As told to Parliament (December 13, 2022): 130 sq km of forest land set to be diverted in Great Nicobar Island

Mitigation measures have been proposed for the ‘sustainable development’ projects

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 13 December 2022
संसद में आज: भारत में मात्र 55 प्रतिशत ग्रामीण परिवारों तक पहुंच रहा है नल का पानी

Infra projects in Andaman & Nicobar

The Centre gave in-principle approval to divert 130 sq km of forest land in the Great Nicobar Island for sustainable development projects, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, told the Lok Sabha.

The project is of significant strategic / national importance and a detailed environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been conducted in this regard, he added. 

Also, adequate mitigation measures have been proposed to compensate for the impact of development on flora and fauna, Choubey noted.

Air pollution management funds

The Government of India has allocated Rs 2,217 crore for 2021-22, under the 15th Finance Commission Million-Plus Cities Challenge Fund, according to Choubey. The amount will go towards air quality management of 42 million-plus cities, the minister added.

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in India has declined from 2017 to 2021, Rameswar Teli, Union minister of state for labour and employment told the Lok Sabha.

The estimated unemployment rate on usual status for persons of age 15 years and above was 6 per cent in 2017-18, 5.8 per cent in 2018-19, 4.8 per cent in 2019-20 and 4.2 per cent in 2020-21, Teli said citing the latest annual periodic labour rorce survey report. 

Vehicular pollution

Contribution of vehicles to PM10 levels was 10-33 per cent during winter season and 3-29 per cent during summer, Choubey told the Lok Sabha. He was referring to data from the Source Apportionment Studies done for the major cities during 2019-22.

At present, there is a total metro route length of 810 km across 20 cities, he added. The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) -2 scheme has also been rolled out and permit requirements for electric vehicles have been exempted, the minister added.

Elephant attack deaths

As many as 15 deaths due to attacks of elephants on humans in Hassan Lok Sabha constituency (Sakleshpura, Alur, Belur taluks) in Karnataka and five in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, Choubey told Lok Sabha. 

Stubble burning

Fewer paddy stubble burning cases have been reported from September 15–November 30, 2022 compared to the corresponding period in 2021, Choubey said in the Lok Sabha. 

Ethanol Production

Second Generation (2G) ethanol is envisaged as an emerging contributor to achieving 20 per cent blending. Accordingly, the central government has notified Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan – Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh nivaran) Yojana for promoting 2G ethanol production from cellulosic and lignocellulosic biomass, including petrochemical route in the country by providing financial support for setting up 2G ethanol bio-refineries, Rameswar Teli told the Rajya Sabha.

Ujjwala Yojana in Kerala

As on December 1, 2022, the public sector oil marketing companies have released 341,000 LPG connections under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in Kerala, Teli said.

CNG, PNG to industrial units

Providing PNG connections to households, industrial uses and establishment of CNG stations are part of the development of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Network and the same is being carried out by the entities authorised by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), according to Teli. Around 295 Areas with about 98 per cent of the population and 88 per cent of total geographical area of the country spread over around 630 districts in 28 states / Union territories have been covered under the CGD network, Teli told the Rajya Sabha.

Natural gas reserves 

As on April 1, 2022, India had 649.8 billion cubic metres of proven and probable gas reserves, whereas the total consumption of natural gas was 63.91 BCM in 2021-22, according to Teli. 

CNG network facility

Around 221 geographical areas have been operationalised for supply of CNG, Teli shared. 

The supply of gas to the cities in these areas is also being done according to the Minimum Work Programme targets mandated by PNGRB, the minister added.

Employment to mine workers

There is no scheme to provide further employment to the workers engaged in the mines which are near closure, said Pralhad Joshi, Union minister for mines, coal and parliamentary affairs, told the Rajya Sabha.

Since 2015, however, 216 mineral blocks were auctioned in the country and operationalisation of these blocks will generate more employment opportunities in the mineral sector, he added. 

Abandoned land of Kolar Gold Fields

The Government of Karnataka, vide its communications dated 09.07.2020, 13.05.2021 and 10.08.2021, requested the Union Ministry of Mines for ‘transfer of unencumbered clear vacant land of 3,212 acres of Bharat Gold Mines limited to the state government for development of industrial node /township in Kolar Gold Fields, Joshi told the Rajya Sabha.

Limestone mining in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya

Around 18 limestone mining projects in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya have been given environmental clearance by the Union Environment of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Joshi noted. He was sharing information furnished by MoEF&CC.

The Integrated Regional Office, Shillong of MoEF&CC monitors these projects. The ambient air quality levels, stack emission levels, fugitive emission levels, ambient noise levels and water quality data of these projects fall within the permissible limits, according to the Centre Pollution Control Board norms, the minister noted. 

Arsenic contamination in groundwater

Arsenic contamination was found in certain points of 221 districts in 25 states / UTs, Bishweswar Tudu, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti (water resources), told the Rajya Sabha.

The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) generates groundwater quality data on a regional scale from various scientific studies and from ground water quality monitoring throughout the country. These studies indicate the occurrence of arsenic beyond the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) permissible limits in isolated pockets in certain parts of the country.

Information regarding the number of people affected due to groundwater contamination is not maintained by the Jal Shakti ministry, Tudu added. 

Water shortage

The average annual per capita water availability for 2031 has been assessed to  be 1,367 cubic metres, Tudu told the Rajya Sabha. 

The annual per-capita water availability of less than 1,700 cubic meters is considered as water stressed condition. 

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