Work underway at the inland waterway project at Ram Nagar in Varanasi on November 11(Rajesh Kumar / HT File Photo)
Work underway at the inland waterway project at Ram Nagar in Varanasi on November 11(Rajesh Kumar / HT File Photo)

Activists demand mandatory environmental clearance for inland waterway projects

The letter, signed by around 50 experts and activists comes after a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order dated November 1 directed the Union environment ministry to clarify whether environmental clearances are needed for inland waterway projects.
By Jayashree Nandi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2019 07:50 AM IST

Experts and environmental activists have written an open letter to Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan on January 1, urging him to make prior environmental clearance mandatory for inland waterway projects. Currently, clearances are issued on a case-to-case basis and are not mandatory.

The letter, signed by around 50 experts and activists comes after a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order dated November 1 directed the Union environment ministry to clarify whether environmental clearances are needed for inland waterway projects. NGT was hearing a petition filed by Uttarakhand-based activist Bharat Jhunjhunwala and others in 2015 seeking mandatory environmental clearance for national waterway projects, not just for individual components of these projects, such as dredging.

The petition also pleaded that NGT direct the government to stop the dredging works on National Waterway 1 (Prayagraj in UP to Haldia in West Bengal).

NGT in its final order issued in November said: “There is no dispute about the fact that the project of Inland Waterways is, as on date, not included in the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Notification, 2006. There is no doubt about the fact that such projects are first of its kind and may increase in the coming days…therefore, we consider it appropriate to direct environment ministry to look into the issue in consultation with the experts in the field, as to whether any environmental clearance is required or not and whether environmental impact assessment is to be done in projects relating to Inland Waterways.”

According to an office memorandum issued by the environment ministry dated December 21, 2017 accessed by Madhya Pradesh based environmental NGO, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra under Right to Information (RTI), the environment ministry stated that inland waterway projects are exempt from EIA and environmental clearances where only “maintenance dredging” is involved. A joint secretary, environment ministry, said on condition of anonymity that “prior environmental clearance is required for inland waterway projects depending on the nature of work required. We will decide on a case by case basis.”

The EIA Notification 2006 makes EIA and prior environmental clearance mandatory for port, harbour and dredging work but not for inland waterway projects. Sanjay Upadhyay, an advocate who represented the shipping ministry in the NGT case said: “Under the law, national waterways don’t require environmental clearance. But since NW 1 is a World Bank project, a number of environmental safeguards were taken, including public consultations. Environmental clearance is required only for large dredging projects for ports and harbours, not for maintenance dredging as was the case in NW 1.”

The experts, including Amita Baviskar from the Institute of Economic Growth, Jagdish Krishnaswamy from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment and environmentalist Ashish Kothari, highlighted in their letter that inland waterways have massive environmental impact. “Waterways involve interventions like dredging the river bed, a highly intrusive activity that can damage the river bed habitats, and river straightening and training works, river protection works, all leading to severe impacts on the river habitat and ecology,” they said in the letter.

“Inland waterways help transport bulk goods which you may not want on your highways. These are goods that don’t need speed like coal, steel, cement, sand etc. Sometimes inland waterways are strategic for industries near rivers. But it’s also true that they cause diesel pollution and impact rivers. There needs to be some balance. We cannot afford to impact water bodies,” said Madhav Pai, Director, WRI India Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
GGH superintendent Dr G Prabhavati said the hospital authorities had carried out all investigations after she was brought to the hospital.(HT Archives. Representative image)
GGH superintendent Dr G Prabhavati said the hospital authorities had carried out all investigations after she was brought to the hospital.(HT Archives. Representative image)

Andhra Asha worker dies after Covid vaccine dose, autopsy awaited

By Srinivasa Rao Apparasu, Hyderabad
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 04:23 AM IST
The authorities at Guntur General Hospital (GGH) said Bokka Vijaya Lakshmi of Penumaka village, who was admitted to hospital with complaints of severe headache, giddiness, seizures and vomiting on Friday evening, died early on Sunday.
Close
Government has been making serious efforts to dispel concerns regarding the vaccines, for which it last week also launched a mass digital awareness campaign.
Government has been making serious efforts to dispel concerns regarding the vaccines, for which it last week also launched a mass digital awareness campaign.

1.6 million Covid jabs given, Karnataka sees highest turnout

PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 04:15 AM IST
Karnataka tops the list so far with maximum number of vaccinations at 191,443, followed by Odisha (152,371) and Andhra Pradesh (147,030). Close to 30,000 vaccination sessions have been conducted in the country so far at about 3,000 plus sites.
Close
In this file photo, Indian army trucks drive near Pangong Tso lake near the India China border in Ladakh area. (AP)
In this file photo, Indian army trucks drive near Pangong Tso lake near the India China border in Ladakh area. (AP)

India, China hold another round of military talks to defuse LAC tensions

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 12:07 AM IST
  • The situation in the Ladakh sector remains tense and the ongoing military and diplomatic dialogue has not yielded results.
Close
A woman walks past a painting of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day before the inauguration of the Covid-19 vaccination drive on a street in Mumbai, India, January 15, 2021. (REUTERS)
A woman walks past a painting of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day before the inauguration of the Covid-19 vaccination drive on a street in Mumbai, India, January 15, 2021. (REUTERS)

Covid-19 vaccination: Over 16 lakh inoculated in 9 days, Karnataka leads the way

Written by Arpan Rai, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:07 PM IST
The government data also said that only 10 Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) have been reported till 7.30 pm on Sunday.
Close
Villagers said the district administration broke the lock of the main gate of Government Primary School and shifted the cows. (Representational image/HT Photo)
Villagers said the district administration broke the lock of the main gate of Government Primary School and shifted the cows. (Representational image/HT Photo)

In Tikamgarh district of MP, primary school converted into cow shelter

PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:01 PM IST
  • A school teacher said more than 200 cows destroyed the kitchen garden and at least 100 plants of flowers, fruits and medicinal plant in the school premises.
Close
Rahat Abrar said that the historic ceremony would be carried out by Vice Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor.(HT File Photo)
Rahat Abrar said that the historic ceremony would be carried out by Vice Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor.(HT File Photo)

Time capsule to be buried on Republic Day to mark 100 years of AMU

PTI, Aligarh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:59 PM IST
AMU spokesman Rahat Abrar said that "The steel capsule which weighs 1.5 tonne would be buried at a depth of 30 feet in front of Victoria Gate, the iconic structure, which marks the heart of this historic institution."
Close
The rally will be held from Delhi's three border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- and adequate security will be provided to it, police said.(REUTERS)
The rally will be held from Delhi's three border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- and adequate security will be provided to it, police said.(REUTERS)

Delhi Police Commissioner issues circular for tractor rally

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:57 PM IST
  • The circular said that all officers and personnel as well as CAPF and any other force deployed for the Republic Day Parade security arrangements should be made aware and be prepared that they will be required for law and order arrangements immediately after the official celebration is over.
Close
The police said no traffic will be allowed on Vijay Chowk from 6.00 pm on January 25 till the parade is over, wheras Rajpath is already out of bounds.(ANI)
The police said no traffic will be allowed on Vijay Chowk from 6.00 pm on January 25 till the parade is over, wheras Rajpath is already out of bounds.(ANI)

Delhi Traffic Police issues advisory for road movement ahead of Republic Day

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:49 PM IST
  • Delhi traffic police requested road users to accordingly plan their journies and avoid the route of parade and tableaux, from 4 am to 12:30 pm for their own convenience.
Close
“I am thinking of Netaji, I am thinking of my countrymen” said the Prime Minister.
“I am thinking of Netaji, I am thinking of my countrymen” said the Prime Minister.

‘Thank you West Bengal’ tweets PM Modi as he shares video of his Kolkata visit

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:52 PM IST
The video includes pictures and videos of the Prime Minister’s at Victoria Memorial to mark the occasion of ParakramDivas, Shubhash Chandra Bose’s residence amongst others, with sound bites from his speech at the former added for effect.
Close
Union minister Smriti Irani, S Jaishankar shared photos with their daughters on the occasion of national Girl Child Day.
Union minister Smriti Irani, S Jaishankar shared photos with their daughters on the occasion of national Girl Child Day.

Gird Child Day: Leaders, eminent personalities laud contribution of daughters

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:32 PM IST
India celebrates National Girl Child Day, an initiative of the ministry of women and child development, every year on January 24.
Close
The tiger skin that was seizied by the Chhattisgarh police on Sunday in Dhamtari district.(Sourced)
The tiger skin that was seizied by the Chhattisgarh police on Sunday in Dhamtari district.(Sourced)

Chhattisgarh police arrest man trying to sell tiger skin

PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:07 PM IST
  • According to the FIR registered by the police, the estimated value of the tiger skin that was seized is 40 lakh in the international market.
Close
File photo of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.(HT Photo)
File photo of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.(HT Photo)

Nitish Kumar wishes speedy recovery to Lalu, but won't call. Here's why

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:04 PM IST
Lalu Prasad Yadav was airlifted to Delhi from Ranchi where he is being treated for multiple ailments.
Close
According to officials, this is one of the biggest GST frauds detected in recent times(Representational photo)
According to officials, this is one of the biggest GST frauds detected in recent times(Representational photo)

Eight CAs among 258 arrested since mid-November in GST fraud

By Rajeev Jayaswal
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:52 PM IST
  • One CA was arrested on Saturday along with four businessmen in Jaipur for operating 25 fake firms to fraudulently avail and pass on input tax credit.
Close
While addressing a press conference here, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken alleged that excise duty on diesel has been hiked by 820 per cent and 258 per cent on petrol in the last six years.(ANI)
While addressing a press conference here, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken alleged that excise duty on diesel has been hiked by 820 per cent and 258 per cent on petrol in the last six years.(ANI)

Congress slams Center over petrol, diesel price hike

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:50 PM IST
  • While addressing a press conference, Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken demanded an explanation of how exactly has the government spent 20 lakh crore that it "collected by multiple hikes in excise duty on both petrol and diesel" in last six years.
Close
A child wearing a blanket walks through an alley of a residential area on a cold winter day in New Delhi on January 24, 2021. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)(AFP)
A child wearing a blanket walks through an alley of a residential area on a cold winter day in New Delhi on January 24, 2021. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)(AFP)

Fresh grip of chill in north, central India over next 3-4 days: IMD

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:27 PM IST
This fresh spell of chill has been caused by the movement of the western disturbance further northeastwards on Sunday from Jammu and Kashmir.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP