MGNREGA's performance unsatisfactory in drought-stricken districts in 2018-19
An analysis of the performance of MGNREGA for 2018-19 shows that the scheme has failed to be of any help to drought-stricken districts as the significant work related to water conservation and irrigation under the scheme has been left incomplete or suspended, making them useless for farmers. In 2018-19, more than 1.8 million water-related projects were abandoned or left incomplete and the governments spent close to Rs 16,615 crore on structures that are of no use. Moreover, of the 8.26 million MGNREGA projects started in 2018-19, only 26.07 percent could be completed, which is the least in the five years.
DJB's three-pronged approach to turn Delhi into city of lakes
Delhi Jal Board has finalised three different revival models for the restoration of 155 water bodies in consultation with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute. With an aim to achieve biochemical oxygen demand of 10 ppm and total suspended solids score of 10 mg/litre, treated wastewater would be used for water bodies located in the proximity of sewage treatment plants in the first model. For the second model, a natural constructed wetland with bio-digesters would be created that will be recharged by sewage from nearby inhabited areas. In case the land is not available, moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) and electromechanical systems would be taken up.
NGT flags mismanagement of solid waste during Kumbh
Taking note of the poor management of solid waste during Kumbh held in Allahabad in the winter of 2018-19, the National Green Tribunal has asked the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to appear before it. As per the tribunal, Kumbh brought Allahabad to the verge of an epidemic as nearly 18,000 metric tonnes (mt) of waste was generated in Kumbh and had been collected at Baswar Solid Waste Treatment Plant which was lying nonoperational since September 2018. Even the groundwater has got polluted during the Kumbh as soak pits where dirty water was collected from toilets had not been lined. Moreover, 50 percent of sewage from toilets was allowed to enter the Ganga river directly.
New project announced to quench Madurai's thirst
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has announced a new project to bring drinking water directly from Mullaperiyar dam to serve Madurai city’s growing population. The new Mullaperiyar drinking water project is worth Rs 1,120 crore and envisages laying a 143km long pipeline from Lower Camp near Gudalur to Madurai city. Madurai currently receives 170 mld of water but in summers, the city is left with only 150 mld of water leading to water supply cuts in the city. However, with the implementation of the new drinking water project, Madurai will be receiving an additional 125 mld of water and there would be a round-the-clock supply of water.
Keshopur wetland in Punjab inches closer to be Ramsar site
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) experts and officials of Punjab forest department have conducted a joint inspection visit of the Keshopur wetland in Gurdaspur as part of their assessment of a potential Ramsar site. The wetland which is being used by more than 20,000 migratory and native birds and is habitat of critically endangered/near endangered/vulnerable species will be the fourth Ramsar site in the state after Harike, Kanjli and Ropar wetlands. The inspection team will be sending its report to the environment ministry for the final declaration. As of now, the wetland is being jointly managed by the forest department and the locals of five villages as it was declared the country's first notified community reserve in the year 2007.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from April 24 - 30, 2019. Also, read news this week.