DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 2 Aug 2021: Disappointing UKD HC order on Chamoli disaster: Will SC intervene please?

( Feature image:- Women members of Raini village’s gram sabha, Source: Atul Sati/ Facebook/The Quint)

The July 14, 2021 order of Uttarakhand HC, dismissing the petition of those affected by the Chamoli disaster of Feb 2021 and asking that NTPC, developer of the Tapovan Vishnugad project be accountable, is most distressing. While Indian judiciary is rightly credited with doing a lot for the cause of environment and people in general, in the unequal battle of the communities and activists against injustice and negligence of giant projects and their developers, the judiciary has more often failed to ensure that the developers are held accountable and are not allowed to bulldoze ahead using their might, supported by the state, to crush attempts to achieve just and democratic results. In the Chamoli disaster, there are many many questions that remained unanswered and one expected the HC to use the petition to seek those answers. But in stead, the HC has chose to question and fine the petitioners. One hopes the higher judiciary will correct this and stay the order and in stead seek answers from the developers of the hydro projects in such fragile, disaster prone areas and those that sanctioned such projects, including the environment ministry, the state government, the CWC, the CEA, the Geological Survey of India and also the project developers.

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Uttarakhand Battle to preserve Raini village after Chipko Following the dismissal of the petition in the high court, the residents of Raini village are now preparing to appeal to the Supreme Court, despite limited resources. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/battle-to-preserve-nature-resumes-in-uttarakhand-s-raini-village-48-years-after-chipko-78142  (28 July 2021)

It is not just the dismissal of the petition that irked the environment activists who moved the petition, but also the manner in which it was ‘thrown out’ by the court. In addition to dismissing the petition, the court slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on the petitioners just for approaching the court with their concerns. https://www.thequint.com/news/law/activists-approached-court-to-protect-ecology-got-fined-instead#read-more  (29 July 2021)

Ravi Chopra, who has been engaged with issues of hydropower for over 15 years, says, “With all due respect to the court, this judgment is deeply disappointing. The constitution demands a duty from all Indian citizens to ensure the well-being of the environment. A judgment like this will dishearten the common citizens from fulfilling this constitutional duty.”

Mallika Bhanot of Ganga Ahvaan says, “The judgment is appalling. People died in the disaster. The PIL raised a pertinent issue which warranted thorough scrutiny of the petition based on its merits, and not solely on the identity of the petitioners, who, by the way, are all authentic.” https://thewire.in/environment/uttarakhand-high-court-floods-chamoli-petition-environmental-concerns  (28 July 2021)

On 17-18 Jun 2021 Raini was affected by devastating floods, which destroyed the lower part of village. On 24 Jul 2021 substantial landslide hit Tapovan Vishnugad HEP at site of tunnel portal near to Selang village. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2021/07/30/tapovan-vishnugad/  (30 July 2021)

पावर हाउस की टनल में पेंट कर रहे दो श्रमिक लापता देहरादून से करीब 80 किलोमीटर दूर स्थित छिबरो पावर हाउस की टनल में रंगाई का काम करने गए दो श्रमिक शनिवार (July 17) से लापता हैं। पुलिस और एसडीआरएफ की टीम लापता श्रमिकों की तलाश में जुटी है। इस बीच श्रमिकों के स्वजन ने पावर हाउस के गेट के बाहर हंगामा किया। उनका आरोप है कि उत्तराखंड जल विद्युत निगम व ठेकेदार ने श्रमिकों को सुरक्षा किट उपलब्ध नहीं कराई। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/dehradun-city-two-workers-who-went-to-work-in-the-tunnel-of-chhibro-power-house-missing-21842083.html  (18 July 2021) जानकारी के मुताबिक थेपाराम पुत्र शोभाराम निवासी थेपाराम पुत्र शोभाराम निवासी ग्राम सराडी, थाना कालसी जिला देहरादून उम्र करीब 40 वर्ष और सीताराम पुत्र जिणीया निवासी ग्राम कलेथा, थाना पुरूवाला, जिला सिरमौर,  हिमाचल प्रदेश उम्र करीब 45 वर्ष शनिवार को छिबरौ टनल में प्रातः आठ बजे अपनी ड्यूटी पर गये थे। उनके साथी शाम को वापय आ गये थे, परन्तु उक्त दोनों मजदूर वापस नहीं लौटे। बताया जा रहा है कि शनिवार (July 17) सुबह से उत्तराखंड जल विद्युत निगम द्वारा संचालित छिबरौ पावर हाउस की टनल के अंदर स्थित टरबाइन पर कुछ मजदूर पेंटिंग का कार्य कर रहे थे। https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-news-two-laborers-working-in-chhibrau-hydroelectric-tunnel-of-kalsi-missing  (18 July 2021) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-JcuImRqNE

Himachal Pradesh Kinnaur: New Himalayan Hotspot For Man-Made Disasters? Massive diversion of the rivers viz Sutlej, Baspa and its tributaries, cutting and flattening of the land, tunnel boring, blasting, hollowing of the mountains,  diversion of the forest lands, movement of heavy machines and even dumping of the debris tonnes along the river beds and fields are some of the activities bound to destabilise the ecology and biodiversity in Kinnaur .

Avay Shukla, a former Additional Chief Secretary (Forest), who headed the High Court panel to study impact of hydel project on the mountain ecology, says “Hydel projects in the Himalayan region have a dual effect: they act as  triggers for natural occurrences such as landslides, avalanches, flash  floods as well as reduce nature’s capacity to absorb these events/disasters.” “The Sangla accident is the inevitable fall out of the reckless exploitation of the Sutlej basin for hydel projects. The 142 projects on the river, with continuous blasting, tunnelling, and road construction have destabilised the fragile mountain strata and it will continue to slide for years” he explains.

Mansi Asher, a leading environmental activist, feels “the blasting and tunnelling have high potential for triggering and / or accelerating the landslides in these regions. There is an urgent need of study on rapid land-use changes impacting the local terrestrial ecosystem. The Sangla landside is surely a frightening event.” She claims that Kinnaur is already identified as a high landslide and disaster-prone zone. And yet it is the hub of intense construction activity like hydropower and massive land-use changes .This is the most worrying trend. Avay Shukla concludes, saying, ” A callous and vision-less state government is deaf and blind to a continued vandalism in Sutlej basin .How Many deaths will it take to convince it that enough is enough !” https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-why-are-himachal-mountains-crumbling-down-experts-speak/390054  (31 July 2021)

HIMDHARA’s interactive timeline plotting accidents in & around hydropower sites in Himachal. Key problem: wrong siting, poor EIAs, safety violations & negligence in a fragile landscape being devastated due to the global push for ‘green’ growth. https://www.himdhara.org/hydropower/interactive-timeline-the-clean-energy-hazardscape/

Recent HIMDHARA study suggests that both hydropower projects and compensatory afforestation plantations, carried out in lieu of the forest land diverted for hydropower projects in the name of ‘mitigation’, have altered land-use and are negatively impacting the forest ecosystems. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kinnaur-in-himachal-pradesh-staring-at-negative-impacts-of-altered-land-use/article35544333.ece  (26 July 2021)

Dave Petley on Sangla landslide: The rockslide appears to have started as a result of a collapse on a very steep, rocky outcrop above the bridge at Batseri. The image below shows the terrain using Google Earth rock slope has numerous rockslide scars. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2021/07/26/batseri-1/  (26 July 2021)  

Dramatic Road Collapse After Landslide The landslide in Sirmour took away about 100 m of road on July 30, 2021. No casualties reported. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/watch-dramatic-road-collapse-after-landslide-in-himachal-pradeshs-sirmaur-district-2498626  (30 July 2021)

Editorial Wounded mountains What should worry Himachal, and neighbouring Uttarakhand, is that the States may be entering a phase of irreversible decline because of losses to their ecology; frequent landslides may become inevitable. Bootstrapping an incompatible model of development in the hills, represented by big hydroelectric projects and large-scale construction activity involving destruction of forests and damming of rivers, is an invitation to harm. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/wounded-mountains/article35549242.ece  (27 July 2021)

No takers for surplus power In Himachal Pradesh, the generation in some 70 state-owned large hydropower projects is between 50-55 million units per day. Despite scanty monsoon rains, the daily generation is optimum due to the sufficient flow of water in rivers owing to the melting of glaciers. However, the state’s demand is 30 milllion units a day, while the rest is supplied to Punjab, Delhi, Goa, among others, according to their demand. The daily per unit rate to these states varies from Rs 2.50 to Rs 5, which is quite low. The cash-starved distribution companies in these states, which were earlier procuring electricity in bulk, are opting for power cuts. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/energy/why-flooding-raises-alarm-over-bearing-of-hydropower-plants-on-the-himalayas-78167  (29 July 2021)

Centre Govt identifies Rs 70K cr worth projects for monetisation by FY25 CNBC-TV18 has learnt that the power ministry has finalised Rs 15,000 crore worth projects from NTPC and NHPC each and Rs 40,000 crore transmission projects of Power Grid. The plan includes hydro-power plants, as well as renewable energy plants, of NTPC. Some assets of the company may include 800 Mw Koldam Projects and NEEPCO’s 1,525 Mw projects. Apart from this, some renewable projects such as Bhadla and Mandausar are likely to be part of the plan.

The other area of concern raised by the ministry is re-drafting of Joint Ventures and Memorandum of Understandings with states where projects have certain obligations such as free power, project land rights, and in some cases, the state governments have right over a project after a certain period of time.

The government has planned projects of Rs 32,300 from power generation and 66,800 crore worth of projects from power transmission under the monetisation plan. It has so far completed transactions of Rs 7,700 crore through the InviT (infrastructure investment Trust) model for some of the transmission projects of the Power Grid. https://www.cnbctv18.com/energy/govt-identifies-rs-70000-cr-worth-power-sector-projects-for-monetisation-by-fy25-10133021.htm  (27 July 2021)

DAMS

Mekedatu Project New CM resloves to implement Mekedatu While Karnataka new CM says he would implement Mekedatu dam project, BJP Tamil Nadu newly appointed President says he will protest against the project. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/they-can-fast-not-my-business-mekedatu-project-bommai-will-be-implemented-101627740300048.html  (31 July 2021)

Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai has said their party will hold a one-day hunger protest on August 5 at Thanjavur in order to pressure the Karnataka government not to take measures to construct the dam at Mekedatu. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/mekedatu-tamil-nadu-bjp-to-hold-hunger-protest-with-10000-farmers-on-aug-5-7430658/  (30 July 2021)

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief DK Shivakumar urged CM Basavaraj Bommai to immediately commence work on Mekedatu dam project. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/dk-shivakumar-urges-basavaraj-bommai-to-start-work-on-mekedatu-dam-project-immediately-2499763  (01 Aug. 2021)

Farmers submit petition to PM against Mekedatu Dam project Demonstrating in front of the Collectorate here on Monday (July 26), members of Tamil Nadu Vivasaayigal Sangam submitted a petition to be forwarded to the Prime Minister through the Collector in protest against the Karnataka government’s move to construct a dam at Mekedatu and seeking removal of the check-dam constructed across the Markandeya that brings water to the South Pennai iver. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/farmers-submit-petition-to-pm-against-mekedatu-dam-project/article35544319.ece  (26 July 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Pre-historic archaeological sites to be submerged Rock paintings and artifacts of archaeological significance dating back to prehistoric, pre -medieval and early-medieval period are all set to be submerged in Satgarh Kadan river medium irrigation project in Sagar, coming up about 14 kms away from the district headquarter and about 250 kms away from Bhopal. In utter neglect of the archaeological wealth, some of these sites have already been vandalized by rampant illegal mining of stones.

Rock paintings dating back to an estimated 25000 year old in Buxwah are also threatened by a diamond project in the neighbouring Chattarpur district. “The finding of the artifacts indicate that this was a rich region and a large number of human occupations took place at this site. Because of the dam building, a large number of archaeological sites will be destroyed,” said a report prepared by Dr Sujeet Narayan, superintendent archaeologist of the Archaeological survey of India (ASI) Jabalpur circle.

Some valuable archaeological assets may be saved, some may not which would submerge under the water for irrigating the parched lands of Bundelkhand. The rock painting themes include hunting daily life, fauna and religious depictions among others. The paintings of this region are dated back to the Mesolithic period, but the historic period paintings are in abundance, the ASI report said. “The history of Sagar goes back to the prehistoric period and it had played a huge role during Mahajanapada period and later it became the favorite place of Gupta King, Samudragupta”, the ASI report said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/pre-historic-archaeological-sites-to-be-submerged-in-sagar/articleshow/84762578.cms  (26 July 2021)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Study Policy Interventions in Public Irrigation Systems in Drought ProneBundelkhand: A Critical Review Ayush Vani, Seema Ravandale, C. Shambu Prasad and Debashish Sen This paper argues against irrigation-based policy measures in MP Bundelkhand through an analysis of secondary data. It contends that coping mechanisms developed by farmers based on traditional knowledge don’t find a place in policies.  https://irma.ac.in/uploads/randp/pdf/WP-325—for-web-20210719092958.pdf  (July 2021)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Krishna Water Dispute Water-share war seems far from over When states share a basin, rivers & env get zero due, states are only interested in taking more water,” said Thakkar. Boards need to have a framework to resolve disputes, take steps to avoid env & climate disasters. “Centre & judiciary have role to play.” https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/andhra-pradesh-and-telangana-water-share-war-seems-far-from-over-121072800010_1.html  (28 July 2021)

Andhra seeks KRMB nod to generate power APGenco has written to KRMB, seeking its permission to allow generation of hydroelectric power from Srisailam power plant, it having an installed capacity of 770mw with seven units as the reservoir is getting good inflow of water. The Telangana government is already generating power from Srisailam project by operating four units of 150mw capacity each, out of the total installed capacity of 600mw and drawing nearly 35,000 cusecs of water for the purpose. The AP government will also draw 35,000 to 45,000 cusecs of water from the Srisailam reservoir to generate power and discharge such water downstream into the river, which will reach Nagarjunasagar Dam.

Meanwhile, water resource authorities have ruled out any impact like a minor earthquake of magnitude of 3.7 on Richter scale at upstream foreshore located nearly 44km away, on the dam as the NGRI is monitoring the scene through the seismograph at the dam. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/270721/am-filling-to-brim-ap-seeks-krmb-nod-to-generate-power.html  (28 July 2021)

Telangana govt in a letter to Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) said that it has no objection for power generation by the Andhra in Srisailam. Further, it asked KRMB to stop release of water from Pothireddypadu reservoir and also emphasized not to release water without tribunal nod.

The govt also asked the board to permit the state to generate maximum amount of power from Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala reservoirs as power generation is required for the Lift Irrigation projects and wells. It also suggested to utilise desired amount of water from the Krishna Basin and also asked to KRMB to make sure the Andhra Pradesh not to transfer water from Krishna Basin.  https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/no-objection-for-power-generation-by-andhra-pradesh-in-srisailam-telangana-to-krmb-698708 (29 July 2021) 

NGT tells KRMB to file report on Seema project by August 9  The NGT has directed the KRMB to inspect the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) site to ascertain whether the AP government has taken up any project works or undertaking only works for preparation of a DPR for the project. The NGT asked the KRMB to submit its inspection report by August 9.

A week ago, KRMB member HK Meena wrote a letter to secretary of water resources department of AP after the Telangana government asked the board to intervene and stop the works of RLIS by the AP government. Telangana irrigation officials said the NGT order would help get the actual status of RLIS works. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/ngt-tells-krmb-to-file-report-on-seema-project-by-august-9/articleshow/84691199.cms  (24 July 2021)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Thiruvananthapuram Govt to raze 1500 illegal constructions As many as 1,500 illegal constructions including 850 houses along the 16.4km Parvathy Puthanar stretching from Kovalam to Akkulam will be demolished soon with the authorities gearing up to demarcate the boundaries of the canal which is part of the main arterial waterway in the state extending from Kovalam in the south to Bekal in the north. The plan is to widen the canal to 25 metres with a five-metre-wide service road on both sides complying with the specifications of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.

As many as 1,000 boundary stones would be laid on either side of the canal, which is being developed using KIIFB (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board) funding. KIIFB has sanctioned Rs. 150 crore for the project, which is being jointly implemented by the Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation Department and Kerala Waterways Infrastructure Limited (KWIL) — a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) and the state government. There are government housing schemes like LIFE Mission and ‘Punargeham’ under which proper rehabilitation would be given for the evictees,” said the official. The plan is to complete the rehabilitation and land acquisition for the project by 2022.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/2021/jul/31/govt-to-raze1500-illegal-constructions-2337828.html  (31 July 2021)

IRRIGATION

Tamil Nadu More check dams planned on Palar river CM M K Stalin’s direction to the water resources department to construct check dams wherever feasible has revived farmers’ hopes in the upper Palar river basin, Tirupattur district who depend on agriculture as their preferred livelihood. Farmers have also petitioned the CM special cell also to get their long pending demand fulfilled.

In 2002, a proposal was submitted to the TN government, to construct check dams at 13 places across the river, and the cost was estimated at around ₹26 crore. Experts from Anna University aided the TWAD board to identify the sites using remote sensing technology. “The TN legislative petition committee had also recommended the same to the TWAD board, following representation from farmers, but nothing has happened till date,” Palar A Ashokan of Ambalur said.

A senior official of the Water Resource Organisation said the department would take up construction of check dams across the river at Ambalur, Vengili, Iryankadu, Poigai, Vegamangalgam and Athipattu Valavanur. Two dykes would be constructed at Shenbakkam and Puttuthakku in upper Palar reaches. Officials have finalised the sites for the check dams in a bid to store rainwater from the catchment areas of Palar’s tributaries — Agaram river, Malatar, Mannar, Goundaniyanathi, Ponai and Cheyyar. “We have completed site inspections and commenced preparing project reports. The proposals for the identified sites will be submitted to the government within a month,” said the official. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/tracking-indian-communities/along-palar-river-check-dams-hold-key-to-agri-revival/  (30 July 2021)

URBAN RIVERS

Tawi; Jammu Riverfront project facing delay It was approved in the 74th meeting of the Board of Directors of Jammu Development Authority held in June 2015. The MoU for management consultancy for technical assistance was signed between Jammu Development Authority and Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) on April 14, 2016. The feasibility report for a stretch of 3.5 kilometres between 4th Bridge and Gujjar Nagar Bridge amounting to Rs 396.52 crore as received from the consultants M/s SRFDCL was submitted to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources and as advised by the Ministry the DPR was bifurcated by the consultants into two components.

Image source: The Dispatch

Thereafter, in view of the development of lake through artificial ponding by virtue of construction of barrages a decision was taken in the 79th Board of Directors meeting of Jammu Development Authority held on November 17, 2017 to kick start the project and develop River Tawi front in the stretch of 1.5 kms downstream of Bikram Chowk Bridge up to 4th Tawi Bridge at Bhagwati Nagar in the first instance as pilot project at a cost of Rs 141 crore, sources informed.

Accordingly, tenders were floated for pilot project but in view of exorbitant/grossly in-genuine rates quoted by the bidders it was unanimously decided to seek the opinion of consultants with regard to analysis of rates. Thereafter, fresh tenders were issued but this exercise could not reach logical conclusion in view of the rates quoted by the bidders, sources further informed. Thereafter, fresh tenders were issued twice and in response to fourth call, three bids were received on December 20, 2018 and M/s Mehul Geo Projects with the quoted price of Rs 81.40 crore against the tendered cost of Rs 64.09 crore, which is 27% above, was the lowest bidder. https://www.thedispatch.in/project-to-develop-river-tawi-on-sabarmati-river-front-facing-delay/  (July 2021)

Tapi; Surat SMC approaches Centre for loan from WB The Surat Municipal Corporation made video presentations to the officials of the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance and Urban Development Department to get their approvals for a loan of Rs 1,991 crore from the World Bank for the Tapi riverfront development project. Design of conventional barrage on Tapi river has also been sent to GERI for approval. A few days ago, the Niti Ayog, and the Ministry of the urban development department approved the project on the basis of a preliminary report. The project cost is of Rs 3,904 crore which will be done in two phases.

SMC has also moved forward with their conventional river barrage project and for that, the design has been sent to GERI (Gujarat Engineering and Research Institute) for approval. The estimated cost of the conventional barrage project (earlier known as balloon barrage) is around Rs 500 crore. Dubey said, “Once the GERI approves the design model, we will go ahead with other approval procedures. The barrage will be made on both the banks at Rundh and Bhata and its height will be 13 meters. Water carrying capacity of the Tapi river is over 8 lakh cusecs. We have designed the barrage project in such a way that the capacity of the river increases to 13 lakh cusecs.” https://indianexpress.com/article/india/tapi-riverfront-project-smc-approaches-centre-for-loan-from-world-bank-7420903/  (25 July 2021)

Aji; Rajkot Multi-crore river front project inches towards securing EC Now, the SEAC has specified TOR for preparation of draft EIA for the Rs 1,181 crore project. Minutes of SEAC meeting held on May 20, 2021 notifies 97 detailed TORs for the Aji riverfront development project. The RMC has engaged HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt Limited, the Ahmedabad-based firm, as project management consultant (PMC) for designing the Aji riverfront project. The same firm had designed Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad.

Yogendra Goswami, city engineer of east zone of the RMC, said they are planning to meet all procedural requirements and are expecting the EC towards the end of this calendar year. “As per the present thematic concept of the project, the riverfront will start from Jungleshwar area downstream Aji dam and will end at the river bridge of Morbi bypass road. The project will involve development of 79 hectares along the riverbanks and may require relocation and rehabilitation of around 6,000 families living in Bhagwatipara, Jungleshwar, Bhavaninagar, Ghanchiwad, Rukhadiyapara, Jayprakshanagar etc,” he said.

In its application submitted to the SEAC, the RMC has stated that the project would require around 12 MLD, including around half MLD fresh water. “As Aji is no longer a perennial river, our plan is to keep the river filled with treated sewage water,” said Goswami. “The topography is very challenging. The width of the river varies from 80 metres to 120 metre. However, the biggest challenge is the 30-metre elevation from the northern end of the project at the bridge of Morbi bypass road to its southern end at the bridge of National Highway 27 downstream Aji dam. Therefore, we will have to construct some check-dams and barrages to keep the stretch filled with water,” Goswami said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/multi-crore-river-front-plan-aji-project-inches-towards-securing-green-clearance-7390782/  (6 Jul 2021)

Brahmaputra; Guwahati Rs 370 Cr Approved for Riverfront Project In order to move on with the concept of developing Guwahati into a Smart City, a 1.3-km length of the Brahmaputra Riverfront project has been approved at a cost of Rs. 370 crore. After reviewing different Smart City Mission projects, Assam CM Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma instructed the appropriate departments and authorities to expedite the work. The Riverfront is located on the south bank of the Brahmaputra River and is part of Guwahati’s core business district. Between Rajbhawan (Kharghuli Hill) and Kamakhaya Temple is a 6 km long riverfront (Nilachal Hill). https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/assam-news/guwahati-development-scheme-rs-370-crores-approved-for-brahmaputra-river-front-project-547551  (21 July 2021)

Saraswati; Pipli CCA to prepare riverfront design Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board (HSHDB) vice-chairman Dhuman Singh Kirmach said that the Saraswati channel site at Pipli is being developed as a tourist destination. Dhuman said after the design of this riverfront is readied by the Chadigarh College of Architecture (CCA) team it will submit a report to HSHDB and the work of the project will be started at a fast pace.

“The governing body of HSHDB has decided to complete this project at Pipli in three phases. For the first phase, the CM has approved a budget of Rs 3 crore and further will be decided once the first phase work is completed” Dhuman said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/chandigarh-college-of-architecture-will-prepare-design-of-saraswati-riverfront/articleshow/84411037.cms  (14 July 2021)

RIVERS

India Rivers Forum Nominations open for BPS & AMM awards– India Rivers Week 2021 https://indiariversforum.org/nominations-open-for-bps-amm-awards-india-rivers-week-2021/

Opinion Let’s make room for river Venu Rajamony The floods in Europe call attention to the global need for countries to implement ecologically sensitive flood protection measures. The Dutch have gone beyond their conventional dependence on dikes, dams, walls and gates to protect themselves from floods. Their current disaster resilience mantra is to live with water, build with nature and make room for the river. They champion creating adequate space for rivers to overflow by protecting floodplains from human interference, deepening riverbeds and creating alternate channels for excess water. After two major floods in 1993 and 1995, the Dutch embarked on several projects to widen riverbanks and reshape the areas around rivers.

The floods in Europe serve as a wake-up call to us in India to adopt pragmatic policies and practices that are nature friendly. We must recognise that we will have to learn to live with water in the long term. While national and State disaster management authorities have grown in experience, competence and professionalism, there is need for a higher degree of coordination and preparation across all levels of government. Practice drills need to be conducted in flood-prone areas. We need to test the effectiveness of flood warnings. The warnings should be in local languages and in simple terms. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/lets-make-room-for-the-river/article35571290.ece  (28 July 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh A history of changing channels The flooding of Anpum and Loklung villages in 2015 is regarded as the worst disaster since 1950 along the last 50 kilometres of the Dibang river’s western bank. Never had the present generation seen as much destruction in so short a time. However, piecing together eyewitness accounts of floods, historical observations, and archival satellite imagery from as far back as the 1980s reveals that the changing course of the Dibang river is part of a complicated feedback system between the ecology, hydrology, geology and meteorology of this region going back millions of years.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/how-the-dibang-river-swallowed-villages-in-arunachal-pradesh/  (27 July 2021)

Karnataka ‘Illegal’ water project threatening Hornbill conservation reserve: Activists Citizen activists in Karnataka have hit out against ongoing work for an allegedly illegal water drawing project, at the cost of pristine forests in Uttara Kannada district, including those inside a notified Hornbill Conservation Reserve without any due process. Activists have written to the Forest Department both at the local level and state level about the ongoing digging and excavation work undertaken for laying a pipeline inside the protected forests since March but to no avail.

The project first proposed in 2018 was initially planned to provide drinking water to the town panchayat (TP) areas of Alnavar in Dharwad district from the Kali river. But now it has come to light, that in addition to the drinking water for the town, larger pipes are being installed allegedly for the benefit of the sugar industry without any due environmental clearance. It is to be noted that the areas inside Dandeli were notified in 2011 as a reserve for Hornbill, which is an endangered species and is considered a flagship species of the Western Ghats. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/illegal-water-drawing-project-threatening-hornbill-conservation-reserve-karnataka-activists  (01 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu New bridge across Cauvery on card As the existing Cauvery bridge, one of the landmarks of Trichy city has aged and weakened over the years, the state highways department has proposed to establish an alternative bridge to connect the Srirangam island with Trichy mainland. A preliminary study carried out by the highways department was submitted to the state government, further a detailed project report for a new bridge likely to cost around Rs 80 crore is to be prepared. Official sources said that the new bridge as a replacement is proposed on the upstream side (Kambarasampettai end) where there is viability for land acquisition to make approach roads. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/new-bridge-across-cauvery-on-cards-to-connect-srirangam-with-trichy-mainland/articleshow/84730757.cms  (25 July 2021)

Madhya Pradesh नदी के पास घातक औद्योगिक अपशिष्ट खाली कर रहे पांच टैंकर जब्त  इंदौर जिले में लम्बे समय से अजनार नदी के पास घातक रसायनों वाला औद्योगिक अपशिष्ट फेंककर हजारों ग्रामीणों का जीवन खतरे में डालने के मामले में पुलिस ने पांच टैंकर जब्त किए हैं। हालांकि, नदी को प्रदूषित किए जाने के खुलासे के कई दिन बाद भी यह पता नहीं लग सका है कि यह अपशिष्ट किन औद्योगिक इकाइयों से भेजा गया था। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/madhya-pradesh/bhopal/mp-seized-five-tankers-emptying-deadly-industrial-waste-near-the-river-for-a-long-time/articleshow/84678616.cms  (23 July 2021)

Uttarakhand Cave-ins, cracks question sturdiness of Char Dham ‘all-weather’ road In Tehri district, cracks have appeared on the Rishikesh-Gangotri National Highway-94 while a part of the highway caved in near the Chamba tunnel. “A 150m long stretch has eroded while cracks can be seen on a 300m stretch even before it was formally inaugurated,” said Mahavir Negi, former pradhan of Majyur village. Negi said that a retaining wall also collapsed after torrential rain. “These incidents pose serious questions on the road construction quality and its sustainability,” he said. Residents have appealed to the district administration on Tuesday to conduct an investigation into the “shoddy construction work”. In Uttarkashi’s Badethi village on Gangotri National Highway, part of the all-weather road caved in on Wednesday (July 28), crushing two houses. The residents managed to flee just in time.

Residents in Pithoragarh, meanwhile, burnt the effigies of top BJP leaders, alleging that cutting hills during road construction was leading to frequent landslides. “Landslides have become so frequent that our livelihood is at stake now. Most residents here are farmers who are not able to take their produce to mandis. We were told that this stretch was being built for Rs 400 crore and is of strategic importance, but it is ruining our lives,” said Trilok Meher, one of the protesters. In Rudraprayag district as well, local residents blamed construction for landslides. Recently, they wrote to Rudraprayag BJP MLA Bharat Singh Chaudhary demanding an alternate route. “Due to all-weather road cutting work on the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway as well as rains, there have been frequent landslides and blockage near Narkota for the past two months,” they said in the letter. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/cave-ins-cracks-question-sturdiness-of-char-dham-all-weather-road/articleshow/84836710.cms  (29 July 2021)

चारधाम परियोजना में पर्यावरण और खेतीकिसानी को हो रहे नुकसान की भारी अनदेखी चारधाम परियोजना के तहत उत्तराखंड में हो रहे सड़क चौड़ीकरण के नाम पर पर्यावरणीय पहलुओं और पहाड़ी क्षेत्र की संवेदनशीलता को पूरी तरह अनदेखा किया गया जिसके चलते जनपद रुद्रप्रयाग के केदार घाटी में आए दिन भारी लैंडस्लाइड हो रहा है और पहाड़ों को अवैज्ञानिक तरीके से काटने के चलते किसानों के खेतों को भारी नुकसान हो रहा है। इसके खिलाफ केदार घाटी के बहुत से गावों, जिनमें सेरसी, बड़ासू, रामपुर, सीतपुर, मैखन्डा, ब्यूंग और फाटा में अखिल-भारतीय-किसान-सभा (AIKS) के नेतृत्व में किसानों और आम जनता के द्वारा शुरू हुआ विरोध प्रदर्शन एक आंदोलन का रूप ले चुका है और जनता में  तीव्र आक्रोश है जिसका प्रभाव बड़े स्तर पर सतह पर नजर आ रहा है। https://hindi.newsclick.in/Environmental-concerns-farmers-disregarded-Chardham-project?s=09  (14 July 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi River can’t become fit for bathing in absence of e-flow In a report to Union Jal Shakti Ministry, Delhi govt has informed that in absence of minimum environmental flow in river, it is tough to achieve its bathing quality standards. Report said that 22 out of 35 sewage plants in Delhi don’t meet wastewater standards of DPCC. A study conducted by National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, has recommended that 23 cubic metre per second (cumec) water be released in the river from the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana”s Yamuna Nagar district in the lean season for sustaining downstream ecosystems.

Delhi generates around 720 million gallons a day of sewage which is treated at these 35 STPs having a cumulative treatment capacity of 597 MGD. Around 86 per cent of the treatment capacity is being utilised at present, according to government data. It also said of the 13 CETPs in Delhi, seven do not meet effluent standards. These CETPS are in industrial areas of Naraina, Lawrence Road, Nangloi, Wazirpur, Mangolpuri, Mayapuri and Jhilmil. There are 24 industrial areas in the capital of which 17 are connected to 13 CETPS which treat the wastewater from the industrial units before it can be reused or discharged into the Yamuna.https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/yamuna-cant-become-fit-for-bathing-in-absence-of-eflow-delhi-govt-to-jal-shakti-ministry/2128310  (26 July 2021)

Not this report but what is more alarming is that the causes and exploitation of Yamuna river in all basin states is only increasing and health of river is bound to deteriorate in coming years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AJEeTCikZE  (28 July 2021)

DDA Master Plan Ignores Fishers The Delhi Development Authority’s Master Plan 2041 has been released for public feedback. While the floodplains of the Yamuna river feature generously in the document, their uses are limited to aesthetic and recreational purposes: along the Yamuna, the plan proposes green belts, greenways for cycling and walking, and riverfront parks. But in doing so, it leaves out the people who have used the Yamuna’s resources to sustain their livelihoods for decades—like Delhi’s 2,500 to 3,000 fishers. https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/delhis-master-plan-ignores-the-citys-fishers-but-this-is-not-a-first/  (24 July 2021)

River Breaches ‘Danger Mark’ According to the Delhi flood control room, the discharge rate at the Hathnikund Barrage peaked to 1.60 lakh cusecs on Tuesday (July 27, 2021) afternoon, the highest this year so far. The water discharged from the barrage normally takes two-three days to reach the capital. In 2019, the flow rate had peaked to 8.28 lakh cusec on August 18-19, and the water level of the Yamuna had hit the 206.60 metre-mark, breaching the danger mark of 205.33 metres. https://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/yamuna-river-breaches-danger-mark-in-delhi-alert-issued-people-evacuated-2498512  (30 July 2021) In 2013, the river’s flow rate touched 207.32, and in 1978 it rose to a record of 207.49 meters. https://www.timesnownews.com/delhi/article/yamuna-on-verge-of-breaking-1978-water-flow-rate-amid-heavy-rains-in-delhi/792101  (29 July 2021)

L-G reviews riverfront progress LG Anil Baijal reviewed the progress of development work on rejuvenation of Yamuna riverfront on Wednesday (July 7), and asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to complete the project within the specified timeline. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/lg-anil-baijal-reviews-progress-of-yamuna-riverfront-rejuvenation-project-101625683822797.html  (08 July 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Thousands of dead fish wash ashore in Agra Industrial waste gushing into the Yamuna from Delhi, release of stagnant water from Mathura’s Gokul barrage and non-functional STPs seem to have turned the river waters “highly toxic” — shoals of dead fish washed ashore on the banks of the Yamuna in Agra over the past few days.

STPs at points where the Yamuna enters Agra — Budi ka Nagla and Jaganpur — have not been functioning. Sewage pumping stations in Manoharpura, Balkeshwar, Rajwaha and Naraich are also not working properly, a source added. According to the latest data from the Yamuna Pollution Control Unit under UP Jal Nigam, 90 drains were discharging sewage waste of about 286 million litres per day in Agra in January. However, only 105 MLD were being treated at 9 STPs. “Besides, of the 90 drains, only 29 have been tapped,” an official said.

CPCB data from March 2021 showed that urban areas in the country generate over 72,000 MLD of sewage. But the country’s combined sewage treatment capacity is a little under 32,000 MLD, less than half. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/thousands-of-dead-fish-wash-ashore-on-banks-in-agra/articleshow/84769550.cms  (27 July 2021)

After Agra, mass fish death reported in Yamuna river on July 27, at Ghurha Jakhan village, Bihadi area, Etawah allegedly due to industrial pollution.  https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/etawah/etawah-news-etawah-news-knp6427710188  (27 July 2021)

RIVER BIODIVERSITY

Bihar Carcass of dolphin found in Bhagalpur The recovery of carcass of an one-year-old Gangetic dolphin from Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) has worried forest department officials and nature lovers engaged in conservation of endangered mammals. The carcass of the dolphin was recovered in the midstream near the Barari Ghat at Bhagalpur, which comes under the VGDS, last Friday (July 16, 2021). The VGDS, a 60km stretch of the Ganga from Sultanganj to Kahalgaon, was declared a protected area in 1991.

A preliminary offence report was lodged with the Barari police station under Wildlife Protection Act by the forest department officials following recovery of the carcass. A departmental investigation is also underway to ascertain the exact reason for the death of the dolphin and whether it was a case of illegal hunting by fishermen or a natural or accidental death due to some reasons. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/forest-officials-worried-as-carcass-of-dolphin-found-in-bhagalpur/articleshow/84595534.cms  (21 July 2021)

डॉल्फिन मित्र ने बताया कि बरारी शमशान घाट के समीप शाम के समय एक युवा डॉल्फिन मृत अवस्था में पाया गया। उसका वजन लगभग 40 किलो के आसपास था। गंगा प्रहरी स्पेयरहेड दीपक कुमार ने बताया कि वन विभाग अक्सर डॉल्फिन की मौत की सूचना को छिपाता है। जबकि विक्रमशिला गंगा डॉल्फिन अभ्यारण्य क्षेत्र है। https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/bhagalpur/story-young-dolphin-found-dead-in-burari-postmortem-will-be-done-today-4230030.html  (17 July 2021)

Work on first dolphin research centre after monsoon The National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC) is coming up on the 4,400 square metre plot of land on the premises of Patna University, near the banks of the Ganga. The Bihar urban development department has recently cleared the construction of NDRC’s building about 200 metres from the Ganga. The Bihar forest, environment and climate change department had sought approval for this as any construction within 200 metres of the Ganga is restricted.

A senior official of the rank of additional principal chief conservator of forest, admitted that NDRC had been stuck for several years due to a number of reasons. “But now, the government is serious about setting it up by 2022.” Last month, an expert on Gangetic river dolphins, RK Sinha, had expressed his unhappiness over the delay in starting NDRC in Patna. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/work-on-india-s-first-dolphin-research-centre-to-start-in-patna-post-monsoon-77862  (08 July 2021)

राजस्थान चंबल नदी के उद्धार रोडमैप गंगा की तर्ज पर राजस्थान में चंबल नदी में बेहद दुर्लभ गंगा डॉल्फिन, घड़ियाल और ऊदबिलाव समेत विलुप्त होने के कगार पर पहुंची प्रजातियों को बचाने की कवायद शुरू हो गई है. यह राजस्थान की पहली मरीन वाइल्ड लाइफ कंजरवेशन स्कीम है. इस स्कीम के तहत भारतीय वन्यजीव संस्थान के विशेषज्ञों ने राजस्थान वन विभाग के साथ एक अहम वर्कशॉप का आयोजन कर योजना को अमली जामा कैसे पहनाया जाये इस पर मंथन किया https://hindi.news18.com/news/rajasthan/jaipur-on-the-lines-of-namami-gange-scheme-roadmap-for-the-salvation-of-chambal-river-in-rajasthan-is-ready-3671470.html  (27 July 2021)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Maharashtra Hundreds of dead fish found floating on Jambhulwadi lake Dead fish by the hundreds were found on the surface of the Jambhulwadi lake on Thursday (July 22 2021) morning, with crowds of people rushing to collect them. The reason behind the dead fish floating to the surface of the lake is still not known, but according to fishermen in the area, who regularly fish on the lake, it is because of mud waves inside the lake. A total of 10 tonnes of dead fish were found and taken away by people.

Jambhulwadi lake, which is close to Katraj chowk, is surrounded by many residential housing societies and a bypass road passes over the lake. An official from the department of fisheries who rushed to the spot, speaking on the condition of anonymity said, “We are checking the reason for this incident. There are many possibilities, but we cannot say anything right now,” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/dead-fish-by-the-hundreds-found-floating-on-jambhulwadi-lake-101626973080768.html  (23 July 2021)

Hundreds of dead fish found in Indrayani river Due to a drop in the oxygen level in the heavily polluted Indrayani river, hundreds of fish were found dead along the banks. These fishes have died in the last few days after pollution took a toll on the river that originates in Lonavala and passes through Pune before reaching Alandi. As per Nitin Shinde, sub-regional officer (Pune rural) of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), the drop in Oxygen level in the river came due to hyacinth. A thick layer of hyacinth has been formed on the floating water for a few kilometres which is proving deadly for the fishes.

Sewage water and waste from the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is dumped into the river which has worsened the pollution level of the water body. Shinde said the MPCB had earlier requested PCMC to install a sewage treatment plant in the area to ensure untreated water is not dumped directly into the river. However, their request went unheard. “Our field officers have collected water samples from various sites for testing. The test results would reveal the contents of the river water,” said Shinde. The locals have also protested against dumping waste in the river but to no avail. Locals residing in the area either have to buy drinking water or travel to another village to fetch fresh drinking water. https://www.timesnownews.com/pune/article/pune-hundreds-of-dead-fish-found-in-indrayani-river-due-to-reduced-oxygen-level/741209  (05 April 2021)

Punjab Fish found dead in Rajindra Lake, Patiala A number of fish have been found dead due to unknown reason at the recently rejuvenated Rajindra Lake on July 14. A PWD official stated that the department did not release any fish into the lake but would investigate their death. Kamla, a woman who lives near the lake, adjacent to the Kali Devi temple, said, “A person has been releasing a number of fish into the lake. He did not come for a few days.”

Meanwhile, those residing nearby the place said the lake was not cleaned. Davinder Singh, Superintending Engineer, Drainage Department, said, “The fountains are being run so that the water does not stagnate.” Sohan Lal Garg, XEN, PWD, said the department was looking after the management of the lake as it was yet to be handed over to the Municipal Corporation. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/patiala/fish-found-dead-in-rajindra-lake-284502  (17 July 2021)

Assam Hundreds Of Fish Found Dead In Water Tank Hundreds of dead fish were found floating on Sunday (June 27) in Dighalipukhuri water tank in Guwahati. An examination of the collected samples of the dead fish and the waterbody revealed that depletion of dissolved oxygen in the tank coupled with high organic load led to the incident.

Following the detection of around 600 kilograms of 400 dead fish of different species in the tank, Assam Fisheries Minister Parimal Suklabaidya had directed the officials of the department to visit the site and ascertain the cause behind the mass deaths. The Dighalipukhuri or long pond in Assamese – more than 500 metres long – is located in the Ambari area in the heart of Guwahati. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/hundreds-of-fish-found-dead-in-guwahati-water-tank-due-to-lack-of-oxygen-2473807  (28 June 2021)

ओडिशा बरहामपुर तालाब में बड़ी संख्या में मिलीं मरी हुई मछलियां गंजम जिले में एक तालाब में बड़ी संख्या में अलग-अलग प्रजातियों की सड़ी-गली मछलियां तैरती मिलीं. अधिकारियों ने शनिवार (July 31) को ये जानकारी दी. गंजम के जिला मत्स्य अधिकारी प्रमोद राउत ने कहा कि हो सकता है कि हाई कार्बन वाले तालाब में ऑक्सीजन स्तर घटने या प्रदूषण के चलते मछलियों की मौत हुई हो.

बरहामपुर के कृष्णा नगर में तालाब में हुई मौतों का सही कारण तत्काल पता नहीं चल सका है. वहीं मत्स्य अधिकारियों ने भी मौतों के पीछे जहर देने से इंकार नहीं किया. स्थानीय लोगों ने कहा कि मरी हुई मछलियां गुरुवार (July 29) को दिखाई देने लगी और शुक्रवार (July 30) को संख्या बढ़ गई. लगभग एक क्विंटल वजन की सड़ी हुई मछलियों से दुर्गंध आने से पूरे इलाके में फैल गई. https://www.tv9hindi.com/india/odisha-large-number-of-dead-fish-found-in-berhampur-pond-samples-sent-for-investigation-759876.html  (31 July 2021)

Uttar Pradesh छाबी तालाब की हजारों मछलियां मरीं बांदा शहर की घनी आबादी के बीच स्थित प्राचीन छाबी तालाब में हजारों मछलियां मर गईं। कुछ लोग इसे शरारती तत्वों की करतूत बता रहे हैं तो कुछ मछलियों के मरने की वजह तालाब का दूषित पानी बता रहे हैं। डीएम ने मत्स्य विभाग और प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड अधिकारियों को जांच के निर्देश दिए हैं। नगर पालिका की सात टीमों को तालाब की सफाई में करीब छह घंटे लग गए। मोहल्ले के लोगों ने बताया कि लगातार दो दिन से मछलियों के मरने का सिलसिला जारी है। सोमवार (July 26) को इनकी संख्या काफी कम थी, लेकिन मंगलवार (July 27) को पूरे तालाब में मछलियां उतराने लगीं। शरारती तत्वों द्वारा पानी में जहर मिलाने की आशंका जताई गई। कुछ लोगों ने मछलियों के मरने की मुख्य वजह तालाब का पानी प्रदूषित होना बताया है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/banda/thousands-of-fish-died-in-chhabi-pond-of-banda-up  (03 June 2021)

तालाब में सैकड़ों मछली मरी मिर्जापुर में लालगंज के कटाई गांव में नीलामी के तालाब में पाली गई सैकड़ों मछलियां मर गई। आरोप है कि बीती रात अज्ञात व्यक्तियों ने तालाब में जहरीला पदार्थ डाल दिया जिससे पानी जहरीला हो गया और मछलियों की मौत हो गई। इसकी सूचना पट्टा धारक ने पुलिस और प्रशासन को दी। आरोप लगाया है कि त्रिस्तरीय पंचायत चुनाव की रंजिश में ऐसा किया गया है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/mirzapur/hundreds-of-fish-died-in-the-pond-mirzapur-news-vns589715517  (16 May 2021)

SAND MINING

Bihar 17 officers including 2 SPs, 4 DSPs suspended Two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, four deputy superintendents of police (DSP) rank officers besides four Bihar Administrative Service officers (BAS) were among 17 officials suspended on Tuesday (July 27) for aiding and abetting illegal sand mining mafias in four districts of the state and they were asked to report to their respective headquarters, a notification by the state home department and general administration department (GAD) said.

According to the notification the police officers have been attached with police headquarters while BAS officers have been attached to the divisional commissioner office in Patna. All the suspended officers will face departmental proceedings. Officials in the general administrative department said on condition of anonymity that a motor vehicle inspector (MVI) along with six officers of mines and geology department were also suspended allegedly for aiding and abetting the illegal sand mining mafia. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/bihar-illegal-sand-mining-nexus-17-officers-including-2-sps-4-dsps-suspended-101627402391832.html  (27 July 2021)

Punjab ED investigates contractor’s ‘link’ in sand mining scam Having recently attached Rs 42 crore assets of contractor Gurinder Singh in the alleged multi-crore irrigation scam, the Enforcement Directorate probing his case has reportedly started investigations into his suspected involvement in the “shady” sand mining contract dating back to 2017, over which former Irrigation Minister and Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh had to resign.

The ED officials said they were probing Gurinder’s money trail and the part wherein it had been found he transferred Rs 5 crore to Jatin Garg, a cousin of Sahil Singla, one of the two managing partners of Rajbir Enterprisers. The ED has so far investigated only five of the 35 suspected projects involving Gurinder’s “shady” deals and so far found violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to the tune of Rs 42 crore. “We are probing the remaining cases and all money trails linked to the sand mining contract case,” said an ED officer. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/ed-investigates-contractors-link-in-sand-mining-scam-290618  (31 July 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Forest Team Attacked by Sand Mafia in Morena In yet another example of the mining mafia having little fear of law and order in the Chambal region, a group of illegal sand miners fired upon the forest department team and fled with the tractors being used for the illegal quarrying of sand in Morena district on Friday (July 30). The forest staffers were reported safe after they ran for cover during the shooting.

The forest team was out on patrol on the highway at around 9 am and spotted a tractor-trolley laden with illegally mined sand from the Chambal river at Jaura turn, Divisional Forest Officer Morena Amit Nigam said. Seeing the forest staff approaching, the tractor driver turned the vehicle towards Nivi village in a bid to escape.

While the forest staffers managed to surround the vehicle, one of the assailant’s opened fire from a country-made pistol. The shooting alerted his associates and around five more miscreants reached the site and opened fire at the forest team. The officials ran for cover and the tractor driver quickly emptied the trolley in a pit and fled the scene with the vehicle. No staffer was injured in the incident. https://www.news18.com/news/india/another-forest-dept-team-attacked-by-sand-mafia-in-mps-morena-4027901.html  (30 July 2021)

Rajasthan Dholpur cops lack resources to move seized sand gravel Despite the fact that the Dholpur police through its various police station areas have noticed the stocking of illegally mined sand gravel worth more than Rs 1 crore, they are unable to transport it fully. The superintendent of police, Dholpur has also written to the district collector requesting him to arrange for dumpers, trucks, earth movers and tractor trolleys to transport the seized gravel to the Dholpur police lines, however, he is yet to get any response. Police stated that during the monsoon to avoid day-today transportation and invite risk the mining mafia have stocked their bajri at various villages in Dang Basai and other areas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/rajasthan-dholpur-cops-lack-resources-to-move-seized-sand-gravel/articleshow/84540781.cms  (19 July 2021)

Vedanta Evaded Thousands of Crores of Mining Royalties An investigation by the Rajasthan government has revealed massive irregularities in the functioning of Hindustan Zinc Limited, a subsidiary of the Vedanta group, leading to potential royalty losses worth thousands of crores to the government.

During the five-year period between 2013-14 and 2018-19, HZL allegedly evaded paying royalties worth Rs 2,537 crore on silver, and worth Rs 1,113.67 crore on lead and zinc, totalling potential revenue loss worth Rs 3,613 crore to the state government. https://thewire.in/business/rajasthan-mining-royalties-vedanta-hzl  (26 July 2021)

Tamil Nadu One killed in clash between sand miners in Devakottai A clash between two groups, who had been allegedly indulging in illegal sand mining in Devakottai taluk, ended in the death of a 30-year-old man on Sunday (Aug. 1). The groups decided to hold a compromise meeting in the presence of elders in the village. On Sunday (Aug. 1), when the groups assembled in front of the house of one Muthiah in Selugai village, Thennarasu, 30, son of Velu Thevar, was attacked even as talks were on. When three others attempted to intervene, they were stabbed as well.

According to police, Thennarasu died on the spot while the injured Kalidas, 35, Suresh, 25, and Ganesan, 32, were admitted to the Thiruvadanai General Hospital. The body was sent for a post-mortem examination. The Devakottai taluk police have registered a case of murder. Police said that they had secured three suspects in connection with the murder. A large posse of police personnel have been deployed in the Selugai village. Investigation is on. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/one-killed-in-clash-between-sand-miners-in-devakottai/article35672665.ece  (02 Aug. 2021)

Telangana Cops attacked by sand mafia The sand mafia that transports sand illegally from the banks of the Godavari river in teh district have proving to be more violent day by day. In an incident at Vempalli Venkatraopet in Mallapur mandal on Monday night a probationary SI Venkatesh, constables Srinivas, Raj Kumar and Suresh were attacked by sand mafia when during a search operation near the river to check illegal sand transportation.

When the police rushed to the spot on a tip-off, that some members of the sand mafia were illegally moving sand, the police were attacked with stones and sticks. On receiving information Metpally DSP Ghouse Baba and CI Sreenu rushed to the spot and seized five tractors. The police personnel were shifted to hospital for treatment and search for the accused was on. https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/jagtial-cops-attacked-by-sand-mafia-698450  (28 July 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Assam Wetlands need protection Green signal is given by Union Home Minister to North East Space Application Centre & Indian Space Research Org to conduct study on scope of diverting Brahmaputra wtr to 5902 sq km wetlands in Assam. Assam has lakes, ox-bow lakes, marshy tracts & pukhuris. https://www.sentinelassam.com/editorial/assam-wetlands-need-protection-548093  (23 July 2021)

Commentary नायक जिन्होंने वेटलैंड बचाने की जिम्मेदारी उठाई मोंगाबे-इंडिया और वेटलैंड इंटरनेशनल, दक्षिण एशिया के वेटलैंड चैंपियन्स सीरीज ने देशभर के ऐसे 25 सफल प्रयासों की पहचान की।  इस सीरीज के तहत उन लोगों और समुदायों के बारे में बताया गया जिन्होंने स्वप्रेरणा से वेटलैंड्स बचाने की ठानी,  न कि यह काम उनकी नौकरी का हिस्सा था और इसके लिए उन्हें पैसे मिले हों। इस सीरीज ने देशभर में चल रहे दूसरे प्रयासों को भी उम्मीद प्रदान की है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2021/07/29/wetland-champions-a-ray-of-hope/  (29 July 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

Recording of ACWADAM webinar “Reimagining Groundwater Governance (gwG) with a special emphasis on India” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-cgTxtRI0s&feature=youtu.be

Chennai Residents turning to RWH at road corners Rain Centre, a city-based voluntary organisation, is joining hands with residents’ welfare associations to dig recharge wells along road corners. This year, the Centre plans to dig 40 recharge wells. While 50% of the funds would be provided from corporate social responsibility funds, the residents’ welfare associations would have to pitch in the remaining amount. Each recharge well of a minimum of 3 feet diameter and 15 feet depth would cost nearly ₹23,000. The wells will help recharge the groundwater table and also reduce waterlogging on the roads. Residents may approach the centre at 9677043869 for such joint efforts. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennai-residents-are-now-turning-to-rainwater-harvesting-at-road-corners/article35647362.ece  (31 July 2021)

Delhi Project to recharge groundwater in capital begins showing results A project meant to recharge the groundwater table has begun to bear fruit, with floodwater from the Yamuna filling up a 25-acre reservoir created along the floodplains at Palla. Water began to enter the artificial pond on July 23, after rain and subsequent discharge of water from the Hathnikund barrage in Haryana, officials associated with the project said. With more rain and excess discharge from the barrage over the past few days, the reservoir is now nearly full, with water extending till its embankments, they said.

The project, meant to capture excess water from the Yamuna with the long-term intention of recharging the groundwater table, was launched as a three-year pilot scheme in 2019 and is now in its final year. Soon after the idea was approved by the NGT in 2019, the pilot project was initiated on 40 acres of land at Sungherpur village, near Palla. Of this, 30 acres of land was taken on a three-year lease from farmers in the area, while the remaining 10 acres belong to the gram sabha.

The Irrigation and Flood Control Department, which is implementing the project, will submit a report on the project to the Principal Committee appointed by the NGT, after the monsoon season ends this year. Once it has been reviewed and approved by the Tribunal, the project is likely to be extended to around 1,200 acres along the floodplains from Palla to Wazirabad, officials said. The Delhi government will have to decide whether to acquire the remaining land or take it on lease. The average depth of the reservoir is around 1.75 metres. If the project is extended beyond its pilot phase, the DJB plans on installing tubewells in the area to tap the groundwater for drinking purposes, the official said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-project-to-recharge-groundwater-in-capital-begins-showing-results-7432448/  (01 Aug. 2021)

Gurugram 1,146 million litres per day of rainwater retained in Aravallis Gurugram district admin had created check dams to harvest rainwater in the forests. The initiative helped harvest 1,146 MLD of rainwater (during Jul 18-19 when city got 185 mm rain), equival to 4-5 day water supply for city. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/1146-million-litres-per-day-of-rainwater-retained-in-aravallis-101626975184736.html  (22 July 2021)

Coimbatore Works taken up to rejuvenate River Kowsika push up ground water level   Raising of the farm bunds was one of the many works that the District Rural Development Agency had taken up for the development of River Kowsika and areas dependent on it under the scheme. The other benefit is that ground water level has increased by at least a few feet there, he adds. The Agency took up work under the MGNREGA scheme in 2018-19 to rejuvenate the river with a three-pronged approach – erosion control measures, groundwater recharge and rejuvenation of water bodies, says the Agency’s Project Director, Coimbatore, S. Kavitha. Of the 526 boulder check proposed across the river’s course in five panchayat unions – Periyanaickenpalayam, Sarcarsamakulam, Annur, Sulur and Avinashi – the Agency has thus far constructed 180. And, it has dug 302 recharge wells as well for water percolation, she adds.

The next step was dredging tanks in the River Kowsika system. It involves deepening a few tanks so that the water spread is not wide and thin and concentrated to prevent easy evaporation. The final step, Ms. Kavitha says, was planting saplings to develop tree groves. The Agency has completed work in a spot identified for tree grove, is working in the second place and has issued orders for nine more places. The tree groves are to prevent soil erosion, increase chances of rain and improve biodiversity. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/works-taken-up-to-rejuvenate-river-kowsika-pushes-up-ground-water-level/article35290200.ece  (12 July 2021)

Punjab Govt brings 5.62 lakh hectares under DSR Punjab has brought 5.62 lakh hectares area under direct seeding of rice (DSR) this year which is highest ever in the state till date and it is an increase of 62,000 hectares from last year’s DSR area. All districts have recorded between 10 percent to 46 percent DSR area of total rice cultivation, respectively, except Ludhiana district where only 7.4 per cent area could be brought under DSR.

The acreage estimates for DSR and puddled rice were collected by using satellite data that is collected by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC), Ludhiana. PRSC had started collecting data through satellite last year which is based on initial crop and water ponding signatures in agriculture fields. While rice sowing, mainly Basmati, is still on in the state, but paddy (non-Basmati) sowing was almost over by the second week of the July. PRCS has taken July 11 as cut-off date for recording DSR area, said agri experts. This date was the same last year too. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/punjab-brings-5-62-lakh-hectares-under-dsr-its-highest-ever-7432636/  (01 Aug. 2021)

GROUNDWATER

Villages in coal-mining hubs hunt for scarce water Himanshu Thakkar, of SANDRP said that when coal mines are dug, they fill up with groundwater, which then has to be pumped out. “This has led to depletion of groundwater in all mining areas, in addition to pollution,” he said. Loss of vegetation to make way for mines hampers groundwater recharge. https://news.trust.org/item/20210727040048-82ut7  (07 July 2021)

Punjab Eextraction 59% more than annual recharge  In Punjab, 33.85 Billion Cubic Metre (BCM) groundwater is extracted for all uses against the total annual recharge of 22.8 BCM. This adds up to groundwater over-exploitation of over 59%. Out of the total 150 blocks assessed in Punjab, 117 (78%) have been categorised as over-exploited where the annual groundwater extraction is more than the annual extractable resource.

As per an assessment jointly carried out by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and Punjab government last year, the annual extractable groundwater resource is just 20.6 BCM. Out of the total annual extraction for all uses, 32.8 BCM (97%) is being utilised for irrigation and most of it goes into cultivation of the water-guzzling paddy crop.

Union minister of state for jal shakti and food processing industries Prahlad Singh Patel shared these facts in the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament while answering a question raised by SAD’s MP from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal. The minister for jal shakti also apprised the Lok Sabha that Punjab has taken up 4,262 water conservation works and 35,809 works of renovation of ponds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme till June 30, 2021. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/in-punjab-groundwater-extraction-is-59-more-than-annual-recharge/articleshow/84907937.cms  (31 July 2021)

The Punjab government’s push for farm diversification has yielded little result and the pre-monsoon (June) data for 20 years shows the adverse impact of monocropping. The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) study, conducted from 1998 to 2018, has found that the groundwater level has declined by over a metre every year in 18 of the 22 districts. The study, Ground Water Depletion in Punjab, authored by Rajan Aggarwal, Samanpreet Kaur and Anmol Kaur Gill was published by PAU and submitted to the state government last month. The study found that groundwater that was available at three to 10 metres has fallen to below 30 metres in two decades.

Aggarwal, who is the chief scientist of the all-India coordinated research project (AICRP) on irrigation water management, said that the canal network was strong in south-west Punjab, medium in central Punjab and weak in north-eastern Punjab. However, the shift from canal irrigation to tubewells contributed to groundwater depletion because of the easy access and need of the farmer, he said. “The area irrigated by groundwater increased and almost doubled during the Green Revolution from 1960-61 to 1970-71. But there was a big jump in the dependency of groundwater for irrigation between 1990-91 and 2000-01,” Aggarwal said.

The study found that the canal-irrigated area increased marginally from 27.4% to 28.7% from 2010-11 and 2017-18, respectively. In the past six decades, the canal-irrigated area decreased from 58.4% to 28%, while the tubewell-irrigated area increased from 41.1% to 71.3%. Moreover, the net irrigated area increased from 54% to 99.2%. Due to this, there was a lot of stress on water resources and groundwater in particular. The number of over-exploited blocks jumped from 53 to 109 between 1984 and 2017, while the number of safe blocks slipped from 36 to 22. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/punjab-groundwater-level-dips-1m-every-year-study-101627645511290.html  (30 July 2021)

Kerala Groundwater Authority conducts surprise inspection at Kitex The Kerala State Water Resources Department conducted a surprise inspection at the Kitex Garments at Kizhakkambalam on Tuesday (July 27) – the twelfth in the series of unannounced inspections conducted by various departments of the state government at the garment exporter’s manufacturing facility in the near future. Kitex Group chairman and managing director Sabu M Jacob stated that the inspection was against the state government’s policy on inspections.

Currently, Kitex is in talks with various Indian states regarding investments. A couple of weeks ago, Kitex had announced its plans to invest Rs 1,000 crore in Telangana. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the other states that have invited Kitex to set up factories. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/groundwater-authority-conducts-surprise-inspection-at-kitex/articleshow/84796426.cms  (27 July 2021)

URBAN WATER

Mumbai Four part series seeking to reimagine the futures of the coastal city in its climate-changed waters

1st As monsoon-soaked Mumbai battles with the sea, residents on the margins hold out key lessons:- The city’s fishers, wetland farmers and others on the edge could help designers understand the changing rhythms of water, earth and air. https://scroll.in/article/1001028/as-monsoon-soaked-mumbai-battles-with-the-sea-residents-on-the-margins-hold-out-key-lessons  (26 July 2021)

2nd For Mumbai to cope with frequent floods, it must see itself as a place in an estuary – not an island. The operative word in the island city is ‘drain’. The operative word in the estuary is ‘soak’. https://scroll.in/article/1001186/for-mumbai-to-cope-with-frequent-floods-it-must-see-itself-as-a-place-in-an-estuary-not-an-island  (27 July 2021)

3rd In Lallubhai Compound, children film how the monsoon affects their resettlement colony https://scroll.in/article/1001284/in-mumbais-lallubhai-compound-children-film-how-the-monsoon-affects-their-resettlement-colony  (28 July 2021)

4th How do plastics and other waste that do not get recycled become the marine debris’ sampled on the shore? https://scroll.in/article/1001375/what-mumbais-sea-of-plastic-taught-researchers-about-the-citys-economy-of-waste  (29 July 2021)

Pune Where taps pour mud, not water Over 10,000 residents of DSK Vishwa, an upscale township in Dhayari, are struggling with water woes that are turning from bad to worse due to a 16- year-old agreement between the society and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Residents have been dealing with a shortage of water supply for years now.

According to the chairman of DSK Vishwa Varun Pavan society and secretary of the ad-hoc committee responsible for water distribution, Prasad Khare, the agreement drawn years ago allows the township to get unfiltered water straight from the nearby dam. A provision for this was made by diverting water from the dam to a well in Dhayari gaon, which further sent it to the township. The township has a water filtering facility, but due to some internal conflict, it is not functioning. However, all of this was to come to an end when the area merged into the PMC jurisdiction.

Khare said, “It is not like we can entirely blame PMC for the unfiltered water, but they do tax us double for water and we are still receiving dirty water filled with mud and all sorts of impurities that we can’t even use for domestic purposes, forget drinking. It is increasing health problems among people living here, which is a serious cause for concern, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have pver 10,000 residents living in the township and the money we pay for tankers runs into lakhs of rupees every few months. We are hoping to find a solution to this at the earliest.” Since June, the society has brought in a little over 100 tankers and the bill has run into Rs 1.25 lakh; add to this the 20-litre drinking water jars that residents purchase every two days. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/where-taps-pour-mud-not-water/articleshow/84846611.cms  (29 July 2021)

Collective stock in four dams at 90% Irrigation department officials said the increase or decrease in water discharge would depend on the rainfall activity in the catchment areas of the dams. “We have continued water release from Khadakwasla at the rate of 1,929 cusecs into the Mutha river, while water is being released into the Mutha canal at the rate of 1,100 cusecs. The release from Panshet dam has been started for power generation. The dam will release water in the river if the inflow of water in the reservoir goes up,” said Popat Shelar, sub-divisional engineer in the irrigation department. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/collective-stock-in-four-dams-supplying-water-to-pune-at-90/articleshow/84936363.cms  (01 Aug. 2021)

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has been getting 11.5 (trillion metric tons) TMC water from a chain of four dams – Khadakwasla, Panshet, Varasgaon and Temghar. It recently started receiving 2.64 TMC water from Bhama Askhed dam and 0.34 TMC from Pavana dam.

The state government has started a study of drawing water for the city from Mulshi dam. The civic body’s demand was 18.58 TMC water before the merger of 23 villages, which now stands at 20.07 TMC to meet the demand of the city for the year. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/four-dams-upstream-mutha-river-doubled-within-a-week-7423470/  (26 July 2021)

Puri First city to get 24×7 piped drinking water supply Launching “Sujal — Drink from Tap Mission” via a virtual platform, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said on Monday (July 26, 2021) that Puri has joined international cities like London, New York and Singapore in supplying quality piped drinking water from taps 24×7. Drinking water fountains have been set up at 400 locations in the pilgrim town to ensure that visitors do not carry plastic bottles. The government hopes that the Sujal piped water scheme will eliminate the use of three crore plastic bottles, thereby preventing the formation of 400 metric tonnes of plastic waste in Puri every year. “The project will subsequently be extended to 16 other urban localities with a 40-lakh population,” he said.

Quality drinking water is closely linked with good health, the human development index and the economy, the CM said. To ensure that the state gets safe and hygienic drinking water, the Odisha government has increased its budget from Rs 200 crore to Rs 4,000 crore in the last five years. The initiative has been launched under the “Jalsathi” programme and involves joining hands with women’s self-help groups (SHGs) under Mission Shakti, a state initiative to empower women, according to the government. Quality check of the drinking water will be conducted by “Jalsathis” picked from the women’s SHGs. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/puri-first-indian-city-to-get-24×7-piped-drinking-water-supply/articleshow/84778014.cms  (27 July 2021)

Chennai Restore mangroves to continue living in Chennai On the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystem, Xavier Benedict, environmental activist and founder of Art & Architecture Research Development and Education (AARDE) Foundation, walks  through the city’s majestic mangroves, discusses why more awareness about the species and their entwining roots have to be promoted, and the need to restore them. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/jul/26/restore-the-mangroves-to-continue-living-in-chennai-and-save-it-from-natures-wrath-says-environmental-activistxavier-benedict-2335289.html  (26 July 2021)

Millions down drain, but marsh remains dump yard Residents and activists have lost count of the crores of rupees the state government and Greater Chennai Corporation have ‘spent’ on restoring the Pallikaranai marshland. At least 13,000 crore has gone into tackling the legacy waste challenge in the past three decades, and yet benefits, if any, are nowhere visible.

In 1980, when the area was a quaint town panchayat, the government allotted 75 acres for solid waste management. The corporation in 2011 added another 325 acres for a landfill. Now, it has about 3.63 million cubic metres of legacy waste lying across 125 acres. The remaining 200 acres is used for waste processing and daily waste dumping. About 2,000 tonnes of wet waste is dumped there daily.

There have been a host of judicial orders, government policy announcements and pleas from residential welfare associations against indiscriminate dumping of solid waste at Pallikaranai marshland, and the Perungudi dumpyard, which is an extension of the marsh. But in vain. Dumping and burning of garbage at the landfill cause air pollution, especially in summer, and contaminate groundwater in Sai Nagar and Balaji Nagar in Perungudi due to the leachate that enters the ground. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/chennai-millions-down-the-drain-but-marsh-remains-dump-yard/articleshow/84847128.cms  (29 July 2021)

Water board to inspect RWH structures In a bid to enhance groundwater recharge, the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) will soon inspect all rainwater harvesting (RWH) structures across the city. Metro water officials said they will check if buildings have RWH structures at all, or if the building has space to install more structures to ensure maximum recharge of groundwater.

Apart from this, the team will also check the quality of water (residual chlorine levels) in buildings. Though the inspection is carried out every year, the measure didn’t take place last year due to the pandemic. In 2019, it was found that as many as 1,36,631 houses had RWH structures in good condition, structures in over 37,000 houses needed improvement and about 65,000 houses did not have RWH structures at all. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/jul/29/water-board-to-inspect-rainwater-harvesting-structures-across-chennai-soon-2336952.html  (29 July 2021)

Metrowater plans to offer sewage collection added areas  The water agency is finalising the tender process to procure 50 sewage disposal lorries to cater to the merged areas lacking underground drain coverage. At present, Metrowater allows private operators to decant sewage collected from merged areas in sewage pumping stations for a nominal charge.

Before the pandemic, nearly 1,000 loads were decanted in these facilities daily. This is also part of the efforts to reduce pollution in the city waterways. The water agency has proposed to get the tankers and outsource operations and maintenance for seven years. The contractors will collect sewage in the added areas, and decant them in treatment plants at Sholinganallur, Perungudi, Nesapakkam and Kodungaiyur. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/metrowater-plans-to-offer-sewage-collection-to-chennais-added-areas/article35573481.ece  (28 July 2021)

Bengaluru NGT orders immediate demolition of luxury project NGT on Jul 30 quashed the env clearance given to a high-rise luxury project by Godrej Properties Ltd & Wonder Projects Development Pvt Ltd in Bengaluru & directed its immediate demolition. The green panel also imposed a penalty of ₹31 crore on the project proponent and said the amount shall be used for demolition of the constructions, restoration of the area to the original position, rejuvenation and reforestation of the Kaikondarahalli lake and its surrounding area.

The order came on a petition filed by Bengaluru resident H.P. Rajanna against the project, Godrej Reflections, being built at Kasavanahalli village in Varthur Hobli in Bengaluru Urban district. Noting that the construction raised by the project proponent commenced even before the grant of Consent to Establish by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and in violation of conditions of the EC, the NGT directed that the constructions made on site shall be demolished immediately. Rajanna challenged a State Environment Impact Assessment Authority order dated January 10, 2018, granting an EC to the project at survey nos. 61/2, 62 and 63/2, Kasavanahalli village, Varthur Hobli, Bengaluru East Taluk and Bengaluru district. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/ngt-quashes-clearance-for-luxury-project-in-bengaluru/article35638324.ece/amp/  (30 July 2021)

When the river runs dry The grim scene of water management in the state became crystal clear last week, when Tourism Minister CP Yogeeshwara said that to meet the severe water shortage in Nandi Hills, there was a plan to pump treated water from Bengaluru to the hill station. The irony is stark as Nandi was once the source of drinking water for Bengaluru.

Environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy told Bangalore Mirror, “Nandi and the adjoining hill stations are the birthplace of five rivers: Arkavathi, Ponnaiyar, Palar, Papagni and Penna. Now, most of these rivers have gone dry. We need to understand the importance of Nandi hill ranges. It is one of the oldest geological formations dating back to 3.5 billion years and is one of the main reasons for the stability of peninsular India.” The Arkavathi River which was born in Nandi was the main drinking source of water for Bengaluru for a long time. It was dammed at Hesaraghatta to pump drinking water to Bengaluru and then at Thippagondanahalli.

Reddy said that rampant quarrying, deforestation and anti-environment measures had resulted in these rivers going dry. Until recently, the origins of the rivers were filled with trash. According to statistics, 28 tonnes of trash is generated in Nandi hills in a year. Reddy said that the urgent measures include taking steps for percolation of water and if the treated water is to be supplied to Nandi Hills, it should be treated at tertiary level. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/when-the-river-runs-dry/articleshow/84877860.cms  (30 July 2021)

BWSSB plans to upgrade 20 STPs Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has proposed to upgrade the existing 20 STPs to include modifications required for removal of biological nutrients that spur their growth. B.C. Gangadhar, BWSSB Chief Engineer (Wastewater Management), said the board is upgrading a 248 MLD STP at the Koramangala-Challaghatta Valley.

Mr. Gangadhar said that of the 33 STPs of the BWSSB, as many as 13 have been constructed over the past three years and have the necessary modifications for removal of biological nutrients. The board has submitted to the State government a ₹716 crore proposal, including capital cost of ₹448 crore and operation and maintenance charges for seven years amounting to ₹268 crore, for modification of these STPs.

Experts, however, questioned whether upgrading the existing STPs would be enough to protect the water bodies. Nagesh Aras, core member of Friends of Lakes, pointed out that the STPs with separate processes for removal of biological nutrients should ideally be set up in the valley systems. “Water hyacinth doubles in body mass in 10 days. No amount of removal will help,” he said. “Unless these agencies coordinate and come up with an action plan, measures taken individually will just mean water down the drain,” V. Ramaprasad added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bwssb-plans-to-upgrade-20-stps-for-biological-nutrient-removal-from-lakes/article35603404.ece  (29 July 2021)

Environment management gone in the wrong hands Becoming a part of regulatory bodies like State Environment Assessment Committee (SEAC) and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) requires a person to be highly qualified and an expert in the particular field. However, the latest nomination to the bodies doesn’t seem to be meeting their standards. The environmentalists and social activists allege that proper norms were not followed while new members were recently nominated to the regulatory bodies. According to the activists, many of the nominees are either underqualified or have conflicts of interest.

Coming down heavily on elected representatives who nominated the members to the SEIA and SEIAA, Dr AN Yellappa Reddy, an environmentalist said selecting unqualified people to be members of the regulatory bodies will “destroy” the Department of Ecology and Environment. Reddy had also worked as the secretary of Department Ecology and Environment. “The nominated members and chairman of both SEAC and SEIAA are supposed to give directions to the environment engineers. What will they do if they do not have the required qualification and experience? Nominating wrong people will not just ruin the respective departments. But, it will also have a negative impact on the environment in the State,’’ said Dr Yellappa Reddy. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/environment-management-gone-in-the-wrong-hands/articleshow/84877928.cms  (30 July 2021)

Nainital नैनी झील के महत्वपूर्ण जलागम को ख़तरा By Kavita Upadhyay इस श्रंखला के पहले हिस्से में आपने पढ़ा कि कैसे पर्यावरण के लिहाज़ से संवेदनशील उत्तराखंड के सातताल क्षेत्र में सरकार एवं प्रशासन द्वारा चलाई जा रही सौन्दर्यीकरण परियोजना का पर्यटन व्यवसाय एवं पर्यावरण से जुड़े लोग विरोध कर रहे हैं। इस श्रंखला का दूसरा हिस्सा सातताल से करीब 24 किलोमीटर दूर स्थित सूखाताल पर, जहाँ पर चल रहा निर्माण कार्य नैनी झील के लिए संकट उत्पन्न कर सकता है।

वर्ष 2012 में इतिहासकार एवं एक्टिविस्ट अजय सिंह रावत ने उत्तराखंड हाई कोर्ट में सूखाताल से अवैध निर्माण हटाने को लेकर एक जनहित याचिका दायर की थी। परन्तु एक दशक बाद भी स्थिति वैसी ही है। इसीलिए, जुलाई 14, 2021 को जब प्रशासन और सिविल सोसाइटी के लोगों के बीच सूखाताल प्रोजेक्ट को लेकर बैठक हुई तो रावत द्वारा इस प्रोजेक्ट का समर्थन यह कह कर किया गया कि यह प्रोजेक्ट बाकी बचे सूखाताल का बचा रहना सुनिश्चित कर सकता है। परन्तु, लक्ष्य अवैध निर्माण रोकना ही नहीं, बल्कि सूखाताल को उसके नैसर्गिक रूप में वापस लाना भी है। विशेषज्ञों का कहना है कि यदि सूखाताल क्षेत्र में कोई भी कार्य अच्छी तरह जांच-पड़ताल के बाद नहीं हुआ, तो सूखाताल के साथ साथ नैनी झील को भी खतरा होगा। https://hindi.carboncopy.info/main-water-source-of-naini-lake-sukhtal-is-in-danger/  (27 July 2021)

हाइड्रोजियोलॉजिस्ट हिमांशु कुलकर्णी ‘एडवांस्ड सेंटर फॉर वॉटर रिसोर्स डेवलपमेंट एंड मैनेजमेंट’ के कार्यकारी निदेशक हैं. उनके मुताबिक, “इस प्रोजेक्ट पर किसी भी प्रकार का कार्य अध्ययन के आधार पर ही होना चाहिए, वर्ना कैसे पता चलेगा कि इन कार्यों का पर्यावरण और जैव-विविधता पर कितना प्रभाव पड़ेगा?” प्राधिकरण सचिव उपाध्याय का मानना है कि इस परियोजना में विशेषज्ञों के दिशा-निर्देश की आवश्यकता नहीं है, क्योंकि यह सिर्फ़ स्थानीय पर्यटन को बढ़ाने और झील के पास बनी अवैध दुकानों और रेस्टोरेंट को हटाने हेतु है. https://hindi.newslaundry.com/2021/07/30/uttarakhand-nainital-tourist-lakes-city-crisis  (30 July 2021)

Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR) warns of the adverse effects of restoration in an inorganic manner. https://www.thequint.com/my-report/videokumaon-mandal-vikas-nigam-plans-to-restore-sukhatal-lake-a-catchment-area-for-naini-lake  (29 July 2021)

Shimla City set to face water crunch “The turbidity in the water bodies from where we draw water has spiked a lot. The filtration rate has gone down, so the water supply will be affected,” said Harmesh Bhatia, assistant general manager, Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Limited (SJPNL). Bhatia expects a significant drop in the availability of water for distribution in the city. “We are expecting a shortfall of 10-15 MLD. At the moment, we are drawing around 45 MLD. We should be able to get around 30-32 MLD,” said Bhatia.

That’s not sufficient for the city, even without the floating population. “We will resort to the rescheduling of the timings to tide over the shortage. We will try and supply water to all households every day. In case some areas are left out, they will be covered on priority the next day,” Bhatia said. The monsoon season has affected the Giri and Gumma water schemes the most, with the turbidity rate in both the water sources being recorded over 4,000 this evening. The turbidity rate, earlier in the day, was much higher and the pumping was stopped altogether at Gumma. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/shimla-set-to-face-water-crunch-289827  (29 July 2021)

Chandigarh Dadumajra landfill dumping the law By polluting the soil and air, as found by a PEC study, the landfill violates the fundamental right of people living in the vicinity besides ignoring several other environment laws. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/dadumajra-landfill-where-chandigarh-chooses-to-dump-the-law-7430970/  (31 July 2021)

WATER POLLUTION

Gujarat Modi told to ‘reconsider’ Rs 2275 cr project In a letter to PM Narendra Modi, well-known environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns. Asking him to use his influence to ask the state government to “reconsider” the project, which is to cost Rs 2,275 crore, Pandya said, the common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) in Gujarat, whose waste is proposed is to be disposed of in the sea, have obtained “no results”. In fact, the CETPs, using outdated technology, continue to release “partially treated effluent”, and if the project effected, it will lead to “huge short-term and long-term consequences for marine life in the area and for the 30,000 people whose livelihoods depend on the fishing industry”, he said. https://www.counterview.net/2021/07/modi-asked-to-reconsider-rs-2275-crore.html  (28 July 2021)

WATER

CWC RESERVOIR STORAGE BULLETIN OF 29.07.2021

1. ALL INDIA STATUS:- As per reservoir storage bulletin dated 29.07.2021, live storage available in these reservoirs is 85.356 BCM, which is 49% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 70.771 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 70.35 BCM. Thus, the live storage available in 130 reservoirs as per 29.07.2021 Bulletin is 121% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 121% of storage of average of last ten years.

2. REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS: a) NORTHERN REGION:- As per Reservoir Storage Bulletin dated 29.07.2021, the total live storage available in these reservoirs is 6.32 BCM which is 33% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 44% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 48% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Thus, storage during current year is less than the corresponding period of last year and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period. http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/29072021.pdf  (29 July 2021)

AGRICULTURE

Editorial From paddy to pulses Under its ambitious ‘Mera Paani, Meri Virasat’ scheme that aims to promote the cultivation of less water-consuming crops, the farmers who replace the water-guzzling paddy with crops such as pulses, moong, arhar, sesame and sorghum would get Rs 7,000 per acre. But, with just five more days to go for the peasants to register for the project, the target of achieving two lakh acres seems far-fetched. While Palwal farmers have, inspiringly, oversubscribed by one-and-a-half times to the scheme, there are not enough takers in Charkhi Dadri and Sirsa, which account for the maximum acreage.

There is no scope for any leeway in the multi-pronged efforts under way to recharge the parched land. The urban areas can help augment the reversal of the sharp drop in water levels (from 4 m to 14 m) by adopting rainwater-harvesting methods in right earnest. The onus of saving water is on each of us. We have no choice but to pay heed to the Central Ground Water Board’s ominous 2017 report. It warns that the present over-extraction of water at the rate of 138 per cent would leave seven districts of Haryana with zero availability of groundwater. Of the 128 blocks, only 26 were found with safe levels of the precious life-sustaining resource. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/from-paddy-to-pulses-288285  (26 July 2021)

Telangana Crops in 5 lakh acres hit by rain, farmers can’t claim insurance Crops over an extent of nearly 5 lakh acres have been damaged due to recent heavy rains across the state, according to preliminary estimates put up by the agriculture department. However, there is no chance for farmers in the state to claim compensation as the state government opted out of the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana Scheme (PMFBY), a crop insurance scheme, in May 2020 and failed to bring its own insurance policy as promised at that time.

Despite all this, there is still a provision for the Telangana government to secure compensation in the form of input subsidy of up to Rs 10,000 per acre from the Centre if the state government undertakes a ground-level survey of damaged crops of agriculture lands survey-number wise and submit details to the Centre. But the agriculture department has no plans to take up this survey saying that they have no instructions from ‘higher-ups’ in this regard.

The normal cultivation area for kharif in Telangana state is 1.16 crore acres. However, crops were already sown over an extent of 82.49 lakh acres till July 22, achieving 70.7 percent of the normal cultivation area. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh too opted out of PMFBY but CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy brought in AP government’s own crop insurance policy in July 2019, bearing the entire premium amount on behalf of farmers and extending compensation to farmers during natural disasters. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/amp/nation/politics/250721/telangana-farmers-at-loss-as-state-opts-out-of-pradhan-mantri-fasal-bi.html  (25 July 2021)

MONSOON 2021

SANDRP Blog June July 2021 District Wise SW Monsoon Rainfall in India In the just concluded month of July 2021, India received 266.1 mm rainfall that is 6.73% below normal July rainfall of 285.3 mm, as per India Meteorological Department (IMD). This is in contrast with June 2021 rainfall that was almost 11% surplus over Normal rainfall. Not only that surplus has been wiped out by the July 2021 deficit, the overall June July 2021 rainfall now is 449 mm, or about 0.7% below normal rainfall of 452.2 mm, as per IMD.

This pattern of (18%) surplus June Rainfall followed by (10%) deficit July rainfall wiping out that surplus is almost exactly same as what happened in June July 2020 monsoon. Let us see if the rest of 2021 monsoon also follows the SW Monsoon 2020 pattern. https://sandrp.in/2021/07/31/june-july-2021-district-wise-sw-monsoon-rainfall-in-india/  (31 July 2021)

IMD Rainfall 7% below normal in July July recorded extremely heavy rainfall over coastal and central Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka. Several towns and cities in Maharashtra were deluged to very heavy rainfall which resulted in catastrophic events like landslides claiming scores of lives and damaging property. The north Indian states — Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh — also saw cloudburst events that claimed several lives. The national capital too recorded a very good rainfall activity. But overall, the rainfall recorded for the month was seven per cent less.

The Southwest Monsoon arrived over Kerala on June 3, two days after its normal schedule. But it very rapidly covered the east, west, south and parts of north India by June 19. But after that it entered into a phase that witnessed a spell of no rainfall activity. It started reviving from July 8. The Southwest Monsoon reached Delhi on July 13 after a delay of 16 days and covered the entire country the same day. June received 10 per cent more rainfall than normal. Of the four-month rainfall season, July and August receive the maximum precipitation.

Overall, the country has received one per cent less rainfall than normal from June 1 to July 31. The deficit was minus 13 per cent in the east and northeast subdivision of the IMD. Northwest India division which covers north India recorded a two per cent deficit. The south peninsula division which covers the southern states received 17 per cent more rainfall while the central India division that comprises west and central India recorded one per cent more rainfall than the normal. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/rainfall-seven-per-cent-below-normal-in-july-imd/articleshow/84945095.cms  (01 Aug. 2021)

Between June 1 and July 31, northwest India recorded 2% rain deficiency but Haryana, Chandigarh and the Delhi region recorded 50% excess rain, with Delhi and Haryana recording 43% and 51% excess rain, respectively. “Saiwad in Jaipur district has possibly made a historical record with 30cm rain in 24 hours,” said RK Jenamani, senior scientist, national weather forecasting centre, IMD.

Rain distribution has been skewed in June and July. Northeast India has a rain deficiency of 13% with Arunachal Pradesh recording a 37% deficiency. Assam and Meghalaya have 24% deficiency while Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura have recorded 35% deficiency. Gujarat and the Kutch region have recorded 32% and 36% deficiency, respectively, while Kerala and Lakshadweep have recorded 28% and 49% shortfall. Overall, the country has recorded a 1% rain deficiency. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/heavy-rains-to-persist-in-central-northwest-india-imd-101627842082738.html  (02 Aug. 2021)

The Indian Express hosted Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, DG, IMD, at an Explained Live event on July 28. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/is-india-ready-to-meet-extreme-weather-challenge-imd-d-g-to-explain-today-7425671/  (28 July 2021)

Delhi Meteorologically peculiar July July was meteorologically peculiar for Delhi as it witnessed five heatwave days, the maximum since 2012, an unusual two-week-delayed monsoon, and rainfall that broke records of nearly two decades. Despite the monsoon embracing Delhi only on July 13, making it the most-delayed in 19 years, the capital recorded 16 rainy days in the month, the maximum in the last four years. Three rainy days were recorded before the monsoon reached the city, according to India Meteorological Department data.

The Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, received 507.1 mm rainfall this July, which was nearly 141 per cent above the long-period average of 210.6 mm. It was also the maximum rainfall in the month since July 2003, and the second highest ever. In 2013, Delhi had received 340.5mm rainfall. The all-time record is 632.2mm precipitation in July in 2003, according to the IMD.

Overall, Delhi has gauged 570.1mm rainfall so far since June 1, when the monsoon season starts, against the normal of 281.9mm — which is an excess of 102 per cent. Of the 16 rainy days in July, Delhi received heavy rainfall on three occasions — July 18-19 (69.6mm), July 26-27 (100mm) and July 29-30 (72mm). Most of the 100mm rainfall recorded on July 26-27 occurred in just three hours. It was also the maximum rainfall in 24 hours in the month of July in eight years. In 2013, Delhi had received 123.4mm rainfall on July 21. Besides, heavy rainfall events were also observed at the Ridge observatory on July 15 (107.4mm) and the Palam observatory on July 20 (67.6mm) and July 28 (68.7mm). https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/heatwave-late-monsoon-record-rains-delhi-weather-july-7433436/  (01 Aug. 2021)

Data from the IMD shows that rainfall was recorded on 16 days in July, but heavy rainfall (falling between 64.5 mm and 115.5 mm) was seen only on three days. A total of 507.01 mm of rainfall was recorded at Safdarjung in July. Normal rainfall for the month at Safdarjung is considered to be 210.6 mm, making this year’s figure 141% above normal.

On the excess rainfall in July, Sathi Devi, head of IMD National Weather Forecasting Centre, said “This is not unusual. In a short period, we are seeing intense rainfall. There is a change in pattern,” she said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/heat-wave-delayed-monsoon-to-heavy-rain-why-july-saw-extreme-weather-in-delhi-7433784/  (02 Aug. 2021)  

Unusually heavy spell of rain The current trend of short, intense and spread out rains continued in Delhi on Sunday (Aug. 1) with showers ranging from 27.6mm to 126.8mm being recorded within a few morning hours at different weather stations in the city.

The city has been breaking a weather record every month since August 2020. For instance, this February was the second warmest in 120 years, with the mean maximum temperature in the month touching 27.9 degrees Celsius (°C), falling marginally short of the all-time record of 29.7°C in 2006. Then March this year recorded the hottest day in 76 years, with the mercury levels touching 40.1°C on March 29. But then, after a sweltering February and March, the conditions changed again in April and the lowest minimum temperature in at least a decade was recorded on April 4, at 11.7°C.

July 2021 has kept with the record-breaking pattern: it started off with an unusually hot day when the maximum temperature spiked to 43°C. Over the next eight days, there were four heatwave days – a frequency not seen since 2014. Around this time, the monsoon should have arrived – but it would not till nearly the middle of the month on July 13, which was the latest onset since 2013. And in a span of three weeks, the monsoon has now dumped more rain this month than it did in any year since 2003. Experts said rain and monsoon patterns have changed over the last decade. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/short-and-furious-rain-in-bursts-continue-in-delhi-101627842142935.html  (02 Aug. 2021)

Maharashtra Water level in dams rise by 31% Of the 17 big dams in the region, 10 have already crossed the 60 per cent mark. While Nira Deodhar dam has touched 90.73 per cent capacity, Khadakwasla dam water is at 100 per cent. During the same time last year, Nira Deodhar dam had 43 per cent of water and Khadakwasla dam 41 per cent. The Konkan region, which is also witnessing flood, has seen a water level increase of only 2.71 per cent in its dams. Currently, the dams are at 58.71 per cent capacity, marginally better than last year’s 56 per cent.

Dams in north Maharashtra have registered a decline of 3.76 per cent in the water level – it is at 32.24 per cent compared to last year’s 36 per cent. Vidarbha dams, meanwhile, have recorded a decline of 13.51 per cent in water level. At 36.49 per cent, it is much less compared to last years 50 per cent during the same time. In drought-hit Marathwada, water level in dams is at 34.26 per cent. Last year, it was 36 per cent. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/water-level-in-western-maharashtra-dams-rise-by-31-per-cent-7425592/  (28 July 2021)

Water storage in most of Marathwada dams less than last year While parts of western Maharashtra and Konkan are facing floods due to heavy rains, the water level in various dams of the Marathwada region has dipped as compared to this time last year, as per the irrigation department. The total water storage capacity of 45 big reservoirs in the region is 4,505.36 million cubic meters (MCM). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/maharashtra-water-storage-in-most-of-marathwada-dams-less-than-last-year/articleshow/84755869.cms  (26 July 2021)

4 dams upstream Mutha river doubled within a week “Water was discharged from Khadakwasla dam last week after the dam was filled to its capacity. However, it was stopped in between depending on the water inflow in the dam,” said an officer from the irrigation department. The intensity of rainfall has reduced in the catchment area of the four dams, he said, adding that there is less rain and decrease in inflow of water in the four dams. “We are expecting the dams will continue to get inflow of water from the catchment area even if the intensity of rain reduces. The dams will fill to their capacity but we will keep the storage to 90 per cent of the total capacity so that there is no emergency situation if there is again heavy rainfall in the catchment area,” the officer added. Bhama Askhed dam storage has 6.03 TMC water, which is 78.59 per cent of the total capacity of 7.67 TMC. It was 3.22 TMC on the same day last year. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/four-dams-upstream-mutha-river-doubled-within-a-week-7423470/  (26 July 2021)

Haryana 23% more rainfall than normal As per the rainfall report from the meteorology department of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agriculture University (Hisar), Haryana has reported 26.1mm rainfall in the past 24 hours. A maximum of 67.3mm rainfall was reported in Kaithal, 66.3mm in Kurukshetra, 57.8mm in Ambala, 49.1mm in Karnal, and 45.3mm in Yamunanagar. Dr ML Khichar, head of the agriculture meteorological department at the university, said the overall rainfall recorded in Haryana this season is 235.4mm which is 23% more than the normal 191.4mm.

Heavy rain on Wednesday (July 28) led to extensive waterlogging in urban and rural areas of the northern districts in state. Rain water entered many residential colonies in Kurukshetra and Panipat causing traffic jams. Residents of Noorwala Colony in Panipat, and Jogia Basti, Comrade Colony and Subhash Gali in Kurukshetra held protests terming this a failure of the administration and demanded action against officials concerned. The incessant rains also caused waterlogging in Gharaunda, Assandh, Indri and Nissing blocks, Pehowa, Shahbad, Ismailabad blocks in Kurukshetra. Due to rainfall, waterlogging and traffic snarls occurred in Hisar and Rohtak. Heavy rain in Ambala twin towns also lead to waterlogging and brought daily life to a standstill for almost the whole day.

As per the IMD, it rained 366% more than expected in Ambala. The district received 57.88mm rainfall compared to the expected 12.4mm on the day till 5pm. In Yamunanagar, other than the constant rain in divergent locations, Yamuna levels touched 1,59,757 cusec-mark at Hathnikund barrage at around noon after heavy rain in its catchment areas. Farmers from Assandh and Gharaunda blocks faced problems of waterlogging as their crop was damaged. They said the government should compensate them. Rain and cloudy weather revived the standing paddy, cotton, bajra and other crops in Rohtak, Hisar, Bhiwani and parts of Jind, said experts. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/haryana-records-23-more-rainfall-than-normal-101627498969858.html  (29 July 2021)

FLOOD 2021

Flood disaseter more man made than nature If rains broke all records, disaster unfolding on ground was partially man-made, as management of water & a flurry of constructions along the riverside – some of it unauthorised – has come under the scanner once again. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/monday-musings-monsoon-disasters-more-man-made-than-natural-101627296278603.html  (26 July 2021)

Mullaperiyar Dam Tamil Nadu alerts Kerala after dam level touches 136 feet Tamil Nadu alerted Kerala after the water level at Mullaperiyar touched 136 feet, reported Tamil daily Dinakaran on Monday (July 26). Tamil Nadu public works department (PWD) officials sent out the first warning message to the Idukki district administration. Mullaperiyar dam’s catchment areas have been receiving substantial rainfall after the southwest monsoon turned intense in Kerala, reported Tamil newspaper Dinamalar. On Sunday (July 25), the Periyar dam area received 10.4mm rainfall, while Thekkady received 10mm rainfall and the water level touched 136 feet of the dam’s total capacity of 152 feet. The current storage level of the dam is 5,929 ft. The dam is receiving an inflow of 4,875 cusecs of water. As much as 900 cusecs of water are discharged from the dam for irrigation purposes of Tamil Nadu. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/tamil-nadu-alerts-kerala-after-mullaperiyar-dam-level-touches-136-feet-101627279999837.html  (26 July 2021)

Krishna Floods Villages in Andhra’s Krishna district on flood alert With the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh set to receive heavy inflows from the Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar dams, authorities have advised people residing in low-lying and flood-prone areas to be on alert. Krishna District Collector J Nivas visited the flood-prone area of Bhupesh Gupta Nagar in Vijayawada on July 31. Around 5.58 lakh cusecs of water was being discharged from Srisailam, the Collector said. With Nagarjuna Sagar likely to fill up by August 1, morning, around 5 lakh cusecs of water was likely to be released to the Pulichintala project, which is already filled to capacity, he added. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/villages-andhra-s-krishna-district-flood-alert-water-released-major-dams-153263  (01 Aug. 2021)

The dam has water standing at 572.7 ft against the full reservoir level of 590 ft with storage of 263.35 tmc ft against gross capacity of 312.05 tmc ft. The dam is receiving water at the rate of 3,85,191 cusecs. The dam has 26 gates, each one 40 ft wide and 45 ft in height.

As per tentative plans, the authorities will seek permission from both AP government and the KRMB on how to go about dealing with floodwater in Krishna river. The floodwater can be released into the right main canal to be used for both drinking and cultivation purposes.

The earlier schedule for release of water into RMC for drinking purposes slated for August 15 and for irrigation purposes on September 15, may be advanced. It has to be seen whether KRMB will take a count of the quantity to be released into canals if released earlier than scheduled. The authorities have been maintaining that it is being done to avoid wastage of water. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/310721/water-to-be-released-from-nagarjunasagar-dam-soon.html  (31 July 2021)

Water resources authorities say that last year, floodwater from the dam was released after August 15 and this season, they are advancing the date following good inflow of water into the dam. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/310721/water-to-be-released-from-nagarjunasagar-dam-soon.html  (31 July 2021)

Srisailam dam getting full and start of spillway discharge by Jul 28 2021 seem sure with reservoir using by 30 TMC in 24-hour till 8 pm-Jul 26. Flood discharge from Tungabhadra likely to reach Srisailam on Jul 27. 3 lakh cusecs from Almati/Jurala will also reach. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/srisailam-certain-to-surplus-by-tomorrow/article35547911.ece  (26 July 2021)

Maharashtra IMD issues fresh rain alert for 5 battered districts IMD has once again issued a heavy-to-very heavy rainfall (115.6mm-204.4mm) alert for five Maharashtra dists (Raigad, Ratnagiri, Pune, Kohapur, Satara) for July 30-31, which were recently battered by torrential rain, landslides and floods. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/imd-issues-fresh-rain-alert-for-5-battered-dists/articleshow/84807839.cms  (28 July 2021)

Assam Flood watch after Bhutan releases water Five flood-prone districts (Nalbari, Baksa, Barpeta, Chirang, Bongaigaon) in lower Assam on July 27 were put on alert following release of 1500 cumecs water for six hrs from 60 MW Kurichhu hydropower plant dam in Bhutan. It will swell Beki, Manas & Aie rivers. https://www.eastmojo.com/assam/2021/07/27/lower-assam-on-flood-watch-after-bhutan-releases-water/  (27 July 2021)

Uttarakhand Water level of Ganga rises following heavy rainfall The water level of river Ganga at Gangotri rose following heavy rainfall in parts of the state, said the district administration on Wednesday (July 28). Also, parts of a mountain near the Gangotri Dham fell in the river leading to the rise in the water level, added the district administration. Meanwhile, due to the heavy rainfall, the water level of the Bean river on Rishikesh-Cheela road also rose that led to the loss of communication with the 80 villages located in the vicinity of the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-water-level-of-ganga-rises-following-heavy-rainfall/articleshow/84819697.cms  (28 July 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Bijnor farmers suffer as swollen Ganga destroys land, crops The raging Ganga that has already inundated hundreds of hectares of agricultural fields, destroying crops in Bijnor, shows no signs of abating due to incessant rainfall in the Shivalik ranges of UP and Uttarakhand. Farmers have blamed the massive soil erosion to the absence of embankments they have been demanding for years.

Every monsoon, the raging Ganga becomes a threat to the 25 villages, including Daibalgarh, Gauspur, Kauharpur, Rawali and Brahmpuri, located on its banks, eroding agricultural lands and damaging crops. Ram Baabu, executive engineer of the irrigation department, said, “The Centre had approved a Rs 61-crore project to erect studs along the Ganga to curb land erosion but the funds are yet to be okayed. Besides, we had prepared projects worth Rs 2 crore to repair old embankments along other rivers in the district but only Rs 20 lakh was sanctioned.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/bijnor-farmers-suffer-as-swollen-ganga-destroys-land-crops/articleshow/84930891.cms  (01 Aug. 2021)

Bihar बांका: चांदन नदी में बह गया डायवर्जन बांका में चांदन नदी पर तत्कालीन आवाजाही को लेकर 50 करोड़ की लागत से बना डायवर्जन शनिवार (July 30) को नदी में बह गया। 2.75 किलोमीटर के डायवर्जन का करीब 500 मीटर का हिस्सा नदी में समा गया। जबकि नदी के पानी का तेज बहाव धीरे-धीरे आगे भी ध्वस्त करता जा रहा है। इससे एक ओर जहां बांका दो भागों में बंट गया, वहीं दूसरी ओर आवागमन पूरी तरह बाधित हो गई। बांका-ढाकामोड़ होते हुए झारखंड से संपर्क टूट गया। साथ ही बांका समेत चार प्रखंडों के करीब 10 लाख से अधिक लोगों का संपर्क जिला मुख्यालय से टूट गया है। https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/bhagalpur/story-banka-diversion-washed-away-in-chandan-river-people-lost-contact-with-district-headquarters-4280914.html  (01 Aug. 2021)  

West Bengal Dams Almost Full, Water Discharge to Rise The situation is alarming with heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours. We have tried to restrict water release. Discharge from Panchet and Maithon on Saturday (July 31) is within the green zone which is up to 50,000 cusec. But incessant rain of about 100 mm in the upstream is a threat. Tenughat dam in Jharkhand released 90,000 cusec of water today and it will take 7-8 hours to reach Panchet dam. The West Bengal government has allowed us to raise the discharge level to 1 lakh cusec, DVC executive director S Banerjee told PTI. Maithon released 49,000 cusec on July 31 due to a downpour of 100-150 mm, a state government official claimed.

The optimum pond level of Durgapur barrage is 211.5 ft, and water reaches the maximum limit, which is a “concern”, the state government official said. Teesta barrage water level also reaches the maximum limit of 375 ft and the authorities released nearly 90,000 cusec, he said. Moreover, the situation of Mahananda and Tilpara barrages is a matter of concern, he said, adding that water discharge from Jharkhand has a direct impact on storage facilities in West Bengal. https://www.news18.com/news/india/bengal-dams-almost-full-due-to-heavy-rain-water-discharge-to-rise-officials-4031321.html  (31 July 2021)

Ganga erosion left many homeless River Ganga went in around 300 metres, eroding the bank in Malda district, gobbling up houses, fields and mango orchards, officials said on Sunday. Balutola in Manikchak block is the most affected area by the erosion, which is happening over a stretch of 1 kilometre, they said. More than 400 families have been displaced so far this year as the river devoured more than half of Balutola and Elahitola villages, locals claimed. Scores of villagers are fleeing these areas every day, they said. https://www.news18.com/news/india/ganga-gobbles-up-malda-villages-many-left-homeless-3977687.html  (18 July 2021)

URBAN FLOOD

Bengaluru It’s not deluge-ional, it’s for real A small gap between the retaining wall of the Koramangala and Challaghatta valley stormwater drain rendered a big shock to many residents of Ejipura and Koramangala as it left several residential areas flooded on Sunday (July 25) evening. Such was the negligence of the authorities that the rainwater which was supposed to drain into Bellandur lake, gushed out of the drain flooding houses and apartments complexes. The places that were flooded are now filled with slush, silt and sewage.

This is the second such incident where the gap between retaining wall had resulted in floods. A similar incident had taken place in ST Bed near Ejipura a couple of years ago. “A lot of stormwater drain work is currently underway. This was not the time to cut open the wall. The engineers had an entire year to complete desilting and maintenance work,” said Muralidhar Rao, a resident of Koramangala. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/no-mans-land/articleshow/84745575.cms  (27 July 2021)

Gurugram Flooding makes travel a nightmare A heavy downpour on Tuesday (July 27) morning predictably inundated parts of the city, including the road leading to the venue for a function in Sector 29 where CM Manohar Lal Khattar had been invited as a chief guest. The city received 18.6mm of rainfall on Tuesday (July 27). The rain started around 5.30am in the morning, while intermittent drizzle continued for almost the whole day. So far, Gurugram has received 314.2mm rainfall between June 1 and July 27, against the season’s normal of 202.5mm. In June, the city had recorded 41.9mm rainfall and 272.3mm rain has been recorded in this month so far, IMD said.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/delhi-gurgaon-traffic-hit-by-heavy-rain/articleshow/84809144.cms  (28 July 2021)

Overnight rain leaves many areas waterlogged For the second time in eight days, Gurgaon residents woke up to waterlogged roads on Tuesday (July 27) morning as a few hours of overnight rainfall left several parts of the city inundated. According to Gurgaon traffic police, the impacted areas include the Pasco traffic light, Galleria Market traffic light, Mayfield Garden, Bilaspur Chowk, and Ram Chowk in Udyog Vihar.

A similar situation had prevailed on Monday (July 19) last week, when Gurgaon received around 196 mm of rainfall over a few hours, leading to waterlogging across the city. The worst affected areas were Sheetla Mata Mandir road, Hero Honda Chowk, and Palam Vihar. Four of the underpasses in the city had also been flooded as a result of the rainfall. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/for-second-time-in-eight-days-overnight-rain-leaves-many-areas-of-gurgaon-waterlogged-7424195/  (27 July 2021)

Sewage overflow, untreated wastewater major concerns for Sec 85 residents Residents of the Carnation Residency housing society alleged that their premises have turned into breeding grounds for mosquitoes due to overflow and stagnation of sewage. They said the situation worsened after the heavy rain last week and that a foul stench from the sewage has forced them to confine themselves to the building.

The condominium is spread across 29 acres, with 1,600 apartments in all. Around 1,000 have shifted to the complex since 2015. They said that as the level of the road in front of their society is low, foul water gets collected there and also led to accidents often. Residents also said that the extensive waterlogging might compromise the integrity of the construction and cause a building collapse, on the lines of an incident in Farrukhnagar last week that left three dead. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/sewage-overflow-untreated-wastewater-major-concerns-for-sec-85-residents-101627235188028.html  (25 July 2021)

Noida Admin directs authority to check flooding of its offices The Gautam Buddh Nagar administration has directed the Greater Noida Authority to take necessary measures to prevent flooding of its offices. A meeting was held between administrative officials and staff of Greater Noida Industrial Authority (GNIDA) regarding the flooding of Surajpur DM Collectorate and nearby areas.

It was suggested that a broader drain should be built on the road opposite to the DM office. The authority has been asked to ensure that the water from Surajpur village’s drain should not enter the collectorate’s drain since that causes flooding. Locals in the area have been witnessing traffic snarls due to waterlogging in Surajpur area. A survey of waterlogged areas was also carried out by authority officials. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/noida-admin-directs-authority-to-check-flooding-of-its-offices-7431535/  (01 Aug. 2021)

Delhi Overflowing Naini Lake triggers alarm Incessant rains in the national capital have created panic among people residing around Naini Lake in Model Town where the water level has significantly risen in the past few days. Last week, water entered people’s houses, however, now it is the snakes that have created a worrisome situation as they reportedly entered houses in the vicinity. After registering several complaints with the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), people claim that no measures have been taken yet. https://www.timesnownews.com/delhi/article/delhi-overflowing-naini-lake-triggers-alarm-as-snakes-enter-homes-residents-hope-for-relief/793117  (01 Aug. 2021)

Leakages in underground water pipeline plugged The leakages in an underground water pipeline beneath the IIT-Delhi flyover, where a portion of the road caved in after rains on Saturday (July 31), have been plugged, the DJB said. The PWD had earlier said the portion of the road caved in because of the leakage in an underground DJB line.

The capital has witnessed rainfall for five days on the trot, starting Tuesday (July 27) last week. The Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, recorded 100 mm rainfall on Tuesday (July 27), 5.4mm on Wednesday (July 28), 5.2mm on Thursday (July 29), 72 mm on Friday (July 30) and 43.6 mm on Saturday (July 31). Over 126mm rainfall was gauged at the Ridge weather station between 8.30 am on Saturday (July 31) and 8.30 on Sunday (Aug. 1), according to the IMD. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/day-after-road-cave-in-djb-says-leakages-in-underground-water-pipeline-plugged-11627807849087.html  (01 Aug. 2021)

DISASTERS

Sikkim Concerns over proposed rail network “Dams are just one of causes that increase risk of landslides. But other factors like indiscriminate urbanisation, deforestation and massive construction of roads also lead to natural disasters,” Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP, told Al Jazeera. “In India, no studies are done beforehand to understand impacts of such constructions in area that is inherently prone to landslides, other disasters. Interventions like blasting, tunnelling, hill cutting, building of roads & townships have impact on landslide potential of area.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/28/india-sikkim-rail-project-china-environment  (28 July 2021)

Kerala Family moves out after stones keep falling on roof Officials from the Geology Department who visited the house, located in Idukki district’s Upputhara, could not find any scientific reason behind the puzzling occurrence. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/baffled-kerala-family-moves-out-after-stones-keep-falling-roof-153192  (30 July 2021)

LANDSLIDES

Maharashtra Disasterous Taliye village landslide Dave Petley:”geology here is likely to be multiple layers of Deccan Volcanic Province, meaning that bedrock is basalt, with a high level of erosion… a deposit of weathered basalt & colluvium, with trigger being unusually heavy rainfall.” https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2021/07/27/taliye-1/  (27 July 2021)

Nearly 10% of Mumbai’s population lives on the edges or slopes of landslide-prone hillocks. While fear looms of a disaster waiting to happen, inhabitants say relocation may disrupt their lives entirely. The BMC’s annual pre-monsoon survey shows that there are 291 landslide spots across Mumbai. More than half, or 152 of these landslide-prone areas, are in Vikhroli and Bhandup.

The retaining wall at Jai Malhar Nagar between Ghatkopar and Vikhroli. (Photo: Amit Chakravarty/TIE)

Environmental and urban activists say that continuous clearing of forests, new construction of shanties, flattening of hill slopes is causing destabilization and erosion of soil, which is making them more prone to landslides. The exploitation of hills over the years has also led to an increase in landslide-prone areas from 285 in 2016 to 291 in 2021. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/makeshift-homes-migrant-workers-bmc-7433716/lite/  (02 Aug. 2021)

CLOUD BURSTS

SANDRP Blog ‘Cloud Burst’ in Chauthan, Disaster Preparedness Missing Again While short duration intense rainfall incidents locally termed as cloud bursts are sharply rising across Himalayan region over a decade, huge vacuum in monitoring and mitigation continue to exist. In pre-monsoon month of May 2021, SANDRP has complied 24 such incidents[i] occurring across Uttarakhand alone. The Chauthan Patti has suffered similar incidents in past too, the latest being[ii] on June 23, 2019, when the entire government machinery was caught unaware.

Even in this case, the weather department, disaster control cell was clueless about the incident for hours. The local administration swung into action only after the issue raised through local and social media but continue to deny it a ‘cloud burst’ incident despite having no rainfall monitoring system in the area. The very fact goes against the affected villagers in securing just and timely compensation against the losses they have suffered.

In addition to lack of rainfall monitoring, there is no mechanism in place to alert the locals on extreme weather events in a timely manner to help them prepare well and minimise scale of destruction. The area MLA Dr. Dhan Singh Rawat, also holds the portfolio of Disaster Management and Rehabilitation but locals say there is only a tin shed structure built in the name of disaster management in the region years ago, that too is lying in dilapidated condition. https://sandrp.in/2021/08/02/uttarakhand-cloud-burst-in-chauthan-disaster-preparedness-missing-again/  (02 Aug. 2021)

Series of cloud bursts hit J&K, Ladakh, Himachal  A series of cloudbursts that struck different parts of the Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday (July 28) reportedly killed 17 and 24 others missing, as per reports from news agencies.

In Jammu and Kashmir the cloud bursts hit Dacchan and Boujwa areas in Kishtwar, the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, Bandipora in north Kashmir. While cloud burst caused devastation at Kargil in Ladakh and in Himachal’s Lahaul-Spiti and Chamba districts.

Meanwhile, two cloudbursts hit Sangra and Khangral areas of Kargil in Ladakh on Tuesday (July 27) evening, causing damage to a mini hydro power project. A dozen residential houses and standing crops have been destroyed. No loss of life was reported in the twin cloudbursts, officials told PTI. https://zeenews.india.com/india/series-of-cloud-bursts-hit-jk-ladakh-and-himachal-killing-17-rescue-operations-on-for-missing-persons-2379800.html  (29 July 2021)

Ladakh Mini hydro power project damaged Two cloudbursts hit Sangra (Sanku Sub Division) & Kangral in Kargil on Jul 27 evening in Union Territory of Ladakh, causing damage to a mini power project, nearly a dozen residential houses & crops. An official of disaster management said the first cloudburst took place at village Khangral, about 60 km from Kargil on the Kargil-Leh national highway, while the second occurred at Sangra, about 40 km from Kargil in Sanku sub-division on Zanskar road. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/mini-hydro-power-project-damaged-as-two-cloudbursts-hit-kargil-1833732-2021-07-28  (28 July 2021)

Jammu & Kashmir 7 Dead, 20 Missing After Cloudburst Hits Kishtwar Seven people have died, around 20 are missing after a cloudburst in a remote Honzar village-Decchan Teh- in Kishtwar district in early morning hours on July 28. Several structures, including eight homes, were swept away by flash floods after heavy rain and cloudburst in the mountainous region of Chenab Valley. Seventeen injured have been rescued. Rescue teams have been rushed to Honzar village of Dacchan tehsil, officials said. Two women are among dead. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cloudburst-in-kishtwar-four-dead-around-40-missing-after-cloudburst-hits-village-in-jammu-and-kashmirs-kishtwar-district-2496540  (28 July 2021)

A number of big and small bridges in Dachhan, Kundal and Chasoti area of Paddar and Dachan in Kishtwar had been washed away along with several other bridges between Gulabgarh to Machail.

Meanwhile, another cloudburst triggered flash floods near the cave shrine of Shri Amarnath in South Kashmir on Wednesday. “The incident occurred near the cave shrine. There was no loss of life but big boulders came crashing down in the flash floods near the cave shrine. Security personnel deployed near the cave shrine had a narrow escape,” said a police officer. The pilgrimage was cancelled for the second year running in view of the Covid pandemic. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kishtwar-cloudburst-7-bodies-recovered-17-rescued-6-critical-26-missing-in-jammu-and-kashmir-101627480668071.html  (28 July 2021)

Cloud burst near holy cave, Amarnath. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheHimalayanClub/permalink/10159653491255775/  (28 July 2021)

Chenab’s water level rises dangerously. https://scroll.in/video/1001441/watch-the-river-chenabs-water-level-in-kashmir-rises-dangerously-following-heavy-rainfall  (31 July 2021)

Himachal Pradesh 178 stranded people rescued from Lahaul-Spiti As many as 178 stranded people were rescued from Lahaul-Spiti on Saturday, a district official said. They were stranded at Udaipur in the district after a cloudburst over Tojing Nullah on Tuesday (July 27), he added. They were rescued through a zipline or ropeway as helicopters could not fly for evacuation due to bad weather, he added. However, he said 66 people are still stranded at various places in Udaipur. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/himachal-pradesh-cloudburst-178-stranded-people-rescued-from-lahaul-spiti-1835222-2021-07-31  (31 July 2021)

Around 10 people are reported missing in flash floods triggered by a cloudburst in tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti, a senior disaster management official said on Wednesday (July 28). The incident took place at Udaipur in Lahaul at around 8 pm on Tuesday (July 27), state disaster management director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said. Two tents of labourers and a private JCB have been washed away, he said, adding that a 19-year-old labourer, Mohammad Altaaf, was injured while around 10 people are reported missing. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/missing-injured-in-flash-floods-due-to-cloudburst-in-himachal-pradesh-1833467-2021-07-28  (28 July 2021)

Seven people died and three went missing after a cloudburst flooded Tozing Nullah and washed away two cars, as many tents of labourers and an earth-moving machine in Lahaul and Spiti district while heavy rain since Tuesday (July 27) night triggered flashfloods and landslides in other parts of the state. In Chamba, an earth-moving machine helper was killed after being swept away in a flashflood triggered by heavy rain at Chaned on the Chamba-Pathankot highway. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/one-dead-10-missing-after-cloudburst-in-himachal-s-lahaulspiti-101627448308771.html  (29 July 2021)

लाहुल-स्पीति की लाहुल घाटी में बादल फटने से नालों में आई बाढ़ में दस लोग बह गए। इनकी तलाश में हिमाचल पुलिस और आइटीबीपी जवानों ने सर्च ऑपरेशन शुरू कर दिया है। https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheHimalayanClub/permalink/10159652766485775/ (28 July 2021)

मंगलवार (July 27) देर शाम लाहौल के तोंजिंग नाला, बुधवार (July 28) सुबह छह बजे कुल्लू के मणिकर्ण के ब्रह्मगंगा नाला की पहाड़ी पर और सुबह साढ़े छह बजे किन्नौर की रक्षम पंचायत में बादल फटने से जानमाल को भारी नुकसान हुआ। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/shimla/devastation-due-to-heavy-rains-in-himachal-pradesh-river-floods-due-to-heavy-rains-in-kullu-cloud-burst-in-kinnaur-400-hundred-roads-closed  (28 July 2021)

Another cloudburst wreaked havoc in Brahma Ganga rivulet near Manikaran in Kullu district early on Wednesday (July 28). Floodwaters entered homes in several residential localities. Four people are reported to be missing in the incident.

Kullu superintendent of police Gurdev Chand Sharma said, “Three people, identified as Poonam (26), her son Nikunj (4), residents of Brahmganga village and tourist Vinita (25), a resident of Ghaziabad have been washed away in the flashflood. One more person Virender, a resident of Sangana village is also missing.” The hill state is receiving intermittent rain but isolated areas are lashed with heavy rain which have triggered flashfloods and landslides.

A large number of roads in the state are blocked. The Manali-Leh highway is blocked at many places. Keylong-Kishtwar road is also blocked. The Chandigarh-Manali national highway is blocked as boulders are rolling down on the highway between Aut and Mandi.

The Mandi-Kullu bypass road via Kataula is also blocked due to landslides. A major bridge at Jahlma village in Lahaul has been washed away. The Manali-Rohtang highway has also been blocked following two landslides. In Kullu, three vehicles got hit by debris as torrential rains triggered flooding of the local nullah. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/two-killed-12-missing-after-cloudbursts-hit-himachal-pradesh/articleshow/84813865.cms  (28 July 2021)

कुल्लू में बारिश ने जमकर कहर बरपाया है. यहां पर मणिकर्ण घाटी में लगातार बारिश से ब्रह्मगंगा नाले में बाढ़ आ गई है और मां बेटा बह गए हैं. लगातार बारिश से जनजीवन अस्तव्यस्त है. मणिकर्ण घाटी के ब्रह्म गंगा नाले में बाढ़ से कई मकान और कैंपिंग साइट को नुकसान हुआ है https://hindi.news18.com/news/himachal-pradesh/kullu-heavy-rain-in-kullu-flash-flood-in-bramganga-nallah-mother-and-son-washed-away-hpvk-3672465.html  (28 July 2021)

Cloudburst At Manikaran Gurudwara 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtFG2OtNjrA  (30 July 2021)

Slush and water brought in by a cloudburst in the higher reaches caused extensive damage to private and government property and crops in Khadvi, Tarala and Sarat villages of Buchher panchayat in Anni subdivision of Kullu district in the wee hours today. Two vehicles were swept away and the Gugra-Jaon-Tarala road was blocked near Sanwasar.

Buchher panchayat vice-president Bhup Singh said orchards, agricultural fields and some houses were damaged due to the ingress of slush and water. He added that there was an atmosphere of panic among the people, who moved to safer areas in time, otherwise there could have been the loss of human lives as well.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/cloudburst-causes-damage-to-crops-houses-in-kullu-villages-287742  (25 July 2021)

IMD Cloudburst Difficult To Predict: Experts According to an explainer by the IMD on its website, “It is very difficult to predict cloudbursts due to its very small scale in space and time. To monitor or nowcast (forecasting few hours lead time) the cloudburst, we need to have dense radar network over the cloudburst-prone areas or one need to have a very high resolution weather forecasting models to resolve the scale of cloudburst.” “Cloudbursts do occur at plains, however, mountainous regions are more prone to cloud bursts due to orography.”

This month, cloudburst events were recorded in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Himachal all hilly areas. M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said the incidents of cloudburst seem to be rising. Although, it is difficult to forecast cloudbursts, Doppler radars can be very helpful in predicting them. Nowcasts can be given three hours prior to the event, he pointed out. But not every place may have a radar, especially the Himalayan region.

Senior meteorologist Kamaljit Ray, currently posted at the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said many cloudburst events also go unnoticed as not every place where the event occurs may have Automatic Weather Station to record the rainfall, especially the hilly areas. More importantly, the duration of the event is very short. Ray, who co-authored a paper along with Rajeevan and other meteorologists on deaths due extreme weather events from 1971-2019, said cloudbursts are also not normal weather events as it leads to loss of lives and damage to the property. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cloudburst-a-local-event-difficult-to-predict-experts-2497257  (28 July 2021)

Why cloudbursts could become more frequent A 2017 study of cloudbursts in the Indian Himalayas noted that most of the events occurred in the months of July and August. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-cloudbursts-frequent-jk-uttarakhand-himachal-pradesh-imd-7428954/  (31 July 2021)   

ENERGY OPTIONS

MNRE Govt promoting rooftop solar with a provision of subsidy: RK Singh In a bid to promote rooftop solar (RTS) in the country, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing Rooftop Solar Programme Phase II wherein RTS capacity aggregating 4000 MW by 2022 is targeted for installation in the residential sector with provision of subsidy, Power Minister RK Singh has said. “For individual households, subsidy upto 40 per cent of the benchmark cost is provided for RTS plants upto 3 kW capacity and 20 per cent for RTS plants of capacity beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW. For Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations (GHS/RWA), the subsidy is limited to 20 per cent of the benchmark cost for RTS plants of capacity up to 500 kW used for power supply to common facilities,” Singh said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/govt-promoting-rooftop-solar-with-a-provision-of-subsidy-says-power-minister-rk-singh/article35581275.ece  (28 July 2021)

Study Decommissioning coal power plants older than 25 years on priority could result in total savings of Rs 37,750 crore, a study by Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) said. https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/decommissioning-coal-power-plants-older-than-25-years-can-save-rs-37k-cr-study/2297966/  (26 July 2021)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Article by SANDRP Coordinator in Prabhat Khabar on July 28, 2021 on the day for nature conservation. https://www.prabhatkhabar.com/opinion/article-by-environmentalist-himanshu-thakkar-on-prabhat-khabar-about-environmental-issues-in-india-srn  (28 July 2021)

MoEF Effectively Helping Industries Bypass Environmental Safeguards It is becoming harder to ignore the Indian government’s hand in encouraging the country’s corporate sector to violate environmental norms. https://science.thewire.in/environment/the-government-is-effectively-helping-industries-bypass-environmental-safeguards/  (28 July 2021)

Forests Peoples Caught Between 2 Ministries On June 22, 2021, the environment ministry issued a tender calling for consultancy organisations to express interest in preparing a draft comprehensive amendment to the Indian Forest Act 1927. The government has used this draconian law of colonial vintage to constitute the forest and administer it. The ministry’s tender came after a short-lived attempt to push through an amendment to this Act in 2019.

If this draft had become law, it would have ended the rule of law in India’s forests and turned them into grim battlefields. It would also override Forest Rights Act 2006 (FRA), a flagship law of the country. Taken together, the tribal affairs ministry has asked the forest bureaucracy to take control of FRA implementation at all levels – contrary to the law. Stakeholders in this programme are closely watching what the environment ministry will do next, and how the tribal affairs ministry will respond.  https://science.thewire.in/environment/indias-forests-and-their-peoples-are-caught-between-two-ministries/  (30 July 2021)

Gujarat MLA Moves HC Against Hindustan Zinc’s Plant In Tapi Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) MLA Chhotu Vasava has filed a PIL in High Court against establishment of zinc smelter plant by Vedanta Group’s Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) at Doswada GIDC in Tapi district. The Jhagadia MLA has filed the plea on the grounds that agriculture activities will be ruined in the region and that the plant is detrimental to the rights of the tribals. It has also raised some legal issues over handing over the land to the mining giant. https://ahmedabadmirror.com/btp-mla-moves-guj-hc-against-hindustan-zincs-plant-in-tapi/81803532.html  (20 July 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Forest clearance process for land up to 40 ha eased The Minister for Forests and Youth Affairs, Rakesh Pathania said that the MoEF in an order issued recently has declared the office for Region Director Forest Survey of India, Shimla, as Integrated Regional office of the ministry. This means that all clearances for conversion of forest land up to 40 hectares for other developmental purposes would now be given at the state level.

The minister said that a large number of development projects in various parts of the state, including construction of hospitals, schools, colleges and rural roads, have been struck for want of permission for conversion of small portions of forest land for other purposes. With the nodal office for conversion of forest land up to 40 hectares now being located in Shimla the clearances would come in time and development projects would take off, he said. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/forest-clearance-process-for-land-up-to-40-ha-eased-in-himachal-288250  (26 July 2021)

Karnataka 211 farming families facing eviction These coffee farmers share a fear of being evicted from lands that have been occupied by their ancestors for generations, after the revenue land was declared as a reserve forest in 1944. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/why-211-farming-families-facing-eviction-karnataka-are-seeking-justice-153031  (28 July 2021)

Telangana Prehistoric limestone cave found Ahitherto undiscovered prehistoric limestone cave has been discovered in the woodlands of Asifabad. Locally known as Arjun Loddi cave, it is one of nature’s treasures in the Tiryani Mandal of Asifabad district, according to M.A. Srinivasan, general secretary of PRIHAH, who led this expedition. The cave is located deep within the Kawal Tiger Reserve and can only be reached by a mud trail that can be travelled by a four-wheeled vehicle from Tiryani’s Mandal office.

Chakilam Venugopal Rao, retired Deputy Director-General of the Geological Survey of India, who confirmed geological evidence obtained by PRIHAH, stated the cave may have developed as a result of geological processes that occurred between 1,25,000 and 11,000 years ago. During the Neoproterozoic epoch, groundwater eroded limestone existing in the earth’s bulk, giving rise to caves. According to the general secretary, a comprehensive examination of the Kurnool caverns can be used to estimate the antiquity of this picturesque location. https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/prehistoric-limestone-cave-dating-back-more-than-11000-years-found-in-telangana-4009166.html  (26 July 2021)

Maharashtra Centuries old Satavahana-era cave discovered A casual Sunday outing in the forests near the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border by an archaeologist resulted in a major discovery – a 2,000-plus year old mystery cave dating back to the Satavahana dynasty era. The cave is hidden and obviously in a secret location, 9 km from the nearest human habitat — Chaugav village in Jalgaon district, said proud discoverer Bhujang R. Bobade, also a history scholar.

The entry to the large cave is through a water tank measuring 8 by 2 feet, after which there are rock cut pillars, said Bobade, 38, the Director of Archives & Museum Department at the Deccan Archaelogical and Cultural Research Institute, Hyderabad. Since the entry is very narrow and low, he said one can approach only in a kneeling position from the freshwater, at least two feet high level, in the tank.

The path opens up into a massive cave measuring 30 by 30 feet, which is also filled with water round the year, fed from four other bigger water tanks above, serving as a watering hole for the wild animals. Explaining the unique aspects, he said that these caves are approachable only through a watery route, which is unseen anywhere in India and are carved out on an erstwhile ancient trade route going from Maharashtra via MP to the north. https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/archaeologist-unearths-centuries-old-satavahana-era-cave-while-picnicking-in-maharashtra-forest-3544271.html  (17 March 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Monsoon downpour over the Mumbai skyline. (Debarshi Duttagupta)

Climate changing the Indian monsoon This piece quotes several studies hinting increasing impact of changing climate on Indian monsoon system. What makes the Indian monsoon such an object of fascination, when it’s just one monsoon system among many? For climate scientists, the answer is quite straightforward. “The Indian monsoon is really interesting because it is one of the largest mechanisms by which tremendous amounts of energy are moved between hemispheres. You don’t get any bigger tropical climate signals than the Indian monsoon.” says Clemens. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/big-story/dark-clouds-ahead-how-climate-change-is-changing-the-indian-monsoon-111627637725104.html  https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/big-story/dark-clouds-ahead-how-climate-change-is-changing-the-indian-monsoon-111627637725104.html  (30 July 2021)

The disappearing glaciers of the Himalayas Rising temperatures are melting glaciers and other frozen water across the Hindu Kush Himalayas. Urgent action to curb emissions is needed to secure water supplies, protect livelihoods and prevent disasters across the region.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/glaciers-himalayas-melting/  (29 July 2021)

World’s food supplies hit hard by floods, frost and drought Extreme weather is slamming crops across the globe, bringing with it the threat of further food inflation at a time costs are already hovering near the highest in a decade and hunger is on the rise.

Brazil’s worst frost in two decades brought a deadly blow to young coffee trees in the world’s biggest grower. Flooding in China’s key pork region inundated farms and raised the threat of animal disease. Scorching heat and drought crushed crops on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. And in Europe, torrential rains sparked the risk of fungal diseases for grains and stalled tractors in soaked fields. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/food/discover/worlds-food-supplies-hit-hard-by-floods-frost-and-drought-111627181097478.html  (25 July 2021)

Our biggest enemy is no longer climate denial but climate delay  Ed Miliband Nothing is more dangerous than the illusion of action – which is all that the British government is offering. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/30/climate-denial-delay-inaction-british-government  (30 July 2021)

The pandemic has provided only temporary climate relief Factors such as more livestock, more carbon dioxide and less ice make it clear we need urgent action to address the looming crisis. https://scroll.in/article/1001360/nature-in-healing-not-really-the-pandemic-has-provided-only-temporary-climate-relief  (30 July 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh Loss, longing and rivers songs The Third Pole travelled across Bangladesh’s river basins to record stories of hardship and displacement of local communities, told through music.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/culture/bangladesh-displacement-disappearing-islands/  (27 July 2021)

ASIA

Deadly street protests over Iran water shortages Security forces in Iran’s southwest Khuzestan province have been firing bullets at people protesting due to severe water shortages. The shortages are happening in one of the country’s hottest regions, where temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius.

Iran has called claims of a crackdown on protesters, by the UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, “false accusations”. But the protests have developed into dissent against the government, the country’s Supreme Leader and have spread to different cities. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-middle-east-57948717  (27 July 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Zambia Dam Spillage Final Report Heavy rainfall that occurred from 22nd to 26th December 2020 led to bursting of Kandesha dam in Mumbwa district of Central Province of Zambia, affecting 500 households in four communities namely,

Munengo, Kambobe, Katala, and Chiloweni communities of Mapona ward. Some 169 households were also displaced out of the affected. The Government, through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), created a camp called Kandesha and supplied 50 tents to accommodate the displaced households.

Currently, there are 46 families at the old camp, while other families initially displaced are living with their relatives or renting somewhere else waiting for the end of the rainy season. In response, Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS) launched three months DREF operation respond to the needs of the affected population. https://reliefweb.int/report/zambia/zambia-dam-spillage-final-report-dref-operation-n-mdrzm013-26-july-2021  (26 July 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 26 July 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 19 July 2021  

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


One thought on “DRP NB 2 Aug 2021: Disappointing UKD HC order on Chamoli disaster: Will SC intervene please?

  1. Thank you for compiling these reports. According to our government, development means destroying the old. They destroyed our economy. They are destroying our environment. They are destroying our society. I don’t know what remains to be called worth defending.

    Like

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