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September 21, 2001 - September 21, 2001

Purchase of power from IPPs will ruin GEB, allege Unions Friday, September 21, 2001

BY SHAILESH PANDYA, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Purchase of power from independent power producers will impose tremendous financial burden on Gujarat Electricity Board this year, fears the joint action committee of the GEB Engineers Association and staff unions.

The committee estimates that GEB would have to buy power worth Rs 5,000 crore from the IPPs this year. Last year it had spent around Rs 3,900 crore on the same. In a bid to fulfil the demand from various categories of consumers, GEB is forced to buy power.

The committee has demanded review of the power purchase agreements with the IPPs. Justifying the demand, N J Yagnik general secretary of the GEB Engineers Association asked if the PPA with Enron-promoted Dabhol Power Company could be reviewed, then why not the pacts with IPPs in Gujarat.

The IPPs in Gujarat are Gujarat Industries Power Corporation Limited (GIPCL), Gujarat Power Corporation Limited, G Tech, Ahmedabad Electricity Corporation (AEC), Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSEC) etc .The liberal PPAs had taken their toll of state electricity boards, the unions said.

GEB chief Nalin Bhatt had recently admitted that it had to buy power worth Rs 10 crore from the IPPs every day, to meet the increasing demand from the farm sector in the wake of monsoon failure.

GEB had suffered a loss of Rs 169 crore because of purchase of power from IPPs, which is mentioned in the CAG report, alleged Shailendra Dube of the National Co-ordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers and other joint action committee leaders.

In the past, generation of GEB's cheaper power often had to be curtailed for absorbing the costlier power of the IPPs due to PPA commitments, alleged the leaders .

The GEB Engineers Association reminded the government of its decision not to buy naphtha-fuelled power from IPPs. But now GEB was buying naphtha-fuelled power from G Tech, Essar and GIPCL. Because of this, G Tech's 615 MW naphtha-based power station at Paguthan had gone back on stream, after remaining closed for about two months.

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


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Surendranagar :: One Businessman named in oil pilferage case Friday, September 21, 2001

BY SAJID SHAIKH, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: District police investigation the oil pilferage attempt at Aati village in Padra has revealed the name of a Surendranagar-based industrialist.

The man, identified as Dashrath Desani, has a ceramic factory in Than, and is believed to have struck a deal with the gang of pilferers in order to get 'condensate' from GAIL pipeline passing through Aati village. Police investigations reveal that Dasani wanted the 'condensate' to use as fuel substitute in furnaces in his ceramic factory.

"Desani had agreed to buy the stock from Karnelsingh Dhillon, Chhotu Amarsen and other accused in the case. Once the deal was finalised, Karnelsingh, Amarsen, Amarsingh Rathod and Mahesh alias Manoj identified the pipeline from where the condensate was to be pilfered and implemented their plan but were not successful," said a senior police officer investigating the case.

The four accused were arrested a day after the gas leak incident was reported in Aati village. All the four accused were also involved in the Ankodia village pilferage case where they had targeted ONGC pipeline and even managed to pilfer oil from it. The modus operandi of this gang, said the officer, was to fix a clap and nozzle on the target section of the pipeline and take out crude oil or condensate.

At Aati village, however, while attempting the pilferage, gas leaked out with a gushing sound waking up the entire village that has a population of about 5000. Police arrived at the scene and nabbed one of the accused. A tanker parked near the scene of the crime was impounded. An offence under sections 379, 427, 511 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, Damage to Public Properties Act 3(2) and Indian Petroleum Pipeline Act section 15(2). A city court later rejected the bail application filed by the accused.

Meanwhile, Desani in Surendranagar got a whiff of the investigation and went into hiding. He is still at large, police said.

Besides identifying Dasani and his role in the Aati village pilferage attempt case, police have also established the three-tier arrangement that pilferers make to execute their plans. The first tier comprises people who would identify the site where pilferage is to be carried out. This tier includes of people who have good links with 'industry insider and can easily access gas pipeline maps'. The second tier comprises people who actually undertake the pilfering task, while the last tier comprise buyers of the stock pilfered from pipelines.

Also there are two markets where the pilfered stock ultimately makes it way. The first market is the dubious factories looking for cheap fuel substitute for industrial purpose. The second market, say police investigators, is the one that needs 'solvent' for industrial consumption. However, this market has direct links with petrol pumps across the state - a well-known fact that came to light early last year when Vadodara district police blew the lid off the solvent scam and arrested many influential people (including Jayesh Thakker) - all of whom are now enjoying their freedom.

Interestingly, the Rs 300-crore landscam came in as a spin off from the solvent scam that overnight exposed tainted Police Inspector Kabhai Chauhan as India's richest cop.

Chauhan is a free man now, while the man who exposed two of the greatest frauds of Gujarat, former Vadodara DSP Vivek Shrivastava, was 'rewarded' with a transfer from the home ministry, or so is the public perception.

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


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Surendranagar businessman named in oil pilferage case Friday, September 21, 2001

BY SAJID SHAIKH, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: District police investigation the oil pilferage attempt at Aati village in Padra has revealed the name of a Surendranagar-based industrialist.

The man, identified as Dashrath Desani, has a ceramic factory in Than, and is believed to have struck a deal with the gang of pilferers in order to get 'condensate' from GAIL pipeline passing through Aati village. Police investigations reveal that Dasani wanted the 'condensate' to use as fuel substitute in furnaces in his ceramic factory.

"Desani had agreed to buy the stock from Karnelsingh Dhillon, Chhotu Amarsen and other accused in the case. Once the deal was finalised, Karnelsingh, Amarsen, Amarsingh Rathod and Mahesh alias Manoj identified the pipeline from where the condensate was to be pilfered and implemented their plan but were not successful," said a senior police officer investigating the case.

The four accused were arrested a day after the gas leak incident was reported in Aati village. All the four accused were also involved in the Ankodia village pilferage case where they had targeted ONGC pipeline and even managed to pilfer oil from it. The modus operandi of this gang, said the officer, was to fix a clap and nozzle on the target section of the pipeline and take out crude oil or condensate.

At Aati village, however, while attempting the pilferage, gas leaked out with a gushing sound waking up the entire village that has a population of about 5000. Police arrived at the scene and nabbed one of the accused. A tanker parked near the scene of the crime was impounded. An offence under sections 379, 427, 511 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, Damage to Public Properties Act 3(2) and Indian Petroleum Pipeline Act section 15(2). A city court later rejected the bail application filed by the accused.

Meanwhile, Desani in Surendranagar got a whiff of the investigation and went into hiding. He is still at large, police said.

Besides identifying Dasani and his role in the Aati village pilferage attempt case, police have also established the three-tier arrangement that pilferers make to execute their plans. The first tier comprises people who would identify the site where pilferage is to be carried out. This tier includes of people who have good links with 'industry insider and can easily access gas pipeline maps'. The second tier comprises people who actually undertake the pilfering task, while the last tier comprise buyers of the stock pilfered from pipelines.

Also there are two markets where the pilfered stock ultimately makes it way. The first market is the dubious factories looking for cheap fuel substitute for industrial purpose. The second market, say police investigators, is the one that needs 'solvent' for industrial consumption. However, this market has direct links with petrol pumps across the state - a well-known fact that came to light early last year when Vadodara district police blew the lid off the solvent scam and arrested many influential people (including Jayesh Thakker) - all of whom are now enjoying their freedom.

Interestingly, the Rs 300-crore landscam came in as a spin off from the solvent scam that overnight exposed tainted Police Inspector Kabhai Chauhan as India's richest cop.

Chauhan is a free man now, while the man who exposed two of the greatest frauds of Gujarat, former Vadodara DSP Vivek Shrivastava, was 'rewarded' with a transfer from the home ministry, or so is the public perception.

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


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Gujarat By-Elections :: City Briefs for yesterday polling Friday, September 21, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Campaign hype fails to enthuse voters
AHMEDABAD: Voter indifference on polling day put a spanner in electioneering, which had risen to a feverish pitch towards the culmination of campaigning.
Agents from both the main contesting parties tried to coax voters into visiting booths but in vein. Polling remained a non-starter for the entire day. Most polling stations were devoid of the usual hectic activity.

----

Old habits die hard
This time again political parties showed their shrewdness. Polling agents proved that they value votes more than voters. The few voters who actually did come out to vote were left high and dry after they cast their vote. Most of them were brought to polling stations in chartered taxis by polling agents, but they started their journey back on foot.

----

Identity crisis
In many places, voters came to booths without any proof of identity. Polling officers did not allow them to cast their vote without furnishing some proof of identity -- ration card, passport, electricity bill, etc. In one case, a voter from Usmanpura Ashok Jani complained that though his passport mentioned the name of his wife, Atula, who had accompanied him to Aroma Highschool booth, she was not allowed to vote.

----

Gandhiji's blessings
At one booth, a large portrait of Mahatma Gandhi was obscured with a newspaper page. Election officials said Gandhiji could influence voters. In whose favour? They would not reply because both the BJP and the Congress swear by the Father of the Nation.

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


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Gujarat By-Elections :: City Briefs for yesterday polling Friday, September 21, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Campaign hype fails to enthuse voters
AHMEDABAD: Voter indifference on polling day put a spanner in electioneering, which had risen to a feverish pitch towards the culmination of campaigning.
Agents from both the main contesting parties tried to coax voters into visiting booths but in vein. Polling remained a non-starter for the entire day. Most polling stations were devoid of the usual hectic activity.

----

Old habits die hard
This time again political parties showed their shrewdness. Polling agents proved that they value votes more than voters. The few voters who actually did come out to vote were left high and dry after they cast their vote. Most of them were brought to polling stations in chartered taxis by polling agents, but they started their journey back on foot.

----

Identity crisis
In many places, voters came to booths without any proof of identity. Polling officers did not allow them to cast their vote without furnishing some proof of identity -- ration card, passport, electricity bill, etc. In one case, a voter from Usmanpura Ashok Jani complained that though his passport mentioned the name of his wife, Atula, who had accompanied him to Aroma Highschool booth, she was not allowed to vote.

----

Gandhiji's blessings
At one booth, a large portrait of Mahatma Gandhi was obscured with a newspaper page. Election officials said Gandhiji could influence voters. In whose favour? They would not reply because both the BJP and the Congress swear by the Father of the Nation.

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


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