Ganga, Yamuna have been recognised as living entities
Following the footsteps of New Zealand, the Uttarakhand high court has recognised Ganga and Yamuna rivers as living entities. The first-of-its-kind decision has given the rivers entitlement to all rights available to humans as per the Constitution. With the new status of the rivers, even the environmentalists and locals are hopeful of their future as the judgement is going to have a positive bearing on the clean-up efforts of the polluted Ganga and Yamuna.
No relaxation of hydel norms: Environment ministry
The environment ministry has put off the proposal of the power ministry to relax norms pertaining to hydropower projects. In order to give a boost to the hydropower, the power ministry had proposed to let the regional officials grant forest clearances for hydel projects that have an area up to 40 hectares. Along with this, it has also made a request to change the prescribed norms for e-flows and reduce public hearing from two to just one. However, the environment ministry has refused to consider any modification to the rules.
Centre launches ‘Har Ghar Jal’ scheme for arsenic-fluoride hit habitations
On the occasion of World Water Day, the ministry for drinking water and sanitation has launched the National Water Quality Sub Mission on Arsenic and Fluoride to provide safe drinking water to nearly 28,000 affected habitations in the country by March 2021 with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore. The government is also planning to provide tap water on a sustained basis in every household by 2030 as per the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).
Etalin hydel project in limbo
The environment ministry’s expert committee on forest clearances has rejected the green nod to the 3,097 MW Etalin hydroelectric project (HEP) in Dibang valley, Arunachal Pradesh. The committee has found major inadequacies in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of the Rs 25,296-crore HEP. The committee has shown concern towards the inadequate reporting of biodiversity in the area as the region is a biodiversity hotspot and has asked for multi-seasonal replicate studies on biodiversity assessment from an internationally credible institute.
NGT notice to Karnataka government over Bellandur lake fire
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the Karnataka government and its various agencies to file affidavits on the recent outbreak of fire in Bellandur lake in Bengaluru within two weeks. The tribunal has also sought details on the steps taken to rejuvenate the waterbody. The Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority has filed its affidavit but the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and other agencies have sought two weeks to file theirs.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from March 20 - 27, 2017. Also, read the news this week.