Hydropower projects aggravated the Uttarakhand disaster

House washed away in Uttarakhand floods
House washed away in Uttarakhand floods

Government admits that hydropower projects aggravated the Uttarakhand disaster

The Central Government has finally admitted that the hydropower projects in the state had directly and indirectly aggravated the flash floods in Uttarakhand in 2013. The Government has also accepted that the maximum damage during the flood had occurred either in the downstream or upstream from these projects. Following this, the Supreme Court has also sought response from the State Government on why it is keen to set up more hydropower projects in the state.

Panic in India post the massive oil spill in the Bangladesh side of the Sunderbans

Sunderbans ecology is in danger after an oil tanker carrying more than 350,000 litres of bunker oil met with an accident and sank on the Sela river in Bangladesh. Wildlife Department officials in India have been deployed in the area to monitor the spreading of the spill in the Indian side of Sunderbans. Deaths of large number of fish and lesser movement of sea animals have been reported in Sela and Pushur rivers in Bangladesh and the same is feared on the Indian side.

CM announces Rs 7000 crore funds to drought-struck Maharashtra

The Maharashtra Government has promised to disburse Rs 7,000 crore to Vidarbha and Marthwada, which are battling with drought-like condititions. Along with this, the electricity bills of the farmers in these regions will be waived off. Also, the State Government is mulling plans to adopt the 'Madhya Pradesh pattern' of drought proofing that follows decentralised water conservation measures such as check dams, farm ponds and other micro-watershed measures.

Authorities drain maintenance fluid into River Gomati in Tripura

The authorities of Tripura's Gumti Hydropwer project have disposed off the entire load of used oil and diesel derived after cleaning of the turbines of the hydel project into the Gomati river. Following the incident, the State Government has suspended four senior officials of the power project. The state is reeling under severe water crisis as the authorities were forced to suspend the drinking water treatment plants.

Plans to revive Lower Subansiri hydel project in vain

The Union Power Minister, Piyush Goyal, has been unable to end the deadlock for the 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydopower project in Arunachal Pradesh. As per sources, the six hour- long meeting between the stakeholders has ended without reaching a solution. Now, an eight member committee has been appointed, with R K Pachauri as arbitrator, to look into the concerns raised by earlier Expert Committees towards the project.

Karnataka Government plans to revive eight water resource institutions in the state

The Karnataka Government is mulling plans to implement short-term and long-term reforms in order to revive eight defunct water resources institutions in the state. The main objective behind this is to enhance the efficiency of water managment in the state and make the institutions fiscally sound. The institutions to be revived are namely six Command Area Development Authorities (CADAs), Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI), Dharwad and the Karnataka Engineering Research Station (KERS), K.R. Sagar, Mandya.

A sharp decline in the Natural Conservation Zones observed

The National Capital Region Planning Board has found a sharp decline in the Natural Conservation Zones (NCZs) in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, as these states have failed to implement the policies of the regional plan relating to NCZs. The matter has been reported to the National Green Tribunal, which has directed all the four states to file a comprehensive response to this violation before December end.

India, China and Bangladesh extend help to crisis-struck Maldives

The Maldives Government has declared a water crisis after fire broke into its only desalination plant. However, the situation is under control with India, China and Bangladesh providing potable water supplies to the crisis-struck nation. The Indian Navy has supplied a tanker-load of 1,250 tonnes of water to its neighbour, along with the RO installed ship that has the potential to desalinate 100 tonnes of water per day.

Kerala to assess its non-revenue water

The Kerala Water Authority is all set to assess its non-revenue water (NRW), that gets lost before reaching the customers, by installing 13 water meters in tanks and transmission lines. The project has been funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and is expected to begin in two months in Thiruvananthapuram. Also, the project plans to expand to other cities in the state such as Kottayam, Ernakulam and Kozhikode.

BIS to develop standards on municipal solid wastes

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has constituted a technical committee to develop standards on municipal solid wastes including garbage segregation. Also, the BIS has been entrusted to formulate process standards for quality assurance of potable water supplied through pipelines by municipal and government agencies and for garbage disposal. Already, BIS has established the Indian Standard, IS 16066: 2012 on street food vendors–food safety requirements.

This is a fortnightly news roundup of important news updates from December 2 - 15, 2014. Also read last fortnight's policy matters roundup.