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May 1, 2001 - May 1, 2001

VMC feels water 'Pressure' Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Vadodara: In early 90s Tata Consultancy Services prepared a report for strengthening the water distribution system of the city. The exercise envisaged provision of water with equal water pressure in all the areas within the VMC jurisdiction.

However, the authorities shelved the report without giving specific reasons and today not only the periphery areas but the old city also faces low pressure problems. According to VMC sources, the TCS had suggested several changes, including operating only one valve from each of the water tanks instead of more than 5,500 valves, regulating the water flow in several housing society areas, earmarking command areas and using pipelines of specific diametre in particular areas.

Residents in several parts of the city have been left with no alternative but to dig pits below the ground level to get few buckets of water. In sharp contrast, several housing societies on the Old Padra Road get water supply thrice a day. In several areas connections have been given directly from the feeder lines.

Vociferous Congress corporator Chandrakant Shrivastav challenges the VMC by saying that there are societies where water is supplied 24 hours. He minces no words in stating that when the BJP came to power in 1995, it did not implement the report only because it was prepared during the tenure of city engineer D.R. Gandhi.

It may be recalled that some of the BJP corporators did not get along well with Mr Gandhi and the VMC had also taken disciplinary action against him on some other issue. According to Mr Shrivastav, had the recommendations been implemented, pressure could have been maintained throughout the city even during slack phase — namely bad monsoon years.

A hesitant mayor, Bharti Vyas, who resisted giving reasons for non-implementation of the report, said, “What is the point to think whether the water pressure would have been proper if the report was implemented.”

It was implemented for the Akota tank area, she said adding that all the recommendations could not be implemented as residents of the areas getting water up to third floor objected to it. She, however, claims that the BJP will now try to minimise the number of persons operating the valves.

According to sources, if the number of valves is reduced then the areas under a particular water tank get water for equal time and pressure. Municipal commissioner Vilasini Ramachandran, who recently took over, told The Asian Age that the periphery areas suffer from pressure problems.

As regards the old city, she said that the TCS report must be reviewed to ascertain how best it can be implemented. “The TCS report was applicable till 2001. We need to see what can be done now,” she said.

Sources confirmed that the review exercise could be undertaken very soon. Deputy mayor Shailesh Mehta, who was in the opposition in the last board, citing an example, asked, “What will happen if the Waghodia, Laxmipura and Gotri water tanks are prepared as per the TCS report and the distribution lines not laid accordingly.” Till the report is implemented, even giving more quantity of water will not solve the pressure problems, sources said.

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Kathiria draws plan to revive MMCB Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Ahmedabad: Final touches are being given to revival plan of the beleaguered Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank, which will be presented to the RBI and the Central government this weekend, Union minister of state for heavy industries Dr Vallabh Kathiria told The Asian Age on Monday.

Dr Kathiria, who has taken up the cause of the revival of the bank, said the Gujarat Cooperative Banks Federation, the state government and the Central government, including the finance ministry and RBI are positive about the plan and are taking keen interest for the revival of the bank.

Dr Kathiria said, “Members of cooperative bank would contribute around Rs 600 crore as soft loans to cover up the deficit. The modalities of sharing the money between different banks are being worked out. Financially sound cooperative banks would contribute more funds while those banks, which have lesser deposits, would contribute less,'' he added.

“Leaders of the co-operative banks of the state cutting across the party line have agreed to contribute for the revival,'' he added. Dr Kathiria said the revival plan will also propose permanent ban on premature deposit withdrawal.

The cooperative sector is demanding to give credit guarantee from the central government against the money they would give as soft loans. Dr Kathiria has made representations to the home minister L K Advani, finance minister Yashwant Sinha and also to the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee over the issue.

“The government has promised that maximum credit guarantee would be provided by the central government,” he added. The final discussion on the plan would be held in by the cooperative banks' federation on May 4.

The plan would be submitted to the RBI on Saturday. The RBI in turn will send the plan to the finance ministry. Dr Kathiria, giving example of the Vijay Commercial Cooperative Bank of Rajkot, said that the bank which was declared insolvent a few years back was revived due to the efforts of cooperative banks of Rajkot and is a profit making bank now.

“That is the example in front of us, which is to be followed,” he said. Dr Kathiria, who is the founder member of the recently formed National Cooperative Forum of India, is interested in spreading of cooperative movements throughout the country.

“Gujarat is an important state for cooperative movement and success of state in cooperative ventures is important to set an example. So I am taking keen interest in revival of the bank."

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State abolishes octroi, fuel to cost more in 3 corporations Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Gandhinagar, April 30:
Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari on Monday signed the Municipalities Octroi Abolition Ordinance 2001 abolishing octroi in 131 municipalities and 418 panchayats effective from Tuesday to correspond with the Gujarat Day on May 1.

The Cabinet on Monday decided to levy a cess of two per cent on petrol and diesel to compensate the loss caused due to octroi abolition. However, the entire loss of Rs 210 to Rs 215 crores will not be compensated due to the cess levy.

Minister of state for urban development Parmanand Khattar said an income of Rs 150 crores will be generated due to the cess while the state government will give a grant of Rs 60 crores to compensate octroi income generated by the 131 municipalities and 418 panchayats.

The cess of two per cent will increase fuel charges in the six municipal corporations. “A nominal increase of 30 paise on petrol and 20 paise on diesel will increase due to the levy of cess in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat while in Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and Rajkot the cess will lead to a slight decrease in the fuel rates as there is already an octroi charge of 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent on fuel rates in these cities.

“The overall effect will be that the fuel rates in the whole of the state will be balanced,” Mr Khattar said. The sales tax department has been given the responsibility of collecting the cess.

“All octroi outposts from in 131 of the 143 municipalities and 418 panchayats will remain closed from midnight on wards and the authority of the municipalities and panchayats will cease from midnight on Tuesday,” minister of state for urban development Parmanand Khattar said here on Monday.

When asked when the state government planned to abolish octroi in the six municipal corporations, Mr Khattar said if the state is comfortable with the experience of abolition of octroi in the municipalities and panchayats the octroi in the six municipal corporations will also be abolished.

Mr Khattar said the average of three years 1997-98, 98-99 and 99-2000 will be considered to compute the octroi of the municipalities and panchayats and an increase of seven per cent each year in the income will be given by the state government after the present year, Mr Khattar said.

“We will give 30 per cent of the income generated by the local authority in a month by May 8 awhile the remaining will be given between May 20-25,” Mr Khattar said when asked how the state government proposed to compensate the local authorities in May.

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Gubernatorial assent to promote state gas industries Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Gandhinagar, April 30 :
Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari on Saturday attached his signature to the Gujarat Gas (Regulation of Transmission, Supply and Distribution) Bill 2001 to ensure a systematic and integrated development of gas industry in the state.

The Act encompasses not only the setting up of a Gas Regulatory Authority to regulate transmission, supply and distribution of gas but also looks after the environmental safety and efficiency aspects of developing the gas industry in the state.

It has been considered necessary to provide for licensing for gas distribution to encourage investment in the distribution sector.

The gas transmission systems are highly capital intensive and duplication is not in the interest of gas consumers. It has also been found necessary to introduce the principle of a common carrier for operation of gas pipelines.

The bill had been presented in the last session of the state legislative assembly for the purpose of legislating for seeking its approval but had not been taken up for want of time.

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MMCB chairman detained by police again Tuesday, May 1, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank (MMCB) chairman Ramesh Parikh who was let off on bail recently after being arrested by the CBI in Mumbai for his alleged role in the Rs 137 crore pay order scam, was on Monday detained by police in connection with a criminal case registered against him in the city.

MMCB's administrator S Ramachandran had on April 21 filed a criminal complaint for cheating, forgery and breach of trust against bank's chairman Ramesh Parikh, chief executive officer Devendra Pandya and its Mumbai branch manager Jagdish Pandya.

isions of the Banking Regulation Act, police said.

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