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March 9, 2001 - March 9, 2001

Cable Operators Assn holds dharna in city Friday, March 9, 2001

AHMEDABAD, MARCH 8: The Ahmedabad Cable Operators Association (ACOA), an umbrella body of all 525-odd cable operators of the city, held a demonstration at Law Garden area in the city on Thursday afternoon, protesting against what it termed was ``unfair treatment meted out to Skynet Cable service.''
The cable operators have threatened to further intensify their agitation if the cable service is not allowed to resume its service as soon as possible. ACOA president Pramod Pandya said on Thursday that cable operators might even cut off channels for a day as a mark of solidarity towards the cable service provider.

It may be stated that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had issued notices to both Skynet Cable as well as Gujarat Samachar Network (GSN) asking the two to remove their dish antennae placed on buildings in Paldi area. The two cable service providers have crossed swords with each other over the issue of control of cable television in Paldi area.

Pandya said that he had held discussions with all the major cable service providers of the city, namely Incablenet, Siticable, Skynet and Syndicate Cable and they had pledged their support in ensuring that the cable television business does not experience friction.

He said although viewers of satellite channels might face inconvenience, the cable operators will have to launch an agitation to ensure that the cable war does not take larger and more dangerous proportions.

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`Agniban' to be on till March 15 Friday, March 9, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The South Western Air Command (SWAC), Gandhinagar is conducting a major exercise -- `Agniban' which began on March 3 and will continue till March 15.
`Agniban' will rehearse providing of air defence to installations and Government and private property of strategic importance situated in the city of Mumbai, the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, Manufacturing facilities of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at Ozra and the Naval Air Station.

The identified locations have been covered with air defence weapon systems comprising of Air Guided Weapons (SAGW), air defence guns and supersonic interceptors. In the exercise, radars have been installed at various locations, to generate early warning of approaching simulated enemy.

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Women resolve to fight against exploitation Friday, March 9, 2001

AHMEDABAD, MARCH 8: As part of the celebrations of International Women's Day, SANCHETANA Community Health and Research Centre and SAHRWARU, Women's Action and Resource Unit organised various programmes in different parts of the city on Thursday. While SANCHETANA planned a celebration, to carry the message of the day in the four slum areas it works, SAHRWARU, had organised a day-long caravan.
The programme held by SANCHETANA included singing of songs like `Komal Hai Kamjor Nahi' and `Sapna Hai', shouting slogans like `Hum Ek Hai', `Basti Basti Karo Pukar, Band Karye Atyachar',`Hum Bharat Ki Nari Hai, Phool Nahi Chingari Hai'and oath taking to fight injustice, exploitation, fear and discrimination.

A talk on the relevance of the day was held at the Bhani Vaas in Behrampura, Maidan at the Ram Rahim Nagar at Behrampura, the Grounds of Liladhar Hall, near Behrampura Post Office and Raikhad slums. The procession ended at the Raikhad slum where all participants lit candles. The aim was to spread enlightenment about the spirit of the day into the new millennium.

The women and the children of the slums, along with the members of SANCHETANA, participated in the dance and garba to celebrate the end of the procession.

``It was really nice as it made us aware about our rights. It also encourages us not to tolerate any sort of injustice,'' says Madhuben, resident of the Raikhad slums. ``The women folk need to be aware of their rights. This is a very way to do so,'' says another resident, Ranjanbhai.

SAHRWARU, had arranged a caravan and events in different parts of the city based on the theme of human rights, impact of globalisation on women and against casteism and communalism. These issues were voiced through their exhibits and songs.

They staged a small five-minute part of the 25-minute drama `Kabutar', based on the sufferings and rights of the women, at Behrampura.

The caravan had a strong support of a few young boys of the Mallat Nagar and Chandola.

A very active member of SAHRWARU, Rehmat says, ``It feels nice when men come ahead to help. These guys help us with our programmes and also direct needy women to us.''

``With the Ram Mandir issue and the current happenings in Afganistan, we thought about the topics against casteism and communalism along with human rights. It's talking about peace when peace prevails. Why just talk about it at the time of riots? It's making the women aware that they have a say in these matters too and it does not help being communalists,'' explains SAHRWARU co-director Sheba George.

Most of the women were unaware of International Women's Day, in the areas where the events were held. According to Zahidaben, residing in the Jamalpur area, ``I was not aware of any such day, and it feels good that there is a day for us, which reflects the struggles of women.''

The various events, part of the caravan, were held in Vatva, Millat Nagar, Chandola, Behrampura, Sarangpur, Shahpur, Gomtipur and Jamalpur areas.

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Yagna by ISKCON for quake victims Friday, March 9, 2001

AHMEDABAD: With earthquake relief work now moving with a steady pace, it is time to look for spiritual solace. A number of organisations have taken strides in this direction, holding poojas, satsangs, yagnas and even religious discourses.
But probably the biggest of them has been undertaken by the International Society For Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). They are hosting the Shata-Koti Harinama Japa Yagna. ``Our main intention is to provide mental and spiritual peace to the families of the departed and pray for the souls of the deceased,'' claims ISKCON-Ahmedabad president, Jashomatinandan Das.

Shata-Koti or hundred crore is the number of times the name of Lord Krishna would be chanted in this year-long exercise which will begin on Friday at 1600 hours. ``This is the spiritual day on which Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the father of Sankirtan movement was born. Besides, we have constructed 108 steps where the visitors too can recite the special mahamantra with beads in hand. This way, by chanting one round of 108 beads, every visitor would have chanted the name 1,728 times,'' says Jashomatinandan Das.

The yagna will be inaugurated by Mahavishnu Swami and Home Minister Haren Pandya alongwith Culture Minister Mahendra Trivedi are expected to be present. Sadavichar Parivar members are to release the books of Late Saint Dongreji Maharaj. A similar exercise was started by the ISKCON-Bangalore from the first day of the new millennium. ``The entire exercise was completed even before the year got over. We also hope to follow suit,'' claims Jashomatinandan Das.

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Ahmedabad to get Narmada water from March 13 Friday, March 9, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Ahmedabad would start getting Narmada water via the Raska wier from March 13. Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel told a post-Cabinet news conference that, with this, "the current cut, in force for the past several months in Ahmedabad city, would come to an end". If the city has been getting 50 million gallons per day (MGD) of water till now, the total supply would go up to 85 MGD March 13 onwards.

The CM also announced that the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, too, would start getting drinking water from Narmada by this weekend. "The canal near Vadodara has already got water. At present, its gates are closed. They would be opened this week to transfer water to Ajwa. This would enable the city to get Narmada water by the weekend," water resources minister Narottam Patel said.

Other areas that would benefit from the Narmada water include villages of Bhavnagar, Amreli, Rajkot and Junagadh districts through a network of pipelines already in place in Saurashtra. However, neither did the CM nor the water resources minister clarify how much water these places would get and when. There was a hint that Vadodara, or the above mentioned places, would not need to tighten their belts as thought earlier.

Under the original project of Rs 103 crore, scaled down to Rs 43 crore, as many as 54 pipes with a diametre of four metres are being used for pumping out nearly 1,150 to 1,200 cusecs of water and flowing it into the Narmada canal. Another 44 such pipelines would be laid to take water to be pumped out of the Narmada reservoir to 1,500 cusecs.

A senior ruling BJP politician alleges that a lot of this water is being taken out of the reservoir and put into the canal by using a small bypass tunnel in "complete violation of the Narmada Control Authority guidelines". A bigger bypass tunnel is being constructed and used for channelling water within a week. "This is for the first time that Gujarat has not complied by the four lateral states' agreement," he said.

A top government official, refusing to comment on this for fear of its triggering a major controversy, says, "We are not talking about the bypass tunnel at all, as it is not in Gujarat's interests". He refuses to say how much water the state is getting by the bypass tunnel and how much more it would get in future. The NCA has already rejected the state's request to allow building a bypass tunnel.

Narmada water started flowing in the canal on February 27. On February 28, all the four dikes were filled by water from the Narmada reservoir. On March 1, water already reached 145 away, at the Mahi junction canal. On March 7, water filled up Panam Aquaduct. "We have gates at every 12.5 km on the Narmada canal. Only when water reaches about three metres do we open fresh gates", Narottam Patel said.

After a long time, the CM gave all the credit for the "good work" done in bringing the Narmada water to his known political opponent, Narottam Patel, a votary of Union textile minister Kashiram Rana. "This has been done in a record time," the CM said, adding, "The work has continued unabated despite the quake crisis."

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