Karnataka budget focuses on big water projects, misses out on sustainability
In its budget, the Karnataka government has announced speeding up of the Mekedatu project. It has also earmarked Rs 50 crore for the rejuvenation of Bellandur lake and has promised to take steps towards supplying the lake’s treated water to rural pockets of Bengaluru for irrigation. As per water experts, however, the budget has missed out on sustainable solutions for the city like the rejuvenation of existing lakes and recharging of groundwater.
East Kolkata Wetlands: High court puts stay on controversial flyover
The high court has ordered the West Bengal government not to go ahead with the construction of the proposed five-km flyover from EM Bypass to New Town that cuts through the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) even if the Centre clears it. As per the proposal, nearly 140 piers of the flyover would be built on fish farms resulting in 10 water bodies getting partly or fully filled up. Despite objection from environmentalists, the project in the ecologically fragile wetlands received clearance and got an allocation of Rs 650 crores.
Manual scavenging: Government launches technology challenge
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched a technology challenge to come up with ways to eliminate manual cleaning of septic tanks and drains. The ministry has invited proposals from innovators, individuals, consortium partners, companies, academic institutions, research and development centres, NGOs and municipal bodies to provide innovative technical solutions for the elimination of manual scavenging. The technology challenge will be conducted for two separate categories, one for sewerage systems and the other for septic tanks.
Kerala eases reclamation of paddy fields for infrastructure projects
The Kerala Assembly has passed a bill making 12 amendments and adding two new provisions to the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008. As per the environmentalists, however, the bill will make it easier to reclaim paddy fields, wetlands and unnotified land for infrastructure development projects. The bill has also taken away the powers of monitoring committee in a gram panchayat or a municipality to stop land reclamation for infrastructure projects.
Gujarat to make micro irrigation compulsory for farmers
To provide water to farmers at the farthest end, the Gujarat government has decided to make micro irrigation systems compulsory for farmers who wish to receive water from Narmada canals. The new rule will start on a pilot basis for the two lakh hectare command area of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited in Saurashtra region. The decision has been taken following the water crisis experienced this year in the catchment area of Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from July 3 - 8, 2018. Also, read the news this week.