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Proposal to merge Oriental Institute with some MS University faculty: The Oriental Institute of MS University (MSU) was established in Baroda by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1927. Sayajirao first got the idea for the institute in 1893, his interest sparked by the opening of the Oriental Research Institute in Mysore in 1891 (the Mysore Maharaja, Chamaraja Wodeyar, was a close friend). The institute in Baroda functioned from the Central Library but was eventually shifted to a separate building near the palace. Sometimes known as Prachya Vidhya Mandir, it has over 30,000 old manuscripts and attracts research scholars from all over the world. Now, more than 90 years after it was set up, some officials in the state government have floated the suggestion that the Oriental Institute should perhaps be merged with some other faculty of MSU. The reasons behind this suggestion are not clear, but since it is a government suggestion It will be put up before the university’s syndicate. Academic experts seem to believe that Oriental Institute has a distinct identity and a distinguished record and it would be inadvisable to merge it with any other faculty. (18-06-2018)
Gujarat government may invite ‘Heritage Mitras’: The Gujarat government is toying with the idea of inviting private entities and individuals to conserve and maintain heritage sites on the Gujarat list of archaeological monuments. The central government has recently announced something similar – the ‘Heritage Mitra’ scheme. The state scheme will exclude the monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI). Gujarat has over 360 monuments on the list of the state archaeology department, but it does not have the resources to adequately look after them. The ‘Heritage Mitras’ will get some sort of publicity at the monument sites, and they can highlight their work as a CSR achievement. According to the management jargon, it is a win-win situation: the monument gets much needed maintenance and the private entity gets some well-deserved goodwill. (18-06-2018)
State moves to tackle malnourishment in children and expectant mothers: Malnourishment in young children, adolescent girls and expectant mothers is a pressing problem in India. The Gujarat government has turned to Amul help solve this problem by manufacturing and supplying energy dense micro-nutrient fortified food called Take Home Ration (THR). THR ‘Balbhog’ will be for children aged six months to six years; ‘Sakhibhog’ will be for adolescent girls and lactating women. The order is worth Rs. 6,000 crore and Amul will set up three new manufacturing plants – at Banas Dairy, Amul Dairy and Sumul Dairy. THR contains wheat, besan, soyabean flour, sugar, oil, rice, maize and added nutrients; it can be used to make sukhdi, shiro, rab, laddu, thepla, muthiya, patra, bhakhari, pudla and cutlets. THR will benefit 42 lakh people every day. Incidentally, Amul already supplies double toned pasteurized homogenized fortified flavoured milk to school-going children; this programme supplies 3.5 lakh litres of milk per day to benefit 24.5 lakh children in 12,000 schools and 16,000 anganwadis. (17-06-2018)
Gujarat will have 100% city gas distribution coverage: Gujarat is soon likely to be the first state with 100% city gas distribution (CGD) coverage. Natural gas constitutes 25% of Gujarat’s total energy consumption; this is higher than the world average of 24% (in India it is only 6%). Gujarat has 17.45 lakh household connections of piped natural gas (PNG), the highest in India. The state has the highest number (4417) of industrial PNG connections (4,417) and the highest number (17,439) of commercial PNG connections. The areas remaining to be covered by the CGD network are: Surendranagar, Narmada, Porbandar, Junagadh, Mahisagar, Tapi, Dangs and Gir Somnath, parts of Morbi, Botad, Navsari, Kheda and Surat. (16-06-2018)
Ban on thin plastic bags has hurt the industry: Halol in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district is a major base for manufacturers of plastic bags, and many of these companies are feeling the impact of the recent ban on bags thinner than a few microns. Demand has dipped. Some industrialists claim that the ban in fact leads to the production of more plastic, because they have to switch to thicker bags (more plastic is needed for higher microns). About 1000 thin bags can be made from 1.5 kg plastic; if the thickness is increased to 50 microns, only 50 bags can be made. The manufacturers maintain that governments abroad encourage thinner plastic bags since they can be easily recycled. They say that plastic pollution can be solved not by banning plastic bags but by increased focus on proper waste management and better disposal of plastics. (15-06-2018)
NA certification will go online and become faster: The process of conversion of land from agriculture to non-agriculture (NA) use may be speeded up in Gujarat. Arrangements are being made to clear applications online, so that the delays – and the occasional corruption – associated with the manual systems are eliminated. Against the two years which the prevailing method takes, the online alternative is likely to take no more than seven working days. The prototype online NA clearance system is going through the testing phase. (14-06-2018)
Gujarat Refinery will get treated water from city sewage treatment plant: Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and Gujarat Refinery have arrived at an understanding whereby Gujarat Refinery will lift 21 million litres of treated water daily from the city’s Chhani sewage treatment plant (STP). This arrangement is expected to save the fresh water that the refinery otherwise uses. The execution of this project will be done by a third party which will deliver the treated water through a 9-km pipeline to be laid by VMC from the Chhani STP to Gujarat Refinery. The Chhani STP will be suitably upgraded. (14-06-2018)
First International Gujarati Film Festival announced: The International Gujarati Film Festival (IGFF) will be held in New Jersey, USA, between 1st and 3rd August this year. A selection of popular Gujarati films, documentaries and short films will be screened, along with a Gujarati science fiction film. The festival director is Umesh Shukla, who has directed films such as Oh My God and 102 Not Out. The organisers hope that the festival will help improve the content of Gujarati films and also connect with US distributors so that Gujarati films can be released in the US at the same time as in India. The jury members are Umesh Shukla, Aruna Irani, Jay Vasavada, Anurag Mehta and Madhu Rye. The shortlisted films are: Bhawar, Chal Man Jitva Jaiye, Gujju Bhai Most Wanted, Hera Feri Fera Feri, Karsandas Pay & Use, Love Ni Bhavai, Oxygen, Pappa Tamne Nahi Samjay, Ratanpur, Reva, Super Star, Sharato Lagu, and Chitkar. (13-06-2018)
MS University will get an entrepreneurship development centre: MS University’s Faculty of Social Work has been selected by the union ministry of skill development to get an entrepreneurship development centre. This is part of a central government scheme to create an enabling ecosystem for entrepreneurship development through relevant training in select higher education institutes, schools and industrial training centres. Students will be able to draw upon a network of mentors, incubators, funds and business services. MSU professors M.N. Parmar and Dr. Satish Kumar will be the two faculty facilitators. The course will begin from this academic year. (13-06-2018)
Seven-day Navratri vacation for all colleges: The education department of the Gujarat government has asked all government colleges in the state to adhere to a common academic calendar. The common calendar will ensure uniformity in admission processes, examination schedules and vacation dates. It will cover all courses except medical and pharmacy. The first semester will be of 95 days and the second of 102 days. All colleges will have a 7-day Navratri vacation, a 14-day Diwali vacation, and a 49-day summer vacation.
The following is the suggested calendar:
... Declare Class 12 results by 15th June.
... First semester: 12th June to 4th November (95 days, excluding examination days).
... Internal examinations: Finish process by 15th October.
... Navratri Vacation: 15th October to 21st October (7 days).
... University Examinations:
1st, 3rd and 5th semester examinations should be held between 22nd October and 31st October.
2nd, 4th and 6th semester examinations should be held between 28th November and 7th December.
... Diwali Vacation: 5th November to 18th November (14 days).
... Second semester: 26th November 2018 to 24th April 2019 (102 days, excluding examination days).
... University Examinations:
1st, 3rd and 5th semester examinations should be held between 5th March 2019 and 14th March 2019.
2nd, 4th and 6th semester examinations should be held between 19th March and 28th March 2019
... Summer vacation: 24th April to 11th June 2019 (49 days). (12-06-2018)
Consumer court asks Northern Railways to pay for stolen luggage: A consumer court has asked the Northern Railways to pay Rs. 500,000 as compensation to a couple whose handbag was stolen between Mathura and New Delhi in a 2-tier AC coach of Jammu Tawi Express. The couple, Shaileshbhai and Meenaben Bhagat from Gandhidham in Kutch, will also get Rs. 8,000 towards legal costs and for the mental agony they went through. They complained but they were not satisfied with the probe by the authorities. They therefore took the legal route by suing the Northern Railway in the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum of Jamnagar district (the train tickets had been booked in Jamnagar). They demanded Rs. 500,000 because the handbag contained jewellery and electronic items and Rs. 200,000 in cash. Among other things, the Northern Railways said that their only responsibility is to transport passengers safely to their destinations. The court disagreed and accepted the couple’s argument that special charges are levied for reserved coaches so that other persons cannot enter the coach. The court said that secured and safe travel of passengers is the railway’s responsibility. (11-06-2018)
Over 20,000 reverse vending machines will ‘accept’ used and empty plastic bottles: The Gujarat government has announced that over 20,000 reverse vending machines will be installed all over the state. Such machines accept used and empty beverage containers and return money to the person ‘feeding’ the container to the machine. The machines are popular in places that have mandatory recycling laws or container deposit legislation. The machines are meant to prevent the pollution caused by discarded plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). At present a ragpicker can earn 30 paise for a one-litre PET bottle (15 paise for a smaller bottle); the reverse vending machine will give the ragpicker Re. 1 per bottle. The machine has a touch-screen to register the phone number of the person ‘feeding’ the bottle into the machine; payment will be made electronically to the registered phone number. It is estimated that 5 crore PET bottles are used annually in the state. (10-06-2018)
Vadodara’s ‘Museum of Trees’: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) had to somehow deal with the Vadsar landfill site – and its stink – on the banks of the Vishwamitri river and came up with the idea to develop it into a ‘museum of trees’. The idea, which took shape in 2016, is now a reality and the city has a museum that has 100 different tree species. The problem has been solved in an environmentally friendly manner. The museum, spread over 50,000 square meters, has over 12,600 trees. VMC calls it ‘Urban Forest – Museum of Trees’. The space between the rows of trees is used for a tree bank. Similar urban forests are being planned elsewhere in the city. (09-06-2018)
Banned plastics products seized: To make industry and traders fall in line with the new rules on the use of plastics materials the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) stepped up its drive to crack down on shops and establishments using or selling plastic pouches, bags and cups that did not comply with prescribed standards. All the wards of the city were covered by 40 teams which conducted raids and seized 2,035 kg of banned products. (08-06-2018)
Plastics ban may affect 2,000 manufacturing units and 50,000 jobs: Following the recent ban on some plastic products the Gujarat Plastics Manufacturers Association (GSPMA) says that its members will face a crisis in the immediate future, and perhaps even closure in some cases. The GSPMA president fears that about 2000 small units – mostly in Halol, Vadodara and Waghodia – will be hit very hard and 50,000 employees may lose their jobs. It seems that the industry is already in talks with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board on how the problem can be solved. The association wants the state government to allow some more time for manufacturers to make the necessary production adjustments to meet the required specifications. Some manufacturers and dealers have suggested that plastic littering should be curbed instead of the blanket ban. (07-06-2018)
Priority for wards of employees in MS University courses: MS University has announced that the wards of all its employees will be given priority in admissions to its regular grant-in-aid undergraduate courses. This decision will not change the regular course intake capacities because the wards of employees will be admitted in the supernumerary category. This decision, applicable to the wards of both permanent and temporary employees, is for courses such as Bachelors of Arts, Bachelors of Science, Bachelors of Commerce and other regular undergraduate programmes – but not for courses offered by the faculty of management studies and the faculty of technology and engineering and self-financed courses. (07-06-2018)
Vadodara Municipal Corporation bans plastic cups, pouches and bags: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has issued a notification banning plastic cups, plastic pouches and plastic bags that do not meet the legally specified specifications. Violation of the notification will invite strict penal action. The applicable order is the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, which specify the thickness of plastic products. Special attention will be paid by VMC to the plastic products used for packing or serving food. Besides banning the use of the objectionable products the notification also prohibits their manufacturing, storage and sale. The lay person is not fully conversant with the exact specifications of the banned items, but it is clear that material above 50 microns is allowed under the rules. (06-06-2018)
Kadak Bazaar may have to make way for the bullet train terminal: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) may allocate some Kadak Bazaar land in Sayajigunj for the bullet train terminal. The VMC administration will need to get the approval of the civic body’s elected wing. Technical discussions are going on between officials of VMC, National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRC) and Vadodara railway division. VMC will have to get Kadak Bazaar vacated for the terminal. VMC will give the land by charging rates as per the ‘jantri’. The land may perhaps be acquired at a rate of Rs. 47,000 per square meter; the area involved is over 4,400 square meters. Of course, VMC will have to take steps to rehabilitate the shopkeepers and vendors who will be displaced from the area. Will the historic Kadak Bazaar market get a new location? (06-06-2018)
Vadodara airport authorities want to operate 24 x 7: The Vadodara airport authorities want to operate 24 x 7. The airport currently operates between 6 a.m. and 9.45 p.m. Approval is awaited from the Airports Authority of India. It is felt that round-the-clock operations will help in the case of aircraft that sometimes get diverted in emergencies from Mumbai to Vadodara. Another factor is that the local airport authorities want to be ready to handle the rush of VVIP air traffic in October when the ‘Statue of Unity’ is going to be inaugurated in Narmada district. At present the Vadodara airport handles 22 flights daily. (05-06-2018)
Court helps retired Haryana Roadways employee to collect his dues: Here is an unusual story from a court in Chandigarh. The story is true. The court had ruled in a certain case that Daler Singh, a retired employee of Haryana Roadways, should be paid his pending dues. Mr. Singh was however not paid on time. The District Court of Chandigarh has therefore ordered that the official car of the director general of transport, Haryana, should be auctioned on July 31 if the department fails to pay the amount as per the court orders. If the payment is made before the date of auction, then the car will not be auctioned. The court has ordered the attachment of the government vehicle (Honda City) of the DG, Transport. (05-06-2018)
If you have a traffic complaint, the police want to help you: An ordinary citizen can now actively help the city’s traffic police by sending complaint messages – or photographs showing traffic violations – by WhatsApp to the number 9099981095. The police department is making a positive effort to reach out to citizens for their cooperation, and citizens should now do their bit. You should not be surprised if the police act on your complaint quickly. According to the authorities, this system seems to be working and Barodians are responding; the police department is getting over 100 messages daily. Many messages relate to people driving on the wrong side of the road, poor road conditions and faulty traffic signals. (04-06-2018)
Anand will get India’s first modern honey testing laboratory: India’s first modern honey testing laboratory is due to come up in Anand. The effort will involve the National Bee Board (NBB) and the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). NDDB encourages farmers to take up scientific bee-keeping. The honey testing facility will be a part of its multi-disciplinary Centre for Analysis in Livestock and Food (CALF). A honey testing facility is important because it helps to develop consumer confidence for honey; Indian laboratories do not as yet have the facilities to adhere to the stringent international benchmarks for purity and quality of honey. Samples are currently sent to Germany or USA for testing. The honey is judged on the basis of authenticity, quality, residues and contaminants. Bee-keeping is an additional livelihood option and it also plays a role in enhancing the yields of major agricultural and horticultural crops. NDDB also trains farmers in production of other bee-hive products such as wax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis and bee-venom. (04-06-2018)
Another tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad: Another tribute to Mahatma Gandhi is taking shape, this time in Ahmedabad, and it will mark his 150th birth anniversary year. The tribute will be in the form of a stainless steel charkha on the east bank of the river opposite Sabarmati Ashram. The charkha is being made by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), the same organisation which set up the world’s largest wooden charkha at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. The 2.2-tonne charkha will be 11 feet tall, 6.5 feet wide and 22 feet in length. (04-06-2018)
Translators and reviewers blacklisted after silly mistakes in Gujarat Board textbooks: After scandalously silly errors in some Gujarat Board class XII Sanskrit textbooks, the state’s education department and the textbook board have blacklisted the textbook’s translators and reviewers. Two Gujarati-to-English translators and five reviewers will not get any future work from the board. The reviewers are the ones who check the text after translation. Just imagine, not one among the five reviewers could spot a silly mistake! Is it possible that none of them even reviewed the book in the first place? Perhaps it would be a good idea for all textbooks to be uploaded on the Internet well in advance of being printed, and then people could be asked to spot mistakes and offer suggestions. The government may even consider offering rewards to those who spot mistakes and make worthwhile suggestions. (03-06-2018)
Over 30,000 engineering seats may go vacant this year: Engineering and pharmacy degree course registrations closed on May 31. For the 66,000 engineering seats, only 43,000 students registered, leaving 23,000 vacant seats. Even out of those who have registered, some may opt out and select engineering colleges outside Gujarat. Pharmacy fared better, with over 19,000 applying for 5,000 seats. Some of those who missed out on medical and paramedical seats opted for Pharmacy instead. The provisional merit list is likely to be announced by June 8, or two days after receiving the marks declared by the Central Board of Secondary Education. (03-06-2018)
Donated solar photovoltaic plant gives multiple benefits to a dairy cooperative in Anklav taluka: Farmers in Mujkuva Dairy Cooperative Society (DCS) in Anand’s Anklav taluka began to use solar powered pumps after the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) donated a solar photovoltaic plant to them last year. NDDB is therefore trying to encourage similar schemes elsewhere in India. The Mujkuva DCS, affiliated with Amul Dairy, not only meets its own electricity needs but also earns by selling surplus electricity to the grid. This model should help to reduce electricity subsidies. Also, farmers get an extra income source which promotes clean energy and tackles the problem of depleting ground water resources. Farmers in Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra are also interested in a similar model; it is called ‘SPICE’ – Solar Pump Irrigators’ Cooperative Enterprise. (02-06-2018)
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may fund sludge treatment project for city: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) may fund a sludge treatment project for the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The sludge generated by the Atladra sewage treatment plant (STP) will be treated to generate water and energy from it. The sludge will be treated by an Omni processor plant. According to Wikipedia, “Omni Processor is a name proposed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a group of physical, biological or chemical treatment processes to process fecal sludge – a mixture of human excreta and water – in developing countries. One of the main treatment aims is pathogen removal to stop the spread of disease from fecal sludge. Examples of technologies which Omni Processors may employ include combustion, supercritical water oxidation and pyrolysis. The term ‘omni’ in its name refers to the fact that an Omni Processor machine can process a variety of waste streams or fuel sources. In addition to removing all pathogens, the treatment also generates outputs of commercial value. These beneficial products can be energy and soil nutrients and might have the potential to allow a development of local business and revenue. The soil nutrients could be used as a form of reuse of excreta in agriculture.” At the Atlatdra STP the plant will use a thermal treatment based technology; this will do away with the need to wait for about four to six weeks for the sludge to dry up in the drying bed. The water generated during the drying process in the plant will be recovered. Ten per cent of the water generated will be of distilled water quality; the remaining 90 per cent will be industrial grade water. The plant will produce 60 to 70 kilo litres per day (KLD) of industrial grade water and six to seven KLD of distilled water; it will also generate 1,000 kilowatt hour of electricity every day. The complete proposal has yet to be approved by VMC’s elected wing. (01-06-2018)
Ride-in Cinema, for first time in Vadodara: United Nations has declared that 3rd June every year should be celebrated as World Cycle Day internationally. The idea is to promote the societal, economic and environmental benefits of using bicycles for transport as well as leisure. Cycling Cities and ONGC have come up with a unique concept of Ride-in Cinema: people can bring their own snacks from home but the only restriction is that the audience members should come to the venue on their cycles. Cycle into the venue and enjoy the open-air cinema screening at the ONGC Sports Complex. ‘Cycle’, a Marathi movie with English subtitles, directed by Mr. Prakash Kunte, will be screened. This award-winning movie is based on a beautiful story showing a love for cycling. Vadodara mayor Bharat Dangar, director Prakash Kunte and Bicycle Mayor of Baroda Nikita Lalwani will be present. Those who do not have cycles can come with their friends who are coming by cycle as the event is all about creating awareness about cycling. A live exhibition will showcase different types of cycles which you may never have seen before. Cycling Cities is a movement to motivate people from all strata of Indian society to use bicycles in their daily lives to stay healthy and create a sustainable environment for the present and the future.
Venue: ONGC Sports Complex, Makarpura Road, Vadodara. Date: 3rd June, 7.30 p.m.
For details write to: cyclingcities.in@gmail.com
Ph: 9825076867 (31-05-2018)
Gujarat-Rajasthan inland waterway: Following a meeting on Wednesday between Union minister of state for water resources and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, it was announced that there is a proposal for a Rs. 10,000 crore 590-km long inland waterway connecting Gujarat and Rajasthan through the Jawai River, Luni River and Kori Creek in the Rann of Kutch. Some time back the Union water resources minister had in principle approved a plan to consider developing 111 inland waterways. Inland waterway No. 48 was meant to connect Kori Creek area on the Arabian Sea in Kutch to Rajasthan. The central public sector undertaking WAPCOS Ltd. – Water and Power Consultancy Services (India) Ltd. – is working on a detailed project report. (31-05-2018)
Widened Shastri Bridge finally opened to public: The Shastri Bridge widening project is finally over and the official inauguration was done a few days back. This is great news for the city’s commuters because this bridge was very narrow and got choked with traffic quite regularly. The situation was worse in the monsoon because the bridge often had to handle the traffic overflow which was diverted from the frequently flooded Alkapuri railway underpass. The bridge was widened at a cost of over Rs. 30 crore. Shastri Bridge is also sometimes referred to as Alembic Flyover or Pandya Bridge. (30-05-2018)
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