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June 20, 2001 - June 20, 2001

PIL on rehabilitation of quake victims adjourned Wednesday, June 20, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday adjourned to June 26 hearing on a public interest litigation which submitted that failure on the part of the state government to coordinate rehabilitation operations meant for the earthquake victims has caused them widespread suffering.

The PIL, filed by Justice (Rtd) B J Divan and others, said the state machinery was in total disarray and not able to effectively handle the rehabilitation operations.

It said the administration was unable to give any data of the persons killed in the January 26 earthquake and the damage and destruction caused to the properties.

The PIL submitted lack of coordination and control and ineptness of the administration was affecting lakhs of quake victims, who were forced to live in the open in different parts of the quake devastated areas of Gujarat.

When the matter came up for hearing before a bench, comprising Chief Justice D M Dharmadhikari and Justice K R Vyas, the Advocate General said the state government has filed a detailed affidavit mentioning how it was complying with the High Court's directive regarding rehabilitating and resettling the quake-hit people.

As one of the petitioners had made a request that he be allowed to peruse the affidavit, the bench adjourned the matter for one week to June 26. (PTI)

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


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Rotary funds for relief in quake-hit Kutch Wednesday, June 20, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: Rotary International on Tuesday offered to generate funds worth Rs 18 crore for relief and rehabilitation of the earthquake-affected areas of Kutch district.

Gujarat government has agreed to join hands with our organisation to implement all the projects by contributing a similar amount, district governor of Rotary International Dr Shshank Rathod told newspersons here.

The project would involve a sum of Rs 36 crore, he added.

The trustees of Rotary Foundation have agreed to sanction three grants of health, hunger and humanity of 3,00,000 US dollars each for low cost housing, Rathod said.

Two matching grants have been implemented for construction of 580 and 320 shelters in Bela and Padhar village respectively at an estimated cost of Rs 2.7 crore and Rs 2.1 crore each and the third grant of Rs 1.4 crore for 280 low cost shelters in Bhachau village is to follow, he said.

Rotary has also adopted to construct 1,000 school rooms in association with the state government.

"The Japanese rotarians have contributed Rs 4.7 crore for this project and 50 per cent cost of the project will be borne by Rotary International", Rathod added. (PTI)

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


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Rotary funds for relief in quake-hit Kutch Wednesday, June 20, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: Rotary International on Tuesday offered to generate funds worth Rs 18 crore for relief and rehabilitation of the earthquake-affected areas of Kutch district.

Gujarat government has agreed to join hands with our organisation to implement all the projects by contributing a similar amount, district governor of Rotary International Dr Shshank Rathod told newspersons here.

The project would involve a sum of Rs 36 crore, he added.

The trustees of Rotary Foundation have agreed to sanction three grants of health, hunger and humanity of 3,00,000 US dollars each for low cost housing, Rathod said.

Two matching grants have been implemented for construction of 580 and 320 shelters in Bela and Padhar village respectively at an estimated cost of Rs 2.7 crore and Rs 2.1 crore each and the third grant of Rs 1.4 crore for 280 low cost shelters in Bhachau village is to follow, he said.

Rotary has also adopted to construct 1,000 school rooms in association with the state government.

"The Japanese rotarians have contributed Rs 4.7 crore for this project and 50 per cent cost of the project will be borne by Rotary International", Rathod added. (PTI)

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


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Big Mac faces woes of the veggie kind Wednesday, June 20, 2001

The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD: The world's largest fast-food chain McDonald's has paused to ponder before making its entry into Gujarat, a state which appears committed to vegetarianism.

And the threat meted out last week by the Bajrang Dal in Rajkot to handcarts selling omelettes and boiled eggs to pack up or get ready to be booted out hasn't helped Big Mac to arrive at a decision.

Though reports about McDonald's entry into Gujarat, especially Ahmedabad and Vadodara, have been doing the rounds for quite some time, the company is treading cautiously in the wake of the recent outrage in the Indian-American community over its French fries being allegedly laced with beef tallow.

And knowing the sensitivity of Gujaratis on the issue, the company is carrying out extensive market research and trying to get maximum feedback before taking the plunge. Sources say the franchisees have already been short-listed in the major cities of Gujarat.

An anxious executive of a Mumbai-based public relations firm called up 'The Times of India' last week wanting to know what kind of reception McDonald's would get in Gujarat.

The caller seemed quite aware that its closest world-wide rival, Pizza Hut, had decided to go vegetarian when it opened its first outlet in Ahmedabad last year. It is the only Pizza Hut joint in the world which serves vegetarian fare.

McDonald's has already clarified that in deference to the local sentiments it would segregate the vegetarian and non-vegetarian cooking processes. It is planning to send a team to Ahmedabad shortly to meet the political leadership and also some religious groups and explain its stand before moving in.

The company is also keen on finding out the kind of problems other multinationals have faced in Gujarat, particularly the smashing of Pepsi and Coke trucks by the Swadeshi brigade about two years back. Incidents like the attack on Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet in Bangalore seem to be weighing on the minds of top McDonald's executives.

"I think it would be advisable to first start operations in Vadodara, which has a more cosmopolitan outlook than Ahmedabad," remarked a person associated with the company. The assessment makes sense considering the fact that a restaurant chain like Havmor has a non-vegetarian outlet in Vadodara, while in Ahmedabad the fare is strictly vegetarian.

Even Patang, the revolving restaurant which has become a land-mark of sorts in Ahmedabad, turned vegetarian on the first day of Navratri last year when even committed flesh eaters stay off boneless butter chicken, which is to a non-vegetarian Gujarati what chicken tikka masala is for a Londoner, for nine days.

A few months back, the upmarket business hotel, Fortune Landmark, took away half the space from its roof-top Khyber restaurant and started Sami-Sanjh, a Gujarati 'thali' joint. There are several other instances of restaurants going the veggie way in the city does have its share of non-vegetarian outlets with their own loyal clientele.

Says Navin Malan, the restaurant general manager of Pizza Hut, "When we did a survey before entering Ahmedabad, we found that a large majority of people would not like to go to a restaurant which serves both non-vegetarian and vegetarian food." He feels McDonald's is bound to have "major image problems" in Gujarat because it is known the world over for its beef burger, though it serves only lamb in India.

Malan says customers in Gujarat are so sensitive that Pizza Hut has had to curtail the use of mushrooms to just one or two preparations. "Unlike other parts of India where our mushroom pizzas are very popular, out here there is this perception that it is some kind of fungal growth which should not be consumed," he explains.

Malan rules out McDonald's also turning vegetarian in Gujarat, pointing out "it would entail a huge exercise to work out a vegetarian fare. All they serve right now is the alu tikki burger and French fries".

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


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Another co-operative bank declared sick Wednesday, June 20, 2001

The Times Of India
GANDHINAGAR: Yet another co-operative bank, Visnagar Nagarik Sahakari Bank Ltd, based in Mehsana, has been declared sick by the Reserve Bank of India.

A Reserve Bank of India letter to the general manager of the bank says that during the course of inspection in the bank from November 6 to 27 last year, its financial position as percentage of net erosion to net funds worked out to be as high as 85.8 per cent.

"Accordingly, your bank has been classified a weak bank requiring rehabilitation and is included in the list of weak banks under rehabilitation", the RBI letter, signed by A. Ganapathy, deputy manager, urban banks department, Ahmedabad, says.

Asking the bank "not to declare and disburse the dividend without our prior permission in that behalf from the year 2000-01 and onwards", the letter says, "You are advised not to acquire, depose of any of the immovable properties and to shift, change the existing places of business without our prior approval."

Asking the management of the Visnagar bank, one of the premier co-operative banks in North Gujarat with Bholabhai Patel as chairman, to make "sustained effort towards deposit mobilisation, judicial deployment of funds with a view to improving profitability and management competence", the RBI advises it to build a "strong capital base and strengthen general internal control system/ loan policy and procedures and recovery overdues."

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


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