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Vadodara

HDIL puts on block land parcel in Vadodara, to use proceeds to pare debt

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Realty major Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) today said it had put on the block a 113.47 acre industrial plot in Vadodara, Gujarat.
 
"The company’s decision is in line with its philosophy of exiting non-core assets and focusing on debt reduction," a press release from HDIL said.
 
The land parcel is located adjacent to Ranoli railway station, on the Ahmedabad-Vadodara corridor, and falls under the jurisdiction of Vadodara Urban Development Authority, it said.
 
Over the last year, HDIL has reduced its debt by nearly Rs. 685 crore to Rs. 3,142.4 crore as of December 2014. 
 
“The decision to put on block the industrial land parcel in Gujarat is in sync with the company’s strategy of exiting non-core assets and consolidating our core business. Our objective is to reduce debt and streamline the operations”, said Mr. Hariprakash Pandey, Vice-President, Finance and Investor Relations, HDIL.
 
Besides reducing debt, the on-going strategy of HDIL is to focus on project launches and sales. Planet HDIL, a proposed affordable housing township in peripheral Mumbai, will have 75 million sq. ft across 550 acres and will generate ample cash flows for the company in the coming years, the release added.
 
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Well-known writer, former MSU professor Jaysinh Birje-Patil passes away

Jaysinh Birje-Patil
Jaysinh Birje-Patil
Well-known writer and poet Jaysinh Birje-Patil, who taught at the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) of Baroda in the 1970s and 1980s and later at universities in the United States, passed away at a hospital here on Sunday after a brief illness.
 
He was 81. He was a bachelor.
 
Dr Birje-Patil served as the Professor and Head of the Department of English at MSU and also as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts for some time.
 
He had settled down in the United States for the past many years, but used to visit Vadodara regularly. He had travelled to Australia in December to spend some time with his niece and her family and arrived here on Tuesday last week. He was hospitalised the following day after complaining of chest pain and passed away on January 18.
 
Born and brought up in Vadodara, he studied at MSU before completing his Ph.D. from Manchester University in the United Kingdom. He was also a trained actor with certificates from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
 
He had written several literary works, including Chinnery's Hotel and The Good Muslim of Jackson Heights.
 
Dr Birje-Patil spent about 15 years teaching at Marlboro College in Vermont, United States before retiring from there in 2002. He had earlier tought at Brown University.
 
Most of his students and colleagues were amazed by his vast knowledge about literature. 
"When he finished speaking, my head was spinning. I had never heard so much information put together at once. In the years since, as I’ve known and studied with Birje, I have come to realize that his knowledge as a scholar and professor can only be described as vast. That word materializes in nearly every conversation about the man, in every conversation with the man. From the Greeks to Shakespeare to Joyce to postcolonial works from New Zealand and Africa, Birje draws connections and cohesive analyses. When around Birje, one cannot help but feel like a swimmer in the vastness of history, literature and culture," Lauren Beigel, one of his students, wrote in 2002 in the college magazine on his retirement from Marlboro.
 
"Even with his wealth of knowledge, Birje still listens and learns from his students; those just stumbling into a world in which he has been immersed for so long," she wrote.
 
“Teaching and learning go together. One learns such a lot from interacting with students. Students should learn to disagree and engage the professor in a dialogue," he told Beigel.
 
More than anything else, Dr Birje-Patil will be remembered for the many plays he produced and directed at MSU under the banner of the Shakespeare Society. The plays were a hugely popular annual event during his period in Vadodara, but he remained forever in the background, shyly walking onto the stage to acknowledge the ovation from the crowd after each performance, dressed in his trademark brown shirt. 
 
For those who attended some of those performances -- A View from the Bridge, Look Back in Anger, The Glass Menagerie, See How They Run, You Never Can Tell, and many more -- they remain unforgettable experiences.
 
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Arun Agnihotri, one of his students in the 1970s who acted in many plays produced and directed by Dr Birje-Patil and later set up his own theatre company, The Playhouse here, recalled that it was an "amazing experience" to have studied and worked with him.
 
"He was my mentor. It was because of the faith that he reposed in me that I took up theatre as a profession," he said. "He was a tough man, but it was fantastic to be his student."
Arun Agnihotri, one of his students in the 1970s who acted in many plays produced and directed by Dr Birje-Patil and later set up his own theatre company, The Playhouse, recalled that it was an "amazing experience" to have studied and worked with him.
 
"He was my mentor. It was because of the faith that he reposed in me that I took up theatre as a profession," he said. "He was a tough man, but it was fantastic to be his student."
 
Dr Birje-Patil continued to be involved with the stage at Marlboro, directing The Crucible and Waiting for Godot, among other plays, and team-teaching several courses on theatre.
 
“Working with Birje is a bit like spending time in the Louvre: you just get lost. There are maps to show you where things are, but it’s up to you to pick out your interests and find your way there...He is patient, detailed, and vast," another of his students, Ian Garthwait, wrote in the Marlboro college magazine.
 
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit India from January 10-13

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will pay an official visit to India from January 10-13 during which he will visit Gandhinagar to participate in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015 as a guest of honour and keynote speaker.
 
He will be accompanied by his wife Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek and a team of senior officials, an official press release said.
 
During his stay in Gandhinagar, he will also meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Other elements of his visit to Gujarat include a tour of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and inauguration of the 10 MW Canal -Top Solar Power Plant in Vadodara.
 
In New Delhi the Secretary General will call on President Pranab Mukherjee and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. He will meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar.
 
He will also deliver the 13th Sapru House Lecture on ‘India and the United Nations in a Changing World’ at the ICWA on January 12.
 
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Mrunalini Devi Puar, Chancellor of M S University of Baroda, passes away

Mrunalini Devi Puar
Mrunalini Devi Puar
Dr Mrunalini Devi Puar, the Chancellor of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and a member of the Gaekwad family, the erstwhile rulers of Baroda State, passed away at a hospital here late last night after a brief illness, university sources said today.
 
She 83. Her funeral will be held at Kirti Mandir here this afternoon, the sources said.
 
The Baroda University is the only one in Gujarat whose Chancellor is not the Governor of the state but a member of the former royal family because of its rule in establishing and nurturing the institution.
 
Dr Puar, a dietician by training, succeeded her brother Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad, the former Maharaja of Baroda, as the Chancellor of the university upon his death in 1988.
 
Born on June 25, 1931, Dr Puar had a B.Sc. Home from the Baroda University and did her M.S. (Food & Nutrition) from Iowa State University of Science and Technology in the United States. She later completed her Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.
 
Dr Puar was the first woman Chancellor of a recognized Indian University with more than 35000 students. She taught at Baroda University for about 12 years before she became its Chancellor.
 
She served as a member of the Commission on Education and Training, the International Union for Conservation of Nature & Natural Resources (IUCNNR), Switzerland and as Chairperson, Food & Nutrition Programme Committee, International Federation For Home Economics (IFHM), France.
 
She was also a member of the steering group on Nutrition, Planning Commission, Government of India and of the Governing Body, Institute Of Home Economics, New Delhi.
 
She was a member of the Advisory Committee for Rajiv Gandhi Institute For Contemporary Studies, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, New Delhi and a variety of other organisations.
 
She had published several research and popular articles in national and International Journals of repute.
 
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Baroda artist Preyas Mehta among Indians invited for 1st Langkawi Art Biennale

A work by Preyas Mehta
A work by Preyas Mehta
Baroda painter Preyas Mehta is among several Indian artists invited for the  Langkawi Art Biennale 2014, the first such event in Malaysia, that wil be held from October 12 to 21.
 
Other artists invited from India include Babita Das, Ashok Kumar, Ganesh Chandra Basu, and Puspita Ray.
 
The event, organized by Art Malaysia Association and supported the country's Ministry of Tourism and Culture and orther organizations, will see the participation of artists from Malaysia and 37 other countries.
 
The biennale, which is on the theme of migration, is expected to bring art enthusiasts from around the world to Langkawi island.
 
The event will take place along Pantai Cenang, a picturesque two km beach with long stretches of white sand.
 
Mehta completed his B.A. (Fine) in Applied Arts from the M.S. University of Baroda here and has been active as a sculptor, painter and photographer and has exhibited in shows around the country. Most recently, he had exhibited at the International Art Group show "Across the Ocean" at the Birla Art Academy in Kolkata.
 
Basu is an artist and a freelance writer and has participated in more than 100 international and national shows and held some 40 solo exhibitions.
 
Ray has a BA degree in Bengali and is an artist and a writer. Apart from publishing several books, she has held solo exhibitions of her works and participated in group shows.
 
Ashok Kumar has a degree in Fine Arts from the College of Arts, Patna and then studied painting at the L’Ecole Superieure Des Beaux­Arts de Marseille, France. 
 
Some of the group exhibitions that he has participating in include the Sixth Biennial of Contemporary Indian Arts, (Bhopal), International Biennale Art Exhibition at Dallas (USA), contemporary art exhibition created by the artists residence ‘Crossings’ by Frac Reunion at MOCA, Saint Dennis (Reunion Island) and international art exhibition by SODEFA (Chandigarh).
 
Das has an M.A. in Fine Arts in Printmaking from Viswa Bharati Universty and has worked as an Indian National Scholar. She has been teaching art at primary and secondary Levels at a private school in Kolkata, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, since 1996. She has held more than 25 solo exhibitions and participated in an equal number of group exhibitions.
 
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BJP suffers setback in UP, loses ground in Gujarat, Rajasthan in bye-elections

Four months after it swept to power at the Centre with an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a setback in Uttar Pradesh and lost ground in Rajasthan and Gujarat as counting of votes got underway in bye-elections in ten states on Tuesday.

 
By-polls: Counting begins for 3 LS, 33 assembly seats
Four months after it swept to power at the Centre with an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a setback in Uttar Pradesh and lost ground in Rajasthan and Gujarat as counting of votes got underway in bye-elections in ten states today.
 
In all, polling was held on September 13 for three Lok Sabha seats and 33 Assembly seats in the bye-elections, which were seen as a major test of the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which completed 100 days in office recently.
 
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh won eight of the 11 Assembly seats for which bye-elections were held, while the BJP had to rest content with just three. The BJP and its ally Apna Dal had earlier held all 11 seats.
 
The seats won by the SP in Uttar Pradesh were Bijnor, Thakurdwara, Nighasan, Hamirpur, Charkhari, Sirathu and Rohaniya, while the BJP won Saharanpur Nagar, Noida and Lucknow East.
 
The SP’s candidate, Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, also won from the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency in the state.
 
These results are significant because the BJP, riding on a Modi wave, had won as many as 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh in the April-May Parliamentary elections. The BJP and its ally Apna Dal held all 11 Assembly seats for which bye-elections were held.
 
In Rajasthan, where the BJP had made a clean sweep in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won three of the four seats in the bye-elections -- Surajgarh, Weir (SC) and Nasirabad, while the BJP had to remain content with one, Kota South.
 
Similarly, in Gujarat, where Mr Modi was the Chief Minister for more than 12 years before becoming Prime Minister and where the BJP had won all 26 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress managed to win three of the nine Assembly seats in the bye-elections.
 
The Congress won Deesa, Khambhalia and Mangrol, while the BJP retained Maninagar, Tankara, Talaja, Anand, Matar and Limkheda. All nine seats were earlier held by the BJP.
 
The BJP also won the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, with its candidate and deputy mayor Ranjanben Bhatt winning by a huge margin of more than 3.29 lakh votes.
The BJP made its debut in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly when its candidate Samik Bhattacharya  won the Basirhat Dakshin seat today. The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) won the other seat, Chowranghee, for which bye-elections were held.
 
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In Telangana, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi's K Prabhakar Reddy won the Medak Lok Sabha seat.
 
In Tripura, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) won the lone assembly seat, Manu, for which bye-elections were held.
 
In Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) won the Nandigama Assembly seat.
 
In Sikkim, an independent candidate, Rup Narayan Chamling, won the Rangang-Yangang Assembly seat.
 
In Assam, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) won the Jamunamukh Assembly seat, while the BJP was leading in Silchar and the Congress in Lakhipur.
 
Counting of votes began in all the constituencies this morning and all the results are expected by this evening.
 
The bye-elections have assumed added significance because they took place about a month before crucial Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, where Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a strong bid to wrest power.
 
Vadodara was one of the two seats won by Mr Modi in the April-May Lok Sabha elections. He had resigned from there after deciding to retain Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the other seat from where he had won.
 
Similarly, Mainpuri was vacated by Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who retained Azamgarh, also in Uttar Pradesh.
 
Medak had fallen vacant when Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K Chandrashekara Rao resigned to take over as the first Chief Minister of Telangana after it was carved out as India's 29th state out of Andhra Pradesh.
 
Polling was also held for two seats in West Bengal and one in Chhattisgarh.
 
Today's results have come as bad news for the BJP, which had won only eight of the 18 Assembly seats in four states -- Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and Punjab -- where bye-elections were held in August, while the Congress and its allies managed to win ten.
 
Apart from being a pointer to the extent to which the BJP has been able to hold on to its popularity, the bye-elections were also a major test for the SP.
 
These were the first elections in Gujarat under new Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who succeeded Mr Modi when he moved to Delhi as Prime Minister.
 
Most of the 33 Assembly seats had fallen vacant after the sitting MLAs, mainly belonging to the BJP, had been elected to the Lok Sabha in the last general elections. Bye-elections in three assembly constituencies were necessitated by the deaths of the sitting members.
 
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Minor fire in RIL's poly butadiene rubber plant at Vadodara in Gujarat

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said a minor fire broke out this morning in the finishing line of its poly butadiene rubber (PBR) plant in Vadodara in Gujarat. 
 
No one was injured in the incident, a press release from the Mukesh Ambani-led company said.
 
"The fire was expeditiously brought under control by the fire fighters at the plant. The cause of fire is being investigated," it said.
 
"Alternate finishing line is taken into production and hence there will be no impact on production. All other units are functioning normally," the release added.
 
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Modi acknowledges marriage in his poll affidavit

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi filing his affidavit before the returning officer of Vadodara constituency for the Lok Sabha elections on April 9, 2014
BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi filing his affidavit before the returning officer of Vadodara constituency for the Lok Sabha elections on April 9, 2014
After years of silence on the issue, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has finally acknowledged his marriage in the affidavit that he filed with his nomination papers in the Vadodara constituency of Gujarat for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
 
He mentioned his wife's name, Jashodaben, in the column for the name of the candidate's spouse in the affidavit.
 
In a similar affidavit filed for the 2012 elections to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, in which he led his party to a third consecutive win, Mr Modi had left the column blank.
 
In yesterday's affidavit, uploaded onto the website of the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat, Mr Modi, however, has simply said "not known" in all other columns related to his wife, including details of her income, her income tax permanent account number (PAN), assets and liabilities, investments, bank accounts and  properties.
 
Mr Modi, 63, the Chief Minister of Gujarat since October 2001, has not spoken in public about his wife, though some newspapers and magazines have occasionally reported about her and one of them carried an interview with her some months ago. The reports said the couple, who got married when they were very young, had separated soon after.
 
His silence on the issue had invited attacks from his opponents and the Congress has repeatedly asked him to "come clean" on his marital status.
 
Mr Modi's main opponent in Vadodara is prominent Congress leader Madhusudhan Mistry. He is also contesting from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, where he is pitted against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and local Congress leader Ajay Rai.
 
As Mr Modi's admission set off a flurry of comments by his supporters and opponents on social media websites, his elder brother Somabhai Damodardas Modi issued a three-page statement today, stating that the BJP leader was married to Jashodaben about 45 years ago when he still a minor and the family was poor and uneducated.
 
Mr Somabhai Modi said his brother had given up on all worldy things to dedicate his life to the service of the nation and his marriage, conducted at a time when his parents were stuggling financially and had to adhere to various social traditions of the time, should not be judged according to the standards of today.
 
Mr Somabhai Modi said their family was poor and not well-educated and had to adhere to social traditions and practices of those times. He said that his parents, who were not well-educated, could not recognize Mr Narendra Modi's zeal to dedicate his life for the nation. "In those circumstances, our parents got Narendrabhai married at a very young age," he said.
 
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He went on to say that Mr Narendra Modi left his home and his wife soon after that and devoted his life to work for the country. "His marriage with Jashodaben was reduced to a mere formality," he said.
 
"Today, even 45-50 years after that, Narendrabhai is away from his family. Jashodaben lives in her parents' house and had worked in the field of education," he said, referring to her career as a school teacher, from which she has retired recently.
 
"This incident of 45-50 years ago should be seen against the background of the then prevailing circumstances of a poor and superstitious family. That is our prayer to everyone," the statement added.
 
After becoming the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Mr Modi had in some campaign speeches said that he had no family ties. "I am alone. Who will I be corrupt for?" he had asked, while drawing attention to allegations of corruption and nepotism against his political rivals.
 
Jashodaben, 62, told a newspaper recently that she was maried to Mr Modi when he was 17 and that they had separated three years later, after which they had never been in touch. Even in those three years they were together for hardly three months, the report quoted her as saying.
 
She also said that she knows that he will become the Prime Minister of the country one day and that she does not feel bad that he had cut her off from his life or that he had never acknowledged her.
 
She said she reads everything about him but does not think that he will ever call her.
 
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Modi files nomination for LS polls from Vadodara in Gujarat

 
Narendra Modi files nomination from Vadodara
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today filed his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections from this city - considered a bastion of his party -- after a massive show of strength and amidst tight security.
 
Mr Modi arrived at around 10 am at the airport here and was given a rousing welcome by hundreds of enthusiastic flag-waving BJP supporters.
 
He then went in a cavalcade upto Kirti Stambh, near the palace of the Gaekwads, the erstwhile ruling family of Baroda, from where he staged a road show in an open jeep to the district collectorate at Kothi via Rajmahal Road, Nyaya Mandir and Raopura.
 
Thousands of people had lined up the streets to cheer him along his way to the collectorate.
 
Ms Shubhangini Raje Gaekwad, wife of the late "Maharaja" Ranjitsinh Gaekwad, Kiran Mahida, a tea vendor outside the Vadodara Municipal Corporation office, and senior local BJP leader Bhupendra Patel were present as proposers when Mr Modi filed his nomination papers.
 
Several senior BJP leaders, including the president of its Gujarat unit, R C Faldu, and members of Mr Modi's Cabinet such were present on the occasion.
 
The local police had made elaborate arrangements all along the route of Mr Modis road show.
 
Today was the last day for filing of nominations for all 26 Lok Sabha constituencies in Gujarat, which will go to the polls in a single phase on April 30.
 
The Congress has fielded one of its prominent leaders Madhusudhan Mistry against Mr Modi from this constituency.
 
Mr Modi is also contesting from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, where his opponents include Aam Aadmi Party (AAP0 leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress MLA Ajay Rai.
 
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In brief remarks to mediapersons after filing his papers, Mr Modi expressed happiness that his party had decided to field him from Vadodara, the seat of the Gaekwads.
 
He said his home town, Vadnagar in North Gujarat, was also part of the erstwhile Baroda state ruled by the Gaekwads and recalled the great contribution made by late Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad for the development of the region.
 
He spoke about how Maharaja Sayajirao, who was known all over the country for good governance, had focused on education, especially for girls, and on libraries and such other initiatives.
 
Mr Modi said he himself had had his primary education at a school set up by the Gaekwads in his home town. 
 
The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the people of the city for turning out in large numbers to welcome him today and recalled how he used to live and work for years as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker just a few hundred yards away from the collectorate building.
 
He hoped that the people of the city would turn out in large numbers on the day of voting to exercise their franchise.
 
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Congress candidate Mistry arrested in Vadodara over poster row

Mistry arrested, given bail in poster row in Vadodara
Senior Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry, who is his party's candidate against the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi in Vadodara, was arrested briefly by the police there in a row over sticking of posters and was later released on bail by a local court.
 
Mr Mistry, 69, was detained along with about a hundred of his supporters when he climbed onto an electricity pole in the Dandia Bazaar area of the city and tried to paste one of his own posters over one of Mr Modi.
 
Mr Mistry, hand-picked by the Congress to put up a strong fight against Mr Modi, alleged that, though he had applied for permission to put up his posters, the local authorities had not given him the go-ahead even after three or four days had passed.
 
He said the civic body had appointed an agency to handle advertising on electricity poles in the city and that agency had given the use of all the poles to Mr Modi and his party.
 
He said he had written to the local election authorities saying that he had a right to get a share of the space, and they had agreed with him and issued suitable directions to the civic body. But the civic officials had failed to act on them, he alleged.
 
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Those who were held by the police included Mr Narendra Rawat, who was the original choice of the Congress to contest from Vadodara, but he offered to step aside to enable his party to field a heavyweight against Mr Modi.
 
Mr Mistry accused the local authorities of bias and the Modi government in Gujarat of using such methods to boost his party's prospects in the state.
 
Mr Mistry is a prominent leader of the Congress and is said to be close to the party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi. He was a member of the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from Sabarkantha in Gujarat. 
 
Mr Modi is also contesting from a second seat, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
 
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Madhusudhan Mistry to take on Modi in Vadodara, Kejriwal in Varanasi

The Congress on Tuesday fielded its general secretary Madhusudhan Mistry to take on BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from Vadodara after withdrawing a candidate named by it earlier, while AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal confirmed he would contest against the Gujarat Chief Minister from Varanasi.

 
Madhusudhan Mistry to take on Modi in Vadodara
The Congress today fielded its general secretary Madhusudhan Mistry to take on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from Vadodara in the coming Lok Sabha elections after withdrawing a candidate named by it earlier, while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal confirmed he would contest against the Gujarat Chief Minister from Varanasi.
 
Mr Narendra Rawat, who was named by it as its candidate in Vadodara in Gujarat some days ago, said he had approached the party's central leadership after Mr Modi  decided to contest from there.
 
"I suggested to them to field a stronger candidate to take on Mr Modi and defeat him," Mr Rawat told journalists.
 
Mr Modi is also contesting from Varanasi in Gujarat as part of efforts by him and the BJP to position him as a leader with appeal beyond his own state
 
Mr Kejriwal, former Chief Minister of Delhi, announced earlier in the day that he would contest against Mr Modi in Varanasi after taking into account the views of people who gathered to hear him at a rally in that city.
 
The Congress has said that it will put up a strong candidate against Mr Modi in Varanasi, but has not declared any name so far.
 
Mr Mistry, 69, is a prominent leader of the Congress and is said to be close to the party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi. He was a member of the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from Sabarkantha in Gujarat. 
 
Talking to journalists after his nomination, he said he was confident of winning the election.
 
Mr Rawat was one of the candidates chosen by the Congress through the primaries it conducted on a trial basis in 15 constituencies across the country -- the first time any party in India has tried out this kind of selection process that is more associated with the American presidential elections.
 
The Congress also named Mr Himmatsinh Patel as its candidate from Ahmedabad East in Gujarat, where the BJP has fielded well-known film and stage actor Paresh Rawal.
 
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The party nominated former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who had resigned in the wake of allegations against him in the alleged Aadarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai, from Nanded in the state.
 
It also became clear that Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari would not contest the coming elections, ostensibly on health grounds, and the party declared Ravneet Singh Bittu as its nominee from Ludhiana, his constituency.
 
The party has fielded Santokh Singh Choudhary from Jalandhar-SC and Mohinder Singh Kaypee from Hoshiarpur-SC in Punjab.
 
The Congress named Biju Chacko from Chennai North, A Chellakumar from Krishnagiri, S Jothi Mani from Karur and H Vasanthakumar from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, it has fielded Vasundhara Kumari Jay Pratap Singh in place of Tarun Patel from Domariyaganj and Tarun Patel in place of Satish Bind from Chandauli.
 

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Govt. withdraws tax exemption of four cricket associations

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The Government has withdrawn the tax exemption granted to four cricket associations after they were found engaged in activities which were considered commercial in nature.
 
The associations are the Saurashtra Cricket Association, the Baroda Cricket Association, the Kerala Cricket Association and the Maharashtra Cricket Association.
 
An official press release said the Income Tax authorities had looked into their affairs and found that they were engaged in certain activities which were considered commercial in nature in view of the amended provisions of Section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 
 
"Consequently, the scrutiny of assessments in these cases has resulted into the withdrawal of tax-exemption. Past assessments in these cases have also been reopened by the Department to examine the correctness of their claim for income tax exemption during the periods concerned," the release added.
 
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Cleveland Clinic, Nirmala Swami Trust offer program for Indian medical graduates

Dr. James Stoller, Chairman, Education Institute, Cleveland Clinic [2nd from Left], Dr. Bharat Swami- Managing Trustee, Dr Nirmala Swami Charitable Trust [3rd from Left] and the team of the Post MBBS Research Training Program at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio.
Dr. James Stoller, Chairman, Education Institute, Cleveland Clinic [2nd from Left], Dr. Bharat Swami- Managing Trustee, Dr Nirmala Swami Charitable Trust [3rd from Left] and the team of the Post MBBS Research Training Program at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio.
The world-renowned Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, United States, in collaboration with the Dr. Nirmala Swami Charitable Trust in Vadodara, Gujarat has launched a post-MBBS research training program for Indian medical graduates through its Center for Graduate Medical Education. 
 
"This competitive program aligns two organizations that share a deep commitment to medical education," a press release from the trust said.
 
Since its inception in 1921, education has been a core element of Cleveland Clinic’s vision and “further education of those who serve” is embedded within the organization’s mission statement and culture. Its Education Institute promotes the needs of various educational audiences and seeks excellence in advancing education through the values of teamwork, synergy, innovation and service, it said.
 
Similarly, the Dr. Nirmala Swami Charitable Trust was established by Dr. Bharat Swami, son of the late Dr. Nirmala Swami, to fulfill their joint dream to serve, educate and support humanity. 
 
"Compassion for patients and a dedication to education are the key principles of the Dr. Nirmala Swami Charitable Trust. Its passion is to provide quality education to society," it said.
 
Together, these organizations will offer accepted candidates a twelve month program which will prepare students for further post-graduate medical education in the United States, the release said.
 
According to it, the students will get extensive clinical exposure to the American medical system through observational experiences in clinical and research settings. In each of the program’s twelve months, students will observe alongside physician care teams in inpatient, outpatient and intensive care settings. Within these venues, students will observe approaches to patient management, techniques and procedures. 
 
The students will also participate in topical research with a publishable deliverable. They will be afforded the opportunity to contribute to an ongoing research project with guidance from a faculty research mentor. 
 
The students will be involved in healthcare reform, participate in a diverse didactic program and achieve personal and professional development, the release added.
 
Dr Nirmala Swami was a well-known obstetrician and gynaecologist in Vadodara, Gujarat. She took her MBBS degree in 1952 from the Lady Hardinge Medical College in Delhi and was later the first post-graduate student at the Baroda Medical College. She was also the recipient of the Dr B C Roy Award for her services as an eminent medical teacher in obstetrics. 
 
She pioneered the mini-lap procedure for tubal ligation and did over 42,500 tubal ligations using this procedure. She passed away in 2002.
 
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6.7 km stretch of Vadodara-Surat section of NH-8 to be six-laned

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for six-laning of a 6.7 km stretch of the Vadodara-Surat section of National Highway (NH)-8, including construction of a new four-lane extra dosed bridge across the Narmada river and two eight lane flyovers, in Bharuch district of Gujarat.
 
An official press release said here that the cost of the project, to be taken up under the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) Phase V, was  estimated at Rs. 503.16 crore including Rs.17 crore as the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.
 
The main objective of the project is to expedite the improvement of infrastructure in Gujarat and also in reduce the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between this stretch of the Vadodra-Surat section. 
 
The upgradation of this stretch to six lane standards will ensure smooth and safe traffic flow and substantial gain in terms of reduced Vehicle Operating Cost (VOC) and reduced travel time, the release added.
 
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Modi flags off "Run for Unity" in honour of Sardar Patel in Vadodara

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the "Run for Unity" in Vadodara, Gujarat on December 15, 2013.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the "Run For Unity" organized across the country on the occasion of the 63rd death anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country's first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, at a function here this morning.
 
More than 40 lakh people are expected to join the run in 1100 locations in different parts of the country, the organisers said.
 
Mr Modi said the run had been organized with the aim of uniting India's people and its villages, a cause that was dear to Sardar Patel, who was called the "Iron Man of India" and is known for his role in persuading more than 500 princely states to join the Union of India after the country attained independence from British rule in 1947.
 
Mr Modi, who has been named by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, said the run was a matter of "rashtra bhakti" and an effort to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the people of India.
 
He called for integrating the future generations with the message of unity.
 
"Sardar Patel devoted his life to unify the nation. He integrated the common people in the freedom struggle and made efforts to rid the nation of the colonial mindset. He undid the mindset of divisiveness and united the nation. 
 
"When we remember Gandhi ji we remember truth, non-violence, sacrifice, simplicity, Satyagraha; when we remember Sardar Patel we remember Ekta, Surajya and Kisan (unity, good governance and the farmer)," he said.
 
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Stressing that India's diversity was its strength, he coined a new "mantra": Akhandata Me Ekta, Hindustan Ki Visheshta (Unity is diversity, this is India’s strength). 
 
“Our diversity is not something that is on paper. It is the manifestation of our strength. It is not only our identity but also our tradition," he said.
 
He said good governance was the need of the hour in the country and it was India's tradition to move ahead with a spirit of "jan bhagidari" (people's partnership).
 
Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani flagged off a similar run in Ahmedabad.
 
The run is a curtain-raiser to the Statue of Unity Movement, a countrywide drive to collect 700 tonnes of used farm implements made of iron from over five lakh villages to hep build a 182-metre tall statue of Sardar Patel near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada in Gujarat.
 
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Former BCCI Honorary Secretary Jaywant Lele passes away in Vadodara

Jaywant Lele
Jaywant Lele
Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Honorary Secretary Jaywant Y. Lele passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest at his residence here late last night, sources close to his family said.
 
He was 75. He is survived by his wife Anjali, son Ajit and daughter Amrita. His funeral will be held later today, the sources said.
 
Mr Lele, who had a diploma in mechanical and electrical engineering, used to work for Sarabhai Chemicals and served as its public relations officer for many years.
 
He was also associated with the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) from 1969 to 2002, including as its Secretary for long years before he was expelled from the body in 2003 for alleged irregularities. He was preparing for a return to the BCA in its coming elections.
 
He served as Honorary Secretary of the BCCI from 1997 to 2002 and it was during his tenure that the match-fixing scandal broke out in 2000.
 
Mr Lele, who was also a qualified umpire, had celebrated his 75th birthday only a week ago on September 13.
 
"I am shocked to hear of the sad demise of Mr. Jaywant Lele. He was associated with the BCCI for nearly three decades, representing the Baroda Cricket Association. He served as Hony. Jt. Secretary and Hony. Secretary of the Board for almost a decade. He was also part of the BCCI’s Umpires’ Panel. We shall miss him. May his soul rest in peace," BCCI President N Srinivasan said in a condolence message.
 
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RBI imposes penalty on Karjan Nagarik Sahakari Bank Ltd. in Gujarat

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 1 lakh on The Karjan Nagarik Sahakari Bank Ltd. at Karjan in Vadodara district of Gujarat for violation of its instructions relating to "know your customer" (KYC) norms.
 
A press release from RBI said the penalty was imposed by it in exercise of the powers vested in it under the provisions of Section 47A(1)(b) read with Section 46(4) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (as applicable to co-operative societies).
 
The release said the RBI had issued a show cause notice to the bank based on the findings of inspection for the financial position as on March 31, 2012, in response to which the bank submitted a written reply. 
 
"After considering the facts of the case and the bank’s reply in the matter, the Reserve Bank came to the conclusion that the violation was substantiated and warranted imposition of the penalty," it added.
 
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Gujarat: 11 killed as two seven-storeyed buildings collapse in Vadodara

At least 11 people were killed and five others suffered injuries when two seven-storeyed buildings collapsed in the Atladara area of Vadodara in Gujarat early on Wednesday morning, official sources said.

Vadodara: at least 11 dead, many trapped as 2 buildings collapse
At least 11 people were killed and five others suffered injuries when two seven-storeyed buildings collapsed in the Atladara area of this city in Gujarat early this morning, official sources said.
 
Initial reports had suggested that a higher number of people were trapped under the debris, but Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said it turned out that many of the flats were empty when the mishap occurred.
 
The injured, who included a young boy, were rushed first to a nearby hospital and then to the Shri Sayajirao General (SSG) Hospital, the sources said.
 
Those killed in the incident included at least two women, the sources said.
 
The incident occurred around 4.55 am today in a housing complex of 54 similar buildings constructed in the Madhavnagar locality at Atladara by the Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA) for the economically weaker sections.
 
The buildings were built between 1999 and 2001.
 
Mayor Bharat Shah and Municipal Commissioner Manish Bhardwaj were amongst those who rushed to the scene on hearing about the tragedy.
 
Army personnel and teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were assisting in the rescue efforts.
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the collapse, to be headed by Ms Manjula Subramaniam, former Chief Secretary of the State.
 
Mr Modi has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh as ex-gratia payment for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the incident.
 
Official sources said the adjoining buildings had been evacuated from the as a precautionary measure.
 
State Finance Minister Nitin Patel, who is also the guardian minister for the district, and Energy Minister Saurabh Patel were camping in the city to supervise the relief operations, the sources added.
 
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Gujarat: 10 killed as two seven-storeyed buildings collapse in Vadodara

At least ten people were killed and several others suffered injuries when two seven-storeyed buildings collapsed in the Atladara area of Vadodara in Gujarat early on Wednesday morning.

Vadodara: at least 10 dead, many trapped as 2 buildings collapse
 
At least 10 people were killed and several others suffered injuries when two seven-storeyed buildings collapsed in the Atladara area of this city in Gujarat early this morning.
 
Fire brigade sources said rescue efforts were on to rescue more than 20 people believed trapped in the debris.
 
About five people, including a young boy, had been extricated in the rubble and rushed to the Shree Sayajirao General (SSG) Hospital with injuries, they said.
 
Those killed in the incident included at least two women, the sources said.
 
The incident occurred around 4.55 am today in a housing complex of 54 similar buildings constructed in the Madhavnagar locality at Atladara by the Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA) for the economically weaker sections.
 
One of the buildings had 14 families living in it, while the other was vacant, the sources said. The buildings were built between 1999 and 2001.
 
Mayor Bharat Shah, Municipal Commissioner Manish Bhardwaj and Police Commissioner Satish Sharma were amongst those who rushed to the scene on hearing about the tragedy.
 
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Army personnel and teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were assisting in the rescue efforts.
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the collapse, to be headed by Ms Manjula Subramaniam, former Chief Secretary of the State.
 
Mr Modi has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh as ex-gratia payment for the next-of-kin of those killed in the incident.
 
Official sources said the adjoining buildings had been evacuated from the adjoining buildings as a precautionary measure.
 
State Finance Minister Nitin Patel, who is also the guardian minister for the district, and Energy Minister Saurabh Patel are camping in the city to supervise the relief operations.
 
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Gujarat: 5 killed as two seven-storeyed buildings collapse in Vadodara

At least five people were killed and several others injured when two seven-storeyed buildings collapsed in the Atladara area Vadodara in Gujarat early on Wednesday morning.

Vadodara: at least 5 dead, many trapped as 2 buildings collapse
 
At least five people were killed and several others injured when two seven-storeyed buildings collapsed in the Atladara area of this city in Gujarat early this morning.
 
Fire brigade sources said rescue efforts were on to rescue about 35 people believed trapped in the debris.
 
About six people, including a young boy, had been extricated from the rubble and rushed to hospital with injuries, they said.
 
Those killed in the incident included three men and two women, the sources said.
 
The incident occurred around 4.55 am today in a housing complex of 54 similar buildings constructed by the Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA).
 
One of the buildings had 12 families living in it, while the other was vacant, the sources said.
 
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Narayana Murthy to be honoured with Sayaji Ratna Award in Vadodara

N R Narayana Murthy
N R Narayana Murthy

The Baroda Management Association (BMA) will honour Infosys Limited founder and chairman emeritus N R Narayana Murthy with the first Sayaji Ratna Award at a function here tomorrow.

The BMA has instituted the award to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Sir Sayajrao Gaekwad III, the erstwhile ruler of the then Baroda state.
 
"During his lifetime, Sir Sayajirao possessed outstanding traits of being a visionary, a man of high integrity, compassion and his contribution to the city in particular and society in general was immense," a press release from BMA said.
 
An individual of national and international repute in the field of business, sports, arts, humanity, education, governance or medicine who exhibits traits of Sir Sayajirao will be chosen every year to receive this award, it said.
 
The release said Mr Narayanmurthy had been chosen to be the first recipient of the award and had consented to receive this award in person.
 
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CMI Energy, L&T to supply small HRSGs for SE Asia, Middle East

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CMI Energy of Belgium and Larsen & Toubro (L&T), its Indian licensee, have signed an agreement for extension of L&T’s licence territory to manufacture and supply small Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs), installed behind gas turbines below 80 MW, to South East Asia and the Middle East. 

Under this agreement, L&T will have the exclusive rights to apply CMI technology in these markets for manufacturing and supplying single wide HRSGs installed behind gas turbines below 80 MW (ISO Rating), a press release from L&T said.
 
It covers gas turbine models such as MS6001, LM 6000, SGT-800, LM2500 and GE frame 5 and 6, the release said.
 
The agreement was signed at L&T Knowledge City at Vadodara in Gujarat by Mr Pierre Melin, CMI Energy President, and Mr Shailendra Roy, L&T Whole-time Director and Senior Executive Vice President (Corporate Affairs & Power).
 
HRSGs are used widely in combined cycle power plants and for cogeneration applications in process industry. 
 
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In 1991, CMI Energy awarded an exclusive license to L&T to design, manufacture and supply vertical HRSGs in India. This license was further extended in 2008 to include horizontal HRSGs. 
 
Besides these licence agreements, CMI Energy and L&T have also supported each other on specific projects for engineering, sourcing, training and marketing, the release said.
 
Through the new signing, the two companies have agreed to extend their collaboration to a new segment: the development and supply of small size steam generators. These small HRSGs are typically modular design with higher prefabrication level. 
 
L&T and CMI Energy will jointly develop/improve the existing CMI design to suit the client requirements in the extended territory. This will allow CMI and L&T to improve their 
competitiveness in the regions.
 
Over the past decade, the market for small HRSGs represents 24% share in terms of number of units sold worldwide. This market is poised to grow by 3.5% per year over the next decade. CMI Energy and L&T intend to be key players in this market by attracting a minimum 10% market share, the release added.
 
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EC issues notice to Gujarat Congress chief Modhvadia for remarks against Modi

 
EC issues notice to Gujarat Congress chief Modhvadia for remarks against Modi

The Election Commission (EC) has issued a notice to Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhvadia asking him to show cause why action should not be taken against him for his reported remarks on the personal life of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and for comparing him with a money during the ongoing election campaign in the state.

Mr Modhvadia has been directed to send his written reply, if any, to the Commission by 5 pm tomorrow, failing which it would be assumed that he had nothing to say in the matter and appropriate action would be taken against him without any further reference to him.
 
The Commission had received a complaint from Gujarat BJP General Secretary Balkrishna Shukla and also reports from the Chief Electoral Officer and District Electoral Officer stating that Mr Modhvadia had allegedly violated the Model Code of Conduct by making objectionable remarks on the personal life and character of Mr Modi during a speech at a public meeting at Vadodara on November 2.
 
The Commission had also obtained a CD of his speech and also a transcript of the speech and gone through them.
 
"Every morning he asks Dr. Manmohan  Singh, come and fight elections against me... Just as a monkey  climbs and tree and sitting up on that tree asks the lion standing down on the ground to come up, come up....Arrey, you will have to come down one day.....  he will not come up....he is a lion..... king of the jungle," Mr Modhvadia reportedly said at the meeting.
 
At another stage, he reportedly said that Mr Modi was "infected with rabies...he has been bitten by a rabid dog".
 
Mr Modhvadia also reportedly said, "However Chief Minister,  within your life what about your married life? Gujarat knows it. Why don't you disclose it one day? And why it didn't work out after marrying...".
 
In the notice, dated November 21, the Commission said it had considered the matter and was of the view that Mr Modhvadia's remarks prima facie constituted violation of the Model Code of Conduct, which, among other things, prohibits personal attacks on the leaders of rival political parties and criticism of all aspects of their private life.
 
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8-year-old boy killed as major fire guts 50 firecracker shops in Vadodara

Scene at the Kala Bhavan ground in Vadodara, where a devastating fire destroyed about 50 fire cracker shops, on November 10, 2012
Scene at the Kala Bhavan ground in Vadodara, where a devastating fire destroyed about 50 fire cracker shops, on November 10, 2012

An eight-year-old boy was killed and a man was seriously injured in a major fire that destroyed about 50 temporary firecracker shops set up on the Kala Bhavan ground here this afternoon, three days ahead of Diwali, official sources said.

Sources at the SSG Hospital said the identity of the boy was yet to be established.
 
Vadodara Fire Brigade sources said the fire, which broke out at about 1547 hours, had been put out after a two-and-a-half hour effort. "The situation is fully under control", a senior official said.
 
The Fire Brigade had pressed into service as many as 27 fire tenders and more than 150 firemen to douse the flames.
 
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained, but similar incidents have occurred on the same ground in the past when, too, lives were lost.
 
A thick pall of smoke hung over the area, which had been cordoned off by the police.
 
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About 50 firecracker shops gutted in fire in Vadodara

About 50 temporary firecracker shops set up on the Kala Bhavan ground here were completely destroyed in a major fire that engulfed the market this afternoon, three days ahead of Diwali, Vadodara Fire Brigade sources said.

The sources said the fire, which broke out at about 1547 hours, had been put out after a two-and-a-half hour effort and that no one had been reported injured. "The situation is fully under control", a senior official said.
 
The Fire Brigade had pressed into service as many as 27 fire tenders and more than 150 firemen to douse the flames.
 
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained, but similar incidents have occurred on the same ground in the past when some lives were also lost.
 
A thick pall of smoke hung over the area, which had been cordoned off by the police.
 
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