Free water for the Capital

Policy Matters this week: AAP government in Delhi announces free water, nuclear plant in Haryana and hydel projects in Arunachal get green nod.
Free water but for how long? (Source: Wikipedia) Free water but for how long? (Source: Wikipedia)

Two days into power, AAP announced free water

Two days after becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party announced 667 litres of free water per day for all households with a metered water connection. The decision, to cost the Delhi Jal Board 160 crores a year, will immediately benefit nine lakh households in the capital. As a rider, the CM also announced a 10% hike in water tariff across the board. However, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the raw water available in Delhi is not enough to provide potable water to the entire population.

Fatehabad nuclear plant recieves environment clearance with conditions

The 2800 Mega Watt Electrical (MWe) nuclear power plant in Haryana's Fatehabad district is all set to get green clearance from the Environment Minister following a conditional nod from a high-level committee formed under the Ministry. The plant, with an investment of Rs. 23,502 crore, is set to come up in village of Gorakhpur. The Ministry's Expert Appraisal Committee has asked the project proponent Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to consider the newly enacted Land Acquisition Act for providing relief to people affected by the project including landless labourers. It has also asked NPCIL to obtain clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for the site besides levying several specific conditions.

MoEF clears two hydel projects in Arunachal

The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Environment Ministry has cleared two hydropower projects Simang I and II, located near the Indo-China border. The two projects, with a joint capacity of 133 MW, are located on the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh. Being close to a National Park and involving submergence of about 59 hectares of forest land, the Committee has made the clearance subject to the directions of the National Wildlife Board. The projects in the Siang river basin are seen as strategically important with respect to the agreement on rivers between India and China.

Ban on plastic packaging in Himachal starts this Republic day

The Himachal Pradesh High Court has upheld a State Government ban on plastic packaging of 25 junk food items. The ban will come into effect from the 26th of this month and will cover the packaging of chips, biscuits, chocolates, noodles, pizzas, candies and 'namkeen' besides others. The Court had banned non-biodegradable packing in April last year but a plea against it was filed by industry associations following which there was a stay on the Order. The Court directed the government to ensure edible oils and fats are not sold in plastic bottles and pouches, but rather packed in tin containers. The ban excludes packaged drinking water.

Jairam Ramesh slams UP and Gujarat for not utilizing watershed project funds

The Union Minister for Rural Development has shot off letters to the chief ministers of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh for not putting Central funds for watershed development to optimal use. According to the letter, the Centre has so far releaseed Rs 702 crore under the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) to Gujarat but the unspent balance available with the state is about Rs 409 crore. In UP, out of a total of Rs 536 crore allocated, the unspent balances stands at Rs 220 crore. The IWMP is meant to ensure prevention of soil and surface water run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rainwater harvesting and recharging of the groundwater table.

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from December 29'2013- January 4 2014. Also read last week's news updates.




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