USD 450 million loan from the World Bank for Atal Bhujal Yojana

World Bank to provide USD 450 million loan for Atal Bhujal Yojana

The Centre and the World Bank have signed a USD 450 million loan agreement to support the Atal Bhujal Yojana that aims to arrest the country's depleting groundwater levels and strengthen groundwater institutions. The programme will be implemented in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and cover 78 districts. The selection is based on several criteria, including the degree of groundwater exploitation and degradation, established legal and regulatory instruments, institutional readiness, and experience in implementing initiatives related to groundwater management. (NewKerala.com)

India's new conservation plan to focus on birds and their habitats

The Environment Ministry has released the draft Visionary Perspective Plan (2020-2030) for the conservation of avian diversity, their ecosystems, habitats and landscapes in the country.

The draft has been put in public domain for seeking comments from the stakeholders. The plan proposes steps to protect migratory birds, conserve wetlands and focus on birds in urban areas.

Along with this, the draft plan has also recommended bird surveys in select landscapes to identify new Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) and suggested mapping and assessment of critical wintering and stop-over sites for migratory birds in the country. (Mongabay India)

Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu to be categorised as a special protected agricultural zone

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami has announced categorisation of eight Cauvery delta districts in the state as a special protected agricultural zone and assured that permission will not be given for hydrocarbon projects. The eight districts include Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Cuddalore, Ariyalur, Karur and Tiruchirappalli. The CM further asserted that steps will be undertaken to enact a separate law to confer the protected status to the delta districts and only agro based industries will be encouraged on a need basis in the riverfed regions. (Hindustan Times)

SC orders razing of illegal construction along Vembanad lake

In a major relief for Vembanad lake and its associated livelihoods, the Supreme Court has ordered razing of illegal construction along the shores of the lake. As many as 625 large buildings including resorts and hotels have been identified to be violating CRZ rules. Vembanad is a recognised Ramsar site; a wetland of global importance. However, illegal resorts and apartments have mushroomed in the area in the last three decades, which have started affecting the very existence of the lake. Moreover, other than construction-related encroachments, the lake is facing threats from illegal agricultural expansion, aquaculture, large engineering structures, harbour development and tourism. (Mongabay India)

Punjab cabinet gives a nod to Rs 650 crore funds for rejuvenation of Buddha Nullah

The Punjab cabinet has given its approval to Rs 650 crore for rejuvenation of the highly-polluted Buddha Nullah in Ludhiana. Under this ambitious project, an additional sewerage treatment plant with 275 million litres a day capacity, including associated infrastructure, will be developed. The project will be taken up in two phases. In the first phase, augmentation and refurbishment of the sewage treatment facility and dairy effluent treatment will be carried out while the second phase will include the reuse of treated effluent besides landscaping and beautification along the drain. (Outlook India)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from February 8 - 20, 2020. Also, read news this week.