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October 12, 2001 - October 13, 2001

Charging fee for garba plots mooted Saturday, October 13, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Elected representatives of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation on Thursday raked up a major controversy over the issue of providing garba grounds to organisations in the city.

The councillors demanded that VMC must reconsider providing these venues free of cost to organisers who had commercial motives.

Representatives belonging to both the ruling and Opposition parties raised the issue with the mayor and demanded an explanation on the move.

BJP councillor Ajit Patel, Leader of Opposition from Congress Dalsukh Prajapati and Samata Party members said that the procedure should be done away with.

Notably, several garba venues in the city are located on VMC-owned land. Traditionally they have been provided free of cost to the organisers.

This time around, the councillors have put forward the argument that if the organisers made money by organising the event, VMC should not lose out.

The councillors have been assured that the administration will look into the issue.

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


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Mobile bank helping women to save Saturday, October 13, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SURAT: As more and more women take up employment outside their homes in the city, even those with smaller incomes are becoming conscious of saving for the proverbial rainy days.

Anuradha (28) works as a telephone operator in a private firm and earns a salary of about Rs 2,300 every month. She has made it point to save Rs 10 everyday, thanks to a scheme implemented by the Mahila bank whereby officials of the bank visit depositors to collect the sum daily to her office. This saves a lot of time, and also ensures that even a small amount of money gets saved.

Same is the case with Sakina, a primary school teacher, who earns around Rs 1,800 a month. The mobile bank, which has a scheduled stoppage in her area, has been a good help, she says.

Also, she does not have to go out of her way to deposit her money. This works fine with her since she wants to have lump sum amount at times to invest in household items.

Also, for many like Sakina and Anuradha, the Mahila bank, being staffed entirely by women, has been able to instill a sense of savings by removing the initial inhibitions regarding banking and savings.

The presence of women staff members goes a long way in encouraging the savings habit among women since they feel free to conduct enquiries at length.

The Surat Mahila Bank, the only of its kind in the city, was started in 1974 with the purpose of making women financially sound and has today developed into an institution by itself.

But, with branches in Khatodara industrial estate, Balaji road and Bombay Market among others, the bank is no longer only a women's bank as the name might suggest.

Many of the depositors in the bank are men, says senior manager Manisha Desai. The difference is that men cannot avail loans here. The bank grants loans only to women.

Jewellery being the only asset for many women, loans are granted against jewellery valuated by government-certified jewellers. In some cases, it is also given against property.

The bank was chosen as number one among 182 Mahila banks of the country by National Federation for Agricultural and Co-operative Banks in 1998-99.

Another feather in its cap is the mobile banking facility, the first one of its kind in the country.

The bank has two mobile units which provide all facilities for cash transactions within the city and in areas like Amroli and Kosad.

Except for the driver and the security personnel, the units are staffed entirely by around five women in each unit.

These units, which are fully computerised and equipped with cell phones, operate as independent branches of the bank and have pre-determined stoppages in different areas of the city like Limbayat and Ghod Dod road.

This has brought banking services within the reach of women living even on the fringes of the city.

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


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Prices of hand-sets go upwardly mobile! Friday, October 12, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD/VADODARA/SURAT: If the ring of the cellular phone does not sound as melodious to the prospective buyer as it did a month before, blame it on Osama bin Laden!

The attacks on the World Trade Center and resultant strict checking at airports and ports in India has jacked up prices of the sleek and stylish mid-range mobile phones.

The rates of handsets in the 'grey market', sourced mainly from Hong Kong, China, the Gulf and other countries have shot up between 10 to 25 per cent.

Such models include Nokia 5110, Motorola 1180, Siemens C-35, Panasonic GD-92 and 93 amongst others.

However, the effect of increase is mainly on the mid-range popular models tagged between Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000 and not much on those below or above. The effective rate variation is to the tune of Rs 500 on average and between Rs 300 to 1,500 in general, according to the dealers.

"Not much fluctuation is seen in the billed and officially imported mobiles. In others, it is because of strict checking at the airports and ports. But it is believed that the demand-supply gap is only for the time-being," says a dealer based at Navrangpura in Ahmedabad.

In Vadodara, sellers attribute the trend to a minor change in the currency rates immediately after the attack. However, a major reason for the hike, insiders say, is the strict vigilance at the airports.

"Sneaking in mobiles into the country has become increasingly difficult as the staff at airports have become very strict and thorough checking of baggage is being conducted," discloses an Alkapuri-based dealer.

Dealers in the city point out that this has affected the sales, too. "People were encouraged to buy mobiles when prices hit rock bottom in July-August. Many of them are now reconsidering the decision," rues a dealer, Kamlesh Dave.

The price rise in the grey market has affected brands like Nokia, Panasonic and Motorola, which have the highest demand. Despite the rise in prices, the profit margins of dealers have remained the same.

"The margin remains at about Rs 500 to 1000. We cannot jack up the sale prices beyond a limit due to stiff competition," points out a wholesaler in the business.

The phenomenon is being experienced even in Surat, where rates of cellular phones and electronic items have gone up by nearly Rs 700 on a pieces averaging Rs 5,000.

Market leaders here, too, suggest the same reason _ the terror attacks and the tight security at airports. Very few consignments of electronic items are being delivered from Singapore and Nepal to Chennai and Delhi respectively.

Surat gets the smuggled mobiles from Mumbai where these are brought in from Chennai. As a result, the prices of these phones have registered almost a ten per cent increase on the prevailing prices some few days ago, according to a dealer in Chowk Bazar.

He informs that the prices are determined in the local 'grey market' on the basis of rates in Mumbai and Chennai on a day-to-day basis which are fixed and based on international prices in the US dollar.

A dealer at Sahara Darwaja opines that the prices will continue to go up if the US attacks continue, as cargo at airports in Chennai and Delhi are being subjected to heavy checking.

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


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Prices of hand-sets go upwardly mobile! Friday, October 12, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD/VADODARA/SURAT: If the ring of the cellular phone does not sound as melodious to the prospective buyer as it did a month before, blame it on Osama bin Laden!

The attacks on the World Trade Center and resultant strict checking at airports and ports in India has jacked up prices of the sleek and stylish mid-range mobile phones.

The rates of handsets in the 'grey market', sourced mainly from Hong Kong, China, the Gulf and other countries have shot up between 10 to 25 per cent.

Such models include Nokia 5110, Motorola 1180, Siemens C-35, Panasonic GD-92 and 93 amongst others.

However, the effect of increase is mainly on the mid-range popular models tagged between Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000 and not much on those below or above. The effective rate variation is to the tune of Rs 500 on average and between Rs 300 to 1,500 in general, according to the dealers.

"Not much fluctuation is seen in the billed and officially imported mobiles. In others, it is because of strict checking at the airports and ports. But it is believed that the demand-supply gap is only for the time-being," says a dealer based at Navrangpura in Ahmedabad.

In Vadodara, sellers attribute the trend to a minor change in the currency rates immediately after the attack. However, a major reason for the hike, insiders say, is the strict vigilance at the airports.

"Sneaking in mobiles into the country has become increasingly difficult as the staff at airports have become very strict and thorough checking of baggage is being conducted," discloses an Alkapuri-based dealer.

Dealers in the city point out that this has affected the sales, too. "People were encouraged to buy mobiles when prices hit rock bottom in July-August. Many of them are now reconsidering the decision," rues a dealer, Kamlesh Dave.

The price rise in the grey market has affected brands like Nokia, Panasonic and Motorola, which have the highest demand. Despite the rise in prices, the profit margins of dealers have remained the same.

"The margin remains at about Rs 500 to 1000. We cannot jack up the sale prices beyond a limit due to stiff competition," points out a wholesaler in the business.

The phenomenon is being experienced even in Surat, where rates of cellular phones and electronic items have gone up by nearly Rs 700 on a pieces averaging Rs 5,000.

Market leaders here, too, suggest the same reason _ the terror attacks and the tight security at airports. Very few consignments of electronic items are being delivered from Singapore and Nepal to Chennai and Delhi respectively.

Surat gets the smuggled mobiles from Mumbai where these are brought in from Chennai. As a result, the prices of these phones have registered almost a ten per cent increase on the prevailing prices some few days ago, according to a dealer in Chowk Bazar.

He informs that the prices are determined in the local 'grey market' on the basis of rates in Mumbai and Chennai on a day-to-day basis which are fixed and based on international prices in the US dollar.

A dealer at Sahara Darwaja opines that the prices will continue to go up if the US attacks continue, as cargo at airports in Chennai and Delhi are being subjected to heavy checking.

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


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Vadodara cricket's dark day Friday, October 12, 2001

BY RAJA BOSE, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
It could have outshone any India-Pakistan match. The tension, the high-pitched drama, the acrimony all combined to make the special general meeting of the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA).

And, as two factions within the BCA got into a mud-slinging match, Baroda cricket saw its darkest day on Monday.

In one stroke, it overshadowed the Ranji team's valiant effort to get back the trophy after almost five decades and the brilliant contribution of Baroda to Indian cricket.

Many dubbed it the "BCA President's XI versus the Secretary's XI" as Jaywant Lele and his supporters traded charges with Kiran More and company.

Though the secret ballot to decide the no confidence motion move against Lele has been postponed to October 14, BCA members have ensured that enough dirty linen has been washed in public.

And, future of cricket in the city, despite its glorious past, seems to have gone for a toss.

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


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