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December 2017 Environment

  • Government comes up with 12-point draft plan to combat air pollution
    Coordinated action to combat stubble burning, commissioning studies and launch of a hotline and an app to report violations are some of the measures in the 12-point draft plan formulated by a high-level task force to combat air pollution in the NCR region. 

    The draft action plan also calls for formulating a journey planner app which integrates the Metro, the DIMTS and the DTC services and integrated ticketing across the DTC, cluster and metro within six months. 

    The high-level task force headed by the principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formulated the draft 'Air Action Plan Abatement of Air Pollution in the Delhi NCR' and has invited suggestions in 15 days to make it more "effective and practical".

    The draft proposes coordinated action to combat stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and also monitor enforcement measures to reduce stubble burning. 

    It also calls for implementing rollout of a plan for properly disposing of crop stubble and ensuring that independent data on stubble burning is available in real time in collaboration with department of science and technology among others. 

    The plan says that in collaboration with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), it should be ensured that the Delhi-NCR has an adequate network of air quality monitoring stations. 

    For power plants in the NCR region, it calls for NOx curtailment measures in a time-bound manner by the NTPC and other operators and asks the Environment Ministry to develop a 'Dashboard' of all the 'Red Category' polluting units in the NCR. Each of these units should install a certified pollution meter within their premises, it said. 

  • Construction activities will be prohibited in river Ganga: NGT
    Modifying its earlier order, the National Green Tribunal, NGT, on 18th December said that construction activities will be prohibited within 50 metres from the edge of river Ganga in hilly areas as it would now be treated as 'No-Development Zone. 

    A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that keeping in view the topography of mountainous regions, there was a necessity of revisiting its direction.No-development zones are areas where no construction including commercial or residential buildings can come up. 

    In a detailed judgement, the tribunal had said in July that "till the demarcation of floodplains and identification of permissible and non-permissible activities by the state government of this judgement, we direct that 100 meters from the edge of the river would be treated as no development/construction zone between Haridwar to Unnao in UP. 

  • Kaleshwaram irrigation project gets environmental nod
    The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has accorded environmental clearance for the Kaleshwaram irrigation project in Telangana. The project is estimated to cost about Rs. 80,499.7 crore and proposed to be completed in three years. 

    However, it directed the State to take care of changes in the micro-climatic conditions in the project area during the construction and post construction period of the project as it involves submergence of a large area. 

    While according clearance, the committee directed that there was a need to plan a greenbelt and reservoir rim treatment in consultation with the State Forest Department, focussing on local indigenous species. 

    It wanted the government to take up construction work after following due procedure of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in land Acquisition, Rehabilitation Act, 2013. 

    The State was directed to ensure that at no point of time, the losers of land have any grievances on compensation and the displacement shall be taken up only after completing the process of land acquisition, including providing full compensation to all the project oustees. 

    It also called upon the State to file six monthly compliance reports to MoEF, Chennai, until completion of the modernisation works. 

    The project envisages construction of a barrage across River Godavari near Madigadda village in Karimnagar district of Telangana. This aims to divert 180 TMC of water for providing irrigation facility in 7.38 lakh hectares covering seven districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Rangareddy districts. It also proposed to stabilise the existing command area of 7.62 lakh hectares. 

    Apart from these, the project seeks to provide drinking water facility for Hyderabad and Secunderabad. As per estimates, the total land required is about 32,000 hectares and of this, about 2,866 hectares is forest land. The total submergence area is estimated to be about 13,706 hectares. 

    Apart from Medigadda barrage, two more barrages between Medigadda and Sripada Yellampally are proposed to be constructed. 

    The project will have a canal system of about 1,832 km. The project lies in the interstate boundary with submergence of 302 hectares in Maharashtra. 

    Significantly, the project requires about 4,227 MW of power to be supplied by TS Genco. Public hearings for the project were conducted across 15 districts of the State and one district in Maharashtra. 

  • Centre formally launches Ganga Gram project
    Government on 23rd December formally launched 'Ganga Gram' project at Ganga Gram Swachata Sammelan in New Delhi. 

    As part of its clean Ganga mission - Namami Gange, Ganga Gram project is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of the holy river with active participation of villagers. According to Union Minister Uma Bharathi preserving Ganga is responsibility of both government and public. She said, Centre has declared all 4,470 villages on the banks of the Ganges, located in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, open defecation-free (ODF). 

    The minister said, of these villages, the Centre and the state governments have identified 24 villages to be taken up under a pilot project to transform them into Ganga Grams. 

    The project envisages solid and liquid waste management, renovation of ponds and water resources, water conservation, organic farming, horticulture, and promotion of medicinal plants.
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