Activists seek President, PM intervention to protect mangrove trees in Maharashtra
Environmental groups Nature Connect and Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP) have written to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect 53,465 mangrove trees from destruction by the bullet train project. The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has received the clearance from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) for its bullet train project that will lead to clearance of mangroves spread over 13.36 hectares area. The groups have also requested the environment ministry to not clear the final proposal and have launched a social media campaign asking the NHSRCL to find an alternative route for the project.
Nearly 2.18 crore farm families await payment from Centre under PM-KISAN scheme
With only a few days to go for the first payout deadline under PM-KISAN, nearly 44 percent of the farm families out of the 4.92 crore names submitted by states are still awaiting their funds. The names of these farm families are either caught up in processing or somewhere in a four-stage validation process set up belatedly to weed out fakes. The Centre introduced the PM-KISAN scheme in February that would pay Rs 6,000 per year to small farming families. The first instalment of Rs 2,000 is to be paid by March 31.
Overuse of chemical pesticides takes a heavy toll on Gujarat's groundwater
Data revealed by the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) suggests that 21 districts of Gujarat have reported issues of high salinity levels, 19 districts have reported high fluoride content, while 21 districts have high nitrate presence in groundwater. Around 12 Gujarat districts have reported high arsenic and six districts have reported high iron content as well. The report partially blames high consumption of groundwater resources that has led to a rise in chemical contaminants. Over-reliance on chemical pesticides and fertilisers is another cause for groundwater contamination in the state.
UP to ban cultivation of summer paddy to save groundwater
Concerned over depleting groundwater, the Uttar Pradesh State Wetland Authority (SWA) has decided to ban cultivation of summer paddy that survives only on groundwater. As per SWA chief executive officer Vibhash Ranjan, a project undertaken by SWA to recharge groundwater by protecting and conserving 26,000 wetlands having an area of 2.5 hectare or above and 97,000 water bodies of smaller sizes will not succeed unless there is a ban on the production of summer paddy.
Activists demand Narmada water sample test report
The water in the Sardar Sarovar Dam reservoir had turned black in February and water supply to 138 villages in Narmada and Chhota Udepur district was discontinued as a result. The preliminary report of the sample by Gujarat Water Supply and Sewage Board (GWSSB) had indicated the presence of sulphide in the water and later the authorities said that the water had a high level of bacteria but met all other parameters. However, the activists have demanded to have a look at the report and have questioned the extreme secrecy surrounding the sample test report.
This is a roundup of important news published between March 21 - 26, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.