Diu Smart City becomes first to run on 100% Renewable Energy during Daytime

Diu Smart City has become the first city in India, that runs on 100% renewable energy during daytime setting a new benchmark for other cities to become clean and green. Diu had been importing 73% of its power from Gujarat until last year. It has now adopted a two-pronged approach whereby a 9 MW solar park spread over 50 hectares rocky barren land has been developed besides installing solar panels on the rooftops on 79 government buildings thereby generating 1.3 MW annually. To further enhance its solar capacity, Diu offers its residents a subsidy of Rs 10, 000-50,000 for installing 1-5KW rooftop solar panels. Diu is saving about 13,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Due to low-cost solar energy, power tariffs have been cut in the residential category by 10% last year and 15% this year.

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Airport expansion: Government likely to adopt land-pooling method

The Centre is working on adopting the land-pooling methodology as an alternative mechanism for development and expansion of airports. This is being done to overcome the challenges that come with unavailability of land due to the surge in compensation cost for airport expansion projects since January 2015, when the First Schedule to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, kicked in.

“If the proposal receives an approval at the Government of India level then states will probably have to adopt some of the features of land-pooling in their respective state acts to give it legal teeth. It may take some time but the way I look at it, it is the way forward to plan airports in Indian cities

“Most of the airports are in congested parts of the city now that there is no scope for growth, and land acquisition in fully constructed areas around airports is difficult. The ministry is looking at the land-pooling method, which has been done in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra,”

Recently, representatives from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh made presentations to senior officials in the civil aviation ministry, including both ministers and the secretary, about their experiences “on the effectiveness of land-pooling” as an alternative to land acquisition for developing urban infrastructure. “Based on that, we gave an assignment to the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad for three greenfield airports to see whether they can be planned using land-pooling, and three brownfield airports to see whether they can be expanded
On account of high passenger traffic growth in the country, a severe capacity constraint for expansion of infrastructure at various airports is also being experienced. Therefore, for AAI, while plans have been chalked out to expand capacities of terminals and bays at airports, data shows that many of the airports will reach saturation even after being expanded for lack of land availability.

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First zero-emission hydrogen-powered tram

A domestically-produced hybrid electric tram powered by hydrogen fuel cells has begun operating in Tangshan, northern China. The ecologically sound vehicle was launched amid China’s huge pollution challenges.

The world’s first hydrogen-powered tram began its commercial operations in Tangshan, one of China’s oldest industrial cities not far from the capital, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Friday. It was developed by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) in 2015.

The tram carried around 300 passengers during its maiden trips on Thursday, Chinese media reported citing the production company. One of the first riders, Tangshan resident Su, 31, described the trip as “quite comfortable.”

The ecologically-friendly tram emits only water without any pollutants. It does not produce any nitrogen oxides, as the temperature of the reaction inside the fuel cell is kept under 100 degrees Celsius.

It has three carriages with 66 seats and can run for 40 kilometers at a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour consuming 12 kilograms of hydrogen. It can be refueled in just 15 minutes.

The coach rides on a 136-year-old railway line and connects several industrial heritage sites of Tangshan.

Earlier this year, a contract was signed for the train’s commercial use in Foshan City in south China’s Guangdong Province. Еight hydrogen-powered tramcars will be manufactured according to the deal.

China has been struggling with air pollution for years, with its cities often blanketed in harmful thick smog. On Friday, a yellow smog alert was issued for the Chinese capital Beijing and its suburbs, which were covered with dense fog causing highway closures.

Fuel Cell

A fuel cell is a device that converts chemical potential energy (energy stored in molecular bonds) into electrical energy. A PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) cell uses hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2) as fuel. The products of the reaction in the cell are water, electricity, and heat. This is a big improvement over internal combustion engines, coal burning power plants, and nuclear power plants, all of which produce harmful by-products.

Hydrogen + Oxygen = Electricity + Water Vapor

 

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Home Ministry set to take over Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

THE UNION Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to move a proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for taking over the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), currently under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA). The move, initially opposed by MoCA, was proposed on the ground that security at airports is provided by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which reports to the MHA.

BCAS is responsible for laying down standards, policies and measures with regard to security of all commercial flights. Multiple agencies working at airports, including the Intelligence Bureau, immigration officials, security personnel, local police, are bound by regulations passed by BCAS. Asked about MoCA’s objections, the official, who did not want to be named, said: “Discussions in this regard have been held at the top level involving the PMO and NSA, after which this decision has been taken, keeping in mind the safety and security of airports.

Once the Cabinet gives its approval, the CISF will assume a larger role in airport security.The new set-up will help in better coordination and monitoring, since the CISF, IB and state intelligence all report to MHA.”

The decision is based on a security audit conducted by a team of experts from the MHA, IB, CISF and BCAS, which had recommended the change.

Another reason cited for taking control of BCAS is the issue of security clearances for airlines and airports, granted by the MHA.

The move may result in an increase in passenger security fee since the CISF will be deployed at all the 98 airports across the country, said the official.

Set up as a cell in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 1978, after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in September 1976, BCAS was reorganised as an independent department under the MoCA on April 1, 1987, as a follow-up to the Kanishka bombing in June 1985. It is currently headed by a commissioner of security.

In 2012, the then UPA government moved a proposal to set up an exclusive Aviation Security Force (ASF), under the control of BCAS, to replace CISF at airports, following the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s recommendation. However, the proposal was rejected by the NDA government, which decided to strengthen the CISF instead.

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Cabinet approves Rs7 trillion road construction plan, including Bharatmala

India announced an outlay of Rs6.92 trillion for building an 83,677 km road network over the next five years.

The largest ever outlay for road construction comes in the backdrop of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government implementing the goods and services tax (GST) which aims to create a common market by dismantling inter-state tariff barriers. A robust road infrastructure will help in that direction.

The road construction push includes the Bharatmala Pariyojana with a Rs5.35 trillion investment to construct 34,800km of roads. In addition, Rs1.57 trillion will be spent on the construction of 48,877km of roads by the state-run National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the ministry of road transport and highways.

To expedite the Bharatmala projects, apart from ministry of road transport and highways and state-run firms—NHAI and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL)—even respective state public works departments (PWDs) will be roped in for timely execution. This in turn will generate 142 million man-days of jobs, the government said.

To give a boost to the ambitious plan, all future road projects such as economic corridors and coastal roads have been brought under its aegis. The other projects under the marquee scheme include roads providing international connectivity, border roads, roads connecting economically important nodes, green field expressways and the remaining National Highways Development Project (NHDP) works under the scheme launched in 1998 by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

India needs massive funding to bankroll its new integrated infrastructure programme, which involves building roads, railways, waterways and airports.

To fund the marquee Bharatmala scheme, Rs2.09 trillion will be raised as debt from the market, while Rs1.06 trillion in private investments is being targeted through public private partnerships. In addition, Rs2.19 trillion will be provided from Central Road Fund (CRF), Toll-Operate-Maintain-Transfer (TOT) projects and toll collections of NHAI.

The government is working on raising capital by monetizing the operational road assets of NHAI that have been built by public funding, a first in the country. The government expects a private investment potential of Rs34,000 crore from the monetization of these 82 operating highways under the TOT model.

For projects not covered under the Bharatmala programme, Rs97,000 crore will be provided by the CRF and Rs59,000 crore will be provided as gross budgetary support.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said projects such as Sagarmala and Bharatmala will prepare a strong base for infrastructure development, enabling a person to travel across the country on a single road.

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MoRTH to promote new technologies in highway projects

Road, Transport and Highways Ministry has decided to implement a Value Engineering Programme to promote new technologies and material in highway projects.

In an official release, the Ministry said, the programme is aimed at using innovative technology, materials and equipment to reduce the cost of projects and make them more environment-friendly.

It said the programme is expected to increase the speed of construction, reduce construction cost, increase asset durability and improve aesthetics and safety.

The Ministry also reconstituted a nine-member experts’ panel for approving proposals for use of new technologies, material and equipment.

The reconstituted panel is chaired by SR Tambe, former Secretary, PWD Maharashtra and co-chaired by Prof Ravi Sinha, IIT Mumbai.

The expert panel will examine all technical matters involving the new technologies, materials and equipment referred to it by the concerned Engineers or contractors.

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Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and the International Road Federation, Geneva (IRF Geneva) have, today, signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to cooperate in the field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

The objective of the SoI is to create a national platform, involving all relevant Government of India stakeholders, Indian and foreign companies active in the sector, and relevant technical experts for the purpose of developing a

  • National ITS Policy covering:
  • Traffic Management.
  • Parking Management.
  • Electronic Enforcement of Traffic Rules and Regulations.
  • Fleet Management and Monitoring.
  • Innovation in the field of ITS.
  • Education in the field of ITS.

The objective of the policy:

The objectives of this national ITS Policy will be to contribute to reducing urban traffic congestion, improving the situation around parking of vehicles in cities, improving road safety, and improving the security of passenger and goods traffic. The work of this National Platform will provide a coherent and consistent National ITS Policy covering domains such as traffic and parking management, enforcement, and security.

About International Road federation:

The International Road Federation (IRF) is a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organisation with the mission to encourage and promote development and maintenance of better, safer and more sustainable roads and road networks. Working together with its members and associates, the IRF promotes social and economic benefits that flow from well-planned and environmentally sound road transport networks. It helps put in place technological solutions and management practices that provide maximum economic and social returns from national road investments.

The IRF has a major role to play in all aspects of road policy and development worldwide. For governments and financial institutions, the IRF provides a wide base of expertise for planning road development strategy and policy.

For its members, the IRF is a business network, a link to external institutions and agencies, such as the United Nations and the European Union, and a business card of introduction to government officials and decision makers.
For the community of road professionals, the IRF is a source of support and information for national road associations, advocacy groups, companies and institutions dedicated to the development of road infrastructure.

Through the International Road Educational Foundation the IRF awards grants to graduate engineers and other transportation professionals from around the world in support of full-time academic training. With this the IRF actively supports the future generations who will build the road networks.

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