National

Ecology and Environment

Commute-related pollution

Why in News?

An analysis of 14 Indian cities on how they fare when it comes to pollution and energy consumption from urban commuting, places Kolkata as the top-performing megacity.

·       Bhopal leads the list on the lowest overall emissions. Delhi fares the worst on the two counts.

·       The report titled ‘The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy’, compiled by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), was released in Kolkata.

·       It is a well known fact that air pollution was a national crisis and road transport was the sector showing the highest increase in emission of greenhouse gases.

·       Primary reason for it is explosive motorization in the country. Initially, it took 60 years (1951-2008) for India to cross the mark of 105 million registered vehicles. Thereafter, the same number of vehicles was added in a mere six years (2009-15.

·       The study took two approaches to rank the cities — one based on overall emission and energy consumption and the other on per person trip emissions and energy consumption.

What the report says?

Six megacities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) and eight metropolitan cities (Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi and Vijayawada) were evaluated.

·       In terms of overall emissions and energy consumption, Bhopal was followed by Vijayawada, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kochi and Jaipur.

·       Kolkata, placed 7th overall, was better than the other five megacities as well as metropolitan cities like Pune and Ahmedabad.

·       Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai fared a little better than Delhi.

·       According to the report, though metropolitan cities scored better than megacities due to lower population, lower travel volume and lower vehicle numbers, they were at risk due to a much higher share of personal vehicle trips.

·       Kolkata provides a resounding message that despite population growth and rising travel demand, it is possible to contain motorisation with a well established public transport culture, compact city design, high street density and restricted availability of land for roads and parking,” the report pointed out, comparing Kolkata to Hong Kong and cities in Japan.

·       The report also stated that Mumbai had the highest GDP but a lower rate of motorisation compared with other megacities, proving that income levels were not the only reason for deciding a population’s dependence on automobiles.

·       Meanwhile, Chennai was the first city to adopt a non-motorised transport (NMT) policy in 2004 that aims to arrest the decline of walking or cycling by creating a network of footpaths, bicycle tracks and greenways, the report said.

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Keywords - The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), motorization, Kolkata, Bhopal.

 

Society/Governance

Corruption and town planning

Why in News?

People are dying in building collapses and fires because corruption has eaten into town planning and grant of building permits across the country, the Supreme Court said.

Referring to the recent fire which engulfed Crystal Tower in Parel, Mumbai, the Court said thousands of buildings in Mumbai are unsafe and innocent lives are lost in the mire of corruption.

The Court said many residential buildings were being used for commercial purposes also.

The court was hearing the Delhi sealing case concerning illegal constructions in the Capital.

Do you know?

Town planning was a State subject in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

Keywords – town planning, corruption, supreme court, Mumbai.

 

Polity

Live-streaming for ‘open courtroom’

Why in News?

Live-streaming of Supreme Court proceedings is a true representation of the “open courtroom” system where courts are accessible to one and all, the apex court said.

The remark countered arguments that live-streaming of court proceedings would be misused, and verbal comments made by judges in the course of a hearing would be twisted and converted to “fake news”.

To this Justice Chandrachud countered that court proceedings are live-tweeted even now and there is no authentic record of the hearing to prove a tweet wrong.

Keywords – live streaming, supreme court proceedings.

 

Science and Technology

ISRO telemedicine nodes for soldiers in high-altitude areas

Why in News?

The Integrated Defence Staff of the Defence Ministry and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) signed a memorandum of understanding to set up telemedicine nodes in critical places across the country.

This is done in a major effort to improve emergency medical support to soldiers posted in high-altitude areas, especially Siachen.

ISRO will establish 53 more nodes in the first phase over and above the existing 20, in various establishments of the Army, Navy and Air Force across the country.

As part of this, in addition to a functioning node on the Siachen glacier, four more nodes are being established to enable medical consultation between soldiers deployed on the glacier and medical echelons in the rear.

During winter months, many of the remote posts are cut off for several months because of adverse terrain and extreme weather, making emergency evacuation near impossible.

Communication through satellite-enabled telemedicine nodes will be a paradigm shift in the delivery of lifesaving health care till the weather clears up and movement is possible.

This joint initiative by ISRO and the Armed Forces Medical Services will transform the reach of telemedicine to soldiers, airmen and sailors in remote and isolated posts.

Keywords – telemedicine nodes, high altitude areas, integrated defence staff, ISRO.

ANDHRA PRADESH

State strikes gold in Chittoor district

Why in News?

The government recently found that Chigargunta and Bisanatham gold block in Chittoor district is likely to fetch ₹947 crore.

After conducting many exploration studies, the Mines and Geology department has come to a conclusion that the Chigargunta and Bisanatham gold block will be profitable.

The government recently auctioned the gold blocks wherein companies/Groups, including NMDC, Vedanta, Adani, MSPL (Baldota group) and Rengta participated.

The government, however, zeroed in on the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) as its offer was found to be “more profitable”.

The government gave utmost priority for mineral exploration in the State. In the process, the viability of Chigargunta and Bisanatham gold block was extensively studied.

Keywords – gold blocks, Chigargunta, Bisanatham, Chittor.

DRDO Missile Test Facility in Krishna

Why in News?

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) granted environmental clearance for setting up the Missile Test Launch Facility by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the heart of the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) in Krishna district.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) constituted by the MoEFCC has reviewed the project and in principal granted the environmental clearance.

The DRDO has proposed to set up the missile test launch facility in 154.4 hectares in the KWS by spending nearly ₹1,000 crore at Gullalamoda village of Nagayalanka mandal.

The technical facility will come up in the 130.15 hectares while test facility will be developed in the 6.07 hectares of the area.

Wildlife management

The National Board for Wildlife has earlier granted permission to the DRDO, allowing diversion of the forest cover within the sanctuary for the defence project on the East Coast of India.

Meanwhile, the DRDO requires to submit the Wildlife Management Plan (WMP) to obtain the second stage clearance for the commencement of the construction activity in the forest land, apart from guaranteeing the conservation of the wildlife in the sanctuary.

Keywords - Missile Test Launch Facility, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS).

 

No news for Telangana.

MCQs

1.     The report titled ‘The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy’ is released by

A)    Central Pollution Control Board

B)    State Pollution Control Boards

C)    Centre for Science and Environment

D)   None of the above