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March 28, 2001 - March 28, 2001

Narmada water demanded for Jamkandorana Wednesday, March 28, 2001

RAJKOT: Legislator from Dhoraji-Jamkandorana area Vithal Radadiya has demanded Narmada waters for Jamkandorana, failing which an agitation would be launched and a bandh call given, from March 31.

Radadiya said despite severe water crisis prevailing in the region, the state government did not for 'political reasons' provide Narmada waters to Jamkandorana. He said last year when people of Gondal and Jetpur were given water from the Fofal dam, the government talked of giving preference on humanitarian grounds, but now it was overlooking the demands of the needy residents.

He further said that even though the administration had started providing water to Dhoraji through the Fofal dam pipeline, Jamkandorana was not included in the scheme, when laying of just a 100 feet of pipeline was needed for water to reach Jamkandorana sump.

Radadiya said people from the region would forcibly divert the Narmada waters from the Fofal dam sump, if their demands were not met with. Radadiya said the district collector, the water supply board and the chief minister have been informed of this.

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Drive launched for PF recovery Wednesday, March 28, 2001

RAJKOT: The sub-regional office of the employees provident fund has launched a drive for collecting dues from industrial units in the region.

A statement issued by the PF commissioner's office on Monday said the PF office has been able to recover Rs 4 lakh from Bombay Mineral of Jamnagar, Rs 2.88 lakh from Dhrangadhra Chemical Works, Rs 1.25 lakh from Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology, Gandhidham, Rs 65,634 from Prestige Steel Wood and Rs 36,000 from Veraval-Patan Samyukta Nagarpalika City Bus Services. Besides, it has attached bank accounts of a large number of defaulting establishments.

The organisation would initiate legal action against defaulting units. It has taken action for auctioning immovable properties attached from units like SRS Bearing, Rushabh Precision Bearings, SRS Industries, Decora Ceramics and Diamond Tiles. Cheques issued till March 31 would be honoured at par.

The organisation has also paid claim amount of Rs 7.49 crore to more than 11,000 claimants out of 13,500 members identified from 2,893 covered units located in the quake-affected areas of Saurashtra and Kutch areas.

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Meet on bearings ends in stand-off Wednesday, March 28, 2001

RAJKOT: Tension ran high between captains of the bearing industry and the state government during a meeting with Union minister of state for heavy industry Vallabh Kathiria here on Sunday. Instead of trying to find a solution, the two sides adopted an aggressive posture resulting in a stand-off.

The patience of the bearing industry was being tested by the Union finance minster who has hiked the excise duty by a whopping 16 per cent. The industry has closed down shutters in protest for the past 20 days. However, one thing that emerged clearly from the meeting was that the Central government was not keen to solve the issue amicably and save the domestic bearing industry from doom.

The Pagla Samiti under leadership of the Rajkot Engineering Association met the Union minister in which allegations and counter- allegations were flung freely and at the end it was free for all where wild allegations were made against the Union minister who got so disgusted that at one stage he threatened to walk out of the meeting.

The bearing industry representatives alleged that not enough weightage was being given by the MPs from Saurashtra and that Kathiria was not taking adequate interest in solving the vexed problem which had paralysed the economy of the region. The representatives were unhappy as the seven MPs from Saurashtra were unable to pressurise the Union finance minister to accept their proposals.

Even as Kathiria assured the representatives and captains of the bearing iudustry that Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha was ready to revert back by putting the bearing industry in the SSI sector, the bearing industry was not ready to take him on his face value. While Kathiria said that as Parliament has gone into recess, it would be possible to do so only after April 16 when it meets again. To this, the bearing industry representatives said the finance minister need not wait till Parliament reconvenes. "It is now for the bearing indusry to call off its agitation," said Kathiria.

President of the Rajkot Engineering Association Pravin Garala said it was not possible to withdraw the agitation as the industry was not in a position to accept the 16 per cent hike in excise duty and it must be withdrawn first after which shutters of the units would open.

Obviously unhappy with the stand taken by the Union ministry and Kathiria, representatives have decoded to take up the issue with the chief minster whom they are going to meet on Tuesday. The Rajkot Engineering Association which was spreading the agitation said the bearing industry must be put back on the rails and excise on turnover up to Rs 1 crore should be exempted.

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Farmers' meet at Amreli tomorrow Wednesday, March 28, 2001

RAJKOT: The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has organised a kisan sammelan at Amreli on Wednesday. Fifty thousand farmers are expected to participate.

President of the Kisan Sangh, Prafulbhai Sejalia told TOINS on Monday that farmers' would also take out a rally and submit a memorandum listing their demands to the district collector.Farmers have been demanding exemption from power tariff hike, payment of crop insurance money for 2000 before March 31 and 100 per cent exemption to farmers on domestic electricity bills. They have also been demanding remunerative prices and that India withdraw from the World Trade Organisation.

Participants of the rally would make a bonfire of the resolution asking for electric meters to be fitted at houses and fields of farmers, Sejalia said.

Meanwhile, farmers from Keshod took out a rally and submitted a memorandum to the mamlatdar, clad in the bare minimum. They said their action signified that they were left with just these clothes as they had to sell off the others to pay their debts. The rally moved through the streets of Keshod. Anti-government slogans were raised. The farmers have also decided to burn the government in effigy on Tuesday in front of the deputy collector's office.

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Kutch border villages to get all facilities Wednesday, March 28, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Minister of state for home and border security Haren Pandya said on Monday that government would make all possible efforts to provide all facilities in villages on the Kutch border which were destroyed in the Republic Day's earthquake.

Addressing a group of quake victims after launching re-construction of houses in Ludiya and Khari villages near Khavda, Pandya said the government is aware about exodus of people from border villages to Bhuj. A plan would be prepared to create more infrastructure facilities at these villages to discourage migration towards big cities.

The minister appealed to people in border areas not to leave their villages since they were true sentinels of the border along with the BSF and Army deployed there. The government was committed to provide drinking water, fodder and other commodities to them. New houses would be constructed after removal of debris.

The Sewa Bharati Trust of the RSS has taken up the responsibility of rehabilitation of 50 villages. Pandya also inaugurated a mobile dispensary for seven quake-affected villages.

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