Activists urge Chhattisgarh CM to rethink expansion of mining in Hasdeo Arand forest
News this fortnight
20 Dec 2021
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A devastated forest at a coal mining site. Photo for representation only (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)

Reconsider decision to expand mining in Hasdeo Arand forest: Activists to Chhattisgarh CM

Wildlife activists and researchers have written to Chhattisgarh's chief minister urging him to reconsider the state government's decision to expand mining operations in the Hasdeo Arand forest.

The decision contradicts the state government's assurance that the main Hasdeo Arand forest will not be opened, which was recorded in 2012 when forest clearance was issued for the Parsa (East) and Kete Basan (PEKB) coal mines.

Activists argue that this decision will have long-term detrimental effects on both the natural heritage of the state and the lives and livelihood of the people living in the region. Moreover, the decision lacks both scientific legitimacy and popular mandate, since it neither accurately represents the will of the indigenous communities that reside in the Hasdeo Arand forest, nor follows the recommendations of the expert study that was conducted earlier. (Hindustan Times)

A new Ramsar site, a wetland and a bird sanctuary have been declared in the country

Uttar Pradesh's Haiderpur wetland becomes the 47th Ramsar site in the country. The wetland covers an area of 6,908 hectares and is situated on the Muzaffarnagar-Bijnor border. The wetland is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Saulem lake in Goa has been designated as the state's seventh wetland due to the ecosystem services it provides to local communities. The Goa government officially declared its first six wetlands in November, and at least 13 more are in the process of being declared. In Tamil Nadu, Kazhuveli wetlands in Villupuram district has been notified the 16th bird sanctuary.

An area of 5,151.60 hectares in Vanur and Marakkanam taluks have been combined to create the sanctuary. This notification will enhance the protection of the wetlands, which are said to be the second largest brackish water lakes in South India.

(The Hindu, The Times of India)

Odisha’s urban water quality management is inadequate: CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report finds that the state's housing and urban development department performs poorly in managing water quality in urban areas.

It pointed out that even after six years of framing of the Water Policy-2013, the target of 100 percent water quality by 2016-17 remained unfulfilled for lack of infrastructure and human resources. In addition, despite a target of 115 water testing laboratories (WTLs), the state only had 22 WTLs as of March 2019.

Only three of the 14 water treatment plants tested by CAG had water testing facilities in place, while only one laboratory was equipped to conduct all the required tests. Furthermore, none of the water testing labs had been accredited by the National Accreditation Board and the International Organization for Standardization. (The Times of India)

Andhra Pradesh opposes CWC’s clearance to upper Bhadra project in Karnataka

Recently, the Central Water Commission (CWC) granted national project status to the upper Bhadra project in Karnataka designed to utilise about 36 tmc ft of water. However, the Andhra Pradesh government has opposed the project.

The latter fears that the project will adversely affect Andhra's project on the Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers because there is no surplus water available in them. The state also stated that CWC should have consulted with the downstream co-basin states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana before granting hydrological clearance.

The UBP proposes to lift 17.40 tmc ft of water from the foreshore of upper Tunga reservoir to Bhadra reservoir and 29.90 tmc ft of water from Bhadra reservoir. (The Times of India)

DPCC to examine microplastic pollution in Yamuna river and its floodplain

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) will conduct the first survey of its kind to assess the concentration, distribution, and composition of microplastics in the Yamuna river. The study will also examine whether the soil in the floodplain of the river is suitable for agriculture and remediation possibilities.

In this study, the Yamuna floodplains, which stretch 48 km from Palla to Okhla, will be divided into three segments, each measuring 16 km: Delhi Segment I (Palla to Wazirabad), Delhi Segment II (Wazirabad to Nizamuddin Bridge) and Delhi Segment III (Nizamuddin Bridge to Okhla). Furthermore, the study will look at the effects of seasonal variations and heavy metal contamination in Yamuna water on the physicochemical properties and enzyme activity of the soil. (Livemint)

This is a roundup of important news published from December 8 – 19, 2021. Also read policy matters this fortnight.

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