Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 30 Jan 2017 (After 31 years, SC transfers Ganga case to NGT without achieving clean river)

People walking on the bank of Ganga in Allahabad

SC transfers PIL on cleaning Ganga to NGT In a major development, after monitoring Ganga cleaning work for last 31 years and without achieving any cleaner river,  the Supreme Court on January 24, 2017 wrapped up a PIL on cleaning of river Ganga and sent it to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for more effective adjudication. The apex court had been monitoring the issue for 31 years. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana said that since issues relating to municipal solid waste and industrial waste were already being heard by the NGT on a day-to-day basis, all other issues relating to sources of polluting the river should also be heard by the NGT.

The bench said that the tribunal will be required to submit an interim report to it every six months, only to give an idea about the progress made and difficulties, if any. It also granted liberty to the petitioner, environmentalist M C Mehta, to approach the court if he had any grievances in consonance with the law.

During last week hearing (January 17, 2017), the SC bench has directed the government to file a report on the construction and functioning of STPs alongside the river, which runs through five States.

It has been almost two years after the SC has voiced scepticism about the government’s self-proclaimed promise to clean up the Ganga River. Before this, in 2014, the apex court had voiced its reservations about the various efforts over the decades to return the Ganga to its pristine self, once even saying that it “does not expect Ganga to be cleaned up even after 200 years.”

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Dams

Yamuna River Developments in 2016-2- Other River Interventions

(During monsoon the polluted river cleanses itself allowing migrant fishermen to move in and seek out their livelihood through fishing ;  Photo by Burhaan Kinu)

The exploitation of Yamuna Rivers that starts in upper basin comprising Uttarakhand (UKH) and Himachal Pradesh (HP) gets worse as the river is dammed at Hathini Kund Barrage (HKB) while passing through Shivalik Hills located at the border of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (UP), the barrage has severely compromised lean season (8-9 months) water flow in the river downstream.

As a result, the waterless riverbed resembles a desert till Delhi’s potable water is released back into the river at Palla village, the border of Delhi and Haryana. The absence of flow facilitates intensive illegal riverbed mining for sand and boulders for longer periods in a year which further destroys the river’s eco-system. More over industrial and domestic effluents in great volume from nearby towns reach the river via tributaries, storm water drains. Amid all this successive State Governments show no will to achieve even basic flow of freshwater in the river, even as they keep pushing more dams.

Here is an account of the projects planned and launched in 2016 related to the River Yamuna. 

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