Green court slams centre over groundwater withdrawal in dry areas

Policy matters this week
A well in Rajasthan (Source: IWP Flickr photos) A well in Rajasthan (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

NGT slams centre over groundwater extraction in dry areas

Displeased over the Centre's submission that restriction on groundwater extraction in over-exploited, critical and semi-critical (OCS) areas is likely to have an adverse impact on industrial production, employment opportunities and GDP of some states, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled it up. The panel has refused to review its order disallowing grant of 'No Objection Certificate' to industries in OCS areas. It has ordered the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Central Ground Water Authority to ensure that no general permission be given for the withdrawal of groundwater, particularly to any commercial entity, without carrying out an environmental impact assessment. (NDTV)

NGT seeks issuance of notification to ban the use of RO purifiers 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the Environment Ministry to issue a notification to ban the use of RO purifiers, having total dissolved solids (TDS) in water below 500 milligrams per litre, by year-end. It was last year that the tribunal issued the direction in view of sensitising people about the ill-effects of the RO water, but even after one year, further extension of time has been sought by the ministry owing to the nationwide lockdown. The tribunal has now ordered the ministry to positively complete the necessary action by December 31, 2020. (The Financial Express)

Go-ahead to the Rayalaseema lift irrigation scheme

Giving a green signal for calling tenders for the Rayalaseema lift irrigation scheme, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has removed the stay on the project. However, the tribunal has ordered the Centre to explain whether the scheme requires environmental clearances and the case has been posted to August 11. The decision has come as a major relief to the Andhra Pradesh government who can move ahead with the project which has been stalled for over 15 years and aims to provide assured water to the entire 19 lakh acres in four districts. To prove that the scheme will be taken up without violating NGT's awards and water sharing agreements with neighbouring Telangana, the state water resources department has readied a detailed blueprint. (The Times of India)

Early investment clearance for Renukaji dam project sought

In order to get project approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and start the construction of the 40 MW Renukaji dam project, the Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatraya has requested the Centre to expedite granting investment clearance to the scheme. The governor has informed the Jal Shakti Ministry that the state is committed towards fulfilling the objectives of the project and all technical and statutory clearances including environmental and forest clearance stage-1 of the project have also been obtained. The governor further said that the project is of national importance and will provide 0.498 BCM live storage in its reservoir and water supply to the tune of 23 cusecs to Delhi. (Hindustan Times)

Centre approves zonal master plan for the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone

With an aim to expedite the Chaardhaam Road Project, the Union Environment Ministry has given its approval to the zonal master plan for the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone notification that stretches from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi covering an area of 4179.59 sq km. As per the ministry, the  approval of ZMP will give a boost to conservation and ecology of the area and also to undertake developmental activities as permitted under ZMP. However, activists and experts fear that approval of the ZMP could make the entire Bhagirathi region extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. (Hindustan Times)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from July 8 - 20, 2020. Also, read news this week.

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