Rediscover Gujarat. Rediscover the Gujarati in you !!


Channels : Free Home Pages | Chat | Discussion Board | Graffiti | Music | Reminder Services | Calendar | Horoscope | Dating | Weather | Matrimonial | Jobs

Info

City Guides | City News | Education | Festivals | Food | Greetings | Earthquake fact file | Home

August 8, 2001 - August 8, 2001

'33 per cent of expected aid received' Wednesday, August 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: While admitting that the twin calamities -- earthquake and drought -- had forced the Gujarat government to turn to sources of assistance other than those available within the state to finance the budget for 2001-02, state finance minister Vajubhai Vala said the state exchequer had, so far, received Rs 2,693 crore from the Centre -- "or nearly 33 per cent of what we are expecting".


The total amount the state expects to receive from the Centre in the form of assistance and loan is Rs 7,639 crore.


Giving a break-up, Vala said that of the Rs 2,600 crore the state was to receive from the National Calamity Contingency Fund, the state had received Rs 1,467 crore. Though the state had received a major portion of the amount promised by the Centre -- Rs 100 crore for education, Rs 100 crore for water supply, Rs 110 crore for electricity, and Rs 14 crore for improving livelihood -- more had to come through.


Giving further details, the minister said the Asian Development Bank was to route Rs 2,325 crore through the Centre. However, thus far, the ADB had disbursed a mere Rs 352 crore. Similarly, while the World Bank had promised Rs 1,860 crore, it had made available only Rs 460 crore. Not a single rupee had come through from the Rs 172 crore that the Netherlands had promised to provide as loan.


Of the Rs 58 crore promised by central public sector undertakings, the state had receive a mere Rs 14 crore.


Vala admitted that the accumulated loan amount in three years to finance the budgetary schemes had gone up drastically, from Rs 14,055 crore in 1997-98 to Rs 27,542 crore in 2000-01. And, the annual debts had gone up from Rs 2,529 crore in 1997-98 to Rs 11,412 crore in 2000-01. "But this is mainly on account of the fact that we have a special situation, which requires special assistance from whichever quarter available", Vala said, adding, "We have services all debts till day without any difficulty."


Pointing out that even overdrafts had to be taken out because of the post-quake situation, Vala said, "If in 1997-98 we paid Rs 446 crore as debt repayment amount, it went up to Rs 5,191 crore in 2000-01. The accumulated debts repaid in 1998-2000 are Rs 7,831 crore. This shows how well have we been able to manage our finances despite difficulties. But obviously, the total revenue deficit is up from Rs 2,863 crore in 1998-99 to Rs 6,859 crore now."


Quake compensation: Vala denied that there had been any delay in disbursing compensation to the quake victims' kin. Of the 15,553 dead in Kutch, the state had received 12,303 applications for compensation. Of these, 11,587 had been processed, 318 rejected, and 338 were pending because of lack of evidence. As for areas other than Kutch, of the 1,590 dead, 1,552 applications had been received and 1,532 had already been processed. Only 20 cases were pending, he said.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

'33 per cent of expected aid received' Wednesday, August 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: While admitting that the twin calamities -- earthquake and drought -- had forced the Gujarat government to turn to sources of assistance other than those available within the state to finance the budget for 2001-02, state finance minister Vajubhai Vala said the state exchequer had, so far, received Rs 2,693 crore from the Centre -- "or nearly 33 per cent of what we are expecting".


The total amount the state expects to receive from the Centre in the form of assistance and loan is Rs 7,639 crore.


Giving a break-up, Vala said that of the Rs 2,600 crore the state was to receive from the National Calamity Contingency Fund, the state had received Rs 1,467 crore. Though the state had received a major portion of the amount promised by the Centre -- Rs 100 crore for education, Rs 100 crore for water supply, Rs 110 crore for electricity, and Rs 14 crore for improving livelihood -- more had to come through.


Giving further details, the minister said the Asian Development Bank was to route Rs 2,325 crore through the Centre. However, thus far, the ADB had disbursed a mere Rs 352 crore. Similarly, while the World Bank had promised Rs 1,860 crore, it had made available only Rs 460 crore. Not a single rupee had come through from the Rs 172 crore that the Netherlands had promised to provide as loan.


Of the Rs 58 crore promised by central public sector undertakings, the state had receive a mere Rs 14 crore.


Vala admitted that the accumulated loan amount in three years to finance the budgetary schemes had gone up drastically, from Rs 14,055 crore in 1997-98 to Rs 27,542 crore in 2000-01. And, the annual debts had gone up from Rs 2,529 crore in 1997-98 to Rs 11,412 crore in 2000-01. "But this is mainly on account of the fact that we have a special situation, which requires special assistance from whichever quarter available", Vala said, adding, "We have services all debts till day without any difficulty."


Pointing out that even overdrafts had to be taken out because of the post-quake situation, Vala said, "If in 1997-98 we paid Rs 446 crore as debt repayment amount, it went up to Rs 5,191 crore in 2000-01. The accumulated debts repaid in 1998-2000 are Rs 7,831 crore. This shows how well have we been able to manage our finances despite difficulties. But obviously, the total revenue deficit is up from Rs 2,863 crore in 1998-99 to Rs 6,859 crore now."


Quake compensation: Vala denied that there had been any delay in disbursing compensation to the quake victims' kin. Of the 15,553 dead in Kutch, the state had received 12,303 applications for compensation. Of these, 11,587 had been processed, 318 rejected, and 338 were pending because of lack of evidence. As for areas other than Kutch, of the 1,590 dead, 1,552 applications had been received and 1,532 had already been processed. Only 20 cases were pending, he said.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

BHAVNAGAR:::: Plea to augment facilities at Bhavnagar port Wednesday, August 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
BHAVNAGAR: If the contents of the letter to Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel sent by Saurashtra Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary Jitendra Shah are to be believed, then Bhavnagar port would be wiped off the list of working ports in a couple of years.


Shah lamented that non-availability of preliminary facilities and lack of modernisation at Bhavnagar port had led to a critical situation, whereby its traffic was being diverted elsewhere.


According to him, Crane Energy (India) Ltd., which wants to continue the offshore drilling project, earlier managed by Enron Company, would perhaps divert its working base to another port. The reason is that the repairing of lock gate had not been attended to by the Gujarat Maritime Board. Furthermore, draft has been considerably decreased due to heavy silting.


If Crane Energy sticks to its decision of not working at Bhavangar port, the GMB would lose huge revenue, Shah added. Heavy transhipment of the Essar group cargo being handled at Bhavnagar port, has diverted to a private port.


Shah appealed to the chief minister to ensure proper maintenance and repair of tugs, barges, cranes, storage godowns and modernisation of the jetty quickly and effectively. Or else Bhavnagar port would pass into oblivion in a couple of years.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Who will foot Surat's slum-clearance bill? Wednesday, August 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SURAT: Regularising slum areas in the city, as per the proposal by a Cabinet sub-committee in Gandhinagar last month, would be a difficult economic proposition for the Surat Municipal Corporation. The question as to who would foot the bill needs to be addressed first.


As such, the task to develop the slums into regulated urban poor dwellings with houses built under the economically weaker section scheme would entail a huge amount of money, for which the SMC is not ready with the present budgetary provisions.


According to Mayor Ajay Choksi, the phenomenal growth in the rate of population in the city in the last two decades have been due to industrial expansion. At present, there are around 306 slum and slum-like pockets in the city comprising over one-third of the city population, majority of which have come up in an unplanned manner.


Besides, by way of sales tax the state government gets substantial revenue. Excise and income tax are sources of revenue from these industries for the Central government, but the local authorities do not get any benefit as this revenue is not shared with them, Choksi explained.


Industries are a cause of these slums coming up as a majority of migrant workers arrive in the city attracted by the lure of employment. Hence, the burden of developing these areas would be on a shared basis by way of contribution from the state and the Central government, he said.


Not just this, developing slums into regulated urban-poor localities would require spare land for temporary arrangement of shelter for slum-dwellers, and in a city like Surat the land is scarce, Commissioner Guruprasad Mahapatara said.


The contours of the urban landscape in the last two decades went through metamorphic changes, but the growth of infrastructural facilities _ which earned it a tag of one of the best-managed cities in the country _ have remained tangential. For, over 30 per cent of the total population lives in slums and slum-like areas.


The SMC though may have tried its best to keep pace by providing basic facilities, but to cater to the ever-growing population in the slums is beyond budgetary means of the civic body. But, the SMC has been managing within its economic limitations. It may be noted that the city limits have almost doubled from 55 sq km to its present 113 sq km, and the population too has registered around 85 per cent increase.


There must be some mechanism of income-sharing from the revenue earned from industries, so that things could be initiated with regard to developing slums and slum-like pockets in the city. Already, over 25 slums have been identified for the purpose for development, Mahapatara said.


Both the state and the Central government should come forward to assist the local bodies with required monetary assistance, Choksi opined. If things go in the right direction, the SMC is even ready to earmark budget for civic amenities in slum areas on regular basis, he added.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

AMC's pure treat: Sewage water at Kankaria lake Wednesday, August 8, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Remember those blissful moments that you spent by the side of that pristine, glistening water-body called Kankaria lake?


Would you like your favourite haunt filled to the brim round the year? If that's an 'aye' then how about treated sewage water saving the lake from drying-up during summer?


The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has almost decided that the 14th century lake, which was reconstructed by the British in 1876, will be given a new lease of life, albeit with treated sewage water. AMC's bosses are certain that redirecting some of its eastern and southern zones' sewage water (after treatment, of course) to the Kankaria lake is the only way to maintain the water level.


Standing committee chairman Badruddin Sheikh said: "We have seen this done in the United States during our recent official trip there. Many sewage treatment plants (STPs) there are situated adjacent to large lakes and pump out sewage water into them after treating and decontaminating the refuse-water."


The civic body has even worked out modalities that could leave Kankaria full of "clean" but nevertheless sewage water. It has been proposed that a two-km long pipeline connecting two treatment plants, owned by two inoperative industries -- Ambika Mill and Sarangpur Mill -- in Naroda would regularly refill Kankaria lake with sewage water.


"We want to follow the example of Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad that is being recharged with pollution-free sewage water. Domestic and industrial sewage water overflowing in south and east zone drains will be collected and taken to these two unused industrial treatment plants. After cleaning we will then pump the water into Kankaria," said Sheikh.


Though the AMC officials assure that there is no danger involved in this process as the water will be tested and free of all pollutants, there are not many takers for this idea.


Says Jayesh Dave, a software consultant staying in Maninagar: "Last year's heavy rains had dirty water from neighbouring areas flowing into the lake. Now the corporation itself seems determined to ruin the beauty of Maninagar and Ahmedabad. Already the lake stinks because of unclean water infested with fish. This new idea is not acceptable, instead the AMC should look to fill this lake with pollution-free collected rainwater. Not only will the healthy ambience vanish from Maninagar even the ground water will be polluted, not many would like to stay in such a place."


R.P. Sharma, advisor and joint secretary of Union ministry of environment and forest told TOI: "The idea of discharging cleaned sewage water is good and is practised world over. But, before doing anything of this sort one would have to carefully treat the water and remove all pollutants." Sharma was in the city to attend foundation stone-laying ceremony of a sewage treatment plant at Pirana.

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


Voice your opinion on this story Generate printer friendly page Send this page to your friend

Gujarat | Pharmacy SEO | Copyright 2000-2006
 A eZee Web Solutions Presentation !

E-mail - webmaster@cybervapi.com
GSM - 9825130401