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Stiffer punishment for using a mobile phone while driving in Ahmedabad: Ahmedabad city traffic police have found that the number of accidents due to the use of cellphones while driving has increased. To crack down with more force on the use of cellphones while driving, the traffic police will soon slap the charge of rash driving on offenders. The maximum punishment for this offence is six months in jail. Police officials said that using earphones to talk on cellphones while driving will not mitigate the offence. Traffic cops will now charge those found using mobile phones while driving with IPC 279 from April. In 2019 the police had caught 9,062 people using cellphones while driving and had collected Rs. 49.93 lakh in fines from them. In 2018, 1,871 had been caught and Rs. 17.49 lakh had been collected in fines. (16-03-2020)
Over 3,750 registrations for PG medical and dental courses: There were 3,750 registrations in the online registration process for candidates seeking admission to postgraduate (PG) courses in medical and dental colleges of Gujarat. The online registration process will continue till March 16. The admissions will be conducted based on scores obtained in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG 2020. In all, there are about 1,700 seats for the PG medical and dental courses. The examination, held in January this year, saw 4,800 candidates from Gujarat clearing the test. The entrance exam is for admission to various courses including Master of Surgery (MS) and Doctor of Medicine (DM) offered in government, private, deemed and central universities. States can start admission process after the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) conducts admission to 50% All India Quota seats. Students are required to reach out to the helpline centres for cross verification of their application and for documentary evidence. Candidates will be given a token in advance to avoid rush at the centres. (16-03-2020)
Gujarat's schools, colleges, multiplexes closed till March 29: As a precaution against Covid–19, the Gujarat government has announced that all schools, colleges, malls and multiplexes must remain closed till March 29. The ongoing board examinations for class X and XII will not be affected by this move. In another move, the state government has advised municipal corporations, municipalities, nagarpalika and gram panchayat to impose a fine of Rs. 500 on public spitting. An appeal has also been made to socio-religious organisations to postpone their major gatherings till the end of March as a matter of caution. (16-03-2020)
Public sector banks may go on strike on March 27: About 30,000 employees of public sector banks may go on strike on March 27. The banks will therefore be closed for three days, with 28th and 29th being a weekend. Striking workers will protest privatisation of nationalised banks. Estimates by Maha Gujarat Bank Employees’ Association (MGBEA) are that transactions worth Rs. 15,000 crore may be affected with banks remaining closed for a day. The Gujarat Trader Federation (GTF) along with several other trade associations, has already filed a petition in the Gujarat high court over frequent strikes by bank employees which is hampering business activity. (15-03-2020)
Over 300 government medical college teachers will be hired on fixed pay: After introducing fixed-pay system in various departments, the state government has announced filling up of 308 positions of professors, associate professors and assistant professors in medical colleges. The recruitment process will take place from March 16 to 26. The government has introduced two categories of practising and non-practising faculty members with different pay scales. The fixed-pay appointments will be for 11 months. The recruitment will be for the Gujarat Medical Education & Research Society (GMERS) colleges at Sola, Gotri, Gandhinagar, Valsad, Junagadh, Patan, Himmatnagar and Vadnagar. Professors who want to practice medicine or surgery along with the job will be paid Rs. 50,000 and those who teach full time will get Rs. 1 lakh. For associate professors, the figures are Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 65,000 and for assistant professors Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 55,000. About 400 posts are vacant in the state medical colleges,” said a government medical college official. (15-03-2020)
Vadodara airport is India’s second cleanest in its category: Vadodara’s airport has been judged to be the second cleanest and safest airport in India – among airports having a passenger handling capacity of up to 1.5 million. Such airports are termed category III airports; there are 52 airports in this category. Udaipur airport heads the list, followed by Vadodara and Vijayawada. The survey by an Airports Authority of India (AAI) team based their ranking on about 32 parameters covering operational aspects such as air traffic control, runway, terminal building, etc. Vadodara airport handles 1.2 million passengers per year, with 13 arrivals and 13 departures daily. Connectivity is offered to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Connectivity will soon be offered to Indore and Kolkata. (15-03-2020)
Vadodara is ranked ninth in the latest Smart City rankings: Vadodara finished among the top 10 in the country in the Smart City rankings announced recently. The union ministry for urban development announces rankings of Smart Cities periodically. Vadodara is one of the 100 cities that were picked from across the country for implementation of the Smart City projects. In the last rankings, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) had finished at the eleventh ranking. In the latest ranking, the city has improved its position and finished in the ninth spot. (14-03-2020)
Gujarat police to get 9,000 body cameras: Gujarat's minister of state for home announced recently that the state will soon acquire body cameras, tasers and an anti-drone system for the police. The state police will get 9,000 body-worn cameras which will help the cops to record altercations and interactions with citizens. Of these, 8,000 body cameras will be given to field officers. The anti-drone system will be used to strengthen air surveillance. Tasers, used to control suspects, make the subjects unconscious without injuring them. Gujarat will be the first state to acquire tasers. The home department will get 1,000 sim-card-enabled cameras for crime detection. The minister said that 34 district headquarters, six religious places and the Statue of Unity have CCTV networks for traffic management and crime monitoring. The government has also decided to have a police commissionerate in Gandhinagar. (14-03-2020)
Coaching class must refund fees if a student leaves midway: Just printing that ‘fee is non-refundable’ on the fee receipt cannot be a basis for not refunding the fee amount if a student leaves a course midway with a justifiable reason. The Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (Rural) has therefore ordered a coaching class to refund the fee amount, with 8% interest, to a student and pay Rs. 5,000 extra towards compensation for mental harassment and legal expenditure. The forum said that fee cannot be refunded without valid reason after joining the course. But the complainant clearly stated that the course was not being run properly and he did not find it satisfactory. Hence, his demand for refund of fee is reasonable. The forum also said, “Mere mention of non-refundable on receipt cannot be a base for not returning the fee. Keeping such unreasonable and one-sided condition on fee receipt itself is part of unfair trade practice.” (14-03-2020)
Over 1,800 clear Gujarat State Eligibility Test: According to the Gujarat State Eligibility Test (GSET) results, 1,840 candidates have qualified. The 14th GSET, for determining the eligibility for the post of assistant professor in universities and colleges of Gujarat, was held in December 2019. Over 25,400 candidates had appeared in GSET, and 7.24% of them passed. In the 13th GSET held in September 2018, 1,595 out of 24,471 candidates qualified (which is 6.51 %). The maximum number of candidates who qualified this year are from Commerce stream, followed by candidates from Chemistry and Life Science streams. GSET was conducted in 23 subjects at 11 centres across the state. MS University is the nodal agency for conducting GSET in Gujarat. (13-03-2020)
Several MS University programmes cancelled due to Covid-19: Precautionary measures related to Covid-19 have led to some MS University programmes being cancelled or postponed. The programme on ‘sensitisation on prevention of sexual harassment at workplace’ has been cancelled. It was organised by the university’s women’s grievance prevention, counselling and redressal cell (WGRC). The programme was to be held at the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Auditorium in Faculty of Management Studies. The university has decided to cancel major seminars, conferences and workshops till March 31 as a precautionary measure. An advisory along these lines has been received from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD). For the time being, till further notice, classroom teaching will continue. (13-03-2020)
‘Jan e-rickshaws’ may improve last-mile connectivity in Ahmedabad: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is relying on the soon-to-be launched ‘Jan e-rickshaw’ – an electric rickshaw – to do the job of improving last-mile connectivity from bus or metro stations to homes and offices. The rickshaws should improve connectivity to the city’s interior residential and office areas. AMC expects the e-rickshaws to arrest the decreasing use of city transportation. The 89-km BRTS coverage has cut the total usage of the AMTS by about 18% since 2009,  which undercuts the very purpose of the mass transit system. At the same time, the city's vehicle population has increased to 43 lakh from 24 lakh in 2009. Experts have for long suggested that the BRTS must be integrated with other public transport systems. (13-03-2020)
‘TikTok ni deewani’ moves from a viral video to film offers: Some time back a policewoman was suspended from her job for making a TikTok video inside the Langhnaj police station in Mehsana district. She worked in the Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) in a fixed-pay constable’s position. Her video soon went viral and the cop – Ms Alpita Chaudhari – knew what perhaps her career should be. On International Women's Day a new Gujarati music album titled ‘Kachi Keri, Paki Keri was released, with her as the star. Her first video album, with the title ‘TikTok ni deewani’, was with Gujarati folk singer Jignesh Kaviraj. She has a few film offers but she is waiting for permission from her superiors. (12-03-2020)
Gujarat Refinery will produce BS VI fuel: The Gujarat Refinery at Vadodara has set up a facility to begin production of BS VI fuel that is energy efficient and environment friendly. HPCL has also planned to lay new pipelines for transporting petroleum products. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Vadodara on March 21 and he will dedicate the projects to the public at Navlakhi Ground. Mr. Modi may then visit Kevadia in Narmada district to inaugurate the cruise facility that has been started near the Statue of Unity (SoU). In 2016, the Indian government announced that the country would skip the BS V norms altogether and adopt BS VI norms by 2020. The Supreme Court had banned the sale and registration of motor vehicles conforming to the emission standard Bharat Stage IV in the entire country from 1 April 2020. (12-03-2020)
Virar-Nagda railway line upgraded to allow 130 kmph speeds: The commissioner of railway safety (CRS) has given permission to the Western Railway (WR) to run trains at 130 kmph on the 694 km stretch between Virar and Nagda, instead of the current limit of 110 kmph. Trains on the Mumbai-Gujarat-Delhi route can now cut down travel time by 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Trains like the Paschim Express and the Gujarat Mail will be able to save time. The Rajdhani Express and the Shatabdi Express already run at 130 kmph on the WR under a special sanction. More trains will now be upgraded to the 130 kmph level. The timetable that will come into effect from August 1 will reflect the new speed. (12-03-2020)
Disposable bag made compulsory for each sanitary pad: Though the use of sanitary pads has increased, their disposal is often done in a manner which may adversely affect the health of waste-pickers. Therefore, from January 2021 sanitary pad manufacturers will have to provide packets for the disposal of each pad. This directive has been issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change. The disposal bags must also be degradable. This rule is already in existence but is not being followed by manufacturers. The ministry has said that a decentralised model of garbage disposal under which educational institutes and housing societies dispose garbage at the premises itself is a more sustainable and long-term solution for garbage disposal. The money spent on transport of garbage should be utilised to encourage people to make garbage into compost at the source. (11-03-2020)
Gujarat’s wild ass census will cover 6,000 sq km: On March 13 and 14 more than 1,200 people – forest department staff and volunteers – will be deployed across six districts of north and west Gujarat to count the Indian wild asses (equus hemionus subspecies khur). They will cover a 4,953.70 sq km area of Little Rann of Kutch which forms the Wild Ass Sanctuary and also parts of Ahmedabad and Kutch districts where the movement of these animals has been recorded in recent years. The total area covered will be 6,000 sq km. The world’s only wild population of this animal is in Gujarat. This census, a part of the 9th Wild Ass population estimation exercise, will also use GPS tracking devices and drone cameras. For the purpose of the population estimation exercise, the regions have been divided into 18 zones, 77 sub-zones and 362 census points. The wild ass census is conducted every five years The 2014 census had shown a count of 4,451 wild asses in the state. The Tibetan wild ass is to be found in Ladakh. (11-03-2020)
Coronavirus outbreak hits Surat’s diamond industry jobs: Among the many people who are affected by the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak are the diamond workers in Surat who do not get enough diamond job work from China. Hundreds of workers will lose their jobs if the situation persists. Over 6,000 big, small and medium diamond units in Surat employ about 5.5 lakh workers – 3.5 lakh of these workers are employed in small and medium units. The industry’s annual turnover is about Rs. 1.50 lakh crore. The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) says that India’s gems and jewellery exports to Hong Kong and China are about $11 billion. Exports to Hong Kong and China may fall by over 60 % in March. (11-03-2020)
PAL-V signs MoU with Gujarat government: Dutch company PAL-V International BV has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government to manufacture its flying car (PAL-V, or Personal Air and Land Vehicle) in the state. It is expected to begin commercial production of the flying car by mid 2021. PAL-V was involved in the development of the first commercial flying car, the PAL-V Liberty. It is a compact two-person aircraft that can travel on public roads. The state government will help the company to secure approvals for the project from the central government. Flying cars manufactured in Gujarat will be exported to Europe, the US and other countries. The company has already received orders for 110 flying cars from the US and Europe. The flying cars will have a maximum speed of 160 kmph on land and 180 kmph while flying. They will take less than three minutes to get airborne and will be able to travel a maximum distance of 500 km. Flying cars are currently being made at Raamsdonksveer in the Netherlands. (10-03-2020)
BCA looks for new Ranji team coach: While the current coach Sanath Kumar recovers from an illness, the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) management has decided to search for a new coach for the Ranji team. The search for the new coach will begin after the annual general meeting (AGM) on March 19. BCA secretary said that they have listed some possible names, including former India cricketer Chandrakant Pandit, Level III coach Mukund Parmar and ex-India player Rishikesh Kanitkar. BCA is still weighing options. Some BCA members feel that the association should opt for a local coach, but the management feels that the locals may get influenced by persons with vested interests. At present former India player Munaf Patel has the dual role of mentor as well as coach. (10-03-2020)
Mr. Mengdey is new district judge of Vadodara: Mr. M.R. Mengdey, principal district and sessions judge (PDJ) of Mehsana, has been appointed the new PDJ of Vadodara by the Gujarat high court. The post had fallen vacant after the previous PDJ Dr. A.C. Joshi was elevated as a high court justice last week. Mr. U.T. Desai, the PDJ of Bharuch, will replace Mr. Mengdey in Mehsana. Along with judge Mengdey and judge Desai, the high court transferred 16 other judicial officers working in the cadre of district judge within the state. Justice Joshi was appointed PDJ of Vadodara in May last year when he was serving as PDJ of Ahmedabad. (10-03-2020)
Vadodara may host India’s biggest vintage car rally: 21 Gun Salute Heritage and Cultural Trust may organise the Concours d’Elegance vintage car rally at Vadodara in 2022. The trust is having discussions about this with the Gaekwad family. It will be for the first time that a vintage car exhibition on such a big scale will be held in Gujarat. The trust says that the Laxmi Vilas Palace is the best location in the entire country to organise a vintage car exhibition and rally. A sprawling golf course and the grandeur of the palace would make the 2022 edition of the Concours d’Elegance the biggest in the world. Over 150 vintage cars from across the would may participate in the rally. According to Wikipedia, the Concours d'Elegance is a term of French origin that means a ‘competition of elegance’ and refers to an event where prestigious vehicles are displayed and judged. It dates back to 17th-century France, where aristocrats paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris during summer weekends and holidays. Over time, carriages became horseless and the gatherings became a competition among vehicle owners to be judged on the appearance of their vehicles. These events are often held at automobile shows, after racing competitions or, especially in the United States, as a fundraising event for charities. (09-03-2020)
Over 650 trees chopped off without permission: Three persons, one of them a forest department employee, have been arrested for chopping off 677 full-grown trees without permission in Vadodara’s Shinor taluka. A local court remanded the trio to police custody until March 11 on Thursday. One of them had a contract to cut 691 trees to broaden a 12-km stretch of road between Segva and Malsar. He actually cut an additional 677 trees – including peepal, gulmohar, neem and banyan – valued at Rs. 45 lakh with the connivance of the forest department employee. The trio got caught because the department had put markings on the trees which were to be cut. They have not yet revealed what they did with the chopped trees. (09-03-2020)
Bed not available, emergency treatment refused: In 2015 Mr. Prakash Sharma went to Apollo hospital near Bhat village for treatment. The hospital’s doctor advised emergency treatment, but the hospital did not admit him on the grounds that there was no bed available in the emergency ward. Mr. Sharma, in his 70s and a former soldier (he fought in three wars for India in 1962, 1965 and 1971), is a member of the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). He sued Apollo Hospital in 2016 in the Gandhinagar District Consumer Redressal Forum complaining of deficiency in service and discrimination against patients who are under ECHS. In 2017 the consumer forum ordered the hospital management to compensate him and observed, “A hospital like Apollo with huge infrastructure and a nationwide repute showed negligence in providing emergency treatment on a frivolous ground that an empty bed was not available. A hospital’s primary objective and duty are to save a patient’s life. In the present case, the hospital could have given a bed in its lobbies or in a doctor’s chamber too.” Apollo hospital challenged this order but the Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has rejected the appeal. (09-03-2020)
Government school head master runs his own jewellery shop: Had you ever thought that a government school can be a ‘side business’ for unscrupulous teachers? It was recently discovered that the headmaster of a primary school in Bodeli taluka marked his attendance in the school but spent his time running his jewellery shop. He covered up his absence by asking the wife of a cluster coordinator of primary schools to teach in his place. He only visited the school in the morning and evening to mark his attendance, and the lady unofficially taught in his place. An offence has been registered against both persons at the Bodeli police station, and they have been suspended. Amazingly, no one complained about this ‘scam’ while it was going on. The taluka primary education officer kept quiet, the block coordinator kept quiet, the other teachers kept quiet, the other staff in the school kept quiet, the parents kept quiet. The whole system was quiet. Until some surprise check blew open the scam. There are thousands of schools in Gujarat. How widespread is this blatant crime? How many people are complicit in it? (08-03-2020)
Pay revised for anganwadi staff: The monthly honorarium for women workers and helpers of anganwadis, government-run child-care centres in rural and tribal areas, has been hiked – by Rs. 600 for anganwadi workers and Rs. 300 for others. The pay revision will benefit over 53,000 anganwadi workers and helpers. It will be effective from March 1, 2019. Anganwadi workers are currently paid Rs. 7,200 per month, helpers Rs. 3,650, and workers of mini-anganwadis Rs. 4,100. (08-03-2020)
Breath analyzers will not be used in current situation: As a precautionary step, the cops will not use breath analyzers while checking for drunken driving. Instructions to this effect have been issued by the Vadodara city police commissioner. The reason behind this directive is the current health situation and the precautions being taken to ensure that infections do not spread. Checking for drunken driving is a routine activity for the cops and the standard method involves the use of breath analyzers. Considering the prevailing health related concerns, it was necessary for the police commissioner to temporarily suspend the use of breath analyzers as a way of checking for drunken driving. (08-03-2020)
Some traders are overcharging for surgical masks: The Agra administration on Thursday sealed three medical stores that were selling surgical masks at about 15 times their price. Masks worth Rs. 2 were being sold for Rs. 30. The traders were indulging in black marketing to shamelessly take advantage of the demand caused by the prevailing health scare in the country. The Agra District Magistrate ordered that the three shops should be sealed immediately. The administration is also taking help from the Local Intelligence Unit to curb such activities.. (07-03-2020)
Women’s day special train launched: As part of the International Women’s Day campaign organised by the Indian Railways, the South Central Railways (SCR) has launched an all-women-run passenger train between Secunderabad and Vikarabad. Flagged off by the women staff of Secunderabad railway station, the train had on board women personnel as the loco pilot, assistant loco pilot, train guard, TTEs and RPF personnel. The train did a 72-km journey that takes 80 minutes. SCR had also introduced the ‘all-women-station’ concept and successfully operates five such railway stations in the zone – Begumpet, Vidhya Nagar, Chandragiri, New Guntur and Ramavarapadu. (07-03-2020)
IIT Bombay among world’s top 50 engineering colleges: According to the latest QS World University rankings, IIT-Bombay is among the top 50 engineering colleges. It moved up to rank 44 from last year’s rank 53. It has also been adjudged the best Indian university in the report. It has been ranked 152, retaining its spot from last year. In the subject-wise category, the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai was ranked among the top 10 institutes in India. The University of Mumbai ranked 17th among the top 100 universities. (07-03-2020)
Gujarat sees one cyber crime every day: According to figures tabled in the Gujarat assembly more than one person became the victim of cyber crime every day in the last two years; 751 cases were registered from January to December in 2019. There were 350 complaints in the four cyber police stations of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat in 2018, and this number rose to 401 in 2019. During these two years, 1,167 accused were arrested and charge sheets were filed in 365 cases. According to the authorities, “With changing times the nature of crime has also changed. Earlier people were looted at gunpoint or knife point but in recent times people are being cheated or robbed using smartphones.” There is a 24x7 cyber cell in the state crime branch and cyber cells have been opened in nine ranges of the state. A total of 822 staffers are deployed to deal with cyber crime. (06-03-2020)
PIL against illegal mining in buffer zone around Gir sanctuary: An NGO – Lion Nature Foundation – has filed a PIL in the Gujarat high court seeking directions to the concerned authorities to stop illegal mining in the 10 km buffer zone around the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary for protection of the environment and wildlife. The petitioner wanted the government to repair, restore and re-vegetate the area in accordance with established forestry practices. Also, electricity supply should be cut to all offenders involved in illegal mining, the wealth amassed illegally by the mining mafia should be recovered, terminate all leases to those in the buffer zone who are involved in illegal mining and in violation of the Forest Conservation Act and other laws, and submit a list of quarry leases granted within the 10 km buffer zone. The petitioner said that prior environment clearance of the National Board for Wildlife is required.for any project, including mining, in the 470.5 sq km buffer zone around the Gir sanctuary. (06-03-2020)
Gujarat can expect a hotter summer this year: The regional office of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that summer will be hotter this year. The forecast for March, April and May states that several parts of the state will experience higher temperatures than normal, by between 0.5 and one degree Celsius. This will be the second straight year in which higher than normal temperatures are expected, and heat waves will also be more frequent. IMD has forecast a warmer than normal summer over most meteorological subdivisions of northwest, west and central India and some sub-divisions in southern India. (06-03-2020)
Stray dog attacks violate human rights: A petitioner recently submitted before the Gujarat high court that inaction by the authorities on preventing stray dogs from attacking humans is a violation of human rights and a violation of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child. Over 17 million people suffer dog bites every year, and about 18,000 people lose their lives to rabies. The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, comes within purview of the ministry of home affairs. The petitioner further stated that majority of victims of stray dog attacks are children. The United Nations had brought out a ‘Convention on Rights of the Child’ in 1989, and India acceded to it in 1992. Thus, attacks and killing of children by strays is a violation of the convention, the petitioner argued. In his PIL, the petitioner sought directions to the Ahmedabad city police commissioner and the municipal commissioner to use police forces to curb the stray dog menace. (05-03-2020)
Ahmedabad’s 131-year-old Ellisbridge may not be pulled down: Ahmedabad’s 131-year-old Ellisbridge may have seen much better days but it is not going to be pulled down and scrapped. It has been found to be fit enough to continue as a heritage monument, if not as a bridge. The consultant overseeing the conservation of the famed bowstring arch truss bridge has recommended measures to save it. Ellisbridge will be transformed into a pedestrian bridge, and it may double up as an art gallery. A section of the old carriageway will be replaced with glass so that the river is clearly visible. It will be possible to fully restore the bridge with a few major repairs. (05-03-2020)
Dr. Ambedkar’s portrait will be put up at all police stations: Ahmedabad city police have received a directive that a portrait or a statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar should be put up at all police stations. This is by way of a tribute to the father of the Indian constitution, 70 years after it came into force on January 26, 1950. The birth anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar is on April 14. Police stations or other offices at present have portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. (05-03-2020)
Neighbours fight because their dogs fancy each other: Two brothers in Ahmedabad assaulted a neighbour because the neighbour’s dog – a German shepherd – took a liking to their dog – an indigenous female – and ran towards her. This small matter led to a fight, the two brothers beat up the neighbour and the police had to be called in. All the three persons were arrested, produced in court and let out on bail. In another incident the owner of a pet dog was given one-year imprisonment by a court because the dog attacked his neighbours. After he was punished, he challenged his conviction and applied for bail. Bail was granted to him but the condition was that he should not leave the local limits of Gujarat without prior permission of the court. It has taken six years for the case to come to this stage. (04-03-2020)
Farmer buys Gir cow but milk yield is less: A farmer in Dabhoi filed a case in the Vadodara district consumer court saying that Rs. 32,000 should be paid to him because a Gir cow purchased by him was not ‘milking’ as claimed. The seller of the cow had claimed that the cow gives 7 litres of milk daily and is also lactating. The farmer said that the cow gives only three litres of milk in a day; he also found out that the cow was also not lactating as he had been told by the seller. His expenses on maintenance and fodder was more than the money he could earn by selling three litres of milk. He asked the seller to take back the cow and refund his money. He turned to the consumer court when the seller refused to refund the money. Having to decide whether the cow’s owner can be considered to be a consumer, the court turned down the farmer’s case saying that it was untenable as he had purchased a live animal and not an inanimate product or taken any service. The court said that the farmer does not come under the definition of a consumer as per the Consumer Protection Act. (04-03-2020)
Gujarat launches online repository of organ donors: Gujarat now has an online system of updating the brain stem dead patients across hospitals in order to promote and facilitate cadaver organ donation. The online platform, modelled on the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) website, is hosted by National Informatics Centre (NIC) in order to address safety and privacy concerns. The primary aim of the initiative is to ensure transparency. If the system is not transparent, it will not instill confidence among relatives of potential organ donors. Due to privacy concerns, the platform will not be open for public but all the stakeholders will have access to it. Live updates will be available. Both transplant facilities and retriever hospitals are part of the network. After the formation of SOTTO in January 2019, Gujarat had recorded 171 cadaver organ donations in one year: seven hearts, four lungs, three pancreases, 104 kidneys, 53 livers. (04-03-2020)
Few doctors opt for rural service after graduation: The Gujarat health department says that only 14.40 % of the doctors with an MBBS degree join the government sector after being appointed by the state government. In the last two years, 2,228 MBBS doctors were given appointments but only 321 took up the offer, even though the government reduced the tenure of rural service from three years to one year. The government has to recover the bond amount from 3,000 doctors who had failed to serve in rural areas. Amazingly, in many cases, the doctors were not traceable. The government may even sell the property or the land of the defaulting doctors. One reason for doctors not taking up the jobs offered is that the doctors want to pursue higher studies. The state does not have enough medical colleges and students are compelled to go to other states to study for advanced degrees. (03-03-2020)
Medicinal park opened at Statue of Unity: A 17-acre medicinal park, ‘Arogya Van’, has been inaugurated at the Statue of Unity (SoU) in Kevadia of Narmada district. The park will have medicinal plants which have been used in Ayurveda since ancient times. It has been set up by the Gujarat state forest department. One of the interesting features of the park will be an Aushadh Manush, a human body made using plants and shrubs. Each human organ represents a medicinal plant that is beneficial for that particular organ. The herbs and plants are meant for six senses of the human body.  Among the sections are garden of colours, alba garden, lutea garden, aroma garden, yoga garden, indoor plants section, digital display, souvenir shop, cafeteria serving Ayurveda-based foods, etc. Household plants that are useful in our daily life have been displayed along with details about their uses. (03-03-2020)
Rs. 335 crore budget proposed for MS University for 2020-21: A budget of Rs. 335.90 crore has been proposed for MS University for the 2020-21 financial year. It is Rs 8 crore more compared to the current year. The financial estimates were recently approved by the university’s syndicate and will be placed before the senate members for their approval. Of the Rs. 335.90 crore, a grant of Rs. 324.88 crore is expected from the state government and Rs. 6.24 crore will be generated as fees from students. In addition, MSU is expected to collect Rs. 1.32 crore from the press and stationery unit. A large part of the grants and income will go towards payment of salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff; this head accounts for Rs 263.69 crore. The general administration expenditure of the university is expected to be Rs. 19.96 crore, the cost of maintenance of buildings and roads will be Rs. 9.77 crore, Rs. 1.31 crore will be spent on maintenance of gardens, and Rs. 4.23 crore will be the expenditure on games, sports, students welfare and other activities. The deficit is expected to be Rs. 2.24 crore in the next financial year. (03-03-2020)
Baroda Cricket Association gets new CEO: Mr. Shishir Hattangadi has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of Baroda Cricket Association (BCA). He will join the association from March 6 for a two-year tenure. Mr. Hattangadi was a cricketer and he also has a corporate background. An opening batsman, he was a first class cricketer who represented Mumbai in domestic cricket and played 60 first class matches. He had captained Mumbai at all levels – junior cricket, university team, Under-22 and Ranji Trophy. He received the Chhatrapati Shivaji Award for his contribution to the sport from Maharashtra Government in 1989. He was also a selector in Mumbai Cricket Association. He has worked in senior positions with Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Group and other companies. BCA had shortlisted 50 candidates from 150 applications for the job. The final choice was made by a special selection committee which included president Pranav Amin, secretary Ajit Lele and joint Secretary Parag Patel. (02-03-2020)
Advanced technology CCTV cameras equipped with AI: New advanced technology CCTV cameras equipped with artificial intelligence based facial recognition software will be tried by the police department in Vadodara. The special software will be synced with all CCTV cameras. The advanced technology will not only help the police to issue e-challans for traffic rule violations, but also to quickly detect crime and keep a tab on history-sheeters and anti-social elements. The system will alert the police control room immediately if a wanted person on the run is captured by the cameras. Photographs of all convicts and accused are available in the state’s e-GujCop data base, and this data base is synced with the software. This system can also be used to trace missing persons. (02-03-2020)
Glass packaging company will invest Rs. 300 crore in Jambusar: Glass packaging solutions major Piramal Glass Ltd. (PGL) will invest Rs. 300 crore to set up a plant on 3 lakh sq ft at Jambusar, 40 km from Vadodara. The company caters to the high-end cosmetics, perfumery, food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Expected to begin operations by December this year, the plant will manufacture speciality bottles for the Indian, Asian, European and US markets. PGL will also spend another Rs. 120 crore on its Kosamba plant and hire a total of 1,000 new employees. With global sales of Rs. 2,500 crore and operating from India, Sri Lanka and the US, the company provides end-to-end glass packaging solutions in nearly 50 countries. Its present manufacturing capacity is 540 tonnes per day, and the expansions will add another 250 tonnes per day. (02-03-2020)
Cut-off date extended for Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana: Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) has extended the cut-off date for applying for ‘Surya Gujarat’ (Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana), the solar rooftop scheme that was launched by the state government. The last date was February 28 for residential category consumers to get their applications registered under the scheme for financial year 2019-20. The cut-off date has now been extended to March 15. Only those applicants whose applications are registered on the Surya Gujarat portal with the required documentation up to March 15 will qualify to get the subsidy benefit in financial year 2019-20. This scheme was launched in August 2019 to allow residential category electricity consumers to generate energy at their homes and sell surplus amount of energy, if any, to get relief in their electricity bills and thus earn some extra income. (01-03-2020)
Sewage treatment plant in Kamatibaug will be upgraded: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) will send a team of officials to Japan to study the latest technology to treat the city’s waste water. The city’s 8.5 million litres per day (MLD) capacity sewage treatment plant (STP) located at Kamatibaug is likely to be upgraded to 16 MLD capacity. This upgrading work has been taken up as a Smart City project. The plant uses Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) gel beads. The Japanese company that has manufactured the beads has invited the VMC officials to visit its plant as well as a STP in Japan. A proposal to send some senior officials for this purpose to Japan has been approved by the VMC standing committee recently. (01-03-2020)
Cops clamp down on all kinds of rumour mongering: About 10 persons were rounded up on Saturday for interrogation relating to the spreading of rumours and causing panic among citizens. The rumours were about the replacement of CCTV cameras in the city. The police later clarified that the cameras installed had become defunct and were being replaced by new cameras under the Smart City project. Officials said the new cameras have many advanced features. The work of installing 350 cameras has begun, and 750 more similar cameras will be installed later. The police have formed three teams for surveillance of social media and to track down the original source of the messages that had spread the rumour. The police department is trying its best to contain all kinds of rumours which can lead to untoward incidents in the city. (01-03-2020)
Packed and unpacked sweets must display best-before date: The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) says that food packaging must indicate production and best-before dates. This directive also applies to sweets made of milk and milk products. The FDCA believes that the quality of packaged sweets is often not up to standard and this can be harmful to health. The best-before date will depend on local factors such as temperature, type of sweet and production method. Anyone failing to comply with the directive can be booked under the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. Those selling unpacked sweets will have to prominently display the manufacturing and best-before dates on the tray. (29-02-2020)
Common entrance test for all ‘model schools’: The Gujarat government will hold a common entrance test for all the 84 ‘model schools’ under the newly announced scheme for ‘Schools of Excellence’. The aim is to enrol most meritorious students at taluka levels in the model schools. A common entrance test will be held in April to fill vacant seats from Class VI to IX. A model school can admit a maximum of 360 students, Once more students come forward to join these schools the government will raise the limit to 480 students per school, with a provision of adding another 20 students. The total allotted strength of these 84 schools is about 30,000 students, which has now been enhanced to 42,000. The model schools concept was introduced in 2014 to provide quality education in government schools at par with any private school. The 84 model schools start from upper primary (sixth standard onwards) to secondary and higher secondary classes. Of these schools, nine have science stream for class 11 and class 12 students while the remaining have general stream. It has been decided to introduce science stream in the remaining 75 model schools. A budget of Rs. 4 crore has been sanctioned for setting up laboratories in the 75 model schools. Highly meritorious teachers will be recruited on a contract basis to improve education quality. The plan is to develop 500 state-run schools by March next year. (29-02-2020)
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Stiffer punishment for using a mobile phone while driving in Ahmedabad (16-03-2020)
Over 3,750 registrations for PG medical and dental courses (16-03-2020)
Gujarat's schools, colleges, multiplexes closed till March 29 (16-03-2020)
Public sector banks may go on strike on March 27 (15-03-2020)
Over 300 government medical college teachers will be hired on fixed pay (15-03-2020)
Vadodara airport is India’s second cleanest in its category (15-03-2020)
Vadodara is ranked ninth in the latest Smart City rankings (14-03-2020)
Gujarat police to get 9,000 body cameras (14-03-2020)
Coaching class must refund fees if a student leaves midway (14-03-2020)
Over 1,800 clear Gujarat State Eligibility Test (13-03-2020)
Several MS University programmes cancelled due to Covid-19 (13-03-2020)
‘Jan e-rickshaws’ may improve last-mile connectivity in Ahmedabad (13-03-2020)
‘TikTok ni deewani’ moves from a viral video to film offers (12-03-2020)
Gujarat Refinery will produce BS VI fuel (12-03-2020)
Virar-Nagda railway line upgraded to allow 130 kmph speeds (12-03-2020)
Disposable bag made compulsory for each sanitary pad (11-03-2020)
Gujarat’s wild ass census will cover 6,000 sq km (11-03-2020)
Coronavirus outbreak hits Surat’s diamond industry jobs (11-03-2020)
PAL-V signs MoU with Gujarat government (10-03-2020)
BCA looks for new Ranji team coach (10-03-2020)
Mr. Mengdey is new district judge of Vadodara (10-03-2020)
Vadodara may host India’s biggest vintage car rally (09-03-2020)
Over 650 trees chopped off without permission (09-03-2020)
Bed not available, emergency treatment refused (09-03-2020)
Government school head master runs his own jewellery shop (08-03-2020)
Pay revised for anganwadi staff (08-03-2020)
Breath analyzers will not be used in current situation (08-03-2020)
Some traders are overcharging for surgical masks (07-03-2020)
Women’s day special train launched (07-03-2020)
IIT Bombay among world’s top 50 engineering colleges (07-03-2020)
Gujarat sees one cyber crime every day (06-03-2020)
PIL against illegal mining in buffer zone around Gir sanctuary (06-03-2020)
Gujarat can expect a hotter summer this year (06-03-2020)
Stray dog attacks violate human rights (05-03-2020)
Ahmedabad’s 131-year-old Ellisbridge may not be pulled down (05-03-2020)
Dr. Ambedkar’s portrait will be put up at all police stations (05-03-2020)
Neighbours fight because their dogs fancy each other (04-03-2020)
Farmer buys Gir cow but milk yield is less (04-03-2020)
Gujarat launches online repository of organ donors (04-03-2020)
Few doctors opt for rural service after graduation (03-03-2020)
Medicinal park opened at Statue of Unity (03-03-2020)
Rs. 335 crore budget proposed for MS University for 2020-21 (03-03-2020)
Baroda Cricket Association gets new CEO (02-03-2020)
Advanced technology CCTV cameras equipped with AI (02-03-2020)
Glass packaging company will invest Rs. 300 crore in Jambusar (02-03-2020)
Cut-off date extended for Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana (01-03-2020)
Sewage treatment plant in Kamatibaug will be upgraded (01-03-2020)
Cops clamp down on all kinds of rumour mongering (01-03-2020)
Packed and unpacked sweets must display best-before date (29-02-2020)
Common entrance test for all ‘model schools’ (29-02-2020)
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