Maharashtra Government to probe into cost overruns of Vidarbha dams
The Maharashtra Government has ordered the Anti Corruption Bureau to further investigate the reasons behind the huge cost overruns in the Gosikhurd, Lower Painganga and Jigaon irrigation projects in Vidarbha. A recent CAG report that had inspected 601 irrigation projects in the state, had observed a cost overrun of nearly Rs 65,000 crore. Also, the report suspected the structural strength of the 348 dams and found the average irrigation system performance below the benchmark.
No extra approval for new leaseholders of coal mines
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has allowed the transferring of environment clearances granted to the previous coal mine allottees to new leaseholders. However, the new allottees will not requie any extra approval. Also, the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification (EIA) of 2006 has been amended to ease the clearance transfer process.
Mining ban in Meghalaya to continue
The National Green Tribunal has continued its ban on mining in Meghalaya and has stated that fresh mining orders will be passed only after the State comes up with its framework for safe and scientific mining. However, coal miners have been allowed to pay royalty and transport the extracted coal. Meghalaya's highest revenue generator is mining and the ban has caused the state a loss of Rs. 600 crore and has hit thousands of small traders.
NGT gets strict towards Yamuna clean-up
The National Green Tribunal has warned Delhi Authorities of taking 'coercive steps' against them if the latter fails to implement its orders towards the Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017. Authorities have been asked to demarcate the Yamuna floodplain and submit the compliance report to the Tribunal. The NGT has also criticised the Environment Ministry for its slow response in tackling the illegal mining issue on the Yamuna riverbed between Noida and Faridabad.
New CPCB: Watchdog or just another Government organisation?
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has reconstituted the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) as per recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests and the High Powered Committee of the Supreme Court. However, the Committee has observed that MoEF&CC has diregarded the former's recommendations as the new CPCB is dominated by Government representatives and no qualifications/criteria has been fixed while appointing the members.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from March 31 - April 6, 2015. Also read last week's news updates.