New law to save the Ganga

Policy matters this week: PMO orders framing of draft legislation to protect the Ganga; Narmada-Kshipra river linking scheme passes the test; World Bank to support low-income states.
Ganga river in Haridwar (Source: Anoop Negi) Ganga river in Haridwar (Source: Anoop Negi)

PMO approves law to protect Ganga river

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has ordered the Environment Ministry to frame a draft legislation to protect and ensure continuous flow to the Ganga. The PMO has also directed the Ministry to constitute an inter-ministerial panel which will be headed by the Environment Secretary. The attempt is a first of its kind and is taken following the government failing in its more than Rs. 5000 crore plan to clean up the Ganga.

Narmada-Kshipra river link scheme tested successfully

The Narmada-Kshipra river linking scheme, worth Rs. 432 crore, is to be formally launched this month. Under the scheme, Narmada river water would be lifted from Sisliya pond in Madhya Pradesh and released into the Kshipra river. The state government has also announced linking Gambhir, Kalisindh and Parvati rivers to the Narmada river following the successful testing of the Narmada-Kshipra Simhasth Link Project.

World Bank to support India in improving access to water and sanitation

World Bank will grant India a $500 million loan for improving piped water supply and sanitation services in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Assam through decentralized delivery systems. The project will be implemented under the ongoing National Rural Drinking Water Programme and will benefit 7.8 million rural people in the four states, which have the lowest tap water coverage in the country.

UP serves notice to Delhi over Yamuna pollution

Uttar Pradesh accuses the Delhi government of releasing dirty water into the Yamuna river from 16 drains in the capital, thereby making the water unfit for human consumption in Agra and Mathura. The former calls for sewage treatment plants to be installed in factories operating in Delhi and has warned of suspending the supply of 400 cusecs of Ganga water to Delhi, in case no reply is received on the issue.  

Petition filed to terminate illegal mines in Odisha

Common Cause, a Delhi-based NGO, has filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking a detailed enquiry into the illegal mining scam in Odisha and demanding closure of the same. On February 7th, the  Ministry of Mines had tabled the M B Shah Commission report, which exposed losses of Rs. 60,000 crore in the state due to illegal mining of iron ore. The petition has also emphasized the need for a macro environmental impact assessment of the affected region. 

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from  February 10-15, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.

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