DRP News Bulletin 22 August 2016(NGT failed its mandate by allowing AOL event)

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Op-Ed NGT failed its mandate by allowing AOL event This is such an amazing editorial on the issue of destruction of floodplain by Art of Living, whose behaviour is brazen, but predictable, it says! So amazingly forthright, it says “ Far more unfortunate, however, is the manner in which the NGT appears to have conducted itself in this affair. It is a sad commentary on the state of environmental governance n the country that its premier green body”, NGT, “ has to prevaricate on its earlier order”. It concludes. NGT failed to protect such an ecologically sensitive area.  It is deeply disturbing that the country’s apex environmental tribunal allowed itself to be pressured and intimidated. Salutes to the Author of this forthright editorial! Meanwhile, the  committee of experts, appointed by Green has found that the “entire floodplain area used for the main event site” has been “completely destroyed” causing “invisible loss of biodiversity” that “may never be able to return”. In its 45 page report, submitted to the NGT on July 28, the seven-member panel, said “the entire floodplain area used for the main event site, i.e. between the DND flyover and Barapullah drain (on the right bank of river Yamuna) has been completely destroyed, completely destroyed not simply destroyed. The ground is now totally levelled, compacted and hardened, totally devoid of water bodies or depressions, and almost completely devoid of any vegetation (except a few large cattails at the base of of the DND flyover)”. On the contrary AOL alleged that NGT appointed committee is biased, unscientific and lacks credibility. 

INTER-LINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa Link Study calls for fresh look at river linking plan Academics from IIT Madras & IIT Bombay have presented evidence to suggest that the differences in mean rainfall at separate locations in India were actually decreasing. The authors of IIT study say the findings call for a review of the inter-linking programme with “proper and detailed” analysis of historical rainfall data supplemented with numerical model simulations. On Aug 16, Water Minister Uma Bharti one of the strong supporters of the idea said that we are hoping to get some good news on the Ken-Betwa project in the next 15 days, indicating that she was expecting some sort of regulatory clearance to this project. However, the concerned environmental appraisal committee met only last week and the Ken-Betwa project was not on its agenda. No further meeting is scheduled this month. This is Such a strange statement from Water Minister.  Counting practical challenges in meticulous project, one more report adds that shortcoming in ILR include displacement of 1.5 million people as more than 27 lakh ha & land will be submerged in the process. India’s water resources have been divided into 12 major basins. Climate change is another concern. Questions pertaining to the operations also remain unanswered how much water will be shifted and when? Whether the changes may cause logging or desertification? Whether the technology will have ecological impact? The claim here that the Godavari Krishna River LInk has been completed in Sep 2015 is clearly WRONG. It is not the river link as planned in ILR plan, but only a seasonal lift irrigation attempt. Similarly in an interview Mihir Shah, water policy expert & member of the erstwhile Planning Commission says that ILR could endanger the integrity of India’s monsoon which depends crucially on fresh river water flowing into the sea. He further adds that simply act of ensuring supply of stored water in dams to the farmers can increase millions of hectares of irrigated area at much less than the cost of the ILR and in much less time, avoiding all inter-State conflicts, land acquisition problems, as also corruption that has become a big issue in irrigation projects over the years. 

INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES 

Mahanadi Dispute All you need to know about Mahanadi dispute The Mahanadi Bachao Manch, which filed the PIL, in a separate miscellaneous case had alleged that there were claims and counter-claims by the two state govts over keeping the people in the loop about the projects of the Chhattsigarh govt.  Mahanadi dispute has gone to High Court, but one wonders if the HC will have any role since Odisha has already filed reference to MoWR under Inter State Water Disputes Act. 

Mahadayi Row Karnataka to file SLP before SC The state govt has decided to file a special leave petition before the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal. The govt was keen on filing the petition t to seek some kind of relief from the court to ensure justice to farmers, who have been protesting seeking water from the Mahadayi river for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala drinking water project. 

Telangana & Andhra Pattiseema will not quench thirst: RSS The Rayalaseema Rashtra Samithi has advised CM N. Chandrababu Naidu to look beyond Pattiseema  & not project it as the panacea for all the ills plaguing the region. RRS president on Aug. 17 also told the media that Rayalaseema would get water only from Siddheswaram through Pothireddypadu & that Pattiseema would never quench the region’s thirst. He pointed out that several projects of the region depended entirely on Srisailam water fetched through the Pothireddypadu head regulator. He issued a veiled warning that any delay in executing the project could lead to another statehood movement in Rayalaseema. Warning from Rayalseema that Pattiseema won’t help the region. 

MONSOON 2016 

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IMD Southwest monsoon has been normal so far  According to IMD, since the monsoon season started in June, 89% of the country has received normal to excess rains, while 11% of India has a deficit. Rain-deficit parts mainly include Kerala, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman, Punjab and some of the north-eastern states. North-west and central India have received 8% & 10% more rainfall than the 50-year average while the southern peninsula has recorded a deficit of 8%. The shortfall in eastern and north-eastern regions is at 16%. According to an IMD forecast, there will be an increase in rainfall activity over the peninsular India from the last week of Aug. Above-normal rainfall activity will occur over many parts of central India till 29 Aug. North-west India will experience an increase in rainfall activity from 25 Aug.

Tamil Nadu Farmers ask govt to declare drought The Federation of Tamil Nadu Agriculturists Association has urged the state govt to declare the state as “drought-hit” following failure of South West Monsoon. According to federation the state used to get rain for 120 days starting from June during the monsoon but this time all the districts in have received below normal rains in the last 75 days. The federation also said that there was lesser inflow into to water bodies causing acute shortage of water for irrigation and drinking purpose. The body demanded that since there was no possibility of getting adequate rainfall in the remaining 45 days, and the neighbouring states are refusing to release the assured share of river water. On Aug. 17 Vaigai dam storage level is at 26.84 feet against a maximum of 71 ft. while the actual water level would be around 10 feet or less as the silt occupied a major part. As a result, water distribution for the entire city may be enough only for a fortnight. If the catchment areas in and around the region continued to experience a dry spell, there may be a crisis very soon in getting uninterrupted drinking water supply.  

Karnataka Govt decides to bar water use for agriculture purpose The state is staring at serious water crisis & the cabinet meeting on Aug 17 has decided to ban the use of water for agriculture purpose in southern and coastal parts of the state. The cabinet has resolved to stop the release of water for other than drinking purpose in southern interior Karnataka and the coastal districts. The cabinet has also given 4 important directions to the administration, including that of embarking on cloud seeding in the south and coastal parts of the state. Another news report mentions that rain deficit can push the State to worst water crisis in 40 years as the inflow into Krishnarajasagar reservoir is touching historic low as a result Bengaluru and Mysuru are likely to face shortage of drinking water. Other than Narayanapura & Almatti reservoirs, no other catchment areas in the state got sufficient rains. The state needs 15tmcft of water for drinking till next summer but it has only 12.68tmcft. The agencies are predicting low rainfall in the Cauvery catchment area in days falling ahead. South Interior & Coastal Karnataka, including Cauvery & Tungabhadra basins facing water crisis, water releases for agricultural stopped.  With a storage level of just 12.68 tmcft at the Krishnaraja Sagar dam, the lowest in 4 decades, the Karnataka govt has decided to release water only for standing semi-arid crops such as maize, pulses and ragi in the reservoir basin for 13 days till August 30. The release of water from August 31 to Sep 10 would be stopped.  Great to see that Karnataka minister is warning that grow water intensive crops like paddy and sugarcane in this drought year at its own risk. 

HP 2 die, many trapped as building collapses in Hatkoti Two persons were killed and several others feared trapped under debris when a three-storey building collapsed along the Hatkoti-Kanchi road in Saraswati Nagar near Rohru this afternoon. Five persons were taken out from the debris and the rescue operation was still on. Survivors say that heavy rain led to the collapse, adding that the gushing water swept away commuters and vehicles on the adjoining road. The district administration has announced a relief of Rs 25,000 for the kin of the deceased. 

उत्तराखंड  ब‌रसात का कहर-गंगोत्री धाम में गोमुख विलुप्‍त उत्तराखंड में ब‌रसात का कहर रुकने का नाम नहीं ले रहा है। तेज बारिश में गोमुख के आकार का बर्फ का जमाव बह गया है। ग्लेशियर के मुख्य भाग के सिरे पर गोमुख के आकार का बर्फ का यह जमाव 16-17 जुलाई की बारिश में बहा है। ग्लेशियर का यह सिरा ही गंगा का उद्गम स्थल माना जाता है। बीते एक सप्ताह से जारी बारिश के कारण प्रदेश की कम से कम 135 सड़कें क्षतिग्रस्त हो चुकी हैं, जिसके कारण इनपर यातायात ठप हो चुका है! 

FLOOD 2016 

Subarnrekha Jharkhand Flood

SANDRP Blog Was not sudden flood in Subarnrekha avoidable? Following heavy rainfall, on August 17, 2016, Chandil dam, Jharkhand released huge amount of water in Subarnrekha River. As a result there was sudden surge of waters in Subarnrekah River causing worrisome situation in Jamshedpur town and in areas further downstream along the river in West Bengal and Odisha States. Superficially the incident may appear a natural incident. But analysis of available information indicates that the flood impact could have possibly been reduced or avoided.

Assam Brahmaputra leaves a desert behind Floods damage, but they also used to bring a boon. But the Brahmaputra has not been doing this for the past few years. Some experts blame the building of a spate of dams on the Brahmaputra more specifically, the run-of-the-river projects for the change in the composition of what the floodwaters carry. Himanshu Thakkar, of SANDRP blames the embankments that line the Brahmaputra to protect people from floods. He says that where there are embankments, sand (from the river water) gets accumulated while the silt flows downstream. Now embankments provide temporary flood protection, & as seen in several cases, they then get breached. The breach starts with a hole in the embankment and water flows through it, taking along the sand that has accumulated known as sand casting. 

National Extent of Damage (cumulative figures) upto  August 17, 2016

Flood Damage 17 Aug 2016

Centre Forecast for Flood in Ganga, Damodar and Subarnarekha Basins  In view of heavy to very heavy rainfall in the States of Odisha, W-Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, UP and MP in association with a deep depression centered around Jharkhand and adjoining North Chhattisgarh today morning and heavy to very heavy rainfall forecast in East UP, East MP and other catchment areas of Ganga and its tributaries such as Yamuna, Tons, Sone for another two days, river water level is rising in rivers Ken, Yamuna, Ganga, Sone, Punpun and Koel.

DAMS 

MP  Apathy marks rehab of Sardar Sarovar dam oustees A survey on 88 R&R sites noted that basic education, community halls, health centres, cattle troughs, drainage systems & farm godowns have been ignored in several pockets of Barwani, Khargone, Dhar, Alirajpur & Jhabua where oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Dam project have been rehabilitated. The study recommends plantation work to improve environment, revaluation of executed works at the sites, restoration of damaged buildings and improved electrical infrastructure besides an EIA study that includes the socio-economic aspects. This independent assessment of so called rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar oustees should be sufficient to not allow any increase in height of the dam. But will even judiciary listen to this? 

Maharashtra Govt accepts fault in Temghar dam construction Acknowledging that the construction of the Temghar dam was ‘faulty’, Water Minister Girish Mahajan on Aug. 18 said that a case of cheating would be lodged against two of the construction firms responsible for erecting the dam. Mr. Mahajan’s statement is something of a volte-face from his remarks of Aug 6, in which he had asserted that the reservoir was “safe and strong” and that there was “no need to panic” following an inspection of the dam structure. On the other hand, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is appointing a consultant to prepare a detailed project report for ambitious Gargai dam project. The project is yet to receive Centre’s nod. Authorities have proposed 2 dams each on Gargai-Pinjal & Damanganga-Pinjal river links, which will be constructed under the Centre’s river linking project. The proposed dams are Gargai and Pinjal on the Gargai-Pinjal and Bhugad and Kharghill on the Damanganga-Pinjal. Mumbai is clearly indulging in unnecessary expenses when it has lot of low cost, low impact local options. 

Sikkim Dam-burst threat after landslide on Teesta Thousands of homes near Rongpo on the Bengal-Sikkim border are at risk after a massive landslide created a dam on Kanka river in Sikkim on Aug 13 morning. Water is rising in this blocked-up lake, which may break its banks any time of the night, releasing a huge amount of water into the Teesta and flooding settlements. Once the dam starts leaking, the thousands of residents of Teesta Bazaar and 29 Mile will have barely three to three-and-a-half hours to get to safety. Evacuating these densely populated areas will be a logistical nightmare.

IMG-20160709-WA0008 

पेंच बांध 30 गाँव डूबोने के लिए प्रशासन ने कसा शिकंजा  मध्यप्रदेश के छिंदवाड़ा जिले में 8 जुलाई 2016 को किसान संघर्ष समिति द्वारा लगातार बारिश के बीच  बारहबिरहारी ग्राम का भ्रमण किया गया। गांव में घोर अधंरा है। ग्राम के मजदूरी करने वालो के पास मकान बनाने के लिये पैसे नही है। गांव वालो के पास खाने को अनाज नही है। पुनर्वास स्थल पर लाईट नही है,पीने का पानी नही है। चारो तरफ गन्दगी है, महांमारी फेलने की संभावना बनी है। रोजगार की कोई व्यवस्था पुनर्वास स्थल पर नही है, कभी भी गाव डूब सकता है ,गावो में पुलिस कार्यवाहो पुलिस बल तैनात है।।ग्रामीणों में आक्रोश व्याप्त है ।

IRRIGATION

Centre Restructuring of IG Canal proposed For the first time in its nearly 60-year history, a major revamp of the lndira Gandhi Nahar Project has been proposed with an investment of over Rs 3264 cr. The renovation is aimed at reducing seepage and optimum utilization of water in seven districts of western Rajasthan. According to sources, the canal is badly in need of renovation as a lot of water is wasted due to seepage. After the implementation of the project, the cultural command area is expected to increase by about 1.80 lakh ha in the 7 districts Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Churu, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Barmer.

Centre CWC facing an identity crisis The Central Water Commission will formally protest against a proposal to subsume it into a new organisation. This is the third time since 2000 that reports have been placed for restructuring the CWC and it is still unclear how seriously the govt is likely to go ahead with restructuring. However the recent water crises in the face of droughts in 2014 and 2015 and growing concerns with groundwater contamination have provided a fresh trigger. So CWC is opposing the restructuring proposal and MoWR will discuss it on Aug 24. This is interesting from Mihir Shah, chair of the restructuring proposal.

Maharashtra CM prescribes drip irrigation for sugarcane In a meeting with department of water conservation & department of power Devendra Fadnavis on Aug 16 set a target of bringing 3 lakh ha of sugarcane under drip irrigation by 2016-17 and the remaining in 2 to 3 years. The total sugarcane cultivation in state is 10 lakh ha, of which only 2.5 lakh ha are covered under drip irrigation. Another proposal discussed relates to shifting of agriculture pump connections from thermal power to solar energy in phases. Among aspects under consideration include tapping of private firms to work out drip irrigation models that could be more climate friendly and less expensive.

RIVERS

GANGA Centre New authority proposed against industrial pollution Union Water Ministry has proposed to set up a statutory authority to take action against those industrial units which pollute the Ganga river and its tributaries. Currently, only the CPCB can take action against such industrial units. The draft of the proposal has been circulated to the Law Ministry for its consideration and is expected to be put before the Union Cabinet for its approval “soon”.  This looks like the favourite way for the politicians to postpone action: Float a new organisation or new act. So the water ministry says that powers of CPCB will now be given to another body to take action against polluting industries. If CPCB could not help, how this new institution is going to help, the minister has already said it could be the National Mission on Clean Ganga, another govt dept!  The Water Ministry has launched various projects worth Rs. 560 cr under Namami Gange programme (NGP) at Ganga Barrage in Kanpur on Aug 19. This includes Rs. 63 cr interception and diversion plan of Sisamau drain, Rs. 397 cr networking schemes and river front development scheme at Bithoor worth Rs. 100 cr. 14 Ghats and 5 crematoria will be constructed at Bithoor.  It may be recalled that on July 07, 2016 to 231 projects under NGP were launched at various places in the states of Uttrakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, W-Bengal, Delhi and Haryana. In Kanpur, construction of 11 Ghats and two crematoria were launched.

Ganga likely to flow in ‘high to unprecedented’ flood situation In view of forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall in Eastern UP & MP & other catchment areas of Ganga, the river is likely to flow in “high to unprecedented” flood situation in some districts of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal over next 1-5 days. According to a Water Ministry statement, Ganga’s tributaries including Yamuna, Tons and Sone are likely to flow in “low to moderate” situation in UP, MP, Bihar & Jharkhand during the period. 

YAMUNA Centre Water transport services to begin in 3 months The govt will launch water transport services on the Yamuna stretch between Haryana’s Palla and Wazirabad in Delhi in the next three months, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today even as he reiterated the Centre’s commitment to cleaning the river.

Delhi Hotel polluting Yamuna for 20 years Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on Aug 16 claimed before Delhi High Court that a city hotel has been polluting the environment by discharging effluents into river Yamuna for the last two decades. The lawyer appearing for the firm told the court that DPCC was not competent to impose such levy on it. He also contended that they have been paying all taxes and imposition of such a levy on them was “illegal and bad in law”. The bench, after hearing the submissions, reserved its verdict on the plea.  The court had noted that the firm had not taken any consent to establish or operate the hotel and a “very important and salutary provision” of environmental law has not been complied with by them for nearly 20 years. Someone (may be court) needs to ask, what was DPCC doing for twenty years?

UP Foundation stone of 20 MLD STP laid in Mathura Laying the foundation of 20 MLD STP in Vrindavan on Aug 17 Water Minister Uma Bharti has said that the STP will be built at a cost of Rs. 40 cr. & a 9 km pipeline from Laxmi nagar to Gokul barrage will carry the treated water to Mathura refinery. An MoU was also signed to this effect between National Mission for Clean Ganga & Indian Oil Corporation. Bharti said that with the adoption of hybrid annuity mode by NMCG the complexion of Yamuna will change completely in Mathura-Vrindavan by the year 2018. The Minister said that with the use of pressure technology in irrigation we would be able to save about 60 % water of Ganga and Yamuna which will help to maintain good e-flow of water in these rivers. 

Farmlands submerged by overflowing Yamuna The swollen Yamuna River on Aug 16 damaged an embankment near Kelra village in Shamli district, submerging huge tracts of farmland. According to a revenue official, Yamuna River has submerged the land of several farmers and erosion continues along Kelra village. Officials have started construction of stone walls to prevent further erosion. The farmers have demanded compensation from the state govt.

Haryana Govt plans to use surplus water CM Manohar Lal Khattar has said that in order to utilise the surplus water of Yamuna during monsoon, the State Govt  is preparing 5 projects, which would cost Rs 2000 crore and make available up to 5000 cusecs of water to the State. 

SAND MINING 

Tamil Nadu Farmers want ban on sand mining On the request of the Pugalur-based River Cauvery Protection Movement, a meeting of farmers of Paramathivelur area, and those under the three canal systems discussed the repercussions of sand mining at Paramathivelur on Aug 13. The meeting adopted a resolution stating that the indiscriminate mining had damaged the old bridge & the new bridge across the Cauvery between Karur and Namakkal. This caused severe damage at the mouth of the Vaangal canal in Karur district and the Mohanur canal in Namakkal district.

Karnataka SP to write CID to probe illegal sand mining Expressing disappointment about working style of police officials in Gokak taluk, where recently DC N Jayaram led team conducted raid and seized large quantity of illegal sand at Melavanki village, the Belagavi SP Ravikanthe Gowda said that there is govt instruction to handover cases of large scale illegal sand mining and hoardings to CID & he will be writing CID to investigate the stock recovered by DC led team at Melavanki by conducting raid. Gowda passed strong message among officials that illegal sand mining and transportation can’t be tolerated.

Gujarat Miners tried to bisect dalit vaas to reach riverbed A group of people involved in illegal sand mining bulldozed portions of nearly 20 houses belonging to the Dalit community in Miyani village of Morbi district’s Halvad taluka on Aug. 18. The situation turned tense in the village when the miscreants barged into the dalit vaas (separate locality of dalits) with an earth mover and a loader used in sand mining and started demolishing portions of the house. Locals said that the sand miners wanted to make a road through the residential area to directly reach the river there.

WETLANDS & WATER BODIES 

Maharashtra Set up grievance cell within six weeks Taking note of the unabated destruction of wetlands even after the interim ban on their reclamation more than two years ago, the Bombay high court directed the state to create a grievance redressal mechanism within six weeks. The grievance redressal mechanism will receive complaints on wetland destruction through email, WhatsApp messages, toll-free numbers and online on a website. In March 2014, the court has imposed an interim ban on reclamation and construction in wetland areas across the state. It directed that a committee, which will create the grievance redressal mechanism, be formed within three weeks and monitor the order’s implementation. The committee will be headed by divisional commissioner of Konkan division.

OTHER DIRECTIONS

  • The state govt has been directed to publicize the creation of the grievance redressal mechanism and the court’s interim orders in local newpapers, television channels and radio channels, among others.
  • Action taken will be reported on the especially created website or on the website of the divisional commissioner within two weeks of which the complaints are received.
  • The state has to ensure that a police officer is made responsible at taluka level to assist tehsildars and other revenue officers for taking action in case of violations.

Karnataka SC asks builders to push projects back from wetlands The Supreme Court on Aug 15 asked all builders in the buffer zones of Bengaluru’s famed lakes and wetlands to push back their projects 75 metres from the edge of these water bodies and refused to halt demolitions initiated by the local authority to open up drains discharging excess water from lakes to prevent a repeat of the recent deluge. The Court also directed that no construction activity be carried out for now in all such cases while staying fine amounts imposed on one entity by the NGT which had in an order passed on May 4 increased the buffer zone to be maintained as green zones around wetlands and lakes from 30 metres to 75 metres from the edge of the water body. Good that at least for now the SC has upheld the NGT order of declaring land 75 m from the edge of the lakes/ wetlands and other water bodies of Bangalore as no construction buffer zone and refused to stay demolitions for now. 

UP Surajpur to be covered under Wetland Rules Surajpur, the 308 acre wide destination for migratory birds in Greater Noida is finally set to be covered by the Wetland Conservation & Management Rules, 2010, of the ministry of environment and forests. The Gautam Budh Nagar forest department has submitted documents to support all specifications needed for such an inclusion; with the UP state govt on July 26. The proposal has now been put forward to the ministry of environment and forests for a final notification. The green activists of Greater Noida have for long been demanding that Surajpur be formally declared as a wetland. The water body and its zone of influence falls under reserved forest category. Will it help the wetland? 

GROUND WATER

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भूजल ही हमारा वाटर बैंक है, इसे ठीक करना होगा  सरकार जिन91 जलाशयों के भरने का दावा कर रही है, उनसे असलियत का पता नहीं चलता। सेंट्रल वॉटर कमीशन के मुताबिक देश में करीब 5000 बड़े बांध हैं। साथ ही करीब 5 लाख छोटे बांध भी हैं। इनके अलावा लाखों अन्य छोटे-बड़े ताल-तलैया हैं सो अलग। अभी जो बारिश हो रही है ये अगस्त के बाकी बचे दिनों में सितंबर में और तेज होंगे। हमें यह भी ध्यान रखना होगा कि शुरुआती बारिश से जलाशय नहीं भरते। यह पानी सूखी जमीन में ही समा जाता है। बाद में आने वाली बारिश से ही जलाशय भरता है। लेकिन एक बार जलाशय भर गया, तो उसके बाद की बारिश से इन जलाशयों को कोई फायदा नहीं होता है। यह पानी केवल अगले साल तक ही चलेगा। असल फायदा तो भूजल में होने वाली बढ़ोतरी है। अगर हम भूजल में जमा पानी को बचा सके और खर्च में किफायत बरत सके तो आने वाले समय में काफी फायदा हो सकता है। भूजल ही हमारा असली वाटर बैंक है। इसके पानी को हमें एफडी यानी फिक्स्ड डिपोजिट की तरह इस्तेमाल करना चाहिए। यानी मूल धन छोड़कर चलिए और ब्याज का ही इस्तेमाल करिए। इसके लिए जरूरी है सरकार बड़े पैमाने पर रिचार्ज वेल बनाए। ताकि बारिश की हर बूंद को बहने की बजाय बचाया जा सके। इसके लिए खेती की नीति भी ठीक करनी होगी। जल संरक्षण से खेती का सीधा जुड़ाव है। किसानों को दालों के लिए कर्ज नहीं के बराबर मिलता है। जबकि इसमें पानी कम खर्च होता है। वहीं, गन्ने जैसी ज्यादा पानी वाली फसल के लिए ज्यादा कर्ज मिलता है। इस उल्टी नीति को सीधा करे सरकार। नहीं तो धरती के भीतर का पानी खत्म होता रहेगा। Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar has a full page on rainwater situation in India, also carrying this opinion of SANDRP coordinator based on conversation over phone. 

 DELHI WATER

Make rainwater harvesting plan for flyovers: NGT The Green Tribunal has asked all land-owning agencies in the city to meet on Aug 19 to figure out the gaps in rainwater harvesting implementation on the city flyovers. NGT was hearing a petition filed by Mehrauli resident Vinod Kumar Jain, seeking directions to make it compulsory for all government buildings of 100 sq. m and above to start rainwater harvesting. In his petition, he cited a Delhi high court order, in which the Central Ground Water Authority had pointed out that rainwater harvesting could be implemented easily in 13 flyovers in Delhi.

AGRICULTURE

Survey Most states did not follow SC drought order The historic judgement of Supreme court delivered on 13 May, asking for a slew of measures for ensuring food security and employment guarantee. A recent survey of drought-hit regions in the country, however, finds that most states have not followed the SC orders. States have failed on all fronts providing distress employment, cheap food grains, and meals to children. Ideally, the directions should have been implemented, but the results are to the contrary. It was found that the order had reached only about 5% of the village panchayats. 279 villages in 30 districts were surveyed in 7 drought-hit states Jharkhand, Odisha, MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana & UP.

Maharashtra Cabinet gives nod to ‘climate resilient agriculture project’ Cabinet on Aug 17 gave a nod to a World Bank-supported ‘climate resilient agriculture project’ which aims to reduce farmers’ dependence on unpredictable weather cycles. The project is reported to be implemented in 4000 drought-hit districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada and some 900 villages on the banks of river Purna. A detailed project report & manuals for the project will now be prepared. The cabinet has sanctioned the creation of 23 posts for the project.

National Farmer suicides up 40% in a year While 2014 saw 5,650 farmer suicides, the figure crossed 8,000 in 2015. Maharashtra, according to sources, continues to witness the highest number of farmer suicides. The state saw an 18% jump between 2014 and 2015  from 2,568 to 3,030. Telangana, which came in at second place in 2015, recorded over 1,350 farmer suicides, up from 898 in.  But the state that registered the sharpest jump is Karnataka from 321 in 2014 to more than 1,300 in 2015, the third-highest among all states. Other states that saw more than 100 farmer suicides in 2015 are MP and Chhattisgarh. Some states, such as Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and some Northeastern states, did not witness any farmer suicides.

ENERGY OPTIONS 

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UP State becomes lab for green energy firms For the non-profits and companies, Uttar Pradesh is a good testing ground for models they can apply elsewhere, in the country, and without—in other parts of Asia and in Africa. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2015 report, India has 237 million people with no access to electricity. In many villages, power supply is intermittent. According to executives in power companies, 70% of those without access to electricity or with intermittent access to it are in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. 

SOUTH ASIA 

New species of river dolphin discovered Scientists could soon unravel the origins of the endangered South Asian river dolphin after finding the fossilised remains of a 25 million-year-old relative. The prehistoric species of dolphin, which was discovered amidst a collection of fossils in a museum, is thought to have swam in subarctic marine waters.

 CHINA

Myanmar Laos President

Myanmar foreign minister Aung San Suu Kyi, right, prepares to sign on a document during a signing ceremony between Myanmar and Laos at the presidential palace Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The President of Laos and wife arrived for their official visit to Myanmar on Friday with the invitation of Myanmar President Htin Kyaw. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

Aung San Suu Kyi to visit China with dam project clouding ties Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is heading to China on Aug 17 for what is likely to be her govt’s biggest diplomatic test, with the fate of a suspended dam project, backed by China but opposed by many people in Myanmar, in the balance. Myanmar’s former military rulers were shunned by the West and close to China, which has been on a diplomatic offensive since Suu Kyi’s govt came to power in April, aiming to forge good ties with its resource-rich southern neighbour. Finding a solution to the $3.6 billion Myitsone dam project will be important for Suu Kyi who needs China’s cooperation in talks with Myanmar’s ethnic minority armed groups operating along northern borders with China.

3 Gorges Dam: Do recent floods indicate flaws? More efficient flood control methods exist. The problem with this statement engineering project is that it continues to dramatically affect residents even after construction while requiring perpetual investment to address constantly arising problems and is generating emissions throughout its operation. This has the potential to threaten relations between the government and its citizens, as well as further halt the economic growth of China. 

ENVIRONMENT

Study Reduction in forest area has led to deficit rainfall A study, conducted by Prof T V Ramachandra, IISc, showed that the dense forest areas in the northern, central and southern Western Ghats have decreased by 2.84%, 4.38% and 5.77% respectively and agricultural or grasslands have increased by 2.23%, 4.32% and 5.85%. The state has received deficit rainfall this season. This is not just because of global warming and el Nino effect, but also because of change in land use, especially reduction of forest cover. The rainfall time-series data also showed a decreasing trend in the rainfall pattern from 2013 towards 2020 in the northern, central and southern Western Ghats, revealing a grave situation threatening water and food security in peninsular India with an increasing trend of deforestation. Also, the number of rainy days had decreased in the southern Western Ghats region. 

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Odisha All-Women ‘Army’ protecting rare bird A group of women in the Brahmaputra River valley are leading a community-based effort to protect the greater adjutant (a stork also known as the hargilla), which once ranged from Pakistan to Cambodia. Backed by the district administration and local conservation groups, the Hargilla Army has been successful reducing threats and protecting habitat of the stork that the group won the UNDP 2016 Biodiversity Award.

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 16 August 2016 & DRP News Bulletin 08 August 2016

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