Environment Minister Moily takes controversial decisions

Policy Matters this week: Moily takes controversial decisions on the Western Ghats, UP declares eco-sensitive zone around sanctuaries and the UN appreciates Odisha's disaster management efforts.
Environment Minister Moily (Source: Livenewz) Environment Minister Moily (Source: Livenewz)

New Environment Minister brings in new polices

Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, who took over as the Environment Minister this week, has put on hold the final notification on declaring ecologically sensitive zone in the Western Ghats. The new Minister has invited comments from the chief ministers of six states covered by the Ghats, taking the process back to its initial phase even as the outgoing Environment Minister had just finalized the notification. On his first day of taking charge of the Environment Ministry, Moily also relaxed the clearance norms for industrial projects, giving more power to the states over minor minerals like sand and power plants with generation capacity less than five mega Watt. Environment activists have criticized the appointment of Moily as Environment Minister for his support of river diversion and hydropower projects in the past.

Eco-sensitive zones around three sanctuaries in UP

The Uttar Pradesh cabinet has approved an ecologically sensitive area of 100 metres around three wildlife sanctuaries- the Kaimur wildlife sanctuary in Mirzapur, Okhla bird sanctuary in Gautam Budh Nagar and Lakh Bahosi wildlife sanctuary in Kannauj. Commercial mining will now be banned within a range of one kilometre from the protected region and any fresh activities in the ecologically sensitive zone will be divided into three categories- permitted, regulated and banned.

UN appreciates Odisha's disaster management during Phailin

The United Nations' Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction has appreciated Odisha's effort to mitigate the effects of cyclone Phailin in October this year. The UN Representative felicitated the State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a function held in Bhubaneswar for being able to move more than a million people away from the coast when the cyclone struck. The UN Representative announced that it would highlight the State’s efforts as a model for disaster management globally.

Masterplan to provide drinking water to all Tripura localities

The Tripura Drinking Water and Sanitation Department is all set to come out with a masterplan to provide drinking water to all its localities by January 3. According to the Department, about 134 remote and tribal dominated localities have no source of drinking water and the residents often face death and diseases due to consumption of contaminated water. The masterplan might include shifting tribal hamlets to areas in the vicinity of a permanent water source.

Water scheme for villages around Koodankulam

The Tamil Nadu Government has proposed an integrated drinking water scheme for 13 Gram Panchayats around the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Priced at Rs 68.10 crore, the scheme will be based on water from the river Tamirabarani. It will benefit 100 rural colonies including Kudankulam where 55 litres of water per person per day is ensured. In 2012, the State Government had announced assistance of Rs 500 crore for social development of areas in and around Kudankulam.

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from December 22-28.  Also read last week's news updates.

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