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March 23, 2001 - March 23, 2001

JUNAGADH : Bandh today Friday, March 23, 2001

The Junagadh Chamber of Commerce has called for a bandh on Friday in protest against irregularities in the recent census exercise.

People of the town are demanding a "correct picture" of the city's population which, they claim, would give it the status of a municipal corporation.

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RMC checks on 'anganwadi' sparks trouble Friday, March 23, 2001

RAJKOT: The Rajkot Municipal Corporation authorities have launched surprise checks on 'anganwadis' under its jurisdiction after receiving several complaints about the quality of food being served to students under the midday meal scheme.

The civic body had received a number of complaints stating that the food being distributed was of substandard quality and many a time the students had found insects in it.

A team of six officials led by Shishu Kalyan Samiti chairperson Ranjanben Khakkar visited an anganwadi run by the Bhakti Mahila Gruh Udyog.

When the lapses were pointed out to the organisers of the anganwadi, heated arguments ensued and it later led to a minor scuffle. As the situation turned bad, the police were summoned.

According to Ranjanben Khakkar, the red chilly powder used while cooking was of poor quality. Same was the case with the 'moong'. The team sealed the kitchen of the anganwadi and obtained samples of the food which have been sent to the laboratory in Vadodara.

Some other organisations have also collected samples from other anganwadis and sent them for testing.

Meanwhile in-charge of the Bhakti Mahila Gruh Udyog Kanchanben Sanghani has said that her organisation was no longer interested in running the anganwadi as they were being harassed by the authorities. She alleged that Ranjanben was out to defame the organisation.

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Relief workers attack relief officials Friday, March 23, 2001

RAJKOT: Relief workers at Kherali-Khari village in Rajula taluka of Amreli district attacked three relief officials, including a section officer, on Wednesday.

According to information received here on Thursday, the attack followed heated arguments between the workers and the officials after the latter expressed reluctance in hiring some workers.

When muster clerk Vinodkumar Rathod reached the relief work site, around 700 workers were waiting there. Quoting the rule book, he said only 50 per cent of those holding a ration card, identity card or a certificate from the 'talati mantri' would be employed.

As work at Khari village had been completed, C M Somani, an official, and his assistant were taking measurement of the same when suddenly a mob of 30 labourers attacked them.

Somani was injured in the head and had to be taken to hospital. His assistant B T Vyas and muster clerk Rathod were also injured.

A police complaint has been lodged and investigations are on.

Meanwhile, in Jamjodhpur, people have begun a hunger strike in front of the mamlatdar's office demanding launching of relief works in the region which is in the grip of severe drought for the second year in succession.

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Training programme attracts corruption charge Friday, March 23, 2001

RAJKOT: A programme announced by Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel to provide training to semi-skilled workers in masonry so as to utilise them for rebuilding damaged houses in the quake-affected areas has turned controversial with allegations of rampant corruption doing the rounds.

Under the week-long programme, the workers were to be provided training, paid a stipend of Rs 40 a day and, at the end of the training, given a kit worth Rs 1200.

According to highly placed government sources, at some places in Maliya and Surendranagar, the classes remained on paper but money was being collected from the government.

During a recent visit to such a training programme at a village near Maliya this correspondent found just 12 people obtaining the training while 20 were marked 'present'.

The first batch commenced on March 15 and went on till the 21st. Every day the wards were given four hours of practical training and two hours of theory.

While the practical training was imparted by a master mason, while the theory was being taught by experts from the industrial training institute. The classes were conducted in Morbi, Maliya and Tankara taluka of Rajkot district besides some centres in Surendranagar, Patanand Kutch district, too.

But what made a mockery of the training was the fact that during the entire duration, after a few hours of practical training, the trainees were left to do whatever they wanted with nobody to keep a check.

As a result, the quality of work was shoddy to say the least. The master mason was found enjoying a prolonged afternoon siesta under a tree at a time when he was supposed to be on a 'teaching' assignment.

Not surprisingly, not all training classes 'attracted' the required number people. Sources revealed that even the surprise checking was manipulated. After all, anybody could double up as a trainee, they pointed out.

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Training programme attracts corruption charge Friday, March 23, 2001

RAJKOT: A programme announced by Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel to provide training to semi-skilled workers in masonry so as to utilise them for rebuilding damaged houses in the quake-affected areas has turned controversial with allegations of rampant corruption doing the rounds.

Under the week-long programme, the workers were to be provided training, paid a stipend of Rs 40 a day and, at the end of the training, given a kit worth Rs 1200.

According to highly placed government sources, at some places in Maliya and Surendranagar, the classes remained on paper but money was being collected from the government.

During a recent visit to such a training programme at a village near Maliya this correspondent found just 12 people obtaining the training while 20 were marked 'present'.

The first batch commenced on March 15 and went on till the 21st. Every day the wards were given four hours of practical training and two hours of theory.

While the practical training was imparted by a master mason, while the theory was being taught by experts from the industrial training institute. The classes were conducted in Morbi, Maliya and Tankara taluka of Rajkot district besides some centres in Surendranagar, Patanand Kutch district, too.

But what made a mockery of the training was the fact that during the entire duration, after a few hours of practical training, the trainees were left to do whatever they wanted with nobody to keep a check.

As a result, the quality of work was shoddy to say the least. The master mason was found enjoying a prolonged afternoon siesta under a tree at a time when he was supposed to be on a 'teaching' assignment.

Not surprisingly, not all training classes 'attracted' the required number people. Sources revealed that even the surprise checking was manipulated. After all, anybody could double up as a trainee, they pointed out.

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