SBM update: Many districts to be open defecation free

An open defecation free zone in Salem (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
An open defecation free zone in Salem (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

More than 50 percent districts yet to be declared open defecation free

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, out of the 640 districts in the country, 400 are yet to be declared open defecation free (ODF). Among the smaller states, Goa has fared the worst since the Swachh Bharat Mission began three years ago while among the larger states, Jammu & Kashmir has shown the slowest progress towards eliminating open defecation. However, from 2014 onwards, the household toilet availability has improved from 38.7 percent to 71.12 percent.

Stop all sand mining activities within six months: HC to TN govt

The Madras high court has ordered the Tamil Nadu government to halt all sand mining and quarrying activities in the state within six months as the sand has been quarried beyond permitted level affecting the river water flow and agriculture in the state. The state has also been ordered to not open any new sand quarries and that the quarries of granites and other minerals, except gravel, should be periodically closed to maintain ecological balance. In order to curb illegal sand mining, the court has also directed to set up permanent checkpoints equipped with CCTV cameras. 

BWSSB to slap fine on apartments without STPs

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has announced that apartment complexes with 50 or more flats will be fined 25 percent of the water bill if they fail to install sewage treatment plants by December 31. Non-compliance with the order beyond three months will lead to a penalty of 50 percent of the water bill. A notice has already been sent to 1,043 apartments in the city. However, over 10,000 residents have protested against the rule saying that the older apartments do not have the design or strength to install STPs and that they are already connected to the internal sewage system.

NGT to ascertain whether the Basai waste plant site is a wetland or not

The National Green Tribunal has appointed a local commissioner to decide whether the Basai construction and demolition (C&D) waste plant site in Gurgaon, Haryana is a wetland or not. According to the petitioner, Delhi Bird Foundation, the site is a wetland with the presence of water and birds on it. The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), however, has said the site is a dry land and the cause for the presence of water on the site is a broken sewage pipeline. The appointed commissioner has been asked to assess the plant site. 

TN against Permanent Water Disputes Tribunal

The Tamil Nadu government has expressed its opposition to the Centre's proposal to set up a Permanent Water Disputes Tribunal (PWDT). As per the former, the provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 which was amended in 2002, would be enough to look into the interstate river disputes and there is no need for a new tribunal. Moreover, the constitution of the new tribunal will hamper the functioning of the existing Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. The new tribunal will also not be able to understand the complexity of various water disputes among the states.  

This is a roundup of important policy matters from November 28 - December 5, 2017. Also, read the news this week.