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March 25, 2001 - March 26, 2001

MSU syndicate to meet on Monday Monday, March 26, 2001

VADODARA: M S University syndicate meeting to decide on the nomination of a member on the three-member search committee to select the next vice-chancellor will be held on Monday. Vice-chancellor Anil Kane's term is ending in September.

"We need to put up a man who is from Vadodara, knows MSU and has done the city proud. People like Manu Shroff and I G Pandya are the ideal candidates put on the search committee," syndicate member Nilesh Shukla said.

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People's Front mooted Monday, March 26, 2001

VADODRA: Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPM, NCP, RPI and JD (Secular) parties have planned to form a 'People's Front' at the district level. A meeting of all these parties was held here on Saturday.

"We are all like-minded, secular parties. The present political scenario needs to be changed immediately and this can be done only when like-minded parties join hands," said CPI state executive member Rajkumar Singh. However, he said talks were still going on and nothing had been finalised.

"We had two meetings this month. Everyone present approved of the plan to form a new party. But the final decision will be taken later this month," he added.

He said that the leaders of these parties would get together at Ahmedabad on Thursday and take out a rally in protest against the corruption at the Centre.

People's Front mooted Sunday, March 25, 2001

VADODRA: Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPM, NCP, RPI and JD (Secular) parties have planned to form a 'People's Front' at the district level. A meeting of all these parties was held here on Saturday.

"We are all like-minded, secular parties. The present political scenario needs to be changed immediately and this can be done only when like-minded parties join hands," said CPI state executive member Rajkumar Singh. However, he said talks were still going on and nothing had been finalised.

"We had two meetings this month. Everyone present approved of the plan to form a new party. But the final decision will be taken later this month," he added.

He said that the leaders of these parties would get together at Ahmedabad on Thursday and take out a rally in protest against the corruption at the Centre.

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Western Railway awaits state-of-the-art train Sunday, March 25, 2001

VADODARA: For train-travellers between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, it's time for Speed-II. The Shatabdi Express on this route may soon be replaced by a spank, state-of-the-art, ergonomically designed train that can clock 160 kmph. And, provide commuters comfort like never before.

Being built with technology from Germany and Switzerland, introduction of this new train in India is awaiting the nod of the Railway Board. And, Western Railway could well be the first in the country to have it, given the high demand for air-conditioned and super-fast travel in the region compared to the other areas.

According to a Western Railway (WR) official, former Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee wanted to introduce the train in the Howrah-Bokaro Shatabdi route. Though 24 coaches were procured earlier this year and test runs are on, they have not been put to service following the instability at the Centre. Along with WR, other contenders for the train include the Northern Railway, which wishes to run it on the Delhi-Amritsar or Delhi-Jhansi route.

"The train will set new standards in safety, comfort and aesthetics. We began shopping for this train about 10 years ago. While we got the body from Alstom in Germany, the base on which the wheels are fitted, were taken from Fiat, Switzerland," said divisional railway manager of Vadodara division BB Modgil.

The coaches, which are now being built at the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala following a technology transfer, promises to be completely insulated from noise with special noise insulation paint and wood-cum-cork sandwich floor panels.

There are integrated reading lights in the luggage rack, spacious windows and no visible screwed joints. Providing a lot of leg space are the two types of coaches being introduced - the Second-AC coach with 78 chairs and the executive car with 56 chairs. Seats have air permeable cloth to minimise perspiration and coaches are fitted with micro-processor-controlled air conditioners.

"The coaches are fitted with controlled discharge toilet units to avoid soiling of tracks at stations and inhabited areas. The waste is stored in an intermediate tank closed off by micro-processor controlled side valves. The valve opens automatically when the train crosses 30 kmph," says Modgil.

"When we went looking for the coaches, the basic criteria was safety. And, this integrates a number of features for passenger safety. A special coupling system provides it an "anti-climbing" feature that prevents the bogie from being thrown up in the air in case of an accident. Special braking system, where the brakes are applied on the hub area of the wheel rather than on the rims, makes braking safer," he adds.

"Another important factor is the time saved in travelling. Though it can run at a maximum speed of 200 kmph, we expect to run it here up to 160 kmph with upgradation of tracks on in full swing," says Modgil.

"This train will take about an hour less to reach Mumbai from Ahmedabad compared to the Shatabdi. For the daily traveller it's a bonus - he gets to go back home earlier and leave home the next day an hour late," he adds.

"The cost of travel would be about 15 to 20 per cent higher than in a Shatabdi. But, a survey by the commercial department of the Railways had revealed that commuters, especially those travelling frequently in the Rajdhani and Shatabdi routes wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for the added comforts," he adds.

The train will be marketed on three issues - comfort, safety and time. While the Indian Railways intends to replace all the Shatabdis with these coaches, the second phase will see the Rajdhanis being replaced once sleeper coaches are developed.

"Our trains are still being built on the Schelerien design brought from Switzerland in 1960, now popularly known as the ICF coaches. However, this design has outlived its utility. We can run only about 80 kmph with these bogies. The new ones can go up to a speed of 200 kmph when the tracks are upgraded," adds Modgil.

As the new railway minister readies to show the green flag, Indian Railways looks for life on the fast track.

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CVC asks Bank of India to look into Bhadralok Apartments scam Sunday, March 25, 2001

VADODARA: Central Vigilance Commissioner N Vittal has asked Bank of India chairman and managing director K Krishnamoorthy to inquire into and take steps in the alleged fraud involving developers of Bhadralok Apartments here.

'The Times of India' had reported about allegations made by the Bhadralok Flat Owners' Association who had written to the Reserve Bank of India governor and the CVC. The association had alleged that developers of the apartments, Yuvraj Industries Limited (YIL), had "mortgaged flats already sold off for loans" from Bank of India's Kalba Devi branch in Mumbai. It had also alleged that the "loan obtained for development of the apartments had been diverted into personal accounts of directors of YIL."

In a letter, a copy of which is available with 'The Times of India', Vittal has requested Krishnamoorthy to "look into the matter and take appropriate corrective measures."

In another development, the chief judicial magistrate, Vadodara, has summoned Krishnamoorthy to appear before his court on April 3 in connection with a criminal case (number: 81/2000) filed by a flat owner Kailash Jethmalani against YIL. Krishnamoorthy has been asked to "produce such documents or thing or to testify what you know concerning the matter of the said complaint."

In the case, Jethmalani had alleged that Bank of India had not checked the title of the property being mortgaged by YIL before providing them loan. In his complaint, he has also sought to know "why a letter apprising the chairman about the happenings was not paid heed to" and what has been the role of certain bank officials when the loan was sanctioned.

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