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Snakes enclosure at Sayajibaug Zoo: The Sayajibaug Zoo is likely to get a separate section for snakes, subject to the plan being approved by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). Established way back in 1879, the zoo has never had such a section. The reptiles category is represented by crocodiles and ghariyals. It seems that in a survey of visitor opinion there was a preference for snakes, so the Vadodara Municipal Corporation planned to add an enclosure for snakes. Some of the snakes that may be included are trinket snake, common wolf snake, spectacled cobra, Indian rock python, red sand boa, common sand boa and rat snake. The snakes and pythons will be kept in glass boxes. (16-07-2018)
Jagannath Rath Yatra passes off peacefully: The 37th Jagannath Rath Yatra took place in a peaceful and orderly manner on Saturday. The rains co-operated and did not intervene. The procession began from the Vadodara railway station area in Sayajigunj and the 6.5 km route (Sayajigunj, Kala Ghoda Circle, Aradhana Talkies, Kothi Crossroads, Raopura, Nyay Mandir, Khanderao Market, Polo Ground) concluded near the Baroda High School in Bagikhana. The police and security personnel did a good job in ensuring that everything went off smoothly along the entire route. The security forces deployed were not insignificant: a joint police commissioner, three deputy commissioners, 11 assistant commissioners of police, 20 police inspectors, 72 sub-inspectors, 2,129 assistant sub-inspectors, head constables and police constables, 600 home guards, six mounted police teams, a company of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), two companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) and one company of the Sashastra Seema Bal. (15-07-2018)
Mr. Ajay Bhadoo is the new Vadodara Municipal Commissioner: Vadodara has a new Municipal Commissioner. When 21 senior IAS officers were recently shifted in Gujarat, it was announced that Mr. Ajay Bhadoo is the new Vadodara Municipal Commissioner, replacing Dr. Vinod Rao who has moved to Gandhinagar as Secretary, Agriculture Department. Mr. Bhadoo was earlier Vice Chairman and CEO of Gujarat Maritime Board. Mr. A.M. Tiwari, currently Managing Director of Gujarat State Fertilisers & Chemicals Ltd. (GSFC), has been appointed Additional Chief Secretary, Home. Mr. Sujit Gulati, currently the ACS of the Energy and Petrochemicals Department, has been appointed as the new MD of GSFC. (14-07-2018)
Plastic waste is used by cement plants to replace coal: In 2011-12, 500 tonnes of the hazardous plastic waste churned out by industries in Gujarat was used to replace coal as fuel by cement plants. In 2017-18, 70,000 tonnes was sent to cement plants, the best performance in India. When industry’s conventional fuel or energy sources such as coal, gas and petroleum products are replaced by waste materials it is known as co-processing. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has permitted 54 cement plants to use plastic waste for co-processing. To get some idea of the extent of the problem, Vapi’s paper making units generate 400 tonnes of plastic waste daily. Cement industries are big emitters of greenhouse gases. One tonne of plastic waste replaces 1.2 tonnes of coal. The use of plastic waste reduces the pollution, and also reduces the cost (plastic waste costs Rs. 3 per kg and coal costs Rs. 8 per kg). Gujarat’s co-processing model has also been accepted by the United Nations. (14-07-2018)
Vadodara police department displays its friendly face: The city police have opened a ‘Citizen Facilitation Centre’ (CFC) at the Gotri police station. The intended purpose of the round-the-clock CFC is that it should make the police more approachable and simplify the process of lodging complaints and submitting applications. The basic features of the CFC are a separate room with a friendly ambience and three or four police personnel (male and female) who are trained in soft skills and counselling so that citizens are not intimidated. It seems that all crime related issues will continue to be handled as usual, and all non-crime related issues will be the domain of the CFC. This idea is admirable, but let us see how it takes shape. For instance, if a lady wants to lodge a complaint about a chain snatching, should she approach the CFC or should see have to go through the normal daunting procedure? The Gotri CFC is a pilot unit; if it works, it will be replicated in other police stations. Just one tentative question: Why not co-opt two or three senior citizens (male as well as female) to the CFC as unofficial observers who can make suggestions and perhaps reassure nervous visitors? (13-07-2018)
Airport Party Plot: Following the inauguration of the new Vadodara airport terminal, the old one is history now – and prime rentable real estate until some alternative use is decided upon. Social events and film shoots are big business opportunities now, so the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has wasted no time and already rented out the grounds for a variety of uses. Actors John Abraham and Jackie Shroff were also scheduled to shoot at this venue for their film ‘Romeo Akbar Walter’ (RAW). Such revenue generating activities will be pursued until a more permanent use is found for the huge piece of land and the old terminal building is demolished. Some activities will be banned here of course: no festivities involving firecrackers, for instance, and no accumulation of garbage which can attract birds in the vicinity of the new airport. If you are wondering about the rent being charged, it is Rs. 222 per square metre per month – for the open space outside the terminal building. (12-07-2018)
Stray dogs can be troublesome: Dogs are supposed to be the best friends that human beings can have, but stray dogs are usually considered to be a menace. The Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) is working on an idea to get dog lovers to adopt stray dogs and thereby get them off the streets. RMC may offer to give free vaccination and medical treatment to adopted dogs. There are an estimated 30,000 stray dogs in the city, and some of them often bite people. The conventional way – sterilisation – of limiting the dog population has not been particularly successful. The adopt-a-dog initiative may perhaps interest some citizens. In case a person adopts a dog and the adopter-adoptee chemistry does not work out RMC will then put the animal in its shelter house. (12-07-2018)
Solar power plant at Vadodara airport: The Vadodara airport will soon meet some of its power needs with the help of a ground-mounted grid-connected solar plant. The plant will supply clean and green energy for the airport’s day-to-day operations. It is claimed that the solar plant will meet half of the airport’s electrical energy requirement. It can generate 675 kw of power, enabling an annual saving of about Rs. 60 lakh. The Rs. 3.5 crore contract for the solar plant was given to a private company by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). (11-07-2018)
Robbers’ car stalls in front of police station: Three thieves conned a woman in an ATM booth on Ajwa Road. They were behind the woman in the booth and made her confused about the ATM’s functioning. She moved aside to allow the three to complete their transaction, little realising that they actually managed to withdraw Rs. 10,000 from her account. She soon realised what happened when she received an SMS informing her that her account had been debited by Rs. 10,000. When she confronted the gang they pushed her aside, ran out from the ATM and drove off in a car. Not one to easily give up, the courageous lady got on to her two-wheeler and gave chase. As luck would have it the robbers’ car stalled, and that too right next to the Bapod Police Station. A case of the robbers walking into the police’s arms! Case closed successfully, by the criminals!! (10-07-2018)
IIM Ahmedabad asked to pay Rs. 52 crore as service tax: The Income Tax authorities have asked the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, (IIM-A) to pay Rs. 52 crore as service tax. The tax authorities have considered the institution to be a ‘commercial coaching centre’. IIM-A has requested the ministry of human resource development (HRD) to intervene because it is supposed to be under the exempted category. The Rs. 52 crore amount has been computed to be for the period between 2009-10 and 2014-15. (10-07-2018)
Sari not compulsory for lady teachers: The Gujarat state education department has issued a notification which says that female school teachers are allowed to wear any suitable formal dress – a sari or a salwar kameez – to school; a sari is not compulsory. The notification warns that lady teachers should not be harassed at work for their attire. (09-07-2018)
Proposal for monthly tests at government schools: Since it is felt that the performance of school students is not being monitored regularly in Gujarat’s 30,000 government-run schools, the education department is considering the introduction of monthly tests. A monthly test format is being drawn up, and trials will be taken shortly. The test will also give some clues about the performance of teachers. The government also wants to give a push to holistic learning and encourage cultural activities, sports and community involvement. One day every week may be reserved only for activities and indoor and outdoor games. (09-07-2018)
Production unit for transport launch canister inaugurated near Vadodara: A new production facility for the BrahMos transport launch canister (TLC) was inaugurated recently by L&T Defence at the L&T Vadodara Heavy Engineering Works facility at Ranoli. L&T Defence is the defence arm of engineering, technology and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The canisters are designed for the storage, transportation and launch of BrahMos missiles. These missiles, which can be launched from air or from sea, are the world's fastest supersonic missiles; they can cruise at speeds of up to Mach 3.0 (three times the speed of sound). BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation and NPOM of Russia. The name BrahMos is a made-up word coined from a combination of the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. (08-07-2018)
Indian hoteliers abroad can promote India as a tourist destination: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently made a video address to a convention of the Saurashtra Patel Cultural Samaj of USA in California. He took the opportunity to suggest that Indian owned motels and hotels could try to influence their customers to visit India as tourists. He said that a lot could be achieved on the tourism front if each Indian in the US hospitality business tried to convince just five Americans to visit India. Indians, especially Gujaratis, have a significant presence in the US hospitality sector and Mr. Modi has perhaps floated a very workable idea. He asked the Indian hoteliers abroad to advertise India within their premises. Roughly half of America’s motels are owned by Indian-Americans (and 70 per cent of these owners are from Gujarat). (07-07-2018)
Call for a one-day multiplex boycott in Surat: A Surat based organisation has called for a one-day boycott on July 15 of multiplexes and cinema halls that do not permit outside food. The person leading the ‘My movie, my food’ campaign in Surat says that multiplexes have a monopoly on food and water in movie theatres and patrons are charged excessively. The cinema act has no rules which prohibit patrons from taking along their own snacks and water. (06-07-2018)
Karelibaug bank robbers arrested: The Vadodara police have arrested three persons in connection with the recent daring robbery of Rs. 6 lakh in Karelibaug. The robbery was apparently masterminded by an ex-army officer who roped in two accomplices to help him out. The officer, Naresh Ravat, was recently dismissed from the army and perhaps planned the robbery to secure his future. The car used in the robbery had been stolen earlier by the three robbers, and abandoned thereafter in the city. The law caught up with the three criminals thanks to CCTV cameras and diligent police investigation. Confident that he had executed a more or less perfect crime and would not get caught, Ravat did not go into hiding and was in fact planning another crime when he was nabbed. (06-07-2018)
: (06-07-2018)
Eatery owners not interested in Ajwa Road Ratri Bazar:
Many people in the city were dreaming of more Ratri Bazars after the first one opened near VUDA Circle in Karelibaug. But that was a long time ago, and some shopkeepers are not exactly thrilled by the current response at that location. The Ajwa Road Ratri Bazar was formally launched by Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) last year, but it still has no eateries. VMC’s lease terms for the Ajwa Road location stipulate an annual rent of Rs. 6 lakh per shop, and Rs. 6 lakh as a deposit for three years. Since no bids have been received, the terms may be relaxed a bit. More such bazars are planned in other areas, but perhaps the idea should be examined afresh. Why not ask Barodians – business persons as well as potential customers, civic officials as well as citizens, the young as well as the old, food lovers as well as non-food lovers, restaurant owners as well as larri specialists – to pitch in and give their ideas and suggestions and desires? We are quite sure that if VMC takes the trouble to ask Barodians for ideas and suggestions Barodians will surely respond positively and say what they would really like. Just imagine, anything can happen when you ask Barodians what activity they would like to see on an area assigned for a non-functioning Ratri Bazar! Here are some responses gathered during an informal, unscientific and amateur 10-minute brainstorming session: 1. Community reading room (24 x 7) with newspapers and magazines; 2. Help desk (24 x 7) for women and children; 3. Space for retired persons to informally teach uneducated women and children; 4. Help desk (24 x 7) for low-cost nutritional food advice for people defeated by high-cost food. 5. Help Desk (24 x 7) to be staffed by a policewoman for elementary advice for the poor; 6. Restaurant selling low-cost prepared food (just three basic nutrition preparations); food cost to be subsidised by voluntary contributions by people living in the area; 7. Education/career/employment counselling for those who are just ignored (sometimes for their own faults) by the formal system. Each area designated for a Ratri Bazar can instead have all these activities, and become a warm and vibrant and caring community space. (05-07-2018)
Vadodara airport terminal has been judged best in India for its structural steel design: A jury constituted by the Institute for Steel Development & Growth (INSDAG) has concluded that the new integrated terminal building of the Vadodara airport is the best in India from the point of view of its structural steel design. The Peddem Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Complex of the Sports Authority of Goa at Mapusa was ranked second, and the third rank has gone to the Ishanya Exposition & Design Center at Pune. A certificate of commendation has been awarded to the new integrated terminal building of Chandigarh International Airport at Mohali. The jury – four IIT professors were its members – had inspected the Vadodara airport in May. What INSDAG found to be unique about the Vadodara airport’s new terminal building is that its rooftop has a single steel sheet, without any joints; factors like design, safety and aesthetic values were also considered. Incidentally, the new terminal building, which was inaugurated in October 2016, is Gujarat’s first airport (and India’s second) to be rated as a green airport by the GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) Council. (05-07-2018)
Lions have to be careful in Gir National Park: The Gujarat government has a lot of work to keep it busy in the Gir forest area. There are 323 lions inside the Gir protected areas, and another 200 outside it. Some of the dangers encountered by the lions are the many open wells in the area. Lions often fall into the wells accidentally and are injured or killed in the process (nine were killed in this manner in the last two years). There are about 50,000 wells, and 17,958 are yet to be covered with a parapet. The government expects to cover all the wells by the end of 2019; 32,559 wells have been covered so far, at a cost of Rs. 22.30 crore. Other dangers that lions face are rail accidents, electrocution, poisoning, road accidents, trapping and drowning due to sea tides. (04-07-2018)
Spices can be ground without losing their natural aroma: Vadodara based GSFC Agrotech Ltd. has recently come up with a method of grinding spices such that their aroma is not lost in the process. When spices are subjected to grinding in a machine the temperature goes up and the heat causes the spices to lose their aroma. The GSFC Agrotech method involves a grinding technique which uses liquid nitrogen – a cold substance – in the grinding machine to keep the temperature low. The low temperature prevents the natural aroma and oils being lost. The initial trials have been successful with coriander and cumin powder. GSFC Agrotech Ltd. (GATL), a 100 % Subsidiary of Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemical Ltd. (GSFC), was established in 2012. The major products marketed by GATL are plant protein based growth promoters, liquid bio-fertilizers, tissue culture plants, seeds and water soluble fertilizer. (04-07-2018)
Gujarat’s Jewish community has only 168 members: The Gujarat government recently announced that the Bene Israeli community living in the state will be granted minority status. The state has only 168 members of the community, and 140 of them are resident in Ahmedabad. Gujarat’s Jewish community was not listed separately in Census 2011; they were included as a part of the 16,480 members of 'other communities'. Minority status will give property rights to the community members. (03-07-2018)
Anand-Bharuch passenger train converted to MEMU: Western Railway’s Vadodara Division has announced that two passenger trains – the Bharuch-Anand passenger train and the Anand-Bharuch passenger train – have been converted to MEMU. The train’s conventional rakes have been replaced by MEMU rakes. The timings remain the same, but the train numbers have changed: No. 59161 for the Bharuch–Anand train is now No. 69175, and No. 59162 for the Anand–Bharuch train is now No. 69176. The MEMU – Mainline Electric Multiple Unit – is a commuter rail system operated by Indian Railways for semi-urban and rural areas. (03-07-2018)
Surat’s ‘smart’ underground garbage bins: One of Surat’s garbage handling methods needs to be replicated in other cities. The city has managed to put 43 garbage bins under the ground at strategic locations. Installed as a Smart City Mission initiative, each bin can take in 1.5 tonnes of garbage. An in-built sensor sends an alert to the control when the bin is 70% full. Situated near footpaths the bins have two inlets to accept waste, one for individuals and for municipal carts. The initial public response is encouraging and municipal councillors are pushing for more such bins to be installed. This system keeps the roads clean, the foul smell is almost eliminated and rainwater is prevented from mixing with the garbage. The work of bin management is handed over to a private firm. Surat produces 2,100 tonnes of garbage daily. This waste is handled by 425 vans working on 900 routes. Incidentally, Surat also has another achievement which needs to be emulated: it treats 57 million litres of sewage daily, converts it into 40 million litres of potable water and supplies this to the dyeing and printing mills in the neighbouring Pandesara industrial estate. (02-07-2018)
Not too many foreign students opt for admission to MS University: The number of foreign students seeking to study in MS University (MSU) has come down. While 50 students were admitted to Gujarat University and 60 to Gujarat Technological University (GTU), only 15 were admitted to MSU. Currently over 800 foreign students from 50 countries are enrolled in various educational institutions in Gujarat. Applications of foreign students are routed through the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). In addition to students routed through ICCR, 200 foreign students had applied for admission into some of the state’s self-financed courses this year, but MSU was not the preferred option. Incidentally, the absence of foreign students on the campus – the absence of diversity – is considered to be one of the several reasons why MSU has not fared too well in the overall ranking at the national level. It seems that many of the top 100 institutes have 15% to 20% students from outside the respective states and outside the country. Some experts suggest that more relevant academic courses and better hostel facilities may perhaps help to attract more foreign students to MSU. (01-07-2018)
Vadodara is modernising its 75 balwadis: Vadodara’s Nagar Prathmik Sikshan Samiti (NPSS) is working to ensure that the city’s balwadis get a new look by the end of this year. Attempts are being made to make classrooms more colourful and introduce e-learning. Each balwadi will be equipped with LED TV, computers with balwadi related software and educational kits. Balwadi teachers are being put through a specially tailored two-day workshop. All of the city’s 75 balwadis will be spruced up to become ‘smart schools’ by the end of 2018. The objective is to achieve holistic learning and 0% dropout rate. Funding of Rs. 75 lakh has been given as a grant for this project by Ms Ranjan Bhatt from her MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) fund. Over 3,800 are enrolled in the 75 balwadis. (30-06-2018)
Daring robbery pulled off outside bank ATM on Thursday in Karelibaug: Three persons pulled off a daring robbery in front of an HDFC Bank ATM on a busy Karelibaug road on Thursday afternoon. Mr. Ankit Thakur, an employee of a cash management services firm, got off his security van and proceed to the ATM with the cash filled bag. On the way, one of the three robbers snatched the bag from his hand, ran towards a waiting car and all three drove off with the loot. The bag contained notes worth Rs. 600,000. The security guard opened fire, but that did not help. The well-rehearsed robbery was over in minutes. Mr. Thakur was stabbed and injured by the robber. The police said that the getaway car had a fake number plate. In an earlier incident, on Wednesday night, a trader was driving home on his motorcycle near Ajwa crossroads with Rs. three lakh in cash in a bag. Two persons on a motorcycle drove up near him, snatched his cash-filled bag and sped away into the night. (29-06-2018)
Too many Barodians have zero respect for traffic regulations: Yes, the roads are horrible in places. Yes, the traffic cops are sometimes untrained or inefficient or just plain lazy. But we must also accept that there are far too many ordinary citizens who have absolutely no respect for the law or for the convenience of others who are using the roads. Too many of us drive on the wrong side of the roads, park inappropriately, overtake dangerously, ignore the helmet rules, etc., etc., etc. It is almost as if the roads are our personal property. Ask yourself how many of your friends are routinely guilty of bad driving manners? You may realise that perhaps you know at least three persons who are horribly insensitive drivers. Sure, we can blame the cops, and of course they must be stricter. But we too can improve, and start shaming those of our friends who drive shamelessly. The majority of Barodians do not like the crazy drivers. If you know any crazy driver, give the person a peaceful piece of your mind. Let’s make life a little easier for the cops, and then we can demand that they do a better job. (28-06-2018)
Passport procedures simplified: Even if your permanent address is in Vadodara, you can apply for a passport from anywhere in India. The external affairs ministry has significantly streamlined procedures.
You can apply for a passport on the passport website, or you can download the ‘mPassport Seva App’ to apply directly from your mobile phone.
You can select the most convenient Regional Passport Office (RPO), Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) or Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) which you want to visit for processing of your passport application.
You can pay the application fees and schedule appointments (for acquiring the passport) through the mobile app.
Police verification, if required, will be conducted at the address you specify in the application form.
The passport will be printed and despatched to the address specified in the passport application.
You have 307 Passport Seva Kendras to choose from. (27-06-2018)
Vadodara’s first spell of rain was welcome: Vadodara’s first spell of rain on Monday was welcome, but the heavy downpour was unsurprisingly accompanied by the usual cases of waterlogging and gaping holes opening up dangerously in the middle of roads. We Barodians are quite used to it, isn’t it? We almost accept it as something routine. When the city gets 115 mm of rainfall in eight hours, what else can we expect? We can expect questions to be asked, for example: which department handed out the contract to dig up the road which caved in, which contractor did the digging and filling up, and which person approved the completed work? Even in the digital age, individual human beings can be identified and held accountable, to pull them up when they are at fault and to thank them when they do a good job. Doing a job means owning the responsibility for it. Being a citizen means owning the responsibility, for complaining, and applauding. Vadodara is our city; we are citizens, not bystanders. There was a major tragedy in Gotri; two persons were accidentally electrocuted while wading through the water. (26-06-2018)
Possible change in some land laws: The Gujarat government may promulgate an ordinance proposing change in some land laws. If the ordinance route is not taken a bill may be moved in the monsoon session. The possible changes are:
... Allowing the holding of land even if the company concerned has not built a unit on the land within the stipulated maximum period of 3 to 10 years.
... Change the premium rate imposed on companies that fail to commission a unit on land acquired for industrial purposes.
... Allowing use of farm land held by agricultural co-operatives for industrial and real estate purposes.
Many industries feel that the present land regulations can be quite complex and discourage industrial activity. At the same time there are other people who are of the view that some people can misuse the relaxation in rules to create land banks and raise land prices artificially. (26-06-2018)
Annual examination for all government school teachers: The Gujarat government has decided that teachers in government schools will have to appear for an annual examination. The examination will have to be taken by about 200,000 teachers in 36,000 government schools. The purpose is to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the teachers and thus improve teaching quality. It will evaluate the teachers’ social skills, understanding of the subject and pedagogy. The test is designed by Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT). Called ‘Shikshak Sajjata Kasoti’ (Teacher Preparedness Test), it is likely to be conducted in August-September 2018. Since the examination will only be for assessment there will be no minimum grades. The test may be followed by training inputs wherever deemed necessary. The examination will not be conducted for teachers of private schools. (25-06-2018)
MSU Students Union vice-president does some plain speaking: During a recent senate meeting MS University Students Union (MSUSU) vice-president Rati Mehta did some plain speaking in front of the senators. Even students, she said, “…do not create such ruckus if a teacher is not present in their class. … Most of the time students are blamed for not attending classes. The ground reality is that when you conduct examinations of Faculty of Commerce, they have to be conducted in six different faculties. This is because there aren’t enough classrooms in the faculty… If 80 % students start attending their classes, the university will not be able to manage them. The faculty simply does not have enough rooms where students can sit… I know the ground reality much better than you all … I am attending this senate meeting as my own teacher has not taken the class which was scheduled between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm.” (24-06-2018)
Pilot scheme will help farmers to generate solar power for irrigation needs: The Gujarat government has announced a scheme through which farmers can generate solar power, use a part of it for their irrigation needs and earn money by selling the surplus power to the electricity grid. The farmers who already have regular electricity connections for their irrigation needs will be given grid-connected solar panels. Called the Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY), it is claimed that this is the first time that something similar has been done in India. The Rs. 870 crore pilot project will benefit 12,400 farmers in 33 districts. Farmers will bear 40 % of the cost, and 60 % will be subsidised by the state and the centre. For seven years, the state government will buy electricity at Rs. 7 per unit; for the remaining 18 years the rate will be Rs. 3.50 per unit. The government says the farmer can recover his investment in 18 months. (23-06-2018)
Exterior of 10-storey Police Bhavan will sport a huge painting depicting city’s history: Recent reports suggest that Vadodara’s Police Bhavan may undergo a change, or at least the exterior of the 10-storey building will be transformed. Plans are afoot to paint the building’s exterior with a huge painting depicting the city’s culture and history. The intent is to give the building a new and vibrant look. The 6000 sq ft exterior wall will feature paintings depicting Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, landmarks like the MS University dome, Laxmi Vilas Palace, Sursagar Lake, Nagji Patel’s Vad Sculpture, Mandvi Gate, the airport, Akota-Dandia Bazaar Road, etc. Mr. Sachin Kaluskar is curating the project which may cost Rs. 10 lakh; sponsors may foot the bill. We wonder when and how this enthusiastic idea was approved? By an individual? A department? A committee? It would help Barodians to understand how their environment gets shaped, and whether their opinions are sought – and valued – on such matters. From a more practical point, which will be the best vantage point from which Barodians can get a good, clear leisurely view of the large mural? If you are too close to the 10-storey building you may have to strain your neck looking up. If you move back for a better and comfortable view, you may trespass dangerously into a very busy road. Let us hope that the ‘authorities’ have planned for those Barodians who want to spend some peaceful time admiring the mural which represents a bit of the city which they inhabit. (22-06-2018)
Government lawyers may be paid per month, not per appearance: New limits have been stipulated for the monthly remuneration paid to lawyers representing the Gujarat government: Rs. 800,000 for appearances at the Gujarat High Court; Rs. 150,000 at the district-level for district government pleaders; Rs. 90,000 for other government lawyers. The prevailing system is based on the number of appearances. The payment system needed to be changed because some lawyers ran up extravagant bills. A monthly payment system seems to be a better idea. The limit will not apply to Advocate General, Additional Advocate General and special appointments in particular criminal or civil cases. The official notification regarding this is yet to be issued. One point we wonder about: Will the monthly payment system apply only when the courts are in session, or will it apply during vacations too? (22-06-2018)
Vadodara ranked second in progress on Smart City projects: Vadodara is moving ahead swiftly with its Smart City projects. Its pace of progress is such that it is currently ranked second in the country based on the following parameters: public-private partnership (PPP) projects, tendering of projects, issuing work orders and their completion. The projects are racing ahead, and some of them have even been completed. The Smart City mission had cleared 62 projects worth over Rs. 2,800 crore. Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) had prepared detailed project reports for 50 projects worth over Rs. 2,025 crore. The tendering work has been done for 46 projects worth over Rs. 1,980 crore. The ranking is an ongoing activity, and rankings can change depending upon the progress made by other cities. Six months back VMC had the 12th rank. On the basis of the evaluation system followed by the Smart City mission, the points scored by Gujarat’s cities are: Ahmedabad (202.64) points, Vadodara (195.31 points), Surat (179.33 points), Rajkot (76.8 points) and Gandhinagar (16.55 points). (21-06-2018)
There is a price to be paid for harassing lions: If you disturb or harass an Asiatic lion you can be imprisoned for seven years under section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. You are not allowed to organise illegal lion shows, chase lions on vehicles or make illegal video clips. The Gujarat government has announced that it will crack the whip on such activities by terming them as hunting which under the act means not only the killing of lions but also harassing them. There have been too many recent incidents of lions in their habitat being chased by people in speeding cars. The guilty must be punished. It’s only fair isn’t it? How would a man feel if he was stalked by a lion in his own home? There are about 600 lions whose habitat covers 22,000 sq km across 1500 villages in the Gir sanctuary in Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir-Somnath and Porbandar. Lions and tigers are Schedule I animals and are given the highest protection under the Wildlife Protection Act. It seems that one of the reasons behind the Illegal lion shows, which are usually conducted outside the forest area, is that there are too many tourists visiting the habitat and not all of them can be issued entry permits. A suggestion has been made to increase the number of permits but some forest officials are of the view that overcrowding of the habitat is not advisable. (21-06-2018)
Dr. Jigisha Sheth will be the new Vadodara Mayor: Dr. Jigisha Sheth has been appointed by the ruling BJP as the Vadodara mayor for the next term of 2.5 years; Mr. Jivraj Chauhan will be the deputy mayor and Mr. Satish Patel the standing committee chairman. Other appointments: Mr. Ketan Brahmbhatt (leader of the party in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation) and Mr. Alpesh Limbachiya (whip). Dr. Sheth has a post-graduate qualification in anaesthesia. Mr. Jivraj Chauhan has a Ph.D in financial management and is a teacher in a city-based school. Mr. Satish Patel is the chairman of the Chhani Nagarik Sahakari Bank and a director in Baroda Central Cooperative Bank and also Vadodara Sugar Cooperative. (20-06-2018)
'Wonder Water' can keep tomatoes and potatoes fresh for over 30 days: Some encouraging news has come out of Ahmedabad based Institute for Plasma Research (IPR) about a ‘wonder water’ that can kill E. coli, fungus and other microbes in fruits and vegetables which are dipped in it. IPR has developed this water which it is claimed can keep, for instance, tomatoes and potatoes bright and fresh for over 30 days. IPR developed this product – Plasma Activated Water (PAW) – at its Facilitation Centre for Industrial Plasma Technologies (FCIPT) in Gandhinagar. When normal water is treated with non-thermal plasma, it turns into PAW. This water has remarkable anti-microbial properties. Tests have shown that it can eliminate all escherichia coli bacteria, which abound in the human gut and sewerage water, in just 30 minutes. With more advanced processing PAW can be made potent enough to eliminate E. coli in seconds. PAW will offer obvious advantages in the large-scale preservative of fruits and vegetables. The other important feature of PAW is its broad anti-microbial activity. While PAW proves efficient in terms of eliminating bacteria and fungal spores, its effect on viruses are yet to be ascertained. IPR, an autonomous R & D organisation under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is largely involved in theoretical and experimental studies in plasma science including basic plasma physics, magnetically confined hot plasmas and plasma technologies for industrial applications. (20-06-2018)
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. (19-06-2018)
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)
  Records 301 to 222 of 222  
First Previous
Snakes enclosure at Sayajibaug Zoo (16-07-2018)
Jagannath Rath Yatra passes off peacefully (15-07-2018)
Mr. Ajay Bhadoo is the new Vadodara Municipal Commissioner (14-07-2018)
Plastic waste is used by cement plants to replace coal (14-07-2018)
Vadodara police department displays its friendly face (13-07-2018)
Airport Party Plot (12-07-2018)
Stray dogs can be troublesome (12-07-2018)
Solar power plant at Vadodara airport (11-07-2018)
Robbers’ car stalls in front of police station (10-07-2018)
IIM Ahmedabad asked to pay Rs. 52 crore as service tax (10-07-2018)
Sari not compulsory for lady teachers (09-07-2018)
Proposal for monthly tests at government schools (09-07-2018)
Production unit for transport launch canister inaugurated near Vadodara (08-07-2018)
Indian hoteliers abroad can promote India as a tourist destination (07-07-2018)
Call for a one-day multiplex boycott in Surat (06-07-2018)
Karelibaug bank robbers arrested (06-07-2018)
Eatery owners not interested in Ajwa Road Ratri Bazar (05-07-2018)
Vadodara airport terminal has been judged best in India for its structural steel design (05-07-2018)
Lions have to be careful in Gir National Park (04-07-2018)
Spices can be ground without losing their natural aroma (04-07-2018)
Gujarat’s Jewish community has only 168 members (03-07-2018)
Anand-Bharuch passenger train converted to MEMU (03-07-2018)
Surat’s ‘smart’ underground garbage bins (02-07-2018)
Not too many foreign students opt for admission to MS University (01-07-2018)
Vadodara is modernising its 75 balwadis (30-06-2018)
Daring robbery pulled off outside bank ATM on Thursday in Karelibaug (29-06-2018)
Too many Barodians have zero respect for traffic regulations (28-06-2018)
Passport procedures simplified (27-06-2018)
Vadodara’s first spell of rain was welcome (26-06-2018)
Possible change in some land laws (26-06-2018)
Annual examination for all government school teachers (25-06-2018)
MSU Students Union vice-president does some plain speaking (24-06-2018)
Pilot scheme will help farmers to generate solar power for irrigation needs (23-06-2018)
Exterior of 10-storey Police Bhavan will sport a huge painting depicting city’s history (22-06-2018)
Government lawyers may be paid per month, not per appearance (22-06-2018)
Vadodara ranked second in progress on Smart City projects (21-06-2018)
There is a price to be paid for harassing lions (21-06-2018)
Dr. Jigisha Sheth will be the new Vadodara Mayor (20-06-2018)
'Wonder Water' can keep tomatoes and potatoes fresh for over 30 days (20-06-2018)
Proposal to merge Oriental Institute with some MS University faculty (19-06-2018)
Gujarat government may invite ‘Heritage Mitras’ (18-06-2018)
State moves to tackle malnourishment in children and expectant mothers (17-06-2018)
Gujarat will have 100% city gas distribution coverage (16-06-2018)
Ban on thin plastic bags has hurt the industry (15-06-2018)
NA certification will go online and become faster (14-06-2018)
Gujarat Refinery will get treated water from city sewage treatment plant (14-06-2018)
First International Gujarati Film Festival announced (13-06-2018)
MS University will get an entrepreneurship development centre (13-06-2018)
Seven-day Navratri vacation for all colleges (12-06-2018)
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