In a decade, only a quarter of centrally funded major to medium irrigation schemes completed: Report
As per the government's audit report, between 2008-17, only 31 percent of 201 big projects and 71 percent of 11,291 minor schemes have been completed under the accelerated irrigation benefit programme (AIBP). Moreover, while the overall target for 115 major to medium projects was 8.5 million hectares of irrigation, only 23 percent of these projects achieved full irrigation potential. The cost overrun for 84 of the projects audited was found to be Rs 120,772 crore. The report has blamed delayed payments, fraudulence and diversion of funds as the reason for the failure of the programme.
About 1,150 Gangetic dolphins thrive in Bihar: Census
A Census has found that about 1,150 Gangetic dolphins are present in 1,000 kilometres of the Ganga river and its two tributaries, the Gandak and the Ghaghara, in Bihar. The extensive survey which lasted for 23 days was conducted by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Tilka Manjhi University, Bhagalpur between November 18 and December 10, 2018. The survey traced 700 dolphins in the 300-km stretch of the Ganga from Mokama to Manihari, 300 dolphins in another 300 stretch of the Ganga from Buxar to Mokama, a 100 in the Gandak river and 50 in the Ghaghara river.
Ganga basin states to witness a three-fold rise in crop failures by 2040: World Bank assessment
According to an assessment commissioned by the World Bank, the Ganga river basin could witness a three-fold rise in crop failures along with shortage in drinking water. The assessment further stated that Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are likely to see a deficit in irrigation water from 28 to 10 percent in 2040 as compared to the current levels. Moreover, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh would see a deficit in drinking water from 39 to 22 percent during the same period. The report is based on a modelling study that simulates river flow, water quality and groundwater levels in different states and regions within the Ganga river basin.
Largest groundwater depletion in north India: NGRI
As per new research by the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), the largest groundwater depletion in the world is happening in northern India with Delhi at the epicentre of the global crisis. The report further states that the groundwater is being pumped out 70 percent faster than what the Central Groundwater Board of India estimated earlier. The research has also shown that with the surge in population and shrinking of surface water resources, the level of water in underground aquifers in the region is falling by over 10 cm per year.
Website launched to tackle Yamuna river pollution
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed monitoring committee has launched a new website for lodging complaints and suggestions regarding pollution of the Yamuna river. The website will be a one-stop destination for all information related to the river and will have various NGT orders related to the Yamuna, the monitoring committee’s action plans and reports, notes on flood plain rejuvenation and improvement of e-flow, information regarding wetlands, relevant laws and several other important information. The website will also serve as a knowledge sharing platform where members of the public may register suggestions or provide information regarding river pollution.
This is a roundup of important news published between February 19 - 26, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.
Lead image source: Nvvchar via Wikipedia