Rajya Sabha passes Dam Safety Bill, 2019
Policy matters this fortnight
7 Dec 2021
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Malampuzha dam in Kerala (Image source: IWP Flickr Photos)

Rajya Sabha passes Dam Safety Bill after 34 years of drafting

The Rajya Sabha passed the Dam Safety Bill, 2019. The bill has been in the works for 34 years and was introduced for the first time in August 2010 but was withdrawn after several changes were recommended. It was finally passed by the Lok Sabha on 2 August 2019.

The bill provides for “surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of the specified dam for prevention of dam failure related disaster” and also makes provision for “institutional mechanisms to ensure their safe functioning”.

The bill will cover all dams constructed before or after the commencement of this Act, which are above 15 metres in height and provide for stringent penalties in case of violations. (The Print)

Violation of environment laws: NGT fines Andhra Pradesh Rs 243 crore

In view of the blatant violation of laws resulting in substantial damage to the environment while executing four irrigation projects--Polavaram, Purushothapatnam LIS, Pattiseema LIS and Chintalapudi LIS-- the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed penalties on the Andhra Pradesh government amounting to more than Rs 243 crore.

The project proponents (PPs), the State of Andhra Pradesh and its authorities have been ordered to pay the compensation amount within three months to the AP Pollution Control Board. Moreover, the tribunal has instructed the appropriate authority to take appropriate proceedings, including prosecution, against the project proponents and other violators, if any, for committing offences by violating environmental laws. (The New Indian Express)

Jal Shakti Ministry launches River Cities Alliance, an initiative for river cities in India

The Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs have partnered to launch River Cities Alliance, which will serve as a dedicated platform for river cities in India to exchange information and ideate on sustainable management of urban rivers. The Alliance will focus on three broad themes- Networking, Capacity Building and Technical Support.

There are 30 member cities from across the country participating in the River Cities Alliance and they will work towards adopting and localizing national policies and instruments with key river-related directions, prepare their Urban River Management Plans and develop city-specific sectoral strategies that are required for sustainable urban river management. Through the Alliance, these cities can strengthen governance aspects and improve their liveability.


It's time to fix accountability for funds used in Ganga clean-up, says NGT

Even though the Ganga has been monitored regularly for 36 years, it continues to be polluted. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said it is now time to fix accountability for the proper and timely application of funds allocated for river cleanup.

The Tribunal further explained that failure to monitor and fix accountability only results in waste of public funds, pollution, and deaths and diseases. In addition, it was recommended that performance parameters and timelines be clearly defined and performance audits be conducted along with structural changes in the functioning of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).

NGT suggested that the NMCG website be updated quarterly with details of the Ganga clean-up to allow for improved community participation. (Deccan Herald)

BMC fined Rs 28.20 crore for polluting water bodies, mangroves

The National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine worth Rs 28.20 crore on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as environmental compensation for the discharge of untreated and hazardous effluents into the creeks, water bodies and polluting mangroves. While the civic body is yet to pay its earlier fine of Rs 34 crore, it has been ordered to pay the present compensation amount to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within three months.

The order came following the NGT's observance of research conducted by Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Mumbai. The study revealed that approximately 25 percent of the city's sewage enters water bodies untreated, resulting in poor water quality and a huge amount of trash along Mumbai's beaches.

(The Free Press Journal)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from November 24 – December 7, 2021. Also, read news this fortnight.

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