This year's India Smart Cities Awards goes to UP, Surat, Indore, Chandigarh!

Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pradesh (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pradesh (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

UP, Surat, Indore, Chandigarh become winners of India Smart Cities Awards Contest 2020

Uttar Pradesh ranked first amongst all Indian states for the Centre’s Smart Cities Mission Project that short listed seven more cities apart from the existing 10 for transformation into smart cities. Besides this, the state showed good physical and financial progress in some cities and could also complete the transfer of state supporting funds to cities.

Uttar Pradesh was followed by Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Among cities, Indore and Surat were adjudged joint winners, and Chandigarh was ranked first among Union territories. The rankings were based on several parameters such as social aspects, governance, culture, urban environment, sanitation, economy, built environment, water, and urban mobility. (Hindustan Times)

CAG flags failure in implementation of underground sewerage system and river-linking projects by TN government

A recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has picked holes in the implementation of the underground sewerage system (UGSS) in Chennai as nearly 242.73 million litre per day of raw sewage was illegally making its way to the water bodies such as the Adyar river, Buckingham Canal, the Cooum river and others.

Similar issues were prevailing in other parts of the state because of deficient planning, lack of coordination among different departments and unjustified delays in tender approval and completion of projects. As per CAG, the situation points to bleak prospects of achieving 100 percent safe disposal of sewage under the 'Tamil Nadu Vision 2023'.

Along with this, the CAG has observed that in ten years, out of the eight river-linking projects to be sanctioned the state government has sanctioned only two projects, whose completions are still pending. (The Times of India, The Hindu)

Alarming dip in groundwater level in Punjab and Haryana in last four-five decades: Study

According to a research study conducted by IIT Kanpur, groundwater levels in northwest India have dipped to alarming levels, especially in Punjab and Haryana. The study that used over 4,000 groundwater well data from the northwest India shows that shallow groundwater fell from two metres below ground level (bgl) during 1974, to about 30 metres bgl in 2010 in the two states and the situation is equally bad for states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar dominated by agricultural activities.

The study also reveals an increase in the rice cultivation area in Haryana and Punjab, which resulted in increased groundwater extraction. The study recommends artificial recharge, reducing irrigation water demand, rainwater harvesting and development of channelised irrigation systems as mitigation strategies in different settings. (The Economic Times)

Odisha achieves mega milestone by setting up 10,000 rainwater harvesting structures in 75 days

Under the ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign, the Housing and Urban Development Department of Odisha has set up more than 10,000 rainwater harvesting structures ahead of the onset of southwest monsoon. The campaign, which will aid water conservation and groundwater recharge in 114 towns, was completed in just 75 days under the Mukhyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyan Yojana (MUKTA) scheme. Calling it a brilliant effort by the state, the Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has commended Odisha for the mega milestone achieved. (Republic World)

Water-saving direct seeded rice (DSR) technique a success in Haryana

In a big boost to government’s repeated initiatives to conserve water, 14,028 farmers have taken up the direct seeded rice (DSR) technique in the eight districts of the state. Recently, a pilot project to bring 20,000 acres of land under this alternative method of paddy cultivation was launched by the state government in eight districts.

The scheme received an overwhelming response from the farmers as 40,787 acres of land has come under DSR, thus, surpassing the target of 20,000 acres. Out of the eight districts, the district where maximum farmers opted for the new scheme is Jind followed by Karnal and Kaithal. By adopting the DSR technique, farmers can save 15-20 percent of water and labour besides getting a cash incentive of Rs 5,000 per acre from the government. (The Tribune)

This is a roundup of important news published from June 22 -July 10, 2021. Also read policy matters this fortnight.

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