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14-year-old Barodian’s innovation wins national award: Barodian Varun Saikia, just 14 years old, has developed a machine – named ‘Makara’ – that can help to clean water bodies economically. Varun, a standard IX student of Navrachana School, Sama, has recently won the top prize in the category of cleanliness and health at the CBSE National Science Exhibition held at Gurgaon. The ‘Makara’ prototype floats on the water surface and picks up garbage and also filters sewage water. It can be connected with a mobile app and operated from a distance. Varun is working on a new prototype – Flipper – that will also have an ultrasonic sensor to prevent fishes from getting caught in it; it will also have GPS to monitor its movements. Varun was the youngest participant in Vibrant Gujarat - Global Trade Show 2019, and he was given a grant by the Vadodara chapter of Gujarat Innovation Council to build a better prototype. (26-01-2020)
Five Barodians in top 25 in CS foundation exam: Five students from Vadodara have made it to the top 25 in the All India Ranks (AIRs) in the examination of the company secretaries (CS) foundation programme of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). The examination was held in December. Ruchi Agrawal, AIR 2, who topped with 90% marks, is a first year B.Com student at MS University’s Commerce Faculty. Abbas Sabuwala, AIR 8, who scored 87% marks, is also a first year B.Com student at MSU’s Commerce Faculty. Masoom Soni, AIR 11 with 85.50% marks, is also a first year B.Com student at MSU’s Commerce Faculty. Masoodrana Khan, AIR 17 with 82.50% marks, is also a B.Com student at MSU’s Commerce Faculty. Shikha Shah, AIR 23 with 79.50% marks, is also a B.Com student at MSU’s Commerce Faculty. A total of 87 students from the Vadodara centre cleared their CS foundation program. (26-01-2020)
Gujarat village helps Doha become green for FIFA World Cup: Ambheta, a small village in Gujarat’s Navsari district, will play a key role on the sidelines in the FIFA World Cup football extravaganza in Doha in 2022. Samir Farm and Nursery in Ambheta will export thousands of tree species to the Persian Gulf coast to help make the 134 sq km city green in time for the tournament. The Indian trees will be planted in the arid land in order to give ‘green lungs’ for the population of 23,82,000. The trees, mostly peepal, banyan and karanj, will be used for the Doha green zone project. Doha’s climatic conditions – hot and humid – are similar to Ambheta’s tropical hot conditions and the exported trees will therefore thrive there too. Vegetable plants will also be supplied. Several lakh ready-to-plant trees have already been procured for the Doha green zone project. Samir Farm has also supplied green material for landscaping, shrubs, flowering and non-flowering adornment plants and small potted plants. Doha will host 32 World Cup teams which will play 64 matches, including the final on December 18, 2022. (25-01-2020)
No tax hikes in civic budget: No tax hikes were proposed in the draft budget of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) for 2020-21 presented recently to the standing committee. Most of the major development works will be dependent on grants and schemes. The proposed budget this year stood at Rs. 3,770 crore, against Rs. 3,554 crore last year. It was proposed to take up development works amounting to Rs. 1,621 crore. The works include 7 flyovers that will be taken up with government grants and a new sports stadium in Gotri. The other works are related to services like water, sewage, storm water drains, street lights, etc. (25-01-2020)
City cops get special van to help accident victims: The Vadodara police have come up with a new facility which can give timely help to victims of serious road accidents. The police have put together a special ‘RASTA’ van that is equipped with gadgets which can extricate accident victims trapped inside mangled vehicles. In accident situations an ambulance arrives at the scene along with a police vehicle. In severe accidents victims are often trapped inside the wrecked vehicle and need to be extricated quickly to begin the medical emergency procedures. The special tools and equipment inside the RASTA van facilitate quick-response rescue operations in such situations. Vehicles often fall into ditches and need to be lifted out. The RASTA van is equipped with ropes, ladders and lights to pull out the vehicles. It also has an axe to smash window panes or break open vehicle doors. It has a stretcher and a medical kit. A police sub-inspector and two constables travel in the van and they are suitably trained in handling emergencies. In 2019 there were 148 fatal and 292 grievous accidents in the city. (25-01-2020)
MSU students will teach road rules to 1.5 lakh school children: Over 1.5 lakh students of 350 schools in Vadodara will be given some basic education in traffic safety on the city's roads. The initiative has been launched by the Vadodara police department. The traffic police department will train a team of 50 students from MS University. These students will in turn form teams which will visit the city’s schools to train school students. Each team – to be called ‘Team Safe’ – will have two students. According to a member of the Road Safety Council, the idea is to catch them young. If school children are educated about safe driving and traffic rules, the city roads will become safer in the coming years. The school students will also be made aware of traffic signs. (24-01-2020)
Gujarat has India’s highest vehicle ownership ratio: Gujarat has 450 vehicles per 1,000 people, the highest ratio in India. Next to Gujarat are Tamil Nadu (445 vehicles per 1,000 people), Karnataka (372), Maharashtra (335) and Uttar Pradesh (190). Of the 31.72 crore vehicles registered in India, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu account for about 49% of the total. Maharashtra has the highest share (11.99%), followed by UP (11.38%), Tamil Nadu (10.11%), Gujarat (8.54%) and Karnataka (7.19%). Out of Gujarat’s 2.21 crore registered vehicles, 2 crore are non-commercial – and 25.28 lakh of these are cars. The high vehicle ownership ratio is a result of poor public transport networks in cities, low bus frequencies in a large number of villages and Gujarat’s multi-tasking culture which encourages people to use their own vehicles instead of depending on erratic public transport. About 7,000-odd villages have bus connectivity only once or twice a day, so people are compelled to use their private vehicles. (24-01-2020)
‘Vasantotsav 2020’ at MS University’ Faculty of Fine Arts: The Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad Institute of Design (MRID) of MS University’s Faculty of Fine Arts will host ‘Vasantotsav 2020’ between January 24 and 26 at its Gulab Baug campus. It is a traditional design and craft festival featuring village artisans from across the country. Artisans from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tripura, Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have in the past showcased their crafts, working with leather, puppets, cane, bamboo, ajrak block prints, rogan art, handloom, matani pachedi pottery, handicraft, glass, paper and embroidery. During this event four craft workshops dedicated to puppet making, glass, terracotta, and block printing will also be held for school students and art enthusiasts. (24-01-2020)
Many of Vadodara’s 643 high-rises ignore fire regulations: The Vadodara Fire and Emergency Services not only fights fires regularly, it also has to convince the owners of high-rise buildings to follow fire safety regulations and acquire the recommended fire fighting infrastructure. It is amazing that the building owners blatantly disregard the laws and avoid taking the mandatory precautions. The city has about 643 high-rise buildings, and only 350 have the proper fire fighting equipment in working condition as well as the fire department’s no-objection certificate. Eleven buildings have never installed any fire fighting equipment. Of course, all the new buildings adhere to the requirements of the GDCR (General Development Control Regulations) and the National Building Code, and they have the proper equipment. The problem is mostly with the old buildings; their owners have not complied with the regulations. The fire department can of course seal such buildings, but influential politicians can frustrate the process. (23-01-2020)
Western railway had 21 lakh ticketless travellers in 9 months: Western railway collected Rs. 104.10 crore from 21.33 lakh ticketless travellers between April and December 2019. The ‘collection’ also includes fines levied on unbooked luggage. This amount is 8.85% more than the corresponding period last year. In the same period, 4,711 unauthorized hawkers were caught, fined and evicted and 1,134 persons were sent to jail. In another 2,124 checks conducted to catch touts and other anti-social elements, 1,821 persons were apprehended and prosecuted and fined. Western Railway operates 939 trains – mail, express and passenger – that run through 510 railway stations spread across six divisions in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. There are 1 lakh employees and 43.95 lakh passengers use the network daily. (23-01-2020)
Gujarat may announce new heritage tourism policy: The Gujarat government may announce a new heritage tourism policy to offer incentives to heritage property owners to convert their properties into hotels or museums, or even buildings for other commercial activities. There are over 500 heritage properties such as palaces of the former royal families. The incentives offered may be in the form of financial aid and other assistance to re-develop such properties. The state government will also provide marketing support to attract tourists. The state tourism department will plan tourist circuits that include heritage properties. All the heritage properties will of course be eligible for all the other benefits available to regular hotels. Buildings built before 1950 will be considered heritage properties. (23-01-2020)
Work on flyover span at Ambedkar Circle will affect traffic: The construction work on the flyover between Genda Circle and Manisha Crossroads will now require the disruption of traffic movement near the Ambedkar Circle from Thursday (January 23). The Ambedkar Circle is a major junction connecting Alkapuri to Subhanpura and Ellora Park and Old Padra Road. Traffic will continue on the service roads, but vehicles will not be able to cross the junction. Vehicles coming from the Alkapuri side will not be able to go towards Subhanpura and Ellora Park; they will instead have to go towards Chakli Circle and take a ‘U’ turn. Also, traffic from Chakli Circle towards Alkapuri will have to go till the Trident Circle and then take a ‘U’ turn. Unlike other junctions, work on the Ambedkar Circle will take more time as the slab for connection will have to be made on site at the crossroads. The span is 45 meters long and it will not be possible to place prefabricated girders using cranes like what was done at the other junctions. Care is being taken that the statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar at the junction is not damaged during the construction operation. (22-01-2020)
Track your towed-away vehicle on city police website: If you park your vehicle in a no-parking zone the Vadodara city traffic police may tow it away without informing you. The police department website now shows the location where your vehicle – two-wheeler or four-wheeler –  is kept after being towed away. When a vehicle parked in a no-parking zone is towed away, an owner worries about whether the vehicle has been stolen or where it can be collected from the traffic police. You can now track it online. The website gives details of the spots where such towed-away vehicles have been kept. There are four such locations in the city. The vehicle owner has to type in the area from where his or her vehicle was towed away and the website will show the spot where the vehicle has been kept. The traffic police has 20 towing vans for two-wheelers and six for four-wheelers. (22-01-2020)
Health kiosks at Vadodara, Anand and Bharuch railway stations: The Vadodara division of Western Railway has installed ‘health station kiosks’ at Vadodara, Anand and Bharuch railway stations with the help of a private firm. Passengers will be able to use this facility by the end of this month. Rail passengers can get health check-ups at fixed minimum rates, and Indian Railways will earn non-fare revenue with zero investment. Passengers will be able to check their height, weight, body mass index, body fat percentage, bone mineral composition, etc., at nominal rates ranging from Rs. 50 to Rs. 100. (22-01-2020)
Donald Trump may attend Motera stadium inauguration: There is speculation that the new Motera cricket stadium may perhaps be inaugurated by US President Donald Trump during his three-day visit to India in February or March. The Chinese president, Japanese prime minister and some other leaders often began their India visits by first visiting Gujarat. The US president may also do the same. The Rs. 800 crore Motera stadium is almost complete. Mr. Trump may also visit the Statue of Unity. If this trip materialises it will be the first time that a serving US President visits Gujarat. ‘Kem Chho Trump’ may perhaps be the follow-up event after ‘Howdy Modi’. (21-01-2020)
Cricket association fined Rs. 50,000 for using single-use plastic cups: Single-use plastic cups were used during the India-Australia cricket match played recently at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Considering that single-use plastics are banned the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) levied a fine of Rs. 50,000 on the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). The BBMP Commissioner said that single-use plastic cups were used despite issuing repeated instructions and holding numerous awareness meetings. BBMP has been holding meetings at regular intervals with KSCA officials to discuss issues like waste segregation and non-usage of single-use plastic items. According to a notice sent to the Secretary of KSCA, the action has been initiated according to the Event Waste Management notification and Plastic Ban amendment notification. Single-use plastics have been banned since last year in Karnataka. (21-01-2020)
Public sector banks may be closed for three days: Public-sector banks will remain closed from January 31 to February 2 because bank employees may observe a two-day strike on January 31 and February 1 – Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a bank holiday in any case, so the public-sector banks across Gujarat will remain shut for three consecutive days. About 70,000 bank employees and officers are protesting against non-revision of their wages, a matter that has been pending since November 2012. The bank employees also want the government to re-initiate recruitment in the banking sector. (21-01-2020)
Nilanshi Patel’s hair is 8 feet longer than her 5 feet 6 inches height: Modasa based Nilanshi Patel has now featured in the Guinness Book of Records 2020 for being the teenager with the longest hair – 6.2 feet. Her height is 5 feet 6 inches, 8 inches shorter than the length of her hair. She grew 20 cm hair in just a year. She attributes the luxuriant growth to her genes. Her hair routine: wash hair once a week for two hours, half an hour drying it, an hour combing it. She uses an oil made by her mother at home; the oil recipe is a secret. To avoid tripping over her own hair, she wears her long tresses in a bun or braid. Nilanshi is a class XII (science) student who wants to become an engineer. (20-01-2020)
Integrate Indian Institute of Skills with ITIs: While laying the foundation stone of the second centre of the Indian Institute of Skills (IISs) at Gandhinagar recently the Union Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah suggested to Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Trusts, and Mr. N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, that the IISs should be integrated with the state’s existing industrial training institutes (ITIs). The IISs centres in Mumbai and Gandhinagar have been set up through a partnership between the Tata Education Development Trust and the central government’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The Gujarat government has provided 20 acres of land, worth Rs. 300 crore, free of cost for setting up the Gandhinagar institute. About 5,000 students will be trained at the institute. (20-01-2020)
Air-ambulance conducts India’s first live drill: India’s first air-ambulance service recently conducted a real-time HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) drill in Bengaluru. The drill was essentially an aero-medical rapid response by the HEMS team of International Critical Care Air Transfer Team (ICATT). The HEMS team flew by helicopter from Bengaluru to an accident site in Mandya District and demonstrated its rescue and resuscitation operations on site, stabilised the ‘patients’, loaded them in the helicopter and rushed them back to Bengaluru. The entire drill took place in real-time. All the emergency services – police, fire, aviation, and medical services – were simultaneously involved in the mock drill. HEMS uses a fully-equipped portable unit that can provide emergency pre-hospital intensive medical care to accident victims along highways and semi-urban and rural areas. It is also equipped with advanced ICU equipment and monitoring devices, ventilator, CPR and surgical equipment as well as a team of doctors and nurses trained to treat injuries, trauma and medical emergencies. The drill was conducted within 30 minutes: Bengaluru to Mandya which is 100 km away and back to Bengaluru with the patients. (20-01-2020)
Health authorities advise caution over China’s coronavirus outbreak: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has advised all clinics and hospitals and citizens too to be cautious following the outbreak in China of the novel coronavirus – also known as the Wuhan coronavirus. No cases of the viral infection have been reported in the city, but the civic body has asked those who may have visited Wuhan City in China to exercise caution. Persons who may have visited Wuhan City and are having symptoms like fever, cough or pneumonia have been asked to report this immediately. Private doctors and hospitals have also been directed to report such cases immediately. These instructions were issued following a meeting of VMC officials and SSG Hospital doctors. (19-01-2020)
Ahmedabad’s win-win scheme for residential societies: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has held out an interesting incentive to residential societies that adhere to some ‘Smart City’ conditions. AMC has announced a Smart Society Incentive Scheme under which tax waivers will be given to residential societies that segregate waste, properly manage and recycle garbage, conserve water, save power, focus on greenery, and similar measures. Giving weightage to such factors AMC will give star ratings to each society: 25% tax waiver for 3-star, 50% for 4-star, 100% for 5-star. Societies without their own open spaces for greening or waste segregation may also be given the space by AMC. AMC has allocated Rs. 50 crore for this scheme. (19-01-2020)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to be redeveloped: Mumbai’s landmark Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) will be ‘redeveloped’ into a ‘world-class station while restoring its heritage charm’. The plan has been drawn up by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) in coordination with the Central Railway (CR). CSMT is also called Victoria Terminus (VT). The redevelopment will essentially give Indian Railways a large area – 28 lakh sq ft, worth around Rs. 3,500 crore – to exploit commercially. What was just plain old VT will now have a provision for 10 restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets. To create more space, the parcel office may be shifted to the Wadi Bunder area, and the maintenance wing may also be shifted. The authorities clarify that the heritage structures at CSMT will not be altered and the height will remain the same. The funds raised through commercial exploitation will be used for railway infrastructure development. VT was designed by British architectural engineer Frederick William Stevens. Its construction began in 1878 and was completed in 1887, the year marking 50 years of rule of Britain’s Queen Victoria. The name was changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in 1996 and to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) in 2017. CSTM is the headquarters of India's Central Railway. It serves as a terminal for both long-distance and suburban trains. It is the only railway station that is in the heritage grade I list. (19-01-2020)
Barodian Nisarg Chadha scores a perfect 100 in JEE Main: Barodian Nisarg Chadha, 17, is among the nine candidates in the country who have scored 100 percentile in the Joint Entrance Examination Main 1. A product of Navrachana School, Sama, he is the son of Amit and Amola Chadha (both doctors). He wants to pursue research in physics, perhaps at an Indian Institute of Technology or the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru. Nisarg is a Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana and National Talent Search Examination scholar. The other states from which students scored a perfect 100 score in the JEE Main examination are: Delhi (1), Haryana (1), Andhra Pradesh (2), Rajasthan (2) and Telangana (2). (18-01-2020)
‘Study in Gujarat’ overseas campaign launched: The state government has recently launched a ‘Study in Gujarat’ campaign. As a part of this initiative, it recently held its first overseas roadshow in Kuwait in association with representatives of 19 universities of the state. Ganpat University was the lead partner. The Gujarat delegation was led by the state’s education minister. Among those who attended the roadshow in Kuwait were students, parents, educators, representatives from local universities and the Indian ambassador. Over 10,000 foreign students are presently studying in universities and colleges in Gujarat. (18-01-2020)
Drive planned to check milk quality at source: Gujarat’s Food and Drug Control Authority (FDCA) will shortly launch a drive to check for milk adulteration by unorganised dairies. At the same time, it will also check the quality of milk at the village level before it is handed over to local co-operative societies. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will also take part in this exercise. The problem is that facilities do not exist to check milk for adulteration or hygiene at the village level, before milk producers deposit their milk with village co-operatives. The large milk processing plants like Amul’s of course have the infrastructure to check as per FSSAI standards. Therefore the checking will now be done at the source, the village where an individual farmer milks cows or buffaloes, to verify whether adulteration is being done. The major milk cooperatives will have to provide their lists of individual milk producers. If milk samples are found to be unhygienic or adulterated, action will be taken against the milk producers. (18-01-2020)
Eating out, ordering online, too much junk food in Gujarat: The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) reveals that 50% of Gujarat’s adult population is either overweight or underweight, and the number of overweight people is increasing. NFHS findings indicate that between 2016 and 2019 there was an increase of 0.8% in the number of overweight women and 2.9% in overweight men. Suggesting that the obesity trend is not likely to be reversed soon, experts believe that a major cause is the reducing consumption of home-made food. Eating out has become the ‘in thing’. Also, there is an increase in the number of families in which both the husband and the wife are working so there is a greater reliance on eating out at restaurants or ordering food online. This problem is now increasing among teenagers too. (17-01-2020)
Radha Yadav picked for ICC T20 Cricket World Cup: Radha Yadav, the 19-year-old all-rounder – slow left-arm orthodox bowler, and right-hand bat – who plays for Baroda Cricket Association (BCA), has been picked for the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup that will be played in Australia this year. She is the first woman from Gujarat to be picked for a world cup team. In 2018 she played her first ICC T20 cricket world cup in the West Indies. She was picked following her performance in the recent Challengers Trophy. She played for Mumbai, and then shifted to BCA in 2014-15. (17-01-2020)
Gujarat’s wild ass census will use drones to cover 5,500 sq km: The Gujarat forest department will use more than 50 drones for the wild ass census next month. The census will cover more than 5,500 sq km – including Kutch, Patan, Morbi, Banaskantha, Surendranagar and Ahmedabad districts. This also includes 4,000 sq km of the Little Rann of Kutch. The December 2014 census recorded 4,451 wild asses, up by 413 from the count of 4,038 in 2009. Before the decision on drones was taken for this census, an experiment was conducted with a drone sent into the Little Rann of Kutch. The drone was lowered to a height of 50 metres. Drones are very useful in inaccessible areas. Wildlife experts will also be used to count the wild asses. Wild asses were classified as highly endangered in 1973 and the Rann of Kutch and adjoining districts were designated as the areas for their conservation. (17-01-2020)
Bengaluru places large mirrors on roads to prevent public urination: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has installed large mirrors (each eight feet by four feet) at a few main locations where many people urinate in public. The hope is that the mirrors will prevent people from urinating in public places. When people see themselves (in the mirror) in the act of creating a nuisance they may be shamed into stopping. The mirrors also display a QR code to indicate the location of the nearest public toilet. The mirrors have been installed at a cost of Rs. 30,000. They can be moved to other locations whenever required. (16-01-2020)
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