Centre mandates NOC for using groundwater for infra projects
Taking note of the precarious state of groundwater in the country, the environment ministry has made it mandatory for infrastructure projects to seek no objection certificate from the Central Groundwater Authority (CGWA) before using groundwater for project activities. The states have also been ordered not to grant clearance to projects with no certificate. However, as per the experts, given the regulatory lacunae, it would be challenging for the authorities to ensure compliance of the order.
Ganga Bill proposes ban of ports, jetties in the river
In its National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Conservation and Management) Bill, 2018, the government has proposed to ban the construction of jetties, ports or permanent hydraulic structures in the Ganga unless permitted by the National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority. The Bill, which is being circulated for comments, also lays down a host of restrictions to ensure “uninterrupted, ecological flow” of the river. As per activists, although the government is making efforts towards cleaning the Ganga river, no concrete steps are being taken for maintaining the natural flow of the river.
No financial compensation to Pong dam oustees
Out of the 16,300 oustees of the Pong dam, as many as 2,501 from Himachal Pradesh are still waiting for the land promised to them by the Rajasthan government. The oustees who are eligible for getting a land in fertile areas were being offered land in arid areas of Jaisalmer which they have rejected. Though the Rajasthan government was provided with a proposal to give financial compensation to the 2,501 oustees so that they could buy land elsewhere, the state government has turned down the proposal. The matter has been taken to union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari who has assured to intervene.
NGT penalises TN government over encroachments in Chennai
The National Green Tribunal has slapped a fine of Rs two crore on the Tamil Nadu government for failing to remove encroachments along the Adyar and Cooum rivers in Chennai. Out of the total 26,300 encroachments along the rivers, the state government has been able to evict only 408 encroachments. Moreover, no tangible action has been taken to mitigate pollution in the two rivers and the state government has also performed poorly in pre-monsoon preparedness. The NGT has directed the public works department to deposit the fine with the Central Pollution Control Board within 15 days of the order.
Panel defers green nod to diamond mining in Panna
Taking note of the site's proximity to the Panna Tiger Reserve and a wildlife corridor, the expert panel has deferred green clearance granted to the state-owned miner National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) for diamond mining in Panna. The NMDC had obtained the mining rights of Majhgawan Diamond Mine and a supplementary section till 2020 under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 1994. However, it had to approach the environment ministry afresh, following the Supreme Court ruling in April 2018 that ordered the mining projects which got the green nod in 1994 to obtain clearance under the EIA Notification, 2006.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from November 7 - 13, 2018. Also, read news this week.