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March 7, 2001 - March 7, 2001

Gandhidham rehabilitation work gets go-ahead Wednesday, March 7, 2001

GANDHIDHAM: While the State govt is yet to make up its mind regarding rehabiliation of worst quake-effected towns of Bhuj, Bhachau, Anjar and Rapar, the port-town of Gandhidham today got the go-ahead for starting actual rehabilitation work drawing money from the specially-constituted Kandla Rehabilitation Relief Fund Trust under the aegis of the Ministry of Surface Transport.
A formal meeting of the new trust, altogether separate from Kandla Port Trust, today under the supervision of Union Surface Transport Minister Arun Jaitely approved the blueprint for rehabilitation in the quake-ravage twin cities of Gandhidham and Adipur and asked all local beneficiary agencies to start work.

The agencies can claim 70 per cent construction cost for 43 schools and five hospitals and 50 per cent cost for privately-run colleges from the Trust. Work on new roads and new drainage system had also began from the Trust fund.

"Our first priority is creating infrastructure in Gandhidham and Adipur on war footing," Union Surface Transport Minister Arun Jaitely told `The Indian Express'.

He said they are all time-bound programmes. "I have told school authorities to finish repair work before the new academic year starts in June as opening of schools where thousands of students study is our top priority", the Minister who has visited Kandla almost every week for the purpose said.

He said repair cost of just the damaged port will cost Rs 50 crore. Money is also required for repairing the houses and quarters of the 5,000 employees and workers and helping them in other aspects. He said they had also decided to upgrade the port hospital into a specialist hospital.

The Minister said the KPT could think of giving its land to enable those residents of Gandhidham whose houses have been totally destroyed only after the State government completed its survey and decide about new building construction norms for Gandhidham. "We will see that Kandla Port Trust land is made available to at least 50 per cent of such homeless," he said.

Praising the debris removal work of the port engineers, Jaitely said not only over two lakh tonnes of soft rubble had been removed by them in record time, but the rubble had been intelligently used to make parking place for trucks at Kandla.

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Don't celebrate Holi, people urged Wednesday, March 7, 2001

RAJKOT: Many political and social organisations in Rajkot have urged people to celebrate the Holi festival with simplicity to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the January 26 quake. The Shiv Sena has urged people to donate money to relief funds instead of spending it on colours.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has requested shop owners not to sell colours and `pichkaris'. It asked people to share the misery of quake victims rather than engaging in Holi festivites.

Voicing the same sentiments, the Akhil Bharatiya Saurashtra Raghuvir Sena has urged people not to celebrate Holi considering the immense devastation caused by the quake.

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Drunk man jumps out of vehicle on way to police station and dies Wednesday, March 7, 2001

VADODARA: In a bizarre incident, Ganpat Talu Baria, a resident of Morakhla village under the Bodeli Police Station, was killed when he jumped out of a vehicle while taken away by police for drunkenness.
According to police, Ganpat and his brother Sardar Talu Baria had taken liquor and were fighting at their home about 10 p.m. Ganpat reportedly abused his mother when she tried to separate the two.

Since drinking and quarreling was a regular affair for the two brothers, the father decided to call in the police, who arrested the two.

Since police had gone without a vehicle, a jeep was arranged for transporting the drunks for medical examination at the Primary Health Centre in Bodeli. When the jeep was passing from the road over Narmada Canal near Bodelli, Ganapat reportedly tried to jump into the canal. However, he fell on the road and sustained serious injuries.

He was treated at Bodeli Primary Health Centre but referred to Sir Sayajirao Hospital in Vadodara, for the wounds were of serious nature. However, he succumbed to injuries in the hospital here.District Superintendent of Police, Vadodara, Keshav Kumar, said Ganapat had already two cases registered against him in the Bodeli Station. Quoting Ganapat's father Talu, Kumar said that Talu had five sons and only one helped him in farm work; the rest were a nuisance and never paid attention to their duties. The two he complained against were a prepetual nuisance.

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Study brings students from Anjaar to Vadodara Wednesday, March 7, 2001

With homes razed to grounds, deaths of family members, relatives, make-shift tents in the name of houses, in the shadow of constant fear of another tremblor, these students students of Anjar found it difficult to prepare for the forthcoming board examinations.
A group of about 50 students have been brought to the city from Anjar by Maheshwari Samaj to provide them with a conducive atmosphere for the preparation of the forthcoming board examination. They have been given accommodation in the hostels of M S University.

About 29 students are residing in the M M Hall in boys hostel. A group of girls is also staying in the H M Hall. Says Deepak Pandya, one such student,``It was very difficult to study there with more than 10 people staying in one tent.'' He adds,``We did not get to sleep at night as we had to stay awake to guard our belongings against thieves.''

Deepak's father got buried in the debris but was taken out alive though he sustained fracture in his legs. On the day, the tremblor rocked their town, these students of Sheth D V High School were in their school for the Republic Day celebrations. Recalls Kishore Parmar,``We were sitting on a raised platform, waiting for the flag hoisting when the platform started shaking, we ran out on the ground but even that was shaking. Then we ran out in the open, away from the school building for safety.''

All these students have left their parents for the first time in their lives. As mementos, some have brought family photographs, which they have kept folded in their text books and take a peep at, when they miss them. All of them say that their parents instantly took on the idea of sending us here to prepare for our examinations. Inspite of residing in make-shift camps, the mothers have packed laddoos and other goodies for them.

Mukesh Purohit finds mathematics as the most difficult subject. As these students are staying in the MM Hostel, the residents of the hostel have been very warm and hospitable to these students. Mukesh says pointing at one of his lobby-mates who is a student of S Y BCom,``They have been very warm to us. Since they are all studying in senior classes, they can also help us in our studies.''

However these students are here only for a month to prepare for the examinations. They will go back to their native town for the examination. These students were not aware of the option that they can appear for the examination from elsewhere, if they desire so.

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Oxygen on tap for men on point duty Wednesday, March 7, 2001

After the masks, this time it is oxygen cylinders for traffic cops. The traffic department of Vadodara police plans to install about 20 such cylinders at crossroads so that constables on point duty can breath easy after exposure to vehicle emission.
Till now just one oxygen cylinder has been installed at the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) traffic circle, one of the busiest in the city. Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Siddharth Khatri said,``This step has been taken after judgments passed by the Karnataka High Court that staff on point duty must be provided with oxygen kiosks.''

Khatri further adds,``An oxygen kiosk costs about Rs 3 lakh hence we thought of this cost-effective method.'' One oxygen cylinder with a gas mask costs about Rs 7,000-8,000, which makes it easier to implement. Khatri calls upon voluntary organisations and philanthropists in the city to come forward and donate money for the purpose.

The beneficiaries of the first installation, head constable Balwant Singh and constable Rajesh Machchi, are enthusiastic. Singh said,``This has been installed just two days ago and we are yet to get used to it.'' However, he wants to use it as much as possible.

He says,``In these two days we have used this twice each day but we want to use it more often.'' Though Singh does not know the benefits of the use of the oxygen mask but he is sure that it has been put to help him in some way.

``Since it is a busy traffic junction, we may not be able to use it at the cost of traffic control,'' he said.

Khatri says,``This may not be as effective as the kiosk but it certainly will help traffic police improve on performance and take care of their health, exposed as they are to pollution.''

He explained that inhaling pure oxygen will help fight fatigue and lethargy at work.

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