In a wise move, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has cancelled Gargai dam project. In its January 2014, submission to Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), SANDRP had highlighted the adverse impacts of this project on tribal people and Tansa Sanctuary stressing on alternatives including recycling of sewage and rain water harvesting. Finally, now the BMC has scrapped the unjustified project which would have caused felling of 4.5 lakh trees which BMC chief Iqbal Chahal rightly finds pointless in the wake of increasing climate change threats.
It is worth to mention that in February 2020 BMC was learnt reconsidering its Pinjal dam project and exploring other options including waste water recycling. Indeed the BMC is taking right steps. Dams are costly, destructive projects impacting rivers, forests and local people in multiple ways. The demand side management, efficient use of existing water supplies, rain water harvesting and recycling of waste water are among far better alternatives to meet urban water demands.
Gargai dam cancelled:- The BMC has cancelled the Gargai dam project which will save 4.5 lakh trees. BMC chief Iqbal Chahal said learning from experiences of the two cyclones, the BMC decided there was no point in cutting down 4.5 lakh trees to build Gargai dam and bring drinking water to Mumbai. Chahal said the BMC has taken up the setting-up of sewage treatment plants. “Six sewage treatment plants which will convert 2,400 million litres of sewage into potable water daily are being set up at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore,” he said. The sewage treatment plants will be constructed with BMC’s resources. “The desalination and sewage treatment plants will solve Mumbai’s potable water issue on a permanent basis,” the civic chief said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbai-for-desalination-plant-bmc-inks-mou-with-israel-firm/articleshow/88173745.cms (09 Dec. 2021)
Reconsidering Pinjal Dam:- BMC is rethinking its proposal to construct Pinjal dam in Palghar district to meet the water supply demand of the city. Instead, the civic body seems to be focusing on recycling of used water to reduce the pressure on fresh water sources. The Pinjal dam, which has been on BMC’s drawing board for years, did not find a mention in the budget tabled last week, even as ₹402 crore was allocated for recycling of water for non-potable purposes. HT had previously reported that if constructed, Pinjal dam would have submerged 1,130.82 hectares or 11 sq kms of forests — more than three times the area of Bandra Kurla Complex. Conservationists had cautioned that the dam’s construction would come at an environmental cost. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/bmc-rethinks-pinjal-dam-project-to-focus-on-recycling-water/story-ppy1lsPRRbwhTpM2kMMCwN.html (12 Feb. 2020)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
Manipur Loktak lake: Human & environmental costs of hydropower In an interview in the state capital of Imphal in February 2020, Ram Wangkheirakpam, from the NGO Indigenous Perspectives, explained that the effects of the dam run deep for the local community. “This is not a one-time experience. For the local people the impacts are long. Even after 30 years people are still suffering. It has been three decades and people are still trying to make sense of their lives. They have lost their habitat and are still trying to locate themselves legally or otherwise.”
He continued, “Loktak brings an example of how dams can affect people. For people not affected by a dam they will never understand this. Many people in Loktak have not been compensated. Even when people have been compensated and rehabilitated, the impact goes on. It passes down generations.” https://thediplomat.com/2021/12/loktak-lake-the-human-and-environmental-costs-of-hydropower/ (11 Dec. 2021)
Uttarakhand तपोवन विष्णुगाड परियोजना की पावर हाउस साईट पर सेलँग गांव के नीचे परियोजना की मुख्य सुरंग के ऊपर पिछले कुछ महीनों से लगातार भूस्खलन सक्रीय है । मई महीने में यहीं भूस्खलन हुआ जिससे सुरंग का मुहाना ढंक गया। फिर इस मुख्य सुरंग के ठीक ऊपर एक होटल ढह गया। https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4658530290891483&id=100002036746060 (09 Dec. 2021)
Now, Raini village in the Chamoli that faced massive disaster on Feb 6, 2021 has said nobody will vote in next year’s state election if relocation is not done. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/uttarakhand-chamoli-tapovan-raini-chipko-andolan-relocation-poll-boycott-1885289-2021-12-07 (07 Dec. 2021)
व्यासी बांध परियोजना में रविवार (Nov. 28) से पानी भरे जाने के खिलाफ बांध प्रभावित लोहारी गांव के ग्रामीणों ने जुड्डो में आक्रोश रैली निकाली। बांध परियोजना स्थल में घुस रहे ग्रामीणों को पुलिस ने बैरिकेडिंग कर रोका। जहां पर ग्रामीणों और पुलिस के बीच तीखी नोकझोंक हुई। ग्रामीणों ने कहा कि जब तक विस्थापितों का पुनर्वास नहीं किया जाता तब तक बांध परियोजना की झील में पानी नहीं भरने दिया जाएगा। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttarakhand/vikasnagar/story-dam-affected-people-took-out-public-anger-rally-in-juddo-5187853.html (27 Nov. 2021)
Himachal Pradesh The natural sources of water have started freezing in high-altitude tribal areas, reducing discharge and affecting hydropower generation. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/cold-wave-grips-state-water-bodies-freeze-348520 (10 Dec. 2021)
NHPC Proposal for monetization of assets by securitization approved The Board of NHPC at its meeting held on 07 December 2021 has inter-alia approved the proposal for monetization by securitization through bidding process of Return on Equity (RoE) of Chamera-1 Power Station (3 X 180 MW), Himachal Pradesh and further to monetize the RoE of one or more power stations for 05/10/15 years in one go or roll over. https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-cm/board-of-nhpc-approves-proposal-for-monetization-of-assets-by-securitization-121120701141_1.html (07 Dec. 2021)
Union Power Ministry on Dec 2, 2021 had decided to remove Mr N K Jain, Director (Personnel) of NHPC for non-performance. His tenure was till Feb 2022. He has been relieved from his duties at NHPC following the decision. He has been in this position since Feb 2017. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/govt-cuts-shorts-tenure-of-nhpc-director-personnel-n-k-jain-by-2-months/articleshow/88144461.cms (07 Dec. 2021)
– In the earlier exposure in a story related to the NHPC Board meeting discussion in Aug 2020 about contracts being given for NHPC’s L Subansiri project, the minutes showed that Director (Personnel) (NK Jain, not named in that report) had raised the issue that no decision can be taken in the matter without the written approval or presence of the MoP representative at the Board meeting. The opinion of Jain was overruled at the meeting. https://thewire.in/political-economy/nhpc-board-subansiri-dam-patel-engineering-contract (01 Nov. 2021)
MoEF Agenda of the meeting of EAC on River Valley Projects to be held on Dec 14, 2021:
1. 1380 MW Bahalpur Standalone Pumped Storage Project in an area of 496.57 Ha in Vil Bahalpur, Tehsil Jhalda, Purulia Dist (W Bengal) by Greenko Energies Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference
2. 3000 MW Ramapur Gurar Standalone Pumped Storage Project, in an area of 688.14 Ha located at Gurar Village, Tehsil Robertsganj, Sonbhadra, District (Uttar Pradesh) by M/s Greenko Energies Private Limited – Terms of Reference
3. 1500 MW Bhavali Pumped Storage Project in an area of 228 Ha at Village Jamunde & Kalbhonde, Tehsil Igatpuri & Shahpur, Dist Nashik & Thane (Mah) by JSW Hydro Electric Ltd. – Terms of Reference
4. 1380 MW Greenko WB01 Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project in an area of 496.57 Ha at Village Bahalpur, Tehsil jhalda, Purulia Dist (W Bengal) by Greenko Energies Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference
5. 3000 MW Greenko UP01 Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project, in an area of 688.14 Ha at Village – Gurar, Tehsil – Robertsganj, Dist – Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh by Greenko Energies Private Limited – Terms of Reference
6. 2000 MW Rana Pratap Sagar Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project in an area of 1376.44 Ha at Village – Semaliya, Tehsil Rawatbhata, Dist – Chittorgarh, Rajasthan by Semaliya Energy Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/0712202160936846FinalAgendaRiverValley20thEAC.pdf
Edit Floodgates of anger in dam law “How much of these bombastic officialese (in the Dam Safety Act) would turn to reality at the ground level is a big question…. Now that the legislation has come in, it could only open the floodgates of resentment and anger. One charge is that it goes against the spirit of federalism since ‘water’ itself is a State subject, leave alone the fact every dam is taken care of by the State… But what might make the implementation of the new law difficult is not just the States’ pique over infringement of rights but the possible non-cooperation, as it has happened in several water-sharing disputes.” https://www.deccanchronicle.com/opinion/dc-comment/101221/dc-edit-floodgates-of-anger-in-dam-law.html (10 Dec. 2021)
CM M K Stalin, who has been opposing the idea of a dam safety Act, issued a statement Friday (Dec. 3), strongly condemning the Union government for not considering the interest of states. Saying the Bill was detrimental to federal principles and powers of the state governments, Stalin said the move was nothing but authoritarianism and usurped the rights of the state governments without regard to the democratic-parliamentary ethos or the Constitution of India. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-dam-safety-bill-opposition-tamil-nadu-7655600/ (04 Dec. 2021)
Mullaperiyar Dam SC adjourns to Dec. 15 hearing on dam’s safety concerns. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-adjourns-to-dec-15-hearing-on-mullaperiyar-dams-safety-concerns/article37923799.ece (10 Dec. 2021)
Sardar Sarovar Project Narmada Minor Canal AGAIN overflows for lack of maintenance, leads to crop submergence and damage in Halwad taluka in Gujarat. https://www.gujaratsamachar.com/news/morbi/waterlogged-condition-in-farms-due-to-overflow-of-narmada-minor-canal
Polavaram Project PAFs have nowhere to go Panchayat-level activities, planning and development are at a standstill for months. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/governance/polavaram-displaced-and-nowhere-to-go-local-governance-ignored-as-gram-panchayats-await-restructuring-80640 (10 Dec. 2021)
The eviction of residents from 222 villages on the Godavari river basin for the Polavaram dam project tells the story of India’s tribal families fighting a losing battle for their land and forest rights. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/governance/polavaram-displaced-and-nowhere-to-go-tribal-families-robbed-of-rights-livelihood-in-resettlement-colonies-80604 (08 Dec. 2021)
Andhra Pradesh CM moves to ensure safety of dams, reservoirs The government has moved to ensure the safety and proper maintenance of the reservoirs and irrigation projects across the state, after two projects – Annamayya and Pincha – suffered major damages due to the floods last month. CM Reddy has directed the officials to prioritise dams and reservoirs safety while instructing them to conduct a comprehensive review of all the projects in Andhra Pradesh and rectify the drawbacks “as they were left abandoned since the state bifurcation.” In a review meeting on Thursday (Dec. 9), Reddy asked the officials to ensure enough staff are maintained for effective management of the irrigation projects and reservoirs.
Officials said that a committee was formed headed by the Chief Secretary with the representation of various departments, besides an expert committee from institutions like IIT, JNTU headed by the Water Resources Engineer-in-Chief. The Chief Secretary led team is exploring the development of an automation system that would supply real-time data to the command control room, which could alert about flash floods. Officials said proposals are being moved to recruit additional staff for the maintenance of all major and medium reservoirs and barrages, as well as for water regulation.
CM Reddy announced that Pincha and Annamayya, a minor and medium irrigation project respectively on the Penna river tributaries, would be redesigned and reconstructed to handle more flood inflows. He added that retaining walls would be constructed along with the river bank residential areas till the Nandaluru bridge to stop the floodwaters from entering those areas. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/jaganmohan-moves-to-ensure-safety-of-dams-reservoirs-in-andhra-pradesh-1059588.html (10 Dec. 2021)
Kerala Idukki sets December record in storage The Idukki Dam water level reached 2,401.58 ft on Tuesday (Dec 7, 2021). This is record for the month of December. The highest water level in December earlier was in 1981 and 1992. On December 1, 1981 the water level was 2,401.37 ft and in 1992, 2,401.23 ft. The Idukki reservoir recorded the highest water level on November 13, 1981 at 2,403.12 ft and on November 17, 1992 at 2,402.88 ft. (The full reserve level is 2,403 ft). https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/idukki-sets-december-record-in-storage/article37885850.ece (07 Dec. 2021)
Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh on people displaced by the proposed dam on Parvati River in Rajgarh district. https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/rajgarh-we-are-in-favor-of-irrigation-but-fertile-land-should-be-saved-digvijay-singh-7164441 (04 Dec. 2021)
Odisha Govt plans Hirakud Mahostav to boost tourism The state govt also organized Eco-Retreat along the reservoir last year and now a decision has been taken for the Hirakud Mahotsav. https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/travel/odisha-plans-hirakud-mahostav-on-mahanadi-river-bank-to-boost-tourism-101634030530169.html (12 Oct. 2021)
Uttarakhand Tehri Dam Achieves Full Capacity of 830 Metres The Tehri reservoir could not be raised to Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of EL 830 metres due to different issues. However, with the Centre and the state governments’ efforts, this mammoth task was achieved after the pending rehabilitation issues of the project were resolved by THDC India. The Uttarakhand government permitted raising the Tehri reservoir level to EL 830 metres on August 25, 2021. Prior to this permission, dam authorities were not allowed to raise it to full level and full potential, as water and power were not getting fully utilised.
After the closure of the last Tunnel T-2 in October 2005, the reservoir gradually filled above EL (+) 638m up to EL (+) 785m by October 2006 i.e. till completion of 1st filling season. Thereafter, from November 2006 to June 2007, the reservoir depleted back to EL 740m. Till the year 2020, the reservoir was filled up to EL 828m, as GoUK permitted THDCIL to raise the reservoir level up to that level only. Permission for filling up to EL 830 million was granted by the state government this year in August. The reservoir touched EL 828m on 11th September and thereafter filling was done to reach EL (+) 830m on September 24, 2021. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2021-09-24-uttarakhands-tehri-dam-achieves-full-capacity-of-830-metres (24 Sept. 2021)
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Ken Betwa Interlinking ‘Bundelkhand will suffer for decades to come’ This report highlights a lot of issues about the cabinet’s political decision on Ken Betwa Project. Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the SANDRP, said the “law of the land” implies that the project’s approval is an “illegal decision” because the forest, environmental and wildlife clearances for the project are still not in place. https://science.thewire.in/environment/ken-betwa-interlink-means-bundelkhand-will-suffer-for-decades-to-come/ (10 Dec. 2021)
Medha Patkar:- People feel that river-linking is one single line drawn on a map. That’s not what it is. The project includes six dams that are to come up on the Betwa. The cumulative impact of these dams has not been studied. So what will finally happen [in the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project], no one knows. We have studied the Ken-Betwa project, published a booklet on it. Real investigations – impact assessments, even hydrological data analyses – have not taken place. https://thewire.in/environment/interview-what-will-finally-happen-with-the-ken-betwa-project-no-one-knows (11 Dec. 2021)
Saryu Nahar inaugurated by PM The Saryu Nahar National Project was built at a total cost of more than Rs 9,800 crore, out of which more than Rs 4,600 crore was provisioned in the last four years. It also involves interlinking of five rivers – Ghaghara, Saryu, Rapti, Banganga and Rohini to ensure optimum usage of water resources of the region. The project was brought under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana in 2016 with the target to complete it in a time-bound manner, the PMO statement added.
Approved in 1972, the then state government started the project on a small scale in 1978 for irrigation in two districts at a cost of Rs 78.68 crore. It was later expanded to 9 districts four years later. By 2021, the project cost had been inflated to Rs 9,802 crore and the name of the project was changed to Sarya Canal National Project. https://www.timesnownews.com/business-economy/economy/article/saryu-nahar-national-project-5-things-to-know-about-irrigation-project-inaugurated-by-pm-modi-today/839647 (11 Dec. 2021)
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the 6,623-km canal system will provide water for irrigation to over 14 lakh hectares of land, benefiting more than 29 lakh farmers in over 6,200 villages located in the nine districts of Bahraich, Shravasti, Gonda, Balrampur, Siddharthnagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur, and Maharajganj.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) says that the Saryu Canal project “interlinks five rivers: Ghagra, Saryu, Rapti, Banganga and Rohini” with the more than 6,600-km long sub-canals being connected to the 318km main canal. Reports said the project will also protect these eastern UP districts from recurrent floods by way of the construction of barrages on the rivers Ghagra, Saryu, Rapti, Banganga and Rohini.
Per details updated by the CWC till January 2019, the revised estimate for the project was Rs 9,802.67 crore of which and it had the construction of two barrages — Saryu Barrage and Rapti Barrage — among its “main components”. Further, the entire project included four main canals — Saryu Link Channel (SLC), Saryu Main Canal (SMC), Rapti Link Channel (RLC) and Rapti Main Canal (RMC) — 10 branch canals and four pump canals, at Utraula, Dumariaganj, Ayodhya and Gola.
The UP Irrigation and Water Resources Department said that till July, 2021, more than 25,00 hectares of land was acquired for the project with reports saying that land was also purchased by running a special campaign with the help of the local administration. https://www.news18.com/news/explainers/explained-begun-in-1978-total-cost-at-rs-9800-cr-all-you-need-to-know-about-saryu-canal-4546316.html (12 Dec. 2021)
“Nearly 18 projects, including the Saryu Canal National Project, Arjun Sahayak Canal Project, and Bansagar Project, that were pending for years have been completed and made operational in the past four and a half years of our government which will facilitate the irrigation of additional 20 lakh hectares of land, benefiting more than 50 lakh farmers of the state,” UP Jal Shakti minister Mahendra Singh said.
“A total of Rs 5,189 crore was spent on this project from 1978 to 2017, whereas from 2017 till now, a total of Rs 4,613 crore has been spent by the government. Over 14 lakh hectares of land can be irrigated by this project, which will benefit about 30 lakh farmers,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/18-pending-irrigation-projects-completed-under-yogi-rule-min/articleshow/88245158.cms (13 Dec. 2021)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal tenure extended by 2 years The Centre on Thursday (June 10) extended the tenure of the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal for a period of two years upto March 11, 2023. Official sources said that the tribunal was required to give its report as required under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act (ISRWD), 1956 within three years of its constitution by March 11, 2021. As it could not submit its report or give any decision within the stipulated period, its tenure has been extended by two years or till the submission of the report, whichever is earlier, as per the provisions of the Act.
Convenor of Mahanadi Bachao Andolan Sudarsan Das criticised the State government for not being able to get even an interim order from the Tribunal asking Chhattisgarh government to stop construction activities in projects blocking Mahanadi river water to Odisha. He said that construction activities in Chhattisgarh are reducing non-monsoon flow of water in Odisha. He alleged that the tribunal had only 19 sittings in which only the common information format was finalised. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2021/jun/11/mahanadi-tribunal-tenure-extended-by-two-years-2314660.html (11 June 2021)
Tamil Nadu Nagayanallur lake sees no water While all other lakes in the district are either brimming or fast filling up, this 177 hectare lake at Nagayanallur village lies without water. The lake shares its borders with seven villages near Thottiyam and is hardly seven kilometers from Mayanur barrage on Cauvery River. The last time the lake was brimming was in 2008.
Three reasons for the present sorry state of affairs are, according to the villagers, firstly, water from Kolli Hills had been diverted depriving the Nagayanallur lake, secondly, inflow canals are ill-maintained and thirdly, the lake bed itself is filled with silt and sees pervasive overgrowth of bushes and thorn plants. By and large, the lake now needs a complete overhaul.
When inquired about any project proposal to feed the lake, a PWD officer said “There is a scheme to link Ariyaru, Cauvery, Manimutharu and Sarabanga rivers, which will be implemented in five phases. This lake will receive water when this scheme enters 4th phase. Estimation work is underway.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/dec/08/while-lakes-across-tamil-nadubrim-nagayanallur-lake-sees-no-water-2393174.html (08 Dec. 2021)
Water goes waste into sea?? The farmers from the Ramanathapuram district have appealed to the government to save huge water going waste into the sea by constructing a check-dam. At a meeting held on Sunday (Dec. 5), various farmers’ associations said the rainfall in Varushanadu in Theni district criss-crossed almost five districts in south Tamil Nadu and reached the Big Tank here. When the maximum level at the tank here was reached, the excess water was being diverted into the sea at R. Kavanoor canal.
A few days ago, when the surplus water breached, close to 15 hamlets, including Sevvur, Pullangudi, faced knee-deep water or were marooned. The rainwater entered the sub-station at R. Kavanoor also. Similarly, close to 600 acres of chilli raised in the R Kavanoor village had also been destroyed due to the water flowing in the crop. Unable to drain it, the produce had gone waste, the farmers said.
Instead of letting it into the sea, the government should explore the possibility of preserving the water by constructing a check-dam. If done, the water, which travelled around 250 km through the southern pockets from Theni to Ramanathapuram, could be saved. By providing such an infrastructure, the water table in Therbogi, Athiyoothu, Kazhuvoorani, Kuyavankudi, Valantharavai, Vazhuthoor, Perungulam and Panaikulam among other hamlets would get recharged considerably. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/water-goes-waste-into-sea/article37854073.ece (05 Dec. 2021)
Odisha Jeypore airstrip work lingers hampering water supply in upper Kolab’s Dhanpur system The length of the runway is being upgraded from 915 metres to 1,200 metres and width from 23 metres to 30 metres. However, expansion has not been making headway due to the 200 metre long irrigation canal under the Dhanpur system in the area. Since engineers have to lay concrete slabs over the canal, the Water Resources department had asked the Works authorities to complete the work between November-December when the water supply through the canal stops. Since the expansion work was delayed and is at the initial stage, water supply in the Dhanpur canal may not be possible by end of this month. Upper Kolab authorities had planned to supply water for rabi season from January first week which seems uncertain now. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2021/dec/06/water-unlikely-for-upper-kolabs-dhanpur-system-as-airstrip-work-lingers-2392253.html (06 Dec. 2021)
Arunachal Pradesh Farmers face water shortage due to defunct Gagur Nalla Gagur Nalla, a minor irrigation channel connecting Sille river in Pasighat West area has been lying defunct for the last three years due to lack of funds for renovation. The Nalla, which was constructed with MLALAD fund in 2001 is designed to push river water into the channel to cover a large farming area in Niglok, Ralung, Ngorlung, Mikong and Linka villages under Ruksin circle in East Siang district. The local farmers regularly maintained the channel by cleaning up the sediment block every year on a self-help basis. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2021/12/11/farmers-face-water-shortage-due-to-defunct-gagur-nalla/ (11 Dec. 2021)
Sabarmati; Ahmedabad GPCB is just for namesake: HC The Gujarat high court on Dec 6, 2021 lambasted the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) for its poor oversight of seven common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) in Ahmedabad. The bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice V D Nanavati held GPCB solely responsible for the pollution caused by improper treatment of industrial effluent and sewage discharged into the Sabarmati river. For the inefficient functioning of the CETPs, the judges said, “It is very unfortunate that the GPCB never paid any attention so far to the dismal and absolute poor functioning of the CETPs. It was the statutory duty of the GPCB to take action at an appropriate time, more particularly, when it realized that the CETPs are hardly treating industrial effluent. It could be said that the GPCB is just for name’s sake. It has not only let the people of Gujarat down but has dragged them to a potential health hazard. We hold the GPCB wholly responsible for bringing about this kind of alarming situation.” The HC also asked whether the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) should have encashed the bank guarantees of the companies running the CETPs. The court has sought an action plan from the AMC, GPCB and the state government for repair and overhauls of all seven CETPs. “We want to know why no action has been taken till this date against the companies running the CETPs,” the court asked.
– The court directed GPCB to furnish details about the last visit and inspection of CETPs and if it brought to the notice of the companies any deficiency. The GPCB will have to say what action it has taken to ensure that CETPs function at optimal level and in accordance with the rules and regulations. The court’s rebuke came after the authorities concerned confessed that only three of 14 STPs out and one CETP of seven are functioning in a reasonable manner. All the other STPs and CETPs are functioning at 30% of optimal levels and untreated sewage is being directly discharged into the river.
– “A very grim picture emerges today. Untreated sewage and untreated industrial effluent in a huge quantity is being discharged straight into the Sabarmati river and this is why a stretch of almost 200km of this river is now dead,” the court noted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gpcb-is-just-for-names-sake-says-hc/articleshow/88131569.cms (07 Dec. 2021)
Till Monday (Dec 6, 2021), 303 factories in industrial estates surrounding Ahmedabad have had their sewage connections severed for illegally pumping untreated effluents into the domestic sewage network. After being rebuked by the high court, the AMC and the GPCB had coordinated a drive against the errant factories. Officials said that more than 500 units have been pumping their untreated waste into the sewage system which ultimately is let into the Sabarmati near Vasna-Narol Bridge. Most of these units are located in areas such as Shahpur, Amraiwadi, Bhaipura, Thakkarnagar, Naroda, Sardarnagar, Indrapuri, Behrampura, and Danilimda. Almost a month ago, the AMC admitted to the high court that “untreated or partly treated” industrial waste from “improperly working” effluent treatment plants (ETPs) was being “discharged into the Sabarmati directly”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/sewage-lines-of-303-units-snapped/articleshow/88131567.cms (07 Dec. 2021)
Gujarat HC has suggested to the Gujarat Govt to prioritise river cleaning, including repair and overhauling of STPs over Sabarmati River Front Development. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/prioritize-river-cleaning-over-riverfront-phase-ii/articleshow/88131518.cms (07 Dec. 2021)
For almost three decades, the use of industrial waste water for irrigation to grow vegetables has contaminated the soil with heavy metals. There are 43 villages along the Sabarmati downstream from the Vasna-Narol bridge that use “untreated” waste water. The study suggested that there be efficient treatment of wastewater and monitoring of heavy metals in vegetables to understand the risks associated with the use of such water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/sabarmati-banks-laden-with-toxic-heavy-metals-study/articleshow/88230909.cms (12 Dec. 2021)
Vegetables are grown in 43 villages located 60km downstream of Ahmedabad using the heavily polluted water from the river. As a result, the amount of metals found in the vegetables far exceed Indian, European as well as WHO standards by 3 to 28 times. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/on-your-thali-chromium-lead-nickel-more/articleshow/88214616.cms (11 Dec. 2021)
Mumbai Revival of urban rivers Env Minister Aditya Thackeray: “Mithi has two parts to it. There is the Powai lake, a drinking water lake. Mithi also has the backflow of the Arabian Sea. That is where Mithi is formed as a river in Mumbai. In the last few years, we have realised that the biggest problem was the deepening and widening of the river which is now being done very successfully in Kurla, Chandivali, airport area and near Powai. A couple of Sewage Treatment Plants are coming up where the sewage will directly enter two pipelines and not the river. We are also trying to resettle people from the slums into formal homes. Bioremediation is under way. A couple of projects are on with the United Nations Development Programme. We are also trying to rejuvenate the Dahisar, Poisar and Oshiwara rivers. Can they ever be blue? Possibly not. But yes, we are looking at cleaner water today, and wider and deeper navigation.” https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/we-are-trying-to-rejuvenate-mithi-dahisar-other-rivers-in-mumbai/article37859470.ece (06 Dec. 2021)
Panchganga; Kolhapur Thick foamy layer on river sparks water pollution concern
Heavy white foam in the Panchaganga river water, near the Rajaram barrage, has sparked concern among the officials of the Kolhapur district administration. This is the first time such foam has been seen in the Panchaganga river in Kolhapur. Officials said the MPCB team has sent samples for testing and the reports are expected in 20 days. The exact reason behind the foam formation will be known and appropriate steps will be taken to deal with the issue. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/thick-foamy-layer-on-panchaganga-river-sparks-water-pollution-concern/articleshow/88095932.cms (05 Dec. 2021)
Musi; Hyderabad Plan to build check dams on river to be scrapped However, at the existing bridges such as Nayapul, Chaderghat, Puranapul and Moosarambagh, the carrying capacity of floodwater is at a rate of 1.05 lakh cusecs. Officials are of the opinion that it would be best to have a capacity of at least 1.50 lakh cusecs without a pre-emptive threat. It was learned that the Irrigation Department officials have indicated that there wouldn’t be sufficient flow capacity if the bridges were built along with the check dams. Then, it was decided to build the bridges and check dams separately.
As the Musi is sloping, due to this there is no significant level of standing water anywhere. Officials say that even if check dams are built, there will be no body of standing water in a large area. Officials say the water must be at least three metres high and cover an area of 800 to 1,000 square metres to make boating possible. With this in view, the structures will be constructed at fixed heights to hold water at the check dams. If any silt accumulates at check dams where the water stands, a gated mechanism will be arranged to remove accumulated silt. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/nov/20/plan-to-build-check-dams-on-musi-to-be-scrapped-2385872.html (20 Nov. 2021)
Dravyavati; Jaipur Rs 1,600cr later, riverfront is squatters’ hub As project remains unattended even after three years of its completion, the encroachments are increasing at an alarming speed inside and on the outer boundary of the river bank. With JDA and Tata Projects Limited locking horns over maintenance charge issue, the condition of Dravyavati riverfront is expected to deteriorate further in future. While JDA is not willing to take the possession of the project, the firm has expressed helplessness to continue the maintenance for long as the civic body is not releasing outstanding amount for maintenance. An official said, “To resolve the problem, a meeting was held two months ago where it was decided that remaining amount of the firm will be released. But, nothing has been done so far.”
As per the contract, the JDA is now planning to release the operation and maintenance costs once the project is completed and handed over to the user. However, the firm is stressing to take possession of the completed portion of the project. Sources said, “Though JDA is asking to complete the project before releasing payment, work on the 550-metre stretch near Hassanpura cannot be initiated due to court stay. If land is not provided for another three months, the company will have to incur maintenance costs.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/rs-1600cr-later-dravyavati-riverfront-is-squatters-hub/articleshow/88131513.cms (07 Dec. 2021)
Expressing disappointment over the delay in Dravyavati project, transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas asked the JDA to take action against the officers concerned and complete the pending work in stipulated time. “JDA should take action against Tata Consultancy Services, which is giving consultancy for the project, and officers concerned for the delay in completing the development of the river,” said the minister, who assured locals of raising the issue with CM Ashok Gehlot and UDH minister Shanti Dhariwal.
Accusing the local civic bodies behind the delay, the minister said open drains and placing of sewerage lines in the area must be done by the JDA. “The JDA cannot pass the onus of the work on the municipal corporations. If there is any issue, both the civic bodies should discuss and provide immediate relief to the people living in the colonies nearby,” said Khachariyawas. Taking a dig at the former BJP government, the minister said they had only renamed the Amananshah Nalla (drainage channel) to Dravyavati River which remains a drainage channel till date. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/min-act-against-errant-officers-for-delaying-dravyavati-river-project/articleshow/86494547.cms (25 Sept. 2021)
Gomti; Lucknow Asia’s biggest 345 MLD Bharwara STP built costing ₹360 cr discharging effluents without adequate treatment into Gomti river, Lucknow. 03 Dec. 2021 Video. https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers/status/1467880373803630600?s=20
गोमती नदी को प्रदुषण मुक्त करने के अभियान के तहत आज बात करेंगे पर्यावरणविद प्रोफ़ेसर वेंकटेश दत्ता से https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyJh4tCsoQI (04 Dec. 2021)
The Right of Passage: A Graphic Novel https://vikalpsangam.org/article/the-right-of-passage/ (11 Dec. 2021)
Study Pharmaceutical waste contaminates main rivers Cauvery river found contaminated with various pharmaceutical products. Major Indian rivers such as Ganga and Yamuna also severely contaminated. Researchers blame poor monitoring by regulatory bodies.
India’s major rivers are thick with heavy metals, dyes, toxic chemicals and pharmaceutical products, a study shows. The study, published December in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found high concentrations of pharmaceutical waste as well as toxic metals such as arsenic, zinc, chromium, lead and nickel in the Cauvery, a major river in southern India. Ligy Philip, an author of the study and member of the research team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, Chennai, says: “Our observations are alarming. The team’s environmental risk assessment has shown that pharmaceutical contaminants pose medium to high risk to selected aquatic lifeforms of the riverine system.” https://www.scidev.net/asia-pacific/news/pharmaceutical-waste-contaminates-indias-main-rivers/ (01 Dec. 2021)
WESTERN GHATS Karnataka Gadgil calls Kasturirangan panel report ‘faulty & unscientific’ The Kasturirangan panel was established to keep the pretence of being engaged in protecting the environment. It produced a very faulty, unscientific report which further stated that local communities have no role in economic decisions, clearly in violation of our constitutional provisions. But since even these weak, anti-people recommendations are unacceptable, it is being rejected now,” he told The Indian Express. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/ecologist-madhav-gadgil-calls-kasturirangan-panel-report-faulty-and-unscientific-7662823/ (08 Dec. 2021)
India’s conservation laws, based on pseudoscience, have criminalised people’s defence against marauding wildlife. Democratically-constituted local bodies empowered to protect nature will be a more just way of nursing our heritage to a healthy state. https://www.theindiaforum.in/article/pitting-people-against-nature (10 Dec. 2021)
Environmentalist Dinesh Holla who is associated with the agitation against Yettinahole project, accused the State government of opposing the Kasturirangan report in order to protect several influential persons who have encroached upon the forests in the Western Ghats to build resorts, homestays and other commercial establishments. Also, he said that the government was worried about the fate of several ‘unscientific’ projects like Yettinahole and others for which thousands of crores of rupees have already been spent so far. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2021/dec/07/greens-see-red-over-karnataka-govtopposing-kasturirangan-report-2392731.html (07 Dec. 2021)
Ahead of the state budget, the Karnataka Biodiversity Board has presented 22 recommendations to CM Basavaraj Bommai, seeking his attention and budgetary support to the issues related to forests, environment and climate change. Board chairman Anant Hegde Ashisar presented a document to the CM listing out matters to be taken up by different departments on priority. The recommendations were prepared by a eight-member committee, including Ashisar. The board stressed the need to take up a detailed study of the Western Ghats to prevent landslides in the coming years. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/biodiversity-board-urges-cm-to-protect-w-ghats-stop-encroachment-1059653.html (11 Dec. 2021)
Odisha No permanent structures on Mahanadi bed: NGT panel The NGT appointed committee in its final report has recommended ban on construction of permanent structures on the 424-acre reclaimed Mahanadi river bed upstream of Jobra barrage in Cuttack. In the affidavit, CPCB’s Regional Director Mrinal Kanti Biswas said the joint committee stressed on the need to follow National Disaster Management Authorities (NDMA) guidelines, 2008, while implementing any concept for utilisation of Baliyatra ground.
The panel recommended prohibition on construction activities like public infrastructure, art galleries, museums, etc. However, it raised no objections to construction of parks, gardens, sports facilities, open air markets like craft bazaar, food stalls and open air auditorium. “Any development activity in this area can be suitably planned keeping in mind the possible submergence of the Baliyatra rehabilitated area at least once in 25 years,” the committee said.
Taking on record the affidavit, a bench of Justice B Amit Sthalekar (Judicial Member) and Saibal Dasgupta (Expert Member) fixed January 27, 2022 as the next date for hearing on the matter. The bench also directed State counsel Janmejaya Katikia to file a reply to Pattnaik’s petition and the committee’s report. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2021/dec/08/no-permanent-structures-on-mahanadi-bed-national-green-tribunalpanel-2392976.html (08 Dec. 2021)
GANGA Uttarakhand Prashant Bhushan and Anurag Tiwary: Reckless, short-sighted, rapid and uncontrolled changes are being made in the Himalayas which are causing incalculable loss and damage to an already fragile ecosystem. https://thewire.in/environment/national-security-fundamental-rights-balance-environmental-cases (06 Dec. 2021)
ऋषिकेश में रंभा के जलग्रहण की भूमि को बार-बार बेचने के मामले में बवाल मचा है। वहीं हरिद्वार में गंगा की अविरलता और निर्मलता के लिए महीनेभर से जारी अनशन को खनन बंदी के नाम पर विराम दिया जाता है। https://www.jagran.com/editorial/apnibaat-man-has-spoiled-the-natural-nature-of-rivers-for-his-facilities-jagran-special-20722028.html (08 Sept. 2020) रंभा और सरस्वती जैसी छोटी नदियों को सरकार की नमामि गंगे परियोजना में नाला कहा गया है। यह उन पवित्र धाराओं की परिभाषा बदलने का सरकारी अभियान प्रतीत होता है, जिन्हें शास्त्र-पुराणों में भी पवित्र माना गया है। जल बिरादरी इससे क्षुब्ध होकर विरोध कर रही है। https://www.navodayatimes.in/news/khabre/politics-of-turning-rivers-into-a-drain/112241/ (30 April 2019)
Study Water quality in lower stretches of Ganga alarming Led by Professor Punyasloke Bhadury from the Integrative Taxonomy and Microbial Ecology Research Group at IISER Kolkata, scientists monitored nine sites encompassing 59 stations along 50 kilometres of the lower stretches of the River Ganga over two years. They conclude that rapid human pressure and anthropogenic activities have resulted in the release of untreated municipal and industrial sewage along with other forms of pollutants in Ganga. The lower stretches, especially close to Kolkata, are heavily influenced by anthropogenic factors, mainly due to intense population pressure on both sides of the river banks.
“There has been a marked increase in discharge of untreated municipal and industrial sewage in the lower stretch of Ganga with consequences for many unique and diverse ecosystems such as the Sundarbans mangrove and endangered charismatic species such as the Gangetic Dolphin,” the Ministry of Science & Technology said in a statement. Scientists found the WQI values of this stretch of the river was between 1452 and was continuously deteriorating irrespective of the season of sampling. They have also identified the point source along with the type of pollutants, in particular forms of nitrogen. https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/ganga-river-water-quality-detriorating-floods-pollution-1885597-2021-12-08 (08 Dec. 2021)
Uttar Pradesh Ganga Canal:- प्रो. चौधरी इंडियास्पेंड से कहते हैं, ”इस कैनाल की डिजाइन भी मानक के मुताबिक नहीं थी। बालू क्षेत्र में नहर का डिस्चार्ज और स्लोप कितना है इसकी जानकारी सार्वजनिक नहीं की गई। ना ही कोई विशेषज्ञों की टीम बनाई गई। गंगा के सात किलोमीटर के दायरे में तीन तरह का बालू मिलता है आप उसका क्या करेंगे कोई जवाब नहीं है। यह निर्माण बिना वैज्ञानिक सिद्धांतों के हो रहा था।”
साउथ एशिया नेटवर्क ऑन डैम्स, रिवर्स एंड पीपल के एसोसिएट कॉर्डिनेटर भीम सिंह रावत भी कैनाल प्रोजेक्ट पर आपत्ति जाहिर करते रहे हैं। रावत ने इंडियास्पेंड से कहा, “यह योजना जबसे शुरू हुई तबसे हमको विश्वास था कि यह संभव नहीं है, क्योंकि रेत के अंदर कैनाल बनाने का प्रयास विफल होगा। मैं नमामि गंगे के डायरेक्टर जनरल को सूचित करता रहा कि यह काम हो रहा है जिसे वक्त रहते रुकवाया जाए नहीं तो लोगों का पैसा बेकार हो जाएगा। फिर बाढ़ आ गई और पूरा नुकसान हो गया। योजना शुरू होने के साथ ही विशेषज्ञों ने सुझाव दिए, इसका विरोध किया। इन सब सुझाव को दरकिनार करते हुए कैनाल बनाने का काम किया गया और अब नतीजा सबके सामने है। उम्मीद है सरकार इससे सबक लेगी और उन दोषियों पर कार्यवाही होगी जिनकी वजह से 12 करोड़ रुपए व्यर्थ हुए हैं।” https://indiaspendhindi.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi-ganga-river-canal-project-closed-791390 (08 Dec. 2021)
Allahabad High court directed government to present site plan of cities situated ganga riverside nodelsp – Pollution पर इलाहाबाद HC. जनहित याचिका की सुनवाई चीफ जस्टिस राजेश बिंदल, जस्टिस मनोज कुमार गुप्ता और जस्टिस अजित कुमार की पूर्णपीठ सुनवाई कर रही है.
– इलाहाबाद हाईकोर्ट (Allahabad High Court) ने गंगा में प्रदूषण के मामले में राज्य सरकार को गंगा किनारे बसे शहरों पर साइट प्लान पेश करने का निर्देश दिया है. कोर्ट ने कहा है कि प्रदेश में लगभग एक हजार किलोमीटर लंबी गंगा किनारे बसे 27 शहरों के दूषित गंदे पानी को गंगा में जाने से रोकने का प्लान बनाया जाना चाहिए, तभी प्रदूषण खत्म हो सकेगा.
– कोर्ट ने प्रयागराज विकास प्राधिकरण को अधिकतम बाढ़ विंदु से 500 मीटर के भीतर निर्माण पर रोक के बावजूद हो रहे अवैध निर्माण जारी रहने को लेकर बेहतर हलफनामा दाखिल करने का निर्देश दिया है. कोर्ट ने प्राधिकरण के हलफनामे को यह कहते हुए वापस कर दिया कि लगे फोटोग्राफ स्पष्ट पठनीय नहीं हैं. कोर्ट ने वाराणसी में गंगा पार नहर निर्माण व काशी विश्वनाथ कॉरिडोर निर्माण से गंगा घाटों के खतरे व कछुआ सेंचुरी को लेकर की गई न्यायमित्र अरुण कुमार गुप्ता की आपत्ति को गंभीरता से लिया.
– इससे पहले कोर्ट ने प्रयागराज में गंगा में गिर रहे नालों की स्थिति पर रिपोर्ट देने के लिए न्यायमित्र अरुण कुमार गुप्ता, याची अधिवक्ता विजय चंद्र श्रीवास्तव, मुख्य स्थायी अधिवक्ता जे एन मौर्य, केंद्र सरकार के अधिवक्ता राजेश त्रिपाठी की टीम को निरीक्षण कर रिपोर्ट पेश करने को कहा था. साथ ही आई आई टी कानपुर नगर व आईआईटी काशी हिन्दू विश्वविद्यालय वाराणसी व प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड से भी रिपोर्ट मांगी थी. सभी ने रिपोर्ट दाखिल की है. अगली सुनवाई के समय कोर्ट विचार करेगी. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttar-pradesh/allahabad-high-court-directed-government-to-present-site-plan-of-cities-situated-ganga-riverside-nodelsp-3886575.html (07 Dec. 2021)
HC forms committee, orders testing of samples in IITs The Allahabad High Court recently directed two premier institutions of India, IIT Kanpur and IIT BHU, Varanasi to test the samples and submit a report regarding the quality of water in rivers, Ganga & Yamuna. Importantly, while taking into account the complaints regarding sewage water falling directly into the two rivers, the Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta, Justice Siddhartha. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/discharge-sewage-water-ganga-yamuna-rivers-allahabad-hc-committee-testing-samples-iits-184935 (04 Nov. 2021)
Bihar कटिहार जिला अभी भी कटाव का दंश झेल रहा है. बाढ़ के रेड जोन कहे जाने वाले अमदाबाद प्रखंड के झब्बू टोला से कटाव का वीडियो सामने आया है, जहां उत्क्रमित मध्य विद्यालय झब्बू टोला के दो कमरे देखते ही देखते गंगा के गोद में समा गये. गनीमत रही कि बच्चे स्कूल में पढ़ाई नहीं कर रहे थे. https://ndtv.in/india-news/bihar-school-demolished-in-ganga-in-katihar-watch-video-2646289 (11 Dec. 2021)
YAMUNA Delhi We have now prepared a six-point action plan to clean the Yamuna by February 2025. We have started work on these points on a war footing,” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said. The first “action point” is to increase the city’s sewage treatment capacity and improving the quality of the waste treatment process. At present, Kejriwal said, New Delhi can treat only about 600MGD of sewage as a result of which a lot of sewage is left untreated and released directly into the Yamuna.
“The city actually needs STPs with a total capacity of 800-850MGD. We are doing three things on this front. One, we’re setting up new STPs such as the coronation plant and the ones being built at Okhla, Kondli, Rithala and other places. Two, we’re increasing the capacity of the existing plants. Three, the existing plants are operating with old technology because of which even treated water is dirty. We will upgrade the technology to ensure treated water that is released is of 10/10 purity,” the CM said.
The mission’s “second action” point is to clean up the city’s major drains. Kejriwal said the Najafgarh, Badshahpur, supplementary and Ghazipur drains will be cleaned with a new technology without diverting its waste to plants. The remaining drains, he said, will be diverted to the city’s STPs.
Arvind Kejriwal also pointed to the plan to properly treat industrial waste and take action against set-ups that flout norms, which is the mission’s third “action point”. “A lot of industries show on paper that their waste is released only after proper treatment. But the reality is that industrial waste treatment is practically not happening. All effluent treatment plants that are not operating properly will be repaired and upgraded. The industries that fail to send their waste to effluent treatment plants will be shut down,” the Delhi CM said.
He also spoke about the need to improve the community toilets at various slums and slum-like clusters across New Delhi, the fourth “action point” of the Delhi government project. The fifth “action point” is to increase household sewage connections across the city. The sixth “action point” of the Yamuna clean-up mission is to de-silt and rehabilitate the city’s entire sewer network. “I am personally monitoring this project. We have set specific milestones for each action point and I will ensure that deadlines aren’t missed,” Kejriwal said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/kejriwal-rolls-out-six-point-action-plan-to-clean-up-yamuna-river-by-2025-101637223180903.html (18 Nov. 2021)
Haryana Untreated sewage polluting Yamuna Centre today said that the possible reasons for high ammoniacal nitrogen in the river included “discharge of untreated sewage from upstream towns in Haryana”. Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat replied to a question by MPs Manoj Tiwari and Ravindra Kushwaha on the issue in the Lok Sabha on Thursday (Dec. 9).
He said, “This affects production of drinking water at these plants ranging from 50 MGD to 100 MGD.” He said the assessment of water quality of Yamuna was carried out by the CPCB at seven locations and major drains upstream of Wazirabad during January 7-13, twice a week during May 31 to July 12 at Palla, on Haryana-Delhi border, and during November 8-9 and November 11. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/centre-untreated-sewage-from-hry-towns-polluting-yamuna-348444 (10 Dec. 2021)
As per reports collected from the stakeholders, around 66 MLD is coming from the industrial city of Yamunanagar and mixed in Yamuna water near Nabipur village after travelling to around 80km via Ganda Nallah, a ditch drain and Dhanaura escape canal from Yamunanagar to Indri block in Karnal district.
Even as the issue was highlighted in almost all monthly meetings of the River Rejuvenation Committee held under the chairmanship of chief secretary Vijai Vardhan, there was nothing visible on ground to check the flow of toxic water into the river.
The status report of the Implementation of River Action Plans submitted in the last monthly meeting on November 2, emphasised that sewage from unauthorised colonies is to be tapped or diverted at different locations by officials of the urban local bodies department to check pollution in Yamuna and Ghaggar rivers.
On the other hand, in Panipat the actual discharge reaching to the STPs was 42 MLD against 81.80 MLD sewage generated, reads the report mentioning that the waste water reaching the STPs for treatment is higher than the estimated generation of sewerage in many towns.
Moreover, of total 59 STPs in the Yamuna catchment area, only six have been upgraded and the rest do not meet the prescribed standards. Only 21 STPs are complying even though the deadlines for most STPs have already expired. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/untreated-effluent-from-haryana-contaminating-yamuna-waters-report-101636574905925.html (11 Nov. 2021)
Haryana has claimed before the NGT that it has been imposing Environmental Compensation on all the violators for polluting Yamuna and till November 2020 penalties worth Rs 300 crore had been imposed on erring units. The government though submitted that only Rs 4.67 crore had been collected so far. In its reply, dated January 6, on the findings of Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC), the state has submitted that Haryana State Pollution Control Board “is also in the process of imposing EC for untreated effluent in drains/STPs, and Chief Secretary has taken up the matter with individual administrative secretaries for taking action against the erring officers”. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/haryana-claims-to-have-imposed-rs-300-crore-penalty-on-units-polluting-yamuna-198451 (14 Jan. 2021)
Rs 315-cr bridge most-delayed project in Faridabad The project of the construction of the Rs 315-crore bridge over the Yamuna river to connect Faridabad with Greater Noida has emerged as the most-delayed and time-consuming project of the district. With over seven years passed and five deadlines missed, the project is not likely to be ready by the next deadline of March 31, 2022. The foundation of the project was laid on August 15, 2014. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/315-cr-bridge-over-yamuna-most-delayed-project-in-dist-344526 (30 Nov. 2021)
Uttar Pradesh Wetland in Sector 50 to be ready by January 10: Noida Authority Officials of the Noida authority said on Friday (Dec. 10) that the wetland being built to clean waste water in Sector 50 along Kondli drain will be ready by January 10 as 50% of the works is already complete.
In November last year, the CPCB asked the UP irrigation department to create a wetland to clean the Kondli drain, which is one of the major sources polluting Yamuna river in Delhi-NCR. The Noida authority has undertaken the project at an estimated budget of ₹1.5 crore.
After inspecting the wetland in Sector 50, CEO of Noida authority Ritu Maheshwari reviewed the underpass at the intersection of sectors 71 and 52, works on a wetland in Sector 54 and the Chilla elevated road among other projects. She directed the staff to finish painting, cleaning and other small works on the underpass within the next 10 days so that commuters can use the facility. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/wetland-in-sector-50-to-be-ready-by-january-10-says-noida-authority-101639161385567.html (11 Dec. 2021)
Goa Crocodile rescued from spillway of Selaulim dam A crocodile, which was trapped in the duckbill spillway of the Selaulim irrigation dam, was rescued after an over three-hour operation. Even as the water overflowing from the duckbill spillway had been stopped, the 2.5m-long reptile accidentally fell in the deep basin and was stuck inside the concrete wall. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/2-5m-crocodile-rescued-from-spillway-of-selaulim-dam/articleshow/88245342.cms (13 Dec. 2021)
Assam 2 Gangetic dolphins found dead The carcasses of two Gangetic dolphins, suspected to have been killed by poachers, have been recovered from Kamrup Rural district, a forest official said on Friday (Sept. 3). The dead aquatic mammals, 1.09 metres and 1.18 metres in length respectively, were found at Salpara under Kamrup West Division on Thursday (Sept. 2). Divisional Forest Officer, Kamrup West Division, Dimpi Bora said it is suspected that the dolphins may have been hunted by miscreants which is an offence under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. An offence report has been lodged with the Nagarbera Range Office, the DFO said. https://www.theweek.in/news/sci-tech/2021/09/04/two-gangetic-dolphins-found-dead-in-assam.html (04 Sept. 2021)
Madhya Pradesh Crocodile rescued from farmland A full-grown crocodile was rescued from farmland in Pal Nagra village near Alot town of Ratlam district late Sunday (Dec. 5) night, sources said. The reptile was spotted by a farmer Prahlad Singh Parihar, who alerted the local police and forest department. On getting information, a team of local police and forest department rushed to the village. It took them hours to rescue the reptile. It was later taken to Gandhi Sagar sanctuary and released in the water. Notably, crocodiles are found in Gandhi Sagar Dam. “They (crocodiles) are usually not spotted in Ratlam district. It is believed that the reptile would have come from Gandhi Sagar dam,” a forest official said. https://www.freepressjournal.in/indore/madhya-pradesh-crocodile-rescued-from-farmland-released-in-gandhi-sagar-dam (06 Dec. 2021)
बिहार घर में घुसा मगरमच्छ शहर के शास्त्रीनगर मुहल्ले में उस समय अफरा तफरी मच गई जब एक मगरमच्छ एक व्यक्ति के घर में घुस आया। इसके बाद उसने तबेले में बांधी गई भैंस पर हमला करने का प्रयास किया। जब लोगों ने ये सब देखा तो वन विभाग को खबर की गई। लेकिन खबर मिलने के बाद भी जब टीम नहीं पहुंच पाई तो ग्रामीणों ने ही बांस बल्ली के सहारे मगरमच्छ को नदी की तरफ वापस ढकेल दिया। मंगलवार (Oct. 18) की देर रात हुई इस घटना ने इलाके में बुधवार (Oct. 19) की सुबह तक हड़कंप मचाए रखा। ग्रामीणों के मुताबिक गंडक नदी नजदीक होने की वजह से ही मगरमच्छ रिहायशी इलाके में पहुंच गया था। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/bihar/west-champaran/crocodile-attack-video-from-bagaha-west-champaran-bihar-news/videoshow/87157461.cms (20 Oct. 2021)
गांव में अचानक ही घुस आया मगरमच्छ बेतिया स्थित एक रिहायसी इलाके में मगरमच्छ के घुसने से अफरा-तफरी मच गई। हालांकि, जल्दी ही ग्रामीणों ने मगरमच्छ को पकड़ लिया। इस दौरान उसको देखने के लिए लोगों की भारी भीड़ जमा हो गई। बाद में उन्होंने इसकी सूचना वन विभाग को दी। बाद में मौके पर पहुंचे फॉरेस्टर अशोक कुमार ने बताया कि लोगों की ओर से पकड़े गए इस मगरमच्छ को वन विभाग के वाहन से ले जाया जाएगा। फिर उसे उदयपुर जंगल के बगल में स्थित सरेया मन झील में छोड़ दिया जाएगा। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/bihar/west-champaran/crocodile-enters-village-bettiah-people-caught-then-assigned-forest-department-west-champaran-bihar/videoshow/82222438.cms (24 April 2021)
सोमवार की सुबह-सुबह मगरमच्छों के झुंड ने बगहा में हड़कंप मचा दिया। भारी बारिश के बाद ये मगरमच्छ रिहायशी इलाकों का रुख कर गए। मगरमच्छों का ये झुंड बगहा के खरपोखरा और नरईपुर गांव में घुस गया। इस दौरान इन्होंने हमला कर दो लोगों को घायल भी कर दिया। लोग जब मगरमच्छों की तलाश में आगे बढ़े तो इनमें से एक बकरी के दो मेमनों का शिकार करते हुए मिला जिसे गांववालों ने पकड़ लिया। ग्रामीणों ने मगरमच्छ को पकड़कर वन विभाग को सूचना दी है। बताया जा रहा है कि मगरमच्छों का झुंड वाल्मीकि टाइगर रिजर्व जंगल के बरसाती पानी और गंडक नदी से निकलकर रिहायशी इलाकों में घुसा है। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/bihar/west-champaran/crocodiles-came-in-residential-area-of-bihar-from-forest/videoshow/76932454.cms (13 July 2020)
Indian woman researcher discovers over 50 species of frogs Not only is Dr. Garg India’s first woman researcher to discover 50 new frog species of frogs from India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, earlier this week, she was awarded the prestigious Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at Harvard University. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indian-woman-researcher-discovers-over-50-species-of-frogs/article37926286.ece (10 Dec. 2021)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Bengaluru Sewage behind death of fishes After a large number of dead fishes were seen floating on the surface of Rachenahalli and Jakkur lakes in north Bengaluru in the last one week, experts blamed the inflow of sewage water into the water bodies. This comes after a similar incident was reported in October at Muthanallur lake in Anekal.
Dr Annapurna Kamath, a member of Jalaposhan, a citizens’ movement for the protection of Jakkur Lake, said due to the heavy rains last month, the storm water drains flowing into the lake carried sewage into the water body, resulting in the death of fishes. In the past three years, lakes, including Madiwala and Kalkere, have witnessed similar incidents and the experts had pointed at the entry of sewage into the lakes as the major reason. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/experts-sewage-water-bengaluru-lakes-death-fishes-7655038/ (03 Dec. 2021)
Uttar Pradesh बुंदेलखंड के जिला बाँदा तहसील पैलानी रहवासी सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता ऊषा निषाद लगातार 12 साल से मौरम व बालू ठेकेदारों के खिलाफ़ लड़ रही है। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sq8QMNc1ho
9 killed in road mishap as bus collides with sand-laden truck A bus collided with a sand-laden truck near Baburi village in the Barabanki district on Thursday (Oct. 7), leaving nine people dead and 27 injured, police said. The bus carrying 70 passengers was going to Bahraich from Delhi when the accident took place, Superintendent of Police, Yamuna Prasad, said, adding the accident took place when the bus driver tried to avoid hitting a stray cow. https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/barabanki-road-accident-bus-collides-truck-death-toll-latest-updates-738994 (07 Oct. 2021)
2 more children drown in brick kiln pit Two more children were found dead in a brick kiln pit, with such rainwater-filled unattended pits turning into death traps for little kids. This is the fourth such incident in 2 months, leaving 13 children dead. In the latest incident, two girls – aged five and six years – out to attend nature’s call, fell into the deep pit and drowned. It occurred at Tharriya village in Shahjahanpur’s Mirzapur area.
This is the fourth such incident in 2 months, leaving 13 children dead. Earlier, on August 5, three children, all from the same family, drowned in a deep pit near a brick kiln in Sambhal district. On June 23, two boys, 11 and 13, drowned in a similar brick kiln pit in Roorkee. Three more children were found dead in such a pit in Baghpat on May 29. While three kids, aged between seven and 11, fell and died in a large pit dug for illegal sand mining near river Sot in Budaun district on June 2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/2-more-children-drown-in-brick-kiln-pit-which-are-turning-into-death-traps-for-kids/articleshow/85282728.cms (13 Aug. 2021)
Three children from the same family drowned in a deep pit created due to excavation of soil for a brick kiln in Sambhal district. At least five children have lost their lives in the last two months in nearby Baghpat and Roorkee to similar pits, illegally dug and now full of rainwater.
On June 23, two boys, 11 and 13, drowned in a similar brick kiln pit in Roorkee. Another three children were found dead in such a pit in Baghpat on May 29. While three children, aged between 7 and 11, fell and drowned in a large pit dug for illegal sand mining near river Sot in Budaun district on June 20. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/3-kids-drown-in-pit-dug-left-open-by-brick-kiln-owner-in-ups-sambhal-2nd-such-incident-in-2-months/articleshow/85111215.cms (07 Aug. 2021)
Himachal Pradesh Una police send property details of 20 illegal mining accused to ED Una police has forwarded details of assets of 20 accused in cases of illegal mining in the district to Enforcement Directorate (ED) for further action. The accused were owners of tippers, JCB machines and tractor trollies that were used in illegal mining in Swan river of Una district. Most of the accused are from Punjab while a few are from Himachal. The properties details which have been shared with the ED are worth about Rs 3 crores.
Sources here said that the investigations by Una police have revealed that the owners of tippers and JCB machines in most of the cases did not have enough sources of income to buy machinery that costs between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 40 lakh. The police suspects that in many cases the tippers and JCB machines being used for illegal mining in the district were benami properties of other people making it a case for money laundering and investigation by the ED. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/property-details-of-20-illegal-mining-accused-sent-to-enforcement-directorate-347608 (08 Dec. 2021)
Uttarakhand उत्तरकाशी में भागीरथी नदी में खनन माफिया खुलेआम अवैध खनन कर रहे हैं और उनके हौसले इस कदर बुलंद हो गए हैं कि वे अब नदी के प्रवाह के साथ भी छेड़खानी करने में लगे हुए हैं। डुंडा के सैणी में भागीरथी नदी में बेखौफ खनन माफियों ने नदी के प्रवाह को डायवर्ट कर सड़क बना डाली है। जी हां, न केवल यह आपदा के लिहाज से खतरनाक है बल्कि नदी के प्रवाह से छेड़छाड़ इसके अस्तित्व को खतरे में डाल सकता है। स्थानीय प्रशासन तक को इस बात की खबर तक नहीं है। दरअसल भागीरथी नदी में जगह-जगह अवैध खनन जोरों-शोरों से चल रहा है। खनन माफिया निरंकुश हो रखे हैं और बेरोक -टोक भागीरथी नदी को नुकसान पहुंचाने का काम रहे हैं https://www.rajyasameeksha.com/uttarakhand/20571-mining-mafia-diverts-bhagarathi-river-in-uttarkashi (12 Dec. 2021)
Rajasthan Elderly couple killed by truck transporting sand illegally The menace of speeding trucks transporting illegal sand continues in the city with an elederly couple being the latest victims of rash driving late night on Sunday (Oct. 10). The couple, retired teacher Mahesh Chandra Mridul (66) and his wife Usha Mridul (62), were returning home after a visit to the doctor with their grandson when the dumper truck hit their car near Pandit T N Mishra Road junction near Mansarovar and then toppled over it. Both were killed on the spot while the police managed to rescue 9-year-old child Darsh from the wreckage.
“A rashly driven dumper truck first hit their car and later fell on it. A team of senior police officers with cranes and other equipment rushed to the spot. We heard a child crying and our main objective was to save his life,” said a senior police officer. This is not a lone incident involving speeding trucks illegally transporting sand. Last year, a truck carrying sand mowed down a senior citizen in Kardhani locality of the city. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/elderly-couple-killedby-truck-transportingsand-illegally-in-city/articleshow/86952406.cms (12 Oct. 2021)
Two gas tankers and a truck collided near Kaludi in Balotara police station area in Barmer district on Thursday (Dec. 2). Driver of one of the gas tankers died on the spot while two persons were injured. After the accident, gas started leaking from the tanker. Traffic had to be diverted for around 12 hours. The situation started returning to normal by Friday (Dec. 3) late evening.
According to ASI Chutraram, on the mega highway, a truck was going from Balotara to Sindhari, and two gas tankers were going from Gudamalani to Balotara on Thursday (Dec. 2) late night. While overtaking, the two gas tankers and the truck carrying sand collided. One of the gas tankers overturned and gas started leaking from it. The accident was so severe that the driver’s body was cut into two pieces. The police kept the body at the mortuary and two other injured were admitted to Balotara hospital. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/two-gas-tankers-truck-collide-in-barmer-dist-1-dead/articleshow/88080528.cms (04 Dec. 2021)
HC serves notice to officials over illegal mining in Barmer On December 1, 2021, a bench of the Rajasthan High Court comprising Chief Justice Akil Qureshi and justice Sudesh Bansal ordered that notices be sent to the state government over rampant illegal mining of stone in the Thob village of Barmer district in Rajasthan. Over 20 letters have been written to local police, officials of the district administration and the state mining department by villagers since August 2021. There were four stone crushers illegally at work in the village, and the mining activity was conducted using dynamite to blast through the hills. https://countercurrents.org/2021/12/rajasthan-hc-serves-notice-to-officials-over-illegal-mining-in-barmer/ (08 Dec. 2021)
In March 2020, while activity of all kinds came to a standstill across the country due to the Covid lockdown, the impact was negligible on one industrial sector in Rajasthan – mining. After a 10 day shutdown in April 2020 initially, the state government gave permission for mining, a sign of the enormous political and economic clout of the sector. The sector’s undue influence is also quite evident in the way mining, both legal and illegal, is allowed to get away without any concern for safety of workers or pollution of the environment. https://countercurrents.org/2021/12/rajasthans-open-mines-invite-disaster/ (06 Dec. 2021)
Jharkhand 2 killed, 1 injured in car-truck collision near Jamshedpur 2 person were killed and one injured in a head-on collision between a car and a sand truck on NH-49 near Baharagora on Sunday (Dec. 5). The car bearing registration number WB02 AK 8274 going from Kolkata to Jamshedpur on NH 49 in front of Matihana Gurdwara of Baharagora block of East Singhbhum district was hit by a sand truck going from Baharagora to Kolkata in the wrong direction. The car was dragged to 200 meters. In the accident, the driver of the car cum official of CSRL India Company Limited and his wife died on the spot while son was seriously injured.
Due to the negligence and wrong decision of the officials of Dilip Buildcon Company, which constructed NH 18 and 49, the truck had to go towards Kolkata in the wrong direction. Significantly, any vehicle which goes from Odisha to Kolkata, they go to the bypass road under the overbridge and get up on the main road from the bypass in front of Bala and Songs in the wrong direction and catch the main road to Kolkata which is completely in the wrong direction. This truck also came from Odisha reached the bypass to the main road by cutting on the main road and was crossing the Matihana overbridge in the wrong direction when it collided with the car in front of Matihana Gurdwara. https://avenuemail.in/kolkata-company-official-killed-two-injured-in-car-truck-collision-near-jamshedpur/ (05 Dec. 2021)
Jammu & Kashmir Preliminary survey of scientific exploration for Paddar sapphire mines completed The Geological Survey of India has completed the preliminary survey for scientific exploration of sapphire mines in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district, officials said on Friday (Dec. 10). Sapphire found in the Paddar Valley in the district is famous world-over for its unique peacock blue colour, they said.
Located at an altitude of 4,742 metres above sea level, a 116-km stretch in the valley is estimated to have a reserve of sapphire worth Rs 2,700 crore, the officials said. The status of the preliminary survey was discussed by top officials at a meeting of the board of directors of the J&K Minerals Limited here, and it was chaired by Chief Secretary Arun Mehta. Mehta directed that a committee be constituted to evaluate the quantity of sapphire reserves and design a suitable mechanism for its sustainable extraction. The panel will also recommend future course of action in this regard, he said.
The officials said the J&K Minerals Limited for the first time has ventured into minor mineral exploitation and has operationalised four minor mineral blocks in the Jammu region. Regarding the Kalakote mines, the mining department has been asked to conduct a safety audit through the Director-General, Mines Safety, Government of India, within three months, and rationalise excess labour from these mines to other minor minerals mines, the officials said.
Mehta also reviewed the functioning of the Parlanka Gypsum mines in Ramban district and directed allotment of additional blocks to J&K Minerals Limited for boosting gypsum extraction, which currently stands at 40,000 metric tonnes a month. The chief secretary, while appreciating the efforts of the management for making the corporation self-reliant, asked it to explore possibilities of further mineral extraction in Jammu and Kashmir. “This will help to develop the mineral-based industries in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and create more employment in the region” he added. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/chenab-valley/gsi-completes-preliminary-survey-of-scientific-exploration-for-paddar-sapphire-mines-in-kishtwar (10 Dec. 2021)
Odisha NGT orders probe into illegal sand mining on Brahmani NGT has ordered a probe to ascertain the veracity of allegations of excess sand mining using excavators on Brahmani river bed in Lahunipara tehsil of Sundargarh district and the consequent environmental degradation. NGT’s east zone bench in Kolkata ordered the probe on Wednesday (Dec. 8) basing on an application by Kandra Battachhatri and 21 other residents of villages near the Kenapali sand quarry.
A bench of Justice B Amit Sthalekar (judicial member) and Saibal Dasgupta (expert member) constituted a committee to enquire into the matter and submit a report along with environmental compensation amount that can be imposed on the lessee within four weeks. The SEIAA will be the nodal agency of the committee, the bench said while issuing a direction for listing of the case on January 28, 2022. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2021/dec/12/ngt-orders-probe-into-illegal-sand-mining-on-brahmani-river-bed-in-odishassundargarh-2394719.html (12 Dec. 2021)
Karnataka New sand rules approved The State Cabinet approved the Karnataka Minor Minerals Concessions Rules, 2021, and fixed the price of sand at ₹300 per tonne at the gram panchayat (GP) level. Similarly, price of sand extracted from riverbeds and streams and sold in urban areas/towns/cities has been fixed at ₹700 per tonne. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/new-sand-rules-approved/article37388748.ece (09 Nov. 2021)
Goa Ever since mining halted in Goa, the youth living in the mining belt finds itself caught in a dilemma. On one hand, it is happy to see environmental destruction come to an end, but on the other hand, it is stung by the loss of livelihood of their parents. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/environment/goa-wants-to-restart-mining-what-does-goas-youth-want-7814431.html (11 Dec. 2021) Ahead of the Goa assembly elections, the state Congress unit has cleared its stand on the mining issue saying it will support the government if they bring a law in Parliament. https://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/goa-elections-2022-will-support-if-centre-brings-mining-bill-in-parliament-says-congress/2385602/ (09 Dec. 2021)
Kerala Cop who fought sand mafia passes away 24 years after fatal accident TK Muhammad Shafiq, a police officer who took on the sand mafia, passed away on Thursday (Nov.11) after 24 years of battling wounds of a near-fatal accident. Shafiq was hit by an unidentified vehicle on his way home from work, leaving him confined to bed for nearly a quarter-of-a-century. That accident changed the course of his life. Following the accident, he was left paralyzed for a while. He continued in the service with full cooperation from the police department and retired as Circle Inspector five years ago.
The upright officer joined as a Sub Inspector in 1987 and busted sand mafia rackets. In 1997, when he was on his way to Kozhikode, he got off a train at Tirur railway station and the two-wheeler he was riding in was hit by a truck near his house in Thekkumuri. Investigations into the vehicle that hit the SI yielded no results. He had received threats from several offenders, including the sand mafia.
He returned to service for a while after treatment but had continued to reel from a lot of physical impediments. Occasionally, he faced difficulty with body movements. He was eventually promoted to Deputy SP at the time of his retirement, Shafiq refused to accept. Shafiq is a native of Kodungallur town in Thrissur. His wife Suhra is a secondary school teacher in Kadungathukundu. Only his son Shaisal is a doctor with MIMS Hospital in Kozhikode. https://www.news18.com/news/india/kerala-cop-who-fought-sand-mafia-passes-away-24-years-after-a-near-fatal-accident-4435907.html (12 Nov. 2021)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Webinar Integrated Coastal Management & Wetlands https://youtu.be/ooqJ3N3k9VQ (10 Dec. 2021)
Assam Baghjan villagers demand halt to drilling of oil wells Villagers of Baghjan staged a sit-in protest in front of the deputy commissioner’s office in Upper Tinsukia district on Tuesday (Dec. 7)and submitted a memorandum demanding a halt to “illegal” drilling of oil wells in the area by Oil India Limited (OIL). https://theshillongtimes.com/2021/12/07/baghjan-villagers-demand-halt-to-drilling-of-oil-wells/ (07 Dec. 2021)
Tamil Nadu Kazhuveli wetland declared as bird sanctuary MoEF has declared Kazhuveli swamp/brackish water lake wetland as Kazhuveli birds’ sanctuary. Principal secretary (environment, climate change and forests) Supriya Sahu passed an order in this regard on Monday (Dec. 6) after examining a proposal of the principal chief conservator of forests and chief wild life warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj to declare the area to an extent of 5,151.6 hectares in Vanur and Marakkanam taluks of Villupuram district as Kazhuveli bird sanctuary.
The Tamil Nadu government considers that the area of Kazhuveli brackish water lake wetland in eight villages in Marakkanam taluk and five villages in Vanur taluk in Villupuram district is of “adequate ecological, faunal, floral and geomorphological significance for the purpose of protecting, propagating and developing wildlife and its environment,” said a notification issued on Dec. 6. The sanctuary lies adjacent to the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the 94 identified wetlands under the National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme launched by the Union government. Tamil Nadu has three more wetlands – Point Calimere, Pallikaranai marsh and Ousteri lake (spread in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry) – under the programme. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/tamil-nadus-kazhuveli-wetland-declared-as-bird-sanctuary/articleshow/88126488.cms (06 Dec. 2021)
Kazhuveli Bird Sanctuary will be the 16th Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and will help to preserve the biological diversity of the region and conserve the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments. As per the proposal, a navigation channel will be developed in Kaliveli backwaters by clearing the sandar between the waterbody and the sea threatening to displace around 65,000 people, mostly from marginalised communities.
M Yuvan, an active member of the Madras Naturalists Society, told TNIE that Kazhiveli is ecologically contiguous with the Edaiyanthittu bar mouth where it meets the sea. “The commercial harbour proposed here can block the Uppukali creek, destroy the seagrass meadows, oyster reefs and salt marshes here and trigger erosion. This is bound to have a great impact on wetland health and birds. It’s important to protect the entire coastal wetland – the barmouth, creek and lake area.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/dec/06/tamil-nadu-declares-5151-hectares-of-kaliveli-wetlands-in-villupuram-as-bird-sanctuary-2392493.html (06 Dec. 2021)
Giving a boost to Kodiyakarai’s ecosystem with ‘Wetland Mithras’ In an initiative towards making locals feel more responsible towards conservation of the ecosystem in Kodiyakarai or Point Calimere, the Forest Department has formed a volunteer group, ‘Wetland Mithras’. The group on Thursday (Oct. 7) undertook a mass cleaning drive and was also sensitised about the importance of ecosystem conservation. Talking about the group, which was formed out of the ‘eco-development committees’ and volunteers based in and around Kodiyakarai and Kodiyakadu, District Forest Officer Yogesh Kumar Meena said, “The ‘Wetland Mithras’ we formed this wildlife week has done commendable voluntary work. We have sensitised them to building a strong relationship with the ecosystem in Kodiyakarai. We will continue their work as it provides a way to improve the revenue of eco-development committees as well as that from tourism.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/oct/08/giving-a-boost-to-kodiyakarais-ecosystem-with-wetland-mithras-2369174.html (08 Oct. 2021)
Uttar Pradesh Haiderpur wetland recognised as Ramsar Site Haiderpur Wetland abutting the Madhya Ganga barrage, about 10 km from Bijnor, has been recognised under the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, bringing the total number of such designated areas in the country to 47, MoEF posted on Twitter on Thursday (Dec. 9).
Located within the boundaries of Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary, this Wetland of International Importance (no. 2463 on the ‘Ramsar List’) is human-made wetland covering an area of 6,908 hectares and was formed in 1984 after the construction of the Madhya Ganga Barrage on the floodplains of Ganga. Haiderpur Wetland provides habitat for numerous animal and plant species, including more than 30 species of plants, over 300 species of birds, including 102 waterbirds, more than 40 fish and more than 10 mammal species. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=902471 (09 Dec. 2021)
Maharashtra Greens raise concern over large-scale landfill at Savarkhar wetland in Uran Environmentalists have raised an alarm over a fresh massive destruction of the migratory birds destination, the Savarkhar wetland in Uran, where they claim a large-scale landfill is in progress. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/greens-raise-concern-over-large-scale-landfill-at-savarkhar-wetland-in-uran-101639225543040.html (11 Dec. 2021)
Local residents and activists in Ulwe have claimed that some people were dumping construction debris near the Ulwe mangroves and destroying several trees over the past five to six months. They added that the CIDCO has turned a blind eye to the strategic destruction of mangroves in Ulwe. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/construction-debris-illegally-dumped-near-mangroves-in-ulwe-claim-residents-101639142182859.html (10 Dec. 2021)
Taking cognisance of the environmentalists’ concern over the move to bury flamingo destination NRI and TS Chanakya wetlands at Nerul for a golf course, the Centre has asked the Maharashtra Environment Department to take action into the complaints “on priority”. https://www.newsband.in/?p=26948 (08 Dec. 2021)
CIDCO had rejected the idea of declaring areas in Navi Mumbai and Uran, where thousands of flamingos migrated to in April and May, as conservation reserves, saying they are “developable land parcels” and originally salt pans. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cidco-opposes-bid-to-declare-navi-mumbai-flamingo-havens-as-conservation-reserves/story-ThGrWHgNGmbunUXD2x9Y7L.html (08 Sept. 2020)
Rajasthan 4,000MW solar plant at Sambhar may spell doom for prized wetland Sambhar Salt Ltd has recently invited expression of interest (EoI) from companies to set up the project. Out of the 58,000 acres the company has, it currently uses only a fraction of 2,500 acres for salt production and a large area can be utilised for solar power generation. As per industry estimates, over 16,000 acres would be required to set up the 4,000MW plant. This would mean setting up solar panels in large swathes of land. It is feared that such a large-scale project on the wetland could wipe out the eco-system with all its genetic diversity.
In the past few years, the archeological department with assistance from the Centre has spent close to Rs 100 crore to develop Sambhar as a tourist destination. Of late, it has also become a destination for film shooting. When TOI contacted Kamlesh Kumar, the chairman and managing director of Hindustan Salt Ltd, the parent company of Sambhar Salt, he said, “Solar plants come under the ‘wise use’ category. That’s why environment clearance is not required. It does not affect the ecosystem.”
TOI tried to get a response from the forest and environment department. But they said they were unaware of the expression of interest. But officials in the department said that as per wetland guidelines, no permanent structure can be allowed. The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016, does not permit ‘any construction of a permanent nature’. Restrictions in wetlands also include setting up of any industry and expansion of existing industries.
Currently, no single entity is responsible for the management of Sambhar. But the multi-departmental Sambhar Development Agency, which is awaiting the law department’s approval, is expected to play a key role in protecting the wetland and creating a sustainable model for development for the benefit of local communities. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/4000mw-solar-plant-at-sambhar-may-spelldoom-for-prized-wetland/articleshow/88215470.cms (11 Dec. 2021)
Karnataka Puttur: Remote village turns model, produces power through water Chembu village of Kodagu, which is sharing its border with Dakshina Kannada, is very unique when it comes to electricity. The village is self sufficient in power and produces electricity by using water. The villagers of Chembu gram never face power cuts. This villages lies amidst thick forests and the forest department does not give permission to erect electric poles. But this did not deter the villagers and they used the umpteen waterfalls that are flowing through this land and produced electricity required for the village.
Chembu gram panchayat has made good use of various schemes of union and state governments and had made the villagers self-sufficient with regards to electrical power. Villagers store the water from the waterfalls through pipes in their storage tanks. Then they supply this to the turbine, which turns due to the force of water and electricity gets generated through generator. They produce one kV, two kV capacity, which is sufficient for them.
The whole system costs around Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. The government is giving subsidy also. During rainy season, the villagers produce electricity throughout the day and night. However, during summer season they supply water to their agricultural fields in the day and produce electricity in the night only. All the household electrical equipments are used by the villagers through this power only. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=901159 (06 Dec. 2021)
Uttarakhand IFS officer revives 66 springs This report claims that IFS officer Dharam Singh Meena and his team have revived 66 Himalayam springs, helping 23 villages in Tehri Garhwal. https://www.thebetterindia.com/268014/uttarakhand-ifs-officer-dharam-singh-meena-water-conservation-river-revival/ (07 Dec. 2021)
Delhi Students construct machine to do away with manual scavenging A team of five students from Shiv Nadar School Gurugram has created a “lightweight, cost-effective and technologically advanced” sewer cleaner prototype called ‘Sewage Squad’, to “replace manual with a mechanised method of sewer cleaning”. The prototype uses a water jet mechanism “to lacerate large sewage particles, followed by metallic cutters to cut through the sludge and finally a suction pump to suck out the sludge from the sewers”.
Speaking of the product, Acharya said, “It includes an in-built audio system that offers guidance on using different mechanisms in the product while a camera and LED light provide the visual view of target areas to the user on a small LCD screen.” “A gas detection system in the product allows the user to assess the level of poisonous gases like ammonia, carbon monoxide, methane and hydrogen sulphide in the sewer, enabling an opportunity to ensure proper protection,” he said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-school-kids-construct-machine-to-do-away-with-manual-scavenging-7655215/ (04 Dec. 2021) 321 people have died cleaning sewers in last five years, Centre tells Lok Sabha. India currently has 58,098 manual scavengers. https://scroll.in/latest/1012316/ (08 Dec. 2021)
Chhattisgarh Farmer’s innovation helps cut water wastage A prototype water-retention manure of agriculture post-graduate in village Dhamdha of Durg district, is not only being exported to overseas but improving the barren land in few months. The water-retention formulation prevents water depletion in soil by using biodegradable ingredients, which enhances the water holding capacity of the soil multi-folds. The granular formulation improves the soil productivity and reduces the irrigation frequency in fields upto 50% leading to conserving water, time manpower and money.
Yogesh Sunkar, 32, has developed the prototype water-retention manure from potassium-based cellulose in three years after he was moved by an international institution’s report claiming that majority of farmers are abandoning the agriculture farming due to shortage of water and many farmers are committing suicide in India due to its scarcity. The regular application of this product increase the water table in the area of application as it doesn’t allow the water to leach down. The product is promising for the farmers in the drought prone areas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/raipur/chhattisgarh-durg-farmers-innovation-helps-cut-water-wastage-boosts-yield/articleshow/88024929.cms (01 Dec. 2021)
Tamil Nadu Groundwater law may cover commercial users The proposed law on groundwater development and management, being fine-tuned by the State Government, essentially seeks to cover every commercial user of groundwater in the State. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/groundwater-law-may-cover-commercial-users/article37935982.ece (12 Dec. 2021)
Karntaka Uranium in groundwater in villages: Study Chemical analysis of groundwater in 73 villages of Karnataka has found high and unsafe levels of uranium concentration in 78% of these locations, said a new study. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended upper safety limit is 30 micrograms per litre (μg/l), while India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has set a higher safety limit of 60 micrograms per litre.
The study conducted by the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and the Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Radioactivity, Mangalore University, attributed the contamination to natural causes and not due to anthropogenic activity. For the study, researchers surveyed 73 villages in the eastern part of the state. They found that 57 villages had a uranium concentration of more than 30 micrograms per litre while 48 of them had concentration of more than 60 micrograms per litre. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/uranium-in-groundwater-in-karnataka-villages-study-1060227.html (13 Dec. 2021)
Gujarat Salinisation of coastal groundwater Most parts of the 1,600 km Gujarat coastline is seeing salinisation of coastal groundwater, which results in deterioration of its quality, a research study funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences and National Centre for Earth Science Studies in Trivandrum, Kerala revealed.
The study notes that higher micronutrient load in south Gujarat coast owing to higher contaminants, made it more vulnerable. It also points out that select points along the Gujarat’s coastline is losing less groundwater to the sea compared to other coastal regions in the country. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/study-says-gujarat-seeing-salinisation-of-coastal-groundwater-7663238/ (09 Dec. 2021)
West Bengal IIEST Shibpur launches groundwater recharge project The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) in Shibpur, West Bengal, has set up a groundwater recharge facility to help increase the groundwater levels in Howrah, Kolkata and its adjoining areas. https://www.telegraphindia.com/edugraph/news/iiest-shibpur-launches-groundwater-recharge-project/cid/1842432 (09 Dec. 2021)
MoJS 33% wells registered decline About 33% of wells registered decline in ground water levels in the range of 0 to 2 metres, the Ministry of Jal Shakti said on Monday (Nov. 29), noting that decline of more than four metres has also been observed in few pockets of cities like Delhi, Chennai, Allahabad, Kanpur and Lucknow. The minister further said the analysis of water level data indicated that about 33% of the wells monitored have registered decline in ground water levels in the range of 0–2 metres. “Decline of more than 4 metres has also been observed in a few pockets of Delhi, Chennai, Indore, Coimbatore, Madurai, Vijayawada, Dehradun, Jaipur, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Kanpur and Lucknow,” he added. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/33-wells-registered-decline-in-ground-water-levels-in-the-range-of-0-to-2-meters-ministry-of-jal-shakti/articleshow/87985015.cms (29 Nov. 2021)
Report Need to make food production eco-friendly Excessive use and mismanagement of groundwater are leading to its contamination by geogenic sources, posing a great threat to the ecosystem. There is an urgent need to draft and implement a roadmap for minimising the depletion of groundwater and mitigating water pollution. Educating farmers and the public at large about increasing food production while protecting the environment is desirable. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/features/groundwater-pollution-need-to-make-food-production-eco-friendly-349800 (13 Dec. 2021)
Chennai High groundwater levels flood basements Replenished groundwater table across the city after recent rain has become a challenge for several buildings with basements. The high groundwater level is causing flooding of basements and water pumping motors have to be kept running round the clock to prevent inundation. Since last month, some commercial buildings in Kodambakkam, Vadapalani, T Nagar, and Amijikarai have been flooded. Metrowater officials, who inspected some of these buildings, said it was due to groundwater table saturation and since basements are at least 10ft below ground level, it has caused cracks or openings leading to groundwater entering the basement.
Sekar Raghavan, director of Rain Center, said the 2021 flooding has been unusual compared to 2005 or 2015. “The previous ones were caused by excess water being let out from reservoirs but this one is because the northeast monsoon has pushed water up to the ground level,” he said, pointing out that usually, the water table is at 4.5m to 6m depth, but in August it was at 2m. Now, it is at ground level in many places. The reason for the basements being inundated is because the groundwater is like a pond that will overflow. GIS consultant and civic engineer Dayanand Krishnan said Metro Water must conduct a survey across the city. “Through a survey we can find the long-lost recharge wells and ascertain the sources and aquifers,” he said. Krishnan said the buildings with the basement, instead of wasting the water, can set up tubewells to divert the water to the next water table. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/high-groundwater-levels-flood-basements/articleshow/88232034.cms (12 Dec. 2021)
Bengaluru Stormwater drain works lack accountability Part 1 and Part 2 of this series reported how Bengaluru’s drains are poorly designed and that the government doesn’t even have a full database of the drainage network even as many drains have gone missing. Part 3 explores why these stormwater drain works do not yield results. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/cag-report-stormwater-drain-works-no-accountability-70663 (08 Dec. 2021)
Ullal Lake is now a stinking bed of sewage The Ullal Lake, which sprawls over an area of 31.1 acre in the south-western part of Bengaluru, has lost its charm in the last one decade. Local residents say unplanned development activities of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), encroachment of the lake bed and lack of maintenance by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are the prime reasons for its pathetic state today.
From outside, the lake seems fully fenced, guarded and equipped with a walking path. But upon entering the premises, the real state of the lake is exposed — partially filled with sewage water, there are layers of weed and algae on the surface of the lake and a stench in the air. Even a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) has not come to help.
An official in the lakes section of BBMP said that there needs to be a level correction between the lake bed and the wetland as the water which is supposed to flow from Mallathalli to Ullal is flowing back. Also, there is no connectivity after the water reaches Ullal Lake as the land is encroached. The pipelines from Mallathalli Lake leading to Ullal Lake that bring treated water were blocked in the recent rainfall. One of the lake bund is also weak which needs to be addressed or would see another breaching incident, the officer said.
BBMP has allotted Rs 5 lakh annually for the maintenance of the lake. However, sources say the amount is not enough as most of it goes into cleaning works like cutting grass etc. BBMP Superintendent Engineer (lakes) Vijay Kumar said there is a lack of funds and that he will be paying a visit to the lake soon to understand the ground reality. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/development-bengaluru-ullal-lake-stinking-bed-of-sewage-7667940/ (12 Dec. 2021)
After a long gap, the lakes department of the BBMP has received a special grant of Rs 42 crore to rejuvenate eight out of the 75 undeveloped lakes across the city. 6 of these lakes are Vengaianha Kere in KR Puram (Rs 8 crore), Hulimavu Lake (Rs 8 crore), Nayandahalli Lake (Rs 7.5 crore), Kaigondanahalli Lake (Rs 4.85 crore), Amruthahalli Lake (Rs 4 crore) and Kengeri Lake (Rs 4 crore). The civic body has also earmarked Rs 2.66 crore for providing wetlands at Rachenahalli Lake and another Rs 2.84 crore for constructing a sewage treatment plant and inlet at Benniganahalli Lake.
The lake rejuvenation is being funded by the 15th Finance Commission, a BBMP official said. This is the first time in the last two years that the BBMP’s lakes department has received such a large grant. When B S Yediyurappa was the CM, he had sanctioned Rs 130 crore for the development of 25 city lakes. Of them, the BBMP has fully rejuvenated 9 lakes and completed 85 per cent of the works on the rest. The whole project is expected to complete by the end of 2022. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bengaluru-has-75-dirty-lakes-but-bbmp-to-develop-only-8-1059327.html (10 Dec. 2021)
Waste water samples from 45 sites show 31% hike in Covid viral load. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bengaluru-waste-water-samples-from-45-sites-show-31-hike-in-covid-viral-load-1059940.html (12 Dec. 2021)
MLAs control BBMP funds https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/mlas-control-the-bbmps-funds-1059892.html (12 Dec. 2021)
Mumbai Thousands lack potable water supply As per a recent report published by Pani Haq Samiti, nearly two million people living in Mumbai do not have legal access to water. These citizens have been driven by circumstances like drought, poverty and land conflict to migrate to Mumbai, where opportunities to generate income are plenty. But not everyone gets ahead by following the rules in a culture where ‘money speaks’. To beat the odds requires a combination of sheer determination, luck and resources. Uninterrupted supply of water enables livelihood, access to education and health.
Roughly 27-35% of the city’s water is unaccounted for and lost to leakages, faulty meters and unauthorised connections. Annually, this translates to revenue losses of over Rs 400 crore for the MCGM. Activist and convener of Pani Haq Samiti, Sitaram Shelar, appealed to the high court on behalf of 33 informal settlements to urgently appeal for new water connections on humanitarian grounds. Despite this, barely any provisions were made by the MCGM. https://thewire.in/urban/mumbai-water-supply-photos (08 Dec. 2021)
Mumbai gets its water from a complex network of pipelines, tunnels, balancing reservoirs, pumping stations and lakes. Despite being one of the world’s largest water supply networks, why does Mumbai still struggle with water supply? https://mumbai.citizenmatters.in/how-mumbai-gets-its-water-a-discussion-27963 (07 Dec. 2021)
Water supply: What did the BMC election manifestos promise in 2017? https://mumbai.citizenmatters.in/promises-in-congress-bjp-ncp-bmc-election-manifestos-2017-27478 (19 Nov. 2021)
Thane 2 minor boys drown in water pit Dead bodies of two minor boys were discovered on Sunday (Dec. 5) afternoon, drowned in a pit, filled with rainwater in Thane. The regional disaster management team removed the boys’ bodies from the pit. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/two-minor-boys-drown-in-thane-water-pit-101638722014834.html (05 Dec. 2021)
Karur 1 girl, 3 boys drown in pits The Class 7 girl, S Logeswari (12) daughter of Selvam, an agriculture coolie from RT Malai panchayat near Thogaimalai drowned in a 10-foot in rain-fed pit dug for gravel sand in Karur. In a similar incident at Krishnarayapuram in Karur, siblings A Vasanth (12), Mayil Murugan (13) and K Naveenkumar drowned. Following Logeswari’s death, the villagers blocked Tiruchy-Thogaimalai Road demanding action. https://www.dtnext.in/News/TamilNadu/2021/10/02080132/1320969/1-girl-3-boys-drown-in-pits-in-Karur.vpf (02 Oct. 2021)
Hyderabad Bioremediation process launched for polluted lakes In a bid to clean polluted lakes in Hyderabad, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the Telangana irrigation department are now looking to try out bioremediation to treat the water. Bioremediation is a process of introducing ‘good’ bacteria and microbes to treat polluted water. As a pilot project, the GHMC has given a contract to Green Life Foundation (GLF), an NGO, to conduct the process at Yerrakunta Cheruvu in Sheikpet. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/hyderabad-bioremediation-process-launched-for-polluted-hyderabad-lakes/articleshow/88074107.cms (03 Dec. 2021)
The residents of Jubilee Hills have been waking up to the sounds of rocks and boulders being blasted in the locality for the last couple of months. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/incessant-rock-blasting-vexes-jubilee-hills-residents/articleshow/88214788.cms (11 Dec. 2021)
Ludhiana MC reluctant to issue challans Ahead of assembly elections, the civic authorities are going easy on those who violate rules. And in the absence of checking for water wastage, the residents can be seen spilling water on to new roads by washing their cars or floors. Apart from water wastage, this will also likely to damage roads. However, officials of the operation and maintenance cell claim that they will issue challans only after receiving complaints. Requesting anonymity one of the officials claimed that residents instead of mending their ways tend to argue when advised to use water judiciously. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/despite-rampant-water-wastage-mc-reluctant-to-issue-challans/articleshow/88111380.cms (06 Dec. 2021)
Chandigarh Women slam MC over dumpsite, stage peaceful protest A group of women led a peaceful public demonstration at the Dadumajra dumpsite on Friday (Dec. 10), criticising the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s failure to clean up the open dumpsite. The women, who had gathered from different parts of the city, including the Dadumajra colony, claimed that despite many assurances, the situation at the dumpsite had only worsened. They said they had no choice but to gather peacefully as they were concerned about their children’s future and wanted to get their voices heard.
The women wrote to the municipal commissioner requesting action. A group of citizens, including the group, went to meet her and were assured that the site would be cleaned. Residents also pointed out that, given the way the civic body had handled the waste crisis in Dadumajra, they were not surprised that Chandigarh’s ranking dropped in the Swachh Survekshan rankings for 2021. The women alleged that subjecting area residents to such pollution and filth was a violation of human rights. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/women-slam-mc-over-dumpsite-stage-peaceful-protest/articleshow/88214328.cms (11 Dec. 2021)
24X7 water supply still a pipe dream for Earlier, the MC fixed October 15 as the deadline for signing of MOU with the French firm, Agence Française de Développement (AFD). However, in the absence of requisite approvals from the Union government, the deadline has now been extended to next year.
The AFD is to provide Rs 413 crore to the project in the form of a loan, which is to be repaid in 15 years. The European Union (EU) is also giving a grant of Rs 98 crore to the project. However, before the grant is released, the AFD has to sign the “Credit Facility Agreement” (CFA) with the department of economic affairs (DEA) of the Union ministry of finance. Thereafter, an MoU will be signed between the MC and donor agencies.
As part of annual monsoon preparedness, the civic body claimed to have spent Rs 1.25 crore on cleaning of road gullies but almost all major roads of the city were submerged in water during the monsoon. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/24×7-water-supply-still-a-pipe-dream-for-chandigarh/articleshow/88110556.cms (06 Dec. 2021)
Gurugram 26 detained for protesting against WTE plant in Bandhwari landfill Police detained 26 people from Gurugram Sector 14 on Friday (Dec. 10) afternoon for protesting against the foundation stone laying ceremony of the waste to energy (WTE) plant in Bandhwari landfill. People mostly affiliated with the Aravalli Bachao citizens group, and other Gurugram residents gathered at Sector 14 near Vyapar Sadan around 1.30pm and observed a silent protest by holding posters and banners against the WTE project.
Jyoti Raghavan, a protester, said, “The placement of a WTE plant in the forest land amid a critical water recharging zone for the National Capital Region (NCR) defies all logic. WTE plants have failed across the country, and most of these projects have already closed down. WTE plants only add to the ongoing pollution crisis instead of providing a solution… We were silently protesting against the project but were detained without any reason.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/gurugram-26-detained-for-protesting-against-wte-plant-in-bandhwari-landfill-101639231481847.html (11 Dec. 2021)
WTE at Bandhwari will be ready in two years: CM The WTE at Bandhwari will be operational in two years, CM Manohar Lal Khattar announced on Friday (Dec. 10). Once operational, the 15MW plant will generate six lakh units of electricity every day, he said. Waste management concessionaire Ecogreen is yet to receive approval for enhancing the capacity of the WTE plant to 25MW, the CM said. “Once the approval is received, the plant will be able to produce more electricity. With 15MW capacity, it will be able to process 1,100 tonnes of waste every day,” said Khattar, adding that Haryana already has a 10MW WTE plant in Sonipat, which became operational recently.
Earlier, Union minister of state for statistics and programme implementation and Gurugram MP Rao Inderjit Singh had said since the WTE plant will process around 1,100 tonnes of waste every day and Gurgaon and Faridabad produce around 2,200 tonnes of waste daily, the government should consider hiring another company so that both agencies compete with each other and waste is effectively managed. “The WTE plant will run following all the environmental norms. With 25MW capacity, it would be the country’s biggest WTE plant. The plant will be ready by December 2022,” Ecogreen deputy CEO Sanjay Sharma said at the event. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/waste-plant-at-bandhwari-will-be-ready-in-two-years-says-khattar/articleshow/88215329.cms (11 Dec. 2021)
Bandhwari waste unfit to be burnt for generating power: CPCB report https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/bandhwari-waste-unfit-to-be-burnt-for-generating-power-cpcb-report/story-CkKf5R7vZ7v4fhK85FGS2H_amp.html (03 March 2020) How Delhi’s WTE plants are way off the mark. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/how-delhi-s-waste-to-energy-plants-are-way-off-the-mark-63026 (30 Jan. 2021)
Faridabad Farmhouses construction on Aravalli land resumes’ Construction of farmhouses has once again started on the Aravallis, three months after the Faridabad authorities demolished illegal structures on the forest land, activists said. The matter was brought to light by an environmentalist from Gurugram, who filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in the ongoing Khori Gaon demolition case. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/construction-of-farmhouses-on-aravalli-land-starts-again-says-activist-101638728674606.html (05 Dec. 2021) Environmentalist Lt. Col. (retd.) Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi on Saturday (Dec. 4) submitted an application before the Supreme Court in Khori Basti case that the wall of an illegal farmhouse belonging to former Haryana Minister was being rebuilt just a few months after it was demolished by the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad in pursuant of court orders. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/demolished-wall-of-illegal-structure-being-rebuilt/article37859527.ece (06 Dec. 2021) The farmhouse Oberoi specifically mentions belongs to a former Haryana minister and is spread across 10.9 acres. “Photos dated 3.12.2021 show construction and rebuilding of the demolished wall of the farmhouse,” Oberoi claims. The farmhouse is on land protected under sections 4 and 5 of the PLPA (Punjab Land Preservation Act). Its boundary wall was demolished by the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) earlier this year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/aravalis-activist-approaches-sc-on-farmhouses/articleshow/88111524.cms (06 Dec. 2021)
Delhi Action against 30 DJB employees for erroneous meter readings Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has suspended 10 employees and sacked 20 outsourced employees due to erroneous water meter readings after CM Arvind Kejriwal directed the officials to ensure full transparency in its systems. DJB has ordered FIR on all involved in the irregularity. The outsourcing agency has been issued show-cause notice, asked to state why it shouldn’t be blacklisted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/action-against-30-delhi-jal-board-employees-for-erroneous-meter-readings/articleshow/88229009.cms (11 Dec. 2021)
DMRC’s environmental track record found wanting. https://themorningcontext.com/chaos/posterboy-dmrcs-environmental-track-record-found-wanting (08 Dec. 2021)
Parliament panel Nearly 49k rural habitations affected with water contamination The panel – standing committee on water resources – in its report, tabled in Parliament last week, noted with concern that 48,969 rural habitations in the country are affected with water contamination as of February 15, out of which 3,112 habitations are affected due to Arsenic contamination, 2,972 with Fluoride, 31,142 with Iron, 866 with Nitrate, 300 with heavy metals and 10,575 habitations with the high salinity in water.
The Committee has been informed that 32,277 CWPPs have been set up in the country so far by various states. The panel is, however, “quite skeptical” as to whether these plants are adequate enough to cater to the requirements of all quality affected habitats, and therefore recommend that the ministry in consultation with states assess the total requirements of CWPPs and draw an action plan to set up an adequate number of such plants in all the habitations.
Under the JMM, over 2,000 laboratories across the country have been opened up to the general public for testing their water samples at a nominal rate. Besides, the village community is empowered to lead water quality surveillance by regular water quality testing. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nearly-49k-rural-habitations-affected-with-water-contamination-parliament-panel-flags-gaps-in-number-of-purification-plants/articleshow/88247866.cms (13 Dec. 2021)
The poor pay the highest price for water: Mridula Ramesh https://www.thehindu.com/society/the-poor-pay-the-highest-price-for-water-mridula-ramesh/article37922769.ece (10 Dec. 2021)
JJM RURAL WATER SUPPLY
West Bengal Govt set to supply piped water to 5.77 lakh households The government has set a target to supply piped water to around 5.77 lakh households in Bengal’s 10,729 remote rural hamlets facing water shortage within March next year. Sources said the state public health engineering (PHE) department recently held a statewide survey to identify remote hamlets located in forested or hilly areas of the districts and listed them before fixing its target. The goal of the government is to provide piped drinking water to 1.77 crore rural households in the state under the Jal Swapno project by way of small and large-scale water supply plants before the Lok Sabha elections 2024.
PHE officials said remote villages were located mainly in districts of Jungle Mahal including West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram. In West Midnapore, the number of remote hamlets is 1,039. The number is 618, 442 and 848, respectively, in Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram. Most of these hamlets are in tribal belts of Jungle Mahal, where water is scarce. “We have considered two sources. If there is a river or water body like a dam or barrage, we will use them. Alternatives include setting up deep tube wells,” said a senior PHE official in Calcutta. Officials said the Bengal government had set an example recently. In November, Bengal topped among all states by providing water supply connections to 2.40 lakh households in a month. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/eye-on-ls-polls-govt-set-to-supply-piped-water-to-5-77-lakh-households/cid/1843025 (13 Nov. 2021)
Tamil Nadu Ranipet villages to get piped water supply soon Various works at an estimated cost of ₹42.30 crore under the Centrally-sponsored Jal Jeevan Mission Drinking Water Project have been taken up. Officials said the works including laying of pipelines, construction of Over Head Tanks and installation of borewells along Palar river were being done jointly by the Tamil Nadu Drinking Water Drainage Board (TNDWDB) and Rural Development (RD) Department.
At present, 2.4 lakh households were given piped water supply under the project. Work on providing water supply to the remaining 1.54 lakh households in the district are underway. Officials said the aim was to provide clean drinking water to residents round the year. Accordingly, each village will have one self -help group (SHG) with five women residents to monitor the water supply and its quality. A testing kit would also be provided to the group. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/remote-ranipet-villages-to-get-piped-water-supply-soon/article37860198.ece (06 Dec. 2021)
CWC Reservoirs storage bulletin of 09.12.2021:- As per reservoir storage bulletin dated 09.12.2021, live storage available in these reservoirs is 133.757 BCM, which is 78% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 136.525 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 114.597 BCM. Thus, the live storage available in 133 reservoirs as per 09.12.2021 Bulletin is 98% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 117% of storage of average of last ten years. http://www.cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/09122021-fb-pdf.pdf
Uttarakhand Scientific implementation of developmental programmes is needed for the optimal utilisation of water resources. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water-wise-in-uttarakhand-23518 (15 April 1997)
Rajasthan UN body recognises farming practices by tribals in 3 districts The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has recognised the farming practices of the tribals in Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh done without damaging the health of the soil. The UN-funded FAO has found the measures innovative and sustainable for areas that don’t have enough resources.
A report published on the subject titled, ‘Participatory learning action is important for community action to improve soil biodiversity’ highlighted how the practice is revitalising soil health. The report was published by VAAGDHARA in Italy on April 19-22. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/rajasthan-un-body-recognises-farming-practices-by-tribals-in-3-districts/articleshow/88101314.cms (05 Dec. 2021)
Odisha Jawad shatters hopes of paddy farmers Many farmers in coastal districts were expecting a bumper harvest; however, rains due to Cyclone Jawad inundated fields, destroying crops. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/jawad-shatters-hopes-of-paddy-farmers-in-odisha-s-coastal-districts-80544 (06 Dec. 2021)
NORTH EAST MONSOON 2021
SANDRP Blog Heavy Rainfall in India in Oct-Nov 2021 India has seen rather heavy rainfall in October and November 2021, with October All India Rainfall being 33% above normal and November rainfall being record breaking 86% above normal. The combined Oct + Nov Rainfall was 48% above normal, and by Dec 7, as we write this, it is already 53% above normal for the period from Oct 1 to Dec 7, 2021.
While lingering South West Monsoon brought large part of the excess rainfall in first half of October, the unusually active North East Monsoon with continuous supply of moisture from Bay of Bengal has been the main reason for the high rainfall since late October. The onset of La Nina has also contributed to this and with La Nina forecast to remain in place till March 2022, we are in for continued wet spell in South India, it seems. IMD has already forecast above normal rainfall in South Karnataka during Dec 2021 to Feb 2022. https://sandrp.in/2021/12/07/heavy-rainfall-in-india-in-oct-nov-2021/ (07 Dec. 2021)
IMD Cyclone Jawad to cause rainfall in 10 more states According to the latest bulletin by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone has weakened into a deep depression and is currently maintaining a north-north westwards move towards Puri. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/imd-alerts-12-states-to-get-rainfall-till-december-6-due-to-cyclone-jawad-101638637762234.html (04 Dec. 2021)
Tamil Nadu Chennai rainfall among highest in last 200 years! As clouds continued to unload over Chennai on Saturday, the city crossed the 1,000-mm mark in terms of rainfall received this month. This has happened only three times before in the last 200 years (see table). With three days to go before the month ends, another record could well be broken. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/nov/28/gulp-it-down-chennai-rainfall-among-highest-in-last-200-years-2389035.html (28 Nov. 2021)
Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, KKSSR Ramachandran said that from October 1 and till November 27, the state received about 60.33 CM rainfall as against the usual 34.57 CM for this period, which is 75 per cent in excess.
An IMD official told PTI: “From October 1 to November 27, Tamil Nadu received 60 CM rainfall and the normal is 33 CM, which is 74 per cent more. As regards Chennai, the metropolis has registered 106 CM (during the same period) rainfall, while 60 CM is normal and hence 77 per cent excess.” https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/chennais-recent-rains-most-intense-200-years-says-cm-stalin-158119 (28 Nov. 2021)
Chennai has received rainfall above 1000 mm only four times in the last 200 years — in 1918, 1985, 2005 and 2015. https://www.thequint.com/news/hot-news/chennai-records-1000-mm-rainfall-in-november-among-highest-in-last-200-years#read-more (28 Nov. 2021)
Officials said the system which formed over the Bay and intensified into a cyclone blocked the flow of easterly winds into the land. But much of interior and southern Tamil Nadu had been receiving rainfall over the last two days due to winds from the north converging over those parts of the state.
“Easterlies will return on Wednesday (Dec. 8) and with it some rains again to coastal areas from December 8-9. There won’t be any dangerous spells for coastal districts,” blogger Pradeep John posted online. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/monsoon-spells-may-make-a-comeback-in-chennai-say-weathermen/articleshow/88134576.cms (07 Dec. 2021)
Bengaluru Annual rainfall increasing, data shows On the evening of November 21st, parts of North Bengaluru were hit by a sudden thunderstorm. Jakkur, in the Yelahanka zone recorded 153 mm. Many layouts and apartments around Yelahanka were flooded. Visuals of a flooded Manyata Tech Park went viral on social media. November is expected to be the start of winter in Bengaluru and the end of the regular rains that start in April. As per the IMD Long Period Average (LPA) – the average rainfall between 1981 and 2010 – November gets average rainfall of only 49 mm, with four rainy days.
But this November, IMD Bengaluru recorded 277.8 mm rainfall over 15 days. Last year, it was 71 mm. The all-time record is from 2015, when the city received 296.4 mm. Readers may recall this as the year of the Chennai floods. Since the start of October, it has felt like there has been no end to rains. What looked like a dry year till the end of September took a wet turn and it has been raining since then. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/bengaluru-annual-rainfall-increasing-changing-patterns-70617 (06 Dec. 2021)
SANDRP Blog Rivers crossing HFLs in Oct-Nov 2021 In just two months of October and November 2021, rivers have breached old HFLs at least at 30 sites including 5 sites (Kodaiyar river at Thiruvarambu, Kosasthalaiyar river at Monnavedu, Kallar river at Poyyapakkam in Tamil Nadu, Nagar river at Buggaagraharam in Andhra Pradesh and Shimsa river at Thoreshettahalli site in Karnataka) where HFLs is breached twice or thrice during this period.
Out of this 24 are LM sites and 6 are LF sites. Maximum HFL breach incidents (13) have taken place in EFR between Pennar and Kanyakumari. The HFL breaching incidents were seen at 27 sites during South West monsoon 2021. There were 9 HFL breach incidents in Oct 2021, while Nov 2021 has seen 21 such events.
In addition this, there are at least 6 sites (2 LF and 4 LM) where old HFL has either been touched or missed by narrow margins, details of which is given in table below. Cumulatively, HFL breach incidents have taken place at 57 sites (at 27 sites during South West Monsoon and 30 in the month of October and November) in 2021 (38 are LM & 19 LF sites). https://sandrp.in/2021/12/12/rivers-crossing-hfls-in-oct-nov-2021/ (12 Dec. 2021)
Andhra Pradesh According to the preliminary reports from the affected districts, the crop loss is estimated to be around Rs 3,000 crore. The district-wise breakup of crop loss was yet to be updated but as per the district-wise information available as on November 21, Kadapa district suffered the maximum. Crops over 1,26,167 hectares were damaged in Kadapa, followed by 90,498 hectares in Anantapur. Nellore and Chittoor districts had suffered crop damage over 12,118 hectares and 9,616 hectares respectively.
Kadapa district also recorded damage to horticulture crops over 17,912 hectares. In Anantapur and Nellore districts, the extent of horticulture crops damaged were 616 and 101 hectares respectively. Agriculture department officials said crops were washed away due to breaches in the bunds of irrigation projects like the Annamaya project and the Cheyyeru reservoir in Kadapa district.
State, district and rural roads to a total length of about 2,000 km were damaged. As per the initial estimates of the Roads and Buildings department, Rs 800 crore is required for repair of the damaged roads and bridges. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/andhra-floods-crops-worth-rs-3000-cr-damaged-157951 (23 Nov. 2021)
Tamil Nadu Causeway across Palar flooded after three decades The causeway at Virinjipuram, built across the Palar river, flooded due to heavy rains and washed away houses, uprooted electric lines, and cut off access to nearby villages. The causeway connected Virinjipuram and Kamarajapuram. The flooding also washed away a road by the river banks in Kamarajapuram. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/nov/24/causeway-across-palar-flooded-after-three-decades-2387430.html (24 Nov. 2021) The Palar river, known for remaining dry ordinarily, has been witnessing historic flows due to heavy rainfall in its catchment, including parts of Andhra Pradesh. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/palar-witnessing-flows-never-seen-before/article37603803.ece (20 Nov. 2021) House built on the banks of Palar river in Vellore district collapses. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/watch-house-built-on-the-banks-of-palar-river-in-vellore-district-of-tamil-nadu-collapses/videoshow/87802511.cms (19 Nov. 2021)
Karnataka Chamundi Hill is crumbling 4 major landslides have been reported on Mysuru’s Chamundi Hill since 2019, alarming greens and government alike. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/mountain-of-faith-mysuru-s-famous-chamundi-hill-is-crumbling-80594 (08 Dec. 2021)
Jammu & Kashmir About cloud burst affected Honzar village in Decchan tehsil of Kistwar. https://idronline.org/ground-up-stories/hilly-regions-in-jammu-and-kashmir-need-better-disaster-management/
Report Making a mockery of EIA A loophole in the law allows companies intending to set up large infrastructure and mining projects to conduct their own assessments, putting a question mark on the integrity of the process. https://themorningcontext.com/chaos/making-a-mockery-of-environment-impact-assessment (11 Dec. 2021)
WB imposes 20-month debarment on Ramky Enviro Engineers The World Bank Group has announced 20-month debarment of Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd (REEL), a Hyd based Waste management and Enviro services company in connection with fraudulent practices as part of capacity building for Industrial Pollution Management Project in India. The World Bank in a statement on Dec 8 said that the debarment makes the REEL and its MD M Goutam Reddy ineligible to participate in the projects and operations in financed by WB in India. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/world-bank-group-imposes-20-month-debarment-on-ramky-enviro-engineers/88218128 (11 Dec. 2021)
Opinion Will India phase out SUP in 2022? Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan “PM Modi first called for ‘freedom’ from single-use plastics In India on 15 August 2019. Later on 9 October the same year, it was announced that single-use plastics would be phased out in the country by the year 2022. While it is unclear whether the deadline was beginning or end of the year 2022, the onset of the year in question is but less than a month away with no sign of any phasing out really happening on the ground as one can view continued and brazen use of thin plastic carry bags and other similar disposable items made of plastic. Time to walk the talk, Sir!” https://thedialogue.co.in/article/2ApJ9QXx8Je1QuSJutAI/will-india-really-phase-out-single-use-plastics-in-2022-?s=08 (03 Dec. 2021)
Delhi Losing trees due to lack of census, rules violation The violations were recently detected by the south division of the forest department, which has since then written a letter to the three corporations, pointing out that according to the unified building bye laws (UBBL), 2016, it is mandatory to mark all features within the site plan of a house or a building, including drains, wells and trees. Yet, few mark trees, both within the boundary walls or just outside, and as a result, the forest department claimed, many trees are going missing — being cut down without any permission being sought. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-losing-its-trees-due-to-lack-of-census-violation-of-rules-101638988705450.html (09 Dec. 2021)
Study Glaciers may be melting even in winters Unusually warm winters in the Everest region may have implications for the geologically fragile area, including its glaciers. According to recent observations published in the journal Remote Sensing, the first, second and third-warmest winter days in 72 years in Nepal’s Everest region were recorded in the winter of 2020-’21. https://scroll.in/article/1011875/himalayan-glaciers-may-be-melting-even-in-the-winters-says-a-new-study (05 Dec. 2021)
Conclusion:- A prolonged period of warm dry weather extended from the post-monsoon season of 2020 into late January of 2021 in regions of Mount Everest. This led to rising glacier snow lines and reduced snow-covered areas during this interval. From 10–15 January 2021, the warmest period of winter weather since 1950 occurred based on the observations at EBC. This led to additional snow loss on Mount Everest glaciers in the vicinity of the snow line at 5700 to 6100 m, depending on the location. This expanded the area of clean glacier ice exposed at the surface, which has a higher ablation rate than snow covered areas. The combination of high elevation weather records and remote sensing imagery allows identification of an extended ablation season that is becoming a frequent feature in the region and must be considered in mass balance modeling. The rising snowline indicates that ablation is occurring but does not quantify this. Remote observations or otherwise observations in winter will be crucial to validate the significance of the ablation. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/13/14/2692/htm
India-Bangladesh 25 years of the Ganga Treaty The treaty’s evolution goes back to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Born through the ravages of war, independent Bangladesh needed to be resurrected, and as a mud flat downstream nation, India’s role as an upstream one would be critical. https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/history-within-history-25-years-of-the-ganga-treaty-101639225061489.html (11 Dec. 2021)
Afghanistan A village shrivels in worst drought in decades Afghanistan’s worst in decades, is now entering its second year, exacerbated by climate change. The dry spell has hit 25 of the country’s 34 provinces and this year’s wheat harvest is estimated to be down 20% from the year before.
U.N. experts blamed a late 2020 La Nina event, which can change weather patterns across the globe, for causing lower rain and snowfall in early 2021 in Afghanistan, and they predict that it will continue into 2022. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/afghan-village-shrivels-in-worst-drought-in-decades-7664158/ (09 Dec. 2021)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Report Dragonflies and damselflies disappearing as wetlands are lost The loss of marshes, bogs and swamps is driving a rapid, global decline in dragonflies, researchers say. Their plight has been highlighted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s latest Red List of Threatened Species, following its first comprehensive assessment of this colourful group of insects. Wetlands loss is due to urbanisation and unsustainable agriculture, it says. Now, 16% of dragonflies and damselflies are under threat of extinction. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-59585677 (09 Dec. 2021)
Yes, the world now has sand mafias with the same kind of high-stakes drama and crime that we have come to know in more traditional organized crime groups. https://www.columbiatribune.com/story/lifestyle/2021/12/08/why-sand-mafias-forming-and-what-science-has-say/8793201002/ (08 Dec. 2021)
Choosing materials for a sustainable future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNzqEuiwWWQ (08 Dec. 2021)
Compiled by SANDRP (email@example.com)