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Vadodara Gas Ltd. Now A Reality: Vadodara Gas Ltd. (VGL), the joint venture (JV) company of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and GAIL Gas Ltd. (GGL), is now a reality. VGL will be responsible for piped natural gas distribution in the city. It will also have eight CNG gas stations for cars. The company will also have the task of supplying piped gas to more areas of the city. Incidentally, in 1971 Vadodara Municipal Corporation became the first Asian civic body to provide piped natural gas distribution. VMC currently supplies gas to 75,000 households and 2,500 commercial customers. (31-10-2014)
Prof Ramanlal Mehta Passes Away: Professor Ramanlal Mehta, the first dean of MS University's Faculty of Performing Arts, passed away recently in Baroda at the age of 96. He was the dean of the faculty from 1954 to 1978; he had earlier spent nine years with All India Radio. He followed the Kirana style of the Late Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan. He was accepted as a fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2008 and awarded Padma Bhushan in 2009. He founded the Indian Musicological Society in 1970. (31-10-2014)
‘Rang Rasiya’ To Be Screened In City: Though born in the state of Travancore, the 19th century painter Raja Ravi Varma had a special relationship with Baroda. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III , an admirer of his work, drew him to Baroda in the 1880s and gave him a studio. Now Ketan Mehta has directed a film – Rang Rasiya – based on the painter’s life. The film will be screened in Baroda on 2nd November, with lead actors Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen in attendance. The Gaekwad family will co-host the first show. The film has been produced by Deepa Sahi. (30-10-2014)
Vivekananda Memorial Renovated: The Swami Vivekananda Memorial in Baroda, currently housed in the 150-year-old Dilaram Bungalow on R.C. Dutt Road, has been renovated recently at a cost of Rs. one crore. The spiritual leader stayed in this bungalow when he visited Baroda in 1892. The building was handed over to the Ramakrishna Mission by Gujarat government in 2005. Gujarat has two other memorials dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, one at Porbandar and the other at Limdi. (30-10-2014)
Capacity Expansion at Jalaram Blood Bank: The United Way of Baroda (UWB) has helped the city based Medical Care Center Trust (MCCT) to increase its capacity to collect, test and store blood at the Jalaram Blood Bank. The capacity will be stepped up from 2000 to 3500 units of blood. The UWB funding will be Rs. 11 lakh. Incidentally, Jalaram Blood Bank gives blood free of cost to poor patients. UWB is also considering helping out MCCT to set up a cancer ward at the K.G. Patel Children Hospital in Karelibaug. This hospital has also received similar help from UWB for cleft lip surgeries for children. (29-10-2014)
Corporate Relationship Cell At MS University: MS University has decided to set up some formal mechanism to seek the involvement of corporate India in the university’s research, training and placement activities. Towards this end MSU has set up a Corporate Relationship Cell (CRC) with professor Bhavna Mehta from the Faculty of Social Work as its director. CRC will also invite the help of industries in curriculum development and consultancy services. Of course, corporate funding and grants will also be welcome. Formal approval of the MSU syndicate is awaited. (29-10-2014)
India’s Biggest Canal-Top Solar Power Plant Comes Up At Baroda: Located at Baroda, India’s biggest canal-top solar power plant is expected to soon start producing power. The 10-MW plant has been constructed on a 3.5-km canal stretch from Sama to Chhani. The power will be used by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. (SSNNL). Over 480 solar tablets (each 6.5 metres x 2.3 metres) have been laid along the canal top. The plant, constructed by Hyderabad based Mega Engineering & Infrastructure Ltd., will supply 16.2 million units of power annually. Using the space above the canal helped save about 20 acres of land that would otherwise have been needed for a project of this size. The canal-top structure also reduces water evaporation from the canal. (28-10-2014)
Rooftop Solar Plants: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is considering rooftop solar plants on three large buildings of the civic body – the Khanderao Market office, the Manjalpur outdoor sports complex along with its parking area and the Sama indoor sports complex. The project will be handled by an agency recognised by Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd. (GPCL). The agency will foot the project cost, sell the generated power to Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Ltd. and give VMC Rs. 2 per unit of electricity as a green incentive. VMC is expected to earn over Rs. 900,000 every year from this solar power project. (28-10-2014)
Theft At Baroda Museum: During the Diwali holidays two antique revolvers and the sheath of an antique sword – both over 100 years old – disappeared from the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery in Sayajibaug. The revolvers had been donated to the museum very recently by retired IAS officer Ashok Bhatia and his wife. Surprisingly, the thief ignored more valuable items. It seems that the thief had cut the wires of a CCTV camera. The museum has 44 CCTV cameras. A police forensic team is investigating the case. (28-10-2014)
Vadodara Peaceful: The situation in the city has been peaceful on Saturday. The police are maintaining a strict watch to ensure that mischievous elements do not cause any trouble. To stop the spread of baseless rumours, the authorities have ordered a temporary ban on mobile internet services throughout the city. This ban affects about 520,000 mobile phone customers. (5 p.m.) (27-09-2014)
Minor Incidence Of Stone Pelting In City: Vadodara witnessed another minor incident of stone pelting between two groups in the early afternoon hours on Friday, September 26. The worst affected area was Fatehpura. The authorities seem to have acted swiftly to restore calm. People have been asked to refrain from spreading baseless rumours. (4.30 p.m.) (26-09-2014)
The Vishwamitri level was 14.50 Ft. At 2 p.m. on Saturday (13th September): Most of the flood-affected people in the city are gradually returning to their homes. However, in the rest of Vadodara district there are many more still having to stay in the relief camps. The bypoll for the Vadodara Lok Sabha seat is going on, though the voter turnout is not very heavy. (2.30 p.m.) (13-09-2014)
The Vishwamitri level was 20.25 Ft. At 7 p.m. on Friday (12th September): Schools and the MS University of Baroda have resumed classes. Clean-up operations are in full swing all over the city. (7.30 p.m.) (12-09-2014)
The Vishwamitri level was 26 Ft. At 10 p.m. on Thursday (11th September): Life is getting back to normal. Schools will re-open on Friday. Still, it will be several days before the people worst affected by the waterlogging can resume their normal lives. (10.30 p.m.) (11-09-2014)
Vishwamitri Level Still At 34 Ft At 7 P.M. On 10th Sept: At 7 p.m. on Wednesday (10th September) the Vishwamitri level is still steady at 34 Ft. Waterlogging in the city areas is expected to reduce gradually, unless the rains again play spoilsport. There is a forecast of rain. Schools and colleges will remain closed on Thursday. The current Vishwamitri water level of 34 Ft is much above the danger level of 26 Ft. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) closed the gates of Ajwa dam and stopped releasing water at 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday, after the Vishwamitri river passing through the city was flowing above the danger level. All the 62 gates of Ajwa dam had been opened on Tuesday after the Ajwa Sarovar level touched 215.10 Ft (its capacity is 214 Ft). Incidentally, the Sayaji Sarovar in Ajwa crossed the 215-Ft mark for the first time in 50 years. (7.30 p.m.) (10-09-2014)
Vishwamitri Level Steadies At 34 Ft: The likely situation at 2 p.m. on September 10 is that the Vishwamitri water level will begin to recede over the next few hours. The district administration has appealed to citizens not to spread rumours. It is likely that the Vishwamitri river waters will start receding from the waterlogged areas of the city over the next few hours. A bit of good news is that the 62 gates of Ajwa Dam have been closed. The city saw 9.5 inches of rain in the last 48 hours. Over 1000 societies have been waterlogged due to the rain or the overflowing Vishwamitri. In some way or the other, over 300,000 people have been affected. The bridges over the Vishwamitri in the city have been closed. Parts of Sayajibaug are under four feet of water and the zoo’s birds and animals have been moved to safer places. In many ways, this is similar to the flood situation of 2005. All said and done, there is no need to panic. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the army are on standby. The district administration is also monitoring the public health situation and officials of the SSG Hospital have been alerted to take preventive measures to avert water-borne diseases. A special squad of doctors has been set up at the hospital’s department of emergency medicine. (2.00 p.m.) (10-09-2014)
Vishwamitri Level At 34 Ft: This was the level at 1 p.m. on 10th September. The level at Ajwa Lake was 213.75. It is likely that the Vishwamitri level will now reduce over the next four hours. It is also expected that the waterlogging in the city may also start reducing. (10-09-2014)
Vishwamitri Level Touches 34.0 Ft: This was the level at 11 a.m. on 10th September. The level at Ajwa Lake was 213.70. (09-09-2014)
Vishwamitri Level Touches 26.6 Ft: This was the level at 4.30 p.m. on 9th September. The level at Ajwa Lake was 214.80. (09-09-2014)
Vishwamitri Level Crosses 26 Ft: This was the level at 3 p.m. on 9th September. People in the low-lying areas have been asked to move to safer areas. The level at Ajwa Lake was 214.85. (09-09-2014)
Vishwamitri Level Touches 24.6 Ft: This was the level at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept 9. The authorities have requested people not to spread baseless rumours about imminent flooding. On Monday Vadodara received 85 mm rainfall. This, plus the incessant rains in the surrounding rural areas, increased the water inflow into Ajwa reservoir The Ajwa dam gates have been opened to release water. It is when the Vishwamitri level touches 26 ft. that still more precautions need to be taken. (09-09-2014)
Voter Slips For Vadodara Parliamentary By-election: Citizens who have not received their voter slips for the Vadodara parliamentary by-election by Tuesday may contact the following telephone numbers of the control room of the Vadodara district collector: 0265-1077 and 0265-2427592. (08-09-2014)
Change Of Top Brass: Avantika Singh has been transferred to Vadodara as the new District Collector. She took over from Vinod Rao who moved to Bharuch as the District Collector. In the other major appointment, R. Radhakrishnan took over as the city’s new Police Commissioner, in place of Satish Sharma who has been transferred to Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. (18-08-2014)
Rs. 24 Crore For Sursagar Development: The standing committee of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has approved a Rs. 24.7 crore plan to develop the Sursagar lake and its surrounding areas. The lake and its surroundings may well become a recreational attraction. The lake’s water body will be spruced up and its periphery will be beautified. On the agenda: a stepped garden, a play area for children, lazing areas, fountains (may be even a musical fountain). Most importantly, preventive steps are being taken to eliminate pollution due to the immersion of idols during religious festivals. (11-08-2014)
Kamatibaug Is Getting A Facelift: Kamatibaug is due to receive major funding from the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, as much as Rs. 20 crore for a facelift and some additional facilities. On the agenda for the garden, which is now 135 years old, are a butterfly park and a cable-stayed pedestrian bridge. Two duck ponds and a fountain have been given a fresh lease of life, a cactus garden has come up, a new boundary wall is being built along the C.C. Mehta Marg, new food spots have been earmarked, there is new fencing along the Vishwamitri River, and there are more places to just sit and laze around. There will be better drinking water facilities and a larger lawn behind the Health Museum. Visitors can also use the cycling track. And, yes, there is a lot of fitness equipment available, and some people have started free yoga classes. If you visit the garden now, there is certainly a perceptible improvement. (08-08-2014)
MSU Signs MoU With Tata Consultancy Services: MS University’s Statistics Department has joined hands with Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS) to introduce application oriented courses in retail, business analytics and other areas. These courses will be both elective or certificate based. Over 40 students from various faculties have registered for the first three-month course. Based on performance, students may get preference in placements at TCS. (06-08-2014)
Free Knee & Hip Replacement Surgeries: Baroda’s SSH Hospital has recently collaborated with Hariom Seva Trust (HST), a city based NGO, to offer knee and hip replacement surgeries free of cost to poor patients. HST collected funds from donors to facilitate 70 such surgeries. The trust started with total knee replacement (TKR) surgeries and then began to facilitate total hip replacement (THR) surgeries. SSG Hospital performs two to three such surgeries daily. Over 60 patients are on the waiting list, but the trust cannot handle all the cases unless more donors come forward to help. (22-07-2014)
Toy Room At GMERS Hospital: The Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS) General Hospital at Gotri now has two toy rooms and a play area where children admitted to the paediatric ward can play in the evening. The toy rooms have been set up with the help of an NGO – Voluntary Youth Organization for Motivation (VYOM). Though the Medical Council of India (MCI) stipulates that every paediatric department should have a toy room, not all hospitals follow the rule. The toy room helps in the rehabilitation of children as well as in their mental development. The toy room and its activities are supervised by VYOM members. VYOM serves underprivileged children and women by involving youth volunteers. It is active in Baroda and some neighbouring areas. (22-07-2014)
MS University Accreditation: The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will visit MS University in early 2015 to review the accreditation of the university. Its current grade is ‘B’ and the university is making attempts to become eligible for grade ‘A’. A core committee has been formed for the purpose with the assistance of the university’s Internal Quality Assurance Cell; the committee is chaired Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh. The NAAC is an autonomous wing of the University Grants Commission (UGC); its task is to rank Indian universities on the basis of their performance. (17-07-2014)
No Gifts of Fruit Baskets & Flowers Please: In her first visit to Baroda as Gujarat chief minister, Anandiben Patel was faced with a minor deluge of gifts in the form of fruit baskets and flowers. Disapproving of such a wasteful formality at official and political events, she requested those present to regularly donate fruits and food to anganwadis instead. As a matter of fact, this was followed a few days later by a government circular to the effect that felicitations of guests in official programmes must include only baskets of fruits or vegetables and pulses that must later be distributed to children studying in local anganwadis. The circular also stipulated that guests and officers should no longer be felicitated with ‘flowers, shawls and books’. Even stage decorations for government events should not have more than a modest display of flowers. Incidentally, at her first public event (the Krishi Mahotsav held in May), she was welcomed with a garland of peanuts instead of flowers. (16-07-2014)
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