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October 26, 2001 - October 26, 2001

Row over AUDA move to sell utility plots Friday, October 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: A row has broken out over the AUDA's decision to sell off common utility plots in various town planning (TP) schemes falling under its jurisdiction.

In the board meeting, AUDA kept at least 14 plots falling under TP scheme number five on agenda for sale in open market. The move was vehemently opposed by AMC standing committee chairman Badruddin Sheikh, who is also on AUDA board. Sheikh said Ahmedabad was gradually taking shape of a metropolis, and required common utility plots for its overall progress in future. Sheikh said the move may stunt the future growth of the city. He also said the city required land for the construction of community centres, bus depots, fire stations, drainage-water stations and premises for common purpose alleging it as a violation of state government circular dated August 30, 1990.

AUDA authorities, on their part, said the entire process of selling the common plots was transparent and open for any kind critical appraisal. "There is no change in the purpose as described in the plans original TP schemes. If the plot was earmarked for a school, it will be given only for the construction of school," AUDA chairman Surendra Patel said.

Clarifying the sale process, he said applications were invited through public notices for the purchase of plots, and only the highest bidder would get the plot for same purpose which AUDA had originally envisaged in the plan. "If a building constructed violates the purpose mentioned in the TP scheme, it will not get BU permission in any circumstances," he added.

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

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Groundnut growers seek higher support price Friday, October 26, 2001

RAJKOT: Resentment has mounted against the government's decision to buy groundnut at a support price of Rs 240 per 20 kg which was like 'peanuts', farm leaders said on Thursday.

Dhoraji legislator Vithal Radadiya stated the prices of groundnut had reached an all-time low and the farmers were in heavy debt as they had paid heavily for inputs. Now they were told to sell it at a lower rate than anticipated.

He has threatened an agitation against the fixation of the support price which he termed as 'unrealistic'. There was a record yield of groundnut this year and yet the import of palmoline continued.

A meeting of farm leaders was being convened at Rajkot. he added.

Saurashtra Oil millers Association (SOMA) president Ukabhai Patel said the support price had resulted in widespread resentment amongst the farmers who have decided not to bring their produce to the market.

GUJCOMASOl could buy only 1000 to 2000 bags at the support price.

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

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HC asks police chief to probe 'torture' Friday, October 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court directed the Commissioner of Police Ahmedabad, to inquire into and submit a report on the allegations of torture committed on one Gulmohmad Nurmohmad Qureshi, by deputy commissioner of police (crime) G H Malik.

Justice A M Kapadia directed the report should be submitted by November 5. Advocate D R Bhatt appeared for the petitioner.

The petitioner contended that though in the past 10 years no cases have been lodged against him, he was subjected to torture, on October 14, by Malik. He claimed that he was summoned orally by crime branch officers to report at the Gaekwad Haveli police station at 11 am.

He further alleged that the DCP then interrogated him, got angry and started abusing him. After which he ordered his subordinate police constables to make the petitioner lie down and beat him on the sole of his feet.

This continued for over 30 minutes and he was made to walk and jump with the intention that the marks of beating disappear. He was also threatened of dire consequences if he complained to any higher authorities. Subsequently, he took treatment at V S Hospital.

A permission to prosecute the DCP for offences under section 341 and 506 (2) of the Indian Penal Code, illegal confinement and threat to do away with life was also sought. He has sought police protection and had requested a stay on his interrogation by Malik, except on prior permission from higher officials.

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

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Forget rules, provide basic needs, HC tells AMC Friday, October 26, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The High Court has directed the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Ahmedabad Electricity Company to provide water, drainage and electricity to hutment dwellers, without insisting on a Building Use (BU) permission.

So the AMC can now give connections to even 40 sq. metre houses that fall in the category of huts.

Recently a division bench comprising chief justice DM Dharmadhikari, justice RK Abhichandani and justice DK Trivedi had passed this order in a petition filed by Ganeshnagar Nagrik Ekta Samiti against the AMC. Haroobhai Mehta appeared for the petitioner.

The AMC standing committee had in a resolution on August 8 endorsed the plan to give connections to dwelling units of up to 40 sq. metre belonging to weaker sections. It was resolved to deem such houses without any primary facility as hutment.

The court held that the points raised in the petition needed consideration by a larger bench. It directed that till a final decision, vital connections could be given without insisting on a building use permission. However, relevant rules, regulations and conditions for such amenities do apply.

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

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BJP throws Samras bait to villages Friday, October 26, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: In a loaded move to woo rural Gujarat, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to effect a manifold increase in incentives to 'Samras' villages that hold unanimous elections to gram panchayats. The Modi Cabinet increased the prize for holding unanimous polls from the current Rs 6,000 to Rs 60,000 for villages with a population of up to 5,000. Those with a population between 5,000 and 15,000 will get Rs 1 lakh.

The move is a clear indication of the continuing reluctance of the ruling BJP to face the long-overdue elections to nearly 10,000 gram panchayats, which were repeatedly postponed on grounds of drought and quake.

The move, which was announced by Chief Minister Modi at his first press conference after taking charge earlier this month, was formalised on Wednesday amidst criticism that it would ruin grass-roots-level democracy.

However, Modi insists that gram panchayat elections in the villages breed animosity among the rural folk who, he feels, should be encouraged to co-exist in harmony and develop the village units together.

"The BJP is running scared of losing the panchayats to the Congress and is adopting every trick in the book," alleged former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela.

To ensure that the Samras concept reaches every village, the Cabinet also decided to start a month-long campaign to hold gram sabhas in all villages where gram panchayat polls are due.

A Cabinet sub-committee headed by industries minister Suresh Mehta has been formed to take the concept of Samras village down to the villagers. Members of the seven-member committee include agriculture minister Purshottam Rupala, panchayat minister Ranchhod Rabari and revenue minister Haren Pandya, all holding key portfolios as far as village development is concerned.

Expecting up to 25% villages to opt for unanimous elections, state finance minister Nitin Patel told newspersons that the government had set aside Rs 15 crore for the 'Samras' villages and would provide the funds necessary if more villages adopted the concept. "We do not want political infighting to disrupt village homogeneity," he added.

Patel, however, had no clue on how to deal with a situation where the powerful caste groups hold panchayat polls 'unanimously' by intimidating the lower caste people, a phenomenon rampant in rural areas. "We will see what to do when we receive complaints," he said. Nor did he say what would happen if certain caste groups are not allowed to dissent against the 'Samras' sop.

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

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