Government announces new river revival strategy

Policy matters this week
River Cauvery at Hogenakal, Karnataka (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
River Cauvery at Hogenakal, Karnataka (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

Environment ministry announces new strategy to revive major river water systems

The environment ministry has announced a new strategy for the conservation and rejuvenation of major river water systems. As per the ministry, the present strategy for conservation of rivers is limited to tackling pollution load from domestic wastewater and regulation of industrial pollution. However, the focus will now shift to the entire river basin and the new strategy will consider taking up water and environment management together for restoring the lost ecology of the polluted stretches of the rivers.

Government readies the roadmap for the groundwater scheme

The water ministry has finalised the plan for the Atal Bhujal Yojana, worth Rs 6,000 crore, to tackle the country’s depleting groundwater level. The scheme which was announced almost a year and a half ago, will be launched in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, covering 78 districts, 193 blocks and more than 8,300 gram panchayats. The Centre will be providing 50 percent funds for the scheme while the remaining 50 percent will be provided by the World Bank. 

Funds released for prioritised irrigation plans

Under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), the water ministry has released funds worth Rs 246.9 crore for the nine prioritised projects. These projects are among the 99 ongoing prioritised irrigation projects that were delayed due to inadequate provision of funds. Apart from this, under the Command Area Development (CAD) works, the ministry has also released Rs 487.8 crore for 17 projects. The aim of the CAD programme is to narrow the gap between the irrigation potential created and actual utilisation.

SC stays ban on construction near major lakes in Nainital, Uttarakhand

Much to the relief of local residents, the Supreme Court has stayed the Uttarakhand high court's order banning any construction within a radius of 2 km from major lakes in Nainital. The residents whose houses fall in the radius are unhappy with the apex court's order because they say that the blanket ban is affecting their basic rights as they are not able to reconstruct broken houses. The environmentalists, on the other hand, have alleged that the stay would allow illegal construction near lakes. The ban has also affected the tourism industry in the region. 

Set up tribunal to resolve Mahanadi dispute: SC asks Centre

The Supreme Court has ordered the Centre to constitute a tribunal within a month to resolve the Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. However, the court has rejected any stay as sought by the Odisha government on the seven pick up weirs across the Mahanadi river. With an aim to extract more water from the Mahanadi river, the Chhattisgarh government plans to build 13 barrages and seven pick up weirs across the river. 

This is a roundup of important policy matters from January 23 - 29, 2018. Also, read the news this week.

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