Karnataka first state to witness rabi crop loss

Karanataka records failure of winter crops, seeks Rs 1,417 crore Central assistance 

With a Rs 7,209 crore worth damage to its rabi crops, Karnataka has become the first state in the country to witness a loss in its winter harvest. The State has sought financial assistance of Rs 1,417 from the Centre. This year's unusually dry and warm winter has also raised fear of crop failure in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. A failed rabi crop  will mean the fourth consecutive crop failure for Indian farmers along with two failed kharif crops in 2014 and 2015.

Coca Cola shuts its bottling plants in Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh 

Coca-Cola has suspended three of its bottling plants in Rajasthan, Meghalaya and Andhra Pradesh. The shutting down of the Rajasthan plant is due to depleting groundwater levels in the region which has led to more than a decade of agitation by farmers. However, per the claims of the company, water was not as much an issue for the two other plants as much as rationalising of capacity and economic viability were.   

New action plan proposes no mining and big irrigation projects in wildlife corridors

The Environment Ministry has drafted the new National Wildlife Action Plan which has been put in the public domain to invite comments and suggestions. The new plan has proposed to restrict all mining activities and big irrigation projects in all protected areas and wildlife corridors. Once approved, the plan would be in effect for the period 2017 to 2031 and replace the existing National Wildlife Action Plan 2002.

Experts say that climate change issues were totally ignored while deciding green nod to Ken-Betwa river link

Per experts, environmental clearance for the Ken-Bewa river link project is being pushed while ignoring its impact to global warming and climate change. Although the project will submerge only 89 sq km of forest of the Panna Tiger Reserve, its impact will be experienced in a 200 sq km area of the forest. Experts have also mentioned that rather than the riverlinking project that will incur huge costs, alternatives of tanks and farm ponds will be far more effective.

IMD to issue weather forecasts at the block level along with summer forecast

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will begin to issue weather forecasts at the block level later this year. The block level forecasts will help the farmers understand the potentially anomalous weather in their localities three to five days ahead. Currently, the IMD issues such short-term forecasts in 100 districts across states and so-called agro-climatic zones. Along with this, the IMD is also planning to bring out summer forecasts for April, May and June which will be of much help to power companies, several service-sector industries and state planners. 

This is a roundup of important news updates from February 9 - 15, 2016. Also read last week's policy matters update.