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Trust Assists MSU Students: The Kamlaben Ramanlal Shah Gambhirawala Charitable Trust of Vadodara has announced that it will provide total tuition fee waiver to 100 girls of MS University’s Commerce Faculty. To be eligible, the girls should have scored over 80 per cent and their annual family income should be below Rs. 2 lakhs. The trust, which had earlier helped fund the faculty’s BBA building and assisted in the renovation of SSG Hospital’s gynaecology building, is managed by MSU alumnus Mr. Jagdish Shah who moved to USA. (04-06-2016)
Railway University At Vadodara: NITI Aayog, the institution which has taken the place of India’s Planning Commission, is considering a proposal to set up the country’s first railway university on 80 acres in Piparia village of Waghodia taluka, near Vadodara. The expected cost of the university will be over Rs 800 crore. NAIR, the Vadodara based National Academy of Indian Railways – more familiar to Barodians as the Railway Staff College – is currently the main training and management development institute for Indian Railways officers. The university project is likely to take shape over 10 years. As a first step, a MoU will be signed with MS University of Baroda, which will offer MBA for Indian Railways Accounts Services, Indian Railways Personnel Services and Indian Railways Stores Services. Vadodara will be the proposed university’s headquarters, with its constituent schools being the various colleges of Indian Railways at Secunderabad, Nashik, Pune, Jamalpur and Lucknow. (02-06-2016)
Municipal Corporation Prepares For Smart City Project: Barodians have submitted 161,000 suggestions to the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) for the Smart City Project. The civic body is expecting more citizens to participate in this effort and help it to make a comprehensive proposal to the Central government. VMC will also have a stall for this purpose at the National Book Fair which will be held in the city – at Navlakhi Grounds – from May 27 to 31. Over 250,000 visitors are expected at the book fair. (25-05-2016)
Petition To Rename Jetalpur Road: Over 400 Barodians – artists, students, professionals and businessmen – have signed a petition suggesting that Jetalpur Road should be renamed Bhupen Khakhar Marg in honour of the internationally renowned Mumbai born artist who made Vadodara his home. Bhupen Khakhar was born in Bombay in 1934 and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1956 before moving to Baroda in 1962. He took an MA in Art Criticism from MS University of Baroda in 1964. He died in 2003. He stayed in Chikuwadi, an area which is on Jetalpur Road. Considering that there are so many roads named after politicians, why not name one after an artist who did this city proud on the world stage? (23-05-2016)
Time Bound Civic Services: Attempting to adhere to the spirit of the Gujarat Rights of Citizens to Public Services Act 2013, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has specified deadlines before which services must be delivered to citizens. A grievance redressal system has been put in place to ensure that deadlines are respected. To start with, 27 services have been identified for which time frames have been fixed. For instance, a birth certificate must be issued within three days and a food permit should not take more than 30 days. (20-05-2016)
MSU To Train Undergraduates For Civil Service Exams: MS University’s All India & Central Services (AICS) Training Centre will now prepare students who have passed class XII to appear for civil service and other competitive examinations. Thirty undergraduate students will be given training for five years. The entrance examination will be in August 2016. The annual fee for the first two years will be Rs 25,000. There will be no fee for the last two years, but students can attend classes and use the library. The course will cover 18 disciplines, and classes will be for two hours daily. (19-05-2016)
Bapod Police Station Will Be ‘Smart’: The recently opened Bapod Police Station is being converted into a ‘smart’ police station. The plan is to similarly upgrade all the police stations in Vadodara. The Bapod station starts off with an advantage: it is housed in a new building with more modern facilities. The ‘smart’ tag implies tech-savvy police personnel who are comfortable with computers, laptops, mobile phones and other gadgetry. The station has a Nagrik Seva Kendra to deal with citizen complaints. The government has set aside a budget of Rs 100,000 for this project. The Bapod Police Station will aim to be ‘paperless’. (19-05-2016)
New Head At National Academy of Indian Railways: Rajiv Gupta has been appointed as the new Director General of National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR), Vadodara, earlier known as Railway Staff College. He is an an officer of the 1979 batch of the Indian Railways Service of Mechanical Engineering (IRSME). Among his earlier postings were part-time Director at SCI, Director at Cochin Shipyard Ltd, Joint Secretary (Shipping) and Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust. His areas of expertise include information technology, railway operations and manufacturing and repair and maintenance of rolling stock. The National Academy of Indian Railways is, according to its website, “the alma mater for the officers of the Indian Railways. It is situated in a sprawling campus of 55 acres of the Pratap Vilas Palace (which was built in 1914 AD) at Lalbaug, Vadodara. It provides training to all levels of Indian Railway officers, from probationers to General Managers. The college was founded in 1930 at Dehradun and then shifted to Vadodara in 1952.” (28-04-2016)
New Era Student Tops Gujarat In IIT-JEE Exam: Yash Shah, a student of Vadodara’s New Era Senior Secondary High School, Sama, scored 332 out of 360 marks to top Gujarat in the IIT-JEE Examination. Yash wants to go in for computer science and engineering. In addition to New Era, Yash prepared at Yukti Learning Centre. (28-04-2016)
Smart City Mission: Vadodara did not figure in the first list of 20 cities selected for the Smart City programme. Disappointed by the outcome last time, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is now preparing to submit a fresh proposal to the Smart City Mission in June. This time round the civic body is taking the help of two consultants, Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), to prepare the proposal. Forty cities will make a similar pitch in June. (26-04-2016)
Vadodara’s Healthcare Facilities: It may surprise many people to know that Vadodara municipal Corporation (VMC) does not have a comprehensive record of the city’s healthcare facilities – nursing homes, hospitals, capacities to admit indoor patients, clinics, laboratories, etc. The only registration required was under the Bombay Shops & Establishments Act. VMC has now started the process of registering all healthcare establishments under the Bombay Nursing Homes Registration Act (BNHRA) and other related provisions. This should make it easier for the civic authorities to get real-time access to information regarding epidemics and outbreaks of diseases so that prompt preventive action can be initiated. In Gujarat, only Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar have launched a similar project. (25-04-2016)
Recognition For Navrachana University: Vadodara based Navrachana University (NU) has now become the first private university in Gujarat to be compliant with the norms and regulations of the University Grants Commission (UGC). This has several implications for NU: it becomes eligible for UGC funding; it will be a member of the Association of Indian Universities; it can apply for accreditation with National Assessment and Accreditation Council and National Board of Accreditation. NU was established under Gujarat Private University Act, 2009. The university campus is located on Vasna-Bhayli Road. (23-04-2016)
VMC Sets Up Citizen Facilitation Centre: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation has set up a Jan Seva Kendra (JSK) – one can call it a citizen facilitation centre – at Khanderao Market. The JSK will offer citizens access to 128 municipal services. If the experiment is successful, a JSK will be set up at each municipal ward. Budgeted at over Rs 1.7 crore, the activity has been outsourced to a private company. To start with, five more JSKs are being contemplated, one each for the city’s four zones and one at Badamdibaug. Service requests made by citizens will be monitored online by VMC’s senior officers. However, the JSKs will not accept complaints; the centres are merely meant to ease access to municipal services. (21-04-2016)
Ambedkar Chair At MS University: Vadodara’s MS University is among 11 Indian universities – and the only one in Gujarat – which will have a Dr B R Ambedkar chair in memory of one of the great architects of India’s constitution. The announcement was made recently by the Dr Ambedkar Foundation. An MoU has been signed to this effect and the chair will be at the Faculty of Social Work. MSU will receive a grant of Rs. 1.75 over five years for this purpose – for a professor, a research officer, a computer operator and a peon. Incidentally, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad, and the city of Baroda, had played a key role in the life of Dr Ambedkar. The other 10 universities selected for the chair are: Banaras Hindu University, Central University (Dharamsala), Tezpur Central University, Andhra University, Patna University, University of Rajasthan, Annamalai University, SNDT Women's University, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University and Dr Harisingh Gour University. (21-04-2016)
Lifelong Learning Opportunities: MS University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning and Extension (CLLE) has come up with a mixed bag of courses for 2016-17: ancient Indian studies, ancient Indian and foreign languages, health, alternate medicine, hospital management, self-development, business competence, vocational skill development, computer education, hotel management, arts and crafts, grooming, astrology, vastu shastra, spoken Sanskrit, interior design, bonsai, creative arts, jewelry designing, etc. The courses will cater to various age groups, education levels and unconventional needs. (20-04-2016)
VMC Plans New Sewage Handling Facility: Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) proposes to increase its sewage handling capacity by building a sewage treatment plant (STP) at Rajivnagar in Sayajipura. The Gujarat state urban development department has given a 69,000 sq metre plot for the Rs 104 crore project. The city’s sewage generation is about 358 MLD, but the total current capacity of its seven STPs is just 276 MLD. The new STP will be designed to handle 78MLD, and this should see the city through till 2030. The treated water from the new plant will be supplied to the city’s upcoming crocodile park. (14-04-2016)
German Company Sets Up Plant At Savli: Aluplast GmbH of Germany has recently started a manufacturing facility in Manjusar (at Savli GIDC near Vadodara) to manufacture uPVC window systems. The plant will be operated by the company’s 100% subsidiary Aluplast India Pvt. Ltd. This is the German firm’s first plant in Asia. Its products – uPVC fenestration solutions – have been marketed in India since 2008 (fenestration is the design and disposition of windows and other exterior openings of a building). It is likely that the products manufactured in Manjusar will be exported to markets in Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. Out of a total phase-wise investment of ten million Euros, four million have already been spent. The Manjusar unit can process 4,000 tonnes uPVC per year; the raw material is imported from Germany. (12-04-2016)
Passport Applicants Are Not Consumers: The Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission recently deliberated over two cases in which complainants, claiming that they suffered some trouble because their passports were not issued on time, demanded compensation form the Regional Passport Office. The commission’s ruling was that issuing passports by the government is not a service and the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) cannot be considered to be a service provider. By the same token, passport applicants are not consumers and cannot take recourse to the Consumer Protection Act. According to the commission, “… a passport is not a commodity which is purchased or sold for consideration, but is only in the nature of a permission granted by the sovereign to its citizens to go outside the country". (08-04-2016)
First Keep Sursagar Clean, Then Develop It: Sursagar is among the more polluted ponds in Gujarat and its beautification project has been a much debated subject. In the many years that the project has been discussed, the water body has remained dirty and more or less neglected. A Rs. 25 crore development project was proposed to revive the lake, and there the matter has rested. During a recent presentation on the project, Vadodara mayor Bharat Dangar put first things first and insisted that the first priority should be to clean the water body. There is no point in beautifying the pond if it is not clean in the first place. Cosmetics cannot compensate for cleanliness. (07-04-2016)
Gujarat Refinery Expansion At Vadodara: Indian Oil Corporation plans to spend Rs 20,000 crore for brownfield expansion of its Gujarat Refinery at Vadodara. Capacity will be expanded from 13.7 to 18 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), hopefully by 2020, thus making it India’s largest refinery. The refinery will move from BS IV to BS VI norms for petrol and diesel, thereby enabling cleaner transport fuels and lower vehicular emissions. (07-04-2016)
Gotri Medical College Receives MCI Approval: The Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have given formal recognition as a medical college to the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS). Located at Gotri in Vadodara, GMERS was established in 2010 and its first MBBS batch graduated this year. Significantly, the recognition was granted in the first attempt itself, and no compliances were suggested. The factors covered in the inspection process were: conducting of theoretical examinations, standard of infrastructure, out-patient department (OPD) traffic, average bed occupancy, hygiene, maintenance, campus facilities, lecture halls, libraries, etc. The hospital has 18 departments and conducts roughly 20 surgeries daily. Permission has also been granted to introduce 11 postgraduate (PG) courses. (04-04-2016)
Vadodara Gas Cuts Prices: Vadodara Gas Ltd (VGL) has reduced the rates of PNG (piped natural gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas). The PNG price for domestic connections has been reduced from Rs 25.30 to Rs 23.50 per unit; for non-domestic connections the reduction is from Rs 59.80 to Rs 52 per unit. The CNG price for automobiles has been cut from Rs 45 to Rs 44 per kg. This follows the drop in international prices of natural gas. VGL, a joint venture of GAIL Gas Ltd and the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, services 76,494 domestic and 2,430 commercial gas connections. Vadodara has 40,000 vehicles which run on CNG. (04-04-2016)
Road Safety Awareness Programme: MS University’s Centre for Life Long Learning and Extension has announced a certificate course in Road Safety Awareness Programme from February 27. The course will cover traffic rules, safe driving, Gujarat Motor Vehicles Rules, road signage, driving discipline, defensive driving, driving license formalities, documents to carry while driving, use of safety gadgets and post-accident first aid. The 30-hour course been designed by an eight-member committee of former regional transport officers, transport commissioners and traffic experts. Classes will be on weekends and the fees will be Rs. 200. (19-02-2016)
Drivers Of School Vans & Autorickshaws Call Off Strike: Following a meeting with the city police commissioner, drivers of autorickshaws and vans who ferry Vadodara’s children to and from schools called off their indefinite strike on Wednesday after a meeting with the city police commissioner. The New School Vardi Association (NSVA) will follow the passenger limit set by the Gujarat High Court, that is, six children per rickshaw and 14 children per van. It seems that the police may hold discussions with various parents associations regarding the fares. The strike was a result of strict police action against overloaded autorickshaws and vans. (18-02-2016)
New Hotel Regulations In Gujarat: Gujarat government’s recently announced hotel policy will allow developers to build structures of more than 70 metres on roads having 40-metres width and up to 70 metres on roads with a width of 30 to 40 metres. Properties can also be developed on mixed-use basis; if the main hotel and allied activities (recreation, entertainment, resorts, tourist shopping, apartment hotel, etc.) use 50% of the plot’s total built-up area, the remaining 50% can be used in other ways (commercial, shopping mall, multiplex, convention centre, etc.). This move is expected to help increase the flow of tourists to the state. (14-02-2016)
Drones For City Fire Brigade: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – drones in layman language – will soon be roped in to conduct ariel surveillance for Vadodara’s fire brigade. Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) will shell out Rs. 30 lakh to buy six drones. UAVs powered by quadcopters provide valuable assistance to police departments and fire brigades in many large cities for risk assessment and monitoring of areas affected by fires or other calamities. They are very useful in rescue operations. Privately owned drones are not uncommon in Vadodara, but they are used mostly for events and marriages. (13-02-2016)
Camera-Mounted Helmets For Traffic Cops: Vadodara’s traffic cops on busy roads may soon be issued camera-mounted helmets to record traffic movement and, more important, to quickly photograph errant drivers who manage to escape from the scene. The cameras will also be able to photograph the number plates of the ‘escaping’ vehicles. Vadodara’s cops will be the first in Gujarat to be given this facility. This plan is still on the police drawing boards; it is likely to be implemented on a trial basis within a month. (12-02-2016)
Vadodara Will Need Another 96,000 Houses: The Indian government wants to ensure ‘housing for all’ by 2022. The Pradhan Mantri Aavas Yojana (PMAY) is a scheme to help meet this target, and Vadodara is one of its beneficiaries. What this means is that the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) will have to build about 96,000 houses, including 40,000 for the city’s slum dwellers. Vadodara should have 450,000 housing units for its population of 1.794 million. Against this requirement, the city has only 354,000 units. The scheme’s beneficiaries should not have a house anywhere in India. (12-02-2016)
City Heritage Gets Overdue Attention: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is carrying out urgent maintenance work on the Hazira mausoleum in Pratapnagar. The mausoleum (also known as Hazira Maqbara) contains the graves of Qutubuddin Muhammad Khan who was the tutor of Salim, son and successor of Akbar, and also that of his son Naurang Khan who held important offices in Gujarat under Akbar. Though the monument is structurally stable, waterproofing was required. The surrounding garden is also being spruced up. ASI plans to hold a photography exhibition at the site on January 26. The ASI is also working on the restoration of the Lehripura Gate, following which it may take up the restoration of the Gendi Gate and Champaner Gate. Work on Panigate had been completed in 2011. Gendi Gate was the southern gate of the ancient walled city. Champaner Gate faces north (towards Champaner). (18-01-2016)
High-Rise Residential Apartments: Some Baroda real estate players are proposing to build residential apartments beyond the current 12-floor limit. These developers have applied to the Gujarat government for the necessary special permissions to construct 70-metre tall apartments. Among the possibilities are a 23-storey complex on Bhayli Road and a 22-floor complex in Alkapuri. Barodians were introduced to the concept of high-rise apartments at the recently concluded CREDAI Vadodara Property Carnival. (16-01-2016)
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