Gujarat India News

Supreme Court Rejects Ex-IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s Petitions, Imposes Fine

A Gujarat court in June 2019 sentenced former Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in another custodial death case dating back to 1990…reports Asian Lite News

Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s three petitions related to a drug seizure case were dismissed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The court imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh for each petition, expressing concern over the petitioner’s repeated recourse to the courts.

The court directed the petitioner to deposit the fine amount of Rs 3 lakh total with the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association.
One of the petitions by Bhatt has sought to transfer the trial of the matter to another court alleging the concerned trial court judge was dealing with the matter unfairly.

On earlier occasions too, the Supreme Court rejected the plea filed by former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt challenging a Gujarat High Court direction setting a timeline for a drug seizure case and slapped him with a fine of Rs 10,000.

Then Bhatt challenged the Gujarat High Court order which issued a direction of completion of trial in a drug case against him within the stipulated time. A Gujarat court in June 2019 sentenced former Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in another custodial death case dating back to 1990.

Earlier, The Supreme Court on May 10 declined the plea filed by ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt seeking to adduce additional evidence in the appeal he filed in the Gujarat High Court challenging his conviction in a custodial death case.

A bench of justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar dismissed the plea filed by Sanjiv Bhatt. Bhatt’s lawyer has taken the top court through the deposition of three witnesses who were doctors.
The court observed that it is required to be noted that, as such, the deposition of the said witnesses was as such considered by the trial court after all those three witnesses were thoroughly cross-examined. Now the deposition of the 3 witnesses is to be considered and re-appreciated by the High Court at the time of deciding the Appeal, it said.

“Having gone through the impugned order passed by the High Court, we see no reason to interfere with the same in the exercise of powers under Article 136 of the Constitution of India,” the top court said.
“Any observations by this Court on the deposition of the aforesaid 3 witnesses may ultimately affect the case of either party in the Appeal, which is yet to be considered by the High Court. Therefore, the Special Leave Petition stands dismissed”, the order stated. (ANI)

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Gujarat to host G20 health working group sessions

Modi will deliver a special virtual address during the inaugural event of the health ministers’ meetings on August 18, a government release said…reports Asian Lite News

The 4th Health Working Group (HWG) meetings, a component of India’s G-20 presidency, are scheduled to take place in Gandhinagar from August 17 to 19.

The schedule of the programme also includes a joint meeting of ministers of health and ministers of finance and a virtual address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said.

The health working group (HWG) meetings include the 4th meeting of HWG deputies and ministers on August 17, a health ministers’ meeting on August 18-19, and a joint meeting of ministers of health and ministers of finance on August 19, said Mona Khandhar, G20 Nodal Officer, Gujarat government.

Modi will deliver a special virtual address during the inaugural event of the health ministers’ meetings on August 18, a government release said.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will attend the joint meeting of ministers of health and ministers of finance on August 19, said Khandhar.

“Many other finance ministers of G20 nations will join the meeting virtually,” she said. Mandaviya will also remain present at the meeting of HWG deputies on August 17.

“Three parallel summits will be organised, on the topics of AYUSH, medical tourism advantage India, and pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. There will also be exhibitions in these three areas,” said Khandhar.

Ministers from 19 countries and nine invitee countries, along with senior representatives of 23 multilateral agencies, including the UN permanent representative, will remain present, she said.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will address the inaugural meeting of a seminar on AYUSH, being organised in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO), the nodal officer said.

Among other keynote dignitaries from across the world to participate in the meetings are State Minister of Indigenous Medicine of Sri Lanka J A Sisira Kumara Jayakody, Dr Carla Vizzotti of Argentina, and Dechen Wangmo of Bhutan.

“The August 17 event will be split into two sessions with a focus on finalisation of the outcome document through ‘Live Negotiations on the Draft Declaration led by India’s G20 Presidency Health Track Focal Point’,” a government release said.

An exhibition tour on different themes such as WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit, One Earth One Health Advantage Healthcare India 2023, and India MedTech Expo 2023, will also be organised after the closing session, it said.

The meeting of health ministers starting August 18 will have sessions on “Health Emergencies Prevention, Preparedness and Response (with a focus on One Health and AMR), a panel discussion with WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit and a panel discussion with ‘One Earth One Health Advantage Healthcare India 2023’, the release said.

On the same day, delegates will be taken on a tour of the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit, One Earth One Health- Advantage Healthcare India 2023, and India MedTech Expo 2023.

On August 19, discussions will be held on the issues of strengthening cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector with a focus on availability and access to safe, effective, quality; and affordable medical countermeasures, digital health innovation and solutions to aid universal health coverage and improve healthcare service delivery.

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Gujarat India News

Cyclone alert amid rising heatwave in Gujarat

As several parts of the country are grappling with severe heatwave conditions, IMD Scientist Naresh Kumar issued an advisory on the current situation in the country….reports Asian Lite News

Amid heatwave conditions likely over several parts of the country, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday gave a cyclone alert for Saurashtra and Kutch coast in Gujarat.

“Cyclone Alert for Saurashtra & Kutch Coast: Yellow Message. ESCS BIPARJOY over east-central Arabian Sea, at 1730 IST of 11th June near lat 18.6N & long 67.7E, Likely to cross between Mandvi (Gujarat) & Karachi (Pakistan) by noon of 15th June,” IMD said in a tweet. Earlier in the day, IMD had said that hot weather and heat wave conditions will likely continue for the next three days in Odisha and several places in the state will experience temperatures 4-6 degrees Celsius above normal.

Speaking to ANI, IMD Scientist Umashankar Das said, “We are expecting hot weather conditions and heat wave conditions to continue for the next three days. Apart from that, several places in Odisha will experience above normal temperatures by 4-6 degrees.”

IMD Scientist Das further mentioned that an orange warning has been issued in this regard.

“We have issued an Orange warning. This condition will continue till June 13. We are expecting that afterwards there is a slight fall in temperature. So, heatwave conditions will no more prevail in various districts,” he said.

As several parts of the country are grappling with severe heatwave conditions, IMD Scientist Naresh Kumar issued an advisory on the current situation in the country.

IMD Scientist Naresh Kumar said, “Talking about the heatwave conditions in India, the main heat wave zone currently is East India. The heat wave conditions are prevailing in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. For this, the IMD issued an orange alert in these regions. Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are also coming under the influence of heatwave.” (ANI)

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Gujarat India News

SWAGAT & Chintan Shibir: The initiatives that redefined governance in Gujarat

The core of SWAGAT and CHINTAN SHIBIR ultimately serves the general public as the first is to make the government more accessible to them, and the second is to ensure that whatever the government is planning for them, they are getting its benefits, writes Nieleesh SShukla

Prime Minister Modi’s vision has always been futuristic. From the time when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat until he became the Prime Minister of the country, his vision is what made him a global leader. Although he pioneered many successful schemes and initiatives, SWAGAT and CHINTAN SHIBIR are two such initiatives that have completed 20 years this year. Any scheme or initiative that runs for 20 years successfully is itself a great achievement.

In 2003, during the chief ministerial days of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi started these two initiatives with long-term objectives. On April 24th, 2003, Gujarat became the first state in India to launch a combination of digital and communication technology in a program named SWAGAT (Statewide attention on grievances by the application of technology). After 2 months in June 2003, a Unique and Pioneering HRD initiative, Chintan Shibir, the three-day ‘brainstorming workshops,’ were started.

The objective of SWAGAT was to create such machinery that can connect directly with the Janta-Janardan and give solutions to their problems as soon as possible. Chintan shibirs were workshops for the administrative officers of the states who work as a key intermediary between the government and the public.

The core of both these initiatives ultimately serves the general public as the first is to make the government more accessible to them, and the second is to ensure that whatever the government is planning for them, they are getting its benefits.

But to understand both these mega initiatives, we have to go back and understand what exactly these are and how they are still running successfully even after 20 years.

SWAGAT: Grievance redressal is the key to good governance; more so in a democracy. Efficiency, transparency, and speed in redressal are the key to citizen satisfaction, and that is where SWAGAT plays the role very well. Before SWAGAT, there used to be a paper-based process that was a) not transparent b) no common person had access to a higher level and c) no monitoring system was there to follow up. So, by removing all the above obstacles, SWAGAT handled public grievances systematically and fulfilled its mandate.

On 27th April 2023, when this initiative completed its 20 years, the PM interacted with the beneficiaries of SWAGAT and said, “The SWAGAT initiative in Gujarat demonstrates how technology can be efficiently used to resolve people’s grievances. It stands by the idea of Ease of Living and Reach of Governance. SWAGAT became the inspiration for many solutions to governance. Many states are working on this type of system. The attitude of the government should be friendly, and common citizens can easily share their issues with them”. On the lines of SWAGAT, PM Modi also started a program named PRAGATI in the central government to review the working of the government. Till now, 328 projects with a total cost of Rs. 15.82 lakh crore have been reviewed under PRAGATI.

SWAGAT has strengthened public accountability. Citizens feel satisfaction when their grievances are attended and well-looked-after at the highest level. Due to SWAGAT Programme’s monitoring system, access to all has been guaranteed through the proximity of local officers. The good governance model of Gujarat has found its identity in the world due to the efforts made by the government with all honesty and dedication. The UN also awarded the SWAGAT program the ‘Public Service Award’ in the year 2010. The Public Service Award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public

Chintan Shibir, which involves deep reflection on administrative issues, is an important exercise to keep the soul and mind of the government fresh and connected to the aspirations of the people. It serves as both a management exercise and a meeting of minds to evolve a meaningful and interactive platform for setting goals, sharing experiences, and focusing on vital areas of governance. Chintan Shibirs provide the platform for the sharing of hundreds of experiences, both good and bad, which led to learning from others and saved valuable resources of both time and money. All sessions at Chintan Shibir are highly interactive and have a deep impact on the bureaucracy and their work culture.

There is no doubt that the biggest success of Chintan Shibir was the formation of Team Gujarat, which propelled the state to the No.1 position in the country. It introduced the concept of proactive governance and improved service delivery while minimizing public interface.

The idea of Swanth Sukhay was conceived in the first Chintan Shibir in 2003. During the discussions, it was felt that many officers were doing innovative work apart from their routine assigned work, and the need was felt to institutionalize such initiatives. This resulted in a program named Swanth Sukhaya project, which means “what gives happiness to oneself.” The Central government decided to replicate Swanth Sukhaya at the national level in 2014.

In his earlier speech as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said, “Chintan Shivir is a prime example of cooperative federalism. The Panch Pran must be the guiding force for good governance. The law and order system can be improved with the help of smart technology. Every state should learn from each other, take inspiration from each other, work for the betterment of the country, and this is the spirit of the constitution.”

Even nine years after Modi left the Gujarat administration to lead the nation as Prime Minister, his successor Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Anandi ben Patel, then Vijay Rupani, and now Shri Bhupendra Patel, have held the torch tight. The SWAGAT program has not only endured in the state but continues to thrive. It has addressed around 5.6 lakh grievances with a 99.91% success rate.

On the completion of 20 years of SWAGAT, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel continued the glorious tradition of this innovative initiative by declaring the last week of April 2023 as “Swagat Saptah.” The Chief Minister’s office also trained village panchayat sarpanches, talatis, newly-appointed mamlatdars, and taluka development officers.

(Writer is Joint Director, Gujarat Bhawan, New Delhi)

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Gujarat India News

Campaigning ends for 2nd phase of Guj assembly polls

The voting will start at 8 a.m. on Monday and continue till 5 p.m. There are 74 general seats, 6 reserved seats for Scheduled caste and 13 for Scheduled Tribe….reports Asian Lite News

The campaigning for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections — scheduled to be held on December 5, ended on Saturday with all the three major parties — the BJP, Congress and the AAP, putting their last-minute efforts to woo the voters.

The first phase of the polling — held on December 1, witnessed a low turnout of voters. Chief Electoral Officer P. Bharathi said that in 93 seats, there are 2,51,58,730 voters in 14,975 polling centres.

Of them, 2,904 polling centres are in urban areas and 12,071 in rural areas. There are a total of 26,409 polling booths. The smallest constituency is Dariapur (Ahmedabad city) spread over 6 sq. km, whereas Radhanpur is the biggest constituency spread over 2,544 sq. km.

At least 1,13,325 election staff will be on duty. The voting will start at 8 a.m. on Monday and continue till 5 p.m. There are 74 general seats, 6 reserved seats for Scheduled caste and 13 for Scheduled Tribe.

A total of 833 candidates are contesting the elections.

Surat, Dec 01 (ANI): A women voter shows her ink-marked finger after casting her vote for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections, in Surat on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

BJP chief confident of win

As the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections wound up, the Bharatiya Janata Party State unit president CR Patil on Sunday forecasted the party’s win by saying that BJP will win most of the seats.

Addressing a press briefing in ‘Kamalam’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in Gandhinagar, he said, “I want to thank the people of Gujarat for a peaceful first phase of the election. I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and all party workers, who campaigned for the BJP in the state in helping the party reach the helm of Gujarat.” On BJP’s rival party, Congress, State unit president Patil said, “I will not like to comment on Congress’s formula of making Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, but one thing is predestined that BJP is forming the government after conclusion of the polls.

Campaigning for the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections ended on Saturday evening.

Polling in the second and final phase will be conducted for 93 Assembly constituencies across 14 districts of north and central Gujarat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his last election rally in his native state, at Ahmedabad, on Friday, which was followed by roadshows, over consecutive days on December 1 and 2.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, concluded his campaigning for the final phase on Friday, with three public rallies in Mehsana, two public meetings in Ahmedabad and a roadshow in Vadodara.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a Pushpanjali Yatra, paying floral tributes to national leaders during a massive road show, in Ahmedabad.

People of Ahmedabad saw great enthusiasm as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a massive roadshow in the city.

People lined both sides of the streets through which the Prime Minister’s convoy passed. Showering petals on his convoy, the crowd chanted ‘Modi…Modi’ as they help up his posters.

The Prime Minister was also seen greeting people and waving at them.

Be it roads, balconies or rooftops of buildings, the locals crammed every available space to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister.

The PM also paid floral tributes to a statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose during his roadshow.

Thursday saw Modi returning to the campaign trail in Gujarat after a gap of two days. His three-hour mega roadshow spanned 16 Assembly constituencies which will poll in the second phase on December 5.

Covering a distance of over 50 kms, the roadshow started from the Naroda Gam and ended at Gandhinagar South constituency. PM Modi made at least 35 stops at memorials of prominent personalities, including Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, on the way.

Thakkarbapanagar, Bapunagar, Nikol, Amraiwadi, Maninagar, Danilimbda, Jamalpur Khadia, Elisbridge, Vejalpur, Ghatlodia, Naranpur, Sabarmati were some of the constituencies the PM covered during his roadshow.

The PM’s mega rally came on a day the first phase of polling was conducted in Gujarat.

Results of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will also be declared on the same day, December 8.

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Gujarat India News

Gujarat polls in two phases, counting on Dec 8

In the first phase, polling will be held for 89 seats while the second phase will see voting for 93 seats…reports Asian Lite News

The Gujarat Assembly polls will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5, the Election Commission announced here on Thursday.

The counting of votes will be taken up on December 8, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said.

In the first phase, polling will be held for 89 seats while the second phase will see voting for 93 seats.

Gujarat has a strong 4,90,89,765 electorate, which includes 2,53,36,610 males and 2,37,51,738 females.

The term of the 182-member state Assembly ends on February 18, 2023. After the poll dates were announced, the Model Code of Conduct came into force in the state.

Earlier, the poll panel had announced the dates for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls.

Election in Himachal Pradesh will be held in a single phase on November 12 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 8.

In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls too, elections were held in two phases, and the BJP had formed the government.

EC’s answers to questions of neutrality

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, reacting to questions being raised on the autonomous status of the Election Commission, said that “actions speak louder than words”.

The remarks were made by the CEC after the Congress party, following the “delay” in the announcement of dates for Gujarat Assembly polls, took a jibe at the EC by tweeting that the poll body was an autonomous institution and conducted fair elections.

Responding to queries regarding the “delay” in the announcement, Kumar said that the dates are decided considering the time and geographical conditions. The body has announced the dates 110 days before the assembly is supposed to end, he added.

Kumar added that those who raised questions on EVMs, “realised their fault” once the results came out in their favour.

The CEC also expressed condolences to the victims of Gujarat’s Morbi tragedy and their families.

BJP National President J.P. Nadda on the other hand, welcomed the announcement and claimed that the party, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modia will form a “double-engine” government in Gujarat, with a huge majority.

In a tweet, he added that the BJP would work with commitment to fulfill the aspirations of the people for the next five years.

Gujarat is considered the toughest stronghold of the BJP and the saffron party has been winning the state elections there since 1995.

After Modi came to Delhi as Prime Minister in 2014, the BJP had succeeded in forming the government in the state in 2017, but its tally in the Assembly fall significantly.

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Gujarat India News

World leaders offer condolences to Morbi bridge collapse

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter soon after, and informed that he had spoken with Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, and has called for “urgent mobilisation” of teams…reports Asian Lite News

The cable suspension bridge collapse in Gujarat’s Morbi district that has so far taken the lives of more than 130 people, even as rescue operations continue in search of more trapped individuals, have drawn the attention of prominent world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

In an official statement, Putin conveyed his condolences over the tragic incident to his Indian counterpart Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Dear Ms President, dear Mr Prime Minister, please accept my heartfelt condolences over the tragic bridge collapse in the state of Gujarat,” the message by the Russian president read.

Putin also conveyed his words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, and “wished all those injured a speedy recovery”, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported on Monday.

Besides Putin, Nepal’s Prime Minister Deuba took to Twitter to express his grief over the loss of “precious lives”, saying he is “deeply saddened” by the tragic incident of bridge collapse in Morbi.

“We extend heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of India on the loss of precious lives. Our thoughts & prayers are with the bereaved families,” his post on the micro-blogging site read.

British high commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, also took to the social media site to condole the loss of lives. “Terrible, shocking news from #Gujarat,” he wrote along with a BBC report on the collapse incident.

Singapore’s high commissioner to India, Simon Wong, also joined Ellis. “Deeply saddened by the loss of many lives due to the collapse of the cable bridge in Morbi, Gujarat. Our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and the injured. Our hearts are with the people of Gujarat,” he tweeted.

The collapse occurred on Sunday evening when 400-500 people were walking on the bridge over Machchuu river, which was thrice its capacity. In split seconds, the bridge came crashing down, plunging more than 200 people – mainly women, children and elderly – into the water body. Local fisherman present at the site jumped to the rescue but faced challenges due to fading daylight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter soon after, and informed that he had spoken with Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, and has called for “urgent mobilisation” of teams. Initially the death toll was confirmed at 40, but after an overnight relief work, more bodies were fished out of the bed of Machchuu river, taking the death toll to over 130.

Multiple teams of the NDRF, SDRF, Indian Army, IAF, Navy, Coast Guard, local administration and fire department continue with their search and rescue operation. Earlier in the day, NDRF commandant VVN Prasanna Kumar told news agency ANI that their divers are facing visibility issues underwater due to the river water being muddy. He suspected more bodies could be trapped under the floor of the collapsed bridge.

The British-era bridge opened for public on October 26 on Gujarati New Year after undergoing renovation for six months. Morbi chief security officer Sandeep Singh Jhala said that Oreva – the company that looked after the bridge’s operation and maintenance – was probably not issued a fitness certificate to reopen it. Gujarat home minister Harsh Sanghavi said a five-member committee has been formed to look into the lapses behind the renovation. A criminal case has also been registered in the matter.

Prime Minister to visit Morbi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Tuesday visit Morbi in Gujarat where 134 people were killed after a suspension bridge collapsed into the Machchhu river.

Modi, who is on a visit to Gujarat ahead of the state Assembly polls due this year-end, on Monday paid tributes to those who died in Sunday’s bridge collapse.

The Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office announced that Modi would visit Morbi on Tuesday afternoon.

The PM will also visit Jambughoda in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district to launch various developmental projects, government officials said, adding that he will also address people at the venue.

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Gujarat India News

Govt gives nod to container terminal project in Gujarat

The project will cater to the future growth in Container Cargo traffic. From 2025, a net gap of 1.88 Million TEUs shall be available…reports Asian Lite News

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved development of a Container Terminal at Tuna-Tekra, Deendayal Port at an estimated cost of Rs 4,243.64 crore.

The project will come up under Build, Operate & Transfer (BOT) basis under public-private-partnership (PPP) mode that will be given out through the international competitive bidding process.

In addition, an investment of Rs 296.20 crore will also be made for common user facilities which will be on the part of the Concessioning Authority toward development of common user facilities.

In addition to increasing the business potential of Kandla, the project will boost the economy and generate employment.

The project will cater to the future growth in Container Cargo traffic. From 2025, a net gap of 1.88 Million TEUs shall be available.

The Concessionaire will be responsible for the design, engineering, financing, procurement, implementation commissioning, operation, management and maintenance of the Project under the Concession Agreement to be executed by the Concessionaire (BOT Operator) and the Concession Authority (Deendayal Port Authority) for a period of 30 years for handling designated cargos.

Deendayal Port (earlier known as Kandla port) is one of the twelve Major Ports in India and is located on the West Coast of India, in the Gulf of Kutch in the State of Gujarat.  Deendayal Port primarily services northern India including Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Initially, the Project will cater 14m draught vessels of 6000 TEUs and accordingly, common Access Channel will be dredged & maintained by the Concessioning Authority at 15.50m to navigate container vessels of 14m draught all round the clock.  During the concession period, the Concessionaire will have liberty to handle vessels up to 18m draught by deepening/widening its approach channel, berth pocket and turning circle.

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Gujarat India News News

Gujarat fails to build required number of classrooms

The Gujarat education department was able to construct only 14 per cent of the required 19,128 classrooms in a span of two years, the state Assembly was informed on Monday…reports Asian Lite News

The state government presented the information in the House in response to series of questions asked during the ongoing budget session.

Education Minister Jitu Vaghani informed the House that against the requirement of 19,128 classrooms in various primary schools, the state government was able to build only 2,714 during the last two years.

The opposition party Congress said that the requirement of classrooms in the state’s primary schools has constantly been on the rise. In 2015, a total of 8,388 class deficit was reported where as in 2018, the requirement shot up to 16,008 whereas in 2021, a total of 18,537 classroom requirement of classrooms were reported.

“In the year 2022, a total of 19,128 classrooms requirement was reported. In two years, the government has constructed 2,714 classrooms for the primary section of the government schools, asserted the education minister.

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The minister further informed that not a single classroom was constructed in Dangs, Narmada and Tapi districts the same period, against the requirement of 154, 183 and 162 respectively. Four classrooms were constructed in Gir-Somnath in 2019-20, against the requirement of 188 classrooms.

The highest number of classroom deficit is been reported in a Dahod district where classroom deficit is 1,677 against which only 66 classrooms have been constructed during the same time.

Similarly, against a series of questions put up by the Congress legislators for facilities like electricity, compound walls in primary schools, the education minister informed the house that a total of 23 schools were devoid of power supply and 5,439 government primary schools and 272 private primary schools were devoid of compound walls, across the state.

Gujarat India News

Eminent persons oppose Modi’s Sabarmati Ashram redevelopment project

“There will be new museums, an amphitheater, VIP lounge, shops, food court among other things in the newly created ‘world class’ memorial as per the newspaper reports…reports Asian Lite News.

Around 130 eminent personalities from various segments of the country, opposing the Centre and Gujarat government’s joint plan to redevelop Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad through the Rs 1,200-crore ‘Gandhi Ashram Memorial and Precinct Development Project’, has criticised the move.

They came out with a statement on Wednesday, saying that the proposed project will “severely compromise simplicity and sanctity” of the present-day ashram and can be envisioned at best as “Gandhi Theme Park” and at worst “a second assassination.”

Prayer at Sabarmati Ashram on 30 January 2019 (Wikipedia)

The around 130 eminent personalities led by the president of Gujarat Sahitya Parishad and noted Gujarati writer Prakash Shah, historians Rajmohan Gandhi and Ramchandra Guha, musician T.M. Krishna, retired High Court Judge A.P. Shah, Admiral (Retd) Laxminarayan Ramdas, former IAS officer Sharad Behar, former IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, senior lawyer Anand Grover and activists Harsh Mander and many other activists, writers, Gandhians and former IAS and IPS officers have opposed the Union government’s plan to ‘develop’ the historic Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati, claiming that it will harm its sanctity.

“It was an attempt to take over Gandhian institutions”, they said in the statement.

The signatories also include social activists Shabnam Hashmi, Yogendra Yadav, Aruna Roy, Teesta Setalvad, writer and cultural activist G.N. Devy, filmmaker Anand Patvardhan, writer Ram Punyani and former IAS, artist and poet Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, journalist Kumar Ketkar, writer P. Sainath, among others.

The joint statement is titled as ‘Prevent Government takeover of Gandhian Institutions’.

“The present government is all set to ‘reclaim’ the ‘visual wholesomeness, tranquility and uncluttered environment of 1949’ and make it a ‘world-class’ tourist destination spread over 54 acres. It has announced a budget of Rs 1,200 crore for Gandhi Ashram Memorial and Precinct Development Project,” it says.

Charkha kept at Gandhi Ashram (Wikipedia)

“We must collectively oppose any government takeover of Gandhian institutions, while ensuring that the government continues to use public money for the proper maintenance and upkeep of such institutions, in consultation with eminent Gandhians, historians and archivists from India and around the world,” says the joint statement.

“There will be new museums, an amphitheater, VIP lounge, shops, food court among other things in the newly created ‘world class’ memorial as per the newspaper reports.

Kunj, at Sabarmati Ashram (Wikipedia)

“But, the place has never needed a ‘world-class’ makeover to attract tourists. The charisma of Gandhi along with the authenticity and simplicity of the place has been enough,” says the statement.

“Reports say that the project will be under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. This is in keeping with the present government’s strategy to appropriate and commercialise all Gandhian institutions in the country. The worst example of this can be seen in Sevagram, but the most frightening aspect is government control over all Gandhian archives. As Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by elements whose ideology still inspires some of those in power in India, this danger cannot be overlooked,” it adds.

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