Water ministry introduces interstate bill in Lok Sabha
The water ministry has introduced in the Lok Sabha the Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017, that proposes a single standing tribunal instead of the existing multiple tribunals. Along with this, the proposal introduces a mechanism to resolve the dispute amicably through negotiations by a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) and also to provide for transparent data collection system at the national level for each river basin. Also, the Bill aims at streamlining the adjudication of interstate river water disputes and making the present legal and institutional architecture robust.
World Bank sanctions $175 million for national hydrology project
The World Bank has approved the $175 million to the national hydrology project in order to strengthen the capacity of institutions to assess water situation in their regions and reduce vulnerability to recurring flood and droughts. The project, that will scale up the success of the Hydrology Project-I and II to the entire country, will integrate the real-time flood forecast systems with weather forecasting for the first time in two large river systems-- Krishna and Satluj-Beas. Along with this, the project will also help the states monitor all important aspects of the hydro-meteorological cycle.
20 projects approved under Namami Gange programme
The Executive Committee (EC) of National Mission for Clean Ganga has approved 20 projects worth Rs 1,900 crore under the Namami Gange programme in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi. Out of the 20 projects, 13 are in Uttarakhand. The projects include creating new sewage treatment plants, upgrading existing STPs and laying of sewage networks in Haridwar, along with several projects pertaining to pollution abatement works for Alaknanda and Ganga rivers. The projects in other states also involve sewage-related works.
Projects to be shut if started without green nod: Environment ministry
The environment ministry has decided to shut down projects that have been started without taking the mandatory environment clearance. However, the earlier draft of the notification had given six months to the projects that have not taken the green nod, but due to the pressure from environmentalists, the provision to close down projects that are environmentally unsustainable has been added to the final notification. Now with the new notification, the projects will be assessed for violations, but if found running in an environmentally-sustainable manner, the expert panel will just prescribe an assessment of ecological damage and a remediation plan.
Maharashtra’s irrigation projects get a boost
The Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation has signed a contract of Rs 1,058 crore with the National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd to expedite the Gosikhurd dam project that has got delayed due to substandard works and cost escalations. The agreement has been signed for the first phase of the project that includes 25 km of canals. Along with this, the Maharashtra government has allocated Rs 8, 233 crore for various irrigation projects in its budget 2017-18.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from March 13 - 19, 2017. Also, read the news this week.