New groundwater guidelines prohibit industries and mining in over-exploited zones

Centre issues revised guidelines for groundwater use (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Centre issues revised guidelines for groundwater use (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

Revised guidelines for groundwater use notified

Centre has issued revised guidelines for groundwater use that prohibit new industries and mining projects in over-exploited zones. The new guidelines mandate existing industries, commercial units and big housing societies to take ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) under expanded compliance conditions. Unlike the old provisions where the NOC holders just had to pay a nominal lumpsum amount, the new conditions have set forth paying the groundwater abstraction and restoration charges based on the quantum of extraction. However, the agriculture sector and the individual domestic consumers drawing less than 10 cum/day of groundwater have been exempted from taking NOC, under the revised guidelines. (The Times of India)

Potable water supply in schools: A 100 days campaign launched

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a 100-day campaign to ensure potable water supply in all schools and anganwadi centres across the country under the Jal Jeevan Mission. Taking note of water contamination causing serious health issues, the campaign has been launched to provide safe water to children through tap water connections as children are the most susceptible to water-borne diseases. In order to make the time-bound campaign a public movement, it demands concerted efforts from various departments. (The Economic Times)

Set up ETPs to address gaps in sewage treatment: NGT to states and UTs

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered all the states and union territories (UTs) to address gaps in generation and treatment of sewage or effluents by ensuring setting up of a requisite number of functional Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP), Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) and Common and Combined Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP). The order has come after the tribunal observed that the timeline for the commissioning of STPs has long passed and no action against non-compliance has been taken. The NGT has also directed that the unutilised capacity of the existing STPs may be utilised expeditiously and the states/ UTs may ensure that the CETP, ETPs and STPs meet the laid down norms and remedial action be taken wherever norms are not met. (Business World)

NABARD earmarks Rs 800 crore for government’s WASH programme for FY 2020-21

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has announced a special refinance facility to support the government's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme and has earmarked Rs 800 crore for this purpose for the year 2020-21. The aim behind the move is to promote sustainable and healthy lifestyle in rural areas. While acting as a boost to the Swachh Bharat Mission, the funding will support eligible activities such as construction, repairing, enlarging of household toilets or converting an existing toilet to an accessible family toilet. (Outlook)

NGT strict over muck dumping in Chenab river

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) to proceed with coercive measures, including assessment and recovery of compensation for the damage and initiating prosecution against the violators of environmental norms and dumping muck in Chenab River. The violators in the case are the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and its contractors that are involved in dumping muck in the Chenab river in the course of four laning of National Highway from Udhampur to Banihal in Jammu and Kashmir. While directing remedial action, the tribunal had constituted a Monitoring Committee (MC) to provide an independent report on the matter. (Business World)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from September 22 – October 5, 2020. Also, read news this week.