Baroda News

Robotic sewage machine donated to Vadodara civic body

Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) has donated a sewage-hole cleaning robot to the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) to carry out sanitation work while avoiding the need for manual cleaning. This is a part of GUVNL’s Corporate Social Responsibility project under the Swachh Bharat Mission. The solar-powered battery-operated machine (named Xena 6.0) has been manufactured by Jaipur-based Club First Robotics Pvt. Ltd. The robotic sewage-hole cleaning machine can also be used for rescue operations. It has a gas detection sensor which alerts the operator about the presence of gas in the sewage chamber. The machine can work for seven days on a single charge. It can collect 100 kg of sludge and dive to a depth of 15 meters. It has a camera to monitor the work live, and it can also be operated at night. Equipped with GPS and GSM, it can be tracked remotely. (13-06-2021)

Gujarat becomes third state to administer 2 crore jabs

After Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat on Saturday evening became the third state to have administered 2 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses. By now 1.55 crore persons in the state have received the first dose and 45 lakh the second dose. Right now about three lakh persons are being vaccinated daily; this makes Gujarat among the top states in terms of vaccination per million population. Among those vaccinated fully are:

  • 4.46 lakh healthcare workers.
  • 6.54 lakh frontline workers.
  • 33.8 lakh in the 45-plus age group category.
  • 59,000 in the 18 to 44 age group category.
(13-06-2021)

Travel and tourism business hit hard in the state

Gujarat’s summer travel and tourism business, both domestic and foreign, is normally worth hundreds of crores. This business has been hit hard due to the lockdown, and the signs of revival do not seem to be particularly strong – even in domestic tourism. The Gujarat unit of the Travel Agents’ Federation of India (TAFI) estimates that this year’s summer travel alone has taken a hit of about Rs. 700 crore. People are apprehensive about travelling, and the possibility of a third wave is a dampener. Travel restrictions – and the fear of being stranded away from home – also play their part. Summer holiday bookings are a big chunk of the annual revenues of tour operators. Many travel agents have shut their offices and are operating from home. (13-06-2021)

Defence and national security course offered by MS University

The MS University syndicate has cleared a proposal to launch a Bachelor of Arts (BA) honours programme in defence and national security studies. To be offered by the Faculty of Arts at the undergraduate level from the forthcoming academic year, it will be a higher payment programme of three years. It will have an intake capacity of 60 students. NCC/NSS will be compulsory for students enrolled for the programme. Service Selection Board training will also be compulsory and will be an added feature of this course for final year students. (12-06-2021)

Orphans will get aid till they are 24 years old

Gujarat’s 'Covid orphans' general resolution (GR) –  called 'Mukhya Mantri Bal Seva Yojana' – has been issued by the government.

  • The benefits will be extended to minors from 0 to 18 years of age who have lost both their parents, or one parent earlier and one during the pandemic, and those who have lost their biological parents earlier and foster parents during the pandemic.
  • The social justice and empowerment department will extend financial help of Rs. 4,000 per month till the child attains 18 years of age. The benefits will be calculated from the month of demise of parents.
  • Even after 18 years, the children will get benefits of the 'After Care' scheme of the state government till 21 years. After 21 years, the benefits will continue till 24 years or completion of their studies. The scheme will cover all certificate, diploma, graduate and post-graduate courses.
  • The children will get precedence in getting hostel facilities for studies, whereas children belonging to categories such as SEBC, EWS, will also get benefits in those categories.
  • The students will also get loans to study abroad.
(12-06-2021)

Major temples across Gujarat will reopen from today

Major temples in Gujarat will be open for devotees from today. These include Somnath, Dakor, Pavagadh, Dwarka and Shyamlaji. Ambaji Temple will open on Saturday. Strict protocols will have to be followed in accordance with the government guidelines. Only 50 persons will be allowed into the temple premises at a time. No devotees will be allowed to stand inside the temple; they must quickly offer prayers and leave. Thermal screening and wearing of masks is mandatory. Devotees at Somnath Temple will need to obtain a pass either online or in-person. (11-06-2021)

Vadodara police and civic body ‘collaborate’ to vaccinate vegetable vendors

A joint drive was launched recently by the city police department and the Vadodara Municipal Corporation to vaccinate vegetable vendors, auto-drivers and labourers. In five days, over 10,000 persons were vaccinated with the first dose. The concentration is on those who come in contact with many people daily. Labourers and other employees working in the Makarpura GIDC Estate are also being included with the help of the Vadodara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). Many of the citizens in these segments do not have access to smartphones and often do not know how to register online. The police help with on-the-spot registration and vaccination. (11-06-2021)

Allowance increased for over 15,000 government nurses

The allowance of all nursing employees will be increased by Rs. 1,700 to a total payable allowance of Rs. 3,000, starting July 1. Till now, the allowance paid was Rs. 1,300. Over 15,000 government nurses will benefit. The decision followed a meeting between the United Nursing Forum and officials of the state health and family welfare and finance departments. The health and family welfare department has sanctioned the appointment of 2,000 more nurses. The examination to induct nurses will be held on June 20 and will be conducted by Gujarat Technological University (GTU). (11-06-2021)

Nurses forum may go on strike from June 14 if demands are not met

The United Nurses Forum (a group of nursing and paramedical workers) says that it may go on strike from June 14 at all government-run hospitals, PHCs, CHCs and nursing institutions if its demands are not met. The forum met in Gandhinagar recently and resolved that their efforts and work are not considered at par with other medical workers. It says that a 40% increase in stipends, given for doctors in the medical, dental and physiotherapy sections, was not considered for the nursing union. The forum also raised the issues of long duty hours and friction between doctors and nursing staff. (10-06-2021)

More relaxations announced in Gujarat from June 11

Gujarat has announced more relaxations in commercial activities from June 11. The new guidelines will be in force from June 11 to June 26 in 36 cities.

  • Gymnasiums will be allowed to reopen with 50% capacity.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to have dine-in customers, with 50%  seating capacity.
  • Parks and gardens will be open from 6 am to 7 pm.
  • Social, political and religious gatherings will be allowed with 50 persons only.
  • There will be no relaxation in the night curfew timings, which will be from 9 pm to 6 am in all 36 cities.
  • All shops, commercial establishments, vendors with handcarts, shopping complexes, market yards, hair cutting saloons, beauty parlours and other commercial activities will be able to remain open for an additional hour from Friday. Instead of closing at 6 pm, these establishments can remain open until 7 pm.
  • Examinations like IELTS, TOEFL, etc., can be conducted from June 11 with strict adherence to standard operating protocol (SOP).
  • Restaurant food deliveries will be allowed till midnight, takeaways till 9 pm.
  • Weekly markets, educational institutions, coaching centres, educational events, cinema halls, multiplexes, assembly hall and auditoriums, swimming pools will all continue to remain closed.
  • City transport will be allowed with 60% capacity.
(10-06-2021)

MSU Prof Ambika Patel to head ICOM national panel

The national committee of the Paris-based International Council of Museums (ICOM) will now be headed by Professor Ambika Patel, head of Department of Museology at MS University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Elected as president of ICOM India for three years, she is the first from Gujarat to head the national committee of ICOM. ICOM is the France-based apex body representing museums and museum/heritage professionals around the world; it maintains formal relations with UNESCO. ICOM has 32 international committees and 118 national committees. ICOM India is the national committee representing India in the international council of museums. (10-06-2021)

Visitors start again at Statue of Unity after it reopens

The Statue of Unity has reopened for visitors, and 7,000 tickets to the SoU viewing gallery are available in five slots throughout the day through online booking. The Kevadia Tourism Circuit reopened after a break of about a month due to the Covid-19 pandemic. About 300 people booked tickets for the first day. The Kevadia Safari park and Children’s Nutrition Park have also opened. The SoU has not yet opened the offline tickets for sale. Visitors will have to wear face masks and maintain social distancing norms. (09-06-2021)

State wants Rs. 9,800 crore for cyclone relief

Gujarat has sought a Rs. 9,836-crore relief package from the central government under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for redevelopment of areas affected by last month’s Cyclone Tauktae. A memorandum detailing damage to crops, fruit trees, houses, marine infrastructure, the fishing industry, roads, electricity and other infrastructure by the storm has been submitted to the centre by the state government. The amount has been sought according to NDRF norms to carry out various relief, restoration and rehabilitation works in the areas hit by the cyclone. The Gujarat government has also sought additional assistance of Rs. 500 crore for the State Disaster Response Fund from the Centre. Tauktae, the most powerful cyclone to hit Gujarat in the last 50 years, caused widespread devastation in 23 districts, most heavily in Amreli, Gir-Somnath, Bhavnagar and Junagadh districts. (09-06-2021)

Multiplexes and gym owners get property tax relief for financial year 2021-22

The Gujarat government has announced a waiver in annual property tax for cinema houses, multiplexes and gymnasiums. The government has waived property tax for the financial year 2021-22. The government also gave theatres, multiplexes and gymnasiums relief in electricity bills, by waiving the fixed charges. The government has not yet allowed these businesses to reopen, ever since they were asked to shut operations in April due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The state government had earlier extended this relief to restaurants, amusement parks, water parks and hotels. (09-06-2021)

ITI and nursing students get mass promotions

The core committee for Covid control has decided to grant mass promotion to students studying in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). The core committee has also decided to hold examinations only for final year nursing students, while students pursuing nursing in all other years of study will be granted mass promotion. (09-06-2021)

SOPs issued for jabs for people travelling abroad

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has issued SOPs for vaccination of people undertaking international travel for education, employment and India's contingent for the Tokyo Olympics. The CoWIN certificates of vaccinated travellers will be linked with their passports. Special provisions have been made for those who want to undertake international travel for educational purposes or employment opportunities or for participation in India's Contingent for the Tokyo Olympic Games – by reducing the gap between their two doses. The special dispensation will be available to: students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purposes of education; persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries; athletes, sportspersons and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending International Olympic Games be held in Tokyo. The Central government has asked the State/UT governments to designate a competent authority in each district for giving permission for such administration of the second dose of Covishield. (08-06-2021)

Property tax waiver for hotels, restaurants and resorts

Complete property tax waiver will be given in Gujarat for hotels, restaurants, resorts and water parks for the financial year 2021-22. The state government has also waived fixed electricity charges, so hoteliers, restaurateurs and owners of resorts and water parks will have to pay only electricity charges for what was used. An appeal had been made to the state government by the Hotels and Restaurants’ Association (HRA) and the Gujarat Food Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (FEA). The HRA says that rising rentals, increased operating costs and lack of revenue due to restrictions have hurt the restaurant and hotel business in a big way. (08-06-2021)

Unorganised sector workers can register online for smart cards

The Gujarat government has launched the 'e-Nirman' portal and its mobile App to facilitate online registration of workers from the unorganised sector to give them smart cards for availing various welfare schemes. Over 9.2 lakh workers from the unorganised sector were already registered and given U-WIN cards in the state. Workers now have the option to either use these online platforms or personally visit the common service centre to get themselves registered. Workers having the U-WIN cards are entitled to get benefits of several government schemes, such as insurance, 'Ma Amrutam' scheme for hospitalisation, and affordable meals under the 'Shramik Annapurna Yojna'. So far, workers were required to visit the designated offices in 33 districts to get themselves registered. Now, over 21,000 common service centres are authorised to carry out the registration work and issue the smart cards. With the e-Nirman portal and mobile App, the government can monitor a worker's data in real-time and it will be directly linked to the 'CM Dashboard' application.
(08-06-2021)

Statue of Unity at Kevadia reopens from today

The Statue of Unity (SoU) at Kevadia will reopen from Tuesday after being closed due to the pandemic. The SoU has reopened slots for viewing gallery and other attractions from Monday. Along with the Statue of Unity, several projects in the Kevadia Tourism Circuit, including Jungle Safari Park, Children’s Nutrition Park and Tent City, will also reopen. Tickets will only be available online for the time being. (08-06-2021)

Capacity expansion of Gujarat Refinery in Vadodara

In a major expansion initiative, the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) will expand the Gujarat Refinery in Vadodara by investing Rs. 24,000 crore in six different projects – including India’s first hydrogen dispensing station.

  • These projects will expand the present capacity of Gujarat Refinery in Vadodara to 18 million metric tonnes from 13.7 million metric tonnes.
  • It will also provide 25,000 direct and indirect jobs.
  • IOCL will also facilitate the development of emerging fuels, including setting up of India’s first hydrogen dispensing station in Gujarat. Hydrogen made in Gujarat Refinery at Vadodara will fuel 75 buses of GSRTC. These buses will ply from Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Gandhidham to Kevadia (Statute of Unity). The hydrogen dispensing facility is for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles.
  • Till now Rs. 13,000 crore has been invested in Gujarat Refinery and now IOCL will invest Rs 24,000 crore. The Vadodara refinery used to make petrol, diesel, ATF and kerosene oil. The added capacity of 4.3 million metric tonne will take the total capacity of the refinery to 18 million metric tonne.
  • IOCL will set up a Petrochemical and Lube Integration (LuPech) project and acrylics/oxo alcohol project at Gujarat Refinery. The LuPech project will produce import substitutes such as Lube Oil Base Stock and Polypropylene. The Acrylics/Oxo Alcohol project at Dumad and Gujarat Refinery will manufacture value-added Butyl Acrylate, a key ingredient for paints, coatings, adhesives, textile chemicals, and others.
  • Infrastructure facilities will be set up at Dumad for Koyali-Ahmednagar-Solapur pipeline and Tank Truck loading facility for Linear Alkyl Benzene, a feed stock for detergent industries.
  • Another infrastructure facility envisaged is a new flare system at Gujarat Refinery.
  • Setting up of an oxygen plant is also part of the expansion plan.
  • IOCL will also build 3,000 housing units for its contractual labour force as a pilot project for rental housing; The government will provide land for the rental housing project.
(08-06-2021)

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Baroda News Archive