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Gujarat drug seizure case: ATS nabs 2 more people, recovers heroin from Delhi home
Times of India | 4 hours ago
Times of India
4 hours ago

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has nabbed two more people and seized heroin worth Rs 3.25 crore from a Nigerian national's house in Delhi as part of its probe into the recovery of heroin worth Rs 730 crore from Morbi and two other districts recently, an official said on Monday. The arrested accused were identified as Sarjerao Garad (56), a resident of Pune in Maharashtra, and Javid Sodha (32) of Sachana in Jamnagar district, an ATS release said. Prior to them, the ATS had arrested 11 persons, including Nigerian national Michael Yugochukvu Christian, and recovered 146 kilograms of heroin worth Rs 730 crore. "During his remand, Christian confessed he had acquired heroin from the main accused Isa Rao, who is absconding, in the past and hid some portion of the contraband in his house in Nilothi area of Delhi. An ATS team recovered 650 grams of heroin worth Rs 3.25crore from his home. Christian has claimed he used to pay money to Isa Rao's gang through angadia," it added. As per the ATS, Garad is a peddler who used to take drugs from Rao's men and deliver them to Christian and other Nigerian receivers by traveling in buses or trains, while Sodha was one of Rao's gang members and was involved in hiding drugs at his residence and supplying it to other gang members as and when instructed by Rao. Two weeks back, the ATS arrested three persons from Morbi district and seized 120 kg of heroin worth Rs 600 crore, and then nabbed four others and recovered 24 kg of heroin worth Rs 120 crore from a house in Navadra in Devbhumi Dwarka. Later, the ATS recovered 2 kg of contraband worth Rs 10 crore from a house on the sea shore near Jamnagar city. Its probe has revealed the seized heroin was part of a consignment which was delivered to Rao's men, who went into the sea on a boat to take heroin from a Pakistani vessel off Jakhau coast in the Arabian Sea and then transported it to Morbi and other places, said the release.

Times of India
Gujarat: 14-year-old boy's kin approaches cops, accuses married woman of eloping with him
Times Now | 4 hours ago
Times Now
4 hours ago

Vadodara: A 14-year-old boy's family in Gujarat approached the police after a 40-year-old woman allegedly eloped with him. The officials at the Sukhsar police station in Dahod district went into a tizzy after hearing the case and asked the complainants to produce a birth certificate.It has been alleged that the woman, who is married and has six children, fell in love with the teenager while they were working as labourers in Gandhinagar.Teen's kin asked to produce birth certificateThe cops have demanded the birth certificate of the 14-year-old boy to ascertain if he is a minor to proceed with a case against the woman under relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, if applicable.Investigating officer of the case said that the boy's family, which is a native of the Amlikheda village of Fatepura taluka of Dahod district, has alleged that the teenager was abducted, The Indian Express reported.Police sub-inspector, NP Shelot, said that the matter is around one month old. He added, "As per the Aadhaar card of the boy, shown by his family, his year of birth is 2007, which makes him 14-year-old but during the probe, we also came across one of his conversations with his father, where he is asserting that he is an adult and born in 1997. We have asked the boy’s family to produce his birth certificate for clarification so that we can proceed with the case if it fits under the POCSO Act. "Boy's kin approached cops after negotiationfailed He said that the boy's kin approached the cops allegedly after a "monetary negotiation" between the two families failed. He added that prima facie, it appears that both the families are not revealing the truth. He said that financial negotiations are often practised by families of eloping couples in the area.He added, "It seems like their negotiation talks failed and the boy’s family decided to file a complaint. We are not sure if the alleged abduction took place in Gandhinagar where they were working or at Sukhsar or any other place. "

Times Now
Vibrant Gujarat startup summit to be held on January 9
Times of India | 5 hours ago
Times of India
5 hours ago

AHMEDABAD: Government of Gujarat announced on Monday that it will host a Vibrant Gujarat startup summit just ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat global summit 2022 on January 9, 2022. The idea behind organising the summit is to bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on one platform. The 'Vibrant Gujarat startup summit' will have budding and emerging startups, unicorns, funding agencies, incubators, industry leaders and MSMEs coming together at the event to be organised at the campus of iCreate (International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology) near Ahmedabad. Union home minister Amit Shah has been invited as the chief guest, confirmed principal secretary, state labour and employment department Anju Sharma. The flagship event will feature a Unicorn Conclave witnessing the participation of around a dozen Unicorn founders and over 1,000 Gujarat-based startups. The summit will also see participation from over 1,000 Gujarat-based startups, over 150 startup incubators, hundreds of industry leaders, and MSMEs. The daylong summit will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, incubators, and venture capitalists and will provide a platform for leading startups and incubation centres from Gujarat to showcase their disruptive innovations. Key stakeholders from India and the global startup ecosystem will be present at the event. “It is a place for participants to share, learn and improve. Gujarat’s leading startups and incubation centres will also get to interact with leading entrepreneurs, incubators, and venture capitalists,” Sharma said.

Times of India
Ahmedabad: Woman thrashed by husband, in-laws for taking nap after lunch
Times of India | 5 hours ago
Times of India
5 hours ago

AHMEDABAD: A 24-year-old woman from the Shahibaugh area of Ahmedabad on Sunday filed a complaint with the police alleging that she was thrashed by her husband and in-laws for taking a nap after lunch. The woman said in her complaint that she got married with the Kadi-based man on July 17, 2016 after which she started living with his family. She said that she had a habit of taking a nap after lunch which did not go well with her husband and in-laws. “They used to object to me taking siesta soon after my marriage. As I had a habit of taking a nap after lunch and as I used to wake up early in the morning, I could not keep myself awake during afternoons,” she said. The woman said that her husband and in-laws began harassing her for sleeping after lunch and later they thrashed her for taking a siesta. As her husband thrashed her for the first time, she filed an application with Kadi police but her husband later struck a compromise on the issue and she again began living with him. The woman said that her husband and in-laws did not help her in taking treatment when she was pregnant and sent her to her parents’ place. On September 18, 2017, she gave birth to a girl which also did not go well with her in-laws and husband who harassed and thrashed her for not delivering a male child, she said. The woman alleged that her husband and in-laws abandoned her on February 7 this year and even after intervention of various community leaders, her husband refused to take her along with him.

Times of India
1,500 Gujarat resident doctors on day-long strike, medical teachers stage protest
Times of India | 9 hours ago
Times of India
9 hours ago

AHMEDABAD: Around 1,500 resident doctors of various medical colleges in Gujarat went on a day-long strike on Monday to protest against postponement of the NEET-PG counselling, claiming the delay in admission caused an acute shortage of doctors which increased the workload on junior doctors. Besies, hundreds of professors and lecturers of various government and Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS)-run medical colleges also held protests across the state over their long pending demands, including payment of arrears as per the 7th Pay Commission recommendations. The Centre recently put on hold the counselling for the NEET-PG 2021 until January next year over some issues and also informed about it to the Supreme Court. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET-PG) courses is conducted for fields like the Master of Surgery, and Doctor of Medicine. Counselling is part of the admission process. "Normally, post-graduates are admitted in May. Now, due to the postponement of counselling, the new batch of PG students will arrive in March next year. Thus, instead of three batches, resident doctors of only two batches are attending all the patients for the last one year. This has increased our workload," a protesting doctor from Surat said. Another medical student suggested that the government think of employing outside doctors in government-run hospitals, which are affiliated to medical colleges, until the new PG batch arrives. In a statement, Junior Doctors Association (JDA) of B J Medical College in Ahmedabad claimed all medical colleges in the country were facing an acute shortage of the workforce due to "continuous postponement" of the NEET-PG counselling. "As a result, in the absence of a new PG batch, only 66 per cent resident doctors are available to attend to patients. This is putting an extra pressure on the resident doctors, who are already suffering due to long COVID-19 duties," JDA president Dr Vishwajeet Raj said. "Thus, nearly 1,500 resident doctors across the state will stay away from the OPD (out-patient department) work from 9 am to 5 pm on Monday as part of our protest," he said. Patients will not suffer due to the strike as resident doctors will remain available for emergency duties, he said. Meanwhile, hundreds of professors and lecturers affiliated to the Gujarat Medical Teachers Association (GMTA) and three other similar bodies in the state gathered outside various medical colleges in the state to register their protest over some of their long pending demands. "We are not on strike. We will continue our work wearing black bands on our hands as part of our protest. Our key demands are payment of arrears, higher non-practising allowance for teachers as per the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, and hike in the cap on maximum monthly salary," GMTA president Dr Rajnish Patel said.

Times of India
  • Gujarat: Govt doctors to go on strike from today
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The pending issues of the teaching staff at government-run medical colleges have not been resolved in the stipulated time, so the doctors have called for a strike from Monday. About 10,000 doctors associated with various organizations will participate in the strike, senior doctors said. At BJ Medical College, doctors will gather outside the college and start the protest at 9.30am, said organizers. “We had tried to urge the authorities to revoke the order of November 22 — which is the polar opposite of the resolution of May 16 when the government of the day had accepted our valid points,” said a Gujarat Medical Teachers Association (GMTA) member from Ahmedabad. The staff will submit a memorandum to their respective deans, said the organizers.

  • Delay in NEET PG counselling: Doctors in Ahmedabad call for strike
  • Times of India

    Ahmedabad: Faced with repeated delays and postponement of NEET PG counselling 2021, the Junior Doctors Association at BJ Medical College and Civil Hospital have called for a strike from November 29. JDA said on Friday that all its members and resident doctors will withdraw from out patient department services from Monday if counselling process is not fast-tracked by the concerned authority. On Saturday, JDA at BJMC will sensitize resident doctors regarding their grievances and plan of action. On Sunday, they will give a memorandum to the director for PG courses at BJMC, wear black ribbons and carry out a candle march on the hospital campus. “On Monday all resident doctors will withdraw from OPD/ward services,” it said. TNN

Three loot Rs 15L from 80-year-old garment businessman in Surat
Times of India | 15 hours ago
Times of India
15 hours ago

SURAT: An 80-year-old garment businessman and his grandson were robbed of Rs 15.25 lakh in cash on Friday night near the city light area while returning home from their store. Three unidentified robbers were riding moped and allegedly threw chilli powder on their faces before the loot. Umra police have registered an offence against unknown accused and are investigating. According to police sources, Anand Lalchand Panjabi runs ‘Mahima fashion’, a ladies garment store at Moti Begumwadi while his grandson 18-year-old Yash Jethanand Aburani helps him in the business. On Friday night, both of them were returning home to Chandan park society in the city light area at about 9pm. While passing near Tirth studio, a moped came in front of their car and the riders forcefully stopped the vehicle. Before the two could understand the situation, one of the moped riders opened the door on the driver side and sprinkled chilli powder on Yash’s face while also slapping him hard and trying to pull him out of the car. Meanwhile, another attacker sprinkled more chilli powder on the elderly man’s face too. Amid the ruckus, a third accomplice looted two bags containing Rs 15.25 lakh cash from the car and the trio fled the scene. Yash called up his father, who took them home. After their suffering from burning sensation became bearable, the duo went to Umra police station and filed a loot complaint. Police suspect the attack to be an insider job and said that the accused must be knowing about the money and their daily route. Cops are gathering CCTV footage from the area to identify the accused.

Times of India
Gandhinagar: Harassed over loan repayment, Air India ex-staffer ends life by jumping into Sabarmati river; 4 booked
Times Now | 20 hours ago
Times Now
20 hours ago

Ahmedabad: A former staffer of Air India allegedly committed suicide by jumping into Sabarmati river in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar, reportedly after he was harassed over repayment of a loan.Mahesh Dangi, a resident of Gandhinagar’s Nana Chiloda area, was employed with Air India as a loader for 25 years before being dismissed in 2019. According to his son Rupesh, he had gone missing on the morning of November 22. His family members sprang up in a search for him and later a missing person complaint was lodged with the police. His mobile phone was found in switch off mode inside a locker at his house. The next day, his body was retrieved from Sabarmati river near Bhat Toll Plaza. He had allegedly ended his life by jumping into the river.“In my father’s phone, he had kept a picture of a handwritten note by him mentioning that in December 2020, he took a loan of Rs 70,000 at five per cent interest from Kavita Ben and Sanjay Chhara. Later, my father paid off the loan to Sanjay by taking an additional loan from IDFC bank. However, he was being harassed by Kavita Ben and her son Urvish who claimed that they did not receive any money from him,” a report by The Indian Express quoted the victim’s son as saying in his complaint to the police.The complainant further stated that his now-deceased father was forcibly made to sign a false agreement wherein it was mentioned that Rs 1,70,000 was the original loan amount. He had borrowed another sum of Rs 1 lakh from one Bhura Rana in Ahmedabad. The four people -- Kavita, Urvish, Sanjay Chhara and Bhura Rana -- allegedly harassed the former staffer of Air India. Due to this, he killed himself, his son alleged.The police have registered a case against the four accused under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Times Now
From Ahmedabad with loan: US targets hit
Times of India | 21 hours ago
Times of India
21 hours ago

Ahmedabad: Fraudsters operating fake call centre rackets have hit on a new modus operandi. They target citizens in the US and Canada, luring them with $5,000 assistance to tide over crisis caused by Covid pandemic, and taking away $2,000 from them instead. These call centres are run in small shops, cars, autorickshaw or even on scooters are mainly located in eastern Ahmedabad, mostly in GIDCs. Police sources said, “The crooks call foreigners, ask them if they have suffered a financial setback during Covid and offer them instant relief of $5,000. If the person agrees, they ask the victim to pay $2,000 to avail of the instant aid. Once the money is paid, the criminals disappear.” Using the dark web, these accused also send messages to foreign nationals, showing that some amount has been credited to their account. “They create fake cellphone number or dummy bank website through which they send messages,” said the officer. Earlier, scamsters duped foreigners by offering payday loans or threaten to implicate them in a false narcotics case. “With increased awareness, targets realize they are being conned and dial the security agencies. So, the criminals have come up with a new modus operandi,” said another officer. Many of them operate from Vatva GIDC and industrial areas of Narol where they set up call centres in interior units, he said. This method is also being used by fake call centres in Mewat and Alwar to dupe Indians.

Times of India
Ahmedabad: Air passenger footfalls up 56%
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: With increased confidence among travellers after getting fully vaccinated and the decreasing number of Covid-19 cases, air travel received a boost ahead of the festive season in October. Air passenger footfalls rose by 56% in October this year. Some 5.58 lakh passengers travelled from the city airport in October this year, against 3.58 lakh passengers in the same month last year. Travel operators and city hoteliers attribute the increased movements to the revival of leisure travel as well as corporate travel for events, conferences and exhibitions. “During the festive season, a lot of corporate and leisure travellers travelled to Ahmedabad. Many came to attend weddings. This gave good business to hotels,” said hotelier Narendra Somani. Of the 5.58 lakh passengers that travelled through the city airport, 65,722 were international passengers and 4.93 were domestic. Overall travel sentiment improved significantly over the past few months. So much so that in October footfalls increased by 20%, compared to 4.6 lakh passengers in September. “With Covid-19 cases decreasing, people are regaining confidence to travel. Moreover, with restrictions eased or completely lifted in parts of the country, their sentiment is strengthening. Thus, business travel in domestic market has gone up to near pre-Covid levels. With the festive season and long weekends, leisure travel picked up. All of this led to a high number of air travellers,” said Virendra Shah, chairman, Travel Agents’ Association of India , Gujarat. One of the reasons for increased passenger footfalls is the approval from the aviation regulator, the directorate general of civil aviation, for airlines to operate at 100% capacity.

Times of India
Ahmedabad: Fliers can head to 10 new international destinations
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: Flights to some 10 new international destinations have been announced from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad, during the winter schedule. The winter schedule was recently announced by the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and was implemented effective October 28 this year. More flights to Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Doha, Qatar; Kuwait; London, UK; Muscat, Oman; Nairobi, Kenya and Najaf, Iraq have been announced. “International flights are running full at this point with a lot of businessmen as well as family members travelling by these flights to meet their loved ones. People have not been able to travel much last year due to the pandemic situation and the restrictions on international travel,” said Manish Sharma, chairman, Travel Agents’ Federation of India (TAFI), Gujarat. A total of 76 flights have been announced as part of the winter schedule for international operations by various airlines including Indigo, SpiceJet, GoAir, Fly Dubai, Emirates, Etihad, Kuwait Airways and Air India, among others. Of these, 47 flights have already been operationalised. “The starting of international operations will benefit travel and tourism sector in a big way as tourism industry will get the much-needed boost. That apart, even the hospitality sector will also get a lot of business in Gujarat with international movements beginning,” said Sharma. The international flight operations to various destinations have begun at least 40 days ahead of the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2022, which is scheduled to be held from January 10-12. Besides these, the city airport also operates flights to 27 other Indian cities as well. The Union ministry of civil aviation has already announced that scheduled commercial flights for international operations will begin from December 15. Despite conditions applicable, the move has been well-received by tourism and hospitality industry players.

Times of India
Revenue talati tortured by dentist husband
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: A 34-year-old woman from Chandkheda area of the city, who works as a revenue talati in Mahemdavad, on Saturday filed a complaint with police alleging that her husband, who is a dentist, harassed and thrashed her during their married life of around five years. She alleged in the FIR with the Chandkheda police that her husband and in-laws picked up fight with her, thrashed and abandoned her around a year ago as she gave birth to a child through caesarean and her husband and in-laws wanted the birth with normal delivery to save money. The woman alleged in the FIR that she had gone to live with her husband and family members at their place in Daaskroi taluka of Ahmedabad in December 2017. Soon after their marriage, her husband and in-laws wanted her to do household chores before she leaves for work and after coming to home. She alleged that her husband used to buy branded and expensive clothes and watches for which he used to take money from her. Whenever she objected to it, he thrashed her, said the FIR. The woman said in the FIR that her husband used to drink a lot and thrashed her over petty issues. Even his family members would thrash her if she would refuse to give any articles or goods demanded by them. She said that she gave birth to her child on November 16, 2019 and her husband and in-laws picked up fight and abandoned her as she had to undergo caesarean delivery. The complainant also alleged that her husband was in relationship with another woman. She ultimately approached police and filed a complaint of domestic vio lence and dowry harassment against her husband and three members of his family.

Times of India
Gujarat: Morbi clock units tick on with hope
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

The wedding season seems propitious for Morbi’s clock units. After the pandemic lull, expectations are high from the upcoming wedding season, including some big, fat NRI nuptials that will be held over the next three to four months. The industry is upbeat in its hope to turn the clock back to a period of good sales. But in the meantime, the industry is dealing with increased prices and shortage of raw materials. Industry experts put pre-Covid wall-clock manufacturing figures at about 1.5 lakh to 1.75 lakh pieces daily. They said the number has reduced to just 60,000 pieces daily over the past year. President of Morbi Clock and Parts Manufacturing Association, Shashank Dangi, said: "Seven of the 10 wall clocks sold are used for gifting. This is the first full-fledged wedding season after the pandemic, especially the second wave." Dangi added: "We hope for good business, though our industry is facing a 40% rise in prices of raw material." There has been a 40% rise in packaging material costs and a 25% rise in plastic material costs. Prices of colours and glass too have gone up by 30% each. "High prices of raw materials as well as their shortage are hitting us hard," Dangi said. "Earlier, we generally got 20 to 30 days’ credit on raw materials, but now have to pay in advance." Dangi said that the rise in container costs has added to the woes of clock manufacturers. Import of glass from China diminished after it became unviable for importers owing to high container charges. Same was the case with the import of ‘movement’, an essential clock component, from the Chinese market. A movement that cost Rs 13 now comes for Rs 20 because of high container charges.

Times of India
Medical intake: Over 26k forms distributed
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: A total of 26,186 forms have been distributed as part of the MBBS, BDS, BAMS and BHMS admissions, said the Admission Committee for Professional Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical Educational Courses (ACPUGMEC) on Sunday. The committee said that Monday is the last day for depositing forms and other required papers at designated help centres. The committee added that only 20 students will be allotted slots every hour to ensure that there is no crowding at help centres. Slots can be booked online, a release informed. The admission committee has also kept its phone lines and email open for students who require clarifications on the admission process. tnn

Times of India
Container rates confine exports
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

High ocean freight prices coupled with container and vessel shortage continue to haunt exporters as the spike in shipping costs has taken a toll on exports of several goods. These include low-value commodities such as dehydrated onions, salt, and plastic products. Although container rates have eased in the recent weeks, they are still double or triple of what they were before the pandemic. The container rates have hardened at a time when manufacturers across industries are battling spiralling raw material and fuel costs. Dehydrated onions: Movement dries up For instance, increased shipping charges have made the exports of dehydrated onions, considered a low-value product, unviable. American buyers order dehydrated onions from India only when the cost is lesser than in their own country. "American importers are currently not placing any orders as high freight rates have driven up the landed cost of dehydrated onions," said Vittal Koradiya, an exporter from Mahuva. The coastal town of Bhavnagar district is the hub of onion dehydration industry in India. Russian and European buyers have turned to China and Egypt, respectively, for sourcing dehydrated onions. The proximity factor helps in lowering freight charges. According to industry players, 75,000 tonnes of processed onions were exported in 2020-21. However, exporters hope to end the current fiscal with 65,000 tonnes. Clothing, apparel & chemical makers face delays Container availability has become a challenge for most exporters, which in turn is leading to major delays in shipping consignments. Industry players suggest that containers for shipments which were available within a day are now taking at least 20 days to a month. This is leading to substantial delays in shipments. "With the availability of containers being erratic, export shipments are getting significantly delayed," said Rahul Mehta, chief mentor, Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India. Mehta added: "In such cases, international buyers are either insisting on sending shipments by air or cancelling orders." He said in both these scenarios, exporters will be at a loss because they will either have to shell out more to ship the order or end up losing the order and revenues. Order delays and cancellations are also affecting the profitability of exporters. Industry players said that in some cases, clients are getting the consignments air-lifted. "The entire apparel consignment of the winter collection should have been shipped by now," said Chintan Thaker, chairman, Assocham, Gujarat state council. "However, due to the container shortage, the shipments are significantly delayed." Thaker added: "Some orders are still being shipped and the manufacturers are losing their goodwill that comes with timely delivery." Thaker went on to say: "At the same time, exporters have to bear higher costs for the same shipments."Some shipping lines have increased freight charges by 100% to 400%, said Bhupendra Patel, chairman, Gujarat region, Basic Chemicals, Cosmetics & Dyes Export Promotion Council (Chemexcil). Patel added: "With the increased cost of shipments, the profit margins of manufacturers are getting thinner, which is impacting the viability of business." He went on to say: "With stretched payment cycles and lower profitability, the overall growth of the industry is being impaired." Salt makers feel the pinch For low-value commodities, the cost of shipping gets higher than the value of the products. Salt is one such item, exports of which to China declined by 30% last year and the reduction is expected to be the same this year as well. Chinese buyers are not placing orders due to high freight rates, said salt manufacturers. India’s salt production is estimated to drop to 1.70 crore tonnes in 2021-22 from 2.20 crore tonnes in 2020-21 due to the cyclone Tauktae and the extended monsoon this year. The reduction in production will push the consumption of salt that could not be exported due to firm shipping charges, salt makers added. Gujarat alone accounts for 76% of India’s total salt production. Ceramics, agriculture sectors take a hit Ceramic exports remained buoyant even amid the pandemic-induced slowdown. However, the circumstances have changed this year due to container shortage and high freight rates. "The container freight costs have started easing but they are still very high and nowhere near normal," said K G Kundariya, former president, Morbi Ceramic Association (MCA). "The volume of ceramic exports has come down by 50% over the past four months and the volume was down 30% two months before that." Ceramic tiles worth Rs 13,000 crore are exported annually from Morbi, which is India’s largest cluster of the ceramic industry. High ocean freight rates have escalated the cost of the locally made agriculture equipment by 30-40%, said Dinesh Khanpara, president, Gujarat Agriculture Machinery Manufacturing Association. "We make agri-equipment at rates cheaper than that of our competitors in the European countries," Khanpara said. "However, the surge in container charges has deprived the local manufacturers of the cost advantage in the export market." He added: "India’s traditional buyers from African and Gulf countries are now ordering from European manufacturers." He said European products now cost as much as Indian products. (With inputs from Kalpesh Damor)

Times of India
75, including all from 8 families, to take diksha in Surat
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: Mukesh Sanghvi, 43, a businessman from Mumbai, will take diksha at Adhyatmik Nagri constructed in the Vesu area of Surat. His wife Shilpa, 42, and son Keosha, 14, and his daughter will join him in the spiritual journey. “I decided to renounce family life and conveyed the decision to my family. They immediately suggested that they do the same,” Sanghvi told TOI. “We have seen all aspects of life. We have seen the struggles of a middle-class family and also the riches the business brought us that enabled us to see countries from Europe to Africa and also the US and Singapore.” He added: “But seeking the blessings of a guru will eventually bring happiness.” In a historic event, no fewer than eight families are taking diksha under the guidance of Yogtilaksureshwarji Maharaj. In all, 75 diksharthis will be part of the event on Monday. The organizers said that 14 are crorepatis and come from Gujarat and Maharashtra. Amish Dalal, 55, is a practising chartered accountant and company secretary based in Mumbai. “My firm’s turnover is in crores. But after all these years, it’s not what gives me happiness,” said Dalal. “I seek the grace of religion and walk on the path of self-discovery.” Dalal’s family hails from Khambhat in Gujarat and he was a top ranker in his student days. Ravindra Shah, a trustee overseeing the event, said that the diksharthis are from 7 to 70 years and come from all walks of life. In all, 38 men and 37 women will take diksha. “It’s perhaps the biggest diksha mahotsav at which so many diksharthis will become Jain sadhus and sadhvis,” said Hitesh Mota, one of the organizers. “At an earlier event, about 69 had taken diksha.”

Times of India
Ahmedabad: Teen jumps from highrise in Sola after fire breaks out
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: A panicked teenager jumped from a highrise and suffered injuries after a fire erupted in the building near Kargil petrol pump on SG Road on Sunday. Two other people fell ill after inhaling smoke. The fire had erupted in the electric duct on the second floor which spread up to the ninth floor of Ganesh Meridian building. As it was a Sunday, most offices in the 12-storeyed commercial building were shut. “This eliminated the need for an intense fire-fighting and rescue mission. The exact origin of the fire could not be ascertained so far,” said officers of the Ahmedabad fire and emergency services (AFES). A fire officer said, “The fire could have sparked from a half-lit cigarette or bidi thrown in the garbage bin or due to a short circuit.” “Kishan Meena, 16, who worked as an office boy at one of the firms on the second floor, panicked on seeing the fire, jumped and fractured his leg. He has been admitted to Sola Civil hospital,” said the fire officer. Nimit Shukla, a lawyer with an office on the sixth floor, fell ill after inhaling the smoke. He was rescued by the AFES personnel. The fire officer said they had to break several windowpanes to vent out the smoke. Sixty-four fire brigade personnel and three officers used seven fire tenders to douse the flames in half an hour. The smoke billowing from the building could be seen from Sola flyover where a traffic jam took place after the fire caught the attention of the commuters. Six shops gutted on Relief Road As many as six shops were gutted in a fire at a commercial building on Relief Road on Sunday. The fire took place at a garments shop in Aakar commercial centre. The fire spread to the third floor, damaging other shops. Six fire fighters, one hydraulic machine, two ambulances and 68 fire brigade personnel were deployed to the spot. They took 45 minutes to douse the fire. Traffic was halted till the fire was doused completely. No casualty has been reported in the incident.

Times of India
Ahmedabad: Seven lose Rs 1.5 lakh in Covid loan fraud
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: A former employee of a private bank allegedly cheated seven persons of Rs 1.5 lakh under the garb of providing them Covid assistance loans In his complaint with Navrangpura police on Saturday, victim Dharmesh Sharma, a 47-year-old resident of Chanakyapuri, filed a complaint for him and six others against accused Ramakant Sahu, a resident of Nikol who runs a financial consultancy office in CG Road area. Sharma, who runs a clock shop, said he had met Sahu when the latter was a bank representative and had provided him with a credit card this May. “In June, Sahu approached me again and said he had left the bank job. He told me he was helping those who suffered financial crisis during Covid-19 pandemic to secure loans. He told me that the government was providing subsidized loans under the ‘Vajpayi Bankable Scheme’ and that he could help me get a loan. Sahu also approached Ashwin Mistry of Chanakyapuri, Asaram Verma of Chandlodia, Chandrika Nishad of Ghatlodia, Nitin Rathod and Zakir Qureshi of Saraspur and Murtuza Ahmed Shaikh of Shahpur. He duped them by getting them to pay processing fees for the loan,” Sharma told police. Sahu cheated them out of Rs 1.5 lakh before going incommunicado on July 25. Later, the victims approached police and filed a complaint of cheating and breach of trust against Sahu.

Times of India
December may bring rain to coastal Gujarat
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: A western disturbance from the night of November 30 is likely to affect several districts of Gujarat from November 30 to December 2. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), light to moderate thunderstorm with lightning is expected on November 30 in all districts of south Gujarat along with Ahmedabad, Anand, Kheda, Panchmahal, Dahod, Surendranagar, Rajkot, Porbandar, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath, and Botad. On December 1, heavy to very heavy rains at isolated places is very likely in Anand, Bharuch, Navsari, Valsad, Amreli and Bhavnagar. Likewise, Panchmahal, Dahod, Chhota Udepur, Surat, Dang, Tapi, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, and Botad may get heavy rains. Meanwhile, the temperature remained high in Ahmedabad on Sunday with maximum temperature reaching 34.5°C.

Times of India
Amit Shah asks Amul to bat for organic farmers
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

CaptionGandhinagar: Making a fervent pitch for organic farming, Union home and cooperation minister Amit Shah asked Amul to work towards creating a network to market organic produce of farmers. He said that although the task is difficult, it will give farmers a fair price for their produce and reduce the country’s dependency on fertilizers. “I know this is not an easy task, but I want to tell the Amul team, someone has to take up this difficult work. When Tribhovandas Patel began the task (of organising cattle rearers) it was a difficult task,” Shah remarked. He added that, if required, the Centre was willing to assist financially. “If certain investment is necessary, bring a scheme. We will take it before the PM and bring about a solution,” the Union cooperation minister said. “There is a serious problem in the country because of fertilizers. It is damaging the soil. The prevalence of fertilizers has increased so much, that it is causing damage to the bodies of citizens,” said Shah He added that too much fertilizers is causing cancer and other serious ailments among people. “Organic farming products are good for both the health of people as well as the soil. “A large number farmers have realized this and adopted organic farming. But the main problem is that the farmers are not getting fair price for their produce,” the minister said. Providing examples, Shah said that organic wheat and wheat grown with the help of fertilizers are sold at the same price in the market and potatoes grown through organic farming fetch the same price as those grown by using fertilizers. “In some parts of the country and the world, there is an arrangement where farmers get up to three times the price if they grow crops using organic method,” said Shah, adding that about 2 lakh farmers in Gujarat have taken up organic farming, using cow dung and other natural nutrients for plants. “It will be difficult for these farmers to give up this experiment and the only way to increase the number of farmers taking up organic farming is by helping them get their right price for their produce,” Shah said.

Times of India
Use of condoms in Gujarat doubles in 4 years
Times of India | 22 hours ago
Times of India
22 hours ago

Ahmedabad: Use of condoms has remained a taboo subject in Gujarat, and India at large – as men have largely remained reluctant to use the over-the-counter contraceptive rendering it a topic of jokes and even an OTT film recently. The scenario is changing, however, according to the recent findings of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS)-5 that was conducted in 2019-20. The survey results indicated that overall, 11.4% of the surveyed population used condom as a family planning method. This is a major jump considering this population was only 4.9% in the last survey in 2015-16. Among the urban population, condom use was 16.8% while it remained less than half at 7.5% in rural areas. Both urban and overall numbers were remarkably higher than the national average of 13.6% and 9.5% respectively. For the rural areas, it was the same as the national average of 7.6%, indicating increased awareness and usage among urban populations. However, female sterilization remained the most-practised family planning method at 35.9% where rural areas accounted for 40.8% compared to 29.1% in urban areas. These results were also closer to the national average. Dr Alpesh Gandhi, the immediate past president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Society of India (FOGSI) and Ahmedabad-based gynecologist, said that the results are encouraging. “Traditionally women bear the burden of family planning – and as the survey highlights, females either undergo sterilization or intrauterine device (IUD) such as Copper T. Reluctance of their male partners to use condoms is a major factor behind the phenomenon,” he said. “But our clinical experience highlights that the women undergoing institutional delivery are often more aware of family planning methods. Gujarat has a very high institutional delivery rate of over 90%. Thus, awareness may also have played a part in the rise in condom use.” An earlier survey showed that condom sales rise by less than 2% annually and are not the most popular of contraceptives overall. Another survey indicated that only 7% of women and 27% men ever used condoms in pre-marital sex and depended on other methods for ‘safe sex.’ Pallavi Patel, director of city-based NGO CHETNA that closely works with women on reproductive health and other issues, said that the need of the hour is to talk more about contraceptives. “Our field experience says that condoms are still not popular in rural areas where men refuse to use them. But as shown in survey, it might have to do with a large younger population that is more aware about use of contraceptives for both sexual health and family planning,” she said.

Times of India