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March 6, 2001 - March 6, 2001

Tata plant to remain closed for two months Tuesday, March 6, 2001

RAJKOT: The Tata Chemicals Plant situated in Mithapur which caught fire will at least take a couple of months to start production. According to the police, the company is in the process of carrying out an internal survey and, hence, the actual property loss is not known though estimates put it at Rs 10 crore. However, since the plant will remain closed for around two months, production loss is estimated at Rs 40 crore.
Company officials said that since the fire took place during the tea break, there was no casualty. Had this taken place during working hours, the loss to life would have been very high as 1,500 employees work in the plant at any given point of time. According to the police control room in Jamnagar, the fire broke out following a explosion in boiler no 2 of the power plant. The fire was brought under control around 2 pm and completely extinguished by late evening.

District Collector Rohit Pathak said that since there were no casualties, the Government would not conduct an inquiry. He also said that plant which supplied power to Tata township, Mithapur, was made operational the same night in co-ordination with the Gujarat Electricity Board.

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Dharna in Rajkot against Taliban statue destruction Tuesday, March 6, 2001

The BJP on Sunday held a dharna and shouted slogans at Sanghawa chowk in Rajkot to protest against the Taliban for demolishing ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan.
Addressing a gathering at the chowk, State BJP president Rajendrasinh Rana said the Taliban's act had drawn flak from all round the world. He said even the Muslim community had condemned the act of the Taliban. The Taliban government is hurting the feelings of the Buddhist community which is the second largest in the world, Rana added.

The BJP has asked the Central Government to take up this issue with the United Nations and ask them to protect the historical statues of Buddha. Rana said the BJP would further intensify its protest over the issue.

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Murder case registered against a woman for killing her childrens Tuesday, March 6, 2001

The Morbi taluka police have registered a case of murder against Shardaben Mansukh Patel for allegedly killing her three children. Shardaben and the kids died of burns after a fire in the tent in which the Patel family were living.
The police initially thought that Shardaben, a resident of Bharatpur in Morbi taluka, was cooking when the fire broke out but later her husband, Mansukh, told the police that Shardaben might have deliberately set fire to the tent in a bid to commit suicide as she was not on good terms with his parents.

Mansukh said his parents had come to stay with the couple after the January 26 earthquake destroyed their house in Bharatpur village. According to him, Sharda did not like their parents staying with them in the tent and every now and then, they fought. He said that a couple of days ago, there was a very heated argument between Shardaben and his mother.

Based on this, the police asked Mansukh to file a complaint against Shardaben for allegedly murdering their three children. Following the tent fire, Shardaben was brought dead to the hospital along with her three-year-old son Ravi. Mital (8) and Ankita (6), her two daughters, died in hospital.

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Budget has very little to offer quake-hit, says Anjar commit Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Not only ruling party, but opposition too has failed to get relief from the centre, said the Anjar City Earthquake Relief and Rehabilitation Committee following the Union Budget which has little to offer to earthquake ravaged Gujarat and particularly Kutch district.
The Committee said,``The Central Government has shed crocodile tears by not giving relaxation in the budget for industries hit by the quake in the district. The political leadership in Kutch has also failed to get Central Government's nod for relaxation, and not a single leader came forward to oppose the budget.''

Almost all industries in the Kutch district have been severely damaged in the earthquake. The business headquarters, shops, godowns, machineries, furniture everything has turned to debris and at many places the owners as well as the staff of these factories have died. In such a scenario, in absence of adequate help from the Central Government, its difficult to rebuild the industries, the Committee added.

When Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared the devastating earthquake as national misery, it was expected that the Budget will provide special relief to the district. The relief should include 10-year tax holiday for industries in the Kutch district, should abolish excise duty for 10-year, should provide 40 per cent subsidy for reconstructing affected factories, should provide loans at lower interest, should provide 30 per cent subsidy to draw new business in the Kutch region, said the committee.

Meanwhile, various social organisations and voluntary groups, have formed a committee to solve various post-earthquake problems. People of Anjar city can contact this committee at Rotary Club Hall in Anjar for their problems.

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Despite assurance, media not allowed in Tuesday, March 6, 2001

BHUJ, MARCH 3: At the February 23 inter-agency meeting of all the national and international NGOs, it was specially decided to throw open, all their weekdays future meetings to the media to share information about the ongoing quake related relief and rehabilitation in Kutch.
The decision was announced to the press by the then United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative Dr Rajan K Gengaje, who held official designation as officer-in-charge of the Disaster Management team of the UNDP. He was the the main co-ordinator of all the NGOs working here.

When in response to this open invitation from the UNDP, journalists of two dailies went to attend the general meeting of the NGOs as per the notice displayed at the make-shift office of the UNDP in the Collectorate compound, the new venue of the meeting by the Government authorities, they were not allowed to enter the Kutch Collector's chamber.

When the newspersons approached senior Gujarat Government secretary and overall in-charge of the relief, rescue and rehabilitation operations in Kutch Lalit Mansinhg, he said since the meeting was an official meeting called by the Collector, so they can not be allowed to attend it. When told that the UNDP notice board did talk of the meeting of NGOs at the same hours and at the same place, he said he was not aware. While all the past meetings of NGOs were always held in a tent opposite the Collector's chamber, Friday's meeting was held closed door in the Collector's chamber. The two journalists waited outside the Collector's office till the meeting ended.

When they inquired about the meeting from a NGO representative coming out of the chamber, he described this to be a usual meeting. Later, when contacted new UNDP representative Pravin Pardeshi, he pleaded his ignorance saying, ``There should not be any problem in the media attending meeting, but yet I want to discuss it with Dr Rajan, who is currently in Delhi and Kutch Collector and Relief Commissioner Anil Mukim before giving my final decision."

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