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Video surveillance system at all police stations in Gujarat: Following directions from the Gujarat high court, the home department is rushing to ensure that cameras and an IP-based video surveillance system are in place in all police stations in the state. The high court issued these instructions after repeated complaints of police excesses. Police stations will be monitored at district headquarters, city commissionerates and Gandhinagar. More cameras are being added, including at those areas where citizens come to register FIRs, lockups for men and women and entrances to the cabins of police inspectors. Police-public interactions will be recorded. The system will also be linked to the chief minister’s dashboard in Gandhinagar. (16-10-2018)
Baroda Ranji team announced: Krunal Pandya, 27, has been selected to captain the Baroda Ranji team for the 2018-19 season. The announcement was made by Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) secretary Snehal Parikh. Krunal’s brother Hardik plays for India. The rest of the team: Kedar Devdhar (vice-captain), Aditya Waghmode, Deepak Hooda, Vishnu Solanki, Yusuf Pathan, Pinal Shah (wicket-keeper), Swapnil Singh, Noor Pathan, Atit Sheth, Bhargav Bhatt, Lukman Meriwala, Sagar Mangalorkar, Baba Khan Pathan and Shoaib Tai. (16-10-2018)
Some city garbage collectors illegally monetise the waste collected: Many garbage collectors who are a part of the door-to-door garbage collection system of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) segregate the waste and monetise it, on the side. What this means is that some garbage collectors remove the saleable items from the garbage and sell them unofficially, without depositing them at VMC’s landfill sites. It is a side business, done on the sly; strictly speaking, it is cheating. VMC has now decided to make this activity official; the sly side business of the garbage collectors will now become the official business of the civic body. VMC has started its own segregation facility – it’s called a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) – at Atladra near its existing garbage transfer station. At the MRF the dry waste is separated into plastic, metal, paper, glass, etc., materials which can be monetised by selling them to recyclers. The waste which remains after material recovery can be processed to make Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) pellets. (15-10-2018)
Higher salaries for Gujarat’s legislators: The salaries and allowances of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly members, speaker, deputy speaker and the state’s ministers and opposition leader have been amended, upwards of course. The governor has approved the necessary bill which had been passed – unanimously of course – by the state assembly. The state’s 182 MLAs will get a 65% hike in their monthly salaries – up from Rs. 70,727 to Rs. 1.16 lakh per month. Ministers will get Rs. 1.32 lakh per month, up from Rs. 86,000. The salaries and allowances were last revised in 2005. (14-10-2018)
Police will help out in some civic drives: The Gujarat government has agreed to deploy State Reserve Police (SRP) personnel to help Vadodara Municipal Corporation carry out activities in which municipal employees need to be better protected. Some of these activities include removal of encroachments, impounding of stray cattle and public sanitation drives. The security personnel sanctioned for these tasks are two police sub-inspectors, seven assistant sub-inspectors, eight head constables and 42 police constables. The policemen will be armed. (13-10-2018)
Civic body ties up with urban development authority to set up sewage treatment plants: Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA) have agreed to pool their resources – technical expertise, manpower, land and money – to jointly develop sewage treatment facilities in and around the city. The collaboration will be mutually beneficial. VMC is running short of sewage treatment capacity and VUDA is unable to treat sewage in its newly developing areas. VMC will need additional plant capacity to treat 535 MLD of sewage by 2050, but it needs the land to house the treatment plants. VUDA has enough land on which the plants can be set up. VMC and VUDA will jointly foot the bill for erection, operations and management of the sewage treatment projects. (13-10-2018)
Regulatory board conducts surprise inspections of x-ray units: Surprise inspections of medical diagnostic centres were conducted recently in some Gujarat cities by personnel from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). AERB issued a warning to Vadodara’s SSG Hospital relating to an X-ray unit operated by its radiology department. AERB inspectors similarly inspected a machine of a private diagnostic centre and sealed it. Another private centre was issued a warning. The purpose of the inspections is to ensure that radiation machines do not pose undue risk to people. An x-ray machine at Baroda Imaging Center was sealed because the staff was not taking enough precautions; the machine will be started again when the compliance report is submitted. The AERB team also asked SRL Diagnostics to comply with the relevant norms. (12-10-2018)
Government launches portal to accept cybercrime complaints online: Under the National Mission for the safety of women the central government has launched a portal – cybercrime.gov.in – to help victims or complainants to report cybercrime complaints online. As the website says, “ ... the portal caters to complaints about online child pornography, child sexual abuse material or sexually explicit content. .... Complaints reported on this portal are dealt with by the respective police authorities of states and union territories. ... Option for anonymous reporting of content has been provided as per the direction of the Supreme Court.” The following points have been excerpted from the website: “Child sexually abusive material (CSAM) is material containing sexual images in any form of a child who is abused or sexually exploited. It is punishable to publish or transmit material depicting children in sexually explicit acts in electronic form. ... At this stage, complaints related to online content containing child pornography, child sexual abuse material, sexually explicit content such as rape, gang rape can be reported through this portal. In case of other cybercrimes, you may contact your local police station or your state cybercrime cell. ... False information provided by a complainant may lead to penal action. ... It is recommended that you provide as much information about the incident as possible so that the police authorities working on the complaint are able to take appropriate action. It is recommended that you upload the evidence with your complaint which would help police authorities for prompt action. However, you can also report a complaint by providing information like website address, e-mail address, WhatsApp number, etc. Apart from this portal, there are alternative ways to remove objectionable content from social media websites. Most of the social media websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc., have the option of reporting or flagging objectionable content. The social media platforms may take appropriate action based on the contents reported to them as per their content policy.” (11-10-2018)
Domino’s Pizza goes vegetarian in Gujarat: Announcing that it has gone vegetarian in Gujarat, Domino’s Pizza says that it is responding to a market of consumers who largely prefer to eat only at food outlets that do not serve meat. The company had earlier followed this policy only during Navratri. Its outlets now display the green dots on doors and boards indicating that they serve only ‘lacto-vegetarian’ food as required by the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Act. Domino’s has 75 outlets in Gujarat. (10-10-2018)
Sabarmati Jail offers journalism and proof-reading course: To improve the employment prospects of its prison inmates when they are released, Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Central Jail will soon start a diploma course in journalism and proof-reading. The jail authorities and Navjivan Trust say that the course will start from October 15 and 20 inmates have been selected for it. Navjivan Trust – it publishes books in several languages on Gandhian studies and philosophy – will give proof-reading jobs in the jail premises to those inmates who complete the course successfully; those who get the jobs will be paid according to the jail rules. (09-10-2018)
Amul Dairy will soon market camel milk: Amul Dairy is likely to start marketing fresh camel milk in Ahmedabad by the end of this year. The milk will be processed in order to remove its volatile odours and make it more palatable. Camel milk is pasteurised in the same way as cow milk; the only difference is the addition of the deodorisation process. The camel milk processing unit being readied in Bhuj will be able to process about 20,000 litres of camel milk per day. It will be packed in 500 ml pet bottles. The milk will be procured from camel breeders. Camel milk has more salt content, but it has high therapeutic value. It is being used to make chocolates. Compared to cow’s milk price of Rs. 28 to 30 per litre, camel’s milk fetches the farmer Rs. 50 to 55 per litre. It is the ‘Maldharis’ who breed camels in Kutch district and they sell about 1,500 litres of camel milk per day to the milk co-operatives. (08-10-2018)
RTO may open another office for the city: In order to open another office in the western parts of the city, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) has asked Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) to allot a suitable plot of land. The new RTO office at Darjipura (it was earlier in Warasiya) is very convenient for residents in the city’s eastern parts and adjoining rural areas, but it is rather far for other Barodians. The RTO wants 20,000 sq m of land. The possible locations are Race Course, Akota, Vasna, Bhaili, Atladara and Kalali. (07-10-2018)
MS University gets a grant of Rs. 8 crore: MS University of Baroda will soon receive another grant of Rs. 8.75 crore from the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for infrastructure development, renovation and purchase of equipment. Approval had been given in 2014 for a grant of Rs. 20 crore, and Rs. 11.24 crore had been received earlier; it is the balance amount which is being released now. Among the projects for which the funds have been spent are additions to the Institute of Fashion Technology (IFT) and completion of construction work at the Faculty of Family and Community Sciences. RUSA’s terms are that 35 % of the funds are for works of capital nature, 35 % for maintenance of classrooms and 30 % for purchase of equipments, books and computers. Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan is a holistic scheme of development for higher education in India initiated in 2013 by the central government’s Ministry of Human Resource Development. The scheme provides strategic funding to higher educational institutions throughout the country. The funding ratio is 60:40 for general category states, 90:10 for special category states and 100 % for union territories. (06-10-2018)
Education board issues new rules for schools: The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) has now ruled that 80% attendance is compulsory for students of class X and XII during the academic year from June 15 to February 15. The old rules allowed students who did not fulfill the attendance criteria to take the board exams as private students. The new rules stipulate that at least 65% attendance is required for a student to take board exams as a private student. The attendance requirement may be relaxed by 15% under circumstances such as prolonged illness, the death of a parent or participation in NCC/NSS camps. Roughly 1 lakh students appear as private students for the class X and XII board exams. (05-10-2018)
Vadodara Gas Ltd. increases CNG price: The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) price for vehicles has been increased by Vadodara Gas Ltd. (VGL). The increase is Rs. 3.25 per kg, from Rs. 50.75 to Rs. 54. The justification for the price increase is the hike in gas prices due to the depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar. VGL is yet to decide on the pricing of piped natural gas (PNG); the current prices are Rs. 25.24 per unit for domestic consumers and Rs. 52 per unit for commercial consumers. (04-10-2018)
Canara Coffee House will be born again, at a new location: Dandia Bazaar’s Canara Coffee House (CCH) refuses to be consigned to history. The famous eatery was closed some time back and the building was more or less demolished. But CCH seems to have a life of its own, independent of its location. It is now due to make a comeback, this time at Lakdipul in Dandia Bazaar. Work is in progress on the new CCH building and the coffee house should open again after a few months. Over the years the old owner passed away, and the management has changed a little. We are told, however, that the menu will remain more or less the same. (03-10-2018)
Baroda’s Radha Yadav selected for India’s T20 World Cup squad: The Baroda team’s Radha Yadav, age 18, has been selected for the Indian women’s squad for the T20 World Cup to be staged in West Indies in November. She becomes the first woman from Gujarat to play in the T20 World Cup. She had put up an impressive performance during the recent Sri Lanka tour. Radha is a left-arm spinner, a good fielder and bats well too. After a stint playing for Mumbai, she shifted to Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) in 2014-15. (02-10-2018)
International cricket stadium project takes another step forward: The Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) has submitted a presentation regarding the proposed international cricket stadium at Kotambi to the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA). The scope of the presentation covers the stadium’s cost, design, seating, player facilities, guest rooms and practice pitches. The suggestion is that the project should be taken up in two phases. The first phase should include the international-level cricket ground, pavilion, players’ and members’ gallery, media tower and temporary covers for spectators. The second phase should cover construction of the entire stadium along with seating arrangements for 30,000 spectators, a restaurant and a gymnasium for players. The estimated cost is about Rs. 200 crore, and IL&FS will suggest how funds can be raised. The final approval of the proposal can be given only after the BCA elections which are expected to be held within a few months. (01-10-2018)
Amul is among the world’s top 10 milk processors: According to a survey by the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) – a global dairy research network – Amul is now among the world’s top 10 milk processors. IFCN figures show that Amul’s market share in the world is 1.1 %. United States’ Dairy Farmers of America occupies the top position with 29.2 million tonnes milk intake and 3.5 % of the world’s total milk production. New Zealand based Fonterra is at number two with 23.7 million tonnes milk intake and 2.8 % market share globally. France’s Groupe Lactalis is third and Arla Foods from Denmark, Sweden and other European nations is fourth. Switzerland’s Nestle is in the fifth position. (30-09-2018)
City based National Academy of Indian Railways gets new head: Mr. Pradeep Kumar is the new director general (DG) of the Vadodara based National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR). He is an officer of the 1981 batch of the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineering (IRSSE). After completing Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication and Masters in Communication Systems – both from IIT Roorkee – he joined Northern Railway in 1983 and went through several postings –South Eastern Railway (chief safety officer), South Central Railway (divisional railway manager), West Central Railway (additional general manager), Railway Electrification, Railway Board and RailTel Corporation of India Limited (general manager, business development, and executive director). He has also completed his MBA in marketing and finance from Southern Cross University, New South Wales, Australia. He has undergone training in high-speed rail at Japan. His expertise areas are telecom network design and planning, train operations and disaster management, and signalling projects management. (29-09-2018)
Rapes do not seem to be rare in Gujarat: With two rapes every day, rapes do not seem to be rare in Gujarat. Ahmedabad city has the dubious distinction of being at the top of the list; 621 cases were reported in the last five years. The state witnessed 4,358 cases (401 of them from scheduled castes) between April 2013 and March 2018, and during this period 1,404 women (51 of them from scheduled castes) were murdered. In the rape cases, 2,408 victims (55% of the cases) were minors. In 94% of the cases, the accused was known to the rape victim. Over 6,300 accused have been arrested in connection with these cases. (28-09-2018)
Tata Consultancy Services may train some MS University students to become employable: It has been reported that MS University’s Faculty of Commerce proposes to enter into an agreement with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) under which the software major will train third-year B.Com students from poor socio-economic backgrounds to become more employable. The training will cover personality development, spoken English, interview skills, soft skills and IT. The students will be from reserved category, minority communities and those with an annual family income less than Rs. two lakh. About 1,000 students are likely to be trained. TCS may hire some of them. No fees will be charged for the training. (27-09-2018)
Round Table donates two classrooms for school in Koyali: The Indirapuri school in Koyali near Vadodara has received a precious donation from the Baroda Young Turks Round Table (BYRT-201). The donation is in the form of two newly constructed classrooms spread over 1,500 square feet. The school’s 500 children can look forward to a better environment. To raise funds for the classrooms BYRT-201 teamed up with a group to organise a performance by the magician Jonathan David Bass. BYRT’s ‘Freedom through Education’ initiative has also given three new classrooms and washrooms for boys and girls at Gavasad Adarsh Shala in Padra taluka. BYRT similarly raised Rs. 14 lakh to build a classroom and a play area for Spandan School for Mentally Challenged Children in Gotri. (26-09-2018)
Ayushman Bharat Scheme will touch 200,000 families in Vadodara district: The Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) scheme lauched across India on Sunday should benefit about 200,000 families in Vadodara district – 91,333 families in rural areas, 92,076 families in urban areas, 10,664 families in nagarpalika areas and another 362 notified families. The scheme provides a coverage of Rs. 500,000 per family. With 1,354 packages the scheme is supposed to be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme. The centre will provide 60% of the funding, and the state government will contribute 40%.The scheme’s benefits are available in the district at 19 government hospitals and 34 listed private hospitals. (25-09-2018)
Intelligent Transit Management System: The Intelligent Transit Management System (ITMS) is meant to be one of the components of the Smart City project of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). ITMS is supposed to make urban mobility more convenient; it will ensure that the bus service is efficient and commuters have access to online information regarding the location and expected arrival time of a bus they want to board. With ITMS in place VMC’s buses will be equipped with GPS and CCTV facilities, and bus stands will have automated online displays of bus movements. ITMS will also enable the monitoring of bus movements from the city’s Central Command and Control Centre (CCCC). All the plans are ready, but a capable vendor to provide the system still remain to be identified. (24-09-2018)
State MLA salaries hiked: The Gujarat assembly has passed a bill to increase the salaries of MLAs, ministers, speaker, deputy speaker and leader of the opposition by at least Rs. 45,000 a month. MLAS get a hike from Rs. 70,727to Rs. 1.16 lakh. Ministers, the assembly speaker, the deputy speaker and the leader of the opposition will move from Rs. 86,000 to Rs 1.32 lakh. The revision will be with retrospective effect, from February 2017; Rs. 6 crore will be disbursed by way of arrears. The extra hit on the state treasury will be Rs. 10 crore annually. The bill was passed unanimously, of course. It was debated for only 26 minutes. It seems that the last revision was in 2005. Earlier, MLA and office-bearer salaries were based on the pay structure of an under secretary; the new salaries are based on the remuneration of a deputy secretary. The bill has also eliminated multiple allowances and introduced dearness allowance for MLAs. (23-09-2018)
Gujarat's liquor laws tightened: Those who want a liquor permit in Gujarat on health grounds will now have to pay more. The cost has gone up from Rs. 550 to Rs. 4,000. One more obstacle: recommendations from private doctors or superintendent-level officers on the medical board will no longer be enough to issue a health-based liquor permit. Of the approximately 72,000 liquor permits in Gujarat, 40,000 are health-based. (22-09-2018)
Two city children qualify for World Robot Olympiad: Two children from Vadodara – Hriday Parikh, 11 and Rishiraj Behki, 12 – have won the national round of World Robot Olympiad (WRO) 2018. They will now represent India in the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) at Thailand in November; they will compete with teams from 60 countries. In the competition children build and programme robots to complete a specified task. This year’s theme was ‘Reduce food waste’. Students had to build a robot to sort food products according to appearance and expiry date and transport them to designated places. (21-09-2018)
Rooftop solar power at university head office: The MS University (MSU) head office will have access to solar power; a 150 kilowatt (KW) solar rooftop project has been commissioned. The total solar power capacity on the rooftops of the university’s buildings now touches 500 KW. MSU will eventually save Rs. 19 lakh annually with this latest project. The university head office unit will generate 600 units per day in ideal conditions. A shortfall, if it arises, will be automatically compensated for by drawing power from the grid. The system has the additional benefit that it will also generate power during holidays and weekends, and this power can be fed directly to the grid. The system was installed at the head office at a cost of Rs. 78 lakh. (20-09-2018)
An Ahmedabad judge sets a great example: When Mr. M.K. Dave took over as the Principal Judge in the City Civil and Sessions Court (Ahmedabad), there were several changes noticed in the working environment: no mobiles during office hours, no meals on the work tables, no loud talking, music in the canteens, no littering or filth on the campus, attendance monitored strictly, food to be eaten only in the canteen, canteen spruced up. Employee efficiency has improved; the court has disposed of over 1,500 cases in just two months. There were over 1,600 pending applications for certified copies of documents; this has dropped to 490. Mr. Dave arrives at the court at 10.05 a.m. and quickly inspects the premises for anything unusual – litter, broken furniture, dead telephone lines …whatever. He meets the staff and tries to solve their problems (even personal problems). Regular health check-ups are organised for the staff. (19-09-2018)
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