SC nod to Yamuna clean-up plan (September Week 3 (2005))
The dying River Yamuna could get a fresh lease of life as the Supreme Court today approved an action plan of the Union Government on the lines of the one implemented by the British Government to clean up River Thames. The news got prominence in all major
This approval came after the initial brickbats from the Bench comprising Mr Justice Y K Sabharwal and Mr Justice B N Agrawal expressing anguish over the inaction of successive governments to clean up the Yamuna groaning under the huge discharge of untreated
sewage and industrial effluent into the river.
Weathering the criticism, Solicitor-General G E Vahanvati broadly accepted the past misgivings but unfolded an ambitious four-year project to clean up Yamuna taking cue from the experience of the London Authorities in cleaning of River Thames.
He said the plan was to set up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) at the points where all major drains meet the River Yamuna to ensure that no untreated sewage or industrial effluent get discharged into the river.
Clarifying that these all-new STPs would be in addition to the existing STPs operating in the city, Mr Vahanvati said 14 consortiums had responded to the proposal, including five international firms. The Delhi Chief Minister and senior officials along with
the officials of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) would meet tomorrow to shortlist the consortiums on the basis of their experience.
Harnessing River Water (Issue of the week, September Week 2(2005))
‘The Hindu’ reported the news item where interlinking of two major rivers in Andhra Pradesh is all set to take off . The report has not mentioned the details of this major exercise like the areas affected, the forest area affected, plans to relocate villages
coming in the way etc. Looks like the Government is hoping that performance of Puja by the entire cabinet will ensure smooth sailing of the project!
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, has sought the cooperation of all the political parties, non-Governmental Organisations and people of the State to fully harness the potential of Godavari and Krishna river basins by completing the irrigation
The Chief Minister said that the significance of the gigantic task taken up by the Government should be understood from the fact that 700 tmcft of Godavari water was already let into the sea and 500 tmcft of Krishna water would also join the sea. The only strategy
for over all development of agrarian economy was to fully tap Godavari floodwater and divert a part of it to the Krishna basin, he added. Dr. Reddy said tenders to the tune of Rs. 30,000 crores had been finalised and 33 major irrigation projects had been prioritised
for completion at a whopping cost of Rs. 50,000 crores. In accordance with the Cabinet decision, the Chief Minister deputed Finance Minister, K. Rosaiah and Home Minister K. Jana Reddy to perform Gangamma puja at Nagarjunasagar project on Thursday. The Major
Irrigation Minister, Ponnala Laxmaiah, would perform a similar puja at Srisailam reservoir, while the Sports Minister, M. Satyanarayan Rao, would visit the Sriramsagar project. The Higher Education Minister P. Venkateswara Rao and Panchayat Raj Minister J.
C. Diwakar Reddy would perform puja at the Prakasam barrage.
Performance of forest officers (September Week 2(2005))
The Indian Express reported the arrest of three after leopard, deer skin seizure by forest officers in Kolkatta. One person was apprehended red-handed with the skins of a leopard and a spotted deer at Gunjerpur village, near Mathurapur in South 24 Parganas.
Majid Ali Naskar was arrested the moment he produced the skins for inspection.
The pioneer reported that Wildlife wing moots out-of-turn promotions for performing staff . Taking a cue from the system of out-of-turn promotions for performing staff as practiced by the police department, the wildlife wing of the Forest Department has moved
a proposal to grant out-of-turn promotions to field staff who make a mark.
The Hindu gave prominence to a story of poachers turned conservationists. Thanks to a rehabilitation package, hardcore poachers at Gudalur in Theni district have now become guides to tourists visiting the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Thekkadi. Rampant poaching
used to take a heavy toll on tuskers and bisons in these forests.
The Central Chronicle of Srinagar reported strengthening of forest protection force in Srinagar. The Jammu and Kashmir Government has decided to strengthen the Forest Protection Force (FPF) as part of its multi-pronged strategy to protect forests and curb timber
smuggling in the state.
The Forest Department's decision to engage ex-servicemen and deployment of additional vehicles for patrolling in wildlife reserves of Madhya Pradesh seems to be paying off. Nearly a month after the patrolling began, a gang of poachers has been apprehended.
Kanha Park is attracting more tourists now (September Week 2(2005))
Answering to a question in the ongoing Assembly Session, Forest Minister Himmat Kothari told that the number of domestic and foreign tourists was increasing in Kanha National Park in Mandla District.
There is also a rise in the revenue by Rs 65,60,207 in this year, he said. This information was furnished in a written reply to a question raised by legislature Dev Singh Sayyam.
Mr Kothari further said that in the year 2002-03 there were 55,475 tourists including 1,977 foreigners, while the figure reached 64,546 in the year 2003-04 and it was 71,782 in the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2005.
The Minister also informed that the revenue of the department from this national park was Rs 46,14,453 in the year 2002, while it reached Rs 52,07,402 in the year 2003-04 and Rs 1,17,67,609 in the last fiscal year.
Mr Kothari further added that the earning of the national park is spent on providing facilities to the animals and rehabilitation of villagers.
In reply to another question, he informed that six chitals have been killed in Southern Forest Division (Territorial) in past three year. Four out of six were killed after being chased by dogs.
He denied any instance of black buck killing stating that black bucks are not found in this division. He also denied that any of the animals were killed due to laxity by forest officials.
Bio fuel production (September Week 2(2005))
The Chattisgarh Chief Minister has asked the centre to link bio-diesel production with the new national rural employment guarantee scheme and also to implement it in the districts covered under the food for work program.
“The centre should come out with a proper policy on bio-diesel production from Jatropha seeds and promote its cultivation and extraction at the lowest level. Cultivation and extraction of Jatropha will change the social and economic structure of the landless
farmers, forest dwellers and tribal population.” He told press persons.
Controlling “Parthenium” or “Congress Grass” (September Week 2(2005))
Times of India and Financial express reported on the campaign by The National Research Centre for Weed Science for biological control of the Mexican parthenium weed by importing beetles from Mexico.
The weed was imported into India along with the PL 480 Mexican wheat seeds in the ‘50s.. It is capable of re-growing from cut or broken parts. It has no natural enemies such as insects and diseases. It has spread rapidly all over India. The plant is known to
cause health hazards such as skin allergy, hay fever and asthma. It is said to be toxic to livestock.
One of the ways to control the weed is to uproot the plant before flowering. Spreading seeds of self perpetuating competitive plants can also reduce the plant invading an area.
The biological control method through Mexican beetle is likely to be slow. Hence this program needs to be integrated with plantation of suitable competitive plants available locally.