Time is now ripe for a power fund: Piyush Goyal (18 May 2015)
Union Power Minister makes some candid comments on Hydro: “Right now, hydel is almost stalled. We have Teesta stuck for various reasons. Subansiri, Maheshwar, Lower Subansiri, all of them have different challenges. Small hydros are facing challenges of transmission, they are facing challenges of local area problems. So, by and by, the hydro sector will need a more holistic thinking. The courts have also taken up certain matters, particularly in Uttarakhand, post the tragedy (of floods in 2013). There is the mission of Ganga to ensure that there is a reasonable flow—Aviral Ganga, which we are committed to. We are working on all of these plans… For example, Subansiri had an issue where the local population had concerns. We immediately got an eight-member very, very high-level expert committee, including Central Water Commission, Central Electricity Authority, and experts from Assam. They are all working together to see the environmental impact, structural impact, riparian state impact and riverbed impact.
Srinagar of my thought A recent trip to Srinagar, Pauri Garhwal was educative and eventful. Myself belonging to border areas of Pauri District, I had heard village people often talking of Srinagar in casual conversation. During summer vacation, I would think of travelling to native village via Srinagar but could never explore the route. Watching snaps of Pauri and Almora towns, I imagined of Srinagar town on similar lines as a cascade cluster of modern buildings. In June 2013, the town was in news since an infuriated Alaknanda River waters had engulfed it. Read More
Above: The modest Yettinahole Stream, close to location of proposed weir. Photo: Parineeta Dandekar
Debate over Yettinahole Diversion Project has been raging in Karnataka for more than two years now. While Dakshin Kannada has been rightly raising issues of unassessed social and ecological impacts of the project on this region, fresh information now available, including a study by scientists of the Indian Institute of Science – Bangalore, and other experts proves that Yettinahole Diversion Project just does not have the water that the project developers claim it does, taking out the very hydrological foundation of the project. Read More
Above: Watershed measures in Maharashtra Photo: WOTR
~ Guest Post by Zareen Pervez Bharucha
Farmer after farmer had the same story: fields were parched, wells were empty, it was painful to see the land crack up and peel away like the soles of ones’ feet. ‘What can we do? This is what Nature has become,’ they said, in interview after interview.
I was speaking with farmers in Parner taluka in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. My conversations were part of a research project on the long-term impacts of watershed development. In the same taluka, the village of Ralegaon Siddhi had turned dry fields into green farms using soil and water conservation and a strict set of rules governing land management. Their example and those of other seminal cases have shown the amazing potential of decentralized soil and water conservation. These successes have helped launch watershed development as India’s foremost strategy for dealing with the nexus of dryland degradation, rural poverty and hunger. I was curious about the lived experiences of people in ‘normal’ – rather than well-known – watershed projects. Read More
Marking a significant failure of India’s Disaster Management apparatus, the massive dam created by landslide on the Phutkal River in Zanskar Valley in Kargil district in Jammu and Kashmir burst on May 7, 2015, leading to extensive damage to the bridges, culverts, some buildings and land along the river. Read More
(Photo from Outlook)
Harischandra Yerme from Latur (Maharashtra) sunk not one or two but 60 borewells in his field in Marathwada in the hope of finding water for his orchard. None of these 60 borewells yield water today. Mr. Yerme has taken on himself the task of educating farmers in his region that there is no sense in growing an orchard on bore wells: the supply may dry up at any moment, resulting in huge losses. He told me, “We don’t even consider 250 feet borewells now, all bores are at least 700-800 feet deep and even then they don’t work.” Marathwada is reportedly drilling as many as 10,000 borewells per month in this drought: a boom that is sustained by the “boring mafia” from Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu using travelling rigs… In as many as 247 villages of Marathwada, the draft has exceeded recharge to such an extent that the aquifer has literally gone dry.. Water in villages is plummeting even by 7 meters of the 5 years average. The density of borewells is so high that is villages near Tasagaon, a 40-50 square kilometer area has more than 210 deep bore wells. Officials from GSDA tell SANDRP of multiple instances where farmers only lose money in the hope of going deeper for groundwater, deeper than 800-900 feet. The landscape is likened to a “Chaalan”: a sieve in Marathi, but also several gunshot wounds.. Read More
The massive Nepal earthquake of 7.9 intensity (Richter scale) on April 25, 2015 with epicenter 77 km north-west of Kathmandu in Nepal is a major noteworthy event in the Himalayas which also has warnings for what is in store for future. The earthquake left a major trail of destruction affecting over 20 districts of Nepal, of which 8 million live in 11 severely affected districts. Besides, it affected areas of India (Bihar, UP, W Bengal, Sikkim, Assam), Bangladesh, Tibet. The earthquake has now been given the official name of Gorkha Earthquake.