Pancheshwar dam public hearing continues

Policy matters this week
'We don't want dams, dams destroy mountains,' reads a slogan painted on a wall in Uttarakhand (Image Source: GJ Lingaraj) 'We don't want dams, dams destroy mountains,' reads a slogan painted on a wall in Uttarakhand (Image Source: GJ Lingaraj)

Public hearing for Pancheshwar dam continues while ignoring people's concern

On August 11, the environment public hearing (EPH) was held at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand for the Pancheshwar dam, a joint venture between India and Nepal that aims to produce more power than all existing dams in the state. Despite inappropriate weather conditions that had rendered participation of several villages impossible, the public hearing took place, ignoring concerns of several people. Moreover, no basic information or the relevant documents which are a prerequisite for the public hearing were made accessible to people. 

NITI Aayog suggests three-year action agenda for water conservation

In its three-year action agenda for 2017-20, India's federal policy think tank, NITI Aayog has suggested "groundwater banking" to conserve water and battle water stress in the country. Groundwater banking is the practice of recharging specific amounts of water in a groundwater basin that can later be withdrawn and used by the entity that deposited the water. Along with this, the plan has also included measures like state-specific water policies and enactment of legislation for the protection of water bodies and river basins. The final draft will be sent to the central and state governments for discussion. 

Hiring sanitation workers for cleaning sewers a crime: Delhi water minister

Delhi water minister Rajender Pal Gautam has directed that private property owners will be charged with murder if sanitation workers die while cleaning sewers or septic tanks. He also said that hiring sanitation workers for a private property without informing Delhi Jal Board (DJB) will also be considered a crime. The minister has also informed that machines would be used for sewer cleaning and sanitation workers would be trained and issued certificates. 

Green norms eased for solar power projects, parks

The environment ministry has decided to make Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006 not applicable to the solar PV (photovoltaic) power projects, solar thermal power projects and solar parks. The disposal of PV cells will be covered under the provision of Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Trans-Boundary Movement) Rules, 2016 while the development of solar parks will be covered under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. However, the solar projects would have to follow basic environmental safeguards. 

Kerala devises steps to harvest rainwater on a war-footing

Considering the water crisis in the state, the Kerala government is devising steps to ensure rainwater harvesting on a war-footing. For this, a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took place where it was decided that immediate steps towards harvesting of rainwater in association with local bodies will be taken. Soon, special teams will be set up in all panchayats for a review. Several initiatives such as rainwater diversion to wells using pipelines and renovation of ponds and streams and repair of check dams will also be carried out.

This is a roundup of important policy matters from August 22 - 28, 2017. Also, read news this week.


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