Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, July 27, 2015

HYDROPOWER

Thermal, Hydro Power projects on the blink despite clearances by government (23 July 2015) Power sector is now bereft of capital flow. While thermal power projects might see some respite, hydropower projects continue to fester even after getting all the clearances. This puts a question mark on the claims of the hydro lobby that environment ministry and environment clearances are responsible for delaying the projects. Of the 80 stalled power projects, around 25 are hydro-based. Due to delays, the cost of the project, in almost all cases, has increased manifold thereby inviting regulatory tiff over tariff. NHPC’s Subhansari Power Project remains stalled due to the agitation in Assam. NHPC officials need to be held accountable as to how did they start the work without addresing the downstream impacts issues. Due to their callousness, the cos has doubled and work is stlled for over 3.5 years. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/power-projects-on-the-blink-despite-clearances-by-government-115072200024_1.html

JAMMU & KASHMIR:  Baglihar Hydro Electric Power project threatens Doda, Kishtwar (27 July 2015) Baglihar HEP is making life difficult with landslides, floods and additional submergence: “Before construction of dam, rocks were visible on both banks of the river. But when water level increased and became stagnant, rocks are nowhere in sight and water has entered loose soil. The root cause of frequent landslides and sinking of area in Doda districts on both side sides of the dam is stagnant water.”GM Bhat, Geological expert. http://www.tribuneindia.com/…/baglihar-power-pr…/111641.html

MANIPUR: Mapithel dam: Indifference of Govt flayed; Tumukhong body resolves to ban dam work (26 July 2015) Taking strong exception to the Government’s failure to take up any tangible step to allay the growing fear of people about possible break down of Mapithel Dam, the Apunba Lup Tumukhong has resolved to ban all activities related to dam construction in addition to blocking all roads leading to and from Mapithel Dam indefinitely. http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=1..270715.jul15

  • Dam turns nightmarish for up and down stream villagers (24 July 2015) Whereas people living in the downstream of Mapithel Dam have been caught in a panicky situation following seepage of water, the newly constructed Chadong Government High School as well as the village Church have been submerged substantially. Chadong villagers upstream of the dam, have been enduring all kinds of difficulties because they do not want to lose their ancestral home to Mapithel Dam. Now the villagers are fed up of verbal assurances and they can be convinced only when the Government is ready to sign an MoU. http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=1..250715.jul15
  • Looming environment catastrophe (24 July 2015) Construction of the dam is now ongoing even though the courts are still hearing the matter. This June, as the water levels rise, the headman of Chadong village told local newspapers that he now feared a possible outbreak of epidemic as the water engulfed their fields and homes. http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/HeArYHIFdd8MS2W52LsaQK/Manipurs-looming-environment-catastrophe.html

To be inaugurated, Sekmai Dam in Manipur caves in (25 July 2015) The Sekmai Dam that was built in the Sekmai river to irrigate paddy fields and supply drinking water to nearby villages caved in early Friday (July 24, 2015) morning. About 20 feet of the dam portion in the middle had breached as it could not withstand the strong water current of Sekmai river in the last few days. The construction of Sekmai Dam began in 2013 under the funding of North Eastern Council (NEC) at the estimated cost of Rs 4.30 crore. So far, Rs 3 crore had been sanctioned for the dam construction. The construction was undertaken by the Minor Irrigation Department and completed in 2014, but the dam developed a huge crack in the middle portion measuring about 4 ft in June last.  http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=21..250715.jul15

W BENGAL:  State Govt. transfers four hydro projects to NHPC (24 July 2015) The government of W Bengal has transferred ownership of four hydro projects with a combined capacity of 293 MW to NHPC Ltd. The four projects, all in the District Darjeeling, are 80-MW Teesta Low Dam-V, 81-MW Teesta Low Dam I & II, 84-MW Teesta Intermediate Stage, and 48-MW Rammam-I. Previously, these projects were owned by the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, the West Bengal government-run power agency. None of the projects have any clearances and they are all to come up in vulnerable areas that suffered in recent massive landslides. http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2015/07/four-indian-hydro-projects-transferred-to-national-hydroelectric-power-corporation.html

UTTARAKHAND:  Parliamentary panel hints major quake in Garhwal-Kumaon region’ (23 Julu 2015) Over the last 200 years less than 50 % of the Himalayan arc has been damaged due to tremors, which includes the Garhwal-Kumaon belt of Uttarakhand, and a major earthquake cannot be ruled out in the region, a parliamentary report has said. This puts a question mark on govt plans to building more dams and hydropower projects in thsi region. http://zeenews.india.com/news/uttarakhand/major-quake-cannot-be-ruled-out-in-garhwal-kumaon-region_1635144.html

Uttarakhand’s master plan aims to protect shrine from calamities (22 July 2015) Following the devastation in the Kedarnath shrine area during the 2013 flood, the Uttarakhand government has drafted a master plan for the planned development of Kedarpuri, the area comprising the temple and its surroundings, to ensure that natural calamities do not affect the pilgrimage site in the future.  http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/rebuilding-kedarpuri-uttarakhands-master-plan-aims-to-protect-shrine-from-calamities/

SOUTH:  Activists Confident of Challenging Athirappilly Hydel Project in Court (24 July 2015)  “We hope that the MoEF would not give green signal to the project. Even if it did, we are confident that it could be successfully challenged in the courts, as in the past,” said Chalakkudy River Protection Forum secretary S P Ravi. The period of an earlier clearance has expired. So, they might have moved an application for fresh clearance. Instead, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) filed a petition to reconsider the environment clearance, which will not hold water,” he said.  http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/Activists-Confident-of-Challenging-Athirappilly-Hydel-Project-in-Court/2015/07/24/article2937080.ece

  • Geeta a Kadars tribal girl from Kerala appeal against Anthirapally HEP (20 July 2015) This urgency has arisen because the Ministry Of Environment and Forests is convening the Expert Appraisal Committee for River valley and Hydroelectric Projects on July 20th and 21st to reconsider giving Environmental Clearance to the Athirapally Project whose clearance has been canceleld by the High Court thrice! http://www.countercurrents.org/geetha200715.htm

DAMS

HC directs Maharashtra Govt not to grant new water projects (17 July 2015) The Bombay High Court has ordered the Maharashtra Government not to approve any new water projects in the state until the Integrated State Water Plan (ISWP) has been finalised. Along with this, the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) has been ordered to furnish details of the sanctioned projects to the Court. A petition has been filed, which states that 189 water projects have been cleared during 2007-13 in the absence of ISWP which is in violation to the MWRRA Act, 2005. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/articlesh…/48106880.cms

HP demands Rs 1981 Crores from Centre for stalled Renuka project (21 July 2015) The Centre has blamed the Himachal Government for the delay in the implementation of the Rs 6,000 crore Renuka Dam project, contending that the state had failed to take approval from the erstwhile Planning Commission. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur that the Centre was unable to meet the state’s demand for Rs 1,981 crore as the first instalment for the construction of the project in the absence of the financial approval. Appearing for the state, senior advocate JS Attri said funds were required to pay compensation to farmers whose lands were acquired for the project. On July 9, 2015, the SC had issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi Government on the state’s petition seeking Rs 1,981 crore to be paid to farmers. The Delhi Government has not filed its response so far. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/centre-raps-state-for-renuka-project-delay/109128.html

BHAKRA-BEAS POWER PROJECTS: Centre gets two more weeks to assess dues (23 July 2015) The Supreme Court has granted two more weeks to the Centre to assess the claims of Punjab and Haryana that Himachal Pradesh was liable to share the construction cost of Bhakra and Beas power projects in proportion to its share of electricity. A Bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana said Himachal was also free to file its response to the Centre’s calculations. In its September 27, 2011, judgment, the SC asked the Centre to calculate not only the entitlements of Himachal in the Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) projects, but also its liabilities. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/centre-gets-two-more-weeks-to-assess-dues/110247.html

MoEF rejects proposal for new Mullaperiyar dam (25 July 2015) Noting that the matter was sub judice, the MoEF decided to defer the proposal for grant of scoping clearance to the project till further directions from the Supreme Court. With this clear rejection, the Kerala government will now have to wait for orders from the Supreme Court to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar, replacing the existing 120-year-old dam. The Kerala government had cited safety issues as the reason for reconstruction. http://www.thehindu.com/…/no-new-mullape…/article7461329.ece

MONSOON

IMD’s Cumulative Rainfall Map upto 26 July 2015

Cumulative Rain Fall Map till 26 July 2015 (Source: IMD)

Cumulative Rain Fall Map till 26 July 2015 (Source: IMD)

http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/Monsoon_frame.htm

IMD issues Warning for Heavy to very Heavy Rainfall in Various parts of the Country (26 July 2015)  Indian Meteorological Department has issued warnings of Heavy to Very Heavy rainfall in West Madhya Pradesh, East & West Rajasthan, Gujarat, Saurastra & Kutch region. Heavy to Very Heavy rainfall is expected to occur in Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal thereafter on July 28-29. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123765

India Monsoon Rains to Dwindle in August (25 July 2015) http://www.accuweather.com/…/india-monsoon-rains-t…/50706252

DROUGHT 

Maharashtra’s plan to seed clouds may sprout nothing (23 July 2015) Altering cropping patterns and improving water management processes are better ways for the state to deal with drought than experimenting with inconclusive science. The government of Maharashtra, however, plans to try out cloud seeding. The state government has already given an in-principle nod to a proposal to set aside Rs 10 crore for the project which will begin in August if the current monsoon deficit continues. Cloud seeding is done by spraying tiny particles of silver iodide or dry ice onto a cloud from an aircraft. These particles attract the water drops that are already present in the cloud and form bigger drops, which fall as rain. However, this isn’t as simple as it sounds which is why evidence about the efficacy of this technology is still inconclusive. http://scroll.in/article/742835/maharashtras-plan-to-seed-clouds-may-sprout-nothing

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture in Punjab under stress, diversification (24 July 2015) Renowned agriculture economist and Chancellor, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, Dr SS Johal stated that the state’s agriculture sector was under immense stress and crops diversification and farmers’ suicides were major challenges. He emphasized on ‘new look’ at agriculture, making it profitable through mechanization and bringing farmers out of two-crops pattern of wheat and rice cycle. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Agriculture-in-Punjab-under-stress-diversification/articleshow/48200555.cms

Agriculture Not a Greener Pasture Any More (23 July 2015) Over the last 30-40 years, the State lost lakhs of acres of wetland as they were converted to residential layouts. Wetlands once lost cannot be retrieved, said C Vayapuri, president, United Farmers Association of Tamil Nadu. There are also instances where the land has been forcibly taken to convert it into industrial estates. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/Agriculture-Not-a-Greener-Pasture-Any-More/2015/07/23/article2935444.ece

IRRIGATION

Storage Status of 91 Important Reservoirs of the Country as on July 23, 2015: The Water storage available in 91 important reservoirs was 58.596 BCM which is 37% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 115% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 108% of storage of average of last ten years. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123738

Canal water theft on the rise in Haryana (21 July 2015) Efforts made by officials of the Irrigation Department to check canal water theft are proving insufficient in Irrigation and Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar’s home district Jhajhar as farmers are stealing more than 50 per cent of available water here to irrigate their crops. Though the Irrigation Department has registered 234 cases of water theft across the district in the past 15 days, farmers of the villages located at the tail-ends of the canals are being deprived of their share of water. Sources say the canal water theft is on the rise since the beginning of the paddy cultivation as the farmers in the district are not getting adequate water to irrigate their fields. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/canal-water-theft-on-the-rise-in-dhankar-s-home-district/109192.html

New tubewell connections to hike subsidy bill by Rs 550 cr in cash strapped Punjab  (22 July 2015) The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) order that allowed Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) to process the pending 1.25 lakh applications for electricity connections to tubewells in Punjab has added to the worries of the cash-strapped state government. With the release of 1.10 lakh tubewell connections, the state’s power subsidy bill will swell by over Rs 550 crore. The power subsidy in Punjab grew from Rs 4,778 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 5,484 crore in 2015-16. As per an estimate, the subsidy would rise to Rs 6,000 crore. It would rise further with an increase in power rates. At present, there are 12.76 lakh tubewell connections in the state. Around 1.25 lakh connections would be added by next year. This would mean that there would be a rise of 12 to 15 per cent demand for power by the farming sector. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/governance/new-tubewell-connections-to-hike-subsidy-bill-by-rs-550-cr/109762.html

Canal top solar panels to generate 1000 MW power in Punjab (23 July 2015) Punjab plans to harness the extensive canal network in the state for generation of an estimated 1,000 Mw of solar power. The state has been allocated 20 Mw of solar power generation by the government under the pilot project, for which a grant of Rs 3 crore per Mw would be provided. The cost of canal top solar power generation is Rs 10 crore per MW. Projects worth 5 Mw under the tendering process would be allocated under a build-operate-own (BOO) basis. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/canals-to-harness-1-000-mw-green-energy-in-punjab-115072100877_1.html

Chhattisgarh will achieve irrigation potential target in 91 years, says CAG report (26 July 2015) It would take nearly 91 years for the Chhattisgarh water resources department to achieve the ambitious target of irrigating 75 per cent of the gross sown area (GSA) given the pace with which it had been implementing the plan, pointed the report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). Though the water resources department embarked in 2001 on an ambitious target of irrigating 75 per cent of the GSA, the created irrigation potential of the state was increased from 1.32 million ha (23 % of the GSA) as on Nov 2001 to 1.9 million ha (33 % of the GSA) as on March 2014. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/chhattisgarh-will-achieve-irrigation-potential-target-in-91-years-says-cag-report-115072600780_1.html

WATER

GROUND WATER : Uattar Pradesh’s Deepwater Crisis Grows 9 Times In 11 Years (22 July 2015) UP’s 4.2 million tubewells, 25,000 deep wells and 30,000 government tubewells, are exhausting groundwater resources for irrigation, according to the UP irrigation department. Consequently, groundwater available for irrigation is projected to be 59% less than what is used today, said the groundwater board report. About 70% of the irrigation water comes from groundwater sources, according to the irrigation department, and this depletion can only be bad news for a farm sector steadily spiralling into crisis, as IndiaSpend had earlier reported from UP’s Bundelkhand region. http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/ups-deepwater-crisis-grows-9-times-in-11-years-88993

Industries polluting groundwater: HC flak for Ghaziabad DM, pollution board (21 July 2015) The Allahabad High Court has directed the District Magistrate and the top officials of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) in Ghaziabad to remain personally present before it to explain as to how industrial effluent can be allowed to contaminate groundwater and why no criminal and departmental proceedings be initiated against those responsible for the condition. It has fixed August 12 as the next date of hearing in the matter. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/industries-polluting-groundwater-hc-flak-for-ghaziabad-dm-pollution-board/

URBAN WATER:  Unpaid water, sewer bills hit Pujab’s smart city dream (22 July 2015) Civic bodies fail to collect user charges worth several crores for sewerage and water. Poor recovery of user charges by various municipal corporations, councils and committees in the state has become a major cause of worry for the state government, as it prepares to compete for getting funding for the Smart City project for three cities. This poor recovery will also impact the rolling out of urban renewal of all these towns and cities. With a large section of the state’s urban population not being billed for using water and sewerage, the focus of the Local Bodies Department is to ensure that all residents are billed and these bills recovered.. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/unpaid-bills-hit-urban-renewal-plan/109753.html

Forest dept fines DJB contractor Rs 2.7L for tree damage (23 July 2015) The forest department fined a Delhi Jal Board contractor Rs2.7 lakh for damaging nine trees at Aurobindo Marg while repairing a pipeline. The department on Wednesday submitted a report before the National Green Tribunal, saying that the manager of MVV Water Utility Private Limited, which had been awarded the project of improving water level for supply in Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar, will have to pay the fine. http://www.htsyndication.com/htsportal/article/Forest-dept-fines-DJB-contractor-Rs-2.7L-for-tree-damage/7550303

Vishnu Garden building collapse case: SDMC to file FIR against DJB (22 July 2015) Laying the blame on the Delhi Jal Board, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) will be filing an FIR against the water utility over last week’s building collapse in Vishnu Garden where six people were killed. The Standing Committee of the SDMC ordered the Commissioner to have an FIR lodged in the matter, as it blamed the DJB’s sewer-laying work in the area for weakening the four-storey building’s foundation. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sdmc-to-file-fir-against-djb/article7449347.ece?ref=tpnews

WATER GOVERNANCE: India Confronts Water Woes as it Transitions from MDGs to SDGs (26 July 2015) This IPS news report on India’s water woes quotes SANDRP coordinator: India Confronts Water Woes as it Transitions from MDGs to SDGs By Malini Shankar.  As the United Nations closes its chapter on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and charts a new plan of action under the framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), India – a country of 1.2 billion people – is confronting its resource challenges. One of the country’s primary concerns is how to provide its citizens equal access to fresh, clean water while also juggling the vast energy needs of its population and many industries. http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/06/india-confronts-water-woes-as-it-transitions-from-mdgs-to-sdgs/

WATER OPTIONS:  Saving water: More crop per drop (23 July 2015) A village in Maharashtra farms almost fully with drip irrigation. Jarandi gets barely 750 millimetres of annual rainfall, well below the national average of 1,175 mm. Yet, this village in Soegaon taluka of Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district has the unique distinction of almost its entire cultivable area being under drip irrigation. That perhaps makes it a model worth looking at, just when the current government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana that aims at delivering water to every field (Har Khet Ko Pani) with a Rs 50,000 crore budget outlay over five years. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/saving-water-more-crop-per-drop/#sthash.okwWbcOP.dpuf

RIVERS

POLLUTION:  River dirt rises 14 times in 26 years: Documents show polluted stretches increased despite crores of spending (23 July 2015) Detailed story includes interview of SANDRP coordinator: River expert Himanshu Thakkar blames the laws and out-of-touch babus. “Despite so much expense and such huge bureaucracy with so much powers, not a single river stretch has been cleaned up in the last 40 years. That’s primarily because there is zero community participation,” he says. Rs 15,000 crore is said to have been spent on Ganga clean-up alone all these years without any results.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3169896/Documents-number-polluted-river-stretches-increased-14-times-26-years-despite-crores-spent.html

Govt. identifies 300 polluted stretches on 275 river beds (23 July 2015) About 300 polluted stretches have been identified on 275 rivers based on Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand levels, which is a key indicator of organic pollution, the Centre told the Lok Sabha today. In reply to a question, Minister of State for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat said that the pollution load in rivers has increased over the years due to rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and discharge of untreated wasterwater on account of inadequate treatment facilities. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/300-polluted-stretches-on-275-river-beds-govt-115072301303_1.html

FLOOD: Extent of flood 2015 damage (cumulative figures) as on 22 July 2015

Population affected No. of

human lives lost

No. of districts affected No. of cattle/

Live- stock lost

Estimated value of

Total damage

(Rs. In lakh)

242170 185 35 53198

including Poultry

40,34,46,775-43

For more details explore the link http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2015/floodsJuly-2015.htm

Sutlej swells, crops on 2,000 acres submerged in Moga (21 July 2015) The rise in water level in the Sutlej has submerged crops on over 2,000 acres in Moga district. Heavy rainfall was reported in the catchment areas in the Ludhiana and Ropar districts in Punjab and in Himachal Pradesh during the past few days. Agriculture Development Officer Dr Jaswinder Singh Brar said that crops on 630 acres in Sanghera village, 630 acres in Boghewal village, 98 acres in Melak, 120 acres in Bandala, 700 acres in Mandar, 100 acres in Bhaini and 120 acres in Madarpur have been submerged. A team of the Agriculture Department has rushed to the spot to assess the situation. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/community/sutlej-swells-crops-on-2-000-acres-submerged-in-moga/109300.html

Flash floods  following cloud burst leaves 3 dead, 7 missing in  Jammu & Kashmir  (26 July 2015) At least three persons, including two children, were killed and 10 others injured in a flash flood triggered by heavy rain and a cloudburst, at the Baltal base camp of the Amarnath yatra Friday late night.The dead were identified as Deepak Singh of Delhi; Pooja (13) and Vikram (12) from Rajasthan. Seven persons, including one each from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, were washed away in the flood. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jammu-kashmir/three-dead-7-missing-in-baltal-flash-flood/111090.html

RIVER REVIVAL: How microbes can clean polluted water, from drains to rivers (21 July 2015) Useful information on Bioremediation technology http://www.livemint.com/…/How-microbes-can-clean-polluted-w… Also see link to Expert View from Manoj Misra advising concerned authorities not to rush headlong into adoption of the technology as it might appear promising but not panacea for all the pollution problems. http://www.livemint.com/…/bs2…/Promising-but-no-panacea.html

Nagpur Municipal Corporation to appoint consultant for Nag riverfront development (22 July 2015) So it seems, for any sort of River Beautification, the model is firmly Sabarmati now, which has reduced river width,concretised riparian zones, borrowed water from Narmada, ignored the most important aspect of “rejuvenating ” a river and refuses to accept the fact that only a healthy river can be a beautiful river. Nag Nadi Next.. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/NMC-to-appoint-consultant-for-Nag-riverfront-development/articleshow/48164799.cms

सरस्वती ऊपर आएगी या नहीं, ये तो पता नहीं लेकिन पैसा जरूर धरती में समा जाएगा : कुरुक्षेत्र सांसद राजकुमार सैनी (26 July 2015)  सरस्वतीनदी ऊपर आएगी या नहीं, यह पता नहीं, लेकिन इसके बजट का पैसा जरूर धरती में समा जाएगा। यह कहना है कुरुक्षेत्र के सांसद राजकुमार सैनी का। शनिवार को जिला स्तरीय सतर्कता और निगरानी कमेटी की बैठक में उन्होंने यह टिप्पणी सिंचाई हुडा विभाग द्वारा सरस्वती नदी की खुदाई बनाई जा रही ड्रेन को लेकर की। बैठक में सिंचाई विभाग के एक्सईएन ने बताया कि ड्रेन का काम चल रहा है। करीब 15 करोड़ का बजट है। ड्रेन के साथ बहाव स्थल की खुदाई की जाएगी।  http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=596944&boxid=72614059453&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=07/26/2015&pageno=6&map=map&ch=cph

RIVER ECOSYSTEM: Pulasa fishermen wait for Pushkaram to end (23 July 2015) Hilsa in the Godavari “The proposed Polavaram irrigation project is going to be a major threat to this variety, as the fish has to stop its journey at the dam,” says T. Rajyalakshmi, a senior fisheries scientist and former Director of the Central Institute for Brackish Water Aquaculture. Fishermen along three tributaries of the Godavari at Narasapuram are eagerly waiting for the Pushkarams to end so that they can resume their fishing operations and haul in supplies of Pulasa, a delicious fish that fetches them anywhere from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 4,000 per kg depending on demand. Narasapuram is one of the few places where the fish is available in good quantities. There is a ban on all fishing in the Godavari due to the ongoing Pushkarams. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/pulasa-fishermen-wait-for-pushkaram-to-end/article7453925.ece

SAND-MINING: NGT stays sand mining in MP during monsoons (20 July 2015) National Green Tribunal on Monday stayed sand mining in the entire state of Madhya Pradesh on the ground that it is damaging river ecology. Previously, state government extended mining activity till July 31. Compliance in the matter has to reported by all district collectors and mining officers in three days time on July 23. In a petition filed by social worker and resident of Kolar, Amarkant Mishra sought stay on sand mining in the entire state during monsoon period. It stated that as per a letter issued by mining department on June 30, period of sand mining was extended illegally for a month i.e. July and before that it was extended for three months on March 30. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/NGT-stays-sand-mining-in-MP-during-monsoons/articleshow/48148923.cms

GANGA: Water, Power & Green Ministries in talks to ensure higher e-flow in Ganga: Government (23 July 2015) Interesting piece of information; Minister of State for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat openly accepts that the dams constructed earlier on Ganga river and its tributaries for irrigation and hydro power projects have either not kept provision for e-flow or e-flow quantity is totally insufficient. He also said that The ministry is in discussion with the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, and ministry of power to ensure uninterrupted higher e-flow from any hydro-power projects such that river Ganga is neither fragmented nor loses its character throughput its length. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/…/articles…/48191535.cms 

Ganga ghats ‘no garbage’ zones, says Haridwar admin after NGT rap (25 July 2015) After being rebuked by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for failing to take effective measures to clean the Ganga and its surroundings, the Haridwar district administration has declared that a 200-metre area in the periphery of all the ghats in Rishikesh and Haridwar as ‘no garbage’ zones. In a reply sent to NGT this week, the state government has assured the green panel that a meeting of stakeholders (local people, pandits and owner of ghats), Haridwar municipal corporation and solid waste management experts will be held next week, to prepare an action plan to keep the ghats clean. In the meeting, roles and responsibilities of each ghat’s stakeholders will be decided in adherence to the NGT norms. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/Ganga-ghats-no-garbage-zones-says-Haridwar-admin-after-NGT-rap/articleshow/48218899.cms

YAMUNA: NGT pulls up DMRC for dumping waste in Yamuna (22 July 2015) The National Green Tribunal has pulled up Delhi government, Delhi Jal Board and the corporations for failing to submit progress reports on steps taken by them for reducing pollution in the Yamuna. It also issued directions to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for dumping construction waste on the riverbed saying that if it was not removed by the next hearing on July 27, the managing director would have to personally appear before the bench to explain matters. “Some photographs show heavy debris, iron junk and other construction material belonging to DMRC lying in the Sarai Kale Khan to Mayur Vihar stretch, near Lalita park and old pontoon bridge. Let DMRC remove all debris and other construction material. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/NGT-pulls-up-DMRC-for-dumping-waste-in-Yamuna/articleshow/48166944.cms

Yamuna flood plain under construction threat (24 July 2015) Several buildings, including residential ones, fall partially or completely in the Yamuna flood plain zone, an Agra Development Authority (ADA) report suggests. ADA officials, requesting anonymity, said the investigation revealed that six establishments fell completely under the Yamuna flood plain zone, while 18 were partially occupying the eco-sensitive area. The report will be submitted to the National Green Tribunal on July 28. The tribunal had directed the Agra authorities to carry out such a survey and submit its findings on June 8. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/Yamuna-flood-plain-under-construction-threat/articleshow/48207937.cms

WETLANDS: Puttenahalli Lake Trust wins national award for lake rejuvenation efforts (20 July 2015) Puttenahalli Lake revival efforts win accolade. The Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust has won the national award from the Earth Day Network India for its efforts in rejuvnating the Puttenahalli Lake, Bengaluru. On March 28, about 30 volunteers gathered to clean up the lake, and revival efforts went on for four hours. The Trust competed against 220 other entries from 45 cities across the country. Karnataka Authorities have also chosen this lake to receive treated sewage water from adjacent apartment complexes to fill it up. http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/bangalore-based-puttenahalli-lake-trust-wins-earth-day-network-award-for-lake-rejuvenation

SOUTH ASIA

River deltas and climate change: Reducing vulnerability through a better understanding of migration and adaptation in the Ganges delta in Bangladesh (25 July 2015) From the report “The “Deltas, vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation” (DECCMA) project is a five-year long program of applied research which started in early 2014, focusing on the potential and limits of adaptation options in deltaic environments. This research has dual importance; to provide a basis for the poorest delta residents to make informed decisions when considering how they respond to the effects of climate change, and to work with policy-makers to ensure the most vulnerable communities are identified and included in the highest level discussions.” http://www.dhakatribune.com/…/river-deltas-and-climate-chan…

Nepal’s hydropower output falling due to climate change, developers claim (22 July 2015) Climate change hits hydro sector hard:- A recent research report by the Climate and Development Knowledge on the economic impact of climate change in Nepal identified hydropower as one of the most vulnerable sectors: “Future effects of climate change on the hydro electricity sector are potentially large but uncertain.” http://www.eco-business.com/news/nepals-hydropower-output-falling-due-to-climate-change-developers-claim/

Pakistan seeks stream gaging for 1,200-MW Kohala hydropower project (22 July 2015) Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) seeks bids for stream gaging and water sampling equipment for the 1,100- to 1,200-MW Kohala hydroelectric project. Bids are due August 4. Snowy Mountains Engineering Corp. of Australia received a contract in 2007 to prepare a feasibility study, detailed engineering design, and tender documents for the project, to be built in Azad-Jammu-Kashmir State. Pakistan requested Asian Development Bank assistance in 2008 to complete large run-of-river hydropower projects including Kohala on the Jhelum River. http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/premium-content/2015/07/pakistan-seeks-stream-gaging-for-1-200-mw-kohala-hydropower-project.html

Magnitude-5.1 earthquake jolts Pakistan, killing 3 people (25 July 2015)  Pakistan and the Himalaya region, along an active continental plate boundary, is often hit by earthquakes. In September 2013, a magnitude-7.7 quake struck Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, killing at least 376 people. http://www.thecairopost.com/news/161047/news/magnitude-5-1-earthquake-jolts-pakistan-killing-3-people

Pakistan Flooding Kills Dozens (25 July 2015) Heavy rains continued to pelt saturated northern Pakistan, where the bodies of another 24 flood victims were discovered early Saturday, police said. With those deaths in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial community of Chitral, the nationwide total rose to 42 since monsoon-driven flooding began Sunday in parts of Pakistan.Severe weather has wiped out homes, roads and bridges, affecting at least 250,000 people throughout the country, disaster management officials said Saturday. The gravest impact so far has been around Chitral, where at least 30 people have been killed since Sunday, The Associated Press reported, citing a local police official. http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-flooding-kills-dozens/2878318.html

Karachi depends on tanker water supply amid plenty of rain (26 July 2015) The only solution to the dry taps in Karachi homes — the tanker — has also run out of water. Tankers that filled potable water from various hydrants — legal and illegal — across the city, did roaring business during the past few weeks when the city’s water board failed to provide line water to most parts of the metropolis. http://tribune.com.pk/story/926424/plenty-of-rain-yet-no-water/

Monsoon floods in northern Myanmar leaves 9 dead (25 July 2015) The report on Sagaing Region from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says 12,000 houses have been damaged and schools forced to close. The Myanmar Ahlin newspaper says the region registered a 24-hour rainfall of 7.83 inches (19.9 centimeters), the highest in 24 years.The UN report says flooding has also affected more than 800 households in northern Kachin state, forcing the relocation of some. Flooding is common during Myanmar’s monsoon season, which typically starts in late May and ends in mid-October. http://indianexpress.com/article/world/asia/monsoon-floods-in-northern-myanmar-leaves-9-dead/

ASIA

Water Pollution in Indonesia Causes Higher Demand for Water Purifiers (24 July 2015) The report states that the western part of Indonesia forms the largest market for water purifiers, primarily on account of industrial development in this region (causing polluted river water). Although Indonesia holds six percent of the world’s fresh water resources, the quality of Indonesia’s public piped water is inadequate (contaminated with E. coli, fecal coliforms and other pathogens). http://www.indonesia-investments.com/…/water-pollu…/item5782

WORLD

Drought-stricken California is burning, flooding at the same time (20 July 2015) Amid California’s historic drought, an even rarer weekend downpour that calmed wildfires also washed away a 30-foot bridge that carries commuters to Arizona. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/20/california-is-now-flooding-burning-and-having-a-drought-at-the-same-time/

Zambia Electricity Shortage Highlights Africa’s Hydropower Shortfalls (22 July 2015) Dwindling water reserves at the hydropower dams that provide nearly all of Zambia’s electricity could force grid operators to cut power supplies by 30 percent to the country’s copper mines, the keystone of its economy. The cuts represent a growing challenge in sub-Saharan Africa to match stagnant electricity supplies with rapid economic growth—a problem many countries are betting on big hydropower projects to solve.  http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2015/world/zambia-electricity-shortage-highlights-africas-hydropower-shortfalls/

CLIMATE CHANGE

Kochi only Indian city to Get Vatican Support to Fight Climate Change (23 July 2015) As part of Holy Father Pope Francis’ humanitarian vision, Vatican-based Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences will extend support to Kochi to tackle the challenges of human-induced climate change and to maintain environmental sustainability. As part of the initiative, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany made a detailed presentation on the issues faced by Kochi and the country in general, especially the impact of climate change, at a seminar held at the Synod Hall at Vatican Gardens the other day. Kochi is the only Indian city selected for the initiative, along with 49 other cities from across the world. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/Kochi-to-Get-Vatican-Support-to-Fight-Climate-Change/2015/07/23/article2935013.ece

ENVIRONMENT

NCRB to collect data on attacks on journalists, whistle-blowers, RTI activists (23 July 2015) The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), for the first time, will begin collecting data from across the country on attacks on Right to Information (RTI) activists, journalists, social activists and whistleblowers. With the news of attacks against whistleblowers and RTI activists pouring in from across the country, this could be the first government database of such crimes. However, the database will record only in cases of ‘grievous hurt of varying degrees’, covered by Sections 325, 326, 326A and 326B of the Indian Penal Code. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ncrb-to-collect-data-on-attacks-on-journalists-whistle-blowers-rti-activists-115072300045_1.html

Environment Ministry Launches Teeb-India Initiative to Highlight Economic Consequences of the Loss of Biological Diversity (23 July 2015) The Government has launched The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity TEEB-India Initiative (TII) to highlight the economic consequences of the loss of biological diversity and the associated decline in ecosystem services. The Initiative focussed on three ecosystems, namely forests, inland wetlands and coastal and marine ecosystems. TII has been implemented under the Indo-German Biodiversity Programme as technical cooperation with GIZ. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123641

House Panel rejects Subramanian report on overhaul of green laws (25 July 2015) This is good news! Parliamentary Standing Committee Rejects TSR Subramanian Committee Report which aimed at weakening Environmental Laws! The Committee says: “The standing committee said: “Some of the essential recommendations would result in an unacceptable dilution of the existing legal and policy architecture established to protect our environment. Further, an impression should not be created that a committee whose constitution and jurisdiction are itself in doubt has been used to tinker with the established law and policy.” Adding, “Should the government wish to consider specific areas of environmental policy afresh, it may consider appointing another committee by following established procedures and comprising of acclaimed experts in the field, who should be given enough time for comprehensive consultation with all stakeholders so that the recommendations are creditworthy and well considered, which is not the case with the recommendations under review.” http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/house-panel-rejects-subramanian-report-on-overhaul-of-green-laws-115072401351_1.html

Daily spark missing from India’s international power trade (23 July 2015) India has emerged as a hub of south Asian transmission network but daily spark of day-ahead trading is missing in its cross-border power trade due to regulatory hurdles. Indian power exchanges have petitioned the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to open the doors to spot buyers from neighbouring countries as millions of units go waste at home due to busy transmission lines or poor appetite of financially stressed state utilities. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Daily-spark-missing-from-Indias-international-power-trade/articleshow/48181667.cms

Wildlife laws set for huge overhaul, draft policy ready (21 July 2015) The government has proposed a new set of regulations on hunting of wildlife outside protected areas such as national parks and sanctuaries as well as trade of non-endangered flora and fauna, which conservationists dubbed as a “licence to kill”. The environment ministry has drafted a new wildlife conservation policy, which includes rules on wildlife kept in captivity, to keep pace with the changing times and need along with the country’s religious and cultural practices. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/wildlife-laws-set-for-huge-overhaul-draft-policy-ready/article1-1371451.aspx

Waiting for the worst; Shoumojit Banerjee article on one year after Malin tragedy, Pune (26 July 2015) With successive governments impervious to environmental concerns, Maharashtra is dreading another ecological catastrophe on the lines of last year’s Malin disaster. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/waiting-for-the-worst/article7464755.ece

NGT orders inquiry into felling of 4,000 trees in Taj Eco Zone (22 July 2015) The National Green Tribunal has directed an inquiry into the alleged felling and sale of 4,000 trees in the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) near the Taj Mahal. The Uttar Pradesh government has denied the allegation. The NGT bench appointed advocate M C Mehta to visit Taj Eco Zone where the trees are alleged to have been cut and asked him to file a report within two weeks. The tribunal took note of a newspaper report and issued notice to the MoEF and UP government. It also directed UP to provide “all facilities and, if required, police security” for Mehta. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/ngt-orders-inquiry-into-felling-of-4000-trees-in-taj-eco-zone/

DRP News Bulletins are compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat (we4earth@gmail.com) of SANDRP

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