Current Affairs – March 2017

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NGT suspends Green nod for Neutrino project

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO). It has asked the project proponent to make a fresh application.

NGT suspended the EC after petitioner submitted that the INO project was just 4.5 km away from Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district (Kerala) and one kilometre from Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and falls under category ‘A’ project in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). 

What is the issue?
  • The Union Environment Ministry had categorised INO project as a Category ‘B’ project, for which an EIA is not necessary.
  • But, as per EIA Notification, 2006, any project specified in category ‘B’ will be treated as category A, if it is located in whole or in part within 10 km from the boundary of protected areas notified under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and inter-State boundaries.
What NGT says?

INO is a category ‘A’ project, which meant EIA study has to be done by an accredited agency. Since the project was near a national park, INO needs to get a clearance from the National Board for Wildlife. It also needs to get necessary clearance from the Kerala government as well.

About India-Based Neutrino Observatory (INO)

  • It country’s most ambitious basic science project proposed to come up in Bodi west hills of Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
  • It aims at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 meter. Its mandate is to conduct basic research on the elementary particle called neutrino.
  • It is jointly supported by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science & Technology (DST), with DAE acting as the nodal agency.
  • The observatory will be located underground in order to provide adequate shielding to the neutrino detector from cosmic background radiation.
  • It will comprise a complex of caverns which will house detector which is 130 metres long, 26 metres wide and 30 metre high.

INO

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Tamil Nadu wins Vijay Hazare Trophy

Tamil Nadu won the 2017 Vijay Hazare Trophy of cricket for record fifth time defeating Bengal. Earlier Tamil Nadu has won the trophy in 2002–03, 2004-05, 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons.

In the final match played at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium (New Delhi) they defeated Bengal by 37 runs. It was Tamil Nadu’s third victory over Bengal in the final of this competition.

Opting to bat first, Tamil Nadu had set target of 217, riding on a century by Dinesh Karthik who had made 112. In reply, they bundled out Bengal for 180 in 45.5 overs. For Tamil Nadu Aswin Crist, Rahil Shah and M. Mohammad took 2 wickets each. Karthik was named man of the match. 

About Vijay Hazare Trophy

  • It is annual limited-overs cricket domestic competition started in 2002–03.
  • It is played among state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates.
  • It is also known as the Ranji One Day Trophy, named after the famous Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare.

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GRAPES-3 Telescope upgraded to detect solar storms

The GRAPES-3 experiment at TIFR’s (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) Cosmic Ray Laboratory in Ootacamund in Tamil Nadu is getting upgraded to detect solar storms.

GRAPES-3 (Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) experiment had detected the effect of a solar storm that hit the earth in June 2015.

Key Facts
  • GRAPES-3 has an important role in understanding the propagation of storms from the L1 point (Lagrange point 1) to its impact on the Earth.
  • The upgraded detector will have an increased coverage and improved capacity to determine the direction of incident cosmic rays.
  • It will play a major role in getting precise information about the propagation of storms in the last million miles (from the L-1 point) of their journey from the Sun to the earth.
Background

The Sun is at a distance of 150 million kilometres from the earth. Satellites are placed at a distance of nearly 1.5 million kilometres, at the so-called L1 point (between Earth and Sun), where they orbit the Sun along with the Earth. The satellites act as an early warning system as the charged particles from a solar storm first impact the satellites before hitting the earth.

About GRAPES 3 experiment

The GRAPES-3 experiment is located at Ooty in India. It was started as a collaboration of the TIFR and the Japanese Osaka City University, and now also includes the Japanese Nagoya Women’s University. It is specially designed to study cosmic rays with an array of air shower detectors and a large area muon detector. It aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays in the four astrophysical settings.

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