Ahmedabad: A woman constable of city police on Friday filed a complaint at Naranpura police station, alleging that her husband sodomized her and as she resisted, he assaulted her and then abandoned her around a month ago. In her FIR, the woman she had married a man from Shankheshwar taluka of Patan district on April 23, 2015, according to the wishes of her family. She said she was preparing for the police constable exam, which she passed in 2017, after which she was posted as a Lok Rakshak at a police station in the city. She said her husband did not like her working as a cop, fought with her and told her not to take the job. As she said that she would work as a cop, he assaulted her. Some community leaders and family members intervened and sorted out their dispute, the FIR states. The woman cop said she moved to Naranpura in Ahmedabad city from her native place in Patan and began working as a cop. She said whenever her husband came to stay with her in the city, he beat her up over petty domestic issues. In January, her husband came to celebrate Uttarayan with her in the city. He demanded Rs 30 lakh to start a business. She said she did not have that much money, and refused. This enraged him, and he assaulted her badly and told her to leave him.She said she continued to stay with him, but he used to pick fights over issues like the cooking and the cleaning of their house. She said she cooked food for him, but he would throw it to dogs and stray cattle, saying she did not know on how to cook. Aggrieved at his attitude, she began staying alone in her quarters allotted the state police. Again, community elders set up a court and told her to live with him. Accepting her community’s diktat, she began living with him at her flat in Naranpura. On the night of March 3, he sodomized her and when she resisted, he assaulted her badly and left her alone in the flat. After that, he never spoke to her. She finally approached police and filed a complaint of domestic violence and unnatural sex against her husband.
Ahmedabad: The Chandola lake, the largest water body in the city, is a picture of neglect. While water hyacinth has covered its surface, it has also become a dumping ground for garbage and sewage. In July 2015, after the intervention of then chief minister Anandiben Patel, the 1,200 hectares of the lake was transferred to the civic body for upkeep. By this time, the lake bed had shrunk to 15% of its original size because the natural channels feeding it were choked with garbage and illegal construction. Soon after the transfer, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) standing committee chairman Pravin Patel budgeted Rs 5 crore for cleaning the lake and engaging a consultant to prepare a DPR for its rejuvenation. This plan is now gathering dust with the AMC. Residents living near the lake complain that the water hyacinth and garbage dumped into the lake have caused a perpetual stench, making life difficult for them. The garbage has also led to more mosquito breeding in the lake, locals say.The recent Uttarayan festival caused hundreds of kites to litter the surface of the lake, which is Ahmedabad’s largest lake. Since 2018, the AMC has carried out civic works worth Rs 2.50 crore to divert rainwater and direct illegal sewage into the main drain line.Interestingly, the Rs 960-crore kharicut canal project does not cover the length till the Chandola lake, although the Kharicut was originally a natural water body that drained into Chandola lake. The Kharicut canal project covers only 13km.As of now, only storm water lines of the city empty into the lake, but residents living around the water body claim sewer also empties into the lake from various points.
As Covid cases surge in Ahmedabad and Gujarat, paediatricians are reporting a worrisome trend over the last two weeks. The number of paediatric Covid cases is on the rise, almost double than what was reported in the second wave.Paediatricians, hospitals and diagnostics laboratories in Ahmedabad agree that the number of Covid cases among children below 14 years has gone up drastically compared to the second wave which began its decimation in April 2021.Clinical director at Sterling Accuris, Dr Sanjeev Shah said they have been carrying out 2,500 to 3,000 RT-PCR tests every day for Covid. “Of these, around 300 tests are of children below 14 years of age,” said Shah.Shah said Covid among kids was reported during the second wave too but the infection rate was very low compared to now. “This time Covid infection among kids has doubled as compared to the second wave,” said Shah.Take the case of Amit Paliwal, a resident of South Bopal whose son was diagnosed with Covid on January 12. Talking to Mirror, Paliwal said his son had a high fever on January 12 and the paediatrician suggested getting an RT-PCR test done. “The test result was positive but the viral load is low so he is recovering fast,” said Paliwal.Interestingly, Paliwal and his wife tested Covid positive during the second wave but his son did not contract the disease. This time, however, the couple have tested negative though the child is Covid positive.Parents infect childrenPaediatricians in the city said children get secondary infection, primarily from their parents and unknowingly become carriers of the disease as they don’t wear masks. Dr Mona Desai, a paediatrician, said most Covid-19 cases in children begin with two symptoms - headache and chills. “These kids get infection primarily from their parents who move out a lot,” said Dr Desai.Former president of Ahmedabad Medical Association said the number of Covid cases is much higher than what is being reported. “Post-Uttarayan, Covid cases may see a surge both among adults and kids. Kids can unknowingly become spreaders as they don’t wear masks,” said Dr Desai.Positivity rate surgeThe overall Covid positivity rate in general and among children is on the rise for the last two weeks. Director of Neuberg Supratech Reference Laboratory, Dr Sandip Shah said 30% of the Covid tests return positive. He said a higher positivity rate was also because the Omicron variant is far more infectious.
VADODARA: Covid-19 broke all its previous record on Wednesday in Vadodara. The fresh Covid-19 cases that Vadodara city and district registered during the ongoing third wave of Covid-19 on Wednesday were more than double of what it had registered during the peak of second wave last year. With the spread of infection rapidly rising, Vadodara registered 2,252 fresh Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. This is not only all time single-day high that Vadodara has registered since the beginning of the pandemic but also more than double the number of cases that were registered on May 7 last year when the city and district registered 989 cases at its peak. The peak cases that Vadodara had registered during the first wave were 135 on September 19, 2020. The infection is spreading much faster compared to first and second wave. While it was nearly six months later that peak of first wave was registered in September, the peak number of cases during the second wave also had come after a couple of months. The number of positive cases registered in a day had crossed last year's peak on January 13, ahead of the Uttarayan festivities when the city and the district had registered 1,047 cases. "The spread of infection was not so quick during the first and second wave. We still don't know the peak. Fortunately, hospitalization is lower, and people are recovering within three to five days," said Dr Devesh Patel, medical officer (health) of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The fresh Covid-19 cases were results of 11,162 samples that were tested in the last 24 hours ending on Wednesday evening. With the addition of new cases, the total number of Covid-19 positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic touched 86,346 The number of discharges during the day were also as high as 937 taking the total number of patients discharged during the pandemic to 76,197. The city and district now count for as many as 9,525 active cases of which 9,290 are under home isolation. Vadodara rural on the other hand added 254 fresh cases taking the total number of infected individuals to 28,098.
AHMEDABAD: For some kids, manja is at the cutting edge of recycling — kite strings that can slit become materials that provide a comfortable seat! Over the past four years, about 250 schoolchildren of Ahmedpur village in Dehgam have been collecting discarded kite strings which are then used as fillings for cushions. The kids begin their collection drive after Vasi Uttarayan, the second day of the Uttarayan festival. They gather the strings from roads, terraces, poles, and fences. Typically, a string pile of 60-80kg is brought to the school ground and the dangerous trash is bought by the school and parents for Rs 20 per kg. The pile is sent to a tailor’s shop in the village, where chair cushions are made with strings as fillings. The cushions are used by the school and also by the gram panchayat office. The initiative was launched four years ago by Hasmukh Patel, the principal of Ahmedpur Government Primary School. He was pained to see scores of birds suffering injuries after getting caught in these sharp kite strings for many days after Uttarayan. “I kept thinking about a solution. Four years ago, it struck me that I could ask the kids to collect the strings,” Patel said. “They are energetic and keep running around the village. So they might as well collect the strings.” The primary school of Ahmedpur has 250 students studying in Classes 1 to 8. The tiny village’s population is about 2,000. “I talked to the kids before Uttarayan about this idea. I did not know how they would respond,” Patel said. “I also told them that the biggest string collection will get a gift. A couple of days after Uttarayan, I saw students carrying extra bags.” He added: “They had collected strings from the entire village. I was astonished that the total collections weighed 80kg!” Patel said that after the manja menace was cleared from the village, he did not know what the next step should be. “So we piled up the strings and set them afire,” he said. “But later, some village residents pointed to the environmental hazard.” The next year, the kids again brought in about 80kg of kite strings, Patel said. “As an experiment I took some of it to the tailor’s shop and asked him to make a chair cushion for me,” he said. “The cushion he made was very comfortable to sit on!” The remaining pile of strings was also sent to the tailor and many cushions were made. Patel said that then the School Management Committee (SMC), composed of parents, took over this effort. “The next year, village members paid Rs 20 per kg to the kids and the pile was again converted into comfortable cushions,” Patel said. “I asked the president of the SMC about the source of the funds. I was told that village residents had donated!” Gulabsinh Zala, the president of the SMC, who runs a grocery shop in the village, said: “We thought that this initiative will die out gradually if the kids don’t get an incentive.” Zala added: “So my friends and I asked people to donate whatever they could. Some donated Rs 5, some Rs 10, and others Rs 200. Using this fund we bought strings from the kids.” Zala’s two daughters and one son study at the school.
AHMEDABAD: With 21,000 active cases, Covid-19 has been tightening its grip on the city but during the long Uttarayan break, mask-rule violators seemed to go unnoticed by cops. The number of mask-rule violations dipped dramatically on Uttarayan and on the following day as police appeared to show leniency. On an average day so far, January has seen 1,066 mask-rule violations throughout the city and most offences were recorded on January 8 and January 10. However, just 612 cases were registered on Uttarayan and the figures dipped even further to 537 the next day, which is celebrated as Vasi Uttarayan. The average number of mask-rule violations for three days ahead of Uttarayan was 1,270. The number of Covid-19 cases on Uttarayan and on the previous two days remained over 3,000. Ahmedabad logged 15,997 mask-rule violations between January 1 and 15 and fines totalling Rs 16 lakh were collected. A similar trend was seen during the Diwali festival in 2020 and 2021 and during the 2021 Gujarat local body polls. On the polling day, police had found only four people violating the mask rule as they were busy with the election bandobust. Those were the lowest ever cases of mask-rule violations in the city, recorded on February 21, 2021. “During the Uttarayan festival, cops were deployed to maintain social distancing and to implement Covid protocols strictly,” said a city police officer. “After the festival, about 85 cops were diagnosed with the Covid infection.” The officer added: “However, as people were celebrating the festival with joy, we did not want to be a spoilsport.”
A 22-year-old woman who was allegedly harassed by her husband and in-laws for dowry tried to kill herself by ingesting rat poison, a complaint at Vejalpur police station states.Nazia (name changed) married Arif (name changed) in November 2020 and the couple has a four-month-old son from the marriage. Three months into her marriage, her husband and in-laws started harassing her for dowry, Nazia’s complaint states. Arif demanded a car from her father, but the latter expressed inability to buy one due to financial constraints. While the alleged harassment continued, Nazia conceived and gave birth to a son. A fight ensued between her and Arif over the naming of her son, over which she which she was bashed up and had to leave her home.But then Arif took her back assuring that he would mend his ways. But the harassment continued, and on January 14, Nazia visited her father’s place to celebrate Uttarayan. When she returned on Monday, her mother-in-law told her that Arif did not intend to live with her anymore. Unable to take the humiliation, she consumed rat poison and then informed her friend.She was taken to Sola Civil Hospital and an FIR was filed with Vejalpur police.
On the second day of Uttarayan, Gujarat reported 7 deaths due to Covid-19, the highest number of fatalities in the past few months. The total official death tally now stands at 10,151.Fresh cases of Covid, however, dropped for the second consecutive day, falling from over 11,000 cases on Thursday to 10,019 on Friday and registering 9,177 infections on Saturday.Surat reported the highest number of three deaths, followed by Ahmedabad with two, Navsari and Rajkot one each, the health department said in a release.In the past 24 hours, 5,404 patients were discharged from various hospitals, taking the number of recoveries in the state to 8,46,375, the release added.There are now 59,564 active cases in the state currently, of which the condition of 60 patients is critical.Ahmedabad reported 2,621 fresh cases, followed closely by Surat with 2,214 cases, Vadodara 1,211 and Rajkot 438 cases. All these cities accounted for over 70 per cent of the total fresh infections.As many 1.76 lakh people received Covid vaccination on Saturday, taking the total number of the doses administered in the state to 9.46 crore, the statement added.
Ahmedabad: The city on Thursday recorded death of an active Covid patient after 20 days – the last death was recorded on December 24. The daily tally of 3,673 was 170 cases or 4.5% less compared to Wednesday.The district has 19,865 active cases – the highest since the end of second wave. The district accounts for 39% of the state’s total active cases. Analysis of the overall cases reveals that the eight municipal corporations accounted for 76% of the daily cases – the lowest in 13 days. “Only one district (Botad) did not record any fresh case on Thursday. None of the districts have zero active cases now. It shows that the third wave is fast spreading across the districts. When we compare Ahmedabad or Surat numbers with other districts, we must also keep in mind that the cities carry out about 19,000 daily tests compared to 1,700 in Sabarkantha and 450 in Porbandar,” said a senior public health expert. The state health department stopped giving the Omicron variant break-up in the bulletin, giving the rise to the speculations of the high number of the variant. The experts have long pointed out that due to the nature of the variant, the symptoms are relatively milder, and severity and mortality are very less. The senior health professionals advised the citizens to exercise caution at least for the next couple of weeks.
Two days of Uttarayan festivities saw a lot of casualties and emergencies in Ahmedabad and other parts of the state.EMRI handled 640 bird emergencies on account of kite flying on Uttarayan. This included 614 pigeons and doves, 7 parrots, 4 crows, 4 poultry, 2 eagles, 2 peacocks, one bat, falcon and sparrow each.Surat registered 155 cases of bird injuries, followed by Ahmedabad with 147 cases, Rajkot 57 and Gandhinagar 36.As many as 731 animals were injured on January 14, of which 487 were dogs, 141 cattle, 38 cats, 8 buffalo, 6 goats, 2 pigs and 49 other animals.There were 52 per cent more animal emergencies than the normal days – 899 cases on normal days compared to 1,371 on Uttarayan.275 non-vehicularmishapsAs per Gujarat EMRI 108 service, there were 248 cases of injury by kite thread on January 14 and 130 cases on January 15. Ahmedabad had the most emergencies, followed by Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot and Bhavnagar.Ahmedabad had 74 and 64 emergency cases on January 14 and 15, respectively. Vadodara had 28 and 15 emergencies on the two days; Surat 28 and 17; Rajkot 26 and 7 and Bhavnagar 10 and 2, respectively.A majority of non-vehicular cases that EMRI handled were related to falls and physical assault. There were 275 cases on Friday and 231 on Saturday. There were 254 cases of physical assault on Friday and 136 on Saturday.
Ahmedabad: Flamingos, treepies, eagles, yellow-footed green pigeons, ibises, egrets, comb ducks, and the common crows and pigeons were among the birds that were rescued after being injured by kite lines.The state forest department rescued over 2,700 birds on Friday and Saturday while NGOs tended to more than 2,000 birds.The majority of the birds injured were pigeons and crows. This year the number of injured crows was higher compared to the 2021 figure.The forest department officials said that overall more birds were injured this Uttarayan than in the previous one. The officials said that the forest department rescued 2,703 birds of which 2,494 were saved. The state government has been launching Karuna Abhiyan every year to save birds from the killer manja.The campaign aims to save birds that sustain injuries during Uttarayan across Gujarat. The campaign runs from January 10 to 20. The initiative covers 44 medical centres run by NGOs. Moreover, 10 control rooms, 129 collection sections, and 13 mobile vans were pressed into service in Ahmedabad district. Over 2,079 volunteers, including 161 veterinary doctors, participate in the project.The state forest department officials said that on the Uttarayan day, 1,021 birds were injured and the number was nearly 1,700 on Saturday. Hence more injuries were recorded on Saturday than on the Uttarayan festival day.Kartik Shastri of Jivdaya said that his trust alone rescued 1,145 birds till afternoon on Saturday. Shastri said that this year the injuries were high despite Covid restrictions.
Ahmedabad: It was the ‘Kai Po Che’ day when the city had some fun even though the memory of the devastating second wave lingered in the horizon. Celebrations were upbeat, but people appeared to be mindful of the spectre of the rising Covid cases. There were few loudspeakers blasting the latest numbers and even fewer lanterns to light up the sky, but colourful kites cheered the city in some measure on Friday.Rakesh Patel, a resident of Satellite, said that his society had strict rules about the number of persons allowed on the terrace and outsiders were banned altogether. “Thus, we could not be with our usual group for the second consecutive year,” he said. “The wind was very favourable, and we could enjoy kite-flying almost the entire day. Undhiyu party right on the terrace was the highlight of the day.”The eastern city parts, including the pol areas, captured the spirit of Uttarayan with traditional kite fights. By evening, some aficionados even sent tukkals (paper lanterns attached with the kite string) to the sky. Balwant Parekh, a resident of Kalupur, said that they missed the hustle and bustle of the traditional Uttarayan. “But it’s the time to exercise caution, so that we can celebrate the festival next year with double the vigour,” he said.Some Amdavadis, however, remarked that this year many kitists used the nylon thread, sometimes called Chinese manja, to fly kites. Vijay Dabhi, a bird rescuer, agreed with the observation. “The manja is banned, but the majority of the birds we rescued were tangled in synthetic thread which is difficult to break,” he said. “It just aggravated the injuries.”For the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES), it was a relatively easier festival with fewer fire calls. The team, however, carried out a rescue operation when three persons including a teenager drowned in a lake in Moraiya near Ahmedabad. City hospitals saw over 100 cases of injuries related to Uttarayan including fall and manja gashes.
Ahmedabad: For the 15th year in a row, Manoj Bhavsar was seen fastening safety wires on city bridges to minimise injuries caused to riders by kite strings. “The AMC provides me with a hydraulic truck to fix metal wires on either side of the bridges. These wires snag descending kite strings and prevent them from harming riders,” explains Bhavsar, who works as an air conditioner technician and runs Mission Safe Uttarayan Foundation. This year, he has fastened safety wires on 29 of the 50-odd bridges of the city. The 51-year-old said, “We fasten wires to electric poles on either side of the bridges. However, newer bridges have electric poles in the middle of the divider. So, we have put up banners on these bridges, asking people to ride carefully.” Bhavsar spends about Rs 2,500 per bridge as they need 15kg wire to cover one side of a bridge. “People have been generous with donations,” he said, adding: “It is important to educate people on the dangers of manja. If people ride slowly during this time, fatal accidents can be averted.”
Ahmedabad: Festivities are invariably about hope, fervour and pure, unfiltered enthusiasm. But since the pandemic outbreak, keeping celebrations in check while striving to keep the spirits high has become the new normal. This year’s Uttarayan is no different. While enthusiasts are all game about hitting the terrace early in the morning, soaking in the sun and enjoying flying kites, the echoes of kai po che may be muted amid surging Covid-19 cases and a slew of restrictions. With the state government guidelines prohibiting large gatherings on terraces and the use of loudspeakers, Makar Sankranti will be a tad lacklustre than usual this year. “I love kite flying and since I was a child, I haven’t missed celebrating it. Though there will be no loudspeakers or huge gatherings, I am sure it is going to be as lovely flying a kite and enjoying the festivities with my daughter and nephew,” said Jignesh Desai, a Vejalpur resident. On the eve of the festival, markets across Delhi Darwaza, Raipur and Kalupur, were abuzz with buyers. Colourful kites bearing messages encouraging vaccination and staying safe are aplenty here. The overall sales have remained dull in the first 10 days of January. As a consequence, even kite makers have reduced prices to boost sales. And while Covid-19 continues to disrupt travel plans, it doesn’t seem to have dampened the enthusiasm of kite flyers. Residential societies have issued advisories to encourage people to exercise caution. “We have advised the members to avoid gathering extra crowds in the society,” said Chiranjeev Jha, chairman, Richmond Grand Society in Makarba. “Guests won’t be denied entry. Plans have been made to manage the crowds on terraces by allotting time to specific blocks of the apartment,” he said. On the other hand, certain other societies are strict in imposing guidelines. Arvind Chauhan, chairman of a society in Jodhpur, said, “We haven’t organized social events in the past two years. The members are concerned about their safety. We have taken necessary steps like screening at the society gate, frequent sanitation and compulsory masks.”
Many Amdavadis who had booked the long Uttarayan weekend at their favourite destinations have bailed out due to rising Covid cases.As per industry sources, 60 to 70 percent of the travellers from Ahmedabad have cancelled bookings. Travel agents said most bookings for Shimla, Rishikesh, Mussoorie and Dehradun besides Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Kumbhalgarh, Jawai, Mount Abu and Udaipur, have been cancelled.Stuti Amrutiya, an interior designer, cancelled their three-day vacation to Jawai. “We had booked the dates in November. However, the spike in Covid cases in the last week or two changed our minds. We had all contracted Covid during the second wave. We don’t want to take any chances now. We will travel only when the situation improves.”Director of Vanguard Holidays Shailesh Agrawal said, “About 70% of our clients have cancelled bookings. Most of them had chosen a two nights/three days package. On time cancellations mean 100% hotel booking refund but not for flight tickets.” Satish Joshi, a businessman, had to bear a loss of around Rs 1 lakh on flight tickets booked for a trip to Kolkata and Kamakhya Temple. He said, “This is the second time we had to cancel our trip. My son had specially flown down from the UK for a family trip. Since the tickets were non-refundable, I lost all of Rs 1 lakh. But life matters over money.”Director of Martand Tours and Travels Nishti Notani said, “Cancellations started trickling in from the first week of January. Maximum booking cancellations are by the people that were traveling via flight or train followed by hired cars.”Vijay Desai, a senior advocate in the High Court, has also cancelled his bookings for Mount Abu during Uttarayan. Desai said, “I had plans to travel to Mt Abu with my wife and daughter. It’s better to remain home rather than risking our lives.”
Amdavadis experiencing the winter chill can expect some relief from the low temperature as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a rise in night time minimum temperature from Uttarayan. Thecity has been experiencing severe cold wave conditions along with other districts like Gandhinagar, Banaskantha, Patan and Kutch, which has resulted in the minimum temperature in the city falling by more than six degree celsius in a single day to a low of 9.1 degree celsius on Sunday.Thereafter, the IMD had also issued a cold wave warning for Monday and Tuesday with the minimum temperature continuing to remain low, while the city recorded a minimum temperature of 10.1 degree celsius on Wednesday. Gandhinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 9 degree celsius, while Naliya remained the coldest place in the state with 5.4 degree celsius.As per the IMD, Ahmedabad and other districts of the state have to bear cold temperature for Thursday as well and the minimum temperature is gradually expected to rise from Friday when it is expected to rise by two to four degree celsius.
Ahmedabad: Footfalls at restaurants, multiplexes, and malls have nosedived amid the recent spurt in cases of Covid-19. With a fresh set of guidelines capping the numbers on public gatherings and the extension of night curfew timings, restaurants have seen an 80% dip in footfalls. Takeaway orders have also declined. Multiplexes are compelled to cancel shows with new releases getting postponed in the wake of the rising Covid cases.Dilip Thakkar, an Ahmedabad-based restaurateur, said: “In December, the curfew was imposed after midnight and because of that business was good as we received a lot of footfalls in the evening.” He added: “As compared to December, footfalls have now dipped to barely 10% in the first ten days of January as people have stopped venturing out due to curfew restrictions.” He went on to say: “With the curfew starting at 10pm, we need to shut shop by 9.30pm latest, which means we cannot entertain guests after 8.45pm. This is hurting the business.”Similar is the case with an Ashram Road restaurant where dine-in customers have declined by a sizable 50%.Even takeaway orders have been hit. “The sentiment has nosedived across the city with Covid cases showing a massive spike,” said Baiju Dhanani, another Ahmedabad-based restaurateur. “Therefore, customer footfalls as well as takeaway orders have gone down.”Hoteliers and restaurateurs are pinning their hopes on Uttarayan festivities when at least takeaway order volumes are expected to pick up.Multiplexes have seen an estimated 60-70% decline in customer footfalls and overall business.“Most new film releases which were scheduled in January have now been postponed by a month. We’ve been running the same movies for the past four weeks and naturally viewer interest will decline,” said Niraj Ahuja, general manager of a multiplex on SG Road. Ahuja added: “Moreover, with Covid cases rapidly surging, people have been apprehensive about venturing out for the past ten days which has certainly impacted business.”The owner of another multiplex in Ahmedabad said on the condition of anonymity: “The multiplex business throughout January and February is expected to reel from losses.” He added: “That’s not just because of restrictions and guidelines but also because of deferred releases. The third wave will slow down the recovery of the multiplex business.”
Ahmedabad: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will pay towards RT-PCR tests at specialized booths being set up at major public gathering points — the major transit bus station, railway station, markets and other community spaces. At least nine laboratories have been engaged for the purpose. “AMC will pay Rs 320 per test that are carried out at these specialized testing booths set up by the laboratory,” claimed a senior AMC official. Each day, around 18,000 RT-PCR tests are carried out within municipal limits across government and medical labs according to municipal officials. “SVP has the potential to process 1,500 RT-PCR samples a day for Covid, but as the numbers are increasing, we have asked the nine laboratories capable of carrying out these tests to set up booths,” the official said. The officials also added that RAT tests were not enough to detect the Covid variant. In the next two weeks, the AMC may increase the RT-PCR testing booths in the city. “We are looking at the post-Uttarayan period when we expect the Covid numbers to surge drastically and may require more RT-PCR testing booths,” said the AMC health official.
Ahmedabad: A couple of days ahead of Uttarayan, kite markets are usually brimming with people, not just through the day but at night as well. The scene is full of life: gleaming lights, shopkeepers screaming out rates, people looking to shop at the last minute for kites, manja, tapes, whistles, and sunglasses. However, with the night curfew beginning from 10pm, shopkeepers are compelled to shut shop early. Besides, muted sentiment in the wake of the rising Covid-19 cases has curtailed the buzz at kite markets.Estimates of kitemakers and traders suggest that the overall demand has nosedived by a significant 30%.“As the Kite Festival was cancelled at the last minute, all the orders which we received specific to the festival and Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav events from the state government were cancelled,” said Salimbhai Mansuri, a kite manufacturer based in the Kalupur Tower area of the city. Mansuri added: “The cancellations caused a major loss to the business. That apart, the overall sales are low due to the surge in coronavirus infections and low-key festivities.”Initially, kite prices were higher by 20% as compared to last year. For instance, the price of a kodi (a set of 20) of the basic cheel kites —which cost about Rs 100 last year — had gone up to Rs 120. However, soon the Covid cases went up, the announcement of the cancellation of the Kite Festival was made, and fresh restrictions on celebrations were imposed. Kite prices declined once again as a consequence.Iliyas Rangrez, a kite trader in the Jamalpur area of Ahmedabad, said: “The basic cheel kites which were sold at Rs 100 for a set of 20 till December-end now cost Rs 80.” He added: “We had no choice but to reduce prices because the footfalls in the market dramatically went down.” He went on to say: “People are busy during the day and therefore often visit markets at night. But due to the night curfew, not many are venturing out.”Kite manufacturers, in fact, are taking a big hit with the recent reduction in prices. While they have lost a major chunk of their business with dwindling corporate orders and the Kite Festival cancellations, they are also compelled to sell kites at lower rates.Naseruddin Shaikh, a kite shop owner in Jamalpur, said: “Since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, the costs of raw materials that go into making kites have gone up.” The materials include paper and the flexible wooden stick used to hold a kite’s shape. “Despite bearing higher input costs, we’re compelled to sell kites at a lower cost which leaves us with thinner margins and revenues,” Shaikh said. “We had also previously requested the administration to relax market timings and curfew timings so that business can pick up.”
Uttarayan, the kite flying festival, is just a few days away but the tempo among enthusiasts and sellers is nowhere to be seen. Tankshal, the age-old place where Amdavadis throng to buy kites and manja, bears a deserted look. Dominated by people hailing from UP, who rent out shops at Tankshal to sell kites and special “Bareilly” manja, this year they have decided to give the festival a miss due to uncertainties created by the pandemic. Ghatlodia-based businessman Nilesh Shah rued, “This year the Tankshal market appears dead. Covid pandemic has taken a toll on it. For years, it has been our favourite destination to buy kites and small accessories. This year, however, we went to Raipur to do Uttarayan shopping.”On the flip side, the traditional kite market at Raipur, dominated by local traders involved in seasonal businesses, is doing a brisk business. Ripple Shah, a homemaker based in Shilaj, said, “We buy kites from Raipur every year. Usually, the entire family goes to buy kites but this year it could not happen due to Covid. We wore two masks, but indulged in the pleasure of buying varied-colored kites and firki for the entire household.”
Ahmedabad: The state forest department has launched a state-wide helpline number to encourage public participation in wildlife conservation, and facilitate rescue of wild animals and action against wildlife-related crimes. Citizens can give a missed call on or send an SMS or a WhatsApp message to +91 83200 02000 to report wildlife-related crimes or raise a rescue alert. Besides, they also can receive links to apply for cattle-death compensation through this number. “This is an unmanned auto reply number. In response, the helpline provides links to a page which has phone numbers of all concerned forest officials like RFO or DCF and wildlife wardens based in all 33 districts,” a senior forest department official said. “However, this helpline is only meant for issues related to wild animals and not for pets or stray animals,” the official said. He said that the department already has Karuna Animal Helpline 1962 for rescue of birds and stray animals. “The department has an existing helpline exclusively for bird and stray animal rescue. We have upgraded Karuna Animal Helpline keeping in mind the upcoming Uttarayan festival when thousands of birds are at risk of getting injured or killed because of the sharp kite strings. Earlier, people would call 1962 to receive information related to rescue services. Now, it has been made a GIS-enabled service where a person can get all the numbers of forest department-operated rescue centres, NGOs, veterinary doctors and volunteers located in nearby areas,” the official said. Citizens can visit Gujarat Forest Department’s official website to avail of this service.
Ahmedabad: As Uttarayan nears, the fervour for kite flying is increasing by the day. But what brings us joy spells havoc for birds across the city. According to Jivdaya Charitable Trust (JCT) in Ahmedabad, as many as 547 cases birds were reported injured in the first week of January itself. The trend is almost at par with the same period last year when around 700 cases were reported in the first 10 days of January. This means an estimated 50-70 cases of bird injuries are reported in a day and most of them are caused by manja (glass-coated kite strings). Birds which are commonly found injured include crows, pigeons, ibis, parrots, kites, cormorants, owls, and green pigeons. Moumita, a programme manager at JCT, said, “Most birds get injured after being stuck in a tangle of manja which is found in trees, bushes and even on roads and along terrace walls. The more they try to free themselves and flap their wings, the greater the degree of injury as the thread saws into the wound.”Around 10% of the injured birds have died of grave injuries. “The number of cases are almost the same as last year’s. Thankfully, we have more volunteers this time to help us handle bird injuries as well as conduct rescues. We have been repeatedly urging people against using sharp, glass-coated or plastic threads to fly kites. We are also exhorting them to be mindful of the time when flying kites,” said Gira Shah, a trustee at JCT.Several rare birds are also found injured around this time of the year.
GANDHINAGAR/AHMEDABAD: Alarming rise in Covid-19 cases in the state led the Gujarat government on Thursday to postpone the big-ticket Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2022 slated to be held from January 10 to 12 in Gandhinagar. "In the larger public interest and keeping the welfare of all citizens of the state in mind, the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit which was to be held from 10th to 12th January 2022 has been postponed for the time being," said CM Bhupendra Patel. The announcement led to a slew of other events too being either postponed or cancelled. All pre-VGGS events namely Health Summit and Innovation Summit and VGGS Trade Show were put off; the flower show in Ahmedabad and kite-fest to be held by the state ahead of Uttarayan on January 14 were called off. The fresh wave of Covid-19 saw the state recording 4,213 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the highest in the past 230 days or 7.5 months. The number of active cases has also shot up to 14,346, the highest since June 8. According to the ministry of health & family welfare (MoHFW) department data, Gujarat on Wednesday added 28% of its active cases - the number was higher than Tamil Nadu (25%), Maharashtra (23%), West Bengal (23%), Karnataka (22%) and Kerala (11%). In comparison, Bihar had added 40% of active cases in a day, followed by 38% in Uttar Pradesh and 36% in Delhi. In the past few days, more than half a dozen top bureaucrats and political leaders, including a minister, have tested positive for Covid-19. Top sources said that given the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in the state, the government was flooded with inputs from corporates as well as the administration that big-size events expected to see large congregations of crowds will need to be curbed. "The government was forced to rethink the event as it could not implement curbs on private events when it was organising a mega-size VGGS event, gathering thousands from across the world under one roof," said a senior official. In the run-up to the event, 135 MoUs were signed with a total envisaged investment of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, mainly in chemical, energy pharma, port, infra, logistics and metals sectors. Along with the VGGS event, the Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show 2022 that was to be held from January 10 to January 13 at a venue in Gandhinagar, has also been postponed, said a senior official.
AHMEDABAD: Soon after Uttarayan, the India International Bullion Exchange (IIBX) - the country's first international bullion exchange - is set to begin trading operations within the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at GIFT City in Gandhinagar. Sources privy to the developments said while the exchange is set to begin operations from January 17, it will be inaugurated on January 11, on the sidelines of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) 2022. IIBX will be a gateway for bullion imports into India, and bullion for domestic consumption will be channelled through it. "While the IIBX will be inaugurated during VGGS 2022, operations will begin once the Kamurta period ends, after Uttarayan. Trial runs have been conducted and all necessary measures are in place," said a well-placed source. The Union finance ministry has begun the procedure to notify as financial services bullion spot trading, depository receipts with underlying bullion as financial products and other bullion-related services. Alongside the IIBX, an ecosystem for the bullion trade is being set up, a first in India. Besides the exchange, a deposit vault and free trade warehousing zone (FTWZ) are also coming up. "The establishment of a bullion refinery has also been approved by the authorities," said a source privy to the development. Besides conventional import channels for gold, the IIBX will open a parallel channel for gold trading at the international level and will put Gujarat and India on the global map, industry experts said. "HNI jewellers and bullion traders will be able to import gold through this exchange," the source added. India International Bullion Holding IFSC Limited (IIBH), a holding company, has been specifically created to set up the IIBX, a bullion clearing corporation as well as a bullion depository. IIBH was formed following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE), the Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), India INX International Exchange (IFSC) (India INX), National Securities Depository (NSDL), and Central Depository Services (India) (CDSL). The exchange was originally to go live on October 1. Trial runs and mock operations have been completed to ensure smooth functioning at the launch, sources said.
Ahmedabad: A 12-year-old who was flying a kite on his terrace fell off it and died on Tuesday. This is the first Uttarayan casualty in the city.Krishnagar police inspector A J Chunara said Prince Chunara was flying a kite on the terrace on his house in Gujarat Housing Board colony in Krishnanagar. He accidentally fell off the terrace. He was rushed to Asarwa Civil Hospital where he was declared “brought dead”.Police officials said this is the first casualty of this Uttarayan festival. Investigators said he suffered serious injuries to his head.Police officials said children usually go on to terraces alone and are not accompanied by their parents. Such tragedies usually occur when they run to catch a kite or during a kite duel. Officials said that cases of throats being slit by manja (glass-coated kite string) are also reported. They said that every year warnings are issued asking parents watch their children while they fly kite but there is hardly any change in the situation.According to officials in 2021, 13 cases were reported in which the victim’s throat was slit due to kite string. Three persons suffered trauma after falling on the road while trying to escape manja while riding two-wheelers.
SURAT: In a tragic incident, a six-year-old boy fell to his death while flying kite on the terrace of the fifth floor of a residential apartment in Adajan on Thursday. This was also the first Uttarayan-related casualty in the city this season. Deceased Tanay Patel, a student of class I, was shifted to a nearby hospital in Adajan where he succumbed within minutes during treatment. Preliminary investigation revealed that he was flying kites with other kids on the terrace without any adult supervision. Every year the kite flying festival leaves many people injured, or dead from killer manjas or electrocuted while rescuing kites stuck in poles and high-tension wires or even falling off terraces while catching cut kites. Tanay is survived by parents and elder sister. His father, Hiren Patel, is an assistant professor with Navsari Agriculture University and posted at the Ghod Dod Road campus, while his mother is a home-maker. Since he was fond of flying kites, Tanay went to the terrace at around 6.45pm with his sister and a few other children who were busy with kites and playing games. Investigation revealed that Tanay went near the parapet and suddenly fell off the terrace. Hearing the loud cries of the children, residents gathered and soon shifted the boy to a nearby hospital for treatment. Tanay suffered serious injuries on his head, chest and other parts of body resulting in his death within a few minutes of treatment. Police have registered a case of accidental death and started investigation.
Ahmedabad: On Thursday, a truckload of cauliflowers was transported from Prantij for Rs 35 per kg. And, this excluded transportation cost! The shortage of vegetables, not just in Gujarat but even in Maharashtra, has caused the prices to shoot up so much that most vegetables are priced around Rs 100 per kg. Sources in the APMC said, “Cauliflower, which was sold for Rs 10 in the wholesale market last year, is being sold for Rs 30 now. By the time it reaches, the end user, it costs almost Rs 150.”An APMC office-bearer, refusing to be named, said, "We do not expect prices to go down till Uttarayan as Amdavadis are going to consume a lot of vegetables till then. People will make undhiyu and consumption is likely to go up by at least 30%."APMC secretary Deepak Patel said, "The fluctuation in weather has affected production. Again, there is a forecast of unseasonal rain in north Gujarat which can affect production. The vegetable harvest in Maharashtra, especially in the Nashik belt, is low too. So, cauliflowers have been transported from Prantij to Mumbai."Javed Shaikh, a dealer at the APMC, said, "The city gets 360 tonnes of vegetables including potatoes and onions. Of this, 200 tonnes is green vegetables. Vegetables from the APMC here is transported to Rajasthan, Delhi and northern parts of the country. There is a demand from these areas and the traders are getting good price in Delhi and Rajasthan. This has led to a shortage in the city."However, the price hike has not benefited farmers, said an office-bearer of the APMC. "If a vegetable costed Rs 35 in the wholesale market, the farmer only got Rs 20 or Rs 25. The dealers took the rest as commission. Since the APMC does not control the retail market, the prices of vegetables in the city have spiralled out of control," he said.Giving an example, he said that tomatoes at Jamalpur are priced at Rs 35 per kg. "In the eastern part of the city, you can get it for Rs 45 to Rs 50. If you go to Navrangpura then it will be Rs 70 per kg but you will get it for Rs 80 in Satellite."