NGT orders CWRA to meet every month for identification of wetlands
In a landmark judgment, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority (CWRA) to conduct a meeting with states and union territories every month for identification and notification of wetlands all over the country. Along with this, the tribunal has also sought an affidavit from the environment ministry asking how many times has the CWRA met till date. Even the states have been ordered to file affidavit providing the status of identification and notification of the wetlands.
Government gears up for Ganga’s revival
Centre has appointed a committee to prepare the draft of the Ganga Act that aims to expedite the implementation of Namami Gange. Along with this, a four-member committee has also been formed to prepare guidelines for de-silting the river stretch between Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) and Farakka (West Bengal). However, the National Green Tribunal has directed the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to provide the expenditure details of Rs 20,000 crore budget granted to it for cleaning and protection of the river. Also, notices have been issued to Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal governments seeking their action plan to deal with pollution in Ganga.
NGT takes notice of East Kolkata Wetlands
The National Green Tribunal has sought the details of wastewater released into the East Kolkata Wetlands from the West Bengal Irrigation Department. These wetlands are part of a unique ecosystem that thrives on wastewater from the city. Despite its usefulness, however, these wetlands, which have been declared Ramsar Site of International Importance in 2002, have been rapidly shrinking. Following the NGT’s order, activists are hopeful of increased supply of wastewater to the wetlands which will help in their revival, boosting aquaculture and livelihoods.
Rajya Sabha passes the Compensatory and Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill, 2016
After many rejections, the Compensatory and Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill, 2016 has been unanimously passed in Rajya Sabha. The Bill aims to establish the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under each state allowing the latter an access to nearly Rs 42,000 crore for conserving and protecting forests and wildlife. The Bill has already been passed in Lok Sabha earlier this year after incorporating amendments. However, the activists say the new law has ignored the rights of indigenous communities.
Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal rejects Karanataka plea for Kalasa-Banduri project
The Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal has rejected Karnataka's plea seeking an interim award to divert 7.56 tmcft of water from Mahadayi tributaries--Kalasa and Banduri--to the Malaprabha river to meet the drinking water requirements of Mumbai-Karnataka region. The reason for the rejection is the rights of other states on the river. While, the Goa government, which was against the project as it could harm the Western Ghats, has welcomed the decision. Violent protests have been reported in Karnataka against the verdict.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from July 24 - 30, 2016. Also read last week's news roundup.