DRP News Bulletin 18 July 2016 (Remove inefficient Farakka Barrage: Bihar CM)

 

Bihar CM  demands removal of Farakka barrage CM Nitish Kumar on July 16 demanded removal of Farakka barrage on river Ganga, saying “the disadvantages of the barrage appear to be higher than its benefits”. Raising the issue of Bihar’s share in Ganges waters at the 11th Inter State Council meeting in New Delhi, Nitish also sought the Centre’s intervention to ensure uninterrupted flow of water from the states of upper co-basin so that the entire length of Ganga has continuous supply of water even during lean season. The meeting was chaired by PM Narendra Modi and attended by CMs of different states and union ministers. The CM also told the meeting that responsibility to ensure the required water availability at Farakka barrage has been put solely on Bihar. Presenting Bihar’s views Nitish further added that about 16% of the catchment area of river Ganga is in Bihar, but in the lean season 3/4th of the total water flowing in Ganga comes from rivers of Bihar. Estimated 400 cusecs of water flow is received at the Uttar Pradesh border of Bihar in river Ganga. However, at Farakka barrage, 1500 cusecs of water flow is to be ensured, which is achieved mainly through the water contributed by the rivers of Bihar. Indeed, during lean season, not even 400 cusecs of water flow is available at the border of Bihar. In this regard, Centre’s intervention is required to ensure uninterrupted flow of water from the states of upper co-basin, so that the entire length of Ganga river in Bihar has continuous supply of water even during lean season. Nitish also demanded formulation of an effective National Silt Management Policy, saying such a body at the national level is essential for silt management as well as for ensuring uninterrupted flow of water not only in Ganga, but all the other rivers.

 

MONSOON 2016

C 17

National IMD gives highest rainfall warning on July 17, predicting “Heavy to very heavy rain very likely at a few places with extremely heavy at isolated places” in Sikkim (18, 19 July), North East India (17, 18 July), Uttarakhand (17 July). Incidentally, IMD also provides special mountain forecast for the regions of J&K, Himachal & Uttarakhand, including weather warning, precipitation forecast and precipitation warning, dividing the mountains into seven regions: Jammu, Kashmir, Leh, Himachal High Hills, Himachal Lower Hills, Kumaun and Garhawal. Earlier the Met Dept. issued warning of very heavy rainfall in 7 states on 16 &17 July. It also on July 14 issued a red alert in the states of Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, HP, UP & Uttarakhand. In its weekly update, the govt forecaster said the monsoon had covered the entire country this week and the surplus stood at 2% since the season began in June. MP & Assam struggled with floods in the past week as heavy rainfall lashed the states and rivers rose above the danger mark. All through the second week of month incessant monsoon rains wreaked havoc in several parts of the country killing 7 persons in MP, 4 in Maharashtra and 1 in Assam. The northern States, however, witnessed erratic monsoon activity with heavy rains lashing some parts of Rajasthan & UP, Delhi getting light rainfall & Haryana, Punjab experiencing dry weather conditions.

FLOOD 2016

National Extent of Damage Due to Flood 2016 (cumulative figures) National Disaster Management India has not updated the flood damage figure since 07 July 2016 which is highly surprising. Moreover the updated information is also incomplete.

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(Source Disaster Management Authority India) 

By July 15 rain-related incidents have claimed over 50 lives in 3 flood-hit states since the onset of monsoon. The flood situation in Assam on July 16 remained critical with over 1.88 lakh people reeling under the impact of the deluge in 6 districts across the state. More than 300 villages have been overrun by the floods, while 16,240 ha of crop land was under water with standing crops there destroyed. At least 34 people have lost their lives and several houses damaged so far in rain-related incidents in MP. In Maharashtra, at least 17 people have lost their lives in floods. With heavy rains predicted at one or two places in Uttarakhand a state govt advisory has asked district magistrates to be vigilant and take necessary precautions. In UP heavy to very heavy rain occurred at isolated places Rains lashed many places in Haryana & Punjab. In Bihar, the weather remained hot and humid during the day but the MeT department has forecast intermittent to heavy rainfall for July 16. In W-Bengal, Kolkata received of 20.7 mm rainfall while Burdwan recorded highest rainfall of 69 mm till evening.

MP Drought to floods: Climate change has hit the State hard After 3 successive droughts Damoh in the Bundelkhand, received 7 inches of rainfall in 7 hours flat on July 11, it got 776 mm of rainfall, 228 mm more than what’s normal during this time of the year. In fact, the 3 years of drought in Bundelkhand (on the MP side) was washed away in 3 days. All the major rivers were flooded and the dams filled to their capacity. All the districts in the region are running rain surplus. Panna has received 556mm (144mm more than normal), Chhattarpur 464mm (134mm more than normal), Tikamgarh got 251 (46mm more than normal) and Sagar has received 617mm of rainfall, which is 152mm more than it generally receives. 

Op-Ed Guwahati finds no answer to flooding by Samudra Gupta Kashyap Guwahati is a bowl-shaped city where water stagnation is a natural phenomenon. Rains bring down a lot of silt from the hills which in turn quickly fill up the city’s drains. Dumping polythene bags in drains is also a major reason for the choking of drains. With the PWD and the municipal corporation raising the levels of roads almost every year, thousands of houses have been left at a lower level. Only 25% of Guwahati’s residents get piped drinking water, while no organised sewerage system exists. Over 80% of the 19 hills in the city have been encroached, and some portion of land even regularised by influential people. The area of the water-body Deeper Beel, the Northeast’s only Ramsar Site, has shrunk from about 42 sq km to less than a fourth, just about 10 sqkm, while the Barsola, Sarusola and Silsako beels too have shrunk rapidly in recent years. Excellent piece about how Guwahati is vulnerable to floods and what is being done or not done about it and why this way Guwahati cannot be a smart city. 

Lesson from floods Guwahati’s story is strikingly similar to Srinagar and Chennai & Mumbai a little more than a decade earlier. The Dal Lake in Srinagar is today a third of what it was about a hundred years ago. After the floods in Chennai in November 2015, the National Institute of Disaster Management pointed out that the number of waterbodies in Chennai had come down to 30 from more than 650 in less than two decades. In most cases, the waterbodies have been victims of real estate development. Such disregard for hydrology seems unfortunate when the government has been talking of urban renewal, especially through its smart cities programme.

DROUGHT 2016

UP Tribal woman digs her own well  Kasturi a tribal woman in parched Bundelkhand has dug a well almost single-handedly for 40 families after her upper caste neighbours denied them access to a hand-pump. The only source of water for Kasturi was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) which involved collection of water drop by drop. Kasturi decided to dig the well when she went without water for two days. She started digging at different places but failed. In January, she attempted again but was not alone this time. Her sons, daughters-in law and daughter joined her. By April, about 40 tribal families were on the job. In the mid of June, a 25 feet deep well was ready. 

Gujarat Despite drought, water diversion to industries continue According to Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) despite continued deficit of rainfall this monsoon, the State Govt. has been providing “huge quantities” of Narmada water, meant for irrigation, to some of the top industrial houses and the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor region. NBA statement further said that each day, 30 lakh litres of water is being diverted to Coca Cola &60 lakh litres to motor car factories in Gujarat. This apart, the region that falls under the DMIC is being provided most of the Narmada water. NBA also says that despite “huge” industrial investments worth thousands of crores has been made in Maharashtra & MP, Gujarat has not providing any electricity from the Narmada dam’s power house.  Gujarat continues to divert Narmada water when the drought prone areas for which it is meant continue to suffer and Narmada estuary faces the biggest crisis.

Jharkhand  Drought ponds turn death traps for children State’s proactive measures to counter drought have ended up having unexpected and tragic consequences for its children. Over a dozen of them have drowned in farm ponds, locally called dobhas that are being dug up as part of the state govt’s mission to ward off the effects of deficit rainfall. The deaths have occurred with the onset of monsoon that has led to the ponds filling up. The govt says that it has been making efforts to educate village residents to keep children away from the ponds. It, however, has also put the onus of ensuring safety on farmers on whose lands the dobhas come up. The lack of safety has led to the deaths of children. There is no provision for any compensation. There are no boundary walls and neither are there warning signs. Loose mud, excavated when the pond was dug up, is irregularly stacked around the dobha and in the rains, it turns into slush. The dobhas themselves are deceiving: what appear like small pits are actually 10-feet deep structures, enough to drown a child.

Bihar 26 जिलों में सूखे जैसे हालात राज्य में 20% से कम बारिश सामान्यमानसून की घोषणा के विपरीत राज्य के 26 जिलों में सूखे जैसी स्थिति है। पूरे राज्य में सामान्य से 20% कम बारिश हुई है। 1 जून से 11 जुलाई के बीच 290 मिमी की तुलना में मात्र 232 मिमी बारिश हुई है। नतीजा धान की बुआई पर भी असर पड़ा है। सरकार जिन जिलों को संभावित बाढ़ प्रभावित मान कर राहत-बचाव की तैयारी कर रही थी, वहां पर सूखे जैसे हालात उत्पन्न हो गए हैं। भारतीय मौसम विज्ञान विभाग के पूर्वानुमान को देखते हुए शिवहर और सीतामढ़ी को बाढ़ प्रभावित जिला मान लिया गया लेकिन वहां सामान्य से क्रमश: -82% और -61% कम वर्षा हुई है।

Expert Speak Man on a mission to solve drought problem Vishwanath Srikantaiah, 53, is a water activist and has been working in the space for over 27 years. Mr. Vishwanath is also a columnist for The Hindu, who writes weekly columns about water preservation. A Civil Engineer by profession, he has worked with HUDCO for 14 years.

HYDRO POWER 

Centre Piyush Goyal met Jaitley to discuss hydro projects Power Minister Piyush Goyal had meet Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on July 8 to discuss the country’s hydroelectric projects along with other ministers. The minister also said that it is not as if hydropower is a forgotten aspect, but right now he has been focusing on solar.

Himachal Small power projects stalled for want of green nod According to the news report 44 small hydro projects of 827Mw capacity are waiting green clearances from the  Environment Ministry since 2014. The ministry has refused to give forest clearance to the projects on the ground that the independent power producers have failed to get non-forest land for compensatory afforestation as the wasteland in Himachal is forest land as per the 1952 notification and as such, there is no non-forest land in the state. The independent power producers have come under the banner of Bona Fide Himachalis Hydropower Developers Association to air their woes & are asking that developers should be allowed to run the transmission lines without acquiring the entire private land under the right of way. 

High silt level forces closure of hydro power plants 3 hydro power plants in the State with an overall capacity of 2912Mw were shut down on July 15 due to the high level of silt in Sutlej river. The 1500Mw Nathpa-Jhakri, 412Mw Rampur plant of Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam & 1000Mw Karchham-Wangtoo project were shut down as the silt level in the river increased to 23000 ppm against permissible limit of 4000 ppm. The step was taken to prevent damage to the machinery. Power generation may be resumed on July 16.  Curious case of hydro projects in Himalayan states, during lean season when water matters most for dependent communities & for river  itself, they take away traditional rights, grab greatest share of water, even  make the rivers run dry but when water is available they are just shut down. 

Industry Hydro power generation in monsoon NHPC recorded a 3.8% year-on-year growth in power generation in June. In the first quarter of this fiscal, the company had generated 7459 GWH of power, a 3.5% drop from a year ago. Due to the less snowfall last winters, even the key projects based on glacier water on the Sutlej river had been recording a drop in generation since March.  Over all, state-run National Thermal Power Corporation emerged the best performer in hydro power generation with a 450% increase in generation in the April-June quarter. The thermal power major generated 1000 GWH of power at its single reservoir-based Koldam project.  North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd is the only PSU to have sustained positive trajectory in hydro power generation. It posted a 23$ increase in generation in the first quarter.  

DAMS

Gujarat Narmada project affected adivasis on hunger strike Hundreds of adivasis affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project have begun their Dharna and relay fast from the 15th of July. They have been demanding full and fair rehabilitation which they haven’t yet got despite being displaced in the late 1980’s and 1990’s.These adivasis who sustained their livelihood on the land, forests and water as well as fish were forced to leave their access tothese natural resources and shift to the resettlement sites; where they have found it difficult to fit into the cash driven market economy. The govt has fueled the unhappiness among the people by recently releasing a list of about 1000 families whose lands have been declared to be taken back despite being to them 15-20 years back. On the other hand, According to Nitin Patel, state govt spokesperson and senior-most minister said, the crucial permission from the Narmada Control Authority, Supreme Court & Govt of India to close the Narmada dam gates is likely to be granted shortly. As MP & Maharashtra are expected to complete the long pending resettlement and rehabilitation work in keeping with the directions of the govt of India, we are hopeful that we will get the necessary permission to close the almost-complete dam gates. The gates are likely to be ready by the end of the year. We are hopeful that from the next monsoon we will be able to store three to four times more water, after closing the gates.

Himachal CM promised to settle Bhakra oustees cases on priority According to CM Virbhadra Singh the cases of left-out Bhakra Dam oustees will be settled soon. The cases pertain to allotment of land/plot which had not been settled even after more than 50 years. Asserting that the govt was keen on providing employment to the youth, the CM said during the past three years over 27,000 people were given employment in the govt sector alone. Implied admission by CM himself that the Bhakra oustees are still not fully settled 6 decades after being displaced.

Karnataka Flood threat in state as Maharashtra releases water Residents of many villages in Bagalkot and Belagavi districts suffered inconvenience due to the threat of floods. Several villages in Jamakhandi and Bilagi taluks of Bagalkot district face the threat of floods after 1.7 lakh cusecs of water was released from the Koyna dam in Maharashtra. Deputy Commissioner P A Meghannavar has asked people in the villages on the banks of the river to move to safer places.  

MP बेतवा में फंसे 17 लोगों को सुरक्षित निकाला  बेतवा और जामनी नदी के बीच फंसे 17 लोगों को रेस्क्यू टीम ने July 12 को सुरक्षित बाहर निकाल लिया। July 10 को बेतवा का जल स्तर कम था। बाहर से आए सैलानी पुल के दूसरी तरफ घूमने-फिरने निकल गए थे। कुछ देर बाद माताटीला बांध के 23 गेट खुल जाने से जल स्तर तेजी से बढ़ गया, जिससे 17 लोग नदी के दूसरी ओर फंस गए थे। July 12 सुबह 8 से 11 बजे के बीच कड़ी मशक्कत के बाद रेस्क्यू टीम ने नदी में फंसे लोगों को सुरक्षित बाहर निकाला। वहीं दूसरी ओर, पन्ना जिले में लगातार बारिश से इटवाखास के पास निर्माणाधीन सिरस्वाहा बांध फूट गया। वहीं दूसरी ओर उसी के पास बन रहा बिलखुरा बांध के भी फूट गया है। इन बांधों के फूटने से सिरस्वाहा गांव के घरों में पानी भर गया है। जल संसाधन विभाग के द्वारा 32 करोड़ रुपए की लागत से सिरस्वाहा बांध का निर्माण किया गया है। पन्ना जिले में सिरस्वाहा और बिलखुरा बांध पहली बारिश में ही टूट गए। एसीएस राधेश्याम जुलानिया और प्रमुख अभियंता एमजी चौबे इन बांधों को तेज बारिश की वजह से टूटना बता रहे हैं। उनका कहना है कि बांध निर्माणाधीन होने की वजह से टूटे है। दोनों बांध साल भर पहले ही बने थे। सिरस्वाहा बांध 32 करोड़ से बना था इसमें अन्य खर्च जोड़कर 58 करोड़ की राशि खर्च की जा चुकी थी। वहीं, बिलखुरा बांध में भी 11 करोड़ खर्च हुए है। ये दोनों बांध पूरी तरह से टूट गए हैं। इसके साथ ही नचनौरा और दोभा बांध को बचाने के लिए उनमें कट लगाकर बांध से पानी निकाला गया ताकि इनको बचाया जा सके। July 12 को हुई शिवराज सिंह कैबिनेट की मीटिंग में पन्ना में बांध टूटने पर दोषियों पर कार्रवाई के निर्देश दिए गए। ये दोनों बांध टूटने के बाद पीएचई मंत्री कुसुम मेहदेले और जल संसाधन मंत्री जयंत मलैया के बीच वाकयुद्ध शुरू हो गया था। इस मामले की जांच जन संसाधन विभाग के प्रमुख सचिव एमजी चौबे ने की है। इसमें स्थानीय अफसरों को प्राथमिक रूप से दोषी माना गया है। According to another media report, a IAS officier Ramesh Thete has alleged that if CBI carries out an inquiry into the works done by R.S. Julania, Additional Chief Secretary Water Resources Department, he will be behind the bars. He also said that 2 dams built with an investment of Rs 70cr couldn’t even withstand first rainfall. Mr. Thete also alleged WRD engineer-in-chief M.G. Choubey has been given post-retirement extension for a fifth time to carry out construction of the dams in Panna.

Wardha dam develops cracks, alert sounded Following heavy rainfall in Sheopur district since the last two days, the Parvati River in Vijaypur started overflowing and Wardha stop dam developed cracks on July 16. The district administration has sounded an alert in the villages’ downstream and evacuated people. According SDM Sheopur an alert was sounded in nearby villages especially Benipura which has a population of about 2,500 people following cracks on the walls of Wardha dam, water was flushed out after breaking a part of the waste weir wall. Wardha dam supplies water to four villages including Benipura, Aaropa, Chhapar and Maidawali and water supply could be affected in the area for some time due to the damage.

UP 12 students swept away in Kosi clicking selfie In a case of selfie enthusiasts putting their lives at risk, a dozen local students were swept away while trying for a pose deep into the Kosi river here. Two students, both of them studying in Class X, were drowned while 10 others were rescued by divers alerted by the boys’ frantic shrieks for help. According to eyewitnesses, the boys had ventured deep into the river and were busy clicking selfies when they were caught unawares by sudden flow of water released from the nearby Lalpur dam.

Mhadei dam issue Karnataka has destroyed Western Ghats ecological balance: Goa  Blaming Karnataka for the total mismanagement of its water resources, Goa has said that the neighbouring State has committed massive environmental destruction by the construction of the Mhadei dam. Karnataka has carried out massive violation of all possible laws including Environment Protection Act, Wildlife Protection Act, Biodiversity Act, Constitutional Principles dealing with any projects on inter-state river wherein Supreme Court has held that this cannot be done unless the Planning Commission and the Central Government approves of the same including the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change,” Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni said in his submission before the Mhadei tribunal.

Andhra Drinking water crisis worsens, storage enough for 15 days The Prakasam district administration has pressed the panic button as the drinking water crisis worsened in the drought-prone district in view of poor storage in the reservoirs across the Krishna in the State. Water storage in the summer storage tanks in Ongole, as also the notified drinking water tanks elsewhere in the fluoride-hit district, is precariously low with no replenishment from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir. The State govt should impress upon the Krishna River Management Board to release at least 4 tmcft of water from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir immediately, even if it meant drawing water from the dead storage, say district officials as people would have to go without drinking water after a fortnight in the present situation.

Govt raises height of second check dam across Palar  The Govt. has raised the height of a second check dam across the Palar near Palaru village on the inter-state border. The development comes at a time when political parties and farmers’ associations have been condemning raising the check dam height from around five to over 15ft at Perumpalam in Kangundi village. Vellore district Reversal of Ecology Committee’s member A Ashokan and secretary of Vellore Mavattam Palar Pathukappu Sangam A C Venkatesan visited the spot on July 10 and found that the height of the check dam had been raised to around 25ft from its earlier height of 5ft.  Such unilateral action by Andhra Pradesh is bound to sow seeds of dispute with Telangana.

Maharashtra Water cut to continue: Girish Bapat A day after Pune Mayor Prashant Jagtap announced that the existing water cut would be lifted, Guardian Minister Girish Bapat on July 17 instructed the district collector & the irrigation department to maintain the cut. The minister said that water is govt’s property & nobody can issue such directions without going through the proper channel. Mayor Prashant Jagtap however reiterated his stand on withdrawing the alternate day water supply by saying that with dams 50% full, Pune city should get continuous water supply. A special General Body meeting will be called July 18 to address the issue.  Also see, Water cuts to remain till dams are full: Pune Mayor 

IRRIGATION 

Maha Irrigation Scam Ajit Pawar gave cousin 200cr unviable project Former irrigation minister Ajit Pawar not only created conflict of interest by going ahead with approving a fresh cost estimate for the Aashti lift irrigation scheme  after his cousin Jagdish Kadam wrote a letter to him, but he also ignored reports that the project was not viable. The 200cr project in Beed district was awarded despite Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal not issuing the mandatory clearance and water resources department seeking to scale down the project. SANDRP has been opposing the Ashti LIS tooth and nail but has not achieved any success so far. SANDRP had written to environment ministry urging it not to clear the project in view of these facts. However, the ministry issued the environmental clearance. SANDRP quoted extensively, though not in the most balanced way. 

Tamil Nadu ADB to give loan for water projects Asian Development Bank will provide about Rs670cr for irrigation projects, drainage system and water management at the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu. The fund will be used to strengthen embankments of six major irrigation water channels in the Vennar system and rehabilitate 13 irrigation pumping schemes at the Cauvery river basin, ADB said in a statement. The Cauvery river basin is a critical source of water for agriculture, both within Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring states. The project is expected to be completed by December 2020. The loan from ADB’s ordinary capital resources has a 25-year term.

Telangana Mallannasagar reservoir oustees on relay fast With no let up in the two-month old agitation by land oustees of Mallannasagar reservoir demanding higher compensation, another section of people have launched a similar stir near Zaheerabad in the same district against acquisition of land to set up National Investment and Manufacturing Zone. Residents of 18 villages of Jarasangam and Nyalakal mandals are protesting against acquisition of 12,600 acres of their land at rates unacceptable to them. They are on a relay fast for the last 12 days demanding the govt to pay compensation according to Land Acquisition Act, 2013, instead of a government order.

Excess silt undermining potential of irrigation projects The decimation of forests in Adilabad district over the years has had a lasting impact on almost all the irrigation projects by way of losing the storage capacity. There has been no survey with regard to the extent of silt deposits in the reservoirs, but engineers concede that the phenomenon has reduced the potential of the projects.

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS 

Centre Gadkari takes study tour of Mississippi river Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari was on a mission to study the structure of the Mississippi River inland waterway. He exchanged views on the land port operations with the St. Louis Port authorities, assessing the feasibility of similar arrangements in making Ganga river waterways navigable in an effective & commercially viable manner. Gadkari further said that like in the US, the central govt will manage the inland waterways in India. We can maintain a draft of two and half to three meters as in the Mississippi river inland waterways. Indian rivers waterways can be operational all round the year unlike in the US where they remain closed for some time during a year. The PIB PR says it will be managed by GOI, so another indication of centralisation of power over rivers?

RIVERS

Punjab & Haryana Ghaggar: Tragedy along the ‘river of sorrow’ The river was considered a boon for the farmers of the area but has slowly become a death trap. Lack of coordination between Punjab & Haryana is harming the interests of the people in both the states. On its side, Haryana has tried to build a concrete wall to save its villages from a river that has brought people living along its 350-km length in the two states to their knees. Villagers in the Ghaggar catchment areas say they find problem in getting a match for their boys.  The land prices are very low. The situation has come to such a pass that villagers on the Punjab side keep the basement of their house vacant to minimize the flood damage. Some have raised their houses almost 10 feet above the ground. And the villages near the banks complain of a pungent smell and saline water is unfit for irrigation.  

Tamil Nadu Fisherfolk battling against river pollution in for over 3 decades Once girded by mangroves and speckled with salt pans and tidal mudflats, the Ennore Creek is now surrounded by 11 industrial plants that discharge hazardous waste into its estuarine ecosystem. According to a report drawn up by The Coastal Resource Centre a Chennai-based NGO aimed at providing solidarity to coastal communities battling unsustainable development activity 6 new thermal power stations have been proposed in this region. This is a clear sign that the state has decided to go ahead with further industrial development in this area despite warnings from ecologists of the creek’s degraded condition. According to the fisherfolk of Kaatukuppam, more than 15 varieties of fish and crustaceans have disappeared from the creek over the years.

W-Bengal जीर्णोंद्धार की बाट जोह रही आदिगंगा  पश्चिम बंगाल के इतिहास और संस्कृति से जुड़ी आदिगंगा तिल-तिल अपना अस्तित्व खो रही है लेकिन इसे बचाने के लिए न तो केंद्र और न ही पश्चिम बंगाल सरकार की तरफ से कोई कारगर कदम उठाया जा रहा है। विशेषज्ञों का कहना है कि आदिगंगा को बचाने की चाहे जितनी भी कोशिशें कर ली जायें, जब तक मेट्रो को आदिगंगा से हटाया नहीं जायेगा तब तक सारी कोशिशें सिफर साबित होंगी। विशेषज्ञ इसके लिए दक्षिण कोरिया से सियोल शहर से गुजरने वाली चंग्येचन नदी का उदाहरण देते हैं। पर्यावरणविद हिमांशु ठक्कर कहते हैं, ‘सिओल की तर्ज पर ही आदिगंगा को पुनरोद्धार किया जा सकता है। मेट्रो को दूसरी ओर शिफ्ट करना होगा। आदिगंगा की ड्रेजिंग करनी होगी और पानी का बहाव जारी रहे यह सुनिश्चित करना होगा।’ ठक्कर बताते हैं, ‘इन सबके अलावा नदी के पुनरोद्धार के लिए विशेषज्ञों की टीम बनानी होगी और गहन शोध करना होगा तभी कुछ हो सकता है।’ 

Jharkhand आषाढ़ में भी सूखी है झारखंड की बांकी नदी

DB 12 July 16

GANGA OP-ED GAP & Namami Gange The overwhelming emphasis on pollution abatement that had led to the GAP’s failure bedevils Namami Gange.  The lag between sewage generation and treatment has remained between 55% & 60% even as new STPs were built under the GAP. The official statistics show that the STPs are currently running at a deficiency of 55%. The upstream of the river, where Bhagirathi and Alaknanda join to form the Ganga, is part of a very fragile Himalayan ecosystem. Caution is needed in implementing the Namame Gange projects along this stretch. The Kedarnath flood of Uttarakhand is an example of what a combination of melting glaciers and mindless construction can do to a sensitive geological zone. The  increased fishing activity and vessel traffic are proving to be disurbing element downstream. Deploying more scientific methods for fishing and limiting it to levels enough for species’ sustenance might help without significantly affecting livelihoods. The direct consequences of climate change are also felt in the lower belts, around the Ganga Sagar region. Land is disappearing but no comprehensive plans have emerged as yet to provide for the rehabilitation of the region’s inhabitants. With more than 40 dams, barrages and weirs and many more planned aviral Ganga seems nothing more than an empty catchphrase. Ganga is the sum total of the contribution of some 12 major tributaries. Without a rejuvenation strategy for each of Ganga’s tributaries, there can be no Ganga rejuvenation.

YAMUNA UP Agra sewage flowing into Yamuna The CPCB had found glaring shortcomings at 2 STPs in Dayal Bagh in Jan. during an inspection it carried out on orders from the NGT. At both places, machines were not working and untreated effluents were flowing into the Yamuna. Jal Nigam officials said they are in the process of repairing the two STPs and the issues highlighted by the CPCB have been taken care of. However, the officials added that this has not stopped domestic sewage from flowing into the river. The NGT while a hearing a petition filed by an Agra resident D K Joshi. Flowing of sewage and effluents has wreaked havoc on Yamuna. It has led to growth of insects which are harming monuments including Taj located near Yamuna banks in the city. 

WETLANDS & WATER BODIES 

W-Bengal Save wetlands: Fisheries minister turns crusader Fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha has become a crusader of sorts in his endeavour to protect wetlands. The minister has started a “save wetlands, save water bodies” campaign for which posters have been put up all over the city, to make “the ordinary citizen aware of the importance of wetlands and water-bodies”. Sinha is trying to frame a fresh policy on saving wetlands with other government departments and adopt “an integrated approach” for it. The move comes at a time city mayor and environment minister Sovan Chatterjee has, much to the dismay of green activists, has aired his resolve to use wetlands for development projects. The fisheries minister, too, is perplexed at the stance; he wants a discussion with Chatterjee on taking his “save water-body” campaign to a bigger platform with his help. Great to see the minister taking a more activist role to save East Kolkata Wetlands. 

Op-Ed How to kill a wetland By Sukanta Chaudhuri The East Kolkata Wetlands cover 12500 ha, including 4000 ha of fish farms or bheris, criss-crossed by a system of creeks and canals. If the wetlands are effaced, the loss in food supply would be the least part of the damage. It would leave the city without means of disposing of its waste, especially its sewage, and its abundant storm-water. Another warning against killing East Kolkata Wetlands. 

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Centre MoEF gets 2 weeks from NGT to submit report on Kopri wetlands The NGT has given the Environment Ministry another two weeks time to submit its report on the survey of the 20 ha wetland area in Kopri. The NGT has also asked them to rethink whether it is essential and permissible to reclassify the area from coastal regulatory zone (CRZ)-3 to CRZ-1. The MoEF has already failed to submit a report twice in the past. This will be the last extension for the MoEF to come up with its report. According to rules, if a land is under CRZ-1 then no constructions can take place there. But as the area was marked as CRZ-3 construction activities went on in full swing. 

Maharashtra Govt withdraws wetland modification plea The state govt on July 11 withdrew its plea seeking certain modifications in an earlier court order pertaining to banning of constructions in wetland areas. In the last hearing, the court had asked the advocate general to appear “to clear the stand of the govt on whether they want the wetlands destroyed. The court was hearing a PIL for saving wetlands and setting up of a wetlands authority to monitor violations. The state govt had on Dec 18, 2013, following the HC’s order, issued a govt resolution directing civic bodies to enforce a ban on reclamation or constructions in areas earmarked in the Centre wetland atlas. The petitioner, meanwhile, submitted fresh photos showing fresh constructions in mangrove areas in Vasai.

Tamil Nadu More wetlands vanish as Chennai forgets 2015 floods 7 months since the disastrous floods, the city is repeating its mistakes with impunity, much to the chagrin of environmental activists. Chennai-based environmentalist IH Sekar, says that the govt is filling the Pallikaranai marshland in Sholinganallur, to make way for more construction on the marshland. Construction over water bodies has proven to be one of the main reasons for the city’s massive flooding in 2015. Activists claim that the public memory is very short and this ignorance might have a more tragic impact.

Punjab Pontoon gates to rid Harike wetland of silt The solution to silt accumulation in Harike lake the largest wetland is finally in sight with the help of pontoon gates. The 4100 ha wetland displaying a rich biodiversity had got endangered due to accumulating silt. The depth of the lake had come down from 23 feet to a mere 10-11 feet. The flow of the Sutlej and the Beas river waters was controlled at the headworks by 48 steel gates. Flooding of the catchment area of Sutlej and Beas had almost become an annual feature in monsoons for these 31 gates meant for release of excessive water in Sutlej were hardly opened during the past 63 years. 

MP झीलों के शहर में बाढ़ और कुदरत का स्टिंग ऑपरेशन 16 तालाबों वाले भोपाल शहर को ‘झीलों की नगरी’ कहा जाता रहा है। 13-14 अगस्त 2006 को भोपाल में भी यूं ही जबरदस्त बारिश हुई थी और ज्यादातर खूबसूरत शहर बारिश के पानी में डूब गया। जैसा कि होता है, तुरत-फुरत बैठकें हुईं। सरकार ने कहा कि राहत दी जायेगी। वे कभी नहीं समझ पाते हैं कि लोगों की ज्यादातर जिंदगी ‘राहत के जुमले’ में ही क्यों बंध गई हैं। सूखा पड़ता है, तो सूखा राहत, बाढ़ आती है तो बाढ़ राहत, किसानों को किसान राहत, महामारी फैलती है तो स्वास्थ्य शिविरों से राहत, थोड़ा यह भी सोचना चाहिए कि कहीं विकास योजना का मतलब राहत प्रदाय योजना तो नहीं हो गया है। यह सच दबाने की हर संभव कोशिश की जाएगी कि वास्तव में इस बाढ़ का आयोजन सरकार और समाज ने मिलकर किया है। विडंबना देखिये कि 11 जून 2016 तक हम सब मध्यप्रदेश में सूखे के संकट पर बहस कर रहे थे और 11 जुलाई 2016 को ठीक यही इलाके बाढ़ की चपेट में हैं। Also see, Protest against construction by the pond

JST MP

SAND MINING 

W-Bengal Green hopes run dry as rampant mining goes unchecked  According to an irrigation department official, all the 3 major river basins of the state the Bhagirathi-Hooghly basin, Damodar basin and Teesta basin are being threatened by illegal san mining industry. The authorities, including police personnel, know what’s happening but do little to stop it. Experts say the real estate boom in West Bengal and nearby states is aggravating the problem. However, cracking down on such illegal units would cause considerable inconvenience to officials as well as residents not only would this mean less flow of cash to political parties, the common man would also be hit by the consequent rise in the cost of construction and raw material.

Telangana Warangal villagers take control of mining, share profit For decades, the poor living along the Godavari remained mute spectators as influential contractors extracted sand from their habitations & minted money until the villagers set up a cooperative society & were given the rights to quarry sand under the initiative of district Collector Vakati Karuna. Each of the villagers has got Rs.60K for 8 months and another Rs.60K is due. We are very happy and we will not let others exploit sand anymore. Integrated Tribal Development Agency officer D. Amoy Kumar said 606 families living in Eturu, Singaram and Kanthanapally formed a cooperative society which in turn got the rights to quarry sand from 3 reaches.

Sand mining rampant in Karimnagar Illegal sand mining is going unabated in the district thanks to the nexus between some public representatives and smugglers. Though the district administration formed divisional level teams with revenue, police and transport department authorities, the sand mining is going unchecked. Sand transporters dig sand on the unauthorised banks of Manair river. Hundreds of sand trenches can be noticed along the path of the river. The abundant availability of sand in these water bodies is a boon to smugglers.  Cracking the whip on illegal sand mining operators, mines and geology minister KT Rama Rao on July 14 cancelled the operations at the Gudibanda sand reach in Mahbubnagar district and also suspended two officials for their failure to control them. Rama Rao got reports on sand mining from several districts and found that the mining contractor was mining excess sand than the permitted quota at Gudibanda and suspended the operations there. He warned that stern action would be taken against contractors and officials who resort to illegal practices. Also see, India beach sand-mining industry set to prosper under private sector

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Tamil Nadu Residents prevent illegal mining Residents of Gurukulam, Imnampatti, Nimbaleswararm and Veppankudi all in Veppankudi village panchayat in Tiruvarangulam block besieged earth movers used for illegal mining of sand at Imnampattikulam, a sprawling tank of 90 acres in the area. The villagers said that although the Veppankudi village panchayat had permitted to clear sand only to a depth of two feet, the operators illegally quarried sand up to a depth of six feet. They said that the irrigation for the fields in adjoining villages would be hit, as the tank had been deepened. After waiting for about three hours, the earthmover operators left the tank due to the agitation. Villagers said that they would resume the stir if the operators continued their illegal practice.

Gujarat Sand mining dispute leads to firing A dispute over mining sand from Bhadar river between Ganod and Loath villages of Upleta town got violent leading to firing from a 12-bore gun and arrest of two persons on charges of attempt to murder on July 12. 7 persons were booked for allegedly thrashing & trying to kill Mehram Bharai of Ganod village, who was transporting sand mined from the riverbed. The accused include sand-mining lease holder Devubha Chudasama, his son Arvind Chudasama, brother Kiritsinh Chudasama and his son Yuvrajsinh Chudasama, Piyush Valand and two others.

UP  Illegal mining in Son under green panel scrutiny In a petition it was alleged that certain sand mining quarries in village Manpur, Tehsil & District Anupur, (which is a river sand mining quarry on river Son for 160000 cum/year by open cast manual method) has environment clearance for mining not exceeding 80000 cum/year apart. However, it is submitted that despite the aforesaid recommendation, SEIAA without assigning any reasons for not accepting the recommendation of SEAC, enhancing the capacity twice the one recommended by SEAC has committed an error of law. Accordingly notices were issued. The bailable warrant against the person in question was ordered on May 9. Next hearing of the matter is listed for Aug 16. 

DELHI WATER NEWS  

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Metro tunneling disturbing groundwater tables Its surprising to know about a water channel found 20 meter deep that flooded Metro Heritage line tunnel in Daryaganj. There is no other information regarding the water channel but its worrisome that Metro projects particularly involving tunnel construction are often disturbing the underground water table and hydrology. In Sep 2014 Archaeological Survey of India held that Delhi Metro’s tunneling work near the fort responsible behind unusual drying up the Red Fort baoli which always had water in it for many years. The issue was also raised in a high-level meeting with the LG. In the third week of August 2014, the Delhi horticulture department also wrote a letter to the superintending archeologist, Delhi Circle, mentioning of drying up of borewells at the Red Fort complex due to tunneling work of Metro. At that time, Central Groundwater Board was asked to study the water level and look into recharging the water table. Few days later, NGT also asked Delhi Metro to respond to the allegations. The petitioner Vikrant Tongad pleaded that the water level had come down in the baoli ever since the DMRC started work on the station near the Fort. He further stated that the DMRC was extracting lakhs of tonnes of ground water for the work on phase III of metro constructions and the underground stations, but the water so extracted is going down the drain & there was no requisite permission from the authorities concerned for extracting so much ground water and no proper management plan.

Fresh push to rainwater harvesting 3 rainwater harvesting information centres that will recommend the type of conservation practices to be adopted and also train plumbers and masons in designing such facilities were launched on July 12. Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra launched one centre at RK Puram and declared the other two open at Dwarka and Lajpat Nagar. An NGO, working in the water sector, has partnered with the DJB to run the centres. Mishra said Delhi will have such centres in all the revenue districts this year.

DJB asks govt to take over 10 water bodies The DJB has sent a list of 10 water bodies to the govt with a request to take them over from the Delhi Development Authority and oversee their revival. Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra will on July 11meet senior DJB officials and discuss the way forward for revival and maintenance of the 10 water bodies. Out of the 10 water bodies, two are in Dwarka. According to him, the move comes after the NGT had last month ordered the Delhi govt to take over a few water bodies in Dwarka for revival. Last month, CM Arvind Kejriwal constituted a high-level committee to look into issues related to water bodies. The committee is headed by PWD minister Satyendar Jain and comprises water minister Kapil Mishra, environment and forests minister Imran Hussain and Delhi Jal Board CEO Keshav Chandra.

DJB to use treated waste water DJB is preparing a scheme in consultation with IIT-Delhi & CPCB to use water released from sewage treatment plants to wash Metro trains and DTC buses, and in stadia. The NGT recently asked to the DJB to examine “if the discharge of water can be used for Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium and Ambedkar Stadium and washing of Metro and DTC buses”. The Delhi Water Policy says the city must increase its recycled waste water use to 25% by 2017, 50% by 2022 and at least 80% by 2027. This is to meet its non-drinking requirement and reduce fresh water use. There is miniscule use of cleaned up waste water now.

Tourism Dept. to revamp Naini Lake  According sources North MCD has decided to allot the lake to Delhi Tourism Department for five years. Last year, the Delhi govt had decided to beautify the lake and revive it ecologically. The plan, however, did not take off since the lake was being maintained by the Delhi Tourism department. The move will be a major win for the residents of Model Town as they have been batting for the revival of the lake. Delhi Tourism department will, however, continue to share its revenue with the municipal corporation. Delhi Tourism said that the department is also mulling to install a water recycling plant to ensure the lake doesn’t dry up in future.

एनजीटी ने हाउसिंग सोसाइटियों में वर्षा जल संग्रहण पर जलबोर्ड से रिपोर्ट मांगी एनजीटी ने दिल्ली जल बोर्ड को 3 सप्ताह में राज्य में हाउसिंग सोसाइटियों में वर्षा जल संग्रहण प्रणालियों की स्थापना पर विस्तृत रिपोर्ट सौंपने का निर्देश दिया है। एनजीटी ने 18 अप्रैल के आदेश के अनुपालन में विलंब के लिए जल बोर्ड की खिंचाई भी की। इस आदेश में एनजीटी ने वर्षा जल संग्रहण प्रणालियों पर सूचना मांगी थी और तीन सप्ताह में रिपोर्ट देने का निर्देश दिया था। अगली सुनवाई 4 अगस्त को होगी। इसने कहा कि राष्ट्रीय राजधानी में होटलों, अस्पतालों और मॉल में वर्षा जल संग्रहण प्रणालियों की स्थापना की मांग वाली एक याचिका उसके समक्ष पिछले तीन साल से लंबित है और हाउसिंग सोसाइटियों में प्रक्रिया साथ-साथ आगे बढ़ाई जानी चाहिए।

WATER 

Centre The right to water for life On 26th May 2016, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR) put out the Draft National Water Framework Bill, inviting public comments. The bill represents an important and progressive step forward despite some shortcomings and challenges involved in its implementation, writes Shripad Dharmadhikary.

W-Bengal Even we are scared of drinking water: NGT The Green Tribunal Eastern Zone Bench, on July 11, expressed concern over the lackadaisical attitude of the State Govt. in checking Arsenic menace in the state. On March 1, the Central Groundwater Board had submitted a report stating how several tubewells fitted with Arsenic-control kits are continuing to pump out contaminated water due to lack of maintenance and upkeep. The chief secretary was then directed by the NGT to file a report within three weeks. There has been no response yet.

GROUND WATER 

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Haryana Groundwater level drops in 18 districts According to report, except 3 districts, the groundwater had declined across the state since June 1974. Mahendragarh district has witnessed the maximum decline of 28.58 metres, followed by Kurukshetra with 24.32 metres, Gurgaon 20.10 metres, Kaithal 18.75 metres, Fatehabad 13.78 metres and Panipat 13.04 metres. There were a total of 71 overexploited blocks across the state where groundwater had been exploited above 100%. There are 15 blocks in critical category where groundwater has been used between 70-100%. According to Gurnam Singh Chaduni, state president, Bharatiya Kisan Union, farmers have been getting proper price only for paddy and wheat, they are mainly growing these two crops. 

AGRICULTURE 

Fact Check Understanding the data on flowing milk, booming farm output India has had two consecutive drought years, yet India’s milk production, according to the Agriculture Ministry, has risen from 137.69 million tonnes (mt) in 2013-14 to 146.31 mt in 2014-15 and 160.35 mt in 2015-16. Never before has the country’s milk output grown at these rates that too, in the face of back-to-back monsoon failures. Connecting output to cooperative procurement can be highly misleading. Cooperatives procure hardly a tenth of the milk produced in India. Even out of their total average daily procurement of 421.67 lakh kg in 2015-16, nearly 60% was from three states Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra that together produce less than a fifth of the country’s milk. On the other hand, we have UP with an 18% share of national milk output, but contributing just 1% to overall cooperative procurement. 

SOUTH ASIA 

India Cabinet approves revised cost estimate for Bhutan HEP  Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Modi has given its approval for Revised Cost Estimate of Rs. 7290.62cr the ongoing 1020Mw Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Bhutan. The total cost escalation for the project, at this stage, is Rs.3512.82cr.  The bilateral agreement to execute the Punatsangchhu-II HEP was signed between India and Bhutan in April, 2010 at the approved cost of Rs.3777.8cr with funding by Govt of India as 30% grant & 70% loan at 10% annual interest. Bhutan hydro project cost has already doubled. This is at March 2015 price level, so further escalation is inevitable as the project is still ongoing. This is very high cost, not clear how high it will get. This of course excludes all the social and environmental costs.

India, Bangladesh need expert group on Ganga water sharing According to Mashiur Rahman, Senior Adviser on Economic Affairs to the Bangladesh PM, in a bid to resolve the Ganga water sharing issues between Bangladesh and India, the 2 govts should form an experts group to look at all the technical issues. Addressing a BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) Business Forum organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce on July 14 he said that 2 govts should take a formal position to form an expert group to look at technical issues. If they feel technical issues are acceptable, two govts should go ahead. Otherwise the Ganga water sharing issues remain unresolved. Rahman said if Ganga water does not flow to downstream, Bangladesh does not have any solution to address its water inadequacy problem. 

Nepal Pancheshwar project in limbo According current indications, the govt will most likely miss the Oct deadline for endorsement of the detailed report of 4800Mw Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project being developed jointly by Nepal and India. Pancheshwar Development Authority the developer of Pancheshwar project, had hired WAPCOS Ltd to prepare the detailed report of Pancheshwar project. The Indian company submitted the final draft of the detailed project report in March. Since then, the PDA has handed over copies of the draft DPR to govts of Nepal and India, seeking feedback.

Floods sweep away bridges, damage hydropower project Tamor River flood swept away a steel truss of the under construction bridge linking Phungling with Khamlung districts on the night of July 15. Similarly, transportation along the Beshisahar-Chame road section came to a halt as a bridge across Myardi stream linking Lamjung and Manang districts was swept away. In Parbat, floods damaged an intake of Modikhola Hydropower Project, knocking out the 14Mw power generation. Water level in landslide-dammed lake in Tamor River in Sawadin, Taplejung, has increased, leaving the downstream settlement at risk. In Baitadi, 7 shops were swept away by flood at Chainpur, the district headquarters of Bajhang. Water level in landslide-dammed lake in Tamor River in Sawadin, Taplejung, has increased, leaving the downstream settlement at risk.

Kali Gandaki ‘A’ subsidiary dam collapses A subsidiary dam of the Kali Gandaki ‘A’ Hydro Power Project, the country’s biggest hydel project, collapsed after incessant rainfall and has endangered the Andhimuhan locality in Syangja district. The wall of the dam built by the District Development Committee a few years ago collapsed recently. At least 12 households are at a risk of landslide at Andhimuhan of Shree Krishna Gandaki VDC–7 after swollen Andhikhola River breached its regular course. They are facing an urgent need to be relocated to safer zones. The swollen Andhikhola has also eroded the settlement area in and around it, said a local of the area, Rumadevi Basyal. The river also threatens to knock down a suspension bridge connecting Shree Krishna Gandaki VDC and Nibuwakharka VDC. Meanwhile, the District District Committee has said it would resort to solving the problem after an inspection.

Pakistan Bids open for Dasu hydropower project civil works In yet another major development towards construction of Dasu Hydropower Project, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) on July 11 received bids for the main civil works (MW-01 & 02) of Stage-1 of the project. The bids were opened by a Committee headed by Wapda Member. 3 companies from China, Turkey & South Korea participated in the bidding for MW-02. The contracts would be awarded after evaluation of the bids and receiving no objection letter from the World Bank. Dasu Hydropower Project, being constructed by Wapda on River Indus upstream of Dasu Town in Kohistan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The World Bank was partially providing funds for the construction of Stage-1 of Dasu Hydropower Project.

Pakistan to seek arbitration if water dispute with India not resolved Pakistan will move the International Court of Arbitration to restrain India from building two major hydropower projects on Jhelum and Chenab, the two rivers assigned to Islamabad under the 1960s Indus Waters Treaty. An eight-member delegation led by Secretary Water and Power Mohammad Younas Dagha is presently in Delhi for final talks on resolving the dispute bilaterally or to seek arbitration. According Pak officials the talks for two and a half years with India on resolution of Pakistan’s objections regarding Kishanganga and Ratle Hydroelectric projects have failed. Under the treaty, in case the parties fail to resolve water disputes through bilateral means, the aggrieved party has the option to invoke the jurisdiction of the ICA or the neutral expert under the auspices of the World Bank. According to another media report, Pakistan has reportedly hired a consortium of two US based law firms that include Three Crowns and Walliams & Connelly, well known lobbyists in US. However experts in Pakistan are pointing out that unlike the previous arbitration at the PCA which lasted from 2010-13, Pakistan will this time around take up the issue of “design” of the Kishenganga & Ratle river projects in Kashmir. 

Myanmar Hydropower dams, major development projects halted According to State Minister for Finance and Planning, U Soe Nyunt Lwin, the Naungpha hydropower dam along with several other major projects in Shan State have been suspended until cost-benefit field analyses, environmental analyses and social impact assessments are performed. The Naungpha dam on the Thanlwin River, a joint venture between local conglomerate IGE and China’s Hydrochina Corporation, was slated to generate 1200Mw of electricity that would have been sold to China. Projects related to hydropower, coal-fired power, large-acreage and border development & hotels approved under the previous govt are also on hold until the assessment is complete.

CHINA 

Russia stalls China’s Hydropower loan for Mongolia  Russia’s concern about water rights is holding up a $1 billion loan package Mongolia is seeking from China to build a hydroelectric dam that would help the landlocked central Asian nation ensure independent supplies of energy. The Kremlin said in June the project to build the Egiin Gol Hydro Power Plant on the Eg River in northern Mongolia could threaten Lake Baikal 580 kilometers downstream. China is withholding funds until a compromise can be found with Russia, according to Mongolian government documents seen by Bloomberg News. Mongolia wants to build the 103 meter high dam to generate more power during peak times and in the winter, easing its reliance on electricity from Russia and dependence on coal-fired generation. Its power imports from Russia cost Mongolia the nation of 2.8 million people more than $25 million a year.

THE REST OF THE WORLD

New Zealand Lands and Rivers can be people too I AM THE RIVER AND THE RIVER IS ME” is the mindset of New Zealand’s Maori tribals, who have fought for and won the river of personhood for rivers and National Parks! Which means that a lawsuit to protect the river can be filed even if you are not able to show harm to any particular person. It will start with Whanganu River later this year. 

Global How ‘green’ is hydropower? One of the biggest trade-offs with large-scale hydro facilities is that building them often means flooding land used for farming and human communities. Damming rivers also impedes fish even with technologies like fish ladders & can harm wildlife habitat and alter river temperatures, dissolved oxygen levels and flows. And while hydropower creates fewer pollution and climate problems than fossil fuel power, it isn’t entirely clean. Clearing vegetation to build a dam and flood land can release greenhouse gases. And as vegetation decays and water levels fluctuate, methanea greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide can build up and escape from reservoirs. Also see, Popularity of big hydropower projects diminishes around the world

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Report Things you need to know on world’s water wars Around the world, alarms are being sounded about the depletion of underground water supplies. The United Nations predicts a global shortfall in water by 2030. About 30% of the planet’s available freshwater is in the aquifers that underlie every continent. More than two-thirds of the groundwater consumed around the world irrigates agriculture, while the rest supplies drinking water to cities. The most over-stressed is the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies water to 60 million people in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Indus Basin aquifer in northwest India and Pakistan is the second-most threatened, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa the third.

Study Impact of solar panels on Earth The paper ‘Solar park micro climate and vegetation management effects on grassland carbon cycling’ is published in the Journal Environmental Research Letters. Increasing energy demands and the drive towards low carbon energy sources have prompted a rapid increase in ground-mounted solar parks across the world. This means a significant land use change on a global scale and has prompted urgent calls for a detailed understanding of the impacts of solar parks on the fields beneath them.

Study Biodiversity is below safe levels across half of world According to scientiests the variety of animals and plants has fallen to dangerous levels across more than half of the world’s landmass due to humanity destroying habitats to use as farmland. They further warned that the unchecked loss of biodiversity is akin to playing ecological roulette and will set back efforts to bring people out of poverty in the long term. Researchers also added that while to an extent people could use technological solutions to replicate the functions of nature, such as pollinators, there were limits to how much humans could compensate for the loss of species. The biggest cause of natural habitats being changed was due to agriculture, rather than urbanisation.

LANDSLIDE 

Uttarakhand Video of massive landslide in Nainital on July 4, 2016. There are also vedios of other landslide events in Japan & Pakistan on David Petley blog 

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Nepal Serious damage after the failure of a landslide dam The 2016 monsoon has arrived with a bang, bringing very heavy rainfall heavy rainfall in Bhote Koshi valley.  Massive damage has been reported in Bhotekoshi basin in Nepal close to Tibet border, following a possible breach of landslide dam there last week, here is what the David Petley blog said on this on July 14, 2016.   

CLIMATE CHANGE 

Book Review The Great Derangement With surgical accuracy, Amitav Ghosh disentangles the knots of the “wicked problem” that is climate change in The Great Derangement: Climate Change & The Unthinkable. A problem that, escalating terrifyingly, threatens our whole existence and yet has not entered our everyday lexicon, our stories and our politics. Nitin Sethi is super positive about Amitav Ghosh’s just published essay The Great Derangement, Change & the Unthinkable. The review has persuaded one to order the book immediately. Padmaparna Ghosh is also positive in her review in MINT. Also read, interview of the author in which he is  fairly dismissive of the 2015 Paris agreement as an impossible goal that merely facilitates a neoliberal world order to enrich itself via business opportunities in renewables.   

ENVIRONMENT  

MoEF Real estate could be exempted from central environmental rules Following the NDA government’s “Ease of Business” mantra, the environment ministry has proposed that the entire construction sector could be exempted from mandatory environmental clearances if states impose pre-specified and standard green conditions under their building bye-laws. But, even before the environment ministry carries out mandatory public consultation and notifies these proposed changes, the urban development ministry has already amended its model Building bye-laws public announcing the relaxation for the construction industry. It has asked the states to adopt the model bye-laws to avoid the mandatory environmental clearances. Taking cue, the DDA has adopted these amended building bye-laws without awaiting a final notification of the changes by the environment ministry. 

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Uttarakhand Living in danger despite 2013 disaster  As many as 18 people have been killed so far in the cloudburst this year in the Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts. According to the state govt, as many as 160 families in the district are hit by the cloudburst. Over 400 villages in State were cut off from the district headquarters, leaving their residents with little hope of rescue in the likelihood of a disaster. Fearing the worst, over 60 families from Asi Ganga valley of Uttarkashi have migrated to safer places. The scary part is, this is just the beginning of the monsoon. Uttarakhand’s nightmare is unlikely to end until the middle of Sep. Also see, In Kedarnath, life is a struggle between a silent prayer and constant fear

National Many don’t have power in ‘power-surplus India’ In India, 300 million people don’t have access to electricity, power cuts are rampant and per capita power consumption is significantly lower than the world average. In sharp contrast to this, the Power Ministry says India is power-surplus. The deficit has gradually reduced from 11% in 2008-09 to 2.9 in 2015-16 and for the first time, there will be a surplus in 2016-17. According to SD Dubey, Secretary CEA there are frequent power cuts because State discoms are unable to buy electricity due to poor financial health. Hence there is unused power lying in the grid. Transmission and distribution constraints are also responsible for power cuts.

Op-Ed It’s time for a law to protect fish diversity Bahar Dutt As many as 120 species of freshwater fish in India are threatened and in need of immediate protection. More than 75% of fisherfolk in India depend on rivers for their livelihood. Freshwater fish may be the most threatened group of vertebrates on earth after amphibians, with global extinction rates for fish being unprecedented. Given the high percentage of India’s human population that depends on these species for food, it would be in everyone’s best interest to have a conservation plan for them. And for that reason, it’s time for a law that protects fish diversity in our rivers.

You may also like to see, DRP News Bulletin 11 July 2016 & DRP News Bulletin 04 July 2016

2 Comments on “DRP News Bulletin 18 July 2016 (Remove inefficient Farakka Barrage: Bihar CM)

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