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Ensure Gujarat urban water bodies receive clean monsoon water: Chief Secretary told

Ahmedabad environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra director Mahesh Pandya, in a letter to Gujarat chief secretary JN Singh has sought the latter's urgent intervention to ensure that wastewater in gutters and storm water during monsoon don't get mixed up and flow into water bodies.
Pointing out that this would create major environmental issues, Pandya said, during the recent cyclonic conditions in some parts of Gujarat, this reportedly became a major menace, adding, one should take care this does not happen in major cities.
According to Pandya, the situation has deteriorated, especially with regard to ponds and lakes in big cities, because the effluent treatment plants are not working in accordance with their requisite standards.
Insisting they should be treating effluent discharged into gutters by observing Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) norms, he added, this would go a long way in keeping urban areas' water bodies clean.
At the same time, Pandya said, the authorities sh…
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India's solar installation down by 49%, targets 30% lower than those set by govt

While India's solar installations in Q1 2019 may have "increased slightly" at 1,737 MW, 4% growth compared to 1,638 MW installed in Q4 2018, installations were down by 49% year-over-year (YoY) compared to 3,377 MW installed in Q1 2018, says Mercom Communications India is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Mercom Capital Group, a leading clean energy communications and consulting firm.

PUCL regrets: It failed to start national campaign against "menace of fascism"

Ravi Kiran Jain, national president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), even as coming down heavily on India’s opposition parties, saying they have “no will or capability to face the ugly situation which has emerged on unprecedented political victory of Narendra Modi”, has regretted, it too has failed start any campaigns against the "menace of fascism".
Even as insisting in a statement in the PUCL Bulletin (June 2019) that in the current scenario "the role of PUCL becomes extremely important”, he said, it failed to launch anti-BJP campaigns, as decided at its National Council meet in Allahabad in September 2015.
The three campaigners it was to launch starting with 2016 were a nationwide campaign for securing the dignity of the individual in practice, a campaign against great threat posed by the divisive and fascist politics of the RSS and BJP, and a meaningful and effective reform of the criminal justice system.
Pointing out that “unfortunately, PUCL has n…

As social media picks up, newspaper readers "decline" from 29 to 18% in 5 yrs: Report

A new report, “Social Media & Political Behaviour” by Lokniti – Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, has revealed that the rise of social media platforms in India in the recent past “has been accompanied by a steady decline of traditional media over the years”, including newspapers and TV.

Ensure 20% of budgetary allocation for education: Finance minister told

In a representation to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Right to Education (RTE) Forum national convener Ambarish Rai has said that the forthcoming Union budget must put into effect the draft New Education Policy 2019 view that 6% of GDP and 20% of the budget should be allocates as public investment in education.

Adani coalmining project: Aussie govt told to look into public concern on water resources

In what is being interpreted as fresh trouble for the Adanis in Australia, who are on way to set up USD 16 billion dollar coalming project in the Queensland state, a local court has asked the Federal Government to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), which had filed a case the Federal Government has said that the latter has conceded public grievances on the Adani’s water scheme were ignored.
ACF said, "This is a massive outcome for the broader community, who raised grave concerns about the effect this project would have on Australia’s precious water resources", adding, "In conceding the case, the Federal Environment Minister has admitted the Federal Government failed to consider all of the thousands of valid public submissions about if and how Adani’s project should be assessed, in direct breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999."
According to ACF, "T…

Raid on Stan Swamy meant to intimidate tribal rights activists: PUCL

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has said that the Maharashtra police conducted raid and search in the residence of well-known tribal rights activist 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy at Bagaicha Campus in Namkum, Ranchi, Jharkhand, "without obtaining judicial search warrant", seizing his computer’s hard disk, internet modem and other storage devices, and forcing him to give his gmail and Facebook passwords.
Pointing out that the objective of the raid on Thursday morning was "to intimidate, scare and frighten all others – rights activists, democratically minded groups and concerned citizens – from extending any type of support to Stan Swamy and others", PUCL said, "These activists have for some years now been opposing state terrorism let loose in Jharkhand by a corrupt mafia of corrupt police and government officials, greedy politicians and vested corporate interests who have been attempting to grab valuable forest lands of adivasis."
"…

Maharashtra cops "raid" 83-yr-old Jharkhand tribal rights leader's campus, residence

An eight-person Maharashtra police team has made a surprise raid on the Bagaicha campus in Namkum near Ranchi, the residence of 83-year old Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand. The police searched Stan Swamy’s belongings for about three-and-a half hours. It took Stan Swamy’s hard disk and internet modem and forced him to give his email and Facebook passwords.
Thereafter, according to a statement issued by the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), the cops changed his passwords and “seized” his accounts. The Maharashtra police earlier raided Stan Swamy’s residence last year as well on August 28, 2018.
Stan, who works for tribal rights in the state, especially on displacement, alleged corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials and Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996, is a known critic of the government’s attempts to amend land laws and the land acquisition act in Jharkhand, and a strong advocate of the Forest Rights Act…

Vadodara ravines, wetlands being "systematically destroyed", yet nobody cares

Several prominent Vadodara citizens have in a letter to the city municipal commissioner expressed concern that ravines and wetlands in Gujarat's cultural capital "are being systematically destroyed and filled with debris and municipal solid waste in order to reclaim land for further 'development'."
According to them, "This will further augment the already existing waterlogging and flooding woes in various parts of the city", adding, "We have raised the issues with the concerned authorities, related to prevention anticipated disasters, flooding and water logging due to deliberate negligence". Yet, what they got was "lip service" regarding cleaning up the debris with all kinds of solid waste.
The letter follows a Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) communication to Gujarat government authorities directing them to take steps to protect "the ecology of the wetlands and ravines there through effective wa…

Democratic organizations should unite to demand protection for Puniyani: AIFRTE

Condemning threats to the life and liberty of noted academic and former Professor of IIT Mumbai, Dr Ram Puniyani, the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) has said, his articles, lectures and books are an "important resource for all civil society groups and activists in the struggle for promoting rationalism and scientific temper and opposing the Hindutva forces and ideology that are communalizing India’s polity and social life, in blatant violation of the Constitution."
"The cowards, who failed to identify themselves, telephoned his home on the night of June 6, 2019. They used highly abusive language and accused him of being ‘anti-Hindu’," the statement said, adding, "Dr Puniyani was threatened with dire consequences if he did not stop his activities and leave the city within 15 days."
A member of the Advisory Board of the AIFRTE, Dr Puniyani has filed an FIR with the Powai police station in Mumbai and also written to the Police Commissioner. …