NGT stricter with Delhi, Haryana on restoring Najafgarh Jheel
Policy matters this fortnight
1 Feb 2022
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Aerial view of the Najafgarh drain. (Image: Sumita Roy Dutta, Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 4.0)

Enforce Najafgarh jheel restoration plan: NGT to Delhi, Haryana governments

In December last year, the Environment Ministry approved the integrated restoration plan prepared by the Delhi and Haryana governments to restore the Najafgarh Jheel. Getting stricter with both governments, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered Delhi and Haryana to enforce the Environment Management Plan to rejuvenate and protect the Najafgarh jheel.

According to the tribunal, the National Wetland Authority will monitor these action plans through the State Wetland Authorities and by July 31, a status report on them must be submitted to the NGT. Moreover, the NGT has directed that the outlet of the Najafgarh jheel, which leads to the Najafgarh drain, must remain free from sewage before it flows into the Yamuna river. (The Indian Express)

Centre decides to incentivize states for fast green clearance, environmentalists criticize the move

In order to ease the process of doing business, the Centre has decided to incentivize the state environment impact assessment authorities (SEIAA) through a star rating based on how efficient they are at granting green clearances faster. Under this system, the SEIAA will be rated for promoting transparency, efficiency, and accountability.  The move has, however, been strongly criticized by environmentalists who say that it will reduce compliance with environmental laws to a mere formality.

According to environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta, “a perusal of the (rating) criteria, however, reveals that greater weightage is given for projects where due diligence is less”. It is ironic given that the task of SEIAA is to undertake a 'detailed examination' of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report, he argued.

(The Times of India)

CWC calls for fresh safety review of Mullaperiyar Dam

The Central Water Commission (CWC) and the supervisory committee have told the Supreme Court that a fresh review of the safety of 126-year old Mullaperiya dam is now due and is required to be taken up. According to the status report filed by the CWC and supervisory committee, the empowered committee constituted under the directions of the apex court in 2010 had inspected the dam during 2010 to 2012 and concluded that it was safe hydrologically, structurally, and seismically.

However, a fresh review of the Mullaperiyar Dam's safety is now due and will need to be conducted, according to the report.

The report calls for Tamil Nadu and Kerala to work in close coordination to ensure the safety of lakhs of people in the downstream. (The Print)

HC orders permanent prohibition from registration on water bodies in Chennai

In an effort to prevent encroachment of water bodies, the Madras High Court has permanently prohibited authorities from registering any document in respect of any land notified as water body in revenue records.

Furthermore, the court has also made it mandatory for the applicant to submit a self-declaration that the property concerned is not located on a water body.

Several petitions seeking removal of encroachments on water bodies have resulted in the order. The court even banned reclassification of water bodies if they remain dry or disused for several years. (The Times of India)

Telangana yet to submit DPRs for Palamaru, Dindi lifts, informs KRMB

Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) has informed the National Green Tribunal that Telangana has not submitted detailed project reports (DPRs) for Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigation scheme (PRLIS) and Dindi lift irrigation scheme (LIS). Both projects are listed in the gazette as major, ongoing, unapproved, and non-operational, and the apex council is required to approve them within six months of submission, but the DPRs of PRLIS and Dindi LIS have not yet been received.

An earlier meeting had decided that both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would stop all ongoing projects and submit their DPRs to KRBM for appraisal. However, in case the approvals are not obtained within the stipulated time of six months, such complete unapproved project shall cease to operate.

(The Times of India)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from January 20 – 31, 2022. Also, read news this fortnight.

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