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March 16, 2001 - March 16, 2001

Nine persons convicted for murder Friday, March 16, 2001

The Vadodara District and Sessions Judge C D Patel convicted nine persons for the murder of Rajesh Madhav Nadia and sentenced them to life imprisonment here on Tuesday. The judgment was received with angry protests by relatives of the nine accused who had to be controlled by police.

The nine accused include Chandrakant Nadia, Trusha Parmar, Praveen Nadia, Baldev Nadia, Mukesh Nadia, Ramesh Nadia, Jaggu Madia, Rajesh Parmar and Deepu Pramar alias Bogus.

On October 6 1999 the nine attacked the victim Rajesh Madhav Nadia with swords, knifes and other weapons. Rajesh's friend Vinod Thakur who was present on the occasion was also brutally attacked , however he survived and became one of the eyewitnesses.

Public prosecutor B G Biniwale presented before the court the statements of several eyewitnesses who has rushed to the spot on the day of the incident. The judge based his judgement on the basis of these eyewitness accounts and medical reports, which formed part of the evidence. According to lawyers the judgement was a unique one as it involved life imprisonment sentences for each of the nine accused.

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Rajkot Muncipal Corporation pays up for Aji-3 water scheme Friday, March 16, 2001

The RMC standing committee's move to pay Rs 35 lakh to the water supply board towards the Aji-3 water supply scheme, even though there is no guarantee that the promised quantum of water will be made available to the city, has surprised civic authorities.

Even Congressmen in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation have questioned the wisdom of the standing committee considering the fact that the civic body is in the red.

Rajkot has actually been banking on the Aji-3 water supply scheme. It had been assured that water would start flowing from the reservoir by March 31, but subsequently the entire project was put in cold storage. However, as the pipeline for the project was laid at the cost of Rs 47 lakh, the water supply board had been pressing the civic body to pay up the amount.

The standing committee has also cleared the way for installing the pumping machinery at the dam site. Besides, a sum of Rs 7.71 lakh has also been sanctioned for private security agency to guard the pipelines.

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Groundnut, oil seized in raids on Gondal mills Friday, March 16, 2001

RAJKOT: In surprise raids on oil mills of Gondal, civil supplies officials seized 2,000 kg of groundnut oil and large unaccounted stocks of groundnut on Wednesday.

Four teams, led by a deputy director, conducted the raids. Oil mills in Shapar-Veraval industrial estate, Upleta, Amreli, Jamnagar and Jungadh district were also checked. The premises of Amba Proteins were checked and 1,500 kg of groundnut oil seized. In another raid at Baba Oil Mills at Shapar-Veraval, officials accompanied by a team from the Food and Drug Administration took samples and sent it for analysis, to check for adulteration.

Civil supplies officials and oil millers have been trading charges against each other for quite some time. Oil millers allege harassment by officials while officials say oil millers indulge in oil adulteration and carry out benami transactions.

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Kidney recipient, donors win medals Friday, March 16, 2001

NADIAD: Ten-year-old Rupal Chunara, a kidney transplant recipient, her 30-year-old mother Kokilaben Chunara, who donated her kidney to Rupal, and 28-year-old Kaushal Rana, who donated his kidney to his brother, have brought laurels to the district and Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital, where the kidney transplant operations were performed, by winning medals at the recently concluded 7th All-India Transplant Games organised by the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute in Lucknow

Rupal Chunara won the gold medal in 50-metre brisk walk while Kokilaben won the gold medal in 50-metre running and bronze in 400-metre brisk walk.

Kaushal Rana won silver in 100-metre run and 400-metre brisk walk. He also won bronze in table tennis.

The main aim of the sports meet was to show that even after kidney transplant, the recipients and donors can lead a normal life. The meet saw participation of 45 people from all over India.

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Did foreign relief supplies really reach those in need? Friday, March 16, 2001

BHUJ: Now that the flow of international relief material at Bhuj airport has dwindled arises the big question. Did the relief provide relief and reach those for whom it was meant?
According to official records, a total of 14,46,130 kg relief material were unloaded from 106 foreign aircraft at the airport in 25 days following the quake. They were "certified as distributed" by the district administration.

However, sources say no documents like the pilot's manifest or airway bills required by Customs Department are available till date for the international cargo that reached Bhuj. These documents give details of the cargo, the consigner and the consignee.

"International flights had started arriving from January 27. However, we were informed only on February 6 and have so far not got airway bills for the period from January 27 to February 5 from the district administration despite numberous reminders. We do not know to regularise these imports without them," an official source told this newspaper.

The source also added that the certificate of utilisation of imported relief material issued by the District Collector last week did not have full details. As per notification number 7 of 2001 issued under Customs Act, 1962, the utilisation certificate should give details of beneficiaries to claim exemption from customs duty.

Meanwhile, people disbelieve the administration claim. "How can the administration certify that the relief has actually reached the poor when many items of the international cargo has gone to other people? Some have even been reportedly sold in markets in Kutch and outside," Mahesh Mulchandani, chairman of Gandhidham-based NGO Kutch Vikas Manch, said.

He said despite four days of hunger strike by him and his volunteers in front of the Collectorate last week on this issue, they failed to get any information. "We have no way except to complain to the UN office at Delhi and other world bodies. Our delegation will leave for Delhi on Friday for this," he added.

Insiders at the airport reveal that from January 27 to January 30 it was a free-for-all at Bhuj airport. No record of any kind was maintained regarding relief material. However, when the irregularities came to the notice of higher officials, orders for maintaining records were issued.

An official record was maintained from January 31 onwards as the computer sheet of list of material received at airport showed. Dr Ketan Shukla, director in the Ministry of External Affairs, who was specially sent here to prepare a report, has said in his report that relief material in ``mind-boggling" scale was received from 25 countries.

He, however, does not specify the quantity of material received in all cases. And where he has given specific quantity, that is in kg and not numbers. For example, he says 3,17,282 kg tents, 3,15,445 kg blankets, 128,023 kg polysheets and 600 kg generators were received. The fact that there is some link missing is apparent. Shukla reports receipt of 21,000 kg dates from Libya, 523 kg biscuits from Singapore, 153 boxes of fruits from Ukraine, 28 tonnes of dry food from Red Cross Iran, unspecified quantity of biscuits from private donors in Great Britain and Kenya.

However, no one knows where these items have gone. The district administration is still wondering where "600 kg of generators have gone." When this reporter inquired from the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB), it denied having received the generators.

While Shukla has devoted 16 pages to receipt of relief material, he has devoted only one small paragraph to the administration. He admits that "there was some difficulty in clearing relief material in initial stages and that it was a Herculean task to establish the distribution system as a large number of aircraft were landing at Bhuj."

He said, "30 trucks were distributed in the initial stage by voluntary organisations like Akshar Purshottam, Abhiyan, Ashram Bapu Trust and Kachchhi Leuva Patel Samaj.'' But on February 3 ``it was decided that the distribution be made through State Government officials," he said.

But a press release of Sant Aharamji Ashram claims that what it distributed was its own relief material that it had brought from its Ahmedabad Ashram.

When contacted, Relief Commissioner and Kutch Collector Anil Mukim declined to comment, only saying that "record of both receipt and distribution of relief material was maintained whereever it was possible."

Source - Indian Express

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