Places in News Current Affairs - 2020

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World’s largest dome inaugurated in Pune

The world’s largest dome was inaugurated at Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT)’s World Peace University (MIT-WPU) campus at Loni Kalbhor, Pune (Maharashtra). It was inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu along with Peace Center on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

World Peace Monument dome

The dome has been built atop MIT World Peace Library and World Peace Prayer Hall, which are named after 13th century poet-saint and philosopher Dnyaneshwar who was pivotal figure of Bhakti movement in Maharashtra.  The dome has diameter of 160 feet, overtaking earlier record holding Vatican Dome having diameter of 139.6 feet . It stands 263 feet tall with bell hanging from centre and has prayer hall with area of around 30,000 sq ft. It is supported by 24 massive columns, each 63 feet tall. The periphery of the dome and underneath — inside and outside has bronze statues of 54 of biggest names in world history stand, irrespective of nationality or religion.

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Pakyong airport: PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Sikkim’s first airport

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Sikkim’s first-ever airport at Pakyong. Prior to this airport, Sikkim was only state in India remaining without functional airport. Pakyong airport is India’s 100th functional airport and one of the country’s five highest airports.

Pakyong airport

The airport is spread over 201 acres and was constructed by Airports Authority of India (AAI). It is located on top of hill about two km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level.  It was carved from mountain side using massive geo technical ‘cut and fill’ engineering works.

It is located around 60 km from Indo-China border and around 30km away from Gangtok, capital city of Sikkim. It has 1.75 km long runway. It has capacity to handle 50 in-bound and as many out-bound passengers flights.

Initially, this airport will cater only to domestic flights, but later provide international flight services connecting Sikkim with other countries (especially neighbouring) like Paro (Bhutan), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Dhaka (Bangladesh).

Significance

Operationalization of Pakyong airport will give huge big boost to connectivity and tourism to north-eastern state of Sikkim. It will cut down air travelling time to Sikkim by almost 5 hours because, earlier, nearest airport for connecting Sikkim was at Bagdogra in West Bengal. It will be major booster for Sikkim’s tourism sector, as it will help to improve air connectivity and save travel time for the tourists.  Its location also makes it strategically relevant from the country’s security point of view. Indian Air Force (IAF) can use this airport for landing and taking off of its aircrafts during critical situations.

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