Government set to conserve India's springs

Policy matters this week
Many springs in the Himalayas have reduced discharge. (Source: India Water Portal) Many springs in the Himalayas have reduced discharge. (Source: India Water Portal)

Government rolls out plan to revive springs across the country

The Jal Shakti Ministry has proposed a pilot project for spring inventory and rejuvenation in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, and has suggested that similar projects of springs management be taken up in rest of the country with the active involvement of several other ministries.

The spring rejuvenation roadmap envisages comprehensive mapping of springs and spring sheds, setting up of data monitoring systems, understanding socio-economic and governance systems related to springs, carrying out an impact assessment and developing spring shed management and governance protocols.

The programme will supplement the government’s efforts to provide clean drinking water to every household under the Jal Shakti Mission. (DNA)

Banning lead in water pipes: Environment ministry yet to notify rules

It has been more than two years since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the Environment Ministry to notify rules banning the use of lead in PVC pipes for water supply within four months. However, the latter is yet to issue a notification regarding the same. As per the ministry, the draft notification was approved by the Environment Minister and forwarded to the Law Ministry which has tentatively vetted the notification to ensure desired compliance. The redrafted notification is currently under submission to the Law Ministry for final vetting.

According to the petition filed in the NGT, lead pipes used for water supply pose a health hazard because lead, one of the most dangerous metals, leaches into water. 

(The Indian Express)

Plan for coastal zone management unveiled

The Environment Ministry has unveiled the draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) that lays out guidelines on how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance. The framework, which is part of a World Bank-funded project, will help the government in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience, by building collective capacity (including communities and decentralised governance) for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches. So far Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank. (The HIndu)

Chennai's biggest water reservoirs under threat

The Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation Limited has submitted an application to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) for the reclassification of 53 acres of the catchment area of Red Hills reservoir to build an industrial zone for women entrepreneurs. Spread across 4,500 acres, Red Hills is one of Chennai’s largest water sources that has been providing water for the city even during times of drought. According to experts, encroachment on this area will ultimately result in floods in the city similar to what happened in 2015. However, the CMDA has clarified that though they received many applications for reclassifying water bodies, many have been rejected as only the state government has the authority to reclassify a water body. (The New Indian Express)

Apply for forest clearances on behalf of companies: Centre to states

To accelerate the auctions of mineral deposits, the Centre has asked states to apply for forest clearances, on behalf of unidentified, prospective mining companies. The aim behind the move is to avoid a disruption in mineral production and its impact on the economy. With the new system in place, the user agency - or the miner in this case - will need to apply for forest clearances, and for these clearances to be strictly co-terminus with the lease period. Kanchi Kohli, head of the Environmental Justice programme at the Centre for Policy Research, says that instead of playing a regulatory role and ensuring accountability and justice, the government is creating a new administrative practice in favour of mining companies. (The Economic Times)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from August 7 - 13, 2019. Also, read news this week.

 

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