River loses battle for survival against soft drinks

Policy matters this week
Coca-Cola bottling plant. (Source: S. Subramanium via Hindu)
Coca-Cola bottling plant. (Source: S. Subramanium via Hindu)

Madras HC dismisses plea to stop supply of Tamirabarani water to Coca-Cola and Pepsi

While the Indian traders are boycotting Coca-Cola for exploiting the country’s water resources, the Madras high court has rejected the petition to stop Tamirabarani water supply to soft drink units in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. The plea has been rejected on the grounds that there is no scientific proof or material available to show that the water supply to the co-packers of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola would adversely affect either agriculture or drinking water requirements of the region. Along with this, the court rapped the state government for not taking steps in the last 70 years to avoid the surplus outflow of the Tamirabarani water into the sea.

Environment ministry issues fresh draft notification on the Western Ghats

The environment ministry has issued a draft notification to the six Western Ghats states—Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and Tamil Nadufor the third time. The first notification for identifying 60,000 sq km of area in the ghats as ecologically sensitive based on the report of the K. Kasturirangan-led high-level working group came on March 10, 2014. However, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa have been rejecting most of the findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report in order to open the ghats to development and commercial activities.

Governments resume work on dam project in Indus Basin

Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab governments have reached a consensus to resume work on the ambitious Shahpur Kandi dam project. The project, which is estimated to cost about Rs 2200 crore, will provide irrigation facility to 5,000 hectares of area in Punjab and 32,173 hectares in J&K and generate 206 MW of power. Even this project comes as part of the Indian government's strategy to utilise its entire share of water under the Indus Water Treaty.

Projects worth Rs 1,050 crore awarded to Bihar under Namami Gange 

Under the Namami Gange programme, the Bihar government has been awarded a sum of Rs 1,050 crore for setting up two sewage treatment plants (STPs), to renovate the existing one, to construct two pumping stations and for laying new underground sewage network. The aim of the project is to not only treat the current sewage generation in respective zones of Patna but also to take into account the sewage estimates of the next one decade considering the expected rise of population in the city. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will be monitoring the progress of the construction of the STP to ensure that the deadlines are met. 

SC raps government for not making environment science compulsory in schools and colleges

The Supreme Court has pulled up the central government for not implementing its 1991 order of making environment science a compulsory subject in the college and school curricula. Despite setting a committee, no action in this regard has been taken up in the last 26 years. The Centre, however, maintains that the responsibility of deciding school curriculum comes under the state administrations and the Centre has no say in it. 

This is a roundup of important policy matters from February 26 - March 5, 2017. Also, read the news this week.

 

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