DRP News Bulletin 08 May 2017 (Inspiring Tale: How Kerala Panchayat bring a dying river back to life)

The Kuttamperoor stream in Kerala, connecting the Pampa and Achankovil rivers, had been a nearly stagnant, shrunken cesspool of dumped waste and weeds for more than a decade. Some weeks ago, it was resuscitated as a flowing river, thanks to the will of the Budhanur gram panchayat in Alappuzha district, and the commitment of 700 local men and women who worked to bring the river back to life under the MGNREGA.

The Kuttamperoor was once a full 12 kilometres long and, at places, over 100 feet wide. The river originates from Achankovil at Ulunthi, near Mavelikkara, and flows through Ennackad, Budhanur, Kuttamperoor, Mannar, and Pandanad before merging with the Pampa at Nakkida near Parumala in Pathanamthitta district.

According to legend, it was originally a man-made canal on which wide-bodied vessels known as kettuvallams carried items of trade and daily requirement. The river irrigated 2,000 acres of paddy fields, and was the lifeline for thousands of people who lived on its banks. Country boats (palliyodams) once raced on it during the famous Aranmula boat race. The river was also a natural flood control channel between the Pampa and Achankovil.

The advent of modern transportation, coupled with urbanisation, began the process of the river’s slow death. The kettuvallams ceased to operate. Weeds overran the river, and the hotel industry and local residents converted it into a giant garbage bin. Three bridges were constructed across the river in a manner that severely restricted its flow. There was unchecked, illegal sand mining on the riverbed, its banks were dug up to mine clay for brick units, and there was rampant encroachment. Chemical fertilisers from fields and sewage from human settlements flowed into the river.

For over two decades, the Kuttamperoor lay neglected and abused and, by 2005, it had been reduced to a marshy, polluted cesspool perhaps 10-15 feet wide, with patchy water and almost no flow.

The move to revive the river was proposed in 2013, and received a push after a dry spell in the region. A 700-strong local group of villagers, mostly women, have spent weeks wading through toxic waste, algae and risking deadly water-borne diseases to physically de-silt and clean the river. After 70 days of back-breaking effort, the results began to show. The 12-kilometre long river now brims with water, the stench is gone and children are playing on its green banks once more.

Now, people residing near the banks of the river swear their wells are flush with water. But a bigger challenge awaits: To fight off the sand mafia and encroachers and ensure the river doesn’t turn into a sewer again. But for now, their herculean effort has catapulted the sleepy village to the headlines.

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

part of proposed Ken-Betwa link submergence area

Part of proposed Ken-Betwa link submergence area (Photo by Joanna Van Gruisen)

SANDRP Blog Open Letter of Protest on Ken Betwa Project to MoEF This is a joint letter from an informal coalition of environment and wildlife organisations as a collective note of protest against the proposed Ken-Betwa River Link Project.

POSITIVE DROUGHT STORY

Karnataka Oases in parched farm lands In the drought-prone region of Navalgund in North Karnataka, Nagappa Yavagal, a small farmer of Alagavadi village, managed to double the cotton yields from his two-acre farm to around 12 quintals per acre this year. The rains played truant for the third successive year, but a small farm pond he had created in a corner of his plot helped him irrigate his field and nurture the crop during Sept-Oct last year, when drought had already made its mark felt in the area. Such stories of successful farm ponds are important to tell, but it can easily be a govt scheme rather than an industry funded initiative.

How Bidar beat back the drought As Karnataka reels under drought, an academic is helping restore indigenous systems that were Bidar’s water lifeline 600 years ago. Detailed report on restoration of traditional water systems in Bidar is helping fight drought.  Also see links to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre site which gives a lot of useful information.

Tamil Nadu Farmers fight drought with organic farming Tamil Nadu, India – The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has been reeling under its worst drought in more than 100 years. It has plunged the state into an agrarian crisis, with reports of distressed farmers committing suicide. In the coastal town of Vedaranyam, facing the Bay of Bengal sea, however, some farmers have overcome the drought with simple but innovative practices. Farmers in this important coastal agricultural region in Nagapattinam district have gone back to traditional crops and farming methods to fight the lack of irrigation water as well as soil salinity. In Vedaranyam, where cases of farmers committing suicide have been reported, traditional organic farming offers a ray of hope in the fight against crop failureVery interesting to see that farm ponds, check dams, traditional varieties, organic farming, vegetable cultivation is all helping farmers in this drought year in TAMIL NADU.

Andhra Pradesh Anantapur tops in drip irrigation The district stands first in tapping micro-irrigation devices in the state. 1.63 lakh hectares have been brought under drip irrigation due to untiring efforts put in by the Andhra Pradesh Micro Irrigation Project (APMIP). In a district where water resources cannot even be bought with money and water more precious than liquid gold, the efforts to prevent wastage and ensure optimum utilisation of water assumed significance. Sounds a bit high? 1.63 lakh ha under drip irrigation in drought hit Anantpur.

DROUGHT 2017

Krishna

Krishna Basin Map

SANDRP Blog Stop diversion of water from drought hit Krishna basin Large parts of South India, including parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are facing unprecedented drought and water scarcity. However, Maharashtra is sending OUT billions of liters of water from drought hit Krishna basin to High Rainfall Konkan region to flow to the sea. This must stop. Please share.

Report Tackling drought without data The lack of data, compounded by a dearth of political and bureaucratic will to invest in data collection, has resulted in the govt resorting to knee-jerk measures to tackle drought, rather than devising a long-term strategy. This is no ordinary drought. Officials are calling this the worst drought in over a century. Heat waves have already begun in Chennai. EXCELLENT report on need for investing in reliable water data. Also see, Serious drought looms large over South India The Economics Times starts a series on South India Drought, first part focuses on Tamil Nadu district.

Kerala Preservation of Western Ghats key to prevent water crisis Two expert committee reports aimed at saving the fragile ecology of Western Ghats, Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan, are gathering dust but the govt dreads to touch them fearing the wrath of people living in the fringe areas of the Western Ghats. Though people are finding excuses in climate change and global warming, they have conveniently ignored the self-inflicted damages. They talk about shrinking forest cover but are non-committal on key issues including protection of Western Ghats that plays a key role in breaking up rain clouds over the state, monsoon’s entry point in the subcontinent.

Families survive on 10-15 buckets of water a week Drought for 2nd straight year leaves tribals of Attapaddy at lenders’ mercy, hits pregnant women’s health. While tribals are struggling for water, estate owners and farmers, who possess prime land in the region, have apparently been running their irrigation facilities even in the drought season. As per a tribal woman the estates have wells in low-lying areas and river-based wells to fetch water for agriculture. However, they won’t give a bucket of water to them. The Japanese funded Rs 219-crore eco-restoration and tribal empowerment programme in Attappady from 2000 to 2010 has also been a failure, it is clear. ITS ALWYS TRIBALS THAT SUFFER. 

Karnataka Govt wants 1-km deep borewell dug for water With state’s reservoir sustaining water for less than 60 days, the govt is planning to drill 1-km deep bore wells to extract uncontaminated water. The govt is planning to drill borewells in precisely those areas with hard rock like Bagalkot, Gadag and Kolar. If this is shocking enough, the cost of the project is also very high and is pegged at Rs 12.5 crore per drilling. Will it be a disastrous move, catering to drilling lobby and inviting new impacts?

DAMS

NBA PR सर्वोच्च अदालत के आदेश के बाद भी सरदार सरोवर पुनर्वास की प्रक्रिया में भी धांधली सरदार सरोवर (नर्मदा) के विस्थापितों को सर्वोच्च अदालत ने किसानों को 2 हेक्टेयर जमीन की पात्रता के बदले 60लाख और फर्जीवाड़े में फसाये गए किसानों को 15 लाख रूपये का लाभ देने का आदेश 8.2.2017 के रोज दिया। उस पर अमल करने के निर्देश भी दिये गए हैं तथा साथसाथ 31.7.20.17 तक विस्थापितों ने अपनी भूमि छोड़ने का आदेश भी है। सवाल यह है कि पुनर्वास एक पूर्वशर्त होते हुए क्या इस अनोखे आदेश का पालन हो रहा है या नही? यहबात पिछले 3 महीनों की प्रक्रिया औरनिर्णयों से साबित होती है। इस प्रक्रिया में कितनी सारी गड़बड़ियाँ हैं, यह कुछ मुद्दों, उदाहरणों से साबित होता है : Even the Supreme Court has done great injustice to the Sardar Sarover case seventeen years ago and even today.    

Telangana State Wildlife Board clears diversion of forest lands The Tummidi-Hetti barrage which is part of the B.R.Ambedkar Pranahitha irrigation project has received the stamp of approval by the State Board for Wild Life in its third meeting on May 02, 2017, this time too without the presence of its chairman and CM K.Chandrashekhar Rao. The proposal for diversion of 622 hectares of forest land falling in the tiger corridor area linking Kawal Tiger Reserve in the State with the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra and Indravathi Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, was cleared by the Board, and forwarded for the approval of the National Board for Wild Life. This is clearly going to be questionable decision regarding Pranahita barrage affecting wildlife areas in three states.

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Andhra Pradesh Sunkesula barrage on Tungabhadra goes dry Sunkesula barrage on Tungabhadra river, supplying water to Kurnool town, is dry now for the first time in four decades, with hardly 3% of its storage capacity having water and zero inflows. Kurnool is facing acute drinking water crisis. Gajuladinne project, with storage capacity of 4.5 TMCft, has about 1.22 TMCft water, but no decision has been taken to take water from there.

Maharashtra Govt to take up desilting of dams & reservoirs The State Govt will implement a scheme for desilting of dams and water reservoirs to increase their water storage capacity. A decision to this effect was taken during the cabinet meeting chaired by CM Devendra Fadnavis. An official in the CM’s office said the silt removed from the dams and water reservoirs will be put in agriculture farms. The cabinet approved a policy regarding this. Important development in Maharashtra.

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Andhra-Telangana water row resurfaces Sharing of Krishna waters became a contentious issue for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana yet again on May 01, 2017 when the irrigation officials/engineers from the two sides had heated exchanges at the Nagarajuna Sagar Project Right Canal Head Regulator as the mercury soared in the day. The problem cropped up when the water release to the NSP Right Canal was stopped by the irrigation authorities of Telangana, who supervise the releases at the dam site, as the release of water allocated to A.P. by the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) was completed. Andhra Telangana engineers clash at Nagarjunsagar Right Bank Canal over water release for Andhra Pradesh.

Similarly adding trouble to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) govt’s ambitious plans on massively reengineered irrigation projects with spiralling budget outlays, the Andhra Pradesh govt responded to the Central Water Commission (CWC) airing serious concerns on Kaleshwaram irrigation project of Telangana. The move by AP comes at a time when the TRS govt is striving to expedite irrigation projects by seeking further amendments to land acquisition laws from the legislative assembly amid growing signs towards pre-term elections, much ahead of May 2019. The CWC had earlier termed the Kaleshwaram irrigation project, which saw its cost outlays spiralling to over Rs 80,000 crore, a new project going by key changes in several basic parameters. As expected, Andhra Pradesh opposes Kalleshwaram Project of Telangana.

Centre to help sort out Jharkhand-West Bengal water-sharing dispute The dispute revolves around the Jharkhand govt’s decision to review the 1978 water agreement that the then undivided Bihar of which Jharkhand was a part had signed with West Bengal to share water from four common river basins between the two states. The 1978 agreement was signed between Bihar and West Bengal for the sharing of waters of Damodar Barakar, Ajoy, Mayurakshi Sidheshwari Noon Beel and Mahananda river basins. Now Jharkhand wants review of it. Centre to intervene on behalf of Jharkhand.

Tussle between Odisha and Chattisgarh over Mahanadi river continues The mother of all rivers in Odisha passes Sonepur district and but it doesn’t flow the way it used to. It still runs through a massive 851 kms through Chhattisgarh and Odisha before ending its journey in the Bay of Bengal. But for those who depend on it for a livelihood reckon this is not the same force. Some blame irrigation projects, some blame faulty designs, as people who live by the river note with sadness what they see is not what it was. Very interesting report: I am seeing the word decommissioning being used in the context of Hirakud dam for the first time here. It quotes Ex-Chief Engineer and Basin Manager of Upper Mahanadi Basin, Sudhakar Patri, no less saying. The govt must think of decommissioning the dam. That sounds amazing statement.

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS

Centre Govt starts multiple waterways transportation for cargo movement The govt on May 07, 2017 said it has started integrated cargo transportation along multiple waterways, with a cement consignment from the banks of Rupnarayan in West Bengal to Bhagalpur, Bihar. The vessel’s journey commenced from Kolaghat on Rupnarayan river (National Waterway- 86) to reach Bhagalpur via river Ganga (NW-1). News about first consignment of 240 T of cement through inland waterways transport from Kolaghat in E Midnapore dist in W Bengal to Bhagalpur in Bihar via first Rupnarayan river (NW 86) and than via Ganga (NW 1).

Goa GFP compromises on nationalization of rivers Once calling it a ‘draconian move’ which was initiated without taking the stakeholders’ consent, the Goa Forward Party (GFP) toned down its stance on river nationalization on April 30, 2017. Talking about the party’s current position on the plan to nationalize six Goan rivers, party spokesperson Prashant Naik said that their demands have been heard by Union minister for surface transport Nitin Gadkari. Strange compromise by Goa Forward Party with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Goa Rivers.

RIVERS

Study Number of rainy days falling across river basins in India A recent study analysis determined changes in heavy precipitation and peak flood for seven river basins in India—Krishna, Godavari, Mahanadi, Narmada, Cauvery, Sabarmati and Brahamani and Baitarani. The analysis also said the rivers which flow from west to east direction (in India) have more rainy days compared to those which flow towards the west. The study also held that anthropogenic activities (construction of storage reservoirs, diversions, urbanization, land-use change, and soil and water conservation measures, among others) have probably affected the generation of peak floods in the rivers of India.

Rajasthan JDA gets Rs 240 cr for Dravyavati revival plan National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) has reportedly released the first instalment of Rs 240 crore for cash-strapped Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) for Dravyavati river revival. The board had approved Rs 1,098 crore for the project in Feb. 2017 and the first installment was released on May 01, 2017. Rs 1,600 crore project to “rejuvenate” the 47 km long Dravyavati river between Jaisalya village at the foothills of Nahargarh Fort and River Dhund includes also plans to remove encroachments along the river, along with construction of 11 sewerage treatment plants (STPs) with a capacity of 180 mld. Will it destroy the river, floodplains and invite more trouble for Jaipur?

Gujarat Industrial waste aggravates river pollution In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has claimed to have begun a major mission to clean up India’s rivers, starting with Ganges and Yamuna, a top South Gujarat NGO has alleged that sewage waters are being released into the river, as it reaches Surat, which is Gujarat’s second biggest city, and beyond into the sea, which is just 30 km away. Brackish Water Research Centre, an NGO in Surat shows how the industries and Urban sewage are destroying Tapi River.

Study Untreated sewage helps mangroves flourish Discharge of untreated sewage and other urban waste into the sea has resulted in unchecked growth of mangroves which is choking creeks, found a two-year research on Thane, Malad and Manori creeks by National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).  For the study, NEERI evaluated the changes considering satellite images of the years 1972, 1994 and 2016 using remote sensing analysis. NEERI report says there is unchecked growth of mangroves, chocking Mumbai creeks.

Report When a river is forever free Great to see a National Daily talking about the benefits of undammed, free flowing rivers in the Western Ghats! Long live Aghanashini and Shastri! Also includes inputs from SANDRP.

GANGA-IN-DEVPRAYAG

GANGA तीनों लोकों में बहने वाली “त्रिपथगा”गंगा BELATED HAPPY BIRTH DAY, GANGA, WISH ONE DAY GANGA CAN CELEBRATE CLEAN BIRTH DAY. 

Madhya Pradesh Central Audit finds 3 rivers polluting Ganga Strange as it may sound, Madhya Pradesh has a share in polluting the Ganga. An audit by National Mission for Clean Ganga names Chambal, Tons (Tamsa) and Sone among the rivers responsible for polluting the ‘holy river’. While Tons and Sone rivers flow directly into Ganga in bordering Uttar Pradesh, Chambal river flows into Yamuna, which links up with River Ganga. So Chambal falls is sub-sub basin of Ganga. Chambal (industrial estate near Nagda), Sone (paper mills in Shahadol) and Tons have been found to be source of pollution for Ganga as per an Audit by NMCG.

MoWR Experts to take call on who should be held guilty Progress on drafting a new law to protect the Ganga from pollution has run into a hurdle due to lack of consensus over what could be considered an offence and who should be held guilty of polluting the river. Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati told that the proposed Ganga law would not be enacted “in a hurry” because that can put a large number of people in trouble. She makes a number of announcements here: 1. Draft law on Ganga Pollution is referred to experts, is incomplete, it is still not clear who should be held for the state of or pollution of Ganga; 2. The CWC-CGWB restructuring is going forward.

At the same time in a wide-ranging interview Bharti said that there needs to be more patience on the results from Namami Gange. She emphasized that while there were no differences with either the PMO or environment ministry on Ganga and Uttarakhand hydel projects, she firmly believes that projects should not kill the river and stem its ecological flow. Can spending thousands of crores for failed irrigation projects be called an achievement? Union Water Resources Minister says. See some other important excerpts, information and statements made in interview.

– “This, I (Uma Bharati) feel, is the biggest leap irrigation sector has taken in 72 years… We are on course to complete 99 projects worth Rs.77,000 crore, funded by NABARD, ahead of timeline, by 2018 December”

– If I (Uma Bharati) have to single out an achievement, then it is Ganga, the planning on Ganga. I am more satisfied with the planning on Ganga (cleaning). [After three years, she has only planning to claim for Ganga and that too there is nothing in public domain!}

– National Mission for Clean Ganga was registered as a society and it was later converted into an authority. A society could not have done what an authority can do. Converting it into an authority took six-seven months.

– Earlier, EPC (Engineering, procurement, construction) mode was adopted and then hybrid annuity model was adopted. It did affect pace of work. If we had adopted the EPC, it would have happened through state govts, the tendering process would have compromised the quality.

– There is a point of dispute. That is the ecological flow in the river.

– How much water does a river need to sustain and survive? Have any project, irrigation or power, but how can you kill a river for a project. The river is created by the process of millions of years and the life of a project is maximum 100 years, maximum! So, how can you kill a million year process just for 100 years?

– “I myself commissioned the Indira Sagar project. But, care must be taken to see, that when you are creating the project, are you also destroying the qualities of the river?” Fact is, Narmada stands totally destroyed by the Indira Sagar Project, there is no river in the downstream, no env flows, so what is she talking about?

On Bhagirathi Eco Sensitive Zone: “We have told the state govt to form an expert committee to submit what they think it should be. Then water ministry and environment ministry examine that report.”

Similarly in another news report Union Water Resources Minister, Uma Bharti, has stated that the Farakka Barrage is blameless. On the other hand, Bihar CM has said the dam ought to be decommissioned because it has led to silt building up along the Ganga. Such a misfortune of India. She also stated that the only solution to this (Farakka and siltation in Ganga and flood problem in Bihar) is navigation. The Minister of Water Resources has no clue what she is talking about. The reality, in fact is that the Navigation WILL WORSEN the silt problem in Ganga, not solve it.

YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh CM directs officials to stop release of untreated water into Yamuna State CM Yogi Adityanath on Sunday directed officials to stop release of “untreated water” into Yamuna after he took stock of the projects undertaken for cleaning the river. “Where is the water in the Yamuna?” the CM asked Agra district magistrate Gaurav Dayal, visibly upset by the sorry state of the river, one of the dirtiest and most polluted in the country.  WHERE IS THE WATER IN YAMUNA, Interesting question that UP CM asks officials, standing on the dry and polluted riverbed. 

SAND MINING

Uttarakhand SC stays order banning mining in Ganga The Supreme Court (SC) on May 05, 2017 stayed an order of the Nainital high court (HC) delivered in December last year which prohibited any type of mining in the river Ganga in Uttarakhand.

Jammu & Kashmir Riverbed mining destroys rivers in Jhelum basin Uncontrolled extraction of sand, gravel and boulders from Jhelum and other rivers in the basin is destroying the ecosystem in the rivers. Very interesting: The importance of sediments is such that the Indus Waters Treaty – the water sharing agreement between India and Pakistan over the Indus River –gives explicit recognition to the right of downstream riparian population to the sediments, just as it does for the water. The trapping and release of sediments is regulated under the treaty, and has been a subject of frequent discussions and arbitrations under the treaty.

And: One such initiative now underway is preparation of a sediment mining plan for the Poonch River in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where local and international experts will join to find solutions within the framework of sustainable development. The effort will be based on a range of scientific studies and consultation with the stakeholders. The expected outcome is a licensing and regulatory system which will be community-based, cognizant of local livelihoods, setting the limits on how much sand, gravel, and boulders can be extracted from which part of the river at what time of the year.

Andhra Pradesh अवैध खनन की रिपोर्टिंग पड़ी भारी, रिपोर्टर का हो गया यह हश्र अवैध रूप से चल रहीं रेत खनन गतिविधियों को उजागर करने के विरोध में कुछ असामाजिक तत्‍वों ने तेलुगु टीवी चैनल ‘Inews’ के रिपोर्टर रामा रेड्डी को मारपीट कर घायल कर दिया। घटना आंध्र प्रदेश के गोदावरी जिले की है। आरोप है कि हमलावरों ने रिपोर्टर के सिर और पैरों पर लोहे की रॉड से हमला किया। गंभीर हालत में रिपोर्टर को सरकारी अस्‍पताल में भर्ती कराया गया है। यह पहला मौका नहीं है जब आंध्र प्रदेश में पत्रकार पर हमला हुआ है। इसी साल फरवरी में ही आंध्र प्रदेश में तेलुगु देशम पार्टी के विधायक अमांची कृष्‍ण मोहन के बड़े भाई अमांची स्‍वमुलु (Amanchi Swamulu) ने पब्लिक के सामने एम नागार्जुन रेड्डी नामक पत्रकार की जमकर पिटाई की थी। Sand Mafia attack a journalist in Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh and manage to run away.

WETLANDS

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Karnataka Bellandur lake in Bengaluru catches fire again, plume of smoke engulfs area Parts of Bengaluru’s Bellandur lake caught fire again on Sunday, engulfing the surrounding areas in smoke. A thick plume of smoke could be seen rising in the air from one side of the lake at about 4pm on Sunday. Bellandur lake had hit national headlines in February after it had caught fire. The NGT too had stepped in asking the Karnataka govt to shut down industrial units in its vicinity as toxic effluents from these plants were being discharged into the lake.

WATER OPTIONS                                                                           

Assam Small water pumps script big success A survey conducted in South Kamrup shows that use of small water pumps for irrigation in an area where groundwater is abundant has resulted in significant increases in earnings for smallholder and marginal farmers. Study shows how small pumps (less than 2 HP) are helping farmers in South Kamrup District in Assam.

WATER

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Kerala Very Interesting Kerala to show the way to end water schizophrenia Water Resources Department in the State will be restructured recognizing the unity and integrity of the hydrological cycle, perhaps for the first time in the country. The Minister, Water Resources, Govt of Kerala, Sri. Mathew T. Thomas, has shared his vision while inaugurating the Climate Change and Water Security ideation workshop, organized under the auspices of Malayala Manorama, Palathulli campaign, at Kottayam, Kerala. The workshop has strongly recommended inter alia the need to take a U-turn towards augmenting and conserving water resources, shifting away from the storage, distribution syndrome, set up the Kerala River Basin Commission for all rivers, with River Boards and Catchment Management Agencies at basin and sub-basin level .

Pictorial report Women and Water They fetch water from far away and ensure its quality and availability for their families. Women, who are almost always in charge of this resource, share a unique relationship with water.

DELHI WATER

Delhi’s water tanker ‘scam’, a Rs 400-crore saga On May 06, 2017 Kapil Mishra again kicked off a storm by writing to ACB chief Mukesh Kumar Meena to expedite the investigation and alleged that the probe, for a long time, had been moving at a snail’s pace. The alleged water tanker procurement scam dates back to 2012 when Delhi Jal Board, with the then CM, Sheila Dikshit, as its chairperson, awarded tenders for hiring 385 stainless steel tankers from private companies. Some details of the water tanker scam that is part of the current slug fest between former Delhi Minister Kapil Misra and AAP govt in Delhi.

AGRICULTURE

Center Over 12000 farmer suicides per year The Centre has informed the SC that despite a multi-pronged approach to improve income and social security of farmers, over 12,000 suicides were reported in the agricultural sector every year since 2013. This continues to be scandalous: 12000 farmer suicides every year since 2013, graph is rising with 11 772 in 2013, 12360 in 2014, 12602 in 2015. In 2015: Maharashtra topped the list with 4,291 suicides, followed by Karnataka with 1,569, Telangana 1,400, MP 1,290, Chhattisgarh 954, Andhra Pradesh 916 and Tamil Nadu 606. Together, these seven states accounted for 87.5% of total suicides in the farming sector in the country -11,026 of 12,602.

National Yatra to sensitise farmers to their constitutional rights Highlighting various demands and rights of farmers, including drought relief, members of the Jai Kisan Andolan, a movement for farmers rights launched by Swaraj Abhiyan, Ektha Parishad, the National Alliance of People’s Movement, ASHA and other farmers organisations launched a yatra of seven drought-hit districts in Tamil Nadu on May 04, 2017. The march is intended to make farmers aware of their constitutional rights in drought situations. This is a good initiative. Also see, Cobweb phenomenon: how an abundant crop ruins farmers Red Chilli farmers of Telangana and Andhra, tomato farmers in Kolar (Karnataka) and Tur & Grape farmers in Maharashtra are facing crisis as middle man manipulate the markets and govt is mute spectator.

SOUTH ASIA

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India-Nepal border plagued by water issues It is very unlikely that India and Nepal will enter into an agreement or treaty on every single transboundary river. What is then desired is a framework agreement that provides space for community decisions and engagements with the mandate that they be technically supported by the district level administration in both countries. 6000 rivers/ streams/ water courses. That is what India and Nepal share. There are many issues about these shared rivers, and this articles makes an important demand.

Nepal Hydro power companies apply to go public Four hydropower companies have asked the Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon) for its go-ahead to make initial public offerings (IPO) worth Rs2.77 billion. The hopefuls, Rasuwagadhi Hydropower, Sanjen Jalavidhyut, Himalayan Power Partner and Nepal Hydro Developer, are likely to IPO by the end of this fiscal year in mid-July. Nepal Hydropower companies (mostly small hydro developers) to raise money from market.

According to one more news report Minister for Energy, Janardan Sharma, said that the govt aims to generate 17,000 MW of power within the next seven years. He said out of that 8,000 MW would be generated by the projects under govt supervision and the rest by the private sector. This ambitious announcement surpasses the govt’s own commitment, expressed during the Nepal Power Summit 2016, when the Govt of Nepal (GoN) set a target of 10,000 MW in 10 years. This means that the country will need an investment of approximately US $24 billion during this period. According to the Nepal Banking Association, the amount available (for investment in hydropower sector) over the next 10 years in the Nepali banking sector is around $2 billion only. Nepal has ambitious hydro power plans, this article discusses some options for financing the plan.

Pakistan world’s top groundwater exporter Pakistan is the world’s largest exporter of groundwater through its grains export. India is the third largest. Going by per capita availability, Pakistan is almost a water-starved country. The parts of India from which most grains are exported are seriously water-scarce. This gives only partial picture. India is in fact possibly the biggest exporter of groundwater. 

THE REST OF THE WORLD

US State water officials face frustrated Oroville crowd Very Interesting to see how Dept of Water Resources, California is holding a series of meetings with the communities to get confidence of theirs. Ever heard of any Indian Water Resources Dept ever doing any such thing?

American River No, President Trump, hydro power is not great Three things President Trump needs to know about rivers and hydropower. Number one: hydropower is not “great”. Last month, President Trump talked about hydropower. He said it was “great.” Actually, he said it was “great, great.” He said “It’s one of the best things you can do – hydro.” No, it isn’t. There is a place for hydropower. But weakening safeguards at hydropower dams is a bad idea. And building new hydro dams would come with extremely high costs and would take our country backward, not forward.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study Curious case of dip, rise in Indian seas Global warming may be inching the oceans higher every year, but researchers studying the seas around India report a paradox. From 1993 to 2003 the first decade when satellites started consistently tracking the rise and fall of ocean heights and global temperatures soared the North Indian Ocean (NIO) sea levels fell. The NIO consists of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and part of the Indian Ocean up till the 5°S latitude. STRANGE indeed, but this article tries to provide some explanation, but does not sound very convincing. Also see, Alarming decrease in oceans’ dissolved oxygen level This seems to look at just one factor: Temperature. What about decreasing flow of freshwater from rivers to sea, the rivers also used to bring oxygen and also helped cool the oceans?

birds-1

Report Argument over birds of Western Ghat A team of Indian scientists in the United States has published a paper, co-authored by an American professor, suggesting that 10 bird species endemic to the Western Ghats face threat levels that are higher than estimated by the IUCN. Interesting debate, hope Indian scientists speak up and there is healthy public debate.

Goa Villagers stay up half the night to oppose JSW port plan AMAZING, Nihar Gokhale author of this report tells me over phone that the public hearing for three projects that started on April 26, continued on April 27, 28, 29 and again continuing on May 2,3 and possibly tomorrow. Over a thousand people are participating, making at length presentations, and tearing apart the shoddy work of WAPCOS. This seems like a record of sorts. STRANGELY, National Media seems completely silent on this.

ENVIRONMENT

Northeast aims at self-sufficiency in fish production The northeast is yet to become self-sufficient in fish production despite the fact that 95% of the region’s population consumes fish. Fisheries production in North East India is far below potential, currently the region is dependent on imports. According to CIFRI, northeast’s fish production in 2015-16 was 4,23,749 MT, 4% of the country’s total fish production. Assam had the largest share with 2,97,000 MT, Tripura produced 68,331 MT, Manipur 32,000 MT, Nagaland 8,220 MT, Mizoram 6,828 MT, Meghalaya 6,560 MT, Arunachal Pradesh 4,410 MT and Sikkim produced 400 MT. The northeast’s present requirement is 4,82,384 MT.

वन्य जीव बोर्ड कितने प्रभावी ? Link for ASTITVA episode on the effectiveness or otherwise of National and State Wildlife Boards.

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 01 May 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 24 April 2017

One Comment on “DRP News Bulletin 08 May 2017 (Inspiring Tale: How Kerala Panchayat bring a dying river back to life)

  1. Pingback: Inspiring Tale: How Kerala Panchayat bring a dying river back to life | Forest

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