States Current Affairs for UPPSC and Other State PCS – 2017

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India’s first sea ropeway to connect Mumbai & Elephanta Island

India’s first and longest ropeway is planned to be constructed by the Mumbai Port Trust to link Mumbai with the famous Elephanta Island in the Arabian Sea. Elephanta Island has got global recognition for its famed Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 8-km long ropeway will start from Sewri in Mumbai’s east coast and end at Elephanta Island at Raigad district.

The 40-minute ride by a 20-seater cable car is expected to boost tourism as it offers a magnificent view of mudflats on the east coast especially during the flamingo season, the mangroves as well as the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link to the north.

At present, the islands are accessible only by ferries from the mainland and takes around an hour for the 10-km cruise. Other details like the cable height and capacity of cars are being worked out.

Elephanta Island

Elephanta Island is a 16 sq. km island that has several archaeological remains famous for its cave sculptures. The island is locally known as Gharapuri Caves. It is located in Mumbai Harbour, east of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The island is believed to be inhabited from 2nd century BC but the famous temples carved out of rocks are believed to have been constructed around 5th-6th century AD. The island has a dam to conserve freshwater collected during monsoons and two British-era canons atop a hill that offers a panoramic view of Mumbai. The much famed two-day Elephanta Cultural Festival is organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in winters.

At present, the island is inhabited by around 1,200 residents. The inhabitants are mostly fisherfolk and farmers who live in three tiny port villages called Rajbandar, Shentbandar and Morabandar. Tourists, however, are not permitted to have an overnight stay at the island as it is covered with thick forests.

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In a first, Uttarakhand deploys drones to monitor forest fires

In a first, the Uttarakhand Forest Department has deployed three drones for real-time monitoring of the forest fires. This is the first time that drones are used to monitor forest fires in India. Besides monitoring of forest fire, drones are already in use for wildlife conservation for nest status, aviation ethology, crocodile and water birds counting and monitoring.

Need

In India, Uttarakhand faces maximum incidents of forest fires. In 2016, about 2,000 incidents of forest fires destroyed 4,500 hectares of forest land in Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand has about 71% of the total geographical area under forest cover. Thus, real time monitoring of forest fires will help in preventing the spread of forest fire. Though, the Forest Department employs both traditional method and modern methods with the help of satellite images, it is difficult to know about the forest fire in the Terai and Bhabar regions. The Terai region consists of fertile lowlands of the southern Himalayan, Shivalik foothills and north of Indo-Gangetic plains and the Bhabar region runs parallel to the north side of Terai.

Forest fires in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is known for human-induced forest fires since a long time. In 2016, the pine forests of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh caught fire. Most of the fires in Uttarakhand happen in the Chir pine (Pinus Rroxburghii) forests because leaves of this conifer tree catch fire easily. The forest fires in Uttarakhand have been predominantly intentional for the purpose of collection of forest resources such as resin, sal seeds, honey, timber etc. To collect resin easily, the surface fires are lit so that pine needles can be removed.

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Uttar Pradesh to establish 40 Yoga wellness centres

Uttar Pradesh has decided to establish 40 Yoga wellness centres in 40 districts across the state in the present financial year. Out of 40 centres, 23 will be set up at Ayurvedic hospitals, 12 at homeopathic and 7 at Unani hospitals and colleges. For setting up of wellness centres in the remaining 35 districts, the state government plans to get assistance from union government.

The state government has also planned to start post graduate courses at Government Ayurvedic college and hospital Varanasi, Unani college Allahabad, Government Homeopathy college Allahabad and TT college Lucknow. Besides, a first herbal garden of the state would be set up soon near the Government national Homeopathic college and hospital, Lucknow to encourage the farmers to cultivate herbal plants across the state.

Background

According to the Ministry of AYUSH in response to a Lok Sabha question in 2016, it was revealed that the five southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh together account for over 90% of all the registered yoga and naturopathy practitioners in the country. So, the government is working towards ensuring a more geographically balanced promotion of yoga across the country and bring non-south states at par with the southern states. With this aim, the Centre is implementing National AYUSH Mission as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

The International Yoga Day (IYD) is celebrated across the world on 21 June. The idea of celebrating the International Yoga Day was pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014. The date 21st June was selected because it represents one of the two solstices and it is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere which has special significance in many parts of the world.

In December 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had formally inscribed Yoga in its representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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