Indian troops polluting Siachen glacier: Pakistan

Policy matters this week: Pakistan says its main source of water supply is affected by Indian troops polluting the Siachen glacier, and Karnataka to increase the height of Almatti dam.
Indian Army, Siachen Source: defenceforumindia.com Indian Army, Siachen Source: defenceforumindia.com

Remove troops from Siachen: Pakistan

Citing water crisis, Pakistan's Advisor to the Government on Foreign Affairs has urged India to withdraw troops from the world's highest and coldest battlefield, the Siachen glacier. The Official said that Siachen is the country's main source of water supply and the troops there are polluting it by disposing off items of daily use. Armed forces from both countries, posted in Siachen since 1984, are forced to live in inhospitable conditions along the border even though a ceasefire is in place since 2003. According to environmentalists, glacial retreat has accelerated recently due to human presence on them.  

Karnataka allowed to raise the height of Almatti dam

Karnataka has won the case against neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to increase the height of the Almatti dam. Located in north Karnataka on the river Krishna, the dam is 519.6 metres tall at present. Its height will be increased to 524 metres now. According to the State Government, the increase in height would irrigate 5.4 lakh hectares more land while 22 villages will be fully submerged and 192 partly submerged. Over one lakh people will have to be rehabilitated.

NABARD to fund 600 water purifying plants in Karnataka

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has proposed to set up 600 water purifying plants in the State by 2014. The project aims to supply clean drinking water to rural population at cheaper rates. At present, there are 200 such plants in the country. The plants would be set up under NABARD’s programme for Natural Resource Management. The maintenance of the plants would be handed over to the local community while the purified water would be sold at Rs 4 for 20 litres.

Remove illegal colony inside Corbett: SC

The Supreme Court has ordered the eviction of 784 families who stay in a colony inside the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. The colony came up in 1966 during the construction of the Ramganga hydel project. It was temporarily given to the Irrigation Department during the construction phase and was to be handed back to the Forest Department after the completion of the project. The petition, originally filed in the Allahabad High Court in 1999, says that the colony was illegally occupied by outsiders when the dam staff left the place.

Water vending machines in Ranchi

The Ranchi Municipal Corporation, with the help of a World Bank funded agency, is planning to install vending machines to supply purified water in the city. Purified drinking water would be available in 10 and 20 litre bottles from these machines at a cost of Rs 3.5 and Rs 7 respectively once the plants are set up. Water Life India, an agency that works on such projects across the country, will sponsor the venture with support from the World Bank. A similar model is already in place in Karnataka. 

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from December 1-7. Also read last week's news updates.

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