Forest panel clears Ken-Betwa river link
The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has given the go-ahead to the Ken-Betwa river link project while ignoring environmental concerns due to the diversion of around 5,500 hectares of Panna national reserve forestland that will also threaten endangered species such as tigers, gharial and several kinds of vultures. Nearly 1.8 million trees will also be felled for the project. The controversial project plans to irrigate about 600,000 hectares of land and provide drinking water to 1.34 million people from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Total ban on sand mining in Narmada river
With an aim to conserve the Narmada river, the Madhya Pradesh government has imposed a total ban on sand mining in the river across the state. Along with this, a ban has also been imposed on the use of machines excavating sand from all rivers across the state. The government will also be forming a committee that will study the feasibility of mining in the river and will submit its report within four to six months. The committee will also recommend sites where riverbed excavation of sand can be done safely without harming the environment.
Environmentalists oppose the government's move to ease coastal regulation norms
The environment ministry's plan to revamp India's coastal regulation norms will lead to the opening up of India's 7,500-km long coastal line for developmental acivities such as tourism and real estate projects. Environmentalists have criticised the environment ministry for not sharing the details of the draft with the public for wider consultations and raised fears that the proposed norms will spell doom for the marine environment.
The environment ministry allows MMRC to cut 1000 mangrove trees for the metro project
A nod from the environment ministry spells doom for mangrove trees at the Bandra Kurla Complex and Dharavi in Mumbai. Around 1000 mangrove trees will be felled as a part of the Metro III project. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has planned to plant at least 5,000 mangrove trees to compensate for this loss in green cover. The MMRC plans to construct two land parcels admeasuring 0.91 hectares and 0.34 hectares inside the mangrove wetlands.
Expert panel to examine the harmful effects of petroleum coke or petcoke
The National Green Tribunal has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to set up an expert panel to look into the harmful effects of petroleum coke or petcoke on human health and environment. The green panel passed the order after the CPCB pointed out that no study had been done on the adverse effects of the petroleum coke on the environment. Petcoke is a high calorific value solid fuel which is used for power generation in various countries. India alone has used 18.3 million tonne petcoke in the year 2015-16.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from May 23 - 28, 2017. Also, read the news this week.