Strict punishments proposed for polluting Ganga river
The draft bill prepared by a panel led by retired Justice Giridhar Malaviya has proposed seven years in jail and a fine of up to Rs 100 crore for anyone who pollutes the Ganga river. The major offences include blocking the river's flow, quarrying its banks and constructing jetties without permission. The panel has also recommended declaring an area within 1 km of the Ganga and its major tributaries as "water saving zones". The draft bill has been sent to the experts’ committee to seek opinion and will be discussed with Ganga basin states before the final draft comes out.
Mihir Shah Committee Report misguided: Analysis
As per the analysis of the Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy, the Mihir Shah Committee report on water reform strategy has ignored the federal nature of water administration in the country. The committee has suggested replacing Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) with the National Water Commission and therefore, has missed the real problem of water agencies at the state level that lack the incentive to perform due to the inherent problems with the institutional design. The analysis has also pointed out gaps in other recommendations like the moratorium on large dams and participatory aquifer mapping.
Karnataka government slammed for slow progress in drinking water scheme
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the Karnataka government for the slow progress in the execution of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). As against the target of providing 55 litres per capita per day of water to 50 percent rural population, the government was able to provide only 14 percent. Also, as per the CAG report, priority has not been given to rainwater harvesting. Moreover, the state government was able to commission only 62 percent of water purification units in the state.
NGT raises questions against Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project
The National Green Tribunal has sought answers from the environment ministry, Telangana and Maharashtra governments, Central Water Commission and state pollution control boards of the two states on the environment and other clearances of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project. The issue has been raised following the filing of a petition that states that the construction of the scheme had begun without environmental and other statutory clearances.
Do not discharge effluents in drains: NGT to Meerut distilleries
The National Green Tribunal has ordered distilleries in Meerut--beer brand Sabmiller India and United Spirits Ltd--to strictly comply with environmental norms and not discharge effluents into the drains that join the Kali East river. Along with this, the green tribunal has also directed the environment ministry and the Central Pollution Control Board to ensure that industries located in the entire Ganga basin use non-cyanide zinc for electroplating to avoid the release of pollutants in the river.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from June 6 - 12, 2017. Also, read the news this week.