SANDRP

Large Dams in Konkan Western Ghats: Costs, Benefits and Impacts

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Introduction 

Konkan is that narrow and spectacular strip of land encompassing coastlines, estuaries, lateritic plateaus, foothills of Western Ghats and dense forests, which runs from Maharashtra to Goa. Bound by the Arabian Sea to its west and the mighty Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) to its east, the region has a distinct and rich culture of folklore, performing arts, music, literature, culinary art. Konkan, its temples, rivers and forests have an entire Sahyadrikand of the SkandPurana dedicated to it. Several poems and songs have been penned about the beauty, the mystery and the people of this region. Many of our celebrated singers, poets and authors come from Konkan. Community conservation practices that thrive here include some of the most pristine Sacred Groves, Temple Tanks, Fish Sanctuaries and sacred trees. Read More

LETTERS TO EAC & MOEF: KEN BETWA LINK IS A TRAGEDY: DON’T BURN LIFEBOATS TO STAY WARM ON SINKING TITANIC SHIP

A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out,AJT Johnsingh

Even as the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley and Hydropower Projects sits to decide about Environment Clearance to Ken Betwa River Link Proposal on Feb 8-9, 2016, a number of people have written to the committee against recommending clearance to the project. We are publishing here some of them: Read More

DRP News Bulletin 08 Feb.2016 (Is Not Hiding Environment Information Against Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas?)

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SANDRP Open Letter to MoEF&CC Is Not Hiding Environment Information Against Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas? Even as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has been sanctioning cascades of hydro power projects on here-to free flowing rivers in the Himalaya and North East India, Cumulative Assessment of the Impacts of these projects became a crucial area of concern. The cumulative impacts of these projects on the hydrology, downstream flow, sudden water releases, deforestation, muck disposal, influx of migrant workers, seismicity of the region etc. is huge as compared to individual impacts. The projects together stand to change the social and ecological fabric of these regions.

Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) studies are a part of the Environment Impact Assessment Process under the EIA Notification (2006) and Environment (Protection) Act 1986. The documents of these CIAs have been uploaded on the Environment Clearance website in the past, as was required under number of laws. However, as the EAC is slated to consider whopping 4 CIAs in its upcoming meeting on the 8 and 9th Feb, not a single CIA-related document is available on the MoEF and CC website! We are told that these may not be made available in the future.

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Cumulative Impact Assessment documents not in public domain anymore? Letter to MoEF and CC

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Even as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has been sanctioning cascades of hydropower projects on here-to free flowing rivers in the Himalaya and North East India, Cumulative Assessment of the Impacts of these projects became a crucial area of concern. Over 70 dams are planned one after other for the rivers of the Upper Ganga Basin, 44 dams across the Siang Basin in Arunachal Pradesh famed for its pristine forests and biodiversity, 12 dams across the Lohit Basin, 19 for Subansiri basin. These are bumper to bumper projects, one starting where the other ends. Read More

River Sand Mining in India in 2015 – II – Government acts of omissions and commissions

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Unsustainable sand mining from riverbeds can have huge social, environmental, geomorphic and disastrous impacts for rivers. In this three part reports; SANDRP is trying to provide a picture of what happened on this issue in 2015 in India.

In the first part SANDRP has published the detail of illegal sand extraction that was found rampant across many Indian States in 2015. It specifically covered the increased numbers of attacks on Govt. officials including common men against their attempt to expose and oppose illegal removal of sand from riverbeds. 

This second part presents detail of some of the significant steps taken by Central and various State Governments (Govt.) to control and regulate unsustainable excavation of riverbed sand mining.

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Press Release: World Wetlands Day 2016: Complete Regulatory Vacuum around India’s Wetlands

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No National or State Wetlands Authority

No Wetland Rules for 4 yrs

The recent Chennai Flood Disaster of Dec 2015 and the Jammu and Kashmir Flood disaster of Sept 2014 have underlined that Wetlands are important not only for biodiversity & livelihoods of millions, but they are an integral mechanism for flood control and regulation in Rural and Urban India.

India is losing Wetlands at an alarming rate, as much as 38% in a decade (1991-2001). However, for the past four years, there has been a complete regulatory vacuum around the country’s wetlands, despite the Notification of Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules with much fanfare in 2010. Read More

DRP News Bulletin 01 Feb. 2016 (Experts suggest ways to revive Madurai’s dying rivers)

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Tamil Nadu Experts suggest six ways to revive dying Madurai’s rivers According to a paper entitled Future Proofing Indian Cities: Towards an approach to spatial and social analysis for sustainable development of Madurai by Jayaraj Sundaresan Development Planning Unit, University College London J. Kanagavalli DHAN Foundation, Madurai their documentation has revealed the significant role of Kruthumal River in the historic, cultural, ecological and economic growth of Madurai. Centuries ago, Madurai city developed as a small urban settlement on the banks between the rivers Kruthumal and Vaigai. Appearing in epics and sacred texts such as Srimad Bhagavatham and Narayaneeyam, Kruthumal has significant presence in the written history of Madurai. It was also known as Narayana Cauvery. It supplied water to the Ahazhi (moat) around the Tirumalai Nayakkar palace in Madurai. The paper gave six methods to look after Vaigai and Kruthumal Rivers in Madurai.  Looking at the condition of the rivers one feels it is hopeless, but there is hope if together with the government, something is done to control the destruction of the river, by law. And with organizations like DHAN Madurai can hope for a clean Vaigai in the future.

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River Sand Mining in India in 2015

(dna Research & Archives)

Unsustainable sand mining from riverbeds can have huge social, environmental, geomorphic and disastrous impacts for rivers. In this three part report, SANDRP is trying to provide a picture of what happened on this issue in 2015 in India.

This first part looks into 2015 putting together instances of illegal sand mining that occurred throughout the year in different Indian States. The successive blogs would make an attempt to cover all governmental measures and judicial interventions taken in 2015 to reign in uncontrolled extraction of this possibly most consumed natural resource after air and water.

Illegal mining of sand is profoundly linked to growth in construction industry that have accelerated in recent decades. Since then demand for this mineral is only going up. Today possibly there is not a single river in the country that is not ruined by sand mining. As a result, while the state of rivers has gone worse, the number of violent instances around illegal sand mining is on the increase.

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Bhutan Hydropower Developments in 2015

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Above: Punatsanghchu River in Bhutan

Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures its development in terms of Gross National Happiness, which includes environmental conservation and preservation of culture[1]. However, Bhutan’s hydropower construction spree in the recent years has increased debt burden on the country. Concerns are emerging over Bhutan’s profligate spending on a single sector without bringing commensurate benefit to its citizens. Hydropower development in the country faces severe risk of climate change effects and has a huge social and ecological cost. But Bhutan continues to develop hydropower claiming that the revenues would fuel economic growth and the loans are self-liquidating. This review of hydropower developments in Bhutan during the year 2015 is based on media reports throughout the year and other publicly available information.  Read More

DRP News Bulletin 25 Jan. 2016 (Save & Grow: FAO supports SRI)

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“Save & Grow” FAO supports SRI A new FAO book out on 18 Jan.16 takes a close look at how the world’s major cereals maize, rice and wheat can be grown in ways that respect and even leverage natural ecosystems.  FAO also underscores that “Save and Grow” farming systems are knowledge-intensive, and need to be built on local knowledge and needs, recognizing the important role of farmers as innovators. GREAT to see that this FAO publication (http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4009e.pdf ) contains a very detailed discussion and presentation on SRI, the first time that there has been such an endorsement of SRI (System Rice Intensification). With this publication, FAO joins the World Bank (http://info.worldbank.org/etools/docs/library/245848/) and IFAD (http://www.ifad.org/english/sri/  and http://www.ifad.org/english/sri/documents.html).

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