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August 31, 2001 - August 31, 2001

Bill to regularise illegal constructions tabled in Gujarat Friday, August 31, 2001

By Rathin Das, The Hindustan Times
Gandhinagar: Bowing to the builders' lobby, the Gujarat Government today introduced in the State Assembly a Bill to regularise illegal constructions in the state.
This will be mainly in the six corporation areas of Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Vadodara and Surat.

Introducing the Bill in the State Legislature today, Urban Development Minister Parmanand Khattar said that regularisation of illegal constructions has become a necessity as demolition of these would lead to huge losses and render lakhs homeless.

The Bill seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated last November which allows builders to get away with illegal constructions by paying an "impact fee" for violations to originally approved building plans.

The decision to issue the ordinance was taken in wake of the high court strictures against builders, State Government and the civic authorities on illegal constructions.
Source - The Hindustan Times

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"Reconsider HP rates for farmers" Friday, August 31, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat government has requested the state electricity regulatory commission (GERC) to reconsider power tariff prescribed for agriculture purpose on the basis of horse power (HP) and give relief in it, the state Assembly was informed on Thursday.

The government expects that the commission will take some favourable decision on its request made in the interest of the people, state electricity minister, Kaushik Patel, told the House.

The government is also considering to again extend the period for postponement of tariff based on horse power, which had been earlier postponed till October 31, Patel said in a statement in the House and added, the decision to extend period of the levy of the HP rates for some more time had been taken in consultation with GERC.

The government has decided to make representation to the commission after reprasentations made by various farmers' organisations regarding income from the farm produce and the losses to the farmers due to liberalisation policy of the Central government, Patel added.

News Source : The Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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31 minority delegation members detained Friday, August 31, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: At least 31 members, including two women, of a minority delegation led by standing committee chairman Badruddin Shaikh were detained for violating prohibitory orders in the state Assembly building on Thursday.

One of the members was also injured in a scuffle with the cops, police said adding they were later released.

Minority MLAs including Farukh Shaikh, Usmangani Devdivala, Iqbal Patel and Shailesh Parmar (all from Congress) later met Minister of state for home Haren Pandya and made a representation about the law and order situation in Ahmedabad city.

They also demanded an increase in the strength of rapid action force and measures to check occurrence of riots in the city.

News Source : The Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Eminent Gujarati novelist dead Friday, August 31, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Jnanpith award winner and an eminent Gujarati novelist Manubhai Pancholi died in Bhavnagar following protracted illness, family sources said on Thursday.

Pancholi, 87, died on Wednesday.

An educationist and a Gandhian thinker, Pancholi, popularly known as `Darshak', had been suffering from kidney ailment.

Gujarat Governor Sundarsinh Bhandari and Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel have condoled his death.

News Source : The Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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Govt fears violence could spread Friday, August 31, 2001

AHMEDABAD: There is something more sinister about the communal violence that the city has witnessed over the past week than what the BJP government is letting on as of now.

But with two persons killed in police firing and the culmination of Ganesh festivities scheduled on Saturday, the administration is all geared up for an escalation and a possible spread of violence.

"We are taking every precaution, not just in Ahmedabad but also in Vadodara and Surat," said additional chief secretary for home V V R Subba Rao. He, however, said there was "no visible pattern" behind the communal trouble witnessed in Ahmedabad so far and that the two flare-ups in Dariapur and Shahpur were "not inter-connected".

Officials said security in Ahmedabad and some other centres had been tightened and Friday could be a crucial indicator of things to come in the next few weeks.

The authorities, at present, seem rather confused about the motive behind the low-intensity violence that is taking place in Ahmedabad and believe it has the potential to spread to other areas and even flare up. Surat is considered particularly sensitive as eight persons were killed in police firing during idol immersion two years back. A massive bandobast has, therefore, been made for the Ganesh Visarjan there.

While a delegation of Muslims led by Congressmen met minister of state for home Haren Pandya on Thursday, protesting against lethal police firing during the clashes, the officials felt the leadership of the minority community was no longer in the hands of the main Opposition party. "This is a hypothesis which has been given to us by the intelligence agencies and we would like the government to interact with a wider representation of the community," Subba Rao said.

The government is aware that new organisations like the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Ahmedabad Muslim Youth Association, Lok Jantantrik Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and others are trying to make their presence felt in the politics of Gujarat which has remained bi-polar so far.

However, the government believes that the current spell of violence may not be related to the coming by-elections to Sabarkantha and Sabarmati because there is not much of a Muslim vote bank in these two constituencies.

The BJP government is, in fact, walking a thin line because even outfits like the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are not happy with the police handling of the communal situation. President of VHP's Karnavati (Ahmedabad) unit P C Patel says, "We will not tolerate any targeting of our cadres by the police under pressure from the minority community leaders."

News Source : The Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]

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