Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Bunder Diamond Mining Project

    Recently, it has been highlighted that the proposed Bunder diamond mining project in the Buxwaha protected forest region in Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh) may have a greater ecological impact on the region.

    • The project was awarded to Essel Mining & Industries Limited, which stated that to meet water requirements and protect the mine from inundation, a seasonal nullah (stream) will be converted into a dam.
    • Concerns
      • Tailings are disposed of in dams or ponds usually built around the mining site and contain process-affected water, dissolved metals and various toxic ore processing reagents that can seep into the ground.
        • Diamond extraction, a water-intensive process, is not mechanical and requires a lot of chemicals besides water, which leak out and impact animals, humans and the environment.
        • Two major kinds of waste are generated during the excavation of any ore. One, overburden (OB) waste which lies over the ore, such as rocks and soil. The other is tailings or the remains of the mineral after the economically valuable components have been extracted from the finely milled ore.
      • Around 200,000 trees also will be felled for the excavation.
      • It threatens to further deplete the already scarce water reserve of the drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
        • Chhatarpur was categorised as a semi-critical region by the Central Ground Water Authority in 2017.
    • Suggestions
      • Identify location for tailing ponds and proper management.
      • Apart from spatial requirements for storage, tailings also require long-term management and rehabilitation.

    Maritime Partnership Exercise

    Recently, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Tabar has entered the Port of Naples, Italy as part of the ongoing deployment to the Mediterranean.

    • On departure from port, the ship also undertook a Maritime Partnership Exercise with ITS Antonio Marceglia (F 597), a frontline frigate of the Italian Navy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
      • The exercise covered a wide range of naval operations including air defence procedures, replenishment at sea, communication drills and cross deck helo operations by day and night.
      • Significance: It was mutually beneficial in enhancing interoperability and towards consolidating combined operations against maritime threats.

    INS Tabar

    • INS Tabar, is a Talwar-class stealth Frigate built for Indian Navy in Russia.
    • It is equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors and is among the earliest stealth frigates of the Indian Navy.
    • It is part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet which is based at Mumbai under Western Naval Command.
    • Deployment
      • INS Tabar has been on a prolonged deployment since June 2021 with the aim to enhance military cooperation with friendly nations.
      • During port visits, it will conduct professional, social and sporting interactions and will also participate in joint exercises.
      • It will transit across the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea and Baltic Sea while making port calls at Djibouti, Egypt, Italy, France, UK, Russia, Netherlands, Morocco, and Arctic Council countries like Sweden and Norway.
      • In addition to PASSEX with host navies, it is also scheduled to participate in bilateral exercises like Ex Konkan with the Royal Navy, Ex Varuna with French Navy and Ex Indra with Russian Federation Navy.

    Tyrrhenian Sea

    • It derives its name from the Tyrrhenian people, a non-Greek people largely considered Sea People.
    • Location: Along the western shoreline of Italy and is considered part of the larger Mediterranean Sea.
    • It is situated over the boundary between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates.
    • Bordered by: Italy to the east, Islands of Corsica, which is a French territory and Sardinia, which is an Italian territory to the west.
    • The Ligurian Sea meets the Tyrrhenian Sea along its northwest corner.

    (Image Courtesy: WorldAtlas)

    Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

    Recently, Ethiopia has started the second phase of filling the 

    Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

    • Led by Ethiopia, the 145 meter tall hydropower project will be Africa’s largest dam after completion.
    • It is located in the Horn of Africa which is a peninsula and the easternmost extension of African continent, consisting of the countries namely, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

    (Image Courtesy: ECSS)

    • The construction was initiated in 2011 on the upper Blue Nile tributary.
      • The Nile, the longest river in the world, has been at the center of a dispute involving several countries that are dependent on the river’s waters.
        • The main waterways of the Nile run through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt and its drainage basin runs through several countries in East Africa, including Ethiopia.
      • Blue Nile and White Nile are two tributaries of the Nile.
        • While the White Nile is the longer tributary, the Blue Nile is the main source of water and fertile soil.
        • The White Nile is called so because of the light-coloured clay sediment in the water giving the river a light grey colour. 
        • The Blue Nile flows for about 1,400 km to Khartoum from Lake Tana which is 1,800 metres above sea level in the Ethiopian mountains.
        • The White Nile and Blue Nile merge near Khartoum, becoming the proper Nile.
    • GERD Dispute
      • Ethiopia and Egypt are at the forefront of this dispute and Sudan’s location between Egypt up north and Ethiopia down south has caused it to become an inadvertent party to this dispute.
      • Given the dam’s location, it would potentially allow Ethiopia to gain control of the flow of the river’s waters and could result in lower water levels within Egypt’s borders.
      • Egypt, which lies further downstream, has consistently objected to the dam’s construction.

    (Image Courtesy: BBC)

    Black Panther Sighted in Navegaon Nagzira Reserve

    • A rare melanistic leopard, popularly called black leopard, was spotted in the Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) of Maharashtra.
      • Earlier also, it has been reported in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and Pench Tiger Reserve.

    Black Panther (Melanistic Leopards)

    About:

    • The term black panther is most frequently applied to black-coated leopards of Africa and Asia and jaguars of Central and South America.
    • Melanistic leopards have a recessive mutation in the ASIP gene (which is related to skin/ eye/ hair pigmentation).
    • In each species, a certain combination of alleles stimulates the production of large amounts of dark pigment melanin (Melanism) in the animal’s fur and skin.

    Image Courtesy: Britannica

    Geographical Presence:

    • They have been documented mostly in tropical forests of Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Java.
    • In India, they are mostly reported from densely forested areas of south India, from the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam as well.

    Threats:

    • Habitat Loss
    • Poaching
    • Illegal smuggling of their skins
    • Diseases
    • Man-Animal Conflicts (like collision with Trains, encroachment to human areas)

    Conservation Status:

    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
    • CITES: Appendix I.
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I

    Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve

    • In 1970, the forest area of Nagzira was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary. It was notified as to the 46 Tiger Reserve (TR) of India in December 2013.
    • Location: Gondia and Bhandara Districts in North-Eastern Maharashtra.
    • Nagzira got its name from the snake or nag temple here and Zira, which means a perennial source of water referring to the stream from a hill in Pongezara.
    • Connectivity with: Kanha and Pench TR in Madhya Pradesh, Pench and Tadoba-Andhari TR in Maharashtra, Indravati TR in Chhattisgarh and indirectly with the Kawal & Nagarjuna Sagar TR in Telangana & Andhra Pradesh and Achanakmar TR in Chhattisgarh.
    • Fauna
      • Home to a large variety of wildlife like Indian wild boar, Mouse deer, Sambar deer, Bengal tiger, leopard, chitkul and much more.
    • Flora
      • The major forest type is “Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest”.
      • Trees like Mahua, Bamboo, Jamun, Ain & Bombax & grasslands, weeds, teak forests & around 200 species of plants of medicinal & economic importance.

    Maitree Power Project

    • Also known as Rampal Power Station.
    • Bangladesh’s largest power plant.
    • Joint venture (50:50): India’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bangladesh’s Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). 
    • Capacity: 1320 MW 
    • Completion: The first unit of this project would be commissioned in December 2021.
    • Significance: 
      • A symbol of successful cooperation between India and Bangladesh for development of the Bangladesh power sector.
      • It will coincide with the Golden Jubilee celebration of Victory Day of Bangladesh.
      • An environmentally friendly supercritical technology based thermal power plant.

    ‘Matsya Setu’ App

     

    • It is a mobile app.
    • Aim: To disseminate the latest freshwater aquaculture technologies to the aqua farmers of India.
    • Developed by: ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIFA), Bhubaneswar, 
    • Funding support by: National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad.
    • Features:
      • It has species-wise/ subject-wise self-learning online course modules.
      • Better Management Practices to be followed in maintaining the soil & water quality, feeding and health management in aquaculture operations.
      • Quiz/Test options were also provided for self-assessment. 
      • An e-Certificate upon successful completion of each course module.
      • Doubts resolution and specific advisories from experts.
    • Fisheries in India: 
      • Presently India is the second largest fish producing and second largest aquaculture nation in the world after China. 
      • It is also the 4th largest exporter of fish worldwide because it contributes 7.7% in global fish production.
      •  Fisheries and aquaculture production contribute about 1% to India’s GDP and 5% to agricultural GDP. This sector provided employment to 28 million people in India.
    • Challenges
      • Low yield
      • Poor infrastructure like cold chains
      • Lack of access to quality seed and feed
      • Loss of habitat and indiscriminate fishing