Environment Ministry withdraws controversial amendment

Policy matters this week: Environment ministry withdraws amendments to waste rules, Odisha sanctions 12 crores for water in slums and the NGT halts dam construction in Manipur.
New amendment to waste rules withdrawn (Wikimedia) New amendment to waste rules withdrawn (Wikimedia)

Environment Ministry withdraws amendment to waste rules

After much opposition and a Karnataka High Court order, the Central Environment Ministry has decided to withdraw the draft amendments to the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000. According to environmentalists, the new amendment discouraged seggregation of waste at source and promoted the usage of expensive and polluting technologies like waste incineration. The Karnataka High Court had observed that the proposed amendments would undo all the efforts of Municipal Corporations and waste the money invested to set up waste seggregation at source initiatives. It would also create environment and public health issues.

Odisha sanctions Rs 12 crores for water supply in slums

The State Government has sanctioned Rs 12.57 crores for water supply to slums in Bhubeneswar. The funds have been sanctioned to the city Municipal Corporation under the Rajiv Awas Yojna which will be the nodal agency for the project. Water stand posts and tubewells will be constructed by the Public Health and Engineering Department of the Corporation to meet the drinking water needs of slum dwellers in the city.

NGT halts project construction in Manipur

The National Green Tribunal has put a halt to the construction of the Thoubal multi-purpose hydropower project as it has still not obtained clearance under the Forest Conservation Act. The application for forest clearance was infact made this year only after a case was filed with the NGT while the project was approved way back in the 1980s. Construction began in 1990. The petioner pleaded that even as 1215 hectares of land has been submerged till now and 80% of the construction is complete, the project still does not have the mandatory forest clearance.

Tamil Nadu presses for the Cauvery Board yet again

The State Government has approached the Supreme Court asking them to direct the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board. This is the second plea filed by the state this year and comes in response to Karnataka government's plan to build a hydropower station at Mekedatu and three reservoirs for the purpose. As per their application, in a federal structure, no upper riparian state can unilaterally interfere with the natural flow of an inter-state river without the consent and concurrence of the lower riparian state.

Smart loos for Bangalore

The Bangalore Municipal Corporation is all set to install 100 e-toilets across the city. The toilets, which will operate on a sensor-based technology, will be fully automated and can be used by inserting a one rupee coin in the slot provided. The toilet requires a small area and can have variants like the existing sewage lines, septic tanks or the bio-digester technology. The Corporation had already installed a couple of toilets but to install more, the service provider has fixed a charge of Rs 4.5 lakhs. The Corporation, however, wants him to realise investment through advertisements and access fee.

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from November 11-16. Also read last week's news updates.

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