Monsoon 2015: Nearly half of Indian districts reeling under drought

News this week
Drought affected area in Karnataka (Source: Pushkarv via Wikipedia) Drought affected area in Karnataka (Source: Pushkarv via Wikipedia)

Monsoon leaves the country with 39% area still parched

Around 39% of the country's area has received deficient to scanty rainfall this year. 18 out of 36 states and Union Territories have been affected including the top grain producing states like Punjab, Haryana, UP, MP and Bihar. In addition to this, a worrisome indicator of the drought is the storage capacity of the 91 big reservoirs across the country. The current water storage of these reservoirs is 61% of their total live storage capacity, which is significantly lower than the 10-year average of 77% storage.

Ken-Betwa river link to have a significant impact on Panna Tiger Reserve: EAC

Per the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project will affect the Panna Tiger Reserve very significantly. The project received clearance from the State Government last week. However, the observation by the EAC could delay the implementation of the project worth Rs 9,393 crore. Besides its impact to the tiger reserve, the project will also submerge 60% habitat of vultures, especially the endangered Egyptian vulture. The reserve is a "very important and rare" home to these vultures.   

Access to toilets increased to 46.9%: Government 

It’s been a year since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission and per Government figures, 89 lakh individual household toilets have been built in rural areas in the past one year. Also, the mission has led to an increase in access of toilets to 46.9% from only 32.6% in 2011 in rural areas across the country. However, changing the mindset and attitude of people still remains the biggest challenge for the Government. Per the Urban Development Minister, besides rural areas, the mission is showing significant strides in urban areas also.

Once again froth shows up in Bengaluru's lake

Following heavy showers in the city, froth was seen at the 800-acre Bellandur lake. As a temporary measure, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) had installed a sprinkler at the spot but it went ineffective against the magnitude of froth. Post the frothing, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) formed teams to randomly check the functioning of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in apartments. Also, BWSSB is considering a proposal to mandate STPs in small apartments with five or more flats.

Aravalis identified as a landfill site for Gurgaon and Faridabad

The Haryana Government has officially declared that 92 acres of area in the Aravalis has been identified as a landfill site for garbage produced in Gurgaon and Faridabad. Along with this, the State Government has also initiated the process of exempting this area from falling under the restricted zone category. The villagers from the area are opposing the Government's decision as the Aravalis function as a major water recharge zone and any chance of leakage of leachate from solid waste would pollute their groundwater.

This is a roundup of important news updates from September 29 – October 5, 2015. Also read last week's policy matters updates.

Lead image source: Pushkarv via Wikipedia.

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