Additional funds of over Rs 1,300 crore allocated to dam safety project
The Centre has approved the revision of the cost estimate for the ongoing Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) from Rs 2,100 crore to Rs 3,466 crore. The project has also got a two-year extension and now it is scheduled for completion in June 2020. The aim of the nationwide project is to improve safety and operational performance of 198 large dams in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. The finance ministry has also given its go-ahead to DRIP-II which is to be implemented after the completion of phase-I. DRIP-II plans to cover an additional 700 dams across 18 states with an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore.
Bombay HC bans destruction and cutting of mangroves in Maharashtra
Calling mangroves destruction a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens, the Bombay high court has completely banned destruction and cutting of mangroves in Maharashtra. The new order seeks to declare the privately-owned mangrove land, which was excluded from the earlier notification, to be declared protected or reserved forest area. The court has also directed the state government to constitute a committee that shall be responsible for the preservation and conservation of mangroves and restoration of mangrove areas which are illegally reclaimed.
Polavaram project: CAG says 2019 deadline appears improbable
As per the audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the completion of Polavaram multi-purpose project on the Godavari river by the target date of 2019 "appears improbable". The delay has been attributed to improper planning, delays in finalisation of designs, land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement. Moreover, despite being declared a national project four years ago, the Andhra Pradesh government has been unable to conclude a memorandum of understanding with the Centre as per the national project guidelines. The state government has also been unable to sort out submergence issues with neighbouring states.
Gujarat, Uttarakhand ODF status a sham: CAG
As per a recent report by CAG on the state of toilets in Gujarat and Uttarakhand, both states have received open defecation free (ODF) status despite many toilets in these states existing just on papers or are defunct. In Gujarat, out of the 120 villages surveyed, 41 villages have toilets which are unusable due to lack of water connections and other 15 villages do not have toilets at all. In Uttarakhand, over 70 percent toilets were constructed without any expert guidance rendering them unfit for use. The report has posed questions on the ODF verification process for villages.
CAG reveals Odisha's slow pace in providing household water connection
The CAG has revealed that the Odisha government has been able to provide household water connections to just 3.7 percent households as against 35 percent which was the state’s target. The piped water supply is also found to be behind its target as only 25 percent of the targeted habitations have been covered during the period. The state government has been unable to transfer funds for maintenance to Panchayati Raj Institutions which are responsible for the operation and maintenance of 60 percent of rural drinking water sources.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from September 19 - 25, 2018. Also, read news this week.