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February 24, 2001 - February 24, 2001

'Affected cattle not being cared for' Saturday, February 24, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Though the number of cattle which died in the quake is almost equal to the number of people who died in the quake, a precious little is being done for welfare of animals in the quake-affected areas.

An Ahmedabad-based Animal Help Foundation in association with World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), which was carrying relief operation for animals in the affected areas say the conditions of the animals is pathetic, to say the least.

The team's main concern was to take care of the animals which were directly affected by the quake as many of them lost their owners and their homes.

"Nearly 2,500 to 3000 cattle were herded in one single enclosure. So, as soon as there was an aftershock, there used to be panic among them leading to stampedes and further injuries to animals," says project manager of Asia WSPA Mike Pugh.

Apart from the casualties resulting due to injuries, more number of cattle are dying due to starvation. "On an average, nearly 20 cattle are dying everyday even now," says co-ordinator of Animal Help Foundation Rahul Sehgal.

Though they are supporting nearly 25,000 cattle, they believe it is just one per cent of the entire cattle population. Earthquake combined with the drought is leading to acute shortage of fodder there.

The team sent 20 tons of green fodder daily from Ahmedabad and are now thinking of increasing it to 40 tons for the next three weeks.

Foreign aid to the tune of $40,000 has already been procured, all of which will be spent on providing fodder.

"We will manage till the next three weeks, but after that government needs to take over as no NGO can provide relief on a long-term basis," believes trustee of AHF Shaan Zaveri. "Some time ago, the chief minister urged ministers to adopt a cow each. I think now is the time for all of them to do so," he says adding government needs to involve itself in a bigger way.

On the other hand, according to the animal husbandry department, there is no fear of major outbreak of any disease as the animals which died were healthy and they died mainly due to physical injuries and not any infectious disease.

However, veterinary experts fear that outbreak of a condition called Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, locally known as Galsundho, which occurs under severe stress condition is likely. The loss of owners and familiar habitat combined with low level of nutrition may lead to stress and thus to Haemorrhagic Septicaemia.

The disease is said to claim high morbidity and mortality among all age groups of cattle. The Department of Animal Husbandry is launching a massive campaign for vaccinating animals against this disease to nearly 2.6 lakh cattle population in Bhuj, Bhachau, Anjar, Rapar and Mundra in Kutch.

Stop Kutch going the Kashmir way: Maniar Saturday, February 24, 2001

RAJKOT: The senior-most RSS leader in the state, Pravin Maniar, has said that urgent steps must be taken to ensure that Kutch did not become another Kashmir after the earthquake. He said there were reports that infiltrators might try to sneak into Kutch from across the border in view of the situation in the border district.

In an informal chat with reporters the RSS leader said, "Even the local people have been saying that many intruders have sneaked into Kutch as many new faces were seen every day. Many beggars have reached Kashmir. If they could infiltrate without any confrontation, the intruders could surely make it to Kutch."

Maniar said, "Steps must be taken to stop the flow of infiltrators. For that, questioning and interrogation of strangers was essential. The border was open and armymen were involved in relief and rescue operations. This presented an ideal opportunity to anti-national elements to enter India."

Speaking about religious conversion, the RSS leader said, "Providing relief must have no tags. Relief and help must not be followed by teachings of conversion." Recalling the Latur quake, Maniar said orphan children from Kutch must not be allowed to be taken out of their areas.

Sounding out a warning, Maniar said any tag attached to relief efforts would not be tolerated by the RSS. The Sangh would vehemently oppose any religious conversion that followed relief material.

He called on sadhus and sants to come forward for rebuilding the Bet Dwarka temple. He urged the state government to immediately construct a bridge to Bet Dwarka. He also announced Seva Bharati's intention of adopting 25 villages.

554 GHB-built houses declared unsafe. Saturday, February 24, 2001

RAJKOT: Gujarat Housing Board officials have declared 554 houses constructed by the board as 'dangerous'. These includes 214 houses in Morbi, three in Gondal, four in Jetpur, seven in Dhoraji and 326 in and around Rajkot city.

Ninety-six GHB houses have collapsed completely. The board has 2150 flats in Dhebar Colony, Hasanwadi and Laxmiwadi areas in which 30 buildings were found to be unsafe and need to be pulled down. Flats on the outskirts of Rajkot like Kothariya, Parapipaliya and Ganteshwar areas were declared unsafe.

Rajkot sales tax office sees drop in incomes Saturday, February 24, 2001

RAJKOT: The Rajkot office of the sales tax which looks after Rajkot, Jamnagar and Kutch regions has registered a drop in income to the tune of Rs 125 crore because of the quake. As against the targeted income of Rs 381 crore, the actual income is just Rs 213 crore.

Sources in the sales tax department here told TOINS on Friday that Gandhidham held the second position as far as income generation was concerned in the Rajkot division, but this time there was very little chance of any substantial earning from that area, because of the large-scale damage to the city.

From Gandhidham itself the department used to earn sales tax to the tune of Rs 10 crore through import of kerosene. Besides this import of wood, plywood, ready-made garments and other items generated an income of Rs 85 crore from Kutch itself. But so far the earning has been Rs 47 crore only. The sales tax office building in Gandhidham is expected to be out of operation for at least a month.

The sales tax offices in Morbi is under lock and key because of the damages suffered while offices in Bhuj have been completely damaged.

Relief officials found indulging in malpractices Saturday, February 24, 2001

RAJKOT: Five relief officers of the state civil supplies department in Anjar have been posted back to their parent organisations for allegedly indulging in corrupt practices. All five officers were of the rank of mamlatdar.

Sources in Bhuj named the five officers as RR Makwana, CD Chhaya, KD Jadeja, NJ Parmar and KR Solanki. It was alleged that these officers had indulged in corrupt practices while supplying relief material.

Sources said 153 persons in the area had been rendered shelterless, 128 women were widowed, 95 children were orphaned and 80 people were permanently disabled in the quake.

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