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June 22, 2001 - June 22, 2001

Jailed builders’ children court ‘reality’ Friday, June 22, 2001

By Sonal Kellogg, AsianAge
Ahmedabad, June 21: Twelve-year-old Arpan Shah does not want to go to the school because he does not know how to answer queries about his father Mayank Shah, builder of Visat Apartments which collapsed during the earthquake.

Arpan has also learnt a new game. He plays “court games” with his friends, where he, as the judge, routinely refuses bail to builders. Also, when the issue of home food comes up, Arpan refuses home food to the jailed builders on flimsy grounds.

All the children of the builders jailed for building collapse are aware of the meaning of adjournment of court hearings, timings and dates of weekly visits to jail, and many such other rules which have now become a part of their daily life. After the earthquake, the word “builders” acquired a “bad name,” especially for those builders whose building collapsed.

However, many of them are first-time and small builders whose families have been suffering since the men have been put behind bars.

Seven-year-old Druvi Kothari, who studies in Little Flower school knows that her father is in jail and she goes to meet him every week.

She has also lost her home because they lived in the same flat, which was built by her father. Her father Manish Kothari built Samayak flats, which collapsed during the earthquake.

Her mother Sangeeta Kothari, a housewife, is trying to run the house, pay the lawyer’s fees, send her husband’s tiffin on time to the jail, meet his court dates and also send her child to school on time. And she, along with many other wives of builders, is trying to meet their financial needs without any source of income.

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


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Bedlam at VMC meet on Pratapura Friday, June 22, 2001

AsianAge
Vadodara, June 21: Security personnel had to be called in at Sayajirao Sabha Gruh after the general board meeting of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation turned stormy on the Opposition’s demand for inquiry into the Pratapura reservoir issue.

Agitated over the denial to institute an inquiry, the Congress threw benches, cushions and papers in the House and the Opposition women corporators even gheraod mayor Bharati Vyas, when she was going out of the House.

Although the Congress corporators did not misbehave with the leaders of the elected and administrative wings, it was with great difficulty that the security personnel could manage to take the mayor and municipal commissioner out of the House.

Congress corporators were unhappy over the mayor’s denial to institute an inquiry. Opposition leader Dalsukh Prajapati had demanded that either there should be a one-man inquiry or the committee should comprise corporators of all parties. While Mrs Vyas rejected his demand, she did ask the municipal commissioner to find out the records of last 25 years and check as to whether this year as well all pre-monsoon work was carried out as per the rule book or not.

The municipal commissioner also announced that the experts of the dam safety panel from the Centre will be visiting Pratapura to give suggestions for future. According to her, experts from the state have said in the preliminary report that there is no problem to Ajwa reservoir at the moment.

Following a major breach in Pratapura reservoir on Monday, three villages were flooded and 513 families had to be shifted to safer places.

The mayor’s act of declaring the meeting closed added fuel to the fire. The one-and-a-half-hour long meeting saw the opposition leveling allegations against city engineer B. S. Trapasia. The opposition corporators also demanded his suspension.

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


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Bedlam at VMC meet on Pratapura Friday, June 22, 2001

AsianAge
Vadodara, June 21: Security personnel had to be called in at Sayajirao Sabha Gruh after the general board meeting of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation turned stormy on the Opposition’s demand for inquiry into the Pratapura reservoir issue.

Agitated over the denial to institute an inqu

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SC advocate draws parallel to Bhopal case Friday, June 22, 2001

AsianAge
Ahmedabad, June 21: A day-long hearing for the bail of high profile builders, arrested in the building collapse cases, was held at Gujarat high court amid a full courtroom on Thursday.

Thirty-five builders and their associates in 16 different cases had jointly applied for bail in the high court after their applications were rejected in lower courts.

The main thrust of the defence advocates was against the government’s application of provision 304-A of IPC, in which bail cannot be granted to the accused. The builders had hired Mr Rajendra Singh, a Supreme Court advocate alongwith other local lawyers.

Mr Singh is famous for his victory in the Bhopal gas tragedy case. Government pleader Arun Oza argued the case on behalf of the state.

The courtroom of Justice D.P. Buch was full to brim with members of the builder lobby. The builders, who applied for the bail , have been behind bars for more than 90 days. The city police arrested them for poor construction and faulty building designs after the buildings collapsed in the quake and chargesheets have been filed against them.

Mr Singh argued that the Bhopal gas tragedy and this case have many similarities. In the Bhopal case, the main reason for tragedy was faulty design of plant and the inferior quality of material used in the plant. Here also most of the buildings collapsed as they had faulty structural designs and materials used were not up to the mark, he added.

However, he said that in the Bhopal gas tragedy neither provision 304-A or 304 were applied while here provision 304-A is applied which is totally wrong. He further argued that government in its chargesheet has not mentioned that the buildings, though of faulty design, collapsed due to the earthquake. The earthquake was the main reason due to which the buildings collapsed and this fact was not acknowledged in the chargesheets, he added.

He also argued that 15 out of 16 buildings had less than five floors and were built after 1993. As per the Indian Standard Code for building, which was formed in 1993, in seismic zone three, buildings having more than 5 stories have to follow the seismic zone three guidelines, he said.

He said, “The guidelines for the seismic zone three cannot be considered for the buildings which were under five floors and which collapsed in the earthquake”. Arun Oza objected to arguments put forward by the defence counsellor.

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


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State team to discuss MMCB modalities in Delhi on June 25 Friday, June 22, 2001

AsianAge
Gandhinagar, June 21: A state delegation will leave for New Delhi on June 25 to hold discussions on the composition of the new management of Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank and the administrative modalities to be worked out for the revival with the Central Registrar at his office.

The delegation will comprise the state registrar, members of the MMCB revival committee and the leaders of the state and urban cooperative banks.

It may be recalled that a decision had been taken in principle on Wednesday for the revival of the MMCB in New Delhi after a delegation led by Chief minister Keshubhai Patel met Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and Union Home Minister L.K. Advani in the presence of Reserve Bank of India officials and Central Registrar.

The new MMCB management will comprise a chairman and a chief executive officer to be decided jointly by the RBI, the central registrar, state registrar and the state government.

Moreover it will have a representative of the Central Registrar, state registrar, RBI and one each from the state cooperatives and urban cooperatives federations.

Each bank that contributes an amount of Rs 50 crores or more will also be entitled to membership in the management. The MMCB will commence its operations within 15 to 20 days, MLA and member of the MMCB revival committee Amit Shah said.

He said that the new management will reclaim the Rs 464 crores under the Deposit and Credit Insurance Scheme to pay off depositors having deposits upto Rs one lakh in the bank.

He also expressed confidence that the new management will wipe out the losses of Rs 1,036 crores within 10 years and start paying dividend to the shareholders from the 11th year.

The bank will be revived with Rs 464 crores from the Depositor Credit Insurance scheme, Rs 800 crores to be pumped in by the state and urban cooperative banks and a freeze on deposits of Rs 600 crores of the state and urban co-operative banks for a period of six months which totals upto Rs 1,864 crores.

From this Rs 1,000 crores will be used to wipe out the losses while the rest will be used for the bank operations. The Centre has agreed on a 70 per cent default guarantee against Rs 800 crores pumped in while the remaining 30 per cent will be furbished by the state government.

Moreover, state and urban cooperative banks that have no deposits with the MMCB will be requested to contribute four per cent of their deposits for the revival.

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


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