Ministry eases green norms for coal mine expansion

Policy matters this week: MoEF eases green norms for expanding coal mines; government to undertake review of existing water-related laws; site visit becomes mandatory before forest land diversion.
An open cast mine (Source: Garavi Gujarat) An open cast mine (Source: Garavi Gujarat)

Green norms eased for expanding coal mines

MoEF eases the environmental clearance for expansion of coal mines. As per the new rules,  mines with an annual capacity of up to 8 million tonnes, do not require holding of public hearings, if expanded by up to 50% of their capacity. This is against the earlier provision that required public hearings if the mine capacity was being expanded by 25%. The decision will be beneficial to state-run Coal India that can increase its output by 30-40 million tonnes in the new financial year, which will also help in reducing the crippling fuel scarcity in the power sector.

Govt all set to review water laws in the country

The Ministry of Water Resources plans to initiate a "mega exercise" of reviewing around 500 existing central, state and local water related legislations, in order to align them with the National Water Policy 2012. The laws related to irrigation, drinking water, industrial water use and other sources will be considered for the review. The exercise will help the government in dealing with the looming water crisis in the country and prepare a roadmap on principles of equity, sustainability and good governance. 

Centre mandates site visit before forest land diversion

The Environment Ministry, in its revised Draft Policy on the Grant of Forest Clearance and Identification of Forests, makes it compulsory for state governments to carry out a detailed site inspection before diverting forest land to non-forest purposes. The guidelines also includes resolving of disputes on the status of land, if any, in the site inspection. The state governments have also been asked to prepare a forest map of all districts.

DMRC to set up rainwater harvesting systems at 17 Metro Stations by 2015

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation informs the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it will install rainwater harvesting systems (RWHS) at 17 Metro stations in Delhi by March 2015. However, it will not be able to install these systems at 27 other stations due to lack of space. The assurance came in response to the tribunal's querying DMRC last year for not setting up RWHS at its stations.

NGT orders Maharashtra govt to submit action plan for rivers' revival

NGT directs the state government to prepare an action plan for revival of Mithi, Ulhas and Waduli Patalganga rivers and submit it to the tribunal by February 12. The tribunal has also ordered the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to give money to IIT Bombay for surveying pollution levels in Ulhas river, assessing the polluting units and deciding action against defaulters. The Tribunal pulled up the MPCB for failing to take proper action in keeping the rivers pollution free.

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from  January 12-18, 2014. Also read last week's news update.

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