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September 16, 2001 - September 17, 2001

Payments to MMCB depositors from Tuesday Monday, September 17, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: The Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank will start making repayment deposits up to Rs 1 lakh to its depositors from Tuesday onwards as part of implementation of the bank revival scheme approved by the Central government to restore the faith in the co-operative sector that is shaken by Rs 1,030-crore scam in one of the leading co-operative banks in Gujarat.

This announcement was made by Amit Shah, the spokesman for the MMCB revival committee and chairman of Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank, at a press conference here on Sunday.

Shah said the process of payment was stalled following a representation made before the Election Commission of India pleading that it would influence voters in by-election to Sabarmati Assembly and Sabarkantha Lok Sabha constituencies scheduled on September 20.

However, the commission after considering all the relevant matters has given no objection to the implementation of the scheme.

To begin with, the repayments of all deposits up to Rs 1 lakh will start from Tuesday onwards in 22 branches in the city while it will begin from Thursday in other centres like Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai.

The payments will be made from the Rs 465 crore received by the bank from the depositors' insurance scheme of Reserve Bank of India following liquidation of MMCB.

He said the bank's new board of management will be constituted shortly and added that senior MMCB official R M Shah has been appointed the interim CEO of the bank. The bank's normal functioning will begin once the initial payments were made to depositors numbering over three lakh.

Shah, who is also a senior BJP legislator and has evinced keen interest in the revival of the tainted bank, asserted that the revival package of Rs 800 crore was to be mobilised by the co-operative banking sector for which the Central as well state governments have agreed to give default guarantee.

He said, "The revival plans have in their calculations repayment of public deposits from the fourth year and those of the existing bank deposits from the sixth year. The repayment of fresh deposits start from the 11th year and would be paid in five years."

To avoid heavy rush of depositors at the branches of MMCB, the bank management has chalked out a programme for smooth payments. Accordingly, those having deposits of Rs 10,000 and above will be repaid the amount on the first two days - Tuesday and Wednesday - while depositors of Rs 25,000 will be repaid in the second stage on Friday and Saturday.

The deposits of Rs 5,000 will be paid in cash while any amount above that will be issued through cheques.

Shah said it was unfortunate that the GPCC leaders tried to obstruct the repayment to depositors by complaining to Chief Election Commissioner that the move was aimed to lure voters for the Sabarmati and Sabarkantha by-polls.

As the MMCB revival scheme is to be executed by the state government, the registrar of the co-operative - R M Joshi - will look after the implementation of the revival plan and not the Central registrar as was feared by some functionaries of the co-operative banks.

In view of the campaigning going on for the by-elections, the bank will reopen without any formal function to mark the revival of the bank.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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Senior BJP leader Deshmukh dead Monday, September 17, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: BJP organising secretary for Ahmedabad region Tushar Deshmukh, who was in critical condition at Krishna Heart Hospital here for past 10 days, died at around 1 pm on Sunday. He is survived by his wife and two children.

A dedicated worker, Deshmukh had taken ill while organising the party's campaign for by-election to Sabarmati Assembly constituency, and was admitted to V S Hospital for heart ailment on September 3.

As his health deteriorated, he was shifted to Krishna Heart Hospital at Bopal where he died during treatment.

Tusharbhai's body was kept for last darshan at BJP headquarters at Khanpur where a large number of party workers paid tributes. Senior BJP leaders joined the funeral procession. The body was cremated at Saptarshi Ghat in the evening.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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Blue bull menace nags Mehsana Dalits Monday, September 17, 2001

BY KIRAN MATHUR, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
MEHSANA: Over a hundred Dalit farmers in a hamlet of 4,500, 8 km from here tucked away in the foothills of the Arravalli ranges have been suffering silently, uncared for and unaided by the other sections of the village. Patels form 45 per cent of the population.

Having failed to get any response from forest officials 75 desperate Dalits of Berana wrote to the chief minister on August 13 threatening self-immolation if they were not rescued from the blue bull (neelgai) menace. They have been destroying their crops for the past five years.

The government's only response was to round up five signatories on September 4. Taken by surprise, the farmers were at their wits' end and could manage the release on bail after midnight.

One of them Dalabhai Premabhai Vankar said. "Will you please tell us what was our crime. It was adding an insult to injury." Others who were rounded up were Nareshbhai Bhavatbhai Parmar, Shymalbhai Jethabhai Vankar, Kalabhai Dudhabhai Vankar and Rambhai Kalabhai Vankar.

Over a hundred Dalit farmers whose 1,200 bighas of farmland come under the Arravalli foothillf have been struggling hard for survival against the blue bull menace for the past seven years.

They had collectively represented to the government 50 times. Some forest officials even visited the blue bull-infested fields, surveyed the area and prepared a Rs 21 lakh plan of wire fencing the entry points from the foothills.

The farmers were asked to bear half the cost. But the farmers could not afford more than 10 per cent share of the cost. "This meant the forest department did not realise our plight and poverty", said Naresh Parmar, a matriculate.

Sitting on a cot the 28-year-old Naresh was supervising the construction of a stable for buffaloes as an alternative as his 70 bighas did not yield enough to sustain a large family.

Before blue bulls' menace, the farmers earned enough to sustain themselves. But the blue bulls have ravaged their fortunes. Limbabhai Mabhi, squatting under a tree, sobbed like a child saying that in 10 bighas he could carry only 50 kg of maize home instead of the expected 450 kg.

The rest was devoured by the blue bulls. Karsanbhai Vankar had sowed groundnut in two bighas this year which was eaten away by the herbivores. Shamalbhai Vankar had sown cotton in 3.5 bighas of which two bighas were ravaged by these animals.

Naresh himself has reduced cultivation to five bighas out of 70 as this could be managed by shooing away the animals. Besides the threat of blue bulls the farmers had to contend with the increasing number of pigs left in the hills by Sardar Nihalsinh of Himatnagar two years ago. They had complained to the police against this additional hazard but in vain.

Naresh said that they had urged the forest department to translocate the animals. But they pressed for wire fencing their fields at a cost of seven lakh on 50-50 sharing.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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First-hand account of how US is recovering by Bharat Thakkar Sunday, September 16, 2001

BY BHARAT THAKKAR
I hear from reliable sources that about 20 per cent of the people in those two World Trade Centre buildings were from the Indian subcontinents. Most of these were financiers, venture capitalists, bankers, store owners on the ground floor, newspaper vendors, etc. Majority of them have perished.

A visit to the site of the destruction by US President George W Bush was a morale booster. A moment of silence was observed all across the nation at 12.00 noon Chicago time. I was driving on the highway at that time, and was amazed to see that the traffic was at a standstill ... I along with thousands of others stopped for a moment of silence.

The nation is recovering from the shock. I hope we protect our Taj Mahal and other monuments in India. The lesson to be learnt from this is to get united, and find and create unity in diversity. We need to learn to live together as one world, and not many different nations. One world government is my dream. Maybe, it will happen in the next decade or so.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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FP shops in city tailor-made for the rich! Sunday, September 16, 2001

BY SOURAV MUKHERJEE, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Public Distribution System (PDS) shops in Ahmedabad are today meant only for the rich with wheat and rice available at these "fair price" shops costlier than in the open market.

The long queues have disappeared and there is no mad rush to get the quota of foodgrains. Misrepresentation of the number of family members to get more grains at a cheap rate is not resorted to any more. These images are part of history as PDS in Ahmedabad faces a complete breakdown.

Wheat, point out PDS shop owners across the city, costs Rs 800 per quintal at FP shops while it can be procured at Rs 650 from the market. Rice at FP shops costs Rs 150 more per quintal. This holds true for all Above Poverty Line (APL) ration card holders.

The rustic dream of falling back on the PDS while migrating to the city has turned into a nightmare for below poverty level (BPL) card holders, too. Apart from the supply of very poor quality grains, the state government's go-slow on issuance of computerised PDS cards might soon push FP shops to extinction.

Of the 8,06,227 applications for ration cards, only 1,95,226 have been processed of which 21,000 are available for distribution. While the food and civil supplies department in Ahmedabad gets ready to spend Rs 16.68 lakh to print these computerised cards, they are not worth much except for being used as identity cards.

More surprises are unravelled on perusing records that contain the names and addresses of those believed to be below the poverty line. In 1998, a survey to verify the status and number of people eligible for BPL cards was conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on behalf of the food and civil supplies department.

But, instead of arriving at the correct number of Amdavadis living below the poverty line, it led to confusion which holds PDS in the city to ransom three years after its completion.

The food and civil supplies department, on scrutinising the survey, which put the number of those below BPL at 1.10 lakh, found that many names were untraceable. Only 21,000 could be tracked down within AMC limits.

For example:

* Haribhai Senabhai Madalai, a 'resident' of Naranpotri in Saijpur-Bogha, according to the report, was eligible for a BPL card. Enquiries revealed there was no Madalai at the specified address.

* Valjibhai Kesarbhai Rabari, a resident of Naroda whose name figures in BPL list, is a prosperous businessman who owns a two-storey building and a car.

* Kanubhai Somabhai Shah of Thakoreswar in Hansol figures on the 'missing' list. Efforts to locate Shah in the specified address were unsuccessful.

Says additional collector, food and civil supplies, VP Patel: "We have written to the municipal corporation to get the survey corrected. Prices for APL card holders have been brought down to Rs 7 for a kg of wheat and Rs 10 for rice (at a par with prevailing market rates). But, the BPL cards can be issued only after the beneficiaries are traced."

The non-issuance of BPL cards has hit both the masses and PDS shop owners hard. Old ration cards do not state the correct number of family members. Of the 633 PDS shops within AMC limits, none has more than 80 BPL subscribers.

"Instead of updating the old BPL figures the survey was carried out arbitrarily and misrepresents facts," alleges president of the Fair Shop Owners' Association of Ahmedabad, Prakashbhai Kevlani.

Kevlani, who has a PDS shop in Naroda, has 1,680 APL subscribers and about 70 BPL ones, laments that "my customer base is shrinking alarmingly. The same is the case with other fair price shop owners across the city. Bad pricing and supply of poor quality of food grains has almost killed the efficacy of PDS."

The association claims to have represented before the state government and with their foodgrains supplier, the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation but to no avail.
SOURAV MUKHERJEE

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

HMEDABAD: Public Distribution System (PDS) shops in Ahmedabad are today meant only for the rich with wheat and rice available at these "fair price" shops costlier than in the open market.

The long queues have disappeared and there is no mad rush to get the quota of foodgrains. Misrepresentation of the number of family members to get more grains at a cheap rate is not resorted to any more. These images are part of history as PDS in Ahmedabad faces a complete breakdown.

Wheat, point out PDS shop owners across the city, costs Rs 800 per quintal at FP shops while it can be procured at Rs 650 from the market. Rice at FP shops costs Rs 150 more per quintal. This holds true for all Above Poverty Line (APL) ration card holders.

The rustic dream of falling back on the PDS while migrating to the city has turned into a nightmare for below poverty level (BPL) card holders, too. Apart from the supply of very poor quality grains, the state government's go-slow on issuance of computerised PDS cards might soon push FP shops to extinction.

Of the 8,06,227 applications for ration cards, only 1,95,226 have been processed of which 21,000 are available for distribution. While the food and civil supplies department in Ahmedabad gets ready to spend Rs 16.68 lakh to print these computerised cards, they are not worth much except for being used as identity cards.

More surprises are unravelled on perusing records that contain the names and addresses of those believed to be below the poverty line. In 1998, a survey to verify the status and number of people eligible for BPL cards was conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on behalf of the food and civil supplies department.

But, instead of arriving at the correct number of Amdavadis living below the poverty line, it led to confusion which holds PDS in the city to ransom three years after its completion.

The food and civil supplies department, on scrutinising the survey, which put the number of those below BPL at 1.10 lakh, found that many names were untraceable. Only 21,000 could be tracked down within AMC limits.

For example:

* Haribhai Senabhai Madalai, a 'resident' of Naranpotri in Saijpur-Bogha, according to the report, was eligible for a BPL card. Enquiries revealed there was no Madalai at the specified address.

* Valjibhai Kesarbhai Rabari, a resident of Naroda whose name figures in BPL list, is a prosperous businessman who owns a two-storey building and a car.

* Kanubhai Somabhai Shah of Thakoreswar in Hansol figures on the 'missing' list. Efforts to locate Shah in the specified address were unsuccessful.

Says additional collector, food and civil supplies, VP Patel: "We have written to the municipal corporation to get the survey corrected. Prices for APL card holders have been brought down to Rs 7 for a kg of wheat and Rs 10 for rice (at a par with prevailing market rates). But, the BPL cards can be issued only after the beneficiaries are traced."

The non-issuance of BPL cards has hit both the masses and PDS shop owners hard. Old ration cards do not state the correct number of family members. Of the 633 PDS shops within AMC limits, none has more than 80 BPL subscribers.

"Instead of updating the old BPL figures the survey was carried out arbitrarily and misrepresents facts," alleges president of the Fair Shop Owners' Association of Ahmedabad, Prakashbhai Kevlani.

Kevlani, who has a PDS shop in Naroda, has 1,680 APL subscribers and about 70 BPL ones, laments that "my customer base is shrinking alarmingly. The same is the case with other fair price shop owners across the city. Bad pricing and supply of poor quality of food grains has almost killed the efficacy of PDS."

The association claims to have represented before the state government and with their foodgrains supplier, the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation but to no avail.
SOURAV MUKHERJEE

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

HMEDABAD: Public Distribution System (PDS) shops in Ahmedabad are today meant only for the rich with wheat and rice available at these "fair price" shops costlier than in the open market.

The long queues have disappeared and there is no mad rush to get the quota of foodgrains. Misrepresentation of the number of family members to get more grains at a cheap rate is not resorted to any more. These images are part of history as PDS in Ahmedabad faces a complete breakdown.

Wheat, point out PDS shop owners across the city, costs Rs 800 per quintal at FP shops while it can be procured at Rs 650 from the market. Rice at FP shops costs Rs 150 more per quintal. This holds true for all Above Poverty Line (APL) ration card holders.

The rustic dream of falling back on the PDS while migrating to the city has turned into a nightmare for below poverty level (BPL) card holders, too. Apart from the supply of very poor quality grains, the state government's go-slow on issuance of computerised PDS cards might soon push FP shops to extinction.

Of the 8,06,227 applications for ration cards, only 1,95,226 have been processed of which 21,000 are available for distribution. While the food and civil supplies department in Ahmedabad gets ready to spend Rs 16.68 lakh to print these computerised cards, they are not worth much except for being used as identity cards.

More surprises are unravelled on perusing records that contain the names and addresses of those believed to be below the poverty line. In 1998, a survey to verify the status and number of people eligible for BPL cards was conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on behalf of the food and civil supplies department.

But, instead of arriving at the correct number of Amdavadis living below the poverty line, it led to confusion which holds PDS in the city to ransom three years after its completion.

The food and civil supplies department, on scrutinising the survey, which put the number of those below BPL at 1.10 lakh, found that many names were untraceable. Only 21,000 could be tracked down within AMC limits.

For example:

* Haribhai Senabhai Madalai, a 'resident' of Naranpotri in Saijpur-Bogha, according to the report, was eligible for a BPL card. Enquiries revealed there was no Madalai at the specified address.

* Valjibhai Kesarbhai Rabari, a resident of Naroda whose name figures in BPL list, is a prosperous businessman who owns a two-storey building and a car.

* Kanubhai Somabhai Shah of Thakoreswar in Hansol figures on the 'missing' list. Efforts to locate Shah in the specified address were unsuccessful.

Says additional collector, food and civil supplies, VP Patel: "We have written to the municipal corporation to get the survey corrected. Prices for APL card holders have been brought down to Rs 7 for a kg of wheat and Rs 10 for rice (at a par with prevailing market rates). But, the BPL cards can be issued only after the beneficiaries are traced."

The non-issuance of BPL cards has hit both the masses and PDS shop owners hard. Old ration cards do not state the correct number of family members. Of the 633 PDS shops within AMC limits, none has more than 80 BPL subscribers.

"Instead of updating the old BPL figures the survey was carried out arbitrarily and misrepresents facts," alleges president of the Fair Shop Owners' Association of Ahmedabad, Prakashbhai Kevlani.

Kevlani, who has a PDS shop in Naroda, has 1,680 APL subscribers and about 70 BPL ones, laments that "my customer base is shrinking alarmingly. The same is the case with other fair price shop owners across the city. Bad pricing and supply of poor quality of food grains has almost killed the efficacy of PDS."

The association claims to have represented before the state government and with their foodgrains supplier, the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation but to no avail.
SOURAV MUKHERJEE

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

HMEDABAD: Public Distribution System (PDS) shops in Ahmedabad are today meant only for the rich with wheat and rice available at these "fair price" shops costlier than in the open market.

The long queues have disappeared and there is no mad rush to get the quota of foodgrains. Misrepresentation of the number of family members to get more grains at a cheap rate is not resorted to any more. These images are part of history as PDS in Ahmedabad faces a complete breakdown.

Wheat, point out PDS shop owners across the city, costs Rs 800 per quintal at FP shops while it can be procured at Rs 650 from the market. Rice at FP shops costs Rs 150 more per quintal. This holds true for all Above Poverty Line (APL) ration card holders.

The rustic dream of falling back on the PDS while migrating to the city has turned into a nightmare for below poverty level (BPL) card holders, too. Apart from the supply of very poor quality grains, the state government's go-slow on issuance of computerised PDS cards might soon push FP shops to extinction.

Of the 8,06,227 applications for ration cards, only 1,95,226 have been processed of which 21,000 are available for distribution. While the food and civil supplies department in Ahmedabad gets ready to spend Rs 16.68 lakh to print these computerised cards, they are not worth much except for being used as identity cards.

More surprises are unravelled on perusing records that contain the names and addresses of those believed to be below the poverty line. In 1998, a survey to verify the status and number of people eligible for BPL cards was conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on behalf of the food and civil supplies department.

But, instead of arriving at the correct number of Amdavadis living below the poverty line, it led to confusion which holds PDS in the city to ransom three years after its completion.

The food and civil supplies department, on scrutinising the survey, which put the number of those below BPL at 1.10 lakh, found that many names were untraceable. Only 21,000 could be tracked down within AMC limits.

For example:

* Haribhai Senabhai Madalai, a 'resident' of Naranpotri in Saijpur-Bogha, according to the report, was eligible for a BPL card. Enquiries revealed there was no Madalai at the specified address.

* Valjibhai Kesarbhai Rabari, a resident of Naroda whose name figures in BPL list, is a prosperous businessman who owns a two-storey building and a car.

* Kanubhai Somabhai Shah of Thakoreswar in Hansol figures on the 'missing' list. Efforts to locate Shah in the specified address were unsuccessful.

Says additional collector, food and civil supplies, VP Patel: "We have written to the municipal corporation to get the survey corrected. Prices for APL card holders have been brought down to Rs 7 for a kg of wheat and Rs 10 for rice (at a par with prevailing market rates). But, the BPL cards can be issued only after the beneficiaries are traced."

The non-issuance of BPL cards has hit both the masses and PDS shop owners hard. Old ration cards do not state the correct number of family members. Of the 633 PDS shops within AMC limits, none has more than 80 BPL subscribers.

"Instead of updating the old BPL figures the survey was carried out arbitrarily and misrepresents facts," alleges president of the Fair Shop Owners' Association of Ahmedabad, Prakashbhai Kevlani.

Kevlani, who has a PDS shop in Naroda, has 1,680 APL subscribers and about 70 BPL ones, laments that "my customer base is shrinking alarmingly. The same is the case with other fair price shop owners across the city. Bad pricing and supply of poor quality of food grains has almost killed the efficacy of PDS."

The association claims to have represented before the state government and with their foodgrains supplier, the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation but to no avail.

News Source : Times News Network [India's best Newspaper]


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