This report discusses a few of the significant issues in the Jhelum and Chenab basin two of the main tributaries of the Indus and provides the readers a snapshot of the issues confronting the water resources development in the basins. On the basis of these factors, the health and status of the Jhelum and Chenab basins is determined using an assessment matrix providing qualitative weights to each of the indicators and influencing factors to arrive at the overall score of the river categorizing a riverscape as healthy, sick and dying.
Finally on World Environment Day, Swami Shivanand has withdrawn[I] his fast unto death agitation. It was thirteenth day of his indefinite hunger strike including six days of water fast (from May 25 – 30, 2017) against illegal mining in Ganga.
The saint ended his protest around 6pm on June 05, 2017, only after receiving written assurance from the Central Government. As per information, referring to Matri Sandan repeated pleas, UP Singh Director General of National Mission for Clean Ganga has accepted that there were violations[II] of rules specially Rule No. V of Environment Protection Act during mining in Ganga. Subsequently he has asked Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board initiate criminal proceedings against the officials[III] concerned for non-compliance of the rules.
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.
The state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of the state of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. The total area of CG state is 135,100 sq km. The state has been divided into 27 districts. The total human population of the state is 27.94 million.
Climate: The climate of Chhattisgarh is tropical. It is hot and humid because of its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and its dependence on the monsoons for rains. Summer temperatures in Chhattisgarh can reach 45 °C (113 °F). The monsoon season is from late June to October and is a welcome respite from the heat.
About Madhya Pradesh
The state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) was bifurcated in the year 2000. The total area of MP state is 3,08,245 sq. km. The state has been divided into 50 districts and 342 sub districts. The total human population of the state is 725.97 million. (2011 census) with a decadal growth rate of 20.3%. Key centres of growth are around the urban centres of Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur.
It has a subtropical climate. Hot dry summer extends from April to June followed by monsoon from July to September and winter months (November to February) are cool and relatively dry. The average rainfall is about 1,370 mm and it decreases from east to west. Summer mean maximum temperature rises to about 42.5 deg C in northern parts and the average temperature during winters is as low as 10 Deg C again in the north while it varies from 10 – 15 deg C in the south. (Source: Gosain et al in Climate Change in Madhya Pradesh: A Compendium of Expert Views – II)
This is about two states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (the latter being 29th Indian state formed in 2013 after a protracted struggle). Since the discussion is on the state of rivers, it may be noted that these are two states whose historical trajectory is intrinsically linked to the history of, mainly, two major rivers—Krishna and Godavari, although the two states have many other rivers.
In fact, Telangana, was created after many years of struggle and out of one basic river-water discourse: over the utilisation of Godavari river and unequal development of the Godavari delta region vis-à-vis Telangana on account of the numerous irrigation projects and hydro-power projects commissioned and implemented in the coastal Andhra region.
In the wake of the recent contention between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the resolution over utilisation of the other river, Krishna, the state of rivers in Andhra Pradesh cannot be seen without addressing the same in Telangana, which have a historical trajectory that necessitates an understanding of the two states together while discussing rivers.
To some extent, this report looks at the politics over rivers and the contemporary development paradigm, involving construction of hydro-electric projects and several subsidiary projects using rivers, as one of the major threats to the life of rivers. These projects also add to pollution, displacement, protracted battles, sometimes involving violence, such as the one we are witnessing over Cauvery river between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where even Tribunals seem to have failed.