The journey between Ahmedabad and Vadodara is all set to become more comfortable as the project of six laning of the highway joining the two cities is expected to be over in the next two years. The work on the Rs 3,300 crore project has already started and the financial closure is expected to be over soon.
Sources said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is expediting the project as once completed, this will result in the entire Ahmedabad-Mumbai stretch being six-lane. "In fact, the four-lane expressway and the six-lane highway will be a bonanza for the travelers between the two cities. The people will have ten lanes connection at their disposal," said an official. The project is to be executed under design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis in BOT (Toll) mode of delivery. "The road is expected to give an annual income of Rs 300 crores just from the toll," said a source.
The source further said that the four laning of the road between Jetpur in Rajkot and Somnath in Junagadh is also nearing completion. This would mean that the entire stretch between Ahmedabad and Somnath would be four-lane.
A year after he breathed his last, the royal Gaekwad family will install a bust of late Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad in Kirti Mandir. The Gaekwads have decided to install his bust in one of the rooms in Kirti Mandir - the royal cenotaph. Busts of all the royal Gaekwad scions, including Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, have been kept at the cenotaph.
Ranjitsinh had passed away on May 10 last year after prolonged illness. "We will install the bust of late Ranjitsinh by the end of this month. By Hindu calendar, my father's first death anniversary will be in the last week of May. We will be conducting rituals and then install the bust,"
Ranjitsinh, who was suffering from cancer, died at the age of 74 at a private hospital in the city. Despite being maharaja, Ranjitsinh lived a simple life and drove a small car. Like most royals, Ranjitsinh was a connoisseur of arts, but unlike his counterparts, he was a consummate artiste himself. He had finished Post Graduation in fine arts from M S University and was a painter as well as a classical singer.
He dabbled in politics at the age of 42 and served as Congress Member of Parliament (MP) of Vadodara twice in 1980-84 and 1984-89. Ranjitsinh became maharaja of Baroda after his elder brother Fatehsinhrao died in 1988. Thousands of citizens had turned up the Laxmi Vilas Palace last year to bid adieu to their maharaja. "The 'shradh' rituals will be done at Laxmi Vilas Palace and it will be very simple," Samarjitsinh added.
N R Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys will come to the city on May 13 to receive the Sayaji Ratna Award, constituted by the Baroda Management Association (BMA) in the memory of the erstwhile ruler of Baroda state - Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III.
Murthy will be the first recipient of the award.
"It is our humble attempt to decode and display to the world Sayajirao's leadership qualities so as to inspire people from across the nation to learn and imbibe his leadership philosophy," BMA president Samir Parikh informed media persons on Wednesday.
Murthy will also interact with select group of youths from Gujarat for about an hour during his day-long visit.
The award ceremony will take place on Monday evening with a special short film on Sir Sayajirao, BMA and Murthy followed by presentation of award trophy and citation from BMA at Sir Sayajirao Nagar Gruh, Akota.
"I am happy that BMA has taken this initiative to institute the award in memory of the legendary ruler. Through this award, works and deeds of Sayajirao III, would certainly become known beyond Baroda or the erstwhile Baroda state," royal scion Samarjitsinh Gaekwad said.
Gaekwad along with other eminent personalities including Hasmukh Shah, HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, Sun Pharma's managing director Dilip Sanghavi, ONGC's CMD Sudhir Vasudeva, president of All India Management Association D Shivkumar is part of jury formed on permanent basis to decide an awardee every year.
The jury shall consider luminaries from the fields like business, sports, arts, humanity, education, governance and medicine and select one icon from any of these fields for this award every year.
From Germany's Felix-Fechenbach Berufskolleg, Spain's IMF-CSIC, US' Virginia Commonwealth University to China's Shandong, M S University (MSU) has opened opportunities for its students and teachers with international collaborations across the globe.
Within a short span of 20 months, MSU's Office of International Affairs (OIA) has been able to establish academic collaborations and partnerships with 30 reputed international institutes and universities globally.
In the last year alone, thanks to these collaborations, the university has been able to mobilize financial assistance of over Rs 50 lakh under fellowships, visiting faculties and airfares.
A total of 12 students and 10 teachers have either taken benefits of these MoUs and visited foreign universities or will be traveling soon under these partnership programes.
"Our focus mainly is on faculty and students exchange programme, joint research, collaborative academic programmes and funding opportunities for international mobility," said Bansal, adding that OIA has been implementing MSU's mission of global engagement, enhancing university's international visibility and its recognition as a major international educational and research centre.
So if seven teachers/students from MSU have already visited Germany in May-June last through MSU's collaboration with Germany's Felix-Fechenbach Berufskolleg, Detmold, six participants from there will be visiting MSU in the next academic year.
Similarly, a teacher from MSU was invited to Germany and awarded a fellowship to attend one-month summer university program at Otto - Friedrich University of Bamberg last year and three students from there will be joining MSU's Faculty of Commerce under student exchange program.
A fellowship of 350 Euros per month has been awarded for each exchange student from commerce faculty to study one semester at the European University Viadrina, Germany while Germany-based Education University, Schwaebisch Gmuend will award German state fellowship of 500 Euros per month to study for four months to a postgraduate student from MSU's Department of German every year.
"We (MSU) have become a full partner in the European Union's Erasmus Mundus GATE Project, which is a 2.5 million higher education consortium with seven European universities and 12 Asian universities as its partner.
In the first round, MSU has been granted fellowships worth 57,000 Euros (around Rs 40 lakh) that includes return international airfares for two graduate students, one post doctorate student and one staff member to visit European partner universities," said Bansal.
MSU's collaboration with US-based State University of New York, Buffalo, has ensured that two students every academic year or four students every semester can study for a maximum of one academic year in US with tuition and other fees waiver.
As the country is celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema, three Gujaratis from the city have paid perfect tribute to the father of Indian cinema. Three students of Navrachna School, Sama have won the 3rd Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival award in best short film category.
The students made short film 'Retaliation' themed on ragging and bullying in schools and it caught attention of the jury that awarded it as best short film.
The students were awarded trophy and mementos on April 30 during the award ceremony in Delhi. "We were told about an inter-school contest on short-films by our school teacher last year. So we decided to make a short film and apply for the contest. We thought of ragging as a theme as it is a relevant issue," said 15-year-old Manan Barjatiya, who directed the film.
The movie was produced by Manan, Saahil Bhutwala and Isaac Chuaungo and it took about three weeks to shoot the film in the school and Isaac's house. The film revolves around lead actor Isaac, who joins a school in the city and is met with hostile environment. "His fellow students make fun of him and even beat him up as he looks different. The protagonist feels frustrated and even loses focus from studies," said Saahil, 16, who did cinematography for the 12-minute film. Saahil is also a national tennis player.
Angry over constant ragging and bullying, Isaac resorts to vandalism in his school building. He paints school walls and fills them up with graffiti to vent out his frustration. Isaac said that the movie is about all the students who suffer mental scars due to ragging at such a young age. "It leaves a subtle message about ragging and also cites reasons behind vandalism," Isaac, 16, said.
Several schools from across the country sent in entries for different categories of films, including documentaries, short-films, ad films and music videos for the festival organized by a research firm. Saahil, Isaac and Manan are the only three from Gujarat who won the award in short film category.
Alstom (Paris:ALO) has been awarded a contract by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)(1) , to supply components and services for the 2x800 MW Gadarwara super thermal power plant at Gadarwara, Narsingpur, Madhya Pradesh, India. This contract is worth approximately EUR100 million.
Under the scope of the contract, Alstom Thermal Power will cooperate with BHEL in designing the boilers and supply pressure parts of the 800 MW super critical boilers along with pulverizes and air pre heater components. It will also assist BHEL with technical advisers during the erection and commissioning of the two units. Key components will be manufactured from Alstom's state-of-the-art facilities in Wellsville and Concordia in the USA as well as in Durgapur and Shahabad, India. Unit I is expected to be commissioned in 2016, whilst unit II is expected to be commissioned in 2017.
Andreas Lusch, Senior Vice President of Alstom Thermal Power's Steam business, said: "We are delighted to continue to partner with BHEL on this project. Alstom is committed to further investing and developping in India in power sector".
The new Gadarwara contract is a confirmation of the strong cooperation established since 2005 with BHEL. It comes in addition to seven contracts signed with BHEL between 2008 and 2012 for supercritical boilers in Barh II, Krishnapatnam, Bara, Yeramarus, Bellary, Mouda and Nabinagar in India.
Alstom's supercritical coal-fired boilers are state-of-the-art technology. They are designed to address the challenges of the power industry in India, i.e. to achieve increased efficiency and reduced emissions. The supercritical boiler technology helps in achieving about 3-4% higher plant efficiency compared to conventional subcritical design.
Manish Bhardwaj, IAS, took charge as Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) commissioner on Thursday. Bhardwaj was earlier Junagadh collector and was transferred to the city in the recent reshuffle.
Bhardwaj arrived at VMC headquarters in Khanderao Market on Thursday morning to take charge. He held a meeting with senior officers of VMC on the first day of his visit.
Bhardwaj met all deputy municipal commissioners, city engineer, executive engineers and other officials soon after assuming charge.
Later in the day, he called upon the mayor and deputy mayor.
Bhardwaj is a 1997 batch IAS officer and holds a degree in M Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi). He earlier worked as assistant collector in Banaskantha, additional commissioner of sales tax, district development officer at Bharuch and Jamnagar, director in the labour and employment department, director of technical education, Junagadh collector and has also rendered services as the director of census operations.
Bhardwaj replaces Ashwini Kumar who has been transferred to the post of managing director of Gujarat Urban Development Corporation Ltd.
Piped cooking gas may still be dream in many big cities of the country, but not at the Rajput Falia non-descript Bordi Inami villge of Dahod district.
Dairy farming has not only brought prosperity to this village, but has also ensured that nobody migrates for work elsewhere.
The day begins early at the locality at around 2.30am with villagers getting busy with their cattle. This is not a surprise given the fact that there are 500 cattle that have to be taken care of every day. The residents of the village started a milk society in 1996 and it went on to become the highest milk producing society. The society is a women's society with women at the helm of its affairs.
The society itself collects over 1,200 litres of milk a day. Besides this, residents also sell their milk to private dairies in Dahod. Said Bharatsinh Rathod, "I own 85 cows and produce around 600 litres of milk that is sold to hotels and dairies in Dahod. Producing milk is the biggest source of income in the village."
There are eight major cattle sheds in the village and these alone keep around 400 cows. There are several others who keep cattle at home. The sheds employ villagers and even pay them salaries for the services at the sheds.
Before dairy farming picked up agriculture was the only source of income. People even had to go for work in farms in the neighbouring areas. But all that is past now.
"The financial condition of the villagers has improved to an extent that they do not have to relay on loans any more. Earlier, they had to go to moneylenders and borrow money at times. Now the household expenses are taken care of by dairy farming and they even save and use the money for agricultural purposes," Bharatsinh said.
The spin off of dairy farming has been the generation of biogas using cow dung. All 60 households in the Rajput Falia that has a population of around 700 persons are provided this gas. This has come as a major respite to women in the locality. Piped gas is being provided since 20 years now. "Earlier women used to use kerosene stove or use wood and cow dung cakes to make food. That is not the case any more," Bharatsinh added.
Another resident of the village and a member of the milk society Anjali Rathod said the society was the best in the district. "It has bagged four awards since its inception. We also provide interest-free loans to those who need them," she said.
Bharatsinh added that milk production has also ensured that nobody has to migrate for work. "Nobody from the families involved in milk production has left the village for work. There is sufficient work for everyone," he added.
The Ohio-based A Schulman Inc's new plastics masterbatch manufacturing facility in India will be inaugurated at Vadodara tomorrow.
The new facility will manufacture A Schulman's masterbatch products for India's growing flexible packaging, appliance and consumer products markets.
A company press release said that initially its annual capacity is projected to be approximately 10,000 metric tonnes.
"This plant will be dedicated to providing innovative masterbatch solutions to meet the needs of flexible packaging, white goods and cosmetics manufacturers in India,"
Gujarat has the potential to generate 2,000 MW power through biomass. If the state puts its wasteland to use power generation through biomass, generation can go up to 5,000 MW.
This is what B C Jain, chairman and founder of Ankur Scientific Energy Technologies Private Limited, a leading biomass gasifier company, told mediapersons here on Tuesday.
"Presently, Gujarat counts for only 32 MW (with Rs 150 crore investment) of installed capacity where power is generated through biomass. Generating 2,000 MW of power through biomass which is the state's potential as of today, can lead to direct investment of Rs 10,000 crore in rural areas of the state," said Jain, a gold medalist from BITS, Pilani and MBA from MIT Cambridge.
He had returned from the US in 1977, leaving a lucrative job behind to work in India.
The firm, which has set up country's first biomass based power plant that can generate 1.2 MW power at Sankheda, in the last one and a half years has collected biomass worth Rs 4 crore from farmers of the region.
The firm that had clocked Rs 51 crore turnover in the financial year 2012-13 makes biomass gasifiers, mostly used for power generation.
A gasifier is used to partly burn biomass - a clean, renewable energy source - into gas, which is then fed to engines to generate power.
The company has installed gasifiers in over 30 countries, including the US, Bulgaria, Argentina and Cambodia.
It has licence to set up such plants of total capacity of 10 MW in Sri Lanka of which it has so far completed 2 MW.