This week there are exemplary and encouraging wetlands revival stories from three metro cities of Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi. In the first example from Hyderabad, meticulously chosen plant species such as tulsi, aswagandha, citronella and hibiscus have been used to create an artificial island to clean Neknampur Lake. The treatment islands are composed of four layers of which the bamboo base keeps the entire structure afloat. Based on soil-less hydroponics, these floating treatment wetlands absorb excess nitrates, thereby reducing the chemical content of the lake water. Microorganisms present in the wetland break down organic matter while the root systems filter out pollutants and sediments. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/3500-saplings-floating-islands-help-rejuvenate-hyd-neknampur-lake-75819 (The News Minute, 3 Feb. 2018)
Similarly, Chennai-based Care Earth Trust along with the public works department (PWD) and the civic body has managed to restore three urban lakes. While many of the smaller wetlands have vanished over time, many mid-sized wetlands seem to have shrunk by almost 65 percent. Thanks to their joint effort, invasive hyacinth was removed from the Narayanapuram Lake in Pallikaranai, while sewer lines, which emptied into the Perungalathur Lake, have now been plugged. A detailed restoration proposal has been forwarded to the PWD regarding the Korattur-Madhavaram-Ambattur lakes. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/hyacinth-out-sewer-line-plugged-three-water-bodies-restored/articleshow/62748110.cms (The Times of India, 2 Feb. 2018)
Meanwhile, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has taken up interesting new project of creating an artificial lake in Dwarka. The project will supply water in sub-city and improve ground water level too. DJB has approved Rs. 56 crore for the project which will be completed in next seven months. This would the first model project wherein a lake will be used to augment water supply. The special lake is being created next to the Dwarka water treatment plant (WTP) will have a sand bed to allow maximum percolation of water into the ground. It will have a capacity of 10 million gallons (MGD). The project is expected to add supply of 5-6 million gallons water to Dwarka every day.
It’s also the first attempt in using discharge from a sewage treatment plant (STP) to augment supply of a water stressed region. To create this water body, 5-6 MGD of treated water from the STP will be diverted across Najafgarh drain through a pipeline to the Dwarka water treatment plant. A similar smaller project will be executed at Pappankalan later. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/djb-creating-a-lake-to-boost-supply-recharge-groundwater/articleshow/62857312.cms (The Times of India, 10 Feb. 2018)
Other Wetlands Developments
Jammu & Kashmir Govt initiated notified wetlands demarcation As per statement by Minister for Forests, Choudhary Lal Singh in state assembly, the state govt has initiated demarcation of all notified wetlands of the state. He also said that during 2017-18, the Union government has approved an amount of Rs 59 lakh under for survey and demarcation, surveillance, habitat development, awareness for Hokersar wetland. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/jammu-and-kashmir-govt-has-initiated-demarcation-of-all-notified-wetlands/275062.html (Greater Kashmir, 8 Feb. 2018)
After 114 years Govt to get new act for protection of fisheries The Legislative Council on Feb 6 passed “a Bill to provide for the protection, conservation and development of fisheries in the state and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”. The bill was moved by Minister for Animal, Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries, Abdul Gani Kohli and passed with a voice vote. It replaces the Jammu and Kashmir Fisheries Act of 1903. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/after-114-years-jk-to-get-new-act-for-protection-of-fisheries/articleshow/62808782.cms
Maharashtra HC asked Govt to conduct satellite mapping to protect wetlands’ The Bombay High Court has asked the state government to use satellite mapping of wetlands to protect them from destruction. Pulling up Maharashtra govt for not doing enough to ensure proper restoration of the wetlands, the Court has also directed the deputy secretary of the Environment Ministry to be present in court during the next hearing. The state government, meanwhile, informed the court that in accordance to the earlier orders, they had set up a committee headed by the divisional commissioner, which was serving as a redressal mechanism.http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/high-court-to-state-use-satellite-mapping-to-protect-wetlands-5052873/ (The Indian Express, 6 Feb. 2018)
As per another report, the Maharashtra Environment Department has created a mobile application to create a database on all the wetlands in the state. Dummy trials for the app will start next week. Department officials said there are 32,000 wetlands in the state, according to the atlas prepared by the Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad. But some of these are forest areas, salt pans and coastal regulation zones that have been wrongly marked as wetlands.
The app was developed on directions issued by the Supreme Court. Earlier this week, the department also formed the State Wetland Authority headed by the environment minister according to provisions of the Wetland Conservation and Management Rules, 2017. It has also set up a technical committee to assist the authority on several issues, including preparation draft management plans of wetlands. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/govt-app-to-create-wetlands-database-5060175/ (The Indian Express, 12 Feb. 2018)
Uttar Pradesh Climate change, shrinking wetlands cause migratory birds to stay away from UP sanctuary The Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary of UP, spanning five districts of UP — Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Bulandshahr and Amroha — is a mix of forest land, wetland and marshes besides human habitat. Here The sarus crane, which is the state bird of UP, has not been spotted this winter. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/climate-change-shrinking-wetlands-cause-migratory-birds-to-stay-away-from-up-sanctuary/articleshow/62838250.cms (The Times of India, 8 Feb. 2018)
On the other hand, an unusual sighting of black necked stork was recorded at the Surajpur Wetland in Greater Noida between December 2017 and January 2018. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/black-necked-stork-is-surprise-visitor-at-surajpur-wetlands-5054246/ (The Indian Express, 7 Feb. 2018)
Himachal Pradesh Changes in hydropower policy on cards Even as a number of people’s groups in Himachal Pradesh demand BAN on Hydropower projects, the new CM meets project developers to assure changes in power policy as desired by them. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/changes-in-hydropower-policy-on-cards/541367.html (The Tribune, 10 Feb. 2018)
Uttarakhand PMO steps in to end ban on hydel projects Important dates: – Jan 2015; Principle Secretary in PMO Nripendra Misra holds meeting on Uttarakhand hydro.
– SEPT 2017: Nitin Gadkari takes over as Water Resources Minister.
– Jan 23, 2018: NITI ayog VC Rajiv Kumar chairs meeting of concerned ministries and Uttarakhand.
– Feb 3: SC agrees to hear the Uttarakhand hydro case from Feb 19-23.
– Feb 9: Nripendra Misra, Principle Secy in PMO to chair meeting of concerned ministries. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pmo-steps-in-to-end-ban-on-uttarakhand-hydel-projects-5055501/ (The Indian Express, 8 Feb. 2018)
Meanwhile THDC shows interest in taking all the 4 large hydro projects in Kali basin, even as big hydro is no longer viable Tehri Hydro Development Corporation has expressed interest in construction of the 4 proposed hydropower projects over Dhauliganga river in Pithoragarh district of Kumaon division. The corporation has also suggested entering into a joint venture with the state in this regard. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/tehri-corp-eyes-dhauliganga-projects/540445.html (The Tribune, 7 Feb. 2018)
Jammu & Kashmir Questions about missing Dul Hasti HEP MOU in J&K files State Govt is reportedly not placing the copy of the MoU signed between State Government and Ministry of Power, in the Legislative Assembly, under which the National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC) has been permitted to raise and operate a run of water Hydroelectric Project on river Chenab at Dul Hasti, Kishtwar in Jammu Division. https://www.kashmirmonitor.in/Details/142467/government-ducks-lost-or-no-mou (The Kashmir Monitor, 5 Feb. 2018)
Here is another important development in J&K Hydropower sector: The 93-MW New Ganderbal hydropower project may well be jinxed. Hanging in the air since it was conceived in the early 1970s, it was put to bidding nearly 40 years later in 2012, a bid that was won by the Mumbai-based Hindustan Construction Company (HCC). However, due to the government’s view that the cost of the project was too high – about Rs 10 crore per MW – the contract was not allotted until July last year. But now it was the turn of the HCC to dilly-dally, because its finances were in really bad shape. Sources within the company told Kashmir Reader that the financial position is so bad that it even struggles to pay salary to its employees. After repeatedly extending the deadline for signing of the contract, the Jammu and Kashmir government has finally cancelled the contract. https://kashmirreader.com/2018/02/06/contract-cancelled-with-hcc-for-new-ganderbal-power-project/ (Kashmir Reader, 6 Feb. 2018)
Sardar Sarovar Dam No water in Narmada Gujarat at the threshold of massive water crisis There is no Narmada water supply for irrigation. Even industries have been asked to look for alternative sources while civic bodies will have to manage through local reservoirs to prevent drinking water shortage. The state government additionally said it had not made any alternate arrangement for irrigation from the middle of March.
The administration holds the paucity of water, caused by a poor monsoon, in the Narmada basin responsible for the situation. The regions covered under the Narmada canal command area too have to make alternative arrangement till the end of April when the paddy is usually reaped.
“The Narmada dam and canal authorities should have figured out during monsoon that there would not be enough water in the dam to maintain uninterrupted drinking and irrigation supply,” said Sagar Rabari, secretary of Khedut Samaj (Gujarat). https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/no-water-from-narmada-crisis-looms-large-over-gujarat/story-dQftr37TuaaLlTAuyVNtkO.html (Hindustan Times, 9 Feb. 2018)
Meanwhile community organization are planning to file petition for the water from Narmada NPNS trustee Jayesh Patel, “We together with Bharuch Citizen Council and other groups are in advance stage of filing a petition in the NGT. We will request for the issuance of a directive from NGT in the context of its recent order on river Ganga that minimum environmental flow of 20 per cent needs to be maintained for continuity of aquatic ecosystem. All states were directed to maintain a minimum environmental flow of 15 to 20 per cent of the average lean season course in their rivers. The same is applicable to river Narmada’s flow too. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/ngo-to-approach-ngt-for-narmada-water/articleshow/62867732.cms (The Times of India, 11 Feb. 2018)
As water crisis looms over the state, the state government has asked collectors and SPs to take steps so as to prevent theft of water from the Narmada canals. They have been asked to deploy additional security forces wherever they find it necessary. One group of SRP has already been allocated for the purpose.
Another senior government officer said that the government has decided to divert water to SAUNI and other pipelines and stop water supply into Maniya-Miyana and other main canal network where instances of water theft are reported on regular basis.
Chief minister Vijay Rupani on Feb. 9 appealed to the farmers to stay away from sowing for the summer crop as the government will not provide irrigation water due to severe shortage of drinking water.
Talking to reporters the CM said, “Narmada dam was meant for water supply to four states including Gujarat. Due to lesser inflow of water in the Narmada dam due to the poor rains, water level is not sufficient for irrigation. Drinking water is our foremost priority. Situation like this is not normal. It happens once every 20 years.” “The first priority is supply of drinking water to around 4 crore people of over 10,000 villages and more than 167 towns,” the CM said.
– This is non-sense. SSP is not supposed to supply water to four states, only to Gujarat and some to Rajasthan.
– Talking to reporters the CM said, “Narmada dam was meant for water supply to four states including Gujarat.
– Shocking that they continue to divert water through SAUNI. It was supposed to be used to divert only surplus water and not scarce water? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/collectors-asked-to-prevent-narmada-water-theft/articleshow/62798691.cms (The Times of India, 6 Feb. 2018)
This is just beginning of the evidence that this year not only Rural, but urban, agriculture and industrial areas in Gujarat wont get their basic water needs.
– Farmers wont get water even till end of March for irrigation. So its not only denial of irrigation water for summer crop only.
– Even rural and urban areas wont get sufficient drinking water, even with the NCA permission to use additional 1 Million Acre Feet of Water below the MDDL of 110.63 m, water is already at 111.41 m even as water supply is already curtailed. http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-gujarat-can-utilise-water-from-narmada-dam-till-march-only-2583724 (DNA, 12 Feb. 2018)
Gujarat has asked for more water releases in Narmada from Madhya Pradesh and centre has assured this will be done in next one or two days.
– “Compared to average 19,000 to 25,000 cusec per day we received in January 2017 in January 2018 we have received an average inflow of just 1,800 to 2,000 cusec per day from Madhya Pradesh. This may be further reduced as MP has received poor rainfall this season. Around 15,000 to 20,000 cusec more water per day has been assured.”
– “in the Sardar Sarovar dam as on Jan 23, 2017, Gujarat had 1,173 MCM water while on January 21, 2018 Sardar Sarovar had only 455 MCM water.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/state-asks-for-more-narmada-water/articleshow/62827220.cms (The Times of India, 8 Feb. 2018)
Before this, CM Vijay Rupani declared that the NCA on Feb 9 has given Gujarat permission to use the “dead water” of the dam following which there is no difficulty in providing drinking water to 10,000 villages and 167 urban bodies till July 31.”
– Now water can be taken to canals through Irrigation By Pass tunnel, by passing the Canal Head Power House, even as water level in the dam goes below the Minimum Draw Down Level of 110.63 m, upto 86 m.
– Refusing to provide more water than the 14 million cubic metre (MCM) it is releasing every day in Narmada, the Madhya Pradesh government Friday asked Gujarat to meet its additional requirements by making use of the water stored in the Sardar Sarovar dam. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/narmada-rationing-the-lifeline-as-gujarat-gets-nca-nod-cm-says-crisis-averted-5058060/ (The Indian Express, 10 Feb. 2018)
As per one more report, As Gujarat is staring at a water crisis this summer, the Narmada Control Authority has allowed the state to use ‘seepage and dead water’ of the Sardar Sarovar Dam over Narmada to provide drinking water. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/gujarat-allowed-to-use-dead-water-of-sardar-sarovar-dam-118020901520_1.html (Business Standard, 9 Feb. 2018)
On Feb. 9, Narmada Control Authority to meet to decide about Gujarat Govt’s expected application to use Sardar Sarovar Project Water through Irrigation By Pass Tunnel (IBPT) as Water at SSP is already at 111.64 m and once water level goes down to 110.63 m, it can no longer be taken through the usual route through Canal Head Power House. IBPT has been used only once in the past, in 2000-01.
The loss of power that Madhya Pradesh (it gets 57% of power generated at SSP) and Maharashtra (27%) due to such use has to be compensated by Gujarat. NCA is likely to say yes and not ask any questions since they know the power of PM behind the Gujarat’s use of SSP to achieve electoral gains. Unfortunately, neither agenda notes nor minutes of NCA meetings are in public domain, our MWR hates to be transparent, leave aside participatory or accountable. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/sardar-sarovar-water-level-at-alarming-low-gujarat-in-fix-5056791/ (The Indian Express, 9 Feb. 2018)
Before this, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) has reportedly appealed to farmers not to sow a summer crop unless they had a local water source which could irrigate their fields because in the Narmada dam, the storage level was at 45% of the 15-year average. However, the government’s move to curtail supply has irked farmers as well as the Opposition party, who allege mismanagement by the State authorities.
Interestingly, when the State government was apparently aware of a sharp drop in water inflows in the Narmada dam, it celebrated the Narmada Festival while Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended an event to announce the completion of dam over the river.
“If the SSNNL knew that there would be a shortfall of drinking and irrigation water, why did it allow the criminal wastage of Narmada water for the Aji and Narmada dam inaugurations and other election-related programmes in September 2017”, a prominent farmers’ leader, Sagar Rabari, asked in a statement. Mr. Rabari heads Gujarat’s largest farmers’ outfit Gujarat Khedut Samaj, which is planning to organise a massive congregation of farmers during the Assembly Budget session starting Feb 19. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-may-face-severe-water-crisis/article22695179.ece (The Hindu, 9 Feb. 2018)
As expected, the opportunity of water scarcity in Gujarat this summer will be used by the lobby to push the idea of another MEGA project, Kalpsar, not knowing that this is hydrologically unviable, even if one were to leave aside the other issues. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-water-woes-kalpsar-project-dpr-likely-by-year-end/articleshow/62872660.cms (The Times of India, 11 Feb. 2018)
Meanwhile, water first in form of flood now scarcity has made Khariya villagers (north Gujarat) life miserable. Last month, farmers were warned by the SSNNL against “illegal lifting” of water from the canal, and some of them were even issued notices. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/six-months-after-flood-khariya-grapples-with-water-again-now-its-scarcity-5058063/ (The Indian Express, 10 Feb. 2018)
Prof Amit Dholakia rightly raises the need for transparency in water allocation and use and also development of alternative, environment friendly options. He also raises the possibility of use of SSP to achieve political ends. Strangely groundwater does not figure here. http://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/others/will-govt-hold-its-head-above-water/articleshow/62795967.cms (Ahmadabad Mirror, 6 Feb. 2018)
As Ahmadabad faces prospects of water supply cut from current 1250 MLD (900 MLD from SSP and 350 MLD from other sources) to 950 MLD, politicians start thinking of building fresh infrastructure like weirs and possibly worse. http://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/others/hark-water-scarce-days-ahead-as-300-mld-narmada-water-supply-cut-down-to-ahmedabad/articleshow/62796032.cms (Ahmadabad Mirror, 6 Feb. 2018)
Here are more details about the groundwater sources that AMC is exploring. There is of course no mention of treating sewage to recycle. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/to-meet-water-shortfall-ahmedabad-to-dig-deep-to-revive-its-borewells-5053019/ (The Indian Express, 6 Feb. 2018)
Pancheshwar Dam Violations of FRA Gram pradhans of villages that will be affected by the proposed Pancheshwar multipurpose development project have written a letter to the tribal welfare department and ministry of tribal affairs alleging that the process of transfer of forest land for the project was in violation of Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/gram-pradhans-of-pancheshwar-hit-villages-write-to-tribal-affairs-ministry/articleshow/62825419.cms (The Times of India, 8 Feb. 2018)
Polavaram Dam Over 10 K crore spent, work still incomplete The pace of work, however, picked up in 2014-15. From 140 lakh cubic metres of excavation work in 2013-14, the quantum of excavation increased to 220 lakh CuM in 2014-15, up to 360 CuM in 2015-16 and 900 CuM in 2017-18.
– The Polavaram Right Main Canal which links the Godavari and Krishna rivers is 91% complete, but at the other end of the spectrum is the Spillway Concrete channel which is only 14% complete and the work on the Earth Cum Rock Filled Channel (ECRF) Dam that actually impounds water in the main river has not yet begun.
– The Union Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) decided to provide for PIP from the Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) of NABARD to fulfil the responsibility of the Centre. The Union Cabinet approved the funding of the PIP irrigation component on March 15, 2017. At a subsequent meeting, the Union Cabinet allotted ₹23,814.70 crore for the PIP from NABARD. NABARD was given year-wise allocations for release of funds towards the building of the project. While ₹2,414 crore was the allocation for 2016-17, it was ₹3,400 crore for 2017-18, ₹9,000 crore for 2018-19 and another ₹9,000 crore 2019-20.
– While the State government spent ₹12, 915 crore on the PIP till December 31, 2017, the Union government released only ₹7,779.52 crore and still owes ₹4,375 crore to the State. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-lifeline-of-ap-choking-for-want-of-funds/article22718037.ece (The Hindu, 10 Feb. 2018)
Telangana 15th Finance Commission Secretary heaps praise on Kaleshwaram project This is Strange Band wagon effect, where a project that started work without proper impact assessment, appraisal or clearances, is being touted as model project. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2018/feb/11/telangana-15th-finance-commission-secretary-heaps-praise-on-kaleshwaram-project-1771570.html (The New Indian Express, 11 Feb. 2018)
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Ken Betwa Link Nitin Gadkari sends Ken-Betwa MoU to both MP and UP IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT: Draft Agreement on Ken Betwa between MP and UP has been sent to two states.
– It’s decided that 1,700 MCM of water would be allotted to UP. “In case of surplus yield, MP shall have all the rights to use the surplus yield. In years of scarcity, after receiving 2,266 MCM for upstream use in MP and deducting quantities for mandatory flows and reservoir losses, remaining water shall be shared by the two states (as per the 2015 agreement),” reads a clause in draft MoU. NOT CLEAR WHAT IS THIS 2015 AGREEMENT.
– It has also been decided that Panna will get a share of water for irrigating 70,000 hectares of land.
– It has been decided that the Centre will bear 90% of the cost, while MP and UP will share the rest, said sources. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/nitin-gadkari-sends-ken-betwa-mou-to-both-mp-and-up/articleshow/62844941.cms (The Times of India, 9 Feb. 2018)
INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES
Mahadayi River Water Row PM Modi remained silent on Mahadayi dispute PM was expected to make a special mention of the inter-state Mahadayi water dispute issue during his election rally on Feb. 4, but in his nearly hour-long address, he did not mention Mahadayi even once, though he spoke about irrigation schemes and farmers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/pm-narendra-modi-silent-on-mahadayi-vocal-on-congress-ryots-furious/articleshow/62784962.cms (The Times of India, 5 Feb. 2018)
Cauvery River Water Dispute 2 states, 1 river and a massive dispute Here is brief overview of Cauvery issue, Supreme Court verdict was expected on Feb. 5. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cauvery-dispute-supreme-court-verdict-two-states-a-river-and-a-massive-dispute/articleshow/62785864.cms (The Times of India, 5 Feb. 2018)
Op-Ed India needs a GST Council-like forum for river governance By Srinivas Chokkakula It is so strange that this commentator says environmental requirements are intractable and elusive. The proposition of GST like council is of course not going to help at all. Its in the same top down model of governance that has not helped and which the govt loves. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/mahadayi-issue-demonstrates-why-india-needs-a-gst-council-like-forum-for-river-governance/articleshow/62866080.cms (The Economic Times, 11 Feb. 2018)
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
Gujarat Further disaster for rivers 5 rivers in Gujarat — Tapi, Narmada, Mahi, Luni and Sabarmati — were likely to be linked to develop waterways in the state, said Mansukh Laxman Mandaviya, Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Chemical & Fertilisers, in Surat on Feb. 10. He was speaking at the Stakeholders’ Conference aimed at developing the inland waterways in the state. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/five-rivers-in-gujarat-may-be-linked-for-waterways-mansukh-laxman-mandaviya-5059195/ (The Indian Express, 10 Feb. 2018)
Maharashtra Irrigation Scam Bombay HC refuses to exclude NCP leader Ajit Pawar High Court refuses to remove the name of NCP leader Ajit Pawar from list of respondents in Maharashtra Irrigation Scam, in fact rebukes state govt for remaining silent about role played by Pawar. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-irrigation-scam-bombay-hc-refuses-to-exclude-ncp-leader-ajit-pawar/story-VWtER1U7G8E9POsehRnrcI.html (Hindustan Times, 8 Feb. 2018)
In fact on Feb 8, the HC asked for more: It “asked the state govt to come clear on the the role of former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in the multi-crore irrigation scam, an enquiry regarding which is underway. The court also gave two weeks to the state government to respond on the matter.”
– The court on Feb. 9, also sought to know why the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) hasn’t yet questioned the former deputy chief minister despite several allegations against him. The bench, comprising Justice Bhushan Dharmadikari and Justice Swapna Joshi, directed Additional Government Pleader Anand Fulzele to file a comprehensive affidavit on the status of inquiry against Pawar. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bombay-high-court-maharashtra-government-ajit-pawar-irrigation-scam-5057710/ (The Indian Express, 9 Feb. 2018)
Haryana 4 months on, notification to de-notify land awaited The Dadupur-Nalvi project was started in the 1980s when the state was expecting SYL waters and the canal was aimed to carry it to several areas for irrigation. Nearly 1,000 acres was acquired for the first phase at nearly Rs 5 lakh per acre, but the government could not acquire 1,200 acres more for the second phase in 2007 due to protests by farmers.
Now, after a series of court cases filed by farmers for enhanced compensation, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had awarded around Rs 1.25 crore per acre to owners of nearly 700 acres, which came out to be Rs 3.5 crore after adding solatium, interest etc. The CAG had already red-flagged the Rs 300 crore spent by the government so far. If the government paid the enhanced compensation, it would become Rs 2,700 crore for a practically non-functional project. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/4-months-on-notification-to-de-notify-land-awaited/539816.html (The Tribune, 7 Feb. 2018)
Punjab Govt wants Shahpur Kandi Dam project fast-tracked Punjab Govt wants the Shapur Kandi Dam fast tracked at revised cost of Rs 2738 Cr, Rajasthan Feeder Canal repair and Sirhind Feeder canal repair accepted under AIBP. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/state-wants-shahpur-kandi-dam-project-fast-tracked/541021.html (The Tribune, 8 Feb. 2018)
Punjab Irrigation Scam Meanwhile, the State Vigilance Bureau has filed FIRST challan against the contractor, related to three of the 42 projects VB is investigating. The 3 projects include the Rs 100 Cr Shahpur Kandi Dam related work, Another Rs 25 Cr Dam related project and a Rs 15 Cr Kandi Canal. It provides some interesting details of HOW corruption happened. Some officials are already behind the bars, including the contractor. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/irrigation-scam-challan-filed-against-contractor/542029.html (The Tribune, 12 Feb. 2018)
SANDRP Blog Streams don’t like to be in Channels When urban streams around us are being built over, polluted and dried up, are there any living examples of stream restoration that we can learn from? SANDRP interviewed Environmental Scientist and Riparian Specialist Ms. Ana Gonzalez from Austin Watershed Protection Department and visited restoration sites to see what different places are doing differently and what still remain a common thread. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/streams-dont-like-to-be-in-channels-interview-stream-restoration-with-austin-watershed-protection-department/ (SANDRP Word Press, 8 Feb. 2018)
Op-Ed 70% of Indian Rivers facing existential crisis by Manoj Misra “In reality that’s not the case; they are in dire straits. Dams, barrages and embankments mean many don’t have water in the downstream stretches; mindless sand mining, unimaginable levels of pollution from urban centres, industries and chemical farming and more recently commercial navigational infrastructure, fancy river fronts and river linking plans have already or are in the process of playing havoc with their integrity. The result is that after 70 years of independence almost 70% of our rivers face an existential crisis.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/a-permanent-tribunal-to-adjudicate-river-conflicts-will-not-solve-anything/story-S2HZpmW6OblBrFebVL3ydL.html (Hindustan Times, 8 Feb. 2018)
Gujarat River Front Development is new threat to Vishwamitri river in Vadodara The project seeks to mimic the model of the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. As it turned out, VRDP work had begun in several areas even before the completion of due processes by the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Clearance (EC). An application filed by Prajapati and his team to the NGT in 2016 comprehensively explains the various shortcomings of the project and the illegality of the work underway. https://www.counterview.net/2018/02/as-factories-populace-choke-vishwamitri.html (Counter View, 7 Feb. 2018)
Maharashtra Kanhan river water at alarmingly critical level Due to scanty rainfall in 2017 and commissioning of Chaurai dam in the upstream of Totladoh dam in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, the water storage level in dams is less than 30%. Following Nagpur collector Kurve’s instructions, the water resources department, Pench irrigation, has released 50 Cusecs of water from chainage 19.4km on right bank canal (RBC). The released water from the RBC escape gate will flow through 32-km drain and river channel to reach at the Kanhan intake well in another 72 hours from Feb 8 till Feb 10. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/kanhan-river-water-at-alarmingly-critical-level/articleshow/62827056.cms (The Times of India, 8 Feb. 2018)
GANGA National Data shows only 18 projects completed under the Namami Gange programme Statistics from the National Mission for Clean Ganga reveal that only 18 projects have been completed out of 95 sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme. In his budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley had mentioned that 47 projects were completed out of the 187 sanctioned ones. Launched in 2014, Namami Gange focuses on river surface cleaning and infrastructure development along the Ganga with an outlay of Rs 20,000 crore for 2015-2020. The government has identified 10 cities responsible for the most pollution and plans to clean 80 percent of the river by 2019. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/jaitley-said-47-projects-are-done-under-namami-gange-but-not-even-half-are-completed-59618 (Down To Earth, 2 Feb. 2018)
Uttar Pradesh NGT imposes Rs. 10-lakh fine for Ramganga pollution NGT imposes fine of Rs 10 lakh on UP govt and Rs 50 000 on Moradabad district magistrate for illegal dumping of electronic waste on RAMGANGA river bed. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/ngt-imposes-rs-10-lakh-fine-on-up-govt/article22663775.ece (The Hindu, 6 Feb. 2018)
Interesting report about SUHELI RIVER, southern boundary of Dudhwa National Park, part of Ghagra basin The CM voiced grave concern over the Suheli river, which passes through Dudhwa. He said siltation had led to the Suheli going dry. He instructed the district administration to coordinate with forest department to ensure desiltation to revive the river. He also directed them to carry out plantation on either side of the river. https://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/bird-festival-begins-at-dudhwa-involve-locals-in-forest-projects-to-avoid-more-veerappans-yogi/story-564rimb0YQWQYHqKQUHrpK.html (Hindustan Times, 10 Feb. 2018)
YAMUNA Delhi Water crisis continues 3 water treatment plants (Wazirabad, Chandrawal & Haidarpur) running under capacity since Jan 30 due to high levels of ammonia in Yamuna & DJB says it will take at least a week more, before the problem can be fixed. https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/9-days-and-counting-water-crisis-due-to-alarming-ammonia-levels-continues-in-delhi/story-iMG9huxaRqwSDdIhlKNMzN.html (Hindustan Times, 7 Feb. 2018)
Tamil Nadu SC stays HC fiat on sand mining The Supreme Court has stayed a Madras High Court order to freeze sand quarrying in the State within six months besides a ban on opening of new quarries. A Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur agreed with the State’s point of view that the High Court order did not take into consideration the “demand and supply position” of material while passing the stay order. The Tamil Nadu government, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and Yogesh Kanna, said a complete end to sand quarrying is a recipe for disaster. Importing sand would be a major drain on funds and would impact the construction industry and the end-buyer. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/sc-stays-hc-directive-on-sand-quarrying/article22663645.ece (The Hindu, 6 Feb. 2018)
Punjab Interesting to see that Punjab govt plans to come up with a CONFLICT OF INTEREST ACT, possibly first one of India Close on the heels of the exit of Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh over the sand mining auction row, the state govt has revived its efforts to enact the Conflict of Interest Act. The government is reportedly wary of any fresh controversy following the Rana episode and the irrigation scam, which is currently being investigated by the Vigilance Bureau. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/govt-readies-draft-of-conflict-of-interest-act/538798.html (The Tribune, 5 Feb. 2018)
There may not be sufficient sincerity here, but it is still useful to note that a Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu is questioning why the state is unable to curb illegal sand mining. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/why-no-check-on-illegal-mining-asks-sidhu/538806.html (The Tribune, 5 Feb. 2018)
This is really criminal. For mining sand from underground aquifers, the miners in Faridkot (and possibly other districts too) are taking out sand and water, hollowing the earth and creating huge hazards, groundwater depletion, and all this illegally, in collusion with mining officials, police officials, among others. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/water-pumps-take-mining-to-new-depths/539543.html (The Tribune, 6 Feb. 2018)
Meanwhile, with so much over supply of sand from legal and illegal mines, the sand prices have gone down, bidders re failing to pay the royalty installments. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sand-prices-dip-mine-bidders-fail-to-pay-up/539523.html (The Tribune, 6 Feb. 2018)
And so the CM has asked officers to tame mining mafia, set up teams in all districts. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/cm-tells-officers-to-tame-mining-mafia/539546.html (The Tribune, 6 Feb. 2018)
Madhya Pradesh Sand mafia tries to kill IFS officer MP’s Chhattarpur The sand mafia tried to kill an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer in MP’s Chhattarpur district on Feb. 7 night, bringing back chilling memories of the murder of IPS officer N K Singh in March 2012. Gangsters tried to crush Abhishek Tomar under a tractor, and when he dodged that, fired at him. Twenty-four hours after the murder bid, not a single attacker has been arrested. Singh was also run over by a tractor. This is another of many such violent incidents in Ken Betwa area. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/sand-mafia-tries-to-kill-ifs-officer-mps-chhattarpur/articleshow/62844747.cms (The Times of India, 9 Feb. 2018)
Maharashtra Illegal sand mining still rampant at Kihim As per Awaaz Foundation illegal sand mining continues to be rampant at Kihim beach despite several complaints being made to the authorities. As per report, Maharashtra has highest number of cases of non-compliance of sustainable sand mining management guidelines, 2016. MoEF recorded around 1,39,700 illegal mining cases between 2013 and 2017. Out of 7 major complaints regarding non-compliance in 2017; 6 were from Maharashtra and 1 from Himachal Pradesh. http://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/100218/illegal-sand-mining-still-rampant-at-kihim.html (The Asian Age, 10 Feb. 2018)
Environmentalist Sumaira Abdulali of the NGO Awaaz Foundation had on Thursday written letters to the Raigad district collector, Vijay Suryawanshi, and the Konkan divisional commissioner, Dr Jagdish Patil, to take stern action against illegal sand mining. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/need-tough-stand-against-sand-mafia-say-activists/articleshow/62840812.cms (The Times of India, 9 Feb. 2018)
Tamil Nadu DSP held for promoting illegal sand mining Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) of Ambur, P Thanarajan and a sub-inspector of police, Lourdu Jayaraj, were arrested by the sleuths of the directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption (DVAC) on 8 Feb for forcing people to indulge in illegal sand mining and extracting Rs 1.45 lakh bribe from them. Thanarajan is the 3rd DSP to be arrested by DVAC in Vellore district since Dec 2016. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/tamil-nadu-ambur-dsp-si-arrested-in-graft-case/articleshow/62841624.cms (The Times of India, 9 Feb. 2018)
Uttarakhand Report on illegal sand mining in CM’s constituency. http://parvatjan.com/Illegal-mining-doiwala-cm-constituency+
FISH & FISHERIES
Andhra Pradesh Serious impact of aquaculture in coastal Andhra Farmers are crying foul over the large-scale conversion of green fields in East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Nellore districts into shrimp and fish ponds ever since a letter written by retired high court judge, Elipe Dharma Rao, was taken up as a public interest litigation by the Hyderabad high court. According to the letter from Dharma Rao, farmers are either being paid off to move, or threatened. Once a field is converted into a shrimp farm, the land loses its character within two years and can never be turned again into agricultural land again, he said. https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2018/02/07/shrimp-farming-said-to-ruining-fertile-land-in-indias-andhra-pradesh/ (Under Current News, 7 Feb. 2018)
Center Participatory management a Must for ensuring sustainable development of ground water Movement towards new Rs 6000 Cr Groundwater Management Project spread over seven states. Its called participatory, but it is likely to be same top down system. http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/consultative-committee-of-the-ministry-of-water-resources-river-development-and-118021001026_1.html (Business Standard, 12 Feb. 2018)
Punjab State groundwater most contaminated The state not only has highest % of depleting wells (85% for pre monsoon 2017 levels when compared with the average for the previous decade – compared with the % for Haryana, Rajasthan and HP being 69, 63 and 50 respectively), but also has the highest (88%) of the habitations that is exposed to heavy metals contamination of groundwater. Out of 2420 such habitations in India, 2139 are in Punjab, with 273 in WB, seven in Assam and one in Karnataka. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/state-groundwater-most-contaminated/539909.html (The Tribune, 7 Feb. 2018)
Experts Concritization affecting recharge of groundwater How in Urban areas, groundwater recharge reduces: in natural conditions, out of the total water received during monsoon, 55% flows into sewage lines, 35% evaporates and only 10% seeps below the ground, recharging underground water source. “However, in the city where there are lot of concrete structures, only 3-4% of rainwater seeps into the ground,”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/use-underground-water-sources-sparingly-expert/articleshow/62865303.cms (The Times of India, 11 Feb. 2018)
Zenrainman’s perspective never fails to amaze Wells are more than a location, there are powerful narratives all around it. A landscape can allow you to listen to history speak.
Maharashtra Govt to now grade water appliances Will this really help? The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) will ink a MoU this month with the South Australia state, which has similar systems in place, for collaborations in technology, specifications and procedures to reduce water intensity. More useful may be to reduce the T&D losses of the cities and dams & canals. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-maharashtra-to-now-grade-water-appliances-2581515 (DNA, 5 Feb. 2018)
National Agrarian crisis solution lies in ‘battles of justice’ Sainath, calling for the battles of Justice, calls for a 20 day joint parliament session to discuss only Agriculture. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/agrarian-crisis-solution-lies-in-battles-of-justice-sainath/539541.html (The Tribune, 6 Feb. 2018)
देश के 192 किसान संगठनों का मंच अखिल भारतीय किसान संघर्ष समन्वय समिति ने बजट के ख़िलाफ़ 12 से 19 तक फ़रवरी देशव्यापी प्रदर्शन का एलान किया है https://www.facebook.com/100001791673122/videos/1527747217294986/
Nepal NEA to sign first PPA with storage-type hydro As per the power purchase guidelines issued by the Energy Ministry and approved by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board, storage projects like Tanahu Hydropower will be paid Rs12.40 per unit during the dry season which lasts from December to May, and Rs7.10 per unit during the wet season which lasts from June to November.
– The guidelines also state that if the energy output during the dry season drops below 50 percent of the installed capacity, the payment rate during the wet season will be reduced by the percentage point of the decline.
– For example, if electricity generation during the dry season falls to 36 percent of capacity, or a drop of 14 percentage points below the threshold, the NEA will pay 14 percent less for the power produced during the wet season.
– This means the purchase rate for the energy produced during the wet season will be Rs6.10, which is 14 percent less than the fixed rate of Rs7.10. Although Tanahu Hydropower is close to signing a power purchase deal with the NEA, the construction of the power station is in limbo due to delays in appointing a contractor.
– The company missed the appointment deadline as one of its financiers, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), delayed evaluating the technical proposals of potential builders. Tanahu Hydropower had planned to hire a contractor last December, it is now planning to do so by March.
– It is being built using credit extended jointly by the ADB, Jica and European Investment Bank. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-02-09/nea-to-sign-first-ppa-with-storage-type-hydro.html (Kathmandu Post, 9 Feb. 2018)
Bhutan Chukha export tariff revised by 30 Cheltrum a unit Price of power from the 336 MW Chukha HEP (commissioned in 1988) has been increased to Nu (Nu = Rs) 2.55 from Nu 2.25 with effect from Jan 1, 2017. Its been revised seven times since 1989 agreement, previous revision was by0.25 Nu in 2014. Its supposed to be revised every four years. Bhutan exports 1800 MU of power from Chukha to India. http://www.kuenselonline.com/chukha-export-tariff-revised-by-30-cheltrum-a-unit/ (Kuensel Online, 5 Feb. 2018)
Progress of hydro projects As of January 31 this year, 83.7 percent of the works have been completed for Punatshangchhu I. The APA target is to achieve 86 percent and the proposal was to bring it down to 85 percent.
Dasho Yeshey Wangdi said the progress on the ground is between 0.2 and 0.4 percent a month, as distress areas along the dam site is treated simultaneously.
Due to several geological surprises, he said that a holistic study was necessary to address the problems and avoid glitches during the operation period. A Norwegian consultant was hired and an assessment has been conducted last year. Due to the distress in downstream area of dam, works were suspended from May to September. Dam excavation resumed with strict monitoring, which resulted in slow progress. It was also highlighted that the initial depth of excavation was also underestimated by 20 meters.
There was also a change in design of hoisting system of draft tube gates in the powerhouse which delayed electro mechanical works.
The Prime Minister said that progress in January was 0.2 percent, and if the same pace continues, the overall achievement will be almost 85 percent in five months.
The progress of Punatshangchhu II was 0.8 percent in January. By the end of the fiscal year, it is likely to achieve 79 percent against the target of 81 percent.
It was pointed out that flooding of cofferdam twice has delayed the dam concreting. It was shared that concreting works are at a standstill until December since July 2017.
Restoration works on the collapsed powerhouse cavern was also delayed. Considering the stability and safety, Dasho Yeshey Wangdi said that Central Water Commission of India is carrying out a holistic study and the consultant is yet to come up with recommendations. “The APA target was drawn considering that major part of the remedial measures would be completed,” the secretary said.
For the Nikachhu project, it was pointed out that there were liquidity issues related to the cash flow on the contractor’s part, Hindustan Construction Company (HCC). This has caused delay in dam, head race tunnel and powerhouse complexes as the contractor could not mobilise machines and equipment. “Equipment brought to the site was old and suffered frequent breakdown,” Dasho Yeshey Wangdi said.
Amending the contractual provisions, the project authority resorted to providing additional advances, which was initially based on per linear meter. The Construction Development Corporation Limited was also engaged in adit works. Access roads were also damaged during monsoon.
However, the Prime Minister said revision of target from 18 percent to 10 percent because of the contractor’s failure is not a good precedent. “Then it should be applied to all construction activities,” he said.
In case of Kholongchhu, Lyonchhen said consideration could be given as the government instructed to halt the works until the issue of cross border trading of electricity rules that took effect in India is fully resolved.
It is because of this issue that the signing of concession agreement could not take place. “This involves market access and tariff, which is very important,” the secretary said.
Since the civil works on dam, headrace tunnel and powerhouse could not take off as per the plan, the ministry proposed to reduce the APA target from 12 percent to eight percent. http://www.kuenselonline.com/hydropower-projects-progress-hamper-moeas-performance/ (Kuensel Online, 8 Feb. 2018)
Siang Landslide Dam Risk of devastating floods lurks over the Siang This is another warning about possible flood disaster along Siang following landslide dams after the Oct 27 avalanche and Nov 17 earthquake. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2018/02/07/risk-of-devastating-floods-lurks-over-the-siang/ (Arunachal Times, 7 Feb. 2018)
Kazakhstan uses water more efficiently to avoid conflict with China According to the Kazakhstan government’s estimation, it can realise water savings up to 9.1 bcm per year by 2030 from agriculture, industrial, and municipal water use. This significant step will make the country less dependent on water sources from abroad, including China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. With the new policy tool, Kazakhstan will reduce water demand by 4.5 bcm per year from all water sourced abroad by 2030. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2018/02/07/kazakhstan-focusses-on-water-efficiency-to-ease-water-sharing-with-china/ (The Third Pole, 7 Feb. 2018)
Floodwater released by Chinese dam in Cambodia submerges village Floodwater released by Chinese hydroelectric dam (400 Mw Lower Sesan 2) in Cambodia turns thriving Srekor village into a silent waterworld destroying village’s farms, temple, ancestral graves & fishing grounds. http://indianexpress.com/article/world/floodwater-chinese-dam-cambodia-submerges-village-5050949/ (The Indian Express, 4 Feb. 2018)
THE REST OF WORLD
Oroville Dam Crisis prompts $51 billion lawsuit “Butte County’s district attorney sued the Department of Water Resources on Feb. 7 for the environmental damage created by last February’s crisis. In particular, District Attorney Michael Ramsey said DWR should have to pay between $34 billion and $51 billion for the tons of concrete, rock and other debris that fell into the Feather River below the dam. Ramsey filed the suit on behalf of “the People of the State of California,” according to court documents.”
– The Butte DA’s lawsuit, however, appears to be the first one focused on the debris that went into the Feather River.
– The suit says the river was inundated by “concrete, lime, slag and substances and material deleterious to fish, plant life, mammals and bird life.” It seeks $10 for every pound of material dumped into the water. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article199190934.html (The Sacramento Bee, 8 Feb. 2018)
Study Why record rainfall does not necessarily mean record flooding River catchments can be thought of as having a sort of “memory”, in which the effects of preceding events subtly change how the river system will respond to future ones and so in the case of flooding, the sequencing and magnitude of rainfall events is often more important than absolute volumes. https://theconversation.com/paris-flooding-harks-back-to-one-of-the-great-breakthroughs-in-hydrology-91131 (The Conversation, 7 Feb. 2018)
Research Robotics, Artificial Intelligence Make Headway in the Water Industry Imagine H2O, a start up accelerator, is mentoring a new crop of entrepreneurs. Tom Ferguson explains how they are applying the latest technology to water treatment, leak detection and other problems in the water sector. https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/community/2018/02/06/robotics-artificial-intelligence-make-headway-in-the-water-industry (News Deeply, 6 Feb. 2018)
Research Renewables can meet world power need Stanford engineers show that it is possible to provide power to the world entirely from renewables, NOT including any new Hydro turbines or storage in water, ice and underground rocks and shows that there are no technological or economic barriers to achieving that. https://news.stanford.edu/2018/02/08/avoiding-blackouts-100-renewable-energy/ (Stanford, 8 Feb. 2018)
Uttarakhand आग में झुलस रहे हैं चौथान पट्टी (थैलिसैंण) पौड़ी, उत्तराखंड के जंगल। आज चौथान पट्टी के विभागीय एवं पंचायती वनों में एक दर्जन से अधिक स्थानों पर आग लगी। कई स्थानों पर दावानल अभी भी जारी है। आग लगने के अलग अलग कारण बताए जा रहे हैं। कहीं नई घास के जमाव के लिए ग्रामीणों द्वारा तो कहीं शरारती तत्वों के द्वारा वनों में आग लगाने की अटकलबाज़ी की जा रही है। जानकारों के मुताबिक यह सदी की सबसे सुखी ठंड है। फरवरी माह में इतने बड़े पैमाने पर वनाग्नी की घटनाएं असामान्य के साथ साथ चिंताजनक भी है। बारिश तथा बर्फबारी के अभाव में हर कहीं वन भूमि सुखी हुई है। जिससे आग बहुत जल्दी बड़े वन भूमि पर तेजी से फैल रही है। अगर इसी प्रकार से दावानल जारी रहा तो आने वाले समय में क्षेत्र में भयंकर जल संकट की स्थिति बनने के पूरे आसार है।
National SC stays new rules on working of tribunals Putting on hold new rules that gave the government greater powers in appointing and fixing the service conditions of members of various tribunals, the Supreme Court on 10 Feb. has ordered that the selection and term of tribunal members will be as per the old rules. In June 2017, the Ministry of Finance had notified new rules affecting the selection process and functioning of all tribunals. A section of the legal fraternity had contended that these placed the quasi-judicial bodies under the control of the government and were administered by those very ministries against which the tribunals were to pass orders, thereby reducing their independence. There are 19 tribunals in the country, such as the Central Administrative Tribunal, Armed Forces Tribunal, National Green Tribunal and Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/sc-stays-new-rules-on-working-of-tribunals/541728.html (The Tribune, 10 Feb. 2018)
National Supreme Court is angry at Union of India on Solid Waste Management mess Coming down heavily on the centre for filing an 845-page affidavit containing incomplete information about solid waste management across the country apex court has directed the centre to file a chart within three weeks indicating whether the states and union territories have constituted state-level advisory boards in accordance with the provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016. It also directed the government to state in its chart the date the advisory boards were constituted in the states and Union Territories, names of members of the boards and also details of any meetings conducted by them. The court had on December 12 last year asked the centre to follow up on the matter of solid waste management with all states and Union Territories and furnish details before it. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/we-arent-garbage-collectors-supreme-court-slams-centre-on-waste-management-1809244?pfrom=home-topscroll (NDTV, 6 Feb. 2018)