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March 10, 2001 - March 10, 2001

The film, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, released without fanfare Saturday, March 10, 2001

RAJKOT: The controversial Bollywood blockbuster Chori Chori Chupke Chupke was released on Friday in two city theatres without problem.

However, heavy police bandobast was made at the two cinema halls, screening the film.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had planned to stall the screening of the movie for alleged links between the financier and director of the film and the Underworld. Considerable tension prevailed prior to the screening of the film in Rajkot and police help was sought to prevent any untoward incident from occurring.

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Two person arrested in city for lodging false complaint. Saturday, March 10, 2001

The Anand police have arrested two persons, Mahendrasinh Chhatrasinh Baria and Ganpat Bhailal Naik, for lodging a false complaint. The two had mentioned in their complaint at Savli police station that they were robbed of Rs 55,700 by six persons near Poicha Village on Thursday.

Poicha falls under Khamboraj police station in Anand. "The case was handed over to us. We investigated the case under the guidance of Anand superintendent of police Vikas Sahay and deputy superintendent K K Shah and found out that the complaint was bogus", Khamboraj police sub inspector R G Patel told TOI.

He said that they suspected the nature of complaint. "They complaint said that they were looted near Poicha by a gang of six persons who came in a Tata Sumo. We quizzed them over this and they gave in. The two confessed that they have hidden Rs 55, 700 and a bracelet in the wastelands of Manjusar village", Patel said. He said that the police recovered the cash and handed it to one Arvind Patel who is the owner of Dhruv Packaging Private Limited in Manjusar.

"Baria was driver with Patel's company. A couple of days earlier a company tempo that he was driving met with an accident near Padra and they had settled the case by promising the other party some payment. To arrange this money he along with Naik fabricated this loot theory and lodged a bogus complaint", Patel said. Baria and Naik have been arrested under section 395 of the Indian Penal Code.

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ITPHs, garment producers to continue agitation Saturday, March 10, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The independent textile process houses (ITPHs) and garment producers, whose strike entered the fourth day on March 8, have decided to continue their strike despite the huge amount of losses they are suffering due to it.

According to the Textile Merchant Association president Pravin Gandhi, the 100 ITPHs, which have joined the strike, are absorbing a daily loss of Rs 25,00 crore in terms of sales. Gandhi calculates this figure on the basis of the total production, which is close to 1,25,00,000 meter of fabric each day, and the average ex-factory price per meter of fabric at Rs 20.

The loss to the government in terms of octroi, which is 1.75 per cent of the value of the fabric, works out to Rs 35-Rs 40 lakh per day.

Since the announcement of the Budget, the ITPHs have not paid any duty, either chamber-wise or on the excise duty-basis. The last levy paid by the ITPHs was chamber-wise charges on February 28. This was Rs 2 lakh on chambers, which produced fabrics at less than Rs 30 per meter and Rs 2.5 lakh on chambers producing fabric at more than Rs 30 per metre.

After the Budget, this system has now been changed to excise duty of 16 per cent on the fabric. It effectively comes to 12 per cent on cotton fabric due to the modvat available at the yarn stage and 8.8 per cent on the blended fabric. Thus, if one considers the loss of excise revenue to the government, then it would amount to Rs 244 crore per day on both the blended and cotton fabric.

The daily losses to the 50,000 workers (skilled and unskilled), attached to the industry and who have joined the strike, in terms of wages comes to Rs 5 crore per day.

The loss to Ahmedabad Electricity Company (AEC), estimated by the Association, is Rs 35 lakh and the total loss suffered merchant and the traders, who are also participating in the strike, of Rs 30 crore daily.

Though, the chairman of the action committee, set up to review the 16 per cent excise duty on the garment units with the registered brands, Hashmukh Goel does not have exact figure of losses to the garment industry, he says since a single machine produces 8-9 pieces daily at the cost of Rs 80-90, the production loss of an unit with 25 machines would be Rs 18,000 per day.

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Operators threaten cable black-out Saturday, March 10, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Cable operators in Ahmedabad have threatened to go on a 'cable hartal' in the city if their demands are not met by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Operators of In Cablenet, Siticable, Hathway and Skynet, held a meeting at Law Garden as part of the Ahmedabad Cable Operators Association on Thursday.

Cable operators collected at Law Garden to protest over the AMC's notice to Skynet to dismantle cables from their control room in Satyam Towers within 24 hours. The Association's president Pramod Pandya says, "The cables are not dangerous and the time period given to Skynet to dismantle them is unreasonable. AMC can not ride roughshod over cable operators. We will not succumb to such pressure".

Association secretary Mayur Joshi, a cable operator from Ambawadi states, "If Skynet cable doesn't start within a week, entire Ahmedabad will not receive any cable transmission. We will effect a complete black-out and if this measure does not yield desired results, we shall take the fight up to state government level."

Answering scribes on why the Association had not reacted faster to AMC's notice to Skynet to dismantle its control room, Joshi said, "The AMC didn't give us any time to think, let alone decide. Now, however, we're all united and will not give into the AMC bossing over us."

Sanjay Patel of In Cablenet, C G Road adds, "AMC can't misuse its authority. A suitable time limit should be given to Skynet instead of a 24-hour notice. Also the reason behind issuing a notice in such a short period is that Skynet has one of the highest viewerships in Ahmedabad. A rival company is trying to extend its presence in the Paldi area."

They claim Skynet has a viewership of about 50,000 subscribers in Vejalpur, Jivraj Park, Mahalaxmi, Paldi and Vikas Gruh areas in the city. On the other hand, it's rival company has a dominating presence in the Vasna area.

Cable operators have vowed to carry on the fight till the question of Skynet dismantling cables from its Satyam Towers office is not resolved.

The building was declared top heavy by experts which spurred the residents to demand that Skynet disconnect its cables as they might prove dangerous to the building and surrounding structures in the event of strong tremors.

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Census staff encounter peculiar problem Saturday, March 10, 2001

VADODARA: Hundreds of Census staff moving from house to house in the city have more than just the job of collecting data on their hands. They are hard pressed fending requests for jobs and defining "literacy".

The new format of the Census form this time, that incorporates collection of data like number of unemployed and illiterate in the country, has left these Census operators in the lurch.

They are confronted with demand for jobs when they ask people about their employment status. They are also made to bear the brunt of the people's ire when they reveal they are merely collecting data and cannot possibly provide jobs.

And, they are also being confronted by angry parents who are miffed with the Census form "declaring all children below six years as illiterate".

"It's tough convincing these people that we cannot provide them jobs. We try explaining that our duty is to collect information and send it to the government and steps would be taken to solve the unemployment problem based on this data. We make them see reason so that they part with accurate data," said Vadodara Municipal Corporation's (VMC) officer on special duty for Census operation NS Upadhyay.

Census staff are also facing problems while visiting homes with kids below six. According to rules issued by the Indian Registrar of Census, New Delhi, anyone below the age of six is considered illiterate.

"We have been facing enraged parents who feel that a six-year-old child, who has been attending school, cannot be classified illiterate. Though we explained the government's decision, it hardly pacifies them," says one of the census staff.

But, if the jobless harassed Census staff for employment and doting parents gave them a piece of their mind, there were many who ran away at their sight. "It was difficult collecting information from pavement-dwellers. They run away whenever we approach them as we were policemen trying to nab them," says an enumerator.

Enumerators also say that collecting information regarding religion, caste and mother tongue is also a tough job.

Many, especially those in the tribal areas, refuse to reveal their religion and say they don't follow any particular religion and were not interested in questions related to religion," said Census staff.

Upadhyay said that surnames of many belonging to the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste have not been listed by the Indian Registrar of Census. "Some, who's surnames were not included in the list, have refused to divulge details," said Upadhyay.

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