Ministry of Road Transport & Highways Current Affairs - 2020

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Ministry of Road Transport & Highways inks MoU with IL&FS for construction of Zojila tunnel

The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has inked MoU with IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd for construction of the 14.150 km long, 2-lane bi-directional Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir.

This would be India’s longest road tunnel and longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia. On completion, the tunnel will provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.

Zojila Tunnel Project

The project aims at construction of 14.150 km long two lane bidirectional single tube tunnel with parallel 14.200 km long egress tunnel between Baltaland Minamarg in J&K with total capital cost of Rs. 6808 crore. The duration for construction of the project is 7 years.

Its main objective is to provide all whether connectivity to strategically important Leh region in J&K which at moment is limited to 6 months in year because of snow on passes and threat of avalanches.

It will be first of its kind tunnel in such geographical area. It will have all modern technical safety arrangements such as cut and cross ventilation system, two axial fans, uninterrupted power supply, fully transverse ventilation system, CCTV monitoring, variable messaging boards, traffic logging equipment, tunnel radio, emergency telephone system etc.

Comment

The project has strategic and socio-economic importance and will be instrument for development of economically backward districts in J&K. It will also bring about all round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions. This project, along with other ongoing projects like 6.5 km long Z-Morh tunnel at Gagangir will ensure safe, fast and cheap all weather connectivity between Kashmir and Ladakh. They will also increase employment potential for local labourers for project activities. It will also boost employment as local businesses will get linked to national market and region will receive round the year tourist traffic.

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Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) compliant vehicles thoughout the country from 1 April 2017: Ministry of Road Transport & Highways

In order to reduce air pollution due to vehicles the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways issued a notification to introduce Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) compliant four wheeler vehicles though out the country from 1 April 2017.

As per the notification from 1 April 2017 all newly manufactured four-wheeled vehicle that are complaint with the BS-IV standards will be allowed to registered and move on roads.

From 1 April, 2010 vehicles in few cities of NCR, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad including Secunderabad, Kanpur, Pune, Surat, Agra, Lucknow and Sholapur were already running with BS IV complaint engine. More 50 cities were added till 1 April 2015.

About Bharat Stage emission standards:

  • Bharat stage emission standards also known as “Bharat Stage” are emission standards instituted by the Government of India in accordance with European regulation standard ‘Euro norms’ to regulate the output of air pollutants that vehicles emits.
  • India adopted “Barat stage” in accordance with ‘Euro norms’ from year 2000 and stage wise introduced Bharat Stage compatible fuel and ungraded and modified vehicles throughout the country.
  • Each stage specifies a certain limit on the pollutants released, Higher the Bharat Stage goes lesser it emits pollutants.
  • The BS-IV complaint vehicles release less pollutants {Carbon Mono-oxide (CO), Hydrocarbon (HC), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Sulphur (SOx)} i.e. 0.025 Respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) as compared to its preceding Bharat Stage complaint vehicles.

Stages:

  • BS-I      Euro 1     2000
  • BS-II    Euro 2     2005
  • BS-III   Euro 3     2010
  • BS-IV   Euro 4     2015 (63 cities till 1 April 2015)

Note: Earlier Saumitra Chaudhri Committee has recommended to introduce even lesser pollutant releasing BS-V (0.005 rspm) and BS-VI (0.0025 rspm) throughout the nation by 2022 and 2024 respectively.

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