Submit report on the need for clearance of National Waterway-1: NGT to MoEF

Motor-driven ferries at Varanasi (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Motor-driven ferries at Varanasi (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

NGT seeks report on the need for clearance of inland waterway projects in Ganga

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to submit a report on whether the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is necessary for inland waterway projects in Ganga river in the stretch from Varanasi to Haldia which is also called the National Waterway 1. The direction came while hearing a petition filed, as per which EIA is required for the project that envisages developmental activities such as river terminal, jetties and locks and barrages and multimodal river water terminals along with necessary dredging. However, the ministries involved in the project have exempted these activities for the project. (The New Indian Express)

WII to conduct ecological survey of six major rivers

Under the National River Conservation Plan, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun will be conducting ecological survey of six major rivers of India — Mahanadi, Periyar, Godavari, Kaveri, Narmada and Barak.

The survey will be focussing on flora and fauna, level of pollution and effect of human intervention on the ecosystem to assess the ecological status of the river. The survey of all six rivers will take at least a year and will help in determining the health of the rivers and further conservation efforts. (The New Indian Express)

World Bank approves dam safety project, worth $250 million, in India

The World Bank has approved $250 million for the Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2), that aims to improve the safety and performance of existing dams across various states of India. The project will strengthen dam safety by building dam safety guidelines; bring in global experience; and introduce newer technologies along with introducing risk-based approach to dam asset management that will help to effectively allocate financial resources towards dam safety needs. Described as the world's largest dam management program, the project will be implemented in approximately 120 dams across the states. (Water Power & Dam Construction)

16-member committee to be set up for Yamuna floodplain conservation

For the conservation, protection and restoration of the Yamuna floodplains in Delhi, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has proposed to set up a 16-member panel- 'River Yamuna Management Committee’- that will be chaired by the lieutenant governor. It was last year that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered the constitution of special purpose vehicle for the rejuvenation of the river that could become a model for 351 polluted river stretches in the country.  The committee will formulate policies, norms and guidelines to protect the floodplain ecosystem from the adverse impact of development and coordinate with various agencies and stakeholders to achieve its aims and objectives. (The Times of India)

Uttarakhand seeks clearance of forests to take up riverbed mining

For the renewal of sand and boulder mining in the state’s Song and Jakhan rivers in Dehradun district, the Uttarakhand Forest Development Corporation ( UFDC) has sought clearance of forest area measuring 628.8 hectare (ha). In 2009, ten-year forest clearance was granted to the state, which includes the area being proposed for mining again. As per the proposal, the riverbed material that gets collected in the rivers during monsoon leads to flooding and in order to prevent flooding, there is a need to extract this material from the riverbed.

However, according to environmental experts, continuous mining for decades without a replenishment and carrying capacity study could have negative implications.

(Hindustan Times)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from December 10 - 21, 2020. Also, read news this week.