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Thieves drive off with a car as the owner relieves himself: However urgent the call of nature may be, is it not ‘gross negligence’ when you forget your car keys in the ignition as you rush out to the needful and a thief drives of with your car? A consumer court ruled recently that the car owner’s oversight was not a deliberate act. Here is the short story:
... A man in Anand had to urgently relieve himself while on the way home.
... He left his car key in the ignition and rushed out to do the needful.
... Two persons took advantage of this situation, and drove off with the car – a Toyota Innova – as the preoccupied owner watched helplessly.
... The owner lodged an FIR and claimed an insurance payout.
... The insurance claim was rejected by the insurer on the grounds that leaving the car keys in the ignition was ‘gross negligence’ and a ‘breach of policy conditions’.
... The owner moved the Anand district consumer forum, but his complaint was rejected.
... He then went to the Gujarat State District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
... The commission concluded that leaving the vehicle key in the ignition was not a deliberate act on the part of the owner, because he was in a hurry to relieve himself.
... So, it cannot be termed a fundamental breach of conditions.
... The commission asked the insurer to pay 75% of the declared insured value of Rs. 9.75 lakh, with 9% interest.
... When the owner stopped to relieve himself, it was 2014.
... He got relief from the insurance company in 2014. (08-11-2020)
Anand gets a pet park: An Anand based foundation – Rescue and Rehabilitation of Stray Animals (RRSA) – that has been taking care of stray animals since 2016 has set up a 3,000 sq ft park dedicated to pets at its animal shelter in Jol village on the Bakrol-Vadtal Road. It is claimed that it is the first of its kind in Gujarat. It has a play area with hurdles, rings, walkers, tunnels and a pool. The pet-friendly cafe has separate menus for both humans and pets. The park will help the foundation to raise funds for its activities – rescuing injured animals and giving them treatment, medicines, food and shelter. Since 2016 the foundation has rescued about 10,000 stray animals and birds. The shelter is spread over 26,000 sq ft. (07-11-2020)
Other professionals can enrol as lawyers: The Gujarat high court has decided that other professionals having the LLB degree can be enrolled with the Bar Council of Gujarat (BCG) for a provisional license to practice law and be eligible to appear in the All India Bar’s test to qualify to become a lawyer. They need not give up their current profession before applying for enrolment. However, they must promise to give up their other profession after starting to practise law. The HC has cleared the way for all professionals having a law degree to enrol with BCG. It directed the Bar Council to admit them as advocates, but their enrolment would remain withheld and their provisional sanad will lie in deposit with the Bar council until they clear the All India Bar exam and give up their current profession. (07-11-2020)
Adani takes over Ahmedabad airport from Nov 7: Ahmedabad’s first airport was established in 1937. The city airport, now called the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport and run by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), will be handed over to Adani Ahmedabad International Airport Limited (AAIAL). The operations, management and development of SVPI airport will be handled by Adani for 50 years, starting on November 7. Reserved Services – customs, immigration, plant and animal quarantine, health, MET and security – and CNS-ATM services will be taken care of by the AAI. The operations, management and development of Ahmedabad airport will be through a public-private-partnership (PPP) with AAIAL. AEL will pay a fee of Rs. 177 per passenger to the AAI. SVPI Airport handled 1.14 crore passengers in 2019-20. (07-11-2020)
GSHSEB Board Exams 2021 will be held in May: The Class X and XII board examinations will be held in May instead of the first week of March, according to officials of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB). This decision has been taken to give students more time to prepare for the exams. The process of students filling up board examination forms will be taken up after the Diwali vacation. There will be no change in the format of the board examinations. GSHSEB has reduced the syllabus for the board examination by 30%. Over 16 lakh students will appear for the exams – 10 lakh of Class X and 6.30 lakh of Class XII. (06-11-2020)
Conflicting reports on fire NOCs in Ahmedabad’s schools: While the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board data shows that 54% of Ahmedabad’s schools do not have valid fire department no-objection certificates (NOCs), the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) claims that only 4 to 5 schools and colleges in the city do not have NOCs. The city’s chief fire officer had said in a statement before the Gujarat high court in September, “It is submitted that there are about 1,200 government and private schools and colleges within the city limits of Ahmedabad and barring 4 to 5, all schools and colleges have fire NOCs issued by the Fire Department of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.” Data given by the education board shows that as many as 542 of the 1,003 schools in the city do not have valid fire NOCs. Only 461 schools in Ahmedabad have fire NOCs and not a single school has initiated the process to either get an NOC or get it renewed. (06-11-2020)
Schools, colleges and universities may reopen after Diwali: The Gujarat cabinet has decided to reopen schools, colleges and universities after Diwali. The reopening date and other modalities will be finalised after the education department submits a detailed action plan after consulting the state’s health and family welfare experts. The government has decided to open schools only for students from Class IX to XII and colleges. (05-11-2020)
12,277 schools in Gujarat do not have valid fire NOCs: The Gujarat State Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board recently instructed all district education officers (DEOs) to ensure that all schools have the requisite fire safety equipment in place. Why was this instruction necessary? Read on:
... 76% of the schools in Gujarat do not have the required fire no-objection certificates (NOCs).
... Of the 16,187 schools in the state, 12,277 do not have valid fire NOCs.
... There are only 3,231 schools with valid fire NOCs issued by the fire department concerned.
... There are 679 schools which have initiated the process of getting a fresh certificate or getting it renewed.
... More than 50% of the schools in Ahmedabad do not have fire NOCs.
... No school in Banaskantha district has the certificate.
... All schools in the tribal district of Dang have fire NOCs.
... 30% of the schools in Gujarat are in remote villages; they have no idea about which authority will issue the NOC to them. (05-11-2020)
Lower courts will open from November 23, but not in four cities: The Gujarat high court has decided that all lower courts should start physical functioning after the Diwali vacation from November 23. This excludes the courts in the four major cities – Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. In these cities, the lower courts will continue to function the way they have been for the last three months, through video conference only. The courtrooms will also not open in courts in the micro-containment zones. The lower courts should function full fledged with full strength of judges and court staff. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be followed by all. The HC has ordered appointment of a Covid officer in each court to ensure that SOPs are followed. The HC has also ordered that the lower courts will start functioning with installation of plexiglass screens in all courtrooms dividing the judge’s dais from the place of advocates and litigants. Lawyers for only two cases will be allowed in a courtroom concurrently. The judges will take up only 25 matters in a day. If the courts receive requests for hearings through virtual mode, it is at the judges’ discretion to hold such hearings through video conference. (05-11-2020)
Gujarat gets Rs. 202 crore to improve ambient air quality: The Union ministry of forest and environment has announced the allocation of Rs. 2,200 crore to improve ambient air quality under the National Clear Air Programme (NCAP). At Rs. 202 crore, Gujarat bagged the second highest share – after Maharashtra. In Gujarat, Ahmedabad has been given Rs. 91 crore, Surat Rs. 65.5 crore, Vadodara Rs. 26 crore, and Rajkot Rs. 40 crore. Each city has to formulate plans to improve ambient air quality and put systems in place to oversee the implementation of the plans. The funds will help to initiate air pollution control strategies – controlling road dust and vehicle pollution, carrying out plantation drives, setting up air quality monitoring systems, regulating stubble burning, shifting to cleaner fuels, etc. (05-11-2020)
Online work of Vadodara’s municipal councillors will be easier: The Vadodara Municipal is working on a smart phone application to connect its elected representatives on a single platform. All meeting are of course being held online at present, but the paperwork – documents, circulars, etc. – are still being distributed by courier or by post. The app being developed – it is called ‘Municipal Secretary App’ – will help to more efficiently share all relevant information and documents. As soon as the municipal councillors get used to the new app, the work will move to the fully online mode. (05-11-2020)
Information sought in the form of questions must be provided: While government agencies are not obliged to provide information on the reasons for a particular decision, they should not withhold information under this pretext under the Right to Information (RTI). This is according to a recent ruling by the information commissioner. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) had refused to provide information to environmentalist Mahesh Pandya on a proposed pipeline project to carry treated effluent from cities and discharge it into the Arabian Sea. GPCB had declined to provide the information on the grounds that the information sought was in ‘question form’, which does not fall under the definition of ‘information.’ The information commissioner, in his order, said, “The public information officer is not obliged to provide information on the reasons for actions, but it is improper to deny information which has been sought in the form of questions.” After the order Mr. Pandya said, “I am happy with the order. Information is generally sought by asking questions. GPCB claimed questions do not constitute information. I had not sought reasons for any aspect of the project in my RTI application.” (05-11-2020)
Lawyer fined for addressing court while sitting in his car: A lawyer had a fine of Rs. 10,000 slapped on him by the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Ahmedabad, because he was addressing the court while sitting in his car during the virtual court proceedings. The tribunal’s presiding officer based his decision on the Gujarat high court’s order in which it had directed that all lawyers address courts either from their residences or offices. The high court’s order had followed an incident of an advocate found smoking in a car during a video conference hearing. The tribunal adjourned the hearing for an hour and ordered the lawyer to attend the hearing from a proper place. (04-11-2020)
Surat wins HUDCO award in urban transport category: The ‘Surat Integrated Urban Mass Transport System’ project of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has won an award under the ‘urban transport’ category for best practices to improve the living environment. The award – along with a cash prize of Rs. one lakh – was given by Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). Surat won the award for its Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and city bus services. Surat’s BRTS corridor stretches over 106 km, the largest dedicated corridor in the country. About 1.35 lakh commuters travel daily on BRTS buses. SMC has 166 BRTS buses and 575 city buses. (04-11-2020)
Gujarat relaxes rules on number of wedding guests: The Gujarat government has increased the cap on guests permitted at weddings – from 100 persons to 200. Social distancing and wearing of masks will of course continue to be mandatory. For indoor venues, only 50% of the venue's guest capacity will be allowed. This bit of news will be welcomed by the event management industry, hoteliers, caterers, banquet hall owners, and of course the retail sector. (03-11-2020)
L&T likely to get Ahmedabad-Vadodara bullet train corridor contract: When the government opened the financial bids for the C6 package for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) emerged as the lowest bidder for the Ahmedabad-Vadodara section of the bullet train. It therefore seems that L&T will carry out the construction project for the bullet train corridor in the state. The company’s bid was Rs. 7,289 crore for the C6 package. The Ahmedabad-Vadodara contract includes testing and commissioning for Double Line High Speed Railway involving 87.5km of Viaducts and bridges, 25 crossing bridges and a tunnel, 97.5 km of roads, one station, a maintenance depot, 4 sub-maintenance depots, and other associated structures. The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has now awarded contracts for most of the portion in the state of Gujarat. (03-11-2020)
MSU study shows that Vadodara's drinking water needs to be improved: Four MSc (Statistics) students of MS University (MSU) did a study to assess drinking water quality and awareness of water-borne diseases. Barodians are by and large unhappy about the unclean drinking water that they have to put up with, and the results of this study suggest that they do have a lot to complain about to the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The students – Khushboo Barhate, Mrunali Patel, Sudipta Purkayastha and Ankita Sharma – did the study under the guidance of Dr. Mangala Shah, associate professor from the Department of Statistics in the Faculty of Science. Samples were taken from 267 households earlier this year by means of a questionnaire regarding storage of water, method of purification, awareness of water-borne diseases and experience of water-borne diseases. Out of the city’s 26 tanks, the study covered 11 tanks. VMC data between July and November 2019 revealed that most of the tanks had good quality water fit for drinking. Some random findings:
... 23 % of the people in the city receive dirty water from their taps throughout the year.
... 55 % of the people have a similar experience, but not always.
... Only 22 % of the people receive clean water from the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC).
... Of the households surveyed, 52% residents had suffered from some water-borne disease (typhoid, jaundice, dysentery, cholera, e-coli infection) or skin ailments.
... 54 % of those who had suffered were not aware that these were water-borne diseases.
... The total dissolved solids (TDS) and pH levels are at acceptable levels, but faulty pipelines contaminate the water.
... Most households complained that they were receiving water with a yellow to light brown tinge, or a peculiar odour.
... At times, even worms were found in the tap water.
... At some places, the water got contaminated because the pipelines were near sewage lines. (02-11-2020)
You can look forward to a cleaner Vishwamitri: The Gujarat government has initiated the Rs. 2,275 crore deep sea effluent disposal pipeline project that should help to rejuvenate the polluted waters of the Sabarmati, Mahi, Vishwamitri and Bhadar rivers. Groundwater pollution is also expected to be reduced. National Green Tribunal guidelines will be followed and it is hoped that the local river ecology will be revived once the project gets under way. Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited (GWIL) has initiated the tendering process, and the work should start by January 2021. It is expected to be completed in 36 months. As a part of this project, treated effluent from 11 common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) of Ahmedabad, one from Kheda, one from Vadodara and one from Jetpur will be collected and discharged into the deep sea. The implementation will be under the public private partnership (PPP) mode: the state government will contribute Rs. 1,659 crore, and local industry associations will contribute Rs. 615 crore. The government has already started receiving contributions from various industry associations. (02-11-2020)
Dahej-Ghogha ro-pax ferry service from November 8: The Prime Minister will virtually inaugurate the Dahej-Ghogha ro-pax service and the newly-developed ro-ro terminal at Hazira on November 8. The ro-pax ferry service will cater to the transport requirements of about 20 lakh migrants from Saurashtra living in Surat. A large number of people from Saurashtra migrate to Surat for business and employment purposes. It takes them a road journey of 10 to 12 hours to return to their hometowns from Surat. With this Ro-pax ferry service, they can reach Bhavnagar in just four hours. The service will also carry trucks, goods, motorcycles, cars, etc. The road distance of 370 km between the two locations will now be reduced to just 90 km through the sea route. The service will also allow people from Surat and South Gujarat to quickly reach tourist destinations in Saurashtra. Some related facts:
... Travelling distance between Saurashtra and Surat will be reduced from 370km to 50km through this sea route.
... The ro-pax ferry between Ghogha and Hazira will make three trips a day.
... It is projected to carry 5 lakh passengers, 80,000 passenger vehicles, 50,000 two-wheelers and 30,000 trucks in a year.
... This should save about 9,000 litres of fuel every day; every three trips in a day can save about 24 tonnes of carbon emissions.
... Apart from being a faster mode of transport, the ferry service will also be a big tourist attraction. (02-11-2020)
Diwali vacation has been taken early in schools: After being advanced by two weeks, the 21-day Diwali vacation for schools will be from October 29 to November 18. This is for the first time in fifty years that the Diwali vacation has begun two weeks before the festival. To make up for lost time, the second session may be longer – perhaps 150 to 155 days. The tentative plan:
... Schools may reopen schools after the Diwali vacations in a staggered manner, beginning with Classes IX to XII.
... The board exams, usually held in March, may be held in May next year.
... For other classes, annual school exams which are conducted in April may be postponed to June. (01-11-2020)
GSHSEB approves 248 new self-financed schools, in principle: The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) has approved, in principle, the setting up of 248 new self-financed secondary and higher secondary schools. Final approval will be given after site inspection in the next six months. At the same time, 345 proposals for new schools have been rejected by GSHSEB. The board had received a total of 593 applications – 249 for higher secondary schools and 344 for secondary schools. (01-11-2020)
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation may borrow to pay salaries: The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has suffered a substantial loss in the last six months due to the lockdown. Its daily passenger load was 60 lakh passengers, and its daily income was Rs. 22 crore. These figures slipped to 10 lakh passengers daily, and income of Rs. 5 to 6 crore daily. It needs Rs. 292 crore every month for staff salaries. It may have to borrow Rs. 2,000 crore by keeping its properties, such as its various bus depots, as collateral. This will also help to meet its operational costs. (01-11-2020)
Doctors asked for commission on food bill of patients at a government hospital: No place is too sacred for the corrupt person and his conscience. Take a look at the following sequence of events at a large and busy government hospital:
... The bill for the food served to the patients and the medical staff for four months amounted to Rs. 1.18 crore.
... To clear the bill, two doctors at the hospital asked the contractor to pay a bribe of Rs. 18 lakh.
... One part of the bribe was paid.
... The bribe-payer apparently approached the Gujarat Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) when the doctors demanded more than the agreed amount.
... The ACB moved in swiftly, set a trap, and the doctors were eventually caught red-handed.
... Both the accused have been working at the hospital for more than 15 years.
... The hospital is the Government Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS) Medical College and Hospital, Sola, Ahmedabad.

Some questions that may crop up in the minds of those who read this story:
... Did the two doctors become corrupt overnight, or is it that our systems are careless, or perhaps callous?
... Have we become so accustomed to or immune to such stories that we just yawn and move on?
... Could this be an isolated instance in this institution?
... How many hundreds of other such institutions are the victims of such antisocial predators?
... Is corruption also a pandemic?
... If you lose your sleep over such incidents, will you ever be able to sleep? (31-10-2020)
No rangoli exhibition at Kirti Mandir this Diwali: Vadodara's rangoli artists will display their work in online exhibitions this Diwali. Due to the pandemic related restrictions many annual exhibition events have had to be cancelled. The Swastik Group, the city's oldest rangoli group, usually organises exhibitions at the Kirti Mandir hall during Diwali. According to Rajendra Dindorkar, who has held rangoli exhibitions for the past 34 years, the artists this year will make rangolis at their own homes. Their work will then be displayed online for people all over the world to see. The Parampara Rangoli Kalakar Group will also organise an online exhibition. (31-10-2020)
Salon chain and popular farsan maker face GST heat: A popular hair and beauty studio in Vadodara with several branches in the city and other cities in Gujarat has come under the scanner of the central goods and service tax (GST) department for evading GST and service tax. It is claimed that the evasion amounted to Rs. 3.2 crore of GST and Rs. 1 crore of service tax. Two other companies facing heat from the same department, for more or less similar offences, are in the business of snacks and farsan. (30-10-2020)
State’s medical colleges face a shortage of teachers: There is a significant shortage of teachers in Gujarat’s six government medical colleges in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar. According to the official figures, 30% of the posts of professors, assistant professors and assistant professors are vacant. This shortage also means that 600 less postgraduate medical seats will be available; postgraduate seats are granted depending upon the number of teachers available, and their seniority and teaching experience. It appears that the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) has not met for over 10 years, and this may have stalled the promotion of teachers to senior positions. This problem of 30% shortage of teachers also affects the eight Gujarat Medical Education Research Society (GMERS) trust-run government medical colleges in Sola, Gotri, Valsad, Himmatnagar, Gandhinagar, Patan, Junagadh and Vadnagar. Strict Medical Council of India norms prevent the hiring of senior private doctors on teaching positions, because they may not be available to teach from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; such seniors may be available for only about three hours. Also, the effort to appoint medical teachers on 11-month contracts does not seem to have paid off. (30-10-2020)
Senior citizen takes on housing society for malfunctioning lift: An elderly man in Nadiad lives in a fourth floor apartment in a building in which the lift is not working as well as it should. He took the housing society to consumer court, and won. Here is how his case took shape:
... He often had to climb the stairs because the lift was not working properly.
... Fed up, he sued the housing society at the Kheda District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
... He demanded compensation for the trouble he faced, detailing the number of days when the lift was closed.
... He said he had to incur extra medical expenses due to the hardship he faced.
... He said the society collected maintenance every month.

In defence, the society made several points, and also said that the complainant cannot be termed a consumer.

The consumer court did not agree with the society’s stand and said:
... The elderly man was a member of the association.
... He had been paying maintenance.
... He had to face problems due to the lifts not working.
... He was therefore entitled to compensation.

The consumer court ordered the society to pay Rs. 1,000 as compensation, and Rs. 500 towards legal expenses. (29-10-2020)
MS University Arts Faculty building restoration in the news again: MS University’s syndicate has discussed, once again, how to take forward the restoration, renovation and preservation of the Arts Faculty building which is famous for its dome. The double-layered dome is Asia’s second largest masonry dome, and it is considered by many to be aesthetically more appealing than the Gol Gumbaz dome at Bijapur (which is Asia’s largest masonry dome structure). It was designed by British architect R.F. Chisholm in the 1880s. It is expected – or hoped – that the restoration project will be completed in one year. The stated objective: the building should look like what it was in the 1880s. Even the exteriors of the faculty dome will be restored with this objective in mind. (29-10-2020)
Inflow of foreign students increasing in Gujarat: Gujarat’s colleges and universities are beginning to attract more and more foreign students. The state government’s ‘Study in Gujarat’ initiative seems to have helped to increase the flow of foreign students. Roadshows were organised in ten countries. A few leading universities in the state have so far taken in 2,052 foreign students, compared to 1,176 in 2019-20. Some statistics for this year:
... The number of foreign students doubled for the 2020-21 academic year.
... The rate of inflow can increase substantially if some travel and other restrictions in African countries are eased.
... Most of the admissions are in technical courses.
... Vadodara based Parul University admitted 1,004 foreign students this year, compared to 350 last year. The university has a dedicated hostel – and special cooks – for foreign students.
... Students from 31different African countries have enrolled at Rajkot-based Marwadi University.
... Ahmedabad based Gujarat University has enrolled 181 foreign students, compared to 51 last year. (29-10-2020)
The southwest monsoon has withdrawn from Gujarat: It is official. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) says that the southwest monsoon withdrew from Gujarat on October 26. Here are some monsoon related figures released by the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) under the state government’s GSDMA:
... This was the second consecutive year in which Gujarat recorded over 1,000 mm rainfall.
... It was the third year in the past five in which more than 100% rainfall was received.
... Almost all regions received ample rainfall.
... Kutch and Saurashtra regions witnessed record rainfall in several areas.
... The Saurashtra region received 1,250 mm – 85% more than the average.
... Only East-Central Gujarat received less than 100% rainfall, with Dahod receiving the least at 78% of the annual average, followed by 93% in Mahisagar and Vadodara districts. (28-10-2020)
Former India captain Dattajirao Gaekwad turns 92: To honour former India captain and Baroda cricketer Dattajirao Gaekwad the Department of Post, Government of India, has released a postal cover to celebrate his 92nd birthday. He is presently the oldest living ex-test player of India. According to Baroda Cricket Association secretary Ajit Lele the memento was presented to Mr. Dattajirao Gaekwad at his home. He made his test debut as a batsman in 1952, played in 11 test matches and captained the Indian team during the 1959 England tour. He led the Baroda team and won the Ranji Trophy as its captain in the 1950s. His son is former Indian opener Anshuman Gaekwad. (28-10-2020)
Centre for digital education likely at MS University: MS University of Baroda (MSU) is thinking of setting up a centre for digital education (CDE) to offer basic courses and perhaps niche programmes in many streams. MSU also wants to establish computer centres at various faculties and colleges – or a cluster of faculties – to offer technical support to the teaching staff. The CDE proposal has been made by the Office of International Affairs. The idea is to prepare modules that can be served through digital mode. At present the university has only one computer centre that services all the faculties and colleges. (28-10-2020)
Colleges and universities may open after Diwali: It looks as if the Gujarat government is seriously thinking about starting on-campus education in colleges and universities as soon as possible. The state education minister said, “As the government is … considering starting regular schooling for students from class IX to XII, there is no reason for keeping colleges and universities closed for an indefinite period of time. College and university students are adults and know how to take precautions against coronavirus.” A final decision in this regard will be taken after due consideration of all aspects of safety of students. An official of the Gujarat Higher Education College Association said, “It is not possible to study everything online. On-campus education is required. …If the government is considering having on-campus education for class IX to XII students, then on-campus education should definitely be held for college and university students.” The Gujarat State College Teachers Association also supported the idea of beginning on-campus education in colleges. (27-10-2020)
The pandemic has pushed up demand for hand sanitisers: Hand sanitisers are big business! The Covid-19 pandemic has made the demand for this personal hygiene product shoot up dramatically. From April 1920 as many as 319 new plants for hand sanitisers have been set up in Gujarat alone, a majority of them being for cosmetic hand sanitisers. Take a look at how the pandemic affected this business:
... Gujarat FDCA approved plans for 350 plants in the pharmaceutical space, most of them for making hand sanitisers.
... Of the hand sanitiser plants, 226 were in the cosmetic segment, 86 ayurvedic, and 7 allopathic.
... Among the big names that built new hand sanitiser plants are Marico, Asian Paints, Rekvina Pharmaceuticals, Fresio Herbals, Gujarat Lifescience, etc.
... Gujarat’s current hand sanitiser production capacity is 2 crore litres per day (LPD).
... Among the other big companies that moved into making hand sanitisers are Zydus Wellness, Adani Wilmar, Eris Lifesciences, Cadila Pharma, Nivea India, etc.
... Gujarat now has 613 hand sanitiser manufacturers, and these manufacturers have cumulatively been issued 4,775 product licences. (27-10-2020)
Rules should be framed quickly for Clinical Establishments Act: In order to prevent fire tragedies like the one at Ahmedabad’s Shrey Hospital the Gujarat high court has asked the state government to formulate rules quickly for the Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 (CEA). The Clinical Establishment Act was enacted ten years ago, and appropriate rules must be framed to ensure that the proper implementation of the law takes place. Gujarat and Goa are the only two states that have not yet implemented the central act for almost ten years. Incidentally, some people say that Gujarat adopted the Gujarat Regularization of Unauthorized Development Rules 2012 (GRUDA) and continued to regularise illegal and unsafe hospital structures and constructions till early 2018. These critics say that GRUDA should have been avoided for hospitals. (27-10-2020)
Seaplane service to start on October 31: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate India’s first seaplane service on October 31. The route: from Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia. The occasion: the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Some features of the service:
... SpiceJet will use a leased aircraft to operate eight daily flights with a ticket price of about Rs. 4,800.
... The seaplane – a 15-seater DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft of Maldivian Aero – has been flown from Male to Ahmedabad.
... The seaplane operations will initially use the assistance of Maldivian Aero seaplane pilots and crew. (26-10-2020)
Live streaming of Gujarat high court proceedings begins on trial basis: The Gujarat High Court has begun live streaming of court proceedings of the first court comprising the division bench led by the Chief Justice, on YouTube, on an experimental basis. The first day of live streaming had 1,500 viewers on the YouTube channel. This is the first time that court proceedings can be directly viewed by anyone. Whether to continue with this live streaming will be decided based on the outcome of this experiment. The modality has been guided primarily by the Supreme Court’s direction in a 2017 public interest litigation for live streaming court proceedings. The Gujarat high court has been operating over the virtual medium since March, taking into account the safety of all stakeholders. (26-10-2020)
Second Convocation of GSFC University held virtually: The Second Convocation of Vadodara based GSFC University was held on 25th October 2020, virtually on an online platform. Degrees were awarded to 259 graduating students. The university’s vice-chancellor Dr. Nikhil Zaveri presented the university report for the academic year 2019-20. Padma Vibhushan awardee Dr. R.A. Mashelkar was the chief guest. In his convocation address he pointed out that ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ should be created through ‘Aatmavishwas’ (self-confidence) and ‘Atmasamman’ (self-respect). GSFC University is recognised under the Gujarat Private University (Second Amendment) Act, 2014 and is established by the GSFC Education Society – an initiative of Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. The GSFC education society was launched in 2010 as a CSR program of GSFC. (26-10-2020)
Government finalising procedures for reopening schools: The Gujarat government is working on finalising the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening of schools. Some factors to be taken into account:
... Students should be in schools for the minimum period of time.
... The majority of learning time should be at their homes.
... Possibility of resuming Class IX-XII from November 23.
... No playground sports on school campuses.
... No cultural activities on school campuses.
... No assessment of student learning in the first two-three weeks of reopening, in order to ensure emotional well-being of the students.
... Online and distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching.
... The number of hours at school should be minimum, and preferably for practical classes.
... Theory classes can be taught online.
... Focus on keeping children physically and mentally healthy. (25-10-2020)
Pashu Aadhar project will assign unique identification for bovines: The central government is asking the Gujarat government to quickly implement the Pashu Aadhar project for animal unique identification (UID). The Pashu Aadhar project is supposed to be the world’s biggest project of its kind to tag every bovine in the country. The ear tags will have a bar coded UID containing information such as artificial insemination, vaccination, diseases, etc. The will help owners of the animals to get compensation in case of loss of their livestock. The ear tags will help the authorities to detect diseases like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and brucellosis. The government is working to completely eradicate FMD by 2025. This project is being carried out under the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP). In the first phase, 20,000 animals in Amreli district will be ear-tagged. (25-10-2020)
60% of buildings in 8 corporation areas do not have fire NOCs: The Gujarat government submitted an action taken report (ATR) to the Gujarat High Court on October 21 about the fire safety measures being implemented in the state. It emerged that about 60 per cent of the buildings in the state’s eight municipal corporation areas either did not renew their fire safety No Objection Certificates (NOCs) or they were not issued their fire safety No Objection Certificates (NOC). The submissions were made following the court’s order in a public interest litigation moved by an advocate after the Shrey Hospital fire tragedy that killed eight Covid-19 patients. In Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), only 8,400 out of 27,300 buildings had fire NOCs. In Surat, 10,500 of the total 17,800 buildings had fire NOCs. (24-10-2020)
Roads under repair cause two deaths every week in Gujarat: According to the ‘Road Accidents in India 2019’ report by the ministry of road transport and highways, two persons lost their lives every week on Gujarat’s roads which were under construction or repairs. In all, 102 people lost their lives in accidents due to road-repair works. Other statistics for Gujarat for 2019:
... There were five deaths due to potholes on roads.
... One road traffic accident was reported every 30 minutes.
... Five persons died in road accidents every six hours.
... While in the past four years fatal road accidents went down by 9.2%, deaths per 100 accidents rose by 6.2%.
... In number of accidents, Gujarat ranked 10th (first is worst) among Indian states.
... Gujarat ranked 8th in road accident fatalities.
... 46 deaths took place at crossroads with traffic signals.
... 141 deaths took place where police were present.
... 54 deaths took place due to jumped red lights, and 22 due to jumped yellow lights. (24-10-2020)
Discussions are on about reopening schools: While school managements are discussing school reopening with the state government they feel that they should not be held accountable if students get infected by coronavirus. Some issues raised by them:
... A fixed set of guidelines cannot be applied to all schools across the state.
... There should be separate rules for rural and urban schools.
... Schools should not be accountable if students get infected by coronavirus.
... Students travel to school and back by autorickshaws and vans, and schools cannot monitor their activities outside.
... 80% of students are in favour of online education.
... 44% of parents said they will prefer not to send students to school amid the pandemic.
... To begin with, schools should be reopened only for students from Class IX to XII. (23-10-2020)
Drunk people pose a problem for cops in Covid times: A standard quick confirmation of a drunk person is the smell from his mouth. In Covid times, any smelling process can be dangerous – for the culprit as well as for the cop. A forthcoming police circular will detail other ways in which an inebriated person can be identified. Some simple indicators:
... Inability to stand properly.
... Unstable movements.
... Slurred speech
... Weaving or swerving while driving.
... Speed Inconsistencies.
... Traffic Violations.
... Poor Judgement.
... Sudden Stops.
... Flushed face.
... Red, watery, glassy or bloodshot eyes.
Based on these factors the cops can decide whether to take the suspect to a hospital for a medical test. (23-10-2020)
Law student suggests courts should switch to A4 size papers: Law student Jaydeep Patel had filed an interesting PIL before the Gujarat high court. He suggested that the usual legal size papers that are so commonly used for all court proceedings should be replaced by A4 size papers. He also suggested that the papers should be printed on both sides instead of on just one side. The high court disposed of the PIL by directing its registry to place the issue before the chief justice for consideration on the administrative side. If the student’s suggestion is implemented, it will introduce uniformity about the use of paper and printing and minimise paper consumption. It will be an eco-friendly move. (23-10-2020)
Adani will take over at Ahmedabad international airport: Operations at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport will be taken over by Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL) on November 7. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that the union ministry of civil aviation has signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect with Adani Ahmedabad International Airport Limited. The MoU pertained to provision of Reserved Services: customs, immigration, plant and animal quarantine, health, MET and security. AAI also signed a CNS-ATM agreement with Adani for the provision of CNS-ATM services at the city airport. AEL had put in a bid of a Rs. 177-per-passenger fee to be paid to the AAI. The SVPI Airport had recorded 1.14 crore passenger footfalls in 2019-20. (23-10-2020)
Amul introduces camel milk ice-cream: Dairy giant Amul is launching camel milk ice-cream and milk powder. According to the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets the Amul brand, “Amul camel milk powder will enable lakhs of individuals to try the goodness of camel milk across the country for the first time. … The milk powder made from natural camel milk procured from camel herders in Kutch will have a shelf life of eight months.” Incidentally, after Amul launched camel milk products the rates of camel milk in Gujarat have doubled, thus leading to a revival of the sector. GCMMF entered into a MoU in 2018 with the Kutch District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited (Sarhad Dairy), Sahjeevan Trust and the Kutch Unt Uccherak Maldhari Sangathan for procurement, processing and marketing of camel milk. Kutch milk union is now collecting about 70,000 litres of camel milk every month. There are around 30,000 camels in Gujarat, mostly of Kutchi and Kharai breeds. The state is home to around 1,000 camel breeders mainly from the Rabari, Fakirani Jat, Sama and Sodha communities. (22-10-2020)
Suzuki’s Hansalpur plant makes its millionth car: Suzuki Motor Gujarat Pvt. Ltd. (SMG) recently made its millionth car at its passenger vehicle manufacturing plant at Hansalpur. SMG, a subsidiary of Japan based Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), employs 1,800 persons at the Hansalpur plant, which is 97 km from Ahmedabad. It manufactures cars for Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), for the domestic as well as export markets. SMG began with Baleno in 2017 and added Suzuki Swift in 2018. SMC has cumulatively invested over Rs. 12,500 crore in its plant in Gujarat. (22-10-2020)
Prime Minister Modi to inaugurate Girnar ropeway, virtually: The Girnar ropeway near Junagadh at Girnar will be inaugurated, virtually, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 24. The ropeway connects Bhavnath Taleti and Ambaji Temple – a distance of 2.3 km – in seven minutes. There are 5,000 steps between Bhavnath Taleti and Ambaji Temple. Eight passengers can be accommodated in each of the 25 carriages. It is supposed to be the biggest ropeway project in Asia. (22-10-2020)
Diwali vacation announced for all board schools: Diwali vacation will be from October 29 to November 18 for all state board schools. The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) announced that all educational activities, including online classes, will remain closed during this twenty-day vacation period. The decision on reopening of schools after the Diwali vacation will be taken after consulting stakeholders – health department, parents, students, school trustees, teachers and prominent educationists. (21-10-2020)
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First Previous Next Last
Thieves drive off with a car as the owner relieves himself (08-11-2020)
Anand gets a pet park (07-11-2020)
Other professionals can enrol as lawyers (07-11-2020)
Adani takes over Ahmedabad airport from Nov 7 (07-11-2020)
GSHSEB Board Exams 2021 will be held in May (06-11-2020)
Conflicting reports on fire NOCs in Ahmedabad’s schools (06-11-2020)
Schools, colleges and universities may reopen after Diwali (05-11-2020)
12,277 schools in Gujarat do not have valid fire NOCs (05-11-2020)
Lower courts will open from November 23, but not in four cities (05-11-2020)
Gujarat gets Rs. 202 crore to improve ambient air quality (05-11-2020)
Online work of Vadodara’s municipal councillors will be easier (05-11-2020)
Information sought in the form of questions must be provided (05-11-2020)
Lawyer fined for addressing court while sitting in his car (04-11-2020)
Surat wins HUDCO award in urban transport category (04-11-2020)
Gujarat relaxes rules on number of wedding guests (03-11-2020)
L&T likely to get Ahmedabad-Vadodara bullet train corridor contract (03-11-2020)
MSU study shows that Vadodara's drinking water needs to be improved (02-11-2020)
You can look forward to a cleaner Vishwamitri (02-11-2020)
Dahej-Ghogha ro-pax ferry service from November 8 (02-11-2020)
Diwali vacation has been taken early in schools (01-11-2020)
GSHSEB approves 248 new self-financed schools, in principle (01-11-2020)
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation may borrow to pay salaries (01-11-2020)
Doctors asked for commission on food bill of patients at a government hospital (31-10-2020)
No rangoli exhibition at Kirti Mandir this Diwali (31-10-2020)
Salon chain and popular farsan maker face GST heat (30-10-2020)
State’s medical colleges face a shortage of teachers (30-10-2020)
Senior citizen takes on housing society for malfunctioning lift (29-10-2020)
MS University Arts Faculty building restoration in the news again (29-10-2020)
Inflow of foreign students increasing in Gujarat (29-10-2020)
The southwest monsoon has withdrawn from Gujarat (28-10-2020)
Former India captain Dattajirao Gaekwad turns 92 (28-10-2020)
Centre for digital education likely at MS University (28-10-2020)
Colleges and universities may open after Diwali (27-10-2020)
The pandemic has pushed up demand for hand sanitisers (27-10-2020)
Rules should be framed quickly for Clinical Establishments Act (27-10-2020)
Seaplane service to start on October 31 (26-10-2020)
Live streaming of Gujarat high court proceedings begins on trial basis (26-10-2020)
Second Convocation of GSFC University held virtually (26-10-2020)
Government finalising procedures for reopening schools (25-10-2020)
Pashu Aadhar project will assign unique identification for bovines (25-10-2020)
60% of buildings in 8 corporation areas do not have fire NOCs (24-10-2020)
Roads under repair cause two deaths every week in Gujarat (24-10-2020)
Discussions are on about reopening schools (23-10-2020)
Drunk people pose a problem for cops in Covid times (23-10-2020)
Law student suggests courts should switch to A4 size papers (23-10-2020)
Adani will take over at Ahmedabad international airport (23-10-2020)
Amul introduces camel milk ice-cream (22-10-2020)
Suzuki’s Hansalpur plant makes its millionth car (22-10-2020)
Prime Minister Modi to inaugurate Girnar ropeway, virtually (22-10-2020)
Diwali vacation announced for all board schools (21-10-2020)
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