Current Affairs, News & Facts of 19 Sep 2015

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  • Multi-dose diclofenac banned to save vultures  

     

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    • India's environment ministry has requested the health ministry to ban the sale of multiple-dose vials of a painkiller called diclofenac whose use in the veterinary sector has pushed vultures in India to the brink of extinction.
    • Acting on a recommendation from the Environment Ministry, the Health Ministry banned the sale of diclofenac vials containing more than one dose so only single-dose vials will now be available in medicine shops.
    • Though use of diclofenac to treat cattle was banned in 2006, but even after banning the use of Diclofenac for veterinary use, the multi-dose vials available in the market for human use were widely misused for veterinary purpose. This, in turn, has a severe impact on the population of vultures. 

    "Diclofenac" the cause of vultures extinction

    • The commonly-used anti-inflammatory drug for cattle is considered the chief cause for the steep decline in the number of vultures in recent years. The drug is harmless to the cattle it is administered to, but is fatal for the vultures, who routinely feed on the carcass of dead cattle. Studies have shown that the drug causes kidney and liver failure in vultures. 
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  • Indian Railways develops Hybrid Vacuum Toilets

     

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    • Development Cell of the Railway Board has come up with a design that combines the advantages of vacuum toilets and those of bio-toilets to create a new design of a hybrid vacuum toilet which uses only 500 ml of water for flushing.
    • The first of its kind system in the world has been developed by the Development Cell of Indian Railway Board. This newly developed toilet facility has been fitted on trial basis in Dibrugarh Rajdhani.
    • The prototype consists of a custom designed Vacuum toilet adapted from a commercially available vacuum toilet that is used in aircrafts which evacuates its discharge into a bio-digester tank which is now successfully proven in the bio-toilets of Indian Railways.

    Features of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet :-

    • The biodigester tank is fitted underneath the coach and contains anaerobic bacteria that converts human fecal matter into water and small amount of gases before discharging the same on the ground/track.
    • A conventional toilet or Biotoilet uses 10 – 15 liters of water per flush whereas the vacuum toilet consumes only appx. 500 ml of water for flushing.
    • This innovation shall save water to the tune of at least 1/20th of the quantity that is used in the current design of biotoilets/conventional toilets

    Why is it different from rest of the world ?

    • In foreign countries where the train coaches that are fitted with Vacuum toilets, there is a “retention tank” underneath the coach that holds all the human waste that is flushed out by the toilet. These are very large tanks that need to be evacuated at the terminals stations. 
    • Since Indian Railways trains traverse the length and breadth of the country with journey times as long as 72 hours and generally over 50 passengers per coach, it is nearly impossible to hold the human waste in retention tanks on trains that travel such long distances.
    • Also, the stationary facilities for evacuation of these holding tanks need to be maintained very carefully and meticulously or else their malfunction will render the entire train’s toilets unusable.
    • The Municipal Corporations at cities where these ground-handling facilities are to be created have to be taken into confidence to allow one-shot rapid discharge of human waste of an entire train into their sewer systems, which may not be possible at all stations due to constraints in existing sewer system that are already in place. 
    • By transferring the discharge of the vacuum toilets into biodigester, the need to create separate ground handling installation and creating additional sewer load on the Municipal Corporation will be done away with
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  • Metro Man E Sreedharan to serve UN High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport

     

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    Metro Man' E Sreedharan has been invited to the United Nations' High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST).  Sreedharan, the Principal Advisor to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, has been invited by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to serve on his HLAG-ST. The service is for a period of three years and Sreedharan has accepted the offer.

    "Elattuvalapil Sreedharan" The man who has revolutionized the way Delhites commute every day

    • Elattuvalapil Sreedharan was born on 12 June 1932 in Pattambi in the Palakkad district of Kerala. He completed his Civil Engineering from the University College of Engg., JNTUK, Andhra Pradesh
    • Later on, Sreedharan succeeded to clear the prestigious ESE (Engineering Services Exam, now known as IES) and joined the Southern Railway as a probationary assistant engineer in the year 1954.
    • He is credited for changing the face of public transport in India by his leadership for building the Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro when he served as the managing director of Delhi Metro between 1995–2012
    • He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2001, the Padma Vibhushan in 2008, the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 2005 and named one of Asia's Heroes by TIME magazine in 2003
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  • PM Narendra Modi launches IPDS in Varanasi to ensure 24×7 power supply to every house

     

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    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to provide 24×7 power supply to every house.
    • Under IPDS, Varanasi will get 572 crore rupees. To start the scheme in Varanasi, foundation stone of two power substation were laid. IPDS is a 45 thousand crore rupees scheme that will enlighten the people of entire urban population of the country
    • The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of seven developmental projects for Varanasi and formally inaugurated the biggest Trauma centre of the country in Banaras Hindu University.
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  • Veteran Marathi cricket commentator Bal Pandit passes away

     

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    • Veteran cricket Marathi commentator Bal Pandit who pioneered cricket commentary in Marathi and made the game more popular in Maharashtrian households passed away after a prolonged illness. He was, 86
    • Bal Pandit was described as an encyclopedia of Marathi synonyms for original cricketing parlance in English, Pandit endeared himself with fans of the game with his lucid live commentary of both international and domestic matches on All India Radio for over four decades,
    • Bal Pandit has also played a lone Ranji Trophy match representing Maharashtra against Gujarat in 1959-60. He was a law graduate, and has written about 30 books and also penned newspaper and magazine articles on the subject, enhancing common man's knowledge of the game.
    • Maharashtra government had recognised his contribution to the game bestowing the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Award on him in 1978. He has also translated Sunil Gavaskar's 'Sunny Days' which became popular with the Marathi readers.
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