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March 26, 2001 - March 26, 2001

Narmada water reaches Rajkot Monday, March 26, 2001

RAJKOT: The Narmada water finally reached Rajkot on Sunday. Mayor Ashok Dangar, municipal commissioner JP Gupta and water works committee chairman Virendra Zala performed a puja of the water which would temporarily solve the problem of this city. The water has been brought from a distance of more than 350 km.

Not to be left behind in making a political mileage out of the Narmada water reaching Rajkot, the BJP leaders of the city, including Union minister of state for heavy industries Vallabh Kathiria and several BJP corporators, remained present with saffron scarves tied around their necks.

Making it look like a political function, the BJP brigade raised slogans like "Keshubhai Zindabad" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai." On the other hand, the Congressmen maintained a dignified silence by not responding to slogans.

Reacting to the BJP stand, Dangar remarked: "This is essentially a corporation function and we would not like to make it a political issue."

City Congress president Manoharsinh Jadeja was conspicuous by his absence. Similary, news spread that state finance minister Vajubhai Vala was coming for the function but he chose to keep out.

A traditional puja was offered. Lalubhai Parekh broke a coconut welcoming the water which would be distributed from April 1.

The quota of water received on Sunday would be mixed with the supply of daily water so that people get the first taste of the Narmada water, said the mayor.

The municipal commissioner ruled out the lifting of water cut in the city, saying that maintaining time table of water distribution was of utmost importance than lifting the cut. "If the civic body is unable to stick to the time table, then it is of no use. Any shift in the timetable has a cascading effect," he said.

Citing an example, he said there was a problem at the main sump at Babra where there was no power supply. The Narmada water which was to reach Rajkot in the morning could come in the afternoon. The water supply is totally dependent on the GEB. During summer months, there is bound to be some problem.

Rajkot city would be getting 17 lakh gallons of water from Narmada. Besides, another 45 lakh gallons of water would start coming from Aji-3 project within next 10 days. This would lessen the burden on the Wankaner bore.

Rajkot has exclusive right over the Wankaner bore. In the case of Aji-3, Jamnagar has got its share while there are more claimants for Narmada water.

The mayor assured people they would not have to worry for water supply like they did last summer. The stipulated quota of 165 lakh gallons of water would be made available for Rajkot.

When asked about the cost factor, the commissioner said it is yet to be worked out. "Whatever comes as our share, we would have to pay," he added.

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Narmada water reaches Rajkot Monday, March 26, 2001

RAJKOT: The Narmada water finally reached Rajkot on Sunday. Mayor Ashok Dangar, municipal commissioner JP Gupta and water works committee chairman Virendra Zala performed a puja of the water which would temporarily solve the problem of this city. The water has been brought from a distance of more than 350 km.

Not to be left behind in making a political mileage out of the Narmada water reaching Rajkot, the BJP leaders of the city, including Union minister of state for heavy industries Vallabh Kathiria and several BJP corporators, remained present with saffron scarves tied around their necks.

Making it look like a political function, the BJP brigade raised slogans like "Keshubhai Zindabad" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai." On the other hand, the Congressmen maintained a dignified silence by not responding to slogans.

Reacting to the BJP stand, Dangar remarked: "This is essentially a corporation function and we would not like to make it a political issue."

City Congress president Manoharsinh Jadeja was conspicuous by his absence. Similary, news spread that state finance minister Vajubhai Vala was coming for the function but he chose to keep out.

A traditional puja was offered. Lalubhai Parekh broke a coconut welcoming the water which would be distributed from April 1.

The quota of water received on Sunday would be mixed with the supply of daily water so that people get the first taste of the Narmada water, said the mayor.

The municipal commissioner ruled out the lifting of water cut in the city, saying that maintaining time table of water distribution was of utmost importance than lifting the cut. "If the civic body is unable to stick to the time table, then it is of no use. Any shift in the timetable has a cascading effect," he said.

Citing an example, he said there was a problem at the main sump at Babra where there was no power supply. The Narmada water which was to reach Rajkot in the morning could come in the afternoon. The water supply is totally dependent on the GEB. During summer months, there is bound to be some problem.

Rajkot city would be getting 17 lakh gallons of water from Narmada. Besides, another 45 lakh gallons of water would start coming from Aji-3 project within next 10 days. This would lessen the burden on the Wankaner bore.

Rajkot has exclusive right over the Wankaner bore. In the case of Aji-3, Jamnagar has got its share while there are more claimants for Narmada water.

The mayor assured people they would not have to worry for water supply like they did last summer. The stipulated quota of 165 lakh gallons of water would be made available for Rajkot.

When asked about the cost factor, the commissioner said it is yet to be worked out. "Whatever comes as our share, we would have to pay," he added.

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OCB busts Rs 1-crore racket Monday, March 26, 2001

VADODARA: The newly-formed organised crime branch (OCB) of the city police has busted a racket, running into Rs 1 crore, in duping the gullible on the pretext of sending them to Kenya.

OCB inspector Kiritsinh Jhala arrested Harish Patel on Saturday for running this racket from Sudarshan Palace Hotel in Sayajigunj area. He raided the hotel after getting information that some people had organised a liquor party in room number 412. "We raided the room but found just a bottle of beer. We booked Harish and a woman who was accompanying him. Harish belongs to Gavdi area of Anand," said OCB sub-inspector DM Chauhan.

Earlier, Jhala and Chauhan had received information about a person from Anand who had duped several people. "We became suspicious of Harish. His interrogation revealed his involvement in duping at least 30 people of Anand and Nadiad," they said.

Jhala said that Sanjay Babu Patel, Narendra Jayanti Patel, Nainesh Shirish Patel and Paresh Jayanti Patel were among those duped by Harish.

These people have given statements to the police saying they were cheated by Harish who promised them to send them to Kenya. Harish told these people that he would first take them to Nairobi and then to Kenya, said Chauhan.

Harish was operating the racket from his flat in Krishna Kirtan Apartment in Anand.

The Anand police have registered an offence against Harish under Section 420 of the IPC. The OCB has registered an offence under the Prohibition Act.

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Padhadhari villagers demand water Monday, March 26, 2001

RAJKOT: About 5,000 people from Padhadhari village ghearoed the Mamlatdar demanding adequate water supply in the taluka from Aji-III dam.
A mob on Friday entered the office of the taluka district panchayat and shouted slogans. It then entered the office of the Mamlatdar, demanding that water be given to the taluka from Aji-III dam. The mob, which was led by both Congress and BJP leaders, ghearoed the office of Mamlatdar for nearly two-and-half hours.

The cities of Jamnagar and Rajkot depend heavily on the Aji-III dam. The State Government has decided to give 45 lakh gallons of water to Rajkot and Jamnagar from Aji-III. Besides, the Government has also decided that if more water is required for Jamnagar, then it will cut the supply for Rajkot to increase the quantity for Jamnagar. In this situation if Padhadhari residents demanded water, the State Government would be in no position to supply water from the dam, sources said.

Besides, the residents of Rajkot sat on a fast unto death outside the district panchayat office demanding starting of relief work in the district. Hue and cry have begun from all corners of Saurashtra, as the State Government has failed to make any provision of relief work, and has even failed to make any provisions for drinking water.

Daily, the number of agitations from all corners of the region is on the rise, and it is becoming difficult for the civic authorities to handle such situations.

With virtually no rain in the region for the second consecutive year, and all major sources of water dried up, the region is undergoing severe water crisis. The local administration is now depending heavily on the underground water or the Mahi water as promised by the State Government. Sources say it is likely to cover Junagadh, Rajkot, Amreli and Bhavnagar by March end.

According to Irrigation Department officials in the region, the situation is grim, and all major dams are dry. Those dams which have water would also go dry in the beginning of March. Of the 113 major and minor dams in the region, nearly 98 per cent dams have gone dry, and the remaining have only dead water storage position. Of the total 2,228 million cubic feet storage capacity, the existing stock is not more than three per cent.

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Panel probe into private schools from June Monday, March 26, 2001

RAJKOT: Panel inspections will be conducted into all self-financed secondary schools from June 2001 onwards. The inspections will look at qualitative and administrative aspects of private schools in the State, which have been enjoying a considerable degree of independence in their functioning.
Giving details, chairman of Secondary Board of Education for schools in Gujarat P V Trivedi said the Board would exercise its authority during the coming academic year.

Trivedi said the concept of the inspection panel had been there since the last two years, but will be realised only now. Speaking about the control and check the Board could exert on irregularities in many of the self-financed schools, he said provisions were there and strict action, including cancellation of recognition of such schools, could be considered if enough proof was found against them Commenting on the practice of schools collecting donations, he said all these schools are run in the name of public trusts and whatever donation is collected is done so in the name of the concerned trust. This made it difficult to actually fix them and only if there are cases where people come forward with complaints againt a particular school can something be done, Trivedi said.

He said in many urban schools one cannot insist on all facilities like a huge playground and appropriate location in the beginning. That is when certain concessions need to be made with a specified time limit to acquire the other requirements, he said. However, he stressed, when it comes to the quality of education and practices followed in the schools, the Board will definitely interfere.

Trivedi was in Rajkot for hearing the 103 applications from Saurashtra-Kutch region regarding recognition of self-financed schools. Four applications were rejected in the first round of hearing conducted on Thursday.Most applicants, he said, were already running reputed primary schools and also had the basic minimum infrastructure and staff to open a secondary section.

Only a few applicants, who did not have primary infrastructure, were rejected. The remaining applications will be heard on Friday. Applications from Rajkot district and ones pending from the other districts in Saurashtra and Kutch will be taken up.

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