DRP News Bulletin 30 October 2017 (Residents of Chennai Rally & Form Human Chain to Protect Wetlands)

Over 250 residents along with environmentalists, activists and members of civil societies formed a human chain at Elliot’s beach on Oct 28, asking State Govt to protect the wetlands, rivers, environment in Ennore creek area from willful destruction of govt agencies and industries. The human chain was joined by all the walk of society irrespective of age group from kids to senior citizens who were holding placards that explain the sorry state of Ennore Creek. http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/residents-chennai-form-human-chain-save-ennore-creek-70724

The Coastal Resource Centre and members of the Save Ennore campaign organized the human chain to raise awareness in the city ahead of the monsoons about the encroachments in Ennore Creek, a backwater located in Thiruvallur district. Residents from all 52 villages in Ennore, who have witnessed the ecology die a slow death, also joined the rally, hoping that the govt would react.

Industrial effluents from the thermal power stations here and domestic sewage from North Chennai have killed various fish species. More than 1000 acres of Kosasthalaiyar River’s backwaters have already been lost due to the deposition of fly ash by the Tangedco units. http://chennai.citizenmatters.in/chennai-human-chain-ennore-creek-encroachment-2862

As per the online petition, ten Lakh Chennai residents are at higher risk of disastrous flooding because Govt of Tamil Nadu has allowed Kamarajar Port to convert 1000 acres of Ennore wetlands into industrial real estate. Chennai has barely recovered from the 2015 floods. Don’t let Chennai get flooded again.

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The petition urges citizens to tell the Govt to stop encroaching on the Ennore wetlands. The key demands of activists are listed as under

  1. Direct Kamarajar Port, NTECL or any other entities to avoid any further encroachment on any portion of the Ennore Creek.
  2. Direct NTECL to restore the areas already encroached for expansion of its ash pond in Vallur, and Kamarajar Port to restore the areas encroached for setting up its coal yard and free trade warehouse zone.
  3. Dredge the Cochrane Canal and the Buckingham Canal to their original depths, and restoring the Paraval or backwaters. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/save-ennore-creek

You can also see You Tube video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI0vz5nQ3VU to know more about the issue.

HYDRO POWER

Sikkim Greenko looking to acquire rather expensive 110 MW Chuzhachen HEP from Gati The run of the river Chuzachen project which uses water flow from the Rangpo and Rongli rivers was built at a cost of Rs1,188 cr.

Evidences continue to prove that hydro projects are unviable. “Five-six years ago, there were many players in the hydro sector. Now, most of them have pulled out of it,” said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity.

The report also mentions that hydropower projects come with their own set of problems. Their construction requires specialized technology and design. They also have to deal with geological surprises such as earthquakes, floods and landslides. Experts say that large clean energy firms are looking at an integrated energy play given the disruptions in the Indian power sector. https://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/india-greenko-talks-acquire-gati-infrastructures-sikkim-hydro-electric-project-84770/

In a separate but related development Union Power Minister R K Singh has questioned the intentions of NGOs opposing hydropower projects. He also said that the new hydropower policy will be taken up for the cabinet’s approval to address the problems faced by India’s hydropower sector. In fact this wont help the cause of Hydropower. He is starting on a wrong foot. http://www.livemint.com/Industry/7mdGeqgv6nWYkTjtwqJvMJ/There-is-no-such-thing-as-free-electricity-RK-Singh.html

Uttarakhand Experts criticize UJVNL new hydro projects rules The Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL) has framed new guidelines for its upcoming hydro projects. Distance of a km will be maintained between two projects and 15% of the river flow would be downstream to meet the requirements of the local residents.

Environmentalist Hemant Dhyani said that according to a Union water ministry’s report, 51% of Bhagirathi and 39% of Alakananda rivers have already been fragmented by mostly hydro power projects. He further added that around 120 km river stretch from Devprayag to Tehri to Koteshwar region has hydro-power projects such as Maneri Bhali I and II, Tehri dam and Koteshwar projects in the area. It seems that whatever little is left, the state govt is planning to fragment that as well for commercial gain.

What this report calls GIANT STEPS are actually retrograde steps, MoEF is already stipulating higher environment flows. No lesson seems to have been learnt, and media should be careful. Mere a km long distance between two projects shows how little UJVNL understands the rivers. In fact, solar energy is much cheaper so the state govt should leave the remaining river stretch untouched.   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/state-hydro-power-dept-learns-from-mistakes-frames-new-rules-for-upcoming-projects/articleshow/61250619.cms

DAMS

SANDRP Blog Dam Mania in India: Overview of recent developments India has better, non dam options. The just concluded monsoon was far from normal for most of the country, even though IMD declared it was normal. The dam Prime Minister declared complete on his birthday could not even be filled. The monsoon again told us loud and clear: Ground water is water lifeline of India and the only way to sustain is to harvest rainwater where it falls. It can also actually help kick start the growth, pacify angry farmers all over India among many other benefits. if only we were smart enough to see that. And smart enough to get a government that understands these realities. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/indias-dam-mania-gives-acche-din-for-dam-lobby-and-gando-vikas/  The report is published in Civil Society also http://www.civilsocietyonline.com/column/water-watch/no-logic-behind-dam-mania/

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SANDRP Letter to EAC: Pancheshwar Project should not be considered for EC The Expert Appraisal Committee (River Valley Projects) of MoEF on Oct 24, has met to consider environment clearance to the MASSIVE Pancheshwar Hydropower Project. This is SANDRP letter to the EAC, showing why EC should not be considered for the project. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/letter-to-moefs-expert-committee-why-pancheshwar-project-should-not-be-considered-for-environment-clearance/

HIMDHARA https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15f47ae3ac55fa8c?projector=1 and MATU has also objected to the EAC meeting considering the project at a short notice of one week. http://matuganga.blogspot.in/ Also see, collective Press Release on Pancheshwar Project. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1828570797170585

Another report showing how Central Govt is hurriedly pushing the disastrous project reveals that on Oct 22, UP CM Yogi Adityanath has assured to hand over land that belongs to Uttarakhand and is in the possession of his govt for expediting the dam. The assurance has reportedly come at a meeting between Adityanath and irrigation minister Satpal Maharaj on Oct 21 in which the latter stated that the Panchsehwar project cannot be started unless Uttarakhand gets ample land to rehabilitated more than 130 villages. In such a situation, Maharaj stressed, land from UP was the only solution for early expedition of the Pancheshwar dam as Uttarakhand has no alternate land pool of its own.

Recently, the PM directed the Union water resources minister to speed up work so that the project can be started in the first quarter of 2018. The UP CM was positive about finalising the share of his govt’s contribution for the Jamrani power project to be constructed on the Gaula river in Nainital district.  http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/yogi-adityanath-assures-to-give-land-to-uttarakhand-for-pancheshwar-hydel-project/story-qhPhZyczlnCL9t0qfE8HfP.html

Meanwhile, alleging wrong mapping of Saryu , a trbuatary of the Kali River, villagers to be affected by the dam on Oct 28, assembled under Mahakali ki Aawaz’ forum in Junaghat Pithoragarh and burnt copies of the DPR. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/villagers-protest-dpr-in-pancheshwar-dam/articleshow/61308719.cms

Polavaram Dam RARE, EXCELLENT PIECE ON POLAVARAM This is strange that the cost Polavaram project has gone up from Rs 10,000 crore in 2004 to Rs 58,000 crore which is expected to increase significantly as just 27 per cent work of project is complete.

338 villages on the banks of the Godavari, spread across nine mandals in Schedule-V areas will be displaced by the massive project. Three lakh people including 1.5 lakh tribals, 50,000 Dalits and around the same number of OBCs living on 10,000 acres of forest land and 1,21,975 acres of non-forest land will have to make way for it. Another 75,000 acres of land is being acquired for canals, distributaries, townships and a green belt.

This is not a WHIFF but a WHIRLWIND of indication of corruption when the cost of the project has gone up from Rs 10000 Cr to Rs 58 000 Cr in a decade and likely to escalate further, when just 27% of dam work is complete and not even assessment of impacts in Odisha and Chhattisgarh and MASSIVE FRAUD in FRA and R&R. But AMAZINGLY, PETITIONS ARE PENDING IN SC, HC and NGT, But DEAFENING SILENCE is all we get. http://www.firstpost.com/india/chandrababu-naidus-haste-over-flawed-polavaram-dam-a-concern-project-violates-forest-rights-act-say-experts-4176929.html

It looks like Andhra CM is trying to hoodwink the central leaders by showcasing Pattiseema project as the major part of the Polavaram project works to seek more funds. Even during the visit of Parliamentary Committee, too, he had played the same trick and the team members were all praise for him for completing the Pattiseema project, ignoring the actual Polavaram project.  http://www.greatandhra.com/politics/gossip/naidu-hoodwinks-gadkari-with-pattiseema-84723.html

Meanwhile, Polavaram project displaced due to the Polavaram Project are intensifying their agitation to get better compensation on the lines of the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project. The public representatives of Odisha (Mattunagari) and Chattisgarh (Kunta) states, who come under Polavaram Project area have also joined hands with the agitators for better compensation package.  http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/061017/andhra-pradesh-displaced-ryots-intensify-protest.html

On the other hand, Odisha Govt seems to be playing game of exchanging letters rather than taking legal steps to stop work, including writing to MoEF, MoWR and NGT and SC. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/oct/22/bjd-to-continue-fight-over-polavaram-dam-1679547.html

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Centre Work on 3 river-linking projects to begin in 3 months: Gadkari This has become more about money spending – how many thousand or lakh crores – is the objective, here, everything else is incidental. Environment, rivers, people, irrigation, floods, drought, pollution etc nothing matters. No democracy or even transparency. http://www.timesnownews.com/business-economy/article/work-on-three-river-linking-projects-to-begin-in-3-months-says-nitin-gadkari/113472

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Goa Coal on move, choking Goa land, water, rivers Investigation report (Part I) shows how transport of COAL in GOA is destroying the air, water, land, lives and environment of Goa, and massive quantity of MORE COAL is on the way. The people and groups in Goa are fighting, but we all need to join.

– JWS, Adani and Vedanta are three biggest corporates, the report exposes illegalities involved already. – Port had become unviable after export of iron ore was stopped.

– The coal dust is blackening lungs, pushing up incidents of respiratory disorder; it’s threatening fragile forests, paddy fields, countless streams and rivers, at one place even a tiger corridor, at least two sanctuaries, and an entire hill.

– On the proposed water route, the fishing unions are the first to sound the alarm. As per Olencio Simoes, vice-chairperson, National Fishworkers’ Forum, the dredging will collapse river beds and cause floods in neighbouring villages. Also, this will amount to violation of CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) norms as mangroves will be cut or destroyed along with the destruction of corals and reefs, turtle nesting grounds, horseshoe crab habitats, sea grass beds, mudflats, and nesting grounds of birds. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/coal-on-move-25-tonnes-a-minute-is-choking-goa-more-is-on-the-way-4904963/

IRRIGATION

Centre Land under Micro Irrigation Figure As per union agriculture minister, 8 lakh hact of land was brought under micro irrigation during 2016-17. The target for 2017-18 is 12 lakh hact. Referring to PMKSY the minister said that out of the 99 projects 23 are on the verge of completion and another 32 PMKSY project will be completed by March 2018 and the remaining by 2019. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171714

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog ‘Banks of the Lohit will shine’: Glimpses of a free-flowing river Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP provides amazing photo blog on Lohit River, one of the tributaries of Mighty Brahmaputra. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and rest of India, West Bengal and Bangladesh are riverine entities in many ways. Ancient rivers flowing through this landscape have moulded not only the mountains and the silt-heavy banks, but cultural identity of the region itself. Rivers permeate through the literature, folklore, songs, poems, cuisine, even dressing. Bhupen Hazarika, the Bard of the Brahmaputra, likened the red ripples of the Assamese Gamcha to the braided filigree of the Red River. Plz read, share and send comments. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/banks-of-the-lohit-will-shine-glimpses-of-a-free-flowing-river/

Book Review Living Rivers, Dying Rivers GREAT to see this review of Late Shri Ramaswmay Iyer Edited Book on India’s Rivers, Review by Shri Abhilash Khandekar, well known senior journalist and also Director-Anchor of ASTITVA series on LSTV. This is not an over statement. “Well, Indian rivers are facing extinction. A systematic killing of the rivers has been going on for over decades and its worst impact is being seen now when river after river is giving way to sprawling cities and dams. Soon the relationship between a ‘river’ and its water will be part of a fable. Such is the hopeless situation. http://booklink.in/news-events/88-latest-news/344-know-your-lifegiving-rivers.html#.Wd76ZAzd88A.gmail

Centre Fund of Rs 14,124 cr approved for 464 projects in 8 Smart Cities in Northeast Rs 826 cr for Brahmaputra River front Development Project, among the 464 projects at total cost of Rs 14,124 Crores. The eight cities of the Northeastern region selected as Smart Cities are: Guwahati (Assam), Imphal (Manipur), Agartala (Tripura), Kohima (Nagaland), Aizawl (Mizoram), Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Gangtok and Namchi (both Sikkim). While no city from Meghalaya was chosen for the Smart City list, Arunachal CM has been pressing the Centre for also including Itanagar for the Smart City project. The ministry of urban development provides an assistance of Rs 500 crore per Smart City over a period of five years. http://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/assam/fund-of-rs-14124-crore-approved-for-464-projects-in-8-smart-cities-in-northeast-hardeep-singh-puri-4907785/

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Jammu & Kashmir UNPRECEDENTED LOW WATER LEVELS IN JHULUM RIVER  As per the report, on October 18, Kashmir’s Irrigation and Flood Control (IFC) department, which monitors water levels in River Jhelum, posted on its facebook page that gauge reading of -0.65 feet was the lowest gauge ever recorded at the Sangam site, a benchmark recording station for Jhelum’s water levels in south Kashmir near the river’s source at Verinag.

– There has been no rainfall in October so far and just 14mm rainfall in September against a normal 32 mm for both months. Over 50 small and large water supply schemes are currently suffering under the lowest ever flows in the region’s main river, the Jhelum. This is in Sopore, Baramullah and Pompore districts.

– Shakil Romshoo, head Earth Sciences department at Kashmir University says that if, you look at the time series of the observed discharge for the Jhelum since the 1960s, there is significant decline in the discharge of the Jhelum since 1990s and this is attributed to the loss of glacier mass in the Kashmir basin. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/10/23/water-levels-in-jhelum-lowest-ever-recorded/

Similarly the flood vulnerability situation in river Jehlum basin has increased manifold during the last few decades, and environmental experts mainly attribute this, to the shrinking and loss of wetlands. http://risingkashmir.com/news/jehlums-flood-vulnerability-increases-manifold-due-to-shrinking-of-wetlands

Kerala Central Travancore fast becoming a graveyard of rivers A study report, prepared by Dr. Ajay Kumar Varma and his team, gives just another 15 years for the Achencoil, 20 years for the Manimala, 45 years for the Meenachil, 30 years for the Muvattupuzha, and 15 to 20 years for the Chalakudy rivers. Degradation of virgin forests in the catchment areas, unscientific sand-mining, degradation of tributaries, pollution caused by garbage, and illegal fishing using poison, dynamite, etc. are posing major threats to these once vibrant river systems of region comprising Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and parts of Alappuzha. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/experts-predict-death-of-6-rivers/article19941417.ece

GANGA Uttarakhand NGT to fine Govt 10 lakh over Ganga pollution NGT warns the govt and other stakeholders to be ready to face a fine of ₹10 lakh as environmental compensation and penalty for not complying with its orders.

In a separate matter, the govt told the NGT that it was in the process of carrying out a ground survey for construction of a ropeway to the Kedarnath shrine. The plea was filed an NGO, which claimed that unregulated flying of helicopters over Kedarnath sanctuary had impacted wildlife in the area. This is when PM has recently announced all weather roads to facilitate religious pilgrimage to shrines located in ecologically sensitive areas. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ngt-raps-uttarakhand-over-ganga/article19920955.ece  

Around 40 MLD of untreated effluents are being discharged by industries and other sources into the Ganga in Haridwar every day. A 40 MLD STP planned at a cost of Rs 71.40 crore and approved by NMCG at Jagjitpur in Haridwar is still lying incomplete.

There has been negligible action against hydro power companies that defaulted on the order to check waste disposal into the Ganga. Pollution Control Board has not submitted any report on action taken by it against these hydro power companies for not following its instructions.

Similar is the case with hundreds of ashrams and hotels operating in the belt from Gangotri to Haridwar, but the board failed to give a clear status of its action taken against establishments and people who dump all sorts of waste directly into the rivers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ngt-wants-strict-monitoring-of-funds-for-ganga-cleaning/articleshow/61278373.cms

According to Nitin Gadakari about 3000 MLD sewage from 97 cities on Ganga banks are the biggest source of pollution. Of this, 1750 MLD sewage comes from just 10 cities. He said 34 projects worth Rs 3581 crore had been sanctioned for Ganga cleaning between 2008-2014, while 56 projects worth Rs 9630 crore have been approved since 2014 till date. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171600

Uttar Pradesh Devotees say not enough water for Ganga snan in Bijnor With only 12,000 cusec water in Ganga in Bijnor ahead of “Ganga snan”, devotees may not have enough water for a holy dip. As per officials earlier, the Ganga used to flow 2,500 metres from Vidur Kuti while now, it is flows 2,800 metres from the same spot. Ganga has changed its course and deviated towards Hastinapur side. However sources claimed that the flow of water in the Ganga has declined as it is being released into canals for irrigation purpose. For centuries, the Ganga snan fair has been held at Vidur Kuti. This year, the will commence on October 31 and continue till November 4, the day of the holy dip. Around 2.5 lakh devotees are expected to turn up here to celebrate the festival. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/devotees-say-not-enough-water-for-ganga-snan-in-bijnor/articleshow/61279088.cms

Similarly a study conducted by Neelima Gupta, professor at Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (MJP) Rohilkhand University reveals that anthropogenic activities during Chaubari fair releases many pollutants into the river which have adverse effect on the ecosystem. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/pollution-of-ramganga-highest-during-chaubari-fair-study/articleshow/61310696.cms

YAMUNA Delhi NGT continue to rap govt agencies The green court has yet again  rapped the authorities saying that except for shifting blame, the stakeholders, including the city govt, had no reasons to offer in support of their “inaction and non-cooperation” for completing the project. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/yamuna-cleaning-project-ngt-raps-delhi-government-jal-board/article19906352.ece

Meanwhile environmentalists are worried over increase in pollution in river during Chath festivals. Immersion during Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja has already led to pollution levels soaring in the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/already-polluted-river-braces-for-yet-another-onslaught/articleshow/61231458.cms

Uttar Pradesh Rubber dam would not help Yamuna river After a spot inspection CM Yogi Adityanath on Oct 26 announced that a rubber dam – first of its kind in the state- will be constructed across river Yamuna downstream at Nagla Paima about 5 km from Taj Mahal. Besides discussing technicalities of the Rs 350-crore project, he directed officials to ensure time-bound implementation of the project. After completion of rubber dam, plans are afoot to develop a riverfront for promotion of tourism. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/cm-announces-rs-350cr-rubber-barrage-on-yamuna/articleshow/61250884.cms

WETLANDS

The Pallikaranai marsh in the southern part of the city with streams draining into it (Photo by S. Gopikrishna Warrier)

Tamil Nadu Encroached wetlands, cut trees increase climate risks in Chennai While we need sponge cities, we are actually going in opposite direction as this report from Chennai illustrates. Using historical geo-spatial data, Care Earth Trust has developed maps that show the relationship of water bodies to built-up area in the city and the green cover within the city. As the blue (of the wetlands and water bodies) and green (vegetation cover) decreased in the past three decades over the Chennai metropolitan area, the red of built up area increased. http://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2017/10/23/landscape-changes-increase-climate-risks-chennai/

Meanwhile the state govt has notified committees for the protection of the wetlands. This seems largely following the Supreme Court directions, but unless the committees have credible independent non govt persons, at least 50% of the members, there is little hope for improvement. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/govt-notifies-committees-for-protection-of-wetlands/article19892946.ece

West Bengal NGT orders demolition Ravi Shankar’s building on wetlands The tribunal’s eastern zonal bench, in its October 25 order, asked the East Kolkata Wetlands  Management Authority (EKWMA) to demolish a three-storied building belonging to spiritual guru Ravi Shankar’s organisation Vaidic Dharma Sansthan (VDS) within three months and also consider imposing a penalty.

VDS had ignored notices sent by EKWMA and built the structure since July-August 2015. Despite having powers, EKWMA did not demolish the illegal building, following which an NGO, PUBLIC filed a petition before the green tribunal in 2016.

During the course of the hearing at the NGT, Vaidic Dharma Sansthan filed a writ petition in the Calcutta high court of Calcutta, which ordered EKWMA to give VDS a hearing.

Following the hearing, the EKWMA concluded that the construction was raised on farmland, which is illegal, and was also done without permission from the EKWMA and civic authorities. On October 24, EKWMA said that the application of VDS had no merit. The next day, NGT issued the demolition order. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ngt-orders-demolition-of-building-of-ravi-shankar-s-charitable-body-in-kolkata-wetlands/story-5frmmLP7ic5TRXYSMzYWwO.html

GROUND WATER

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Centre  New Draft Guidelines could wreck havoc with Groundwater Though the CGWA claimed that the new move would mitigate or minimise discriminatory practices in regulation, water experts differed from it and said that the new guidelines would go towards privatisation of the common property resource.

As per Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP, these guidelines will further destroy our groundwater lifeline, bringing the crisis much faster than it would have been without this. He further added that the district and state level entities have no capacity to understand the implications of giving NOCs. Thakkar termed these guidelines unscientific explaining that there is no assessment as to how much water is available in each aquifer. Without all these assessments in each block, such blanket permission ‘raj’ has no science and therefore it will lead to further destruction of groundwater lifeline of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/govt-proposes-new-guidelines-for-groundwater-extraction/articleshow/61190088.cms?from=mdr

Similarly, after allowing 16 thermal power plants to exceed the legal limits of air pollution, the MoEF has now relaxed the rules on the amount of water that the new units consume. As opposed to an earlier cap of 2.5 cubic metre of water per MW-hour, the diluted rules allow plants to use up to 3 cubic metre per MW-hour. This means a new thermal plant with a capacity of 1000 MWs that is operating at 80% efficiency will now be allowed to consume about 21 million cubic meters of water a year, instead of 17.5 million cubic metre. The additional amount is enough to irrigate 700 hectares of land a year. https://scroll.in/article/855829/government-dilutes-norms-to-allow-thermal-power-plants-to-use-more-water

Punjab Defunct tubewells to be used to recharge ground water Mohali Municipal Corporation (MMC) and Greater Mohali Area Development Authority have decided to use the defunct tube wells to recharge the ground water by fixing the rainwater harvesting system on them using the bore well pipe. Similarly MMC is also working on the same lines and has identified 42 such non-functional tube wells under public health department. According to the central groundwater research report for Mohali district, net groundwater availability for future irrigation development is facing a deficit of 1,379 hectare-metre. The stage of groundwater development for the district is 102%. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/defunct-tubewells-to-be-used-to-recharge-ground-water/articleshow/61252358.cms

Haryana Groundwater table falling so is number of complaints According to an RTI response, 12 cases of illegal boring have been registered with the district’s groundwater cell till now in this year and one case has been registered against ‘sale and supply’ of groundwater. Last year, 36 cases were registered, while 22 came to light in 2015. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/water-table-dipping-but-only-13-violations-on-record-this-year/articleshow/61312885.cms

DELHI WATER

Study NCR lost 40% of its water bodies A study by the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at IIT Delhi found that Water bodies have decreased by a steep 40% in the national capital region (NCR) as a result of rapid urbanisation between 1972 and 2014, when the region saw a 17-fold rise in urban built-up areas. The assessments were done by tracking the land use change in NCR for five years representative of 5 decades – 1972, 1981, 1993, 2003 and 2014 – using satellite images. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/ncr-lost-40-of-its-water-bodies-in-42-years-study/articleshow/61177634.cms

दिल्ली जल बोर्ड बदहाल आपूर्ति, तरक्की पर भ्रष्टाचार Arun Tiwari writes (In Hindi) about falling quality and increasing corruption in Delhi Water Supply. https://panipost.in/2017/10/delhi-jal-board-poor-supply-corruption-on-rise/

In another important development NGT has warned DMRC that if they do not comply with its orders in stopping use of groundwater without permission, NGT would consider stopping metro services. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/stop-metro-services-if-order-not-complied-with-ngt-4908349/

Experts have also criticised Delhi Govt plan to spray water to reduce the air pollution saying that there is water scarcity in the city, the plan is costly and can cause pollution of ground and surface water sources. It is surprising they advocate cloud seedling. https://scroll.in/article/855493/delhi-government-wants-to-sprinkle-water-from-helicopters-to-reduce-air-pollution-is-it-feasible

AGRICULTURE

Maharashtra Marathwada women farmers This is some inspiring examples from Marathawada widows how they are fighting back from brink after their husband committed suicide. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/how-marathwadas-farm-widows-are-turning-their-lives-around/articleshow/61313341.cms

SOUTH ASIA

India lines up power projects to strengthen link with South, South East Asia A memorandum of understanding for trilateral hydropower cooperation among Bangladesh, India and Bhutan is expected to be signed soon. India had earlier agreed to facilitate import of electricity to Bangladesh from hydro projects in Nepal.

The MoU for Indo-Bhutan-Bangladesh energy partnership is proposed to be signed in presence of the prime ministers of the three countries, according to people aware of the matter. The MoU between NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited and Bangladesh Power Development Board for the supply of 500 mw hydropower from the 900 mw Upper Karnali Hydropower plant in Nepal was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in April 2017. At present there are two interconnections through which 660 mw of power is transferred from India to Bangladesh. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-lines-up-projects-to-strengthen-links-with-south-southeast-asia/articleshow/61191813.cms

Rivers are invaluable to South East Asia INTERESTING QUESTION: HOW MANY DIFFERENT WAYS CAN YOU MEASURE A RIVER?

“Perhaps the most important – and largely overlooked – measure of a river is its value to the economy and wellbeing of a nation, a region, and its people. Simply put, large healthy, productive rivers like the Mekong and Ayeyarwady are unifying geographic features that serve as economic juggernauts, essential to long term growth and in maintaining the quality of life for millions of people.”

“These (FLOOD) benefits are valued annually at US$8 billion (K10.8 trillion) to $10 billion, while floods in the Lower Mekong basin cause a much lower $60 million to $70 million in damage every year.”

“Floods and sediment are the artisans of river systems. If you lose them you are left to human-engineered solutions. That is now the only option for the US government in the Mississippi River. A $50-billion programme has just been launched to rehabilitate the Mississippi delta. Conserving the natural processes that created it in the first place would have been a much more cost efficient option.” https://www.mmtimes.com/news/rivers-are-invaluable-south-east-asia.html

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Nepal Budhi Gandaki dam affected people warns to boycott polls Arughat villagers facing displacement due to construction of the 1200 Mw Budhigandaki Hydropower Project, have warned to boycott upcoming provincial and federal elections if the govt fails to provide compensation to ease their resettlement process. The project is expected to affect over 8,000 households in Dhading and Gorkha districts. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-10-29/locals-affected-by-budhi-gandaki-hydro-project-warn-to-boycott-polls.html

International Rivers China stalls Zangbo hydro project on Brahmaputra Some interesting insights here: One of the Chinese representatives apprised the gathering that the People’s Republic of China had replaced their model of natural resource exploitation in the last five years, recognizing the growing need for environmental and spiritual conservation. As per a researcher, plans have been executed to minimize Chinese mining in the Tibetan region, and apart from the commissioned Zangmu hydropower project, all other planned projects on the Yarlung Zangbo have been stalled. https://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/433/the-time-is-ripe-for-a-brahmaputra-river-treatise

On the contrary there is an interesting report that quotes a news report in South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoting anonymous source, saying China is testing a technique to build tunnels in high altitudes, that CAN BE used to transfer water from Yarlung Tsangpo to Xinjiang, desert area in Northern China.

“The water diversion project in central Yunnan is a demonstration project. It is to show we have the brains, muscle, and tools to build super-long tunnels in hazardous terrains, and the cost does not break the bank,” Zhang Chuanqing, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, told the SCMP. Chuanqing, according to the newspaper, has played a key role in many major Chinese water tunnel projects. https://qz.com/1114843/chinas-grand-plan-for-the-brahmaputra-a-1000km-tunnel-to-divert-water-away-from-tibet/

CLIMATE CHANGE

Maharashtra Marathwada in top 10 highly vulnerable districts in state FINALLY, MUCH DELAYED Maharashtra Climate Policy and Plan has been announced on Oct 26, seems like it has been formulated by TERI. SANDRP in the past had critically reviewed the slow progress of this policy formulation and it seems to have been decided largely in non participatory way.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/marathwada-in-top-10-highly-vulnerable-districts-in-state/articleshow/61251658.cms

ENVIRONMENT

MoEF Facing green norms violation charges AOL to train MoEF The Environment Ministry has nominated 36 officers from different states and asked the state forest departments to ensure that “they are relieved in time” for the course. YOU MAY NOT BELIEVE, BUT THIS IS TRUE. UNDER THIS GOVT ONE CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHERE ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE WILL GO. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/under-ngt-scrutiny-sri-sri-ravi-shankar-art-of-living-to-train-environment-ministry-staff-4908478/

Assam Fisherfolks asked not to catch Hilsa Fish Local fishermen are catching tonnes of hilsa (also known as ilish) fish in the Brahmaputra near Tilapara, south of Chandardinga Hill, beside Chapar, in Dhubri district. This is the breeding season for the hilsas and catching hilsa is banned in neighbouring Bangladesh during this season. According to sources in the Fisheries Department, the Department has requested the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) concerned to take steps locally to prevent the practice of catching hilsa fish during this breeding season. The District Fisheries Development Officers have also been asked to take up the matter in due earnest with their respective DCs. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=oct2017/state054

There is COMPLAINT AGAINST RIVER FISHERFOLK IN W BENGAL after Assam that they are catching Hilsa, during their spawning time, when Bangaldesh fisherfolk observe ban.

“The fisheries department is in a quandary as fishermen have been indiscriminately catching Hilsa from the Ganga in Murshidabad, ignoring a ban on catching the fish between September 15 to October 24 because it is their spawning time.” https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/west-bengal/hilsa-worry-for-govt-181074

Goa Govt to cut fishermen subsidy The state govt is considering transferring a part of fuel subsidy of fishermen to consumers in order to provide cheaper fish to people. As per Fisheries Minister Vinod Palyekar despite subsidy to the tune of Rs 108 crore in the last five years, Goans do not get fish at affordable rates in the local markets, as a major part of the fish catch is being exported. Goa govt seems unhappy with fisher people, threatens to withdraw subsidy. http://www.navhindtimes.in/palyekar-mulling-cut-in-fishermen-subsidy-to-provide-cheaper-fish/

DRP 3

Manipur Govt invites women for fish feast Married women are invited for a fish feast on Oct 21 (Ningol Chakouba, the biggest and unique non-religious festival of Manipur). Govt was apprehensive that fish catch will be low due to multiple (at least five occasions in last two months) flood events last monsoon, but were relieved that fish farmers came up with over 85000 kg of fish in the market. http://www.nagalandpost.com/ChannelNews/Regional/RegionalNews.aspx?news=TkVXUzEwMDEyMjY3OA%3D%3D

Maharashtra Govt to involve coastal villages protect mangroves forest The destruction of mangrove forests across the state and construction within 50m of mangrove areas was banned by the Bombay high court in 2005, after a PIL was filed by Bombay Environment Action Group. In 2014, after Vanashakti filed another PIL on the protection of wetlands, the high court banned all reclamation and construction on wetlands.

– To protect the state’s mangrove forests, the government is mulling to take help from the residents of 60 coastal villages. Maharashtra has 15,088 hectares of mangroves.

– Last month, the government announced a new policy to protect mangroves on public and private land by creating ‘mangrove co-management committees’, which will include residents from villages located near the mangrove forests along the 720-km long coastline. These committees will be responsible for protecting the forests and using resources to generate jobs locally.

– “The committees will prepare a long-term plan for conserving mangroves in their areas and take necessary action to protect and grow them,” read the government resolution (GR).

– Officials from state mangrove cell said by December 15, elections will be held in each village to select [60] members of the executive committee, which are expected to submit their first report by March. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-to-involve-coastal-villages-protect-state-s-mangrove-forests/story-dJ1dGtCM2YnFqr7p6n4r6H.html

Study At 2.5 million, India tops list of pollution-linked deaths As per Lancet study, India has topped the list of countries with pollution-related deaths in 2015, with 2.51 million people dying prematurely in the country that year due to diseases linked to air, water and other forms of pollution.

The study found that India accounted for about 28 per cent of an estimated 9 million pollution-linked deaths worldwide in 2015. It also topped the list of deaths linked to polluted air (1.81 million) and water (0.64 million).

According to The Lancet report, air pollution was the biggest contributor, linked to 6.5 million deaths in 2015, ahead of water pollution (1.8 million) and workplace-related pollution (0.8 million).

China (1.58 million) was placed after India in deaths linked to air-pollution, followed by Pakistan (0.22 million), Bangladesh (0.21 million) and Russia (0.14 million). In deaths linked to water pollution, Nigeria (0.16 million) and Pakistan (74,000) were placed after India.

The Lancet study concluded that pollution is now the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today — three times more those from HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria put together.

With 9 million deaths in 2015, diseases caused by all forms of pollution were responsible for more deaths than a high-sodium diet (4.1 million), obesity (4 million), alcohol (2.3 million), road accidents (1.4 million), and child and maternal malnutrition (1.4 million). http://indianexpress.com/article/india/at-2-5-million-india-tops-list-of-pollution-linked-deaths-study-4898337/

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 23 October 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 16 October 2017 

 

 

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