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MSU’s B.Sc Chemistry Course To Start At Padra: Students at Padra’s M.K. Amin Arts & Science College will now be able take MS University’s B.Sc Chemistry course. MSU will offer the course to 120 students in the higher-payment category; it has made a budget provision of Rs. 70 lakh for this activity. The online admission process will go on till June 3, and the course is expected to start on June 17. About 70 per cent of the seats will be reserved for students from Vadodara city and district, 20 per cent for students from other parts of Gujarat, and the remaining 10 per cent for students from other states. Chemistry, physics, mathematics, geology and botany will be offered as subsidiary subjects; communication skills, management and Gujarati will be offered as foundation subjects. (25-05-2017)
Startup Summit At Vadodara: MS University has organised the Sayaji Startup Summit from June 1 to 10 for budding entrepreneurs as well as for existing companies who want to present innovative ideas for the benefit of prospective investors. The sectors likely to be covered are education, sports, health care, IT, e-commerce, internet of things (IOT), robotics, electronics, agriculture, infrastructure, social entrepreneurship, textile, tourism, media and entertainment, food and beverages. Among the startups which have registered are 25 ideation based, 30 student startups and 130 mainline startups. The summit has been organised by MSU's Institute of Leadership and Governance and Yug Foundation. (24-05-2017)
Table Tennis Tournament: The Table Tennis Association of Baroda (TTAB) has announced that the 1st Open Baroda Major Ranking Table Tennis Tournament will be held at its MSU Centre between 2nd and 4th June. There will be 14 events for male and female participants between 12 years and 60 years. TTAB’s MSU Centre has the latest internationally approved facilities, including synthetic flooring. Participants will be from schools, colleges, institutions and clubs. Those interested should register before May 28. (23-05-2017)
World Environment Day: World Environment Day, June 5, will be celebrated by MS University of Baroda in association with the local chapter of the Institution of Engineers and SOCLEEN (Society for Clean Environment). An on-the-spot drawing and painting competition for school and college students will be held on 4th June at MSU's Faculty of Science. On 5th June, a seminar at Vasvik Auditorium (Race Course Circle) will feature experts from the state forest department, industries and Central Pollution Control Board. The 2017 United Nations theme for World Environment Day is related to Conservation of Natural Resources. (22-05-2017)
Cleaning Sursagar Lake: Sursagar Lake continues to be among the more polluted ponds in Gujarat. The lake has more than its share of plaster of Paris (PoP) and sludge. It was suggested that the lake has to be emptied before it can be rid of all the pollutants; this calls for draining out 260 million litres of water. No contractor was prepared to take on this task. An alternative solution being proposed is to drill on the bed of the pond and then suck out the debris and sludge. This solution may cost Rs. 70 million. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation wants to beautify Sursagar Lake and develop it as a recreational area; it has budgeted Rs. 25 crore for this activity. (20-05-2017)
City's 'Gates' Are Being Restored: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation is working with restoration contractors to spruce up Panigate, Gendigate, Mandvi and Champaner Darwaza. The estimated cost of the restoration work is Rs. 98 for Panigate, Rs. 96 lakh for Gendigate, Rs. 1.2 crore for Mandvi, and Rs. 91 lakh for Champaner Darwaza. Work on the Laheripura Darwaza was done with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The work of the restoration contractors is likely to be supervised by ASI. (20-05-2017)
Thalassemia Test Compulsory For New MS University Students: Blood testing for thalassemia has been made compulsory for all new entrants to MS University of Baroda (MSU) from this academic year. If a prospective entrant has already been tested earlier, the test will not have to be repeated. The purpose behind this decision is to make students aware about thalassemia and the precautionary measures that need to be taken if someone has the condition. MSU has roped in the Indian Red Cross Society to conduct the blood test at a concessional rate of Rs. 150. Students are also free to get the test done in any private pathological laboratory. (16-05-2017)
Artworks From Scrap: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and the Faculty of Fine Arts of MS University of Baroda (MSU) had recently joined hands to organise sculpture camps. During these camps artists made artworks from scrap materials, wood and stone. The camps saw enthusiastic participation of artists, and about 75 sculptures have been installed in various public areas of the city. Encouraged by the success, VMC has planned more such camps and, in future, artists from all over India may be invited to participate. (16-05-2017)
Vadodara Gets New District Collector: P. Bharathi has taken charge from today as the Vadodara district collector. Coming in place of Lochan Sehra who handled the job from May 2016, she was Panchmahal district collector earlier. P. Bharathi is the second female collector in this post, the other being Avantika Singh, who is currently the Ahmedabad district collector. Lochan Sehra’s present posting is as managing director of Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited, Gandhinagar. (01-05-2017)
Vishwamitri Railway Over-bridge To Be Widened: To facilitate the widening of the Subhas Chandra Bose railway over-bridge at Vishwamitri, the staff of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) moved in to demolish compound walls and other structures in the vicinity. A tractor manufacturer and a homoeopathy college nearby were affected slightly by the razing operation which had to be carried out to acquire the land necessary for the widening project. (30-04-2017)
Civic Body Spruces Up Heritage Structures: Major heritage structures in Vadodara are being illuminated by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The City Illumination Cell first lit up the 'deepmala' in the Yavateshwar Compound on Jail Road and then the Khanderao Market building. It has now illuminated the memorial of Yuvaraj Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad near the Kirti Mandir and the Kalaghoda bridge. More heritage structures are in the pipeline. (29-04-2017)
Razing Operation Completed At Kashivishveshwar Mahadev Temple: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has more or less completed the major part of the razing operation around the Kashivishveshwar Mahadev temple at the intersection of Jetalpur Road and Productivity Road. All unauthorised and unsafe structures in and around the temple complex have been demolished. Those affected by the clearing operations have been offered houses in the city’s housing projects for economically weaker sections. About 55,000 sq ft of land around the temple is now available for proper re-development as a public space. This 150-year-old temple is said to be among the nine Navnath temples which are believed to be the city’s protectors. (20-04-2017)
‘Absent’ Artwork Will Return Soon: Barodian sculptor Nagji Patel’s famous 16-feet tall Abacus sculpture is about to make a comeback after being ‘absent’ for over three years. This 20-tonne artwork, earlier located on Old Padra Road at Akshar Chowk, will soon be re-installed near Same Lake. Commissioned in 2004 by Transpek-Silox, it was moved out from Akshar Chowk to make way for a flyover. The 80-year-old Nagji Patel, the creator of the 20-feet high ‘Vad’ sculpture which was shifted from Fatehgunj to Chhani, is also the artist behind another large 40-feet high sandstone sculpture which will be installed within a few months in the proposed garden just outside the Vadodara railway station. Nagjibhai has named his latest creation ‘Column of Faith’. (19-04-2017)
Campaign Against Drinking & Gambling: Realising that strict liquor laws, longer jail terms and heftier fines are not fully adequate to discourage drinking in dry Gujarat, the Gujarat government has hit upon the idea of taking the help of popular spiritual leaders to motivate the masses to abide by the prohibition laws. To help in their campaign against drinking and gambling, the authorities have roped in kathakar Morari Bapu, Bishop V.M. Malaviya, Swami Satchidananda and Mufti Shabbir Alam. (11-04-2017)
School Fee Regulation Bill: The recently passed Gujarat Self-financed School (Fee Regulation) Bill 2017 does not apply to privately held pre-schools and playgroups, but it does cover playgroups and pre-schools in schools which are affiliated with school boards. Of course, some of these are run as franchises and may possibly be affiliated to schools which are in fact covered by the new regulations. However, if these schools are found to be charging very high fees the state government may intervene. Over 12,000 private self-financed schools were recently made to fall in line and cap their fees at Rs. 15,000 for primary schools, Rs. 25,000 for secondary schools and Rs. 27,000 for higher secondary schools. (10-04-2017)
Kachori Eatery Disciplined: A very popular eatery was disciplined yesterday for using newspapers to pack food items. The food safety department of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has banned the use of newspapers for this purpose. The eatery – famous for its Pyarelal Ni Kachori – will be allowed to resume operations if it agrees to maintain the civic body’s hygiene and sanitation norms. VMC is getting strict with eateries and vendors not following health department regulations. (09-04-2017)
National Film Award For Barodian: The 64th National Film Awards were announced recently, and Mumbai based Barodian Alpesh Nagar, 27, has bagged the Rajat Kamal National Film Award 2017 for Best Cinematographer (Non-Feature Film). He won the award for his 15-minute film 'Kalpvriksha'. He had made ‘Kalpvriksha’ as a part of his academic project while doing a one-year cinematography course at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune. His parents are settled in Baroda, and he is currently working as a freelance cinematographer in Mumbai. (09-04-2017)
Fees Charged By Self-Financed Schools Capped: The Gujarat Assembly has recently passed a bill to regulate the fees charged by self-financed schools. Following this, many parents approached the Vadodara district education officer (DEO), who then directed all the schools affiliated to all education boards in the state to collect fees according to the bill: Rs. 15,000 for primary schools, Rs. 25,000 for secondary schools and Rs. 27,000 for higher secondary level. All the schools have been asked to collect fees of only three months. (08-04-2017)
Vadodara Airport Expansion: The Vadodara airport has only one runway. Thanks to this only one aircraft at a time can land or be readied for take-off. Unless this aircraft has cleared the runway no other aircraft can land at the airport or be readied for take-off. This problem restricts the number of flights that can be handled by the airport. Only eleven flights – six to Mumbai and five to Delhi – are presently operational from Vadodara. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to expand operations by making a parallel taxi track so that an aircraft can get ready for take-off on it while the runway is being used by another aircraft. The additional land required for the taxi track is 21 acres, and AAI has submitted the necessary proposal to the Vadodara district collector in order to acquire it. (07-04-2017)
Property Owners Must Register Their Tenants With Police: Many house owners are not aware that they should register their tenants with the police when they rent their properties. The police department’s special operations group (SOG) has begun taking strict action against landlords who violate this rule. The purpose behind the rule is that the police needs to keep tab of anti-social elements; criminals often elude the authorities by staying in houses without proper registration. Last year the police department registered over 1,000 cases against property owners who neglected to follow this rule. (30-03-2017)
India’s First Railway University: The Rajya Sabha was informed recently by the Railways Minister of State that planning was going on for setting up India’s first national railway university at Vadodara. The university will be a research and management resource for Indian Railways, private railway equipment manufacturers and railway consultants. The university is expected to come up on a 100-acre site at Piparia (Waghodia taluka); the cost involved is over Rs. 860 crores. Vadodara will be the headquarters of the university, and the railway colleges located at Secunderabad, Nashik, Pune, Jamalpur and Lucknow will be its constituent schools. (18-03-2017)
Free Wi-Fi Project: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has invited vendors to bid for a project to provide access to government sites and free Wi-Fi internet for a limited period. The project involves setting up intelligent smart poles so as to enable Wi-Fi and a few other services at prominent locations. The bids have been re-invited because the response earlier was not as expected. Among the services to be provided are digital signboards, public address systems, weather and traffic sensors, etc. Revenue for the vendor will come from advertising, rentals from telecom service providers and Wi-Fi charges after the expiry of the free usage period. (18-03-2017)
Street Vendors Plan Protest Rally: Following the recent eviction of about 100 street food vendors by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), the vendors may bring out a protest rally on Saturday. VMC maintains that many vendors are not registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA). Apart from the vendors, food trucks in the Akota area have also been impounded. Under FSSA provisions, anyone running a food business without a licence can be imprisoned for six months and also be liable to pay a fine of up to Rs. five lakh. Out of the city’s estimated 25,000 street vendors, it seems that only 6,000 have bothered to register themselves under the FSSA. (17-03-2017)
Board Exams Begin On 15th March: The class 10 and class 12 examinations of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) will begin from 15th March. The number of students taking the exams are: 17.59 lakh (total), 11 lakh (class 10), 5.14 lakh (class 12 general stream), 1.41 lakh (class 12 science stream). For class 10 there are 876 centres, for class 12 general stream 496 centres and for class 12 science stream 209 centres. The March 28 Sanskrit paper for class 12 general stream has been postponed to March 29 because of the Cheti Chand holiday on March 28. (15-03-2017)
City Will Regulate Street Vending: With the state government having finalised the Gujarat Street Vendors Rules in December 2016, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has invited applications to appoint non-official members of a town vending committee to formulate policies. VMC will appoint four members: a representative of the market trade association, a NGO member, a member of a resident welfare association and a representative from a community-based organisation. Areas will be identified as hawking zones, vendors will be registered and given identity cards, and timings will be specified. The registered vendors will have to pay rent to VMC. (14-03-2017)
Civic Body Steps Up Property Tax Collection: As the current financial year is about to close, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has stepped up its efforts to collect pending property taxes and other dues from errant citizens. To pressurise defaulters, VMC has issued sealing notices to over 300 property owners. The tax revenue target is Rs. 415 crore. The collection so far is a bit over Rs. 400 crores: Rs. 335 crore property tax, Rs. 38 crore professional tax, Rs. 27 crore vehicle tax and Rs. 1.6 crore cable television tax. (09-03-2017)
Vadodara Implements Smart City Plans Efficiently: It seems that Vadodara is moving quickly to implement the Smart City plan. The city has been ranked fourth in terms of the investment conversion ratio (ICR). The ICR is a measure of the extent of conversion of approved smart city plans into investments through ground level implementation. Vadodara’s ICR of 95% ranks behind Nagpur (249%), Indore (96%) and Surat (also 96%). This ranking was done by the Indian government’s urban development department on the basis of periodic reports submitted by various cities. Vadodara’s Smart City plans will call for an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore. The areas being covered are redevelopment of railway station area, City Command and Control Centre (CCCC), Vishwamitri riverfront development, slum area re-development, smart urban transport, water supply systems, GIS, etc. (08-03-2017)
Race Course Circle Will No Longer Look Like Food Court Circle: Roadside eateries close to the Vadodara division office of GSRTC (Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation) on Race Course Circle have been asked to vacate the area because they have been blocking the smooth flow of traffic. It looks as if this time the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) means serious business because over 75 of these food joints have now moved out on their own before they are forcefully evicted. The eateries were very popular, but they were a traffic nuisance. Each eatery along the GSRTC boundary wall occupied its own roadside space, plus the roadside space for its portable tables and chairs for customers, plus the roadside space for customer vehicles, plus the roadside space for customers to move from eatery to eatery. That is a lot of roadside space, leaving little room for the flow of traffic on the road. Race Course Circle had begun to look like a Food Court Circle. As in other areas in the city, VMC had to move in and deal firmly with this unsanctioned, unofficial hawking area. (02-03-2017)
Portable Cabins For Outdoor Police Points: There are several areas in Vadodara where violence between different groups of people flares up regularly and quite suddenly. Resorting to the normal law and order jargon such areas are termed ‘sensitive’. A few policemen, usually from the State Reserve Police, are routinely posted in these areas to act as a sort of early-warning system and perhaps a calming influence. The police presence is usually on the side of a road or at a street corner. Since the policemen need to be on the vigil round the clock, they are given cloth tents under which they can rest or sleep on cots. There are 20 such ‘tented’ SRP points in the city. The police department has now decided to replace the tents with portable all-weather cabins with two beds, a fan, a cupboard and some basic necessities. A sample cabin has been made and it will be deployed at the Atladra check-post. Since the cabin costs about Rs. 2 lakhs, the police are looking for sponsors to foot the bill for the remaining cabins. Considering the vital necessity of the cabins, why should the police have to seek private sponsorships? The state government should step in and provide the funding, or perhaps ask for a still better solution. (01-03-2017)
Possible Scam At Private University: A high functionary of Waghodia based Sumandeep Vidyapeeth was detained by members of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from Ahmedabad. Two other persons were also detained. The alleged offence: seeking bribes from students to get admission and pass them in examinations. Large amounts of cash and some property documents have been seized. A fairly big admission and examination scam is suspected. Investigations are still going on. A deemed university located 18 kms from Vadodara, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth has several constituent colleges: Medical, Dental. Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Health Care Management. (28-02-2017)
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