Nearly 790,000 anti-drought works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned
According to the data collated by the Ministry of Rural Development, a total of 790,000 anti-drought works, worth Rs 417 crore, under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) are either incomplete or have been suspended across the country in the past few years. This trend is more noticeable in states prone to aridness. Like in Karnataka, only 371 drought-proofing works are complete while 19,965 are still incomplete and in Maharashtra, 2038 works were complete while 79,788 remain incomplete. Additionally, the data has revealed that little focus is given to anti-drought measures including water conservation, revival of traditional water bodies, plantations and micro-irrigation works, despite grim forecasts by meteorologists.
Yettinahole drinking water project: NGT refuses to set aside green nod to the project
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given its go ahead to the implementation of the Yettinahole drinking water project in Karnataka and has refused to set aside the sanction granted to the project by authorities. The project, which aims to provide drinking water to several districts in the state, has been opposed by environmentalists. As per the environmentalists, the state government initiated the project work without getting the required permission from various statutory bodies and without any scientific study being conducted on the environmental impact of the project on the Western Ghats. Although the tribunal dismissed the plea, it has ordered the state forest department and environment ministry to monitor the project and take appropriate action in case of violation.
Maharashtra and Karnataka at loggerheads over water sharing
The Maharashtra government has disagreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Karnataka to exchange four tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water on each side of the border till the former gets back over six tmcft of pending supply from Karnataka. As per Maharashtra, the Karnataka government has returned only 0.078 tmcft of the total 6.787 tmcft of water diverted to it since 2016. Both the states are unable to reach a consensus on their water deal. While Karnataka is blaming Maharashtra from backtracking on its decision, the latter has refused to accept the suggestion of the Karnataka government to come up with a scheme by the side of the Tubachi Babaleshwar instead of making the four tmcft of water available at the state border.
Rajasthan to revive traditional wells to fight drinking water crises in drought-hit areas
To tackle the drinking water crisis in drought-affected areas, the Rajasthan government plans to revive traditional water bodies or beris under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). A beri is a traditional percolation well that stores rainwater. In Barmer district, the government has identified 1,790 beris for revival. Under the first phase, 1,000 beris will be revived. The government also has plans to ensure proper structure on the top of the beris so that people can smoothly fetch water in buckets.
Maharashtra pollution board firm on restoration of Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers
Taking note of non-compliance of the Supreme Court’s (SC) orders on the restoration of Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has issued notices to Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC), Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC), Ambernath Municipal Council (AMC), and Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council (KBMC). On July 17, the Maharashtra government was supposed to submit the status report on the progress of the restoration work but so far, none of the targets has been met by the civic bodies tasked with restoring the rivers. The inspection of river stretches earlier this month, showed a grim picture of the restoration efforts as none of the four sewage treatment plants (STPs) along the Ulhas have been fully constructed and there was also froth development in some stretches of the river.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from May 22 - 28, 2019. Also, read news this week.