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June 21, 2001 - June 22, 2001

MLAs to get television sets Friday, June 22, 2001

Gandhinagar, June 20: The state Cabinet on Tuesday gave green signal for purchase of television sets for MLAs residing at the quarters in Sector 21 here approving a 10-year pending demand. Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, the minister of state for information and broadcasting, Mr Bharat Barot, said the decision was made on the basis of the representations made by the MLA Quarters Committee, which decides on the facilities at MLA residences.

“The representations had been made by the committee over the past 10 years and the Cabinet on Monday approved the same,” Mr Barot said.

Considering that the state has 181 MLAs and that ministers already have fully furnished bungalows with all attedant trappings, the state government will have to purchase around 143 television sets for the MLAs.

When asked on the need forsuch an approval for MLAs, Mr Barot said in Delhi the salaries of MLAs have been raised from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 and similar decisions were taken by some states too.

“We have not given any such thing to our MLAs,” Mr Barot said endorsing the TV largesse.To a question whether the decision had been right considering that the state is going through a difficult period, Mr Barot said the Cabinet had considered all aspects while taking the decision.

Mr Barot said no decision has been taken on the type of sets that will be allotted or the budget.
Mr Barot said the danger of drought has already been averted with the first spell of rains. The state government has already stopped relief work at various places due to the rains.

Responding to a question on what action is proposed against MLAs, who have given the quarters allocated to them for rent, Mr Barot said any action for rented or leased premises comes under the purview of the Speaker of the legislative assembly Dhirubhai Shah. Mr Barot said the decision to give the sets had been approved by the chief whips of BJP and the Congress in 1998 while considering the report of the committee appointed to look into salary hike for public representatives.

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

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‘Visnagar Nagrik bank has no liquidity problem’ Thursday, June 21, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 20: The Visnagar Nagrik Sahakri Bank has no problems of liquidity inspite of rush of depositors for withdrawal of cash since the past two days. The Usmanpura branch has so far disbursed Rs 6.5 crores in cash to the depositors, said Urvish Mehta, director of the bank.

As per the RBI directive, the bank, at present, is not allowed to encash premature deposits. Mr Mehta claimed that the bank faced problems because of poor recovery and could not achieve the target due to the earthquake.

He, however confirmed that the bank at present has no liquidity crisis and it will not have to borrow from the state government or the RBI.

However, the depositors who have deposited their valuable savings thronged the Usmanpura branch of the bank from early morning. Long lines were visible outside the bank and depositors had come to the bank to withdraw their premature deposits. However, after standing in line for a long time they were denied their money sighting the RBI directive.

Natwarsinh Jadeja, one of the depositors standing outside the bank said, “We have not kept our hard-earned money in the bank for the benefit of few bank directors. We will form a union and stage protest,” he added. Two mobile vans with over 35 policemen patrolled the branch in case any untoward incident at the bank was reported.

After the crisis MMCB crisis, VNSB had not allowed withdrawal of premature fixed deposits, but it gave loans up to fifty per cent of the fixed deposit’s premature amount.

It also stopped giving such loans after the crisis. As per the bank’s annual report the Net Owned funds were around Rs 75.81 crores this year. During the RBI inspection, it was revealed that these funds were eroded by around 85 per cent and the RBI had asked the bank to be more vigilant while lending funds.

In spite of gross profit of Rs 23 crores on income of Rs 208 crores and expenditure of Rs 185 crores, the bank’s actual net profit for the year was only Rs 11.72 crores, showing no increase over last year.

The RBI has also asked the bank not to declare or disburse dividend without its prior permission. However, the bank has disbursed Rs 1.49 crores as dividend for the current year.

Meanwhile, chairman of Gujarat Urban Cooperative Federation Atamaram Patel said that there was a political motive behind the leaking of the RBI letter to the newspaper. The bank is in very sound condition as far as liquidity is concerned, he added.

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

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District collector of city pulled up Thursday, June 21, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 20: The high court has ordered that charges should be framed against the district collector of the city, responding to an application under contempt of Court Act filed by workers of Continental mill.

The division bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and H.H. Mehta gave the order. The court had earlier ordered that collector should take action to auction the land and pay the wages of the workers.

However, the collector had failed to do so. He has been asked to personally remain present in the court on July 12. If he does not comply by the order by that time, the court directed that he should explain the delay in implementing its direction.
The Continental Mill, which was shut down in 1992, has not paid wages or any compensation to the workers.

The mill was closed without obtaining permission of the government and so the workers had approached the labour court, which directed the collector to recover the salary of 699 workmen by selling the land and pay Rs 22.crore to the workmen as their due. Though the order was issued in 1998, the collector did not recover the amount.

The applicants approached the high court same year which directed the collector to recover the amount.

In 1999, when the high court gave a final order after an appeal of the mill owner, it asked the collector to complete this exercise of the recovery under Bombay Land Revenue Code. Despite this no action has been taken so far.

The applicants have alleged that the collector has defied the high court order and its deliberate attitude of refusing to comply with its order has left 699 workers in acute financial distress.

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

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Cable operators go on protest strike Thursday, June 21, 2001

Ahmedabad, June 20: Televisions in the city stopped flashing satellite channels today as cable operators went on strike. The Ahmedabad Cable Operators Association had announced a fight against television channels owners for increase in price of the pay-channels.

The association is protesting against the rise in the prices of pay channels that will force the cable operators to increase the fees that they charge from common customers.

Star TV network has increased the price of pay channels from Rs 2 to Rs 30 per connection in last two years which equals to price rise of around 1500 per cent in a little time. The same is the case with Zee, which has increased its fees about four times and Sony which is becoming a pay channel from being a free channel.

Star TV recently increased its price to Rs. 30 per connection, Zee TV increased their price to Rs. 28 per connection, the price of the ESPN and Star Sports have been increased to Rs 18 per connection.The problem for cable operators is that on one hand the customers do not want hike in the
cable fees and then channels are becoming costlier.

Looking at the scenario, the city association has decided to join the nationwide strike of cable operators on June 20. All the cable operators of the Ahmedabad have given their support.

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

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Vallabh Vidhyanagar:::: HC stays tree felling procedure, notice to Anand collector Thursday, June 21, 2001

Ahmedabad/Vidhyanagar, June 20: The high court has stayed the procedure of felling off 400 old trees in Vallabh Vidhyanagar to widen the university road to Amber cinema.

The high court also ordered to issue notices to the collector of Anand, road and building department of state government and the administrator of the Vallabh Vidhyanagar Municipal Borough.

Division bench of chief Justice Mr D.M. Dharmadhikari and Justice K.R. Vyas gave the order in a public interest litigation filed by Dhaval Patel, a member of Vidhyanagar Nature Club. The petition was filed challenging the advertisement dated June 11 for the cutting of trees on the road to widen it.

The applicant argued there is no need to cut old trees on both sides of the road for the purpose of widening the road. The group had suggested a solution for traffic problems but it was not taken into consideration by the authority.

He also argued that Union minister of state Maneka Gandhi also discussed the issue of cutting the trees with the collector. However, the collector did not respond. The next hearing will be on July 4.

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

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