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Analysis Lok Sabha Image

Analysis Lok Sabha (2011-12) ,AGRICULTURE
During the year 2011, the major concern for the ministry of Agriculture was about the hazardous effect of chemical pesticides and the promotion of Biotechnology in agriculture. impact of climate change and global warming on agricultural crops, National initiative on climate resilient agriculture, agriculture and meteorological studies, crop failure and suicide of farmers, kisan credit card and farm loan, multi-cropping technique, National policy on Bio-fuels, mass media support to agriculture Extension were among few other highlighted issues on Agriculture.

 

USE OF PESTICIDES/ INSECTICIDES Regarding the safety issue of pesticides, Ministry of Agriculture discussed atin formed the Parliament that pesticides are permitted for use after the verifying claim ·of efficacy and safety to human beings and animals.  These are being reviewed from time to time based on fresh scientific information.. The central and state governments organize training programmes on safe and judicious use of pesticides to educate the farmers and to create awareness about ill-effects of misuse of pesticides. The government is popularizing the strategy of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) through a Central Sector Scheme, Strengthening and Modernization of Pest Management Approach in India` which includes cultural, mechanical, biological and other methods of pest control and emphasizes safe and judicious use of pesticides. (LSQ*1: Shri K. Sudhakaran). The Ministry also informed that that Government of India is implementing a central sector scheme, “Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National Level” under which samples of food commodities are analyzed for the presence of pesticide residues. During April 2008 to March 2010, 2,777 samples of food grains (rice and wheat) were collected from public distribution system. In 72 (2.6%) samples, pesticide residues were found above Maximum Residues Limit prescribed under Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA), 1954. (LSQ 37: Shri Gopinath Munde). Government is promoting soil test based balanced and judicious use of chemical fertilizers in conjunction with organic manures like Farm Yard Manure, Compost, Vermi compost and Green Manure to maintain soil health and its productivity. (LSQ 1486: Shri Anantkumar Hegde, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi). Agriculture Ministry declared that the Supreme Court has appointed a joint committee headed by the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Agriculture Commissioner to conduct a scientific study on the effect of use of endosulfan on human health. (LSQ 2459: Shri Ramashanker Rajbhar). Ministry of Science and Technology discussed that farmers are getting benefited from the government research-based biotechnology products such as crop varieties obtained through genetic engineering or molecular breeding; tissue culture planting materials of spices, tree and woody species; biofertilizers; biopesticides; veterinary vaccines and diagnostics. (LSQ 2783: Shri P.L. Punia)

 

EFFECT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Ministry of Agriculture stated that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) initiated a Network Project on Climate Change during X Plan to study the impact of climate change and global warming on agricultural crops, horticulture, forests, livestock, fisheries, etc. The limited studies conducted under this project have indicated that the increase in minimum temperature by 1ºC during reproductive stage of wheat may reduce the yield by 7-10%. (LSQ 48: Shri Lal Chand Kataria, Shri Rudra Madhab Ray). Agriculture Ministry stated the government has launched a scheme called National initiative on climate resilient agriculture with an outlay of Rs.350 crore for the period 2010-2012. The scheme aims to assess the impact of climate change on agriculture and allied sectors in the country and evolve cost effective adaptation and mitigation strategies (LSQ 170: Shri L. Raja Gopal, Dr. Kruparani Killi, Shri Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy). According to Ministry of Agriculture, the Stern Review Committee of British Government submitted a report in 2006 on “The Economics of Climate Change”. This report indicated considerable loss in agricultural production in developing countries due to global warming (LSQ 436: Shri A.T. Nana Patil, Shrimati Rajkumari Ratna Singh, Shri Yashbant N.S. Laguri, Shri Hansraj G. Ahir). Ministry of Space defined that India is planning to launch Meghatropics satellite for weather and climate studies in tropical regions during last quarter of 2011,. This will be followed by launch of a Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1) with all-weather capabilities, for enhanced applications in the areas of agriculture and disaster management and launch of SARAL Satellite (Satellite for Argos and Altika) for ocean, environment and meteorological studies. (LSQ 2596: Shri C. Rajendran)

 

AGRICULTURE AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT

 

Agriculture Ministry notified that as reported by State Governments and as confirmed by various studies, reasons for suicides by farmers are manifold which include crop failure, indebtedness, drought, socio-economic and personal reasons. While loss of crops and indebtedness are also the reasons, these are not the only reasons for farmers committing suicides. (LSQ 81: Shri K. D. Deshmukh). Ministry told that Government of India coordinates and supplements efforts of State Governments for providing relief assistance in wake of natural calamity. State Governments can provide necessary assistance throughState Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). In case of calamity of ‘severe nature’, when available resources under SDRF account are inadequate, additional assistance is extended from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) after following laid down procedures which includes visit of Inter-Ministerial Central Team for assessment of damages (LSQ *270: Shri Taware Suresh Kashinath, Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad). Agriculture ministry stated that in order to reduce dependence of farmers on private moneylenders, remedial measures taken by Government include improving agricultural credit flow through institutional sources, bringing down rate of interest on farm loan, issuing Kisan Credit Card to all eligible and willing farmers in a time bound manner, increasing limit of collateral free farm loan, implementation of revival package for strengthening of short-term rural cooperative credit structure and advising banks to finance farmers for redeeming their loans taken from private money lenders and dispense with requirement of “no dues” certificate for small loans (LSQ 109: Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul, Shri Premdas Rai).

 

DEVELOPMENT IN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

 

As stated by Agriculture ministry, crop insurance schemes of National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Pilot Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) are being operated based on `Area Approach` i.e. defined areas. Based on the experience gained during implementation, the existing NAIS has been modified to facilitate it more farmers` friendly. There is no discrimination between loanee and non-loanee farmers in respect to the premium rates, premium subsidy, loss assessment, claims payment procedure etc. (LSQ 1896: Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal). Ministry discussed that the department of agriculture & cooperation is implementing two centrally sponsored schemes, viz., (i) Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan States (HMNEH) and (ii) National Horticulture Mission (NHM) in remaining states and union territories for the holistic development of horticulture sector by adopting an area based regionally differentiated cluster approach for development of horticultural crops(LSQ 99: Shri Bhakta Charan Das).  According to Ministry of Agriculture, there are six Central State Farms (CSF) under the control of the State Farms Corporation of India (SFCI) Limited, located at Suratgarh (Rajasthan), Sardargarh (Rajasthan), Jetsar (Rajasthan), Hissar (Haryana), Bahraich (Uttar Pradesh) and Raichur (Karnataka). Seeds of Crops like moong, urad, paddy, cotton and soyabean are produced during Kharif whereas seeds of crops like wheat, barley, gram, mustard, toria, taramira etc. are produced during Rabi in these farms. (LSQ 3009: Shri Kamal Kishor). Agriculture Ministry discussed about multi cropping and stated that the Directorate of water management, Bhubaneswar under the aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has devised multi-cropping technique called as ‘pond based farming system’ to stabilize and enhance the productivity of coastal deep waterlogged areas of Orissa. The technique includes deep water rice in kharif and salt tolerant vegetables like watermelon, ladies finger, spinach, chillies as on-dyke vegetables and aquaculture in pond (LSQ 314: Shri Baijayant Panda, Nityananda Pradhan). As answered by Ministry of Agriculture regarding second green revolution, it was analyzed that the programme of `Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India` is intended to bridge the yield gaps in resource rich, potential Eastern Indian states by addressing the underlying constraints of different agro climatic sub regions. The programme aims at enhancing the productivity of rice based cropping systems by promotion of recommended agriculture technology and package of practices-. (LSQ 347: Dr. Bhola Singh). Responding to a query Ministry of Agriculture explained that to provide information and incentive to people engaged in the horticulture and fisheries sector, the steps taken by the government include circulation of guidelines of the schemes and other relevant information to state governments and various stakeholders. The guidelines are also placed on the web site of the department for use of public. Besides, information is also provided through Kisan Call Centres and wide publicity about the programmes through advertisement in the print and electronic media, organizing workshops, seminars and training of farmers by the concerned Departments, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Agriculture and Technology Management Agency (ATMA) (LSQ 3335: Shri Jagdish Singh Rana). According to Agriculture Ministry use of Drip irrigation in rice integrated with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) was presented by one of the innovative farmers from low rainfall Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh in the recently held Innovative Rice Farmers Meet organized by Directorate of Rice Research Development (DRD) (LSQ 1333: Dr. Kruparani Killi). As per agriculture ministry, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been promoting biomass based gasifier system for providing unmet demand of electricity in villages and captive power and thermal applications in rice mills and other industries. About 350 rice mills and other industries in the country are primarily using rice husk for meeting their captive energy needs. In addition, rice husk is also being used for grid connected power generation (LSQ 3039: Shri S.S. Ramasubbu). Ministry of agriculture explained that the National policy on bio-fuels clearly indicates that for development of bio-fuels in India focus is on utilization of only waste and degraded forest and non- forest lands for cultivation of shrubs and trees bearing non-edible oil seeds for production of biodiesel. Further, in India, bio-ethanol is mainly produced from molasses, a by-product of the sugar industry (LSQ 4316: Shrimati Usha Verma, Shri Maheshwar Hazari). It was discussed by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises that they have been promoting the setting up of new micro enterprises in non- farm sector by implementing Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), a credit-linked subsidy programme since 2008-09 through Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC) a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry (LSQ 1911: Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve)

 

AGRICULTURAL AWARENESS PROGRAMME

 

Ministry of Agriculture described that a centrally Sponsored Scheme “Support to State Extension Programme for Extension Reforms” and popularly known as ATMA Scheme is under implementation in 603 districts of 28 states & 3 UTs. Latest agricultural technologies in different agro-climatic conditions are disseminated to farmers through extension activities viz. farmers training, demonstrations, exposure visits, kisan mela, mobilization of farmers’ groups and farm schools. Under the scheme “Mass Media Support to Agriculture Extension”, existing infrastructure of doordarshan and All India Radio is being utilized to make the farmers aware about modern technologies and researches related to agriculture and allied areas. A “Focused Advertisement Campaign” was launched in 2010-11 to create awareness about the assistance available under various schemes (LSQ 1607: Dr. Vinay Kumar Pandey ”Vinnu”). According to ministry of Science and Technology, the meet on demystifying crop biotechnology was held on June 27, 2011 in Hyderabad. The meet was an international media colloquium jointly conducted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Asian Media Information and Communication Center (AMIC) and the International Services for the Acquisition and Application of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). The colloquium aimed to share contemporary challenges, issues and concerns related to crop biotechnology; enhance the appreciation and understanding of Asian media practitioners and researchers on crop biotechnology: and share science stories on crop biotechnology for the Asian media (LSQ 5913: Smt. Shruti Choudhry).

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 ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Under this subject, the main topics of discussion were promotion of renewable energy, Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), innovative projects on clean technologies, solar power. Issues like Promotion of Solar Energy, Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, Wind Power etc. were also highlighted.

 

PROMOTION OF NON CONVENTIONAL ENERGY

 

Ministry of Communication and Information Technology opined that World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that national authorities should adopt international standards to protect their citizens against adverse levels of RF transmission from mobile towers. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has adopted the reference levels of electromagnetic radiation for Mobile towers, prescribed by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and incorporated the requirement in Access Service Licenses (LSQ 3577: Shri P.R. Natarajan). Ministry of Finance announced that National Clean Energy Fund has been established for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies, so as to harness renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels as a credible strategy for combating global warming and climate change(LSQ 4835: Shri Rajagopal Lagadapati). Ministry of New and Renewable energy declared that the ministry sanctioned a demonstration project for setting up 3.75 MW capacity tidal energy power plant at the Durgaduani Creek in Sunderbans region to West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA), Kolkata. The project is being executed by NHPC Ltd (LSQ 1572 : Jat Poonamben Veljibhai). As stated by the same ministry, it had prepared a National Master Plan (NMP) on Development of Waste-to Energy in India in May 2006 under a project assisted by United Nations Development Programme / Global Environment Facility. The NMP, inter-alia, includes assessment of potential of energy recovery from urban and industrial wastes, identification of priority areas, selection of appropriate technologies, research and development, technology transfer and strategic action plan (LSQ 2582: Shri Ravneet Singh). Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has been implementing various schemes during the 11th Five Year Plan, to encourage setting up of projects for generation of power from various biomass residues including bagasse and paddy husk for power generation based on combustion/ cogeneration and gasification technologies (LSQ 2119: Shri Kaushalendra Kumar).

 

SOLAR ENERGY

 

Ministry of Communications and Information Technology discussed that renewable energy system viz. Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV), Solar-Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) hybrid systems depending upon the technical feasibility are effective to provide stable power supply to telecom equipment at the off grid and rural sites. Twenty pilot project for solar & solar – Wing hybrid system to power the mobile base terminal station (Mobile towers) are being carried out to examine the reduction in diesel generator run time, diesel fuel savings, air pollution etc. and to bring about the savings in operational cost (LSQ 1691: Shri Anurag Singh Thakur). As stated by Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, an agreement has been signed with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) on 29.04.2010 for provision of Solar Photo Voltaic Based Mobile Phone Charging Facilities (SMCFs) in 5000 Villages by augmenting Centralized Solar Charging Stations (CSCS) being provided by TERI under its Lighting a Billion Lives (LaBL) project (LSQ 3590: Shri Uday Pratap Singh). Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced that the government has launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission to develop solar energy technologies to make solar power competitive to conventional grid power by 2022. The Mission aims at setting up of 20,000 MW grid solar power and 2,000 MW of off-grid solar applications including 20 million solar lights. In addition, it aims at installation of 20 million square metre solar thermal collector area by 2022. (LSQ: 78 Shri Hemanand Biswal). Ministry declared that a pilot project is under implementation at solar energy centre for deployment of an experimental mini-smart grid based on distribution generation technologies in collaboration with TERI and CSIRO Australia (LSQ 900: Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal). Ministry of New and Renewable Energy again added that NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN) has selected 620 MW capacity grid solar power projects (connected to 33 KV and above) through a tariff discounting process in December, 2010. The successful applicants have proposed to set up projects of 505 MW capacities in Rajasthan, 65 MW in Andhra Pradesh, 20 MW in Gujarat, 10 MW in Karnataka and 5 MW each in Orissa, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The objective of this process was to achieve lowering of tariff for solar power (LSQ 1558: Shri Hemanand Biswal). It has been discussed by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy that solar lighting based train lighting system has been provided in one narrow gauge coach plying on Pathankot- Jogindernagar Route in Kangra Valley section on trial basis (LSQ 3095: Shri Dilip Kumar Mansukhlal Gandhi). The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing a programme on ‘Development of Solar Cities’ which aims to reduce a minimum of 10% of the projected demand of conventional energy of the city through renewable energy installations and energy efficiency measures. Sixty Cities are proposed to be developed as Solar Cities during the Eleventh Plan period including four Model Solar Cities and 10 Pilot Solar Cities. The Master plan for each Solar City is being prepared to assess and utilize various renewable sources including Solar, Wind, Municipal Waste etc. (LSQ: 4903 . Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal).

 

WIND ENERGY

 

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced that government is promoting commercial wind power projects through private sector investment in wind potential states by providing fiscal and promotional incentives such as 80% accelerated depreciation, concessional import duty on certain components of wind electric generators, excise duty exemption, 10 years tax holiday on income generated from wind power projects. Loan is available from Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and other financial institutions. (LSQ 756: Shri Bal Kumar Patel,  Ram Singh Kaswan, Jai Prakash Agarwal, Baijayant Panda,  Patel Jayshreeben Kanubhai, Bhupendra Singh, M.Thambidurai, M. B. Rajesh). According to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy,the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), an autonomous institution of this ministry has conducted wind resource assessment studies at 627 locations in the country including Gujarat (69 locations), Madhya Pradesh (37 locations), Maharashtra (112 locations) and Rajasthan (36 locations) (LSQ 2212: Shri Dilip Kumar Mansukhlal Gandhi, Devji Patel, Kachhadia Naranbhai, Chauhan Prabhatsinh Pratapsinh, Jyoti Dhurve, P. T. Thomas).

 

OTHERS

 

As stated by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas that in accordance with Vision 2015, it is proposed to raise the LPG population coverage from 50% to 75% by releasing 5.5 crore new LPG connections between 2009 and 2015 especially in rural areas including villages in and around the forest areas (LSQ: 838: Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Khatgaonkar Patil Bhaskarrao Bapurao).

 

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 BIOSAFETY

 

Major concern of Parliamentarians for the Biosafety related issues are efficacy and agronomic performance of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds. Other than this, the most highlighted issue was of Soil Health.

 

GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROP

 

Environment ministry briefed that in view of various concerns related to the safety, efficacy and agronomic performance of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds, the Government of India is assessing the merits and demerits of each GM crop on a case-by-case basis even if it is approved for cultivation in other countries. Before any GM crop is approved for commercial cultivation, extensive evaluation and regulatory approval process takes place (LSQ 1682: Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Shrimati Meena Singh, Dr. Mahendrasinh P. Chauhan, Shri Jose K. Mani, Shrimati Annu Tandon). Ministry of Environment and Forest described that in view of various concerns related to the safety, efficacy and agronomic performance of transgenic seeds, extensive evaluation and regulatory approval process takes place before any GM plant is approved for commercial cultivation. This includes generation of relevant bio safety information and its elaborate analysis to ensure food, feed and environmental safety. Bt cotton, a non-food crop is the only transgenic crop approved for commercial cultivation in India (LSQ: 1059: Shri N.S.V. Chitthan). Ministry of Agriculture discussed that CICR Nagpur has also conducted an analysis of the efficacy of Bt. Cotton cultivation in terms of crop productivity. The above studies have established the positive impact of Bt. Cotton in all cotton growing areas and under diverse agro climatic conditions (LSQ 214: Shri Bhudeo Choudhary, Shri Mansukhbhai D. Vasava, Shri Vitthalbhai Hansrajbhai Radadiya).

 

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD

 

Answering to a question about soil health, Ministry of Agriculture informed that while per hectare consumption of chemical fertilizers in the country at 133 kg remains far less than that in many other developing countries, unbalanced use of fertilizers coupled with low addition of organic matter and neglect of micro and secondary nutrients over years have resulted in multi-nutrient deficiencies and deterioration of soil health in many parts of `the country, particularly in intensively cultivated Indo-Gangetic plains (LSQ 3191: Shri Manish Tewari, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik , Shri Rajagopal Lagadapati , Smt J. Shantha , Adv Dudhgaonkar Ganeshrao Nagorao, Shri M. K. Raghavan , Shri M. B. Rajesh). 

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CLIMATE CHANGE AND METEOROLOGY

Discussions were focused mainly on “National Mission for a Green India”, National Action Plan on Climate Change, National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture, etc. Impact of climate change, problems faced by farmers due to adverse weather conditions, Study on Himalayan Glaciers, India’s position on Climate Change negotiations, were some important topics on which the maximum number of questions rose. Highest number of question was handled by Ministry of Environment and Forest.

 

TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE

 

MoEF informed the House that as a new initiative to expand forest cover, “National Mission for a Green India” has recently been approved by Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change. The Mission focuses on enhancing ecosystem services and carbon sink through afforestation on degraded land in line with the National Policy of expanding forest and tree cover in the country (LSQ 1722: Shri Prem Das Rai, Shri K.J.S.P. Reddy, Shri Ramen Deka, Shri Kunvarjibhai M. Bavaliya). Ministry of Environment and Forests is designated to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Missions and report the progress to the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change (LSQ 1772: Shri Wakchaure Bhausaheb Rajaram, Shri Hamdullah Sayeed). The Ministry stated that Indian Network of Climate Change Assessment, which was launched in October 2009, has analyzed the impact of climate change on water resources of Western Ghats region that includes Karnataka (LSQ 2790: Shri N. Chaluvaraya Swamy).

 

PLANS/SCHEMES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Ministry stated that the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) released on  June 30, 2008 outlines eight Missions in specific areas of Solar Energy, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic knowledge for Climate Change (LSQ *7: Shri Hemanand Biswal). As informed by Environment Ministry at Parliament, the Green India Mission was approved by the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, which aims to increase forest and tree cover on 5 million ha. and to improve forest cover on another 5 million ha. area by involving local level institutions of Gram Sabha like Joint Forest Management Committees, Van Panchayats etc. The preparatory activities like workshops, brainstorming session for implementation of Green India Mission were initiated  (LSQ 4257: Shri Arun Yadav). Ministry of Agriculture declared that the government has launched a scheme ‘National nitiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture’ to assess the impact of climate change on agriculture and allied sectors in the country and evolve cost effective adaptation and mitigation strategies. (LSQ 1138: Smt Annu Tandon). Along with this Ministry of Agriculture announced that to mitigate problems faced by farmers due to adverse weather conditions, apart from the existing National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS), which is being implemented in 25 states and 2 union territories, a modified NAIS to make it more farmer friendly is being implemented on pilot basis in 34 selected districts in Rabi 2010-11. A pilot weather based crop insurance scheme is also being implemented to provide insurance coverage for crop losses suffered by farmers due to adverse weather conditions (LSQ *167: Shri Jagdish Thakor).

 

RESEARCHES/STUDIES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

 

MoEF declared that a Report on “Climate Change and India: A 4x4 Assessment a Sectoral and Regional Analysis for 2030s” has been published in November, 2010. The report has projected the likely impact of climate change on temperature, precipitation, extreme events, sea-level rise, agriculture, eco-system and bio-diversity, water and human health in four regions, namely Western Ghats, Himalayan region, North-Eastern region and Coastal region (LSQ 77: Shri Uday Singh). As stated by Ministry of Environment and Forest,a ‘Report of the Study Group on Himalayan Glaciers’ prepared by the study group set up by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, was published in March, 2011. The key recommendations in the report relate to long-term comprehensive studies on science issues, development of human resources, regional planning and ecosystem management and establishment of National Institution for Glaciology that could serve as a repository of data (LSQ 951: Shri  N. Chaluvaraya Swamy).

 

 

CLIMATE INCIDENTS

 

Answering to a question regarding melting of the ‘Shivling’ made of snow at Amarnath, ministry told that the shivling at Amarnath is a natural ice, in the form of stalagmite that is formed by re-freezing of snow/ ice melt. This is a natural process which occurs every year during the early summer. Long spells of warmer temperature as well as progressive increase of pilgrims may be amongst some of the reasons for early melting of the ice shivling (LSQ 5248: Shri Dilipkumar Mansukhlal Gandhi, Shri Kameshwar Baitha, Shri Arjun Meghwal)

 

CLIMATE TALKS

 

Environment Ministry discussed that India’s position on climate change negotiations has been anchored in the principle of equity and “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” of parties as enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan  (LSQ 2764: Shri Hamdullah Sayeed). According to MoEF, the first commitment period for the developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol (KP) covering the five year period from 2008-12 will come to an end on December 31, 2012. The Kyoto Protocol does not expire in 2012 but the second commitment period for the developed country Parties has to be established for the period commencing in 2013 before the end of the first commitment period (LSQ *360: Shri Harsh Vardhan, Shri Sugumar K.).

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 ENVIRONMENT AND FOREST TRADE

 

The predominant  issues of discussion during this year were eco-tourism, trade of organic agricultural produce and export of agro products.  Both Ministry of Environment and Forest and Ministry of Agriculture provided maximum number of replies.

 

ECO- TOURISM

 

Ministry of Environment and Forest discussed that advisories was issued to tiger range states for regulating tourist visitation in tiger reserves.  Further, guidelines was issued to phase out tourism activities from the core/critical tiger habitats, while creating buffer in its peripheral areas to mainstream tiger concerns vis-à-vis the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Along with this, action has been initiated for evolving a set of ecotourism guidelines to benefit fringe dwelling local people and relocated villagers, with a view to elicit local public support for tiger conservation (LSQ 24: Shri Manohar Tirkey, Shri Prasanta Kumar Majumdar) Responding to a query about the proposal to develop forests as hubs of eco-tourism in the country, Environment Ministry responded that the Government of India has constituted a Committee for finalizing the guidelines relating to forest and wildlife ecotourism(LSQ 1688: Shri K. Shivakumar Alias J.K. Ritheesh, Shri P. Balram Naik)

 

ORGANIC PRODUCE

 

Ministry of Agriculture stated that as per the notification under Foreign Trade and Development Act (FTDR) 2001, it is mandatory for organic farmers (operators) to obtain organic certification from duly accredited certification agencies for export of their produce. As per the Organic Agricultural Produce Grading and Marking Rules, 2009 dated 18th July 2009, it is voluntary for the organic farmers (operators) to obtain organic certification for their produce in domestic marketing (LSQ 3183: Shri B.Y. Raghavendra)

 

OTHERS

 

As stated by Commerce and Industry Ministry, the Government is taking steps to encourage export of agro products through measures and incentives under Plan schemes of the Export Promotion Councils, Commodity Boards and Export Development Authorities etc. (LSQ 2815: Shri Jagdish Thakor).

 

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 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

 

 

The highlighted issues during the year 2011 under this subject area were Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, oil spill and marine pollution. Along with this, other topics of discussion were establishment of Bio-cultural Park, Forest Certification, River Front Development, Mine Closure plan etc. Maximum numbers of questions were handled by Ministry of Environment and Forest.

 

PROTECTION OF COASTAL ZONES

 

For the purpose of conservation and protection of the coastal environment, the Ministry of Environment and Forest has issued the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011 for the main land and the Island Protection Zone (IPZ) Notification, 2011 for the oceanic Islands of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Laccadives.  Under these notifications the area between 200 mts to 500 mts in Coastal Regulation Zone - III has been declared as No Development Zone (NDZ), where only certain activities are permissible after obtaining necessary approvals from concerned authorities (LSQ 2827: Dr. Nilesh N. Rane). Responding to a query about oil spill from the sunken MV RAK has polluted fragile coastal ecology and bio-diversity of mangroves Ministry discussed that an operation “Paryavaran Suraksha 02/11” was launched by the Coast Guard for oil spill response and to prevent damage to marine environment due to the sinking of MV Rak Carrier. As reported by the Coast Guard Headquarters, the oil spilled from MV Rak Carrier was initially at the rate of 1.5 to 2 tons per hour which later reduced to 0.5 tons per hour. As per the information provided by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, there was an existing fishing ban up to 15th August, 2011(LSQ 4269: Shri Vijay Bahadur Singh, Shri Yashvir Singh, Shri Neeraj Shekhar, Shrimati Jaya Prada). MoEF told that the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011 requires preparation of comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment report with cumulative studies for projects in the stretches classified as low and medium eroding by the Ministry of Environment and Forests based on scientific studies (LSQ 3973: Shri Kuldeep Bishnoi)

 

CONSERVATION OF MANGROVE FOREST

 

The ministry issued the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011 and Island Protection Zone Notification, 2011 on 6th January, 2011.  Under the notifications, the mangroves are categorized as Coastal Regulation Zone-I which have to be demarcated on the Coastal Zone Management Plan and protected. (lsq 1647: Shri N. Chaluvaraya Swamy). As per information provided by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, the Ministry of Shipping and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), approximately 1200 cubic meter of fuel oil had spilled into the sea following the collision of two ships MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia III in the Mumbai Harbour. The oil spill had led to formation of tar balls along the coast line, affecting mangroves. The Govt. of Maharashtra and the Mumbai Port Trust have taken steps for cleaning up of the coast. (LSQ 1654: Shri S.S. Ramasubbu)

 

CONSERVATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

 

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has proposed to establish a bio-cultural park in Bhubaneswar for which the State Government of Odisha has been requested to allot ten acres of land (LSQ 1183: Shri Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy). As stated by Ministry, it proposes to establish a National Environment Assessment and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA) with domain expertise, technological finesse and field outreach in order to strengthen and professionalize the regimes of Environment Impact Assessment and Coastal Zone Management under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (LSQ 1317: Shri Asaduddin Owaisi, Shri Ghanshyam Anuragi, Dr.  Kruparani Killi). According to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it has taken steps to operationalize the mechanism of forest certification after observing the prescribed procedure in order to enhance the value of the wood products including agro forestry plantations exported from India (LSQ 1321: Shri Adhalrao Patil Shivaji, Shri Gajanan D. Babar, Shri Dharmendra Yadav, Shri Anandrao Adsul). MoEF described that River Front Development (RFD) is one of the identified components of river conservation programme, including for Ganga. This includes construction/ renovation of steps, plantation, landscaping, provision of basic sanitation facilities and solid waste management etc. to prevent pollution of river from littering and other human activities. (LSQ 4239: Shri Surendra Singh Nagar). Ministry of Environment and Forest confessed that In order to assess the feasibility of developing sector-wise uniform methodology for Natural Resource Accounting (NRA), the Central Statistical Organization, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation commissioned eight studies on NRA by various specialized institutes  covering the sectors of land and forests, air, water and mining in eight States (LSQ 4270: Shri Lal Chand Kataria, Shri Uday Pratap Singh). Ministry of Environment and Forest described that the National Biodiversity Authority received a complaint from Environment Support Group (ESG), Bangalore alleging biopiracy by M/s Monsanto/ Mahyco and its collaborators in the development of Bt. Brinjal. Based on this, the Authority with the help of Karnataka State Biodiversity Board began investigating this allegation. (LSQ 1112: Shri Prabodh Panda). Environment Ministry mentioned that river front development/development of bathing ghats along the river Ganga is one of the identified components of Ganga Action Plan and National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme of the Ministry. (LSQ 2883:  Shri Purnmasi Ram). Stating about Environmental Pollution Ministry, it was discussed that for prioritizing the actions for securing pollution control compliance in highly polluting categories of industries, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified 17 categories of such units which include Fertilizer Plants, Thermal Power Plants, Sugar Industry, Distillery, Cement Plants, etc (LSQ 2905: Shri Ramkishun, Shri Hansraj G. Ahir). Minister of Chemical and Fertilizer stated that there is a Plan Scheme titled “Science & Technology Programme in the Department of Fertilizers under which grants are given to various reputed institutes in the country. The Science & Technology (S&T) Programme of Department of Fertilizers primarily lays emphasis at research & development of processes and equipments to lower specific energy consumption in fertilizer plants (LSQ 1346: Shri Suresh Kumar Shetkar). Ministry of Commerce and Industry Declared that the SEZ units are under obligation to achieve positive Net Foreign Exchange (NFE) earnings to be calculated cumulatively for a period of 5 years from the commencement of production, failing which the units shall be liable for penal action under the provisions of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 (LSQ 87: Shri Bhartruhari Mahtab). Coal Ministry described that Mine Closure Plan (MCP) is an integral part of a coal mining project and to be implemented progressively as well as at the closure of a mine or exhaustion of its reserves. As per the guidelines of Ministry of Coal all coal mine owners have to deposit specified amount depending on the mining lease area in an Escrow Account with Coal Controller Organisation and the amount will be released in parts five years before the final closure of the mine and depending on the satisfactory progress of the reclamation of mined out areas (LSQ 306: Shri Hemanand Biswal). As stated by Ministry of Mines the Government has announced the new National Mineral Policy, 2008, which seeks to develop a sustainable framework for optimum utilization of the country’s natural mineral resources for the industrial growth in the country and at the same time improving the life of people living in the mining areas, which are generally located in the backward and tribal regions of the country (LSQ 880: Shri Narahari Mahato). Ministry of Urban Development stated that the increasing urbanization requires provisioning of infrastructure and services in urban centres. As per 65th round of the National Sample Survey, 74% of urban households are served by piped water supply, leaving 26 % population to be covered by other sources like tube wells and hand pumps etc. As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report of 2009, treatment capacity installed was only 30%. The actual treatment was estimated at 72.2 % in 2008 which implies that only about 20% sewage generated was treated before disposal in Class I cities and Class II towns (as per 2001 census) (LSQ 3379 :Shri Vijay Bahadur Singh).

 

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 ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION, NGO AND MEDIA

 

 

Several discussions held on Environmental Awareness and NGO’s which includes EEAT scheme, KVK centers, conference on Organic farming, National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC), etc. Queries regarding the topics answered by different ministries.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

 

Answering to a question about education of rural student Ministry of Environment and Forest expressed that Under the Environment Education Awareness and Training (EEAT) Scheme, National Green Corps (NGC) Programme is being used to educate student in rural areas about environmental issues. The Eco-clubs have been set up by the Government in the schools under the National Green Corps (NGC) Programme since 2000-01, with underlined objective of spreading environmental awareness amongst school children. (RSQ 790: Shri Moinul Hassan). Ministry of Agriculture stated The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has identified KVKs for strengthening during XI Plan with more facilities including soil and water testing, plant health diagnostic, minimal agro-processing and e-connectivity, besides demonstration units on rain water harvesting structure with micro-irrigation system, portable carp hatchery and integrated farming systems. (RSQ 467: Shri Balavant Alias Bal Apte). Ministry of Agriculture discussed that an international conference on organic farming was organized recently by Government of Bihar at Patna, Bihar. International and national experts, practitioners of organic farming of the States of Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Jharkhand etc; investors and different stakeholders of Government of India participated to help Department of Agriculture, Bihar in developing long-term strategies and road map for organic farming for the State. (RSQ 1401: Dr. T. Subbarami Reddy)

 

NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION

 

Ministry of Planning stated In India, NGOs / Voluntary organizations / Non Profit Institutions can be registered as societies, as charitable trusts or as non-profit companies under Central or State laws. The exact number of NGOs registered State wise as well as State wise details of the NGOs are not maintained. (RSQ 1790: Shrimati Hema Malini). Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment stated that National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) is a Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry. The objective of NSKFDC is to promote socio-economic upliftment of Safai Karamcharis/Scavengers and their dependents by way of providing financial assistance at concessional rates of interest for any income generating activity throughout the country through the State Channelising Agencies (SCAs). (RSQ 884: Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar).

 

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 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

 

 

The most discussed topics under this subject were   Industrial pollution assessment, Several Clearance and Impedance of projects regarding environmental Impact assessment, clearance of Project of M/s Lavasa Corporation Limited, forest cover map on the coal blocks boundaries, etc. Apart from these, diversion of Forest Land, Environmental Management Plan, violations of CRZ Notification, were among other most discussed issues.

 

INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION ASSESSMENT

 

As stated by MoEF, out of  43 identified critically polluted industrial clusters, in which moratorium was imposed on consideration of projects / activities for environmental clearance in terms of the provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, Ministry of Environment & Forests has lifted the moratorium in 13 industrial clusters, in two phases (LSQ 2926: Shri R. Thamaraiselvan). Ministry of Commerce and Industry discussed that National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) will be developed as integrated industrial townships with state-of-the art infrastructure and land use on the basis of zoning; clean and energy efficient technology; necessary social infrastructure; skill development facilities; etc., to provide a productive environment to persons transitioning from the primary sector to the secondary and tertiary sectors. (LSQ 85: Shri Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Suresh Kodikunnil)

 

EIA CLEARANCE/ IMPEDANCE OF PROJECTS

 

An Office Memorandum (OM) was issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on 24th December, 2010 relating to the procedure for consideration of integrated and Inter-linked projects for grant of environmental clearance under the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006(LSQ 1742: Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Shri Gajanan D. Babar). The Ministry had received complaints about the development of Hill Station Township “Lavasa City” at Taluka Mulshi and Velhe, District Pune, violating the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment Notifications. A show cause notice was issued to M/s. LCL. (LSQ 1800: Shri Sonawane Pratap Narayanrao, Shri Hansraj G. Ahir, Shri Neeraj Shekhar, Shri Raju Shetti, Shri Purnmasi Ram, Shrimati Botcha Jhanshi Lakshmi, Shri Rudra Madhab Ray, Shrimati Ingrid Mcleod, Shri S.S. Ramasubbu, Shri Gajanan D. Babar, Shri Hamdullah Sayeed). Ministry of Environment and Forests based on the complaints received issued show cause notices to various companies including M/s Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), in Angul, Orissa for non-compliance of certain conditions stipulated while according environmental clearance. (LSQ 2804: Shri Tathagata Satpathy). Ministry of Environment & Forests   informed that it has issued a moratorium on 13.1.2010 for 43 critically polluted industrial clusters including Vapi and Ankleshwar, restricting environmental clearances for new polluting industries/ projects till 08.08.2010 which was further extended till 30.09.2011. For improvement of environmental quality in these polluted clusters, Gujarat State Pollution Control Boards (GSPCB) has prepared Action Plans. These Action Plans have been reviewed by CPCB. Based on the approval of action plans and initiation of implementation measures on ground, the moratorium has been lifted on 26.10.2010 for the Vapi Industrial cluster. (LSQ 1180: Shri Mansukh Bhai D. Vasava). Responding to a query about environmental clearance of Lavasa Project, MoEF answered that M/s Lavasa Corporation Limited submitted a proposal seeking environmental clearance on 2nd February, 2011 for 2000 hectors (Phase-I). The proposal was appraised by the Expert Appraisal Committee in its various meetings and the Committee recommended the proposal with certain conditions. (LSQ 1305: Shri Chaudhary Lal Singh, Shri Hamdullah Sayeed). Ministry of Environment and forest stated that the Environmental appraisal for the first phase (2000 ha.) of development of hill station project of M/s Lavasa Corporation Limited, the project proponent,  at village Mulshi and Velhe Talukas, District Pune, Maharashtra,  was under taken as per the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 (LSQ 987: Shri Vilas Muttemwar, Shrimati Usha Verma, Shrimati Sushila Saroj, Shrimati Seema Upadhyay, Shri Maheshwar Hazari, Shri P. Kumar, Dr. M. Thambidurai, Shri P.C. Mohan, Shri Suresh Angadi). Ministry discussed that the proposals of construction of multi-storey buildings for environmental clearance are considered under the provisions of Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and its amendments.  The buildings with built-up area of more than 20,000 square metres are category ‘B’ projects and are appraised by the concerned State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Environment Appraisal Committee (SEAC) (LSQ 2798: Dr.Arvind Kumar Sharma). As briefed by Ministry of Environment and Forest a circular was issued on 16th August, 2010  for imposing a moratorium on consideration of projects under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts in Konkan region, Maharashtra.  The moratorium, which is applicable to category ‘A’ and ‘B’ projects, was imposed due to the concerns relating to environmental impacts and likely ecological degradation due to large number of projects proposed in the region as well as the projects under implementation (LSQ 4077: Shri Sanjay Dina Patil, Dr. Sanjeev Ganesh Naik). Ministry Civil Aviation announced that keeping in view the enormous growth in air passengers, which has put pressure on air infrastructure and to encourage infusion of greater investment in airport sector, Government had pronounced a policy for greenfield airports in April, 2008. This policy states that it would be the endeavour of the Central Government to ensure that all approvals and clearances are given in a timely manner(LSQ 2241: Shri P. Venugopal, N Cheluvaraya Swamy Swamygowda, Baijayant Panda, Nityananda Pradhan, Chauhan Mahendrasinh, Suresh Kumar Shetkar, P. Kumar). Again minister of Civil Aviation stated that Government of Maharashtra has appointed City & Industries Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (CIDCO) as nodal agency for construction of airport. CIDCO has taken up various activities for construction of the airport such as land development by cutting of hills and filling, shifting of EHVT line, water supply, power, etc. Environment and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)clearances have been obtained by the promoter on 22.11.2010(LSQ 3522: Shri Chandrakant Bhaurao Khaire, Sanjeev Ganesh Naik). Ministry of Mines discussed that the new Mineral policy enunciates that special care will be taken to protect the interest of host and indigenous (tribal) populations through developing models of stakeholder interest based on international best practice. Project affected persons will be protected through comprehensive relief and rehabilitation packages in line with the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy(LSQ 4998: Shri Kirodi Lal Mansukhbhai, D. Vasava, Hemanand Biswal, Yashbant Narayan Singh Laguri)

 

PROTECTING MINING OPERATIONS

 

The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and the Ministry of Coal (MoC) had jointly undertaken an exercise to overlay the forest cover map on the coal blocks boundaries in respect of 9 coalfields in the country and identified various coal blocks as category ‘A’ (No-Go areas) and Category ‘B’ (Go areas).  As per the exercise, 449 coal blocks covering about 3,80,000 ha have been categorised as category ‘B’ out of total number of 602 coal blocks covering about 6,48,750 ha (LSQ 2797 : Shri P.K. Biju, Shrimati Supriya Sule). The Ministry of Environment and Forests has received eight proposals for diversion of forest land for mining in the Hasdeo-Arand forest region of Chhattisgarh. The proposals for forest clearances are considered by the Forest Advisory Committee which is a recommending body and the Ministry takes decision taking into consideration the recommendation of the FAC(LSQ 2917: Shri Madhusudan Yadav). Ministry of Coal announced that the four coal blocks namely Tara, Parsa, Parsa East and Kante Basan located in the “No-Go” areas in Hasdeo-Arand coalfield in the Surguja district of Chhattisgarh were accorded approval by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (LSQ 55: Shri Anand Prakash Paranjpe). Answering to a query about water availability in mining areas Ministry of Coal stated that as per Environmental Clearance conditions, regular monitoring of ground water level and quality is carried out by establishing a network of existing wells and construction of peizometers. Environmental Clearance stipulations, the rainwater harvesting structures including check dams for recharge of ground water are erected within and around the mine leasehold as a mitigatory measure, in case monitoring of ground water indicates a declining trend(LSQ 1480: Shri Kameshwar Baitha)

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT EIA

 

According to MoEF a proposal to establish a National Environment Assessment and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA) to strengthen the regulatory framework and to improve the environmental governance in the country particularly in the fields of environment impact assessment and coastal zone management is in a conceptual stage(LSQ 1626: Shri Ghanshyam Anuragi). Ministry again stated that there is a provision under the Forest (Conservation) Act to compensate the loss of forest land diverted for non-forest purposes by including non-forest land or by enriching degraded forest land by way of compensatory afforestation, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation and Catchment Area Treatment Plan etc (lsq 1673: Shri Rajiv Ranjan Singh, Lias Lalan Singh, Shri Harsh Vardhan, Dr. Nilesh N. Rane, Shri Milind Deora). MoEF discussed that the Environment Impact Assessment reports cover likely environmental impact due to the projects under appraisal, including land-use pattern and biodiversity and the Environmental Management Plan addresses the requisite mitigation measure(LSQ 1779: Shrimati Ingrid Mcleod). According to Environment Ministry at Present, all the developmental projects are monitored through six Regional Offices located at Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bhopal, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar and Shillong. Ministry of Environment and Forests had constituted a Committee for streamlining the existing monitoring procedure/methodology adopted under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 (LSQ 96: Shri. M.K. Raghavan, Shri Uday Singh, Shri. P. Viswanathan). It was pointed out at the Parliament that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 provides that all projects, except the projects covered under Item 8 of the Schedule to the said Notification, falling within 10 km from the boundary of critically polluted areas, identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) from time to time, are to be treated as Category A projects for consideration by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the environmental clearance. (LSQ 938: Shrimati Jayshreeben Patel). The Ministry of Environment and Forests accorded general approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of 1.00 hectare of forest land, in each case, required for execution of public utility projects of 11 specified categories by Government Departments(LSQ 1064: Shri Mangani Lal Mandal, Shri Subhash Bapurao Wankhede). According to Ministry of Science and Technology there is now a proposal to establish The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) jointly by the Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology. A site in Bodi West Hills near T. Pudukottai village of Theni district, Tamilnadu has been identified as a suitable location. Most of the construction work of the proposed project will be carried out deep underneath the earth`s surface. The Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, which has prepared the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project, has opined that the environmental impact will be low considering the ecological setup of the area. In order to minimize the impact on the environment, howsoever small, it is proposed to setup an Environment Monitoring Cell to oversee the implementation of the environmental management plan of INO(LSQ 567 : Shri K. P. Dhanaplan)

 

COASTAL ZONE REGULATION PROJECTS

 

Environment Ministry declared that for the purpose of enforcing and monitoring the implementation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had set up the National, State and Union Territory level Coastal Zone Management Authorities under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The complaints received from various sources regarding the violations of CRZ Notification are referred to these authorities who initiate action as per the powers delegated under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (LSQ 1799: Shri Neeraj Shekhar, Shrimati Jaya Prada, Shri S. R. Jeyadurai, Shri Gopinath Munde, Shri Yashvir Singh, Shri Hansraj G. Ahir, Shri Ramesh Bais, Shrimati Jayshreeben Patel, Shri Purnamasi Ram, Shri Sonawane Pratap Narayanrao). As stated by Environmental Ministry it had issued the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011 for the protection and conservation of the coastal area. The Notification for categorization of the Coastal Stretches is prohibited and permissible activities and special dispensation for the States of Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala. The notification further prohibits the development of Port and harbour projects in high eroding stretches of the coast, except for those projects classified as strategic and defence related(LSQ 5240: Shri Anant Gangaram Geete).

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DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Very few questions were discussed  on this  issue of Disaster Management, among all fire alert system was the most discussed one. . the questions were answered by Ministry of Environment and Forests.

 

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

 

Ministry of Environment and Forests stated that Forest Survey of India has set up a fire alert system based on information provided by MODIS satellite under which an sms/e-mail alert is generated for registered users of FSI website (www.fsi.nic.in) (LSQ 2859: Shri Prasanta Kumar Majumdar, Shri Manohar Tirkey, LSQ 2910: Shri Sivasami C., Shri P. Kumar, Shri Modugula Venugopala Reddy). Ministry of Finance informed that the Government of Assam has provided relief to the debt ridden farmers of Assam of an amount of Rs. 10529.48 lakh between 2008-09 and 2011-12 under Disaster Management and Calamity Relief Fund.  Further in order to provide relief to bank borrowers in times of natural calamities, the Reserve Bank of India has issued standing guidelines to banks (LSQ 2569: Shri Badruddin Ajmal).

 

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ENERGY STUDIES

Queries were directed about Studies and research on non-conventional energy sources and energy from Coal. Several discussions were made on the topic of energy conservation in different sectors of the country, Solar Energy, Wind Energy etc. Environment Ministry and New and Renewable Energy Ministry answered maximum number of questions.

 

STUDIES AND RESEARCHES ON ENERGY CONSERVATION

 

Environment Ministry told that the Central Pollution Control Board had sponsored a study to the International Centre for Automotive Technology, Manesar on “Assessment of Aldehydes, Ketones and Methane Emission in Vehicles Exhaust Using Various Fuels”. The objective of the study envisages the characterization of aldehydes, ketones and methane emission from vehicular exhaust using different types fuel like petrol Bharat Stage (BS) I and II, diesel BS II and III, Liquid Petroleum Gas, Compressed Natural Gas, 5 % ethanol blended with petrol, 10 % bio-diesel blend with diesel (LSQ 2931: Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Shri Eknath M. Gaikwad, Shri B.B. Patil). Ministry of New and Renewable energy stated that Recently, two international Conferences were held in the country in the area of solar energy, namely, International Congress on Renewable Energy during 2-4 November 2011 at Tezpur and SOLARCON India during 9 - 11 November 2011 at Hyderabad (LSQ 2728: Shri Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy)

 

ENERGY FROM COAL

 

As stated by Ministry of Coal that it has taken steps to expedite Environment & Forestry clearances, pursue with Ministry of Railways for enhancing availability of rail rakes and approach State Government for necessary assistance in land acquisition and in problems relating to law and order (LSQ 650: Shri Manohar Tirkey, Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury , Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve , Shri Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy , Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi , Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad , Shri N. Cheluvaraya Swamy Swamygowda, Shri Khatgaonkar Patil Bhaskarrao Bapurao, Shrimati Killi Krupa Rani)

 

ENERGY PROGRAMME

 

The Ministry of New and renewable Energy is implementing Remote Village Electrification Programme for providing financial support for lighting / basic electrification using renewable energy sources including solar energy, in those remote unelectrified census villages and unelectrified hamlets of electrified census villages where grid extension is not found feasible by the state governments and hence are not covered under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana. A total number of 10677 remote villages / hamlets have so far been shortlisted by the concerned state governments which have also been endorsed by the Rural Electrification Corporation for non-inclusion under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana, for coverage under the Remote Village Electrification Programme(LSQ 64; Shri Uma Shanaker Singh). Ministry of New and renewable Energy agreed that the vision document estimates that about 55,000 MW new renewable energy capacity would be added (to the capacity of about 18,000 MW existing in Sep 2010) to increase the share of renewable energy in total electricity mix to 6.4 per cent by 2022 (LSQ 2686: Shri Subhash Bapurao Wankhede). Ministry announced that it has established 627 wind monitoring stations in the country through the Center for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), Chennai for carrying out wind resource assessment. Out of these 627 stations, 233 locations have been found to be wind potential sites for setting up of wind power projects in the country(LSQ 1005: Shri Nityananda Pradhan, Shri Bhartruhari Mahtab, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Shri Baijayant Panda, Shri Bibhu Prasad Tarai, Shri Ravneet Singh, Shri Kaushalendra Kumar). The same ministry has sanctioned a research project to World Renewal Spiritual Trust (WRST), Mount Abu to develop, install and test a 1 MW solar thermal prototype power plant with 16 hours of thermal storage based on the technology of parabolic solar dishes with Mr. W. Scheffler, a visiting German Scientist as a Co-Principal Investigator(LSQ 1075: Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Shri Vilas Baburao Muttemwar). The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy is implementing a programme on Energy Efficient Solar/Green buildings which aims to promote the construction of energy efficient solar/green buildings including a green building rating system-Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA). Further, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has also developed Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) for ensuring energy efficiency in buildings (LSQ 727: J. Shantha). Ministry of New and renewable Energy proposes to develop 60 cities as ‘solar cities’ during 11th plan period. The criteria for identification of cities include a city population between 50,000 to 50 lakh (with relaxation given to special category States including North-East States), initiatives and regulatory measures already taken along with a high level of commitment in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. The solar city aims to reduce a minimum of 10% of its projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years through energy efficiency measures and generation from renewable energy installations (LSQ 2706. Dr. Sanjeev Ganesh Naik, Shrimati Supriya Sule, Shri Sanjay Dina Patil)

 

OTHERS

 

Ministry of New and Renewable energy declared that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has issued guidelines on 27th October 2010 for energy conservation in SEZs (LSQ 2735: Shri Pralhad Venkatesh Joshi). As stated by Ministry that it has taken several measures to promote use of solar energy applications, which include (i) organization of awareness camps and training programmes through regional rural banks, manufacturers/suppliers of solar systems and state agencies, (ii) advertisements in electronic and print media; and (iii) publication of magazine on renewable energy including special issues on solar energy (LSQ 1019: Shri Ghansyam Anuragi, Shri Yogi Adityanath, Shri A. Ganeshamurthi, Nishikant Dubey). Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas discussed that as per the Auto Fuel Policy approved by the Cabinet in its meeting held on 3.10.2003, Bharat Stage (BS) IV Petrol & Diesel were to be introduced in 13 identified cities (Delhi/NCR, Mumbai. Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad including Secunderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Agra, Solapur and Lucknow) and BS-III in the rest of the country with effect from 1.4.2010. (LSQ 1378: Shrimati J. Shantha) As stated by Ministry of Natural Gas and Petroleum the government has formulated “Vision 2015” under which it is proposed to increase the country’s LPG population coverage from 50% to 75%, by releasing 5.5 crore new LPG connections between 2009 and 2015, especially in rural areas and uncovered areas. The Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are assessing/identifying locations in a phased manner for setting up LPG distributorship under Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitaran Yojana. (LSQ 2497: Shrimati Killi Krupa Rani).

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FOREST CONSERVATION

 

Discussions were focused mainly on forest management, regeneration of degraded forests, Centrally Sponsored Schemes for development of forests. Along with this other important topics of discussion were Diversion of forest land for mining, Capacity Building in Forestry Sector, Forest cover, etc. Majority of answer came from Ministry of Environment and Forest.

 

AFFORESTATION AND PLANTATION

 

The Ministry of Environment & Forests is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely “Intensification of Forest Management”, which aims at creation of infrastructure for development and conservation of forest resources in the country  (LSQ 1811: Shri  P. T. Thomas, Shri  Nityananda Pradhan, Shri Modugula Venugopala Reddy, Shri Badruddin Ajmal, Shri Jayant Chaudhary, Shri Ramsinh Rathwa) Ministry stated that they provide financial assistance to the State Forest Departments under a Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Intensification of Forest Management’ to strengthen their forest protection  machinery by way of infrastructure development, use of modern technology, improved mobility by way of deployment of new field vehicles improved communication and providing arms ammunition to the front-line forestry force (LSQ 1660: Shri Hamdullah Sayeed). Ministry of Environment and Forest stated that the Ministry is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Afforestation Programme (NAP) for regeneration of degraded forests and adjoining areas in the country. The scheme is implemented through a decentralized mechanism of State Forest Department Agency (SFDA) at State level, Forest Department Agency (FDA) at Forest Division level and Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at village level (LSQ 190: Shri Hemanand Biswal, Shri Baijayant Jay Panda, Shri R. Thamaraiselvan, Shri Yashvir Singh, Shri Neeraj Shekhar, Shri N. Chaluvaraya Swamy, Shrimati Sushila Saroj, Shri Deepender Singh Hooda, Shri Ramsinh Rathwa, Shrimati Jaya Prada, Shrimati Seema Upadhyay). Question rose about forest development and tree plantation Ministry told that Ministry of Environment and Forests provides funds to the States under the three major Centrally Sponsored Schemes for development of forests namely (i) National Afforestation Programme, (ii) Intensification of Forest Management Scheme and (iii) Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats. The Government of India has enacted Indian Forest Act, 1927, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Environment Protection Act, 1986, which have enabling provisions to curb the clandestine felling of trees. Presently, no new law is contemplated. ( LSQ 1100: Shri  K. C. Singh ‘Baba’). Regarding a question about landscape Ministry answered that the land records in the country are maintained by the state governments through collectors in the Districts. The State Governments have created various categories to classify the lands as per its nature and use. The lands having small shrubs are categorized in different names, for example, “Chhote-Bade Jhad ka Jungle”, “Jungle- chhoti-chhoti jhadia evam ghas-phoos”,  “jungle jhadi” etc. This categorization is done based on its nature (LSQ 4088: Shri Virendra Kumar, Shrimati Kamla Devi Patle).

 

FOREST LAND FOR MINING

 

MoEF discussed that about 1,34,307 ha. forest land was diverted for mining activities. Keeping in view the specific nature of each mining project, the Central Government stipulates certain project specific conditions in addition to the standard terms and conditions, wherever required, in the interest of conservation, protection or development of forests, wildlife and environment to mitigate the specific adverse impact(s) likely to arise from such mining project on flora, fauna and environment etc. (LSQ 1612: Shri Narahari Mahato, Shri Nripendra Nath Roy). As discussed by ministry that the Ministry of Environment and Forests on suggestion from Ministry of Coal jointly undertook an exercise for overlaying/superimposition of forest cover map on coal blocks in 2010 in 9 major coal fields to identify ‘Go’ and ‘No- Go’ areas, of which 2 major Coal fields namely, North Karanpura and West Bokaro are located in Jharkhand state (LSQ 4225: Shri Nishikant Dubey)


 

FOREST DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, PROPOSALS AND FUNDS

Question rose on the clearance of forest development proposals. Answering to this, MoEF briefed that the central government under the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003, delegated the powers to its regional offices located at Shillong, Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Bangalore to scrutinize and accord approvals to all proposals involving forest land up to 5 hectares, except for regularization of encroachments and mining (LSQ 2807: Shri  Narendra Singh Tomar). MoEF confessed that the government has launched a scheme for “Capacity Building in Forestry Sector”, with total projected cost of Rs. 368.74 crore, with six components to be funded from the Plan Outlays, and one Externally Aided Component to be funded by the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) as a soft loan in reimbursable mode (LSQ 3913: Shrimati J. Shantha)

 

STEPS TO CONSERVE FORESTS

As statedby Environment Ministry there is a proposal presently to amend sub para (3) of Section 68 (Power to Compound Offences) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 to help the forest officers in proper protection and conservation of forest including reducing degradation, etc. To accommodate the concerns of all the stockholders including tribal people living inside the forest areas, the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) with Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) jointly constituted a committee (LSQ 1691: Shri L. Raja Gopal, Shri Dharmendra Yadav, Shri Asaduddin Owaisi, Shri Suresh Angadi, Adv. Ganeshrao Dudhgaonkar, Dr. Sanjeev Ganesh Naik, Shri Subhash Bapurao Wankhede, Shri Bibhu Prasad Tarai, Shri Gurudas Dasgupta, Shrimati Supriya Sule, Shri Adhalrao Patil Shivaji, Shri Anandrao Adsul, Shri Arjun Meghwal) . Ministry declared the names of the States having forest cover more than the National average (21.02%) as per the latest assessment carried out by the Forest Survey of India  and published in ‘India State of Forest Report 2009’.  Those are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala,Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand. Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep are the UTs in this category. (LSQ 1789: Shri Bhakta Charan Das, Shri Jeetendra Singh Bundela, Kumari Saroj Pandey, Shri Jagadanand Singh, Shri Prem Das Rai, Shri K.J.S.P. Reddy, Shri Ramen Deka, Shri Kunvarjibhai M. Bavaliya, Shri S. Pakkirappa). Ministry declared that the shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) trees grown on public and private land in various parts of the country are affected by wilt and root rot diseases which are caused by Fursaram solani and Ganoderma incidum, respectively. FRI, Dehradun formulated and proposed integrated disease management programme for shishum trees, which have been communicated to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of affected States such as Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand,  Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal (LSQ 2820: Shri Lalubhai Babubhai Patel). Answering to a question regarding protection of forest, Environment Ministry mentioned that the protection of forest areas is primarily the responsibility of the concerned State /Union Territory Governments under the relevant provisions of various Central/State Acts, Rules, Regulation etc. However, this Ministry provides financial assistance to the State Forest Departments under a Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Intensification of Forest Management’ to strengthen their forest protection  machinery by way of infrastructure development, use of modern technology, improved mobility by way of deployment of new field vehicles improved communication and providing arms ammunition to the front-line forestry force (LSQ 109: Shri Rao Saheb Danve Patil). Discussing about NAEB Environment Ministry stated that The National Afforestation Eco-Development Board (NAEB), was setup in the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1992. The main objectives of the NAEB are to promote afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country. Seven Regional Centres of NAEB have been designated in the recognized  institute of repute in  the country to conduct research studies, to organize workshops and  training programmes, monitoring and evaluation etc. (LSQ 1261: Shri  Rudra Madhab Ray). MoEF expressed concern over the reasons of vanishing of forests in the Country and the persons responsible. It discussed that as per the report of Maharashtra Forests Department, in Jalgaon District of Maharashtra bordering Madhya Pradesh, report from front field staff and other sources have been received that some anti social elements are instigating local people as well people from bordering State to encroach upon forest land after fresh clearing and claiming it as old encroachment and get it sanctioned through coercive action at Gram Sabha level and terrorizing Forest and other officials. Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra also organized a special meeting on 03.08.2011 of Forests, Police, revenue officials and people concerned to protect forests and announced measures like taking the services of ex-Army men for protection, providing self driven four-wheel vehicle to range Forest Officers, giving magistrate power to Assistant Conservator of Forests, giving order to SRP in case of self defence from anti social elements, and providing additional grant to such area to boost the protection of forests effectively(LSQ 5147: Shri Haribhau Jawale). According to MoEF as per India State of Forest Report 2009, there is net decrease in forest cover in the State of Nagaland (201 km2), Andhra Pradesh (129 km2), Arunachal Pradesh (119 km2), Tripura (100 km2), Assam (66 km2) and Chhattisgarh (59 km2). The Ministry of Environment and Forests is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Afforestation Programme (NAP) Scheme for regeneration of degraded forests and adjoining areas in the country (LSQ 2898: Shri Hari Manjhi, Shri P. R. Natarajan, Shri Satpal Maharaj, Shri A. T. Nana Patil, Shri Kaushalendra Kumar, Shri B. N. Prasad Mahato, Kumari Saroj Pandey, Adv. A. Sampath, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur). The Ministry of Environment and Forests reviewed the National Afforestation Programme (NAP) guidelines based on the feedback from the implementing States and other stakeholders, as well as mid-term evaluation of the programme. (LSQ 2907: Shri  Adagooru Vishwanath). Ministry of Environment and Forest proposed that to establish a National Environment Assessment and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA) with domain expertise, technological finesse and field outreach in order to strengthen and professionalize the regimes of environment impact assessment and coastal zone management under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (LSQ 2925: Shri Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, Dr. Kruparani Killi). Environment Ministry talked about that the Central Government while according approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest land required for construction/ upgradation of road projects, including the National Highways projects, stipulates a condition that strip plantation shall be raised on sides and central verge or the road (LSQ 2938: Shri Hemanand Biswal, Shri Harish Chaudhary, Shri Ijyaraj Singh, Shri P.L. Punia). According to Ministry of Urban Development the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has reported that a total of land measuring 350.24 acres has been developed as green by Horticulture Department of Delhi Development Authority post 1998 in Delhi for maintaining green areas (LSQ 2999: Shri Syed Shahnawaz Hussain).

 

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 FRESHWATER AND MARINE CONSERVATION

 

 

The foremost areas of concern in this subject were national river conservation plan, management of river fronts, conservation of Ganga River Basin, YAP phase – III. There were also discussions on National Wetland Conservation Programme, Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, Conservation of Ground Water etc. Ministry of Environment and Forest gave the highest number of replies.

 

CONSERVATION OF WATER BODIES

Ministry discussed about national river conservation plan. This plan cover polluted stretches of 39 rivers in 182 towns spread over 20 States. The pollution abatement works taken up under the plan include interception and diversion of raw sewage, setting up of sewage treatment plants, creation of low cost sanitation facilities, setting up of electric/improved wood crematoria and river front development(LSQ 1637: Shri Narayansinh Amlabe). The Ministry of Environment and Forests has constituted an Expert Group for formulation of guidelines for management of River fronts through the River Regulation Zone. The Expert Group includes experts in the area of river ecology (LSQ 1175: Shri Dharmendra Yadav, Shri Anandrao Adsul, Shri Gajanan D. Babar). MoEF stated that according to a recent report of the Central Pollution Control Board on the status of water supply, wastewater generation and treatment in Class-I Cities & Class-II towns, against an estimated sewage generation of about 38254 million litres per day (mld) from the 498 Class I cities & 410 Class II towns of the country, the available treatment capacity is for 11787 mld (31%) (LSQ 5189: Shri R.K. Singh Patel). MoEF declared that The National Ganga River Basin Authority has accessed World Bank assistance for conservation of Ganga River Basin.  Another project with the World Bank assistance, namely, Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement Project has also been launched. (LSQ 955: Shri Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy). Responding to a question about river pollution,ministry said that to ensure that  only treated effluent is discharged into the river Yamuna in its Delhi stretch, which contributes maximum pollution load to the river, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has prepared schemes for laying of interceptor sewers along three major drains namely Najafgarh, Shahdara and Supplementary, augmentation of sewage treatment capacity, interception of drains, rehabilitation of trunk sewers, laying of sewerage system in unsewered colonies and rural areas and desilting of peripheral/internal sewers (LSQ 969: Shri S. Pakkirappa). Again it was discussed in the Parliament that under YAP phase - III, it is proposed to rehabilitate the damaged trunk sewers to maximize the utilization of available treatment capacity, rehabilitate and modernize the STPs in three catchment areas of Delhi namely Okhla, Kondli and Rithala, construction of a new state of art STP in place of old STP of 136 MLD capacity at Okhla and to equip them with tertiary level treatment facilities to improve the water quality of river Yamuna  (LSQ 2867: Shri Surendra Singh Nagar, Shri Hamdullah Sayeed). According to The Ministry of Space from the satellite data analysis, it was observed that construction activity is going on at Zangmu, on the main Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) River in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Government has taken up this matter with the Chinese side, including during the recent visit to India by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in December 2010. The Chinese Premier said that China’s development of upstream areas will be on the basis of scientific planning and study and will never harm downstream interests. Government has ascertained that this is a run-of-the-river hydro-electric project, which does not store water and will not adversely impact the downstream areas in India (LSQ 5628: Dr. Thokchom Meinya)

 

WETLAND CONSERVATION

 

Ministry stated that considering the importance of wetlands, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has identified 115 Wetlands in the country covering 24 States and two Union Territories for conservation under the National Wetland Conservation Programme. This is also supplemented by research and development activities. Further, in order to conserve the wetlands in the country the Government has notified Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010(LSQ *145: Shri Baliram Jadhav, LSQ 1617 : Shri D.B. Chandre Gowda, Shri Suresh Angadi)

 

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PLANS

Environment Ministry notified that it has established the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) under the World Bank assisted Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (LSQ 2778: Shri  Suresh Kumar Shetkar). As stated by Environment Ministry after a review of  Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 1991 and consultation with the stakeholders, the Government issued the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011 on 6th January, 2011 with a view to ensure livelihood security to coastal communities, conserve and protect the coastal stretches and promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas, including sea level rise due to global warming (LSQ 204: Shri Uday Pratap Singh,  Lal Chand Kataria). Ministry of environment and Forest declared that to protect the fragile environment of the Gulf of Kutch, including the Marine National Park, the Ministry has initiated a World Bank assisted Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project  in the Gulf of Kutch and its surroundings. Under this project, strengthening of the Gujarat State           Coastal Zone Management Authority and Gujarat State Pollution Control Board are undertaken (LSQ 1168: Shrimati Darshana Jardosh, Shri C. R. Patil). Answering to a question regarding mining of sand stone from river bed MoEF discussed that The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991 and the recently issued CRZ Notification, 2011, prohibits the mining of sand, rocks and other substrata material including limestone except rare minerals like, monazite, rutile etc., and exploitation of oil and natural gas (LSQ 4299: Shrimati Darshana Jardosh, Shri C.R. Patil, Dr. Mahendrasing P. Chauhan, Shrimati Jayshreeben Patel, Shri Harin Pathak, Shri Kachhadia Naranbhai). The Ministry of Mines discussed that Geological Survey of India [GSI], an attached office with the Ministry of Mines has undertaken studies to assess the economic mineral bearing areas within the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] and the Territorial Waters [TW] of India (LSQ 4925: Shri Sucharu Ranjan Haldar)

 

GROUND WATER CONSERVATION

Ministry of Environment and Forest discussed that as reported by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), ground water samples are collected through a network of around 15000 observation wells once a year during pre-monsoon season. The ground water samples are also collected for water quality analyses during the course of ground water exploration, ground water management studies and special studies in the selected urban / industrial areas. The samples are analyzed for major ions (LSQ 1048 : Shri Nishikant Dubey).

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HEALTH AND SANITATION

 

Several discussions were made on industrial health hazards, safety from exposure of electromagnetic radiation from mobile towers, health hazards from chemicals, etc. Discussions in the house pertained to concern about water pollution from fertilizers, health hazards of manual scavengers, etc. Ministry of Environment and Forests gave the highest number of question but Ministry of Communication and Information Technology also had some good share of the queries.

 

HEALTH HAZARDS

 

Ministry of Environment and Forests discussed that the sitting and functioning of industries in residential, non-residential and commercial areas is governed by the respective State Industrial Policies as well as the Master Plans of Metropolitan Cities. The criteria for sitting of industries are governed based on the power consumption, water consumption and the fuel used for production processes (LSQ 1721: Shri Gorakh Prasad Jaiswal, Shrimati Rama Devi). As discussed that Ministry of Environment and Forests has notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, as amended. These Rules specify that plastic carry bags should have a minimum thickness of 40 microns and food stuffs cannot be packed in recycled plastics or compostable plastics. (LSQ 3994: Shri Adhir Chowdhury). Ministry of Communication and Information technology stated that an Inter-Ministerial Committee was constituted by the Department of Telecommunications to examine adoption of safety limits for exposure to radio frequency energy produced by mobile handsets i.e. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) levels of exposure from a mobile hand-set (LSQ 261: Shri Kirodi Lal). Again, the same ministry told that Government of India has adopted the basic restriction and limiting reference levels of Electromagnetic radiation from Mobile towers prescribed by International Commission on Non- Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) (LSQ 4494: Shri Kachhadia Naranbhai, Ghansyam Anuragi, S. Pakkirappa). Ministry of science and Technology informed that the centre for DNA Fingerprinting & Diagnostics of Department of Biotechnology in collaboration with Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad is also providing genetic diagnosis cum counseling services to the affected families. The department has recently established National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG) in Kalyani, West Bengal. The institute is devoted to research and training in genomics in health and disease and to promote genomics based services in West Bengal (LSQ 1881: Shri S. Pakkirappa).

 

CHEMICAL AND HEALTH

 

MoEF told that CPCB has prepared draft guidelines on “Environmentally Sound Management of Mercury Waste in Health Care Facilities” which specify mercury spill collection procedure, storage and disposal options as well as alternatives to mercury based medical instruments. These guidelines have been widely circulated and also placed on CPCB’s website for general public. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have issued guidelines in March 2010 to reduce environmental pollution due to mercury in Central Government Hospitals and Health Centres.  Under these guidelines, all Central Government Hospitals and health centers have been asked to gradually phase out mercury containing equipments (thermometer, BP Instruments etc.) and replace them with good quality non-mercury equipments (LSQ *14: Shri Vilas Muttemwar). Ministry again informed that as informed by CPCB, the use of nitrogenous fertilizers is one of the causes for build up of nitrates in water. The States with large scale use of nitrogen fertilizers for agriculture have higher concentration of nitrates in water. The run-off from catchment area brings significant amount of nitrate. The cause of nitrate in water bodies is also on account of disposal of sewage and nitrogenous bearing effluents from industry (LSQ 4310: Shri Baijayant Jay Panda). As stated by Ministry of Mines that an S&T Project titled ‘Study of Pollution Level in Asbestos Mines and processing plants in Rajasthan’ was undertaken by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), a subordinate office of the Ministry. The study recommended that subject to imposition of safeguards on pollution level in work environment, the restrictions imposed on grant and renewal of mining leases and expansion of mining may be lifted (LSQ 3012: Shri N Cheluvaraya Swamy Swamygowda).

 

PROPER SANITATION

 

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment answered regarding a question on carrying night soil on head that `Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993`, was enacted, to prohibit the employment of manual scavengers (LSQ 2928: Shri Kailash Joshi). As stated by Urban Ministries under the National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP), all the states are encouraged to prepare State Sanitation Strategies taking into account their historic legacy with reference to sanitation, climate and physiographic factors, economic, social and political parameters and institutional variables, etc. It has been suggested therein that the State Government should monitor the performance of cities using instruments such as citizens report cards, citizens monitoring committees, self-assessment systems, inter-city computations etc. At present, 9 States have formulated their State Sanitation Strategies viz. Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Chattisgarh (LSQ 1428 : Smt. Shruti Choudhry, Shri. Feroze Varun Gandhi).

 

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 MEDICINAL PLANTS

 

The discussions during the year 2011 was mainly focused upon  the protection of medicinal plants. Issues like identification of extinct medicinal plants, conserve plant diversity were few other topics of discussions. Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environment and Forest gave highest replies during the session.

 

PROTECTION OF MEDICINAL PLANTS

 

Environment Ministry opined that according to Botanical Survey of India (BSI), about 53 species of herbal medicinal plants, out of 18794 vascular plants so far recorded from the country, are prone to extinction due to various anthropogenic activities. To conserve plant diversity, including medicinal plants, in general and to protect the threatened species in particular, habitat improvement is the primary measure. For this purpose, about 76.9 million ha. of country’s geographical area has been notified as forests (LSQ 1658: Shrimati Kamla Devi Patle). As stated by Environment Ministry to conserve plant diversity, including medicinal plants, in general and to protect the threatened species in particular, habitat improvement is the primary measure. For this purpose about 76.9 million ha. of country’s geographical area has been notified as forests. (LSQ 1658: Shrimati Kamla Devi Patle). Ministry of Agriculture highlighted that proposal for fixation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for medicinal plants is under consideration of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (LSQ 3182: Shri Dharmendra Yadav, Shri Anandrao Adsul, Shri Gajanan D. Babar, Shri Adhalrao Patil Shivaji).

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 POLLUTION

 

Several discussions came forward regarding Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index, Monitoring of river water quality, Coastal pollution, Bio medical waste, Extended Producer Responsibility, etc. Other topics like Control of Indoor Air Pollution, Vehicular pollution, Emission from the aviation sector, plastic waste, Soil health, etc. Ministry of Environment and Forest had given the maximum number of answers.

 

INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION

 

Ministry of Environment and Forest described that the CPCB under its Environment Surveillance Programme carries out surprise checks of major industrial units including MNCs for verifying their compliance to the stipulated standards  (LSQ 1747 : Shri Yashbant N.S. Laguri, Shrimati Rajkumari Ratna Singh). Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) was assigned to the industrial clusters on the scale of 0 to 100. Based on the developed CEPI, 43 industrial clusters in 16 states having CEPI score of 70 or above are identified as Critically Polluted Industrial Clusters and remaining with CEPI < 70 are severely polluted(LSQ * 241: Shri Wakchaure Bhausaheb Rajaram, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat). Environment Ministry pointed out that as per the information available with the Central pollution Control Board (CPCB), out of 516 sugar industries in the country, 378 units have provided pollution control devices to comply with the prescribed norms, 65 units are closed and 73 units are defaulters (LSQ *13: Shri Narahari Mahato, Shri Nripendra Nath Roy). As stated by MoEF that the polluting / hazardous or obnoxious factories are not permitted to function in residential areas in metropolitan cities.  Consent to establish and to operate of such units are regulated by the concerned State Pollution Control Boards / State Government in accordance with the Master-Plan of that metropolitan city. (LSQ 203: Shrimati Rajkumari Ratna Singh, Shri Prataprao Ganpatrao Jadhao). As stated by Environment Ministry under the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) system of environmental assessment adopted by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), 88 polluted Industrial Clusters across the country were assessed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) along with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi  and other reputed institutions. Based on CEPI, 43 industrial clusters with CEPI score > 70 have been identified as critically polluted areas. (LSQ 1090: Shrimati J. Shantha)

 

WATER POLLUTION

 

Ministry of Environment and Forest announced that the centrally sponsored scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) covers polluted stretches of 39 rivers in 182 towns spread over 20 States. (LSQ *146: Shri Kirti Azad, Shri Modugula Venugopala Reddy). MoEF stated that Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is monitoring water quality of rivers at 1085 locations covering 383 rivers in terms of Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Fecal Coliforms etc.  Based on BOD levels, 150 polluting river stretches have been identified by CPCB (LSQ 132: Shri Bhoopendra Singh). MoEF discussed that most of the polluting industrial clusters of coastal areas are located in the States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The major categories of these industries are oil refineries, petro-chemical industries, chemical and fertilizer, thermal power plants,  chlor - alkali and caustic soda industry. (LSQ 939: Shri Harishchandra Chavan). Ministry again mentioned that according to a recent report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), against an estimated sewage generation of about 38254 million litres per day (mld) from the Class I cities & Class II towns of the country, the available treatment capacity is for 11787 mld.  Additional sewage treatment capacity for 26467 mld needs to be created to bridge the gap (LSQ: 1002: Shri Uday Pratap Singh, Shri P.L. Punia, Dr. Sanjay Sinh, Shri Lal Chand Kataria, Shri Sushil Kumar Singh, Shrimati Rajkumari Ratna Singh, Shrimati Darshana Jardosh)


 

AIR POLLUTION

 

Environment Ministry told that NEERI, Nagpur has undertaken a study, namely, Control of Indoor Air Pollution in Rural Areas under RSWNET (Rural Development, SC/ST, Women, North-East and Tribal Sector) project during 2009-10.  NEERI has reported an increase in concentration of Carbon Monoxide, PM10 and Volatile Organic Compounds in indoor air in the rural household due to burning of wood, coal and dung-cake in kitchen (LSQ 1681: Shri Om Prakash Yadav). As stated by MoEF the Central Pollution Control Board had sponsored a study to the International Centre for Automotive Technology, Manesar on “Assessment of Aldehydes, Ketones and Methane Emission in Vehicles Exhaust Using Various Fuels”. The objective of study envisages the characterization of aldehydes, ketones and methane emission from vehicular exhaust using different fuels like petrol Bharat Stage (BS) I and II , diesel BS II and III, Liquid Petroleum Gas, Compressed Natural Gas, 5 % Ethanol blended with petrol and 10 % bio-diesel blend with diesel. (LSQ 2855: Shri Suresh Angadi). Ministry discussed as per information provided by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the Government of Gujarat has undertaken the task to make Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad as smoke –free cities with external support through Bloomberg Global Initiative. One State Tobacco Control Cell at Gandhinagar and two District Tobacco Control Cells at Vadodara and Sabarkantha have been established by the Government of Gujarat under National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), duly supported by Central Government (LSQ 2924: Shrimati Jayshreeben Patel). MOEF agreed that the increasing number of vehicles in the country especially in the urban areas is a major source of air pollution concern.  A number of studies have been conducted in this regard by various institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), The Energy Research Institute (TERI) etc (LSQ 2954: Shri Ramesh Viswanath Katti). Ministry announced that The Ministry of Environment & Forests has launched a programme on ‘National Carbonaceous Aerosols Programme’ (NCAP) to enhance understanding the role and impact of black carbon on climate change (LSQ 192  Shri Baijayant Jay Panda, Shri Ashok Kumar Rawat, Shri Nityananda Pradhan, Dr. Kirit Premjibhai Solanki). MoEF discussed that the Government of India had notified a Taj Trapezium Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority in the year 1999 to monitor progress of implementation of various schemes for protection of the Taj Mahal and programmes for protection and improvement of the environment in the above said area (LSQ 1212:Shrimati Meena Singh). Answering to a question about higher tax has been proposed for the Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) for checking emissions MoEF detailed that the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue has informed that the large cars, including Sports Utility Vehicles already attract a higher rate of excise duty of 22% +5,000 per vehicle (for vehicles of engine capacity exceeding 1500cc) or 22% (for vehicles of engine capacity not exceeding 1500cc), if their length is more than 4 meters. Presently, Bharat Stage-IV compliant 4-wheeler vehicles have been introduced in 13 cities since 2010 by automobile manufacturers and Bharat Stage-III compliant   vehicles across the country. Accordingly, the vehicle manufacturers have been asked to upgrade technology to meet the emission norms stipulated (LSQ 5116: Shri Uday Singh). Environment Ministry discussed at the Parliament that some developed countries are considering imposition of carbon tariffs or border adjustment tax on imports from those developing countries that do not have the same standards or norms for emissions intensity in production of goods as in the importing country. During climate change talks, India has strongly opposed unilateral trade measures as these violate the principles and provisions laid down in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). India has also introduced a specific item on ‘unilateral trade actions’ in the agenda of the seventeenth Conference of Parties (COP-17) to the UNFCCC scheduled in Durban later this year for consideration and adoption (LSQ 1016: Shri Baijayant Jay Panda, Shri Nityananda Pradhan). Again as stated by the MoEF European Union (EU) has decided to include the emissions from the aviation sector in its Emissions Trading System(ETS) with effect from 2012 . India considers the step as a unilateral measure and in violation of the Chicago Convention and the provisions of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (LSQ 4045: Dr. Mahendrasinh P.Chauhan, Shrimati Darshana Jardosh). Ministry cautioned that ambient air quality data of 35 metro cities for last three years i.e. 2008 to 2010 indicates that in most of the cities the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter has exceeded the standards notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986(LSQ 1063: Shri Subhash Bapurao Wankhede, Shri Mangani Lal Mandal). Ministry described that Government has taken various steps to control air pollution, particularly in metropolitan cities which inter alia, includes B.S.IV compliant passenger cars in 12 cities and National Capital Region, supply of cleaner fuels as per Auto Fuel Policy, strict compliance of emission norms in industry, Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate system for in-use vehicles, strengthening public transport, gaseous fuel for public transport in metros as per availability, etc (LSQ 2864: Shri S. Pakkirappa, Dr. Mahesh Joshi, Shri Yashbant N.S. Laguri, Shri Lal Chand Kataria)

 

E-WASTE AND HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT

 

Answering to a question about bio-medical waste Ministry stated that as per the annual reports for the year 2009 received from the SPCBs/PCCs, and Directorate General of Armed Forces Medical Services, about 415 tonnes of bio-medical waste is generated per day from 1,29,511 health care facilities covered under the BMW Rules, as amended.  Out of 415 tonnes of bio-medical waste, about 301 tonnes per day of bio-medical waste generated is treated and disposed of safely. (LSQ 1640: Dr. Rattan Singh Ajnala). MoEF discussed that the Ministry of Environment and Forests has published the draft e-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2010. The concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been incorporated in the draft rules(LSQ 1727: Adv. Ganeshrao Dudhgaonkar, Dr. Arvind Kumar Sharma). According to the Environment Ministry the Government notified the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 on 12th May, 2011. These Rules come in to force with effect from 01.05.2012. The concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been enshrined in these rules to make EPR a mandatory activity associated with the production of electronic and electrical equipments. EPR is an environment protection strategy that makes the producer responsible for the entire life cycle of the product, especially for take back, recycling and final disposal of the product. As per these Rules, Producers are responsible for collection of e-waste generated from the end of life of their products by setting up collection centers or take back systems either individually or collectively. Under these rules, threshold limits for reduction of hazardous substances namely; Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated bi-phenyls or polybrominated di-phenyls ethers, used in manufacture of electrical and electronics components have been specified (LSQ *110: Shri Prasnta Kumar Majumdar, Shri Manohar Tirkey). It was announced at the parliament that Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 (amended on 02.07.2011). Under these Rules, sachets using plastic material cannot be used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala. Further, plastic material, in any form, shall not be used for packing gutkha, pan masala and tobacco(LSQ 4256: Shri Shivarama Gouda, Shri Datta Meghe, Shrimati Sumitra Mahajan, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, Shri Arjun Meghwal, Shri Rajen Gohain, Shri Badri Ram Jakhar). Responding to a query about biomedical waste as per the Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998, every occupier of an institution generating BMW has to ensure that such waste is handled without any adverse effect to human health and environment.  The Bio-Medical Waste is required to be segregated according to the colour code for containers/bags prescribed in Schedule-II of the BMW Rules.  Further, it is the responsibility of the occupier to treat and dispose of bio-medical waste in accordance with treatment and disposal options mentioned in Schedule-I of the Rules. (LSQ *244: Shri Anandrao Adsul, Shri Dharmendra Yadav). MoEF pointed out that The Ministry of Environment and Forests had constituted a Task Force to evolve a policy on “Environmentally Sound Management of mercury in Fluorescent Lamps”. A Technical Committee, constituted by this Task Force, had prepared “Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Mercury Management in Fluorescent Lamps Sector”. These guidelines prescribe the best practices at various levels, such as at manufacturer’s level and include aspects relate to mercury consumption, process technology, raw mercury distillation, on-site storage, treatment, recycling and disposal of mercury bearing wastes, mercury spill management (LSQ *247: Shri Prem Das Rai:, Shri D.B. Chandre Gowda). As stated by Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizer The Government of India has set up an Oversight Committee in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India under the chairmanship of Minister of State(Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Environment and Forests with the representatives of the concerned Ministries/Departments and Government of Madhya Pradesh. The Oversight Committee will provide oversight and support to the Government of Madhya Pradesh for carrying out the necessary remedial actions for cleaning of toxic waste in and around the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) plant site (LSQ 1360: Shri Chauhan Mahendrasinh)


 

NOISE POLLUTION

 

According to the Ministry of environment and Forest the Central/State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees have been carrying out noise monitoring in urban areas, mainly during festivals such as Deepawali.  As per available data, the laid down noise norms for respective zones (Industrial, Commercial, Residential and Silence) are exceeded at many locations(LSQ 2805: Shri Hamdullah Sayeed, Shri E.G. Sugavanam, Dr. Bhola Singh). Civil aviation Ministry declared that Noise level are specific to the airports and depend upon various factors like number of aircraft movements, type of aircraft under operation, geographical locations of the airport etc. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has fixed the interim noise level for Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, Delhi at 105 dB (A) for day time and 95 dB (A) for night time (LSQ 553: Dr. M. Jagannath)

 

SOIL CONSERVATION

 

Ministry of Agriculture discussed that the imbalanced use of fertilizers coupled with low addition of organic matter and neglect of micro and secondary nutrients over the years has resulted in nutrient deficiency and deterioration of soil health in many parts of the country, particularly in the intensively cultivated Indo-Gangetic plains. `Greenpeace India` launched a `Living Soils Campaign` which involved social audit of soil health management policies and schemes in selected districts of Assam, Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab (LSQ *93: Shri Tufani Saroj , Shri M. K. Raghavan). Answering to a query related soil pollution Agriculture Ministry told that as part of integrated nutrient management the Government is promoting use of organic manure and bio-fertilizers under various schemes to restore soil health and productivity(LSQ 1043: Shri Narayan Singh Amlabe , Shri Syed Shahnawaz Hussain , Shri K.C. Singh Baba , Smt Annu Tandon). Ministry of agriculture briefed that studies on benefits and usefulness of bio-fertilizers on agriculture production indicate that in nutrient terms bio-fertilizers can provide 10-20 kg Nitrogen and can solubilize 10-12 kg of P2O5 per hectare per cropping season. Use of bio- fertilizers also improves soil health by helping other beneficial micro-organisms to grow(LSQ 1384: Shri K.C. Singh 'Baba', Shri Uday Singh)

 

OIL POLLUTION

 

Ministry of Shipping discussed that three incidents of oil spill have been reported to have taken place in the Major Ports during this year. Out of these, two incidents reported from Mormugao Port involved spillage of only traces oil. Some of the major ports already have some facilities for combating Oil Spills in their water. All the major ports have been directed to put in place Tier-I facilities (LSQ 1283: Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad).

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WATER MANAGEMENT

Major issues discussed in the Parliament during the year 2011 are proper water supply, Drinking water, etc. Ministry of Urban Development gave maximum number of answers on this topic.

 

WATER CONSERVATION

 

Ministry of Urban Development suggested that the government has formulated Service Level Benchmarks (SLBs) for water supply which covers matters pertaining to coverage, quality of water, quantity of supply, etc. It has also formulated manual on water supply and treatment and manual on operation and maintenance of water supply systems which have been disseminated to the States and Urban Local Bodies for adoption (LSQ 129 :Shri Yogi Adityanath, Shri. C. Rajendran). Urban Ministry stated that Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) was launched in December, 2005 for providing financial assistance for infrastructure facilities in Small &Medium Towns except the cities those are covered under Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) component of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Water Supply is one of the admissible components under UIDSSMT (LSQ 2445: Shri Madhu Kora). Again it was discussed that water recharging through preservation of water bodies is one of the admissible components under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT). During the last three years and the current year 2 projects of Preservation of Water Bodies, one each in Hamirpur town of Himachal Pradesh and Jajpur town of Orissa have been sanctioned (LSQ 398: Shri Jeetendra Singh Bundela).

 

DRINKING WATER

 

Ministry of Urban Development stated that Delhi Jal Board has been nominated as nodal agency for arrangement of adequate supply. Drinking water is supplied by Delhi Jal Board or by local body (NDMC etc.) NDMC and Delhi Jal Board have been requested to increase the water supply (LSQ 3010 . Shri Mithlesh). Urban Ministry discussed that Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is responsible for standardization, marking and quality certification of goods etc. BIS has published the Indian Standard Drinking Water Specification IS: 10500-1991 which is the standard in India. The Manual on Water Supply & Treatment (1999) published by the Ministry also gives guidelines for physical and chemical parameters as per WHO guidelines 1993 (LSQ 5341: Shri K. Sudhakaran).

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 WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

 

The main focus of discussions in the house in year 2011 were man-animal conflict, extinction of bird species, impact of communication towers, development of National Parks, Sanctuaries etc. Other topics included were development of zoos, approval of five new tiger reserves, illegal poaching, project elephant, international trade on animal products, etc. Ministry of Environment and Forest replied the highest number of questions during the year.

 

MEASURES TO SAVE WILDLIFE

 

Ministry confessed that the results of bird census are not compiled in the Ministry. The threatened bird species have been placed under various schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and their hunting is prohibited in the country. (LSQ 2920: Shri P. Kumar). Ministry of Environment and Forest pointed out that incident of man-animal conflict are reported from States/Union Territories of the country. Payment of ex-gratia to the victims of wild animals is the responsibility of the concerned State/ Union Territory Governments. Some devices of Information Technology, viz., radio collars with Very High Frequency, Global Positioning System and Satellite uplink facilities, are being used by the research institutions including Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, State Forest Departments and the National Tiger Conservation Authority to monitor the movement of Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Olive Ridley Turtles, and other wild animals to understand their movements and their use pattern of the habitat  (LSQ *111: Shri Abdul Rahman, Shri C. Rajendran) . MoEF again added that as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry for ‘Human-Leopard Conflict Management’, radio collar, microchip marking and ear tag or color coded collars have been identified as one of the methods for monitoring of translocated carnivores including leopard before releasing the animal in the wild (LSQ 4145: Shri K. C. Singh ‘Baba’). Answering to a query about extinction of bird species as per IUCN Red List, about 87 bird species in India are listed as globally threatened, which are on the verge of extinction.  In addition, more than 60 species are near threatened. However, House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is not listed in this Red List as the species is so far not assessed to be threatened. Studies conducted by Research Organizations and Non Governmental Organizations including Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology, Coimbatore and Bombay National History Society indicate that house sparrow population has shown a decline (LSQ: 1243, Shri Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Shri Rajaiah Siricilla, Dr. Girija Vyas, Shri Datta Meghe). Ministry worried about the fact that as per the survey/assessment conducted by Botanical Survey of India (BSI), about 1236 plants, herbs, shrubs are threatened and are prone to extinction. Out of these, 53 plants, herbs, shrubs in the country including those in Uttarakhand, have medicinal properties. (LSQ 5145: Shri Satpal Maharaj, Prof. (Dr.) Ranjan Prasad Yadav , Shri K. C. Singh ‘Baba’). Ministry of Environment and Forest mentioned that they had constituted an ‘Expert Committee to study the possible impacts of communication towers on wildlife including Birds and Bees’ on 30th August 2010 under the chairmanship of director, Bombay Natural History Society. The Expert Committee has submitted its report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in September 2011. (LSQ 1138: Shri S. Semmalai, Shri Kodikkunnil Suresh, Shri Vilas Muttemwar, Shri D.B. Chandre Gowda, Shri Somen Mitra, Shri Purnmasi Ram, Shri Hamdullah Sayeed). The Expert Committee confirmed the adverse effects of electro magnetic radiations (EMR) from mobile phones and communication towers on the health of human beings. However, it also points out that exact co-relation between radiation of communication towers and health of wildlife is so far not established (LSQ *347:Shri Om Prakash Yadav, Shri Sonawane Pratap Narayanrao). According to the Ministry of Environment and Forests,  it is already engaged in creating public awareness for the protection of wild animals and its habitats through the print and electronic media, workshops and training programmes and awareness drives in the educational institutes etc. (LSQ 2884:Shri B.N. Prasad Mahato, Shri Kaushalendra Kumar) . Responding to a question about protection of Honey bee, MoEF told that the Ministry of Agriculture has set up a National Bee Board (NBB) to implement various activities for promoting scientific bee keeping in the country under the National Horticultural Mission. Under this Mission, ‘Pollination support through bee keeping’ is one of the important components to promote scientific bee keeping. As regards protection of honey bees in the wild, financial and technical assistance under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes are provided for conservation and protection of wildlife in Protected Areas and other habitats of wildlife which includes honey bees also (LSQ 2891: Shrimati Ingrid Mcleod)

 

SANCTUARIES/NATIONAL PARKS/RESERVES

 

MoEF discussed that as informed by the State Government of Madhya Pradesh, Karera Wildlife Sanctuary in Shivpuri District comprises both Government revenue land as well as private land and in view of the provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, as applicable to a Sanctuary, the villagers do face problems in buying and selling land. (LSQ 2980: Shri Narendra Singh Tomar). Ministry of Environment and Forest stated that to ensure better protection and management of wildlife and its habitats in the country, the Ministry has modified the Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Assistance for the Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries” by adding two new components, viz., “Protection of wildlife outside protected areas” and “Recovery programme for saving critically endangered species and their habitats” during 11th five Year Plan Period, and renamed it as “Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' (LSQ 1304: Shrimati Sumitra Mahajan, Shri Nishikant Dubey). Question rose about the conservation of Black Buck in the country. Answering to this MoEF discussed that One National Park, viz, Velavadar National Park, Gujarat and three Sanctuaries, viz, Talchappar in Rajasthan, Rehekuri in Maharashtra and   Ranebennur in Karnataka have been notified specifically for the conservation of Black bucks in the country. As per the information received from the State Government of Rajasthan, 125 black bucks had died in Talchappar while 15 black bucks had died in Karoli during the last three years(LSQ 4187: Dr. Kirodi Lal Meena). Ministry stated that most of the death of animals occurred in the zoos in the country are natural/ old age compounded by various diseases like septicemia, pneumonia etc. The Central Zoo Authority had laid standards and norms regarding upkeep and healthcare of animals under Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009, which is mandatory for all the zoos to follow.  Necessary steps are being taken up by the respective zoo operator to avoid such situation in future also if any person found guilty for negligence etc., action is taken by respective zoo operator/ State Government. (LSQ 4307: Shri Dharmendra  Yadav). Ministry detailed about the “in-principle” approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of six new tiger reserves, and the sites are: (i) Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), (ii) Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh), (iii) Sunabeda (Orissa), (iv) Mukandara Hills (including Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal Wildlife Sanctuaries) (Rajasthan), (v) Kudremukh (Karnataka) and (vi) Kawal Sanctuary (Andhra Pradesh). Besides, the States have been advised to send proposals for declaring the following areas as Tiger Reserves: (i) Bor (Maharashtra), (ii) Suhelwa (Uttar Pradesh), (iii) Nagzira-Navegaon (Maharashtra) (iv) Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu), (v) Guru Ghasidas National Park (Chhattisgarh), and (vi) Mhadei Sanctuary (Goa) (LSQ *453: Shri M.K. Raghavan). As stated in the Parliament the Ministry of Environment and Forests provides technical and financial assistance to the State/Union Territory Governments under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats’ for support to the  protected areas, viz., National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves, protection of wildlife outside protected areas, and recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats. (LSQ 1089: Shri Dushyant Singh). Ministry declared that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had carried out Red Listing assessments of the freshwater biodiversity in Western Ghats during 2010-2011. The assessment report indicates that close to 16% of the 1,146 freshwater taxa assessed are threatened with extinction (LSQ *256: Prof. (Dr.) Ranjan Prasad Yadav, Shri Nalin Kumar Kateel)

 

TIGER CONSERVATION

 

Ministry confessed that the “in-principle” approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of five new tiger reserves, and the sites are: Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple Sanctuary (Karnataka), Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh) and Sunabeda (Orissa) and Mukundara Hills (including Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal Wildlife Sanctuaries) (Rajasthan) (LSQ 1698: Shri Shivraj Bhaiya, Shri Hansraj G. Ahir, Shrimati Meena Singh, Shri Deepender Singh Hooda, Shri Lal Chand Kataria, Shri Uday Pratap Singh). Environment Ministry discussed that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has been reconstituted vide Notification No. 15-25/09NTCA dated 4th September, 2009, since the term of the said authority as constituted earlier expired on 3.9.2009. There are 40 tiger reserves in the country which come under the purview of the said authority.(LSQ 2824: Dr. Kirodi Lal Meena)

 

ILLEGAL POACHINGS/ SMUGGLINGS

 

Ministry stated that no such categorical inference can be drawn on the funding support under the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger is provided to states, which includes initiatives for fostering awareness towards tiger / wildlife conservation in and around tiger reserves. (LSQ 1698: Shri Shivraj Bhaiya, Shri Hansraj G. Ahir, Shrimati Meena Singh, Shri Deepender Singh Hooda, Shri Lal Chand Kataria, Shri Uday Pratap Singh). As stated by MoEF during last 3 years, four cases have been booked for illegal poaching of Mahseer fish in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. (LSQ 2841: Shrimati Maneka Gandhi)

 

ELEPHANT CONSERVATION

 

Environment Ministry discussed that the Central Government has issued non-statutory guidelines for care and management of captive elephants. These guidelines recommend that an elephant shall normally be allowed to retire from its work on attaining an age of 65 years (LSQ 2857: Shri Bhisma Shanker Alias Kushal Tiwari, Shri Radhe Mohan Singh). Environment Ministry discussed that the task force on Project Elephant constituted by the Ministry during 2010 to bring about a more effective conservation and management regime for the elephant in India, has recommended in its report that Project Elephant be converted into a statutory agency on the lines of National Tiger Conservation Authority and the relevant amendments in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 be carried out for such a change to be made (LSQ 4: Shri Ahir Vikrambhai Arjan Bhai Maadam, Shri Uday Singh). The Ministry of Environment and Forest in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has launched the nationwide ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ campaign by unveiling the campaign mascot, logo and website of the campaign during the Elephant-8 Ministerial Meeting held in New Delhi on 24th May, 2011 (LSQ 4325: Shri Kishnbhai V. Patel, Shri Pradeep Majhi). Ministry confirmed that the number of elephants killed near Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan border are not compiled in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Ministry provides financial and technical support to Elephant Range States under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of ‘Project Elephant’ to take preventive steps like deployment of anti depredation squads, creation of physical barriers, improvement of habitats etc. to protect the crop, lands and villages from the elephants (LSQ 1009: Shri P. Viswanathan).

 

OTHERS

 

Ministry of Agriculture discussed that the share of India in the International trade of animal products is affected by trade distorting subsidies given by developed countries, stipulation of higher sanitary measures than required for protection of human and animal health by developed countries and prevalence and intermittent outbreak of certain diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease and Avian Influenza respectively in India(LSQ 2471: Shri Surendra Singh Nagar).

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Date of News:  25-Nov-2014