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?NGT bans plastic from Gaumukh-Haridwar, allows rafting in Rishikesh

To ensure this the Tribunal has entrusted state governments the task of monitoring and regulating rafting activity. It asked the state governments of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to create actions plans for identifying rafting camps.

PTI
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed some significant orders on Thursday relating to conservation of river Ganga, rafting and camping in Uttarakhand. The green court has banned camping activity from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand with immediate effect while it has allowed rafting in the river.Further, the bench also banned mechanised riverbed mining in Ganga up to Haridwar and put in place a complete prohibition on use of plastic in the 140-km belt between Gaumukh and Haridwar. This ban will come into effect from February 1 next year and its violation will attract a fine of Rs.5,000.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>River rafting on the banks of Ganga from Shivpuri to Rishikesh is a popular tourist attraction in Uttarakhand and the Tribunal had stopped rafting activity for a while now. Petitioners against rafting activity had claimed that rafting camps being temporary in nature did not have adequate sewage and sanitation facilities and led to disturbance in the river and wildlife ecology.Petitioners had added that a lot of trash is left behind as there is consumption of food and alcohol. While allowing resumption of rafting, NGT observed that it does not harm the environment and hence should be permitted but with a caveat that the rafting camps in Uttarakhand should be temporary in nature and will be allowed only on identified sites.To ensure this the Tribunal has entrusted state governments the task of monitoring and regulating rafting activity. It asked the state governments of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to create actions plans for identifying rafting camps.With regards to banning plastic, it also added that between Gaumukh and Haridwar all ashrams, dharamshalas will have to be mindful about solid waste management. Any kind of dumping of waste in Ganga from these sites would attract environment compensation, the green court said.

No tug of war between court and government over cleaning of Ganga: CJI Thakur

Justice Thakur’s fresh comments assume significance as, during the hearings on a 1984 PIL on cleaning of Ganga, he had observed that the river would not be restored to its pristine glory even in 200 years.

Justice TS Thakur

Chief Justice TS Thakur on Sunday dispelled impressions about his hard-hitting remarks during the judicial proceedings on the government’s ambitious Clean Ganga project, saying the judicial process was “not an impediment” and “intervention” was needed for its honest implementation.”There is no adversarial element in it. Ganga ki safai ko lekar court aur sarkar ke beech koi kheenchtan nahi hai (There is no tug of war between the court and the government over the cleaning of Ganga),” the Chief Justice said in an interaction with mediapersons here. “We will intervene. Judicial process is not an impediment, it can be helpful,” he said, adding that cleaning of the river was an “ambitious plan”, but “it has to be seen how honestly the project is implemented.” Justice Thakur’s fresh comments assume significance as, during the hearings on a 1984 PIL on cleaning of Ganga, he had observed that the river would not be restored to its pristine glory even in 200 years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Emphasising people’s participation in the Rs 20,000 crore Clean Ganga project covering 50 small and big cities, Justice Thakur said there was a need for an awareness campaign and the venture, which has to implemented in various stages, cannot be completed overnight. “We all are linked to Ganga. A civilisation is linked to it and the river is linked to the civilisation of Hindustan.The river is linked to everyone, be they rich or poor. Faith is also attached to it,” he said. However, he said the condition of the river “is not right today, but it is not so that the situation cannot be rectified. The government is serious …. It has allocated Rs 20,000 crore. The government has also given a representation on the various phases of work it will carry out on this project. Cleaning of the Ganga cannot be done overnight.”The CJI pointed out that free flow of untreated industrial waste into the river was one of the major causes of pollution in it, and added that the sewage treatment plants on its banks were not working properly. “It will be a long-drawn battle to cleanse the river,” Justice Thakur said.

Twitter reacts to #ChennaiRains, help pours in for the flood affected

Chennai Rains

AFP
Chennai has been inundated with floods as heavy rains battered the city throughout Tuesday night. While the Army and Navy are being deployed to rescue people from the rain-induced flood, many civilians have undertaken rescue operations themselves. People aggressively tweeted with #ChennaiRains and #ChennaiRains help, making it the top trend on Twitter in India.Related Read: Chennai floods: Helpline numbers for rescue operations, food, blankets, accommodation, stranded animals and more<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A turn of the road, or a bend by the river?As #ChennaiRains trend on Twitter, it has been a platform for reiteration of information.The page created for weather updates, help and coordination, can be followed for assistance and latest information.As everyone is taking steps to help each other, some are going a step further and assuring the safety of the animals as well. There have been reports and requests of rescues of animals from all over the city.This video shows how a woman gets to a house next to hers, swimming.A swelling Adyar River has been a source of concern for the recent hour.As Army and the Navy personnel have been deployed, rescue operations began yesterday; the death toll has risen to 188.Train services have been delayed or diverted as the railway tracks have been completely flooded.Forecasts have come up and they have not been reassuring.A scene from the airport.A scene from the Sathyabama University.As the situations got dire, help started pouring in, as Chennaites look out for each other.This video gives a clear idea of how devastating this rain has been for Chennai.

No dearth of funds for Clean Ganga mission: Nitin Gadkari

A number of ghats and gardens would be built on its banks boosting tourism and provide a source of income for at least 10 lakh youths, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Nitin Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said the central government is giving priority to making river Ganga pollution free and there is no dearth of funds for the Clean Ganga mission.Projects worth crores of rupees have been launched to make river Ganga pollution free. A number of ghats and gardens would be built on its banks boosting tourism and provide a source of income for at least 10 lakh youths, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said. He was speaking at a symposium on preservation of river Ganga organised at Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut, which was also attended by a number of leaders including Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government alone can’t keep the Ganga clean. It can make the river pollution free by spending Rs 20,000 crore but the society has to come forward to keep it that way, Bharti said, adding the Supreme Court, political parties, media all are united in cleaning the river. “I have dedicated myself for the Ganga. My life would find its true success once I succeed in making the river pollution free and I will succeed in my endeavour,” she said.

Jammu & Kashmir: Four months after suicide, failed student declared passed

Father of deceased 17-year-old J&K boy Adnan Hilal Gilkar calls this a clear case of murder

Adnan Hilal Gilkar

Shock, anger and disbelief has descended upon Jammu and Kashmir after a 17-year-old engineering student, who committed suicide after being marked failed in an examination, was declared successful after re-evaluation, four months after his death. Adnan Hilal Gilkar, who was pursuing a diploma in electrical engineering at Government Polytechnic College, Srinagar, committed suicide on June 18, the day he was declared ‘failed’ in his physics paper by the J&K state board of technical education. Adnan had jumped into the River Jhelum on June 18 after checking his result on the internet, which declared that he had failed his Physics paper. Seemingly depressed, he climbed atop Abdullah Bridge and jumped into the river. Four days later, his body was fished out from Jhelum in the old Srinagar city.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After the re-evaluation process, Adnan has secured around 70 per cent aggregate marks in the first semester of the course. In the subject, in which he was previously failed, he has secured 48 marks contrary to the earlier 28, for which he committed suicide. “It is a clear case of murder. We are completely shattered. My son has always been a bright student all through. He got a distinction in matriculation. He was one of the first 100 students to crack the entrance test for the engineering course. Now, after his death they say he had actually passed the exam and not failed as declared by them earlier,” Hilal Ahmad Gilkar, Adnan’s father, told dna. Gilkar, a guest faculty at Institute of Management and Public Administration (IMPA), said that he had applied for re-evaluation of his Physics paper since Adnan had told him that he had answered all the questions with ease. “After Adnan wrote the paper he told me that he had insisted on a continuation sheet because he needed to write more. He was given a second answer script to write his answers. I went for the re-evaluation and came to know that he had actually got 48 marks and not 28. Insensitivity and callous attitude of the evaluators has cost me my son,” lamented Gilkar. Gilkar has decided not to back down and take legal action against the authorities for callousness. “I will fight for justice. I will highlight this issue and take legal action against the authorities because their follies have claimed an innocent student’s life,” he said. Facing flak, the J&K State Board of Technical Education tried to deflect blame, saying that they just compiled the results. “Our re-evaluation is a fair system of marking. A student having doubt can come and see his answer paper. We get it evaluated from two experts. Some students pass and some fail in the re-evaluation process,” said Nazir Hussain Malik, secretary of the board.

From $10 bn soft loan to farm support: PM Modi lays out his Africa strategy

Much of India’s development priorities and Africa’s vision for its future are aligned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today at the third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi on Thursday, announcing a slew of measures to support the continent.

“India is honoured to be a development partner for Africa. It is a partnership beyond strategic concerns and economic benefits. It is formed from the emotional bonds we share and the solidarity we feel for each other,” he said.

He added that Africa and India are the two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy, which is witnessing a downturn.

“We will open our doors more; we will expand tele-education; and we will continue to build institutions in Africa,” he said.

Ever since the first such summit happened in 2008, India has given $7.4 billion in concessional credit to Africa, and also a $1.2 billion grant. More than this, India is building infrastructure on the continent. According to the prime minister, nearly 25,000 young Africans were trained and educated in India in the last three years alone.

PM Narendra Modi at the India-Africa Forum Summit on Thursday. Twitter @PIB_India

PM Narendra Modi at the India-Africa Forum Summit on Thursday. Twitter @PIB_India

Here are the key takeaways from the speech:

Help for Africa’s agriculture sector: India will help Africa in developing its agriculture sector, Modi promised. “Africa has 60 percent of the world’s arable land reserves and just 10 percent of the global output. India will help to develop Africa’s agriculture sector,” he said.

He said a spurt in Africa’s agriculture sector can drive the continent’s march to prosperity and also support global food security.

Appreciating the measures taken by the African countries in the fields of healthcare, education and agriculture, Modi said: “We see strong measures that are radically improving healthcare, education and agriculture. Primary school enrolment in Africa now exceeds 90 percent.”

Technology and innovation: Quoting Egyptian Nobel Prize-winning writer Naguib Mahfouz who said science brings people together with the light of its ideas, PM Modi said that technology will be a strong foundation of the partnership between India and Africa.

He said Africa has now joined the global mainstream of innovation. “The mobile banking of M-Pesa, the healthcare innovation of MedAfrica, or the agriculture innovation of AgriManagr and Kilimo Salama, are using mobile and digital technology to transform lives in Africa,” Modi said.

$10 billion credit: In addition to the ongoing credit programme, PM Modi committed a $10 billion credit programme.

“To add strength to our partnership, India will offer concessional credit of $10 billion over the next five years. This will be in addition to our ongoing credit programme,” said Modi.

Apart from this, Modi also pledged an assistance of $600 million to the continent, which includes 50,000 scholarships for African students in India, an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. It will also support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa, he said.

Combatting climate change: “No one can be more conscious of climate change than Indians and Africans,” Modi declared calling for cooperation between the two to combat climate change.

Both Africa and India want to “light up lives of our people and power their future”, but it should be done in such a manner that “snow on Kilimanjaro does not disappear, the glacier that feeds the River Ganga does not retreat,” he said.

He, however, pointed out that excess of a few cannot become the burden of many, alluding to the differences between developing and developed nations on the issue. At the meet in Paris in December, India will do its part for it, but also wants to see “a genuine global public partnership that makes clean energy affordable; provides finance and technology to developing countries to access it; and the means to adapt to the impact of climate change”.

Solar alliance: He invited the African nations to join an alliance of solar-rich countries that India has proposed to launch in Paris on 30 November at the time of COP-21 meeting.

“Our goal is to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities.”

Together for a global trading regime: He said India and Africa should also seek a global trading regime that serves the development goals and improves the trade prospects of both the regions.

UNSC reforms: Lastly, Modi also exhorted India and Africa to speak in one voice for reforms in international institutions like the UN Security Council.

“The world is undergoing political, economic, technological and security transition on a scale and speed rarely seen in recent history. Yet, our global institutions reflect the circumstances of the century that we left behind, not the one we are in today,” the prime minister said.

With inputs from IANS

PM Modi to unveil philosopher Basaveshwara’s statue during UK visit

Prime Minister Modi, during his radio talk ‘Mann ki Baat’ today, said he was honoured to be unveiling the statue of Basaveshwara during his visit to London.
File Photo
AFP photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the statue of 12th century Indian philosopher Basaveshwara, who was one of the pioneers of the idea of democracy, during his UK visit next month. Modi, who is travelling to the UK in the second week of November, will unveil the statue on November 14, 2015, on the banks of River Thames in the London Borough of Lambeth.Former Mayor of London Borough of Lambeth, Dr Neeraj Patil, the architect behind the statue had met the Prime Minister on March 24, 2015, and extended an invitation on behalf of the British Indian community to unveil the statue during his visit to London. The Prime Ministers’ Office accepted his invitation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Modi, during his radio talk ‘Mann ki Baat’ today, said he was honoured to be unveiling the statue of Basaveshwara during his visit to London. Basaveshwara (1134-1168) was an Indian philosopher, social reformer and statesman who attempted to create a casteless society and fought against caste and religious discrimination.In an attempt to create a casteless society and eradicate caste discrimination and untouchability, he solicited the marriage of an upper caste bride with a lower caste bridegroom and paid a heavy price for this. He created a model Parliament ‘Anubhava Mantap’ that had equal proportion of men and women, people from all socio- economic backgrounds and encouraged people to debate and discuss various issues.India has recognised Basaveshwara as one of the pioneers of democracy and his statue was installed in the Indian Parliament in 2002 during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. India had also released a coin and a postal stamp as a mark of respect for Basaveshwara and his contribution to Indian society.The Basaveshwara Foundation, a non-profit organisation, led the deputation before the Lambeth council on January, 2010, and pledged to donate 250,000 pounds for lease of land to erect the statue. The Government of Karnataka had allocated a grant of Rs 3 crore in the budget 2010-2011 for the statue.Basaveshwara shares a conceptual relationship with Britain because he preached British values of democracy, freedom of speech, equality of opportunity and tolerance way back in the 12th century. Basaveshwara’s statue will be the first Indian statue approved on the conceptual basis in the vicinity of British Parliament.The other Indian leaders’ statues that have been approved and installed in London are that of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore.

Pakistan targets 9 Border Outposts along IB in Samba, civilian killed

After over a month-long lull, Pakistani troops on Friday resumed the ceasefire violations along the international border, killing one civilian and injuring three so far.

BSF jawans

Pakistan Rangers violated the ceasefire again with heavy firing and mortar shelling overnight that targeted nine Border Outposts (BoPs) of BSF and civilians areas in Samba district along IB, leaving a labourer injured.After over a month-long lull, Pakistani troops on Friday resumed the ceasefire violations along the international border, killing one civilian and injuring three so far.”Pak Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing on BSF posts along IB in Samba sector from 2025 hours last night”, a BSF officer said in Jammu on Saturday, adding BSF troops carried out effective retaliation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rangers fired on nine BoPs of BSF along IB in areas between River Basantar and River Treva in Samba sector, he said, adding that they used 82, 82 and 51 mm mortar bombs at few places along IB.BSF troops guarding the borderline retaliated resulting in exchanges which continued till 0220 hours today, he said, adding that there was no loss of life on Indian side but a civilian, who was working as a labourer in maintenance work near fence, was injured.A civilian was killed and two others were injured last evening when Pakistani troops indulged in heavy firing along IB in Mangu Chak border outpost. The ceasefire violations, which became a routine, had stopped after the Director General (DG)-level talks between BSF and Pakistan Rangers on September 12.

Tell us one place where Ganga is clean: National Green Tribunal tells Centre

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Friday asked the government to “tell us one place” where the Ganga is clean and said that despite spending huge sums, the situation has gone from bad to worse.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Expressing open displeasure over the government’s lackadaisical approach towards ensuring cleanliness and uninterrupted flow of the Ganga, it said “we take it that almost nothing has happened in reality.”

The green panel, which was asked to act against industrial units polluting Ganga by the Supreme Court, said the Centre and the states over the years have only been shifting responsibility and nothing concrete was visible on the ground.

“Would you please tell us that is it correct that more than Rs 5,000 crore has been spent on Ganga in making it worse from bad. We don’t want to know whether you have allotted this quantum of money to the states or have spent it yourself.

“Out of the 2,500 km stretch of the river Ganga, tell us one place, where the condition of the river has improved,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked.

The counsel appearing for Ministry of Water Resources told the bench that almost Rs 4,000 crore has been spent on the rejuvenation of the river since 1985 till last year.

He said that Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I was launched as a centrally-funded scheme in 1985 and later GAP Phase-II was initiated in 1993 to improve the river’s water quality. In 2009, ‘National Ganga River Basin Authority’ (NGRBA) was setup for pollution control in the Ganga.

NGRBA, a World Bank-funded scheme, was aimed at effective abatement of pollution and conservation of Ganga and 70 percent of the total project cost was contributed by the Centre and the remaining expenses were borne by the states, he said.

To this, the bench said, “better be careful of what you say. We take it as almost nothing has happened in reality. It is not suddenly that we are asking for all the information from you.

“We have been waiting for the last one year. But for one reason or the other, you have been delaying the issue. We don’t want to comment on that. But this time we are not leaving it to your discretion, be rest assured. To clean Ganga is your prime responsibility. Days are very short for you,” the bench said.

PTI

Vadodara auto driver saves MP teen from crocodile’s jaws

In a heroic act, an autorickshaw driver today rescued a 17-year-old youth from the jaws of a crocodile in Vishwamitri river.

Representational Image

Wikimedia Commons
In a heroic act, an autorickshaw driver today rescued a 17-year-old youth from the jaws of a crocodile in Vishwamitri river.The youth, Mukesh Sakla from Madhya Pradesh, was spotted in the river which passes through the middle of the city this afternoon crying for help and saved by auto driver, Ganibhai Mohammed Sheikh after a 10-15 minute battle with the crocodile.Narrating the incident, Sheikh said, “I saw a youth screaming for help in the river while passing over Bhimnah bridge in Sayajigunj area at around 1230 hrs. Several people had gathered on the bridge and were pelting stones at the crocodile.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After stopping my rickshaw, I went near the site of the river where this youth was struggling for life. I picked up an iron road from a nearby construction site and started hitting the crocodile on its head. The crocodile had clutched the youth’s left hand between its terrifying jaws. Soon the crocodile retreated in the river water and the youth, who was bleeding profusely, was brought out,” the 52-year-old auto driver said.Sakla was rushed to the Gujarat Government-run SSG Hospital in a municipal van by local residents and is undergoing medical treatment.Talking to PTI, P B Chauhan, Range Forest Officer, said they are trying to record the teenager’s statement. “The youth said he is from Madhya Pradesh, but beyond that he has not told us anything about himself or his family. It is also not known how he got into the river,” he said.Chauhan said several people told him that he jumped into the river from the bridge. “There are many crocodiles in the river and one of them suddenly attacked and grabbed his left hand,” he said, quoting eye-witnesses.Sheikh said it took him 10 to 15 minutes to free the youth from the aquatic reptile’s jaws. It is not known how serious is Sakla’s injury.More than 200 crocodiles are thought to inhabit Vishwamitri.

We can’t stop at Shershah Suri’s roads…we have to move further: Prakash Javadekar

Even as the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC) states the importance of conserving wildlife corridors, it has cleared several road and infrastructure projects in critical habitats. In an exclusive interview with dna, MoEF&CC minister Prakash Javadekar feels that his ministry is doing the needful for both development and environment. Javadekar also spoke on the issues on which the ministry plans to amend CRZ notification, 2011.
Excerpts from the interview:

The Shailesh Nayak committee gave its report on CRZ notification earlier this year. What are the broad contours regarding easing of CRZ norms?Basically, Shailesh Nayak committee has given suggestions on CRZ I to IV, including islands where people are staying. So, coastal development has to be taken into account along with the vulnerability of people living near coasts. We have to build resilience in coastal areas keeping in mind extreme weather events and increasing population on coasts. The committee’s report is under consideration, and a small group of the ministry is studying it. We are also looking at the global best practices for coastal development, regulation, protection and even tourism development. We need to use our coastline to the best advantage of maintaining ecology as well as allowing development and tourism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Talking specifically of Mumbai which has unique infrastructure and environment issues, is the ministry looking at specific amendments to the CRZ notification?We will definitely do so. In Mumbai, either the rich or the poor are living near the coastline. You cannot allow people to submerge one day. Redevelopment of coastal colonies is an issue and another big issue is of the dilapidated buildings. The rules were frozen, FSI and other things, since 1991. So, while the rules in the city (non-CRZ areas) have changed, the rules of construction in coastal zones have not changed. These are the problems we are addressing. This being an important policy decision, we will take guidance of the Prime Minister and take opinion of the cabinet colleagues. We are doing our home-work. This week, I am going to see the presentation of our own ministry on the issue. We may present a cabinet note if required after due diligence. Also, we will definitely put the (Nayak) committee’s report in public domain. Devendra Fadnavis had announced that a new chemical zone is proposed in Konkan, Western Ghats, even as one already exists in Parshuram-Lote which has polluted Vashihstri River. Will red category industries not pollute the Ghats more?We have mandated 24×7 online pollution monitoring in the all industrial zones. This (chemical zone) will not be situated in the eco-sensitive zone of the Ghats. Your ministry is also clearing and supporting projects fragmenting critical wildlife corridors and protected areas in the country in the case of NH7, Karnala sanctuary, Ken-Betwa River Link etc. How do justify the decisions while saying that these corridors are important?No, that is not true. Karnala is not a tiger reserve. While expanding the road through Karnala, we are adopting mitigation measures. Shershah Suri (the founder of the Sur Empire in North India) built roads, you cannot stop at that and have to move further. In Karnala or other places, there is honking, pollution and accidents on many such roads. But we are coming up with an eco-duct to aide wildlife crossing, it is one of the world’s best mitigation measures suggested by Wildlife Institute of India. It is a classic example of balancing environment and development. It is true that NHAI has agreed to build wildlife crossings while expanding NH7, it is also a fact that they did so after a long legal battle in NGTUnlike the earlier government we are listening to sane voices. We sat together and we solved the matter. But it is the NGT who asked your ministry and NHAI about NH7’s wildlife clearance and mitigation measure and directed both to arrive at mitigation measuresThe earlier government (Congress-NCP) had not given wildlife clearances. Either you reject it or give it. You cannot keep all projects in limbo. We have decided to take decisions. Regarding the Ken-Betwa river link project, do you think the concept of linking is viable?Though the matter is sub judice, I believe that we can protect both forests and wildlife. We have only 2.5% of world’s landmass and 17% of world’s population. I can’t say that I have to keep everything open and not allow human development. Linking Godavari to Krishna has succeeded. For Ken-Betwa, both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have agreed. We have to ensure that while linking the two, there is no damage to a major wildlife habitat, and there will be a way out. But this project does go through the Panna tiger reserve?But because this is in court, and I have to file an affidavit, I will not like to talk. The ministry has also issued guidelines on opening up 40% of ‘degraded’ forests to private enterprises for their management, can you elaborate?We want to involve private players on a transparent basis. We are giving access to only those who are importing wood, because they are also creating jobs. The framework we have in mind, is to make available ‘degraded’ forests for afforestation. Non-forestry activities won’t be allowed. Ten per cent of the area will have plants or trees of traditional species bearing fruits, flower wood, that is useful for birds and animals. These trees won’t be harvested for commercial use. The remaining 90% will be offered on rent plus revenue sharing and they can harvest wood for commercial utilisation. So the intention is to create forests in areas where there is no forest, giving us revenue and also generating employment. While you say that 10% will be traditional trees on these land parcels, aren’t you encouraging monoculture on the other 90% for trade?But today, there is nothing on these parcels. Most of these land parcels to be considered are either encroached or barren. They are forests only on paper.

Mata Amritanandamayi donates Rs 100 crore to Clean Ganga Project

Lauding Mata Amritanandamayi (better known as Amma) for her contribution, Jaitley said, “It will send a message across the world that those committed to the cause should contribute.”

Stressing the need to preserve Ganga river which symbolises the country’s culture and heritage, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday made a fervent plea to Indians across the world to contribute to the Namami Ganga and Swacch Bharat campaigns of the Centre.”Ganga is not merely a symbol of religion. It is a symbol of holiness, culture and geography and most importantly it is one of the most powerful instruments of our economy”, Jaitley said.He speaking after receiving a cheque of Rs 100 crore from Mata Amritanandamayi for construction of toilets under the Swacch Bharat programme. Another Rs 100 crore would be given by the mutt for the programme later this month. Ganga influences 40 % of Indians who live in the area around it, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We depend so much on the Ganga, being so devoted to it, but yet are careless in preserving the river, particularly in the area from Kanpur to Varanasi where industrial and household pollutants, all untreated, get into the holy river damaging the ecology, environment and the river itself,” he said.Lauding Mata Amritanandamayi (better known as Amma) for her contribution, Jaitley said, “It will send a message across the world that those committed to the cause should contribute.””It is not merely government contributions that will go from the budget, this is one campaign which which has become much more than governmental campaign,” he said.”We have spent thousands of crores, but not much result has come. The government has therefore launched a mission mode Namami Ganga programme and is determined to clean the Ganga in 2-3 years time,” he said. Jaitley said lakhs of people living in thousands of villages on the banks of Ganga end up polluting the river.”There is a need to generate a consciousness among them that it is our heritage, it our culture, it is our economy that the Ganga represents,” the minister said.The second initiative of the government, the Swacch Bharat campaign which involves providing functional toilets in every house in the country, was an essential pre-requisite of a clean India campaign, he said. The finance minister said some months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Amma and she had expressed the desire to contribute to one of major national initiatives.”Amma has decided to take the first step in leading in contributing to this great campaign and it sends a message across the world, not merely in India, that everyone who is committed to this great cause to contribute,” he said.Jaitley said the NRI diaspora have also take it up the campaign.”Therefore this gigantic step taken by Amma today is going to send both a material and also a symbolic message to everyone who is concerned with Ganga across the world,” he said.Every village homes on the banks of Ganga must have a toilet so that we can make the environment clean and the pollutants from the households do not get into the river, Jaitley said.

Yamuna rejuevation to be carried out under special plan: Uma Bharti

Apart from tackling the problem of pollution in Yamuna, a a proposal to provide a minimum water level in the river is also under consideration.

Uma Bharti
File Photo

Union Minister Uma Bharti on Sunday said the rejuvenation of Yamuna would also be carried out under a special work plan like the Ganga river. For this, a workplan is being prepared by a special group, comprising Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the states where Yamuna is most polluted, said Bharti, who was visiting Vrindavan on the occasion of Janmashtami. Apart from tackling the problem of pollution in Yamuna, a a proposal to provide a minimum water level in the river is also under consideration, the Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> She said the orders given by National Green Tribunal would also be followed in this regard and efforts would be made in collaboration with the state governments to prevent encroachments and pollution in the river. Bharti also said the effluent and sewage treatment plants set up to treat household and industrial waste in the three states are not working properly and the government would ensure that they are dealt with strictly.

Ghaziabad: Ring-wing activists seize truck carrying bovines, 64 booked

Getty Images
Sixty-four right-wing activists were booked for allegedly creating ruckus after impounding a truck smuggling cattle in the district, police said on Friday.Cases against 14 named and 50 unnamed workers were registered, police said. The truck, which was illegally transporting bovines, was seized by the workers at new bridge of Hindan River near Karhera village, SHO Sihani gate police station Upender Yadav said.The truck was carrying 15 cattle — including cows, oxen and calves, Yadav said. Enraged over the matter, the activists blocked the roads and damaged vehicles by pelting stones, he said. The three named accused — Sumit, Pintoo and Aakash — were arrested, while others are absconding, Yadav said, adding police raids are underway to nab the remaining persons involved in the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Hydroelectric projects will adversely impact Tawang biodiversity: Study

The study, carried out by the North-Eastern Hill University, in one of its major recommendations has said that the HEPs located 3,200 metres above sea level should be rejected.

A voluminous study submitted to the environment ministry on the cumulative impact of 13 proposed hydroelectric (HEPs) projects on the Tawang River Basin (TRB), Arunachal Pradesh, has said that the projects will affect unique biodiversity, undisturbed forests and cultural diversity of TRB and will have detrimental impact on habitats of endangered flora and fauna. The study, carried out by the North-Eastern Hill University, in one of its major recommendations has said that the HEPs located 3,200 metres above sea level should be rejected.The 13 HEPs on Tawang river’s main stem and tribuataries — Tsa Chu-I, Tsa Chu-I lower, Tsa Chu-II, Thingbu chu, New Melling, Mago Chu, Nykcharong chu, Rho, Tawang-I, Tawang-II, Nyamjung Chhu, Paikangrong Chu, and Jaswantgarh stage — I will cut into 249 hectares of forest and have a total installed capacity of 2,809.10MW. Being run-of-river projects, they don’t large reservoirs that lead to displacement. Two of these HEP’s, Tsa Chu-I and Jaswantgarh stage-I, are located 3,200m above sea level.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The TRB is located within the Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot, which is also listed among the 200 Globally Important Eco–regions. It entirely falls in highly active seismic Zone V with a proximity to glacial lakes and it represents a typical Eastern-Himalayan landscape which is prone to soil erosion and landslides.The detailed study has asked each project proponent to chalk out a comprehensive mitigation plan specific to the impact it has on surrounding flora and fauna. In its key recommendations, the report has said that 40 per cent of the main length of Tawang and its tributaries should be free flowing, which means it should be of free of any projects. It has said that 66 per cent of the total geographical area of the river basin should be under forest cover.Tawang is home to the Monpa community and also the famous Tawang monastery. A major part of the community has protested against projects planned in the TRB. Keeping this in mind, the report has recommended that the total population of Tawang at any given point of time should not exceed 57,474 persons, which is 15% more than the present population of 49,977. This, the report says is to protect the culture of ethnic community and to maintain a demographic balance.The TRB is located within the Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot, which is also listed among the 200 Globally Important Eco–regions and is thus home to endangered and threatened species of both flora and fauna. Scientists have recorded 171 resident bird species and 71 migratory species in the river basin. The threatened species of black neck crane, which makes the river basin its winter home, is considered sacred and as a reincarnation of the 6th Dalai Lama of the Monpas.But, the 760MW Nyamjang Chu project’s barrage is proposed to be constructed near the same spot where the black neck cranes are sighted. Besides the crane, the river basin is home to the vulnerable species of red panda and the endangered Arunachal Macaque monkey.

Govt to raise one battalion of Ganga Task Force

In his reply to a question, Union Minister of State for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat said that the Ministry of Defence has agreed to raise one battalion of Ganga Task Force initially for monitoring the pollution through ex-servicemen living along River Ganga.

River Ganga

dna Research & Archives
The Defence Ministry has agreed to raise one battalion of Ganga Task Force initially, comprising ex-servicemen who will be residing along the river for monitoring pollution, Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.In his reply to a question, Union Minister of State for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat said that the Ministry of Defence has agreed to raise one battalion of Ganga Task Force initially for monitoring the pollution through ex-servicemen living along River Ganga.Responding to another query on rejuvenation of River Ganga, the minister said that Germany, Australia, Canada, Singapore and the Netherlands have expressed interest to support Ganga rejuvenation through knowledge/technology sharing and providing financial/technical assistance for cleaning up of Ganga, capacity building, research and development, sharing of experiences, expertise and best practises. PTI YKS<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Rains lash Kolkata and other parts of South Bengal; road, rail traffic thrown out of gear

Heavy rainfall lashed south Bengal districts and disrupted normal life in the state capital in Kolkata, throwing road and rail traffic out of gear since early this morning as most parts of the city were submerged.

School students wade through a waterlogged road during rains in Kolkata on Saturday

PTI
Heavy rainfall lashed south Bengal districts and disrupted normal life in the state capital in Kolkata, throwing road and rail traffic out of gear since early this morning as most parts of the city were submerged.The MeT department recorded 133.6-mm rainfall in the last 24 hours till 8.30 A.M. on Saturday and has forecast heavy to very heavy rains in Gangetic West Bengal till Sunday. Cyclone ‘Komen’, which made landfall in Bangladesh on Thursday, remained practically stationary there and has weakened into a depression, it said. The weather phenomenon would move west northwestwards and gradually weaken into a well-marked low-pressure area, the MeT office said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Flood-like situation was reported in several districts of South Bengal like Howrah, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore with heavy rains lashing these areas in the last few days. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Friday said that the inclement weather has claimed 39 lives and affected about 7 lakh people, leaving many homeless in the districts. Several roads in north and south Kolkata remained under knee-deep water owing to the rains.Arterial roads like Central Avenue, Park Street, Theatre Road, Hospital Road, Amherst Street and parts of Diamond Harbour Road were waterlogged, leading to traffic snarls. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is running 300 pumps from its permanent pumping stations in different parts of the city along with 360 more portable pumps to drain out the water, Mayor in-Council (drainage) member, Tarak Singh, said.The water level in the Ganges recorded a high of 6.8-m owing to a full moon yesterday combined with the heavy rains and release of water from upper catchment areas, said a River Traffic Police officer.The high water level in the river also hampered the drainage of water from certain parts of the city, KMC officials said.Train services at Howrah and Sealdah sections of Eastern Railway were affected owing to the flooding of the tracks, said ER CPRO, Ravi Mahapatra. “At Sealdah, EMU local train services are delayed and we are running trains on Sunday schedule,” he said.That meant several EMU locals were cancelled due to lack of rakes, which were stuck in waterlogged car sheds. Mail and express trains to and from Howrah and Sealdah are delayed, but all the trains are running, he said.Train services at Kolkata station, another terminal in North Kolkata, are stalled due to the tracks going under water, he added.

Six dead, 29 missing as tourist bus falls into gorge in Himachal Pradesh

29 people have been reported to be missing and chances of their survival are bleak according to various news reports.

ANI
At least six people were killed and 16 others injured after a tourist bus, with 51 passengers on board, fell into a gorge in River Parvati in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. 29 people have been reported to be missing and chances of their survival are bleak according to various news reports. The private bus was from Punjab. The fatal accident occured in Sarsari village on the Bhuntar-Manikaran road. The Himachal Pradesh state government has asked the local authorities to speed up the rescue process to locate the mising bus. Injured have been taken to government hospital in Kullu. Most passengers hailed from Mansa and Barnala town of Punjab who were going to the famous Sikh shrine in Manikaran. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With agency inputs

Seven killed, 26 missing as bus falls into Himachal river

Kullu: At least seven people were killed and 23 others injured when a private tourist bus from Punjab skidded off the road and fell into the swollen Parvati river in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district on Thursday evening, police said.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Twenty-six passengers were still missing and their chances of survival were bleak as the bus was still untraceable and the flow in the river was strong.

Officials said the toll could rise as the bus had 56 passengers — a majority of them from Punjab’s Barnala and Mansa towns who were travelling to a famous Sikh shrine in Manikaran.

The bus met with the accident in Sarsari village on the Bhuntar-Manikaran road, some eight km from Bhuntar, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kanwar told IANS.

He said seven bodies were fished out.

Official sources said the rescue operation was stopped late in the evening due to darkness and would resume on Friday morning.

“The bus is still untraceable. Most the bodies might be still stuck either in the bus or washed away,” he said.

The cause of the accident was yet to be ascertained, he added. The injured were admitted to government hospitals in Kullu, some 200 km from Shimla. Bus conductor Raj Kumar was among the survivors. The government has summoned divers of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) to locate the bodies.

Governor Kalyan Singh and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh mourned the deaths. The chief minister directed the district administration to intensify the search operation, besides providing all possible assistance to the injured.

IANS

Japan’s Nikkei buys Financial Times in $1.3 billion deal | Reuters

LONDON Japanese media group Nikkei agreed on Thursday to buy the Financial Times from Britain’s Pearson in a $1.3 billion deal that brings together two leading financial news operations from Europe and Asia.

The deal marks the biggest acquisition by a Japanese media organisation and is a coup for Nikkei, an employee-owned firm which also lends its name to the main Japanese stock market index.

The Nikkei newspaper, which has a circulation surpassing 3 million for its morning edition alone, enjoys a must-read reputation for financial and business news in Japan but has struggled to break out of its home market.

“I am extremely proud of teaming up with the Financial Times, one of the most prestigious news organisations in the world,” said Tsuneo Kita, chairman and group CEO of Nikkei. “We share the same journalistic values.”

Analysts and bankers had for years been waiting for Pearson to sell the trophy asset, although the names most closely linked with a deal were Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters. A person familiar with the situation had also recently told Reuters that Germany’s Axel Springer was working on a buyout.

Reuters reported earlier on Thursday that the 171-year-old Pearson had finally decided to sell the business daily as it expanded more into education.

As the news broke of the Nikkei deal, an FT journalist tweeted a photograph showing staff in the newsroom crowded around a television watching the developments. FT Editor Lionel Barber said on Twitter he would address the staff shortly.

The sale of the FT Group, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015, does not include its 50 percent stake in The Economist magazine nor the London headquarters of the newspaper on the banks of the River Thames.

In a joint statement, Pearson said it believed the time was right for the FT, which was first printed on pink paper in 1893 to stand out from rival titles, to be part of a global, digital news company.

It had owned the paper for nearly 60 years.

Analysts and one shareholder told Reuters they welcomed the deal. “It is hard to argue with the price,” said Richard Marwood, senior fund manager at AXA Investment Managers, a shareholder in Pearson.

(Additional reporting by the London newsroom; Kevin Krolicki and Ritsuko Ando in Japan.; editing by William Schomberg, Giles Elgood and David Stamp)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Jammu and Kashmir: People moved to safer areas as Basantar river crosses safety mark

More than 100 people residing in villages of Ramgarh sector in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir have been moved to safer places after the Basantar river breached the safety mark, a senior official said on Monday.

PTI
More than 100 people residing in villages of Ramgarh sector in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir have been moved to safer places after the Basantar river breached the safety mark, a senior official said on Monday.”As a precautionary measure, more than 100 villagers were asked to move out of their houses from various villages in the Ramgarh sector of the district,” Samba Deputy Commissioner Sheetal Nanda said.The measures were taken by the Civil Administration after the water in the Basantar River breached various embankments and entered the houses in villages of the district. “These people are kept in a local school in Samba and we are waiting for the weather conditions to improve, as soon as the weather improves and water recedes we will send these people back to their houses,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She further added that steps will be taken to prevent soil erosion in order to restore the parts of land that got washed away due to the heavy water currents of the river.

NGT panel on Yamuna restoration suggests ban on use of fresh water along river bank

It also advocated setting up of common effluent treatment plant with zero liquid discharge arrangement in industrial clusters located near the banks of the Yamuna.

A committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal has suggested that use of fresh water should be prohibited and made an offence in order to maintain the minimum environmental flow of Yamuna river.The principal committee, headed by Shashi Shekhar, the Secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources, was constituted by the green panel on January 13 for implementing the “Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization Plan, 2017”. The tribunal had directed the committee and the Chief Secretary of the states, through which the river passes, to submit their suggestions on the issue of minimum environmental flow.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The principal committee has suggested a slew of measures to be adopted for maintaining the natural “ecological” flow of Yamuna while it passes through the capital.The committee has recommended that in all the urban towns situated along the river, the sewage water must be mandatorily treated and supplied for industrial processes, railway and bus cleaning, fire-fighting, city parks, construction activities etc.”For such purposes use of fresh water should be prohibited and made an offence. This will save significant amount of fresh water which is today diverted from the river and to the extent that such fresh water is saved, e-flow in the river should be further augmented from Hathnikund Barrage, the committee said.It also advocated setting up of common effluent treatment plant with zero liquid discharge arrangement in industrial clusters located near the banks of the Yamuna. “These industries, therefore, should be banned from drawing fresh water from the ground water or supply by the municipalities. This will again save huge quantum of fresh water and to that extent additional e-flow from Hathnikund Barrage should be released in the river Yamuna.”Agricultural practices shall be mandatorily made water efficient in terms of cropping and water use. Use of fresh water from rivers for irrigation purposes shall be discouraged and the use of treated sewage from the urban centres shall be encouraged and rewarded. Current practice of indiscriminate extraction of the ground water to meet cash crop agricultural needs shall also be curtailed by law,” it said.

Namami Gange: Officials study polluted areas

The project for controlling and treating sewage pollutants that flow into River Ganga may face more delays under the Central government’s Clean Ganga project. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is in the process of identifying the most polluted stretches along the river’s 2,525 km length. This exercise, NMCG officials said, would help narrow down the pollution problem to help targeted setting up of sewage treatment plants. But the effort of narrowing down most polluted stretches may turn into a headache as they pass through several districts and most importantly, each district administration has to carry out ground truthing exercises.

The project for controlling and treating sewage pollutants that flow into River Ganga may face more delays under the Central government’s Clean Ganga project. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is in the process of identifying the most polluted stretches along the river’s 2,525 km length. This exercise, NMCG officials said, would help narrow down the pollution problem to help targeted setting up of sewage treatment plants. But the effort of narrowing down most polluted stretches may turn into a headache as they pass through several districts and most importantly, each district administration has to carry out ground truthing exercises.
<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> According to NMCG sources, nearly 50 stretches have been identified along Ganga with the help of Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping and the process is near completion. The real task though will begin when the satellite mapped stretches have to be demarcated on ground.
“Shifting of utilities, land acquisition and ironing inter-district issues are all time consuming activities while we move towards setting up of sewage treatment plants,” said an NMCG official on condition of anonymity. Along the Ganga, Kannauj to Varanasi is the most critically polluted stretch as more than 400 tanneries and equal number of industries discharge more than 3,000 million litres of effluents per day. This stretch also draws excessive water from the river for irrigation, power generation and drinking water. Apart from this stretch, in West Bengal, the Dakshineshwar, Garden Reach, Diamond Harbour and Uluberia areas also witness high pollution levels where more than 1,700 million litres of effluents is discharged per day.
NMCG said that the identification of critical stretches was important to also make the project cost-effective as sewage treatment plants are capital intensive. “Treating one MLD (million-litres per day) of sewage would roughly cost around Rs 4 – 5 crore. Earlier we were trying to focus on the entire sewerage network in urban areas, but we have realised that addressing pollution control will be more effective.” The NMCG is now awaiting for cabinet approval for Namami Gange, the flagship programme under the larger Clean Ganga project. The approval is expected in the coming days, sources said.

Labourer sets herself ablaze after being raped by cop

The cold desert of Ladakh was shamed when a police officer allegedly raped a labourer who later set herself ablaze in Chulichan- Batalik village in the Kargil district on Sunday.

The cold desert of Ladakh was shamed when a police officer allegedly raped a labourer who later set herself ablaze in Chulichan- Batalik village in the Kargil district on Sunday.Police have arrested the accused sub inspector Mohammad Ramzaan and registered a case under section 306 and 376 Ranbir Penal Code. The victim has been shifted to hospital with intense burn injuries.Police said a few days ago they received the information that a woman working as a labourer in village Chulichan, Batalik has set her ablaze and has been shifted to district hospital, Kargil with severe burn injuries.”Police immediately rushed to the hospital where the lady in her statement alleged that a police officer Mohammad Ramzaan of Police Post Batalik raped her few days back. She further said that she revealed the matter to her husband who did not pay attention to the matter as a result In desperation she poured Kerosene oil and set herself ablaze”, said a police spokesman.Kargil police immediately registered a case and investigation was put on the fast track. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by deputy superintendent of police headquarters Kargil and station house officer of Kargil has been constituted for investigation of the case.”The accused police sub-inspector Mohammad Ramzaan has been arrested and subsequently suspended,” the spokesman said.Anger has swept across the serene Kargil with people demanding stern punishment against the accused. This is the second case of shocking rape that has rocked the Ladakh division in the last three months.Leh township in Ladakh slipped into a shock in February after an Imam allegedly raped and murdered a class X student and then dumped her body in the River Sindh. Police later arrested 24 year old imam from Bihar and registered a case of rape and murder against him in February.

Forces pull off an engineering marvel in Zanaskar valley

Indian Army pulled off an engineering marvel when they cleared the blockade of Phutkal River, which had led to formation of 15 kilometre artificial lake in the Kargil district of cold desert of Ladakh.

It took the army jawans several months to clear the blockade

Indian Army pulled off an engineering marvel when they cleared the blockade of Phutkal River, which had led to formation of 15 kilometre artificial lake in the Kargil district of cold desert of Ladakh.dna was first to report on January 18 about the major environmental disaster in the Zanaskar valley which could have led to the flooding of the nearby villages, loss of livelihood and damage to life and property.“The area being cut off during winter months, the entire operation had to be maintained by air. 500 sorties of Army and Air Force helicopters ferried 38 tons of load over more than 300 hours, under extremely hazardous and demanding flying conditions. A camp of area 10m x15m was established on a ledge on the rock face near the landslide site”, said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters.On establishment of the camp, the composite task force immediately swung into action. Relentlessly working long hours, day in and day out, in temperatures lower than minus 25 degree with high wind chill, unmindful of the risk to life, a 75m long channel, two meter deep and two meter wide was created by controlled blasting using 175kg of explosive, over five days.“An artificial channel was created through the landslide area that facilitated flow of water to the downstream side. Water finally started gushing across the landslide in an uninterrupted manner from the lake formed. The flow is currently being closely monitored,” said Col Goswami.The crisis had started in January when a landslide caused complete blockage of water in the river, resulting in accumulation of more than 30 million cubic meters of water and forming a 15km-long lake, along the river.Alarmed by the phenomenon, the authorities had closed the famous frozen ice Chaddar trek for the tourists and asked the people in living few villages to shift as there is greater danger of flooding.Chaddar trek is world famous for frozen ice walk along the Zanaskar River. The matter was immediately brought to the notice of the centre. Consequently, National Crisis Management Committee declared the situation to be a ‘national crisis’ in first week of February and constituted an expert committee under the aegis of NDMA, to carry out technical assessment of the situation and prepare an action plan for execution, to avert any crisis”, he said.Col Goswami noted that given the urgency, risk involved, the Indian army was called to lead and coordinate activities for execution of the plan. Meanwhile, the rains have created fresh fears of floods in Kashmir even as the government drew a contingency plan to evacuate the people from the vulnerable areas in Srinagar in case of exigency. Several shelter camps have been established and nodal officers pressed into service to help the people during emergency.

Jammu and Kashmir: Fear of floods loom after heavy rains resume in Srinagar

Srinagar: Fear of floods resurfaced after fresh rainfall on Wednesday in the Kashmir Valley. Although, officials said there was nothing alarming about the water levels of Jhelum which had receded.

Rainfall which began on Tuesday night and is expected to continue for next two days, can again cause surge in the water of level of River Jhelum and its tributaries, officials said.

Vehicles along a flooded road in Srinagar after heavy rainfall on Wednesday. AFPVehicles along a flooded road in Srinagar after heavy rainfall on Wednesday. AFP

Vehicles along a flooded road in Srinagar after heavy rainfall on Wednesday. AFP

The flood situation had started showing improvement on Tuesday afternoon after 17 people died in Srinagar.

Jhelum was flowing at 11.70 feet at Sangam in south Kashmir, way below the flood level of 21 feet while the level at Ram Munshi Bagh was 15.35 feet against the flood level of 19 feet, officials added.

“The water level has decreased considerably since Tuesday morning. All the contingency plans are in place… temporary shelters have been set up for people evacuated from flood prone areas,” an official said.

The official also added that the NDRF and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams have been put on a standby to meet any eventuality. Army has also taken steps to help the people in affected areas of the Valley in dealing with the situation.

“We have earmarked one column (75 to 100 troops) in each Company Operating Base (COB) ready to respond to any eventuality,” an army official said.

He said three composite rescue groups constituting of Infantry, Engineers, EME and Army Medical Corps have been set up at Badamibagh Cantonment, Old Airfield and Zainakot.

“All dewatering pumps held with Army are deployed in the low lying areas,” he added.

Heavy rainfall since Saturday has resulted in death of 15 people so far in Chadoora area of Budgam district.One person trapped in the landslide was also feared dead but there was no confirmation. One person had died in flash floods in Udhampur area of Jammu region.

The deaths took place when a house at village Laden collapsed due to caving in of earth caused by heavy rains.

PTI

Flood situation creates panic in Kashmir, Centre sends forces to aid rescue

Srinagar/Jammu: Witness to unprecedented devastating floods only seven months ago, Jammu and Kashmir was in the grip of panic on Monday as several areas of the Valley and parts of Jammu were in deluge caused by rains due to which four people have died and fate of 13 others was unknown.

As authorities declared a flood situation in Kashmir, the Centre and the state government swung into action, with eight teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) being rushed to the Valley to help in rescue and relief.

The River Jhelum flowing above the danger mark in Srinagar on Monday following incessant rains. PTIThe River Jhelum flowing above the danger mark in Srinagar on Monday following incessant rains. PTI

The River Jhelum flowing above the danger mark in Srinagar on Monday following incessant rains. PTI

Central government has granted Rs 200 crore as immediate relief and the state government has sanctioned Rs 35 crore — Rs 25 crore for Kashmir and Rs 10 crore for Jammu region which also has been affected by flood — Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed told Assembly in Jammu after visiting affected areas of Srinagar.

Sayeed said one person died and 10 others are trapped in the debris of a house which collapsed in Laldan area of Budgam district of Kashmir valley due to floods.

“We hope and pray that all of them survive. As of now we are not in a position to confirm either way,” he said.

Police later said that three women have died while 13 other people are believed to be trapped in the debris after a landslide brought down four houses in Budgam.

Sayeed said there was an “unfortunate” death in Udhampur and there have been some flash floods in Jammu as well. We are watching the situation,” he said.

The Centre assured all help to the state government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi rushed minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to the Valley for on-the-spot assessment and coordinate with state authorities with regard to the assistance required.

Due to heavy rains over the past 36 hours, river Jhelum was flowing above the danger mark at several places including Sangam in Anantnag district and Ram Munshi Bagh in the city.

Flood water entered several low-lying areas of Kashmir, including capital Srinagar, leading to panic among the locals for whom memories of the devastating deluge only seven months back are fresh in mind.

Over 280 people had been killed and tens of thousands left homeless and property worth hundreds of crores of rupees damaged in unprecedented floods in the state in September last year.

Refusing to take any chances this time, people started shifting to safer places. Civil administration and police also asked people living along the banks of River Jhelum to move to safer places.

Rainfall stopped in the city this morning and slowed down in south Kashmir. However, according to Met department heavy rainfall is likely to occur at isolated places in the state over the next few days.

Temporary camps have been set up in various government buildings for people who have been forced to leave their homes. Nearly 250 families were evacuated to safer areas from across the flood prone areas of the valley yesterday while over 40 structures were damaged due to landslides on Friday in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Budgam district.

Schools have been shut down for the next four days and board examinations postponed for two days.

Three control rooms have been set up with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed along with a team of Ministers monitoring the whole situation in the Valley and supervising the administrative response to safeguard life and property of people, Singh said.

The heavy downpour has caused fresh landslides along the 294-km Srinagar-Jammu National Highway as the only all weather road link between Kashmir and rest of the country remained closed for the third straight day today.

Authorities have also issued an avalanche warning for seven districts of Kashmir division and advised people not to move around.

The NDRF teams have been airlifted along with all equipment like communication, rescue and retrieval gadgets as per the standard operating procedures.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Sayeed and promised all help from the Centre.

Before leaving for the Valley, Naqvi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi “is also worried about the situation and he is ready and committed to help the people”.

“The Centre is committed to provide all help required by the state,” he said.

He said there was no need for panic as “our governments, both in the state and at the Centre, are committed to do everything. We will not be found lagging in anything.”

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah voiced hope that authorities will take adequate steps to help the people.

“We don’t want to play politics on the situation. It has been only seven months and once again the people are face to face with another tragedy,” he told reporters.

PTI

Need a mission-mode approach to clean Ganga: PM

Ensuring minimum ecological flow of River Ganga into the plains of Bihar and Jharkhand and silt management were some of the key issues discussed by Ganga-basin states during their meeting with prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. The PM was chairing the fifth meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) to take stock of progress on the government’s Clean Ganga project. The meeting saw Nitish Kumar, Harish Rawat and Raghuvar Das, chief ministers of Bihar, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand respectively attend the meeting along with Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Uma Bharti, Prakash Javadekar, Nitin Gadkar, Piyush Goyal and NITI Aayog chairman Arvind Panagariya.

PTI
Ensuring minimum ecological flow of River Ganga into the plains of Bihar and Jharkhand and silt management were some of the key issues discussed by Ganga-basin states during their meeting with prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. The PM was chairing the fifth meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) to take stock of progress on the government’s Clean Ganga project. The meeting saw Nitish Kumar, Harish Rawat and Raghuvar Das, chief ministers of Bihar, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand respectively attend the meeting along with Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Uma Bharti, Prakash Javadekar, Nitin Gadkar, Piyush Goyal and NITI Aayog chairman Arvind Panagariya.According to sources from the Bihar government, the Ganga plain states have been bearing the brunt of low natural flow of the river due to issues of sedimentation and siltation up north. During the meeting, the chief ministers presented these issues and discussed single-window clearances for proposals.The PM urged his ministerial colleagues and the three chief ministers to adopt an “uncompromising mission-mode approach” to halt pollution of River Ganga. Already in January this year, the PM had directed the water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation ministry to prioritise pollution control and taking remedial steps. But, on ground, the progress has been rather slow and effluent treatment plants have still been found wanting.In the meeting, the PM also called for harnessing the potential economic activity provided by the Clean Ganga project and urged states to pay special attention to development of towns and villages located on the banks of the River Ganga, and to ensure sufficient awareness in these areas to stop pollution. The water resources ministry recently submitted the Indian Institute of Technology consortium report on Ganga River Basin Management that proposed working in three different missions. When asked about the IIT report and its recommendations, Uma Bharati, minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation said, “We have gone through the report’s interim version and I have asked them to narrow down the recommendations. Hence, it will take some more time to shape up.”The minister also added that a new and stringent legislation is being worked upon to aid the Clean Ganga project. “A committee has been set up (for the legislation) and states will be duly consulted on the new legislation.” Rs 2,017 crore – The funds allocated in the Union Budget for the Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation project3,636 million litres of sewage generated per day by 118 urban local bodies1,027 -The capacity in million litres of the sewage treatment plants700- The number of industries across Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand that have been served notices to submit fresh action plans on pollution control

Pollution control and IIT report focal issues for Ganga meet

Prime minister Narendra Modi is set to take stock of his government’s ambitious river Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation project that has been riddled with problems of tardy progress on ground, lack of centre-state co-ordination and delay in upgrading the sewage and effluent treatment plants. The PM will review the slew of measures announced to restore the polluted holy river during the National Ganga River Basin Authority meeting on Thursday. The meeting will also be attended by top ministers and Ganga-basin chief ministers. It will be the first occasion when the PM will be meeting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar following Jitan Manjhi’s rebellion in February. Kumar is also reportedly planning to seek a separate meeting with the PM to discuss Bihar’s financial issues.

Prime minister Narendra Modi is set to take stock of his government’s ambitious river Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation project that has been riddled with problems of tardy progress on ground, lack of centre-state co-ordination and delay in upgrading the sewage and effluent treatment plants. The PM will review the slew of measures announced to restore the polluted holy river during the National Ganga River Basin Authority meeting on Thursday. The meeting will also be attended by top ministers and Ganga-basin chief ministers. It will be the first occasion when the PM will be meeting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar following Jitan Manjhi’s rebellion in February. Kumar is also reportedly planning to seek a separate meeting with the PM to discuss Bihar’s financial issues.Soon after winning the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat and assuming power, PM Modi had vowed to clean River Ganga and with much fanfare, his government had launched the Namami Gange project. But the lack of progress is evident as pollution control measures such as sewage treatment plants and effluent treatment plants are still unequipped to handle the burden of pollutants that is released into Ganga, especially across Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, where the highest number of errant industries are located. The project also faced hiccups last year, as National Mission for Clean Ganga, an executive body of NGRBA faced a staff crunch.During Thursday’s meeting, these issues would be high on the agenda. “Prioritization of fund disbursal and smoothening the flow of funds to states will be a key issue in the meeting. The state pollution control bodies have certain limitations in the present day regulatory framework. To change that, stricter ways to monitor pollution would be deliberated in the meeting,” said an official from the water resources ministry, requesting anonymity.As the ministry of water resources recently submitted the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) consortium report on Ganga River Basin Management Plant in Supreme Court, that too will be on the agenda. “The IIT report and the ministry’s reports that have identified sources of pollution and the lacunae will be crucial points of discussion. The IIT report has laid down a comprehensive action plan and cleaning of the river will hinge on it,” the official added. Ministry sources also informed that the Clean Ganga Fund, established for rejuvenation activities such as setting up waste treatment facilities, cleaning of pollution from agricultural run-off, has collected Rs18 crores by way of donations from citizens, public-sector units and through corporate social responsibility contributions.

Yamuna river will be brought under Environment Protection Act, says govt

New Delhi: The government has promised to bring the Yamuna river under the the Environment Protection Act within two months to ensure “free flow of the river”.

The Yamuna will be brought under the Environment Protection Act, said the government. PTI

The Yamuna will be brought under the Environment Protection Act, said the government. PTI

Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad gave this assurance to the members of Yamuna Muktikaran Padyatra, undertaken for making Yamuna pollution free, in New Delhi on Sunday, said Ravi Monga, spokesman and core committee member of the padyatra committee.

“Our demands were that the Yamuna should be brought under the Environment Protection Act and the immediate need to allow the environmental flow of natural waters from Hathini Kund Barrage and the water should be allowed to flow on the entire stretch of Yamuna River Bed to maintain its adequate ecological flow,” he said.

The Free Yamuna marchers who were on a hunger strike ended their fast in presence of the minister.

“The agitators’ second demand for a parallel canal to be built along the river for sewage transport has also been agreed upon by the government,” he said.

The Padyatra participated by large number of people had started from Kosi (Braj) in Mathura and it ended today at Jantar Mantar with Prasad promising that the demands of the Padyathris will be met within two months, Monga added.

PTI

MoEF stalls rehabilitation of 414 families near Tehri dam

Over four hundred families that have been affected due to landslides triggered around the slopes of reservoirs near Tehri dam in Uttarakhand will have to wait longer for rehabilitation.

An expert from the MoEF says that the forest committee has refused to part with 406.8 hectares of forest land for rehabilitation

AP
Over four hundred families that have been affected due to landslides triggered around the slopes of reservoirs near Tehri dam in Uttarakhand will have to wait longer for rehabilitation. Why the delay?An expert from the ministry of environment and forests says that the forest panel has refused to part with 406.8 hectares of forest land for rehabilitation and resettlement purposes. Which villages affected?By 2005-06, the Uttarakhand government completed a major resettlement of project-affected persons (PAP). But, the geological survey of India and an expert committee looking at the inspection of the area recommended resettlement of three villages—Sailakot, Nakot and Syanshu—that were affected by landslides and soil erosion triggered by the filling up of the Tehri reservoir. These three villages and several more not included in the proposal are located on the slopes around the dam reservoir spread across 42 sq kms. The resettlement has also been delayed as the state government wants to relocate the families in Haridwar while the Tehri Hyrdo Development Corporation Limited believe they should be rehabilitated around the dam reservoirs. What are the conditions?The ministry’s forest advisory committee while deliberating on the proposal took objection to the diversion of forestland for residential purposes, non-site specific activity and other allied construction activities. The expert committee has told the Uttarakhand state government that “approval for diversion of forest land may be accorded only if it is proved by the state government with credible evidence that there are no alternative sites for execution of the project.” The committee added that “the state government has requested that credible evidence be provided in support of the claim that the requirement of forest land is bare minimum and unavoidable.” What’s the plan?As per the state government’s resettlement proposal out of 408.6 hectares, 8 hectares of forest land is proposed to be used for residential purposes, 75 hectares of forest land is to be used for roads, irrigation channels and other community facilities. The majority chunk of 323.8 hectares will be used for agriculture. The Tehri dam built on the Bhagirathi River is the tallest in the country and the allied hydropower project has an installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts. The dam project and hydropower project has affected more than 17,000 families.

Nearly 50 dead bodies found in river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh; probe ordered

People bathe in the Ganges in an act of ritual purification, yet the 2,500 km river stretching from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal is full of industrial effluent and untreated sewage, its banks strewn with garbage.

Nearly 50 bodies were found in the revered River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district after which the administration has ordered probe.Dogs, crows and vultures dug into bodies as they had reached the bank due to low water level, posing major environment challenges in the areas under Unnao District.A district official, Suraj Prasad, promised action after probe.”There are few bodies that have been found on the Periyar bank of the River Ganges. I have asked the police and my staff to probe it. Action will be taken after the probe how the bodies came into it. It could be that some bodies were submerged after the death. They came on the back due to low water level,” said Prasad.Hindus submerge bodies or its ashes in the revered river for salvation.Residents blamed the state as well as the federal government for it.”The environment is being polluted and it is a very shameful thing. Both the federal government and state government are responsible for it,” said resident, Alok Dikshit.People bathe in the Ganges in an act of ritual purification, yet the 2,500 km river stretching from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal is full of industrial effluent and untreated sewage, its banks strewn with garbage.Previous attempts to clean up the river, including introducing flesh-eating turtles to devour the charred remains of the dead cremated on its banks, have failed due to a lack of planning or coordination.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected to represent the 3,000-year-old riverside city of Varanasi, has taken personal responsibility to clean up the river, as part of a broader push to husband the country’s scarce water resources and improve standards of public health and hygiene.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls for swift action to stop pollution of River Ganga

Representational Image
File Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for a time-bound swift action and single-minded focus to stop pollution of the River Ganga, while chairing a high-level meeting on the ‘Namaami Gange’ project. The Prime Minister reiterated that the Namaami Gange vision should focus primarily on two main areas to check pollution at the source. The pollutents include urban sewage and industrial effluents. Ganga ko ganda na karen, PM Modi emphasized. Prime Minister Modi was briefed extensively on critical hotspots along the stretch of the river, which generate the most pollution. The existing gaps in sewage treatment capacity were highlighted. A total of 764 grossly polluting industrial units have been identified along the stretch of the Ganga. Tanneries, pulp and paper and sugar industries account for over three-fourth of this number. The Prime Minister also emphasized the need to promote recycling of industrial waste water. He said industrial units should be motivated suitably to stop pollution, failing which action should be initiated within the framework of existing laws. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called for exploring the possibility of setting up modern, environment-friendly crematoria along the River Ganga, through private initiative and enterprise. The concept of a network of volunteers to help end pollution of the river – Ganga Vahini – has been approved. Steps are being taken to operationalize this network. 118 Urban Local Bodies have been identified to be covered within five years, in a targeted attempt to control pollution. The Prime Minister was also briefed on the ongoing sewerage and river front development projects in the meeting attended by Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharati, Prakash Javdekar and top Government officials. Also Read: Ganga will transform in five years: Prakash Javadekar