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NGT fixes norms for camping along Ganga in Uttarakhand

NGT fixes norms for camping along Ganga in Uttarakhand

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has prohibited all camping activity on beaches which fall within 100 meters along the River Ganga from Shivpuri to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. The 50 km stretch of River Ganga between Shivpuri to Rishikesh is a hub of eco-tourism and river rafting. The judgment came on a petition which had highlighted pollution caused by unregulated camping in the river and its adjoining areas. It also highlighted pollution caused to the river and the soil due to leftovers of tourists.

Key Facts 

NGT bench gave this ruling by relying on various studies conducted by the Uttarakhand government and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). It held that river rafting is one of the significant components of eco-tourism, but it needs to be encouraged but with a clear mandate so that it does not cause any environmental and biodiversity degradation It clarified that the portion of the identified beaches which fall outside the restriction of 100 meters should only be used for effective camping activity. The remaining part of the beach should not be permitted for any activity including tenting, toilets and other incidental requirements. NGT held that the illegal and improper activities at the camping sites led to the pollution of River Ganga. I ordered implementation of management plan prepared by State government. About National Green Tribunal NGT is a special fast-track court to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It was established under National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act, 2010 enacted by the Parliament, under India’s constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.


Ganga living entity case: Govt turns to Supreme Court to challenge HC order

Ganga living entity case: Govt turns to Supreme Court to challenge HC order


    The Centre has moved the over the judgement to accord the status of a "living human entity" to the river, citing administrative issues relating to the implementation of the order.

minister and state spokesperson Madan Kaushik cited the order of March 20 which stated that the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General would act as the "legal parents" of the and rivers.

"Since the matter of cleaning the is not just restricted to Uttarakhand, as it also flows through West Bengal, how could the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General tackle all the issues related to the river," he asked.

"That is why the Central has approached the apex court on this matter," he said.

Kaushik said the state was also a party to the petition moved in the 

However, he welcomed the High Court's order according the status of "living human entities" to the and Yamuna, two of India's most sacred rivers.

Exercising extraordinary jurisdiction vested in the court, a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh of the had said, "Holy rivers and have been declared to be treated as a living human entities."

The court order came on a PIL filed by Haridwar resident Mohammad Salim, regarding the high levels of pollution and encroachment in the river and its tributaries.


Uttarakhand playing with forest fire : 21 Feb 2017 The Hindu

Uttarakhand playing with forest fire : 21 Feb 2017 The Hindu


 Forest department officials meet CM Harish Rawat, discuss preparedness to tackle 2016 repeat

With summers approaching, forest fires that will last till the start of the monsoon season have begun in Uttarakhand. However, even after the massive forest fires last year, the forest department seems ill-equipped to tackle the issue.
In a meeting with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Monday, the forest department discussed preparations for combating the forest fire.

Villagers to be involved

“We will be engaging with villagers to douse the fires. Also, we have decided to send fire alerts via SMS to forest guards. Earlier we sent only post-fire alerts when a fire was reported. We will now also send pre-fire alerts based on the probability of a forest to catch fire. We have collaborated with the Dehradun Meteorological Department for this,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Rajendra Mahajan.

Fresh instances

In the past few days, instances of fires have been reported from Pithoragarh district’s Munsiyari region, places in Almora, the Pindar Valley in Chamoli district, areas in Bageshwar district and the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.
However, the nodal officer for forest fires P.S. Srivastava said: “There have been only two instances of forest fires this year where, on February 16, one hectare of forest was engulfed by the forest fire instances in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.”
In December, last year, the Uttarakhand High Court, in an order, had stated that “disciplinary proceedings shall be initiated against them (forest officials) for not preventing, or controlling forest fires” and that if a forest fire lasted for over 72 hours then the PCCF would be “deemed to be put under suspension.”

Fires in van panchayat

Mr Mahajan said the few fires that have been reported so far were in areas that were under the van panchayat and not the forest department.
Also, Mr Mahajan said the instances of forest fires being reported by locals were not forest fires but fires from the controlled burning exercises being carried out by the forest department.
“Currently, we are undertaking pre-fire operations where we are clearing fire lines, and undertaking controlled burning,” Mr Mahajan said.

State in news

In April-May last year, the Uttarakhand fires had grabbed national headlines, with over 4,434 hectares of forests engulfed in flames. The Indian Air Force’s Mi-17 helicopters were also pulled in to help douse the fires.
The High Court had directed the forest department “to use foam and other fire retardants to control the forest fires.”
However, Mr Mahajan said, “We have limited resources here. Also, in the hills the options to douse fires are limited. We cannot use fire retardants like foam because the forest areas also have freshwater springs which are a source of water for the villagers.

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