ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Major Activity

Lok Sabha Analysis 2008

AGRICULTURE

The predominant theme of the queries remained the environmental aspects of agricultural practices in the country during the year 2008. The main areas of concern that emerged through the discussion in the House included organic farming and crop losses. Some of the important topics of discussion in the House were second Green Revolution, use of fertilizers, impact of Climate Change on crop production, soil conservation schemes, food security, practice of Apatani agriculture, the effects of excessive pesticide application, and some other schemes for further promotion of conservation practices. The Ministry of Agriculture provided the maximum number of replies during the year.

                                                                                       

Pesticides and Fertilizers

The maximum number of questions related to the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers in the country. In this regard, there were queries concerning the continued usage of pesticides banned in various countries because of their dangerous effects in the country, particularly in Nanded district of Maharashtra. The Minister of Agriculture confirmed to the fact by explaining that some insecticides which are banned in some countries are permitted for use in our country only after thorough reviews and satisfying that the particular insecticide does not cause harmful effect under the conditions of use in our country (LSQ 1441 Shri. D.B. Patil).The other queries focused on the increase in the import of pesticides, to which the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers declined, by giving details in view of the same. (LSQ 1984 Shri Madan Lal Sharma, Shri M. Appadurai). In the same regard, queries related to the increase in fertilizers were also made, to which the Minister of Agriculture reported that the Government is, however, promoting integrated and balanced use of fertilizers by advocating soil test based balanced and judicious use of chemical fertilizers including secondary nutrients and micro-nutrients in conjunction with organic manures and bio-fertilizers, for improving soil health and its productivity (LSQ 292 Shri Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Dr. Laxminarayan Pandey and Shri Hiten Barman).

 

Food Security

In response to a query, the Ministry of Agriculture discussed about the decision that is still to be taken by the Government to start the campaign of second green revolution in the country so as to achieve food security. However, the Ministry reported about the several missions, namely Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Food Security Mission, National Horticulture Mission, Micro Irrigation and National Bamboo Mission which have also been launched by the Government (LSQ 291 Shri Ranen Barman). Following the request for detailed discussion on the food security, the Minister of Agriculture confessed to the awareness of the importance of agriculture sector in ensuring food security and reported about the number of initiatives and measures taken to improve the agricultural production and productivity. The initiatives include launching of National Food Security Mission to increase production of rice, wheat and pulses by 10, 8 and 2 million tonnes respectively by the end of Eleventh Five Year Plan, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, revamping of agricultural extension and reforms in agricultural marketing etc (LSQ 317 Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Shri Nivedita Mane and Smt. Madhu Goud Yaskhi).

 

Soil degradation and crop losses

There were several discussions on the nature of agricultural land use and soil fertility. Concern was expressed about the decline in soil fertility. The Ministry confirmed to the fact as per Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute and the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land use planning, that soil erosion is responsible for the decline in agricultural output (LSQ 639 Shri M.P. Veerendra Kumar). Discussions were also held on the proposals to make farmers aware of global warming and consequential danger to crops. The Ministry reported about the initiation of Net-Work Programme on Impact Adaptation and Vulnerability of Indian Agriculture to Climate Change during 10th Plan by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) with a main aim to study the impact of climate change on agriculture systems including livestock, fisheries, horticulture and forestry in the country (LSQ 633 Shri Mohan Rawale). In regard to a query concerning soil degradation, the Ministry of Agriculture reported that soil loss and soil depletion have reached serious proportions in the flood- prone States (LSQ *152 Shri Vijay Krishna). The Ministry of Agriculture confessed to the possibilities of decrease in agricultural production rate due to soil erosion in the country (LSQ 188 Shri Sanat Kumar Mandal). Discussions were also held on the efforts being made to check the soil erosion taking place in ravines of Chambal due to the Chambal River (LSQ 232 Shri Ashok Argal). Details were furnished on the shrinking water levels in the rainfed areas of the country, which are adversely affecting agricultural produce (LSQ 678 Shri Karunakara G. Reddy).

 

Impact of climate change on Agricultural Production

Important discussion was held on the Impact of climate change on Agricultural Production. The Minister of Agriculture stated that research studies have shown that climate change in future may reduce the productivity of wheat and other cereals in North-west region of India (LSQ 3883 Shri Vijay Krishna). Infact, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has initiated a network Project on `Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability of Indian Agriculture to Climate Change` at different ICAR Institutes/State Agricultural Universities. Preliminary results available from the study conducted under network project indicates that increase in temperature and change in precipitation pattern could significantly impact the agriculture production in the country in future (LSQ 778 Shri Rajagopal Lagadapati, Shri Subrata Bose).

 

Organic Farming and Biofertilizers

In this regard, The Minister of Agriculture confirmed to the fact that organic manure, besides supplying essential plant nutrients, improves soil physical conditions and stimulates biological activities of soils through supply of energy to soil microbes (LSQ 2396 Shri Rewati Raman Singh). Demands were made for information about simultaneous efforts being made to promote the application of bio-fertilizers. In this relation, information was also sought about the status of technology for production of bio-fertilizers with the help of private sector (LSQ 2009 Nikhil Kumar, Prem Kumar Dhumal). The Minister of Agriculture also furnished details regarding the State-wise growth rate in the organic food business during the last three years (LSQ 3893 Shri Narayan Chandra Borkataky, Shri Kavuru Samba Siva Rao). It also reported that, under the National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) efforts are being made to promote the use of organic inputs including bio-fertilizers (LSQ 2530 Shri Subhash Maharia). In this relation, information was also sought about the tea estates in the country which are gradually shifting to organic farming (LSQ 573 Shri K.C . Pallani Shamy).

 

Soil Conservation Schemes

The Ministry of Agriculture in response to a query, reported the names of the schemes being run for soil conservation in the country particularly in Orissa; namely National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA), Soil Conservation for Enhancing the Productivity of Degraded Lands in the Catchments of River Valley Project and Flood Prone River (RVP & FPR), Reclamation of Alkali Soils (RAS), Watershed Development Projects in Shifting Cultivation Areas (WDPSCA), Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and Integrated Wasteland Development Programme (IWDP)  (LSQ 669 Smt. Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo).

 

National Policies, Subsidies and Soil testing Centres

         The Minister of Agriculture furnished the details of National Policy on Land Use in the country taken up by the Government of India, and the Ministry of Rural Development (LSQ 3995 Shri Karunakara G. Reddy, LSQ 3797 Shri Tathagata Satpathy).  It also reported about the 651 Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) functioning presently in the country (LSQ 4787 Shri K.C . Pallani Shamy). The Minister of Commerce and Industry discussed about the 25 percent subsidy and soft loan from financial institutions up to 50 percent for tea plantations offered by the Government (LSQ 564 Shri Sathyanarayana Sarvey). Demands were made for seeking information on the priorities of State Farms Corporation of India (SFCI), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Agriculture (LSQ 2437 Smt. Nivedita Mane, Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi and Shri Anirudh Prasad (Sadhu) Yadav).

 

         Others

The Minister of Agriculture discussed issues regarding availability of water for farming which is likely to become more scarce in the future (LSQ 2469 Shri Balashowry Vallabbhaneni). The other issues covered included the non cultivable land in Andhra Pradesh (LSQ 3997 Shri Ramakrishna Badiga), Poisonous Chemicals In wheat and rice (LSQ 3834 Shri Kiren Rijiju, Dr. Laxminarayan Pandey, details regarding estimated acidic soil in the country (LSQ 242 Shri Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy), production of Jatropha (LSQ 336 Smt. Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo, Dr. Dhirendra Agarwal) and details of post harvest wastage of food crops, fruits and vegetables recorded during the last three years (LSQ 352 Shri Prabhunath Singh, Shri Vijay Krishna, Shri Kavuru Samba Siva Rao).

 

         ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

In this regard, the main focus of concern expressed was the progress in development and adoption of renewable sources-based technologies, the overall scenario of renewable energy potential and production in the country and the steps taken in energy generation from renewable sources like solar energy, wind energy and hydropower and the status of bio-fuel promotion technologies. Questions were raised about raising ecofriendly or green technology. Other nonconventional sources of energy such as urban wastes, rice husk and hydrogen technology etc were also topics of discussion during the year The legislators demanded information about the steps taken by the government to promote research and development, in particular, the amount of funds allocated to the concerned institutes.. The highest number of questions was handled by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

 

Biofuel and Biodiesel

There were detailed discussions on any proposals of Madhya Pradesh Government relating to the nursery and plantation of Ratanjot, pending with the Union Government by the Minister of Environment and Forests (LSQ 5190 Shri Rakesh Singh). On the other hand, the legislators demanded information about the existing policy of the Railways with regard to commercial plantation of Jatropha, to which the Minister of Railways stated that there is no specific policy with regard to commercial plantation of Jatropha. However, Railways have a general policy with respect to commercial plantation including Jatropha on such vacant land, which is not immediately required for Railways immediate operational use (LSQ 4511 Shri Chandramani Tripathi). The Minister of Rural Development confirmed to the fact of constitution of a committee in regard to development of Bio-diesel (LSQ 4693 Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot). In addition, the Minister of Agriculture stated that Rajasthan Government has earmarked 40 hectares of waste land for cultivation of Jatropha to produce bio fuel (LSQ 628 Shri  Kinjarapu Yerrannaidu, Shri  Prabhunath Singh, Shri Vijay Krishna). The Minister of Rural Development also affirmed that bio-diesel has been produced from Jatropha experimentally (LSQ 1141 Shri Pusp Jain).

 

Solar Power

The Minister of New and Renewable Energy furnished details about a report on Solar Power by Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers which was supported by National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (LSQ 3196 Shri Anirudh Prasad (Sadhu) Yadav, Smt. Nivedita Mane, Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi). The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has formulated an action plan on the distribution of solar lanterns in the un-electrified villages and hamlets of the special category States and island Union Territories, the average cost of which is around Rs.3,500/- and the Ministry is providing a subsidy of Rs. 2,400/- per solar lantern (LSQ 40 Shri Bhubneshwar Prasad Mehta). The Minister of Finance has cleared doubts regarding the solar power industry, seeking infrastructure status and tax break to promote renewal and environment friendly source of energy (LSQ 1292 Shri Sugrib Singh, Shri Kishanbhai Vestabhai Patel, LSQ 1275 Shri M. Shivanna). The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has introduced a new Scheme on ‘Development of Solar Cities’. It is aimed at encouraging and assisting the urban local bodies in assessing their present energy consumption and future demand, setting targets, and preparing Master Plans for energy generation and saving through energy efficiency measures and renewable energy installations ( LSQ 1309 Shri Naveen Jindal). In regard to a query regarding the number of Solar Photovoltaic(PV), Solar Water Heating Systems and Solar Thermal Systems set up by Government, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, under the solar energy programmes, furnished details of a total of 74,203 solar home lighting systems, 11,328 solar street lighting systems,83,378 solar lanterns, 659 solar pumps, 956 kWp capacity of solar PV plants and 57,532 solar cookers, which have been installed during the last three years (LSQ 2189 Shri Balashowry Vallabbhaneni, Shri Chandra Bhushan Singh, Shri Dushyant Singh).

 

Hydro Power Generation

         The Minister of Power discussed the huge potential of hydel power in the country (LSQ 4713 Shri Harisinh Pratapsinh Chavda, Shri Jivabhai Ambalal Patel). In addition, the Ministry also furnished details on the present status of the Loktak Hydro Power Project (LSQ 3169 Shri C.K. Chandrappan). The target fixed for hydro power generation for the Eleventh and Twelfth Five Year Plan periods was another major topic of discussion in the Lok Sabha (LSQ 3172 Shri Balashowry Vallabbhaneni, Smt. C.S. Sujatha, Shri K.C. Pallani Shamy). In regard to a query, the Minister of Defence presented to the House the details of the proposal from the Indian Army to set up micro-hydel power projects in remote mountainous border belts in some parts of the country (LSQ 4928 Shri Salarapatty Kuppusamy Kharventhan). The Minister of Power stated the proposal to promote private sector participation in Generation of Hydro Power in the country (LSQ 2221 Shri Nand Kumar Sai, Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy).

 

Ecofriendly Technology

The Minister of Environment and Forests identified the steps taken to promote green technology to protect environment (LSQ 1372 K.S. Rao). Also, discussed were the details of projects undertaken and grants released for undertaking research in the field of textiles particularly development of eco-friendly technology of the sector during each of the last three years, State-wise by the Minister of Textiles (LSQ 5360 Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy).

 

Ethanol Production

The Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, in regard to a query, expressed its negative concern on the decision to permit oil companies to manufacture ethanol directly from cane juice (LSQ 1413 Shri Basudeb Acharia). The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution was queried about some proposals for providing concessional loans from the Sugar Development Fund to the sugar mills which have their own distilleries for developing facilities for production of Ethanol, (LSQ *496 Shri Narahari Mahato, Shri Hiten Barman) and also about the production capacity, production and stock of Ethanol in the country as on date (LSQ 4906 Shri Mahavir Bhagora, LSQ 2037 Smt. Minati Sen) to which the details were given.

 

Thermal Energy

In addition to the discussions on other Alternative technologies for Energy Production, the Minister of Power was queried about the details of a new technology viz. Geo-thermal technology has been applied for power generation in the country, to which the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), explained about a research, development and demonstration programme for utilization of geothermal energy in the country for power generation and direct heat applications is being implemented (LSQ 4723 Shri Rakesh Singh, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir). The Minister of Earth Sciences, in an answer to a query, explained that there is vast scope to generate thermal energy from the oceans (LSQ 5110 Shri Jual Oram). In addition, it also confirmed that the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) had initiated a Rs.35.25 crore pilot project titled Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion in June, 1998 (LSQ 4123 Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Shri Anirudh Prasad (Sadhu) Yadav).

 

Other types of Energy

In this regard, the Minister of Atomic Energy reported that an assessment has been made by the Government regarding the requirement of Nuclear Energy in the country in the coming years in view of rising prices of petroleum and decline in the reserve of traditional sources of energy (LSQ 2842 Shri Mohan Singh). Also, the Ministry reported that the Government proposes to generate energy from fusion technology (LSQ 5154 Shri Vikrambhai Arjanbhai Maadam). There was an important query to the Minister of Space about the agreement between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with Tata Motors for developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars using cryogenic technology (LSQ 2817 Shri Vikrambhai Arjanbhai Maadam). The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been implementing a broad based research, development and demonstration programme on different aspects of hydrogen energy and fuel cell technologies including hydrogen production, its storage and applications in internal combustion engines and fuel cells (LSQ 4456 Shri Chengara Surendran). The Minister of Power affirmed to the fact that the Government has made an assessment of feasibility of energy generation through coal gasification (LSQ 1149 Shri Gurjeet Singh Rana).

 

Others

There were other important discussions in the house regarding the proposals to formulate schemes to prepare fuel from recycled plastic (LSQ 1144 Shri Subhash Maharia), energy from rice husk and coconut shells (LSQ 2339 Shri K.C . Pallani Shamy), village electrification in islands (LSQ 2266 Shri Manoranjan Bhakta), fuel cell technology (LSQ 1302 Smt. Maneka Gandhi), alternative fuel for power plants (LSQ 1330 Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul), use of CFL bulbs (LSQ 2345 Shri Salarapatty Kuppusamy Kharventhan, Shri p.c. Thomas), potential of non conventional energy sources (LSQ *304 Shri Kamla Prasad Rawat), and CFL bulbs in government buildings (LSQ 2199 Shri Raghunath Jha).

 

BIOSAFETY

Discussions during the year covered the support given to transgenic research, harmful effects of Bt cotton and demands for review of genetically modified crops. Also covered were the areas of the economic and health impact of genetically modified (henceforth GM) crops and the undertaking of studies prior to the introduction of such crops. Most of the replies in the House were provided by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Agriculture.

 

Genetically Modified Crops (GMC)

Responding to the concerns expressed about the new varieties of transgenic crops are being experimented in India, such as Bt brinjal, Bt rice, Bt okra, Bt castor, transgenic groundnut, transgenic tomato and transgenic potato (LSQ 213 P. Mohan). Also, the Ministry of Environment and Forests was queried about the restricted growth of GM crops in the country; moreover, the Ministry was also furnished details about the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), which has approved the confined experimental field trials of genetically modified (GM) paddy (LSQ 1824 Subrata Bose). The Minister of Science and Technology further stated that the potential and use of biotechnology to achieve higher crop yield (LSQ 3530 Shri Kavuru Samba Siva Rao).

 

Genetically Modified Food Products

Responding to the concerns expressed about the details of the Genetically Modified (GM) food products and seeds permitted/banned in the country by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) constituted under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 (LSQ 3874 Shri Ranen Barman, Shri Hiten Barman). In response to a query concerning the release of unlicensed Bt. Cotton seeds into the market, the Minister of Agriculture furnished details regarding the same (LSQ 1369 Smt. Rupatai Diliprao Nilangekar Patil).

 

CLIMATE CHANGE AND METEOROLOGY

The discussions during the year revolved mainly around the demand for more information about Climate Change, especially global warming  including its impacts, the country’s participation in global mitigation efforts, endangered historical sites, conferences and panels for discussion of related issues, the status of carbon credit projects, setting up of institutes on climate change, ozone protection measures and weather monitoring systems. The majority of queries were handled by the MoEF.

 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Carbon

Important discussions related to survey regarding the emission of greenhouse gases from different sources in the country led to the queries of steps taken or proposed to be taken by the Government in this regard (LSQ 684 Anandrao v. Adsul, Sunil Khan, Braja Kishore Tripathy, g.m. Siddeswara). The increasing contents of carbon in the environment was another major discussion topic in the House (LSQ 4305 Rakesh Singh, Ajit Jogi). The MoEF reported that about 19% of India’s global warming emissions come from large dams as reported by the Hindu on 20th May, 2007 (LSQ 4197 Mani Charenamei).

 

Impact of Climate Change

Enquiry was made about the study conducted by the Government to assess the impact of Climate Change (LSQ 801 HANSRAJ G. AHIR). The Minister of Environment and Forests has also affirmed to the fact that the Government of Karnataka has set up a Committee called the “Committee on Climate Change and Sustainability: Karnataka Initiatives” (LSQ 2743 IQBAL AHMED SARADGI). Initiatives on the steps being taken by the Government to check the threat faced by the pilgrimages such as Gangotri, Yamunotri and Badrinath Dhams due to climate change and environmental pollution (LSQ 3424 Sumitra Mahajan). The Minister of Agriculture has confirmed that Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has conducted modeling study on the impact of climate change on the cultivation of rice and wheat (LSQ 2416 Shri Shivaji Adhalrao Patil). The Minister of Earth Sciences also revealed about the information that climate change is a serious problem affecting the country (LSQ 3313 Dr. K. Dhanaraju). In addition, the Minister of Agriculture reported that the agricultural scientists have underlined the need for comprehensive research involving crops, livestock and fisheries to assess the impact of climate change due to global warming (LSQ 2292 Dr.Thokchom Meinya, Smt. Maneka gandhi, shri. Nikhil kumar, shri kavuru samba siva rao).

 

Effect of Global Warming

Many important discussions on the effects of Global Warming were discussed, including melting glaciers of Himalayas (LSQ 1068 Kailash Meghwal); with the country facing danger of global warming (LSQ 1750 Sanat Kumar Mandal). The MoEF revealed that the Government proposes to cope up with challenges posed to bio-diversity due to global warming and climate change (LSQ 1834 K.J.S.P. Reddy). The Minister of Culture also added that the World Monuments Fund has in its Report commented upon the adverse impact of global warming on India’s heritage sites like the Jantar Mantar Observatory at Jaipur, the heritage buildings in Srinagar and Old Leh town (LSQ *93 Shri Kirip Chaliha, LSQ 5119 Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy). In addition, it was also reported that the global warming has caused the annual ice loss from the Antarctic ice sheet to surge by 75 per cent in a decade (LSQ 915 Shri Bhartruhari Mahtab). An important discussion of great implication for the country’s food security related to the effect of climate change on agricultural yield. The concern was expressed in view of the study on the impact of global warming on agriculture production in the country (LSQ 4088 Dr. K.S. Manoj).

 

Reports on Climate Change

Many reports, for instance the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report suggested for reducing carbon emissions by 20% by the end of 2050 (LSQ 1025 Prabodh Panda, LSQ *334 Shri Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil). The details of the findings of the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were also presented in the House (LSQ 1791 Chandrakant Khaire, Naveen Jindal). The Government has not yet identified the cities/towns in various States which are vulnerable to climate change (LSQ 5114 Shri Dushyant Singh). In response to queries for more details about a proposal to involve the Indian Institutes of Technology in the research on climate change, the Minister of Human Resource Development furnished the details for the same (LSQ 2666 Shri Sambasiva Rayapati Rao, LSQ 396 Shri Gowdar Mallikarjunappa Siddeswara).

 

Action Plans on Climate Change

Discussions were held on the schemes implemented in the country for India launching a National Action Plan on Climate Change (LSQ 844 Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, C.K. Chandrappan), alongwith the proposal under consideration of the Government to constitute a Trans Himalayan Authority to address the environmental and agro climatic issues of Hill States (LSQ 707 Rewati Raman Singh). It also reported about the proposals and alternative means to meet the demand of States/Union Territories for funds for carrying on compensatory afforestation works (LSQ 838 Bhupendrasinh Solanki, Mahesh Kanodia, and Madhusudan Mistry). The Minister of Environment and Forests discussed the formulation of  National Plan of Action on Climate Change and to set up a Capital Venture Fund to promote green technologies for a cleaner environment as reported in The Hindu dated February 08, 2008 (LSQ 307 Adhalrao Patil Shivajirao, S. Ajaya Kumar, Anandrao V. Adsul, Ravi Prakash Verma). With regard to the status of finalization of a National Action Plan on the issues arising out of climate change to deal with its impact on environment and specific crops, the expert Committee working under the guidance of the PM’s Council on Climate Change has submitted its report (LSQ 3513 Anandrao V. Adsul, LSQ 4731 Shri J.M. Aaron Rashid).

 

Others

The other topics that gained much momentum in the House were related to Climate Change (LSQ 2562 Shri K.C. Pallani Shamy), study on continental drift and earthquake (LSQ 3271 Dr. K. Dhanaraju), effect of Global Warming on Konark temple (LSQ 5040 Shri Sugrib Singh), impact of Climatic Change on Water Resources (LSQ 4003 Shri Uday Singh, Shri Girdhari Lal Bhargav), Global Warming and its dangerous effects on health (LSQ 3519 Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy, Shri Nand Kumar Sai), impact of Climate Change on water resources (LSQ 2277 Shri M.P. Veerendra Kumar).

 

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

 The queries in relation to the Tsunami ranged from the status of initiatives taken for the installation of a warning system, the pace of implementation of rehabilitation measures and the utilization of sanctioned funds. Other natural disasters especially Cyclone Nargis and the financial assistance provided were other major themes of discussions in the House. There was also important information provided on the progress made in response to the mandate of the Disaster Management Act. Several discussions were held on the issue of assistance to states for disaster management and flood prevention and mitigation measures. The steps taken for earthquake-related issues were also substantially highlighted. Other concerns brought up by the legislators included drought affected areas and the rehabilitation and resettlement of project affected people, particularly dams. The Ministry of Home Affairs gave the highest number of questions, while the Ministry of Water Resources also addressed a relatively high number of questions.

 

Tsunami Disasters

The details of the survey conducted by the Scientists of his Ministry on the after effects of Tsunami were given by the Minister of Earth Sciences (LSQ 3364 Shri Ramdas Athawale). The details of the number of rehabilitation/reconstruction works are still not completed in the Tsunami hit areas including Andaman and Nicobar Islands were presented in the House (LSQ 822 Shri Manoranjan Bhakta, Shri Ananta Nayak, Shri Karunakara G. Reddy). There was still no assistance received from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme for post Tsunami reconstruction activities (LSQ 1638 Shri Manoranjan Bhakta). The Minister of Home Affairs also stated that Tsunami forewarning systems have been deployed in the country (LSQ 3210 Dr. K. Dhanaraju).

 

Drought Disasters

The Minister of Agriculture explained the scenario of the Drought Disasters including the suicide of people due to starvation in drought prone areas of the country (LSQ 2417 Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Shri Rajnarayan Budholiya). It was also reported that various parts of the Assam have been hit by drought or unusually low rains during current year (LSQ 3800 Shri Moni Kumar Subba). The MoEF also stated about the number of districts affected by drought during the last year and thereafter till date, State-wise (LSQ *481 Shri Ramdas Athawale, Dr. Ram Lakhan Singh).

 

Earthquakes and Cyclones

 The Minister of Earth Sciences also gave the statistics about the number of earthquakes reported in Satara district of Maharashtra, alongwith the highest magnitude of earthquake reported in this region in the recent past (LSQ 403 Shri Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil). In addition, the Government dispersed information about the formation of Cyclone Nargis (LSQ 3511 Smt. Jhansi Botcha Lakshmi) and the details of the Disaster Forecast Centres installed in the country particularly, in Tamil Nadu (LSQ 1609 Shri Sambasiva Rayapati Rao, Shri Salarapatty Kuppusamy Kharventhan).

 

Floods

The Minister of Agriculture enumerated on the proposals to introduce Flood Insurance Scheme in flood prone areas (LSQ 3888 Shri Salarapatty Kuppusamy Kharventhan). The Minister of Earth Sciences made the legislators aware of the water ingress into the Coastal villages of the country including Andaman and Nicobar Islands is taking place very frequently (LSQ 4051 Shri Manoranjan Bhakta). Also reported was the information about the recent visit to the flood affected districts of different States including Tamil Nadu (LSQ *9 Shri Salarapatty Kuppusamy Kharventhan, Shri K.C. Pallani Shamy). The Minister of Home Affairs furnished the details of the earmarked funds for flood relief during the Eleventh Plan (LSQ 824 Shri Ananta Nayak). In addition, the Minister of Home Affairs explained about the State Executive Committee resolving to launch resettlement and rehabilitation projects in the flood hit villages of Karnataka in January, 2008 (LSQ 1541 Shri Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi) with the Government of Rajasthan requesting the Union Government for early release of financial assistance for the implementation of flood rehabilitation and relief work in the State (LSQ 3303 Shri Raghuvir Singh Kaushal, LSQ 4122 Smt. C.S. Sujatha, Shri Hannan Mollah, Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Shri M. Appadurai, Shri Chandrabhan Bhaiya Singh, Dr.  K. Dhanaraju, shri vijay krishna, shri chandra dev prasad rajbhar, shri madhu goud yaskhi). The details of the National Flood Management Commission were also furnished in the House (LSQ 702 Shri Ramdas Athawale, Shri Asaduddin Owaisi). The Minister of Water Resources reported about the release of the necessary funds to take up protective measures before the start of every rainy season both in the Brahmaputra and Barak Valley in Assam during each of the last three years and in 2007-08 (LSQ 2514 Shri Sarbananda Sonowal).

 

Early Warning for Disasters

Responding to a query, the Minister of Earth Sciences stated about the plan to monitor tectonic shifting patterns in the country with a view to achieve the ability for early warning of earthquakes (LSQ 409 Shri K.C. Singh Baba). Also, discussed in the House was the decision to set up high tech radar systems in the coastal belt of Orissa to monitor cyclone and other national disasters (LSQ 5112 Shri Tathagata Satpathy). In response to a query, the Minister of Earth Sciences affirmed to the fact that India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already installed 125 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) all over India out of which 11 are in Tamil Nadu and Telemetry Stations to monitor the seismic activity in various parts of the country (LSQ 3249 Shri E.G. Sugavanam).

 

Miscellaneous

The other topics that gained much momentum in the House were related to review of vulnerability map of disaster prone areas (LSQ 518 Shri Abu Ayes Mondal), notified disaster list of Calamity Relief Fund (LSQ 114 Smt. Jhansi Botcha Lakshmi), National Disaster Management Fund (LSQ 153 Shri Jashubhai Dhanabhai Barad), Appraisal Report for Natural Calamities (LSQ 1573 Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot), Calamity Relief Fund (LSQ 1576 Shri Pushpdan Shambhudan Gadhavi, Shri Bhupendrasinh, Prabhatsinh Solanki, and Shri Mahesh Kumar Kanodia), River Bank Protection Scheme  (LSQ *395 Smt. C.S. Sujatha), construction of dams (LSQ 3904 Shri J.M. Aaron Rashid), Brahmaputra Board (LSQ 2378 Shri Moni Kumar Subba) and construction of Bhopal gas tragedy memorial (LSQ 1998 Shri Narahari Mahato).

 

ENERGY STUDIES

The theme of discussion during the year revolved around the search for as well as promotion of renewable energy sources. Other significant topic of discussion was concerned with rural energy promotion. The exploration of nuclear energy as a viable alternative energy source and the progress on energy generation from bio-mass and industrial wastes was the other areas covered in the discussions. Queries were also directed at the governmental initiatives in redirecting the country’s excessive dependence on fossil fuels to renewable environment-friendly energy sources such as wind and solar energy. The maximum number of questions was replied by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy with the Ministry of Power also handling a fairly high number of questions.

 

Energy from Fossil Fuels

The Minister of Coal enumerated on the survey undertaken to know about the reported depleting quantity of coal reserves in the country (LSQ 699 Shri Pralhad Venkatesh Joshi), alongwith the total geological resources of coal available in the country (LSQ 771 Shri Balashowry Vallabbhaneni). The Minister of Power has received a number of proposals to set up more coal-based power plants in the country (LSQ 1118 Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Shri Ananta Nayak).

 

Energy Generation from Renewable Sources of Energy

The Minister of New and Renewable Energy stated that the Government proposes to make use of the Solar Energy compulsory for the Government departments in the country (LSQ 156 Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar). In addition, the facts of country, being capable of producing around five trillion kilowatts of solar energy were also presented in the House (LSQ 1167 Shri K. Jayasurya Prakash Reddy, Shri Basudeb Acharia, Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul, Shri s. Ajaya Kumar, Shri Ravi Prakash Verma, Shri Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Shri Hari Kewal Prasad). Members also sought more information about the proposals to set up any research institute for Bio-gas, Bio-diesel and Solar energy in the country (LSQ 1996 Shri Alok Kumar Mehta). The Ministry has no proposal to establish a Joint Venture with any foreign company at the Government level for the development and promotion of New and Renewable Energy Sources in the country (LSQ 2206 Shri Ganesh Singh, Shri J.M. Aaron Rashid). According to the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, M/s. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has not commenced commercial natural gas production from Krishna Godavari basin (LSQ 1081 Shri Mohan Singh, Shri Errabelli Dayakar Rao, LSQ 67 Shri Dushyant Singh). The details of the target fixed for wind energy generation for the Eleventh Five Year Plan and achieved during the year 2007-08 (LSQ 113 Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri Narayan Chandra Borkataky). The Minister of Power reported that despite its immense potential, the power generation in the hydro power sector in the country is decreasing (LSQ *2 Shri Basudeb Acharia, Shri Kailash Nath Singh Yadav). The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas provided the legislators with detailed information on the Government and public sector oil companies have agreed to take steps to enhance energy security in the country (LSQ 991 Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul, Shri Mohammad Tahir Khan, Shri Kailash Nath Singh Yadav).

                

Nuclear/Atomic Power Plant

The Minister of Atomic Energy stated that the number of Nuclear Power Plants under the administrative control of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited located in various States with optimum production capacity and the quantum of power generated from each unit (LSQ 2694 Shri A.V. Bellarmin, LSQ 2720 Shri Subhash Maharia, Shri Raghuvir Singh Kaushal). The Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances And Pensions enumerated on the proposals to amend the Atomic Energy Act,1962 in the backdrop of the waiver by Nuclear Supply Group (NSG) and Civil-Nuclear Agreement 123 with the US (LSQ 770 Shri Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul).

 

Others

The other topics that were given due importance in the House include National Energy Fund (LSQ 1170 Shri Nikhil Kumar), Energy Conservation (LSQ 3206 Shri Sambasiva Rayapati Rao), energy from solid waste (LSQ 132 Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir), protection of mineral resources (LSQ *60 Shri Ramdas Athawale), National Mission on Energy Conservation (LSQ 3209 DR. Dhirendra Agarwal, Shri Harisinh Pratapsinh Chavda), and Inter State River Water Disputes (LSQ 1392 Shri G. Nizamuddin).

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The discussion during the Session was dominated by the request for information about the status of project proposals which were pending with the Central government for clearance and the reasons for delay, if any, in their passage and fund allocation. The projects enquired about included hydro-power, mining, and irrigation projects. A major theme of discussion was the nature of environmental clearance requirement for certain industrial projects. Other topics included evaluation of impact of proposed or ongoing developmental activities, the resettlement and rehabilitation package for development projects and the scheme, the Environmental and Social Mitigation Project. The MoEF provided the maximum number of replies during the year.

              

Hydel Power Project

With regard to the mentioned query, the Minister of Power furnished details about the multipurpose Polavaram Hydel Power Project, which is pending for clearance with the Union Government (LSQ 4698 Shri Kavuru Samba Siva Rao).  In addition, it also furnished details that the Government has given environmental clearance to a hydel project at Athirappally forest area in Kerala (LSQ 229 N.N. Krishnadas). It was also reported that the Government has assessed the cause and the extent of environmental damage due to recent land-slide at lower Subanshiri dam site of the NHPC (LSQ 257 Arun Kumar Sarma). Concern was expressed about the withdrawal of the environmental clearance given earlier to the Palavaram Inter-State Irrigation Project involving the States of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh (LSQ 1003 Kinjarapu Yerrannaidu).

                    

EIA for Mines

Discussions were held on the details of the proposal submitted to the Environment Ministry for environmental clearance for its uranium mining and processing plant in A.P (LSQ 4252 Shri Ranen Barman), the details of Bauxite mines in the districts of Kalahandi, Koraput and Rayhagada (LSQ 2532 Shri Bikram Keshari Deo), and the details of the environment clearance given to Ashapura Minechem Ltd by the Ministry (LSQ 3528 Maneka Gandhi). The damage caused to environment by illegal mining in the country remained an important issue of discussion in the House (LSQ 1777 Rasheed Masood).

 

Environmental Clearance to Projects

There were many discussions on various aspects of environmental clearance given to projects. The details of proposal submitted by Maharashtra Government for environmental clearance were discussed in the House, along with the the details of assistance and clearance granted to the environmental projects of Maharashtra during the last two years (LSQ 223 Chandrakant Khaire). Information was also given on the names of the projects recommended by the Government of Orissa for environment and forest clearance during the last three years (LSQ 987 Giridhar Gamang). Queries related to the pending developmental projects for environmental clearance with the Union Government were also asked, to which the Ministry answered the steps taken to expedite clearance of these projects (LSQ 1803 Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Abdullakutty, Madan Lal Sharma). In response to a query, the MoEF discussed the details of the number of mining projects, pending for environmental clearance in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands (LSQ 2793 Manoranjan Bhakta). Information was also dispersed on the Malls and Shopping Centres, being constructed in various parts of National Capital Territory of Delhi especially in Saket without obtaining environmental clearance (LSQ 2933 Prabhunath Singh, LSQ 5186 Haribhau Rathod).

 

Others

The other topics that were of major significance in the Houses were the discussions related to the demolition of illegal constructions (LSQ 292 Prabhunath Singh), decentralization of green clearance procedure, (LSQ 1826 G.M. Siddeswara), Bhure Lal - Sunita Narain committee on environmental impact (LSQ 2760 Raghunath Jha), study on ecological and environmental impact on Sethu Samudram project (LSQ 4264 K. S. Manoj), review of environmental laws (LSQ 5204 Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Eknath M. Gaikwad, Anirudh Prasad Alias Sadhu Yadav), exploration of hydrocarbon reserve in river Brahmaputra (LSQ 4400 Shri Prabodh Panda), Commonwealth Games 2010 (LSQ 4233 Shri Prabhunath Singh), Polavaram Project (LSQ 3936 Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy), Eco-City Project (LSQ 2285 Adv. Suresh Kurup), decongesting of Mumbai port (LSQ 193 Shri Milind Murli Deora), and proposal for atomic power station at Haripur (LSQ 214    Shri Prabodh Panda).

 

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION, NGOS AND MEDIA

The topics covered during the year in this subject area included the utilization of funds by NGOs, involvement of NGOs in the dissemination of information and their involvement in environmental projects including afforestation activities, to the government’s steps for public education. Also involved was the inclusion of environmental subjects in the course and curriculum of students. The awareness generation activities, setting up of institutes and details of meetings, workshops etc were the other areas of discussion in the House. Many of the questions were handled by the MoEF during the year.

 

Environmental NGOs in Projects

Discussion was held on the details of the schemes which encourage the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to participate in environmental projects (LSQ 2889 G. Karunakara reddy). The Ministry also expressed its concern regarding loss of habitats due to the adverse impact of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 on wildlife conservation (LSQ 2927 Anandrao V. Adsul). The critical role of the civil society groups came to the fore in the queries made about the involvement of NGOs in mobilizing public opinion. The Ministry affirmed to the fact of providing financial assistance and other support to the NGOs working for the welfare of animals (LSQ *194 Punnu Lal Mohale).

Environmental Media

In response to the expressed concern about the proposal to set up an Oceanarium Complex and Marine Theme Park in Kerala, which has been pending with the Government, the Ministry furnished the details for the same (LSQ 1514 Shri P.C. Thomas, LSQ 1605 Shri P. Karunakaran). The Minister of Water Resources discussed the declaration of the year 2007 as Water Year, alongwith the details of the objectives set for achievement during the year (LSQ 1507 Shri Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi, Shri Sathyanarayana Survey).

 

Environmental Education

An important target of environmental awareness generation activities is the new generation – the citizens of tomorrow – who would play key roles in determining governmental policies including environmental concerns. Recognizing the importance of this group, queries were made about the progress of the inclusion of environmental issues in educational curricula following the Supreme Court’s direction on the matter. The Ministry of Human Resource Development the details along with the locations identified for setting up of a University dedicated to environmental studies (LSQ 3185 Shri E.G. Sugavanam). In addition to the same, the Ministry gave the details of proposals to include basic information on traffic rules and environment study in the school syllabus at the primary level (LSQ 4086 Shri Sukhdev Singh Libra). The development of the National Curriculum Framework 2005 which envisages the incorporation of environmental education in all subjects and levels of school education was also pointed out. Subjects like disaster preparedness course, waste management have been incorporated for Classes VI, VII, X and XI and water management (LSQ 5086 Shri Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi).

 

 

ENVIRONMENT AND FOREST TRADE

The discussions on this subject area mainly focused on the National Eco-Tourism Policy of the country and the steps taken by the government to promote eco-tourism. The other topics of discussions included the promotion of forest productivity and development of eco-tourism. Many of the responses during the year were given by the MoEF.

The Minister of Water Resources expressed its concern on the increasing number of cases related to Environment and Forest trade. Accordingly, the Central Ground Water Authority has issued direction under Section 5 of the Environment ( protection) Act, 1986 to States/UTs having over-exploited and critical blocks to promote/ adopt artificial recharge of ground water/rainwater harvesting (LSQ 2327 Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul, Shri Ravi Prakash Verma).  Additionally, the Government has also proposed to focus on environment – oriented forest sector and a strong national policy on forests and land use plans which are essential to achieve ecological sustainability (LSQ 2796, Chandra Bhushan Singh, Adhalrao Patil Shivajirao, Anandrao V. Adsul).

            

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

The discussions during the year covered matters relating to biodiversity, the funding of environmental conservation programmes, and pollution related policies. The replies by various Ministries covered the topics related to the Environmental degradation, government’s policies, rules and regulations on energy, forests, coastal protection, wildlife protection, resettlement and rehabilitation, mangrove protection, and waste management. The MoEF handled the majority of the questions raised in the House.

 

Use of Bio Diversity

The biodiversity-related queries sought details about the proposals to formulate a scheme for better use of biodiversity available in the country to improve farm production (LSQ 2408 Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy, Shri Balashowry Vallabbhaneni). It was reported that there is no proposal to set up a Bio-Diversity Board under the Ministry of Agriculture, and no request has been received by them from any State Government or any other organizations to set up such a Board (LSQ 1054 N.N. Krishnadas). Demand was made about information on the details of implementing the new Tribal Rights Act that extends legal protection to tribals to adequately protect critical wildlife habitats (LSQ 342 Dalpat Singh Parste). According to the Minister of Environment and Forests, the Eastern Ghats, considered as a treasure house of medicinal plants, rare flora and fauna, are under strain due to various anthropogenic factors (LSQ 3381 S. K. Kharventhan).

 

         Environmental Pressures

Discussions were held on the overburdening of the ecosystems with environmental pressures from commercialization, excessive use of resources and indiscriminate dumping of industrial and agricultural wastes (LSQ 1083 Ranen Barman, Joachim Baxla). The details and outcomes of the completion of the marine fishery resources survey were also discussed by the Minister of Agriculture (LSQ 2450 Dr. K.S. Manoj). In relation to the increasing environmental pressures in the country, the Ministry of Environment and Forests proposed an ecologically sustainable policy for Himalayan region (LSQ 639 Swadesh Chakrabortty).

 

Environmental Laws

Responding to a query, the Ministry of Environment and Forests explained about the awareness of the violation of environmental pollution/protection laws in the country (LSQ 322 Haribhau Rathod). Concern was also expressed on the poor enforcement of various environmental laws in the country including Karnataka by some eminent environmentalists (LSQ 3447 G.M. Siddeswara, LSQ 3520 S.K. Kharventhan). The House was informed of the completion and formulation of the National Environment Policy for reform and to harmonize the demands of development and environment (LSQ 2885 Sugrib Singh, Kishanbhai V.Patel, Nand Kumar Sai).

 

Expenditure on Environment and Forests

The discussions in the House related to the per capita expenditure on environment and forests in the country during the last three years, State-wise (LSQ 1030 Mansukhbhai D. Vasava, Harisinh Chavda). The details of proposals received by the Union Government from various State Governments for release of funds under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) during the last three years were also presented in the House (LSQ 5214 M. Jagannath).

 

Others

The following topics were of major significance, that provided information on ban on saw mills in North-Eastern States (LSQ 1828 Arun Kumar Sarma), constitution of central empowered committee (LSQ 4300 Anandrao V. Adsul, Adhalrao Patil Shivajirao, Ravi Prakash Verma), rules for waste management (LSQ 5252 Shri Asaduddin Owaisi), National River Conservation Plan (LSQ 754 Bhartruhari Mahtab), Eco-Friendly Organisms (LSQ 636 Sumitra Mahajan), proposals regarding ecological balance (LSQ 635 Shri Thawarchand Gehlot), Bio Piracy (LSQ 682 Shri Navjot Singh Sidhu), contribution of forest sector to GDP (LSQ 757 Shri K. C. Singh “Baba”).

 

FOREST CONSERVATION

The state of the country’s forests in terms of the area of coverage, the extent of land degradation across the country and the diversion of forest land were the major areas of discussion during the year. Other topics of discussion in the House included the development of forest villages, the implementation of the National Afforestation Program and the development of wastelands. Several enquiries were made about the government’s policies and programmes for the tribes residing in and around the forests, including their relocation. There were also discussions on the decline in forest cover and actions taken to arrest the decline. A fairly large number of state-specific discussions were held ranging from the utilization of afforestation funds to projects for forestry development or forest clearance. The highest number of questions was handled by the MoEF.

 

Degradation of Forest Lands

The MoEF furnished the State-wise details of large-scale illegal felling and smuggling of rare and costly trees like Sandalwood and Teak, which have been reported from various parts of the country, particularly from the State of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh (LSQ *27 Bapu Hari Chaure, Sanjay Dhotre, LSQ 5215 Prakash B. Jadhao). Discussions were held on the total forest area destroyed by mining activates like extracting of iron ore etc. and construction of railway sidings, particularly in Keonjhar district, Orissa (LSQ 1898 Ananta Nayak), alongwith the proposals to lease forest land to coal companies (LSQ 3444 Shri Bhai Lal) and leashing out the forest land for mining activities (LSQ 3363 Shri Bhai Lal),

 

Decreasing Forest Cover

Concern was expressed on the decreasing forest cover (LSQ 995 Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Anirudh Prasad Alias Sadhu Yadav, Eknath M. Gaikwad, Nivedita Mane, LSQ 4230 Maneka Gandhi). Many queries were focused on the survey to check that 728 square kilometres of rich forest area has been lost because of the destruction caused by Tsunami and due to the construction of dams in several States (LSQ 1841 Ravi Prakash Verma, Anandrao V. Adsul, Bhartruhari Mahtab, Adhalrao Patil Shivajirao). The details of the proposals to increase the forest cover in the country, during the Eleventh Plan (LSQ 1885 Ananta Nayak, Bhartruhari Mahtab). Also reported was the permission to cut all the trees that fall in the way of the bus stops, bus lanes, cycle tracks etc. in Delhi by the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) (LSQ 1892 Maneka Gandhi). Responding to a query, the MoEF reported about the efforts made by the Government on the recommendations of CAG on the regeneration and preservation of the forest area in Jammu and Kashmir (LSQ 2914 Maneka Gandhi).

                       

Protection of forests

There were many discussions on the formulation of schemes for the safety of the forests (LSQ 291 Mahadeorao Shiwankar). The MoEF enumerated on the total number of Joint Forest Management Committees constituted in the country, State-wise including Karnataka (LSQ 3370 G. M. Siddeswara). The Ministry also explained about the proposals to hand over vast stretches of sanctuary land to forest dwellers (LSQ 3429 Dhirendra Agarwal, Mansukhbhai D. Vasava) and the proposal regarding constitution of a Committee for simplification of the process for according approval to the management schemes for  more than 10 hectare forest area under the social-forestry programme has been received from the Government of Madhya Pradesh (LSQ 5218 Chandrabhan Singh). The impact of the decreasing mangrove forest on the environment alongwith the plans to conserve them were discussed in the House (LSQ *155 C.S. Sujatha, Amitava Nandy).

 

Forest Development

The Ministry of Environment and Forests furnished the details of proposals to start the development of forest villages instead of cutting the forests for the residential and industrial purposes (LSQ 3460 Sanjay Dhotre, Bapu Hari Chaure). Discussions ranged from plans to increase the productivity of forests by quality seeds (LSQ 196 Ravichandran Sippiparai) to forest development agencies project for Gir forest (LSQ 1008 P. S. Gadhavi, Bhupendrasinh Solanki, Mahesh Kanodia), and to proposals that bring out New Forest Policy in the country (LSQ 1814 Chander Kumar). Reponding to a query, the MoEF reported the amount of funds released by the Union Government to State Governments particularly to State Government of Bihar for the development of forests during the last three years (LSQ 3373 Shri Giridhari Yadav).

Afforestation Programme

Many discussions were targeted on the implementation of massive programme of afforestation to increase the forest cover in the country (LSQ 220 Madan Lal Sharma). It was reported that there is no land to meet the requirement for afforestation and plantation in the country (LSQ 239 Jasubhai Dhanabhai Barad), to which the MoEF revealed its plan to increase the forest land in Karnataka (LSQ 242 G. M. Siddeswara). The MoEF also furnished details on the proposal submitted by the State Government of Kerala for afforestation of degraded non-forest land involving Panchayati Raj Institutions (Grama Vana Yojana) (LSQ 1031 P. C. Thomas). There were discussions involved on the assessment made on the damages caused to the environment in urban areas due to the felling of huge number of trees for developmental projects such as roads, flyovers and major buildings, mining, irrigation etc. (LSQ 2859 C. Kuppusami, M. P. Veerendra Kumar). The  details of funds allocated and released to Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) and Forest Development Agency (FDA) for implementation of  National Afforestation Programme (NAP) during the Tenth Five Year Plan; State-wise were presented in the House (LSQ 3403 Madhusudan Mistry, Harin Pathak, Jayaben B. Thakkar). The decision taken by the Government in view of the project submitted by the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the Union Government for coastal afforestation by conservation and management of Mangroves and other associated plants along the coastal regions of Andaman and Nicobar Islands (LSQ 5219 Manoranjan Bhakta, LSQ 2918 Ajit Jogi).

 

Miscellaneous

The other topics that were of significance were related to proposal to establish a forest academy in Kerala (LSQ 1080 P. Karunakaran, P.C. Thomas), vacant posts of forest personnel (LSQ 1081 Maneka Gandhi, K.C. Pallani Shamy), forestry projects funded by international finance institutions (LSQ 1878 G. Karunakara Reddy), land under reserved and protected forests (LSQ 1881 Jasubhai Dhanabhai Barad), funds for diversion of forest land (LSQ 2768 Madhusudan Mistry, Harin Pathak), allotment of forest land (LSQ 2792 Madan Lal Sharma), diversion of forest land (LSQ 2822 Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil), achievements of the Indian Institute Of Forest Management at Bhopal (LSQ 3452 G. Nizamuddin), construction work on forest land (LSQ 3463 V.K. Thummar, Mansukhbhai  D. Vasava), proposal for forest academy (LSQ 4244 Vikrambhai Arjanbhai Madam), rehabilitation of ravine lands (LSQ 4293 G.M. Siddeswara), environmental clearance for Vedanta Aluminum plant (LSQ 5193 Tathagata Satpathy), conversion of forest villages into revenue villages (LSQ 5211 Abu Ayes Mondal), encroachment on forest land (LSQ 627 Anurag Singh Thakur), contribution of forest sector to GDP (LSQ 757 Shri K. C. Singh “Baba”), insufficient land for Afforestation and Plantation (LSQ 239 Jasubhai Dhanabhai Barad), and study on condition of tribals (LSQ 2303 Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir).

 

FRESHWATER AND MARINE CONSERVATION

The discussions during the year covered a wide area of concerns ranging from the state of the country’s coastline to the conservation of freshwater bodies across the country. Concerns were expressed about the condition of the country’s water bodies. Several questions were raised on the problem of marine pollution, coastal erosion and pollution of the shorelines from inland sources. Other topics of discussions included the pollution of water bodies, wetlands conservation, cases of Ganga and Yamuna rivers and issues related to marine resources and dams. While the MoEF had the highest share of the queries, the Ministry of Water Resources also had a fairly high share of the queries.

 

Conservation of Lakes and Wetlands

Responding to a query, the Minister of Water Resources enumerated on the details of various developmental works undertaken for abatement of water pollution and development of Chilka lake (LSQ 1011 Ananta Nayak, Jual Oram). In addition, the details of National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) were also discussed in the House (LSQ 2882 Raghuveer Singh Koshal, Jivabhai Ambalal Patel, Dhirendra Agarwal, and Ananth Kumar, LSQ 1050 Jual Oram). Discussions were also held on the celebrations of February 02, 2008 as the World Wetlands Day (LSQ 1743 Shri M.K. Subba).

 

Problems in Water Bodies

The Ministry of Environment & Forests confirmed to the fact that water and water creatures are suffering heavy damages due to invasion of aquatic plants like Eichhornia into the country’s ancient water bodies and rivers (LSQ 5220 Hansraj G. Ahir). The Minister of Water Resources gave the details of the desilting work done during the last three years (LSQ 1399 Shri Sambasiva Rayapati Rao, Dr K. Thanaraju).

 

Coastal Management Plans

The Ministry of Environment & Forests reported that the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a partnership among governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations throughout the world, has designated 2008 as the International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2008) (LSQ 1858 Maneka Gandhi). Discussions were also held on the submitted proposals regarding Coastal Regulation Zone and the need to preserve some rights of fishermen living in Coastal area (LSQ 1091 P. C. Thomas). The Minister of Environment and Forests also reported that the construction works in the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) has been banned (LSQ 4308 Maneka Gandhi). The Minister of Water Resources held a discussion about project proposals related to National Coastal Protection Project (LSQ 199 Shri Harisingh Nasaru Rathod, LSQ 635 Shri N.S.V. Chitthan).

 

River Action Plans

Discussions were also held on various river action plans, for instance Ganga Action Plan (LSQ 313 Dhirendra Agarwal, Harikewal Prasad), Pampa Action  Plan to clean and protect the Pampa River in the State of Kerala (LSQ 5171 Shri Subrata Bose), Mithi River Project (LSQ 4580 Shri Pratik Prakashbapu Patil). The Minister of Environment and Forests also informed the legislative members about the expertise offered by some foreign countries in removing pollutants from various major rivers in the country (LSQ 299 G.M. Siddeswara). The details of the pollution control scheme in the districts of Mandla, Jabalpur, Hoshangabad etc. in Madhya Pradesh for Narmada river under the National River Conservation scheme were  also discussed by the Minister of Environment and Forests (LSQ 5178 Chandrabhan Singh).

    

Others

The other topics that were discussed by the legislative members in the House were groundwater recharging schemes by NABARD (LSQ 2186 Shri Sathyanarayana Sarvey), flow of river Ganga (LSQ 5037 Shri Vijay Krishna), marine training institutes (LSQ 647 Shri Suresh Chanabasappa Angad), marine casualties (LSQ 713 Shri Rajagopal Lagadapati).

 

HEALTH AND SANITATION

The majority of discussions in the House pertained to concerns for public health arising from water quality. The water related issues include the pesticide content in drinking water, and the assistance for provision of safe drinking water. Particular focus was given to the issue of provision of safe drinking to the rural areas and action plans on sanitation Other discussed topics related to the threats to public health caused by various health hazards like, plastic use, asbestos, persistent organic pollutants, private sector involvement in the provision of clean water, the response to the bird flu epidemic including availability of bird flu medicine, and health hazards arising from mining activities. The majority of questions were handled by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Urban Development.

 

Flu viruses

There were requests for detailed information about bird flu – the number of casualties and preventive measures put in place by the government. A fairly high number of queries were made about the different types of the viruses that are likely to be generated by bird flu (LSQ 4236 Shri Rewati Raman Singh). The Minister of Agriculture explained about the warning by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to the Indian Government that the dreaded bird flu could resurface (LSQ 3788 Smt. Nivedita Mane, Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Shri Anirudh Prasad (Sadhu) Yadav). The reports about the cases of human beings getting affected due to Bird Flu were also presented in the House (LSQ 347 Shri Salarapatty Kuppusamy Kharventhan, LSQ 1126 Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul).

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare discussed the present status of Avian flu in the country (LSQ 709 Shri Vijay Krishna).

Health Hazards

One of the primary concerns of public health policy pertains to the radiation related health problems (LSQ 4337 Smt. Maneka gandhi). Discussions also drifted to the exposure of labourers/workers engaged in ship breaking industry to severe health hazard due to presence of dangerous materials like asbestos etc. (LSQ 164 Shri Jashubhai Dhanabhai Barad). There was denial from the Ministry of Environment and Forests regarding the cases of adverse effects of lead due to house hold dust in Delhi (LSQ 1677 M.P. Veerendra Kumar).

 

Sanitation Schemes

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed the House about the time by which the integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme converting dry latrines into water seal latrines in the urban areas will be completed (LSQ 2040 Shri Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy). The Minister of Rural Development furnished details on the proposals to expand the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in the country during the current year and also in 2008-09 (LSQ *127 Shri Kashi Ram Rana, Shri Jivabhai Ambalal Patel) and regarding the survey conducted to identify the villages lacking quality drinking water (LSQ 1265 Shri Madan Lal Sharma, Smt. Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo, Shri Kiren Rijiju, Prof. M Ramadass, Prof. Maha deo rao shiwankar). Information was also given on any shortfall in achievement of target fixed under Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) (LSQ 1358 Shri Ramchandra Paswan, Shri Rampal Singh). Proposals regarding any proposal for drinking water supply through Sustainable Community managed Drinking Water Supply for Rural Areas of Backward Tribal districts have been received by the Union Government were also discussed in the House (LSQ 2368 Shri Pushpdan Shambhudan Gadhavi).

 

Diseases

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare reported about the Fluorosis disease, that is prevalent in the country (LSQ 2884 Dr. K.S. Manoj). Also, the increasing number of cases of Malaria, Chikungunya, Dengue and Viral fever were presented in the House (LSQ *109 Shri Pusp Jain, Shri N.N. Krishnadas).

 

Mitigation Centres

Discussions were also held to provide detailed proposals from the State Government of Gujarat regarding setting up of the Regional Flourosis Mitigation Centre at Gandhinagar (LSQ 2152 Shri Jashubhai Dhanabhai Barad). The Minister of Rural Development presented the number of  drinking water quality testing laboratories existing in the country as on date State-wise (LSQ 4630 Shri Bhupendrasinh Prabhatsinh Solanki, Smt. Jayaben B. Thakkar, Shri Jashubhai Dhanabhai Barad).

 

Others

The other topics that were of major significance were utilisation of funds under sector reforms project (LSQ 2225 Shri Ramchandra Paswan), pending Communication and Capacity Development Units (CCDU) proposals (LSQ 2360 Shri Bhupendrasinh Prabhatsinh Solanki), WHO norms on malnutrition (LSQ 28 Shri Sanat Kumar Mandal, Shri Vijay Krishna, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir), protective equipments for people working in garbage disposal works (LSQ 4688 Shri Salarapatty Kuppusamy Kharventhan), conference on drinking water (LSQ 1133 Shri Asaduddin Owaisi), and veterinary research institute (LSQ 2471 Shri Asaduddin Owaisi).

 

MEDICINAL PLANTS

The discussions during the year revolved around the governmental promotion of medicinal plants production and protection in view of the expanding global market for plants and plant-based products. Other topics brought up by legislators included the patents for medicinal plants, survey of medicinal plants and assistance to states for development of botanical gardens. The MoEF gave many of the replies under the subject, during the year.

The Minister of Agriculture presented to the House the proposals to cultivate aromatic plants and to set up floriculture zone in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands (LSQ 5298 Shri Manoranjan Bhakta). Discussions were held on the total quantity of medicinal herbs exported during each of the last three years and in the current year till date, quantity-wise, value-wise and country-wise (LSQ *420 Shri Harisingh Nasaru Rathod). The Minister of Commerce And Industry helped in identifying the reasons so as to inspite of cultivation and availability of many herbs in the country, India is having very low share in the world trade of herbs (LSQ 5084 Shri Mansukhbhai D. Vasava, Shri Harisinh Pratapsinh Chavda). The Minister of Health and Family Welfare furnished the details of the list of medicinal plants to be cultivated by the National Medicinal Plant Board and State Level Boards (LSQ 293 Shri Raghuvir Singh Kaushal).

In an answer to a concerned query, the Minister of Health And Family Welfare explained the efforts made by the Union Government to encourage the users and farmers engaged in the farming of medicinal plants in the country because there is lack of awareness among the people regarding usage of medicinal plants in the country (LSQ 1908 Shri Nand Kumar Sai, Shri K.C. Pallani Shamy). Also, there was a discussion on the received complaints regarding misutilization of funds allocated for jatropha cultivation (LSQ 3190 Shri Aram Ganpatrao Renge Patil). The other major component of Medicinal Plants that received sufficient attention during the year was the large scale smuggling of medicinal plants such as Norkya, which has been noticed by the Government in the country particularly from the Chandoli Forests of Maharashtra (LSQ 993 Pratik P. Patil). The MoEF confirmed the names of medicinal herbs found in abundance in the forests of the country and details of the measures being taken by the Union Government for the conservation and proliferation of rare medicinal herbs (LSQ 359 Shri Ganesh Singh).

 

POLLUTION

The discussions during the year mainly focused on the various measures being taken to address air and water pollution. A large number of discussions were held particularly on water pollution, including noise pollution. Important topics such as the tackling of pollution by industries and the assessment of the impact of pollution on human and environmental health were also covered. The MoEF gave the maximum number of replies during the year.

 

Air Pollution

The important issue of machines for controlling air pollution was discussed in the House (LSQ 2892 Shri Kinjarapu Yerrannaidu). Important discussions related to the black carbon cloud over the country were also held in the House. The Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) refers to the high loading of pollutants in the atmosphere consisting of mixture of anthropogenic sulphate, nitrate, organics, black carbon, dust and fly ash particles and natural aerosols such as sea salt and mineral dust (LSQ 5168 Rewati Raman Singh). The details of the quantity of pollutants found in the air at various locations across the country during the last three years were furnished in the House (LSQ 261 Mahavir Bhagora).

                                      

Water Pollution

The issue of rising water pollution was raised in response to which the Ministry stated that the problem was cosmopolitan and increasing in several major rivers in Poorvanchal and Bihar (LSQ 2774 Harikewal Prasad, Giridhari Yadav). The Minister of Environment and Forests gave details of the setting up of Sewage Treatment Plants under the Ganga and Yamuna Action Plan (LSQ 319 Chandrakant Khaire). The MoEF reported that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has expressed grave apprehensions about the possibility of cleaning the Yamuna River by 2010 when Delhi is scheduled to host the Commonwealth Games (LSQ 317 Ingrid Mcleod). The details of pollution control scheme in the districts of Mandla, Jabalpur, Hoshangabad etc. in Madhya Pradesh for Narmada River under the National River Conservation scheme (LSQ 5178 Chandrabhan Singh). The outcome of the study conducted on pollution level in Mahanadi and Brahmani Rivers were also discussed in the House (LSQ 2860 JUAL ORAM). In addition, the case of Damodar River, which has become highly polluted due to the discharge of effluents from dozens of coal mines, coal washeries, thermal power plant, fertiliser and chemical units situated along its banks stretching from Khelari in Jharkhand to Durgapur in West Bengal was also raised in the House (LSQ 1766 Tek Lal Mahto).

 

Other types of Pollution

Important discussion about the effect of pollution was also held after Members demanded a detailed response from the government about the result of any study on effects of pollution, the level of industrial pollution as well as the measures and their effectiveness. The Ministry furnished the required information including the details of impact of house-hold dust on health (LSQ 1677 M.P. Veerendra Kumar), and the industrial units causing environmental pollution in and around Delhi (LSQ 284 Bhubneshwar Prasad Mehta). The steps taken in regard to the discharge of waste materials by various pharma companies resulting in environmental pollution were another topic of discussion (LSQ 755 Mohd. Mukeem). Details were sought on the continuing danger to health and environment in the country posed by multi-crore industries (LSQ 4249 G.M. Siddeswara).

Pollution Remedial measures

There was discussion held on the mitigation measures for mechanism that exist in India for recycling of waste and its comparison to the mechanism that exist in other developed countries (LSQ 323 Sarvey Sathyanarayana). The MoEF gave a detailed description of the environmental regulations coal based factories have to comply with (LSQ 2858 V.K. Thummar, Jivabhai Ambalal Patel). In addition, the details of the schemes which encourage the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to participate in environmental projects (LSQ 2889 G. Karunakara Reddy). The Ministry also informed the House about the action taken or proposed to be taken by the Government to check pollution and punish the companies which do not abide by the environment norms laid down by the Government (LSQ 4225 Ch. Munawar Hassan). Details were sought on the steps taken by the Government to ensure compliance of  Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2003 and the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 (LSQ 660 Arjun Sethi, LSQ 826 Braja Kishore Tripathy).

                       

Others

The other topics that were of significance include rank of India in environmental pollution (LSQ 986 K.C. Pallani Shamy), Eco-City Program (LSQ *537 K.J.S.P.Reddy), Implementation of Municipal Solid Waste Rule (LSQ 4221 Manoranjan Bhakta), inspection of factories and mills by CPCB (LSQ 633 K.C. Singh Baba).

 

WATER MANAGEMENT

The discussion in the House under this subject area ranged from the nature of external assistance received for water resource development, the promotion of rainwater harvesting and inter-basin transfer of river water. A substantial number of questions were raised about the government’s plans and proposals for augmenting the supply and storage capacity of water across the country particularly measures taken to optimize water availability through watershed development, river linking, recharge and conservation measures. There were several discussions on the government’s initiatives to improve the supply of water to the agriculture sector. The access to clean water, the National Water Policy and sharing of water resources between states and with neighbouring countries were also brought up for discussion. The highest number of questions was addressed to the Ministry of Water Resources during the year.


Availability of Water

The Minister of Water Resources informed the Members about the   present water availability in the country (LSQ 2492 Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury), alongwith the steps taken for development of appropriate technologies to use the unutilized water (LSQ 2525 Shri Raghunath Jha).

 

Study on Drinking Water

The Minister of Urban Development discussed about the Government setting up high level committee to study the drinking water problems of the country (LSQ 4611 Shri Sambasiva Rayapati Rao, Shri Pusp Jain, Shri Alok Kumar Mehta, Shri Ram Kripal Yadav). The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution stated the number of companies engaged in the production of bottled/mineral water in the country at present, State-wise (LSQ 343 Shri Jashubhai Dhanabhai Barad). The Minister of Rural Development also revealed that the Government has formulated any long term strategy to provide arsenic free water to the people across the country (LSQ *120 Shri Basudeb Acharia). Also reported were the details of drinking water projects being implemented with foreign assistance in Kerala (LSQ 3171 Shri P.C. Thomas). There was more information in the House regarding the analysis of drinking water requirement of the country (LSQ 2164 Shri Sambasiva Rayapati Rao). The Ministry of Water Resources furnished details of the acute shortage of drinking water faced by Assam despite being on the bank of the Brahmaputra which is a perennial river (LSQ 3827 Shri Rajen Gohain). The Minister of Rural Development reported about the foreign assistance to provide safe drinking water facilities in the country particularly in the rural areas, alongwith the names of those countries (LSQ 2178 Shri Dalpat Singh Paraste).

 

Decline in Ground Water Level

Discussions were held on effective steps taken by the Government in the direction of decline in ground water level (LSQ 4756 Shri Hemlal Murmu). The Minister of Water Resources revealed about the survey conducted on the ratio of the decline in ground water level against its utilization during the last three years (LSQ *150 Shri Amitava Nandy, Shri Ajit Jogi). The Ministry also informed the House about the report for centralised control over river and ground water in order to address any conflicts among various States (LSQ 4853 Shri Kishanbhai Vestabhai Patel, Shri Sugrib Singh). In addition, the Ministry also detailed on the steps taken for optimum use of ground water resources (LSQ 297 Shri Dushyant Singh). The details of the decision to amend the Indian Easement Act,1882 to check the indiscriminate exploitation of ground water (LSQ 331 Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir). The Minister of Water Resources enumerated on the Government constituting an Advisory Council for popularising the concept of Artificial Recharge of Ground Water (LSQ 369 Smt. Maneka Gandhi).

            

Rain Water Harvesting 

The Minister of Urban Development stated about the proposals to make rain water harvesting system compulsory for new constructions on 100 Sq. Meters area and above in the big cities throughout the country (LSQ 3170 Shri Kinjarapu Yerrannaidu, Shri Bhai Lal). The Minister of Water Resources enumerated on the rain water harvesting projects, which have helped in recharging the declining ground water level in the various States over a period of time (LSQ *484 Shri Nand Kumar Sai, Shri Sugrib Singh). In addition, the steps taken by the Government to improve water harvesting and conservation aquifer recharge and drip irrigation alongwith the success achieved thereon were also presented in the House (LSQ 366 Shri K. Subbarayan).

 

Water Purifying Schemes

Detailing on the action taken or proposed to be taken to remove the silt and sand from the Durgapur Barrage were discussed in the House (LSQ 165 Shri Sunil Khan). The responses of the donors for funding from any foreign agencies/country for the development of water sector (LSQ 766 Shri Amitava Nandy). Also reported were the proposals to review the National Water Policy (LSQ 190 Shri Uday Singh).

 

Water Conservation Schemes

The funds for irrigation under Bharat Nirman Yojana scheme were discussed in the House (LSQ 1379 Shri Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, Shri Nivedita Mane, Shri Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad, Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Shri Anirudh Prasad (Sadhu) Yadav). The Minister of Water Resources also enumerated on the Participatory Management of Irrigation (PMI), which was launched with the objective of development of irrigation and cautions management of water in the country failed to achieve its objectives (LSQ 3903 Shri Karunakara G. Reddy). The vital issue of constitution of the Central Ground Water Authority to regulate and control the ground water management and development in the country (LSQ *497 Shri N.S.V. Chitthan) was also an area of significant attention. There were many discussions on the proposals received to formulate a scheme for Reuse of Domestic waste water in view of constantly declining ground water (LSQ 5292 Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury). In addition, the formulation of comprehensive schemes for construction of watersheds in the country (LSQ 3871 Shri Chandrakant Bhaurao Khaire) and schemes of ground water recharging are being implemented in some regions by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in the country were also very important (LSQ 337 Shri Jivabhai Ambalal Patel, Shri Mansukhbhai D. Vasava).

 

Miscellaneous

The other topics that were of major significance were Inter State River Water Disputes (LSQ 1392 Shri G. Nizamuddin ), dialogues of water sharing with neighbouring countries (LSQ 767 Shri K. Subbarayan), exploration of resources (LSQ 3499 Shri Ajit Jogi), annual plan outlay 2008-09 for Tamil Nadu (LSQ 1807 Dr. K. Dhanaraju), exorbitant charges for water supply (LSQ 3184 Shri Uday Singh), nationalisation of rivers (LSQ 690 Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul, Shri S. Ajaya Kumar,  Shri Kailash Meghwal, Shri Ravi Prakash Verma, Shri Uday Singh, Shri Mahavir Bhagora, Shri Balashowry Vallabbhaneni, Shri Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, Shri C.K. Chandrappan, Shri Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, Shri Basudeb Acharia, and Shri K.C. Pallani Shamy), participatory research programme (LSQ 729 Shri K. Jayasurya Prakash Reddy, Shri Naveen Jindal), water charges for agricultural purpose (LSQ 2384 Shri A. Ravichandran Sippiparai), policy on use of water by industries (LSQ 2517 Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi), water purification plant (LSQ 3864 Smt. Kiran Maheshwari),  and national policy on check dams (LSQ 387 Shri Anandrao Vithoba Adsul).

 

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

The main focus of negotiations in the House was the decline in wildlife population due to various factors such as poaching, smuggling of wildlife products and the steps taken to conserve wildlife habitat. Some discussions specifically focused on the declining population of tigers, vulture, Red Jungle Fowl, swamp deer and crane. Other topics included the National Wildlife Board, antipoaching measures, illegal trade in animal parts and the upkeep of animals in zoos. There was also discussion held on the displacement of people due to the setting aside of lands for national parks and sanctuaries. The MoEF provided the highest number of replies during the year.

                

Threat and Death of Animals

Many questions were raised about the deaths of wildlife including that of sea gulls, sanctuary birds, ghariyals and tigers. The MoEF discussed the decline in the population of sparrows, as reported by the Bombay Natural History Society, which may be attributed to a number of factors including the loss of preferred habitat, loss of nesting sites in big cities, increase in the population of predators of house sparrow, food scarcity, etc, but the Ministry suggested that there is no immediate threat to its existence (LSQ 2182 Shri Parsuram Majhi). It also pointed out that there are reports of death of animals in the National Zoological Park, New Delhi and Sanctuaries (LSQ 1808 Prof. Mahadeorao Shiwankar, Shri Mohd. Tahir). Discussions were held on the details of the killing of a number of leopards recently across the country (LSQ 2302 Shri S. K. Kharventhan) and also about the number of elephants found missing during the past three years in the country (LSQ 3074 Shri Adhir Chowdhury) to which the MoEF stated  the details of ongoing programmes being implemented under project elephant stating the achievement made in North-Eastern region, particularly in Assam during last three years and the current year (LSQ 2884 Dr. Arun kumar sarma).

 

Crime against Wildlife

There were certain discussions regarding the crime against wildlife which have now taken the form of an organised crime in the country and the steps taken to check this (LSQ *454 Shri Rasheed Masood). The MoEF discussed the functioning of the statutory body towards the smuggling of animals and the action taken by the Government in this regard so far (LSQ 3803 Shri Harisingh Chavda, Dr. Dhirendra Agarwal). The Ministry of Environment and Forests also briefed on the number of lions in Sariska reserve as on date (LSQ 3822 Shri Jasubhai Dhanabhai Barad). Two instances of smuggling of frogs have been reported, as discussed by the MoEF (LSQ 5269 Shri Milind Deora). The MoEF enumerated on the details of tiger bones are being smuggled to various Asian countries illegally and the steps taken by the Government to check the smuggling of tiger bones (LSQ 1421 Shri Navjot Singh Sidhu). Concern was expressed about the frequent reports of smuggling of Indian wildlife articles to neighbouring countries and incidents of poaching of wild animals (LSQ 2249 Shri E.G. Sugavanam). 

Discussions were held regarding the review made on the success achieved by the Government to stop poaching of wild life (LSQ 2286 Shri Dushyant Singh). In response to a query made regarding the tigers being poached in reserved forest areas in different parts of the country, the MoEF highlighted the steps taken by the Government for tiger conservation (LSQ 3095 Shri Anant Gudhe, Shrimati (Saw.) Kalpana Ramesh Narhire).

                       

Menace caused by Animals

Human-animal conflict is a major issue in the country’s wildlife management. This was touched upon in the discussion on the number of persons died and the number of houses damaged in the mayhem caused by the wild elephants in Jharkhand in the last three years. Also, the action taken for the formulation of compensation to the tune of rupees one lakh for each adult and rupees fifty thousand for each minor has been paid to the dependants/kins of 220 persons killed by wild elephants during the last three years (LSQ 2977 Shri Tek Lal Mahto). The MoEF stated that although no conclusive evidence had been found for the cause of deaths, there was the existence of possible man-animal conflict in the area. The details of the Government providing compensation to the families of the victims of wild animals including elephants who destroy the crops, dwelling houses land property and kill the people recently in Assam were also discussed (LSQ 1662 Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Dr Arun Kumar Sarma, Dr. Babu Rao Mediyam).

                 

Protection of Animals

In the discussions on endangered species, individually, maximum concern was expressed about the tiger population in the country. Several queries were made about the proposal received from the State Government of Kerala for creation of second tiger reserve in the State. Based on the proposal received from the State Governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, ‘in principle’ approval has been accorded for the ‘Parambikulam-Anamalai’ tiger reserve falling in Kerala and Tamil Nadu (LSQ 778 Shri M.P. Veerendra Kumar, LSQ 1793 Shri P.C. Thomas). Details were given on the number of villages located in various tiger reserves in the country and the fresh steps taken by the Government to ensure protected environment for tigers (LSQ 783 Shri Kuldeep Bishnoi). In addition to this, the details of the proposals to review the Project Tiger Scheme being run for the conservation of tigers in the country were also highlighted in the House (LSQ 784 Shri Baleshwar Yadav). The MoEF reported that action has been initiated for providing Central Assistance to the State for relocation of villages from the core area of Sariska Tiger Reserve (LSQ 1755 Shri K.S. Rao). The MoEF, in addition gave details of the “In principle approval”, which has been accorded for declaring eight new tiger reserves spread over seven States, based on proposals received and as recommended by the Steering Committee of the Project Tiger (LSQ 1418 Shri Adhalrao Patil Shivajirao, Shri Anandrao V. Adsul, Shri Ravi Prakash Verma, Shri Asaduddin Owaisi, Shri K.C. Pallani Shamy, LSQ 2759 Shri N. N. Krishnadas). Discussions were also held on the letters being received by the Prime Minister from citizens belonging to different walks of life on issues of national importance, which interalia, includes tiger conservation (LSQ *226 Shri M. Shivanna, Shrimati Botcha Jhansi Lakshmi). It also pointed out the action taken to hire Ex-servicemen for protection of tiger reserves (LSQ 2265 Shri Ravi Prakash Verma, Shri Milind Deora) alongwith the several recommendations made by the Tiger Task Force and the National Forest Commission for strengthening tiger and forest conservation respectively, which interalia, include strengthening of professional expertise and providing basic facilities to forest field staff (LSQ 3079 Dr. M. Jagannath, Shri Jasubhai Dhanabhai Barad, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Shrimati Nivedita Mane). The House was informed that two tigers were found dead in the Jim Corbett National Park recently, and steps are being taken by Government of India for conservation of wild animals including tigers (LSQ 603 Shri Suresh Angadi, Shri Jasubhai Dhanabhai Barad). The MoEF informed the Members about the Tiger reserves in the country are not connected by natural forest corridors with each other except Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh with Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra and Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal with Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam (LSQ 3831 Shri K.C. Singh “Baba”).

 

Wildlife Trade

The illegal trade in wildlife products and the seizures of such products by the authorities was also an important subject of discussion. In this regard, the MoEF responded with information about the simplification of the procedure for sale of elephants to curb the illegal trading of elephants (LSQ 3901 Shri Kishanbhai V. Patel, LSQ 2246 Shri K. C. Pallani shamy). In view of the continuing illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products, the country is faced with the real and urgent need for the constitution of a body dedicated to the control and prevention of smuggling activities. The House was informed of the well organised poaching network having links with international operators in the clandestine trade of animal body parts (LSQ 3013 Shri Sarvey Sathyanarayana, Shri Narahari Mahato, Shri G. Karunakara Reddy, Shri M.K. Subba, and Shri Subrata Bose).

           

National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

There were queries related to the funds and other financial assistance given to the various zoological parks and other concerned authorities. The MoEF replied to a Member’s query regarding the number of zoological parks in the country to which financial assistance has been provided during the last two years (LSQ 116 Shri Naveen Jindal). It also highlighted the funds demanded by various State Governments, particularly by the Government of Rajasthan for the purpose of Wildlife protection (LSQ *193 Shri Jaswant Singh Bishnoi, Shri Kailash Meghwal). With regard to the new reserves and sanctuaries being established, the MoEF discussed the amount spent by the Union Government on the Kunopalpur Sanctuary located in Madhya Pradesh in the current year among the Members (LSQ 3815 Shri Ashok Argal). The Members were informed of the quantum of assistance provided to sanctuaries for development of habitats during the last three years (LSQ 4347 Shri M. P Veerendrakumar, Shri G.M Siddeswara).

 

Census of Animals

The MoEF gave details of the proposal to develop Simplipal and Darin Bari Forest as National Park/wildlife sanctuary and the steps taken to develop the Simplipal Forest in Orissa (LSQ 44 Shri Sudam Marndi). In addition, it also pointed out that many national parks have been encroached upon (LSQ 90 Shri Harisinh Chavda, Dr. Dhirendra Agarwal). The details of the declaration of the Chandoli Wildlife Sanctuary as National Park were also discussed (LSQ 1812 Shri Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil). The MoEF highlighted the request by the Government of Andhra Pradesh for financial assistance for the setting up of a wildlife cell at Hyderabad airport (LSQ 2818 Shri Badiga Ramakrishna). In addition, the proposal received to set up trans-boundary national parks and sanctuaries to protect wildlife in partnership with neighbouring countries were also discussed in the House (LSQ 3862 Shri Ravi Prakash Verma, Shrimati Nivedita Mane, Shri Eknath M. Gaikwad, Shri Kirti Vardhan Singh, Shri Anandrao V. Adsul) alongwith, the proposals made by the Government to expand the area of Sanctuaries and National Parks and also create new Sanctuaries/National Park for protection of animals (LSQ 2237 Shri Bikram Keshari Deo, Shri Thawarchand Gehlot, Shri Mahavir Bhagora).

 

Actions and Programs

The other major component of wildlife management that received sufficient attention during the year was the surveillance activities to check poaching. The MoEF furnished information about the seizure of wildlife parts from different states during 2005 as well as the details of tiger and elephant deaths reported in 2006, following the demand for detailed information on wildlife crimes; and the number of leopards at present (LSQ 1620 Shri Dalpat Singh Parste). The setting up of an Inter-State Coordination Committee as part of its anti-poaching strategy in and around the sensitive areas of tiger reserves by the Government to enable collaborative anti-poaching strategy along the sensitive borders of the following tiger reserves/protected areas were also a major concern in the House (LSQ 1473 Shri M. Raja Mohan Reddy). The MoEF confirmed the killing of 8 Rhinos during the first half of the current year in the Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary itself (LSQ 1529 Shri M.K. Subba). Also discussed was the proposal to set up the ‘Wildlife Crime Control Bureau’ with headquarters at New Delhi to protect wild lives (LSQ 1564 Shri S.K. Kharventhan, LSQ 2248 Shri Anandrao V. Adsul, Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri Adhalrao Patil Shivajirao, and Shri Milind Deora). Information regarding the formulation of a policy to rehabilitate the people living/residing inside the National Parks/ Sanctuaries located in different parts of the country, especially in Uttarakhand was presented in the House (LSQ *317 Shri Vijay Bahuguna).

 

Others

The other topics that were widely discussed in the House were related to the orders of the Central Zoo Authority of India to close the Riwalsar Zoo (LSQ 791 Shri Abdul Rashid Shaheen, Shri Kailash Meghwal), proposals to release certain area of reserve forest land of Gangotari National Park and Askot Animal Sanctuary  for construction of roads along  international border with China and Nepal (LSQ 2879 Shri Braja Kishore Tripathy), proposals to upgrade the tiger census throughout the country in a phased manner regularly (LSQ 1544 Shri Abu Ayes Mondal), the request by the State Government of Rajasthan to declare Abu Mountain as an environmentally vulnerable area (LSQ 1533 Shri Raghuveer Singh Koshal), the declaration by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) of ‘Year 2007’ as International Year of Dolphins (LSQ 2300 Shri K.C. Pallani Shamy), the elevation of the Banneraghatta Biological Park (near Bangalore) to international standards (LSQ 2709 Shri M. Shivanna), the decreasing tiger population in the country and the implementation of the Project Tiger in this context (LSQ 2719 Shri Adhir Chowdhury, Shri Kinjarapu Yerrannaidu, Shri Uday Singh), the details of ‘Operation Gaja’ (LSQ 2850 Dr. Babu Rao Mediyam), details of the number of migrant birds arrived in Ghana Birds Sanctuary at Keoladev, Rajasthan this year (LSQ 739 Shri Mohan Singh) , the considerable decrease of the migration of birds to sanctuaries from other parts of the globe due to unfavourable conditions at birds sanctuaries (LSQ 1725 Shri P.C. Gaddigoudar), and the ban on diclofenac drug (LSQ 2769 K. Jayasurya Prakash Reddy).