Dams · Wetlands

India Wetlands Review 2017: Important Court Orders

SUPREME COURT The Supreme Court of India is hearing a matter Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 230/2001 in which there have been several orders of consequence this year (e.g. 8 Feb 2017 & 16 Aug 2017) for protection of wetlands.  In spite of several directions for identification, preparation of brief documents, implementation of rules 4, notification of wetlands under the Wetlands Rules 2010, hardly any progress has happened.

Rule 4 of Wetlands Rules 2010 applicable to Wetlands of size ≥2.25 ha 

 “National Wetland Inventory & Assessment” was filed in SC. This Brochure indicates on page 11 that 2,01,503 wetlands have been mapped at 1:50,000 scale. All these wetlands have ‘an area of more than 2.25 hectares’. As a first step, the ‘Brief Documents’ with regard to these 2,01,503 wetlands should be obtained by the Union of India from the respective State Governments in terms of Rule 6 of the Wetlands (Conservation and management) Rules, 2010.

Continue reading “India Wetlands Review 2017: Important Court Orders”

Dams · Sand Mining

River Sand Mining in India in 2016–III – Judicial Interventions

Ever since its land mark judgment[1] on February 27, 2012, the Supreme Court (SC) of India is not hearing any particular case pertaining to River sand mining regulation. In 2012 judgment SC had directed all Union Territories and State Governments to seek Environmental Clearances (EC) from Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for mining minor minerals even in less than 5 ha or renew the same after prior approval from the MoEF&CC. Before this order, mining areas of less than 5 ha were exempted from EC enacted under Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)-2006[2].

On Aug 5, 2013, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), has passed an important decision[3] ordering a ban on sand excavation across the country without permission from State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and MoEF&CC. Further in November 2013, interpreting environment as Central Government subject and directing MoEF&CC to frame uniform sand extraction rules, the NGT prohibited State Governments[4] to form mining rules separately.

Since then, in pursuit of compliance to aforesaid orders, NGT and the High Court (HC) in several States have been frequently directing respective Government agencies to facilitate sustainable River sand removal. In this context, these courts have issued a number of orders and decisions all through 2016.

In fact, the sustained hearings in SC and NGT have resulted in first to Sustainable Sand Mining Policy draft 2016[5] and then to formation of Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines 2016[6].

Continue reading “River Sand Mining in India in 2016–III – Judicial Interventions”

Dams · Maharashtra

MWRRA orders release of less than 3 TMC water for Ujani Dam: Too Little, Too Late

Above: Water released from Bhama Askhed Dam for Ujani Dam, April 2013  Photo:Author

Today (14th January 2016) Maharashtra’s Marathi AgroDaily announces[i]: “ 3 TMC Water will be released from Bhama Askhed and Chaskaman Dam for Ujani Dam from tomorrow, 15th January 2016. Looking at the opposition to this by farmers in Pune district, the release will happen under strict police protection. Electricity to farm pumps near the river will be disconnected for 7 days between 15th-22nd January to avoid water theft”.

Sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it? Continue reading “MWRRA orders release of less than 3 TMC water for Ujani Dam: Too Little, Too Late”

Godavari

गोदावरी ध्वजारोहण : Hoisting Godavari’s Flag this Kumbh

How a citizens’ initiative is protecting the Godavari in Nashik

14th July was the first day of the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Nashik (Maharashtra), on the banks of Godavari[1] River, the largest river basin of Peninsular India (Godavari’s Story: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/an-introduction-to-godavari-basin/).  For perhaps more than a thousand years, people have been congregating on the banks of Godavari every twelve years on the occasion of Simhasta Kumbh, making the ghats come alive. Kumbh has a distinction of being the largest peaceful gathering of humans in the world (Peaceful is subjective term. In Nashik Kumbh 2003, 39 people were trampled to death in a stampede and bloody fights between the sects are not uncommon). Continue reading “गोदावरी ध्वजारोहण : Hoisting Godavari’s Flag this Kumbh”