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February 5, 2001 - February 6, 2001

Soldiers find 2 quake survivors after 10 days Tuesday, February 6, 2001

BHUJ: Soldiers dug out two survivors from the rubble of their home on Monday, more than 10 days after it was destroyed by the Gujarat earthquake, Border Security Force deputy commandant Diwakar Kumar said.

"The two, a brother and a sister in their late forties, were rescued from what remained of their home this morning at around 11:00 am (0530 GMT)," Kumar said.

"It seems they managed to survive so long on water and crackers," he added.

The two survivors were found by a BSF contingent on a routine search mission in the old section of Bhuj, one of the town's worst hit by the January 26 quake which killed an estimated 30,000 people.

Immediately after their rescue the two were taken to Bhuj's Civil Hospital where they were recovering.

Quake damages Lord Krishna's palace Tuesday, February 6, 2001

BYET, Jamnagar: Lord Krishna's seat of power at Dwarka, now considered one of the four sacred dhams, and his residence at Byet have suffered severe damage from the deadly shocks unleashed in by the earthquake.

The 5,000-year-old Dwarka temple, a 150-ft tall multi-storeyed complex, has suffered huge longitudinal cracks in the main temple while the adjacent temple, dedicated to Krishna's son Pradyumna, suffered a major damage.

What is worrying is that the huge stone slabs which distributed the weight of the temple on its pillars, have cracked in the middle putting a question mark on the stability of the complex, says a top official of Dwarakadhish Dewosthan Samiti.

Climbing slowly up the narrow staircase, which ultimately leads up to the flagpost at the top of temple, he pointed at each of those cracks and every time touched his forehead with folded hands.

"If the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) does not undertake a major renovation work of the temple immediately, nobody knows whether it will survive another quake," he says.

And at Byet, all the six residential houses of the six queens of Lord Krishna called Ranivas, if one goes by the mythology, have been almost razed to the ground except the one used by Rukmini.

Choosy Earthquake! Monday, February 5, 2001

SAPEDA, Kutch: Located exactly midway on the sixteen kilometre stretch between devastated Ratnal and Anjar, this village on the Bhuj-Bhachau road stands out. Seen from the highway at least, it seems the village has been spared by the great quake. Even a mud wall stands intact.

As we pass that way again at night, a group of people huddled around a fire assert there has been damage here as well. ``It looks good from the road, but many houses in the village have been damaged,'' a resident says. But after dusk, the villagers say, the village interior is off-bounds: the Army guarding the abandoned houses against theft will let in only those who carry tokens issued by them.

But unlike in adjoining places, lives have been spared. Out of the tens of thousands feared dead in Kutch, Sapeda accounts for just one. Two other Sapeda people died, but they happened to be out that day, visiting places where the earth shook more. A man draws a wave in the air with his hand, tracing the path of the earthquake. Sapeda fell in the ``gap'' between ``waves, '' he explains.

Nakhtrana, 50 kilometres beyond Bhuj towards the Pakistan border, too escaped with cracks in some houses. ``Nature has been kind to us,'' an advocate admits. ``There has been no lose of life.'' And unlike any place on the road from Bhachau-120 kms away-Nakhtrana shows near normalcy.

Tea-stalls in the main market are actually open.

But aftershocks, which continue to stir Kutch, mar the scene in Nakhtrana too. People in the town's Harijan neighbourhood were preparing to spend another night in a small camp by the main road. Their tenements are intact, but they don't want to take a chance. The fear of another big one is everywhere, of course. As you drive down to Gandhidham, bonfires dot the road-even in villages and towns which have been spared major damage.

Things like the way the houses have been built and the type of soil they stand on do matter, but at first glance at least nature seems to have struck in an arbitrary, random manner. In Ahmedabad, for example, what makes one block of flats collapse while another in the same housing estate remains intact? At a time when builders shy away from the media-they will get nothing but bad press-one man who has built three multi-storey buildings in Bhuj sought this reporter out. ``All my buildings are intact,'' he wanted to say.

In Bhachau, the ground floor of a commercial complex has sunk into the earth. And an adjoining building is now just rubble. But barring a few cracks on the base on which it set, the bust of B R Ambedkar is intact. Unmoved from his pedestal, the Dalit leader surveys the destruction around him.

Rail link between Gandhidham, Bhuj restored Monday, February 5, 2001

Railway engineers on Sunday completely restored the link between Gandhidham and Bhuj, the two towns severely affected by the devastating earthquake on January 26.

The route was made operational when the engineers repaired the Bridge no. 48 between Kukma and Madhupur, which was damaged due to the quake, railway sources said.

"A trial train was run in the morning on the route and now it has been cleared for the day-time operations. The trains can run at the speed of 30 km per hour," he said.

Masterplan for rehabilitation of handicraft workers Monday, February 5, 2001

SURAT: Union Textile Minister Kashiram Rana on Sunday said his ministry had worked out a masterplan worth Rs 23 crore for relief and rehabilitation of quake-affected handicraft workers in Gujarat's Kutch region.

He was briefing newspersons, after attending a series of meeting of the newly formed National Disaster Management Committee, involving a group of Central ministers, headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee last week in New Delhi.

All Union ministries were preparing masterplans for relief of quake victims, Rana said.

The textile ministry had arranged for five lakh metres of jute for providing tents and extended material assistance to the task force in Kutch responding to an appeal of Gujarat government, he informed.

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