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January 19, 2001 - January 22, 2001

New environment secretary appointed Monday, January 22, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: The state government appointed K S Sugathan as the new environment and forests secretary.

The post fell vacant after former incumbent P Basu was summarily transferred to the post of revenue inspection commissioner for his alleged involvement in handing over sensitive defence maps to a private agency for making geographical systems. Sugathan, on study leave while on Central deputation, has been promoted to principal secretary.

Arjun Singh, principal secretary, forests, who was temporarily holding charge of environment too after Basu's transfer, is the new labour and employment secretary of the state. A K Pradhan, who holds the rank of additional chief secretary, has been shifted from labour to planning. Planning was with R Ramabhadran, who retired on December 31, 2000. Pradhan will have to take crucial decisions on fixing of the annual plan expenditure, which the finance department wants slashed from the proposed Rs 7,600 crore for 2001-02 to Rs 5,400 crore because of alleged lack of funds.

Ashok Koshy, currently working as investment commissioner, has been promoted from principal secretary to additional chief secretary. He will continue on the same post. IAS sources said, nearly half-a dozen more transfers are expected to take place by early next week, when at least 10 officers of the 1985 batch will be promoted.

However, the real musical chair of promotions will be played when L N S Mukundan retires as the state's chief secretary in May. The state's finance secretary, G Subba Rao, the senior-most man, is likely to take over.

1,500 farmers given credit cards Monday, January 22, 2001

JAMNAGAR: Under the state government scheme to provide co-operative credit cards to farmers, state minister for roads and buildings Chimanbhai Saparia and state minister for small and medium irrigation Mulubhai Bera gave away 1,500 such cards to farmers of Lalpur and Bhanvad talukas on Monday at Bhanvad.

The programme was organised by the Jamnagar District Co-operative Bank which plans to distribute 60,000 credit cards in the district.

While distributing the cards, Saparia expressed the hope that these cards would prove to be an important financial instrument for the farmers.

Inaugurating the programme, Bera said that the card would lead to farmers being treated on par with trade and industrial sectors for getting credit facilities from banks.

The general manager of the bank said that the card would be useful to farmers for getting credit for purchasing seeds, fertiliser and insecticides.

Couple held with 816 liquor bottles Monday, January 22, 2001

NADIAD: The Nadiad police arrested a couple in connection with bootlegging and recovered 816 bottles of foreign liquor worth Rs 1,84,800 from their bungalow located behind railway station near New English School here on Saturday.

Acting on a tip-off, Nadiad PI R B Patel accompanied by PSI of detection squad Shivbhadrasinh Rana and other police staff raided the bungalow and recovered 68 boxes of foreign brand liquor worth Rs 1,84,800.

The police arrested the owner of the bungalow and his wife. The arrested have been identified as Harish V Patel, a clerk in a local school, and his wife, Pragya Patel, who is a teacher in the same school.

Meanwhile, the police are on the lookout for the local bootlegger responsible for keeping the liquor bottles in Patel's bungalow. He has been identified as a resident of Gujarat Housing Board here near Hawahar Nagar.

Abandoned car found

The Matar police found a white Maruti car abandoned on national highway number 8 here on Saturday. The police found the Maruti car (GJ 1924) during a routine patrolling here on Saturday.

Western Railway achieves breakthrough in rail safety Friday, January 19, 2001

VADODARA: Western Railway's Vadodara Division has achieved a major breakthrough in rail safety.

A team of three senior divisional engineers (SDEs), led by divisional railway manager (DRM) B B Modgil, has developed an ultrasonic testing device that can detect defects in the foot of rails leading to rail fractures - a common cause of rail accidents across the Indian Railways.

About 76 per cent of 'rail weld' failure occurs due to defect in the foot of the rail. These defects went undetected even after running the existing devices to detect such faults. However, the new ultra sonic flaw detection (USFD) system developed by BRD engineers is set to revolutionise rail fracture detection methods. The device can accurately locate the defects in its formative stage and predict a "fracture or a deformity" 6-8 months before it actually occurs.

"It's a major breakthrough. This device can detect the microscopic flaws in the central portion of the foot of the rail weld which was not possible till now with the prevailing system of USFD", Modgil told The Times of India.

He said that a large number of hair cracks occurred in rail due to a "half moon shape" flaw in the centre of weld in rails that are 10-15 years old. Across the Indian Railways the existing system of USFD was not able to detect such flaws.

"We gave top most priority to this task as it directly concerned the safety of passengers. The project was taken up in November and in two months' time three engineers came up with the new equipment", Modgil said.

The engineers who worked on the project are V D S Kaswan, K K Gupta and Ajay Gupta. "We introduced a new USFD probe that could transmit ultrasonic waves to the foot of the rail. Through the refraction of the waves we were able to locate the fault", SDE K K Gupta said.

The new device developed by this team works on the principle of transmitting ultra sonic waves of a higher frequency at a particular angle in the foot of the rail - a feature that earlier devices lacked. This was achieved through a small box-like equipment containing a small crystal. The small-box like equipment is connected to a monitor producing echo-graphs (through oscilloscope) of the refracted signals on its monitor.

The crystal vibrates to send ultra sonic waves of a particular frequency in the rail. Higher the frequency more the penetration. In normal rail the waves will pass smoothly, while in a rail with defect it will refract. The refraction results in a sharp rise in the graph on the monitor. The peak of the graph will help locate the fault in its exact position.

"The new probe passes ultrasonic waves of 2 MH at an angel of 70 degree. For ascertaining the accuracy of the probe we created an artificial 3mm-diametre hole in the centre of a rail weld. Attempt to detect this flaw by prevailing system failed. But the new probe was successful in detecting it", Gupta said.

The team met with success in simulated environment in laboratories. Later on, successful field trials were conducted.

Interestingly, the Research Design and Standards Organisation RDSO of Indian Railways in Lucknow is also working to develop USFD probe that can detect faults in the rail foot but has not met with success. On the other hand, the BRD team comprising DRM, three SDEs, field trial conductor Sudhir Nagar, consultants Kashyava Bhatt and Jayadev Patel of Industrial Component Quality Assurance - specialising in USFD - achieved success in less than three months.

"This innovation will give a major fillip to rail flaws detection techniques and prevent many rail accidents", Modgil observed. A detail report of the new probe has been sent to Western Railway headquarters in Mumbai, which, in turn, will forward it to Railway Board, New Delhi. bprail:

A rail bar with flaw in its foot region, also known as 'rail weld' (circled area). The new USFD device makes accurate detection of such defects possible. Bprail2:

DRM B B Modgil (centre) and his team demonstrate working of the new USFD system at WR Vadodara division headquarters in Pratapnagar.

Girl burnt alive by her boy friend Friday, January 19, 2001

RAJKOT: A 16-year-old girl was burnt alive by her boy friend after she refused to give in to his indecent proposals. The victim succumbed to the burn injuries at a local hospital on Wednesday evening after struggling for life for nearly five days.

The victim has been identified as Hetal Mistry from Wadhwan in Surendranagar district. The Surendranagar police have arrested the accused boy friend Ajaysingh Pratapsingh Chudasama (18) and have registered a case of murder against him.

According to the police, Chudasama took advantage of his parents' absence in his house, who had gone to see a movie, and invited Hetal to his house. Though initially Hetal refused but was later forced to accept his invitation. However, in the house when Chudasama started making indecent proposals to her, she refused to give in to the demands. This resistance enraged Chudasama and out of anger poured a tin filled with kerosene on Hetal and set her ablaze.

However, seeing his girl friend on fire and shouting for help, Chudasama in panic ran out of the house. Hearing the cries, the neighbours rushed in and doused the flames and later took Hetal to the local Gandhi Hospital.

In the meantime, a police complaint was lodged and Chudasama was arrested. Chudasama admitted to his crime and said he was deeply in love with Hetal and could not tolerate her refusal to the demands. The accused is a first year college student and his father is a watchman in a local factory.

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