DRP News Bulletin 10 July 2017 (Private Companies Exit Unviable Large Hydro Projects)

In a remarkable trend emerging in hydro sector in Himachal Pradesh, many leading private companies have started surrendering hydro power projects allotted to them by State Govt. As per the news report, Tata Group, Reliance, Jindal and Larsen & Toubro have either surrendered or are in process of surrendering numbers of hydro projects given to them over past one and half decade. These companies are now increasingly terming the projects as  non-viable and unprofitable. 

In the last week of June, 2017, Tata group reportedly has written to Directorate Energy, expressing its desire to surrender the 450 MW Duggar power project in Pangi area of Chamba district. The project had been allotted to them in 2007-08 and post feasibility study done by its consultants the group has found the unviable. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/tatas-give-up-chamba-power-project/428456.html

Before this the Reliance group had declined to set up  300 Mw Purty and 130 Mw Sumte Kothan hydro projects in Spiti. Following this, the State Cabinet on June 24, 2017 meeting agreed to return Rs 85 crore paid as upfront money by Reliance group. 

Similarly in recent past, the Jindal group, which was allotted the 250 MW Kutehar power project in Chamba, put the project on hold for some time without citing specific reasons. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/reliance-power-to-get-back-rs-85-cr-it-paid-to-govt-for-2-projects/427112.html

In the latest incident, anticipating problems in evacuating power, with the market being very grim as far as buyers and power rates are concerned, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is reported to have urged the state govt to enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with it for two of its hydel projects — Reoli Dugli (Lahaul-Spiti) and Sach Khas (Pangi), located in the arduous Chenab basin.

In its letter addressed to the Director, Energy, the company has pointed out that there is no road infrastructure in the area and there is a provision for evacuation of power. Another stumbling block is the hurdle being faced by the company in getting clearances for starting work on the two self-identified projects of 4.4 Mw Jindi and 3.5 Choo allotted to it by Himurja to meet its own power requirement for the construction of two big projects.

The company had been allotted the 430-MW Reoli Dugli project near Udaipur in the tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti in January 2011. The other project allotted to it was 267-MW Sach Khas in Pangi, Chamba district, in September 2009. An official of company has admitted that the company is reluctant to go ahead with the projects unless the state govt enters into a PPA with it.

The company is reluctant to start the projects, considering the fact that the cost of power is working out to be almost Rs 9.90 per unit, whereas the power rates in the market are hovering around Rs 2.50 to Rs 3 per unit. Incidentally, the production cost per unit is so high after the concession given by the govt of exempting projects in the Chenab basin from providing 12 per cent free power to it. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/l-t-may-pull-out-of-hydro-power-projects/430333.html

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In another positive development, a report share that how by making informed decisions Lippa villagers have been challenging the damaging hydro power projects. Equipped with legal knowledge, they have been consistently fighting against the destructive Kasang Hydro project in Kinnaur district.  http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/power-play-kinnaur

Despite all this, French official agency has decided to provide an 80 million euro loan facility for two HEPs , namely 30 Mw Deothal Chanju HEP and 48 Mw Chanju III HEP with total capacity 78 Mw in Chanju basin which is part of larger Ravi Basin. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/french-afd-approves-80-mn-euro-loan-for-hydro-projects-in-himachal-pradesh/59451935

In a separate but related news report, Tim Buckley, an energy expert has said that hydro power can provide instantaneous electricity generation, helping with grid stability and balance. 

As per the report, Himachal has hydroelectricity generation potential of 27,436 MW –which is about 25 percent of the country’s total potential and it has harnessed 10,351 MW till Dec 2016, which is almost 37 per cent of the total potential.

Contrary to his notions, SANDRP finds that if hydropower only in range Rs 1-4 per unit is viable, than no new hydro would be viable. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/indias-outdated-electricity-grid-needs-major-upgrade-says-expert/59485958

HYDRO POWER

Centre Cabinet to consider Rs 16,709 crore hydropower policy The Union Cabinet this month may take up for approval the hydro-power policy aiming to provide Rs 16,709 crore support for stalled 40 hydel projects, entailing 11,639 MW capacity, and to classify all such ventures as renewable energy.

This is so disappointing to see the elements of proposed new Hydropower policy. This will only help destroy the rivers, biodiversity, forests, livelihoods and people, and NOT help power sector either.

– Under the policy, the govt will provide interest subvention of 4 per cent during construction for up to 7 years and for 3 years after the start of commercial operation to all hydropower projects above 25 MW.

– It is proposed that the funding for this policy would come from coal cess or national clean energy fund or non- lapsable central pool of resources for Northeastern states for eight years till 2024-25.

– A Hydro Power Fund would be created under the power ministry for providing funds to the projects under the policy.

– The policy also provides for Hydro Purchase Obligation (HPO) for hydro projects of over 25 MW capacity. Under this, the discoms would be mandated to buy a proportion of power from these plants.

– However, this benefit would be available to those hydropower plants, which would be able to begin commercial operations after five years of notification of this policy.

– The policy would also mandate power ministry to engage with bankers and financial institutions for modifying lending terms and conditions for hydropower projects.  http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/cabinet-may-consider-rs-16709-crore-hydropower-policy-this-month/59411298

Kerala Tribals use FRA to stop Athirapally hydro project This is the story of how Kader tribals in Upper Chalakudy basin in Kerala have fought for Forest Right Act and in the process also been able to stall the Athirapally HEP: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/protecting-forests-law-what-tamil-nadu-can-learn-kerala-s-kadar-tribe-64230 Here is the link for a short documentary on the issue: https://www.youtube.com/embed/hPQZnXtPInM 

Uttarakhand Govt mulls reviving stalled hydro projects Great report by Kavita Upadhyay points out how Alaknanda stands destroyed by hydropower projects. Judiciary, unfortunately, has not always been protecting the cause of the victims or the environment or the river. That is why state govt budget for 2017-18, mentions, as this report states, “All those hydroelectric projects which were stalled shall be looked into and efforts will be made to start them.” This would not help anyone, except vested interests. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttarakhand-broken-barrages-rise-again-in-four-years-river-down-to-a-trickle-at-places-4733995/

Arunachal Pradesh Ranganadi hydro project provide no employment to locals The 405 MW Ranganadi HEP with high expectation of preferential employment to the project affected people and the local people of the project area, NEEPCO in its 35 years of construction and operation of the project has not appointed a single Junior Engineer or Engineer or any officer level in NEEPCO from the Project area of Yazali, with the exception of small numbers in lower levels. This is just an example of how Hydro projects treats local people, letter about the 405 MW Ranganadi HEP of NEEPCO.

DAMS

Polavaram Row Anti MoEF clears the anti-people and anti environment project  MoEF has granted extension to the project on the recommendation of the Water Resource Ministry. The work of the project was halted due to a complaint filed by the govts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, that the project did not have environmental clearance.

Telangana Babli Project gates to open According to the Supreme Court  (SC) verdict every year 14 gates of Babli project would be kept open from July 1 to October 28, 2017 and water would be released to Sri Ram Sagar Project. https://telanganatoday.com/babli-project-gates-open-july-1

Maharashtra Govt revives controversial Kondhane dam project  5 years after stopping work on the Kondhane dam in Raigad following the multi-crore irrigation scandal, state cabinet on July 03, 2017 has approved a proposal to hand over the project to CIDCO. The project is resumed to supply water to the proposed city of NAINA to be bigger than Mumbai, spanning 644 sq km and comprising 270 villages. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-government-revives-controversial-kondhane-dam-project/story-9dGHfYculwiFeunTVEwXZL.html

In another shocking decision the govt has hiked cost of 28 year old Krishna Koyna Lift Irrigation Scheme in Sangli to Rs 4,959 crore. The original cost of the project was Rs 82 crore when it was approved in 1982-83. This is the third time project has been given revised administrative approval. Govt has allowed escalated cost of Rs 1982 last time. 56% of work of the project is yet to be completed. This sounds another massive scam in the making: http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-government-hikes-cost-of-rs82-crore-sangli-lift-irrigation-project-to-rs4-959-crore/story-HqIGhgVKBVkshQmLSfapvI.html

In a positive development, Maharashtra state govt has decided not to provide raw water from Gosikhurd dam to NTPC’s 2,320MW power plant at Mouda and has asked NTPC to use treated sewage water instead. This is a good decision, but time frame is not mentioned and what about the violations so far? http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/ntpc-mouda-asked-to-use-treated-sewage-water-instead-of-gosikhurd-dam-water/59487438

IRRIGATION

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Telangana Karimnagar set to be irrigation scam hub It seems like considering the massive irrigation projects being pushed without proper appraisal, impacts assessments, or even statutory clearances. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/karimnagar-set-to-be-irrigation-hub-of-telangana/article19208427.ece

FLOOD 2017

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NASA Satellite imagery dated July 09, 2017 shows that heavy rainfall over Sikkim, Bhutan, Sub Himalayan W Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam. Another NASA map shows massive rains in East and NE India on July 10, 2017.

Meanwhile, water level at Passighat (Siang, Ar P) and Ghugumari (Torsa, W Bengal) have crossed danger level already, as per CWC flood forecast.

IMD has also issued heavy to very heavy rainfall predecited in North and North Eastern States between 07-11 July 2017. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=167210

IMD has again issued warning of extremely heavy rainfall between 9-12 July 2017 for North Eastern States. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=167267

National Severe floods in many States, but no warning by CWC Gujarat has seen 31 people die due to rain and flood related incidents in last few days, the State Emergency Response Centre has declared HIGH ALERT close to four dams and ALERT for four other dams, rivers, villages and towns are facing floods, but there is no flood forecasting from Centra Water Commission (CWC) for Gujarat!

Likewise incessant rains wrecked havoc in several parts of Rajasthan on July 02, 2017, creating a flood-like situation in state’s Jodhpur but there was no flood forecasting by CWC. http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/rain-wreaks-havoc-in-jodhpur-city-flood-waters-hit-streets-carry-off-everything-in-path-watch-shocking-video/747012/

Similarly, there were floods in Lower Dibang and Ranganadi/ Pare basin in Arunachal Pradesh, as per this report, but these are NOT included in CWC flood forecasting. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rijiju-chopper-makes-emergency-landing-iaf-evacuates-169-persons-in-flood-affected-arunachal-4735431/

Uttar Pradesh Breach in Shivsagar dam, causes flood in several villages Incessant rains for three days have created grim flood situation in the Mirzapur district. Floods in Karnavati river has washed a five members of a family. http://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/mirzapur-16318774.html  http://hindi.oneindia.com/news/uttar-pradesh/flood-villages-mirzapur-five-swept-away-413972.html

The district has received 160 and 175 milli meters of rain on 06 and 07 July. There are reports claiming cloud burst incident in the area.  Due to nonstop rains, shivsagar dam on Khajuri river have breached. The breach of dam has damaged several houses. Also it has created shortage of water for Kharif season in the area.   http://www.patrika.com/news/mirzapur/more-then-10-house-drowned-in-flood-in-mirzapur-hindi-news-1616489/

On the other hand, water level of rivers in Sidharthnagar is rising fast due to heavy rains in mountain. The rising rivers have started eroding the banks thus creating submergence threats for several villages located on their banks. http://www.patrika.com/news/sidharthnagar/flood-fear-in-up-siddharthnagar-after-heavy-rainfall-in-nepal-1615109/

Manipur River dredging not a solution to floods The state is battling severe flooding. Amid the govt has mulled plans to dredge the shallow river beds to deal with reoccurring floods. Will dredging of rivers will anyway improve to flooding in the state? Thoughtless dredging of rivers could prove more harmful. It destroys the river systems. In fact dredging the rivers without proper assessment may prove counterproductive.  

Mizoram Worst floods in 50 years Approximately 350 houses have been completely submerged by the floods and 8 people have been pronounced dead, with that number expected to rise. The rains have caused extensive damage in many districts across the state, with the incessant rain being the cause of landslides and mudslides. This is the largest recorded flooding of the region’s Tlawng River in the last 50 years. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/mizoram-flood-manipur-flood-monsoon-tlawng-river/1/978707.html

Maharashtra Man-made reasons making Pune flood disaster prone As per the report Mula-Mutha River and its tributaries have a collective carrying capacity of 97,000 cusecs but encroachments along both their banks have reduced the capacity to such an extent that parts of the city are prone to flooding even if 50,000 cusecs is discharged from the Khadakwasla dam. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/parts-of-pune-flood-prone-warns-pmcs-disaster-plan/articleshow/59508199.cms

Odisha Govt develops Real Time Flood Forecasting Model As per CM Naveen Patnaik, his govt has developed a Real Time Flood Forecasting Model for the entire Mahanadi river basin for better flood control. The state has 11 river basins and the Mahanadi basin is the largest inter-state river basin. It would be interesting to see Odisha’s new Real time flood forecasting model for Mahanadi basin.  http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/odisha-government-develops-real-time-flood-forecasting-model-117062800830_1.html

Bihar How villagers predict floods This article on flood issues related to Gandaki river in West Champaran district in Bihar throws some interesting light about how people perceive and predict floods.  http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/conversation-nature It is based on this paper dated Nov 2016: http://lib.icimod.org/record/32335/files/hiawareWP5-016.pdf

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa Link Panna protests against Ken Betwa link Unfortunately, the reporter makes his pro project bias clear by calling Betwa a deficit basin:  http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/madhya-pradesh-ken-betwa-river-linking-project-runs-into-troubled-waters/story-Sngb6U8mq2OeTMlB57KGsL.html

Serious differences erupting between MP & UP The exercise for preparing the complex and detailed project report (DPR) for Ken Betwa Link (KBL) Project has got entangled in a web of confusion as serious differences have erupted on water sharing and a few other crucial issues between Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP). https://newsroom24x7.com/2017/07/03/ken-betwa-link-project-draft-cabinet-note-kicks-up-controversy-over-water-and-cost-sharing-between-mp-and-up/

In another very interesting revelation about Ken Betwa Link, Jairam Ramesh says that  even the MP CM does not want the KBL but it is being pushed on him. He further says that Uma Bharti and the PM and the SC have played a particularly puzzling role in the river-linking project. As per Ramesh, generally, the SC has made progressive interventions on environment but on river linking, they have played a very strange role. He states that same has happened on  Uttarakhand too, particularly about the dams on Bhagirathi. This report has several other startling revelations about Late Indira Gandhi, Niti Aayog, Finance Ministry on present status of environmental governance in the country.  http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-nda-has-put-fear-of-god-in-social-movements-jairam-ramesh-2489838

RIVERS

Maharashtra Pune rivers most polluted in Maharashtra According to CPCB report, the report, stretches of 49 rivers in the state have high amount of pollutants. As per the report, out of the 744 MLD of waste generated by Pune through sewage and other means, 177 MLD of waste is entering the rivers without treatment. http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/rivers-from-pune-carry-most-polluted-water-mpcb/story-P9xHpGaTvXmznMo4OkBSiJ.html

BRAHMPUTRA Report Cost of a river  This is an excellent report on Brahmputra it ends with great punch line, “When their disorganised loot gives way to corporations that have sharks in suits, the game will change. The logic of profit and loss rides on a purely utilitarian understanding of the world. It reduces nature to “natural resources” and people to “human resources”. Its method is the method of counting and measuring; every quality is reduced to a quantity, a number.

How many megawatts of power can the Brahmaputra and its tributaries generate? How many millions in “shareholder value” will it be worth? What is the price of a river older than the Himalayas, which supports an entire ancient ecosystem? And what, indeed, is the price of the ecosystem itself?”

Welcome statements: “Stout local opposition has prevented these dams from being built so far. If they do come into existence, they will kill one of the last great free-flowing rivers in the world—a river that, according to geologists, may be older than the Himalayas.”

However, Statements like this give misleading picture about Run of River Projects: “These “run of the river” projects do not store the water in large reservoirs and are less damaging to the environment than conventional dams.”  http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/unbraiding-the-brahmaputra/article19192861.ece

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NARMADA Op-Ed Before the sluice gates close Medha Patkar raises a LOT OF QUESTIONS here: “The biggest question is, are the judgments of the apex court fully complied with? The answer is no. Should the common people from the rural and tribal communities be made to run from pillar to post for the same? And even before they get the answers or the results, could the dam gates be closed, their fates sealed and justice denied by the governments that do not care and commit contempt of not only the courts but of the law? Let the sensitive readership and citizenry of this country answer.”  

NGT Clarify stand on Ganga encroachments The Green Tribunal has directed the Centre and other stakeholders to clarify their stand on demarcation and encroachments on the floodplains of the Ganga from Haridwar to Unnao. The green panel asked the ministries of environment and water resources, the NMCG, CPCB, UP govt and others to file written submissions on the matter. The tribunal also asked them to specify their view on minimum environmental flow of the river and extraction of groundwater to restore Ganga to its original condition.http://zeenews.india.com/environment/clarify-stand-on-ganga-encroachments-ngt-directs-centre-other-stakeholders-2015615.html

Similarly to check the thermal power plants discharging effluents in the Ganga basin, NGT has  have asked the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Power to hold a meeting in this regard and file their comments along with affidavit before it. It has also asked them to point out any deficiency with regard to the thermal power plants. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ganga-basin-effluent-discharge-ngt-seeks-report-from-thermal-power-plants-117070400671_1.html

Meanwhile on expected lines, the SC has put a stay on March 20, 2017 Uttarakhand HC that declared Ganga, Yamuna and tributaries as living entities, following a petition by Uttarakhand govt that this is untenable in law and that this is the prerogative of the Union govt. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/no-yamuna-and-ganga-are-not-living-entities-says-supreme-court-1721833?site=full

Uttar Pradesh 3 months time to finish Gomati river front and barrage work Amid ongoing probe in Gomti Riverfront project, urban development minister Suresh Khanna and irrigation minister Dharmpal Singh have given three months’ deadline to the irrigation department to complete the project. The riverfront project which involves cleaning of water, beautification of banks and channelizing the river started almost two years ago but has been limping for the past several months. The project’s cost also escalated to over Rs 1,500 crore but still it is far from completion. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/govt-sets-3-month-deadline-to-finishriverfront-project-gomti-barrage-work/articleshow/59151436.cms 

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Another report from Bangladesh shares information on how Padma river (Ganga) is regaining her flow after long dry period. http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2017/07/05/76029/Padma-river-regaining-her-flow

Also see link for a new website on Ganga river http://gangatoday.com/

YAMUNA Report  A dead river with living entity This report extensively quotes SANDRP coordinator. “We have not yet reached the stage where the stink of the Yamuna has reached parliament. Possibly it never will – it’s an air-conditioned environment. But if it manages to reach even the parliament’s gates, then finally we might see something.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/07/indian-yamuna-river-living-entity-ganges

As per another report, pharmaceutical compounds reaching the Yamuna in the form of untreated sewage water and human waste could turn some of the micro-organisms drug resistant and can trigger a range of drug resistant diseases. An scientific experiment has found  at least 30 kinds of pharmaceutical compounds that could have reached the river water through human waste and sewage water. Experts pointed out that even the sewage treatment plants are not equipped to treat or check these pharmaceutical compounds. According to estimates available with the state health department Delhi produces more than 13,600 kilos of biomedical wastes every day. http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/pharma-human-waste-in-yamuna-could-spell-disaster-for-humans-trigger-drug-resistant-diseases/story-0QUZn0FRaM5keVZKxkoTNM.html

Meanwhile, NGT has directed Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, UP along with CPCB to file complete report within three weeks in furtherance to its May 19 order to prevent, control, rejuvenate and restore Yamuna river. In case of default, each state would be liable to pay an amount of Rs 50,000. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/submit-report-on-yamunas-pollution-within-3-weeks-ngt/articleshow/59519624.cms

WETLANDS

Haryana Basai: A thriving wetland under threat The wetland is facing threat from the ongoing construction and demolition waste plant project. According to the C&D Management Rules 2016, a plant cannot be near a forest, water body, wetland, sanctuary or human clusters. Notably, Basai has not been declared a wetland under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010, despite having a rich avifauna and aquatic life. http://www.hindustantimes.com/gurgaon/gurgaon-ngt-issues-notice-to-haryana-govt-over-c-d-waste-plant-in-basai-wetlands/story-ZJcCQTT5yEG55jgyp9icXL.html

Meanwhile, migratory birds have started reaching the wetlands. The bird usually reaches the wetland by July-end or  first week of August. http://www.hindustantimes.com/gurgaon/migratory-bird-spotted-early-in-basai-as-concerns-mount-over-wetland-s-future/story-DPHCmFJdBxUlfhOSu7TOCM.html

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Kerala The good clams of Ashtamudi This report is about how progress towards sustainable clam production was achieved in Ashtamudi lake.

WATER OPTIONS

Maharashtra & Karnataka Innovative way of borewell recharging Good to see these efforts at borewell recharging in drought prone areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka, borewell recharge mechanism costs around Rs 2000, contact no is also given. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/620708/innovative-way-borewell-recharging.html

In one more positive development, Vijaypura city administration is reviving  21 huge, open wells, built around 500 years ago. These Bawadis are being filled with water after desilting. As a result they are becoming source of potable water to arid city in Karnataka. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/thirsty-vijayapura-reaches-into-ancient-bawadis/article19198527.ece

Similarly there is another news report describing how Pune citizens are playing a role in improving water management in the city. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/their-will-their-way

GROUND WATER

Andhra Pradesh Records deepest groundwater level in the country T. Velamavaripalli in Vempalle mandal of Kadapa district has recorded 114.10 m BGL. This is the deepest water table in the state. Over-extraction, geological formation of the city, less rainfall and banana plantation are cited as reasons behind the groundwater depletion. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/040717/andhra-pradesh-records-deepest-groundwater-level-in-the-country.html

WATER

NITI Ayog Now states to be ranked on efficient water management  Interesting initiative, but lot of questions, why this is not in public domain, who will rate the states, on what basis, will this be another attempt at centralisation of water rather than decentralisation that we need, will this be another way to push mega projects and start race to the bottom?  http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/now-states-to-be-ranked-on-efficient-water-management-117061401108_1.html

Uttarakhand Contaminated water in Doon As per an investigation done by a NGO, over 90% of samples – including those taken from VIP areas – collected and studied for quality analysis were found contaminated. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/over-90-of-supplied-water-samples-in-doon-found-contaminated-report/story-GLXanJniGS953AttbtpuUL.html

NABARD Bank assistance for water harvesting structures NABARD has allocated undivided Karimnagar (Telangana & Andhra Pradesh) Rs. 30 crore to encourage water harvesting structures among the farming community and help them reap riches by cultivating less water-intensive crops such as vegetables. Financial assistance of Rs. 2.5 lakh per unit would be given for taking up pandal vegetable cultivation, Rs. 60,000 per unit for drumstick cultivation, Rs. 10,000 for application of tank silt in the fields, Rs. 30,000 per unit for deepening of wells, Rs. 10,000 for recharge of open wells and Rs.  40,000 for recharge of borewells. This sounds interesting, but some questions arise like are these costs realistic? Do you need 40000 to recharge a borewell, when we have posted a news that says may be Rs 2000 is sufficient?

IWMI More realistic assessment of Urban wastewater use in farming The global use of untreated waste water from cities to irrigate crops is much more widespread than previously estimated, says a new report by IWMI. According to this updated assessment, nearly 30 million hectares are now using untreated water within 40km of an urban centre. Some 800 million people, including farmers, vendors and consumers are said to be exposed to serious health risks. China, India, Pakistan, Mexico and Iran account for most of the treated land. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40494254 Full study can be found here: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa75d1

DELHI WATER

6.22 lakh households to be given water taps  As per the PIB release, 6.22 lakh households  in Delhi will be provided with water taps over the next two years under AMRUT. At present 23.78 lakh households accounting for 58% of the total 41 lakh households have water connections and this will be increased to 73% and Sewerage connectivity will be increased from the present   57% to 65% under AMRUT.  The news also says all 7 Union Territories and  3e MCD areas in Delhi will become Open Defecation Free (ODF) by March next year. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=167179

AGRICULTURE

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India Water Portal Saving soil health The govt’s nutrient-based subsidy has done more harm to the soil than good. Only sustainable agriculture can save the nutrient and water holding capacity of the soil. Amita Bhaduri raises very imp issue here, how to improve the soil’s capacity to hold moisture and working towards sustainable agriculture.  http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/saving-soil-health

EPW Reason behind spike in prices of Tur and Urad Investigations by the Income Tax department indicate that the sudden spike in the prices of particular pulses in 2015 was a consequence of the formation of international and Indian cartels of traders. These allegations are denied by the players concerned. Reports prepared by tax officials that are being disclosed for the first time, indicate how the pulses trade in the country has been prone to manipulation. The officials also allege there was money laundering in dal trading. http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/25-26/web-exclusives/when-nation-could-not-feel-pulse.html#disqus_thread

Karnataka Farmers earning profit through natural farming  As per natural farming practitioner Kumarswamy the combination of ZBNF and the cooperative have solved the two key problems faced by farmers high cost of production and lack of access to markets- and have made him a very happy farmer.   http://lvcsouthasia.blogspot.in/2017/07/creative-natural-farmer-rakes-in-profit.html

National State land acquisition laws anti people Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh says that state laws allow land acquisition with consent of people. Indeed. good to see a politician speak up about this crucial issue. http://www.firstpost.com/india/state-laws-on-land-acquisition-weakened-provisions-of-consent-says-jairam-ramesh-3792837.html

Also read interview of Yogendra Yadav on the launch of Kisan Mukti Yatra. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/interviews/before-march-to-delhi-activist-explains-why-farmers-feel-cheated

DROUGHT 2017

Karnataka Govt protesting change in definition of drought The state govt has opposed Centre’s move to change parameters for drought assessment. The new manual for drought management limits Centre’s scope to offer financial assistance to states in the eventuality of drought. Unlike the 2009 manual for drought management—which was a mere guideline and not mandatory for the states to follow—the ‘moderate’ drought category has been deleted in the new manual. It means drought-hit areas will now be categorised as ‘normal’ and ‘severe’. Only in case of ‘severe’ drought, a state would be eligible for central assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/why-is-karnataka-protesting-change-in-definition-of-drought–58229

As per another news report, the state govt has approved Rs30 crore for cloud seeding to be carried out over catchment areas, after monsoons failed in the state for the third consecutive year. Bengaluru-based Hoysala Projects Pvt. Ltd has been awarded the contract for cloud seeding that will require it to be taken up within 60 days in three major catchment areas of Cauvery, Malaprabha and Tungabhadra rivers in the state. Karnataka is already afraid that it may be drought year again in 2017. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/76zn3QboUKKiOPHKvuquaM/Karnataka-approves-Rs30-crore-cloud-seeding-project-after-de.html

Similarly Maharashtra govt is also planning the cloud seedling. The state had hoped for the same in 2015. Experts feel that altering cropping patterns and improving water management processes are better ways for the state to deal with drought than wasting public money in unproven technology. Parineeta Dandekar, of SANDRP feels that the announcement to seed clouds is just a gimmick by the state govt to keep people in good spirits.  http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/maharashtras-plan-seed-clouds-may-sprout-nothing

Andhra Pradesh Shadow of 2016 drought still looming over Anantapur The district is facing one of its worst droughts this year – and the depletion of groundwater and skyrocketing debts have only made it worse for the farmers in the district. https://thewire.in/154074/anantpur-drought-farmers-crisis/

ENERGY

Centre Crackdown against power regulators This is pathetic situation for Renewable Purchase Obligations, possibly the only regulatory mechanism for ensuring that electricity generated by renewable sources is consumed on priority bases. If this is the sign of functioning of electricity regulators, Union Power Minister is right in giving them public lashing. http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/piyush-goyal-launches-crackdown-against-power-regulators-says-do-your-job-or-go/740394/

National Challenges before India’s rooftop solar sector Despite the enablers; as of September 30, 2016, India had achieved a solar rooftop installed capacity of around 501 MW, as against the year 2022 targets of 40GW. The capacity even till date is only around 1 GW, in comparison with utility scale installations that in March 2017 exceeded 11 GW. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/energy-speak/india-s-rooftop-solar-sector-a-success-story-but-challenges-remain/2465

SOUTH ASIA                                                                          

Pak-India deadlock on Ratle, Kishenganga projects persists The revenants officials disclosed that Pakistan has raised the three objections on Kishanganga project’s design saying that the pondage of the project is 7.5 million cubic meter which is excessive and it should be one million cubic meter. Pakistan also wants India to raise intake by up to 4 meters and also raise spillways up to 9 meters high. And on the issue of Ratle Hydropower plant, Islamabad raised 4 objections. Pakistan wants India to maintain free board at 1 meter whereas India wants to keep it at 2 meters. In addition India wants to keep the pondage of 24 million cubic meters but Pakistan wants the pondage of 8 million cubic meters. Pakistan also wants the intake of the project should be raised by up to 8.8 meters and it spillways should be raised by up to 20 meters. Pakistan hopes the World Bank will achieve progress in resolving disputes with India on Kishenganga and Ratle this month. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/214704-Pak-India-deadlock-on-Ratle-Kishenganga-projects-persists

Bhutan to supply hydropower to Bangladesh through India BHUTAN-BANGLADESH-INDIA have been, since early 2016, discussing the trilateral MOU for USD 1.25 B 1125 MW Dorjilung Hydropower project in Bhutan, the electricity from the project to be exported to Bangladesh. There is other new information about the power tariff from Chukha HEP, about Cross Border Electricity Trade norms, etc. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/bhutan-to-supply-hydropower-to-bangladesh-through-india-soon/59434785

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has agreed to buy electricity from GMR’s Upper Karnali HEP in Nepal, an agreement to that effect has been signed and Bangladesh plans to take it via NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. The PPA between GMR and Bangladesh is yet to be signed. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-07-06/gmr-bdesh-to-sign-deal-to-evacuate-power.html

Project-site-of-Upper-Karna

There is another announcement (no agreement yet) of the GMR’s 900 MW Upper Karnali Project selling 300 MW each power to Haryana and Bangladesh. However, “the project is facing a major roadblock from the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation as it recently introduced a new guideline titled ‘Utilisation of Forest Area by National Priority Projects’, which requires ‘land to land’ compensation for the utilisation of land in the forest area.” https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/gmr-sell-upper-karnalis-energy-bpdb-hpgc/

But, Upper Karnali is yet to acquire 273 ha of forest land, even as WB and ADB has shown interests as per GMR claims here. http://www.myrepublica.com/news/23213/

The regulation issued by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar seeks INR 10 million per Mw as bank guarantee to utilise India’s transmission network and only those hydropower projects with capacity to generate 50 Mw & above will be granted grid connectivity to export electricity to the Indian market. According to Nepal media feels electricity export to India will be difficult as CERC has issued problematic regulations for cross border electricity trade. https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/indian-regulations-jolt-electricity-exporters-nepal/

Also see, Floods wreak havoc in Bangladesh Silhet and Moulvi Bazar districts of Bangladesh have been facing some massive floods in Marc. . http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/nation/2017/07/02/flash-flood-hits-moulvibazar/

CHINA

Doklam Conflict Site Located Near Hydel Project, Link Road Indian troops are digging in to protect the strategic topography that is just 30km from a hydel project and overlooks the Bengal-Assam road link. The hydro-electric project is located at Jaldhaka river at Jhalong, which is not far from the border with Bhutan and is also a bridge for crossing over to the landlocked hill kingdom. The Jaldhaka, along with Torsha river, flows into the Brahmaputra and is part of a tract of land that could come under pressure if the Chinese build the road they are planning through the Doklam plateau in Bhutan. http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Indian-troops-unlikely-to-pull-back-07072017020040#

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Israel Mishor Rotem tailings dam failure Even as India signed agreement with Israel for water resource management, the news of a tailing DAM FAILURE in that country, leading to massive ecological damage, was not in public domain. As per this blog (which includes a very good video of failed dam site) by David Petley, describing how release of 100 000 cubic meters (enough to fill 40 Olympic size pools) of highly acidic waste water of a fertiliser plant into the Ashalim riverbed, leading to huge ecological damage over at least 20 km stretch.

Global The giant undersea rivers Far below the surface of the sea, the seabed is being scoured by rivers of sediment that can flow thousands of miles from land. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170706-the-mystery-of-the-massive-deep-sea-rivers?ocid=fbert

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study Meghalaya Braces For Environment Doomsday A new study has shown that air temperature in Meghalaya is rising at the rate of 0.031 degree per year. The trend is consistent from 1981 to 2014, barring two years, 1991 and 1992. The study also indicated abnormal change in rainfall pattern in the State. There will be more cloud bursts leading to related disasters like flash floods and landslides. http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2017/07/05/meghalaya-braces-for-environment-doomsday/

Another report says that aerosols from vehicular exhaust, half-burnt crop residue, dust and chemical effluents may be weakening the life-giving rainy season even more than GHGs. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/aerosols-shrinking-indias-monsoon/article19199289.ece

Report Inequality bad for the environment The report has amazing conclusions: “The evidence (which is still emerging) suggests the most unequal affluent countries contribute more to climate change via pollution than their more equal counterparts.”

– A new report predicts the United States will actually see its levels of economic inequality increase due to the uneven geographical effects of climate change – resulting in “the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the country’s history”, according the study’s lead author.

– In a 2016 report, Oxfam found that the greatest polluters of all were the most affluent 10% of US households: each emitted, on average, 50 tonnes of CO2 per household member per year. Canada’s top 10% were the next most polluting, followed by the British, Russian and South African elites.

– In short, people in more equal rich countries consume less, produce less waste and emit less carbon, on average. Indeed, almost everything associated with the environment improves when economic equality is greater.

– WOW obvious and yet striking: “you will eventually throw away almost everything you buy.”

– So why are people in Canada, Singapore and the US using so much more water for domestic purposes than those in Germany, France or Japan? Possibly there is a lot less concern about wasting water in more unequal countries.

– In general, the more economically unequal a rich country is, the more CO2 it emits.

– Globally, half the CO2 emissions associated with individual lifestyles are due to the actions of the richest tenth of humanity, who disproportionately live in the more unequal of the world’s most affluent 25 countries.

– But it is worth noting that no relatively equal affluent country consumes more than half as much gasoline as people in Canada and the US do each year.

– In 1443, Shinto priests who lived on the edge of Lake Suwa in Japan began recording the day when the lake froze over in winter and when the temperature changes created a ridge of ice across the surface. They believed the ridge was formed by the feet of the gods as they walked over the lake, and so they carried on recording the day the ridge was formed each year after that, to the present day.

In the first 250 years of the priests’ recordings, the lake only failed to freeze over three times. Between 1955 and 2004, it failed to freeze over 12 times. Between 2005 and 2014, it failed to freeze over five times – every other year. Since 2014 it has not frozen over.

– This is an edited extract from The Equality Effect, by Danny Dorling (RRP £9.99). https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jul/04/is-inequality-bad-for-the-environment

In a PIB release, environment minister says that the condition of our forests, rivers, air and land is getting worse because of the modern lifestyle adopted by us.   http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=167186

ENVIRONMENT

National Finance Act 2017 an attempt  to curtails NGT’s independence Environmentalist feel that the changes dilute the provisions of the NGT Act 2010 directly, affecting its independence and effectiveness, and are now gearing up for a court battle to oppose the move. INDEED, the finance bill as described in this report and as brought out by Ritwick Dutta of LIFE, seeks TO KILL NGT. To say that this need to be fought is obvious, this reflects so poorly on the Union Government.  http://www.livemint.com/Politics/X4R0eZMQ5R6i5SlW0oGjoL/Green-activists-oppose-Finance-Act-2017-say-it-curtails-NGT.html

As per Ritwick Dutta said the new rules will affect the independence, authority and capacity of the NGT to adjudicate on environmental issues and lead to a complete executive takeover of a judicial function. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-tweaks-rules-reduces-judiciary-control-on-india-s-environment-watchdog/story-0QSiMC0j01IHXMvr8U6hjJ.html

National Wind up disaster management bodies if you can’t fill vacant posts: HC to MHA Amazing that NDMA does not have vice chair (who is functional head since PM is Chair) since June 2014, that since Modi govt came to power and no secretary since Dec 2015, NIDM has so many vacant posts that they are unable to conduct training… would these bodies have functioned better if these posts were fill up? Most likely not, but it only shows the utter callousness of the govt on even as key issue as Disaster Management, even as we face the monsoon. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/wind-up-disaster-management-bodies-if-you-cant-fill-vacant-posts-delhi-hc-to-mha-4737843/

d4191.png

It looks that after HC rebuke NDMA has given a full page advertisement on flood protection http://epaper.jagran.com/ePaperArticle/06-jul-2017-edition-Delhi-City-page_11-131-4191-4.html

At the same time it is worth to mention that till 6th July 2017 the NDMA flood monitoring website has not been updated since 04 June 2017 http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2017/floodsJune-2017.htm

You may also like to read DRP News Bulletin 03 July 2017 and DRP News Bulletin 26 June 2017.

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