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January 12, 2001 - January 13, 2001

Five-star rating may elude MS University Saturday, January 13, 2001

VADODARA: The dress rehearsal is over for M S University. The National Accreditation and Assessment Committee has gone back leaving behind some confused signals about what it thinks of MSU.

In fact, if one dissects the three-day NAAC visit and try to decipher from its impressions, MSU might have to be contented with a four star rating. A star less than what it expects. Though there are chances that the four star prediction may prove wrong.

In the address given to the MSU community during exit meeting on Wednesday it lauded the varsity and saying that it has lived up to the vision of its founder the late Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. But at the same time the NAAC members have also made some telling remarks on certain lacking aspects of MSU.

The NAAC, according to members, did not simply go by the fresh paints on varsity buildings, or the three-piece suit donning MSU teachers and administrators but tried to see through the trained deans and heads of the departments and those who stood behind them.

It went scouting for research projects instead of settling on number of students, shook coffers in departments that have long forgotten advanced studies and latest trends, mapped intelligence quotient rather than size of lecture theatres. Simply put the evaluating exercise boiled down to knowing what MSU is and not what it had put on.

"We did our best. We feel that they liked our university. This was obvious but how far this translates into best rating remains to be seen", MSU pro vice chancellor V D Pathak said candidly. He added that the NAAC had some suggestions for the MSU, especially those concerning IT education and faculties with large number of students like commerce.

"They suggested we should go for affiliated colleges in a manner that the residential character of the university is not diluted and its standards are not compromised", Pathak said.

NAAC had also pointed that the focus should be more on producing quality students than merely quantity. "They said this in context of commerce faculty. They have also made a note of the declining population of chartered accountancy students and other similar post graduate professional courses", said a senior MSU official wishing anonymity.

The NAAC has also suggested to increase the intake capacity in computer related courses. It has advised the MSU to focus on departments that have given a back seat to research programmes.

Among those that impressed the NAAC were the centre of biotechnology, departments of biochemistry and microbiology, home science, fine arts and performing arts faculties, a couple of departments of arts and science faculties, some aspects of commerce faculty like the handling of over 13,000 students at a time, Polytechnic college, small faculties like management, journalism and social work and medical college and faculty of technology and engineering.

In private meetings with some of the syndicate and senate members NAAC members have also made comments on administration. There is a seeming contradiction here. Those syndicate or senate members who do not want to give credit to the MSU team that prepared the self assessment report and were asked to handle the three day NAAC visit say that the remarks on administration were not positive. However, those with the administration feel that the remarks were in good spirit and indeed positive.

"By January end they will give the rating. Everything would be clear than. We expect a five star rating. The MSU is worth it", MSU vice chancellor Anil Kane said. MSU is worth it but does NAAC feel the same too?

Four people accused of killing Grover nabbed Saturday, January 13, 2001

SURAT: Five months after the real estate agent Hanskamal Grover was shot dead at point blank range at his Preet Apartment residence on Ghod Dod Road on August 8 last year, the police on Thursday claimed to have made a major breakthrough with the arrest of four persons out of a gang of nine allegedly involved in the killing.

Police commissioner Vineet Kumar Gupta said that acting on a tip-off, the crime branch officials nabbed one of the accused Jayanti Boriya (29) on Wednesday. Interrogations led to arrest of another three accused Jitu Chakka (42), Manoj Gujjar (32) and Ramesh alias Paliyu (30) from different locations in the city around midnight on Wednesday.

Gupta said that the interrogations so far revealed that Manish Scindia, a local, and Nilesh, a Mumbai-based professional sharp shooter, had shot at Grover. Both the accused were still at large and a team of police officials have been sent to Mumbai on Wednesday night to trace Nilesh. Another three accused Kanu Boriya, Dinesh Sharma and Raju Bhajjiu are also absconding.

Elaborating further Gupta said while investigating the firing case which took place at Reva Health and Fitness Centre on Bharat Road injuring the owner Kiran Prajapati last Friday, the crime branch police was informed of one Jayanti Boriya (29) being the main accused in the murder of Grover.

Acting on the information, the police nabbed Jayanti from Saiyedpura. Gupta said that Jayanti admitted of his being part of the team which executed the murder plan of the real-estate agent Grover. Jayanti told the police about the whereabouts of Jitu, Manoj and Ramesh who were later picked up in the late evening hours on Wednesday by the crime branch police, the commissioner said.

Narrating the modus operandi of the nine people, Gupta said that Kanu Boriya had assigned Nilesh the job of firing at Grover. In fact, Nilesh had come to the city nearly three months before the incident and was staying in one Vaibhav Apartment arranged by Kanu in Katargram.

For nearly three months, the movements of Grover were followed by Kanu and Nilesh in the city. The duo used to have drinks party in which their associates Jayanti, Jitu, Manoj, Manish, Dinesh, Raju were regulars and during that time detailed planning used to be chalked out to eliminate Grover.

The day prior to the incident, all of them had assembled at Jitu Chakka's garage shop near RTO and had visited the area around Preet Apartment where Grover stayed. In the morning of August 8, they once again met at Jitu's shop and made a round of Preet Apartment.

During lunch hour on August 8, Grover was followed by Kanu Boriya who kept informing his associates Manish and Nilesh on one bike and the Jayanti and Raju on another through mobile phones about the movements. When Grover entered the main gate of his apartment on Ghod Dod Road at around 2.25 pm, Nilesh and Manish took positions behind one tree near the gate.

The moment Grover got off his car, the duo moved towards him and fired eight rounds pumping bullets into his head and chest, killing him on the spot. His body guard Ramsingh was also shot at, who later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The killers had used two revolvers and one 9 mm bore pistol, Gupta said.

After the incident, Nilesh left for Mumbai while Kanu, Jayanti and Raju left for Ahmedabad. Their associates left for other places, Gupta said. According to information received from Mumbai, Nilesh was feared to have been shot dead in an encounter in Mumbai recently.

The motive behind the murder so far appears to be some property dispute but in the manner the murder was executed, the hands of a mastermind from mafia world cannot be ruled out, Gupta said. However, the police are still investigating the matter further, he said.

New bores to be dug in Wankaner project Saturday, January 13, 2001

RAJKOT: New bores are proposed to be dug in the Wankaner bore project to tide over possible water shortage during the summer months. This was decided at a meeting of senior officers and civic staff on Thursday afternoon.

At least 10 to 15 new bores are expected to be dug. The Water Supply Board had drilled 120 bores last year to tide over the water situation. At present the civic body was lifting drinking water from 110 bores for distribution to Rajkot city.

Meanwhile, women from Mavdi area of Rajkot led by BJP leaders , marched to the civic office on Wednesday demanding adequate water supply. They raised slogans against civic officials for their failure to supply water. They said that the 2,500 litres of water being provided to them was insufficient and more water should be supplied to them. The entire functioning of the civic body was paralysed for almost two hours.

Lack of clarity on SSP irks Amarsinh Friday, January 12, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Opposition leader Amarsinh Chaudhary has said that Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has failed to obtain a clear-cut assurance on the timetable for constructing the Sardar Sarovar dam at the top-level Narmada Control Authority Review Committee meeting held on Wednesday between Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Chaudhary told news persons here on Thursday that "there seems to be no clarity as to when the work for raising the dam height from the current 90 metres to 95 metres will begin".

Doubting the schedule worked out at the NCA Review Committee meeting, in which MP Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, the Maharashtra irrigation minister and a senior official from Rajasthan participated, with Union water resources minister Arjun Kumar Shethi acting as mediator, Chaudhary said, "I fail to understand why we did not demand disbandment of the Central team under secretary, social justice and empowerment, which comes here now to review the resettlement of oustees before allowing an upward revision to the dam's height."

Even as Chaudhary, a former Congress CM, said the review of resettlement work was being "ably looked after by the Supreme Court-appointed Independent Grievances Redressal Authority" and hence there was little need for duplication, a top source close to the CM told TOI that the Central official team "too was appointed by the Supreme Court" in 1996. "Without the Central team's clearance, the NCA, comprising chief secretaries of the four states and other Narmada officials, cannot allow the dam height to be raised further," the source added.

Chaudhary, who talked to news persons here on Thursday, said, "This duplication will not allow the dam to be completed in the next 10 years, even if we may have agreed on a timetable to take the dam height to the full reservoir level of 138 metres by 2005 ... The state government has just failed to solve one hurdle after another from MP and Maharashtra. The latest is the appointment of a committee by Maharashtra to review the resettlement of its oustees." He added, "I fail to understand, why the state government is shy of taking any help from us or involving us in pro-Narmada activity."

Accusing the state government of going "extremely slow" in the command area development of the Narmada dam, Chaudhary said, "While some canals may have been built, there has been virtually no work on its tributaries. Even if we agree that the state is able to reach the full reservoir level by 2005, lack of even a preliminary survey on command area development would it difficult to take Narmada waters to far flung areas in the next 10 years."

Chaudhary's tough statement came amidst the powerful Narmada establishment in the state capital rejoicing over the "great success" it achieved at the NCA Review Committee meet in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Insiders claimed it was for the first time that MP had agreed to raise the dam height to 138 metres. "This has never happened earlier. Till now, it had agreed to raise the dam height to 110 metres only. The very fact that it has agreed to work for resettlement of the oustees up to 138 metres shows that its earlier stiff stance is changing," an official said.

Even on constructing the integrated by-pass tunnel, which Gujarat considers as essential to take waters to far-flung areas during lean monsoon years when the Narmada reservoir fails to get enough waters, the officials claimed a "breakthrough". Said an official, "MP was very stiff on the issue. In the last NCA meet between officials of the four states, MP did not want to discuss the matter as it was not part of the Narmada Tribunal Award. This time, the MP CM, even while refusing to agree on the tunnel, has softened his stance. Now, he wants to negotiate. This is quite unusual."

Lineman's alertness averts major railway mishap between Kim and Kosamba Friday, January 12, 2001

VADODARA: A lineman of Western Railway averted a major accident by spotting a fractured track between Kim and Kosamba stations.

The lineman, Maniabhai, detonated a light explosive to alert the August Kranti Express approaching from Mumbai. Engine driver of August Kranti understood the message and halted the train. A message was relayed to the WR headquarters in Mumbai.

It was learnt that the WR has decided to felicitate Maniabhai for his alertness. Vadodara divisional railway manager B B Mudgil was not available to comment on the case.

Double suicide: One Fugli Rathwa (20) and her niece Jagi Rathwa (15) committed suicide by consuming poison at Bhunjar village in Kanwat taluka on Tuesday. The police have recovered two empty bottles of nail polish and two small stainless steel bowls from the spot.

The police have not been able to establish the reason behind the suicides. Sub divisional police officer D B Chavda is investigating the case. Police said the two bodies were lying about four feet from each other. Police said there were signs of strangulation. "It seems that they were strangulated after consuming the poison," said a police official.

Man robbed: One Bachu Tribhovandas Patel was robbed of Rs 1.18 lakh cash while he was on his way to Ahmedabad from Surat. According to the complaint filed at Sayajigunj police station, Patel was travelling in a state transport bus when a fellow passenger offered him 'biscuits that allegedly contained sedatives'. "I dozed off immediately after eating the biscuits. The passenger took away my bag. This happened when our bus reached Vadodara ST depot," Patel said in his complaint. Patel was carrying cash for his brother in Ahmedabad.

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