DRP News Bulletin 5 Sept 2016: Is there hope for India’s Environment from Mr Anil Dave?

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ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Is there hope for India’s Environment from Mr Anil Dave? Most shocking statements from India’s environment Minister. He says let us do Ken Betwa link when the project has NONE of the statutory clearances from his own ministries. The independent committees are yet to appraise the project and yet he is saying: “This Ken-Betwa river link we should do it and have an impact assessment after five years. If it is good, then great, if not they don’t go for other linkages.” Is there any hope for India’s environment? As he says, YE SAB CHALTA HAI!!

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/interview-won-t-put-a-cap-on-new-dams-in-uttarakhand-river-linking-should-go-ahead-anil-dave-2251391

Disciplinary action for upholding Forest law: Ironical Indeed…disciplinary action for upholding the law!

Paschima Ghatta Samrakshana Horata Vedike has strongly condemned the action of chief minister, Siddaramaiah, in ordering disciplinary action action against Sakleshpur range forest officer, Sudarshan. Sudarshan had taken action action against officials and contractors who had cut down trees in Yettinahole project area illegally.

Sudarshan had filed first information report against employees of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd and contractors who had cut down trees without authorization in Yettinahole project area. Convener of the Vedike, K N Somashekhar, said that the chief minister was not in order in projecting his action as some crime, and ordering to initiate disciplinary action against him. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=412541

Anti Tribal move by Himachal Congress government: From Himdhara:  For the state government, the state power corporation, with the state chief secretary as its Chairperson, have contended, besides other things, that the gram sabha (village council) consists of only unskilled persons and local residents and the state government cannot comply with the directions of the NGT. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/congress-govt-in-himachal-challenges-tribal-rights-in-sc-116090400413_1.html

FLOODS 2016 

FARAKKA, FLOODS AND GANGA: Some REMARKABLE statements from Bihar Chief Minister: 
* “The move for the Ganga waterway could further play havoc with the river regime, especially in Bihar, and reduce it to a mere pond, defeating the very objective of Namami Gange project. The emphasis should be on maintaining the natural flow of the river all through. I, therefore, urge the Centre to get a detailed environmental assessment done, else the fate of the river could be catastrophic. The Bihar government will have to look for other remedies also to protect state’s interest”.
* Citing a report on the ‘impact of Farakka barrage on the human fabric’ by Manish Banerjee, he said “no environmental impact assessment was done” before constructing the barrage. Problems like poor flow of the river due to obstructions causing siltation, flooding, are now coming to light he added.
* In fact SANDRP had made a submission to the World Commission on Dams in year 1999, authored for SANDRP by none other than Manisha Banerjee that Nitish Kumar refers to.
* “Instead, as studies point out, the then chief engineer in the West Bengal government’s irrigation and waterways directorate, Kapil Bhattacharya was maligned, for echoing the same feelings on the barrage as mine. But today, all the predictions are proving true and I will continue to raise it,” he added.
* “Guess what happened to Bhattacharya for his realistic assessment? Instead of being applauded, I have read he was declared a Pakistan spy and a traitor to clear the decks for the barrage,” he said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/patna/centre-s-inland-waterway-plan-will-impede-ganga-s-flow-says-nitish/story-wCEHB3l3pwSOADfVYZGFqK.html

Wetlands and Chennai Floods: Nityanand Jayaraman has ben consistently giving this message about wetlands: “Once set in motion, the consequences of such an action (destruction of wetlands) cannot be managed by engineering interventions.

Cultural interventions that re-infuse the poromboke with the value that it was once associated with hold the key to disaster-proofing cities.

This requires poets, historians, social scientists, visionary politicians and cultural activists, not engineers.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/of-worth-waste-and-chennai-floods/article9070778.ece

MONSOON 2016

Bihar And now BIHAR is facing DROUGHT and Crop loss:
* 27 of 38 districts of Bihar is facing serious rainfall deficit. 166 blocks in these districts are particularly hit. Against a normal average rainfall of 803 mm, Bihar has received only 635.9 mm rainfall since June.

* Strangely enough, a large area of Patna district, which faced flood threat till last week, is also affected by drought in the western and southern zones. This anomaly could be gauged from the fact that Lok Sabha MP from Patliputra, Ram Kripal Yadav, who also happens to be Union Minister of State for Rural Development, has written to Nitish Kumar on how the people of his constituency have been facing drought despite the Sone river overflowing.
* “Sone is overflowing, but water is not reaching the canal. In my constituency, farmers from Bikram, Maner, Paliganj, Dulhin Bazar, Naubatpur and Bihta are facing drought,” stated Kripal’s letter, a copy of which was also marked to Bihar Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh. Kripal has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Nitish Kumar regime to arrange water, failing which he would sit on a hunger strike.

* The state officials averred that deficiency in rainfall in the districts range from 40% to 66%. Sheohar tops the chart with 66% rain deficit, followed by Saharsa, Munger, East Champaran, Sitamarhi and Patna.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/568236/after-floods-drought-threat-looms.html

DAMS  

Maharashtra This report makes a number of misleading statements about siltation in Maharashtra reservoir and seems to be giving grossly under estimated figures.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/Average-8-silt-in-90-major-dams-in-state/articleshow/54001542.cms

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam The ACB release said the Government had ordered an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in construction of the dam on Ulhas river at Karjat in the adjoining district. The probe was carried out by a SIT formed by the ACB.
During probe, it was revealed that administrative approval for the project was granted on May 19, 2011, but it was later put on hold by the Government.

Despite the plan being put on hold, Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation (KIDC) called for tenders in the same year. FA Enterprises was not eligible to get the contract, but the Government officials favoured the firm and tasked it with constructing the dam, the release said. The accused officials, without obtaining permission from the Government, allegedly inflated the project cost to Rs 271 crore, it claimed.

The officials connected with the project deliberately favoured the contractor and caused losses to KIDC and the Government. This is the third case filed in connection with alleged irregularities in construction of dams in Konkan region. The earlier ones related to Balganga (August, 2015) and Kalu dams.” http://www.thehitavada.com/Encyc/2016/9/4/5-retired-Govt-officials-among-7-booked-for-Kondane-dam-scam.aspx

Another case filed by ACB regarding corruption in Gosikhurd canal case:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ACB-charges-Gadkaris-officer-on-special-duty-in-Maharashtra-irrigation-scam/articleshow/54000089.cms

INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES

Andhra Pradesh – Telangana: Centre wakes up about AP Telangana conflicts on Krishna Godavari waters and calls a meeting of apex council later this month. On the agenda will be the construction of the Palamuru Ranga Reddy and Dindi projects in Telangana using Krishna waters, thereby affecting inflows into AP and also Pattiseema project of AP: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/050916/centre-acts-on-krishna-water-issue-after-scs-order.html  

Karnataka & Tamil Nadu: Karnataka is blunt: “it is difficult to follow the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal order this season”. Is inability to follow law a valid defence, allowing non compliance with law? Let us see what the Supreme Court says.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-may-urge-sc-to-dispatch-factfinding-mission-to-cauvery-basin/article9070478.ece

Supreme Court On Sept 5, 2015: Supreme Court orders Karnataka to release 15000 cusecs of water from Cauvery for Tamil Nadu for the next days, and in the mean time asks TN to approach the Supervisory Committee for further directions: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/cauvery-water-dispute-supreme-court-karnataka-tamil-nadu/1/757069.html

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS

Mr Nitin Gadkari’s new Project proposal: Science Fiction? “The project will not only solve the water crisis in Rajasthan but will also result in clean drinking water, salt, gas to run urea plants, reduce power tariff and promote coastal movement of coal, lime and other products besides employing at least 1,000 youth, he said.
“We will make water ports in that (850 km long) canal (from Kandla in Kucth to Jalore & Jesalmer in Rajasthan). It is in a preliminary stage. The project will have 1,000 MW electricity generating capacity from sea water. Its byproduct will be salt. From salt we will manufacture gas to run CNG vehicles, drinking water will be there. We will leave this water in canal,” the Minister said. He said all adjoining rivers will be linked to the canal and during floods the river water will be released in the canal.
While one side of the canal will have highways, the other will see coming up of railways, he said adding that land will be no problem for the project as it is all desert and a government company has already surveyed it. Funding too will not be a problem as WAPCOS (Water and Power Consultancy Services), a Government of India undertaking, was ready to invest in the project.”

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/water-woes-in-rajasthan-gujarat-could-be-history-with-850-km-canal-3012729/

HYDRO POWER

Big Hydro as Renewables? This would clearly be wrong and is not likely to be particularly help hydropower projects: http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/cea-seeks-removal-of-25-mw-renewable-cap-on-hydro-projects/54005272 

URBAN WATER

Two Part blog on Pune Sewage Treatment Plants by Amruta Pradhan of SANDRP:

  1. Understanding Pune’s River Pollution https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/can-thousand-crore-loan-from-jica-save-punes-rivers-understanding-punes-river-pollution-part-i/
  2. My visits to Pune’s Sewage Treatment Plants: Citizens Not Allowed! https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/punes-dismally-functioning-stps-citizens-not-allowed/

Constructed wetlands can help treat sewage, this article shows by examples:

http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/accept-refuse-lesson-wastewater-management

WETLANDS

This shows how little the government is interested in wetlands: “In another instance, the EIA Response Centre (ERC) was trying to find the status of a nodal agency/wetland authority in Goa (disclosure: the author is director of the ERC). ERC spoke to several government departments, if it concerned them, but all declined. Thus, an RTI was filed with the Chief Secretary of Goa. The RTI was tossed around from one department to other – transferred to the Forest Department, Water Resources Department, Directorate of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology and Goa State Council of Science and Technology but none replied back. The fact of the matter is that there is sheer indifference and shrugging of responsibility as far as wetlands are concerned.” http://thewire.in/63605/wetlands/

So Poignant: “We keep talking about jobs and growth. A power plant will last only 30 or 40 years. A port will last a hundred. The river is forever. As long as the river is healthy, the economies it supports will survive. It is not so much about Saving the Ennore Creek. It is about letting Ennore Creek save you.” http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/chennai-fishermens-call-residents-join-our-campaign-save-ennore-creek-save-our-city-49247

AGRICULTURE

Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP writes about the urgent need: This is the time to protect Pulse Farmers in Marathwada: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/this-is-the-time-to-protect-pulse-farmers-in-marathwada/

SOUTH ASIA

NEPAL The Investment Board of Nepal has sought time bound plan from GMR before extending the deadline for the project since the deadline for starting work expires on Sept 19, 2016. http://www.myrepublica.com/news/5045

CHINA

UNwelcome attempt at India China war mongering over water:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/this-precious-resource-leads-to-most-wars-and-armed-conflicts-and-things-are-only-getting-worse/news-story/9771c0cc08068bae5cd0cf0d4c6f1273

You may like to see, DRP News Bulletin 29 August 2016 & DRP News Bulletin 22 Aug 2016.

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