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July 25, 2001 - July 25, 2001

GEB bears brunt of postponement Wednesday, July 25, 2001

By Nandini Oza, AsianAge
Vadodara, July 23: The state government, in an important decision about a month ago, extended the deadline for the agricultural sector to come under metered tariff till October end. But with the passage of time it has become a major factor which has lead to crippling the already loss-making Gujarat Electricity Board.

In it’s order in the last quarter of 2000, the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission had directed to meter the agricultural connections. However, call it an attempt to get benefit in a couple of assembly seats for the by-elections that are likely to be announced shortly or putting the earthquake or drought as an excuse, the government had extended the deadline.

So much so that those at the helm of affairs in the GEB have developed cold feet in implementing an advertisement campaign that was planned to woo the farmers for the metered system.

It is a known fact that GEB has been a loss-making arm of the state government. However, according to highly placed sources, recent figures indicate that the losses due to subsidy to the agricultural sector, T and D losses and other factors have swollen to more than Rs 8,000 crore.

If persons in the know-how of the details are to be believed, various n Turn to Page 11
dues that are receivable by the GEB from the state government have risen to Rs 2,000 crore.

Officials say that in the last six months alone due to delaying the metered tariff the board has suffered a loss of Rs 650 crore. Due to various counts, the monthly loss of the GEB is Rs 200 crore, officials confirm.

State Energy Minister Kaushik Patel, however, disagrees that the extension of the deadline is affecting the GEB further. A top GEB official requesting anonymity said that as per the GERC award, the state government has to pay Rs 50 crore every month till the meters are introduced, to the GEB towards offsetting the subsidy given to the farm sector. While confirming that hardly any substantial amount has come to the GEB, officials try to play down the issue saying that delay in payments are bound to happen.

The minister says that at the end of the year, the amount is settled between the GEB and the state government. “The GEB has to give us the electricity duty,” he said, claiming that the differential amount payable to the GEB will not be more than about Rs 400 crore.

GEB member (administration) J. N. Singh that it is good that the state government is to compensate because in case of introduction of the metered tariff, the board would have been able to recover only 95 per cent of the amount from the farm sector. However, board secretary H. S. Patel feels that the board should be compensated in a continuous (monthly) manner. As per current practice, the amount is given only after allocation in the state budget.

As the delay in payment continues the Board is “compelled” to take loans from various sources. If leaders of various unions in the GEB are to be believed, annual interest the board has to pay on various loans taken is somewhere around Rs 900 crore. While in the last two years the GEB has already issued three equal bonds amounting to Rs 1,500 crore, the compensation from the state government continues to remain pending.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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ASE brokers take to satyagrah path, involve ‘Gandhiji' Wednesday, July 25, 2001

By Our Correspondent, AsianAge
Ahmedabad, July 23: The protesting brokers of the Ahmedabad Stock Exchange in the city observed the rebirth ceremony of Mahatma Gandhi during their peace march on Monday in wake of the no trading call by the Securities and Industries Association of India.

A look alike of Mahatma Gandhi was brought to the rally in order to guide the protesting brokers to continue their fight on the path of Satyagraha, said the secretary of the Ahmedabad Brokers Association, Mr Anil Shah. The peace march was attended by the members of the ASE, jobbers, employees and a large number of investors.

The ABA represented the case with the president and executive director of ASE and submitted a memorandum containing the demand, the cause and the suggestions in the on going agitation and requested them to forward the same to the respective authorities.

Meanwhile the no trading call given by the SIAI was mostly successful barring some trading by the foreign institutional investors and government investors. The trading volumes at almost all the exchanges across the country remained nil, said Mr Shah.

These exchanges include Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Cochin, Bangalore, Baroda, Calcutta, Rajkot, Hyderabad, and Coimbatore among many others. The Delhi stock exchange registered a minimal trading volume of one to two lakh rupees, whereas the trading volume at the BSE and NSE remained roughly at eight crores, out of which around four crores were block deals, said Mr Shah.

There were demonstrations all over the country. The BSE brokers forum submitted a memorandum to the chairman of SEBI and over 100 brokers represented their woos to Mr D.R. Mehta.

Regarding the future plan of action, Mr Shah said that the entire brokers fraternity would intensify their agitation without harming the cause of the investors and the decision regarding the future course of action would be taken in the steering committee meeting of SIAI scheduled at the end of this week.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Major increase in technical, diploma courses seats in state. Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Source AsianAge
Gandhinagar, July 23: Minister of state for higher and technical education Bharat Barot said the state government has acquired the maximum number of degree and diploma seats in the fields of engineering, pharmacy and architecture from All India Council for Technical Education, during its three years rule.

While giving an overview on the state government’s initiatives to promote these courses in the state, Barot informed that over the period the total number of seats in degree engineering, pharmacy and architecture has gone up to 10,024 while diploma engineering seats have gone up to 11,205. “We have got the maximum number of seats in the past 50 years for the state,” Mr Barot said.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Mr Barot said that the government’s efforts to bring the state to the forefront of technical education has yielded positive results with considerable rise in the number of seats in these courses. “The state government has added as many as 1,558 seats to degree engineering courses and 1,570 seats in diploma engineering courses during the current academic session,” Mr Barot informed.

The government has added 60 seats each in the Faculty of Information and Technology at Surat based Sarvajanik College of Engineering and Technology, CK Pithavala College of Surat and at the CU Shah College of Engineering and Technology at Wadhwan near Surendranagar.

“The All India Council for Technical Education has also increased 84 seats in different faculties at the Regional Engineering College, Surat during the period. Twenty MBA seats sponsored by the Ahmedabad Education Society also got approval during the period, he informed.

Mr Barot informed that AICTE has approved additional 515 seats in the government polytechnic
colleges after class 12th in the state, thus rising the number of seats to 760, while the total number of seats at the self-financed polytechnic colleges after addition of 460 seats is currently 600 seats.

“There will be 60 additional seats in IT, 35 seats in electronics and 420 seats in computer engineering from the new academic session. The newly self-financed seats include 100 IT seats, 180 computer engineering seats, 120 seats in electronics and 60 seats in mechatronics,” he specified.

Mr Barot further informed that addition of 295 seats to diploma courses after class 10th have taken total number of seats to 1,470. In self-financed polytechnic courses held after class 10th, the state government has increased the total number of seats to 1,890.

“The state government has however, cut down diploma seats in chemical engineering by 30, plastic engineering by 10, mechanical engineering by 50, 35 seats in electrical engineering and 25 seats in textile engineering because of the fall in demand of these courses,” the minister said.

Meanwhile Mr Barot added that the admission process for engineering and medical colleges in the state will be completed within two months, earlier than in previous years.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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NCCL seeks ban on Medha’s NBA Wednesday, July 25, 2001

By a Correspondent, AsianAge
Ahmedabad, July 23: President of National Council for Civil Liberties V.K. Saxena has recently submitted a memorandum to Union home minister L.K. Advani demanding imposition of ban on the Narmada Bachao Andolan under the Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act and to order an inquiry to ascertain how tribals of Nimad region of Madhya Pradesh could procure firearms and get training on using land mines.

The NCCL has submitted highly sensitive documentary evidences of NBA’s use of foreign funds to incite tribals of Nimad region to protest against the Madhya Pradesh government. The NCCL documents claim to establish that NBA support groups advocated the need for forming village-level militant groups to counter police action.

“The NBA has been training tribals of Nimad region in using firearms, placing landmines and attacking police party. The adivasis were incited against the Madhya Pradesh government’s move to check large-scale tree felling, for which they apparently got arms to give stiff opposition to the government,” stated a press release issued by the NCCL on Monday.

The documentary evidences supplied to Mr Advani point out that the Joint Action Force of MP police was attacked by the tribals with firearms in Kaduliya, Potlaa, Jamasindh and Mehendikheda villages between March 28 and April 2,which had seriously injured 20 police officials, Mr Saxena informed.

Mr Saxena further alleged that NBA leaders have been working against projects of national importance and have also been involved in disturbing peace and harmony in the region to appease their foreign masters.

“The documents establish that NBA and its supporters had prior knowledge about the killing of four tribals in Mehendikheda firing on April 2 during an agitation against government raids on large-scale illegal tree felling. Subsequent arrest of Rahul Banerjee, a conduit between the NBA and its foreign links by the MP police in connection with the firing clearly proves NBA’s foreign links,” the release said.

The NCCL claims to have laid its hands on sensitive documents from associates of NBA. “Adivasi Mukti Morcha, Arohi Nyas, Lok Samiti and Sarvoday Shikshan Samiti are fictitious organisations under the NBA umbrella and foreign funds are channeled through these organisations,” Mr Saxena said.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Breach in SSP canal Wednesday, July 25, 2001

By a Special Correspondent, AsianAge
Vadodara, July 23: First it was Pratappura then Manorpura and now sub-canal of the ambitious Sardar Sarovar Project that has been damaged due to heavy rains in the region.

According to highly placed sources, soil surrounding the concrete barrel underneath the feeder line between Pratappura and Ajwa reservoirs, near Vadodara, has started giving way. Even as the incident, which occurred a couple of days ago, has created panic in the area and the Narmada
Nigam authorities have given a contract to an agency to repair the damage.

One of the officers of the nigam U.S. Chandorikar told The Asian Age on Monday that the barrel has not been damaged and that the water is not flowing out of the structure. He claimed that it is only the portion of the soil surrounding the barrel that has given way due to rains.

The breaches on either sides of the barrel are reported to be around six feet deep and six feet wide. Sources said that the nigam authorities are not taking any chances taking into consideration the sensitivity of the Sardar Sarovar Project.

It is also believed that if the support in form of soil gives way, the incident can also affect the feeder line that falls under the jurisdiction of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation. The feeder line takes water from Pratappura to Ajwa.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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