Supreme Court Asks IITs to Help in Saving the Yamuna River

There is 2400 million litre of untreated sewage flowing into the Yamuna river every day. This is in spite of Rs 50 thousand million spent on controlling the pollution and the Supreme Court monitoring the Yamuna for last 18 years and issuing regular orders to set things right.

The court said, "It is very painful to see the authorities being at daggers drawn and huge amounts being spent without achieving the desired results. All we are saying is that the court is not powerless or helpless. All the authorities must put their heads together. If they fail, we will make them do it." 

The Court has asked the directors of IIT Delhi and IIT Roorkee to be present in the Court on 11 December 2012 to render expert advice on preparing a scientific strategy to save the gasping Yamuna. Read more

Forest Clearance for Gola River Bed Mining in Uttarakhand

The proposal ‘Collection of stone, boulders and other minor minerals from 1497 ha area in river bed of Gola river for a period of ten years by the Uttarakhand Forest Development Corporation, Uttarakhand’ was considered at Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) Meeting on 26-27 Nov 2012.

The background of the proposal is that MoEF granted Forest Clearance for Gola River mining on 8 April 2011 temporarily for about one year only, till 31.05.2012, because there are many ecological and conservation issues involved in the mining project. The Clearance had several conditions. Some of the conditions included :

Read more: Forest Clearance for Gola River Bed Mining in Uttarakhand

Rupsiabagar- Khasiyabara HEP in Uttarakhand Declined Approval

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) in its 26-27 Nov 2012 meeting discussed the proposal Diversion of 217.522 ha of forest land for construction of 261 MW Rupsiabagar- Khasiyabara Hydro-Electric Project in favour of NTPC Ltd. for 30 years in district Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, and declined approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

 The project has been proposed to be located on tributary of river Sharda, known as Kali River in Uttarakhand viz. River Goriganga. The river Goriganga originates from Milam glacial region and joins river Sharda (kali) river.

It may be noted that project is proposed in virgin forest and highly erosion prone area. The density of vegetation is 0.7 and there is immense diversity including 57 species of flora, and fauna species such as bear, leopard, goral etc.  Furthermore, FAC has rejected it three times and for fourth time it referred to a sub-committee to make a field visit. The sub-committee too has suggested rejection of the project.

FAC has taken a right decision in ‘reiterate their earlier recommendation to decline approval’. In fact, MoEF should take a policy decision that in high altitude, virgin and ecologically sensitive areas no project would be considered. 

NGT – Review of Kaziranga Judgement Dismissed

In the case of Kuber Roller Flour Mills vs Rohit Choudhary, UoI and others (Review Application No. 11/2012 in Application No. 38/2011), National Green Tribunal dismissed the Application.

Kuber Roller Flour had approached the Tribunal  praying review / modify a portion of the judgment of 7 Sept 2012 delivered in Application No. 38 of  2011 (Rohit Chaudhary Vs. Union of India & Ors.). The judgement directed closure of stone crushers, brick kilns, tea factories using boiler operating with fossil fuel and other industries in and around ‘No Development Zone’ of  Numaligarh Refinery  in the vicinity of Kaziranga National Park.

Review judgement on 23 Nov 2012 ordered that the applicant cannot be permitted to function within the No Development Zone in the absence of the consent.

For more details you can also see the ERC Website.

SWGM meets in Goa Again - Commemorates 25 year and chart the Road Ahead

People from 5 states of the Western Ghats met at Peaceful Society in Goa to commemorate 25 years of Save Western Ghats Movement (SWGM) along with 108 participants on 17-18 November 2012. Gautam Sarang, who took part in the historic march in 1987 at age seven, attended this event with his young child and stressed the need to educate and involve young people, ‘Get Them Young’ as his wife puts it. Participants shared their views on what should be done with the WGEEP Report. The need for redefining the March and having it again for engagement with youth and the middle class section of the society was felt. Specific mention was made of the Kudankulam protests, where the Nuclear Power Plant is hardly 40 km from the base of the Western Ghats.

The participants resolved to take the findings and recommendations of the Gadgil Committee report to the village communities and to get the gram Sabha to adopt resolutions in support of the report.

The SWGM has extended its support to Goa’s demand to get its section of the Western Ghats on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as it is currently considered as the ‘Goa Gap’ in the Western Ghats. The program concluded with Mr Kalanand Mani stressing the need for building resources to take a people’s movement forward. The event concluded with all the participants standing in a human chain and singing ‘We shall overcome’.