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October 16, 2001 - October 16, 2001

BJP's inefficiency behind power crisis: Amarsinh Tuesday, October 16, 2001

RAJKOT: Leader of the Opposition and president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Amarsinh Chaudhary said the present power crisis in the state was due to the inefficiency of the present Bharatiya Janata Party government.

Talking to reporters here on Sunday evening, Chaudhary said the demand for the power could be met from the existing capacity but the people, and the farmers in particular, were being harassed by the BJP for their own political gains. The state government was not positive in its attitude towards the power needs of the people and farmers, he added.

"There was a wide gap between the power generation and supply and due to transmission loss and inefficiency in power distribution, people were put to hardship. Had the problem been sorted out, farmers would have been able to save their crop and they would have got enough electricity," the Congress leader said while replying to a question.

Chaudhary said his party has decided to create awareness among the people so far as the failure of the BJP leadership was concerned on the crucial Narmada issue. It was only for this reason that the party has decided to take out the Narmada Jal Yatra from October 19.

He said during the yatra, to be taken out in 201 talukas, Congress leaders would also listen to the problems faced by the people in the present government set-up, and added that it was due to the negligence of the BJP rulers that the Narmada project has not seen the light of the day.

He blamed former chief minister Keshubhai Patel for taking political mileage out of the Narmada issue. The inefficiency of the government had resulted in the state paying an interest of Rs 3.50 crore per day on the money borrowed for the project.

Blaming the BJP government led by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, the GPCC leader said, "The Keshubhai government had met with an all-round failure. Except for corruption, not a single problem of the people was solved by the BJP, he said, adding that there should be a CBI inquiry into the corruption indulged by the former chief minister and his number two man, Vajubhai Vala.

He doubted if the new Chief Minister Narendra Modi would be able to stem the rot out of the BJP and lead the party to power once again. Modi is running 'behind schedule' and time was against him in reforming the BJP, he said, adding the Congress was preparing for the next Assembly elections, and presently it is a 'wait-and-watch' situation on how the new chief minister functions.

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

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Gondal MLA may be shifted to Ahmedabad hospital Tuesday, October 16, 2001

RAJKOT: Civil hospital authorities here have recommended that three out of the six persons accused in the Govind Desai attack case of Gondal be shifted to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital for further check-up. These include Gondal legislator Jairajsinh Jadeja, his brother Hardevsinh and his close associate Jayantibhai Dhol.

The High Court had earlier issued a notice to the civil surgeon of Rajkot Civil Hospital, where the six accused were admitted and under treatment, that they should have been under lock-up, pending disposal of the case.

All the six were arrested by police for their role in the murderous attack on social worker Govind Desai.

The remaining three -- Raju Mevada, Milan Shukla and Bhupat Dabhi -- have been asked to be sent back to jail. Jail officials here have sought the permission of the Gondal court to shift the other three to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital for further check-up. The permission was awaited. Meanwhile, all the six accused were sent back to jail.

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

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Directors oppose chairman's move to bail out weak bank Tuesday, October 16, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Two directors of the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank (ADCB) have opposed their chairman Amit Shah's reported move to extend credit facility to Visnagar Bank.

Pradip Singh Chudasama and Ilesh N Patel, directors of ADCB in a recent meeting with Shah aired their misgivings on credit options being opened to a financially-weak bank.

The duo in a letter to the ADCB chairman have stated, "Visnagar Bank has been given Rs 15-crore credit facility... The bank has been declared a weak bank and yet you have given Rs 15 crores without any security."

Shah however told TNN, "We have no plans to lend any money to Visnagar Bank. This allegation is baseless and is being propagated by people with vested interest."

Chudasama on the other hand while talking to TNN said, "Now the chairman is contemplating extending credit facility yet again to the bank. Why should the earnings of farmers and common masses, deposited with ADCB, be extended to Visnagar. I am against sanctioning of loan under any circumstances to the bank and endangering public money. Like in Visnagar's case our chairman had hiked credit facility extended to two other co-operative banks in the recent past. Both the banks have downed shutters, we can't have a repetition of the same in Visnagar's case, too."

Chudasama threatened to take Shah to court. "I will file a case against the chairman of ADCB for misusing public money. Investing in Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (MKVDC), giving loans to sinking banks despite examples like the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank (MMCB) defies logic. I hope that my litigation will work towards making every chairman and director of a co-operative bank accountable to the depositors."

This is the second occasion when Chudasama has openly opposed the ADCB chairman when the latter allegedly tried to give Rs 100 crores at 7.5 per cent interest to bail out MMCB. In September he had joined a hunger strike in front of the bank premises.

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

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Congress sore at re-induction Tuesday, October 16, 2001

AHMEDABAD: GPCC president Amarsinh Chaudhary criticised the BJP-led NDA coalition over the reinstatement of Harin Pathak and George Fernandes into the Union ministry and charged Prime Minister Vajpayee of "making a mockery of the inquiries against them".

Chaudhary said Pathak had not yet been proved innocent in the case in which criminal charges have been filed against him over the 1985 communal riots.

He also said, "Fernandes had himself stated that he would not join the ministry till proved innocent by the Venkataswamy Commission which was inquiring into the Tehelka expose, but he has backtracked."

He accused the BJP of adopting a dual stand where former prime minister Narsimha Rao and L K Advani had resigned after being charged in the hawala scam. "This only shows to what extent Vajpayee can stoop to save his government," Chaudhary said.

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

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Matrimonial market experiences big boom in Saurashtra Tuesday, October 16, 2001

RAJKOT: Marriages are made in heaven! So it is said. Really?
Some may feel it is Utopian! But the real participants are ecstatic, indeed.
And, the dramatis personae include besides the bride and the groom, people who witness the janaiya (people accompanying the groom) and the mandaviya (those on the bride's side).

Besides these groups directly connected with the matrimony, are those who participate and profit directly or indirectly. The likes of which are those owning the halls, the party plots, caterers, videographers and photographers, the Brahmins acting as Gor Maharaj (priests) solemnising the ceremony.

Terror Tuesday and its aftermath don't bother these people. If winter comes, how can the spring be far behind? said the British poet. And, rightly so. Closely after Navratri and Diwali follows the most busy marriage season which may be colourful and full of sound-bites and dazzling.

This year, in the wake of satisfactory monsoon in Saurashtra and Kutch, the matrimonial market is experiencing a boom, recession in the economy notwithstanding!

So much so that bookings for the halls, party plots, clubs, community halls, mandap services, caterers, videographers etc. are full for the four-month period from November.

Unbelievable but many are on the waiting list, hoping for cancellations, which are indeed few and far between.

During the past two years, in the wake of the severe drought, the marriage season was on a low-key. The people preferred to wait for a better time or just opted for mere ceremonies, keeping it to bare minimum, devoid of fanfare and ostentation.

But things have changed dramatically this year. The people, in anticipation of the marriage season, are in an elated mood, hoping to derive maximum in the next few months.

According to astrologers the marriage season would begin on November 28 and would end in March, with two-month break from December 11 to February 15. Thus the effective marriage season would last six weeks.

Astrologers say maximum marriages may take place in the first eleven days of December. So the major demand for the marriage-related paraphernalia is confined to these two main slots in December and February.

The people in Saurashtra and Kutch are staunch believers in the Muhurta (auspicious time) for the marriage. As a general rule, no marriage takes place during the Kamurta (inauspicious phase) which normally is of four-week duration from the second week of December to second week of January. The auspicious season begins with the Makar Sankranti.

However, the people in Mumbai and nearby areas don't stick to such rigid belief and marriages are solemnised there even during the kamurta.

The economics of the matrimonial market is rather interesting.

How much money is spent on marriage celebration? Anybody's guess, no doubt. But, some estimates are revealing.

Something like Rs.10,000 is spent on a single marriage.

The expenditure may be many times more, in the case of the upper middle class and the aristocrats.

It is estimated that the number of marriages, which may take place in the Saurashtra and Kutch region as a whole, with a population of 11 million, spread over eight districts, will be around a quarter million.

The share of Rajkot may be 10,000 marriages or just four percent of the two-and-a half lakh marriages in the region.

But, expenditure-wise, the money flow in the matrimonial market may be Rs. 250 crore in the region with Rajkot's share around Rs.10 crore.

And, the people of Saurashtra and Kutch, celebrate the 'once in a life-time' event in a style with the bursting of crackers and dancing on the thoroughfares, even in scorching heat!

Such scenes are now common in towns and villages alike.

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

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