Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 19 March 2018 (PM Abandons Inauguration of Mapithel Dam in Manipur Following Protests)

In an important development in Manipur this week, PM Narendra Modi could not commission the controversial Mapithel dam due to local protest. As per, the official statement notifying The PM was  was supposed to launch is the Mapithel dam, part of the Thoubal Multipurpose Project.

As per CRA Manipur blog report, the forum of Mapithel dam affected “Joint Action Committee Against Forced Inauguration of Mapithel Dam had threatened a 48-hour shutdown to coincide with the dam’s scheduled inauguration by Modi. The committee withdrew its call late on March 14, reportedly after the Manipur government agreed to shelve the inauguration.

The action committee is primarily demanding compensation for the people displaced by the project as mandated by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

Apart from complaints of inadequate compensation, opposition to the commissioning of the dam itself has grown louder over the years. Local communities claim the project violates the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 and its new avatar, the Forest Rights Act of 2006.  https://cramanipur.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/as-local-communities-protest-manipur-government-cancels-plan-of-modi-inaugurating-mapithel-dam/

The Thoubal Multipurpose Project, located in the Mapithel valley in the hill districts of Urkhul and Senapati, was approved by the Planning Commission in 1980. Construction started in 1989. But the project has seen inordinate delays over the years, and is still not fully functional. The delays have also hugely escalated the cost. In 1980, the project was conceived at an estimated cost of Rs 47.25 crore. In 2016, revised estimates pegged the cost at over Rs 1,500 crore. Earlier in March 2015, the inauguration of the dam has been postponed due to local resistance.  https://scroll.in/bulletins/121/why-should-inclusion-matter-to-companies (Scroll, 16 March 2018)

The Mapithel dam blocks the Thoubal River since January 2015 and has submerged a huge tract of agriculture and forest land, even as the infrastructure for power generation, for water supply and for irrigation are simply nowhere in sight for completion in the next Five years or more. The loss of land, forest and survival sources has led to food shortage and further impoverishing them.

The dam has also rendered the people living in the downstream a drought like situation, facing scarcity of water, forcing them to stop quarrying, sand mining and fishing, their key livelihood sources. What is the rationale of commissioning of Dam, when it only unleashes sufferings and environmental destruction, and when the components of dam are simply unprepared to serve its purpose? https://www.ifp.co.in/page/items/47451/commissioning-white-elephants-in-manipur-the-case-of-mapithe-dam/ (Imphal Free Press, 14 March 2018)

HYDRO POWER

Arunachal Pradesh Athena drags govt into its financial mess Athena Infraprojects pvt Limited, which wants to dam the Lohit River, lands in a soup and wants o take the  Govt in the soup too! Good news is the respite it brings to the Lohit, Parshuram Kund and downstream areas. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2018/03/08/athena-drags-arunachal-govt-into-its-financial-mess/ (Arunachal Times, 7 March 2018)

Govt paid compensation to victims of Tawang police The state assembly has been informed by state govt about the police firing in Twang in 2016 against anti Hydro agitation and action taken thereafter. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/arunachal-govt-paid-compensation-to-victims-of-tawang-police-118031301004_1.html (Business Standard, 13 March 2018)

Center Power Finance Corporation takes stressed projects before NCLT At a time when stressed projects and the bad loans of banks are in focus, state-run Power Finance Corp (PFC) has approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to start insolvency proceedings against promoters of stressed power projects, officials said. PFC and other consortium lenders have filed appeals with the NCLT under the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in some of the cases which include thermal, gas-based, as well as hydro power projects, PFC officials said. The sources, however, refused to confirm media reports that projects with a total of 14,000 MW capacity and involving loans of around Rs 30,000 crore are being considered for taking up with NCLT. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/power-finance-corporation-takes-stressed-projects-before-nclt/63281887 (Energy World, 13 March 2018)

DAMS

Center Need to look for large dams alternatives: Gadkari IMPORTANT, NOTEWORTHY WORDS: “Shri Gadkari said instead of going for large dams we should explore the possibility of going for check dams, rubber dams and small barrages. He called upon the experts to deliberate on these issues and get rid of redundant technologies and old concepts.” One has to keep wondering how does this go with his ILR dreams and mega irrigation project advocacy. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=177353 (PIB, 13 March 2018)

DRY NARMADA Who Robbed Narmada Interesting DTE article on Sardar Sarovar for a change.

– A senior officer at the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), on the condition of anonymity, says, “It was broad daylight robbery of water. And everyone knew who had stolen it”.

– For the first time, the residents of arid Rajkot city saw the reservoir on the Aji dam overflowing. Water was also supplied to different dam reservoirs that were full to the brim following the rainy season. “We were surprised to see water spilling out of Machchhu dam to the sea and all the branch canals overflowing,” says Sanjya. “It was as if our water crisis was over,” he adds.  http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/who-robbed-narmada–59866 (Down To Earth, 15 March 2018)

Pancheshwar Dam DPR is still not finalised Two meetings between officials of both the countries to finalize DPR have ended without conclusion. Now, preparation is going on to hold third meetings to resolve all issues related to the DPR. http://www.myrepublica.com/news/37840/?categoryId=81 (My Republica, 12 March 2018)

Himachal Pradesh Mafia grabbed our 25 bigha land, says Pong dam oustee The family of a Pong dam oustee alleged that the land mafia has grabbed their 25 bigha of land allotted at 19 KDV under Gharsana tehsil in Ganganagar in lieu of the land acquired for the dam. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/mafia-grabbed-our-25-bigha-land-says-pong-dam-oustee/articleshow/63307628.cms (The Times of India, 15 March 2018)

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Cauvery Dispute Cauvery row about water quality Karnataka is polluting the river before it enters Tamil Nadu, says a report filed by CPCB in the Supreme Court.  The board said the Thenpennaiyar and Arkavati, both tributaries of the Cauvery, were being polluted before they flow into Tamil Nadu. The report was submitted in the SC in connection with a case filed by Tamil Nadu in 2015 to restrain Karnataka from letting untreated sewage into the river. CPCB also pointed out that Karnataka raised objections to monitoring river Arkavathi, even as Tamil Nadu maintained that the river was the source of pollution. Tamil Nadu will submit its remarks to the SC for action during the next hearing, scheduled after two weeks,” said a TN official. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/cauvery-row-about-water-quality-now/articleshow/63262369.cms (The Times of India, 12 March 2018)

MoWR Centre finalising Cauvery scheme As per Union Water Resources Secretary U.P. Singh statement Central govt is working for finalising a scheme on the Cauvery issue within six weeks, as stipulated by the SC.  Cauvery Management Board constitution process is on, possibly on the lines a modified Narmada Control Authority. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/centre-finalising-cauvery-scheme-union-water-resources-secretary-up-singh/article23042844.ece

Mahanadi River Water Dispute MoWR Constitutes Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal The Ministry of Water Resources has issued a notification constituting the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal. The Tribunal will have its headquarters at Delhi and will have the following members nominated by the Chief Justice of India:

  • Mr Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Judge, SC as Chairman
  • Dr Justice Ravi Ranjan, Judge, Patna HC as Member                            
  • Mrs Justice Indermeet Kaur Kochhar, Judge, Delhi HC as Member

The Tribunal has been constituted following SC 23 Jab. 2018 orders in a suit filed by the Govt of Odisha. The Govt of Odisha had sought to refer the water dispute regarding the inter-state river Mahanadi and its river valley to a Tribunal for adjudication under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956. http://www.pib.nic.in/Pressreleaseshare.aspx?PRID=1523911 (PIB, 12 March 2018)

Tamil Nadu – Kerala Bhavani River check dam row Construction of check dams on Bhavani river has become another interstate water dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu has been opposing this since beginning.  Meanwhile Kerala has reportedly completed construction of 2 check dams and planning for third one. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-govt-should-prevent-construction-of-check-dam-across-bhavani-river-by-kerala-govt/article23045126.ece (The Hindu, 12 March 2018) 

IRRIGATION

Punjab Irrigation Scam Rs 8.5-cr irrigation funds bungled; 3 held A retired chief engineer and some senior officers of the Irrigation Department are in the dock for allegedly making payments for works which were nevr carried out to embezzle funds worth Rs 8.5 crore. The matter relates to the Kandi Canal project. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/rs-8-5-cr-irrigation-funds-bungled-3-held/557048.html (The Tribune, March 13, 2018)

Maharashtra NCP asks govt to share irrigation data since 2014 The Nationalist Congress Party on March 13 challenged the govt to share the irrigation data in the state legislature to make it clear how much irrigation potential had been created in the state since the Bharatiya Janata Party govt came to power. For the past three years, the BJP-led government has not shared this data in the Economic Survey Reports tabled in the state legislature.

– “This year, only Rs 8,080 crore has been allocated for water resources and you plan to complete 50 ongoing projects with these funds. But, last year, of the Rs8,233 crore budgeted, we have information that only Rs1,018 crore was utilised.’’ https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/ncp-asks-maharashtra-government-to-share-irrigation-data-since-2014/story-UVQGcuBh4rOBM03rJysitK.html (Hindustan Times, 14 March 2018) 

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog RIVERS AS COMMONS: REALITY OR MYTH? Rivers are supposed to be part of COMMONS. But where are the institutions, laws or practices that facilitate that rivers are treated as Commons? Dr. Ruchi Shree of Delhi University writes for SANDRP on this very imp issue on International Day of Action for Rivers (March 14). https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/rivsers-as-commons-reality-or-myth/

Positive Rivers Stories On occasion of International Day of Action for Rivers 14 March 2018, SANDRP presents a compilation of positive rivers stories that took place in the year 2017. The report highlights the exemplary rivers restoration work done by communities, village Panchayats. It also attempts to acknowledge remarkable on going protests and struggle by fisherfolks, villagers and river communities in rural areas to protect the lifelines from unsustainable development projects. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/positive-rivers-stories-2017-citizens-reconnecting-with-rivers/ ( 13 March 2018)

Tamil Nadu Students launch survey to analyse pollution in Thamirabarani river More than 20,000 volunteers took part in river Thamirabarani clean up drive & more than 3,000 student volunteers are busy conducting a survey among people residing on the banks of the river’s 72 km stretch through Tirunelveli district. The river is the main source of irrigation for 86,000 acres under cultivation in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts and drinking water source of lakhs of people in Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Virudhunagar districts. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/students-launch-survey-to-analyse-pollution-in-river/articleshow/63261012.cms (The Times of India, 12 March 2018)

Maharashtra Groundwork for development of riverfront project to start in May Worrying sign for Pune Rivers. The project focuses on greenery and does not place any emphasis on real estate development, claimed civic officials and those who designed the project during a news conference here on Monday. The detailed project report (DPR) for the project is in the final stages of preparation. A total of 44 km stretch of Mula and Mutha rivers will be developed under this initiative. Prominent Pune citizens, who are part of the save Empress Garden initiative, have opposed the river front development plan, terming it “anti-environment”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/groundwork-for-development-of-riverfront-project-to-start-in-may/articleshow/63177443.cms (The Times of India, 6 March 2018)

Students decides to revive Kamwari river Kamwari river is one of polluted water bodies in the city. The river existed since the 16th century and used to be a port during the British-era. Once a big river used to transport cargo, it is now the size of a nullah. The growing industrialisation and urbanisation on the banks of the river has led to more pollution. Around 70 years ago, Kamwari was a tributary of Ulhas river and connected till Thane creek.For the last 20 yrs, the river is deteriorating. Industries in the vicinity have been discharging chemical effluents into it. For around 4 months in a year, the river is completely dry. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/save-bhiwandi-river-college-students-in-thane-rope-in-authorities-to-chalk-out-plan/story-TPfsOS7lo7J5FmowqR00ZL.html (Hindustan Times, 15 March 2018)

Around 70 years ago, Kamwari river in Bhiwandi was a tributary of Ulhas river.
Around 70 years ago, Kamwari river in Bhiwandi was a tributary of Ulhas river.(HT PHOTO)

GODAVARI Study Kumbh dips raise river pollution, health risks The new study has found that pathogens associated with human skin and waste spread into the Godavari river system during Nashik Kumbh Mela mass bathing, and led to substantial loss of bacterial diversity in the river.

The study investigated the impact of human activities on river ecosystems, specifically on its bacterial communities, during Kumbh Mela 2015. Researchers said changes in microbial communities and increase in particular bacterial groups can change the ecology of the river and risk human health. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/kumbh-dips-raise-river-pollution-health-risks/articleshow/63254555.cms (The Times of India, 11 March 2018)

BRAHMAPUTRA Study Arsenic, fluorides and uranium in groundwater of the Brahmaputra floodplains A recent study by researchers from the Department of Environmental Science, Tezpur University, Assam, and the Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gujarat on the groundwater in the Brahmaputra floodplains has revealed some alarming information. The study has detected the presence of arsenic, uranium and fluorides (compounds of the element fluorine) that can affect the wellbeing of the people in this region.

– This study is the first to measure the co-occurrence of these elements in groundwater in the Brahmaputra floodplains.

– The results of the study showed that most of the groundwater samples contained arsenic and fluoride in low concentrations within the permissible limits recommended by the World Health Organization, except for a few. The researchers found uranium in the sediment samples. https://researchmatters.in/news/arsenic-fluorides-and-uranium-groundwater-brahmaputra-floodplains-could-pose-risk-children%E2%80%99s (Research Matters, 13 March 2018)

GANGA Uttarakhand  NGT takes cognizance of pollution in  village, orders inspection The villagers have contended there has been a complete violation of environmental laws and pollution norms by a large numbers of industries established in SIDCUL industrial park, located in the vicinity of village Siddh Garbyang in the Udham Singh Nagar district. Terming the situation as alarming, a bench of Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore directed its Registry to register the letter as a petition and directed the Uttarakhand state pollution control board to inspect the industrial units near and around the village. The NGT issued notices to the Uttarakhand government, DM of Udham Singh Nagar, SPCB, Managing Director of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Ltd (SIDCUL) while seeking their replies in two weeks. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/ngt-takes-cognizance-of-pollution-in-u-khand-village-orders-inspection-118031300918_1.html (Business Standard, 13 March 2018)

Gomati Adverse impact of riverfront development on Gomati The riverfront development project in Lucknow is a classic example of how over-dominance of channel engineering may result in loss of river ecosystems and river processes. The ecology of the river, its floodplain and other key fluvial characteristics were transformed substantially to satisfy the greed of a select few without creating any beneficial public utility or improving the water quality. The river has become a casualty of the blunders of planners. Ironically, the historical characteristics that gave the natural riverfront of Gomti its unique identity have been largely erased with the heavily-concretised active floodplains. The river channel width was drastically reduced to 100-130 metres from an average width of 285 metres. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/the-demise-of-rivers-59881 (Down To Earth, 13 March 2018)

                    Courtesy: counterview.org
(Image Source: Down To Earth)

YAMUNA Delhi DJB moves HC as water levels drop Following reduction in water supply from Haryana, the water level at Wazirabad Barrage has dropped from normal level of 674.5 ft to 671.3 ft. DJB has approached Delhi HC to direct Haryana to restore the water supply to Delhi. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/djb-moves-hc-as-water-levels-drop/articleshow/63276063.cms (The Times of India, 13 March 2018)

Hearing the petition, on March 13, Delhi HC directed Haryana to stick to its 2014 direction specifying the total volume of water to be released to Delhi every day. As per DJB its rightful share was 1049 (719 cusecs from Munak and 330 cusec from Delhi sub branch canal) but it was being supplied 800 cusecs which was later increased to 930 cusec.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/water-from-haryana-still-in-less-quantity-will-wait-for-a-day-or-two-and-then-approach-court-djb/story-xxxkefy3WrsdCQv1f6tcCO.html (Hindustan Times, 14 March 2018)

Meanwhile, a 60 year old Lal Bahadur killed over a dispute for water on March 17, in Wazirpur area.  As per residents there was water shortage in the area and they were getting irregular supply. For last two months Delhi is suffering from water scarcity. First It was ammonia pollution in Yamuna halting functioning of water treatment plants. Now its shortage of water supply. The issue must be resoved quickly and amicably. Also, it’s time for Delhi to work on revival of its water sources and implement rain water harvesting at larger scale. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/tension-erupted-as-tanker-arrived-60-year-old-dead-in-fight-over-water-5101693/ (The Indian Express, 17 March 2018)

Uttar Pradesh Groundwater table falling in Yamuna floodplain around Noida In the study, groundwater status at 36 different locations in Noida was recorded. The department also studied groundwater level in Greater Noida at 35 locations. The study included rural areas of the district as well, including Dadri, Dankaur, Bilaspur and Jewar.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/noida-s-groundwater-level-continues-to-fall-states-report/story-JDKnky0etKxIxjxOSohyXP.html (Hindustan Times, 15 March 2018)

SAND MINING

Punjab Cop ‘threatens’ sarpanch who complained against sand mining In an audio clip released by the sarpanch of village Boothgarh of Ludhiana, of a purported telephonic conversation between him and Inspector Jarnail Singh (ex-SHO Meharban police station who was suspended on Monday in another case), the police officer can be heard threatening the sarpanch after he complains about illegal sand mining in his village. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/in-audio-clip-cop-threatens-sarpanch-who-complained-against-sand-mining-5096787/ (The Indian Express, 14 March 2018) 

WETLANDS

Chandigarh Sukhna to be declared wetland In Dec. 2017, the Chandigarh Administration has reportedly started the process to declare the lake a wetland under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, notified by the Centre. The decision to declare Sukhna Lake as a wetland was likely to be approved at the first meeting of the Chandigarh Wetland Authority, constituted recently by the Administration. There is no further information, whether Sukhna lake has been declared a wetland or not. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/sukhna-to-be-declared-wetland/509500.html (The Tribune, 7 Dec. 2017) 

WATER OPTIONS

Gujarat In a first, MS University to conduct water audit Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda University will become the first publicly funded institute of the state to opt for water audit. The university will carry out the audit from the funds it has received from the Department of Climate Change of Gujarat government. The university is aiming to reduce 30 % water consumption taking into account various guidelines including that of the National Building Code at its campus including faculties, hostel, residential quarters and head office which receive 24 hours water supply. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/in-a-first-msu-to-conduct-water-audit/articleshow/63291474.cms (The Times of India, 14 March 2018)

GROUND WATER

Chhattishgarh Aresenic contamination of groundwater due to trial Uranium mining Rajnandgaon  Kaudikasa village with a population of just 350 people in the Ambagad Chowki block of the Rajnandgaon district has been in the news for severe health problems due to acute arsenic contamination in its groundwater. In fact, of the 22 villages affected by arsenic contamination in Ambagad Chowki block, Kaudikasa village is said to be the worst affected.

As per the WHO guideline, the maximum permissible level of arsenic in water is about 10 µg per litre. In Kaudikasa, the arsenic concentration in the tube well water had reached 520 µg per litre (measuring unit), whereas in the dug wells (general depth less than 50 m) the arsenic concentration was as high as 880 µg per litre. A medical study done in 2000 in the village indicated that 42 percent of adults and 9 percent of children were suffering from arsenical keratosis, a condition in which changes in skin pigmentation occur from long-term exposure to arsenic. Moreover, epidemiological studies indicated high concentrations of arsenic in urine, hair and nail in 89, 75 and 91 percent of the village population respectively. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/arsenic-affected-village-gets-water-after-two-decades (India Water Portal, 3 March 2018)

Punjab Facts about irrigation tubewells Punjab’s deepest tubewell, 1200 feet deep, drilled two years ago: “Binewal’s (village located on a ‘Beet’ or plateau region, in Garhshankar Tehsil of Hoshiarpur district) tubewell, its only one, can extract .75 cusecs of ground water per minute, pumped up by a 120 HP motor. That means 1200 litres per minute (LPM), and 72,000 LPM per hour. Installed in July 2016 by the Punjab Water Resources Development and Corporation Limited at a cost of Rs 72 lakh, with funding from NABARD , the tubewell irrigates 100 acres of land in the village.”

The tubewell, say Binewal residents, has transformed the lives of over 100 farmers from poverty to prosperity. (Image Source: The Indian Express) 

– Water was found here at 700 ft, but they keep going deeper so that they do not have to drill again soon.

– Around 1,500 metres of underground 6-inch pipelines carry the water from the tubewell to the fields of 135 farmers of the village

– In one hour, it consumes 90 units and in 12 hours, it consumes 1,080 units, which means 32,400 per month and 3.88 lakh annually. The rate for this unit is now fixed at Rs 5.06 per unit and the annual bill would be 19.67 lakh. Farmers do not pay the bill as electricity is free. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjabs-irrigation-tubewells-a-1200-feet-deep-challenge-5096886/ (The Indian Express, 14 March 2018)

WATER

Andhra Pradesh VMC’s turns blind eye as city’s sewage pollutes drinking water in canals Vijayawada: Sewage, industrial effluents being dumped in canals which supply drinking water to over 30 lakh people in Krishna and West Godavari districts. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vijayawada/vmcs-turns-blind-eye-as-citys-sewage-pollutes-drinking-water-in-canals/articleshow/63275847.cms (The Times of India, 13 March 2018)

DROUGHT 2017

Andhra Pradesh Farmers’ leaving land for a lesser life This is heart breaking picture of situation of India’s second driest district, Anantpur. This year, already about 5 lakh people have migrated. At least 42% of borewells have dried up. But there is also hope in work like that of CSA. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/farmers-plight-leaving-land-lesser-life (India Water Portal, 13 March 2018)

Karnataka Udupi left with 70 days of water As per Pramod Madhwaraj, Minister for Fisheries, the water level at Baje dam across the Swarna river (called Swarna First Stage), from where drinking water is being supplied to Udupi city and surrounding areas, was 5.66 metres. There is no water left in Shiroor dam (called Swarna Second Stage). The inflow to Baje Dam has stopped. Stressing on regulation, K. Raghavendra, CMC environment engineer, said the present quantity would be enough for only about 70 days if the water is supplied at the present rate. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/arrangements-in-place-to-tackle-water-scarcity-minister/article23232940.ece (The Hindu, 14 March 2018)

AGRICULTURE

Maharashtra Farmers Rally Band aid after the long march This is an excellent piece by Ashok Gulati even with a couple of misses.

– Only 19 per cent of Maharashtra’s cropped area is under irrigation, way below the national average of 47 per cent.

– Maharashtra also boasts the largest number of dams and major and medium irrigation schemes. During the 10th and 11th Five Year Plans (2002-2003 to 2011-2012), the cumulative expenditure on these schemes amounted to Rs 1,18,235 crore at 2014-15 prices. It increased the irrigation potential of the state by only 8.9 lakh hectares (ha) of which only 5.9 lakh ha was utilised during that period. This amounts to a cost of around Rs 20 lakh/ha of irrigation potential utilised at 2014-15 prices. This is nothing short of a SCAM.

– The paradox of the agriculture scenario in Maharashtra is that sugarcane, which occupies just 4 per cent of the state’s gross cropped area (GCA), takes away 65 per cent of the irrigation water, while cotton, soyabean, sorghum, maize, gram and tur, which together constitute more than 60 per cent of the GCA, get about 8 per cent of the irrigation water. 

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– Since the Fadnavis government assumed office in October 2014, Maharashtra has had three years of negative agri-GDP growth. Only in 2016-2017 did the state’s agriculture sector grow by 22.5 per cent. It registered (-)10 per cent in 2014-15, (-)3.2 per cent in 2015-16, and is likely to be (-)8.3 per cent this year, as per the state government’s estimates.

– Even at 1.5 times the cost A2+FL, the MSP of sorghum needs to go up by more than 40 per cent and that of cotton by about 20 per cent. Can Maharashtra do it? Only time will tell… A more efficient, transparent and equitable option will be to give direct income support on a per hectare basis to the farmers. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/maharashtra-farmers-protest-devendra-fadnavis-loan-waiver-tribal-land-5096771/ (The Indian Express, 14 March 2018)

Report CM Fadnavis gives in ‘100 per cent’ to agitating farmers, stir ends This is confusing.  “Another demand was about diverting water from Nar-Par, Damanganga, Wagh and Pinjal to Maharashtra so that it does not go to Gujarat. “A project in this regard has been prepared by the National Water Development Authority. A MoU has also been signed which the government will implement,” the agreement said.”

– It also says the govt has agreed to divert water from Damanganga, Nar, Par and Wagh to Maharashtra. Damanganga water was already agreed to be transferred to Maharashtra.

If the agreement between the marchers and govt only says MOW with NWDA will be implemented how will it help achieve the marchers’ objective on ILR? http://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/130318/cm-fadnavis-gives-in-100-percent-to-agitating-farmers-stir-ends.html (Asian Age, 13 March 2018)

As per another report “The water that flows out to the Arabian Sea from Nar-Par, Damanganga, Wagh and Pinjal rivers will be perted to the Girna and Godavari basins. Maharashtra’s share of will not be given to neighbouring Gujarat. A draft MoU to this effect has already been submitted to the Centre. Some small irrigation projects will also be built to provide water to tribals” https://cnbcnews.in/news/93384/after-mumbai-march-farmers-say-quot-this-is-not-the-end-quot (CNBC News, 13 March 2018) 

Editorial Maharashtra Govt must urgently resolve issue of forest rights Indeed: There is a qualitative difference between the farmer unrest that rocked large swathes of India last May-June and the six-day, 180-km “kisan long march” from Nashik culminating in the protests at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan.

– The 50,000-odd peaceful yet determined men and women who converged in Mumbai were, by contrast, predominantly poor tribal farmers from the Adivasi pockets of Palghar, Thane, Nashik, Dhule and Nandurbar in northern Maharashtra. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/maharashtra-farmer-rally-kisan-march-devendra-fadnavis-farm-loan-waiver-shiv-sena-bjp-5095538/ (The Indian Express, 13 March 2018)

Op-Ed Poignant and dignified farmers’ rally reminds of important political truths Pratap Bhanu Mehta is known for clarity, but here, though he says a lot of right things, he clearly is at a loss in terms of clarity of either the big picture or specifics like irrigation. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/maharashtra-farmer-rally-kisan-march-loan-waiver-fadnavis-aiks-5095527/ (The Indian Express, 13 March 2018)

SOUTH ASIA

India Nepal Govt scraps licenses given for three hydropower projects, supported by Indian companies  According to official figures, the government recently scrapped licenses issued to three power developers financed by Indian companies.

– The projects whose licenses have been canceled are: 130 MW Budhi Gandaki ‘A’ and 260 MW Budhi Gandaki ‘B and 350 MW Dudhkoshi. The first two projects that were to be developed by Naulo Nepal Hydro Electric Pvt Ltd, a company backed by Indian financing. The ministry says Naulo Nepal, backed by Patel Engineering (India), failed to present important documents such as the proof of registration of a company, projects’ financial closure report and a draft of the power purchase agreement.

– The 350 MW Dudhkoshi was promoted by KBR India Infra Pvt Ltd. According to sources, the ministry, in a letter dispatched on August 21, had demanded that the two companies present their financial closure reports and draft PPAs at the earliest. However, the companies failed to present the documents and the government decided to scrap their licenses.

– Naulo Nepal received the license to develop Budhi Gandaki ‘A’ and ‘B’ in 2008. Similarly, KVR Infra received its license in 2010. http://english.onlinekhabar.com/nepal-scraps-hydro-licenses-of-indian-companies-occupying-750-mw-projects.html (Online Khabar, 12 March 2018)

THE REST OF WORLD

Australia Cadia Gold Mine – another tailings dam failure Dave Petley blog On March 9, a tailings dam collapse occurred at the Cadia Gold Mine, operated by Newcrest Mining, in Orange, New South Wales, Australia.  Cadia is one of the largest open cur gold and copper mines.  The collapse has led to the cessation of mining operations at Cadia. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2018/03/12/cadia-1/ (AGU, 12 March 2018)  

Cadia tailings dam failure
Aerial image of the tailings dam failure at Cadia mine. Image released by Newcrest.

More of us are drinking recycled sewage water than most people realise Even in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, it is an important part of the water supply. This is because many large towns discharge their treated sewage into the catchment rivers that supply the city. Perth is now looking to recycle all of its treated sewage. Only about 10% of Perth’s sewage is recycled, through advanced treatment and replenishment into its groundwater supplies.

– For instance, the catchment of Sydney’s giant Warragamba Dcadia gold mininam has a population of about 116,000 people. This includes the large settlements of Goulburn, Lithgow, Moss Vale, Mittagong and Bowral. These communities discharge their treated sewage into the catchment rivers. https://phys.org/news/2018-03-recycled-sewage-people-realise.html (Phys Org, 13 March 2018)

England Microplastic pollution in oceans is far worse than feared, say scientists The River Tame, near Manchester, has the highest microplastic pollution yet discovered anywhere in the world. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/12/microplastic-pollution-in-oceans-is-far-greater-than-thought-say-scientists (The Guardian, 12 March 2018)

Another report says that, microplastics, which come from a variety of sources including clothing and cosmetics, can be harmful to marine life and pose a threat to river ecosystem health. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/03/12/british-river-has-worst-recorded-microplastic-pollution-world/ (The Telegraph, 12 March 2018)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Western Himalayas Climate warming enhances snow avalanche risk SIGNIFICANT STUDY: Climate warming is impacting the cryosphere in high mountain ranges, thereby enhancing the probability for more and larger mass-wasting processes to occur. This tree-ring–based snow avalanche reconstruction in the Indian Himalayas shows an increase in avalanche occurrence and runout distances in recent decades. Statistical modeling suggests that this increase in avalanche activity is linked to contemporaneous climate warming. These findings contradict the intuitive assumption that warming results in less snow, and thus fewer snow avalanches in the region, with major implications for disaster risk management and risk mitigation in a region with steadily increasing human occupation. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/12/1716913115  (PNAS, 13 March 2018)

ENVIRONMENT

Gujarat NGT issues notice to Govt on plea against destruction of mangroves The NGT has issued notices to Gujarat and Centre after a plea claimed that mangroves in Kutch district were being cleared by Deendayal Port Trust.

– A Bench headed by judicial member Jawad Rahim on Wednesday issued show cause notices to the MoEF, the Gujarat State Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) and the State Forest Department. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ngt-issues-notice-to-gujarat-on-plea-against-destruction-of-mangroves/article23013526.ece (The Hindu, 10 March 2018)

National Okhla waste plant has no takers for tonnes of compost The Okhla waste composting plant, which earned Rs 25 lakh as carbon credits from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2013, can find no takers for the compost it produces. Delhi generates close to 10,000 metric tonnes of garbage every day. Of this, experts say, close to 50% is what can be composted and turned into fertiliser. In Pune, the composting plant under the Pune Municipal Corporation generates around 9,000 metric tonnes of compost per month. Of this, only 2,000 tonnes is used and the rest remains in the depots. Problems have been seen in the auction of compost in Goa as well. Sad state of affairs. I wonder why there are no takers for the compost in Delhi, Goa and Pune. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/okhla-waste-plant-has-no-takers-for-tonnes-of-compost-5098255/ (The Indian Express, 15 March 2018) 

Compiled by SANDRP (ht.sandrp@gmail.com)

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 12 March 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 5 March 2018  Follow us on www.facebook.com/sandrp.in; https://twitter.com/Indian_River 

2 thoughts on “DRP News Bulletin 19 March 2018 (PM Abandons Inauguration of Mapithel Dam in Manipur Following Protests)

    1. Many thanks, Prasanth, for brining this worrying scene to our notice. Very shocking indeed.
      Not too many people see this, so we need all possible help to disseminate.

      Himanshu

      Like

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