26th February – Prelims Booster

Centre seeks TN’s stand on Pennaiyar river row

The Central government has asked the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to explain their stand in writing on the row over the Pennaiyar river.

What is the issue?

The dispute is raging since 2007. On May 18, 2018, Tamil Nadu filed a suit in Supreme Court seeking a permanent injunction on the Markendaya project under which Karnataka is drawing water to fill 160 tanks for irrigation purposes and drawing of 284 million cubic feet (mcft) of water. The major irritants are as follows –

  • Construction of reservoir of 500 mcft storage capacity, on Markandeya river, a tributary of  Pennaiyar river, near Yargol village, just upstream of Karnataka – Tamil Nadu border.
  • Construction of a scheme to pump waters of Pennaiyar river from Thattanur village, Malur taluk, Kolar district to about 160 tanks.
  • Lift irrigation scheme at Ellamallappa Chetty tank for pumping 22 MLD (284 mcft) of water to fill Hoskote tank, located upstream.
  • Pumping water from the main Pennaiyar at Belahalli village for irrigation.

About Pennaiyar river –

  • The river, which originates at Nandi Hills in Chikkaballapura district and flows through Tamil Nadu, has become a bone of contention as Karnataka is constructing a check dam and diversion structures hampering natural flow of water into Tamil Nadu.
  • It then flows southward for 50 miles (80 km) through Karnataka to northwestern Tamil Nadu, where it turns southeastward and flows 200 miles (320 km) to enter the Bay of Bengal at Cuddalore
  • The Pennaiyar is considered sacred by Hindus, and festivals are held during the Tamil month of Tai (January–February).

The exquisite Kani shawl — a rare Kashmiri craft

Kani Shawl, a Geographical Indication tag from Jammu and Kashmir, faces competition from cheaper machine-made shawls from Punjab.

Kani Shawl –

  • Kani Shawl are a tradition of Kashmir, its rich design and heritage is classic and evergreen.
  • It is made from the coat of Pashmina Goats on a handloom but instead of a shuttle used in a pashmina shawl, it is made using cane needles. 
  • Depending on the complexity of pattern it may take from 6 to 18 months to make one shawl.
  • It is woven by using small wooden spokes in the place of a shuttle as in a traditional loom. The spokes are called ‘Tujii’ or ‘Kani’ locally.
  • Kani Shawls have been produced from fine hand spun Pashmina and Santoosh fibres.
  • It is one of the Valley’s most famous exports from the time of the Mughals.

ASI planning barricade around famed stone chariot at Hampi

ASI is contemplating installing a wooden barricade around the stone chariot inside Vittala Temple complex at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi in a bid to protect it from vandalism.

About Vittala Temple –

  • It reflects a high degree of craftsmanship of the temple architecture that reached its zenith under the Vijaynagara rulers who reigned from 14th to 17th century CE.
  • The Vittala Temple is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
  • The temple has traits and features that are characteristics of classic south-Indian temples.
  • The exquisitely sculpted Stone Chariot is one of the most stunning architecture of the Vijaynagara kingdom. It is actually a shrine that has been designed in the shape of a decorative chariot dedicated to Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu.
  • The Ranga Mandapa in temple is renowned for its 56 musical pillars. These pillars are also known as SAREGAMA pillars, denoting the musical notes emanated by them.
  • The central western hall of the temple was ruined by the attack of the Mughals that led to the downfall of the Vijaynagara Empire in 1565 A.D. 
  • Today, the temple complex hosts the annual Purandaradasa festival. Bathed by floodlights, the temple is illuminated alluringly.

EESL completes 10 years of service to the nation

On the occasion of its tenth anniversary celebrations, the Minister of Power has announced the successful installation of 10 lakh smart meters across India, under the Government of India’s Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP).

These smart meters, operational in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Bihar, aim to bring efficiency in the distribution system leading to better service delivery. The programme is being implemented through Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).

About EESL –

  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) was founded in 2009.
  • It is a joint venture of four national Public-Sector Undertakings – NTPC Limited; Power Finance Corporation Limited; Rural Electrification Corporation Limited, and; POWERGRID Corporation of India Limited. 
  • EESL is leading the market-related activities of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), one of the eight national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

About Smart Meter National Programme –

  • EESL’s Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP) is working to eventually replace 25 crore conventional meters with smart meters across India.
  • The smart meters are installed as per guidelines issued by the Central Electricity Authority.
  • Smart meters are part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure solution (AMI) that measures and records consumers’ electricity usage at different times of the day and sends this information to the energy supplier through GPRS technology.
  • The programme is expected to better billing efficiency by 75 to 100% while increasing the revenues of the utility companies to Rs. 1,38,100 crore.

Blue dot Network (BDN)

Blue Dot Network is led by US and jointly launched by the Australia and Japan at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok, Thailand which was held on 4 Nov 2019.

Details –

  • The Network will classify the market-driven nominated infrastructure projects which will be based on the transparency and financially sustainability in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.
  • Socially and environmentally responsible critical infrastructure has been envisaged for widespread economic empowerment.
  • The private sector companies and civil society and the governments around the world are responsible for respect for transparency and accountability, the sovereignty of property and resources, local labour and human rights, rule of law, the environment, and sound governance practices in procurement and financing.
  • It seems to be planned as a direct counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, unlike the BRI, the BDN would not offer public funds or loans for the project.
  • India and the US will discuss the BDN, the US wants India to play an “active role” in this proposal as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy.
  • BDN is an initiative of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), established in 1971, which is a self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets.

Daily MCQs

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