World Environment Day 2023
Why in news?
- World Environment Day, observed on June 5th annually, serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to safeguard and nurture the environment. Through sustainable habits, resource conservation, and eco-friendly practices, we can make a significant difference. This year, World Environment Day 2023 highlights the pressing issue of plastic pollution and focuses on finding solutions to combat this global challenge.
- Solutions to Plastic Pollution World Environment Day 2023 has chosen the theme “Solutions to plastic pollution” as its focal point.
- Under the powerful campaign hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution, this year’s initiative aims to tackle the urgent mission of curbing plastic pollution worldwide.
- By recognizing the detrimental impacts of plastic on health, the economy, and the environment, the campaign underscores the need for true, effective, and robust solutions.
- World Environment Day plays a pivotal role in raising awareness, mobilizing action, and promoting environmental sustainability.
- By organizing campaigns, events, and initiatives, this special day inspires individuals and communities to effect positive changes, fostering a sense of urgency to address environmental challenges for a sustainable future.
- Ivory Coast, in collaboration with the Netherlands, has taken the lead in hosting World Environment Day 2023.
- Their joint efforts showcase their commitment to fighting plastic pollution and promoting sustainability.
- Ivory Coast’s ban on plastic bags in 2014, along with their encouragement of reusable packaging, reflects their dedication to reducing plastic waste.
- Additionally, the city of Abidjan has become a hub for eco-conscious startups, further demonstrating their proactive stance on environmental issues.
- World Environment Day 2023 brings attention to the grave concern of plastic pollution and emphasizes the need for global action. Let us unite in our efforts to #BeatPlasticPollution and pave the way for a greener future.
GS I & III
Shanan Hydropower Project
Why in news?
Shanan Hydropower Project
Location: Nestled in the picturesque town of Joginder Nagar within the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, the Shanan Powerhouse stands as a testament to engineering prowess and natural beauty.
Historical Significance: In 1925, Raja Jogendra Sen of Mandi and Chief Engineer Col. BC Batty from the Punjab Government sealed a remarkable 99-year lease agreement. This lease paved the way for the construction of the Shanan Powerhouse, an architectural marvel that came to life in 1932, amidst the enchanting embrace of the region’s dense deodar forests.
A Powerhouse that Powered the Nation: The Shanan Powerhouse proudly served as the lifeline for the undivided Punjab, Lahore, and Delhi, supplying electricity to these major regions of the Indian subcontinent before India’s independence. Its contribution to the development and progress of the region remains indelible.
Transition of Ownership: Following the reorganization of states in 1966, the Shanan Powerhouse transitioned into the hands of Punjab, as the lease agreement signed in 1925 was still in effect. This shift ensured that Punjab continued to safeguard and operate this historic powerhouse.
Capacity Enhancement: Originally designed as a 48 MW project, the Punjab government bolstered the Shanan Powerhouse’s capacity to 60 MW in 1982. Recognizing its significance, an additional 50 MW was later incorporated, culminating in the powerhouse’s present-day capacity of 110 MW.
- A potential dispute is brewing between the neighboring states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh over the expiring lease of the British-era Shanan hydropower project. With the 99-year lease set to end in March 2024, Himachal Pradesh is adamant about taking control of the project, while Punjab is determined to retain it and is ready to pursue legal action if necessary.
- The Shanan hydropower project is a 110 MW facility situated in Jogindernagar, Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh.
- Originally envisioned in 1922 by Col. Battye, the chief engineer of the Punjab government at the time, the project’s first stage was commissioned in 1932.
- The Punjab government has maintained control over the project through a lease agreement executed in 1925.
Himachal Pradesh’s Stance
- The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, recently wrote a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister, stating that the 99-year lease would expire on March 2, 2024.
- The Himachal Pradesh government has decided against renewing or extending the lease, expressing its intention to take over the project once the lease period concludes.
- Sukhu sought the intervention of the Union Minister for Power, R.K. Singh, indicating the seriousness with which Himachal Pradesh is pursuing the matter.
- The Punjab government, unwilling to relinquish control of the prized project, has made it clear that it will consider legal recourse if necessary.
- Officials assert that the project is currently in the continuous ownership and possession of the Punjab government.
- While the issue is deemed settled, Punjab is prepared to defend its position if pushed.
The Impending Conflict
- The disagreement between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh over the Shanan hydropower project lease has the potential to escalate into a major controversy.
- The differing positions of the two states regarding the future ownership of the project and the expiration of the lease agreement are likely to lead to a contentious face-off.
- Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are locked in a disagreement over the control of the Shanan hydropower project as its lease approaches expiration. Himachal Pradesh refuses to renew the lease, aiming to take over the project, while Punjab is determined to retain ownership and may resort to legal action. This clash underscores the complexities of dividing shared resources and the uncertainty surrounding the project’s future.
Why in News?
- Questions Arise on the Efficacy of the Kavach System in Preventing the Odisha Train Accident.
- Kavach, India’s indigenous automatic protection system, is currently under development as a state-of-the-art safety measure for the railway sector.
- Initially known as the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Kavach aims to prevent train collisions by employing a network of electronic devices and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems installed in locomotives, signaling systems, and tracks.
- Kavach integrates cutting-edge technologies such as ultra-high radio frequencies, logic programming, and RFID devices to establish seamless connectivity among various components.
- This enables the system to control train brakes and provide real-time alerts to train drivers, ensuring enhanced safety measures.
Incorporating Established Systems
The development of Kavach incorporates elements from successful international systems like the European Train Protection and Warning System, along with India’s own Anti Collision Device. Future iterations of Kavach may also include features inspired by the high-tech European Train Control System Level-2.
Emphasizing Safety Integrity Level (SIL)
Kavach adheres to the highest level of safety and reliability standards known as Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 4. SIL levels range from 1 to 4, with higher levels indicating greater process hazards and the need for increased protection measures. The SIL 4 compliance of Kavach ensures the utmost safety standards are met.
Export Potential and Cost Efficiency
India aims to position Kavach as an exportable system, offering a cost-effective alternative to the European systems prevalent worldwide. With an operating cost of only Rs 50 lakh per kilometer, Kavach significantly reduces expenses compared to the approximately Rs 2 crore required for similar systems globally.
Advantages and Significance
Safety Enhancement: Kavach will play a pivotal role in preventing accidents on rail tracks, particularly train collisions. When activated, the system halts all trains within a 5-kilometer range to protect trains on adjacent tracks, mitigating the risk of collisions.
The implementation cost of Kavach is considerably lower compared to international counterparts, making it a cost-effective solution for enhancing railway safety.
Kavach includes stationary equipment to collect signaling inputs and relay them to a central system. This enables seamless communication between the train crew and stations, ensuring efficient coordination and timely response.
Key Railway Initiatives
- Overhead Traction System: Implementation of advanced overhead traction systems to enhance railway electrification and energy efficiency.
- Railway Energy Management Company Limited: Establishment of this company to focus on energy conservation and management within the railway sector.
- Transit-Oriented Development: Emphasis on developing integrated urban infrastructure around railway stations to promote convenient and sustainable transportation options.
- National Rail Transportation Institute: The establishment of this institute aims to enhance research and development efforts in the railway sector, fostering innovation and technological advancements.