The Centre has issued the draft of sediment management policy, which proposes forming of River Basin Authority to ensure that no inter-state or international river is affected by arbitrary de-silting activities. In the Draft Policy on Sediment Management, the government suggests that no de-silting work of more than 1 cubic metre be carried out in any river without the approval of the authority or the Central Water Commission (CWC). The draft was circulated to state governments last month and their suggestions have been sought, a senior CWC official said. "There is a need to establish River Basin Authority for all basins as per recommendation of (the) Doabia committee," the draft policy says. Set up in 2012, the Justice T S Doabia panel had advocated establishing a River Basin Authority for regulation and development of waters in inter-state river basins. The draft document also proposes that in order to safeguard the structural integrity of the barrage or a weir, dredging/de-silting/mining activity upstream of structure will not be allowed within approximately 200 metre. Such activities, it says, will not be allowed within a distance of 800 metres downstream of the structures. Underscoring the need for providing sufficient flood plain and lakes along the river to moderate flood level, the draft recommends that there should be no encroachment on the flood plain and reclamation of lakes.
It also recommends against disconnecting lakes from rivers. "Rather, adjoining lakes/depressions may be de-silted to increase their storage capacities," it says. The de-silting of lakes, the draft adds, should be carried out in a way that sediment continuity is maintained. Stating that the need for constructing storages with sufficient flood cushion, the draft says that stored water needs to be released during non-monsoon period in such a way that silt carrying capacity of river is maintained. "This will also improve ecology of the river," it says. Pointing towards littering of solid waste in catchment areas, the draft policy says it contributes to pollution in rivers and suggested local governing agencies to control disposal of the refuse to avoid the situation. It says special care should be taken for solid waste generated out of industrial processes, which many a times, contains toxic materials. "And intermixing with other silt may render the same unusable for food chain use. Such waste should not be allowed to be dumped in the river," it says.
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