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September 22, 2001 - September 23, 2001

Vilified by quake, high-rises stage a comeback Sunday, September 23, 2001

BY SANJAY PANDEY, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Fear of quake is passe now. Images of people buried under debris and trapped in mangled steel of crumbled high rise buildings no more haunt Amdavadis.

Seven months after the earthquake devastated buildings into rubble heaps, more and more people are moving into high-rise flats. "One can not live with constant fear, life has to move on," says Jagdish Acharya, an advertising executive, who rented a seventh floor flat at Shyam Towers near the ill-fated Shikhar Tower which collapsed on January 26. "I do not feel it will happen again," said Acharya when asked if he feared of yet another tremblor in the city.

According to real estate experts, prospective buyers are no more shying away from flats in high-rises and are not averse to owning quake damaged flats. "We have sold over 100 flats in some eight high-rise building schemes in the past few months after the quake," said chief executive Arvind Shah of Space Management Ltd, an estate agency.

"We have enquired about the building safety and the foundation is safe. Moreover, my family enjoys living in a flat rather than a bungalow," says Radhika Shah, who bought a flat in Satya Triveni, a high-rise tower in the Satellite area.

Another buyer, R S Singha, who is working with a pharmaceutical company bought a ninth floor flat in Satya Triveni and doesn't dread about the future."The building has withstood the test of time and a quake with a magnitude of 8 on Richter scale", says Singha. Lesser noise levels, lesser flies, diminished pollution level and a bird's eye view of the city prompted Singha's family to perch on the top of the high rise.

Though Singhas have pored over every aspect of the construction quality, the family has prepared itself for any eventuality. Singhas have gone through various sessions of mock drills to prepare them for a possible quake.

"Buying a tenement and row house is not within the reach of everybody and hence people are going for flats in high-rises," says N K Patel, another real estate developer and President of the Gujarat Institute of Engineers and Architects. But reasons different than the quake fear were definitely hindering the renting and sale of high rise flats.

"Non-availability of surplus money and not the fear of tremor is the reason for a slump," adds Shah. Due to few transfers opted by bank, corporate and Central government employees to Gujarat, the rental market was lean. "Deals for flats in high-rise buildings are not happening as the demand from corporates had slumped this time but its picking up," said Shah.

Yet the company has brokered 80 deals for renting in high-rise flats in range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 after the quake.According to Shah even the sale could have touched a new high had the buildings under construction adhered to building by-laws enacted by the government and the judgements delivered by the Gujarat high court. "Very few legally cleared buildings adhere to GDCR hindering the sale of high-rise flats ," Shah added. The only difference earthquake has made to buyers is that they are more aware of the legality of the matter before hammering a deal, say agents.

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


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Vilified by quake, high-rises stage a comeback Saturday, September 22, 2001

BY SANJAY PANDEY, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Fear of quake is passe now. Images of people buried under debris and trapped in mangled steel of crumbled high rise buildings no more haunt Amdavadis.

Seven months after the earthquake devastated buildings into rubble heaps, more and more people are moving into high-rise flats. "One can not live with constant fear, life has to move on," says Jagdish Acharya, an advertising executive, who rented a seventh floor flat at Shyam Towers near the ill-fated Shikhar Tower which collapsed on January 26. "I do not feel it will happen again," said Acharya when asked if he feared of yet another tremblor in the city.

According to real estate experts, prospective buyers are no more shying away from flats in high-rises and are not averse to owning quake damaged flats. "We have sold over 100 flats in some eight high-rise building schemes in the past few months after the quake," said chief executive Arvind Shah of Space Management Ltd, an estate agency.

"We have enquired about the building safety and the foundation is safe. Moreover, my family enjoys living in a flat rather than a bungalow," says Radhika Shah, who bought a flat in Satya Triveni, a high-rise tower in the Satellite area.

Another buyer, R S Singha, who is working with a pharmaceutical company bought a ninth floor flat in Satya Triveni and doesn't dread about the future."The building has withstood the test of time and a quake with a magnitude of 8 on Richter scale", says Singha. Lesser noise levels, lesser flies, diminished pollution level and a bird's eye view of the city prompted Singha's family to perch on the top of the high rise.

Though Singhas have pored over every aspect of the construction quality, the family has prepared itself for any eventuality. Singhas have gone through various sessions of mock drills to prepare them for a possible quake.

"Buying a tenement and row house is not within the reach of everybody and hence people are going for flats in high-rises," says N K Patel, another real estate developer and President of the Gujarat Institute of Engineers and Architects. But reasons different than the quake fear were definitely hindering the renting and sale of high rise flats.

"Non-availability of surplus money and not the fear of tremor is the reason for a slump," adds Shah. Due to few transfers opted by bank, corporate and Central government employees to Gujarat, the rental market was lean. "Deals for flats in high-rise buildings are not happening as the demand from corporates had slumped this time but its picking up," said Shah.

Yet the company has brokered 80 deals for renting in high-rise flats in range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 after the quake.According to Shah even the sale could have touched a new high had the buildings under construction adhered to building by-laws enacted by the government and the judgements delivered by the Gujarat high court. "Very few legally cleared buildings adhere to GDCR hindering the sale of high-rise flats ," Shah added. The only difference earthquake has made to buyers is that they are more aware of the legality of the matter before hammering a deal, say agents.

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


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IIM aspirants fret as CAT forms run out Saturday, September 22, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA/AHMEDABAD: Students aspiring to get admissions to the Indian Institutes of Management and other prestigious schools across the country are facing a hurdle at their very first step.

The State Bank of India's branches, which are distributing the Common Admission Test (CAT) forms, have run out of applications due to an unprecedented demand. The shortage has spread panic among B-school aspirants as the last date for picking up forms is Saturday. Only IIM-Bangalore will be selling forms till October 1. The last date of submitting forms is October 8.

Admissions committee chairman at the IIM-Ahmedabad, professor Girija Sharan, said they were facing similar shortages across the country, but there was nothing to worry. They have already air-lifted 200 forms from Bangalore to make up for the shortage in Ahmedabad.

Speaking from Calcutta, where he was attending a meeting of admissions committee chairmen from other IIMs, he said, "We printed 70,000 forms this year compared to last year's 55,000. Normally, we forecast the increase and print 10 per cent additional forms, but this year the rush was unexpected."

All the same, Sharan insists there is nothing to worry. "There must be a shortage of about 2,000 forms and we have already placed the print order. Students have also been asked to request IIM-Bangalore with a demand draft for Rs 1,050, the additional Rs 50 being for postage.

"I wanted a CAT form for my son but the SBI officially the stock is over," said Deepak Budki, an aspirant from Vadodara. Not aware that the Bangalore deadline has been extended, he was worried he might miss the deadline. He is one of the many students from across the state who are walking in and out of banks with a worried look.

An SBI (Mandvi branch) official, handling distribution of CAT forms, said only 700 forms were send to it from IIM-Bangalore. "They decide how many forms to send. We have no say in the matter. However, when we ran out of forms on Monday, we immediately intimated IIM-Bangalore," said SBI small industries and business manager HT Daryanani.
"They told us then that it was not possible to send forms even by airmail, and asked us to have the students contact IIM-Bangalore. They said the deadline in such cases would be October 1. However, it's advisable that students confirm this fact," Daryanani said.

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


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IIM aspirants fret as CAT forms run out Saturday, September 22, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA/AHMEDABAD: Students aspiring to get admissions to the Indian Institutes of Management and other prestigious schools across the country are facing a hurdle at their very first step.

The State Bank of India's branches, which are distributing the Common Admission Test (CAT) forms, have run out of applications due to an unprecedented demand. The shortage has spread panic among B-school aspirants as the last date for picking up forms is Saturday. Only IIM-Bangalore will be selling forms till October 1. The last date of submitting forms is October 8.

Admissions committee chairman at the IIM-Ahmedabad, professor Girija Sharan, said they were facing similar shortages across the country, but there was nothing to worry. They have already air-lifted 200 forms from Bangalore to make up for the shortage in Ahmedabad.

Speaking from Calcutta, where he was attending a meeting of admissions committee chairmen from other IIMs, he said, "We printed 70,000 forms this year compared to last year's 55,000. Normally, we forecast the increase and print 10 per cent additional forms, but this year the rush was unexpected."

All the same, Sharan insists there is nothing to worry. "There must be a shortage of about 2,000 forms and we have already placed the print order. Students have also been asked to request IIM-Bangalore with a demand draft for Rs 1,050, the additional Rs 50 being for postage.

"I wanted a CAT form for my son but the SBI officially the stock is over," said Deepak Budki, an aspirant from Vadodara. Not aware that the Bangalore deadline has been extended, he was worried he might miss the deadline. He is one of the many students from across the state who are walking in and out of banks with a worried look.

An SBI (Mandvi branch) official, handling distribution of CAT forms, said only 700 forms were send to it from IIM-Bangalore. "They decide how many forms to send. We have no say in the matter. However, when we ran out of forms on Monday, we immediately intimated IIM-Bangalore," said SBI small industries and business manager HT Daryanani.
"They told us then that it was not possible to send forms even by airmail, and asked us to have the students contact IIM-Bangalore. They said the deadline in such cases would be October 1. However, it's advisable that students confirm this fact," Daryanani said.

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


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Reliance to spend Rs 20 cr on infrastructure in 270 villages Saturday, September 22, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
JAMNAGAR: Reliance Petroleum Limited has set up a registered body called Reliance Rural Development Trust (RRDT) to create village infrastructure on a large scale.

The outfit, the company said, is the culmination of its chairman Dhirubhai Ambani's concern for the development of areas surrounding Reliance's complexes. The RRDT has already begun implementing the Gokul Gram Yojana (GGY) -- the dream project of the Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.

Parimal Nathwani, a Reliance executive, while addressing a press conference here, informed that for the purpose of creating village infrastructure, Reliance has identified about 270 villages in Jamnagar district to start with. In the first phase, around Rs 20 crore will be spent during this financial year, he said.

He said a high-power committee consisting of district collector Rohit Kumar Pathak, district development officer RC Meena and director of district rural development agency Bhalala from the state government, on the one hand, and Hemant Desai, VK Gandhi and Nathwani himself on the other, has been formed. This committee will ensure speedy implementation of the work, he added.

He also said a special cell has started functioning at RRDT headed by Dr Nanak Bhatt. A fleet of civil engineers and extension co-ordinators having degrees in rural services is being created to executive and supervise the work at the grass-roots level.
Nathwani said gradually the work will also be taken up in other villages of Jamnagar district.

He said Reliance will ensure that no village of the district is deprived of the prescribed facilities within the frame-work of the Gokul Gram Yojana. He also said the company desires to extend the same facilities to villages near Hazira in Surat district, later on.

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


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