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February 26, 2001 - February 26, 2001

No relief to 2,000 families in Surendranagar Monday, February 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Two thousand families in Laleeyad, Karol, Bhoika, Sadla, Navagam, Pansar and Moolada villages under Surendranagar district, affected in the earthquake, have not received any relief material or aid.

These families were identified and given help by workers of DISHA, a non-governmental organisation, working for welfare of tribals and marginalised people.

DISHA has postponed its activities and provided tarpauline sheets and blankets to these families. In the second phase, they will be given kitchen kit, clothes and foodgrains.

Price of cement in quake-hit areas slashed Monday, February 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Under attack for forming a cartel and hiking the price of just before the quake, cement manufacturers have announced a Rs 10 per bag reduction in price of cement to be used for rebuilding Kutch and other affected areas.

Cement is currently priced around Rs 160 per bag in state. A spokesperson for the Ahmedabad chapter of Cement Manufacturers Association said the decision was taken to help the reconstruction of the devastated regions in Gujarat.

A further relief of Rs 20 per bag would be available as the government has exempted payment of excise duty on cement consumed by approved relief agencies for relief work. Accordingly, relief agencies will get cement at Rs 130 per bag.

The cement producers have requested the government to consider exemption of sales tax on cement consumed for rehabilitation work. Once this is approved, a further reduction of Rs 16 to Rs 17 per bag would be effected on cement used for relief and rehabilitation work.

In addition to relief and rehabilitation work already started by individual cement manufacturers in affected areas of Gujarat, the cement industry has pledged total support to the government as well relief agencies in this hour of crisis for speedy reconstruction.

They would ensure prompt and regular supply of cement at a very reasonable price. It is expected that relief agencies can get cement at Rs. 100 per bag ex-factory once excise and sales tax relief are granted and simplified procedures are fully established.

CM's Relief Fund receives Rs 51 crore Monday, February 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The CM's Relief Fund has so far received Rs 51 crore in donations for victims of the earthquake.

Of this, Rs 18.82 crore has been donated by individuals and other philanthropists, while Rs 17 crore has come from various districts of the state.

The state government has received Rs 10 crore from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, and the amount has been deposited into the CM's Relief Fund.

The chief minister has already announced that donations received after January 26 would be spent only for relief and rehabilitation of earthquake victims.

Donations from various state governments have also been deposited into the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have donated Rs 5 crore each towards the fund, While Rajasthan and Karnataka have deposited Rs 2 crore each. The Delhi government has donated Rs 1 crore.

SEWA to adopt Dhamdka village Monday, February 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Self-Employed Women's Association has decided to adopt Dhamdka, a village of around 600 artisan families, which had been devastated in the severe earthquake of January 26.

Till the earthquake, these artisans were busy producing colourful bedsheets and other embroidered articles of clothing. Today, they are a helpless lot, having lost everything in the quake.

Almost all the houses in this small village were flattened in the quake that claimed over 120 lives, a majority of them being women.

SEWA volunteers said these self-reliant and highly enterprising artisans were not interested in blankets or food. They needed tents and some kits to resume their activity, they said.

They have also lost their milch cattle, which was another source of income, pushing them further on the brink of financial despair.

Government help has yet not reached them. SEWA plans to develop it as an artisan resource centre before the artisans start abandoning the village in search of work.

More than 5,000 woman members of the organisation are engaged in relief and rehabilitation along with other NGOs in Kutch, Surendranagar and Patan districts.

Once the survey is over at Dhamdka and other villages, SEWA plans to adopt these villages.

The Association has already provided tarpaulin for the artisan families and has put up a demand for six big tents so that the artisans can start their work.

"We have also decided to purchase unsold bedsheets, embroidered woollen shawls and other garments for exhibition-cum-sale to be organised in big cities," a spokesman for SEWA said.

Kits for artisans have already been acquired and, soon, would be distributed among them.

SAIL promises supplies for rebuilding Monday, February 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has expressed its commitment to contribute to the maximum extent possible in rebuilding Gujarat and said that it shall ensure availability of as much steel as required, in the least possible time and at competitive prices.

SAIL executive director S Dubey gave this assurance at a seminar, 'Use of SAIL TMT/TMT HCR bars for safer construction in earth quake prone areas' at Gajjar Hall on Saturday evening.

This assurance gains significance as SAIL is the largest producer of TMT and the only producer of TMT-HCR bars in the country that produces these bars without increasing the phosphorus content. This factor ensures greater ductility and better application in seismic zones.

Dubey also stressed the need to educate one and all on the safety aspect in construction and urged the gathering to create an awareness about the need for better quality construction material like steel and cement.

Stressing the importance of using good quality construction material Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers & Architects president Vijay Shah, in his opening address, opined that the effect of devastation due to the recent quake would not have been as bad had better quality steel been used in construction.

With large number of buildings collapsing in seismic zones, the focus is once more on better and stronger reinforcement for reinforced cement concrete (RCC), since concrete alone has almost nil ductility. It is the reinforcing steel bars that bring in ductility to RCC.

Eminent metallurgist A Bhattacharya, head, Corrosion Engineering Group, Research and Development Centre for Iron & Steel, Ranchi; R R Sandhwar, senior deputy director, Centre for Engineering and Technology, Ranchi and P C Jha, DGM, Marketing, SAIL, highlighted the need for using TMT-HCR bars for better protection in seismic zones and corrosion prone areas.

The notable feature of SAIL's Thermo Mechanically Treated bars is that they are guaranteed with properties that are higher than those prescribed by Indian Standards for reinforcement bars.

Besides being strong, SAIL TMT bars are also highly ductile and have higher tensile strength that enables them to be in a better position to withstand sudden loading during calamities like earthquakes.

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