No final approval for Ken-Betwa river link as claimed by Centre
Union water minister Uma Bharti has informed through an official press release that the wildlife board has cleared the Ken-Betwa river link and that only the decision on the funding pattern remains now for the project to take off. However, this statement made by the water minister has been challenged by the environmentalists. According to them, the wildlife board had earlier given its recommendation to the ministry which does not mean that the final nod to the project has been granted. Along with this, the project needs to pass several other clearances before the construction work begins.
Loans sanctioned for irrigation fund
Under the long-term irrigation fund (LTIF), the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has so far sanctioned loans worth Rs 35,322 crore. The scheme that was set up with an initial corpus of Rs 20,000 crore has identified 99 incomplete irrigation projects for funding in 18 states with a potential irrigation of 76 lakh hectares. According to the Nabard, the total fund requirement under the scheme is Rs 77,595 crore for four years of which the Centre’s share is nearly 40 percent while the states will bear 60 percent of the share.
MoU signed to improve water scenario across states
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between CII-Triveni Water Institute, Jaipur and the Water Research Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel for planning, designing, and implementing new and innovative tools and technologies to improve water management in India. Both the institutes will pool expertise to solve problems plaguing the water sector in India for the benefit of the community at large. The MoU covers various sectors namely, irrigation, industry, domestic water use, wastewater management, municipal sewage recycle, improving water use efficiency, training and capacity building and implementing of strategies in drought prone areas.
HC calls release of water for Kumbh Mela during drought 'illegal'
The Bombay high court has termed the release of water for shahi snan (holy dip) from the Gangapur dam complex on the Godavari river during Kumbh Mela in 2015 as illegal and in contrast to Maharashtra’s water policy of 2003. The court has observed that at a time when the state was not able to allocate sufficient water for any other use due to drought, how could water be allocated for religious purposes. The court has also ordered the state government to decide on setting up of a committee for the implementation of Jalyukta Shivar and river rejuvenation schemes by January 31, 2017.
NGT quashes green nod to UP power plant
The National Green Tribunal has quashed the environment clearance granted to Welspun Energy's 1320 megawatt coal-based thermal power plant in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. According to the NGT, the video of the public hearing conducted for the project shows the presence of gun-toting men among the people attending it, an indication that the meet was not conducted in a free and fair manner. The NGT has ordered the project proponent not to conduct any development work at the project site and also, restore the area to its original condition.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from December 25, 2016 - January 1, 2017. Also, read news this week.