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July 4, 2001 - July 4, 2001

Students protest caning, burn V-C's effigy in GU Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: It was a day of demonstrations at Gujarat University (GU) on Monday. Beginning at 9.30 am, student leaders affiliated to different bodies took turns in condemning the GU authorities on burning issues like delayed commerce admissions, self-financed college mess, the recent indiscriminate lathi-charge on students and the inaction on low TY BSc chemistry result.

The ball was set rolling by the Mahagujarat Chhatra Parishad (MCP) which took pot-shots at the top GU administrators and the education ministry by holding a mock cabinet on donkeys to discuss problems of GU students. Students took great pleasure in riding the seven donkeys named after the CM, both education ministers and GU V-C from Shahjanand College to the university campus.

Demonstration on donkeys had barely dispersed when the students affiliated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) burnt the effigy of acting V-C Chaitanya Khambolja in protest of the indiscriminate lathi-charge on students on Saturday. A large number of innocent students were beaten up by GU securitymen and police-personnel on duty.

Curiously, Khambolja on Monday defended the lathicharge saying GU had instructed the security personnel to prevent the students from causing any damage to university property and that they had resorted to lathicharge to protect themselves!

On the other hand, following vehement protests PI Majmudar and security officer Hukumsinh are understood to have publicly tendered apologies to the students.

Meanwhile, the tirade of students against GU continued as the National Students Union of India (NSUI) held a loud demonstration in the afternoon shouting anti-Bharat Barot and anti-Khambolja slogans. NSUI alleged that the students were beaten up by the police on instructions from Barot.

NSUI then took the demonstration to the L J Commerce College against the GU giving affiliation to the New L J Self-Financed College without the college actually having a separate building for the purpose.

Later in the evening, Khambolja assured that the admission process to commerce colleges would begin by July 7.

Surprisingly, Khambolja also admitted to go to the BJP office in the last minutes of the meeting of BJP syndicate members and Yuva Morcha leaders convened by Bharat Barot to discuss the university mess.

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


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Effigy of RBI governor burnt Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: Members of the Rajkot Greater Social club on Monday burnt the effigy of Reserve Bank governor B K Jalan in protest against the RBI's failure to solve the issue of the soiled notes in circulation in Saurashtra.

The club members took out the 'funeral' and burnt the effigy. The agitation is said to be the first step towards solving the problem of soiled notes. It also highlights the RBI's reluctance to settle the matter and release more coins.

The police tried to stop the protesters. There was a scuffle, too between the protesters and the men in uniform. However, the police could not stop the burning of the effigy. The protesters also raised slogans against the RBI.

The club members said as against the demand of coins worth Rs 16 crore, the RBI had issued just coins worth Rs 56 lakhs.

The Rajkot Chamber of commerce and Industry has threatened a prolonged agitation if the issue of soiled notes was not solved. The Chamber stated that the RBI had adopted step-motherly treatment towards Saurashtra by not issuing coins of small denomination.

Chamber president Dhirubhai Vithlani has in a letter to the RBI general manager in Ahmedabad said that the region was facing severe shortage of coins. The non-delivery of adequate coins was the sole reason why soiled notes were in circulation. Some people were taking advantage of the situation and dumped soiled notes from elsewhere in the country into Rajkot.

Meanwhile, sources in the banking sector said out of the three lakh families in Rajkot city, the RBI had released coins for just 40,000 families. Soiled notes worth crores of rupees was in circulation in Rajkot city alone.

Last year also a hue and cry was raised against soiled notes issue after which the RBI had sent coins worth Rs 54.70 lakh to the seven banks having currency chests. In fact the banks had demanded coins worth Rs 2.5 crore. the source pointed out. At that time also the people of Rajkot had collected the soiled notes and presented to the RBI governor in Mumbai to highlight the issue. During the last nine months as against the demand of coin worth Rs 8 crore the city had received coins worth Rs 1.35 crore.

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


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'Smruti Van' project to paint the town green Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: The Vadodara Social forestry division plans to embark on a special tree plantation project during the forthcoming Van Mahotsav wherein members of the public would be urged to plant trees and dedicate them to their loved ones or remember their friends or relatives who have passed away.

The trees planted under this project, which is aptly called the "Smruti Van" project, would also have nameplates of the person the tree is dedicated to, said Vadodara social forestry division conservator RM Patel.

He said the Smruti Van project would help in greening the city and the district areas, as it would involve direct participation from the public.

"It would be the public who would initiate the planting of the trees. We plan to encourage locals to take care of trees they have planted and would also undertake visits to these areas," he said.

According to Patel the project was stalled last year, as the rains were not adequate. "But we are hoping that the plan works this time. We have identified several plots where trees can be planted. In the city these could be planted in vacant plots of land near temples, mosques, graveyards and crematoriums," he said.

He said that the Van Mahotsav might start after July 15 and the work of identifying plots of lands in the talukas has already begun. He said so far they have received good response from people when they put forth the idea of planting trees for friends and relatives.

"The response was good both on the university campus and at the Parsi agiary in Sayajigunj where the trees are being protected by a few boys residing in the area. They have volunteered their support by protecting the trees," he says.

According to him those who are interested in the project should contact the social forestry division for saplings. He said if participation comes in large numbers Vadodara would soon be a verdant paradise.

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


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Of a dream run gone awry Wednesday, July 4, 2001

By Raja Bose, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: It's a dream road -- a 31-km stretch between Vadodara and Halol.

But, the road has recently been the cause of nightmares for a number of Vadodara dwellers who own or work at the numerous industries along it.

Industrialists and people frequenting the road now complain of their dream ride gone awry as the Vadodara Halol Toll Road Company Limited (VHTRL) recently hiked the toll for all types of vehicles plying on the stretch.

"The hike is unimaginable. Most of the industrialists who have factories in places like Savli and Jarod stay in Vadodara. Their staff members also stay in Vadodara. This hike has hit them hard," says Forum of Industries, Chambers and Associations vice-president and Savli Taluka (E) Industries Association president Bhupendra Parikh.

The road, a part of the State Highway 87, was inaugurated in October last year. The new toll rates were made effective from April 1 this year. The strengthening and widening was done by VHTRL on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis.

While the toll for cars has gone up from Rs 20 to Rs 30, it has been hiked from Rs 30 to Rs 45 for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and from Rs 50 to 65 for trucks and buses.

The VHTRL, a special purpose vehicle promoted by the Gujarat government and ILFS, has also hiked rates for frequent users, termed as "local permanent users", from Rs 600 for 50 rides to Rs 1,050 for cars.

"The hike is extraordinarily steep," says Amit Bhatnagar, joint managing director of Diamond Cables, who stays in Vadodara and has to make frequent trips to his factory every day.

"It's a double blow for me. My company is located in Jarod which is almost at the centre. Yet, I have pay the whole amount. So, I end up paying Rs 2 per km. This rate is not charged anywhere in the world," says Bhatnagar.

Bhatnagar also rues the fact that his buses carrying his employees make many rips on the road as his company runs in three shifts. "Apart from this, five of my executives travel in their own cars. It all adds to about 25 rips every day for which I have to pay," he adds.

"We welcomed the system as the road helped us save on petrol and maintenance costs and also saved time. But the way the toll was hiked has left most users jittery in Vadodara," said Parikh.

There are about 24 big industries along the road, like General Motors, Diamond Cables, Gujarat Engineering, Aswin Vanaspati and Bharat Parentals. Most of these industries have a sizeable number of staff who frequent this road every day.

Parikh also alleges that the VHTRL not kept a number of promises. "The service road on the sides were supposed to be 5.5 metre wide. However, they are just 3.5 meter wide. Promises to plant trees were also not kept," he adds.

"What surprised us was the fact that the toll was hiked just six months after the road was opened to the public. We think that such revisions should be made only after a period of three to five years. This way we may have another revision in the next six months," says Parikh.

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MUKUND SAPRE, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, VHTRL, SPEAKS:

According to the concession agreement between the government of Gujarat and VHTRL, revision of toll tax can be carried out every April basing on the consumer price index (CPI).

Moreover, an inaugural scheme for the initial period was announced in October last year when the road was opened to the public, whereby the sate government would provide subsidy on every vehicle except two-wheelers.

So, while the original toll tax for cars was Rs 25, the government provided a subsidy of Rs 5 and the owner of the car had to pay just Rs 20.

The state government has removed this subsidy from April 1, 2001. Hence, the hike in toll tax for cars has been just Rs 5. Similarly, subsidies were lifted from other types of vehicle also.

And, the hike that has been brought about has been in keeping with the CPI as on March 31, 2001.

We have introduced a number of schemes for regular users where car owners can buy tickets for 50 rides together for Rs 1,050. This has been extended to users of other types of vehicles too with rates fixed according to the size of the vehicle.

We have also introduced the scheme for unlimited use where stickers are provided to users for use within a month. There is a half-way use scheme for factory-owners who have establishments on way. The entire stretch has been divided into the Vadodara-Jarod and Jarod-Halol zones.

As far as service road is concerned, its width is 5.5 metre, the black top or bituminised area being 4 metre with an earthen shoulder of 1.5 metre.

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WHO TO CONTACT FOR DETAILS:

VHTRL: 380985

Vadodara District Collector: 423100

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New schemes announced for users of Vadodara-Halol road:

50 trip scheme

Following are the rates for various types of vehicles to be paid for 50 trips:

Two-wheelers: Rs 175

Three-wheelers: Rs 350

Cars: Rs 1,050

LCVs: Rs 1,575

Trucks/Buses: Rs 2,275

--

Unlimited Use Scheme for one month -

Following are the rates for various types of vehicles valid for unlimited use within a month:

Two-wheelers: Rs 100

Three-wheelers: Rs 175

Cars: Rs 600

LCVs: Rs 900

Trucks/Buses: Rs 1,300

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


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MCA course approved at Rajkot college Wednesday, July 4, 2001

The Times of India News Service
RAJKOT: The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has approved the T N Rao College of Information Technology here for master in computer applications course. The college will have 60 seats and the students would be awarded a degree, a statement issued by the institute said on Monday.

Train frequency

The Western Railway has increased the frequency of several trains passing through Rajkot. The frequency of the Ernakulam-Rajkot train has been increased from weekly to bi-weekly and has been extended upto Okha. The first run from Ernakulam would be on July 4 and from Rajkot on July. Similarly, the Rajkot-Secunderabad train has also been converted into a bi-weekly train. The Rajkot-Jabalpur bi-weekly train would now run for four days in a week. The Trivandrum-Hapa train would run on Monday instead of Wednesday, while on its return journey it would leave Hapa on Thursday instead of Saturday, a statement issued by the Rajkot division office said on Monday.

Five held for murder.

The police has nabbed five people for murder of a Bharvad youth. According to the police, the deceased, Jaga Deva Bharwad (30), was hacked to death with sharp weapons. The five arrested have been identified as Lakhman Gandu, Kanu Gandu, Keshu Bhima, Sanjay Vasta and Hukamsinh Chhanubha, the police said on Monday.

Woman murdered

A Muslim youth who had divorced his wife and later remarried her, strangulated her on Sunday evening at their residence in Jungleswar area of the city. The youth has been identified as Mohammed Yusuf Memon (30) while the deceased has been identified as Mumtaz (25). The cause of the murder has yet to be ascertained by the police who believe that the man doubted his wife's character.

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