National Current Affairs

Atal Bhujal Yojana: Government formulates ambitious water conservation scheme

The Union Government has formulated ambitious water conservation scheme Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY) to tackle ever-deepening crisis of depleting groundwater level.

The Rs 6,000-crore will be piloted under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. It is awaiting cabinet’s clearance.

Atal Bhujal Yojana

The objective of scheme is to recharge ground water and create sufficient water storage for agricultural purposes. It also focuses on revival of surface water bodies so that ground water level can be increased, especially in the rural areas. It will give emphasis to recharging ground water sources and ensure efficient use of water by involving people at local level.

The scheme after Cabinet’s clearance will soon be launched in water-stressed states: Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It will cover 78 districts, 193 blocks and more than 8,300 gram panchayats across these states.

Centre will support half of the total project cost and rest of the budgetary cost will be shared by the World Bank.

Significance

This scheme will help those who are in need for constant ground water supply especially farmers who have been hard impacted by acute shortage of ground water for past several years. Its focus is primarily on involvement of communities and convergence with different water schemes.

Its major component is making society responsible and bringing about behaviour change to manage groundwater resource. It will help improve overall outlook towards water resource.

Background

The current status of groundwater is alarming, primarily due to non-uniform ground water development and its over-exploitation. According to report published by the Central Ground Water Board (Ground Water Assessment, 2011), out of 6,607 assessed administrative units 1,071 units are over ground water exploited, 217 units are critical, 697 units are semi-critical, and 4,530 units are safe. Moreover, there are 92 units are completely saline.

The number of over-exploited and critical administrative units is significantly higher in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and also in Union Territories of Puducherry and Daman and Diu. The declining ground water levels have resulted in failure of wells or deepening of extraction structures, leading to additional burden on farmers.

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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Fourth Container Terminal of JNPT in Mumbai

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Fourth Container Terminal (FCT) of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. With this, JNPT doubled its container handling capacity.

The new FCT will add capacity of 24 lakh containers per year in Phase-I and after completion of Phase-II in 2022, the capacity of JNPT will be 100 lakh containers per year.

Key Facts

The new FCT of JNPT has been developed on Design, Built, Fund, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis for a concession period of 30 years at estimated cost of Rs. 7915 crore. The project was implemented in two Phases. i.e. Phase I and Phase II.

The indicative cost of the project for Phase I was Rs.4719 Crore. Its foundation stone was laid PM Narendra Modi  in October 2015 and was completed in record time.

The terminal has deepest berths to handle “Mother Ships. It can handle biggest container ships from quay length of 1 km and cranes that can reach 22 rows wide or greater. It can also handle three container ships at one go with sufficient yard space.

The new FCT is also linked to dedicated rail freight corridor and can receive about 350 containers per rake. The rail facilities will be largest in India with only on-dock Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) compliant facility in India. It is capable of handling 1.5km long, 360 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container trains on completion of DFC. It also has provision for storing 1,600 reefer (refrigerated) containers to handle agricultural and horticulture produce.

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