As the first week of September ends, we take a close look at major socio-enviro developments across the mountain states and country with our weekly newsletter, A Week in the Himalayas.
According to the Department of Health Services, at least 877 newborns and 61 pregnant women have died in Meghalaya in the last four months, as the state’s health services were diverted to fight the COVID battle. The fatalities have occurred due to various diseases such as pneumonia and birth asphyxia, that could not be treated due to a lack of medical attention from health authorities.
The state has a total of 28 community health centres and 139 public health centres. Besides, there is a government-run civil hospital in each of the 11 district headquarters. The state capital houses 12 big hospitals, 6 of which are privately owned.
Meghalaya has seen only 15 reported deaths due to COVID-19 in the last four months – “more people have died due to other diseases and not Covid-19,” said Aman War, Director of Department of Health Services to News18.
Partnership between India and Bangladesh reached a new milestone on Thursday, following the operationalization of the Daukandi (Bangladesh) – Sonamura (Tripura) Inland Waterway Protocol route. Operations on the India-Bangladesh inland waterway route officially began on Saturday, with a Bangladeshi vessel transporting a cargo of cement from the neighbouring country’s Munshiganj port to Sonamura port in Tripura’s Sepahijala district.
The opening of this new protocol route will provide an economical, faster, safer and environment-friendly mode of transport and will result in substantial economic benefits to local communities on both sides, said the domain experts. It will further facilitate overall bilateral trade with Bangladesh.
As the controversy on Draft EIA 2020 rages on, the environment ministry has been rapped yet again for its stand on refusing to translate the Draft EIA 2020 in the local languages.
The environment ministry moved an application in the Delhi High Court on Saturday seeking a review of its direction to publish the draft in all the 22 languages enshrined in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution. The ministry’s application stated that official documents are required to be published only in Hindi and English.
The ministry further contended that the law did not require notifications to be published in local languages.
This decision by the ministry has invited lots of sharp criticism from the citizens, experts and journalists.
Months of lockdown has caused immense loss to Uttarakhand, a state largely dependent on its tourism business, but things are starting to go back to normal following Unlock 4.0 in the country.
The strict visitor norm of ‘2000 visitors a day’ has been relaxed in the state. Visitors are now allowed to enter the state unrestricted, however, they must register themselves on the state government smart city portal (smartcitydehradun.uk.gov.in) and produce COVID negative report ranging in the last 72 hours.
Himachal government issued the guidelines for the opening of religious places in the Himalayan state from 10 September. As per the new guidelines, no physical offerings like prasad, distribution or sprinkling of holy water will be allowed inside the religious place. The SOP said touching of statues, idols and holy books will also not be allowed. separate entry and exit for devotees will be arranged while maintaining a physical distance of minimum six feet at all times.
The SOP further stated that in case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises, the ill person should be isolated in a separate room from others till examination by a competent doctor. The premises will be disinfected if the person is found positive for COVID-19, added the guideline.
All the religious institutes in the state were closed down since 16 March.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has, in furtherance of a plea for prevention of unscientific dumping of waste in Kashmir’s wetlands, directed the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir to collaborate between the Wildlife Department and Rural Sanitation Department for use of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Gramin Funds to keep the wetlands clean.
The NGT stated that the funds available under the SBM Gramin were enough to keep the wetlands, especially Hokersar wetland, Wular Lake and Kreentchoo-Chandhara wetland, clean of solid waste on a regular basis.
The SBM Gramin funds have been lying under-utilized until now due to a lack of planning and awareness on behalf of the authorities at the helm.
(By: Upasana Ray)