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       20th– JAN-2013

Winter brought its first wave of extreme cold as the minimum temperature in the city dropped four
degrees below normal at 8.4 degrees celsius. Officials said that the cold wave conditions will prevail
over the state which will see further drop in temperature since Wednesday night. "The minimum
temperature is likely to drop further by one to two degrees in the next 48 hours. In Ahmedabad, the
temperature can dip to seven degrees", said senior meteorologist at Indian Meteorology
Department (IMD), Gujarat, Manorama Mohanty. The city will experience temperatures five to six
degrees below normal. Officials said that Naliya recorded six degrees while Deesa recorded 7.5
degree celsius. Gandhinagar recorded eight degrees celsius. Cold wave conditions will prevail as
northerly winds are blowing over the state. While the conditions are not extreme like in north India,
citizens who are not used to such cold felt the chill.

                                              Cold wave grips Saurashtra and Kutch, three perish

                                           Two labourers were killed when the fire they lit to
                                           keep themselves warm from the biting cold spread
                                           and an elderly man died due to the chilly conditions
                                           which gripped Saurashtra and Kutch region. The
                                           temperature dipped below seven degrees Celsius in
                                           the region on Thursday. Two labourers were charred
                                           and seven others sustained burn injuries in
                                           Gandhidham town of Kutch district due to the fire lit
                                           to warm themselves, police said. The nine labourers
                                           had sprinkled some inflammable chemical on
Wednesday night after which the fire suddenly increased in intensity. Naliya recorded the lowest
minimum temperature of 4.7 degrees Celsius while Junagadh city registered 6.2 degrees Celsius
followed by Rajkot at 7.2 degrees Celsius.

                         GUJARAT OFF AUTO MODE FOR 2 MORE DAYS

The ubiquitous autos will be off the streets for two more days. The
autorickshaw strike will continue as drivers have rejected the fare hike
proposed by the state government. The Ahmedabad Auto Rickshaw Chalak
Sangharsh Samiti, which is a federation of 13 associations of autorickshaw
drivers in the city, claimed that their strike has been 95% successful and
threatened a statewide strike call and hunger strike. The state government has
increased the minimum fare of auto rickshaws by Re1 and running meter by 50
paisa per km. It means a person commuting five km using an auto rickshaw will have to pay Rs46
instead of Rs43. The fare hike is as per the formula suggested in the expert committee’s report
which has been implemented since 2011. However, auto rickshaw drivers have rejected the fare
hike and decided to go ahead with their agitation. “Against Rs7.15 per kg increase in CNG price, the
state government’s revision of fares is not sufficient. This is why we have rejected the government
notification on fare revision,” said Harihar Mishra, president of Ahmedabad Auto Rickshaw Chalak
Sangarsh Samiti. Majority of auto rickshaws remained off the roads supporting the 72-hour strike
call protesting against the hike in CNG price. “Some autos were operating on the outskirts of the
city in the morning but they were also stopped,” said Mishra. He also said that school rickshaws and
vans also suspended their service in support of the union’s demand. Meanwhile, Ahmedabad
Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) added 70 buses to its fleet of 750 for the convenience of
commuters. It also deputed special buses at the railway station and bus station for passengers.
“The arrangement will continue for two more days,” said Amit Shah, chairman of AMTS.

Autorickshaw operators’ three-day strike against the recent CNG price hike affected commuters and
schoolchildren in Ahmedabad Friday. While some schoolchildren opted to bunk classes, many of the
parents were seen ferrying their wards to and from schools. Even as the Ahmedabad Municipal
Corporation increased the frequency of AMTS and BRTS buses, people in large numbers were seen
waiting for buses at various stops across the city. The 72-hour strike was started Thursday
midnight. Out of around one lakh metred and shuttle autorickshaws in the city, around 80 per cent
had supported the call for strike. Similarly, around 1,100 autorickshaws that ferry schoolchildren
under All Gujarat Autorickshaw Driver Federation went on strike. As many as 160 AMTS buses on
different routes passed from the railway station to help passengers coming to the city. Five AMTS
buses were sent to different parts of the city via Gita Mandir from Maninagar station to help
passengers, he said. Besides these, 825 buses were pressed into service on other regular routes.

                       CNG PRICE IN AHMEDABAD CROSSES RS60/KG

If you are a natural gas consumer, your budget is set to go for a toss as gas companies have
affected sharp hikes in gas prices. As against the expected hike of 7 to 8%, the prices of CNG have
been revised upwards of 12%, while the minimum hike in domestic piped gas is 18%.DNA had
reported on January 10 that natural gas prices are set to zoom after the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. It
seems that gas companies, which were ‘advised’ by the state government against revising prices
ahead of the elections, have not wasted any time in hiking prices, and have done so on the first
working day after the festival of Uttarayan. Adani Gas, which supplies gas in Ahmedabad, has
revised CNG price from Rs53.50 per kg to Rs60.15 a kg, a steep hike of 12.4%. Adani has also
affected a hike of more than 26% in piped natural gas for domestic connections. PNG (domestic)
price has been revised from Rs24.50 per standard cubic metre (scm) to Rs31 per scm.
                      FESTIVE KITES CUT AND MAIM OVER 1,900 BIRDS

At least six critically-endangered white-rumped vultures and two endangered Egyptian vultures are
among more than 1,900 birds severely injured or killed by glass-laced or plastic kite-strings, known
locally as manja, during the two-day kite-flying festival in the state. In Ahmedabad city alone,
1,144 birds of various species, including 65 that eventually died, were downed by kite-strings
during the festival, said Jagdish Prasad, Chief Conservator of Forests. The number has crossed
1,500 each in Ahmedabad in the last three years, he said, adding the injured birds this year include
a Grey Heron, one Barn Owl and a Black Ibis. “Volunteers are also sending a pelican injured by kite-
strings in Mahuva of Bhavnagar. We are expecting it any moment,” he said. Last year’s state-wide
vulture survey by GEER Foundation, a government body, recorded 68 white-rumped vultures in
Mehsana and 88 in Ahmedabad.Only 577 of the species are alive in Gujarat currently, down from
2,135 in 2005 when the first survey was conducted. As for Egyptian Vultures, 97 exist in the state.
In Surat, forest officials and volunteers estimate the number of injuries at about 200. Members of
the Omkar Youth Mandal of Adajan there even took out a funeral procession of a dozen birds killed
by kite-strings on Tuesday to raise awareness. A huge crowd attended the final rites, performed on
the banks of the river Tapi.


VADODARA: The Chinese lanterns flown during Uttarayan caused some
heavy-duty scare over and above the 10-odd incidents of fire in the city.
Vadodara airport authorities had a tough time because of the flying
lanterns this Uttarayan. This has forced the city police to think of banning
flying lanterns for any coming festivals. Sources said airport authorities
had to direct at least two incoming flights to change their approach route
on January 14 and 15 when they found some flying lanterns straying into
the path of the air funnel. "However, there is no awareness still about sky
lanterns and that they can come flying on to the approach path of the
aircraft. These lanterns are more dangerous than the tukkals since they
cannot be controlled once released in air," a senior airport official said.
Fortunately, the authorities could identify the Makarpura side free of flying
lanterns on those nights and so the flight approach of two night flights was hurriedly changed to
avoid the fire-holding balloons. Vadodara police commissioner said since this was the first time that
these lanterns were flown in the city, there was no advance warning available on the dangers they
posed. "There is already a ban on flying tukkals around airport, but since these balloons were
sighted for the first time, we will now ban them in advance." Admitting that implementing a ban on
flying of lanterns would be difficult once these are sold in the market, the police commissioner said
the ban would have to be extended to their sale in the city. Meanwhile, sources revealed that the
airport authorities were in a fix to find a solution to the problem that these lanterns posed.

Nearly half the population of Ahmedabad city-- 42 per
cent-- is either overweight, obese or morbidly obese, a
recent survey has found. While Kochi takes the top spot on
`bulge` index (46 pc), followed by Bangalore (43 pc),
Ahmedabad comes third. Mumbai-kars, on the other hand,
ranked lowest, with only 27 per cent of population having
weight issues, the AC Nielsen survey commissioned by
Johnson & Johnson has found. "The survey revealed that 42 per cent of the population here weighs
above ideal weight," said Dr Mahendra Narwaria, a bariatric surgeon, announcing the findings here
today. "27 per cent are overweight, 12 per cent are obese and 3 per cent are morbidly obese," he
said, adding that this was a very "alarming situation" and the city, growing exponentially
economically, seemed to be "very careless about the health". The survey, conducted across Delhi,
Ludhiana, Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and
Cochin, found that prevalence of morbid obesity is higher in mini-metros. "This is more alarming for
Ahmedabad because prevalence of obesity in women (16 per cent) and men (12 per cent) is higher
than national average of 11 and 8 per cent respectively," said Dr Narwaria. He attributed the rising
waistlines of the Ahmedabad residents to oily or fatty food (50 pc), irregular eating habits (44 pc)
and lack of physical exercise coupled with sedentary lifestyle (43 pc).


Thai Airways International will start a direct flight on Ahmedabad-Bangkok route from April 1,
Thailand's Ambassador to India Pisan Manawapat said today. " ... Thai Airways International will
begin the first direct flight from Ahmedabad from April 1," he said at the valedictory session of the
sixth edition of 'Vibrant Gujarat' summit, the state government's showpiece biennial event for
attracting investment. Though he did not mention the frequency of the flight from Ahmedabad,
Manawapat said this would help attract more tourists to Thailand from Gujarat and reduce the
burden of the people of Gujarat to catch flights from Mumbai or Delhi for their trips to Thailand.
Thai Airways International operates direct flights from at least eight Indian cities. The Ambassador
also said that a Thai firm is looking to set up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat, but he did not
divulge the identity of the company


Newly-elected MLAs in Gujarat will take oath on January 22 and the newly-constituted state
                               Assembly will have its first session the next day when the new
                               Speaker will be elected. "On January 22, the newly-elected
                               representatives will take oath as the members of the House and the
                               first session of the Assembly will begin on January 23," said
                               Secretary of the state Assembly D M Patel while talking to PTI today.
                               Patel said that recently-appointed Pro-tem Speaker Vajubhai Vala
                               had today resigned from his post and in his place MLA from Bhuj
                               Neema Acharya has been appointed as new Pro-tem speaker. Vala,
the former state Finance minister and one of BJP's most senior MLAs, has a unique record of
presenting the state budget for 18 times. On the first day of the Assembly session, the House will
also elect the new Speaker, following which the state Governor Kamla Beniwal will address the
House. 180 members of the 182-member House will take oath as two seats are vacant after the
declaration of results on December 20, 2012. Congress MLA from Morva Hadaf, Panchmahal district,
Savita Khant had passed away and another Congress MLA from Limbadi Soma Patel has resigned to
retain his Lok Sabha seat. BJP has won 115 seats in this Assembly Elections.
                             BUSY ROAD GOES DOWN THE DRAIN

SURAT: Commuters and pedestrians at the
busy Sahara Darwaja intersection had a
narrow escape when a huge chunk of road
caved in on Friday afternoon. There was no
casualty. The incident occurred immediately
after chief minister Narendra Modi left the
city after inaugurating Khel Mahakumbh,
CCTV project and three schemes of Surat
Municipal Corporation (SMC). The fire and
emergency department said six vehicles,
including two cars, a three-wheeler tempo
and three motorcycles fell into the five foot
deep cavity. However, the vehicle owners
escaped unhurt.

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                                RITI INVESTMENT & CONSULTANCY
                                    PROVIDE BANKING FACILITIES
                                    IN EACH TOWN: RBI GUV

RBI Governor D Subbarao on Wednesday asked banks to meet the target
of providing banking facilities to small towns soon. "It is unfortunate that 90 per cent towns of the
country did not have banking facilities. The target of RBI is to ensure that every family have a bank
account," Subbarao said while addressing a programme here. He said that there are six lakh towns
in the country, of them one lakh are in Uttar Pradesh. "I urge all the banks to soon fulfill target of
providing banking facilities in these towns," he added. Accepting that inflation had increased in past
few years, the RBI governor said that though they had somewhat succeeded in containing it in past
two years, it is still there. "It is our priority to check price-rise and will remain so", he said. On
inflow of fake Indian currency notes in the market, Subbarao said that some criminal and anti-
social elements were involved in it (circulations of fake notes) and RBI was doing whatever is
possible to check its inflow.

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