Govt launches chatbot loaded AirSewa digital platform for air passengers

Chatbots will now help air travelers in addressing their grievances, as the government Monday launched an upgraded version of AirSewa digital platform.

Besides, passengers can have access to real-time flight status and schedule for both domestic and international flights, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry.

AirSewa 2.0, the upgraded version of the web portal and mobile app, provides chatbot support for a faster resolution and personalized traveler experience. Also, passengers can sign up using their Facebook and Google accounts.

Generally, chatbots are computer programmes that interact with people through audio or text messages.

The AirSewa portal and mobile app were launched in November 2016. Since the launch, AirSewa 1.0 has helped resolve a significant

Around 12,000 complaints have been dealt with through AirSewa, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said.

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India gets its first sewer cleaning machine

In order to reduce sewer deaths and put an end to the unsafe practice of manual scavenging, the Sulabh International introduced India’s first “sewer cleaning machine”.

The machine, Sulabh International founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak said, “will do away with 99 percent of manual scavenging” in the country, where at least one worker has died while cleaning sewers or septic tanks every five days since the beginning of 2017.

The machine, which costs Rs 43 lakh, was unveiled on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2018 by the mayors of all the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD), in the presence of Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari and Pathak.

To avert such tragedies, the Sulabh sewer cleaning machine is electro-hydraulically operated, with personal protective devices and a quick-view pipe inspection camera which extends up to 20 feet.

“The quick-view pipe view camera is designed to felicitate inspection of manholes, sewer, tunnels, tanks, mainline and other lateral pipeline facilities with an outstanding zoom function (industrial HD camera), scalable carbon fiber rods and a sunlight presentable controller,” he informed.

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AAI in pact with US agency to prepare modernisation roadmap

State-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) has inked an agreement with the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to develop a roadmap for modernization of its air traffic services.

Air traffic services (ATS) comprises air traffic management (ATM) and communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS).

The collaboration is aimed at developing a CNS/ATM roadmap for the AAI for modernization of the national airspace system (NAS), the release said.

Under the pact, US aircraft manufacturer Boeing will provide technical assistance which will create a roadmap to enhance communications, expand existing systems and airspace capacity, and invest in CNS/ATM facilities, it added.

The double-digit growth in air passenger traffic over the last 49 months has brought several challenges with it, including maintaining safe and efficient aircraft operations, he said.

In this backdrop, it was decided to draw a robust roadmap for sustained ANS infrastructure to meet the growth challenges in a planned way, Mohapatra added.

According to the release, utilizing global and regional best practices as a benchmark, the technical help will recommend a roadmap and implementation plan to the AAI for improving airspace utilization and implement CNS/ATM air and ground equipage in the short, medium and long-term (up to 10 years).

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PM Modi inaugurates India’s first multi-modal terminal on inland waterways

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated India’s first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga River in his parliamentary constituency here and received the country’s first container cargo transported on inland waterways from Kolkata.

The first consignment containing food and beverage had set sail from Kolkata in the last week of October.

Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.

About Jal Marg Vikas Project:

The Jal Marg Vikas Project seeks to facilitate plying of vessels with a capacity of 1,500-2,000 tonnes in the Haldia- Varanasi stretch of the River Ganga. The major works being taken up under JMVP are the development of fairway, Multi-Modal Terminals, strengthening of river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking etc.

The JMVP, which is expected to be completed by March 2023, is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank. The project will enable commercial navigation of vessels with the capacity of 1500-2,000 tons on NW-I.

Its objective is to promote inland waterways as a cheap and environment-friendly means of transportation, especially for cargo movement. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project implementing agency.

Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system from Allahabad to Haldia was declared as National Waterway No.1. The NW-1 passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal and serves major cities and their industrial hinterlands.

 

 

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PM Modi inaugurates India’s first multi-modal terminal on inland waterways in Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first multi-modal terminal on the Ganga river in his parliamentary constituency here and received the country’s first container cargo transported on inland waterways from Kolkata.

This is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on the National Waterway-1 (river Ganga) as part of the World Bank-aided Jal Marg Vikas project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.

This is the first of the four multi-modal terminals being constructed on the National Waterway-1 (river Ganga) as part of the World Bank-aided Jal Marg Vikas project of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.

Benefits of container movement on inland waterways:

Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.

About Jal Marg Vikas Project:

The Jal Marg Vikas Project seeks to facilitate plying of vessels with a capacity of 1,500-2,000 tonnes in the Haldia- Varanasi stretch of the River Ganga. The major works being taken up under JMVP are the development of fairway, Multi-Modal Terminals, strengthening of river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking etc.

The JMVP, which is expected to be completed by March 2023, is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank. The project will enable commercial navigation of vessels with the capacity of 1500-2,000 tons on NW-I.

Its objective is to promote inland waterways as a cheap and environment-friendly means of transportation, especially for cargo movement. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project implementing agency.

NW 1:

Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system from Allahabad to Haldia was declared as National Waterway No.1. The NW-1 passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal and serves major cities and their industrial hinterlands.

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IIT-Madras develops portable cold storage device

The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has developed a portable solar-powered cold storage device with a 500 kg capacity for storing vegetables, and fruits, among other items.

The device will help farmers store their produce for sufficient time so that it does not get spoilt before it is sold, thereby preventing wastage of agricultural produce.

The first unit of the device, which provides a storage facility with temperature ranging between four and 10-degree Celsius, was deployed at a farm in Madurantakam in Kancheepuram district, around 80 km from Chennai, recently.

Each unit would cost between Rs 5.5 to Rs 6 lakh and storage capacity could be scaled down based on requirement.

The project has been funded by the Department of Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Technology) and IIT-M.

A startup called Tan90, initiated by IIT-M students aims to commercialize the technology and take it to individual farmers with even smaller devices at affordable prices.

Three years ago, students of IIT-Kharagpur developed a similar system which works at almost zero running cost.

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Cabinet approves leasing out six airports – Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru through PPP

“In-principle” approval for leasing out six airports of AAI viz. Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru for operation, management and development under Public Private Partnership (PPP) through the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC).

Constitution of an Empowered Group of Secretaries headed by CEO, NITI Aayog with Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs and Secretary, Department of Expenditure to decide on any issue falling beyond the scope of PPPAC.

PPP in infrastructure projects brings efficiency in service delivery, expertise, enterprise, and professionalism apart from harnessing the needed investments in the public sector.

The PPP in airport infrastructure projects has brought World class infrastructure at airports, delivery of efficient and timely services to the airport passengers, augmenting revenue stream to the Airports Authority of India without making any investment, etc. of these, for development of Greenfield Airports at Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Presently, the airports being managed under the PPP model include Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Cochin.

The PPP airports in India have been ranked among the top 5 in their respective categories by the Airports Council International (ACI) in terms of Airport Service Quality (ASQ).

While these PPP experiments have helped create world-class airports, it has also helped AAI in enhancing its revenues and focusing on developing airports and Air Navigation infrastructure in the rest of the country.

Background:

The increase in domestic and international air travel in India combined with congestion at most airports, and the strong traffic growth at the 5 airports which were privatized over a decade ago has attracted the attention of several international operators and investors. The airport sector is the top contender among infrastructure sectors in terms of international interest. International operators and investors prefer brownfield airport expansion opportunities with having more than 3-4 million passenger capacity. The airport sector may provide an immediate opportunity to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) by the adoption of a PPP approach.

Therefore, it has been decided to lease out six airports viz. Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru of AAI in the first phase for development, operation and management under PPP. This is expected to enhance the revenue to AAI and increased economic development in these areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure.

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Approval was also given for renaming of Odisha’s Jharsuguda Airport, as “Veer Surendra Sai Airport, Jharsuguda”.

The Cabinet on Thursday approved renaming Jharsuguda aerodrome in Odisha as ‘Veer Surendra Sai Airport’, according to an official release. Veer Surendra Sai is a well-known freedom fighter of Odisha.

“Renaming of the Jharsuguda airport in his name will fulfill long-pending demand of the Odisha government, which reflects the sentiments of the local public of the respective area,” the release said.

The renaming of the airport as ‘Veer Surendra Sai Airport, Jharsuguda’ was cleared by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it added.

PM Modi inaugurated the airport on September 22.

The airport has been developed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in collaboration with Odisha government at an estimated cost of Rs 210 crore, with Rs 75 crore contribution from the state

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India set to see its first container movement on inland waterways

Food and beverages giant Pepsico will become the first company in the country to move its containers from Kolkata to Varanasi using inland waterways.

This would be the country’s first container movement on inland vessel post-independence.

PepsiCo (India) will move 16 containers – equivalent to 16 truckloads- filled with food and snacks in the vessel MV RN Tagore which will reach Varanasi in 9-10 days. MV RN Tagore will make its return journey with fertilizers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.

The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with a capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

States covered under NW-1: States: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal.

Benefits of container movement on inland waterways:

Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.

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China’s Xi opens world’s longest sea bridge linking Hong Kong, Macau

China opened the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge and tunnel on Tuesday, linking the financial center of Hong Kong, the gambling hub of Macau and western reaches of the Pearl River Delta at the heart of southern China’s economic boom.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is made up of nearly 35-km (22-mile) of bridge and road sections, and a 6.7 km (4-mile) tunnel between artificial islands to allow shipping to pass unhindered.

President Xi Jinping presided over the inauguration early on Tuesday but said little except to declare the bridge officially open to a burst of fireworks projected onto a screen behind him.

Arrangements are being finalised for trucks and private vehicles will need special permits to use it.

According to Chinese media, authorities will use facial recognition systems to detect yawning drivers on the bridge, as a safety measure. If a driver yawns three times, an alarm will go off, media has reported.

Hong Kong authorities have defended the bridge’s HK$120 billion ($15.31 billion) price tag, saying it would consolidate Hong Kong’s position as a regional aviation and logistics hub.

Some critics, however, see the bridge as a white elephant that is part of a multi-pronged push by China to exert greater control over Hong Kong, which returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 amid promises to preserve the city’s high degree of autonomy and individual freedoms denied in mainland China.

The bridge was first proposed in the late 1980s, but it was opposed at the time by Hong Kong’s British colonial government, which was wary of development that might draw the city closer to Communist China.

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