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November 28, 2000 - December 1, 2000

Kandla port equipped with modern amenities Friday, December 1, 2000

RAJKOT: Kandla port has been equipped with the modern amenities for speedy handling of cargo. Other facilities have also been made available at the port.

Giving details, chairman of the Kandla Port Trust C K Joti said that high power tugs and modern cranes had been purchased at the total cost of Rs 51 crore, to enable it to carry out operations smoothly. Joti further said that steps were being taken to implement an ambitious five-year plan for the development of port which topped among 11 major ports of the country in handling cargo. Rupees 800 crore had been earmarked for the same.

Six new high power tugs of 35 metric tonnes capacity each have been purchased at the cost of Rs 36 crore for speedy handling of cargo. Two cranes have also been purchased at the cost of Rs 15 crore with a capacity of lifting about 20 to 25 metric tonnes of cargo. This is in addition to four modern heavy duty tugs of 12 to 16 metric tonnes capacity each.

Besides, other necessary equipment like tractors, loaders, mobile crane, containers etc. have also been purchased. The customs area has been increased by 76.5 hectares of land in addition to 116.3 hectares of land for storing various goods in the port area. Railway tracks would be laid for providing broad gauge railway facilities to new extended area of the port, Joti said.

He said that godown capacity would be increased from 5.46 lakh metric tonnes to 7.39 lakh metric tonnes while storing capacity of tankers would be raised from 6,30,248 kilolitres of oil and liquid chemicals.

The Samkhayali-Palanpur metre gauge section would be converted into broad gauge at a cost of Rs 300 crore under the five-year

plan with joint partnership with the Port Trust and Railways. Better traffic management system will be introduced in the Gulf of Kutch and seven radar stations will be installed, Joti said.

Resentment over choice of RMC education committee chairman Friday, December 1, 2000

RAJKOT: The general rule of forming any education committee of the municipal corporation is that it should be headed by a qualified, educated person who knows what best is for the world of education. However, the Congress leaders at the Rajkot Municipal Corporation have openly flouted this rule and are keen to make a person who is not even SSC pass as chairman of the education committee of the civic body.

Sources in the civic body told this correspondent that senior Congress leader and former minister Manoharsinh Jadeja has been favouring the candidature of Nathalal Kiyana, who is non-matric. Not only that, as many as 85 per cent elected Congress corporators are opposing the candidature of Kiyana. The issue has also been taken up at the state and central level.

Incidentally, Thursday was the last day for filing of nominations for the education board committee. The committee has 15 members of which three were government nominees, eight seats were for general category, three for SSC pass or PTC and one seat for a scheduled tribe candidate.

What was even more interesting was the fact that last time also Jadeja had pleaded the case of Kiyana when Sushilaben Sheth was the education minister. Kiyana had lost the election due to cross-voting and a BJP candidate was elected as chairman of the education committee.

This time also, a similar situation prevailed. As many as three other candidates were in the fray. Unfortunately for Kiyana and Jadeja, they were dissidents and in case they garner the support of the BJP which has 25 members in the House of 69 corporators, Kiyana and the Congress may tend to loose the post which may go to the BJP.

Sources also pointed out that there were more educated people in the city who could fill the bill for the Congress. It was said that the other educated people included Mahesh Chauhan who is a university senate member, Parkin Raja who is an advocate, Takubha Rathod, Nidit Barot and Ilyaskhan Pathan who is a graduate. It is not yet known why Jadeja was keen to support the candidature of Kiyana.

Another contentious issue was that of the deputy chairman of the education committee which Jadeja was keen to offer to Labhu Nagdan Ahir. Incidentally, Ahir was allegedly involved in the lathakand which killed 30 people. Ahir has openly threatened Jadeja that if he would not be made the deputy chairman, he would spoil his party in the city. Ahir is just seventh standard passed.

On the other hand, the Congress has been neglecting the backward classes, Muslims and Harijans in the formation of its committees. The Congress leaders strongly feel that their victory in the municipal corporation was due to the role of the Patels and hence they were given important places in the set-up.

Take the case of standing committee chairman Ladhabhai Borsadia who even could not differentiate between an inch and a foot and yet he was given the key post. It is also no secret by now that the mayor's post was also being manoeuvred by Jadeja through back stage handling.

The Congress leaders also maintain that the choice was not right and the post could have gone to a leader like Indranil Rajguru who is well educated. He happened to be a student of Rajkumar College. Another case of a bad choice of good people was that of Mohanbhai Sojitra who has been made leader of the Congress. Some of the Congress leaders have also drawn the attention of the state and Central leaders of the goings-on in the party at the corporation level.

Morbi labourers ransack industrial units Friday, December 1, 2000

RAJKOT: Tensions ran high in Morbi town on Thursday when a mob of local labourers ransacked industrial units and set them afire to protest against employment given to outstation labourers.

The police resorted to lathi-charge and fired two rounds in the air to quell the attackers. The labourers, opposing the policy of many industrial units to provide employment to outstation labourers, resorted to rioting. The worst-affected units were the ones in Lakhdirpur, Ghutu Road, Sobheshwar Road etc.

The rioting mob was joined by more labourers as news spread and violence could not be controlled for nearly four hours. According to sources, affected industries included Rajmoti, Sigma, Eagle, Jupiter, Surgloss and other units.

Two policemen were injured in the rioting. Morbi chamber president Becharbhai Patel termed the incident as unfortunate.

Laws prohibiting distress sale no bar for ghettoisation Tuesday, November 28, 2000

AHMEDABAD: A vice-president of a leading export house moved into a company flat in a high-rise complex one year back and faced opposition from the residents as she belonged to another community. When she refused to budge, the residents approached her chairman to remove her from the appartment.

* A general manager of a large pharmaceutical company hunted for a house in the western neighbourhoods of the city for nearly six months, but the flat owners turned his request down because the blocks were occupied by only one community. Finally, the company provided him its own flat to stay.

These two senior executives were just getting a taste of a widely prevalent phenomenon in Ahmedabad called ghettoisation of communities withdrawing into their own havens of 'safety'. The process which began in the early 1980s has virtually turned the whole of Ahmedabad, except for the few neighbourhoods which still have a mixed population, into localities inhabited by one community or the other.

The only exceptions, police officials say, are the areas of Kalupur, Dariapur, Jamalpur, Shahpur and Paldi which still have communities co-existing , albeit with frequent outbursts of tension and violence.

The ghettoisation - shifting of communities from areas inhabited by the dominant community - has been taking place for the past 20 years despite the existence of the Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Properties and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991, which replaced the original Act of 1986.

The Act is enforced in 26 police station areas of Ahmedabad covering a substantial portion of the city and prevents distress sale of property from member of one community to another.

However, people have circumvented the Act by giving power of attorney to the buyers for use of the property and through other means of getting around the law. Says city police commissioner P C Pandey "We have ourselves pointed out to the government certain bogus transactions whenever they come to our notice, but the law is very weak and difficult to enforce," he said.

Pandey admits that the process of ghettoisation is "not a good sign for the development of any city, it is also not conducive to maintaining law and order in the long run because of the divide it creates between communities". He said it is difficult to prevent the exodus from a place of a particular a community because of the fear of riots".

In many cases, the residents had fled the area, like Shahpur, because of stray incidents of stabbing which targeted a particular community.

However, police sources say that while the communities have moved out of the residential areas, they still have retained their shops and other establishments in these same areas. Areas like Relief Road have shops belonging to both communities.

A former police official says the polarisation was disturbing. He says when members of different communities are living next door, there is mutual respect as well as mutual fear. Gathering of intelligence is easy in an area with mixed population, while in a ghetto it is difficult for the police to penetrate and develop channels of information.

The process of ghettoisation has been encouraged by the leaders of respective communities . For example, the attempt to burn down Bhagyoday restaurant in the Gurukul area last year and the bomb blast in an apartment block in Paldi were part of this design. As a result, localities are now being named after the communities which inhabit it, like Navrangpura Muslim Society in front of the Navrangpura police station or the Shilalekh Hindu Society in Shahibaug.

When learning is 'involement' Tuesday, November 28, 2000

AHMEDABAD: EUREKA 2000 held at DLA Academy For Little People, stood loyal to its name as children of class KG to class IV discovered and explored the world around them, through first-hand experiences. The science fair was a part of the school curriculum that holds a 'non-academic week' once in every term. "All that a child has learnt in the last term has been presented," said the principal of the school.

Overhead projectors (OHP) were used to display the transparencies that showed how a bird takes flight. "We often make use of OHPs in class-rooms to make learning easier and fun-filled," informed Nishreen Rafique, teacher of Learning Adventures. Her subject seems to cover everything under the sun that could provide the 'zing' element in life.

As one went into the arena of the four-year olds, one was sure to be zapped at their comprehension of some really difficult topics water cycle, means of transport, the occurrence of day and night, clothes for different seasons, displacement of water et al. Their not so senior school mates had in store some even more amazing revelations: How a jet takes off, air has weight and occupies space, kaleidoscope, periscope, volcanic eruption, working of a camera, how soft drinks lead to tooth decay, osmosis, combustion etc.

The working of the human heart was shown using multi-media effects on a large screen. "It becomes simpler for the children to relate to their texts through recollections of the experiences here," said Sarita Mitra, teacher of English and Social Studies.

"When I came to Gujarat, I felt that there wasn't much exposure for children and there was a need to expand their horizons. We have planed our curriculum accordingly," said Sunita Mehrotra, who teaches Science and Maths and was also the brain behind the fair. She stressed the need to instil the confidence to speak fluently in children, which is why the students did all the talking in the presentation, with the teachers prompting them wherever they needed help.

On the whole, the show was one to be emulated by others so as to make learning a process of visual and tactile experience and involvement.

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