Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 29, 2015



Constructing new dams will hinder mission to clean Ganga, says Uma Bharti Flagging her concerns against the major culprit (hydro-power projects), the Union water resources minister Uma Bharti has asked different ministries including environment and power to take a cautious approach while allowing construction of any new dam on the river. Her ministry is particularly against the six contentious hydro power projects in Uttarakhand which, it thinks, would severely affect the e-flow of the Ganga. Environmentalists had already pitched for scrapping of such projects that they believe may lead to another June, 2013-like disaster in the region. (June 24, 2015: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/pollution/Constructing-new-dams-will-hinder-mission-to-clean-Ganga-says-Uma-Bharti/articleshow/47793769.cms) Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 29, 2015”

Dams · Krishna River · Maharashtra · Marathwada · Ministry of Environment and Forests

Krishna Marathwada Scheme receives Environmental Clearance WITHOUT Water Availability!

Why is the Maharashtra Govt and the MoEF misleading people of Marathwada?

Press Release 29.06.15

On the 24th June 2015, the Union Ministry for Forests, Environment and Climate Change (MoEF for short) granted Environmental Clearance[1] to Krishna Marathwada Lift Irrigation Scheme for diverting 23.66 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet) water from Krishna 1 Sub basin to Krishna 3 Sub basin of Krishna River Basin. The media has reported the development as a “Respite for Marathwada”.

However, as SANDRP had written to the MoEF several times[2], this Environment clearance is based on non-existent water availability and a misleading EIA[3] by Science and Technology Park, University of Pune. Continue reading “Krishna Marathwada Scheme receives Environmental Clearance WITHOUT Water Availability!”

Urban Water Sector

Smart Cities need Smart Governance more than heavy infrastructure

The Center has just unveiled Implementation Guidelines of three of its biggest schemes so far 100 Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All today. Stocks of Home Finance Companies are buzzing already. Construction company heads (who have invested heavily in creating urban holidays homes in rural villages) are happy, Industry analysts are excited about the explosive growth of “Cement, plastic and metal” this initiative will lead to, rather than the Mission itself. While the Prime Minister today said “development can’t create friction between cities and  rural areas”, such conflict is already simmering in several parts of country at the urban-rural divide, where rural areas are sinks for urban waste or sites for dams and power plants. Continue reading “Smart Cities need Smart Governance more than heavy infrastructure”

Dams · Hydropower · Monsoon · Uttarakhand

Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 22, 2015


HIMACHAL: Himachal Pradesh engineers blames untrained engineers and human errors responsible for growing numbers of hydro power project mishaps (15 June 2015) HP engineers say that the board was suffering these losses as they lacked the trained engineers. The limited staff is under pressure to perform technical duties and pressure mount on them as the government was not serious about filling the posts, said Lokesh Thakur, general secretary, HP Power Engineers’ Association, expressing anguish over the death of three engineers, two of whom worked in the HPSEBL.http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/lack-of-trained-engineers-to-blame/94204.html Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 22, 2015”

Alaknanda · Bhagirathi · Floods · Ganga · Mandakini · Ministry of Environment and Forests · Uttarakhand

Two years of Uttarakhand Flood Disaster of June 2013: Why is state & centre gambling with the Himalayas, the Ganga & lives of millions?

Its two years since Uttarakhand faced its worst ever flood disaster during June 15-17, 2013. We remember such tragedies to ensure that we learn the necessary lessons. So that in future such tragedies are not repeated or their dimensions are reduced. One of the enduring debates since that the Uttarakhand tragedy has been about the role of existing and under construction hydropower projects in increasing the proportions of the disaster.

A lot of water has flown down the Ganga in these two years, so let us revisit the important milestones of that debate. Within two months of the disaster, a bench led by Justice Radhakrishnan gave an order on Aug 13, 2013[1], asking the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to appoint an independent panel to assess the role played by existing and under construction hydropower projects in the disaster. Continue reading “Two years of Uttarakhand Flood Disaster of June 2013: Why is state & centre gambling with the Himalayas, the Ganga & lives of millions?”


Book Review: Why call Ganga a Machine?

Guest Blog by Ramya Swayamprakash (ramya.swayamprakash@gmail.com)

BOOK REVIEW: Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River. Anthony Acciavatti; Applied Research + Design Publishing, 402 pp, March 15, 2015. ISBN: 9780982622612

I stumbled upon The Ganges Water Machine while looking for literature on urbanization and rivers in India. Written by architectural historian Anthony Acciavatti, the book is the result of a decade long journey through the Ganges basin, “an atlas — a dynamic atlas — of the Ganges Machine: a collection of transects that expose the juxtaposing layers of infrastructure and adjoining landforms” (P8). At a time, when the Ganges is seeing a surge of talk (and perhaps activity) about cleaning the river, this book is a timely inquiry in to how the Ganges river basin came to be the vast agrarian landscape that it is. This is perhaps the first time, the spatial dimensions of the multifarious historical and material processes at play in the Ganges basin with regards to irrigation have been explored. Continue reading “Book Review: Why call Ganga a Machine?”

Climate Change · Dams · Environment · Ganga · Narmada · Rivers · Sand Mining

Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin June 15, 2015


Nothing covert about it: We think of northeast India only as a frontier (12 June 2015) BRILLIANT and yet VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING piece from Nitin Sethi: “Take the case of dams in Himalayas. The religious value of Ganga for us in the mainland forces governments to at least pretend to save the river and the people around it from the contract and concrete driven madness. But the same governments do not think twice about displacing entire cultures that flourish in the Brahmaputra basin building the same bumper to bumper dams on the Brahmaputra basin, bending rules regulations and policies for ‘strategic interests’. The irony is lost on us when we cordon leftover lands of these cultures in ‘compensation’ for the loss of ‘India’s’ wildlife and forests to the inundation that follows… We govern their homelands like a frontier – sending out-of-favour governors and officials on punishment postings.” http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/nothing-covert-about-it-we-think-of-northeast-india-only-as-a-frontier-115061200799_1.html

Hydropower: Down to a trickle (10 June 2013) Uttarakhand flashflood put a fresh spanner in the works amid concerns over climate change and its impact on rainfall and on river flow and its patterns, which in turn may have an impact on plans for hydropower generation. Most of India’s hydropower potential falls in seismic zone 5, a region classified as highly vulnerable to high-intensity quakes. Even among green projects, hydro takes top billing. In March, during the first half of the Budget session, power, coal and renewables minister Piyush Goyal admitted in the Lok Sabha that uncertainties in the hydropower sector were keeping investors away. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/hydropower-down-to-a-trickle/#sthash.72LEpqvn.dpuf

NORTH-EAST:  Activists in  Arunachal Pradesh  oppose Centre’s plans  to build dams on Siang river  (12 June 2015) Very apt: “”on the one hand you are diligently busy in Clean Ganga and Save Ganga and on the other hand you are planning a disaster on Siang sitting at Delhi.  ” The forum’s general secretary     Oyar Gao also raised the issue of the river’s sanctity saying that the Siang is referred to as Aane (mother) in the same manner as Ganga Maiya.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47642482.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin June 15, 2015”

Alaknanda · Hydropower

श्रीनगर जलविद्युत परियोजना पर 2013 की तबाही के दो सालों बाद की रिपोर्ट मई 2015

Guest Blog by विमलभाई (bhaivimal@gmail.com)

उत्तराखंड में अलकनंदा नदी पर 330 मेगावाट की श्रीनगर जलविद्युत परियोजना बनाने वाली जी0वी0के0 बांध कम्पनी द्वारा लापरवाही से श्रीनगर बांध की मिट्टी डंप नहीं कि गई होती तो जून 2013 में नदी का पानी केवल घरों एंव अन्य जगहों पर आता किन्तु मलबा नहीं आता। लोग अभी तक दो सालों के बाद भी मानसिक, शारीरिक एवं आर्थिक रूप से परेशान एवं अस्त-व्यस्त ना होते।

वैसे श्रीनगर बांध निर्माण में पूर्व से ही काफी कमियां रही हैं तथा इसके पर्यावरणीय पहलुओं पर लोग इलेक्ट्रोनिक व प्रिंट मीडिया के माध्यम से कहते रहे हैं। जी0वी0के0 कम्पनी पर मुकदमें भी हुये, जिनमें से कुछ अभी भी चल रहे हैं। जी0वी0के0 कम्पनी की लापरवाही मीडिया व कई व्यक्तियों द्वारा प्रश्न उठाये गये जो लगातार सच साबित हुये हैं। आज स्थिति यह है कि बांध के खिलाफ केस भी चालू है और बांध कंपनी ने विद्युत उत्पादन भी करना आरंभ कर दिया है।

Continue reading “श्रीनगर जलविद्युत परियोजना पर 2013 की तबाही के दो सालों बाद की रिपोर्ट मई 2015”

Dams, Rivers & People

Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 8, 2015


Hydro power to be stressed due to deficit monsoon this year: Piyush Goyal (03 June 2015) The minister rightly mentions that failed monsoon on one hand will curtail power generation from hydro plants on the other it will increase energy demands significantly as farmers would require more energy to run their pumps.                        http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/hydro-power-to-be-stressed-due-to-deficit-monsoon-this-year-piyush-goyal-115060300994_1.html

NORTH-EAST: Broken Homes and Dry Springs (06 June 2015) International Rivers’ Bharat Lal Seth on impact of tunneling and blasting for hydropower projects in Sikkim: http://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/328-17 Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 8, 2015”

Dams · Western Ghats · Wetlands

Remembering Wetlands on World Environment Day

Above: Wetlands in Western Ghats Photo: Parineeta Dandekar

On this World Environment Day, a number of images leap to mind from the past year: Prime Minister of India performing the famous Ganga Arati after elections to new species of fish and frogs discovered (again) from Western Ghats. From TSR Subramaniam justifying his Committee Report which seeks to disintegrate the environmental governance of the country to Jadav Payang, single-handedly planting thousands of trees in Assam.  From the filthy Yamuna flowing through the national capital to the unseasonal rains that damaged crops of millions of farmers. Continue reading “Remembering Wetlands on World Environment Day”