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July 26, 2001 - July 27, 2001

Admission on payment seat to restart today (27-7-01) Friday, July 27, 2001

VADODARA: The M S University plans to restart the payment seats' admission procedure for its faculty of commerce from July 27 following the grant of interim relief by Vadodara sessions judge P D Thakkar here on Wednesday.
Last week, a public interest litigation was filed by a city-based NGO asking for a stay on the MSU faculty of commerce from processing admission procedure under the self-finance scheme. The court had granted an interim stay, which was extended on Monday.

However, according to MSU officer on special duty Malti Gaekwad, an interim relief was granted by the court on Wednesday taking into account the overwhelming response payment scheme received.

"On the first day of the admission procedure itself, more than 670 students came forward to pay Rs 6100 as fees to seek admission to the FYBCom classes. The court has, therefore, granted us the interim relief. Though the hearings on the issue would be continue, students who wish to seek admission under the payment seats category can now do so from July 27 at 11 am onwards," Gaekwad said.

According to her, the court has also noted that when the students would be refunded in event of the case not being decided in favour of the MSU. "In such a case, the students would be able to obtain a refund of the total fee amount of Rs 6100 against production of the fee receipt," she added.

Meanwhile, advocate Narendra Tiwari said that he has filed another PIL against the payment seats of the faculty of commerce here on Wednesday, arguing that the entire procedure of payment seats is not conducted as per the MSU rules.

He said that a decision on starting such payment seats should have been taken only after consultation with the senate members as this was an important policy decision that should have been discussed by all the members.

Tiwari has also said in his plea to the court that the MSU has adequate funds to admit all students and there was no reason for imposing a payment-fee structure for students who were unable to secure 59 per cent marks. Further hearing in this matter has been deferred to July 27.

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

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PALANPUR::::Demand for gauge conversion from Palanpur to Samakhiali Friday, July 27, 2001

GANDHIDHAM: Kutch lawmaker Pushpadan Gadhvi has asked the Centre to take immediate steps to convert the railway line from Palanpur to Samakhiali from metre gauge to broad gauge to enhance trade in the area and reduce hardship being faced by the commuters. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Vajpayee and railway minister Nitish Kumar, Gadhvi said recently that the conversion is not only vital to the development of Kandla port, but also for all importers and exporters of cargo from the area comprising Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Madhya Pradesh. Other minor and intermediary ports in the vicinity of Kandla will also be benefited due to this gauge conversion, he said, adding that there would be large-scale rise in railway freight traffic. Currently, the movement of cargo is through roads, which is highly expensive. He also said that the entire cost of the project, which is estimated at about Rs 400 crore, would be shared by the Kandla Port Trust (KPT). The ministry of surface transport has approved the participation of KPT in the joint venture of the project with the railways, he added. The project report has been submitted by Rail India Technical and Economic Services Ltd. which has suggested various modalities for formation of special purpose vehicle for implementation of the project. The share holding pattern would be as follows: Ministry of railways, 33 per cent, government of Gujarat, 16.5 per cent, Kandla Port Trust, 30 per cent, Gujarat Adani Port Ltd, 15 per cent, and IFFCO 5.5 per cent. The KPT board has already approved the 30 percent contribution to the project. Gadhvi has regretted the delay in the implementation of the project.

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

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Property market unable to recover from shocks Friday, July 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Ahmedabad's property market, which had slumped after the high-intensity earthquake on January 26, continues to be plagued by sluggish demand. The property market refuses to recover with hardly any deals being struck in the G-3 and G-4 high-rise buildings and demand in G-0, G-1 and G-2 remaining as low as less than 5 per cent of the business levels before the quake.
Sale in the tenement and bungalow segment also remained low as the current prices in this segment (ranging Rs 6,500 to Rs 8,500 per sq yard) are beyond the reach of those on the look out for new accommodation. According to market sources, bungalow owners also preferred to wait rather than enter into a distress sale at low prices.

Apart from the slight demand that was generated in the G-1 and G-2 categories after the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) certified buildings in the city, the depressed property market has not looked up since the quake.

"Most of our clients are not ready to move into high-rise buildings, and the 5 to 10 per cent clients, who are considering buying a house in high-rise, do not want to go any higher than fifth floor. Five out of 100 clients consider top floors, but no one wants to move into a penthouse," says City Asset Management proprietor Deep Gagnani.

All this is making the prices of property in the residential sector go haywire. Six months after the quake, the rates of top floor apartments are still down by almost 50 per cent from pre-quake level. Apartments till the fifth cost 20 per cent less and beyond fifth floor, the drop in the apartment prices are ranging between 20 per cent 40 per cent.

According to Space Management Limited joint managing director Kishore Dedhia, rates of houses by reputed builders are still pegged at the pre-quake level as buyers are confident of their construction. It is the small-time builders whose apartment schemes are languishing as buyers are holding back investing in property till buildings are strengthened.

"After the quake, buyers have become more discerning; ensuring things like safety certification, BU permission and such other matters. So a builder has to spend more on strengthening the building, which increases the cost of construction. This may again disturb property prices," says Dedhia.

But even as the sentiment in the property market is not very buoyant, experts and town planners expect the current trend to dissipate. Environment Planning Collaborative (EPC) executive director B R Balachandra says these buildings are valuable assets and they cannot become derelict. "Their demand has dipped because property strengthening has not taken place. Once this happens and proper certification is acquired by the developers, they will be back into reckoning," he says.

He says lower income group may shift into abandoned or low-occupant buildings. He also feels that property market could swing back to normal faster if the different segments in the market respond to the present situation. "What could possibly push the market is the housing finance companies, insurance companies and developers coming together to build a system, where the customers are given enough guarantee for their purchases," says Balachanran.

"Since none of the builders are coming out with any new scheme and not many are ready to move into high-rise building, there will be a severe shortage in the property in Ahmedabad, that is when the price correction will happen, and also force many to abandoned schemes," says Dedhia.

Town planners forecast that the present trend may result in horizontal development, which could lead to inflation in the land prices in the periphery of the city. Dedhia, however, rules out this price hike. "There is ample land in the periphery of the city, and only speculation can escalate prices," he says.

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

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Another stay order slapped on MSU Friday, July 27, 2001

A STAFF REPORTER, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: M S University's hope to go ahead with the self-finance admission policy for commerce faculty was dashed once again with senator Narendra Tiwari slapping yet another stay order.
Late on Wednesday, MSU office received intimation from a city court ordering the varsity not to start admission in FY BCom on payment seats till Friday. At the same time, the court also ordered the varsity to continue with admission in the normal manner.

With the latest court order, MSU is now battling with three stay orders and two notices on the issue of self-financed or higher payment seats in commerce faculty. Wednesday's stay order was moved by Tiwari and president of Bhavani Sena Ratna Vijay Chauhan.

Tiwari in his petition has argued that MSU was taking refuge of chicaneries and misguiding the general public. He has based his argument on the premise that payment seats is a policy matter and a decision to that effect cannot be taken without taking MSU senate into confidence. "Vice-chancellor and the syndicate cannot decide on their own and impose their policy on the institute," Tiwari said.

He has also argued that MSU was prevaricating facts. "MSU has fixed deposits of Rs 40 lakh. It gets Rs 14 lakh by way of renting its property. Commerce faculty has a development fund of Rs 50 lakh, and this year they are likely to get Rs 15 lakh more. Where is the question of shortage of funds?" asked Tiwari.

"The expense of recruiting and maintaining 40 teachers comes to Rs 37 lakh," Tiwari added. He also said MSU was wrong in saying that the infrastructure was not adequate to accommodate commerce students. "There are rooms in arts, education and psychology and law faculties which are occupied for only 2-3 hours in a day. These rooms can be used for commerce faculty. Besides, MSU can always go to public representatives like MPs and MLAs and ask them for funds for development of the university," Tiwari said.

Vadodara has two MPs, and each has a sanction to spend Rs 2 crore in his territory. The city also has six MLAs each who have the state government nod to spend Rs 20 lakh.

"Their argument about quality education also does not hold any ground. They should first improve the quality of teachers. It is a fact that there are teachers in commerce faculty who have been associated with mafias like Raju Risaldar gang, have links with political parties, and some involved in controversial cases," Tiwari said arguing that it would augur well for MSU to first filter its quality and than blame students strength.

MSU, however, has counter argued that self-finance scheme for commerce faculty will prove a boon for the faculty in the long run. The university has also argued that paying Rs 6,000 per annum was not asking for the moon from students. "They pay Rs 10,000 and above for tuitions, whereas here the quality of education is better than the pamphlet-style teaching in tuition classes," said a senior MSU administrator.

Vice-chancellor Anil Kane has termed the decision as one benefiting the society at large. He has also made a public appeal explaining why he endorsed payment-seats scheme for commerce faculty. Syndicate members and commerce faculty teachers have also favoured the scheme which has, however, put off student leaders on the campus.

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

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Gujarat's budget shows Rs.363 cr deficit Thursday, July 26, 2001

The Times of India News Service
GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat finance minister Vajubhai Vala on Thursday presented in the state Assembly a modified budget for the year 2001-2002, showing an overall deficit of Rs 363.95 crore.
The minister told the House that the regular budget could not be presented on account of the devastating earthquake in the state and he was, therefore, presenting the modified budget estimate for the year 2001-2002.

He estimated the revenue receipts at Rs 20485.37 crores and revenue expenditure at Rs 28860.12 crore.

According to budget estimates, deficit on revenue account was minus Rs 8374.75 crore, capital receipts Rs 14705.38 crore and capital expenditure Rs 7606.59 crore (including loans and advances).

It showed capital account at plus Rs 7098.79 crore, consolidated fund (net) at minus Rs 1275.96 crore, the public accounts (net) at plus Rs 912.01 crores, with the total net transactions at minus Rs 363.95 crore.
Source - The Times of India

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