Baroda News

Senior citizen takes on housing society for malfunctioning lift

An elderly man in Nadiad lives in a fourth floor apartment in a building in which the lift is not working as well as it should. He took the housing society to consumer court, and won. Here is how his case took shape:

  • He often had to climb the stairs because the lift was not working properly.
  • Fed up, he sued the housing society at the Kheda District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
  • He demanded compensation for the trouble he faced, detailing the number of days when the lift was closed.
  • He said he had to incur extra medical expenses due to the hardship he faced.
  • He said the society collected maintenance every month.
In defence, the society made several points, and also said that the complainant cannot be termed a consumer.
The consumer court did not agree with the society’s stand and said:
  • The elderly man was a member of the association.
  • He had been paying maintenance.
  • He had to face problems due to the lifts not working.
  • He was therefore entitled to compensation.
The consumer court ordered the society to pay Rs. 1,000 as compensation, and Rs. 500 towards legal expenses. (29-10-2020)

MS University Arts Faculty building restoration in the news again

MS University’s syndicate has discussed, once again, how to take forward the restoration, renovation and preservation of the Arts Faculty building which is famous for its dome. The double-layered dome is Asia’s second largest masonry dome, and it is considered by many to be aesthetically more appealing than the Gol Gumbaz dome at Bijapur (which is Asia’s largest masonry dome structure). It was designed by British architect R.F. Chisholm in the 1880s. It is expected – or hoped – that the restoration project will be completed in one year. The stated objective: the building should look like what it was in the 1880s. Even the exteriors of the faculty dome will be restored with this objective in mind. (29-10-2020)

Inflow of foreign students increasing in Gujarat

Gujarat’s colleges and universities are beginning to attract more and more foreign students. The state government’s ‘Study in Gujarat’ initiative seems to have helped to increase the flow of foreign students. Roadshows were organised in ten countries. A few leading universities in the state have so far taken in 2,052 foreign students, compared to 1,176 in 2019-20. Some statistics for this year:

  • The number of foreign students doubled for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • The rate of inflow can increase substantially if some travel and other restrictions in African countries are eased.
  • Most of the admissions are in technical courses.
  • Vadodara based Parul University admitted 1,004 foreign students this year, compared to 350 last year. The university has a dedicated hostel – and special cooks – for foreign students.
  • Students from 31different African countries have enrolled at Rajkot-based Marwadi University.
  • Ahmedabad based Gujarat University has enrolled 181 foreign students, compared to 51 last year.

The southwest monsoon has withdrawn from Gujarat

It is official. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) says that the southwest monsoon withdrew from Gujarat on October 26. Here are some monsoon related figures released by the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) under the state government’s GSDMA:

  • This was the second consecutive year in which Gujarat recorded over 1,000 mm rainfall.
  • It was the third year in the past five in which more than 100% rainfall was received.
  • Almost all regions received ample rainfall.
  • Kutch and Saurashtra regions witnessed record rainfall in several areas.
  • The Saurashtra region received 1,250 mm – 85% more than the average.
  • Only East-Central Gujarat received less than 100% rainfall, with Dahod receiving the least at 78% of the annual average, followed by 93% in Mahisagar and Vadodara districts.

Former India captain Dattajirao Gaekwad turns 92

To honour former India captain and Baroda cricketer Dattajirao Gaekwad the Department of Post, Government of India, has released a postal cover to celebrate his 92nd birthday. He is presently the oldest living ex-test player of India. According to Baroda Cricket Association secretary Ajit Lele the memento was presented to Mr. Dattajirao Gaekwad at his home. He made his test debut as a batsman in 1952, played in 11 test matches and captained the Indian team during the 1959 England tour. He led the Baroda team and won the Ranji Trophy as its captain in the 1950s. His son is former Indian opener Anshuman Gaekwad. (28-10-2020)

Centre for digital education likely to be set up at MS University

MS University of Baroda (MSU) is thinking of setting up a centre for digital education (CDE) to offer basic courses and perhaps niche programmes in many streams. MSU also wants to establish computer centres at various faculties and colleges – or a cluster of faculties – to offer technical support to the teaching staff. The CDE proposal has been made by the Office of International Affairs. The idea is to prepare modules that can be served through digital mode. At present the university has only one computer centre that services all the faculties and colleges. (28-10-2020)

Colleges and universities may open after Diwali

It looks as if the Gujarat government is seriously thinking about starting on-campus education in colleges and universities as soon as possible. The state education minister said, “As the government is … considering starting regular schooling for students from class IX to XII, there is no reason for keeping colleges and universities closed for an indefinite period of time. College and university students are adults and know how to take precautions against coronavirus.” A final decision in this regard will be taken after due consideration of all aspects of safety of students. An official of the Gujarat Higher Education College Association said, “It is not possible to study everything online. On-campus education is required. …If the government is considering having on-campus education for class IX to XII students, then on-campus education should definitely be held for college and university students.” The Gujarat State College Teachers Association also supported the idea of beginning on-campus education in colleges. (27-10-2020)

The pandemic has pushed up demand for hand sanitisers

Hand sanitisers are big business! The Covid-19 pandemic has made the demand for this personal hygiene product shoot up dramatically. From April 1920 as many as 319 new plants for hand sanitisers have been set up in Gujarat alone, a majority of them being for cosmetic hand sanitisers. Take a look at how the pandemic affected this business:

  • Gujarat FDCA approved plans for 350 plants in the pharmaceutical space, most of them for making hand sanitisers.
  • Of the hand sanitiser plants, 226 were in the cosmetic segment, 86 ayurvedic, and 7 allopathic.
  • Among the big names that built new hand sanitiser plants are Marico, Asian Paints, Rekvina Pharmaceuticals, Fresio Herbals, Gujarat Lifescience, etc.
  • Gujarat’s current hand sanitiser production capacity is 2 crore litres per day (LPD).
  • Among the other big companies that  moved into making hand sanitisers are Zydus Wellness, Adani Wilmar, Eris Lifesciences, Cadila Pharma, Nivea India, etc.
  • Gujarat now has 613 hand sanitiser manufacturers, and these manufacturers have cumulatively been issued 4,775 product licences.

Rules should be framed quickly for Clinical Establishments Act

In order to prevent fire tragedies like the one at Ahmedabad’s Shrey Hospital the Gujarat high court has asked the state government to formulate rules quickly for the Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 (CEA). The Clinical Establishment Act was enacted ten years ago, and appropriate rules must be framed to ensure that the proper implementation of the law takes place. Gujarat and Goa are the only two states that have not yet implemented the central act for almost ten years. Incidentally, some people say that Gujarat adopted the Gujarat Regularization of Unauthorized Development Rules 2012 (GRUDA) and continued to regularise illegal and unsafe hospital structures and constructions till early 2018. These critics say that GRUDA should have been avoided for hospitals. (27-10-2020)

Seaplane service to start on October 31

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate India’s first seaplane service on October 31. The route: from Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia. The occasion: the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Some features of the service:

  • SpiceJet will use a leased aircraft to operate eight daily flights with a ticket price of about Rs. 4,800.
  • The seaplane –  a 15-seater DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft of Maldivian Aero – has been flown from Male to Ahmedabad.
  • The seaplane operations will initially use the assistance of Maldivian Aero seaplane pilots and crew.

Live streaming of Gujarat high court proceedings begins on trial basis

The Gujarat High Court has begun live streaming of court proceedings of the first court comprising the division bench led by the Chief Justice, on YouTube, on an experimental basis. The first day of live streaming had 1,500 viewers on the YouTube channel. This is the first time that court proceedings can be directly viewed by anyone. Whether to continue with this live streaming will be decided based on the outcome of this experiment. The modality has been guided primarily by the Supreme Court’s direction in a 2017 public interest litigation for live streaming court proceedings. The Gujarat high court has been operating over the virtual medium since March, taking into account the safety of all stakeholders. (26-10-2020)

Second Convocation of GSFC University held virtually

The Second Convocation of Vadodara based GSFC University was held on 25th October 2020, virtually on an online platform. Degrees were awarded to 259 graduating students. The university’s vice-chancellor Dr. Nikhil Zaveri presented the university report for the academic year 2019-20. Padma Vibhushan awardee Dr. R.A. Mashelkar was the chief guest. In his convocation address he pointed out that ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ should be created through ‘Aatmavishwas’ (self-confidence) and ‘Atmasamman’ (self-respect). GSFC University is recognised under the Gujarat Private University (Second Amendment) Act, 2014 and is established by the GSFC Education Society – an initiative of Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. The GSFC education society was launched in 2010 as a CSR program of GSFC. (26-10-2020)

Government finalising procedures for reopening schools

The Gujarat government is working on finalising the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening of schools. Some factors to be taken into account:

  • Students should be in schools for the minimum period of time.
  • The majority of learning time should be at their homes.
  • Possibility of resuming Class IX-XII from November 23.
  • No playground sports on school campuses.
  • No cultural activities on school campuses.
  • No assessment of student learning in the first two-three weeks of reopening, in order to ensure emotional well-being of the students.
  • Online and distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching.
  • The number of hours at school should be minimum, and preferably for practical classes.
  • Theory classes can be taught online.
  • Focus on keeping children physically and mentally healthy.

Pashu Aadhar project will assign unique identification for bovines

The central government is asking the Gujarat government to quickly implement the Pashu Aadhar project for animal unique identification (UID). The Pashu Aadhar project is supposed to be the world’s biggest project of its kind to tag every bovine in the country. The ear tags will have a bar coded UID containing information such as artificial insemination, vaccination, diseases, etc. The will help owners of the animals to get compensation in case of loss of their livestock. The ear tags will help the authorities to detect diseases like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and brucellosis. The government is working to completely eradicate FMD by 2025. This project is being carried out under the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP). In the first phase, 20,000 animals in Amreli district will be ear-tagged. (25-10-2020)

60% of buildings in 8 corporation areas do not have fire NOCs

The Gujarat government submitted an action taken report (ATR) to the Gujarat High Court on October 21 about the fire safety measures being implemented in the state. It emerged that about 60 per cent of the buildings in the state’s eight municipal corporation areas either did not renew their fire safety No Objection Certificates (NOCs) or they were not issued their fire safety No Objection Certificates (NOC). The submissions were made following the court’s order in a public interest litigation moved by an advocate after the Shrey Hospital fire tragedy that killed eight Covid-19 patients. In Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), only 8,400 out of 27,300 buildings had fire NOCs. In Surat, 10,500 of the total 17,800 buildings had fire NOCs. (24-10-2020)

Roads under repair cause two deaths every week in Gujarat

According to the ‘Road Accidents in India 2019’ report by the ministry of road transport and highways, two persons lost their lives every week on Gujarat’s roads which were under construction or repairs. In all, 102 people lost their lives in accidents due to road-repair works. Other statistics for Gujarat for 2019:

  • There were five deaths due to potholes on roads.
  • One road traffic accident was reported every 30 minutes.
  • Five persons died in road accidents every six hours.
  • While in the past four years fatal road accidents went down by 9.2%, deaths per 100 accidents rose by 6.2%.
  • In number of accidents, Gujarat ranked 10th (first is worst) among Indian states.
  • Gujarat ranked 8th in road accident fatalities.
  • 46 deaths took place at crossroads with traffic signals.
  • 141 deaths took place where police were present.
  • 54 deaths took place due to jumped red lights, and 22 due to jumped yellow lights.

Discussions are on about reopening schools

While school managements are discussing school reopening with the state government they feel that they should not be held accountable if students get infected by coronavirus. Some issues raised by them:

  • A fixed set of guidelines cannot be applied to all schools across the state.
  • There should be separate rules for rural and urban schools.
  • Schools should not be accountable if students get infected by coronavirus.
  • Students travel to school and back by autorickshaws and vans, and schools cannot monitor their activities outside.
  • 80% of students are in favour of online education.
  • 44% of parents said they will prefer not to send students to school amid the pandemic.
  • To begin with, schools should be reopened only for students from Class IX to XII.

Drunk people pose a problem for cops in Covid times

A standard quick confirmation of a drunk person is the smell from his mouth. In Covid times, any smelling process can be dangerous – for the culprit as well as for the cop. A forthcoming police circular will detail other ways in which an inebriated person can be identified. Some simple indicators:

  • Inability to stand properly.
  • Unstable movements.
  • Slurred speech
  • Weaving or swerving while driving.
  • Speed Inconsistencies.
  • Traffic Violations.
  • Poor Judgement.
  • Sudden Stops.
  • Flushed face.
  • Red, watery, glassy or bloodshot eyes.
Based on these factors the cops can decide whether to take the suspect to a hospital for a medical test. (23-10-2020)

Law student suggests courts should switch to A4 size papers

Law student Jaydeep Patel had filed an interesting PIL before the Gujarat high court. He suggested that the usual legal size papers that are so commonly used for all court proceedings should be replaced by A4 size papers. He also suggested that the papers should be printed on both sides instead of on just one side. The high court disposed of the PIL by directing its registry to place the issue before the chief justice for consideration on the administrative side. If the student’s suggestion is implemented, it will introduce uniformity about the use of paper and printing and minimise paper consumption. It will be an eco-friendly move. (23-10-2020)

Adani will take over at Ahmedabad international airport

Operations at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport will be taken over by Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL) on November 7. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that the union ministry of civil aviation has signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect with Adani Ahmedabad International Airport Limited. The MoU pertained to provision of Reserved Services: customs, immigration, plant and animal quarantine, health, MET and security. AAI also signed a CNS-ATM agreement with Adani for the provision of CNS-ATM services at the city airport. AEL had put in a bid of a Rs. 177-per-passenger fee to be paid to the AAI. The SVPI Airport had recorded 1.14 crore passenger footfalls in 2019-20. (23-10-2020)

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