Odisha [OPSC] Current Affairs - 2020

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Scientists found palaeo-channel of lost Chandrabhaga River in Odisha

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have claimed to discover evidence of lost river Chandrabhaga in Odisha.

Earlier, KS Valdiya led expert committee had found out that Saraswati River did exist and flowed through India and Pakistan before meeting Arabian Sea through Rann of Kutch.

Chandrabhaga River

It is an ancient mythical river believed to have existed at a distance of about two km from the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark (built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty in 1255 CE.), a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Odisha. It has been mentioned prominently in ancient literature. Besides, almost all lore regarding Konark, including illustrations and photographs, indicate presence of the river in proximity of temple. However at present, no trace of any water body is at present visible in proximity of temple.

IIT study

  • The IIT study was conducted through an integrated geological and geophysical exploration in conjunction with historical evidence and analysis of satellite data.
  • Imagery from US’s Landsat and Terra satellites and those obtained by NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Radar Topographic Mission in 2000 were also used.

What scientist found out?

  • The satellite imagery and Google Earth images showed a sinusoidal trace, characteristic of a typical palaeo-channel (remnants of an inactive river) passing north of the Sun Temple extending approximately parallel to the coast.
  • It was further corroborated through profiling the surface using ground penetrating radar that showed the existence of a V-shaped subsurface river valley.
  • Besides, field studies also revealed that palaeo-channel is characterised by swampy lands and geologically the area is covered with alluvium, a deposit characteristic of rivers.
  • Data also showed a low gravity anomaly zone along suspected palaeo-channel which is an indication of presence of low density sedimentary deposits along the depressed zone.

Significance of discovery

Identification of such a palaeo-channel of Chandrabhaga River may lead to the delineation of pockets of freshwater zones within a dominantly saline water environment in coastal Odisha. It may even partially help to alleviate the chronic drinking water problem along the Odisha coast.

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India’s first titanium project starts test production in Odisha

The first titanium project of India has started its test production Ganjam district of Odisha. The project has been established by Saraf Group.

This is first of its kind titanium plant and the only one in the country. During the test run, one of its four furnaces became functional.

Key Facts

  • After inception, this plant is expected to produce 36,000 tons of titanium slag and 20,000 tons of pig iron per year.
  • The raw material of the plant ilmenite would be procured from Odisha Sands Complex (OSCOM), a unit of Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) in Ganjam district of Odisha as well as a private company which has its unit in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.

Earlier in August 2015, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had fully commissioned and started commercial production at the first indigenous Titanium Sponge Plant at Chavara in Kerala.  This plant had commercially started producing Titanium Sponge exclusively for the space programme and strategic areas especially in aerospace and defence areas. With this commissioning India became the seventh country in the world producing Titanium sponge commercially.

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