Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, July 06, 2015

HYDROPOWER

NORTH-EAST: ARUNACHAL PRADESH: 4 hydroelectric projects including 2000 MW Subansiri denied environmental clearance (02 July 2015) ” The committee also noted that public hearings for the projects had not been conducted and asked the power developers to submit response to the various issues raised by the New Delhi-based NGO South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.” http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150702/jsp/northeast/story_29019.jsp#.VZXfvqRdz5d

Arunachal Pradesh:- Rejected by experts, biggest hydro electric project on Dibang River, approved by green ministry (24 June 2015) India’s largest hydroelectric project has been given all the requisite clearances by the environment ministry in spite of repeated rejections by its own experts. The 3,000-Mw Dibang river valley mega dam in Arunachal Pradesh, once fully built, will wipe clean 4,577 hectares of forest that is also the homeland of a small community of 12,000, the Idu Mishmi. The project worth Rs 25,000 crore was approved on September 22 last year without a study to understand the downstream impact. Instead, the ministry has asked that a study be carried out five years after the dam is commissioned. Likely to be completed in nine years, the study will be done, therefore, 14 years later. According to norms, such studies are to be carried out cumulatively for all hydroelectric projects on the river concerned before clearance is given. The dam is only one of 17 planned on the river that flows through the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/rejected-by-experts-dibang-hydro-project-gets-green-nod-115062400037_1.html

MANIPUR: Mapithel dam project drowns out dissent (28 June 2015) Chadong village in Manipur’s Ukhrul district once used to be lush with paddy fields and thick vegetation. Then came the Mapithel dam project -and everything changed. The flow of Thoubal river has been blocked and its waters have submerged the hamlet, 35km from Imphal, drowning out its fields, roads and a large part of a bridge. But the villagers, mostly Tangkhul Nagas, have vowed not to abandon their homes till their demand is met: they want a resettlement programme mediated by an expert review committee. Till then, wooden canoes donated by an NGO and bamboo rafts will help them find their way around. Anti-dam and human rights activists have asked the state government to immediately stop dam construction.  http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com//Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Dam-drowns-out-dissent-28062015008043

WEST-BENGAL: Landslides triggered by heavy rain kill 38 in Darjeeling (03 July 2015) “Darjeeling district has had 16 major landslides in last 138 years killing an estimated 1,300. But 25 landslides in one night of heavy rain show it is sliding steadily… Geophysicist Ghatak explained, “If one compares point to point, then Darjeeling is no less vulnerable than Uttarakhand. Darjeeling’s population density is greater; rainfall is higher; number of rivers and rivulets more which adds risk; and also geologically it’s at risk.” http://www.thethirdpole.net/landslides-triggered-by-heavy-rain-kill-38-in-darjeeling/

HIMACHAL: Cabinet allows sale of JP’s Karchham Wangtoo and Baspa-II hydro power to JSW Energy Limited (30 June 2015) The state Cabinet today paved the way for the sale of two hydro-power projects of 1,300 MW capacity in Kinnuar by Jai Prakash Power Ventures Ltd (JPVL) to Jindal Steel Works Energy Ltd and gave the nod for increasing VAT on diesel from 11.50 to 16 per cent, which will enhance its rate by almost Re 1 per litre.The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, decided to allow the transfer of 1,000 MW Karchham Wangtoo and 300 MW Baspa-II hydro-electric power plants from JPVL to its subsidiary Himachal Baspa Power Company Ltd (HBPCL) and the sale of their securities to Jindal Steel Works Energy Ltd. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/hp-cabinet-allows-sale-of-jp-projects-hikes-vat-on-diesel/100929.html

UTTARAKHAND: Residents write to PM against proposed Pancheshwar dam (05 July 2015) More than one lakh residents of the Pancheshwar valley in India and 50,000 in Nepal will become homeless if the hydropower project is constructed. Residents of the Pancheshwar valley have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to visit the area to ascertain whether the construction of a mega dam on the Kali river at Pancheshwar in Champawat along the Nepal border would benefit locals. India and Nepal have agreed to sign an agreement regarding the construction of the Pancheshwar dam on the Kali in Champawat. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/residents-write-to-pm-against-proposed-pancheshwar-dam/102785.html

Land sharks set in Kishau Dam area post Uttarakhand and Himachal Govt. agreement (22 June 2015) Land sharks have allegedly become active in the Shillai area of Sirmaur district. They purchase land at a nominal cost from the locals, following agreement between the state governments of Himachal and Uttarakand, to construct a 660 MW multi-purpose project on the Tons River. Sources in the area said nearly 35 to 50 land deals have been executed in the area, including patwar circles of Bali Koti, Bandli and Kando Bhatnol, in the last two-three months. Earlier, a similar modus operandi had been adopted at Renuka where a vigilance probe had unearthed the role of local middlemen and land sharks in depriving the locals of their due share. http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/527108/Delhi-Edition/NCR_23_June_2015#page/12/1

PUNJAB: Delay in replacement of runners at Ganguwal, Kotla hydro powerhouses causes Rs 150-cr loss (01 July 2015) How can they justify going for new hydro with such losses at existing projects: Delay in replacement of runners at Ganguwal, Kotla powerhouses causes Rs 150-cr loss. http://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/delay-in-replacement-of-runners-at-ganguwal-kotla-powerhouses-causes-rs-150-cr-loss/article1-1364941.aspx

Punjab shuts investment door on ruined Shanan hydroelectric power house (27 June 2015) Punjab Government has decided not to invest in Shanan Hydroelectric Powerhouse. Reason: Nine years are left for expiry of lease. The condition of the project is pitiable. Most buildings have developed cracks. The Punjab Government has suspended the repair of turbine and other equipment at the powerhouse. Established in 1936, the powerhouse was constructed on a 99-year lease agreement signed between Joginder Sen, Raja of Mandi, and Col BC Batty, a British representative. The lease will come to an end in 2024. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/punjab-shuts-investment-door-on-shanan-project/99020.html

SOUTH: Andhra steps up security at hydel plant as Telangana seeks control (20 June 2015) The standoff between the power utilities of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over the division of employees has spilled over to the Nagarjunasagar Tail Pond project located at Satrasala in Guntur district. With the Telangana Government making a move to post Telangana-native employees to the project, Andhra Pradesh hastened to beef up security at the installation, which is presently under its administrative control. A memo was issued on June 6 by the Telangana Energy Secretary, Mr. Aravind Kumar to the Chairman and Managing Director of TSGenco, Mr. Ajay Jain to allot employees who are native to Telangana to the 50 MW power wouse of the tail pond. As a response, Andhra Pradesh moved to assert its claim over the facility, and directed the Guntur police to step up security at the site. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ap-beefs-up-security-at-nsp-tail-pond-project/article7331325.ece

DAMS

Govt. Panel report to decide the fate of new dams on Ganga (30 June 2015) Construction of any new dam across the Ganga may now be very difficult. Considering existing dams to be a major hindrance to its ongoing river cleaning efforts, the Union water resources ministry has instructed the Central Water Commission (CWC) not to give its nod for any new dam if it does not ensure uninterrupted flow of water. The missive to CWC follows the government’s assertion that it does not want any obstacle in the way of its deadline to clean the river stretch along 11 major townscities, including Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna and Kolkata, in the next three years. http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Panel-report-to-decide-the-fate-of-new-30062015013009

Water Ministry says no to dams which compromise with uninterrupted Ganga flow (30 June 2015) Hope this decision is univocally supported by PMO, CM Uttarakhand and Green Ministry who are for past several months working extra hour to animate all buried down dams and disasterous hydro power projects on Ganga and its tributary post June 2013 KedarnathTsunami. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/pollution/no-sanction-to-any-new-dam-on-ganga-if-it-impedes-uninterrupted-flow-of-water-ministry/articleshow/47872943.cms

India’s water security crisis: Dams, pollution and climate change biggest threats facing Himalayan rivers (05 July 2015) Excellent Report from Economic Times. From the Report: “Adds Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, “We have accepted we need to save tigers, but we have no law to save rivers. India’s long-pending plan to link 37 rivers has been criticised on the grounds that it could do irreversible damage to rivers.” Now that even mainstream media like Economic Times start highlighting the unsustainability of dams in Himalayas, the PMO, MoEF, MoWR, MoP etc can review their stand on the same? http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/indias-water-security-crisis-dams-pollution-and-climate-change-biggest-threats-facing-himalayan-rivers/articleshow/47940702.cms

Here’s why India may be on the brink of an unprecedented full-blown water crisis (05 July 2015) From the report: “Dandekar argues that this skew is hindering rather than helping the sector.” The issue is not about dams… but about using the available infrastructure effectively,” she argues. “That’s not happening because of a number of reasons, most important being lack of democratic and participatory management in dam operations.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/heres-why-india-may-be-on-the-brink-of-an-unprecedented-full-blown-water-crisis/articleshow/47940423.cms   

Tribal leaders, activists arrested for opposing land acquisition Kanhar dam (30 June 2015) This is condemn-able: Police on Tuesday arrested Roma, General Secretary of All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), tribal leader Sokalo and Avijit, along with five other activists from their office at Robertsganj, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, on charges of vitiating peace and provoking people to break law and order during agitation against Kanhar dam. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Tribal-leaders-activists-arrested-for-opposing-land-acquisition-Kanhar-dam/articleshow/47882498.cms

3 gates of Bhadar dam damaged by recent Gujrat flood (01 July 2015) From the report “Within hours, the dam, which has the capacity to hold 6,600 million cubic feet (mcft) of water, overflew. Located some 60 km south of Rajkot near Lilakha village, Bhadar dam has overflown 23 times since the time it was built. But never in its history has it recorded such a high inflow of water. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/flood-damages-3-gates-of-bhadar-dam/

MONSOON

Scientists claim breakthrough in improving monsoon predictions (23 June 2015) Scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) have made a breakthrough in predicting monsoon rainfall over India after studying more than half-a-century of data for the June-September rainy season. The predictor, the scientists said after studying data from 1960 to 2013, could forecast monsoon rainfall with a high degree of accuracy in years when the El Nino weather phenomenon, associated with droughts in South Asia, is weak or absent. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/dlGVN4ZNt5yo2Vc5YvQgAP/Scientists-claim-breakthrough-in-improving-monsoon-predictio.html

Dry weather forces monsoon to take a rain check (06 July 2015) Dry weather since end-June has wiped out all surplus in southwest monsoon, and rains between June 1 and July 5 are barely normal at 206.7 millimeters. The surplus in almost all the regions of the country has come down in the last few days and if rains do not return in the next few days, things might start getting worse. In northwest India, the monsoon so far is just five per cent above normal, while in central and southern India, it is two per cent above normal. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/dry-weather-forces-monsoon-to-take-a-rain-check-115070600010_1.html

Skymet predicts July rainfall to be above normal (01 July 2015) Despite the prediction of below-normal rainfall for July by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), private forecaster Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd on Tuesday reaffirmed its forecast that rainfall in the month will be normal. Rainfall in June was 16% more than normal, with north-west India receiving 31% more than normal rainfall, central India receiving 23% more than the normal, the south peninsula receiving 19% more and east and north-east India receiving 1% more than normal rainfall. The government forecaster last week said the monsoon will be weak in the first half of July, and Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology forecast that there will be large-scale reduction in rainfall in the period. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/VNALpNDdXQHyaYGOPzsqRI/July-rainfall-will-be-above-normal-Skymet.html

DROUGHT 

Maharashtra (03 July 2015) As on date, 239 of 355 talukas have seen above-average rain. In another 61, there’s been 75-100 per cent of the average rainfall. In the other 14, rainfall has been 25-50 per cent of the average. The state finance department has said it was a cause of concern if the dry spell continued for a longer period especially in the talukas where rainfall has been above average or between 75-100 per cent. The low rainfall may lead to double sowing or destruction of kharif crop resulting in a fall in the foodgrain production. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/poor-rainfall-may-widen-revenue-deficit-to-rs-7-000-cr-maharashtra-115070200964_1.html

AGRICULTURE

East should lead next Green Revolution: Modi (29 June 2015) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for a second Green Revolution, saying it should start immediately from eastern India. He said the agriculture sector had been lagging in several areas including inputs, irrigation, value addition and market linkages, and his government was committed to modernising the sector and making it more productive. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/east-should-lead-next-green-revolution-modi/article7365080.ece

Agriculture revolution in Bihar is not so green (29 June 2015) Even macro numbers seem to suggest that the pronouncement of second green revolution in the east is yet to become a reality, at least in Bihar. On almost all parametres, the situation has either remained the same or has deteriorated somewhat after the talk of second green revolution in eastern states got louder. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/is-bihar-in-midst-of-second-green-revolution-115062900053_1.html

Sugarcane farmers switch to flowers and soya bean (23 June 2015) The unpredictable monsoons and the groundwater depletion have forced them to rethink their strategy and for the first time, the government, too, is encouraging them to look beyond sugarcane. The government-sponsored ‘Beyond Sugarcane’ movement has gathered pace in the dry district of Osmanabad, with thousands of farmers taking to soya bean, tur and horticulture, and most importantly Gerbera. This campaign supplements the much-publicised ‘Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan’ aimed at creating decentralised water sources. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/sugarcane-farmers-switch-to-flowers-and-soya-bean/article7344194.ece

More and more people in food-deficit Kerala are taking up terrace farming to grow organic vegetables and fruits (30 June 2015) Rooftop cultivators point out that there is immense scope for such service providers and their services should be made available throughout the state through the offices of the state agriculture department, Horticulture Mission and Vegetable and Fruit Procuring Council. If this happens, urban rooftop farming will revolutionise the food deficit state. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/rooftop-revolution

Farmers from Kerala make big bucks by growing ginger in Karnataka but leave behind a trail of pollution (30 June 2015) What the farmers are ignoring is the harmful effect of ginger cultivation on the environment. Ginger is prone to rhizome rot viral disease. Since farmers do not want to risk crop failure, they use large quantities of chemicals—pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and fertilisers—to prevent crop diseases and increase yield. Although a plot of land is leased for three to five years, farmers cultivate their crop for only a year and then move to newer pastures, leaving behind an infertile plot of land laced with pesticides. Such shifting cultivation is leading to large-scale environmental degradation in the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/ginger-trap

As rain gods smile, farmers plant more pulses and oilseeds (29 June 2015) This comes even as the Met department announced Friday that the south-west monsoon has now covered the entire country and the season’s overall rainfall has so far been nearly 27 per cent higher than the normal average for this period. The good spell of rains in June across central, western and southern India has led to the progressive area planted under kharif pulses nearly doubling to 11.04 lakh hectares (lh), from 6.14 lh covered during this period last year, while going up more than five times in the case of oilseeds (from 5.29 to 27.89 lh). http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/as-rain-gods-smile-farmers-plant-more-pulses-and-oilseeds/

IRRIGATION

SANDRP’s press release highlights fraudulent EIA for Krishna Marathwada Lift Irrigation Scheme (30 June 2015) South Asia Network on Dams, River and People (SANDRP) has alleged that the environmental clearance to Krishna Marathwada Lift Irrigation Scheme is based on non-existent water availability and a fraudulent environmental impact assessment. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Fraudulent-EIA-for-Krishna-Marathwada-Lift-Irrigation-Scheme/articleshow/47881424.cms

PMKSY to subsume three irrigation programmes (06 July 2015) The programmes, which would be brought under one roof, are the accelerated irrigation benefit programme of the ministry of water resources, integrated watershed management programme of the ministry of rural development and land resources, and the farm water management component of the national mission on sustainable agriculture of the department of agriculture.http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/pmksy-to-subsume-three-irrigation-programmes-115070600008_1.html

CCEA approved ₹50,000 crore for ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, (03 July 2015) Seems interesting but vague. If money could produce irrigation, all our lands should have been irrigated by now: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to a new scheme the “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana” (PMKSY).  It will have an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore over a period of five years (2015-16 to 2019-20). The allocation for the current financial year is Rs. 5300 crore. The major objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani), improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop), enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture and attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=122935

Centre restructure budget allocated under Prime Minister Kirishi Sinchai Yojana

*Amount in crore

SN Name of Schemes Budget Allocation

in  2014-15

Budget Allocation

 in 2015-16

1 Per Drop More Crop 30 1800
2 PM Kirshi Sinchai Yojana 4 1000
3 PM Kirshi Sinchai Yojana

(Water Shed)

2312.7 1500
4 Irrigation Benefit &

Flood Management

3276.6 1000
Total 5623.3 5300

http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Gallery.aspx?id=05_07_2015_021_042_002&type=P&artUrl=PORTION-SIZE-05072015021042&eid=31808

Reservoir Status (For the week ending on 25.06.2015) Water stock in 91 major reservoirs increased to 43.23 BCM from the previous week’s level of 39.17 BCM. Current storage is higher than the last year’s position of 38.93 BCM and more than the average of last 10 year’s storage of 29.70 BCM.All India Reservoir Trend 25 June 2015

http://agricoop.nic.in/ncfcweather/Minutes-26-June-2015.pdf

As monsoon heads for lean run, spotlight is on reservoir levels (30 June 2015) As intensity of the southwest monsoon shows signs of decline, water levels in 91-odd reservoirs located across the country would be one of the most critical elements that would be keenly watched. A significant dip in the levels would not only harm the irrigation potential but could also have a telling impact on sowing of rabi crop, which is sown immediately after the kharif season. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/as-monsoon-heads-for-lean-run-spotlight-is-on-reservoir-levels-115063000049_1.html

Storage Status of 91 Important Reservoirs of the Country (as on July 02, 2015) The Water storage available in 91 important reservoirs of the country as on July 02 2015 was 48.07 BCM which is 31% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=122957

Is thriving sugarcane crop responsible for Maharashtra’s Marathwada and Vidarbha’s water woes? (30 June 2015) “But one look at the real cost of water and we can see how inefficient sugarcane production is,” says Parineeta Dandekar, researcher at SANDRP. To produce one kilo of sugar, UP uses 1,044 litres of water, while Maharashtra uses double, 2,068 litres. This does not include more water used by sugar mills to crush and process the sugar, which is an average of 4 lakh litres per day.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47873925.cms

Unmaintained Sirhind Canal breaches in Bathinda submerging houses and croplands (23 June 2015) Over 100 acres were flooded in Gobindpura village here following a breach in the Sirhind canal today. Baazigar basti that has 90 houses was submerged under five feet of water. The locals alleged the state government did not repair the canal even though they knew monsoon was around the corner. Sources revealed the state government had not released regular annual maintenance funds for the repair of the embankments of the canal since 1999. This is not the first breach that has occurred in the area. On May 11, a breach near Bir Talab village caused damage to cotton crops. On March 9, a breach in the same canal at Marhi minor flooded 250 acres in Mehraj village of the district. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/breach-in-canal-100-acres-submerged/97302.html

Pankaja Munde in fresh trouble over  water conservation projects in Parbhani district (01 July 2015) Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde seems to have landed in fresh trouble as allegations emerged that she may have interfered with the government’s tendering process for two contracts for water conservation projects in Parbhani district.The contracts were eventually awarded to a bidder who was originally disqualified on technical grounds, allegedly after Munde’s office stepped in. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/more-trouble-for-pankaja-munde-its-water-projects-this-time/

WATER

GROUNDWATER:Seven die of cancer caused by ground water pollution at Chaleri Kalan village in Fatehgarh Sahib (24 June 2015) Village Sarpanch Anoop Singh Singh said water in the two ponds in the village had become polluted and started contaminating groundwater. He said the water drawn from the submersible pumps in the village was unfit for human consumption and residents have to boil the water first before making it fit for drinking. He said if they directly cooked rice it turned black in colour. It is pertinent to mention that more than 36 persons have died of cancer in Badali Choewali, Machrai Kalan, Ferozepur and other villages in the district. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/community/seven-die-of-cancer-at-chaleri-kalan-village-in-fatehgarh-sahib/97805.html

Illegal extraction causes Noida’s ground water table to sink (25 June 2015) With the groundwater level in Noida and Greater Noida depleting by over one metre a year as per the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), the authorities have started a crackdown on illegal extraction here. There are anywhere between 500 and 1,000 unauthorised borewells and bottling plants that cater to large areas in Noida, which lack access to potable water. Activist Vikrant Tongad, who has moved the NGTover extraction by construction companies, industries and plants, says there are about 200 big bottling plants with a production of more than 50,000 litres a day. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/noidas-water-table-sinks/article7355832.ece?ref=tpnews

URBAN WATER:  DELHI CANNOT LIVE ON BORROWED WATER FOREVER: DJB (01 July 2015) Living on borrowed water, Delhi should not hope to get any more water, at least not for the coming 10 years. As per Delhi Jal Board CEO, SS Yadav, relying on dams upstream of the Yamuna is not something that the city should be doing. Experts told HT that managing Yamuna is not something that Delhi can do alone. “There are a lot of states and authorities involved. Only one state can’t take decisions about the river alone,” said Manoj Misra, convener, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Most water parks in Delhi “illegal” (20 June 2015) Delhi’s water amusement parks, one of the biggest crowd-pullers and a favourite among kids, are in fact illegal. According to senior government officials, none of these parks have been given a licence to operate. Not just this, most of them extract gallons of groundwater without any permit. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/most-water-parks-illegal/article7335406.ece

Delhi govt. notifies 80% in Water and Sewer charges (28 June 2015) In a major relief to people living in unauthorised colonies, Delhi government has notified its scheme of 80 per cent reduction in one—time sewer and water development charges for new connections. Last month, the Aam Aadmi Party government had declared to slash sewer and water development charges, collected by the Delhi Jal Board, by 80 per cent in such colonies. According to a senior government official, residents of around 1,700 unauthorised colonies will now be able to avail the benefit of this scheme with Urban Development Department on June 26 notifying the reduced sewer and water development charges. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/states/delhi-govt-notifies-80-cut-in-water-sewer-charges/article7364084.ece

WATER GOVERNANCE: Faulty distribution network blamed for worsening drinking water crisis in Mysuru (20 June 2015) Drinking water scarcity in parts of the city is expected to aggravate in the coming weeks despite the assurance by the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) to tackle the issue “within days”. The problem has been attributed to the faulty distribution network and the failure of the MCC to hold the Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company Ltd. (JUSCO) — the agency responsible for supplying water to the city — accountable for the crisis. Tanveer Sait, Narasimharaja MLA, has cautioned S.A. Ramdas, Minister in charge of Mysore district, of a prolonged public protest if water scarcity was not attenuated by the authorities at the earliest. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/water-scarcity-set-to-worsen-this-year/article2989889.ece

Bottle water, milk and oil put under surveillance by FSSAI (24 June 2015) Amid rising concerns over safety of food items, central food regulator FSSAI has asked states to increase surveillance and act against entities selling contaminated packaged drinking water as well as adulterated milk and edible oils. Following the Maggi fiasco, the authorities have started clamping down on those entities which are found to be non-complaint with the food safety norms. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150624/nation-current-affairs/article/milk-oil-packaged-water-under-fssai-lens

WATER OPTIONS:  Rainwater Harvesting can help Indian save money: Nasa (June 2015) Rainwater could save people in India a bucket of money, according to a new study by scientists looking at NASA satellite data. The study, partially funded by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions, found that collecting rainwater for vegetable irrigation could reduce water bills, increase caloric intake and even provide a second source of income for people in India. The study, published in the June issue of Urban Water Journal, is based on precipitation data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, which provided observations of rainfall over the tropics and subtropics from 1997 to 2015. http://pmm.nasa.gov/articles/how-raindrops-could-save-rupees

 Rainwater Harvesting Way to Bail Out Delhi of Water Crisis (02 July 2015) According to experts – both from the Delhi Jal Board as well as independent organisations – harnessing rainwater is the only way Delhi can become self-reliant in terms of water in the coming times. According to policy, every new construction must make provisions for rainwater harvesting. Apart from this, occupants of all buildings over 500 square metres in size that do not have a rainwater harvesting pit will have to pay 1.5 times the water bill. “These are the punitive measures that we have introduced. http://www.htsyndication.com/htsportal/article/Way-out-of-crisis%3A-Tapping-rainwater/7432497

Water Your Farms with Tap on Your Phone (03 July 2015) Through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) in the local language, the device informs the farmer when the power is back on and kick-starts the motor if the farmer chooses to. The device is designed for an Indian setting – where power supply is unscheduled, and farmers are housed far away from their fields. Advanced models also alert the farmer when the water level goes down in the borewell or when there is an attempt to forcibly remove the device. At present some 15,000 farmers use the device developed by Vinfinet. For farmers like Kesu Patil, owner of 2.5 acres of farmland in Pura village of Mysore district, who lives nearly 20 kms away from his farm, the device has proven to be more than just useful. http://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/water-farms-with-a-tap-on-your-phone-courtesy-vinfinet-technologies/47919966

Farmers of parched Satara, Pune  form water banks in parched Satara, Pune (02 July 2015) Taking his cue from the much-discussed national rivers interlinking project, which proved a non-starter, a farmer in Satara district has managed to successfully interlink wells in his own village. Jotiram Pawar’s project has brought about 150 acres of dry farmland in Dhavadshi village under irrigation and helped create a water bank to ensure perennial supply for farmlands. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47907342.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

RIVERS

POLLUTION: Plastic waste floods rivers despite campaigns (06 July 2012) From the report “Despite routine awareness programmes and plastic waste eradication drives, tones of plastic waste end up in the rivers every monsoon season. Besides polluting the fresh water bodies, these non-degradable waste, including polythene covers and plastic bottles, also raise serious environmental concerns as they ultimately end up in the ocean and enter the food chain eventually.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/plastic-waste-floods-rivers-despite-campaigns/article7390753.ece

FLOOD: ASSAM: 65000 hit as flood breach embankments and damage roads in Sonitpur in Assam (06 July 2015) The flood situation in Assam turned grim over the past 24 hours due to incessant rains with over 65,000 people being affected in 125 villages across the state. More than 3,800 hectares of crop areas were under water currently, the report mentioned. Authorities have opened four relief camps in Bongaigaon, where 2,870 persons were taking shelter. The flood waters have also damaged a road and breached an embankment in Sonitpur. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/flood-situation-grim-in-assam/102914.html

 GUJRAT: Gujarat flooding: 70 human, 9 Asiatic lions dead, thousands cut off as Saurashtra is hit by heavy rains (26-28 June 2015) Heavy rains caused by a deep depression over the Arabian Sea have left 70 people dead in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region and parts of South Gujarat since Wednesday. The depression has since moved towards Madhya Pradesh but the rains have stranded people in several parts of Saurashtra, particularly in Amreli where 400 of 619 villages have been affected. The death toll of endangered Asiatic lions due to flash flood in Amreli and Bhavnagar has gone up to nine as two more carcasses of the big cats were recovered on Sunday. The count of blue bull deaths has also crossed 500, as more dead animals were recovered from Shetrunji dam in Bhavnagar. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/gujarat-flooding-70-dead-thousands-cut-off-as-saurashtra-goes-under-water/ ……..http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/rain-aftermath-lion-death-toll-climbs-to-nine-over-500-blue-bulls-killed/

JAMMU & KASHMIR: Over flowing Jhelum washes away several road, bridges as flood threats rises in Kashmir (26 June 2015) Several bridges and roads have been washed away in south Kashmir with Tral area in Pulwama district bearing the brunt of the flash floods, officials said on Thursday. There were unconfirmed reports of some nomads being trapped in flood waters in the Chamgund area of Kulgam district. A flood alert was sounded for Anantnag and Pulwama districts after Jhelum breached the danger mark as heavy rainfall lashed the region. Jhelum was flowing at 27.15-ft, 4.15-ft above the danger mark, at Sangam at noon on Thursday, they said. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-kashmir-on-flood-alert-after-jhelum-overflows-2098846

A former IAS officer narrates the woes of Jhelum River (30 June 2015) The River which gave life to Kashmir has been vandalised and desecrated by us. Muck and filth of almost entire Kashmir flows into the River. Its banks have been encroached. For last half a century or so no one has bothered to dredge it and take away the silt. Over and above everything else its flood basin has been snatched and converted into colonies. Where else will it go except overflow its banks and sometimes may even change course. http://www.countercurrents.org/ashraf300615.htm

UTTARAKHAND: Flash flood, landslides hit Char Dham Yatra (28 June 2015) The Char Dham Yatra remained partially disrupted in Uttarakhand even as 1,450 pilgrims stranded in Chamoli district were rescued today. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, however, resumed after a day’s halt. Chief Minister Harish Rawat said all pilgrims in the state were safe and efforts were on to repair the damaged bridges en route to Hemkund Sahib and Kedarnath shrines.Road connectivity to Kedarnath, Badrinath and Hemkund shrines remained suspended but the pilgrimage continued via helicopter. The Gangotri pilgrimage remained unaffected as the highway was opened to bigger vehicles today. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/1-450-pilgrims-rescued-in-u-khand-all-stranded-safe-yatra-partially-hit/99625.html

PUNJAB: Ghaggar’s path intersects with ‘unplanned’ infra development (25 June 2015) Come monsoon and those living in villages along the Ghaggar river in Haryana and Punjab start getting sleepless nights for the fear of floods that intermittently ravage the region. During floods, Ghaggar has the propensity to wreak havoc in Ambala (by Tangri river that eventually empties into Ghaggar), Kaithal, Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts of the two states, destroying crops, houses, roads and railway lines and other infrastructure. Fatehabad and Sirsa districts, where the river covers almost 140 km, are among the worst hit. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/ghaggar-s-path-intersects-with-unplanned-infra-development/98100.html  

RIVER ECOLOGY: Dolphins’ number up in Chambal but sans Ken & Son  (22 June 2015) The number of dolphins in Chambal river had increased from 66 to 71, while the species did not show up in the Son and Ken rivers in Madhya Pradesh, according to a census conducted by the state forest department. Son,a tributary of Ganga, and Ken, a tributary of Yamuna, have not shown presence of these cetacean mammals at least in the last two years. The two rivers had 10 and 7 dolphins respectively in 1998. http://www.news18.com/news/madhya-pradesh/number-of-dolphins-in-chambal-rises-from-66-to-71-756795.html

Thousands of fish are stunned, killed in bizarre ancient ritual (29 June 2015) In a bizarre ritual which has evoked the ire of environmentalists, almost eight to ten thousand villagers of Jaunpur, almost 85 km from Dehradun, participated in the Maun mela on Sunday. The festival, an annual event, where villagers stun and kill thousands of fishes in the Aglaad river, a tributary of the Yamuna, had many animal rights NGOs and environmentalists trying to convince the villagers to forego what they termed an ‘ancient and barbaric ritual’. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Conservationists-squirm-as-thousands-of-fish-are-stunned-killed-in-bizarre-ancient-ritual/articleshow/47855789.cms

RIVER REVIVAL: मूर्ति विसर्जन रुका तो साफ हो गया चंबल का पानी (29 June 2015) चंबल नदी में तीन साल पहले मूर्तियों के विसर्जन पर लगाई थी रोक, अब टीडीएस 354 मिलीग्राम प्रति लीटर घटा और पीएच मान 8.5 से घटकर 7.3 रह गया। यही कारण है कि साफ पानी पसंद करने वाले घड़ियाल, डॉल्फिन और मगरमच्छ की संख्या भी बढ़ गई। नेशनल चंबल सेंक्चुरी के प्रमुख मुरैना डीएफओ विंसेंट रहीम बताते हैं कि चंबल नदी में हर साल 10 हजार से अधिक मूर्तियों का विसर्जन होने से हालात खराब होते जा रहे थे। नदी में रहने वाले दुर्लभ घड़ियाल डॉल्फिन समेत मगरमच्छ कछुओं को पानी के प्रदूषण से खतरा था। तब इस नदी की जगह क्वारी नदी में मूर्ति विसर्जन शुरू कराया, ताकि धार्मिक भावना आहत हो। जिसका असर अब देखने को मिल रहा है। मूर्ति विसर्जन पर रोक के बाद चंबल के पानी की हाल में आई जांच रिपोर्ट से साबित हो रहा है कि पानी शुद्ध होता जा रहा है। इसी कारण इस साल की गणना में जलीय जीवों की संख्या में बढ़ोतरी हुई है। http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=586359&boxid=6291562953&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=06/29/2015&pageno=6&map=map&ch=cph

SAND-MINING: MoEF setting new rules to curb illegal sand mining (01 July 2015) Can satellite based and barcoded permits regulate sand mining? The Govt seems to have such infinite faith in technology alone and no trust in the people: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/lFs1vaw0PHEMHizHgMk83N/New-rules-to-curb-illegal-sand-mining.html

Centre plans external audit for mines not inspected (01 July 2015) The Centre wants external agencies to audit whether companies are adhering to government-approved mining plans. Mining plans include details like the extent of mineral body, geology, lithology, mineral reserves, mechanisation, plan of area indicating water course, and water pollution. “Poor implementation defeats the objective of systematic and scientific development of mines, conservation of minerals, and protection of the environment,” the Centre said in a communication to states.Third-party audits are expected to identify deviations from proposals furnished in mining plans. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/centre-plans-external-audit-for-mines-not-inspected-115070100017_1.html

Maharashtra acts tough against sand mining (24 June 2015) People involved in illegal sand mining and black-marketing of essential commodities will soon face charges under the stringent Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act, 1981. Bringing these crimes under the MDPA Act would allow the police to make preventive arrests of repeat offenders and detain culprits for up to a year. The controversial act empowers the government to order the preventive detention of repeat offenders merely on the basis of suspicion. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/crackdown-maharashtra-govt-to-book-black-marketeers-sand-miners-under-tough-law/article1-1362023.aspx

District Administration Chhatarpur, MP proposes Rs. 9 crore fine on sand mafia (26 June 2015) Taking strict cognizance of rampant illegal sand mining activity in and around Barband village under Chatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh, administration has proposed a fine of Rs. 9 crore against notorious sand mafia Sabir Khan in two separate cases. Besides this, district administration has also prepare a case of proposing Rs. 49 lakh fine against Raj Bahadur Yadav another illegal sand miner active around Mawai Ghat. Sand Mafia had constructed temporary bridge over Ken river to illegally transport the sand to adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh. http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=585158&boxid=6262193906&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=06/26/2015&pageno=6&map=map&ch=cph

NARMDA: NBA PR: उच्च न्यायालय .प्र की सरदार सरोवर क्षेत्र में रेत खनन पर संपूर्ण रोक जारी; न्यायालय जाँच समूह करेगी अवैध खनन की जाँच (02 July 2015) बडवानी, धार, खरगोन और अलीराजपुर जिलों में नर्मदा किनारे, सरदार सरोवर डूब क्षेत्र में चल रही सभी रेत खदानों पर म.प्र. उच्च न्यायालय के न्या. राजेन्द्र मेनन् व न्या. सुषील कुमार गुप्ता के खंडपीठ ने संपूर्ण रोक जारी रखी। सरदार सरोवर बांध के लिए भू-अर्जित जमीनों पर नर्मदा घाटी विकास प्राधिकरण के द्वारा गुजरात की हकदारी बनी होते हुए, म.प्र. की खनिज विभाग की और से उन जमीनों को रेत खनन के लिए लीज पर देना या अवैध खनन को नही रोकना बिल्कुल ही गैर कानूनी है, यह कहते हुए, मा. खण्डपीठ ने सभी षासकीय सस्थाओं को आज न केवल चेतावनी बल्कि फटकार लगाते हुए कहा कि रेत खनन की अवैध कारोबार तत्काल बंद होनी चाहिए। https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in

GANGA: “Namami Gange” Govt. plans star rating for industries along Ganga (26 June 2015) India may soon come up with efficiency ratings for all establishments along the Ganga to assess their compliance with Narendra Modi government’s mission to clean the holy river. Officials said a ‘Nirmal Ganga Rating’ is in the works to assess industrial units, municipalities, gram panchayats and even ashrams on a scale of one to three, much like the Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s star rating for electrical appliances. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-06-26/news/63862478_1_clean-ganga-gram-panchayats-rating-scale

Hundreds of dead fish surface in Ganga river at Muzzafarpur, Bihar probe ordered (06 July 2015) Hundreds of dead fish were found floating in the Ganga river at Shukhra area here on Sunday, promoting district authorities to launch a probe. The fishes were suspected to have died due to discharge from industries, government officials said here. http://www.thestatesman.com/news/delhi/hundreds-of-dead-fish-surface-in-ganga-river-probe-ordered/73868.html

Adventure sports on Ganga should follow the rules (03 July 2015) Ecologists have raised the red flag, creating a sharp chasm with the tourism industry. The country’s premier Wildlife Institute of India (WII), in a site inspection report in June 2010, came down heavily on the rafting companies; of the 34 operators, at least 13 were causing harm either by their sheer location or by irresponsible disposal of solid waste. All this came to the forefront when a non-governmental organization called SAFE (Social Action for Forest and Environment) filed a petition before NGT in March 2015, asking for removal of camps along the Ganga that were damaging local ecology in the 36km section from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh. http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/NxQNbRFnExolLHQX0DAUKN/Adventure-sports-on-Ganga-should-follow-the-rules.html

YAMUNA: NGT Panel on Yamuna restoration (28 June 2015) A committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal has suggested that use of fresh water should be prohibited and made an offence in order to maintain the minimum environmental flow of Yamuna river. The principal committee, headed by Shashi Shekhar, the secretary in the ministry of water resources, was constituted by the green panel on January 13 for implementing the “Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization Plan, 2017”. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/pollution/Panel-on-Yamuna-restoration-suggests-ban-on-use-of-fresh-water/articleshow/47849495.cms

Farmers along Yamuna lose faith in administration (25 June 2015) Pre-monsoon showers have lashed the region, raising hope for monsoon to set in soon. But farmers and residents living along the Yamuna are a worried lot, as the work to prevent floods is incomplete. Farmers say the district administration and the Irrigation Department have learnt no lesson from the past experiences and shown “lethargic” attitude in maintaining the river bank breached during the monsoon every year. Stones have been dumped along the river bank to plug the breach, but work on studs has not started; old studs have not been repaired. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/flood-of-problems-for-state-this-monsoon/98098.html

Haryana Govt. violating NGT order, augment no water to help Yamuna stay flowing down stream Hathini Kund Barrage (29 June 2015)  The Haryana government has not discharged the 10 cumecs at Hathnikund barrage it had been asked to release “immediately” a fortnight ago by the National Green Tribunal to ensure ecological flow in Yamuna.The NGT order was part of an interim plan to moisten the riverbed with fresh water until experts can come up with a strategy on how the ideal ecological flow of 70 cumecs can be achieved. As of now, the sewage-filled river has virtually no fresh water flow of its own. A minimum flow is required by the river to resume all its ecological functions including recharging its aquifers and ensuring that riparian flora and fauna survive. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/developmental-issues/Haryana-government-yet-to-release-water-in-Yamuna/articleshow/47858231.cms

Farmers move NGT on agri ban along Yamuna (02 July 2015) A farmers’ collective, Delhi Peasants Multipurpose Society, representing more than a thousand farmers have filed an application in National Green Tribunal on Wednesday against the tribunal’s earlier order prohibiting cultivation of any edible crops along the Yamuna floodplains. The NGT bench, however, refused to issue any directions; it asked the farmers instead how they could prove their produce is safe for consumption. It asked farmers to get the produce tested in a laboratory to verify the level of toxic contamination. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Farmers-move-NGT-on-agri-ban-along-Yamuna/articleshow/47903281.cms

SOUTH ASIA

Nepal’s quiet green revolution (3-9 July 2015) SRI is also spreading to Nepal: http://nepalitimes.com/article/nation/Nepal,2378

Climate-instigated instability & threats (04 July 2015) Very interesting from our Pakistan friend: “The above report also warns that the changing environmental conditions could disrupt the viability of the existing Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan. Indo-Pakistani water interdependence requires collaborative research concerning the predicted effects of climate change, or else growing water stress will increase the threat of unilateral action based on divisive politics, which continue to plague relations between the two countries… Yet, our government continues to emphasise disaster response over disaster preparedness.” http://tribune.com.pk/story/914353/climate-instigated-instability-threats/

Lenders from Middle-East to stop loan for Neelum-Jhelum project (02 July 2015) Lenders from the Middle East have stopped a planned loan of $433 million to fund the strategically important 969-megawatt Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project following the surge in cost estimate to $4.21 billion. http://tribune.com.pk/story/913272/hydroelectric-power-plant-financiers-stop-433m-loan-for-neelum-jhelum-project/

CHINA

China offers $50 bn for hydroelectric projects in Pakistan(04 July 2015) China’s hydropower industry is looking for new markets, but this could spell trouble where ever they go: http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/china-offers-50-bn-for-hydroelectric-projects-in-pakistan-115070301362_1.html

China continue to build big hydropower projects (30 June 2015) From the report “The State Grid Co. has recently disclosed a blueprint to build three new hydropower plants in China’s central and eastern provinces of Anhui, Henan and Shandong, which would offer state-of-the-art electrical storage. The three projects are estimated to cost approximately RMB21.7 billion or $US3.55bln. and are set for completion in 2021, according to the China Topix Website.” http://english.cntv.cn/2015/06/30/ARTI1435655661246469.shtml

ASIA

Hidden cost of big dams and hydro power in Asia (29 June 2015) But while it is less polluting than smokestack industries and less dangerous than nuclear energy, hydropower is not entirely impact-free, as it involves massive construction projects and potentially devastating downstream effects. Take for example China, currently the world leader in hydropower production, with 61.4 Mtoe (million tons of oil equivalent) each year. Despite its considerable hydropower capabilities, China ranks poorly on the World Energy Council’s Energy Trilemma index (74th out of 129), a ranking that takes into account the ability of a country to balance energy security, equity and environmental sustainability. http://www.asianscientist.com/2015/06/print/dammed-do-damned-dont-potential-and-cost-hydroelectricity/

WORLD

Amazon’s Tropical Forest Biodiversity, Wildlife Threatened By Hydropower Dams, Study Says (01 July 2015) Mega hydropower projects in tropical forests pose a major emergent threat to terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity worldwide. Despite the unprecedented number of existing, under-construction and planned hydroelectric dams in lowland tropical forests, long-term effects on biodiversity have yet to be evaluated. We examine how medium and large-bodied assemblages of terrestrial and arboreal vertebrates (including 35 mammal, bird and tortoise species) responded to the drastic 26-year post-isolation history of archipelagic alteration in landscape structure and habitat quality in a major hydroelectric reservoir of Central Amazonia. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2015/07/150701-hydropower-dam-threatens-amazon-wildlife/, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150701140715.htm, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0129818

EPA to approve California’s newest list of impaired waterways(01 July 2015) More than 40 000 miles of rivers and streams of California are threatened by pollution: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/60dbad8216d6f3b485257e75007b7d92

Underwater and Under Review: Stakeholders comment on the environmental impacts of the National Flood Insurance Program (29 June 2015) Very interesting and educational. Comments from citizens on National Flood Management Program which states that Levees and embankments actually encourage more development in flood plain areas and should be discouraged. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mschmitt/underwater_and_under_review_st.html

Netherlands used Floods as war weapons (09 June 2015) A new study shows that, from 1500 until 2000, about a third of floods in southwestern Netherlands were deliberately caused by humans during wartimes. Some of these inundations resulted in significant changes to the landscape, being as damaging as floods caused by heavy rainfall or storm surges. The work, by Dutch researcher Adriaan de Kraker, is published in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150609093008.htm

UN: Foodgrain prices will see steady decline in next 10yrs (06 July 2015) A UN report has projected steady decline in prices of foodgrains over the next decade, attributing the gradual price fall to increase in overall agricultural production and diversification of dietary choices towards meat and dairy products. The report, released last week, however, emphasized that prices of foodgrains would not fall below early 2000-levels “despite the advantageous scenario regarding global food pricing”. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/UN-Foodgrain-prices-will-see-steady-decline-in-next-10yrs/articleshow/47952302.cms

CLIMATE CHANGE

Smart cities in times of climate change, erratic rainfall: Stop seeking water security from far away sources (30 June 2015) In a recent report, experts Parineeta Dandekar and Amruta Pradhan of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) have analyzed the Smart Cities Mission to understand how the clinching issue of water is addressed and what can be considered Water Smart for India today. http://counterview.org/2015/06/30/smart-cities-in-times-of-climate-change-erratic-rainfall-stop-seeking-water-security-from-far-away-sources/

Green climate fund to become operation soon (01 July 2015) The $100-billion Green Climate Fund will soon become operational in India and the process of accrediting organisations which can access the funds is going on, Dipak Dasgupta, Alternate Director (India), Green Climate Fund Board and Chair, Investment Committee, says. Some international agencies has already accessed funds to work towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/100billion-green-climate-fund-to-become-operational-in-india/article7371530.ece

US Climate envoy urges india to be ambitious in climate action plan (24 June 2015) With China expected to announce its national climate action plan shortly, the global attention is now on India and its plans for reducing carbon pollution and slow down global warming. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-06-24/news/63783306_1_un-sponsored-climate-talks-un-climate-summit-determined-contributions

Pope on Climate Change (20 June 2015) AS RELIGIOUS statements go, the one by Pope Francis on the environment is readable and in places, beautiful. With a clear eye on some global climate-change diplomacy which will come to a head in December, it affirms that carbon emitted by humans is the main reason why Earth is warming, and urges rapid action, especially by rich countries, to curb it. http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21654651-pope-cries-out-planet-latin-america-listens-attentively-quizzically-what

ENVIRONMENT                                                                                                                    

Tribal alienation in an unequal India (Article by Mihir Shah/ 04 July 015) Mihir Shah’s thought provoking article: “And there we find that an overwhelming share of the most backward subdistricts has a high concentration of tribal population… Around 40 per cent of the 60 million people displaced following development projects in India are tribals, which is not a surprise given that 90 per cent of our coal and more than 50 per cent of most minerals and dam sites are mainly in tribal regions…. 92 districts have subdistricts that figure in the list of both the top 20 per cent and bottom 20 per cent of India’s subdistricts. To give a few examples, “developed” districts like Thane, Vadodara, Ranchi, Visakhapatnam and Raipur have some of the most backward subdistricts. In Korba and Raigarh districts of Chhattisgarh, Valsad of Gujarat, Pashchimi Singhbhum and Purbi Singhbhum of Jharkhand, Kendujhar, Koraput and Mayurbhanj of Odisha, the most industrialised subdistricts are flanked by the most underdeveloped subdistricts. And invariably these backward subdistricts are overwhelmingly tribal. Clearly, the tribal people have not been included in or given the opportunity to benefit from development… They conclude: “reduced inequality and sustained growth may thus be two sides of the same coin”… This is because the poorest regions of India are also the most eco-fragile.” Its interesting that between 2000 and 2015, the share of personal wealth among the richest 1% has gone up from 37% to 49%, a jump of 12%. 4% of this addition has come from the share of 1-10% richest people, whose share declined from 29% in 2000 to 25% in 2015. 8% of the addition came from the bottom 90%, whose share declined from 34% in 2000 to 26% in 2015. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/mihir-shah-writes-on-tribal-alienation-and-need-for-inclusive-growth/article7383721.ece

World Bank Project Critics are Threatened, Harassed, Jailed: Human Rights Watch Report (22 June 2015) The World Bank Group has done little to prevent or dissuade governments from intimidating critics of the projects it funds, or monitor for reprisals, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 144-page report, “At Your Own Risk: Reprisals against Critics of World Bank Group Projects,” details how governments and powerful companies have threatened, intimidated, and misused criminal laws against outspoken community members who stand to be displaced or otherwise allegedly harmed by projects financed by the World Bank and its private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The World Bank and IFC have failed to take adequate steps to help create a safe environment in which people can express concern or criticism about projects funded by the Bank Group without risk of reprisal, Human Rights Watch found. http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/06/22/world-bank-group-project-critics-threatened-harassed-jailed

Forest Right Act: Let’s not miss the wood (Article by Arvind Khare 27 June 2015) Nearly 250 million people live in and around forests in India, of which the estimated indigenous Adivasi or tribal population stands at about 100 million. To put these numbers in perspective, if considered a nation by themselves, they would form the 13th largest country in the world, even though they cannot be depicted as representing any singular, monolithic culture. For this population, there cannot be any better news than the government’s willingness to recognise their customary rights and undo the historical injustice they have faced, as outlined in the FRA. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/lets-not-miss-the-wood/article7358626.ece

India’s $100 billion solar push draws foreign firms as locals take backseat (03 July 2015) India’s $100 billion push into solar energy over the next decade will be driven by foreign players as uncompetitive local manufacturers fall by the wayside, no longer protected by government restrictions on the sector. The money pouring into India’s solar industry is likely to be soaked up by foreign-organised projects such as one run by China’s Trina Solar – not the country’s own solar panel manufacturers. Last week, Softbank became the latest foreign player to enter India’s solar market, leading an investment of up to $20 billion. The Japanese firm said it would consider making solar panels locally, but with Taiwan’s Foxconn rather than a local manufacturer. http://www.livemint.com/Industry/d90cGLFG4HJ0MyTKqNUrPN/Indias-100-billion-solar-push-draws-foreign-firms-as-local.html

Why a Leading Indian Politician Is Now an Environmental Hawk (01 July 2015) While it is good that Jairam Ramesh says Pollute now pay later approach wont work in India, he does not really spell out why that is the situation. But JR’s approach is nevertheless better than any other politician of India: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/why_a_leading_indian_politician_is_now_an_environmental_hawk/2890/

Three billion units of power wasted in one year (05 July 2015) It is the height of paradox for a country where blackouts are more a norm than exception. Over 3 billion units of electricity, or a day’s national consumption, were wasted in 2014-15 as congestion in the transmission highways blocked trading between surplus and deficit regions. Data from various power exchanges show a higher wastage in 2013-14 at 5.3 billion units, or Delhi’s consumption for roughly 56-60 days. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Three-billion-units-of-power-wasted-in-one-year/articleshow/47942237.cms

Poor transmission network chokes 25,000 MW power supply to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh & Punjab (02 July 2015) Companies such as Tata Power, Adani Power, GMR Energy and Jindal India Thermal are unable to sell electricity due to a severe congestion in the transmission grid, preventing transfer of power from about 25,000 MW of capacity in surplus regions to northern India and leaving states like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the dark. Grid managing agency Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) is  curtailing transportation of power from the eastern region to the north for 20 days to prevent grid collapse, industry sources said. Because of this, power companies are unable to honour their short-term contracts and distribution companies are either load-shedding or buying costlier power from spot markets, they said. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/poor-transmission-network-chokes-power-supply-to-rajasthan-uttar-pradesh-punjab/articleshow/47903852.cms

Green Minister fails to pressurise Tribal Ministry over ease in FRA rules (02 July 2015) Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has lost round one in his fight against Jual Oram-led tribal affairs ministry on easing rules for projects in tribal areas. The law ministry has, through a legal opinion, told Javadekar’s ministry that this subject falls in the domain of the tribal affairs ministry, which alone can make any changes. Javadekar moved the law ministry after Oram contested the environment ministry’s attempt to ease rules under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), which is essentially the tribal ministry’s preserve. Earlier this year, the green ministry came up with a draft notification seeking to substantively delink procedures for forest nod for projects from FRA provisions. Environment ministry officials, who did not wanted to be quoted, told ET that the ministry will make a second reference to the law ministry with fresh arguments. It’s now a question of Javadekar’s political muscle, as his ministry claims to be pursuing this at the instance of the Prime Minister’s Office. http://cmaindia.org/Current_News.php?news_id=570

Government plans to integrate green norms for construction (23 June 2015) The environment ministry is proposing to integrate green practices such as solid waste management and utilization of treated wastewater in building projects that need to approach the ministry for environment clearances. At present, building and construction projects with more than 20,000 sq. m of built-up area require environment clearance from the Union environment ministry. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/Z5RTEeIyvQfTcfqskLvjgL/Government-plans-to-integrate-green-norms-for-construction.html

Quarter of the world’s poor live in eight Indian states: Report (28 June 2015) A little over a quarter of people living in extreme poverty in the world live in eight Indian states, says a new Oxford university analysis, sparking concerns about social and economic development in Asia’s third-largest economy. The 2015 global multidimensional poverty index (MPI) of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative says Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and West Bengal account for nearly 440 million of the world’s 1.6 billion poverty-stricken people — equivalent of 25 African countries together. The figures are based on data from 2005-06, raising questions on their utility as well as underscoring India’s poor record in collating social-indicator figures despite running many welfare schemes. In comparison, other South Asian countries have data for 2009, 2011 and 2013. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/quarter-of-the-world-s-poor-live-in-eight-indian-states-report/article1-1363588.aspx

Mass extinction: This time, we are the volcanoes, asteroids (25 June 2015) There’s no doubt any longer. The Earth has entered the sixth great extinction in its 4.5-billion-year history. Species are disappearing 100 times faster than the background rate — normal rate between mass extinctions — a pace unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. And the reason is not asteroids, volcanic eruptions, or massive tectonic movements. It is us — human beings. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/mass-extinction-this-time-we-are-the-volcanoes-asteroids/

‘Overflowing landfill sites in Delhi posing risk to humans health’ (28 June 2015) The city produces a staggering 8360 MTD (Metric Tonnes Daily) waste but the existing capacity of its all three landfill sites stands at 4660 MTD, all of which are operating beyond their saturation point, the Economic Survey report by the Delhi government has pointed out. Bhalswa landfill site was commissioned in the year 1994, Ghazipur in 1984 and Okhla in 1996 and none of them are designed as per the Municipal Solid Waste Rules of 2000. http://www.millenniumpost.in/NewsContent.aspx?NID=139832

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