Centre to fast track Atal Bhujal Yojana to help manage groundwater efficiently
In order to manage water resources efficiently and strengthen groundwater recharge, the government has decided to fast-track Atal Bhujal Yojana conceived at a cost of Rs 6000 crore. The Central Ground Water Board statistics reveal 1034 out of the 6584 assessed blocks to be over-exploited where the amount of groundwater extracted is far more than recharge. The programme is expected to be approved before March 31 so that it could be implemented from April 1, 2018.
NGT issues notice to CGWA over groundwater extraction without consent by industries in Noida
The National Green Tribunal has ordered the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to submit an action-taken report regarding unauthorised extraction of groundwater in Noida and Greater Noida. Many industries are currently drawing water without the consent of the CGWA and this has led to the overexploitation and severe depletion of groundwater resources in many areas. Earlier in 2015, the NGT had made it mandatory for industries to obtain permission from the CGWA to extract groundwater.
SC directs Centre to set up Cauvery Management Board within six weeks
Rejecting the Centre’s stand that the mechanism for the implementation of the final award has to be left to the discretion of the union government, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board within six weeks. This comes as a welcome relief to the state of Tamil Nadu which now remains dependent on Karnataka’s discretion to release its share of water. The board will also be responsible for working out the distress formula in case of deficiency in rainfall in a particular year to determine the allocation accordingly.
Centre keen on setting up single tribunal to redress inter-state river water disputes
Bogged by the many delays in resolving inter-state river water disputes, the Centre is now keen on setting up a single tribunal with fixed timelines to redress grievances. A law is expected to be passed in March-April during Parliament’s post-recess budget session. The proposed law will provide for a single tribunal with multiple benches to adjudicate disputes. A maximum time-bar of four-and-a-half years has been set for the tribunal for pronouncing its award on any given matter.
Irrigation and drinking water projects worth crores announced for Rajasthan
Major irrigation and drinking water projects worth several crores have been announced to help Rajasthan meet its water demand. Some of the projects which will be taken up by the water resources department include the Eastern Rajasthan Canal and recharging of the Jawai dam from the Sabarmati Basin project. Interlinking of the Banas and the Brahmani Rivers is also on the cards to provide for Jaipur’s increasing drinking water demand.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from February 13-19, 2018. Also, read the news this week.