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RSS to hold show of strength in Congress-NCP bastion

The guest listUnion and state cabinet ministers who hail from western Maharashtra would attend the convention in RSS attire. They include Girish Bapat, Chandrakant Patil, Ram Shinde and Girish Mahajan and Prakash Javadekar. Those who are not from western Maharashtra like Union minister Nitin Gadkari and chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would be guests.

Shailendra Paranjpe
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West Bengal: Youth shot dead by TMC leader, arrested

Later, the family members of the deceased filed an FIR with the police. Immediately, the police arrested Rai and he is likely to be produced before the court on Monday.

Pooja Mehta

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>England vs South Africa: All-rounder Broad puts England slightly ahead <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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What’s use of talks, if Pak artists not allowed to perform, asks Sitaram Yechury

Salim alleged that the bonhomie between the TMC and BJP can be found from the fact that BJP ministers who visit Bengal always praise Bengal government.

PTI
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Enforcing odd-even formula: Delhi police chief warns volunteers against vigilantism

Violators of the scheme would attract a penalty of Rs 2,000. VIPs, women drivers, CNG-certified vehicles, two-wheelers and those carrying the differently-abled are among the 25 categories which will be exempted from the scheme.

PTI
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<!– /.block –>Hyderabad: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to visit T-Hub on Monday <!– /.block –>
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<!– /#sidebar-second –>What’s use of talks, if Pak artists not allowed to perform, asks Sitaram Yechury<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Did Sonia Gandhi ask Kirti Azad not to raise DDCA issue in Lok Sabha? Rebel BJP MP clarifies

The BJP member noted that the Modi government was fighting against corruption but at the same time, said, “They (Congress) should demand a time-bound probe, CBI, SIT probe.” Jaitley has rejected allegations of wrongdoing against him by Congress members who were seeking his resignation.

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Jammu and Kashmir to be biggest benefactor of Indio-Pak talks: Jitendra Singh​<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Will ensure safe disposal of Union Carbide waste: Prakash Javadekar

When asked about the practicality of the Delhi government’s proposed ‘odd-even scheme’ to put a check on the movement of cars from January 1 in order to control pollution, Javadekar said he will comment on it only once the exercise starts.

PTI
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Also ReadIndiaEnforcing odd-even formula: Delhi police chief warns volunteers against vigilantismIndiaJammu and Kashmir to be biggest benefactor of Indio-Pak talks: Jitendra Singh​IndiaDid Sonia Gandhi ask Kirti Azad not to raise DDCA issue in Lok Sabha? Rebel BJP MP clarifiesIndiaTwitter 2015: Tweets that rolled controversies IndiaUP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s absence from ‘Saifai Mahotasava’ sparks speculationIndiaWill ensure safe disposal of Union Carbide waste: Prakash Javadekar <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Twitter 2015: Tweets that rolled controversies <!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Western Ghats to lose 60% protected areas?

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States unhappy with Kasturirangan report, push for lesser prohibitions.

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations. For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations. An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area. The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’. Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km. In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources. In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km. Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive. dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar to address Parliament on Paris Agreement

The Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said through this agreement the world has prepared a robust plan to combat the challenge of climate change and added that unlike Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement witnessed participation of almost all countries.

Prakash Javadekar
File Photo

India’s concerns of both national and environmental targets were achieved in the Paris Agreement on climate change and a statement regarding this will be made in the Parliament this week, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday.The Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said through this agreement the world has prepared a robust plan to combat the challenge of climate change and added that unlike Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement witnessed participation of almost all countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have had a very good agreement in Paris. As Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has rightly said climate justice and environment has won. Future generations have got a promise that they will get a much better earth. This time the whole world is united and a robust action plan has started. Many countries were out of earlier Kyoto regime. This time all countries are there,” Javadekar said.He said that he will brief Parliament about the developments in Paris and how it will benefit India. “I am going straight away to Parliament. I will make a statement tomorrow or day after tomorrow depending upon when the Speaker (Lok Sabha) and Chairman (Rajya Sabha) allow me to do so.””This is one issue on which the whole nation is united. This isn’t a bi-partisan issue, but it’s of whole India. India’s concerns are met and we are really happy that we could also achieve our national target, but more importantly our environmental target. That’s the promise for the future generations of a good Earth,” Javadekar said.

World sets new target to save planet, adopts climate accord

The agreement will be formally ratified at a high-level signature ceremony of the United Nations on April 22, 2016 and at least 55 countries will have to accept for it to come into effect.

China and India representatives at the Paris climate talk

Reuters
History was made on Saturday night in Paris. As many as 196 countries adopted a new climate accord – to be known as the Paris agreement – that commits to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, while pursuing efforts for an even ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius pre-industrial levels. More importantly, by adopting the agreement, countries across the globe have committed to end fossil-fuel domination and they have to ensure that net greenhouse gas emissions are zero in the second half of the century. The agreement will be formally ratified at a high-level signature ceremony of the United Nations on April 22, 2016 and at least 55 countries will have to accept for it to come into effect.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> For India, who was seen by the US and European Union as a potential deal-breaker, the agreement protected its interests in the near future. Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar said, “We are happy to note that all concerns of India have been taken on board.” The final text of the agreement makes several mentions of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility that was a crucial demand made by India throughout the negotiations. This ensures that India does not have the burden of scaling up their emission cuts or providing climate finance to other nations. But, the United States and other industrialised countries have offset its ‘historical responsibility’ by ensuring that the final text does not include this term. Speaking after the deal’s adoption, Javadekar said, “This (deal) recognizes development imperatives of India and is happy that it acknowledges climate justice, CBDR and equity. We are happy that agreement differentiates between developed and developed nations. We are of the opinion that the agreement could have been more ambitious and actions are far below historic responsibilities and limiting temperature below 2 degrees will be difficult.” The deal also allowed industrialised nations another relief as the issue climate finance – funds provide by richer countries to fight against climate change – was not included in the legally binding section of the agreement. Developed nations will have to provide $100 billion by 2020 and are to scale it up. The Paris agreement will replace the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. Under the 1997 agreement, developed nations were asked to cut down their emissions. But the Paris agreement is more holistic as each of the participating country has submitted their action plan to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. French President Francois Hollande told the assembled delegates: “You’ve done it, reached an ambitious agreement, a binding agreement, a universal agreement. Never will I be able to express more gratitude to a conference. You can be proud to stand before your children and grandchildren.”
Accord weak, unambitious: Think-tankEnvironmental think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) called the Paris deal unambitious. “On the whole, it continues to be weak and unambitious, as it does not include any meaningful targets for developed countries to reduce their emissions,” said CSE director Sunita Narain. Outcome has no winners or losers: ModiPrime Minister Narendra Modi said the outcome of Paris agreement had no winners or losers and climate justice was the lone winner. “Climate change remains a challenge but agreement demonstrates how every nation rose to challenge,” Modi tweeted. ‘Best chance’ to save planet: ObamaUS President Barack Obama said the landmark deal is a “turning point” for the world and represents the “best chance” for mankind to save the planet. “I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world,” Obama said in an address to the nation.

Paris climate talks: World on brink of climate accord, India backs final draft

The final draft runs into 31 pages and asks countries to pursue the target of limiting the average rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degree celsius. But there is no clear roadmap elucidated that will ensure that this target will be achieved.

French President Francois Hollande made an impassioned appeal on Saturday to finalise a historic climate accord, that will for the first time get most countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, just before a draft of the final agreement was released. Nearly 200 countries are still involved in hectic parleys at the international climate change summit that has already crossed its Friday deadline. The release of the final draft will be followed by last round of negotiations and setting the tone for arriving at a deal, Fabius, the chair of the summit, said, “We have an ambitious and balanced agreement. This text establishes a long-term ambitious but necessary goal, also enables each delegation of the countries to return with their heads high.” Raising the political pitch and recalling the failed 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, Hollande said, “What is the point of all this work if we don’t take the deal? All the conditions are met. The landmark agreement for the planet is now ready.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The final draft runs into 31 pages and asks countries to pursue the target of limiting the average rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degree celsius. But there is no clear roadmap elucidated that will ensure that this target will be achieved.Notably for India the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) was included in the text while issues relating to finance were also resolved. Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar backed the final draft text, signalling India’s support for a climate accord. “We are happy that India’s concerns have been taken care of in the final climate draft of the negotiating text. It is a balanced text and a way forward.” The minister, though, is expected to raise certain reservations India has about the text during the next plenary session. While going to press, negotiators had still not returned after studying the text of final draft. The ministerial negotiations are expected to go beyond midnight Saturday, sources said and French foreign minister will personally speak with ministers to iron out last minute differences.

Pollution Control Board’s new draft plan proposes segment-wise approach for cleaning up river Ganga

Even as a host of plans to clean river Ganga exist on paper, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has prepared a new draft plan for cleaning up the river in four segments based on geography, eco-flow of the river and pollution load. The National Mission for Clean Ganga, (NMCG), in-charge of implementing Ganga cleaning plans took a year and half to decide that setting up sewage treatment facilities for towns located on banks of Ganga will be the focus of conserving the river’s water quality. But the CPCB’s new draft has now proposed to shift the focus towards segment wise, in situ treatment of polluted water under the direct control of state governments. Dna has a copy of the draft plan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPCB has said that there is an “immediate need to commission in-site treatment of the 144 drains joining river Ganga or any other actions without waiting for full-fledged sewage treatment plants as it may be a time taking process.” The pollution watchdog has proposed that the Centre invite private players to demonstrate, on a pilot basis, in-situ treatment which it thinks is more cost-effective and will be economical. In another major recommendation it has said that Ghats on river Ganga should be hand over to religious and private institutes for their up-keep.”Ghats are primarily used for religious and spiritual activities and local shrines are actively involved so they can be roped in”, said a top official from the union environment and forest ministry. CPCB’s plan has also noted that in the upper segments such as Narora, there is immense abstraction of water for irrigation and human consumption and that it should be reduced for increasing river’s flow.Under the segment wise approach, CPCB has proposed to divide river cleaning into four-segments, each having their own action plan based on the pollution load coming from domestic sewage and industries and flow of the river. According to sources, CPCB’s draft plan was presented to union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and the ministry has approved it prima-facie. It was also discussed with union minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation Uma Bharti and her ministry too has given an in-principle nod.The first segment has been demarcated between the river’s origin and Haridwar, the second segment between Haridwar and Narora. According to CPCB’s draft plan, these segments are the least polluted and fewer grossly polluting industries are situated on the banks of Ganga along this stretch.The third segment is divided into three sub-sections being the most polluted stretch. This segment stretches begins from Narora passing through Kanpur, Allahabad and ends at Varanasi. Segment four is spread across two sub-sections between Varanasi up to Diamond Harbour in Kolkata. “Each of the river’s stretch has a varying pollution load and one size for all approach won’t work to clean the river. A segment-wise approach would see a reduction in time taken for implementing project,” said a top-ranking CPCB official on the condition of anonymity. Mammoth taskRiver Ganga runs a course of 2,525 km before joining the Bay of BengalThere are 66 districts located along the Ganga’s main stem118 priority towns have been identified along the banks of Ganga144 drains discharge industrial and domestic waste into the Ganga and there are 764 grossly polluting industries on the river’s main stem that generate 501 million litres per day of waste water

Climate talks: Developed countries not fulfilling their obligations, says India

“On finance, it is deeply disappointing that on the one hand developed countries are not fulfilling their obligations and on the other hand, they are trying to shift their responsibilities to developing countries themselves. There is no indication of scaling up of finance nor a clear roadmap,” he said during a negotiating session.

Terming as “game changer” the national climate action plans of every country, India strongly voiced its concern over exclusion of these plans in the new draft negotiating text unveiled by climate change negotiators and said developed countries did not fulfil their obligations.India also termed as “disappointing” the issue of finance, saying while developed countries failed to fulfil their obligations, they are also trying to “shift” their responsibility to developing nations.India said that there was no indication of scaling of finance by the developed nations nor was there any roadmap.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I must stress that the concept of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) is a great innovation and has proved a game-changer. It has enabled the participation of over 186 countries. Yet, INDCs are not even mentioned in the draft, said Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.”On finance, it is deeply disappointing that on the one hand developed countries are not fulfilling their obligations and on the other hand, they are trying to shift their responsibilities to developing countries themselves. There is no indication of scaling up of finance nor a clear roadmap,” he said during a negotiating session.The first draft of the Paris Outcome, prepared after two days of high-level ministerial deliberations, was released by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius yesterday at a crucial climate change conference.The draft negotiating text is now of 29 pages down from a 43-page version and was circulated to all the negotiating countries.India strongly put across its point that durable agreement at Paris “cannot” be crafted by “diluting” historical responsibilities or by putting the polluters and the victims at the same level.India also appreciated leadership and efforts of the Presidency while asserting that it associates itself with the statements made on behalf of G-77.”I must stress that the concept of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) is a great innovation and has proved a game-changer. It has enabled the participation of over 186 countries. Yet, INDCs are not even mentioned in the draft, said Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar during a negotiating session.”On finance, it is deeply disappointing that on the one hand developed countries are not fulfilling their obligations and on the other hand, they are trying to shift their responsibilities to developing countries themselves. There is no indication of scaling up of finance nor a clear roadmap,” he said.Describing the latest draft as the “starting point for the final push”, Javadekar said there were many “points of departure” at this stage of negotiations and much work is need to reach a point of convergence.India also made it clear that the agreement which is being crafted “must carefully” balance climate ambition and the principle of differentiation as both are equally important and one cannot have one without the other.”It needs to be reaffirmed upfront in the agreement that it is under the Convention (UNFCCC) and in accordance with its principles. Its objective is to enhance the implementation of the Convention across all its pillars,” Javadekar said.”This is crucial. The principles of the Convention must be stated correctly without any unnecessary additions,” he added.India also stressed that the agreement must also “meaningfully” operationalise differentiation across all its elements which is “not clear” in the current draft.India also said that it was in favour of a robust transparency mechanism but it should apply not just to mitigation but all other elements, particularly finance.”The transparency mechanism should cover all countries, in a differentiated manner. Implementing the current system which has not yet been made operational is an essential component to build capacity and experience in developing countries. A transition period is therefore needed before changes could be made,” Javadekar said.India also strongly said that several of its concerns including unilateral measures, sustainable lifestyles and climate justice did not find a mention in the draft.”We will examine the draft carefully and engage with all our partners to reach an agreement,” Javadekar said.Elaborating on the draft text, Fabius, who is the chair of the current round of climate negotiations, had earlier said the aim of the text was to enable nations to have an overall view of the progress that has been made so far.”It (draft text) is shorter than the previous version of 48 pages. It is 29 pages long now. There has been three quarter reduction in points that were there in the bracket.The aim of the text is to enable us (nations) to have an overall view of the progress made,” he said.

Climate talks enter final phase, pro-active India promises favourable deal

Yesterday, Javadekar said India is determined not to make the Paris climate meet like past summits where nations returned with “false optimism and fictitious hopes” and would ensure that rich countries pay back their “debt for overdraft” drawn on the carbon space.

Javadekar said India is determined not to make the Paris climate meet like past summits and would ensure that rich countries pay back their “debt for overdraft” drawn on the carbon space.

Environment Ministers from across the world on Thursday converged here for crucial talks in the final leg of the climate summit amid hopes to secure a concrete pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions as a “pro- active” India eyes a stronger say in the high-stakes parleys. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar flew in to join counterparts from 195 countries to deliberate on the 48-page draft that still contains all the unresolved options on the key issues at stake and will form the basis of efforts to to formulate a binding deal.As the 12-day climate talks enter its crucial final week, negotiators appeared confident that some kind of deal will be reached before the next weekend and they will be able to avert a repeat of the 2009 Copenhagen summit – that failed miserably. Analysts said any deal emerging from Paris is likely to fall short of what is needed to cap global warming at 2.0 degrees Celsius or below.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2009, rich countries had pledged to mobilise $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing nations from 2020. Developing countries including India have been demanding them for early disbursal of the funds and clean technology to mitigate the greenhouse gas pollution.Yesterday, Javadekar said India is determined not to make the Paris climate meet like past summits where nations returned with “false optimism and fictitious hopes” and would ensure that rich countries pay back their “debt for overdraft” drawn on the carbon space. Noting that India will ensure that the seminal principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) is respected, he said: “For India it is a question of present and future lives of our 1.27 billion people with aspirations to develop. We will not let this meeting fail to reach its objectives. India is here to ensure that seminal principle of CBDR is respected.”He had earlier said that “India is going more pro-actively, with more positivity” to participate in the talks.He said the need of the hour is that the developed world “must walk the talk, must come out with more ambitious numbers for their pre-2020 commitment” and come out with a separate subhead to their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), as today’s INDCs of developed world subsume their pre-2020 targets.

Paris climate talks: Those with luxury of choice should sharply reduce emissions, says Modi

Calling progress India’s “destiny and right”, Modi’s position signalled commitment to checking climate change without being bullied” as environment minister Prakash Javadekar had stated before Paris.

World leaders at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris; US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping; (right) Russian President Vladimir Putin with other leaders

Agencies
Taking a stand along the lines of justice, morality and the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, prime minister Narendra Modi kicked off India’s sojourn at the climate change summit in Paris on Monday. In a strongly worded opinion piece in the Financial Times, and in his speech while inaugurating the Indian Pavilion, the PM said that “climate change was not our fault” and “advanced countries” must bear more responsibility.India has been seen dually as a stubborn spoilsport by Western nations, especially after the previous acrimonious conference in Copenhagen 2009, and as a voice among the developing nations that won’t let negotiations led by more advanced ones curtail its own agenda for development. In that context, Modi wrote, “justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow. The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many those are still on the first step of the development ladder.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Those with luxury of choice should sharply reduce emissions,” he added at the inauguration, hauling up developed nations for jettisoning bulk of the emission cuts onto developing nations with their dependence on energy sources such as coal, which has been criticised previously by US Secretary of State John Kerry.190 countries have gathered for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), to figure out an agreement to limit global warming to less than two degrees celsius. Amidst them, Modi, with French President Francois Hollande, launched the international solar alliance with 121 solar-rich countries in the tropics, with the stated goal of bringing affordable solar power to off the grid villages.Sending a strong message, Modi took cues from India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, and the country’s “tradition of harmonious co-existence between man and nature”, writing, “since ancient times, we have seen humanity as part of nature, not superior to it”. This, he implied was where India’s commitment to its pledges lay.Calling progress India’s “destiny and right”, Modi’s position signalled commitment to checking climate change without being bullied” as environment minister Prakash Javadekar had stated before Paris.This commitment was outlined in the PM’s piece, where he reiterated the country’s pledge that “by 2030, we will reduce emissions intensity by at least 33 per cent of 2005 levels, and 40 per cent of installed power capacity will be from non-fossil fuel sources”. He added that India would have 175 Gw of renewables by 2022, and had already imposed levies on coal and rationalised subsidies on petroleum products. “We will clean our rivers and create smart cities. We are replacing diesel with clean energy, and building 50 new metro railways, he promised, as well have enough green cover to absorb 2.5bn worth of carbon dioxide.At the moment India is the third largest carbon emitter. However, the argument goes that since India entered the Industrial Revolution so late, it couldn’t be held equally responsible for the state of the climate. Additionally, India’s per capita emission are lower, 1.75 tonnes of CO per capita as compared to the world average of 4 and developed country average of 10+.At the moment, countries’ pledges are voluntary, with a push from the Western nation to make them legally binding, and have no difference in responsibility between them and the developing nations. Modi, through his writings seems keenly aware of his role as upholding the justice he mentions, for India and the rest of the developing nations, emphasising on India’s role in sharing “modest resources with the developing world, helping small island states and African nations with renewable energy.

India pavilion at Paris climate summit to showcase harmony with nature

India has already said that it expects Paris climate change summit to produce “equitable and just” climate agreement where the development space for developing world including India should be assured and the developed world needs to vacate the carbon space.

India’s harmony with nature, climate action plans to curb carbon emissions as well as an e-book depicting how the country has been environmentally conscious over the ages will be showcased at its pavilion to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the crucial climate summit which kicks off on Monday.Indian Environment Ministry officials said that Modi will inaugurate the pavilion by switching on the water screen which will have the message of “just climate action” on it.India has already said that it expects Paris climate change summit to produce “equitable and just” climate agreement where the development space for developing world including India should be assured and the developed world needs to vacate the carbon space.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials said that pavilion will have an ‘ipad-forest’ where people can get knowledge about India’s commitments to curb green house gas emissions, its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) which it has submitted, expectations from the Paris Climate change summit, an India quiz and a host of other sections.The pavilion will also showcase films on adaptation measures taken up by India.Officials said that around 40 films which will have around 21GB of information on adaptations will continuously run on the screen.The E-book will have eight chapters starting with how India has been environmentally conscious since ages and has worshiped nature like God.It will have chapters on how India has been conscious environmentally through various ages like the Vedic age, influence of Buddhism and others.There will be touch screens which will provide information on how India has taken adaptation measures in four regions, including conservation of coral reefs in Gulf of Mannar, glacier protection in Ladakh, heat action plans in Ahmedabad and Gujarat amongst others.There will also be a 360 degree giant screen where films on India’s actions will be screened continuously through more than a dozen projectors. There will also be three to four side events on mitigation and adaptations every day.Prime Minister Modi is expected to go around the pavilion after inaugurating it. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar who has already reached Paris has reviewed the pavilion and will also be present.India in its INDCs, the voluntary pledges countries have made to cut carbon pollution ahead of the Paris meet, has announced that it aims at achieving around 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.The Paris climate change conference also known as Conference of Parties (CoP-21) is scheduled to take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11.India has also pledged to curb its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35% from the 2005 level.Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2 C.The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.

PM Modi leaves for Paris COP21 climate change conference

Prime Minister Modi is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit.

PM Narendra Modi

dna Research & Archives
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday left for France where he will take part in the Paris Summit on Climate Change along with 150 heads of nations.During his two-day visit, the Prime Minister will speak at the Leaders Event in which he is expected to touch upon issues pertaining to global warming and assert India’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint.Prime Minister Modi is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Mann Ki Baat: PM Modi speaks about climate change, wants to turn ‘Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat’ into schemeThe two-week long summit is being seen as a key event aimed at addressing the climate change challenge. An international agreement on climate change focussed on curbing the emission of greenhouse gases is expected to come out of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.One of the important challenges looming over mankind in recent times is to keep the average global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Prime Minister Modi has always taken a strong stand on climate issues. He has time and again urged the leading nations in the world to take steps to curb emissions in order to give clean environment to the future generations.Related Read: Climate change: India ready to be part of solution, says Prakash Javadekar

No intention of leaving country, proud to be Indian: Aamir Khan

Mumbai: Under fierce criticism from BJP and its allies over his remarks on intolerance, Bollywood star Aamir Khan on Wednesday asserted that he stood by what he had stated and that neither he nor his wife Kiran Rao have any intention to leave the country.

The 50-year-old Aamir, who drew flak from BJP and a section of film fraternity for expressing his “alarm and despondency” over the rise in recent incidents of intolerance, came out with a statement, saying he is “proud to be an Indian”.

Aamir Khan. AFPAamir Khan. AFP

Aamir Khan. AFP

Hitting out at Aamir, Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said the “extreme reaction” given by the actor has not only “dented” the image of the country but also his own.

Joining his party colleagues who have been critical of Aamir’s comments, Javedekar said the reason why his party did not agree with the actor’s statement is because the country has a “legacy of tolerance”.

Another Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said tolerance is in India’s DNA and the actor need not leave the country, advising him to not come under the influence of “fabricated political propaganda”.

“Tolerance is in India’s DNA. There is no space for intolerance in the country. People don’t need to get influenced by fabricated political propaganda,” he tweeted.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, “Some are propagating wrong things some are coming under wrong propaganda. There is more tolerance in India. People of India are tolerant.”

The government had called Aamir’s comments alarmist, with ministers alleging a conspiracy to tarnish India’s image.

In his one-page statement, Aamir said,”First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future.

First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never…

Posted by Aamir Khan on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

“Anyone implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying,” he said.

The actor had kicked up a political storm with his remarks at a function in Delhi on Monday about his wife expressing fear for their child in the current atmosphere.

He had said, “Kiran and I have lived all our life in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India… She fears for her child, she fears about what the atmosphere around us will be.”

A defiant Aamir showed no signs of relenting on Wednesday in the face of fresh attack.

“I stand by everything that I have said in my interview. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that,” he said.

Sources close to the actor denied media reports that Kiran was asked to leave Mumbai for a few days in view of the raging controversy. She is in Mumbai and has no plans to leave the city, the sources said.

BJP had hit out at Aamir, saying “Where will he and his family go other than India? There is no other better country like India and no better neighbour than a Hindu for an Indian Muslim. What is the situation in Muslim countries and Europe. There is intolerance everywhere.”

Shielding him from the attack, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had said the government should instead of branding all those who question it and the Prime Minister as “unpatriotic, anti-national or motivated” reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them.

In his statement, Aamir said, “To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point.” He also thanked those who stood by him.

“To all the people who have stood by me, thank you. We have to protect what this beautiful and unique country of ours really stands for. We have to protect its integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, its many languages, its culture, its history, its tolerance, it’s concept of ekantavada, it’s love, sensitivity and its emotional strength,” he said.

The actor ended his statement by quoting Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem, “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, Where knowledge is free, Where the world has not been broken up into fragments, by narrow domestic walls, Where words come out from the depth of truth.

“Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection, Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way, Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit, Where the mind is led forward by thee, Into ever-widening thought and action, Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake,” signing off with “Jai Hind”.

Naqvi said, “There is nothing wrong as peace and harmony are prevailing in the country. So Aamir does not need to leave the country. He should stay back and should not come under the influence of fabricated political propaganda,” he added.

Deprecating the actor’s remarks, Javadekar said, “The statement of Aamir may have been his personal opinion but the country has been hurt by it to a large extent. If such an extreme reaction is given by a prominent artiste, then naturally some people get hurt and sad.

“The reason why we do not agree with the statement is because our country has a legacy of tolerance which is there even today. Not only has Aamir’s statement dented the image of the country but his own image has been dented,” he said.

Accusing the BJP of indulging in “fascist and discriminative” politics, the Samajwadi Party came out in open support of Aamir.

Senior SP leader and Cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav told reporters in Jaunpur in UP, “Aamir does not need to leave the country. He can live anywhere in UP.”

Wading into the controversy, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said a “strong backlash” against Aamir only strengthened his views on intolerance.

“A strong backlash against @aamir_khan also amounts to #Intolerance. It would only strengthen his views on intolerance.”, Pawar said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

PTI

CPCB warns municipalities across the country to clean up their act

Worried by a recent inspection of waste management of towns situated along River Ganga and other major cities, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued a diktat to 118 local bodies situated along the Ganga, 20 state capitals and 46 major cities with a million plus population to pull up their act. CPCB, which functions as the environment ministry’s pollution monitoring body, found out from state boards that 1.44 lakh metric tonnes municipal solid waste (MSW) was generated every day and shockingly, only 28% of it is disposed or processed scientifically. This has led to leaching of toxins in groundwater across urban and peri-urban areas accelerating environmental degradation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The CPCB, in its notice to all urban local bodies, has thus asked them to prepare a time-bound action plan that has to be submitted to the environment ministry by year-end. “We are also finalising Waste Management Rules and will be publishing these Rules by the year-end. Our inspection has brought to the fore a dismal picture of negligence by some municipalities towards municipal Solid Waste Management”, said Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. In the comprehensive directions issued by CPCB, municipalities have been asked to seek authorizations from state boards and initiate plans for segregation of solid waste, proper collection, storage, transportation and ultimately reduce the burden of landfills to zero or a minimum level by processing MSW scientifically.Across the country, even mega cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru are heavily burdened under its burgeoning waste problem and none of them have landfills where scientific processes are used to process and minimize waste. Meanwhile, in urban agglomerations and peri-urban areas, even landfills do not exist in most instances. The environment ministry is now in the last stages of finalizing the new Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2015, that were prepared after the Karnataka High Court stayed the 2013 draft calling it ‘regressive’. The 2015 draft rules have stressed the need to deal with existing dumpsites or landfills that are overflowing.The rules ask urban local bodies to “close down, remediate wherever feasible and cap the existing dumpsites, which are not engineered landfill sites. In fact, for twin cities or group of cities, the rules have asked for establishment of common landfills falling within 50kms (or more) radius on a cost sharing basis. This may usher in creation of common waste handling facilities for several metros and neighbouring cities such as Mumbai – Navi Mumbai and National Capital Region.

dna Must Reads for morning: From NJAC Supreme Court verdict to Colombia plane crash

Supreme Court

1. NJAC Supreme Court verdict: Democracy cannot be ‘tyranny of the unelected’, says FM Arun JaitleyIn unusually strong remarks over the Supreme Court’s reasoning for striking down the NJAC Act, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said Indian democracycannot be a “tyranny of the unelected” and to strengthen independence of judiciary, one does not have to weaken Parliamentary sovereignty. Read more here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar lambasts Sonia Gandhi; calls Congress ‘most communal’Launching a scathing attack on CongressPresident Sonia Gandhi for accusing the Modi government of trying to impose its ideology on people, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said Congress was the “most communal” party in the county. Read more here.3. J&K: Udhampur trucker set ablaze over ‘cow killing’ dies; third victim in three weeksStrife-torn Kashmir is on the edge after a trucker, who was set ablaze by a mob over the rumours of cow killing in Udhampur, succumbed to injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Sunday. Read more here.4. Magnitude 5.2 quake rattles buildings in Taiwan capitalAn earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 shook parts of Taiwan on Monday, the island’s Central Weather Bureau said, with witnesses reporting that tremors could be felt in buildings in the capital, Taipei. Read more here.5. Small plane crashes in Colombia capital; 4 dead, 12 injuredA small plane crashed into a residential area of Bogota shortly after taking off from the capital’s airport, setting a bakery on fire and killing all four people on the aircraft and injuring a dozen people on the ground, authorities said. Read more here.

Ratings for NGOs receiving Environment Ministry grants

Government today said an in-house rating of NGOs receiving grants from the Environment Ministry will be done to rank them on the basis of their performance.

Government today said an in-house rating of NGOs receiving grants from the Environment Ministry will be done to rank them on the basis of their performance.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, while releasing the 10th edition of ‘Directory of Environment NGOs’ said a system will be created to assess the performance of such NGOs.”We will create a system where the performance of NGOs receiving Environment Ministry’s grant will be assessed to see whether the money has been spent on the purpose it was mentioned for and second, whether the message for which the amount is given has reached the people and the purpose is achieved,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said this will be an incentive for the NGOs to perform better.”We want to create an indexation of NGOs for incentivising them wherein good NGOs will be appreciated and others who fall back will also get stimulus to get better. We would create a constant dialogue with people through NGOs,” he said.The minister said that Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) should not be viewed as the only criterion to recognise NGOs.”FCRA is not the only criterion of recognize NGOs because there are thousands of NGOs who are working without foreign donation and they create resources within the country and work with masses and people. So those organisations will also be recognised,” he said.The directory complied by WWF has enlisted 2300 organisations and will be put on public domain after few changes and amendments, the minister said.The database covers information under various heads including details such as geographical coverage, commencement of activities, staff strength and contact details.Dr G. Areendran, Coordinator, Environment Information System, WWF, said around 4000 NGOs were sent application forms but only 40 per cent of them could be verified.”Verifying authenticity of NGOs was the biggest challenge. They were required to submit mandatory documents including registration number, financial dealings, details of projects, utilization certificate and auditing,” he said.

‘Glorious’ Bihar now in tatters because of ‘jungle raj’: Amit Shah

“Want to remind you this is the same Bihar that once upon a time ruled India. It was the center of education, history and music. Look at what has happened to the land of Chandragupta, Samudragupta, Chanakya and Buddha. I am saddened by what has happened to this once glorious state,” Shah said while addressing a rally.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah reminded the people of Bihar of the ‘damage’ that had been done in the state in the 25 years of reign by the duo of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, saying the once glorious and historically rich state was now lying in tatters because of ‘jungle raj’.”Want to remind you this is the same Bihar that once upon a time ruled India. It was the center of education, history and music. Look at what has happened to the land of Chandragupta, Samudragupta, Chanakya and Buddha. I am saddened by what has happened to this once glorious state,” Shah said while addressing a rally.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He asserted that a BJP ‘tsunami’ awaits Bihar and added that the verdict of the polls would see the saffron party taking root in the state.Also read: ‘Diamond’ Nitish reduced to ‘coal’ after joining hands with Lalu: Prakash JavadekarTraining his guns on Nitish and Lalu, Shah said that the duo went on a rampage for 25 years and destroyed the state.”Bihar has not forgotten Lalu’s 15 years of jungle raj. When Nitish was on our side, we offered a mandate of development to the people, but he had more nefarious plans in his mind and the temptation of becoming the Prime Minister surpassed his need towards your development,” Shah said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier lashed out at Nitish for being arrogant enough to reject the special package.Elections for the 243-member Bihar Assembly will be held in five phases between October 12 and November 5.The counting of votes will take place on November 8.

India unveils ambitious climate action plan

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts on environment sustainability, the Union government on Friday unveiled its climate action plan for 2021-2030 setting new targets to reduce green house gas emissions and laying out a roadmap to tackle climate change.The climate action plan – called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in climate change parlance – revolves around three focal points of increasing share of renewable energy, increasing green cover to absorb carbon emissions and reducing emissions intensity of gross domestic product.Without stating targets for absolute emission cuts like Brazil, India said it aims to reduce emissions intensity or emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 33-35% by 2030, from 2005 levels. Ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, India had committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 20-25%, and the environment ministry said it has already achieved a 12% reduction. This essentially means the new target to reduce emissions intensity by 35% is doable.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Announcing the broad goals, Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar said the targets were set keeping in mind the responsibility of achieving climate justice for the poor. “India’s contributions represent utmost ambitious action in the current state of development. Though India is not part of the problem, it wants to be part of the solution.” He added that India’s per capita emission is 1.6 tonnes/person against the world average of 5 tonnes/person.Key to the reduction in emissions is going to be the ambitious plan to scale up share of non-fossil fuel in energy production to 40%. For this, the government has planned to ramp up production of solar energy, wind energy, hydro-electric power and nuclear energy. In its official document though, the government has not specified a break-up of how much each renewable sector will contribute to achieve the target of 40%.India’s dependency on coal, however, will continue. A foreseeable scaling up in the manufacturing sector under the Make in India programme may hamper reduction in emissions. In addition, the climate action plan stresses that afforestation by 2030 will help absorb carbon emissions of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes, something experts are sceptic about.”Notwithstanding the claims, forests are under threat and the forest rights Act is getting diluted. At a time when the government is trying to open up degraded forests for private enterprises, how can you create carbon sinks. So there is a gap in claims and actions,” said Devinder Sharma, an agrarian expert.The government has estimated that at least $2.5 trillion would be required between now and 2030 to fulfill the climate action targets. Javadekar said the responsibility of funding climate action plans of developing nations lies with the developed nations. “We can achieve these with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international financing, including from Green Climate Fund,” he said.The country’s climate action plan was well received by environmental campaigners, academicians and think-tanks. “India’s INDC is fair and is quite ambitious, specifically on renewable energy and forestry,” said Sunita Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment. Analysing the action plan, a CSE note said India’s emission targets are similar to that of China’s and called the renewable energy targets more ambitious than that of US.The Third World Network (TWN), a non-profit working on issues related to climate change and sustainable development said the climate action plan needs to be applauded. “Even though dependency on coal is going to remain, the government is working on clean coal policies and better emissions standards. The action plan is exemplary in some senses and even the US has not set such targets,” said Indrajit Bose, senior research officer, TWN.

India vows to slow emissions rise

India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, pledges to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by up to 35% by 2030, compared with 2005.

India PM Modi talks climate with Obama

Climate change dominates talks between India PM Modi and US President Obama on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York.

Bihar elections: BJP attacks Nitish Kumar, says Lalu Prasad took casteism to a ‘new high’

BJP on Wednesday hit back at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his accusation that the saffron party was raising the bogey of ‘casteism and jungle raj’ only to divert public attention from his development agenda during the assembly polls, alleging his ally Lalu Prasad had taken casteism to a “new high”.

BJP leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar
Arijit Sen
dna
BJP on Wednesday hit back at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his accusation that the saffron party was raising the bogey of ‘casteism and jungle raj’ only to divert public attention from his development agenda during the assembly polls, alleging his ally Lalu Prasad had taken casteism to a “new high”.Taking exception to Kumar’s remark that questioned BJP chief Amit Shah’s ‘aukat’ (status), BJP leader Prakash Javadekar shot back, saying those who had accepted RJD chief Lalu Prasad as their leader should tell what was their ‘haisiyat’ (also meaning status).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mocking Kumar, the Union Minister said BJP and RSS were good for him as long as he ruled the state with their support. Javadekar also noted that senior party leader LK Advani who “made” Kumar the chief minister was also an RSS ‘pracharak’.”Nitish Kumar is frustrated and desperate and giving bizarre statements. He has lost his balance and his allegations against us are examples of hypocrisy. His ‘leader’ Lalu Prasad is openly talking about yadavs voting for him.”He took casteism to a new high and Kumar claims that his agenda is development, while BJP is practicing caste politics.This is a case of pot calling the kettle black. This is hypocrisy,” Javadekar told a press conference. With Prasad and Kumar attacking BJP over the issue of reservation, he said they should ask their ally Congress to clarify its position on the stand taken by its leaders Jitin Prasada and Manish Tewari, both former ministers, that the existing quota system be reviewed.The Bihar Chief Minister had wondered if BJP’s statement distancing the party from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for a review of the reservation policy would carry any weight and referred to Shah’s ‘aukat’ in that context.”Kumar has knelt down before Congress for 2-4 per cent votes,” he alleged, accusing him of speaking a lie that it was Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi who had asked him to cancel his dinner invite to BJP leaders, including Narendra Modi, in 2010.”He is denying what everybody says. He has crossed all limites,” he said.

MoEF has approved 176 ESZ approvals: Prakash Javadekar

ESZ’s are declared around protected areas to regulate activity in and around them and to maintain their ecological sanctity.

In an effort to showcase the fast pace of work in environment ministry under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), environment minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday that his ministry is in the process of declaring eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) of 176 protected areas across the country. Mocking the functioning of the environment ministry under United Progressive Alliance, Javadekar said, “Ever after the Supreme Court asked for declaration of ESZ’s in 2006, the UPA managed to notify only 15 of them till 2014. On the other hand, I have approved 176 proposals.” In a 2006 ruling, the SC had said that until Centre declared ESZ’s, an area of 10kms from the PA’s would be considered as the ESZ.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>ESZ’s are declared around protected areas to regulate activity in and around them and to maintain their ecological sanctity. In the case of several protected areas and tiger reserves, the ESZ’s are as important as they nurture a similar habitat and witness regular movement of wildlife. ESZ’s are also crucial in the case of urban protected areas as pressures of development are manifold. According to the ministry’s data, India has a total of 624 protected areas (PA) such as national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves and proposals for 445 ESZ proposals have been submitted. Out of these 445, total of 156 proposals are still under scrutiny and 113 are under process in the ministry.The minister also clarified that besides the 176 proposals, draft notification was already issues for 31 PA’s while a final notification was issued for 32 PA’s. The ministry completed the process of declaring ESZ’s only in Sikkim and Goa till now. Even as the minister played up the pace of work in declaring ESZ’s, there was no mention of on what scientific basis ESZ’s were demarcated and reduced. In fact, regarding the recent controversial notification declaring an ESZ of only 1.27 kms around Okhla bird sanctuary, the minister did not specify as to how errant builders were penalized. Conservationists said that the ministry is only in a hurry to declare ESZ’s without paying attention to demarcation, commercial activities carried out around PA’s and implementation. “The ministry has done precious little to implement existing ESZ’s such as the Mandakani basin ESZ in Uttarakhand. With regards to demarcation of boundaries, it is not clear what science has been followed and commercial activities are guiding ESZ declarations.Also, there is an overlap of buffer zones and ESZ’s,” said Sanjay Upadhyay, environmental lawyer and former member of standing committee, National Board for Wildlife .

After opposing it in NGT, MoEF grants wildlife clearance for NH7 widening

Announcing the decision to give wildlife clearance to NH7, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The process of four-laning NH7 has moved ahead.

The petitioner in the case has argued that the project will hit Kanha-Pench tiger corridor

PTI
After repeatedly submitting before National Green Tribunal (NGT) and through its letters to the Maharashtra government that a wildlife clearance was not required for widening National Highway (NH7), the environment ministry’s national board for wildlife (NBWL) on Tuesday accorded wildlife clearance to the project.Announcing the decision to give wildlife clearance to NH7, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The process of four-laning NH7 has moved ahead. Mitigation measures have been agreed upon and clearance has been accorded on the basis of mitigation measures.” The minister did not specify what exact mitigation measures have been agreed upon for smooth passage of tigers. But, dna has learnt from reliable sources that the ministry has agreed to build underpass totalling 2.2km in length, substantially reducing it from the original 5.5kms of underpasses that was recommended by Wildlife Institute of India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ministry’s decision to take up wildlife clearance of NH7 widening goes against all submissions it has made in an on-going case in NGT. The petitioner in the case has argued that the project will adversely impact Kanha-Pench tiger corridor, one of the best in the country and will also lead to ecological damage due to felling of 20,000 trees.The widening and tree cutting will happen on a 37kms stretch between Mansar and Khawasa.The ministry’s counsel and NHAI counsel have consistently argued in NGT that wildlife clearance is not required as the project does not pass close to any protected areas. Whereas, the Wildlife Protection Act clearly states that in corridors which link two tiger reserves with each other it is essential to take the approval from the NBWL. In fact in a hearing last week, the NGT had rapped the ministry and National Highways Authority of India for the absence of a wildlife clearance. The ministry’s decision on Tuesday seems to follow NGT’s stern stand and its shaky legal grounds.Okhla bird sanctuary eco-sensitive zone finalisedThe NBWL meeting headed by Prakash Javadekar also finalized the eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla bird sanctuary, giving relief to thousands of home-buyers.The decision bring relief to around 60,000 home-buyers in Noida whose homes have not received a completion certificate. Speaking on the decision, Javadekar said, “We have finalized the draft notification and the final notification will be brought out in one week. It is a relief for home buyers who have invested their savings.” The Okhla bird sanctuary has an avian paradise with 400 species recorded at the site. The National Green Tribunal is hearing a matter on construction in the sanctuary’s eco-sensitive zone and had ordered that completion certificates cannot be given to home within 10kms of the bird habitat.The final eco-sensitive zone will stretch up to 100 metres on the eastern, western and southern boundary and up to 1.27km on the northern boundary of the sanctuary till the Delhi-Noida Direct Flyway across the river bed.

Modi government plans to adopt new sand mining policy for forest areas

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday the Centre plans to adopt a new policy to allow sand mining in forest areas to stop flood waters from flowing into forests.

Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday the Centre plans to adopt a new policy to allow sand mining in forest areas to stop flood waters from flowing into forests.Javadekar made the announcement here while referring to recent deaths of 10 Asiatic lions and other wild animals due to floods in Amreli district in June. He said that sand mining in rivers passing through protected forest land has been banned by the Supreme Court.”Due to floods in Amreli recently, 10 lions and other wild animals died. As per Supreme Court order, you cannot excavate silt gathered in rivers passing from the forest area. As a result, large amount of silt has gathered in such rivers across the country,” Javadekar said at a press conference here today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As a result, river beds have become shallow and flood waters eventually flow into nearby forests. If we don’t remove this silt, forests will eventually vanish and flood will keep happening. Thus, there is a need to remove this silt,” he said.”Therefore, we have prepared a ‘sustainable sand mining policy’ to allow sand mining in forest areas for this purpose. We will also inform the court about it to seek its permission,” Javadekar said.The minister also claimed that his ministry cleared at least 35 projects in Gujarat, which had not been given clearance.”When the Congress was in power at the Centre, they stalled many projects in Gujarat. During the last 15 months, we cleared 35 such projects of the Gujarat government. Many of these projects were stuck in this ministry since 2007,” Javadekar said.Some of these projects which received environmental clearances include the 800 MW extension at Vanakbori thermal power station, drilling of 103 wells in Vadodara by the ONGC, development of Dholera SIR and a limestone mining project in Rangpur village of Junagadh, Javadekar said.

Holy cow! Here’s what the govt wants to do to protect bovines in India

The government of India is pumped up about saving lives. Of the old and the venerable. Of the homeless and the abused. And we are talking about cows here, of course.

Insisting that cow should be protected, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said even the Mughals were aware of the fact that if they had to rule then an “open support to cow slaughter” would not be feasible while the Britishers failed to understand this aspect.

“Even Babur, in his will, has written, we can’t do two things at one time. Either rule the hearts of people or eat cow’s meat. Only one thing can happen… They cannot be done together,” Singh said.

Joining him Union Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar said that Central Government is mulling a scheme to provide cow owners free fodder to desist farmers from selling cow after it stops producing milk.

Addressing a conference on cow conservation organised by Rashtriya Godhan Mahasangh along with Union Agricultural Ministry here, Javadekar said the scheme is being planned to take care of cows after she stops producing milk and also avoid damages caused to forest areas when animals are taken for feeding in jungles.

Here are the steps the government is planning to take to ensure that India becomes the land of the joyous cows in the world:

11

And maybe if there are tigers or other predators in the neighbouring forest, they won’t have to worry about food.

2 (1)2 (1)

Don’t hold your breath though because the government’s had a pretty hard time getting subsidised food to people.

33

Because if the cow smuggling stops, then obviously the human trafficking is bound to nosedive.

With inputs from PTI.

Govt mulling a scheme to provide free fodder for cows not producing milk

The Minister further said the Government is considering increasing grant offered for setting up goshala (cow-sheds) from current Rs 22 lakh.
File Photo

To desist farmers from selling cow after it stops producing milk, Central Government is mulling a scheme to provide cow owners free fodder, Union Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said.Addressing a conference on cow conservation organised by Rashtriya Godhan Mahasangh along with Union Agricultural Ministry in New Delhi, Javadekar said the scheme is being planned to take care of cows after she stops producing milk and also avoid damages caused to forest areas when animals are taken for feeding in jungles.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On cow slaughter, the Minister traded cautiously and said it is a call state governments need to take.”Encouraging farmers to conserve cow when she stops producing milk is a big challenge. Farmers feed cow until she produces milk, but when she stops producing milk, he hands it over to butcher out of financial compulsions. Farmers love cows, but expenses incurred to feed her when she stops producing milk is a concern. Hence, we are thinking upon how jungles around villages can be utilised in this regard,” Javadekar said. He said the Government is mulling cultivating grass in forest areas under MNREGA and make it available to farmers in neighbouring villages without charging for it.”The scheme shall be made effective soon,” he added.The Minister further said the Government is considering increasing grant offered for setting up goshala (cow-sheds) from current Rs 22 lakh. Javadekar identified increasing cow milk productivity as another challenge before the Government and lauded role played by BJP-ruled Haryana administration in this regard by declaring subsidy.”Until what time our cows will continue to produce milk up to 2 litres? We need to increase it. The Haryana Government has taken initiatives to encourage those who increase cow milk production from 2 litres to 6 litres by rewarding with Rs 10,000 and thereon for more production. They are also offering subsidy to purchase cows which is a progressive incentivisation,” he said.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Haryana Agricultural Minister O P Dhankar and others also addressed the gathering.

BJP targets Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi over Parliament logjam

BJP on Saturday claimed that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul were not allowing the resumption of business in Parliament even though many of their party leaders wanted the protest on the floor to be called off.

File Photo
PTI
BJP on Saturday claimed that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul were not allowing the resumption of business in Parliament even though many of their party leaders wanted the protest on the floor to be called off.”Many Congress leaders wish that the protest should end and Parliament proceedings should be carried on smoothly, but Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are not letting them do so,” Union Minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said.Seeking to turn the tables on Congress over the Lalit Modi issue, he said, “Congress should now tell the country how much money it received by not issuing a red-corner notice to Lalit Modi.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Congress should also tell how much money it received by not declaring him (Lalit Modi) an absconder and also tell the people how much money did it receive by letting Lalit Modi flee the country,” Javadekar said.”Congress recorded its lowest ever tally in the Lok Sabha poll last year and as a result, its politics has also come down to the lowest level as it has asked some questions raising doubt over the commitment of our leader Sushma Swaraj,” Javadekar said.Alleging that Congress had “decided beforehand” to stall Parliament proceedings, Javadekar said some of its senior leaders want the logjam to end.The BJP government has a plan to tackle the Parliament logjam, Javadekar said.”We have appealed to the conscience of the opposition leaders and hope that collective wisdom will prevail at last,” he said.The BJP leader claimed that Congress didn’t want GST bill to be passed and that’s why it stalled Parliament proceedings.”Congress does not want GST, implementation of which will boost the GDP growth rate by two per cent and bring economic growth on track. Congress is not letting Parliament function and obstructing the growth of the nation,” the Union minister said.During the previous UPA regime, the Environment Ministry had held up all developmental projects, Javadekar said.”Since we have took over, all the projects of public utility have been accorded utmost importance for clearance,” he said.On BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha expressing unhappiness over the suspension of 25 Congress MPs, Javadekar said, “He (Sinha) is on the wrong track.”He declined to comment further on Sinha’s remarks.Also read: Congress ‘running away’ from debate in Parliament, says Union Minister Smriti Irani

Over 35,000 died due to air pollution between 2006-2015

Union Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar revealed the numbers of acute respiratory infections (ARI) cases in Rajya Sabha.

Government on Thursday said that over two crore cases are reported every year across the country due to respiratory ailments generally caused by air pollution in past nine years.In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that 35,616 people have died due to Acute Respiratory Infection during the 2006-15 period.”Air pollution is known to be one of the aggravating factors for many respiratory ailments and cardiovascular diseases. Central Pollution Control Board had conducted an epidemiological study on ambient air quality, respiratory systems and lung functions of children in association with the Chittranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata,” the Minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air pollution in general causes respiratory ailments and also may affect lung function. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, etc are the diseases caused by exposure to increasing air pollution, he said.”To minimise the impact of environmental pollution, particularly air pollution, the government has taken measures including notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards 2009, envisaging 12 pollutants, formulation of regulations/statutes, setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality, introduction of cleaner/alternate fuel like CNG, LPG, etc and promotion of public transport network, amongst others,” he said.According to the figuers, West Bengal reported the maximum number of acute respiratory infections cases, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and New Delhi. Naturally, these are the states that reported higher number of ARI deaths.

Annual mean surface air temp to rise by 1.7 deg C by 2030s: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar

A government study has projected a rise in the annual mean surface air temperature in India by 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2030s, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

Prakash Javadekar

A government study has projected a rise in the annual mean surface air temperature in India by 1.7 degrees Celsius by 2030s, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that a scientific study to assess the impact of climate change had been undertaken and a report titled ‘Climate change in India: 4×4 assessment – a sectoral and regional analysis for 2030s’ was published by the government in 2010.”The report has assessed impacts of climate change on four key sectors of Indian economy – agriculture, water, natural ecosystems and biodiversity and health in four climate sensitive regions of India – Himalayan region, Western Ghats, the coastal area and the North East region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As per the report, the annual mean surface air temperature is projected to rise by 1.7 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius by 2030s,” Javadekar said.He said that the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in 2014 highlights that the mean surface temperature of the globe has risen by 0.85 degree Celsius over the period of 1880 to 2012.In line with rising temperature across the globe, all India mean temperature has rise by nearly 0.6 degree Celsius over the last 110 years.Further a report entitled ‘Climate change a risk assessment’ released by UK Foreign and Commonwealth office states that the probability of exposed individuals experiencing such conditions in a give year starts to become significant for a global temperature rise of around 5 degrees Celsius and could exceed 50 per cent for a global temperature rise of around 7 degrees Celsius in hot areas such as Northern India, South Eastern China and South Eastern US, Javadekar said.He said that the government has released the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) which has eight missions – national water mission, national mission on sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem, green India Mission, National Mission on sustainable agriculture focus on adaptation measures for reducing and managing the risk of climate change including rise in temperatures.Replying to another question, Javadekar said there is no study reported so far, which supports the fact that many type of instances similar to natural calamities are occurring in the Himalayan region due to global warming.He said for monitoring and prediction of extreme weather events over the Himalayan region, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has established centres in Srinagar, Shimla, Dehradun, Gangtok, Guwahati and Agartala for forecast of natural calamities like heavy rainfall, snowfall and thunderstorm.He said that Earth System Science Organisation has also established a network of various observatories while IMD has set up 24×7 weather monitoring and forecasting system for providing weather facilities to defence personnel by establishing specialised observatories in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir.Javadekar said that although the government has not constituted a group of experts to study the incidents occurring in the Himalayan region, his Ministry has launched the Indian Network of Climate Change Assessment which has been conceptualised as a network based scientific programme designed to assess the drivers and implications of climate change.Replying to another question, he said, no specific study on deterioration of seashore and beaches has been conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).”However CPCB is monitoring creeks and seashore water including beaches at 41 locations. The water quality data indicate that values of parameters like biochemical oxygen demand, total coliform, feacal coliform and dissolved oxygen does not confirm to the prescribed norms at many monitored locations,” he said.

94% time lost in Lok Sabha, same as winter of 2010

Congress members at the Parliament House on Friday

PTI
It was late on Thursday night that BJP MPs got a message from the party that they would have to reach Parliament early to stage a dharna at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, a strategy generally adopted by Opposition to protest against government.On Friday morning, party MPs assembled at the protest site in the complex holding banners which said “Parliament should function”, “Sonia, Rahul shame shame, scams and scams in Congress states” and “Sonia, Rahul tell us where the corruption money has gone.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This was part of the ruling side’s aggressive brazen it out tactic, as Parliament remained paralysed for the fourth day. Soon after the protests, Lok Sabha adjourned in four minutes. The total time lost so far in Lok Sabha is 94 per cent and in Rajya Sabha 88 per cent, according PRS data. The maximum time lost in Lok Sabha since 2009 was 94 per cent in the Winter session of 2010, when the then BJP-led Opposition’s demand for setting up a JPC to examine the 2G scam stalled business.The ruling party protest drew potshots from Opposition, which has been demanding resignations of BJP leaders facing the heat in the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues. “Why was the ruling party sitting on a dharna? Who were they making their demands to? Were they making their demands to God?” JD-U’s Sharad Yadav asked.BSP supremo Mayawati said “rather than hold dharna, demonstrations, the government should take action against people who have violated norms.”Aam Admi Party’s Kumar Vishwas tweeted “the government is sitting on a dharna outside Parliament. May be their demand is to Obama (US President).”The BJP, which was critical of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal sitting on dharna, drew a distinction between the two. “There is no comparison with Kejriwal’s dharna,” said union minister Prakash Javadekar. The government’s plea was that the party decided on the protests since Opposition did not want discussion. Though union ministers did not participate in the dharna, some of them–Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman and Javadekar–interacted with protesting MPs.The treasury’s eye for an eye strategy has failed to tame the Opposition, which refused to budge from its demand for resignations of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan.Asked if government would let the session get washed away and blame the Opposition for it, Javadekar said “We are hopeful that collective wisdom will prevail and the Congress will realise its mistake.” Javadekar said Opposition protests could mellow down by next week, but asked what his hopes were based on, he said “optimism”.He castigated Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swaraj and sought an apology from him. “He crossed all limits of decency…. The language he used nobody uses. We still refer to them as Rahulji, Soniaji…. He said Modi’s silence will help. We say the more he speaks the more it will help us.”Union minister Nitin Gadkari has threatened to file a defamation case if Gandhi did not apologise for saying that Swaraj had committed a criminal act by helping Lalit Modi.

Striking FTTI students seek Rahul Gandhi’s help, also write to MPs

In a letter to Gandhi, the President of FTII Students Association Harishankar Nachimuthu said the appointment of Chouhan has raised questions over the process of appointments in the institute and sought his intervention to resolve the “crisis” in the FTII, the sources said.

File Photo of FTII protest

PTI
With the impasse over their demand for removal of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman continuing, the striking students of the institute have sought the intervention of Rahul Gandhi to resolve the “crisis”. As the strike by the students entered the 40th day today, they also approached MPs across party lines including Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who hails from Pune where the prestigious institute is located, and JD(U) leader KC Tyagi.Sources said today that in their letter to Gandhi, students have sought his support to check the “assault on institutions of higher learning” and invited the Congress vice president to come to Pune and back their cause.In a letter to Gandhi, the President of FTII Students Association Harishankar Nachimuthu said the appointment of Chouhan has raised questions over the process of appointments in the institute and sought his intervention to resolve the “crisis” in the FTII, the sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the letter, Nachimuthu is also learnt to have requested Gandhi to take up the issue of FTII like he had taken up the issue of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT, Chennai. After an agitation and a political controversy, the ban on the Dalit students body Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) was finally revoked by IIT authorities. IIT Madras had earlier de-recognised the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle over an anonymous complaint to the HRD ministry that it was trying to spread hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi”s policies by distributing provocative pamphlets and posters in the campus, raking up a controversy. When contacted, Nachimuthu told PTI that the students have written to Members of Parliament “across party lines” and listed Javadekar, Gandhi and Tyagi, adding they have written to other eminent personalities too.Nachimuthu added that FTII students had also communicated to the Information and Broadcasting ministry about their willingness to hold more talks but there had been no positive response yet. A delegation of students and alumni of FTII had earlier met I&B minister Arun Jaitley but a breakthrough remained elusive as the ministry stood firm on its decision to appoint Chauhan, against which the students were protesting. FTTI authorities have also served an ultimatum to the striking students to return to academic work or face the risk of rustication.

Unlike UPA, NDA govt balancing environment and development: Prakash Javadekar

The NDA government is striking a balance between development needs and environment protection unlike the previous UPA regime when the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh declared that development was not his priority, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday.

The NDA government is striking a balance between development needs and environment protection unlike the previous UPA regime when the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh declared that development was not his priority, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday.”Today, our motto is development without destruction. We will ensure development. But, we will also protect the environment. So, development and environment both hand in hand. Not against each other.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Now, Rahul Gandhi is giving a new lecture. My predecessor Jairam Ramesh said development is not the work of environment ministry. I said, yes, development is also my job and environment protection is also my job. We will do both,” Javadekar, Union Minister of State for Environment (independent charge) said here.Alleging that “some parties are interested to keep poor people as permanently poor”, he said the NDA government would balance environment protection and development to “change the fate of the poor”.The government”s agenda is ”Swachh Bharat” that would promote cleanliness and greenery, he said, adding that the 14th Finance Commission has given substantial funds towards the objective of forest promotion.The states would get a good share of the amount, he said. The Centre would positively consider Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu”s request for setting up a biodiversity park among others in the state, Javadekar said.He expressed confidence that Andhra Pradesh, with its capital Amaravati, coming up in the Vijayawada region, would make rapid strides in development. He was addressing a public meeting on promotion of greenery along with Naidu.

National Green Tribunal quashes MoEF’s green signal to 10 projects

In a landmark judgement (http://www.greentribunal.gov.in/Writereaddata/Downloads/213-2014(PB-I-Judg)OA7-7-2015.pdf), the National Green Tribunal has quashed the office memoranda (OM) issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF) on Dec 12, 2012 & June 27, 2013 for “consideration of proposals for TORs/Environment Clearance/ Coastal Regulatory Zone clearance involving violation of the Environment (Protection) Act, 19861 Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 / Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Starting work on projects without securing Environmental Clearance is a serious violation of the Environment Protection Act (1986) (EPA 1986). Yet, several projects across the country were indulging in violations and in some cases, the projects were even complete, when they applied for environmental clearance with the MoEF. The Ministry had used the above mentioned OM to clear these projects, instead of taking the recommended strong action under the Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986. The Dec 12, 2012 memorandum, for example simply asked violating parties to: Submit written commitment that such violations will not be repeated and passed the buck to the State Government concerned to initiate action against violations. Once this was done, the project was to be considered by MoEF & its Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for approval.The NGT judgement, which combines two petitions filed by Manoj Mishra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan and Muthuraman, resident of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu has quashed the above mentioned OM, calling it ultra vires (beyond the ambit of MoEF’s legal power and authority). The order specifically states: “We hold and declare the Office Memoranda dated 12th December, 2012 and 27th June, 2013 as ultra vires the provisions of the Act of 1986 and the Notification of 2006. They suffer from the infirmity of lack of inherent jurisdiction and authority. Resultantly, we quash both these Office Memoranda. Consequently, the above Office Memoranda are held to be ineffective and we prohibit the MoEF and the SEIAA in the entire country from giving effect to these Office Memoranda in any manner, whatsoever.”Green groups have welcomed the judgment for upholding the sanctity of Environment (Protection) Act 1986 and EIA Notification (2006). Among them Parineeta Dandekar of the South Asia Network of Dams Rivers & People (SANDRP) who told dna, “SANDRP had written to the MoEF and EAC in the past, considering clearance for such projects was in violation of the EPA 1986 and EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Notification of Sept 14, 2006 which did not have any provisions to “regularize” violations like this.”She added, “Several project proponents simply submitted board resolutions about not committing violations and MoEF accepted these projects for appraisal once these were submitted. In the recent past, no state government has penalized a single project proponent as per the Environment Protection Act 1986 for starting work without Environmental Clearance. SANDRP pointed out this to the EAC of the MoEF for River Valley Projects, which considered such Dam projects for appraisal.”According to her, despite repeated correspondence in this regard, the EAC & MoEF continued with what she calls ‘illegal regularization.’ “In Maharashtra and Karnataka alone, 10 projects (SEE BOX) have been recommended various stages of clearances based on the Dec 12, 2012 OM and two projects of these have even been accorded Environmental Clearance. We hope MoEF will immediately cancel the clearances given which were based on this quashed OM and seek NGT guidance for further steps on such projects.”dna tried reaching Prakash Javadekar who heads the Union MoEF for comment. After finding out what the issue is, one Satya Narayan said Javadekar was busy and couldn’t be reached.List of projects where OM 12.12.2012 was used and/or violations of EPA (1986)/ EIA Notification (2006) was condoned by EAC (RVP & HP) and MoEF

India quiet on emissions peak year

India will not announce a target date for when it expects its carbon emissions to drop, the environment minister tells the BBC.

Mumbai to benefit as MoEF actively considering relaxation of CRZ restrictions

The committee included Nayak, secretary, ministry of earth sciences, five environment ministry officials and one coastal ecology expert. The committee, that submitted their report in March, was formed to look into the demands of coastal states to relax CRZ norms to allow seafront developments and projects.

The environment ministry, that is in the process of reviewing the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, 2011, is looking at relaxing some of its existing restrictions and reclassify certain categories of structures falling in CRZ-III to aid their development, said a high-placed ministry official privy to developments. The ministry has taken up this consideration in sync with recommendations of the Shailesh Nayak-headed high-level committee that was constituted last year to suggest amendments to CRZ.The committee included Nayak, secretary, ministry of earth sciences, five environment ministry officials and one coastal ecology expert. The committee, that submitted their report in March, was formed to look into the demands of coastal states to relax CRZ norms to allow seafront developments and projects.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the high-placed ministry official, the ministry is taking a cautious approach but is ‘positive’ on changing certain restrictions, especially for development in Mumbai. “We have tried to derestrict some of the earlier restrictions imposed. The issue of redevelopment of dilapidated structures in Mumbai has to be aided and the notification may provide relaxation for such projects.” The official added, “We may also reclassify Gaothans as CRZ-II from the existing CRZ-III classification.”CRZ-III areas are those areas that are relatively undisturbed also include rural and urban areas that are not substantially developed while CRZ-II are the areas which are developed up to or close to the shoreline and fall within municipal limits. Many Gaothans, or old squat colonies of Koli and East Indian community are part of the city’s heritage and face bureaucratic hurdles while repairing or altering their structures.Environment minister Prakash Javadekar had said last week that the Centre will not make any changes to the high-tide line and low-tide line. When dna sought a comment from Javadekar on the possible changes in reclassifying structures, he refuted any such consideration and said, “Regarding the revamping of CRZ, we have received the Shailesh Nayak committee report and it is under examination.”Echoing Prakash Javadekar’s comment on the high-tide line and low-tide line, the ministry official said, “In cases such as Mumbai, whose coastal ecology is already fragile, we have to take extra care while amending the CRZ notification. We are keeping in view the existing congestion of the city and haphazard development and hence moving cautiously.”

Government stands by Sushma Swaraj as fissures within BJP resurface

The government is brazening it out to stand by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who is in the eye of the storm for helping fugitive Lalit Modi to obtain British travel papers, as some political rivals broke ranks with Opposition to support her and a couple of tweets from within the BJP pointed to an inner strife.Even as Congress sharpened its tirade bringing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its line of fire, the government appears to be hoping that the Opposition onslaught on the issue may die down as there was division among the political opponents on their approach towards Swaraj.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting the demands for her resignation, the government retaliated by asking Congress “who let Lalit Modi escape”. A day after BJP president Amit Shah defended Swaraj saying she had acted on humanitarian grounds, Union minister Prakash Javadekar was fielded at the BJP headquarters after the Congress release photographs showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lalit Modi.”These are photographs of 2010. Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat. It was a cricket match and at that time there was no allegation against Lalit Modi then. There are hundreds of photographs of Jyotiraditya Scindia with the then IPL chairman,” Javadekar said. However, he left without taking any questions from the media. According to government sources, the extent of impropriety in the case is not being seen as serious enough to ask the minister to step down. But, what gives credence to the case is the background — the links of her family with Lalit Modi. The government would brush off any perception that it had bailed Modi out and not Swaraj at an individual level, sources said. The party, which had made integrity a key plank in its election campaign, cannot afford to allow it to be weakened.Meanwhile, the familiar story of feud within the BJP has come to the fore again. Indicating that it was a conspiracy by a party insider, MP Kirti Azad tweeted “asteen ka saanp & Arnab conspire against BJP leaders. Guess the snake? Stand with Sushma Swaraj”.Sources, who have seen Swaraj closely, are of the view that she may not take the attack on her integrity lying down, particularly with her family being drawn into the controversy. It’s her husband Swaraj Kaushal, a politically astute criminal lawyer, who has played a significant role in her career, they said. In 2009, when she was to decide between fighting the Lok Sabha polls from either Delhi or Vidisha, it was Swaraj Kaushal who did the home work and advised her to contest from Vidisha, the sources said.However, it was also Kaushal who took on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he was Rajya Sabha MP, which would have apparently embarrassed Sushma Swaraj. It was LK Advani who had got her into the cabinet. In 2013, during the Rajasthan election campaign, Lalit Modi had tweeted alleging that BJP leader Arun Jaitley was conspiring against Vasundhara Raje. The same year, Jaitley, who is not seen to be on the best of terms with Sushma Swaraj, headed the disciplinary committee of BCCI which in inquiry report made a scathing attack on Lali Modi.Meanwhile, after RJD and NCP, the SP has come out in support of Swaraj saying it was not a crime to help people in need.

Lalit Modi controversy: Rahul, Nitish attack PM; BJP refuses allegations

New Delhi: On Monday, ‘Modigate’ snowballed into a major political storm with the Congress bringing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the line of fire with Rahul Gandhi accusing him of protecting the former IPL boss and demanding immediate sacking of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Rahul Gandhi accused Narendra Modi of protecting Lalit Modi. PTI

Taking the party’s attack on Modi to a new level, the Congress Vice President described Lalit Modi as a “symbol” of black money and said the Prime Minister was “standing” behind Modi while asking him to “stop protecting” him.

Battling its first major embarrassment since it came to power a little over a year ago, the government, which came out with a strong defence of Swaraj on Sunday, fielded Union Minister Prakash Javadekar who refused to agree to Congress’ allegations of proximity between the Prime Minister and Lalit Modi.

He also rejected Gandhi’s demand for sacking Swaraj, saying it was illogical and did not deserve a response.

First at an AICC briefing, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala brought the Prime Minister in the line of fire, accusing Swaraj, BJP and the entire government of “aiding and abetting” a fugitive with the “tacit approval” of the PM. “The needle of suspicion rests at the door of PM.”

Gandhi, who is on a tour of Chhattisgarh, tweeted, “There is only one man running this country and government, that is Narendra Modi; Modi should stop protecting Lalit Modi. It is not a question of Sushma ji resigning, PM Modiji should sack Sushma Swaraj ji from the government.”

“Lalit Modi is a symbol of black money. Mr Modi is standing behind Mr Modi. Who’s Sushma Swarajji? She means nothing in this government,” he said.

Replying to a question about the BJP standing behind Swaraj, Gandhi told reporters “Of course, the party will stand behind Sushma Swarajji. The party is Mr Modi. Mr Modi is standing behind Mr Modi.”

Other opposition parties also joined the fray in attacking the BJP-led government.

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar said the way the government, BJP and the RSS have come out to strongly defend Swaraj shows they will do everything their person even if a crime has been committed while they will go all out against opponents even if there is nothing against them.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said intervention by Swaraj in helping a fugitive in getting British travel documents is “completely unacceptable” and demanded a thorough probe.

Swaraj, however, found strong support from BJP ally Shiv Sena which insisted that she was being targeted as part of a conspiracy to weaken and destabilise the Modi government. NCP was critical of her action but stopped short of demanding her resignation, saying it is not appropriate at this juncture.

Escalating its attack, Congress contended that a criminal case has been made out against Swaraj in helping the former IPL boss get travel documents to go out of the UK and sought an FIR registered against her.

Addressing a press conference, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala posed 11 questions to the Prime Minister to answer whether there was any quid pro quo in helping Modi, who has been accused salting away Rs 700 crores out of the country and was facing charges of money laundering, match-fixing and betting.

He said it should also be examined whether Swaraj was acting at the instance of the Prime Minister and whether he was “a party in helping a fugitive and money-launderer”.

“There are serious doubts about the role, knowledge and complicity of the Prime Minister. He has maintained a studied silence while he tweets on everything everyday,” Surjewala said.

Making a video presentation at the AICC briefing, the party displayed three photographs of Lalit Modi with the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah before the two leaders assumed their present offices to make a point about his association with them.

However, the party said it was not demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, saying all the questions raised by it should be first examined. If allegations are proved, then he has no moral right to continue, he said, adding then he will have to resign.

Javadekar hit back at Congress for releasing pictures of Narendra Modi with Lalit Modi and alleged that it showed its “political bankruptcy” and “cheap politics” in a bid to embroil the PM in the row.

Defending Swaraj, BJP instead accused Congress of attempting to “make a mountain out of a molehill” and raking up “non-issues” and instead questioned Rahul Gandhi as to where he had gone on a sabbatical and on whose visa.

BJP said if Congress wants to indulge in such a slug fest, it can also produce hundreds of photos of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi allegedly with the accused in various scams like the Coal, 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and Aircel-Maxis deal.

“It is the bankruptcy of Congress politics to show a picture of a part of stadium of an IPL cricket match of 2010 in Ahmedabad and to show the photo in 2015 is the bankruptcy of ideas of Congress….Congress is doing cheap politics,” Javadekar told the media.

The Minister said the photo showing the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah with Lalit Modi is at a public match when he was heading the Gujarat Cricket Association and there was no case against the IPL chairman at the time.

“It was a public cricket match and there was no accusation against Lalit Modi at that time,” Javadekar said, adding if this is the case and logic on which Congress wants to build, then there are hundreds of pictures of Jyotiradiya Scindia with IPL chairman that time as well as with Rajiv Shukla.

PTI

PM Narendra Modi to launch tree plantation drive on World Environment Day

The Environment Ministry has invited eminent sportspersons including star cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar to participate in a countrywide sapling plantation drive.​
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On the occasion of World Environment Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reportedly inaugurate a tree plantation campaign by planting a sapling at his residence 7, Race Course Road.The ministry is also expected to celebrate the occasion by planting sapling across the country.The Environment Ministry has invited eminent sportspersons including star cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar to participate in a countrywide sapling plantation drive.​Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar said that a similar programme will also be held in Mumbai also where India cricketers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane will be joined by Tendulkar along with state Education Minister Vinod Tawade.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is a good start and we appeal to people that they should also join the campaign by planting more and more trees,” said Javadekar said.Pathan brothers Irfan and Yusuf will be a part of the ocassion in Vadodara, former Test player Narendra Hirwani, ex-BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale and state Environemnt Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya will participate in Indore.Members of the Indian cricket that is scheduled to leave for Bangladesh on June 7 will take part in sapling plantation drive in Kolkata, a day before.Boxers Mary Kom and Sarita Devi, cue sport legend Geet Sethi and former India Hockey Captain Viren Rasquinha will be travelling on June 5, so they join the league from their places of location.

Green nod to NH widening cutting through Karnala bird haven

Currently, the NH-17 has only two lanes passing through the bird haven and it falls on the 84-km Panvel-Indapur stretch.

Prakash Javadekar

Despite two rejections and staunch opposition of environmentalists, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), on Tuesday, cleared widening of the section of Mumbai-Goa-Kochi NH-17 passing through Karnala bird sanctuary near Panvel. The NBWL is headed by Prakash Javadekar, minister of environment, forests and climate change (MOEF&CC) and unlike in the past, has only a few non-governmental members.Currently, the NH-17 has only two lanes passing through the bird haven and it falls on the 84-km Panvel-Indapur stretch. “We cleared the project in yesterday’s meeting and have allowed for increasing the road to four lanes. While approving the project, we have asked the state government to add part of adjacent forest land in the sanctuary and also carry out compensatory afforestation,” Javadekar told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proposal to widen the highway from existing two lanes to four lanes has been pending approval since the past five years. NBWL rejected it for the first time in 2009 and later in 2013 too. The project was approved by State Board for Wildlife in 2014 and once again came to the NBWL for approval. In 2009, the NBWL rejected it on the grounds that the sanctuary area, 12.11 sq.kms, was not too big but was home to rich biodiversity. In 2013, Kishor Rithe, non-governmental member of the NBWL had stated that since alternate routes were available, the proposal to widen the highway inside the sanctuary was rejected.Interestingly, when the project was taken up for appraisal last August, the NBWL said alternate routes were not feasible.The widening of the highway will happen on a two-km stretch and involves diversion of close to two hectares of the sanctuary. The Karnala bird sanctuary, established in 1971, lies 60 kms south-west of Mumbai and is quite popular with trekkers, birders and wildlife enthusiasts. The sanctuary is home to 190 species of birds and almost 30-40 species of migratory birds visit the sanctuary during winters. The first sighting of the bird Ashy Minivet was recorded at this site. The sanctuary is also home to the four-horned antelope, wild boar, jungle cat, Indian fox and the endangered leopard. The existing two-lanes of the NH-17 already pose threats to the conservation of this sanctuary in the form of pollution, littering of solid waste and illegal resorts. Since MoEF&CC has not yet released the detailed minutes of the NBWL meeting, it is not clear what the conditions laid down by the ministry before clearing the widening of project.

Roadblock ministry is now clearance ministry

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar often speaks of how his ministry has promoted the ‘ease of business’ in India

Diluting the Forest Rights Act, giving the nod to a host of road and rail projects in green zones, disempowering tribals to empower industry and amending guidelines to hasten the implementation of project. With all this and more in just 12 months, the ministry of environment, forest and climate (MOEF&CC) has earned itself a new moniker – the ‘clearance’ ministry.From being termed a roadblock by India Inc to being viewed as clearing the way to development, the ministry, central to the environment-economy balance of any nation, has undergone a complete turnaround in the one year that the Modi government has been in power.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ministry has been on clearance spree sinceBetween June and December 2014, the MOEF&CC reportedly cleared 190 projects worth Rs.6.31 lakh crore. However, many of these are seen as detrimental to the protection of environment and wildlife in the country. “Last one year, there is virtually not a single step that the government has taken that shows they are concerned about environment issues. In their own document of achievements, they have enlisted only the relaxation of norms and clearances and there nothing about improvement of environment. The only thing to show is pollution monitoring mehcanisms, which is like buying a thermometer for treating fever,” said Ritwick Dutta, environmental lawyer. A good example of what Dutta said are the host of hydel projects proposed in Arunachal Pradesh that are based on ecologically critical rivers. Last September, the 3,000 MW Dibang multipurpose hydel project, (the biggest in the country) that was twice rejected by the forest appriasal committee of MoEF&CC, was given the forest clearance following directives from the Prime Minister’s Office.“Soon after the NDA assumed power, there were clear instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to relax a host of environmental norms and tweak them to project the ministry as business friendly. Many of these changes were brought in during the first few months of the government,” said an official privy to key changes.Unlike his predecessor Jayanthi Natarajan, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar often speaks of how his ministry has promoted the ‘ease of business’ in India, one of the many mantras adopted by the BJP-led government.Initial movesAmongst his first moves as environment minister was to initiate the online submission of applications for obtaining environment, forest and coastal regulation zone clearances. Though the process of online submissions was initiated under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Javadekar has claimed all credit.Soon after, the ministry cleared several projects that were rejected by the previous regime. In fact, the ministry under Javadekar has been marked by its hurry to change environmental norms, mostly through executive orders and notifications.The government granted general approval to border road projects within 100 km of the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border. Besides, in 117 Left Wing Extremist districts, projects were exempted from going through the two stage forest clearance process and only general approvals were enough. This meant that these projects would not be scrutinized for the ecological impact they would have on the forests.Amongst the ministry’s most controversial moves has been the leniency it has shown in granting clearances for linear projects such as highways, transmission lines, railway lines and reservoirs which involve ‘linear diversion’ of land. The ministry amended guidelines to enable work on projects to begin work immediately after obtaining in-principle approvals and after they had paid compensatory levies. The ministry also gave powers to regional offices to issue forest clearances for all sizes of projects.Following this, the ministry diluted the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) that is responsible for clearing projects falling within 10 km radius of protected areas. The ministry reconstituted the NBWL and reduced the number of independent members, who were an active part during the UPA rule. The reconstituted NBWL cleared as many as 140 projects in the 12-13 August, 2014 meeting, but the ministry’s decision was soon challenged in the Supreme Court and the ministry had to climb down from their stand and bring in independent members in the body.Road, rail projectsThe NBWL and forest advisory committee (FAC) have approved several road projects and railway projects that pass through critical green corridors connecting protected areas.In 2014, FAC cleared the twice rejected proposal for widening the Gondia-Jabalpur railway line that will cut through the corridor connecting Kanha and Pench tiger reserve. Another railway project, passing through Ratapani tiger reserve on the Bhopal-Itarsi line, was also approved.With regards to road projects, NBWL approved the diversion of forestland from Dandeli wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, the Namdapha tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. For NH-6 and NH-7, key corridors such as the Kanha-Indravati across Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Bor-Melghat and Nagzira-Navegaon in Maharashtra would be affected. In addition to this, two irrigation projects were also approved around the Melghat tiger reserve in Maharashtra.Tribal rightsThe ministry’s efforts to dilute the Forest Rights Act (FRA) have faced tough opposition from the ministry of tribal affairs. Following a directive from PMO, the environment ministry prepared draft guidelines that would dilute FRA and do away with the mandatory consent of tribal gram sabhas to divert forest land for linear infrastructure projects (non-forestry purposes) and those ‘public utilities managed by government. The tribal ministry termed the provisions of the draft guidelines an encroachment. “We have had meetings with the environment ministry to sort out these issues and the entire process is to simplify and delineate forest clearances from the FRA nod,” said an official from tribal ministry.

In praise of PM Modi: Doordarshan’s one year anniversary coverage reveals BJP hypocrisy

All Indira Radio, Rajivdarshan and now Prasar Modi.

For the next few weeks, the Information and Broadcasting ministry will do what it has done over the past several decades: make Doordarshan sing in His Master’s Voice, perform paeans in Raag Darbari.

PTI imagePTI image

PTI image

According to news reports, the ministry has asked the public broadcaster to launch a publicity blitz for the government when it completes a year.  “As celebrations for the Modi government’s one year anniversary pick up pace, over 20 senior ministers will be giving interviews to Doordarshan to mark the day,” reports the Times of India.

According to the Business Standard, Doordarshan has been asked to capture the mood of the nation after a year of Modi raj through special programmes, interviews and jingles composed by Prasoon Joshi.

So, over the next few days, we will have ministers extolling their achievements and gratuitous people telling us how their lives have changed in the past year and Doordarshan reporters spinning stories of the success and achievements of the NDA government. All of it on a channel that nobody really cares to watch, but that’s a separate point.

The real bad news is that the Modi government has no intention of implementing one of its brightest and honest suggestions: set Prasar Bharti free, give up government control over public broadcasters.

“There is no need for I&B ministry in a democracy; Prasar Bharati should be free of government interference; it should have an independent editor-in-chief.” These were the ‘philosophical and ideological’ words of I&B minister Prakash Javadekar during an interview in 2014.

Javadekar’s philosophy was sacrificed at the altar of obeisance to another kind of ideology when Doordarshan decided to broadcast live RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s Dusshera speech in October 2014. Whatever was left of left of Javadekar’s brave idea perhaps died when he was shifted to a different ministry. And the government has now given up all pretensions of freeing Doordarshan and AIR of the burden of propagating its mann ki baat.

Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with a government using a broadcaster as its pet. Many totalitarian regimes across the world have their own news agencies and media. The Russians have their TASS and Pravda, China has Xinhua and many regimes in Islamic countries control every word that is written or spoken. The Indian government too is entitled to believe that it should have a mouthpiece. But, the problem is that political parties preach autonomy and independence for Prasar Bharti while in opposition but refuse to give up the state’s control on becoming part of the government.

For instance, during the 2014 election campaign, the BJP had protested when Doordarshan ‘edited’ some portions of the interview with Modi. “I feel very sad to see our National TV channel struggling to maintain its professional freedom,” Modi had tweeted his outrage then.

Will he now allow Doordarshan to air interviews with opposition leaders on his government’s first anniversary? Will the I&B ministry allow the state broadcaster to give equal space to critical analysis and public opinion?

Forcing government propaganda on people rarely helps. It didn’t work for too long for Joseph Goebbels, it didn’t help Indira or Rajiv Gandhi. During the 80s, AIR and Doordarshan were used shamelessly by the Congress to prop up Rajiv as Indira’s heir, and later when he became the PM, most of the prime time news was dedicated to his programmes and speeches, forcing critics to call it Rajivdarshan. But none of this helped Rajiv avoid a crushing defeat in the next election.

If it didn’t work in the age of Doordarshan monopoly, only a naïve government would believe that His Master’s Voice can be heard and blindly believed in the din of contrasting, competing and contradictory voices that rule India’s airwaves today.

PM10 level has crossed prescribed limits in Delhi, five other cities: Govt

New Delhi: Level of particulate matter (PM10), which can cause serious health problems, has exceeded the prescribed limits in the air of Delhi and five other neighbouring cities, the government said on Thursday.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told Rajya Sabha that the levels of Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen were in control during 2011-13, but (PM10) has shot up in the period.

Getty ImagesGetty Images

Getty Images

Ambient air quality in Delhi and National Capital Region is monitored by Pollution Control Boards of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and NEERI under National Air Monitoring Programme at 20 locations of Delhi, Faridabad, Gaziabad, Meerut, Noida and Alwar, he said.

“As per the analysis of data for last three years (2011-13), the levels of Sulphur dioxide (annual averages of 50ug/m3) and nitrogen (annual averages of 40 ug/m3) were within norms.

“However, PM10 has exceeded the prescribed norms in all six cities,” Javadekar said.

PM10 particles are less than 10 micrometers in diameter and are so small that they can get into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems.

He said that the provision of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 to prevent and control air pollution are implemented by the DPCC in Delhi through its officials.

“The laboratories of DPCC and CBCB are adequately equipped to monitor emissions from industries,” Javadekar said.

The government had yesterday said it has decided to put in place a unified air quality monitoring system to ensure that “authenticated” information is available to people.

Green bodies asked the government to make their intent behind “re-evaluating” the pollution data public.

The Union Environment Minister said the CPCB, DPCC and IMD have also developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) of data “validation, analysis and dissemination” and gave comprehensive details as to how it would work.

Concerns were raised yesterday in Rajya Sabha over the rising air pollution in Delhi, with a Congress member saying that many countries have reduced the tenure of their diplomats here due to the problem.

PTI

PM Narendra Modi calls for climate sensitive development

Prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for a paradigm shift in global attitudes towards climate change, from “carbon credit” to “green credit” while chairing the first meeting of the new look council on climate change. Modi said that all key infrastructure activities should be ‘climate sensitive’ to limit its impact on environment.

Prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for a paradigm shift in global attitudes towards climate change, from “carbon credit” to “green credit” while chairing the first meeting of the new look council on climate change. Modi said that all key infrastructure activities should be ‘climate sensitive’ to limit its impact on environment.The council discussed issues such as preparation of intended nationally determined contributions (INDC) for the Paris climate summit later this year. It also spoke on ways to project India’s achievements on climate action on the world stage.According to sources in the government, the council is looking at focussing on areas such as coastal management, wind energy, waste to energy and health in the climate action plan. Almost 21 states have also sent their proposals for review.of the state action plans.Speaking on the council meet, Union minister of environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar said, “We briefed the council on the climate talks in Lima and in the meetings ahead we will chart out the plan for Paris summit.”Javadekar was non-committal on US president Barack Obama’s upcoming visit and expectations of renewable energy deals.On solar energy, Modi suggested to the council that a consortium of all nations with solar energy potential should come together. “The PM has thought that equatorial countries can come together to exchange technological know-how and to better harness the potential of solar energy.”Among other points of discussion, Modi also called for a review in the curricula of architecture and engineering colleges for promoting energy efficient buildings.

Ministers voluntarily opt out LPG subsidy

Call it symbolism or tokenism, but the oil ministry’s campaign requesting VIPs to give up subsidy on LPG seems to be gaining momentum among the political class.

Venkaiah Naidu voluntarily gave up subsidy and Jaitley was among the first to decide buy it at market rate

Call it symbolism or tokenism, but the oil ministry’s campaign requesting VIPs to give up subsidy on LPG seems to be gaining momentum among the political class.After around five ministers in the Modi government decided to buy LPG at market price, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan is planning to write to MPs, cutting across party lines, making an appeal to them to follow suit.Ministry sources said though politicians’ giving up LPG subsidy would not mean much in financial terms, it sends a message to people that subsidies are not for those who can afford to buy them at market price.Finance minister Arun Jaitley was among the first to decide on taking LPG at market price, followed by parliamentary affairs and urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu and environment minister Prakash Javadekar.Pradhan tweeted on Tuesday also thanking chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar– N Chandrababu Naidu and Jatin Manjhi–for agreeing to his request to give up subsidy on LPG.Besides Naidu and Manjhi, Pradhan had spoken to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who also responded positively to his proposal, sources said.In a country, which has the largest subsidy network, the government’s subsidy bill on account of cooking fuel was Rs 46,458 crore. At the subsidised rate, a cylinder weighing 14.2 kg costs Rs417 while otherwise it is Rs 708.50. In a year, the subsidy on 12 cylinders would be nearly Rs 4,000.The government is of the view that the subsidy should go to the needy and has launched the voluntary scheme to opt out of subsidy.The ministry has also revived the scheme for subsidy to be paid directly in their bank accounts. So far, over eight crore consumers, which means 53 per cent of the total 15.5 crore LPG users, have joined the scheme, under which their bank accounts have been linked to it.

Coastal road project: Prakash Javadekar assures CM Fadnavis of speedy approval

The Central government on Sunday assured the state a speedy approval of the coastal road project which is set to decongest the traffic in the city, in particularly, the western suburbs. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with environment and forest minister Prakash Javedekar on Sunday in Delhi. The Union minister assured a speedy approval, saying: “A broader structure is ready, which details what the Centre and state have to do.”In the meeting, a detailed presentation was demonstrated on the coastal road issue by state officials. About the meeting, Javadekar said: “People who reside in the western side of the city will benefit from it. Since traffic is a big challenge, we discussed all aspects. We are positive about the project and intend to take an early decision.”After the meeting, Fadnavis said: “We requested the central government to give environmental sanctions. There are many issues that need to be addressed, in order to make it sustainable. The state government is working on it”Maharashtra principal secretary (environment) Ajay Mehata, BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte and MP Poonam Mahajan were present at the meeting.Construction of the nearly 35-km long coastal road from Mumbai’s Nariman Point to Kandivli in the western suburbs was stuck. The project, whose estimated cost is Rs10,000 crore, was stalled due to some provisions of the environmental laws which prohibit reclaiming the land from the sea for road projects.However, in a bid to make Mumbai a city of global standards, replete with good infrastructure, the Fadnavis-led BJP government is now seeking the Union’s clearance for the road proposal.

Ganga will transform in five years: Prakash Javadekar

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday expressed confidence that under the Centre’s ‘Clean Ganga’ campaign, the river will become clean and its flow will be unhindered in the next five years.”The Clean Ganga campaign is in full swing. Under the programme, the river will be transformed in five years and its stream would be made free and unhindered,” Javadekar told reporters in Indore. Other rivers in India would also be cleaned in a similar way under this campaign at a later stage, he added. “In order to check pollution in the Ganga river, 17 highly-polluting industries were identified and their 3,206 units were directed to install 24X7 pollution control systems by March 31,” he said.Javadekar claimed that after he took charge of the Environment Ministry, its role did not just remain confined to creating hurdles in the way of development, but to ensure environment protection and development together.”We are taking decisions at a fast pace without making any compromises with environmental clearance rules,” he said. He informed that permissions regarding environment and forests were being given through online process.”Over 900 applications were proceeding in a time-bound manner. The applicant can also check the status of his application online.” Javadekar said to give a boost to the afforestation drive, the Environment Ministry would allocate Rs 33,000 crore to the state governments. “The amount would be given to the states soon after getting a nod from the Supreme Court,” he said.

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