Mahanadi riverfront development plan: NGT refuses allowing construction on reclaimed land
A decisive blow to the Mahanadi riverfront development plan, as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refuses to accept the proposal for constructions on the 426 acre reclaimed land.
Anticipating the danger of flooding in Mahanadi river due to construction activities, the tribunal has ordered to develop two-third of the reclaimed land as a dense forest and may be handed over to the Forest department after demarcation while the remaining may be developed as parks/playgrounds without any permanent or temporary constructions but without allowing any commercial activities.
The NGT has further made it clear that no concretisation of any sort will be allowed on the entire 426 acre of land. (The New Indian Express)
Following stiff local opposition, Chhattisgarh government agrees to no coal mining in Parsa and Kete Extension
The Chhattisgarh government has informed the locals that no mining activities will take place in Parsa and Kete Extension — two new coal blocks in the Hasdeo Aranya region. The declaration comes as a victory for the locals.
Following a tree cutting exercise earlier this year for opening the two new blocks in the region, massive protests triggered and villagers have been holding a continuous sit-in against mining, demanding a permanent withdrawal of all local clearances.
Although the verbal commitment has brought relief, but villagers and activists still demand a written order from the state government. The Hasdeo Aranya region is an ecologically sensitive area and once opened for mining, it would lead huge amount of deforestation. (The Hindu)
Dibang hydropower project: NGT dismisses its own case, stating nothing more to adjudicate
Earlier this year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) took suo motu notice on the grant of forest clearance for the 3000-MW Dibang hydel project in Arunachal Pradesh. However, the tribunal has dismissed its own case as the project is unable to meet the precondition of declaring a national park. Despite getting rejected twice, the project was recommended for preliminary approval in September 2014 with the precondition that a national park would be declared immediately to protect the river basin. However, without the compliance of the order, the project received final forest clearance in 2020.
As per the state government, the locals are not willing to part away their land for declaration of National Park. Following this, the tribunal dismissed the case, stating that ‘nothing further remains for adjudication’.
(The Indian Express)
Arbitrary classification of rivers: NGT issued notice to the Uttarakhand government seeking its response
While seeking response within four weeks, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notice to the Uttarakhand government for changing the classification of perennial and non-perennial rivers in the state. This is following a petition filed against the state government for unconstitutionally amending the law of river mining and reducing the standard of retail dumping from the river bed from 500 metres to 25 metres.
According to the petitioner, the change in rules is in favour of the mining lobby, stone crushers, screening plants and ready-mix plants among others. It further informed that the state government has failed to maintain the hydrological, ecological and biological quality of non-perennial rivers of the state while violating the environment protection laws.
(The New Indian Express)
Glacial lake outbursts in Himalayas: Govt list steps initiated to deal with them
In a reply to a query by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has listed steps it has initiated to deal with glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) in the country.
The ministry informed that in addition to the Central Water Commission’s (CWC) 46 existing meteorological observation stations in the Himalayan region, 16 new telemetry-based meteorological observation stations have been proposed.
Along with this, the Defense Geo-informatics Research Establishment (DGRE) has been working to enhance the number of Automatic Weather Stations for forecasting avalanches and landslides in a phased manner to increase the coverage area in the region. The ministry also told that five meteorological and discharge stations in the high-altitude regions located 3,800 meters above sea level are already operating under the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG). (The Diplomat)
This is a roundup of important policy matters from September 15 - October 6, 2022. Also, read the news this fortnight.