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Restaurants and eateries will no longer need a police licence: According to a new bill passed by the Gujarat assembly restaurants and eateries in the state will no longer need a police licence to start or run their establishments. The bill will benefit 60,000 eateries and restaurants in the state. After the governor approves the bill, the government will form and notify the necessary rules to finally do away with the police certification process for restaurants and eateries. The permissions still needed are: health licence, GST registration, fire safety and building-use permission, etc. (27-03-2018)
In water-scarce Gujarat wastage is not uncommon: In water-scarce Gujarat a study by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) shows that the city guzzles 260-280 litres of water per head per day; as against this, the theoretical requirement is 143 to 171 litres. Borewells, rather than the municipal water supply, meet 65 per cent of the consumption; as a result, there is a substantial depletion of the groundwater resources. In the slums, the lower-income areas, the average consumption is only 160 litres per individual per day; the less privileged depend less on borewells and more on the municipal supply. According to an estimate the city wastes over 39 crore litres of water, daily. The wasted water can meet the needs of over 22 lakh people. This is how the relatively rich waste water: long showers, running taps while shaving and brushing, using RO water for hair washing, washing cars, toilets without flushing systems, etc. (27-03-2018)
Vadodara Municipal Corporation can levy water tax only if a house has a water connection: The Vadodara District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum recently delivered a very common-sensical ruling. It said that the Vadodara Municipal Corporation cannot ask a household to shell out water tax if it does not have a water connection. The civic body was asked to deduct the water tax amount from the property bills in all such cases. This issue was raised by the residents of 36 flats in Giriraj Co-operative Housing Society in Chhani. All the 36 flat owners were asked to pay the water tax even though only six flats had water connections. The civic body maintained that it is entitled to collect all types of taxes from properties within the municipal limits and that the water tax is only a component of the property tax and therefore it is entitled to collect the water tax too. Nothing doing, said the court; the civic body cannot tax people for a service without providing that service. (26-03-2018)
Amul will launch ‘Haldi Doodh’: Haldi (turmeric) in any form is almost an Indian heritage product. It is generally considered to be a superfood and, mixed with milk, it is a potent health combo. Generation upon generation of Indian grandmothers swore by this combo. Now, Amul is jumping on to the traditional bandwagon – with ‘Haldi Doodh’. We wonder why Amul took so long ‘discover’ this marketing opportunity. Amul’s parent body, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) which represents Gujarat’s district dairy unions, will soon launch ‘Haldi doodh’ (turmeric milk) all over India. Also to be launched is an ‘Irish drink mocktail’. Both these milk varieties will be sold in easy to open end (EoE) cans. They will be manufactured at the Amul Dairy plant in Anand. Amul is gunning for five per cent India’s milk based beverage market with these products. Abroad, ‘haldi doodh’ is better known as ‘turmeric latte’. (26-03-2018)
Liquor in Gujarat: There are 58 officially sanctioned permit shops in Gujarat where liquor can be sold and a government committee may decide to allow another 19 to boost tourism. Some hotels are allowed to sell liquor to guests from outside Gujarat and also to health permit holders who stay in Gujarat. The Gujarat Prohibition (Amendment) Act 2017 stipulates that a hotel owner must have a licence to run a food business and must show the number of foreign customers and those from outside the state. Heritage hotels get priority. The hotel needs to make a deposit of Rs. 1 lakh and pay Rs. 25,000 in order to be allowed to run a wine shop. Over 80% of the revenue of hotels from liquor sales is from liquor sold to health permit holders. Since a hotel wine shop delivers a profit margin of 40%, hotel owners find liquor to be a lucrative option. Liquor permits are also issued on health grounds to those resident in Gujarat. All these permits are now being reviewed because there has been a steep increase of over 100% in such permits over the last two years. Perhaps permits were issued too carelessly by certifying doctors or government officials. Corruption may also be the cause in some cases. Incidentally, possession, manufacturing, purchasing, selling or transporting illegal liquor in Gujarat attracts imprisonment of up to 10 years and an additional fine of up to Rs. 5 lakh. (25-03-2018)
Peace returns to Vadodara district court building: The problem sparked by the inadequate seating capacity for advocates at the new Vadodara district court complex in Diwalipura seems to be heading for a solution. Five judges selected by the Gujarat high court chief justice and five advocates picked by the Baroda Bar Association (BBA) will be part of a joint committee to solve the problem. The protesting lawyers called off their strike and will resume work at the new court from Monday. (24-03-2018)
Gujarat government will review all liquor permits issued on health grounds: The Gujarat government has temporarily stopped renewing liquor permits on health grounds and also issuing fresh permits. It also wants to reduce the number of health permit holders by half; there are over 42,000 liquor permit holders who have been granted permits on the basis of 16 medical conditions. Such permits were normally granted after the production of medical certificates from qualified general physicians (with an MD degree). The government will review the existing permits and it may deny permits if alternative medical remedies can help. The reviews will be done by a special district level medical board. (23-03-2018)
Groundwater situation is grim in Gujarat: According to details presented recently in the Lok Sabha by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) Gujarat has already used up 68% of its groundwater; the state is among the worst in the country when it comes to exploiting aquifers for domestic, irrigation, and industrial use. Gujarat annually uses about 19.7 billion cubic metre (bcm) of water, 12.3 bcm for irrigation and 1.1 bcm for domestic and industrial purposes; only about 6.7 bcm is left to meet future irrigation needs. All over India, 62% of groundwater has been consumed; as a matter of fact, in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana the consumption is over 135%. (22-03-2018)
You can be fined if your vehicle is not fitted with the High Security Registration Plate: March 31 is the deadline to fix the High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) on your vehicle. If you have still not done the needful, you are not alone; it seems that the Ahmedabad Police have so far fixed the new plates on only 800 of their 1,500 vehicles. What about private vehicles throughout the state? The government says that about 8,00,000 private vehicles (two-wheelers, four-wheelers, heavy and light commercial vehicles) still have to get the new number plates fixed. A fine of Rs. 500 (per day?, per week?, per month?) is likely for those who miss the March 31 deadline. What is more likely, though, is that the government may extend the deadline yet again. March 31, 2019, perhaps? (21-03-2018)
Eventful start of activities at new court building: March 19 was the first working day at the brand new Vadodara district court building in Diwalipura. No work was done and instead there was only chaos. With lawyers agitated about the shortage of seating space one thing led to another and soon the court building and grounds were full of police personnel and their vehicles. A lot of public property in the building was damaged and many angry words were exchanged. The situation was ugly, and deplorable. All of this must have come as a bit of an unpleasant surprise to the neighbouring residents of Diwalipura. Eventful inauguration, yes, but it could perhaps have been more exemplary. For the average layperson the dispute does not seem to be so profound. Very simply – or possibly too simply – it seems that the new building promised space for 1,500 advocates, but delivered space for only 700. Another opinion says that it can easily handle 3,000 lawyers. What puzzles a lot of people is this question: How come no one did these calculations BEFORE even laying the court’s foundation stone? Will the courts be adjourned now till they make another building? (20-03-2018)
MSU girl student complains of harassment by teacher: A girl student of the Faculty of Technology and Engineering (FTE) of MS University of Baroda has complained of harassment by a teacher. Following the girl’s complaint several students were agitated and staged a protest outside the gate of the university’s head office. The police too were called in to assist in calming the situation. University authorities finally met the agitating students and assured them that strict action will be taken against the accused teacher after a thorough investigation. (19-03-2018)
New Vadodara district court complex inaugurated: After the recent inauguration of the new court complex in Diwalipura the Chief Justice of the High Court of Gujarat Mr. Justice R. Subhash Reddy assured the advocates that a new building will soon be constructed for them. This follows the complaints by lawyers about the shortage of seating space. Until the new building is ready the bar association will be allowed to use the ground floor halls which were meant to house the library; the library will temporarily be shifted to the upper floors. On a separate note, the chief justice suggested that all those who are involved in the justice delivery system should cooperate to ensure that by the end of 2018 not a single case older than five years is pending in any court of Gujarat. He said that the new court building, the largest district court building in Asia, has been built with Rs. 130 crore of taxpayer money and the legal fraternity can perhaps pay back by ensuring speedy justice. (18-03-2018)
No contractors bid for road repair works in Ahmedabad: Here is something which has not happened too often in the past. There were no bidders when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) announced a tender worth Rs. 132 crore to carry out road repair works in some posh areas. Not a single contractor was interested. The reason could be that the Gujarat high court had recently intervened to ensure road quality by insisting that AMC officials must demand accountability from contractors. Tender conditions have become rigorous, quality control is impartial, and there was even some legal action taken against an errant contractor. The shaken-up contractors are perhaps too scared to bid for the work. It is also possible that the contractors have formed a cartel to scare the AMC into relaxing some of the stiff requirements. Most people in Ahmedabad are not very happy about the sorry conditions of the city’s roads after repairs are carried out. The situation is not significantly better in the state’s other cities. It is about time that the municipal bodies learn how not to be taken for a ride by the contractors. (18-03-2018)
Water audit at MS University campus: MS University of Baroda (MSU) is conducting a water audit of its own campus. It will study the consumption of water throughout the entire campus which sprawls over 272 acres. In an attempt to follow the guidelines recommended by the National Building Code (NBC), it will aim for a 30 per cent reduction in water consumption at its offices, faculties, student hostels, staff residential quarters and sports facilities. The audit will help in more efficient utilisation of its water resources, prevent wastage and clamp down on unauthorized water use. It will estimate the waste water generated and the water pollution load. Water meters will also be installed. The campus consumes 57 lakh litres per day. NBC guidelines suggest that a person should use 175 litres of water per day (5-6 litres per person for a visitor). To reduce consumption, some new steps will be taken: water efficient pumping fixtures, water efficient landscapes, rain water harvesting, rain efficient irrigation system, etc. The campus features to be surveyed include: total land area, open spaces, landscaped areas, all buildings, open wells, bore wells, all sumps, rainwater harvesting facilities, open drains, storm water drains, number of trees, etc. Here are some statistics about the 272-acre campus: landscaped area of 45,000 sq metres; 2375 staff members reside on it; over 37,000 students attend classes; 4,100 students stay in the hostels; 500 people visit the campus daily; 30 persons stay in the guest house; annual water consumption of 21,000 lakh litres; Rs. 12.5 lakhs paid annually as water tax to Vadodara Municipal Corporation; Rs. 25 lakhs paid as electricity bill of water pumping stations; Rs. 87 lakhs paid annually as salary to water supply staff; Rs. 1.24 crore is the total annual cost of supplying water. The water audit is expected to be completed in three months. The audit is being funded by Gujarat government’s Department of Climate Change. (17-03-2018)
Gujarati to be a compulsory language in classes 1 and 2 in all schools: The Gujarat government has announced that Gujarati will be introduced as a compulsory language in classes 1 and 2 from academic year 2018-19. This policy will apply to all schools affiliated with CBSE, ICSE and international boards as well as English medium schools. Following this step, Gujarati will be made compulsory in classes 3-8 in a phased manner. Gujarati is presently introduced as a subject from class 5 in English medium schools affiliated with Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB); it is offered as an optional subject in CBSE schools in classes 5-10 and in ICSE schools in classes 6-10. (16-03-2018)
Some lawyers claim that the city’s brand new court complex may be short of seats: Vadodara’s new court complex is not even officially inaugurated, but there is a lot of unhappiness about there not being enough seating capacity for lawyers. It seems that there is room for only 600 advocates, as against the 1,500 capacity that was promised earlier. Now there is talk that some groups of lawyers will stay away from the official inauguration which is to take place on March 17. Over 1,300 lawyers have filled in the official forms requesting seating arrangements. Some lawyers, however, insist that there is enough seating available and that the fuss is being created by some disgruntled groups. Interestingly, there is some confusion about how many practicing lawyers there actually are in the city; estimates vary between 3,000 and 4,000 lawyers, but the electoral roll of the Baroda bar association has only 2,200 members (and not all of them have paid up their membership dues). Let us see how this tricky matter is resolved. Will the lawyers have to play musical chairs perhaps? (15-03-2018)
Gujarat is home to many hazardous industries: A recent disaster management conference in Ahmedabad took serious note of the preventive measures to be taken by industries and the Gujarat government to ensure that accidents are avoided. Almost 35% of India’s hazardous industrial units are located along the golden corridor – the state’s densely packed Vapi-Hazira-Ankleshwar-Dahej belt. Of the state’s 36,179 factories, 4,412 units manufacture chemicals and chemical products and employ over 300,000 workers. There is a chemical port at Dahej and the ports at Mundra, Kandla and Pipavav also handle large amounts of petrochemical products. Disasters in chemical factories can be very dangerous and the authorities are rightly shifting the focus from rescue, relief and rehabilitation to prevention, mitigation and preparedness. The conference in Ahmedabad was attended by experts from the National Disaster Management Authority, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). (15-03-2018)
Crimes against minors: The figures for 2017 for crimes against minors (children below 18 years) in Gujarat are not pleasant. According to Gujarat Police 3,523 cases of crimes against minors were registered during the year. This included 44 murders, 493 rapes, 2,514 abductions, 66 minors abandoned by parents, 396 child marriages. The experts and the police feel that parents can play a significant role in curbing these crimes. It seems that the primary reason for crimes against minors is that about 80 per cent of parents focus more on academic results rather than on the real-life issues which confront children (specially teenagers). Some experts say that children are now engrossed in gadgets like mobile phones and quite unaware of their surroundings. While the cops must do their bit, they cannot take over the role that parents are expected to play. (15-03-2018)
School dropout rates of girls in rural Gujarat: Recent reports suggest that the dropout rate of girls from schools in rural Gujarat is not very encouraging and does not compare favourably with the national average. More girls seem to quit school between class VI and class VII. The dropout rate is worse than that for boys at all levels – primary (class I to V), upper primary (class VI to VIII) and secondary (IX and X). The experts say that if a girl is not in school it means she is toiling in a farm or on the field. Like it or not, girls are saddled with several tasks such as helping mothers in the house and looking after younger siblings. Menstruation is often the reason for skipping school. To add to the problem, not all villages have upper primary schools, and parents often consider it unsafe to send their girls to schools in other villages. (14-03-2018)
Baroda Medical College acquires machine for quicker diagnosis of TB: Quick diagnosis of a patient’s sputum and fluid samples can help in the early detection of tuberculosis (TB). The city based Baroda Medical College has now acquired a machine to perform this screening task. Called the Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CB-NAAT) machine – also known as a GeneXpert machine – it enables a rapid molecular test which simultaneously detects mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance. The test is fully automated and gives the results within two hours. This machine at the Baroda Medical College will be of great help to patients at the associated SSG Hospital. Though the screening test costs about Rs. 1,500, there will be no charge for patients. The machine can test four samples at a time; it can handle 16 samples daily. A similar machine is also available at the district TB centre at Ajwa-Waghodia Ring Road. (13-03-2018)
School examinations start today in Gujarat: The examinations of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) start from today. Take a look at the number of students appearing for the exams: total of 17,14,979 students, 11,03,674 students from class X, 1,34,671 students from class XII science stream, 4,76,434 students from class XII general stream. In all, 135 zones have been set up where exams will be held in 60,337 classrooms in 5,483 buildings at 1,548 locations. The Secondary board exams (science and general stream) will end on March 23, the higher secondary exams will end on March 28. (12-03-2018)
Dog bites lawyer in Surendranagar: This little story begins in August 2014 when a dog in Surendranagar bit an advocate. The advocate asked the civic authorities to catch the dogs in the vicinity. The civic body did not act, so he sent a legal notice. This too did not work, so he approached the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum of Surendranagar district claiming compensation for the loss of income for 15 days when he missed work due to the dog bite. At long last, a consumer court has ordered Surendranagar municipality to pay Rs. 2,000 by way of compensation to the lawyer bitten by the dog. In addition to ordering the compensation, the court directed the civic body to capture dogs from all the areas where dog bites were reported. (11-03-2018)
Rs. 25,000 crore will be invested in Gujarat Refinery: The Vadodara based Gujarat Refinery of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will see an invest nearly of Rs. 25,000 crore over the next five years. The investment will go into the BS (Bharat Stage) IV fuel project, the BS VI fuel project, processing capacity expansion from 13.7 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTA) to 18 MMTA, the Oxo-alcohol project and the revamping of the Linear Alkyl Benzene (LAB) plant. Gujarat Refinery is working to meet a government deadline to supply BS VI fuel by April 2020. In another development, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) will sell treated water from its sewage treatment plant (STP) at Chhani to Gujarat Refinery. VMC presently releases this water into the Mahi River. (10-03-2018)
New name for Vishwamitri riverfront development project: Vadodara’s environmentalists have objected to the Vishwamitri riverfront development project because they believe that it will adversely affect the river and its ecosystem. Activists had in fact taken up this matter with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and said that VMC had started the project without the proper clearances. In an effort to reassure the environmentalists that the objective of the project is aimed at reviving the river rather than developing the riverfront the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has renamed the project as Vishwamitri River Revival Company Ltd (VRRCL). The Vishwamitri River emerges from the hills of Pavagadh, flows through the heart of Vadodara, and empties into the Gulf of Khambhat (Gulf of Cambay). Legend has it that Sage Vishwamitra created a moksh-dwar (door to salvation) for the downtrodden at Kayavarohan, a village in Vadodara district. The river is named after him. The marsh crocodile, the Ganges softshell turtle and numerous species of fish inhabit the Vishwamitri river. Several of these species have been categorised as nationally ‘vulnerable’ and are listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. (09-03-2018)
New faculty at MS University: At a recent syndicate meeting of MS University of Baroda it was decided that the Baroda Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya under the Faculty of Arts will be given faculty status and be called the Faculty of Traditional Sanskrit Studies. Currently the department has about 100 students and runs undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma and certificate courses. The new faculty will have four departments including a Department of Indology. During the time of the erstwhile Baroda State this unit was known as the Rajakiya Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya. (08-03-2018)
Child sex ratio continues to be disappointing: Gujarat’s child sex ratio (CSR) continues to be disappointing from the point of view of girls. From 886 girls per 1,000 boys in Census 2001 it has slipped to 848 in 2016 and 842 in 2017. In the eight municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Bhavnagar, 788 girls are born for every 1,000 boys. The figures for 2017 indicate that not even one district has recorded an improvement. (08-03-2018)
Vadodara’s courts are moving out from Nyaya Mandir: Effective March 19, Vadodara’s 120-year-old Nyaya Mandir will no longer house the offices of the district and civil courts. These offices will move to sprawling new premises at Diwalipura. Old city residents will be relieved of the hustle and bustle associated with the courts, and Diwalipura neighbourhoods will perhaps get to know what it feels to be near a busy court area. The formal inauguration of the new Diwalipura complex – built on 55,000 sq metres of land in the Vaccine Institute – will be on March 17. The court complex has a parking area suitable for over 3,500 visitors. There is space for only 1,500 lawyers and the Baroda Bar Association will allot the places. Both the Nyaya Mandir and the nearby Lal Court (which houses the Diwani and Faujdaari Court and also has a mediation center) will continue to be in the custody of the state government’s legal department; these buildings will subsequently be handed over to some other department. More than a hundred years ago, the building now called Nyaya Mandir was supposed to be planned as a vegetable market, but the purpose was changed after it was built – at first a Town Hall, and then a Court. Now that it will no longer be a court, what does fate have in store for it? (07-03-2018)
Chaotic traffic and driving ‘dadagiri’ cause frequent accidents: The area around the Amitnagar Circle in Vadodara is a frequent accident site, thanks to bad planning and speeding drivers. To make matters worse, there are two schools in the vicinity and students are often mishap victims. A few days back a young child lost his life in an accident near the circle. Fed up with the chaos and the constant threat of accidents, residents of the area and the Vadodara Parents Association have demanded that two nearby schools – Ambe Vidyalaya and Jai Ambe Vidyalaya – should be closed down because their construction is perhaps illegal and their inadequate planning adds to the traffic problems in the area. Much of the traffic congestion is caused by illegal encroachments on the nearby roads and the wild driving habits of many Barodians who are no strangers to speeding and love to drive on the wrong side of the roads. The traffic cops, when they do appear on the scene, are quite efficient at fining offenders rather than imposing some order on the chaos. Perhaps there should be new laws authorising the cops to confiscate the vehicles of those drivers who endanger the lives of others. (07-03-2018)
Illegal liquor in dry Gujarat: There is a bit too much of illegal liquor in the dry state of Gujarat. Over 550 litres of Indian made foreign liquor and beer are seized by the authorities every hour in the state’s four cities and 29 districts. The value of the seizures made by the police in 1916 and 1917 is Rs. 166 crore. This value is at the rates charged by the official permit shops; bootleggers in the shady market charge three times more. The districts which saw the biggest seizures in 1917 Valsad, Dahod, Gir Somnath, Surat Rural and Navsari. If you look at the cities, Surat, Vadodara and Ahmedabad were the top three. Illegal liquor is smuggled into Gujarat mainly from Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. (06-03-2018)
Bathrooms along the state’s highways: One problem while driving on Gujarat’s highways crops up when you need to go, to the bathroom. You need to know where the next bathroom is on the road, and it has to be reasonably clean. The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) has decided to do something about this problem by building bathrooms along the highways in collaboration with petrol pump owners, oil companies and the state tourism department. The bigger companies may also be tapped for contributions from their Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) funds. The aim is to provide a proper facility every 60 km. A pilot project may be undertaken soon on the routes from Ahmedabad to Somnath and Sasan Gir. (05-03-2018)
One more restaurant at city airport: Vadodara airport now has a new restaurant in the visitors area of the terminal building. This comes just a few months after a restaurant was opened in the security hold area for passengers waiting to board their flights. The new restaurant can also cater to arriving and departing passengers as well as those who come to receive them or see them off. The restaurant will be managed by the Anand based Madhubhan Resort & Spa. Another feature added at the airport is a tactile paving facility to guide visually challenged persons. The authorities have also arranged to have a 108 emergency ambulance available at the airport during working hours, that is, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. (04-03-2018)
EROnet checks voter duplication: With ERONet, a web portal of the Election Commission of India, you can register for your voter-ID card online and also change the state in which you are registered. You can do this any time of the year. At the same time, since the system has a countrywide data base, election officials can spot duplicate cards if a person has multiple registrations in different states. Let’s say you want to register as a voter in Gujarat, but you are already registered as a voter in Maharashtra. You simply have to log into ERONet and change your details online, and the official in Maharashtra will be immediately informed that you have now registered as a voter in Gujarat. (03-03-2018)
State's health infrastructure has improved: Gujarat’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) in 2001 was 172 deaths per 100,000 live births. By December 2017 this figure had dropped to 112, down by 60. This indicates an overall improvement in the health infrastructure. The infant mortality rate (IMR) dropped from 60 to 30. The birth rate dropped from 24.9 to 20.1 and the death rate was down to 6.1 from 7.8. At the same time, substantial improvement in ICU facilities and better availability of specialist doctors will further reduce maternal and infant mortality. For better outcomes hospitals need more equipment – infantmeters, portable X-ray machines, cardiac monitors, fumigators, etc. (03-03-2018)
Suggestion to rename city based GSFC University as Vadodara University: MS University of Baroda (MSU) has been around for decades in Vadodara. In 2015 The state-run Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals (GSFC) Ltd. started the GSFC University, also in Vadodara. Now the government has got the folks at MSU worried by just considering the suggestion that GSFC University can perhaps be officially called Vadodara University. This suggestion will certainly not go down too well with Barodians. It isn’t that the city wants to disown the new university, but should not the newcomer be given a less confusing name? Any suitable name, but not Vadodara University, not even Baroda University – because both alternatives are also used as popular ‘pet names’ for MSU, not only locally but also internationally. Considering that MSU has been around for so many decades, it surely is entitled to its several names. MSU authorities have sent their comments to the state government, and we hope that MSU is allowed to retain its various names. Now let us think about the name for GSFC University. GSFC too is very much a proud part of Baroda’s heritage, but MSU was the first on the scene. So GSFC University must brand itself differently, rather than take on a me-too identity. What about ‘Vishwamitri University’? Or ‘Verghese Kurien University’? All Barodians must pitch in with their ideas for a new name for GSFC University. (02-03-2018)
Seven children go missing daily in Gujarat: Seven children are reported missing every single day in Gujarat, four of them from Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara and Gandhinagar. In the two years ending December 31, 2017, a total of 4,801 children went missing and 1,150 of them are yet to be traced are still to be traced. Surat led the ‘scorecard’ with 1,114 missing children, followed by Ahmedabad with 803. Most of the untraced children are girls who may have eloped and perhaps settled in other states. (02-03-2018)
Doctor adopts 51 street children: Ahmedabad based Dr. Shailesh Thaker celebrated his birthday recently by adopting 51 street children. He will sponsor complete education – from schooling right up to getting a job. He has set up an organisation called ‘Chanydo’ to execute this task. He has also roped in the help of health and education experts as well as Bal Bhavan, Visamo Kids, Samvedna and Footpath School. Four trustees will fund the activity. The 51 children were selected through a test. The organisation plans to take in another 51 children next year. (01-03-2018)
Gujarat will celebrate World Wildlife Day at Sasan Gir: World Wildlife Day is on March 3. As the official United Nations website says, “On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The UNGA resolution also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife on the UN calendar. World Wildlife Day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife.” In Gujarat, the state-level celebrations of World Wildlife Day will be at Sasan Gir on March 3. The theme for this year is ‘Big Cats; Predators under Threat’ to increase awareness about the various species such as leopards, lions and cheetahs which face extinction. Here are some interesting statistics: 4% of India’s total area has been declared as a Wildlife Protected Area; Gujarat has 8.8% of its land reserved as Wildlife Protected; the state has 4 national parks, 23 wildlife sanctuaries and a conservation reserve; the total area designated as a Wildlife Protected Area is 17,330 sq. km; there are 513 bird species, 114 reptile and amphibian species, 111 species of mammals, and over 7000 types of pests. (01-03-2018)
Employment scene in Gujarat: Gujarat has 538,000 youths who were registered as unemployed, as on December 31, 2017. Over 700,000 jobs were created in the last two years, 1.77% in the government sector and the balance in the private sector. Of the 12,869 youths employed in the government sector, 2,620 were hired by Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) as drivers and conductors. Though the minimum qualification for drivers is an SSC certificate, 15% of the selected candidates are graduates or postgraduates. (01-03-2018)
Side effects of the Punjab National Bank episode: Thanks to the massive suspected irregularities at the Punjab National Bank (PNB), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has issued an advisory to transfer public sector bank staff all over the country. As a result, about 7,000 public sector bank employees in Gujarat have been issued transfer orders. The CVC has ordered the transfer of all officers who have completed three years of service in a branch and all clerical employees who have completed five years of service, as on December 31, 2017. Many employees were asked to report for their new postings within 24 hours. Short-notice transfers cause a fair amount of disruption for the families of transferred employees. Besides, February and March are busy months for banks because the financial year is about to end; staff transfers in the middle of the hectic activity can only add to the chaos. (28-02-2018)
Navrachana University launches course in environmental science and technology: Navrachana University, Vadodara (NUV) has started an interdisciplinary MSc course in environmental science and technology. The new programme will offer content drawn from sciences, social sciences and environmental sciences. This was revealed at the one-day seminar on 'Advance Tertiary Wastewater Treatment' which the university organised recently at its School of Engineering and Technology. The seminar dealt mainly with industrial water treatment methods, both physicochemical and biological. Special emphasis was placed on ways to remove pollutants so that reclaimed water can be recycled and reused. Over 250 delegates from all over India participated in the seminar. The speakers included Mr. B.R. Naidu, director of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Vadodara, Mr. Amit Thakker, senior scientist at CPCB Vadodara, Professor C.N. Murthy from MS University’s Department of Applied Chemistry and Professor P.B. Samnani from MSU's Department of Chemistry. (27-02-2018)
A Barodian complains about the noise from Akota Stadium: Irritated and exasperated by the high-decibel noise 'produced' by the frequent entertainment programmes at Akota Stadium, Mr. Ketan Lad mailed a complaint to the Municipal Commissioner and also informed the police. Mr. Lad is the father of a school-going child who is preparing for the approaching examinations, and blaring loudspeakers are certainly not a great help for a child trying to study. Whether it is at Akota or anywhere else in the city, far too many Barodians tolerate excessive noise without complaining. Also, there are many Barodians who are themselves responsible for creating the noise in the first place. Like all other forms of pollution noise too can be dangerous, for the person suffering the noise as well as the person creating the noise. In case you did not know it, here are some simple facts (which you can get easily from Google, just like we did):

Any sound that is loud enough and lasts long enough can damage hearing and lead to hearing loss. A sound's loudness is measured in decibels (dB).
Normal conversation is about 60 dB, a lawn mower is about 90 dB, and a loud rock concert is about 120 dB.
SOUNDS ABOVE 85 dB ARE HARMFUL, depending on how long and how often you are exposed to them and whether you wear hearing protection, such as earplugs.

Following is a table of the decibel level of a number of sounds:
Leaves rustling, soft music, whisper (30 dB); Normal conversation, background music (60 dB); Vacuum cleaner, average radio (75 dB); Heavy traffic, window air conditioner, noisy restaurant (80-89 dB); shouted conversation (90-95 dB); motorcycle (96-100 dB); chainsaw (106-115 dB); rock concert (120-129 dB); siren at 100 feet (140 dB).

An easy way to become aware of potentially harmful noise is to pay attention to warning signs that a sound might be damaging to your hearing. A sound may be harmful if:
You have difficulty talking or hearing others talk over the sound.
The sound makes your ears hurt.
Your ears are ringing after hearing the sound.
Other sounds seem muffled after you leave an area where there is loud sound. (26-02-2018)
Battery-operated cars for senior citizens at Vadodara railway station: The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the Vadodara division of Western Railways have put their resources together to provide battery-operated cars at the Vadodara railway station for old, ill and physically challenged passengers. This activity is a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative funded by ONGC. The service is free for all those who need to use it. Two such cars have been bought. The total cost per year will be over Rs. 16.6 lakh. Awam, an NGO, will provide the service for five years on behalf of ONGC. The helpline numbers for this facility – named ‘Sevarath’ – are: 9081512341, and 9081512342. This service will initially be available on three platforms – No. 1, No. 6 and No. 7. (26-02-2018)
Gujarat’s police officers must improve their physical fitness levels: It seems that several police officers from Gujarat, all of them from the Indian Police Service (IPS), missed out on the President’s medal at this year’s Republic Day awards because they were not as physically fit as they should be. In order to qualify for a promotion the state government may now require a minimum level of physical fitness. They will have to clear what is referred to as SHAPE-1, a standard which currently applies to Group ‘A’ officers of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). The central government has proposed a mandatory fitness test for the promotion of all IPS officers. Police officers agree by and large that this fitness standard is not an unreasonable requirement. However, some people do feel that some fitness rule should also apply to other government officers – for instance, IAS, IRS and IFS. What the SHAPE-1 Medical standard signifies: S-Psychiatric, H-Hearing, A-Appendages, P-Physiology, E-Eyesight. A SHAPE-1 medical certificate suggests that an officer is physically and mentally fit to serve at all positions. (25-02-2018)
Pay to park at Vadodara railway station: The Vadodara Division of Western Railways has introduced parking charges for autorickshaws, taxis, commercial vehicles and private cars at the Vadodara railway station. The parking charges will also be levied at Nadiad, and at all other stations in the near future. The aim is to maximise returns from railway assets by way of non-fare revenue generation. The parking charges at Vadodara: for cars Rs. 60 for up to four hours, Rs. 90 for four to eight hours, Rs. 140 for eight to 24 hours; for autorickshaws Rs. 10 for up to two hours, Rs. 15 for two to six hours, Rs. 20 for six to 12 hours; for taxis Rs. 20 for up to three hours, Rs. 30 for three to six hours, Rs. 35 for six to 12 hours, Rs. 40 for 12 to 24 hours. For minibuses the rates will be from Rs. 40 to Rs. 100, and for tempos from Rs. 15 to Rs. 30. (24-02-2018)
Fertilizers from vending machines: Baroda based Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. (GSFC) is about to dispense fertilizers from vending machines in small retail quantities. The company will soon set up the first trial machine at its plant in Vadodara. Fertilizers are usually available in 50-kg bags. With the vending machine the buyer can carry his or her own bag and fill up as little as one kg., within minutes. The products available will be urea, ammonium phosphate (AS) and ammonium phosphate sulphate (APS). A larger trial will be done in several remote areas of Anand and Kheda. Following the larger trial the machines will be installed throughout Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Each machine costs about Rs. 800,000. (23-02-2018)
Amul will help Gujarat’s vegetable and fruit growers: The Gujarat government wants to take advantage of Amul’s success in the development of milk cooperatives and extrapolate that achievement to the field of vegetables and fruits. The state’s recently announced ‘Operation Green Gujarat’ initiative hopes to develop a viable cooperative network of vegetable and fruit growers. The aim is to tie up with Amul to help farmers sell their products and obtain better prices. Fruits and vegetables do fetch high prices, but the benefits do not trickle down to the farmers thanks to the absence of a proper system of purchase, distribution, pricing and quality control. In a pilot project in Ahmedabad district, Amul will sell fruits and vegetables from its milk parlours. Among the contributions to be made by Amul: quality assurance, GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification, conservation of surplus production, cold storages, processing, sorting, grading, packing, reduction of marketing costs. (23-02-2018)
Vadodara’s new bus service model appears to be working successfully: The bus service model put in place recently by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) seems to be working suitably and the Gujarat government may be impressed enough to replicate it throughout the state. The basic concept of the new model is that the city bus service contracts are funded on the basis of rates per kilometre. In Vadodara the bus operator receives Rs. 18 per kilometre from VMC. The operator has deployed 150 buses, 75 of them new and 75 old. Ten old bases have to be phased out each year and replaced by new ones. This system guarantees that the bus service can expand without making additional investments. The recent Gujarat government budget has proposed an outlay of Rs. 290 crore for eight municipal corporations and 22 Class A municipalities. The allocation will facilitate the operation of over 2,800 buses on an annual contract at rates fixed on a per-kilometre basis. (22-02-2018)
Barodians shine in Company Secretaries examination: Barodians have done fairly well in the Company Secretaries foundation programme examination of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) which was conducted in December 2017. Of the top 25 in the country, six students are from the city. The girls have done better than the boys, far better. Scoring 85%, city girl Bhavika Hemnani – a first year MSU B.Com student – ranked first in the city and 16th in India. Of the 152 students who did the exam from Vadodara, 114 students cleared it successfully. Considering Gujarat as a whole, 22 girls from the state were among the top 25 in the country. (22-02-2018)
Admission to engineering and pharmacy courses: The Gujarat Common Entrance Test (GujCET) will be conducted by the Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC) on April 23, 2018. The test is compulsory for taking admission to engineering and pharmacy courses in the state. There will be four papers – Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics – based on the class XII (science) syllabus. The test, in Gujarati, English and Hindi, will be held at district headquarters. The dates for receiving online applications will be announced shortly. (21-02-2018)
Gujarat’s permit holders will pay more for liquor: The Gujarat budget includes a proposal to increase the excise duty on liquor by 200% for permit holders. There may also be a 400% increase in the transportation fee and a 200% hike in the special fee. This may result in an increase of Rs. 300 to Rs. 1,000 for a 750 ml bottle of liquor (depending on the brand) at a permit shop. The new rates should increase the state’s revenue by about Rs. 105 crore. Gujarat has 58 permit shops where liquor is sold to permit holders. There are over 37,700 liquor permit holders in Gujarat: 10,430 from Surat, 9,880 from Ahmedabad, 4,300 from Rajkot and 2,730 from Vadodara. (21-02-2018)
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First Previous
Restaurants and eateries will no longer need a police licence (27-03-2018)
In water-scarce Gujarat wastage is not uncommon (27-03-2018)
Vadodara Municipal Corporation can levy water tax only if a house has a water connection (26-03-2018)
Amul will launch ‘Haldi Doodh’ (26-03-2018)
Liquor in Gujarat (25-03-2018)
Peace returns to Vadodara district court building (24-03-2018)
Gujarat government will review all liquor permits issued on health grounds (23-03-2018)
Groundwater situation is grim in Gujarat (22-03-2018)
You can be fined if your vehicle is not fitted with the High Security Registration Plate (21-03-2018)
Eventful start of activities at new court building (20-03-2018)
MSU girl student complains of harassment by teacher (19-03-2018)
New Vadodara district court complex inaugurated (18-03-2018)
No contractors bid for road repair works in Ahmedabad (18-03-2018)
Water audit at MS University campus (17-03-2018)
Gujarati to be a compulsory language in classes 1 and 2 in all schools (16-03-2018)
Some lawyers claim that the city’s brand new court complex may be short of seats (15-03-2018)
Gujarat is home to many hazardous industries (15-03-2018)
Crimes against minors (15-03-2018)
School dropout rates of girls in rural Gujarat (14-03-2018)
Baroda Medical College acquires machine for quicker diagnosis of TB (13-03-2018)
School examinations start today in Gujarat (12-03-2018)
Dog bites lawyer in Surendranagar (11-03-2018)
Rs. 25,000 crore will be invested in Gujarat Refinery (10-03-2018)
New name for Vishwamitri riverfront development project (09-03-2018)
New faculty at MS University (08-03-2018)
Child sex ratio continues to be disappointing (08-03-2018)
Vadodara’s courts are moving out from Nyaya Mandir (07-03-2018)
Chaotic traffic and driving ‘dadagiri’ cause frequent accidents (07-03-2018)
Illegal liquor in dry Gujarat (06-03-2018)
Bathrooms along the state’s highways (05-03-2018)
One more restaurant at city airport (04-03-2018)
EROnet checks voter duplication (03-03-2018)
State's health infrastructure has improved (03-03-2018)
Suggestion to rename city based GSFC University as Vadodara University (02-03-2018)
Seven children go missing daily in Gujarat (02-03-2018)
Doctor adopts 51 street children (01-03-2018)
Gujarat will celebrate World Wildlife Day at Sasan Gir (01-03-2018)
Employment scene in Gujarat (01-03-2018)
Side effects of the Punjab National Bank episode (28-02-2018)
Navrachana University launches course in environmental science and technology (27-02-2018)
A Barodian complains about the noise from Akota Stadium (26-02-2018)
Battery-operated cars for senior citizens at Vadodara railway station (26-02-2018)
Gujarat’s police officers must improve their physical fitness levels (25-02-2018)
Pay to park at Vadodara railway station (24-02-2018)
Fertilizers from vending machines (23-02-2018)
Amul will help Gujarat’s vegetable and fruit growers (23-02-2018)
Vadodara’s new bus service model appears to be working successfully (22-02-2018)
Barodians shine in Company Secretaries examination (22-02-2018)
Admission to engineering and pharmacy courses (21-02-2018)
Gujarat’s permit holders will pay more for liquor (21-02-2018)
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