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Maiden flight of Tejas Mark-1A

Good morning, Bengaluru!

☀️ Today’s weather: High: 36 ℃ | Low: 22 ℃ | Mainly clear sky.

🧐 Did you know? The Peenya Industrial Complex, established in the early 1970s, is the largest and one of the oldest industrial estates in Southeast Asia, situated in the northern part of Bengaluru.

✈️ Tejas Mark-1A‘s maiden flight

(Image credit: Mark’s Flickr post)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) successfully conducted the maiden flight of the Tejas Mark-1A fighter aircraft, marking a significant milestone in India’s defence aviation.

What’s it about? The first Tejas Mark-1A aircraft completed an 18-minute sortie from HAL’s Bengaluru facility, piloted by HAL’s chief test pilot, Group Captain KK Venugopal (Retd). The Mark-1A variant features advanced upgrades, including an active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar, electronic warfare (EW) system, and improved maintenance features. The aircraft has undergone major changes from the Mark-1 version, such as the integration of the ASRAAM missile and cockpit floor modification for better pilot accommodation.

  • The Tejas Mark-1A will undergo approximately two years of flight testing involving HAL and Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots.
  • Development has also begun on the Tejas Mark-2, a more capable aircraft with a GE F-414 engine, additional control surfaces, and integration of new weapons.

A big leap: The successful flight of the Tejas Mark-1A signifies a leap forward in India’s indigenous fighter aircraft capabilities, with early induction into the IAF anticipated.

🥀 Drought hits Bengaluru’s horticulture belt

The horticulture belt around Bengaluru, including Hoskote, Kolar, and Chikkaballapur districts, is facing severe drought, affecting vegetable supply and causing prices to soar.

A struggle: Farmers in the region, known for supplying vegetables like cabbage, tomato, and flowers like marigold to Bengaluru, are struggling with failed borewells and dry lakes. The monsoon failure in 2023 has led to a significant decrease in crop cultivation, with some farmers reporting a 50% drop in production.

  • In Hoskote, major crops like ginger have seen cultivation areas halve due to water scarcity.
  • Farmers are resorting to using water tankers and farm ponds to manage their irrigation needs, but the costs are high and the returns uncertain.

Intervention needed: The drought in Bengaluru’s surrounding horticultural regions is not only affecting the livelihoods of farmers but also impacting consumers in the city with rising vegetable prices. The situation highlights the need for sustainable water management practices and support for farmers facing the brunt of climate change-induced challenges.

🏭 New industrial town near Bengaluru

The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) is set to establish a new industrial town around Sarjapur, Bengaluru Urban district, despite government plans to decongest the city.

What’s it about? KIADB has cleared a proposal to form a 647-acre industrial park in six villages between Attibele and Sarjapur, responding to the high demand from industries to set up operations in Bengaluru. The move has raised concerns among stakeholders, who question the necessity of acquiring land for industrial use when Bengaluru’s outskirts are already facing water scarcity and fertile land is being converted for residential purposes.

  • The proposed industrial town will be located in villages including Bikkanahalli and S Medahalli, with the national highway about 5 km away.
  • Existing industrial parks like Bommasandra and Electronics City are running out of space, prompting the need for new developments.

Look at alternatives: While KIADB assures that farmers will be compensated as per the 2014 Act, there is scepticism about the project’s alignment with the broader goal of decongesting Bengaluru. Stakeholders suggest that the government should instead focus on earmarking industrial zones in the revised master plan to avoid further strain on the city’s resources.

😮‍💨 Improved air quality in 2023

(Image credit: Diptiprakashpalai, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Bengaluru’s air quality has shown improvement in 2023, with the average PM2.5 value dropping to 28.6 micrograms per cubic meter, the best since 2018, according to the ‘World Air Quality’ report.

Concerns persist: Despite the improvement, experts caution that the city still has a long way to go in addressing air pollution. Climatic factors like the El Nino effect may have contributed to the dispersal of particulate matter, rather than a genuine improvement in emissions. The increasing number of vehicles on the road and the declining green cover are major concerns for the city’s air quality.

  • Bengaluru was ranked as the 673rd most polluted city among 7,812 cities globally, faring better than other Indian metropolitan cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
  • Experts suggest promoting public transport, ensuring last-mile connectivity, and converting diesel vehicles to cleaner fuel variants as measures to improve air quality.

The worst period: The first three months of 2023 recorded the worst air quality in Bengaluru, attributed to the winter months when the air is clearer and lacks moisture, leading to more visible air pollutants.

✨ Things to do…

Here are some fun and interesting things to do in the city over the weekend!

🛋️ Local Lounge

Yesterday’s Poll Results:

  • I play video games regularly: 37.5%
  • I don’t play video games regularly: 62.5% 🏆

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend!

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