Saving the Ennore Creek: Chennai fisherfolk stage Jal Satyagraha
Fisherfolk in Chennai are staging protest in knee deep waters against the Tamil Nadu government's decision to illegally convert 6500 acres of the Ennore wetlands into an industrial real estate. Protesters have alleged that the government has come up with a fraudulent Coastal Regulation Zone map which denies the existence of the creek to make way for the industrial real estate. The new map defies the original CRZ map approved by the government in 1996 that declared the entire Ennore Creek as a 'No Development Zone'.
Groundwater levels dip in south Indian states
As per the survey conducted by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), the south Indian states--Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka--are in a bad state as far as groundwater levels are concerned with the decline rate much higher than the national average. Telangana, however, is better than its counterparts with 46 percent decline. Construction and urban-oriented activities are being blamed for the dip in groundwater levels. Meanwhile, in states like Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the groundwater levels have risen fairly better.
Despite ban, manual scavenging persists illegally
On January 1, four of the five contract workers died in Mumbai after falling nine metres down a manhole while cleaning a sewage line. Three people died in Bengaluru due to suffocation while cleaning a blocked sewage treatment plant (STP). Both incidents have brought to light the fact that manual scavenging is still prevalent despite the ban. The Mumbai incident has also highlighted the illegality of the contract system under which the civic corporation continues to hire sanitation workers and put their lives in danger by not providing proper equipment and safety gears.
CAG finds deep flaws in Railways' bio-toilets
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has detected 1,99,689 defects and deficiencies in 25,000 toilets of the Railways with the highest number of problems found at the Bengaluru coaching depot. The auditor general has also slammed the Railways for the quality and quantity of material being procured for the bio-toilets. Moreover, it has also been pointed out that the Railways went ahead with the toilet installation even after the flaw in the basic model was brought to the notice of the expert panel in 2007. Moreover, the Railways did not adhere to the guidelines on testing the effluents released by bio-toilets.
UP's lake brought back to life after 40 years
The 155-acre Jodhpur Jhaal that served as an extensive irrigation network between Mathura and Agra for the past 40 years has got a new lease of life. Despite protests and official action, the dry lake bed was encroached upon by farmers who carried out cultivation activities for the past many years. However, last year, Jaladhikar Foundation took up the project and got the government machinery moving to secure release of land under illegal possession.
This is a roundup of important news from January 3 - 8, 2018. Also. read the policy matters this week.