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.”

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.

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.”

Arunachal’s unfinished Lower Subansiri dam could be tomb for India’s giant hydropower projects (12 June 2015) Interesting in spite of some inaccuracies: 

Assam opposes Centre plan to build mega dam on Siang river (05 June 2015) A day after the Centre announced plans to construct a dam on the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday said he will not endorse any project not benefiting the people at large. Gogoi asserted that his government was for the welfare of the people and it would “not endorse any project, which will not benefit them”, an official release said. He said the Centre has not consulted the state yet on any such project on middle Siang.

HIMACHAL: Three die in Himachal hydro plant accident (15 June 2015) Three persons died at the state-run Rongtong power project in Spiti valley when a valve at the plant burst all of a sudden around 8.15 pm on Sunday night. Official sources said the bursting of the main inlet valve, which controls the water supply to the turbine, led to the death of the engineers. They were crushed under the turbine. The hydropower plant, which is more than 20 years old, supplies electricity mainly to Kaza town. The repair work was on at the plant, which was closed since 2013, as most of the machinery was outdated. Meanwhile, the government has ordered an inquiry.

Himachal Pradhesh sets terms for Karcham-Wangtoo and Baspa hydro power projects’ sale (11 June 2015) The plan to sell two power projects — 1000 mw Karcham-Wangtoo and 300 mw Baspa — in Kinnaur district by Jaiparkash Power Ventures Ltd (JP) to Jindal Steel Works (JSW) has hit a roadblock. The state government has sought an undertaking from JP Ventures Ltd stating “it would honour all pending liabilities before the government signs a fresh memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the new company.” Even tribals demand that JP Ventures Ltd should first settle the pending issue of Rs 103 crore Local Area Development Authority (LADA) fund. “The company has not got ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) from 14 gram panchyats in Kinnaur to sell the projects”, claimed Ranjit Negi, convener, Himlok Jagriti Manch, Kinnaur.

Hydro power project allotment norms to be relaxed (04 June 2015) The state government has proposed changes in its hydroelectric project allotment policy to woo firms for 37 projects of 1135 MW capacity. It has proposed to reduce the upfront premium from Rs 35 lakh per mw to Rs 5 lakh per mw and the forest land rate has been fixed at Rs 1 per sq m. The deadline for inviting fresh bids for the projects has been extended to June 30. The proposal will be put up before the Cabinet for approval soon.

Now, third turbine of Kol Dam in Himachal develops snag (07 June 2015) Now, the third turbine of the 800 mw Kol Dam Project situated on the border of Mandi district and Bilaspur has stopped functioning. Two turbines are already out of order and now the third one has developed a snag. A foreign firm is carrying out the repair work and it may take a month or so to fix the turbines.

Hydro Tunnel work in Chamba Himachal hits houses in villages (10 June 2015)  Residents of Masrog village in Churah subdivision of the district have lodged their complaint with the district administration that their houses have developed cracks due to the blasting work going on at a local hydropower project. A team of the residents of Masrog village met the DC of Chamba M.Sudha Devi and narrated the tale of their village facing the threat of blasting work. It told the DC that the tunnel which was excavated beneath the village causing damage to their houses. The DC assured the members of the delegation that the SDM, Churah, would be directed to take stock of the situation and compile the report. If the damage caused to the houses was due to the tunnel construction, the hydropower firm would have to pay the compensation, the DC stated.

UTTARAKHAND: Pancheshwar dam to get partial MoEF nod (14 June 2015) The report claims that MoEF is on the way to grant Uttarakhand Govt parital approvals for the construction of roads to access the project site. The project is stated to be put on fast track post PM visit to Nepal. In a meeting in Delhi, last week, State Govt. discuss es the hurdles blocking the progess of the Pancheshwar dam.

Flash floods caught Uttarkhand govt napping in 2013: CAG report (01 June 2015) The forthcoming CAG report to highlight how the Uttarakhand govt failed to respond to the Disaster of June 2013:

Govt may replace expert panel on Ganga with technocrats (11 June 2015) MoEF continues to indulge in somersaults even as Uttarakhand people and others remember that unprecedented tragedy that struck the state two years back:

SOUTH: Karnataka High Court notices to State on Perla hydro-power project (13 June 2015) A Division Bench passed the order on the petition filed by Madhava and other office bearers of Nagarika Jana Jagruthy Seva Trust, Naricombu village, Bantwal taluk. It was alleged that Perla Hydro Power Pvt. Ltd. has illegally taking up construction on the banks of the Netravathi between Naricombu and Shamboor villages.


Raising Narmada dam height could lead to calamity bigger than Nepal temblor: Committee (14 June 2015) From the report “A Central fact finding committee has warned against increasing the height of Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river in Gujarat, saying that it could lead to a calamity bigger than the earthquake in Nepal.”

Two states and a dam row (14 June 2015) In the interview Latha Anantha sheds ample light on least known facts related to Mullaperiyar dam. She rightly predicts decommissioning of outdated dam as inveitable and advocates viable alternatives to Kerala proposal of new giant dam replacing the Mullapariyar.

Tribal, forest workers protest against land acquisition ordinance, demand stay on Kanhar dam project (12 June 2015) Tribal, forest workers protest against land acquisition ordinance, demand stay on Kanhar dam project

Expert condemns dam construction to quench Delhi’s thirst (09 June 2015) The three dams are embroiled in controversies, as environmentalists have called them dangerous and unnecessary. “Delhi does not need more water neither should it get any more. The average consumption in the city is 220 LPCD. We are not harvesting rainwater, not recycling as much as we need to. The dams that are being planned pose a real threat to the people living in those areas and will destroy the rivers,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People. Experts also say the policy of building big dams in the hills needs to be seriously looked at, especially after the Uttarakhand deluge of 2013, which many call a man-made disaster.

Mullaperiyar dam: Jayalalithaa urges Modi not to entertain Kerala’s proposal to construct a new dam (11  June 2015) Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to consider the Kerala government’s proposal to conduct an environment impact study (EIA) for a new Mullaperiyar dam. Jayalalithaa urged the Prime Minister to instruct the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change and its agencies to desist from entertaining and considering the proposal of Kerala.

Over 140 species of fish disappear from Hirakud reservoir (06 June 2015) Nearly 140 species of fish have become extinct in Hirakud reservoir due to lack of proper security and negligence on the part of district administration, a report said. Corroborating the fact, official sources stated 183 types of fishes including Hilsa, were available when the dam came into existence in 1957. Since then, fishes of 141 species have been vanished and now only 42 are left in the dam, it added. Moreover, mafia carrying out fishing activities in the dam and excessive collection of fish have led to a considerable decline in number of species of fish, sources said.


Vaidyanathan Committee inspects Srisailam Dam (12 June 2015) Vaidyanathan Committee members inspected Srisailam project in Kurnool district on Thursday in the backdrop of a row between Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra on water availability and its utilisation. A team of retired irrigation engineers in the Vaidyanathan Committee enquired with Superintending Engineer of Srisailam project Appala Naidu about the water storage levels in the reservoir and quantum of water being released downstream. The panel’s visit assumes significance in the wake of Telangana filing a petition in Supreme Court on its share of Krishna waters. The team members also visited Srisailam left bank hydel power plant and Srisailam left bank tunnel (Yelimineti Madhava Reddy project) works at Domalapenta in Mahabubnagar district.

Uma Bharti asked to intervene in Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigation project issue (14 June 2015) YSR Congress party chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Sunday urged the Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti to intervene in the issue of lift irrigation project proposed by Telangana Government. Jagan in a letter to Bharti alleged that the Telangana Government has proposed construction of ‘Palamuru – Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Project’ to lift 90 TMC water from river Krishna in foreshore of Srisailam reservoir which would highly be “detrimental to the interest of Rayalaseema, Nellore and Praksam districts”.

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana now clash over Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigation project (12 June 2015)  Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister D Umamaheswara Rao today asked if Telangana had obtained permissions from the Krishna River Water Management Board for the project. But Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who laid the foundation stone for the project, vowed to complete it and hit out at Andhra Pradesh for objecting.

Madhaya Pradesh Releases Water From Bansagar Dam (08 June 2015) On the request of Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan has ordered release of water from Bansagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh. This has resolved the water supply crisis which had arisen due to earlier refusal of Madhya Pradesh to release water to Uttar Pradesh from Bansagar dam on the grounds of non-release of share of O&M funds by Uttar Pradesh to Madhya Pradesh.


Centre to pursue states on inter-linking of rivers (08 June 2015/ Jansatta) In order to tackle growing opposition for ambitious river inter-linking protest, Centre has decided to launch a campaign highlighting the benefits of the project. Initiating the process, ministry of water resources last week , had meetings with Naveen Patnayak, CM Orissa and persuaded him to lend his support for the implementation of the project. Senior officials stated that its important to link Mahanadi and Godavari that will help in linking Brahmputra with Cauvery. The officials also reported that this move can bring an additional area of 6 lakh acres under irrigation net.


PM: Adopt multi-pronged strategy to augment irrigation network (08 June 2015) The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today called for quick adoption of a multi-pronged strategy to augment the country’s irrigation network. Reviewing the preparations for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, the Prime Minister said expansion of irrigation has to be linked with a comprehensive evaluation of cropping patterns across states, as well as a judicious mix of modern and micro irrigation systems such as drip and sprinkler irrigation. Simultaneously, a thorough study should be made of various traditional irrigation methods across the country. The Prime Minister said young researchers from Universities should be involved in irrigation-policy planning. The Prime Minister noted that falling ground-water levels in some states made it essential to bring about an urgent shift in cropping-patterns.

Telangana CM lays foundation for Rs.35,000-crore Palamuru-Ranga Reddy lift irrigation project (11 June 2015) Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao laid the foundation stone for Palamuru-Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Project, the first major irrigation project to be taken up after formation of Telangana State, here on Thursday. The project has been taken up with an estimated cost of Rs.35,250 crore and seeks to irrigate about 10 lakh acres in Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda districts besides providing water for drinking and industrial needs in and around Hyderabad. It is planned to lift 90 TMC ft water from the foreshore of Srisailam Reservoir during flood days at the rate of 1.5 TMC ft everyday.

Punjab Farmers, Irrigation Dept in conflict over water cess (12 June 2015) Already facing a crop failure-like situation during almost every kharif season due to massive rain and faulty drainage system, a majority of farmers in waterlogging-affected Muktsar and Fazilka districts are likely to face another major trouble this paddy season. The Irrigation Department has decided to shut the water inlets to their fields from Monday due to non-payment of water cess, which was due on May 31. As per the information available, the department has collected just Rs 78 lakh as water cess in these two districts against the actual target of Rs 3.7 crore – about 20 per cent of the target.

Orissa Govt. to Miss World Bank funded Tank Revival Target (14 June 2015) The State Government may not achieve its target to create additional irrigation potential for over 60,000 hectares (ha) of cultivable land under the World Bank funded tank irrigation systems. The State Government availed World Bank assistance of $87.80 million (Rs 375 crore approximately) to meet its resource gap for repair and renovation of 324 community tanks for irrigation purpose. As per the agreement with World Bank, the project should be completed by June, 2016. By the end of December, 2014, work in 110 tanks has been completed with creation of irrigation potential for 12,782 ha, official sources said.


Cyclone Ashobaa stalls Indian monsoon’s advance (11 June 2015) The developing severe cyclonic storm Ashobaa spells trouble for an already dicey monsoon this year. The storm has not only disrupted the advance of the monsoon over India, but may also result in more rainfall deficiency in June than was earlier forecast. Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Ashobaa has disrupted the monsoon current for now.

Drought to Plague India Despite Onset of Monsoon Season (11 June 2015) Not all El Niños lead to drought in India; the Indian Ocean Dipole also plays a role. The dipole is expected to remain neutral or slightly positive. A positive dipole is characterized by above-normal sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean with below-normal sea surface temperatures toward Indonesia, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.”

Surplus snow may offset deficient monsoon (11 June 2015) As clouds of apprehensions hover over a good monsoon this year, the possibility of the rain gods playing truant could be offset by surplus snow fall in the preceding winter and higher water levels in major reservoirs in the region. Scientists at the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), which monitors snow precipitation and climatic conditions in the Himalayas, said the snowfall recorded at six monitoring stations in Himachal Pradesh in the last winter was 15-20 per cent above the past 10-year average while it was below average at two stations. The Sutlej and the Beas that flow through Himachal and Punjab are crucial to the states in this region for agriculture as well as power generation. Adequate water levels in the Bhakra Dam and Pong Dam reservoirs assume great significance during summers.

Good rains perk up monsoon prospects (09 June 2015) Good rains over the past three days have perked up the prospect of southwest monsoon in the country but the intensifying cyclonic storm Ashobaa in the Arabian sea may halt its progress for a couple of days.According to the IMD, over the past three days seasonal rains further advanced into central Arabian sea and covered entire Goa, some parts of south Konkan and remaining parts of coastal and south interior Karnataka.


Fadnavis proposes, Modi disposes (15 June 2015) Very interesting narration on sugar politics that controls Maharashtra and now also pressurizes the Center to take unjustified decisions. Water is nowhere in the picture, as expected.

Maharashtra Govt puts on hold confined field trials of GM crops (09 June 2015)  After allowing “confined field trials” of genetically modified (GM) crops, the government put them on hold after anti-GM activists met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis against the government decision. The new decision was taken and letters were issued to all concerned on May 21.

Centre provides 6000 crore interest free loan to sugar cane growers (11 June 2015) The Centre on Wednesday approved a Rs. 6,000 crore interest-free loan to sugar mills to enable them to clear cane arrears payable to farmers. This is the third such package extended to the industry since December 2013. Cane arrears in the current sugar season (October 2014-September 2015) stood at Rs. 21,000 crore of which over Rs. 9,000 crore is due from mills in Uttar Pradesh. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, agreed to provide a one year moratorium on repayment of this loan. It also decided to bear the interest subvention cost to the extent of Rs. 600 crore for the said period. “We have taken this decision in the interest of farmers,” Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari told journalists after the cabinet meeting.


GROUNDWATER: 27 hotels in Delhi closed down by NGT for extracting ground water illegally (06 June 2015) After being directed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to inspect these hotels, the pollution watchdog had found that these hotels along the NH-8 Expressway towards the airport were illegally drawing groundwater and operating against the norms.

70% of Ground water in Jind (Haryana) unfit for consumption (10 June 2015) A majority of the residents are dependent on canal water as 70 per cent of the groundwater is unfit for human consumption due to high level of chloride and salinity while in the remaining area, groundwater is drinkable.Though the authorities have constructed 160 water works in the district, a majority of villages are facing a shortage of water.

URBAN WATER:  Delhi needs to cut down on water use (11 June 2015) The Capital has a per capita demand of 251 litres every day while the average supply, which varies from area to area, is about 171 litres. In contrast, Mumbai consumes 175 litres per capita per day (LPCD), Chennai 114, Kolkata 200 while Bengaluru has a consumption of 100125 LPCD. Abroad, cities in Europe such as Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam and Hamburg have reduced their daily per capita consumption to 105-135 litres LPCD. Experts and activists say Delhi must drastically reduce water consumption, plug leakages and increase the use of treated sewage, besides ar resting the rapid decline in groundwater levels. The draft of the Capital’s first water policy says the same thing. On an average, a person in Delhi uses 172 litres of water per day. This, according to Delhi Jal Board, has to be reduced by a minimum of 10 litres every 5 years.

Treated water for gardening at President’s Estate in Delhi (09 June 2015) The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurated a new sewage treatment plant (STP) of the capacity of 20 lakh litre per day at President’s Estate today. The STP was constructed with an eye to using treated sewage water for gardening.

WATER GOVERNANCE: Jal Kranti Abhiyan launched by MoWR for water conservation (06 June 2015) Uma Bharati, Minister for Water Resources on Friday launched Jal Kranti Abhiyan (JKA). She said that the aim of JKA is to consolidate water conservation and management using a “holistic and integrated” approach across the nation. The chief component under the campaign is the Jal Gram Yojana, whereby one village facing acute water scarcity would be selected from each of the 672 districts in the country. The scheme will identify and train a cadre of local water professionals, preferably women panchayat.

Rs. 200 cr. Water solutions, crowd-sourced in Solapur, Maharashtra (10 June 2015) Maharashtra govt’s water conservation project draws enthusiastic participation from region to region, locals contribute funds and join works. In Hogti of South Solapur, for instance, villagers with district officials took up the construction of a small cement canal and raised Rs 39 lakh in a few days. The project has helped irrigate 500 hectares. In Karanja of Washim, Mahesh Patil said, “ The severity of drought and hailstorms has united the people. It does not require huge funds; it is within the reach of the people.” And in Satara, fruit cultivator Prakash Kachre said, “We will build our own assets, so what’s the harm in lending support?”

DJB Initiative: Delhi can now guard water with GPS on tankers (09 June 2015) In an effort to address water woes of Delhi residents and to crack down on the water tanker “mafia” functioning here, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Monday launched an online portal for public monitoring of water tankers. Around 400 Jal Board tankers will be equipped with global positioning system (GPS) so that consumers are able to track tankers operating in their area and know the timing of its arrival.

J & K returned unspent water fund (June 2015) The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government is facing criticism for keeping millions of people in its rural areas deprived of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities despite receiving huge financial assistance from the Central government. The National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is aimed at providing potable water to people in rural areas. But the J&K government, despite having enough funds, chose to return the money unutilised, rather than achieve its target. Instead of providing safe drinking water to 804 habitations during the 2014-15 financial year, it could cover only 379 habitations under NRDWP.

WATER HARVESTING:  Kerala’s success story: Rain water harvesting (05 June 2015) The scheme has helped people in water-starved regions such as Chennai by raising water tables in most neighbourhoods, winning support from activists and local residents long dependent on groundwater for their daily needs. The scheme has been implemented in rural pockets too, with a great degree of success. “We used to spend sleepless nights, thinking about sourcing water for daily needs. All that changed after the government came up with the RWH method. The water table has risen and we no longer face such an ordeal,” said Vanitha, a Chennai resident.

Uattar Pradesh to dig thousands of ponds to conserve ground water (07 June 2015) Uattar Pradesh is preparing to dig 35,000 ponds to harvest rain water. The pond digging plan has come up in the backdrop of fast depleting ground water resources. Govt. of identified the areas where areas with over-draft aquifers, the numbers of block is around 175. Apart from water conservation the drive will also provide employment to villagers under MGNREGA. 500 ponds over 204 hectares of land will be dug alone in Lucknow benefiting 5000 labourers. Apart from this, the state is planning to revive all its dry out rivulets like Reth river which runs through Baksi Talab in Lucknow. All the district magistrates have been directed by Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan to undertake and complete pond digging plan before the onset of monsoon.


POLLUTION: Submit report on Panchganga river pollution in 2 weeks: Mumbai HC (11 June 2015) The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday directed the committee under the Pune divisional commissioner S Chokalingam to submit a report in the next two weeks of measures undertaken by stakeholders to stop Panchganga river pollution. The instructions were made during the hearing of the Panchganga river pollution case over petitions filed by Ichalkaranji-based activists Sada Malabade and Datta Mane.

Buddha Nullah: Stinking reality of Ludhiana (15 June 2015) Buddha Nullah, the toxic vein of Ludhiana, was once a stream of sparkling water. This seasonal water channel is now a dirty drain that reeks of putrid smell. As the nullah passes through the industrial city, it goes on accumulating industry effluents, sewage, dairy and domestic waste, before draining into the Sutlej.

Beas tributaries turning into a dumping ground (06 June 2015) The three major tributaries of the Beas — Binwa, Awa and Neugal— originating from Dhauladhar hills, are fast turning into a garbage dumping ground as the entire garbage of Palampur, Baijnath and Paprola towns is being disposed of into these rivers. In the absence of the garbage disposal facility for people residing on the banks of these rivers between Palampur and Baijnath, the entire waste is being dumped into these rivers daily. Besides, the sewerage of these areas is also being dumped into these rivers at many points.

E-FLOW: Keep our rivers flowing Aritcle by Sripad Dharmadhikari (09 June 2015) Shripad Dharmadhikary writes about Eflows Report brought out by MoWR and MoEF and CC

RESTORATION: The Biggest Bluff of Them All!! (31 May 2015) “So Ahmedabad has a beautified river front without poor people to dirty it but the river itself is still stinking with sewage and with the ever present danger of a big flood spilling over the embankments, which have not been designed to cater for floods above 9000 cubic meters per second even though there are records of floods of 16000 cubic meters per second having taken place in the past.” From Rahul Banerji

ECO-SYSTEM: Allahabad fisherman nets endangered eel fish after a decade (06 June 2015) This is great, but sad as well. Eel found in Allahabad after a decade!

FLOOD: Assam overflows, Arunachal Pradesh cut off (12 June 2015) Rains in the Eastern Himalayas and the Assam valley over the past one week have cut Arunachal Pradesh off the rest of the country and left the Brahmaputra and its tributaries flowing above the danger mark in several parts of Assam. More rains are forecast over the next few days. Road links have been snapped in eight districts of Arunachal, leaving several administrative circles faced with a shortage of essential items including foodgrains.

Flood, landslides wreak havoc in North-East (11 June 2015) Torrential rain, flood and landslides have wreaked havoc in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, affecting lakhs of people. While the situation is worse in Arunachal Pradesh, 10 districts in Assam have been affected by flood so far. Two persons were killed in rain-induced landslides in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) where rain and flash floods have caused extensive damage to the road network, cutting off many areas for over 48 hours. According to an alert from the Disaster Management Department in Arunachal Pradesh, the flood situation is likely to worsen as heavy rainfall is expected in the state till June 13 next. The Arunachal Pradesh government has ordered closure of all schools in the state capital from today till June 13.

Over 60,000 hit, one dead by first wave of Assam floods (07/09 June 2015) One person was killed and nearly 60,000 are affected as six districts of Assam have been hit by flood. Nearly 60,000people in 108 villages of Barpeta, Sonitpur, Dhemaji, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Lakhimpur districts were affected. The flood has damaged over 50 houses and a total of 330.91 hectares of crop area has been damaged in the deluge. There are reports of breach of two flood-control embankments in Nalbari district. Three roads have been damaged in the Charduar area of Sonitpur district where some flood-affected people staged a protest demanding solution to the problem of inundation.

SAND-MINING: Five arrested for attacking anti-mining police squad (05 June 2015/ Jansatta) The Akodiya police station, Shajapur, Madhyapradhesh has arrested five persons. As per the report a police team, that visited Banka Khedi village to stop illegal sand mining from Nevaj river was attacked. The team found people extracting sand from the river in violation of rules and ordered to halt it when a crowd of 50 villagers started pelting of stones and beating the teams with sticks. Three police personnel were injured in the attack. All the arrested accused belong to the Banka Khedi village.

NARMADA: Medha Patkar discuss Sardar Sarovar Dam issue with activists, slams government (11 June 2015) Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) chief Medha Patkar on Thursday discussed consequences of increasing the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam with city-based activists. “The Narmada valley area has 29 dams in Madhya Pradesh and one in Gujarat. Madhya Pradesh will be the worst affected due to the dam in Gujarat. At least 193 villages in Madhya Pradesh will get submerged in 214 km affected area after the increase in height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam,” Patkar told activists including Indukumar Jani, Dinkar Dave, Hiren Gandhi, Bharatsinh Jhala and Sagar Rabari.

GANGA: Here’s what Modi is doing to clean the Ganga: a whole lot of nothing/ Article by Himanshu Thakkar (23 May 2015) Far from cleaning up the Ganga, there are at least five ideas of the NDA government that might just end up harming the river.

Clean Ganga project: Dirty factories may get cheaper loans, but no aid Imperiled (09 June 2015) The government has ruled out funding polluting industries directly to enable them to switch to cleaner technologies on a critical stretch along the river Ganga, offering instead to facilitate incentives in the form of loans, HT has learnt. Innovative measures currently being weighed by the government include “interest subvention” for loans taken to achieve pollution abatement targets, according to an official.

YAMUNA: NGT orders Haryana to keep Yamuna flow steady (12 June 2015) The Yamuna’s condition may improve soon, but only slightly. The National Green Tribunal on Thursday directed the Haryana government to maintain a flow of at least 10 cumecs of water at Hathnikund barrage immediately, in compliance with an earlier Supreme Court order. Based on a committee’s recommendations, the apex court in 1998 ordered that 10 cumecs of water be released into the river all round the year. But the river’s needs are so much more. A principal committee appointed by NGT has recommended that the Yamuna requires 2,000-2,500 cusecs to maintain ecological flow.           

No change in Yamuna pollution despite drop in sewage flow: Govt. (29 May 2015) From the report “This might be due to less availability of fresh water in the river, essential to maintain self-purification capacity of the river. Less availability of fresh water in the river may be due to reduction in the rain fall in the catchment area or increased rate of water abstraction from the river,”

NGT Issues Notices to Builders for Construction on Yamuna Flood Plains (09 June 2015) National Green Tribunal has issued notices to 15 builders and sought their response on alleged construction of multi-storeyed buildings on Yamuna flood plains. The builders have been asked to file affidavits by July 28 with required permissions and NOCs from various agencies. Agra Development Authority had identified the builders for allegedly constructing multi-storeyed buildings on the flood plains. The directions come on a petition filed by environmentalist DK Joshi.


HUDA’s proposed lake raises hackles of environmentalists (13 June 2015) The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has come up with a plan to build an artificial lake spread over 350 acres in Sectors 72 and 72A to recharge city’s groundwater reserves and prevent waterlogging. The ambitious plan is part of the Gurgaon Master Plan, 2031, and promises to utilise the overflow of rainwater from Sushant Lok, DLF colonies and sectors near Ghata village, which has not gone down well with environmentalists, who are concerned at the sheer neglect of Arravalli lakes and rainwater drains. l   

Badkhal lake in Faridabad on way to revival (08 June 2015) Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said steps are being taken to revive Badkhal lake here to once again attract tourists and a company has been tasked to with the job analysing the reasons behind the drying up of the water body. The lake is situated in Badkhal village in Faridabad, about 32 km from Delhi.

Delhi’s Water bodies to be used for sewerage treatment (04 June 2015/Dainik Bhaskar) Soon Delhi’s water bodies can be used to treat sewerage. It is well known that most of the sewerage in Delhi ends up reaching and polluting water bodies. NEERI Mumbai is working on traditional technologies to keep these water bodies clean. As per the plan pollution absorbing plants like Canna Indica and other will be planted inside the water bodies. The projects has been started at two places and soon will cover all the water bodies in Delhi.


41 people died as continues landslides in quake ridden Nepal bury 6 villages (12 June 2015) At least 41 people were killed and other injured today in a landslide triggered by heavy rainfall that buried six villages in Nepal’s mountainous northeast, the second major disaster to hit the country after the April 25 quake. The landslide hit the villages in Taplejung district. Nepal Army and Nepal Police personnel have been mobilised for carrying rescue operation. Continuous rain and flash floods in the streams have hampered rescue efforts efforts, police said. The landslide has also obstructed transport services at the Mechi highway. The Himalayan nation is still recovering from two major quakes and several aftershocks that killed nearly 9,000 people and left a trail of destruction. Another 4.1 magnitude aftershock was recorded at 12:26 am with epicenter at Dolakha district, according to the National Seismological Centre.


Huge Proposed Hydropower Dam in Myanmar Draws Local Opposition (10 June 2015)  A $6 billion hydropower dam planned for a site in Myanmar’s Shan state is drawing fierce opposition from locals who say it will flood an area nearly the size of Singapore, destroying 100 communities. Ethnic Shan community groups and environmentalists are appealing for help to fight the “Mong Ton” project, one of five actively planned hydropower dams planned along the Salween River. Some 16 Shan organizations issued a statement in Bangkok this week warning the project could rekindle civil war in an already unstable part of Myanmar by encouraging the government to send in more troops to secure the area.

How the Inga Dams Are Holding the Congo’s Energy Future Hostage (10 June 2015) World Bank and government officials like to describe the proposed Grand Inga dams on the Congo as a “dream for Africa”, which could electrify the whole continent at low cost. Instead, the world’s largest hydropower scheme risks turning into a nightmare which crowds out better solutions and pulls the Congo’s energy sector down the drain.

Tapajós and other Amazon dams not sustainable development say reports (11 June 2015) Plans to build hydroelectric dams globally — especially in the Amazon and other tropical locales — are often touted as “sustainable development.” However, according to a trio of new reports, these large infrastructure projects will do enormous harm to rainforest ecosystems and indigenous peoples, while also emitting far more greenhouse gases than the U.N. and other organizations officially estimate, with potentially disastrous results.

Fish add to California’s drought stress (06 June 2015) Interesting to see that even in a drought year, California does not forget to release water for the fish:


Carbon Sucking Gems among ‘Last Ditch’ Remedies for Climate Change (11 June 2015) As talks aimed at slowing global warming drag on, researchers are pushing new ideas that some are calling last-ditch attempts to avert the worst effects of climate change. Some proposals are uncontroversial, such as using charcoal to lock carbon dioxide into soil or scattering carbon-absorbing gemstones. Richard Branson, the billionaire chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., has offered a $25 million prize for the best solution in the field known as geoengineering. Other ideas to cool the planet have scientists worried about unintended consequences. There are proposals, untested at scale and with uncertain costs, to block the sun’s rays with airborne particles or seed the oceans with carbon-absorbing iron. That they’re even being considered reveals both frustration over government inaction and skepticism that policy alone will solve the problem.


Maletha (Uttarakhand)Villagers resume protests to end stone crushing (13 June 2015) Maletha’s agitation against stone crushers affecting their village continues:

CPCB soon to get full time Chairperson (11 June 2015) Amid criticism by the civil society that the environment ministry has become a green clearance ministry, the Centre has taken a step towards the appointment of a full-time chairperson for the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India’s apex pollution control body. The Centre has shortlisted 17 names for the post that has been lying vacant for over three years. A final decision is expected in a week.

The lay of the land law (09 June 2015) Nitin Sethi Reviews Jairam Ramesh book on 2013 Land Acquisition Act:” But for anyone trying to rip through the rhetorical nonsense that currently plagues the land law debate, the book works like a good boning knife.”

When the last of India’s forest corridors vanish, so will the wildlife (05 June 2015) The Forest Survey of India shows “dense forest cover” and “moderate dense forest cover” to be less than 3% and 10% respectively. Data acquired through the Right to Information Act in 2013 by the Environment Impact Assessment Resources and Response Centre, a non-governmental group, says that India’s daily average forest loss stands at 135 hectares—equivalent of at least 184 football pitches. Scientists and conservationists argue that plantations are not true forests.

Pollution: One area where India beats China (05 June 2015) India may be lagging behind China on several economic indicators but when it comes to environmental degradation, the country has definitely outsmarted its giant neighbour. Of the world’s top 20 polluted cities, 13 are in India compared to just three in China. Air pollution slashes life expectancy by 3.2 years for the 660 million Indians who live in cities, including Delhi. In China, the corresponding dip is marginally lower at three years. The Ganga and Yamuna are ranked among the world’s 10 most polluted rivers. China has just one. An evaluation in February ranked Vapi in Gujarat and Sukinda in Odisha among the 10 most environmentally-degraded zones in the world. China had no entries on the list.

Haryana okays buffer for Mangarvani grove (10 June 2015) Ending over a year-long controversy over the protection of Mangarbani sacred grove in Aravalis and creating a buffer around it, the apex panel for comprehensive development of national capital region (NCR), on Tuesday decided to protect the area and demarcate a 500m buffer as “No Construction Zone”.The decision was announced by Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu in presence of Haryana chief minister Manoharlal Khattar. “Haryana government has agreed to protect Mangarbani grove and keep a 500-metre buffer, which will be a no construction zone,” Naidu said.

Why Kerala would not stop fishing (04 June 2015) Kerala’s fishing community is on the warpath with the Centre, which has imposed a ban on trawling for 61 days starting June 1, and prohibited traditional fishermen using mechanised vessels from sailing beyond 12 nautical miles during the ban period. But trawlers are out in defiance of the ban, and the fisherfolk have said that they would comply for only 47 days — beginning June 14. Traditional fishermen have gone fishing beyond 12 nautical miles, saying they have a right beyond that zone even during the ban.

Cola to Maggi / Opinion by S. Faizi (13 June 2015) The country has eventually woken up to the environmental and public health threats posed by powerful multinationals such as the Maggi owner, Nestle. It is time for us to address the subversion of a piece of legislation by successive Congress and BJP governments, on behalf of a recalcitrant multinational. A Bill is unanimously passed by a State legislature in deference to massive public demand.

Solar power at 4,000 Mw, Rajasthan in the lead (06 June 2015) India’s solar installed capacity has crossed the 4,000 Mw mark. With close to 1.128 Mw of projects, Rajasthan has taken the lead ahead of all other states. It has elbowed out Gujarat, which has 957 Mw of solar power projects, from the top-slot for the first time. Following closely behind are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Apart from the regular solar power-rich states, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and newly formed Telangana have now joined the solar bandwagon.

2 thoughts on “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin June 15, 2015

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