Current Affairs: 21 October 2017

Hirasar greenfield airport project in Gujarat gets green clearance

The Centre has given green clearance for a greenfield airport project at Hirasar, about 28 km from Rajkot in Gujarat, at a cost of over Rs. 1,400 crore.

The state government has proposed a new airport in Rajkot district as the existing one is small and the earlier plan to extend the current runway could not materialise because of high land cost. The Environment Ministry has given the environment clearance to the Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Ltd (GSAICL) for development of a greenfield airport at Rajkot.

According to the GSAICL, the proposed project will aid development of trade and tourism besides improving regional connectivity in Gujarat. More than 1,000 persons will be employed directly and indirectly for different activities of the airport. As many as 2,180 trees will be cut in the proposed airport site. About 632.24 hectare forest land will also be diverted for the same.

As per the Airport Authority of India (AAI), all airports in Gujarat have a moderate air-traffic growth of 5-8 per cent with exceptions of Ahmedabad and Vadodara where traffic growth is between 8-10 per cent.


PM visits Kedarnath, lays Foundation Stone for infrastructure projects

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited Kedarnath. He offered prayers at the Kedarnath Temple, and laid the Foundation Stone for five infrastructure and development projects. These include the development of retaining wall and ghat on the Mandakini River; development of retaining wall and ghat on Saraswati River; construction of main approach to Kedarnath Temple; development of Shankaracharya Kutir and Shankaracharya Museum; and development of houses for Kedarnath Purohits. The Prime Minister was briefed on the Kedarpuri Reconstruction Project.


Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launches Piped Natural Gas (PNG) supply in Bhubaneswar

Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has launched supply of Piped Natural Gas (PNG) for the residents of Bhubaneswar. With this, GAIL started supply of environment-friendly PNG to 255 houses in Nalco Nagar located at Chandrasekharpur area.

The commencement of supply of natural gas is an important step towards the fulfillment of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s dream of developing a gas-based economy and linking Eastern India to the country’s Natural Gas Grid through the ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’, which will pass through five states, i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. The longest stretch of the project – 769 kms – will be built in Odisha. This pipeline will lead to industrial development of eastern India.

In Odisha, the Natural Gas Pipeline will be constructed at an estimated investment of Rs 4,000 crores and have a length of about 769 km covering 13 districts, i.e., Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Debagarh, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Khordha, Puri and Kendrapara & will connect major industrial clusters of Khurdha, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Angul, Dhenkanal, Kalinganagar, Jajpur and Paradip.


NRCB signs agreement with AP govt.

The National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), Tiruchi, has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Andhra Pradesh government and would serve as a knowledge partner in developing technologies relating to banana production.

NRCB, an institution under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, will be the ‘knowledge partner’ in developing technologies towards value chain management, supporting banana export, organic production and waste utilisation. It will provide training, human resource development and hand hold growers and entrepreneurs to promote indigenous and commercial varieties for domestic and export markets.

Andhra Pradesh is the leading producer of several crops including banana. The Andhra Pradesh government had brought out a Food Processing Policy and had sought R&D support from select institutes in the country and ICAR-NRCB was one among them.


Punjab CM restores special family pension for widows of govt employees killed by terrorists

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has restored the special family pension for widows of government employees killed by extremists. He also agreed to extend the Red Card scheme to families of police personnel killed during the militancy period in the state. The special pension scheme was revoked by the erstwhile Akali government in 2016.

Singh announced that the pension under the scheme would be made available to widows till their death as against the earlier provision of it being provided until their remarriage. He also promised the families that their demand for posting of their children, recruited in the armed police, near their home districts would be sympathetically considered by the government.