Centre notifies new wetland rules
Replacing the 2010 version of the wetland rules, the environment ministry has notified the new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017. As per the new rules, a range of activities on wetlands like the conversion of wetland for non-wetland uses, setting up and expansion of industries, waste dumping, discharge of untreated wastes and effluents have been prohibited. The new rules also stipulate setting up of a state wetlands authority in each state and union territories headed by the state’s environment minister. However, the environment experts are unhappy with the new rules as they feel that it has seriously weakened the existing regulations.
Make optimal use of geospatial technologies to rejuvenate the Ganga: Water minister
The Union minister of state for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Satyapal Singh has ordered the officials of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to make optimal use of the latest geospatial technologies to rejuvenate the Ganga river. He also asked the officials to devise a water quality monitoring app and work in the direction of developing a water testing kit that could be distributed to people. He expressed his concerns over the speed of work related to the use of geospatial technologies in Ganga cleaning and suggested that officials of various departments get together and prepare a time frame for their projects.
No more free tube wells to Punjab farmers
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has come up with a new policy which allows the state farmers to avail out-of-turn tubewell connections without having to wait for years. In the new arrangement, the farmers will have to pay for both installation charges and electricity bills which were free before. The freebies have led to a long waiting period. Now the connections will be issued on a first-come-first-serve basis and the policy is also applicable to corporate houses and cooperative societies which are into agriculture.
Committee formed to seek private participation in hydropower sector
Under the Central Electricity Authority of India, the power ministry has formed a committee to seek more private sector participation in the hydropower sector. The committee would propose recommendations to the ministry to encourage private sector participation. As per experts, the private sector remains reluctant to invest in hydropower sector due to various issues pertaining to project execution. In the current financial year, the Centre aims to add 1,305 MW of additional hydropower generation capacity, out of which 305 MW is expected from the private sector.
Financial hurdles for the Kaleshwaram irrigation project phase II removed
The consortium of lenders headed by the Punjab National Bank has agreed to extend Rs 11,400-crore loan for the implementation of Kaleshwaram irrigation project phase II. This significant development will allow the Telangana government to implement the project expeditiously. The project aims to harness the untapped water from the Godavari system and is believed to be a boon for the farmers when completed.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from September 27 - October 2, 2017. Also, read the news this week.