Guidelines to monitor illegal sand mining released
For the first time, the Environment Ministry has released Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining 2020 to monitor and check illegal sand mining in the country.
The guidelines include directions to states to carry out river audits, put detailed survey reports of all mining areas online and in the public domain, conduct replenishment studies of river beds, constantly monitor mining with drones, aerial surveys, ground surveys and set up dedicated task forces at district levels.
Along with this, the guidelines also push for online sales and purchase of sand and other riverbed materials to make the process transparent. (The Indian Express)
Centre shelves project proposal in favour of Chambal ecology
Citing threat to endangered species such as crocodiles, gharials, turtles and dolphins found in the region, the Centre has put on hold the Madhya Pradesh government’s proposal for laying of freshwater pipe and construction of inland wells in the Chambal river. Earlier, the project was red-flagged by the State Chief Wildlife Warden due to threat to the river ecology and wildlife. However, the State Board for Wildlife had cleared it.
The project required diversion of 1.267 hectares from the National Chambal Sanctuary for the construction of intake well in the Chambal river and for laying of drinking water pipeline to meet the demand of the locals from Sheopar district.
Panel imposes fine on 15 industrial units in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh
A panel constituted by National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a fine of Rs. 4.15 crore on 15 industrial units in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh for polluting Ghaggar river. Along with this, the pollution control bodies of the respective states and the union territory have been directed to increase the frequency of inspections of industries. Also, the panel recommended that Punjab Pollution Control Board and Department of Water Resources will jointly survey the Ghaggar and its tributaries and identify the stretches where the solid waste is found dumped and remove the waste from the river stretches. (Hindustan Times)
Telangana High Court expresses displeasure over pollution in Hyderabad lakes
Noting the inaction of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials in preventing pollution of lakes in Hyderabad, the Telangana High Court has ordered the officials concerned, including the GHMC commissioner, to resign from their posts if they cannot discharge their duties properly. The warning has come from the bench, after a news item was published in vernacular daily highlighting contamination of a pond near Kukatpally lake developed specifically for immersion of idols and flowers during Ganesh Chaturdhi and Bathukamma festivals. The news also informed about the health implications the polluted lake poses on the people living in its vicinity. (The New Indian Express)
Rajasthan HC seeks response for encroachment in Luni river
The Rajasthan High Court has issued notices to the divisional commissioner (Jodhpur), district magistrate (Barmer) and other officials seeking a response on encroachments in Luni river by the land mafia. The petitioner has informed that the land mafia had not only encroached huge land parcels in Luni river and constructed houses on the plots, but have also started sand mining in the river. Along with this, the petitioner further stated that despite many complaints to the administration, no action was taken against encroachers. (The Times of India)
This is a roundup of important policy matters from January 23 - 29, 2020. Also, read news this week.