World's biggest solar power plant to come up in Rajasthan

Policy matters this week: At 4000 MW, Rajasthan will soon have the world's biggest solar power plant, NGT slaps a fine on the Environment Ministry and the UN tells POSCO to halt operations in Odisha.
Powered by the sun (Source: Wikipedia) Powered by the sun (Source: Wikipedia)

Rajasthan to have world's biggest solar plant

Sambhar lake in Rajasthan, known for its salt production till now, will soon have the world's biggest solar power project. The 4000 mega watt (MW) project will come up in two phases and generate 6000 million units of power per annum. The first phase of 1000 MW will be commissioned by the end of 2016, the Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Praful Patel announced. The project, a joint venture, will be initiated by the Heavy Industries Ministry in collaboration with Sambhar Salts Limited, the Solar Energy Corporation of India and other public sector enterprises.
Rs 25,000 fine for dilly-dallying decision on Western Ghats

The National Green Tribunal has slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Environment and Forest Ministry for not taking a decision on the two reports on Western Ghats prepared by panels under Madhav Gadgil and K. Kasturirangan. The Gadgil panel had recommended that the entire area be declared eco-senstive and that no industry should be given clearance. The Tribunal said that no decision by the Ministry is delaying projects and even the Tribunal's judgement on cases relating to the Western Ghats.

UN tells POSCO to halt operations in Odisha

The United Nations Independent human rights experts have asked the Korean steel giant POSCO to halt operations in Odisha. The much contested plant will displace 22,000 people and will be built on 1600 hectares of forest land, which is also the people's main source of livelihood. The UN special rapporteurs said that forced eviction is a gross violation of human rights and that the company should not proceed with construction untill people's rights have been taken care off.

Bombay High Court upholds Act regulating seed price

The Bombay High Court has upheld the validity of the Maharashtra Cotton Seed Act, 2009 that regulates the prices of Bt cotton seeds in the state. The seed industry of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh had challenged the State Acts that regulates cotton seed prices in their repsective High Courts. The National Seed Association of India has decided to challenge the Bombay High Court order in the Supreme Court. Revent from Bt cotton to the seed industry is to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore.

No digging without Environment Ministry's permission: NGT

One and a half months after the ban on sand mining, the National Green Tribunal has now issued a ban on digging of earth for bricks and road construction without prior environmental clearance. This order, like the last one, comes in the case of Uttar Pradesh. The tribunal has issued notices to the state, seeking its response on the plea for directions to the state government to stop extraction of earth for making bricks and roads. As per the plea, earth digging in UP is still going on violating the Supreme Court decision as well as the Ministry's directions to all the states.

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from September 29 to October 6. Also read last week's news roundup.


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