DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 28 June 2021: Where is the impact of lessons of the water conservation efforts that Modi praises, on his government’s water projects and policies?

When the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Mentioned some exemplary water conservation efforts in his Mann ki Baat on June 27, 2021, it was not for the first time he was doing it. These are certainly most welcome.

However, these mentions raise a number of questions. If the Prime Minister considers these local water options as exemplary, which they indeed are, where do we see the reflection of the lessons from such efforts in government programs and policies? In fact why there is no reflection of such lessons in what the government does in water sector? How can the government justify the destruction of Panna Tiger Reserve, over 9000 ha of forests, some 46 lakh trees, the catchment of Ken river and large part of Bundelkhand in the name of Ken Betwa Link Project, in the same Bundelkhand. How can his government justify the destructive projects like the Char Dham Highway, the big hydro projects and so on in the same Uttarakhand where Sachidanand Bharati (who was incidentally recipient of the Bhagirath Prayas Samman of India Rivers Week) works, whose efforts the PM praised? One hope the PM and his government will be awake to the implications and lessons of the works that PM praises.

WATER OPTIONS

Water conservation is ‘service to nation’: PM on Mann Ki Baat PM Narendra Modi on Sunday (June 27) highlighted the importance of water conservation as he addressed the 78th episode of Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio programme. “In the hills, there exists a traditional method of water conservation called Chalkhal. That is, it involves digging a big pit to collect water,” PM Modi said as he gave an example of Satchidanand Bharti, a resident of Pauri in Uttarakhand’s Garhwal district.

“Using this tradition, Satchinand Bharti continuously made small and big ponds… With this, not only the hill of Ufrainkhal became greener, but the problem of drinking water was also solved,” he told his listeners. Bharati has built “more than 30,000 such water ponds” over the years, PM Modi said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/water-conservation-is-service-to-nation-pm-modi-on-mann-ki-baat-101624778809485.html (27 Jun 2021)

He lauded the innovative efforts to conserve water of the residents of Andhav village, Banda district in Uttar Pradesh. Their campaign, known as Khet ka pani khet mein, gaon ka pani gaon mein, has led to increasing the height of bunds in several hundred bighas of fields in the village. As a result, rainwater, prevented from running off, has begun to percolate into the ground.

“These people are also planning to plant trees on the bunds of the fields. Now farmers will get all three – water, trees and money. The village is getting recognised far and wide due to its good work,” he said. https://en.gaonconnection.com/narendra-modi-water-conservation-mann-ki-baat-uttarakhand-uttar-pradesh-monsoon/  (28 June 2021)

Uttarakhand Conserving Water in Himalayas By extensively creating small ponds, trenches and check dams, the Rudraprayag forest division has managed to store around one crore litres of water. The implementation of the idea to conserve rainwater in Rudraprayag has been taken from the traditional ways of chal khal system followed mostly in the Garhwal region. The villagers would dig small percolation pits on every bit of available land on the slopes that surrounded a drain line. The pits prevent water and soil erosion and also increases percolation. The rainwater infiltrates the soil and recharges the groundwater, and ultimately forms a river body.

Mr. Singh said “We have been doing this work for the past two-three years, but last year in particular we did it on a very large scale. Out of all the six ranges in the division, we selected areas which are vulnerable to fires. With the help of funds availed from the State CAMPA and Namami Gange scheme, we made around 1732 check dams of various types ranging from vegetative to crate wires and contour trenches were dug up in 330 hectares of degraded Chir Pine forests. With this, around 612 water bodies of different capacities were created with a total water retention capacity of more than 1 crore litres.” https://indianmasterminds.com/features/change-makers/conserving-water-in-the-himalayas/  (23 June 2021)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Centre Govt to roll out pumped hydro storage policy soon: R K Singh The government will soon announce a pumped hydro storage policy for which 63 projects with 96 GW capacity have already been identified, said power and renewable energy minister R K Singh on June 22, 2021. “We already have about 5,000 MW of installed capacity and 1,500 MW capacity under installation for pumped hydro. We have identified 63 projects with a potential capacity of 96 GW… the policy will encourage pumped storage,” said Singh at a virtual press conference. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/govt-to-roll-out-pumped-hydro-storage-policy-soon-power-renewable-energy-minister-r-k-singh/83743675  (22 July 2021)

Parliamentary panel on glaciers seeks to streamline research, warning systems The committee has been examining glacier management in the country — including the monitoring of glaciers and glacial lakes, particularly glacial lake outbursts leading to flash floods in the Himalayan region — since January this year. The standing committee will now look into the possibility of setting up an inter-nodal agency or mechanism to streamline research as well as warning systems.

“There is a lot of work being done by different institutes in the country and a lot of data on the issue is collected. But all these institutes work in silos and there is no data sharing at all. We will see if it is possible to work towards a convergence of this data on a single platform which will not only help in understanding and monitoring glacial activity, but also help mitigate incidents such as (the avalanche in) Chamoli. We will consider the possibility of setting up an inter-nodal agency for more data sharing,’’ a source said.

Members of the committee also discussed the role of state governments, and how this can shift from a mainly reactive role to a more proactive one in aiding mitigation of disasters.

With inadequate monitoring of glaciers in India right now, the panel discussed the possibility of establishing a separate Centre of Glaciology (currently only the Wadia institute has one department), the establishment of a network of automated weather stations across the Himalayas, the collection of hydrological data and a standardised protocol for local district officials and administration and the possibility of having hydropower project proponents establish their own early warning systems to disseminate warnings to the local population. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/parliamentary-panel-holds-meeting-on-glaciers-seeks-to-streamline-research-warning-systems-7369685/  (22 June 2021)

Uttarakhand अर्ली वार्निंग सिस्टम को सर्वे कराएगी सरकार चमोली जिले के अंतर्गत रैणी में आई आपदा और अब मानसून में डरा रहे नदियों के रौद्र रूप को देखते हुए राज्य में अर्ली वार्निंग सिस्टम विकसित करने की जरूरत शिद्दत से महसूस की जा रही है। सचिव आपदा प्रबंधन एसए मुरुगेशन के अनुसार नदियों के अपर स्ट्रीम में अर्ली वार्निंग सिस्टम के लिए केंद्रीय जल आयोग को पत्र लिखकर प्रस्ताव मांगा गया है। आयोग ने इस संबंध में होने वाले सर्वे के लिए आयोग की सर्वे टीम में आपदा प्रबंधन और सिंचाई विभाग के एक-एक कार्मिक को नामित करने का सुझाव दिया है।

सचिव मुरुगेशन ने बताया कि जल्द ही कार्मिक नामित कर दिए जाएंगे और फिर जल आयोग प्रदेशभर में नदियों की अपर स्ट्रीम में सर्वे करेगा। उन्होंने कहा कि इस सर्वे रिपोर्ट मिलने के पश्चात अर्ली वार्निंग सिस्टम विकसित करने की दिशा में कदम उठाए जाएंगे। इस पहल के आकार लेने पर नदियों के जल स्तर की अपर स्ट्रीम से ही पूरी जानकारी मिलने पर ऊपर से निचले क्षेत्रों तक तुरंत अलर्ट जारी करने में मदद मिलेगी। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/dehradun-city-government-will-conduct-survey-of-early-warning-system-in-uttarakhand-21765711.html  (24 June 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Another tragedy raises ire at hydro projects

The Parbati II hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh, where 27-year-old Amar Chand was killed recently in an accident (Image: Sumit Mahar/Third Pole)

Seema Sharma writes for Third Pole: Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of NGO the SANDRP, told The Third Pole: “Several such accidents at HEP sites and incidents of loss of lives and property have been happening in the Himalayan region due to landslides, massive soil erosion, illegal muck dumping, slope cutting etc, all triggered by these projects. But there is no central and state authority or monitoring mechanism in place. No punitive action is taken against HEP companies for their negligence.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/energy/another-tragedy-raises-ire-at-hydro-projects-in-himachal-pradesh/  (23 June 2021) 

CLC reviews implementation of Labour Laws, Codes with NHPC, BRO ​NHPC Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) and DG Labour Bureau DPS Negi reviewed the status of sensitization and implementation of labour laws and labour codes in NHPC and BRO projects. In separate meetings, Negi enquired about the prevailing labour issues at Parvati-2 and Parvati-3 projects of NHPC at Nagwain. He also studied different activities going on in Parvati Power Station at Bihali.

GMs in-charge of both the projects briefed the CLC-cum-DG Labour regarding compliance with various labour laws. Shri Negi expressed satisfaction about the compliance status of labour laws in the two projects of NHPC. Chief Labour Commissioner and DG, Labour Bureau also visited the Atal tunnel and met senior officials from Border Road Organisation (BRO) and contractors engaged in various activities of the tunnel. https://www.indiainfoline.com/article/news-top-story/clc-reviews-implementation-of-labour-laws-and-new-labour-codes-with-nhpc-and-bro-officials-in-hp-121062200210_1.html (22 Jun 2021)

तांदी बांध संघर्ष समिति ने नितिन गडकरी से मिली जनजातीय जिला लाहौल-स्पीति में लोग जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं के निर्माण पर रोक लगाने की मांग कर रहे हैं। इसको लेकर सामाजिक संस्थाएं और समितियां लगातार निर्माण के खिलाफ आवाज बुलंद कर रही हैं।

शुक्रवार (June 25) को तांदी बांध संघर्ष समिति का प्रतिनिधिमंडल ने केंद्रीय मंत्री नितिन गडकरी से सिस्सू में मिला। प्रतिनिधिमंडल ने ने चिनाब (चंद्राभागा) नदी पर प्रस्तावित 51 छोटी-बड़ी जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं का विरोध किया। समिति ने कहा कि यह इलाका औषधीय पौधों, जड़ी-बूटियों, बेमौसमी सब्जियों, फलों का हब बनने जा रहा है। ऐसे में जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं के निर्माण से विलुप्त होने वाले हिमालयन आईबैक्स, भूरा और काला भालू तथा बर्फानी तेंदुओं पर भी घातक प्रभाव पड़ेगा।

समिति के प्रधान विनोद बताते हैं कि केंद्रीय मंत्री ने आश्वासन दिया है कि वह केंद्र से चिनाब घाटी में प्रस्तावित परियोजनाओं के बारे में चर्चा करेंगे। उन्होंने लाहौल घाटी में पर्यटन को बढ़ावा देने के लिए हर संभव प्रयास करेंगे। उन्होंने कहा कि लाहौल-स्पीति और पांगी क्षेत्र में बहने वाली चिनाब नदी और इसकी सहायक नदियों पर प्रस्तावित जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं से होने वाले सामाजिक, आर्थिक और पर्यावरणीय नुकसान की ओर केंद्रीय मंत्री ध्यान दें। https://www.amarujala.com/himachal-pradesh/kullu/tandi-dam-sangharsh-samiti-meets-nitin-gadkari-kullu-news-sml374866925  (26 June 2021)

Jammu & Kashmir Are New HEPs Economically Viable? While the ecological implications of hydropower projects are not unknown, the government may also have overstated their economic benefits. It’s not easy to calculate the revenue from all projects. For most of them, critical information like project costs and shareholding terms between J&K and the Centre aren’t public.

– In the Ratle project’s first year of operations, 1% of the power produced will be given to J&K. This will be incrementing every year 1% over the next 11 years. And then, for the duration of the project, J&K will receive 12% of the project’s output – of 850 MW – for free. https://science.thewire.in/environment/kashmir-new-ratle-hydroelectric-power-projects-economically-viable/  (24 June 2021)

MoEF Minutes of June 16, 2021 meeting of EAC on River Valley Projects, key decisions:

1. 260 MW Dulhasti-II HEP in an area of 390 ha by NHPC in Dul Village, Dist Kishtwar, Jammu & Kashmir forTerms of Reference: APPROVED

2. Increased Capacity of Karcham Wangtoo HEP from 1000 MW to 1091 MW at village Karcham, Tehsil Nichar, Dist Kinnaur, (Himachal Pradesh) by JSW Hydro Energy Ltd – Amendment in Environmental Clearance: APPROVED

3. 600 MW Tawang-I of in an area of 277.06 ha by NHPC in Jung village, Dist Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh – Extension of Validity of Environmental Clearance: APPROVED

[Shocking decision, the minutes say: The EAC during deliberations noted that the proposal is for extension in validity of EC dated 10th June, 2011 since as per EIA Notification, 2006, the period of validity of EC is 10 years and extendable for 3 years in case PP applies within the expiry date of EC. PP has requested for extension in validity of EC as project could not commence due to non-accord of Forest Clearance (Stage-I) by MoEF&CC. Now, since PP has applied the proposal for extension in EC and considering extendable period is 3 years as per EIA Notification, 2006 and its amendments therein, the EC may be extended till 9th June, 2024. PP has submitted an application no. IA/AR/RIV /18462/2013 dated 16th June, 2021 i.e. within its validity period of EC” How is application on 16th June within the EC period when EC expired on June 10? Moreover, what about the opposition to the project by the people of Tawang/ Arunachal Pradesh?]

4. 800 MW Tawang-II HEP in an area of 237.88 ha by NHPC in Yusum/Kundung village, District Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh – Extension of Validity of Environmental Clearance: APPROVED. [Issues mentioned above regarding Tawang I are also valid for Tawang II.]

5. Expansion of Tidong-I HEP-II for (Phase I -100MW+Phase II -50MW) in an area of 42.2557 ha (without increase in area) by Tidong Power Generation Private Limited in village Rispain, Tehsil Moorang, District Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh) – Reconsideration of Environmental Clearance: APPROVED http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/2506202171750683Final_MoM_13th_EAC_RVHEP_16to17-6-21_25-06-2021.pdf

DAMS

Mekedatu Dam End of Cauvery wildlife sanctuary  by RJ Tejus  The pre-feasibility report of the balancing reservoir project contains unscientific principles like tapping the excess water flow to the sea, which in real sense there is nothing such as excess or deficient water! The project’s main objectives are to provide drinking water to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Region & adjoining areas, regulate the flow of water to TN and for generating power of nearly 400 MW.

Cauvery River is getting thinner & drier with constant subject to pollution, deforestation & the like. River Cauvery (including tributaries) is already saturated with many dams and barrages (100+) but the state government is still unable to solve the water crisis and this is due to supply-demand variation and poor water resources management.

Image source Green Minute

Solving the drinking water crisis should be local. Understanding the best water management technologies from all countries is the need of the hour and implementing the best solutions. More impetus should be given to utilizing rainwater to its utmost potential because there lies the key. To utilize an additional 4.75 TMC of Cauvery water by building a dam in Mekedatu that joins the sea through a delta will only add to disaster. River water joining the sea is not a waste and has its ecological value and any tampering would lead to severe eco-concerns.

Conservation of lakes in urban areas, utilization of rainwater, implementing what other countries are doing in terms of providing drinking water and use of best science and technology is the need of the hour. Planting trees in the name of conservation by destroying old-growth forests is a hoax and a myth because trees cannot replace the rock structures, forests and wildlife. https://greenminute.in/2021/06/22/mekedatu-balancing-reservoir-project-the-end-of-cauvery-wildlife-sanctuary/  (22 June 2021)

‘Prevent building of dam at Mekedatu’ The Uzhavar Aran and the Cauvery Urimai Meetpu Kuzhu (Cauvery Rights Retrieval Committee) have urged the Tamil Nadu government to act swiftly to prevent the construction of a dam across the Cauvery river at Mekedatu. In statements issued, the organisations have exhorted the Tamil Nadu government to learn from the history of how the upper riparian State built dams across the Cauvery and its tributaries in its domain in the past.

The dams – Hemavathi, Herangi and Kabini – have come up in the past when the Congress was in power both at New Delhi and at Bengaluru, they pointed out and warned that a similar situation prevailed now also. Hence, the Tamil Nadu government should initiate necessary actions immediately to check the Karnataka government and get even the excess water that gets drained into Cauvery during good monsoons, they added.

Stating that the Karnataka CM, B.S. Yediyurappa’s recent announcement that the dam construction works would commence at Mekedatu was the fallout of the NGT’s decision to close the proceedings against Mekedatu project, the organisations exhorted the Tamil Nadu government to act swiftly and save the Cauvery Delta in the lower riparian State. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/prevent-building-of-dam-at-mekedatu/article34887239.ece  (21 June 2021)

Polavaram Project A glimpse of impact of Polavaram dam in AP on Chhattisgarh. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/chhattisgarh/raipur/bastar/news/polavaram-dam-andhra-pradeshs-thirst-will-be-quenched-after-550-houses-of-chhattisgarh-will-drown-128626041.html  (22 June 2021)

Odisha Hirakud addl spillway project in limbo The additional spillway project, that will increase floodwater discharge from the Hirakud dam, is hanging fire. The project has not seen any progress after the Tata Projects and AGE Group, Turkey, which had been entrusted to carry out the construction work, backed out from the project midway. The contractors started work on the additional spillway, which had been estimated at Rs 369.53 crore, in January 2019. They began excavation work for the spillway and excavated around 4 lakh cubic metre soil. However, in Feb 2020, TATA Projects and its partner AGE Group wrote to the govt and backed out from the project saying that the govt was delaying handing over the site for construction work. No progress has been made on the project after that. A fresh tender will be floated after the proposal is approved by the government. Some legal issues have to be resolved before that.

– the length of the proposed additional spillway dam will be 91 metres. There will be five sluice gates. The CWC recommended to enhance the flood water discharge capacity of the dam keeping in view the meteorological change, climate change and probable maximum flood. Currently, there are 98 gates, including 64 sluice gates and 34 crest gates to release the flood water from the Hirakud dam. The discharge capacity will go up from 15 to 18 lakh cusecs once the additional spillway is ready.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/hirakud-addl-spillway-project-in-limbo/articleshow/83867345.cms  (26 June 2021)

Telangana Lifting A River documentary Filmed over nearly three years the documentary on mega Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project was telecast on June 25 by Discovery Channel under the title ‘Lifting A River’. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/lifting-a-river-the-untold-story-of-kaleshwaram-lift-irrigation-scheme/article34924046.ece  (24 June 2021)

According to sources, soon after the floodwaters reach the Annapurna reservoir between Siddipet and Sircilla, the officials will divert the water to Ranganayaka Sagar and Kondapochamma reservoirs and from there to various ponds and ditches below them through various canals. The authorities are also making arrangements to divert water through to some areas in Sircilla, Siddipet and Dubbaka constituencies.

Last year, a total of 387 ponds, lakes and check dams were filled with KLIS water through right and left canals of Ranganayaka Sagar project, said Siddipet Irrigation Department SE Baswaraj. While the officials stored around 8 tmcft of water in the Kondapochamma reservoir last year, they are planning to store about 10 tmcft this year. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/jun/26/ranganayaka-sagar-kondapochamma-to-get-more-water-this-year-2321532.html  (26 June 2021)

Gujarat Water storage capacity increases by 19,000 lakh cubic feet At the end of the fourth leg of the drive (Started in 2018, the drive this year was from Apr 1 to June 10), Gujarat”s water storage capacity had increased by 19,717 lakh cubic feet, which was higher than the previous three editions, the release claimed. Since 2018, when the conservation drive was launched, Gujarat’s water storage capacity has increased by 61,718 lakh cubic feet. The program is called Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyaan. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/gujarats-water-storage-capacity-increases-by-19000-lakh-cubic-feet/2107754  (23 June 2021)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa Link सरकार चाहती है यह ग्रामीण थककर यहां से चले जाएं। जबकि केन नदी में साल के आठ माह इतना पानी नहीं रहता कि वह यूपी और एमपी क्षेत्र को सिंचाई व पेयजल उपलब्ध करा सके। बारिश काल को छोड़कर अन्य दिनों यहाँ पानी हमारे जीवन को चलाने जितना ही रहता हैं। रोजमर्रा की आवश्यकता इन्ही श्यामरी व केन नदियों से पूरी होती हैं। http://www.voiceofbundelkhand.in/uncategorized/the-lives-of-the-tribals-dependent-on-the-ken-river-are-torture-houses/  (24 June 2021) 

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Krishna Godavari Water Sharing Disputes KCR in no mood to meet Jagan CM Chandrashekar Rao is said to be of the view that he had extended a friendly hand to Jagan Mohan Reddy soon after he became the Chief Minister of AP by offering to share surplus water in the Godavari with AP since the availability of water in Krishna is comparatively low. It is felt that Jagan Mohan Reddy ignored him and unilaterally decided to take up the RLIS on the Krishna like his father Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy did by constructing the Pothireddypadu project, hurting the interests of south Telangana districts including Hyderabad.

Added to this, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government constructing a parallel canal along the Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme (RDS) to divert even Tungabhadra water from erstwhile Mahbubnagar district angered Chandrashekar Rao even more. For these reasons, he is against holding talks with Jagan Mohan Reddy at this stage unless the AP CM withdraws those projects. 

Meanwhile, Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is learnt to have called Chandrashekar Rao over the phone on Friday (June 25) and discussed the Rayalseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) works. He reportedly assured the CM that his ministry would soon send a team from the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) to the RLIS site to assess the actual position of works. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/260621/water-war-kcr-in-no-mood-to-meet-jagan.html  (26 June 2021)

KRMB directs Andhra to not take up RLIS The KRMB, via a letter, directed the Andhra Pradesh government not to take up construction of RLIP, unless the DPR of the project was appraised by KRMB or the Central Water Commission (CWC) and sanctioned by the Apex Council, as per the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.

KRMB member-secretary HK Meena wrote the letter following a complaint lodged with the Board by Telangana Special Chief Secretary for Irrigation Rajat Kumar, with a request to prevail upon AP to stop the ongoing works on RLIP. Kumar, in his letter, had highlighted the failure of KRMB to send a fact-finding committee to the RLIP, as ordered by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

However, the Board, in its letter to AP, blamed the AP government for the same. “The KRMB requested the Government of AP several times to nominate a nodal officer and facilitate the visit of the team to the project site. However, the government has so far not facilitated the visit citing various reasons. Owing to this, the KRMB could not ascertain if there are any violations of the NGT order in the matter,” stated Meena’s letter. The member-secretary also enclosed Telangana’s complaint with the letter written to AP.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/jun/25/krishna-conundrum-krmbdirects-andhra-to-not-take-up-rayalaseema-lift-irrigation-project-2321057.html  (25 June 2021)

Will jail Secretary if illegal irrigation works are not stalled: NGT  The NGT on Friday (June 25) said it will send Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Adithyanath Das to jail for violation of its orders. The green tribunal expressed serious displeasure at the ongoing works of the irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh, much to the chagrin of Telangana state and violation of its orders.

Hearing a contempt petition filed by Gavinolla Srinivas of Telangana against the AP Projects, the NGT has taken serious exception to the officials concerned. “How has Andhra government violated our previous orders and continues the works without obtaining environmental clearance?” asked the NGT. The government should abstain from such violations forthwith or will face serious action, the constitutional bench admonished.

The NGT had in recent past given directions to the Andhra government to desist from continuing the works of the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation project and Pothireddypadu project which will deprive Telangana of its rightful share. The tribunal instructed the officials to take immediate action and will now hear the case on July 12. https://www.news18.com/news/india/will-send-andhra-secretary-to-jail-if-illegal-irrigation-works-are-not-stalled-warns-ngt-3891683.html  (25 June 2021)

NGT asks KRMB to verify genuineness of AP’s claims Andhra Pradesh however reiterated its stand that the NGT order was being followed in letter and spirit. D Maduri Reddy, counsel representing AP, informed the bench that no civil work except those required for preparing the DPR  was taken up. The state government has been following the due procedure for obtaining the environmental clearance, she said.

The bench, which had earlier closed a petition of a similar nature, advised KRMB to inspect the project site and submit a report. It also gave time to AP to file a counter-affidavit. “The state has to implement the NGT order and cannot deviate from its commitment that it would not take up the works. The chief secretary will be held responsible for any deviation from the affidavit,” the bench pointed out.

Meanwhile, the AP government took objection to the Telangana government complaining against its projects while continuing with the latter’s “illegal” projects like the Palamuru-Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRRLIS), ignoring the directions of the KRMB and the NGT. “The KRMB should visit their projects also,” stressed a senior official.

The AP government referred to a letter written by Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat to Telangana CM Chandrashekar Rao about the neighbouring state not submitting the DPR for a single project after agreeing to do so in the apex council meeting the Centre held with the two CMs in December, 2020.

The TS government was not sincere in finding a permanent solution on the rift between the two states, said an official. “It was Chandrashekar Rao who proposed a study of various alignments for the linking of Krishna and Godavari at the CM’s conference but developed cold feet over the proposals submitted by the AP government,” he added. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/260621/ngt-asks-krishna-board-to-verify-genuineness-of-aps-claims-it-is-not.html  (26 June 2021)

Stop TS from drawing Srisailam water: AP The state water resources department has written to KRMB for the second time this month urging the latter to restrain Telangana authorities from drawing water from Srisailam Reservoir as water there is way below the minimum drawdown level (MDDL) of 834 feet.

Engineer-in-chief (irrigation) C Narayana Reddy, in the letter dated June 23, informed KRMB that the neighbouring state utilised 34 per cent of the inflows to Srisailam since June 1 for power generation, and noted that such action would delay water drawl by Andhra. The official had already written to the board on the same issue on June 10. He noted that Telangana started water utilisation from June 1 even when the level was at 808.4 feet.

Except during floods, water drawl from common reservoirs of Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar, are to be done only after KRMB issues water orders, the chief engineer pointed out.  He added, “Power generation is incidental to meet irrigation requirements under Krishna Delta System and Nagarjuna Sagar project. But Telangana is unilaterally drawing water for power without any orders from KRMB and without even informing the board. This attitude of unilateral drawl amounts to disregard to the authority of KRMB and is in violation of agreed principles being followed in water drawl from common reservoirs duly forming a three-member committee.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2021/jun/26/stop-telanganafrom-drawing-srisailam-water-andhra-pradesh-2321726.html  (26 June 2021)

Andhra asked to pay compensation for violatins by the panel  Noting that the adverse impacts caused due to construction of Pattiseema and Purushottapatnam lift irrigation schemes were “largely restricted” to construction stage and subsequently “nullified”, the expert committee constituted by the NGT to assess the environmental damage said there was no requirement of any remediation as no specific serious damage to environment or to people was observed.

However, the committee recommended that Rs 1.9 crore and Rs 2.48 crore be paid as environment compensation by the project proponent to the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) for violations during the execution of Pattiseema and Purushottam lift schemes respectively. According to the reports submitted to the Tribunal, the committee concluded and recommended to submit the detailed project reports of both the schemes to the MoEF, CWC and Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal for appraisal and post facto statutory clearances. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2021/jun/23/no-serious-damage-due-to-lift-schemes-ngt-panel-2320266.html  (23 June 2021)

TS cabinet takes exception to AP’s ‘illegal’ projects The Telangana Cabinet has decided to take up construction of various irrigation schemes, including a barrage on Krishna river at Alampur to transfer 60-70 TMC of flood waters through a pipeline, a canal at Pulichintala project and another reservoir at Sunkesula reservoir to get its fair share of Krishna river water. The move has been taken in response to the alleged illegal projects taken up by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Telangana had earlier gone to National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court against Andhra’s ‘illegal’ projects but withdrew the cases in the apex court following the assurance from the Centre to take an expeditious decision on constitution of a tribunal regarding Krishna river water sharing. However, noticing no action to stop Andhra’s ‘illegal’ projects, the state has decided to carry on with these schemes to protect its share of the river water. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/telangana-cabinet-takes-exception-to-andhra-pradeshs-illegal-projects-7367350/  (20 June 2021)

MoEF June 16, 2021 meeting minutes of EAC on River Valley Projects, key decisions:

WRD- Govt. of A.P – Environment clearance for Rayalaseema Lift Scheme to supplement 3 TMC per day to SRMC on D/s of Pothiredypadu Head Regulator, which is an integral part of

1. Galeru Nagari Sujala Shravanthi (GNSS) Project in District Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.

2. Srisailam Right Branch Canal, Andhra Pradesh.

3. Telugu Ganga Project, Andhra Pradesh – Amendment to the Existing Environmental Clearances to include Rayalaseema Lift Scheme: More info sought. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/2506202171750683Final_MoM_13th_EAC_RVHEP_16to17-6-21_25-06-2021.pdf

Editorial Resolving interstate water disputes Nowadays, politics is adding to the controversies with politicians playing up ‘people’s demands’ to suit their vote banks prolonging the conflicts further. The disputes between the two Telugu States fall into the pattern.

There is no reason why these could not be amicably resolved. AP’s efforts to alleviate Rayalaseema water woes have again started fanning the political flames in the two States. It is clear that apart from the constitutional complexities, contentious political federalism and identity-based electoral political dynamics are fueling the ISWDs.

However, interstate rivers in India have become sites of contestations, fuelled by conflicting perceptions of property rights, flawed economic instruments for food security, the lack of an integrated ecosystems approach, and the prevalence of reductionist hydrology for water resource development. Such conflicts over the possession and control of river water have persisted since the inception of the Indian Republic, with prolonged delays in resolution due to historical, institutional and political factors.

Interestingly, however, while the Union List mentions “interstate water,” the State List simply uses the term “water” to signify what is essentially “surface water” confined within the boundaries of the State. This has allowed States to legislate on the entire extent of surface water available within its borders, regardless of whether the source of the river or its tributary is located outside its boundary or the river is draining into another State. https://www.thehansindia.com/editors-desk/resolving-interstate-water-disputes-a-complex-task-692670  (26 June 2021)

IRRIGATION

MoEF Agenda for the Forest Advisory Committee meeting to be held on June 25, 2021 includes following relevant proposal: DIVERSION OF 530.85 HA. (INSTEAD OF 505.5 HA.) OF FOREST LAND FOR BANDA IRRIGATION PROJECT by WATER RESOURCES DEPT, SAGAR DIST, MADHYA PRADESH http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx

URBAN RIVERS

The trailer of upcoming documentary ‘Riverfront-How Ahmedabad lost Sabarmati’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEGte4k5atk  (27 June 2021)

Musi, Hyderabad Housing project near river to receive EC A residential-cum-commercial complex consisting of 1,650 residential units and a 12-floor commercial building, proposed at a distance of around 100 metres from the Musi river, has been recommended by State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) for the grant of environmental clearance (EC). The project named ‘River Front’ is proposed by EIPL Infra Projects over an area of around 5.1 acres at Manchirevula of Gandipet mandal in Rangareddy district and the expected cost is Rs 527 crore. The proposal had come up for hearing recently at the SEAC’s 119th meeting held on June 18.

According to minutes of the meeting, the SEAC pointed out that the project is located about 100 metres away from Musi river, but noted that it has been permitted by the Irrigation and Command Area Development (I&CAD) Department and that the project area does not fall in Maximum Flood Level of Musi river.

Musi river has been identified as a ‘Priority-I’ Polluted River Stretch by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The poor condition of Musi river can be attributed to discharge of household sewage and effluents from pharmaceutical companies.  “The proponent shall not discharge any treated/untreated wastewater and also shall not dump any waste into the Musi river under any circumstances,” the SEAC said, while recommending the project for grant of EC. The project is expected to generate around 1,525 kilolitres per day (KLD) of wastewater and 7,500 kg of solid waste per day. Two STP, with 1,200 KLD (residential) and 325 KLD (commercial) capacities, will be installed at the premises. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2021/jun/25/hyderabad-housing-project-near-musi-river-to-receive-environmental-clearance-2321072.html  (25 June 2021)

Chennai Only half sewage being collected: CAG As of March 2019, only 52% of the sewage in the CMA was being collected through the sewerage system, leaving 48% uncollected. Of the collected sewage, only 88% was being treated before being let out, the report stated. The audit stated that the government, in response, said the claim that only 52% of sewage was collected was based on theoretical calculations. However, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) stated that the reply was ‘untenable’.

Further, an estimated 242.73 mld of raw sewage illegally enters storm water drains and drains into water bodies including the Adyar, Buckingham Canal, Cooum etc. The plugging of polluted sewage outfalls into waterbodies, being executed under the aegis of the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust (CRRT), remained ‘unachieved in full’ even four years after the scheduled date, the report stated. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/jun/24/only-half-the-sewage-in-chennai-metropolitan-area-being-collected-says-cag-report-2320914.html  (24 June 2021)

Mula-Mutha; Pune Urban waterbodies, treasure troves of biodiversity A study on the Mula-Mutha river stretches in Pune reveals rich biodiversity with presence of a large number of freshwater invertebrate species, including a few reports to the region! https://www.indiawaterportal.org/article/urban-waterbodies-treasure-troves-biodiversity  (25 June 2021)

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Gharat: Traditional wisdom seeking community care, govt support Although the majority of villagers do acknowledge the ethnic, economic and environmental value of ancient wisdom, not many are applying innovative ways to revive the dying tradition while there are contemporary tools, materials which can help improve the efficiency and remove the drudgery associated with conventional gharats to a great extent. https://sandrp.in/2021/06/23/gharat-traditional-wisdom-seeking-community-care-govt-support/  (23 June 2021)  Gaon Connection carries the report. https://en.gaonconnection.com/water-mills-uttarakhand-gharat-culture-sandrp-himalayas-pauri-rural-india/  (24 June 2021) Hindi version by SANDRP can be seen here. https://bit.ly/3qlhIjj  (24 June 2021)

BRAHMAPUTRA Lament of riverbank Incredibly awesome documentation. Must watch, read, listen. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/uncategorized/brahmaputra-river-songs/  (22 June 2021) 

Goa Road construction shldn’t result in biodiversity destruction NGT said on June 23 while forming a committee to monitor compliance of environmental norms during construction of a stretch of Margao National Highway Western Bypass in Goa. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the construction of the road in question should be consistent with the principle of sustainable development i.e adopting safeguards for protection of wetlands, water bodies and other environmental resources.

“There can be no doubt that water bodies, wetlands, mangroves and other natural resources need to be protected. While construction of a road may be a necessity, such construction should not result in destruction of bio-diversity and other environmental resources, including water bodies and wetlands. Flood plains of river Sal also need to be protected. The studies referred to in the application support the need for such protection,” the bench said.

The NGT directed constitution of a ten-member joint Committee. “The State PCB and SEIAA, Goa will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance. A meeting of the Committee may be held within two weeks and after taking stock of the situation, plan of action may be prepared and executed. The Committee may also undertake visit to the site as early as possible. An action taken report may be filed within three months by e-mail,” the bench said. The matter is listed for next hearing on November 10, 2021. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/construction-of-road-should-not-result-in-destruction-of-biodiversity-ngt/article34929239.ece  (23 June 2021)

Madhya Pradesh प्रदूषण की चपेट में अजनार नदी औद्योगिक गतिविधियों के प्रमुख केंद्र पीथमपुर के उद्योगों से निकले रसायनिक अवशिष्ट से मानपुर अंचल के करीब 50 गांव इन दिनों रासायनिक त्रासदी से जूझ रहे हैं. स्थिति यह है कि यहां अजनार नदी के किनारे बसे करीब 50 आदिवासी अंचल के गांव का जल और जमीन जहरीले रसायन के कारण दूषित हो चुके हैं. लिहाजा अब न तो यहां का पानी पीने योग्य बचा है, और न ही यहां की मिट्टी में कोई उपज ही हो रही है.इस दूषित पानी के कारण यहां कई पशुओं की भी मौत हो चुकी है, लिहाजा अंचल के ग्रामीणों ने सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता मेधा पाटकर के साथ इंदौर संभाग आयुक्त कार्यालय पहुंचकर शासन को जन आंदोलन की चेतावनी दी है. https://react.etvbharat.com/hindi/madhya-pradesh/state/indore/ajnar-river-polluted-due-to-deadly-chemical-in-indore/mp20210626073001495  (26 June 2021)

इस मामले को विधानसभा में भी उठाया जाएगा। यह बात धरमपुरी के विधायक पांचीलाल मेड़ा ने काली किराय के पास स्थित अजनार नदी का निरीक्षण करते हुए कही। साथ में मनावर के विधायक हीरालाल अलावा भी थे। यहां कुछ दिन पहले किसी ने नदी के पास की जमीन पर केमिकल डंप कर दिया था, जो बहकर नदी में पहु‌ंचा और नदी का पानी भी दूषित हो गया। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/chhattisgarh/bhilai/manpur/news/the-factory-which-has-polluted-the-river-water-by-adding-chemicals-should-be-sealed-128611881.html  (18 June 2021)

मानपुर के समीप आदिवासी बहुल गांव कालीकिराय स्थित अजनार नदी में किसी ने केमिकल डाल दिया था जो सोमवार (June 7) को हल्की बारिश में बहकर फैल गया। इससे काली किराय सहित आसपास पांच गांवों के ट्यूबवेल से खराब पानी निकलने लगा। इसके चलते ग्रामीणों को न ट्यूबवेल से पीने के पानी मिल पा रहा है और नहीं मवेशी नदी का पानी पी पा रहे हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/indore/mhow/news/ajnar-river-water-is-polluted-and-not-potable-fir-will-be-lodged-against-those-who-mix-chemicals-128575201.html  (08 June 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Violations galore, NGT raps SPCB NGT has slammed the SPCB for “inaction” against industrial units polluting waterbodies in the state. The observation was made in a case pertaining to pollution in Balad river on account of leakage from a common effluent treatment plant. “Merely keeping an eye on units discharging more than 200 kilo-litres per day (KLD) effluents is not enough. Violations by those discharging less than 200 KLD effluents are no less serious,” it observed.

A four-member joint committee, comprising representatives of the MoEF, CPCB, SPCB and district magistrate, has been directed to file a status report after inspecting the erring units. The NGT expressed serious concern over the fact that four textile units of Baddi are still not meeting water pollution norms and fixed dissolved solids (FDS) released by them were beyond the prescribed limit. These units — Auro Textiles, Auro Textiles unit-II, Auro Dyeing of Vardhman Textiles and Winsome Textile — were yet to install advance system for treating FDS, a category IV effluent comprising concentrated dyes. The pipeline carrying these effluents was found choked. The NGT has directed the state board to take remedial action to enforce environment laws. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/violations-galore-ngt-raps-himachal-274473  (27 June 2021)

SPCB faces NGT wrath over toxic discharge into Sirsa In orders pronounced by a Principal Bench on June 23, the NGT stated that such failure of the statutory duty is at the cost of public health and protection of the environment. An analytical study undertaken by the SPCB reveals that the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) commissioned to treat industrial effluents at Baddi is not meeting the norms and discharging effluents without proper treatment into the river. Its treatment efficiency for residual antibiotics is also not on a par with prescribed norms.

The polluted Sirsa river near Baddi-Barotiwala hub. File photo/The Tribune

The concentration of residual antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin was 1,139 and 348 times, respectively higher than the draft standards notified by the MoEF. Samples drawn from several places show antibiotic discharge into the surface water and subsoil water. This can cause harmful antibiotic resistance among the humans and animals and can reduce their chances of recovery from diseases while also proving fatal.

Since 100 per cent random test positivity has been found in the study, it appears that the whole lot of polluting antibiotics are being discharged onto the surface and subsoil water, which is worrisome. Moreover, since pharmaceutical units located at Nalagarh and Barotiwala are not connected to the CETP, they were discharging their effluents directly into the rivers.

The NGT took strict note of the fact that board officials pinned their inaction on the fact that the MoFECC had not revised the standards for residual antibiotics. The board has been directed to lay down standards under Section 17 of the Water Act. It has also directed the ministry to expedite the process of finalising these standards.. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/pollution-board-faces-ngt-wrath-over-toxic-discharge-into-sirsa-river-in-baddi-274209  (26 June 2021)

Haryana Govt pushing money down a mythological river  Gautam Bhatia The government wasted no time in setting up the Rs 6-crore Center of Excellence for Research on the Saraswati River (CERSR) at Kurukshetra University. The government then approved another Rs 600 crore for several other related projects. Frittering away vast amounts on myth and hope does little to help the large numbers of local farmers living on the brink of starvation and struggling to pay off small bank loans, or the many rural families ravaged by COVID-19.

Mythology is the new mantra. So convincing is the prospect of the waterway’s bountiful revival that local farmers have already begun to believe that their sparse wells are being fed by the ancient river, and its waters are helping to cure the high incidences of cancer prevailing there. In order to give credence to the theory, a Rs 120-crore Saraswati Heritage Development Board has been set up by the government. https://thewire.in/government/indian-govt-is-pushing-money-down-a-mythological-river  (25 June 2021)

Uttarakhand Ongoing efforts by Harela Society Pithoragarh to protect Yakshyawati river. https://www.facebook.com/188195661320108/posts/2157515337721454/ Save Yakshyawati https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nonxeH7Vawk (08 June 2017)

विकास भवन सभागार में जिलाधिकारी आनन्द स्वरूप ने हरेला पर्व के आयोजन एवं मानसून काल में किए जाने वाले पौधारोपण कार्यक्रम की तैयारी बैठक के दौरान कहा कि इस वर्ष नदी पुनर्जीवन थीम व नदी संरक्षण के लिए कार्य किया जाएगा, जिसमें जिला मुख्यालय में यक्षवती नदी पुनर्जीवन के लिए सर्वे का कार्य करने के साथ ही पूर्व वर्षों में इसके कैचमेंट एरिया में विभिन्न विभागों द्वारा पौधारोपण व जल संचय के लिए किए गए कार्यों को आगे बढ़ाने के अतिरिक्त किए गए कार्यों की मॉनिटरिंग की जाएगी। https://lovedevbhoomi.com/pithoragarh-news-24-june-2021/  (24 June 2021)

GANGA MoJS Discarded bodies did not add to pollution The dumping of bodies in the Ganga, allegedly of those who died of COVID-19, did not increase pollution in the river, the Jal Shakti Ministry has said. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) had solicited reports in May from the Centre, and SPCBs of UP and Bihar, and the CWC on whether the disposal of cadavers in the river had affected water quality.

Along with assessing water quality, the Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti decided after a meeting with the Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on May 18 to study if the river water was contaminated with the SARS COV-2 virus from dead bodies being disposed in it. They also wanted to know if the virus could spread and infect those who came in contact with the water.

The ICMR-National Institute of Virology was approached study water samples from the river but they declined to take part in the study. The CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), Lucknow has now been entrusted with the project. They have collected samples from burial sites (Kannauj, Unnao, Kanpur, Prayagraj and Ghazipur districts) in Uttar Pradesh and Buxor and Saran districts in Bihar though results of the analysis aren’t yet public.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/discarded-bodies-did-not-add-to-ganga-pollution-ministry/article34887189.ece  (21 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Mass Graves Open Up As Water Rises The advancing monsoon and the increasing water level in Ganga in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj town have thrown up a challenge for authorities: Dealing with the mass graves in the sandbanks, suspected to be of Covid patients. As the water level rises and the sand banks crumble, the bodies are floating up. Cellphone videos and images shot by local journalists at different ghats in Prayagraj over the last two days showed the authorities fishing out the bodies. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-ups-prayagraj-mass-graves-open-up-as-water-rises-in-ganga-2471707  (24 June 2021)

NGT forms committee for rejuvenation of Ganga tributaries Varuna & Assi The NGT on Friday (June 18) formed a committee for rejuvenation of Varuna and Assi rivers in Varanasi which join Ganga after taking note of a plea alleging discharge of untreated sewage and unauthorised constructions. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel constituted an independent Monitoring Committee for the purpose comprising members from CPCB, SPCB, NMCG and District Magistrate, Varanasi.

“The Committee may meet within two weeks and review the action plan on the subject in the light of the pre-existing action plans, if any, with such modifications as may be necessary. The Committee will be at liberty to take assistance of any other expert/institution, including an agency dealing in rejuvenating works. It may undertake field visit, including sample collection and analysis as required,” the bench said. Based on the report of the Committee, the NMCG may give an action taken report by e-mail in the matter before August 4, the next date of hearing.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Saurabh Tiwari against pollution of rivers Varuna and Assi in Varanasi by discharge of untreated sewage and unauthorised constructions. The plea said that Varuna and Assi rivers are tributaries of Ganga and cleaning of river Ganga cannot be imagined without first ensuring prevention of pollution of these two rivers. The petitioner further stated that there is concrete construction inside Ganga water channel at Lalita Ghat. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ngt-forms-committee-for-rejuvenation-of-ganga-tributaries-in-varanasi/article34850523.ece  (18 June 2021)

Mussoorie Tunnel could hit 65% of town’s water supply, dry up springs Data accessed by TOI shows the nine springs close to the proposed tunnel route — Jincy, Bhilaru, Kandighat, Khanalti, Bansi, John McKinnon, Under Cliff, Newbie and Chamarkhud — have a daily discharge of over 6 million litres per day, of which over 5 million litres per day is used to supply water to the town. Average water availability in the town is about 7.7 million litres per day, which means these nine springs provide about 65% of the town’s water supply.

But during peak summer, demand almost doubles to 14.4 million litres a day, to resolve which a project to pump 6 million litres of water a day from the Yamuna is underway. However, environmentalists are worried the tunnel could exacerbate the scarcity. “The tunnel could affect the underground aquifers (water-bearing rocks which transmit water to springs) which, in turn, could have an impact on the discharge of water from the springs that the town depends on,” said Dr Vikram Gupta, senior scientist at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.

The problem could begin right from the construction stage. “Excavation for the tunnel could also hit the catchment of springs. The entire region is fragile and landslide-prone. Landslides could also cut off water sources,” said Reenu Paul, a Dehradun-based environmentalist. Even locally, it would affect more than just the town’s water supply. “The springs are critical for local biodiversity and villages located downstream,” said Surabhi Aggarwal, who organises historical walks to many of these springs. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/mussoorie-tunnel-could-hit-65-of-towns-water-supply-dry-up-springs/articleshow/83901012.cms  (28 June 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi Toxic foam in the river  A layer of toxic foam was seen floating on the surface of the Yamuna river at Kalindi Kunj in Delhi on Wednesday (June 23) morning. Before this, the toxic foam was seen floating over the river on April 6 and 20. At that time, the environmentalists had said that the frothing could be because of the release of certain gases when reacting with few specific bacteria. The foam at the Yamuna river made global headlines in 2019 when the devotees of Chhat puja were seen standing in waist-deep toxic forth in the Yamuna at Kalindi Kunj.

When inquired about the incident, experts said that the formation of forth was a common thing in the Yamuna but has increased in the last five to six years. The Delhi government chalked out a nine-point action plan earlier this year to reduce frothing in the Yamuna river, which is happening due to the discharge of untreated sewage in the river. The state government on June 14 also banned the sale, storage, transportation, and marketing of soaps and detergents not complying to the latest BIS parameters to curb pollution in the river. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/toxic-foam-floats-on-surface-of-yamuna-in-delhi-101624420711017.html  (23 June 2021)

Govt plans check dams on major drains to trap pollutants A senior official privy to the developments explained that the idea behind installing these check dams or weirs is to increase the travel time of drain water so as to allow solid pollutants, primarily sewage from nearby unauthorised colonies, to settle down before the water is released into the river. Officials said it will also strengthen the biological treatment process.

DJB data shows that the Capital generates around 720 MGD wastewater, of which around 525 MGD is treated by sewage treatment plants.  Government estimates show that with these check dams, the pollutant load entering the Yamuna from these drains will drop by nearly 70-80%. Officials explained that these weirs are based on “in-house designs”, each of which cost the government ₹4-5 lakhs. Going by this figure, the construction of around 20 weirs, which is the government target, will be completed with a budget of under ₹1 crore. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/delhi-govt-plans-check-dams-on-major-drains-to-trap-pollutants-for-a-cleaner-yamuna-101624384840026.html  (23 June 2021)

Low-cost walls inside Shahdara Drain “I visited the outfall of Shahdara Drain and reviewed the progress of a low-cost weir being constructed inside the drain. Ponds will be created to augment groundwater recharge using 70 MGD treated water from the Kondli STP and only clean water will be allowed to flow into the Yamuna,” water minister, Satyendar Jain said while visiting the Shahdara Drain and 35MGD Kalyanpuri sewage pumping station projects on Friday (June 18).

Both projects, being undertaken by Delhi government, will be the key in reducing dumping of untreated sewage into the Yamuna. Treated water from the Kondli plant will be utilised to develop a 4km-long groundwater recharge zone inside the drain, said Jain who is also DJB chairman. He also instructed officials to lay pipelines to carry treated effluent from the Kondli STP to rejuvenate Sanjay Lake and Smriti Van Lake. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/low-cost-walls-inside-shahdara-drain-to-aid-in-yamuna-clean-up/articleshow/83653582.cms  (19 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Artificial wetland to be ready by Nov The irrigation dept has started work on the creation of a wetland to naturally clean stinking murky water of Kondli drain, a major source contributing to the pollution of river Yamuna. About 500 m in length, the wetland is being built between sectors 51 & 52, will be ready by Nov 2021, officials said on Monday (June 21).

The Noida authority, which is financing and monitoring the project, said that six more such wetlands will be created at different locations. “The wetland is being built where the drain is the widest. The estimated cost of the first wetland is ₹7 crore, and all seven may cost around ₹42 crore. The first wetland is likely to be ready by November,” said RP Singh, deputy general manager (waters), Noida authority.

Various studies, conducted over the years, have identified the sewage in Kondli drain to be the main cause of pollution in the Yamuna. According to a CPCB report, about 64 MLD untreated sewage in Noida flows through the Kondli drain into the Yamuna. The 40-year-old and 20km long Kondli drain originates from Kondli village in Delhi and enters Noida (via Ghaziabad) near Hari Darshan police post in Sector 11. After travelling through Noida sectors 11, 12, 22, 50, and 92 for about 17km, the drain empties into the Yamuna near Chak Mangrola in Sector 168. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/yamuna-pollution-artificial-wetland-to-naturally-treat-kondli-drain-to-be-ready-by-november-101624298616699.html  (21 June 2021)

Hundreds of trees chopped off along river Hundreds of trees along the Yamuna river, close to the Taj Mahal have been chopped off to lay a water pipeline by the Smart City Corporation Employees. The trees were cut on Saturday (June 19) and after a furore on social media and complaints by the green activists, the police filed an FIR.

A new 1200 mm pipeline is being laid to supply Ganga Jal to Taj Ganj and other distant localities, from the Agra Water Works at Jeoni Mandi. Almost two thirds of the pipeline has been laid on the Yamuna Kinara road, while a third is being laid along the river bank which had a thick growth of trees.

This area between the two world heritage monuments, the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, was being developed as a green buffer to absorb the pollutants and insulate the monuments from sand of the dry Yamuna. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/hundreds-of-trees-chopped-off-along-yamuna-furore-on-social-media-121062000259_1.html  (20 June 2021)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Uttar Pradesh NGT directs Govt to specify HWS boundary in 6 months The NGT made clear that in case of failure, it will be open to either party to move the tribunal after six months, seeking coercive measures against the erring officers. The counsel appearing for the State of UP submitted that after approval of the proposal by the Environment Ministry, a committee for rationalisation with the Commissioner, Meerut as Nodal Officer has been appointed on Nov 17, 2020.

The counsel for the MoEF confirms that the proposal received from the State was duly approved in 59th meeting of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). Protection of wildlife species in Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is not possible unless it is kept free of human interference, NGT had said in 2019 and directed the central and the UP governments to issue notification specifying the habitat’s boundary within six months.

Inordinate delay in the notification under Section 26 (A) of the Wildlife Protection Act is unacceptable and because of this reason a large number of industries are flourishing within the sanctuary adversely affecting various wildlife species, it had said. The tribunal was hearing a plea seeking execution of its 2019 order directing issuance of requisite notification under section 26A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for protection of the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary. Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 2,073 sq km along the banks of Ganga in five forest divisions -Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Hapur and Amroha. https://www.news18.com/news/india/ngt-directs-up-govt-to-specify-hastinapur-wildlife-sanctuary-boundary-within-6-months-3842486.html  (13 June 2021)

Odisha Gharial hatchlings out of sight since a week The Forest department officials have been unable to trace the gharial hatchlings which were spotted after decades in Satkosia gorge under Tikarpara range. Sources said, 28 gharial hatchlings were spotted with their mother at Baladmara area of the sanctuary on May 20. On June 19, Regional Chief Conservator of Forests (RCCF) Pradeep Raj Karat had held an emergency meeting with DFOs of six divisions and alerted them to be watchful of the crocodiles’ movement and ensure their protection.

“The baby gharials have grown and seem to have dispersed into the wild. While they can survive by preying on fish and other creatures, there is danger if they venture out of the river and enter various nullahs. We have also banned fishing in that portion of the river,” he said, adding that the department had been alerted to remain watchful of their movement. Meanwhile, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) Sashi Paul visited Satkosia on June 23 to monitor the situation. At present, there are total eight gharials – one male and seven female – in Satkosia gorge sanctuary. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2021/jun/26/gharial-hatchlings-out-of-sight-since-a-week-2321704.html  (26 June 2021)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Madhya Pradesh बरगी जलाशय में न के बराबर मछली-उत्पादन, मछुआरों का बुरा हाल  नर्मदा नदी पर बने बरगी बांध के जलाशय में वर्ष 1995-96 में 530 टन तक मछली उत्पादन हुआ था, जबकि बीते कुछ वर्षों में यह उत्पादन घटते हुए सौ टन से भी नीचे आ गया है। मछली उत्पादन कम होने से इस पूरे क्षेत्र के मछुआरों की आजीविका संकट में है। बरगी जलाशय से जबलपुर, मंडला और सिवनी जिले के 54 गांवों में करीब तीन हजार मछुआरा परिवारों का गुजारा होता रहा है।

लोकेश्वर मछुआरा समिति, मंडला के मछुआरे, जो कुछ वर्ष पहले मत्स्याखेट चालू किए जाने की मांग को लेकर जलाशय में प्रदर्शन कर रहे थे। बरगी बांध से इन विस्थापित मछुआरों ने नर्मदा में बांध के कारण होने वाले विस्थापन और नर्मदा नदी के दोहन के खिलाफ लंबा संघर्ष किया है। यहां के मछुआरों के आंदोलन के चलते ही नब्बे के दशक में राज्य सरकार ने स्थानीय मछुआरों को मछली पालन का अधिकार दिया था। फाइल तस्वीर- राजकुमार सिन्हा/Monga Bay India

वर्ष 1994-95 में जब सहकारी मॉडल पर मछुआरों की सहभागिता से मछली पालन होता था तब प्रतिवर्ष औसतन 450 टन मछली उत्पादन किया जाता था और इन पांच-छह वर्षों की इस अवधि में बरगी जलाशय के मछुआरों को 320 लाख रुपए का पारिश्रमिक भुगतान हुआ था। साथ ही इससे राज्य सरकार को कुल एक करोड़ 37 लाख रुपए की रॉयल्टी भी मिली थी। लेकिन, वर्ष 2001 में बरगी जलाशय के मछली पालन का प्रबंधन निजी ठेकेदारों को देने के बाद इस पूरे क्षेत्र का मछली उत्पादन बुरी तरह प्रभावित हुआ है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2021/06/28/fishermen-struggle-for-livelihood-as-fish-production-in-bargi-dam-goes-down/  (28 June 2021)

SAND MINING

Meghalaya Minister asks Centre to rethink EC to mining project  In his letter to Javadekar sent on Monday, Cabinet minister Hamletson Dohling has said: “With great pain I write to you regarding issuance of EC by MoEF to M/S Star Cement Meghalaya Ltd for Bryshirnot Limestone Division I in East Jaintia Hills District Meghalaya…despite stiff opposition from villagers and NGOs in the public hearing held on 19.10.2019, 31.01.2009 and 21.11.2020 conducted by Deputy Commissioner East Jaintia Hills district. It seems EC has been issued based only on the Deputy Commissioner, East Jaintia Hill’s Deputy Commissioner’s recommendation.’’

The minister also said in the letter that the project has been exempt from the requirement of a public hearing. The environmental clearance (EC), granted to Star Cement Meghalaya on June 8th, involves the expansion of an existing limestone mine. The proposed expansion is for 42 hectares of land. The minister and residents of the area have been objecting to the expansion on grounds of environmental sensitivity of the area.

“There are a number of problematic issues with this EC. The proposed area for expansion falls very close to the Lukha river & our concern is that it will lead to the pollution of this river, which the locals depend on not only for water but also for fish. The proposed area is close to the Narpuh Wildlife Sanctuary, which is adjacent to the mining area,” said Dohling. https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/meghalaya/meghalaya-minister-asks-centre-to-rethink-green-clearance-to-mining-project-in-state-7371307/ (23 Jun 2021)

A&N NIOT to monitor sand mining in intertidal regions With amending a notification published on June 9the Island Coastal Regulation Zone (ICRZ) notification, 2019, the ministry has allowed the Andaman and Nicobar administration to opt for National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), which is under the Centre, to approve and identify sites for sand mining in ICRZ-1B. IOM, Chennai, is under the department of civil engineering of Anna University, Tamil Nadu.

The ministry has dispensed with the need to hold public consultation for the change in authority for identifying sand mining sites.According to environmentalists, there is going to be a construction boom soon in the islands. A slew of infrastructure projects have been proposed in the Andaman and Nicobar islands to give a major boost to tourism there.

“The amendment is not just about additional institutional jurisdiction. It is likely to ensure greater central govt control over permissions related to sand mining in ecologically sensitive intertidal areas of the islands. They appear to be directly related to the controversial tourism and port development proposals for the A&N and Lakshwadeep islands which will require the use and extraction from ICRZ-1B areas,” said Kanchi Kohli, legal researcher, Centre for Policy Research. https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/centres-niot-to-monitor-sand-mining-in-intertidal-regions-of-a-n-islands-101624340739047.html (22 Jun 2021)

Rajasthan NGT seeks report on damages due to sand mining The green body on June 23, 2021 ordered the official to look into the regulation and enforcement of Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 and Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining 2020 in Shuklavas, Pichani, Pavana, Bhuchara and Dhudhawas villages in Jaipur’s Katputli tehsil.

As many as 15 mines excavated minor minerals unscientifically, harming the environment around the tehsil’s five villages, the villagers alleged in their application before the NGT August 6, 2020. The matter was first taken up August 28, 2020. The NGT had directed the constitution of a committee comprising the collector and SPCB representative. The committee was directed to visit the site and submit a factual and action taken report.  The court underscored the adverse impact of unscientific and unregulated sand mining and directed the matter to be listed August 3, 2021.

The report filed by the committee stated that mines were excavated up to minimum depth of 125 feet. Damage to the building, including a school building, was reported. The committee report, however, was silent on the effect of blasting on human health and damage to buildings was not calculated. The report did not mention the effect on water resources and whether any plantation was done by the miners. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/mining/ngt-seeks-report-on-damages-due-to-sand-mining-in-jaipur-villages-77644  (25 June 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Illegal sand mining in Mandleshwar rampant Maheshwar MLA and state former culture minister Dr Vijayalakshmi Sadho has made a scathing attack on the MP government over the rampant illegal sand mining in her constituency. She alleged that for the last two years sand mining has become a curse for the ecology in the Narmada belt. According to the statement issued by senior Congress leader Dr Sadho, sand mining is being done by armed goons armed with illegal weapons by one RK Gupta. https://www.freepressjournal.in/indore/madhya-pradesh-illegal-sand-mining-in-mandleshwar-rampant-says-ex-minister-vijayalakshmi-sadho  (24 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh DMs told to crack down on illegal sand mining The geology and mining department has directed district magistrates to carry out geo-tagging of the places where sand has been stored and to install CCTV cameras for a vigil on the activities of contractors to check illegal mining and storage during the monsoon. An official said ahead of the halt in sand mining next week, contractors have expedited work in major rivers across the state and a large quantity of sand has been dumped across Bundelkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh.

In a letter to the district magistrates, secretary, geology, and mining, Roshan Jacob, said the permission to store sand at the dumpsites was given to ensure that adequate sand was available for construction during the monsoon. Sand mining would be halted from July 1 to Sept 30. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/dms-told-to-crack-down-on-illegal-sand-mining-and-storage-in-uttar-pradesh-101624591913441.html  (25 Jun 2021)

वाराणसी में 2.5 लाख घन मीटर बालू उठान की नीलामी फाइनल गंगा घाटों के सरंक्षण के लिए उस पार बनाई जा रही नहर के दोनों तरफ के बालू हटाना बड़ी समस्या बनती जा रही है। बरसात जारी है, बाढ़ की संभावना से भी इंकार नहीं किया जा सकता है। हालांकि अब तक चार बार हुई नीलामी के बाद पांच ठेकेदार बालू उठान को सामने आए हैं। इसमें रिंग रोड फेज-2 से जुड़े कांट्रैक्टर भी शामिल हैं।

Image source Dainik Jagran

लगभग 2.5 लाख घन मीटर बालू की नीलामी हो चुकी है। कुल 6 लाख घन मीटर बालू होने का अनुमान है। अभी 3.5 लाख घन मीटर बालू के उठान की नीलामी होनी शेष है। चार बार की नीलामी में मुश्किल से पांच ठेकेदार बालू उठान को तैयार हुए। सरकारी कोई विभाग आगे नहीं आया। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi-city-auction-final-for-sand-lifting-of-canal-being-built-across-ganga-in-varanasi-21769973.html (25 June 2021)

गंगा पार रेती में नहर बनाई जा रही है। यह कार्य तेज गति से किया जा रहा है क्योंकि मानसून आने से पहले ही कार्य को समाप्त कर देगा। प्रोजेक्ट के अनुसार 31 मई तक कार्य पूर्ण कर सिंचाई विभाग को हैंडओवर कर देना था लेकिन कोरोना संक्रमण काल के कारण कार्य की पूर्णता 15 दिन विलंबित हो गई है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi-city-by-june-15-canal-will-be-ready-across-ganges-across-ganges-of-varanasi-21686562.html  (28 May 2021)

काशी में गंगा के समानांतर बन रहे बाईपास चैनल पर घमासान  The govt is creating a 5.5 km long channel parallel to Ganga River in Varanasi at the cost of Rs 11 Crore, as per this report, the work has started in March 2021. The Environment groups and others feel this will destroy the River.  बनारस में गंगा पार में बन रहे साढ़े पांच किमी लंबे बाईपास चैनल को लेकर घमासान शुरू हो गया है। साढ़े पांच किमी लंबे, 45 मीटर चौड़े व छह मीटर गहरे बाईपास चैनल से गंगा को दो भाग में बांट कर ड्रेजिंग के सहारे रामनगर से राजघाट तक ले जाया जा रहा है। सामाजिक संगठन व विपक्ष इसका विरोध कर रहे हैं। उनका आरोप है कि गंगा के मूल स्वरूप से छेड़छाड़ हो रही है। इस चैनल से गंगा की धारा कमजोर होगी। कुछ पर्यावरण जानकारों ने जिलाधिकारी को पत्र सौंपकर ड्रेजिंग को तत्काल रोकने की मांग की है।

Image source Dainik Bhaskar

वाराणसी में गंगा नदी के पार रेत में खनन का काम मार्च माह से चालू है। इसे लेकर साझा संस्कृति मंच के नदी विज्ञानी प्रोफेसर यूके चौधरी व संकट मोचन मंदिर के महंत प्रोफेसर विशम्भरनाथ मिश्रा ने नदी धारा, जल घाट संरचना आदि पर चिंता जाहिर की है। उनका कहना है गंगा में बन रहे चैनल से वाराणसी में गंगा के अर्धचंद्राकार स्वरूप और धारा पर प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पड़ेगा। साथ ही मणिकर्णिका घाट पर विश्वनाथधाम परियोजना के तहत मलबा डालकर किनारे बने प्लेटफाॅर्म से भी गंगा का स्वरूप बिगड़ रहा है।

मंच ने नदी पार हो रहे ड्रेजिंग की पूरी जानकारी वाराणसी की अधिकृत वेबसाइट पर अपलोड करने और पर्यावरणविद व नदी वैज्ञानिकों की पर्यावरणीय कुप्रभावों के आंकलन की रिपोर्ट भी सार्वजनिक करने की मांग की है। उन्होंने कहा कि वाराणसी शहर के लोग पीने के पानी के लिए गंगा और भूमिगत जल पर निर्भर हैं। बाईपास चैनल से नदी की धारा कमजोर होगी। इसका प्रतिकूल प्रभाव शहर में पीने के पानी की व्यवस्था पर भी पड़ेगा। https://www.bhaskar.com/national/news/controversy-over-five-and-a-half-kilometer-bypass-channel-being-built-parallel-to-ganga-in-kashi-128630236.html  (June 24 2021)

Haryana Excessive mining depleting ground water: Dadri farmers The farmers of Jhojhu Kalan village in Charkhi Dadri district have expressed fear that the groundwater of their tubewells has been depleting as mining activities to extract stone crusher is going on unabated at their adjacent Ramalwas village, which shares boundary with their fields.

The farmers said they have been running from pillar to post for the past one year urging the administration to take action against the contractors for allegedly digging up 200-ft pits in the ground to extract stones and continuing mining activities by throwing groundwater outside the mining area with the help of pipes. The farmers conducted panchayat four times seeking action against the contractors.

Dadri mining officer Niranjan said the Dadri DC has formed a two-member committee, including him and a hydraulic engineer, to look into the matter. “Water being thrown out by workers at the mining site is not groundwater. It was extracted from rocks. The mining activities are allowed until the groundwater does not appear,” he added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/excessive-mining-depleting-ground-water-dadri-farmers-101624560891562.html  (25 June 2021)

NGT junks plea alleging illegal mining in Aravalli The NGT has junked a plea which alleged violation of the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 by the construction of illegal road and unauthorised mining in Aravalli mountains at Manesar village in Gurugram district. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel dismissed the plea seeking review of its March 16, 2021 order directing action against encroachers.

The NGT said the grounds as taken by the review applicant, that the Forest Department falsely mentioned in the narrative of the report dated February 5, 2021, that he is an encroacher was not the issue for consideration before the tribunal while disposing of the original application. “The matter in issue in original application was illegal mining and encroachment of forest land and on the basis of the report of PCCF (HoFF), Panchkula, the statutory authorities were directed to take further action in accordance with the law. https://www.news18.com/news/india/ngt-junks-plea-alleging-construction-of-illegal-road-unauthorised-mining-in-aravalli-forest-land-3846089.html   (14 June 2021)

Maharashtra Resistance against quarrying in Parsik hill The government’s decision to reopen 102 stone quarries in Navi Mumbai’s Parsik Hill has been met with resistance from environmentalists, who have written to CM Uddhav Thackeray cautioning him against the decision. They said the move is detrimental not just to the environment but also the public health of residents living in Vashi, Turbhe, Belapur, Ghansoli, Rabale and Nerul.

Thane guardian minister Eknath Shinde had, on June 23, publicly announced the decision after meeting with a delegation of local quarry operators and assuring them that the mines, which were shuttered five years ago, will be re-started to help settle the Navi Mumbai project-affected people (PAP) and float 40,000 jobs. Since 1972, Cidco had been allotting quarries to PAP in lieu of the land acquired for the development of Navi Mumbai. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/mumbai-decision-to-resume-quarrying-in-parsik-hill-meets-with-resistance-101624647956372.html  (26 June 2021)

Greens oppose Parsik Hill quarry resumption Describing the idea of restarting quarrying in the heart of Navi Mumbai as a “terrible idea in these days of pandemic” from both public health and ecological points, environment focused NGO NatConnect Foundation has suggested alternative sites to fetch stone chips required for construction. Environmentalists also protested against the ongoing quarrying at Kharghar and said this is adding to the pollution, apart from playing with biodiversity. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/west/environmentalists-blast-parsik-hill-quarry-resumption-in-heart-of-navi-mumbai-send-sos-to-cm-1000978.html  (26 June 2021)

Karnataka Officials raid illegal sand extraction facility The officials of the department of mines and geology raided a place where illegal sand extraction from River Swarna was going on at Padutonse, Hoode near Malpe. They have seized four boats from the spot.

The raid was conducted on Tuesday June 22 afternoon, based on reliable information. Irshad from Padutonse had been found extracting sand illegally from here in March this year with the help of workers from Uttar Pradesh. The department of mines had fined him and warned him to close the sand mining activity. Still, illegal sand extraction continued to happen here. https://daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=846173  (23 June 2021)

As mining returns to Ballari, farmers have nowhere to turn While mining firms are being allotted tracts at breakneck speed, the lack of surveys prevents farmers from asserting rights over lands they have cultivated for decades. https://themorningcontext.com/chaos/as-mining-returns-to-ballari-farmers-have-nowhere-to-turn  (26 June 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Kerala Silver Line project could be an environmental disaster in making Kerala’s Silver Line project, a semi-highspeed railway line that proposes to connect the north and south of the coastal state, could bring an unimaginable disaster to the fragile ecology of the region. The project has led to environmental, social, and financial concerns and many are doubtful of the project’s viability. Some believe that it could cause a large-scale displacement in Kerala, a state known for its high density of population. The project already has approvals from NITI Aayog and the Union Government.

A route map of the proposed Silver Line project. Photo by K-Rail/ Monga Bay India

Kerala’s noted environmentalist R.V.G. Menon stressed the project would “have adverse impacts on the Western Ghats as it would require enormous amounts of granite and loose soil.” “In Kerala, all granite quarries are in the Western Ghats. As the line must cross wetlands, rivers, rice fields and lakes, the project requires large-scale land reclamations. Numerous bridges planned as part of the project would require huge amounts of granite, sand, and soil. Considering the costly project’s social, environmental, and financial impacts, it is a white elephant,” Menon told Mongabay-India.

On the criticism that the project would kill many paddy fields in the state, the authorities state that they will construct elevated paths in such areas and assured that there would be efforts to minimise the environmental and social impact of the project as much as possible. Sources in the government dismiss the opposition to the project and point out that the land acquisition would be done in accordance with the 2013 Land acquisition Act.

Over the last few years, similar concerns have been repeatedly made against the Indian government’s flagship Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. Experts have said that the project will result in environmental and social issues and instead the government should focus on strengthening and optimum use of the present infrastructure.

Environmental collectives like Kerala Paristhithi Aikya Vedi said that the project would be a hydrological disaster as it would prevent water flow from the Western Ghats to the Arabian sea during floods and monsoons. He noted that what Kerala requires, at present, is environment-friendly projects that benefit the maximum number of citizens and with less investment. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/keralas-silver-line-project-could-be-an-environmental-disaster-in-the-making/  (24 June 2021)

Odisha Govt resumes evicting illegal prawn gherries in Chilika Removal of illegal prawn gherries (enclosure) in the Chilika Lake resumed June 24, 2021 after being briefly halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The drive to remove net gherries inside the lake and demolish prawn culture ponds in the fringe areas of the lake will continue for a few more days, official sources said.

An affidavit filed by Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in High Court March 8, 2021 stated that over 15,500 hectares in the lake have been illegally encroached upon by illegal prawn culture enclosures and ponds. More than 12,131 ha of the lake were under illegal prawn gherries, while around 1,440 ha under prawn culture ponds, in violation of the Centre’s Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005.

Environmentalist Prafulla Samantara said: “Chilika is the source of income for around 0.1 million people, especially fishermen of Ganjam, Puri and Khurda.” Illegal prawn gherries damage breeding ground for the fishes, he said.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/odisha-resumes-evicting-illegal-prawn-gherries-in-chilika-77648  (25 June 2021)

Maharashtra Forest dept has wetland development plans for Ujani dam backwaters Dhairyashil Patil, deputy conservator of forests of Solapur division, said, “The road improvement works in our region are mandated to use some funds of the project towards environmental conservation and development efforts. The Environmental Appraisal Committee therefore recommended utilising funds up to Rs 80 lakh towards the development of Bhigwan wetland of the Ujani backwaters.”

He added that this wetland is known for arrival of migratory birds such as flamingoes, bar-headed geese, painted stork and other species of ducks and waders. “We have proposed the plan with two objectives — one to protect and develop the wetland and second to provide jobs to as many as 1,000 local youths through eco-tourism.”

The wetland project involves plantation of sledges, shores and aquatic vegetation. The project also involves creating artificial nesting sites which includes floating nesting platforms to nesting baskets and elevated nesting platforms. The forest department has also considered testing the water here as a Solapur University study showed the presence of high level of pollutants in the backwaters. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/forest-dept-has-wetland-development-plans-for-backwaters-of-ujani-dam/articleshow/83820305.cms  (25 June 2021)

Haryana First community reserve awaits restoration A 100-acre pond site at village Thana in Kurukshetra district was declared as Haryana’s first community reserve site in 2017. The biodiversity-rich site is a natural habitat of endangered turtle species and attracts migratory birds. The village’s sewage water however continues to flow in to pond untreated. Much of other restoration work planned initially like strengthening of mounds and proper fencing around the area is still awaited.

The site, which the local villagers believe existed since the ancient period of Mahabharata, has long been the natural habitat of the Indian softshell turtle (Nilssonia gangetica), an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The state wildlife department also found the Indian flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata), inside the pond, making the site even more prominent for aquatic wildlife. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/haryanas-first-community-reserve-ancient-brahma-sarovar-pond-awaits-restoration/  (23 June 2021)

GROUNDWATER

Tamil Nadu Fly ash dumping pollutes goundwater: CAG The report revealed that Tangedco’s thermal power plants failed to adhere to the environment ministry’s direction to achieve 100 per cent disposal of fly ash by 2009 and alleged that continuous dumping of ash in dyke resulted in contamination of groundwater in Buckingham canal and Kosasthalaiyar river. https://www.dtnext.in/News/TamilNadu/2021/06/26004837/1303115/Fly-ash-dumping-pollutes-waterbodies-CAG-report.vpf  (26 June 2021)

Haryana SPCB told to recover penalty of ₹4.13 cr penalty The NGT has directed the SPCB to immediately recover ₹4.13 crore penalty imposed on Panipat Cooperative Sugar Mill for illegal extraction of groundwater in April this year. The bench headed by the NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel observed that no step has been taken for recovery by using coercive powers of closure and disconnecting electricity, after giving reasonable opportunity for compliance. The illegal extraction had taken place from April 15, 2015 to December 12, 2020.

In August last year, taking a serious note of environmental violations by the sugar mill, the NGT had ordered closure of sugar and distillery units at Panipat Cooperative Sugar Mill until remedial measures are taken. As per the previous orders of the NGT, “the norms under the Water Act, the Air Act and the Environment Protection Act are also not being followed, which amounts to criminal offences. Groundwater is being illegally extracted which may seriously and irreversibly affect the environment.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/hspcb-told-to-recover-penalty-of-rs-4-13-cr-penalty-from-panipat-sugar-mill-101624644296146.html  (25 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh 2 died, several villagers suffer diarrhoea

A two-year-old girl and her great-grandmother died following severe diarrhoea in Dadra village of Mirzapur. At least 11 more villagers were hospitalised, and three remain critical. The Jal Nigam has collected the ‘contaminated’ water samples for testing. Villagers claim they have been forced to drink polluted water for decades. https://en.gaonconnection.com/mirzapur-contaminated-water-pollution-diarrhoea-deaths-kol-tribe-uttar-pradesh-rains-germs-bacteria-infection-rajgarh-block-dadra-village/  (25 June 2021)

URBAN WATER

Chennai HC directs Collector to inspect water body under encroachment The Madras High Court on Thursday (June 24) directed the Chennai Collector to inspect a spot where over 100 acres of land, reportedly classified as a water body in the revenue records, at Sembium near Perambur, have been allegedly encroached upon by “land sharks” and sold to private individuals after subdividing the property. Justices N. Kirubakaran and T.V. Thamilselvi ordered the Collector to carry out the inspection in the presence of other revenue officials and identify the extent of encroachment on the government property as well as the number of encroachers in occupation at present. They called for a comprehensive report by July 14.

The judges also requested Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram to ensure that adequate attention was accorded to the issue since many water bodies in the State had already vanished due to massive encroachments and the State could not afford to lose any more. They insisted that the government take earnest efforts to protect water bodies. The interim orders were passed on a PIL filed by G. Devarajan, a job typist from Sembium. He claimed that the encroached properties had been used even to obtain bank loans and that some Registration Department officials were also in collusion. He insisted upon demolishing the superstructures constructed on the encroached land and disconnecting water and sewage connections. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/court-directs-chennai-collector-to-inspect-water-body-under-encroachment-in-sembium/article34946189.ece  (24 June 2021)

Repeated encroachment of lakes raises concerns Some of the waterbodies in western parts of the city continue to face the challenges of encroachments that reappear in spite of the repeated evictions. Residents demanded that stringent measures be put in place and measures be initiated to safeguard lake boundaries to prevent further encroachments. The Water Resources Department recently removed encroachments that had surfaced at the Red Hills and Korattur lakes.

S. Sekaran, secretary, Korattur Aeri Padukappu Makkal Iyakam (KAPMI), a citizen movement protecting the waterbody, said some encroachers had put up board in the lake area near DTP Colony, Karukku, and had also shifted the lake boundary. “These repeated offences cannot be controlled unless lakes’ boundaries are demarcated and vulnerable portions are protected with fences or compound walls. The lake bed must also be deepened lower than the road level in the rear portions to prevent encroachments,” he said.

KAPMI has also recently represented to the Ambattur tahsildar and Villivakkam sub-registrar office to not provide patta for land falling within the waterbody’s boundary. More sub-divisions should be added to reclassify lands for real estate development, he added.

Environmental activists demanded that the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act of 2007 must be implemented strictly, with amendments to avoid the tedious process for encroachment removal. Sufficient funds must be allocated for clearing encroachments and provisions must be made to penalise those who repeatedly encroach waterbodies. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/repeated-encroachment-of-lakes-raises-concerns/article34994710.ece  (26 June 2021)

Road laid to dump waste in Chennai marsh  A new road is being laid near the NIOT junction on Thorappakkam-Pallavaram Radial Road to help dump garbage in the Pallikaranai marshland, nature lovers and residents living close to the ecologically fragile water body complain.

About 50 metres of road has already been laid and earthmovers are slowly pushing garbage on this stretch into the marsh, they said. Activist S Kumararaja, a resident of Velachery, alleged that about 10 acres of the marshland had been grabbed for ‘widening’ Thorappakkam-Pallavaram Radial Road and the new road is set to turn the area into a dump yard. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/road-laid-to-dump-waste-in-chennai-marsh/articleshow/83706136.cms  (21 June 2021)

Madurai NGT stay on allotment of water body The NGT has imposed a stay on allotment of a water body Pudukulam Kanmoi in Madurai to certain journalists and sought response from the government on the issue. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the water body cannot be dismantled and has to be maintained as such under the applicable statute (TN Protection of Tanks and eviction of encroachments Act, 2017) and binding judgements of the Supreme Court. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by TN resident A M Vinodh against government order by Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Land Disposal Wing to allot Pudukulam Kanmoi to certain journalists, in violation of law.

We issue notice to the State of Tamil Nadu through Chief Secretary, who may coordinate with the concerned Departments and file a response within one month by e-mail. Notice may also be sent to the District Magistrate, Madurai for his response, if any, which may also be furnished by e-mail within one month, the bench said. The tribunal said that pending further consideration, status quo may be maintained at the site in the matter of creating any third-party rights and using the property for any other purpose than as a water body. The matter is listed for next hearing in August 23. https://www.news18.com/news/india/ngt-stay-on-allotment-of-water-body-in-madurai-issues-notice-to-tamil-nadu-3827081.html  (9 June 2021)

Bengaluru Will outer areas get Cauvery water anytime soon? With works progressing slowly, it’s unclear if residents in outer areas will indeed get Cauvery water in 2023 itself. Many residents in these areas have been skeptical of taking Cauvery connections even otherwise. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/will-bengaluru-peripheries-get-cauvery-water-soon-60620  (23 June 2021)

Cauvery pipe laying work in peripheral areas in 2019. Pic: Twitter/Aravind Limbavali/ Citizen Matters

Why apartments hesitate to apply for Cauvery water connection Currently, those who have applied for Cauvery connections in the peripheries get water only once a week, for 4-5 hours. Independent houses are able to store and use this water for at least five days a week, but the quantity is too little for large apartments with hundreds of families. Apartment residents are not sure the Stage V project will finish by 2023 itself; and even if it does, whether they will get water all days of the week. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/why-outer-bengaluru-apartments-not-taking-new-cauvery-water-connection-60625  (25 June 2021)

Kochi Efforts on to identify source of water contamination in Vyttila, nearby areas Consumers of piped drinking water in Ponnurunni, Vyttila, Thykoodam, Champakkara, Pettah, Kachapilly Road, Ambelipadam Road, Major Road, Toc-H School Road, Janatha Road, Chilavannoor Road and Kadavanthra must shut the valve of their water supply lines on Sunday (June 27) since the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) will clean the water pipelines that got contaminated with oil that is suspected to have leaked from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) pipeline at Ponnurunni.

Personnel of the health wing of the Kochi Corporation too joined the efforts to trace the contaminant, after the councillor representing Vyttila division, Sunitha Dixon, who is also chairperson of the works standing committee, drew the attention of different stakeholders to residents complaining of contaminated water for the past one month. “It got worse on Friday (June 25). Hundreds of families were affected by the contamination, since they do not have any alternative source of drinking water. Water in tanker lorries was supplied to needy people,” she said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/efforts-on-to-identify-source-of-water-contamination-in-vyttila-nearby-areas/article34990418.ece  (26 June 2021)

Pune NGT asks PMC to deposit ₹2 cr  The principal bench of NGT on June 23, 2021 asked Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to deposit an amount of Rs. 2 Crores in a separate bank to utilise for restoration of the environment at the Uruli Devachi and Phursungi open dumping site for failing to execute the orders issued by the NGT in the year 2018 and 2020.

During the hearing Advocate Asim Sarode, representing the villagers submitted that despite the order there is no compliance of any directions. Sarode also submitted that the waste processing has still not been completed, apart from the already existing waste, 250 MT waste per day was in excess of the treatment. Similarly, as against generation of 750MLD of liquid waste, only 540 MLD was being treated and the remaining released in the environment without treatment. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/ngt-tribunal-raps-pmc-asks-civic-body-to-deposit-2-cr/articleshow/83798525.cms  (24 June 2021)

Delhi SWA to revive, conserve 180 waterbodies An official of the state wetland authority said, “We have received brief documents for around 180 waterbodies. A committee comprising wetland experts will review these documents. The brief document also contains challenges in the management of wetlands like dumping of waste, discharge of sewage, encroachment or excessive growth of weed. Once they are finalised, we will start our work by prioritising the environmental characteristics of a wetland and start the process of notifying them.” The official added that “the submission of documents by land-owning agencies acknowledges the presence of waterbodies.”

If a wetland is notified under Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, it will start getting legal protection and activities like dumping of waste, discharge of untreated effluents and encroachment will be prohibited for its conservation, said an official. Authorities at the state wetland authority, which constituted in 2019 for restoration of wetlands after an order of NGT, said there was no official data on the number of wetlands and their area in Delhi but it was believed that there were around 1,000 natural waterbodies in the capital.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/papers-in-wetland-authority-to-revive-conserve-180-waterbodies/articleshow/83879210.cms  (27 June 2021)

Landfills to blame for dirty groundwater too The groundwater near the city’s three landfill sites at Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla is highly contaminated with the level of TDS, chlorine and hardness being higher than the desired drinking water limit. Calcium and sulfate were also found to be higher than the desired limit. This was revealed in a report by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), which had collected samples from 4-5 locations near each landfill site in July last year.

ToI Infograph

Experts said unsegregated waste at the landfill sites leaching into the soil was contaminating the groundwater. Priti Banthia Mahesh, chief programme coordinator of the NGO Toxics Link, said, “All types of waste are dumped at landfill sites. The unsegregated waste, including toxic materials, releases chemicals and it leaches into the soil and contaminates the groundwater.” Shashank Shekhar, professor, department of geology, Delhi University, said, “These landfill sites are very old dumping grounds and were not scientifically designed. In due course, the leachate enters the groundwater and starts polluting it, which is occurring at all these sites.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/they-dont-just-stink-landfills-to-blame-for-dirty-groundwater-too/articleshow/83902263.cms  (28 June 2021)

Noida Groundwater table continues to deplete According to the data, which HT accessed, groundwater was deepest at the Government Degree College at 31.4 metres. Last year the same site had a depth of 30.3 metres and the year before that, it was 28.06 metres. In Sector 39, the decrease was less severe – from 30.14 metres last year to 30.82 metres. The data is limited as the department surveyed only 24 of the 84 sites in the district from where real-time data is available. This is a normal practice, and the full assessment is expected later this year. At all 24 sites, the groundwater depth showed an increase.

Of the city’s requirement of 406 million litres per day, about 50% is now from the Ganga. Over the last five years, the average pre-monsoon depth increased from 9.95 metres in 2016 to 25.28 metres in 2020 – a change of 154%. For Greater Noida, the average groundwater level dropped from 6.66 metres to 12.75 metres during the same period – a change of 91.41%.

The drop is visible in the number of tube wells going defunct. “Every year, we see a six to eight feet drop in the water levels in our tubewells. Of 430 tubewells we have, 120 are defunct. Out of 12 ranney wells in the city we have, only six are functional at present, rest have dried. Proper recharge, rainwater harvesting, and zero waste of water is the only way forward,” said RP Singh, deputy general manager (water), Noida Authority. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/noida-groundwater-table-continues-to-deplete-over-a100-tube-wells-left-defunct-101624387181308.html  (23 June 2021)

WATER POLLUTION

Gujarat  30 MLD waste WTP at Vatva operational A waste water treatment plant at Vatva industrial estate, capable of processing 30 million litres of waste water per day, was dedicated by CM Vijay Rupani on Friday (June 25) through video conferencing. Union minister Prakash Javdekar also participated in the event virtually. About 700 industries of Vatva will benefit from the project which has been completed by Green Environment Co-operative Services using the latest technology. With this, Vatva industrial estate will comply 100% with norms governing handling of waste water.

The CM said that 35 common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) have been made operational in the state to treat effluents and another 19 have been planned. He added that the project to discharge treated industrial effluents from Jetpur, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vadodara into the deep sea is also taking shape in the state. He added that as a result, rivers will be less polluted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/30-mld-waste-water-treatment-plant-at-vatva-operational/articleshow/83851933.cms  (26 June 2021)

JJM RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Gujarat Tap water scheme implemented ‘only on paper’ A letter addressed to Modi by a civil rights leader, Jatin Sheth of the Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSS), says, the scheme has been implemented in paper in dang district. While taps have been “commissioned”, water supply arrangements are “missing” in as many as 50 villages of Dang, which happens to be predominantly tribal, he says.

Image source Counter View

Forwarding the list of the 50 villages for Modi’s perusal, Sheth insists, the district collector should be asked to make “water supply arrangements by tankers urgently” in order to “address immediate needs of the families to reduce the severe drudgery of tribal women”, who have to “walk 1-2 kms to fetch water from dug wells.” https://www.counterview.net/2021/06/modis-tap-water-scheme-implemented-only.html  (27 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Centre opens cash tap The increased allocation has been provided to the state despite it having failed to spend 40 percent of the Rs 3,348 crore fund it had received in 2020-21 (FY21) as funds in 2019-20 too remain unspent. The central government data has revealed that the state has 26.3 million households in 97,455 villages and of these, just 11.3 percent households have tap water supply in their homes. https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/centre-opens-cash-tap-for-uttar-pradesh-rs-10k-crore-under-jal-jeevan-121061400028_1.html  (14 June 2021)

Report Tap water supply increases 4 fold 117 districts under Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) in remote locations where only 24.58 lakh (7%) households had tap water supply; in past 22 months additional 84 lakh (31.37%) have got tap water supply. This 24% increase in coverage in aspirational districts is more than a 22.72% increase in tap water supply across the country during these 22 months.

At the start of Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019, out of a total of 19.20 Crore rural households in the country, only 3.23 Crore (17%) had a tap water supply. During the last 22 months JJM has been implemented with speed and 4.36 Crore households have been provided with piped connections. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/india-s-tap-water-supply-increases-four-fold-from-7-to-31-in-117-aspirational-districts/776066  (26 June 2021)

WATER

Can virtual water analysis help India’s water shortage issue? According to IIT-Guwahati professor Anamika Barua, who led the study, ‘Virtual Water’ (VW) is the water involved in the production and trade of food and non-food commodities and services. It is that “invisible” water that has been consumed throughout the lifecycle of the product or service. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/smart-living/environment/can-virtual-water-analysis-help-india-s-water-shortage-issue-111624265603797.html  (21 June 2021)

पलायन रोकने के लिये जलसंकट पर नज़र ज़रूरी देश के विभिन्न क्षेत्रों से हो रहे पलायन के पीछे जल संकट किसी न किसी रूप में एक कारक है और जलवायु परिवर्तन का बढ़ता प्रभाव इसे और कठिन चुनौती बना सकता है। https://hindi.carboncopy.info/necessary-to-keep-an-eye-on-water-crisis-to-stop-migration/  (25 June 2021)

AGRICULTURE

Opinion Covid-19 calls for a new agriculture Mihir Shah Covid-19 compels the realisation that development paradigms need to integrate livelihood goals with those of sustainability and health. The most important livelihood in India remains agriculture. But we have never applied the sustainability or nutrition lens to farming. A narrow pre-occupation with raising yields at any cost has ultimately resulted in a serious farm crisis, whose underbelly has been exposed by the pandemic. https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/covid-19-calls-for-a-new-agriculture-121061601587_1.html  (16 June 2021)

How green are India’s agri-exports? by Ashok Gulati , Ritika Juneja  Amongst the various agri-commodity exports, rice ranks first with 17.7 million tonnes valued at $8.8 billion, roughly 21 per cent of the total value of agri-exports. It is followed by marine products ($6 billion), spices ($4 billion), bovine (buffalo) meat ($3.2 billion) and sugar ($2.8 billion). Environmental sustainability concerns about rice and sugar, however, warrant a re-examination of the country’s export basket.

– In 2020-21, India exported 7.5 million tonnes of sugar, implying that at least 15 billion cubic metres of water was exported through sugar alone. Another water guzzler, rice, needs around  an average of about 4,000 litres of water per kg of rice, and assuming that half of this gets recycled back to groundwater, exporting 17.7 million tonnes of rice means that India has virtually exported 35.4 billion cubic metres of water just through rice. Also, rice cultivation contributes to more than 18 per cent of the GHG emission generated from agriculture.

– Closer evaluation of non-basmati exports exposes another interesting fact: These exports are actually sourced not only below-MSP but also below the average domestic mandi prices prevailing in the country after one adjusts for freight from mandi to port and loading charges at the port. How does that happen? One possibility is that a substantial part of supplies through the PDS and the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana are leaking out and swelling rice exports. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-green-are-indias-agri-exports-7368002/  (21 June 2021)

MONSOON 2021

IMD Monsoon unlikely to progress for nearly 2 weeks The monsoon is unlikely to progress to Delhi, Chandigarh, Haryana, remaining parts of Rajasthan, west Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab for nearly two weeks and is also likely to enter a “break spell” from June 29 onwards, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday (June 26). Heavy rain will be confined to northeast India while rainfall will be subdued in the rest of the country at least till around July 5, it added.

From June 1 to June 26, the country recorded 20% excess rain. There was 43% excess rain in northwest India, 36% in central India, 3% in the east and northeast India, and 7% in the south peninsula. Out of 36 subdivisions, seven recorded large excess rain (60% or more above normal), 14 recorded excess rain (20 to 59% excess), seven recorded normal rain (-19% to 19%) and eight recorded deficient rain (-20% to -59%). https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/monsoon-unlikely-to-progress-for-nearly-two-weeks-imd-101624707119886.html  (26 June 2021)

Bihar Surplus June rainfall may be an outcome of climate change Through June 22, 2021, the state had received 269.3 millimetres of rainfall — 171 per cent surplus than normal (99.3 mm). The state had received surplus rainfall (305.9 mm) in June 2020. The local meteorological office has forecast more rainfall in the coming days. The phenomenon is unusual, according to weather experts. They have not ruled out the impact of climate change behind it.

Sanjay Kumar, weather scientist at India Meteorological Department (IMD), Patna, said Bihar recorded surplus rainfall in June 2020 and 2021. “This is the maximum rainfall the state has received in the last decade in June,” he said. According to him Bihar received 97.8 mm rains in 2019, nearly 40 per cent less than normal; 100.3 mm in 2018; 84.6 mm in 2017; 128.7 mm in 2016 and 123.6 mm in 2015.

“Heavy rains in the first leg of monsoon resulted in surplus rains in June in 2020 and 2021. This needs to be studied but one thing is clear: It has a direct link with climate change, even as there is no documentary proof so far. It is an example of the active monsoon,” Sanjay said. The state received almost double the normal rainfall in the last 22 days, he said. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/surplus-june-rainfall-in-bihar-may-be-an-outcome-of-climate-change-claim-experts-77595  (22 June 2021)

Maharashtra Jayakwadi dam 33% full despite timely monsoon arrival At the end of June’s third week, the water level in the Jayakwadi dam, the biggest source for irrigation water in the drought-affected Marathwada region, stands at 2.17 lakh million litres (ML) or 33 per cent of its full capacity of 7.21 lakh ML. Last year, the water level in the dam in Aurangabad’s Paithan taluka was 38 per cent during the same period (on June 24). According to officials, despite a timely arrival of monsoon in the state, rainfall has been erratic across the state hampering kharif sowing.

Meanwhile, across the eight districts in the Marathawada region, the water level in dams is almost identical, say officials. In the Beed district, the water level at Mazalgaon dam was recorded at 18.71 per cent as compared to 19.98 per cent last year. In the neighbouring Hingoli district, the Siddheshwari dam is at a 16 per cent water level, lower than the previous year’s 20 per cent. Lower Maner dam in Nanded district, too, shows 28 percentage point shortfall in water level at 18 per cent against 46 per cent a year ago.

Among the eight districts, Osmanabad is perceived to be the worst hit by drought, but its Lower Terna dam currently is 41 per cent full as compared to only 3.61 per cent last year. However, the Sina Kolegaon dam in the district, which has a total capacity of 76,000 ML has zero water like last year. “Average water across dams in Beed, Latur, Osmanabad, Hingoli, Nanded, Parbhani, Jalna, and Aurangabad districts is 24.82 per cent. It is a marginal increase from last year’s 23 per cent,” a water resources department official said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/concern-as-aurangabads-jayakwadi-dam-33-full-despite-timely-monsoon-arrival-7376026/  (25 June 2021)

Stock in 5 Pune dams higher As of Friday (June 25), the collective water stock in Khadakwasla, Panshet, Varasgaon, Panshet and Pavana dams stood at 10.81 TMC (thousand million cubic feet). During the same period of 2020, the collective stock was 7.85 TMC.

Pune district has seen heavy rain in June. Till June 23, the district had recorded 240 mm of rain, which was nearly 100 per cent above normal for the monsoon onset month here. The catchment areas of Temghar and Pavana dams have so far received above normal rainfall for June. The rainfall since June 1 at the catchment areas in the district range between 250mm and 530mm.

Currently, Khadakwasla dam holds 55 per cent of its capacity, whereas stocks in Panshet and Pavana were over 30 per cent of the total capacity. Varasgaon and Temghar dams had over 20 per cent and 14 per cent of their stock, respectively, as on Friday (June 25). https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/stock-in-5-dams-supplying-water-to-pune-higher-than-in-june-2020-7374727/  (26 June 2021)

HV Gunale, chief engineer, water resources, Pune division, said, “As there was good rainfall in May, water used for irrigation was also less this time. Moreover, catchment areas are seeing a good rainfall which has left the dams with good water storage. However, the municipal corporation draws water for drinking purposes and so some dams are less full as of Wednesday (June 23), as compared to the start of June,” said Gunale. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/steady-rainfall-in-catchment-areas-sees-dams-continue-to-fill-up-101624473283397.html (24 Jun 2021)

Karnataka Reservoirs 35% full  Heavy rainfall might be lashing most areas of Karnataka, but reservoirs are not getting filled up to a satisfactory mark. According to the data from Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), till June 19, only 35 per cent of state’s reservoirs’ maximum storage level is filled.

Out of the gross storage capacity of water in all the major reservoirs (860.27 TMC ft), 297.20 TMC ft of water is currently stored as against 223.36 TMC ft in the corresponding day last year. Though the storage level is higher compared to last year’s corresponding day, a lot depends on the progression of monsoon in the coming days. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/karnatakas-drenched-but-reservoirs-35-full/articleshow/83791085.cms  (24 June 2021)

FLOOD 2021

Uttarakhand Video shows massive amount of water released by Chhirkala dam on Dhauliganga in Pithoragarh aggravating flood situation in downstream areas on June 19, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HT4F-KEIqY

बंगापानी तहसील में गोरी नदी ने मुनस्यारी-जौलजीबी सड़क के अधिकांश हिस्से को लील लिया है। धारचूला के कनज्योति के पास ऊपरी पहाड़ी से बहने वाले झरने के उफान पर आने से कनज्योति में पक्का आरसीसी पुल बह गया है।

इससे मल्ला दारमा, तल्ला दारमा और चौदास घाटी के 35 से गांवों का संपर्क टूट गया है। टनकपुर-पिथौरागढ़ हाईवे टनकपुर से लीसा डिपो (घाट से छह किमी पूर्व) तक ही खुल सका है। मकड़ाऊं के पास 10 मीटर सड़क टूटने से अल्मोड़ा-घाट  हाईवे दूसरे दिन भी अवरुद्ध रहा। अल्मोड़ा जिले में 10 ग्रामीण मार्ग भी बंद हैं।  https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/dehradun/uttarakhand-monsoon-rainfall-news-many-road-closed-in-kumaun-due-to-heavy-landslide-photos  (20 June 2021)

जवाड़ी बाईपास पर एक पुल भी नदी में बह गया है. यह पुल केदारनाथ आपदा के समय काफी मददगार साबित हुआ था. इसके बाद NH विभाग की ओर से यहां पर स्थाई पुल तैयार किया गया. https://react.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttarakhand/state/rudraprayag/fear-of-disaster-among-people-due-to-continuous-rain-in-rudraprayag/uttarakhand20210619190409809 (19 Jun 2021)

बृहस्पतिवार (June 17) को देर रात से क्षेत्र में बारिश हो रही है। जिससे क्षेत्र में जन-जीवन अस्त व्यस्त है। हेलंग-उर्गम सड़क अवरुद्घ हो गई है। यह सड़क हेलंग में स्थित जल विद्युत परियोजना प्रबंधन की लापरवाही के कारण बार-बार अवरुद्घ हो रही है। ग्रामीणों का कहना है कि परियोजना की नहर से पानी का रिसाव हो रहा है, जिससे सड़क पर भूस्खलन और भू-धंसाव हो रहा है। कई बार ग्रामीणों और जनप्रतिनिधियों ने जिला प्रशासन से भी इस संबंध में शिकायत की, लेकिन परियोजना प्रबंधन पर कोई कार्रवाई नहीं हो  रही है।

घाटी के पूर्व प्रधान और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता लक्ष्मण सिंह नेगी का कहना है कि  हेलंग में जल विद्युत निगम की लापरवाही के कारण प्रतिवर्ष हेलंग-उर्गम मोटर मार्ग को काफी नुकसान होता है और पाँवर हाउस की नहर जगह-जगह लीकेज होने के  करण मोटर मार्ग को खतरा पैदा हो चुका है। अधिक वर्षा होने के कारण नहर धँस जाती है नहर का पानी सड़कों पर चला जाता है जिससे सड़क का अधिकांश हिस्सा टूट जाता है लघु जल विद्युत निगम के अधिकारी और जिला प्रशासन को कई बार शिकायत करने के बाद भी सुनवाई नहीं के बराबर है। इसी तरह की हालत रहे तो उर्गम घाटी की जनता कभी भी बड़ा आंदोलन लघु जल विद्युत निगम के खिलाफ कर सकती है। https://amarhimalaya.com/447/  (18 June 2021)

भारी बारिश एवं लघु जल विद्युत निगम उर्गम की लापरवाही के कारण हेलंग उर्गम मोटर मार्ग पंचम केदार कल्पेश्वर महादेव को जोडने वाली सडक बुरी तरह से क्षतिग्रस्त हो गयी

जिसका जिम्मेदार पूर्ण रूप से लघु जल विद्युत परियोजना की नहर है कल्पगंगा में नदी का जल स्तर बढने और नहर के रिसाव होने के कारण मोटर मार्ग जगह जगह ध्वस्त हो गया जिसको खोलने में एक माह से अधिक समय लग सकता है सडक मार्ग के क्षतिग्रस्त होने से जगह जगह लोगों के वाहन फंस गये है

बार बार उर्गम घाटी के ग्रामीण नहर के रिसाव की शिकायत कर रहे थे लेकिन पावर हाउस के अधिकारियों ने कभी भी संज्ञान नही लिया उर्गम घाटी के ग्रामीणों ने पावर हाउस जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं पर गम्भीर आरोप लगाये है जल्द सडक नही खोली गयी तो उर्गम घाटी आन्दोलन के लिए तैयार है http://247superfast.com/42494/  (23 June 2021)

बारिश के कारण अलकनंदा नदी का जल स्तर बढ़ गया। बढ़ते जल स्तर और नदी में आ रहे मलबे को देखते हुए श्रीनगर जल विद्युत परियोजना झील से पानी छोड़ा गया। शुक्रवार (June 18) को दिनभर श्रीनगर में जलस्तर घटता-बढ़ता रहा और कई बार यहां जल स्तर चेतावनी स्तर को पार कर गया। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/chamoli/water-entered-the-houses-in-ramni-village-chaos-caused-by-rain-gopeshwar-news-drn3819194132  (18 June 2021)

About 20 villages have been flooded due to the breach of the embankment of the Banganga River near Sherpur Bela Khadar village of Laksar. Around three dozen farmers are reported to be trapped amid the rising water levels. Thousands of acres of agricultural land have submerged due to the breaking of 20 meters long embankment of Banganga River near Sherpur Bela village of Khanpur late night. https://react.etvbharat.com/english/national/state/uttarakhand/several-villages-flooded-after-banganga-rivers-embankment-broken/na20210620225514731  (21 June 2021)

रविवार (June 20) को रुड़की में बाणगंगा के तेज बहाव ने जहां शेरपुर बेला के पास तटबंध को ध्वस्त कर दिया तो वहीं खेती करने गए 57 किसान बाढ़ में फंस गए। इनमें 39 पुरुष, 11 महिलाएं और सात बच्चे शामिल थे। बाढ़ के कारण उत्तराखंड के कलसिया, उत्तर प्रदेश के रामसहायवाला, हिम्मतपुर बेला गांव का लक्सर और बिजनौर तहसील मुख्यालय के साथ ही खानपुर ब्लॉक मुख्यालय से संपर्क कट गया है।

उधर, पूरे साल बजट का बहाना बनाकर कागजों का पेट भरने वाला सिंचाई विभाग शेरपुर बेला गांव के पास ध्वस्त हुए बाणगंगा नदी के तटबंध की मरम्मत का दावा कर रहा है, लेकिन सवाल यह उठ रहा है कि आखिर बरसात के मौसम में मरम्मत के लिए बजट और मरम्मत सामग्री कैसे जुटाई जाएगी। वहीं, सिंचाई विभाग के ईई डीके सिंह का कहना है कि बाणगंगा नदी के ध्वस्त हुए तटबंध की मरम्मत का काम शुरू करा दिया गया है। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/dehradun/uttarakhand-roorkee-flood-news-banganga-broke-embankment-and-57-people-stuck-in-water-photos  (20 June 2021)

Torrential rains, rivers-in-spate and landslides leave state in troubled waters For more than a week, the Uttarakhand reeled under relentless rains with the majority of its districts registering ‘large excess’ rainfall. Multiple landslides have cut off villages as roads are blocked, and several villages are in darkness. https://en.gaonconnection.com/uttarakhand-dehradun-rains-rivers-landslides-floods-chamoli-ganga-imd-disaster/  (21 June 2021)

The Mahakali in spate. Looks like Dharchula. Video shared by someone from Chhangru in Nepal. https://www.facebook.com/chhangru/videos/792710294721906

Andhra Pradesh Officials shift affected people as flood level in Godavari rises With the flood level rising in the Godavari, the officials sounded an alert on Friday (June 25, 2021) and shifted many tribal families residing in Polavaram and Velerupadu mandals to safer places. The rise in the flood level was due to the Polavaram dam. The Polavaram authorities were releasing water downstream through 10 radial gates.

– It is feared that communication to 19 villages will be affected if the water level rises further and overflows from the Kothuru causeway. The overflowing Yedla Vaagu is a cause for concern for the tribal people at Yedlapalli. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/officials-sound-alert-shift-affected-people-as-flood-level-in-the-godavari-rises/article34980937.ece  (25 June 2021)

The flood situation worsened on Saturday, June 26. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/flood-threat-persists-as-water-level-continues-to-rise-in-the-godavari/article34994372.ece  (26 June 2021)

Karnataka Flood alert issued along banks of Krishna river Due to increased inflow into Narayanpur Basava Sagar reservoir built across river Krishna, an alert has been declared in the area along the banks of Krishna in Yadgir district on Thursday (June 24, 2021). The Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Ltd said that more than 40,000 causes being released from Narayanpur dam in Surpur taluk. Dist Administration warned the villages not to venture into the river for fishing or any other reason. http://www.uniindia.com/flood-alert-issued-along-banks-of-krishna-river/south/news/2430927.html  (24 June 2021)

Maharashtra Villages put on alert as water rises in Palghar dam The Palghar district administration on Tuesday (June 22) directed officials to alert residents of villages located near the Kurze dam as its water level has been rising fast due to heavy rains.

Currently, the dam is filled up to 65.63 metres and once the water level reaches 67 metres, its three gates will be opened which could lead to heavy flooding in the surrounding areas, the official said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thane/maharashtra-villages-put-on-alert-as-water-rises-in-palghar-dam/articleshow/83746181.cms  (22 June 2021)

Kerala WB approves $125 million to support disaster preparedness The statement issued by the World Bank on Friday (June 25), said that the Resilient Kerala Program will focus on two key areas which includes incorporating disaster risk planning in the master plans of urban and local self-governments to ease financial constraints on the state government when faced with unexpected shocks. Secondly, it will help make health and water resources management, agriculture, and road sectors more resilient to calamities.

The program is part of a programmatic series of World Bank financed operations in the state. The 2018 flood was the worst Kerala had seen in nearly a century, causing massive devastation and landslides which impacted more than five million people, mainly in the Pamba River Basin.

The First Resilient Kerala Development Policy Operation (DPO) approved in June 2019 undertook several initiatives. It helped the state draft a River Basin Conservation and Management Act, which will conserve and regulate water resources and ensure their sustainable management, allocation, and utilisation. It also introduced climate-resilient agriculture, risk-informed land use, and disaster management planning. The program laid the foundations for a five-year State Partnership Framework. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/world-bank-approves-125-million-support-kerala-s-disaster-preparedness-151277  (25 June 2021)

4 more small dams allowed to raise shutters during night The number of small dams in the State where the shutters can be raised during the night for releasing water has been increased from six to ten. The change has been specified in the ‘Orange Book of Disaster Management 2 : Monsoon Preparedness and Response Guidelines’ which has been updated by the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) ahead of the 2021 southwest monsoon season.

The revision, approved by the government and published on Friday (May 28), list ten dams in five districts: Kakkayam dam in Kozhikode district; Poringalkuthu and Sholayar in Thrissur district; Kallar, Irattayar, Lower periyar and Kallarkutty, in Idukki district; Moozhiyar and Maniyar in Pathanamthitta; and the Aruvikkara dam in Thiruvananthapuram. Dams in Thrissur and Kozhikode districts were newly added to the list based on the operational experiences in 2020, a KSDMA official said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/4-more-small-dams-allowed-to-raise-shutters-during-night/article34673584.ece  (29 May 2021)

असम नदी कटाव रोकने के लिए किसानों ने बनाया बंध पांच गांवों के लोगों की ओर से नदी के कटाव की वजह सेअपनी जमीनों को होने वाले नुकसान को रोकनेके लिए सरकार से बार-बार गुहार लगाई गई. सरकार की ओर सेकोई कदम नहीं उठाया गया तो ग्रामीणों ने खुद ही कमर कस ली. उन्होंने नदी के पानी को अपनी जमीनों पर आने से रोकने के लिए खुद ही पत्थरों से पुश्ता (छोटा बांध) बना डाला.

असम के बक्सा जिले के तमुलपुर रेवेन्यू सर्किल के तहत आने वाले गुआगु बाड़ी क्षेत्र के पांच गांव के लोगों को पिछले कई वर्षों से बोरनोदी नदी के कटाव से जुड़ी समस्याओं का सामना करना पड़ रहा है. ये क्षेत्र बोडोलैंड टेरिटोरियल रीजन (BTR) मेंआता है और भारत-भूटान सीमा के नजदीक है. क्षेत्र में 2,000 से ज्यादा लोगों को नदी के कटाव से अपनी फसल वाली सैकड़ों बीघा जमीन को खोना पड़ा है. भूटान से आने वाली बोरनोदी नदी के कटाव से हर साल कृषि भूमि का नुकसान होता है. इसी वजह से क्षेत्र से कई परिवार रोजगार की तलाश में दूसरे स्थानों को पलायन कर गए.  https://www.aajtak.in/india/news/story/assam-flood-affected-farmers-built-dam-with-villagers-support-government-ignored-1280367-2021-06-27  (27 June 2021)

DROUGHT

Andhra Pradesh People protest against Rain God with ‘Karuvu Rallu’ in Anantapur Lack of rains yet in parts of Rayalaseema has led to rural people enacting the centuries-old tradition of protesting against the Rain God with “Karuvu Rallu” or drought stones. As per the tradition, villagers in this drought-prone region throw waste material of their village, including the drought stones, on outskirts of another village to appease the Rain God into showering rains. Villagers, however, exercise caution while throwing the drought stones, lest it lead to a clash with members of the targeted village.

All such stones are finally dumped into Penna and other rivers of Rayalaseema bordering Karnataka. Senior citizens say this tradition has been continuing even to this day, as the practise not only appeases the Rain God but also checks farmers from falling into depression due to their inability in raising crops.

Dr. Harinath Reddy of Rayalaseema Vedika says this tradition of protest is mostly seen in villages around Goddess Gangamma temples, which are constructed mostly close to river beds and irrigation tanks. “At these temples, villagers seeking rains offer traditional poojas and ululate to express their grief at lack of rains”, Dr Reddy explained. According to reports available, many areas of Rayalaseema have experienced 72 drought years in the past 145 years. Such high variability in southwest monsoon is an indicator of the risk associated with farming in this district. It has 7 lakh hectares of dry land whose cultivators depend only on seasonal rains. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/260621/people-protest-against-rain-god-with-karuvu-rallu-in-anantapur.html  (27 June 2021)

DISASTERS

Himachal Pradesh 19 tunnels to be constructed, work on 8 in progress: Gadkari Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, during a visit to Atal Tunnel, said the work was in progress on 8 tunnels while the work on 11 tunnels would be awarded soon. Gadkari said the BRO would also construct tunnels at Shinkula, Baralacha, Tanglangla and Lachungla for better connectivity to border areas.

Later, the Union minister inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of nine road projects of 222 km worth Rs 6,155 crore through video-conferencing from Manali. He dedicated the four-laned Parwanoo-Solan section of the NH-22 (now NH-5) to public. He also inaugurated a double-lane bridge built by the NHAI at a cost of Rs 12.86 crore on the Beas in Manali. The 80-metre long and 28-metre wide bridge would ease traffic jams in Manali.

Gadkari said the road projects worth Rs 15,000 crore would be awarded this year. The DPR for the construction of a 40-km left bank double lane road project from Kullu to Manali would be prepared at the earliest. Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Gen VK Singh said that road projects worth Rs 2,000 crore had been completed in Himachal and the work was in progress on projects worth Rs 7,000 crore. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/19-tunnels-to-be-constructed-in-himachal-work-on-8-in-progress-gadkari-273679  (25 June 2021)

LANDSLIDES

CLOUD BURSTS

Uttarakhand चमोली में बादल फटने से जोशीमठ-नीती बॉर्डर मार्ग बाधित  चमोली जिले के परसारी गांव के पास गौर सिंह नाले में रात 8 बजकर 30 मिनट में बादल फटा. बादल फटने के कारण जोशीमठ-नीती बॉर्डर मार्ग पर मलबा और बोल्डर आने से मार्ग बाधित हो गया है, जिसे खोलने का कार्य जारी है. घटना में अभी तक किसी भी तरह की जनहानि, पशुहानि या भवन के नुकसान की जानकारी नहीं है. हालांकि काश्तकारों को कृषि भूमि में नुकसान पहुंचा है.

बादल फटने के कारण जोशीमठ-नीती बॉर्डर मार्ग पर गौर सिंह नाले के समीप सड़क पर मलबा, पत्थर आ गए. जिस कारण मार्ग बाधित हो गया है. साथ ही मार्ग पर बोल्डर आने से यातायात भी बाधित हो गया है. जिससे लोगों को काफी दिक्कतों का सामना करना पड़ रहा है. घटना के बाद नीति घाटी के एक दर्जन से अधिक गांवों का संपर्क कट गया है. जिसमें ढाक,तपोवन,करछो,रैणी,सुराइथोटा, भलागांव,कैलाशपुर,मलारी,सहित अन्य गांव शामिल हैं. गौर सिंह नाले के पास जोशीमठ-नीति बॉर्डर मार्ग को खोलने का कार्य जारी है. https://react.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttarakhand/state/chamoli/joshimath-niti-border-road-blocked-due-to-cloudburst-in-chamoli/uttarakhand20210624064751903  (24 June 2021) 

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

MoEF Created new offices but staff not hired On August 19, the MoEF issued a notification for the establishment of 19 Integrated Regional Offices across the country. Until then, the ministry had 10 regional offices. The August 19 notification not only expanded the number of the environment ministry’s regional offices, it also brought these affiliate organisations under one roof. Ten regional offices of the environment ministry, four of the Forest Survey of India, three of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, four of the Central Zoo Authority, and offices for eight personnel of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau were merged to form 19 Integrated Regional Offices. These were scheduled to become functional from October 1.

However, nine months later, the new system hasn’t quite taken off. Only five of 102 staff positions in the nine newly created Integrated Regional Offices have been filled so far, Scroll.in has found through a Right to Information request. Five new offices – Jaipur, Gandhinagar, Shimla, Jammu and Kolkata – are yet to see a single appointment.

Apart from these vacancies, another 358 new staff positions have been created in the affiliate organisations housed in these new offices, as per a sanction order issued on October 20, which was accessed by Scroll.in. An official in the environment ministry, who did not want to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the press, conceded that most of these positions, too, are lying vacant. https://scroll.in/article/998324/indias-environment-ministry-created-new-offices-but-failed-to-hire-staff-for-them  (25 June 2021)

Govt moves ahead with plan to amend Indian Forest Act The MoEF has inited bids from consulting agencies, firms, joint ventures and consortiums, in an attempt to amend the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The EOI published on June 22 states that the Centre is presently undertaking a review of legislation implemented by different ministries to bring them at pace with contemporary needs. The deadline for this is July 2, and the selected bidder is expected to complete the work in a maximum of seven months.

Any amendment to IFA is significant because it deals with the regulation of transit of forest produce and the regulation of reserved forests, protected forests and forestland that is not under government control. It also deals with various forest offences and penalties.

Experts, however, have questioned the legal framework of the amendment. “The IFA has a 100-year legacy. It has shaped the ownership, access to, and distribution of forests and forest produce. It also manifests itself in the political contestations between various government departments, the forest bureaucracy, holders of forest rights and forest workers. Its amendment is as much about reconciling law as it is about realigning power equations,” said Kanchi Kohli, legal researcher, Centre for Policy Research.

She said that a hard legalistic framework or justification for IFA’s amendment is neither desirable nor will it be able to administer justice. “Any process to amend the IFA has to move away from the hierarchies of the past and understand the conservation challenges of the future, including that of climate change,” Kohli said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-moves-ahead-with-plan-to-amend-indian-forest-act-101624818488070.html  (28 June 2021)

Fly Ash Draft Notification Is an Attempt To Justify Pollution by Ritwick Dutta & Dharmesh Shah  In the midst of the deadly second wave of COVID-19, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change sought public comments on its draft Fly Ash Notification 2021.

– Today, June 21, marks the last day on which people may submit their comments on the draft. And as such, it is one of the most regressive policies that the ministry has sought to introduce to deal with India’s fly ash problem.

– Issued under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the latest amendment is the sixth attempt by policymakers to address the “mismanagement” of fly ash from India’s ever-expanding coal-fired thermal power sector.

– According to estimates provided by the Central Electricity Authority, the fly ash produced at Indian coal power sector increased from 69 million tonnes a year in 1996 to 226 million tonnes a year in 2019. This is a large quantity – almost three times the amount of municipal solid waste generated in the country. In addition, nearly 1.6 billion tonnes of legacy ash – i.e. ash accumulated over time – is lying around in illegal ash ponds across the country. The conventional disposal of ash, in the form of slurry, currently occupies nearly 40,000 hectares of land and requires about 1,040 million cubic metres of water every year annually. The improper disposal of fly ash has been wreaking havoc on communities and the ecology. A recent compendium of coal ash disasters across India found reports of at least 17 major disasters in 2020 and 2021 alone, in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra. A similar report released last year documented 76 incidents, including large ash pond breaches, ash slurry pipe leaks and illegal disposal incidents, between 2010 and 2020. https://science.thewire.in/environment/environment-ministry-draft-fly-ash-notification-2021-illegal-smokescreen-toxic-accidents/  (21 June 2021)

NITI Aayog SDG yardsticks have been changing  NITI Aayog annually ranks Indian states on different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting their performance on indicators like hunger, education and healthcare access. It also measures the states’ progress on climate action, access to energy and sustainable cities among other criteria.

In its latest report, the Niti Aayog modified and removed some indicators, as compared to its base report of 2018, which does not give a complete picture of the progress on these indicators. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/niti-aayog-ranks-states-on-progress-toward-sdg-goals-but-yardsticks-have-been-changing/  (25 June 2021) 

Gujarat Adivasis oppose Vedanta’s zinc smelter plant The Adivasi Panch (people’s court) has demanded scrapping of the zinc project and postponement of the public hearing fixed by the state’s pollution control board on July 5. “The public hearing has been deliberately fixed for July 5 to ensure that few attend the hearing as the Adivasi farmers of 92 villages will be busy transplanting paddy in their fields,” allege Lalji and Bhupendra Choudhary, leaders of the Adivasi Panch.

Moreover, the Adivasi leaders point out, the SPCB published the proposed zinc plant’s environment impact report on its website as late as on June 20 though the rule requires the board to publish the report 45 days before the public hearing. Besides, the leaders said, the voluminous report is in English, which most illiterate Adivasi farmers cannot understand. “It was only after we mounted pressure on the pollution control board officials at their regional office in Navsari that they gave us an over 1,000-page report,” says Bhupendra Choudhary.

Adivasi Panch leaders dispute Vedanta’s claim that there are no ancient forts, forest and places of worship within 10 km radius of the proposed zinc smelter plant. They point out that the Devli Madi hill, venerated by the adivasis, is situated just four km from the site of the proposed zinc smelter.

The Adivasi Panch leaders said the Vedanta company, which had claimed that it would provide employment to over 5,000 people, has contradicted its own claim. In its report, the company now has said the smelter will provide full-time employment to 1,650 people and 250 others on ad-hoc basis.

The Adivasi leaders said though farmers of the nearby villages are not being given water for irrigation from the Doswada reservoir, the Vedanta company claims in its report that it will need as much as 4.5 crore litres of water every day for running the zinc smelter plant. For want of irrigation water, once the zinc facilities becomes operational, cultivation of agricultural land will be ruined, point out the Adivasi leaders. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/adivasis-oppose-vedantas-zinc-smelter-plant-in-south-gujarat  (27 June 2021)

Lakshadweep Scientists urge President to recall LDAR draft rules A group of 60 scientists and researchers has requested President Ram Nath Kovind to withdraw the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR) 2021 that seeks to develop the islands as a major tourist destination, underlining that the region’s unique geography, ecology, and long human history places natural limits on the kinds of development the archipelago can support.

In a letter sent to President Kovind on Wednesday (June 23), the group sought “a serious re-evaluation” of the developmental paradigms being promoted for the archipelago and underlined that Lakshadweep, an archipelago consisting of 36 islands with an area of 32 sq km, was already among the worst affected places due to the climate crisis. Earlier this month, a group of 93 former civil servants also wrote to PM Narendra Modi saying the LDAR envisages land-use, which can destroy the islands.

The group identified Lakshadweep’s inherent environmental vulnerability, LDR’s impact on local livelihood, its legal status vis-a-vis existing laws and commitments and what it described as a questionable developmental paradigm as their four key concerns around the regulation. The group cautioned that Lakshadweep has already “experienced catastrophic climate change-related coral mass mortality events” over the last two decades.

The group said LDAR is also against India’s laws like the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the Biological Diversity Act 2002, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Ecotourism Guidelines, 2019, along with international and national legal obligations. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/scientists-urge-president-to-recall-draft-rules-for-lakshadweep-101624562811294.html  (25 June 2021)

Lakshadweep could face major coastal erosion due to rising sea levels A group of scientists at IIT-Kharagpur, in a study carried out under the Department of Science and Technology, have found that sea levels around Lakshadweep are estimated to rise between 0.4 mm and 0.9 mm annually, causing coastal erosion in many of the islands, and possibly submerging the smaller islets.

The Lakshadweep archipelago comprises 36 islands of coral and reef formation in the Arabian Sea, spanning just over 32 sq km. The islands are characterized by low elevations, with maximum elevation ranging from 4-6 metres above Mean Sea Level and minimum elevations lower than 1 metre. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/lakshadweep-could-face-major-coastal-erosion-due-to-rising-sea-levels-study-7369707/  (22 July 2021)

Maharashtra NGT directs impact study of Port in Dahanu The NGT halted implementation of orders passed last year by MOEF and CPCB which effectively lifted ports out of a ‘prohibited’ category in Dahanu ecological fragile area, with no expert study conducted. The Tribunal directed that an expert panel must first study the impact of ports in such sensitive zones.

National Fishworkers Union and other had petitioned the NGT to challenge these two directions contending that “are in a series of steps taken by the Central Government and its agencies to remove any potential impediments to the setting up of a port in Vadhawan.’’

The fishworkers Forum argued that the CPCB order would mean that Port can be undertaken in ecologically sensitive area, including the Dahanu Taluka ecologically fragile area, “though doing so is incompatible with the object of declaring such area as eco fragile and in violation of directions of the Supreme Court.’’ https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ngt-halts-cpcb-moef-directions-directs-study-by-expert-panel-for-impact-of-port-in-dahanu/articleshow/83680976.cms  (20 June 2021) 

Women intercept trucks with ash from power plant Angered over fly ash spilling from trucks leaving the Parli thermal power station and making a road at Pangri village dusty and slippery, a group of women on Friday (June 25) morning intercepted 15 vehicles and made the drivers clean up the street with the latter’s shirts.

MPCB records revealed that the Parli Thermal Power Station has a capacity of 1,170 MW and generates 7,55,167 tonnes of ash a year. Every day, hundreds of heavy vehicles loaded with fly ash ply through the streets of Parli, spilling ash all over the streets. Villagers living along the roads have been complaining for long that the fly ash reduces visibility in the area. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/women-intercept-trucks-with-ash-from-power-plant-make-drivers-sweep-streets/articleshow/83849224.cms  (26 June 2021)

The Rs 12,721 crore coastal road is the city’s most ambitious infrastructure project yet. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/the-project-that-will-change-the-face-of-mumbai/articleshow/83714026.cms  (26 June 2021)

Andhra Pradesh 2 IAS officers get 1 month’s jail, fine The High Court on Tuesday (June 22) sentenced two IAS officials to one month’s imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 each for not implementing court orders on the filling of certain vacancies in the horticulture department.

Dealing with a contempt petition, Justice B. Devanand observed that the two officials — panchayat raj commissioner Girija Shankar and horticulture commissioner Chiranjeevi Chowdary — willfully disobeyed the court directions and deserved punishment.

The judge called the two officials for their personal appearance on Tuesday (June 22). However, he withdrew his order after government special counsel Suman gave a commitment to the court that its orders would be implemented in the next two weeks. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/crime/230621/two-ias-officers-get-one-months-jail-in-ap-fine-of-rs-1000-for-disob.html  (23 June 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Dharamshala eating into forest Earlier this year, the SC of India ordered the demolition of a hotel structure built in 2006 under the garb of a bus stand and parking lot in Dharamshala. The HC has, more than once, asked the state to act against violations. Dharamshala has witnessed rapid growth which has often spread into the forests. The state action, however, has been targeted towards small encroachments. The bigger encroachments have remained unscathed.

Jogiwara Road is full of multi-storey structures. Photo by Meenakshi Kapoor/ Monga Bay India

Such violations in the hill state have continued due to an alleged nexus between the government departments and the builder lobby. Forest land that is not demarcated and overlap between the jurisdictions of forest and revenue department in the state has allowed the illegal constructions to continue. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/as-dharamshala-grows-the-city-eats-into-the-forest/  (25 June 2021)

Karnataka Bengaluru gets largest Miyawaki forest While many trees in Bengaluru are being marked to be axed for various infrastructure projects, a group of people who have created a large man- made forest on a degraded forest patch in the outskirts of the city.

The 4.75 acres of Miyawaki forest created on Indian Railway Institute of Disaster Management land in Hejjalla, Mysuru Road, is the largest man-made forest in Bengaluru, according to Say Trees, an NGO group. The area is covered with 60 native species in four layers — trees, sub-trees, canopy and shrubs. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2021/jun/27/bengaluru-gets-largest-miyawaki-forest-2322051.html  (27 June 2021)

Miyawaki forests are no substitute for natural ones: Experts The growth of Miyawaki forests in many patches in and around Bengaluru has helped increase the city’s green cover and generated a lot of optimism. But, environmentalists have expressed doubts about the method and clarified that while such forests do have advantages, they cannot serve as replacements for natural forests.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/miyawaki-forests-are-no-substitute-for-natural-ones-experts/articleshow/69766810.cms  (13 June 2021) 

Opinion If green energy plans threatens biodiversity, they’re not ‘green’ Priyamvada Bagaria Finally, if power companies see a problem with taking mitigation measures to conserve the bird’s habitat, they’re missing the ‘green’ in ‘green energy’. We need to replace conventional fuels with more sustainable alternatives – and they no doubt include solar and wind energy. But if we’re going to erect panels and turbines and string them together in ways that pose serious threats to the survival of a species of birds, and trigger cascading changes in its ecosystem, the purpose of ‘green energy’ will become profiteering, not sustainability. How would this be different from the carbon-intensive energy we already use?

A comment by Asad Rahmani, former director of the Bombay Natural History Society, in a 1987 paper comes to mind: “The bird is totally protected, but not its home.” https://science.thewire.in/environment/if-our-green-energy-plans-will-threaten-our-biodiversity-theyre-not-green/  (19 June 2021)

Reimagining cities towards zero waste Swati Singh Sambyal As per UNEP, the urban population, as a proportion of the overall population, is expected to rise to 70 per cent by 2050, by which time the world’s cities will be generating 75 per cent of global waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

About time, cities commit to becoming zero waste, as this will also give urban local bodies an opportunity in showcasing their leadership and willingness to tackle the existential threat that climate change poses, by helping to support maximum resource recovery (over 80 per cent), empower livelihoods and make resource management wealth-generating. https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/reimagining-cities-towards-zero-waste-a-roadmap-to-resource-recovery-7368513/  (22 June 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

UN Climate report reveals dire health threats The IPCC’s 4,000-page draft report, scheduled for release next year, offers the most comprehensive rundown to date of the impacts of climate change on our planet and our species. It predicts that up to 80 million more people than today will be at risk of hunger by 2050.

Research looking at water supply, agriculture and rising sea levels shows that between 30 million and 140 million people will likely be internally displaced in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America by 2050, the report says.

Up to three quarters of heavily tapped groundwater supply — the main source of potable water for 2.5 billion people — could also be disrupted by mid-century. The rapid melting of mountain glaciers has already “strongly affected the water cycle”, an essential source for two billion people that could “create or exacerbate tensions over water resources”, according to the report. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/hunger-drought-disease-un-climate-report-reveals-dire-health-threats/article34922003.ece  (23 June 2021)

Study Climate change has driven 16% drop in ‘snow meltwater’  The new study finds that, between 1979-99 and 1999-2019, “snow meltwater supply” to rivers in high-mountain Asia dropped by an average of 16%. It adds that, even if warming is limited to 1.5C, there will be further losses of around 6% by the end of the century. Meanwhile, an extremely high future warming scenario would drive a 40% drop in meltwater supply.

The four snow meltwater regimes, and the rivers that they feed. Source: Kraaijenbrink et al (2021). Carbon Brief

The authors of the paper, which is published in Nature Climate Change, add that although melting glaciers often receive “considerable attention” for their contribution to streamflow, the impact of melting snow is often larger than that of glaciers.

There are three key water sources – snow meltwater, glacial meltwater and rainfall – that keep rivers in the region flowing. All three are important because “the melting of snowpacks and glaciers ensures a constant water supply during dry periods, when rainfall is scarce,” explains Dr Hester Beimans – a scientist at Wageningen University and Research, who was not involved in the study. https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-change-has-driven-16-drop-in-snow-meltwater-from-asias-high-mountains  (24 June 2021)

Opinion We must build an ‘environment state’ to counter threat  by James Sangma and Iram Mirza Govts, like the people, too had subscribed to the marvels of the industrial revolution and rampant globalisation, optimising & thrusting resources into the tumble of the tidal market forces. But it is time to accept humbly that nature’s destabilising encounter with modernity is not serving us well: This variant of capitalism has turned rogue & we have to find its ideological opponent. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/web-edits/we-must-build-an-environment-state-to-counter-the-threat-posed-by-climate-change-7372401/ (23 Jun 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

Report Himalayan nations can no longer ignore an environmental time bomb Five years ago, a natural disaster struck the Chinese Himalayas: the Gongbatongshaco glacial lake in the Tibetan region burst its banks on July 5, 2016, sending huge volumes of glacial water down the mountain. The avalanche of water crossed the border into neighbouring Nepal, destroying the Bhotekoshi hydropower plant and flooding the China-Nepal highway. The inhabitants of this border region were not informed by either the Chinese or Nepali authorities of the impending danger. Luckily nobody was killed but the damage was estimated at $70 million (CHF71.4 million at the time).

Kai Reusser / swissinfo.ch

Growing problem: A recent study out of the University of Geneva published in the journal Nature Climate ChangeExternal link estimates that there are around 7,000 such glacial lakes in the Himalayas of which one in six pose a high or very high risk to downstream communities. Of these, 191 are in border areas and the China-Nepal frontier accounts for over 85% of them. The 2016 Gongbatongshaco flood was a wakeup call and kickstarted cooperation across borders. “A Chinese research team commissioned by the Nepalese water and electricity department worked with Nepalese scientists to conduct a detailed survey and analysis of the event,” Chinese researcher Guoxiong Zheng, one of the authors of the University of Geneva study, told SWI swissinfo.ch. But given that there are currently 165 high-risk glacial lakes along the two countries’ border, there is a clear need for more high-level cooperation. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is currently working with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) based in Kathmandu on promoting Sino-Nepalese collaboration. “Currently, we are in a preparatory phase where ICIMOD is conducting technical clarifications with Chinese and Nepalese partners on where the greatest transboundary GLOF risks exist in the Koshi Basin and how they can be addressed with an early warning system,” says Léa Zürcher, spokesperson for the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/himalayan-nations-can-no-longer-ignore-an-environmental-time-bomb/46703916  (22 June 2021)

Sign the petition asking the Secretary General of the United Nations to appeal to governments to their ethical responsibility to our ecosystems. https://www.change.org/p/ant%C3%B3nio-guterres-petition-to-act-to-protect-the-himalayan-ecosystem-f3c18f3b-71b4-428a-9886-e447ffd284cd 

Pakistan Threat of receding glaciers gives communities sleepless nights A flood from a lake at the base of the Shishper glacier has left a Himalayan community in fear. Though damage was curtailed through timely mitigation efforts, research suggests these events will become more frequent. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/glofs-threat-shishper-glacier-pakistan/  (11 June 2021)

Book Review Monsoon & nature’s arithmetic Sunil Amrith’s Unruly Waters forces us to learn from the past about how to live with Himalayan rivers. https://www.nepalitimes.com/banner/the-monsoon-and-natures-arithmetic/  (26 June 2021)

CHINA

China turns on world’s 2nd-biggest hydropower dam The first two generating units of the world’s second-biggest hydroelectric dam were officially turned on Monday (June 28) in southwestern China, the government announced. The Baihetan Dam on the Jinsha River, a tributary of the Yangtze, is part of Chinese efforts to curb surging fossil fuel demand by building more hydropower capacity at a time when dams have fallen out of favor in other countries due to environmental complaints. The announcement comes ahead of the ruling Communist Party’s celebration this week of the official 100th anniversary of its 1921 founding. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/china-turns-on-worlds-second-biggest-hydropower-dam/2021/06/28/ee70f9fc-d7e4-11eb-8c87-ad6f27918c78_story.html  (28 June 2021)

ASIA

MEKONG Cambodia Lower Sesan 2 dam erodes culture, livelihoods of displaced The 400 MW hydropower dam, Cambodia’s largest, came online in 2018 and is meant to supply nearly 80% of the capital Phnom Penh’s power. To make it possible, 34,000 ha of forested land have been flooded, resulting in the relocation of some 2,700 households from 7 villages.

The project dealt a devastating blow to the traditions of the forest-dwelling Bunong indigenous community to whom Thavdy belongs. Her village of Kbal Romeas was home to about 120 families. Fifty-two opposed the government’s offer of compensation and resettlement about an hour away. Instead, they moved to another piece of land a 30-minute boat ride away, still within the folds of their ancestral land. https://chinadialogue.net/en/energy/lower-sesan-dam-displaces-cambodians-identity/  (27 May 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Study Can Amazon hydropower be considered green? Net carbon emission from the largest hydropower plant in Amazonia

Fig. 1 Study area and sampling location.(A) The Amazon River Basin and location of the Belo Monte hydropower complex [Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (35)]. (B) Land-use maps (36) depicting flooded areas, the original river channel, and sampling sites to assess pre- and postimpoundment emissions. Coordinates are presented in tables S2 and S3.

Abstract: The current resurgence of hydropower expansion toward tropical areas has been largely based on run-of-the-river (ROR) dams, which are claimed to have lower environmental impacts due to their smaller reservoirs. The Belo Monte dam was built in Eastern Amazonia and holds the largest installed capacity among ROR power plants worldwide. Here, we show that post damming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Belo Monte area are up to three times higher than preimpoundment fluxes and equivalent to about 15 to 55 kg CO2eq MWh−1. Since per-area emissions in Amazonian reservoirs are significantly higher than global averages, reducing flooded areas and prioritizing the power density of hydropower plants seem to effectively reduce their carbon footprints. Nevertheless, total GHG emissions are substantial even from this leading-edge ROR power plant. This argues in favor of avoiding hydropower expansion in Amazonia regardless of the reservoir type.  https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/26/eabe1470  (25 June 2021)

USA Hundreds of residents file claims worth $334 million in dam failure A Michigan law firm filed claims for more than 400 residents against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) after the Edenville Dam failure last year. The aggregate amount of the claims for the group of claimants is more than $334 million. The claims, filed by Pitt McGehee Palmer Bonanni & Rovers on June 18, allege FERC negligently entrusted the license to operate the Edenville Dam to private owners who it knew or should have known were unwilling or incapable of operating the dam safely, according to the law firm. The claims also allege FERC failed to monitor the operation of the dam and ensure Boyce Hydro, the dam’s operator, had the capital, experience, and willingness to maintain the dam. https://www.kctv5.com/hundreds-of-residents-file-claims-worth-334-million-in-dam-failure/article_044ed133-e59b-5bc7-8a2e-d9b15e85cf5b.html  (23 June 2021)

Green River dam slated for $4 million removal The Green River’s Lock and Dam No. 5 near the Glenmore community in Warren County will be removed later this summer with a goal to improve the health and accessibility of the waterway. Destruction will begin during the last week of June by dam removal personnel with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the southeast region. The process will last around two months.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers ceased operation of the structure in 1951. The lock and dam have been unused ever since, and it has created lower oxygen levels, more sediment and higher temperatures in the river, according to officials. https://www.bgdailynews.com/news/green-river-dam-slated-for-4-million-removal/article_82c49510-416e-52a9-bd16-b5ef32e64ddb.html  (23 July 2021)

Report Legal experts draw up ‘historic’ definition of ecocide Legal experts from across the globe have drawn up a “historic” definition of ecocide, intended to be adopted by the international criminal court to prosecute the most egregious offences against the environment. The draft law, unveiled on Tuesday (June 22), defines ecocide as “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”.

The Stop Ecocide Foundation initiative comes amid concerns that not enough is being done to tackle the climate and ecological crisis. If adopted by the ICC’s members, it would become just the fifth offence the court prosecutes – alongside war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression – and the first new international crime since the 1940s when Nazi leaders were prosecuted at the Nuremberg trials. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/22/legal-experts-worldwide-draw-up-historic-definition-of-ecocide  (22 June 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 21 June 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 14 June 2021  

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

One thought on “DRP NB 28 June 2021: Where is the impact of lessons of the water conservation efforts that Modi praises, on his government’s water projects and policies?

  1. Day before, Modi ji said, follow science. Can he explain how his ministry of power or natural resources have found Lahaul and Spiti Valley for building dams, to be perfect place, no matter how small they are?
    Apart from the huge amount of destruction that are already mentioned, aren’t they observing environmental hazards and disasters like the one in Tapovan recently. Can his ministry give guarantee of no aftermath?
    They said, blasts for road widening don’t trigger landslides while most of Uttarakhand pilgrimage roads are either closed or nearly and god only knows what will happen once the monsoon starts full operation.
    Our PM is very good in story telling. So he narrates one village success story and tells us, many are doing so. Can a substantial failure be covered up by grand propaganda of good governance?
    1) They must stop any new dam project in planning. Such dams are not infrastructure but a mere gateway of siphoning money out in which BJP administered central and state governments will go hand in hand for sure. Eg Uttarakhand and Himachal-pradesh
    2) To save Panna TR, river linking of Ken and Betwa should be scrapped.
    Considering even covid as a natural air borne disease rising from excess air pollution(which according to many is not), tree felling at such a large scale won’t be of any public interest other than anyone who is going to benefit from such projects.
    I wonder, if ordinary people like us would get a pass after defying supreme court order like our government.

    Like

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