Apart from mentioning Govt failure in checking Ganga pollution, the Comptroller & Auditor General’s (CAG) performance audit report on Ganga rejuvenation tabled in Parliament on December 19, 2017 specifically mentions that National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) “could not finalize the long-term action plans even after more than six-and-a-half years of signing of agreement with the consortium of Indian Institutes of Technology”. The fact that NMCG does not have a “river basin management plan even after a lapse of more than 8 years of National Ganga River Basin Authority notification”, mentioned in the report also has great significance.
It is surprising that NMCG is working without a river basin management plan or a long-term action plan. The CAG performance audit is also lacking. It rightly mentions that infrastructure to treat pollution has not been created but does no assessment whether the creation of infrastructure alone would revive the river.
Further, CAG audit does not look into the issues if lessons from past failures have been learnt, corrections done, independent scrutiny institutionalised, participatory governance achieved, and if this business as usual approach is going to achieve any better results even if all the money were spent, all the DPRs were sanctioned, all the meetings happened, all the manpower available and all the STPs constructed?
Hence it critical that CAG performance audit should have tried to address these issues. Can the state of Ganga improve without improving the state of tributaries? CAG does not even look at this issue.
The CAG report shows that this programme provides no real hope for better future of Ganga and Modi and his government will have a lot to answer when they go to polls in less than 1.5 years. It’s a serious indictment for the govt in general and Modi in particular since he has said right from the beginning that Ganga is their priority and all that they have tried is audited here. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/KW6MIOrOvMvZvEGeozwifJ/CAG-slams-Centre-for-failing-to-utilize-funds-for-Ganga-reju.html; http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ganga-pollution-hc-orders-uttarakhand-govt-to-seal-establishments-polluting-rivers-4991923/; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/building-of-ghats-crematoria-on-ganga-misses-nov-deadline/articleshow/62234114.cms https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/environment/pm-modi-fails-to-clean-up-his-mother-ganga
Uttarakhand Villagers protest against Devsari HEP public hearing The residents of villages to be affected by the proposed 252 Mw Devsari dam on the Pindar river in Chamoli district have complained that there were anomalies in public hearings held recently for the project. They have alleged that without proper information being provided in advance, a series of public hearings for private land to be affected by the dam was started on December 20.
Villagers protesting against administration Image Source: Vimal Bhai
The villagers gheraoed them and accusing them of imposing the dam on the area without consent, demanded that the dam construction be cancelled. The people have been strongly raising objections in the public hearings for the project since 2009. They have demanded that the various documents and reports pertaining to the dam project should be made available to the public in Hindi and be explained to them. The public hearing for the project should be held only after the public is correctly informed about the various relevant aspects. http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/dehradun/irked-over-dam-construction-villagers-gherao-officials.html
Manipur Fallacies Loktak Downstream HEP Project In Manipur Jiten Yumnam highlights the issues related to the proposed 66 MW Loktak Downstream HEP in Manipur. https://www.ifp.co.in/article/item/5963-fallacies-of-66-mw-loktak-downstream-hep-project-in-manipur
Assam Activist Akhil Gogoi released from jail The Gauhati High Court on Dec 19 quashed the detention order under the National Security Act against anti-corruption campaigner Akhil Gogoi. He has been lodged in Dibrugarh jail since his arrest on charges of sedition in September. Gogoi has been fighting against the building of dams, land mafia and corruption in public life. https://scroll.in/latest/862255/gauhati-high-court-sets-aside-detention-order-under-nsa-against-peasant-leader-akhil-gogoi?utm_content=buffer697d2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Kerala SNC-Lavalin case: CBI appeals in SC THE CBI on Dec 19 filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the clean chit given to CM Pinarayi Vijayan in the multi-crore SNC-Lavalin graft case. The case relates to the award of contracts for renovation and modernisation of three hydro-electric projects in Kerala between 1995 and 1997, when Vijayan was the electricity minister. Not clear if this is political move, but its important in any case. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/snc-lavalin-case-cbi-appeals-in-supreme-court-against-clean-chit-to-kerala-cm-pinarayi-vijayan-4990698/
Krishnagiri Dam Breach Transparency need of the hour to ensure dam safety This report extensively quotes SANDRP on DAM SAFETY issues. Very important issues flagged here. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/transparency-need-of-the-hour-to-ensure-dam-safety/article21910146.ece
Another report on Krishnagiri Dam failure also mentions the shocking fact that the shutter thickness in underwater portion DECREASED to 6 mm compared to 60 mm at the top. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/shutter-thickness-corrosion-that-escaped-inspection-led-to-krp-dam-breach/article21910144.ece
In a closely guarded visit, a team from the Central Water Commission comprising of dam safety specialists inspected the KRP Dam to ascertain the nature of damage in Shutter I here on Dec 02. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/cwc-team-inspects-krp-dam/article21246256.ece
To know all about the issue, kindly see the detailed SANDRP report. Krishnagiri Dam Breach Is Wake Call For Dam Safety In Tamil Nadu And Elsewhere
Amid this, the Dam Safety bill remains stuck due to non seriousness of the govt of India. https://thewire.in/207261/centre-maintains-silence-progress-law-dam-safety/
Pancheshwar Dam Uttarakhand violates Forest Rights Act for Pancheshwar dam project 10 civil society organisations (CSOs) wrote to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister and the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, objecting to the manner in which district administrative authorities in Pithoragarh have been seeking No Objection Certificates (NoCs) from Gram Sabhas for the Pancheshwar Dam under the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA). http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/uttarakhand-district-violates-forest-rights-act-for-pancheshwar-dam-project-59314
Dams, Rivers, Water in Gujarat Election Statues and dams do not help win elections “It was not only in Dediapada, but also in Nandod Assembly segment in the district where the BJP suffered a big upset, losing its hold in the tribal district completely. The BJP’s high-pitched appeal that the Statue of Unity PM Modi’s pet project of erecting the 182-metre-tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel — would change the fortunes of the tribals here brought no dividends. The BJP’s defeat in Nandod has put the party’s leaders in an embarrassing spot. However the poll results indicate that even in the 14 polling booths surrounding the Statue of Unity, the Congress won by a margin of 5,157 votes. The BJP’s wipe out from Narmada district, where PM Modi arrived on Sept 17 to inaugurate the Narmada Dam after the work of installation of 30 flood gates was complete, has certainly come as a jolt to the BJP.” http://indianexpress.com/elections/gujarat-assembly-elections-2017/decoding-the-verdict-in-narmada-home-to-pms-pet-statue-project-bjp-crumbles-4990707/
Gujarat govt “destroyed” 150 salt farms in Rann of Kutch, Narmada water release created agariyas vs farmers situation IRONY? OR CRIMINAL? Wish it was that simple.
– The question is, if water does not reach farms, where does water go? If you ask this to the poor agariya, who farms salt in the Little Rann of Kutch, in a huge expanse about 100 kilometres north-west of Gandhinagar, Gujarat capital, his answer would be simple: It is being thrown away in the desert of Kutch.
– This answer may seem ridiculous, as Gujarat has always fought for raising the height of the dam, with the aim to collect and store more water.
But if you visit the Rann from October to May, you will see crores of litres of Narmada water is thrown in the salty desert every day from three corners of the Rann, Kuda, from Radhanpur and from the upper parts of Ghatila.
– When Narmada water is released in the Rann, it washes away their (Those of 8000 agariya families) salt farms, leading to a situation of manmade disaster. Recently, in the heat of elections, huge quantities of water were released from the Kuda minor canal of Narmada in Surendranagar district.
– However, farmers could not use much of the water during that period, and the rest of the water was then released into the Rann. It washed away 150 salt farms completely, while an equal number got partially affected.
Each of the salt farmers had spent around Rs 1 to 1.25 lakh by taking advance from traders with the promise to sell salt.
– “However”, he added, “As per the rules of operation of Narmada canals, the department has to calculate the water requirement and release it accordingly considering the carrying capacity of the canal. They want to portray this as an agariyas versus farmers issues.”
– “Narmada water has become a big disaster for us. The government is not bothered about agariyas as we are scattered in four districts”, he added. http://www.counterview.net/2017/12/gujarat-govt-destroyed-150-salt-farms.html
As per latest report, Sardar Sarovar is not getting filled and Narmada river in downstream thirsts for water, MP approves a project to transfer over 1 MAF of water to Parbati:
– The MP Govt has given its approval to the Narmada–Parvati river linking project worth Rs 7,546 crore. The project that will be completed in four phases, aims to create irrigation facilities on two lakh hectares of agricultural land in Malwa region of the state and would benefit farmers of 369 villages of Sehore and Shajapur districts. The project envisages lifting 1.08 million acre feet of water from Indira Sagar Reservoir that will be supplied through underground pipelines. http://www.india.com/news/agencies/mp-approves-rs-7546-crore-narmada-parvati-linking-project-2746948/
Also see Kumar Sundaram writes why people of Mandla are opposing the Chutka Nuclear Plan proposal near Bargi Dam on Narmada. https://theecologist.org/2017/dec/18/nuking-narmada-uprooting-lives-and-compounding-climate-crisis-impacts
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Maharashtra State assembly sees opposition to river linking to the benefit of Gujarat The Defence of Mah WRD minister seems strange: “Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan assured the House that not a single extra drop of water will be given to Gujarat, and Maharashtra’s interests and water requirement will be protected. Mr Mahajan said, “The Damanganga-Pinjal river-link project is meant for providing additional drinking water to Mumbai. The total cost of the project is ₹2,746.61 crore.”
– The Union government has sanctioned ₹10,800 crore for the Par-Tapi-Narmada project in Gujarat. Mr. Mahajan said, “We have demanded a similar allocation for Maharashtra, and the Union government has approved our demand and given funds for river-linking.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/fracas-after-opposition-protests-water-to-gujarat/article22198863.ece
Here is Maharashtra River Linking Plans: Water from Damanganga Valley, around 579 TMC, would serve the purpose. The project cost of the two river linking project is Rs 2,746 crore. The state government has pushed four more projects to retain its water share — Nar-Par-Girna (362 TMC ), worth Rs 4,500 crore, Par-Godavari (97 TMC) worth Rs 990 crore, Damanganga-Viatarna-Godavari (202 TMC) worth Rs 1,800 crore and Damanganga-Godavari (143 TMC) worth Rs 850 crore. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/winter-session-in-nagpur-rs-10886-crore-river-linking-project-to-reclaim-water-flowing-into-gujarat/
MoWR PIB release on interlinking of rivers Present status of Inter Basin Water Transfer Links, the States involved, name of rivers and status of Feasibility Reports/Detailed Project Report. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513040
INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES
Mahadayi Water Row Karnataka CM writes to Goa, Maharashtra CMs for meeting Karnataka CM writes to Goa CM for a meeting for amicable settlement of Mahadayi water sharing dispute between Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka. He also stakes claim to 14.98 TMC of water from Mahadayi, including 7.56 TMS for drinking water for Hublii Dharwad etc and 7 TMC for drought prone areas etc. It is indeed a strange that Goa CM wrote to BJP chief in Karnataka, offering to share water, but did not respond to Karnataka CM letter. The Mahadayi tribunal, in its order on Nov 30, 2017, had fixed Feb 6-22, 2018 for final hearing. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/mahadayi-water-sharing-siddaramaiah-writes-to-goa-maharashtra-cms-for-meeting-4995266/
Meanwhile, stating that the BJP-led state govt’s willingness for bilateral talks with Karnataka for provision of drinking water from the Mhadei river basin to drought-prone areas of North Karnataka is ‘anti-Goa and anti-Goenkar,’ the Congress party on Dec 22 objected to this decision of the govt and said that this is a move of the BJP to win the Karnataka election scheduled to be held next year. This was bound to happen, opposition in Goa have taken up the issue with Parrikar for selling the interests of Goa so that BJP may get advantage in Karnataka assembly elections. http://www.navhindtimes.in/stand-taken-by-parrikar-is-anti-goa-congress/
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
MoWR Where is hope for any river with such a person holding Water Resources Ministry in India: “The minister (Gadkari) said he was surprised that there is no debate in the country over river water not being used and going into the sea but states fighting with each other “for five-10 MLD of water”.” As per report, a dredging contract of Rs 1,700 crore for five years has been given for the Ganga. https://www.siasat.com/news/gadkari-promises-revolution-inland-waterways-1283025/
PIB Release based on Current Parliament Session Road Map for Development of Waterways For the development of NW-5, preparation of DPR including Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the construction of weirs or barrages with navigational locks and check dams between Pankapal and Paradip or Dhamra (Phase-I) has been sanctioned.
The Jal Marg Vikas Project has been commissioned with technical and financial assistance of the World Bank for the capacity augmentation of NW-1 (Ganga) from Haldia to Varanasi (1380 km). The JMVP aims at developing the fairway to enable safe navigation of 1,500-2,000 ton vessels. The project would be completed by 2022-23 at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,369 crores. Out of the 106 newly declared NWs, 36 NWs are considered technically feasible, the list of the same is here http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513065
The Budgetary Estimates and expenditure by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for development and maintenance of NWs, including NW-4, during the last two years and the current year are given below:
|Year||BE (Rs. in crore)||Expenditure (Rs. in crore)|
|2016-17||BE 350 *EBR Rs 340||517.89|
|2017-18||228 (Grants) + *EBR Rs.660||359.04 (upto Nov, 2017)|
*Extra Budgetary Resources http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513663
The PM has launched Phase-I of RO Pax Ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej in Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat on 22nd October 2017. This project is implemented by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).
On National Waterway – 2 (river Brahmaputra), a regular Roll On and Roll Off (Ro – Ro) ferry service started between Dhubri and Hatsingmari in July, 2017. This Ro Ro service provides a direct link between Assam and Meghalaya avoiding circuitous route of 220 km. through Jogighopa to reach Hatsingmari.
The total cost of the Ghogha and Dahej, RO Pax Ferry service project, as estimated by the GMB, is Rs.615 crore including terminal construction, capital dredging and other costs. Under the Sagarmala Programme, the Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned 50% cost of the capital dredging i.e. Rs.117 crore and has released Rs.58.5 crore in 2016-17 and Rs.40.68 crore in 2017-18. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513651
Dredging works in rivers of Bangladesh As agreed during the meeting of the Shipping Secretaries of India and Bangladesh held at Dhaka on 07th December 2016, it has been decided to undertake dredging in two stretches of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route i.e. Zakiganj-Ashuganj of Kushiyara river and Sirajganj-Daikhowa of Jamuna river in Bangladesh so as to develop the protocol route for round the year navigation.
In this regard, India and Bangladesh have agreed to adopt a cost sharing ratio of 80:20. The dredging operation is envisaged to be executed jointly by the Governments of the two countries. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513067
Also see, Ministry of Shipping 2017- Year of Consolidation http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513281
Goa Govt to sign the MOU: Assembly debates Rivers, impact of Navigation Among the apprehensions Goans have is the scale of navigational infrastructure modifications to the river depths and banks due the the MoU, which many fear will kill the traditional fishing colonies and also impact the seabed’s morphology. The opposition also pointed river dredging could impact the livelihoods of the traditional fisherfolk of the state.”http://indianexpress.com/article/business/business-others/removal-of-rivers-from-waterways-act-goa-cm-manohar-parrikar-says-will-consider-demand-4988894/
Meanwhile CM Manohar Parrikar once again laid all apprehensions to rest on the river issue, stating that as per the Constitution the Centre has no authority over Fisheries and it cannot make any law in that regard. “Indian Waterways Act was passed in Parliament in 2016 and State has no jurisdiction, but signing the MoU with Indian Waterways Authority of India will give us our rights back,” Parrikar said, replying to a three-hour-long debate in the Assembly.” This is contradictory. If Centre has no right, there should be no MOU on the questionable waterways act: https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa-News/Fisheries-is-State-subject-Centre-cannot-make-law-says-Parrikar/124238.html
Maharashtra Irrigation Scam Probe points finger at Ajit Pawar Imp Development: “Days after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) filed four First Information Reports (FIR) in the alleged scam in Gosekhurd irrigation projects, the state government has received another boost. A five-member committee constituted to investigate the irregularities in 12 irrigation projects in Konkan has submitted its report to the government” http://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/maharashtra-irrigation-scam-probe-points-finger-at-ajit-pawar/1191243
SANDRP Report Hindon River Gazetteer: An Introduction The Hindon River Gazetteer, titled “Reviving Hindon River: A Basin Approach” has been brought out by INTACH. This is the first attempt at building a basin level picture of a medium river. The document, we hope, would serve as a first template subsequent gazetteer on other rivers. We invite feedback from all concerned. This article provides an overview of the contents of the Hindon River Gazetteer. For hard copy of the Gazetteerr, please contact: Manu Bhatnagar firstname.lastname@example.org. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/hindon-river-gazetteer-an-introduction/
Urban Rivers Godavari: Worshiped, Destroyed & Forgotten River of Nashik The spirituality and the sacredness of the Godavari lure thousands of the devotees, every day along the banks of Godavari in Nashik. Nashik owes its existence, and recognition as an important city on the religious map of India and the world, to Godavari. But the irony is that the image of ‘pure and sacred Godavari’ is only encaged within the religious cosmos, and hardly translates into reality. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/godavari-worshiped-destroyed-forgotten-river-of-nashik/
Rally for Rivers Centre forms committee to look into document This is a strange decisions:– The Ministry of Water Resources, River has formed a committee under the chairmanship of Sharad Kumar Jain, Director, National Institute of Hydrology to look into the Isha Foundation’s “Revitalization of Rivers in India – Draft Policy Recommendation.”
– A RTI reply by the MoWR also revealed that a group under the CEO, NITI Aayog and consisting of Secretary (MoWR), Secretary (MoEF) Secretary, Secretary (Housing and Urban Affairs), Secretary (Drinking Water and Sanitation), Secretary (Rural Development), Secretary (Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmer’s Welfare) was formed by the PMO’s on Nov 13. The group was to look into the Isha Foundation’s recommendation and work out an action plan for the government within 15 days. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/centre-forms-committee-to-look-into-isha-foundation-s-recommendations-on-river-rejuvenation-59346
Maharashtra Rs1600cr Nag riverfront development Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD)— French Development Agency— has completed survey of Nag river and is likely to submit detailed project report (DPR) of Rs 1,600 crore riverfront development plan in April, according to municipal commissioner Ashwin Mudgal. Later, AFD will also provide funds for the plan. AFD is likely to provide Rs 1,054.58 crore (140 million Euros) of total estimated project cost of Rs 1,600 crore. Under this plan, NMC will beautify both sides of Nag river, provide recreation facilities, develop pilgrimage and tourism spots etc.
NMC’s Nag pollution abatement plan of Rs 1,252.33 crore was also approved last year. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has started the process to fund that project. The process was on hold for want of a certificate from state govt. Centre will bear 60%, state 25% of the cost while and remaining will be borne by NMC in pollution abatement plan.
Nag river’s two plans also include Pili river. CM Devendra Fadnavis had assured to approve Rs 618 crore for rejuvenation of Pora river too. NMC has begun preparing its DPR. This paves way for rejuvenation of all three rivers in the city in coming days. Total estimated cost of all projects is Rs 3,470.33 crore. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/rs-1600cr-nag-riverfront-devpt-dpr-to-be-ready-in-april/articleshow/62125871.cms
According to a report by MoEF while Maharashtra generates 13% of the country’s sewage, about 8,143 MLD, treat only 5,160.36 MLD.
In response to an application under the RTI filed by citizens’ group Watchdog Foundation, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) released a statement that it has shut down 834 polluting factories over the last two years.
The 834 factories, mostly chemical or pharmaceutical units, included 49 in Pune, 380 in Ulhasnagar, 170 in Ambernath and Dombivli, 81 in Tarapur, 23 in Chiplun, seven in Taloja, and 8 in Patalganga, Roha and Mahad each.
As CPCB Maharashtra has the maximum number of polluted river stretches in the country – 49 of 315. Around 3,000 million litres of untreated sewage and industrial effluents are discharged into the state’s rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/834-factories-across-maharashtra-shut-down-in-2-years-for-causing-pollution-mpcb/story-MrmmXa9XH9Vdkzu2wKSdcL.html
Odisha Garbage, sewage killing Brahmani at Talcher as Admin remains aloof It has been eight years since the State govt promised a waste water treatment plant in the industrial city of Talcher to treat the discharge which is being dumped into Brahmani River, the second longest river in the State. The project is yet to see the light of the day as lakhs of city denizens continue to live under pollution threat. http://odishatv.in/odisha/body-slider/garbage-sewage-killing-brahmani-in-talcher-as-admin-remains-aloof-263446
BRAHMAPUTRA SANDRP blog on the reasons and implications of MUDDY SIANG The current ongoing episode of Muddy Siang River water in Arunachal Pradesh is due to landslides in the upstream Tibet, triggered by the earthquakes starting on Nov 17, 2017 or possibly earlier. This is revealed by the satellite pictures and work of two researchers, first published in Arunachal Times on Dec 21, 2017[i]. These landslides are partly blocking the Siang flow and could lead to massive floods in the downstream Arunachal Pradesh and Assam any day. Please read, share and send comments. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/muddy-siang-is-sign-of-danger-ahead-wake-up-call-for-indian-authorities/
Also see the best report about the reasons behind Muddy Siang river, Salutes to the authors. They show some worrying situation, and we have seen no evidence so far that Indian govt is awake to the reality of the risks of floods in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam when the landslide dam breaches. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2017/12/21/earthquakes-in-tibet-have-triggered-massive-landslides-darkening-the-siang-river/
Indian Express has a front page report, based on the above report, which also quotes CWC’s Pradeep Kumar, member (River Management), so hopefully the Indian authorities are not awake to this reality. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/whats-darkening-brahmaputra-landslide-not-chinese-machines-4993783/
Meanwhile, the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) has detected high turbidity in the waters of the Siang where investigation for chemicals and biological ingredients is under way. A team of researchers from the institute, who had recently visited the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra and Siang rivers, said chan. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/high-turbidity-in-siang-detected-194586
NARMADA Gujarat HC notice to Centre, state bodies Interesting case in Gujarat High Court against 11 towns of upstream MADHYA PRADESH for releasing untreated sewage into Narmada, which the petition claims is Gujarat’s lifeline. But SSP of Gujarat kills the river both upstream and downstream of SSP. Where really is Gujarat’s lifeline? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/narmada-pollution-in-mp-hc-notice-to-centre-state-bodies/articleshow/62186316.cms
CAUVERY River water carries highest level of chemicals A govt-funded Anna University study has found that Cauvery, one of India’s major rivers, carries the highest level of toxins despite having lowest discharge into the sea. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/cauvery-river-water-carries-highest-level-chemicals-india-anna-uni-study-73609
GANGA HC orders govt to seal establishments polluting rivers A year after ordering immediate closure of 150 commercial establishments that were polluting the Ganga and had been served closure notices between 2014 and 2016, the Uttarakhand High Court has ordered the state govt to “identify” and “seal” the establishments, including ashrams, that are polluting rivers in Uttarakhand, including the Ganga and its tributaries, by letting untreated sewage into the rivers. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ganga-pollution-hc-orders-uttarakhand-govt-to-seal-establishments-polluting-rivers-4991923/
Discussion on Ganga in Parliament As per PIB release foundation stone have been laid for 32 projects costing about Rs 905 crore in Uttarakhand on Dec 19 under Namami Gange programme. 2 STPs in Gangotri Dham and 0.26 MLD STP at Badrinath – costing Rs 12.83 were inaugurated (commissioned) at the event.
Out of 32 projects for which foundation stone was laid, 20 projects worth Rs 871.74 crore pertain to sewage treatment and infrastructure in different parts of Uttarakhand. Six are in Haridwar that includes construction of STPs in Jagjeetpur and Sarai under PPP based Hybrid Annuity model. The total cost of projects in Haridwar is Rs 414.20 crore.
Apart from this, foundation stone have been laid for projects related to sewage treatment in Uttarkashi, Muni-ki-Reti, Kirti Nagar, Srinagar, Rudra Prayag, Badrinath, Joshimath, Chamoli, Nand Prayag and Karn Prayag. Foundation stone for ghat development works in Tehri Garhwal, Rudra Prayag and Chamoli were also laid.
The projects include I & D work in Jagjeetpur for Rs 85.14 crore, sewage treatment work in Jagjeetpur for Rs 244.91 crore, I & D work in Sarai for Rs 31.46 crore, sewage treatment work in Sarai for Rs 52.64 crore, 3.5 MLD STP at Tapovan for Rs 2.1 crore, 3 MLD STP at Swarga Ashram for Rs 4.5 crore, I & D and 26 MLD STP work in Rishikesh for Rs 158 crore, I & D and STP work in Muni Ki Reti for Rs 80.45 crore, 2 MLD STP work in Uttarkashi for Rs 10.03 crore, I & D and STP work in Kirti Nagar for Rs 4.2 crore, I & D and STP work in Srinagar for Rs 22.5 crore, 3.5 MLD STP rehabilitation work in Srinagar for Rs 15.4 crore, I & D and STP work in Rudra Prayag for Rs 13.1 crore, I & D and STP work in Badrinath for Rs 18.23 crore, I & D and STP work in Joshimath for Rs 48.42 crore, I & D and STP work in Chamoli for Rs 61.8 crore, I & D and STP work in Nand Prayag for Rs 6.4 crore, I & D and STP work in Karn Prayag for Rs 12.09 crore, ghat work in Tehri Garhwal for Rs 6 crore, ghat work in Chamoli for about Rs 24 crore and ghat work in Rudra Prayag for Rs 4.77 crore. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513233
NGT in its final judgment order in O.A. No. 200/2014 in the matter of M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India for Segment B, Phase I dated 13th July, 2017 observed that even after spending Rs.7304.64 Cr. upto March, 2017, by the Central Government, State Government and local authorities of the State of UP, the status of river Ganga has not improved in terms of quality or otherwise and it continues to be a serious environmental issue. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/building-of-ghats-crematoria-on-ganga-misses-nov-deadline/articleshow/62234114.cms
The task of cleaning Ganga is undertaken by different authorities under different programme/schemes. NGT vide its order dated 07/07/2017 in the same O.A. had noted that the Central Government and State Government of Uttar Pradesh had released an amount of Rs. 6,691.55 crore, the details of which are given below:
|S. No.||Source||Amount (Rs. cr)||Scheme||As on Date|
|1||Central Govt||4864.48||GAP-1, Gap- II, NRCD, Namami Gange||30 June 2017|
|1827.07||Standalone projects and State Contribution||March 2017|
Over 3000 MLD of sewage is generated by the towns situated on the main stem of river Ganga. Against this, sewage treatment capacity available is 1580 MLD. NMCG has sanctioned projects for creation of additional 1570 MLD capacity and these projects are at various stages of implementation. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513592
It is worth to mention that NGT on Dec 22 has imposed a ban on plastic items, including plastic bags and cutlery, in Haridwar and Rishikesh. The court has also banned the sale, manufacture and storage of all such plastic items, till Uttarkashi. The green panel specified that the ban would be applicable to towns in Uttarakhand, along river Ganga and its tributaries. The Tribunal said a fine of ₹5,000 would be imposed on those violating the order. Action would be taken against erring officials as well. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ngt-once-again-bans-plastic-use-in-haridwar-rishikesh-to-save-ganga/article21726431.ece
MoWR Plantation Programme for Ganga Rejuvenation and Cleaning Status of Detailed Project Report (DPR) on forestry interventions for Ganga. A river scape covering an area of 83,946 km2 has been delineated all along the basin in the five Ganga River bank states namely, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The project is to be implemented in two phases, 1st phase is to be implemented over a five years period from 2016-2020. The total projected financial outlay over 5 years is Rs. 2293.73 crores. After successful completion of 1st phase, DPR for 2nd phase will be prepared for scaling-up and replication in additional sites and will be implemented from 2021 to 2027. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513038
MoDR Meanwhile, launching ‘Ganga Gram’, a project for sanitation-based integrated development of all 4,470 villages along the river, Uma Bharati said like farmers have rights over land, people whose traditional occupation is centred around rivers and those living along rivers have the right over these water bodies. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uma-bharati-slams-double-standard-on-holy-ganga/articleshow/62236137.cms http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174802
YAMUNA NGT Tribunal seeks DJB’S to complete action plan on drains in 2 weeks NGT on Dec 18 asked DJB to submit the plans for six drains (Kalkaji, Tehkhand, Maharani Bagh, Qudsia Bagh and Mori gate, Barapulla and Shahdara drain) in two weeks, to be discussed on Jan 8, 2018, by the principle committee appointed by NGT. http://www.dailypioneer.com/city/ngt-seeks-djbs-complete-action-plan-on-drains-in-2-weeks.html
SANDRP Year End Review 2017 Rivers Continue To Loose Mindless Mining Battle Continuing our effort to assess the scale of threat and level of devastation illegal sand mining is posing to our rivers, SANDRP presents State wise 2017 year end review on the issue. This is third straight year that we are doing this after 2015 and 2016. The subsequent reports would cover Governments’ role and Judicial interventions to reign in the unsustainable, unlawful sand mining activities across India. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/illegal-sand-mining-2017-rivers-continue-to-loose-mindless-mining-battle/
The first part has been republished here. http://www.sixdegreesnews.org/archives/21496/illegal-sand-mining-2017-indian-rivers-continue-to-loose-mindless-mining-battle
The summary of first part on can be seen here. https://newsclick.in/indias-rivers-ruined-condition-due-unchecked-illegal-sand-mining
The second part of the report highlights various measures taken by different State Governments and Central Government to check the unsustainable riverbed mining practices. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/riverbed-mining-2017-ii-states-look-to-centre-centre-dilutes-norms/
MoEF New Policy Draft Dilution of EC norms for mining of 47 minerals In a major dilution of laws, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has proposed relaxation in EC for mining of 47 minerals classified as minor under the Indian mining regulations 47 minerals including sand, marble, limestone and brick earth. The draft notification issued in this regard on on Dec 18 allows states to clear mining projects spanning up to 100 hectares, thus doubling the limit. Minor mineral leases above 100 hectares will require clearance from the Centre. The annual value of extracted minor minerals is estimated to be upwards of Rs 50,000 crore. https://scroll.in/article/862355/centre-wants-to-dilute-environment-clearance-norms-for-irrigation-projects-mining-of-47-minerals (December 2017)
Uttar Pradesh Mining department to issue notices to firms linked to sand mafia As part of the crackdown on mining mafia dominating the illegal sand excavation from Yamuna banks in Saharanpur and neighbouring areas, the mining department has decided to issue showcause notice to 109 individuals or firms associated with former BSP MLC Mohd Iqbal, a mining baron from Saharanpur. The firms and individuals would be blacklisted and barred from participating in the bidding process. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/mining-department-to-issue-notices-to-firms-linked-to-sand-mafia/articleshow/62217051.cms (December 2017)
अवैध बालू खनन से महकमा बेखबर सिद्धार्थनगर तहसील क्षेत्र में अवैध बालू खनन का कारोबार धड़ल्ले से जारी है। बावजूद इसके प्रशासनिक अमला इससे बेखबर बना हुआ है। नदियों से जुड़े अथवा तटों पर बसे हुए गांवों की हालत खनन के कारण बदहाल होती जा रही है। स्थानीय स्तर पर किसी भी घाट का ठेका नहीं है, पर दिन रात बालू लदी गाड़ियां सड़कों पर फर्राटा भरती नजर आ रही हैं। बि¨ल्डग मैटेरियल के दुकानदारों और ठेकेदारों की मिलीभगत से यह कारोबार फल फूल रहा है। लोगों का कहना है कि यहां दिन रात नदी से बालू निकालने का कारोबार चलता है, जिससे तटबंध जर्जर हो चुके हैं। तटबंधों की जर्जरता का खामियाजा अभी पिछली बरसात में लोगों ने भुगता है। कई गांवों में बाढ़ के पानी का कहर बरपा और गांव मैरूंड हो गए। खनन की शिकायत भी कई बार सक्षम अधिकारियों से हुई पर कोई जांच पड़ताल नहीं हुई। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/sidharth-nagar-illegal-sand-mining-17243779.html (December 2017)
Punjab Notice to govt, Mohali police on illegal mining The Punjab and Haryana HC on Dec 22 issued a notice to the Punjab govt and Mohali police on a plea seeking directions to halt the alleged extensive illegal mining being carried out at Salempur Khurd and Siana Majra villages. The plea alleged the mining was being done in “collusion and connivance with the authorities”, including Mohali’s mining officer. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-and-haryana-hc-issues-notice-to-punjab-govt-mohali-police-on-illegal-mining-4995216/
As per another report, rampant mining in the area has changed the shape of land around the Salempur Khurd village in Mohali. Deep mining pit close to houses pose a threat to the safety of villagers. In Saini Majra village, where mining has caused major damage to supply pipes of a tubewell. The villagers have been spending money from their own pocket to keep the tubewell functional. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/all-i-can-see-is-20ft-deep-pits-house-owner/articleshow/62214865.cms (December 2017)
In Moga, drug mafia takes to sand mining The drug mafia in the district’s Daulewala villages has now turned to illegal sand mining on village common land and a few private properties. A recent visit to the village brought out that a portion of panchayat land on the Maseetan link road has been robbed off its fertility. The land, where wheat and paddy were sown for several years, has now turned barren with deep trenches as a result of illegal sand mining. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/in-moga-drug-mafia-takes-to-sand-mining/506198.html (December 2017)
Acting on the news report, the Rural Development and Panchayat Department has begun investigations into illegal sand mining on panchayat land at Daulewala village in the Dharamkot sub-division of the district. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/inquiry-on-into-illegal-mining-at-moga-village/518583.html (December 2017)
Uttarakhand 3 labourers buried alive in sand mining pit Three people, including a father-daughter duo, were buried alive under sand on Dec 22 when they were allegedly extracting the mineral illegally at Noorpur village, near Sultanpur Patti of US Nagar district, police said. Three others were lucky as a police team managed to rescue them in the nick of time with minor injuries. All the people that were buried were daily wage earners and were hired by a mining lease holder, said police. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/-3-labourers-buried-alive-in-sand-mining-pit/articleshow/62213225.cms (December 2017)
Tamil Nadu Nearly 65,000 trucks enrol online for sand Hoping that the govt would reopen sand quarries across rivers in the State, around 65,000 trucks have enrolled till now through the online system to get sand from the government-run quarries. Around 3000 lorry owners from several parts of Tamil Nadu came to the PWD office in Trichy to verify their documents in a five-day camp that ended on Dec 22. The officials approved 2000 vehicles while rejecting around 1000 for want of valid documents. Though the number of trucks registered online was on the rise, the state govt was unable to supply enough sand. As of now, nine quarries are operating in Cuddalore, Nagappattinam and Vellore. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/nearly-65000-trucks-enrol-online-for-sand/articleshow/62214786.cms (December 2017)
Revenue officials confiscated six trucks and 10 bullock carts besides an earth mover when some unidentified people were engaged in mining sand from Kollidam river illegally in the wee hours on Dec 23. After the sand mining from river beds across the state was banned, revenue officials have so far seized 25 trucks and 30 bullock carts while engaging in illegal mining activities in various water bodies in Trichy district. Officials had warned that anyone found violating the rules on sand mining would be slapped a penalty of up to Rs 28,000. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/illegal-sand-mining-six-trucks-seized-near-lalgudi/articleshow/62226170.cms
Odisha Rampant sand mining goes on; govt loses revenue Rampant sand loot has bent taking place from the bed of river Tel in Kalahandi district while the govt is losing revenue worth crores of rupees every year. Locals have demanded a probe into the illegalities. A few days ago, machines were engaged in sand quarrying and truckloads of sand had been transported to other places. However, the revenue officials are accused of looking the other way. Villagers of Turkel and Chhenagaon had taken up the issue of illegal sand lifting with the collector and the revenue divisional commissioner a few days ago. http://www.orissapost.com/rampant-sand-mining-goes-on-govt-loses-revenue/ (December 2017)
Gujarat Illegal riverbed mining rampant in Gujarat: HC Gujarat high court has sounded a warning against indiscriminate illegal sand mining in riverbed in Gujarat and made certain norms more stringent to curb the activity. In an order passed on Dec 21, the HC has observed, “Illegal mining in the state of Gujarat, more particularly, the riverbed mining is at a rampage. Such indiscriminate and illegal riverbed mining has created a lot of ecological imbalance.”
Expressing its concern about ecological imbalance, the HC said, “The minerals are non-renewable and limited natural resources and constitute vital raw materials in a number of basic and important industries. The extraction of minerals from nature often creates imbalances, which adversely affect the environment. The key environmental impacts of mining are of wildlife and fishery habitats, the water balance, local climates and the pattern of rainfall, sedimentation, the depletion of forests and disruption of the ecology.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/illegal-riverbed-mining-rampant-in-gujarat-hc/articleshow/62186305.cms (December 2017)
Bihar Govt. to lease out not more than 100 hectares as single unit for sand mining State Govt has decided to lease out not more than area of 100 hectares as single unit to a person or firm for sand mining, to check its excess mining and pollution control in the state. The leasing out process for single unit of not more than area of 100 hectares for sand mining would be done under old policy of small mineral mining. http://www.uniindia.com/govt-to-lease-out-not-more-than-100-hectares-as-single-unit-for-sand-mining/states/news/1083069.html
RJD calls for Bihar bandh over sand mining The RJD has called for a statewide bandh on December 21 to protest against the sand mining policy of the state government.
As per an assessment, sand mining is a highly profitable business, and the estimated turnover ranges between Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 crores annually. However, reports suggest that the state government have been earning only around Rs 500 crore out of it.
The issue of illegal sand mining in the state was first raised by deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi in August. He has been alleging that the senior RJD leaders have close links with people associated with the mining mafia in Bihar. http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/211217/rjd-calls-for-bihar-bandh-over-sand-mining.html (December 2017)
A woman patient Somari Devi died on her way from Mahnar near Hajipur to Patna when her ambulance was stuck in the chakka jam enforced by the bandh supporters on Mahatma Gandhi Setu against the Nitish Kumar government’s new sand mining policy.Onlookers said her relatives pleaded with the protesters and police to make way for the ambulance, but none could help them. The 65-year-old died in the ambulance even as the RJD denied that the bandh led to the woman’s death. Another ambulance carrying one of the men injured in the sugar mill blast at Gopalganj was also stuck in the snarl on the Gandhi setu. However, police managed to clear the jam for it. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/woman-dies-as-rjd-bandh-cripples-life/articleshow/62198707.cms (December 2017)
Maharashtra ‘Rampant sand mining will weaken Juinagar bridge’ Environmentalists have raised red flags about illegal sand mining close to the railway bridge near Juinagar railway station. The activists have been reiterating that if the authorities don’t take steps to stop illegal sand mining then it may even damage the foundation of the bridge. The Maharashtra Minor Minerals Extraction (Development and Regulations) Rules, 2013, has also clearly stated that no mining activity can be carried out near bridges and embankments for the purpose of infrastructural safety. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/rampant-sand-mining-will-weaken-juinagar-bridge/articleshow/62199379.cms (December 2017)
Criminals held with firearms for sand mafia Two persons, including a criminal on the police records, were arrested on Dec 20 and four country-made pistols as well as 10 live cartridges were recovered from them — the second major haul of country-made firearms by the Pune Rural police in the past 10 days. The probe revealed that Rajendra Rathod (32), currently residing at Wagholi, and his accomplice, Dhondibhau Jadhav (25) of Ahmednagar district, were preparing to sell the arms to people involved in illegal sand business in Daund and Shirur taluka. The accused were trying to sell the firearms to a sand mafia in the district. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/four-pistols-seized-from-criminal-his-accomplice/articleshow/62200690.cms (December 2017)
Jharkhand DC orders actions against sand mining On Dec 21, Deputy Commissioner Dr Neha Arora gave several instructions to mining officials regarding illegal lifting and transportation of sand. The DC asked immediate stop illegal mining and storage of sand. She also instructed not to allow JCB machine and Poclain machine in sand extraction and storage stock yard. She also instructed to fix the scheduled time for mining and storage of sand from 6 am to 6 pm. District Mining Officer VK Ojha said that due to non compliance of rule of sand mining an incident in Jatpura village had occurred. http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/dc-fiat-on-sand-mining-transportation.html
West Bengal Disastrous proposal from govt The State has proposed lifting building and land conversion restrictions in a section of the 12,500 hectares of East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), angering environmentalists who say the move will kill the world’s largest organic sewage management system and choke Kolkata.” http://www.hindustantimes.com/kolkata/west-bengal-may-lift-building-limits-in-fragile-wetlands/story-8SHhaeNXHTPEsIOpKqlt9N.html
Also see, Best of 2017: Realty chokes Kolkata wetlands In the year end review of EKW by Soumya Sarkar writes that the unique ecosystem that serves as the mega city’s low-carbon waste disposal and sewage treatment network, is being rapidly filled up due to an insatiable demand for real estate. http://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2017/12/23/realty-chokes-kolkata-wetlands-2/
Maharashtra 100-acre wetland in Mumbai becomes dump yard A 100-acre wetland patch near VK Krishna Menon College in Bhandup has become a dumping ground for construction debris, according to a complaint filed by citizens’ group Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP) with the suburban collector, mangrove cell and civic body on Dec 24. The complainants have satellite images of the site, indicating illegal reclamation of wetlands, banned by Bombay HC in 2012. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/100-acre-wetland-in-mumbai-becomes-dumpyard-as-construction-debris-piles-up/story-nYFqd2vfAnVu41zVINv9HO.html
Jammu & Kashmir Hokersar wetland silted up Hokersar wetland in Kashmir invites lakhs of migratory birds, but is threatened due to silt accumulation, due to 2014 floods and also the silt that Doodh Ganga river brings and encroachments. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/in-valley-without-tourists-hokersar-is-alive-with-beat-of-wings-4996278/
Report Reconsider Wetlands Rules Neha Sinha writes about threats to wetlands, including the Wetland rules 2017. Given all the modern uses of wetlands, or the use of the wetland only for its land, looking at traditional cartography may be one way to understand catchments of wetlands. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/reconsider-the-rules/article22085813.ece Neha Sinha is a wildlife conservationist. She has also won Sanctuary Asia award for her bold comments, writing talent and environmentalism. http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/people/earth-heroes/10747-neha-sinha.html
FISH & FISHERIES
Tamil Nadu ‘Fly ash is harming creek ecology’ An expert study commissioned by the NGT has found that industrial activity, particularly coal fly ash pollution emanating from ash conveyance, storage and impounding structures have drastically altered the hydrology, ecology and topography of the Ennore creek. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/fly-ash-is-harming-creek-ecology/article21830288.ece
Odisha Row over bamboo fencing in the middle Erection of bamboo fence and net enclosures in the middle of Guptigiri river and nearby creeks by fish merchants with help of local influential persons has triggered widespread resentment among people in the coastal pockets of Mahakalapada block. The illegal fencing has blocked movements of boats in the water bodies, thereby affecting the livelihood of traditional fishermen in the region.
A large number of fishermen and locals are up in arms against the people who have illegally erected the enclosures in the river. Sources said the illegal bamboo and net enclosures has affected more than 20,000 fishermen of 40 villages.
On the other hand, some persons have voiced their support for bamboo fences. As per, Tehsildar of Mahakalapada block Nilamadhaba Bhoi said it is illegal to fence waterways by erecting bamboo barricades for fishing or any other purposes. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/dec/19/local-fishermen-resent-fencing-in-water-bodies-1731052.html
Bundelkhand Farm ponds have helped Mahoba farmer in drought year Purushottam Chandra a farmer from Bahadurpur Kalan village in Mahoba’s Kulpahar tehsil has been reaping good harvest despite low rainfall. The 57-year-old’s success has been largely thanks to the 35m length x 30m width x 3m depth farm pond that he built only in June. This pond, occupying one-fourth of an acre and capable of storing around 24 lakh litres of rainwater accumulated during the monsoon, has made it possible to provide two irrigations enough for the rabi pulses crop. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/harvesting-rainwater-insulating-fields-against-drought-in-bundelkhand-uttar-pradesh-4991987/
Maharashtra Solar power solves water supply issue Excellent report that shows how solar power can help solve water problem of a remote village in Amravati district, the problem has been solved since over five years ago. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/solar-power-solves-water-supply-issue
National 19% Indian drink water with high level of arsenic There is obviously very significant over estimation here: It assumes that all the groundwater in affected districts is arsenic laden, which is not correct. Even than the figures are daunting: 239 million people in 153 districts in 21 states are at risk. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/19-of-indians-drink-water-with-lethal-levels-of-arsenic/articleshow/62226542.cms
Center Rain Water Harvesting Structures Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has prepared a conceptual document titled “Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water” – 2013 which provides information about area specific artificial recharge techniques to augment the ground water resources based on the availability of source water and capability of subsurface formations to accommodate it. The Master Plan envisages construction of about 1.11 crore artificial recharge structures in urban and rural areas at an estimated cost of about Rs. 79178 crore. State Wise Rural and Urban Artificial Recharge Structures as Proposed in Master Plan http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513597
Restoration of Ponds As per the 4th Minor Irrigation Census conducted by this Ministry, there are 5,23,816 water bodies in the rural areas being used for minor irrigation. Of these 4,43,688 water bodies were in use and 80,128 were not in use. Reasons given by States for water bodies not being in use are- encroachments, urbanisation, polluted water, non availability of water due to less and erratic rainfall, siltation etc. Till date 12424 water bodies (1085 in pilot scheme, 10855 in XI plan and 484 thereafter) have been revived under this scheme. Central Assistance to the tune of Rs.4280.80 crore (Rs.197.30 crore in pilot scheme, Rs.3818.83 crore in XI plan and Rs.264.67 crore thereafter) has been released to various States under this scheme. State wise list of Water Bodies (Surface Flow Schemes – Reservoirs, Tanks, Other Storages) (Surface Lift Schemes – Lift on Tanks/Ponds) http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513595
Also see, Year End Review-2017: Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513284
Karnataka BTPS adopts eco-friendly technology to treat water Ballari Thermal Power Station (BTPS) at Kuditini near Ballari has adopted an advanced eco-friendly system for treating water, used for converting steam generated for running the turbine, avoiding the use of hazardous chemicals. Perhaps, BTPS is the only one thermal plant to adopt the latest technology of ozonisation for its 700 megawatt unit. The unit, which is estimated to cost around ₹ 25 crore, is a fully automated one and the entire process will be monitored from a control room. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/btps-adopts-eco-friendly-technology-to-treat-water/article22099802.ece
Research The Great Droughts Very imp research findings reported here. “…the first study to reconstruct Indian monsoon precipitation patterns over the last 5,700 years, by studying calcite deposits–crystalline deposits usually composed of calcium carbonate dissolved from the surrounding limestone by groundwater–in a cave in Uttarakhand.” http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/why-modern-india-should-fear-the-great-droughts-that-ended-indus-valley-vedic-eras-14555
National MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh declare drought in 52 districts The govts of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have officially declared a drought in 270 tehsils spread across 52 districts this Kharif season, Parliament has been informed. So far 96 tehsils in 21 districts of Chhattisgarh, 133 tehsils in 18 districts of MP and 41 tehsils in 13 districts of Rajasthan have been declared drought-hit. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/madhya-pradesh-rajasthan-chhattisgarh-declare-drought-in-52-districts-117122001199_1.html
Centre Jan-2019 deadline for reducing power losses to 15% Energy Ministry Statement in Parliament: Deadline of Jan 2019 to bring down the Transmission & Distribution power losses to 15% below for all states. The Existing solar capacity is 16620 MW. Auction of Solar capacity of 30 000 MW each in next two years to achieve 100 000 MW capacity by 2022 is under bidding process. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/jan-2019-deadline-for-reducing-power-losses-to-15-per-cent-r-k-singh/62142751
Also see, Ministry Releases Concept Note on Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India (SRISTI); Invites comments/views from stakeholders by 31st December http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513645
The concept note is available at http://mnre.gov.in/file-manager/UserFiles/comments-on_RTS.pdf and Ministry has invited comments/views from stakeholders on the said concept note by 31st December, 2017. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513645
Also see, State-wise details of solar and wind power generation during each of the last three years and the current year. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513644
Year End Review 2017 – Ministry of Power http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513777
Generation of Electricity from Municipal Solid Wastes http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1513642
Nepal Villagers in limbo as fate of Chinese-built dam hangs in balance Interesting, detailed article in SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST about the proposed Budhi Gandaki HEP in NEPAL that Chinese want to build. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2125510/its-good-country-my-family-may-suffer-nepalese
Pakistan Parched for a price: Karachi’s water crisis Residents of Karachi, one of the largest cities in the world, are being held hostage by a ‘mafia’ that makes millions of dollars out of their need for water. https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2017/parched-for-price/index.html
SOUTH EAST ASIA
Philippines battering deadly flooding landslides According to officials and aid agencies, the death toll from Tropical Storm Tembin in southern Philippines has risen to at least 200 people with hundreds more missing. Rescue efforts are under way after the storm lashed the country’s second largest island, Mindanao on Dec 22, triggering mudslides and flash floods. Aid workers fear the number of casualties will further increase as forecasters predict more heavy rains. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/deadly-flooding-landslides-hit-philippines-171223092530905.html
THE REST OF WORLD
Europe Study of impact of small hydro in Balkan countries European-financed small hydropower plants damaging pristine Balkan landscapes – study. Eight hydropower projects in Albania, Croatia and Macedonia financed with European public money have damaged biodiversity and are in urgent need of increased monitoring and restoration measures. https://bankwatch.org/publication/broken-rivers-impacts-european-financed-small-hydropower-plants-pristine-balkan-landscapes
Oroville Dam 3 dams in Santa Clara County have similar spillway problemsRecently completed technical reports show that the spillways at three dams located near densely populated communities around San Jose have structural problems that are similar to the flaws that led to the failure of the main spillway at Oroville Dam last February. https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/21/oroville-dam-three-dams-in-santa-clara-county-have-similar-spillway-problems/
England Rivers in producer counties ‘polluted with neonics’ Rivers close to key growing areas in Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire have been found to be heavily contaminated with neonicotinoids, according to the first analysis of new monitoring data. Under a new EU water framework ‘watch list’ scheme, the UK had to monitor the presence of five common neonicotinoids in rivers – Imidacloprid, Clothianidin, Thiamethoxam, Acetamiprid and Thiacloprid. http://www.fruitnet.com/fpj/article/174275/rivers-in-key-growing-areas-contaminated-with-neonics
Study Where does monsoon get over 200 lakh crore buckets of water from? Some interesting findings: “Pathak and Roxy Mathew Koll of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) have prepared a map (see below) that shows the warm Indian Ocean temperatures in colors and thin contours and blue thick contours that delineate major moisture sources for the monsoon. The main moisture sources are – the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), Central Indian Ocean (CIO), Upper Indian Ocean (UIO), and the Ganga basin… Pathak’s work provides a set of baseline that can be used to diagnose the models in greater detail with a focus on moisture source rendition.”
– Most of the moisture during the initial phase of the monsoon is supplied from the WIO and CIO and this creates a north-south see-saw in rain between the ocean and land. As the season progresses into July-August, the Ganga basin begins to be a significant source and generates an east-west see-saw in rainfall between the Ganga basin and northeast India. Monsoon withdrawal is, in fact, delayed by the moisture recycling over the Ganga basin. The oceanic sources are dominant in the 30-60 day active/break cycles which tend to propagate northwestward from the Indian Ocean into the subcontinent. These sources are weaker during El Niño years. The Ganga basin is dominant in the 10-20 day lifecycle of active/break events and is a critical moisture source for the monsoon during dry monsoon years. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/where-does-monsoon-get-over-200-lakh-crore-buckets-of-water-from-59349
LIFE Press Release on very important NGT order NGT quashes MOEF&CC Notification exempting building and construction projects from application of Environmental laws
Holds that the action of MoEF&CC cannot stand the scrutiny of law; Building and Construction projects cannot be exempted from the operation of the Air and Water Act; MOEF&CC lacks legislative competence; Action of MoEF&CC violates India’s International Commitment including Paris Agreement
In a landmark judgment, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench, presided by Justice Swatanter Kumar, on December 8, 2017, quashed the decision of MOEF&CC exempting the operation of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 for Building and Construction projects upto 150,000 Sq Mts. It also stayed the operation of the the Notification dated December 9, 2016 issued by MoEF&CC which exempted real-estate projects upto 1,50,000 sq.m built up area from the need for undergoing environmental impact assessment (EIA) and obtaining Environmental Clearance (EC) from MoEF/ State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA).
The Notification was challenged by a group of petitioners on various grounds including the reason for the exemption was ‘ease of doing responsible business’ and the same cannot be a ground for exempting the application of environmental law. In addition, the other ground i.e ‘ housing for all by 2022’ is an attempt to ‘hide behind’ the poor while actually benefiting the builders lobby. Most significantly, all the exemptions were ironically done by stating that the exclusion of the application of environmental law was essential in order to improve the quality of environment. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1893596544001343
Karnataka How to plan Bengaluru: A city for people and not for profit Welcome effort by ESG to bring together Bangalore citizens to discuss Master Plan. http://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/esg-workshop-bangalore-master-plan-analysis-22547
North East Afforestation changes life and landscape Heartening example of reforestation from some villages of Assam bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/afforestation-changes-life-and-landscape-how-a-district-in-assam-lost-a-forest-gained-a-future-4997615/