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November 23, 2001 - November 24, 2001

Rajkot in brief on 23rd Nov. 2001 Saturday, November 24, 2001

SSC students to be felicitated
RAJKOT: The Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation would felicitate meritorious SSC students and give away undergraduate scholarships at a function organised here on Saturday. A talk on "Challenges of the 21st century" has also been organised on the occasion, a statement issued by the foundation said on Friday.

Awards given to WR women employees
RAJKOT: On the occasion of the 'Year of Women Empowerment' Manju Sehgal, president of Women Welfare Organisation of Rajkot, distributed awards to the outstanding women performers and handicapped lady employees of the Western Railway. Scholarships were also distributed to meritorious students, a statement issued by the divisional commercial manager of Western Railway said on Friday.

National conference on statistics organised
RAJKOT:The department of Statistics of the Saurashtra University has organised a three day national conference on statistics and computer application from November 24 to 26. Young researchers from the national and international fora would present their papers at the national conference, Dr D K Ghosh, head of the department said in a statement on Friday.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Slaughter houses notified to remain closed on Sunday Saturday, November 24, 2001

RAJKOT: The Municipal commissioner J P Gupta has, through a notification, banned the sale of meat and ordered closure of slaughter houses on Sunday on the occasion of the birthday of Sadhu Vasvani. There would be no sale of meat, fish and other non-vegetarian items, the notifiation said.
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UGC to review Saurashtra University courses Saturday, November 24, 2001

RAJKOT: As many as 26 courses run by the Saurashtra University have yet not been recognised by the University Grants Commission, university sources told TNN on Friday. Some of these courses have been going on for the past decade. The issue would be taken up during the forthcoming visit by the accreditation team of the UGC, which is scheduled to visit the University in December.
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Rajkot plans to seek Narmada waters Saturday, November 24, 2001

RAJKOT: The Rajkot municipal corporation would seek 70 lakh gallons of water from the Narmada project to be supplied through the existing Mahi-Pariej pipeline as almost all reservoirs that supply water to the city were drying up.

Informing this to TNN on Friday, mayor Ashok Dangar said a proposal on the water situation would be sent to the government by Tuesday. The water supply schedule depended on when the Bhadar dam would be dry. While little water was left in the Aji and Nyari dams, the main source was the Bhadar.

On the other hand, Rajkot regional chief S V Ahuja of the water supply board said the pipeline would be laid by December 15 after which the line testing would last a fortnight. So by January 1, the board could supply water to the city from the Mahi-Pariej project.

The city gets 80 to 100 lakh gallons of water from the Bhadar dam but after allocation to Jetpur, little would be left for Rajkot by the year-end. So planning was necessary, the mayor said.

Another reliable source was the Wankaner bore project but its level had dropped as the board had been tapping it for the past three years. If the Mahi-Pariej link could fulfil needs of Rajkot city, the Wankaner bore project could be a standby, the mayor said adding that it could be used in an emergency.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Ceiling on gifts must be raised, says Vittal Friday, November 23, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's move to auction all his Diwali gifts may have sparked a debate on whether he is more clean than his predecessors or not, but Chief Vigilance Commissioner N Vittal would like to take this debate further at the national level. He says the ceiling of Rs 500 on acceptable gifts needed to be reviewed as it is 'ridiculously low'. Besides, the 'influence index' of a particular gift also needs to be defined.

Speaking to TNN from New Delhi, Vittal, a former Gujarat cadre IAS official, said "I would accept a gift if it is reasonable, if it is big I would not". He said one needs to look at the practice of giving Diwali gifts from the cultural perspective rather than terming all gifts accepted by one s holding government office as corruption.

The rules require submitting all gifts worth Rs 1,000 plus to the treasury. The goods valuing below Rs 500 can be kept, and those valuing between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 can be kept only after paying the extra sum. He said this ceiling requires an upward revision. "This ceiling may have been fine at one point of time, now it can perhaps be raised to Rs 1000, Rs 2000 or Rs 3000.... I really don't know, maybe we should have a national debate on the ceiling and for a more pragmatic approach towards the whole issue".

Vittal recalled the case of a former Gujarat cadre IPS officer G Ramachandran who received a bottle of scotch whisky when he was CBI joint director. He handed over the bottle to the treasury because he was a teetotaller. "But then the treasury refused to take the bottle as it was not defined under the rules, ultimately the file on the matter became so huge that Ramachandran thought it would have been better if he had given the bottle to his friends", said Vittal.

The threshold limit of the gifts needs to be looked into afresh. "The law is so ridiculous that it becomes impractical for well-meaning officials also to go to the treasury and deposit these gifts", he says, adding it all depends on the value of gifts. "I don't mind people taking dry fruits and sweets and some small things, but people are now using Diwali and marriages to gift big presents to those they want to please", he says.

Vittal said he had also asked the Income Tax department to look into the problem of expensive gifts being exchanged on the occasion of marriage. However, the department told him that it was 'not possible' to conduct searches everywhere. "The trouble is the amount of black money floating around, we have to get to the root of the problem", he saiD.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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