Ken-Betwa being considered again though recommended in March meeting - FAC considering diversion of 3881 ha on 25 April 2017

Ken-Betwa being considered again though recommended in March meeting -

FAC considering diversion of 3881 ha on 25 April 2017     

As usual, serious delay in sharing of agenda by MoEF&CC. Agenda has been shared just 3 days before the meeting on 25 April! 

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is considering diversion of 3881 ha of forest in its meeting on 25 April as per the agenda.

Ken-Betwa River Linking is being considered again though in spite of serious opposition across the board, it was recommended in the last meeting but with several conditions. Why this proposal is being considered again is not clear.

There are several policy issues being considered e.g. NPV issues submitted by Indian Wind Turbine Manufacture’s Association for which no documents have been attached.

This month, for diversion, mining is the major category by way of number of projects i.e. 10, and area of 2508 ha i.e. 65 per cent. Maharashtra state leads with maximum area of about 1700 ha for mining in 7 projects.

SECTORWISE AREA PROPOSED FOR DIVERSION*

Sr. No.

Sector

Area

% Area

Proposals

% Proposals

1

Forest Village Conversion

809

20.84

4

26.67

2

Mining

2508.54

64.63

10

66.67

3

Others

564

14.53

1

6.67

 -

Total

3881.54

100.00

15

100.00

 

STATE AND SECTORWISE AREA PROPOSED FOR DIVERSION*

Sr. No.

State

Sector

Area

% Area

Proposals

% Proposals

1

Jharkhand

Mining

246

6.34

1

6.67

2

Madhya Pradesh

Forest Village Conversion

809

20.84

4

26.67

3

Maharashtra

Others

564

14.53

1

6.67

4

Maharashtra

Mining

1698.2

43.75

7

46.67

5

Odisha

Mining

564.34

14.54

2

13.33

-

Total

-

3881.54

100.00

15

100

*Besides Ken Betwa there are three proposals of renewal of approvals and   5 policy issues.

 

AGENDA FOR THE MEETING OF FOREST ADVISORY COMMITTEE SCHEDULED TO BE HELD ON 25TH April, 2017

25th April,2017

SI No.

File no.

Name of the Proposal / Agenda Item

State

Area (ha)

Category

View Documents

Sandeep Sharma AIGF(FC)

1

8-32/1993-FC(VOL-II)

IRON AND MANGANESE ORE MINING IN JODA EAST IRON MINE AND MANNORA MANGANESE MINE OF M/S TISCO LTD IN KEONJHAR FOREST DIVISION FOR 2ND RENEWAL

ORISSA

567.087

MINING

Click On

2

8-ORA098/2004-FCD

RENEWAL OF MINING LEASE FOR KHANDBANDH IRON & MANGANESE MINES OF M/S TISCO LIMITED

ORISSA

653.15

MINING

Click On

3

8-16/2013-FC

DIVERSION OF 50.00 HA. MINE CLOSURE PLAN OF METABODELI IRON ORE DEPOSIT IN KANKER DISTRICT OF CHHATTISGARH IN FAVOUR OF M/S JAYASWAL NECO INDUSTRIES LTD.

CHHATTISGARH

50

MINING

Click On

Nisheeth Saxena, AIGF(FC)

1

8-49/2016-FC

KEN-BETWA LINK PROJECT.

MADHYA PRADESH

6017

IRRIGATION

Click On

2

8-17/2017-FC

VILLAGE"SAKAI TOLA-II" RELOCATION FROM CORE ZONE OF (STR) HOSHANGABAD.

MADHYA PRADESH

150

FOREST VILLAGE CONVERSION

Click On

3

8-18/2017-FC

VILLAGE"MANA (PART-I)" RELOCATION FROM CORE ZONE OF (STR) HOSHANGABAD.

MADHYA PRADESH

215

FOREST VILLAGE CONVERSION

Click On

4

8-19/2017-FC

VILLAGE "MANA PART-II" RELOCATION FROM CORE ZONE OF (STR) HOSHANGABAD.

MADHYA PRADESH

270

FOREST VILLAGE CONVERSION

Click On

5

8-20/2017-FC

VILLAGE"MALANI PART-I" RELOCATION FROM CORE ZONE OF (STR) HOSHANGABAD.

MADHYA PRADESH

174

FOREST VILLAGE CONVERSION

Click On

6

7-79/2015-FC

NPV ISSUES SUBMITTED BY INDIAN WIND TURBINE MANUFACTURE’S ASSOCIATION.

NIL

NIL

POLICY ISSUE

 

Rajagopal Prashant, AIGF(FC)

1

17-25/2016-FC (PT.)

DIVERSION OF FOREST LAND FOR NORTH KOEL RESEVOIR PROJECT- REQUEST FOR RELAXATION FOR CA.

JHARKHAND

1007.29

POLICY ISSUE

 

2

8-31/2011-FC

DIVERSION OF 245.78 HA OF FOREST LAND FOR MINING PURPOSE IN RESPECT OF CHUPERBHITA OCP RAJMAHAL GROUP OF MINES M/S ECL UNDER FAKUR FOREST DIVISION & GODDA, JHARKHAND.(COAL MINING)

JHARKHAND

245.78

MINING

Click On

Sandeep Sharma AIGF(FC)

1

8-15/2016-FC

SUKINDA CHROMITE MINE.

ORISSA

330.972

MINING

Click On

2

8-14/2016-FC

KALIAPANI CHROMITE MINES, VILLAGE:KALIAPANI,TEHSIL: SUKINDA, DIST. JAJPUR,ODISHA.

ORISSA

64.119

POLICY ISSUE

Click On

3

8-16/2016-FC

SUKINDA MINES (CHROMITE) OF M/S. IMFA LTD.

ORISSA

115.05

POLICY ISSUE

Click On

4

8-18/2016-FC

BAPHLIMALI BAUXITE MINING PROJECT OF M/S UTKAL ALUMINA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED ( UAIL).

ORISSA

233.34

MINING

Click On

5

8-25/2016-FC

DIVERSION OF 564.00 HA OF FORESTS LAND UNDER SECTION 2 (II) AND 2 (III) OF FOREST CONSERVATION ACT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF PROPOSED INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ZOO UNDER FOREST (CONSERVATION) ACT, 1980.

MAHARASHTRA

564

OTHERS

Click On

6

8-28/2017-FC

SHIVRAM MINERALS RINGEWADI BAUXITE MINES.

MAHARASHTRA

61

MINING

Click On

7

8-82/2016-FC

MANIKGARH CEMENT LIMESTONE MINES.

MAHARASHTRA

229

MINING

Click On

8

8-61/2016-FC

GOPANI IRON & POWER (INDIA) PVT. LTD.

MAHARASHTRA

153.09

MINING

Click On

9

8-01/2017-FC

DIVERSION OF 293.00 HA. FOREST LAND FOR VILLAGE SHEDWAHI.

MAHARASHTRA

293.12

MINING

Click On

10

8-02/2017-FC

DIVERSION OF 695.72 HA. FOREST LAND FOR MINING OF LIMESTONE IN VILLAGE SHEDWAHI (CHEDWAI) IN GIWATI TALUKA OF CHANDRAPUR DISTRICT.

MAHARASHTRA

695.72

MINING

Click On

11

8-10/2017-FC

DIVERSION OF 72.60 HA. FOREST LAND IN VILLAGE FUSER.

MAHARASHTRA

72.60

MINING

Click On

12

8-09/2016-FC

APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL OF MO&CC UNDER SECTION 2(III) OF FC ACT, 1980 CONCERNING DIVERSION OF 193.67 HA OF FOREST LAND FOR LIMESTONE MINING INCLUDED IN THE TOTAL 840.83 HA. AREA OF SHINDOLA MINING LEASE (ACC LTD.) TAL. WANI, DISTT. YAVATMAL , MAHARASHTRA.

MAHARASHTRA

193.67

MINING

 

13

8-05/1993-FC (PT.)

RENEWAL OF 61.2348 HA (OUT OF TOTAL 126.27 HA FORESTS LAND GRANTED UNDER FOREST (CONSERVATION) ACT, 1980) IN RENUKUT FOREST DIVISION, SONBHADRA FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF ASH DISPOSAL YARD IN FAVOUR OF RENUSAGAR POWER COMPANY LIMITED. – REVIEW OF CONDITIONS STIPULATING IN STAGE –I CLEARANCE FOR IMPOSING PENALTY.

UTTAR PRADESH

61.2348

POLICY ISSU

 

 

Analysis by

 

Pushp Jain & Terence Jorge

EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC)

New Delhi - 110 048. India Web : ercindia.org;

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

All rivers require special status

By Ritwick Dutta, April 4, 2017 0:06 IST

If rivers are considered as living beings, we must recognise that in India today, they are an endangered species.

In his book, Animal Revolution (1975), Peter Singer popularised a term called ‘speciesists.’ According to him, “Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favouring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.”

The recent decision of the Uttarakhand High Court (Mohd Salim vs State of Uttarakhand) in declaring the river Ganga and Yamuna as living entity/legal person/juristic person, raises important questions similar to speciesists. It is important to point out that the HC has not recognised ‘rivers’ per se as living being/legal person. It has recognised only rivers Ganga and Yamuna and its tributaries as living entity/legal person.

This recognition is largely in view of the fact Ganga and Yamuna are regarded as sacred by Hindus and have a special place in the cultural ethos of the country. Though the HC has recognised that the two rivers provide sustenance to communities from the mountain to the sea, the main reason for conferring special status is the sacredness attached to the rivers.

Even at the national level, the Ministry of Water Resources has been renamed as the Ministry of Water Resources, Ganga Rejuvenation and River Development. The priority of the Central government is clear: water is a resource to be utilised, rivers have to be ‘developed’ (that is tapped and harnessed), while the river Ganga is the only river that needs to be rejuvenated. The Ganga has clearly been conferred a special status both by the courts and the government.

Notwithstanding the fact that the decision places Ganga and Yamuna on a higher legal pedestal than other rivers, the most significant aspect of the HC decision is that it does provide for a new perspective from which way decision/policy/law-makers should view rivers. It has held that Ganga and Yamuna are “breathing, living and sustaining the communities from mountains to sea.”

However simplistic this statement may seem, the fact is that the present legal and policy framework does not consider the river as either a ‘breathing’ or ‘living entity.’ On the contrary, it is viewed as ‘natural resource’ whose ‘potential’ has to be realised. It requires to be ‘tapped,’ ‘tamed,’ ‘harnessed,’ ‘dammed,’ ‘dredged’ or ‘linked’ in order to realise its full ‘potential.’

A river which is not subjected to any of the above processes and allowed to flow into the sea/ocean is viewed as a national waste. The Supreme Court’s controversial decision in the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Tehri and the River Linking cases is a reflection of the mindset which emphasises on the need to tap this potential of rivers to attain sustainable development. In a way, the HC decision marks a fundamental departure from the ecologically myopic views held by the courts till date.

Having said that, the court decision does have its shortcomings. Having conferred the unique status, it has invoked the principle of persons in loco parentis (that is, in place of parents) and has appointed the chief secretary and advocate general of the state and director, Namami Gange as the ‘human face to protect, conserve and preserve Rivers Ganga and Yamuna and their tributaries.’ According to the court, “These officers are bound to uphold the status of Rivers Ganges and Yamuna and also to promote the health and well being of these rivers.”

Conflict of interest
The problem is that, this is bound to lead to conflict of interest. The chief secretary is the secretary to the Cabinet whereas the AG is the highest law officer of the state government. Though Article 165 of the Constitution may give an impression that the AG is answerable only to the governor, in reality, he/she is a political appointee and defends the action of the state government before the courts.

Neither of them is an independent authority like the Comptroller and Auditor General of India or the Chief Election Commissioner. In such a situation, it is difficult to assume that either of them will be able to discharge their role as independent officers or representatives of rivers.

No judgement is perfect. A judgement is not a legislation and every word in a judgement need not be interpreted like letters of law. However, what is significant is that the HC judgement can be an important starting point for those fighting for the right of the rivers to flow uninterrupted.

If rivers are considered as living beings, we must recognise that in India today, rivers that are living and breathing, are an endangered species. They require special status and proactive conservation efforts. A ‘speciesist approach,’ however discriminatory, for all of the last free flowing rivers, and not just the Ganga and Yamuna, may be the last hope to save our rivers.

(The writer is an environmental lawyer and Managing Trustee of International Rivers, South Asia)
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/604508/all-rivers-require-special-status.html

105241 citizens represented in petition delivery to MoEF&CC; Ministry responds with assurance - no dilution of emission norms.

New Delhi | March 30, 2017| The joint secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) Mr Arun Kumar Mehta today assured activists from Greenpeace India, Care4Air and Help Delhi Breathe, that emission standards for thermal power plants will not be diluted.

Over one lakh concerned citizens have signed the Greenpeace petition for a ‘Clean Air Nation’ that was delivered to the MoEFCC today. A group of volunteers and environmental activists, some of them dressed in oversized lung-shaped costumes to visually represent the impacts of worsening air pollution, brought the petition to Environment Minister Mr Anil Madhav Dave, and handed it over to Mr Mehta who is Joint Secretary at MOEF&CC.  Sunil Dahiya from Greenpeace India and Ekta Singh from Care4Air met with Mr Mehta, who on behalf of the Ministry assured them that the emission norms for thermal power plants as notified on 7th December 2015 will not be diluted.  

Campaigners from groups including Greenpeace, Help Delhi Breathe and Care4Air called on Minister Dave to challenge all attempts at relaxing or diluting the Thermal Power Plants emission standards. The MoEF had set December 2017 as the deadline for implementing emission standards for thermal power plants. With less than nine months left, reports suggested that the  government is ready to relax the deadline and worse, even dilute the emission standards that it had set.

“Mr Mehta further added that they were aware of the hazards air pollution causes on human health and he will make sure that the pollution doesn’t increase. We urged MOEF&CC and Mr Mehta to ensure that a monitoring mechanism for implementation of the emission standards is put in place, so that we don’t reach a situation in December where no power plant has complied to the notification,” said Sunil Dahiya, campaigner, Greenpeace India.  

“We desperately need to upgrade TPPs to control air pollution - without these upgrades we will never have clean air” said Reecha Upadhyay, Help Delhi Breathe campaign coordinator.  “Along with upgrading the newer plants, we need to phase out older power plants completely, and use our resource to invest in clean and green renewable energy for India.”

The impacts of air pollution are far reaching and have devastating consequences, including rising economic and health costs. It is a national problem that is killing 1.2 million Indians every year and costing the economy an estimated 3% of GDP.  Studies have linked PM exposure to health effects in both, the short and the long term, with a marked increase in pollution-linked ailments from redness in the eyes to lung cancer and heart attacks. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has, in its own reports, demonstrated the impact of Air pollution on Children in Delhi.

Historically, coal has been a major source of pollution in air as well as water. Reliance on coal has led to loss of forests, wildlife and destroyed livelihoods of thousands of people. Research suggests that growth in coal is responsible for an estimated one lakh  premature deaths in India. 

Ekta Singh from Care4Air, said, “In the immediate, short term, we must focus  on reducing emissions from existing power plants by implementing the standards to control emissions. But in the long term, we need to  recognise that coal is the biggest contributor to air pollution and that breaking free from polluting fossil fuels will lead India towards a cleaner and sustainable future.”

For Further details-

Madhulika Verma; Communication Specialist;This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 9971137736

Jitendra Kumar; Communication Specialist; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;  9868167337

Anindita Datta Choudhury; Communication Specialist; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; +91 9871515804

Sunil Dahiya, Campaigner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 9013673250

 

http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/105241-citizens-represented-in-petition-delivery-to-MoEFCC-Ministry-responds-with-assurance---no-dilution-of-emission-norms/

Ken-Betwa link gets forest panel’s nod but with reservations

| TNN | Updated: Apr 9, 2017, 10.19 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The forest advisory committee (FAC), an expert body that advises the government on approval or rejection of major projects involving diversion of forest land has recently recommended the Ken-Betwa river link project (phase 1) in Madhya Pradesh for forest clearance.

But minutes of FAC's meeting held on March 30 when the river linking project which is likely to submerge more than 6000 ha of forest land including prime tiger habitat, was discussed reveals that the panel has several reservations with the project.

 


About 4141 ha of the total area to be submerged falls within the core Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR). FAC in the minutes observed that "If there is no other option and the present proposal is the best possible option available with the government in light of the demand of water in this area and for human welfare, the proposal for diversion of forest land from PTR may be considered...." FAC refers to an earlier report filed by a subcommittee of the FAC, and states that the construction of the proposed Dhaudhan dam inside the reserve is "not the best option in the light of conservation of the pristine forest and its ecosystem." The panel also observes that it's not possible to compensate the loss because the submergence area falls in a riverine habitat which is "unique" and "cannot be replicated elsewhere."

 


FAC has recommended that the loss of forest land has to be compensated by purchasing revenue or other non-forest land. "The project proponents and the government should compensate the loss of forestland and tiger habitat through purchase and transfer to PTR equivalent revenue and private land." The panel also recommended that the height of Dhaudan dam be re-examined to conserve a part of the tiger reserve. FAC suggested the height of the dam may be reduced by 10 meters if not at least 5 meters as a "trade-off between conservation and development." FAC's subcommittee had examined the cost-benefit analysis made by the government. In the cost benefit ratio the capital cost was about Rs 13744 Crore and annual benefit was assessed to be Rs 2829 Crore. The committee had noted that the cost benefit analysis had not paid attention to eco system services lost due to "diversion of unique riverine eco system." FAC has recommended a cost benefit analysis should be done considering the ecological cost of diversion of PTR.

 


Experts from the EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC) said "reading of the minutes makes us feel that FAC has recommended the project half-heartedly. In fact they recommended the project in absence of the essential tools." Pushp Jain of ERC said "It is unbelievable that a project under preparation for more than a decade should not provide actual verifiable submergence area and number of trees going to be lost. It is still not clear whether it would 30, 40 or 50 lakh trees. It is another matter that such huge loss is involved in the project."

 

 

 

 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/ken-betwa-link-gets-forest-panels-nod-but-with-reservations/articleshow/58088502.cms
The FAC has Director General of Forests as Chairman and other senior forest officials as members. It also has unofficial expert members such as Sanjay V Deshmukh, VC of Mumbai University and Deepak Apte, director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).