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March 1, 2001 - March 2, 2001

'Atmasanman rathyatra' from Sunday Friday, March 2, 2001

RAJKOT: The Gurujan Samajwadi Sangh will take out "atmasanman rathyatra" from Junagadh beginning on Sunday. The rathyatra aims at bringing together the backward class community alongwith the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes spread across the region, to make them aware about their rights and privileges and to fight for it. The rathyatra would culminate with a meeting of backward class people at Rajkot on March 27.

Giving this information to reporters on Thursday, the sangh leader Karnabhai Maldhari said that the aim of the rathyatra is to bring unity among the 54 per cent Other Backward Class (OBC) population, besides SC and ST people spread across the region. The time has come to unitedly fight for the rights and privileges of these communities, he said.

The leader of the Gurujan Samajwadi Sangh said that there should be still more reservation for these people in judiciary, science and technology, defence and others.

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HC order status quo in land case Friday, March 2, 2001

VADODARA: The Gujarat High Court Bench comprising Justice J N Bhatt and Justice Y B Bhatt have ordered that status quo should be maintained at the land reserved for the Yavteshwar court complex at the hearing held here on Wednesday.

The Baroda Bar Association president Narendra Tiwari said the High Court Bench has asked the state legal department, VUDA and the VMC town planning officer and the road and buildings departments executive engineers to be present for the next hearing of the case on March 19.

Tiwari said the PIL had to be filed to speed up the process of the land acquisition of the new court complex which was planned as per the TP scheme number 66. He said the news of the status quo has heartened the lawyers of the BBA who are now hopeful to get a speedy redressal of their PIL. They hope that they would be able to shift to their new court complex soon.

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Live Audio :: Reactions of Leaders on the Budget - 2001 Thursday, March 1, 2001

What do the nation's leaders say about the Budget? Listen to their Post-Budget reactions in Real Audio:

Union Minister for Heavy Industry
>Manohar Joshi

Samajwadi Party president
>Mulayam Singh Yadav

Congress MP
>Renuka Choudhary

Former prime minister
>I K Gujral

Congress leader
>Girija Vyas

Trinamul Congress MP
>Sudeep Bandopadhyay

Congress MP
>Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi

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Bill Clinton's state visit by March 20 likely. Thursday, March 1, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Former US president Bill Clinton is expected to visit Gujarat's quake-affected areas between March 15 and 20 instead of the earlier plan for April.

Senior BJP leader and Narmada Nigam chairman Bhupendrasinh Chudasma told TOI that dates of the Clinton visit have been advanced after he spoke to Mike (Mukesh) Patel, who chairs the Indo-American Hotel-Motel Association and is coordinating Clinton's funds collection drive for quake victims. Mike Patel is known to have established personal contact with Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel during the latter's last US visit.

"I told Mike that April would be too late to come. Hence the plan has been rescheduled. Clinton accompanied by his team of fund raisers, including Gujarati non-resident Indians, would be carrying out a fund raising campaign on March 2, 5, 9 and 11 in New York, Chicago, New Jersey and San Francisco. Soon thereafter, he would come here to assess the situation personally," said Chudasma, who also had a talk with Suvas Desai, a close associate of Mike Patel involved in the Clinton fund raising. Chudasma is one of the main contacts of the BJP rulers with the NRIs in the US.

Clinton's visit to Gujarat would take place amid continued lack of clarity among officials here as to whom would the former US president repose faith in for handing over millions of dollars he is expected to collect. "It can be several reputed international non-profit organisations involved in social sector activities all over the world," said an official here, indicating that it is highly unlikely that any portion of the money would come to the CM's relief fund.

Well-informed sources said that several NRI groups have raised huge sums but are looking for those whom they can give their donations. "A big portion of the donations is being diverted to the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purshottam Swaminarayan Sampraday," said a senior bureaucrat while claiming that the three dinner parties Keshubhai Patel had with foreign ambassadors and business executives in Delhi and Mumbai in November 1999, June 2000 and September 2000 have gone a long way to help Gujarat. Contacts made then have fructified.

Details of the help received the world over suggest that so far 43 countries have helped Gujarat in kind by sending across goods ranging from medical supplies, earth movers, blankets and tents to fruits, foodgrains, biscuits and milk powder which have reached different quake-affected destinations. The US tops the list with 15 planeload of goods followed by the United Arab Emirates' nine planeloads, UK's eight, Singapore's six, Israel's six, Kuwait's five, Libya's five, Russia's four, Qatar's four and Oman's four.

Four international organisations, including the UNICEF and the WHO, 23 non-profit organisations, including Agha Khan Foundation, Britain's Save the Children, Red Cross and seven other sources, have sent materials to the quake-affected areas. Libya sent 1,800 kg of dates in one plane, 19,200 kg of dates in another, 18,800 kg in the third one and 19,000 in the last one that reached the state on February 20. Ukraine sent 49 boxes of fruits and the UAE 1,000 kg of grapes, oranges and apples.

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Details on housing board flats sought by Lok Pal Thursday, March 1, 2001

RAJKOT: After the turn of the civic body to provide details on the substandard building materials used by Shehat Builders, now it is the turn of the Gujarat Housing Board to furnish details on the substandard flats constructed by it. Lok Pal Shirish Toliya has asked the estate manager of the GHB to furnish all details by March 7.

Residents of the GHB society on Dudhsagar Road took a cue from residents of Race Course Park and filed a complaint against the GHB for providing flats in which substandard building materials have been used. Earlier, Toliya had asked the civic body to provide details of the Race Course Park in which Ketan Vala, son of state finance minister Vajubhai Vala, is said to have been involved in using substandard materials in constructing the complex.

As many as 12 residents of the GHB had complained to the Lok Pal that their flats were badly damaged in the quake last month. The officers of the estate branch of the municipal corporation had surveyed the flats and declared them unsafe on January 30. The civic officials had also sent notices to the residents not to reside in these flats and leave them empty.

When the issue was taken up with the estate department of the board, it made alternate arrangements in the nearby Dairyland Colony which was under clutches of anti-social elements. Hence only three of the 12 families could get flats and alternate temporary arrangements were made for others.

Meanwhile, parents of a girl student studying in Nirmala Convent School have threatened to file complaint with the Lok Pal about Rs 75 per child being collected by the management as charge for tents put up in the school ground after a part of the building was damaged in the quake.

On contacting the Lok Pal, he said he had not received any such complaint. If it comes, the matter would be probed, he added. According to parents, the school is collecting nearly Rs 1.5 lakh as tent tax which is unjustified. The school management has already collecting money for repair of the building.

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