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Monday, 29 January, 2001, 11:23 GMT
Prosperous Gujarat laid low
Damaged historical monument in Bhuj
Medieval Bhuj has lost many of its cultural landmarks
By BBC News Online's Sanjoy Majumder

Gujarat, which was devastated by the 2001 earthquake, is one of India's most prosperous states.


It will also take a long time before the emotional scars heal and people get back to normal work

Exporter KK Jain
Gujarat - the second most industrialised state in the country - is home to many refineries and petrochemical plants,

It has India's busiest port, Kandla, and many steel and textile mills.

There is also a wealthy expatriate community from Gujarat concentrated mainly in Europe, North America and Africa.

Officials say the diamond, pharmaceuticals and textile industries are likely to be worst-hit by the massive disruption to powerlines, transport and telecommunications.

Most large industrial facilities withstood the earthquake - but cannot operate and are estimated to be losing $200m a day.


"It will also take a long time before the emotional scars heal and people get back to normal work," exporter KK Jain said.

The influential Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has placed the cost of reconstructing Gujarat at about 150 billion rupees ($3.2bn).

Shortly after the quake, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said India would seek a $1.5bn loan from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Gujarat
Created in 1960 out of Bombay province

Population 41,310,000

Area
196,000 sq km

18,114 villages

Roads
72,165 km

Rail network
5,303 km
Gujarat has long attracted foreign investment because of its economic policies, an excellent road network which exceeds 72,000 km and uninterrupted power supply.

Several big international names including General Electric, General Motors, Siemens, AT and T and Unilever have set up shop in the state.

Gujarat also boasts a long coastline which is dotted with 41 ports, offering easy access to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

History scarred

The quake has also damaged historical monuments, many of which date back several hundreds of years.

The epicentre of the quake was near the medieval town of Bhuj, home to many cultural monuments.

Gujarat highway
Gujarat's vast road network has been damaged
An 113-year-old museum in Bhuj was completely levelled destroying important artefacts including a 7th century statue of the Buddha.

"The museum has disappeared," Bindu Manchanda of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) said.

The famous Somnath temple - which was built in the 10th century but destroyed and rebuilt several times since - is said to have escaped damage although there are some reports of cracks to the structure.

"Perhaps being on the sea saved the temple because the ocean acted as a buffer," Intach convenor, Harshad Kumari, said.

The damage has spread to the neighbouring state of Rajasthan which is littered with ancient forts and palaces.

A haveli (royal mansion) in the desert town of Jaisalmer is said to have crumbled and cracks shown up in the town's medieval fort.

Newspaper reports say the 500-year-old Pokhran fort, close to where India conducted nuclear tests in 1998, was also damaged.

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28 Jan 01 | South Asia
India seeks $1.5bn loan
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