As told to Parliament (February 8, 2021): Indo-Gangetic plains have high air pollution levels

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 08 February 2021
As told to Parliament

Air pollution was presently one of the biggest environmental challenges globally and in India, with the Indo-Gangetic plains having high air pollution levels, Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change told the Rajya Sabha February 8, 2021.

He further said the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) launched by the government was a comprehensive plan to tackle the country’s air pollution problem in a focused manner to achieve 20-30 per cent reduction in PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels by 2024 compared to 2017.

In fact, 122 non-attainment cities had been identified and city-specific clean air action plans had been prepared and approved for 102 non-attainment cities, he said.

Coal mine accidents  

Eighty-four people died due to 254 serious accidents in coal mines between January 2019 and November 2020, according to data presented by Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of Coal, Parliamentary Affairs and Mines in the Rajya Sabha. Nearly 70 per cent of the incidents took place in mines owned by Singareni Collieries Co Ltd.

Lantana in tiger habitats

The government had taken serious note of the spread of invasive lantana species in tiger habitats across India that had resulted in scarcity of native forage species for wild herbivores, Babul Supriyo, Minister of State in the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change told the Rajya Sabha.

He further stated that the invasive species in tiger reserves were being mapped on a quadrennial basis during the country-wide assessment of tigers.

Employment for tribals 

Babul Supriyo said in a statement in Rajya Sabha that 43.7 million man-days of employment had been generated among tribals by the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (National Authority) across 30 states. 

Of this, Chhattisgarh accounted for 23 per cent, followed by Odisha (15 per cent).

Char Dham project

Babul Supriyo denied any kind of violation of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 during the construction of the Char Dham road in Uttarakhand. He said the construction was taken up after requisite approval under the Act.

He was asked whether the Himalayan ecosystem across the entire stretch would be be affected by the construction. Supriyo said the development work did have an impact on the ecosystem.

Taj Mahal under attack

The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Etmadaulla monuments at Agra had been attacked by the Goeldichironomus insect since 2015, Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Culture and Tourism, said. 

No such problem has been noticed so far at Fatehpur Sikri, he said. He informed that a government study has made recommendations that includes scientific cleaning and preservation of the monument fabric, de-silting of Yamuna river and cleaning and removal of vegetation growth from the river banks. 

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