Govt approves Rs 4,845 crore for Krishna-Marathwada irrigation project

Policy matters this week
Krishna river near Vijayawada (Source: Bhanutpt) Krishna river near Vijayawada (Source: Bhanutpt)

Krishna-Marathwada irrigation project worth Rs 4,845 crore gets Govt nod

The Environment Ministry has sanctioned funds of Rs 4,845 crore to the Krishna-Marathwada irrigation project that aims to irrigate nearly one lakh hectares of land in the Marathwada region. The project envisages two lift irrigation schemes to draw 21 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water from the Ujaini reservoir and 2.66 TMC from the Bhima sub-basin. According to the Maharashtra Water Resource Minister, once complete, the project will help tackle the drought problems of suicide-prone Marathwada region. 

Govt yet again holds the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link

The Government has once again refused to grant forest clearance to the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link worth Rs 11,000 crore, owing to its impact on the Flamingo population. The project envisages the building of a six-lane Mumbai Trans Harbour Link road in Raigad and Thane district in Maharashtra by diverting around 47.41 hectares of mangrove area. The Centre has sought a commitment from the State Government on the creation of a special Flamingo sanctuary that is causing a delay in clearance to the project. 

Threat to wildlife as Govt clears 18 projects in crucial zones

This year, the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) has given clearance to 18 out of the 25 projects proposed in the most crucial wildlife zones of the country. Six of these projects are inside or near the five tiger habitats. Wildlife experts have criticised the Board's move as only 4.3% of the country's area is protected while just 0.9% is core habitat. Moreover, the Government also does not have any mechanism as of now to monitor the compliance and mitigation efforts being taken up.  

Govt transfers environment clearance of 19 out of 29 blocks to new allottees

The Environment Ministry has transferred the green clearance of 19 coal blocks out of the 29 approved ones to new allottees. The new bidders include JSW Steel, GMR Chhattisgarh Energy, Jaypee Cement and Ambuja Cements. These 19 blocks have the combined coal production capacity of over 22 million tonnes per annum and are located in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha. With the transfer of clearance, the new bidders have become liable to compliance of all court orders. 

Educational institutes do not require prior green clearance now

The Government has exempted universities, schools, colleges and hostel facilities from obtaining prior green clearance for construction on the condition that they follow sustainable environment practises. However, the exemption is not applicable to the construction of medical universities and institutes which have hospital facilities. Along with eductional institutes, industrial sheds that are used for keeping plant and machinery of industrial units, have also been exempted from obtaining a green nod.

This is a roundup of important policy matters from June 23 - 29, 2015. Also read last week's news updates.

Lead image source: Bhanutpt via Wikipedia


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