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World Rivers Day celebrated with fervour in Agra

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Agra, Sep 27: World Rivers Day commemorates the many values of rivers and encourages river stewardship and conservation around the globe — a massive worldwide event involving up to 100 countries that has its roots in British Columbia Rivers Day.

Millions of people and thousands of events, both physical and virtual, celebrated World Rivers Day 2021 on Sunday, September 26 in what has become one of the largest environmental celebrations on the planet.

Members of River Connect Campaign in Agra said “With many of the world’s rivers in a degraded state and facing increasing pressures associated with pollution, industrial development, and climate change, close to 100 countries participated in this year’s activities.”

The theme of this year’s event was “waterways in our communities” with a special emphasis on the need to protect and restore urban waterways which are often under great pressure. Many events this year also profiled the all-important link between the state of our rivers and the state of our oceans.

“The importance of clean fresh water has been essential to the fight against Covid-19, so World Rivers Day is a timely opportunity for literally millions of people around the world to come together to commemorate the importance of healthy, vibrant waterways,” Mark Angelo, the founder and Chair of World Rivers Day, said in a press statement.

World Rivers Day events took place across six continents in countries ranging from Canada to England, the United States to India, Australia to Bangladesh, Austria to Nigeria, and from Mexico to Caribbean nations such as Dominica; the list goes on and on. “Millions of people, dozens of countries, and numerous international organizations will be contributing to World Rivers Day,” says Angelo.

Environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya said for more than six years, we have been actively involved an activities to raise awareness level and pressure the central and the state governments to take up appropriate measures to clean up the river and release fresh water to revive a dying Yamuna, but so far nothing has been done.

River activists said the issue of a barrage downstream of the Taj Mahal was still hanging fire. Nitin Gadkari had on several occasions promised to start ferry service to bring tourists from Delhi to Agra, but they have all gone back on their promises, lamented Pandit Jugal Kishore, who conducts the daily evening Arti of Yamuna to sensitise people.

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6.1 magnitude quake strikes Japan’s Tokyo, no tsunami warning

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Tokyo, Oct 8: An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter Scale on late Thursday struck Japan’s Tokyo region, but no tsunami warning has been issued, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The temblor occurred at around 10.41 p.m. local time, with its epicenter at a latitude of 35.6 degrees north and a longitude of 140.1 degrees east, and at a depth of 80 km.

The quake logged 5 plus in some parts of Tokyo Prefecture and Saitama Prefecture on the Japanese seismic intensity scale which peaks at 7.

According to utility officials, as of around 11.00 p.m. local time, the earthquake had triggered a blackout affecting around 250 households in Tokyo.

Some train services including subways operated by Tokyo Metro Co and shinkansen bullet trains had been suspended following the earthquake, railway companies said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters late on Thursday he had ordered officials to help quake victims and prevent further damage.

A task force to assess and monitor the earthquake’s impact has been set up at the prime minister’s office.

According to prefectural government officials, no abnormalities have been detected at Japan Atomic Power Co’s Tokai No 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture near Tokyo.

There were no reports of damage at Narita airport in Chiba, east of Tokyo after the strong quake.

Runways at Tokyo’s Haneda airport were temporarily closed for inspections, but later reopened as no damage was reported.

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NGT can take suo moto cognisance of environmental issues, rules SC

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New Delhi, Oct 7: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has power to take suo motu cognisance – on the basis of letters, representations, and media reports — and can initiate proceedings on its own on issues pertaining to the environment.

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy, and C.T. Ravikumar delivered the judgment on a batch of petitions which raised the issue whether the NGT has suo motu jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh had argued that the NGT has been conferred powers to pass orders for the restitution of environment, hence it can exercise suo motu powers. However, a battery of senior advocates opposed his arguments, stating that only constitutional courts can exercise suo motu powers and a statutory tribunal like the NGT has to act within the confines of its parent law.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, held that the NGT does not have the power to take cognisance of a matter on its own. But she also contended that the tribunal’s powers cannot be bound by procedural constraints.

“This is a peculiar tribunal dealing with environmental matters. Often, environment ends up being nobody’s baby,” she said.

The bench had queried her that if the tribunal were to receive an information in connection with environment, will it not be duty bound to initiate process? The ASG responded that once a letter or communication is received by the tribunal, it is within its power to take cognisance of it.

On September 8, the bench had reserved verdict on the issue. Senior advocate Anand Grover, amicus curiae in the case, had opined that the NGT cannot exercise suo motu powers on the basis of letters, representations, or media reports.

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NGT has powers to take suo moto cognisance on environmental issues: SC

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New Delhi, Oct 7. The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has power to take suo motu cognisance – on the basis of letters, representations, and media reports — and can initiate proceedings on its own on issues pertaining to the environment.

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy, and C.T. Ravikumar delivered the judgment on a batch of petitions which raised the issue whether the NGT has suo motu jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh had argued that the NGT has been conferred powers to pass orders for the restitution of environment, hence it can exercise suo motu powers. However, a battery of senior advocates opposed his arguments, stating that only constitutional courts can exercise suo motu powers and a statutory tribunal like the NGT has to act within the confines of its parent law.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, held that the NGT does not have the power to take cognisance of a matter on its own. But she also contended that the tribunal’s powers cannot be bound by procedural constraints.

“This is a peculiar tribunal dealing with environmental matters. Often, environment ends up being nobody’s baby,” she said.

The bench had queried her that if the tribunal were to receive an information in connection with environment, will it not be duty bound to initiate process? The ASG responded that once a letter or communication is received by the tribunal, it is within its power to take cognisance of it.

On September 8, the bench had reserved verdict on the issue. Senior advocate Arvind Grover, amicus curiae in the case, had opined that the NGT cannot exercise suo motu powers on the basis of letters, representations, or media reports.

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