The Indian Express | 2 months ago | 29-09-2022 | 12:35 am
For once, Divyansh Panwar isn’t fretting over targets and decimals. Instead, the 20-year-old world cup medallist who practices a sport that demands absolute stillness of mind and body – shooting – wants to let himself loose and shake a leg. “I’m in Ahmedabad during Navratri, so I got to try sabarmati riverfront garba one of the nights,” the Tokyo Olympian says. Not very far from the Ahmedabad Rifle Club in the old city area, at the Sabarmati Riverfront, a rower can’t stop talking about Navratri as well. Not in terms of a garba night out, however. Turns out, most hotels at the six host cities of the National Games, including Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Bhavnagar, have refused to serve non-vegetarian meals because of the festival. “So, we have arranged all meals for them at the venues because, for them, protein is an important part of the diet,” an organiser says. At Sanskardham, the RSS-backed school that’s one of the Games venues, a giant hoarding bearing the images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel is being lofted. These are plastered all over the city and state – at important junctions, along the Sabarmati, on buses, at railway stations and airports — a not-so-subtle reminder of the other big ‘festival’ that’s around the corner – the Gujarat assembly elections. In this backdrop – splashed in the colours of Navratri and in midst of the election fervour – the National Games, biggest-ever in size and scale, get underway in Ahmedabad on Thursday. The Games unofficially opened last week in Surat after the table tennis tournament was held earlier than others since the paddlers have to be in China for their World Championship. Prime Minister Modi, though, will officially declare it open. State officials say it will be a grand opening ceremony at the stadium that’s named after him. The National Games, neglected and forgotten for years, were originally supposed to take place in Goa back in 2015. Due to a combination of factors, from terribly long delays, resulting escalating costs, lack of funds and the pandemic, Goa was unable to pull off the project. Then, three months ago, Gujarat sports minister Harsh Sanghavi said, the state wrote to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and offered to host the event. Within days, agreements were signed and wheels were set in motion. And so, a state with little sporting history outside cricket will host roughly 15,000 athletes and officials from 36 states and union territories in 35 sports over the next fortnight. Except a few, like Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu who have cited injuries as a reason for not participating, almost all top athletes have descended upon the city after the IOA, earlier this month, made it mandatory for them to take part in the event. Around the same time as the IOA diktat, union Home Minister Amit Shah said the budget for these Games was increased to Rs 2,000 crore.“A major part of the budget,” a Sports Authority of Gujarat official says, “has been used to upgrade the facilities and book hotel rooms.” Around 1,500 rooms in three, four and five-star hotels have been booked in Gandhinagar, close to 2,000 in Ahmedabad, around 400 in Bhavnagar and a little less in Rajkot, Baroda and Surat to accommodate athletes and officials.Hundreds of cars and buses have been deployed on the streets of these cities but it was the upgradation of venues in just two months that proved to be the biggest hurdle.Triathlon had to be moved to Gandhinagar after the quality of water at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad was not found hygienic enough for swimming. The rest – from polishing the basketball court floor and installing big, bright lights in Bhavnagar to setting up a pier along the riverfront by fetching equipment from Pune and Bhopal, along with a new skating rink where the quality of floor has been questioned – the organisers claim, has been completed on a ‘war-footing’.“For last 15 days, I have been here 24 hours to get things done,” India’s rowing coach Ismail Baig says. In Bhavnagar, officials say they have been reaching the venue at 6 every morning and left at 2 am everyday for last two weeks.Bid for the OlympicsAll this, is to showcase Gujarat’s potential as the next big destination for sport and further push its bid to host the Olympic Games in 2036, given that host nations till 2032 are already decided. The state’s advocate general has submitted in the Gujarat High Court during a hearing earlier this year that they are already in talks with the International Olympic Committee and they are likely to visit in 2025.“Hosting the National Games will make us capable of hosting even bigger events in the future,” Sanghavi says. “We have been able to deliver National Games in 90 days, we have that experience now and are capable enough.”A lot of these claims about the state’s preparedness will be tested over the next two weeks. The athletes, for whom the event holds no overall significance in terms of ranking points or selection, are easing into the rhythm. Like Panwar, garba is on agenda of many, including Chopra and Sindhu who will be in Baroda on Thursday morning. Some others were seen relishing a full-blown Gujarati thali on the eve of their competition. Minus the meat, of course.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Amit Shah is a former mayor of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and is a retired bank manager and social worker. Shah has listed pension, rent and interest earned on bank deposits and dividends as income sources.Movable assets (including spouse’s): Rs 1.33 crore (About 550 grams of gold, shares in Reliance Industries, Reliance Power, Vedanta Limited, Swan Energy and Powergrid Corporation)Immovable assets (including spouse’s): Rs 1.82 crore (Two residential flats, two commercial spaces, and non-agricultural land in Pethapur, Gandhinagar)Liabilities: NoneCriminal cases: A case from 2002 for demonstrating at the Sabarmati Ashram against activist Medha Patkar