Government to scrap river interlinking project, if it will pose threat to environment: Uma Bharti
During the four day conference 'India Rivers Week' held in New Delhi last week, the Minister of Water Resources, Uma Bharti, has assured that the river interlinking project will not go on if there are adverse environmental consequences. However, while the Ministry is in a mood to reconsider the interlinking project, the Prime Minister is planning one more link between the Sharda river on the Indo-Nepal border and the Yamuna near Delhi via Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Recently, Kerala and Odisha have also shown apprehensions towards the river linking project.
India, Nepal sign yet another deal to build a mega dam
During his second visit to Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signed a deal to build the 900 MW Arun III dam in Nepal. Earlier in August, the PM had also signed a deal for the 900 MW upper Karnali dam in western Nepal. Though the deals are the country's biggest foreign investement, both the projects have been miring in controversies. In the 1990s, the World Bank had withdrawn financial support for the Arun III dam, following huge protests.
MGNREGA to continue, but more intensely this time: Government
The Rural Development Minister has clarified that it has no plans to dilute the rural employment scheme, MGNREGA, launched during the previous UPA rule. He has further said that the scheme will continue in all the 6500 blocks and would be taken up intensively in 2500 blocks. In the current fiscal year, Rs 23,000 crore has been allotted towards the programme, but the funds will be released only after the audit reports are received from the states.
Centre agrees to set up environment regulator without penal powers
The Environment Ministry has agreed to constitute the role of an environment regulator that will have the power to appraise industrial projects but not the powers to penalise those violating green laws. The decision has been taken following inter-ministerial and inter-state consultations. Though the Government has provided clarity for the role, it is still not clear whether the state Pollution Control Board would be subsumed by the body or would become its arm.
Centre approves Rs 444 crore to Gujarat Government to conserve the Sabarmati
The Centre has approved a fund of Rs 444.44 crore for the Gujarat Government to implement the second phase of the Sabarmati River Conservation Project. The Centre has approved the funding of 70% of the project cost while 30% of the project cost will be borne by the State Government. Phase-2 of the Sabarmati River Conservation Project envisages the construction of drainage lines to stop the discharge of untreated liquid sewage waste into the river.
This is a weekly roundup of important policy matters from November 25 to December 1, 2014. Also read last week's news updates.