Pune Airport will soon go solar: Airport Authority of India


Lohegaon Airport in Pune would now be a solar-powered airport. Authority Authority of India- Pune recently approved a tender of 1.21 crores to institute a 300kWp (kilowatts peak) solar plant to provide for the electricity supply of the airport. A tweet from the official handle of Pune airport mentioned that the project which is expected to be completed by March 31 current year.

Ahmadabad based company Varchasva Industries would be installing the plant which is expected to be established in the hangar area of the airport, Hindustan Times reported. On an average the airport requires 600-700 kWp of power a day and with installation of a solar powered plant, the burden would be reduced to half.

Officials from the electronic department of the airport told Hindustan Times that, “While the solar power would be used at the primary source of electricity at the airport, regular electrical power supply will also be kept as an alternative. It will be used in the case of any unforeseen hindrance.”

After Cochin, Pune would be the second airport to adopt solar energy.

Water purifiers to be installed in public places in Pune

18 water purifying units worth Rs. 50 lakhs, will be installed at various public places in the Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB) limits. Amol Jagtap, CEO of KCB, officially announced that the purifiers will treat waters drawn from borewells and work in this regard is currently in progress. Jagtap also assured that every ward in KCB will have a purifier with an hourly distributing capacity of 50 litres of water. Similar units will be set up in bus stops, schools, hospitals, market areas and in KCB office also, as reported by The Indian Express.

Among the 18 units to be installed, 2 had been developed by the CSIR National Chemical Laboratory, under the Gramin Vigyan Kutir programme, also referred to as the CSIR Techvill. The special units will be installed only at schools.

Senior scientist and in charge of CSIR Techvill said that the main objective of this initiative is to promote consumption of treated water. Interesting fact about these water purifiers is that they do not need much maintenance.

Previously, NCL did help several schools and hospitals with such units, under the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. Both KCB and NCL are planning to install more such water purifiers in the years to come and help civilians to intake disease free pure water.

In way of metro, PMC faces legal threat for trees

Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister, gave a final verdict in the conflict between the Shivsrushti and Pune Metro projects. The conflict was related to land at the Kothrud garbage depot. On February 6, as per Fadnavis’ decision, the heritage park has been shifted to the biodiversity park zone at Chandani Chowk. Hence, the work for public transport initiative is all set to start.  On one hand, this plan has been welcomed by most political parties. On the other, a citybased group of nature lovers has objected it largely.

On February 7, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) were  warned by members of the Nisargsevak group. According to Pune Mirror, the members said that they will initiate legal action if 1,000 fully grown trees are cut down. These trees were planted in the memory of their loved ones over five acres of depot land- ‘Smruti Udyan’.

In 2002, as per an agreement, Nisargsevak group was given this tranche of 28-acre Kothrud garbage dumping area by PMC for afforestation purposes. The property was given to the activists to plant trees on a 10-year lease under ‘Smruti Udyan’. As per the agreement, after 10 years, all the trees would be handed over to the PMC.

Medha Joshi, secretary, Nisargsevak told Pune Mirror, “There are so many sentiments attached to these trees, as they hold memories of loved ones for many. Hacking them for the proposed Pune Metro goes against this. Our legal agreement also does not allow their destruction.”

Brijesh Dixit, managing director, Maha Metro said, “We are aware of this agreement and the emotions of citizens attached to the trees at the depot. We are considering a plan under which not a single tree will be hacked. They will be replanted carefully, keeping the name and memory of the loved ones intact. While executing this procedure, we would also invite the planters of these trees to supervise the re-plantation.”

DNA profiling helped identify airmen killed in 2 crashes, 7000 samples stored

Over 7000 DNA samples of armed forces personnel who are considerably “at the highest risk of death”, have been collected. They are stored at the DNA profiling centre in the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. This initiative is a part of the Armed Forces Medical Services project. The project aims to develop a repository of DNA samples of 11,30,000 personnel. This kind of information had helped the armed forces in identifying personnel in two separate air crashes. The air crash took place on May 23, 2017.

According to the Indian Express, Lieutenant General Bipin Puri, Director General, Armed Forces Medical Services, “The remains recovered from the crash site included a shoe with an identity tag, a wallet with credit and debit cards, and a portion of the left hand. DNA samples of both pilots had been preserved at the repository at Armed Forces Medical College.”

In another incident that took place in July 2017, the identity of three members of the crew was established. An ALH MK II Helicopter had crashed during a flood relief project. The identity of the members could be established because their DNA samples were preserved.

As per officials, DNA profiling of body parts is the only scientific method that can help in identifying the deceased. Comparing personal belongings, identification marks, photographs do not always give authentic results. Especially in the cases of extensive mutilation and disfigurement of the body.

As of now, training has been provided to 170 medical officers as part of the exercise. According to the plans, 625 profiles will be generated till October, 2018.

Pune’s Shruti Shrikhande tops UPSC CDS exam

Shruti Shrikhande, a 22 year old from Pune, has emerged as the topper among girls in the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Shruti, daughter of Brigadier Vinod Shrikhande, is a final year law student at Indian Law Society (ILS) Law College, Pune.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Shruti said that since her days in Army Public School, Pune, she has dreamt of being in the Armed Forces. The stories of her father’s career experience have always been a strong driving force that kept her motivated during the entire journey.

Talking about the preparation that went into topping the exam, Shruti says that apart from her daily academic regimen of about six hours, an hour was devoted for physical exercise including long-distance running and trekking with friends.

Overall 232 candidates in the country has qualified in the final exam for admission to the Officers Training Academy 107th Short Service Commission course (for men) and 21st Short Service Commission women (non-technical) course, commencing in April 2018. UPSC had released the results on its website, upsc.gov.in on Thursday, 1st February, 2018. Nipurn Datta has secured the top rank in the exam among boys.

Sources: Hindustan Times, The Indian Express

Change in route for metro near Pune station

The second corridor of the first phase of the much-delayed Pune metro rail project from Vanaz to Ramwadi will be partly changed. The section of the route from the Civil Court at Shivajinagar to Ramwadi will be altered.

The proposed section, from the Civil Court to Ramwadi, was via Mangalwar Peth and Pune Railway Station’s main entrance before joining Ruby Hall Clinic’s metro station. However, railway authorities requested a change in the alignment since they have planned expanding the main entrance. To avoid further chaos in the area, they appealed for the realignment. The rail officials suggested realignment from the Raja Bahadur Mill entrance. The new proposal was accepted by MahaMetro officials.

As per the new plan, metro will pass through Kamgar Putla, cross the Sangam Bridge above the rail lines to RTO on Wellesley Road, and reach Pune railway station near the divisional railway manager’s office. The onward route to Ramwadi stays the same. To ensure smooth transit, the metro station will be constructed in such a way that it directly connects to the railway foot over-bridge.

Joint efforts between MahaMetro and transport authorities are planned at Shivajinagar for smooth inter-changing of services among PMPML, MSRTC, railways, and metro.

After facing several hurdles over the years, construction of the Vanaz-Ramwadi line began in September 2017. The line is expected to be complete by 2021.

Sources: TOI, Pune Mirror

Pune welcomes Republic Day with 150 WiFi Hotspots

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in collaboration with Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL), is set to inaugurate 150 free WiFi hotspots across the city on the occasion of Republic Day. Pune residents will now be able to access free internet facility in 199 locations. According to reports from Sakal Times, Google for the first time has tied by with a municipal body like PMC to enable them to set up ‘Google Stations’ that offer free WiFi service.

The citizens will be provided with 50MB data free of cost in hotspot areas at a speed of 512 kbps. Usage above the given limit will be charged with a certain amount for surfing private websites, while usage of government portals will remain free. The users within the network range will have to log-in to the WiFi using a One Time Password (OTP) that will be sent to their registered mobile numbers. This plan is aimed towards the ‘Pune Smart City’ project.

In their statement to the media, PMC said that they wish to reach out to the entire city with their free WiFi connectivity plan and wish to make Pune a digital city by 2020. The locations that are covered in the current plan include public places like hospitals, bus stops, gardens, police stations and government offices.

The current project will require the Smart City Corporation to spend around Rs 110 crore for setting up the infrastructure for the system and an additional of Rs 35 crore towards operational costs. Reports from Pune Mirror state that PMC plans to set up around 400-500 hotspot zones in the coming future. This is a major initiative of the Smart City policy that also includes provisions like emergency call boxes, public announcement systems, environmental and flood sensors.

Sources: Pune Mirror, Sakal Times