Lohit District

Policy matters this month: SC directs all states to abolish manual scavenging; MoEF reduces ESA in its new draft notification on Western Ghats; Maharashtra all set to clean its rivers.

Abolish manual scavenging: SC

The Supreme Court has ordered all states to abolish manual scavenging and undertake measures to rehabilitate manual scavengers. It has also directed the states to pay a compensation of Rs.10 lakh each to the family of manual scavengers who have died while entering sewers. They must also support women 'safai karamcharis' to get a dignified livelihood of their choice.

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In view of the number of hydro-electricity projects being commissioned on the free-flowing Lohit river and its tributaries, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) recommended the development of a basin-level impact assessment. This work was awarded to M/s Wapcos Limited, and the cost shared by the various project developers.


Area map of the Lohit Basin

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MoEF, which holds the mandate of safeguarding country's environment, has given a completely unjustifiable wildlife clearance to the 1750 MW Demwe Lower Hydroelectric dam on the Lohit river in Arunachal Pradesh (http://www.moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/Demwe_Lower_Hydroelectric_project.pdf), in face of severe opposition from civil society, experts across country and all the independent members of National Board for Wildlife. This shocking decision has come at the heels of one more such clearance given by MoEF to 300 MW Alkananda project in Uttarakhand, which has been rejected twice by FAC and given a negative recommendation by WII.

Guest Post : Parineeta Dandekar and Himanshu Thakkar

With decisions like these, MoEF is proving that it is incapable to stand up against the tools used by the hydropower lobby even when overwhelming evidence points that impacts are unacceptably severe and even if some of the most threatened ecosystems are about to be destroyed.

The Demwe Lower project is the last dam on the Lohit river mainstem, which already has 12 dams planned on the entire river.

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