Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, Sep 28, 2015 (The reality behind much hyped Godavari-Kirshana Interlinking project)

Godavari Krishna River Linking: Are we celebrating an illegal, unnecessary & misconceived water transfer project? SANDRP recent blog investigates and exposes the reality behind much hyped Godavari-Kirshana Interlinking project which is in true sense mere a pumping of water projects that too without required legal clearances.

HYDROPOWER 

Eyeing on Paris Climate Summit, Govt. projects high growth in solar and wind sector According the news report Indian govt. is planning to increase its clean energy base by 40% from renewable sources, bulk of which will be coming from solar and wind sector. While the usual definition of renewable sources includes hydropower and nuclear, the government does not project substantial growth of capacity from these sources in future.  The report also discloses that hydropower could see an addition of 15 Gw over the existing roughly 50 Gw and nuclear power should be able to increase from about six Gw at present to about 16 Gw by 2030. Growth in gas-based power is also reported low though utilisation of the existing 25 Gw could be enhanced from around 10 per cent at present to 60 per cent. 

UTTARAKHAND: NGT refuses to decommission 400 MW Vishnu-Prayag HEP in Uttarakhand The Tribunal, however, formed a committee to suggest mitigating and regulatory steps to be taken by Jaiprakash Power Ventures, the project proponent. The members on the committee are Chief Wildlife Warden, Uttarakhand; Principal Scientist, WII, Dehradun; Director, MoEF (Involved in Hydro-Power Projects); and Principal Scientist, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology. The Committee would spell out precautionary and mitigating measures to be taken by the Project Proponent, particularly because the barrage is closer to the boundary of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The petitioner, Dr. Bharat Jhunjhunwala, had claimed that the only way of restitution of the environment is to remove the project and restore the environment and ecology of the area with a further direction to pay compensation.

Centre Govt. supported power sector reforms may push Uttarakhand and Meghalaya to build hydro power projects  According to a joint statement a five-point agenda for these states  — an increase in power generation from local energy sources (for instance, hydro in Uttarakhand and Meghalaya), an improvement in the inter-state transmission network, a revival of the sick distribution sector, enhancement of the use of renewable energy and the use of energy-efficient measures. Besides regular rate increases and debt restructuring to clean up their books, these states will also initiate schemes to enable 24×7 power supply to consumers, at a cost of Rs 7,563 crore.

Uttarakhand Govt. in Kedarnath area through UREDA plans new hydro project The 200 KW project will be executed by the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. The existing 100 KW plant built 20 years back is reportedly unable to generate enough electricity affecting the reconstruction work after the 2013 floods. The report also mentions that work is ongoing in the area, for 107 buildings which will rise to three floors above the ground, a height of about 10 metres. Once all the new buildings in the area come up, electricity demand will increase. These buildings are expected to be completed by May next year, ahead of the rush of Char Dham pilgrims. To meet that deadline, uninterrupted power supply is necessary. In the winter, when the area is under snow, hydro-power generation will become next to impossible.

ARUNACHAL PRADESH India’s Hydroelectric Plans Threaten Local Comunities Indigenous Buddhist tribes in northeast India are protesting government plans to build fifteen new hydroelectric sites along their settlement region. The Monpa tribe, which lives along the Tawang river basin in over 234 scattered settlements in Arunachal Pradesh, fears that the hydroelectric projects will affect their religious sites and monasteries, as well as the region’s springs, and biological diversity, which carry large cultural significance for the tribe. The region is also at risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), which could have hazardous impacts on hydroelectric projects. This article shows that GLOFs are also a threat in Tawang region where MOEF’s Exp App Com cleared the flawed Tawang basin study and some 15 hydropower projects.

MANIPUR Dissenting Voices from the Margins The ongoing construction of Mapithel or Maphou Dam along the Thoubal River in Ukhrul district, Manipur has several adverse consequences for the local population as well as the environment. Once commissioned, the project will displace over 12,000 people (16 villages) while an estimated 777.34 hectares of paddy fields, 110.75 hectares of homestead, 293.53 hectares of jhum land and 595.1 hectares of forest land are expected to be submerged by the dam. The construction will also have multiple impacts on the villages in the downstream area of dam site along Thoubal River. Most of the village communities in the downstream have been living by fishing, collecting sand and stone from the Thoubal River. The construction will lead to water shortage, affecting agriculture and other allied activities both in the upstream and the downstream areas, threatening the food sovereignty of the communities dependent on land, forest and river. Great to see someone from IIT Guwahati writing on these important dams related issues from Manipur.

HIMACHAL PRADESH Back-to-back tunnel cave-in man-made tragedy; hydro projects also prone to such accidents Two subsequent tunnel collapsing incidents on Keeratpur-Nerchowk NH have invited many doubts over quality of work and technology used in the tunnel construction. First on 11 September a under-construction tunnel caves in near Ghumarwin town trapping 3 workers inside  and second on 23 September when a portion of another  under-construction tunnel caved in near Gamou in Sunder nagar subdivision Both incidences happened on same Kiratpur-Nerchowk four-lane project. An Op-Ed in Hindustan Times titling it as man-made disaster reveals that these incidents are serious engineering lapses as Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has himself said the soil below which the tunnel was being dug was loose. In that case, Himalayan Construction Company, which is doing construction work, should be called upon to explain why it did not take adequate precaution. One more latest news discloses that  houses in proximity of the incident have develop cracks  as the as the spot has further sunk about four feet. It is worth to mention that Himachal Pradesh is the state with most numbers of hydro power projects and several of these have tunnelled the delicate mountain extensively. The tunnels including for proposed hydro power projects are very prone to collapse due to natural or unnatural factors.  Its right time the state to learn its lesson from these accidents and avoid tunnelling the Himalaya Mountains.

DAMS 

Deflection in Bhakra: Experts head to Japan to focus on ‘deflection’ of Bhakra Irrigation experts from the region are concerned over Bhakra Dam not regaining its original form after water it is holding recedes. Experts say “dam deflection” is a routine phenomenon where the structure is minutely displaced when reservoir is filled and almost regains its form when the water is emptied. But, according to the experts, Bhakra is not recovering to the same position. According the report irrigation department Haryana under a project funded by World Bank has initiated a study examine the issue.

Naveen Patnaik seeks PM’s help on Polavaram  as the CM has Naveen has objected to many aspects of the project, including the design floods (flood management investigations), reservoir operation schedule, backwater effect and extent of submergence in Odisha. Another belated, non serious political opposition to Polavaram.

Sixty Percent Water in 91 Major Reservoirs of the Country Storage Status of 91 Major Reservoirs of the Country The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country as on September 23, 2015 was 95.313 BCM, which is 60% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 75% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 77% of storage of average of last ten years. The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM which is about 62% of the total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country.  Also see,  A level of concern: Bad monsoon leaves its mark, reservoirs are emptier than normal 

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa should convene an all-party meeting to settle not only the Mullaperiyar dam issue but also issues relating to other dams, including Mekedatu: Stalin : said DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin. Talking to reporters after garlanding the statue of British engineer, Penny Cuick, at Lower Camp near he said the Chief Minister was keen on sending letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi than solving the problem. He also said that farmers in the Cubum valley and their relentless struggle were responsible for victory in Mullaperiyar dam issue and political parties could not claim any credit.

IRRIGATION

MAHARASHTRA: IRRIGATION SCAM ACB files new case against Khatri family members in irrigation scam Taking the investigation forward in the irrigation scam, the Anti-Corruption Bureau registered a new case of cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct against five members of the Khatri family, who were all executive engineers in an irrigation project, and also against some unidentified Mantralaya employees. During the course of its investigation, the agency came to know that the accused had flouted norms in connivance with officials at Mantralaya to bag the Balganga dam project. Interestingly, when ACB officers went to the PWD office in Mantralaya to check and verify the documents the firm had submitted for registration, the papers were nowhere to be found. They later found out that, when renovation was on at Mantralaya, the papers had gone missing.

Yettinahole Project :Senior Congress Leader terms Yettinahole a major scam, demands CID probe According to his information, Meghana Constructions that is executing the work belongs to ‘tainted’ IAS officer Kapil Mohan, who once headed the Krishna Bhagya Jal Nigam Ltd. The officer had been raided by Central and State enforcement agencies and was allegedly found to have amassed assets disproportionate to known sources of income. Mr. Poojary told presspersons that the CM is being misguided and its illogical to spend Rs. 13,000 crore to transport just 0.85 tmc ft. of water. Very good to see this plain speaking by a politician, though why he was silent all this while is a question. 

Samiti calls meeting of over 20 groups on Yettinahole project  Opposition to the Yettinahole diversion project continues in Dakshina Kannada with Karavali Jeevanadi Nethravathi Rakshana Samiti, which has questioned the project in the National Green Tribunal, calling a meeting of over 20 organisations representing all sections of society  on September 25. Mr. Hegde, Vice-President of samiti said that about 23 organisations representing Hindu, Christian, Muslim and other religions have been invited to the meeting.

Meanwhile, in a press release raising doubts over success of project and demanding a scientific study the Communist Party of India, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district council, has urged the government to stop the Yettinahole diversion project with immediate effect. Demanding the same  Karavali Kulala Kumbarara Yuva Vedike, Mangaluru opposed Social Impact Assessment of the project by the revenue department. The group said that the govt. should conduct the Environment Impact Assessment by meeting people of Netravathi basin.

TAMILNADU Jayalalithaa announces Rs 321.69 crore worth works to aid irrigation like renovation of canals and building check dams aimed at benefiting arable lands, farmers and fishermen in the state. Parambikulam Aliyar Project contour canal’s beginning portions would be renovated in the first phase at Rs 20 crore and it would bring irrigation benefits to 9,710 acres of land and augment drinking water facility of people in the region, she said in a suo motu statement in the Assembly. In continuation of the renovation of Periyar Main Canal’s branches, renovation of its channels would be taken up in the second phase in Madurai District at Rs 15 crore. A check dam would be built across River Amaravathi at a cost of Rs 15.16 crore in Karur District in deference to the representations of the people and farmers, she said.

ANDHRA PRADESH Centre earmarks Rs 1,000 crore as special funds for Andhra Pradesh This will include Rs 350 crore for development of seven backward districts covering Rayalaseema and North Coastal region, Rs 350 crore for the new capital and Rs 300 crore for Polavaram irrigation project.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Godavari Krishna River Linking: Are we celebrating an illegal, unnecessary & misconceived water transfer project? SANDRP recent blog investigates and exposes the reality behind much hyped Godavari-Kirshana Interlinking project which in true is sense a pumping of water projects that too without necessary clearances.  

Also see, Pattiseema Lift Irrigation scheme receives a blow as the aqueduct constructed on Tammileru river stream near Janampet village was washed away after witnessing wide breaches within hours of water release from the lift irrigation scheme. The aqueduct was reportedly constructed at a cost of Rs 15 crore and in a record time of 30 days. Spilling the beans more officials betray the entire administration and state govt. reported that  the senior officials, including the district collectors, warned us to complete the work ahead of the schedules without following due process of engineering only to score some brownie points with the CM.  One more news report confirming the incident writes Jolt to AP river-linking project In a major embarrassment to the Telugu Desam Party government in Andhra Pradesh, the ambitious river inter-linking project has run into rough weather just days after its launch with a newly-constructed Polavaram Right Canal suffering a breach.

Krishna and Penna will be integrated next: Minister After the interlinking of the Godavari and Krishna rivers, the government seems to have set its sights on the integration of the Krishna and Penna river systems. Agriculture Minister Prathipati Pulla Rao dropped enough hints on efforts that would be taken to bring Krishna waters from the Srisailam reservoir to the Somasila dam from where it would be carried to various irrigation sources. Mr. Pulla Rao, along with Roads and Buildings Minister Sidda Raghava Rao and I&PR Minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy, took part in the ‘Rythukosam Chandranna’ yatra here. A huge meeting of farmers was held at the Police Parade Grounds on the occasion.

Amid stiff opposions Ken-Betwa project gets MP nod, forwarded to NWB State wildlife advisory board protested the project in August meet this year. Amid mild protests from a few Wildlife Advisory Board members, India’s first river linking initiative, the Ken-Betwa project, got clearance from the Madhya Pradesh government. State chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, gave an assurance that wildlife would be protected at any cost, while asserting that the Bundelkhand region was drought-prone and Ken-Betwa project was necessary.

Mentioning protest of wildlife board member one more news report confirms that Ken Betwa river link project cleared with dissent from wildlife experts Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister forces clearance to the Ken Betwa River Link, without full information to the SWLB members and calling their questions as prejudices, when, as M K Ranjitsingh said, it was the CM who was biased.

Another news report says that Ken-Betwa project goes to NBWL  The report further reveals that  according a govt. official a study would be undertaken through the Bombay Natural History Society to assess the impact on habitats of vultures due to the project and ecological flow would be ensured in downstream of the dam.  Also see Madhya Pradesh board snubs protests, clears Ken-Betwa rivers link project

In one more report that seems compensating the loss of forest land in Panna Tiger Reserve because of Ken-Betwa link MP govt mulls creation of 8,000-ha buffer zone As per the report Nauradehi and Rani Durgawati wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh, and Ranipur and Mahavir Swami wildlife sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh are likely to be brought under Panna Tiger Reserve as satellite core areas.

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क्या नदियों को जोड़ना जरूरी है? नदी जोड़ योजना में कई समस्याएं और जटिलताएं भी हैं। बहुत बड़े स्तर पर और बड़े क्षेत्र में नहरों का निर्माण होने से विस्थापन की समस्या विकराल रूप में उपस्थित होती है। भारत सरकार पूर्व की अनेक योजनाओं में विस्थापितों की समस्या को आज तक पूर्ण रूप से हल नहीं कर सकी, चाहे वह सरदार सरोवर बांध के निर्माण में हो या टिहरी के संदर्भ में। किसी भी स्थान पर नहरों द्वारा पानी लाने के बारे में पर्यावरणाविद मानते हैं कि पर्यावरण पर इसके असर के बारे में पहले से अध्ययन जरूरी है। कहीं भू-जल उपलब्धि बढ़ सकती है तो कहीं दलदलीकरण की समस्या भी विकट हो सकती है। पानी और दलदल में पलने वाले मच्छर और जीव नए इलाके में प्रवेश कर कई ऐसी बीमारियां फैला सकते हैं । इस परियोजना से एक खतरा कृषि की जैव विविधता के लिए भी है। दूर-दूर की नदियों को जोड़ देने भर से पानी का गलत इस्तेमाल, टिकाऊ इस्तेमाल में नहीं बदल जाएगा, बल्कि इससे पानी के दुरुपयोग की आशंका और भी बढ़ जाएगी। सरकार को चाहिए कि लाभ और हानि के सभी पहलुओं की गहन पड़ताल कर अपनी योजना के केंद्र में मानवीय पक्ष को रखे।

RIVERS AS NATION WATERWAYS

Losing our rivers to grand plans As per the National Waterways Bill recently introduced in the Parliament, 101 stretches of rivers in the country will be declared as National Waterways. There are many advantages of waterways but these advantages will be realised only when certain conditions are met, and only under certain circumstances says Shripad Dharmadhikary.

Waterways will be efficient transport in next five years: Gadkari The minister speaking during a program said that Uttar Pradesh will use waterways comprising several rivers, including the Ganga and the Yamuna, as an alternative mode of cheaper and efficient transport in the next five years. He also announced that water traffic on the 1,620-km Allahabad-Haldia stretch would begin by the next year. Revealing further he stated that the government has an ambitious plan of converting 101 rivers with a total length of 82,000 km into waterways.

MONSOON

Cumulative Rainfall Map 27 sep 15

Cumulative Rainfall Map upto 27 September 2015 (Source IMD)

India’s monsoon deficiency has dropped by 3 per cent: IMD Widespread rainfall in states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra has reduced the overall monsoon deficiency to 13 per cent in the country, although several parts are still reeling under acute water shortage. According to the IMD, the overall monsoon deficiency which was around 16 per cent has now dropped by 3 per cent. The east and northeast India has witnessed a deficiency of seven per cent, followed by 13 percent in Central India. The southern peninsula has recorded a deficiency of 15 per cent while the northwest is staring at a deficiency of 19 per cent, which is highest in the country.  Also see, IMD hits bull’s eye for the first time with prediction of drought year

Understanding the monsoon During the recent campaign, nearly 50 scientists, engineers and students on the two ships mapped the uppermost layer of the Bay of Bengal in unprecedented detail. The surface waters of the North Bay of Bengal are among the freshest (i.e. least saline) anywhere in the world, due to monsoon rains and the discharge of fresh water from several mighty rivers. The warm, fresh upper layer of the Bay supplies prodigious amounts of moisture and heat to the atmosphere, forming masses of tall, dark clouds that bring monsoon rain deep inland. The data are beginning to reveal how the upper ocean interacts with the atmosphere. Also see, Dry Nellore break record of highest rainfall in September during last 10 years

DROUGHT

MAHARASHTRA DROUGHT Bombay HC restrains Maharashtra from releasing Gangapur dam water for Shahi Snan in Nashik Kumbh Now the HC has gone a step further:  A bench of Justices A S Oka and V L Achliya said water from the dam could be released and used however for irrigation, drinking and other necessary purposes barring for the Shahi Snan. The state government’s lawyer A B Vagyani meanwhile informed the court that it would not be releasing water for shahi snan on September 25 at Trimbakeshwar since the natural spring water was already available now at Kushwart Kund.

After Kumbh it seems, idols immersion is under watch as a petition is filed in NGT seeking order against release of water from Khadakwasla dam for Ganpati immersions, given the drought-like situation afflicting the region. The petitioner also pleaded that idols made of toxic chemicals causes in large-scale pollution that damages the ecosystem, kills fish, other marine life and harms all life dependent on water, including birds, animals and humans. The petition has named the district collector, water resources department, PMC commissioner, the state environment and forest department, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the police commissioner as the respondents.

On the other hand, in a bid to check wastage of water Navi Mmumbai Municipal Corporation  serves 4,000 notice for illegal water connection. The agency has not only stepped up its vigil, but the corporation has gone one step ahead and formed a team of officials to keep tabs on such elements. An official informed that the civic body has already embarked upon massive awareness drive and is appealing Navi Mumbaikars to use water judiciously, especially against the backdrop of failed monsoon this year.

AGRICULTURE

Rain damaged crops over 1,000 acres in Punjab: Agriculture Dept The heavy shower that lashed the region and has damaged paddy crop including basmati in about 1,000 acres in Amritsar district as per Agriculture Department However, farmer leaders maintained that the rain had destroyed crop over thousands of acres. Amritsar Chief Agriculture Officer Dr BS Chhina said the rainfall accompanied by strong winds had led to the flattening of crop in different pockets of the district. He said water was still stuck in low-lying areas and would take a toll on the crop.

Central Team to Visit Odisha for Assessment of Drought Situation and to Suggest Remedial Measures Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh has directed the Ministry to constitute a Central Team comprising of officers of the Ministry and a representative of ICAR-Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack. Central Team headed by Shri R.P.Mallick, Additional Commissioner and State Officials will shortly visit State of Orissa for assessment of drought situation and to suggest remedial measures. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State, Petroleum and Natural Gas has highlighted that 8 districts namely Dhenkanal, Khurda, Bolangir, Boudh, Bargarh, Subarnapur, Kandhamal and Kenosha have received less than normal rainfall. Additionally, agricultural activities in 103 blocks in 23 districts have been adversely affected.

Internet is latest farm tool after Modi’s call A in small Bihar’s group farmers in Bihar’s Nalanda had set a world record in paddy yields for 2013, averaging 22.4 tonne on a hectare of land through ‘System of Rice Intensification (SRI)’, dubbed as a big farm innovation in recent years. Farmers in nearly 13 states now use this method. Yet, only 20% of India’s over 600 million farmers know about or fully use SRI, according to a joint Tata Program-International Water Management Institute survey.

50 more days of MGNREGS: outreach or optics? Only 6% of households hit the 100-day mark in 2014-15, with the average being just 40 days Very revealing figures shows that the government’s most visible drought prone measure of increasing the MGNREGS work for 50 days is optical illusion, the NDA government’s track record in the scheme is very poor. 

600 MW Udupi Thermal Power Plant destroying everything from farming to fisheries  Speaking at a function organised by the Department of Fisheries under the Matsyashraya scheme Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake accepted that the thermal power plants were not only polluting the environment, but also affecting traditional occupations such as agriculture and fisheries. The plant Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) also had reportedly  constructed a break-water channel to discharge the used water, which had led to massive sea erosion in Tenka Yermal village in the last two years. It was only after the water channel was dismantled by the authorities that the sea erosion stopped this year. Farmers in the villages surrounding the thermal plant complained about the discharge of effluents into their farmland, damaging their crops. The discharge of used water from the thermal plant into the sea had reduced fish catch.

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किसानों ने राहत राशि के लिए नर्मदा में किया जल सत्याग्रह अतिवृष्टिसे जिले में सोयाबीन की फसल पूरी तरह से चौपट हो गई। प्रशासन ने कई गांवों में फसल कटने के बाद फसल कटाई प्रयोग शुरू किया है। इससे नाराज आम किसान यूनियन ने जिला मुख्यालय से 18 किमी दूर नर्मदा के बीच बैठकर करीब 4 घंटे जल सत्याग्रह किया। किसान नर्मदा घाट से दंडवती कर बीच नदी में पहुंचे। इसके बाद भजन-कीर्तन कर प्रशासन को कोसते रहे। किसान संजय खेरवा ने कहा कि प्रशासन ने जल्द मुआवजे की घोषणा नहीं की तो वे जल समाधि ले लेंगे। करीब साढ़े 3 घंटे बाद तहसीलदार फरीदा खान नदी में किसानों से बात करने पहुंचीं। तहसीलदार ने एडीएम जीएस मिश्रा की बात बीच नदी में किसानों से मोबाइल पर कराई। एडीएम के अाश्वासन के बाद किसान नर्मदा से बाहर निकले और आंदोलन समाप्त कर दिया।

URBAN WATER

In pipeline, a plan to privatise water supply in cities The World Bank is at it again, pushing water privatisation in Indian cities, and Indian Govt is a willing partner as this Indian Express edit on Sept 23 following a front page story on Sept 22 says. It is clear neither have learnt any lessons from failure of past such attempts. The Edit talks about competition, which is impossible in urban water sector and regulation, which inspires no confidence, past experience of such attempts have failed.

DELHI Concerned over groundwater depletion, Delhi govt decided to STPs treated water for horticulture as a result PWD has put a ban on use of groundwater for horticulture and hence plants in the city will now be watered using treated water. The department has issued a circular asking its various wings to adhere to the new guidelines. The move will help tide over Delhi’s perennial water crisis and also monetise reclaimed water.

Activists oppose govt move to privatise water distribution Activists in the city are up in arms against the central government’s plans to privatise water supply in 600 cities in the country. Recently, CM Arvind Kejriwal had ruled out the possibility of water supply being privatised in the city. Experts say privatisation of water is against the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution. In a joint statement, several organisations, including National Platfor m Against Water Privatization and Citizens for Water Democracy and Water Worker Alliance, have strongly opposed the move.

After death over water scuffle, residents still live in panic in Delhi’s VVIP zone Shahenshahi Katra Galli and Peepal Wali Galli are barely five km from Civil Lines, which is where Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor and several Cabinet ministers live. But residents of the six narrow, parallel lanes here have to manage all their drinking and cooking needs from the two hours of supply from one public tap. Five days ago, at a tap nearby in Peepal Wali Galli, 32-year-old Dharmesh died of a cardiac arrest following a fight with a neighbour over water. Both these taps in the middle of Delhi, and death, according to police, was possibly the first in the national capital related to water rights.

Increasing Groundwater flooding basement in Okhala, feared residents approach authorities for de-watering Parts of Okhla are facing a bizarre problem- the groundwater table here is so high that they have to pump out excess water and discharge it into sewers. This is happening at a time when several parts of the capital are parched, including neighbouring Sangam Vihar that largely depends on tankers for its supply. Residents claim that if they don’t carry out this exercise, buildings are at risk of damage due to flooding in basements. The Okhla Industrial Estate Association claims it has written to the chief minister and various government agencies asking them to de-water the area and has now decided to file a petition in the NGT.

NGT issued notices to 3 hotels for illegal groundwater extraction and pollution The Suryaa Hotel at New Friends Colony, Hotel Jaypee Siddharth at Rajendra Place and The Lalit at Barakhamba Road were found extracting groundwater without permission and discharging effluent in open drains. The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by one Shailesh Singh, who has alleged that these hotels are withdrawing unlimited groundwater and because of discharge of waste water effluent in the open drains and in the ground water through bore wells.

Green court lens on destruction of Aravallis from Bandhwari waste water treatment plant   The NGT has admitted a petition and issued notices to 10 authorities — including the Union ministry of environment and forests and the Delhi and Haryana governments — on the destruction of Aravalli forests, particularly along the Gurgaon-Faridabad road, near the Bandhwari waste treatment plant. The petition has been filed by Gurgaon residents Vivek Kamboj and Amit Chaudhery and is the contamination due to leachate from the Bandhwari waste treatment plant and the deteriorating quality of ground water in the area.

CHENNAI Water supply crisis deepens, Board turns to farm wells to cope with the situation  The city is facing its worst crisis in over a decade. With storage dwindling in the four principal water sources – Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam – Chennai Metrowater has now increased drawing water from farm wells. At present, about 540 mld is being distributed to the city, which is only half of the city’s demand. The water in the reservoirs will last less than a month. To bridge the shortfall in supply from the main reservoirs, Metrowater is drawing 120 mld from from 273 agricultural wells in Ramarajan Kandigai, Velliyur, Moovur, Pullarambakkam and Karanai in Tiruvallur district, officials said. The well fields are at Poondi and Tamaraipakkam. Currently, 130 mld is being sourced from them, in addition to 30 mld from borewells in other areas. Nearly 20 new borewells have been sunk on the fringes of Chennai to provide water to city residents.

BENGALURU Groundwater level go up thanks to water board’s leakages Inefficiency in the piped water system may be one of the key reasons that the dense concrete jungle of the city is better off in terms of groundwater levels compared to the green field pockmarked outer lying areas. While groundwater level has continued to decline in the city, the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) believes that the nearly 48 per cent of leakage recorded in pipes of the water supply board may have arrested some of the decline in core areas. The heavy leakage of water from BWSSB (Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board) pipes has contributed to some sort of recharge. The water that leaks from underground water supply pipes end up seeping through to rock fractures and is impacting groundwater level positively,” says K.R. Soorya Narayana, scientist and head of CGWB.  

RIVERS

REMEMBERING IYERSAAB: Tribute to Prof. Ramaswamy Iyer Rohini Nilekani Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam, Dinesh Sharma Columnist and author of books on health and environment,  Sumathi Sivam Rural Development Professional with S M Sehgal Foundation, Gurgaon, S. Vishwanath Writer and Practitioner of sustainable water management systems, Manoj Misra Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, Parineeta Dhandekar SANDRP sharing memories and experiences they had while interacting and learning from Iyer Ji offer their heartfelt tributes to legendary figure in India’s water sector.

Song of the River: Celebrating Rivers on the World Rivers Day From West Bengal to Bangladesh to Pakistan, from Kashmir to Maharashtra to Gujarat to Assam to Kerala, we are held together by rivers in many ways. Rivers are integral to life, not just limited to water, dams, irrigation, hydropower and sewage treatment. It is as much about beauty, art and a living culture! As rivers are silenced, as their song is muted day after day, we are losing not only “ecosystem goods and services”, we are losing this part of us too. On this World Rivers Day, let us hope our rivers (and we too) have more River Songs to sing.

Successful mass convention on rivers and riverine communities in sub-Himalayan North Bengal held in Siliguri A well attended mass convention on social and environmental costs of various development interventions on the rivers and riverine communities in Sub-Himalayan West Bengal took place in Siliiguri Mahakuma Parishad Hall in Siliguri on 27 September, 2015, the World Rivers Day. About 150 representatives mainly from the Teeesta river valley area in two states of Sikkim and West Bengal, as well as communities living in downstream areas of Teesta and other major Himalayan Rivers in the North Bengal region participated in the programme, along with  Students, Researchers and Teachers from North Bengal University, Sikkim University and Jadavpur and Rabindra Bharati university. Representatives of various social organisations were also present. Though they could not attend the programme, noted activists and hydrologists such as Himanshu Thakkar from SANDRP expressed solidarity and pledged future support.

Happy b’day Jhelum, the lifeline of Valley  ‘Vyath Truvah’, the 13th day of the waxing moon of the ‘Bhadrapada’, according to the ancient Kashmiri texts, is the day when the Jhelum had originated in the Valley. Though little is known about the commencement of the river’s birthday celebrations in the Valley, many experts on Kashmir claim that the Vitasta originated before the Mahabharata war as the river finds a mention in the epic. Vyeth in Kashmiri, Vitasta in Sanskrit and Hydaspes to ancient Greeks, the Jhelum remains the lifeline of the Valley where it covers 165 km before flowing into the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The river has remained an important means of transportation and internal trade since ancient times. Like various other major civilisations across the world, the river has been witness to rise and fall of several kingdoms and changing religious and demographic transitions.

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Information on Major River Basins in India, total water availability and population they support Various agencies use different criteria in dividing the country by river basins. The division is important for planning and development of the country’s surface water resources. A systematic description of Indian river basins, the basic hydrological unit around a river -land, rainfall, runoff drain and so on -was first attempted in 1949 by the Central Water and Power Corporation. It is generally agreed that there are 12 major river basins in India. The largest is the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna, which has the highest catchment area and supports about 46% of the population living in river 17 basins. It is followed by the Krishna, Godavari and Indus basins in terms of size.

Otters: Shy and elusive creatures, known to thrive in clean river ecosystems, are under threat from disappearing habitats in Goa According to scientists and conservationists, these shy and elusive creatures are carnivores at the top of the food chain of wetland and river ecosystems. They are “indicator” species, vulnerable to habitat degradation and pollution. The presence of otters is a sign of clean rivers. They remove the weak and sick fish stock, keeping the ecosystem healthy, and transfer nutrients from water to land and vice versa. Otters are semi-aquatic mammals with a long evolutionary history. They have weasel-like ancestors and have a waterproof coat, paddle feet, a long and thick muscular tail and a streamlined body suited for hunting in the water.

Reclaim land for industry from rivers, reservoirs In a blog, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar is consulting editor of The Economic Times rather misleadingly claims that India’s land scarcity can be mitigated by reclamation, inland and offshore. It seems like a prescription for disaster for the rivers, floodplains, wetlands and people who depend on these resources. 

SAND MINING Statement by Environment Minister on Notification for Sustainable Sand & Minor Mineral Mining  Union Minister of Environment and Forest, Shri Prakash Javadekar on Notification for sustainable sand and minor mineral mining said that “Sand is for river, what RBC is for blood. Sand is vital for health of river”.  Defining the Sustainable mining he said that mining out material only that much which is deposited annually. According minister the objective of notification is to strike a balance between increasing demand of sand and sustainable sand mining practices which will help in achieving the goal of sustainable development. He also said that monitoring of mined out mineral, Environmental Clearance, EC conditions and enforcement of Environment Management Plan will be ensured by the District Collector and the State Pollution Control Board.

GANGA  India urges US companies to participate in Smart Cities, Clean Ganga project India has invited the US industry to participate in building smart cities and cleaning the Ganga River among other government initiatives and build long-term links with India’s economic growth story. Outlining the government’s policies during United State India Business Council meeting in Washington Ms Sushma said that the focus is on building 100 smart cities, rejuvenating Ganga River, developing cities along the river’s bank, skilling 300 million youth by 2022.

Keeping Ganga clean is the responsibility of every citizen: SA Zaidi The NGT local commissioner also said that the Supreme Court has issued directions to ensure that the river is kept clean and these orders have to be strictly enforced. He added that the order issued by NGT head Justice Swatanter Kumar – regarding enforcement of complete ban on plastic near the Ganga ghats – should be implemented strictly so that the task of keeping the Ganga clean becomes achievable and “is not just limited to idle talk.”

UP foresters set to count dolphins in Ganga The state forest department is all set to conduct a Gangetic dolphin census. In Bijnor, the process will begin on October 5 and end by October 8. The census will be conducted in all tributaries of the Ganga and the Ganga itself, in the stretch that flows through Uttar Pradesh. This is part of efforts to conserve the dolphin population in the Ganga. Such census of dolphins in the river has occurred in some other states through which the Ganga flows. Sources said the Centre has sanctioned funds to UP for the purpose.

Also see, Kanpur with Rs. 200 crore aid to fight Ganga pollution plans to build 4 STPs  The Ganga Pollution Control Unit in Kanpur has got about Rs 200 crore to make four Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) functional on the river. A 43 mld treatment plant is under construction at Jajmau and might be functional by the end of the year, an STP with an installed capacity of 210mld is under-construction at Bingawan (towards Hamirpur) and another of 42mld treatment capacity is proposed at Sajari near Chakeri. The new STPs will treat only the domestic waste. To treat the industrial waste, a 36-mld-capacity treatment plant, set up in 1999, will be upgraded.

YAMUNA  Intending to snap government bodies out of their slumber, a man sits on Yamuna prayer inside NGT  Ketan Bajaj was in shock to see rampant dumping of waste by the river Yamuna and immersion of idols in the river at Kalandi Kunj Okhala. He felt that directions of the NGT seemed to have gone down the river too. Heaps of waste on river bank raised doubts on government’s oneness with the NGT on revitalising Yamuna. Finally Mr Bajaj thought of sitting on a prayer inside NGT and urge the government agencies to forget their differences and come together to revive the Yamuna. He said if the government does not act, he would hire sweepers and get it cleaned for which he requested support from masses.

In a separate case NGT directed the Delhi government and other civic agencies and government bodies concerned to ensure that no blood of slaughtered animal is allowed to flow directly into Yamuna During Id-ul-Zuha, tonnes of blood flow into Yamuna from various districts in the NCR and the neighbouring State of Uttar Pradesh. In the absence of proper treatment plants the waste water is severely polluting the river water.

One more report reveals that Yamuna despite NGT ban remained at the receiving end of idol immersion spree as Devotees drown thousands of idols along with ban in Yamuna Expert say lack of coordination among multiple agencies resulted in No-Impact of NGT ban. The green court on September 18 had ordered that only biodegradable idols should be immersed at the nine identified ghats. The flood and irrigation department, DDA, municipal corporations and Delhi government had been ordered to coordinate to bring NGT’s orders to fruition.

Also see, Tracking the Yamuna This is very informative news report with many sub-links explaining the present day situation of River Yamuna in Nation’s Capital. It is worth a read for people unfamiliar with the river and also for those interested in exploring urban stretch. It also briefly mentions of DDA’s River Front Development Plan and it raises a very serious issue of “Floodplain Farmers” whose only source of livelihood is under constant threats.

Meanwhile ADA razes 18 more illegal houses on Yamuna floodplain Just five days after razing 6 illegal structures on the Yamuna floodplains, the Agra Development Authority (ADA) has demolished another 18 houses at Maa Gauri Town in Dayalbagh in compliance with a series of NGT orders. So far, 24 such houses have been razed in the same colony within a week. The demolition drive began after the commissioner’s court recently rejected a petition against the NGT order. The township, with 400 houses, was developed by a builder in 2011. In the township about two dozen houses were constructed on the Yamuna floodplains, in violation of the NGT’s order.   

FLOODS 

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A flood alert has been sounded in Anantnag, Pulwama and Srinagar districts of Jammu and Kashmir as the Jhelum river is flowing above the danger mark Heavy rain in south Kashmir, Jhelum swells  The Flood Control Department announced that the Jhelum had breached the flood declaration level of 21 feet at Sangam in south Kashmir and advised people residing along the river embankments and low-lying areas in south and central Kashmir, including Srinagar, to remain vigilant.  According to the data released by the Flood Control Department, Anantnag and Kulgam districts received 100 mm rain, higher than the average monthly precipitation, in a span of mere 24 hours. The high volume of rain in south Kashmir’s four districts resulted in the rise of water in the Jhelum from a gauge level of 2.05 feet, recorded  to 22 feet this morning.  

Tarun Gogoi announces Rs.862-crore flood relief that will be distributed to the flood-affected people and others before the State Assembly polls, slated to be held in 2016. The people whose houses have been damaged in recent floods will be offered cash, while most of the amount will be distributed in the form of in-kind such as — yarn for weavers, laptops to students, seeds to farmers, blankets to poor people and pensions to senior citizens.

POWER OPTIONS

A grid that not just powers but integrates rural India Around 80 mn rural households are estimated to have no access to grid power. Off-grid decentralised systems, based on renewable energy, are lighting up around 1,000 villages through government funding. In remote villages in Bihar’s Araria district micro-grids are providing a reliable source of power to small businesses and rural households. According to an estimate by a senior Rural Electrification Corporation, executive, about 1,000 villages have been funded for off-grid renewable energy-based power systems since 2008. Another 600 are expected to be added to the list soon. Also see the second part of the story People’s movement lights up rural households 

What holds India back from achieving 175 GW renewable energy targets  During a roundtable meeting with Indian PM on renewable energy in San Jose, top energy CEOs and experts said that States and Cities in India should be allowed to take the lead in clean energy initiatives. A related thought was that the current grid is not designed for carrying the 175 Giga Watts (GW) of renewable energy that India is targeting, and therefore a complimentary effort is required on the grid side. Private investment was emphasized as vital for realizing the vision of 175 GW, with a parallel example being given of how Israel had solved its water shortage using private investment. Experts were of the view that India has to address issues in four key areas – viz. technology integration; finance; regulatory frameworks; and the right talent pool. They also expressed concern at the financial status of power distribution companies (Discoms) in India.

UK to support India’s renewable energy initiatives Amber Rudd, UK secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change says they are impressed with the Indian leadership’s focus on the renewable energy. The UK government also announced during her visit an investment of 500,000 pound to contribute towards energy access for all in India. This, the ministry said, would help develop a system to put people on the grid.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan ordered to enforce climate law by Lahore court Very Interesting: Pakistan’s federal government must start implementing its climate change plans a judge at Lahore High Court said last week, ruling on a legal challenge brought by a farmer. Lambasting the inaction of national and provincial authorities, Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said there had been “no progress on the ground” despite a National Climate Change Policy since 2012 and an implementation framework on the books. In his September 14 judgement Shah ordered the establishment of a national Climate Change Commission (with named members) with a clear remit to ensure effective implementation, along with a number of other practical institutional measures. The case against the Pakistani government had been brought to Lahore High Court’s Green Bench by an individual petitioner, Asghar Leghari.

Opponents of Malaysian dam project cautiously optimistic about moratorium Indigenous peoples trying to stop the Baram Dam from being built applauded a new, indefinite moratorium, but say they are still anxious about the future of the project. The Baram Dam was to be one of 12 dams built by 2030 as part of the the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (SCORE), which is being built to power Sarawak’s industrial belt. Some 20,000 people are at risk of being displaced if the 1,300-megawatt dam is built. Local communities who feared they would be displaced by the dam had barricaded the two roads leading to the proposed dam site since 2013, stopping all work on the project.

CHINA

No Need to Cut the Planet’s Arteries to Save Her Lungs Excellent comment of IR on Chinese Hydro plans in the name of clean, climate friendly energy source. Currently China’s clean power plan and its export of energy technologies are overly reliant on unsustainable large hydropower projects. China plans to build more hydropower capacity on its rivers in a decade than any other countries have built in their entire history, and is the world’s largest dam builder overseas.

REST OF ASIA

Construction of a Mae Wong Dam in Bangkok threatens Southeast Asia’s largest tiger habitat experts conducting the environment and health impact assessment say that building a dam inside Mae Wong National Park is not worth the investment as it has a very low water storage capacity and if the government insists on building the dam, the tigers living in the adjoining Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary — the largest tiger habitat in Southeast Asia — will lose their home.”

REST OF THE WORLD

Brazil threatens to withhold licence for Belo Monte dam over mitigation worries Without an operating licence the hydroelectric plant will stand unused but projects to limit the impact on the local community remain incomplete Brazil’s controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric plant is facing another setback after the country’s environmental protection agency, Ibama, threatened to withhold an operating licence until the consortium which built the dam completes mitigation projects in the area to be affected.

Removing 57- feet Gorge Dam on Cuyahoga River deemed possible Confirming this officials say that the preferred demolition plan would cost roughly $70 million to execute. State and local partners would likely foot the bill to remove the dam itself and restore the site, Kratt said. According Bill Zawiski EPA spokesman removing the dam would greatly enhance the water quality of the Cuyahoga. The dam, which connects Akron to Cuyahoga Falls, was built between 1911 and 1912.

More Than 1 Million Malaria Cases Per Year Due to African Dams, Study Finds Peter Bosshard in his sharp style. The connection between dams and malaria has long been known. The stagnant water of reservoirs and the puddles along their shorelines create perfect conditions for the Anopheles mosquito, which transmits malaria, to breed. Yet until now, the problem has never been comprehensively examined. In a new study under the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, Solomon Kibret and four co-researchers closed this gap. Combining databases on dams, malaria and population densities, they systematically analyzed how the incidence of malaria increases around African reservoirs. The researchers identified 723 dams that are located in Sub-Saharan areas where malaria prevails. Close to 15 million people live within 5 kilometers of their reservoirs – the maximum distance that Anopheles mosquitoes can fly.

Drought, Hydropower, and Africa’s Energy Crisis It seems that only crises of a certain nature—usually terrorism or strongmen trampling on their country’s constitution—can draw the world’s attention to Africa. As such, it is unfair that the worst drought in a decade, which has put at risk almost ten percent of Southern Africa and left a record number of people in need of aid, has gone almost unnoticed. Indeed, the drought has underscored the degree to which Africa’s dependence on hydropower is both a blessing and a curse. Massive dam projects across Africa inherited from colonial times have limitations under the best of circumstances, in terms of keeping up with Africa’s growing population, energy demands and economic clout.

Remove Them, Remove Every Dam One of Them Marshall Brown, Co-Founder, Save The Great South Bay in a Blog post says that in order to save our rivers and give our oceans a fighting chance, in order to bring back marshland and crucial habitats for fish, amphibians, birds, and reptiles, we need to pull down every dam and spillway on Long Island. Dam removal has to be a national priority. It should be as much a part of our infrastructure conversations as our roads, bridges, tunnels and rail. It is also crucial as an environmental issue. People think hydroelectric power is clean energy, but it wreaks havoc on the life of a river. Rivers need to run free. We have insulted our waters with levees, outflow pipes, fertilizer and road run off, dumping, pesticides, and of course with dams. Nature can be very forgiving if it is not too late.

Humanity has consumed all of Earth’s resources for 2015 Earth Overshoot Day is the day when humanity falls into the red. In 1970 it took place on 23 December, but it has steadily moved forward ever since. In 1980 it fell on 3 November, in 1990 humanity overshot on 13 October and in 2000 we reached capacity on 4 October. This year is the earliest day yet, with 13 August four days ahead of 2014’s previous record. The continued strain on Earth’s resources highlights the crucial importance of the United Nations Conference of Parties taking place in Paris in December. If humanity can keep global warming within two degrees celsius of pre-Industrial Revolution levels, then Overshoot Day could be kept in check.

‘Extreme’ weather becomes the norm A new climate report for Norway, updated by 37 researchers and meteorologists nationwide, confirms that torrential rain and flooding is already becoming normal as temperatures rise. Today’s so-called “extreme” weather won’t be so extreme, and buildings need to be secured against floods and rot. The climate and ecological systems are changing quickly in Norway, according the report Norwegian agriculture and the fishing industry face major challenges. Warmer waters mean that fish stocks are already moving and changing, with more mackerel up north. Farmers can expect longer growing seasons than they’ve traditionally had in Norway, but will probably also have to deal with drenched fields, drowned and rotting crops and less sunshine.

Severe Drought In Caribbean Expected To Worsen – Report Forecasters with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, say the region is in a period of relief, but that relief will not be for long. The institute issued a report this month saying that many islands in the eastern Caribbean remain in drought, and officials warned that the current wet season will likely end before the traditional date of November 30. It is being forecast that the most severe drought to hit Jamaica and other Caribbean countries in recent years is expected to worsen despite rains from tropical storms that have replenished some reservoirs. According to an Associated Press report, forecasters say the El Nino weather phenomenon is gathering strength and will continue to warm the tropical Pacific until early next year.

CLIMATE CHANGE

India and the United States have signed a significant MoU on energy security, climate change and clean energy which according John Kerry Secretary of State John Kerry reflects the commitment of the two countries to make the Paris summit later this year a success. eferring to series of meetings that took place between officials of the two countries over the past few days and in particular at the inaugural Strategic and Commercial Dialogue being held at the State Department headquarter he also said that energy and climate change are two of the many issues on which the two governments made progress over the last couple of days. 

PM Modi’s speech at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit : Full Text  Here are few selected sentences taken from the speech. “We live in an age of unprecedented prosperity, but also unspeakable deprivation around the world. We welcome the prominence given to environmental goals, especially climate change and sustainable consumption. We are focusing on the basics: housing, power, water and sanitation for all.  Our national plans are ambitious and purposeful: new capacity of 175 GW of renewable energy over the next seven years; energy efficiency; a tax on coal; a huge afforestation programme; reforming our transportation; and, cleaning up our cities and rivers.” Also see, PM stresses historical responsibility

Read also, Preparing for the climate exiles The poorest and most vulnerable people, forced to move as result of climate change, will have no legal standing under the United Nations Refugee Convention. Although firm numbers are not available, reports suggest that more than 4,00,000 people have arrived at the European Union (EU) border so far this year, driven by wars and conflicts in places such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. In recent weeks, we have watched in horror the images of officers firing water cannons and tear gas at desperate crowds at borders and railway stations, of people struggling ashore on small dinghies, and of children who could not make it across.

ENVIRONMENT

Inconvenient truths about EPA Amazingly illuminating book review by Nitin Sethi of an insider account of how US EPA has completely failed to protect the US Environment or US citizens. Its important for Indian citizens to know since Indian governments have been for years pushing for a National Environment Regulator on the lines of US EPA. “Now read this of India: The NDA government found that the critically polluted industrial sites across the country were doing little to clean up their processes and continued to threaten lives of the people in and around these zones, it decided to suspend the rules measuring and restricting pollution at these locations. Then it set about diluting them. It also found that the policy to not mine good healthy forests was troubling the coal miners, so it decided to redefine what forests to satisfy the mining lobby. India will have to wait for a conscientious whistle-blower in the Paryavaran Bhawan (headquarters of the environment ministry in Delhi) to put together a book as revealing as Poison Spring. I have my doubts that book is coming any-day soon. Till then, read Poison Spring and be warned.

‘Jayanthi tax?’ CBI to probe if it existed The CBI informed the Supreme Court that it intended to register a preliminary enquiry to examine whether huge bribes were paid during the UPA regime for grant of speedy environment clearance to set up industries.  This was revealed in a sealed cover report handed over by senior advocate Amarendra Saran to a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri. The report was in response to the bench’s observation during the last hearing that it was the duty of the CBI to investigate the contents of a diary seized from the premises of an industrial group which was allocated a coal block under UPA-2. The CBI had said it had given the diary to the income tax department after it found it un-related to the coal scam. The CBI had said unaccounted cash of Rs 25 crore too was found and was handed over to the I-T department.

OMC writes to environment ministry seeking guidance on Niyamgiri bauxite deposit  The Odisha government hasn’t quite relinquished its right to mine the controversial Niyamgiri bauxite deposit, originally identified to supply ore to Vedanta Resources’ nearby alumina refinery. State-owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), which was granted mining rights for 30 years in 2004, has written to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF), seeking “guidance on how to proceed” with the matter. While OMC’s letter to the MoEF remains unanswered, the state plans to the MoEF remains unanswered, the state plans to write again to the Centre, placing the ball in its court. Vedanta recently said it cannot continue running the loss-making plant for much longer in the face of low global aluminium prices and lack of cheap bauxite. Two years ago, a dozen villages in southern Odisha invoked their right to worship the Niyamgiri hilltop, warding off government plans to open a bauxite mine in their neighbourhood.

With 9 tonnes of e-waste daily, Moradabad turning into a dump  The western UP district of Moradabad has for some time now been getting 50% of all printed circuit boards in India. No wonder then that it generates a staggering 9 tonnes of hazardous waste daily, with officials saying close to 50,000 people are involved in it. Most of the recycling is illegal and residents have now begun to panic. Confirming their worst fears, latest research by the Centre for Science and Environment on Moradabad’s e-waste recycling industry says the situation is alarming. The report adds that residents may face serious health hazards, including cancer, apart from the industry posing a serious threat to the environment.

‘Government working on creating urban forest in each city in ten years’ Stressing on creating a balance between development and environment conservation, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government is working towards creating an urban forest in each city in the next 10 years. Javadekar said that to carry out development work and reduce poverty while protecting the environment is the objective the government is working on.  e hoped the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill will be cleared by Parliament in the Winter session as money would go to states. Javadekar mentioned that while some species are endangered and needed to be focused on, new species were also being discovered every year. Attempts are being made towards augmentation of fodder and water resources in forests so that animals don’t have to venture out and instances of conflicts with humans are avoided, the Minister added. 

ऐसे लौटा सकते हैं हिमालय का वैभव हिमालय देश के नौ राज्यों और कुल भूमि के 17 प्रतिशत क्षेत्र में फैला है। इसका 67 प्रतिशत भू-भाग वन भूमि के लिए सुरक्षित है। खेती मात्र 13 प्रतिशत भूमि पर ही संभव है। देश का जल बैंक कहलाने वाला हिमालय 65 फीसदी आबादी को पानी देता है और उसकी रोजी-रोटी से जुड़ा है। ऐसा हिमालय पर्यावरण विनाश की चपेट में आाकर प्राकृतिक आपदाओं के जरिये हमें खतरे के संकेत दे रहा है। स्थिति विकट तो है, लेकिन उम्मीद के कारण भी हैं। जब हम नदियों, पहाड़ों, जंगलों आदि के संरक्षण के जरिये पर्यावरण बचाने की बात करते हैं तो यह प्रयास अंतत: विफल ही होते हैं। हमें इसमें उस आबादी को भी जोड़ना होगा, जो इस पर निर्भर है। प्रकृति के निकट रह रहे लोग उसे बहुत अच्छी तरह समझते हैं। पर्यावरण विनाश और नतीजतन रोजी-रोटी के साधन होने से हिमालय के कई गांव उजड़े हैं। गांव उजड़ते हैं तो प्रकृति की देखभाल करने वाला कोई नहीं होता और निहित स्वार्थी तत्व संसाधनों के शोषण में लग जाते हैं।

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