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June 13, 2001 - June 15, 2001

Drought 2001 may cost the government Rs 1000 crore Friday, June 15, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government is expected to run a bill of nearly Rs 1000 crore on tackling the drought this year. The main expenditure has been incurred on payment of wages at drought relief sites , providing water , grass and cattle feed and also subsiding the cattle shelters.

When the final calculations are made , perhaps at the end of June, it will turn out that the drought has been a big drain on the exchequer at a time when the government badly needed funds for combating the earthquake. "The bills are still pouring in , we expect the figure to reach the Rs 1000 crore mark soon", said a senior relief official.

The government has so far spent Rs 336 crores on providing wages to workers at drought relief sites this year and has generated over 15 crore man days of work through these schemes . Besides, there are another 3.5 crore unpaid man days of work where the measurements and costing of work is yet to be done .In comparison , two other states which are also severely affected by drought, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh , have generated only 3.5 crore man days and 2 crore man days of work, respectively.The government has also spent Rs 20 crore on cash doles and Rs 30 crores on cattle shelters.

Even though the pre-monsoon showers have lashed many parts of the state , statistics show that there are still 22.58 lakh workers engaged in 4722 drought relief works in 23 districts . Though the number of workers is expected to fall sharply next week following heavy rains in many parts, the state government is still spending Rs 9 crores every day on payment of wages and cash doles to people in the drought affected areas.

The director of relief B R Patel told TOI that as per the figures updated till Monday , 14.04 crore man days of work was generated through the drought relief works this year. Over and above this, 1.26 crore mandays of work was generated through budgeted works. Significantly, when the state government had prepared its memorandum to combat the drought this year , it had anticipated provision of only 10 crore man days of works.

Patel said the amount paid in cash doles to pregnant women and destitutes has totalled nearly Rs 20 crores .As of this week, 2617 tankers are in operation providing water to 3929 villages . Besides, 3138 bore-wells of 100 mm diameter, 177 bore-wells of 150 mm diameter and 155 deep tube wells have been drilled during this year to tide over the water crisis. The deep tube wells are concentrated in Mehsana and other parts of North Gujarat where the water table has sunk drastically.The provision of water alone is expected to cost around Rs 300 crores.

Another Rs 30 crores has been spent on the cattle shelters across the state which are being subsidised by the state government. The state government has arranged for distribution of nearly 14.18 crore kg of grass and 2.54 crore kg of cattle feed. Both the cattle feed and grass are provided at a subsidised rate of Rs 1 per kg while it costs the government Rs 4 in procurement and transportation costs.

According to information available with the government so far, 16 talukas of the state have received 125 mm or more rainfall this season where , as per the norms, the drought relief works can be called off now. Three of these talukas are in Bhavnagar , two each in Navsari and Jamnagar and one each in Ahmedabad, Amreli, Junagarh, Dangs, Surat, Surendranagar , Valsad and Vadodara districts.

The government is hoping for good rains this year to cut down the cost of trackling the drought which is adding up with each passing day.The director of the meteorology office R K Kankane had some good news for the government on Wednesday stating that the northern limit of the monsoon had covered entire Gujarat . "We expect good rains in the coming two days all over the state", he said.
p>News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Cotton export increase by 12%: Kashiram Rana Friday, June 15, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD: Union textile minister Kashiram Rana on Thursday said 12 per cent rise had been registered in the export of cotton from the country and 9 per cent in garments.

Rana told reporters that cotton export was fetching foreign exchange worth Rs 60 crore and under the new textile policy, the export would go up from $15 billion to $50 billion by 2010.

Referring to modernisation of ginning factories, he said that out of 4,000 such factories, 1,000 factories would be taken up for modernisation.

On the production of cotton, he said that the government was intending to achieve the target of production from 550 kg per hectare from 300 kg, he pointed out.

He further said that cotton production, which was 155 lakh to 160 lakh bales would come down to 145 to 150 lakh bales during the year due to the drought situation. (PTI)
p>News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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MoU signed for improving cotton market yards Friday, June 15, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Thursday between Gujarat State Agricultural Marketing Yards, Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) and the Technology Mission on Cotton (TMC), for improvement of marketyards under TMC's mini mission III.

The project would cost Rs 159.25 lakh, of which APMC's share would be Rs 69.25 lakh and TMC's share would be Rs 90 lakh, Union textile minister Kashiram Rana told reporters here.

The MoU was signed by R.N. Joshi of Gujarat State Agriculture Marketing JBoard and the secretary of Broach Marketing Board and others, and B.A. Patel, joint textile commissioner (cotton), Mumbai of TMC.

Rana said that in order to reduce contamination in cotton, TMC was improving infrastructure of cotton agricultural market yards and had taken up modernisation of ginning and pressing factories.

During the remaining three years of the Ninth Plan, TMC would be taking up 51 market yards for development and would be taking up modernisation of 150 ginning and pressing factories at 50 G and P factories, respectively, per year.

TMC had already taken up 51 market yards for development with Centre's assistance of Rs 36.96 crore. (PTI)
p>News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Cong MP demands tax exemption for quake hit areas Wednesday, June 13, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD: A Congress MP has urged Prime Minister A B Vajpayee for tax exemptions for Surendranagar, parts of Rajkot and Patan districts, affected by January 26 earthquake, saying "not granting exemptions to all affected areas, will amount to discrimination against the districts."

In a letter on Tuesday to Vajpayee, the MP Praveen Rashtrapal said, "it is true the worst-affected district is Kutch. It is equally true that entire Surendranagar part of Rajkot and Patan district, were also affected on account of earthquake. There was damage to public and private properties in these three districts."

"Government vide its official resolutions has declared various blocks of these districts as worst-affected area on account of the quake. These districts are provided various facilities in the form of cash doles, compensation for loss of live and damage to properties," the MP said.

"You will kindly appreciate that these areas, which are declared as worst-affected areas, should be treated at par with Kutch district and be granted exemption from central excise and sales tax for a period of five years," he said in the letter. (PTI)
p>News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Cong MP demands tax exemption for quake hit areas Wednesday, June 13, 2001

The Times of India
AHMEDABAD: A Congress MP has urged Prime Minister A B Vajpayee for tax exemptions for Surendranagar, parts of Rajkot and Patan districts, affected by January 26 earthquake, saying "not granting exemptions to all affected areas, will amount to discrimination against the districts."

In a letter on Tuesday to Vajpayee, the MP Praveen Rashtrapal said, "it is true the worst-affected district is Kutch. It is equally true that entire Surendranagar part of Rajkot and Patan district, were also affected on account of earthquake. There was damage to public and private properties in these three districts."

"Government vide its official resolutions has declared various blocks of these districts as worst-affected area on account of the quake. These districts are provided various facilities in the form of cash doles, compensation for loss of live and damage to properties," the MP said.

"You will kindly appreciate that these areas, which are declared as worst-affected areas, should be treated at par with Kutch district and be granted exemption from central excise and sales tax for a period of five years," he said in the letter. (PTI)
p>News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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