World Culture Festival ruined Yamuna floodplains: NGT

Policy matters this week
The front view of the giant stage under construction for the World Culture Festival. (Source: Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan) The front view of the giant stage under construction for the World Culture Festival. (Source: Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan)

Art of Living responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplains: NGT

The National Green Tribunal has held the Art of Living responsible for damaging the Yamuna floodplains in Delhi by holding the World Culture Festival at the site in 2016. However, no additional penalty has been levied on the organisation. The Tribunal has also reprimanded the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for failing to perform its statutory functions of maintaining the ecology and has ordered the authority to carry out the restoration work of the floodplains after the Art of Living deposits the remaining fine amount. As per the expert committee report, the three-day event has completely destroyed the floodplains and it will take almost 10 years and a cost of Rs 13.29 crore to restore the area. 

UN passes resolution to eliminate ocean plastic pollution

The United Nations Environment Assembly has passed non-binding resolutions to stop plastic pollution in the oceans. More than 200 countries, including India, have signed the resolution. As per the  United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), if current pollution rates continue, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050. Also, eight million tonnes of plastic--bottles, packaging and other waste--get dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain. 

Railways and environment ministries at crossroads over green nod to rail projects in forest areas

Citing authority under the Railways Act, 1989, the railways ministry has sought exemption from environment clearances. The issue came up during the gauge conversion of Akola-Khandwa railway line, for which the railway alleges that there is no requirement of getting both forest and wildlife nod, although the project passes through a reserved forest and the Melghat Tiger Reserve. Now, the environment ministry has clarified that there is a need for the green nod even if the proposed land is falling in the Right of Way of railways. 

Maharashtra gets a separate manual for irrigation projects

In the wake of conflicts and challenges faced by Maharashtra's water resources ministry in pursuing the irrigation projects under the public works department (PWD) manual, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has given consent for a separate manual for such projects. As per the water resources department, the PWD manual was confined to the construction of roads and buildings and was not helpful in addressing the complexities of irrigation projects. With the separate manual, the focus of irrigation projects has shifted from construction to better water management and maintenance. 

NGT orders Centre to bear 70 percent cost for Yamuna sewage treatment

The National Green Tribunal has ordered the Centre to bear 70 percent cost for constructing 14 sewage treatment plants (STPs) under the first phase of the Yamuna river revival project, Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna. However, the remaining 30 percent of the cost will be borne by the Delhi Jal Board. The Yamuna revival project which aims to complete the construction of 14 STPs at Najafgarh drain and Delhi Gate by March 31 this year, has been delayed by over eight months due to the lack of cooperation among agencies and fund crunch.

This is a roundup of important policy matters from December 6 - 12, 2017. Also, read the news this week.


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