Ahmedabad Sabarmati News

Modi’s mega road show in city today
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 day ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 day ago | |

As the first phase of polling in the state takes place on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a mega road show in the city. The longest road show so far will cover all the 16 seats. Ahmedabad will have voting in the second phase on Monday. The 32-km road show will begin from Naroda in the east and end at Chandkheda in the west. The BJP is busy organising the event and party workers in all the seats have been asked to ensure that it becomes a mega show.On Saturday, Modi held a road show in Surat where polling will take place on Thursday. The PM will be in the state on Friday also, last day for campaigning for the second phase, and address many public gatherings. Major parts of city to be covered The route of the road show will be Naroda Gam, Naroda Patiya circle, Krishnanagar Hirawadi -Bapunagar crossroads, Khodiyarnagar, BRTS route, Viratnagar, Soni-ni- Chawl, Rajendra crossroad, Rabari Colony, CTM, Hatkeshwar crossroads, Khokhra circle, Bhulabhai crossroad, Shah Alam crossroad, Danilimda, Khodiyarnagar, Chandrangar, Dharnidhar crossroad, Jivraj Park crossroad, Shyamal crossroad, Shivranjani crossroad, Helmet Circle, AEC crossroads, Pallav crossroad, Prabhat Chowk, Patidar Chowk, Akhbarnagar crossroad, RTO circle, Sabarmati, Visat crossroad and will end at IOC crossroad in Chandkheda. Before coming to the city, PM Modi will address public gatherings at Kalol, Chhota Udepur and Himmatnagar.

Modi’s mega road show in city today
BJP converted city of Begum, Badshah to Karnavati: Amit Shah
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

The BJP converted Ahmedabad — the city of Begum and Badshah — to Karnavati, while successive Congress governments made Gujarat unsafe through communal riots and smuggling of arms for terrorist activities through porous borders, said Union Minister Amit Shah at Naranpura in Ahmedabad Monday.“BJP sealed the borders, sent smugglers to jail and forced them to leave Gujarat; thus, saving the entire western India from terrorism. Congress governments made Gujarat unsafe through communal riots and smuggling for arms for terrorist activities through porous borders,” Shah said. He also alleged that the Congress tried to delay the Sardar Sarovar project since the dam was named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.While speaking about how the BJP has enforced law and order in the state, he referred to how Jagannath Rath Yatra had to be stopped due to communal riots in Ahmedabad. He also said not a single police station in Gujarat had to impose a single day of curfew in the past 20 years.Talking about the Sabarmati Riverfront, Shah said the Congress had agitated saying that the land acquired on the banks of Sabarmati will be given away to industrialists. “Today, the riverfront has become the centre of activity in the city,” he reminded.Shah also highlighted the party’s efforts to ensure that Ahmedabad could host the Olympic Games in 2036.Earlier in the day, as he addressed an election campaign for BJP candidate Ketan Inamdar at Savli Assembly seat in Vadodara, Shah blamed the Congress for delaying the Sardar Sarovar project since the dam was named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.“(Pandit Jawaharlal) Nehru had laid the foundation stone of the dam in 1961, even before I was born, but it was Morarji Desai’s ‘mistake’ that he named it after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The moment the dam became Sardar Sarovar, the Congress stepped back and did not want to complete the project… They couldn’t make do with the name,” alleged Shah.Referring to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “mauni Baba”, Shah also blamed the Congress’s “vote bank politics” for the continuous attacks on Indian soldiers by Pakistan.Shah attributed the completion of the project to Modi’s grit during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat due to which the Central Government was forced to clear the construction of the dam.“The Congress leaders ask what benefit Savli has if the Narmada water reaches Saurashtra and Kutch… Will it not benefit Savli when those areas prosper because of Narmada water and bring along overall growth? But how does one explain this to the Congress because the distance between Congress and wisdom is 300 miles,” he charged.Yet again reminding the “lesson taught” to rioters during the 2002 riots of Gujarat, Shah said, “They (Congress) orchestrated the Hindu-Muslim riots and ensured that there was a curfew for 250 of the 365 days… Bombs used to be found from homes of their cabinet ministers and 200 people would get stabbed daily in Ahmedabad jail. In 2001, when Narendrabhai became the chief minister, no man had the courage to cast an evil eye on the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath… The Congress had backed rioters always and so in 2002, they (miscreants) made another attempt to create a riot. But they were taught such a lesson that they never lifted their heads again.”Due to “vote bank politics”, Shah alleged, for 10 years until 2014, the UPA government did nothing when “the Pakistanis would come and cut the heads of our soldiers”. “In 2014, Narendra Modi became the PM but Pakistan did not realise what difference it would make if the BJP was in power… When Pakistan attacked Pulwama and killed our soldiers, within 10 days, Narendrabhai gave orders to the Army and Airforce to teach them a lesson… He has sent across a message that no one should play around with the borders and soldiers of India or they will have to pay a price.”

BJP converted city of Begum, Badshah to Karnavati: Amit Shah
93.3% polling in postal ballots by A’bad police
Ahmedabad Mirror | 5 days ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
5 days ago | |

Voting for the first phase of postal ballots for police is over for Gujarat assembly polls on 21 seats of Ahmedabad district and city. Ahmedabad (district and city) police recorded an impressive voting percentage of 93.33%. This is higher than about 67% voting seen during the 2017 polls.The high voting percentage could just be the right example to follow for voters of Gujarat when the state goes to poll on December 1 and December 5.In earlier elections, Maninagar constituency of then CM of Gujarat and current PM, Narendra Modi, topped the list with 155.45 %, followed by Sabarmati with 107.88% and Dholka with 106%.SP of Headquarters, Baldevsinh Vaghela, told Mirror that out of about 12,000 strong police force of Ahmedabad, 5,705 persons are registered in Ahmedabad district while more 6,295 are registered in other districts. About 5,578 forms for postal ballots were issued for cops. “Some 5,325 personnel voted through postal ballots at two different ‘Suvidha Centers’ set up at the police headquarters in Shahibaug,” Vaghela said. Voting was organised at two different centers, one at Parade Ground and the other at Police Stadium on November 25 and 26. A section of the police force from Ahmedabad, that is to be deployed in Saurashtra and South Gujarat for the first phase of voting on December 1, will leave the city on December 28.SP Vaghela said, “The high percentage of voting sets an example for other voters of the state in the ensuing assembly polls.”

93.3% polling in postal ballots by A’bad police
Textile firm Ashima moves Gujarat HC for discharge pipe
Times of India | 5 days ago | |
Times of India
5 days ago | |

AHMEDABAD: A year after its closure and that of many other textile units in the city following the Gujarat high court prohibiting the discharge of treated effluent into the civic body's sewerage, Ashima Ltd has approached the HC, complaining that Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) is not responding to its request for a pipeline to discharge effluent into the Mega pipeline, which takes industrial effluent to a common effluent treatment plant (CEPT). The HC banned the discharge of treated effluent into sewers because sewage treatment plants (STP) could not process it properly and untreated wastewater was being discharged into the Sabarmati river, increasing the pollution in the river. Last year, the HC had taken up the cause of cleaning and rejuvenating the river. Ashima told the high court that the mega pipeline had agreed to accept its treated discharge. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has also granted permission for right of way to connect a pipeline to the Mega pipeline. The high court's order expressly said that such an option could be explored. The company further submitted that after getting AMC's permission to lay a pipeline from its unit to the Mega pipeline, it made an application to GPCB on July 7, requesting it to permit the connection. GPCB did not take any decision, saying the case is still pending in the court. The company's lawyer complained that the unit has been closed for nearly a year and some 1,300 workers are jobless. The bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice V D Nanavati sought GPCB's reply on this issue by December 2.

Textile firm Ashima moves Gujarat HC for discharge pipe
GIFT to become Global City, its size to triple
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Home to the country's first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), the Gujarat International Finance-Tec (GIFT) City in Gandhinagar is all set to be identified as GIFT Global City, as it grows three-fold bigger. Sources privy to the development confirmed that the state government has cleared decks for GIFT City to increase its notified area from existing 1,000 acres to 3,300 acres. The decision was made in response to a proposal by GIFT Company Limited to expand the limits of GIFT City area. GIFT Urban Development Authority (GIFTUDA) is required to submit a draft development plan for the area over the next 12 months. Fresh investments of Rs 2.4 lakh crore are expected to pour into the GIFT City and this will strengthen Gujarat's position on the global financial services map, said sources. The state government plans to develop the expanse as GIFT Global City, a leg-up from its current identity of GIFT Smart City. The additional 2,300 acres of land will be a combination of state-owned land in addition to privately held land parcels, which will be soon notified by the state government, sources confirmed. GIFTUDA will also oversee development of the additional land. "Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, and GIFT City can be developed as a Tri-City. A huge section of the proposed land to be acquired belongs to the state and therefore, would be transferred under GIFTUDA. The private land will be earmarked for use, similar to a town-planning scheme, instead of acquiring it," said a senior official not willing to be named. Plans to develop schools, hospitals, recreational and commercial zones on the GIFT City campus will be extrapolated to the additional area too. A dedicated riverfront along the Sabarmati river stretch on the campus will also come up. Besides IFSCA, GIFT City is also home to two international exchanges with an average daily trading volume of $11 billion, 13 fintech entities and Indian and foreign banks.

GIFT to become Global City, its size to triple
Half the city candidates have graduate degrees
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 week ago | |

Politics is perhaps the only “profession” where your academic excellence doesn’t count. Or so the people think. However, Ahmedabad city is an exception this time with half of the 32 candidates (of BJP and Congress) either being graduates or postgraduates. In all, for 16 Ahmedabad seats, 11 candidates are graduates, 5 post graduates and 2 PhDs. Six candidates haven’t finished higher secondary.Among graduates, 7 are from Congress and 4 are from BJP. The INC candidates are Payal Patel, Ranjitsinh Barad, Vijaykumar Brahmbhatt, CM Rajput, Vipul Parmar, Sailesh Parmar and Bhikhu Dave. Among the BJP, three including Ami Shah, Kaushik Jain and Darshna Vaghela have graduate degrees while Payal Kukrani, the BJP candidate from Naroda, is a foreign medical graduate from Smolensk Medical University, Russia.​​​​​​​The most educated of the lot is Amee Yajnik, the INC candidate who is up against CM Bhupendra Patel in Ghatlodia. She has a Doctorate in the Science of Law (JSD) from Stanford University.On the other hand, ChiefMinister Bhupendra Patel has a Diploma in Civil Engineering. In the BJP, Harshad Patel of BJP, contesting from Sabarmati, has a Master’s Degree in Education (MEd) as well as a PhD.There are three candidates, all from the BJP — Amit Thaker from Vejalpur, Hasmukh Patel from Amraiwadi and Amul Bhatt from Maninagar — who have a Master’s degree. While Thaker has one in law, Patel has his degree in medicine and Bhatt has his degree in chemistry.Sonal Patel, representing Congress in Naranpura, has a PG Diploma in Planning from CEPT University in Ahmedabad.BJP’s Naresh Vyas, contesting from the Danilimda (SC) seat, has a Diploma in Fine Arts.There are four such candidates up for election in Ahmedabad - two each from INC and BJP - who did enrol in a graduate degree, but couldn’t complete college. These are INC’s Balvantsinh Gadhvi (FYBCom) and Dharmendra Patel who reached SYBCom. From the BJP, Jagdish Vishwakarma reached SYBA and Bhushan Bhatt, contesting from Jamalpur-Khadia, has completed SYBCom.Two candidates, both from the BJP — Jitendra Patel from Naranpura and Dinesh Kushwaha from Bapunagar constituencies — have just managed to finish higher secondary schooling. Notably, the INC candidate from Bapunagar, Himmatsinh Patel, has only passed Class 9.There are two candidates, one each from the INC and BJP, who have passed out of the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). They are Dineshkumar Mahida (INC) contesting from Sabarmati, and Babusinh Jadav (BJP), contesting from Vatva.Meghraj Dodani, the NCP candidate from Naroda, BJP’s Kanchan Radadiya from Thakkarbapa Nagar and two of the INC candidates — Gyasuddin Shaikh from Dariapur and Imran Khedawala from Jamalpur-Khadia — have all passed their Class 10 examinations only.

Half the city candidates have graduate degrees
Amit Shah leads the prestige battle in his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

As elections heat up, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been spending more and more time in Gujarat. Helming the BJP’s poll strategy in his home state, he spent four days at a stretch here till Wednesday, most of that time in Ahmedabad and his Lok Sabha constituency of Gandhinagar, finalising the candidate list, trying to pacify rebellions and joining the nomination processions of at least two candidates, including incumbent Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.In three other constituencies, where the party has dropped sitting candidates, Shah held late-night meetings.All these five constituencies where Shah spent considerable time fall under his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat. Of its total seven seats, the BJP has sitting MLAs in five and the Congress in two. Having won the Gandhinagar seat for the first time in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it is a battle of prestige for Shah to win all the seven Assembly segments in it.Considered the brain behind the BJP’s poll strategies, particularly the figuring out of intricate sub-caste arithmetic in candidate selection, Shah cannot not meet with total success in own seat. He is also the face and voice of the party for the Gujarat elections, holding media interactions and laying down winnability as the criteria for ticket selection.It was after Shah landed in Gujarat on November 13 that the BJP took up finalisation of candidates for some of the most contested Assembly constituencies in the state, wrapping this up by Wednesday – a day to go for nomination deadline for the second phase to end. Sources said the Union minister was closely involved in damage control as a number of leaders were openly angry over allotment of tickets, with at least three threatening to contest as Independents.Between 1989 when Shankersinh Vaghela won from the seat, and 2019, when Shah became the MP, the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency had been represented by MPs not based in Gujarat. For example, former deputy prime minister L K Advani, who was a five-term Gandhinagar MP, winning it consecutively from 1991 till 2014, except 1996, when late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee won.An MLA from Sarkhej constituent of the Gandhinagar seat, Shah was the election manager for Advani each time he contested, ensuring a bigger victory margin every successive election.During his recent trip, Shah drove with candidate Kanubhai Patel as he went to file his nomination in the Sanand Assembly constituency, and made a halt to meet party workers at a small gathering, in a boost to the candidate. Similarly, he did a nearly 3-km roadshow with CM Bhupendra Patel in his Ghatlodia constituency on the day he filed his nomination papers.The Union minister visited the offices of the BJP candidates from Vejalpur, Naranpura and Sabarmati – Amit Thaker, Jitu Bhagat and Harshad Patel, respectively – who have replaced sitting MLAs.A party source said there was nothing surprising in this. “This is Shah’s style during elections. He was deeply involved during the 2017 Assembly polls as well. As far as visiting the constituencies goes, he is almost religious in taking care of them.”Of the seven Assembly segments in Gandhinagar — Vejalpur, Naranpura, Ghatlodia, Sabarmati, Kalol, Sanand and Gandhinagar North – only Kalol and Gandhinagar North have not had a visit from Shah recently. “He will certainly cover them in his next visit,” said the source.

Amit Shah leads the prestige battle in his Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat
Ahd civic body to build Army quarters in other towns
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: For the first time in civic history, an AMC-run company will construct residential quarters for the armed forces beyond its jurisdiction, in Bhuj and Dhrangadhra. The project is being undertaken in lieu of the 70,000 square metres of land that the Army Cantonment has provided on lease to the AMC on the riverfront banks for the second phase of the Sabarmati Riverfront project. Tenders for the residential quarters have already been floated by Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL). The tenders state that the residential quarters in Bhuj will cost Rs 24.27 crore while the project in Dhrangadhra will be constructed at the cost of Rs 15.9 crore. SRFDCL officials have confirmed that the Army will not charge any sum for the land leased for the riverfront project. A meeting was held on October 20, in which the SRFDCL board approved the second phase of the riverfront project. The need for the Army land had come up in that meeting. The land acquired from the Army under the lease agreement will be essential in constructing a road link between Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium, located within the Sardar Patel Sports Enclave, and the riverfront. “The process of purchasing land from the Army Cantonment at market rates is complex. It was then decided to acquire the land under a lease agreement by the officers of the Army Cantonment and the ministry of defence,” said a senior official of the SRFDCL. “We are constructing a 5.8km road running along the riverfront and the Army land was needed for the road link,” the SRFDCL official said. Currently, the riverfront has an 11.5km road stretch on each of its banks. The 5.8km road stretch towards Indira Bridge will be part of the second phase of the project.

Ahd civic body to build Army quarters in other towns
‘Not here, but doesn’t mean absent’: Gujarat Cong waits for word on Rahul, draws up meetings plan
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

From lasting impact of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, to long-distance monitoring, to focused campaign by party leaders, the Congress is trying to put a positive spin on the fact that Rahul Gandhi is so far absent from the high-stakes Gujarat campaign.The state unit has no clear idea if that might change, with some leaders talking tentatively of two visits by Rahul, one on November 22, a week to go for campaigning to end for the first phase polling in 89 seats on December 1, and another before the second phase on December 5.This is quite a departure from the high-octane campaign in 2017 when Rahul had addressed nearly 40 meetings, while making several temple visits, and launched a Navsarjan Yatra, which covered the length and breadth of Gujarat in a bus. The party’s tally of 77 seats had been its highest since 1990 in the state, with the BJP’s 99 its lowest.Congress leaders argue that it is best Rahul is not “distracted” from the Bharat Jodo Yatra, and remind that he did not campaign in Himachal Pradesh either. However, in Himachal, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had taken charge of the party campaign.Vadra was last in Gujarat in February 2019 when the Congress Working Committee met in Ahmedabad, and has never addressed a rally in the state. A Congress leader says, “When Rahulji is campaigning, there is no point in also calling her. Both are our star campaigners. She comes when Rahulji is unable to, like in Himachal.”Rahul’s absence coincides with the loss of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the eyes and ears of the high command in Gujarat, who died of Covid-19 in 2020.AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Raghu Sharma told The Indian Express that while Rahul might not be present in the state, he is constantly “monitoring what the party is doing in Gujarat”. “We are making a plan for his meetings, but it is wrong to say he is absent. He held meetings in Dwarka, Dahod and on the Sabarmati Riverfront as recently as September,” Sharma says.Party leaders argue that the comparison with 2017 is also wrong as, at the time, Rahul was the vice-president of the party.A core committee member of the Gujarat Congress and AICC delegate, Gaurav Pandya, says there is another way to look at this. “Everybody is on the field campaigning. Had Rahulji come, the leaders who are also candidates would have had to abandon their campaign and come to his meetings, which would be damaging (for them).”Besides, says Pandya, “His (Rahul’s) Bharat Jodo Yatra is having an indirect impact on our campaign. It has got the Congress worker in the smallest of villages talking about it and they feel that ‘we should complement it’… The Bharat Jodo Yatra was planned with a national perspective.”Pandya acknowledges, though, that Rahul’s intensive campaign of 2017 “did build a connect and benefit the Congress, apart from the social movement that got the Patidars connected (to the party)”.The absence of the Gandhis is expected to hurt the party most in the tribal areas, which have been its stronghold and where the family still has a following. Congress leaders are also despondent that the “disinterest” comes at a time when the Aam Aadmi Party is making an aggressive bid in Gujarat, and is expected to cut into the party’s votes.Of the 27 ST reserved seats in Gujarat, the Congress had won 17 in 2017, of whom five MLAs have since joined the BJP. Two of them quit after the Adivasi Adhikar Yatra by the Congress in May to consolidate its tribal vote.Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi says the launch of the Adivasi yatra by Rahul in Dahod has been followed up by a “door-to-door campaign in tribal areas talking about what the party will do to protect their rights to jal, jungle, jameen”.Congress leaders claim that in these areas, AAP has dented the Bharatiya Tribal Party more, while the BJP was trying to “lure its tribal MLAs”. “The appointment of Droupadi Murmu as President is also being used by the party to influence tribals,” says a leader.Rahul’s last visit to Gujarat was on September 5 when, two days to go for the launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, he addressed a rally on the Sabarmati Riverfront, unveiling a broad manifesto of thte party, promising Rs 4 lakh as compensation to families of those who succumbed to Covid-19, farm loan waiver of up to Rs 3 lakh, free electricity for households up to 300 units etc. These promises are part of the Congress’s manifesto released recently.At the Dahod rally in May, Rahul had shared the stage with then working president Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani. Hardik, the face of the Patidar agitation, had left the Congress soon after to join the BJP.Before that, in February, Rahul addressed a Chintan Shivir of the Congress in Dwarka, where the strategy for the elections was discussed. In his address on Day 2, he told party leaders to come up with a vision for Gujarat and “project 25 people who would transform that vision into reality”.Seeking to put its house in order, meanwhile, the AICC Monday announced a team of zonal observers, including Mukul Wasnik, Mohan Prakash, Prithviraj Chavan, B K Hariprasad and K H Muniyappa. Barring Muniyappa, the rest have been in-charge of Gujarat at some point.The party also announced 32 ‘Lok Sabha Observers’ in charge of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat and five ‘General Observers’.

‘Not here, but doesn’t mean absent’: Gujarat Cong waits for word on Rahul, draws up meetings plan
Rajkot West & Ghatlodia seats gave four CMs
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

Call them lucky constituencies, but Ghatlodia and Rajkot West enjoy the distinction of giving Gujarat four of its chief ministers. CM Bhupendra Patel, who won from the Ghatlodia seat in 2017, had replaced Vijay Rupani, the MLA from Rajkot West, as the state CM. Patel has been given a BJP ticket from the seat for the upcoming poll. Anandi Patel, who preceded Rupani as the CM, had also won from the Ghatlodia seat in 2012. After replacing Keshubhai Patel as the CM, Narendra Modi had contested his first election in 2001, a bypoll, from Rajkot-2 which was renamed as Rajkot West after the delimitation. After Gujarat state was formed in 1960, Jivraj Mehta became its first CM. In 1962, he won the first Gujarat state assembly poll from Amreli constituency, bagging 17,194 votes against his rival from Praja Socialist Party, Narbheshankar Paneri, who got 9,889 votes. However, when Jivraj Mehta’s term ended, Balwantrai Mehta — who had lost the 1962 election from Bhavnagar seat — was appointed the second CM of Gujarat. The next year, he defeated PSP candidate, Sanat Mehta, in the Sihor bypoll. Hitendra Desai, who had won the 1962 election from Olpad seat, served as the Gujarat CM from 1965 to 1971. Ghanshyam Oza won the 1972 assembly poll from Dehgam and served as the CM for a year. The next year, he was replaced by Chimanbhai Patel who had won the 1972 poll from Sankheda constituency. Patel held the CM’s post for 207 days in 1973-74. Gujarat was under presidential rule in 1975, after which Babu Jashbhai Patel, who had won the poll from Sabarmati seat, became the CM and served the state for 268 days. Madhavsinh Solanki, who was the CM for 107 days in 1976-77, was elected from Bhadran constituency — which proved to be a lucky seat for him. Babu, who was then thesitting MLA from Sabarmati seat, was appointed the CM in April 1977 — a post he held for almost three years. In 1980, Solanki again won from Bhadran and completed his five-year term as the CM for the first time in the history of the state. In 1985, Amarsinh won the assembly poll from Vyara and served as the CM for four years and 156 days. He was replaced by Madhavsinh Solanki in 1989. In 1990, Janata Dal candidate Chimanbhai Patel emerged victorious from Sankheda seat and was made the CM. He wassucceeded by Chhabildas Mehta, MLA from Mahuva constituency, as the CM. Mehta was in power in 1994-95. In 1995, Keshubhai Patel, the MLA from Visavadar became the CM and served for 221 days. The next year, he was succeeded by Suresh Mehta, the MLA from Mandvi seat. Following the Khajuraho controversy, Shankersinh Vaghela, who was elected from Radhanpur, was made the CM in 1996. Dhandhuka MLA Dilip Parikh who replaced him in 1997 governed Gujarat as its CM for 188 days. In 1998, Visavadar again made Keshubhai Patel victorious, and he served as the CM for three years and 216 days. He was replaced by Narendra Modi in 2001 after the earthquake. Modi, after winning the Rajkot West bypoll, won the Maninagar seat in 2002, 2007 and 2012 and served as Gujarat CM for 12 years and 227 days before contesting the Lok Sabha election in 2014.

Rajkot West & Ghatlodia seats gave four CMs
Gujarat: Will restore Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s name to NaMo Stadium, say Congress
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

The Congress released its manifesto on Saturday and went all out to woo Gujarat voters. Some of the promises the grand old party made to the electorate are recruitments to fill 10 lakh government and quasi-government jobs including five lakh jobs for women, a 20% reduction of all taxes, restoring the old pension scheme for government employees, free medical treatment worth up to Rs 10 lakh, a monthly unemployment dole, waiving off farmers’ loans of up to Rs 3 lakh, free education for all girls up to postgraduate level, pollution control in cities, renaming the Narendra Modi stadium in Motera after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and halting the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram precinct rejuvenation project. While releasing the Congress manifesto on Saturday, Rajasthan chief minister and senior Congress observer for the election, Ashok Gehlot, said, “If our party wins, this manifesto will be the cabinet’s first official policy paper. The manifesto has 11 commitments. ” The Congress promised that at its very first cabinet meeting, it will change the name of the stadium at Motera to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stadium. The BJP recently named the stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Gujarat: Will restore Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s name to NaMo Stadium, say Congress
Cong unveils manifesto for Gujarat polls, vows to rename Narendra Modi stadium at Motera
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Unveiling the manifesto for Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress party Saturday said it would not only apply brakes on rampant privatisation of healthcare and education sectors in the state, but will also restore the original name of Narendra Modi stadium at Motera and intervene in the changes being made to Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, accompanied by Jagdish Thakor, president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, and other leaders from the state unveiled the manifesto titled ‘Jan Ghoshna Patra 2022-27’.Release of Congress Party’s Manifesto for #GujaratElections2022 https://t.co/NoWHwQ72mU— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 12, 2022“In the first cabinet meeting of the new Congress government in Gujarat we will table this manifesto and pass it as a government document.” The Congress said it has consulted 65 lakh people before preparing the manifesto.The Gujarat Assembly election for 182 constituencies is slated to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5.The Congress said it would also restore the name of Narendra Modi stadium at Motera as Sardar Patel stadium. Dipak Babariya, chairman of the manifesto committee, who announced the contents of the manifesto said, “The name of Sardar Patel stadium was changed…. We want to assure the people of Gujarat that in the very first cabinet meeting, we will restore the name of the stadium to Sardar Patel stadium.” The stadium originally built in 1983 was renamed in 2021 after refurbishing the facility to accommodate 1.32 lakh spectators.“The attempts to meddle with Sabarmati Ashram will be dealt with in such a way that Gujarat’s culture is not forgotten,” Babariya added.The manifesto, which revolves around the promises by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, also promises to provide “justice” to the victims of the Morbi bridge tragedy in October. The party has promised to review the deaths that happened during the Patidar agitation in 2015, the scam involving Dhaman ventilators, paucity of medicines and black marketing of oxygen cylinders during Covid and paper leaks in government recruitment examinations.The party said it would bring in a strict law to prohibit the “purchase-sale” of MLAs in the state and initiate a probe against such MLAs. It has also promised to create a State Narcotics Control Cell to fight the increasing menace of drugs in Gujarat.

Cong unveils manifesto for Gujarat polls, vows to rename Narendra Modi stadium at Motera
Gender ratio in 50 seats in Gujarat shows a fall from 2011 Census figures
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

THE gender ratio in 50 Assembly seats in Gujarat, based on the 2022 electoral rolls, has fallen when compared to the 2011 Census, despite an overall increase in women voters.The 2011 Census put Gujarat’s gender ratio at 937, much below the national average of 943. However, it marked an improvement from 918 in the 2001 census. The overall gender ratio in the 2022 electoral rolls is 934 — or 934 women for every 1,000 men, as per data compiled by the Election Commission comparing it to Census findings. In 2017, the overall electoral roll gender ratio was 921.This year, there are 4.9 crore voters in Gujarat – of which 2.53 crore are male voters and 2.37 crore are female.Among Gujarat’s 33 districts, 21 have seats with a lower gender ratio in the electoral rolls in comparison to the Census numbers. Among the 50 constituencies in this category, the lowest number of women voters are in Udhna of Surat district, where there are only 731 women voters per 1000 male voters, the EC data show.The Mahuva seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, in the same district shows an opposite picture with a strength of 1048. As per electoral rolls, the highest gender ratio for the entire state is in Vyara, at 1057, of Tapi district, also a tribal seat.Previous electoral roll data show urban constituencies reporting fewer women voters, with tribal constituencies reporting higher rates. Part of the same pattern, the constituencies with the highest gender ratios as per the 2022 electoral rolls — Vyara, Mahuva, Nizar, Mansvi, Vansda – are all tribal-reserved seats.However, some seats with a large tribal population are also seeing lesser women voters. In the Dang constituency, for instance, there were 1007 females for 1000 men as per the Census. The electoral rolls, however, have 995 women. Similarly, in the tribal seats of Chhota Udepur and neighbouring Jetpur, the rolls have a 949 and 951 gender ratio – as against 994 and 987, respectively, in the Census.Lower gender ratio can also be seen in rural seats. Of the nine Assembly seats in Banaskantha district, considered an agrarian region, six seats have a lower gender ratio in comparison to the Census data. Similarly in the Amreli district, a Congress stronghold, four out of five seats have a low gender ratio.The state capital Ahmedabad also reflects the pattern. The Sabarmati seat, which hosts a bullet train terminal, has just 908 women voters compared to 922 in the census. Automobile hub Sanand has 943 women voters. The Census number was 950.Additionally, in at least seven seats — Gandhinagar South, Sabarmati, Gondal, Dhari, Amreli, Lathi and Kaprada — the number of women voters is lower in comparison to the 2017 Assembly Affelectoral roll data. With a gender ratio of 944 and 955, Ghatlodia and Dangs witnessed no change in gender ratio between 2017 and 2022.“The electoral rolls data presents the latest picture of gender disparity in Gujarat. In comparison to male voters, there are 15.84 lakh less female voters in the electoral rolls for the Gujarat Assembly elections. This is a huge disparity. The first school for girls was established by Sayajirao Gaekwad in the 19th century and this is the scenario now,” said Gaurang Jani, a sociologist and expert on gender issues.Speaking of the pattern in tribal regions, Jani said, “Awareness about smaller families due to the interaction of tribals with non-tribals could possibly be a reason for the higher ratio.”About urban hubs such as Surat reporting lower ratios, Jani added: “The gap in such areas is due to single-male migration of workers.”In an earlier interview with The Indian Express, P Bharati, the Chief Electoral Officer of the state, had expressed concerns about the gender ratio in the 18-19 voter group being very low, at 660. “It means that for every 1,000 male voters, there are only 660 female voters, and that young female voters are not getting enrolled,” she had said.

Gender ratio in 50 seats in Gujarat shows a fall from 2011 Census figures
In Elaben and her work, Gandhi lived on
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

On my 18th birthday, my mother gave me a ticket to Ahmedabad with the words, “Go, meet Ela Bhatt”.“Who is Ela Bhatt?” I asked, bewildered.“She’s a Gandhian,” replied my mother.“So?” I countered, with my just-turning-eighteen brashness.“Go, find out for yourself,” replied my mother.Elaben, as she was known to all, was short-statured, soft-spoken, dressed in a white khadi sari with a green border. She took all of us — it was a conference — in a bus to Sabarmati ashram. As the bus halted, she was talking of the police that had stopped some women from selling their wares and how they had picketed and the women had won. I noticed her eyes were shining with pride.“What about the traffic?” I asked in my naivete; she went at length to explain that the poor, particularly women, too have rights which are being consistently violated. As I listened to her, I missed walking to Hrday Kunj — Bapu’s room. She told me, “Get a glimpse of it, at least”. I ran; but seeing the delegates returning, I turned back. Observing my downcast face, she said, “You will get there.” I did not know her words would be prophetic.Elaben was thrown out of her job at the Textile Labour Association in a patriarchal manner. As she cried, her husband, Ramesh Bhatt, who had a deep influence on her remarked, “Chalo, acchha hua”. “I was so surprised,” she recalled, but she then set up SEWA – Self Employed Women’s Association, the first all-women’s trade union of vegetable vendors, rag-pickers, head-loaders, cart-pushers, to whom she gave the dignified term, “self-employed”. It has now crossed the million mark and has worked consistently towards enabling the poor in the informal sector for minimum wages, dignity, health and insurance. Elaben worked tirelessly, informing society that 86 per cent of the workforce was in the informal sector, working with no social security and in appalling conditions. All the benefits were going to the formal or organised sector.However, at the SEWA conference I was attending, there was an innovative discussion: An American producer, Martha Stewart, was talking about bringing in video equipment and there was a discussion about training the head-loaders, cart-pushers and vegetable vendors to make videos. In the late 1970s, the idea itself was revolutionary and it formed the genesis of Video SEWA.I went on to do my Masters in Social Work, later going to Washington State University to do another Masters in Communications, but I heard a call — was it Bapu or Elaben — and on returning to India, I went straight to Hrday Kunj and on to Elaben’s home. Her home was simple; it was small, with a Gujarati swing in the verandah, a blue khadi-covered sofa and small peedis or stools. Her husband Ramesh Bhatt — who tragically died young — and she had named it, “Toy House”, making the small-is-beautiful idea a concrete reality. She seated me on the sofa, but herself sat on a low stool, then she served me with her own hands; perhaps she was obliquely teaching me about sewa — service and humility.It was to her and to this home that I returned, again and again, at various turning points in my life. In 1995, I began making recordings of freedom fighters and reached Ahmedabad where I reached out to Video Sewa for assistance. Elaben was supportive and, indeed, applauded the archive with enthusiasm. I met and recorded Veerbalaben Nagarwadia who was present when Bapu and the others commenced the Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 1930. I also recorded Nimuben Desai, who was jailed for harbouring in her house a man wanted by the British, and Sarlaben Shah who was present at the procession at Gujarat College where Vinod Kinariwala was shot and killed by the police. She had lifted the body along with the others.Elaben was a mentor for the “Hamaara Itihaas” freedom fighters’ archive but always so unfailingly modest that it was only later that I learnt that her maternal grandfather, Manidhar Prasad Vyas, had been a freedom fighter and had worked with Bapu. She shared his diary, written in Gujarati, with me. Her grandfather had been a doctor, she told me: “He showed Bapu around Gujarat, and was forced to resign by the British for openly displaying his closeness to him”. She went on to share that he had organised the satyagraha at the Dharasana Salt works where there had been violence against the satyagrahis, as reported by Webb Miller of the United Press International. Since Manidhar Prasad Vyas was a doctor, he had considered it his duty to treat the injured satyagrahis, as well. All this and much more, I finally managed to record, after a lifetime of knowing her, at Elaben’s residence only in 2019.At a critical point in my life, I reached her doorstep again. This time it was personal. Elaben generously shared her personal life with me, telling me that when she wanted to marry Ramesh, her parents had opposed it saying, “Do you even know what poverty is?” Ramesh Bhatt, while well-educated, was not from a wealthy family. She told me, she worked “as a manual worker breaking stones for a few days” to understand poverty. I knew she was gently guiding me. On the arrival of my beloved, daughter — whom I adopted and named Sachi for Bapu’s love for sach, truth — I took her to Ahmedabad. We visited Hrday Kunj and then on to Elaben’s home where she hugged my daughter and me with deep love, over a simple and memorable Gujarati meal with her son Mihir and daughter in-law, Reema and grandson, Som.In the last few years of her life, Elaben wrote prolifically. Her book, We Are Poor, Yet So Many, proved the power of women organising and demanding their work be counted as productive. The women always said, “There is no work but the work is killing me” because their work was not accounted for or paid. I was present at the launch of her book, Anubandh, where she stated that the “six basic needs of life: food, clothing, housing, health, education and banking can be met locally, within a hundred-mile radius”. She believed — and her work through SEWA exemplified this — that people would themselves find innovative solutions to poverty, exploitation and environmental degradation, if given a few resources. She asked, “If we are inviting the world to do business with us, why are the policeman’s hands still on the shoulder of the vegetable vendor, who feels compelled to give hafta to do her daily work?”Over the years we exchanged numerous messages with deep love and affection. I sadly did not get a response from her when I wrote to her on Diwali and on November 2, when I learnt that the soul who had kept the diya of ahimsa and satyagraha burning bright by lighting the lives of millions of women was no more, I wept. I had lost my spiritual mother, role model and heroine.Elaben has left behind a powerful legacy of values. She showed that Gandhi lives on when we embrace a life of simplicity and stand by the poor. This is even more pertinent as we confront climate change. In her work with poor women and in SEWA’s work, Gandhi lives.The writer is an author and filmmaker. She is the director of the ‘Hamaara Itihaas’ archives.

In Elaben and her work, Gandhi lived on
  • A vision for women’s empowerment: the story of Ela Bhatt’s SEWA
  • The Indian Express

    SEWA, the Self Employed Women’s Association set up by Ela Bhatt in 1972, has achieved something that no company, conglomerate, or perhaps even government has achieved in India — the creation of a truly effective employment support programme for women who are among the country’s poorest and most marginalised.Over 50 years, SEWA has built over four dozen institutions for the poor and by the poor, and to empower poor women workers — founded on the principle that “the poor don’t need charity, they need an enabling mechanism to strive and come out of the vicious circle of poverty and vulnerability”.SEWA, as Bhatt always said, is a trade union of women who “did not need to come together against anyone, they just needed to come together for themselves”. And by this act of coming together, these women gave themselves a voice.Idea born of struggleBhatt, who passed away in Ahmedabad earlier this week, belonged to a family of freedom fighters. Her ideology was shaped by the freedom movement, her training as a lawyer, through her association with the Textile Labour Association, and experience of life in the slums through her late husband Ramesh, an economist. Ahmedabad, where she was born, and Surat, where she went to school — cities that were powered by the textile industry — partly charted her course.The closure of two major textile mills in Ahmedabad in 1968 gave Bhatt her first insight into the extent of women’s involvement in running homes. As the men agitated for reopening the mills, the women worked to earn their families’ livelihoods. “They sold fruits and vegetables in the streets; stitched in their homes at piece-rate for middle-men; worked as labourers in wholesale commodity markets, loading and unloading merchandise; or collected recyclable refuse from city streets”, she wrote in her book, We Are Poor But So Many: The Story of Self-Employed Women in India.Women at centre, everywhereWith an annual membership fee of just Rs 10, SEWA allows anyone who is self-employed to become a member. Its network is spread across 18 Indian states, in other countries of South Asia, in South Africa, and Latin America.It has helped rehabilitate women in personal, and even political or social crises, by empowering them through skilling and training. From embroiderers of Kutch and Banaskantha to rag-pickers and vegetable vendors in Ahmedabad, SEWA has brought them all in its tent. SEWA takes pride in the fact that women from diverse social and community backgrounds work together in the organisation.The organisation took a conscious decision to keep men out. Bhatt wrote, “Initially, I was open to the idea of men joining our union struggles, because I felt that they would lend more strength to SEWA; however, the women emphatically refused. They said they would feel inhibited with men around, and they believed men would dominate and create tensions.“In addition, they felt that the issues that were important to women were different from those important to men. Another major but unspoken reason was that the women wanted to keep their earnings and savings private — if not secret — from the men.”Pathbreaking initiativesAs early as in 1974, SEWA Bank was established to provide small loans to poor women — an initiative that was recognised by the International Labour Organisation as a microfinance movement.The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act (2008), National Rural Livelihoods Mission (2011), and Street Vendors Act (2014), are seen as successes of SEWA’s struggle. The PM Street Vendors Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM-SVANidhi) scheme is seen as being inspired by SEWA’s microfinance model.Among the many institutions launched by SEWA is a clothing line named after its oldest artisan, Hansiba, which has collaborated with French and British designers to take the ethnic embroidery of Gujarat to the world. Hansiba collaborated with Sabah, a livelihood support organisation in Pakistan, to organise a fashion show in 2013. Apart from Delhi and Mumbai, Hansiba retails in Europe, Australia, the Americas, and Japan.In Ahmedabad, SEWA sells vegetables grown in its farms, pulses, and spices. During the pandemic, SEWA launched Anubandh, an e-commerce platform to connect sellers with buyers, to keep kitchen fires burning through the lockdowns.

  • Remembering Ela Bhatt, founder of SEWA, teacher, mentor, activist
  • The Indian Express

    Ela Bhatt has been part of my life almost since Dastkar’s beginning in the ’80s. I had the fortune to see her in multiple roles — not just as the founder and head of SEWA, but as homemaker, wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother. A teacher and mentor, but also a perennial seeker of truth; nurturing and exemplary always. Her grandsons, both creative, were encouraged to scribble on the walls of her home!Ever welcoming, she loved meeting new people and learning new things. Much of our conversation and correspondence were about Indian social history, and how it shaped our lives and thinking. She was delighted to discover the Gandhian links between our families. “I remembered you while visiting Dandi and particularly Dharasana, where your granduncle Abbas Tyabji was leading the salt satyagraha as Gandhiji got arrested in Dandi,” she wrote, “My grandfather also was at Dharasana, beaten and arrested. He was leading the first team of the satyagraha. I wanted to share this with you.”Something else she shared, which is so eloquent of her as a person, was concerning the day she left the SEWA office after giving up her post as general secretary in 1996, a role she’d had since its inception decades before. After the emotional goodbyes, she was feeling rather flat, wondering what the future held, what she would do. Suddenly inspired, she directed the driver to go to the home of a music teacher she knew, and signed up for singing lessons! Thereafter, Indian classical singing became an important part of her life (as yoga was). Needless to say, she remained as busy as ever, on the national and international stage.Elaben was an activist and a feminist, well ahead of her time and milieu. She was a lone voice in the trade-union movement in Ahmedabad in the 1960s, when her engagement with unorganised women workers in the Ahmedabad textile industry began. She saw the importance of their contribution to family incomes, and the appalling conditions in which they worked. Be they rag pickers or casual labour, they were unorganised, unrepresented and had no voice. Her legal training (she was an LLB) and her experience as an educator (she had taught English at SNDT University) equipped her to be their advocate. The unions’ opposition to the inclusion of unorganised women led to the founding of SEWA in 1972 and its growth into the movement of 2.1 million women workers in 18 states, that it is today.Elaben’s advocacy was never strident or loud, nor was she an impassioned orator. She remained a gentle revolutionary, though never passive. All the more effective because what she said was never about herself, but as the spokeswoman for thousands of women who had no voice of their own. As she said herself, “Jay beeja nay aagad karay te aagewan (those who put others forward are leaders)”.As the simplicity of her habitual khadi saris showed, she was a Gandhian, a word often misused and often slightly dismissive. There was nothing naive or woolly about her Gandhi-ism. It was, like the Mahatma’s, practical and focussed. The vision was always partnered by an action plan. When something didn’t work, she rethought it. The post-Godhra killings and increasing communalism in Gujarat wounded her spirit, but, inspiringly, she remained an optimist till the end.Gandhi used the handspun and handwoven as a metaphor for independence and swadeshi; Elaben used a clay pot. Buy locally, use local resources, become sustainable, empower local communities. “Poverty is a form of violence,” she said often, “Poverty is a society’s disrespect for human labour.”As Dastkar worked with SEWA over the years, first with block printers in Ahmedabad and then the rural-mirror work, patchwork and aari-embroidery women in Banaskantha, she was quick to agree that poor women need not make cheap things. Whatever we created should reflect the full potential of their skills, and they should be paid accordingly.She had great empathy with the women and, also, with their rich cultural heritage and skill sets, something they themselves often didn’t value. “Her work is part of a woman’s identity — her life, her family, her community, her religion, her faith, her person and identity,” she said. We shared our belief that “Traditional crafts are not our past; they are our future.”My enduring memory of Elaben is one I saw many times — a small neat erect figure, clad in her trademark khadi sari, elegant but understated, backpack on her back, walking firmly through the airport doors, on to yet another international conclave, yet another coming together of disparate people, yet another destination, sharing the message of equality and the power of women, sharing her gentle strength and inspirational spirit. Her journey is not yet done.You want some people to live forever. In fact, you need them to.Laila Tyabji is founder member and chairperson Dastkar Society for Crafts & Craftspeople.

  • Ela Bhatt: A Gandhian at heart and in her work
  • The Indian Express

    Ahmedabad-based activist Ela Bhatt, who died on November 2 at the age of 89, had long believed in the power of the anecdote to convey ideas. One such story was about the time she asked a gathering of women working in the informal sector what the word “freedom” meant to them. Some women said that it was the ability to step out of the house, others said it was having their own money, or a mobile phone or even fresh clothes every day. Then one woman, she recalled, stepped forward and said that freedom meant “looking a policeman in the eye”.For the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), this story held the key to empowering workers in the informal economy, especially women — self-respect. This was the idea of empowerment that Elaben, as she was popularly called, worked towards, pioneering microfinancing for women and helping them organise and unionise in pursuit of better work, better wages and better lives. A lawyer by qualification, Bhatt was introduced to the power of the collective at the Textile Labour Association (TLA) — set up by Gandhian labour activist Anasuya Sarabhai in 1920 — where she worked along with husband Ramesh Bhatt. SEWA grew out of the women’s wing of the TLA, and became one of the biggest and most influential women-led cooperatives in the country.A self-described “organiser”, who responded to problems by mobilising on the streets, Bhatt had grown up steeped in Gandhian ideals. To her, putting these ideals into practice meant staunch adherence to non-violence and making self-reliance the chief pillar of her work with the least privileged in society. She helped women overcome deep-rooted social and economic barriers to lift themselves out of poverty and debt and realise, as she put it, that “poverty is not a destiny”.

  • Ela Bhatt: A gentle revolutionary who changed millions of lives
  • The Indian Express

    Ela Bhatt, or Elaben as she was popularly known, was a product of the early days of Independence. Inspired by Gandhiji and the atmosphere of hope and excitement for the future, she studied law in Surat and saw her future as a participant in building a new India. “For me, nation-building meant reaching the workers. They are the foundation of the nation and yet remain poor and neglected”, she said.Elaben was deeply inspired by Ramesh Bhatt, a student leader, who she later married and who became her emotional and intellectual companion. After graduation, Elaben joined the Textile Labour Association (or Majoor Mahajan) and Rameshbhai joined the Gujarat Vidyapeeth in Ahmedabad. The TLA, a trade union of mill workers founded by Anasuya Sarabhai and whose constitution was written by Gandhiji, was Elaben’s learning ground. There, she learnt the elements of organising, of the importance of a trade union — poor people and workers coming together to give each other strength to create a voice and to negotiate for rights. It was here that she first met women from the unorganised or informal economy, women who pulled carts or sold vegetables or stitched garments, and saw how poor and yet hardworking they were.The Self-Employed Women’s Association or SEWA was her creation. Starting as a small organisation in 1972, it has been built into a nationwide, indeed a worldwide, movement of women working at the base of the pyramid. She often recalled how she organised a meeting with women vendors and cart pullers who said, “We want a Majoor Mahajan of our own”. She was amazed when they all opened their little bundles and pulled out 25 paise each as a contribution to their new union. However, as she worked closely with these women, Elaben realised that just fighting for rights was not enough. There were no laws protecting them and the mindset of employers, and of the authorities such as the municipality and police, was exploitative.Elaben had visited Israel a few years previously and seen the working of cooperatives with trade unions. As she thought about how she could truly help these women, she began to work with the idea of creating cooperatives. But where to start? Unlike today, there was no financial inclusion for them. They had nowhere to put their savings and collected notes were often eaten up by rats or stolen by family members. They had to get their loans from moneylenders at unimaginable interest rates. And yet when she tried to link them with the newly nationalised banks, they faced mostly rejections.Elaben often recalled a large meeting of the women on the banks of the Sabarmati river where they told her “We are poor but so many in number that we can collect shares and form our own bank”. And Elaben had the courage, indeed the audacity, to help the women form a cooperative bank.She has been called a gentle revolutionary. Both her ideas and her actions were revolutionary. She gave the world the path with which to reach out and change the lives of the poorest and she called it “Struggle and Development”. This path has been replicated not only in Gujarat where she began but all over India and even in many parts of the world.As a revolutionary she realised that actions alone were not enough, the main problem, as she said, was “mindsets”. She needed to change the ideas and mindsets reflected in laws, policies and attitudes. She became an articulate spokesperson for these invisible women.Recognition and honours began to arrive. In 1977, she won the Magsaysay award, later the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan. She was appointed as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha; at the international level, she was honoured with degrees from Harvard and Yale. She was appointed as a member of “The Elders”, an international group started by Nelson Mandela. And through all this, her only concern was to promote the cause of her women. As a Rajya Sabha member, she introduced bills for street vendors and home-based workers. Through her efforts, the Street Vendors Bill did become law. When she received the Padma Shri, the only thing she asked for was a Commission on women in the unorganised sector. She produced the first All-India study called Shram Shakti in 1988, a classic even today.Elaben recognised the importance of organising workers. What she started in Ahmedabad, she brought to the rest of the world, inspiring international federations of street vendors, home-based workers, domestic workers, and rag pickers. She made her presence felt in international forums such as the International Labour Organisation where she succeeded in getting a Convention for home-based workers. Recognising the need to change mindsets world wide she founded WIEGO an international network of researchers, policymakers and activists.Perhaps Elaben’s greatest achievement is that she changed millions of lives. Empowering poor working women, but also many educated and professional women who joined her movement and took it forward. Last year, SEWA celebrated 50 years of achievement, but Elaben, at the age of 88 was still looking ahead: “Let us think of what change we want to bring in the next fifty years, who are the people we need and let us inspire many women as well as men to join us in that change.”The writer is national coordinator, SEWA

Ahmedabad: AQI around 300 in Pirana, Bopal
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: The air quality index (AQI) in Ahmedabad city on Monday was the second highest of the four cities monitored by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research). Track the pollution level in your cityWhile Delhi was the worst with an AQI of 331, the Ahmedabad city AQI was 176, worse than Mumbai and Pune. In Ahmedabad, Pirana and Bopal registered a PM2.5 (particulate matter of 2.5 micron diameter) reading of around 300 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Only in Satellite and GIFT City were PM2.5 levels satisfactory, 98 and 93, respectively. In Raikhad, Rakhial and Lekhawada, PM2.5 levels were ‘moderate’. PM2.5 levels in Pirana (308), Bopal (297), Navrangpura (247) and Rakhial (204) were ‘poor’. Officials said PM2.5 is a concern for people’s. These tiny particles reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated. Officials said the movement of vehicles in Bopal, Rakhial and Navrangpura add to the high levels of pollution. The officer said, “It is possible that with train movements on the Sabarmati to Sarkhej stretch could be adding to the increased level of PM2.5 pollution. Every time a train passes, railway crossings in the western parts of the city are closed for about 10 minutes. This could be a reason for the elevated level of pollution in Navrangpura.” Four trains pass on this stretch every day. About Bopal, he said vehicle density on roads in Bopal as very high and the are has narrow roads which are often blocked by parked vehicles occupying half of the road width. In Pirana, he said the high level of pollution was due to the garbage mound, which is major contributor to pollution in the city. Dr Bhavin Joshi, additional health officer with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, said, “Bopal is a developing area and with the Ring Road passing through it, vehicle movement is high. This could be one reason for higher pollution there.”

Ahmedabad: AQI around 300 in Pirana, Bopal
50-year-old trees chopped to make way for ‘helipad’
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 weeks ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 weeks ago | |

An octogenarian is waging a lone battle to save a patch of land with over 4,000 trees in Hansol from destruction. The land is adjoining the upcoming second phase of Sabarmati Riverfront. Eighty-six-year-old Firdos Cambatta and others have carefully nurtured the place into a green area in the past five decades.Cambatta, a conservationist, said Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Limited (GujSAIL) began chopping down the almost 50-year-old trees in plots no 313, 322 and 323 that run into thousands of square yards.Interestingly, the trees were chopped down despite a National Green Tribunal order which directed a committee of officials from different departments to visit the site on November 10, 2022, and submit an evaluation report.Cambatta said as per his knowledge, the trees are beingchopped for the development of a helipad. “Surprisingly, the airport is hardly a kilometre away from here yet, they want to destroy thick forest cover and biodiversity that exists in it,” said Cambatta.Locals in the area said the GujSAIL team visited Hansol’s plots no 313, 322 and 323 on Friday and Saturday to mark the trees and started chopping them on Sunday. The joint-site visit directed by the NGT was to include officials from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) – the nodal agency for the committee – along with other officials like Ahmedabad Collector, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force (HoFF).Talking about the NGT order, Cambatta said the chopping of trees is a clear violation of NGT’s order. “They have already chopped over 30 trees on Sunday and would have continued, had I not reached the place and intervened,” he said.Cambatta said they are not against the development of the city, but don’t see the point of destroying a canopy of forestation on land that is not even part of the Sabarmati Riverfront’s earmarked area.GujSAIL CEO Ajay Chauhan told Mirror that he was on leave and hence has no idea of what happened as well as the NGT order. “I have received two or three calls about the same issue and I will hold a meeting to look into the matter,” said Chauhan.When asked about the need for a heliport despite the presence of an airport hardly a km away, he said it is being planned keeping in mind Ahmedabad’s growth. “Veliport and Heliport are needed because helicopters need a separate facility and can’t wait for flights to clear the way in case of emergencies,” said Chauhan.He also clarified that they are all for sustainable development and since they are not experts on environmental issues, they will consult the Ministry of Environment and Forest and NGT.Sometime back Cambatta had dragged the state of Gujarat to the NGT and in the petition stated that many local women’s livelihood was dependent on the forest as they have been collecting fuel wood from the place for the past 35 years. He also mentioned that it is home to over a hundred species of birds and animals like the Nilgai (blue bull). The land is a government-declared gauchar land (grazing land). Rohit Prajapati, an environmental activist questioned GujSAIL’s hurry in chopping down the trees when the NGT had already directed the respective officials to visit and submit a report on the matter.

50-year-old trees chopped to make way for ‘helipad’
Thousands bid tearful adieu to Ela Bhatt
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago | |

Thousands, including political leaders, activists, artists and NGO leaders,  turned up to pay their last respects to SEWA founder and former  chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, Ela Bhatt, at the funeral held in Ellisbridge Thursday.Members of SEWA came from districts as far as Kutch and Banaskantha, crying inconsolably. Bhatt passed away Wednesday afternoon after a brief illness. She was 89.Anar Patel, daughter of Uttar Pradesh governor and former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, and her husband Jayesh Patel who heads the Harijan Ashram Trust, former Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit, danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, Sabarmati Ashram trustee Kartikeya Sarabhai were among those at the funeral.Chairman of the Congress Central Election Authority, and former MP Madhusudan Mistry who has been associated with Bhatt for over 50 years, was also present.The Sabarmati Ashram Preservation Memorial Trust (SAPMT), of which Bhatt was the chairperson, prayed for “eternal peace for her soul”.In a note, SAPMT secretary Amrut Modi wrote that Bhatt’s “perseverance in observing ecosystem of Gandhian thoughts, preserving Gandhian values and approach to taking all stakeholders together was noteworthy”.Thousands took part in Bhatt’s funeral held in Ahmedabad on Thursday.Bhatt served as a trustee of SAPMT from July 1, 2014, and as chairperson of SAPMT from October 15, 2016.The SAPMT’s statement of tribute signed by Amrut Modi, stated that Bhatt “strived to unite the women and labourers of the lower strata of society for the betterment of society as a whole” and further acknowledged her contributing “enormously in the areas of women empowerment, organisation and advancement through her world-famous organisation SEWA”.“Keeping Elabehn Bhatt’s life, work and associations in mind, SAPMT prays for eternal peace for her soul and pays a hearty tribute to her. Let her life and work be an inspiration for the current and future generations,”  it added.SEWA, the organisation of which Bhatt was the founding member, stated, “A gentle revolutionary, Elaben led the movement for women’s economic empowerment in India, inspiring many across sectors, governments, and borders. A strong believer in Gandhian values, she firmly believed in the power of organising, uniting women, and building sisterhood and solidarity.”The statement by SEWA added that the organisation is “committed to and strives to take forward her unfinished work, and work towards our collective dream of a world free of poverty and inequality”.“For the world, she was a powerhouse, an institution builder, a visionary. For us, simply our ben, showing us the way forward with gentle persuasion. Her rich legacy is carried forward by every grassroot woman leader that she has nurtured, the women’s cooperatives that she has nourished, and the institutions and movements she has built,” SEWA stated.

Thousands bid tearful adieu to Ela Bhatt
Ahmedabad: Ellisbridge resident held for selling e-cigarettes
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: The cybercrime cell of Ahmedabad Police has held a 24-year-old man from Ellisbridge for allegedly selling prohibited e-cigarettes. Cops said he found customers through a social media platform. According to an FIR filed with the cybercrime cell, Sajil Shaikh, a resident of May Rose Apartments in Ellisbridge, had 17 vapes when he was caught near the event centre beside Atal Bridge on the Sabarmati riverfront on Tuesday. Cops said they had received an input that Shaikh had created a profile on Instagram to sell e-cigarettes and related items. Surveillance revealed that he was supposed to deliver some vapes to a buyer near the Sabarmati event centre. A team of the city cybercrime cell kept watch and caught Shaikh with a stock of 17 vapes worth Rs 19,500. The cops said that Shaikh used to upload pictures of e-cigarettes on Instagram. When someone showed interest in buying them, he took payment in advance through apps. Shaikh told cops that he had brought e-cigarettes online from a man from Mumbai. Shaikh has been booked under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2019. The Gujarat government had in July 2019 introduced a law banning the manufacturing, sales, import, and advertisements of e-cigarettes in the state. For violators, the act has a provision of a jail term up to three years and not less than a year. Fines ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 can be imposed too. The law does not propose a ban on the consumption of these products.

Ahmedabad: Ellisbridge resident held for selling e-cigarettes
After Morbi Tragedy, Hourly Cap For Ahmedabad's Atal Bridge Inaugurated By PM
Ndtv | 1 month ago | |
Ndtv
1 month ago | |

The bridge is 300-metre long and 14-metre wide (File)Ahmedabad: The Ahmedabad civic body has decided to restrict the number of persons on the pedestrian-only Atal Bridge on the Sabarmati River here to 3,000 per hour, after the Morbi bridge tragedy in which 134 people were killed, an official said.The 300-metre long and 14-metre wide Atal Bridge, which connects the flower garden on the western-end of the riverfront and the upcoming arts and culture centre on the eastern-end, has become a huge attraction for people since it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 27."Though the bridge is capable of bearing the weight of nearly 12,000 people, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has decided to limit the number of visitors on it in view of the Morbi bridge tragedy," the civic-run Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd, which manages the structure, said in a statement on Monday."As a precaution, we have decided to limit the number of visitors on the Atal Bridge. Now, only 3,000 visitors will be given entry every hour. Not more than 3,000 people per hour will be allowed to stand on the bridge, and the rest will be asked to wait on the Riverfront for their turn," it added.The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited said the bridge is very strong and safe, but the decision has been taken for the safety of visitors and appealed for cooperation on this issue.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe bridge, with an eye-catching design and LED lighting, has been built using 2,600 tons of steel pipes. Its roof is made of colourful fabric and the railing has been built with glass and stainless steel.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

After Morbi Tragedy, Hourly Cap For Ahmedabad's Atal Bridge Inaugurated By PM
  • Number Of Visitors On Ahmedabad's Atal Bridge Capped After Morbi Tragedy
  • Ndtv

  • After Morbi tragedy, visitor limit set for Atal Bridge
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Atal goot overbridge over the Sabarmati to the public, the civic body spelled out 13 rules for the public, including entry charges. They included timings, prohibition of music, singing and dancing on the bridge and barred pets. What the rules did not include was the number of people allowed on the bridge at a time. On Monday, a day after the Morbi bridge disaster, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) through a statement notified a limit on visitors at the bridge, saying 3,000 visitors per hour will be allowed to use the bridge. The statement says the bridge's load bearing capacity is 12,000 people at a time. However, as an additional safety measure, it has been limited to 3,000 people an hour. The rainbow-coloured bridge over the Sabarmati has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 74 crore and was opened to the public in August.

  • After Morbi Tragedy, Cap On Number Of Visitors On Ahmedabad's Atal Bridge
  • Ndtv

  • Morbi mishap: Hourly visitors on Atal Bridge limited to 3,000
  • The Indian Express

    In the aftermath of the Morbi bridge collapse that proved fatal to over 130 people, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) Monday said it has decided to limit the visitors at Atal Bridge—the foot overbridge over Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad—to 3,000 persons per hour.“The bridge’s present technical capacity allows for 12,000 visitors to stand on the bridge at a given time but from now on, only 3,000 visitors will be permitted per hour on the bridge so that visitors can safely enjoy Atal Bridge,” SRFDCL stated in a press note.Though Atal Bridge’s structure is “technically highly safe and strong”, the decision has been taken in light of the Morbi incident, it added. “…if hourly visitors exceed 3,000, visitors are requested to wait for a while and cooperate with the administration,” the note said.

Entry limited on Atal Foot Bridge
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 month ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 month ago | |

The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) has restricted the number of people on the newly-built Atal Foot Bridge over Sabarmati, following the loss of 135 people in the Morbi cable bridge collapse. The state police have issued an advisory to all district and city police chiefs to check the safety and security at crowded places.On Monday, the majority of people visiting the Sabarmati Riverfront gave Atal Foot Bridge a miss. Those who showed “courage” said the bridge was far stronger than the Morbi cable bridge that collapsed on Sunday.Mehul Patel, a businessman from Memnagar, said he had no hesitation in stepping onto the Atal bridge along with his family. “Atal Bridge has a stronger structure and it cannot just collapse. I will surely go there,” he added. Tanya Patel, who had come to Sabarmati Riverfront with her daughter, told Mirror that, “After the Morbi tragedy I am reluctant to step onto the Atal Bridge. I will just visit the Flower Park and return home.”SRFDCL Chairman Keshav Verma said an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is already in place and they are regulating the bridge accordingly. “The Foot Bridge is being structurally checked and inspected on a regular basis. It has the capacity of 10,000 people but we have restricted access to only 500-1,000 people at any given time. Ticket-based entry has been introduced to regulate the crowd.”Chief Engineer of SRFDCL Jagdish Patel said the foot bridge is 300-metre long and with an average breadth of 10 metres. “We have got the structure and design approved by IIT Madras. We have been conducting periodical observations of the bridge and the SOP also includes annual inspection. The structure is strong enough,” he assured.Meanwhile, the police advisory to district and city police chiefs said, “There are a large number of bridges, ropeways, ferry services, temples, amusement parks, boating jetties etc that attract a large number of tourists and local people. There is a spurt in tourist movement in the post-Diwali period and hence a possibility of overcrowding that may lead to mishaps. You are directed to coordinate with municipal authorities, district magistrates and other stakeholders to identify such places in your jurisdiction.”These include Somnath, Dwarka, Palitana, Ambaji, Dakor, Pavagadh and other places of worship.Cops will check whether private operators running various installations like ropeways etc have adequate security guards and safety measures in place to avoid untoward incidents like structural collapse or stampede.

Entry limited on Atal Foot Bridge