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December 5, 2001 - December 5, 2001

Convention to help co-ops take on globalisation Wednesday, December 5, 2001

VADODARA: The co-operative sector, which is on the threshold of being brought under the ambit of Company Law, is set to get a boost with the Baroda Management Association (BMA) planning a national convention on 'Structuring co-operatives as dynamic business entities'.

The convention, to be held here on December 14 and 15, will look into the role of management in running co-operatives successfully. The convention, which will be addressed by people from the co-operative sector like Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) managing director B M Vyas, will discuss various issues facing the sector in the fields of dairies, fertilisers, sugar, cotton and banks.

"We felt that the co-operative sector has been neglected and has suffered more than others due to both its inherent weaknesses and interference by politicians and the government," said convention chairman N K Chawla.

"The co-operative sector serves mostly the weaker section of the society and has enormous potential for growth. This sector covers a significant part of dairy, sugar, cotton, fertiliser and banking and is eminently placed to enlarge marketing in rural areas. It is imperative to strengthen the co-operative sector to ensure that existing units survive and flourish in the face of new challenges," said BMA president Sarvesh Chandra.

"The convention will address these issues and discuss strategies for structuring co-operative units as dynamic business entities that will be able to thrive in market economy and global competition," said Chandra.

The convention, to be inaugurated by former Planning Commission member Y K Alagh, will focus on the role of government and changes required in co-operative law to create an even playing field, human resources development and training and utilisation of information technology for optimisation of results. It will also focus on business strategy for maximum utilisation of resources and linkages between different co-operatives, on marketing and the symbiotic relationship with industries with a view to penetrate the rural and semi-urban markets.

And, with scams dogging co-operatives, especially after the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank scam, a session will be dedicated to finding out ways to keep a check on the sector. Apart from this, discussions will also be held on amendments to the archaic co-operative laws and probability of a parallel law on the lines of states like Bihar and Jharkhand.

While the convention will be inaugurated by Gujarat State Co-operative Marketing Federation Limited's Natwarlal Patel, the keynote address will be delivered GCMMF managing director B M Vyas.

"For the first time, we will also be soliciting participation from students of MS University's faculty of management so that these students are exposed to the co-operative sector. The corporate sector will be represented by Indo-Gulf Corporation Limited vice-president (marketing) N M Sharma.

Noted experts from institutes like K V Lakum, board member of the National Institute of Co-operative Management, Keyur Thaker, faculty at National Institute of Co-operative Management, chairman of IIM Ahmedabad's Centre for Management of Agriculture Samar Datta and L K Vaswani of IRMA will also be participating. Chief Vigilance Commissioner N Vittal will be the guest of honour at the valedictory function.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Shah suspected of running solvent supply network Wednesday, December 5, 2001

VADODARA: The absconding owner of Amiyodaya Petrochem Private Limited, Jatin Shah, is suspected of running his own 'network' to supply solvent. The modus operandi of this network, said a senior police officer, was similar to that adopted by Jayesh Thakker, the alleged kingpin of the infamous solvent racket busted by former Vadodara SP, Vivek Srivastava, in 1999-2000.

Thakker had used his factory, R S Petrochem, to manufacture and stock solvent almost in a similar fashion that Shah used Amiyodaya Petrochem. However, though there is seeming parallel between the two solvent rackets exposed by Vadodara police and district administration, so far, there has been no sign of any link between the two.

The absence of this link, has led the police and district administration officials into believing that no one but two solvent rackets might have been operating in the city during the last few years. Both these rackets had their own network of suppliers, stockists and end-users in the form of petrol pumps.

"We are investigating on these lines as well, but no comment can be made at this stage. A clear picture will emerge only after Jatin Shah is nabbed. He is the key man and his arrest might blow the lid off the present solvent racket," district supply officer D D Kapadia said.

Meanwhile, the DSO here is anxiously waiting for final analysis reports from the forensic science laboratory (FSL). The DSO had supplied samples of chemicals manufactured and stocked by Amiyodaya Petrochem to FSL to ascertain its 'solvent' qualities. The FSL is likely to submit its analysis by this week. It can be recalled that Amiyodaya Petrochem was raided last week and solvent worth Rs 20 lakh was confiscated from its premises. Further investigations revealed that Amiyodaya Petrochem had supplied solvent worth approximately Rs 3 crore to about 10 companies across the nation.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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MP power board makes it tough for GEB Wednesday, December 5, 2001

VADODARA: Gujarat Electricity Board has taken a serious view of its Madhya Pradesh counterpart preventing the Chhatisgarh State Electricity Board from giving an additional 200 mw power to it.

A reliable GEB source revealed here on Tuesday that as a result of the MP board's action, GEB has not been allowed to draw Chhatisgarh electricity board's surplus share of 200 mw power allocated from the central sector power projects.

For couple of days in November, GEB was prevented from drawing additional power from Chhatisgarh due to the MSEB action. Even now, GEB is allowed to draw only 100 mw of power out of Chhatisgarh's share. This is despite the two boards inking an MOU.

The power generated by the central thermal power projects is proportionately shared by Gujarat, MP, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Goa and the Union territories of Diu and Daman who are members of the Western Region Electricity Board (WREB), which has its headquarters in Mumbai.

WREB is the regulatory body which monitors and looks after the power situation in the western region.

Under the MOU between the power boards of Chhatisgarh and Gujarat, GEB had started getting additional power from September last.

But Madhya Pradesh, which was struggling to fulfil its power needs ever since Chhatisgarh was carved out from it, threw a spanner in the works. A number of thermal power stations are located in Chhatisgarh which has a large number of coal mines.

The financial position of the MP power board does not allow it to buy more power from states having a surplus. The MP board hasn't signed any power purchase agreement or MOU with its counterpart in Chhatisgarh and hence has no right to prevent Chhatisgarh in selling its surplus power to Gujarat, contend observers.

The chairman of Madhya Pradesh board also happens to be the chairman of the WREB and is creating problems for Gujarat, allege the observers.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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2 killed in boiler blast in Nandesari Wednesday, December 5, 2001

VADODARA: Two persons were charred to death while one was seriously injured after a boiler exploded at a factory shed in Nandesari GIDC on Tuesday. The blast occurred at the factory shed of Sujak Fine at around 5 pm. By the time Nandesari fire station personnel reached the factory site, two persons had already died while one was seriously injured.

The deceased were identified as contract workers who were testing a 'thermic fluid fitter' and were blown away when it blasted off. Of the two deceased, one was identified as Mansinh, while the other is yet to be identified.

District collector Bhagyesh Jha confirmed the casualties. "The accident took place around 5 pm and two persons were killed," he said. He also admitted that many factories in Nandesari area were reportedly not observing on-site fire safety norms. "If the boiler was faulty, the boiler inspector will be responsible. I will speak to the concerned government agencies and ensure that appropriate action is taken in case there is any violation of rules and regulations," Jha said.

He added that government agencies will be asked to take gas and other samples from factories in Nandesari and conduct a check of factory premises. Earlier, similar accidents have occurred in Nandesari GIDC.

NGOs working for environment protection had been repeatedly pointing at factories openly flouting environment and safety norms, but it has so far failed to evoke a sentiment from government bodies. Nandesari GIDC Association president Babubhai Patel was not available to comment on the issue.

Ironically, on Tuesday morning the district administration along with various corporates had held a mock disaster management drill at the IPCL premises here.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Over 120 gram panchayats in Surat dist may opt for Samras Wednesday, December 5, 2001

SURAT: Out of 829 gram panchayats in Surat district going for polls on December 23, over 120 would most likely opt for 'Samras' scheme with unanimous decision to select sarpanch, thus avoiding elections, if preliminary reports received by the district administration here are any indication to go by.

According to inputs collected by the district administration and the police, over 120 gram panchayats with population around 1,000 would have sarpanchs through consensus and not through ballots.

However, a senior official in the district administration informed that the exact number of gram panchayats opting for 'Samras' would be clear only on Thursday - the last date for withdrawal of nominations (contesting for the posts of sarpanch and ward members).

Interestingly, the demographic composition of these gram panchayats are also playing a major role in matters related to gram panchayat elections. Gram panchayats falling under talukas - like Palsana, Bardoli, Vyara - with a good number of non-resident Indian (NRI) families, have taken up this grassroots elections as a prestige issue, as cash incentives offered under the 'Samras' scheme have failed to attract them.

Sources in the district administration told this correspondent, most of the NRI families from these villages contribute at least $100 every year for the development of not only the basic infrastructure, but also for parks, temples, roads, schools and other recreational centres. The beautiful structures in villages like Afwa in Bardoli and some very good farms in villages falling under Palsana taluka serve as a testimony to this fact. And so cash offer up to Rs 1 lakh to opt for 'Samras' hasn't quite appealed to voters here to do away with gram panchayat elections.

However, in tribal-dominated areas in Nizar, Uchhal, Songarh, the gram panchayat elections would be a real test for major political parties, as issues pertain to providing most basic needs like drinking water supply and primary health care facilities, among other things.

For gram panchayats in talukas like Kosamba, Mangrol, Kamrej and Olpad, this democratic exercise at the grassroots level would be based on political issues prevailing in these areas. For instance, the Olpad taluka, which is dominated by Koli Patels and having different political loyalties.

And so the elections to the post of sarpanch in the gram panchayats is expected to be faction-ridden and may even escalate into law and order problems before and during the polls, according to Girishbhai Kanubhai Patel, the head of BJP unit at Kim.

According to political observers, the scheduled elections in gram panchayats in Bardoli, Palsana, Kamrej, Olpad, Mandavi talukas would concentrate on social and economic issues as these areas are prosperous with massive sugarcane cultivation, whereas in gram panchayats in Mangrol, Nizar, Uchhal and Ukai catchment areas, elections would be based on local issues.

Significantly, the elections being held around Christmas, and going by the previous years' unrest among villagers over religious conversions in some of the tribal villages in Uchhal, Nizar, Songarh talukas, the district police have geared up and intensified their vigil.

According to district superintendent of police K L N Rao, the sensitive areas have been marked and policing have been intensified to prevent any untoward incident from taking place. Further, as part of preventive measures, group patrolling have been intensified and persons with criminal backgrounds are being closely monitored, Rao informed.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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