Groundwater depletion: NGT raps green ministry on inaction

Policy matters this week
Groundwater depletion adds to water woes. (Image source: IWP Flickr photos) Groundwater depletion adds to water woes. (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)

NGT raps green ministry for failing to curb depletion of groundwater

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the environment ministry for failing to furnish a report, sought by the tribunal earlier, on the actions taken to tackle groundwater depletion. In January, the tribunal had ordered the ministry to constitute an expert committee and to issue an appropriate policy for groundwater conservation with a robust institutional mechanism for surveillance. However, the ministry has not provided any report in this regard. Additionally, the NGT has rapped the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for providing an incomplete report on the assessment of environmental compensation to be levied for illegal extraction of groundwater.

NGT pulls up environment ministry for relaxing sewage treatment norms

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has rejected a notification issued by the environment ministry in October 2017 where all the sewage treatment norms have been drastically relaxed. On the basis of an expert committee report, the tribunal has now prescribed stringent norms for sewage treatment in the country and directed the ministry to issue a fresh notification within a month’s time. The expert committee comprises of members from IIT Kanpur, IIT Roorkee, NEERI and Central Pollution Control Board. 

Uttarakhand government encourage farmers to go organic

Under the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Uttarakhand government is implementing a scheme for encouraging hill farmers in the catchment area of the Ganga river to adopt organic farming. The move aims to keep the Ganga river free of chemical pollution and augmenting the income of hill farmers. In the first phase of the centrally funded project, all poor and marginal hill farmers in the 42 villages in Ganga's catchment area are being given full support to adopt organic farming. Apart from Uttarakhand, the scheme is also being implemented in four other states--Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal--under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY). 

PMC to begin the much-delayed Mula-Mutha river rejuvenation project

Once the Model Code of Conduct is lifted, the Pune municipal corporation (PMC) is planning to initiate work on the much-delayed Mula-Mutha river rejuvenation project. The project, which is part of the National River Conservation Plan in the city, was sanctioned by the Centre five years ago at an estimated cost of Rs 640 crore. However, due to the delay in implementation of the project, the project cost has raised to Rs 990 crore. Under the proposed project, the PMC plans to construct 11 new sewage treatment plants of 396 million litres per day capacity, lay 113.6-km of sewers and build 24 community toilets.

Gujarat in water crisis thanks to lack of water policy 

The State Draft Water Policy proposed by Gujarat government is stuck in a bureaucratic red-tape for the past few years. In 2014-15, the first draft of the policy was prepared but due to one or the other reasons, the government has not been able to finalise the policy. In June 2018, the last state water policy draft was prepared. Though Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had given in-principle approval to the policy, it has not been forwarded to the cabinet for approval. The policy, which is pending approval, calls on the need for water pricing and skewed water availability due to climate change. 

This is a roundup of important policy matters from May 7 - 14, 2019. Also, read news this week.

 

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