Scheme to develop 2,379 villages in the next 5 years launched

A drought-free village in Maharashtra
A drought-free village in Maharashtra

Centre launches the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

The Prime Minister has launched the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), which aims to develop 2,379 villages across the nation into model villages in the next 5 years. These villages will undergo an integrated development in multiple areas like agriculture, sanitation, environment, etc. Also, these villages need to have key values such as community participation, cleanliness, maintaining ecological balance instilled in them. The scheme is a restructuring of the existing Member of Parliament Local Area Development scheme. Under SAGY, each MP is supposed to develop three model villages in his/her constituency by 2019 and 5 villages by 2024.

No lifting of ban on new hydel projects in Uttarakhand: SC

The Supreme Court has clarified that it will not lift the ban on construction of new hydroelectric power projects on Alaknanda and Bhagirath river basins in Uttarakhand till the Environment Ministry submits a detailed environment and ecological impact report of the existing projects in the basin. The Court has also called the Ministry 'Kumbhakarna' for not complying to the Court's year-old order. The Court has also asked the various stakeholders to take into notice the the controversy relating to the 'design' of the barrage on the two river basins.

Indian Forests Act, 1927, to also get into the review list

Centre is considering adding the Indian Forests Act, 1927, to the list of 'green' laws to be reviewed by the Committee under T. S. R. Subramanian. However, the high level committee formed to review the environmental laws has been called 'non-consultative' by lawyers and environmental groups. The organisations have alleged that the committee has not heard them properly on the issue and have also said that two months isn't enough time to review such major laws.

No sand mining in Yamuna in the name of dredging: NGT to Delhi Jal Board

The National Green Tribunal orders Delhi Jal Board to make sure that no sand mining takes place in Yamuna river in the name of dredging the riverbed. It has also ordered the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Central Pollution Control Board to collect samples of the sand or dredged material carried by contractors and in trucks. In another report on the Yamuna, it has been found that the pollution in the river has lowered the dissolved oxygen level to zero mg/l at the ITO and Nizamuddin Bridges in Delhi.

Environment Ministry orders the reassessment of the proposed Mithivirdi nuclear plant in Gujarat

The Environment Ministry has ordered the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to reassess the environment impact of the proposed 6,000 MW nuclear power plant at Mithivirdi in Gujarat. The decision has been taken following the lack of clarity found in a large number issues such as radioactive emissions and land acquisition in the impact report. The panel has also sought an explanation from NPCIL and the project proponent for not obtaining site clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board prior to submission of the clearance report.

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from October 7-13, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.