On occasion of International Day for Biodiversity May 22, 2018, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari released the report on “Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species” in river Ganga in New Delhi . The celebrations have been organised to mark the 25 years of coming into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity. He also inaugurated a day-long workshop organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the theme “Ganga and its Biodiversity: Developing a Road Map for Habitat and Species Conservation”.
A database of Ganga Praharis’, a self-motivated cadre, being created by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was also launched by the Minister. Shri U.P. Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation said: “Ganga still has about 2,000 aquatic species.” He also pointed out that both aviralta and nirmalta of river Ganga are important and the government is committed to achieve both.
– The first-of-its-kind report “Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species” which was released by the Minister present the status of select species of river Ganga and synthesize the information from available literature as well as from the data generated through the rapid biodiversity assessment of the river. This would make valuable contribution for making a baseline for these species. The Minister also released another publication “Ganga Biodiversity-At a Glance” which gives species with details, along with their depiction and maps. These reports have been prepared by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun as part of the “Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation” project being sponsored by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the aegis of the Namami Gange programme. The project aims to develop a science-based aquatic species restoration plan for Ganga by involving multiple stakeholders.
– The technical session focused on “Developing a Five and 10 year strategies for Ganga aquatic biodiversity conservation”. Six biodiversity hot spots have been identified covering 50% of the stretch of river Ganga with high conservation values. Discussions during the day-long workshop focused on developing appropriate strategies for these areas. During the rapid biodiversity assessment made under the project, species, such as Siebold’s smooth scaled water snake (Enhydris sieboldii), were observed after a gap of 70 years in river Ganga. The biodiversity assessment team also reported new nesting ground of Indian Skimmer (Rhynchops albicolis), a globally threatened bird, between Allahabad and Mirzapur, positive signs for the river’s biodiversity. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179454 (PIB, 22 May 2018)
Another report released same day, titled by ‘Macro Fauna of the Ganga River — Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species’ reveals that at least 10 species, including the Ganges river dolphin and the gharial, found in Ganga for centuries, are on the verge of extinction. While the dolphin is listed as an endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN ) Red list, the Gharial is critically endangered in the same list.
The other species include birds such as the black bellied tern and Indian skimmer; turtles such as the northern river terrapin, three stripped roofed turtle, red crowned roofed turtle; and the golden mahaseer fish. The sarus crane, the mugger crocodile and the snow trout have been put in the vulnerable list.
The report was prepared by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Dehradun as part of the ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation’ project by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
The report further says that the Dolphin population, which was about 10,000 in late 19th century, reduced to 3,526 in 2014, adding that while the population of dolphins had stabilised between 2012 to 2015, it showed a drastic decline in recent years.
The report said the dolphins are now restricted to the Ganga and its larger tributaries, but have disappeared completely from the Haridwar-Bijnor barrage, which is about 100 kms downstream of Haridwar.
The report said that gharials (fish-eating crocodiles) were on the verge of extinction in India by the mid 1970s, until a captive breeding programme was initiated during 1975 , taking the population to 1,200 by 1995. The report said the gharial population again showed a decline since 1999.
Environment expert Himanshu Thakkar said, “The species are affected when their habitat gets affected. It’s not just the pollution, it’s sand mining, dredging, building dams. For example, there is dredging taking place in the dolphin sanctuary but dolphins who are blind animals, send sound waves to know about their prey, their habitat, the dredging will affect the signals they receive from their habitat. We need to understand, how to protect , recreate and rejuvenate the habitat of these species.”” https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/at-least-10-species-in-the-ganga-face-extinction-say-ministry-reports/story-ecpjjZPoeiMZofK6oRexEL.html (Hindustan Times, 27 May 2018)
Meanwhile, just days after celebratino of Ganga Dusshra, the river is increasingly turning dry in Uttar Pradesh: “According to Central Water Commission, the minimum water level of River Ganga was recorded 58.27 metre on June 29, 2017, while on May 25 Ganga’s water level in Varanasi was recorded at 57.79 metres.
Currently three cities, including Kanpur (600MLD), Allahabad (400 MLD) and Varanasi (400MLD), generate 1,400 MLD of effluence daily. It comprises industrial and domestic effluents. Of that, only 500 MLD is being treated and the remaining 900 mld of effluence goes untreated into River Ganga, Prof Mishra added.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/heat-takes-toll-on-river-ganga-too/story-EwchXTo0JXvhqLXSsBJTzK.html (Hindustan Times, 26 May 2018)
Uttarakhand Char Dham All Weather Road मंदाकिनी, अलकनंदा में डाला जा रहा ऑल वेदर रोड का मलबा परियोजना के तहत निर्माण कार्य तेजी से चल रहा है। केदारघाटी में रुद्रप्रयाग-गौरीकुंड हाईवे पर भी काम चल रहा है। यहां बड़ी मात्र में निकल रहे मलबे को डंपिंग जोन में डालने के बजाय सीधे मंदाकिनी नदी में उड़ेला जा रहा है। इससे मंदाकिनी का बहाव थमने की बढ़ गई है। अलकनंदा नदी में भी मलबा डाला जा रहा है। इन नदियों के प्रवाह का अवरुद्ध होना, जून 2013 जैसी किसी भीषण आपदा का सबब बन सकता है। केंद्र की महत्वाकांक्षी योजना में निर्माण एजेंसी द्वारा बरती जा रही लापरवाही सवालिया निशान खड़े कर रही है। नियमानुसार सड़क कटिंग का मलबा डंपिंग जोन में ही डाला जा सकता है। लेकिन, यहां तो नियमों को ताक पर रख सारा मलबा मंदाकिनी नदी में उड़ेल दिया जा रहा है। हालांकि रुद्रप्रयाग लोक निर्माण विभाग के दफ्तर के ठीक सामने मलबा डालने के लिए डंपिंग जोन बनाया गया है, लेकिन इसका इस्तेमाल केवल दिखावे के लिए हो रहा है।
Very serious, strange but seems common practice in hill states. Under Char Dham All Weather Road project. Several roads are being widened in Uttrakhand. There have been many reports showing contractors and executing agencies are dumping debris in Rivers, streams, Nalas, including Mandakani, Alaknanda, Yamuna in open violation of norms. There is no lesson learnt from Kedarnath Disaster 2013. https://epaper.jagran.com/ePaperArticle/24-may-2018-edition-Delhi-City-page_19-150-6113-4.html (Dainik Jagran, 24 May 2018)
The dust pollution by Char Dham All Weather Road has become a menace for local people: https://epaper.jagran.com/ePaperArticle/25-may-2018-edition-garwal-page_13-8228-6590-105.html (Dainik Jagran, 25 May 2018)
Interesting new dimension added to destruction being caused by Char Dham All Weather Road project: “Ratan Aswal, social activist from Garhwal claims that a large amount of muck generated by cutting hills have been dumped in the lush green forest on the river banks thus prompting natural water sources to dry up.
“Several natural water sources in the hills have been dried up due to the illegal muck disposal. Water springs play role not only in sorting out drinking water problem but also it maintains moisture thus stopping fire to spread during summers,” Aswal said.
The experts agreed on this. They, however, said besides spring water sources drying up, another reason was dry spell during the winters. “Of course the forest close to water body be it pond or natural water source remains secure. Chances of spreading forest blaze increases manifold if the surface is dry,” said Dr GCS Negi, scientist (forest ecology) at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development. Photos clicked by social activists sometime back suggest massive muck disposal in the river valley.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/is-muck-disposal-in-uttarakhand-ganga-basin-the-culprit/story-40FRI6AJdgurkvOggQKqXL.html (Hindustan Times, 25 May 2018)
Ganga Pollution NGT has directed Uttrakhand State Govt to submit percentage-wise compliance report on steps taken by it to clean the River Ganga in the stretch between Gomukh and Haridwar by July 19. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/submit-percentage-wise-compliance-report-on-ganga-ngt-to-uttarakhand-2575245.html (Money Control, 24 May 2018)
Gujarat PIL filed against desilting of dam in Gir A PIL has been filed in the Gujarat High Court, seeking stay on the ongoing desilting work at Singhoda dam located in the Gir National Park. Stating that the desilting work at the dam is in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, the PIL filed by Shailendrasinh Jadeja, a resident of Rajkot, stated the District Collector of Gir-Somnath has allowed movement of about 1,000 tractors per day inside the periphery of the national park which is a prohibited area under the provision of the Wildlife Protection Act. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/pil-filed-in-gujarat-high-court-against-desilting-of-dam-in-gir-5186080/ (The Indian Express, 22 May 2018)
Uttar Pradesh बांध की नहीं हुई मरम्मत तो बाढ़ में होगा भारी नुकसान श्रीनगर-तुर्तीपार तटबंध को बकुल्हा तटबंध से जोड़ने वाली मांझी घाट से दलछपरा तक की पुरानी रेलवे लाइन तटबंध के रूप में क्षेत्र को घाघरा के बाढ़ से बचाती रही है ¨कतु रख-रखाव व मरम्मत के अभाव में यह रेलवे लाइन (तटबंध) जर्जर हो चुका है। जगह-जगह जंगली जीव-जंतु इसमे ं’होल’ बना चुके हैं। जिससे अगर बरसात के दिनों में घाघरा उफान पर होती है और बाढ़ के हालात होते हैं तो हालात काफी भयावह हो जाएंगे। माना जा रहा है कि पहले ही झटके में यह बांध टूट जाएगा जिससे क्षेत्र के बकुल्हा, नवका टोला, नेका राय के टोला, इब्राहिमाबाद, गोन्हिया छपरा, मधुबनी, बैजनाथपुर, बैजनाथ छपरा, चाई छपरा, उपाध्यापुर, गुमानी के डेरा, जगन के डेरा, हनुमानगंज, दुर्जनपुर, हेमंतपुर सहित दर्जनों गांव जलमग्न हो जाएंगे। बता दें कि एक दशक पूर्व पुराने बकुल्हा रेलवे स्टेशन के पास उक्त रेल लाइन (तटबंध) घाघरा के बाढ़ से टूट गया था। तब क्षेत्र के दर्जनों गांवों को भारी नुकसान उठाना पड़ा था। उस समय मौके पर पहुंचे जिलाधिकारी ने कहा था कि बरसात बाद इस रेलवे लाइन (तटबंध) का मरम्मत कराऊंगा जिससे यह घाघरा के बाढ़ के पानी को रोकने में सक्षम हो सके ¨कतु एक दशक बीत गया फिर भी उक्त पुराने रेलवे लाइन का मरम्मत नहीं कराई गई। ¨सचाई विभाग के अधिकारियों से संपर्क करने पर उन्होंने बताया कि उक्त रेल लाइन भले ही तटबंध का काम कर रही हो ¨कतु वह रेलवे की संपत्ति है। उस पर प्रदेश सरकार कोई कार्य नहीं करा सकती है। अगर जनप्रतिनिधि अपनी तरफ से रूचि लें और रेलवे से एनओसी प्राप्त कराएं तब प्रदेश सरकार इसकी मरम्मत करा सकती है। इसके लिए धन की व्यवस्था भी सांसद अथवा विधायक को करनी पड़ेगी। लगभग 14 किमी लंबी पुरानी रेलवे लाइन (तटबंध) का मरम्मत जनहित में आवश्यक है इसलिए क्षेत्रीय सांसद या विधायक का ध्यान लोगों ने उस ओर आकृष्ट किया है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/ballia-damage-dams-heavy-flooding-17979093.html (Dainik Jagran, 20 May 2018)
Uttar Pradesh करोड़ों खर्च के बाद चंद्रप्रभा बांध का गेट जर्जर चंद्रप्रभा बाध गेट की मरम्मत करने में करोड़ों रुपये विभाग ने गवां दिए। बांध के मुख्य गेट में कई स्थानों पर छिद्र हो गए हैं। पत्थर निर्मित मुख्य गेट के तटबंध में जगह-जगह छिद्र होने से बांध के अस्तित्व पर संकट के बादल मंडराने लगे हैं। हालात पर जल्द काबू न पाया गया तो ¨सचाई संकट खड़ा हो जाएगा।
चंद्रप्रभा बांध का निर्माण 1960 में पूर्ण हुआ। बांध के मुख्य गेट के छलके की मरम्मत 8 वर्ष पूर्व कराई गई थी। मरम्मत कार्य में तकरीबन 5 करोड़ रुपये खर्च हुए थे। विभागीय अधिकारियों की देखरेख में करीब एक माह तक मरम्मत कार्य चला। अहम है कि छलके की मरम्मत बड़े-बड़े छिद्र हो जाने के चलते हाई तकनीक व कुशल मैकेनिकों की टीम ठेकेदारी प्रथा से कराई गई।
मरम्मत कार्य के दौरान मानक की बड़े पैमाने पर अनदेखी किए जाने का नतीजा रहा कि बांध में पानी आते छलके से रिसाव शुरू हो गया। विभाग ने खुद का गला नपता देख कार्यदाई संस्था को नोटिस जारी किया, इसके बाद दोबारा मरम्मत हुई। मरम्मत के बाद कुछ वर्ष तक रिसाव बंद रहा। इस वर्ष छलके में लगे पत्थर दरक गए। आधा दर्जन से अधिक स्थानों पर छलके में छिद्र हो गये हैं। बांध में इकठ्ठा पानी तेजी से छिद्र के सहारे निकल रहा है। छलके से निकल रहे बेवजह पानी की यही स्थिति बनी रही तो रवी की प्रम ख फसल गेहूं की ¨सचाई प्रभावित होना तय है। आगामी दिनों में बांध के अस्तित्व को लेकर खतरा उत्पन्न होने की स्थिति से इंकार नहीं किया जा सकता। चंद्रप्रभा बांध से बबुरी इलाका सहित लगभग 7 हजार हेक्टेयर की ¨सचाई व्यवस्था निर्धारित है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/chandauli-damwatergatechandauli-17072286.html (Dainik Jagran, 21 Nov. 2017)
SANDRP Blog Beas Molasses Leak The Sugar Mill molasses leak incident in Gurdaspur district of Punjab has done huge damage to aquatic life in Beas river. Several hundred fish including giant catfish have already succumbed to low oxygen level following the crisis which is still unfolding. This stretch of the Beas River provides habitat endangered aquatic animals like Dolphin and Gharial. Reports suggest pollution reaching deep in the river and release of more water from upstream dams is required for its dilution. https://sandrp.in/2018/05/22/gurdaspur-sugar-mill-molasses-release-leads-to-beas-river-fish-kill/ (22 May 2018)
Impact still unfolding: The incident has now caused drinking water problem in Malwa region (already suffering from unsuitable groundwater) thus affecting potable water supply to hundreds of villages.
Clean drinking water supply is scarce in Malwa in Punjab as a fallout of spillage of molasses into Beas River. Districts such as Muktsar, Bathinda, Mansa, Fazilka are getting drinking water supply from the water tanks of the water works department as the department has been told not to take the canal water of canals for drinking purposes. Sources said the stored water would last six-seven days.”http://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-in-malwa-drinking-water-supply-hit-5186023/ (The Indian Express, 22 May 2018)
Some more actions by State Govt against Sugar mill: The Punjab government is considering making Chadha Sugars And Industries Private Limited pay the bill for release of 2,000 cusec water to neutralise the molasses spillage into the river and canal network.
Also, the government is mulling to increase the security deposit of sugar mill from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The security of Rs 25 lakh, earlier deposited by the unit has already been forfeited as penalty for pollution and killing aquatic life.
Sources said that out of Rs 1 crore to be deposited as security, Rs 50 lakh may have to be deposited for restoration of dissolved oxygen (DO) in water and Rs 50 lakh for the loss of aquatic life in case of any such incident in the future. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/molasses-spillage-punjab-considers-making-sugar-mill-foot-bill-for-water-released-to-neutralise-leak-5186020/ (The Indian Express, 22 May 2018)
As per another report, Beas & Satluj Rivers are severely polluted by industrial effluents. Govt is planning to build Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs), but like STPs CETPs are proving of not much help. https://www.thequint.com/videos/news-videos/water-is-life-but-in-punjab-its-poison (The Quint, May 2018)
As per the latest report, after the disaster, the state’s department of fisheries has proposed to impose a complete ban on fishing in the river for two years. Also, the department has proposed to release seeds of fish varieties in the Beas that were once found in it from other water bodies as part of its revival plan for the river’s ecosystem. Officials of the forest and wildlife department also supported the revival proposal of the department of fisheries. https://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/aftermath-of-contamination-plans-afoot-to-ban-fishing-in-beas-for-2-years/story-iVXRR46NJMEHt8gml22IbL.html (Hindustan Times, 25 May 2018)
Urban Rivers Noyyal IN SEARCH OF RIVER NOYYAL NEAR TIRUPUR IN TAMIL NADU
The taxi driver Ravi laughed. “Sir, there is no river here.”
Not giving up so fast, I kept showing him the thin light blue line on google map on my mobile, right close to the road we were travelling on from Coimbatore, the road shown in dark blue colour on google map.
He knew what I was talking about, but he kept laughing while saying, no water, no river.
After some time, seeing my insistence bordering on irritation, he explained, 15-20 years ago, there was river here, but since there is no water, river land is taken over by others, he showed, closing his out-stretched palm. So now there is no river.
Not even in monsoon, rainy season? He laughed, saying there is very little rain here.
Finally he showed us a nullah, which happened to be Noyyal River, on Noyyal Road, in middle of Tirupur.
You can see, he was not so wrong…. its not much of a river, but that’s what we have for most Urban Rivers. (Excerpts of conversation between Himanshu Thakkar and taxi driver while looking for Noyyal river course in Tamil Nadu) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156377022013523&set=pcb.10156377023543523&type=3&theater (SANDRP Face Book Post, 21 May 2018)
Urban Rivers Indrayani Ongoing Indrayani River pollution forces Pune residents purchase costly bottled water
Interesting statement PMC officials say Bhama Askhed dam is controversial, uncertain and will not serve the purpose:
“The pipeline project from Bhama Askhed dam is yet to be sanctioned by the government. Municipal council officials said the Bhama Askhed option will not serve the purpose. “The Bhama Askhed project is controversial as the farmers are opposed to it. We don’t know how many years it will take to resolve it. It is need of the hour to explore other feasible options to find a solution to the water issue,” an official said.
“It will be difficult for the municipal corporation to complete and maintain the pipeline project because of its skeletal manpower. The government needs to hire staffers to meet the future requirements. We don’t even have a sanitary inspector,” a senior municipal corporation official said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/packaged-drinking-water-the-lifeline-for-alandi/articleshow/64263647.cms (The Times of India, 22 May 2018)
Urban Rivers Cooum About Rs 604 cr Cooum River Eco-restoration Plan Efforts are on to meet the approaching deadlines as part of the ambitious 604 cr Cooum eco-restoration project. Multiple state government agencies are working to widen the 72 km-long river course which is to be fenced with 10-foot-high retaining walls to prevent garbage dumping and further pollution.
As part of restoration, the government has identified 14,000 families in 55 slums along the river for eviction. “About 60% of encroachments have been removed. The river course is being widened by five to 50 metres,” a PWD official said. The river will become wider by about 50 m in some stretches including Aminjikarai. “We are trying to restore the river width of 220 m in some stretches,” the official said.
Monitored by Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust, the restoration project is being carried out by PWD, Greater Chennai Corporation, Metrowater, TNSCB and local bodies. According to an affidavit by the municipal administration and water supply department, solid waste removal from the river banks is to be completed by July.
Launched in 2015, the project involves 60 subschemes to be completed by year-end. Also, the government had launched the Integrated Cooum Eco-Restoration Plan to be carried out in three phases at a cost of 1,934 cr in 2015. The ongoing 604 cr restoration project was launched as part of the first phase.
Its objectives included finding alternative ways to stop sewage inlets into the river, solid waste management, improvement of flood-carrying capacity, resettlement and rehabilitation of slum dwellers and biodiversity restoration.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/drive-to-reclaim-rivers-gains-steam/articleshow/64252477.cms (The Times of India, 21 May 2018)
Punjab Rivers pollution is central issue in Shahkot Water Pollution is big issue in Shakot Punjab byelection, thanks to Baba Seenchewal unrelenting efforts. Its very sad to see how water pollution is taking a toll on the villagers health:
“The Shahkot constituency is home to two water bodies of the state – Chitti Bein and Kala Sanghian. However, the dumping of effluents from Phagwara industries into the Chitti Bein and toxins from Jalandhar industries into Kala Sanghian have left the water bodies polluted, leaving a trail of cancer, allergies and other diseases across the villages on the banks of the drains.
The Kala Sanghian originates from Himmatpur village and ends at Malsian village, where it joins East (Chitti) Bein, which further falls into the Sutlej. At least 100 villages are located along its banks.
Surjit Singh of Seechewal village says, “Earlier this month, my nephew died of heart attack. My elder brother has cancer and another nephew, a resident of Bhodlipur village near Malsian, died of cancer. For us water is the only issue. We want the party which addresses this problem.”
Environmentalist Seechewal said, “For us the cleansing of the Chiti Bein, Kala Sanghian and the Sutlej are the only issues in the byelections. Much before the Beas fish died, we had taken up the water issue. Villagers can’t stay here or marry because the water stinks and makes them sick. Of the 50 MLD STP for the Kala Sanghian drain, only 16 MLD is operational, while the rest untreated toxic water is flowing into drains. No other election issue — even unemployment — is relevant to us because employment is of use only when people are alive.”” http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/water-is-central-issue-in-shahkot/592858.html (The Tribune, 22 May 2018)
YAMUNA Water sharing row between Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana: Rajasthan Irrigation department officials raised their concern at the meeting of Upper Yamuna River Board in Delhi on May 18. The board officials agreed to form vigilance teams to stop the theft of water, said irrigation superintendent engineer (Bharatpur) Phool Singh Meena.
Meanwhile desperate for water, farmers in Bharatpur are setting up bore tube wells on the dry canal beds for water. The irrigation department gives them notices from time to time.
– Farmers in Bharatpur are waiting for canal water for a long time for cultivation. About 70% of groundwater in the district is saline and unfit for irrigation.
Some new information: Five states — Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh – signed a pact on May 12, 1994, for release 1,280 cusecs of Yamuna water through the Gurgaon canal. According to the pact between Rajasthan and Haryana governments, Bharatpur receives 500 cusecs of water every day through Gurgaon canal from Haryana.
Two canals carrying Yamuna water enter Bharatpur – the first is Gurgaon canal, which enters Bharatpur through Jurahara in the Mewat region; and the second is the Bharatpur feeder, which enters through Ageng in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra. The Gurgaon canal from Haryana is 52 kilometre long.
New project to bring Yamuna water to Bharatpur: The Central Water Commission proposed Rs 444 crore for construction of the 110-km-long canal from Jurahara in Bharatpur border of Haryana to Rupwas on the Uttar Pradesh border during the pact. The proposal had been sent to the commission for its approval. The first phase of the canal starts at Jurahara located on the Haryana border to Sinsini village and second from Sinsini to Rupwas. https://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/bharatpur-parched-as-haryana-up-farmers-steal-yamuna-water/story-usX4LFHE9CtQSMQW9p9mYM.html (Hindustan Times, 22 May 2018)
Haryana अपनों की अस्थियां सूखी यमुना में दबा रहे लोग पानीपत में कल-कल बहने वाली यमुना आज तिल-तिल कर मर रही है। यह सिर्फ एक नदी के मरने की कहानी नहीं, हमारे जीवन के संस्कारों और रीति रिवाजों की भी मौत है। आज नदी के असमय जाने से हमारे अपने मुक्ति को तरस रहे हैं। यहां अब नदी किनारे अंतिम संस्कार के कर्म भी पूरे नहीं हो पा रहे। बेबसी ऐसी है कि शव जलाने के बाद लोग अस्थियों को रेत में दबा रहे हैं, ताकि दो महीने बाद जब यमुना में जल आए तो हमारे अपनों के अवशेष खुद नदी में मिल जाएं, लेकिन जब तक यह सूखी और बेजान है, तब तक पितरों को मुक्ति नसीब नहीं होगी। अपने पिता का संस्कार कर रहे प्रविंद्र कहते हैं कि 5 मई को ही यमुना (कालिंदी) का पानी खत्म हो गया था। लेकिन अब स्थिति भयावह हो गई। पानी के नाम पर कीचड़ ही शेष है।
– हथिनीकुंड बैराज से निकलते ही यमुना नाले में तब्दील हो जाती है। जैसे-तैसे 10 किलोमीटर की यात्रा कर यमुनानगर को पार करती है।
– हालात ये हैं कि करनाल, पानीपत और सोनीपत में नदी पूरी तरह सूख चुकी है। करीब 125 किलोमीटर तक नदी रेगिस्तान-सी हो गई है। कहीं-कहीं गड्ढों में थोड़ा जल है, पर दूषित और काला। स्नान तो दूर उसमें आचमन भी संभव नहीं है।
– यमुना सिर्फ हथिनीकुंड बैराज तक ही निर्बाध है। अभी बैराज में प्रतिदिन करीब 1348 क्यूसेक पानी ही आ रहा है। यहां से मुनक नहर में दिल्ली के लिए 881 क्यूसेक पानी डाला जाता है। 352 क्यूसेक पानी यमुना में छोड़ा जाता है। बाकी 115 क्यूसेक पानी ही हरियाणा के हिस्से आता है।
यमुना सूखने के बड़े कारण– प्राकृ़तिक स्रोत घटने से नदी को पानी नहीं मिल रहा। अप्रैल-मई में 20 पश्चिमी विक्षोभ आए। औसतन ये महीने में 4-5 ही होते हैं। इससे तापमान कम रहने से बर्फ कम पिघली अौर पहाड़ों से नदी में पानी कम आया। अवैध खनन की वजह से यमुना में बड़े-बड़े गड्ढे हो गए हैं और वे नदी की धारा को रोक रहे हैं।
– लुप्त हो चुकी सरस्वती की धारा को तलाशने के लिए हरियाणा सरकार हर मुमकिन कोशिश कर रही है। एक्शन प्लान व बोर्ड बनाकर इसकी अविरल धारा प्राप्त करने की कोशिश चल रही है। यह पहल सराहनीय है, लेकिन कृष्ण की प्रिय व यम की बहन मानी जाने वाली सदानीरा यमुना आज नीरविहीन हो गई है। यह सिर्फ प्राकृतिक कारणों से नहीं हुआ है। यमुनानगर से लेकर सोनीपत तक जिस तरह यमुना के सीने को रेत माफिया छलनी कर रहा है उससे यह हालात बने हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/harayana/panipat/news/tragedy-of-the-dead-yamuna-5880215.html (Dainik Bhaskar 25 May 2018)
In a letter affected villagers Ramda in Kairana UP, writes to Dr. Mahesh Sharma Culture & Tourism for water release in the river from Hathini Kund Barrage, Haryana. The minister is on a visit to Kairana.
Uttar Pradesh How air pollution, a dying river and swarms of defecating insects threaten the Taj Mahal India’s most famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore, once wrote that the Taj Mahal stood on the banks of the river Yamuna “like a teardrop suspended on the cheek of time.” Today the Taj Mahal appears less a testament to eternal love than a symbol of India’s very earthly environmental troubles. The once mighty Yamuna — after being dammed upstream to provide electricity for the region surrounding India’s capital, New Delhi — now runs low and thick with trash and untreated waste, and blooms with insect-attracting algae. And as the area surrounding New Delhi has become one of the fastest growing urban agglomerations in the world — projected to become the world’s most populous city within a decade — the environmental challenges have multiplied. Standing on the west bank of the Yamuna about a mile upstream from the Taj Mahal, Khandelwal looked out over a nearly dry riverbed filled with plastic bottles, potato-chip wrappers, empty medicine packets and other detritus.
He walked over to a derelict sewage treatment plant whose windows were broken and watched a pipe deliver effluent directly into the riverbed, foaming with chemicals as it cascaded down.
“Most of the problems emanate from this dry riverbed,” Khandelwal said. “The original ambience of the Taj Mahal was based on the river — not just for aesthetic delight but also for its survival.” http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-india-taj-mahal-20180522-story.html (Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2018)
Agra water tragedy: 25 years on, solution a dream A quarter century after 25 people died from drinking contaminated water supplied by the civic body, the Taj city continues to face an acute shortage of safe drinking water for its urban population of two million. On May 21, 1993, over two dozen people in Khatik Para, Ghatiya, Mandi Sayeed Khan areas died and over 200 were hospitalised after they consumed water from a tank in Sanjay Place commercial complex.
Many politicians, including then Uttar Pradesh Governor Moti lal Vora, visited the city to console the bereaved families and promised a job each to the victims’ families. Residents, who observed a Black Day on Monday, said they have not received any help from the state.
Over the years, the situation has not improved. People continue to consume piped water from two municipal water works which depend entirely on Yamuna for raw water. Residents in the heart of the city can be seen lining up for water twice a day with their pots and tanks. The taps, they say, cough up more air than water. Dozens of colonies in the Trans Yamuna area are without drinking water facilities and are forced to buy from tanker suppliers.
“Unfortunately, the Yamuna river, now virtually a sewage canal, runs dry for most part of the year and what flows down is the sewer, domestic waste and effluents from upstream cities including Delhi,” says environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya. https://www.thequint.com/hotwire-text/agra-water-tragedy-25-years-on-solution-a-dream (The Quint, 21 May 2018)
Garbage is being dumped along the Yamuna river. The floodplains of the Yamuna is reduced to a drain despite multiple efforts to clean it. http://www.thehindu.com/news/news-in-pictures-may-22/article23956734.ece (The Hindi, 22 May 2018)
In a latest development, Agra Mayor Naveen Jain has asked the district administration to take strict action against National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials for diverting Yamuna flow without taking compulsory permission from the Agra Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the district administration resulting in aggravating water crisis in the city:
The National Highways Authority of India NHAI has started construction of the third bridge on the Yamuna at Agra without taking compulsory permission from the Agra Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the district administration. NHAI has allegedly diverted flow of Yamuna to do the ground work for construction of the bridge. This has resulted in less water reaching the Jeevani Mandi water works station. The canal through which river water reached the plant is now filled with sand. To ensure water supply continues to around 1.5 lakh local residents, Jal Sansthan officials have deployed machine for dredging the canal.
NHAI is carrying out six-laning work of National Highway 2 in Agra-Etawah section. As part of the project, adjacent to Jawahar Bridge a third bridge is being constructed over Yamuna in the city. The purpose of the bridge is to ease the flow of traffic. The work on the project was started last year. Recently NHAI started construction of pillars on the river bed. For this the flow of river was allegedly diverted from its main route by placing barriers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/nhai-diverts-yamuna-flow-to-build-bridge-water-treatment-plant-hit/articleshow/64345784.cms (The Times of India, 28 May 2018)
Delhi DJB to expedite projects related to Yamuna cleanup Delhi Jal Board officials have committed to the Centre and city government that work on all interceptor sewage system in the national capital will be completed by this December putting a check on the untreated sewage flowing into Yamuna through three major drains. Till now only four out of the eight approved projects under Yamuna Action Plan worth Rs 1,600 crore have been awarded by the DJB.
“Gadkari also suggested the Delhi government and Delhi Development Authority to explore the possibility of developing a huge recreational area along 35 km Yamuna river front on the lines of Garden by the Bay in Singapore. ” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/kejriwal-gadkari-tell-djb-to-expedite-projects-related-to-yamuna-cleanup/articleshow/64310393.cms (The Times of India, 25 May 2018)
Some more update about Yamuna Sewage related projects in Delhi. Very interestingly, the PIB PR says: “Yamuna, the life line of Delhi, may become healthier & cleaner.” Yamuna is unlikely to become healthier and cleaner, as it is claimed here, but Union Govt calling Yamuna a lifeline of Delhi is quite interesting. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179536 (PIB, 25 May 2018)
Prime Minister of Netherlands Mr. Mark Rutte inaugurated the Indo-Dutch Ganga Forum to take forward the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India and the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment of the Netherlands in June last year.
– Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri U.P Singh said that there are more than 2,000 aquatic species in river Ganga and around 2 million people bathe in it every day. Executive Director (Projects), Mr. Hitesh Kumar S. Makwana apprised the audience with models like Hybrid Annuity based PPP model and One-City-One Operator concept and explained that the funds for the projects under Hybrid Annuity are given through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for individual project to build confidence. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179534 (PIB, 25 May 2018)
Maharashtra Akola sand mining auction challenged, NGT issues notices Very serious issue, Akola (Maharashtra) district authorities auctioning sand mining ghats without Environment Clearances, Preparation of District Survey Report and Environment Impact Assessment report thus openly violating MoEFCC’s Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016.
– Taking serious note of auctioning of 58 sand ghats in Akola district against environment clearance that was given without following MoEFCC guidelines, NGT admits a petition challenging it.
“The NGT principle bench presided over by chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim, judicial member SP Wangdi and expert member Nagin Nanda took serious note of the matter and directed respondents — MoEFCC, state government, Akola district collector and mining officer and others to file a reply till next date.
– In March 2018, 34 sand ghats were e-auctioned for a royalty of Rs4.85 crore without district survey report (DSR), which is an important initial step before permitting sand mining and granting environment clearance (EC). However, permits to extract sand through e-auction were granted on March 5, without preparing the mandatory DSR.
– Sand extraction was allowed without following MoEFCC’s Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 of MoEFCC.
– Though river mining is permitted, it needs to be carried out with certain checks and balances for protection of environment. Such safeguards and checks are provided in terms of Environment Impact Notification (EIA) issued on August 14, 2006 and amended on January 15, 2016 by issuing guidelines.
– Sustainable sand mining guidelines require preparation of a DSR before formulating a mining policy. These guidelines emphasize detail procedure to be followed for purpose of identification of areas of aggradation and deposition where mining can be allowed and identification of areas of erosion and proximity to infrastructural structures and installation where mining should be prohibited.
– The DSR is to be prepared in the district based on direct and indirect benefits of the mining and identification of the potential threats to the riverbeds in the district. DSR provides environmentally safe depth of mining and safeguards of banks by prescribing safe distance from banks.
– Preparation of DSR has to be done by a sub-divisional committee which should visit each site and make recommendations. The committee consists of SDO and officers from irrigation, geology, mining, forest departments and state pollution control board.
– DSR is to be prepared every 5 years by District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) for granting EC below 5 hectare.
– “The DSR draft is required to be kept in public domain in collectorate inviting comments in 21 days. After considering comments, DSR is to be published in district website. No EC can be granted without DSR,” says Jeswani
– In Akola, as no DSR has been prepared since 2016, there is no data on pollution caused to rivers amount of sand extracted in last three years. Sand is being permitted in violation of MoEFCC guidelines.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/akola-sand-mining-auction-challenged-ngt-issues-notices/articleshow/64309711.cms (The Times of India, 25 May 2018)
Gujarat CM launches ‘Trinetra’ a drone surveillance project In order to keep a tab on illegal sand mining activity happening on 60 kilometers of “sensitive” Sabarmati riverbed in the districts of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Sabarkantha, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani on Monday launched a drone surveillance project. This is the first time the state government is using drones with “night-vision” to check illegal mining. The official said that the drone can fly at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour, can zoom in on vehicle numbers and persons driving the vehicles.
Silicon IT Hub Pvt Ltd will be providing us with the surveillance services and we will paying Rs 10.50 lakh per month for 50 hours of surveillance. It is a one year project,” said Roopwant Singh, the Commissioner of Geology and Mining department while inaugurating the project. .
– Sand-mining on the stretch between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar has been stopped since 2016 and has been declared as a sensitive zone, officials said. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/drones-with-night-vision-launched-for-surveillance-against-illegal-mining-on-sabarmati-river-bed-5185768/ (The Indian Express, 22 May 2018)
– The project will gradually cover the state’s entire geographical area of about 200,000sq. km, beginning with sensitive zones. It will be gradually extended to water supply, roads and buildings and other departments. https://www.livemint.com/Politics/JAvd7hfEpyAfPvJzUTFKhI/Gujarat-govt-deploys-drones-to-keep-tabs-on-illegal-mining.html (Live Mint, 21 May 2018)
– Rupani said the pilot project will first be introduced for surveillance of riverbed sand mining on the riverbeds of bigger rivers like the Sabarmati, Orsang, Tapi and Bhadar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-cm-launches-trinetra-drones-to-track-illegal-mining/articleshow/64260044.cms (The Times of India, 21 May 2018)
– CM Rupani said that performance evaluation of various departments was done by the state government and it was found that illegal sand mining was a huge menace. https://www.news18.com/news/india/trinetra-gujarat-cm-rupani-launches-drone-based-surveillance-to-check-illegal-sand-mining-1755161.html (News 18, 21 May 2018)
Karnataka Lokayukta probe reveals illegal sand mining still rampant in Haveri, Kodagu Shocking, Karnataka Lokayukta report reveals Sand Regulatory Committees headed by the Deputy Commissioner in Haveri and Assistant Commissioner in Kodagu districts have been mute spectators and local police turned blind eyes to sand being illegally extracted and transported from the Tungabhadra river in Haveri district and streams of Lakshman Theertha in Kodagu district.
It also says the utter failure has been responsible for continued looting of natural resources and causing a huge loss to the state’s exchequer and damage to ecology.
On receiving reports from the Assistant Registrars (Legal Opinion), Justice Shetty initiated suo motu proceedings in both the cases. Justice Shetty said in his order issued to the Deputy Commissioners of Haveri and Kodagu to conduct inquiry.
The Lokayukta also issued notice to SPs, senior geologists, environmental officer of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Haveri and Kodagu districts, and director of mines and geology.
The Lokayukta had ordered the probe after receiving anonymous complaints from villagers in Kodagu and Haveri districts. They alleged that rampant illegal sand mining and transportation was going on in these districts in connivance with officials. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2018/may/25/bengaluru-lokayukta-probe-reveals-illegal-sand-mining-still-rampant-in-haveri-kodagu-1819207.html (The New Indian Express, 25 May 2018)
Rajasthan 6 arrested for trying to kidnap inspectors from mining department The sand mafia in Rajasthan tried to kidnap two inspectors of mining department and three constables of Rajasthan Armoured Constabulary on their way back to the police station. The two dumpers were carrying sand. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/six-arrested-for-trying-to-kidnap-inspectors-from-mining-department-1241110-2018-05-25 (India Today, 25 May 2018)
Govt officials, reporters are being frequently attacked by sand mafia along Chambal river at Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan border. In April 2018 a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and his driver were critically injured after they were attacked by the mining mafia in Dholpur when they were heading to district headquarters to strengthen security arrangements for the chief minister. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/2-cops-injured-as-sand-mafia-strikes-again-in-dholpur/articleshow/63875980.cms (The Times of India, 23 April 2018)
– In Tamil Nadu, as per a study by SACON in 1991 there are 1,175 wetlands that cover 1.24% of the total area. Of these, 12 have been declared as bird sanctuary and these wetlands come under the Wildlife Protection Act.
– The Coimbatore-based Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural history (SACON), which was entrusted with the selection and study of these wetlands, has been allotted Rs10 lakh for the purpose.
– In Coimbatore, 4 lakes – Sulur, Singanallur, Sengulam and Sundakkamuthur – have been chosen to be declared as priority wetlands.
– As per the state government officials in the forest department, SACON submitted its initial report on wetlands on Sunday. This document details all the data about the selected wetlands such as its area, ecological important, species of flora and fauna recorded, activities carried out, community dependent on the wetland and similar information.
– In another three months, the authority will also notify these 100 wetlands. This is the first major task entrusted with State Wetland Authority, which was formed in 2016. The authority was formed based on a Supreme Court direction hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2001. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/100-wetlands-to-be-protected-in-state/articleshow/64263894.cms (The Times of India, 22 May 2018)
The 100 notified wetlands will have a buffer zone of 50metres around it. In this buffer zone, construction of a permanent nature except for boat jetties will not be allowed. The fifty metres will be calculated from the mean high flood level observed in the past ten years. K Mohanraj, an environmentalist, said this buffer zone is very important but he said 100 was a meager number for Tamil Nadu. “There are more than 30,000 wetlands in Tamil Nadu. 100 is a small number. We hope that this notification is extended to more water bodies as several wetlands are of high ecological importance,” he said.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/priority-wetlands-to-have-50m-buffer-zone/articleshow/64263900.cms (The Times of India, 22 May 2018)
Assam A wetland too popular for its own good Near the confluence of the three rivers that form the Brahmaputra, Maguri Motapung Beel, 15 km from Tinsukhia in Assam is under threat from overfishing, silt and floods from the mountains, and oil exploration. What might appear serendipitous to visitors has taken a toll on the health of the wetlands. The rich diversity of animals and fish has led to overfishing and the Himalayas have been sending silt and floods leading to land erosion. And then there is the Oil India Limited refinery operating in the vicinity – further threatening the wetlands and communities who live around it. Maguri Motapung Beel is less than 10 km south of the more famous Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and part of the Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve. The wetland derives its name from ‘Magur’, local word for the catfish Clarius batrachus, once found here in abundance. Almost 90% of the 9.6 square kilometre wetland, is water and aquatic vegetation. During non-monsoon months, people from the surrounding areas till the land that becomes available after the water drains out. Up to 95% of the approximately 10,500 people from the 10 surrounding villages are directly dependent on the wetland.
– Declared an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) in 1996, the wetland has over 110 bird species, of which eight are regarded as threatened by the IUCN. It also hosts 84 species of fish – including the Golden Mahaseer – and 36 other species of animals. The Dibru river flows from east to west through the wetland. To the north-west of the wetland is a river, which was once called Dangori. It has been captured by the bigger river Lohit. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/05/25/in-assam-a-wetland-too-popular-for-its-own-good/ (The Thirdpole, 25 May 2018)
Also see, 15 Boat Clinics in 13 districts of Assam, treating about 20,000 people a month for free has become a lifeline for the people living on islands known as “Chars” along Brahmaputra river. There are about 2500 Chars along 900 km long Brahmaputra river in the state. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/india-assam-boat-clinics-saving-lives-brahmaputra-river-180515073833759.html (Al Jazeera, 24 May 2018)
GREAT news, rain water harvesting and farm ponds help Bundelkhand village come over irrigation water scarcity. Such initiative are far better options to unviable river linking project.
“बुंदेलखंड में आने वाले महोबा, उत्तरप्रदेश के चरखारी क्षेत्र का काकुन गांव दो वर्ष पूर्व तक सूखे का दंश ङोल रहा था। बारिश कम होने और अत्यधिक दोहन की वजह से भूजलस्तर पाताल की ओर जा रहा था। किसान सूखती-चटकती धरती देख तड़पकर रह जाते थे। हालात भयावह थे, लेकिन कोई उपाय नजर नहीं आता था। लेकिन अब हालात बदल चुके हैं। सूखे खेतों में फसलें लहलहा रही हैं। यहां जल संरक्षण के लिए किया गया लोगों का प्रयास नजीर बन गया है।
जब लोगों को कोई उपाय नहीं सूझ रहा था, ऐसे में उम्मीद की किरण बनकर आए दर्शनशास्त्र से पीएचडी और बीएचयू में सेवाएं दे चुके धमेर्ंद्र मिश्र। अपनी और किसानों की जमीन पर तालाब खोदवाए और बारिश की बूंदों को सहेजकर धरती की गागर भरी। एक वर्ष में ही हालात बदलने लगे। अस्सी फीट तक जा पहुंचा जलस्तर अब साठ फीट तक आ गया है। इस बार बारिश ठीक हुई तो इसके और ऊपर उठने की उम्मीद है।
अब किसानों के चेहरों पर मुस्कराहट है। काकुन के साथ ही कीरतपुरा, पाठा, सिजौरा, नटरा, अतरौली समेत करीब आधा दर्जन गांवों में जलस्तर ऊपर उठा है। इससे करीब 25 हजार लोगों को बड़ी राहत मिली। यहां साठ बीघा जमीन पर सात तालाब खोदे गए हैं। बारिश के दौरान इनमें पानी संरक्षित होता है। इसी पानी से सिंचाई होती है। पानी कम लगे इसके लिए डिप पद्धति अपनाई जाती है। पाइप लाइन, फिल्टर और प्रेशर मोटर भी लगी है। परिसर में अन्य हिस्सों पर बागवानी तैयार की गई है।
धमेर्ंद्र ने खुद तीस मीटर लंबाई-चौड़ाई का 40 फीट गहरा तालाब बनवाया है। बारिश का पानी इसमें संरक्षित होने के बाद जलस्तर और बढ़ेगा। यह कुआं का भी काम करेगा। इसमें मोटर लगाकर आसपास किसानों को पानी देंगे ताकि उन्हें फसलों की सिंचाई के लिए किसी का मुंह नहीं ताकना पड़े। https://epaper.jagran.com/ePaperArticle/24-may-2018-edition-Delhi-City-page_14-145-8083-4.html (Dainik Jagran, 24 May 2018)
Punjab Haryana Ground Water Falling Rapidly The Central Ground Water Board has found that 82% of Punjab areas and 76% in Haryana have seen a substantial fall in the water level. This is based on the board’s data compiled between 2006 and 2015 followed by findings gathered in 2016 and 2017 for the two agrarian states.
As per Anoop Nagar, the director for the board’s northwest region, said: “It is not the level of groundwater that is alarming but the speed with which it is going down that needs to be addressed immediately.
Sharing the decadal data for Haryana, Nagar said 55% of wells showed a water level decline of up to two metres, while 13% of the wells saw a fall of up to four metres and 8% of the wells more than four metres.
Moderately deep water levels of 10-20 metres were seen in 29% of the area surveyed, while deep water levels of 20-40 metres were found in 25% of the area and very deep water levels of more than 40 metres occurred in 7% of the area in Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Bhiwani and Mahendragarh districts besides isolated patches in Fatehabad and Sirsa districts.
The rapid decline in Punjab has been observed in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Moga, Barnala, Sangrur, Patiala and Mansa districts. Data from May 2016 to January 2017 shows the deepest water levels in Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Rupnagar, Sangrur and the Kandi belt of Hoshiarpur.
Experts say earlier farmers followed the maize-wheat or sugarcane-maize-wheat cropping pattern but for the past four decades they have shifted to the wheat-paddy cycle, causing unprecedented exploitation of groundwater for irrigation. The increasing number of tubewells is proof of the worrying trend. https://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/rapid-fall-in-groundwater-level-in-punjab-haryana/story-fIscV9WfuEo65g7xnKHohI.html (Hindustan Times, 25 May 2018)
Anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi: At least 13 people have so far lost their lives in protests against Sterlite’s industrial plant in Tuticorin. As per residents was polluting the water and taking a toll on their health.
Sterlite Cooper represents the copper unit of Vedanta Limited. It operates an industrial plant in Tuticorin. In March end, the plant closed down for maintanence work. This is when protests intensified as residents were told they were expanding the unit. Residents allege the water in the area has been contaminated due to the plant’s operations. They claim they are facing severe health problems due to the unit. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/tuticorin-anti-sterlite-protests-live-updates-thoothukudi-5186473/ (The Indian Express, 24 May 2018)
Another 100 people are believed injured during clashes between police and protesters, with official estimates claiming that 20,000 people took to the streets. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2018/may/22/sterlite-protest-updates-with-death-toll-at-eight-tamil-nadu-cm-edappadi-palaniswami-says-thoothuk-1817978.html (The News Indian Express, 22 May 2018)
Residents of Tuticorin town have been demanding closure of the Sterlite plant for the past 100 days. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/anti-sterlite-protest-in-tamil-nadu-turns-violent-20-injured/articleshow/64270597.cms (The Times of India, 22 May 2018)
Finally, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has ordered the closure of Sterlite Copper Smelter plant in Thoothukudi with immediate effect and disconnected electricity supply to the unit early on May 24. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tnpcb-orders-closure-of-sterlite-plant-in-thoothukudi/article23974949.ece (The Hindu, 24 May 2018)
Here is some detail of the plant and local people resistance against the plant ever since its opening in 1993. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/the-hindu-explains-sterlite-protests/article23969542.ece (The Hindu, 23 May 2018)
This piece explains gross violation of environmental rules by the plant since its inception. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/sterlite-plant-faced-three-rejections-before-yes-from-tamil-nadu-2575373.html (Money Control, 24 May 2018)
This report carries the statement of Vedantat company on Tuticorin indicent and other issues. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/240518/vedantas-anil-agarwal-says-hes-stepping-back-after-deadly-tuticorin.html (Deccan Chronicle, 24 May 2018)
Water Crisis across Nation:
Himachal Pradesh Shimla residents are reeling under acute water shortage The city needs 45 MLD water daily, but the water availability has come down from 29 MLD last week to 21 MLD on May 25. Guma, which has 20 MLD capacity, and Giri, which has 20 MLD capacity, could supply just 4 MLD and 14 MLD, respectively.
The Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) is struggling to ration 21 MLD of water that was pumped from its major sources these days. The water availability per resident was just 5 litre as on May 25.
Around 4-5 MLD water is getting wasted due to leakages in supply lines before it reaches MC storage tanks in the city. The state government and the MC have failed to compensate for the water that it used to get from the Ashwani khud, supply from where was suspended in 2015 following a jaundice outbreak in the city.
“Water sources are depleting fast due to scanty rain. We are trying to add 3 MLD extra water from Guma and Giri and have asked the IPH Department to release water downstream, which was so far being used by villagers,” said Municipal Commissioner Rohit Jamwal.
“While the residents are buying bottled water for drinking and cooking, hoteliers are solely depending on tankers in the tourist season.
“There is no water in our kitchen or bathroom for the last five days. We have never experienced such a shortage in the city earlier,” said Kartik, a resident of Lakkar Bazaar.
“Hoteliers are paying private tankers Rs 2,600 for 6,000 litre water,” said Harnan Kukreja, president, Shimla Hoteliers’ Association. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/water-scarcity-leaves-shimla-high-and-dry/594998.html (The Tribune, 26 May 2018)
Madhya Pradesh Around 280 people have taken ill after drinking contaminated water in some parts of Sarni city in Betul district. Patakheda Community Health Centre Officer Dr Shailendra Sahu informed that water was supplied to the affected areas by the Sarni municipality, while storage tanks in some of the areas was maintained by Western Coalfields Limited. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/280-people-fall-ill-after-drinking-contaminated-water-in-madhya-pradesh-1854783 (NDTV, 20 May 2018)
Chhattisgarh Locals in a village in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada don’t even have basic access to clean water for their daily needs. http://zeenews.india.com/villagers-in-chhattisgarhs-dantewada-forced-to-drink-drain-water-2110338.html (Zee News, 22 May 2018)
Karnataka Fed up with irregular and erratic water supply during peak summer, the residents of Dharwad staged a protest in front of the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWS&DB) office. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hubballi/residents-protest-against-irregular-water-supply/articleshow/64262913.cms (The Times of India, 22 May 2018)
Water crisis unfolding in Cauvery basin A serious drinking water problem is looming large over Bengaluru and other Cauvery dependent areas as the storage in Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir (KRS) has dropped to “below dead storage” level. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/drinking-water-crisis-looming-large/article23963234.ece (The Hindu, 23 May 2018)
Haryana Many Faridabad areas face potable water crisis. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/many-faridabad-areas-face-potable-water-crisis/592690.html (The Tribune, 22 May 2018)
Rajasthan Video of Water Dept. engineer in Dholpur Rajasthan being beaten by villagers over unkept promise to eliminate water shortage in the next one week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTI6F1MNon0 (You Tube, 22 May 2018)
Uttar Pradesh इलाहाबाद में अल्लापुर क्षेत्र के बजरंग चौराहा (मटियारा रोड) पर सोमवार (21 May) की आधी रात सीवर लाइन की गहरी खोदाई के दौरान जेसीबी से पानी की मेन पाइप लाइन टूट गई, जिससे पानी फौव्वारे की तरह निकलने लगा। हालांकि, पानी घरों में जाने के बजाय नाली में बहकर जा रहा है। इससे मंगलवार (22 May) को करीब छह-सात सौ घरों में पानी की समस्या हो गई। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/allahabad-city-main-pipe-line-broken-water-supply-break-in-six-hundred-houses-17985109.html (Dainik Jagran, 22 May 2018)
Maharashtra चेक डैमों में पानी नदारद, वन्य जीव बेहाल गर्मी के दिनों में पशु पक्षियों व वन्य जीवों के लिए पानी की कमी न हो इसके मद्देनजर काशी वन्य जीव प्रभाग के चंद्रप्रभा वन्य जीव बिहार ने चेक डैम का निर्माण कराया। उद्देश्य था कि बरसात के दिनों में चेक डैम में पानी इकठ्ठा हो जाएगा। जिसका उपयोग गर्मी के दिनों में पशु पक्षी कर सकेंगे। लाखों रुपयों की लागत से चकिया व नौगढ़ के जंगलों में करीब एक दर्जन चेक डैम बनवाए गए। निर्माण कार्य में मानकों की अनदेखी के चलते यह चेक डैम मात्र शो पीस बनकर रह गए। गर्मी को कौन कहे बारिश के दिनों में ही इन डैम में पानी ठहर नहीं पाता। वजह चेक डैम के दीवालें पानी रोकने लायक नहीं हैं। इन दिनों वन्य जीव बिहार में हजारों की तादात में वन्य जीव के अलावा पशु पक्षी निवास करते हैं। प्रचंड गर्मी के चलते इनके समक्ष भोजन के साथ ही पानी की सख्त किल्लत आड़े आ रही है। परिणाम स्वरूप वन्य जीवों का आबादी की ओर रूख हो रहा है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/chandauli-no-water-in-check-dams-wild-animals-beehal-17983263.html (Dainik Jagran, 21 May 2018)
Tripura Flash Floods 14 killed, 24 injured, more than 10, 000 huts affected in 2 days following torrential rains, landslides & thunderstorm. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agartala/tripura-floods-displace-23000-people/articleshow/64266838.cms (The Times of India, 22 May 2018)
All major rivers Gomati, Deo, Manu and Howrah swelled with flood. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/flood-in-tripura-leaves-thousands-in-relief-camps-1237668-2018-05-21 ( India Today, 21 May 2018)
In the last 24 hours, Agartala received as much as 27 mm of rainfall: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/tripura-flashfloods-two-dead-over-13-000-in-relief-camps-1854862 (NDTV, 21 May 2018)
IMD has predicted more rains: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/six-killed-around-3000-families-displaced-in-tripura-floods/article23948144.ece (The Hindu, 21 May 2018)
Mekunu Cyclone Warning In another development IMD has also warned of cyclone Mekunu likely to trigger heavy showers along the western coast of Maharashtra in the next few days: http://zeenews.india.com/india/cyclone-mekunu-turns-very-severe-may-cause-heavy-showers-along-maharashtra-coast-2111071.html (Zee News, 25 May, 2018)
मेकुनु चक्रवात की चेतावनी के कारण पश्चिम गुजरात में पोरबंदर के फिशरीज हार्बर पर 1200 की क्षमता के मुकाबले 5000 बोट को पार्क करवाना पड़ा है। बोट का पार्किंग क्षेत्र का दायरा 3 किमी. तक है। http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/64068/05250135460157/image/194/2018-05-25%2000:00:00/7/map/cph/ (Dainik Bhaskar, 25 May 2018)
India-Bangladesh Activists write to PMO to raise Atreyee river issue during Hasina visit Lifeline to thousands in Bengal’s South Dinajpur district, the Atreyee riverbed goes dry in summer, especially after Bangladesh constructed a rubber dam at Mohanpur of Dinajpur district a few years ago, locals allege. The Atreyee river that finds mention even in the Mahabharata, flows from Bengal’s Siliguri into Bangladesh before flowing back into South Dinajpur district. About 390 km in length, the Atreyee is a source of livelihood to thousands of fishermen and provides water for irrigation for farmlands in a vast region of the district. The people of Balurghat town in South Dinajpur have written to the PMO to include the Atreyee river issue in the meeting with Sheikh Hasina on May 25, 2018. The rubber dam benefits around 7,000 hectares of farmland supplying water for irrigation apart from helping fishing. Construction work was completed in 2013. There was sufficient water in summer even 10 years ago. But over the past few years, the river runs dry during summer. This year, however, there is a little water since it has been raining frequently in north Bengal.
The Bangladesh authorities are controlling the flow of the river. They are channelising excess water to India during monsoon that is causing floods. locals alleged. Problems of siltation led locals to form “Atreyee Bachao Andolon” (Save the Atreyee) movement since 2006 in the district. They are now demanding that the government should form a ‘Joint river commission’ to save the dying river. https://www.hindustantimes.com/kolkata/activists-write-to-pmo-to-raise-atreyee-river-issue-during-hasina-visit/story-JvFSO8la2iigIiCcA6zyaM.html (Hindustan Times, 24 May 2018)
Nepal ‘Scrap West Seti deal or slash installed capacity’ A government panel formed to decide the fate of the stalled 750 MW West Seti Hydropower Project has recommended scrapping the pact signed with the potential developer China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) or providing it a second chance to build the plant by slashing its installed capacity to 600 MW as suggested by CTGC. The seven-member committee headed by the secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office will present the options to the board of directors of Investment Board Nepal (IBN) which will make the final decision. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-05-25/scrap-west-seti-deal-or-slash-installed-capacity.html (Kathmandu Post, 25 May 2018)
Himalayas a changing landscape in photos Photographer Nabin Baral documents dramatic changes over a decade in the Manang valley – home to the world famous Annapurna trek. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/05/22/nepals-himalayas-a-changing-landscape-in-photos/ (The Third Pole, 22 May 2018)
Pakistan Illegal occupation of Sindh’s fresh water lakes Sindh is blessed with thousands of natural freshwater lakes. It is estimated that freshwater lakes account for 65 percent of total freshwater fisheries in Pakistan and over 120 species of local freshwater fish species are from Sindh. Those lakes breed beautiful birds, fish, and flora and fauna species in a rich ecosystem. Apart from this, thousands of local fishing communities in coastal areas such as Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts are dependent on fishing for their livelihoods.
Sindh is Pakistan’s richest province in terms of aquatic resources. It has the Arabian Sea, a huge productive estuary; the well-known river Indus; natural depressions; irrigation canals; water logged areas and their fisheries play an important role in the national economy. Sadly, Sindh’s water bodies are being controlled by powerful groups, often with political influence. Like always, the rich and powerful are free to further deprive poor people in this country. https://dailytimes.com.pk/244278/illegal-occupation-of-sindhs-freshwater-lakes/ ( Daily Times, 25 May 2018)
Sri Lanka Battling floods after heavy rain: Heavy monsoon rain in Sri Lanka has left at least 12 people dead and more than 40,000 others displaced across the country.
Officials ordered the military to help those affected by the showers, believed to be upwards of 100,000 people so far. The country’s disaster management agency has issued alerts warning of the risk of landslides after days of heavy rain.
Sri Lankan officials say the water levels are dropping but warn that more rain is on the way. May is usually the wettest time of the year in southern and western parts of Sri Lanka, as the summer monsoon sets up across the island.
Last year, the rains in May and June were so heavy that 100 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others had to seek temporary accommodations.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/deadly-monsoon-rains-lash-sri-lanka-180524091444353.html (Al Jazeera, 24 May 2018)
THE REST OF WORLD
Colombia Three towns evacuated downstream from Colombia’s largest dam Three towns were evacuated downstream from Colombia’s largest dam on May 21, 2018 amid fears that the unexpected release of a valve could cause flash floods. The towns of Valdivia, Taraza and Caceres in Antioquia could be under serious danger with reports water began to leak from one of the dam’s previously plugged tunnels of the troubled Ituango hydroelectric dam project. Although the Unified Command Post (PMU) reported that water flow is moderate, the full unblocking of the tunnel could increase to a critical 6,000 cubic meters per second, threatening to flood nearby towns. Until now, the PMU reports around 8,000 people in total have been evacuated from areas surrounding the troubled dam, with a further 112,000 residents across 17 municipalities believed to be at risk. https://colombiareports.com/three-towns-evacuated-downstream-from-colombias-largest-dam/ (Colombia Reports, 21 May 2018)
Dave Petley blog on landslide crisis, that has occurred at a Hidroituango hydroelectric dam site in Colombia: https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2018/05/21/hidroituango-1/ (Blog AGU, 21 May 2018)
The latest Dave Petley blog on evolving crisis at the Hidroituango dam site. The dam crest has now reached the spillway level, meaning that control of the water should become possible. 26,000 people remain displaced: https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2018/05/23/hidroituango-dam-site-3/ (Blog AGU, 23 may 2018)
Kenya ANOTHER DAM BREACH Dozens of people have been rendered homeless after a dam built by the Migori county government broke its walls in Kuria. The reservoir in Kebarisia village in Kuria East, which was built two years ago, overflowed at the weekend as villagers slept. Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama said six homes were completely destroyed. He added that when the water started to spill, families moved out to avoid death. “Many families were displaced and farms destroyed. There were no casualties but we are on alert as the water is still flowing to the lowlands,” Mr Kitayama told journalists. The MP asked the regional government to send engineers to inspect other dams. “We need an audit of dams whether private or public to prevent serious incidents in future.” https://reliefweb.int/report/kenya/another-dam-floods-homes-kuria-east-migori-county (Relief Web, 21 May 2018)
Maharashtra The women-led climate-resilient farming model created by Swayam Shikshan Prayog in drought-hit Marathwada has yielded encouraging results, says this report. Two years ago, we could not even grow basic vegetables like onions and tomatoes for our consumption,” says Shailaja. “Today, my one-acre patch has 13 types of crops and vegetables, which we grow in rotation throughout the year. We are able to feed ourselves and also get a good income.”
– The Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works on women’s empowerment in the area, is one of them. In 2014, the SSP began a small but significant movement that introduced the Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) method to help thousands of women like Shailaja. In 2017, the SSP won the prestigious Equator Prize instituted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for its women-led, climate-resilient agro-ecological farming model. During a visit to several villages in the region, Frontline found that the benefits of CRA were paying off, although the journey had by no means been easy.
– The CRA model created by the SSP currently covers 41,000 farmers in more than 530 villages in 16 blocks. According to the SSP, approximately 30,000 acres (one acre is 0.4 hectare) are under bio-farming. The average cost of savings on input is about 35 per cent an acre (about Rs. 40 crore) for all farmers in the rabi and kharif seasons. The increase in productivity per acre averaged 25 per cent. Annual household savings owing to food consumption from the farm was estimated at Rs. 30,000. http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/a-crop-revolution/article10108364.ece (Front Line, 8 June 2018)
Interview Analysing recent high-impact storms In this informative piece Nidhi Jamwal interviews M. Mohapatra, additional director general of meteorology, National Weather Forecasting Centre, India Meteorological Department (IMD), about the reasons behind the intense dust storms and thunderstorms this year. http://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2018/05/23/analysing-recent-high-impact-storms-in-india/ (India Climate Dialogue, 23 May 2018)
Harvey Flood 2017 New study finds man made climate change responsible for unprecedented flooding in 2017 in Harvey, Texas: Record warm water in the Gulf of Mexico fueled the historic rainfall from Hurricane Harvey last August, according to a new study, which also found man-made climate change was partly to blame.
Over 5 feet of rain fell from Harvey in southeast Texas, triggering massive flooding that killed 89 people, caused $126.3 billion in damage, displaced more than 30,000 people and damaged or destroyed more than 200,000 homes and businesses.
The heat in the Gulf of Mexico last August, just prior to Hurricane Harvey, was the highest ever recorded, scientists said. “Harvey could not have produced so much rain without human-induced climate change,” the study said.” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/05/14/hurricane-harvey-record-hot-seawater-global-warming/607715002/ (USA Today, 14 May 2018)
NASA GRACE Study Interesting graphic videos Wet zones on Earth are getting even wetter, while dry zones are drying up. This is due to many factors, including climate change, how humans use water and natural environmental cycles. https://www.space.com/40670-nasa-satellites-track-freshwater-changes.html (Space. Com, 22 May 2018)
Also see, the May 9 footage is the “first-light” imagery captured by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), an instrument aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) recently launched GOES-17 satellite. https://www.space.com/40675-lightning-video-noaa-goes-17-satellite.html (Space. Com 23 May 2018)
Uttarakhand Forests on Fire Satellites ‘show’ 3,000 forest fires in eight days Uttarakhand received 3,000 forest fire alerts in last eight days, which is 10 times the number it recorded last year and at least three times more than what neighbouring Himachal Pradesh has received in the corresponding period, as per Forest Survey of India.
Since May 15, Himachal Pradesh has received 1000 forest fire alerts while Punjab, Maharashtra, and Jammu & Kashmir reported less than 1000 alerts in the duration.
With mercury crossing the 40-degree mark, Uttarakhand is now witnessing a sudden rise in incidents of forest fires with 65 forest blazes reported.
As per the Uttarakhand forest department, 741 fire incidents were reported beginning February 15 till May 21 in which 1213.766 hectare for est area was gutted posing revenue loss of over Rs 21 lakh. There, however, has been a “misreporting” of the fire incidents.
Forest fires in Uttarakhand had destroyed 4433.75 hectares of forest area in 2016 and claimed at least six lives.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/is-uttarakhand-burning-satellites-show-3-000-forest-fires-in-eight-days/story-363qko2ShqSQBuQOn0jgIO.html (Hindustan Times, 23 May 2018)
Aravali Land mafia chopping off green cover surrounding Capital Land-grabbers are ravaging the green Aravallis, chopping off trees in the ancient ranges passing through Gurugram and Faridabad districts. The encroachers have cut thousands of trees in Mewla, Anangpur, Ankhir and Margerbani in Faridabad district and Bandhwari, Ghata in Gurugram over the last one week – not only peeling off the green cover but also marauding across the natural habitat of thousands of species of fauna. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/aravalli-attacked-land-mafia-chopping-off-green-cover-surrounding-capital-1242107-2018-05-26 (India Today 26 May 2018)
Natinal FAC panel has suggested a series of measures to be adopted by all the wind power companies in India for ensuring the protection of birds.
The subject of issuing such guidelines was discussed in the meeting of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on March 22, 2018.
The FAC considered the concerns raised and recommended that directions may be issued by the “ministry (MoEFCC) to all wind energy generation companies and transmission grid companies to follow the standard mitigation measures whether the project involves forest land or not.”
As per the minutes of the FAC’s meeting, a senior forest official stated that the “biggest threat comes from the high tension transmission lines with tall pylons (35 metres and above) being established by the transmission companies” and it is necessary that such companies are directed by the MoEFCC to “fix diverters on transmission cables as a standard practice to avoid the casualty of birds by collision and electrocution”.
The FAC also said that fruit tree species and water bodies/pond formations should be avoided near the turbines as that may attract birds and result in their death. FAC stressed that dead animals should be removed from wind turbine sites to prevent attraction of carnivore birds/raptors.
Such suggestions have earlier too been given to companies having wind farms, but they have been rarely acted upon. However, this scenario can change and action will be required once MoEFCC issues official guidelines and directs all wind energy generation companies and transmission grid companies to follow these standard mitigation measures to protect birds. Experts said that once the guidelines are issued the focus should be on their implementation.
The requirement for such measures has increased as the world is moving away from fossil fuel and towards renewable energy, mainly wind and solar power, to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The move is also significant in view of India’s massive clean energy program. In 2015, the Indian government announced that it aims to achieve 175,000 megawatt (MW) of installed capacity of renewable power by 2022 and of that, 60,000 MW is planned from wind power alone. Wind power accounts for about 50 percent of India’s installed renewable power capacity.
Electrocution and collision are the two major impacts of power lines on birds. In 2011, around 400 flamingos were killed due to electrocution by high power transmission lines in Kutch, Gujarat. Following this, the Gujarat government took those power lines underground. Mortality of birds is not the only issue as the wind energy farms could also result in behavioural changes and disturb the breeding, foraging and roosting areas of birds. It is also believed that wind energy projects make habitats unsuitable for not only birds but also for other animals.” https://india.mongabay.com/2018/05/17/india-soon-to-have-guidelines-to-save-birds-from-wind-energy-farms/ (Mongabay, 17 May 2018)