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December 27, 2000 - December 27, 2000

Security beefed up at Somnath temple Wednesday, December 27, 2000

RAJKOT: In the wake of breach of security ring at Red Fort in Delhi, authorities here have decided to further tighten security around Somnath temple.

Security agency sources at the temple said round-the-clock patrolling was being carried out at all six entry points that overlooked the Arabian Sea. As part of the beef up, special close-circuit TVs had also been installed.

The temple's golden jubilee celebration is slated to begin in March.

Security agencies are not ruling out trouble during the golden jubilee celebrations. They said efforts would be made to maintain communal harmony in the region. A complete company of State Reserve Police (SRP) personnel had been posted at the temple. A watch was being kept on suspected anti-social and anti-national elements, police sources at Junagadh range said.

The district police chief has called upon private entrepreneurs to sponsor the close-circuit TV system put up at the temple. Plans are also afoot to link these TV sets with the DSP office in Junagadh.

Industry forum rejects govt move on power tariff Wednesday, December 27, 2000

VADODARA: Rejecting the appointment of three-member committee by the state government to look into the power tariff revision by the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC), the Forum of Federations, Chambers and Associations of Industries of Gujarat has decided to go ahead with its agitational programme beginning from January 1.

The programme, in support of their demand for roll-back in the power tariff hike, would include indefinite fast in front of the GEB office in the city, sending of closure notices of industries to the state government and non-payment of sales tax and power bills.

Talking to The Times of India here, forum president Amit Goradiya said that the appointment of committees did not help in serving the purpose unless some concrete steps were taken in this regard. "The appointment of a committee is not a concrete step because when the seven-member ministerial committee failed to redress grievances, what can you expect from this committee," asked Goradiya.

Nilesh Shukla, a member of the co-ordination committee of the forum, asked, "Why the chief minister and GEB chief Nalin Bhatt do not invite the members of the forum for consultations?"

The forum representing about 50 associations, federations and chambers has asked its members to boycott government functions and not to organise any programme in the presence of the government functionaries and elected representatives.

President of the Savli Industries Association, Bhupendra Parikh, said that the GERC order on power tariff was going to hit them very hard.

The forum leaders said that because of their unity, they could get some "partial justice" when GERC conceded their demand for giving some relief to the industries.

Several members of the forum said that the government would be held responsible if the employees working in their industrial units lose their jobs on account of the closure of their units.

Kolkata(Formely Calcutta) inspires VHP to revive Karnavati Wednesday, December 27, 2000

AHMEDABAD: A group of workers from the city units of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal held a demonstration on Monday at the Income-Tax Circle, demanding that Ahmedabad should be renamed as Karnavati for which several representations have been made to the Centre.

The VHP's city unit president, Jay Shah, said it was surprising that the NDA government at the Centre was not in favour of Karnavati even when several cities of India had been renamed in last couple of years.

The latest city to be renamed is Calcutta (Kolkata). Earlier, Bombay was renamed as Mumbai, Madras as Chennai and Trivandrum as Thiruvananthapuram.

He said that the NDA government was not clearing the proposal perhaps under the pressure of so-called secular leaders and for the appeasement of minorities.

"The VHP will be forced to launch agitation if its demand for renaming Ahmedabad as Karnavati is not conceded by the Union government shortly," he said.

GPCC plans demonstrations, rallies Wednesday, December 27, 2000

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee has decided to organise rallies and demonstrations against the ruling BJP for failure in tackling issues like drought, water mismanagement, power tariff and fodder for cattle.

A meeting chaired by president C D Patel will be held on December 29 to decide the programme. It will be attended by CLP leader Amarsinh Chaudhary, PCC office-bearers, working committee members and municipal corporation and other local self-government bodies leaders.

Veteran Cong man dies

Congress leaders condoled the death of veteran Congress man and dedicated social worker Gulabkhan Faramwala on Monday saying that the party had lost a strong leader with his demise.

Medals awarded

Bipinkumar Satapara has received the Late Advocate Vasudev Ramchandra Gold Medal, Mehboob I Kadri Medal and the Dolat C Trivedi Medal for securing the highest marks in Gujarat University's LLM exam held last April.

The awards were given at the 49th convocation of the university by the state governor and chancellor S S Bhandari recently.

The Late Chanchalben Vasudev Shelat Gold Medal and the Hasumati Mehta Memorial Medal, on the other hand, were awarded to Falguni Desai for securing the highest marks in MD (Gynaec) exam.

Chhabildas empathises with Vyas Wednesday, December 27, 2000

AHMEDABAD: Former chief minister Chhabildas Mehta, on Monday, criticised Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel for 'backtracking' and empathised with ousted Narmada development minister Jaynarayan Vyas, saying, "The issue should have been considered over after the minister apologised to the CM".

Mehta criticised the state government and told reporters that if the implementation of the revised tariff order as declared by the GERC could be deferred till June for the farmers then why could the same not be done for the industries.

He pointed out that due to the globalisation and the liberalisation, at least 45,000 industries in Gujarat were closed and they too needed the relief and subsidies offered by the government.

Asked about Vyas's resignation, Mehta said, "Looks like the CM's advisors had their eyes on the tenders being floated for the Narmada project".

Further, he pointed out, "The CM had said the government could do nothing about the GERC recommendations, but then he deferred its implementation for the farmers - this speaks tons about his credibility".

He also cited the instance of the ST bus fares where the government first maintained that it would reduce the fares, "and after they got elected they were talking about increasing them".

According to him, the Saurashtra-Kutch pipeline project was also scrapped by the government on the pretext that there was a lot of corruption, which denied water to the people of the area.

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