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February 2, 2001 - February 3, 2001

Fresh tremor recorded in Bhuj Saturday, February 3, 2001

Yet another aftershock of 3.6 on the Richter Scale was recorded at Bhuj in Gujarat early Friday morning around 6.05 am.

This was reported by the seismology division of the Indian Meteorological Department in Bombay.

As many as seven tremors measuring between 3.0 and 4.8 on the Richter Scale were recorded in Bhuj on Thursday.

Forces in one of the biggest ever rescue missions Friday, February 2, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Over 23,000 Army personnel, with the assistance of the Air Force and the Navy, are battling round the clock to provide succour to thousands of earthquake victims in Gujarat and also taking out the decomposed bodies, in one of the biggest rescue and relief operations ever launched in the world.

While Army and Navy personnel are continuing the 'Operation Sahayata' in the worst affected areas of Bhuj, Anjar, Bachau and Gandhidham, the Air Force have pressed into service transport aircraft like AN-32, Avro and Mi-8 helicopters.

Cutting and excavation equipment, bulldozers, generators and a large number of doctors and para-medical staff have been airlifted for the rescue work.

In Bhuj, Anjar and Bachau sectors, the Army has so far been able to rescue more than 350 people and pulled out over 1000 bodies.

The Army has pressed into service six engineer regiments, along with their drilling and gas cutting equipment.

With generators on, the soldiers are seen engaged in the operation braving the winter chill.

Army Medical Corps doctors have established mobile field hospitals with the help of seven field ambulance units.

At least more than 10,000 surgeries were performed since the black Friday last and about 16,000 treated.

The Air Force, which also sustained losses of its airmen and their families, lost no time in restoring the operational capability of the air base at Bhuj.

With the government civil hospital at Bhuj razed to the ground, the military hospital at Bhuj and team of specialists rose to the occasion.

Besides providing solace to the affected Air Force personnel, Air Force rescue teams have so far undertaken surgery of about 250 civilians and the patients have been shifted to hospitals at Pune, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar and Gandhinagar.

A combined disaster management cell with the state government has also been made operational at Ahmedabad and Bhuj air field by the Indian Air Force.

Many infantry battalions, artillery regiments and other corp services were working round the clock in the ongoing 'Operation Sahayata' of the Indian Army.

The Army has provided more than 1700 blankets, 150 stretchers and a large quantity of medicines to the quake ravaged people before the international and national relief aid started pouring in.

Armed forces personnel have also chipped in to assist the civil authorities in restoring communication facilities and power supply in the quake-affected regions of Gujarat.

CBSE exams will be held on schedule. Friday, February 2, 2001

The Central Board of Secondary Education has said it will not defer the class X and XII exams in quake-ravaged Gujarat, but is prepared to change the examination centres, if so desired.

CBSE sources told UNI that the board was in constant touch with its regional office in Ajmer and also the CBSE-affiliated schools in Gujarat. The buildings of most of the schools affiliated to the CBSE are safe, as per the information received in New Delhi.

''We understand the students' problems in Gujarat. But holding of exams as per schedule is very important as any change in the time-table will affect the academic career of lakhs of other students who undertake the exams in various parts of the country and abroad,'' they said.

The sources said some of the schools in the state have even started holding practical exams, as per schedule.

The joint secretary (exams coordination), Shashi Bhushan, said the CBSE was, however, prepared to make last minute changes in the centres for the students from the quake-affected state to prevent any inconvenience to them.

''We are ready to change the centres of a few students or the whole school, if a request is made in this regard,'' Bhushan said, adding that the CBSE office in the national capital and the regional office in Ajmer have been instructed to cooperate with the request for change in the centres for students and schools from Gujarat.

The joint secretary, who is responsible for holding the exams by the board, said two parents from Gujarat had approached the CBSE office on Wednesday for a change in the centres of their wards and their examination centres were accordingly changed to Delhi.

Any examinee from the state who wish to get his or her centre changed can approach the regional office in Ajmer or the CBSE head office in New Delhi, he added.

An estimated ten lakh students will appear for the class X and XII exams starting from March 7, and a few thousand of them are from Gujarat.

Yet another aftershock in Bhuj Friday, February 2, 2001

MUMBAI: Yet another aftershock was experienced at Bhuj district early Friday around 0605 hours, with a magnitude of 3.6 on the Richter scale.

This was reported by the seismology division of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) at suburban Colaba here.

As many as seven quakes measuring between 3.0 and 4.8 on the Richter scale rattled Bhuj district Thursday causing panic among the people.

Police probe homicide charges against builders Friday, February 2, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat police said on Friday they were investigating possible charges of culpable homicide against builders, architects and town planners.

Ahmedabad police chief P C Ande said multiple complaints had been filed by residents of six multi-storey buildings that collapsed in last week's devastating quake.

Pande said possible charges arising out of these complaints included culpable homicide, defrauding people, criminal conspiracy and using substandard materials.

Cases have been registered against six named constructors as well as architects and government planners. "It is still too early to carry out arrests," Pande said.

"We are only registering offences so investigations can begin. We have to get technical opinions regarding the quality of the materials used and the type of construction that has been carried out," he said.

One of the complaints was filed by Dahyabhai Patel, a resident of the city's Surabhi Apartment complex, which was levelled by the January 26 quakeTwenty-six people inside the Surabhi complex were killed.

A total of 13 buildings were totally destroyed in the quake, while 40 partially collapsed and more than 800 were badly cracked.

None of the six buildings figuring in the police complaints were more than three years old. Pande brushed aside concerns that the named suspects might try to flee the state. "You cannot run away from two things: death and the law," he said.

"Wherever they go, we will catch up with them, so we are not bothered about that."

Thousands of homes and buildings collapsed across Gujarat when the prosperous western state was hit by the January 26 quakes.

Estimates of the state-wide death toll have ranged from 25,000 to as high as 100,000.

Experts have said the level of devastation had been exaggerated by shoddy construction and unscrupulous builders and planners who ignored safety guidelines to cut costs. Gujarat lies in a known seismic zone.

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