Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 8, 2015

HYDROPOWER

Hydro power to be stressed due to deficit monsoon this year: Piyush Goyal (03 June 2015) The minister rightly mentions that failed monsoon on one hand will curtail power generation from hydro plants on the other it will increase energy demands significantly as farmers would require more energy to run their pumps.                        http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/hydro-power-to-be-stressed-due-to-deficit-monsoon-this-year-piyush-goyal-115060300994_1.html

NORTH-EAST: Broken Homes and Dry Springs (06 June 2015) International Rivers’ Bharat Lal Seth on impact of tunneling and blasting for hydropower projects in Sikkim: http://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/328-17

J&K: Dulhasti Power Project: 7 yrs on, Kishtwar villagers await land-compensation (01 June 2015) Surprising story: A decade after land acquisition, compensation is not paid in case of Dulhasti HEP in J&K?  http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/pir-panjal/story/188038.html

HIMACHAL: HC restrains HPPCL from construction in Powari (31 May 2015) In a major relief to the Central Government and the Army, the High Court has restrained the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL) from carrying out any construction activity of the Shongtong-Karcham Hydroelectric Power Project beyond 1,200 yards of the periphery of ammunition point at Powari in Kinnaur district. The court further restrained it from digging and blasting work beyond the area. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/hc-restrains-hppcl-from-construction-in-powari/87777.html

CHANGING THE COLOURS OF CHENAB; Narratives on Hydropower ‘development’ from Lahaul Valley (05 June 2015) From Himdhara: Narratives on hydropower ‘development’ from the Lahaul Valley… the last frontier. We travelled across several villages in Lahaul last year and met local residents and community representatives to record their perspectives and developments around the proposed hydro projects in the region. http://www.himdhara.org/2015/06/05/environment-day-report-release-changing-the-colours-of-chenab/

UTTARAKHAND: Fourth expert panel to review Uttarakhand dams (05 June 2015) MoEF has again shown duplicity, non transparency and worse in appointing another body to look into the Uttarakhand hydro projects. The constituion, TOR are not known and this is in completion violation of the affidavit the MoEF filed before the Supreme Court in Dec 2014 and on May 11, 2015. Disaster awaits Uttarakhand, it seems: http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/govt-forms-new-expert-panel-to-review-projects-on-ganga-basin-115060401277_1.html

Green min using 1916 pact to allay apprehensions over hydel projects on Ganga (27 May 2015) Stuck with a dilemma on the need to balance religious concerns while at the same time not be against development, the Prakash Javadekar-led ministry has, officials say, dusted up and sought refuge in a 99-year-old British-era agreement to ensure Hindu sentiments are not hurt in any way even if hydroelectric power projects do come up on the Ganga. The environment ministry is creatively using that agreement to interpret that even if a new hydel project or barrage does come up on the Ganga, a portion of the river waters would be allowed to flow uninterrupted up to Har ki Pauri. http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31816&articlexml=To-Protect-Millennia-of-Faith-Modi-Sarkar-goes-27052015001077

Rescuing the Ganga and the country (20 May 2015/ Article by Subir Roy ) The strategy to clean up the Ganga is disarmingly simple and can be expressed in two sentences. One: don’t kill the river. Two: don’t dump waste (solid and liquid) in it. The first and the most important task is to stop having more projects in the upper reaches of the river that severely change its character and damage it. Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People has pointed to two expert committees recommending that 24 of the 70 hydropower projects in the Alaknanda-Bhagirathi basin be dropped as they will do irreversible damage to aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, but the ministry of environment is leaving no stone unturned to be able to carry on with them. In fact, after the Uttarakhand disaster, it is vital to revisit all the existing, under-construction and planned projects in the entire basin so as to stop doing what adversely affects the headwaters of the Ganga. Water withdrawal by hydropower plants has put the ability of the river, even in its higher reaches, to rejuvenate itself under threat. http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/subir-roy-rescuing-the-ganga-and-the-country-115051901580_1.html

600 MW Kishau power project gets Cabinet approval (28 May 2015) The Cabinet gave a green signal to the 660 mw Kishau multipurpose project (a joint venture of Himachal and Uttarakhand) on the Tons river. As per terms of the MOU, the partner states will share profit in 50:50 ratio. The same principle will be applied while generating power from the dam in the future. After the capacity of the project was increased from 600 MW to 660 MW, Himachal wanted its share in the downstream projects, in addition to 50 per cent share in the Kishau project. The matter was resolved in the meeting held on May 16. Nine villages in Uttarakhand and eight villages of Sirmour in Himachal will be totally or partially submerged. The dam will have a total storage capacity of 1,824 million cubic metres and the live storage will be 1,324 million cubic metres. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/600-mw-kishau-power-project-gets-a-go-ahead/86084.html

DAMS

No Approval Granted for Carrying Out EIA Study for Construction of New Mullaperiyar Dam in Kerala: Environment Ministry (04 June 2015) This clarification from MOEF was not warranted, since EAC is considering the TOR for this project in its meeting on June 3-4, 2015. : http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=122303

Of dams, politics & fragile ecologies (June 2015) “Four Assam districts – Sonitpur, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia – have a sizeable number of anti dam populace, who are vehemently opposed to the big dams coming up in the region. … Chatradhara said that in 2006 North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO), the project authority for the 405 MW Ranganadi Power Project in Arunachal Pradesh, had issued a circular stating it will not take any responsibility for death or damage caused as a result of release of water from the project during monsoon and asked people to avoid going near the banks of the river. People have been dependent on the river for generations. With the power project authorities showing this type of attitude, they became more agitated and were drawn towards anyone who opposes big dams, he added.” http://www.ecoearthcare.com/storyd.asp?sid=760&pageno=1&isection=Eco

INLAND WATERWAYS 

Group decries government’s move to develop rivers (06 June 2015) 

A first in many more to come, Rivers cannot be “converted” into waterways or anything else. Waterways need to be tailored to function in rivers with minimum impacts. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Group-decries-governments-move-to-develop-rivers/articleshow/47560854.cms

Protest in Jammu to scrap the artificial Tawi lake project (29 May 2015) Jammu greeted Rajnath Singh with a bandh to protest the state government’s decision to scrap the artificial lake. Due to the extraction of sand and boulders, and the retreat of its source, the Kali Kundi glacier in Bhaderwah, the Tawi remains dry along a large part of its 300-km course for most of the year. Also, Pakistan has claimed that building the artificial lake violates the Indus Water Treaty. A fortnight ago, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed told reporters that the artificial lake project was not viable either financially or technically, and, like the Chenab, the lake would be filled with silt every rainy season. This upset those who saw it as a ploy by ‘Kashmir’ to deprive Jammu of a tourism development project. After bandh, there have been threats of an intensified agitation unless the BJP ministers in Mufti government clarified their stand in the next 10 days.   http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/simply-put-as-promised-lake-on-tawi-crawls-patience-runs-dry-in-jammu/#sthash.RBReH71w.dpuf

Gadkari’s plans for 1,100 islands, 300 light houses, 101 rivers (02 June 2015) The government will develop 1,100 islands and 300 light houses across the country to tap their tourism potential, as also convert 101 rivers into waterways, union Minister Nitin Gadkari said. These projects, the Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister said, were desired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We intend to invest Rs.50,000 crore in the next two-three years to develop 101 waterways. We will take parliament approval in the upcoming session,” Gadkari told a national conference on inland waterways organsied by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The minister said in the one year that he has been in government, the public-private partnership mode has taken root in the country after a slump. Accordingly, he added, the tourism and inland waterways projects will be handled under this model. “Out of the 101 rivers that are to be converted into waterways, detailed project reports for 16 of them are likely to be completed this month itself, while for another 40, these would be ready by December this year,” Gadkari said.    http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/gadkari-s-plans-for-1-100-islands-300-light-houses-101-rivers-115060200889_1.html

Inland waterways Authority is all set for river buses (25 May 2015) An inland waterway authority of India is working on this and is on plan to commute river buses in such places. Govt Source rather misleadingly claim that within two years the Delhi- Agra Route may see such buses plying in Yamuna. Seventy hover craft purchase process from a British company has already been in action, the defence ministry and Goa Ship yard is taking up the related formalities. Strange to see the purchases of hover craft even before any credible feasibility plan for the river navigation in place, leave aside actual implemention. The Government of Netherlands is asked assistance for the formations of water terminals in the river for the mission. The 101 routes in the river are to be be notified as per the bill now before the parliament. Nitin Gadkari the minister asserted that the work is in progress and this is not only paper work soon people shall see this happening as they see now metro plying he added. This seems like baseless claims at this juncture. http://www.mahamediaonline.com/english/newsDetails.jsp?Id=18203

Ganga as national highway (30 May 2015 Article by Ashok Malik) Nevertheless the project is not without its challenges. Barrages impede natural water flow for short stretches of the river. This raises the water level in parts and could inundate the char land that currently gets created in the summer months and is used for some agriculture. The pay-off for the users of this char land will need to be explained and politically negotiated. That aside India has limited knowledge of state-of-the-art dredging equipment. There is also the question of what to do with the dredged material. Environmentalists worry about river traffic for two major reasons: fuel emissions and possible spillage, and the impact of propeller sound on the movement and breeding patterns of river dolphins. On NW 1, the Ganga nurtures dolphins in Vikramshila (Bhagalpur) and Varanasi. Namami Gange will need to deploy technology in the form of noise attenuators and upgrade marine pollution regulations. China’s tragic experience with the dolphins of the Yangtze is a warning.     http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/ganga-as-national-highway-namami-gange-is-not-just-a-religio-cultural-obsession-it-builds-indias-infrastructure/

IRRIGATION

Maharashtra invite tenders to supply solar pumps to farmers (01 June 2015) The Maharashtra government will invite tenders this month to supply 10,000 solar-powered agricultural pumps to farmers on a pilot basis, an official in the state energy ministry said. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis intends to replace half a million of the state’s 2.9 million electric pumps with solar pumps in five years. Maharashtra has one of the highest industrial tariffs in the country around Rs.8.50 per unit, which is at least Rs.1.50 per unit higher than rates in neighbouring states. The state government is now taking various steps to reduce industrial tariff, including reducing its own return on investment, to attract investments to the state. The decisions to replace electric power pumps with solar power pumps is part of that endeavour as it will reduce the cross-subsidy burden of nearly Rs.8,000 crore.      http://www.livemint.com/Industry/DUaYl2Icsqjgqp0PWGkBGL/Maharashtra-to-invite-tenders-to-supply-solar-pumps-to-farme.html

Micro-irrigation projects in 2015-16 (18 May 2015) The recent meeting chaired by the PM to review infrastructure projects,  coordinated by the NITI Aayog, & attended by ministers from all key infrastructure sectors, was held in two sessions and has fixed near-term and long-term targets for each sector, the progress on which is to be periodically reviewed. For irrigation projects, the government is looking at bringing an additional 600,000 hectares under irrigation potential in 2015-16. Another 300,000-400,000 hectares will be created under command area development and 3.7 mn hectares brought under micro irrigation. According to official data, 46 per cent of India’s net sown area of 140.8 million hectares was under irrigation till 2011-12. In 2000-01, around 40.5 per cent of net sown area was under irrigation, a rise of 5.8 percentage points in a decade. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/time-bound-targets-for-major-infra-projects-115051800022_1.html

MONSOON

IMD to Initiate High Impact Weather Forecasting System (25 May 2015) The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) will soon start operationalising its high impact weather forecasting system that can predict heavy rainfall 2-3 days in advance. This system will help avoid a situation like what happened in Uttarakhand in 2013, which ravaged the state and, as per government statistics, left over 5,700 people dead. “We started working the system on an experimental basis last year, but this year we will make it fully operational,” Shailesh Nayak, secretary, earth sciences, told HT. The IMD will, from this monsoon as part of the Monsoon Mission, also start working on an extended range forecast that can help predict heavy rains 15-20 days in advance. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-3693856451.html

AGRICULTURE

Genetically engineered crops can aid farmers: PM Modi (27 May 2015) Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushed for technology-driven agriculture, including genetically engineered crops such as pulses, to boost farmer earnings and meet increasing demand while launching the Doordarshan Kisan channel for farmers. This is the first time the PM seems to have articulated the government’s stand on GM crops, while calling for better research and higher productivity to boost farm earnings. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pm-modi-launches-kisan-channel-pitches-for-farmers-growth/article1-1351510.aspx

WATER OPTIONS

Potable water crisis deepens in several Haryana districts (01 June 2015) Close on the heels of power  shortage, Haryana residents are reeling under an acute shortage of water as mercury keeps rising each passing day.  Besides villages, planned and approved colonies are facing water scarcity, forcing people to take to the streets. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/water-shortage-stares-residents-in-the-face/87751.html

Row over IMA nod for water purifier hots up (28 May 2015) A bunch of concerned doctors and members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have written a letter demanding an explanation from the IMA for its decision to ‘validate’ Kent water purifiers. The slew of advertisements released by Kent, in which it has prominently claimed that its products were ‘validated’, ‘approved’ or ‘accepted’ by IMA has led to a slug fest, especially in the online world, between groups of doctors arguing for and against IMA associating with Kent. The letter dated May 27 to IMA president Dr A Marthanda Pillai expressed shock over IMA’s decision to ‘validate’ a particular brand of water purifiers. It stated that news regarding IMA’s MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Kent shocked them as it had “brought the credibility of our prestigious organisation to the lowest level ever and we are upset by the public questioning on these issues”. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Row-over-IMA-nod-for-water-purifier-hots-up/articleshow/47451403.cms

GROUNDWATER: Hospital Constructed over Active Aquifer Started; Experts Warn of Looming Danger (21 May 2015) An unfinished government hospital in south Delhi’s Kalkaji, whose construction was stalled for eight years due to repeated basement flooding, stands on an active aquifer that may have weakened the building’s foundation, experts have revealed. Engineers say any construction on aquifers is dangerous but the South Delhi Municipal Corporation has decided to start a 100-bed hospital on the two floors, out of seven, that have been built. The health department had been given the go ahead without a completion certificate, fire clearance and installation of a lift, sources said, bringing back memories of a 2010 building collapse in east Delhi because of waterlogging that killed 71 people.  http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

URBAN WATER:  NGO to improve capital’s water problems (18 May 2015) The rows of illegal pipes and daily tussles over water at Sriram Colony in Karawal Nagar could be a thing of the past as the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE), an NGO, is looking at a comprehensive strategy to include rainwater harvesting, groundwater storage and recycling of waste water to improve the Delhi colony’s water network. The NGO has already implemented the model in Kachhpura area of Agra and is in talks with the Delhi Jal Board to make the plan a reality in Delhi as well.   http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

SCADA system to improve production and supply of water in Delhi (25 May 2015 Dainik Bhaskar) Delhi Jal Board is going to connect its tube wells and rainy wells with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system to augment water production and supply in Delhi. There are 100 tube wells and 5 rainy wells located in Palla area which supplies 30 MGD raw water to Delhi. These water pumps are spread in an area of 20 kms and currently being monitored by 100 DJB staffs. The plan will cost 16 crore and work on the project will start in next two months.

WATER HARVESTING How Jaya Devi used Rain Water Harvesting to Fight Naxalites & Moneylenders in her Village in Bihar (05 June 2015) Jaya Devi chose a different path to become the “Green Lady” of Bihar http://www.thebetterindia.com/19868/green-lady-of-bihar-jaya-devi-rain-water-harvesting/?fb_ref=Default

Telangana launched state level campaign to revive 46,300 tanks (18 May 2015) 7571 tanks will be restored under the first of the 5 year project. The restoration work of 3,652 tanks has already begun. So far, 74, 83,581 cubic metres of mud has been unearthed and farmers have used the silt to enrich their fields. Few people know that Telangana has the largest number of tanks in a geography, built by the Kakatiya rulers, and later repaired and restored by the Asif Jahi’s. The erstwhile rulers knew that the tanks were the heart of the village ecosystem, a umpteen profession from fishing, farming to rearing animals, gathering fuel and fodder depended on the well-being. All the big problems with villages today- be it mass migration to cities, failing farmers, shameful suicides and so on, have been linked to the fact that the village ecosystem was totally disrupted due to non-maintenance of the basic water resources the Tanks. http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com//Gallery.aspx?id=18_05_2015_011_005_002&type=P&artUrl=A-PEOPLES-MOVEMENT-is-restoring-46300-tanks-in-18052015011005&eid=31808

RIVERS

Fishermen discover river in bay of Bangal (03 June 2015) Interesting news on World Environment Day: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/fishermen-discover-river-in-bay-of-bengal/article7278515.ece

Tamil Nadu moves SC to restrain Karnataka from letting sewage into Cauvery (05 June 2015) The Tamil Nadu government moved the Supreme Court to restrain Karnataka from letting untreated sewage and industrial effluent into the Cauvery and its tributaries. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Tamil-Nadu-moves-SC-to-restrain-Karnataka-from-letting-sewage-into-Cauvery/articleshow/47554418.cms

NGT for river policy report by July (21 May 2015) The National Green Tribunal directed the Union environment and forest ministry (MoEF) to present the expert committee report on the River Regulation Zone while hearing a plea against encroachments on the floodplains of the Yamuna and Hindon. The tribunal told the government it wants the report by July 22, when it will hear the plea again. Justice UD Salvi observed that a delay by the MoEF in notifying the policy under the Environment Protection Act 1986 was the main reason why a judgment in the two-year-old case was getting delayed. The plea was filed in April 2013 by environmentalist Akash Vashishtha against concrete structures and farmhouses on the floodplains of the two rivers in three states — Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/NGT-for-river-policy-report-by-July/articleshow/47364811.cms

Much of Hindon Canal pollution from UP industries says report (22 May 2015) An inspection carried out by an expert committee constituted on the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has found that the main issue of pollution with respect to the Hindon canal lies in Uttar Pradesh with pollutants from industries along the river entering the canal into Ghaziabad and Delhi. The agencies are in the process of submitting a status report to the NGT before May 25. Sources said that the committee will request the NGT to ask the Uttar Pradesh government to address the issue and restrict the entry of pollutants into the river. Officials said that the status report will request the NGT to ask the UP government to treat the dumping of industrial waste.http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/the-sewer-canal-much-of-hindon-canal-pollution-from-up-industries-says-report/#sthash.XW1SiUDs.dpuf

State government has granted Rs 300 crore for the development of Dahisar River (02 June 2015)  BJP MLA Manisha Chaudhari had written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a few months back, requesting to grant funds for the renovation of the Dahisar River. The river runs through Dahisar, a suburb in Mumbai, and originates in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Chaudhari said, “The development work will be supervised by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The repair work will prevent contamination of water in the river in the future.” Meanwhile, Dahisar residents expressed satisfaction with the government’s decision to clean the river. http://www.iamin.in/en/mumbai-north/news/dahisar-river-get-facelift-state-government-grants-rs-300-crore-development-works-61406

Centre approved 400 Crore for Svarnarekha project (30 May 2015/ Dainik Bhaskar) Uma Bharati, Minister for Water Resources stated that centre has approved a budget of 400 crore rupees for Swaran Rekha project. She said that more attention will be given to Damodar river cleaning and efforts will be speed up to clean the river. She was speaking in a public seminar on ‘ Environment Conservation and Role of NGOs’ in Sidroul.

NARMADA: HC stays canal works in irrigated areas of Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar dams (27 May 2015) In a relief to thousands of families affected by canal works of Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams, Madhya Pradesh High Court in its interim order stays the canal works in the areas which are already irrigated. HC also directed state to draft a policy with time-bound procedure to compensate losses due to canal works. The order has come on the PIL filed by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) on behalf of thousands of canal – affected families highlighting the issues of social and environmental impacts, lack of rehabilitation, unnecessary excavation of canals in irrigated villages and severe crop losses among others. HC also directed state to come up with a policy under which revenue official including tehshildar should receive any complaint of losses due to canals work, and complaint should be investigated on priority with video recording to create a data-base, following which an appropriate designated official, not below the rank of executive engineer would compute value for the loss. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/HC-stays-canal-works-in-irrigated-areas-of-Indira-Sagar-Omkareshwar-dams/articleshow/46716853.cms

Narmada making Nalsarovar too deep for birds (04 June 2015) This is ironical and sad at so many levels! “Water overflowing into Nalsarovar from Narmada distributary canals from Surendranagar is fast altering its ecology, making it too deep for waterbirds in Gujarat’s only Ramsar Site” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Narmada-making-Nalsarovar-too-deep-for-birds/articleshow/47535458.cms

GANGA: Ganga will be pollution-free by October 2016, says Uma Bharti (05 June 2015) As per the report the first project on inter-linking of rivers (Ken-Betwa) will take off within a year. The minister also claimed that the project will not displace even a single person without convincing him/her and paying four-times compensation. The bottom of the report mentions that the Centre would send teams of young entrepreneurs abroad to study river and ground water management and how to do more irrigation from less water.                                                               http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ganga-will-be-pollutionfree-by-october-2016-says-uma-bharti/article7283793.ece

App to measure real time Ganga pollution (25 May 2015) Going full steam ahead with the Namami Gange project, the Modi government will this week kickstart an effort to bring `visible change’ to the Ganga waters. Intensive river surface cleaning is set to begin at ten identified cities along the banks of Ganga backed with a Bhuvan Ganga mobile application. This ISRO-backed India specific GIS tool will ensure real-time and public monitoring of river surface pollution on ground situations. The government will invite global tenders this week for river surface cleaning at ten chosen cities -Haridwar, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Mathura & Vrindavan, Garhmukteshwar, Patna, Kolkata, Sahibgunj and Nabadwip. The ministry has also written to the Central Pollution Control Board to install real-time monitors at 118 locations on Ganga where a nallah meets the river (drain-river confluence) to ensure that the cleaning is actually taking place and water quality is maintained. 10 of these have already been started on pilot basis.                           http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31816&articlexml=Ganga-is-Back-on-Agenda-Again-this-Time-25052015001073

Two-third of sewage flowing in Ganga untreated (05 June 2015) With Modi Government’s plan on Ganga rejuvenation by 2019, the efforts to manage sewage in towns and cities speed up. However, the sewage treatment along the banks of River Ganga could face major challenges. A parliamentary panel has expressed concern over the massive discharge of untreated sewage which will require an expenditure of Rs. 1.8 lakh crore on additional sewage treatment plants. The panel report stated that Ganga is collectively generating 3,636 million litres of sewage per day (MLD) as opposed to the treatable cap of 1027 MLD by 55 Sewage Treatment Towns spread over five states. The total sewage generation in the year 2014-15 was 57,233 MLD while the treatable capacity is just 21,487 MLD, creating a huge gap of 36,875 MLD. According to the panel, nearly two-third of the sewage in urban areas gets discharged into rivers untreated increasing the level of contamination by 4% each year. http://focusnews.com/india/two-third-of-sewage-flow-into-river-untreated-panel/46381/

20K crore more approved for ‘Namami Gange’ (14 May 2015) The Union Cabinet, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, approved this fund for the government’s flagship programme `Namami Gange’ which was launched last year. The Rs 20,000 crore is in addition to Rs 2,037 crore which was sanctioned by the Modi government for Ganga rejuvenation in its first budget in July last year. `Namami Gange’ is an integrated Ganga conservation mission under the National Ganga River Basin Authority of the ministry of water resources and river development. This programme is aimed at integrating efforts to clean and protect the Ganga in a comprehensive manner by involving states, urban local bodies and panchayats. http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Rs-20k-cr-to-give-Ganga-a-new-14052015013005

YAMUNA: New wetland off Barapullah to curb pollution in Yamuna (06 June 2015) In a bid to curb pollution in Yamuna, the Delhi Development Authority has decided to develop a wetland on the floodplains to treat the water of Barapullah drain before it is released into the river. Also in the works is a biodiversity park near Okhla bird sanctuary. The wetland project will start in a month’s time. DDA vice-chairperson Balvinder Kumar inspected both sites along with DDA officials and environmentalists. The wetlands will come up at the mouth of Barapullah drain near Sun Dial. The development agency plans to divert the untreated water through channels to interconnected ponds and swales where it will be naturally oxidized and cleaned with help of aquatic plant species including algae and then released into the river. The wetlands will be developed on both sides of the drain. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/New-wetland-off-Barapullah-to-curb-pollution-in-Yamuna/articleshow/47561363.cms

Aviral & Nirmal is it possible? (June 2015)  Manoj Misra talks to Sugandh Juneja of ECO magazine on the state of Ganga, Yamuna and other rivers: http://www.ecoearthcare.com/storyd.asp?sid=761&pageno=1&isection=Eco

15 new STPs and interceptor sewage project proposed in Delhi (23 May 2015) The action plan to clean the Yamuna, that the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last week, will be in three phases — construction of 15 new sewage treatment plants (STPs) and laying 130 km of trunk sewer lines, completing the interceptor sewage project and upgrading and rehabilitating existing sewerage lines. The DJB had previously told the NGT that this plan — which is the first phase of the NGT’s “Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017” — will cost Rs 3,659 crore. Of this, the first phase will cost Rs 1,666 crore, the second Rs 1,390 crore and the third Rs 603 crore.The NGT had also ordered that “every household generating sewage in Delhi” to pay environmental compensation, irrespective of whether or not they have a sewerage connection, to fund the project.  http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/djb-proposes-15-new-stps-interceptor-sewage-project-improving-existing-lines/#sthash.rLBHUCKI.dpuf

CPCB studies shows no improvement in Yamuna water quality despite reduction in pollution load (01 June 2015) Environmentalists say the National Green Tribunal-imposed compensation fee to be collected by the Delhi Jal Board will boost efforts to clean the river, which has become choked by pollutants. However, a recent study by the Central Pollution Control Board published in the Environment Ministry’s Annual Report (2014-2015) found that there had been no change in the water quality in the 40-km stretch it monitored. “The study reflects that pollution level in the river is unchanged in spite of gradual reduction in pollution load contributed by the major drains in the National Capital Territory of Delhi,” stated the report. The NGT had ordered on May 8 that Delhiites who do not pay for sewer facilities be charged the fee based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ngt-compensation-fee-will-boost-clean-yamuna-plan/article7269244.ece

SAND-MINING: The deadly global war for sand (18 March 2015) Though the supply might seem endless, sand is a finite resource like any other. The worldwide construction boom of recent years—all those mushrooming megacities, from Lagos to Beijing—is devouring unprecedented quantities; extracting it is a $70 billion industry. In Dubai enormous land-reclamation projects and breakneck skyscraper-building have exhausted all the nearby sources. Exporters in Australia are literally selling sand to Arabs. http://www.wired.com/2015/03/illegal-sand-mining/

Yamuna Sand Mafia attacked police team in Faridabad (27 May 2015) A police team from Bhupani Police Station in Faridabad was attacked by sand mafia. The incident took place near Rajpur Phulera village while the police team was on inspection of the area after receiving complain of illegal sand mining. Five police men including one woman were injured in the attack. Aman Yadav, the in-charge of the police station said that there were several complains of illegal sand mining activities going on the area with the connivance of few villagers.           http://epaper.jagran.com/epaperimages/27052015/delhi/26frd-pg26-0.pdf

WEDLANDS

Asia’s largest freshwater lake at Kabar in for a relook (01 June 2015)  Imp quote: “Samir Sinha of Wildlife Trust of India said the government should try to restore the health of the wetland, instead of downsizing its area.” 
http://www.hindustantimes.com/patna/asia-s-largest-freshwater-lake-at-kabar-in-for-a-relook/article1-1353569.aspx

SC nod needed to desilt Hokersar lake to keep J&K floods at bay (01 June 2015) With the monsoons approaching, Srinagar is caught in a precarious situation to prevent a repeat of the September 2014 floods this year. It needs permission from the Supreme Court ( SC) to clean the Hokersar wetland, a notified protected area 16 km north of Srinagar, in the Jhelum basin and develop a flood channel to ensure that excess water from the river is drained into the wetland. Hokersar was traditionally a flood detention basin but since there has been no desilting in the recent years, it could become a major cause of flooding in the area as it had during the 2014 floods. The wetland needs a quick removal of excess deposit in its bed and for that, the government has sought the SC’s permission since Hokersar was declared a protected area in 1978. Experts, however, say there is not much time as the desilting work and construction of the channel will have to start before the monsoons. http://ims.pressdisplay.as/epaper/en/viewer.aspx

SOUTH ASIA

Teesta pact not on this trip, says Sushma Swaraj (01 June 2015) Less than a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Bangladesh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has ruled out signing the Teesta water-sharing agreement with Dhaka during the trip. Responding to queries at a press conference on completion of a year in office, Swaraj said they have “not reached an understanding” on the agreement, and the signing will not happen during the Prime Minister’s visit to Dhaka on June 6-7.                                                                      http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sushma-swaraj-proactive-pm-not-a-challenge/

DISPUTE SURFACES IN PANCHESHWOR APPOINTMENT PROCESS (31 May 2015) Dispute has surfaced in the process to appoint members in the executive committee, according to multiple government sources. http://myrepublica.com/economy/item/21862-dispute-surfaces-in-pancheshwor-appointment-process.html#sthash.AoIg4BgJ.3GUydmB7.dpuf

Four labourers die in Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project accident (01 June 2015) At least four labourers were killed and 10 others, including two Chinese engineers, were wounded when a blast occurred inside a tunnel at a construction site for a major dam project in Mujohi area near Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)’s capital city of Muzaffarabad. A tunnel boring machine was engaged in excavation work when the explosion occurred killing four labourers on the spot and wounding 10 others. The wounded also included two Chinese engineers.                                    http://www.dawn.com/news/1185495/four-labourers-die-in-neelum-jhelum-hydropower-project-accident

 WORLD

Does hydropower make sense in a warming world? (02 June 2015) Its a very balanced and must read story for all supporting and opposing hydro power projects. It aptly assesses present situation and future scenario of hydro power projects worldwide in the wake of erratic weather pattern fueled by on going climate chage.                       http://grist.org/business-technology/does-hydropower-make-sense-in-a-warming-world/#

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change not sole cause, says Javadekar (04 June 2015) This is a bit strange statement from Environment Minister, trying to downplay Dr Harsh Vardhan statement earlier: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/climate-change-not-sole-cause-says-javadekar/article7279701.ece

Dr Harsh Vardhan Says – “It’s not Just an Unusually Hot Summer, It is a Climate Change” (02 June 2015) MORE BAD NEWS: Forecast for Monsoon downgraded to 88% from earlier 93%; Arrival date further delayed to June 5; North West India to face the highest deficit of 15%. Only welcome sign here is that India’s Minister sees the climate change link in repeated monsoon failures, but what use it is for farmers?  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=122218

With 2015 heading towards being the hottest year, India to seek more funds from rich nations at climate talks (01 June 2015) With 2015 heading towards being the hottest year on record, India and China will negotiate for a treaty to put a check on the rising temperature. The two countries will formally move a proposal at the Bonn climate talks starting from, proposing that rich nations should have pre-2020 emission reduction targets. India will also propose that rich nations give US$ 100 billion of public finance every year to fight climate change. An Indian climate negotiator said the task at Bonn would not be easy as most of the countries were not willing to budge from their stand. He added that as the Prime Minister had made it clear, India would be insisting on pre-2020 emission targets as part of the deal. Climate scientists believe that the weather condition this year should be a warning to countries that they need to act now to fight climate change.             http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-to-seek-more-funds-from-rich-nations-at-climate-talks/article1-1353392.aspx

ENVIRONMENT                                                                                                                       

One year of NDA govt: The space for environmental concerns has shrunk (02 June 2015) Nitin Sethi rightly says that “the (Environment) minister’s tactics of dismissing tough questions at times with obfuscations or worse still, to give answers that are uneconomical with facts” is not going to be looked charitably even by urban middle class           http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/one-year-of-nda-govt-the-space-for-environmental-concerns-has-shrunk-115060200114_1.html

Kerala rejects Subramanian panel report on environment (05 June 2015) Very good to see the Kerala State government taking clear stand on TSR report on World Environment Day:       http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/just-in/kerala-rejects-subramanian-panel-report-on-environment.html

Projects, stalled and shelved (13 May 2015) Over the last 12 months, the overwhelming reason for projects getting stalled was the lack of promoter’s interest in implementing them. This factor overshadowed the more predictable systemic reasons for project delays — including land acquisition problems, lack of environmental clearance and raw material or feedstock unavailability — and accounted for over a fifth of the 598 projects that were reported to be stuck last fiscal. Data collated by CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy) on stalled projects — comprising a large sample of firm-level public and private investment data, balance sheet reports and survey of companies, and the timeline of projects — showed that the lack of interest by promoters to invest held up a total of 132 projects with investments worth Rs 69,600 crore last fiscal. As compared to this, land acquisition problems led to a shelving of 45 projects while raw material or feedstock unavailability resulted in scrapping of 20 projects.                                                   http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/projects-stalled-and-shelved/

Year 2 Must be Greener (01 June 2015/ Article by Vikram S Mehta) India is highly vulnerable to global warming. One hundred and fifty million people live along its 7,500 km coastline. Their livelihoods would be severely impacted if sea levels rose. Further, there are millions of farmers in north India who are dependent on the waters from the 10,000-plus glaciers that mark the Himalayas. Were these glaciers to recede, the impact on agricultural output could be severe. The point is that coal offers the least-cost option for energy security, and cannot but be encouraged. Equally, the green agenda has to be accorded high priority. We can no longer afford the option of developing first and cleaning up later. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/over-the-barrel-year-2-must-be-greener/#sthash.2GbZIEs2.dpuf

Japan ready to finance India’s coal-fuelled projects (26 May 2015) At a time when multilateral funders such as the World Bank have stopped supporting coal-fuelled power projects, Japanese lending institutions and banks are willing to help India’s quest for providing power to people still living without electricity. Of India’s installed power generation capacity of 267,637 MW, 61.73%, or 165,235.88 MW, is fuelled by coal. With the country’s demand for electricity expected to double to 2 trillion units in the next five years, coal-powered generation will remain the mainstay in its energy mix. Experts say by not lending to coal-fired projects, funders are keeping the poor away from a cheap source of electricity. “Multilateral funding organizations, such as the World Bank, are averse to funding the coal-fuelled projects,” an Indian government official said, requesting anonymity. The World Bank, in its energy-sector direction paper in 2013, had said it would provide financial support for new coal power generation projects “only in rare circumstances”.         http://www.livemint.com/Industry/rICaaV1xd6IDhIHYbBJ9cJ/Japan-ready-to-finance-Indias-coalfuelled-projects.html

Punjab’s ESZ idea around Sukhna ‘fraught with danger’ (26 May 2015) The Punjab Government wants to have just 100 metres of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. If cleared by the Central Government, this could not just pave the way for construction of Camelot, multi-storey and multi-towered housing project by Tata Housing Development Corporation, but also by several other builders right next to the ecologically sensitive sanctuary, in both Punjab and Haryana.Many developers, including some big names in the real estate sector, have bought land in the area surrounding the wildlife sanctuary – in both Punjab and Haryana.  Since a major part of the sanctuary’s 35-km-long boundary falls in these two states, the eco sensitive zone – a buffer around the protected area – has not been defined yet, because all three governments have failed to arrive at a consensus on the area of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjab-s-esz-idea-around-sukhna-fraught-with-danger/85487.html

STPs in Delhi can produce 42 MW electricity from Biogas (30 May 2015/Dainik Bhaskar) Delhi has started producing power from sewerage effluents. Presently three STPs located in Rithala, Kondli and Okhala using the French Technology can generate around 42 MW electricity. The generated power is being used to run the STPs. The State Govt. has targeted to generate 70 MW by the end of this year. Ankit Srivastav, Environment Engineer in IIT Mombey stated that energy cost of treating 1 MGD of sewerage is around 6-8 lakh rupees. Since Delhi generates massive amount of sewerage, this effort can bring down energy cost used in the treatment by 20-40 percent. He also said that this technology can significant save the energy and help govt. tackle energy crisis along with keeping the river Yamuna clean.

(Compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat)

One Comment on “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 8, 2015

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