Nature's Narrative Vol. I(2)
News Snippets (Part 2):
Indian Water Update
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned general permission to withdraw ground water for commercial purposes without an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment).Around 8,00,000 companies are falling under such areas, which have been accounting for about one-third of all 3,881 groundwater assessment units in India.
It has provided the three-month time period to make water management plans for all critical, over exploited and semi-critical areas. NGT has asked the authorities to be close-fisted in granting permits, initiating harsh actions in case of breaches, and mandating the third-party compliance audit of businesses every year.
Key highlights -
As per the NGT direction, industries must expect a complete overhaul in the manner in which the permits are issued for the extraction of groundwater for commercial activities. They must ensure that all the conditions are complied with.
• The tribunal has specifically banned the general permission for the withdrawal of groundwater, especially to the commercial entities without an environment impact assessment.
• Permits must be for the specified quantity of water and must be monitored with digital flow metres and audited every year by the third parties.
• Strict actions, including prosecution and blacklisting, must be taken against those who will fail the audit.
• As per the new rules, the authorities are given three months to make water management plans for all the over-exploited, semi-critical, and critical areas.
Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone
Indian Forest Update
The FAO released the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) report, where India ranked third among top 10 countries where forest cover has increased in the last decade. India also accounts for almost 50% of the world forestry employment. India accounted for maximum employment in the forest sector.
The Food and Agriculture Organization brings out the report once in every five years. The report assesses the state of forests in the member countries, their conditions and management.
During the decade under assessment, India reported 0.38 per cent annual gain in forest, or 266,000 ha of forest increase every year at an average. The FRA 2020 has credited the government’s Joint Forest Management programme for the significant increase in community-managed forest areas in the Asian continent.
The Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone
The union environment ministry has approved the zonal master plan for the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone notification that stretches from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi covering an area of 4179.59 sqkm. The zonal master plan is based on watershed approach and includes governance in the area of forest and wildlife, watershed management, irrigation, energy, tourism, public health and sanitation, road infrastructure, etc.
Benefits of the plan-
Approval of the zonal master plan will give a boost to conservation and ecology of the area and also to undertake developmental activities, will also pave way for faster execution of the Chaardhaam Project.
Side Effects of the project-
It could make the entire Bhagirathi region extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, as per activists and experts.
Indian National Parks Update
The Assam government has decided to upgrade Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary into a National Park. Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary also known as the Jeypore Rainforest is located within the larger Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, which spreads across the coal- and oil-rich districts of Upper Assam (Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts). It is the only sanctuary in India which is home to seven different species of wild cats - tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, leopard cat, golden cat, jungle cat and marbled cat. It has the highest concentration of the rare endangered White Winged Wood Duck. Post upgradation, Dehing Patkai will be the sixth national park in Assam — the other five being Kaziranga, Nameri, Manas , Dibru- Saikhowa and Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park.