Places in News 2017

Places in news and current affairs for preparation of the Geography papers and map locations for UPSC Civil Services and State related examinations of 2017

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India’s first 2G Ethanol Bio-refinery to be set up in Punjab

The foundation stone of India’s first 2G (Second Generation) Ethanol Bio-refinery was laid at Tarkhanwala village in Bathinda, Punjab.

 Central Government Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) is setting up this project at a cost of 600 crore Rupees.

Key Facts
  • HPCL’s bio-refinery will produce 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day i.e. 3.20 crore litres per annum from agricultural residues.
  • It will be sufficient to meet the 26% of the ethanol blending requirement of Punjab. It will also produce about 30,000 tonnes of bio-fertiliser per annum to enhance soil nutrients.
  • It will also produce more than 1 lakh kilograms of Bio-CNG per annum which can cater to transport and clean cooking requirements.
  • It will generate employment for about 1,200-1,300 persons in the biomass supply chain. It will also generate an additional income of approximately 20 crore Rupees per annum for farmers through purchase of their agriculture residues.
  • The project will also significantly help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which currently is being burnt after harvesting.
Background

HPCL and other state-run oil firms are planning to set up 12 2G ethanol bio-refineries across 11 states at an estimated cost of 10,000 crore Rupees. These Bio-refineries will be significantly contributing towards the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) for achieving 10% Ethanol Blending in Petrol from current 5% by producing around 35-40 crore litres of ethanol annually. Read more

About 2nd generation ethanol

2nd generation ethanol is a fuel that can be manufactured from various types of biomass. Whereas 1st generation ethanol is made from the sugars and vegetable oils found in arable crops, which can be easily extracted using conventional technology. In comparison, 2nd generation ethanol is made from lignocellulosic biomass or woody crops, agricultural residues or waste, which makes it harder to extract the required fuel using conventional technology.

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Rio de Janeiro accorded UNESCO world heritage status  

The UN cultural body UNESCO has accorded world heritage status to Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro (nicknamed as Marvelous City).  It has been registered as “Carioca Landscapes between Mountain and Sea” on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Rio de Janeiro has been accorded this status in recognition of its extraordinary fusion of man-made and natural beauty, soaring granite cliffs, urban rainforest and beaches. It also had hosted 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Background

The UNESCO status to Rio de Janeiro was announced in 2012. It became official after the Brazilian authorities were given four years to report on their plans for protecting Sugarloaf Mountain, Flamengo Park,  Corcovado, Copacabana beach, Botanical Garden and Tijuca forest.

About UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are sites having special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The committee comprises of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly. Each World Heritage Site included in the list remains part of the legal territory of the state where it is located. But inclusion of sites in the list by UNESCO is in the interest of the international community to preserve each site. Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.

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Punjab Government launches India’s first amphibious bus project

Punjab Government has launched country’s first amphibious bus project at the Harike wetland near Amritsar.

The amphibious bus named as “Harike Cruise” travels on land and as well as in water. It was launched by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Key Facts
  • The first of its kind amphibious bus in India was imported from Swedish automobile company Scania.
  • It will be run by the Punjab Tourism department. The project has cost the state government over Rs 11 crore.
  • It has a seating capacity of 34 people and is equipped with life-jackets for everyone.
  • The route of bus includes a 13 km ride from Amritsar to Harike wetlands. It will then traverse 4km on water. It covers the distance in 45 minutes.

About Harike wetland 

Harike Wetland (also known as Hari-ke-Pattan) is largest wetland in northern India. It borders of Tarn Taran Sahib and Ferozepur district of Punjab. The wetland and the Harike lake were formed by constructing the headworks (dams) across the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers in 1953. It supports rich biodiversity which plays a vital role in maintaining the precious hydrological balance in the catchment area. It was designated Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in March 1990. It has provides ecological support to migratory fauna and number of globally threatened species such as Indus dolphins and Gharials.

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