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February 21, 2001 - February 21, 2001

Voluntary organisations in Rajkot to adopt 24 villages Wednesday, February 21, 2001

RAJKOT: Voluntary organisations in Rajkot have decided to adopt 24 villages in the quake-affected areas and spent Rs 1.5 crore on each of the villages. The Lions International has also announced that it will construct primary and high school buildings in cities affected by the quake.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting between district collector A K Rakesh and members of the voluntary organisation. Giving details, the collector said that of the total population of 28.96 lakh in Rajkot, 15.93 lakh people in 686 villages were affected in Morbi, Maliya and Wankaner region. Four hundred and twenty-two people were killed. Rakesh said that nearly Rs 3 crore would have to be spent behind every village, of which the state government could provide upto Rs 1.5 crore, and the remaining would have to come from voluntary organisations.

Kathiria said that social and voluntary organisations could take up reconstruction work if they could not adopt an entire village. Organisations could construct schools, anganwadis, dispensaries, panchayat offices and other such essential buildings. Kathiria also announced that his ministry would adopt 10 villages.

Meanwhile, the Yogi Divine Society has decided to adopt Monpar village in Morbi taluka, the Sevabharati Gujarat has decided to adopt Kuntasi and Rapar village in Morbi taluka and Khirai in Maliya taluka, the Ramkrishna Mission has decided to adopt Shapar village in Morbi taluka, the Family Planning Association of India has decided to adopt Aamrnagar while the Bishop House in Rajkot will adopt a village in Morbi, Maliya and Wankaner talukas.

The Akshar Purshottam Sanstha has decided to adopt three villages, the Orpat group has decided to adopt Chachapar, the Nagrik Bank (Gondal) will adopt Biliya, the Swaminarayan Gurukul will adopt Nava Gathila, the Satya Sai Hospital will adopt Luntawadar, Hajnali, Pipaliya and Kheraviya. An Indian settled in US Ukabhai Solanki, originally from Bhayavadar, has decided to adopt Gadhala village of Upleta taluka.

The Mahavir International of Delhi will construct 300 houses in any one affected villages.

Maliya TDO staff go on flash strike Wednesday, February 21, 2001

RAJKOT: The entire staff of the Maliya Miyana taluka development office went on a flash strike on Monday in protest against interference by BJP legislator from Morbi Kanti Amrutiya and harassment by local political leaders. The employees sit in an open tent and do their work but were kept on the tenterhooks by Amrutiya.

SR Mer, TDO, was atacked by a mob of 2,000 people on Monday. The staff were frightened by the attack and they decided to go on a flash strike. They rushed to Rajkot to complain to the district development office against behaviour of the crowd and political leaders.

A similar incident had occurred on Sunday when, instead of arranging relief materials in the affected areas, the local political leaders were insisting that the TDO and other staff attend to them as Governor Sunder Singh Bhandari was to visit the place.

At that time also, political leaders exerted so much pressure on Wankaner TDO VA Mehta that he collapsed due to high blood pressure and had to be rushed to the hospital. He has proceeded on leave.

The interference by political leaders had forced the local officers and staff to resort to such strike as they could not work. They were kept busy by local leaders who were keen to get their work done.

Advocate demands action against erring builders Wednesday, February 21, 2001

RAJKOT: A city advocate has, in a notice to the minister of state for home, Haren Pandya, district collector A K Rakesh and police commissioner Sudhir Sinha, asked why no action was initiated against builders and contractors of Rajkot also responsible for constructing unsafe houses.

Since the government had initiated action against builders of Ahmedabad, why were the ones in Rajkot allowed to go scot free, advocate Atul Patel has asked.

Pandya had announced that action would be initiated against errant builders under Section 420 and that they would be blacklisted. Yet no action was taken against Rajkot builders. On the other hand, complaints had been registered in Ahmedabad and builders arrested under PASA. "Is it the nexus between politicians and builders which is at work in Rajkot as state finance minister Vajubhai Vala is known to have vested interests", he asked.

Patel said that the chief of the Police Housing Corporation, during his recent visit to Rajkot, had said that police property worth Rs 7.74 crore was damaged and stressed that action must be taken against errant builders. He alleged that the district administration was hesitant to initiate action as many political leaders from Rajkot were involved in real estate deals.

Demanding immediate action against the erring builders, Patel said he would be forced to file a public interest litigation in the High Court, if this was not done. "Law should be the same for any builder or contractor be he from Ahmedabad or Rajkot," he maintained.

600 engineers to survey earthquake damages Wednesday, February 21, 2001

RAJKOT: Over 600 engineers of the Narmada Nigam would survey damaged properties in Rajkot district soon. As many as 115 villages in the district have been completely damaged in the quake and another 686 have been partially damaged.

Earlier, 150 teams had surveyed damages in the district and no one really knows what happened to that survey, sources in the collector's office told TOINS on Tuesday. The teams included a surveyor of the district panchayat, a clerk and a talati mantri.

The new teams would include one engineer, two technicians, a photographer and two clerks. Each house would be surveyed and photos taken to determine the package under which the property falls. Each team has been given a vehicle.

Sources said the assistance to damaged premises would be decided on merit of the package offered by the state government. It was decided that there would be less cash transaction. In case where a house needs repairs, it would be done and where entire house has collapsed, a new house would be constructed.

The district collector has called a meeting of regioal managers of all nationalised banks to ascertain what help they could extend. Social and voluntary organisations had been asked to play a major role in the redevelopment of cities and towns. Multinationals and public sector companies have also been asked to come forward in the process of rebuilding.

154 persons discharged from hospital in Nadiad. Wednesday, February 21, 2001

NADIAD: As many as 154 people injured in the earthquake have been discharged from the Krishna Hospital in Karamsad, according to Anand district collector P M Vidhyarthi.

Vidhyarthi, Anand district prabhari mantri Dilipbhai Patel and MP Dipakbhai Patel have lauded the humanitarian gesture of Vithal Udhyognagar Industries' Association (VUIA) members and doctors, who were involved in bringing the injured for treatment.

Soon after the news of the quake, six teams of doctors and VUIA members had rushed to Kutch. Two hundred and fourteen injured people were put on buses and other vehicles and brought to Karamsad, where they were treated at the Krishna Hospital, VUIA president Shashikantbhai Patel said.

He said VUIA had borne the cost of treatment and relief kits, which was close on Rs 30 lakh.

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