Baroda Archive News

Hospitals must not tie up with hotels for ‘jab’ packages

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a show cause notice to a hotel in Mumbai over various packages that the hotel was offering to people post-vaccination, including hotel stay and meals. The hotel had tied up with a prominent hospital. The hospital said it had conducted a vaccination camp at the hotel for 750 officials of a private bank on May 22. The Centre had written to all states that vaccination is permissible only in government or private vaccination centres, inoculation centres set up in government offices to immunise their employees, private offices in case of a tie-up with a registered hospital, and temporary centres in housing societies, panchayat offices, community centres, schools, colleges, and old age homes. For the differently-abled and the elderly, a vaccination set-up near their home is permitted. The notification said, “Apart from this, there are no other avenues to carry out vaccination under the national Covid vaccination programme. Therefore, vaccination carried out in star hotels is contrary to the guidelines and must be stopped immediately.” (01-06-2021)

Authorities say all manual scavengers have been rehabilitated

In a recent session of the Gujarat assembly an MLA wanted to know how many manual scavengers are still to be rehabilitated. The social justice and empowerment minister replied that there are no manual scavengers left to be rehabilitated. However, the voluntary organisation Manav Garima does not fully agree and says that in some places people continue to defecate in the open and sanitation workers are forced to manually pick up human excreta. A social activist wonders that if all manual scavengers have been rehabilitated then why are forms for rehabilitation still being distributed? (01-06-2021)

Changes in income tax return filing website and provident fund rules from June 1

New income tax filing portal: The income tax department will launch a new website on June 7 in order to make income tax return filing more user-friendly. The income tax e-filing portal will therefore remain shut for taxpayers from June 1 to June 6.
PF rule change: The retirement body had earlier asked the users to link their provident fund accounts to the Aadhaar cards by June. If members do not verify their PF accounts with Aadhaar cards by June 1, their EPF contributions may be stopped crediting into the accounts. Universal Account Number (UAN) also needs to be linked to your Aadhaar accounts.
Costlier flight tickets: The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) earlier increased the lower limit on domestic airfares from 13 per cent to 16 per cent. So, domestic flights are all set to become costlier, beginning from June 1. (01-06-2021)

Point of sale machines will be used by police to collect traffic fines

The Vadodara traffic police have started an online payment system to enable citizens to pay fines digitally through the use of point of sale (POS) machines. This innovation should help to make the system more transparent, and the penalty payment procedure will become easier for citizens as well as the police. Over 120 POS machines have been given to traffic police personnel covering 60 city locations. The purpose is to eventually remove all the challan books and use only the POS machines to make challans and issue receipts. (31-05-2021)

Over 40% of government buildings in Gandhinagar do not have fire NOC

Over 40% of the government department buildings in Gandhinagar are violating fire safety norms; they do not have any fire no-objection certificate from the civic body’s fire department. The details were given by the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) fire officer in an affidavit filed in the Gujarat high court in response to a PIL filed after a fire tragedy took the lives of eight Covid-19 patients in Ahmedabad’s Shrey Hospital in August 2020. Among the errant buildings from where government departments operate are Birsa Munda Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Census Bhavan, Old Sachivalya Block 1-18, STC Staff Training College, Gujarat Water Works Department, New Sachivalaya Block 1-7, New Sachivalaya block 8-14, Patnagar Yojana Bhavan, Circuit House, Vishram Gruh, Dandi Kutir, GPSC Bhavan, Police Bhavan, Krushi Bhavan and Madhyamik Sikshan Board, Gujarat Forensic Sciences Laboratory. It seems that compliance is relatively better in private buildings than in big government establishments. (31-05-2021)

Pending fees will not hamper academic progression of MSU students

The MS University vice-chancellor has clarified that academic progression of students will not be stopped because of non-payment of fees. He said that this stand of the university which has been approved by the syndicate body last year applies to students of all the faculties including Commerce. He said that if students are not able to pay fees in lump sum, arrangements will be made so that they can pay fees in instalments. (31-05-2021)

City police install free sanitary pad vending machines

The Vadodara city police have installed two vending machines that will dispense free sanitary napkins. Twelve more machines will be set up shortly in different areas with the help of Vatsalya Foundation. The user will have to insert a dummy coin into the machine, and a sanitary napkin will be dispensed. The objective is to ensure that sanitary napkins are available to more women, specially from low-income groups such as domestic help, vegetable vendors, etc. Women can use the machine round the clock. The police have roped in Go Kart enthusiast Mira Erda and shooting champion Anju Sharma as brand ambassador for this campaign. (31-05-2021)

Vishwamitri River Action Plan gets go-ahead from green tribunal

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued an order to the authorities regarding the Vishwamitri River Action Plan (VRAP). It reiterated the direction for implementation of the Vishwamitri River Action Plan. Some features:

  • The entire flood plain zone of Vishwamitri river that passes through the heart of Vadodara should be mapped and demarcated.
  • Unauthorised, illegal structures should be removed.
  • Steps are required for plantation and for maintaining and restoration of the integrity of the river in totality.
  • The action should be completed by the authorities concerned within three months.
  • The NGT observed that the river consists of catchments, floodplains, tributaries, ponds, river-bed and adjoining ravines which, along with the soil and vegetation on both sides, is the river’s natural mechanism to retain the additional water, prevent floods and provide habitat for various species.
  • Of paramount importance in its ecology is the presence of the highly protected species, the Indian crocodile (Crocodylus palustries- Mugger Crocodile) and turtles.
  • The crocodiles, turtles, and other species have been breeding in stretches of the Vishwamitri River for many years. This species is categorised as nationally ‘vulnerable’, subsequent to an assessment following IUCN criteria for threatened species (Molur and Walker 1998), and has the highest legal protection in India. It is listed in Schedule I to the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The NGT has issued the order based on a plea moved by a group of concerned citizens led by environment activist Rohit Prajapati. The group of citizens had stated that the project violated the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, requiring prior environmental clearance, after assessment of the impact of the project on the environment. The tribunal, in a previous order dated May 25, 2016, had restrained the VMC from proceeding with the development activities within the area of the Vishwamitri Riverfront Development Project (VRDP). The main contention of the applicants was that the VMC had not sought environmental clearance or planned a wholesome ecological restoration of the river while planning a riverfront. The Vishwamitri river is one of 351 polluted river stretches identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). (30-05-2021)

City based GSFC University introduces health and hygiene course

GSFC University in Vadodara has introduced a course on ‘health and hygiene in post Covid era’ from this academic year. The course – with two credits – will be mandatory for all the 1,200 students of the university’s engineering, science and management streams. It will be taught in the second semester through online mode. Practical sessions will be conducted at the campus. The 30-hour course pack will help students understand epidemiology and identify core epidemiologic functions and their application in public health practice. It should help students gain some understanding of the relationship between the rise of infectious diseases and modern lifestyles, and the interaction with the microbial world. An important aspect of the course is its utility in terms of learning healthy living practices.  The university will also introduce an optional two-credit course in basic nursing skills; students will learn basic treatment applications in order to prevent the initial delay in fundamental treatment. (30-05-2021)

Scheme launched for children orphaned by Covid-19

The Gujarat government has announced a scheme for children orphaned by Covid-19. The scheme is called the Mukhyamantri Bal Seva Yojana. It will be implemented from Sunday. It will provide financial assistance and also vocational training, health benefits and other facilities to those who have lost both parents to Covid-19. (30-05-2021)

Damaged CT scan machine replaced at SSG Hospital, after 15 years

A CT scan machine which had been damaged in the 2005 floods in Vadodara has finally been replaced, after more than 15 years. The CT scan machine was in the Department of Radiology at the SSG Hospital in the city.  SSG Hospital has now received a new machine from the state government. The department is also expecting a new MRI scan machine from the state government by the end of this year. (29-05-2021)

Only 96 out of  225 city hospitals have fire NOCs

The fire and emergency services department of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has resumed its efforts to get hospitals to comply with fire related regulations. Among the problems posed by errant hospitals:

  • Hospital does not have fire safety nodal officers and first responders. One first responder at the hospital has to be compulsorily on duty at any given time.
  • Hospital does not have a no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department. Out of 225 hospitals, only 96 had NOCs.
VMC plans to take strict action against the hospitals after 10 days. Such actions may include severing their water and drainage connections. Action can be taken against them under the Disaster Management Act. (29-05-2021)

Medical college for Narmada district by 2022

Narmada district will have a medical college by January 2022. It will be run by Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS). Initially – for three years – the medical college will be in the premises of Rajpipla’s Ayurvedic College. GMERS has given approval for the construction of a new medical college and civil hospital at Jitnagar in Rajpipla. About 100 students will get admission in the first batch; they will be provided hostel facilities. The Narmada district has in the past faced a shortage of medical manpower and experts. (29-05-2021)

Night curfew in 36 cities extended till June 4 in Gujarat

The Gujarat government on Thursday night issued a notification announcing extension of night curfew in 36 cities from 9 pm to 6 am for another week, that is, till June 4. The day time restrictions will continue to be in place. Shops, shopping complexes, salons, APMCs and other commercial establishments are allowed to remain open between 9 am and 3 pm in these cities. Restaurants can only provide take-away or home delivery services between 9 am to 9 pm in these 36 cities. Educational institutions, auditoriums, theatres, malls, community halls, water parks, spas, gyms, gardens and swimming pools will remain closed in the cities. There will be a total ban on all kinds of religious, political and social gatherings across the state. While places of worship will remain shut for the public for another week, sports complexes and stadiums can operate without spectators. Public transport services can function with 50 per cent capacity in the state. Patients and their attendants, air or rail passengers and those associated with essential services will be allowed to travel during the curfew period. (28-05-2021)

24,000 classrooms will be required for the Class XII board exams

For the Class XII board exams which are to be held from July 1, the state education department will have to arrange for 50% more classrooms than last year due to the requirements of social distancing. Last year, 16,000 classrooms were used for the Class XII board exams, but this year 24,000 will be required (for both science and general stream exams). The exam centres will increase from 500 last year to 800. A maximum of 20 students will be allowed in each classroom. Of the total 6,83,000 students, 140,000 are to take the Class XII science stream exams and 543,000 the general stream. (28-05-2021)

Ten more districts in Gujarat will get cyber crime police stations

Gujarat’s minister of state (MoS) for home and law has announced that the government has made 14 new cyber police stations operational to protect people from cyber fraud and cyber bullying. To be under the supervision of the CID crime cyber cell, the new police stations are at Anand, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Bharuch, Valsad, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Amreli, Kutch East (Gandhidham) and Banaskantha districts. The police have been directed to keep watch on those who spread rumours relating to Covid-19. The CID crime cyber cell takes cyber fraud or bullying complaints 24x7. Currently, five projects have been covered under Cyber Crime: Cyber Aashvast, Incident Response Unit, Anti Cyber Bullying Unit, Cyber Crime Prevention Unit and Cyber Security Lab. (28-05-2021)

Government should give priority to those who are waiting for the second jab

The Gujarat high court has suggested that the Gujarat government should give priority in vaccination to those people who are waiting for their second dose. Nearly 89 lakh people have received the first dose and the second dose has been given to only 28 lakh people. The court suggested that the government should identify such people and call them for vaccination instead of waiting for them to come on their own. (27-05-2021)

Class XII exams will follow the traditional method

The Gujarat government is insisting on the full three-hour traditional format for the Class XII exams of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB). The question papers have already been set and the GSHSEB is reluctant to prepare new sets of question papers for the OMR (optical mark reader) method. The OMR method reduces the exam time of three hours by limiting the test to multiple-choice questions (MCQs) using the optical mark reader. Switching now to this method will mean setting new question papers and moderating and printing them. Fresh preparations will take at least one more month, so it has been decided to continue with the old method. (27-05-2021)

Damage due to Cyclone Tauktae in Gujarat may add up to Rs. 10,000 crore

Very preliminary estimates prepared by the Gujarat government regarding the damage inflicted in the state by Cyclone Tauktae amount to Rs. 10,000 crore. Teams from the central government – from the ministries of home affairs, agriculture, industry and others – will shortly visit the state to assess the damage. The losses seem to have been highest in the agriculture and cooperation, energy and housing departments. The central government had already made an allocation Rs. 1,000 crore by way of immediate assistance. The state government will soon announce a relief package for various sections of society. (27-05-2021)

Class 12 board exams will be held in Gujarat from July 1

Class 12 board exams will be held in Gujarat from July 1. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the chief minister. The exam will include part-I science stream for 50 marks with multiple choice type questions and part-II descriptive written exam for 50 marks for three hours. In case of general stream students, a descriptive exam for 100 marks will be conducted. About 6,83,000 students will give the exams for Class 12 – nearly 1,40,000 students of science stream and 543,000 students of general stream. For students who will not be able to take the upcoming exams due to Covid-19 or any other unavoidable reasons, fresh examinations of all the subjects with a new time-table and question papers will be conducted after 25 days. The Covid-19 protocols will be strictly followed while conducting the exams. (26-05-2021)

Skyscrapers permitted in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Gandhinagar

The Gujarat chief minister has approved the final notification concerning the construction of buildings having 70 floors or more. The existing law does not permit buildings with more than 23 floors or taller than 70 metres. The new policy will allow high-rise buildings taller than100 metres in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara and Gandhinagar. Municipal corporations and urban development authorities in these cities will be able to permit skyscrapers and tall structures after the notification is published in the official gazette. (26-05-2021)

Advertising standards council dismisses complaints against Amul

Three Animal rights organizations – Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC), People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Sharan India –  had complained against dairy giant Amul’s ‘Myths vs Facts’ advertisement which sought to throw light on the myths being circulated regarding “MILK”. The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets the Amul brand was criticised after this advertisement was published in March. The complainants alleged that the contentions made in the advertisement were false, that milk is not a complete food, that it is harmful to health and that is less nutritious than plant-based food. They also said that dairy farming is not good for cattle as they are subjected to cruelty. They claimed that  plant-based beverages are a more sustainable food system as compared to dairy milk. In its response Amul presented statutory provisions incorporated under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the allied regulations while refuting the allegations as “false, baseless and motivated”. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) observed that plant-based milk is not covered under the definition of ‘milk’ as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). It upheld Amul’s contention that “plant-based beverages are impersonating and masquerading as dairy products”. As per FSSAI guidelines, milk is considered as a vegetarian product. Plant-based beverages also have proteins and beneficial minerals; however, most plant-based milks have lower protein content than milk, ASCI observed. It said that there is sufficient scientific data to prove that milk is nutritious and a rich source of calcium, vitamins, carbohydrates, fat, minerals and protein; thus, milk can be called a complete food as it contains all the essential nutritive ingredients required for sustenance. GCMMF said that the advertisement was issued in the public interest after a sudden surge in articles and videos published by various entities claiming to be animal activists and accusing the dairy industry of being involved in animal cruelty. ASCI has dismissed the complaints. (26-05-2021)

Night curfew hours relaxed in 36 cities in Gujarat from Friday

The Gujarat government has relaxed the existing night curfew hours by an hour in 36 cities from Friday. The curfew will be from 9 pm to 6 am. However, there is no change in the restrictions which are in force. Restrictions on the movement of people during the night will be in place from 9 pm to 6 am in 36 cities from Friday. A notification in this regard will be issued on Thursday. (26-05-2021)

Women’s access to healthcare suffers due to patriarchy

An ongoing study by Gujarat-based NGO, Society for Women’s Action and Training Initiative (SWATI) seeks to evaluate the impact of the current pandemic on girls and women in rural areas.

  • The study is being undertaken across villages in three districts of Gujarat – Patan, Surendranagar, Mahisagar. A cross-section of people were interviewed – ASHA workers, Covid survivors, and women in villages. A few examples of observations of gender discrimination (which should not be considered as the final outcome of the study):
  • A woman contracted Covid a few days after her husband got the infection. She looked after her husband while he recuperated, but she did not receive the same kind of care.
  • In village families the plight of daughters-in-law who have Covid is unfortunate as they are stigmatized for risking the entire household.
  • Women often do not get tested despite having symptoms. They often take herbal concoctions and continue with their chores.
  • Women are made to do all the household work and are not allowed to rest, which worsens their health.
  • Women are often at risk of infection but their need for treatment is not always taken care of.
  • In a family with an infected member, the needs of a pregnant woman are often neglected.
  • ASHA workers have observed that nutrition and food intake of families have suffered and there have been increased complaints of anaemia, malnutrition and miscarriages over the past year.

GIDC will set up a vertical apparel park in Hanspura

The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) plans to set up a vertical apparel estate in Hanspura near Naroda. The vertical apparel park will include textile units and showrooms. The details:

  • GIDC has acquired 6.40 hectares of land in Hanspura for the project.
  • A private agency has been appointed for initiating the development of the apparel park.
  • The park will have apparel units in which 50, 100 and 150 machines can be accommodated per floor.
  • About 15 units may be constructed in the G+3 structure.
  • The park is likely to generate employment for about 22,000 people (9,000 machines, 2.5 workers per machine).
  • The park will also have textile showrooms to display garments.
  • The common facilities: crèche, training centre, warehouse, parking, canteen, dormitory.

Gujarat again gets the largest share of foreign direct investment in India

Gujarat has again topped the country in receiving foreign direct investment (FDI).

  • With 30.24 billion USD, it grabbed 37% of the FDI flow in 2020-21.
  • The total FDI inflow into India was 81.72 billion USD (the highest in a single year). The FDI inflow in 2019-20 was 74.39 billion USD.
  • Gujarat’s 37 % was followed by Maharashtra (27%) and Karnataka (13%).
  • Gujarat has begun an exercise to welcome over 700 global companies who want to shift their manufacturing base from China or expand elsewhere.

Federation of Gujarat Industries gifts ambulance to SSG Hospital

The Vadodara Marathon (VM) has donated an ambulance to the city’s SSG Hospital. VM had also donated two ventilators recently to the SSG Hospital, in addition to free meals for frontline warriors and ration kits for the poor and the needy. The Federation of Gujarat Industries has donated one ambulance each to SSG Hospital and to Gotri GMERS Hospital. (24-05-2021)

City based nutritionist Professor Vanisha Nambiar chosen for WHO panel

Vadodara based Professor Vanisha Nambiar has been chosen by the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, World Health Organisation, to be a member of GDG (Guidelines Development Group) for obesity management in children. GDG has 24 members from across the globe, and Ms Nambiar is the only nutritionist from India. She is a professor at MS University’s Department of Foods and Nutrition and deputy director at the university’s Office of International Affairs. She is among three Indians in GDG, the other two being medical doctors. GDG contributes to the development of WHO guidelines on the integrated management of children and adolescents with obesity using a primary health care approach. All GDG members serve in their individual expert capacity and do not represent any government, any commercial industry or entity, any research, academic or civil society organization, or any other bodies, entities, institutions or organisations. (24-05-2021)

Jan Sewa Kendras will be closed till May 29 in Vadodara

The Vadodara district administration has decided to keep all the five Jan Sewa Kendras or Jan Sewa centres closed for another week. All five Jan Sewa centres – at Narmada Bhavan, Bhutdi Jhapa zonal office, mamlatdar office (south) at Manjalpur, mamlatdar office (west) at Akota and mamlatdar office (north) at Sama – will remain closed till May 29. The centres will only carry out work related to online applications. Restrictions on visitor movements except for emergencies and urgent matters are in place at various government offices. The centres normally carry out services related to ration cards, caste certificates, domicile certificates, income certificates, widow certificates, SC/ST certificates, non-creamy layer certificates, religious minority certificates, etc. (24-05-2021)

Mass promotion for Class X means 2,000 new classrooms for Class XI

The mass promotions for Class X students will force many schools to scramble for extra classrooms before schools reopen on June 7. The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) may need to plan for over 2,000 new classrooms to handle the increased number of students admitted to Class XI. An additional 3,500 teachers for Class XI may also be required. Last year, of the 7.92 lakh regular students, 60.64% or about 4.80 lakh students cleared the Class X board exams. This year, 8.57 lakh regular students are eligible for admission to Class XI. Even allowing for students who opt for ITI or diploma courses after Class X, about 2,000 new classrooms will still be needed for Class XI for the year 2021-22. Each classroom can accommodate 66 students. The state has 7,000 higher secondary schools, including government run, grant-in-aid and private schools. Can the schools build more  classrooms so quickly? And where will the additional 3,500 teachers come from? (23-05-2021)

Hostels for migrant labourers in GIDC estates

Responding to a PIL filed in the high court by Child Rights Network, Gujarat, which sought to secure basic rights for migrant labourers, the state government has said that the labour and employment department has launched Mukhyamantri Audhyogik Shramyogi and Industrial Housing Aavas (MASIHA) Yojana to construct hostels for labourers in GIDC estates. The scheme will also provide food at reasonable rates, establish entertainment and yoga centres and offer rehabilitation guidance. There are 35,000 institutions registered under the Factories Act and 8,60,311 shops under the Establishment Act, and over 40 lakh workers are registered in these establishments. The MASIHA Yojana will construct hostels on the PPP model in GIDC estates, beginning with the GIDC estates in Sanand, Mehsana, Ankleshwar, Shapar-Veraval, Becharaji and Morbi. Thereafter, such hostels will be established in other GIDC estates. The government plans to complete the establishment of these hostels in 28 months. The land will be given on lease for 30 years at a token rate of Re 1. (23-05-2021)

Over 3,300 oxygen concentrators donated by spiritual organisation

The spiritual organisation Vaishnav Innerfaith Pushtimargiya Organisation (VIPO) has donated about 1,300 oxygen concentrators in several towns in Gujarat and other states. Over150 oxygen concentrators were given to hospitals in Vadodara. VIPO Global has extended support in collaboration with NRIs and other organisations in USA and Canada. The oxygen concentrators are mostly of five litres capacity, and some of 10 litres. Other medical supplies include hand gloves, PPE kits, disposable masks, face shields, sterile gowns, thermometers and nasal cannulas. VIPO Global plans to build an oxygen plant with a capacity to produce 1,000 litres of oxygen per day; it will help to meet the needs of rural areas around Vadodara. (23-05-2021)

City based Perennials India donates portable ventilators

Vadodara based Perennials India Ltd. has donated nine compact ventilators to various hospitals in the city. The ventilators are portable and can be charged in a car too. Ten such ventilators had been imported from the USA and distributed to hospitals and also to charitable institutions in the city. Some hospitals have already started using the ventilators. They can be shifted to any room if an ICU bed is not vacant. When charged fully, the ventilator can work for about 12 hours. (23-05-2021)

Start-up develops contactless litter picking machine

Pune-based Abhishek Shelar, an alumnus of Harvard and IIT Bombay, has developed a contactless litter picking machine – called Jatayu – that completely eliminates human intervention. The roadside litter in India is of a mixed nature – plastics, metal, paper, vegetable waste, etc. To this mix is added the ever-present ingredient of dust. His vacuum based machine (the technology is patented) is lightweight and can be mounted on a small utility vehicle. It can collect 2 tonnes of garbage per day. His start-up has by now sold over 100 machines across the country. It can make 100 machines a month. (22-05-2021)

Only merit-based progression, no university exams for 9.5 lakh students

The government has decided to cancel university exams and grant merit-based progression to 9.5 lakh students who are in the second, fourth and sixth semesters in government and private universities. The Covid-19 vaccination programme for the 18-to-44 years age group is under way and many young students are still to be vaccinated.

  • This decision does not cover medical and paramedical programmes.
  • The results will be prepared by giving fifty per cent weightage to internal evaluations and fifty per cent to performance in the previous semester.
  • It is applicable only for this academic year.
  • Universities will have to conduct exams for final-semester undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  • For colleges and universities which have already conducted practical examinations, their marks will be considered for merit-based progression.

Unique bail condition for doctor who stole Covid testing kits

He is asked to serve in a government hospital.
A homeopathic doctor who was held for stealing rapid antigen testing (RAT) kits in Dahod district has been asked to serve in government healthcare facilities as a bail condition. The doctor used some of the kits for testing his relatives and some for testing his patients. He has now been asked to work in a government hospital or health centre from Monday to Thursday for eight hours a day as a bail condition. (21-05-2021)

Mucormycosis declared a notifiable disease under Epidemic Diseases Act

The Gujarat government has declared mucormycosis (black fungus) as an ‘epidemic’ and made it a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act. The Union health ministry had requested all states and Union territories to declare it a ‘notifiable disease’. Now all government and private hospitals and medical colleges will have to follow the guidelines issued by the ICMR and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with respect to the screening, diagnosis and management of the disease. It will be mandatory for these facilities to report all suspected and confirmed cases to the state health department through the district Chief Medical Officer and subsequently to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) system. (21-05-2021)

Shops can remain open between 9 am and 3 pm till May 27

The Gujarat government on Thursday relaxed the day-time Covid restrictions in 36 cities of the state by allowing all markets, shops and roadside kiosks to conduct their business between 9 am and 3 pm till May 27. The situation will be reviewed on May 28.

  • The wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing will remain mandatory.
  • The curfew between 8 pm and 6 am imposed in 36 cities will continue.
  • All shops, commercial establishments, roadside kiosks, shopping complexes, marketing yards, hair cutting salons and beauty parlours have been allowed to function for six hours during the day in the 36 cities.
  • Restaurants will have to continue with take-aways and home deliveries only from 9 am to 8 pm.
  • Weekly markets, educational institutions, coaching centres, cinema theatres, gymnasium, spas, swimming pools, gardens, water parks and other amusement areas will continue to remain closed.
  • Religious places will remain closed.
  • Public transport will continue to operate with 50 per cent capacity.
  • Shops and commercial establishments providing essential services will continue to function without any restrictions during daytime.
  • A maximum of 50 persons will be allowed for wedding ceremonies and people will be required to seek permission on the Digital Gujarat portal.
  • 20 persons will be allowed to attend the final rites of a person.
  • All establishments will be allowed to function with not more than 50 % attendance.
An official of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Gujarat Chapter appealed to citizens not to venture out without good reason and follow all protocols such as social distancing, double masking and use of sanitisers to reduce the spread of Covid. A number of trade associations have appealed to members to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 norms. (21-05-2021)

Restrictions partially relaxed in 36 cities in Gujarat

The Gujarat government has relaxed some restrictions put in place across 36 cities from May 21. Businesses will be allowed to operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Friday. There will be no relaxations in the night curfew rules in 36 cities; the night curfew will continue from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (20-05-2021)

Relief package of Rs. 1,000 crore for cyclone-hit Gujarat

Following an aerial survey of areas affected by cyclone Tauktae in Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi announced a package of Rs. 1,000 crore for immediate relief activities in the state. He also announced ex gratia compensation of Rs. 2 lakh for the kin of those killed due to the cyclone and Rs. 50,000 for the injured. The extent of damage may be over Rs. 3,000 crore. The central government will also deploy a team to assess the extent of damage caused by the cyclone. The Prime Minister undertook an aerial survey of the three worst affected districts in Gir Somnath (Una), Amreli (Jafrabad) and Bhavnagar (Mahua) in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also accompanied the PM during the aerial survey. The ex gratia of Rs. 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to the seriously injured has also been announced for the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and the UTs of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Immediate financial assistance for these states will also be given after the respective state governments share their assessments with the Centre. (20-05-2021)

Some mushrooms can cost Rs. 1.5 lakh per kg

Scientists at the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) in Kutch have been successful in cultivating a mushroom species, called ‘cordyceps militaris’ or C. militaris, that is used in traditional Chinese and Tibetan herbal medicines. The researchers grew the mushrooms in 35 jars in a controlled environment in a laboratory in 90 days. The yield was 350 grams, and it is valued at Rs. 1.50 lakh per kg. C. militaris is known as Himalayan gold. It has many health benefits and can prevent a wide range of lifestyle illnesses. It is said that this species may even be useful in treating breast cancer. The institute has sought regulatory permission to carry out clinical trials on humans. GUIDE will impart training to entrepreneurs – at a small fee – to help them cultivate this species on a laboratory scale. Such training is quite expensive. Mushrooms are generally known to add taste and some nutritional value to Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Thai cuisines. (20-05-2021)

Cyclone Tauktae causes cancellation of some trains to Kevadiya

Due to the substantial damage caused by cyclone Tauktae on the Vadodara-Kevadiya rail section, six trains on the Vadodara-Kevadiya stretch were cancelled and two were short terminated. The cancelled trains (which were to run on Thursday) include the Pratapnagar-Kevadiya memu passenger, the Kevadiya-Pratapnagar memu passenger, the Ahmedabad-Kevadiya Jan Shatabdi and the Kevadiya-Ahmedabad Jan Shatabdi. The Dadar-Kevadiya Express was short terminated at Vadodara and cancelled between Vadodara and Kevadiya on Wednesday. The Kevadiya-Dadar Express was cancelled between Kevadiya and Vadodara. (20-05-2021)

Indian Medical Association prefers that curbs should continue in Gujarat

The Gujarat chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is of the opinion that the Covid-19 situation has come under control after a lot of hard work and the current night curfew and other restrictions in 36 cities should be extended till May 31 in order to further control the situation. The association has written accordingly to the state government. (19-05-2021)

Maruti Suzuki Foundation funds hospital at Sitapur

Maruti Suzuki India Limited and Zydus Hospitals have co-operated to launch a multi-speciality hospital at Sitapur in Ahmedabad district. The Rs. 126 crore hospital, 100% funded by the Maruti Suzuki Foundation (a CSR initiative of Maruti Suzuki), will be operated by Ramanbhai Foundation (the CSR arm of Zydus Group). The hospital also assists in taking care of Covid-19 patients. The hospital will serve over 3.75 lakh people residing in Sitapur and adjoining villages. Starting with a 50-bed facility, the capacity can be expanded to 100 beds. The facility is spread over 7.5 acres and is the first one in the area with super specialisation services. The 24×7 hospital offers services such as emergency care and trauma, advanced diagnostics, critical care for stabilisation in life-threatening conditions, mother-and-child care, cardiac care, eye care, burns, ENT, internal medicine and general medicine. It has an integrated residential facility with a 160-bed dormitory and 20 two-BHK flats for hospital staff. (19-05-2021)

Vaccination drive has been suspended again in Gujarat

The Gujarat government has announced that it will suspend vaccination drives across the state on May 19 and resume them from May 20. The drive had been partially suspended from May 14 to 16 after the Central government announced changes in the interval between two doses of the Covishield vaccine. Then it was fully suspended for all categories from May 17 to 18 owing to cyclone Taukate. With the new announcement, the drive now stands to be resumed from Thursday. (19-05-2021)

Proposal submitted for three new hospitals in Vadodara

Just in case there is a third wave of Covid-19, the Vadodara district administration has submitted a proposal to set up three new hospitals in the next three months, with a total capacity of 3,400 beds. Pre-engineered material will be used. The estimated cost of Rs. 211.14 crore will include:

  • A 1,200-bed multispecialty hospital at the Leprosy Ground on Ajwa Road (Rs. 72.48 crore).
  • A 1,200-bed infectious diseases hospital in Karelibaug (Rs. 66.18 crore).
  • A 1,000-bed facility at the Emergency Medicine Department of GMERS-run Gotri Medical College (Rs. 72.48 crore).
  • Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants at each facility for self-sufficiency of oxygen supply.
An Oxygen Management Committee has been formed in Vadodara to recommend the best measures to set up new PSA oxygen plants to make all the major hospitals self-reliant for their oxygen needs. The committee has members from IOCL, ONGC and Gujarat Refinery. (18-05-2021)

Board exams for Class XII (general stream) should be cancelled

The Federation of Self-Financed Schools in Gujarat wants the state government to cancel the board exams for Class XII (general stream) and evaluate students based on internal exams and assignments. The federation said that given the prevailing Covid-19 crisis the government should consider cancelling the Class XII Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) exams. “The annual mark sheets should be prepared on the basis of unit tests, assignments, and the evaluation conducted during the year. If a student’s performance is unsatisfactory, he or she should be failed,” said a member of the federation. About 4.50 lakh students are expected to take Class XII general stream examinations this year. The board exams for Class XII science students should be conducted once the Covid-19 crisis is under control, according to the federation. (18-05-2021)

Operations at Surat and Vadodara airports suspended

The operations at Vadodara and Surat airports were suspended by the respective authorities till 1 p.m. on Tuesday as part of the precautions owing to Cyclone Tauktae. The Vadodara airport initially suspended its operations from afternoon to 6 p.m. on Monday, but later extended the suspension until 1 p.m. on Tuesday. In view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, several private airlines had already suspended their operations and only two civilian flights have been operating from the airport for a few weeks now. (18-05-2021)

Night curfew in 36 cities extended by three days in Gujarat

The Gujarat chief minister has announced that the current limited lockdown and night curfew in 36 cities and towns of the state, including eight municipal corporations, will continue until 6 a.m. on Friday, May 21. During the night curfew period, movement of citizens except those related to emergency services and seeking medical help, will be restricted. Essential item shops such as chemist shops and milk parlours will continue to function during the night curfew. During the day, vegetable and fruit markets, bakeries, grocery shops, online grocery retail, take-away facilities at restaurants and hotels, tiffin services, dairy and medical shops will be kept open. Inter-district, inter-city and inter-state transport services and related e-commerce services will also continue to function. All kinds of political, social, religious, cultural and education programs will not be allowed and all religious places will be shut for the public. Public Transport buses will continue to operate with maximum 50 percent capacity. (18-05-2021)

In-service doctors in Gujarat begin ‘pen-down strike’ today

The Gujarat In-service Doctors Association (GIDA) declared on Sunday that they will go on a ‘pen-down strike’ from Monday to May 22. The strike is in support of their charter of demands and to draw the government’s attention towards the problems faced by the medical fraternity. The doctors said that they will begin with a pen-down strike, and if the government does not take concrete steps they will be forced to go on mass casual leave on May 24 and indefinite strike from May 31. The association has demanded that the government should pay them the seventh pay commission benefits including the non-practising allowance in sync with the centre. Also, 25% of the seats in PG should be reserved for medical officers for higher education and the government should fill up the posts that are being run on ad hoc basis across the health department. Recently, the government agreed to fulfil most of the demands of intern doctors, medical professors and resident doctors. Teachers of six government medical colleges and eight GMERS-run colleges have called off their strike after reaching an agreement with the state government over their pending demands. (17-05-2021)

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