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March 23, 2001 - March 23, 2001

No new taxes in panchayat budget Friday, March 23, 2001

RAJKOT: The Rs 61 lakh surplus budget of the Rajkot district panchayat was passed on Thursday. As against self-finance of Rs 3,14,69,956, the budget has proposed to spend Rs 2,53,27,200, district panchayat president Chetnaben Radadiya said here. She has not proposed any new taxes in the budget looking to the second consecutive year of drought.

Radadiya however hastened to add that developmental works would not be affected in any way. She said she had proposed an allocation of Rs 4,40,000 for the panchayat and developmental works. A sum of Rs 18,88,000 has been earmarked for education while Rs 69,42,000 is for medical purposes.

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BHAVNAGAR : Residents get Narmada water Friday, March 23, 2001

Narmada waters have started flowing through the taps in Bhavnagar from Thursday. On Wednesday night, the waters flowed into the Sidsar sump, from where distribution was started.

The city has been facing a severe water crisis after the Shetrunji dam dried up. Narmada water will lessen the drinking water problems of the residents. Bhavnagar municipal commissioner P D Vaghela said Narmada waters were diverted to be the existing Shetrunji pipeline which made it possible to distribute the water to residents.

Meanwhile, Narmada water is expected to reach Jetpur within the next 48 hours, as the waters had already reached Gondal. The water would flow from the Fofal pipeline and would be emptied into the Mevasa sump near Jetpur. The water will further be carried to Dhoraji through the same pipeline.

Giving details, engineers of the Water Supply Board said the Babra to Gondal pipeline was laid within a record time of three months. Entire electrification work at Babra was completed within 10 days. They further said that the 20-km pipeline from Babra to Dharai was of 1500 mm radius and from Dharai to Gondal of 1000 mm radius. At Babra, a 27-lakh litre capacity sump had been constructed while another sump has been built at Chamardi, having a capacity of 25 lakh litres.

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JAMNAGAR : Man kills son, daughter Friday, March 23, 2001

Jamnagar: A man killed one of his sons and daughter at Raan village of Kalyanpur taluka in Jamnagar on Thursday. According to reports, Dalwadi Narshi Dahya suddenly went berserk and attacked his wife Dhaniben and two sons Dilip (5), Mahendra (10) and daughter Viju(15) with a sharp weapon.

While Dilip and Viju died on the spot, Dhaniben and Mahendra were rushed to the G G Hospital at Jamnagar with serious injuries. The other children Pravin (16) and daughter Ramila (8) were sleeping in the courtyard and were saved from the attack.

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CBSE permits Bhavan's student to appear in exam Friday, March 23, 2001

VADODARA: The CBSE will allow a student of Bhavan's school to take his mathematics examination in April along with students of the earthquake-affected areas. The student, Ajay Govind Ahir, of Surat had missed the paper on Thursday as he was admitted to a hospital in Surat.

Ahir, was hospitalised after he complained of pain in stomach and abdomen. He was allegedly kicked and beaten last week by the warden and house-master of the KM Munshi Hostel of Bhavan's school.

The CBSE will also allow him to take his English paper later as he might not be in a position to take the test scheduled for March 30.

"CBSE chairman Ashok Ganguly has assured us that Ajay can take exams in April along with the quake-affected students," said Bhavan's school director V Seshan. He said that a teacher from the school would specially coach the student in the remaining papers -- Mathematics and English and also accompany him to the examination centre. I am happy that the CBSE has allowed him to appear along with the students in the quake-affected areas," said Seshan.

On the other hand, Ajay and his parents are unhappy with the situation. "My son had worked hard for his board exams. He may perhaps come out of the physical trauma, but emotionally he is very disturbed. He starts crying when one talks about the exams. I will never be able to forgive the teachers who played with my son's career," said Ajay's father Govind Ahir. Ajay is still in the hospital and has been advised complete bed-rest by the doctors.

He informed that despite a letter from Bhavan's school principal HL Chopra, authorising the Surat centre of CBSE to let him take his Mathematics exam, the school authorities in Surat refused. "In order to pacify us, the principal gave us a letter. But when we approached the Kendriya Vidyalaya in Surat, they refused to accommodate him till they received orders from the regional office at Ajmer. Late in the evening Chopra informed us that we needn't worry as CBSE chairman had allowed him to take exams with the students in the quake-affected areas," said Govind.

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Flight of capital from co-operative to nationalised banks Friday, March 23, 2001

AHMEDABAD:The image of co-operative banks in the city have taken a severe beating after two successive scams involving the Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank and Classic Co-operative Bank. Already both national and private banks in the city are recording a sharp rise in deposits and customer base, as a number of customers are switching to safer institutions.

Estimates say that almost half of the nearly Rs 500 crore withdrawn from the co-operative banks in the city over the last fortnight is finding way into other banks. "I am seeing a trend as more and more people are realising that their savings are safe with nationalised banks. Though it is difficult to give an exact estimate at the moment, I can safely say that this will run into several crores of rupees", said chief general manager of State Bank of India Madhav M Mehta.

"It took us four years to raise a deposit of Rs 32 crore and it took just a rumour of one day to finish off all the hard work which went into mobilisation of these deposits, says City Co-operative Bank's senior manager Naishad Mankad.

A spokesman for Bank of Baroda, Jayesh J Dholakia, agrees, "Some of the co-operative banks are run in a very professional way , but because of the panic caused by the follies of a couple of banks , all of them have suffered".

But both Madhavpura and Classic are just the latest in the ranks of co-operative banks which have been grounded in the past because of unprofessional approach and reckless handling of finance. If it was Madhavpura this time, six months back a market rumour thanks to the inept handling of finance by the General Co-operative Bank led to a major redemption spree in the city which had a cascading effect on a few other local banks. But chairman of the bank Hasmukh Shah says, "We are back in control and things are fine".

Similarly the take-over of the Ahmedabad Urban Co-operative Bank by Congress leader Surendra Rajput after dethroning founder members Champaklal Sanghvi and Manharlal Shah caused a major redemption spree a couple of years ago. Incidentally the Gujarat State Co-operative Bank, which is the apex bank, is managing the affairs of about 60 banks that have gone in red and many of them are sick and beyond repair, says Mankad. But, he added that the apex bank has never closed any of these banks.

In fact, "Barring three or four banks, the rest of the district banks (there are 19 in Gujarat) are all in the red and badly managed", says banking consultant M H Jowhar. It is also surprising that Madhavpura was handling deposits of over 150 banks, he adds.

Zonal manager of Bank of India P P Jain said, "Some co-operative banks still retain the goodwill that they have in the market and among the customers, but yes, there is a trend of people switching loyalties to nationalised banks". Jain said the bank had no idea of how much money had been transferred by customers to his bank from the co-operative sector but said "it could be anything between Rs 8 to Rs 10 crore".

A senior officer of the Indian Bank also confirmed that the deposits had increased by nearly Rs 8 crore in Ahmedabad in the last couple of weeks. President of state unit of All India Bank Officer Confederation Bihari Patel said, "People are realising that it is safer to keep their money in nationalised banks". He said most of the nationalised banks had benefited in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 20 crore as a result of the losing faith in co-operative banks.

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