On October 28, 2015, the government of Andhra Pradesh declared drought in 196 mandals in seven of the thirteen districts of the state. Having seen the serious discrepancies (between IMD and state government) in the rainfall figures of districts in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh where the respective state governments declared drought earlier, we decided to check the same for these seven districts of AP too. The IMD figures for the monsoon (June 1 to Sept 30) rainfall for these seven districts are given in terms of Normal Rainfall, Actual Rainfall and how much actual rainfall departure was there from Normal Rainfall. During 2015 monsoon, IMD figures say that Coastal Andhra Pradesh (nine districts, three of which are declared drought affected now) received 642 mm rainfall, compared to normal rainfall of 581.1 mm, so a surplus of 10%. Rayalseema (comprising of four districts, all drought hit now) received 358.3 mm rainfall, 10% below the normal figure of 398.3 mm. In the previous year, both regions had 23% deficient rainfall, with actual rainfall of 448.7 mm in Coastal AP and 308.6 mm in Rayalseema. Continue reading “Discrepancies in rainfall figures for Andhra Pradesh’s drought hit districts”
Above: Ken River in PTR – Glimpse of long deep gorge (Photo by RS Murthy, former Field Director of PTR)
Guest Blog by Hemendra Singh Panwar (Padma Bhushan, director of Project Tiger (1981-85 and first director of Wildlife Institute of India (1985-94)
My professional conscience impels me to make this submission, challenged as it is by the reliance on half-truths and misinformation by the Project proponents to justify environmental and wildlife clearances for Ken-Betwa River Linking Project (KBLP) from the State and Union governments. Let me at the outset clarify that I am not and have never been an activist even to promote conservation, though I did strive my best to this end within the system. I also have no phobia against dams and canals but do carry the conviction that ill-conceived such projects using wanton half-truths to present a mirage of unachievable benefits can but severely impact ecological and field conservation status while failing to deliver the claimed outcomes.
Continue reading “What ails DPR and EIA of Ken-Betwa Link Project: A Note for EAC of MoEF&CC”
On Oct 26, 2015, Madhya Pradesh declared drought in 33283 villages in 228 tehsils in 35 districts (of total of 50 districts), affecting 4.4 m ha area and 4.8 m farmers. It sounded a bit strange since Western MP, comprising of 30 districts, had above average rainfall as per IMD (India Meteorology Department) figures for the 2015 monsoon (rainfall during June 1 to Sept 30).
So we decided to cross check district wise rainfall figures. We found that as per IMD, in 29 of the 50 districts in the state, rainfall was Normal or Excess. In case of 21 districts, the rainfall was deficient, that is more than 20% below normal. Continue reading “IMD & MP govt provide shockingly different district rainfall figures: Will they explain, please?”
Above: A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out (Photo by AJT Johnsingh)
PREFACE: Following is a submission by the authors to the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects, sent on Oct 25, 2015, as the EAC was to consider the Ken Betwa River Link Project for Environment Clearance on Oct 27, 2015. The authors had sent a submission to EAC in Aug 2015, when the EAC considered this project for the first time. In response to the various submissions that EAC received on this proposal, including one by the authors and another by SANDRP, among others, the EAC had asked the project proponent, NWDA (National Water Development Agency, an organisation under Union Water Resources Ministry) to provide a point wise reply. The NWDA response can be seen here: http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Online/EDS/0_0_15_Oct_2015_1405329601eac.pdf
One has to wonder that if the Ken-Betwa is such a worthwhile project, why is it necessary for the proponents to lie and obfuscate facts in order to promote it. We are not unreasonable individuals and have no reason not to want people to be benefited by appropriate development. If the project had more overall benefit than detriment, why would everyone not support it. However we find that it is prejudiced, not argued on reason, much is being obscured and alternate views have not been taken into consideration. The project is being undertaken in an area that has been evaluated as important enough to set aside for the tigers’ welfare. High priority must therefore be given to this species; but throughout totally inadequate consideration has been given to this. Continue reading “Ken Betwa River Link Project involves India’s first Major Dam inside National Park: It needs, fresh, credible EIA, not misleading falsehoods from NWDA”
Tamirabarani teaches: Saving tiger is saving river After Kalakkad-Mundanthurai was declared tiger reserve in 1992, Tamirabarani river has regained its perennial status. Though shorter than Cauvery and Vaigai, Tamirabarani has always held a special place in the state. It started turning dry for four months every year. People of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin thought their river too was going the way of other state rivers. But a move to save the tiger inadvertently became a save the-river policy. The Union ministry of environment and forests declared the Kalakkad – Mundanthurai area as a tiger reserve in 1992. In three years, there was a noticeable change. A study on water inflow into the Karayar river, a tributary, inside the reserve was taken up. Records show that from 1946 till 1990, the river received only 13,000 cubic feet of water annually. After the area was declared as a tiger reserve, the inflow increased to 23,000 cubic feet.
We are happy to publish full text of an Open Letter written by Dr. T.V. Ramchandra, Center for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, to Karnataka CM Shri. Siddaramaiah. The letter transparently questions Yettinahole Project, while strongly rebutting Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited’s (KNNL) propaganda against IISC Report which has established that Yettinahole Catchment does not have the 24.01 TMC water as per KNNL DPR, but only about 9 TMC water, which is used by the basin residents. (https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/yettinahole-diversion-project-literally-holds-no-water/). He does not limit himself to hydrology and ecology, but with detailed rainfall analyses, also debunks the fact that Kolar and Chikkaballapur face acute water scarcity. He staunchly bats for rainwater harvesting, rejuvenating lakes and tanks and afforestation with native species as cheaper and more reliable method to ensure water availability. Continue reading “Scientist’s Open Letter to Karnataka CM: “Yettinaholé project is ecologically disastrous and economically unviable””
Above: A rainfed Tur (Arhar/Pigeon Pea) field in Amravati in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra Photo: Parineeta Dandekar, October 2015
Pulse prices are raging in Indian markets, leading to outrage from urban customers. Newspapers are full of coverage, cartoons and puns on pulse prices. The fate of rural population facing successive droughts which has to buy pulses is better left to imagination. If some benefits of this price hike were to reach actual pulse farmers, it would have been some consolation. But for now, as Pulse farmer Ashok Pawar from Osmanabad tells me, the Tur (Arhar/Pigeon Pea) that is in the market is last year’s. It was sold to the middle men (Adatya in Marathi) and market committee at a low rate as the production was dismal due to late rains and drought followed by unseasonal rainfall. This happened in 2013 too. Tur from 2014 is now being sold at a record price, the farmer watches this helplessly. Continue reading “Pulse Farmers: Custodians of Fertility, Water and Climate-friendly Agriculture”
Sardar Sarovar Dam gates can’t be closed till last person displaced is rehabilitated: SC.
CIC tells centre to give Polavaram project info to RTI applicant
Scrap Renuka dam if Centre-HP row can’t be sorted out: SC
State orders release of Godavari water to drought-hit Marathwada
HC Bombay directs inquiry into release of Gangapur dam water for Shahi Snan at Kumbh Mela
Bhama Askhed dam project: Agitation turns violent
Pinjal-Gargai dam project in Mumbai faces protests
Amid heated arguments Nashik Municipal Corporation approved additional Rs 36cr for Makane dam plan
Sugarcane Crushing is set to start at any moment now in Maharashtra[i]. About 164 Sugar factories[ii] have put up proposals for securing Crushing Licenses with the Sugar Commissionerate of Maharashtra. With crushing, will begin debates, protests and demands for well deserved Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) for farmers and soft loans, subsidies, debt waivers and monetary help for sugar factories from state and Center. Sugar factories will put up justifications on why they cannot afford FRP (yet again) this year, how financially sick they are and, at the same time, how they are the only option for drought affected Maharashtra. Continue reading “Water and Sugarcane Crushing in Maharashtra: In search of sustainability”
For Full report, see: https://sandrp.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/there-is-little-hope-here-sandrp-critique-of-napcc-feb-2009.pdf
The purpose of this study is to provide an Indian civil society view on the contents of the Indian government’s national action plan to confront the threat posed by climate change. The study aims to highlight the equity issues, the options assessment for energy production and the needs for sustainable adaptation practices. The study also aims to give an overview of the available information resources about the impact of climate change on India and tries to map out various actors & their roles. However this is vast issue and this brief study cannot include all the aspects in this regard. The focus is more on water, agriculture and energy related issues, since these are the focus areas of the work of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People (SANDRP). Continue reading “SANDRP critique of India’s NAPCC: There is little hope here”