Government proposes new set of norms for hydel projects clearance
The Environment Ministry has proposed a new set of norms for the environmental clearance of hydropower projects, in a bid to ensure that the clearance process do not affect the Ganga rejuvenation plan. The three conditions proposed are maintenance of minimum environmental flow, longitudinal river connectivity and continuous flow of the river on which the project is proposed. With the approval of these norms, the 24 projects stalled by the Supreme Court on the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi basin in Uttarakhand, will be subjected to a fresh appraisal.
Uttarakhand seeks clearances of hyropower projects, other than the ones on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi basin
The Uttarakhand Government is now seeking clearances of other hydropower projects across the state, while the Supreme Court has decided to stay its ban on the 24 new projects proposed in the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Basins. The stalled projects on which the State Government has initiated rework are Pancheshwar project, Lakhwar project, Kishau multipurpose dam, and the Loharinag Pala project.
NGT slaps a fine of Rs 5 crore on UP's Simbhaoli Sugar Mills fo polluting Ganga
Keeping in mind the 'polluter pays' principle, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the Simbhaoli Sugar Mills and its distillery to pay a fine of Rs. 5 crore to the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) for polluting the Ganga through the Phuldera drain and the groundwater in the region. UPPCB will use the compensation money to prevent the entry of effluents from the plant into the Ganga river and to restore the quality of groundwater. Also, Gopaljee Dairy Pvt Ltd, another polluting industry in the region, has been fined Rs. 25 lakh in the same order.
Delhi set to rejuvenate Yamuna one more time
Delhi Government is all set to implement the 'Rejuvenation of River Yamuna' project with an aim to make the river pollution-free, stop effluent discharge into it and revive a beautiful river-front. The project will also be assisted by the Centre and Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Also, DDA has submitted a detailed action plan to the National Green Tribunal towards the clearing of the project and has assessed an expenditure of Rs. 4000 crore over three years for river rejuvenation.
New color codes for monitoring air quality
The Environment Ministry has launched the National Air Quality Index (AQI) under the Swachh Bharat Mission. The AQI aims to transform the air pollution levels into a single number and inform people about the daily air quality in a simple manner. The AQI is classified into six categories- good, satisfactory, moderately polluted, poor, very poor, and severe - with colour coding ranging from green to dark red. It will also map eight pollutants based on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from October 14-20, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.