Scrap 15 out of 40 dams across Siang in Arunachal: CWC

Policy matter this week: CWC report warns against dams proposed in Siang; MoEF eases norms to clear dams in Sikkim; Karnataka all set to constitute groundwater authority.
A river in East Siang (Source: Wikimedia) A river in East Siang (Source: Wikimedia)

CWC recommends scrapping of 15 dams planned across Siang

A report by the Central Water Commission has recommended scrapping 15 of the 44 dams proposed across the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh. It warns that the proposed dams will impact the ecology of more than 500 km of the river and will also affect more than 18,000 hectares of forests. The report has strongly suggested dropping such large scale projects and installing smaller capacity dams instead.

Environment norms eased to clear dams in Sikkim

The Environment Ministry has reduced the protective zone around Sikkim's national parks and sanctuaries from the existing 10 km to a mere 25-200 metres. The new guideline has been issued to avoid the mandatoy clearance from the National Board of Wildlife for several upcoming dams in the state. The Wildlife Board had earlier cautioned the Ministry about Sikkim moving along the lines of Goa and is under threat due to dams being developed in the state illegaly.

Karnataka to constitute a goundwater authority

The state government is all set to appoint a groundwater authority by April. The Authority will be authorized to take action against property owners with illegal borewells in Bengaluru and other notified areas in Karnataka in order to prevent groundwater exploitation. Earlier the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and the Mines and Geology Department were collectively sharing the responsibility and were able to register only a few borewell owners in the state, which has resulted in the constitution of a new body.

TN to test water for free

The Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board will be launching a drinking water safety week campaign, worth Rs. 3.55 crore, across the state to test water samples free of cost. The campaign aims to test six lakh drinking water samples from prominent sources and will educate people on water quality standards. Following the campaign, the test results will be uploaded on the boards' website and water quality mapping will be undertaken.

Madras HC issues order to restore water bodies

The Madras High Court has ordered the  Public Works Department (PWD) to identify and restore major water bodies across Tamil Nadu. The bench has also asked PWD to submit an action plan on the restoration works to be undertaken by February 24th. The direction has come in the wake of a Public Interest Litigation being filed to revive water bodies, encroached upon by the government as well as private parties.  

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from  February 16-22, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.

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