Gujarat Rajkot News

Gujarat: 7 cops hurt in liquor den raid Surendranagar
Times of India | 21 hours ago | |
Times of India
21 hours ago | |

RAJKOT: Seven police personnel were injured when a raiding party was attacked by a mob during the arrest of a woman bootlegger in Surendranagar on Thursday night. The police booked 18 persons. According to a complaint filed at A Division police station in Surendranagar, the police raided the country-made liquor den of Fatima Jeda in the new railway station area of the town based on specific information. Police have been strictly instructed to shut down all liquor dens in view of the assembly election. During the raid, the police found three kilns for brewing of liquor and arrested Fatima. When the police team was taking her outside, she started screaming and asked people to gather and prevent the police personnel from taking her. Soon, a mob gathered there and she provoked people to attack the police team. The mob asked police to release Fatima. The police tried to convince them but they did not listen to police and attacked the personnel with sticks and pipes. The police also used sticks in their defence. In the process, seven police personnel received injuries and were hospitalized. The police booked 18 persons — Fatima Jeda, Rehman Jeda, Juned Jeda, Abu Jeda, Javed Jeda, Aamin Jeda, Nizam Jeda, Aarif Jeda, Anwar Samtani, Nurjaha Jeda, Aayesha Jeda, Rasik Jeda, Irfan Jeda, Firoz Jeda, Nasim Jeda, Mariyam Jeda, Faruk Jeda and Latif Jeda — under various sections of IPC.

Gujarat: 7 cops hurt in liquor den raid Surendranagar
How Congress performs in urban areas?
Times of India | 1 day ago | |
Times of India
1 day ago | |

NEW DELHI: A glance at the voting pattern in Gujarat's urban clusters in the last two assembly elections leaves no room for ambiguity- they have been a saffron bastion, with green apearing in sporadic patches. Overall, the Congress put up a vastly improved showing in 2017, winning 99 seats in the 182-member assembly- 38 more than 2012. But the trend did not reflect in most of the 73 'urban' seats across Gujarat. The BJP won 56, and the Congress 17- adding just 3 to its 2012 tally of 14. Most of these came from in and around Ahmedabad, and a couple from the Rajkot region. What factors could hold the key this time? New voters could be one, for sure. A comparison of the number of voters in Gujarat in 2017 and 2022 shows that 12 of 20 assembly constituencies that registered the maximum increase over the past five years are in urban areas. Perhaps it is safe to assume that migration is a factor behind these seats adding new voters. Is it a reflection of better economic opportunities created in towns and cities? If so, then is it driven by synergy between the BJP governments at the Centre and in state? Also, Gujarat's cities have seen several big ticket projects over the past few years- including in infrastructure, industry and transportation spaces. No surprise then, the BJP is betting hard on the development plank to woo voters. Stopping the BJP juggernaut in Gujarat's urban clusters will be key to the Congress's chances in the state.

How Congress performs in urban areas?
Rajkot school installs war trophy T-55 battle tank on its campus
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

Battle tank T-55, a war trophy of the Indian Army, was unveiled on the campus of Rajkumar College (RKC) in Rajkot Thursday. Designed by Soviet Russia and considered the best in their class then, the T-55 battle tanks played a key role in India’s victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war that led to creation of Bangladesh.India had procured T-55 tanks from Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia in various batches during 1966-67. The T-55s were later phased out from armoury and have since classified them as derelict and war trophies. While those classified as derelict are used for weapons training, others classified as war trophies are given for public display. RKC has procured the tank from the Central Armoured Fighting Vehicle Depot in Pune through the Directorate of Ordnance, Ministry of Defence.“We are sure the display of the war trophy tank T55 in the school campus will continue to motivate more students of our school as well as other youths from our city to join the forces,” the school stated in a release. With this, RKC becomes the first non-military school in Gujarat to have a war trophy tank installed on its campus.Sujan Chinoy, director general of Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, and former Indian Ambassador to Japan and Mexico, unveiled the tank in the presence of Lieutenant General KS Brar, the director general of armoured Corps of the Indian Army and officers of the National Cadet Corps.Incidentally, a Mig-27 fighter jet decommissioned by the Indian Air Force is on public display in Kotecha Chowk of the city. Thus, the T-55 battle tank became the second war trophy on display in Rajkot.Chinoy, an alumnus of RKC, said he felt getting a battle tank installed in the college after finding one in Rajkumar College, Raipur in Chhattisgarh last year.

Rajkot school installs war trophy T-55 battle tank on its campus
Gujarat toll plazas flout 60km rule
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

RAJKOT: While Union minister Nitin Gadkari had assured the parliament in March this year that there will no two toll plazas with 60km distance, Gujarat has 15 that breaches this rule. Even though the Union minister had then stated that he will ensure shutting one down within three months, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) admitted that there are 175 toll plazas across the country within distance of 60 kilometres . In fact, the lowest distance found in Gujarat between two toll plazas is just 21km between Nadiad and Anand! This was learnt from a reply of a RTI application filed by Rajkot-based RTI activist Shailendrasinh Jadeja. The NHAI said that fee plazas within distance of 60 km are permitted under sub rule 2 of rule 8 of NH fee rules 2008 and fee rules 1997. After three months of Gadkari’s statement to the parliament, Jadeja had filed an RTI application with the NHAI seeking information regarding how many toll plazas exist within 60kmS distance, what are the procedures to shut these plazas down as per the minister’s statement and how much amount had been collected in these plazas. Jadeja, however, did not get reply from NHAI within the stipulated time. He filed a second appeal with central information commission (CIC) and received a list of toll plazas located within 60km distance but did not get a reply on the total collection made in these. In a letter he wrote to minister Gadikari last week, Jadeja attached the RTI reply and asked: “This RTI reply shows that the assurance given to the citizens has not been implemented by the office under your control. This is a betrayal of the people.”

Gujarat toll plazas flout 60km rule
Rajkot: Jewellers allege ‘harassment’ by surveillance teams of Election Commission
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

RAJKOT: Jewellers of Rajkot have threatened to boycott the Assembly election and go on an indefinite strike if what they call harassment by the surveillance teams of the Election Commission does not stop. Various associations have submitted memorandums to the district collector and police commissioner highlighting their concerns. According to jewellers, the surveillance teams have cordoned off the entire Soni Bazar and Palace Road and they are checking not only the vehicles but also the purses of customers, traders and workers coming there. Surveillance teams have also been deployed big showrooms on Palace Road and some buildings where many shops are located. Rajkot is famous for jewellery making. Generally, traders from nearby small centres come to Rajkot for making jewellery, buying bullion and repairing of ornaments. They normally exchange bullion and ornaments. For example, a jeweller looking for ornaments of a particular design would come to the market with bullion and order for the ornaments. Workers who make jewellery for various jewellers take bullion form the jewellers and supply ornaments. This entire transaction is run on ‘kaccha chittha’. “But the surveillance teams don’t consider ‘kaccha note’ and they seize the jewellery and ask us to collect it after election by producing relevant documents,’’ said a jeweller. Because of this “harassment”, traders from nearby small centres have stopped coming to Rajkot now, he claimed. Mayur Adesara, secretory of Gems and Jewellery Association of Rajkot, said: “The teams check our men on the public road. We do not know who else watches during this checking. Checking on the public road exposes our men to danger. Who will be responsible if that worker is attacked with the intention of robbery?” According to jewellers, this is a marriage season and customers come to the market with huge cash but they are being harassed and asked to produce documents and cash amount up to Rs 2 lakh to 3 lakh is being seized. The jewellers say they do not have any problem if police intercept people on specific information. Association president Divyesh Patadiya said, “We have given an ultimatum and if the situation continues, we will be forced to close down the market and boycott the election.” There are about 700 retail and wholesale shops in Soni Bazar and over 1,000 other shops of workers who take the job of ornament making.

Rajkot: Jewellers allege ‘harassment’ by surveillance teams of Election Commission
390 PASA detainees in Gujarat prisons set to vote in assembly polls
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

Here, booths record near-100% voter turnout — state prisons are getting ready to provide ballots to 390 persons detained under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act. Voting at prisons is likely to take place next week, ahead of the first round of voting on December 1 for the general public. One of the detainees, Abdul Kadir Mehboob Saiyed, 40, currently lodged at Rajkot Central Jail, had filled up the form to contest for the Navsari constituency as a Social Democratic Party of India candidate. However, according to the Election Commission of India (ECI) website, his form was rejected. State prisons department officials said that as of Tuesday evening, jails had 390 persons , including 381 men and nine women, were detained under PASA. These detainees will cast their votes if they remain behind bars next week. Prison officials said thatmore often than not, the category records almost 100% voting. K L N Rao, ADGP (prisons), said that all preparations have been made to ensure that prisoners eligible to vote can do so. The department’s officials said that according to the procedure, the names of the detainees are sent to the ECI along with their names and constituencies they belong to. “After verification, the ECI issues sealed postal ballots which are given to the detainees. They tick the name and the symbol of the candidate they have chosen after which the envelope is sealed again and sent to the returning officer,” said an official. “These ballots are tallied first when the counting starts. ” Experts said that convicts and undertrials are not allowed to vote in line with the election commission’s directive. State prisons have their own system of organizing elections to form internal committees of inmates to run the administration in prisons. This exercise also involves canvassing for candidates.

390 PASA detainees in Gujarat prisons set to vote in assembly polls
Morbi bridge tragedy: Bail pleas of 8 accused rejected
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

RAJKOT: The sessions court in Morbi on Wednesday refused bail to eight of the nine accused in the October 30 suspension bridge collapse which had left 135 people dead. The order on the bail plea of the ninth accused, Devang Parmar of DevPrakash Solutions, which had got the subcontract of bridge repairs, is expected today. District government pleader Vijay Jani said, "Principal district and sessions judge PC Joshi rejected the bail application of eight accused. The detailed order is awaited." Morbi bridge collapse: A visual report to explain what might have gone wrongThose who had filed bail pleas were two managers of Oreva Group, Dinesh Dave and Dipak Parekh, subcontractor Prakash Parmar, ticket booking clerks and security guards, Mansukh Topiya, Mahadev Solanki, Alpesh Gohil, Dilip Gohil and Mansukh Chauhan. While opposing their bail plea on Monday, the prosecution had submitted a forensic report which confirmed that the cables of the bridge were rusted, anchors broken and the bolts that connect the cable with anchors were loose. Despite knowing the rickety condition of the bridge, a total of 3,165 were issued on October 30. The prosecution also argued that the security guards were actually labour contractors who had no expertise in crowd management. Also, there was no coordination between the two booking clerks who were issuing tickets at each corner of the bridge.

Morbi bridge tragedy: Bail pleas of 8 accused rejected
  • Court Rejects Bail Plea Of 8 Accused In Gujarat Bridge Tragedy
  • Ndtv

    The British-era suspension bridge collapsed on October 30, claiming 135 lives.Morbi: A court in Gujarat's Mordi on Wednesday rejected bail applications of eight out of nine persons arrested in connection with the suspension bridge collapse tragedy.Principal district and sessions judge P C Joshi said he will pass an order on the bail plea of the ninth accused, Devang Parmar, on Thursday.The British-era suspension bridge collapsed on October 30, claiming 135 lives.The bail applications of Deepak Parekh, Dinesh Dave, Prakash Parmar, Mansukhbhai Topia, Madevbhai Solanki, Alpeshbhai Gohil, Dilipbhai Gohil, and Mukeshbhai Chauhan were rejected, said public prosecutor Vijay Jani.Devang Parmar is a co-proprietor of Dev Prakash Fabrication.Those arrested include Deepak Parekh and three others from the Oreva Group that was managing the suspension bridge.Arguing against their bail pleas, the prosecution had submitted a forensic lab report which noted that the bridge had rusty cables, broken anchor pins, and loose bolts, and these and other issues were not dealt with while renovating it.The FSL report also pointed out that the metal flooring laid during the renovation increased its weight.According to the prosecution, both the repairing contractors engaged by the group, which is mainly in clock manufacturing, were not qualified to carry out such work.Orvea Group had hired Dhrangadhra-based Dev Prakash Solution to renovate the bridge. It collapsed four days after it was thrown open to the public post-renovation.During the hearing, Deepak Parekh's lawyer produced a purchase order issued to Dev Prakash Solution by Oreva Group which said "renovation will be (done) after dismantling the bridge".As per the First Information Report, at least 250 to 300 people were present on the bridge when it collapsed after one of the cables snapped.The Oreva Group allegedly did not hire any expert agency to assess the load-bearing capacity of the bridge.The group had sold 3,165 tickets on October 30 alone and there was no coordination between ticket booking offices on the two sides of the bridge, the prosecution told the court.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe booking clerks, who have been arrested, should have stopped the sale of tickets, it claimed.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayIn Letter To Police, Did Shraddha Walkar Predict Her Own Death?

Congress ‘continuously insulted’ Ambedkar: Amit Shah
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

RAJKOT/ SURENDRANAGAR/SURAT: Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday accused Congress of “continuously insulting” B R Ambedkar and working against the development of backward communities while also pointing to anti-Narmada Dam activist Medha Patkar joining Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ as the “biggest insult” meted out to the state by the opposition party. Addressing a string of rallies at Jasdan (Rajkot), Dasada (Surendranagar) and Bardoli (Surat) in Gujarat, Shah said Congress did continuous injustice to Gujarat and never tried to find a solution to its water problem since independence. He credited the BJP government for ending water scarcity in the Rajkot region of Gujarat and accused Congress of delaying the Sardar Sarovar Dam project. “The foundation stone of Sardar Sarovar Dam was laid by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963, one year before my birth. The water finally reached here when I turned 58. So who stalled the Narmada project? Congress party had stalled this project from 1963 till 2002,” he alleged. “Rahul chose to take along a person who had deprived Gujarat of getting the Narmada water for 20 years. This is the biggest insult meted out to Gujarat by the opposition party,” said Shah Shah said PM Modi had sat on an indefinite hunger strike when he was chief minister of Gujarat against the Congress-led UPA government’s decision to not hike the height of the dam. “Congress insulted Babasaheb Ambedkar. They did not even give Bharat Ratna to Babasaheb.” he said.

Congress ‘continuously insulted’ Ambedkar: Amit Shah
  • Congress Left No Stone Unturned To Insult Sardar Patel: Amit Shah In Gujarat
  • Ndtv

    Amit Shah said that no Congress leader dares to visit the Statue of Unity.Kambhat, Gujarat: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday alleged that the Congress did everything possible to "insult" Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and it has started praising him only now in view of the Gujarat Assembly elections.Even the last rites of the country's first deputy prime minister were performed in "unceremonious" way, the BJP leader said at an election rally at Khambhat in Gujarat's Anand district."I am surprised that the Congress now praises Sardar Patel. Since my childhood, I have never heard any Congress leader talking about Patel. Instead, they left no stone unturned to insult Patel, right from performing his last rites in an unceremonious manner to ensuring that no monument was built in his memory," Mr Shah said.Voting for Khambhat and 92 other seats will take place on December 5, in the second phase of the Assembly elections.Mr Shah further said that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who paid a real tribute to Patel by constructing the Statue of Unity, Patel's statue which is the world's tallest monument.He also dared Congress candidate from Khambhat, Chirag Patel to produce any photograph where he is seen paying tributes to Sardar Patel at the Statue of Unity.No Congress leader dares to visit the Statue of Unity at Kevadia for fear of losing ticket, he claimed.He also accused the Congress of opposing the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya and the Triple Talaq prohibition law for its votebank politics.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"If they support such causes, they fear they will lose those votes. I hope you understand which votes I am talking about. But their time is now over and PM Modi's time has started. Rahul Baba (Gandhi), book a ticket to Ayodhya because a grand temple is going to be inaugurated on January 1, 2024," said Mr Shah.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayWhen Ajay Devgn Met Little Singham

A test off field? Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife & sister play from different teams
Times of India | 4 days ago | |
Times of India
4 days ago | |

RAJKOT: On opposite sides of the electoral fence in Gujarat, cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivaba and sister Naynaba are sparring over the former’s campaign strategy. Naynaba, who is actively working with the Congress, has accused her sister-in-law, who is the BJP candidate from Jamnagar (north), of violating laws. Talking to reporters, Naynaba alleged that Rivaba had been taking along children, many of them sporting cricket uniforms, while campaigning. “Many of these kids are below 10 years of age and this clearly amounts to child labour. Our social worker Subhash Gujarat has filed a complaint with the district election officer to take action. Let’s see if they probe this in a neutral way,” Naynaba said. Rivaba said the allegations had been made “by a Congress worker and not by my sister-in-law”. “I have been actively involved in several campaigns to empower women and youth in my constituency,” Rivaba claimed. Naynaba also alleged that Rivaba, who had not changed her surname even six years after marriage, mentioned her name as Rivaba Solanki (Ravindrasinh) in the election form. “Does she want to use his name for publicity?” she questioned. Dismissing it as a “meaningless” issue, the cricketer’s wife said, “They (Congress) are raking up some technicalities about surname change which exposes their mindset.”

A test off field? Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife & sister play from different teams
Congress: EC operates on BJP directive, denied parking nod to Gehlot’s aircraft
The Indian Express | 4 days ago | |
The Indian Express
4 days ago | |

Accusing the Election Commission (EC) for being hand-in-glove with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat, president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Jagdish Thakor on Tuesday said aircraft belonging to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was denied permission to park in Ahmedabad and had to be taken to Vadodara.Speaking to reporters, Thakor said, “Yesterday (Monday) we got permission to travel from Surat to Mahuva by two helicopters. Initially, permission was denied and after we informed the EC, we got permission. As soon as we reached the airport, permission for one of the helicopters was cancelled.”He added, “The Airport Authority of India told us that due to the rush caused by events of Prime Minister and Home Minister, the permission has been declined. It is our open allegation that EC operates on BJP directive.”“Some days ago, when Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot came, we were told that there was no space at the Ahmedabad airport to park his plane and that it should be taken to Vadodara. But there were only four private planes at the airport,” Thakor said. The GPCC president said a party gets only 3-4 passes to receive VIP guests at airports. “Yesterday when I landed at Ahmedabad airport, I saw at least 30 people waiting to receive a BJP minister near the VIP lounge,” he said adding that rules of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) should apply equally to all national parties.Thakor said tenders for putting up poll advertisements on electricity poles in Rajkot municipal area were given to the BJP without informing the Congress about the publication of the tenders. “We are going to file a formal complaint with the EC on Wednesday,” he added.The GPCC president said that the party was not getting permission to hold meeting in villages from sarpanches aligned with the BJP. He also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should publicise the names of all those who received the 71,000 jobs for which he gave out job-offer letters.

Congress: EC operates on BJP directive, denied parking nod to Gehlot’s aircraft
‘Being in Opp can’t be an alibi’: Vasoya makes MLA work hard sell in Dhoraji
The Indian Express | 5 days ago | |
The Indian Express
5 days ago | |

“Do you pay wages to a person who has laboured on your farm for harvesting and threshing groundnut, one who has picked cotton and sprayed pesticides on the crop, or to the one roaming around in the village just because he is good-looking? Who do you owe wages,” Lalit Vasoya, the sitting Congress MLA from Gujarat’s Dhoraji Assembly constituency, asks a small gathering of farmers in Vadla village in Upleta taluka in Rajkot district, even as a crowd was building up in nearby Dhoraji town for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting Sunday as part of his campaign for the BJP candidates for the upcoming state Assembly polls.Struck by the question, some men from the gathering respond: “Of course to the one labouring on our farmlands.”Seizing on their words, the MLA tells them: “You are right. You pay to the one who labours on your farm. Similarly, I have toiled for your village for five years. Today, it is time for you to pay me my wages. I have come to seek compensation in the form of votes for the work I have done for you.”Vasoya, a prominent Patidar leader, then reels off details of some of his works – building the village’s internal roads at a cost of Rs10.80 lakh and constructing a burial ground’s compound wall at a cost of Rs 80,000 from his MLA local area development (LAD) fund.To drive home the point that he had “favoured” Vadla with a population of around 1,000 despite having trailed by a few votes in the 2017 Assembly election from the polling booth here, Vasoya says, “MLA gets Rs 1.5 crore LAD grant annually. If I were to distribute this grant equally among 82 villages and three municipalities in Dhoraji-Upleta area as per their population and take into account the LAD suspension for one year due to Covid, I can allot Rs 30,000 to your village annually. That means Rs 1.20 lakh in five years. But paying special attention to your village, I allotted my development fund to Vadla, even at the cost of other villages. Therefore, I have the right to seek votes here.”Vasoya, 60, tells farmers that Vadla was among the 18 villages of Upleta which received excessive rainfall this monsoon but were not included by the BJP-ruled state government for surveying crop damage and compensation. “We called a meeting of people of 18 villages in Upleta, then made representations in Gandhinagar and created a ruckus in the Assembly and ensured that farmers of Vadla get compensation against excessive rain. I had told village leaders that if I fail to get you compensation against excessive rain, don’t vote for me in the election. So, this is how I have worked.”Vasoya, who was the Saurashtra zone convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) which was leading the Patidar quota agitation, was given ticket by the Congress to fight his maiden election from Dhoraji in the 2017 polls, which he clinched by defeating BJP candidate Hari Patel.While campaigning for his 2017 bid, Vasoya had announced that he would use his MLA salary for welfare of people and not for personal use. While campaigning for his re-election as a Congress candidate in 2022, he gives an account to his voters in this regard.“Over the past five years, I got a total of Rs 49.50 lakh as salary… Using that money, I organised 34 health screening camps in Dhoraji, Upleta and Bhayavadar areas where free diagnoses were done and medicines distributed. Twelve extremely poor patients were operated upon free. We ran a community kitchen for 21 days during Covid-19 outbreak and fed daily 5,000 initially and then 14,000. From the balance, we installed ceiling fans in anganwadis, gave school uniforms to poor girls studying in government schools, and sent nutrition kits to villages for malnourished and stunted children,” he tells Vadla residents.While campaigning in nearby Sevantra village, Vasoya tells people that their drinking water woes are going to end soon as the Venu-Moj group drinking water supply project to supply treated drinking water to 48 villages of the area is nearing completion.“Under the Nal Se Jal scheme of the Central government, the state government has launched one pilot project each in south Gujarat, central Gujarat, north Gujarat and Saurashtra region. Under the project, sumps will be constructed in villages and piped water will be available even if the feeder line fails for a couple of days,” Vasoya says.“There are many BJP MLAs from Saurashtra. Even ministers are from areas near us. But I used my rapport with then water supply minister Kunvarji Bavaliya to good use despite his switch to the BJP and brought the pilot project to Upleta so that a sump of drinking water is constructed in your village too,” the MLA tells the villagers, adding he had shared the details of the project with them on their WhatsApp accounts.He also tells Sevantra residents how he and his team drove to Surat and arranged 21 luxury buses for people who wanted to return to their native villages in Upelta and Dhoraji talukas during the Covid lockdown in 2020. “We even sent our personal vehicle to help people reach their homes in their villages,” he claims, crediting himself for the community health centre in Upleta being upgraded to a 100-bed hospital at a cost of Rs 16 crore.In Kerala, a village on the bank of Moj river, Bachu Vamrotiya, a village leader, tries to corner Vasoya by complaining about the difficulties faced by farmers to cross the river during the monsoon and how his village has been left out of the crop loss survey on account of excessive rain. “Despite being an Opposition MLA, I have got approved roads and bridges worth Rs 350 crore in Upleta and Dhoraji. I have already allotted Rs 2 lakh for a causeway across Moj river in your village,” Vasoya replies.“But farmers would have got Rs 65 lakh compensation had our village been included among those affected by excessive rain,” Vamrotiya continues. Pacifying him, the politician says, “Wouldn’t I like to claim credit for getting this done? The fact is, the BJP government has excluded a few villages due to narrow political consideratons. Therefore, we have filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court, demanding Kerala and four other villages should also be surveyed and farmers be compensated.”Vasoya barely mentions any state or national leader of the Congress party during his campaign, with Dhoraji being scheduled for polling in the first phase on December 1. “I have to cover 82 villages and three municipality areas for campaigning in few days. I hardly get around 10 minutes to talk during which I barely manage to give account of work we did over the past five years in this constituency,” he tells The Indian Express.Vasoya targets the BJP over price rise and its candidate, Prof Mahendra Padalia, the Rajkot-based former chancellor of Saurashtra University who is a native of Paneli village in Upleta taluka. Calling the BJP candidate an “outsider”, he asks a gathering in Dumiyani village, “Does anyone of you know him? Have you ever seen him?” As the crowd responds negatively, he goes on: “It is our misfortune that every time, BJP fields an outsider in this seat despite having strong local workers. BJP brings people from Rajkot so that the party doen’t have to face people after election. You can easily stop me in the middle of the street but where will you go to find him?”Hari Patel is also a resident of Rajkot and so is Praveen Makadia, the BJP leader who was elected from this seat before Vasoya in a bypoll.The Congress MLA later tells the Express that an Opposition legislator could not rely on excuses that because he is from an Opposition party the works in his constituency could not be done. “You have to raise your voice when needed but you should also have the humility to bow down for the sake of your people. I personally requested agriculture minister Raghavji Patel to include 10 villages in the damage survey. He agreed to include five,” he says.Vasoya also quashes buzz about him cosying up to the BJP. “I meet former minister Jayesh Radadiya and Porbandar MP Ramesh Dhaduk at community events because we are from the same community. I am also a big farmer leader from Saurashtra. Then why is it that media reports that Vasoya is drifting towards the BJP and not Radadiya warming up to Congress.This is because the BJP knows that they won’t be able to defeat me through ballot so they want to create confusion in minds of people by spreading such conspiracy theories,” he charges.

‘Being in Opp can’t be an alibi’: Vasoya makes MLA work hard sell in Dhoraji
No action against ‘real culprits’ of bridge crash as they are linked to BJP: Rahul
The Indian Express | 5 days ago | |
The Indian Express
5 days ago | |

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said no action has been taken against the “real culprits” behind the last month’s collapse of a suspension bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi town, where 135 people were killed, because they share a “good relationship” with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Addressing an election rally in Rajkot, his second in the day, he said while watchmen (posted at the accident site) were arrested and jailed, no action was taken against the real culprits.“When journalists asked me what I think about the Morbi tragedy… I said around 150 people died and this is not a political issue and so I would say nothing on this. But the question arises today as to why no action was taken against those who were behind this (tragedy), why no FIR (has been filed against them)?” he asked.“Will nothing happen to them because they share a good relationship with the BJP? They arrested chowkidars (watchmen) and put them behind bars, but no action has been taken against the real culprits,” the Congress MP alleged.Gandhi said he is feeling sad the Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Congress is not passing through Gujarat, where Assembly polls will be held on December 1 and 5.The Congress MP took a break from the 3,570km cross-country foot-march, which started from Tamil Nadu on September 7 and is currently passing through adjoining Maharashtra, and addressed two election rallies in support of his party candidates in Gujarat.

No action against ‘real culprits’ of bridge crash as they are linked to BJP: Rahul
  • Why No Action Taken Against "Real Culprits' Of Morbi Bridge Crash?: Rahul Gandhi
  • Ndtv

    Rahul Gandhi was addressing an election rally in Rajkot.Rajkot, Gujarat: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said no action has been taken against the "real culprits" behind the last month's collapse of a suspension bridge in Gujarat's Morbi town, where 135 people were killed, because they share a "good relationship" with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Addressing an election rally in Rajkot, his second in the day, he said while watchmen (posted at the accident site) were arrested and jailed, no action was taken against the real culprits."When journalists asked me what I think about the Morbi tragedy... I said around 150 people died and this is not a political issue and so I would say nothing on this. But the question arises today as to why no action was taken against those who were behind this (tragedy), why no FIR (has been filed against them)?" he asked."Will nothing happen to them because they share a good relationship with the BJP? They arrested chowkidars (watchmen) and put them behind bars, but no action has been taken against the real culprits," the Congress MP alleged.Mr Gandhi said he is feeling sad the Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Congress is not passing through Gujarat, where Assembly polls will be held on December 1 and 5.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Congress MP took a break from the 3,570km cross-country foot-march, which started from Tamil Nadu on September 7 and is currently passing through adjoining Maharashtra, and addressed two election rallies in support of his party candidates in Gujarat.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayKarnataka MLA Allegedly Attacked By Locals After Elephant Kills Woman

CM Yogi Adityanath to kickstart Gujarat election campaign today
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

LUCKNOW: Chief minister Yogi Adityanath will step in the poll cauldron of Gujarat assembly elections by addressing three back-to-back rallies in Morbi, Bharuch and Surat on Friday. One of the key star campaigners of the BJP, Yogi is expected to address nearly 18 rallies, spread over a schedule of six days, said BJP sources. Polling in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 1 and December 5. During the same period, Yogi is scheduled to campaign in UP also, where by-polls in Mainpuri, Rampur and Khatauli will be held on December 5. Yogi had earlier launched a hectic campaign in Himachal where he addressed around 16 rallies over a period of five days. Gujarat has a sizable population of migrant workers from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. According to an estimate, around 32% of Surat’s population and 12% of Ahmedabad comprise people who are migrants. Likewise, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Vadodhara have a significant population of people from other states including UP. Yogi was a hit in the previous assembly elections in Gujarat, with the BJP winning 20 of the 35 seats spread over 29 districts where he campaigned. In the 182-seat Gujarat assembly, the BJP had 99, while the Congress won 77 seats.

CM Yogi Adityanath to kickstart Gujarat election campaign today
  • Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath to start campaigning in Gujarat from November 18
  • Times of India

    LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath will step in the poll cauldron of Gujarat assembly elections by addressing three back to back rallies in Morbi, Bharuch and Surat on Friday. One of the key star campaigners of the BJP, Yogi is expected to address nearly 18 rallies, spread over a schedule of six days, according to the sources in the BJP. Polling in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 1 and December 5. Yogi will, at the same time, is scheduled to campaign in UP where by polls in Mainpuri, Rampur and Khatauli are scheduled on December 5. Adityanath had earlier launched into hectic campaigning mode in Himachal where he addressed around 16 rallies over a period of five days. Gujarat has a sizable population of migrant workers from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. According to an estimate around 32% of Surat's population and 12% of Ahmedabad comprise people who are migrant. Likewise, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Vadodhara have a significant population of people from other states including UP. Yogi was a hit in the previous assembly elections in Gujarat, with the BJP winning 20 of the 35 seats -- spread over 29 districts -- where he campaigned. In the 182-seat Gujarat assembly, the BJP had 99 and while the Congress won 77 seats.

  • Rahul Gandhi To Campaign In Gujarat On November 22
  • Ndtv

    Ahmedabad: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be campaigning in Gujarat on November 22. He will visit Gujarat during a break from Congress party's ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra.Elections are scheduled to be held in Gujarat in two phases, on December 1 and 5. Votes will be counted on December 8.The former Congress president has been facing criticism from BJP for not having campaigned in Himachal Pradesh, where Assembly elections were held yesterday.With elections in Himachal now over, Congress is focusing on Gujarat. Over the next few weeks, several campaign rallies by prominent party leaders are scheduled in the poll-bound state.Meanwhile, Congress has released its sixth list of candidates for Gujarat polls. With the release of this latest list, the party has now declared candidates for 142 seats in the state.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comCongress had announced its first list on November 4, in which 43 candidates were named. The second list consisting of 46 candidates was announced on November 10. A list of seven candidates was released on Friday. However, one was a replacement for a candidate named earlier.Opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are looking to end the BJP's 27-year rule in Gujarat.

  • Indelible marquee Gujarat scripted India’s 1st poll film
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Short campaign videos in India that seem like a modern electioneering aid might trace their lineage to the canvassing arsenal of Baroda royals. Over five decades ago, a Gujarati was, by all accounts, the first in the country to make a poll-pitch film for a candidate. That candidate, Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad, won the Lok Sabha election hands down from the Vadodara seat. “The idea to make a short film for the Congress (O) struck me when I was travelling in a train to Jambusar in 1971,” Dhiru Mistry, 83, told TOI. “I got down at the Vadodara railway station and approached Congress (O) leaders, offering to make a film on their party. They liked the idea but suggested that I make a film on Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad who was contesting on the Congress (O) ticket for Vadodara. ” Mistry met Gaekwad and asked him about the number of outreach meetings he held in a day. “He said he held three to four meetings daily. I pointed out that by organizing such meetings he can reach out to merely about 2,000 people,” Mistry said. “I proposed the idea of making a short film and told him that he can connect with at least 50,000 people in one go. ” Gaekwad liked the idea and asked Mistry to meet him at Nivruti Bhavan in the presence of other Congress (O) leaders. “He asked me for the cost and I quoted Rs 5,000. The maharaja said that I would be given Rs 2,500 in advance,” Mistry said. “If he liked the film, I would be paid the dues and if he didn’t, the film would be shelved and I wouldn’t be paid the remainder. ” Mistry agreed to the terms. Mistry shot a twominute film at Sardar Bhavan featuring Gaekwad and it contained the shots of all the infrastructure and development works commissioned by the royal Gaekwads in the city. “The film was screened at 12 theatres for 10 days in the city and it resonated with the citizens. We also evoked the legacy of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III,” Mistry said. “Maharaja Fatehsinghrao appreciated the film because it projected precisely the message he wanted to convey to the voters. ” Scores of candidates approached Mistry to have a similar campaign boost as the film began gathering accolades. He has won other honours too — for instance, the national award for a film on eye donation in 1973. “As for the Gaekwad film, when I took it to the censor board for certification, the members said that they hadn’t come across such short films for political campaigns,” Mistry said. “That’s when I realized that ours was the first ever short film made for political campaigning in the country. In the later years, I made short political films for the Congress (O) and the Congress (I). ”

  • Will AAP be stretched thin due to Gujarat, MCD polls? BJP bets on it
  • The Indian Express

    The BJP is banking on its usual narrative of welfare politics and corruption allegations against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to win the coming Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls. It is also hoping that its efforts to retain control of the civic body in the national capital will be aided by the overlapping schedules of the MCD polls and the Gujarat elections.The MCD elections will be held on December 4 and votes will be counted on December 7. The Gujarat Assembly elections will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The results will be declared on December 8.The BJP, a three-time consecutive winner of the MCD elections, feels the schedule “will give it an edge” over the AAP, a smaller party that will have to divide its attention between Delhi and Gujarat, where it is pulling out all the stops to make a mark. The AAP has denied it will be affected by the poll schedule and claimed that the MCD polls were scheduled before the counting in Gujarat as a “loss” for the BJP in the western state would have a knock-on effect in Delhi.A BJP spokesperson said, “The AAP will only manage to divide the Opposition vote between the Congress and itself. We are going to register the biggest victory in the history of Gujarat, thanks to the AAP. We already have a core vote base of 35 per cent. The remaining will be ensured with the distribution of tickets, which we are doing on the basis of winnability.”A party insider said that while they do not know if “the schedule was deliberate”, they feel that “the schedule will keep Kejriwal busy in Gujarat”.“With so many corruption allegations, (AAP leader) Satyendra Jain in jail, and poll dates coinciding, the situation is a lot more conducive than in April when the (MCD) polls were originally scheduled,” said another BJP leader.Following the announcement of the Gujarat poll schedule on November 3, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj tweeted that the BJP was in “danger” in the poll-bound state. “The BJP’s poor results in Gujarat could have had a bad impact on the MCD elections,” he added.The party’s MCD poll in-charge Durgesh Pathak said the schedule would not affect the party. “The people of Gujarat will throw the BJP out of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha. So will the people of Delhi,” he said.However, party leaders on the ground expressed concerns about the paucity of resources for campaigning. An AAP councillor, who wished to stay anonymous, said, “Our MCD campaign is centred around Chief Minister Kejriwal’s image. All 250 candidates would want his road show or meetings. In Gujarat, too, he attracts crowds and votes.”The councillor added, “Our resources are limited. We are a smaller party in comparison to the BJP. A simultaneous election will lead to a diversion of resources and even the time of senior leaders like Kejriwalji and (Delhi Deputy CM) Manish Sisodia ji.”Another councillor spoke of not being able to concentrate fully on either poll. “If there was no MCD poll, I would have been in Gujarat. Many of our MLAs would be as well. But now all MLAs want to be in Delhi to secure tickets for their supporters.”The BJP has also had to divert its resources due to the MCD polls. A delegation of 23 Delhi BJP leaders — including former Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, former mayor Jai Prakash, MLAs Abhay Verma and Ajay Mahawar, and party leaders Manoj Kumar and Jitender Garg — deployed to oversee the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls was called back to the capital to prepare for the civic elections.The MCD polls were originally slated for April but were deferred hours before the schedule was announced as the Centre wanted to unify the three municipal bodies in the national capital — North. East, and South Delhi — under a larger MCD body. It also wanted to conduct a delimitation exercise to decrease the number of wards in the city. The exercise finished on November 4, when the state Election Commission announced the dates.

  • Despite unimpressive show in 2017, AAP trying to position as BJP’s main challenger in upcoming Gujarat polls
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is aggressively trying to position itself as the ruling BJP's main contender in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, notwithstanding its poor show in the 2017 state polls when all its 29 candidates lost their deposits. The AAP claims it has now been successful in reaching out to the people of Gujarat with its national convener Arvind Kejriwal having visited the state multiple times in the recent past, offering a slew of 'guarantees' if the party is voted to power. The party has also named Isudan Gadhvi, a former TV anchor and journalist, as its chief ministerial candidate for next month's Gujarat Assembly elections. A candidate loses deposit in an election when he/she fails to secure one-sixth (16.7 per cent) of the total votes polled in the constituency. Before the 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls, the AAP had fielded candidates on 24 out of the 26 Lok Sabha seats from Gujarat in the 2014 general elections and its nominees fared badly. The party stayed away from Gujarat during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In both the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, the AAP fared badly with majority of its candidates securing less number of votes compared to the None Of The Above (NOTA) option, as per statistics shared by the Election Commission. But, the party is now trying to project itself as the BJP's main challenger for polls to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly which will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal has expressed confidence that his party will emerge victorious in Gujarat, claimed that people of the state are fed up of the "27 years of the BJP's misgovernance." "We were pretty new in Gujarat in 2017 and were unable to convey our message to the people of the state effectively enough to persuade them to vote for us. Reaching out to the public is vital but the campaigning was not done properly," an AAP leader told PTI. "This time around, we have been successful in conveying our points to the public," he claimed. Out of 29 AAP candidates in the 2017 Assembly election, only Nagjibhai Ambaliya, who contested from Katargam seat in Surat district, had secured more votes than NOTA. He had polled 2.29 per cent of the votes compared to 0.94 per cent going in favour of the NOTA option, as per the EC data. Out of those 29 seats, the party has so far repeated only four candidates for the 2022 elections - Ramesh Nabhani (Palanpur), Nimishaben Khunt (Gondal), Ram Dhaduk (Kamrej) and Arjun Rathva (Chhota Udepur). Rathva, who polled 2.77 per cent votes in the 2017 Assembly polls, was also the party candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Chhota Udepur when he got 2.10 per cent of the votes, as per the EC data. Among other seats where the AAP had fielded its candidates in 2017 were Gandhidham, Unjha, Gandhinagar (North), Baunagar, Dasada, Dhrangadhra, Wankaner, Rajkot (East), Rajkot (South), Dhoraji, Jamnagar (Rural), Khambhaliya, Lathi, Botad, Vadodara (city), Manjalpur, Karjan, Ankleshwar, Olpad, Surat (East), Karanj, Limbayat, Katargam, Valsad, and Pardi. In 2014, the AAP had contested 24 out of the total 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat. Patan and Sabarkantha were the two seats where it had not fielded its candidates. For the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, the AAP has so far declared names of its candidates for 158 seats. "The AAP is not new to Gujarat. It has been existing in the state since 2014, when for the first time it contested the Lok Sabha elections," political commentator Nishant Varma told PTI. Since then, it has been contesting various elections, including the 2017 state Assembly polls and the 2021 local polls, he noted. Notably, the AAP had won 27 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation last year. "Looking at the AAP's performance in the past, it was nowhere closer to even local parties propped up by former chief ministers Shankersinh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel," Varma said. Unlike the past, Kejriwal is this time leading the party's election campaign by holding mega rallies and roadshows in different parts of Gujarat. Kejriwal has anchored his party's campaign around a slew of sops like 300 units of free electricity per month, free education in government schools, allowance for unemployed youth, Rs 1,000 allowance to women and a monthly stipend for new lawyers. Apart from Kejriwal, the other party leaders who have campaigned in Gujarat include Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha, who is the Gujarat elections co-incharge.

Morbi bridge was critical, company warned municipality, to get contract renewed
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The Morbi municipality has submitted in an affidavit before the Gujarat High Court, implying that Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt Ltd of the Oreva Group had, in an attempt to put pressure on the civic body to renew its contract, sounded an alarm in December 2021 about the suspension bridge being in a “critical” condition. It requested the civic body to take a decision “at the earliest” for renewing the agreement in favour of the company.The municipality said this in an affidavit on Wednesday, a day after the High Court pulled up the state government inquiring if the “largesse was given to Ajanta without a tender”.The court sought an explanation on how the bridge was opened to public despite this warning from December 29, 2021 to March 7, 2022, when it was finally closed for repair.The municipality affidavit says, “…On 29-12-2021, the Company informed the Chief Officer of Nagar Palika, that the condition of the suspension bridge is critical and hence, request was made to take a decision at the earliest.”Morbi municipality, represented by senior advocate Devang Vyas, had earlier sought time till November 24 to file its response, but he submitted the affidavit after the Division Bench led by Chief Justice Aravind Kumar directed the municipality to file it or face risk of attracting a cost of Rs 1 lakh.The court observed that it was “intriguing to note that even after the communication dated 29/12/2021 was received by chief officer of Morbi municipality”, the bridge was allowed to be used till March 7 this year.“Hence the affidavit should disclose… how M/s Ajanta was permitted to use the bridge… Reasons for allowing Ajanta to use the bridge despite there being no approval for utilisation shall also be indicated in the said affidavit. We also direct the present incharge chief officer of Morbi Municipality to be present on the next date of hearing physically,” the court observed.The court is expected to hear the matter next on November 24.The bridge was officially closed from March 8 this year to October 25 for repair. Ajanta’s communication of December 29, 2021, came just a day after the Morbi municipality informed the company that the “issue relating to suspension bridge has been placed before the upcoming General Board meeting” and a “decision” on a formal agreement in favour of Ajanta continuing maintenance and management of the bridge “would be taken only thereafter”.According to the affidavit, on January 19 this year, the Morbi chief officer informed the company that the general body had rejected the company’s request to enhance bridge entry fee and that formalities of agreement would be undertaken only if the company was ready to continue with earlier rates. If not, the company was “requested to return possession” of the bridge to the municipality at the earliest.An agreement was ultimately executed on March 8, entrusting the company with the management and maintenance of the bridge, following approval by the general body. The agreement had nine conditions, including one that stipulated that the bridge should be open to the public only after appropriate renovation by Ajanta within 8-12 months from the date of agreement.The affidavit notes that a memorandum of understanding was signed between Rajkot collector and Ajanta in 2007 and an agreement was executed in 2008 for a period of nine years. Morbi, till it became a separate district in 2013, was a part of Rajkot district. On expiration of the agreement in 2017, the bridge continued to be maintained by the company in the absence of any new agreement.“The company sent a communication dated 9-1-2020 and intimated the authority that they would completely close down the suspension bridge from 26.01.2020 and thereafter, the company would not be responsible for any unfortunate accident… the company showed its readiness to manage the bridge in terms of the meeting convened between the officials of the Morbi collectorate, Morbi municipality with the officials of the company on 29-1-2020, and forwarded a draft copy of the agreement to be executed,” notes the affidavit filed by the Morbi municipality through its chief officer incharge Naran Muchhar.The affidavit noted that the company reopened the bridge on October 26, without any prior approval and “that too, without letting the municipality know about the kind of repair that was carried out”. It also stated that an independent third party’s certificate relating to material testing, fitness, holding capacity and structure stability of the suspension bridge was also not given.The HC division bench on Wednesday directed the Morbi municipality “to place on record the copy of the approval granted by the general board of the Morbi municipality, if any, approving the agreement dated 8/3/2022 and also to produce the communication dated 29/12/2021forwarded by Ajanta to the chief officer of Morbi municipality”._________________

Morbi bridge was critical, company warned municipality, to get contract renewed
  • Morbi bridge collapse: Gujarat HC warns municipality not to be casual, seeks reply by Wednesday evening
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Upon failure to file its reply on the Morbi suspension bridge collapse, the Gujarat high court on Wednesday morning slammed the Morbi municipality for its casual approach in responding to the court notice, and ordered it to file its reply by 4.30 pm. Acting on a suo motu PIL, the bench of chief justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri had on November 7 issued notice to the municipality among other authorities. But the municipality did not receive the notice and was not even represented before the court either on Tuesday. This irked the bench, which remarked about the civic body, “They are acting smart.” The HC ordered a special arrangement to send notice to the municipality by Tuesday afternoon and sought its reply. Read AlsoMorbi tragedy: Gujarat HC says bridge contract riddled with lapses, asks why govt hasn’t superseded municipality yet​​The British era suspension bridge collapsed on October 30 claiming the lives of 135 persons.Senior advocate Devang Vyas appeared for the Morbi municipality and informed the court that he received instructions very late. He submitted that the notice was served on the municipality on November 9, but since the “set up” of the municipality is not there after the bridge tragedy with the chief officer being put under suspension, a resident collector has been given its charge. Though the officer concerned was aware of the development, he could not take a decision and the municipality could not respond. Moreover, the officer is also busy with election duty. Read AlsoMorbi bridge tragedy: ‘Oreva dictated contract terms to civic body’A fortnight after the suspension bridge in Morbi collapsed killing 135 people, police are yet to place any charges against the contractor, Oreva Group, even as various revelations have divulged alleged criminal negligence by the contractor and officers of the civic body.On hearing this, the bench told the lawyer, “Don’t take it so casually.” The court asked the municipality to file its reply within a couple of hours. When the lawyer sought time, the court agreed to grant time on a condition of paying a fine of Rs 1 lakh. The municipality agreed to file its reply in the post-lunch session. On October 30, in the suspension bridge collapse incident, 135 persons were killed.

  • "Reply By Evening, Or...": Court Slams Civic Body Over Gujarat Bridge Tragedy
  • Ndtv

    Cables of 150-year-old bridge over Machchu river collapsed last month, killing over 130 people. (File)Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court today warned the civic body of Morbi, where a bridge collapse killed more than 130 people on October 30, over delay in filing a status report despite two notices. "Yesterday you were acting smart, now you are taking the matter casually," said the court, "So, either file your reply by this evening, or pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh."The civic body's lawyer cited a technicality: The Deputy Collector who's in-charge of the civic body is on election duty."The notice should have been sent to the Deputy Collector, but it was served to the civic body instead, on November 9. Thus, the delay in appearing before this court," the lawyer said.An affidavit giving details of how the collapse occurred is now expected by the evening, if the officials follow the court's directions.The court had taken note of the tragedy on its own and sought replies from at least six departments. Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri are hearing the matter.On Tuesday, the court sought direct answers over the manner in which the contract was awarded for maintenance of the 150-year-old bridge."The municipality, a government body, has defaulted, which ultimately killed 135 people," the court had said as a preliminary observation. It pointedly asked officials to come back with details on whether any condition for certifying fitness of the bridge before its reopening was part the agreement, and who the person responsible was."The state shall also place on record reasons why disciplinary proceedings against chief officer of the civic body aren't commenced," it had said."The largesse of the state seems to have been granted without there being any tender floated in this regard," its order noted.The municipality had given the 15-year contract to Oreva Group, which is best known for the Ajanta brand of wall clocks."Was the largesse of the state given to Ajanta company without any tender being floated?" the court had observed.It asked for the basis on which the bridge was being operated by the company after June 2017 "even when [the contract signed in 2008] was not renewed". A new agreement was signed this year.So far, only nine staff members of the company have been arrested, while the top management, which signed the Rs 7-crore pact, has not faced action, nor have any officers been held accountable for the bridge having been reopened ahead of the renovation schedule.It is alleged that the company did not replace the rusted cables but installed a new flooring that proved too heavy.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe court had asked for files of the contract to be submitted in a sealed envelope.The government told the court yesterday that it worked at "lightning speed" to save lives.

  • Morbi bridge tragedy: ‘Oreva dictated contract terms to civic body’
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: A fortnight after the suspension bridge in Morbi collapsed killing 135 people, police are yet to place any charges against the contractor, Oreva Group, even as various revelations have divulged alleged criminal negligence by the contractor and officers of the civic body. In a new revelation, it has been learnt from the civic body and police officers that Oreva Group promoter Jaysukh Patel and his aides framed the clauses in the contract for repair, maintenance and security of the bridge for 15 years. All the conditions, which did not have any penal provisions, were made by “legal experts” assigned by Oreva Group. “When the contract was signed on March 7, 2022, there were some objections from the Morbi collector’s office. However, the Morbi municipality officers did not accept the objections and it has been learned during the investigation that Oreva Group promoter Jaysukh Patel through his aides dictated the terms to the state agencies. He had inserted clauses in the contract drafted by legal experts from his side and the civic body had no say,” said a police officer. A Morbi civic body officer confirmed this and said that the municipality officers did not even inspect the suspension bridge during or after the repair work. One of the most unusual clauses in the contract was that Oreva Group had hand the bridge back in 2037, but did not mention penal action if the group failed to do so. “After completion of the agreement (between the Morbi municipality and Oreva), the suspension bridge, in whatever condition it may be, will be handed over back to the municipality or the agreement will be renewed again,” reads Clause 8 of the contract. Even after getting many pieces of evidence against Patel and the civic body, police have so far now only booked managers, security guards and ticket collectors of the bridge. “We are yet to trace or give notice to Patel as he is not an accused in this case,” said an officer of Morbi police.

  • Morbi bridge collapse: Gujarat HC furious at civic body’s no-show
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court was upset with the Morbi municipality when it learned that the civic authorities did not accept the court's notice, issued in the suo motu PIL on the suspension bridge collapse incident, and nobody appeared before the court to represent the civic body during the hearing on Tuesday. "They are acting smart," Chief Justice Aravind Kumar said and ordered the Morbi district judge to send a bailiff to serve the notice before 4.30 pm, ordering the municipality to attend the court proceeding posted specially on Wednesday. The high court asked the state government why it has not taken action against the municipality under Section 263 of the Gujarat Municipalities Act, which means dissolving or superseding the municipality for defaulting on its duties. This was because the local authorities did not ensure proper checks in its agreement clauses and then failed to follow the required procedure to allow Ajanta, the contractor, to reopen the bridge. The state government submitted that the bridge was reopened without prior approval. The high court also sought a reply from the state government on why it has not initiated disciplinary proceedings against the chief officer of Morbi municipality, S V Zala, who has been suspended. The court asked the government if disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against him, and that the government should produce details of it along those of other inquiries or departmental proceedings initiated against other officials. The high court has also ordered the state government to secure the entire file relating to the Morbi suspension bridge including the contracts awarded for repairs, maintenance, operations and revenue collected. The court asked for all documents regarding contracts "right from day one till date" - from June 16, 2008. The HC demanded the documents by Thursday.

  • Morbi tragedy: Gujarat HC says bridge contract riddled with lapses, asks why govt hasn’t superseded municipality yet
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Tuesday sharply criticized the lapse on part of state authorities, especially the Morbi municipality, for the vague contract, awarded without any tendering process, which the civic body had signed with Ajanta Manufacturing Pvt Ltd (Oreva Group) for maintenance and operation of the Morbi suspension bridge. The British era suspension bridge collapsed on October 30 claiming the lives of 135 persons. Hearing a suo motu PIL on the Morbi bridge tragedy, the HC slammed the agreement as 'largesse of the state' without any conditions. "It is a one-and-a-quarter page agreement, absolutely without any conditions. This agreement is by way of an understanding, largesse of the state for 10 years, and no tenders floated, no expression of interest," a division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri observed. Court asks why govt hasn't superseded municipality yetAfter that term was over on June 15, 2017, what steps were taken by the state government or Morbi municipality to float a tender? How come no expression of interest was tendered, and how the largesse of the state was given to an individual without floating a tender...Why have you still not superseded the municipality?" the court asked. The HC also noted that Ajanta "arm twisted" the district collector to win the contract in 2020 by writing three letters stating that until and unless an agreement is executed, Ajanta would not commence the repair work of the bridge. "Yet, the said Ajanta continued to operate, maintain and receive the revenue from the visitors to the bridge," the court observed as it questioned inadequacy of the agreement with regard to the fixation of responsibilities. In response to the suo motu PIL, the advocate general apprised the high court about the incident and action taken - the rescue operation and compensation provided to the victims' families. The HC was informed that there were a total of 3,165 persons who visited the bridge on the fateful day. At the time of the accident at 6.30 pm, there were more than 300 tickets sold. The government also said that the bridge was opened without any prior approval and without obtaining any fitness certificate about structural stability. On this, this court questioned if under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the municipality and Ajanta, responsibility was fixed as to who will certify that the bridge is ready and fit for usage. "This detail was missing from the state government's reply because the copy of MoU was not available," the court observed. The high court has posed various queries to the state government on how Ajanta was allowed to operate without issuing any tender. The court questioned the government why it has not dissolved or superseded the Morbi municipality, and initiated any disciplinary proceedings against its chief officer, S V Zala. Besides, the HC ordered the government to immediately secure the entire file related to contracts of the suspension bridge commencing from day 1 till date and submit in HC registry in a sealed cover by Thursday.

Stray cow ‘kills’ 78-yr-old in Rajkot, case filed a week later
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

A week after a stray cow allegedly attacked and killed a 78-year-old businessman near Gopal Chowk on Sadhu Vasvani Road in Rajkot, police have booked the unidentified owner of the cow and launched an investigation.According to an FIR registered at the University police station, Rasiklal Thakrar, a trader at the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Rajkot was attacked by a cow when he was returning home in Trilok Park in Nivedita Society near Gopal Chowk at around 7.45 am on November 8 after purchasing milk.CCTV footage shows a cow coming from the opposite direction suddenly charging at Thakrar who waves the cloth bag he was carrying at the bovine while trying to run to safety. But the cow chases Thakrar who falls down. The animal is then seen stepping on him and attacking him.The FIR quotes Thakrar’s son Vaibhai as stating that two men tried to save the trader by hitting the cow with hockey sticks and wooden clubs, to no avail. The bovine moved away only after being chased by a tractor, the FIR says.Family members rushed Thakrar to a nearby private hospital where he was pronounced dead.Vaibhav said he approached the police Tuesday after rituals were over. Based on his complaint, University police registered an FIR late Tuesday.“The incident happened despite our complaint to the authorities about the menace of stray cattle in our neighbourhood one-and-a-half month ago. The animal nuisance control department of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) came to our area to impound stray cattle. By then someone had alerted the owners and they herded their cows away from the locality,” 36-year-old Vaibhav told The Indian Express Wednesday.In August this year, the Gujarat High Court had directed the government to take strict action and tackle the menace of stray cattle on roads of cities and towns. Subsequently, the RMC started impounding cattle.“What has happened to my father should never happen to anyone else. I have resolved to fight and get justice for my father,” added Vaibhav, who was doing garment marketing till recently.A post-mortem conducted by the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Medical College concluded that Thakrar died due to haemorrhage. Recording multiple injuries on Thakrar’s body, it concluded: “Died due to shock and haemorrhage (sic) on account of polytrauma and its complications.”On the basis of Vaibhav’s complaint, police have booked “owner of one black-coloured cow” under IPC section 289 (negligent conduct with respect to animal). Those found guilty under this section may face six months imprisonment, up to Rs1,000 fine and both.Raju Bhargav, commissioner of Rajkot city police, said they have launched an investigation. “There is clear evidence in the video… The challenge is to find out the owner of the cow.”Police FIRs are extremely rare in cases of stray animals attacking or injuring people in Gujarat. However, the commissioner added, “A line has to be drawn somewhere.”

Stray cow ‘kills’ 78-yr-old in Rajkot, case filed a week later
Modi gifts Italian PM a Patan Patola scarf: What is the ancient Gujarat art form
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

At the G20 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted traditional artworks from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to world leaders.According to a PTI report, PM Modi presented US President Joe Biden with Kangra miniature paintings; UK PM Rishi Sunak with ‘Mata Ni Pachedi’, a handmade Gujarat textile offered in temples; ‘Pithora’, a tribal folk art from Chhota Udaipur, to Australian leader Anthony Albanese; agate bowls from Kutch to the leaders of France, Germany and Singapore; and a ‘Patan Patola’ scarf to his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni.PM Narendra Modi gifts ‘Patan Patola Dupatta’ (scarf) to Italian PM Giorgia MeloniThe (Double Ikat) Patan Patola textile woven by Salvi family in Patan area of Northern Gujarat is so well crafted that it becomes a feast of colours, with front & reverse being indistinguishable. pic.twitter.com/fiaEOYJ6V1— ANI (@ANI) November 16, 2022What is Patan PatolaThe ancient art of double ikat or Patola woven in pure silk dates back to the 11th century. The Patola fabrics bear an equal intensity of colours and design on both sides. This peculiar quality has its origins in an intricate and difficult technique of dyeing or knot dyeing, known as ‘bandhani’, on the warp and weft separately before weaving.One of the major practitioners of the dwindling art form is the Salvi family from North Gujarat.The SalvisThe last surviving family into Patola weaving is the Salvi family in Patan. From the oldest 70-year-old Rohit to the youngest 37-year-old Savan, the entire nine member-family of five men and four women is engaged with this art form.The Salvi family shared that before World War II, Indonesia was the major buyer of Patolas. Legend has it that King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty invited some 700 families of Patola weavers from Jalna (Maharashtra) to settle in Patan in North Gujarat, and the Salvis are among them. The family has also been honoured with several national awards.Patola is woven on primitive hand-operated harness looms made out of rosewood and bamboo strips. The loom lies on a slant. The other commonly worn Patola is the Rajkot Patola, woven on a flat loom.The weaving processThe process involves warp and weft silk threads that are tied with cotton thread on portions marked with the proposed design. This tied portion then remains unexposed to colours while dyeing, which is followed by tying, untying, redyeing and dyeing in different shades. Single and primary colours are applied one after another as mixed shades develop by overlapping. This makes the design stand out. The process is labour-intensive, time-consuming, and requires a high order of skill and dexterity, said 44-year-old Rahul Salvi.“It takes three to four months to prepare a tie-died design on warp and weft threads for one saree of six yards. Two Salvis (weavers) working together weave just around 8 to 9 inch a day. It takes 40 to 50 days to weave a saree, when 4-5 persons are working on it, depending upon the intricacy of the design,” he added.Traditionally, only pure silk and natural and chemical dyes were used, but since the last century, they have been replaced by fast-to-bleach and easy-to-dye chemical colours. However, in the past 20 years, experiments are being done to redevelop the old, indigenous process.The product designs, Rahul Salvi said, are based on traditional motifs called “bhat”, which include “narikunj”, “paan”, “phulwadi”, “rasbhat”, flowers, animals birds, human figures, etc.The Salvi family said that in 1342 AD, the traveller Ibn Batuta had carried patolas as gifts to many kings. They were amply used in the 17th and 18th centuries as precious gift items.PriceA popular folk song in Gujarat is about a wife asking her husband for a Patan Patola — ‘Chhelaji Re, Mare Hatu Patanthi Patola Mongha Lavjo (Bring me an expensive Patola from Patan)’.While possessing and wearing a Patola is considered a matter of pride, the fabric has largely remained inaccessible to common people because of its high price.The base price of a Patola saree in the Patan weave starts from Rs 1.5 lakh up and can go up to Rs 6 lakh. A typical 46-inch dupatta or scarf sells in the range of Rs 80,000, depending on the intricacy of the design.The Rajkot Patola saree starts at Rs 70,000 and goes up to Rs 1.25 lakh. The main difference here is that while the Rajkot Patola uses chemical dyes, Patan uses vegetable dyes. A Rajkot Patola weighs over 600 grams, while a Patola from Patan would weigh under 500 grams.Another difference is that the motifs in Patan Patolas are sharp, while the Rajkot ones are hazy.Ikat weaves are also found in Odisha’s famous Sambalpuri sarees, which, unlike Patola, are woven in cotton yarn too, as is the Pochampally saree from Andhra Pradesh.

Modi gifts Italian PM a Patan Patola scarf: What is the ancient Gujarat art form
GST raids: 115 firms in Gujarat under lens for Rs 650 crore fake billing
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

AHMEDABAD: As part of an ongoing multi-agency investigation into a fake billing scam, state goods and services tax (SGST) officials have unearthed fake billing of Rs 650 crore. This figure is expected to rise, according to senior SGST officials. Last week, the SGST department along with the Gujarat anti-terrorist squad (ATS) and Ahmedabad crime branch raided 205 locations linked to 115 companies suspected to be fake entities existing only on paper. Some 41 firms have been confirmed to be bogus entities. Top sources privy to the development said GST evasion of up to Rs 100 crore has already been reported in this case and the number will rise as the investigation progresses. Some 91 persons are being questioned by SGST and ATS officials in connection with the case. "We have also come across forgery of documents and impersonation. The investigation is now divided between ATS and SGST. While tax officials are probing evasion and fraudulently availed input tax credit, ATS is investigating the movement of the money. There is a strong suspicion of laundering of the proceeds of the scam," said a well-placed source. According to sources in the SGST department, tax recovery is expected to be a major challenge. "The focus is on securing incriminating documents and investigating further so that the extent of scam can be determined. This will also help tax officials to nab the 24 accused persons who are still at large," the source added. Of the bogus firms, 14 were registered in Ahmedabad, 12 in Vadodara, nine in Surat, three in Bhavnagar, two in Rajkot and one in Gandhidham. Each of these would generate bills for commodities such as scrap, metal scrap, metals, chemicals, and metal rods, to obtain and pass on illicitly obtained input tax credit. Last Saturday, officials of the SGST department and central agencies raided 205 locations in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Valsad, Rajkot, Panchmahal, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Kutch, Kheda, Narmada, Mahisagar, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, and Anand regarding this case.

GST raids: 115 firms in Gujarat under lens for Rs 650 crore fake billing
  • Gujarat GST unit, ATS raid 205 locations; 91 questioned
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: In what appears to be a high-value bogus billing scam that has surfaced just ahead of the Gujarat assembly election, the state goods and services tax (SGST) department along with ATS and Ahmedabad crime branch raided the premises of some 115 suspected bogus companies, since early on Saturday morning. Based on technical intelligence, SGST officials identified bogus companies in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Valsad, Rajkot, Panchmahal, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Kutch, Kheda, Narmada, Mahisagar, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, and Anand. SGST officials carried out raids across 205 locations in these cities. Some 90 teams have been deployed. SGST officials said 91 persons are being interrogated in relation with this case. The preliminary investigation revealed that each bogus firm was used to generate and issue bills for commodities such as scrap, metal scrap, metals, chemicals, and metal rods, to avail and pass on illicitly obtained input tax credit. More bogus firms have also come to the fore during the investigation. Officials expect higher tax evasion to be reported as the investigation progresses. Sources privy to the developments said during the investigation of fake billing scams reported recently, it was found that illicitly obtained input tax credit using fake bills was used to fund illegal activities. “In the past, in certain cases, we found that fake companies registered in Gujarat have bank accounts in remote locations such as Assam. More recently, the Reserve Bank alerted central agencies in Indore and Mumbai about high-value transactions taking place through Paytm, based on which the GST evasion scam involving 500 fake companies was unearthed and four persons were arrested in Surat. In this case, it is suspected that money siphoned off using fake bills is being transferred through hawala. We are still investigating,” a top source told TOI. Bogus companies identified in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Valsad, Rajkot, Panchmahal, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Kutch, Kheda, Narmada, Mahisagar.

  • GST raids at 205 locations in Gujarat
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: In what appears to be a high-value bogus billing scam that has surfaced just ahead of the state assembly election, the state goods and services tax (SGST) department along with ATS and Ahmedabad crime branch raided the premises of some 115 suspected bogus companies, since early on Saturday morning. Based on technical intelligence, SGST officials identified bogus companies in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Valsad, Rajkot, Panchmahal, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Kutch, Kheda, Narmada, Mahisagar, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, and Anand. SGST officials carried out raids across 205 locations in these cities. Some 90 teams have been deployed. SGST officials said 91 persons are being interrogated in relation with this case. The preliminary investigation revealed that each bogus firm was used to generate and issue bills for commodities such as scrap, metal scrap, metals, chemicals, and metal rods, to avail and pass on illicitly obtained input tax credit. More bogus firms have also come to the fore during the investigation. Officials expect higher tax evasion to be reported as the investigation progresses. Sources privy to the developments said during the investigation of fake billing scams reported recently, it was found that illicitly obtained input tax credit using fake bills was used to fund illegal activities. "In the past, in certain cases, we found that fake companies registered in Gujarat have bank accounts in remote locations such as Assam. More recently, the Reserve Bank alerted central agencies in Indore and Mumbai about high-value transactions taking place through Paytm, based on which the GST evasion scam involving 500 fake companies was unearthed and four persons were arrested in Surat. In this case, it is suspected that money siphoned off using fake bills is being transferred through hawala. We are still investigating," a top source told TOI. The economic offences cell of Surat police also recently arrested 16 persons for a fake billing scam, based on a tip-off about high-value transactions. "This scam appears to be well-calculated and spread across various states and districts. It involves a lot of offences of forgery and others not under the direct purview of the state commercial tax department. Therefore, other law enforcement agencies have been roped in for investigation so missing links can be identified," the source added.