GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World.

World’s Largest Underground Bicycle Parking Facility Opens In Netherlands.

Background-

  • The largest underground bike parking facility in the world has completed its first stage in Netherlands. Located beneath the Central Station of Utrecht, this facility has been designed by Ector Hoogstad Architecten.
  • According to a World Economic Forum video, cyclists were struggling to find a parking space near the station. Thus, this parking facility was opened which now provides 6,000 parking spaces spread out on three levels.
  • This is, however, the first stage of the project, and the plan is to open nearly 1,500 more parking spaces over the next few months. As per the plan, the facility will measure 17,100 square metre and have 12,500 parking spaces by the end of 2018.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The present title-holder for the world’s largest bike parking facility is the Kasai underground station in Tokyo which can house up to 9,400 bicycles. The bicycles are automatically parked in a 15-metre deep basement. Though, by the end of 2018, Netherlands will beat Tokyo to achieve this title.
  • The parking facility, known as Stationsplein Bicycle Parking, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Managed by the municipality of Utrecht, government body, and state-owned operator NS (Dutch Rail), this facility has been designed to make the railway and bus station more accessible.
  • This is the only bicycle parking lot where indoor cycling is permitted. This manned and monitored facility has a one-way system of ramps using which the cyclists can enter and exit the space.
  • The facility is available to the cyclists for free during the first 24 hours, where there is a digital-system guidance. A public-transport chip can be used to park in these spaces, and there is a service point available for repairs, maintenance, parts, and accessories.
  • Funded by private investors, space for another 11,000 bicycles will be created around the station for employees and visitors.A tota l of 22,000 bicycle parking spaces will be available in the station area.

Sources- Yourstory.

GS Paper II- International Relations, Governance.

Rajnath Singh To Attend SCO Meet On Disaster Relief In Kyrgyz Republic.

Background

  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on disaster prevention and relief in Kyrgyz Republic beginning Thursday, 24th August, 2017 during which he will have bilateral meetings with member nations.
  • During the visit, the home minister is likely to have bilateral meetings with the ministers of some of the SCO member states.
  • The participation of India as SCO member will open the additional opportunities for giving new impetus to the development of international cooperation in the field of protecting the population and territories from emergency situations within the framework of the SCO and will bring it qualitatively new positions in regional and global formats.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Founded in 2001, the SCO member countries are: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan, and the bloc is headquartered in Beijing.
  • When asked whether the home minister will meet his Chinese counterpart, a home ministry spokesperson said as of now no meeting has been fixed.
  • If Singh meets his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the SCO meeting, it will bear significance as India and China has been engaged in a stand-off at Dokalam near the Sikkim sector.
  • On 21st August, 2017, the home minister had said a solution to the ongoing stand-off between India and China at Dokalam would be found soon and hoped that Beijing would make a positive move in this regard.
  • China, however, on 22nd August, 2017 said the only way to end the standoff in Dokalam was for India to unconditionally withdraw its troops from the area.
  • India and Pakistan had joined the SCO, the China- dominated security grouping, in June, 2017 in Kazakhstan capital Astana. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the summit.
  • It is reported that Singh is leading a delegation to attend the 9th meeting of heads of governments of SCO member states to be held at Choplon Ata in Kyrgyz Republic on August 24-25, 2017.
  • The meeting will deal with the prevention and elimination of emergency situations.
  • The meeting will consider and approve the draft action plan for 2018-2019 for the implementation of the agreement between the governments of the SCO member states on cooperation in providing assistance in the elimination of emergency situations.

Sources- Hindustantimes.

GS Paper III- Technology, Security.

Indian Navy Commissions Second Landing Craft Utility Vessel LCU L52.

Background

  • The Indian Navy commissioned its second landing craft utility vessel LCU L52 in a ceremony at Port Blair, on August 21, 2017.
  • LCU L52 is the second of overall eight units in the class planned for construction.
  • The commissioning ceremony took place almost three years after the vessel was launched in Kolkata, in September 2014.
  • The amphibious ship was indigenously designed and built by the Indian shipbuilder M/s GRSE as part of an eight-vessel contract signed with the Indian Navy in September 2011.

 

Key Points Of The Development-

  • The ship, commanded by Commander Kaushik Chatterjee, has a complement of five officers, 46 sailors and is capable of carrying 160 troops in addition.
  • The ship displaces 830 tons, is capable of transporting various kinds of combat equipment such as Main Battle Tanks Arjun, T72 and other vehicles.
  • LCU ships are fitted with an Integrated Platform Management System for remote control of propulsion, auxiliary and power generating equipment.
  • The Indian Navy plans to deploy the ship for maritime roles like maritime security, beaching/un-beaching, humanitarian relief operations and evacuation from distant islands, search and rescue operations and peace-keeping missions.
  • Two CRN-91 indigenous 30 MM guns will be providing fire support during operations from the vessels.

Sources- Navaltoday.