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December 21, 2000 - December 22, 2000

First-ever garment park to come up near Sachin Friday, December 22, 2000

SURAT: The first-ever garment park of the state will come up near Sachin. At a meeting held here on Monday, a committee was formed to frame a blueprint for the proposed garment park, under the district collector. The second such park in the state will come up in Ahmedabad.

This decision was approved on Monday by representatives of Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), New Delhi, Ministry of Textiles and textile manufacturing units from Surat, Vapi and Mumbai.

According to the SGCCI president Bharat Gandhi, a committee under the district collector will frame a blueprint for the proposed garment park. The state government has agreed in principle to allocate land for the purpose near Sachin, but its exact location is yet to be finalised.

The Union ministry of textiles has long been planning to effect measures to consolidate the fragmented textile industries in the city, which produce most of the synthetic yarn in the country, but have not been able to derive benefits from the several schemes announced by the ministry.

The proposed garment park will have facilities to access the world market for resourcing raw materials or for exporting garments, says Surat Artsilk Manufacturers Association president Arun Jariwala. The park will also be equipped with the latest testing facilities for determining the quality of yarns. An advanced centre on the lines of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) will be a part of the park. A training centre will also be a part of the park to meet the requirements for skilled personnel for the industry.

A requisition for uninterrupted power supply has been made to the state government, according to Gandhi. A central effluent treatment plant will also be constructed in the park for effective discharge of industrial waste. Recycling of waste for power generation is also under study, according to Jariwala.

Since the garment industry is primarily dependent on women work force, policies regarding duty hours presently in force in the country are also being considered. Industrialists' demand to engage the labour force on hire-and-fire basis is also being studied, according to Jariwala.

Two undertrials escape Friday, December 22, 2000

VADODARA: Two more undertrials escaped on Tuesday while they were being brought back to Vadodara Central Jail. The incident took place near Palej (Bharuch district) on national highway number 8 when Anil Ramnath and Sumanth Ramanbhai dodged four armed policemen and escaped under the pretext of going to the lavatory.

One more undertrial, Ravindra Vishwanath who was with Anil and Sumanth, was nabbed while attempting to run away. The fourth undertrial Siyaram, however, did not attempt to flee.

Police had taken the four undertrials to the sessions court in Selvas. All the four were arrested for a loot and murder case in Vapi. A case was registered against them on October 6, 1997 at Vapi. They were later sentenced to seven years of rigorous' imprisonment.

"In the last three years, the four accused have been taken to Selvas session courts regularly, for hearing. However, this time they tricked the armed escort and absconded", police sources said. One of the four-armed police escorts Ramabhai Somabhai informed the Bharuch district superintendent of police about the incident and lodged a case in the local police station.

City police commissioner J Mahapatra has admitted of security lapses. He said action would be taken against the constables who have erred.

Incidentally, in the current year over half-a-dozen undertrials have escaped, despite the presence of armed policemen. Almost all who fled employed the same trick to fool their escort and escape.

Earlier last month undertrial and accused for smuggling 'charas' in city, Azadkhan Bashirkhan Pathan, a resident of Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, fled from the court premises here. Pathan was arrested from Fatehgunj area early this year. He was carrying a 2 kg 'charas' consignment. Later, some more stock was found from the boarding lodge in Mangalbazar area, where Pathan had been staying. Two separate police complaints were lodged against him.

Optimise use of IT, police graduates told Friday, December 22, 2000

VADODARA: Additional director-general of police (training) S Banerjee has urged policemen to make extensive use of IT and forensic science in crime detection and interrogation.

Present for the attestation ceremony and passing out parade of the police training school graduates, Banerjee said it was important for the trainees, fresh recruits and existing police officers to optimise on IT and forensic techniques.

"We are always in the pursuit of bettering training and education for future policemen. It is important to adopt to the new environment and maximise on the advantages of information technology", Banerjee implied in his speech. He implored the graduates to be physically and mentally alert and be ready to accept the challenges of policing.

Banerjee also said that a team from the Bureau of Police Research and Development, New Delhi had recently visited all police training centres in the state and is to submit a quality audit report. "This will be an important document and help improve the training schools", Banerjee said.

Keshubhai casts a spell; BJP rebels have change of heart Thursday, December 21, 2000

GANDHINAGAR: Chief minister Keshubhai Patel on Tuesday succeeded, even if temporarily, in containing the growing murmurs against him in the aftermath of the BJP's debacle in the local body elections.

Most of the ministers who were threatening to raise the banner of revolt refused to utter a word against Keshubhai on Tuesday while representing before the nine-member fact-finding committee headed by state higher education minister Bharat Barot.

The panel entrusted with the task of finding out the reasons for the BJP's defeat, will be presenting its preliminary report to the BJP's Gujarat in-charge Jana Krishnamurthy, who is expected here shortly.

The 'rebels', however, are believed to have directed their ire at the BJP's organisational wing headed by organisational secretary Sanjay Joshi and state party president Rajendrasinh Rana. The distribution of tickets was in the hands of the party organisation and not the government leadership, they underlined.

Culture minister Mahendra Trivedi said in a statement submitted to the panel, he had made it clear that the party organisation from top to bottom needs to be revamped "if we do not wish to face an electoral defeat in future polls".

Trivedi said in the nine-point representation he had emphasised that "induction from outside into the BJP should stop to ensure proper selection of candidates".

Sanjay Joshi happens to be an RSS hard-liner inducted into the state BJP by the Sangh Parivar's headquarters in Nagpur.

Asked whether he had raised government failures which might have affected the BJP's prospects, Trivedi retorted, "I am part of the government. How can I speak against it?"

Water resources minister Narottam Patel, who is said to be unhappy with the CM's interference in the affairs of the Surat city BJP unit, is said to have sought "drastic changes" in the party organisation.

When contacted, Narottam Patel said what transpired between him and the committee was "confidential", but remarked, "I did mention what was happening in Surat, but only in passing. Surat is only part of a larger ailment."

Narottam Patel, who went to represent his case with another 'rebel' Surat MLA Dhirubhai Gajera, is believed to have stressed the need to change the CM's "over-centralisation" of power in his hands. But he spent most of the 45 minutes he spent with the committee criticising the manner in which the candidates were selected by the party headed by an "outsider" (Sanjay Joshi).

Government insiders said one reason why the 'rebels' had toned down their attack on Keshubhai was his decision to set up an eight-member forum of senior leaders, including so-called dissident leaders - industries minister Suresh Mehta and Union textile minister Kashiram Rana. The forum, which already has held two meetings, has seen at least one of the two, Mehta, tamed rather effectively.

The insiders also said Keshubhai had cleverly met with various sections of influential rebels at his residence informally over the past few days, instead of spending time attending public functions in various parts of the state.

A senior MLA revealed he had been offered a ministerial berth during the Cabinet expansion likely to take place after the Bharat Barot committee submits its final report by December-end.

The Barot committee members met Keshubhai, Suresh Mehta and finance minister Vajubhai Vala at their residences separately. Mehta was down with fever and could not make an effective representation, said sources close to him.

Gadvi, Raval front-runners for GPCC president post Thursday, December 21, 2000

AHMEDABAD: The Congress was close to selecting a new Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief late on Tuesday evening and the party had narrowed down the choice to two candidates - MLA Naresh Raval and former union minister B.K. Gadvi.

Party leaders were expected to take a final decision at a meeting on Tuesday evening and communicate it to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. Gadvi is a supporter of former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki who was himself keenly eyeing the GPCC president's post. A senior central leader involved in the deliberations said even though Gadvi was a Solanki man, he appears to be "reasonably balanced".

Raval's candidature, on the other hand, is being propped up by Ahmed Patel, the former AICC treasurer. Raval is a sitting MLA from Vijapur in Mehsana and also the chief Whip of the Congress in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha. Significantly, while both GPCC president C D Patel and Raval were Ahmed Patel loyalists, Raval used to be often critical of the president's style of functioning.

The battle, in effect, has narrowed down to the old Congressmen with both the new entrants - the Janata Dal (Gujarat) and Rashtriya Janata Party - being marginalised in the race. The JD(G) had put forth Urmilaben Patel's name while the RJP constituent had great hopes in Shankersinh Vaghela emerging as the winner.

A party source currently involved in the negotiations said "we are accepting Solanki's demand that C.D. Patel be replaced, but to make him (Solanki) the president in his place would be taking things too far". The sources further said that if caste was taken into consideration, Gadvi, a Kshatriya and a former MP from Banaskantha, had a better chance than Raval, a Brahmin.

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