Environment Ministry notifies new wetland conservation rules
The Environment Ministry has notified new conservation rules that prohibit setting up or expansion of industries, and disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands. The ministry has also ordered all the state and union territories to set up an authority that will define strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands within their jurisdiction. The authority, which will be headed by the state or UTs environment minister, will also include one expert each in the fields of wetland ecology, hydrology, fisheries, landscape planning and socioeconomics to be nominated by the state government. (The Economic Times)
Jal Jeevan Mission: Each paani samiti in the gram sabhas to have 50 percent women members
Under the Har Ghar Jal Se Nal scheme, the government has made it mandatory that each paani samiti — to be constituted by gram sabhas for water supply management — should have 50 percent women members. Moreover, women will also be provided training for masonry, electrical and motor mechanic work so that they are able to carry out basic plumbing and repair work with competence. Also, women will be trained to test piped water for biological and chemical contamination.
The aim behind the move is to facilitate women’s participation at all levels, from planning to implementation, management, operation and maintenance of in-village water supply.
Punjab cabinet has given its nod for a bill to set up water authority
The Punjab cabinet has approved the draft of the Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Bill, 2020 that aims at effectively managing and conserving water resources in the state. With the setting up a Water Regulation and Development Authority, the bill also proposes to ensure judicious, equitable and sustainable utilisation of the water resources. The authority will be empowered to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for this purpose and can issue tariff orders specifying the charges to be imposed by entities supplying water. (Outlook)
Madras HC orders immediate closure of private drinking water suppliers
Taking note of illegal extraction of groundwater by private drinking water suppliers, the Madras high court has ordered immediate closure of these units. The units closed under the order will not be allowed to re-operate and extract water until they strictly comply with the conditions and obtain permission to extract groundwater. The order has come following a petition filed against industries that extract groundwater without appropriate licence under the Chennai Metropolitan Ground Water Regulation Act, 1987. (The Times of India)
Himachal Pradesh government bans hand pumps to save groundwater
To save groundwater from exploitation, the Himachal Pradesh government has banned the installation of hand pumps across the state. With the new order in place, neither the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department, nor any private individual can install hand pumps even at their private properties without the permission of the Engineer-in-Chief Office in Shimla. The order, which was earlier limited to just a few zones where the water table was going down alarmingly, has now been expanded to the whole state. However, the decision is being criticised as many MPs have already allocated funds for the installation of hand pumps. (The Tribune)
This is a roundup of important policy matters from January 9-13, 2020. Also, read news this week.