Abolish manual scavenging: SC

Policy matters this month: SC directs all states to abolish manual scavenging; MoEF reduces ESA in its new draft notification on Western Ghats; Maharashtra all set to clean its rivers.
A manual scavenger in Chennai (Namathu Blogspot) A manual scavenger in Chennai (Namathu Blogspot)

Abolish manual scavenging: SC

The Supreme Court has ordered all states to abolish manual scavenging and undertake measures to rehabilitate manual scavengers. It has also directed the states to pay a compensation of Rs.10 lakh each to the family of manual scavengers who have died while entering sewers. They must also support women 'safai karamcharis' to get a dignified livelihood of their choice.

MoEF comes out with a fresh draft notification on Western Ghats

The Ministry of Environment and Forest has reduced the originally earmarked Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) by 3,115 sqkm in its new draft notification. The cut down in the ESA follows Kerala's strong protest against the government's earlier order on the Western Ghats. However, the final notification on the issue can only be brought out after the parliamentary elections are over. The intervening two-month period will be used to get stakeholders' views on the draft notification.

Maharashtra on a mission to end river pollution

The Maharashtra government has given a nod to the 'state river conservation plan' that aims to clean up all the polluted rivers in the state. It will transport the effluents collected at the point of source to the sewage treatment plants and then distribute the recycled water for agriculture and industry. The plan will be implemented in all the 'D' class municipal corporations, councils and villages located on river banks with a population of more than 15,000.  

Welspun Energy misleads authorities to get green nod

Welspun Energy has concealed information in the Environment Impact Assessment of its 1,320 MW coal-based thermal power plant in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, claim locals and students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), which is in the vicinity of project site. The EIA has no mention of the ecological flow of the Ganga river and downstream impacts of alteration of Upper Khajuri reservoir. Also, the decision to divert irrigation water to industrial use was made by the firm without considering the views of the affected people.

Some more trouble for Demwe project in Arunachal

The Assam government has stated before the National Green Tribunal that the 1,750 MW Demwe mega-project in Arunachal Pradesh would affect the riverine ecology of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and needs clearance from the state wildlife authorities. It has also mentioned that the impacts due to the proposed project on the Kaziranga National Park, which is further downstream, also needs experts' assessement. 

NGT issues notice to govt organisations for not harvesting rainwater

The National Green Tribunal has issued show cause notice to The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi Jal Board, Forest and Irrigation Departments and the Central Public Works Department for failing to install rainwater harvesting systems. All municipal corporations in Delhi have been directed to file an affidavit on the number of rainwater harvesting systems installed by them since 2010, within three weeks.  

HC appoints committee to keep an eye on Godavari clean up

The Bombay High Court has constituted a panel to check whether the orders of the court and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) on the clean-up of the Godavari river are being implemented. The High Court had earlier ordered the Nashik Municipal Corporation to undertake measures to make the Godavari pollution free. 

Hyderabad civic body installs smart card, GPRS on water tankers

The Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) is all set to install the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Smart Card and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) tracking system to all the water tankers in the city and peripheral areas, in order to reduce the use of unaccounted-for water. The advancement will help the civic body keep a track on tanker trips, payments received and water drawn. 

Delhi's storm water drains to remain uncovered

The National Green Tribunal penalises the Municipal Corporation and the Public Works Department in New Delhi for the damage done to the storm water drains in the city over the decades. It has further ordered the authorities to clean all the storm water drains in the city in three week's time and also to ensure that no sewage or solid waste enters the drains in the future. The Tribunal has also told the authorities to not cover the storm water drains as it will lead to increased toxicity and health hazards due to trapped gases.

Forest officials in Kochi file case against firm for damaging mangroves

The Divisional Forest Officer in Malayattoor, Kerala, has lodged a complaint against a private company that had got the contract to dump the waste from the Cochin Port Trust in the mangrove tract in the coastal belt of Kochi and the Assistant Estate Officer of the Trust. The firm has already destroyed the mangrove vegetation in nearly 5 hectares of the coastal belt by dumping the Trust's refuse.

This is a roundup of policy matters from March 9-29, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.

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