Above: 8-column front page top photo of Yatra carried by THE INDEPENDENT in Dec 1990
“अब तो है तुमसे हर खुशी अपनी, तुम पे मरना है ज़िंदगी अपनी..”
"फिर चाहे जो भी कहे हमको ज़माना, कोई बनाये बातें चाहे अब जितनी"
Several times Ive felt that these lines from famous hindi song[i] from film Abhimaan sum up the feelings of many activists like me.. Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics came to mind again as I thought of writing about the Narmada Bachao Andolan on Aug 16, 2016, after all it was completing 31 years! Continue reading “Happy? Birthday? Narmada Bachao Andolan – Salutes to a 31-year-old movement”
In absence of clear and strict laws to define the rivers zone and demarcate flood plains, our rivers are increasingly becoming subject to exploitation. When the river spaces of our National River Ganga & Yamuna River which flow through National Capital are not well protected, then the plight of other rivers across country can be understood.
This week, there are two news reports which again are highlighting this cause. Interestingly in both cases, legal fight is going on in green tribunal which indirectly deals with the issue though with no success so far. In fist case, NGT has directed Govt. of Uttarakhand to demarcate floodplains of Ganga river from its origin in Gomukh till Roorkee, a 65-km long stretch in the state. The tribunal has posted the matter for the next hearing on Oct 20 and asked the state government to submit its compliance report by then. The bench also sought a report on the total number of hotels on the 65-km stretch from the govt. The green panel allowed the state govt to take the help of Roorkee-based National Institute of Hydrology for identification of flood plains. Construction on flood plains and inside river zones is a sure invitation to disaster such as Kedar Nath Floods in 2013 when human made infrastructures erected very much inside river zones were raised down like sand dunes by enraged rivers. It is sad and even more worrisome that we have learnt nothing from such events.
In second incident Govt. of Uttar Pradesh has drawn green tribunal’s ire over constructions in floodplains. The apex court for environmental issues, expressed its dissatisfaction over the manner in which State Govt filed its report on the distance of various real estate projects from the Yamuna flood plain zone in the city. Coming down heavily in the state govt and various Agra authorities, Agra Development Authority (ADA) & irrigation department, it stated that “authorities were expected to act fairly and judicially while complying with its directions.” The tribunal appointed registrar general Mukesh Kumar Gupta as local commissioner and asked him to file a correct position of flood plains and the distances of the various projects. Meanwhile, ADA has been asked to produce the original records before the tribunal on the next date of hearing, Aug 19.
Floods & floodplains are integral part of a river eco-system. Both has essential role to play in smooth functioning of multiple ecological processes that takes place throughout the journey of a river. It is abused of floodplains that our cities are facing flood threats. It is surprising to see how govts have so far failed in protection of flood plain.
With incidents of excess rainfall, cloud burst & land slides happening at increased frequency, it is time to define our river zone and flood plain clearly in the own interest of human being.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 16 Aug 2016 (When shall We Start Respecting Our Rivers & Provide Space to Them)”
Above: Submerged houses in reservoir behind landslide dam. Photo from Darjeeling Chronicle
The Kanaka River is flowing over the dam that was created on Aug 13, 2016, it is confirmed now, but the risk of the dam failure and disaster downstream continues. In the meanwhile, the upstream villages, cut off due to road damaged and bridge submerged, are facing serious problems.[i] Continue reading “TEESTA LANDSLIDE DAM IN DZONGU: RIVER OVERFLOWS OVER DAM BUT RISK CONTINUE”