Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin: June 1, 2015

SANDRP logo (1)

Dams, Rivers & People News Update (22-31 May 2015)



Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Earth Science
02-June-2015 15:20 IST

Dr Harsh Vardhan Says – “It’s not Just an Unusually Hot Summer, It is a Climate Change”

He Unveiled a High Performance Computing Facility for Weather Forecast Today

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Earth Sciences, has cautioned against complacency towards climate change. He has described the ongoing extreme heat situation and back-to-back deficient monsoon phenomenon as manifestations of climate change.

While dedicating the country’s high performance computing (HPC) facility –named “Bhaskara” at the National Centre for Medium Range Forecasting (NCMRWF)
— in Noida today Minister told reporters that the 2nd stage long range forecast of monsoon has been prepared and it indicates that  :

  1. Rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be deficient with 88± 4% of Long Period Average.
  2. Region wise, the season rainfall is likely to be 85% of Long Period Average(LPA) over North-West India, 90% of LPA over Central India, 92% of LPA over South Peninsula and 90% of LPA over North-East India all with a model error of ± 8 %.
  3. Onset over Kerala is likely to take place around 5th June.

Other details of the Long Range Forecast released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) today are athttp://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/eng_lrf2.pdf

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that -“World leaders are already speaking out on the link between freaky weather and climate change. So, let us not fool ourselves that there is no connection between the unusual number of deaths from the ongoing heat wave and the certainty of another failed monsoon,”.  He recalled President Obama’s candid statement on the three-year-running drought in California which has ruined that state’s fruit crop. The British Prime Minister, James Cameron, has similarly commented on the floods experienced in his country in 2014.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “I am a man of science and cannot be blind to the fact that both the south-west and north-east monsoons failed in 2014. For 2015,
today the IMD’s prediction of an overall 93 percent probability of a weak monsoon is a worrying cause for all of us. The onset has been delayed by a week already and there is no certainty on when the ideal parameters will be in place for the monsoon to arrive.”

He pointed out that the Indian monsoon is known to be heavily dependent on oceanic, atmospheric and land surface conditions. The drastic changes brought about through change of the character of land and resultant atmospheric pollution are definitely influencing the monsoon.

Dr Harsh Vardhan remarked, “Scientists till now had not considered the local implications of global change. Think global act local is happening now.”

The Ministry of Earth Sciences has acquired cutting edge capacity for predicting monsoons. Recently a polar remotely operated vehicle (PROV) was put to work in the glaciers of northern Antarctica as it is acknowledged that through the reading of currents there it is possible to understand the south-west monsoon better.

“Bhaskara”, which is housed in the National Centre for Medium Range Forecasting (NCMRWF), is a part of the Earth System Science Organisation of the Ministry of Earth Sciences. It will considerably enhance prediction capabilities like tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall events, cloud burst events and monsoon, using very high resolution regional models.

While pointing out that global agencies have predicted that drought conditions might grip especially the western states Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the government is seized of the situation and is putting in place adequate measures.

“I am aware that the reliability of weather forecasting is gradually improving now. However, in coming years it will improve further with development of new technologies and its effective use. The increased uncertainty associated with the prediction is in itself a sign of climate change,” the Minister admitted.

“Bhaskara” shall also boost the computing requirements of all ESSO institutions. The present augmentation shall enable ESSO-NCMRWF to provide very high resolution 10 days deterministic weather forecasts and probabilistic forecasts from a 44 member ensemble prediction system within the generally accepted time window of about 5 hours from the standard observation time.






NORTH EAST: Hydel project scam unearthed in Mizoram; 16 govt. engineers facing criminal investigation (27 May 2015)


Dibang hydel project in Arunachal Pradesh cleared, despite huge ecological impact (23 May 2015)

“Downstream, agriculture, wildlife, livelihoods will all be affected. The submergence area is huge and all these impacts have not been considered. The clearance puts a condition of carrying out an impact study five years after work begins, but this should have happened earlier,” said Himanshu Thakkar, co-ordinator, South Asian Network on Damns, Rivers and People (SANDRP)


NGT Panel to Visit Subansiri Dam Site (26 May 2015)

From the report ” The Kolkata bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday appointed a court commission to visit the NHPC Lower Subansiri dam site at Gerukamukh and asked it to submit a detailed report before August 4.Earlier, the tribunal had accepted an appeal from Aabhijeet Sarma, urging a stay on the construction of the lower Subansiri dam till all expert committees sit together and submit a report and the court disposes of the matter.The APW has asked the NGT to force the dam authorities to release adequate water for maintaining the downstream ecology of the Subansiri River for protection of the riparian people.”


HIMACHAL: Rajasthan undertakes Pong Dam oustees rehabilitation work( Press Information Bureau 07 May 2015)

Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Pong Dam oustees from Himachal Pradesh has been undertaken in Rajasthan. The Govt. of Rajasthan has informed that land has been allotted to 10,627 of the 12,988 oustees for which, eligibility certificates were received by them from the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh, for allotment of land. The Govt. of Rajasthan has identified the land for allotment to the oustees in Stage-II of Indira Gandhi Nahar Project. They process the cases of oustees and allot land to them after the eligibility certificates are issued by the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh and application is received from them for allotment of land in the identified area. 

SOUTH: Hanging in Balance (26 May 2015)

A silent struggle: Hydel projects across River Kali contribute majorly to the State’s electricity production. But life is no different for people who live nearby



Police demolish houses of Polavaram project affected people (19 May 2015)

Another case of police behaving badly with project affected people comes to light and this time the victims are the villagers whose village will be submerged by the Polavaram project. The Police and Revenue Department entered Angaluru village in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari District and started demolishing houses. Nine tribal youths protested the move and were taken into police custody. Villagers, who have been compensated with money, are demanding land for land in the same region as per the Land Act.



Task Force formed for Interlinking of Rivers (Press Information Bureau 07 May 2015)

Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation  has constituted a “Task Force for Interlinking of Rivers” vide Office Memorandum dated April 13, 2015, to look into issues relating to Inter linking of Rivers (ILR). In order to speed up the implementation of Inter- Linking of River Programme and to arrive at consensus on the link proposals between the States, a Special Committee on interlinking of Rivers, has already been constituted by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in September, 2014. Three meetings of the Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) have been held so far, wherein State Irrigation/Water Resources Ministers along with the Secretaries of various States attended the meeting. The Committee after considering the views of all the stakeholders is proceeding ahead to expedite the objectives of interlinking rivers as per terms of reference of the Committee.

INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES: UP Irrigation Minister Urges Uma Bharti to Intervene in Bansagar Issue (Press Information Bureau 21 May 2015)

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has called a meeting of the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) on Thursday in New Delhi to discuss the issue of supply of water to UP from Bansagar dam. It may be recalled that UP Government in a recent communication sent to Chairman, Central Water Commission had requested that suitable directions may be issued to Government of MP to release 2000 cusecs of water from Bansagar dam for two months into Sone river against the due share of U.P. i.e. one Million Acre-Feet from Bansagar dam. In its communication UP Government has said that due to severe hot weather and scarcity of rains, an acute crisis of drinking and irrigation water has arisen in the districts of Sonbhadra and Mirzapur.  MP Government has refused to release the desired water on the ground that since UP has not agreed to share the operation and maintenance expenses of Bansagar dam hence they have not stored the due share of water of UP in Bansagar dam. UP Government has refuted this claim of MP.

IRRIGATION: Drip irrigation, modern practices increase yield, farmer’s income (27 May 2015)

The concerning fact is that farmers require expensive infrastucture for drip irrigation which is currently being covered under huge subsidies offered by agri departments in many states. Once the scheme or funds are over farmers find it very difficult to maintain the infrastucture and continue with drip irrigation method.


GROUND WATER: Contamination of Ground Water on Increase  (Press Information Bureau 07 May 2015)

Ground water quality monitoring indicates that apart from Fluoride and Nitrate, ten States have excess concentration of Arsenic, twenty four States have higher concentration of Iron and fifteen States have higher concentration of Heavy Metals such as Lead, Chromium and Cadmium beyond norms prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS-2012). Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation (MoDWS) has informed that 20% of the allocated funds under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) are earmarked for water quality problems. As a short term measure, the States were advised to set up community water treatment plants in all remaining Arsenic, Fluoride, Heavy Metals, toxic elements, pesticides and fertilizers affected habitations, providing 8-10 lpcd( liter per capita per day) of safe drinking water on or before March, 2017.

WATER CONSERVATION: Major railway stations in Delhi to recycle and reuse water

A welcoming step taken by Indian railways, Hope the project is implemented soon. The cost, though, seems almost three times higher than what it should be.


WATER GOVERNANCE: Uma Bharti Calls for Mass Awareness Programme on Water Conservation and Integrated Water Management (Press Information Bureau 09 May 2015)

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has called for more awareness on water management, rain water harvesting and artificial recharge through mass awareness programmes. Addressing the meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to her Ministry in New Delhi on Friday she said for this we should focus more on school and college students who are the future of this country. The Minister said, “In view of indiscriminate withdrawal of ground water for irrigation, industries and domestic purposes leading to over–exploitation of ground water in some areas, there is need of comprehensive policy to address the problem.”

 RIVERS: Kham River Pollution: MPCB officials served notice (26 May 2015)

Interesting to see MahPollution Control Board officials being questioning by police in a criminal case filed following HC order on Kham River Pollution:


New fish species found in Western Ghats (20 May 2015)

The news is delighting given the fact that freshwater biodiversity is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, especially in India. The news also underline that increasing dam construction and diversion of water from rivers is playing havoc with aquatic ecosystems.


Iconic Indian Fish on the Brink of Extinction (13 May 2015)

A very important report. More such studies will expose precarious condition of more freshwater fish species in Indian Rivers.


SAND MINING: Gelatin-based explosive found at blast site; villagers say farmers will be hurt, as harvest will dry out (27 May 2015)

In Maharashtra, suspected Sand Mafia blew off a weir using explosives! “”Despite many incidents highlighting the menace of the sand mafia, nobody has taken the issue seriously enough and there have been no follow-ups. There have been life-threatening attacks on officials, who tried to take on the mafia. Even now, we can see sand mining going on openly on the banks of the Savitra river near Mahad,” said Parineeta Dandekar, associate co-ordinator of South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People.


GANGA: Dark flows the Ganga a year since Modi’s famous ‘aarti’ (28 May 2015)


Clean Ganga mission faces ‘most critical’ challenge in pollution hotspot Kanpur (26 May 2015)

From the report “The city has the most unsuccessful record of cleaning the river. Under previous missions, treatment capacity was created for 171 million litres a day (MLD), while a total estimated sewerage treatment capacity of 481 MLD is required. Kanpur’s over 100 highly toxic tanneries need relocation. The National Green Tribunal recently ordered the closure of 98 of these units. The UP government called the ruling impractical, while a much talked about plan to shift factories to nearby Unnau is stuck.”


No illegal mining allowed in Ganga: AG tells HC (27 May 2015)

Jai Prakash Badoni the petitioner contended that behind the pretext of Disaster Management Act 2005 which allows removal of accumulated river bed material (RBM) to prevent flooding, sand mining is rampant at different sites in Haridwar.


Two bridges to be constructed on Farakka Feeder Canal (Press Information Bureau 07 May 2015)

In the last five years Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Farakka Barrage Project (FBP) has agreed for construction of two bridges over Farakka Feeder Canal. On the request of NTPC, one bridge was agreed by TAC of FBP in November 2011, at a distance of 33.50 m from the existing bridge over Feeder canal. The second bridge was approved by TAC of FBP in 2013 near the existing Rail-cum-Road bridge at Ahiron on the request of NHAI. These bridges are being constructed by NTPC and NHAI, respectively. As informed, the aforesaid bridges are likely to be completed during, 2015.

Approval to Namami Gange – Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission / Programme under National Ganga River Basin Authority (Press Information Bureau 13 May 2015)

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today approved the flagship “Namami Gange” Program which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner. The program has a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the next 5 years. This is a significant four-fold increase over the expenditure in the past 30 years (Government of India incurred an overall expenditure of approximately Rs. 4000 crore on this task since 1985).

YAMUNA: Reduced Level of water in Yamuna, Govt’s Main Concern: Uma (26 May 2015)

The news report is full of contradictory comments made by Uma Bharati. On one hand she acknowledes that it is reduced flow which is killing the Yamuna river and on the other hand she wants no compromise on Delhi’s and Haryana’s water share. Then she goes on saying that development is possible without damaging rivers and with same breath she advocates interlinking of rivers mentioning underway work on seven schemes including Dabang Ganga, Pinjal, Pratapi, Narmada, Ken- Betwa, Pancheshwar Parvati, Kali Singh, among others. If in the name of schemes we continue to deprive our rivers of essential flow then the minister should forget of rivers revival. The last remarks in the report is most amusing where she claims that upcoming Bridges in Uttarakhand and Himachal will augment flow in Yamuna. Clearly she was talking about planned and underconstruction dams and barrages.


ADA seals two under-construction buildings in Yamuna floodplains (25 May 2015)

Again its NGT orders which gets the reluctant and corrupt agencies into action

From the report ” Follwoing NGT directions ADA sealed upcoming residential colonies — Pushpanjali Heights on Mau road and Pushpanjali Seasons in Dayal Bagh — for not having “no objection” certificate from the pollution department. While on a spot inspection to Yamuna floodplains, it also issued notices to 27 structures in Krishna Vihar and Krishna Colony localities for polluting the Yamuna by directly discharging sewer water into the river.”


WETLANDS: NGT order clears way for Nirma cement plant at cost of wetland (20 Jan. 2015)

This is a slightly old news, but still comes as a major disappointment, especially looking at NGT’s otherwise-great track record when it comes to protecting wetlands.  A disappointment verdict, raising so many questions.


Deepor Beel water body saved from becoming a dumping site (24 March 2015)

Good to see that Guwahati Municipal Corporation plans to shift Deepor Beel dumping site ( also following an NGT Order).But just imagine, a dumping site of a State Capital on the banks a Ramsar Wetland and Wildlife Sanctuary in the first place?!



One-Two Punch of Earthquakes and Landslides Exposes Hydropower Vulnerability in Nepal (25 May 2015)


Thousands flee after landslide dams Nepal river, raising flood fears (24 May 2015)

The report is raising so many important issues pertaining to unmindful application of hydro power plants in sensitive Himalayan zone which is turning small or big natural calmities into bigger disasters. From the report ” After the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on April 25, initial reports indicated at least 19 hydro facilities were affected. But worse is likely in the offing. The monsoon is also our peak landslide season. This year’s big earthquake and its many powerful aftershocks, including the 7.3-magnitude tremor on May 12, have caused a string of landslides in different parts of the country, and made our many steep mountain slopes even more unstable. Nepal is one of the 15 countries considered most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and some experts have long listed it as one of the countries most at risk from earthquakes.


Flood Alert in Bihar as Landslide Dams Nepal River (25 May 2015)



Texas: Dam break ‘Imminent’ in Ellis County, Residents Evacuated                                 

From the report “US National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas has issued a flash flood warning, asking people residing near the Padera Lake, northwest of Midlothian, to evacuate as a dam failure is imminent.” http://www.ibtimes.co.in/texas-dam-break-imminent-ellis-county-residents-evacuated-633850

‘ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING’ SAYS GOVERNOR, ‘BIGGEST FLOOD THIS AREA OF TEXAS HAS EVER SEEN’ (25 May 2015)                                                                                                                  

Parts of Texas are facing the biggest flood ever, a dam break has also played a role here: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/05/25/texas-deluge-flash-floods-wash-away-people-and-homes-37-counties-declared-disasters/


Most glaciers in Mount Everest area will disappear with climate change – study (27 May 2015)



Why the future of environment looks so bleak (28 May 2015)

Straightforward review of Environment Ministry’s first year performance by Himanshu Thakkar


Renewable energy trading set for big boost as SC upholds green obligation (26 May 2015)

Seems like big boost to renewable energy sources:


Thousands of unhatched flamingo eggs strewn in Little Rann of Kutch (10 Feb. 2015)

“In a rather unusual phenomenon, thousands of eggs have been abandoned by flamingos in one of the six breeding colonies in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK). Bird watchers and experts, who visited the site, attribute the drying up of water at the site to this phenomenon. Every year, lakhs of flamingos arrive in search food and for breeding at LRK. After the flamingos had laid their eggs, the water in this particular breeding site located between Wasraj bait and Dhrangadhra dried up much sooner than anticipated resulting in scarcity of food and water forcing the flamingoes to abandon their eggs.”


Why India is captured by carbon (27 May 2015)

Very interesting, in-depth piece that also shows the reality of functioning thermal power plants affecting the Rihand reservoir and even groundwater around Singrauli:


Blunting impact of the vagaries of the weather (20 May 2015)

The report rightly underlines how correcting and learning from past mistakes can mitigate and minimise impact of floods in future.


517 flood management proposals cleared by Ministry (Press Information Bureau 07 May 2015)

A total of 517 eligible proposals for flood management including construction of dams (embankments), which had received all the mandatory clearances and were recommended by the various States have been approved for funding under Flood Management Programme (FMP) during XI and XII Plans. Out of these, 293 projects have been completed and central assistance of Rs. 4459.08 crore has been released to various States upto April 30, 2015. This information was given by Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

How Much Energy Do We Need: Towards End-Use Based Estimation For Decent Living (May 2015)


Signal Down, Heat is on but power demand flat (26 May 2015)

Electricity demand is so flat that some 57 thermal power units are shut down or facing it: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/slowdown-signal-heat-is-on-but-power-demand-flat/

Mangrove Denudation Scar on Sanctuary (24 May 2015)

Salinity of Bhitarkanika Wetlands and Mangrove forests continues to rise even as upstream dams restrict water flow into the estuarine system


Norway’s $1.15 trillion wealth fund curbs coal investments in new industry blow (28 May 2015)

It seems anti coal movement is picking up:Norway’s $1.15 trillion wealth fund curbs coal investments in new industry blow


One thought on “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin: June 1, 2015

  1. Thanks sir It is nice and very important practice to complie and aware us with the update. Please continue. Better, if you are thinking to make it regular phenomenon. Regards ARUN


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