Why in news? The expressway was recently inaugurated on 27 May 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Eastern Peripheral Expressway:
Eastern Peripheral Expressway or National Expressway II (also “EPE”) is an expressway in the National Capital Region which bypasses Delhi on the eastern side.
The expressway provides connectivity between Delhiand the cities of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Greater Noida, Baghpat and Sonipat.
The expressway is a six-lane access controlled expressway from Palwalto Kundli near Sonipat.
The expressway is 135 km long and having two sections, the 56 km-long Palwal-Ghaziabad section and the 49 km-long Ghaziabad-Sonipat section.
The expressway has been constructed at a cost of ₹11,000 crore(US$1.7 billion) to relieve traffic congestion in the Faridabad-Ghaziabad stretch and also to prevent pollution causing commercial vehicles from entering Delhi.
This expressway boasts of many features that are being implemented for the first time in India.
The 135-km Expressway has a closed tolling system in which toll will be collected only on the distance traveled and not on the entire length.
There is a provision for electronic collection of toll to ensure disruption-free movement of traffic.
Weigh-in motion sensors on all entry points which ensure that over-loaded vehicles are not allowed to enter the Expressway. The sensors are installed at all entry points with two gates — one leading to the Expressway and the other redirecting the vehicle if it is over-loaded.
Provision for parking of overloaded trucks where they can unload some of the cargo to satisfy the weight criteria and then move to the Expressway.
To check speeding, cameras have been put up every two kilometers. Over-speeding vehicles will be issued the challan at the toll plaza and the challan amount would be added to the total toll amount.
Facility for rainwater collection at every 500 meters has been made.
5 lakh trees have been planted along the highway along which will be watered through drip irrigation system
A cycle track of 2.5 metre has been developed on both sides of the expressway
Solar panels have been installed at various locations which will provide power to illuminate the expressway. 8 solar power plants with a total capacity of 4000-kilo watt (4 MW) has been made by the side of the expressway to generate electricity.
33% of the earth work on the highway was done using fly ash from coal power plants thereby compounding its contribution to reducing pollution.
The expressway has 406 structures of which 4 are major bridges, 46 minor bridges, 3 flyovers, 7 inter-changes, 221 underpasses and 8 road over bridges.
Why in news? Tata Trusts has signed MoU with Government to provide development support in eight worst Naxal-affected districts in Chhattisgarh which are also covered under aspirational districts programme.
Aspirational districts programme:
The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme was launched by NITI Aayog.
This programme aims to quickly and effectively transform some chosen districts.
The broad contours of the programme are:
Convergence (of Central & State Schemes)
Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors)
Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement
With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focusses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy.
Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus.
After several rounds of consultations with various stakeholders, 49 key performance indicators have been chosen to measure progress of the districts.
Districts are prodded and encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others in the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism.
Recently, the eight worst Naxal-hit districts are chosen for programme and will be helped by Tata Trusts are Kanker, Rajnandgaon, Bijapur, Bastar, Kondagaon, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Sukma.
Tata Trusts will provide government technical and human resource assistance to Government to special development programme.
It will help government in conducting surveys and providing ground level and technical support in raising living standards of citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all.
FACT # 3
World’s First Fully Solar Energy -Powered Airport
Why in news? The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognised Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) in Kerala as the World’s first fully solar energy -powered airport.
Cochin International Airport:
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognised Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) in Kerala as the World’s first fully solar energy -powered airport.
CIAL is India’s first airport to be constructed in public-private-partnership (PPP) model in 1999.
It is the busiest and largest airport in the country that has handled more than 5 million passengers in year.
The airport has 15 MWp solar power plant near the cargo complex of airport comprising 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres.
The solar power plant generates 50,000 units of electricity daily.
It makes airport absolutely power neutral in terms of energy consumption as it consumes around 50000 to 60000 units of electricity per day.
The plant system is without any battery storage as it is directly connected to the grid.
The airport’s green power project does not result in any carbon dioxide emissions.
It also produces clean source of energy equivalent to non-clean energy produced from coal fired power plants by burning more than 3 lakh metric tonnes of Coals.
This plant is also equivalent to planting 30 lakh trees.