DRP News Bulletin 05 June 2017 (Agitation To Stop Illegal Mining Of Ganga)

Today is 13th day of the Swami Shivanand fast unto death to protect Ganga River from illegal mining. The health of 70 years old Marti Sadan head is turning critical with each passing hour. If no intervention is done immediately, the Saint’s life will be in danger.  

Matri Sadan resumed its fight against rampant mining in Ganga on  May 13th, 2017 after State Government opened Ganga riverbed mining which the Ashram is strongly opposing for last many years.  

For first eleven days two disciples of the Ashram observed hunger strike. But seeing no response from Govt, Swami Shivanand himself sat on fast unto death on May 24, 2017 against indiscriminate mining of national river.  Still the Govt went ahead with Ganga mining activities stating that it was necessary to protect the city from flood. 

In response the Saint shunned even taking water. But instead of communication with the protesters, the State Govt reportedly on May 28, 2017 tried to force feed the saint to fail the agitation for which the Govt was criticized greatly.

After mounting pressure the CM of Uttarakhand is learnt requesting to stop hunger strike. Following this mining was stopped in Ganga and the saint started taking water after six days but decided to continue fast as long as Government imposes complete ban on mining in writing. 

On June 02, 2017, accusing the State Govt of blatant apathy towards Swami Shivanand’s hunger strike against illegal mining on the Ganga riverbed in the Kumbh Mela area, a group of scientists,  activists and followers have written to the PM Modi requesting the PM to intervene without delay to stop unscientific mining of the Ganga.

Further on June, 04, 2017 prominent environmentalists have slammed the state govt for allowing mining in the Ganga at Haridwar despite scientific evidence proving that this was harming the river. As per Ravi Chopra, a former member of the NGBRA, studies have found that there are no sediments in the Ganga which are brought from uphill and which govt is claiming to be extracting in order to save the surrounding region from flood. He added that the river bed was being dug up to take out sediments which have been deposited in the sacred river for thousands of years.

Despite all this, during past 13 days fast which include six days fast without water by the aging saint, the State and Central Government has not listened to the plea of Matri Sadan, experts and environmentalists.  

As per latest news, Union Water Minister Uma Bharati is in Haridwar and followers wish her to pay a visit to the Matri Sadan and assure the saint of Ganga’s protection against unscientific mining. 

Its worth to mention that throughout the 2015-16, the Matri Sadan kept fighting to stop unsustainable Granga riverbed mining. In fact, for over a decade, Matri Sadan has been fighting hard to keep mining mafia at bay and preventing Government from having its way when it comes to Ganga riverbed mining in the holy town of Haridwar. 

HYDRO POWER

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Sikkim Glacier retreating fast in Teesta catchment At a time when Govt of Sikkim is planning to operationalise Teesa III hydro power project, This blog shows how Gurudongmar Glacier is retreating in the catchment of the river posing a question marks on the success of planned and built hydro projects. Also see, Dried Teesta a detailed narration of what Bangladesh journalists found when they travelled along Teesta in April 2017.

Manipur Mapithel dam spillway collapsed, several homes damaged The spillway of Mapithel dam collapsed following breaching of the Imphal River at Uchiwa village on June 01, 2017  night, leading to cracks in 25 houses in Maphou Kuki and 8 houses in Loukhong Tangkhul villages. Heavy downpour continued and the water level of the rivers is running high. The villagers near the dam have been in perpetual fear as there were recent reports of leakage. Under the influence of Cyclone Mora there have also been heavy rains in the past four days in the northeast.  Three persons have reportedly died due to the cyclone.

Jammu & Kashmir Exotic fish eliminating local fish speices The state is witnessing huge decline in native fish species. The reason behind the phenomena is introduction of predatory fish species by State Govt. Concerned say that state agencies are keeping a mum over the entire issue. But experts labeling it an unscientific approach believe the step is already having disastrous impact local fish species. As per report, approximately 150 species has been eliminated and natural biota has also been ruined.  This is the peril of introducing predatory fish species by dam lobby.

DAMS

Uttarakhand Kalagarh dam in danger Kalagarh dam or Ramganga dam on Ramganga river has not been repaired for last 20 years against repairing & maintenance provision after every 10 years. Last repairing was done in 1997. In 2010 the hydro project component of the dam was damaged and there are still leakages reported in the power house resulting in lower power generation since then despite all this there is no certainty over repairing the dam. The dam is under irrigation dept UP which gets water from it and hydro project under Uttarakhand govt which utilizes the power generated by the project. Repairing will be done by UP Govt but cost will be borne by Uttarakhand. The former is reportedly not paying enough heed to later’s repeated request and concerns. It is worth mention that long pending repairing works make the dam a live threat during monsoon season. Post monsoon such concerns get no media attention. Same concerns were raised before 2016 monsoon.

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Maharashtra Earthquake struck Koyna dam twice in 15 days Listed among largest dams of State, Koyna dam has been hit by earthquake twice in less than 15 days. Its unusual as earthquakes mostly strike during winter period when the dams are full of water. During summer dams are almost empty. An earthquake measuring 4.8 on Richter  occurred on June 03, 2017. Same area was hit by mild tremors of 2.8 on the Richter Scale on May 20, 2017. No causality was reported in both of the incidents. It is worth to mention that Koyna dam is one of the largest dam in the State and is considered to be a seismically active zone.

IRRIGATION

Telangana Violation of norms in PRLIS project The Green Tribunal has appointed an independent commission on May 30, 2017 to look into alleged irregularities and illegalities in the construction of Palmuru-Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) project.  The State Govt cut down roughly 279 hectares of forest, without permission from MoEF and labeled the irrigation project as a drinking water project. Seems like Telangana govt is as usual trying to hood wink the judiciary and is getting away with it.

Karnataka Installation of efficient water pumps made mandatory  Govt has made it mandatory to install energy efficient pumps for both domestic and commercial purposes, to get new electricity connections in the State, from June 01, 2017. The move will reported result in saving electricity consumption to the tune of 30%. The Energy Department receives nearly 80,000 applications a year seeking new power connections to pumpsets. Currently, there are 25 lakh irrigation pumpsets and 1.5 lakh drinking water supply pumpsets.

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

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Ken Yamuna Confluence at Chilla Ghat (Photo by Siddharth Agarwal)

SANDRP open letter to MoEF Remove Chairman of Expert Appraisal Committee on Dams for conflict of Interest: He is DG of NWDA OPEN LETTER TO UNION MINISTER OF ENV AND FORESTS: THE CHAIRMAN OF MOEF’s EXPERT COMMITTEE ON DAMS HAS CONFLICT OF INTEREST ISSUE: HE IS DIRECTOR GENERAL OF DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION NWDA. PLS SHARE AND HELP US SPREAD THE WORD. The letter has been covered by Times of India and National Herald. Also see another excellent, detailed account of why Ken Betwa Link is an unnecessary project and how much better options exist, quoting SANDRP and others.

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATERWAYS

Centre Rivers of North-East to be tamed for transportation Pursuing its agenda of inland waterway transportation, the Inland Waterways Authority has reportedly organized a road show and a seminar in Guwahati to resolve major issues linked with developing the rivers as viable and sustainable means for cargo and passenger transportation. It is worth to mention that of the 106 new National Waterways, notified in April 2016 under the National Waterways Act, 2016, 19 are in the North East.

RIVERS

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SANDRP Blog Madhya Pradesh Rivers Profile The drainage map of the state indicates streams spread over almost the entire land surface of the state. Centrality and topography of the state results in rivers originating from within the state but draining out into the neighbouring states. Ganga, Godavari, Tapti, Narmada and Mahi are the major river basins fed by the state. The State is further divided in to ten river sub basins. These are: 1) Chambal; 2) Sindh; 3) Betwa; 4) Ken; 5) Tons (Tamsa); 6) Son; 7) Narmada; 8) Wainganga; 9) Tapti; and 10) Mahi. The report also can be seen on India Rivers Week blog.

SANDRP Blog Chhattisgarh Rivers Profile Rivers such as Shivnath, Hasdeo, Indrawati, Kharoon etc are found to be polluted at different stretches due to industrial, domestic and agricultural pollution. Among all the rivers Hasdeo river is the most polluted. This is resulting from major industrial centres located in Bhilai, Korba, Raipur, Bilaspur and Raigarh districts. Also see the same report on India Rivers Week Blog.

Kerala Sewage choking the Karamana river The absence of a decentralised system for sewage treatment in Thiruavananthapuram city is being viewed as a major hurdle in addressing the challenge of widespread contamination of the Karamana river. While the 107 MLD modern STP at Muttathara had been envisaged to meet the city’s requirement, only about 30% of the total accumulation reached the facility through sewage lines, according to rough estimates. Very sad, untreated sewage continue to destroy our rivers and this is the case with most of the rivers in country.  

Karnataka Confusion over source of Phalguni pollution While officials of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and experts from College of Fisheries believe  that the coffer dam built to facilitate the construction of the Malavoor vented dam across the Phalguni on its downstream has created a pond-like formation thereby aggravating the contamination but engineers with Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat dispute the suggestion. Interesting unwanted coffer dam or industrial effluents, with both sides (experts and engineers) presenting strong arguments, confusion prevails on exact reasons behind pollution of Phalguni river. Nevertheless, continuation of the existence of the coffer dam even after four years of the construction of the vented dam remains an undisputed fact as against the practice of removing the same from river beds immediately after completion of any construction.

Tamil Nadu Sewage flow into Cauvery Despite the implementation of the underground drainage scheme sanctioned under the National River Conservation Programme mainly aimed at preventing the pollution of the Cauvery a decade ago, sewage from open drains continue to flow into the river, thus not only polluting the river but also posing a health hazard to residents of the locality. Also see, People’s panel to study sand mining in Cauvery

Maharashtra Mithi most polluted river in Mumbai Like infamous Bengaluru’s lakes the river has been seen frothing at several. Record shows poor water quality at 13 different places.

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BRAHMPUTRA A wild river ceding to human assault Photographer, writer and gifted storyteller Arati Kumar-Rao has been documenting the wondrous Brahmaputra river, and those who depend upon it, for the past three years. Here, her lyrical prose is at odds with the devastating picture she paints, of a once-wild and invincible river beginning to cede to the assault of man.

NARMADA Saradar Sarovar Dam Row Dam oustee families manipulated downward A delegation has told President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee that there is a “brazen attempt” on the part of the Govtof Madhya Pradesh to “forcibly evict” thousands of Narmada dam oustees from their villages under the pretext of the SC order. As per NAPM the Madhya Pradesh govt is manipulating its own statistics of the Action Taken Report- 2008 which gives a count of 31,180 families affected by the Narmada dam. It has now drastically reduced the number in the recently issued Gazette, 2017 by 18,346. This is so sad that there is so little space for these issues in India’s politics. Good to see this, but even CPIM needs to do this more consistently.

GANGA Farakka Dam Row MoWR plans committee to look into de-silting demand It seems Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar met in Patna on June 2, 2017, following which it was decided on June 5, 2017 (Mon), MoWR experts will visit the places along Ganga as per the advice of Bihar CM to ascertain about the role of Farakka in silting up of Ganga upstream till Patna.

Uma Bharati has also said that demolition of Farraka barrage was no “option” and the plan to remove deposited silt is being worked out by IIT Engineers, team of environmentalists and experts on Ganga river.  As per another report a MoWR expert team would visit Patna to inspect spots between Patna and Farakka barrage in West Bengal for more indepth study of the problem. Uma Bharat says that the expert’s opinion will be final in this regard. She also says that Ganga cleaning would take a decade.  A water treatment plant would be installed at Sultanganj at a cost of Rs 20 crore so that dirty water of the town goes to the river after treatment.

Center After living entity, Ganga Act underway If the National River Ganga (Rejuvenation Protection and Maintenance) Bill, 2017, gets formed and passed through Parliament, Ganga will become the first river of India to be protected by an Act. AS per report, justice (retd) Girdhar Malviya committee entrusted with the task of preparing the draft act has submitted the proposed draft law to Union Water Ministry in April 2017. The water ministry has now constituted a four-member committee to review salient features of the bill for further action.

Op-Ed Can Ganga Act 2017 save the river? By lucy Plummer This is so true: Years of mistreatment and unsustainable practices have placed the Ganga River among the five most polluted rivers of the world, and the Himalayas, from which the river originates, as one of the most endangered ecosystems. Very informative piece but it fails to highlight how dams and hydro power projects across Ganga basin have been destroying the national river. The recent Ganga order has not addressed the issue either and no clarity how the proposed Ganga Act sees it. Some facts & excerpts:

* 2,723 MLD of sewage is generated by 50 cities located along the river, accounting for over 85% of the river’s pollution load.

*Civil society is now calling for a legal framework to give recognition to the Rights of the Ganga River Basin. The move recognises that a fundamentally new form of governance is necessary to protect and restore this precious ecosystem and life provider to so many.

*The legal protection of the Ganga is not the first time that law has stepped in to protect the environment. In 2008 Ecuador changed its constitution to give nature “the right to exist, persist, maintain, and regenerate its vital cycles,” in 2010, Bolivia passed the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, giving nature equal rights to humans, and more recently New Zealand granted it’s third-largest river, the Whanganui, a legal voice.

*MoWR has submitted a new piece of legislation, the National River Ganga Bill Act 2017, mainly to ensure the cleanliness and rejuvenation of the river. The proposed Ganga Act seems to be in its final stage and, if successfully passed, will make it the first river in the country to be protected by an Act of Parliament.

*Establishing Rights of the Ganga River Basin would enable government, civil society, and the people of India to take action on behalf of the Ganga to defend it against actions that would interfere with its integrity, existence, and functioning and help to ensure that it not only survives, but thrives.

Op-Ed No clarity on living Ganga status by Sowmiya Ashok As per this op-ed the Uttarakhand govt too is seeking clarity on the March 20 order. It recently said that it plans to approach the SC in this regard. The state govt contends that since the river flows through five states, it could lead to “technical, geographical and administrative issues” in the implementation of the order. How can the chief secretary of Uttarakhand be held accountable if the river is polluted in Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand or UP, the state wants to know. Meanwhile the office of another of the custodians, the National Mission for Clean Ganga, has sought legal advice from the law ministry.

Op-Ed  उत्सव मनायें या रुदन गायें ? Arun Tiwari on Ganga Dashhara: “मैं यहां यह लिखने के लिए विवश हूं कि सब के सब राजनीति कर रहे हैं। यदि नीतीश जी राजनीति नहीं कर रहे, तो फरक्का बैराज से पहले गंगा और इसकी स्थानीय सहायक नदियों की त्रिआयामी अविरलता में बाधक स्थानीय कारणों का खत्म करें। यदि शंकराचार्य निश्चलानंद जी राजनीति नहीं कर रहे, तो जिन स्वामी ज्ञानस्वरूप सानंद जी का 121 दिन लंबा अनशन उन्होने यह आश्वासन देकर तुड़वाया था कि जब भाजपा की सरकार आयेगी, तो तीन माह के भीतर उनकी मांग पर विचार करेगी; उनकी मांग को लेकर अब तीन साल बाद ही सही, स्वयं शंकराचार्य निश्चलानंद जी स्वयं अनशन पर बैठें। यदि स्वामी अविमुक्तेश्वरानंद जी राजनीति नहीं कर रहे, तो उन्हेे चाहिए कि वह बतायें कि तीन साल चुप क्यों रहे ? गंगा जैसी मां और राष्ट्रीय नदी में मलीन नाले अथवा अवजल डालना, गंगा का अपमान है। यदि मुख्यमंत्री योगी जी राजनीति नहीं कर रहे, तो गंगा में मलीन नाले डालने वाले स्थानीय निकायों, सबंधित समितियों, जहरीला अवजल डालने वाली फैक्टरियों तथा राज्य प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड के जवाबदेह प्रमुखों पर शासन की ओर राष्ट्रद्रोह के व्यक्तिगत / संस्थागत मुक़दमे दर्ज करायें।”

Uttarakhand Almora रामगंगा नदी को बचाने की कवायद तेज चौखुटिया: बीते कुछ वर्षो से पश्चिमी रामगंगा नदी का जलस्तर साल-दर-साल तेजी से घट रहा है। ऐसे में नदी के अस्तित्व को बचाने के लिए रामगंगा सेवा समिति ने जनचेतना जागृत करने हेतु एक मुहिम शुरू की है। इसके तहत प्रथम चरण में समिति की टीम ने रामगंगा नदी, उससे जुड़े जल स्रोतों व गाड़-गधेरों का दो दिन तक धरातलीय सर्वे कर घटते जलस्तर के कारणों का अध्ययन किया।

Chamoli अलकनंदा नदी में हो रहे कटाव से खतरे में बद्रीशपुरी अलकनंदा नदी से हो रहे कटाव के कारण बद्रीशपुरी को खतरा पैदा हो गया है। चार प्रमुख मोहल्ले इसकी जद में हैं। सिंचाई विभाग के सहायक अभियंता बताते हैं कि पिछले साल  अलकनंदा नदी और बामणी नाले पर सुरक्षा दीवार निर्माण के लिए 2.70 करोड़ रुपए की योजना शासन को भेजी थी, लेकिन धनराशि का आवंटन नहीं हो पाया। उम्मीद है कि इस बार समस्या का समाधान हो जाएगा।

Bageshwar  जीवनदायिनी के जीवन पर संकट कुमाऊं की काशी बागेश्वर में बहने वाली जीवनदायिनी नदियां लगातार दम तोड़ते जा रही है। सरयू, गोमती नदियां, नालियों और सीवर के गंदे पानी से पटते जा रहे हैं। जो इन पवित्र नदियों को लगातार प्रदूषित कर रही है। अगर ऐसा ही रहा तो एक दिन ये नदियां भी सरस्वती की तरह लुप्त हो जाएंगी।

SAND MINING

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YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh Sand mining poses threat to ancient temple The historical Sujawandev Temple on a rock island in the middle of the Yamuna in the Ghoorpur area of Allahabad is facing a threat from illegal sand mining. Years of sand mining has loosened the rocks under the water and weakened the base, allege some locals on the condition of anonymity. Locals claim the administration is helpless against the sand mafia which calls the shots in the area.

Panipat यमुना नदी में 30 लाख रुपए की रेत चोरी हो रही हर दिन पानीपत और यूपी बॉर्डर से लगते इलाकों में खनन माफिया दिन-रात रेत लूट रहा है। यमुना के किनारों और ड्रेन नंबर 2 के साथ अन्य जगह से जेसीबी की मदद से 20 से 25 फुट तक खुदाई कर रोज 30 से 32 लाख रुपए का रेत निकाल जा रहा है। इस तरह 100 से ज्यादा खनन माफिया हर महीने करीब 10 करोड़ रुपए के अवैध खनन का कारोबार कर रहे हैं।  

Punjab Sand demand 2cr tonnes a year, business Rs 3000cr Punjab’s estimated demand for sand is said to be 2 crore tonnes annually. Officials estimate the business in Punjab to be worth Rs 3,000 crore annually. A tipper truckload of 35 tonnes fetches anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000. The state govt is expected to make Rs 500-600 crore from the sand mining business this time. Last year the revenue was Rs 35 crore as the previous govt had opted for a system of reverse bidding. The new govt adopted a system of progressive bidding, giving the contract to the highest bidder. The govt put on e-auction 97 sand and gravel quarries on May 19 and 20, 2017 and going by the high bids, announced it would net Rs 1,026 crore. But when it came to putting down the money, contractors deposited the security amount for only 50 mines. Still the govt was able to make Rs 310 crore from the auction. The article gives some useful stats about Punjab sand mining.

Madhya Pradesh Illegal mining pushes gharials to brink in Son river Illegal sand mining continues to pose the biggest threat to the last of the wild and breeding gharials in Son Gharial sanctuary of Sidhi district. Forest rangers have failed to locate even a single hatchling this breeding season. Insiders say that the only male Gharial left in the river is now missing. Mining of sand banks is destructive for gharials as they are essential for nesting and basking. gharials lay eggs under sand beds, but illegal mining destroys their nests.

Also see, चंबल नदी से ऊंट के जरिए राजस्थान जा रही अवैध रेत चंबल सेंक्चुरी से रोज ऊंट पर लादकर रेत को राजस्थान ले जाया जा रहा है। ऊंट नदी से होकर रेत को उन गांवों तक पहुंचा रहे, जहां प्रशासन की कड़ाई के कारण ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉलियों से रेत पहुंचना संभव नहीं है।  

Tamil Nadu People’s panel to study sand mining in Cauvery A group of farmers associations of Tamil Nadu in association with Rashtriya Jal Biradari (National Water Community) headed by renowned conservationist Rajendra Singh have planned to constitute a ‘people’s commission’ to study the ecological aspects and sand mining in the Cauvery river.

WETLANDS

Gujarat Govt finally forms 23-member wetlands panel The Gujarat govt has finally formed a 23-member state wetlands conservation authority, for conservation and management of the state’s wetlands. However, the steering committee is yet to be formed. In the absence of these authorities, no projects for conservation of wetlands were taken up by the state govt and various departments of the govt were acting on their own and ended up destroying the habitat.

Telangana Hyderabad lake pollution kills over 90K fish In a time of a week over 90000 fish are reportedly found dead in three different lakes around Hyderabad. Officials blamed heat a reason behind the incidents but fishermen suspected alarming levels of pollution in urban lakes around Hyderabad could be another reason for the recent spate of fish deaths. As per experts lakes and tanks around city are becoming a deadly mix of domestic sewage, municipal waste and hazardous waste dumped irresponsibly by industries.

Karnataka Bengaluru lakes spewing foam again The Varthur Lake and Belllandur lake infamous for deep stench and thick sheet of chemical foams were again seen frothing after heavy showers for two days making residents and commuters negotiate with foam clouds and unpleasant smell. Adding to Bengaluruian owes one new lake Subramanyapura is found suffering from same syndrome.  All this exposes the failure of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority and KSPCB in safeguarding our lakes from industrial pollution. Every lake is being used to dump construction debris and solid waste.

Jammu & Kashmir Vanishing Gharana wetland State revenue records show that Gharana wetlands situated in the border area of R.S. Pora originally comprised 97 kanals and 17 marlas of land. But today these have shrunk to bare 15 kanals and the rest of it has been seemingly grabbed by the locals. The Revenue Department has all along been either unmindful of what was happening to the famous wetland bird sanctuary or otherwise have been conniving at illegal encroachment and occupation by unauthorized persons.

Haryana Proposed debris plant a threat to Basai wetlands The Basai wetlands near Gurgaon, known to be a birders’ paradise as they attract hundreds of winged visitors during winter, could soon be lost to a proposed construction and demolition (C&D) plant. A multinational construction firm has been granted permission to build a waste processing plant over 3.5 acres at the Basai. Bird enthusiasts point out that the plant is coming up in the wetland’s catchment area and would destroy the wetlands and scare away the birds.

WATER

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Maharashtra Nagpur water privatization project a failure The Nagpur scheme is often projected as a model urban water supply solution. But five years on, there are doubts about the way it is working on ground. There is growing resentment among local residents, opposition parties and even among ruling BJP members. Infrequent supply, contaminated water, exorbitant bills and official apathy—the complaints are the same in every part of Nagpur.

Haryana Water tariff raised three fold As per new water rate effective from June, 01, 2017 a family will have to pay Rs 5 for every 1000 litres for up to a consumption of 20,000 litres per month. Last hike was done in 2001. HUDA supplies 60 MGD from 2 plants located in Basai and Chandu Budhera. The city residents have opposed the hike in water tariff by HUDA effective saying that the Huda has failed to check water theft and pilferage in unauthorised sectors. As per residents, the hike means that a family of five will have to pay Rs 125-150 a month as water bill which earlier used to be less than Rs 20-25 a month.

According experts the gap between demand and supply of water is expected to jump from 34% to 57% in the years to come as between 2005 and 2014, a drop of 74% in the water table has been noted. Traditionally, Gurgaon had over 350 water bodies that served the purpose of water storage, however, most of them have dried up or become waste dump yards. In a study conducted by CGWA it was found that in several blocks of Gurgaon, 300% over-extraction of groundwater takes place.

Meanwhile the drinking water taps in many houses in Sector 23 have been throwing up traces of sewer water since May 25, 2017. The residents said their repeated plea to HUDA & MCG bore no fruit and they are forced to shell out ₹1,200-₹1,500 per tanker every day to meet their demand.  

GROUND WATER

Punjab Industries asked to take NOCs for running tubewells Good CGWA asking industries in Punjab to take NOC for the already existing tubewells inside industrial units. The last date for applying is July 13, 2017. So far 500 applications have been sent to CGWA Chandigarh office.  There are nearly 6,000 tubewells owned by industrial units in Ludhiana. Water level is falling every year due to excessive use and clean drinking water comes only after digging of 360-400 feet. Besides, big industrial units have been asked to recharge double the water used by them and even adopt two villages each to provide clean drinking water.

OBJECTION: Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings has expressed reservation against the move saying that why only industry was being asked to follow norms while farmers, who use water much more than industry, were being spared.” Indeed CGWA need to encourage SRI rice planting method among farmers and also take step to restrict the paddy area in the state.

Gujarat ‘Gujarat using 72% of its groundwater’ It is well known that Gujarat, particularly North Gujarat over exploits the ground water. Close to 33 talukas in north Gujarat are in critical zones due to over exploitation. Overall, Gujarat uses 72% of available GW compared to 62% at national level and 23 of the 25 GW blocks are over exploited, the numbers going up. Around 85 per cent of groundwater withdrawal is for irrigation, the rest 15 per cent is for drinking. Experts have warned that Gujarat may soon find itself in a water crisis if it fails to preserve its groundwater resources.

Now there is a World Bank funded $1billion National Groundwater Management Improvement Program (NGMIP) involving Guj, besides other states. Other states being Rajasthan, Haryana, MP, UP, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Gujarat will get about Rs900 crore under the scheme. It is a bit strange to see the Australian involvement in the project.  

Uttar Pradesh NGT notice to govt over dirty water in Sambhal district The National Green Tribunal on May 31, 2017 have taken note of a plea alleging ground water pollution in Sambhal district and sought a response from the state government, pollution control board, Sambhal district magistrate and the municipal council while seeking their replies before July 13, 2017.  Earlier on May 29, 2017, the NGT had also issued notices to the state Jal Nigam to show cause why penalties should not be imposed on them for their failure to provide clean drinking water in Ghaziabad, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Baghpat and Saharanpur districts.

Haryana Carry out lab test of groundwater in Bandhwari: NGT The green court on May 31, 2017 instructed State Pollution Control Board to carry out laboratory tests of samples of ground water from Bandhwari. Municipal corporations of Gurgaon and Faridabad have also been directed to produce environmental clearances they received to set up the plant. The next hearing of the case is on July 26, 2017. The NGT also slammed the govt and its civic bodies over disposal of industrial waste and construction debris in the Aravalli forests on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road.

Karnataka Bangalore ground water dries up This brief video makes some startling statements, one being that BANGALORE IS THE FIRST CITY OF INDIA THAT HAS RUN OUT OF WATER, in the reliable voice of Vishwanath.

DROUGHT OPTIONS

Down To Earth Drought proof villages in Maharashtra In drought struck Marathwada region of Maharashtra, there are villages that are tackling the extreme weather over the years, with alternative techniques. Bhandegaon, in Aurangabad district is one of them. We take a look at how these villages have stood up against the wrath of nature and adapted to the changing climate which is making their own lands hostile.

SOUTH ASIA

Bhutan Are hydro debt servicing manageable Serious questions are being raised about financial viability of Export hydropower issue. In fact, this does not take into account the fact that India is power surplus and will remain surplus in foreseeable future and the cost of power has gone down hugely. Secondly, the costs that Bhutan pays in terms of destruction of its rivers and the services that the rivers give is not even accounted for.

India & Bangladesh Dried Teesta From its source till Gazaldoba in Jalpaiguri, Teesta has water even in this dry season, but then things change. On one side of the Gazaldoba dam, the river is brimming with water, but on the other side sandbars have emerged. After flowing hard and fast over all obstacles, Teesta loses its force at this point. This narrowed-down sluggish Teesta then enters Bangladesh. Detailed narration of what Bangladesh journalists found when they travelled along Teesta in April 2017.

Photo-Courtesy-cmprachanda-05062017081048-1000x0

Nepal & China MoU signed to build Nepal’s biggest HEP The Ministry of Energy Nepal on June 04, 2017 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) for the development of much-touted 1,200MW Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project, the biggest hydro project set to be built in the country.

South Asia Transboundary water management program launched The ‘Transboundary Rivers of  South Asia’ (TROSA) a five year program is launched in Kathmandu on May 25, 2017 to promote improved policies and practices that protect the rights of communities along the Ganges, the Brahmaputra-Meghna and the Salween river basins. Funded by the Govtof Sweden the project will be implemented by Oxfam and regional and national partners in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. South Asia Transboundary Water (not river?) management program launched by Oxfam.

CHINA

Green Peace Report Unabated water pollution As per official standards Shanghai water pollution crisis continues unabated as 85% of the water in the city’s major rivers was found undrinkable and 56.4% was unfit for any purpose in 2015. Water pollution levels in China’s other major cities are also extremely high. In Beijing, 39.9% of water was so polluted that it was essentially functionless. In Tianjin, northern China’s principal port city and home to 15 million people, a mere 4.9% of water is usable as a drinking water source.  Nearly half the country has missed its five-year water quality targets. One reason for this is that local governments have too often failed to crack down on polluting industries.

THE REST OF THE WORLD

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America Was Oroville just a drop in the bucket? Some sensible questions being asked in the context of Oroville dam in US: Some of them SANDRP raised in the past. Similarly The national Association of State Dam Safety Officials and the United States Society on Dams created the independent panel to try to identify the operational and physical failures that made the two spillways at Oroville Dam give way. Some significant statements here about implications of events at Oroville Dam, for the Dams around US (and should also be relevant for the world)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Event Engaging stakeholders in climate services in India Join SANDRP’s Himanshu Thakkar, Meaghan Daly (Leeds University), Rudresh Sugam (CEEW, New Delhi) and Dinesh Kumar Singh (Tata Consultancy Services) at a free webinar to discuss the potentials and challenges of involving stakeholders in #climate services in #India. The event is free and open to all, but places are limited. Please use the link below to register: http://bit.ly/2qB01g5

ENVIRONMENT

Prayas Energy Group Implications of surplus power The report explains in detail about the implications of surplus power. Before this India’s apex Electricity Technical Body, CEA, has said that India will be power surplus in 2017-18 both in electricity supply (8.8% surplus) and also peak energy (6.8% surplus). All states, except six states and one Union Territory will be power surplus.

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Kerala Remote sensing data shows massive erosion of forests A new study named ‘Four decades of forest loss: Drought in Kerala’ using remote sensing data says that between 1973 and 2016, Kerala lost 906,440 hectares (9064.4 sq.km) of forest land.  Consequently, the forest cover as a percentage of total land area has been reduced from 66.2% to 42.15%. In other words, Kerala has diverted more than 50% of its total forest area for other purposes since 1973 (from when the remote sensing data is available). To be fair, a 42.15% forest cover is pretty decent; the country as a whole is struggling to achieve 33% of total forest cover.

Amnesty International Close the ‘pollute and pay’ window for industries Recently, the ministry announced a six-month period for industrial projects that have been operating in violation of environmental laws to effectively obtain post-facto clearances. What this means is that projects that have deliberately flouted the law, potentially causing environmental damage, can now pay a penalty and regularise their operations. Worse, it is unclear if the notification now allows these companies to again bypass the public hearings they are required to conduct as part of the process to obtain an environmental clearance.

Goa NGT issues notice to MoEF over CRZ Violation NGT has issued a notice to the MoEF on the issue of an amendment to Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2011 to allow shack operators to retain their structures during June-August monsoon season. The state govthad pursued the matter with the central govtand the ministry had issued a draft notification dated April 25, 2016, for suggestions and objections from the public. The amendment states that the clearance granted to projects under the notification will be valid for five years.

Uttarakhand जेसीबी से नहीं कटेंगीलाइफ लाइनकी पहाडि़यां पूर्व में भूगर्भीय वैज्ञानिकों की चेतावनी पर गौर न करने वाला नेशनल हाईवे प्रशासन  घातक परिणाम देख खुद सकते में आ गया है। भूगर्भीय लिहाज से बेहद खतरनाक असंख्यों भ्रंशों से घिरे अल्मोड़ा-हल्द्वानी हाईवे की नाजुक पहाडि़यों का कटान अब जेसीबी से नहीं होगा। खास बात कि कुमाऊं के वरिष्ठ भूगर्भ वैज्ञानिकों के सुझावों पर ही चौड़ीकरण की मुहिम आगे बढ़ेगी। ताकि भविष्य में राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग पर कोई और जनहानि न हो। वर्ष 2010 की प्रलयंकारी त्रासदी के बाद से ही अल्मोड़ा-हल्द्वानी हाईवे के अस्तित्व पर सवाल उठने लगे थे।

UN  India praised for disaster management In the UN 2017 Disaster Risk Reduction meeting taking place this week, officials have praised India for leading a global intervention aimed at lessening the losses after natural disasters by being the only country so far to have a national plan. India is the first, and only country so far, to produce a national plan and local strategy aimed at lowering the losses incurred due to natural disasters. This will need a heady dose of belief.

You may also like to DRP News Bulletin 29 May 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 22 May 2017

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