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Hippopotamuses for Sayajibaug Zoo: The Sayajibaug zoo is expected to get two hippopotamuses (or two hippopotami?) from the zoo at Indore. The Sayajibaug zoo, run by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, will get the hippos from Indore’s Kamala Nehru Zoo; in exchange, the Indore zoo will be given some exotic birds (silver pheasants, a red lory and an Amazon parrot). The hippos are 15 years old and nine years old. The Sayajibaug zoo did have a hippo, named Mangal, but it died in 2011. (09-10-2016)
Vadodara International Airport: The Vadodara International Airport at Harni will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 22. This airport will be India’s second 'green' airport, the first being the one at Chandigarh. Built at a cost of Rs. 162 crore, it will be able to handle 500 domestic and 200 international passengers. The runway is 8,100 feet long. (09-10-2016)
Octogenarian Barodian Honoured: Vadodara based octogenarian Dr. Bhagwati Oza – a gynaecologist – has won the National Award for Older Persons for Sports and Adventure. The award was recently given to her by President Pranab Mukherjee. Dr. Oza has won over 100 medals in athletics and swimming at the national and international levels. Among her many achievements: a 3,000 km cycle trip from Kolkata to Kanyakumari at the age of 75, scuba diving and mountain climbing. (08-10-2016)
MSU Proposes New Russian Courses: The Department of Russian Studies at MS University’s Faculty of Arts proposes to offer two new post-graduate courses – an MA Russian Studies Programme under the Ministry of Human Resource Development's National Mission on Education and an MA Russian (Military Aviation) Programme for defence personnel. The faculty board has approved these courses, but the MSU Syndicate approval is awaited. (08-10-2016)
Children Must Wear Full-Sleeved Clothes: The Gujarat government’s health department has instructed authorities at 40,000 primary schools and 10,000 secondary and higher secondary schools to encourage students to wear full-sleeved clothes. This step is a preventive measure to halt the spread of mosquito-related diseases like dengue and malaria. Schools have been told not to insist on children wearing their uniforms if the uniforms do not include full-sleeved clothes. Similar notifications have also been issued to private and government-run schools. (15-09-2016)
No Aadhaar Card, No Train Ticket: The time is not far away when you will not be able to book a rail ticket without an Aadhaar Card. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is working towards this objective; the deadline may perhaps be as early as December 2016. Considering that 96 per sent of Indians already have Aadhaar cards, it may now not take long for the other four per cent to jump on to the bandwagon. The Aadhaar Card is likely to be compulsory for all train tickets – reserved tickets, unreserved tickets, online tickets, counter tickets, even the 50 categries of concession-rate tickets. In addition to its many advantages, this move should help to eliminate fraudulent bookings by unauthorised agents. (14-09-2016)
Enrollment of New Voters & Aadhar Card Registration: The election commission will hold a drive to update the voters’ list from Thursday, 15th September. Adding of new names to the voters’ list or making corrections in the list will be done on September 18, September 25 and October 9 by booth level officers on the spot. The election commission will also issue plastic voting cards to all voters (price Rs. 30). Voters can get their cards issued at Narmada Bhawan on Jail Road. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation will make registrations for Aadhar card till September 30 (even on Sundays and holidays) at the Public Health Laboratory at Laheripura, Sardar Patel Planetarium, Jubilee Baug, Manjalpur Sports Complex, Sama Sports Complex and all ward offices (except ward number one). (13-09-2016)
Get Your Number Plate Along With Your Car: If things go according to plans at Gujarat’s state transport department, buyers will soon be able to pick up their new cars from the dealers with the high security registration plates (HSRP), popularly called number plates, already fitted. Presently, the procedure of getting the number plates can take a month and several bothersome visits to the RTO office. Buyers in Ahmedabad will be the first beneficiaries of this innovation, followed thereafter by those in Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. All of Gujarat will be covered by next year. Plans are afoot to hand over the RC books too along with the vehicle. More than 1.3 million new vehicles are registered every year in the state. (13-09-2016)
Ganpati Immersions Keep Cops On Their Toes: Ganpati immersions are a major activity: 324 idols to be immersed on Sunday (11th) in 30 lakes and the Mahi river, and 1,890 on Thursday (15th). Sunday’s immersions will be managed by Vadodara police. Thursday’s immersions will also include personnel from the State Reserve Police (SRP) and paramilitary units. This means 2,300 local police persons, 19 companies of paramilitary forces, six companies of SRP, three teams of horse-mounted policemen, and six quick response teams. Video cameras, 300 CCTV cameras and drones will also be pressed into service. Preventine legal steps have been taken against over 850 history-sheeters. (11-09-2016)
City Declared Open Defecation Free: Under the Swachh Bharat Mission the Vadodara municipal limits are now officially ‘open defecation free’ (ODF). Vadodara is the second municipal corporation in Gujarat to achieve this status, the first being Surat. The ODF label follows a three-phase third party inspection carried out since July. The civi body had organised large-scale extensive awareness programmes – rallies, puppet shows, distribution of pamphlets, hoardings, etc. – and built hundreds of toilets to make the grade. VMC has built more than 21,800 individual toilets and work is ongoing for another 2,160. Over 100 public toilets are planned. (10-09-2016)
Global Trade Show In Vadodara: The Vadodara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) will host Vibrant VCCI 2016, the 10th mega industrial exhibition from December 1 to 5 this year. This global trade show is a biennial event organised to promote the growth and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The NRI, NRG and MSME meets are also scheduled around the same time. The exhibition, sprawing over 900,000 square feet, is expected to attract about 500,000 visitors. The theme this year will focus on export opportunities for SMEs and MSMEs. A placement fair and vendor development meets are also planned. (08-09-2016)
New Vadodara Airport Terminal Nearing Completion: The construction of a new international terminal at the Vadodara airport is nearing completion. The existring terminal is rather small and cannot handle a large number of passengers. Work on the international terminal started in 2011. Spread over an area of over 18,000 sq mts, the new facility will cost Rs. 160 crore. With 18 check-in counters, it should be able to cater to 700 passengers (including 200 international passengers) per hour. Once the finishing touches are done with, approval will be received from the Director General of Civil Aviation. The airport will then be used for direct international flights to neighbouring countries. Direct flights to USA or UK are ruled out because the existing runway is not enough for big aircraft. (07-09-2016)
New Swimming Pool At Lalbaug: Vadodara now has a children’s-only swimming pool at Lalbaug. Costing over Rs. 26 lakh, it has been built by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) from the local area development funds of former Vadodara MP Balkrishna Shukla. The project also includes a filtration plant, lockers and showers. The city corporation runs four swimming pools for adults at Lalbaug, Sardarbaug, Waghodiya Road and Sama. (09-08-2016)
Major Exhibition In City: The Department of Energy and Petrochemicals, Government of Gujarat and the Federation of Gujarat Industries will organise SWITCH 2016 – An International Exhibition and Summit for Electrical Engineering, Power Generation and Innovation – in Vadodara, from 6th to 10th October, 2016. The exhibition will cover electrical products such as switchgear, cables, conductors, fibre optic wires, transmission line technologies, control and automation, transformers and other products. The event is expected to be a biennial platform for suppliers, buyers and innovators. The exhibition will showcase the capabilities of national and international manufacturers. For the first time, there will be a special section on ‘Innovation’, wherein innovators will be given stalls to display their works. There will also be an incubators forum to facilitate the exchange of information with investors and bankers in order to encourage venture capital funding into the electrical industry. The organisers expect the presence of over 8,000 buyers and over 100,000 visitors. According to the Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers Association (IEEMA), Vadodara accounts for over 35 per cent of India's power transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment manufacturers. Additionally, there are over 800 related ancillary industries. SWITCH is promoted by the Government of Gujarat, under Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited. (06-08-2016)
Green Provisions: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) will henceforth strictly insist that new constructions in the city adhere to the ‘green provisions’ in the General Development and Construction Rules (GDCR). The green provisions relate to solar water heating and ground water recharging systems in new constructions. Solar heating systems are compulsory for hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, lodges, guest houses, hostels, barracks, community centers, banquet halls, railway stations and airports. Also, all public utility buildings will have to make provisions for the disabled. (06-08-2016)
Imagine Nyaya Mandir Without Its Courts: The Vadodara district court offices, now cramped into the historic Nyaya Mandir are likely to be shifted to a sprawling new complex on Old Padra Road. The new Rs. 130 crore building is expected to be ready for occupation early next year. Nyaya Mandir houses 58 courts, the new complex will have 76 courts spread over 50,000 sq ft. Imagine the Nyaya Mandir area without the courts! And imagine the Old Padra Road area with the courts!! (14-07-2016)
Laxmi Vilas Palace May Become A Hotel: Vadodara’s Gaekwad family may convert their 126-year-old Laxmi Vilas Palace into a hotel. Four major hotel groups have been approached as a first step – Taj Group, Oberoi Hotels, Radisson Hotels and ITC Hotels. The owners are of course keen to retain ownership of the sprawling palace and ensure that its main features are not disturbed. The Gaekwad family continues to stay in the palace, and only the operating rights of the hotel will be with the selected hotel group. (13-07-2016)
Baroda Cricket Association’s New Stadium: After many ifs and buts, the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) has finally done the ground breaking ceremony for its international cricket stadium at Kotambi. BCA still has to obtain permission to convert the land into non-agriculture. The stadium is expected to cost Rs. 150 crore. It will have a seating capacity of 40,000. The association hopes to be able to stage one-day internationals, tests and IPL matches at this venue. While no firm completion schedule has been announced for this project, dissenting voices are still suggesting that BCA will be better off leasing the Reliance Stadium instead of building the Kotambi one from scratch. (13-07-2016)
Development of Ajwa Gardens: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation proposes to turn to the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd. (TCGL) to take up the development work for the Vrindavan Gardens, which most Barodians call Ajwa Gardens. Initially VMC had been in talks with Baroda based Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (GSFC) for this project. Subsequently the Gujarat government agreed to grant Rs. 60 crore for this activity, and it was decided that the funds will be routed through the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd. (TCGL). VMC may now sign the required memorandum of understanding with TCGL. (12-07-2016)
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)
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