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July 20, 2001 - July 21, 2001

BJP manages to save the day at VMC Saturday, July 21, 2001

Times of India News Service
VADODARA: The ruling BJP at the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) sailed out of another crisis on Thursday evening after it managed to win a vote on the issue that it had failed to curb the cholera-menace in the city.However, BJP councillors are cross with the fact that their ally Samata party voted against them and brought the party almost to the brink of disaster. Many councillors are now reportedly branding this behaviour as a "betrayal".While 32 Congress and five Samata councillors one Independent voted for the motion, holding the BJP responsible for the deteriorating situation, the BJP too managed to garner 38 votes by roping in Independent councillors Dilip Kothari, Ranjanben Bhatt and Nisar Bapu. City Mayor Bharti Vyas gave her casting vote to get BJP out of the tie. The voting was called for after a requisition meeting was demanded by the Congress and Samata parties who felt that the issue of diseases like cholera and jaundice in the city was assuming alarming proportions. While the issue was discussed at a meeting on Tuesday, during which unruly scenes were witnessed at the Sayaji Sabhagruh, the voting was deferred till Thursday.

Times of India News Service

BJP manages to save the day at VMC Saturday, July 21, 2001

Times of India News Service
VADODARA: The ruling BJP at the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) sailed out of another crisis on Thursday evening after it managed to win a vote on the issue that it had failed to curb the cholera-menace in the city.However, BJP councillors are cross with the fact that their ally Samata party voted against them and brought the party almost to the brink of disaster. Many councillors are now reportedly branding this behaviour as a "betrayal".While 32 Congress and five Samata councillors one Independent voted for the motion, holding the BJP responsible for the deteriorating situation, the BJP too managed to garner 38 votes by roping in Independent councillors Dilip Kothari, Ranjanben Bhatt and Nisar Bapu. City Mayor Bharti Vyas gave her casting vote to get BJP out of the tie. The voting was called for after a requisition meeting was demanded by the Congress and Samata parties who felt that the issue of diseases like cholera and jaundice in the city was assuming alarming proportions. While the issue was discussed at a meeting on Tuesday, during which unruly scenes were witnessed at the Sayaji Sabhagruh, the voting was deferred till Thursday.

Times of India News Service

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Government to introduce 'Lokprahari' Friday, July 20, 2001

THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
GANDHINAGAR: With a view to accelerating the administrative procedures, the Gujarat government will introduce 'Lokprahari' at district level in a phased manner.

Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel,speaking after inaugurating the district collectorate at Himatnagar, observed that the introduction of 'Lokprahari' would infuse confidence among the people in the administration and would help fight injustice against them.

He said that the Citizens' Charter had been successfully implemented in 23 departments in the state.

On the occasion, the chief minister held a video conference from the collectorate with chief secretary at Sachivalaya in Gandhinagar. The new district collectorate building has been constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 3.5 crore.

Patel also unveiled the statues of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and former Maharaja of Idar, the late Himatsinhji.

The Chief minister said that at the end of March 2001, 58.24 lakh applications were received under Citizens' Charter and out of these, 55.77 lakh applications were cleared. He said that his government had taken a series of measures to stem the menace of administrative corruption, delay and red tapism.

Meanwhile, minister of roads (panchayats) Nitinbhai Patel announced that tenders had been invited for the conversion of Ratanpur-Shamlaji-Himatnagar-Ahmedabad national highway into four lanes at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore.

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


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Elusive fire safety norms at govt buildings Friday, July 20, 2001

BY OUR CIVIC REPORTER, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
AHMEDABAD: As the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation eyes on 418 buildings having failed to abide by fire safety norms and functioning without building use permission, a paradox of sorts stares the civic body in the face.

According to Congress corporators of the AMC, no less than 110 buildings housing government and semi-government institutions continue to flout the norms that till date has seen disconnection of gutter, water and power lines at 17 commercial high rises.

While officials of the AMC disclosed that stern notices have been issued to all the 418 residential and commercial high rise buildings for non-installation of fire-fighting equipment, sources in the public works department pointed out that numerous government and semi-government institutions continue to function without heeding to any norms.

"Though notices have been issued by AMC to these government-owned office-buildings, little has been done to follow up. While innocent occupants of commercial and residential high rises are being penalised for the builders' follies (it was primarily their job to ensure fire safety in buildings) the corporation, under pressure of the state government is content to turn a blind eye to this problem," said a resident of a high rise in Shahibaug.

Recently, residents of one Samvid apartment in Shahibaug lodged a police complaint and filed a case with the High Court against AMC's "threat-notice" for disconnection of water, gutter lines if they did not install fire-fighting equipment in the building.

"The builder should be held responsible for the over 18 flats that he gave possession to private individuals (mostly of middle class) during the past seven years. Why should the corporation hold us responsible ? We are not to blame," a resident of Samvid said.

Sources in AMC disclosed some of the semi-government and government institution-defaulters: "Banks, hospitals, post and telegraph, the list includes virtually every government-owned and recognised institution one can think of. Yet, only residential and commercial buildings owned by private individuals are being targeted."

The list includes three blocks of Civil Hospital, Central Bank of India in Raikhad, Post and Telegraph headquarters in Khanpur and its branch office in Shahpur, Apna Bazar building in Bhadra, State Bank of India and Bank of India offices in Raikhad, Bombay Mercantile Bank in Kalupur.

A senior officer of AMC disclosed, "We have served notices to all government institutions directing that they adhere to fire safety norms. But, without Gujarat government's nod we cannot proceed against its offices."

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


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DRI seizes Adani HSD stock Friday, July 20, 2001

BY OUR CRIME REPORTER, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
AHMEDABAD: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized 5,100 metric tonnes of High Speed Diesel worth Rs 12 crore belonging to Adani Exports Ltd, from the Mundra port on July 13 which had been imported in violation of the trade import restrictions, DRI sources told TOI.

The consignment originated from Qatar was ordered on March 29 "perhaps in anticipation of some changes in the import-export policy which is usually declared on March 31, but this did not happen," says a source.
HSD which is among the 'canalised items' can be imported only by Indian Oil Company and no other company is issued an import licence for this product, say sources.

The consignment landed three months later at Mundra port and it involved a duty to the tune of Rs 1.6 crore, but was seized by the DRI before it could be cleared.

When contacted, Adani Exports' spokesperson told TOI, that the stock belonged to a private party based in Surat and "we were only holding it for them when the stock landed at the port".

"We have nothing to do with the stock and are only facilitators for storage," this official added.

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


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