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February 20, 2001 - February 21, 2001

Biscuits for quake-affected Wednesday, February 21, 2001

RAJKOT: The Sargam Club of Rajkot and Parle products have joined hands to provide 9,000 kg of biscuits to the quake-affected people of Morbi, Maliya and Amran areas. Children of 18 villages were given biscuits.

Relief distributed: Swami Nikhileshwarananda, secretary of the Ramkrishna Mission in a statement on Tuesday said the Mission had distributed 2041 blankets, 1095 quilts, 1934 tarpaulin sheets, 2303 assorted clothes 100 kg of milk powder and a large number of other essential items to the quake-affected people of Porbander and Jamnagar districts. About 800 people are also being served two square meals a day since the quake struck.

Surendranagar collector clarifies Wednesday, February 21, 2001

The Surendranagar district collector has denied that there was lathi-charge on a mob during Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari's visit to the town recently.

Referring to a report in this newspaper to that effect, the collector said that the governor had given a patient hearing to the quake-affected people of the district, at Mela Medan near the Wadhwan railway station.

When the governor was leaving, a person tried to stop his car with a view to making a representation to him. However, he was not allowed to do so for reasons of security, and taken away by the police.

The collector also denied reports about throwing away of blankets by the affected people.

AMC budget passed on sombre note Tuesday, February 20, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Rs 1,274.21-crore budget of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for 2000-01 was passed by the general board on Monday.

At a very sombre session where most corporators came dressed in sober shades to mourn those dead in the earthquake, there was barely any scuffle as is usually noticed in most budget sessions.

Stressing on the need for development, municipal commissioner K Kailashnathan said that going by the rate of growth, the population of Ahmedabad was likely to touch 64.80 lakh in 2021.

Except the school board budget which was unanimously ratified, the budgets of the MJ Library, Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services and VS Hospital were ratified by majority support.

Political discussions did dominate the day-long session where Kailashnathan, in his budget speech, stressed on the AMC's commitment to make Ahmedabad a mega-city.

He also took note of the fact that this very year the AMC had faced two natural calamities - floods and now the earthquake.

Relief material received from foreign countries distributed Tuesday, February 20, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: The relief teams of the Kutch district have further stepped up the distribution of relief material received from foreign countries for the quake-affected people, according to reports reaching the control room here.

More than 159 aircraft have brought 1.4 million kilograms of tents, blankets, medicines, X ray machines, medical equipment and milk powder, the distribution of which is in full swing in Bhuj, Bhachau, Anjar and Rapar talukas which were worst hit in the killer earthquake that shook the region on Republic Day.

Besides, 103 trucks laden with foodgrains and other essential commodities have been dispatched for other six affected talukas of the district. The distribution is being handled by the NGOs who have been working round the clock.

The labourers pressed into service by roads and buildings department have cleared rubble from approach roads in 11 of the total 129 villages where clearance of debris has been undertaken since last few days.

Almost 98 per cent of the debris have been cleared in Bhuj followed by 95 per cent in Gandhidham, Rapar and Bhachau. In Mandvi, 75 per cent of the rubble has been cleared and in Anjar more than 50 per cent of streets have been cleared of the rubble.

Meanwhile, additional collector of Anjar Mukesh Megha has said that about 3,000 bodies have been extricated from the debris of the collapsed houses. While from rural areas, so far 1,073 bodies have been recovered by the rescue teams. According to the survey carried out by the taluka staff, 97 people are still missing in the taluka.

As many as 80 orphans have been registered from various places in Anjar taluka where about 5,000 houses have caved in.

GSRTC deploys 1,200 more buses for rescue work Tuesday, February 20, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) has deployed 1,200 additional buses to facilitate rescue operations and movement of passengers in Bhuj and other parts of the quake-affected Kutch.

The corporation has set up a control room in Bhuj under supervision of chairman Kamlesh Patel. It despatched around 150 buses to Bhuj on January 26 which were engaged in transporting the dead and the injured of the ill-fated town.

Later, more buses and vehicles were despatched from Ahmedabad, with mechanics, drivers, heavy machinery operators, doctors and other volunteers for rescue operations.

The corporation also arranged for transportation of water and relief materials to the affected areas. Due to closure of Surajbari Bridge because of damage caused by tremors, the shortest route to Kutch was via Dhrangdhara.

On January 28, normal operations were restored by the corporation with offices set up in tents. From Ahmedabad, special services were started every half an hour to places like Anjar, Bhuj and Bhachau.

The corporation introduced 22 additional services on February 14 and 15 and deployed 13 special buses for passengers of a train which got derailed at Halvad on February 14.

The corporation disbursed ex-gratia amount of Rs 30,000 to families of each staff member who died while on duty when the quake struck and Rs 25,000 to families of those who died but were not on duty, said Patel.

The corporation also distributed diesel, free of cost, for operating earth movers and other heavy machineries used in the rescue operations, added Patel.

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