Centre identifies 115 wetlands for conservation and management
The government has identified 115 wetlands in 24 states and 2 Union Territories and has released Rs.133.64 crore for their conservation and management. Also, the two centrally sponsored schemes – National Wetland Conservation Programme and National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems – have been merged to have better synergy and to avoid overlapping. Although it has allocated funds to wetland conservatin, the Government feels that only a few of the 7, 57,060 wetlands have been impacted due to urbanisation and development activities.
Downstream of Rishikesh, Ganga water not potable
The Uttarakhand Government has informed the Supreme Court that the Ganga water from Gangotri to Laxman Jhula in Rishikesh is pure and drinkable while further downstream in Haridwar and Roorkee, the riverwater is graded as category B, which means that it is unfit for human consumption. The information has come following the apex court's direction to the state government to provide a status report on the water quality of the Ganga and the water purifying equipment that is being used.
Union Carbide Corporation not responsible for ongoing contamination of land and water in Bhopal: US Court
According to the US Court, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) cannot be held responsible for the present contamination of land and water in Bhopal. EarthRights International, an NGO, had filed the case on behalf of the people of Bhopal who are suffering from the after-effects of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that took away 5,000 lives following a poisonous gas leak from the UCC plant. UCC has abandoned the site since, and now the Court ruling has favoured UCC while leaving the Madhya Pradesh Government to undertake the clean-up of the site.
Punjab sets up 29 lakh litre/day solar water heating systems
Under the Biogas Development & Solar Water Heating Programme, the Punjab Government has successfully installed solar water heating systems that can heat 29 lakh litre of water per day. Besides this, 1,950 solar water pumps, 1.6 lakh biogas plants and 6,500 solar street lights have also been set up in the state under the same plan. The state government further plans to incentivise the solar and biomass-based technology and energy conservation measures.
West Bengal Government takes up a Rs. 500 crore project to cultivate drought-prone areas
West Bengal Government has undertaken a project to convert 50,000 hectares of non-arable land in four drought-prone districts in the state into cultivable land. The project worth Rs. 500 crore aims at efficient use of arable land through better crop management technologies along with a focus on environment protection and restoration of ecological balance. The four districts in which the proposed project will be implemented are Bankura, Birbhum, Purulia and West Midnapore.
This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from July 29 - August 3, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.