NGT seeks report on constitution of Biodiversity Management Committees
The National Green Tribunal has ordered the environment ministry to submit a report on the constitution of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) at the local level in every state within three months. Taking note of blatant noncompliance of the provisions under the Biological Diversity Act 2002 and the failure to give proper attention to the unique biodiversity prevalent in India by the state governments, the NGT in August 2018, sought constitution of the BMC at the local level in every state. Despite court orders, however, only 1,44,371 BMCs have been formed as against 2,52,709 panchayats where BMCs were to be constituted.
FAC grants final clearance to Jharkhand's North Koel dam project
The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the environment ministry has given Stage II clearance for the construction of the North Koel Dam in the core area of Palamau Tiger Reserve in Latehar and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand. With the clearance, the state government has been allowed to start construction and set up the villages which will be submerged by the project before closing the sluice gates of the dam. The project was given Stage I approval in February with the condition to settle the project-affected people before the construction starts but this condition has now been amended to allow the execution of the project. However, activists fear that if people are not settled till the gates are closed, it may not happen once the dam is constructed.
Authorities take note of Arunachal's Kameng river turning into dumpyard
The Deputy Commissioner of East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh has directed the District Urban Development Agency (DUDA) to stop dumping garbage in Kameng river. The commissioner has been informed that ever since the start of the Swachh Bharat Mission, DUDA has been collecting garbage door-to-door and dumping them at the confluence of the Kameng, the Kuchi river and the Macha Nallah. Although DUDA implemented the SBM well, it did not know how to dispose of the waste as they did not have any waste treatment plant or a landfill site.
Delhi's environment impact assessment body lying defunct for a year
Experts and activists have urged the Delhi government to reconstitute the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) of Delhi, which expired in April 2018. The SEIAA not only approves Category B projects listed under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006, but it also ensures compliance of the environment safeguards of industries, construction operations, energy and several other projects in the state. The experts have highlighted that with no SEIAA, there is no monitoring of the environment safeguards of projects such as the Signature Bridge or the Okhla waste-to-energy plant.
SC bans mining in Kaziranga National Park in Assam
The Supreme Court has ordered a ban on mining activities along the southern boundary of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam. A ban has been imposed on carrying out construction activities on the routes that form nine animal corridors. The ban has been done as per the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which stated in its report that illegal mining and stone crushing activities are being carried out in the elephant corridor connecting the Kaziranga National Park and Karbi Anglong Hills.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from April 17 - 23, 2019. Also, read news this week.