Chennai reels under acute crisis of drinking water
Tamil Nadu is witnessing the worst drought in 140 years and Chennai is reeling under an acute crisis of drinking water as all four lakes--Poondi, Red Hills, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam--around the city have dried up. Many areas in the city are receiving piped water only once in three days and authorities have deployed 300 water tankers in the city. Green activists are blaming this crisis on rapid urbanisation and the improper maintenance of water bodies in Chennai and neighbouring districts.
Punjab waives off farm loans
After Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Punjab becomes the third state this year to announce waiver of farm loans. The state has announced that it will waive off Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers (up to five acres) and a flat Rs 2 lakh relief for all other marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount. According to one estimate, the waiver will cost the debt-ridden state Rs 24,000 crore. Also, the state has decided to raise the ex gratia for suicide-affected families to Rs 5 lakh from the existing Rs 3 lakh.
Nalanda wins accolades for excellence in water conservation
The ministry of rural development has conferred the national award for excellence under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGA) to Bihar's Nalanda district for successfully adopting Project Jal Sanchay for water conservation. Under the project, the district created dozens of check dams and more than a 1000 km of the traditional aahar-pyne irrigation system was dug up. Apart from these, traditional water bodies got desilted and renovated and campaigns on rainwater harvesting were also held.
Encroachment of forest area in the Western Ghats quadruples: Report
As per the report titled 'Administration of National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Karnataka' by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, it has been revealed that more than one lakh acres of forest area in Western Ghats had been encroached upon in the past two decades. It has been found that in and around six protected areas, 51 resorts and hotels besides 50 homestays are operating, many of which do not have permission from the forest department. One of the most serious findings of the audit was that the encroachment of forest area had increased from 42,518 acres in 1995 to 2,04,442 acres in 2014.
India to stand against China-funded Pak project on Indus
India has decided to oppose China's offer to fund Pakistan's controversial Diamer-Bhasha hydropower project on the Indus River in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is part of the areas India accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying in Kashmir. Earlier, on a strong opposition from India, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank had rejected funds to the project conceived by Pakistan in 2006.
This is a roundup of important news from June 20 - 26, 2017. Also, read the policy matters this week.