World Rivers Day and Ganga: A look at Farakka Barrage and other such calamities

Last Sunday of every September is celebrated as ‘World Rivers Day’. It is a recent phenomenon, but in many senses more significant than World Water Day. While ‘Water’ is seen more as a resource than the life-blood of the global ecosystem, ‘River’ provides water with its ecological, social, cultural and spiritual context. One this day, SANDRP looks at India’s ‘National River’ Ganga. The river seems to be a symbol of all that is right and wrong with water governance in India. It depicts crystallisation of challenges faced by rivers across the country, albeit at a much larger scale. The rich canvass and the deep spiritual value of Ganga for many cultures make it more riveting. The new government at the centre has declared that rejuvenation of the Ganga River is one of its priorities. However, in addition to several infrastructure projects planned and ongoing on the river and its tributaries (Ganga is not just 2525 kms long river, its is more than 25,000 kms long, with all its tributaries), the new Government is planing to build a series of barrages on the River to make it navigable, from Haldia, at the mouth of Hooghly, a major distributary of the Ganga to Allahabad which is some 1620 kms upstream from Haldia. Before we go further into the advantages or the disadvantages of more barrages on Ganga, let us take a look at what one only existing Barrage on this 1620 km stretch of the river, The Farakka Barrage, has done to the river in the past 39 years since the Barrage was commissioned. Let us see how we have managed the issues which have arisen, how human lives have been impacted, what has been our response, how the main objective of building the barrage has been frustrated, how we have dealt with this realization, how the Barrage has furthered more conflicts and how a thriving fishing activity has been nearly killed by Farakka in the upstream as well as in the downstream. SANDRP visited the region of Farakka Barrage, Malda, Murshidabad, talked with the affected people, fisherfolk, authorities at the Barrage as well as the Director and other officials at the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) to understand the complex issues. Prior to detailed analysis, here’s looking at Ganga, Hooghly and Farakka in photos.

The Hooghly-Ganga in Kolkata carries 40,000 cusecs water which has been divereted into Hooghly from Ganga at the Farakka Barrage Photo: Parineeta Dandekar, SANDRP

The Hooghly-Ganga in Kolkata carries 40,000 cusecs water which has been diverted into Hooghly from Ganga at the Farakka Barrage Photo: Parineeta Dandekar, SANDRP

Farakka Barrage was commissioned in 1975 to transfer 40,000 cusecs ( Cubic Feet per second) of water from Ganga into its distributary Hooghly to save the Kolkata Port on the Hooghly from silting up. The barrage is just 16 kms upstream from Bangladesh border.

Cargo at Kolkata Port is dropping streadily. The Port is silted up, dredging is ncresing down the years. Farakka Barrage has NOT controlled the silting problem of the Port Photo: The Hindu

Cargo at Kolkata Port is dropping streadily. The Port is silted up, dredging is increasing down the years. Farakka Barrage has NOT controlled the silting problem of the Port Photo: The Hindu

HooghluKol2

Hooghly at Kolkata Photo: Author

As a part of Farakka Barrage Project,  an afflux bund was constructed over several rivers upstream of Farakka, like Choto Bhagirathi, Pagla, etc., to divert water into the Barrage. The complete diversion of water killed these rivers in the downstream, severely affecting people. Here we see Choto Bhagirathi flowing after many years, thanks to a pipeline and sluice sanctioned this year to supply meager water to the river. This does not help the fish though, there are hardly any left.

Meager fishing at Choto Bhagirathi Photo: Author

Choto Bhagirathi, completely diverted for the Farakka Barrage, only flowing this year. Photo: Author

Fishing nets at Choto Bhagirathi. Fisherfolk told   us this was more out of habit, there re hardly any fish left in the river. Photo: Author

Fishing nets at Choto Bhagirathi. Fisherfolk told us this was more out of habit, there are hardly any fish left in the river. Photo: Author

Kedarnath Mondal, a noted activist working on issues related to Farakka Barrge, discussing with fisherfolk

Kedarnath Mondal, a noted activist working on issues related to Farakka Barrge, discussing with fisherfolk. Photo: Author

Not withstanding the anti-erosion works completed upstream the Farakka Barrage in Malda, the Ganga has deposited huge sediment load in the upstream of the barrage and this has accelerated the swing in its channel. The channel is swinging rapidly to the left bank, eroding and eating away thousands of hectares of villages, farms, mango plantations and chars (islands) in the way, endangering the Barrage itself. Although sediment-laden Ganga has a history of changing courses, this has been aggravated to a great extent by the sedimentation and obsrtuction caused by Farakka.

Anti erosion works upstream of Farakka Barrage Photo: Author

Anti erosion works upstream of Farakka Barrage Photo: Author

Anti Erosion work destroyed

Anti Erosion work destroyed by the river on its left bank, upstream of Barrage Photo: Author

Erosion at Malda upstream Farakka Photo: Soumya Desarkar

Erosion at Malda upstream Farakka Photo: Soumya Desarkar

Erosion and its impacts Photo: Jaideep Mazoomdar, Outlook

Erosion and its impacts Photo: Jaideep Mazoomdar, Outlook

Even before you arrive at the heavily guarded Barrage, you can see the heavily silted river, with cattle grazing peacefully on islands (chars) just 500 meters-1 km upstream of the barrage. According to River Expert Kalyan Rudra, Farakka hordes nearly 350 million tonnes of sediment flow of Ganga every year in the upstream!!

Cattle grazing just upstream of the Barrage, indicating the enormous sediment deposition

Cattle grazing inside the riverbed just upstream of the Barrage, indicating the enormous sediment deposition Photo: Author

Sedimentation upstream the barrage can be clearly seen Photo: Author

Sedimentation inside the riverbed just upstream of  the barrage can be clearly seen Photo: Author

Board proclaiming that Farakka is the Pride of the Nation! Photo: Author

Board proclaiming that Farakka is the Pride of the Nation! Photo: Author

Farakka Barrage

Farakka Barrage Photo: Author

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Diversion of water to Farakka Feeder Canal from right bank Photo: Author

The Barrage also severely affected navigation through the river. A separate ship lock was made on the Feeder Canal and it is managed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). Hardly any ships pass through due to high sedimentation.

Condition of the Farakka Ship Lock. Secirity Personnel there told us hardly any ships pass this route, less than one ship in three months Photo: Author

Condition of the Farakka Ship Lock. Security personnel posted here told us that hardly any ships pass this route, less than one ship in three months Photo: Author

Hilsa FIshing upstream Farakka is nearly finished as the fish cannot overcome the huge obstacle. Fisherfolk have taken to fishing in the feeder canals where too the catch is meager Photo: Author

Hilsa Fishing upstream Farakka is nearly finished as the fish cannot overcome the huge obstacle. Fisherfolk have taken to fishing in the feeder canals where too the catch is meager Photo: Author

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Any meager Hilsa catch is immediately seized by the middleman. In this case middleman gave forty rupees to the fisherman. The Middleman will get more than 300 Rs. for this same catch of Hilsa. Photo Author

Fishermen upstream Farakka are a worried lot

Fishermen upstream Farakka are a worried lot

Downstream the barrage, due to trapping of silt in the upstream, silt free water erodes banks with vengeance, especially the left bank. We saw several anti-erosion measures failing miserably in front of the river’s fury.

Anti erosion works get routinely swept away

Anti erosion works get routinely swept away

bankerosion4 Farakka has profoundly changed the character, sediment regime and flow of Ganga. It is affecting lives of lakhs of people in India and Bangladesh through cycles of erosion, sedimentation, floods and affected fishing. Our response to the issue has been dismal. We have not conducted a single review of costs, benefits and impacts of Farakka Project so far. In addition to Farakka , Lower Ganga (Narora), Middle Ganga, Upper Ganga Barrages (Bhimgoda), Kanpur Barrage, Hydropower projects in Uttarakhand and other upstream states have affected the river in most profound ways. If we want to rejuvenate the Ganga, we need to institute a credible independent review the existing Barrages, not plan new ones. May be we can begin with a demand for such a review for Farakka on urgent basis. One World Rivers Day, let us wish for a long and healthy flow for the Ganga River, a symbol of all flowing rivers in India!

-Parineeta Dandekar (parineeta.dandekar@gmail.com)

POST SCRIPT on April 28, 2015:

An edited version of this article and photoessay on The Nowhere People — Environmental Refugees around Farakka, was published in the Mint on March 28th, 2015. Here it is in full: http://www.ficusmedia.com/traildiaries/2015/03/28/the-nowhere-people/
This article was made possible with a grant from The Third Pole and Asia Foundation.
Arati Kumar Rao

Dry Ganga downstream Upper Ganga, Bhimgouda Barrage in Haridwar Photo: Author

Dry Ganga downstream Upper Ganga, Bhimgouda Barrage in Haridwar Photo: Author

6 Comments on “World Rivers Day and Ganga: A look at Farakka Barrage and other such calamities

  1. Pingback: World Rivers Day and Ganga: A look at Farakka Barrage and other such calamities | Intercultural Resources

  2. धन्यवाद. तस्वीरें खुद बी खुद फरक्का की कहानी कह देती हैं,
    सत्य … सत्य होता है. गंगा पर नए बैराज़ो का प्रस्ताव इस सत्य को न सिर्फ और स्थापित करेगा. बल्कि नए घाव बढ़ाएगा ,
    गंगा क्या करे ? कोई बताये ??

    अरुण तिवारी

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  3. Excellent eye opener….

    Maa Ganga for its rejuvenation, do not require mega plans/projects or mega bucks. It only needs bold decisions to correct the wrongs of the past. Anyone listening????

    manoj misra

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  4. On the occasion of Wold Rivers day, I would like to bring to the notice of eminent scientists how judges and engineers serving the vested interests:

    Irrigation Projects relating Andhra Pradesh [undivided]

    Under corrupt and poor governance the developmental activities rarely reach their goals. The projects run as per the dictates of judiciary, bureaucracy and politicians even if projects are technical in nature. Unfortunately technically qualified people including engineers rarely question them or discuss in open. Thus, technical issues are put in the hands of non-technicians to serve the political-regional interests. Let me present how engineers are playing their role in two issues relating to water sharing of Krishna and Godavari Rivers that is going to affect people of undivided Andhra Pradesh on long term.
    Technical Fraud in Krishna River water sharing
    In the river water distribution among riparian states, tribunals appointed by central government plays vital role. The tribunals are filled with retired judges with unfettered powers even though irrigation projects are technical in nature and less of legal in nature. The integrity of the judges plays an important role to get unbiased recommendations among riparian states.
    Integrity in Judiciary: Though judiciary is one of the four pillars of constitution, it has become no different from other three pillars with reference to corruption. The recent reports in media high lights how our judiciary is functioning starting with their recruitment. Here the major issue is even after retirement they enjoy the power and monitory gains. In fact this issue started with my letter to the Chief Justice of India with a copy to Prime Minister of India on 11th February 2013. In this I raised three issues not before me and quid pro co and recruitment. Former two are illogical and are used to manipulate the justice. In Andhra Pradesh to destroy the political rivals or protect the criminals/corrupt politicians these two clauses were/are used invariably. The misuses of these two clauses are more hazardous than corruption. Justice is rarely achieved. Unfortunately in the recruitment of judges there is no independent body like UPSC and thus lacking integrity. Majority of the judges belong to particular industrial/ business/political groups as they are behind the appointments/recruitments. My letter was forwarded to law ministry and law ministry organized a meeting with CMs, Judges along with PM. CMs favoured UPSC as I proposed but judges disagreed – media report. However, government wanted a via-media policy where in politicians and judges participate in the Judges recruitment. The former Supreme Court judge Justice Karju exposed the wrong doings by Chief Justices of India. With such scenario with Judiciary, what will happen if such judges after retirement are appointed as River Water Tribunal members & chairman?

    Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal: I found the Award of Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal [three judges] on Krishna River water distribution among three riparian states [Maharashtra, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh] a “Technical Fraud” to favour Karnataka State. This technical fraud, I brought to the notice of Prime Minister of India [This was published in Merinews online], The President of India, Chief Justice of India [18th February 2014], Governor and Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh [26th March 2014], Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court [8th April 2014], The Principal Secretary of Irrigation Department [undivided AP on 12th May 2014; TS & AP on 16th June]. But, unfortunately none of them responded to my letters except CJ of AP – CJ of AP High Court in his letter dated 15th April 2014 suggested that “you may file a regular petition in the Hon’ble High Court”.

    Triple impact effect – A technical Fraud: First, through the data manipulation the tribunal raised the mean available water in the river Krishna for use by the three riparian states, namely Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This is direct impact. Second, this raise in water availability, indirectly changed the probability level at which this water is available to Andhra Pradesh. This is indirect impact. Third, through the data manipulation the tribunal allowed Karnataka to raise the Almatti Dam height. This is going to affect the probability at which Andhra Pradesh is going to get its share of water. This is indirect compounded impact. The tribunal nowhere discussed these issues. These are discussed below and summary is given in Table I. This action automatically goes against the award given by the previous tribunal saying “we have, however, provided that the authority or the tribunal which will be reviewing the order of this tribunal shall not as far as practicable, disturb any utilization that may be undertaken by any state within the limits of the allocation made it by the tribunal”. The previous tribunal also observed on for the sharing of the deficiency in the river flows when monsoon fail and drought conditions occur that “Andhra Pradesh state will be at liberty to use the excess flow in surplus years and must bear the burden of the deficiency in the river flows in the lien years”. Thus, the triple impact effect resulted: AP used to get allocated water in 75% of the years from the previous tribunal award but with the new tribunal award AP will get the allocated water only in 25% of the years due to triple impact effect. This is a technical fraud to favour Karnataka.

    Table I: Triple Impact Effect: A Technical Fraud.
    Data series Without the 270 TMC With the 270 TMC*
    Data series 65% Proba. level Mean/ Proba. level Proba. level
    (of 2293TMC)#(50%) (of2578 TMC) (of 2830 TMC)
    (TMC) [% years] (TMC) [% years] [% years]
    78 years 2200 — 2393 43
    (50) (2305) (34) (21)
    47 years 2293 — 2578 58
    (65) (2626) (58) (30)
    114 years 2187 — 2443 48
    (55) (2374) (41.5) (25)

    78 years = Justice Bachawat tribunal data series; 47 years = Justice Brijesh Kumar tribunal data series; 114 years = combined data series
    * By raising the Almatti Dam height (230 TMC) + allocating water to three projects under
    Tungabhadra zone (40 TMC)
    # X TMC meets at what probability level in the probability curve
    Water availability data selection: At the time of writing the reports (1) Justice Bachawat Tribunal [previous tribunal] has 78 years [1894-95 to 1971-72] data and used all the data and all the three states concurred; but Justice Brijeshkuman Tribunal [present tribunal] has 114 years [1894-95 to 2007-08] data and used only last 47 years and AP did not agree on this. For selecting that data of 47 years the present tribunal used illogical and unscientific arguments. Though selected 47 years data series but used five widely differing data sets including the previous tribunal data set that was rejected by them to prove their pre-conceived plan. They are: (1) used 78 years data of first tribunal to define water availability at 75% probability level; (2) used 47 years data to define values at 65% probability level and the mean; (3) used 26 years data [1981-82-2007-08] of Krishna-Bhima Rivers zones to raise the Almatti Dam height; (4) Used one year [2006-07] data of water use to change dependable water availability from world widely used 75% level to 65% level; and (5) used data starting from 1941-42 to 2007-08 prove delta is getting its share of water and thus wants show that the 78 years data set is not accurate.
    Illogical & unscientific arguments: The present tribunal observed that 78 years data series of previous tribunal “It is simply commendable. It has been very rightly agreed by the parties”. Then it states that “They do not match hence cannot be integrated”. It also states that “The longer the time series, however, greater the chance that it is neither stationary, consistent, nor homogeneous. The later part of long time series can present a better data set if it is reasonable to expect that similar conditions will prevail in future”. It also states that “We are of the opinion that 47 years length of a series should be considered sufficient to assess water availability of a river. It more than fulfills the minimum requirements of IS Code”. It also states that “such increase as reflected seems to be quite natural & obvious. The utilization has more than doubled since 1971-72. The increase is therefore clearly seems to be on account of the return flows and addition of increase in storage and utilization in minor irrigation”.
    The present tribunal [Justice Brijesh Kumar] rejected the data used by the previous tribunal saying that “They do not match hence cannot be integrated”. In other wards what they said is that “it does not fit in to the continuity of the data series”. To understand ‘whether there is a continuity or not in the data series’ between the data used by the previous tribunal [78 years] with the present tribunal used data series [47 years], it is important to know first ‘what type of pattern’ in the data series form part. This was not assessed by the new tribunal before rejecting the previous tribunal’s data series. WMO (1966) presented a manual on “Climate Change” to separate trend from rhythmic variation using different procedures. One of this is use of moving average technique. The Indian rainfall as well the rainfall in the Krishna River basin shows cyclic variation. Same is also the case with the water availability combined data series of 114 years. Thus, it is clear that there exists a clear cut cyclic pattern between the two data series and thus form part of continuity of data series. The present tribunal erred in this respect. The truncated data series set lead misleading or biased inferences. .
    In the literature there are several models to estimate the minimum expected amounts at a given probability level. The accuracy of the estimates depends up on the degree of skewness in the data sets. In statistical terms, thus, to obtain accurate estimates the data series must follow normal distribution, wherein the mean coincides with the 50% probability level value – thus the data is equally distributed on either side of it. The degree of skewness increases with the deviation of the mean from 50% probability level. Generally we call that deviation as skewness. When the mean is on the higher side of 50% probability level then it is said that the data set is positively skewed [47 years data series with the mean at 58% probability level] and thus biased by higher values; and when the mean is at lower side of 50% probability level then it is said that the data series is negatively skewed [78 years data series with the mean at 43% probability level] and thus biased by lower values. This scenario was discussed in my book published in 1993: Agroclimatic/Agrometeorological Techniques: As applicable to dry-land agriculture in developing countries. The combined data series [114 years] show the mean at 48% probability level. That means the combined data series is not only present continuity but also stationary, consistent, homogenous [as 48% is very close to 50% compared to 58%]. However the present tribunal not agreed to use it and as a result it overestimated the mean by 185 TMC over the previous tribunal. 47 years data series forms a truncated data series of a cyclic variation and the present tribunal argument is inaccurate and false. With this there is no chance of getting similar conditions in future but follow the cyclic pattern. Thus IS code has no relevance here. When the mean of water availability is higher by 185 TMC, it cannot be called natural & obvious and attributing the same to higher return flows is illogical, because the rainfall in this period was also higher. In fact the present tribunal tried to justify this by using the data from 1941-42 and says that the Delta is receiving its allocated water of 181.2 TMC and so data of 78 years is not accurate. In fact during the low available water period even without many major projects, Delta area hasn’t received its share of 181.2 TMC on many years. So, 78 years data is not in any way alien to 47 years data series. The water availability is following the precipitation pattern only.
    Drought proneness: While permitting allocation of water to some projects the present tribunal argued “Therefore, such grounds of the upper and lower riparian States, if allowed, would act as veto to topple the project UKP-III, which is to serve the needy drought prone areas in Karnataka lying within the basin of river Krishna”. In fact drought prone areas are not only confined to Karnataka but also this zone spreads from Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra via Karnataka, known as rain shadow zone. It is clear from this that the tribunal put false argument to favour Karnataka. Also, the cyclic nature in rainfall makes the drought proneness highly variable from below to above the average periods. For example with the drought proneness of 45% of the years in Kurnool region of Andhra Pradesh varied between 70% and 30%. However when the previous tribunal allowed using surplus water in 75% of the years to compensate deficit in 25% of the years in dry areas N. T. Rama Rao & N. Chandrababu Naiudu laid foundation stones for eight projects but not taken up the projects to use around 245 TMC. Downstream of the Srisailem Dam, illegally around 276 TMC of water was in use. The two Chief Ministers to favour the illegal use they have not taken up the building of the projects to use surplus water. In fact this must have been completed by 2000. When Dr. Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy became Chief Minister he has taken up the projects. The new tribunal did not care to allocate water to these projects on the same logic of drought proneness. On this when we are fighting among ourselves, Karnataka built several illegal projects. Now with the present tribunal order is implemented, the water to these projects will be available only once in four years instead of three out of four years.
    Permitting to raise Almatii Dam height:
    Present Tribunal used 26 years (1981-82 to 2006-07) data related to Krishna-Bhima Rivers to assess the feasibility to raise the Almatti Dam height to 254.256 m instead of 47 years data series selected by them. The mean of the 26 years data series is 932 TMC. The water available on an average to Andhra Pradesh was shown even without raising the Almatti Dam height as 1530 TMC [= 932 + 190 + 350-400]. They wanted to show 1300 [= 1530 – 230] TMC is far higher than allocated 800 TMC even after raising the height of Almatti Dam!!!
    By adding water allocations to Karnataka & Maharashtra to 1530 TMC, it becomes mean available water as 2830 TMC {= 1530 TMC, available in Andhra Pradesh + 1300 TMC [= 560 TMC, allocations to Maharashtra + 700 TMC, allocations to Karnataka + 40 TMC, additional allocations made by present tribunal to three projects under Tungabhadra part to Karnataka]}. This is far higher than even the mean from the 47 years data series [2578 TMC] by 252 TMC and under 78 years data series mean [2393 TMC] by 397 TMC. These were not discussed anywhere in the report. This is a major data manipulation initiated by the present tribunal to prove their objective to raise the height of Almatti Dam to store additional water of 230 TMC and provide 40 TMC to three projects on Tungabhadra side.
    The present tribunal made casually passing statement on low available water in some years but not studied its real impact on Andhra Pradesh. The mean of five consecutive low water available years [2000-01 to 2004-05] is 380 TMC, which is 40.8% of the mean 932 TMC. By adding another set of four consecutive years [1984-85-1987-88] the average of these two sets of data series [in all 9 years] comes as 494.3 TMC, is 53.0% of 932 TMC. This reduction is not confined to water entering in to Andhra Pradesh from Krishna-Bhima Rivers’ part but also to the total available water of 2830 TMC. Under these two situations, the overall water availability comes down as: 2830 TMC x 40.8% = 1154.6 TMC; and 2830 x 53.0% = 1499.9 TMC. This shows that these values are far less than 2060 TMC [value at 75% probability under Scheme A of previous tribunal, which is at present in operation]. Here the basic flaw is that the tribunal hasn’t taken into account the surplus water entering in to the Sea, more particularly during heavy rainfall years. As per the present tribunal award AP will get its share from Karnataka after Karnataka and Maharashtra uses their share of allocations. The share of combined allocations at 75% is 1319 TMC, at 65% it is 1437 TMC, and at mean it is 1577 TMC. That mean AP will get nil flows during the 9 years. 150 TMC storage facilities were provided to AP by the previous tribunal. This has little use under such scenario. Because of that only previous tribunal allowed using surplus water during surplus years by AP in 75% of the years. Now it comes down to 25% only. This is going to create water wars among three states as well bifurcated states of AP. The fraudulent tribunal was asked to look in to sharing of allocated water by the bifurcated states of AP. God alone knows what will happen.
    Godavari River
    Dam versus barrages — Polavaram project: Justice Bachawat Tribunal allocated around 3000 TMC of water to use in undivided Andhra Pradesh. This includes both allocated and surplus water. So far only 25% of it is in use and the rest is going in to the Sea every year. Under Dr. YSR’s Jalayagnam two major projects were proposed under Godavari River projects – thus raising the use by 50% — in addition to few other lift irrigation projects. Chevella-Pranahita is mainly a lift irrigation project. The other is Polavaram project a flow irrigation project. It is a multipurpose project. Around 80 TMC of water is diverted to Krishna River – inter-linking of rivers project. It produces 960 MW of power. The project was approved by the Bachawat Tribunal. He proposed the height of the dam as 150 ft. This was agreed by MP & Orissa Governments and signed the MoU. Some politicians and NGOs including Engineers started objecting the project some saying that the height must be lowered and some others saying instead of one project build three [Engineer T. Hanumantha Rao] or eight barrages. The group that argued for barrages say the same can be achieved as the dam. We know the issue of Dawaleswaram and Prakasham barrages. This is a false propaganda and our engineers did not talk on this issue. Engineer T. Hanumantha Rao presented an article in Eenadu [24-8-2014] and observed that due to global warming from 2000 to 2050 the rainfall is going to increase by 50% in Krishna, Godavari & Narmada basins – occurs severe floods. To support this he used floods in the last 14 years [in fact they are part of natural variations] – during this period global temperature hasn’t shown any increase. He emphasized minor irrigation to achieve the goal of food security but again emphasized the need for bigger dams to counter floods, to generate hydropower, to help transport and to reduce water flowing in to the Sea — this goes against his proposal of three barrages instead of dam as above. Technical committees at Hyderabad and Delhi looked in to the proposal of three barrages instead of dam and told to parliament that these suggestions are not viable as we may not get even 30% of the proposed project objective in terms of water and power production. Inter-linking of rivers will not be feasible.
    Flood water: Through extreme value analysis the extreme floods one in 1000 years was estimated 38 lakh Cusecs. Accordingly the plan was prepared and got all clearances to get National Project Status but with the state bifurcation and by keeping in mind the Karnataka & Maharashtra interests, the UPA government played game of bargain. This resulted cost escalation with the delay in the project. The CWC in 2009 said the extreme flood is 50 lakh Cusecs and asked the government to revise the plan and cost. Some NGOs went a step ahead and said the extreme may go up to 92 lakh Cusecs. Under this scenario whether there is a dam or not, the people living along the river will be washed away.
    Adivasi card: Politicians & NGOs are using Adivasi card forgetting the miserable life they are leading with no education, no health care, no transport facilities, etc. Also, around 350 villagers have to move on to hill tops to protect themselves from floods. But the politico-NGO-smugglers nexus minting thousands of crores each year with the help of these Adivasis. If they are moved out from here and Polavaram project materializes they lose these illegal earnings. They never cared to improve the lives of the Adivasis by spending a part of those illegal earnings. Unfortunately engineers forgot engineering aspects here toed the line of politics.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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  5. I enjoyed reading this post on SNDRP. Your evaluation of the effectiveness of the Farakka Barrage is timely and objective. The problem of erosion on left bank and sedimentation upstream of the Farakka Barrage has been reported by Dr. Kalyan Rudra in the past. He wrote a piece in “Desh” magazine some years ago. However, you have shown these effects with pictures (a picture is worth 1000 words). The sediments that cause siltation problem in India could be a great help in the delta building process in Bangladesh in the face of climate change and sea level rise. I have published several papers on the lack of sedimentation in Bangladesh in recent decades and how this is affecting the delta building process in coastal region in Bangladesh. The amount of sediment influx flowing into Bangladesh from upper reaches has dropped from 2 billion tons per year in the 1960s to less than 1 billion tons per year in recent years, which is not enough to keep pace with rising sea. I have also written in newspapers (in Bangla) that the siltation problem in Kolkata Port cannot be solved by diverting 40,000 cusec water from the Ganges, because the root cause for this is the rising sea level, which is pushing the freshwater-salt water interface farther inland and causing the sediment to drop out of water column and silting up the port. The mixing zone of fresh-salt water is called turbidity maximum, which is shifting farther inland over time due to sea level rise, and will continue to do so in the future. The same thing is happening in Mongla Port in Bangladesh (and other ports in the world). Only way to solve this problem is by relocating the port in deeper water farther downstream (Haldia in Pashchimbanga, for instance). In addition to the lack of or reducing amount of sedimentation, Bangladesh is deprived of her fair share of water flow in lean season in spite of the Ganges Treaty of 1996 in place: http://opinion.bdnews24.com/2012/06/11/ganges-water-treaty-dead-or-just-dying/. I have written a paper on this topic. This paper was published in a conference proceedings (Water Resources in South Asia: Conflicts to Cooperation held in January of 2013 in Dhaka) and a shorter version in an online newspaper. It would have been better for you to cross the border (after all, the Ganges does not stop at Farakka, it flow to the Bay of Bengal) and get the full picture by visiting its condition in Bangladesh and talking to stakeholder at downstream locations. All in all I give you credit for at least mentioning Bangladesh in your post, but the story could be much better if you could bring the full picture.

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  6. I found the table was not properly given, please find the same:

    78 years = Justice Bachawat tribunal data series; 47 years = Justice Brijesh Kumar tribunal data series; 114 years = combined data series
    * By raising the Almatti Dam height (230 TMC) + allocating water to three projects under Tungabhadra zone (40 TMC)
    # ‘X’ TMC meets at what probability level in the probability curve

    Table I: Triple Impact Effect: A Technical Fraud.
    Data series Without the 270 TMC
    Data series 65% Proba. level
    (of 2293TMC)
    (TMC) [% years]
    78 years 2200 —
    (50)
    47 years 2293 —
    (65)
    114 years 2187 —
    (55)
    The 65% value of 2293 TMC meets the 114 data probability curve at 55 %.

    Data series Without the 270 TMC
    Data series Mean/ Proba. level
    #(50%) (of 2578 TMC)
    (TMC) [% years]
    78 years 2393 43
    (2305) (34)
    47 years 2578 58
    (2626) (58)
    114 years 2443 48
    (2374) (41.5)

    The 58% value of mean 2578 TMC meets the 114 data probability curve at 41.5 %.

    Data series With the 270 TMC*
    Data series Proba. level
    (of 2830 TMC)
    [% years]
    78 years
    (21)
    47 years
    (30)
    114 years
    (25)

    With the Almatti Dam height raising to store additional 230 TMC plus 40 TMC for three projects under Tungabhadra zone – with the Karnataka & Maharashtra uses water allocated by Bachawat Tribunal the mean changes from 2578 TMC to 2830 TMC. This is available at 30% probability level in Brijesh Kumar Tribunal selected data [above the average rainfall period]. For 114 years data series [above and below the average rainfall period] this is available at 25% probability level. If Karnataka and Maharashtra allowed to use Brijesh Kumar allocations, the 25% further go down to less than 20%. While Karnataka gets 100% of the years the allocated water while AP gets less than 20% of the years.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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