SANDRP

Ganga basin faces unprecedented floods in Aug 2017

Ganga Basin, particularly Bihar is facing unprecedented floods, starting on Aug 12, 2017. Water levels of Major tributaries of Ganga, including Kosi, Mahananda, Rapti, Ghagra, Bagmati, Gandak and Kamlabalan are close to or above the historically highest flood levels almost simultaneously. This has rarely happened in the past. The water level of Ghagra is close to HFL at Elgine Bridge in Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh. Most other flood forecasting sites in North Bihar and East UP were shown as pink dots on CWC flood forecasting map on Aug 13-15, signifying that water level at these sites was above the danger level. This is possibly the beginning, this wave is expected to rise as it travels down towards Bihar and then W Bengal and Bangladesh. Read More

DRP News Bulletin 14 August 2017 East & North East India face flooded Independence day

FLOODS 2017

SANDRP BLOG: Brahmaputra basin to face unprecedented floods starting Aug 12, 2017: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/brahmaputra-basin-faces-unprecedented-flood-wave-in-aug-2017/

North Bengal Flood situation “Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling are the five districts which have been affected by the flood. Earlier in the day, Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said that the state government is tackling the flood in north Bengal on war footing.” 58,000 people had been affected in Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.

MAY BE IF THEY WOKE TWO DAYS EARLIER WHEN NASA MAP CLEARLY SHOWED THE HEAVY RAINFALL HAVING ALREADY OCCURRED, THEY MAY NOT HAVE HAD TO TACKLE IT ON WAR FOOTING AND A LOT OF DAMAGE COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED? http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/flood-situation-worsening-in-north-bengal-says-mamata-banerjee-1736993 Read More

Brahmaputra basin faces unprecedented flood wave in Aug 2017

In the morning of Aug 11, 2017, while checking my daily morning routine sites, I saw the sudden appearance of purple patch (signifying rainfall in access of 175 mm rainfall in previous 24 hours) on NASA daily rainfall accumulation map for Indian subcontinent.[i] The purpose  patch covered parts of the West Bengal, North East Indian and Bangladesh. I was taken aback, but it was not very unusual to see in the peak of monsoon. So as we usually do, I took a screenshot and put up on SANDRP FB page with a warning that this could lead to floods. I did not realize that this was the beginning of an unprecedented wave of floods for these regions that may extend to Ganga basin as I write this. Such purple patches generally disappear in 24 hours, since the rains do not last to long. However, in the case of current phase, not only the purple patch has last now for 42 hours, it has extended  to the west, all along India Nepal region along the southern boundary of Nepal.   Read More

Cancel Pancheshwar Dam Public Hearings: It involves too many violations and illegalities

From: SANDRP,

50-D, AD block, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi 88

we4earth@gmail.com, https://sandrp.wordpress.com/

August 11 2017

To

1. District Magistrate,

Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand

dm-pit-ua@nic.in

2. Chairman/ Regional office incharge,

Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board,

Dehradun, dkjoshi21@yahoo.com

COPY to: 1. IA Division (River Valley Projects) MoEF, Delhi

2. Chairman and Members of Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects

Respected Members of Public Hearing Panel for Pancheshwar Dam,

The public hearing now being conducted for the massive Pancheshwar Dam at Pithoragarh today, as part of the requirement under the EIA notification of Sept 2006 is being held in complete violation of letter and spirit of many norms of the EIA notification. Hence these public hearings should be cancelled. They should be rescheduled after appropriate conditions are achieved for the public hearing. Some of the key reasons for this are listed below, but these are not exhaustive reasons, but only a list of key indicative reasons. Read More

DRP News Bulletin 07 August 2017 (MANIPUR GOVT DEMANDS DECOMMISSIONING OF LOKTAK DAM & HYDROPOWER PROJECT)

In an interesting development, Biren Singh the Chief Minister of Manipur on August 01, 2017, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a review of the Loktak Dam (Ithai barrage) and Hydropower Project, leading to decommissioning to the dam.  https://thenortheasttoday.com/manipur-cm-biren-singh-apprises-pm-modi-of-worst-man-made-ecological-disasters-faced-by-state/  

Mentioning that Ithai barrage has become the main cause of frequent flood in the State, the CM has also demanded Prime Minister to figure out a permanent solution to the frequent floods in the state. Stating that Manipur is facing one of the worst man made ecological disasters and the floods have severely affected the socio-economic life of the people, the CM asserted that the Ithai barrage should be removed so that natural course of water could be maintained. . He mentioned that at present, the state is having sufficient power resources from other sources.  http://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/modi-urged-to-review-manipurs-loktak-project-ithai-barrage/

Before this, on July 27, in a very significant statement, M. Asnikumar, the vice chairman of Manipur Infrastructure Development Agency (MIDA) and also the state vice president of BJP Manipur has said that the Loktak Hydro Electric Project and Ithai dam have been disastrous projects and they must be decommissioned. The people of Manipur can live better without the Loktak Project. But we cannot develop without the Loktak. The statement Ithai dam has been the main reason for flash flood in an around the Loktak lake.  http://www.ifp.co.in/item/2247-time-to-decommission-loktak-hydro-electric-project

Since the commissioning of Ithai Barrage in 1983, there have been disastrous flash floods in and around the lake. These floods have severely affected the socio-economic life of the people of Manipur. Since the construction and commissioning of this dam, there have been drastic overnight changes in the hydrological path of Loktak that have in turn adversely affected the environment and socio-economic condition of the people of Manipur, Loktak dwellers being the most affected.

Read More

DRP News Bulletin 31 July 2017 (Dams Turning Floods into Disasters, Yet We Continue to Push More & Bigger Dams)  

All through the month, several states in the country have been battling severe flood situation. The Northeastern (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam), Western (Rajasthan Gujurat), Central (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh) and Eastern (Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal) regions have been particularly affected by floods following incessant rain.

Till July 28, 2017, 293 people have succumbed to flood related accidents. As per govt sources, the economic cost of flood damages has reached 53894.634 lakh.  http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2017/floodsJuly-2017.htm

Superficially water deluge seems a natural disaster occurring on annual basis. But a closer observation of flood monitoring mechanisms and scores of media reports reveal that most of the flood crisis is man-made and dams have been playing a bigger role in creating a disaster out of a natural phenomenon.

So far there have been more than a dozen reported incidents across country where breaching of aged or unmaintained dams have led to inundation of human habitation. On July 06, 2017 breaching of Shiv Sagar dam was such an incident causing severe floods in several villages in Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh. http://amritprabhat.com/mirzapur-mirzapur-floods-with-heavy-rain-dozens-of-houses-and-five-people-of-the-same-family-found-dead-body-of-two-shivsagar-dam-broke/

Similarly, there is information from reliable sources proving that the wrong operation of dams end up creating flood situation in downstream areas which were already facing heavy rains. The devastating floods in Lakhimpur Assam around July 09, 2017, were a result of release of huge amount of water from Ranganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh. https://scroll.in/article/844509/severity-of-assam-floods-heightens-old-fears-about-dams-in-the-brahmaputra-basin

In one more similar and latest incident, untimely release of water by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Jharkhand resulted in flood disaster in Birbhum, Purulia, West Medinipur and Hoogly districts. As per West Bengal Govt the DVC officials discharged the around 2 lakhs cusec of water on 25 July 2017, from many dams built on Damodar river without intimating it.  https://scroll.in/latest/845268/mamata-banerjee-blames-west-bengal-floods-on-centre-run-damodar-valley-corporation  

The third dimension in the flood tragedy is the fact that responsible authorities like Central Water Commission (CWC), concerned state department have failed to issue timely warning in so many incidences which could have otherwise been avoided or mitigated. There are also reports suggesting that there was no prior forecast and warning for ongoing floods in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Similarly there have been dozens of incidents in different parts where flood situation has been either caused or aggravated by faulty dam operation, breach in dams and lack of timely warning by responsible authorities.

The breach in Jaitpura dam and over spilling of Jawai dam in Jalor Rajasthan has inundated several villages. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jawai-dam-pali-disrict-floods-rajasthan-heavy-rains-rescue-operations-ndrf-food-material/1/1012924.html The breach in Narmada canal has led to floods in Badmer districts. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/narmada-canal-damaged/articleshow/59762317.cms

The sudden discharge from Seepu dam on West Banas River, Dharoi dam on Sabarmati river has created severe flooding in downstream districts killing many villagers. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/aerial-survey-of-banas-river-to-be-undertaken-as-death-toll-in-gujarat-floods-touch-111-4768335/ , http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/gujarat-sabarmati-waters-flood-anand-villages/articleshow/59786379.cms  

Further, the latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) latest report only goes on reinforcing all these issues. The shocking report tells us that out of 4,862 large dams, emergency action plans or disaster management plans of only 349 (seven per cent) large dams had been prepared till March 2016. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/jul/22/huge-delay-in-completion-of-flood-control-projects-in-country-cag-1632017.html

In a similar development another CAG report has put onus on Hirakud dam officials for 2011 floods. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/jul/23/cag-puts-onus-on-hirakud-officials-for-2011-flood-1632412.html 

The CAG has also presented scathing indictment of India’s CWC’s shoddy flood forecasting system. https://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/indias-flood-forecast-capability-a-washout-cag.html

The efficiency of flood monitoring can be judged from the fact that Irrigation Department Uttar Pradesh still relies on blade runners to convey flood information in the digital era. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/in-e-age-runners-alert-officials-about-flash-floods/articleshow/59676066.cms

The DAM FLOOD sanction of this update is full of such reports proving that dams have turning the floods into disasters.

Read More

DRP News Bulletin 24 July 2017 (Pancheshwar Dam Public Hearing Needs To Be Postponed)

In the middle of monsoon season, authorities have fixed August 7, 11 and 17 as public hearing dates for the Pancheshwar Dam project, a giant dam on Mahakali river at India Nepal border. The proposed dam will submerge 134 villages in Pithoragarh, Champawat and Almora districts. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/public-hearing-dates-for-land-fixed/437736.html

The public hearing is happening, when media news reports have widely revealed that villagers have not been informed properly. Many to be affected villagers have even said that they have no information regarding the public hearing. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ngo-seeks-postpone-of-pancheshwar-dam-hearing/articleshow/59727412.cms  Social media reports, too have disclosed that the state govt has disseminated no relevant information regarding Pancheshwar dam public hearing. https://www.facebook.com/pg/dev1bhoomi/posts/?ref=page_internal

The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project is incomplete and not shared with villagers in affected area in local language. On the contrary the environment ministry has waived off the requirement of a joint mechanism to assess its environmental impact. https://www.masterbuilder.co.in/india-nepal-pancheshwar-project-assessment-guidelines-now-eased/

The public hearing place is far away from the dam site making the public hearing site unreachable for many concerned villagers. It is worth to mention that its monsoon season, the region in landslide affected, several roads are blocked and it’s not possible for the most of the concerned villagers to reach the hearing venue.

20139587_1969050769787030_8371146017204709374_n.jpg

Local people, regional parties, individuals and civil societies groups have been raising concerns on the disastrous impact of second highest dam project of the world.  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/pancheshwar-dam-spells-doom-for-locals-of-130-villages-who-fear-tehri-re-run/articleshow/57561939.cms

Experts’ demand of postponing the meaningless is right. In a democratic system, the concerned authorities must hear the public voices. It is their responsibilities to share all the relevant information in public domain beforehand, conduct the public hearing in each and every dam affected districts instead of just one place. The present weather conditions are not favorable for the public hearing at all and it must be postponed. http://matuganga.blogspot.com/2017/07/23-8-2017.html

Its also beyond understanding that why such a unviable, high impact, risky project is being pushed in a seismically active region is a multi billion rupee question. http://www.firstpost.com/india/pancheswar-dam-uttarakhand-makes-steady-progress-project-to-generate-employment-power-irrigation-3837837.html

HYDRO POWER

Himachal Pradesh Lahaul-Spiti people condemn Jispa dam, demand eco tourism During a public hearing held on July 17, 2017, regarding 300 mw Jispa hydro project, local people of Jispa village have severely criticized the project making it clear that they would not allow the project. Agitated people also forced the officials to leave the meeting without any outcome. It is worth to mention that since 2009, people of Todh valley in Lahaul-Spiti district are opposing the Jispa Dam project proposed over Bhaga river, a tributary of Chenab, at Jispa village. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/jispa-dam-locals-demand-eco-tourism-not-hydel-project/articleshow/59665492.cms

As per, Rigzin Samphel Hayerpa, Convener of Jispa Baandh Jan Sangarsh Samiti (JBJSS), hundreds of residents of the affected villages had made it clear to the officials that they would not allow the valley to be ruined in the name of development. He added that merely on the ground that the project was of national importance, destruction of fragile ecology could not be allowed.

Zila parishad member from Kwaring Chhime Lhamo said the state government wanted to construct the dam against the wishes of the local people. She said that from the start the people were against the project but the government was not scrapping it. She also said that development at the cost of destruction cannot be allowed. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/meeting-over-jispa-dam-yields-no-result/articleshow/59657026.cms

National There is very interesting discussion with Union Power Minister, which clearly shows that Hydro is no longer viable even with all the additional subsidies the govt is considering.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaGujdFCwCA&sns=em

Read More

DRP News Bulletin 17 July 2017 (Northeast Continues To Experience Floods As Disaster Majorly Because Of Man-made Reasons) 

Since May 2017, several flood related incidents have taken place in the North East showing how our shortsightedness in understanding the rivers, how our thoughtless construction along the rivers in the name of flood control and how our careless operation of dams have converted floods into a disaster.

At the same time, there have been incidents raising suspicion over quality of construction of built and ongoing dams. Then the news of NHPC being accused of forging Gram Panchayats signs to build 520 MW Teesta IV dam is shocking revelation in itself. Contribution of such factors in worsening the floods is always underplayed. 

The countless landslides and Cyclone Mora (http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cyclone-mora-reaches-northeast-many-houses-damaged-in-mizoram/story-UzcDuPOge0drAklftXW38L.html) have already left the region crippling, despite this there is no regular monitoring of flood situation and no timely warning being issued by States or Central Agencies about the rainfall and floods. All this is enough to prove that the ongoing flood devastation in North East has very much to do with the way we are destroying rivers with hydro projects, dams and embankments and disturbing the fragile environment of North East. These incidents also put question mark before govt agencies which are first pushing the destruction in the sensitive region and then lagging way behind in monitoring and issuing timely precautionary warnings.  

Read More

DRP News Bulletin 10 July 2017 (Private Companies Exit Unviable Large Hydro Projects)

In a remarkable trend emerging in hydro sector in Himachal Pradesh, many leading private companies have started surrendering hydro power projects allotted to them by State Govt. As per the news report, Tata Group, Reliance, Jindal and Larsen & Toubro have either surrendered or are in process of surrendering numbers of hydro projects given to them over past one and half decade. These companies are now increasingly terming the projects as  non-viable and unprofitable. 

In the last week of June, 2017, Tata group reportedly has written to Directorate Energy, expressing its desire to surrender the 450 MW Duggar power project in Pangi area of Chamba district. The project had been allotted to them in 2007-08 and post feasibility study done by its consultants the group has found the unviable. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/tatas-give-up-chamba-power-project/428456.html

Before this the Reliance group had declined to set up  300 Mw Purty and 130 Mw Sumte Kothan hydro projects in Spiti. Following this, the State Cabinet on June 24, 2017 meeting agreed to return Rs 85 crore paid as upfront money by Reliance group. 

Similarly in recent past, the Jindal group, which was allotted the 250 MW Kutehar power project in Chamba, put the project on hold for some time without citing specific reasons. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/reliance-power-to-get-back-rs-85-cr-it-paid-to-govt-for-2-projects/427112.html

In the latest incident, anticipating problems in evacuating power, with the market being very grim as far as buyers and power rates are concerned, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is reported to have urged the state govt to enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with it for two of its hydel projects — Reoli Dugli (Lahaul-Spiti) and Sach Khas (Pangi), located in the arduous Chenab basin.

Read More

DRP News Bulletin 03 July 2017 (Panna Villagers Oppose Ken-Betwa Link Project)

In the month of June 2017 several villages in Panna district Madhya Pradesh have opposed the controversial Ken-Betwa interlinking project. According to locals the project will destroy the Ken River which is the life line of area. Numbers of Village Panchayats have sent their memorandums to District Collector citing negative impact of the project on Panna Tiger Reserve. Many individuals and social groups including trader’s body have also criticized the project. As per locals, Panna district lacks irrigation facilities but the project proposes to transfer Ken river water to other areas. Local political parties have also supported the villagers opposition.

KBL Letters 1

Similarly worried over the scale of destruction, a group of concerned people in Panna have recently organized a meeting on the issue. Discussing the side effects of the project, the group fears that Ken Betwa interlinking project will make the Ken River dry and as a result ground water level in the area will also go down. The people revealed that there is no surplus water in the river on the basis of which the project was planned. They also cited several shortcomings in the planning of the project and stated that downstream impacts of the project has not been studied at all. The group has collectively decided to take up necessary actions to convey their opposition to the project. 

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