Himachal Pradesh Current Affairs

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Himachal Pradesh declared India’s second Open Defecation Free State

The State of Himachal Pradesh was officially declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). Every individual household in the state has functional toilet under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’.

With this, Himachal Pradesh becomes the second State in the country after Sikkim to achieve the feat. However, among bigger states Himachal Pradesh is the first state to become ODF.

Himachal Pradesh has successfully achieved total rural sanitation coverage of 100% in the state. Besides, all 12 districts in state were declared as well as verified as ODF.

This status will further entitle Himachal Pradesh to receive World Bank funding under Rs 9,000 crore project to sustain sanitation campaign.

What is Open defecation?

  • Open defecation means people defecate in open spaces such as fields, bushes, forests, open bodies of water rather than using the toilet.
  • Hazards of Open Defecation: It is important factor in causing various diseases like intestinal worm infections, diarrhoea, polio, hepatitis etc.
  • Prevention: Creating awareness about adverse impact of open defecation on health, changing behavioural habit of people, building of community toilets etc.

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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates three mega hydro projects in Himachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated three hydro-electric projects (HEPs) with a generating capacity of 1,732 MW in Himachal Pradesh.

All the three power projects are equipped with generating equipment supplied and commissioned by state owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

These three hydro-electric projects are

  • Koldam HEP: It is 4×200 MW capacity project executed by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
  • Parbati HEP: It is Stage-III project with a capacity of 530 MW of National Hydropower Corporation (NHPC).
  • Rampur HEP: It is 412 MW capacity project of Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN).

These three projects will collectively play an important role in boosting the Hydro-power sector of Himachal Pradesh.

BHEL’s contribution

BHEL has a vast experience in hydro-electric projects (HEPs). It has contracted more than 500 hydro-generating sets with a cumulative capacity of more than 29,000 MW of various ratings in India and abroad. BHEL’s hydro installations are in operation in India and also across the world in Bhutan, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Rwanda and Vietnam. Presently, BHEL is executing HEPs of around 3,300 MW in the country in addition to major hydropower projects in DR Congo and Bhutan.

Significance of hydro-projects

Hydropower generated by hydro-projects is renewable source of energy as it uses and not consumes the water for generation of electricity. It does not emit greenhouse gas emission and helps in achieving a low carbon path. India has hydropower potential of around 1,45,000 MW and at 60% load factor, it can meet the demand of around 85, 000 MW. So far, around 26% of Hydropower potential has been exploited in India.

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Himansh, India’s remote, high-altitude station opens in Himalayas

A high altitude glaciological research station in Himalaya called Himansh (meaning a slice of ice) began functioning above 13,500 ft (4000 m) in a remote region in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

Researchers will use this station as a base for undertaking surveys that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision.

Key Facts

  • Himansh station will provide much needed fillip to the scientific research on Himalayan glaciers and its hydrological contribution.
  • The research lab has been established by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Spiti Valley, one of the most uninhabited parts of the country
  • The station houses instruments to quantify glacier melting and its relation to changing climate.
  • Some of the instruments available at this research facility include automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems and other sophisticated facilities.
  • It will also serve as the base for Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for undertaking surveys.

Significance

  • The Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps. It is called the “Water Tower of Asia”.
  • It is source of 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, drinking water and power for over 700 million people (10% of world’s population) living in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Thus, understanding behaviour of these Himalayan glaciers and their contribution to sustainable supply of water for mankind and agriculture is one of grand challenges of Indian scientific community.

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