Emergency Current Affairs - 2020

Oil Spill in the Arctic region of Russia

Russia declared state of emergency after oil spilled into Ambarnaya river. The surface of the river turned crimson red.

Highlights

The Ambarnaya river slows into environmentally sensitive Arctic Ocean.

The Thermoelectric power plant located at Norilsk has been built on a permafrost. The permafrost has weakened due to climate change and increase in temperature. This led to the sinking of the pillars that supported the fuel tank to sink. The loss of containment led to 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil into the Ambarnaya river.

The river has drifted 12 km on its surface since its leak.

Environmental damages

The Environmentalists say that the river will become difficult to clean. The river will take decades to return to its previous state. It however does not include atmospheric damages and soil pollution The World wide Fund recorded the oil spill as the second largest oil leak in the world. The incident is being compared to Alaska’s 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

Exxon Valdez Disaster

The Exxon Valdez Disaster occurred in 1989 when an oil tanker struck Prince William Sound Reef in Alaska. Around 10.8 million gallons of crude oil spilled over. This is till date considered one of the worst oil spills in history.

The region is rich in salmon, seals, sea otters and sea birds.

Ambarnaya river

The Ambarnaya river flows in Siberial in northerly direction in Lake Pyasino. Fishing is no longer possible in the river as it is heavily polluted due to mining in Norilsk.

Project Monitoring Unit launched by Ministry of Coal

The Ministry of Coal recently launched a project monitoring unit to facilitate early operationalization of coal mines that were allocated by the central government. The aim of launching the unit is to bring in more bidders.

Highlights

The Project Monitoring Unit will facilitate Ease of Doing Business as it will support coal mines in receiving timely approval in order to operate the mines. The unit will also help the mines in getting clearances from the state and central government authorities for their operationalization. The unit will help improve business environment and production of coal in the country.

Ease of Doing Business

India ranks 63rd in ease of doing business in the ranking released by World Bank. India was one of the top 10 improvers in the 2019 ranking. The unit will help India improve further and promote international trade as well.

Coal Production in India

India has the fifth largest coal reserves in the world. The major states that produce coal in India are Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.

Nationalisation and Denationalisation of Coal Mines

Nationalisation

The Nationalisation of coal mines was done in two phases. The first phase of nationalization was done in 1971 under the Coking Coal Mines (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971 to manage coking coal mines. The Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited and the Indian Iron and Steel Company limited were nationalized and brought under BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Limited).

Denationalisation

The Coal Mines were denationalized under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. The law allowed the private sector to mine coal.