India’s ecological hotspots are on a slow-ticking time bomb

“The impact of the next ecological disaster can be reduced if we take urgent steps,” says noted environmentalist, V.S. Vijayan. A co-author of the Madhav Gadgil committee report on the Western Ghats ecosystem, which has suddenly acquired a new breath of life, Vijayan says development and conservation should go hand in hand. “We are utterly against the sort of development that comes at the cost of exploiting our ecosystem.” Read more

Courtesy: live mint

Study on impact of mining on monuments begins

A team from the National Institute of Rock Mechanics (NIRM), led by its Director H.S. Venkatesh, has commenced work on studying the impact of mining in the vicinity of ancient monuments, including the Sri Kumaraswamy and Sri Parvatidevi temples belonging to the Eighth Century, in Sandur taluk of Ballari district.

The study by NIRM is being carried out at the behest of the State government, following apprehensions by naturalists and environmentalists that mining activities were posing a threat to the ancient temples and the rich bio-diversity of the Sandur forest besides demanding a ban on mining around the ancient temples and declaring it as National Heritage Zone. Read more

Courtesy: The Hindu

Forest fund rules a blatant breach of assurances, says Jairam Ramesh

Describing it as a “blatant breach of assurances by the government,” former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has objected to the rules governing the distribution of the Rs. 66,000 crore fund devised to compensate for the loss of forests from industrial development.

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act, 2016, and its Rules, specify the kind of projects that would be eligible under the CAF, the composition of the national and State authorities, and how decisions regarding the utilisation of these funds ought to be taken. Read more

Courtesy: The Hindu

India’s new compensatory afforestation rules dilute rights of forest dwellers

In 2006, India passed a law, the Forest Rights Act (FRA) recognising “historical injustice” meted out to the country’s forest dwellers and recognised the primacy of a Gram Sabha (village council) while deciding the fate of the forests.

Cut to August 2018, the government of India has now notified the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Rules, 2018 in which the Gram Sabha no longer plays a key role and control of over Rs. 660 billion, to be spent on afforestation, is given in the hands of the forest bureaucracy. Read more

Courtesy: Mongabay

DNA SERIES: Despite ample contribution, Rajasthan fails to spend District Mineral Foundation fund

Even after collecting a huge amount around Rs 2,000 crore from minerals mining districts in Rajasthan under the most ambitious District Mineral Foundation (DMF) trust till May this year, the state has performed poorly when it comes to allocation and use of the allocated fund from the DMF, reveals a latest study by New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Read more

Courtesy: DNA

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