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April 28, 2001 - April 29, 2001

Don't reverse telecom policy, CERC urges FM Sunday, April 29, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, has called upon the Union government that it should not "reverse" its progressive telecom policy of making available the latest technological facilities on demand and at affordable prices to villages and the other remote areas.

In a letter to the Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, CERC disapproved of the moves to edge out basic operators or fixed-time service providers (FSPs) offering limited mobility through the Wireless in Local Loop (WiLL) technology.

The controversy in this regard, the consumer organisation said, has been created by vested interests to derail the progressive measures and policies, transparently framed by the government in 1999. The National Telecommunication Policy (NTP -99) stipulates that the benefits of the telecom technology should reach all villages and other remote areas, in the most effective and affordable manner.

This aspect of the policy could be achieved only with the use of wireless technology, it added. Praising the Union government for developing a policy framework which was a win-win situation for consumers, CERC said the present controversy followed the announcement of the spectrum allocation procedure on March 23, 2001.

With this, CERC said, circle cellular mobile service providers, or (CMSPs), suddenly find their inflated valuation reducing to realistic levels with the possibility of issuance of more and more FSP licences. "It brushed aside the CMSPs' stand that the entry fee for per MHz of spectrum paid is much higher than that levied for FSPs. A comparison of the fee rates reveals the position as otherwise," it stated.

CERC therefore urged the Union finance minister to see that the interest of consumers remained paramount, which also has been the core of the NTP-99.

The letter said under no circumstances the competition should be limited, artificial restrictions on the use of technology be imposed, and at all times, customers should receive quality service at affordable price.

The CERC letter to Sinha pointed out that contrary to the public perception that the government has been more favourable to CMSPs as against FSPs, there exists a level playing field in respect of levy of spectrum charges to both the wireless and wired operators.

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Two-day meet in city on respiratory diseases Sunday, April 29, 2001

VADODARA: A special two-day conference on treatment and diagnosis of chest diseases will be organised on April 27-28 by the Vadodara Tuberculosis Association, and the Gujarat State Chest Physicians' Association.

The two-day conference will also include a function to mark the inauguration of a special tuberculosis clinic and the Shri Jigish Dalal Foundation hall managed by the Tuberculosis Association (TBA) Vadodara at the RBG complex at Bahucharaji road in Karelibaug. The conference will be held at the Satyam Shivam Sundaram Hall at the RBG complex.

TBA president C M Shah said more than 300 delegates from different parts of the state will attend the seminar. State labour minister Bhpuendra Lakhawala, Mayor Bharati Vyas amongst others are also scheduled to attend the function.

The two-day conference will include talks on multi-drug resistant TB, uncommon presentation of common respiratory problems, pulmonary mycosis in Indian context, mediastinoscopy and thoracoscopy, he said.

The guest speakers for the occasion include Dr Raman Deshpanday from Tata Memorial Hospital, A A Mahashur from Hinduja Hospital, Ajit Vig from Hyderabad and N K Jain from Jaipur amongst others.

Shah said the problem of tuberculosis has increased over the years. The TBA clinic, which earlier functioned from the premises of the Red Cross association at Raopura, would now be shifted to an independent clinic at the RBG complex. "We are trying to raise more funds so that drugs can be given to needy patients free of cost. Continuation and completion of treatment is essential so that patients do not suffer relapse," he said.

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PALANPUR:::: Seminar discusses need for HRD in agro sector Sunday, April 29, 2001

PALANPUR: A seminar on human resource development in agriculture was jointly organised by Society of Extension Education and Gujarat Agricultural University at the GAU auditorium at Sardar Krushinagar Dantiwada on Friday. About 100 experts from all over the state participated in the seminar and resolved to focus on HRD - the vital branch of agriculture which has not been really focused so far.

Presiding over the function, GAU vice-chancellor M H Mehta said the success of the comprehensive plan Vision 2010 was possible through development of agriculture only. This, he said, would need effective HRD based on appropriate planning and use of manpower. Pointing out the disparity between contribution and reward for men and women, he said the negligible importance given to women was unjustified.

He said HRD was the need of the hour. If this disparity between male workers and female workers continued, there cannot be much headway in the agricultural sector, which is the only hope of millions.

He also referred to the role of newspapers in the context of agricultural human resources. He said newspapers still hold popularity in rural India where the electronic media has yet to make a mark. He announced a special award for agricultural news coverage.

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High Court stays government order on RMC seal Saturday, April 28, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has stayed the state government's decision to suspend the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) resolution for changing its existing seal bearing a lotus to white pigeons.

Justice PK Sarkar issued a stay order on Friday, following a petition filed by RMC Mayor Ashok Dangar and sanitation committee chairman Manubhai Rathod. Thus the RMC resolution to change the symbol will remain in force. The next hearing will take place on June 20.

Advocate Shaktisinh Gohil accompanied by senior counsellor Nirupam Nanavati appeared for the petitioners.

According to details of the case, the lotus symbol is allotted to the Bharatiya Janata Party as its election symbol by the Election Commissioner, there was a common feeling among the corporators of the RMC and the people of Rajkot that it is not proper to have a seal which is a symbol of a particular political party.

Rathod therefore wrote a letter to the secretary of the RMC about changing the seal being used by the RMC and requested to include this proposal in the agenda of the Board meeting to be held on March 27.

This proposal moved by Rathod was supported by corporator Babubhai Udhreiya and the general board of RMC passed a resolution to change the seal of the RMC there was no objection from any member for the same. Forty-four members supported the move and no votes were cast against it.

However, the petitioners were informed by the state government that the said resolution number 60 has been suspended under the provisions of the Section 451 (1) of the BPMC Act.

The petitioners also wrote a letter to the government clarifying that there was no violation or controversy in the city because of the decision to change the seal of the RMC and a very cordial and peaceful atmosphere prevailed in the general board meeting and hence it is a legal one.

Following this the RMC once again passed a resolution on April 20, where it resolved that the said resolution was a legal one and it was the prerogative of the municipal corporation and hence no approval was needed from the state government.

The petitioners submitted that the emblem having lotus had acquired a political colour and therefore it was decided to replace it with an objective modern design. The new emblem has two birds, pigeons, sitting on the branch of a tree, which is universally accepted as a symbol of peace.

It was added that the action of the government to suspend the resolution for changing it was arbitrary, illegal and violative of natural justice as it was passed without giving any opportunity to the RMC, to be heard. The state government order was clearly without jurisdiction and that there was no situation which could warrant invoking the powers of the state government under the said section. Neither did the order say why it was necessary to issue such an order.

Besides, the petition claimed that there is no prohibition either under the BPMC Act or any other Act against the municipal corporation's adopting any emblem or symbol or changing it.

The joint secretary Urban Development and Urban Housing Department in the general resolution had said that "the present seal containing picture of lotus is in force before enforcement of RMC, from 1949...Major functions of the municipal corporation is to fulfil requirement and easement of the public. Drinking water is the major problem of the RMC. Under the circumstances, there is possibility of raising dispute by following the said resolution. As a result there may be difficulties in the administration of the municipal corporation, which can be disturbances for the easement of common people, which is not in the public interest. Moreover, there seems adverse effect on the peace of public by following the said resolution".

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High Court stays government order on RMC seal Saturday, April 28, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has stayed the state government's decision to suspend the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) resolution for changing its existing seal bearing a lotus to white pigeons.

Justice PK Sarkar issued a stay order on Friday, following a petition filed by RMC Mayor Ashok Dangar and sanitation committee chairman Manubhai Rathod. Thus the RMC resolution to change the symbol will remain in force. The next hearing will take place on June 20.

Advocate Shaktisinh Gohil accompanied by senior counsellor Nirupam Nanavati appeared for the petitioners.

According to details of the case, the lotus symbol is allotted to the Bharatiya Janata Party as its election symbol by the Election Commissioner, there was a common feeling among the corporators of the RMC and the people of Rajkot that it is not proper to have a seal which is a symbol of a particular political party.

Rathod therefore wrote a letter to the secretary of the RMC about changing the seal being used by the RMC and requested to include this proposal in the agenda of the Board meeting to be held on March 27.

This proposal moved by Rathod was supported by corporator Babubhai Udhreiya and the general board of RMC passed a resolution to change the seal of the RMC there was no objection from any member for the same. Forty-four members supported the move and no votes were cast against it.

However, the petitioners were informed by the state government that the said resolution number 60 has been suspended under the provisions of the Section 451 (1) of the BPMC Act.

The petitioners also wrote a letter to the government clarifying that there was no violation or controversy in the city because of the decision to change the seal of the RMC and a very cordial and peaceful atmosphere prevailed in the general board meeting and hence it is a legal one.

Following this the RMC once again passed a resolution on April 20, where it resolved that the said resolution was a legal one and it was the prerogative of the municipal corporation and hence no approval was needed from the state government.

The petitioners submitted that the emblem having lotus had acquired a political colour and therefore it was decided to replace it with an objective modern design. The new emblem has two birds, pigeons, sitting on the branch of a tree, which is universally accepted as a symbol of peace.

It was added that the action of the government to suspend the resolution for changing it was arbitrary, illegal and violative of natural justice as it was passed without giving any opportunity to the RMC, to be heard. The state government order was clearly without jurisdiction and that there was no situation which could warrant invoking the powers of the state government under the said section. Neither did the order say why it was necessary to issue such an order.

Besides, the petition claimed that there is no prohibition either under the BPMC Act or any other Act against the municipal corporation's adopting any emblem or symbol or changing it.

The joint secretary Urban Development and Urban Housing Department in the general resolution had said that "the present seal containing picture of lotus is in force before enforcement of RMC, from 1949...Major functions of the municipal corporation is to fulfil requirement and easement of the public. Drinking water is the major problem of the RMC. Under the circumstances, there is possibility of raising dispute by following the said resolution. As a result there may be difficulties in the administration of the municipal corporation, which can be disturbances for the easement of common people, which is not in the public interest. Moreover, there seems adverse effect on the peace of public by following the said resolution".

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