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Cops ask municipal corporation to improve traffic signage: The Vadodara police department has indicated to the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) that there is a need to improve the traffic signage in the city, paint stop lines and zebra crossings, erect more no-parking signboards and build safer speed-breakers. The police believe that proper signage helps commuters to follow the driving rules and helps the cops to implement the rules effectively. VMC also needs to act urgently and fill up the hundreds of dangerous potholes on the city’s roads. In addition to the existing 40 traffic signals, another 22 will be installed soon. The cops have also advised Barodians not to wait till the last date – that is, October 15 – to get their PUC certificates and HSRP plates. (21-09-2019)
MS University to get centre for disaster management studies: The syndicate of MS University has cleared a proposal to establish a centre for disaster management studies. The centre will develop training modules, conduct research and organise training programmes related to the field of disaster management. The objective will be to reduce the effects of both natural and human induced disasters. It will also prepare educational packages for academic and professional disaster management courses. A major objective will be to promote awareness among stakeholders – college or school teachers and students, technical personnel and others tasked with multi-hazard mitigation. The centre will also serve as a platform for public policy consultation on disaster management. (21-09-2019)
Fines for traffic offences may touch Rs. 200 crore this year: The Gujarat government’s home and transport department officials expect that the total collection of fines for traffic offences may touch Rs. 200 crore this year, compared to Rs. 109 crore in 2018-19. Against 92 lakh traffic rule violation challans issued last year, 47 lakh cases have already been registered in the first four months of this year – and this is before the revised and increased fines took effect. Of course, government officials insist that the objective of the traffic awareness drive throughout the state is not to generate revenue from fines but to reduce the number of accidents and casualties. (20-09-2019)
Vadodara Municipal Corporation starts drive against single-use plastic: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has started its drive against establishments using single use plastic (SUP) items. The drive was conducted in administrative wards 6, 10 and 11, areas with several commercial complexes, high-end retail outlets and restaurants. VMC teams seized 200 kg of plastic items – straws, plastic cups, lids, glasses, plates and similar items. The outlets were using these items even though they have been banned. The government notification had said that SUP like plastic cutlery, straws, containers and similar items made from thermocol were banned at public events and public places. People have been advised to start using eco-friendly materials. (20-09-2019)
Photographer Rahul Gajjar will present his work on Champaner Pavagadh at California: Vadodara based photographer Mr. Rahul Gajjar has been invited by Northeastern University, Boston, USA, to speak about his work done for 35 years at the UNESCO world heritage site of Champaner Pavagadh to undergraduate students and faculty at the College of Arts Media and Design. He has also been invited by Art Forum to present his work on UNESCO World Heritage Site Champaner-Pavagadh at the South Asian Literature and Art Festival to be held at the Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, California. (19-09-2019)
SSG Hospital hires bouncers to protect doctors: Vadodara’s SSG Hospital has hired bouncers, gunmen and ex-servicemen to protect doctors against possible attacks by angry relatives of patients. Twenty bouncers, two gunmen and two ex-servicemen will guard the hospital complex which sprawls over 37 acres. The hospital has not so far seen any incidents in which doctors were attacked, but it is prudent to take precautionary steps. There have been many incidents of violence on doctors throughout the country and this has led to protests by members of the Indian Medical Association. SSG does have a police chowky nearby and there is a modest security force of 115 persons. The Gujarat government has sanctioned the hiring of bouncers, gunmen and ex servicemen from a private security agency. The bouncers will be deployed in sensitive areas of the hospital which have a heavy movements of patients and doctors – specially in the casualty wing, surgical block and gynaecology ward. The hospital has a daily movement of about 15,000 people – including 4,000 OPD patients and 1,500 indoor patients and their relatives. (19-09-2019)
Drone delivery service for emergency medicines: The Government of Maharashtra and drone delivery service Zipline have joined hands to use autonomous delivery drones to carry emergency medicines. The Serum Institute of India (SII) – the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer  – will support this venture with a grant. The Maharashtra government’s objective is to give the state’s 120 million residents instant access to lifesaving and critical medicines. Zipline drones will make on-demand and emergency deliveries of blood products, vaccines and life-saving medications. Health workers will be able to place orders by text messages or calls and promptly receive their deliveries in about 30 minutes. Requiring no additional infrastructure or manpower at the health centres serviced by them, the drones can carry 1.8 kg of cargo and cruise autonomously at 110 km an hour (even in high-speed winds and rain). Deliveries are made from the sky; the drone descends to a safe height above the ground and releases the box of medicines with the help of a parachute to a designated spot at the health centre. (18-09-2019)
Deadline extended for helmets and PUC certificates: The Gujarat government has given a little more time – until October 15 – for people to buy their helmets and get the pollution-under-control (PUC) certificates for their vehicles. The revised traffic penalties related to these two subjects will now be levied after October 15. The fine for both these violations will remain Rs. 100 till October 15. The reason for extending the deadline is that there are not enough helmets available in the market. Also, the PUC centres are unable to handle the increased load. The government plans to permit another 900 PUC centres all over the state. It may soon become compulsory for two-wheeler dealers to give a helmet free of cost with every new vehicle. (18-09-2019)
New Motera cricket stadium racing towards completion: Construction work on Gujarat Cricket Association’s new Motera stadium in Ahmedabad is 90 percent completed. When completed it will become the world’s largest cricket stadium, pushing the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to second place. It will have a seating capacity of 110,000 spectators; the MCG can take about 95,000 fans. The architect for both venues is the same – the Australian company Populous. Motera (estimated to cost Rs. 700 crore) is likely to be completed by January 2020. The Eden Gardens stadium is presently India’s largest with a capacity of 62,000. Some interesting details about the Motera facility: 75 airconditioned corporate boxes; food courts in each stand; a cricket academy; indoor practice pitches; hi-tech media box; field of play LED lights; parking for 3000 cars and 10,000 two-wheelers within the stadium premises; club house with 55 rooms, indoor and outdoor games; restaurants; Olympic size swimming pool; gymnasium; party area; theatre with 3D projector and TV room; facilities for many other sports. (17-09-2019)
National Dairy Development Board plans to double milk production: India, the world’s largest milk producer, is now attempting to double the production. The Anand-headquartered National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is preparing the ground for this exercise. This project – named ‘Mission Milk’ – will be spread over five years and involve a budget of Rs. 8,000 crore. The first phase of the National Dairy Plan (NDP), launched in April 2012 with an outlay of Rs. 2,200 crore and designed to increase the productivity of milch animals, will end this year. The second phase of NDP will attempt to enhance milk processing capacity and infrastructure. NDDB also plans to expand the co-operative network. Of the 320,000 villages that have milk potential 200,000 have been covered. (17-09-2019)
Lithium-ion batteries and electrodes to be made in Gujarat: Japan’s Suzuki Motors, Toshiba and Denso will jointly manufacture lithium-ion batteries and electrodes in Gujarat at a new plant to be set up near Hansalpur (near the existing Suzuki plant). It is claimed that the plant will be the world’s biggest, and the investment is likely to be Rs. 30,000 crore over eight years. The Indian government intends to shift to 100 % electric cars by 2030. Suzuki makes automobiles, Toshiba provides services in information technology, communications equipment and systems and electronic components, and Denso supplies advanced automotive technology, systems and components for major automobile manufacturers. The Hansalpur plant will cater to the needs of electric cars all over the world. Suzuki Motors will be the lead partner in the joint venture. The investment proportion will be 50:40:10 between Suzuki, Toshiba and Denso. Suzuki Motors has invested to the tune of Rs. 8,000 crore in its Gujarat plant so far. (16-09-2019)
Low internet penetration in Gujarat: According to Niti Aayog, there are 104 mobile connections for every 100 people in Gujarat, but there only 42 internet subscribers for every 100 people. The state ranks eighth in number of internet subscribers per 100 population, trailing behind Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. Delhi has the highest number of internet users with 126 people per 100 population. Gujarat has 6.8 crore mobile users. To improve internet and mobile data penetration the state needs better handsets, that is, those that support data connectivity. When non-users of data experience the power of the internet, both usage and penetration will increase. Many mobile users use mobiles only for phone calls and not for internet connectivity. (16-09-2019)
'Operation Garbas' about to be launched: The organisers of the larger garba events in the city have received fairly elaborate advice and instructions regarding the security precautions to be taken at their venues. The guidelines are: cover the venue with a CCTV camera network; cameras at entry and exit points and parking areas such that every person’s face can be clearly recognised; CCTV camera footage must be submitted to local police stations daily; there must be an enclosure at all entry points for frisking of female garba participants; fire engines must be on standby mode; inflammable materials must be placed far from sitting areas; participants must be properly briefed about emergency exit routes; parking areas must be properly illuminated; approach roads to venues must be wide and properly illuminated; venue layouts must be shared with local police stations. (15-09-2019)
Gujarat government may soon ban single-use plastics: It is likely that the Gujarat government may ban single-use plastics from October 2, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Plans are also being made for proper plastic collection and segregation and regulation of plastic production and use. Gujarat is the largest manufacturer of single-use plastics in the country and the government has started discussions about stopping their production. Plastics collected by civic bodies may be segregated and used for road construction or as fuel in cement factories. Of course, the state has a long way to go on this front. Right now everything is mostly at the discussion stage. (15-09-2019)
Vadodara Municipal Corporation auctions 24 plots: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) organised the second auction of its plots in the city on September 13. VMC was able to sell five of the 24 plots being auctioned; the amount raised was Rs. 49.67 crore. The auction list initially included 26 plots but two plots were ruled out – one due to issues of connectivity and the other because the civic body wanted to keep it for its own use. There were nine bidders in all. Two plots were sold in Manjalpur, two in Gotri and one in Tandalja. All the plots are for commercial use. The highest bidding was for the 703 sq m Gotri plot that was sold at Rs. 77,300 per sq m against the upset value of Rs 64,000 per sq m. The earlier auction had generated an amount of Rs. 51.34 crore for VMC. (14-09-2019)
ATMs are not always the best option: According to NITI Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index 2018, Gujarat has the 21st rank in India with only 17 ATMs per one lakh population. The national target is 51 ATMs per lakh population. The only state with more than the national target is Goa with 65 ATMs per lakh population. Among the states ahead of India are Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand. Gujarat has seen a drop from 11,576 ATMs in 2015 to 11,509 ATMs in 2019, according to data from SLBC (State Level Bankers’ Committee). An ATM should be used at least 100-150 times a day to be viable. Now there are more convenient ways of making cash available to people, so ATMs are not always the best option. Digital banking, alternative money transfer options and the move towards a cash-less economy have also played a part. (14-09-2019)
Rajkot made e-rickshaw approved by UK: Rajkot based Atul Auto Ltd. has received approval from the United Kingdom government to market its lithium-ion operated e-rickshaw. In the 1970s when transportation was a crucial problem, especially in rural areas Atul became a pioneer by inventing the ‘Chhakda’ – the iconic three-wheeler diesel vehicle that became a way of life for the people of Saurashtra. Once Atul is ready with its new e-rickshaw in about nine months it will be sold in India too. Atul exports its low-cost three-wheelers to Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Egypt, Mexico and Bangladesh. The company is also trying to transform its CNG auto into an electric auto. The running cost of an e-auto is less than a CNG three-wheeler. The vehicle is likely to be manufactured in the company’s Rajkot and Ahmedabad plants. (13-09-2019)
Cleanliness lessons from Indore for Gujarat’s civic bodies: The Gujarat government will send teams from various municipal corporations and other civic bodies to understand and draw some lessons from the sanitation procedures followed by Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh) – the two cities that topped the all-India cleanliness survey. Indore topped the Swachhata Sarvekshan 2019 as the cleanest city in the country. Ambikapur – population 1.96 lakh – stood second and Mysuru in Karnataka stood third. The survey was conducted by the ministry of housing and urban affairs. The ranking was on the basis of sanitation levels. Gujarat wants to improve the sanitary conditions in all the urban local bodies – eight municipal corporations and about 160 municipalities. Senior officials from the eight municipal corporations and the six municipality commissioners will visit Indore and Ambikapur for a week to study their waste management and sanitation programmes. (13-09-2019)
Compulsory Service Bonds withdrawn for two superspeciality courses: The mandatory Rs. 50 lakh Compulsory Service Bonds for admission in two postgraduate medical superspeciality courses – paediatric surgery and cardiothoracic vascular surgery – in state government medical colleges has been withdrawn from the 2019-20 academic session. There have been no takers for the courses after the condition was introduced in 2014. The seats in superspeciality paediatric and cardiothoracic vascular surgery courses are lying vacant for the last few years. If students do not take these superspeciality courses, patients cannot be offered medical services. The state government’s decision has been communicated to the Medical Council Committee (MCC) for candidates appearing for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) superspeciality counselling session. (12-09-2019)
City police fully prepared to maintain order during Ganesha immersion celebrations: The Ganesha immersion processions in Vadodara are a big event, and the city police have made elaborate plans to ensure that there are no untoward incidents. Over 8,000 security personnel will be deployed along the various immersion procession routes. The manpower to be used: 11 DCPs, 20 ACPs, 80 police inspectors, 250 police sub-inspectors, 4,000 junior cops, nine companies of the State Reserve Police, 120 jawans of the Rapid Action Force, 80 personnel of the women CRPF, 600 traffic brigade personnel, 2,400 home guards, 160 cops with shoulder lights, eight mounted police personnel, 16 cops on superbikes, 80 specialist cops in black body-protecting gear, three quick response teams and sleuths from the crime branch. Over 750 CCTVs are in place and four drones will be monitoring the roads. All history-sheeters and potential mischief mongers are being watched. (12-09-2019)
Gujarat’s solar rooftop subsidy scheme made more attractive: The public response to Gujarat government’s subsidy scheme for solar rooftops was not very encouraging, with only 50,000 households coming forward to apply for it. The government has now announced a few relaxations, including the extending of the SURYA (Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana) scheme to cover group housing societies and residential welfare associations. The target is to cover, by 2021-22, the rooftops of 8 lakh households with photovoltaic systems to produce 1,600 MW of solar power. The household will be able to produce electricity by setting up photovoltaic systems on the rooftop. The house owner can use this power, and sell the additional power at Rs. 2.25 per unit to the government for 25 years. Permission will be given to 2 lakh houses on a first-come-first-served basis till March 31, 2020. Hopefully, 1,600 MW of solar power will be produced through rooftops in Gujarat by 2021-22. The state government will give 40 per cent subsidy to solar rooftop systems of up to 2 KW capacity and 20 per cent subsidy to those of 3 KW to 10 KW capacity. The owner can set up a solar rooftop system of any capacity, but the state government will not give any subsidy beyond 10 KW. The subsidy will also cover group housing societies and residential welfare associations; they can set up rooftop systems for running common amenities such as the water pump for the borewell, gymnasium, swimming pool and lighting in common areas. Solar cells and modules of non-Indian origin will not be eligible for the subsidy. Only new plant and machinery will be allowed. (11-09-2019)
Bilimora-Waghai narrow gauge heritage train may get extended to Saputara: The Bilimora-Waghai narrow gauge heritage train is likely to be extended to Saputara, Gujarat’s only hill station. This extension will boost tourism to Saputara and also allow tourists from south Gujarat to take a safe mode of transport to the hill station. The Western Railway may have to spend Rs. 100 crore for the track (and other infrastructure) from Waghai to Saputara. It seems that sponsors in Surat may come forward to foot the cost of renovating the train and its coaches. The three-wagon train presently does four daily trips – 195 minutes one way –  between Waghai in Dang district and Billmora in Navsari district. The route has nine stations between Bilimora and Waghai: Gandevi, Chikhli Road, Rankawa, Dholikua, Anawal, Unai & Vansada Road, Kevdi Road, Kala Amba and Dungarda. The train takes a break during the monsoon to avoid possible landslides on the hilly route. The train completed 106 years in July 2019. The 63-km track was laid by the British at the request of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad in 1913. It was a part of the Gaekwad’s Baroda State Railway (GBSR). Following independence, GBSR became a part of Western Railway. (11-09-2019)
Pilot emission trading scheme to start soon: From September 16, about 170 industries in Gujarat will participate in live trading in a pilot emission trading scheme (ETS). This is a big step towards reducing air pollution – specifically particulate pollutants PM2.5 and PM10 (that is, particles 2.5 microns and 10 microns wide). ETS is a market-based initiative. The government fixes a cap on emissions for each unit in an industrial cluster and allows the units to bid for the right to emit a percentage of the total. Units that emit less than their quota can trade their leftover emissions to units that exceed their quota. Units can buy and sell permits (trading units). During the last two months the participating industries have been busy understanding the modalities of the scheme by trading for practice. (10-09-2019)
Walkie talkies may soon be replaced in Gujarat’s police departments: Walkie talkies are the most commonly used push-to-talk communication devices used by the police. These instruments  may soon be replaced in Gujarat by the world’s most advanced system of internal communication – Mission Critical Push To Talk (MCPTT) over LTE. LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a standard for 4G wireless broadband technology that offers increased network capacity and speed to mobile device users. Walkie-talkies can only handle voice messages, but MCPTT devices enable sharing of data, videos and photographs as well as live streaming using 4G technology. Each MCPTT handset costs about Rs. 50,000. This technology is used in developed countries like the US, the UK and France. Gujarat will be the first state in India where the police department will deploy this advanced technology to improve response in critical crime situations. The Rajkot police department has been selected to implement the pilot project for this system. The Gujarat government has sanctioned Rs. 30 crore for the pilot project. Rajkot police commissioner Manoj Agarwal is an IIT-Kanpur alumnus with substantial experience in implementing information technology-based platforms. (10-09-2019)
Justice Vikram Nath is the new Chief Justice of Gujarat high court: The central government has announced the appointment of Justice Vikram Nath, the most senior judge of the Allahabad high court, as the Chief Justice of the Gujarat high court. He is at present posted as a judge in the Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court collegium had last month recommended Justice Nath’s name for this position. The position of a full-time Chief Justice had been vacant after Justice R.S. Reddy was elevated to the supreme court. Justice Anant Surendraray Dave was appointed as the acting chief justice of the Gujarat High Court on 14 November, 2018. Justice Nath obtained his law degree in 1986 and, after his enrolment in 1987, he practised in the Allahabad high court. He was appointed an additional judge of the Allahabad high court in 2004, and made a permanent judge in 2006. (09-09-2019)
More than 680 permanent teaching posts vacant at MS University: MS University (MSU) currently has  682 permanent teaching posts which are vacant. For these posts, many of which have been vacant for years, the university has received over 9,000 applications. Interviews are likely to start in October, but the entire exercise may take as long as six months. Most of the applications are for teaching posts at the Faculty of Commerce and the Faculty of Technology and Engineering. Teaching and non-teaching staff members periodically attain superannuation and the sanctioned posts get vacant twice a year – in June and in October. MSU will adhere to the new guidelines of the University Grants Commission pertaining to the quota for economically weaker sections. Following the Supreme Court’s directives the reservation in faculty positions will be calculated department-wise and not for the university as a whole. (09-09-2019)
Rs. 500 crore sanctioned for Gujarat’s monsoon damaged roads: The Gujarat chief minister will grant Rs. 216 crore, under the Mukhyamantri Sadak Yojana, to eight cities for works related to repairing roads that were damaged during the monsoon. The break-up: Rs. 60 crore to Ahmedabad, Rs. 50 crore to Surat, Rs. 35 crore to Vadodara, Rs. 25 crore to Rajkot, Rs. 15 crore to Bhavnagar, Rs. 15 crore to Jamnagar. Rs. 6 crore to Junagadh and Rs. 10 crore to Gandhinagar. Of the total 2019-20 budget of Rs. 500 crore under the Yojana, Rs. 241.50 crore has been allocated to municipal corporations and Rs. 258.50 crore to municipalities. The works will start during Navratri. (08-09-2019)
GNLU launches Centre of Excellence for Air and Space Law: Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar, has recently launched a Centre of Excellence for Air and Space Law. The objective is to develop skilled legal experts in the emerging field of space exploration. The experts will be specialised in international treaties, laws and regulations. Some topics that will be covered are military air law during aerial warfare, weaponisation of space, regulations for small satellites, protection of aerial sovereignty, regulations related to unmanned aviation systems, space tourism, space insurance, critical analysis of intentional destruction of satellites and property ownership in outer space, etc. Gujarat National Law University is a National Law University established under the Gujarat National Law University Act, 2003. (08-09-2019)
Somnath temple declared cleanest temple: Gujarat’s Somnath temple has been declared the cleanest temple in India under the central government's Swachh Bharat Mission. BVG (Bharat Vikas Group) India Ltd., an integrated services company, is one of the agencies which handles the upkeep of Somnath temple. Gujarat government’s campaign to clean up the state’s pilgrimage sites covers Somnath, Girnar, Dwarka, Ambaji, Palitana, Pavagadh, Shamlaji and Dakor. BVG is also responsible for Dwarka and the Statue of Unity. (07-09-2019)
Weight reduction surgery is not always for cosmetic purposes: A consumer court in Vadodara (Vadodara District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum) has ruled that weight reduction surgery is not always for cosmetic purposes. The court has directed an insurance company to pay the entire treatment cost incurred by a woman who went through surgery for morbid obesity. The court said that such surgery is often the only treatment for treating multiple ailments resulting from excessive weight. The court directed the insurance company to pay the woman Rs. 4.07 lakh which she spent for the surgery. The insurance company had said that the conditions of the policy make it clear that treatment for obesity and weight control and management treatments are not payable. The lawyer who represented the woman said that if the weight loss treatment is done to relieve the patient from other related ailments the claim should be cleared. (07-09-2019)
Mr. N.B. Upadhyay is new Vadodara Municipal Commissioner: The Gujarat government has announced that Mr. N.B. Upadhyay will be the new Vadodara Municipal Commissioner of Vadodara. With this announcement Vadodara District Collector Shalini Agarwal will no longer hold the additional charge as the civic body chief. Mr. Upadhyay, a Gujarat Administrative Service officer who was promoted to the IAS post, has been serving as the Commissioner of Land Reforms and the ex-officio secretary of the revenue department in Gandhinagar. (06-09-2019)
Alarming number of dog bite cases in Gujarat: About 27,300 dog bite cases were registered across Gujarat between July 22 and August 18. This works out to roughly 1,000 dogs bites a day. Of the eight municipal corporations Ahmedabad had the maximum complaints (3,920). Not a single case was reported in Bhavnagar district. The number of cases in Ahmedabad was three times the cases in Surat and Vadodara, and eight times more than in Rajkot. The authorities are a bit worried because the rabies vaccine is not easily available in the market, though the government hospitals have adequate stocks. August-September being the mating season for dogs, they tend to be more aggressive in their behaviour. People should generally avoid those roads which have more dogs. If this is not possible, they should keeps some food handy to distract the dogs. (06-09-2019)
Biometric attendance system made compulsory for all 15,000 private schools: The Gujarat government will make the biometric attendance system compulsory not only for government schools but also for all 15,000 private schools – including schools affiliated to ICSE, CBSE and other boards. The government wants to monitor the functioning of private schools. One objective is to shut down dummy schools. Private schools are mostly functioning without state monitoring. The state government pays Rs. 300 crore every year as the fees of about 3 lakh RTE (Right to Education) student, but there is little monitoring of the quality of education imparted in these schools. In some cases schools illegally take government grants for dummy RTE students. The state government will monitor the activities of all the schools regularly from October 2019. Over 300 expert teams will be responsible for the regular monitoring. (05-09-2019)
AICTE will inspect government run colleges also: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will inspect Gujarat government run colleges from the point of view of quality of teaching, infrastructure issues and placements. Done until now only for private colleges, AICTE inspections have now also been extended to government run colleges offering degree engineering and pharmacy, diploma engineering, MBA and MCA courses. AICTE will also look into issues pertaining to vacant seats in government colleges. Colleges will have to submit details of student teacher ratios, infrastructure problems, etc., to the state government which in turn will forward them to the council. The last date for the states to submit the details is September 30. After that, experts appointed by the council will visit the colleges to verify the details provided. There are 31 diploma engineering colleges, 16 engineering colleges, 3 pharmacy colleges and two colleges each for MBA and MCA courses. This move follows the recent decision to get all higher education institutions in the country accredited by 2022. (05-09-2019)
Gujarat may soon notify revised penalties for traffic offences: The Gujarat government may take a week to notify the fines listed under the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019. The fines proposed in the Act of the central government are likely to remain untouched. The police and RTO department staff will be given powers to collect on-the-spot fines from offenders. If the offender does not pay on the spot, the fine will have to be paid in court along with the court fee. The new law provides for stricter punishment for traffic offences; the minimum fine has been increased from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500. The central government act proposes a fine of Rs. 5,000 for driving without licence, and a fine of Rs. 10,000 for not giving way to an emergency vehicle. Over-speeding will attract a fine of between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000. Driving without insurance will be punishable with a Rs. 2,000 fine, and driving without helmets will mean a penalty of Rs. 1,000 and a 3-month suspension of licence. For road offences by juveniles the guardian or the vehicle owner will be deemed to be guilty, and the registration of the vehicle will be cancelled. (04-09-2019)
Somnath declared a ‘Swachh Iconic Place’: Somnath will shortly be declared a ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ (SIP). The Swachh Iconic Places is an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission. It is a special clean-up initiative focused on select iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places in the country. The initiative is being coordinated by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the concerned State governments. Somnath Yatradham is run by the Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board. The award will be given on September 6 at a function in Delhi. A private company maintains cleanliness at Somnath; an area of 1.74 lakh square metres is cleaned daily. (04-09-2019)
Two-wheeler driver given traffic challans worth Rs. 23,000: Shortly after the amended Motor Vehicles Act took effect on Sunday a two-wheeler driver in Gurgaon was issued challans totalling Rs. 23,000 on Monday. His offences: driving without a license, without possessing a registration certificate, without third party insurance, not wearing a helmet and violating air pollution standards. Over 3,900 challans were issued for traffic violations in Delhi on Sunday. Over 60 clauses of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, have come into effect and penalties have been increased substantially. The Act has empowered judicial bodies to penalise defaulters with the revised rates. But the traffic police are not a judicial body. So, the fine collected is technically called the compounding amount, which means the defaulter pays that amount instead of facing a trial. As per the amended law, driving without a seat belt will attract a fine of Rs. 1,000 against the earlier penalty of Rs. 100. Those using phones while driving will be fined up to Rs. 5,000, which was earlier Rs. 1,000. Penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol has been increased to Rs. 10,000 from Rs. 2,000. Not giving way for emergency vehicles will be punishable with a fine of Rs. 10,000. Driving without a licence will attract a penalty of Rs. 5,000 as against Rs. 500 earlier. (03-09-2019)
Gujarat Sadan inaugurated in New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Gujarat Sadan on Akbar Road in New Delhi on Monday. Built at a cost of Rs. 131 crore, the complex sprawls over 7,000 square metres of land. The Gujarat Sadan will also double as a centre to promote trade, tourism, cultural programmes and food festivals. The complex has been readied ahead of schedule. The Gujarat chief minister said that this is the first eco-friendly state bhawan in the national capital, and it is a mix of traditional and modern architecture which reflects Gujarat’s culture. (03-09-2019)
River rafting launched in Narmada river at Kevadia Colony: The Gujarat tourism department and the Statue of Unity (SoU) authorities have started the sport of river rafting downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada river at Kevadia Colony. The thrilling ride is in six-seater boats on a five-kilometre stretch from Godbole gate to Surya Kund, Khalvani. The stretch can be covered in two hours. Tickets – Rs. 1,000 per person – can be booked online at the SoU website. While more boats will be added later, currently six boats carrying six tourists are in operation. A trainer is available and the boats have adequate safety features. Safety helmets and personal floating devices in accordance with marine coast guard standards will be added. Other attractions that will be added shortly are bungee jumping, two-way zipline, rappelling wall, etc. (02-09-2019)
Modern facilities at Vadodara Railway station: The Vadodara railway station now offers an air-conditioned waiting room, nine renovated AC deluxe retiring rooms and one six-bed AC dormitory. The existing AC waiting room area on platform number 1 has been increased by 45 square metres; it has modern interiors, seating for 80 persons, LED TVs, speaker for public announcements, and modern electrical fittings. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will soon start a tourist facilitation centre at the station to offer a variety of tourism-related services, such as customised land and air tour packages for domestic and international travellers, taxi services, sightseeing, etc. (02-09-2019)
Every hotel check-in will be entered into Gujarat police software: The Gujarat Police will tag every hotel in the state with its software ‘Pathik’; it is presently used by the crime branch only for Ahmedabad’s 680 hotels. The software gives the police instant information of every guest who checks into any hotel. All hotels and guest houses must compulsorily enter guest names and addresses in ‘Pathik’, and this information will be instantly available at the nearby police station. Hotels may also feed in any other helpful information. A set of user name and password will be given to each hotel and guest house. The CDR records of the crime branch and city police units will be shared with 38 control units that will be set up across the state. The cops will be able to extract the relevant details about a suspect instantly. (01-09-2019)
The wife’s not knowing basic cooking does not constitute cruelty: In a recent ruling – while declining a man’s divorce plea – the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that the wife’s not knowing basic cooking, her being overly attached to her parents or her being rude to her husband does not constitute cruelty. The man cannot seek dissolution of their marriage on grounds of cruelty and desertion (the wife left the matrimonial home after alleged repeated harassment by her in-laws). The judge said that they can at best be “said to be trivial issues, which may and do arise between spouses in any marriage”. The judge added that levelling of “scandalous and malicious allegations of adultery” against the wife amounts to cruelty. The court added there was nothing which prevented her from taking recourse to criminal proceedings against the husband and his family but she chose instead to seek assistance of authorities to save her marriage. The court said, “We have no hesitation in holding that the respondent-wife cannot be held guilty of desertion but it is the appellant-husband, who is guilty of ‘constructive desertion’”. (01-09-2019)
No construction in a society without valid NOC: The Gujarat high court has observed that the Gujarat Cooperative Societies Act is above all other town planning laws and civic bodies do not have the power to sanction construction plans or grant building-use (BU) permission in a cooperative society without a valid NOC from the society. If a construction is against the bylaws of the society, the civic body cannot sanction the plan or issue BU permission. The court directed a cooperative housing society and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to pull down a multi-storied building in the society. The building owner had an NOC from the society to construct a low-rise bungalow but had put up a huge building instead for commercial use and obtained BU permission from the SMC. The society said the construction was against the bylaws and moved the high court. The judge said the SMC’s sanction of the plans was contrary to the society’s bylaws and granting of BU permission was illegal. The court quashed the BU permission granted by SMC and directed the society to pull down the entire construction in four weeks. The court further directed civic bodies not to give BU permission in residential colonies without a valid NOC from the society concerned. (31-08-2019)
Ganpati immersions will be done at 25 ponds in Vadodara: This year’s Ganpati immersions will be done at 25 ponds in Vadodara. Two of these are artificial ponds, the existing one at Navlakhi and a new one in Harni. The artificial pond in Gorwa has been abandoned. The Navlakhi artificial pond is a replacement for the Sursagar pond. After Navlakhi, the largest number of immersions take place in the Gotri pond. The 23 natural ponds to be used for immersions are nine in the east zone, six in the west zone, two in the north zone and six in the south zone. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation will rope in 46 cranes to handle the immersions at the ponds. Rafts will be used for the immersions of the smaller idols. (31-08-2019)
Ratio of working women in India lower than in Bhutan: Did you know that the ratio of working women in India is much lower than that in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan. This was pointed out recently out by Ms Priti Adani (chairperson of Adani Foundation) while speaking at a women leadership conclave organised by the CII Indian Women Network. She said that for every 10 earning men in India there were only three working women in 2018. Also, there is a big difference in literacy rates; men have a 16 per cent majority over literate women. She added that women are more receptive to change, open to ideas and opportunities. Ms Adani is the wife of Adani Group head Gautam Adani. (30-08-2019)
Satellite railway station almost ready at Chhayapuri: Now that the Chhayapuri railway station – being developed as a satellite railway station nine km from Vadodara – is almost ready 13 pair of trains will not touch the Vadodara railway station from December 17. Passengers will have to travel the extra distance to catch these trains. At the same time, the diversion of these 13 pairs of trains will also result in reduction of travel time for travellers by 30 to 40 minutes. Most of these trains come from Delhi and Madhya Pradesh and go towards Ahmedabad, and vice versa. The diversion will avoid engine reversal and congestion at the Vadodara station. Vadodara railway station currently handles 200 trains daily. The satellite station will also help to reduce congestion in the city centre. The Chhayapuri railway station has two main lines, two loop lines and two full-length platforms that can accommodate 26 coaches. (30-08-2019)
MS University makes changes in PhD procedures: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made changes in PhD procedures and MS University (MSU) will adopt these changes. Research scholars must have at least 55% marks to get enrolled in general category, not 50% as at present. A professor will now guide eight PhD scholars, an associate professor six and an assistant professor four. The time limit to finish PhD has been reduced from eight years to six years. Most of the PhD programmes will henceforth be the responsibility of departments and faculties. (29-08-2019)
One more ‘achievement’ for Statue of Unity: The Statue of Unity (SoU) at Kevadia has one more ‘achievement’ to its credit: it has made it to Time magazine’s list of the World’s Greatest Places 2019, a list of 100 noteworthy destinations. Inaugurated on October 31, 2018, the 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel near the Sardar Sarovar dam allows a breathtaking view of the surrounding Vindhyachal and Satpura hills from its 153-metre high viewing gallery. Featuring in Time magazine’s list is expected boost tourism. On August 24, SoU experienced the highest ever footfalls – 34,136 visitors on a single day. The site has had 21.5 lakh footfalls since October last year. (29-08-2019)
Gujarat must clamp down on single-use plastics: How does Gujarat measure up when it comes to clamping down on single-use plastics? According to a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) study in 2015, out of the 60 non-metro cities Ahmedabad had the highest per capita plastics disposal rate – 43.3 g per day, which is the same as disposing of 10 plastic carry bags. In Surat the rate is 33.5 g per day, in Vadodara 16.93 g per day, and in Rajkot 12.3 g per day. Gujarat’s urban areas daily dump 756 tonnes of plastic products into the environment. While 18 states have completely banned single-use plastics, in Gujarat the ban is only partial. Only three of the state’s eight municipal corporations — Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara — have a plastic use control action plan. More than 150 nagarpalikas are yet to act against single-use plastics. Gujarat and Maharashtra produce 65% of the country’s plastics. (28-08-2019)
One-litre pouch of Amul milk will be cheaper than two 500 ml pouches: Amul is making a major effort to reduce and recycle plastic milk pouches. Customers will be able to buy a one-litre pouch of milk – rather than two 500 ml pouches – and save Rs. 2 per litre. The same kind of saving will also be possible with the two-litre pouch. The company is trying to reduce the plastic used in milk pouches, and the plastic used in milk packaging will also be recycled. It will soon launch one-litre and two-litre pouches in milk varieties where such packages are not presently available. Agencies will be appointed to pick up and recycle used milk pouches. Amul will also pay agencies to collect used milk pouches from rag pickers, residential societies and housing colonies. (28-08-2019)
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Cops ask municipal corporation to improve traffic signage (21-09-2019)
MS University to get centre for disaster management studies (21-09-2019)
Fines for traffic offences may touch Rs. 200 crore this year (20-09-2019)
Vadodara Municipal Corporation starts drive against single-use plastic (20-09-2019)
Photographer Rahul Gajjar will present his work on Champaner Pavagadh at California (19-09-2019)
SSG Hospital hires bouncers to protect doctors (19-09-2019)
Drone delivery service for emergency medicines (18-09-2019)
Deadline extended for helmets and PUC certificates (18-09-2019)
New Motera cricket stadium racing towards completion (17-09-2019)
National Dairy Development Board plans to double milk production (17-09-2019)
Lithium-ion batteries and electrodes to be made in Gujarat (16-09-2019)
Low internet penetration in Gujarat (16-09-2019)
'Operation Garbas' about to be launched (15-09-2019)
Gujarat government may soon ban single-use plastics (15-09-2019)
Vadodara Municipal Corporation auctions 24 plots (14-09-2019)
ATMs are not always the best option (14-09-2019)
Rajkot made e-rickshaw approved by UK (13-09-2019)
Cleanliness lessons from Indore for Gujarat’s civic bodies (13-09-2019)
Compulsory Service Bonds withdrawn for two superspeciality courses (12-09-2019)
City police fully prepared to maintain order during Ganesha immersion celebrations (12-09-2019)
Gujarat’s solar rooftop subsidy scheme made more attractive (11-09-2019)
Bilimora-Waghai narrow gauge heritage train may get extended to Saputara (11-09-2019)
Pilot emission trading scheme to start soon (10-09-2019)
Walkie talkies may soon be replaced in Gujarat’s police departments (10-09-2019)
Justice Vikram Nath is the new Chief Justice of Gujarat high court (09-09-2019)
More than 680 permanent teaching posts vacant at MS University (09-09-2019)
Rs. 500 crore sanctioned for Gujarat’s monsoon damaged roads (08-09-2019)
GNLU launches Centre of Excellence for Air and Space Law (08-09-2019)
Somnath temple declared cleanest temple (07-09-2019)
Weight reduction surgery is not always for cosmetic purposes (07-09-2019)
Mr. N.B. Upadhyay is new Vadodara Municipal Commissioner (06-09-2019)
Alarming number of dog bite cases in Gujarat (06-09-2019)
Biometric attendance system made compulsory for all 15,000 private schools (05-09-2019)
AICTE will inspect government run colleges also (05-09-2019)
Gujarat may soon notify revised penalties for traffic offences (04-09-2019)
Somnath declared a ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ (04-09-2019)
Two-wheeler driver given traffic challans worth Rs. 23,000 (03-09-2019)
Gujarat Sadan inaugurated in New Delhi (03-09-2019)
River rafting launched in Narmada river at Kevadia Colony (02-09-2019)
Modern facilities at Vadodara Railway station (02-09-2019)
Every hotel check-in will be entered into Gujarat police software (01-09-2019)
The wife’s not knowing basic cooking does not constitute cruelty (01-09-2019)
No construction in a society without valid NOC (31-08-2019)
Ganpati immersions will be done at 25 ponds in Vadodara (31-08-2019)
Ratio of working women in India lower than in Bhutan (30-08-2019)
Satellite railway station almost ready at Chhayapuri (30-08-2019)
MS University makes changes in PhD procedures (29-08-2019)
One more ‘achievement’ for Statue of Unity (29-08-2019)
Gujarat must clamp down on single-use plastics (28-08-2019)
One-litre pouch of Amul milk will be cheaper than two 500 ml pouches (28-08-2019)
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