West Bengal Current Affairs

National Mission for Clean Ganga approves 10 projects

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved ten projects in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal to the tune of about Rs. 2,033 crore.

These projects were approved in the 5th meeting of the Executive Committee of NMCG. Eight of the ten projects pertain to sewage infrastructure and treatment, one each to ghat development and Ganga Knowledge Centre.

Approved Projects

In Bihar, three major sewage infrastructure projects were approved in Barh, Kankarbagh and Digha. These projects will create additional sewage treatment capacity in Kankarbagh and Barh.

In West Bengal, three projects were approved. Out of these two pertain to sewage infrastructure while the third one is for ghat development.  In Uttar Pradesh, sewage infrastructure work in Chunar, district Mirzapur, has also been approved at an estimated cost of around 28 crore rupees.

Project to establish Ganga Monitoring Centres (GMCs) was also approved in five riparian Ganga states. The objective of GMCs is to establish efficient monitoring of wholesomeness of river including flow levels, pollution levels, point and non-point sources of pollution, among other parameters. Two pilot demonstrative projects of treatment of drains using bioremediation method were also approved.

About National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council). It was established in 2011 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act, 1860.

It has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. Both of them are headed by Director General (DG), NMCG. Executive Committee is authorized to approve projects under mission up to Rs.1000 crore.

Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees. This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation.

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Two new species of Cycas discovered

Research conducted on Cycas pschannae, a lone tree found in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, West Bengal has revealed two new species of Cycas to the world. This discovery takes the total number of Cycas species found in India to 14.

Cycas

Cycas are one of the most ancient plants whose fossils date to the Jurassic period. They are often referred to as living fossils. They have evolved on the earth as the first seeded plants and they grow very slowly, adding only a few centimetres every year. Nearly 65% of Cycas are threatened. There are over 100 species of Cycas found across the globe.

Key Facts

Initial studies on the lone Cycas pschannae tree revealed that it was Cycas, a gymnosperm. Further research based on its anatomical and morphological characters led to the discovery of new species of Cycas pschannae and later Cycas dharmrajii in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Cycas dharmrajii is characterised by the abnormal branching habit of its giant trunk and its swollen base. It has well-defined 10 to 28 hook-like structures in the apex of the mega sporophyll which makes it distinct from other Cycas found in the country. Sporophylls are spore-bearing leaf-like female sex organ of the plant. The sporophylls of Cycas pschannae are characterised by the presence of two lateral horn-like structures.

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