Places in News 2017

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First book village in the country to come up in Maharashtra

From May 4, Bhilar, a tiny hamlet in Satara district of Maharashtra is all set to become India’s first ‘book village’. The concept of book village is inspired by Britain’s Hay-on-Wye, which is a Welsh town located in the United Kingdom, famous for its bookstores and literature festivals.

Under this initiative, tourists and locals can come and read books, magazines, newspapers stacked at 25 artistically decorated locations around the village. The books on wide-ranging subjects and 15,000 books in Marathi would be made available on these premises. Some of the books that will be available for the readers are very rare and out of publication, including novels, reference books about Maharashtra and Marathi culture written by prominent authors.  To make sure that the books are returned by the tourists, tourists will be made to pay a nominal deposit.

Bhilar has been chosen as already it attracts a number of tourists who throng the village to taste the locally produced strawberries. The state government has chosen Bhilar to further promote tourism and the Marathi language.

Bhilar

Bhilar is a small village located near picturesque hill station Panchagani in Satara district of Maharashtra. The village is popular for its strawberries. Near the village exists the British-era hill station of Mahabaleshwar. Bhilar produces nearly 100 tonnes of strawberry every year. Around 90% of the village’s population of around 10,000 is involved in strawberry farming.

Hay-on-Wye

Hay-on-Wye is a village located in Wales of the UK. It is the world’s largest second-hand book centre. In 1972, a person named Richard Booth established a second-hand bookstore in an abandoned fire station and subsequently many followed, making Hay-on-Wye a book paradise. Today there exists around 30 bookstores catering to the needs of the village’s population of 1,500 people. Every year, the village hosts the Hay Festival, one of the world’s top literary festivals. Recently, the village also made news when a note written by author Enid Blyton was discovered in one of the village’s bookstore.

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Kazakhstan opens consulate in Chennai

Kazakhstan has opened its honorary consulate in Chennai. The consulate will cover the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. It will be headed by well-known businessman Suraj Shantakumar. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has expressed confidence that the establishment of the consulate in Chennai, which is a major industrial centre would promote the potential for economic cooperation in a number of areas like IT industry, engineering, tourism, transport infrastructure, as well as agricultural production.

Background

Among the countries that constituted former USSR, Kazakhstan has emerged as the second largest economic partner for India. Kazakhstan is natural resources, minerals, oil and gas and chemical products. It is the largest exporter of Uranium to India. The prospectus of cooperation looms large in several areas. Recently, there was a meeting between the special working groups on textiles from the two countries in Kazakhstan. The bilateral trade between the two countries was around 618 million USD in 2016. India exports pharmaceuticals, tea, tobacco, and engineering equipment to Kazakhstan and imports oil products, metals and natural minerals from that country.

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IOC to build new oil terminal at Motihari to supply fuel to Nepal

The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has planned to build a new oil terminal at Motihari in Bihar to supply fuel to Nepal via the planned pipeline up to Amlekganj in Nepal. The old terminal functioning at Raxaul in Bihar will be shut down as it does not conform to the current OISD (Oil Industry Safety Directorate) guidelines. The decision to shift the terminal from Raxaul to Motihari has been taken keeping in mind the current safety guidelines.

Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) is a technical directorate that formulates the regulatory measures to enhance safety of the Indian oil and gas industry. It functions under the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.

The 69-km Motihari-Amlekganj pipeline will be built at a cost of Rs.325 crore. Nepal is giving at most importance to the project by giving it a national priority status. Also, as per the initial agreement, a new 200 km pipeline would be laid between Patna and Motihari and will be utilised if there is a delay in operation of the new terminal at Motihari. Already a pipeline between Barauni (where a refinery exists) and Patna exists. IOC expects to operationalise the Motihari-Amlekganj pipeline after 30 months of receiving statutory clearances. Nepal wants the pipeline to be extended up to Chitwan for which the IOC has been asked to prepare a detailed feasibility report (DFR).

Background

In August 2015, the India and Nepal signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a product pipeline. As a follow-up, IOC and Nepal Oil Corporation entered into a MoU for laying down of the pipeline. At the beginning, it was decided that the pipeline would be laid from Raxaul to Amlekganj, but later it was decided to extend it till Motihari. Recently, the fuel supply agreements between India and Nepal have been extended to five years. Nepal receives around 2 lakh kilolitres of fuel from IOC every month.

 

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