Draft of groundwater rules signal relaxation

News this week
A well in Rajasthan (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
A well in Rajasthan (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

Groundwater rules might get relaxed

The Central Ground Water Authority has drafted new guidelines to regulate the use of groundwater. If the draft gets approved, water-guzzling industries such as packaged drinking water and paper manufacturers could be allowed to drill water even in areas identified as facing groundwater crisis. The draft has also shrunk the area identified under ground water exploitation. As per the officials, however, the draft was uploaded on the website by mistake and the final draft will be released by the end of August. 

WOTR wins accolade for its work in combating land degradation

The Pune-based Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) has been recognised with the ‘Land for Life Award’ from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for its work in combating land degradation in some of the country’s most arid parts. The award has been given for the organisation's work in sustained land management across seven states including Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The organisation, founded in 1993, has till date contributed to restoring 8,913 sq. km of degraded land and has benefited more than 1.35 million people. 

Kali Tiger Reserve: Karnataka ready to limit the extent of eco-zone

Owing to public pressure, the Karnataka government has agreed to reduce the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Kali Tiger Reserve. As per the draft notification of the ESZ issued on November 2016, the zone was spread across 1,201 sq. km. However, the state government has now agreed to reduce the protective area by 75 percent. As per the activists, the move will sound the death knell for the eco-sensitive evergreen forests where infrastructure pressures are peaking.

Two of Mumbai's mangrove forests enter unique wetland list

The Mangrove Society of India (MSI) has declared Airoli and Vikhroli wetlands in Mumbai among 12 unique mangrove forests in the country. Apart from Mumbai, the list includes mangroves from Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The aim of selecting the 12 locations is to intensify conservation and protection of different mangrove species and establish them as international tourism destinations.

Narmada dam: Protest against forced eviction continues

The hunger strike of Narmada Bachao Andolan against the closing of gates of Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river is still on. As per the protesters' claims, the government move of closing the dam gates threatens over 40,000 families from 192 villages in the Narmada Valley of submergence. Moreover, the government is trying to evict the affected people forcefully and illegally instead of properly rehabilitating them. 

This is a roundup of important news from August 1 - 7, 2017. Also, read policy matters this week.