Lower Subansiri hydel project: SC seeks review of NGT's order granting nod to the project
Setting aside the order of the National Green Tribunal giving a go-ahead to the 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project, the Supreme Court has called for a review of the project. The court has found fault in the manner in which NGT had brushed aside objections to the constitution of the expert committee to study the project. As per the petition filed, the three members of the expert committee had in the past either worked for or were associated with organisations which had a recommendatory role and furnished views in regard to the Subansiri Lower Project.
Act to prevent groundwater misuse in Maharashtra will soon be a reality
The state government has granted its acceptance to many of the rules and regulations suggested under the proposed Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Act. A team of geologists from the city-based Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) had put together their proposals and came up with the draft of the Act that aims to curb misuse of groundwater. However, farmers and other stakeholders have raised concerns regarding the draft Act such as licensing of every well and their geo-tagging. As per the GSDA officials, all these processes will be completed online, leaving no scope for discrepancies.
Telangana approaches SC to stop progress of Polavaram dam
Despite giving full consent to the Polavaram project at the time of Andhra Pradesh's bifurcation, Telangana has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to stop the progress of the project. In its petition, Telangana has sought the court's intervention in declaring that Andhra Pradesh has no right to Polavaram project. As per the state, Andhra has taken up the project, which is nearly 67 percent complete as of now, without undertaking an assessment of probable maximum flood (PMF) at Polavaram Dam and study of the backwater and other effects in Telangana state.
Government allows mining in 170,000 hectares of forest in Chhattisgarh
The environment ministry has given clearance to Rajasthan Collieries Limited (RCL), a unit of Adani Enterprises Limited, for open cast coal mining in Parsa in Chhattisgarh’s dense Hasdeo Arand forests. Hasdeo Arand is one of the largest contiguous stretches of very dense forest in central India, spanning about 170,000 hectares. Parsa is one of the 30 coal blocks in Hasdeo Arand. The clearance has come as a big blow to activists who alleged that the approval to the project has been given despite pending legal issues and procedural lapses. Moreover, the clearance issued to Parsa mine is illegal because the environment ministry had categorised Hasdeo Arand as a no-go area for mining in 2009.
NGT raps green ministry for not furnishing proper data
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has reprimanded the environment ministry for not furnishing proper data on the monitoring mechanism for compliance of conditions of environment clearance granted by the ministry. As per the NGT, the data merely mentions figures of the projects monitored and not the extent of defaults found and action taken. In the absence of adequate data, the NGT is unable to assess the effectiveness of monitoring mechanism and has now directed a senior official of the environment ministry to appear before it with the entire relevant data on April 29.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from March 21 - 26, 2019. Also, read news this week.
Lead image source: Kakul baruah via Wikimedia Commons