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November 15, 2000 - November 16, 2000

Hapa-Howrah super fast train from December 6 Thursday, November 16, 2000

RAJKOT: At long last, the promised Hapa-Howrah super fast train will be flagged off on December 6. Final arrangements are being made for the inaugural run.

The train will probably be flagged off by Union railway minister Mamta Banerjee at Howrah station while minister of state for railways Digvijay Singh will do so at Hapa station

Sources in railways told this correspondent that the train would leave Howrah around 11.5 pm on December 6 and arrive in Rajkot via Bhusaval, Jalgaon and Surat on December 8 around 4.10 pm and leave at 4.25 pm to reach Hapa at 6 pm.

The time table for the weekly super fast train is being finalised by railway authorities. The train has been numbered 2905 from Hapa and 2906 from Howrah. It would cover the distance of 2,475 km within 40 hours. The train would follow the route of Ahmedabad-Howrah Express but would be much faster with lesser stops.

The reservation for the train would begin soon. It would have nine sleepr coaches, one AC coach, three general coaches and two luggage vans. The number of coaches would increase after examining the demand of passengers.

HC sets aside order in Bhatt, Pathak case Thursday, November 16, 2000

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday set aside charges framed against former state Health Minister Ashok Bhatt and former Union Minister of State for Defence Harin Pathak, both of whom resigned recently, and directed the sessions court to hear the case again on November 21, after the accused were provided all documents and given a chance to make submissions.

The order was issued by Justice A K Trivedi in response to the petition moved by Ghanshyam Mehta and Mayur Dave.

The decision is expected to give a new lease of life to the two ministers. The court's decision came even as the two former ministers joined a huge procession in the city to thank people who had stood by them in "this hour of crisis".

Government pleader Arun D Oza stated that it was found on perusal of the order dated November 7, passed by the additional sessions court of Ahmedabad, that the charges against the accused had been framed without taking into account certain documents, namely the inspection report of the court.

The court ordered that the charges as framed by the additional session court in-charge were not only contrary to the law, but also in violation of the direction given by the High Court.

The government pleader also stated that the order of the committee constituted by the High Court referred to in the application would be tabled in the sessions court, after supplying copies to all the accused on or before November 21.

The state government was directed to produce on record the report submitted by the court committee after supplying copies to all the accused. The accused have been given liberty to make submission with respect to charges and to claim discharge on the basis of the paper supplied.

Advocates S B Vakil and J M Panchal appeared for the petitioners. It may be recalled that the charges were framed against the two ministers and eight others for unlawful assembly, injury to policemen on duty, attempt to murder and murder during communal riots on April 22, 1985. A police constable Laxman Jabbabhai Desai was attacked and killed by a mob while another, Ratiram Yadav, was injured.

Reacting to the court decision, Ashok Bhatt said, "We have achieved 50 per cent of what we set out to achieve; let us see what is the outcome of the November 21 hearing." Harin Pathak could not be contacted for his comment.

Rajkot MC to check sale of gutkha near schools, colleges. Thursday, November 16, 2000

RAJKOT: The Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) authorities have instructed its health department to initiate steps to check sale of gutkha near schools and colleges in the city.

About 4,000 packets of gutkha were seized by the health staff from paan and beedi shops from different areas of the city on Wednesday. The directive against gutkha has been issued following a laboratory report that gutkha contains a substance like magnesium carbonate which can cause cancer.

The laboratory conducted tests on samples of Panking, Manekchand, Goa, Mahek and Kuber collected by the health staff from the city. It was found that these five gutkha brands contained substances harmful to health.

Deputy municipal commissioner P P Vyas has further asked health authorities to send other brands of gutkha to the laboratary for testing.

Authorities are also thinking of launching a drive against consumption of gutka in the city as it is harmful to health, sources said.

Congress leaders congratulate Sonia Thursday, November 16, 2000

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee President C D Patel and Congress Legislature Party leader Amarsinh Chaudhary have congratulated Sonia Gandhi, who won the party elections by a whopping majority in the results declared on Wednesday evening.

The leaders said that the victory had shown that the workers had reinstilled confidence in Sonia while giving a fitting rejoinder to her rival candidate.

The other leaders who congratulated her are Ahmedabad City District Congress Committee president Rajkumar Gupta and state president of the NSUI Mihir Shah besides Jayantilal Parmar and Naresh Rawal.

BNP-Cong combine wrest Dadra, Nagar Haveli seats Wednesday, November 15, 2000

VALSAD: Re-establishing his grip on the tribal electorate, five-time MP Mohan Delkar led the coalition of his newly formed Bharatiya Navshakti Party (BNP) and the Congress to a landslide victory once again as results to the recent elections to the district and gram panchayats of the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli were announced on Tuesday.

While the BNP-Congress combine bagged 10 of the 12 seats of the apex local governing body and got nearly two-thirds of the seats of the gram panchayats with over 81 seats, the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition, considered a formidable opposition, had to remain content with 36 gram panchayat seats and two district panchayat seats.

The Samata Party failed to win even a single seat in the district panchayat but managed three of the 124 gram panchayat seats. Independents won four gram panchayat seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party, however, failed to open its account.

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