society.

They say that though VMC tries to clear the main drainage line every fortnight with the help of 'jetting' machine, they fail, as dirt has accumulated in the drainage line. "There are some cracks in the main drainage line. But VMC has failed to detect it. Due to this water often gets clogged in the area," said Thakore.

"It's difficult going out after sunset. The mosquitoes are all over and bite us even when we are walking our riding a two-wheeler. Even mosquito repellents are no more effective. The problem has aggravated in the last one month," said Amit Patel of Sayaji Society.

"When we purchased a house near the river, we thought we would be closer to nature. On the contrary we are surrounded by filth, dirt and now mosquitoes and fear of diseases," said Alpa Mehta of Swapnalok Apartment.

"We have already instructed the administrative staff to start an 'abhiyan' to clean the river, in order to ensure smooth flow of water," said deputy mayor Shailesh Mehta.

"The drainage water from the main drainage line in Karelibaug is regularly pumped out at the VIP Road sewage pumping station. Sometimes, cracks in the internal gutter causes an overflow. The problem isn't very acute and will be solved soon," said deputy executive engineer (Sewage) Bharat Rana.

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