Ahmedabad Covid News

Ayeesha S Aiman: Bollywood Alert!!
Ahmedabad Mirror | 14 hours ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
14 hours ago | |

December 01: Aeronautical Engineer turned Miss India international Ayeesha S Aiman will be seen in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Film “India Lockdown”, which is set to release on ZEE 5 on 2nd Dec.The film is based on the initial days of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic when the government called for a 21-day lockdown across the country. The trailer will send shivers down your spine as it recreated the horrors of the time when it was plain chaotic. The trailer of the film highlights how many people became jobless, the issue of migrant workers going back to their native places, and sex workers being deprived of their source of income.The film, helmed by Madhur Bhandarkar, revolves around the traumatic experiences that transpired during the covid-19 pandemic. In the film, 26 years Old Ayeesha S Aiman will be seen essaying the role of a Sex worker in Kamathipura in Mumbai, who is forced to adapt to the changes brought about by the lockdown.The former Beauty queen said, “I watched films like Mandi and Chandni Bar, which helped me portray the emotions and struggles of S*x workers living on the margins in a realistic way. I also saw Waheeda Rahman’s Pyaasa”. It was necessary to watch these films and understand the struggles of the characters,” She added. “I met few S*x workers to prepare for the role. I am a keen observer. I observed how they would walk, how they live their mundane life and tried to understand their hardships,” the actress added.When I was offered India Lockdown, “I said yes, without hearing about my character, I have chosen to do this film not by the length of the character but heart touching stories of the people during lockdown’. I immediately got interested in this film and role as I had full faith in Madhur Bhandarkar Sir,”Ayeesha Added, “Normally, Miss India has their debut with the Glam role, but I opted for a very strong role where I had almost carried no make-up look and normal clothes. I had really different choice when it was about my debut in Bollywood, I had many offers, though, but I wanted to choose something where I could learn the craft of acting, so there was no better opportunity than India Lockdown. I have not chosen this film because of the length of my character but the story of which touches the lives of everyone,” Added AyeeshaInspired by true events, written by Amit Joshi and Aradhana Shah, ‘India Lockdown’ will depict four parallel stories and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people of India. The trailer of India Lockdown had its premiere in IIFI Goa, and Ayeesha’s performance has already created a strong buzz among peers in the Industry.’India Lockdown’ is set for a direct-to-digital release on ZEE5 on December 2. The film is produced by Jayantilal Gada of PEN Studios, Bhandarkar Entertainment and Pranav Jain’s PJ Motions Pictures.

Ayeesha S Aiman: Bollywood Alert!!
XBB now dominant Covid-19 variant in Gujarat
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

AHMEDABAD: After BA.2.75 subvariant of Omicron, a new subvariant is being seen in Covid cases. The XBB variant, considered to be the combination of BA.2.10 and BA.2.7, now accounts for nearly half of the cases, according to the data by Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) that carries out the whole genome sequencing of a select number of Covid cases. The shift has been spotted at the time when the state is recording low daily tally - it has not crossed a single digit in the past four days - and the number of active cases is at a six-month low at 198. As of Tuesday evening, 14 districts out of 33 had zero active cases, whereas 14 have less than 10 active cases. The state had no patients on ventilators as of Tuesday evening. Some other variants of Covid recorded in Gujarat in the recent past include BN.1, BM.1.1, BL.1 and BM.4.1.1, etc. Analysis of the last 100 sequences indicates that 45% of the cases were of XBB, followed by 20% of BA.2.10, 19% of BA.2.75 and 16% of other variants. Some reports suggest the onset of XBB sub-variant in India in October as several states have recorded cases even though Covid numbers have been falling owing to factors like widespread vaccination and herd immunity. A city-based physician said that the spike after Diwali festivities - coupled with flu and other illnesses - subsided quickly and there have been a few cases of viral infection. "Hospitalization is also at an at all-time low," said the physician.

XBB now dominant Covid-19 variant in Gujarat
China firm on zero-Covid policy amid rising protests
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 days ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 days ago | |

#BEIJINGChina on Monday dismissed concerns over its controversial zero-Covid policy in the face of unprecedented demonstrations, which have spread to Beijing even as it reported close to 40,000 coronavirus cases and authorities scrambled to contain the fresh surge in infections and protests against the Xi Jinping regime.The protests, which come nearly a month after President Xi was elected as the ruling party’s top leader for a third consecutive term, have spread to Shanghai, Beijing and many parts of the country in the last few days against the stringent policy under which cities and localities are kept under prolonged lockdowns and isolations.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also defended the arrest of a BBC journalist covering the demonstrations in Shanghai, maintaining that the scribe did not present his media credentials.“What you mentioned does not reflect what has happened,” Zhao told a media briefing when asked, given the widespread display of anger and frustration on zero-Covid policy across the country.“China has been following the dynamic zero-Covid policy and has been making adjustments based on realities on the ground,” Zhao said.He said so far China issued nine versions of pandemic protocols and recently released 20 measures to contain the outbreak.“We believe that with the leadership of the CPC and the support of the Chinese people, our fight against Covid-19 will be successful,” Zhao said.To another question on protests at home and abroad calling for an end to zero-Covid policy with some calling for Xi to step down, Zhao said, “I just answered your question and I am not aware of what you mentioned.” Under the policy, those who tested positive along with those who came in contact with them were taken away to mass covid treatment centers which have caused public resentment.China’s National Health Commission said 39,452 new cases were reported on Monday, including 36,304 local asymptomatic cases, as authorities scrambled to contain the fresh surge in infections.For the fifth consecutive day, China has reported close to 4,000 cases in Beijing. Agencies

China firm on zero-Covid policy amid rising protests
Ahmedabad: Weddings pull hospitality and retail out of pandemic gloom
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Nikita Wankhade, a photographer based in Ahmedabad travelled to a sprawling heritage resort nestled in mango orchards in Champaner last weekend. “Perhaps, I will be able to enjoy the tranquillity of this place on my next visit. This time, my four-member team and I are on a water-tight schedule shooting the destination wedding of an NRG couple,” said Wankhade, who is booked for wedding shoots over the next three months. With about 33 auspicious muhurat days, about six lakh weddings, big and small, will be held across Gujarat this season. Hospitality, catering, decoration and retail players thus expect their revenues to zoom past pre-Covid levels. “Weddings were muted for two years. In stark contrast, this year, the number of events has increased, and their grandeur has multiplied, with YOLO (you only live once) enthusiasm among people. We have clients who registered their marriages last year but are holding ceremonies and celebrations this year,” Wankhede said. Photographers, wedding planners, decorators, hoteliers and other hospitality businesses are busy even through the Kamurta period i. e. , from December 14 to January 14, which is typically held to be inauspicious. “Hospitality was one of the sectors worst affected by the Covid pandemic with restrictions on travel and gatherings. As the season progresses, hotels, caterers, florists, decorators, photographers, and others are expected to do brisk business. A multiplier effect will be seen on the economy as vendors will also get business,” said Narendra Somani, president of the Hotels and Restaurants Association (HRA) of Gujarat. This year, the peak of the season will begin by November-end and continue until February, according to industry sources. Retail businesses thriving as demand recoversWhile gold and silver prices are high, gems and jewellery retailers have seen strong demand. Rohit Choksi, former president of the Jewellers’ Association Ahmedabad, said, “Lightweight and antique jewellery sets are in demand. With more social occasions, demand has sustained despite high prices. People exchange old gold for new purchases, but demand remains. ” “Diamond and polki jewellery is also sought after, especially among affluent and NRI clients,” said Jay Begani, another jeweller. Even the textile sector, which is grappling with cotton price pressures, has seen good retail demand driven by discretionary spending for weddings. “Demand for finery and designer wear is good. Even though prices are up 15%, sales are good,” said Sambhav Chauhan, a clothing retailer. WEDDING PLANNERS BACK IN BUSINESS: Till last year, the variation in rules for public gatherings from state to state led to deferring of many destination weddings. This time there are no such hiccups with many destination weddings scheduled. Krunal Parekh, a city-based wedding planner, said, “Business has clearly bounced back to pre-Covid levels. Vietnam and Thailand are popular international destinations given flight connectivity while Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Goa remain preferred in India for destination weddings. People here have guest lists of 200 to 300. ” Industry players say people spend between Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore on destination weddings. Room tariffs and occupancy rates climbCompared to last year, hotels’ are seeing more revenue, with tariffs and occupancy boosted. Average daily rates (ADRs) for branded hotels in Gujarat have risen by at least 45% from pre-Covid levels. “Eased restrictions led people to organizing more elaborate weddings. Our banquet spaces and rooms are in high demand with clients from Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat. With the cap on gatherings lifted, hotels command better prices too,” said Jay Sudhakaran, general manager, Novotel Ahmedabad. Hotel occupancy has also grown to an in-dustry average of 75% across Ahmedabad. “Inquiries for weddings are numerous and 70% of available dates are blocked by wedding clients at our hotel. Bookings are plentiful and this is helping F&B businesses and occupancy levels,” said Keenan McKenzie, general manager, ITC Narmada. The average daily rate (ADR) has gone up to Rs 7,500 per room per night for most days at hotels across Ahmedabad. Despite three luxury hotels being launched in the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar market in the past year and a half, overall ADR has increased. Party plot owners relievedWith guest lists curtailed for a couple of years, party plots saw low demand. Now, as inquiries grow past pre-Covid levels, business is brisk. Manoj Purohit, secretary of the Ahmedabad Catering Association, which has caterers and party plot owners as members, said, “Inquiries have grown by at least 40%, as most people waited for three years to hold events without restrictions. Even small banquet spaces are fully booked. ” Gujarat has about 10,000 party plots, which are rented for between Rs 50,000 and Rs 35 lakh. Even municipal halls are booked, due to the election and weddings.

Ahmedabad: Weddings pull hospitality and retail out of pandemic gloom
Congress doesn’t respect tribals, didn’t support Droupadi Murmu, says PM Narendra Modi in Bharuch
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

NETRANG (BHARUCH): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused that the Congress of not having respect for the tribal community and said that the party opposed candidature of Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election held earlier this year. He was canvassing for the BJP in Netrang, a tribal area of Bharuch district. Modi also said that the entire world was amazed at how India managed to come out Covid-19 pandemic in such a short span. "Congress has no respect for tribals in the country. When we proposed to make our tribal daughter (Droupadi Murmu) the president of the country, the Congress opposed it. We put all our might and made the tribal daughter win the election," Modi said. "Be it Birsa Munda or Govind Guru, the Congress never gave the due respect to the tribal leaders," he further alleged. The PM said the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in a big country like India was terrifying. "We faced the pandemic and came out of it. The entire world is amazed how we did it," Modi said. During pandemic factories were closed, people had to go back to their villages. "In such circumstances, our first concern was to provide enough food to poor people. We have been providing free ration to 80 crore people for the last three years," Modi said. He said that when many countries are still struggling to vaccinate their entire population, India has provided more than 200 crore doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine to its people. "After two doses, we provided a booster dose also free," Modi said.

Congress doesn’t respect tribals, didn’t support Droupadi Murmu, says PM Narendra Modi in Bharuch
In India’s salt hub Kutch, poll fight in caste pickle
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

AHMEDABAD: When you relish the lavish spread of delicacies on your dining table, remember that the indispensable salt in your food and the timber used for the table most likely came from Kutch — India’s largest district. Kutch accounts for 80% of India’s salt production and 70% of the country’s timber imports, which have seen local businessmen laughing their way to the banks for decades. The riches are visible in the port town of Gandhidham where businessmen splurging Rs 1 crore to host birthday parties for children does not raise eyebrows. Members of opulent families pompously narrate how women in their families take the morning flight from Kandla to Mumbai and return donning the best make-up and latest designer outfits for a lavish party in the evening! However, this affluence is limited to just one portion of the district, once written off as a mere expanse of desert. It was a severely water-starved region where agriculture was impossible, leave alone industrial development. After the 2001 killer earthquake flattened the region and killed thousands, Kutch has turned the tables on adversities. Tax holidays announced by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government saw companies queuing up here, and the investments now run into lakhs of crores across a spectrum of industries. Kutch has also found a spot on the global tourism map due to the runaway success of the white sand festival, Rann Utsav, and the World heritage site, Dholavira. However, elsewhere in villages separated by swathes of the highly invasive gando bawal (prosopis juliflora), life is full of drudgery. The district has six assembly segments and one Lok Sabha seat. And yet, the election is a humdrum affair, devoid of acrimonious campaigning. The hoardings and posters of candidates are visible in significant towns like Gandhidham, Adipur, Anjar, Bhachau, Rapar, Bhuj, and Mandvi. The party workers are busy chalking out booth management strategies in the election offices of candidates. Reaching out to all villages is a cumbersome task for candidates, given the long distances they must travel in this region, which accounts for 24% of Gujarat’s geographical area. Water crisis always looms large in Kutch, which ironically received 186% of its average annual rainfall this monsoon, 86% more than its average. Residents in big towns blame illegal constructions and encroachment of natural waterways for their situation. However, in July this year, locals cheered the arrival of Narmada water in Mandvi with the completion of the 750km long Kutch branch canal. While the BJP candidates are harping on unprecedented industrialization, tourism development and free ration distribution during Covid-19 to attract votes, the Congress is highlighting price rise, Covid mismanagement, farmers’ issues, drug hauls worth thousands of crores of rupees, and the lack of educational infrastructure in the district. “We are seeking votes on the achievements of the Modi government. Free ration during Covid, Ujwala scheme and Rs 6,000 per year for farmers along with important national issues like abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Satvik Gadhvi, Kutch BJP spokesman. Unlike Saurashtra and south Gujarat, where PM Modi and an array of senior BJP leaders campaigned feverishly over the past fortnight, Kutch haswitnessed around 15 rallies held by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma. Notably, Sarma gave a communal hue to the campaigning by raking up the macabre Shraddha Walkar murder, saying many more ‘Aftabs’ will be borne if the BJP is not voted to power. Kutch’s Congress spokesman Dipak Ahir said, “There has been rapid industrialization, but locals are not getting jobs. Moreover, 200 schools have shut down in Kutch, and many that do not have teachers. Also, the lumpy virus left thousands of cattle dead in the district, but owners have not received compensation. These are the real issues we are focussing on. ” However, Rajesh Soni, working with a private school in Bhuj, said, “Elected representatives hardly come to meet us after polls. Important issues like roads, drainage and water availability are hardly discussed. ” Arvind Thakkar, president of the Bhuj GIDC Association, said, “Elected representatives don’t raise genuine issues with the bureaucracy to bring out a solution. They hardly organize regular meetings with trade and industry bodies. ” The laurels frequently marketed by BJP leaders do not cut ice with the voters as far as voting is concerned, as caste equations ultimately decide the fate of candidates. Meanwhile, the poll battles on some seats like Mandvi — famed for its pristine beach — have turned exciting with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fielding Kailashdan Gadhvi, a chartered accountant, against Aniruddh Dave,nephew of former RSS veteran and BJP MP Anant Dave, and Congress’s Rajendrasinh Jadeja. The Gadhvis have sizeable votes that will impact the results. A juicy battle is also on the cards in Rapar, the oasis that produces the luscious Kutchi kesar mangoes. Two Patel candidates — Congress’s Bachhu Aarathiya and AAP’s Ambabhai Patel — are pitted against sitting Mandvi MLA Virendrasinh Jadeja. Kutch headquarters, Bhuj, has always seen a see-saw battle with rural areas voting for the Congress but the BJP having the last laugh, thanks to rurban voters. This time, the Congress has chosen Arjan Bhudia, sarpanch of Madhapar — the village once famed for having the maximum NRI deposits in the country. Bhudia, a Leuva Patel, is contesting against the BJP’s Keshubhai Patel, a Kadva, making the contest quite absorbing.

In India’s salt hub Kutch, poll fight in caste pickle
Avancer Consulting, Indian arm of US-based identity security company Avancer Corporation, expands its presence in India to promote Identity Governance
Ahmedabad Mirror | 6 days ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
6 days ago | |

New Delhi (India), November 24: Avancer Consulting Services Private Limited, the Indian arm of Avancer Corp., a New Jersey, US- based leading provider of Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions, is expanding its services in India, by providing consulting-based and value-added identity security and cybersecurity offerings.Leveraging the technological expertise of Avancer Corp., Avancer Consulting is expanding into the Indian market to provide customised identity security solutions. With close to two decades of experience in the US market, Avancer’s IAM experts are adept at addressing varied identity security challenges through the strategic deployment of the latest technological solutions and products.Avancer provides consulting-based solutions for key identity security challenges, aligning them with business goals and regulatory compliances. Some of the core offerings of the company include - User Provisioning, Role Management, Password Management, Access Recertification, Single-Sign-On (SSO), Multifactor Authentication (MFA), Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM), Integration, Vulnerability Scanning, Penetration Testing, Assessment Services, Implementation Services, Migration & Upgrades, and Managed Services, among others. The company has extensive experience in servicing clients from the healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunication sectors, providing customer-centric technology to prevent data breaches, minimise cyber threats and enhance productivity and compliance.As an integrator of identity and access management technology, the company has collaborated with various well- known technology providers including SailPoint, PingIdentity, Microsoft, CyberArk, Saviynt, and others. Some of the companies serviced by Avancer in the US include SBI, HSBC, WR Berkely, Mutual of America, Atlanticare Health System, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and LA Philharmonic.Organisations in the post-COVID era are shifting towards a hybrid workforce and faster digital transformation, which is resulting in managing users, access points, data, and applications as an overwhelming task for the in- house IT teams. This is providing gaps for hackers and people with malicious intent to target vulnerable systems and networks and poorly managed access controls, causing large-scale data breaches, ransomware, and malware attacks. Enterprises, especially those with minimal or inadequate identity security systems are becoming easy targets for cybercriminals. Further, along with cybercriminal activities, insider threat (including current employees, past employees, contractors, and vendors) has also emerged as a unique challenge in India, due to inadequate attention to access controls and govern identities using manual processes.Identity security has, therefore, become a critical feature to help organisations minimise identity-related vulnerabilities and challenges for maintaining digital security posture in the post-COVID-19 world. In fact, the cloud-based IAM market is witnessing substantial growth in this region due to the advances in the integration of various applications and services in the cloud. Further, the market value of India’s identity and access management products is estimated to cross INR 12 billion by 2025, as per Statista.“As the scope of identity security increases in the face of growing cybersecurity threats, adoption of remote working, reliance on cloud services and devices, it has also become imperative to have an agile and updated IAM platform. Such a platform enables users to access enterprise systems in a secure manner in any given environment, including multi-cloud and hybrid, multiple devices, remote work, and IT ecosystem. Further, in today’s post-COVID era, companies have found that identity security is able to provide multiple layers of protection that includes reducing risk, enhancing the experience of workers, and most importantly, automating IT processes,” said Rajesh Mittal, Chief Technology Officer, Avancer Corp.Stressing on the value-proposition of the company, Rajesh Mittal further said, “While most IAM solution providers focus on solution-based (such as Zero Trust) or product-based (such as SailPoint or PingIdentity) services, at Avancer, we provide consulting-based solutions that address the key identity security challenges of an organisation, along with aligning them with the business goals and regulatory compliances that the organisation needs to adhere to, within the allocated budget and deadline.”With an aim to partner with Indian organisations to help them in their digital transformation journey in a secure manner, Avancer is extending its services in India with a focus on maximising a company’s security program, along with optimising the company’s ROI in IAM technology.For garnering higher footprints in India, Avancer is planning to invest around USD 5 million in the next five years. It has also hired Amros Consulting LLP, a New-Delhi based investment banking company, to collaborate in its expansion plans in India.

Avancer Consulting, Indian arm of US-based identity security company Avancer Corporation, expands its presence in India to promote Identity Governance
Wake-up call: Amid Metro vs no Metro debate, Chandigarh adding 120 cars, bikes daily since 2012
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

Chandigarh, one of the earliest planned cities of the country, is bursting at its seams, having acquired the dubious honour of having more vehicles than its population.And it just gets worse.Data accessed by The Indian Express from the Registering and Licensing Authority of Chandigarh shows that the city is adding 120 cars, motorcycles/scooters vehicles on a daily basis. On an average since 2012, Chandigarh has gone from being City Beautiful, to City Chaotic, having added a total of about 4.70 lakh cars, motorcycles/scooters, without suitably augmenting its roads and infrastructure to cater to the same.The data further showed that even if the debate for having an alternative mode of transport for the city — like a Metro — had been bounced back and forth between various stakeholders and administrators in the last 10 years, the city has seen the addition of more than 2 lakh cars alone, choking its roads.According to the ten year data obtained from the Registering and Licensing Authority(RLA), of the total 4,69,544 vehicles added since year 2012, 2,61,298 were motorcycles/scooters and 2,08,246 are cars.The data also revealed how after 2020, the number of car registrations had seen a massive spike, outdoing the number of new scooters/motorcyles being registered.In 2021, after things started gradually opening up post the Covid lockdown, as many as 20,249 cars were registered in Chandigarh, while just 16,315 motorcycles/scooters got registered, taking the total non transport vehicle registrations to 36,564.The number for 2020, when Covid restrictions were in place, the city added 14,239 cars and 14,973 scooters/motorcycles in all.This year, till date, at least 38,702 vehicles have already been registered of which 21,466 are cars and 17,236 scooters/bikes.Prior to the Covid period, in 2019, there were 44,072 total vehicles registered, of which 18,231 were cars, and 25,841 were two wheelers. In 2018 too, a total of 45,478 vehicles were registered, of which 17,393 were cars and the remaining were motorcycles/scooters.Prior to this period too, the number of motorcycles/scooters being registered has always surpassed the number of four wheeler registration. In 2017, yet again around 46,562 vehicles were registered, of which 18,126 were cars and 28,436 were scooters/motorcycles.In 2016 too, the number of cars registered were 17,421 against 26,874 motorycles/scooters while in 2015, the same trend prevailed, with 26,743 motorcycles/scooters being registered against 17,600 cars.In 2014, 2013 and 2012, the number of car registrations were recorded at 17,731, 19,628 and 26,162 respectively, while the corresponding number of motorcycles/scooters registered were 27,718, 24,422, 24,655 respectively.Contacted, the owner of a dealership which deals in second-hand cars said that over the years people had gradually started to lean towards pre-owned vehicles.“The extreme weather conditions that the city witnesses has had a major role to play in this shift. The scorching heat during summers, heavy rains during monsoons and bitter cold during winters has compelled a lot of people to buy cars and pre owned vehicles come at a pocket-friendly price,” he said.He added, “Post Covid, people who otherwise car pooled, purchased their own vehicles. The high cost of two wheelers doesn’t work in their favour. A new bike would cost between Rs 60,000 to Rs 90,000. So, instead people add a little more money and buy a second hand car.”Impact on air pollutionIn 2017, in a state environment report, the vehicle density was said to be as high as 878 per 1,000 population and was cited as one of major reasons for the city’s not so good air quality. The Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) in the air was reported to be higher than the permissible limit then, and Sulphur Oxides (SO2), Nitrogen Oxide (N02) were reported to be below the permissible limit — between January 2015 and December 2016. The report then also had cautioned that owing to the steady increase in the number of vehicles every year, the NO2 levels were also rising.In 2018, CSE flagged serious concernsAccording to a Centre for Science and Environment report in 2018, the use of personal vehicles was the highest in Chandigarh among 14 cities that were analysed on “overall emissions and energy use”, and “per-travel trip emissions”. According to the details of the report, Chandigarh was close to 80 per cent, followed by Lucknow (70 per cent), Ahmedabad (65 per cent) and Jaipur (60 per cent). These numbers were part of a report titled “The Urban Commute”.The report stated, “Every time, a trip is made in Chandigarh, where the per capita car ownership is the highest, it is likely to have a much worse impact on the environment than in the megacities of Kolkata and Mumbai, which have the best public transport systems in the country. This is worrisome, as Chandigarh is already a Tricity, with Chandigarh-Panchkula-Mohali forming a large urban agglomeration where travel patterns are likely to be similar.”The 14 cities studied by CSE in 2018 were Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad (grouped as megacities in the report), Ahmedabad, Pune, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kochi, Bhopal, Vijayawada and Chandigarh (metropolitan cities).According to the report, the high car use in Chandigarh reflected in the city’s poor ranking on the per-travel trip emissions. The city was the second worst on this count, with Hyderabad being at the bottom.It was also stated that in at the current pace, the Tricity “may become an extremely polluted place in the years to come if corrective steps are not taken in time.” On the parameter of total emissions, Chandigarh was at the third position because “it is small in size and has short average trip lengths across all modes”.“In Chandigarh, the ownership of cars per 1,000 people is among the highest in the country. Cities like this will have to be extremely careful about enabling massive scaling up of sustainable modes,” the report had suggested.

Wake-up call: Amid Metro vs no Metro debate, Chandigarh adding 120 cars, bikes daily since 2012
Gujarat elections: Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar hits out at Congress’ ‘parivartan’ politics, calls AAP a clone of Congress
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Challenging the Congress’ call for a change and dismissing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a poor and pale imitation of the Congress, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar Wednesday said that the Gujarat elections would be decisive and an unprecedented historical mandate sending a message to the country that the BJP’s politics of development has been supported by the people.“I have heard and seen that the Congress party that emerges once after five years and its cloned version the Aam Aadmi Party talk about ‘parivartan’ (change). They gave a slogan of ‘parivartan’ but I want to put forth their track record. Look at the Congress’ performance during the 2008 global financial crisis and compare it with that during the Covid pandemic. Though in comparison to the Covid pandemic it was a smaller issue but after that crisis due to Congress’ policies I want to put forth what was the condition of our country,” the minister told reporters in Ahmedabad.Chandrasekhar, the minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Electronics and Information Technology, who was on his first political campaign in Gujarat added that the financial sector was devastated due to quarter-on-quarter inflation and investment loss, leading to an economic contraction. The trend that started in 2009 went on till 2014 when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister and halted that slope, he said.“In 2008 they (Congress) damaged the electronics sector and in 2020 due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India could become number one in economic growth and in FD. These are the two contrasts between their ‘parivartan’ policies and ours,” he added.Pointing out figures, he said that in 2014, after 10 years of Congress rule, the electronics sector had crashed as more than 92 per cent of mobile phones used in India were imported. “But in 2022, 97 per cent of mobile phones used in India are manufactured in the country. In 2014 no electronics were exported but in 2022 electronic gadgets worth over Rs 1 lakh crore are exported. Mobile phones worth Rs 70,000 crore are exported to the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia,” the minister said.Taking a dig at the ‘parivartan’ claims of Congress, the minister asked why was the party not talking about the ‘parivartan’ in Rajasthan which has earned the status of having the most number of crimes against women and children.“They talk about unemployment but the manner in which PM Modi’s policies have created investments, employment in public and private sectors had never happened in the history of the country,” Chandrasekhar added.Without naming the Congress, he said that those who are talking about change, when in governance had to deal with incidents of social unrest, terrorism, and riots are happening more. This affects investments and thus jobs and social security, he said.While dismissing AAP, Chandrasekhar said that he won’t talk much about them as they are bigger or smaller clones of Congress, as ministers getting special treatment in jails, and liquor corruption are all old strategies of Congress. “The AAP is learning from them. I have dismissed them as it is only a poor and pale imitation of Congress,” he criticised.The Assembly elections in Gujarat are slated to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5, and the results will be declared on December 8.

Gujarat elections: Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar hits out at Congress’ ‘parivartan’ politics, calls AAP a clone of Congress
Dr Subeer S Majumdar to steer GBU’s growth
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 week ago | |

Gandhinagar, Gujarat, November 18- Gujarat Biotechnology University (GBU), India’s first biotechnology university, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Subeer S. Majumdar as Director General. Dr. Majumdar is a well known scientist and leader, and has started in his new role this week (14 Nov 22). Other recent appointments were of Mr. Dilip Shanghvi, MD, Sun Pharmaceuticals as Chairman to the University and Mr. Sudhir Vaid, Chairman & MD, Concord Biotech as Chairman, Advisory Council.Dr. Subeer S. Majumdar’s research focus is on animal biotechnology, livestock genomics, therapeutic proteins, and transgenic animals. He did his Doctoral Research at the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi and has trained at the School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA and at the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh, USA. He is a fellow of all three Academies of Sciences, Tata Innovation fellow (DBT) and JC Bose fellow (SERB) and is a council member of INSA.Dr. Majumdar’s livestock genomics project delivered the ‘IndiGau’, the world’s largest SNP chip for cattle that can help conserve indigenous cow breeds with highly valued characteristics including heat, drought and disease resistance. The chip was released by Hon’ble Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh in August 2021.A key achievement by Dr. Subeer’s group was a new technique of transgenesis, easing the development of humanized disease models. During COVID-19, Dr. Majumdar led a DBT funded One Health programme drawing together AIIMS Delhi, AIIMS Jodhpur, medical colleges in Chennai, Hyderabad, Meghalaya, ICMR regional centers, wildlife health providers, veterinary universities (IVRI, GADVASU, MAFSU, TANUVAS etc.), to address animal to human disease transmission.From 2016 to 2021, Dr. Subeer steered the development of the youngest DBT institute, the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad. Under his leadership, several kits to detect veterinary diseases have either been transferred or are in process of transfer to industries for commercialization. Based on this success, the PM Cares Fund entrusted NIAB with the responsibility of developing one of two vaccine batch testing facilities for Covid 19 in India, and this is now notified by the Drug Controller of India,Dr. Majumdar has achieved remarkable success in the production of therapeutic proteins in the milk of small animals using biotechnology, and is working on affordability and accesibility to the population at large in India. His lab developed technology around SARS-Cov2 virus which allows for rapid antiviral screening in a minimum biohazard environment.A member of various professional societies, advisory committees, national and international bodies, Dr. Subeer has also worked on multiple socio-economic projects. He has authored more than hundred papers, publications and books, and has filed five patents. Dr. Subeer says, “My aim is to ensure the implementation and execution of a growth-fuelled roadmap for Gujarat Biotechnology University.I believe that the commitment and support of the state government will definitely yield remarkable results soon, making GBU a globally competitive institution for manpower as well as resource generation”.The University delivers post-graduate programmes in five biotechnology domains - Plant Biotechnology, Animal Biotechnology, Environmental Biotechnology, Medical Biotechnology, and Industrial Biotechnology. GBU welcomed the first batch of MSc students in August 2022, and will soon launch PhD programmes.The Gujarat Biotechnology Policy 2022-27, unveiled this year, is likely to attract capital investment of overRs 20,000crore. The Gujarat government is all set to revolutionise the biotechnology sector, and the Gujarat Biotechnology University will be a pioneering catalyst to realise this vision.

Dr Subeer S Majumdar to steer GBU’s growth
‘Not here, but doesn’t mean absent’: Gujarat Cong waits for word on Rahul, draws up meetings plan
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

From lasting impact of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, to long-distance monitoring, to focused campaign by party leaders, the Congress is trying to put a positive spin on the fact that Rahul Gandhi is so far absent from the high-stakes Gujarat campaign.The state unit has no clear idea if that might change, with some leaders talking tentatively of two visits by Rahul, one on November 22, a week to go for campaigning to end for the first phase polling in 89 seats on December 1, and another before the second phase on December 5.This is quite a departure from the high-octane campaign in 2017 when Rahul had addressed nearly 40 meetings, while making several temple visits, and launched a Navsarjan Yatra, which covered the length and breadth of Gujarat in a bus. The party’s tally of 77 seats had been its highest since 1990 in the state, with the BJP’s 99 its lowest.Congress leaders argue that it is best Rahul is not “distracted” from the Bharat Jodo Yatra, and remind that he did not campaign in Himachal Pradesh either. However, in Himachal, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had taken charge of the party campaign.Vadra was last in Gujarat in February 2019 when the Congress Working Committee met in Ahmedabad, and has never addressed a rally in the state. A Congress leader says, “When Rahulji is campaigning, there is no point in also calling her. Both are our star campaigners. She comes when Rahulji is unable to, like in Himachal.”Rahul’s absence coincides with the loss of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the eyes and ears of the high command in Gujarat, who died of Covid-19 in 2020.AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Raghu Sharma told The Indian Express that while Rahul might not be present in the state, he is constantly “monitoring what the party is doing in Gujarat”. “We are making a plan for his meetings, but it is wrong to say he is absent. He held meetings in Dwarka, Dahod and on the Sabarmati Riverfront as recently as September,” Sharma says.Party leaders argue that the comparison with 2017 is also wrong as, at the time, Rahul was the vice-president of the party.A core committee member of the Gujarat Congress and AICC delegate, Gaurav Pandya, says there is another way to look at this. “Everybody is on the field campaigning. Had Rahulji come, the leaders who are also candidates would have had to abandon their campaign and come to his meetings, which would be damaging (for them).”Besides, says Pandya, “His (Rahul’s) Bharat Jodo Yatra is having an indirect impact on our campaign. It has got the Congress worker in the smallest of villages talking about it and they feel that ‘we should complement it’… The Bharat Jodo Yatra was planned with a national perspective.”Pandya acknowledges, though, that Rahul’s intensive campaign of 2017 “did build a connect and benefit the Congress, apart from the social movement that got the Patidars connected (to the party)”.The absence of the Gandhis is expected to hurt the party most in the tribal areas, which have been its stronghold and where the family still has a following. Congress leaders are also despondent that the “disinterest” comes at a time when the Aam Aadmi Party is making an aggressive bid in Gujarat, and is expected to cut into the party’s votes.Of the 27 ST reserved seats in Gujarat, the Congress had won 17 in 2017, of whom five MLAs have since joined the BJP. Two of them quit after the Adivasi Adhikar Yatra by the Congress in May to consolidate its tribal vote.Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi says the launch of the Adivasi yatra by Rahul in Dahod has been followed up by a “door-to-door campaign in tribal areas talking about what the party will do to protect their rights to jal, jungle, jameen”.Congress leaders claim that in these areas, AAP has dented the Bharatiya Tribal Party more, while the BJP was trying to “lure its tribal MLAs”. “The appointment of Droupadi Murmu as President is also being used by the party to influence tribals,” says a leader.Rahul’s last visit to Gujarat was on September 5 when, two days to go for the launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, he addressed a rally on the Sabarmati Riverfront, unveiling a broad manifesto of thte party, promising Rs 4 lakh as compensation to families of those who succumbed to Covid-19, farm loan waiver of up to Rs 3 lakh, free electricity for households up to 300 units etc. These promises are part of the Congress’s manifesto released recently.At the Dahod rally in May, Rahul had shared the stage with then working president Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani. Hardik, the face of the Patidar agitation, had left the Congress soon after to join the BJP.Before that, in February, Rahul addressed a Chintan Shivir of the Congress in Dwarka, where the strategy for the elections was discussed. In his address on Day 2, he told party leaders to come up with a vision for Gujarat and “project 25 people who would transform that vision into reality”.Seeking to put its house in order, meanwhile, the AICC Monday announced a team of zonal observers, including Mukul Wasnik, Mohan Prakash, Prithviraj Chavan, B K Hariprasad and K H Muniyappa. Barring Muniyappa, the rest have been in-charge of Gujarat at some point.The party also announced 32 ‘Lok Sabha Observers’ in charge of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat and five ‘General Observers’.

‘Not here, but doesn’t mean absent’: Gujarat Cong waits for word on Rahul, draws up meetings plan
5% Covid patients turn diabetic: Ahmedabad-based experts
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Aniket Shrivastav (name changed), 45, a resident of Bopal, was pre-diabetic before 2021 with his sugar levels in control through diet and lifestyle. But after the second wave of Covid, where he was admitted to ICU for nearly a week and was administered steroids, he tested diabetic. He's not alone in his struggle. As the World Diabetes Day is observed annually on November 14, the city-based experts indicate that about 5% of the Covid-recovered patients with no prior history of the condition or diagnosed as pre-diabetics turned diabetics who needed regular care and medication. Dr Manoj Vithalani, a city-based internal medicines specialist, said that the phenomenon is caused by Covid infection of pancreas that hampered production of insulin naturally. "Moreover, some of the steroids used for the treatment of Covid also caused the impact. We witness the new patients in almost all age groups - some of them as young as in thirties who have acquired the condition after Covid infections," he said. Experts said that the 'long Covid' phenomenon has diabetes as one of the factors along with other conditions where the patients, after recovering from Covid, needed help for other conditions. "If the patients had existing conditions such as hypertension, obesity, etc. the chances of developing diabetes were higher. Several discovered the condition when they complained of fatigue, lethargy, dullness and then got diagnosed for diabetes," said Dr Dipak Dantara, a city-based senior physician. Diabetes came under sharp focus during Covid period due to the condition being one of the most prevalent among the patients who needed hospitalization and further complications, most prominently mucormycosis especially after the second wave of Covid in 2021. Dr Ramesh Goyal, a city-based endocrinologist, said that some of the patients developed diabetes without any apparent risk factors or family history after Covid. "Majority are still on medication. Early detection and medication goes a long way in ensuring that the patients are stable and don't develop any complications. We have also seen improved awareness about health check-ups after Covid that has increased early detection especially among youth," he said.

5% Covid patients turn diabetic: Ahmedabad-based experts
More Amdavadis hopping on to BRTS after Covid
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 weeks ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 weeks ago | |

Too many Amdavadis are hopping on to the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) for a commute as the number of passengers using the public transport system has seen a surge post covid. The numbers for both BRTS passengers and revenue are better compared to what it was during the pre-covid days.However, as for the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS), the per day passenger numbers are the same as it was pre Covid.BRTS gets a boostPost-Covid the BRTS ferried 2.10 lakh passengers per day and earned a revenue of Rs 27 lakh from April to September 2022 compared to 1,43,771 passengers/day and Rs 19.04 lakh in revenue during pre-Covid times (2018-19).Sources said the BRTS service was shut down for some months in 2020 ad 2021 and after it resumed services its passenger numbers per day were in the thousands. “It took around six to eight months to normalise the service,” said the source.Those in the know said the surge in passenger numbers and resultant revenue can be attributed to the fact that BRTS fares have not increased in the last eight years.“Moreover, now all buses are air-conditioned. People are also realising that public transport is cheaper on the pocket and the last mile connectivity has helped attract more passengers,” said a source.The service at present runs 330 buses on 18 routes. It has added new routes and extended others after 2019.“Earlier, there were 160 BRTS stations which have gone to 195 now. The new routes like Maninagar to Airport, Nehrunagar to South Bopal and extension of the service to cover new areas like Sarkhej, Juhapura, Sanand from Vasna Adalaj, Trimandir from LD- Jundal, Airport, Hanspura Ring road have boosted the usage,” said the source.He said a BRTS station at Kalupur railway station has also helped matters.In 2019 the service had just 230 buses which increased to 330 now.“We had to increase the buses as the earlier ones were 12 metres in length but the new ones are 9 metres midibus and hence can ferry less number of passengers,” said a source.BRTS General Manager Vishal Khanama said, “Our commitment to frequency has helped raise ridership and revenue. Electrical buses are also extremely comfortable to travel in.”

More Amdavadis hopping on to BRTS after Covid
Gujarat was there before Modi, will be there even after him: Asaduddin Owaisi
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi Sunday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the BJP’s new campaign slogan “Aa Gujarat Me Banavyu Chhe (I have made this Gujarat)” and the Morbi bridge collapse, which killed 135 people.Campaigning for the AIMIM’s Jamalpur candidate Sabir Kabliwala at Mirzapur in Ahmedabad ahead of the Legislative Assembly polls, Owaisi said, “He (PM Modi) is saying he has made Gujarat. Is it that Gujarat had nothing before he became the chief minister? Did Gujarat not exist? This Gujarat was made by Saurashtra’s women, Dangs, Adivasis, Vadgam Dalits, Bannis cattle grazers (maldharis) and fishermen. Gujarat was there before, is there, and will be there even after Modi….Yes, he did make one thing in Gujarat and that is he made the Morbi bridge which killed 150 (135). Aapne Gujarat ko nahi banaya, aapne Gujarat ke janta ko bewaqoof banaya (You did not make Gujarat, but you made fools of the Gujarat public). You showed an illusion and Morbi’s bridge (collapse happened). You say you have made Gujarat? Who is responsible for the bridge collapse? We expect the country’s prime minister will also remember the Morbi bridge… You have only made fools of us….”Commending Taufeeq and Hussain, two youths from Morbi who had assisted in the rescue operations to save lives after the bridge collapse, Owaisi posed questions on the implementation of the Disturbed Areas Act. “I want to ask the PM and the BJP if Husainbhai and Taufeeqbhai can buy any house in Gujarat. You have imposed Disturbed Areas Act, and they can’t… Can the BJP assure Husainbhai and Taufeeqbhai that if their children are held on false charges of stone pelting, they won’t be brought into the public for flogging? Today can the BJP assure that when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is recorded, Taufeeqbhai and Husainbhai will not be asked to prove their citizenship? You say you have made Gujarat but your government released the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case. When we raise these issues, we are told that Owaisi gives divisive speeches. I’ve not spoken against any religion. Neither the AAP talks about Bilkis Bano. Who goes and talks to Zakia Jafri?”Owaisi attacked Kabliwala’s former party Congress too. The Jamalpur constituency is presently held by Imran Khedawala of the Congress. “If anyone can stop the BJP in Jamalpur, it is Sabirbhai…The troubles that the people of Jamalpur, especially in Mirzapur, face, we will try to fix these. Gujarat has 36 slaughterhouses, of which 32 have been closed and only four are working. I want to assure you that in the coming Assembly elections if you make Sabirbhai successful, your Sabirbhai will solve the issues that our Qureshbhais (the butcher community) are facing in their slaughterhouses and its business…Our aim to fight the Assembly elections is so that your voice reaches the Vidhan Sabha, there is an Opposition that fearlessly works for the issues being faced here… Some will say that Sabirbhai was voted from here earlier, then what is the difference between then and now. There is a big difference that Sabirbhai’s voice will not be controlled by the Congress or some other party…Sabirbhai will reopen factories that have been closed,” he said.“People say that when the AIMIM contests, the BJP benefits. For 27 years, the BJP has been successful and the AIMIM is fighting the Gujarat assembly elections for the first time. So then tell me, the Congress party you voted for, was it hand in gloves with the BJP, or did it strike a deal with the BJP? You voted for the Congress but what did it do for you? It could not stop the BJP from winning. I am saying with full responsibility that stopping a party from coming to power is not our responsibility, but it is our responsibility that we in our strength use our vote and make a voice of ours reach Vidhan Sabha…. This is the same Congress from which 12 MLAs switched sides to the BJP. Congress is the godown and BJP is the showroom. They move from the godown to be in the showroom,” said Owaisi.Not sparing the AAP and its chief Arvind Kejriwal, Owaisi added, “There is a new party called the AAP. When Covid-19 started in Delhi, this ‘chhota recharge’ accused the Tablighi Jamaat of spreading Covid so that they could be defamed. The matter went to the court which said these were baseless allegations. When riots were happening in Delhi, burning houses and killing people, where was this Delhi CM? Instead of pacifying anger, he went to Delhi’s Raj Ghat to sit in silence. Today they claim a lot of big things but go to Okhla in Delhi where fires are burning in the garbage pile and they do nothing about it. This ‘chhota recharge’, when they were asked to speak on Bilkis Bano, they said ‘we won’t talk on Bilkis Bano’…This ‘chhota recharge’ is basically saying ‘I’m a smaller version of Modi and now I want to be a bigger version of Modi’. He is following in the BJP’s footsteps… If you vote for the Congress or the AAP, the BJP will benefit,” Owaisi added.

Gujarat was there before Modi, will be there even after him: Asaduddin Owaisi
After Covid lull, Rann Utsav in Kutch ready for record tourists
Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 weeks ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
3 weeks ago | |

Kutch Rann Utsav which began in 2005 as a three-day Rannotsav is now a 120-day long festival that has turned the Kharo Pat (desert) into the main attraction. A senior official of Gujarat Tourism said the Kutch Rann Utsav this year has generated interest from tourists across the country.Managing Director of Gujarat Tourism, Alok Pandey said successfully organising such events for long is a challenge but the surge in tourists has turned it into a festival. “Post-Covid, Kutch Rann Utsav is getting a record number of tourists. We have got tourist inquiries for Ranotsav from across the country and a huge tourist inflow is expected in the coming days,” said Pandey.Tent City Manager of Kutch Rann Utsav. Amit Gupta said this year the event is planned from October 26, 2022, to February 20, 2023, and this means more tourists can visit the area. He said this year they set up the Tent City with around 350 tents under five categories- Rajwadi, super-premium, premium, deluxe and non-AC tents.Gujarat tourism has also created several packages for tourists that will include accommodation, meals and sightseeing arrangements. The package will include sightseeing to places like a white desert, sunset, kado dungar along with other activities.Gupta said the Rann Utsav has only begun and so far they have already got over 8000 bookings for the tent city. He said tourists are coming in droves to celebrate Poonam (full moon) as well as for December 31 as well as in January.Gujarat Tourism offers packages that range from a day to four and include activities like zipline, paramotoring, archery, bungee, paintball, camel ride, bull ride, and rock climbing along with various handicrafts and folk dances of Kutch.According to Gujarat Tourism sources in the year 2011, 0.62 lakh tourists visited the White Desert which rose to 4.66 lakh in 2017-18, an increase of 657% compared to the initial years.The source said in 2018-19, tourist numbers fell to 4.26 lakh which further plummeted during COVID. In the year 2019-20, it was 3.50 lakh while for 2020-21 only 1.72 lakh tourists visited Kutch.

After Covid lull, Rann Utsav in Kutch ready for record tourists
Social distancing habit kept teen away from Morbi bridge
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

MORBI: The morbid fear of Covid-19 may have taken a huge toll on the mental health of many. But 19-year-old Mohit Parmar says he is alive today, thanks to his crowd phobia. On October 30, this BBA student wanted to break free from the self-imposed social distancing rule and go to the Victorian Era structure to relive his memories. But seeing a swarm of people, his Covid fears resurfaced and he decided to be content with clicking photos. Minutes after he captured a few on his mobile, Mohit witnessed the horrific scene of the 233 meter-long bridge crashing plunging hundreds in the Machchhu River. "I went to the jhulto pool and saw it was very crowded. There was hardly space to move. I decided not to go as I had cultivated a habit of social distancing post-Covid," said Mohit. He immediately posted the video of the collapse in several WhatsApp groups so that people could rush to help the victims. Mohit said he was a frequent visitor to the bridge, but after the pandemic, he preferred sitting on the river bank, listening to songs and clicking photos. The youth further said that he had earlier walked over the bridge but after the pandemic, he used to sit on the banks of Machchhu and listen to songs and click pictures. Mohit's friend Amardeepsinh Jhala, 19-year-old BA student, had a close shave with death. "When the bridge collapsed, I managed to hold on to a cable wire and hung there for around 30 minutes. Then I climbed up the damaged bridge using the cables and managed to save my life," said Jhala. Seeing Mohit's video, his uncle Pravin Parmar, an electrician, rushed to the spot to offer help. "I can't swim, so I asked a cop how could I help. He told me to stay in shallow water and wait for bodies to come to the surface and take them out. I joined the search and rescue operation by fishing out bodies of men, women and kids," said Pravin.

Social distancing habit kept teen away from Morbi bridge
Wedding season: High demand, gold tie the knot in Gujarat
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: With the wedding season coming up in a fortnight and buoyed by the festival in October, gold demand has surpassed pre-Covid levels. According to the data of Ahmedabad Air Cargo Complex (AACC), yellow metal imports stood at 8.32 MT in October this year. From April to October this year, 29.8 MT of gold was imported into Gujarat, up 17% as compared to the pre-Covid period in 2019. Against last year, yellow metal imports have surged 50% already in little over the first half of the year. Jewellers and bullion traders attribute the numbers to the low price of gold, an upbeat demand for jewellery in the run-up to the wedding season, and brisk muhurat purchases. Explaining the price trend, Haresh Acharya, director, India Bullion and Jewellers' Association (IBJA), said: "Gold prices have remained favourable over the past one month, continuing to remain stable around Rs 52,000 per 10 gram mark, except for a temporary spike early in October." He added: "With the US Federal Reserve as well as RBI meetings in the offing, gold prices are stable. Moreover, consumer sentiment was upbeat during the festive muhurats of Dussehra, Pushya Nakshatra, and Dhanteras in Gujarat with gold sales clocking 400kg in a single day on each of those occasions. As a result, gold sales are good and imports are high." In the coming months, yellow metal imports are expected to be robust due to a large number of weddings, according to industry sources. Manoj Soni, a city-based jeweller, said: "The number of weddings are very high with several muhurats. People who did not want to plan weddings last year or the year before amid Covid-19 restrictions are organizing them now and as a result, the pent-up demand is fairly high." He added: "The sales of wedding jewellery and even lightweight jewellery are high." In the entire second quarter of 2022-23, from July to September, gold sales across India grew 17%, according to the data of World Gold Council (WGC). The growth in gold sales in Gujarat too is on similar lines. This is certainly less than the 28% growth in the global gold demand. Yet, geopolitical and economic uncertainties kept gold demand up during the year. "Gold continued to hold favour with retail investors who reacted to different market cues and turned to gold for its status as a store of value amidst rampant inflation and geopolitical uncertainty," states the recently issued World Gold Council report on Gold Demand Trends. The report adds: "Investors sought to hedge inflation with bar and coin investment, driving total retail demand up 36% during the quarter as compared to the corresponding quarter." The free trade warehousing zone at GIFT City and the operationalization of the bullion exchange are the other factors driving yellow metal trading through the Gujarat route. Somasundaram P R, regional CEO India, WGC, said: "Indian retail investment is likely to continue to benefit from safe-haven demand amid rising interest rates and a weakening rupee." "Our gold demand estimate for the full year is around 750-800 tonnes, similar to last year across India," he further said.

Wedding season: High demand, gold tie the knot in Gujarat
Gujarat: List steps taken after report on hospital fires, Supreme Court says
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

AHMEDABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat government to file an affidavit detailing the steps it has taken following the submission of the report of the Justice D A Mehta-led commission, which inquired into the 2020 hospital fires in Ahmedabad and Rajkot in which 13 Covid patients were charred to death. A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hima Kohli asked the Gujarat government to file the affidavit within a week after the Centre's counsel Rajat Nair informed the court that the inquiry commission report as well as the action taken report have been placed on the floor of the assembly. Appearing for the victims' kin, senior advocate Dushyant Dave said the SC should consider laying down guidelines for medical professionals and holding them accountable for such tragedies along with the owners of the unauthorizedly constructed hospital buildings. Dave said doctors seldom inform patients and their relatives about the line of treatment and medicines being administered. "The medical profession is most unregulated. In case of death of a patient, the doctors face mild punishment. They should be booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder," he said. The kin of the victim get Rs 5 lakh as compensation, he said and asked, "Is human life so cheap?" He said most hospitals in Gujarat are in residential areas and violate town planning and municipal rules as the owners set up the hospitals with the blessings of police and civic body officials. Taking objection to arguments without pleading, Nair asked whether the petitioners had pleaded anything on this issue. Dave responded, saying, "It is common knowledge." Dave said that instead of acting against the unauthorized buildings in residential areas, which were converted into hospitals and nursing homes without any fire safety norms, the Gujarat government has come out with a notification to regularize them. Nair said the inquiry commission went into all aspects of the subject matter and has given a comprehensive report. The fire at Shrey Hospital in Ahmedabad's Navrangpura area on August 6, 2020, claimed the lives of eight Covid-19 patients and five patients perished in another blaze in Uday Shivanand Covid-19 Hospital in Rajkot in November 2020.

Gujarat: List steps taken after report on hospital fires, Supreme Court says
Woman harassed for refusing to give salary to in-laws
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

AHMEDABAD: A 32-year-old bank manager filed a complaint with Women’s Police Station (West) alleging that her husband and in-laws were harassing her as she refused to give them her salary. The woman got married to a Gandhinagar resident in 2016 and lived with her parents for a year. She was posted in the western part of Ahmedabad then. In her complaint, she stated that she used to provide financial support to her in-laws. In 2019, she moved to Maharashtra where she was posted. Her in-laws and husband would visit her often and she too would come down to Gandhinagar, her complaint stated. Later, her husband demanded that that she give him her salary, but she refused. This resulted in a dispute between her and her husband, according to the complaint. She further stated that, in 2020, her in-laws did not allow her to enter the house. However, in 2021, she was Covid positive, but her husband and in-laws did not take care of her and so, she lived with her parents in Ahmedabad. In 2021, after Covid treatment, she went back to her in-laws’ place. Her complaint stated that she wanted to have a baby, but her husband was not interested. The couple had not slept together in three years, her complaint stated. Recently, when she called her husband, he asked her not to call him if there was nothing important to talk about as he was busy. Later, when she called him again, he told her that he wanted to get separated after which she filed a police complaint. The woman’s husband and in-laws have been booked under Section 498 (A) of the IPC (husband or relatives subjecting a woman to cruelty).

Woman harassed for refusing to give salary to in-laws
BJP leader Jaynarayan Vyas meets Ashok Gehlot, says it was to discuss about ‘Narmada, Covid’
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Senior BJP leader and former minister when Narendra Modi was Gujarat chief minister, Jaynarayan Vyas, met Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior observer in charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot in Ahmedabad on Saturday, creating a buzz in the political circles.Vyas, 75, who was former health minister in the Modi cabinet, and has held portfolios of Narmada and water resources, told The Indian Express that he sought an appointment with Gehlot “about a month ago” to discuss their success with the harnessing of Narmada waters and Covid-19 management that had won praises from the World Health Organisation (WHO).Gehlot, who is camping in Gujarat, called him up Saturday morning to meet, said Vyas.Asked about the possibility of him joining the Congress, Vyas said, “I have staked claim to contest from my former seat in Sidhpur, and now it is up to the parliamentary board to decide… I trust my party where I have spent almost three decades…”According to Vyas, many surveys had shown him as the most popular candidate for the Sidhpur seat in Patan district, which is his hometown, from where he has contested seven times, winning four times. However, Vyas could not retain the seat in 2017.“In the end, one must listen to one’s inner voice,” the former minister who is an IITian, told this paper.Vyas said, “I met Gehlot to basically understand how Rajasthan had successfully irrigated 2.5 lakh acres of land with 0.5 MAF share of Narmada waters and was told it was largely because of the drip irrigation technology, which I feel Gujarat should also employ.”He said that he also wanted to understand Rajasthan’s Covid management where waiting period for the ambulances was minimised by setting up a transit drop off point where the infected patient’s primary treatment would begin before admission to a hospital.However, Vyas, who was minister from 2007 to 2012, is known to be unhappy in the BJP. In June 2021, when Vyas was recuperating after a heart surgery, he tweeted saying he got a call from BJP headquarters Kamalam to attend a meeting. He wrote, “…In past if u were slight unwell, senior most party bosses would ask about your health or drop in. I am in a hospital with by pass surgery the entire world knows except the Kamalam kid ! Party has definitely changed!!”

BJP leader Jaynarayan Vyas meets Ashok Gehlot, says it was to discuss about ‘Narmada, Covid’
Insurer asked to pay Rs 5 lakh claim to widow
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 month ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 month ago | |

The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Ahmedabad City, ordered an insurance company to pay a widow Rs 5 lakh for the mediclaim she had filed. The company, Oriental Insurance Co Ltd, had declined to pay her claim for Corona Kavach Mediclaim policy on October 15.The widow, Reetu Vazirani of Bopal, filed a case on January 1 in DCDRC Ahmedabad City (Main) after the company declined to pay the insurance claim amount following her husband’s death due to Covid. Her husband, Kishore Vazirani, had taken a Corona Kavach Mediclaim policy for Rs 5 lakh. He suffered from Covid-19 and was admitted to a multispeciality hospital on April 12, 2021. But as his condition did not improve, he was shifted to CIMS hospital on May 1. He, however, died on May 8.The family incurred an expense of Rs 5.59 lakh on hospitalisation and treatment. Reetu filed the claim with the company on May 28, 2021. The company declined the claim citing clause 3.6 of the mediclaim policy, which for the purpose of claim meant Covid-19 as defined by the WHO and caused by the virus SARS-CoV2.In the consumer court, the insurance company’s advocate produced documents such as CT scan report, HRCT scan of chest, CIMS death summary and the letter of mamlatdar giving relief amount to the claimant on account of the death of her husband due to Covid-19. Reetu’s advocates argued that her husband was treated for corona virus and was on life saving support. He was shifted to ICU and was on continuous ventilator support. With all these, there was no doubt that the deceased died of Covid-19.The court concluded that the company had failed to show that the grounds for claim denial were fulfilled. It said that denying the claim of the complainant was not proper and legal and the company committed an unfair trade practice by turning down a genuine claim.Court further stated mere contention is not a proof, and the insurance company must establish that the rejection was proper and just. The court ordered the ifirm to pay claim amount of Rs 5 lakh along with interest at 8% . The firm was also asked to pay Rs 25,000 towards mental agony and stress.

Insurer asked to pay Rs 5 lakh claim to widow
Anxiety disorders have no effect on vaccine hesitancy, reveals study
Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 month ago | |
Ahmedabad Mirror
1 month ago | |

Individuals who deal with anxiety are no less hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine compared to those without anxiety, according to new research. The new study led by the University of Waterloo in Canada aimed to investigate the relationship between vaccine hesitancy, psychological factors associated with anxiety, and individuals’ reasoning for and against getting the vaccine.“People with anxiety difficulties were not more hesitant about the vaccine. Rather, the more discomfort they had with uncertainty, the less hesitant they were,” said Dr Christine Purdon, professor of Clinical Psychology at Waterloo in a paper published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.“The opposite was true of those without anxiety, suggesting that discomfort with uncertainty may be an important factor when addressing vaccine hesitancy,” Purdon added. To conduct the study, the researchers surveyed 148 participants with and without anxiety disorders. All participants completed an online questionnaire examining Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy along with other related variables such as conspiracy beliefs, individualism, and intolerance of uncertainty.They also surveyed the top reasons why individuals were motivated to get the vaccine and the top reasons why they were hesitant. The most common reasons that participants were hesitant to get the vaccine were related to the vaccine’s effectiveness and novelty, and fear of adverse effects. In contrast, the most frequent reasons that participants were motivated to get the vaccine were to protect others, to protect self, and to return to a sense of normalcy. The researchers found that anxious and non-anxious participants did not differ in vaccine hesitancy. However, discomfort with uncertainty predicted greater vaccine hesitancy in non-anxious participants, and in both groups’ vaccine hesitancy was predicted by individualistic worldviews, conspiracy beliefs, and a lack of trust in authority.The researchers hope that their findings will help aid in future research that continues to explore vaccine hesitancy and interventions to promote vaccine uptake.IANS

Anxiety disorders have no effect on vaccine hesitancy, reveals study