Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 18 December 2017 (Why PM Also Needed To Mention This About Turial HEP)

The Prime Minister, on Dec 16, 2017, while dedicating to nation the 60 MW Turial HEP, should have also mentioned:

– PUBLIC PROTESTS: The project faced strong protests from local people, so much so that work had to be stopped for over 7 years from 2004 to 2011. Even a day before PM dedicated the project, people took out a protest march.

– NO PUBLIC CONSULTATION:  One of the reasons people protested was that the project did not have any proper public consultation.

– NO PROPER IMPACT ASSESSMENT: Another reason for people’s anger was no proper environment or social impact assessment, or proper compensation and rehabilitation.

– HIGH COST: The project cost was Rs 368.72 Crores, but now already has gone above Rs 1441 crores officially, likely to go up further. That means per MW cost is already above Rs 24 crores, one of the highest in the country. WHO WILL PAY THE HIGH COST OF ELECTRICITY FROM THE PROJECT?

– HUGE COST ESCALATION from Rs 369 crores to over Rs 1440 crores

– HUGE TIME OVER RUN: The project was supposed to be completed many decades back but  has seen huge time over run, not only because of protests, but also because of inadequate mobilisation by the contractor, poor approach road, power house slope failure, among many other reasons.

This latest project once again shows that big hydro is no longer viable, one wishes, the Prime Minister would also highlight these realities in his speeches.

Also see, Villagers object to commissioning of Turial HEP Very important issues raised by the people affected by the Turial HEP that the PM has dedicated to the nation on Dec 16. The PM should have listened to them and mentioned their problems. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/mizoram-villagers-object-to-commissioning-of-hydro-power-project-by-pm/62062987

Here are relevant extracts of PM speech: “The completion and dedication of the 60 Mega-Watt Tuirial Hydro-power Project. This comes13 years after the last major central sector hydro-power project in the North-Eastern Region–the Kopili Stage-II.

Tuirial Hydro-power project is the first major Central Sector Project to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram. It is the first large hydro-power project in the State. It will produce 251 Million Units of electrical energy every year, and boost the socio-economic development of the State.

With the commissioning of this project, Mizoram becomes the third power-surplus State in the North-East, after Sikkim and Tripura.

The project was first declared and cleared by the Union Government of Prime Minister Vajpayee ji, way back in 1998, but got delayed.

The completion of this project is a reflection of our commitment to complete on-going projects and usher in a new era of development in the North Eastern region.

Besides generating electricity, the reservoir water will also open new avenues for navigation. This will provide connectivity to remote villages. The huge reservoir, spread over an area of 45 square kilometers, can also be used for development of fisheries. This project will boost eco-tourism, and provide a source of assured drinking water supply.” http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1512885 

Work on the project resumed in January 2011. The ministry said the project encountered multiple hindrances including inadequate communication infrastructure to the project site, massive failure of the Power House slopes due to poor soil condition and lack of availability of skilled manpower. These factors resulted in comparatively longer gestation period for the project.”

NEEPCO had engaged largest power equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) Ltd for supply and erection of power generating equipment, Patel Engineering Ltd for execution of major civil works and Sew-PES-Tuirial consortium for Hydro-Mechanical works. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/pm-modi-to-inaugurate-rs-1302-crore-hydro-power-project-in-mizoram/62082448

Ministry of Power PR on previous day (Dec 15, 2017) said; “The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared the Project for implementation in July 1998 with commissioning scheduled in July 2006. After completion of about 30% of the project activities, the works were totally suspended w.e.f. June 2004 due to local agitation. With sustained efforts by NEEPCO and with active support of Ministry of Power and Ministry of DoNER, Government of India and Government of Mizoram, the stalled works of the project were resumed in January 2011.

The Project being remotely located, encountered various hindrances ranging from inadequate communication infrastructure to the project site, massive failure of the Power House slopes due to poor soil condition, lack of availability of skilled manpower etc. These factors resulted in comparatively longer gestation period for the project. However, with all efforts from the agencies concerned, the project works were completed successfully, leading to commissioning of Unit-I on 25-08-2017 and Unit-II on 28-11-2017. The project has been implemented by NEEPCO by engaging M/S Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd for supply and erection of power generating equipment, M/S Patel Engineering Ltd for execution of major civil works and M/S Sew-PES-Tuirial consortium for Hydro-Mechanical works. The Project has been built at a cost of Rs.1302 crore.” http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1512738 

HYDRO POWER

Manipur CCDD concerned over the proposed Loktak Downstream HEP The Citizens Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD) expressed its grave concern over the pursuance of the chairman and managing director, national hydroelectric power corporation (NHPC) with CM N. Biren Singh, for early commencement of the construction of 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project (HEP) across the Leimatak River, said a release.

-As per CCDD the said NHPC’s pursuance as a complete disregard of the longstanding call of the indigenous peoples of Manipur to commission the Ithai Barrage of the 105 Loktak Multipurpose HEP, in view of the severe environmental impacts and its detrimental effect on the livelihood of communities living in and around the Loktak wetlands, namely, Laphupat Tera Khordak Nongmaikhong, Arong, Ithai Wakokpi, Kumbi, Thanga, etc., it mentioned.

-It also says that NHPC continues to reap maximum benefit at the cost of destroying the livelihood of several communities and devastating Loktak wetlands. The most notable impact being, the submerging of over 83000 hectares of agricultural land, the release added.

-Further, the construction and operation of the proposed project on Leimatak River would mean the continued operation of Ithai Barrage for another 40-50 years, which will result in the complete devastation of Loktak wetlands due to the increased sedimentation aggravated by forest loss in the catchment areas of rivers flowing into Loktak wetlands, the release informed.

This is contrary to what the CM of state asked PM: to decommission the existing 105 MW Loktak HEP. http://www.ifp.co.in/item/5862-ccdd-concerned-over-the-proposed-loktak-downstream-hydroelectric-project

Kerala Govt going for small hydro in a major way The recent Cabinet decision to accord clearance for 20 independent power projects with a combined installed capacity of about 60 MW and individually ranging between 0.15 MW and 11 MW is being cited as a change in the power generation mode that would inspire more private entrepreneurs as well as local self-government institutions to experiment with such initiatives. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/state-shifts-focus-to-smallhydro-electric-projects/article21381299.ece

Jammu & Kashmir Austrian Hydropower company Andritz sets up office in Jammu With our new office in Jammu, we aim to further strengthen our position as one of the largest and most comprehensive companies providing from water-to-wire solutions for hydropower generation. http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/andritz-hydro-opens-regional-office-jammu/

DAMS

Pancheshwar Dam ‘Tunnelling work for Pancheshwar dam causing landslides’ Local residents of Pancheshwar have reported a huge landslide in the mountain that was dug for a sample tunnelling for the multi-purpose Pancheshwar hydropower project. With no prior history of landslides in the region, residents here said that the phenomenon was triggered by the tunnelling work. The landslide had occurred near shelters built for the workers here. If tunnelling work is carried out further, the entire region will be at risk. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/tunnelling-work-for-pancheshwar-dam-causing-landslides/articleshow/62058101.cms

Meanwhile, Damodar Bhandari, CPN (UML) leader who won Baitari seat in the federal parliamentary poll, said that the provisions made for rehabilitation of the affected people in the detailed project report (DPR) will have to be reviewed.  Left parties earlier opposed terms of reference of the Pancheswar project on the question of origin of river Mahakali mentioned in the DPR released by India in 2003 by saying that the origin of river Mahakali from Kalapani glacier in not acceptable to them. The project will submerge 2.7 lakh hectares land on the Indian side and 1.70 lakh hectares land on the Nepalese side. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/nepalese-mp-for-reviewing-pancheshwar-dam-project/story-vlifX5njWdA6ANKHKfNajN.html   

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Waters have inundated nearly 50 km area in Kharaghoda (Image Source: ToI)

Sardar Sarovar Dam Narmada waters flood 400 salt pans Livelihoods of salt pan workers is getting affected, even as Narmada waters are wasted for 20 days.

“Crores of gallons of precious Narmada water has inundated close to 400 salt pans in Kharaghoda of Surendranagar district for the last 20 days. The water from Kharaghoda branch canal, Goraiya branch canal and Maliya branch canal, has spread in an area of 50km, leaving close to 150 agariaya (salt pan workers) families without work.”

– The authorities have no time to listen to the poor agariyas. This has been going on every winter for the last 5 years. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/narmada-waters-flood-400-salt-pans/articleshow/62042728.cms

Rajasthan Foundation stone laid for controversial Parwan dam Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and CM Vasundhara Raje on Dec 15 has laid the foundation stones, including that of Parwan Dam in Baran, and dedicated to public development works worth Rs 8487 crore in Hadauti region. There has been a lot of irregularities in clearance of Parwan dam, and people are also opposing. http://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/gadkari-raje-lay-foundation-stones-of-rs-8-487-cr-projects-in-hadauti/story-CXGoy2SE7HOT0t29zrD1GP.html

Report Solar project on dams The MahaGenco plans to develop solar power worth 250 MW capacity through this route.

“We are planning solar power projects on dams and have initiated pre-feasibility studies. In the initial phase, these panels will be set up on our own reservoirs, such as the Irai dam at Chandrapur which supplies water to the Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS), after which we can take up work on the irrigation department’s resources,” a senior MahaGenco official said.”

– The MahaGenco is also considering some dams owned by the water resources department, including those in Vidarbha and the Ujani dam at Solapur, for adding solar power capacity.

– A senior water resources department official said they were willing to allow the setup of such projects on dams as these solar panels will reduce evaporation and make more water available for end-users. “We are willing to give a 2,000 hectare water area (surface area of the dam) of the 34,000 hectare total water area at Ujani. This will be an experimental project.” http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-in-a-first-solar-power-projects-planned-on-dams-2567215

Dams, Rivers Water in Gujarat Election Gujarat Land-gobbling for Par-Tapi-Narmada link project Now, there is talk of a new land-gobbling undertaking in the Dang district — a river-linking Par-Tapi-Narmada project.Since it was first proposed in 2011, as a state-Centre undertaking, it has caused such widespread protests among the local tribal populations that even the local BJP leader, former MLA from Dang Vijaibhai Patel, has joined in marches and denies that the project is coming up. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-the-invisible-adivasis-of-gujarat/story-zWIrs9U4XAf9qPv8fqWWVN.html

Report on the gaps between what BJP promised in 2012 Gujarat manifesto and what it achieved. This includes promises in water sector. http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/gujarat-elections-has-bjp-delivered-on-its-infrastructure-promises-2012-manifesto-2459853.html

On more report raises lots of question marks about Gujarat’s agriculture growth rate and over all GDP growth over the last five years at constant prices. http://www.counterview.net/2017/12/gujarat-achieves-just-15-growth-rate-in.html

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

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Ken River at Amanganj (Image Credit: SANDRP)

Center Nitin Gadkari ‘in dark’ about Ken-Betwa project Good that this report acknowledges the reality that Ken Betwa Project faces many hurdles and that the minister is unaware of them. The article does not even list all the important hurdles. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/gadkari-in-dark-about-ken-betwa-river-linkage-project-hurdles/articleshow/62003427.cms  

Here is on more strange but very significant statement this, but the reporter seems not interested in either understanding or asking about the implications of this, including on very viability of the Ken Betwa project: “The blueprint was, however, drawn up in 2005 under the assumption that constructing the Dhaudhan would mean that 4,364 MCM would be available for allocation. However, official representatives from the MP Govt said that, only about 962 MCM was effectively available today.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ken-betwa-project-may-see-delay-cost-escalation/article21724219.ece

More implications indicated here, the claim about more irrigation seems like baseless hyperbole: ““We may be required to procure some clearances again,” the sources added. They said the Madhya Pradesh government has expressed confidence it will be able to irrigate more land under the river-linking project even if the water allocation between the two states remains the same.” http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/two-phases-of-ken-betwa-river-linking-project-to-be-clubbed-say-sources/974427/

Telangana Rs 80000 Crores Godavari Pennar Link ANOTHER MASSIVE COSTLY PROJECT WITH MASSIVE IMPACTS In all 320 tmcft of Godavari surplus water could be diverted to Pennar through a lift scheme, which would require 3,625 MW of electricity. As much as 7,000 acres of forest land and 25,000 acres of other land would have to be acquired to complete the Godavari-Pennar inter-linking project, the communiqué stated. It said that two tunnels have to be dug between the (under-construction) Polavaram project and Prakasam Barrage while a reservoir has to be built at Bollapalli.”

“Meanwhile, the CM has come up with another proposal to build a new barrage on river Krishna midstream of the existing KL Rao Sagar and Prakasam Barrage. It is estimated that this project would cost Rs 3,278 crore and could be completed in three years.” https://telanganatoday.com/ap-govt-contemplates-godavari-pennar-linking-project

ESG PR Can Interlinking Rivers & Greening their Banks Save our Cities? Environment Support Group Press Release on Dec 15 after a symposium organized on the issue. http://www.esgindia.org/education/community-outreach/events/can-interlinking-rivers-and-greening-the.html

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Mahanadi Water Dispute No reason to resist setting up of tribunal on Mahanadi: SC The Supreme Court on Dec 11 told the Centre that there was “no valid purpose” in resisting the setting up of a tribunal to deal with the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi river water-sharing dispute. Odisha has been opposing Chhattisgarhs plans to build 13 barrages and seven pick up weirs (small dams) across Mahanadi river, in a plan to extract more water. Odisha has said this would adversely affect the interests of its farmers. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/no-reason-to-resist-setting-up-of-tribunal-on-mahanadi-sc/1/1107804.html

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Water Resources “department has started survey work on linking the Mahanadi with Tandhula and Pairi rivers besides connecting the Rehar-Atem, Ahiran-Kharang and Hasdeo-Kewai rivers. A senior official in the Naveen Patnaik govt said the move could prove disastrous for Odisha as it would further curtail the flow of the Mahanadi into the state during both monsoon and non-monsoon periods.”

– The affidavit filed in SC by Sanjay Kundu, joint secretary, Union ministry of water resources, said Odisha did not approach the court with “clean hands” and concealed material facts from the court. The affidavit also said the constitution of a tribunal, as demanded by the state, would not be fruitful. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/chhattisgarh-move-to-link-its-rivers-with-mahanadi-worries-state/articleshow/62004939.cms

Krishna Water Dispute KRMB panel to study water utilisation Important decision: “After complaints made by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on the lack of proper details on water utilisation, the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) on Dec 15 constituted a committee to study the gaps between discharges and the accounts available. In accordance with the decisions taken in the Board meeting recently, the KRMB constituted the committee.

G Ananda Kumar, deputy director, KRMB will be the convenor of the committee. The committee will study gap between the releases from Srisailam project and realisation at Nagarjuna Sagar Project (NSP) during the year 2017-18 and the reasons for the gap. The Committee will look into the gap between the discharges measured at CWC gauge stations at Huvenhedgi and Yadgir and the realisation at Jurala project during the year 2017-18 and the reasons for the gap. It will also study accounting of the 20 per cent of water utilised for domestic and municipal water supply of Hyderabad and mission Bhagiratha. ” http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2017/dec/16/krmb-panel-to-study-water-utilisation-1728630.html

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

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Dredging under way in the river.(HT Photo)

Bihar Big island formation in Ganga hits navigation The Gangetic mainstream, earlier flowing close to the south bank along Bhagalpur, located 240km east of Patna, has now shifted course in a northward loop to flow along Naugachhia near Khagaria district reducing water flow and depth in ship pathways on the southern side.

Officials feel that immediate dredging operations are needed over 1,700m to provide water depth for bigger ships to sail under the Vikramshila Bridge. It has been one month since IWAI started the dredging work but only about 700m could be cleared. The shift of the river has also hit water supply to different localities of the city from the Barari Water Works. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/big-island-formation-in-ganga-hits-navigation-water-supply-to-silk-city/story-FNmVRln4PFzW3Ndyj993QL.html

Meanwhile union minister for shipping Nitin Gadkari says that channelling of the Ganga from Varanasi to Haldia to Haldia (1625 km) to start cruise services would be completed before January 2019. http://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/kashi-to-haldia-cruise-from-jan-2019-says-gadkari/story-cwgm7LE9m3zlXiN0nI8sXO.html

Goa No more coal transport via state’s rivers: Manohar Parikar Goa CM has made some assurances here. These need to be put on paper to make them legally binding. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/coal/goa-cm-parrikar-says-will-not-allow-more-coal-transport-via-states-rivers/62030971

On the other hand the state govt is in the final stages of entering into a MoU with the Mormugao Port Trust, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Captain of Ports (Goa govt) which will make way for nationalisation of Chapora, Sal, Mapusa, Pomburpa, Mandovi and Zuari rivers in Goa. http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2017/12/11/you-will-die-of-pollution-if-you-fall-in-goan-river-parrikar-tells-activist/

IRRIGATION

Maharashtra Water resources ministry gets nod for separate manual Govt now plans separate manual for irrigation projects, so far it was following the PWD manual. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-water-resources-ministry-gets-nod-for-separate-manual-4968305/

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam Four cases filed against officials, contractors Is state govt threatening opposition with anti corruption actions only when the opposition is becoming a threat to it?

– “Cases have been registered against the then executive director, DP Shirke, the then chief engineer, SR Suryavanshi, superintendent engineer DD Pohankar, executive engineer Umashankar Parvate, divisional accounts officer CT Jivkate among others,” said Milind Totde, deputy superintendent of police (ACB).

An FIR was also registered against Firdos Khan Pathan, who had taken “power of attorney” from contractor MG Bhangadia, Nagpur, to executive the project. Mitesh Bhangadia of M/s MG Bhangadia was once a close associate of senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar and is now a BJP legislator. They have been booked for updating tender cost by violating norms and other irregularities. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-irrigation-scam-four-cases-filed-against-officials-contractors/story-lGrIe1kgJf9RwTEkncfQ2H.html 

Here is another instance of politician contractor nexus in irrigation projects. “TDP MLA from Udayagiri Assembly Constituency in Nellore district Bollineni Venkatarama Rao’s name was figured in irrigation scam that came to light in Maharashtra. According to the reports, the ACB already launched hunt to grill the MLA but the latter was missing. The MLA’s owned Srinivas Construction company which has taken up several irrigation works awarded by Vidharbha Irrigation Development Corporation in Maharashtra. The company management was facing allegations that the estimations of the works were escalated in collusion with the officials. ” http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-12-16/TDP-MLAs-Name-Figured-In-Irrigation-Scam-In-Maharashtra/345840

Kerala Check dam caves in a day after inauguration A small check dam built across Cherupuzha river near Kalpur in Kodiyathur panchayat under the State govt’s green Kerala Mission scheme caved in on Dec 09, the day after its formal inauguration by Irrigation Minister Mathew T. Thomas. Local residents alleged that the check dam was constructed in an unscientific way without the guidance of any experienced labourer using sacks filled with soil instead of sand. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/check-dam-caves-in-a-day-after-inauguration/article21383533.ece

Check dam in MLA’s farm to be demolished District Collector Amit Meena on Dec 11, served an order to demolish a check-dam found to have been constructed illegally in violation of the Irrigation Act by P.V. Anvar, MLA, at Kakkadampoyil. Although the land in which the check-dam was built does not belong to Mr. Anvar, an amusement park he runs at Kakkadampoyil was the beneficiary of the check-dam. The Collector has given two weeks for the owner of the land to raze the construction. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/check-dam-in-mlas-park-to-be-demolished/article21435794.ece

RIVERS

Tribute to Anatha Latha Remembering Latha Parineeta Dandekar pays tribute to her friend, scientist, river activist and Bhagirath Prayas Samman winner Dr Latha Anantha. Please read and share. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/remembering-latha/

SANDRP Blog Riverine Fisherfolk as Mascots of flowing rivers and how 4 projects treat them today Riverine Fisherfolk can be the mascots of our healthy, flowing rivers. When we brush them under the carpet, we brush the rivers under the carpet too. Ecosystem-dependent communities are the best indicators of how we treat our natural resources and vulnerable societies. They are a yardstick to assess environmental governance of a nation. It is clear that we are failing riverine fisherfolk of India by not ensuring assessment of impacts of project on them, by not including them in decision-making processes affecting their livelihoods, by not compensating them for the stark losses because they were too poor, weak and vulnerable to stake their claims and by mistreating our rivers.. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/riverine-fisherfolk-as-mascots-of-flowing-rivers-and-how-4-projects-treat-them-today/

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Mithi River image by Gopal MS aka Slogan Murugan

Also see Walking along a running river: Mithi This story of Mithi River from Mumbai is third in the series of online stories of urban rivers from across India. Please share your feedback and provide us with suggestions. If you have any urban river stories or images that you might want to share, please send them to ht.sandrp@gmail.com & asid@veditum.org.

Links for earlier two urban rivers stories is given below

NAG–The River That Lends Life & A Name To Nagpur https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/nag-the-river-that-lends-life-and-a-name-to-nagpur/

Urban Rivers–Moovattupuzha River in Kerala  https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/urban-rivers-moovattupuzha-river-in-kerala/

India Water Portal For a clean Bandi river India Water Portal writes about 2017 Bhagirath Prayas Samman for Mahavir Singh for working to clean up polluted Bandi River in Pali in Rajaasthan. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/better-bandi

India Water Portal also writes about the 2017 BPS award to Meenachil Nadi Samrakshan Samiti. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/meenachil-river-warriors-shine

Report Knowing rivers better before changing them One may not agree with everything that is said here, but this is undoubtedly key issue: “We need to understand our rivers better before embarking on large-scale river transformations like river linking and inland water-ways which can change river systems altogether, says eco-hydrologist Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Senior Fellow at Bengaluru’s Ashoka Trust for Ecology and the Environment.” http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/knowing-our-rivers-better-before-changing-them/article21380137.ece

Karnataka After Yettinahole shock, coastal region to have Paschmia Vahini balm State Govt is now taking up the Rs 1394 crore Paschima Vahini project under which a series of vented dams or check dams will be built to augment water during summer in three coastal districts. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=485716

Last week, govt has clarified that the ambitious ₹5,000-crore Sharavathi Pumped Storage project will use drilling and tunnelling as means to minimise ecological damage. The project has received pre-construction approval to conduct EIA studies as well as the impact of the project on the endangered Deccan Mahseer species. It may affect 150 hectares of forest land in the Western Ghats. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sharavathi-project-tunnelling-to-reduce-eco-damage/article21255300.ece

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(Image Source: Zee News)

BRAHMAPUTRA Arunachal Pradesh Murky Siang river takes a toll on wildlife sanctuary Pollution in the pristine Siang river is having its impact on the animals in Daying Ering Wildlife Foundation Eco-Development Society. As per the recent reports, the animals in the sanctuary are either getting sick or dying due to contaminated water and migratory birds are becoming a rarity. In the last few weeks, the Siang river has turned black and construction activity in upstream China is being blamed for it. http://zeenews.india.com/india/murky-siang-river-takes-a-toll-on-wildlife-sanctuary-in-arunachal-pradesh-2063090.html

The rapid increase in turbidity in the Brahmaputra river can lead to more sedimentation, which is a boatman’s nightmare. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/muddy-waters-in-brahmaputra-threaten-livelihood-of-boatmen-fishermen-1786070

Meanwhile CWC STILL does not have ANY clue as to reasons for muddiness of Siang rivers. And that the river water is NOT toxic. But CWC has CONFIRMED, this NOT due to China diverting Brahmaputra. So this statement from Prof Nayan Sharma sounds strange: “Prima facie from the satellite image, this appears to be such a stream flow diversion for the purpose of dam construction”. There is no evidence about this as per CWC. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/no-evidence-of-china-diverting-water-of-siang-cwc/articleshow/62088735.cms

GANGA Massive landslide formed new lake in Gangotri glacier Satellite images showed heavy landslide at the Gangotri glacier near the India-China border. It was also suspected that a fresh water body has been formed due to the landslide which might impact the glacier.

A few months ago, environmentalists had discovered that a lake-like structure had formed at Gaumukh — the snout of the Gangotri glacier — from where the main stream of the Ganga (known as Bhagirathi) is flowing. Scientists on an expedition to the glacier in October had found that because of the formation of the lake, the river is now flowing from the left side of the glacial snout instead of straight as was the case earlier. This change in flow might have disastrous consequences for Gaumukh, leading to its collapse, they had warned. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/massive-landslide-near-india-china-border-may-have-formed-new-lake-in-gangotri-glacier-special-team-rushed-to-probe/articleshow/62058202.cms

NGT Ban on plastic items in towns located along banks of Ganga The green tribunal on Dec 15 has imposed a complete ban on plastic items like carry bags, plates and cutlery in towns located on the banks of the River Ganga like Haridwar and Rishikesh. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also banned the sale, manufacture and storage of such items till Uttarkashi. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ngt-bans-plastic-items-in-towns-located-along-banks-of-ganga/articleshow/62081286.cms

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Dr Ram Pratap and Shikhar Agrawal (L) address media during a press conference on Dec 11,2017  related to Yamuna Rajasthan story below – Photo: Suman Sarkar, DNA

YAMUNA Rajasthan Yamuna water to resolve drinking, irrigation issues; report set The Water Resources Department has prepared a project of Rs 20 thousand crores to bring Yamuna water via 270 KM long, five pipelines of 3.2-meter diameter each from Ghaziabad for drinking and irrigation in Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar district. As per Water Resources Minister Dr Ram Pratap, the pre-feasibility report has been resented in the Central Water Commission (CWC) and appreciating the govt, the Commission has approved the report.  Now, DPR will be made and sent to the CWC. http://www.dnaindia.com/jaipur/report-yamuna-water-to-resolve-drinking-irrigation-issues-report-set-2567003

AoL Restoration cost could go up There is good chance that the costs for restoration of the floodplains could be higher because an assessment by a committee in April said it could take as much as Rs 13.29 crore to restore the floodplains and it could take up to 10 years to do so because the floodplains had lost “almost all its natural vegetation”. http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/forget-who-s-in-the-right-and-who-s-in-the-wrong-and-revive-the-floodplain/story-v5iNg8uhRYnaCyXTzpazSP.html

SAND MINING

Policy MoEF wants district bodies’ role clearly defined With state govts like Odisha raising questions on the ambiguity of the role of district level authorities, the Union environment ministry has suggested the Union mines ministry that the role of district level authorities needs to be clearly defined in the new National Mineral Policy (NMP) as they are now involved in the process of granting Environment Clearance. A number of important aspects revealed in this report. http://indianexpress.com/article/business/business-others/national-mineral-policy-greenmin-wants-district-bodies-role-clearly-defined-4987331/

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The searches took place at mining sites in Tilwada, Aurangabad and Kondli.

Uttar Pradesh FIR against mining firms for illegal bridge over Yamuna Gautam Budh Nagar district administration has registered an FIR against a sand mining firm SN Constructions for trying to create a makeshift bridge over the Yamuna to extract sand. The bridge was stopping the flow of the river at mining sites in Tilwada, Aurangabad and Kondli. After a gap of around four years, the district administration had allotted contracts for sand mining in the Yamuna floodplains to three private agencies in May. It seems to have become an annual affair. ADM statement proves local policemen connivance with the miners. Whether the erring officers ever face any action is never known. http://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/noida-fir-against-mining-firms-for-illegal-bridge-over-yamuna/story-dZwvQ5QH4QvR8sK6XXNMsL.html

Similarly, on Dec 12, four people were arrested from Yamuna embankment area for allegedly being engaged in illegal mining. SDM (Jewar) Rajpal Singh along with other officials and the police conducted a raid in Jhuppa area and found several men engaged in illegal mining. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/four-arrested-for-illegal-mining-in-up-117121200044_1.html

Punjab Chief Secretary yet to submit his comments on Narang Committee report After getting Justice Narang commission’s report, the chief secretary had further constituted a committee comprising additional chief secretary for home N S Kalsi, finance secretary Anirudh Tewari and secretary for industries R K Verma. But there has been no further development thereafter. The Congress govt had kept commission’s report under wraps till the leader of opposition in the Punjab assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira acquired it under the RTI Act in October first week. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/sand-mines-auction-cs-yet-to-submit-his-comments/articleshow/62030730.cms

FISH & FISHERIES

National Inland fisheries production in India grew by over 26% in recent years Fisheries sector provides employment and livelihood support to more than 15 million people of in the country. Being second largest fish producer of the world, India produces 6.2% of fish of the world. http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-cm/overall-fish-production-in-the-country-increases-from-0-75-million-tonne-in-1950-51-to-11-41-million-tonne-in-2016-17-117121100377_1.html

WATER OPTIONS

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A file photo of a farm pond at Somannapalli village in Tadipatri mandal in Anantapur district (Image Source: The Hans India)

Andhra Pradesh Utakallu emerges as model village in water conservation The Utakallu village that was reeling under severe drought has turned around its water crisis with the intervention of PMKSY-Watershed approach and MGNREGA convergence. With the massive execution of farm ponds, the groundwater level has significantly improved in the region’s borewells which has resulted in more area being cultivated. The efforts of the villagers and the District Water Management Agency has earned the village the status of a “model village” with visitors from other districts coming to the village for knowledge enhancement. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-12-08/Utakallu-emerges-as-model-village-in-water-conservation/343819

GROUND WATER

National New regulatory guidelines are seriously problematic The proposed guidelines free up groundwater users from the responsibility of conservation and recharge. Though it proposes that the state government in receipt of the fees, will take steps to conserve, no such steps are identified. As of now, this important task slips between the various actors with no one held accountable for groundwater conservation. The guidelines do not mention the problem of groundwater contamination by industrial effluents, landfills, and over-extraction. By setting up a process for approvals for groundwater extraction with no conservation of the resource, groundwater may be pushed further out of reach of thirsty Indians. These guidelines could exacerbate the effects they ought to prevent or remedy.http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-regulatory-efforts-may-push-groundwater-beyond-reach-2566895

WATER

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Eluru canal beautification works being carried out in Vijayawada. The VMC and Amaravati Development Corporation are jointly developing greenery on canal bunds in the city (Image Source: The Hans India)

Andhra Pradesh Canal water in city faces pollution threat As per report 3 canals passing through the Vijayawada city will get more polluted water after completion of storm water project works, taken up at a cost of Rs 461 crore. Hundreds of villages along the Eluru canal up to Eluru city in West Godavari district, Gudivada and Machilipatnam will use the water of these canals for drinking and daily consumption purposes. If these three canals get more storm water, the water pollution levels will be increased. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2017-12-12/Canal-water-in-city-faces-pollution-threat-/344711

Uttarakhand UNDP spring revival project United Nation Development Program (UNDP) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – are providing technical support for the project aimed at revival of springs in Jendo and Latau villages in Kalsi tehsil of Dehradun district. The villages were selected as per survey conducted by the Climate Change and Environment department 2 years ago. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/revival-of-springs-in-water-deficient-uttarakhand-villages/articleshow/61999305.cms

THE REST OF WORLD

Australia Dam Flood 2011 Court told Wivenhoe Dam was at risk of collapse Brisbane (Australia) Dam operators claim in court that they had to make sudden releases to save the dam. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/crime-and-justice/2011-floods-class-action-court-told-wivenhoe-dam-was-at-risk-of-collapse/news-story/30032c63276dc5e2882e2eda3c9216e5

Houston Floods Officials patched and prayed while pressure built on Houston’s dams GREAT, detailed article about floods in Houston in 1992 and 2016-17 and the role of dams and other options. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Officials-patched-and-prayed-while-pressure-built-12425719.php

CLIMATE CHANGE

Report Smaller farms can cope better with climate change Small farmers do multi cropping, that helps them cope with extremes in climate, so they are better able to cope with climate change, says this report. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-landrights-environment/smaller-farms-can-cope-better-with-climate-change-in-india-say-analysts-idUSKBN1E51H7 

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 11 December 2017   &   DRP News Bulletin 04 December 2017

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