Centre constitutes third expert body to review Uttarakhand dams
The Environment Ministry has appointed yet another Committee to review hydropower projects on the Ganga basin in Uttarakhand, after it has received a negative response from the earlier two bodies. It is altogether a new body and not just four more scientists added to the existing panel as claimed by the Ministry to the Supreme Court. The Ministry has defended its decision by saying that the new body is in accord with the court orders and by law.
Centre on an exercise to convince States opposing river-linking project
Desperate to implement the ambitious river interlinking project, the Centre has taken up an exercise to convince the States showing opposition towards the project. As part of the initiative, the Centre has approached Odisha and discussed the benefits of interlinking with it. While most of the States are in favour of the project, Kerala and Odisha have objected. Soon the Government will be approaching the West Bengal Government to explain the benefits of interlinking the rivers.
Maharashtra bans digging of wells deeper than 60 m
Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority has banned the drilling of wells deeper than 60 m for agricultural and industrial purposes. The prohibition has come following the identification of 76 overexploited and four critical watersheds by the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency. Through the ban, Authorities also want to caution farmers who invest money in digging wells that dry soon due to the groundwater crisis in the region.
Centre promise power, seeds subsidy to farmers in case of monsoon failure
In the wake of the weak monsoon forecast this year, the Government has announced a subsidy to farmers on diesel, power and seeds. Apart from the contigency plans that the Government announced earlier, there are also plans to create a new crop insurance policy to protect farmers' income. However, amidst all the forecast of the weak monsoon made by the IMD, private forecaster Skymet has predicted temperature changes in the Indian Ocean that will turn around the monsoon current.
Assam Government favours its people while opposing the Centre's plan to build mega dams on Siang river
Much to the relief of the people of Assam, the Chief Minister of the State has shown opposition to the Centre's plan to construct a massive dam in Arunachal Pradesh, for flood control and power production. The Chief Minister has assured that the State will refrain from endorsing any such project that will not benefit its people. Also, the Minister has said that no formal communication from the Centre has been received as yet regarding construction of the proposed Middle Siang Project.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from June 2 - 8, 2015. Also read last week's news updates.