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PRELIMS FACTS 22-05-2018

FACT # 1

THE ZOJILA TUNNEL PROJECT

 

Why in news? Union government has inaugurated the Zojila tunnel project.

The Zojila tunnel project:

  • The Zojila tunnel project will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.
  • At 14.2 km it will be the country’s longest road tunnel.
  • The tunnel will cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from the 3.5 hours to 15 minutes.
  • It will also be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel and will be built at a cost of ₹6,809 crore.
  • It is expected to be completed in five years.
  • The pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 ft on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall, which cuts off Ladakh region from Kashmir.
  • The Centre and the state government are working together to take the development work forward.
  • Many local people will get employment opportunities during the development of the tunnel.
  • The tunnel will have a transverse ventilation system, uninterrupted power supply, tunnel emergency lighting, CCTV monitoring, pedestrian cross passages at every 250 metres, as well as emergency telephones and fire-fighting cabinets at every 125 metres.

FACT # 2

INTERNATIONAL BIO-DIVERSITY DAY

 

Why in news? The Convention on Biological Diversity is celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, 2018.

International Day for Biological Diversity:

  • The United Nations proclaimed May 22 ‘The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB)’ to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity is celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, 2018, with the theme “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity”.
  • The celebration comes with an aim to highlight the progress made in the achievement of its objectives at the national and global levels on biodiversity.
  • The aim to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity is to make people aware of the importance of biodiversity issues.
  • There have been different themes of celebrations every year.
  • The Convention has three goals:
    • the global conservation of biodiversity
    • its sustainable use
    • the equitable sharing of its benefits
  • Achieving these objectives is integral to meet goals for sustainable development.
  • Protecting and restoring ecosystems and ensuring access to ecosystem services are necessary for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
  • Reducing deforestation and land degradation and enhancing carbon stocks in forests, drylands, rangelands and croplands are needed for mitigating climate change.
  • Protecting the biodiversity of forests and watersheds supports clean and plentiful water supplies.
  • From 2018 onwards, Parties to the Convention will begin work on a new action plan to ensure that, by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used for the benefit of all people.

FACT # 3

HIMALAYAN TRILLIUM

 

Why in news? The Himalayan trillium is in danger of local extinction in India

Himalayan trillium:

  • A common herb of the Himalayas, the Himalayan trillium, could soon go locally extinct in many parts of its range in India if its excessive harvests are not regulated.
  • The Himalayan trillium is found across India, Bhutan, Nepal and China.
  • It is a natural source of steroidal saponins which are important components of steroidal drugs.
  • The plant is popular in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Increased demands over the last decade has made its illegal collection from the wild a rather lucrative business in India: a kilogram fetches about Rs.3,000-5,000.
  • The current gathering practices are entirely destructive as a single team uproots all plants in an area lest other collecting teams get to them later.
  • The trilliums growing mostly in moist hill slopes with dense tree cover.
  • Mature plants (which can live to 30 years or more) usually produce only one flower per year and vegetative reproduction through tubers occurs only in very old plants.
  • Unregulated harvests combined with such low levels of reproduction and other pressures like grazing could cause local extinction of the plant in many regions.

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