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Ken-Betwa River linking project receives environment, forest & tribal clearances

The ambitious Ken-Betwa river linking project has received formal environment, forest and tribal clearances. The project aims at addressing water needs of dry swathes in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation is working out the funding pattern with NITI Aayog. The Ministry is pursuing NITI Ayog to change its funding pattern of Centre state share from 60:40 to 90:10 for the project as it is a special project. 

Key Facts

  • It is India’s first river interlinking project that will connect Ken river in Madhya Pradesh with the Betwa in Uttar Pradesh.ken-betwa_link
  • The project was envisaged first in 1980 to transfer surplus river water to dry and arid areas of Bundelkhand region. It will help irrigate an area of 6.35 lakh hectares annually in Bundelkhand region.
  • Of this, 3.69 lakh hectares will be covered in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh, Chattarpur and Panna districts. The remaining 2.65 lakh hectares of area falls in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi, Mahoba and Banda districts.
  • The project is estimated to provide 49 million cubic metres (mcm) of drinking water to a population of 13.42 lakh in Bundelkhand region in the two states. Besides, it will also generate 78 mega watt (MW) of power.

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Hope Island becomes graveyard for Olive Ridleys Turtles

Hope Island in Andhra Pradesh has become graveyard for Olive Ridleys turtles after 54 carcasses of this species were spotted on the shores of island.

This indicates that the breeding cycle of this species got severe blow due to mechanised fishing boats scouring in the Bay of Bengal coastline. These boats crush most of these turtles under it leading to their death.

The Fisheries Department is encouraging the mechanised boat owners to fit a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) to their trawl nets to allow thee turtles to pass. 

About Olive Ridley

  • Olive Ridley turtle is the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtle found in the world. It gets its name from its olive coloured carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded.
  • It is found in warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. It spends entire lives in the ocean and migrates thousands of kilometers between feeding and mating grounds in the course of a year.
  • Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years. It is recognized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red list. In India, it is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act.
  • Breeding Season: It commences its journey from Indian Ocean towards Bay of Bengal during their mating season in October and November every year.
  • A single female can lay upto 100 to 150 eggs in a pit dug on the beaches. Six weeks later these eggs hatches and the newly hatched turtles start the journey to their Indian Ocean habitat.
  • The destination for majority of the turtles for laying egg is Gahirmatha in Odisha. The sandy stretches of Hope Island of the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary also have turned into a breeding area.

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Effects of Endosulfan use devastating: SC

The Supreme Court has described side effects of Endosulfan, a highly toxic agrochemical (pesticide) as devastating. It has directed Kerala government to release entire Rs. 500 crore compensation to over 5,000 victims in three months who have suffered from various deformities and health complications due to use of Endosulfan in the state. It also asked the state to consider setting up a centre to provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims.

The major numbers of victims were reported to be affected in Kasargode (Kerala) after Endosulfan was aerially sprayed by state owned company on cashew plantations adjoining habitats where the victims are located. The apex court in 2011 had passed order to ban the production, distribution and use of endosulfan.

About Endosulfan

  • Endosulfan is a most toxic pesticides having hazardous effects on human genetic and endocrine systems.
  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2011 added it in list of banned substances and phasing it out as an agrichemical. It is banned in over 80 nations due to its ‘high toxicity.
  • It is sprayed as pesticide on crops like cotton, fruits, tea, paddy, cashew, tobacco etc. for control of pests in agriculture such as whiteflies, aphids, beetles, worms etc.
  • Hazardous effects: In case of humans it causes delayed reproductive development, autism, bioaccumulation, endocrine disruption (stunting of hormones), long-range contamination, neurotoxicity, long-range contamination and sensory Loss.
  • It blocks the inhibitory receptors of the Central Nervous System, disrupts the ionic channels and destroys the integrity of the nerve cells. The spraying of endsosulfan also destroys biodiversity of the area.

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