DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 28 Feb 2022: Climate Change intensifying water cycle at double the predicted rate

This should be worrying all water managers, particularly in monsoon driven climate like India. New Research by New South Wales University Science and published in Nature in Feb 2022, based on changes in salinity of sea, a new method, says that the climate change is intensifying the water cycle at more than double the predicted rate. This is also likely to have huge impact on the rainfall pattern and possible increase in frequency of high intensity rainfall events and storms, besides other impacts. This will also have impact on the Probable Maximum Precipitation and Probable Maximum Floods in the dam catchments, and would mean the current spillway capacity of many of our dams wont be adequate. All this also means increased frequency high intensity floods and disasters. Unfortunately, CWC or state dam managers in India are not even looking at these figures. India also needs to urgently take up research into all these aspects for assessing India specific impacts.

Climate Change Intensifying Water Cycle Much Faster Than Predicted Rising global temperatures have shifted at least twice the amount of freshwater from warm regions towards the Earth’s poles than previously thought as the water cycle intensifies, according to new analysis. Climate change has intensified the global water cycle by up to 7.4% – compared with previous modelling estimates of 2% to 4%, research of University of New South Wales published in the journal Nature suggests.

– The scientists estimate the volume of extra freshwater that shifted from warmer regions between 1970 and 2014 is between 46,000 and 77,000 cubic kms.

– The team used ocean salinity as a proxy for rainfall in their research. “The ocean is actually more salty in some places and less salty in other places,” Sohail said. “Where rain falls on the ocean, it tends to dilute the water so it becomes less saline … Where there is net evaporation, you end up getting salt left behind.” The researchers had to account for the mixing of water due to ocean currents. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/24/climate-change-is-intensifying-earths-water-cycle-at-twice-the-predicted-rate-research-shows (23 Feb 2022)

Rising global temperatures have been making this system more extreme: water is moving away from dry regions towards wet regions, causing droughts to worsen in parts of the globe, while intensifying rainfall events and flooding in others. In other words, wet areas are getting wetter, and dry areas are getting drier. Lead author of the study is Dr Taimoor Sohail, a mathematician and postdoctoral research associate at UNSW Science. The movement of freshwater from warm to cold areas forms the lion’s share of water transport. The water cycle leaves a signature on the ocean salt pattern – and by measuring these patterns, researchers can trace how the cycle changes over time.

– When Dr Sohail and the team compared their findings to 20 different climate models, they found that all the models had underestimated the actual change in warm-cold freshwater transfer. (Reference: Sohail T, Zika JD, Irving DB, Church JA. Observed poleward freshwater transport since 1970. Nature. 2022;602(7898):617-622. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04370-w) https://www.technologynetworks.com/applied-sciences/news/climate-change-is-intensifying-the-earths-water-cycle-much-faster-than-predicted-358918   (24 Feb. 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Uttarakhand Even after passing one year of Chamoli disaster EWS still not installed at NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad HEP in Joshimath.

2nd body found in Tapovan HEP tunnel The body was recovered during the ongoing muck removal exercise inside the silt-flushing tunnel of the 520MW hydel project. Identified as 22-year-old Rohit Bhandari, resident of Kimada village, Joshimath, the victim was an employee of Ritwik company- a firm hired by NTPC for the hydro project. Shweta Choubey, SP, Chamoli said that 91 bodies have been recovered till date and more are likely to be found as the muck-removal work inside the tunnel is ongoing. As many as 206 people are believed to have died, including 140 employees of firms hired by NTPC as a result of the disaster. The bodies of several of the victims have still not been found. A few days ago, the body of an engineer from Rishikesh, who also worked for the Ritwik company, was recovered from the slush-filled tunnel. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-2nd-body-found-in-a-week-in-slush-filled-chamoli-tunnel/articleshow/89739310.cms  (22 Feb. 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh  Another Hydro scam REC had asked for TOYOTA vehicles for clearing transmission lines from 2000 MW Lower Subansiri HEP on Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. After exposure of the same by journaist Nivedita Khandekar, MOEF has revoked those conditions, but clearance has been granted. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=929900  (23 Feb. 2022)

Karnataka Govt gives nod for Mahadayi hydro project Govt has asked KPCL to prepare a DPR of the hydropower project using the share of 8.02 TMC non consumptive wtaer given by the Tribunal to Karnataka through an order of Aug 2018, notified by GOI in Feb 2020. There are petitions pending the SC from all the states for increasing their share of water beyond that allocated by the Mahadayi Tribunal. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/karnataka-govt-gives-nod-for-mahadayi-hydro-power-project-1085144.html   (25 Feb. 2022)

MoEF Minutes of EAC meeting on River Valley Projects held on Jan 28, 2022, key decisions:

1. Chinki Boras Barrage Combined Multipurpose Project (CCA 131925 ha & 50 MW) in 513651 ha at Tehsil Udaipura Bankhedi and Kareli, Dist Raisen, Hoshangabad, Narsimhapur (Madhya Pradesh) by Rani Avanti Bai Lodhi Sagar Project: for TOR: APPROVED

2. Sitamma Sagar Multi-Purpose Project (320 MW & CCA 2.73 Lakh Ha) in 3122.38 Acres located at Village Ammagaripalli, Tehsil Aswapuram, Dist Bhadradri Kothagudem (Telangana) by Irrigation and CAD dept, Govt of Telangana – Terms of Reference: More Info Sought

3. Banda Major Irrigation Project (CCA 80,000 ha) in 4699.08 ha at Tehsil Banda, District Sagar (Madhya Pradesh) by Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Dept- Env Clearance: APPROVED http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/2102202281861820ApprovedMoM23rdEACRVHEPheldon28-1-2022.pdf 

DAMS

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति : 25 फरवरी 2022: पर्यावरण मंत्रालय द्वारा आंवलिया परियोजना की अर्जी का प्रकरण बंद, बांध का काम रुका, आंवलिया बांध प्रभावितों की बड़ी जीत

केंद्रीय पर्यावरण एवं वन मंत्रालय द्वारा खंडवा जिले में बन रही आंवलिया मध्यम सिंचाई परियोजना की पर्यावरणीय मंजूरी की अर्जी का प्रकरण बंद कर दिया है जिस कारण बांध के निर्माण कार्य पर रोक लग गयी है. राज्य सरकार के जल संसाधन विभाग द्वारा बिना पूर्व पर्यावरणीय मंजूरी के परियोजना का निर्माण कार्य गैर कानूनी रूप से किया गया था, जिसके खिलाफ विस्थापितों द्वारा माननीय उच्च न्यायालय में दायर याचिका में नोटिस जारी होने पर उपयुक्त जांच के बाद पर्यावरण मंत्रालय द्वारा यह करवाई की गयी है. आंवलिया बांध प्रभावितों की यह एक बड़ी जीत है.

क्या है मामला?:- नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन के वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता आलोक अग्रवाल ने बताया कि आंवलिया मध्यम सिंचाई परियोजना खंडवा जिले के खालवा ब्लाक में निर्माणाधीन है. इस परियोजना से 600 से अधिक आदिवासी परिवार प्रभावित हो रहे हैं. पर्यावरण सुरक्षा कानून, 1985 के तहत जारी पर्यावरण एवं वन मंत्रालय के नोटिफिकेशन, 2006 के अनुसार पर्यावरण मंत्रालय की “पूर्व पर्यावरणीय मंजूरी” के पहले किसी भी परियोजना का निर्माण कार्य प्रारंभ नहीं किया जा सकता है. राज्य सरकार के जल संसाधन विभाग द्वारा  आंवलिया परियोजना की “पूर्व पर्यावरणीय मंजूरी” के लिये सन 2017 में अर्जी दायर की गयी थी लेकिन इस मंजूरी के मिले बिना ही गैरकानूनी रूप से परियोजना का काम तेजी से चलाया गया.

परियोजना से विस्थापित होने वाले आदिवासी प्रभावित परिवारों को भू-अर्जन कानून 2013 के अनुसार कोई भी पुनर्वास के लाभ नहीं दिये गये और 48 प्रभावितों की जमीन बांध के क्रेस्ट लेवल तक पानी भर कर डुबा दी गयी. सरकार द्वारा कोई सुनवाई न करने की स्तिथि में बांध प्रभावितों द्वारा माननीय उच्च न्यायालय में याचिका दायर कर बताया गया कि परियोजना बिना पर्यावरण मंजूरी के गैरकानूनी रूप से आगे बढ़ाई गई है और विस्थापितों को पुनर्वास के कोई लाभ नहीं दिए गए हैं. उच्च न्यायालय द्वारा राज्य सरकार एवं पर्यावरण मंत्रालय को दिए गए नोटिस के बाद पर्यावरण मंत्रालय ने जांच के उपरांत कानून का उल्लंघन पाते हुए  परियोजना को उल्लंघन वाली परियोजना घोषित (violation project) करते हुए जल संसाधन विभाग की अर्जी की फाइल बिना मंजूरी दिये बंद कर दी.

क्या है पर्यावरण मंत्रालय का आदेश ?:- पर्यावरण सुरक्षा कानून 1985 के तहत जारी नोटिफिकेशन, 2006 के अनुसार किसी भी परियोजना का निर्माण कार्य तब तक प्रारंभ नहीं हो सकता, जब तक कि उसको पर्यावरण मंत्रालय से “पूर्व पर्यावरणीय मंजूरी” नहीं मिल जाती है. यह मंजूरी तमाम अध्ययनों व् जाँच के बाद दी जाती है. प्रभावितों की याचिका पर उच्च न्यायालय के नोटिस के बाद केंद्रीय पर्यावरण व् वन मंत्रालय की राज्य इकाई “राज्य स्तरीय पर्यावरण समाघात निर्धारण प्राधिकरण” (State Environment Impact Assessment Authority) द्वारा जांच में यह पाया गया कि बिना पूर्व पर्यावरणीय मंजूरी के ही जल संसाधन विभाग द्वारा आंवलिया परियोजना का निर्माण कार्य कर दिया गया है जो कि 2006 के नोटिफिकेशन का स्पष्ट उल्लंघन है. इस कारण प्राधिकरण द्वारा अपनी बैठक दिनांक 14 फरवरी 2022 में जल संसाधन विभाग द्वारा आंवलिया सिंचाई परियोजना के लिए मांगी गई “पूर्व पर्यावरणीय मंजूरी” की फाइल को बंद करते हुए इस परियोजना को “उल्लंघन वाली परियोजना”घोषित कर दिया.

अब क्या होगा?:- श्री अलोक अग्रवाल ने बताया कि पर्यावरण मंत्रालय द्वारा घोषित दिशानिर्देश दिनांक 21 जुलाई 2021 के अनुसार उल्लंघन वाली परियोजना के संबंध में सर्वप्रथम परियोजना का कार्य रोका जाता है, दूसरा उल्लंघनकर्ता के खिलाफ पर्यावरण सुरक्षा कानून 1985 की धारा 15 व 19 के तहत कार्रवाई की जाती है  और यदि परियोजनाकर्ता चाहे तो एक नई अर्जी लगा सकता है जिस जिस पर नए सिरे से विचार करके पर्यावरण मंत्रालय तय करेगा कि  परियोजना को दंड के साथ मंजूरी देनी है या परियोजना को बंद करना है या उसे तोड़ देना है. परियोजना का कार्य रोक दिया गया है.

पर्यावरण मंत्रालय द्वारा की गई कार्रवाई मध्य प्रदेश के जल संसाधन विभाग द्वारा किये जा रहे गैर क़ानूनी निर्माण कार्यों का स्पष्ट खुलासा है. आंवलिया बांध प्रभावित इस निर्णय का स्वागत करते हैं और मांग करते हैं कि गैरकानूनी रूप से हुए इस निर्माण कार्य के लिए दोषी अधिकारियों के खिलाफ कार्रवाई की जाए. साथ ही बांध के स्लूइस गेट को तोड़कर 48 लोगों के खेत में जो पानी भरा है उसको खाली किया जाए.

मीडिया सेल, नर्मदा बचाओ आन्दोलन नोट : “राज्य स्तरीय पर्यावरण समाघात निर्धारण प्राधिकरण”  की बैठक दिनांक 14 फरवरी 2022 का कार्यवाही विवरण व् पर्यावरण मंत्रालय के दिशानिर्देश दिनांक 21 जुलाई 2021 संलग्न हैं.

Mullaperiyar Dam TN PWD officials walk out of subcommittee meeting The Supreme Court-appointed subcommittee visited the Mullaperiyar dam, its baby dam, shutters, seepage level, and the gallery and on Feb. 25 held a meeting at Kerala Kumali. In the meeting, Tamil Nadu officials said that they were not getting cooperation from the Kerala Forest Department and PWD officials who had refused transportation of construction materials to the dam site, sources told IANS. https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/mullaperiyar-dam-tn-pwd-officials-walk-out-of-subcommittee-meeting-1.7293275  (25 Feb. 2022)

Maharashtra Govt builds dam at Fukeri, threatens Goa’s Kalane river After undertaking work on an anicut across the Colval river at Sasoli and another bandhara on the Khadshi nallah, the Maharashtra government has started constructing an irrigation dam at Fukeri which poses a threat to Goa Kalane river in Pernem taluka. Less than a day ago, the Goa government had written to the Maharashtra government expressing its apprehensions over the construction of a bandhara over the Khadshi nalla which will cause water shortage issues for villages in Pernem taluka.

The anicut at Sasoli is will cause water paucity for the Asnora water treatment plant and the Anthane reservoir. The work is in full swing and poses a serious threat to the environment, green activists said. “Large patches of rich forest are being destroyed and the hydrological regime of Fukeri degraded to facilitate the construction of the irrigation dam,” said Vithoba Gawade, wildlifer from Keri Sattari, who visited the area. He said that the Maharashtra government is clearing the forest in Fukeri without carrying out an EIA.

Maharashtra government had given the project administrative and technical approval in 2021 and had also made a budgetary provision of Rs 65.30 crore. In 1978, Maharashtra had built an irrigation dam in Shirval, Dodamarg to cater to the needs of Shirval and Talkat areas. However, on account of massive deforestation in the catchment area of the dam, its water retaining capacity has reduced considerably due to siltation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/now-maharashtra-builds-dam-at-fukeri-threatens-goas-kalane-river/articleshow/89810600.cms  (25 Feb. 2022)

A month and half after supply to Goa from Tillari canal was stopped to undertake repair work due to breaches in the canal, water was finally released in the canal by Tillari irrigation authorities. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/nearly-45-days-after-repair-works-tillari-officials-release-water-to-goa/articleshow/89810662.cms  (25 Feb. 2022)

‘No leakage in Gosikhurd dam’ A senior official of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), has denied reports of any leakage in the Gosikhurd dam’s structure. Lately a video showing a stream of water flowing out had gone viral. This was claimed to be water leaking from the dam at Pauni in Bhandara. The locals residing in the nearby village — Buya — have demanded that they should be rehabilitated as it posed a risk to them. Lately the level of the Gosikhurd dam was taken to the peak level of 245.45 meters. The VIDC is also observing its impact in the nearby areas.

However, a senior official dealing with the project said there was no leakage in the dam’s main portion or anywhere else. The water was flowing out from the outlets that are built in all dams like the Gosikhurd. These are called cross and long lines that go along the dams. From these outlets the excess water from the dam is taken away to a nearest water body. This can pose no threat to the villagers nearby said the officer. Villagers in the area where the leak was reported have also reported too have complained about accumulation of back water. There have been similar complaints in some other villages too. The locals had claimed that there were holes in the dam which has been denied by the VIDC. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/no-leakage-in-gosikhurd-dam/articleshow/89552025.cms  (14 Feb. 2022)

Telangana Mallannasagar reservoir to be dedicated Billed as “the mother of all reservoirs” in Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme, Mallannasagar, the largest artificial water body, is now ready. CM K Chandrasekhar Rao will inaugurate Mallannasagar on February 23. Irrigation experts claim that Mallannasagar is the biggest artificial reservoir in the country, which will be filled entirely by lifting water from other sources and not with water received from its self-catchment area. “With the construction of Mallannasagar, all the online reservoirs on the main trunk of Kaleshwaram Project are completed. These reservoirs will become growth engines to fire up the rural economy of Telangana,” an official explained.

Out of eight pumps (43 MW each) installed at the reservoir, six are discharging 6,600 cusecs (0.66 tmcft/day) into Mallannasagar reservoir with a capacity of 50 tmcft. It was originally proposed to construct Tadkapalli reservoir prior to re-engineering of Pranahita Chevella Project with 1.50 tmcft capacity. After re-engineering, Tadkapalli reservoir capacity was increased to 50 tmcft and the CM renamed it as Sri Komuravelli Mallannasagar after local deity Komuravelli Mallanna in Siddipet district. Mallannasagar is the third reservoir among four online reservoirs in link-4 of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme. The storage capacity of Mallannasagar is higher than those of the big reservoirs like Pulichintala (45 tmcft), Yellampalli (20 tmcft) and Mid-Manair (25.8 tmcft). https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/feb/22/telanganas-mammoth-mallannasagar-reservoir-to-be-dedicated-to-nation-on-wednesday-2422273.html  (22 Feb. 2022)

Telangana’s biggest water storage body, 50 TMC ft capacity Mallanna Sagar reservoir, is all set for inauguration on Feb 23 2022 by CM K Chandrasekhar Rao. At least 10 tmc ft of water could be stored in the current year and could be used for irrigation in districts of Nalgonda, Nizamabad and Medak. The reservoir will help to provide irrigation facility to 18 lakh acres. The underwater tunnel on a stretch of 13-km in the reservoir paved way to lift water. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/hyderabad/kcr-to-inaugurate-mallanna-sagar-reservoir-today-730520  (23 Feb. 2022)

KCR dedicated the Mallannasagar reservoir, which was constructed as part of the multi-purpose Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) fourth link, to the people of the State on Wednesday. He performed a special puja at the reservoir before releasing the Godavari water into Mallannasagar from Tukkapur Surge Pool. It would take three years for the entire project to reach its full storage capacity of 50 TMCft as per the Central Water Commission guidelines. Currently, about 10.64 TMCft water is available in Mallannasagar reservoir which will receive another 5.5 TMCft in a few days. Another 15.5 TMCft water will be added during the next monsoon.

– Chandrashekhar Rao asked the Irrigation officials to examine, redesign and strengthen or reconstruct the sluices at Kondapochamma Sagar which appear to be mildly weak and could have long-term implications. “Once the full capacity is reached, there could be buckling. As the contractor is at fault, he should be held responsible for its completion,” he said.

– He reminded that water seeping out of Mid Manair project as part of the pressure-relieving mechanism a few months ago was mistaken to be on account of a weak bund. Some people, with no technical knowledge, created a panic that the bund was going to collapse, he said. https://telanganatoday.com/cm-kcr-dedicates-mallanna-sagar-reservoir-to-people-of-telangana  (24 Feb. 2022)

Soon after inaugurating the Mallanna Sagar project by releasing the water, KCR brought Godavari water to Komuravelli Mallanna temple located close to the reservoir (the project is named after local deity Mallanna Swamy) and washed the feet of the temple idol. KCR said: “When the project was conceived, we had promised to wash the feet of Komuravelli Mallanna with Godavari waters. Today (Feb 23, 2022), we are doing abhishekham to Mallanna’s feet with Godavari waters. Telangana’s lifeline is Mallanna Sagar and it is the heart of people.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/kcr-mallana-irrigation-project-is-states-lifeline/articleshow/89785250.cms  (24 Feb. 2022)

Some information on recently completed irrigation projects in the state. https://telanganatoday.com/telangana-barren-lands-turn-wetlands  (25 Feb. 2022)

BBMB Centre ends permanent representation of Punjab, HR The Union Power Ministry has made an amendment to the BBMC rules of 1974 governing the appointment of Member Power and Member Irrigation on Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) from Punjab and Haryana, respectively, thereby removing the stipulation that these two appointments need to be filled from the two states only. The amendment has been notified on Feb 23, 2022. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/power-ministry-ends-permanent-representation-of-punjab-haryana-on-bhakra-beas-board-7791500/  (26 Feb. 2022)

Cutting across the party lines, the Congress, SAD & AAP raised strong objection to the Centre’s move. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/centre-move-on-bbmb-unites-political-rivals-cong-sad-aap-7792618/  (27 Feb. 2022)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Ken Betwa Project shows why River Linking is non starter An article by SANDRP shows why the Ken Betwa Project or ILR is likely to remain non starter in spite of the orchestra of noise being made since last one year, similar to what AB Vajpayee government did in 2002, which also did not make much progress on ground. Plz Read, share. https://sandrp.in/2022/02/26/ken-betwa-project-shows-why-river-linking-is-non-starter/  (26 Feb. 2022) It has also been published in FINANCIAL EXPRESS: https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/interlinking-of-rivers-where-is-the-sense-in-river-linking/2444084/   (25 Feb. 2022)

This article is misleading, but this graph says a lot: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/budget-boost-for-river-linking-projects/article65080248.ece  (24 Feb. 2022) Bejoy K Thomas on FB post comment:- Indeed. Very narrowly focused, too economistic and rhetorical too! Your earlier post is an effective response:

A comment on the Rs. 40,000 crores allocated in India’s 2022-23 Budget, for Ken-Betwa River linking scheme in Madhya Pradesh, displacing thousands of people, submerging tiger habitat … ignoring viable alternatives for irrigation. Interlinking Indian rivers

Telangana Centre agrees to hydrology study demand The Union ministry of Jal Shakti has decided to draw water from Telangana and Andhra only after conducting hydrology studies at Icchampally as demanded by the Telangana government. The Jal Shakti Ministry is in a fix. “If the Centre agrees that water is available, we will question the CWC why our three projects – Sitarama, Sammakka Sagar and Modikunta Vagu (together 126 tmc ft) – have been kept pending for the past few months claiming that there is no water available. If Centre says there is no adequate water for the projects, then there is no need to divert Godavari water to other basins,” a senior official of Telangana irrigation department said.

– “As of now, the Centre wants to take 147 tmc ft unutilised water from Chhattisgarh and flood flow during monsoon. Even for taking up phase-I of the project, alignment survey needs to be done from Ichhampally, Nagarjuna Sagar, Somasila till Grand Anicut,” another chief engineer said. Telangana has made it clear to the Centre that they would allow diversion of Godavari water only after meeting state’s requirements. “According to estimations and previous awards, Telangana is entitled to 968 tmc ft of Godavari water. If there is any surplus, the water can be diverted and utilised for other purposes,” an official said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/river-linking-centre-agrees-to-telangana-hydrology-study-demand/articleshow/89813703.cms  (25 Feb. 2022)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Report जलमार्ग में कदम-कदम पर चुनौतियों से खड़े हुए नए सवाल Excellent report on Ganga Waterways: पर्यावरणविद् और नदियों के विशेषज्ञ हिमांशु ठक्कर 2017 में केंद्र सरकार की गंगा नदी में गाद की समस्या का आकलन करने के लिए गठित समिति के सदस्य रह चुके है.

महत्वाकांक्षी योजना पटना से कार्गो जहाज एमवी लालबहादुर शास्त्री कच्ची दरगाह के पास पीपा पुल के पास दो दिन रुका रहा

ठक्कर कहते हैं, ”ऐसा नहीं है कि गंगा में जहाजों को नहीं चलाया जा सकता. मगर उसके लिए सबसे पहले हमें गंगा की धारा को अविरल रखने की जरूरत है.” इस नदी में तो ऐतिहासिक काल से जहाज चलते रहे हैं. मगर जब से फरक्का में गंगा पर बराज बना, इसकी धारा अवरुद्ध होने लगी और इसकी पेटी सिल्ट से भरने लगी. अगर गंगा में कार्गो परिचालन करना है तो इसके लिए पहले इसकी गाद की समस्या का समाधान करना होगा. और उसका समाधान फरक्का बराज को लेकर गंभीर पहल करने में छिपा है. ठक्कर कहते हैं, ”मूल बात यह है कि अभी गंगा की धारा भी ठीक से बह नहीं पा रही, ऐसे में जहाज कैसे चलेंगे. हमने अपनी रिपोर्ट में भी यही सिफारिश की है.” https://www.aajtak.in/india-today-hindi/special-report/story/many-practical-hurdles-in-the-central-governments-very-ambitious-inland-water-transport-plan-1415829-2022-02-21 (21 Feb. 2022)

IRRIGATION

Climate friendly irrigation practices India is the world’s largest groundwater user, withdrawing about 230 BCM, irrigating 39 M Ha, 60% of irrigated area. The annual carbon dioxide emission from groundwater in India is between 2 to 7 % of total CO2 emission in India. PM-KUSUM and PM-KSVY to encourage solar pumps and solar micro irrigation systems can help mitigate this. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/how-india-can-boost-climate-friendly-irrigation-practices/89742373  (22 Feb. 2022)

The Government of India, the State Governments of Karnataka and Odisha and the World Bank have signed a $115 million (INR 869 crore) Programme (Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development Programme) that will help national and state institutions adopt improved watershed management practices to help increase farmers’ resilience to climate change, promote higher productivity and better incomes. https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/headlines/1927861-india-world-bank-partner-for-watershed-management-for-agricultural-resilience  (18 Feb. 2022)

Madhya Pradesh सिवनी में भीमगढ़ बांध की दायीं मुख्य नहर फूटी संजय सरोवर भीमगढ़ बांध की दायीं तट मुख्य नहर एक हिस्सा रविवार सुबह फूट जाने से मोहगांव (छुई) के पास करीब 200 एकड़ में लगी गेंहू व अन्य फसल तबाह हो गई। दर्जनों खेत पानी में डूब गए, जिससे गेहूं, सरसों सहित अन्य फसल पानी में बह गई। किसानों का आरोप है कि, सिंचाई विभाग के अधिकारियों की लापरवाही के चलते मुख्य नहर का हिस्सा फूटा है। बीते आठ दिनों से ज्यादा पानी छोड़े जाने के कारण ओवर फ्लो नहर का पानी खेतों में झलक रहा था।लगातार शिकायत के बावजूद नहर में पानी कम नहीं किया गया।

इसके चलते 20 फरवरी की सुबह करीब 3 से 4 बजे के बीच मोहगांव के पास मुख्य नहर का बड़ा हिस्सा पानी के दबाव के चलते टूट गया और 60 से 70 किसानों के खेतों में पानी भर गया। बांध का गेट बंद करने पर नहर में पानी का जल स्तर कम हुआ, लेकिन रविवार दोपहर तक नहर से पानी बहकर खेतों तक पहुंचता रहा।अधिकारियाें का कहना है कि रात तक नहर का पानी पूरी तरह बंद हो जाएगा, जिसके बाद सोमवार से मरम्मत कार्य शुरू किया जाएगा। https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/seoni-bhimgarh-right-bank-main-canal-burst-near-seoni-mohgaon-water-filled-in-the-fields-7310088  (20 Feb. 2022)

नहर में बह रहे दर्जनों मवेशियों के शव जौरा में चंबल नहर में दर्जनों की संख्या में मृत मवेशियों के शव उतरा रहे है, जिनमें से कई शव तो यहां मौजूद पटा पुल में आकर फंस गए है। यह मृत मवेशी कहां से बहकर आए हैं इसका पता नहीं चल सका है, लेकिन इनकी वजह से ग्रामीण बेहद परेशान है।  https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/morena-morena-news-7310548  (20 Feb. 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

Mula-Mutha; Pune PMC to spend over Rs 5,500 cr on RFD, cleaning Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has given its nod to two mega projects including development of the riverfront (total Rs4,000 cr) and rejuvenation of the river (total Rs1,500 cr); and approved tenders for the same. Standing committee chairman Hemant Rasne said, “The total cost of the riverfront development project is around Rs4,000 cr. We had given our nod for two phases. The first phase is between Sangamwadi and Bund garden, the cost of which is Rs265 cr. This work has been awarded to B J Shirke Construction. The second phase is between Bund garden and Mundwa, the cost of which is Rs604 cr. The second phase will be undertaken by J Kumar Infra based on the PPP model. The rest of the phases will get approval phase-wise.” PMC officials said that both the river rejuvenation and riverfront development projects are supportive of each other. It is good that both the works are starting simultaneously. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/pmc-to-spend-over-rs5-500-crore-on-mula-mutha-river-101645809558130.html  (25 Feb. 2022)

Shillong Poison flowing in Shillong’s rivers The Umshyrpi, Wah Umhrah, Mawpdang Mawlai, Lunar a tributary of Lukha rivers of Shillong are gasping for survival, the latest water quality index reveals. As Shillong does not have a municipal sewer network system, all homes and industries feed raw sludge and effluents without proper treatment directly into the rivers. Thousands of families living on the banks of the rivers extract this water for drinking and domestic purposes. This cycle is posing a serious threat to the health of the city’s residents and also to the environment including soil and groundwater. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/02/21/poison-flowing-in-shillongs-rivers-water-quality-index/  (21 Feb. 2022)

RIVERS

GANGA Uttarakhand ‘Char Dham project will create potential hazards for future’ RAVI CHOPRA INTERVIEW: Widening has been cleared for 674 kilometres of roads despite concerns of landslides and environmental degradation. The current plans for the roads are not resilient to disasters and are susceptible to landslides and flooding. The committee that addressed the environmental impact of the road widening had no political clout to make their recommendations stick. https://www.news9live.com/science/uttarakhands-char-dham-project-will-create-potential-hazards-in-future-says-ravi-chopra-154946   (24 Feb. 2022)

West Bengal ‘CM writes to PM on Ganga erosion’Mamata Banerjee has written to PM Modi on Feb 21, 2022 expressing concern over the continuous erosion along the Ganga in Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia districts and urged him to look into the issue so that flood management and restoration schemes can be carried out in earnest to save lives and livelihood from disaster. Banerjee also sought reconsideration of the Centre’s decision in 2017 to withdraw the extended jurisdiction of Farakka Barrage Project Authority (FBPA) for protection of the river bank from further erosion.

– The CM said that perpetual flood and erosion along trans-boundary rivers like Mahananda, Fulhar, Tangon, Atrayee and Purnabhava are also a major cause for erosion in 21 blocks of Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda districts of the state. She said that erosion along the Ganga for the past two decades after the construction of Farakka barrage have led to loss of public utilities, private properties and agricultural land. “There has been adverse impact on Ganga-Padma erosion in context of the Indo-Bangladesh Ganga Treaty of 1996, both downstream and upstream of Farakka, in the districts of Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia,” she wrote. Almost 2,800 ha of fertile land have been engulfed by the river and there have been damage to public and private properties to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore during the last 15 years, her letter said.

– Banerjee said that the erstwhile ministry of water resources had in 2005 extended the jurisdiction of FBPA from 40 km upstream of the barrage to 80 km downstream for taking up anti-erosion and river bank protection work in the entire stretch.  But the body did not address the problem of river erosion adequately in the extended jurisdiction of 120 km. The water resources ministry had in July 2017 unilaterally withdrawn its 2005 decision and restored the original jurisdiction of FBPA from 11.5 km upstream to 5.9 km downstream of Farakka barrage. Banerjee said that the state had to take up urgent bank protection work over the last four years at a cost of Rs 168.47 crore. Another Rs 80.67 crore was spent after the 2021 monsoon for anti-erosion work in 9.9 km along the river. Maintaining that this expenditure will not suffice since as per the latest assessment 37 locations along the river in a stretch of  28.80 km are vulnerable and require immediate attention, she said “The concomitant expenditure for river bank protection would be to the tune of Rs 571 crore.” https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2022/02/22/cal6-wb-mamta-pm-ganga-erosion.html  (22 Feb. 2022)

Bihar Abandoned bridge project revived The government has decided to resume work on the long-awaited four-lane bridge over river Ganga, Bakhtiyarpur-Tajpur Mahasetu, which would connect national highway (NH)-28 in Samastipur and NH-31 in Patna by reviving the terminated contract with the concessionaire, Navayuga Janhvi toll bridge private limited (NJTBPL), officials familiar with the development said. The Bihar State Road Development Corporation (BSRDC), which is supervising the project, will invest ₹936 crore as loan as one-time fund infusion to the concessionaire, apart from providing for the pre-decided viability gap funding of ₹585 crore, to revive the project.

The concessionaire had taken up the project, entailing construction of 5.58-km-long bridge and 45-km-long approach road, to be built at a cost of ₹1,603 crore, in November 2011 on PPP mode. Officials said the project ran aground after the concessionaire and BSRDC got into a legal battle. The construction company had slapped a fine of ₹2,600 crore on the BSRDC, while the corporation had imposed a penalty of ₹1,700 crore for non-completion of project within the extended deadline by March 2020. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/bihar-revives-abandoned-tajpur-bakhtiyarpur-bridge-project-over-ganga-101645633436718.html  (23 Feb. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Kashi activists on Sunday appealed to the people to cooperate in keeping the Ganga clean after they were dissatisfied with people throwing rubbish, old clothing, and polythene into the river. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/varanasi-activist-seeks-people-cooperation-to-keep-ganga-clean-101645378388102.html  (20 Feb. 2022)

YAMUNA Delhi 2 more reservoirs to store rain run-off The government has approved the construction of more catchment reservoirs along the Yamuna to store the river’s excess monsoon water and thereby augment the city’s drinking water supply. Two such pilot reservoirs were approved on Friday (Feb. 25) in a review meeting chaired by CM. The first two pilot reservoirs will come up over an area of 479 acres and will be able to store 1,958 million gallons (MG) of water, a government official said, asking not to be named.

“First, a catchment wetland reservoir over 459 acres will be created at the upper end of the pondage area of Wazirabad reservoir on the western bank of the river. It will store floodwater up to 1,735 million gallons. A second smaller reservoir, over 20 acres, will be set up away from river. It will have a depth of 10m and will be able to store 223 million gallons,” the official said. The government spokesperson said the strategy, after assessing these two projects, is to develop capacity to store about 32,203 million gallons of floodwaters. “First, 20 catchment reservoirs, each spread over 200 acres, will be set up with a depth of two metres to 8,552 million gallons. A 1,000 acre expanded pondage area of the Wazirabad reservoir, with a 2m depth, will be able to store 2,138MG of water,” the spokesperson said.

A second official said the new project is only taking forward a pilot project carried out in outer  Palla. The irrigation and flood control department started the Palla project in 2019 — a shallow pit was dug over 45 acres to hold excess rainwater. Data over the past decade suggests that on average, 18 flooding cycles happen in the Yamuna floodplains during the monsoon, when water levels go above 208 metres. Each cycle yields around 2,100 million gallons of water.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/two-more-reservoirs-to-store-yamuna-s-rain-runoff-101645833797053.html  (26 Feb. 2022)

YAP Ph-3: delay in nod slow down work In the report detailing work progress till January 2022, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said the work was delayed due to a “delay in tree-cutting permission, nod from road-owning agencies, traffic permissions, EPCA ban and slow progress during the monsoon season”. The project components fall in three drainage zones – Okhla, Kondli and Rithala. According to the report, the rehabilitation of trunk sewer number 4 and Nawana Road, Anand Vihar, Hargovind Enclave and Vikas Marg sewers, which started on November 29, 2017 and was to be completed in November 2019, is now likely to be completed on February 28, 2022.

The rehabilitation and upgradation of the Rithala Phase 1 waste water treatment plant of 40 MGD was to be completed by December 14, 2021. It is now likely to be completed by December 31, 2022. The rehabilitation and upgradation of Kondli Phase 1 (10 MGD), Phase 2 (25 MGD) and Phase 3 (10 MGD) WWTPs should have ended on February 9, 2022 but it has been delayed till the end of this year. The laying of rising and pumping mains at various locations in the Kondli WWTP catchment area, which started in July 2018, was scheduled to be completed in two years. However, the construction agency could only complete it in December 2021.

Delhi generates around 720 MGD waste water. The 35 STPs located at 20 locations across Delhi can treat up to 597 MGD of sewage and have been utilising around 90 per cent of their capacity. On an average, 24 out of the 35 STPs in the national capital did not meet the prescribed standards for waste water over the last one year, according to government data. Of the 13 common effluent treatment plants in industrial areas across Delhi, only six comply with the DPCC standards for waste water on an average. https://theprint.in/india/yamuna-action-plan-phase-3-covid-lockdown-air-pollution-induced-curbs-delay-in-nod-slow-down-work/841037/  (21 Feb. 2022)

Delhi govt plans to set up decentralised STPs in 5000 parks where, the treated sewage will be used for watering the parks. Interesting proposal, we have to see how this is going to be implemented. (Dainik Bhaskar Feb 24 2022)

Antibiotics Unchecked Residues Add To Pollution A new study by Toxics Link has found antibiotic residues in water samples of four Indian rivers, including the Yamuna in Delhi. Antibiotics are important life-saving medicines, but indiscriminate use and lack of regulatory standards in effluent from pharmaceutical industries are contributing to the rise of antibiotic pollution in rivers. This rising trend of antibiotic pollution can have far reaching consequences, such as the development of antimicrobial resistance, according to the study. The major source of antibiotics in the Yamuna is likely the sewage discharged into the river.

The study titled ‘Menace of antibiotic pollution in Indian rivers’ said Ofloxacin (0.7 microgram per litre) and sulfamethoxazole (0.2 µg/L) were found in the Yamuna in Delhi. Norfloxacin (0.93 µg/L) was detected in the Zuari in Goa and Ofloxacin (0.54 µg/L) was present in the Gomti (Lucknow) and Cooum (Chennai). “All the antibiotics detected are 2-5 times higher than the draft notification limits proposed by the Union ministry of environment and forest and climate change,” said Omkar Gaonkar, programme coordinator, Toxics Link. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/antibiotics-save-life-but-unchecked-residues-add-to-pollution-in-yamuna/articleshow/89858983.cms  (27 Feb. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Pahuj condition from bad to worse Pollution, dams and encroachment threaten the river that the then BJP water resources minister had promised to restore to its former glory.

According to Sanjay Singh, national convener of the ‘Jal Jodo Jan Jodo’ campaign, the Pahuj river is a rain-fed seasonal river. Due to its large watershed area and water storage area, the river carries a lot of water in the rainy season. Two dams have been erected on the river – one built by the British and another constructed recently. “It is pertinent for any river to maintain a constant flow,” explained Singh. “But in the case of Pahuj, the dam releases less water into the river, thereby obstructing the flow. As a result, the river water becomes stagnant, leading to the rampant growth of hyacinths.”

The Pahuj looks more like a grass lawn than a river. Photo: Deepak Goswami

“Pahuj is a rare river of India,” said Sanjay Singh. “Its geographical nature is such that large-scale artesian wells line its banks, from which water flows naturally. Pahuj is unique because no other river in India has such banks. Among several of its benefits is the fact that it has an ample amount of water available.” “Whenever there is strong will and effort to conserve a river in a scientific manner, it can be revived,” he added. “But the first thing we need is to clear away the encroachment which damages the artesian wells. All the buildings should be demolished and a definite and sufficient amount of water should be released from the dam to maintain the river’s flow. But politicians are scared to take action for fear of upsetting voters.” https://thewire.in/government/uttar-pradesh-uma-bharti-pahuj-river  (20 Feb. 2022)

Haryana Govt plans dam at Hathini Kund The Haryana CM M L Khattar said the Adi Badri dam will be built on 31.66 hectares of land in Himachal and an amount of Rs 215.33 crore will be spent for the same. “It will store 224.58 hectare metres of water every year, of which Himachal will get 61.88 hectare metres of water, and Haryana the remaining which will flow into the Saraswati river,” he said. The width of the dam will be 101.06 metres and height 20.5 metres. Proper compensation will be given to 21 families whose land will be used for the construction of the dam, CM Jai Ram Thakur added. Thakur said in the coming days, foundation stone of the dam will be laid after completing all formalities related to the project.

Khattar said several projects will be worked out in collaboration with Himachal including construction of a dam at Hathnikund barrage. In this dam, water flowing from mountains to the Hathnikund barrage will be stored so that the crops can also be saved from flood-like situations. Survey work for this dam will start soon, he said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/haryana-hp-ink-deal-to-build-adi-badri-dam-revive-saraswati-river-7736145/  (22 Jan. 2022)

Stone studs to be set up along river To protect nearly 400 acres of forest land in Palwal district from getting eroded due to high currents in the Yamuna river during the monsoon season, the forest department is planning to install stone studs along the river bank, near Sultanpur village. Five stone studs will be installed at important places in the district, so that the flow of the river can be channelised. The forest department has identified a few weak points on the bank of the Yamuna in the Palwal forest area. These areas have witnessed large-scale flooding in the last two years. This was planned as the region has experienced heavy soil erosion during the monsoon season in the past. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/to-reduce-soil-erosion-stone-studs-to-be-set-up-along-yamuna/articleshow/89837842.cms  (26 Feb. 2022)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Study Decoding the Hunting Strategy of a Cat That Fishes A fishing cat roughly spends 52 percent of their time sitting and waiting and about 38 percent of their time patrolling all possible hunting locations. They continue to move between water bodies in their territory until they detect movement in water, and only when they are very certain of making a kill do they launch an attack, which accounts for only 4 percent of the total time invested in hunting. Such a strategy that involves devoting a very small percentage of time to attacking tells us that they want to conserve energy because with each plunge the body’s mechanical energy starts to deplete.

However, like all predators, fishing cats too do not boast of a 100 percent hunting success rate. We found that fishing cats were successful in about half their hunting attempts. The ‘sit-and-wait’ approach to hunt prey has been adopted by many felids in the pre-kill stage as an energy conserving strategy, which also increases the probability of successfully ambushing unwary prey. Post-kill stages of fish consumption include subduing prey, processing, consuming, and digesting. Once caught, fish are easy to subdue compared with terrestrial prey. Additionally, there is minimal cost of processing fish kills.  https://www.wildlifeconservationtrust.org/expert-speak-decoding-the-hunting-strategy-of-a-cat-that-fishes/  (15 Feb. 2022)

Bhopal 22 crocodiles in lakes There are 22 crocodiles in Bhopal, says the first such census carried out by the forest department. As many as 21 crocs live in Kaliasot lake and one in Kerwa — both popular hangout zones. Two gharials have been spotted in Kaliasot. The census, which was completed on Sunday (Feb. 20), also identified 103 bird species in the locality in the three-day census. The report ends with the remark that the safety and security of both humans and reptiles have equal priority. Around 50 people from government and private agencies participated in the census carried out under the joint aegis of Forest Division and Bhopal Birds Association. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/bhopal-lives-on-the-wild-side-with-22-crocs-in-lakes/articleshow/89735381.cms  (22 Feb. 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Maharashtra NGT asks ED to investigate polluting industries at Tarapur MIDC In an unusual move, the NGT has asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate polluting industries located at the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation’s (MIDC) complex in Tarapur, near Boisar in Palghar district, under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). This follows over five years of litigation between local fisherfolk and various industries and state bodies over the discharge of untreated and partially-treated industrial effluents into surrounding creeks and rivers, eventually leading into farms, salt pans and the sea.

The final judgement in the matter (Akhil Bhartiya Mangela Samaj Parishad & Ors. v. MPCB & Ors.) was delivered by a four judge-bench chaired by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel on January 21. “In the present case, when environmental norms were not followed, by not operating effluent treatment plant or by discharging partially or totally untreated pollutant…this resulted in the commissioning of scheduled offence and revenue earned by committing such crime is proceeds of crime as defined in PMLA 2002… by showing it as part of business proceeds in accounts amounts to projecting or claiming it as untainted property. The entire activity is covered by Section 3 of PMLA 2002,” the bench noted.

The Tribunal also noted that these violations have had an adverse impact on public health. As per information placed on record by the medical superintendent, Rural Hospital, Boisar, the establishment reported a high incidence of 4,000 cases of skin diseases in one year between January 2015 and January 2016. The Ground Water Surveys and Development Authorities (GSDA), Palghar, and sub-divisional water testing laboratory conducted an analysis of 86 water samples from marked borewells and 535 water samples from private bore wells, of which five government and 61 private samples were found unfit for consumption due to presence of iron and turbidity, the NGT noted.

In its final judgement, the NGT revised the total amount of environmental compensation payable by 100 identified polluting units to ₹262 crore, up from ₹160 recommended by the expert committee in June 2020. This amount is to be deposited with the MPCB and used for the restoration of the environment and remedying the health of locals, a task assigned to a fresh court-appointed committee headed by the MPCB and district collector. The MIDC was also rapped for failing in its statutory duties and ordered to pay an amount of ₹2 crore as environmental compensation. A plan to remediate environmental public health is now expected to be drafted by April this year and executed by April 2022. It will be drafted by representatives from the CPCB, MPCB, health department, National Institute of Oceanography and the district collector. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/ngt-asks-ed-to-investigate-polluting-industries-at-tarapur-midc-101645294505270-amp.html  (19 Feb. 2022)

Deep-sea pipeline to carry industrial effluents The deep-sea pipeline which is currently under-construction at Tarapur MIDC, will be operational within two months, said officials familiar with the matter. The pipeline is constructed to carry treated industrial effluents from Tarapur complex to 7km away at deep sea of Navapur, Palghar district. At present, an older pipeline is discharging effluents from the industrial complex — which is regarded as India’s most polluted by the Centre’s Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI).

Exacerbated by poor functioning of the CETP and frequent leakages, effluent pollution has severely hindered fishing activities in these creeks. At Murbe village, fishers say they rarely take their boats out to sea. “The nearshore area is so polluted we cannot fish there, and you don’t find fish in the creeks anymore either. Going into the deep sea is very costly. The price of diesel alone is too high. My boat has been parked for four months,” said Eknath Patil, a Murbe fisherman.

The impact of industrial pollution in the area was comprehensively detailed in a January 21 judgement of the NGT, which fined 103 industries to the tune of ₹262 crore as environmental compensation, and sought an action plan to remediate public health and the ecology. However, it has been alleged by villagers that despite the recent NGT order, industrial units are continuing to dump untreated or partially treated effluents into the creeks and water bodies. The TEPS official cited above refuted this claim.

Experts, however, remained sceptical of this claim. “TEPS has a proven history of failing to maintain discharge standards of Tarapur’s industrial effluents. Dumping the pollutants 7km out at sea is an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach, which will make it harder to ascertain whether the effluent is meeting prescribed discharge standards. The pollutants may be sufficiently diluted to mask their presence, but they will remain in the environment for a very long period of time. A more sustainable approach would be to ensure zero liquid waste discharge and mandatory recycling of wastewater by industries. This will also ensure efficient use of freshwater from the Surya River, from where Tarapur MIDC draws water for operations,” said Dhwani Shah, an independent environment researcher who studies critically polluted areas and their impact on communities. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/deepsea-pipeline-to-carry-industrial-effluents-7km-off-palghar-coast-101645797676289.html  (25 Feb. 2022)

Thousands of dead fish found floating in Panchaganga On Thursday (Feb. 24) afternoon, thousands of dead fish were seen floating in the river spreading a foul smell in the vicinity of the Shiye bridge area. The stretch of the river between Rajaram barrage to Shiye bridge and further till Shiroli bridge has been contaminated with a green coloured layer floating on top. The villagers are demanding that Pllution Control Board (PCB) takes strict action against the river pollution causing agents, but the question is ‘will that happen?’ A resident of Shiye village, Sangeeta Chavan said, “From the past two days, the water from our taps is having a foul smell. The administration is playing with our lives by supplying such water. The health of the riverside dwellers is under risk because of this negligence by the administration.”

MPCB official said, “The treated effluent pipe of a sugar factory at Shiye had some problems which caused the treated water to get mixed into the river. This might be the reason behind the death of the fish. The factory officials have accepted that there was some problem with the pipeline. We have made a report and sent it to our head office. We have made a demand to replace the pipeline or at least shift the pipeline from the riverside area so that such incidents won’t happen again. At a primary stage, it seems to be an accidental incident, but it is causing pollution and further action against the responsible will be taken as per the orders from our head office.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/thousands-of-dead-fish-found-floating-in-panchaganga/articleshow/89813012.cms  (25 Feb. 2022) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qgQZe6dBMU  (27 Feb. 2022)

Thousands of dead fish were found floating on the Panchaganga river and had to be removed by the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) workers from the Rajaram barrage area. Environment experts feel the fish might have suffocated due to lack of oxygen in the water — caused by pollution of the Panchaganga due to sewage water directly flowing into the river.

KMC health inspector Nandkumar Patil said, “Fire-brigade officials and KMC health workers — a team of nearly 60 personnel — removed the dead fish from the Panchaganga. Around half-a-tipper load of dead fish was collected and disposed of by the KMC. Satishchandra Kamble, a CPI member, said, “Fish dying due to pollution was observed earlier too at Rajaram and Shirol barrages. Sewage and garbage from the city areas do not get processed and get mixed into the river. A layer of pollutants can be seen covering the surface of the water. As a result, the fish do not get oxygen and suffocate. The KMC should be held responsible and the MPCB should take action against the civic body.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/dead-fish-removed-from-panchaganga/articleshow/89103271.cms  (25 Jan. 2022)

A shoal of dead fish found at the Shirol barrage near the Panchaganga early on Monday (Feb. 08, 2021) morning has triggered fresh concern over river pollution, prompting the authorities concerned to launch a probe besides a clean-up drive. Barely a month ago a similar incident had happened at the Terwad barrage, upstream of Shirol barrage. Locals claim that the fish are dying because hazardous effluents from industries are carried in tankers and released into the river late at night.

CM Uddhav Thackeray later directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to seal the establishments releasing harmful waste and effluents into the river stream. The MPCB has issued show-cause notice to Shirol council as the waste water from the town continues to be released into the river untreated. Acting on the CM’s directive a month back, the MPCB had issued closure notice to the textile processing units from Ichalkaranji which release harmful chemicals into the river stream.

Activists from Shirol have demanded that water and power supply be stopped to Shirol town council offices because the administration has failed to stop the waste water from entering the Panchaganga river. Bandu Patil, an activist from nearby Herwad village, “There are no industries between the Terwad and Shirol stretch of the river, but fish deaths have been reported.” The plan drafted by Kolhapur Zilla Parishad to treat waste water from major towns and villages along the river stretch still remains on paper, mainly due to want of funds. The outlay of various projects is over Rs 230 crore. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/fish-found-dead-in-another-barrage-near-panchaganga/articleshow/80755161.cms  (09 Feb. 2021)

After thousands of fish were found dead in Panchganga river near Terwad village in Kolhapur district, angry villagers on Wednesday (Dec. 23, 2020) tied up a senior official of the PCB, claiming nothing had been done in the matter despite repeated complaints by them. The official was released only after the MPCB promised action against officials of the Ichalkaranji civic body. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/thousands-of-fish-found-dead-in-kolhapur-river-angry-villagers-tie-up-pollution-board-official-7117391/  (24 Feb. 2020)

Odisha Fish on plate, money in wallet In Mayurbhanj women sustainably cultivate fish that not only brings them money but ensures better nutrition for their family. Women self-help groups in Khunta block are cultivating fish in their village ponds. The United Nations has designated 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture. https://www.villagesquare.in/women-groups-rear-fish-successfully-in-village-ponds-for-financial-and-nutritional-benefits/  (21 Feb. 2022)

SAND MINING

Rajasthan Blacklisted companies can’t bid for tender The state directorate of mines & geology has brought in a clause to the bid letter of the tender document for auction of major mineral blocks saying that the bidders are required to assure that they have not been blacklisted of illegal mining. The mandatory disclosure comes as a response to a letter sent to CM Ashok Gehlot by the Mineral Inheritors Rights Association (MIRA), Goa Foundation, Environics Trust, Common Cause and Himalaya Niti Abhiyan. The civil society groups made two sets of demands, including that the illegal mining must be considered a grave offense on par with offences under other economic laws such as FERA. Second, best practices like in other sectors must be adopted. “People of low integrity cannot be allowed to manage our shared inheritance,” the civil society body said.

Rajasthan now joins Odisha and Maharashtra where such a clause already exists. “We have already written to the Odisha government for a fair enforcement of this particular clause,” said a senior member of the society. Nikhil Dey, RTI activist and founder member of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and MIRA said, “This is an important step, but not enough. There needs to be full implementation of the principles of the “integrity due diligence” and complete transparency in the mineral value chain. The Jan Soochna Portal of the state government has a lot of important mining related information, but more needs to be brought under its mandate to incorporate best practice from across the country and other parts of the world. All this needs to be done to improve citizen-centric oversight, which would in turn improve the lives people in consonance with constitutional values of equity and social justice, and safeguard inherited wealth.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/blacklisted-for-illegal-mining-companies-cant-bid-for-tender/articleshow/89711616.cms  (21 Feb. 2022)

Bihar Sand mining in Gaya turns violent A sand mine auction in Arhatpur village of Gaya district turned violent after local villagers protested against mining in their Morhar river. These villagers have been protesting against the sand mining for the last several years and claim that sand removal from the riverbed is increasing their vulnerability during floods, destroying their farmland and endangering livelihoods. Rajanti Devi told Gaon Connection, “They are about to mine so close to the village. This will cause the Morhar river to flow dangerously close to our houses, floods can wash away the entire village,” she worried.

As the inhabitants of Arhatpur tend to their injuries, the fear of another crackdown and arrests is tangible. They can’t sleep at night, said Surender Prasad Yadav, a middle-aged resident of the village. “We are not demanding anything unjust. We only ask for compensation and measures to ensure the safety of the villagers in the monsoons when the Morhar is in spate,” Surender Prasad Yadav, a middle-aged resident of the village said. Surendra Prasad wanted to know why the government was turning a deaf ear to their pleas. “We want an embankment to be built here as there is a very strong possibility of the village and our agriculture fields being inundated during the monsoon season,” he added. https://www.gaonconnection.com/read/bihar-sand-mining-protests-gaya-women-injured-arrests-auction-tender-illegal-lathicharge-atrocity-arhatpur-50450  (25 Feb. 2022)

Uttarakhand Gaula being hollowed out for concrete The plight of a small Himalayan river is echoed all over Asia, as communities lose lives and property to the ‘unscientific and unsustainable’ mining of riverbeds.

Graphic: The Third Pole

-What is the replenishment rate of the Gaula, one the most mined rivers in Uttarakhand? There is no study in the public domain. Asked about this, Bharti of the UFDC responds: “There is no need to put such studies in the public domain.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/riverbed-northern-india-being-hollowed-mining-concrete/   (25 Feb. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh In open violation of norms, illegal sand miners have again built cross sectional bund obstructing Yamuna’s flows and conducing mid stream mining in river at Nangla Rai area of Kairana in Shamli district even during modal code of conduct. Locals say same situation prevailing at Khurgan, Mandavar locations. (26 Feb. 2022 evening Video) 

हरियाणा और यूपी की सीमा के साथ लगती यमुना नदी में इन दिनों माइनिंग माफिया ने हैवी मशीनों से माइनिंग तेज कर दी है। क्योंकि यूपी सरकार और पुलिस चुनाव में व्यस्त है, इसलिए माफिया को मनमानी करने का मौका मिल रहा है। हरियाणा के पानीपत जिले के साथ यूपी के शामली जिले का कैराना कस्बा भी लगता है। यहां पर माइनिंग माफिया ने यमुना नदी में आतंक मचा रखा है। https://hindi.asianetnews.com/haryana/up-govt-busy-in-elections-and-mining-mafia-diverted-yamuna-river-on-haryana-border-excavated-sand-in-water-udt-r7y8gt  (27 Feb. 2022)  

Punjab A local court on Friday (Feb. 25) extended till March 10, the judicial custody of CM’s nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey in connection with an illegal sand mining case. Honey was produced before the court by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after the expiry of his 14-day judicial custody in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering case pertaining to the illegal mining. Earlier on two occasions, the court had granted ED the custody of Honey. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=930605  (25 Feb. 2022)

Report Mining Threatens Freshwater Ecosystem On top of that, since the past 2 years, the amount of sand extracted has increased due to Covid. Many governments have used the pandemic as an excuse to push through projects that would not have been approved otherwise. Infact, experts claim that governments will begin to invest heavily in infrastructure in order to promote the economy, which will result in a surge in demand for sand and gravel. Sand mining has a negative influence on rivers, which is exacerbated by hydropower dams. The reservoirs behind hydropower dams were supposed to help control flood peaks in addition to powering turbines. But dams, on the other hand, don’t just trap water, they also trap sand and other sediment. They are expected to trap 77-99% of the natural sediment flows of rivers, but what still gets through the barriers is mainly fine sediments like silt and clays, not sand or gravel. As a result, riverbeds and banks are not replenished, making sand mining downstream even more unsustainable and exponentially increasing river channel and bank erosion. https://www.indiatimes.com/explainers/news/sand-mining-threatens-freshwater-ecosystem-explainer-561468.html  (08 Feb. 2022)

Haryana Govt ignorance costs Aravallis dearly Five people were killed in a landslide at a mining site in the Bhiwani district of Haryana in January 2022. The site, according to reports submitted in the NGT, was illegal and unscientific but had still got a go-ahead for mining after a penalty was paid. The day on which the incident in Dadam occurred was the second day of full-fledged mining after a ban due to inspection. It is alleged that the miners are drawing water from the ground below the permissible limits and extending their mining activities beyond the designated area to the protected areas in Aravallis.  https://india.mongabay.com/2022/02/the-ignorance-of-the-haryana-government-has-cost-the-aravallis-dearly/  (24 Feb. 2022)

Gujarat NGT quashes EC to Ultratech, NCC in Amreli A western zone bench of the NGT has quashed two environmental clearance (EC) certificates granted by the Gujarat State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) in 2020 to Ultratech Cement Limited and its subsidiary Narmada Cement Company (NCC) Limited for limestone mining at Babarkot village in Amreli’s Jafrabad. Noting that the area in question was more than 50 hectares, the tribunal ruled that it requires clearance from the MoEF and not SEIAA. “…the area being more than 50 hectares has to be treated as category ‘A’ project, requiring appraisal only by MoEF&CC. Even if the two are taken as separate, it is expansion of an existing project in which case also it has to be appraised by MoEF&CC, even if it is less than 50 hectares,” the bench stated.

The decision came in response to two appeals that said the grant of EC was in violation of law as the mines were more than 50 hectares. According to the appellant, the mines were split into two to subvert Category-A classification while seeking environmental clearance. The two companies also have an existing mining lease for 565.93 hectares in the same area. The appeal also stated that environmental clearance was granted without following the due process of law in an eco-sensitive area, also a habitat of Asiatic lions, with no Wildlife Conservation Plan. The appraisal of the projects “should have been as a ‘cluster’ instead of standalone mines”, the appeal further stated. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/limestone-mining-ngt-quashes-clearance-to-ultratech-ncc-in-amreli-7788230/  (24 Feb. 2022)

Kerala NGT directs committee to inspect violations by quarry operators NGT on February 24 has directed a 3-member committee headed by the District Magistrate to inspect alleged violations by quarry operators in Thampuran Para mountains in Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala. The NGT bench headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was dealing with a plea against VKL Infrastructure Facilities and VKL Projects, who were allegedly operating in violation of environmental norms. An earlier order of District Collector had prohibited any type of mining and allied activities within a 200-meter radius of Thampuran Para and Thampuratty Para. The plea contended that the quarry activities were done in government land. Though surveying is done, no final decision is seen taken on this by the Revenue Department, it alleged.

Further, the applicant, Benny Sebastian, pointed out that there are houses down the slope. The aerial distances to these houses were not considered while granting environmental clearance and allied permits. Fly rocks are a problem to these houses, the plea said. The petitioner stated that he had lodged a complaint that was directed by the Kerala High Court to be considered in an earlier order. The district senior geologist, in an order dated December 29, 2020, suspended the quarry temporarily but the said order was stayed by the appellate authority in the government. Further hearing in the matter is to be held on July 8. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/ngt-directs-committee-inspect-violations-quarry-operators-thiruvananthapuram-161388  (27 Feb. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh 10 villages face eviction for lithium exploration At least 10 habitations under Chitravati reservoir bed in Anantapur and Kadapa district borders are about to be evacuated following the speeding up of the process of survey on rich deposits of lithium mineral. Sources hinted at a plan to establish a plant closer to Chitravathi Balancing Reservoir because plenty of water is available for the purification of extracted minerals. The survey teams conducted the study without involvement of the local authorities. The villagers were reportedly in fear of evacuation though their lands were shaped as rich orchards of various fruits after Krishna water was diverted to the reservoir. GSI has already taken up Lithium extraction projects in Mandya district in Karnataka in the first phase.

While the Dadithota area villagers were in a state of fear over evacuation, they were reportedly instructed to prepare mentally to exit from their habitations and the GSI will pay compensation for their properties. Farmers Keshava Reddy, Sathish Reddy and Amarnath Reddy from Dadithota lamented over their future as they had worked hard to establish their orchards a few years ago. “Shockingly, the GSI plans to take over the entire villages along with agricultural lands for the lithium plant. More than 1864 land pass books existed in the village alone”, they observed. Praja Science Vedika president Suresh Babu observed the adverse impacts on flora and fauna in the Chitravati river bed will cause a high rate of radiation and contamination of water as the already existing Uranium plant some 20km from the proposed site was causing adverse impacts on agriculture and human life. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/240222/10-villages-in-anantapur-and-kadapa-to-face-eviction-for-lithium-explo.html  (24 Feb. 2022)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Manipur Loktak lake is on manifesto of every political party The Loktak lake development is on the manifesto of every political party in Manipur, for ecotourism, environment protection and fisheries development. The central government is also looking to the Loktak lake for its inland waterways project. Fishing villages, which depend on the Loktak for their income, are worried about the impact of these development projects. The Loktak Development Authority (LDA) is also considered a threat to the villages as they have undertaken the work of removing the Phumdi growth, to clean the lake, which also means that the temporary huts set up by the fishermen on the floating biomass are also torn down.

The Loktak lake, revered in Manipur folklore as a goddess, is Asia’s largest freshwater lake, and is at the centre of political and environmental battle in the state of Manipur.

Y Rupachandra, convenor of the Thinungai Fishermen Union, said the ecotourism development plans could deprive the traditional fishing villages of their livelihood. “They want to remove the phumdis and introduce resorts and a golf course. Fishing will be devastated. Maybe some people could get jobs there, but what about the rest,” asked Rupachandra. The unions also said the LDA had ignored the concerns of the fishing villages. The Loktak Development Authority, an autonomous body created to preserve the lake, has remained largely defunct since the BJP government brought in its ecotourism plan. “The LDA has not held a single meeting in more than one year,” activists said. https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/manipur-assembly-polls-2022/story/loktak-lake-development-project-manifesto-manipur-polls-1916637-2022-02-23  (23 Feb. 2022)

Maharashtra NGT upholds CRZ 1 status of Panje In a big victory for environmentalists fighting to save Panje wetland in Uran, the NGT on Feb 23, 2022 upheld that the area falls under CRZ-1 and dismissed the contentions by Cidco and NMSEZ against the status of the area. The Western Zonal Bench of NGT headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel dismissed review petitions filed by Cidco and NMSEZ against the Tribunal’s ruling of April 15, 2021, which directed the opening of the inter-tidal water inlets to the wetland that were blocked in 2020. The other members of the Tribunal are Justice Brijesh Sethi and expert members Dr Nagin Nanda, Dr A Senthil Vel, Dr Vijay Kulkarni and Dr Afroz Ahmad. The Tribunal had in fact asked Cidco and the Raigad district collector to comply with the Environment Director’s order of November 11, 2020, to clear the choke points at Panje. Cidco and NMSEZ had contended that the 289-hectare Panje area was agricultural land and that it was a developable land parcel. NGT also said no one should interfere with the free flow of tidal water, according to advocate Meenaz Kakalia who represented activist Nandkumar Pawar of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP).

– The latest National Wetland Decadal Change Atlas prepared by the Space Application Centre (SAC) and ratified by the MOEF clearly demarcates Panje as wetland with inter-tidal water, mangroves and mudflats, NatConnect director B N Kumar pointed out. Pawar said he will file a caveat at the Supreme Court leading for giving him notice in case CIDCO move the top court. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-ngt-upholds-crz-1-status-of-panje-wetland-dismisses-cidco-nmsez-objections/articleshow/89780299.cms  (23 Feb. 2022)

Fresh destruction of Uran mangroves at Dhutum There are fresh reports of mangrove destruction by way of debris dumpings at Dhutum in Uran taluka, leading to multiple complaints to the state authorities by environmentalists. Responding to environmentalists’ complaints, CM Uddhav Thackeray has asked environment principal secretary to look into the burial of wetland and mangroves at Dhutum.

Activist Nandkumar Pawar of SEAP sent a separate complaint for which the CM has asked the revenue secretary Niten Kareer to look into the issue. The environmental crime has been repeatedly happening at Dhutum with truck-loads debris and soil dumped on mangroves, NatConnect Foundation and Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan stated in their fresh missive. This time, the landfill has come to notice near Sai Leela hotel and Ziya yard, Dhutum.

“These perpetrators are getting encouraged due to the inordinate delay in handing over mangroves to the forest department for conservation as reserve forest as per the Bombay High Court order of September 2018,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation. Cidco, which acquired lands for development, is yet to account for mangroves in Uran, including NMSEZ, and many other parts, he said. The handing over of 68 hectares on Monday was a case of “too little, too late”, NatConnect said in a tweet. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-fresh-destruction-of-uran-mangroves-at-dhutum-activists-lodge-complaints/articleshow/89753671.cms  (22 Feb. 2022)

Telangana Change in NH alignment cutting across waterbody recommended A special committee of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recommended re-alignment of a 4-lane road that was originally planned to cut right across a water body belonging to the state Irrigation Department. The Committee submitted on February 24 to the NGT its report that was prepared on February 19. Chuttukunta tank, a traditional reservoir, in Raghava Puram Village in Suryapet district of Telangana, is the subject matter of debate in front of the NGT wherein it was alleged that the NHAI had planned a road that simply cut across it.

– On February 15, the NHAI authorities, during a discussion, said, “The alignment of the 4-lane road was adopted by not considering this particular water body in the Detailed Project Report. Simple cross drainage was taken into consideration for the alignment.” The proposed alignment will bifurcate the tank bed into two parts for a stretch of 340 metres directly affecting the water spread area to the extent of 3.36 acres as against the total water spread area of 33.63 acres, which, the Telangana Irrigation Department officials claimed, “is a clear indication of reduction of tank capacity.” The Irrigation Department also refused to provide NOC as it said that the road alignment was new and the NOC should have been sought earlier as no construction activity can be allowed in the tank bed. https://daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=930734  (25 Feb. 2022)

Kerala Clouds gather over SilverLine rail corridor project The ambitious semi high-speed rail corridor project faces stiff resistance from environmentalists, villagers, prominent citizens and others. Hiran Unnikrishnan and M.P. Praveen report on the arguments for and against the contentious project that the CM administration is determined to complete. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/the-clouds-over-keralas-silverline-project/article65084882.ece  (26 Feb. 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh Protect water bodies from pollution: DC Tawang DC Kesang Ngurup Damo appealed to the people of the district to conserve the natural water bodies and protect these drinking water sources from contamination by not littering them. He said that, as per hearsay, there are 108 lakes in Tawang but satellite images confirmed that there are 135 lakes in the district. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/02/27/protect-water-bodies-from-pollution-dc/  (27 Feb. 2022)

Opinion Wetlands Destruction Unfortunately, we still harbor this insane mania to “develop” our water-bodies, river-banks, lakesides and floodplains (where marshes and swamps are born and thrive) and to pave them over to “civilize” them, so there is no glutinous mud or squelch or bulrushes or reeds or dragonflies or wild duck, geese and herons to be seen anywhere. Also, we swear to clean them up every World Wetland Day, and then spend the rest of the year, vomiting raw sewage, and toxic chemical wastes into them without a second thought. And then, when our cities drown in the monsoons, because we’ve built shopping malls on the floodplains, we dare to wonder why… https://indianexpress.com/article/express-sunday-eye/how-wetlands-are-the-nurseries-of-life-7764155/  (09 Feb. 2022)

Report Traditions around wetlands will help conserve it: Expert Besides documenting the flora and fauna of wetlands, there is a need for people in the hinterlands to document the knowledge, practices, identities and relationships surrounding wetlands, for a holistic approach, Kumar said. “There are oral traditions around wetlands and in future, these could be a major driver in the conservation movement,” Ritesh Kumar, director, Wetlands International South Asia, Delhi, at an eco-talk on ‘Valuing wetlands-setting an agenda for transformative change’. Goa State Biodiversity Board member secretary Pradip Sarmokadam said that on his visits to wetlands, he has often seen a small tomb, pictures of deities or a tree with flowers and a lamp which is an evidence of eco-systems being worshipped as a tradition. “People must visit their wetlands in groups and look for the changes that are happening – which should be a continuous process,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/traditions-around-wetlands-will-help-conserve-it-expert/articleshow/89810754.cms  (25 Feb. 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Haryana Level dips 1.2m every yr in Kurukshetra villages The groundwater level in Ladwa, Pehowa and Shahabad blocks of Kurukshetra is decreasing at a rate of 1.2 metre, 1.5 metre and 1.65 to 2 metre per year, respectively. As many as 51 villages of Pehowa, 65 villages of Shahabad, and 75 villages of Ladwa block in Kurukshetra district were identified as dark zones and selected under the Atal Bhujal Yojana of the Centre Government to improve the groundwater. The groundwater experts, who have been preparing the water security plans under the scheme, observed that nearly 8 to 14 times more water than its requirement is drawn from the ground for agriculture, domestic and livestock purposes. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/groundwater-level-dips-1-2-metre-every-year-in-kurukshetra-villages-371726  (21 Feb. 2022)

Report 2009 policy to save water worsened air pollution A study titled ‘Long term influence of groundwater preservation policy on stubble burning and air pollution over North-West India’, conducted by researchers at the Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) has found that the water conservation policy implemented in the food-bowl states of Punjab and Haryana has led to faster depletion of groundwater and higher levels of pollution.

From their analysis of groundwater data, the researchers found that unlike variations in stubble burning data, the groundwater levels have continued to be on a steady decline. Compared to 2002-2009, there was a temporary improvement in groundwater storage in 2010, but after 2014, the levels declined more drastically. “The policy has failed. Not only has it been unable to save groundwater, it is also increasing pollution. This needs to be addressed immediately,” said Dr Chauhan. https://theprint.in/science/punjab-haryanas-2009-policy-to-save-water-worsened-air-pollution-says-isro-study/837164/  (20 Feb. 2022)

Delhi CGWB looking to strengthen monitoring network The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has sought the installation of 109 new piezometers across the city, which for now have an “uneven distribution” of hydrograph network stations, they said. At present, the national capital has around 111 monitoring stations of which there are 21 dugwells and 90 piezometers spread over an area of 1,483 sq km. The official pointed out that at present there is only one monitoring station per 1.4 sq km in the New Delhi district while in the Northeast district, there is one station per 30 sq km. According to CGWB, Delhi is divided into 33 block. Seventeen of them are over-exploited, seven are critical, six are semi-critical and only three blocks are safe. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/how-central-agency-is-looking-to-strengthen-network-for-monitoring-groundwater-situation/articleshow/89733616.cms  (22 Feb. 2022)

URBAN WATER

Mumbai NMMC criticized for planning 122 water fountains  The latest decision of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) to install as many as 122 water fountains in its jurisdiction — that is one fountain per electoral ward — has come in for sharp criticism from activists who feel that already heavy expenditure has been done on city beautification for the Swachhata contest.

Talking to TOI, NMMC commissioner Abhijit Bangar when told about the municipality getting flak with regards to high expenditure and the imminent inundation of fountains, Bangar said: “Indore city, which has previously won the top Swachhata awards, has a budget of Rs 500 crore for its beautification. We are spending much lesser that this, and still making our Navi Mumbai city stand out with regards to beautification.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-nmmc-criticized-for-planning-122-water-fountains/articleshow/89755111.cms  (22 Feb. 2022)

On February 21, notices were issued across the wards in the city informing about the corporation’s plans to discontinue water supply in the evening one day in a week. However, with elections slated soon, it was met with stiff opposition from the political parties and residential societies. So, the commissioner has decided to re-assess the situation.

“The water cut was planned to conserve water in the event of the rainy season getting delayed or inadequate rainfall. The cut planned was very miniscule and was to be done only once a day in a week and all the seven wards were allocated a particular day as well,” informed an official from the water department. The corporation’s plans evoked strong reactions amongst residents with some even alleging the administration of being hand-in-glove with the water mafia. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/navi-mumbai-municipal-corporation-withholds-plans-of-water-cuts-in-city-101645794790848.html  (25 Feb. 2022)

Thane City reels under water shortage Thousands of residents from plush residential complexes in and around the city are facing an acute water crisis and forced to spend a fortune to deploy tanker services. The local unit of the BJP has threatened to stage a protest and approach the Court against the administration if the scarcity isn’t resolved soon. The city with a population of 22 lakhs draws nearly 485 million litres of water daily from various sources but an apparent faulty distribution system riddled with leakages leaves a section of the city to face water crisis frequently. The situation is no different in the suburbs of Kalwa, Mumbra and Diva also, lament residents. Meanwhile, the administration claimed it was working towards regularising the supply throughout the city.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thane/thane-city-reels-under-water-shortage/articleshow/89731154.cms  (21 Feb. 2022)

Nasik Water storage in dams better Water across all 24 major and medium-sized dams in Nashik is currently 45,882 million cubic feet (mcft) as against 41,981 mcft during the same time last year. The storage in Gangapur dam complex that provides water to Nashik city this year is 6,784 (73%) as against 5,482 mcft (59%) last year.

“However, water in Darna complex is about 12,264 mcft (64%) of its total capacity as against 76% last year. Water from Darna complex is reserved especially for two districts — Ahmednagar and Aurangabad. Very little quantum of water from this complex is used for Nashik region. Accordingly, water has been released from the complex for drinking and non-drinking purpose for talukas like Vaijapur (Aurangabad) and Kopargaon (Ahmednagar) districts via Godavari Left Bank Canal and for Sangamner and Ahmednaaar,” the official added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/water-storage-in-dams-across-nashik-dist-better-than-last-year/articleshow/89838519.cms  (26 Feb. 2022)

Pune The water stock in four dams – Panshet, Khadakwasla, Temghar and Warasgaon – that supply water to Pune city currently stands at 62.76% which is less than the previous year but the water situation in the entire state is better than last year when the stock stood at 65.73% as compared to 74.6% today. So with a good water stock and civic elections lined up in Pune, water cuts are unlikely this summer. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/no-water-cuts-in-pune-this-summer-pmc-101645381155312.html  (20 Feb. 2022)

Kochi MC action on illegal water suppliers The Kalamassery municipality has approached the police seeking action against illegal water supply agencies. On February 16, the municipality secretary wrote to the Kalamassery station house officer regarding agencies supplying water to shops, industries, and houses without a licence. Following a complaint by social activist Gireesh Babu, an investigation by the municipality health department found that as many as 13 water supply agencies were operating without approval from the local body. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2022/feb/25/kalamassery-municipality-turns-heat-on-illegal-water-suppliers-2423421.html  (25 Feb. 2022)

Bengaluru ‘Polluting’ KCDC waste plant quietly reopens Weeks after being forced shut for violating the rules, the KCDC waste-processing plant in southern Bengaluru has quietly reopened, angering residents. Locals say the plant hasn’t taken any corrective measures it was supposed to take. They also say the plant is still causing pollution that had led to its closure in the first place.

Located at Kudlu along Hosur Main Road, the plant is run by the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation. It treats wet waste collected from city households and turns it into compost. But people living around the plant have long complained about pollution emanating from it and how it has created health hazards for them. A group of residents’ welfare associations filed a writ petition in the high court, demanding that the plant be closed. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/focus-bengaluru/polluting-kcdc-waste-plant-quietly-reopens-locals-furious-1084564.html  (24 Feb. 2022)

Hyderabad Tourism department jibed for Hussainsagar Tweet The department tweeted: “As declared by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, #HussainSagar lake in Hyderabad is the world’s largest heart-shaped lake and is called the “Heart of the World”… #WonderfulTelangana #Hyderabad #TelanganaTourism,” [sic]. However, the UN body had actually stated this way back in 2012. This made the tourism department Tweet appear like the department was trying to sell old wine in a new bottle. In addition, the tweet also left out out the following part of the UN body’s report — “constant inflow of industrial effluents and the enormous dumping of domestic solid wastes into the lake Hussainsagar India have unfortunately left it highly polluted.”

Apart from this, as environmentalist and founder-member of SOUL (Save Our Urban Lakes) Dr Subba Rao points out, the original shape of the lake was different, and the current one was formed due to encroachments. Responding to the tweet, Dr Rao said “The state government is blind, as it can’t see the state of the lake. And it is deaf as it is not hearing comments about the lake’s pollution. And it also does not have a sense of smell. The lake emits methane, which is detrimental to climate change.” Dr Rao said the focus should instead be on understanding and restoring the natural functions of inland freshwater bodies like Hussainsagar. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/270222/tourism-depts-heart-shaped-hussainsagar-draws-flak.html  (27 Feb. 2022)

Ludhiana Acute water crisis in Dugri village Dugri village is facing an acute water shortage for the past three-four days and residents are now up in arms against the authorities and area councillor. They rued that the problem is severe in two streets whose level is higher than the other areas due to which water does not reach their houses. “We are forced to fill the buckets from nearby houses where submersible pumps are installed. Even before the Assembly election, we had faced a similar problem, but at that time area councillor got one submersible installed to streamline the water supply. Now again, supply has been stopped as MC officials claimed that no permission was taken for submersible,” said residents. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/acute-water-crisis-in-dugri-village-residents-up-in-arms/articleshow/89838669.cms  (26 Feb. 2022)

Chandigarh MC plans to expand tertiary water network Currently saving potable water worth nearly ₹36 crore every year by recycling, the Chandigarh municipal corporation now aims to expand the tertiary water supply network, which will save ₹60 crore and nearly 100 million litre per day (MLD) of precious drinking water. MC commissioner Anindita Mitra, said, “MC plans to increase usage of the tertiary water. Currently, MC is saving 70 MLD of potable water by recycling sewage water. We now plan to increase it to 100 MLD by expanding the tertiary water supply network in Industrial Area and areas in the city yet to be covered.”

The project envisages modernisation of the entire tertiary water supply system as the already laid network also requires upgrading. In addition to it, left-out pockets like government institutions, particularly schools, will be covered. Some of the southern sectors which haven’t been covered so far will also be connected. Providing tertiary water for agriculture and related activities is one of the major objectives of the project as it will reduce dependence on ground water. By expanding the tertiary network, MC will also save on water pumping costs. “By recycling and usage of 70 MLD tertiary water, MC saves ₹3 crore per month. After increasing tertiary water usage, savings will increase to more than ₹5 crore per month,” said Mitra. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/chandigarh-mc-plans-to-expand-tertiary-water-network-101645303019973.html  (20 Feb. 2022)  

Gurugram GMDA starts new phase of smart water management system The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has started working on a new phase of the pilot project for Centralised Integrated Water Management System (CIWMS) to connect 66 underground water tanks in the city, said officials on Thursday (Feb. 24). The initiative aims at “equitable distribution of potable water” across the city, by tapping illegal connections, according to the officials. The GMDA has been trying to develop a pipeline network for the distribution of water to consumers like Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, colonisers, and industrial, commercial and institutions among other usage points through five main distribution pipelines in the city — the supply and control of which will be monitored from the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC).

In December 2021, the GMDA “reduced non-revenue water (NRW) along the Basai-Dundahera pipeline by tapping illegal connections from 50% to almost 11% in four months”. Last year, the authority tested the system through a pilot project from Basai till Dwarka. The water supplied across Gurugram comes from the Mundik canal and the Yamuna channel. This raw water is carried to the water treatment plants (WTPs) at Basai and Chandu Budera, which have a daily operational capacity of 270MLD and 300MLD, respectively. There are two boosting stations in sectors 16 and 51, to help overcome the difficulty of transporting water to eastern parts of the city which is on higher ground than the two WTPs. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/gmda-starts-new-phase-of-smart-water-management-system-in-city-connect-66-underground-water-tanks-101645730162843.html  (25 Feb. 2022)

Ghaziabad MC drafts plan to meet water demand in 2025 Under the plan, the corporation has estimated that it needs to bridge 457.74MLD shortfall in water supply, 585MLD gap in water treatment facilities, set up tap water facility in 192,155 households (including slums) and 52MLD gap in used water treatment by the year 2025, among others. Earlier in December last year, the corporation took up an internal survey and found that 63 of the 100 residential wards in the city do not meet the requirement of 135 litre per capita per day (lpcd) while the rest of the 37 wards have surplus water supplied by the agency.

The internal survey said that residential wards face a water supply deficit of about 107.02MLD against the production of 264.75MLD, while the daily demand is 371.78MLD. It also stated that 45 of the 63 water-deficit wards fall in the trans-Hindon area, which includes 22 wards in the Vasundhara zone, comprising localities such as Indirapuram, Vasundhara and Vaishali, while 23 wards fall in the Mohan Nagar zone. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/ghaziabad-civic-body-drafts-plan-to-meet-water-demand-in-2025-101645642854138.html  (24 Feb. 2022)

Delhi DJB to set up first sludge treatment plant DJB is setting up a 200 TPD capacity sludge treatment plant at its Kondli STP, water minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday (Feb. 22), adding that in the next two years, all STPs in Delhi will have its own sludge treatment facility. Jain said the DJB’s 36 STPs produce about 700-800 tonnes of sludge daily, which will be treated using modern technology. “Similar solutions will be implemented in the 13 CETPs in industrial areas as sludge produced by industrial units can be hazardous in nature,” he said.

Once the sludge treatment plant becomes operational, only 5% residue will be left over, the water minister said. “Even that residue will be further used for making tiles and conditioning the soil. This project will have a 15 years operation and maintenance (O&M) period,” Jain said. He added that the facility will be ready by March 31, 2022, and the model may be replicated at all the existing 36 STPs. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-jal-board-to-set-up-its-first-sludge-treatment-plant-at-kondli-stp-101645555417410.html  (23 Feb. 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

Report New tool enables early detection of cyanobacterial blooms in waterbodies Using satellite data, researchers have created a pan-India map of harmful algal blooms caused by cyanobacteria in Indian inland waterbodies. An analysis of six Indian waterbodies showed that these blooms were most severe post-monsoon season when nutrient concentrations are the highest. The researchers have developed a new tool which will assist water resource managers to monitor water quality and aid decision-making. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/02/new-tool-enables-early-detection-of-cyanobacterial-blooms-in-indias-waterbodies/  (25 Feb. 2022)

Gujarat “Satellite Images showing a bright green coloured Ukai dam reservoir caused by algae. Fertilizer run off and sewage discharge upstream of the Tapi river are the biggest causes behind such blooms.” Raj Bhagat P https://twitter.com/rajbhagatt/status/1497212432195809280?s=20&t=pj6YBQCSj4cigJpC7AI_Hg 

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Bihar Govt to probe irregularities in Nal Jal Scheme Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has ordered a probe into alleged irregularities in the allotment of contracts and implementation of the state government’s flagship ‘Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal’ scheme. The order comes a fortnight after a division bench of the Patna High Court heard a PIL regarding alleged discrepancies and corruption in bidding, contract allotment and implementation of the scheme. The court asked the petitioner to approach the departments concerned for redressal of grievances. The PIL was filed on the basis of a series of reports in The Indian Express in September 2021, a set of RTI replies and other reports.

In an order dated February 18, sent to the department’s executive engineers at Purnia, Katihar, Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura, Araria and Kishanganj, PHED special officer Ashok Kumar wrote: “It is directed (that) in wake of Patna High Court’s order on 4 February, 2022 (in CWJC no. 1106/2022, Sanjay Mehta Vs Government and others) to take apt action and keep updating the department from time to time. Let it be given top priority”. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/patna/nal-jal-scheme-bihar-govt-to-probe-irregularities-7781807/  (20 Feb. 2022)

WATER

Tamil Nadu Pioneering desalination to stave off water crisis The Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD) had initially set up nearly 15 small-scale reverse osmosis desalination plants in Ramanathapuram, which are over 30 years old. Subsequently, during the government of M. Karunanidhi in 1999, one of the first major seawater desalination plants was commissioned at Narippaiyur in Ramanathapuram with a capacity to treat 3.80 million litres a day (mld). The facility was maintained by BHEL, Ranipet. While at that point in time desalination technology was a saviour, the State has re-examined its strategy, over the years, drawing from its experience of high operation and maintenance cost of the desalination plants. Recently the plants in Ramanathapuram were closed. TWAD officials acknowledged the plants helped in removing the total dissolved solids in the water. The agency is now moving towards region-specific water management solutions.

Pointing out the production cost of desalinated water was ₹100 per kilolitre in the old facilities, a senior TWAD official said, “Our focus is now on Combined Water Supply Schemes with the Cauvery river source to supply water on a long-term basis at a cost of ₹8.50 per kilolitre. Residents of Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai districts receive water supply under the scheme. A proposal is under consideration for providing an additional 55 litres per capita per day of water.” At the same time, proposals for establishing 60-mld-capacity desalination plants at Kuthiraimozhi, Ramanathapuram and Koonimedu near Marakkanam are under consideration. Feasibility of alternative sources is also being considered. Officials note that when massive droughts hit the city in 2017 and 2019, the two desalination plants helped to manage the crisis considerably. Growing demands for freshwater in the metropolis and industrial needs have prompted the government to go for two more plants at Nemmeli and Perur. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/for-in-focus-pioneering-desalination-to-stave-off-water-crisis/article65080200.ece  (24 Feb. 2022)

AGRICULTURE

Tamil Nadu From Achyut Das of Odisha: AN UNFORGETTABLE VISIT TO PANRUTI : THE HUB FOR CASHEW AND JACKFRUITS IN TAMIL NADU

On 22nd February, Vidhya and I had got a chance to visit Panruti in Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu some 180kms away from Chennai. We had heard a lot of conversation on our Jackfruit Forever WhatsApp Group. Our friends from Tamil Nadu  have also suggested that we must visit it at the first opportunity. Lo and behold, the opportunity came and we made it. Our friends like Shree Padre from Karala and Dr. MV Ashok from Mumbai who have been deeply associated with the Farmers of Panruti  shared some very useful contacts who had agreed to be our guide to the Farmers and their fields. Before visiting Panruti, we had a look at Wikipidia and came to know the following: Panruti produces cashews, jackfruit, sugar cane and many vegetables. Panruti plays a major role in the cashew export business, exporting to Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and the United States. It is known for its famous international jackfruit market, from where jackfruit is exported to many other countries. It is also a commercial centre of Cuddalore district. The Rathinampillai market located in the centre of the city attracts thousands of people everyday from morning 5:00 a.m…… Panruti is a developing city, municipality and taluk headquarters of Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu, India. Panruti is located between Cuddalore and Neyveli. Panruti is famous for jackfruit and cashew nuts. The jackfruit grown here is exported worldwide and is very sweet. It is a business capital of Cuddalore district. Kananchavadi one of the villages in panruti taluk, famous for palm juice. It has been a great commercial area for more than 200 years.[citation needed] The name Panruti came from the Tamil words “Pann” and “Urutti” meaning “composing song and music”, as the place is where many saints and great religious singers such as nayanmars and vainavas sung. A 150-year-old government school was built here by the British East India Company and a more-than-1000-year-old temple Veerattaneswarar temple is nearby in Thiruvathigai. I repeat Panruti has 200 years of Business History!

As we arrived late, our Farmer friends took us around and showed us both Cashew and Jackfruit Mixed  Plantations in the Farmers Field. We had asked why Mango and other fruit bearing  trees are not there. We are told that the soil, the rainfall and the agro-climatic conditions only are favourable to Cashew and Jackfruit. After Nyevelli Lignite Corporation had started coal mining and power generation, there is very acute shortage of water for irrigation. The Farmers depend only on rainwater but deep bore wells up to 600feet depth have been sunk. As a result now Sugar cane, a range of vegetables and Guava crops have come up and very few farmers grow paddy. Everything is cash crop, believe it or not.  We saw an export oriented Cashew Factory set up by a woman entrepreneur Mrs.Krishnamurthy with latest technology who was employed by TCS and other IT Companies and also aided by her Professor husband.  The company is employing 150 women for Cashew processing. No component of Cashew is wasted. Oil is extracted from the nut shells, which have a lot of industrial use.  Tamil Nadu Government has given 25% subsidy only and rest are private investments. Every Farmer- big and small – are basically entrepreneurs. A small farmer of 3 acres holding is getting 6lakhs from Cashew and 2 lakhs from Jackfruit. The Cashew factory owner has a few crores on investment and return. There are a number of Cashew Factories all around creating large scale  employment!  The Farmers we met are Mr. Jayamurthy, Mr. Vaithialingam Kumar. The DDM NABARD Mr. Nehhar was to be our technical guide but he was distracted by an important meeting.  The Hindu Newspaper had published an item on 21st February – Exporters’ association seeks GI tag for Panruti Cashew ( the Link is: https://www.thehindu.com/…/gi-tag…/article65067915.ece ……….).

Then we went to meet the Jackfruit Farmer Mr. Haridoss and was highly impressed by the kind of work he has taken on Jackfruit Plantation, Research and Extension. He is a retired deputy Director of Agriculture Department and has got all the technical knowledge. He has got 100 varieties of Jackfruit and has classified in terms of sweetness (  the unit is called BRIX. Sugar cane juice is 12 Brix where as he has got jackfruits which has got 40 brix which could be a record in the entire country).  A remarkably simple person, he talked about the agronomy of Jackfruit and how it is marketed. He gave Vidhya and me to taste some off season Jackfruits which are very sweet. He told us how to distinguish the Male and Female Jackfruit Flowers. He showed us how the Jackfruits are grafted as the grafts are in demand. He says that  the knowledge is to be shared. He welcomed the Farmers and Entrepreneurs from Odisha to visit him and take the grafts of 100 varieties of Jackfruits.

In the Agriculture Development of Panruti, the role of Tamil Nadu Government is very nominal. It is  the 200 years of business practices, the stabilisation of market of Supply and Demand, the spread of education etc which are the hallmark of Success in Panruti.

Vidhya and I had a long discussion and analysis. Why it is not happening in Odisha? Cashew plantations in Machhkund   catchment could be more than 75 years. Jackfruits in Odisha have been there since many centuries and have been part of culture. Hundreds of tons of Cashew nut and raw Jackfruits are exported out with distress sale but it is a pity that entrepreneurship has not been developed in Odisha!

MONSOON 2022

Skymet Normal monsoon this year According to AVM GP Sharma, President – Meteorology and Climate Change, Skymet Weather, “After observing back-to-back La Nina during 2020 & 2021, the chances of yet another episode is ruled out, statistically. The Sea Surface Temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are likely to rise soon and the probability of continued La Nina will fall.

However, ENSO predictability decreases during the upcoming ‘spring barrier’ and at times leads to an unstable ENSO regime. This will get factored in our April forecast. While the monsoon trough is over the South Tropical Indian Ocean, IOD events are typically unable to form till April. Reliable trends of ‘Indian Ocean Dipole’ emerge in the latter half of it. Early indications suggest it to be ‘neutral’ but leaning close to the negative threshold. IOD-ENSO interaction will hold the key to the overall health of Indian Summer Monsoon 2022″. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-to-have-normal-monsoon-this-year-forecasts-skymet-11645427706370.html  (21 Feb. 2022)

IMD About the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions, O P Sreejith, head, climate monitoring and prediction group, India Meteorological Department (IMD), said that many weather models have predicted that La Nina conditions may weaken. “However, there are some models indicating that La Nina may prevail. However, it is too early to predict as there are other factors which will become clear by the end of April and May,” said Sreejith.

D S Pai, former scientist at IMD and now director at the Institute of Climate Change Studies, government of Kerala, said that the weak La Nina conditions will continue. “After May, La Nina conditions may dissipate and the monsoon may become neutral. In case of neutral ENSO conditions, there may be no effect of La Nina and El Nino conditions. However, there are Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and other factors which will be clear by April and May,” said Pai. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/southwest-monsoon-likely-to-be-normal-this-year-weather-dept-101645468051953.html  (21 Feb. 2022)

Parts of the South Peninsula covering Kerala, coastal Karnataka-Goa and Rayalaseema may witness a bountiful pre-monsoon period (March-April-May) and a reasonably good first monsoon month of June, while July and August may turn drier. The rains may help prevent summer temperatures from peaking appreciably beyond their normal. Tamil Nadu, too, is expected to run into a dry August, according to an updated six-month-outlook issued by the APEC Climate Centre at Busan in South Korea, in what it sees as an otherwise normal rainy season covering three of the four monsoon months.  https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/bountiful-pre-monsoon-rain-season-ahead-for-south-peninsula/article65076940.ece  (23 Feb. 2022)

Delhi Highest rain in February in 8 years With the city receiving 10.1 mm rainfall overnight till 8.30 am on Saturday (Feb. 26), Safdarjung has recorded 28.7mm rainfall in February so far, the highest rainfall in the month in the past eight years. Before this, Safdarjung, which is the city’s base station, had recorded 48.8mm rainfall in February 2014. There is a possibility of very light rain on March 2. According to India Meteorological Department, the period between January to May is “very high prone” for hailstorm for Delhi. During this period, hailstorm earlier occurred over Delhi on January 6 in 2021 and March 14 in 2020. Hailstorm was also recorded in Delhi-NCR on February 7 in 2019, while two incidents were recorded in 2013 on January 17 and March 29. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/all-hail-breaks-loose-under-impact-of-western-disturbance-over-delhi/articleshow/89858361.cms  (27 Feb. 2022)

Delhi Massive Hailstorm, Heavy Rain In Several Parts Of Capital. https://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/rain-and-thunderstorm-in-parts-of-delhi-minimum-temperature-12-5-degrees-2789927  (26 Feb. 2022)

दिल्ली-एनसीआर में बारिश और ओलावृष्टि से किसानाें काे करोड़ों का नुकसान, फसलें तबाह https://hindi.news18.com/news/delhi-ncr/crores-of-farmers-lost-due-to-rain-and-hailstorm-in-delhi-ncr-farmer-crops-destroyed-nodssp-4034820.html  (26 Feb. 2022)

FLOOD

Uttar Pradesh Trapped between Ghaghara and its embankment Every year, as many as 100,000 villagers in Barabanki relocate to temporary shelters when the Ghaghara river inundates their villages and destroys their crops. These rural residents are trapped between the embankments of the river built for flood control. Villages like Tepra are washed away and for the past three years now, people are living on an embankment awaiting compensation and rehabilitation. https://www.gaonconnection.com/read/uttar-pradesh-elections-barabanki-floods-displacement-poverty-compensation-ghaghara-embankment-water-sirauli-gauspur-ramsanehighat-ramnagar-polls-2022-50432  (22 Feb. 2022)  

The Rapti River in Ikauna block of Sravasti inundates fields and houses in low-lying areas for a good two or three months during the monsoons and cuts off connectivity. In fact, villages like Rajgarh Gulahriya,Narayanjot, Mankoa Kondri, and Maulana Ghasiyari would have remained cut off from the nearest main market round the year had the villagers not pooled in their resources and built a temporary bridge at Kakra Ghat. https://theprint.in/india/cant-learn-cant-work-cant-even-cross-river-life-in-3-of-indias-4-poorest-districts-all-in-up/841307/   (22 Feb. 2022)

URBAN FLOODS

As part of the SNDP’s first phase, works in progress on the stormwater drain at Bandlaguda Cheruvu.

Hyderabad GHMC plans to complete SNDP works before monsoon To address the issue of urban flooding, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has paced up the Strategic Nala Development Programme (SNDP) works with plans to complete them before the rains arrive. The stormwater drain network in the city is being revamped at a cost of Rs 858.32 crore in SNDP’s first phase. A total of 60 works were been proposed under the SNDP and among them 37 works were in the GHMC limits. The remaining works were proposed in municipal corporations and municipalities around GHMC. https://telanganatoday.com/ghmc-plans-to-complete-sndp-works-before-monsoon  (24 Feb. 2022)

ENERGY OPTIONS

Kerala KSEB plans 200 mw renewable energy projects in 10 dams Kerala State Electricity Board is set to open bids for 100MW each of wind energy projects and floating solar energy projects in ten dams this week. The bids to set up grid-connected floating solar panels in ten dams in the state will be opened by the end of this month. “We expect to generate 100MW from the reservoirs,” said Suku, the REES director.

“Earlier, we had commissioned the first reservoir-based solar floating facility of 500KW at the Banasurasagar dam in Wayanad. The Request for Qualification for eight dams under KSEB and two under the Kerala Water Authority has seen interest from corporates. The proposal is to design, build, own and operate the facilities,” he said. 

The eight dams under the KSEB hydroelectric projects are Banasurasagar, Anayirankal, Mattupetty, Ponmudi, Kallarkutty, Sengulam, Kallar and Kundala, and the two reservoirs under KWA are Aruvikkara and Peppara in Thiruvananthapuram district. “The bids have to be approved by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission,” the REES director added. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/feb/22/board-plans-200-mw-renewable-energy-projects-in-10-dams-2422218.html  (22 Feb. 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Report Budget Cuts for 5 of Environment Institutes In October of 2020, the Ministry of Finance recommended that five autonomous institutes be disengaged financially and administratively from the MoEF—these include the Wildlife Institute of India, GB Pant Himalayan Institute of Environment and Development, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Indian Institute of Forest Management, and Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute. As a result, their 2022-23 budgets have shrunk. https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/environment/budget-cuts-for-five-of-indias-environment-institutes-puts-research-and-education-in-jeopardy/  (23 Feb. 2022)

Govt Clears Way for Residential Units in Reserved Forests MoEFCC has recently issued a clarification whereby forest diversion approvals can be sought for residential projects up to 1 hectare in area. https://www.newsclick.in/Modi-Govt-Clears-Way-Residential-Units-Reserved-Forests  (26 Feb. 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Report Broaden understanding of marine heatwaves: Experts A recent study has shown that increasing marine heatwaves in the northern Indian Ocean are affecting the Indian summer monsoon rainfall. It is crucial to disentangle to what extent marine heatwaves and other factors impact rainfall. Experts emphasise accurate monitoring and forecasting of marine heatwaves dedicated to the Indian Ocean. The Indian government plans to ramp up ocean observation instruments under its Deep Ocean Mission for improved ocean climate advisory services which will also help set up marine heatwave forecasts. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/02/broaden-understanding-of-marine-heatwaves-in-the-indian-ocean-experts/  (23 Feb. 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

India-Nepal NEA pesents fresh list of power projects to India for exporting electricity during monsoon Electricity Authority has submitted to India a fresh list of hydropower projects whose electricity it plans to export to the southern neighbour in the upcoming monsoon. According to the NEA, it has submitted the list by incorporating the hydropower projects which were submitted last year too and some new ones whose combined capacity is 814MW. “The projects include Upper Tamakoshi (456MW), Upper Bhotekoshi (45MW), Kaligandaki (144MW), Marshyangdi 69 (MW), Middle Marshyagndi (70MW) and Chameliya (30MW),” said Suresh Bahadur Bhattarai, spokesperson at the NEA. https://tkpo.st/3JOkqWY  (23 Feb. 2022)

SJVN on Feb 22 2022 signed papers to get a Rs 6,333.40-crore loan from a consortium of banks from India and Nepal for funding of its Arun-3 power project in Nepal. The consortium, led by SBI India and PNB, have Exim Bank, Canara UBI & Everest Bank, Nepal & Nabil Bank, Nepal as consortium members. https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/sjvn-signs-papers-to-get-rs-6-333-cr-loan-for-arun-3-hydro-project-in-nepal-122022201418_1.html  (22 Feb. 2022)

The joint steering committee (JSC) consisting of energy secretaries of Nepal and India is convening its meeting in Kathmandu on Feb 23, 2022. Before the 2-day physical meeting of secretaries, joint secretaries also hold a meeting of their joint working group (JWG) that will forward its decisions to the JSC meeting. Joint investment is on the agenda. Nepal wants India to agree on the joint investment in an inter-country transmission line besides other hydropower projects. Likewise, it also wants the southern neighbour to be more clear on inter-country energy trade. Nepal is expected to produce surplus energy in the monsoon from this year and it desperately needs international markets to sell it. https://english.onlinekhabar.com/nepal-india-energy-meeting.html  (22 Feb. 2022)

Pakistan Water crisis deepens in Sindh’s Mithi Dozens of people staged a demonstration in Tharparkar district in Sindh province against the worsening water crisis in the Mithi town. As per Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) party leaders, functionaries of the public health department are squarely responsible for the nagging water crisis in the entire district. “Almost all reverse osmosis plants installed at a cost of over PKR 15 billion have ceased to function due to massive corruption by both the officials of PHED and the private firms, which were responsible for their upkeep,” they said. They also said the town residents were forced to buy water cans at exorbitant rates due to the complete failure of waterworks. Furthermore, the protestors added those who could not afford to buy the essential commodity were forced to consume highly toxic water of wells.

This protest comes amid a looming water crisis in Pakistan that may prove to be disastrous for the country’s stability. The water crisis has set off a series of protests and may hurt Pakistan’s ailing economy as well as going to increase feuds among provinces and turn into a flashpoint for a major internal disturbance, according to Toronto based think tank International Forum for Right and Security (IFFRAS). Farmers in Sindh and Balochistan provinces have started blocking major highways to demand the release of their share of water from the Indus River. The richest and politically-dominated Punjab province is often accused of allocating the highest and unfair amount of river water to it while leaving other provinces dry, the think tank said. https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-as-water-crisis-deepens-in-sindhs-mithi-residents-hit-streets-in-protest/848691/  (26 Feb. 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Africa Communities: we want to see our own development priorities realized The community-led research led to a report that CHRR and IAP are currently using to engage with the Government of Malawi, the IFC and the World Bank to ensure that the violations that the development of the project is causing can be addressed. In August 2021, it was revealed that the Government of Malawi had been, and actually the IFC and World Bank supported them to engage the affected communities for the development of the ESIA and RAP while there was no stakeholder engagement plan in place. The IFC and World Bank safeguard policies require that the client must develop a stakeholder engagement plan, as stated by the IFC Safeguard Policies, “the IFC client must develop and implement a Stakeholder Engagement Plan that is scaled to the project risks and impacts and development stage and tailored to the characteristics and interests of the Affected Communities.”

Community-Led Research Report: Mpatamanga Hydropower Project, Malawi

The Government of Malawi is just now in the process of developing a stakeholder engagement plan after receiving recommendations from CHRR. Notwithstanding, it’s surprising to learn that in the Mpatamanga Hydropower Project draft ESIA of February 2021, the Government of Malawi claimed that they had developed a stakeholder engagement plan that was used in the engagement of the affected communities. https://accountability.medium.com/communities-we-want-to-see-our-own-development-priorities-realized-f898963a4e5d  (23 Feb. 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 21 Feb. 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 14 Feb. 2022  

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

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