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November 6, 2001 - November 7, 2001

Student leaders ask MSU for more payment seats Wednesday, November 7, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
VADODARA: Several student leaders of MS University are now asking the university authorities to admit more students under the payment category in the faculty of commerce.

There are 150 students who are willing to seek admission in the first year commerce course after the fee was revised, they say.

"There are many parents who were unable to provide the high fee of Rs 6,100 for FY BCom seats, but now after the reduced fee structure many students have shown an interest in seeking admission," said faculty of commerce leader Rutwij Joshi.

Jigar Thakkar, a former student leader who is currently a student at Sanskrit Mahavidyalay said in October last he had submitted a memorandum of this demand to pro-vice chancellor V D Pathak. "But we have received no feedback on this demand. Many students who could not afford the higher fee structure earlier are now willing to pay to gain admission into FY BCom, but the university administration has not given any feedback to us. There are at least 150 students who want to seek admission, he said.

To put forward their point to the university a few student leaders had organised a 'dharna' at the unit building asking the university authorities to consider their case. "There were many students who were unable to take admission as their parents could not afford the high fee. Many are now willing to pay the fee and gain admission this year," he said.

According to a syndicate member, the university authorities might consider admitting more students under the payment category. However, due to the recent controversy involving the pro vice-chancellor no discussion on this matter could be held in the syndicate meetings.

"A special committee might be formed to decide this matter," said a syndicate member.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Cut in RFO supply leads to closure of Dhuvaran power unit Wednesday, November 7, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
VADODARA: The reduction in supply of residual fuel oil (RFO) has led to the closure of several units in the RFO-based thermal power station at Dhuvaran in Central Gujarat.

It is reliably learnt that against the requirement of three rakes of RFO per day, this power station gets just one rake of RFO which is insufficient to meet its total requirement for power generation.

Due to this GEB manages to maintain one day stock of RFO at this station which is around 1,000 mt. This enables the station to generate around 190 MW of power against the fully-installed capacity of 588 MW.

The closure of these units has taken place at a time when GEB is trying to augment the generation of power through available sources of power for meeting the ever increasing demand of power by various categories of consumers in the state.

It gets an additional assistance of 200 MW of power from Chhatisgarh, 50 MW of power from Goa and 50 MW of power from the eastern sector.

Due to the reduction in supply of RFO the generation of power from Dhuvaran power station has almost gone down to one third of its totalled installed capacity of 588 MW. The station has four units, two with a capacity of 63.5 MW each and two of 140 MW each.

This power station of Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) gets RFO from the Gujarat Refinery of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) located on the outskirts of the city.

IOC has been demanding a revision in the prices of RFO for quite some time, saying it is not economically viable for it to continue the supply of RFO at the old price fixed of Rs 4,400 per metric tonne.

ICO is seeking a 150 per cent revision in the prices of RFO and wants to fix at it Rs 11,000 per metric tonne, which is the prevalent market price. It will not be in a position to supply it below this price, says IOC.

The agreement between GEB and IOC over the price of RFO expired in 1998. Despite the expiry of this agreement, GEB manages to get RFO at the old price. It is in negotiations with IOC over the price of RFO.

But then IOC has cut down supply of RFO to this station.

Earlier there was a market mechanism price and IOC could afford to supply RFO to GEB at a concessional rate. Under the present circumstances it is not possible for it to do so, it was argued.

It may be recalled that GEB decided to set up the RFO-based power station at Dhuvaran after learning of the wastage of huge stocks of RFO by the Gujarat Refinery about three decades ago.

The refinery, which was set up on the outskirts of the city after the discovery of crude oil at the Ankleshwar oil field in 1960, was in search of customers for RFO, as otherwise it was a waste by-product for it then.

So GEB has the right to procure it at a concessional rate. It was GEB which had showed the way as to how to use it as a fuel for the generation of power.

The gap of 1,700 MW of power between demand and supply has restricted GEB in regulating hours of three phase and single phase power supply in the rural areas of the state, while non-continuous low-tension industries have been asked to observe power cut between 1800 hrs to 2100 hrs every day for diverting this supply to the rural areas.

Several rounds of negotiations have taken place between GEB and IOC, and both the parties are hopeful of amicably solving the price issue.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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VHP plans 550 rallies in state Wednesday, November 7, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) plans to organise rallies in about 550 places around the state to intensify the movement for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia, who was in the city to address workers as part of the movement, said any political party opposing the Ram Janmabhoomi movement shall face the music.

Togadia said that 10,000 'Ram naam jap yatras' will be conducted across the country. "These will include 550 in Gujarat, 650 in Maharashtra and 400 in Rajasthan. Besides, five crore people across the country will be roped in for enchanting 'Ram japs' from November 26," Togadia said.

The movement, Togadia claimed, would be the largest in the history of the country. "A massive 'yagna' will begin at Ram Janmabhoomi from February 17, 2002," he said, adding that the actual construction of the temple will begin on March 12, 2002.

"The movement will change the face of Indian polity. Those who oppose it will have no political future. We have declared our programme and shall stick to it. The Central government too has been informed well in advance. Now, it is their responsibility to resolve the issue," Togadia said.

He added that if the government do not co-operate, VHP will have no option but to enter into a friction. "Our efforts have been forcefully crushed in the past. We are prepared for another such attempt if it is made," Togadia said.

Togadia ruled out that VHP was raking up the Ayodhya issue for the benefit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the polls. "We don't want anybody to gain from the polls. Why don't both the BJP and Congress come and join us? All are invited and I would be the first one to welcome Sonia Gandhi if she joins us," he said, adding that even grassroot workers of the Congress wished that the temple be constructed.

"The Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao-led governments were instrumental in giving impetus to the movement to quite an extent. The Congress can repeat the same again," Togadia said.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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46 vehicles lying unclaimed with traffic police Wednesday, November 7, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
VADODARA: While most people might run from pillar to post to get back their vehicles detained by the city traffic police, some seem to forget about them altogether. The traffic police here has identified 46 vehicles which have been lying unclaimed with it for a long time.

Most of these vehicles, according to sources in the traffic department, were either impounded by towing cranes when they were parked in 'no parking' zones. Others have been detained under section 207 of the Motor Vehicles Act for several other violations.

A list of such vehicles prepared by the traffic department includes 42 two-wheelers and four auto-rickshaws. Notably, the engine or chassis numbers of 35 vehicles are missing, while four do not have registration numbers.

The circular issued by the traffic department in this regard asks the vehicle owners to contact the department and take their vehicles. "They can prove their ownership by producing relevant documents and take the vehicles," said assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Siddharth Khatri.
The traffic department does not rule out the possibility that some of these vehicles may be stolen and that is why no one bothered to collect them. "This is likely as several vehicles do not have the engine or chassis number. However, we are contacting the police stations to check if some of these vehicles are stolen," Khatri said.
Khatri added it was possible that some owners were under the impression that their vehicles were stolen. "They would have filed a police complaint and got their claims from insurance companies. They may never have bothered to find if their vehicle was impounded," Khatri said.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Clinton likely to visit quake-hit Gujarat again Tuesday, November 6, 2001

News Source : Times News Network
Come January 26, and Kutch will lay red carpet for former US president Bill Clinton, who is likely to visit the border district exactly a year after it was ravaged by a devastating earthquake.

Clinton had visited the district in Gujarat in June as the head of an American India Foundation (AIF) team to explore possibilities of cooperation with local agencies in rehabilitation of the quake-stricken people.

The quake, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, killed about 25,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless. Kutch bore the brunt of the devastation as the epicentre lay in the district.

AIF trustee Mike Patel said that in all probability Clinton's wife Hillary and former US president Jimmy Carter would accompany him. Carter is carrying out several projects related to housing in Africa and is keen to visit Kutch.

"Our foundation has funnelled $3 million for rehabilitation work in Kutch. Besides this, another $3 million is also in the pipeline," said Patel, adding the grant package would be worth $12 million.

Patel was in the forefront of organising the high profile visit by Clinton. He is taking stock of the rehabilitation work carried out by agencies assisted by AIF.

He visited several villages in Kutch as well as Ahmedabad, which was the second worst affected area.

According to Patel, AIF funds NGOs conducting rehabilitation projects in Kutch district. Organisations like the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), Janavikas, Kalaraksha and the Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan, which have focussed their work in 20 villages of the district, are being funded by AIF.

"We have received applications from these organisations for further funds. The applications are under consideration," said Patel.

After his tour of Kutch, Patel said that he could feel that the anxiety that people had after the quake had subsided and people had gradually come to terms with the existing conditions.

"I saw children learning at computer education centres. Most housing projects are up to 60-70 per cent complete. Handicrafts and self-sufficiency projects are doing well," he observed.

"The NGOs that have done substantial work will definitely receive all possible aid from us."

AIF has on its board of trustees several top American Indians.

On the eve of the September 11 terror strikes in the US, AIF organised a dinner in Chicago as part of a fund raising programme for rehabilitation in Kutch.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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