ENVIRO ANNOTATIONS

Voluntary participation of industries, crucial towards low carbon industries transition: Prakash Javadekar

01.12.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has said, people and industries are key drivers in our efforts towards mitigating the climate change.

While speaking at at the high level segment of the Industry transition leadership summit, organised by Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), the Union Environment Minister pointed out that industry contributes directly around 30% of the global CO2 emissions, and transition of hard to abate industries towards low carbon pathways is key to combat climate change.

He informed that CO2 emissions have been cut down by top industries in the country voluntarily without any diktat and also renewable energy consumption is being actively promoted in the country by several companies.

"This is the way forward and we need to encourage voluntary participation of the industries towards cutting down carbon emissions.", added the Environment Minister.

Speaking on the issue of finance Javadekar said, funds should be mobilised at a larger scale and use of technology has to be there to deal with climate change issue.

He said affordable technologies and research studies need to be shared with developing countries so that they can work in the direction of saving environment.

Javadekar also reminded other countries not to forget that every Climate Action has a cost and if we consider Climate Change as a disaster, then nobody should profit from this disaster. The Minister said that this will be tantamount to a kind of double taxation on the poor of the developing countries, which is not Climate Justice.

Addressing the summit, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabelle Levin said, India and Sweden have to work together to deal with climate change issue. She said, best practices and experiences need to be shared to cut down carbon emissions. The Swedish Deputy Prime Minister also pitched for mobilising the finances to deal with carbon emissions and said, the Government of Sweden is committed to work in this direction.

LeadIT is launched by India and Sweden along with the World Economic Forum with the support of Stockholm Environment Institute in 2019 during the United Nations Secretary General Climate Action Summit. Currently, the Group has membership of 13 countries and 15 companies, including Dalmia Cement, Mahindra Group and SpiceJet from India, committed towards low carbon industry transition.

LeadIT organised the virtual industry transition leadership summit to build momentum to accelerate the process of industry transition as the world marks the five years of the Paris Agreement. The event highlighted making a business case for industry transition for catalysing demand and acceleration of diffusion and scale-up technology for industry transition.

The virtual event was attended by heads of global companies like Scania, FLSmidth, LKAB, LafargeHolcim, SSAB, Vattenfall, as well as Indian companies like Dalmia and Mahindra Group. The event also witnessed the participation of global think tanks and Ministers/representatives of countries like the UK, Luxembourg, EU and Germany.

NVVN's Green Hackathon aims to find greener solutions for growing air pollution concerns

01.12.2020, New Delhi: NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam), a wholly-owned subsidiary company of NTPC Ltd., in partnership with EESL organises technology challenge "Green Charcoal Hackathon". The event aims to leverage the innovative Indian mind to bridge the technology gap, especially to clean the air by eliminating farm fire, producing renewable energy out of the agro residue, to promote local entrepreneurship, and to increase the income of the farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, R K Singh, Union Minister of State(I/C) for Power and New & RE said, “The Hackathon displays the spirit of innovation, which pervades NTPC. Any organisation has to have this spirit of innovation to grow and prosper or otherwise, it would fade away. I am sure that the NTPC management has told all young engineers that innovation and new ideas are encouraged.”

He added, “This Hackathon is also innovation in the pursuit of reducing our carbon footprint. From that point of view, all competitors in the Hackathon should keep in mind that the process of converting this (agro residue) to charcoal should not lead to emissions. Another key thing is the commercial model, which will depend on the cost of both the machine and charcoal production. I am sure we will come out with a machine which is economical. I am happy to see the orientation of NTPC towards reducing carbon foot print.”

Ashish Upadhyay, Additional Secretary of Power said, “The NTPC Group needs to focus on integrated and smart solutions to manage a carbon-neutral economy”.

Gurdeep Singh, CMD NTPC Ltd, said that Power plants are the biggest consumers of coal. He informed that typically a 1000 MW plant consumes about 5 million tonnes of coal annually. India's total coal-based power generation capacity is about 2 lakh MW, which theoretically can consume approximately 1000 million tonnes of coal annually. He elaborated that replacing 10% of total coal consumption with green charcoal will amount to 100 million tonnes of this fuel which will require approximately 160 million tonne of agro residue and municipal waste (considering 60% yield). This could produce approx. 20,000 MW of renewable power and generate 50,000 crore per year of revenue”.

The increasing air pollution due to the burning of stubble and agro residue by local farmers has become a major concern for the country. As a result, NVVN is looking for technologies to convert the agricultural waste to a form that can be used in the power plants in form of the Green Charcoal Hackathon. One such option is torrefaction which converts the agro residue to green charcoal.

The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass is not easily accessible to small entrepreneurs due to the higher cost of imported machines, lack of sufficient manufacturers. The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass once developed in India will be made accessible to small entrepreneurs.

To encourage the participants, there was a provision for cash prizes worth up to INR 24 Lakhs in three Categories, namely: (a) Category – I, Technology for Production of 100 kg per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets (b) Category – II, Technology for Production of 1000 kg per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets, and (c) Category – III, Technology for Production of 10 Tonnes per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets.

Prime Minister shared unique example of ‘waste to wealth’ exhibited by Haryana's Virendra Yadav who made a whopping Rs. 2.5 Crore by trading the troubling Stubble

29.11.2020, New Delhi: Environment has always been an integral part of deliberation in Prime Minister Modi's Mann Ki Baat programmes. In the 18th Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’ he reminded the commencement of the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr. Salim Ali, from 12th November 2020. The Prime Minister said "Dr. Salim has done illustrious work in the field of bird watching – the avian world. This has also attracted bird watchers of the world towards India. I have always been an ardent admirer of people who are fond of bird watching. With utmost patience, for hours together from morn to dusk, they can do bird watching, enjoying the scenic beauty of nature; they also keep passing on the knowledge gained to us. In India too, many bird watching societies are active. You too should connect yourselves with this subject. Amid the hectic routine of my life, recently in Kevadia, I also got a memorable opportunity to spend time with birds. Time spent among birds will bond you closer to nature, it will also inspire you towards the environment."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about the stubble management efforts of Virendra Yadav, a farmer entrepreneur, who has returned from Australia and now lives in Kaithal, Haryana. He described how Virendra Yadav bought a Straw Baler machine to make bundles of straw, with financial assistance from the Agricultural department, and further sold to agro energy plants and paper mills. The stubble traded amount was a staggering Rs. 2.5 Crores. Virendra Yadav has earned a profit of approximately Rs. 50 Lakh from this way.

The Prime Minister described this as a unique example of ‘waste to wealth’. He said "To the youth, especially the lakhs of students who are studying agriculture, it is my request that they visit villages in their vicinity and talk to the farmers and make them aware about innovations in farming and the recent agricultural reforms. This way, you will become stakeholders in major reforms underway in the country."

"Environment is an Article of Faith for India" - Union Minister R K Singh

29.11.2020, New Delhi: India has also prioritised to have its Islands fully on green energy Islands. Union Minister of New & Renewable Energy and Power, R K Singh, said that India has given target to Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep to meet their energy needs from Renewable Energy only. While speaking at Country session of Maldives during 3rd Global Re-Invest, the Union Minister reiterated that India is one of very few countries to have met its commitment of keeping climate change within 2%.

The Minister also said that India has installed about 136,000 MW of RE capacity with capacity addition of another 57,000 MW under implementation. He also informed that India has a robust energy efficiency programme under which more than 11,000,000 LED street lights have been installed, which is significant in reducing CO2 emission.

Speaking about large RE capacity addition through open bids and open competition Indian RE sector, the Minister said that for us environment is an article of faith. “Therefore we are taking steps to reduce our carbon Footprints,” he added.

R. K. Singh said that our target is now to achieve 450 GW (450,000 MW) RE capacity by 2030. He emphasised that renewable energy is a must not only for Island States, but also for the world. This realisation has dawned on everybody that we need to reduce our carbon footprints to preserve the planet. He echoed the sentiments that Island States/territories are more vulnerable to global warming.

NHAI states that only 1940 trees to be cleared and not 7000 trees as speculated

29.11.2020, New Delhi: Denying the speculations about a proposal to cut 7,000 trees for the proposed InterModal Station Project (IMS) at Ajani in Nagpur, Regional office of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has clarified that the IMS project is in resonance with Environment Impact Assessment. Only about 1,940 trees are to be felled as per Detailed Project Study. It is also proposed that the maximum number of these trees shall be replanted or transplanted as per the advice of Forest Department and Forest Experts. NHAI also informed that a compensatory afforestation of 25,000 trees shall be carried out by the NHAI on the available vacant spaces on the National Highway Projects land in and around Nagpur.

InterModal Station proposed to be constructed at Ajni, with a Land Acquisition of 44.4 acres of Indian Railway land, available adjacent to Railway tracks, for handling capacity of over 3 lakhs passengers per day with a facility of Bus Stand , Railway Station and a Metro Station in the proposed vicinity. This Project is taken up for development of the city of Nagpur in the best interest of people as currently Nagpur Central Station is heavily congested and has limited scope of expansion. There are no organized bus terminuses for intra-city & inter-city buses. This is leading to an increase in road traffic and corresponding pollution across the city.

It is informed that the InterModal Station project envisages a saving of 16,31,737 litres of fuel and prevent 75,65,196 Kgs. of CO2 emissions over a period of up to year 2050.

Accordingly, this facility is being developed in an environmentally friendly manner, with sufficient open and green spaces incorporated in the design. The development of this facility shall lead to environmental benefits including reduction in congestion and pollution, stated a press release issued by Regional office of NHAI in Nagpur.

India and Finland sign MOU for cooperation in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation

26.11.2020, New Delhi: India and Finland today signed a MOU for developing cooperation between two countries in the field of Environment protection and biodiversity conservation.

The MoU is a platform to further advance Indian and Finnish partnership and support, exchange best practices in areas like prevention of Air and water pollution; Waste management; Promotion of circular economy, low-carbon solutions and sustainable management of natural resources including forests; Climate change; Conservation of Marine and Coastal Resources; etc.

The MoU was signed virtually by Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change from the Indian side and Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Government of Finland from the Finnish side.

Speaking at the event avadekar said that the MoU also provides the possibility to have joint projects in areas of mutual interest. “This MOU will definitely commits us to work together more closely towards on the fulfilment of commitments made under Paris Agreement.”, said the Environment Minister.

Javadekar also informed that India has achieved its voluntary target of reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by 21% over 2005 levels, by 2020 and is poised to achieve 35% reduction well before the target year of 2030.

As part of its Nationally Determined Contributions submitted under the Paris Agreement , India has taken three quantitative climate change goals viz. reduction in the emissions intensity of Gross Domestic Product by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level, achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

The MoU will strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities and develop bilateral cooperation in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit with due respect to promotion of sustainable development.

UNDP & India Invest brings Investor Map to narrow down the SDG financing gap

26.11.2020, New Delhi: Realizing India's key role in the success of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Invest India have launched SDG Investor Map for India. Targeting to narrow down the SDG financing gap, the map identifies 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors. It is expected that the map can help India push forward Sustainable Development.

Key highlights of the SDG Investor Map:

  • Of the 18 IOAs identified, 10 are already mature investable areas that have seen robust Private Equity and Venture Capital activity, and feature companies that have been able to unlock scale and demonstrate profitability. The remaining eight IOAs are emerging opportunities, which have seen traction from early-stage investors.

  • The map has also identified eight White Spaces, which have seen investor interest and have the potential to grow into IOAs within a 5-6-year horizon. However, these require further policy support and private sector participation to mature into commercially attractive IOAs.

  • Nearly 50% of the shortlisted IOAs have historical investments that have yielded IRRs in excess of 20%.

  • 84% of the IOAs have investment timeframes ranging from the short term (less than 5 years) to the medium-term (between 5- 15 years).

The observations from the map present a strong case for investing in SDG enabling sectors and IOAs, bridging the gap between high-level development targets and the need for commercially viable returns. Moreover, investing in the SDGs is crucial to ‘Building Back Better’ from COVID-19 and enhancing India’s resilience to future threats. Investing in opportunities that enhance employment and employability, push forward the inclusion of underserved communities and leverage technology will be of essence to India as it grapples with the challenges of a post-COVID economy.

83% of the identified IOAs address job creation and industrialization needs, 70% focus on inclusive business models and 50% leverage digital technologies to deliver commercial returns and impact at scale. Notable IOAs include ‘Online Supplementary Education for K12’ (Education), ‘Tech-Enabled Remote Care Services’ (Healthcare), ‘Digital Platforms to service input/output needs of farmers to enable easy access to markets’ (Agriculture) and ‘Access to credit by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Low-Income Groups especially through digital platforms for Income Generating Purposes’ (Financial Services).

By mapping the overlaps and gaps between public sector priorities and private sector interest, the SDG Investor Map lays out pathways that can bring together private-sector investment and public sector support for 6 SDG-enabling sectors including Education, Healthcare, Agriculture & Allied Activities, Financial Services, Renewable Energy & Alternatives and Sustainable Environment. These sectors and the IOAs within them were selected through a rigorous analytical process that included extensive consultations with a number of major domestic and international investors, government stakeholders and think-tanks. This ensured that the Map’s findings were truly reflective of market sentiment.

Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India , which acts as the first point of reference for investors in India, since it was set up in 2009.

CPCB cautions industries and projects about fraud inspectors

25.11.2020, New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued a public notice raising concerns on fraud inspections of industries, business establishments, projects and construction sites. On the wake of increasing air pollution in northern part of India, and specifically in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR), the central board has constituted teams for inspection of polluting sites. Taking advantage of such a situation, external elements have created havoc in the name of officials of CPCB. In some cases, it has come into the notice of CPCB that people claim to be authorized consultants from CPCB. They have created websites with some similarity to CPCB’s site. The Board has denied grant of any kind of approval or authorization to any consultants.

It was stated by the central board that the list of officials and contact details are available on the website http://www.cpcb.nic.in where they can be contacted.

The notice has mentioned that if any person or group of people claim to be officers or inspection agency and forcefully enters into the premises of industries, business establishments, projects and construction sites, the party officials should verify identity of such persons. The industry representatives may also speak to the CPCB official concerned, named by the person or group of people willing to conduct inspection.

CPCB has categorically advised not to entertain people or group of people, who can’t demonstrate identity to one’s satisfaction. Also the industries, business establishments, projects and construction sites should check if the email is received from email ids bearing @gov.in or @nic.in. Emails received from other ids are not to be entertained.

Delhi Government’s Petition to Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas

25.11.2020, New Delhi: Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday, 24th November 2020 said that the Delhi Government has submitted a petition in front of the Air Quality Management Commission describing the successful implementation of the Pusa Institute made bio-decomposer to stop stubble burning. He said that the Delhi government has requested the commission to take cognisance of the assessment report on the usage of the bio composer technique. Shri Rai said that the commission should make this technique mandatory for all the states like Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan; this will stop stubble burning and also help the farmers to develop the quality of farmland from the produced manure. He said that due to massive stubble burning which affected the air quality of Delhi in the past few days the COVID situation of capital has also significantly worsened.

Earlier, on 23rd November 2020, a meeting took place between the official and non-official members of the newly formed Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas and three Delhi MLAs at 11:00 hrs. The meeting was conducted on a request from the Chairperson, Committee on Environment, Delhi Government.

The MLAs requested the Commission to take prompt action against the State Governments of Punjab and Haryana for criminal negligence regarding stubble burning. They suggested various options including the in- situ decomposition technology developed by IARI, Pusa, Delhi for large scale adoption.

The Commission informed them that it is seized of the matter and will take required steps including formulation of appropriate policies and strategies to control stubble burning, in due consultations with stakeholders concerned, on a priority basis, as communicated by a Spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. #Delhi #AirPollution

Jal Jeevan Mission: Meghalaya to provide 100% tap water connections for 5.83 Lakh households

23.11.2020, New Delhi: Under Jal Jeevan Mission, the Government of Meghalaya has decided to provide Functional Household Tap Connections to all 5.9 Lakh rural households in 6,415 villages in the State by 2023. The total balance number of connections to be provided is for 5.83 lakh households.

Recently, a two-member team from the National Jal Jeevan Mission visited the State. The team visited the districts of West and East Jaintia, East Khasi and Ri-bhoi, an aspirational district. In the Amsohrhong village in West Jaintia district, that is last but one village from the Bangladesh border, all 74 households have been provided with tap water connections. Earlier, the water supply was through public stand post requiring women and children to walk every time to fetch water. As envisaged under Jal Jeevan Mission, the community has to contribute 5% or 10% of capital cost for in-village infrastructure as the case may be, in cash/ kind/ and/ or labour, the community has provided labour for meeting the 5% community contribution, which indicates the sense of ownership of the village community for the water supply scheme.

In East Jaintia district, the team visited the Suchenmulieh village with 62 households who all have been provided tap water connections through a multi-village scheme. Water tariff in these two districts would be decided by the community after handing over of the schemes. One of the problems faced is the difficulty in transporting the materials to far off villages due to poor connectivity during monsoon as well as the lock down period when villagers never allowed any outsider to visit them.

The village MawthlongMynsain in East Khasi district is having 123 households and out of them 95 have been provided tap connection so far. The provision of tap connection has saved hours of drudgery of women and girls. The daughters are now relieved of their evening routine to fetch water and use saved hours for studies and games. The Village Water & Sanitation Committee Chairman assured to take over the Operation &Maintenanceof the water supply scheme. The team also visited the Shoryngkhem village, which is once considered as a largest village in Asia and spread over 32.61 sq.km with a population of 7,789, wherein the retrofitting works of existing piped water supply systems is planned to provide tap water connections to all households.

In the Aspirational district of Ribhoi, the team visited Syahheh, Nerbong, Umiapkhla villages wherein tap connections are being provided through convergence with retrofitting of schemes taken up to provide tap connections. Despite a small village with framing as major activity, the 21 households of Umiapkhla village provided 5% community contribution and are willing to collect Rs 40 per household per month for the operation and maintenance. Along with households, anganwadis and schools are also being provided tap connections under the mission’s 100 days campaign launched on 2nd October, 2020 to provide piped water supply in these public institutions.

Despite the pandemic period, difficulty in the availability and transport of materials, State receiving heavy monsoon rains in 2020, the provision of tap water connections under the mission is fast-tracked. The team also had interactions with district and State PHED officials. The State that started with 1% of its rural households with tap connection is well on its way to achieve the targeted 100% tap connection by 2023.These silent works undergoing in these difficult hilly terrains to provide basic amenity such as potable water to every rural home speak volume of the commitment of the Government to bring improvements in the lives of people.

he Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims providing Tap Connection to every rural household by 2024 with particular focus on ‘service delivery’ i.e. regular water supply in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on long-term basis. The Union Government’s flagship programme, envisages provision of 55 litres of potable water per person per day through tap water connection to every rural home by year 2024.

So far, over 5 Crore 87 Lakh households have been provided with FHTC since 15th August 2019.

World Fisheries Day observed in India

Best State award for Odisha in marine fisheries, UP for Inland fisheries, Kalahandi gets best inland fisheries district award

21.11.2020, New Delhi: The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India celebrated the ‘World Fisheries Day’ today at NASC Complex, Pusa, New Delhi. The Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, was the Chief Guest at the occasion. Minister for Dairy Development, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, also graced the occasion and received the award on behalf of the State of Uttar Pradesh, awarded as best performing State in inland fisheries sector. The fishers, fish farmers, entrepreneurs, stakeholders, professionals, officials and Scientist from across the nation also participated in the grand event.

Addressing the gathering, the Minister of State, Pratap Chandra Sarangi said that World Fisheries Day is our way of thinking globally and acting locally as we reach out to our fisher communities through local events. He said that through this event we send a message to our fishers, to our nation and to the world that fisheries is an important sector that contributes immensely to the socio-economic growth of the country. Shri Sarangi said that this sector is responsible for providing affordable nutritional security, livelihood support and employment to millions of Indians. It is estimated that the world’s population will exceed 9 billion by 2050. With the increase in the population, the demand for nutritional security also goes on parallel lines. The agriculture and the allied sectors have to contribute the food demand and supply will play an important role combined with other food sectors to meet the nutritional demands of the growing population.

The Minister of State further said that the marine capture fisheries of our country has become stagnant and there is a paradigm shift from capture to culture based fisheries. Aquaculture activities have to be taken up in India as the alternative way of meeting the growing demand of nutritional security. Shri Sarangi also said that Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada at a total estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores intends to address critical gaps in fish production and productivity, quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare. He also stressed that there is a need to create more fund by attracting investments.

Pratap Chandra Sarangi said that the Fisheries sector is extremely diverse and quite dynamic. There is a need to streamline policies and programs to take R&D benefits to the farmers and fishers for orderly and sustainable utilisation of all potential resources with focus on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental footprint. We need to diligently explore the resources available in the country such as waterlogged area, wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, canals, ponds, tanks, floodplains, backwaters, lagoons, low saline inland areas for increasing the fish production.

The Minister said that connectors are much needed to link individuals and farmers with the government. He appealed to all the dignitaries present at the occasion to provide as much support as possible for the development of this sector, to increase fish production and in turn improving the socio-economic conditions of the fishermen and other people associated in this sector. Let us celebrate this ‘World Fisheries Day’ to highlight and protect the life and livelihoods of fishing communities, sustainable fish stocks and healthy ecosystems in India.

During the event, for the first time in Fisheries Sector, the Government of India awarded best performing States for 2019-20 namely - Odisha (amongst Marine states), Uttar Pradesh (amongst Inland states) and Assam (amongst Hilly and NE states).

Odisha, which witnessed a tremendous growth in fish production during the last 5 years, 11.87% CAGR, adjudged nest state for Marine fisheries. Odisha's per-capita fish consumption has increased from 7.71 kg in 2000 to 16.24 kg in 2019-20, against the national average of 5 - 6 kg.

Awards for Best Quasi-government Organization/ Federation/ Corporation/Board and Best District in categories Marine State, Inland State and Hilly & NE State were distributed.

Kalahandi district of Odisha, once renowned to be a poor and dry place, attained Best District award for Inland fisheries.

Prizes were distributed to all the awardees and several publications were also released during the event.

"Biofuels have the potential to reduce our fuel import bill by Rs. 1 lakh crore" - Dharmendra Pradhan

20.11.2020, New Delhi: Biofuels not only takes care of energy point of view but also the environment. To boost availability of affordable and clean transport fuels, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) and leading oil & gas marketing companies & technology providers signed MoU today in the presence of Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan. The MoU was signed to establish Compressed Bio-Gas CBG) plants across India under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative.

MoUs were signed with energy companies viz. JBM Group, Adani Gas, Torrent Gas and Petronet LNG for setting up of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants,and with technology providers in CBG sectors IndianOil, Praj Industries, CEID Consultants & Bharat Biogas Energy for facilitating availability of technology for the projects.

The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs was launched on 1st October 2018. It envisages to target production of 15 million tonnes of CBG per annum from 5,000 plants by the year 2023. India has an estimated potential of 680 million tonnes of bio-fertilizers per year. CBG production from agricultural residues and agricultural industrial and other wastes can reduce greenhouse gas emission and carbon dioxide footprint by 30% that of the fossil fuel. Large scale use of CBG shall enable India not only achieve its climate change goals as per the Paris Agreement of 2015 but also help in achieving self-reliance goal in gaseous energy and organic fertilizers.

Speaking about SATAT, Dharmendra Pradhan said, “We have developed a clear-cut roadmap for SATAT. I am glad to note that Indian industry players have shown immense interest in SATAT. Letter of intent for 600 CBG plants have already been given and with today’s signing of MoUs for 900 plants, a total of 1500 CBG plants are at various stages of execution. Rs. 30,000 Cr of investment is envisaged in these 900 plants. A total of 5000 CBG plants with approximate investment of Rs. 2 lakh crores are envisaged. Biofuels have the potential to reduce our fuel import bill by Rs. 1 lakh crore.”

Elucidating the benefits of SATAT, the Minister said, “Benefits out of the SATAT will go to our farmers, rural areas and tribals. With inclusion of forest waste, Agri-waste, animal husbandry waste and marine waste, SATAT involves a multi-pronged approach. With liberalized policy regime ensuring ease of doing business for entrepreneurs, off-take guarantee, financing and technology support, SATAT is all set to contribute towards doubling farmer’s income, generating employment for the youth and ensuring clean energy for sustainable development.

He also thanked the Reserve Bank of India for including CBG in priority sector lending framework.

The Union Minister, in his address, affirmed that completion of 5000 CBG plants will facilitate in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, remunerating farmers for agricultural residues and reducing natural gas imports, in line with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Swacch Bharat missions.

Over the last two years, SATAT has grown into one of flagship programs of MoPNG. SATAT will establish an ecosystem for the production of Compressed Bio Gas from various waste and biomass sources in the country leading to multiple benefits viz. reduction of natural gas import, reduction of GHG emission, reduction in burning of agriculture residues, remunerative income to farmers, employment generation, effective waste management etc. The initiative is in line with the goals of AatmaNirbhar Bharat, Swachh Bharat Mission and boosting MSME sector.

Secretary, MoPNG, Tarun Kapoor sharing his insights, termed this as a remarkable achievement, as infusion of big companies in the CBG sector will provide the sector with much sought guidance and technical expertise towards the success of SATAT.

MOU Signing ceremony marks MoPNG's commitment towards SATAT and the increased participation of the private sector would help the nation in achieving indigenous and sustainable production of clean fuel.

"Country specific and affordable technologies, need of the hour" emphasizes Union Minister Prakash Javadekar at Energy Technology Perspectives 2020

19.11.2020, New Delhi: Executive Director of International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol today said that India has moved to the centre stage of International Energy Affairs (IEA) and is a role model for other major emerging economies. Speaking at a virtual launch of the Energy Technology Perspectives 2020, a new study of IEA that focusses on the technology needs and opportunities for reaching international climate and sustainable energy goals, Birol lauded efforts taken by the Indian government in providing clean energy to millions by way of schemes like Ujjawala and Ujala.

Delivering the keynote address Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar said, that the International energy report is extremely important and has raised many valid issues. The Minister highlighted that today India is the only country in the G-20 nations which is 2-degrees compliant in keeping with NDCs presented in Paris, and has taken many decisive actions, in fighting Climate Change, not only at the government level but even at the private level, which shows our commitment and resolve.

The Minister made an appeal to the World that Instead of talking about 2050, we must talk of 2020, of 2030 and 2040 and there needs to phased targets and countries should be committed to achieve those.

Highlighting the key role of finances and technology in providing clean energy and enhanced Climate actions, Javadekar pointed out that country specific, appropriate and affordable technologies is the need of the hour because every climate action comes with a cost. We cannot tax the people for that cost.

Speaking on India’s actions on renewable energy the Union Minister said that India’s renewable energy now stands at 89 GW. It has increased by 170 % in the last 6 years which is a significant increase. “Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has declared 175 GW of renewable power by 2022 and our aspirational goal stands at 450 GW of renewable energy.”, said Javadekar.

“We are improving energy efficiency and simultaneously also giving a big push to e-vehicles. The demand for EVs is growing and the prices are being slashed and we are also providing for more battery charging infrastructure. Battery swapping policy has also been adopted. We are giving subsidy for electrical buses which are already operational across many cities” highlighted the Minister and said that India is contributing massively on the energy front and the government is working tirelessly in this direction.

The IEA report launched today lays stress, among other things, especially on how Governments have an outsized role to play in supporting transitions towards low emissions by way of effective policy toolkits towards tackling emissions from existing infrastructure and technologies, strengthening markets for technologies at an early stage of adoption ,developing and upgrading infrastructure that enables technology deployment ,boosting support for research, development and demonstration and expanding international technology collaboration.

World Toilet Day 2020: Sustainable Sanitation & Climate Change

"India Strengthens its resolve of Toilet for All" - Prime Minister

19.11.2020, New Delhi: World Toilet Day, 19th November, celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation.

This year the World Toilet Day 2020 focuses on sustainable sanitation and climate change. Climate change is getting worse. Flood, drought and rising sea levels are threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants. Everyone must have sustainable sanitation, alongside clean water and handwashing facilities, to help protect and maintain our health security and stop the spread of deadly infectious diseases such as COVID-19, cholera and typhoid. Sustainable sanitation systems also reuse waste to safely boost agriculture, and reduce and capture emissions for greener energy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a twitter message said "On World Toilet Day, India strengthens its resolve of Toilet for All. The last few years have seen an unparalleled achievement of providing hygienic toilets to crores of Indians. It has brought tremendous health benefits along with dignity, especially to our Nari Shakti."

Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and the Minister of State, Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria conferred the "Swachhata Awards 2020" on the 20 best performing districts for making significant contribution towards ODF Sustainability and ODF Plus goals on the occasion of World Toilet Day. These awards were given at a virtual ceremony organized by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti and saw the online participation by Central, State and District SBMG officials.

In his address, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the SBMG has transformed rural India by manifesting into a movement for sanitation under guidance and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) rural India milestone in mission mode, in a span of five years. Taking forward the extraordinary success, Phase 2 of the SBM (G) has been launched early this year, which focuses on ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) aiming at comprehensive cleanliness in villages. He stressed on the importance of access to safe sanitation facilities in terms of social, economic and health benefits to rural community members especially the vulnerable and marginalized community. Shekhawat said that the awards being given today are recognition to worthy contributions made by community members for boosting the People’s movement.

Speaking on the occasion Minister of State Rattan Lal Kataria applauded the efforts of all stakeholders associated with SBM for making it a remarkable journey since 2014 and world’s largest behavior change programme. He congratulated the awardees for making significant contribution in improving sanitation and cleanliness standards in their villages and urged everyone to continue working with same spirit in SBM Phase 2 as well which focuses on the bigger goal of ODF Plus.

U P Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti complimented all the states’ SBMG teams for making significant contribution in Phase 1 of SBMG and stressed that goals outlined under Phase 2 are more important for sustaining toilet usage and comprehensive cleanliness. He stressed on the resolve and commitment to attain ODF Plus status for all the villages in mission mode under Phase 2. At the same time, he pointed out at the challenge to sustain the Phase 1 gains.

The Union Minister also had a virtual interaction or Sarpanch Samvad with nine Sarpanches from ODF Plus Gram Panchayats where Sapanches shared their key activities such as SLWM, people’ participation and ODF Sustainability. Sarpanches shared their inspiring success stories live with all through online media. The occasion also observed the screening of a short film on ODF Plus Film (Swachhata ke Paanch Mantra) which shows key components of ODF Plus in a creative format.

The 20 awardee districts are namely West Godavari and East Godavari (Andhra Pradesh), Siang (Arunachal Pradesh), Kanker and Bemetara (Chhattisgarh);Vadodara and Rajkot (Gujarat); Bhiwana and Rewari (Haryana); Ernakulam and Wayanad (Kerala);Kolhapur and Nashik (Maharashtra); Kolasib and Serchhip (Mioram); Moga and Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab); Siddipet and Peddapalli (Telangana); and Cooch Behar (West Bengal).

Vulture Conservation: MoEFCC brings out Action Plan 2020-25

“Vultures as the soldiers of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and are truly social birds.” - Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

19.11.2020, New Delhi: Vultures were very common in India till the 1980s. They have a major role in maintaining ecological balance. This is more significant in the Pandemic year. Vultures are nature's most efficient scavengers and can finish off a carcass of an adult cattle in a matter of minutes. As stated by Grubh 1989, the vultures once kept the environment clean in India in the absence of any effective carcass and slaughter house waste disposal system. They prevented the outbreak of epidemics by cleaning the carcasses before pathogenic bacteria and fungus could grow and multiply on them. The vultures are known to feed on rotting and putrefied.

In 1980s the populations of the three resident Gyps species - Oriental White-backed Vulture (OWBV), Long-billed Vulture (LBV), and Slender-billed Vulture (SBV) in the country was estimated at 40 million individuals. The overall population however crashed by over 90% during the mid-nineties. By 2007, 99% of the three Gyps species had been wiped out. When their populations crashed and the most common vultures - Oriental white-backed, Longbilled,and Slender-billed - declined by more than 96% in just a single decade (1993-2003), dog and rat population exploded and so was rabies.

The crash in vulture populations came into limelight in the mid-nineties, and in 2004 the cause of the crash was established as diclofenac, a veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Soon after, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, acted swiftly and released the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation (APVC) 2006, to save the vultures from possible extinction. The drug was banned by the Drug Controller General of India, based on the recommendation of MoEFCC in 2006. Apart from diclofenac, there are at least three more drugs which were found toxic to vultures but they are still available in the market for veterinary use and need to be banned.

The MoEFCC has recently brought out an Action Plan for Vulture Conservation in India (APVC) 2020-2025. The document advocates prevention of misuse of veterinary NSAIDs by ensuring their sale only on prescription, handled only by qualified veterinarians to ensure control of overdose. It also deliberate on the scientific manner of disposal of livestock carcasses to ensure that the vultures do not get exposed to the carcasses of animals that died during treatment.

APVC 2020-2025 also advocates expansion of the Conservation Breeding Programme of vultures by establishing more centres in different parts of the country. Red-headed Vulture and Egyptian Vulture are also included in the breeding programme.

It has highlighted that the rapidly increasing power infrastructure in the country also causes problems to large birds of prey including vultures, which needs to be addressed. APVC has proposed that information shall be collected on the spread of power infrastructure in vulture habitats. Guidelines shall be obtained from International experts and would be shared with local authorities to carry out vulture-friendly modifications. Similar efforts shall be made to mitigate the harm caused by the wind turbines. A national database shall be created and incidences of mishaps shall be recorded.

In his message, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has described Vultures as the soldiers of the "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan" and are truly social birds. They soar on thermals in loose dispersed flocks and can converge from long distances in hundreds when a vulture spots a carcass and starts taking tight circles, triggering a cascading effect. Being specialized scavengers, they play a very important role in quickly disposing carcasses that could harbour millions of pathogenic bacteria and fungus and cause serious implications for human and animal health. This is how they help in keeping India's countryside clean.

The action plan cannot be implemented by the MoEFCC alone without the active support of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying. The document has detailed plans for coordination between the ministries for conservation of vultures to address the systemic issues in a much more comprehensive and coordinated manner.

Delhi Chief Minister directs DJB to expedite Yamuna Clean Up, sets target to eliminate 90% pollution of the river by March 2023

18.11.2020, New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 18th November 2020, Wednesday chaired a meeting with the officials of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on swift implementation of a concrete plan to clean up the river Yamuna and reduce pollution in the Yamuna by 90% by March 2023. In the meeting, the DJB presented a detailed action plan on the reuse of around 400 MGD, against the existing capacity of 90 MGD of water. Various steps will be taken to improve the quality of the existing STPs including upgrading all the equipment in the STPs. Delhi Water Minister Satyendar Jain, CEO DJB Nikhil Kumar, and senior officials of the Board were present in the meeting.

DJB’s presentation was primarily on four major interventions devised for the cleaning up of river Yamuna. First, the Delhi government will set up a modern technology to treat around 150 MGD of polluted water coming from the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh by natural wetlands and aeration method.

Second, the wastewater in the small or big drains will be tapped into Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs).

Third, steps will be taken to improve the quality of the existing STPs including upgrading all the equipment and use innovative processes.

Fourth, all the sludge and the septage from the septic tanks across Delhi, will be collected by the Delhi Jal Board and reused in the bio-gas plants to generate electricity and gas.

There are five major outfalls carrying wastewater into the Yamuna, including Najafgarh drain, Shahdara drain, Barapulla drain, Delhi Gate drain, Mori Gate drain. The Najafgarh and Shadhdara drain apart from Delhi wastewater also receive polluted water from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The STPs and the drains will be treated as per the Yamuna Cleaning plan of the Delhi government to prevent polluted water to flow into the Yamuna.

The Delhi Jal Board has presented an action plan to reduce 90% of pollution in the river Yamuna by March 2023, and all the steps will have different milestones to be completed by March 2021, 2022, and 2023. The STPs treat around 525 MGD of water before it flows into drains, out of which only 90 MGD is reused for different purposes. An action plan to reuse 436 MGD of water against the earlier reuse of 90 MGD has been presented by the DJB before the CM. This 436 MGD water will be reused in water bodies, lakes, irrigation, gardening, forests, groundwater recharge, etc.

Geo-polymer aggregate from fly ash developed by NTPC to help in curbing carbon emission and reducing water consumption

18.11.2020, New Delhi: India’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd. has successfully developed Geo-polymer coarse aggregate from fly ash. The development will help in replacing natural aggregates reducing the impact on environment.

According to NTPC, the research project on production of Geo-polymer coarse aggregate from fly ash has met the statutory parameters of Indian Standards and was confirmed by National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCCBM).

NTPC has also stated that it has successfully developed Geo-polymer coarse aggregates as a replacement to natural aggregates. The technical parameters as per Indian standards for its suitability to use in concrete works were tested by NCCBM, Hyderabad and the results are in acceptable range.

The development is NTPC’s R&D achievement in expanding the horizon in ash utilisation.

India’s demand for these aggregate touches close to 2000 million metric tons mark every year. The aggregate developed by NTPC from fly ash will help in meeting the demand to a great extent and also will reduce the impact on environment caused by Natural aggregates which require quarrying of natural stone.

In India, every year, approximately 258 MMT of ash is produced by the coal fired thermal power plants. Out of this around 78% of the ash is utilised and the balance remains unutilised which remain in ash dykes. As the legal requirements are becoming stringent, NTPC is exploring alternate ways to utilise the remaining ash which includes the current research project to generate aggregates using more than 90% ash.

The Geo-polymer aggregates finds its extensive usage in construction industry turning the ash eco-friendly. These aggregates are extremely environment friendly and does not require any cement for application in concrete where the fly ash based Geopolymer mortar acts as the binding agent. The Geo-polymer aggregates will help in reducing carbon emission and has great potential for reduction of water consumption.

With Lonar Lake and Keetham Lake added India has South Asia's highest Ramsar Sites

India has South Asia’s highest of 41 sites of International importance for Conservation of Biological Diversity

“Happy to note that India has added two more Ramsar sites. Lonar lake in Maharashtra, the only crater lake of Country. Sur Sarovar, also known as Keetham lake, in Agra. Wetlands are the world's natural water filters &one of the most productive ecosystem on the planet.” - Prakash Javadekar

16.11.2020, New Delhi: India has added two new “Ramsar Sites”, its 40th and 41st. Sur Sarovar (Site no. 2440 on the List of Wetlands of International Importance), commonly known as Keetham Lake, is a human-made reservoir in the State of Uttar Pradesh in northern India.

Originally created to supply water to the city of Agra in summer, the wetland soon became an important and rich ecosystem. The Site’s patchwork of different habitat types provides refuge to resident and migratory birds, and more than 60 species of fish. Threatened species include the vulnerable greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), sarus crane (Grus antigone) and catfish Wallago attu. The Site is important for bird species which migrate on the Central Asian flyway, with over 30,000 waterbirds known to visit the reservoir annually. Over 1% of the South Asian regional population of the greylag goose (Anser anser) is present.

Lonar Lake (Site no. 2441), on the Deccan Plateau in Maharashtra State, is an endorheic or closed basin, almost circular in shape, formed by a meteorite impact onto the basalt bedrock. The Site includes the lake as well as escarpments, which form the crater walls, and forested zones. The lake is high in salinity and alkalinity, as the lack of an outflow leads to a concentration of minerals as the lake water evaporates. Specialized micro-organisms such as anaerobes, cyanobacteria and phytoplankton survive in this harsh chemical environment.

Outside the lake, there is considerable diversity of plant and animal life, as springs which help feed the lake provide a source of fresh water. Inhabiting the Site are 160 species of birds including the vulnerable Asian woollyneck (Ciconia episcopus) and common pochard (Aythya ferina), 46 species of reptiles, and 12 species of mammals including the iconic grey wolf (Canis lupus).

The Sites are both threatened by household sewage and urban wastewater and by unsustainable tourism.

In January this year, 10 wetlands in India were recognised by the Ramsar Convention as sites of international importance. It would be worth noting that earlier this year the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has come out with a set of guidelines in order to support the State Governments and Union Territory (UT) Administrations to implement the earlier notified Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017. The guidelines uploaded on 6th January 2020 is expected to provide guidance on how to prepare a list of wetlands in the State / UT. In the last six months, the MoEF&CC has set a four pronged strategy for the restoration of wetlands, which includes preparation of baseline data, wetland health cards, enlisting wetland mitras and the targeted Integrated Management Plans.

Wetlands provide food, water, fibre, and help in groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. Wetlands are reckoned as the major source of water and considered to be the key source of freshwater. In the Wetland Rules, 2017, wetland has been defined as an area of marsh, fen, peatland or water; whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters, but does not include river channels, paddy fields, human-made water bodies/tanks specifically constructed for drinking water purposes and structures specifically constructed for aquaculture, salt production, recreation and irrigation purposes.

The Ramsar Convention signed on February 2, 1971, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accord signed by member countries to preserve the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance. The international treaty, also known as the Convention on Wetlands, was for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed. Over 170 countries are party to the Ramsar Convention and over 2,000 designated sites covering over 20 crore hectares have been recognised under it.

2nd National Water Awards Ceremony: Potable water might become a scarce resource unless water conservation is taken on a war footing, warns Vice President

11.11.2020, New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on 11th November 2020 inaugurated the Award distribution ceremony of the 2nd National Water Awards, 2019 in presence of the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat; Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria; Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, U.P. Singh and other officials were also present on the occasion.

The Vice President gave his compliments to the Jal Shakti Ministry and congratulated all the States, institutions, organisations, individuals and others for their contribution to the cause of water conservation. He said that through National Water Awards, Jal Andolan is being transformed into a Jan Andolan. "Without the people's participation nothing will succeed; we saw that in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," he said.

The Vice President complimented Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for taking various initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Jal Shakti Abhiyan. He expressed his delight to know that the categories of the Awards include all stakeholders. "It is our duty to take all possible steps for conservation of this limited resource and there is an urgent need for a sustained mass media campaign to aware people about the importance of water conservation," Shri Naidu added. He also emphasized on the need to reduce wastage of water and said that need of the hour is to change our lifestyle and make water conservation a way of life. Good governance has been placed at the forefront of the country’s development agenda. The positive results of Namami Gange Programme, the expeditious completion of irrigation projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, a renewed participatory approach towards groundwater management through Atal Bhujal Yojana, the improvement in availability of hydrological data through National Hydrology Project and National Project on Aquifer Management exemplify the holistic transformation India’s water sector has undergone in the past few years. A much-needed policy reform was undertaken at the highest level with the creation of Jal Shakti Ministry to give impetus to integrated management of water resources in India with special focus on demand side and supply side management.

He said that, commendably, the policy planners made judicious and active interventions at multiple levels to address individual elements of water management. Soon after the creation of the Jal Shakti Ministry, Jal Jeevan Mission was launched to provide a functional tap to every household by 2024. Parallelly, Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), an aggressive and time-bound water conservation campaign was carried out from July to December 2019 covering 256 districts across India. JSA aims at making water conservation a Jan Andolan through asset creation and extensive communication. JSA is vigorously supplemented by the activities of National Water Mission to augment the overall growth of water consciousness in the country by emphasizing on the importance of water conservation, reuse and recharge and raise awareness on the indispensability of water as a resource.

He said that micro-irrigation practices like drip and sprinkler systems have to be promoted in a big way for efficient use of water for agriculture. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle must be the watch-words if we have to handover a liveable planet to the future generations. Watershed development is another area that can spur local economic development, job creation, biodiversity protection and climate resilience.

He congratulated all the winners and hoped that they will continue to do good work in water conservation. He also thanked the Ministry of Jal Shakti for organizing these Awards which not only motivate more and more people to do their but for the wonderful cause of water conservation but also act as a national platform to bring together and acknowledge some outstanding works being done across the country. Shri Naidu said that this platform also offers a window for new perspectives and directions in the area of water resources and expressed confidence that steps like these will go a long way in the development of water consciousness in the country, which is the need-of-the-hour.

Vision and Devotion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create a people's movement for Water Conservation has inspired the entire Nation: Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

11.11.2020, New Delhi: On the inaugural day of 2nd National Water Awards distribution ceremony, addressing the gathering, the Union Minister for Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat thanked the Vice President for encouraging everyone to do their bit for water conservation. The Union Minister said that there are many reasons to compliment the winners but first among them is their contribution to create

a robust water consciousness through mass awareness. The winners have shown from their actions that anything can be achieved if one is ready to make efforts. He also extended his gratitude to water warriors who have not applied for the Awards but are playing their part.

He emphasized that urbanisation and industrialisation will put water resources under stress but it is essential to spread the awareness about water conservation through leaders, parents and other important institutions at all levels to bring about a behavioural change, which will be pivotal to the cause of effective water conservation and management. He added that all of us will have to acknowledge the inseparability of people and natural ecosystems to being about a transformation in our consciousness.

The Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria congratulated the awardees for their remarkable achievements & meaningful contributions in the field of Water Conservation and Management. He termed their contribution as equally valuable.

U. P. Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti welcomed the guests and said that the Ministry of Jal Shakti is committed to address the water related issues in an integrated manner. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, DG, NMCG and Padma Bhushan Anil Joshi, a noted environmentalist were also present on the occasion.

Out of 1112 valid applications, a total of 98 winners were selected in 16 categories. The categories in which entries were invited include Best State, Best District, Best Village Panchayat, Best Urban Local Body, Best Research/ Innovation/ New Technology, Best Education/ Mass Awareness effort, Best TV show, Best Newspaper, Best School, Best Institution/ RWA/ Religious Organisation, Best Industry, Best Water Regulatory Authority, Best Water Warrior, Best NGO, Best Water User Association and Best Industry for CSR Activity. Water Users Association and Best Industry for CSR Activity are the two categories which were included in National Water Awards 2019. Few of these categories have sub-categories in different zones of the country. The winners were felicitated with trophies/citation. Except for three categories - ‘Best State’, ‘Best State’ and ‘Best Water Regulatory Authority’, winners from the rest thirteen categories were awarded cash prizes.

The Best State Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions have gone to Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Mizoram won the first prize in the special category States. Best District Award was sub-divided into six zones – North, South, West, East, Northeast and Aspirational and into two sub categories – Revival of Rivers and Water Conservation. In North, the Award for Best District in Revival of Rivers and Water Conservation was given to Ayodhya and Almora, in South, Vellore and YSR Kadapa, in West, Sangli and Kachchh, in East, Bilaspur and Surajpur, in Northeast, West Tripura (WC) and in Aspirational district category to Khandana and Vizianagaram respectively.

The aim of the National Water Awards is to acknowledge individuals/organizations doing commendable work in the field of water conservation and management. Also, it strives to create awareness among the people about the importance of water and motivate them to adopt the best water usage practices. The National Water Awards focused on the good work and efforts made by individual and organisations across the country, besides being a right step in the direction of government’s vision of a ‘Jal Samridh Bharat’.

Sarpanch changes the face of water management in Haryana village under Jal Jeevan Mission

10.11.2020, New Delhi: ‘Once a soldier, always a soldier’. That’s what Paramjeet boot camp training in Indian army has taught him. So, even after retiring from the defence forces, he has taken up the front of fighting off the dearth of clean, potable water in his village. Post retirement, Paramjeet decided to settle in his native village, Kothal Khurd in Mahendragarh, Haryana. The village is a developed place with people equipped with better education and lifestyle owing to the rapid development. But one paradox still existed in the village i.e. the village was still in grip of potable water paucity and poor water management.

Taking a close look at the situation, Paramjeet realized that many houses in the villages had a water pipeline, but there was no regular supply of water. Besides, there was a lot of wastage of potable water as villagers were not sensitized about water management. A number of people had resorted to illegal connections, which further deteriorated the situation.

‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ came as a timely guide which Paramjeet was seeking. Jal Jeevan Mission, the flagship program of Union Government plans to improve the lives of people by providing safe drinking water to every rural home through functional household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024. He internalized the vision of JJM and the soldier in him was on a mission soon after being elected as village Sarpanch.

An intensive survey was carried out to prepare an action plan with the help of Public Health and Engineering Department. It was found that only 145 houses had legal connections out of 342 households, 115 taps were broken with water overflowing on the streets and in 60% houses no taps were installed.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, a proper IEC (information, education, communication) plan was drafted to help the village and mobilize the villagers towards effective water management. It was a result of the campaign that motivated the villagers to install piped water connection and help in their upkeep & maintenance. A training program was organized by Water and Sanitation Support Organization (WSSO), Haryana for all the Gram Panchayats in which VWSC members were taught about water conservation techniques.

Youth of the village were roped in for awareness campaign to sensitize the community, school children and bring about social and behavioral change. A house-to-house survey was carried out to check where wastage of drinking water was rampant. With the community joining in the efforts of the Sarpanch, the face of the village has changed forever. Presently the village has 4 seasonal ponds and 14 soak pits catering to a population of 2,300 in the village. 200 new connections have been provided and 345 connections were installed with 230 new taps and all the leakage points have been repaired.

Kothal Kurd village has built a ground water surface recharge pond. During rainy season, the water from the sky and canal fills the pond which has helped improve the ground water level. The water table has now risen by 40 feet from 290 feet to 250 feet. In January 2020, the Commissioner of Mahendragarh felicitated Kothal Khurd village under Mera Gaon Swachh Gaon for the work carried out under water management. Even while the country was in a lockdown, the work related to water continued and the tap connections are linked with Aadhar card. Paramjeet is a happy man, but for him he is far from winning the war against water mismanagement. His guards are up and boots still on!

The soul of Jal Jeevan Mission is ‘community participation’ starting from the planning of the water supply scheme to regular operation and maintenance for assured service delivery. Every village is taken up as a unit so as they become water secure. Village Action Plan (VAP) for five years is required to be prepared for each village by participation of local community with components of strengthening of local drinking water sources, in-village water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connections, grey water treatment and reuse, and operation & maintenance of water supply systems so as every family gets assured supply of potable water on regular and long-term basis.

Further, it is expected that village community will be able to identify issues and challenges, and also steps to be taken to address those issues and use all available resources available in the village like MNREGA, JJM, SBM (G), 15th FC grants to PRIs, DMDF, MP/ MLA Local Area Development fund, CSR funds, community contribution, etc.

Involvement of the local community in planning, execution and operation and maintenance in villages like Kothal Khurd is an example how the bottom up approach with active involvement of people yield results in terms of delivery of services.

New Commission for Air Quality Management Identifies 10 Immediate Measures to improve air quality in Delhi, NCR

9.11.2020, New Delhi: The members of Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and adjoining Areas met and reviewed the air quality scenario in the region, actions taken by various agencies so far and further steps to be taken for improving the air quality.

The Commission noted that future action will necessitate consultation with various stakeholders. However, at this stage the Commission stressed the need to strictly enforce existing laws, rules, guidelines, directions and standard operating procedures to minimize air pollution on an emergency basis.

The Commission also felt that active public involvement is critical in the abatement of air pollution and identified the following major immediate measures:

1. Minimize use of personalized transport to the extent possible

2. Restrict travel unless absolutely essential

3. Encourage work from home

4. Strict enforcement of laws and rules regarding dust control measures including at construction sites

5. Strict enforcement to prevent burning of municipal solid waste and biomass

6. Intensify water sprinkling particularly in dust prone areas

7. Use of anti-smog guns at pollution hotspots specially at construction sites

8. Strict implementation of extant rules, Courts and Tribunal orders regarding stubble burning and use of fire crackers

9. Seek co-operation from civil society and public spirited citizens to report air pollution incidents on the Sameer App

10. Encourage coal using industries in NCR to minimize the use of coal in the coming months.

India's first Compressed Biogas from Biomass demonstration plant inaugurated

06.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar virtually inaugurated the country's first demonstration plant at Pune which produces Compressed Biogas (CBG) from Biomass. In his address, the Minister said such a technology could not only ensure energy security but also help attaining energy self sufficiency.

Describing air pollution problems due to stubble burning, which was the prime reason with 42% in Delhi's pollution level, the Minister said farmers adopted this practice as they were having no better option to deal with the stubble within a limited window of 25 days span. He said that with central government funding things are found better this year in Haryana, and expected to be on better line in Punjab as well.

While deliberating on various measures taken by the Government of India, Javadekar said PUSA Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has come out with a low cost solution to decompose the stubble within 25 days, which is being trial in some states. It could be extended to all the states, if found viable.

Further highlighting various other measures taken by the Union Government, Prakash Javadekar informed about Badarpur and Sonepat Power Plant shut down, and phasing out of old Thermal Power Plants. He mentioned that India is investing 46000 Crore Coal to Liquid technology based power plants, which will bring down air pollution level. He also emphasized that coal consumption has come down due to growth in renewable energy, implementation of ethanol mixing, hydel power projects and huge scale LED bulb use in India. He also stated India's implementation of BS-VI vehicles and fuels, which reduces vehicular emissions by 60 to 80%.

Citing the impact of Construction and Demolition Waste in air pollution, he said that 3 plants are processing 6000 Metric Tonne of C&D wastes in Delhi.

With government initiatives and measures, scientific innovations as attained by Praj Industries may bring better yield. He congratulated Praj Industries for having 80 patents and exporting technologies to 75 other countries.

Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Founder and Executive Chairman of Praj Industries, who was recently selected for the prestigious 2020 George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture, made a presentation on the CBG plant located in Praj Matrix R&D campus. He informed that the plant deploys proprietary microbial consortium made from feedstock such as agri residues and press mud.

"The CBG demo plant is a step closer to reducing carbon emissions and pollution. Besides reducing the import of natural gas and crude oil, our technology will boost entrepreneurship, economy and employment in rural India. This project is aligned with the goals of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and supports the national commitment in achieving climate change targets.", added Dr. Chaudhari.

India has nearly 350 million metric tonne (MMT) of biomass, which can generate more than 45 MMT CBG. Haryana and Punjab account for more than 20 MMT of biomass. This indicates the huge possibility for deployment of this technology towards sustainable development.

Greater utilization of Bamboo can reduce carbon footprint & increase employment, says Gadkari

06.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari highlighted how intensive use of bamboo resources could benefit India towards attainment of carbon dioxide reduction and employment generation. Inaugurating a virtual Bamboo Exhibition yesterday at Webinar, he said that bamboo has a variety of uses in various fields like buildings and interiors, handicrafts, agarbatti making, garments, bio-fuel resource, etc.

The Minister shared many valuable data as he asked various sectors to utilize various modes and methods to bring down logistics costs including choosing more cost-efficient transit mode like water, rail or road. He informed that a 3 metre dredging of Brahmaputra River has made it possible to use waterways for transporting goods. Using river transport would come very handy in transportation cost reduction for Bamboo and Bamboo products originating from North East.

Shri Gadkari also asked Ministry of DONER to formulate a comprehensive Bamboo Policy as most of the Bamboo is produced in North East. The Minister recalled how he took up the matter of doing away with the need of permission to cut bamboos with the Prime Minister who directed the Forest Authorities to follow suit as bamboo fall in the category of grass with the character of regeneration.

Stating that India has about 170 species, as compared to 380 speies available in neighbouring country China, Gadkari emphasized on the need to explore more Bamboo species in India. Calling for production of high yielding bamboo varieties, he said, for industrial use bamboo yield should be 200 tonnes per acre against about 40 tonnes per acre in case of some varieties. The greater yield and wider bamboo usage will open up more employment generation especially in North East India.

Comparing the calorific value of Bamboo to be around 3600 KCal/Kg, which is not far below than that of Indian Coal, Shri Gadkari advised that technology be created to reduce Bamboo sticks in to bamboo bales so that the moisture is removed by natural drying, which could further increase the calorific value and also ease transportation. He suggested IITs may be roped in to undertake a pilot project in this regard.

The Minister deliberated on many other areas of Bamboo utilization, such as production of bioethanol and bio-CNG, which will bring down the import cost of petroleum products. He also cited examples of bamboo based fabrics and furniture. He further suggested making available more incentives to Bamboo production, processing and handling and said this will go a long way in developing the bamboo based industry.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh said that India is destined to play a major role in Post-COVID economic resurgence and North Eastern Region will play a crucial role in it with full exploitation of huge Bamboo resources. Union Minister said that it is imperative to make Bamboo a Pan India perspective for its growth and utilization. He said that Bamboo will be the new fuel of New Engine that is North East for India’s growth story.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said that Ministry of DoNER and North Eastern Council is taking all measures for tapping Bamboo resources and technical know-how at all India level. He said that Ministry had already decided to develop three Bamboo Clusters in Jammu, Katra and Samba areas for making of Bamboo basketry, Agarbatti and Bamboo Charcoal as well as setting up of Bamboo Technology Centre. The Minister said that his Ministry is already exploring Bamboo reserves in different parts of the country for exploitation of its full potential. He said, during the last four years, Ministry of DoNER has sanctioned 17 projects for development of bamboo in NE States, including a Bamboo Industrial Park at Dima Hasao in Assam.

The Union Minister said that around 40% area under bamboo is in North Eastern States. However, this potential of Bamboo for North Eastern Region not being fully utilized due to restrictions in movement of Bamboo under Indian Forest Act, 1927. He said, the sensitivity with which the Modi government views the importance for the promotion of Bamboo is evident from the fact that it has amended the century old Indian Forest Act by taking home grown bamboo out of the purview of the Forest Act, in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, another major reform was to increase the import duty on bamboo sticks raised to 25%. This decision has paved the way for setting up of new Agarbatti stick manufacturing units to meet the ever-growing demand of Agarbatti in India. He said, the Agarbatti industry has 5 to 6 thousand crore of market share in India, but bulk of it were imported from countries like China and Korea.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that Bamboo has great potential for its use as a clean source of energy and can also replace the single use plastic, thus promoting the environment and Climate cause in India.

Secretary DONER Dr Inderjit Singh also spoke on the occasion.

Indian CEOs can lead world on climate issues, says Prakash Javadekar

05.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has said, India is on the way forward towards achieving its commitments done at the Paris agreement and the country is acting on its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s). The Minister said that India is among the few countries which are 2 degrees compliant and has taken many decisive actions, in fighting Climate Change, not only at the government level but even at the private level, which shows our commitment and resolve.

Releasing a Declaration on Climate Change signed by 24 key industry captains and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change at the virtual India CEO forum on Climate Change, Javadekar further said that this declaration by private sector companies, voluntarily, is a historic step.

“World says and preaches many things but to bring into practice is more difficult thing. I think today United Nations ecosystem and UNFCCC will take note of this initiative of India and its corporate world to adhere to and declare plans of their own carbon neutrality.”, said Javadekar.

Addressing the forum, Shri Javadekar suggested to the corporate world to propagate and report to the government what steps and initiatives they are taking towards decarbonisation and bring to the government’s notice polluting activities for us to take action. “We have to be on the same page regarding our insistence on financial and technological support from the advanced economies, so that India can also catch up and march ahead.”, stressed the Environment Minister.

The event saw CEO’s and various heads of key industries like TATA, Reliance, the Adani group, Mahindra, Sun pharma, Dr. Reddy’s, Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel, etc. listing out various clean processes and initiatives they have taken and their agenda towards further decarbonisation post 2020. The corporate sector espoused confidence and expressed their support towards a coordinated response by the Government and private sector on climate change which will help protect the country’s interests and ensure that India is on track towards meeting its climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement.

The private sector plays a pivotal role in creating low-carbon sustainable economies and has embarked on a number of voluntary actions on climate change that can contribute towards achieving India’s NDC goals. The private sector also benefitted from India’s participation in Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and going forward Article 6 of the Paris Agreement offers further opportunities for meeting the climate change and sustainable development objectives.

India is a signatory to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India has three quantitative climate change goals viz. reduction in the emissions intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level, achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Jal Jeevan Mission working on hi-tech water supply infrastructure to solve current problems & future challenges

05.11.2020, New Delhi: The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims providing Tap Connection to every rural household by 2024 with particular focus on ‘service delivery’ i.e. regular water supply in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on long-term basis. The Union Government’s flagship programme, envisages provision of 55 litres of potable water per person per day through tap water connection to every rural home by year 2024. The Government is striving to use modern technology in monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve current problems as well as help anticipate and address future challenges.

In order to harness the power of technology in water management, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology in partnership with National Jal Jeevan Mission, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti had announced an ICT Grand Challenge to develop a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’. The Jal Jeevan Mission would be the user agent of the Grand Challenge and C-DAC, Bangalore is the implementing agency and would provide technical support for the challenge. C-DAC will also provide technical support for Proof of Concept (PoC) development to the shortlisted candidates. It would also provide mentoring support, technical guidance to them.

The challenge witnessed enthusiastic participation from all over India with a total of 218 applications. These applications were received from various sectors like LLP Companies, Indian Tech start-ups, Individuals etc., as per the following statistics. Applications were received from 46 individuals, 33 companies, 76 Indian Tech start-ups, 15 LLP Companies and 43 MSMEs.

The evaluation of the applications is currently in progress. Shortlisted submissions will be invited for presentation in front of a Jury duly constituted, which would conduct these online presentations and review the applications for identifying the top 10 for the next round of prototype development.

Way forward in the Grand challenge includes Ideation to Prototype Stage, Prototype to Product Stage, Product Deployment Stage, and announcement of three winners. All these stages would be carried out with funding support from MeitY and National Jal Jeevan Mission. Based on evaluation throughout these steps, one winner and two runners-up will be selected and awarded with Rs. 50 Lakh, for the winner and Rs. 20 Lakh of each runner-up.

This Grand Challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system to measure and monitor the service delivery of the water supply in rural areas. This Challenge will provide an opportunity to work for Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through Functional Household Tap Connections to every rural household.

Ganga rejuvenation is a continuous task which needs public participation: Union Jal Shakti Minister at Ganga Utsav 2020

04.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, recalling how the Prime Minister’s call for Aviral and Nirmal Ganga has become a mass movement at the Ganga Utsav 2020 said, “Ganga rejuvenation is a continuous task that’s why we have to promote public participation, we have to create a sense of duty among people, it can be done only when we are able to make people realize what Ganga offers us.” He emphasized that festivals like Ganga Utsav are very important to encourage public participation. He said that Ganga rejuvenation is not only government work but involves constant public engagement and dialogue. He said, “This program is an enabler in transforming our faith to our duty towards Ganga.”

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, DG, NMCG while giving a recap of the first two days of the festival informed that not only from India but people from different parts of the world joined the festival virtually. U. P. Singh, Secretary, Jal Shakti Ministry congratulated the Namami Gange Mission. He said, “A festival which started as a standalone evening event, ‘ekshaam Ganga ke naam’ has come a long way under the present NMCG team.” This will be instrumental in connecting people to the river, he added.

More than three lakh people joined the festival virtually from across the world. In the closing ceremony, DG, NMCG said Namami Gange has a strong component of public participation as per overall guidance and vision given by the Prime Minister and this Janbhagidari-peoples movement is helping immensely in Ganga rejuvenation. The festival extends this vision beyond these three days and NMCG continuously resolves to work in the direction of increasing public awareness and strengthening public participation towards river rejuvenation. He also listed several specific activities in future such as Haridwar Kumbh, the annual Ganga Quest, Wetland day, Biodiversity day, Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Ganga runs, etc calling upon people to participate and make the next Ganga Utsav even bigger and develop a movement for River festivals in the country.

Cabinet approves Rs 1810 crore Investment Proposal of 210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro Power Project

04.11.2020, New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the investment of Rs.1810.56 crore for 210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project located on river Satluj which is situated in Shimla & Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh. This project will generate 758.20 million units of electricity annually.

This project is being implemented by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) on Build-Own-Operate-Maintain (BOOM) basis with active support from Government of India and State Government. The MoU of this project was signed with the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh during Rising Himachal, Global Investor Meet, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on 7th November 2019. Government of India is also supporting this project by providing grants of Rs. 66.19 crore for enabling infrastructure which has helped in reducing in power tariff.

The construction activities of the project will result in direct & indirect employment to around 2000 persons and will contribute to overall socio-economic development of the State. Further, Himachal Pradesh will benefit with free power worth around Rs. 1140 crore from Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project, during Project Life Cycle of 40 years. The Project Affected Families will be provided with 100 units of free electricity per month for ten years.

SJVN has forayed into the fields of Renewable Energy, Power Transmission and Thermal power generation. It has envisaged Internal Growth Targets of total installed capacity from all sources of 5000 MW by 2023, 12000 MW by 2030 and 25000 MW by year 2040.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel, Government of India has stated that this will generate 758.20 million units of electricity p.a. and lead to reduction of 6.1 lakh tons of carbon dioxide from the environment annually. This project will also create employment opportunities and contribute to the overall socio-economic development of the state.

India's Panna in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves

03.11.2020, New Delhi: Indian tigers roar again. UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme included Panna in India to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves on 29th October 2020. This is India's 12th entry. Located in the central part of India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Panna is characterized by forests and marshy vegetation, with an abundance of rare medicinal plants as well as other non-timber forestry products, such as Kattha, gum and resins. It is a critical tiger habitat area and hosts the Panna Tiger Reserve, as well as the World Heritage site of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. The area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration in the buffer zone. With only three urban centres and over 300 villages, agriculture is the main source of income, together with horticulture, forestry, and cultural and eco-tourism.

In total 25 new sites were added, one of them transboundary, in 18 countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now numbers 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries around the globe. The International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) meeting online from 27 to 28 October 2020 approved these additions along with the extension or re-zoning of five existing biosphere reserves, which in most cases also led to a change in their official names.

"If we can make sustainability work at local level, and scientifically document how it works, perhaps there is hope for the planet. That is the task UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) was given by its Member States 49 years ago"; said Guy Broucke, Head of Natural Sciences, UNESCO New Delhi.

On this achievement, Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has congratulated Panna Tiger Reserve for their amazing work on tiger conservation.

The need to improve the existing biosphere reserves and particularly local ownership were also highlighted in the series of webinars entitled “Pockets of Hope” organized by UNESCO New Delhi earlier this year, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, National Biodiversity Agency of India, WWF-India, TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), and Surabhi Foundation. In the management of the biosphere reserves, many members during the meeting emphasized the importance of involving the local multi-stakeholder entities, all socio-economic sectors, government, civil society and private sector.

UNESCO biosphere reserves seek to reconcile human activity with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. They are a central element of UNESCO’s research and awareness-raising work to foster innovative sustainable development practices and combat the loss of biodiversity supporting communities and Member States’ understanding, valuing and safeguard the living environment.

Public Hearing on Development of Urban Extension Roads in Delhi did not deliberate many important issues

03.11.2020, New Delhi: Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has submitted the Public Hearing Report with regard to Environmental Clearance of Development of Urban Extension Road (UER) – II (NH-344M) from design chainage Km 0.000 to Km 38.111 in the state of NCT of Delhi, Development of link toad (new NH-344P) (Km 0.000 to Km 29.600) between Bawana Industrial Area, Delhi (from Km 7.750 of UER-II) till bypass of NH-352A at Village Barwasni, Sonipat, Haryana in the state of NCT of Delhi/Haryana and Development of link road (new NH-344N) (Km 0.000 to Km 7.500), between Dichaon Kalan till Bahadurgarh Bypass/NH-10 in the state of NCT of Delhi/Haryana (Total length of the project has been reported as 75.211km) by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Four Public Hearing meetings conducted in North, North-West, West and South-West Districts on 30.09.2020, 05.10.2020, 07.10.2020 and 09.10.2020, respectively.

The proceedings of the meetings duly signed by the Member Secretary Dr. K. S. Jayachadran, depicts that though there were many questions raised, number people was very few. The report shows that the total attendance was 17, 16, 12 and 15, out of which 13, 10, 10, and 14 respectively, were officials and consultant. Some people were present in more than one meetings. Most of the 111 page document contains enclosures pertaining to Lt. Gen. S. S. Dahiya, who has expressed his dissatisfaction over the way the Public Hearing was conducted and it did not address related issues.

Most of questions and suggestions were on tree cutting and plantation, followed by issues of drainage, water bodies, air pollution, noise pollution, traffic management and the least was rainwater harvesting. There were no major questions on air and noise pollution during the project construction phase, and operation phase, rather it was limited to existing air pollution issues, which people expect to be better with the road project. An important aspect of the project is cutting of 17,000 trees, as per the Environment Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). The EMP has deliberated 10 trees for each tree to be cut will be planted as a part of compensatory afforestation. The consultants hired by NHAI to prepare a project feasibility have failed to propose any details regarding site selection for tree plantation. Greenbelt development along proposed highway. The replies stated in the Public Hearing documents are also not clear and convincing.

There was no question and answer on construction and demolition waste management, sourcing of water during construction phase, alternatives for DG sets, and so on.

Delhi ranks fourth among the forty one cities of the world monitored for air pollution. 64% of pollution is by automobiles. As referred in Table 5-4 the air pollution modeling has been based on Emission Factors related to Bharat Stage – IV Vehicle, while India has entered into Bharat Stage – VI. Further, it has missed quantification of air pollution during construction phase, which may emanate from vehicles transporting the construction materials, construction and demolition, Hot Mix Plants (HMPs), diesel generator sets and so on.

It is noteworthy that the EIAR has informed that NHAI road project could have some impacts on several water bodies, though without changing any course. The EIA report does not deliberate on details like size and names of the water bodies. It has just highlighted that the road may pass over the water bodies, and possible impacts are only at the time of construction, for which EMP has given certain measures.

A major point is source of water required for the construction phase. The expected total water requirement for 30 months of construction period of the project is nearly 2.2 billion liters. The EIA report states that majority would be sourced from Delhi Jal Board (DJB), and silent on the remaining. It also implies that DJB has not given any permission. Taking available reports into account, Delhi needs around 1,150 million gallons of water per day (MGD) and DJB is able to supply only around 900 MGD on an average. Hence, the statement cited in EIA report seems to be not factual.

It is high time that NABET ensures the EIA reports are data based. For instance, if the project fails to get water supply from DJB, the report does not specify any available alternatives. The EIA report should also deliberate on the both positive and negative impacts on competing users. The air pollution modeling is based on obsolete emission factors and incomplete as it misses Hot Mix Plant (HMP) and DG emissions. Though Public Hearing is concluded without much technical deliberation, the Expert Appraisal Committees of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change may seek incorporation of relevant factual data for the completeness of EIA and an excellent project implementation.

AQI zoomed to 425 in Jind on Haryana Day, while Noida Authority penalized polluters

02.11.2020, New Delhi: During 24 hours ending Sunday, 1st November 2020, 27 stations out of 115 reported by Central Pollution Control Board were in Very Poor category of AQI. Jind remained the only place in "Severe" Category of AQI with 425 AQI predominantly due to PM2.5.

Noida, based on 3 monitoring stations, reported to have AQI value of 384, which is Very Poor category of AQI. According to PTI, the Noida Authority on Sunday said it has slapped penalties worth Rs. 4 lakh on entities, including construction sites, that were found violating norms to combat air pollution. According to the report, Noida Authority has issued penalties worth over Rs. 1.61 Crore since 17th October on entities contributing to air pollution.

The action against polluters comes in the wake of the GRAP coming into force amid deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR. AQI in Greater Noida also remained in "Very Poor category" with 388.

It is worth noting that the Government of India has brought an Ordinance on 28th October 2020 to form a Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.

Ganga Utsav begins virtually with much fun and festivities

02.11.2020, New Delhi: The much-awaited Ganga Utsav 2020 began today with Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga sharing his connection with Ganga since childhood in conversation with Mahiya. He said, “This festival is to celebrate the glory of National river Ganga. Only if the younger generation is made aware of her ancient history and cultural significance, they will revere her not just as a source of water but as an integral part of our civilization.” We need to do our kartvva (duty) towards Ganga along with our deep rooted astha. Ganga represents all rivers and sources of water and festival is designed to be a river festival too, he added.

Day 1 of the Utsav was buzzing with diversity of events. One could not escape the devotion for Maa Ganga in voice of Dr Revati Sakalkar, Indian semi-classical vocalist. The Kashi Kokila brought river before the audience through her bhajans starting with “Chalo man Ganga Yamuna teer”.

In Kahani Junction, legendary storyteller Rituparna Ghosh’s “Whose River Is It Anyway?” the message was clear if you don’t care for nature, nature won’t care for you. Bestselling author Anand Neelkantan, shared fascinating mythological stories of Ganga from Mahabharat and ancient Puranas. Kapil Pandey was another well-known story-teller at the festival.

Mini Ganga Quest organised in association with Tree Craze Foundation, which started two days before the festival has seen overwhelming response. More than 4000 students participated in the quiz so far. The quiz is designed to make youth and students aware about environmental issues and explain them their role in conservation. Mini Ganga Quest will continue throughout the festival and results will be announced on final day. Tree Craze Foundation led by Bhawna Sharma along with NMCG conducts Ganga Quest annually during April- May which had evoked massive million plus response this year.

Ganga Utsav has received support from different countries. Shin Bongkil, Korean Ambassador to India said Ganga is important not only for India but for the whole world as a symbol of Indian spiritual mysticism. Walter J. Lindner,German Ambassador to India praised NMCG efforts and congratulated Ganga Utsav. Marten van den Berg, Netherland Ambassador to India gave his greetings to Ganga Utsav. He said, “Netherland government is committed to work with India. Together we can get the Ganga cleaned and keep it clean.”

An award-winning film “The Miracle Water Village”, directed by Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh showed how a drought prone village came together to start a revolution of rain-water harvesting. Another inspiring tale came from “Locals Become Geohydrologists in Rapar”,directed by Usha Dewani and Nilutpal Das where an arid village in Kutch became water secure by the efforts of visionary villagers. Thirst by Sivanageswara Rao, Angioplasty Of Dreams by Aditya Seth, Water Warriors by Nutan Manmohan and Revival Of AharPynes Systems by SoumitraDey were other notable movies. The idea behind Ganga film festival was to use films as a medium to evoke critical thinking and empathy towards ecology and environment.

Ganga Dialouges, which is a series of discussions with eminent personalities, started with renowned author and researcher Rajiv Malhotra in conversation with Shri Satyanarayana Dasa, a Vaishnava scholar. Taking a leaf out of their upcoming book Sanskrit Non- Translatables, they discussed the idea of Ganga being more relevant than Ganges as it conveys its uniqueness and sacred nature. Ganga, they said is a living entity translating it to Ganges makes her just a water body and prone to exploitation and neglect.

Sharing the innovative ways in which NamamiGange engaging in activities throughout the year, Meenakshi Payal spoke about Art and Murals project along Ganga ghats. She showed the glimpses of massive designs created by her team at Mozarto in association with NMCG. This Project is an CSR initiative under NamamiGange, supported by Union Bank of India. Painters of international repute have contributed to mural painting and facelift in this project making remarkable contributions at Chandighat, clock tower areas in Haridwar and on several iconic ghats at Varanasi.

No celebration is complete without food but it was not easy to have food in a virtual festival. “Zayaka Ganga Kinare Wala” by Anubhav Sapra, Foodie-in-Chief, Delhi Food Walks and Indian Culinary Culture made sure that the audience experience the delicious dishes of different cities on the bank of Ganga. He explored famous more than 100 years of food joints to rare delicacies like Ramphal in Laxman Jhula, Palak Halwa in Prayagraj and Bhuja in Patna. In Kolkata, he landed up at Paramount restaurant, where Subhash Chandra Bose along with other nationalist leaders used to meet and plot against British Government.

Several programs were also held in districts as a part of Ganga Utsav celebrations. Ganga Task Force has conducted afforestation drive with NCC cadets and educational tour for youth in project area. Swachhata drive and plantation on river banks, quiz and painting competitions, water body cleaning etc were reported from districts in Uttarakhand, Bulandshahr, Raibareilly, Varanasi, Kasganj, Sahibganj, Ranchi etc. Ganga Praharis, Mitras and NYK Ganga doots actively participated in several programs. Quiz and painting arranged at Ganga ghat in Raibareilly drew huge response with hundreds of school children.

The festival will continue for two more days i.e. 3rd and 4th Nov 2020.

Buildings are major contributors of GHGs, new buildings need to mandatorily go green and environment friendly

30.10.2020, New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on 29th October said that it is time to consider making all new buildings to mandatorily go green and environment friendly. He suggested to the governments, Finance Commissions and local bodies to encourage green buildings by way of tax incentives and other measures.

Inaugurating the CII’s Green Building Congress 2020 through virtual mode, the Vice President emphasised that not only new buildings, but the existing buildings too should be retrofitted to make them environment-friendly by adopting green practices that promote energy efficiency and water conservation.

He termed the sustainable buildings as an important component in building resilient communities and called for extensive use and promotion of low carbon technologies. “We not only need a stronger India but also a greener India”, he added.

Drawing attention to the increasing number of extreme climate events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, Shri Naidu said that climate change is as real as daylight and countries all over the world must adopt drastic and revolutionary measures to mitigate the problem of global warming.

Calling for the sustainable approach to development, the Vice President said that the challenge before us is how do you marry both development and environment. “If we take care of nature, the nature in turn will take care of the mankind”, he said.

He stated that buildings and construction account for 39% of energy related CO2 emissions in the world and wanted the process of total de-carbonization of the built environment to be accelerated.

Describing the concept of green building, Shri Naidu said that apart from energy efficiency, it seeks to ensure water efficiency, use of renewable energy, promote waste reduction and encourage the use of environment-friendly local materials.

He emphasised that the construction material we use today should be sustainable and environment-friendly —it should not in any way jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The Vice President also highlighted the need to create awareness on the urgency of promoting green buildings concept among the people. In this regard, he advised India Green Building Council to launch a campaign for promoting ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings’. He also wanted the urban planners and bodies like Builders Association of India, CREDAI to be involved in the campaign.

It may be noted that a net zero carbon building is highly energy efficient and fully powered by on-site and/ or off-site renewable energy sources.

Highlighting the pace of rapid urbanisation in the country, he opined that sustainable development should become a critical part of our nation building. It should be realized that it cannot be business as usual in regard to combating global warming, he added.

Mentioning the programs such as Smart Cities Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) the Vice President said that main motto of Government of India is to make cities livable centers of growth.

He expressed happiness that India with over 7.61 Billion Sq.ft of green building footprint is amongst the top 5 countries in the world and lauded the role of all stakeholders in building a greener and healthier India.

Maintaining that India has the potential to lead the Global Green Building Movement, Shri Naidu said that there is a need for a concerted push on this front by both the private players and the government. He appreciated CII for working with State Governments and developers for the implementation of green concepts in affordable housing projects and urged the construction sector to work with the governments in building a greener, healthier and prosperous India.

Shri Naidu also complimented CII for developing ‘Guidelines for Combating COVID-19 in Green Buildings’ and said that the good work should continue and the Government and Industry should work together in achieving the country’s green mission.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the Vice President said that India lives in its villages and if India has to grow, our villages have to be prosperous and should have access to all basic amenities like the urban areas. Going green in villages would mean access to hygiene, health, sanitation, energy, water and education, he said.

Shri Naidu expressed satisfaction over the CII initiatives for implementation of green measures in 24 villages in 11 states and wanted the CII to expand its foot print to more number of villages and states.

On this occasion, the Vice President also launched a coffee table book and Rating systems on Healthcare, Logistics and Net Zero Water. He also congratulated CII for its 125th anniversary.

Shri Jamshyd N Godrej, former President, CII and Chairman, CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Shri V Suresh, Chairman, CII - Indian Green Building Council, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, Shri Gurmit Singh Arora, Vice Chairman, CII - Indian Green Building Council, green building professionals, officials of CII, engineers, developers, builders and architects were among those who participated in the virtual event.

Jal Jeevan Mission in Kerala and Gujarat State

30.10.2020, New Delhi: The Ministry of Jal Shakti has been working with the States/ UTs to implement Union Government’s flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission, which envisages provision of 55 litres of potable water per person per day through tap water connection to every rural home by 2024. The mission aims to improve the lives of rural people especially women and girls by reducing their drudgery. Funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of household tap connections provided and the utilization of available central and matching State share. To take the program further, Kerala State officials presented the status of planning and implementation of the mission in the State before the National Jal Jeevan Mission through video conferencing.

Kerala is planning 100% tap water connections to all rural households by 2023-24. The State has around 67.15 lakh rural households, out of which 49.65 lakh households have not been provided with tap water connection. In 2020-21, the State is planning to enable 21.42 lakh households with tap water connections. The mid-term review highlighted the need for analysing the existing Piped Water Supply (PWS) schemes in 2,493 habitations, where not a single connection has been provided. It was also urged to examine schemes in 95 villages, where not a single tap connection has been provided. Kerala State has planned to provide safe drinking water to remaining 14 Fluoride affected habitations with population of 25,452 by December, 2020. The State was urged to pay undivided attention for universal coverage of aspirational districts; SC/ ST dominated villages, villages under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY).

The State of Gujarat is one such State that has been dealing with water issues due to its geographically arid conditions and the Jal Jeevan Mission is a potential boon for the masses in the region. Gujarat today presented its mid-term review to the National Jal Jeevan Mission officials who are in the process of reviewing the progress of the mission across the nation. Gujarat has plans to provide 100% tap connections by the year 2022-23. The total number of households in Gujarat are 93,02,583 with 35,996 habitations, 18,191 villages, 13,931 Gram Panchayats, 247 blocks and 33 districts. In the progress reported till date, the State has succeeded in giving 8,50,871 Functional Households Tap Connections (FHTC), which is 76.29 % of the given target.

Ethanol price hiked under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme

29.10.2020, New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has approved fixing higher ethanol price derived from different sugarcane based raw materials under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2020-21 during Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2020-21 from 1st December 2020 to 30th November 2021. With this, the price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.43.75 per lit to Rs.45.69 per litre, B heavy molasses route increased from Rs.54.27 per lit to Rs.57.61 per litre, and the price of ethanol from sugarcane juice / sugar / sugar syrup route be increased from Rs.59.48 per lit to Rs.62.65 per litre.

Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised, In order to offer fair opportunity to the localized industry within the State and reduce crisscross movement of ethanol, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) shall decide the criteria for priority of ethanol from various sources taking in account various factors like cost of transportation, availability, etc. This priority will limit to the excisable boundaries of the State / UT for production in that State / UT. Same order of preference will be given thereafter for import of ethanol from other States wherever required.

Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels.

All distilleries are expected to take benefit of the scheme and large number of them are expected to supply ethanol for the EBP programme. It is also stated that the remunerative price to ethanol suppliers will help in reduction of cane farmer’s arrears, in the process contributing to minimizing difficulty of sugarcane farmers.

This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.

Government has notified administered price of ethanol since 2014. For the first time during 2018, differential price of ethanol based on raw material utilized for ethanol production was announced by the Government. These decisions have significantly improved the supply of ethanol thereby ethanol procurement by Public Sector OMCs has increased from 38 crore litre in Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2013-14 to contracted over 195 crore litre in ESY 2019-20.

With a view to provide long term perspective to the stake holders, MoP&NG has published “Ethanol Procurement Policy on a long term basis under EBP Programme”. In line with this, OMCs have already completed the one time registration of ethanol suppliers. OMCs have further reduced the Security Deposit amount from 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs. 400 Cr. to ethanol suppliers. OMCs have also reduced the applicable penalty on non-supplied quantity from earlier 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs.35 Cr. to suppliers. All these would facilitate ease of doing business and achieve the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.

Consistent surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to lower capability of sugar industry to pay the farmers. Government has taken many decisions for reduction of cane farmer’s dues.

With a view to limit sugar production in the Country and to increase domestic production of ethanol, Government has taken multiple steps including, allowing diversion of B heavy molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production. As the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane and ex-mill price of sugar have undergone changes, there is a need to revise the ex-mill price of ethanol derived from different sugarcane based raw materials.

Increase of Ethanol price may have an impact on automotive users and may not be a good step in terms of air pollution.

CSIR-NCL develops DME-LPG blended a clean cooking fuel can ensure energy security for the nation: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

22.10.2020, New Delhi: The Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 21st October 2020 inaugurated the Dimethyl ether (DME) fired “Aditi Urja Sanch” unit along with the DME-LPG blended fuel cylinders and handed them over for common public and CSIR-NCL canteen use on a trial basis at CSIR-NCL premises virtually through video-conferencing. National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) is a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). CSIR-NCL is a science and knowledge based research, development and consulting organization.

The Minister, in his address said, “The launch of this burner will also provide a significant boost to the 'Make in India' campaign as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic. This kind of activity may bridge the gap between demand and supply, and it can ensure energy security for the nation.”

DME is an ultra-clean fuel. CSIR-NCL has developed nation’s first kind of DME pilot plant with 20-24Kg/day capacity. The conventional LPG burner is not suitable for DME combustion as DME density is different than LPG. To address this issue, CSIR- NCL’s “ADITI URJA SANCH” has come up with a helpful, innovative setup. The new Burner is fully designed and fabricated by NCL for DME, DME -LPG blended mixtures and LPG combustion.

Salient features of newly designed Burner are: efficient for both DME and the blend of DME and LPG, flexible air ingress, the new nozzle design allows optimum oxygen ingress for combustion, the angles at which nozzles are placed maximize the heat transfer area across the utensils, optimum flame velocity can be obtained, length of the flame (high, low, and medium) can be adjusted by altering the oxygen ingress, and experiment shows that it increases the heat transfer rate as well.

Its efficiency trials and comparison with conventional burners have been done. Trial runs have demonstrated an improvement by 10-15 %, compared to conventional burners using LPG alone.

The research group led by Dr. T. Raja at Catalysis and Inorganic Chemistry Division, CSIR-NCL, Pune carried out research and found catalysts with higher yield, and stability for the ether formation and less tendency to produce carbon soot by-product. The DME project is moving on fast track mode from the laboratory to the market to ultimately reach people under the methanol economy and green sustainable fuel policy of the country. In the current phase, CSIR sponsored FTT/ FTC (Fast track Commercialization) project for the pilot plant demonstration has been sanctioned, and CSIR-NCL is in advanced discussion with various industry stakeholders.

A clean cooking fuel combination of DME-LPG also safeguards the well-being of women and children. The DME process technology is economical, cost-effective, and scalable with in-situ product purification as well as a heat integration unit that produces pure DME. This technology developed by CSIR-NCL at present has the capacity of 20-24 kg/ day DME production. It is to be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through the CSIR-FTC project. The DME pilot plant was inaugurated last year by Dr. Harsh Vardhan at CSIR-NCL.

The newly designed stove can burn with up to 30 % DME blended with LPG or 100% DME as fuel. The air to fuel ratio is different for DME blended fuel to achieve optimum combustion and thermal performance. A 20% DME blending with LPG, with fewer infrastructure changes, is expected to result in substantial savings annually. The DME from Methanol process developed by CSIR-NCL is producing 20-24 kg/ day. This economical, cost-effective process will be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through CSIR-FTC project. CSIR-NCL plans under “Aditi UrjaSanch” to launch in future industrial burners for low emission, DME/ DME blended fuel for automobiles and stationery power.

Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG-CSIR & Secretary, DSIR was present on the occasion. Prof. Ashwini Kumar Nangia, Director, CSIR-NCL, Pune; Dr. T. Raja, Principal Scientist, CSIR- NCL and others joined the event virtually.

With DSI & SOFA systems, NTPC Dadri strives to become the cleanest coal fired plant of India

19.10.2020, New Delhi: At a time when Delhi Government is demanding closure of all the 11 thermal power plants (TPPs) of the NCR, NTPC Dadri is striving to become the cleanest coal fired plant in the country. According to the Ministry of Power, Dadri plant is complying with all the the emission guidelines set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). All the emission parameters are being monitored online and transmitted to CPCB on real time basis. As per a statement issued by NTPC Ltd, the PSU under Ministry of Power, the Flue gas emissions and Particulate Matters are well within the CPCB norms with high efficiency pollution control device Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP) in service in all the 4 nos. 210 MW & 2 nos. 490 MW units.

To reduce Sulfur Dioxide emission, Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) system has been installed in 210 MW units for the first time in the country with technology from United Conveyor Corporation (UCC) , USA. Now, all the four units are meeting emission norms. FGD system is in advanced stage of implementation in 490 MW units by BHEL with technology from Mitsubishi Power Works, Japan.

All the 210 MW units were already compliant to emission norms against parameter Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). In 490 MW units, SOFA (Separated Overfire Air) system has been installed and all the units now comply with the norms for NOx.

NTPC Dadri has also pioneered co-firing of Biomass pellets along with coal in the boilers. The pellets are made of husk or agro-residue which would have been burnt otherwise in the fields increasing the pollution in NCR region. More than 8000 Tons of pellets have been fired in the boilers of NTPC Dadri, which is equivalent to almost 4000 acres of farm fire avoided.

NTPC Dadri has set new benchmarks in Water consumption, going beyond compliances, by implementing Zero liquid discharge system, and Rain water harvesting system.

NTPC’s efforts in leading the energy transition to a decentralised, decarbonised and digitalised energy. It provides broad framework for the company’s priorities to meet the challenges in Decarbonisation & Air emissions control, Water & Biodiversity Conservation, Circular Economy, Health and Safety, Community Development, Strong Finance & Ethics and Sustainable Supply Chain.

As part of its commitment towards the environment, NTPC has undertaken a many ‘firsts’ for the sector. NTPC is working towards utilising agro residue for power generation to discourage in-field crop residue burning. NTPC is also striving hard to install sulphur dioxide-reducing technology flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) at all its plants across the country. NTPC is also working towards various waste to energy projects for a sustainable environment.

NTPC is also taking every possible step to make its energy portfolio greener by adding significant capacities of Renewable Energy (RE) Sources. By 2032, the company plans to have a minimum of 32000 MW capacity through RE sources constituting nearly 25% of its overall power generation capacity.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Grand ICT Challenge to harness vibrant ‘Internet of Things’ receives impressive response

19.10.2020, New Delhi: Water Quality Monitoring is important for a healthy and progressive society. Jal Jeevan Mission aims at providing Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024 of adequate quantity and of prescribed quality. National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) had launched an ICT Grand Challenge to create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level. The last date was 12 October 2020. A total of 213 proposal from various Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Indian Companies, Indian LLPs have been received which will now be scrutinized by a jury committee appointed by MEITY and select the proposals. The ambitious mission focuses on service delivery rather than mere creation of infrastructure. This kind of technological challenge offers a great opportunity to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply systems in rural areas.

This grand challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system to measure and monitor the service delivery of the water supply in rural areas. This challenge will provide opportunity to work for casue of Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through functional household tap connection to every rural household of the country.

The Grand challenge will provide support at ideation Stage, prototype development stage, deployment stage. The pilot will be conducted in100 villages. The best solution will get cash prize of Rs. 50 Lakh and runner ups will get prize of Rs. 20 Lakh each.The successful developers will be given an opportunity to join the MeitYsupported incubator for further nurturing of the solution. This will boost the idea and thrust of intiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Digital India and Make in India.

Union Government’s flagship programme- Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is being implemented in partnership with States for providing Functional Household Tapwater Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024. The programme focuses on service delivery at the household level, i.e. water supply regularly in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality, on long-term basis. This necessitates the use of modern technology in systematic monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve some of the biggest societal problems facing the nation. More importantly, it will help anticipate and address future challenges.

95% of Air Pollution in Delhi due to local factors, only 4% by Stubble burning as on today: Prakash Javadekar

15.10.2020, New Delhi: In order to step up efforts to ensure better air quality, 50 teams of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be deployed to make extensive field visits from 15th October 2020 to 28th February 2021.

Addressing the nodal officers of the teams in New Delhi today, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar said that during the current times of COVID the members of the team are no less than Corona Warriors as they will be visiting and giving feedback from the ground, which will help in mitigating Air pollution.

The Union Minister said that around 95% of the pollution in the city, is due to local factors like dust, construction and biomass burning and the share of stubble burning is only around 4 to 5% as on date.

Javadekar congratulated the teams and expressed his best wishes. The teams will visit Delhi and NCR towns - Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh; Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat in Haryana; and Bhiwadi, Alwar, Bharatpur in Rajasthan. These teams will specifically focus on hotspot areas where the problem is aggravated.

On spot reporting of major air polluting sources such as major construction activities without proper control measures, dumping of garbage & construction waste alongside the roads and on open plots, unpaved roads, open burning of garbage/industrial waste, etc. will be done using SAMEER App.

Feedback on polluting activities will be shared with concerned agencies through an automated system, for quick action. Details will also be shared with State Governments. This will help in taking timely actions and monitoring at appropriate levels by the concerned agencies.

A Central Control Room at CPCB Head Quarters has been made functional for keeping track of pollution levels on hour to hour basis and overall coordination with State agencies. In addition, district wise nodal officers have been appointed for better management and coordination with teams.

Air quality in winter season is a major environmental concern in Delhi and NCR region. Various efforts are being taken since past five years for air quality management in the region. Although gradual year on year improvement in air quality has been observed, a lot needs to be done.

MoEF&CC lists measures taken by Union Govt. as Delhi’s Dy. CM says Central Govt.’s failure in handling North India’s Air Pollution

14.10.2020, New Delhi: As Delhi Air Pollution is becoming fast becoming a matter of concern, an Official Spokesperson from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) stated that the Central Govt. believes in working to end pollution.

On 13th October 2020, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia expressed his concern over increasing pollution across Northern India due to stubble burning. Sisodia said, “This year, due to the Corona crisis, stubble pollution is very deadly. The Central Government has completely failed to save North India from pollution.”

In a press conference held at the Media Center of the Delhi Secretariat, Deputy Chief Minister pointed out that the smoke of crop burning from neighbouring states has started showing its effect this time also.

Stating that Delhi Government is continuously making efforts to stop pollution throughout the year, Sisodia mentioned a number of measures taken by Delhi Government and demanded immediate concrete steps from the Central Government to stop pollution in North India.

Ostensibly, it reply to Delhi Govt., Official Spokesperson of MoEF&CC, said the Union Govt. has taken various anti air pollution initiatives in the last 6 years. A major step towards curbing Delhi Air Pollution is the construction of Eastern and Western peripheral expressways, which has reduced pollution by preventing 60000 undestined Heavy Vehicles (trucks) passing through Delhi every day.

MoEF&CC stated that in addition to implementation of Vapour Recovery System in all retail outlets of petrol and diesel in NCR, the introduction of BS-VI standard compliant vehicles and fuel, with the investment of Rs. 65000 crore, which has resulted in controlling vehicular pollution to a great extent. Further, infrastructure was created to provide piped natural gas (PNG) fuel to industries. 2600 NCR industries have been brought on PNG.

It was also informed that stubble cutting machines worth Rs. 1400 crore have been provided to Punjab and Haryana farmers. MoEF&CC stated that this has resulted in reduction of about 15% and 20% pollution from stubble burning, respectively.

Other measures were provision of hundreds of dust suppressants and water sprinkling vehicles have been provided by Delhi Development AUthority (DDA), adoption of zig-zag technology in 2800 brick klins in NCR and introduction of Construction and Demolition Waste Management rules, for the first time in 2016, has also helped to attain lesser air pollution in Delhi and NCR. MoEF&CC official informed that 3 factories produce roadside tiles and dividers from the construction waste.

MoEF&CC also claimed closure of Badarpur Power Plant, as a step towards direct reduction of air pollution. Maintaining a silence on other power plants operating in the neighbouring states of Delhi, MoEF&CC stated that 3 power plants are producing 57 MW of electricity from processing of waste in Delhi.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Haryana Government's Lab on wheels!

12.10.2020, New Delhi: The supply of clean and safe water is essential for public health therefore, ensuring supply of water along with regular testing is imperative. The Jal Jeevan Mission of the Ministry of Jal Shakti aims to provide tap water connection to every rural home by 2024. The work under this mission is being done on war footing and the mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring. Taking cognizance of the pressing need for water testing, Govt. of Haryana has come up with a novel approach by launching a State of the Art Mobile Water Testing Laboratory Van, fully equipped with multi-parameter system containing analyzers/ sensor/ probes/ instruments meant for water testing. Water Quality in State of Haryana is mainly affected by constituents like total dissolved solids (TDS), Fluoride, nitrate, iron and alkalinity.

This mobile water testing lab van has been uniquely designed and fully loaded with latest technologies and features. It is GPS enabled for location tracking and the analyzed sample data can be transmitted to a centralized PHED server via GPRS/ 3G connectivity with power backup. It also provides On-site recording and reporting of results through a smart phone or similar device with the ability to send results direct to a web based secure central server. This mobile van also has a fully automated sensor-based analysis controlled by centrally commanded software. The LED display unit in the mobile lab gives an instant display of the results immediately after analysis.

Needless to say, this mobile water testing laboratory will be an effective mode of surveillance of drinking water quality in rural areas of the State. The lab is capable of measuring different water quality parameters like pH, alkalinity, TDS, hardness, residual chlorine, zinc, nitrite, Fluoride, turbidity and micro-biological test of water samples. This mobile lab will help in quickly identifying the water quality problem on the spot at site.

The mobile testing van will be stationed at State Water Testing Laboratory, Karnal and its area of operation will be throughout the State. This new facility will provide access to water-testing facility even at the remotest corner of the State. Further, in the event of outbreak of water-borne disease, these vans can be deployed onsite for effective management and quick access to water test reports. Besides, they can also be used for counter checking of quality of testing from all laboratories.

Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of Union Government and under this program Government of Haryana is fully committed to provide tap water connection to every rural household ensuring sustainable supply of potable water. The mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring. It mandates that in every village 5 persons especially women to be trained for use of Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in villages. Public Health Engineering Department/ Rural Water Supply department of States are ensuring supply of safe drinking water to rural homes and monitoring water quality on regular basis by testing in the laboratories.

International Blue Flag Certification to all 8 beaches recommended by India

11.10.2020, New Delhi: It is a proud moment for India as 8 beaches of India, spread across five states and two union territories, have been awarded the “BLUE FLAG” by an International Jury comprising of eminent members viz UNEP, UNWTO, FEE, IUCN.

The beaches that have been awarded the ‘BLUE FLAG” are Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).

India has also been awarded a 3rd Prize by the International Jury under the “International Best Practices” for pollution control in coastal regions.

In a twitter message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated "8 of India’s serene beaches get the prestigious Blue Flag Certification. This showcases the importance India attaches to protecting such spots and furthering sustainable development. Truly a wonderful feat!"

“It is an outstanding feat considering that no 'BLUE FLAG' nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt,” Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said in a tweet message adding “this is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts”.

“India is also the first country in “Asia-Pacific” region which has achieved this feat in just about 2 years’ time,” Javadekar further stated in another tweet.

Japan, South Korea and UAE are the only other Asian nations who have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches, however, in a time frame of about 5 to 6 years!

India is now in the league of 50 "BLUE FLAG” countries and we take pride in this honour to our Nation, planning to taking this journey forward to 100 such beaches in the country in the next five years.

India began its humble journey in 2018 for development of pilot beaches (one each in coastal states/UTs) and presented the first set of 08 beaches for the certification for the ensuing tourist season 2020.

SICOM, MoEFCC, in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project. This was aimed at striving for the coveted International eco-label "Blue flag”, accorded by The Foundation of Environment Education, FEE Denmark.

The objective of the BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters & beaches, promote sustainable development of beach amenities/ facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources and encourage local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, safety and security for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment norms & regulations. This program promotes beach tourism and recreation in absolute harmony with nature; and is unique in that sense.

Goa becomes first 'Har Ghar Jal' State across the nation by providing tap water connection to every rural household

09.10.2020, New Delhi: Goa has earned itself the unique distinction of becoming first 'Har Ghar Jal' State in the country as it successfully provides 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in the rural areas covering 2.30 lakh rural households. Harnessing the immense benefits of efficiently utilising the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), which aims to improve the quality of life and bring 'ease-of-living' to rural communities, the Chief Minister of Goa, Shri PramodSawant announced that all ruralhomes in the State now have a tap water supply.State's commitment and brisk efforts have ensured advancement and achievement of targets well before time.

In June, 2020, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat wrote to the Chief Minister of Goa expressing his happiness on the State's Annual Action Plan (AAP) to provide 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in rural areas by 2021 and extended full support for the implementation of Mission reiterating that providing potable water is a national priority for the Union Government. Accordingly, fund allocation to Goa in 2020-21 has been increased to Rs. 12.40 Crore. Besides, the State could also explore through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. for strengthening of drinking water sources, water supply, grey water treatment & re-use and operation & maintenance.

The two districts of Goa i.e. North Goa with 1.65 lakh rural households and South Goa with 98,000rural householdsin 191 Gram Panchayats are fully saturated with assured piped water supply through tap connections. To strengthen the water testing facilities, the State is in process of getting 14 water quality testing laboratories NABL accredited. Jal Jeevan Mission mandates training 5 persons in very village especially women to be trained in using Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in the villages.

Goa’s achievement is an example for other States to emulate and ensure every rural home gets tap connection and especially in these times of CoVid-19 pandemic, it is all the more imperative to have assured safe water supply within households. This silent revolution happening in rural India in terms of household tap water connections is a work in progress for a ‘New India’.

Having achieved the universal access, the State now plans for sensor-based service delivery monitoring system so as to monitor the functionality of water supply i.e. potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality being provided to every rural household on regular and long-term basis.

CSIR-CMERI transfers High Flow Rate Fluoride and Iron Removal technology to Capricans Aqua

08.10.2020, New Delhi: The CSIR-CMERI today transferred its High Flow Rate Fluoride & Iron Removal technology to M/s Capricans Aqua Private Limited, Howrah, West Bengal, in Durgapur (WB). The Technology Transfer took place over a Virtual Platform in the presence of Prof. (Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur.

Prof. Hirani, during the event stated, “This Community Level Water Purification System has a Flow-Rate capacity of 10,000 liter per hour and uses commonly available raw materials such as sand, gravel and adsorbent materials. It comprises a three-stage purification process which purifies water within permissible limits (1.5 ppm & 0.3 ppm for Fluoride and Iron respectively). The technology uses a combination of Oxidation, Gravitational Settling and Chemisorption process in an Affordable Package. The integrated backwashing profile of the technology will help in improving the shelf-life of the filtration media in a resource rationalised manner”

Prof. Hirani said that, “As per available statistics the number of Fluoride affected individuals are continuously increasing in a contaminated habitat in the last 50 years. This has been happening in consonance with the disproportional depletion of Water Table, which has led to multiplication of the level of concentration of Fluoride in the particular region. Owing to inaccessibility to Affordable Fluoride Removal Solutions for the drastically affected sections of the Country, the Fluorosis affected statistics has also witnessed an upward trajectory. Besides, the technology is also a major thrust towards the AtmaNirbhar Bharat campaign. Proliferation of this technology will also help in catalysing Employment Generation opportunities for the Youth of the Nation. The strategic deployment of this Community Level system at affected places can help to turn the tide against the menace of Iron and Fluorosis across the Nation.”

Shri Sanjay Dutta, Director, Capricans Aqua Private Limited, said that CSIR-CMERI Water Technologies have provided an Affordable and Cost-Effective solution for serving the most vulnerable sections of the Nation. He said, the results generated after deployment of this Water Technologies will be immense. Capricans now intends to deploy the CMERI Water technologies in the Fluoride and Iron affected regions of the states of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Assam, he added.

Ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water, can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones. Moderate amounts lead to dental effects, but long-term ingestion of large amounts can lead to potentially severe skeletal problems. Paradoxically, low levels of fluoride intake help to prevent dental caries. The control of drinking-water quality is therefore critical in preventing fluorosis.

Banning seven hazardous chemicals India sends strong & positive message to the world

07.10.2020, New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today ratified ban of seven Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s) listed under Stockholm Convention.

“With today’s decision India is sending out a positive message to the world that we are active in this area & we do not tolerate health & environmental hazard”, said the Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar at a press briefing in New Delhi.

The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and environment from POPs, which are identified chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in living organisms, adversely affect human health/ environment and have the property of long-range environmental transport (LRET).

Exposure to POPs can lead to cancer, damage to central & peripheral nervous systems, diseases of immune system, reproductive disorders and interference with normal infant and child development. POPs are listed in various Annexes to the Stockholm Convention after thorough scientific research, deliberations and negotiations among member countries.

Considering its commitment towards providing safe environment and addressing human health risks, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had notified the 'Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules, on March 5, 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The regulation inter alia prohibited the manufacture, trade, use, import and export seven chemicals namely (i) Chlordecone, (ii) Hexabromobiphenyl, (iii) Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether (Commercial octa-BDE), (iv) Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE), (v) Pentachlorobenzene, (vi) Hexabromocyclododecane, and (vii) Hexachlorobutadiene, which were already listed as POPs under Stockholm Convention.

The Cabinet's approval for ratification of POPs demonstrates India's commitment to meet its international obligations with regard to protection of environment and human health. It also indicates the resolve of the Government to take action on POPs by implementing control measures, develop and implement action plans for unintentionally produced chemicals, develop inventories of the chemicals' stockpiles and review as well as update its National Implementation Plan (NIP). The ratification process would enable India to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources in updating the NIP.

The Cabinet further delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to Union Ministers of External Affairs and Environment, Forest and Climate Change in respect of POPs already regulated under the domestic regulations thereby streamlining the procedure.

India had ratified the Stockholm Convention on January 13, 2006 as per Article 25(4), which enabled it to keep itself in a default "opt-out" position such that amendments in various Annexes of the convention cannot be enforced on it unless an instrument of ratification/ acceptance/ approval or accession is explicitly deposited with UN depositary.

Success Stories to Technology & Research on Water deliberated in 3-days 'Global Water Congress 2020’ organized by ESDA

07.10.2020, New Delhi: One of the most acclaimed organizations, Environment and Social Development Association (ESDA) India organized the ‘Global Water Congress 2020’ on a virtual platform to pay our tributes to the Father of the Indian Nation Mahatma Gandhi Ji on his 151st Birth Anniversary on 2nd - 4th October 2020 under its National campaign of water conservation- Jal Kranti Mission (water conservation by public participation) in collaboration with CSIR- NEERI, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, University of Delhi, GRC India, GD Goenka University Gurugram, Amity University Gurugram, CPCB Alumni Association, IWWA and MSMECCII. About 450 registered participants, 70 invited speakers, 168 paper presenters and 150 volunteers were participated.

The Global Water Congress was inaugurated by Padma Shri Saint Balbeer Singh Seechewal, a well-known Water Conservationist from Punjab with presence of another guest of honor Shri G. Asok Kumar IAS, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Water Mission (NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, Prof. P. B. Sharma, Vice Chancellor of Amity University, Dr. S. K. Goyal, Head, CSIR-NEERI, Delhi Zonal Office, Ms. Rita Mathew Benjamin, Chairperson, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Dr. G. K. Arora, Principal, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Shri Gopal Arya, National Convener, Paryavaran Sarakshan Gatividhi Prof. R.K. Thakur, Dean, G. D. Goenka University, Mr. Umesh Chandra, Executive president ESDA, Dr. Dhiraj Singh, MD, GRC India and Dr. Jitendra Nagar, Organizing Secretary and General Secretary, ESDA.

About 10 speakers from various foreign countries including Dr. Hans-Uwe Dahms, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, Dr. Sadhana Pradhanang Kayastha, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal, Dr. Mohammad Kamal Hussain, Umm-Al Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ajay Kumar, Ana G. Mendez University, Cupey Campus, San Jan, PR, USA and about 60 speakers from India including Er. Paritosh Tyagi, Former Chairman, CPCB Delhi, Prof. A. K. Keshari, IIT Delhi, Er. V. P. Yadav, Additional Director, CPCB Delhi, Prof. A. L. Ramanathan, JNU Delhi, Prof. Manish Kumar, IIT Gandhinagar, Prof. Tanu Jindal, Amity University, Prof Sirajuddin Ahmad, Jamia Millia Islamia, Mr. D. C. Sekhar, Director, AlphaMERS Limited, Bengluru, Karnataka, Shri K G Vyas Former Advisor, Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Mission, M.P., Mr. Sanjay K Mishra, Editor, Enviro Annotations, Shri Dinesh Kumar Mishra, Shri Pushpendra Bhai, Shri Jagdish Bhai Gandhi, Shri Pankaj Malviya, Mr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora, Dr. Shiv Singh Rawat, Mr. Anil Gupta Hrwi were delivered a lecture on the water issues.

Sh. U.P. Singh IAS, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department, of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India was the Chief Guest in the Valedictory Function of Global Water Congress 2020 and he said India has sufficient water resources as per their need but there are a big problem of water management. The Guest of honor Dr. Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board and Key speaker Jal Guru Mr. Mahendra Modi IPS, Director General (DG), Uttar Pradesh Police and other dignitaries also address the valedictory.

In the last during vote of thanks the Organizing Secretary Dr. Jitendra Nagar expressed that the motive of this congress to discuss and create awareness among national and international water challenges and give a platform for the discussion. He told he is himself working for water conservation and running Jal Kranti Misssion and they will start a work on Hindon River Conservation.

"Wildlife Conservation is ingrained in our ethos": Prime Minister Narendra Modi

06.10.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of 66th Wildlife Week being observed in India, Prime Minster Narendra Modi has said that wildlife conservation is ingrained in our ethos and has always been an integral part of our tradition and culture. The Prime Minister has said, the country is now making efforts to conserve endangered species through dedicated projects such as ‘Project Lion’ and ‘Project Dolphin’ after the success of ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’. In a written message on the occasion of Wildlife Week, Shri Modi sought contribution from people from all walks of life to attain the desired results from these projects.

The Prime Minster said, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace and non-violence, the celebration of “Wildlife Week” is an ideal occasion to reaffirm the commitment towards conservation of wildlife and harmonious co-existence of all living beings.

He said, today with a robust and wide network of protected areas, the commitment towards wildlife protection is as strong as ever. Saying that eco sensitive zones provide a peripheral support and act as a buffer around national parks and sanctuaries, Shri Modi said, several such zones have been notified to enhance the space available for thriving wildlife. Mentioning that the country hosts the last wild population of Asiatic lions, he said, the resolve of doubling tiger numbers have been fulfilled well in advance.

On India giving special attention to plastic waste management, the Prime Minister said, India is resolute in its efforts to reduce single use plastic and micro-plastic pollution for sustainable development along with a prosper biodiversity. Shri Modi said, the country is emphasising on conservation of the migratory birds and species as India remains a natural home to a verity of migratory species.

Noting that India harbours 17 percent of world human population within 2.4 percent land area of the world and development needs of the country are paramount, Shri Modi, however, said that the country believes that wildilife and biodiversity conservation are equally imperative.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has stated, "On the occasion of Wildlife Week 2020 , the inspirational message of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will encourage us all to intensify wildlife conservation in the country, in order to make the planet Earth a better place to live in."

Union Minister of Jal Shakti holds 2nd meeting of Apex Council with Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

06.10.2020, New Delhi: The 2nd meeting of the Apex Council set up by the Andhra Pradesh Re-Organization Act – 2014 (APRA-2014) with Union Minister for Jal Shakti as Chairman and Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as members was held today where Chief Ministers of both states of participated through VC.

The first agenda item that was deliberated upon was to decide on the jurisdiction of both Godavari and Krishna Management Boards. Even after six years their jurisdiction is still not notified because both the states had differing opinions on this issue. The second agenda item that was deliberated upon is the submission of DPR’s of new projects taken up by both the states on rivers Krishna and Godavari respectively. As per the Act, both KRMB and GRMB should technically appraise and clear them. The third agenda item that was deliberated upon was establishing a mechanism for determination of share of Krishna and Godavari waters between the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Centre’s stand on these agenda items and other issues discussed in the meeting is that regarding Telangana’s request of referring the water allocations issue to a new tribunal or to KWDT-II (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal) under Section-3 of Inter State River Water Disputes Act – 1956 (ISRWDA), the matter is pending in Supreme Court and is sub-judice. As mandated by APRA-2014, the headquarters of the KRMB shall be located in the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh.

Centre announced its decision to go ahead with notifying the jurisdiction of both KRMB & GRMB. Telangana CM dissented on this but as per the APRA-2014, no consensus is needed and hence Centre will notify. Both Chief Minister’s agreed to submit the DPR’s of all the projects taken up by their respective states. The Union Minister of Jal Shakti assured that the technical appraisal of all these projects will be done in the shortest possible timeframe.

With regards to sharing of River waters between both the states in both Godavari and Krishna Rivers, CM of Telangana agreed to withdraw the case they filed in Supreme Court to enable Centre to move forward on referring the water sharing issues to the tribunal under Section-3 of ISRWD Act of 1956, after taking due legal opinion. With regards to sharing of River Godavari waters between both the states, both the states were asked to send in the request to Centre so that Centre can move forward to refer to the tribunal under section-3 of ISWRD Act of 1956. Telangana CM said that he would send the request to Centre in a day. It was agreed to shift the KRMB Headquarters to the state of Andhra Pradesh.

"To make India a clean and efficient gas-based economy, Govt is investing more than Rs. 4 lakh crore in gas infrastructure"- Dharmendra Pradhan

06.10.2020, New Delhi: The reach of environment friendly Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) was expanded to various areas in 6 states, as the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan today dedicated 42 CNG stations and 3 City Gate Stations of Torrent Gas to the service of the community. All CNG stations and City Gate Stations were connected through video conference during the event with the Minister.

Torrent Gas has the authorization to lay City Gas Distribution network in 32 Districts across 7 States and 1 UT. These CNG stations are located across various states, including 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 8 in Maharashtra, 6 in Gujarat, 4 in Punjab and 5 each in Telangana and Rajasthan. The City Gate Stations include one each in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.

Speaking on the occasion, the Ministers stressed upon Comprehensive Energy Retail facilities, where consumers can buy fuel of their choice as per purchasing capacity - be it petrol, diesel, CNG, LNG or electric charging. He also said that the Government wants to supply fuel through the mobile dispensers so that consumers can get the fuel at their doorstep, as per their convenience. The Minister said that the strategy is being made to expand the battery swapping facilities also.

The Minister said, as India will become world's largest energy consumer in the coming years, development of CGD network is being done in line of Climate Change goals set for 2030. India has already become the role model in the Solar energy sector. He further mentioned that as India is moving towards the gas-based economy, which is not only clean and efficient fuel, but will also help in reducing the country’s dependence on imported crude oil, an investment of more than Rs. 4 lakh crore is being made in the gas infrastructure, which includes laying of pipelines, terminals, gas fields.

Shri Pradhan called upon the CGD companies to also invest in the biomass-based plants to produce Compressed Bio-gas, using agriculture residues, forest produce, city waste and cow dung. He said that 500 such plants are already being set up, and the target is to reach 5000 such plants.

Number of CNG stations have increased to more than double in the country, from 938 CNG station in year 2014 to around 2300 CNG stations in 2020. Together with the existing CNG stations and the ones expected under 9th and 10th rounds, India is looking at a robust infrastructure of about 10,000 CNG stations in coming years.

160 Zoos across India to be upgraded through Public Private Partnership: Prakash Javadekar

05.10.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of Wildlife Week 2020, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar today congratulated the country for the diverse wildlife and said that the government is working towards the upgradation and development of 160 Zoos across the country through Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to encourage interaction between wildlife and humans, and help people observe and understand wildlife behaviour more closely.

The Union Minister informed that policy for up gradation and development of all the zoos in the country is underway and will be taken up during the upcoming budget. Shri Javadekar further said that state governments, corporations, businesses and people will all be key elements of the plan. It will help give enhanced experience to the visitors especially the students and children and the future generation in order to nurture the connect between wildlife, nature and humans.

On the occasion Shri Javadekar also launched a report of the CZA-TERI titled “Economic valuation of ecosystem services, National Zoological Park, New Delhi ‘.The report highlights the importance of habitats such as zoos to human wellbeing and the need of replication across India.

The study first of its kind in India and perhaps the entire World, pegs the total annual economic value of the ecosystem services (biodiversity conservation, employment generation, carbon sequestration, education and research, recreational and cultural) at around 423 crore (2019-20) whereas, the total value of the one-time cost of services such as carbon storage and land value provided by the zoo is estimated to be around 55,000 crore.

The Minister also gave away the CZA-Prani Mitra awards to encourage the zoo officers and staff towards working for captive animal management and welfare. The awards were given in four categories viz. the Outstanding Director / Curator, Outstanding Veterinarian, Outstanding Biologist /Educationist, Outstanding Biologist /Educationist and Outstanding Animal keeper.

The Minister, during the virtual interaction, also addressed questions of school children from across the country, concerning wildlife protection and human-wildlife interaction. He stated that we must all work together to protect the valuable wildlife of the country.

CZA which was established to oversee the functioning of Indian zoos and complement the wildlife conservation strategies through ex-situ measures, as on today recognizes around 160 zoo and rescue centers that enforce global standards in animal housing and welfare. Over 567 captive animal species (with 114 species under endangered category) with overall 56481 individual animals are currently housed in Indian zoos.

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, DG (Forest) & Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC); Shri Soumitra Dasgupta, ADG (Wildlife), Dr SP Yadav, ADG (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary CZA and other senior officers of MoEF&CC also participated in the event.

Wildlife week is observed in the first week of October, throughout India with an aim to protect the flora and fauna. It was first observed in 1957.

"Large scale migration from urban to the rural areas is a challenge", said Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs

05.10.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs, Hardeep S Puri has stated that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015 is a guiding document for a planet and the people that inhabit it. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets together reflect, both the collective vision and goal that we have to work to achieving by 2030, he added.All the flagship Missions such as Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, the Smart Cities Mission, the AMRUT Mission were in implementation modewell before the SDGswere adopted by the Member States. In a country of India’s size, diversity and population, it is a staggering challenge to implement this ambitious urban agenda. “I am, however, both optimistic and confident that we will succeed. The essential ingredient for success in any endeavour of this magnitude is strong political will. That is in abundance in this Government”. He was addressing a Webinar on the occasion of World Habitat Day 2020 from Nirman Bhawan, here today. Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA, senior officials from UN Agencies, States and the Ministry also attended the Webinar. On the occasion of World Habitat Day 2020, several e-Publications of the organisations under MoHUA viz HUDCO, BMTPC CGEWHO and NCHF were also released.

The Minister during his address stressed on the challenge of large scale migration from urban areas to the rural areas. He informed that to tackle this problem, the Government of India has quickly come up with a scheme for making available rental housing on a large scale. The eco system has been laid down and work is being taken up on a war footing. There is a huge focus on use of new and environmentally safe construction technologies and techniques. This will have a salutary effect in keeping the adverse impact on the environment in check. Through a global housing technology challenge, the very best of national and international technologies are sought to be brought in.

"More focused and collective action needed for mitigation of Air Pollution": Prakash Javadekar

01.10.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister if Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar today chaired a review meeting on the situation of air pollution which has been a recurrent environmental concern in winter season in Northern India especially in Delhi NCR region over last few years. Five states Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab participated in the meeting.

In a press briefing, after the meeting which lasted for more than 90 minutes, Shri Javadekar said, that the meeting was fruitful in addressing the issue and that centre and state have worked and will work together to implement steps to combat air pollution, but more needs to be done.

In an effort to combat air pollution caused due to stubble burning the Minister informed that the centre has allotted a fund of Rs. 1700 to the states for stubble management. Currently,80% subsidy to cooperatives and 50% subsidy to individuals on machineries for stubble is being provided to curb pollution caused due to stubble burning.

The Minister stated that Hotspots have been identified in states of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan too and the state governments have been directed to pay more attention to these. State action plans have been made and discussed which will be implemented. Union minister emphasized that Delhi government has been directed to take more action on the 13 hotspots in Delhi so as to reduce the air pollution in the capital. 50 teams of CPCB will be deployed in Delhi NCR region to take appropriate action this year.

He further added that the trial of Pusa Microbial Decomposer Capsule is underway in Delhi NCR and informed that Uttar Pradesh will be using this technology over an area of 10,000 hectrares this year and Delhi will be using the same for 800 hectares as informed by Environment Ministers of these states during the meeting.Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also stated the importance of using Bio Decomposers, Bio CNG and Bio power to reduce air pollution and its negative impact.

The minister emphasized that there are several other factors that contribute to air pollution other than stubble burning which include constructions and demolition waste, poor waste management, unpaved roads and dust management, Bio mass burning, etc. Today, States have shared their plans to fight against pollution and the Centre have suggested more steps to deal with it further.

The minister informed that several measures have been taken by the centre like BS VI norms have been introduced; power plants of Badarpur have Sonipat have been closed. He stated that Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways have helped massively in reducing vehicular air pollution in Delhi and nearly 60,000 vehicles are diverted from Delhi which earlier used to go through Delhi.

To conclude the minister appealed to the state governments as well as the masses to also take constructive measures to contribute in reducing air pollution and informed that the Central Pollution Control Board will work actively with all states on a daily basis to monitor the level of pollution.

With “New Thinking, New Approach”, Prime Minister inaugurates 6 Mega Projects under Namami Gange for a Clean and Continuous River Ganga

30.09.2020, New Delhi: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated 6 mega development projects in Uttarakhand under the Namami Gange Mission on 29th September 2020, through video conference. He emphasized the importance of keeping the River Ganga clean as it plays a significant role in sustaining the lives of about 50% of the country’s population from its origin in Uttarakhand till West Bengal.

The Prime Minister termed the Namami Gange Mission as the largest integrated river conservation mission which not only aims at the cleanliness of River Ganga but also focuses on comprehensive upkeep of the River. He highlighted the fact that under Namami Gange, projects worth more than Rs. 30,000 Crores are either in progress or have been completed. He pointed out that due to these projects the sewage treatment capacity of Uttarakhand has increased 4 times in the last 6 years.

The Prime Minister mentioned that apart from the cleanliness of the Ganges, the Namami Gange is focussing on development of the economy and environment of the entire Gangetic belt. He said “Now the Namami Gange Abhiyan is being taken to a new level. Apart from the cleanliness of the Ganges, now there is a focus on the development of the economy and environment of the entire area adjacent to the Ganges. A comprehensive plan has been formulated by the government to provide benefits of organic farming and ayurvedic plant farming to the farmers of all states including Uttarakhand. Besides planting trees on both sides of Ganga ji, a corridor for organic farming is also being developed. These projects to improve Ganga water are now going to get an impetus from Mission Dolphin in the plains. On August 15, the Mission Dolphin has been announced. This mission will further boost the work of increasing dolphin population in Ganga ji.”

The Prime Minister listed the efforts taken to close more than 130 drains in Uttarakhand from flowing into the River Ganga. He referred specially to the Chandreshwar Nagar drain which turned as an eyesore to visitors and rafters at Muni Ki Reti, in Rishikesh. He applauded the closing of the drain and the construction of a four storied STP at Muni Ki Reti.

Shri Modi said owing to fragmentation of work- on an important subject like water- into various ministries and departments, led to lack of clear guidelines & coordination. As a result, problems related to irrigation and drinking water continued to persist. He lamented that even after so many years of independence, piped drinking water has not reached more than 15 crore households in the country. Shri Modi said the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) was formed to bring in a synergy and give impetus to dealing with these challenges. He said the ministry is now engaged in the mission of ensuring access to piped drinking water to every house in the country. Today, about 1 lakh households are being provided piped water supply connections every day under the Jal Jeevan Mission. He said drinking water connections have been provided to 2 crore families of the country in just 1 year.

The Prime Minister orated that unlike the previous programmes, Jal Jeevan Mission adopts a bottom to top approach, where the users and Water Committees in the villages envision the whole project from its implementation to maintenance and operation. He said the mission has also ensured that at least 50% of the members of the water committee would be women. He informed that a special 100-day campaign is being launched on 2nd October 2020 under Jal Jeevan Mission to ensure drinking water connection to every school and Anganwadi in the country.

On World Tourism Day Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan calls for Switching to 100% Clean Fuels for Prime Tourist Cities

28.09.2020, New Delhi: On the occasion of the World Tourism Day, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today addressed a virtual meet on the theme of “Tourism and rural development”, along with Minister of State (I/c) for Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel.

Minister Pradhan called for weaving sustainability with tourism and collaborating to switch prime tourist cities to 100% clean fuels, which will further help protect our monuments and ensure a cleaner environment for the tourists.

"On World Rivers Day come forward to join hands to make Rivers clean": Prakash Javadekar

27.09.2020, New Delhi: A very special day on which it is celebrated as World Tourism Day, World Rivers Day and also Daughters Day. And all these are so interlinked in terms of social values. Rivers are the source of life, the essence of life. Rivers should be protected from pollution. We cannot have clean water for ourselves if our rivers are polluted.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar shared a message "On this #WorldRiversDay come forward to join hands to make Rivers clean. Let us revitalize rivers."

He said the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change is working towards forestry interventions required for the rejuvenation of 13 major rivers across the country.

On the World Rivers Day, DG-NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra remembers the famed river conservationist Mark Angelo, and encourages the participants to continue to remember the words of Angelo - 'Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sense'.

"When we had started with Namami Gange programme, we focused towards river Ganga itself, which expanded to big tributaries of Ganga by 2018. We have expanded our focus to rejuvenation of smaller rivers, for overall health of rivers of our country." said DG-NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra

He also expressed his appreciation towards the participant DMS & their contribution towards the rejuvenation of rivers. He emphasised that the theme of World Rivers Day, 'Day of Action for Rivers', suits the work of Namami Gange and its partners & associates.

As winter approaches Centre & Delhi Govt. initiate air pollution issue

26.09.2020, New Delhi: As the winter is approaching, Central Government as well as Delhi Government has become proactive. Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal today wrote to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, suggesting scaling up the use of a low-cost technology developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute here to deal with stubble burning.

The chief minister through his letter had also sought an appointment from the Union minister, who said in the evening they have already spoken over the phone.

Union Minister, Prakash Javadekar replied through a tweeter message stating that both the leaders have been in touch over phone. "The Centre has taken several meaningful steps which have resulted in reduced pollution in Delhi. And, I have also told you to convene a meeting with the Ministers of all the concerned States", replied Javadekar.

It is reported that last year, Punjab produced around 20 million tonnes paddy residue and the farmers there burnt 9.8 million tonnes of it. The farmers in Haryana burnt 1.23 million tonnes out of the 7 million tonnes of paddy residue. Despite a ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to defy it as there is a short window between harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat. Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister and Delhi Environment Minister have reviewed a technology from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).

On 19th September, an Advance Action for Air Pollution Management in NCR region initiated by PMO led Panel. Read more

Rs. 2.5 Crore CSR Fund from Fortis Healthcare to Indian Council of Medical Research from CSR fund, HAL to spend 1 Cr in Ladakh

26.09.2020, New Delhi: Reputed private sector medical service provider Fortis Healthcare handed over a cheque of Rs 2.5 crore to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the presence of Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in his office. The fund was handed over under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.

Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO, Fortis Healthcare along with Manu Kapila, Senior Vice President (Corporate Affairs and CSR) presented the cheque to ICMR Director General Prof (DR) Balram Bhargav and Senior Financial Advisor, Rajiv Roy.

At the event, Shri Choubey said that the ICMR has “established an outstanding parameter in the field of research”. Not only in India, this institute one of the best research institute in the world. Scientists have worked tirelessly day and night since day one of Covid-19 pandemic.”

He also said “the Fortis Hospital has done a commendable job and I am sure this would inspire many.”

In another event, as part of their CSR program, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has agreed to extend generous funding support to Establishment of one Makeshift Hospital in Himachal Pradesh and a COVID Testing Centre at Ladakh at a cost of over a crore".

670 new electric buses and 241 charging stations sanctioned under FAME scheme

25.09.2020, New Delhi: In a big push towards electric mobility the Government has sanctioned 670 Electric buses in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Chandigarh and 241 Charging Stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Port Blair under Phase-II of FAME India Scheme.

Announcing this in a series of tweet messages, Union Heavy Industries Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar, who is also the Union Minister for Environment, said that the decision reflects government's commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and to address issues of vehicular emissions. Shri Javadekar said that the decision is in line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision for eco-friendly public transportation.

The Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) under Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, is administering the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme since April, 2015 to promote adoption of electric/ hybrid vehicles (xEVs) in India .

In the First Phase of the Scheme upto 31st March 2019, about 2,80,987 hybrid and electric vehicles were supported by way of demand incentive, amounting to about Rs 359 crore. Further, DHI sanctioned 425 electric and hybrid buses to various cities in the country with total cost of about Rs. 280 Crores. The Department of Heavy Industry had also sanctioned 520 Charging Stations for Rs. 43 Crore (approx.) in cities like Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur and NCR of Delhi under Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme.

At present, Phase-II of FAME India Scheme is being implemented for a period of 3 years w.e.f. 01st April, 2019 with a total budgetary support of Rs. 10,000 crore.

This phase focuses on supporting electrification of public & shared transportation and aims to support, through subsidies, approximately 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers. In addition, creation of charging infrastructure is also supported to address the anxiety among users of electric vehicles.

Central Pollution Control Board celebrates its 46th Foundation Day; pledges for more science-based environment management

“Improving the air quality a shared responsibility”: Babul Supriyo

23.09.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo today on 23rd September 2020 said, people and governments need to share the responsibility and work together to keep the air clean. Speaking at the webinar to commemorate the 46th Year of Establishment of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Minister said, CPCB has been doing a phenomenal work in terms of collecting and collating the data related to pollution, which is acting as a key policy input for the government and the concerned agencies to improve air quality. He said, CPCB has been providing a real time data which is commendable.

The Minister further said, that there is a need to ensure that water is not polluted because it can have an adverse impact on the crops and human health as well as ecosystem. He also appreciated CPCB for handling bio-medical waste during the times of COVID-19.

The CPCB was established on 23rd September 1974 under The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 as a technical arm of Central Government for environmental research, monitoring, regulation and enforcement in the country.

Since its inception, CPCB is working tirelessly towards environmental protection in the country. Some of the pro-active actions of the Central Board include setting sector specific standards (86); real time surveillance of more than 5,000 industries; river basin studies, which led to genesis of Ganga Action Plan; multi-city source apportionment studies; establishing extensive monitoring network and data management for public dissemination; setting national ambient air quality standards; and fixing water quality criteria. CPCB’s actions have been critical in obviating steep environmental degradation expected of rapid industrial, commercial and population growth. With increasing environmental challenges and mounting public expectations, CPCB is working to re-define pollution control technologies and management strategies.

On this occasion, CPCB’s transformative goals for 2030 was presented and India’s Environmental Objectives and Innovative Pollution Control Strategies were discussed.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in his address said that CPCB is on the forefront of efforts for a clean environment. Over the years, it has done lot of commendable works, technological upgradations and is motivated to continual improvement. AQI, NCAP & waste management initiatives will ensure more healthy and conducive environment.

Chairman, CPCB, Shiv Das Meena briefed about the achievements made by CPCB in past 46 years. He also outlined the challenges laying before the Board in ensuing future and appealed to the employees of the Board to continue to work in right earnest to meet the new environmental challenges.

Member Secretary, CPCB, Prashant Gargava, presented transformative goals for 2030. He deliberated CPCB’s vision for revisiting approach to pollution control by revamping monitoring & analysis system, action planning guided by science, capacity building including strengthening research and development department, enhancing engagement of IT tools and future development areas to be focused on.

A panel of eminent speakers, comprising Former Secretary, MoEF&CC, C.K. Mishra; S. P. S. Parihar and Prof. S. P. Gautam, both Former Chairman of CPCB; Shiv Das Meena, Chairman CPCB; and Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science & Environment, shared their views. They expressed admiration for CPCB’s efforts towards environmental protection and emphasized on need for revisiting its role and investing in its capacity building.

Uttarakhand plans 100% coverage under Jal Jeevan Mission by 2022

23.09.2020, New Delhi: The Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat held discussion with Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat regarding implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the State through video conferencing. Secretary, Addl. Secretary & Mission Director of the Ministry along with Chief Secretary and other senior officers of Uttarakhand government took part in the meeting. Uttarakhand is planning 100% coverage by 2022 to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap connection to every rural household of the State. In this context, the Union Minister had a detailed discussion on the progress of the mission in the State with the CM.

Emphasizing the importance of the life changing mission to improve the lives of rural people, Union Minister Shri Shekhawat stressed on retrofitting and augmentation of existing water supply schemes. Out of 15,218 villages in the State, 14,595 have piped water supply schemes, but out of 14.61 lakh households only 2.71 lakh (18.55%) have tap connections. The Union Minister urged to take up the work in campaign mode so that remaining households belonging to poor & marginalized sections of the society could be provided with tap connections at earliest.

Shri Shekhawat reiterated the commitment of Union Government to provide all assistance to the State to achieve this goal. For Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of tap connections provided and the utilization of available central and matching state share. Minister of Jal Shakti assured Uttarakhand Chief Minister of all support to make the State a ‘100% FHTCs’ State.

Union Minister further emphasized on preparation of village action plans as well as constitution of Village Water & Sanitation Committee/ Paani Samiti as a sub-committee of Gram Panchayat with minimum 50% of women members, responsible for planning, designing, implementing and operating & maintaining of in-village water supply infrastructure. All villages have to prepare Village Action Plan (VAP) which essentially will comprise of development/ augmentation of drinking water sources, water supply, grey-water management and operation and maintenance component. It was also suggested to take up IEC campaign along with community mobilization to make Jal Jeevan Mission, truly a people’s movement.

Government of India is committed to provide assured basic services to the people living in rural areas of the country with focus on improving their lives. Drinking water supply is a service delivery, wherein the quantity, quality of water supplied and periodicity of water supply has to be ensured for which the flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is under implementation in partnership with States. The objective of the Mission is universal coverage i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their households.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, priority is being given on water quality surveillance through active participation of the local community. 5 persons especially women are being trained in every village to use the Field Test Kits to test the quality of water being provided in the rural areas. Every source needs to be tested once every year for physical and chemical parameters and twice for bacteriological contamination. The State of Uttarakhand was also advised to complete the accreditation of State and district laboratories in next 3-4 months and also to open those for public so that they can test the quality of water supplied at very nominal rate.

Diesel Gen Sets soon to go obsolete?

Cars to Construction, Battery changing many businesses

22.09.2020

The world is passing through a crucial urbanisation and decarbonisation. There is a global shift taking place from internal combustion engines to electric motors. Growing air pollution from transport sector has resulted in a range of electric vehicles being launched in India as well, especially in the past one year or so. Heavy industries such as construction, largely powered by diesel, account for a large part of carbon emissions. And therefore, the battery revolution is moving further to highways to the construction sector. Hong Kong based AMPD Energy is offering a state of the art battery system with high output power electronics that powers the most demanding of loads with no direct tailpipe emissions.

Construction today is powered by diesel generators to meet the heavy power draw of large machinery. The wrath of air pollution in the winters lead to stoppage of diesel generators running due to intermittent regulatory measures, which ultimately causes delay in project execution and project handover. In such a situation, AMPD Energy’s Enertainer, a massive lithium-ion connected battery system, which is powering the giant cranes that erect high-rises, may prove vital. Ampd sells and leases the Enertainers, which are filled with enough lithium-ion, nickel, cobalt and manganese batteries to power 25,000 iPhones. Over 30,000 automotive grade battery cells, designed into fire and explosion-proof battery modules driven by high performance power electronics. Features, hardware and software carefully designed for the specific needs of construction sites.

Though construction cranes run on electricity, they have tended to use diesel generators because the massive power consumption that could drain local grids and risk blackouts. As claimed by AMPD Energy batteries can draw barely noticeable sips from the network all day and night in order to provide the huge discharges required by the builders. The company claims multiple benefits beyond zero end of pipe emissions, for example no diesel, no fire hazards. The product also significantly reduce noise pollution by 10 times as claimed by the manufacturers. Eliminating diesel generators envisages reduction in street-level pollution due to air pollutants, noise and vibration, and also land pollution, which may lead to groundwater contamination, due to spillages of diesel and lubricating oil.

Until recently, battery-powered construction would have been too expensive a proposition. But lithium-ion battery costs have plunged 90% in the past decade as manufacturers gain experience assembling them for electric vehicles, according to BloombergNEF.

Though initial cost of installation and operational expenditure, besides efficiency and reliability could be the trigger points for the success of such products. The legal aspects pertaining to safety requirements, which is not clear at this stage, as compared to diesel generator sets could also be a salient feature.

Brandon Ng, Co-founder and CEO at Ampd Energy states that over the next 40 years, the world will be building equivalent to a new Paris every week, in order to support the hyper-urbanisation of humanity. Ampd Energy is leading the charge to enable us to build the megacities of tomorrow, sustainably.

"75% of the entire population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros now occurs in India": Babul Supriyo on World Rhino Day

22.09.2020, New Delhi: Some species of rhinoceros are among the world’s most endangered animals, threatened by both habitat loss and poaching. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to think deeply about human beings’ relationship with the natural world on which we all depend for our survival. Sound and sustainable wildlife management is, therefore, likely to receive greater attention in the post-COVID-19 world. Here’s one example of an ongoing project in South Africa.

On the eve of World Rhino Day, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate, Babul Supriyo congratulated the frontline forest staff and officials for working tirelessly to save Rhinos and said that India has been successfully saving its Rhinos and the country is one of the best places for them.

Speaking on the the population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros which reached to the brink of extinction by the end of the 20th century with fewer than 200 animals in wild, the Minister said timely efforts and stringent protection and management of the Government of India and the State Governments have revived the population of Rhinos in the country and we are walking in the right direction for a better future for the iconic species. Today, approximately 75% of the entire population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros now occurs in India in the three States viz, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Census of Rhinoceros is undertaken at the State-level by the respective State Governments periodically.

The World Rhino Day is celebrated every year on 22nd September to emphasize the importance of conservation of Rhinoceros species and its habitats. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India celebrated the World Rhino Day, 2020 through virtual platforms in the esteem presence of Shri Babul Supriyo, Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The senior officials of the Ministry, State Forest Departments and other organizations such as Central Zoo Authority, WWF-India, Aaranayak, and UNDP etc. also attended the meeting.

Efforts are currently ongoing in the country to protect the existing rhino population and also to increase the distribution of the species through the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme. Success was achieved in restocking the rhino population in the World Heritage Site Manas National Park recently through wild to wild translocations. One-horned Rhinoceros is also one of the 21 species identified for Recovery programme for critically endangered species by the Ministry. The Ministry has also launched the “National Conservation Strategy for the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros” with the goal to repopulate Rhinoceros population in those areas also which used to hold the Rhinoceros earlier by augmenting the existing conservation efforts and strengthening them through scientific and administrative measures.

The Ministry and the State Forest Departments of the Assam, Uttar Pradesh &West Bengal with support from other organizations are taking appropriate steps in accordance with the “New Delhi Declaration” which was signed after the 2nd Asian Rhino range States Conservation meeting held on 26th-28th February, 2019 at MoEF&CC, New Delhi wherein representatives from Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal attended the meeting besides India.

Initiatives have been undertaken by the State Governments such as West Bengal and Bihar are also working for the reintroduction of the Rhinoceros in the areas which used to hold the Rhino populations till a few decades back.

The Minister also informed that an alpha male Rhino shall be translocated from Patna zoo to Delhi zoo.

Jal Jeevan Mission encourages innovations for Smart supply measurement and monitoring system

20.09.2020, New Delhi: Monitoring has been crux of success of all programmes. National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) has launched an ICT Grand Challenge to create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level. The ICT grand challenge will be inviting proposal from Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Indian Companies, Indian LLPs.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims at providing Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024. The programme focuses on service delivery at the household level, i.e. water supply regularly in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality. This necessitates the use of modern technology in systematic monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve some of the biggest societal problems facing the nation. More importantly, it will help anticipate and address future challenges.

This grand challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system. This challenge will provide opportunity to work for cause of Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through Functional Household Tap Connections to every rural household.

The Grand challenge will provide support at ideation Stage, prototype development stage, deployment stage. The pilot will be conducted at 100 villages. The best solution will get cash prize of Rs. 50 Lakh and runner ups will get prize of Rs. 20 Lakh each. The successful developers will be given an opportunity to join the MEITY supported incubator/ CoEs for further nurturing of their solution. This will boost the idea and thrust of initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Digital India and Make in India.

Details of the challenge can be seen in https://jjm.gov.in/

Advance Action for Air Pollution Management in NCR region initiated by PMO led Panel

19.09.2020, New Delhi: As air pollution is shooting up with monsoon setting off, the Prime Minister's Office has initiated advance action for the management of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. A High-level taskforce led by Dr. P. K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister met on 18th September 2020 to review action taken by agencies and to firm up plans for the coming season. Dr. P. K. Mishra chaired the meeting constituted to improve the air quality in National Capital Region of Delhi. Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Secretaries of different Departments, Ministries of the Central Government including Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Agriculture, Road, Petroleum and Central Pollution Control Board were present in the meeting.

Principal Secretary to Prime Minister emphasized that the meeting was called well in advance before the onset of harvesting and winter season to ensure proper precautionary and preventive measures to combat the causes of air pollution are taken well in time.

A review of the main sources of air pollution, measures taken and the progress made by the State Governments and various Ministries was carried out. It was noted that the incidence of stubble burning has reduced by more than 50% in last two years and the number of Good AQI days have gone up.

The efforts and plan made by the State of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for control of crop residue burning were examined in detail, including ground level deployment and availability of machinery for in-situ management of crop residue.

It was observed that after recent inclusion of residue based power and fuel plants under priority sector lending by Reserve Bank of India, both State and Central Governments should jointly work out action plans for rapid deployment of such units. Measures related to diversification of crop and strengthening of supply chains were also discussed.

Dr. Mishra highlighted the importance of effective implementation of the existing in-situ management of crop residue scheme of Ministry of Agriculture by the States, and emphasized that State Governments should ensure that the new machinery to be deployed in the current year should reach the farmers before the start of the harvesting season. Ministry of Agriculture was directed to provide all necessary support in this regard.

To control stubble burning, it was stressed that adequate number of teams should be deployed at ground level and they should ensure that no stubble burning takes place especially in the State of Punjab, Haryana and UP. These States need to put extra efforts and appropriate incentives especially in the relevant districts.

Government of GNCT-Delhi was requested to ensure measures to control local sources of pollution. Principal Secretary mentioned that special emphasis should be laid on deployment of teams for control of open burning of waste, IT-enabled monitoring of mechanical road sweepers, improvement in utilization of construction & demolition waste and site specific implementation of action plan for identified hot spots. It was decided that Haryana and Uttar Pradesh would prepare and implement similar site specific action plans in their area falling under NCR.

Principal Secretary emphasized that the envisaged measures should be implemented well before the onset of severe conditions, and focus should also be laid on compliance of emission norms by industry in satellite industrial area.

8 beaches of India recommended for a coveted “Blue Flag” International eco-label

18.09.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of International Coastal Clean-Up Day which is celebrated across 100 countries since 1986, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced at a virtual event that for the first time eight beaches of India are recommended for the coveted International eco-label, the Blue flag certification. The recommendations are done by an independent National Jury composed of eminent environmentalists & scientists. Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world. The eight beaches are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Daman&Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri beach in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden beach of Odisha and Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar.

Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar who couldn’t attend the event due to the ongoing parliament session, said through a video message that the government is committed to clean the beaches across the country. He said, clean beaches are the testimony to environment in the coastal area. He said, the issue of marine litter and oil spilling has caused disturbances to the aquatic life and the Government of India is undertaking various efforts for the sustainable development of coastal regions.

The event also saw the launch India’s own eco-label BEAMS by e-hoisting the flag -#IAMSAVINGMYBEACH simultaneously at these eight beaches. SICOM, MoEFCC in pursuit of promoting its policies for sustainable development in coastal regions have embarked upon a highly acclaimed program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project. This is one of the several other projects of ICZM that Govt of India is undertaking for the sustainable development of coastal regions, striving for globally recognized and the coveted eco-label ‘Blue flag”.

The flag hoisting program was conducted simultaneously at these 08 beaches virtually from MOEFCC and physically at the beaches by respective States/UTs through its MLAs and/or Chairman of Beach Management Committees (BMCs).

Speaking on the occasion, Union Environment Secretary, Shri R.P. Gupta said that high standards are being maintained to clean the beaches to keep environment safe and in the next four to five years 100 more beaches will be cleaned.

In a video message, World Bank’s country director Mr. Zunaid Khan applauded India’s efforts towards cleaning up the its beaches and said that India with its strategies for sustainable coastal zone management shall act as a lighthouse for other countries in the region.

With a view to protect and conserve the coastal and marine ecosystems and environment through a holistic coastal management, the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change launched the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) activities in India for a holistic approach with an interactive, dynamic, multidisciplinary, and iterative planning process to promote sustainable development & management of coastal zones through its own wing SICOM.

The concept of ICZM was introduced in 1992 during the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro and most of the coastal countries in the World have been adopting ICZM principles for managing their coastal zones. Thus, adoption of ICZM principles for managing and sustainably developing our coastal regions is helping India in keeping with its commitments to international agreements on ICZM.

The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations. This program promotes beach recreation in absolute harmony with nature.

International Coastal Cleanup Day got its start in 1986 when Linda Maraniss met Kathy O’Hara while working for Ocean Conservancy. O’Hara had just completed a report called Plastics in the Ocean: More Than a Litter Problem. The two of them reached out to other ocean-lovers and organized a Cleanup for Ocean Conservancy. The first Cleanup consisted of 2,800 volunteers. Since that time, the Cleanup has grown into an international event in more than 100 countries.

National Water Policy

17.09.2020, New Delhi: To address the present challenges in water sector, revision of National Water Policy has been envisaged and a drafting committee has been constituted on 5th November 2019 to revise the National Water Policy within a term of six months. Due to the work being affected due to COVID-19 pandemic, the term of the Committee has been extended up to 31st October, 2020.The said committee is working towards finalizing its report at present.

The proposed National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency (NBWUE) will have the overall responsibility of improving water use efficiency across various sectors, namely irrigation, drinking water supply, power generation, industries, cities and all other areas where water is used.

This was stated by the The Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Katatria in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

The first National Water Policy was adopted in September, 1987. It was reviewed and updated in 2002 and later in 2012.

G-20 Environment Minister Meeting addressed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

16.09.2020, New Delhi: Participating in the G20 Environment Ministers meeting today, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar stated that the world has to channel its best practices to deal with Climate Change. Emphasizing India’s achievements on land degradation neutrality, climate goals, the Union Minister said that India is committed to working with G20 nations for a better world and applauds the launch of the Global Initiative to reduce land degradation and coral reef program. He also highlighted India’s vast bio-diversity and ecosystem.

At a time when the world is arising out of the global pandemic of Covid-19, Union Minister Prakash Javedkar at the Environment Ministers Meeting reminded that countries who are today speaking on ambitious Climate goals and action for 2050, haven't done enough on Kyoto Protocol and also on commitments made at the Paris Agreement. The Minister called for urgent and concrete actions be taken by all countries to conserve and restore the environment.

Shri Prakash Javadekar also congratulated the Saudi Presidency for exemplary work in bringing together the nations of the world to address the urgent environmental challenges and propose impactful solution.

Waste Management Education by NPTEL

National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has been conducting a programme “Integrated Waste Management for a Smart City”. This course emphasises on Integrated Solid Waste Management aspects within the broad subject area of Integrated Waste Management for a Smart City. The issues of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management, Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste and Electronic Waste Management are covered in this course. The programme discusses environmental impact of waste management and its relationship on the big picture sustainable development and smart city development.

The course diligently focus on various aspects of MSW management, such as: Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Smart Cities, and Make in India. It deliberates on the challenges of waste management for smart cities taking case studies from the first list of 20 smart cities identified in the first phase for this program. The new rules and challenges of implementation with respect of C&D Waste and E-Waste Management are also included.

The course will be beneficial for B.Tech, M.Tech, B.Sc, M.Sc, Researchers, Faculty Members, engineers and professionals working in any area related to waste management, and also the Regulators (SPCB, CPCB and MOEF professionals) and policy makers.

NPTEL has been organizing this programme under the aegis of SWAYAM, initiated by Government of India and designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality. The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. SWAYAM seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy. Courses delivered through SWAYAM are available free of cost to the learners.

Professor Brajesh Kr. Dubey, Associate Professor (Integrated Waste Management and Sustainable Engineering) in the Division of Environmental Engineering and Management at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, who has worked as Waste Management Expert for UN agencies and World Bank; is the major driving force of this programme.

Odisha gets Rs. 35 Crore from Centre on account of tiger & elephant conservation

14.09.2020, New Delhi: The Govt. of India has released over Rs. 35 Crore to Odisha during 2019-21 for the implementation of centrally sponsored schemes for tiger and elephant conservation.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed that Odisha, which is one of the biodiversity rich states, has witnessed a direct impact of these conservation efforts. The minister said "Odisha, one of the most richly endowed state in biodiversity has witnessed a direct impact of these conservation efforts. #ProjectTiger and #ProjectElephant are addressing the threat of poaching and helping these majestic species thrive in their natural habitat."

"Modi govt’s consistent efforts are ensuring that #tigers continue to roar in the jungle", he added.

Pradhan stated, "Consistent efforts towards environmental sustainability and conservation of wildlife under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stewardship of Prakash Javdekar has become a trailblazer for the revival of endangered animal species, like tigers and elephants in India."

Union Jal Shakti Minister and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare highlighted Indian Government’s priorities in G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers’ Meet

13.09.2020, New Delhi: A virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers held on 12.09.2020 was attended by G-20 Member countries and special invitees. Minister of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Shri Parshottam Rupala attended the meeting. In his opening remarks Shri Shekhawat thanked Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the current Presidency of G-20 and complemented Saudi Arabia for its exemplary leadership during this Covid-19 pandemic for successfully facilitating the dialogue among the member countries through virtual meetings. The Minister stated that technology plays a critical role in the prevailing pandemic situation and applauded India’s IT expertise which India shares with the whole world. He also praised Japan for its leadership during previous presidency and extended best wishes to Italy for the next presidency.

During the Saudi presidency G-20 discussion held on sustainable and resilient water management, thereby optimizing the impacts of water related activities in G-20 forum through collaboration, knowledge sharing on different aspects of water. In the last 10 months, number of meetings have been held among member countries to bring synergy and prepare roadmap for holistic water management. As a part of this dialogue, a 3-days meeting was organized by Saudi presidency during 10-12 September, 2020. Deputy Ministers, in-charge of water and agriculture, deliberated issues related to water and agriculture on 10thand 11thSeptember, 2020 and the Ministers of Agriculture and Water met on 12th September, 2020 to share their views.

TheMinister of Jal Shakti reiterated that India believes in the concept of ‘Universal brotherhood & Collective wisdom’ and will continue to play an active role in collaborative groups such as G-20. The Minister assured the Forum of India’s commitment to work tirelessly to contribute to the objectives, goals and targets set by G-20. The Minister appreciated G-20 and Saudi Presidency for emphasis given on water by initiating a separate dialogue on various aspects of water resources management.

Stating that agriculture is a high priority sector for Government of India, MoS, Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Shri Rupala mentioned about the policy measures taken by the government to ensure food security. He also reiterated India’s resolve to work together in collaboration to enhance the productivity, sustainable use of natural resources, development of agriculture value chain and promotion of trade for the benefit of people. He also informed about successful protocols developed by India to use drones for spraying of pesticides for timely control of the dessert locust, thereby appealing G-20 member countries to work in tandem to come up with an action plan for trans-boundary pest and diseases to safeguard agricultural crops. It was also emphasized about the progressive reforms and measures taken up by government of India to open up new agricultural market options, development of agricultural infrastructure, food processing enterprises, value chains and logistics for fisheries and animal husbandry, medicinal and herbal plants. Shri Rupala also appealed G-20 member countries to share knowledge and best practices to reduce the ill-effects of climate change that could affect agriculture and livelihoods of farmers.

The Minister of Jal Shakti highlighted the leadership and initiatives of Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi to address India’s water and sanitation issues.He informed that Government of India has takenseveral initiatives to improve the quality of life of its 1.37 billion people by implementing a 51 Billion USDollar programme, ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ to provide household tap connections to 190 million rural homes, thereby ensuring drinking water security. Mentioning about Open Defecation Free India,it was informed about the efforts to sustain the gains of Swachh Bharat Mission, with more focus on solid and liquid waste management and grey water treatment and reuse.

India welcomed the new initiative of Saudi Presidency of sharing successful case studies/ best practices in water sector of G-20 member countries. The Minister offered toshare India’sexperience on irrigation development and optimal use of water resources to achieve food security.

India will be part of G-20 Troika from December, 2020 and host G-20 Presidency from December, 2021 to November, 2022 when India celebratesits 75 years of Independence, which will be anexcellent opportunity forG-20 member countries to explore the cultural heritage and various aspects of the world’s largest democracy and ancient civilization.

Thanking Saudi Presidency and G-20 member countrieson behalf of the Government of India, Shri Shekhawat expressed hope that various aspects of water will assume primacy in future G-20 dialogues, paving way for food security and integrated water resource management.

"State Govts. must act against sand mining mafias, ensure sustainable sand mining": Prakash Javadekar

11.09.2020, New Delhi: On the occasion of the 15th National Forest Martyrs Day, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, remembered and paid tribute to the martyrs who lost their lives while protecting India's invaluable fauna, flora and natural resources from forest fires, smugglers and mafias.

Expressing deep anguish about a forest staff who was killed by Sandalwood smugglers Shri Javadekar stated that amendments shall be made in regulations so that sandalwood can be cultivated more widely. Union Minister also paid tribute to all forest martyrs who lost their lives fighting forest fires and due to wildlife attacks by tigers, elephants and single horned rhino. Certificates were issued in remembrance of the forest personnel who laid their live while performing their duty in the year 2019-20.

Giving a stern warning to the Sand Mafias the Union Minister stated that the situation will be reviewed and those found not abiding shall be punished. The Union Minister stated that despite the new sustainable sand mining rules and regulations being passed, many states and regions are not abiding by the rules. A forest home guard Kewal Singh was mowed down by a tractor when he along with his colleague tried to stop suspected members of a mining mafia inside the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar.

The Minister appealed to the state governments to take the issue of sand mining mafias seriously and impose strict laws to bring an end to the practice. He appeals that sustainable sand mining must be practiced so as to prevent the depletion of natural resources from river beds. In order to prevent the river beds from drying completely, sustainable sand mining must be practiced and killings of foresters or revenue staff working towards the initiative of sustainable sand mining is completely unacceptable and that steps will be taken to make sure the offenders are punished.

The impressive and extensive biodiversity of India is guarded by a dedicated workforce of Forest Officers and staff who relentlessly work towards the protection and improvement of this irreplaceable wealth. Over the years the department has lost its forest guardians while protecting the faunal & flora wealth of nature and also in the human wildlife conflicts.

It was in the recognition of exemplary valour and sacrifices made by the forest personnel, in various parts of the country for the protection of our environment, forest and wildlife, that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India had declared 11th September, as National Forest Martyrs Day.

The date September 11 was chosen as National Forest Martyrs Day due to its historical significance. On this day, in 1730, over 360 people of the Bishnoi tribe led by Amrita Devi, objected to the felling of trees and due to their protest to save the trees were killed in Khejarli, Rajasthan on the orders of the king. A foundation stone of the memorial pillar was laid on 3rd October 2012 at the Memorial site near Brandis Road, FRI, Dehradun. A Forester Memorial has also been raised in Forest Research Institue( FRI) campus, Dehradun to commemorate the sacrifices made by all those foresters who have laid down their lives in protecting the Forests and Biodiversity of our country.

Environment Ministry with Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) Aided Project “Capacity Development for Forest Management and Training of Personnel” in 13 states has been instrumental in bringing overall qualitative and quantitative improvements for frontline staff of the state Government. JICA has also indicated consent for second phase. For further strengthening the Ministry is also working on a SOP to support frontline staff and their family members.

“Only sustainability will save the humankind from the worst of nature furies” said Prakash Javadekar at CII’s 15th Sustainability Summit 2020 in New Delhi

09.09.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has said, Indian Government is committed to reduce the carbon emissions. Addressing the special session on Action Agenda for Sustainable and Self Reliant India during the 15th Sustainability Summit 2020 organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi on the 9th September 2020. He expressed hope that India will achieve the target of reducing carbon emissions by 35% in the next ten years. The Minister said, country’s solar power capacity has been increasing rapidly and noted that 68 countries have ratified the International Solar Alliance Agreement.

Talking about AatmaNirbhar Bharat programme of the Government launched by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to make India self-reliant, the Minister said, Aatmanirbharta is not cutting away from the world, it is more about engaging with the world. Innovation and research become the key. “The thrust is being given on innovation and research and efforts are being made to reduce imports and increase the exports.” He said, India should become a leader in innovations and start owning innovations as research and innovation is the key to take the country to next level in terms of development in the next decade or so.

The Environment Minister stated that it is important to achieve a green earth with clean air and blue skies, post COVID-19 despite the odds and that it is possible to do so, alongside industrial activity. Javadekar highlighted that pollution is inevitable when we progress and industrial activities goes up. However, it has to be within the permissible limits already prescribed. He stated that India has only 2.5 % of world’s land, 4% of freshwater resources and around 20% of world population but still has 8% of the world’s biodiversity because in the Indian culture, flora and fauna are part of life.

The Minister pitched for promoting sustainability as it can only save the humankind from worst nature fury. He appealed to the different nations to present their case studies in terms of promoting sustainability.

Highlighting the country’s achievement towards a greener growth in the past few years the Minister said, “India is walking the talk on climate change. Our work on Ujjwala, E Vehicles, BS-VI Engines, Biofuels, Clean air, and Disaster resilience pave the way for a sustainable and resilient India. Targeting 35% emission reduction, we have reached 21% and in 10 years, we will achieve the required 220 Giga Watt renewable power targets, of which a total of 87 Giga Watt including solar and wind has been achieved”, he said. He further elaborated that our energy mix in the installed capacity now includes 37% of renewable energy sources.

Speaking on compassionate capitalism for an Atmanirbhar Bharat, Mr. Sanjiv Puri, Chairman, Advisory Council, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development and Chairman and Managing Director, ITC Limited, said that sustainability strategies are integral to the business, which is essential to transcend to a greener proposition. Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, welcomed the Govt. Of India’s draft EIA 2020, and emphasised on the role of inclusive recovery for a self-reliant and sustainable India.

The Sustainability Summit is the annual flagship event of CII in sustainability, launched in 2006 to raise the bar of dialogue, practice and performance of sustainable business. The ‘15th Sustainability Summit – Action Agenda for the Next Decade’ is designed to focus on shaping up of the coming decade, incorporating learning from COVID-19 and reflecting how the drivers of innovation, technology and systems thinking can help us build a more sustainable next decade.

Earlier, speaking at a special session on the first day, 8th September 2020, on Circular Economy for Self-Reliant India at the 15th CII Sustainability Summit 2020, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry stressed on the importance of incorporating sustainable practices to create a Circular Economy, which he defined as a “profit economy”.

Spotlighting the 3Rs of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and the Zero Effect and Zero Defect idea enunciated by the Prime Minister of India, Goyal talked about the importance of adopting sustainability as a way of life and focussing on sustainability for all endeavours. These, he emphasised, will not only help the environment but make India more globally competitive as well. He cited many examples where efficient waste management and the 3Rs have led to significant savings of resources such as water, while also curbing pollution and other deleterious effects of economic activity.

There is a strong need to educate the common man to get the best benefits out of a Circular Economy, he said, and urged the Confederation of Indian Industry to prepare a Compendium of 101 ideas to spread the message of sustainability and Circular Economy since “small changes can lead to spectacular transformation”.

A holistic approach and incentivising people, the Minister said, can play a significant role in creating a Circular Economy. As we look at reviving economic growth against the backdrop of the pandemic, a circular model of growth is best suited to revive sustainable growth and could also create 1.4 crore jobs in the next 5-7 years as estimated by NITI Aayog, he elaborated.

On 8th September 2020, speaking at the virtual inaugural session of the 15th Sustainability Summit, Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Member and Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE said that Covid-19 has triggered an economic downturn on a global scale and that all recovery plans must have environmental protection as a priority because climate change remains the most important existential threat to humanity.

Dr Abdullah said that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the global supply chains, especially food supply, posing a risk to global food security. The UAE is, therefore, developing an integrated and sustainable food safety and security system using technology. In fact, the UAE Government is focussing on innovation and technological advancements to address environmental, societal and economic challenges, he added, specifically mentioning initiatives such as Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25% to 50%, among other goals. He said India’s renewable energy journey has been truly impressive with the country pledging to generate 40% of its power from carbon-free sources by 2030 as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last visit to the UAE, he highlighted that UAE-India bilateral trade in 2018-19 stood at around US$ 60 billion and that there is increasing interest in investing in India in sectors such as renewable energy and food, even as more Indian companies look to invest in the UAE. Elaborating further, he said that at the 13th Session of the India-UAE joint commission meeting on trade, economic and technical cooperation held virtually, sectors such as infrastructure, logistics, food parks and renewable energy were identified and the UAE is keen to further strengthen linkages, especially in energy and food security, so that India and the UAE can build a sustainable future for the two countries as well as the world.

International Day of Clean Air for blue skies observed

07.09.2020, New Delhi: The first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies was observed today. Speaking at a webinar the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that the government is committed to reduce the air pollution level in 122 most polluted cities. Underscoring the problem of Air Pollution the Environment Minister said that in 2014, the government launched the Air Quality Index (AQI) monitoring and today we are tracking the levels of Pollution on eight parameters. The minister also thanked Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for bringing the issue of air pollution in his 74th Independence Day Speech and putting across the goal of holistic improvement in air quality in 100 cities.

Javadekar said that as India has migrated to BS-VI standards, quality of petrol and diesel has further improved in the country, which is significant to curb air pollution. He also emphasized the importance the roads and highways construction by the government at a record pace in the last few years in lessening air pollution as compared to previous times.

Stressing that States must now work with city specific plans, as every city has different source of pollution the Environment Minister said that the use of electric vehicle must be encouraged. He said, Brick kilns in various states should adopt zig zag technology to reduce pollution emerging out of them. The Union Minister said that people participation would be vital to clean the air. Car-pooling and use of public transport must be promoted.

In January last year, the Environment Ministry had launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to tackle the problem of air pollution in a comprehensive manner with a target to achieve 20 to 30% reduction in PM 10 and PM 2.5 concentrations by 2024 keeping 2017 as base year. The plan identified earlier 102 non-attainment cities, across 23 States and Union Territories. 20 more non-attainment cities have been included under NCAP based on latest data trend on air quality.

The webinar which was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on the occasion of first ever International Day of Clean Air For Blue Skies was attended by Principal Secretaries of the Urban Development Department and Environment Department of 28 states and 8 Union Territories. Commissioner of 122 cities as identified in NCAP programme also participated and put forth their experiences and best practices.

Shri Javadekar alongwith Minister of State, Shri Babul Supriyo and Secretary, MoEF&CC, Shri R P Gupta launched a brochure on Integrated Measures to Combat Air Pollution under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

Minister of State, MoEF&CC, Babul Supriyo emphasized on wider educating public and ensuring their participation in attainment of clean air, because it is the same air we all breathe, as air has no boundary.

R P Gupta, Secretary, MoEF&CC, stressed on 24x7 round the clock supply of quality electricity by the State Governments that could be significant to keep air pollution down.

Earlier on, Member Secretary CPCB shared a presentation on status report before the Ministers, and officials.

The General Assembly of United Nations on 19 December 2019 adopted a resolution to observe the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on 07th September every year starting from 2020. As per the presentation, 113 real-time and 468 manual monitoring systems have been installed across the nation. Realtime tracking of 5000 industries air emission is also taking place. He also emphasized on management of construction and demolition waste and composting of bio-degradable wastes.

The Day aims to:

  1. Raise public awareness at all levels—individual, community, corporate and government—that clean air is important for health, productivity, the economy and the environment.

  2. Demonstrate the close link of air quality to other environmental/developmental challenges such as – most and foremost – climate change and the global Sustainable Development Goals.

  3. Promote and facilitate solutions that improve air quality by sharing actionable knowledge best practices, innovations, and success stories.

  4. Bring together diverse international actors working on this topic to form a strategic alliance to gain momentum for concerted national, regional and international approaches for effective air quality management.

The General Assembly of United Nations on 19 December 2019 adopted a resolution to observe the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on 7th September every year starting from 2020.

CSIR-CMERI develops Affordable Solar Powered Battery based Sprayers to tackle Water Crisis in Agriculture

05.09.2020, New Delhi: Durgapur based Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), the apex R&D institute for mechanical engineering under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) which was recently in news for having developed the World’s Largest Solar Tree, is also working on many other solar and water conserving products vital for agricultural sector. CSIR-CMERI is working on methods to reduce water consumption required for irrigation. Initially, Drip irrigation was considered but later it was realised that Drip irrigation is not affordable for marginal to small farmers, who are the major stake holders in Indian Agrarian scenario. Those farmers use manual sprayers costing a few thousand rupees.

Pesticides play a major role in increasing crop productivity, but large amount of pesticide sprays is wasted due to lack of appropriate machinery, and soil, water and air become polluted. Due to such harmful effects of pesticides, there is an increasing pressure to reduce their use and make their spraying more efficient. To make efficient sprayer, there is need to understand science of surface tension, viscosity, wettability, air drag, dynamic pressure, particle size, etc. CSIR-CMERI developed two variants of battery operated spray systems one for “marginal famers” and other for “small farmers”. Back Pack Sprayer, having capacity of 5 litres, is made for “marginal farmers”, while the Compact Trolley Sprayer having capacity of 10 litres, is made for “small farmers”. These sprayers are equipped with two separate tanks, flow control and pressure regulator to handle different water requirements of the crops, target/site specific irrigation, maintaining appropriate dilution of pesticide/fungicide to control the pest (on foliage, under the leaves, at root zone etc.), creating water based micro-roughness of leaf surface, maintaining soil moisture levels in a narrow range, and weed control. The systems functions on Solar-Powered batteries, thus enabling its usage even in energy and power deprived agricultural regions of the Nation, thus reducing dependence on price volatile fossil fuels. The sprayers are simple to develop, easy to learn and implement, therefore will help to overcome water crisis faced by Indian farmers.

The flow control feature of the Sprayers helps achieve multiple levels of Water/Pesticide flow thereby enhancing the flexibility and dynamicity of the coverage area as well as the intensity of the application. The Dual-Chamber design of the Sprayers helps achieve a degree of resource versatility as it allows the system to carry two variants of liquids at any particular instant. As per experiments conducted at CSIR-CMERI, the engaged farmers have informed that it helps save 75% of Water and 25% time-consumption while using the CSIR-CMERI developed sprayers. This design element might also help reduce the time consumption for Spray based Agricultural applications, as the farmer need not empty the contents of a single vessel completely before using a different content.

CSIR-CMERI has already developed solar tree of capacity 1 Kwp, 3 kwp, 5 kwp, 6 kwp, 7.5 kwp and 11.5 kwp, which is now the Largest Solar Tree in the world.

Jal Jeevan Mission promotes Research and Development

03.09.2020, New Delhi: Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. JJM aims at ensuring potable water supply of 55 litres per person per day and of prescribed quality to every rural household on regular and long-term basis. The mission is being implemented in partnership with States. As on date, out of the total 18,97,86,242 rural households, over 28% are provided tap connections. More than 1 lakh families are given tap water connections daily.

The rural drinking water supply is a complex subject with various social, environmental and technical challenges like geo-genic and anthropogenic water quality issues, long-term potable water supply in harsh edapho-climatic conditions and disaster-prone areas, measurement and monitoring of water service delivery, behaviour change management, cost-effective grey-water treatment and reuse etc. Thus, given the challenges and the knowledge gaps being faced while implementing the Jal Jeevan Mission with speed and scale along with the future of rural water security, there is a pressing need for significant research and innovation in the water supply sector.

Now, more than ever, National Jal Jeevan Mission will be supporting, promoting and cultivating research and innovation to solve the issue faced by water supply sector in rural areas. National Jal Jeevan Mission is inviting proposals from young innovators, researchers, academia, entrepreneurs, start-ups working in this sector to provide cost-effective solutions and fill knowledge gaps. Further, the Department/ National Mission/ SWSM will conduct action research and concurrent evaluation studies for adopting evidence-based technical intervention to manage rural water supply efficiently, effectively and economically. These R&D projects under Jal Jeevan Mission will facilitate in building partnership with scientists and R&D institutions, innovators, entrepreneurs and create useful knowledge that will help in in addressing various challenges in the drinking water sector so as to improve the lives of people.

To read R&D guidelines is available on the Departmental portal click here. All interested individual/ agencies/ institutions may use this opportunity and apply their proposals.

Oil India not to carry out post-capping environmental studies?

02.09.2020, New Delhi: Oil India Limited (OIL) after 80 days finally became successful in capping on 17th August 2020. Now, there was an attempt to kill the well by injecting killing fluids into the well. However due to rupture of a casing valve the killing operation had to be suspended. The well condition is being assessed for continuing with the well control operations. In the meanwhile several other options like drilling of relief wells are being actively evaluated. State Government has again been requested to allot land for drilling relief wells.

A fire broke out at the Baghjan Oil Field on Tuesday, where a major blowout took place on 27th May 2020. This came days after the OIL warned that gas was still leaking “uncontrollably” out of the plant and said the company was adopting measures to avert a blaze. The incident occurred at well number five of the plant and no immediate casualties were reported. Images taken at the site of the blaze showed dark clouds of smoke billowing from the plant and engulfing the premises. The incident has triggered panic among the residents of the Baghjan village, where the gas-producing well is located.

The company has issued a statement on 19th August 2020 that data collection at site have been completed for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study by various agencies, viz.M/s TERI, M/s ERM, M/s CSIR-NEIST, IIT-Guwahati. Analysis/study on collected data is in progress by respective agencies. OIL’s in-house monitoring of Air quality/Noise level/Gas presence is being continued. Bio remediation activities at affected areas are in progress.

However, it is noteworthy that earlier on 24th July 2020 OIL stated that the ecological survey carried out in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park (DSNP), Maguri-Motapung Beel and Baghjan area. Environment Monitoring has been completed prior to Capping of well. Post monitoring of the well will be carried out after capping of the well. OIL has assigned the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study to a NABET accredited consultant, ERM India Pvt. Ltd. OIL engaged The Energy Research Institute (TERI) for bio-remediation for impact of blowout on environment and site assessment. Alongside, it was reported that regular monitoring of Air quality, Water quality, Noise level and presence of Gas with lower explosive limit is being carried out by OIL at wellsite. Study using seismological technique on tremor report from the neighboring areas was conducted by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research – North East Institute of Science & Technology, Jorhat facilitated by Govt. of Assam. Necessary arrangements were made for the seismologists to come to site with requisite equipment and the pertinent recording is in progress for seismological study in the vicinity of Baghjan-5 well. And, IIT- Guwahati conducted the study on Thermal Mapping and Sonic Measurement. The team from IIT Guwahati completed data collection for thermal imaging and sound measurement at required areas under guidance of district officials and OIL team. Interpretation of the data will be carried out using specialized software at IIT Guwahati and the report will be submitted soon.

It is therefore important in the part of OIL to conduct the post-capping environmental studies and also share information on pre-capping environmental status.

The company has reported a total of 30,677Metric Tonnes of Crude Oil and 72.21Million Metric St. Cubic Meter of Natural Gas have been lost respectively as a result of protests/blockades/ bandhs in and around Baghjan area since 27thMay, 2020 due to the Blowout. Your Response

Ministry of Jal Shakti launches Water Heroes Contest 2.0

02.09.2020, New Delhi: A fresh impetus to its primary objective to make water conservation a people’s movement and strengthen the water consciousness in India, the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) has launched the ‘Water Heroes – Share Your Stories’ Contest from 1st September 2020. The contest aims to reach out to people on the important subject of water conservation and management.

Through this Water Heroes Contest, MoJS hopes to encourage and collate best practices in water conservation from across the nation. The programme also targets to disseminate such efforts across India to encourage more transformational efforts in this area. Every month, from September, 2020 onwards, entries would be invited for consideration of awards. Every month a maximum of 10 entries can be considered for the awards. All selected entries will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 each and a certificate.

To take part in the contest, the participants will have to post their success stories on water conservation through a specially made video of 1-5 minutes, along with a write-up of up to 300 words and some photographs depicting the efforts and significant contributions to conserve and manage water resources. The participants can share their videos with the link of their YouTube video on the MyGov portal (www.mygov.in). In addition to the MyGov portal, the entries can also be submitted at waterheroes.cgwb@gmail.com. The participants are also advised to mention only the YouTube links of their videos in the comments section and not upload the entire video-there.

This series of Contest will end on 31st August 2021.

India aims for 100 million tonnes (MT) coal gasification by 2030

01.09.2020, New Delhi: India aims for 100 million tonnes (MT) coal gasification by 2030 with investments worth over Rs. 4 lakh crores, said Shri Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of Coal and Mines. Addressing a webinar on Coal Gasification and Liquefaction, Shri Joshi said that Coal Gasification and Liquefaction is no more an aspiration, but a requirement. He added that for encouraging use of clean sources of fuel, government has provided for a concession of 20% on revenue share of coal used for gasification. He emphasized that this will boost production of synthetic natural gas, energy fuel, urea for fertilisers and production of other chemicals. The webinar was organised by Ministry of Coal (MoC) in New Delhi for discussing the road map for achieving the target. The webinar was attended by around 700 delegates from Government of India, CIL and the coal sector.

Reiterating on government’s commitments for green initiatives in the coal sector, Shri Joshi said that Coal Gasification and Liquefaction are well in the government’s agenda and various actions have been taken for development of Surface Coal Gasification in India. A Steering Committee has been constituted in this regard under the chairmanship of Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog comprising of members from the Ministry of Coal. CIL has also planned to set up at least 3 gasification plants (besides Dankuni) on BOO basis through global tendering and has signed an MOU with GAIL for marketing synthetic natural gas.

Shri Joshi urged the attendees of the session to explore more about technologies & other aspects in Coal Gasification sector, in line with our country’s SWOT analysis. He added that this will help in harnessing nation’s reserves for maximum utilisation while heading on the path to sustainability, as per global standards.

The primary concern in coal gasification may be appropriate handling of ash and slag, which is quite attainable.