‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Infrastructure in India: Railways – Kolkata’s underwater metro tunnel nearing completion

The tunneling work under the Hooghly river, the first such underwater tunnel in India, for the Howrah-Kolkata metro line is slated to be completed next week i.e. 1st week of June


  • The tunneling work under the Hooghly river, the first such underwater project in the country, to provide metro connectivity between Howrah and Kolkata is slated to be completed next week i.e. 1st week of June.
  • The underwater tunnel is a crucial link for the railways’ 16.6-km long East-West Metro project in Kolkata.
  • The 520-metre twin tunnel, one east-bound and the other west-bound, is built 30 metre below the riverbed. Commuters between Howrah and Mahakaran metro stations will be under the river for only about a minute when the metro train will pass through the tunnel at a speed of 80 km per hour. Of the 16.6-km route of the East-West Metro project, the tunneling covers 10.6 km, of which 520 metre is under the river.

   60 Crore expense:

  • The underwater tunnel is being built at a cost of Rs60 crore while the total cost of the East-West Metro project is estimated to be around Rs9,000 crore. The tunneling work started in April last year and likely to be completed in the river section shortly, a senior railway ministry official said.
  • The East-West Metro is scheduled to be operational by August 2019. The diameter of each tunnel is 5.55 metre and the thickness of the wall is 275 milimetre. The distance between the two tunnels is 16.1 metre.
  • There will be walkways in the tunnels for evacuation of passengers in case of emergency, the official said, adding it was a challenging task to dig a tunnel under the river.

   Bullet Train Project:

  • For the railways, besides the tunnel under the Hooghly river, drilling work is going on for the seven-km-long under- sea route of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail corridor to ascertain soil condition for India’s first bullet train path.
  • Passengers will get the thrill of travelling under the sea at a maximum speed of 350 km/hour, another first in the country, near Thane in the upcoming high-speed train project connecting the two metropolis.

   Source: Live Mint

‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Development of Science & Technology – ISRO set to launch heaviest rocket

GSLV Mk- III can carry up to 8 tonne

    What you need to know:

  • An indigenous rocket as heavy as 200 full-grown Asian elephants could well take “Indians into space from Indian soil.
  • Standing tall on the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh is the country’s latest rocket — the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk- III) — the heaviest rocket ever made by India that is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites.
  • We are pushing ourselves to the limits to ensure that this new, fully selfreliant Indian rocket succeeds in its maiden launch,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said.
  • If all goes well with the maiden launch of the GSLVMk III (earlier named Launch Vehicle Mark-3) and subsequent flights, this rocket could be India’s vehicle of choice to launch “Indians into space, from Indian soil using Indian rockets” he said.


  • The heavy lift rocket is capable of placing up to 8 tonne in a low Earth orbit, enough to carry India’s crew module.
  • ISRO has already prepared plans of hoisting a two to three human crew into space as soon as the government gives it a sanction of about $4 billion.
  • If the human venture materialises, India would become only the fourth country after Russia, the U.S. and China to have a human space flight programme.

   Source: Press Trust of India

‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Various Security forces & Agencies and their Mandate – Strategic ties with foreign OEMs

Indian firms will be partners in new model for defence manufacturing

    What is important to know:

  • In a few weeks, the Union government will sound out five or six private sector majors to execute mega defence deals in four key areas — submarines, single-engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured vehicles.
  • With the Union Cabinet taking note of the strategic partnership model last week, the Defence Ministry is awaiting its formal notification.
  • Private sector majors will be selected as the strategic partner for each segment and they will tie up with the foreign OEMs.
  • The mechanism is essential, officials said, as there are various stakeholders involved in the procurement process such as the acquisition wing and services. The present defence procurement policy, which is handled by the acquisition wing, is cumbersome.

   Incorporating DPSUs:

  • While the SP policy is for the private sector, the government has stated that it look at the feasibility of how defence public sector undertakings (DPSU) can be involved in the process and what their contribution would be.
  • The source said that all DPSUs had full order books and were working at full capacities, and added that probably at some stage in future, there could be collaborations between them and the selected SPs.
  • The deals in the four segments are six submarines under Project-75I expected to cost around ₹50,000 crore, deal for 100-plus single-engine fighter aircraft estimated at ₹60,000 crore, the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle programme estimated at around ₹50,000 crore and utility helicopters for the Navy estimated at ₹12,000 crore.
  • There are broadly six or seven companies vying to become strategic partners which will be selected by a two-stage evaluation process.
  • Minimum criteria have already been drawn up in Stage I and those shortlisted will be will evaluated in detail under Stage II. Larsen & Tourbo, Mahindra, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd., Tata Motors and Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd. are leading the race. From the public sector, only Mazagon Docks Ltd. will compete as it is currently building the French Scorpene submarines.

     Source: The Hindu