DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 12 Apr 2021: Meghalaya, Himachal, MP people oppose Dam & Hydro projects

(Feature image: Locals protest against the proposed mega dam project on the Umngot river. Shillong Times)

From the news this week we can see news reports of strong protests to dam and hydro projects from North East India (protests against the proposed 240 MW Umngot hydropower project), North India (protests against the Jangi Thopan power project in Himachal Pradesh) and Central India (protests against the Ken Betwa Link Project and Basania Dam on Narmada, both in Madhya Pradesh), among others. These protests underline not only the protests against the social and environmental destruction such projects bring, but also the abysmally poor environmental governance and decision making processes, the shoddy Environment Impact Assessments, the Public Hearings and over all undemocratic decision making process. One hopes the government realises the underlying issues and addresses them urgently rather than ignoring the messages and messengers.

Meghalaya Locals oppose HEP on Umngot river Stiff resistance from at least 12 villages has cast a cloud on a 210 MW hydroelectric project on Umngot, considered India’s clearest river. The villages are near the border with Bangladesh in East Khasi Hills district, the dam is proposed upstream in the adjoining West Jaintia Hills district. The State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) had on Apr 9, 2021 scheduled a public hearing for the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) project.  Hundreds of people from more than a dozen villagers obstructed officers from conducting the public hearing at Moosakhia in West Jaintia Hills district. The MSPCB officials faced a similar situation at Siangkhnai in East Khasi Hills district on Apr 8, 2021.

– “Everyone is against the mega-dam project as their livelihood is dependent on the river,” Alan West Kharkongor, president of the Meghalaya Rural Tourism Forum, said. The locals fear that the project, if executed, would cause irreparable losses by wiping out their areas from the tourism map, besides affecting many villages in the downstream areas dependent on the Umngot. The project documents say people of 13 villages along the Umngot are likely to lose 296 ha due to submergence if the dam comes up. The Umngot river attracts many tourists to Dawki bordering Bangladesh. The water of the river is so clear that boats seem to rest on a crystal glass surface besides casting their shadows on the river bed. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/meghalaya-locals-oppose-dam-on-indias-clearest-river/article34291199.ece  (11 April 2021)

Protesters sit on the road at Mynsang village on to prevent officials from going to Siangkhnai for the public hearing on April 8. (NN)

The first public hearing at Siangkhnai village under Mawkynrew Block in East Khasi Hills district could not be conducted on Apr 8 2021 after protesters prevented officials including the additional district magistrate at Mynsang village, 20km away from the venue of the public hearing. The officials could not proceed to Siangkhnai village to conduct the public hearing as villagers sat on the road at Mynsang the whole day from 5 am on Thursday (April 8) by not allowing any vehicles of the officials to move.

– Similarly, at Moosakhia village in West Jaiñtia Hills district, the public hearing could not be conducted on April 9, 2021, as it was disrupted by protesters. The villagers especially landowners from villages in East Khasi Hills district opposed the project on the ground that their cultivable land would submerge due to the proposed hydropower project. However, in West Jaiñtia Hills district, the protesters were from the downstream areas, like Darang, Shnong Pdeng and Dawki.  https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam/meghalaya-farmers-oppose-dam-over-umngot-river-disrupts-public-hearing.html  (10 April 2021)

Hundreds of residents of Umsawwar, Mawsir, Mawdulop, Ksangrngi, Jatah Nonglyer, Jatah Lakadong, Mawlong, Mawjatap and adjoining villages — under the banner of Ka Kynhun Ki Nongrep Harud Wah Umngot — prevented officers of MeECL, MSPCB and the district administration from going to Siangkhnai village for the proposed public hearing.

The Elaka Darrang has decided to shut down tourist spots around Darrang, Shnongpdeng and Dawki on April 9 and urged the residents to attend the public hearing at Moosakhia to show their protest.

Meanwhile, joining the anti-dam camp, the Mahila Congress and Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) have asked the state government to scrap the proposal with immediate effect.

TUR member, Angela Rangad today said that they have decided to support the farmers and residents of villages under Raid Lyngshing and those located near the Umngot river in opposing the public hearing proposed by MSPCB.  https://theshillongtimes.com/2021/04/09/anti-umngot-dam-voice-grows-louder/  (09 April 2021)

“We have to called off the public hearing as the villagers protested against the hydro project,” Deputy Commissioner of West Jaintia Hills District, Garod LSN Dykes told UNI over phone. On Friday (April 9), villagers blocked the road towards Siangkhnai village under Mawkynrew Block in East Khasi Hills district and prevented MDPCB and government officials from holding the public hearing for the hydroelectric project.

The hydro project to be executed by State-owned Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) estimated at a cost of Rs.1,853 crore in an area of 390 hectares straddling on both Jaintia Hills and East Khasi Hills districts. http://www.uniindia.com/meghalaya-villagers-disrupt-public-hearing-for-mega-dam-project/east/news/2367053.html  (09 April 2021)  

The residents stopped officers and staff from MeECL, Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board and district authorities from conducting the public hearing. (TNT)

The residents hail from different villages, including Umsawwar, Mawsir, Mawdulop, Ksanrngi, Jatah Nonglyer, Jatah Lakadong, Mawlong, Mawjatap and others. https://thenortheasttoday.com/states/meghalaya/meghalaya-umngot-hydro-project-villagers-oppose-proposed/cid2693775.htm  (09 April 2021)

Himachal Pradesh जंगी ठोपन जल विद्युत परियोजना का विरोध जंगी थोपान  परियोजना का ग्रामीण कर रहे विरोध ग्रामीणों का कहना है कि जल विद्युत परियोजना से पानी के जलस्त्रोत सूख सकते हैं. इसके अलावा भी उन्हें बहुत नुकसान हो सकता है. परियोजना के निर्माण के समय धमाकों से जिला किन्नौर की हवा भी प्रदूषित होती है और नदी-नालों के जलस्तर की गुणवत्ता खराब होती है. आने वाले समय में ग्रामीण बड़े स्तर पर इसे लेकर विरोध भी कर सकते हैं.

परियोजना से रांरग गांव के लोगों को नुकसानरारंग पंचायत के लोगों का कहना है कि इस परियोजना के आने से सबसे बड़ा खतरा रारंग गांव को है, क्योंकि गांव की भौगोलिक परिस्थिति अलग है. यह गांव बिल्कुल खड़ी चट्टानों पर बसा हुआ है जो हल्के से धमाके के बाद भी हिल सकता है. ऐसे में इस क्षेत्र के लोग इस जल विद्युत परियोजना का विरोध करने के लिए तैयार हैं.स्थानीय लोगों का कहना है कि उन्होंने जिला के ऐसे क्षेत्र देखे हैं, जहां जलविद्युत परियोजनाओं के निर्माणाधीन कार्यों के दौरान लोगों ने अपने आशियाने खो दिए. कई क्षेत्रों में तो जलविद्युत परियोजनाओं के कार्यों के बाद आज तक मकानों में दरारें नजर आती हैं. इसके साथ ही वातावरण भी बहुत प्रभावित हुआ जिसमें कम बर्फ पड़ना और गर्मी का बढ़ना मुख्य है. https://react.etvbharat.com/hindi/himachal-pradesh/state/kinnaur/villagers-protest-against-jangi-thopan-project-in-kinnaur/hp20210328163816148  (28 March 2021)

The landslide near Khilanch/Rilkot that started during an extreme rain event in 2005 and is still active. It repeatedly blocks the river and forms a lake behind it. This is upstream of the proposed Sarkari bhel HEP, but bears no mention in the EIA.

Uttarakhand Letter to Expert Appraisal Committee on Environment Clearance for 120 MW Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP. https://sandrp.in/2021/04/12/ltr-to-expert-appraisal-committee-on-env-clearance-for-120-mw-sirkari-bhyol-rupsiabagar-hep-in-uttarakhand/  (12 April 2021)

Madhya Pradesh बसनिया बांध के सर्वे का विरोध ग्राम पटेल सुख लाल आर्मो ग्राम ओढारी, विकास खंड मोहगांव, जिला मंडला की अध्यक्षता में 11 अप्रैल को बैठक आयोजित की गई। ओढारी के लोगों ने कहा कि नर्मदा नदी पर प्रस्तावित बसनिया बांध का सर्वे गुप चुप तरीके से किया जा रहा है। परंतु हम लोगों को कोई जानकारी नहीं दी जा रही है। गांव के लोगों ने कहा कि ओढारी में बनने वाली बसनिया बांध के सबंध में हमारी ग्राम सभा में कोई चर्चा नहीं की गई। जबकि मंडला पांचवी अनुसूची में आता है जहां ऐसा कानून अधिसूचित है। बैठक में उपस्थित ओढारी, दरगढ, दुपट्टा और रमपुरी के लोगों ने सर्वे का विरोध करने का निर्णय लिया है। संगठन को मजबूत करने के लिए आगामी 18 अप्रेल को विस्थापित एवं प्रभावित गांव की बड़ी बैठक आयोजित करने का निर्णय लिया है।

ज्ञात हो कि 2731 करोड़ की लागत से बनने वाली बसनिया बांध से 8780 हैक्टेयर में सिंचाई और 100 मेगावाट जल विद्युत उत्पादन होना प्रस्तावित है। इस बांध से 18 गांव मंडला और 13 गांव डिंडोरी जिले के प्रभावित होने वाले है। बांध में कुल 6343 हैक्टेयर जमीन डूब में आएगी। जिसमें 2443 हैक्टेयर निजी भूमि,1793 हैक्टेयर शासकीय भूमि और 2017 हैक्टेयर वन भूमि शामिल है। https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/mandla-mandla-news-6802626  (12 April 2021)

Ken Betwa Linking A link no one wants Article in INDIAN EXPRESS today (Apr 8, 2021) on Ken Betwa Link Project, written by SANDRP Coordinator. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/ken-betwa-link-project-bundelkhand-7263573/  (08 April 2021)

Wildlife Expert Dr Raghu Chundawat says Tigers wont be viable in Panna Tiger Reserve if Ken Betwa project comes up. https://m.rediff.com/news/interview/ken-betwa-project-tiger-population-wont-survive/20210407.htm  (07 April 2021)

The proposed link drown 100 sqkm of the Panna (about 60% of the reserve), submerging the very tiger area that has been built back writes Neha Sinha. https://www.bloombergquint.com/opinion/distress-signals-from-indias-tiger-reserves  (11 April 2021)  

Congress President writes to Union Environment Minister Javdekar to cancel the Ken Betwa Project. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/ken-betwa-devastating-for-panna-tiger-reserve-sonia-to-javadekar-236917  (09 April 2021)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Report Himalayas’ non-uniformity may result in significantly large earthquakes In what may result in ‘significantly large earthquake events’ in the Himalayas, Indian scientists have found that the mountain range is not uniform, according to the ministry of science and technology. “Scientists have found that the Himalayas are not uniform and assume different physical and mechanical properties in different directions—a property present in crystals called anisotropy which could result in significantly large earthquake events in the Himalayas,” the ministry said in a statement on Apr 9, 2021.

– “The joint study using seismic waves from 167 earthquakes recorded by 20 broadband seismic stations deployed in the Western Himalaya suggested that the major contribution of the anisotropy is mainly because the strain induced by the Indo-Eurasia collision (going on since 50 million years) and deformation due to the collision is found to be larger in the crust than in the upper mantle,” the statement said.

– India also plans to conduct airborne radar surveys to estimate the thickness of Himalayan glaciers, with a pilot study to be conducted in Lahaul-Spiti basin of Himachal Pradesh. Once the pilot project is done, similar studies will be conducted in Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra sub-basins.  https://www.livemint.com/news/india/himalayas-non-uniformity-may-result-in-significantly-large-earthquakes-11618039545435.html  (10 April 2021)

Opinion Researchers failed to distinguish between snow & glacier melt by SA Aiyar A 2019 research paper by Richard Armstrong, National Snow and Ice Data Center, USA, with 11 international collaborators is the first study to break down separately the contribution to river flows in Himalayan river basins by (a) snow on land melting; (b) snow on glaciers melting; (c) glacial ice melting; and (d) rainfall. The study covers only high-altitude areas above 2,000 metres (the altitude of Mussoorie or Darjeeling). This is because river flows in the plains are obviously dominated by rainfall. But even above 2,000 metres, the contribution of exposed glacial melt to river flows in the Ganga basin is less than 1%; of snow on glaciers 4%; of snow on land 43%; and of rainfall 52%. The four contributions in the Indus basin are 2%, 6%,67% and 23%; and in the Brahmaputra basin 1%, 7%, 26% and 66%.

– The new study suggests the other researchers have failed to distinguish between snowmelt and glacial melt because the technology and data to make the distinction was not easily available earlier, but makes a huge difference. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/Swaminomics/yes-glaciers-are-melting-but-no-need-for-panic/  (11 April 2021)

MoEF Minutes of the EAC on River Valley Projects held on March 25, 2021. Key decisions:

1. 25 MW Shaheed Lakhan Nayak Small HEP in an area of 4.902 ha by Meenakshi Odisha Power Private Limited in Village Tentuligumma, Tehsil Boipariguda, Dist Koraput, (Odisha) – Environmental Clearance: The EC was given on 23rd April, 2007 and works initiated during 2008-09 and so far, an expenditure of Rs. 16.34 crores has been incurred. The validity of the EC for maximum 13 years expired on 22.04.2020, therefore PP had applied for fresh ToR (de-novo). ToR given in Apr 2020. The PP has applied for EC for appraisal as Category A Project, since the project is located at a distance of 1.09 km from Kanger Valley National Park (Chhattisgarh State) as well as inter-state boundary between Odisha and Chhattisgarh: Info Sought.

2. 66 MW Dhaulasidh HEP in an area of 338.2 ha, by SJVN Ltd. in village Sanotu Dist Hamirpur & Kangra, Himachal Pradesh –Amendment in Environmental Clearance: APPROVED

3. 300 MW Gyspa HEP in an area of 1322.95 ha on River Bhaga by Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd in Village Jispa Tehsil Keylong Dist Lahaul & Spiti – Reconsideration of Terms of Reference: Info Sought

4. 870 MW Niare HEP in an area of 429.585 ha by Andhra Power Private Limited in village Orak district Upper Subansiri, Arunachal Pradesh – Terms of Reference: Info Sought https://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/08042021EWRBTC5MApproved_Minutes_9th_EAC_RVHEP_8-04-2021.pdf 

EAC Agenda for meeting to be held on Apr 15, 2021:

1. 168 MW Sirkari-Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP in an area of 30 ha by M/s UJVN LTD in Tehsil Munsiyari, Pithoragarh Dist (Uttarakhand) – Env Clearance

2. Third Unit of 50 MW (Phase-II) For Tidong-I HEP (100 MW + 50 MW) within same area (42.2557 ha) by Tidong Power Generation Pvt Ltd in Tehsil Moorang, Dist Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh) – Env Clearance

3. 390 MW Kirthai-I HEP in an area of 321 ha by M/s J&K Power Development Corp in Tehsil Padder, Kishtwar Dist (Jammu & Kashmir) – Environmental Clearance

4. 930 MW Kirthai Stage-II HEP in an area of 225.25 ha by J&K Power Development Corp in Village Kirthai, Tehsil Padder, Kishtwar Dist (Jammu & Kashmir) – Env Clearance

5. 240 MW Uri-I Stage-II HEP in an area of 102 ha by M/s NHPC in Tehsil Uri, Dist of Baramulla (Jammu and Kashmir) – Terms of Reference https://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/08042021I24YQMBEFinalAgenda_10thEAC_RiverValleyHydro.pdf

DAMS

SAUNI Project Irrigation dept starts pumping Narmada water into Nyari Dam After pumping 650 million cubic feet (mcft) Narmada water into Aji-I dam, the irrigation department has now started pumping Narmada water into Nyari-I dam, the second local source of drinking water for more than a million residents of Rajkot city. “Between March 3 and March 27, Narmada water was pumped in Aji-I dam, taking the reservoir level in Aji past 27 feet. Water level in Nyari-1 dam is presently 17 feet against the full reservoir level of 25 feet. Narmada water is being pumped in this dam from Apr 4, 2021 and the plan is to pump around 150 mcft water into it so that city residents keep getting water supply for 20 minutes every day during the present summer,” Rajkot Mayor Praeep Dav said. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/irrigation-department-starts-pumping-narmada-water-into-nyari-dam-7260234/  (05 April 2021) 

Officers of Rajkot and Bhavnagar irrigation circles said that they started operating four pipeline link canals of SAUNI towards the end of the February and by April 7, had pumped total 2,761 mcft water. They have filled up more than 400 check-dams, 67 village ponds and 10 dams.

– They said that dams like Aji-I, Machhu-I, Nyari-I, Veri, Machhu-III, Khodapipar, Nayka etc have been filled with Narmada water to meet drinking water needs of cities like Rajkot and Jamnagar and towns like Gondal and Dhrol. Similarly, water has been pumped to Kaniyad and Krushnasagar dams to meet drinking water needs of Botad town. Water has been pumped to dams like Ankadiya, Goma, Chibhda etc also. Ponds like Devdhari, Shanala, Vanala, Tarnetar, Tikar, Dudhai, Sarva, Sarsana have also been filled to augment availability of drinking water in villages.

– Pankaj Sonpal, an executive engineer in Rajkot irrigation circle who is in-charge of Link-I, III and IV said that additional 640 mcft water will be pumped through Link-IV and 150 mcft through Link-III. That will take the total amount of water pumped to Saurashtra to this season to 5351 mcft. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/10-dams-400-check-dams-filled-up-in-saurashtra-through-sauni-pipelines-7263225/  (08 April 2021)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Karntaka KCCI seeks development of waterway The Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has urged the government to develop a full-fledged waterway between Bantwal and Malavoor through the Netravathi and the Gurupura (Phalguni) for the overall development of Mangaluru.

In a letter to the Ports and Inland Water Transport Department, chamber president Isaac Vas said that the number of Dhows (small vessels) and yachts visiting the Mangaluru Old Port has considerably reduced. This was because no feeder cargo was generated from the industrial hinterland due to the lack of efficient waterways both on the Netravathi and the Phalguni. These waterways should be developed and connected to different ports, including Goa, Lakshadweep, Mumbai, Kochi and Karwar to improve economic activities. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/kcci-seeks-development-of-waterway-in-and-around-mangaluru/article34248236.ece  (06 April 2021)

West Bengal Shitalakkhya launch capsize death toll reaches 35 The death toll from Sunday’s launch-capsize in the Shitalakkhya river in Narayanganj reached 35 as rescuers recovered five more bodies on Tuesday (April 6). https://www.banglanews24.com/english/national/news/bd/89143.details  (06 April 2021)

IRRIGATION

The last time the canal was desilted and cleaned was in 2013. All photos by Tejaswita Upadhyay/Gaon Connection

Uttar Pradesh Farmlands dry along canal Under the country’s first five year plan post-independence, a 60 kms long canal was built to irrigate the fields in Mau and Ballia districts. But now, the canal is in a dilapidated condition and farmers are unable to irrigate their crops. https://en.gaonconnection.com/dohrighat-canal-mau-ballia-irrigation-farmers-water-supply/?5646456  (8 April 2021)

Telangana Upper Manair Dam to get Kaleshwaram Irrigation scheme water in two days As per the directions of Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) Minister KT Rama Rao, the officials have started taking all necessary steps to lift water from the Kondapochamma reservoir and divert it into the UMD, via the Kudavelli Vagu. The water is expected to reach the dam in two days.

It may be recalled that the Kudavelli Vagu started brimming after Finance Minister T Harish Rao released Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) water into the stream on March 23. As a result, about 29 check dams have gotten filled, providing respite to the farmers in Gajwel and Dubbaka Assembly segments. Though the government is planning to provide direct water to the UMD, under Package-9 of KLIS, through the Mid Manair Dam (MMD) via the Malkapet reservoir, the project has not been materialised yet.

In a bid to avoid withering of standing crops, the Minister gave directions to this effect, as per which the officials concerned will divert Kondapochamma water, under Package-10 of KLIS, into the UMD. According to official sources, the Upper Manair will receive nearly 1,300 cusecs of water, as a result of which the dam will be filled during the summer.A medium irrigation projected constructed on the Manair river at Narmal in Gambhiraopet mandal, the Upper Manair Dam has around 13,086 acres of land under its ayacut. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/mar/29/telangana-upper-manair-dam-to-get-kaleshwaram-irrigation-scheme-waterin-two-days-2282976.html  (29 March 2021)

URBAN RIVERS

Parineeta Dandekar on Pawna River near Pune. Maharashtra Times, Apr 6, 2021.

Vrishabhavati; Bengaluru Residents catch tanker illegally dumping effluents into river Illegal dumping of hazardous effluents into Vrishabhavati river and its tributary channels at night is a pervasive malpractice going on for decades. Each dump is a toxic hazard that kills everything in its wake. Grave and unpredictable damage has been unleashed to the Vrishabhavati riverine ecosystem on a daily basis. As the chemical air resulting from the dump wafts into the homes on Vrishabhavati river bank, people suffer from headaches, nausea, tiredness, burning sensation and asthma. Citizens setup night vigils to catch the perps in action. The most recent one took place the night of 03rd Apr near the gate of Provident Sunworth marketing office. The citizens stood watch and alerted Kumbalgodu police when a 20,000 litre capacity Bharat Petroleum tanker pulled up next to the river to dump. The police rushed to the spot within minutes, by which time the truck had dumped, and seized the tanker.  https://arkavathiriver.blogspot.com/2021/04/good-earth-residents-catch-bharat.html  (10 April 2021)

Grama Panchayat serves eviction notices to units polluting Vrishabhavathi Following a meeting of stakeholders on Friday (April 9), the Kumbalagodu Grama Panchayat has served eviction notices to 11 small industrial units on the banks of the Vrishabhavathi river valley in Kambipura and Anchepalya, near Kengeri. These units are mainly into garbage segregation and recycling, smelting and dyeing. They allegedly dump waste in the river and also set some of it on fire on its banks. This not only adds to the pollution, but is a health hazard for residents of the two villages, said locals. The Hindu had reported one such fire on March 24.

They alleged that untreated chemical waste is being dumped in the river, leaving an unbearable stench, all night. “This contaminates local aquifers feeding the local population. Farmers downstream use the contaminated water to produce vegetables, which find their way back to our plates,” the statement said. Residents have been running from pillar to post for over two years with their problems. “We have approached the Lokayukta, police and even the NGT. Till date, we have been able to shut down only one unit,” Mr. Kumar said. Asha Raju, president, Kumbalgodu Grama Panchayat, said that eviction notices have been served to all erring units and she would visit the spot on April 17. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/grama-panchayat-serves-eviction-notices-to-units-polluting-vrishabhavathi/article34284200.ece  (10 April 2021)

Noyyal; Tirupur Textile industry responsible for water pollution  Tirupur produces up to 90% of India’s cotton textiles exports. However, rapid industrialisation has spelt doom for the local river, the Noyyal. https://scroll.in/video/991718/watch-how-the-smart-casual-clothes-we-wear-may-be-responsible-for-water-pollution-in-tirupur  (08 April 2021)

Dehradun नदीनालों पर प्लाटिंग मामले में फटकार हाईकोर्ट ने नदी नालों को बंजर भूमि में परिवर्तित कर प्लाटिंग करने के मामले में गुरुवार (April 8) को सुनवाई की। मामले में कोर्ट ने मसूरी देहरादून विकास प्राधिकरण, जिलाधिकारी देहरादून को कड़ी फटकार लगाते हुए नदी भूमि पर निर्माण पर लगा दी है। साथ ही जिलाधिकारी देहरादून को भी यह आदेश दिया गया कि वह भी व्यक्तिगत रूप से जा कर क्षेत्र का मुआयना करें और जहाँ भी इस तरीके की अवैध प्लाटिंग हो रही हैं, उसे तत्काल प्रभाव से रोकें। न्यायालय ने मसूरी देहरादून विकास प्राधिकरण को और एक और अवसर देते हुए जवाब दाखिल करने के लिए तीन सप्ताह का समय दिया है।

याचिका में सहस्त्रधारा क्षेत्र, देहरादून में हो रहे अवैध प्लाटिंग को नियम विरुद्ध करार दिया गया था। जिसमें कहा गया है कि इस मामले में नदी भूमि को बंजर भूमि में परिवर्तित कर प्लाटिंग करने की बिल्डरों द्वारा साजिश की गई है। इस मामले में न्यायालय ने मसूरी देहरादून विकास प्राधिकरण को सात अप्रैल तक विस्तृत रिपोर्ट दाखिल करने के दिशा निर्देश दिये थे। पूछा था कि अतिक्रमण कहाँ हुआ है, किन अधिकारियों की शह पर हुआ है और उन पर क्या कार्यवाई की जा रही है…? https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-high-court-strict-in-plating-on-river-and-drains-in-dehradun-21539224.html  (08 April 2021)

Mula-Mutha; Pune PMC starts work on 4km riverfront On the line of the Sabarmati riverfront development project of Gujarat, PMC had given a green signal to develop the Mula-Mutha river in 2015. PMC has set a target of ten years to complete the project with an estimated cost of ₹2,619 crore.

In November 2019, state Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has given a NOC for the project. Now, PMC is awaiting approval from the state government to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to operate the project like metro and smart city. It has pending for the last year. In the 2021-22 annual budget, PMC commissioner has allocated ₹150 crore for the project.

PMC has started work of demarcation of land, design, and find out possible stretches to complete with minimum acquisition of land and hurdles, estimate cost of stretches, list of government and private lands and send notices to them.PMC has divided the project into 6 stretches of the Mula-Mutha river and priorities stretch as per availability land. The first 3 stretches are Mundhwa bridge to Mundhwa jack well, Kharad (approximately 3km), Bund garden bridge to Sangamwadi bridge– (approximately 4 km) and Aundh-Baner-Balewadi smart city area.

Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporations (PCMC) will have to raise a seed fund of ₹500 crore. The remaining amount of the project will have to raise from private parties. However, it will happen after the approval of the state government to form an SPV for the project. Pune mayor, the standing committee chairman, leader of the house, opposition leader, PMC commissioner, PCMC commissioner, chief executive officer of cantonment, divisional commissioner, PMC city engineer, experts in the field of river development and conservation are members of SPV. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/riverfront-development-project-pmc-starts-work-on-4km-bund-garden-to-sangamwadi-bridge-stretch-101617283317523.html  (01 April 2021)

Sabarmati; Ahmedabad 28 firms keen to bid for riverfront plots After two failed attempts since February 2017, now authorities have found 28 companies bidding for real estate and recreational development at Sabarmati riverfront. The last date for submission of Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) was February 20. It was in February 2017 that the state government had approved the volumetric general development control regulations for the riverfront.

The SRFDCL project is being developed on approximately 500 acres of land. Nearly 85 % of the project area will be utilised for public infrastructure, recreational parks, sports facilities and gardens claimed the official proposal. The remaining 14% of the land is proposed to be sold to private parties for constructing high-quality buildings. There are 51 plots on either side of the riverfront. Apart from recovering the project cost of Rs 1,400 crore, the civic body expects to earn profits from the sale of land. Sources in the AMC said that the civic body expects to earn about Rs 3,500 crore through the sale of the reclaimed land. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/28-firms-keen-to-bid-for-riverfront-plots/articleshow/81608994.cms  (21 March 2021)

Chambal; Kota Uproar over old buildings being razed for river front Developing river front on the sides of Chambal river ghats has now courted controversy. According to activists, roads are being widened in the Walled City of Kota after razing old buildings of historical importance.

State government is in the process of making Kota city a tourist attraction where a ‘Chambal River Front View’ will be developed. Government has claimed that this project worth hundreds of crores will beautify the city and will attract more tourists. This is, however, allegedly being done at the cost of razing down city’s history.

Government is in the process of developing many flyovers, gardens, parks and a six-km Heritage Walkway at the Chambal ghats. There are said to be ‘samadhis’ of Naga sadhus at the ghats along with some idols which activists said will be in danger of getting destroyed given the development work being undertaken. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/uproar-over-old-bldgs-being-razed-for-chambal-river-front/articleshow/81621398.cms  (22 March 2021)

Gomti; Lucknow 22 tributaries almost dried up, no flow left in 4 Twenty-two of the Gomti river’s 26 tributaries have almost dried up and there is no flow left in the remaining four, says a report by an expert, Venkatesh Dutta who is professor of environmental science at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/22-gomti-tributaries-have-almost-dried-up-no-flow-left-in-four-expert-s-report-101617300898939.html  (01 April 2021)

Manair; Karimnagar Rs 100 cr for riverfront in Budget  The government has sanctioned Rs 25 crore primarily for the establishment of the Manair river front (MRF) project and had allotted Rs 100 crore in the Budget. The government decided to develop 9 km from the Manair dam gates as the riverfront. It has already released Rs 87.9 lakh for the construction of five check dams on the river and the works are going on at a brisk pace.

In the first phase under the MRF project, the beautification works will be done from Chegurthi to Lingapur village of Manakondur mandal and in the second phase from Manakondur to Vegurupally, Kamalakar said. By declaring the area as a fish zone, tall trees like silver oak, pagoda and mahogany will be grown on either side of the river and the Lower Manair Dam covering 10.5 kms, Minister Gangula Kamalakar added. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/190321/gangula-thanks-kcr-for-allocating-rs-100-cr-for-manair-riverfront-in-b.html  (19 March 2021)

Report Cleaning rivers with FTB The solution we developed was a floating trash barrier (FTB) which deployed in Cooum river in Chennai in 2017. This solution caught 22,000 tons of floating trash, of which 10 percent was plastics i.e 2200 tons of plastic in 2018 alone. We were able to catch 100 percent of surface plastics in this river, which was removed from the river and disposed off in an environmentally safe manner. This would have ended up in the sea, if not for the barriers. This exercise costed Rs 85 lakh in to deploy and absolutely nil operational expenditure for 24×7 securing of the full river width at nine locations.

Extrapolating these figures for 50 such rivers passing through cities and towns across the country before draining into the seas, we are talking of over 100,000 tons of plastics reaching the sea every year, and this excludes major Indian rivers. https://www.indiatimes.com/technology/news/sekhar-dc-alphamers-river-cleanup-made-in-india-tech-533465.html  (21 March 2021)

RIVERS

Jammu& Kashmir ‘Save Jhelum’ trek organised for children A one day trek was organised for children from Srinagar’s Zabarwan park to Shankaracharya hills on Saturday (April 10) to give a message to society to keep the river Jhelum free from pollution. https://www.zee5.com/zee5news/save-jhelum-trek-organised-for-children-in-j-ks-srinagar  (11 April 2021)

Rajasthan Effluents polluting Luni despite NGT order  A few days ago, the HRTS plant near the river crashed leading to lethal chemical effluents reaching a cattle fairground at Tilwara, around 15km away. Mallinath cattle fair is slated to be held on the ground this month. Pradushan Nivaran Evum Paryavaran Sankarshan Samiti secretary Om Prakash Saini informed about breaking of the plant following which samiti president Tulsaram Choudhary reached the spot and informed the pollution control board officials.

Later, the state pollution control board in Jaipur, directed to close all factories associated with Balotara CETP till the under-construction plant was ready and started functioning. It is alleged that in the name of an accident by CETP trust, the wall of the plant was breached and chemically polluted water was dumped into the river. CETP trust Balotara had the responsibility to abide by the NGT orders, but the polluted water was discharged into the waterbody. CETP president Subhash Mehta said that he visited the site and prima facie, it appears that some unidentified people had broken it. There were no chances of the breach of the wall. The water has been directed into the pond by a pump.

Rajasthan pollution control board regional officer Amit Joyal said that treated water from many factories comes to HRTS which was above its capacity. CETP Balotara was repeatedly being warned and notice was given, but they did not pay any attention and thus the temporary dam was to breach. He said that the Jaipur office has been apprised about it. According to the information from official sources, the 18mld plant worth Rs 128 crore is under construction, to retreat the polluted water coming out from Balotara factories and is expected to be complete in 15 days. Till then, it has been directed to close all factories till the plant starts. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/effluents-pollute-luni-despite-ngt-ban/articleshow/81890827.cms  (04 April 2021)

A scene of the Buddha Nallah at Ludhiana’s Tajpur industrial area where there is a continuous discharge of untreated domestic sewage and industrial waste that pollutes the Sutlej river. Photo by Vivek Gupta.

Punjab Sutlej pollution impacting villagers heath The plan to construct sewage treatment plants and common effluent treatment plants to clean water bodies polluting the Sutlej river in Ludhiana and Jalandhar, has been delayed. The deadline for installation of some of these plants under the Punjab government’s ‘Action Plan for Clean River Sutlej’ was December 2020. Now, civil society members are planning to meet the union environment minister to expedite the work. The impact of pollution in the Sutlej river is felt even in Rajasthan, Punjab’s neighbouring state, as the polluted river water enters the desert state through Punjab’s Indira Gandhi canal. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/04/as-depolluting-sutlej-river-delayed-impact-on-health-continues/  (07 April 2021) Hindi version of the report is here. https://hindi.mongabay.com/2021/04/07/depolluting-sutlej-river-marred-with-delays/  (07 April 2021)

GANGA Walk along the River Ganga Siddharth Agarwal set out to walk along the course of the Ganga — from places where she is a muddy stream to others where she roars. The documentary ‘Moving Upstream: Ganga’, directed by Shridhar Sudhir, captures the various facets of the living, breathing river and the people who live by it. https://en.gaonconnection.com/environment-india-rivers-ganga-west-bengal-uttar-pradesh-uttarakhand-jharkhand-bihar-gangotri-erosion-care-for-a-walk-3000-kilometre/  (10 April 2021)

A discussion with Siddharth Agarwal, Co-founder, Veditum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqbiBCLM_gk  (07 April 2021)

West Bengal River erosion and govt apathy As the state votes, Malda and Murshidabad residents spoke about their despair, resentment and hopes. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/west-bengal-assembly-elections-2021-how-a-hungry-river-and-biting-govt-apathy-have-upended-lives-on-the-banks-of-the-ganga/cid/1811983  (09 April 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi responsible for high ammonia level In Yamuna: Haryana to SC Haryana though affidavit to SC on April 6 has also rejected the plea for extra/additional water saying sufficient quantity being given and Haryana itself is facing a water shortage. On this, Haryana says: “Water shortage is due to their (Delhi’s) own mismanagement and not because of any action or inaction on the part of the state of Haryana.”

This year, the overall availability of water in the river Yamuna and Tajewala/Hathnikund barrage as well as the Bhakra dam has reduced to alarming levels by 20% to 40%. The inflow of river Yamuna has also reduced to 1,300 cusecs this year. Due to this shortage, Haryana is not able to meet the drinking water requirements of its people.SC has fixed the matter for further hearing on April 14. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/delhi-responsible-for-high-ammonia-level-in-yamuna-water-we-are-not-polluting-haryana-to-sc/742029  (07 April 2021)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Maharashtra Hundreds of dead fish found in Indrayani Due to a drop in the oxygen level in the heavily polluted Indrayani river, hundreds of fish were found dead along the banks. These fishes have died in the last few days after pollution took a toll on the river that originates in Lonavala and passes through Pune before reaching Alandi. A thick layer of hyacinth has been formed on the floating water for a few kilometres which is proving deadly for the fishes.

Sewage water and waste from the PCMC is dumped into the river which has worsened the pollution level of the water body. Shinde said the MPCB had earlier requested PCMC to install a STP in the area to ensure untreated water is not dumped directly into the river. However, their request went unheard. The locals have also protested against dumping waste in the river but to no avail. Locals residing in the area either have to buy drinking water or travel to another village to fetch fresh drinking water. https://www.timesnownews.com/pune/article/pune-hundreds-of-dead-fish-found-in-indrayani-river-due-to-reduced-oxygen-level/741209  (05 April 2021)

Telangana Kothagudem: Lack of oxygen in tank kills thousands of fish Thousands of fish were found dead in Singabhupalem tank in Sujatha Nagar mandal in the district on Saturday (April 10). The reason for the incident was said to be lack of oxygen and release of excess quantity of fish seedlings into the tank by the local fishermen. The dead fish, both fishlings and grownups, would weigh over five tonnes, said the local fishermen society president B Suryam.

Telangana Today Image

Water in the tank was also used to irrigate fields in the mandal and recently water was released to paddy fields which resulted in depleted oxygen levels in the tank. The problem was compounded by the presence of fish in excessive quantity, officials explained. Source said during the current season, about 7.45 lakh fish seed was released into the tank. In addition, the local fishermen released around 80,000 fishlings. https://telanganatoday.com/kothagudem-lack-of-oxygen-in-tank-kills-thousands-of-fish  (10 April 2021)

SAND MINING

Jammu & Kashmir Farmers suffer as rivers illegally mined Many irrigation canals and water channels crisscrossing the apple-rich belts of Shopian are running dry due to illegal and unabated mining of rivers. In nearly three dozen villages of Shopian, there are complaints of water shortage, said Mohammad Yusuf Wagay, another farmer from Odura village. “The Salar water stream feeds 12 villages and dozens of orchards but it is running dry. When we raised the issue with the administration, we were asked to shut our mouths and threatened with police cases,” he said.

Miners have plundered the Rambi Ara river, threatening crucial public infrastructure [Jehangir Ali/Al Jazeera]

The spring melt in the snow capped Pir Panjal Mountains in the Himalayas washes the tributaries of Rambi Ara, Romshi and Vishow in southern Kashmir before flowing into the Jhelum River, which is part of South Asia’s grand Indus river system. Rich with exotic snow trout and mineral wealth, the “three sisters” irrigate thousands of lush apple and cherry orchards scattered on their flood-prone banks, providing a livelihood to thousands. However, in February last year, when the local government opened auctions for mining, the “three sisters” were identified by the government as part of the reserves, despite environmental concerns. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/1/daylight-loot-kashmir-farmers-suffer-as-rivers-illegally-mined  (01 April 2021)

‘Sand extraction, mining contracts being given to outsiders, natives suffering’ Hot Mix Plant Association Kashmir President Bashir Ahmed Khan on Wednesday (April 7) urged the administration to roll back the controversial sand extraction, stone quarry and mining contract order so that original natives of Kashmir can earn their livelihood the way they were doing in the past. Khan said that the cost of material has gone sky-rocket forcing the people to suspend the construction works across the Valley.

Addressing the press conference in Srinagar, Khan said that ever since the new law was announced in Kashmir, the cost of sand, Bajri, stone has touched the skies. “We are not getting the material. Contracts are being given to non-JK residents while natives are suffering for want of materials,” Khan said. He said the new contract order has also resulted in the shortage of macadam material as Hot Mix Plant Association is not able to get the material they were getting earlier. https://freepresskashmir.news/2021/04/07/sand-extraction-mining-contracts-being-given-to-outsiders-natives-suffering/  (07 April 2021)

Rajasthan SC to hear sand mining case on April 15 On November 16, 2017, Supreme Court restrained 82 large sand mine lease holders in the state from carrying out mining of sand and bajri in the state. Now, after the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) recommended to issue EC to valid Letter of Intent (LOI) holders, this will be the first hearing in the apex court.

The committee report recommended that the MoEF will issue EC in respect of all the valid LOI holders recommended by the EAC in its meeting held during 2014-2016 without insisting on submission of scientific study report as a precondition for grant of EC within a period of three months. According to sources, out of 82 large leases, the (EAC) recommended 65. “The final nod will be given by the Supreme Court,” said a source. The Supreme Court had earlier restrained large sand mine lease holders without procuring EC from MoEF. To grant the EC, the ministry later laid the condition to carry out a scientific replenishment study. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/apex-court-to-hear-sand-mining-case-on-april-15/articleshow/82009694.cms  (11 April 2021)

Women labourers cremated after cops’ assurance to kin Two women labourers, who were buried alive in a sand mine at Mundia Kala at Todaraisingh in Tonk after it collapsed on Friday (April 9), were cremated on Saturday (April 10). The family of the deceased had been demonstrating with the bodies at the block level office since Friday (April 9) evening, demanding Rs10 lakh compensation and a government job for the children. They agreed to cremate the bodies later in the day.

The deceased women Badri Devi and Santra Devi were trapped after a side portion of the rock collapsed while they were working together. They were rescued by other labourers present in the area and rushed to the hospital in Todaraisingh. Badri was declared brought dead, while Santra was rushed to Kekri hospital, where she died after some hours.

The family of the two women alleged that the mining being done was illegal and the contractor never follows the safety precautions, which has led to the death of the two. The families, joined by the villagers, gathered at the block office, demanding police complaint against the contractor, Rs10 lakh compensation and a government job. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/women-labourers-cremated-after-cops-assurance-to-kin/articleshow/82009711.cms  (11 April 2021)

Goa Govt in process of setting up mining corp. CM Dr Pramod Sawant on Wednesday (April 7) said the government has started the process of setting up the mining corporation to restart mining in the State. Sawant spoke about sand extraction activity in Goa and clarified that the State government had not stopped anyone from extracting sand but that certain NGOs were responsible for the same by approaching the NGT and High Court.

Acknowledging strictures passed by the court in this regard, Sawant said that Goans can extract sand in a sustainable manner and that he had given permission for legal sand transportation between Maharashtra and Goa. He added that this was done to avoid clashes between truck operators legally transporting sand. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Govt-in-process-of-setting-up-mining-corporation/173356  (08 April 2021)

Karnataka New mining policy by month-end: Mining minister The new state mining policy with focus on the requirements of the coastal districts will be released by the end of this month, Minister for Mines and Geology Murugesh Nirani has said. He said the draft of the policy will be sent to district-level officials, experts and journalists to elicit their views and suggestions.

The minister said the Mines department has accepted the demand from stone quarry owners in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi for exemption from the explosive licence of the Directorate General of Mines Safety as they operated in less than five acres of land. Those operating in more than five acres of land have been asked to procure the licence within 90 days.

Nirani said the new mining policy proposes to offer sand to people building houses for less than Rs10 lakh at a nominal rate of Rs 100 per tonne excluding transportation cost, while others will have to buy sand at the prescribed rates after paying royalty to the government. https://www.constructionweekonline.in/business/17255-new-mining-policy-by-month-end-says-karnataka-minister-murugesh-nirani  (11 April 2021)

Rare Channakeshava idol found while sand mining Very rare Hoysala Architect with beautifully carved Channakeshava idol found while sand mining near Halebelur village of Sakleshpur taluk on Thursday (March 25). The 4.5ft black stone idol belonging to the Hoysala Dynasty is almost similar to Lord Channakeshava at Belur temple.

The idol has minor damages at the right side.The villagers also urged the officials of the Archeological department to further research and extract the right reason for buring the idol on the banks of Hemavathi River.  Jairaj Tahsildar Sakleshpur said that the newly found Channakeshava idol is belonging to the Hoysala dynasty as it has Hoysala architecture and carving. The taluk authority has submitted the detail report to the deputy commissioner R Girish who will take a decision in this regard he added. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2021/mar/26/rare-channakeshava-idol-found-while-sand-mining-in-karnatakas-sakleshpur-taluk-2282068.html  (26 March 2021)

Bihar Cops attacked after death of truck driver, helper Several police personnel were injured, their rifle snatched and vehicle vandalised by a group of people who demonstrated on a road in  Bhojpur district demanding compensation for the driver and the helper of a truck which overturned killing the two occupants on Saturday (April 10), an officer said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sadar, Pankaj Kumar, said that driver Ajit Paswan (22) and helper Vikas Kumar (24) tried to dodge a police patrol party but the truck, laden with sand, toppled killing both of them on the spot. Locals soon gathered at the spot and started demonstrating, refusing to part with the bodies for post-mortem and demanded compensation for the deceased.

When a police party tried to assuage them, they turned violent, snatched a rifle and vandalised a jeep belonging to the police, Kumar said adding that the situation was brought under control after additional force was deployed. Several people were rounded up in connection with the attack on the police team, he said adding that the bodies have been sent for post mortem. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/bihar-cops-attacked-by-protestors-after-death-of-truck-driver-helper-in-accident-6754071.html  (11 April 2021)

One killed in violent clash with sand mafia In Chhapra district, there was a violent clash between the police and the sand mafia on Thursday (March 4). In this incident of clash, one person was killed by a police bullet. The local citizens, agitated by the death of the truck driver, cut down the ruckus and jammed the wheel for hours. The top officials, who reached the spot after getting information about the jam, somehow managed to get the jam finished.

Locals allege that the Barahara police station in-charge of Bhojpur district, Awadhesh, had reached the bridge to recover extortion from the sand mafia and shot the truck’s occupant when it was opposed. A local citizen Gopal Rai said that two days ago, Bhojpur Superintendent of Police Har Kishore Rai had come to recover money from the sand mafia and threatened that if the amount of extortion money was not given, he would be shot. https://jagrantimes.in/trending/bihar-violent-clash-with-sand-mafia-policeman-killed-by-police-shot/  (05 March 2021)

Sand truck driver shot at in Bhojpur Some unidentified persons shot at and injured driver of a truck from Sitamarhi near village Akhgaon under Chandi police station in the wee hour on December 24, 2020, Thursday when he was going to Sitamarhi with sand laden truck. Police admitted him to Ara Sadar Hospital but the doctor referred him to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in view of his serious condition.

The injured driver has been identified as Arun Kumar, 35, son of Bindeshwar Sah of Bela village under Bela police station in Sitamarhi. The reason behind the incident is still to be ascertained. An FIR has been lodged with police in connection with the incident and the police are investigating the matter. https://www.thespeedpost.com/truck-driver-shot-at-and-injured-at-bhojpur-village-no-arrest/  (24 Dec. 2021)

आरा: बालू चोरी के विवाद में ट्रैक्टर चालक की गोली मारकर हत्या  भोजपुर के सहार थाना क्षेत्र के बजरेयां बालू घाट के समीप शुक्रवार (Jan. 15) की रात एक ट्रैक्टर चालक की गोली मार हत्या कर दी गयी। बालू चोरी के विवाद के बाद चालक के सीने में गोली मार दी गयी। इससे उसकी मौके पर ही मौत हो गयी। घटना रात करीब 12 बजे की बतायी जा रही है। मृतक ट्रैक्टर चालक सहार थाना क्षेत्र के हनुमान छपरा निवासी फूलचंद राम का 24 वर्षीय पुत्र कमलेश राम था। वह कुछ दिनों से इनरूगी गांव के एक व्यक्ति का ट्रैक्टर चला रहा था।

वहीं इस मामले में पुलिस ने एकमात्र आरोपित को गिरफ्तार कर लिया है। वह बजेरयां गांव निवासी नागेंद्र कुमार उर्फ फौजी है। वह बालू घाट संचालक और रिटायर फौजी बताया जा रहा है। हत्या के बाद लोग आक्रोशित हो उठे और लाठी-डंडे के साथ रोड पर उतर गये। इस दौरान भाकपा माले के नेतृत्व में जगह-जगह रोड जाम कर दिया गया। जाम कर रहे लोग मृतक के परिजनों को दस लाख रुपये मुआवजा, एक सदस्य को सरकारी नौकरी और आरोपितों को गिरफ्तार करने की मांग कर रहे थे। https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/ara/story-crime-news-bihar-tractor-driver-shot-dead-in-sand-robbery-dispute-in-ara-bhojpur-3751124.html  (17 Jan. 2021)

Delay in EC hits sand mining ops Mines and geology department principal secretary Harjot Kaur on Wednesday (March 31) said the revenue collected by the department on account of trade and mining of sand done by the old settlement holders in 13 districts at the ‘ghats’ settled earlier was only to the tune of Rs 678 crore during the 2020-21 fiscal. In the prevailing situation, the settlement period of the old settlement holders in 13 districts has been extended by six months up to September 30 this year.

She said sand mining operations at the ‘ghats’ settled afresh for the purpose has been affected by the continued delay in grant of environmental clearance by the NGT. “As many as 373 sand mining ghats have already been settled with the persons/companies concerned against the settlement amount of Rs 2,677 crore, but the environmental clearance from the NGT is awaited. The department has gone in appeal in the Supreme Court pleading for the early issuance of the environmental clearance by the NGT, but the hearing has yet not begun,” she added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/govt-delay-in-environmental-clearance-hits-sand-mining-ops/articleshow/81856208.cms  (2 April 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Prajapati’s income saw sharp spike after he became minister: ED  The income of Samajwadi Party leader Gayatri Prajapati currently lodged in prison in connection with a rape case and his family members, witnessed a sudden spike from 2013-14 till 2016 during the time he was a minister in the Samajwadi Party government, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) charge sheet has revealed. The ED had filed a charge sheet against Prajapati on April 8 before the Special PMLA court in Lucknow. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=822697  (11 April 2021)

Image Amar Ujala

तेज रफ्तार ट्रक ने 5 लोगों को कुचला चित्रकूट जिले में बड़ा सड़क हादसा हुआ है। हादसे में तीन लोगों की मौत हो गई है। जबकि दो लोग गंभीर रूप से घायल हो गए हैं, जिन्हें अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया है। घटना राजपुर थाना इलाके के पांडे पुरवा के पास की है। शुक्रवार (March 26) देर रात यहां ट्रक का पंक्चर बना रहे लोगों को दूसरे ट्रक ने कुचल दिया। हादसे में दो लोगों की मौके पर मौत हो गई। जबकि एक व्यक्ति की अस्पताल ले जाते समय मौत हो गई। दो लोगों का इलाज चल रहा है। जानकारी के अनुसार, दोनों ट्रकों में बालू भरी है। घटना से गुस्साए ग्रामीणों ने शनिवार (March 27) सुबह चक्का जाम कर दिया है। ग्रामीणों ने ओवरलोडिंग पर रोक लगाने और आरोपी ट्रक चालक के खिलाफ कड़ी कार्रवाई की मांग की है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/kanpur/big-road-accident-in-chitrakoot-truck-crushed-five-people  (27 March 2021) 

राजापुर थाना अंतर्गत रायपुर गांव के पठानपुरवा तिराहे में 26 मार्च को ट्रक की टक्कर से घायल युवक की मौत इलाज के दौरान शुक्रवार (April 9) की रात प्रयागराज स्थित अस्पताल में हो र्गई। मृतक ट्रक का खलासी था। बताते चलें कि सड़क किनारे ट्रक खड़ा कर रात को मिस्त्री बना रहे थे। तभी सामने से ट्रक आया और ट्रक मालिक शंकर सुमन, मिस्त्री राजू मौर्या, ग्रामीण रण विजय सिंह, खलासी चमन समेत पांच को टक्कर मारते हुए निकल गया। इसमें खलासी चमन लाल को छोड़कर अन्य तीन की मौत घटनास्थल पर हो गई। जबकि चित्रकूट के राजापुर थाना के रायपुर बांगर गांव निवासी खालसी चमन खान (18) गंभीर रूप से घायल हो गया था। उसे इलाज के लिए प्रयागराज में एक प्राइवेट अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया था। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/jaunpur/sand-loaded-truck-overturns-on-bike-two-killed-jaunpur-news-vns576261156  (10 April 2021) 

चंदौली: कार पर पलटा बालू लदा ट्रक, पेशकार की मौत चंदौली जिले की कोर्ट में पेशकार के पद पर तैनात सुनील कुमार चतुर्वेदी की शुक्रवार (26 March) को सड़क दुर्घटना में मौत हो गई। घटना उस वक्त हुई जब वह अपने घर से कोर्ट आ रहे थे। उसी दौरान एक अनियंत्रित ओवरलोड ट्रक उनकी कार पर पलट गई। जिसमें दबकर उनकी मौत हो गई। एनएचआई और पुलिस की घंटों मशक्कत के बाद क्रेन की मदद से ट्रक के नीचे दबे कार को रेस्क्यू कर बाहर निकाला गया। हालांकि तब तक उनकी मौत हो चुकी थी।  https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/chandauli/chandauli-the-truck-overturned-with-sand-the-death-of-the-occupant  (26 March 2021)

Image Amar Ujala

जौनपुर: बालू लदा ट्रक बाइक पर पलटा, दो की मौत मड़ियाहूं कोतवाली क्षेत्र के ऊंचनी कला गांव के पास मंगलवार (Feb. 23) की सुबह दर्दनाक हादसा हुआ। जौनपुर-मड़ियाहूं मार्ग पर बालू लदी ट्रक पलटने से दो बाइक सवार दब गए। हादसे में वृद्ध समेत दो की मौत हो गई। एक शिक्षिका गंभीर रूप से घायल हुई है। जिला अस्पताल में प्रारंभिक उपचार के बाद उसे बीएचयू रेफर कर दिया गया। उसकी हालत भी चिंताजनक बनी हुई है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/jaunpur/sand-loaded-truck-overturns-on-bike-two-killed-jaunpur-news-vns576261156   (23 Feb. 2021)

यमुना में नहाने गया बालक डूबा, मौत This could be due to drowning in deep sand mining pits. पैलानी थाना क्षेत्र के लसड़ा गांव में होली के त्योहार में मातम पसर गया। भाई-बहन के साथ यमुना नदी में नहाने गए बालक की डूबकर मौत हो गई। आठ घंटे बाद उसका शव नदी में उतराता दिखाई दिया। पुलिस ने शव को कब्जे में लेकर पोस्टमार्टम के लिए भेज दिया है। गांव निवासी रामसेवक का आठ साल का बेटा भारत अपने छोटे भाई दानी और बहन मानी के साथ यमुना में नहाने सोमवार (March 29) को गया था। वहां दोनों भाई व बहन डूब गए। पास में ही नहा रहे गांव के राजा सिंह ने उन्हें डूबता देखा और यमुना में छलांग लगा दी। भाई दानी और बहन मानी को तो उसने बचा लिया, लेकिन भारत गहरे पानी में समा गया। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/banda/village-police-yamuna-river-boy-banda-news-knp620609530  (30 March 2021)

Report Tyre blowouts have led to many fatal accidents in UP Worn out tyres, over-speeding, improper air pressure, high temperatures and rampant overloading are believed to be causing an increased number of tyre blowout incidents resulting in fatal accidents in Uttar Pradesh —the state that tops the chart in the number of deaths due to traffic crashes in the country every year.

Save Life Foundation head, Piyush Tewari though there were many other reasons for tyre blowouts, the main among them was overloading of passenger and goods vehicles. “In 2019, overloaded vehicles with improperly secured loads, accounted for about 10% of the total deaths and 8% of total crashes in the country killing 14,320 people,” said Tewari. UP ranks first, both in terms of overloading related crashes and overloading related deaths in the country, he added.

A large number of accidents on the Yamuna Expressway are attributed to tyre blowouts because of excessive friction on the road that allegedly has design faults. Some five years ago, the union ministry of road transport and highways also raised a question mark over the quality of tyres produced in India after frequent accidents were attributed to tyre burst. “All this makes it important to stringently enforce Section 194A of the amended MV Act, which prohibits the use of overloaded vehicles and rationalises fines to Rs 20,000, apart from manufacturing high-quality tyres and making people aware of precautions like checking the air pressure in tyres before movement,” suggested Tiwari. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/tyre-blowouts-have-led-to-many-fatal-accidents-in-up/story-r8ucFbQjOPW112u2Q802ZN.html  (02 Dec. 2020)

Madhya Pradesh Illegal sand truck brushes against vehicle of traffic DSP Amid the tall claims of the government of following no tolerance policy towards mafia the Ujjain police literally had a brush with sand mafia on Thursday (March 19) evening. A truck laden will illegally mined sand overtook the traffic DSP’s vehicle on Thursday (March 18) evening on MR-5, but due to driver’s smartness a big accident was averted as both the vehicles were running at high speed. The DSP chased the truck and stopped the truck. Chimanganj police seized the truck and registered an FIR in the matter. https://www.freepressjournal.in/indore/ujjain-truck-laden-with-illegal-sand-brushes-against-vehicle-of-traffic-dsp  (20 March 2021)

Gujarat 3 teenagers drown in village pond in Bhachau 3 teenagers drowned in a pond in Shikarpur village of Bhachau taluka in Kutch district on Tuesday (March 6) afternoon. The deceased were identified as Prakash Gohel (13), Mukesh Miyatra (13) and Kamlesh Vaghela (15), all residents of Shikarpur village. According to police, the three friends decided to take a dip in the village pond to get relief from the sweltering heat.

However, while bathing the teenagers drowned as the depth of the pond had increased due to sand mining, said police, adding that investigation was on to find out how the trio drowned. Bodies of the teenagers were sent for postmortem and a case of accidental death was registered at Samakhiyali police station.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/three-teenagers-drown-in-village-pond-in-bhachau/articleshow/81937491.cms  (07 April 2021)

Tamil Nadu Ranipet murder: Families refuse to receive bodies, seek compensation Three days after the murder of two Dalit men in Ranipet, their kin and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) members are continuing their protest on Saturday (April 10). The family members in Ranipet are staging a protest, refusing to receive the body, seeking compensation of Rs 1 crore and a government job for the nearest kin. VCK members headed by party chief Thol Thirumavalavan staged a protest at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai seeking the arrest of the accused under Goondas Act.

While the police are denying any political motive behind the attack, the VCK members alleged that the murder was done for political reasons. VCK’s Union secretary Bakiyaraj had earlier told TNM that there was previous enmity between the two groups, as Dalits had complained about sand mining in the area. He said this was exacerbated during the elections as Suryia, who is a VCK member, and Arjunan campaigned for the party candidate. The police on Friday (April 9) arrested two more members in connection with the crime, taking the total number of persons held to six. One of those arrested has been identified as Karthi, who is the son of AIADMK district office-bearer. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/ranipet-double-murder-families-refuse-receive-bodies-seek-compensation-146913  (10 April 2021)

Protests have been underway since Wednesday (April 7) night in Ranipet district’s Arokkanam area after two Dalit youths were murdered. The two victims Arjunan (26) from Soghanur village and Suriya (26) from Sembedu village were stabbed to death with knives and bottles while three of their friends -Madhan, Vallarasu, and Soundarajan have been injured. Four members from the Vanniyar community have been arrested in connection to the murders.

Speaking to TNM, Arakkonam VCK’s Union secretary Bakiyaraj alleges that there are clear political and personal motives behind the murders. “There was already previous enmity between the two groups. For over two years now, the Dalit men have been complainting about the sand mining in the region and also about how these trucks are speeding in areas where children reside,” says Bakiyaraj. “During the elections, matters got worse because Suriya and Arjunan were campaigning for the VCK candidate. Suriya is also a member of the party,” he adds. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/ranipet-double-murder-vck-alleges-dalit-men-were-killed-over-political-tensions-146788  (08 April 2021)

Mr. Thirumavalavan claimed that an AIADMK leader in Kaveripakkam was involved in illegal sand mining and they have been opposed by local youth belonging to the Scheduled Castes. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vck-announces-protest-across-tn-against-murders-of-two-dalits/article34279057.ece  (09 April 2021)

Odisha Subarnarekha water level sinks The Subarnarekha river is said to be the lifeline of north Balasore, but its usual water level has been down due to continuous lifting of sand from its riverbed. The riverbed is sinking every year with rampant mining of sand by the Bengal mafia, a report said. The deepening of the riverbed has resulted in massive erosion of its banks at many places and change of its course. The falling water level of the river has caused problems for irrigation of farmlands. River water is out of reach for farmers in the riparian pockets, locals alleged.

It has also impacted the groundwater level in the area. The groundwater has gone down by 100 ft this summer. Many tube wells have been defunct due to shortage of water in the river basin areas, it was alleged. Local people have expressed concern over rampant sand mining in the river and its disastrous consequences over the river water. They had submitted a memorandum to their MLA seeking to save the river.

A 79-km stretch of its riverbed passes through Jaleswar, Basta, Bhograi and Baliapal blocks. Thousands of farmers living in the riparian village along its banks in West Bengal and Odisha have been growing tonnes of vegetables by using its water. Thousands of fishermen also depend on the river. As sand of Subarnarekha has a high demand for construction work, mafia of both the states has been plundering its sand over years. Hundreds of dumpers are deployed to supply sand from the river on a daily basis, thus causing a huge revenue loss for the state government. Reports said, there are 22 illegal sand mines in the river under Jaleswar block. Sand is mined in large quantities almost every day but no action is being taken against the mafia, locals alleged. https://www.orissapost.com/subarnarekha-water-level-sinks/  (11 April 2021) 

Punjab Illegal mining unabated on Sutlej riverbed in Moga Even as administration has banned mining on the Sutlej riverbed till May 30, illegal quarrying is still going on in the area. However, the mining mafia has changed tactics. Earlier, heavy machinery was being used to quarry sand, but, now sand is directly moved to the user, in light of the restrictions imposed by the district administration.

A team of the Mining Department led by District Mining Officer Gursimran Singh Gill and Dharamkot DSP Subeg Singh raided a few such yards at Sanghera and adjoining villages in the past couple of days and found huge quantities of stocked sand. However, no legal action was taken against the owners of the houses and the big fish involved in illegal mining activities. Gill admitted that he went to Sanghera and its adjoining villages and found sand dumped in many houses. During a checking of the records, it was found that the sand was bought by the residents from the authorised contractors. However, locals alleged that the mining sites authorised by the government had not been operational for past many months.

District Magistrate Sandeep Hans confirmed that he had banned the movement/plying of JCB machines, trucks and tractor-trailers on the riverbed and within 500 metre radius of the river embankments. Jaspinder Kaur, sarpanch of Takhtuwala village, alleged that illegal mining on the riverbed had been going on unabated for the past many years. There were also reports of excessive sand mining even from the approved quarries. The mining beyond permitted depth with the help of heavy machinery has led to extensive damage, she said. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/illegal-mining-unabated-on-sutlej-riverbed-in-moga-235041  (06 April 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Manipur Loktak faces fresh threats Loktak lake stretching up to 35 kilometres in length is being handed over to the hospitality industry. But fishermen wonder why they need to be evicted to make way for a few hundred seasonal tourists. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/the-lake-sharks-of-manipur-all-set-to-swallow-loktak-the-largest-freshwater-lake-in-the-ne  (09 April 2021)

Kerala Kochi’s disappearing mangroves lock away significant carbon Kochi in Kerala can store significant amounts of carbon for the long-term despite being heavily fragmented, according to a study. But they need immediate attention. Crab density, mangrove leaf litter and mangrove biomass shape the carbon sequestration potential of Kochi’s mangrove habitats. Mangrove habitats converted into aquaculture had very low carbon sequestration potential, found the study. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/04/kochis-disappearing-mangroves-lock-away-significant-carbon/  (07 April 2021)

Maharashtra Greens oppose landfills on Uran wetland Environmentalists have protested over the resumption of landfill on mangroves and wetlands under Navi Mumbai SEZ in Uran with the contractors taking advantage of the absence of official surveillance due to the current lockdown. The Bombay high court appointed Mangrove and Wetland Committee had earlier halted the landfill by NMSEZ at Pagote and Bhendkhal, while the state environment minister Aditya Thackeray asked for stopping construction at Panje wetland by the project.

B N Kumar, director of NGO NatConnect Foundation, said he has moved the HC committee and the state government to stop the landfill forthwith. “We have also sought details of permissions, if any, granted to NMSEZ for the landfill,” Kumar said and pointed out that such construction requires coastal zone clearances. The high court has explicitly banned the killing of mangroves. The halting of construction by the HC panel and the government clearly shows that the landfill is illegal, NatConnect said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-despite-lockdown-mangroves-destruction-restarts-in-uran/articleshow/82008031.cms  (10 April 2021)

Bihar कचरा डंपिग के स्त्रोत बने तालाब लगभग दो दशक पूर्व शहर में दर्जन भर ऐसे तालाब थे जिससे लोग नहाने कपड़ा धोने व रोजमर्रा के काम करते थे। लेकिन आज उन तालाबों का पानी प्रदूषित हो गया है तालाब में मौजूद कचरा व अन्य पदार्थों की रासायनिक क्रिया से यह जहरीला पानी अब उपयोग के लायक नहीं है। https://www.jagran.com/bihar/rohtas-environment-in-crisis-21531183.html  (05 April 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

Karnataka Puttur’s new check dams are cheaper, more durable  Shree Padre writes on Puttur’s check dams: The Neera Nemmadige Padre held a ‘Katta Utsava’ (Katta Festival) in 2020. It was Kasargod Development Package that picked up the idea. It plans to hold a check dam festival every two years to create awareness and encourage the building of check dams. The KDP is a special development programme for the district by the state government. A KDP team consisting of engineers from the Minor Irrigation Department and officers of the Soil Conservation Department visited Marike’s check dam in January last year. After studying it carefully they approved three innovative check dam designs for mass implementation in the district. Marike’s is one of them. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/rural-reporter/the-new-check-dams-of-puttur/  (03 April 2021)

Rejuvenation of Bengaluru’s Mahadevapura Lake through a collaboration with Corporates and Civic Authorities. https://cddindia.org/wp-content/uploads/Mahadevapura-Lake-2021.pdf

Bihar A well weds banyan tree! Interesting, how entire villages in Bihar and Jharkhand get together to organise this Kuan Vivah to get blessings from Nature and also clean up local water sources. https://en.gaonconnection.com/well-wedding-jharkhand-bihar-water/  (05 April 2021)

The tradition of kuan vivah, or getting a well married is not very rare in interior villages in these states. Photo: By arrangement/ Gaon Connection

Punjab Patiala village uses unique method to treat wastewater The wastewater treatment plant in Dhingi village uses the Seechewal method to use treated wastewater for irrigation and prevent further pollution of groundwater. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/patiala-village-uses-unique-method-to-treat-wastewater-76345  (07 April 2021)

GROUNDWATER

Kerala Groundwater level shows falling trend  The erratic behaviour of two monsoons in 2020 has affected the groundwater levels in the state. According to a report by the state groundwater department, 80% of the monitoring wells showed a falling trend in November 2020 compared to the previous year. The report points out that 81 % of observation dug wells, 84 % of bore wells and 72% of tube wells recorded a falling trend compared to the previous year which had recorded a slight rise in levels.

The report is based on the monthly recordings of selected wells in the state. The main recordings were conducted during the pre-monsoon period in April and the post-monsoon period in November. While on paper, the state did not record high monsoon deficiency, it did not see the trend of heavy rains in June and July. Moreover, the rains tapered off in August and September. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/groundwater-level-shows-falling-trend/articleshow/82009911.cms  (11 April 2021)

Tamil Nadu Groundwater quality deteriorating in industrial areas: CSE The most serious pollution threat to groundwater was from calcium, chloride and iron, associated with sewage and pollution from tannery waste. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/pollution/groundwater-quality-deteriorating-in-tamil-nadu-s-industrial-areas-cse-76217  (31 March 2021)

Telangana Good groundwater levels may help avoid water tankers this summer The ground water level in the state has witnessed a net rise of 2.16m in the month of March 2021 compared to the same month last year. While Sangareddy recorded the maximum improvement in ground water level, Bhupalpally district saw the least change in the ground water level. When the data from March this year is compared to the same month last year, the rise in ground water level has been observed in 27 districts in the state and a fall has been recorded in the other six districts.

In Hyderabad, the ground water level in March 2020 was 9.39 m bgl (below ground level). A year later, in March 2021, the levels have improved to 7.12 m bgl. To simplify the numbers, it means that in the month of March 2021, the groundwater could be tapped if one dug 7.12 m bgl. This is higher than what it used to be exactly a year ago and this means that the ground water level has improved. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/good-ground-water-levels-telangana-may-help-avoid-water-tankers-summer-146666  (06 April 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Free bore well scheme deplete groundwater? Under the Jalakala scheme, the government will dig free bore wells to provide small and marginal farmers access to water. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/article/will-andhra-pradeshs-free-bore-well-scheme-deplete-groundwater  (10 April 2021)

URBAN WATER

SANDRP Blog Revival Of Hauz Khas Lake, Delhi: A Pioneering Adventure of INTACH In this Guest Blog, Manu Bhatnagar (Principle Director, Natural Heritage Division, INTACH) describes the rare success story of revival of an Urban Water Body, the Hauz Khas Lake of Delhi here. The story is spread over more than two decades. Plz Read, Share. https://sandrp.in/2021/04/09/revival-of-hauz-khas-lake-delhi-a-pioneering-adventure-of-intach/  (09 April 2021)

Bengaluru Cauvery water is a pipe dream in the periphery The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has been promptly sending their employees to collect water connection charges from thousands of residents in the City’s peripheral areas with the promise of supplying Cauvery water. In reality, a majority of the households that have spent a lot as pro-rata charges are yet to receive a drop of Cauvery water. Some houses get piped water once a week but that is not enough even for a day.

Going by BWSSB’s action plan, the situation in the erstwhile 110 villages – which were added to the BBMP in 2008 – will be no different for the next three-four years. Reason: the water board may have completed the work of laying the 2,770-km-long water distribution lines in these areas but the work on laying large pipelines needed to fetch the additional 750 MLD of water from Cauvery has just begun. The Rs 5,550-crore project, Cauvery Water Supply Scheme Phase V, is expected to be commissioned only in 2024, which itself is an ambitious target. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/cauvery-water-is-a-pipe-dream-in-the-periphery/articleshow/81977268.cms  (09 April 2021)

Summer soars and so does water tanker price Each tanker now costs anywhere between Rs 500- 900 for supplying 6,000 litres of water. The charges depend on the proximity as well as the locality. While BWSSB supplies piped water to 7.4 lakh houses by pumping 1,440 MLD of water from Cauvery, it is insufficient in the areas which receive Cauvery water and hence, residents are dependent on water tankers.

On the other hand, around 110 villages in the periphery of the city, which are yet to receive Cauvery water connection, are either dependent on borewell water or water tankers. But with borewells drying up in many parts due to low water tables, the latter is the only option left to help meet the daily water requirement.

Despite being an expensive affair, there is still no guarantee of the quality of water supplied through the tankers. Though there are around 1,200 tankers in the city, only 200 have obtained trade licenses from BBMP. There was also an old proposal to check the water quality, which has not been practised yet. There was also a proposal to draw the price list for water tankers, which was never implemented.

BWSSB claims that due to good rainfall last year, there is no shortage of water from the reservoirs. According to BWSSB officials, there is 23.23 TMC storage of water in KRS and 9.15 TMC in Kabini. As Bengaluru requires 1.6 TMC of water every month, it would require close to five TMC for summer months and that amount of water is available in the reservoirs. The Cauvery fifth phase, which draws 775 MLD of water to supply 110 villages, is likely to be completed in 2023-24.  https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/summer-soars-and-so-does-water-tanker-price/articleshow/81937589.cms  (07 April 2021)

Hyderabad Water bodies dying a slow death According to data available with the State Pollution Control Board pertaining to water bodies, Hussainsagar – spread across 5.7 sq km – is one of the most polluted in Hyderabad. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2021/mar/22/thanks-to-pollution-and-unplanned-urbanisation-hyderabad-water-bodies-dying-a-slow-death-2279819.html  (22 March 2021)

Delhi Govt Goes Against HC Decision In 2013, a petition was filed in Delhi high court to take action against encroachers of ponds, lakes and water bodies in villages. Following this, the court passed an order that water bodies in the national capital should be allocated to villagers for their everyday use because water bodies are not only meant for communities but also for preserving the environment. All deputy commissioners were directed that none of the water bodies should be allocated for land construction in future.

In Delhi’s Budella, the government is building Sahitya Kala Parishad on a dried-up water body. The Wire’s journalist Yaqut Ali spoke to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Mahendra Yadav over this issue along with the villagers. Yadav told The Wire that “he respects the court’s verdict and the construction should be immediately stopped if the court has passed such an order”. The villagers told The Wire that they want the water body to be revived. Paras Tyagi, co-founder of CYCLE told The Wire that he approached government officials, including deputy CM, over this issue, but didn’t get any reply from them. https://thewire.in/government/watch-aap-govt-goes-against-delhi-hc-decision-on-construction-on-water-bodies  (23 April 2021)

WATER POLLUTION

Implementing Faecal Sludge & Septage Management According to the World Economic Forum, India’s urban areas produce around 1.2 lakh tonnes of faecal sludge on a daily basis, and about two-thirds of the country’s households with toilets aren’t connected to the sewer system. https://swachhindia.ndtv.com/world-water-day-2021-valuing-water-by-implementing-faecal-sludge-and-septage-management-and-eliminating-water-pollution-57605/  (23 March 2021)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Interview  Dr Ramesh Mansukhani, Chairman of Man Industries India Ltd For some “stakeholders” who are happy about Nal Se Jal and ILR “Nal se Jal programme under Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide piped water connections to every household by 2024 and is the major driver for our sector. The government plans to spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore on this scheme in the next 5 years; a good part of it would trickle down to investments in large diameter pipes. Furthermore, the Indian National River Inter-link project Capex of Rs 5.6 lakh crore would also bring additional opportunities for us (with Ken-Betwa river linking, kick-starting it). All these initiatives should translate into a good business opportunity in the coming years.”  https://www.dsij.in/DSIJArticleDetail/ArtMID/10163/ArticleID/17813/In-interaction-with-Dr-Ramesh-Chandra-Mansukhani-Chairman-of-Man-Industries-India-Ltd  (05 April 2021)

The real value of water by Shiney Varghese Valuing Water is the theme of the 29th World Water Day this year. Valuing Water and Enabling Change also happened to be the theme of the Annual Report of the World Economic Forum’s 2030 Water Resources Group (now hosted by the World Bank) last year. Clearly, no one who ever had to go without a glass of water for a few hours on a hot summer day needs to be told how invaluable water is. In fact, we all know that water is essential for life itself. There is the truism water is life! So, why this emphasis on “valuing” water?  https://countercurrents.org/2021/04/the-real-value-of-water/  (06 April 2021)

Ladakh Rural households to get tap water connection by 2022 The Union Territory of Ladakh plans to provide tap water connections to 32,514 households in the current financial year and remaining 11,568 households by next year, as part of its target to cover all rural households by 2022.

This comes in the backdrop of India’s 38% rural population been covered under the marquee Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), with 21.4% rural households been provided with tap water connection since the scheme’s launch in 2019. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/ladakhs-rural-households-to-get-tap-water-connection-by-2022-11618033469382.html  (10 April 2021)

Odisha Water to cost 10% more from this month   Water users will have to shell out more from this month as the State government has increased its charges by 10 per cent for 2021-22. The government has enhanced the special water tariff and licence fee for drawal and use of water at the rate of 10 pc per annum as per the Odisha Irrigation (Amendment) Rules-2016. The new water rate has been enforced from April 1. 

As per the notification issued by Water Resources department, the new water rate from this month will be Rs 6.3 against last year’s Rs 5.88 for every 1,000 litre for industries where the consumption is below five cusec and Rs 8.4 against last year’s Rs 7.84 for industries where water consumption is five cusec or more.  The government has also hiked water rate for hydro power plants for every KWH of power generated from 1 paise to 1.5 paise.

The water rate for bulk supply to municipalities, NACs and clusters of villages for drinking and washing purpose will now cost 37.5 paise for every 1,000 litre against 35 paise charged earlier.  On the other hand, water lifted for construction of commercial buildings in the State will now cost Rs 10.65 for every 1,000 litre against Rs 9.94 earlier. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2021/apr/11/water-to-cost-10-per-cent-more-in-odisha-from-this-month-2288623.html   (11 April 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Armed robbers loot Nurpur water scheme’s machinery A gang of armed robbers looted motors, pump operating system and electrical wires at gunpoint from the main Chakki water supply scheme by taking the pump operator hostage. Raman Kumar, an outsourced employee (pump operator) of the Jal Shakti Department, was on night duty at the pump house of the water supply scheme when eight masked men broke open the door of the station at 10.30 pm on Thursday (April 8) and assaulted him with a baseball. The robbers armed with two country-made pistols and a sharp-edged weapon threatened to kill him if he raised the alarm. He said that the robbers loaded the looted machinery on two vehicles and fled.

Kangra SP Vimukat Ranjan told The Tribune that SIT led by the SDPO, Nurpur, had been constituted to probe into the incident. He added that a robbery case had been registered. Amit Dogra, Executive Engineer, Jal Shakti Department, Nurpur division, said that the robbers took away the whole machinery, including electrical components, of the water supply scheme, thereby causing a loss of Rs 18 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. He added that efforts were being made to ensure a temporary standby arrangement to restore the scheme so that urban area residents could get piped water supply soon. Robbers had recently looted the machinery of two water supply schemes in the Nadaun area of Hamirpur district by taking the pump house employee hostage. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/armed-robbers-loot-nurpur-water-schemes-machinery-237458  (11 April 2021)

AGRICULTURE

Soil from hundreds of villages across India was collected and sent to Delhi in the Mitti Satyagraha march (Media India)

Farmers Protests Mitti Satyagraha: Retracing Gandhi’s peaceful battles Week-long protest march led by social activist Medha Patkar that originated from Dandi in Gujarat concluded at Delhi’s Singhu border yesterday. Yet another step in the ongoing protest against new farm laws of the central government, the people from different communities and parts of India could connect with the Mitti Satyagrah since their lives and livelihood depend on land, says Patkar. https://mediaindia.eu/politics/mitti-satyagraha-retracing-gandhis-peaceful-battles/  (07 April 2021)

Maharashtra Why sugarcane is sweet and grapes sour for farmers  More growers turn to cane as lockdown curbs have led to continuous losses. Maharashtra ranks first in terms of grape production, accounting for more than 81 per cent of total production, while in sugarcane cultivation the State stands at No 2. Growers favour sugarcane over other crops currently as they fetch 1.18 times return on their investment. In case of ratoon crop, which is actually cutting the stem and leaving the root part intact, the growers fetch a return of 2.8 times their investment.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices has said that the average net return for sugarcane growers is 10 times the realisation of cotton and gram (chana) put together. Sugar mills in Maharashtra have crushed about 961 lt of sugarcane this season, which is the highest ever in the history of the State and the sugar season still continues. According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), Maharashtra’s net cane area has gone up by about 48 per cent in 2020-21 sugar season. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/why-covid-has-made-sugarcane-sweet-and-grapes-sour-for-maharashtra-farmers/article34262041.ece  (07 April 2021)

Babulal Gandhi’s natural farm  by Rosamma Thomas The 100-acre farm that the extended Gandhi family tends to lies on the leeward side of the Sahyadri mountain ranges – it gets little water from rainfall, and the soil in this land was not very fertile either. Gandhi dug a lake on 25 acres of the farm, and there are now cormorants and peacocks that visit the farm and the lakeside on a daily basis. Even though the lake spreads over a vast area and appears like an abundant source of water, it does not always serve all the needs of the 100-acre farm.

This farm functions with no inputs at all from the chemical fertilizer industry or the manufacturers of pesticides. This keeps input costs low, and the produce that is organically grown is also of superior quality.

There are over 20,000 trees, and when this reporter visited in early March, the chikoos were being harvested. Babulal Gandhi has also constructed a hall and an area for visiting students – there is space to house about 50 children at one time, and offer them meals and a tour of the farm. Students are encouraged to spend about three days on the farm seeing the work that happens there and helping with sowing or harvesting and observing the functioning of the gobar gas unit. To plan a visit, please call Madhavi Gandhi: 9850804940 https://countercurrents.org/2021/04/babulal-gandhi-over-90-years-old-and-still-a-hardy-farmer/  (08 April 2021)

SUMMER 2021

CWC Brief note on live storage status of 130 reservoirs as on 08.04.2021

ALL INDIA STATUS:-As per reservoir storage bulletin dated 08.04.2021, live storage available in these reservoirs is 67.947 BCM, which is 39% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 82.062 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 56.021 BCM.

NORTHERN REGION:- There are 8 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 19.17 BCM. As per Reservoir Storage Bulletin dated 08.04.2021, the total live storage available in these reservoirs is 4.02 BCM which is 21% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 48% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 33% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/08042021-fb.pdf 

Bihar Half of Muzaffarpur district faces acute water crisis Almost half of the population of Muzaffarpur is facing acute water crisis as the water level in the district has gone down by 25 to 30 feet from the normal level. The people from eight out of the total 17 blocks have to roam from one water source to another in search of water as even hand pumps in the area have gone dry or draw water with a lot of difficulty. The condition is worse in areas situated along the rivers passing through the district, especially Burhi Gandak. Even under the limits of Muzaffarpur Municipal Corporation, five to six wards are reeling under acute water shortage. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/bihar-half-of-muzaffarpur-district-faces-acute-water-crisis-101618131380313.html  (11 April 2021)

FLOOD

गमती परियोजना का नक्शा, दिनेश कुमार मिश्र की पुस्तक बागमती की सदगति से साभार।/Monga Bay Hindi

Bihar बाढ़ सुरक्षा के सरकारी प्रयास के विरोध में बागमती के लोग वर्ष 2012 से ही तटबंध बनाये जाने का विरोध कर रहे हैं मुजफ्फरपुर और दरभंगा के 109 गांवों के किसान पर सरकार तटबंध बनाने की पुरजोर कोशिश कर रही. किसानों का मनाना है कि तटबंध के बन जाने से वे उस उपजाऊ मिट्टी से वंचित रह जायेंगे जो हर साल बागमती अपने साथ लाती है। बागमती पर जहां तटबंध बने हैं, वहां के खेतों की उर्वरकता घटी है। वर्ष 2018 में सरकार ने तटबंध बने या ना बने इसपर विचार करने के लिए एक कमेटी भी बनाई पर इस कमेटी से राय लिए बिना फिर पुनः तटबंध बनाने की तैयारी में लग गयी। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2021/04/06/why-farmers-of-bagmati-area-protesting-against-embankment/  (06 April 2021)

Tamil Nadu Check dam across Araniar extended to reduce impact of floods In an effort to mitigate the impact of floods, the Water Resources Department recently completed work on extending the length of the check dam across the Araniar at A. Reddypalayam near Minjur. This is the 10th storage structure across the river that flows for 125 km before its confluence near Pazhaverkadu. Officials said the length of the check dam has been extended by 36 metres from its existing 100 metres and four vents have been provided to allow surplus water to flow out when there is flood in the river during monsoon.

Bunds on this portion of the river often breach and surrounding villages are affected by floods. During 2015, the river carried nearly 58,000 cusecs water and areas upstream were affected due to damages in the bund, officials said. Besides regulating flood water, vents would help clear silt deposits obstructing the free flow in the river. Flood protection walls have been built for a distance of 70 metres. Improvement works had been taken up at a cost of ₹9.7 crore with funds from the Commissionerate of Revenue Administration. An additional 25 million cubic feet (mcft) of water could be stored and the flow in the river could be sustained till summer months. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/check-dam-across-araniar-extended-to-reduce-impact-of-floods/article34086871.ece  (17 March 2021)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Report NEERI chief removed on corruption charges It is necessary in public interest to put all the relevant papers in public domain. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/csir-removes-neeri-head-rakesh-kumar-as-director/article34291163.ece  (11 April 2021)

Tamil Nadu HC stays appointment of former CS as NGT expert member The Madras high court on Friday (April 9) stayed the appointment of former chief secretary of Tamil Nadu Girija Vaidyanathan as an expert member of the NGT. “We are not happy with the qualifications of the person, who has been appointed as an expert member of the tribunal,” the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said while passing the interim order. The issue pertains to a PIL moved by environment conservation NGO Poovulagin Nanbargal challenging the appointment.

– Girija’s complete bio data found in the official website of the union ministry of personnel stated that she does not possess five-year experience in handling environmental matters has been appointed to the post, the NGO alleged. Therefore, it wanted the court to call for the records pertaining to her appointment dated December 12 issued by the union government and quash the same. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/madras-hc-stays-appointment-of-former-chief-secretary-of-tamil-nadu-girija-vaidyanathan-as-an-expert-member-of-ngt/articleshow/81984380.cms  (09 April 2021)

The Madras HC on Friday (Apil 9) stayed the operation of an order passed by the Centre on December 12, 2020, appointing former Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan as an Expert Member of the NGT. The interim stay was granted after it was reported to the court that she had planned to take charge on April 19. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-stays-appointment-of-former-chief-secretary-to-national-green-tribunal/article34286181.ece  (09 April 2021)

MoEF CoI: Centre raps green panel members MoEF in a memorandum issued on Tuesday (March 30) directed members of all Expert Appraisal Committees to give a written undertaking that they do not have any personal interest in any matter being considered by the committee to which they have been appointed. Also, that they have not been involved in any consultancy work/service on the subject matter for which the committee has been constituted for a period of two years prior to their selection.

The notice comes a month after chairman of the CRZ Expert Appraisal Committee Deepak Apte recused himself from the hearing for clearance of additional reclamation for the Mumbai coastal road citing conflict of interest. The EAC granted BMC clearance to reclaim the additional 21 hectares taking the total area to be reclaimed from the sea to 111 hectares. Environmentalist Debi Goenka said the issue of conflict of interest has been known to the ministry since the ’90s and it was surprising it had taken so long to address the issue. He further said, “Apte recused himself this time, but in 2017 he headed the committee that granted the first CRZ clearance for the coastal road. Why was he not conflicted then?” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/conflict-of-interest-centre-raps-green-panel-members/articleshow/81878220.cms  (03 April 2021)

Uttarakhand Forests on the fire There were 989 fire incidents in the forests of the state from October 1,2020-April 4, 2021, according to forest department figures. Some 1,297.43 hectares of forest got burned down in the fires, according to the estimates.There were 470 incidents of fire in Uttarakhand’s forests between November 2020 and January 2021. The figure for the same period in the previous year was 39.  

Uttarkhand received only 10.9 millimetres of rainfall from January-March 2021 against the usual 54.9 mm, a deficit of nearly 80 per cent. The district of Pauri, which has been most affected by fires, received the least amount of rain, a measly 3.1 mm, against the usual 36.6 mm. The deficit in Pauri has been 92 per cent.

Temperatures too have been rising across Uttarakhand and other Himalayan states. The year 2020 was the second consecutive ‘warm’ year for the state. In addition, the first three months of 2021 have been exceptionally warm too. There has less-than-average rainfall during these three months even as the maximum temperature has been above average and has even broken records. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/climate-change-is-real-six-months-on-uttarakhand-forests-still-ablaze-76318  (06 April 2021)

But scientists say that what appears to have been a particularly dry winter, perhaps the driest of the last decade, has exacerbated blazes across the mountains. Neighbouring Nepal has also faced a severe fire season, leaving the capital Kathmandu enveloped in smog. https://www.ft.com/content/a4853b9f-4004-4e2c-85c1-04cf144b6da7  (10 April 2021)

Scientists say the forest fires in some parts of northern India and neighbouring Nepal have been the strongest in the past 15 years. The European Union’s Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) said that Uttarakhand’s forest fires emitted nearly 0.2 mega tonnes of carbon in the past one month, a record since 2003.

Based on the analysis of satellite pictures, it estimated Nepal emitted nearly 18 mega tonnes of carbon in the same period, the highest since 2016 when it emitted 27 mega tonnes of carbon. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56671148  (12 April 2021)

CM calls emergency meet after four killed in forest fire; Centre orders to deploy NDRF team. https://www.freepressjournal.in/india/uttarakhand-cm-rawat-calls-emergency-meet-after-four-killed-in-forest-fire-centre-orders-to-deploy-ndrf-team  (04 April 2021)

‘Over 50% van panchayats dysfunctional Uttarakhand has only 5,500 van panchayats (VPs) functional ones out of 11,522. Even though the VPs were formed in the hills in 1931 under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, to empower villagers to look after and protect the forests in their area, their powers have been repeatedly curtailed with successive amendments to the Act in 1976, 2001, 2005 and 2012. Although around 7.32 lakh hectares forest area in the state is currently estimated to be under the van panchayats, it has been almost a decade now that at least half of the VPs are yet to undergo elections, a senior official of the state forest department said.

“Bageshwar has 824 VPs and only 100 have received funds of Rs 10,000 per panchayat to douse fires. Similarly, Champawat has 700 VPs and none of them have received funds. The locals use twigs and traditional methods to douse forest fires. Even till date, nothing has been modernised,” said Puran Singh Rawat, president, Van Panchayat Sarpanch Union of Bageshwar. Uttarakhand’s first van panchayat was established in Almora, and its present sarpanch Anand Kumar also agrees that a lot more needs to be done. “We need proper equipment to douse fires. VPs are ill-equipped to counter any kind of emergency be it forest fires or wild animal attacks,” Kumar said.

When contacted, principal chief conservator of forests, van panchayat, Jyotsna Sitling, said, “The VPs have already been sanctioned more than Rs 11 crore in 2020-21. Almost all the VPs have been provided funds under various schemes. We are planning amendments in the VP policy in favour of the villagers so that they generate livelihood through the forest and also ensure their conservation.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/over-50-van-panchayats-dysfunctional-in-uttarakhand/articleshow/81975301.cms  (09 April 2021)

A look at VPs Out of the total area of 51,125 sq km in Uttarakhand, about 71.05% of the land is covered in forests. Of this, 13.41% forest area comes under the management of the Van Panchayats and there are 12,167 of these all over the state, the 2020-21 Uttarakhand Economic Survey says.  https://www.101reporters.com/article/environment-The_Promise_Of_Commons/Forest_management_by_people_for_people_A_look_at_Van_Panchayats_of_Uttarakhand  (09 April 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Fighting forest fires after prolonged dry spell The prolonged dry spell this year has sparked off fires in the chir pine forests of the lower hills of Himachal Pradesh with 845 such incidents reported in April in Shimla, Solan, Mandi, Sirmaur, Bilaspur, Kangra and Hamirpur districts. The raging fire, which causes extensive damage to flora and fauna, has the forest department on its toes. In the past two months, more than 8,455.2 hectares of forest land has been destroyed due to the fire.

Himachal Pradesh frequently witnesses forest fires during the dry weather as pines shed resinous needles that are inflammable. February recorded a rain deficit of 82% and March witnessed a deficit of 62%. “Two months have been dry, and the incidents of forest fires have increased as there is less moisture on the ground and temperatures have begun rising,” state forest minister Rakesh Pathania said.

Official data shows that 2018 was the worst year of forest fires with 2,469 incidents reported. It was the highest in eight years in which nearly 25,300 hectares of forest land in the state was burnt. In 2012-13, the second worst year, pine forests over 20,773 hectares were destroyed with a total of 1,798 fires reported. The state forest department has drawn up a policy for converting the chir pine waste into combustible bricks. Besides, it has deployed 6,000 members of the forest staff as fire watchers for the timely dousing of flames. It now plans to conduct aerial surveys to take stock of the situation. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/himachal-fighting-forest-fires-after-prolonged-dry-spell-101617693978424-amp.html  (06 April 2021)

Odisha State lost 18.5 million trees to road widening in a decade A whopping 18.5 million trees have been felled for widening of roads whereas the loss has been compensated with the planing of only 2.9 million trees in Odisha in the past decade. The astronomical tree felling numbers came to light when Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha on Tuesday (March 25) furnished a reply in the State Assembly to a query on how many trees had been felled in road expansion projects. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-lost-185-million-trees-to-road-widening-in-a-decade/article34199198.ece  (30 March 2021)

Goa Authority showed green flag to 99.3% felling tree cut requests The PIL filed by Living Heritage Foundation has also stated that Goa has lost over 77,000 trees as the Tree Authority in the two districts of the state has failed to ensure replantation of the trees by the applicants who were allowed to fell trees. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/goa/rti-goa-authority-showed-green-flag-to-99-3-felling-tree-cut-requests-7267493/  (10 April 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study What a Glacial River Reveals About the Greenland Ice Sheet In a new study, published April 5 in Geophysical Research Letters, the authors concluded that the one important factor influencing the speed of a sliding glacier in southwest Greenland was how quickly water pressure changed within cavities at the base of the ice where meltwater met bedrock. “Even if the cavities are small, as long as the pressure is ramping up very fast, they will make the ice slide faster,” said Dr. Laurence C. Smith, a professor of environmental studies and Earth, environmental, and planetary sciences at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

It’s the first time observations directly from field research show how changes in the volume of water under the Greenland Ice Sheet drive the flow velocities of a glacier. The findings contradict a long-held view about ice sliding velocities and water stored under a glacier known as steady-state basal sliding law, which has helped scientists predict how fast ice sheets will slide based on the total volume of water underneath the ice. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2021/what-a-glacial-river-reveals-about-the-greenland-ice-sheet  (05 April 2021)

Climate change is forcing Indians to migrate far from home As the impacts of climate change become more visible, millions of Indians living in climate-sensitive regions are migrating to urban areas. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/big-story/climate-change-and-migration-indians-search-for-greener-pastures-111617348170986.html  (03 April 2021)

Odisha 7 villages vanishing from map According to a study conducted by the National Centre for Coastal Research in Chennai, Odisha lost 28 per cent of its 550-km coastline to the sea between 1990 and 2016. Kendrapara alone lost 31 km.

Until almost a decade ago, farming and fishing were the main sources of livelihood. But the sea rapidly swallowed several homes and farm land and increased the salinity of soil, rendering acres infertile. Like Sahoo, a majority of the youths took up jobs in other states like Kerala, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/hand-pump-buried-in-sand-temple-without-deity-seven-villages-start-vanishing-from-odisha-map-7260433/  (06 April 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

India-China Concerns over China’s dam In India Key message: But the plan was short on details, a timeframe or budget. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/chinas-plans-for-mega-dam-in-tibet-on-brahmaputra-river-raises-concern-in-india-2410971  (11 April 2021)

This says China prepares to launch new mega hydroelectric dam in July. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96steiE276s  (09 April 2021)

ASIA

Indonesia More Than 90 Dead In Indonesia, East Timor Floods; Dozens Missing Tropical cyclone Seroja pounded Indonesia and East Timor Monday (April 5) after torrential rains triggered floods and landslides that have killed at least 91 people and left dozens missing. Indonesia’s disaster agency said at least 70 people have been killed, with another 70 missing.

Fatal landslides and flash floods are common across the Indonesian archipelago during the rainy season. January saw flash floods hit the Indonesian town of Sumedang in West Java, killing 40 people. And last September, at least 11 people were killed in landslides on Borneo.

The disaster agency has estimated that 125 million Indonesians — nearly half of the country’s population — live in areas at risk of landslides. The disasters are often caused by deforestation, according to environmentalists.  https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/indonesia-and-timor-leste-flash-floods-kill-more-than-70-2406250  (05 April 2021)

Damaged by flash floods, landslides At least 44 people have been killed after flash floods and landslides swept an island in Indonesia’s easternmost province on Sunday morning. Hours before people woke up to celebrate Easter Sunday (April 4), torrential rain resulted in flash floods in the Catholic-majority Flores Island. Mud inundated homes, while bridges and roads in the eastern end of the island were destroyed.

“There are 44 people dead with nine injured” in East Flores regency, and “many … are still under the mud”, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati told AFP news agency. Rescue officials expect the death toll to rise as they are struggling to reach the remote and worst-hit area in East Flores regency because of rains and strong waves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGV8WzGaaU4  (04 April 2021)

MEKONG Laos Chinese Dams Unleash Mekong Waters on Laos During ‘Dry’ Season  Chinese dams on the Mekong River have begun releasing water during the river’s normal dry season, causing trouble for wildlife, farmers and fishermen in Laos, sources in the Southeast Asian country told RFA. Fluctuating water levels in Southeast Asia’s most important waterway pose threats to aquatic plants and fish, which thousands of people living along the Mekong in Laos rely on for their livelihood. A fisherman from Laos’ northwestern Xayaburi province told RFA that a sudden change in water level was bad for fish stocks. A farmer from the same province said the unpredictable water levels made his work difficult. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/dams-04052021175346.html  (05 April 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Dole Fined $20,000 For ‘Significant’ Safety Risks Posed By Wahiawa Dam  The state’s land board fined Dole Food Company Hawaii $20,000 on Friday (April 9) for failing to safely maintain the Wahiawa dam, which protects Oahu’s North Shore from flooding by Lake Wilson. The more than century-old dam presents a “significant risk to the public today” and Dole has known of that risk for at least 12 years, Carty Chang, the state land agency’s chief engineer, told the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Currently, the spillway at Lake Wilson can only handle about half of the estimated flooding in a worst-case scenario storm, Chang said. However, Dole General Manager Dan Nellis challenged DLNR engineers’ assertions that the Wahiawa dam was not safe.  https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/04/dole-fined-20000-for-significant-safety-risks-posed-by-wahiawa-dam/  (09 April 2021)

Toxic wastewater reservoir on verge of collapse Hundreds of residents in Manatee County, Florida, were ordered to evacuate their homes over Easter weekend as officials feared that a wastewater pond could collapse “at any time.” On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the area. County officials said the pond, located at the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant, had a “significant leak”. “A portion of the containment wall at the leak site shifted laterally,” said Manatee Director of Public Safety Jake Saur, “signifying that structural collapse could occur at any time.”

As of Monday afternoon, the leaks have not been fixed, according to officials. Thermal imaging from a drone on Sunday night identified “a number of sites” in one concentrated area in the eastern wall of the south pond where temperatures indicated that water was seeping through. The most visible breach continues to be the one at the southeast corner.  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-state-of-emergency-wastewater-leak-verge-catastrophe/  (06 April 2021)

Review Applications of UASs in Hydrology Abstract: In less than two decades, UASs (unmanned aerial systems) have revolutionized the field of hydrology, bridging the gap between traditional satellite observations and ground-based measurements and allowing the limitations of manned aircraft to be overcome. With unparalleled spatial and temporal resolutions and product-tailoring possibilities, UAS are contributing to the acquisition of large volumes of data on water bodies, submerged parameters and their interactions in different hydrological contexts and in inaccessible or hazardous locations. This paper provides a comprehensive review of 122 works on the applications of UASs in surface water and groundwater research with a purpose-oriented approach. Concretely, the review addresses: (i) the current applications of UAS in surface and groundwater studies, (ii) the type of platforms and sensors mainly used in these tasks, (iii) types of products generated from UAS-borne data, (iv) the associated advantages and limitations, and (v) knowledge gaps and future prospects of UASs application in hydrology. The first aim of this review is to serve as a reference or introductory document for all researchers and water managers who are interested in embracing this novel technology. The second aim is to unify in a single document all the possibilities, potential approaches and results obtained by different authors through the implementation of UASs. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/13/7/1359?fbclid  (01 April 2021)

GERD Talks collapse on Ethiopia’s Nile dam The latest round of talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) appeared to have broken down on April 6, 2021. The three sides are all seeking to find some common ground but Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ethiopia had a “lack of political will to negotiate in good faith.” Hosted by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa, the meeting between the three countries’ foreign ministries began on Sunday and were extended into a third day on Tuesday. A Congolese mediator said Sudan had objected to the terms of a draft communique, news agency AFP reported. “Ethiopia and Egypt accepted the terms contained in the draft final communique. But Sudan felt that its interests in the River Nile were at threat,” the DRC source, who spoke on condition of anonymity said. https://www.dw.com/en/talks-collapse-on-ethiopias-nile-dam/a-57110429  (06 April 2021)

All options open Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas said Khartoum is open to all options, including resorting to the UN Security Council, regarding the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile river following the failure of the latest round of talks. “Filling of the dam without a deal directly threatens Sudan and exposes the lives of 20 million citizens living below the dam to danger,” he noted. He went on to saythat “this is not a matter of propaganda or media intimidation, but a description of the facts, as the storage capacity of Sudan’s Al-Rusaires Dam is 7 billion cubic metres and it is only 15 km from the GERD whose storage capacity is 74 billion cubic metres”. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=821663&fbclid  (08 April 2021)

Senior leader of the Houthis in Yemen Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi on Friday (April 9) proposed a five-term initiative to mend the rift between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt regarding the Renaissance Dam crisis, Rai Al- Youm reported. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210410-renaissance-dam-houthis-propose-mediation-for-ethiopia-sudan-egypt/  (10 April 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 05 April 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 29 March 2021

Follow us on: www.facebook.com/sandrp.in; https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers      

2 thoughts on “DRP NB 12 Apr 2021: Meghalaya, Himachal, MP people oppose Dam & Hydro projects

  1. “अल्मोड़ा। वनाग्नि से निकल रहा ब्लैक कार्बन हिमालय के लिए बहुत खतरनाक साबित हो रहा है। यह ग्लेशियरों को तेजी से पिघला रहा है और उसके पिघलने की सालाना वृद्धि दर को बढ़ा रहा है। अनुमान है कि यह ग्लेशियरों को ढाई मीटर तक और पीछे खिसका सकता है।
    हिमालय में मौजूद ग्लेशियर हर साल पिघलकर पीछे की ओर खिसक रहे हैं। वैज्ञानिकों के अनुसार ग्लेशियरों में कहीं पर ज्यादा और कहीं पर कम बर्फ का जमाव होता है।
    जहां कम बर्फ का जमाव होता है वहां करीब 17 मीटर तक और जहां ज्यादा बर्फ का जमाव होता है वहां करीब आठ मीटर तक बर्फ पिघलने की वजह से ग्लेशियर हर साल पीछे की ओर चले जाते हैं। वनाग्नि के बाद यह स्थिति और ज्यादा चिंताजनक होती जा रही है।
    कोसी कटारमल स्थित जीबी पंत हिमालय पर्यावरण संस्थान के पर्यावरण वैज्ञानिक डा. जेसी कुनियाल बताते हैं कि ब्लैक कार्बन 0.5 माइक्रोन के छोटे आकार होता है।
    जंगल की आग की वजह से पैदा हो रहा ब्लैक कार्बन हवा के माध्यम से भारी मात्रा में उड़कर हिमालय तक पहुंच रहा है और वहां बर्फ पर जम रहा है।
    यह गर्मी को ज्यादा अवशोषित करता है, जिससे बर्फ ज्यादा गति से पिघलने लगती है। बताया कि यही कारण है कि वनाग्नि की वजह से ग्लेशियरों के पिघलने की दर बढ़ रही है।
    इनके पिघलने में 10 से 15 प्रतिशत तक की और बढ़ोत्तरी हो रही है। इस वजह से वनाग्नि के प्रभाव से इस साल ग्लेशियर करीब 0.8 मीटर से लेकर 2.5 मीटर तक और अधिक पीछे की ओर जा सकते हैं।”

    ” गंगोत्री धाम में गंगा भागीरथी नदी तल में जमा भारी मलबे के कारण तटवर्ती बस्ती पर खतरा मंडरा रहा है। नमामि गंगे परियोजना के तहत धाम में गंगा भागीरथी के दाहिने छोर पर तो सुरक्षा दीवार और घाटों का निर्माण कराया जा रहा है, लेकिन दूसरे छोर पर सिर्फ मलबे के ढेर लगाए जा रहे हैं। जिससे गंगा भागीरथी में पानी बढ़ने पर तटवर्ती भवनों के लिए खतरा पैदा होने व स्नान की व्यवस्थाएं प्रभावित होने से तीर्थ पुरोहितों में रोष है।
    बीते सालों में अतिवृष्टि के कारण गंगोत्री धाम में गंगा भागीरथी के नदी तल पर भारी मलबा जमा हो गया है। वर्तमान में यहां नमामि गंगे परियोजना के तहत इंडोरामा चैरिटेबल ट्रस्ट के सीएसआर फंड से वाप कोस कंपनी द्वारा स्नान घाट एवं सुरक्षा दीवारों का निर्माण कराया जा रहा है। इसके तहत गंगा भागीरथी के दाहिने छोर पर ही सुरक्षा दीवार एवं घाट बनवाए जा रहे हैं, जबकि दूसरे छोर की बस्ती को भगवान भरोसे छोड़ दिया गया है। जबकि बीते सालों में गर्मी एवं बरसात के सीजन में गंगा भागीरथी में पानी बढ़ने पर हुए कटाव से बाएं छोर की बस्ती के दर्जनों भवन खतरे की जद में है।
    गंगोत्री निवासी रविंद्र सेमवाल, शैलेष सेमवाल, सत्येंद्र सेमवाल, विपिन सेमवाल, दिनेश सेमवाल आदि तीर्थ पुरोहितों ने बताया कि गंगोत्री में चल रहे घाट एवं सुरक्षा दीवार निर्माण के लिए मौनी बाबा आश्रम वाले हिस्से में खुदाई कर गंगा भागीरथी के प्रवाह को दूसरी ओर मोड़ा गया है। साथ ही नदी के बाएं छोर वाले हिस्से में मलबे के ढेर लगाए जा रहे हैं, जिससे नदी में पानी बढ़ने पर इस बस्ती के लिए खतरा बढ़ गया है। उन्होंने डीएम को पत्र लिखकर गंगोत्री में व्यवस्थित ढंग से कार्य कराने व नदी के दूसरे छोर पर भी सुरक्षा दीवार एवं स्नान घाट का निर्माण कराने की मांग की है।”

    “हिमाचल के सभी जिलों की 3615 पंचायतों में अप्रैल में ग्राम सभाएं होंगी। जिलों के  पंचायत अधिकारी ग्राम सभाओं की तारीख निर्धारित करेंगे। इसके अनुसार ही पंचायतों में ग्राम सभा कराई जाएँगी। राज्य में हर तीन माह के अंतराल में ग्राम सभाएं होती हैं। ये ग्राम सभाएं जनवरी, अप्रैल, जुलाई और अक्तूबर में होती हैं। प्रदेश में अप्रैल में ग्राम सभा होंगी। इन ग्राम सभाओं में नई गठित पंचायतों के क्षेत्रों में विकास कार्यों को भी मंजूरी दी जानी है।
    इसके साथ ही नए पंचायत घरों की जमीन को लेकर भी फैसले लिए जाने हैं। जमीन को मंजूरी के बाद उन पंचायतों में पंचायत घरों का निर्माण भी किया जाना है, जहां अभी तक पंचायत घर नहीं है। ऐेसी पंचायतों में वैकल्पिक व्यवस्था के अनुसार पंचायतों का कामकाज स्कूलों, युवक मंडलों और महिला मंडलों के खाली पड़े कमरों से चलाया जा रहा है। राज्य के पंचायती राज विभाग के अतिरिक्त निदेशक केवल शर्मा ने कहा कि ग्राम सभाएं अप्रैल में होनी हैं। इनकी तारीख जिला पंचायत अधिकारियों को निर्धारित करनी है।”

    Courtesy: amarujala.com

    The first two news are our problems and the third one is the solution.
    (these two are only few of my 100s of collections)
    It’s not policies made inside an aircon room that works for people living in that area, it’s the local knowledge that works in the country’s favour.

    Or else, here are the sequence of events:

    https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/opinion/degradation-of-the-deepest-lake/

    https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2020/12/14/indian-authorities-axe-thousands-of-apple-trees-in-kashmir

    Thank you.

    Like

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