DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 4 April 2022: Gujarat Tribals unite to stop Par Tapi Narma

(Feature Image:-Tribals protesting against Par-Tapi-Narmada Project. The Indian Tribals)

The amazing unity and fight shown by Gujarat Tribals in their protest against the Par Tapi Narmada Link has led to both Gujarat govt and Central govt agreeing to suspend the project. However, the tribals are rightly not satisfied with the word of play indulged in by the Gujarat and Union govt so far. The central govt has said that the project will not go ahead as long as there is no consensus among the party states, but that statement is true even with or without the campaign launched against the project. The Maharashtra govt in any case is not in agreement with the project. Gujarat govt has not taken a clear decision to permanently cancel the project and without such a decision, Gujarat govt can again revive the project any minute. Same is true about the Central govt. So until both Gujarat govt and Central govt decide to cancel the project and come out with official notification to that effect, the tribals are right to continue the protest and not believe in either of the govt.

Gujarat Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking shelved amid tribal protests Opposition Congress for dropping the project altogether, sources in the Union Jal Shakti Ministry said. The government, they added, is only stalling the project until Gujarat and Maharashtra, the two states through which the rivers flow, can come to a “consensus”.

– According to documents dating to 2017, available at the Jal Shakti Ministry’s website, the then Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari held a meeting with the then CMs of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Devendra Fadnavis and Vijay Rupani, on 25 September 2017. In this meeting, the two BJP chief ministers agreed to implement the project. Gadkari held another meeting on 16 January 2018 with representatives of the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat to review the status. Several other meetings took place subsequently too, including one convened by then chief secretaries of both states on 7 September 2018 for the finalisation of the MoU to implement the project. https://theprint.in/india/governance/eye-on-gujarat-polls-modi-govt-shelves-par-tapi-narmada-river-linking-amid-tribal-protests/895197/  (31 Mar 2022)

Gujarat has asked the central government to put on hold the project connecting the Par, Tapi and Narmada rivers. Gujarat water resource and water supply minister Rushikesh Patel made the announcement in the state assembly.

– “We will carry on our protest further if the Centre does not issue a notification calling off the project entirely, and not merely put it on hold,” said Roshan Sharoliya, a tribal from Ahwa, the headquarters of the Dangs district that falls under the project. “On April 1, about 20,000 tribals are going to carry out a rally in Songadh (in Tapi district) to press for their demands.”

– “For our protest movement, we have formed local organisations,” he said. “There are six dams that are proposed to be built in Gujarat, and we have formed dam-wise organisations like Bhekhad Sangharsh Samit, Chaans Mandva Dam Sangharsh Samiti, Zari Sangharsh Samiti and so on. Then we have also formed region-wise samitis like Dang District Sangharsh Samiti. There are no positions for political leaders as this is a mass movement.” Many including Congress leader Anant Patel, who has a strong following in the tribal region, have supported the movement, he added. On Tuesday, MLA Anant Patel said the agitation will continue till the Centre issues a direction to scrap the project. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/river-linking-project-stalled-in-gujarat-after-tribals-protest-101648636472890.html  (30 March 2022)

After a flurry of late-night activity in New Delhi on Monday (March 28), the Gujarat government informed the assembly on Tuesday that the Par-Tapi-Narmda river-linking project has been suspended. The decision was made after a delegation of ministers and MLAs from Gujarat led by state BJP president C R Paatil, met Union home minister Amit Shah, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Monday night. As assembly elections are to be held in Gujarat later this year, there have been widespread protests by tribal people against the river-linking project. Sitharaman had announced a renewed push for the project in the recent Union Budget. C R Paatil said, “The central government assured us that until Maharashtra and Gujarat — the two states involved in the project — give their consent to the project, it cannot be given the go-ahead,” the BJP leader said.

– “Following representations and opposition from tribal people living in the belt from Ambaji to Umergaon, the state government has decided not to implement the Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking project. The rider was that this project will be implemented only with the consent of the state government,” health minister Rushikesh Patel said.

– Leader of opposition Sukhram Rathva said the protests by tribal people forced the decision. “The government has been forced to cancel the project, as it sensed a massive backlash from the tribal people of Gujarat if it continued with the project, Rathva said. He added, “Congress will not be satisfied with just the suspension of the project. It has to be scrapped altogether.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/par-tapi-narmada-linking-project-suspended-after-protests/articleshow/90528586.cms  (30 March 2022)

On March 21, the tribals in Gujarat will hold a public meeting in Kaprada in Valsad district to protest against the Centre’s Par Tapi Narmada river-linking project. This will be the fourth such protest meet after the first on February 28 in Dharampur of Valsad district, the second one on March 5 in Vyara of Tapi district, and the third meet on March 11, in Dang district. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/par-tapi-narmada-river-linking-project-protests-explained-7826710/  (19 March 2022)

RIGHT QUESTION: गुजरात में नदी जोड़ परियोजना पर रोक, तो केन- बेतवा पर क्यों नहीं? https://pannastories.blogspot.com/2022/03/blog-post_30.html  (30 March 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Himachal Pradesh Apple growers halt work on hydro project near Rampur Fruit growers have forced the authorities to stop work at Luhri Stage-1 Hydro Electric Project, Neerath, near Rampur, as the dust emanating from the site due to blasting is affecting pollination in apple. “Apple trees are in full bloom and fruit will be set in another 10 days. However, dust is settling on the flowers and is affecting pollination, which will hit the yield,” said Sandeep Shroal, pradhan, Thanadar panchayat.

– “The SJVN Ltd, which is building the project, had been ignoring our requests to stop blasting for 10 days. So we forced them to stop the work,” he said. Fruit growers of 13 panchayats of the Kullu, Rampur and Kotgarh areas were affected.

– To ensure that the work remains stalled, the panchayats have begun a dharna at the site for the next 10 days. “On our first day of the protest, no one from the company approached us,” said Kaku Ram, vice pradhan, Shamathla panchayat. “We are now fighting to save the apple crop. Our livelihood depends on the yield. We can’t remain mute spectators to the destruction unleashed by the project,” he said. RL Negi, an official of the SJVN, claimed, “We have already installed sprinklers and will take more steps to control the dust.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/crop-at-risk-apple-growers-halt-work-on-power-project-382504  (01 April 2022)

Massive fire near glaciated area of Parvati Valley Massive forest fire in Parbati valley very close to glaciated area. Scientists say this is unprecedented. The glaciologists said the fire will enhance melting of snow and leave the glacier exposed and appealed to extinguish it at the earliest. A team of glaciologists from the Divecha Centre for Climate Change of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, who are in the Parvati Valley for their project work, were alarmed to see a massive forest fire on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 29-30, 2022) in the region adjacent to the glaciated region.

Parvati Valley has 279 glaciers and 396 sq km of glaciated area. The glaciologists said the fire is adjacent to Sara Ugma glacier. HT

– After noticing the huge forest fire, the team travelled up to Pulga closer to the fire affected region. “We went up to the Parbati Hydroelectric project. The fire is affecting a very large forest area near the glaciated region. Parvati Valley has 279 glaciers and 396 square kilometer of glaciated area. The fire is adjacent to Sara Ugma glacier,” said Anil Kulkarni, a distinguished scientist at the Divecha Center for Climate Change. “I have never seen anything like this in such high altitudes in the past 40 years of my career. The soot or black carbon from the fire will definitely get deposited on the glaciers. It will reduce the albedo effect of the glaciated area and enhance melting of snow. This will leave the glacier exposed. The fire should be extinguished at the earliest,” he added.

– The Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) recorded a temperature rise of about 1.3 degree C during 1951-2014 compared to an average temperature rise of around 0.7 degree C during 1901-2018 over the country. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/massive-fire-near-glaciated-area-of-parvati-valley-glaciologists-sound-alarm-101648667326223-amp.html  (31 March 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh Inter-state arrest after anti-dam message Artist Neelim Mahanta and lawyer Ebo Mili, both in their 30s, were held in connection with a case registered with Itanagar police. They face charges under the non-bailable Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984. Conviction carries a jail term between six months and five years. “They were arrested on the charge of defacing the wall of the state secretariat building in Itanagar, known as the Wall of Harmony, with their anti-dam message,” Chiram said. “These two (accused) drew and wrote over an existing artwork done recently by fine arts students. They were produced in a local court on Monday and remanded in police custody for two days. We are proceeding legally.”

– “Neelim is an artist and should not be treated as a criminal,” AJYCP assistant general secretary Saurabh Das said on Monday evening. “We will go ahead with our blockade programme on Tuesday if he is not released unconditionally. We will block all roads to Arunachal. We also condemn the role of Lakhimpur police in his arrest.” AJYCP members burnt an effigy of Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu in Lakhimpur town, about 70km from Itanagar. https://www.telegraphindia.com/amp/north-east/arunachal-pradesh-inter-state-arrest-after-anti-dam-message/cid/1858070  (29 March 2022)

Assam Graffiti artist Neelim Mahanta sent to 2 days police custody https://www.time8.in/assam-graffiti-artist-neelim-mahanta-sent-to-2-days-police-custody/

EXCELLENT COMMENT BY Tongam Rina in Arunachal Times: The state government’s unwillingness to accept any form of dissent was in full display as its police arrested lawyer-activist Ebo Mili and graffiti artist Nilim Mahanta (a native of Assam) for defacing a controlled river mural on the wall of the civil secretariat, the seat of the government in Itanagar, to celebrate the 50th year of the renaming of Arunachal. The mural with controlled water gates depicts the journey of hydropower development in Arunachal. The two allegedly painted ‘no more dams’ and a sign of resistance over the hydro mural, triggering discussions on freedom to dissent and the pros and cons of hydropower in Arunachal.

The defaced mural has since been covered with a dark sheet by the government, symbolic of the protest.

The best step should have been to ignore all or leave the portion as a site where people can express themselves.

Sensitive to criticism and replicating the rest of BJP India, where criticism isn’t accepted, Pema Khandu’s government went ahead and arrested them, thereby unwittingly reigniting a debate on hydropower that it definitely does not need right now, given how sensitive the issue is. Not used to any form of dissent and blinded by its supporters who reacted as if the very idea of Arunachal has been threatened by the defacing of a tiny portion of a wall with the image of a controlled river, the government reacted with pettiness seen on earlier occasions too.  https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/03/30/intolerant-governance/  (30 March 2022)

Several anti-dam movement groups and activists from across India raised question over the imposition of the condition on lawyer and activist Ebo Milli and graffiti artist and activist Neelim Mahanta by the court while releasing them on bail. Urging the judges of the Yupia district & sessions court to review the bail condition, the anti-dam groups in a joint statement said that “if dams are a part of our reality as Arunachal Pradesh celebrates its 50th anniversary of statehood, the opposition to the dams is also part of the reality.”

“If murals of a dam can be painted over the walls of our cities, juxtaposed right next to our rich eco-cultural heritage, then appealing to protect and nurture our rich bio-cultural heritage, origins and history with art should also be part of the cityscape.  “To coerce the public opinion in favour of these projects, both Arunachal and the central government agencies terrorised the communities, especially the Idu Mishmi people who opposed the series of dams planned on the Dibang river,” the statement read.

The anti-dam movement groups include the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Fridays for Future India and its Arunachal and Guwahati chapters, Dibang Resistance (Arunachal Pradesh), Save Aarey movement (Mumbai), Endangered Himalaya (Himachal Pradesh), the Affected Citizens of Teesta, the Centre for Research and Advocacy (Manipur), the Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People, FFF (Meghalaya), and Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Maharashtra.  https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/04/03/anti-dam-movement-groups-question-bail-condition-imposed-on-milli-and-mahanta/  (03 April 2022)

Rare white-cheeked macaques spotted in Anjaw, W/Kameng Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India recently spotted rare white-cheeked macaques (Macaca leucogenys) in Anjaw and West Kameng districts. The white-cheeked macaque is the newest addition to the list of primate species found in the Indian subcontinent. According to West Kameng DFO Chukhu Loma, the only other time that the rare mammal’s existence was reported was in southern Tibet in 2015. He said that there had been no other reports of its discovery anywhere in the world, until only a month back in Anjaw. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/04/03/rare-white-cheeked-macaques-spotted-in-anjaw-w-kameng/  (03 April 2022)

Agenda for FAC meeting to be held on March 31 2022 includes one relevant agenda: 160.4 HA. FOREST LAND IN KARLAKATTI, CHAKRAGERI AND KAGIHAL VILLAGES, SAVADATTI (SAUNDATTI) TALUK, BELAGAVI DIST FOR STANDALONE PUMPED STORAGE COMPONENT OF SAUNDATTI INTEGRATED RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT OF GREENKO SOLAR ENERGY PVT Ltd, BANGALURU, KARNATAKA  http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx?id=268!dis1&fbclid 

आखिर हिमालय में कितने बांध बनेंगे? – भारत डोगरा https://bit.ly/3NHtsb7  (30 March 2022)

Maharashtra Koyna project late due to delay in sanction of funds According to the latest CAG report tabled in Maharashtra assembly, the Koyna Dam Foot Hydropower project has been stopped since 2015 due to delayed administrative approval for the escalated cost and indecision about the mode of power generation (Conventional or pump storage) https://epaper.thehindu.com/Home/ShareArticle?OrgId=G1K9L3J1A.1&imageview=0&fbclid  (27 March 2022)

MoEF Agenda of EAC on River Valley Projects to be held on Apr 8, 2022:

1. Brahmagavhan Lift Irrigation Scheme III (12, 500 Ha CCA) in 3007.2 ha at Village Old Lakhmapur, Tehsil Gangapur, Dist Aurangabad, Mah by Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development Corp For Environmental Clearance

2. Channaka-Korata (Rudha) barrage on Penganga River-Interstate Irrigation Project in 228.08 ha., Adilabad dist of Telangana by Irrigation & CAD Department, Govt of Telangana – For Environmental Clearance

3. 780 MW Idukki HEP in 127 ha at Village – Arakulam, Tehsil Thodupuzha, Dist Idukki, Kerala by Chief Engineer, KSEBL – Terms of Reference

4. Vijayanagar Pumped Storage Project (2 x 65 MW) in 82.4768 ha at Village & District Bellary Tehsil Sandur, Karnataka by JSW Renewable Energy (Vijayanagar) Ltd – Terms of Reference

5. Renukaji Dam Project with CCA 32372 Ha in 49800 ha. at Village Dadahu, Tehsil – Dadahu (S.T) District. Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh by Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd– Terms of Reference http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/3103202281683083FinalAgenda-RiverValley_26thEAC.pdf 

IRRIGATION

Gujarat Salt workers in Little Rann of Kutch, one of the poorest communities have AGAIN suffered as Narmada waters leaked or released from the canals have inundated their salt works, destroying or adversely affecting their works. https://www.gujaratsamachar.com/news/gujarat/the-water-of-narmada-canal-again-penetrated-into-the-salt-agars-of-halwad-panth 

Maharashtra Centre approves Laxmanrao Inamdar Lift Irrigation scheme After bringing it under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchan Yojna (PMKSY) to fast track the project, the Centre approved the Laxmanrao Inamdar Lift Irrigation scheme at Jihe-Kathepura of Satara district and sanctioned Rs 247 crore for the project. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-centre-approves-laxmanrao-inamdar-lift-irrigation-scheme-in-satara-district-7849375/  (03 April 2022)

RIVERS

पुस्तक समीक्षा  नदी पुत्र: निषाद समुदाय के इतिहास की छानबीन रमाशंकर सिंह की किताब ‘नदी पुत्र: उत्तर भारत में निषाद और नदी’हाल ही में प्रकाशित होकर आई है. इस किताब में नदियों के साथ जुड़ीं निषाद समुदाय की स्मृतियों, ऐतिहासिक दावेदारियों, सामाजिक गतिशीलता, अपवंचना और बहिष्करण के तत्वों की पड़ताल की गई है. निषाद समुदाय का जीवन कैसा है और उनकी परेशानी कैसी है, वे किस तरह एक असमान दुनिया में अर्जी, आंदोलन और प्रतिरोध का सहारा लेकर अपना वर्तमान बदलना चाहते हैं, इसे जानने के लिए रमाशंकर सिंह की किताब ‘नदी पुत्र: उत्तर भारत में निषाद और नदी में लगभग 3500 वर्षों के इतिहास की छानबीन के बाद बताई गई है. यह आधारभूत रूप से बनारस के निषादों का मानव वैज्ञानिक अध्ययन हैं.

– भारतीय समाज विज्ञान और इतिहास लेखन में मनुष्य और संसाधनों के बीच विकसित संबंधों को उपेक्षित किया है. नदियों का अध्ययन बांध, प्रदूषण, कर्मकांड, नदी घाटी परियोजनाओं के केंद्र में होता रहा है. नदियों के किनारे रहने वाली करोड़ों की आबादी इस अध्ययन से अछूती रही है. यह दिखाता है कि भारतीय समाज विज्ञान को अभी कितना समावेशी और न्यायपूर्ण होना है.

– निषादों के सामुदायिक अधिकारों की बात करते हुए लेखक ने बिहार के भागलपुर में 1982 में प्रारंभ हुए ‘गंगा मुक्ति आंदोलन’का जिक्र किया है. इस आंदोलन की मांग भी नदीय पर्यावरण को संरक्षित और सुरक्षित करने की थी. लेकिन विडंबना देखिए कि जहां चिपको आंदोलन को अंतरराष्ट्रीय पटल पर जगह मिली, उसे कुछ बेहतरीन इतिहासकार मिले, वहीं इसी तरह के दूसरे अन्य आंदोलनों पर किसी का भी ध्यान नही गया.

– इलाहाबाद और बनारस में हुए नदीय आंदोलनों पर इस तरह के अध्ययनों का अभाव था. इसे यह किताब पूरा करती है. इसे इस किताब की उपलब्धि कहा जाना चाहिए. लेखक ने परंपरागंत इतिहास-लेखन से अलग हटकर लोक, शास्त्र और स्मृति में गंगा नदी और नदीय समुदायों को विवेचन किया है.

– किताब में कुछ कमियां भी हैं. पहली कमी आरंभिक दो अध्यायों में दिखाई देती है, जहां लेखक ने पाठ आधारित सामग्री का भरपूर प्रयोग किया है, वहीं दूसरी तरफ अभिलेख आधारित सामग्री के प्रयोग का अभाव दिखाई देता है. प्राचीन काल का इतिहास लेखन बिना अभिलेख आधारित सामग्री के अधूरा रह जाता है. दूसरी बड़ी कमी है कि किताब पूरे 1000 सालों के इतिहास में नदी और निषाद के अंतर्संबंध को बिल्कुल अछूता छोड़ देती है. लेखक संपूर्ण सल्तनत और मुगल काल पर मौन दिखाई देते हैं. इन दोनों कमियों का कोई स्पष्टीकरण लेखक ने नही दिया है. https://thewirehindi.com/210855/nadi-putra-a-book-exploring-the-history-of-the-nishad-community/  (02 April 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Massive sinkhole triggers fear of potential ecological disaster Government officials formed a team of experts from National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar to start tracer studies to know where water was going in the sinkhole and find its outlet. The team is also being facilitated by revenue and irrigation and flood control departments. “Officials immediately order the diversion of water from the other side of the river parallel to the sinkhole to revive the flow of water into the river and save the fish. Later the major proportion of water started flowing into the river,” said Afroza (name changed), a local woman who resides near the Brengi River. However, some portion of the water is still draining into the sinkhole as experts are reluctant to share the findings.

More than a month has passed with the expert team tight-lipped and reluctant to reveal any findings. One of the members of the expert team, Syed Kaiser Bukhari said that they have completed the report but cannot disclose it to the media. “We have not made it public yet, however we have compiled our findings and whenever Anantnag district administration will ask for it, we will hand it over to them,” he told this reporter. When the District Commissioner of Anantnag, Dr Piyush Singala was asked on Whatsapp, he said, “Speak to SDM Kokernag pls. He will give you all the latest updates.” SDM Kokernag, Sarib Sahran, said, “The study is being done and the report will be given to DC Anantnag. The study is all about finding the outlet of the sinkhole. The other part is filling the sinkhole which we have almost done. About 60-70% of the filing has been done.” https://www.news9live.com/india/in-kashmirs-anantnag-massive-sinkhole-triggers-fear-of-potential-ecological-disaster-161873  (30 March 2022)

NARMADA Madhya Pradesh Borewells drying up Borewells around the Narmada river are drying up which indicate groundwater depletion in the river basin. The natural flow of the river has also been affected due to rampant sand mining and the construction of big dams. Over-exploitation of river water, chemical farming are also some causes of depletion of groundwater in the Narmada basin. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/03/borewells-on-the-banks-of-narmada-are-drying-up-indicating-concerning-groundwater-situation/  (30 March 2022)

Shocking report about how three rainfed rivers have been destroyed in Katni district due to the dumping of mining waste by three mining companies, minding marble stones.

YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh Over 10 ‘illegal’ farmhouses razed by Noida Authority along floodplains As per officials, the structures were spread across an area of more than 25,000 sq metres. The farmhouses were located in Sectors 134 and 135 which come under the Yamuna floodplain zone. The structures have been built over the years, officials said. Noida Authority, in the past, has carried out surveys to identify structures that are in violation of the NGT norms regarding sensitive zones in floodplains. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/over-10-illegal-farmhouses-razed-by-noida-authority-along-yamuna-floodplains-7849054/  (02 April 2022)

SAND MINING

SANDRP Blog North India: 134 people killed in sand mining violence & accidents in 16 months Detailed account of deaths and injuries due to violence and accidents related to riverbed mining in North Indian states in sixteen months from Dec 2020 to March 2022 makes a shocking reading. Plz Read, Share.

https://sandrp.in/2022/04/03/north-india-134-people-killed-in-sand-mining-violence-accidents-in-16-months/  (03 April 2022)

Punjab Hoshiarpur SSP Dhruman H Nimbale shifted Another amazing story of how an IPS officer has been shifted 18 times in 8 years in Punjab, including now by the new AAP govt. Dhruman H Nimbale has been working to stop illegal sand mining, and had filed over 100 FIRs in 3 dists. He has been doing this great work, its a mystery why the AAP govt, which claims anti corruption credentials, have shifted him from Hoshiarpur after he cracked down on illegal miners. Earlier he was shifted from Tarn Taran and Moga for similar work. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/week-after-busting-sand-mining-gang-hoshiarpur-ssp-dhruman-h-nimbale-shifted-382773  (02 April 2022)

In a latest development in the illegal sand mining case of Punjab in which Bhupinder Singh Honey, the nephew of former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and others are facing prosecution, the Enforcement Directorate has filed a chargesheet. The chargesheet was filed against Honey and one other accused before the Special Jalandhar Court under sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The court has fixed April 6 for hearing the case. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/ed-files-chargesheet-against-punjab-ex-cms-nephew-in-sand-mining-case-383218  (03 April 2022)

Uttar Pradesh यमुना में खनन माफिया ने खोद दिएमौत के गड्ढे आगरा में अवैध खनन से बने यमुना में गड्ढे जान ले रहे हैं। दो दिनों के अंदर यमुना में डूबने से तीन किशोरों की मौत हो चुकी है। ऐसी घटनाएं कई बार सामने आ चुकी हैं। इसके बावजूद सुरक्षा के इंतजाम नहीं हैं। न जानकारी वाले बोर्ड लगाए गए हैं और न ही नहाने के स्थानों पर बैरीकेडिंग की गई है। लोगों के डूबने की घटनाएं सबसे ज्यादा शोभा नगर और चीनी का रोजा पर होती हैं। इन स्थानों पर यमुना अधिक गहरी है। कुछ जगह पानी कम है, जबकि कुछ जगह गड्ढे बने हुए हैं। जब लोग नहाने जाते हैं तो कम पानी समझकर जाते हैं। इससे उन्हें गहरे पानी का अंदाजा नहीं रहता है। इसी धोखे में आकर गड्ढे के गहरे पानी में डूब जाते हैं। अवैध खनन से भी यह गड्ढे हो गए हैं। बच्चों को इसका पता नहीं चलता है। कई बार हादसे हो चुके हैं। इसके बावजूद सुरक्षा के इंतजाम नहीं है। पुलिस की कोई व्यवस्था नहीं रहती है। चीनी का रोजा को छोड़कर किसी अन्य घाटों पर रेलिंग और रस्सी तक नहीं लगी है। पुलिस भी तैनात नहीं रहती है, जिससे नहाने आने वाले लोगों को सचेत किया जा सके। इससे पहले ही इस तरह के कई हादसे हो चुके हैं। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/uttar-pradesh/agra/crime/mining-mafia-dug-death-pits-in-yamuna-river-agra  (04 May 2019)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Tamil Nadu Wetlands worth Rs 17K cr a year: Study The Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority, formed to oversee more than 42,000 wetlands in the state, decided to put a value to 141 prioritised wetlands. Researchers from the Madras Institute of Development Studies studied 80 wetlands in phase I over three years and concluded that they are worth Rs 4,386.6 crore per annum. The report, submitted recently, also said that if these 80 wetlands are restored to full capacity, the services they provide would be worth Rs 17,467.9 cr/annum.

ToI Infograph

– MIDS researchers said a lake’s worth can be calculated based on the direct and indirect services it offers. For instance, Pulicat lake alone provides economic services worth Rs 1,133 crore a year. This includes the value of direct services such as fish, fuel, genetic materials and fresh water that people use. Indirect services are its role in regulating erosion, pollution and the water table. Cultural services are its role in recreational activity and aesthetics, and in nutrient cycling. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/tamil-nadu-wetlands-worth-rs-17000-crore-a-year-says-study/articleshow/90553951.cms  (31 March 2022)

Kerala SilverLine: Survey stopped in 3 districts; more time sought for completion The agency that conducts social impact assessment survey for the SilverLine semi high-speed rail project has requested the government to extend the deadline in the wake of the mounting protests. The Kerala Voluntary Health Services said in a letter to the revenue department through the district Collectors that the stone laying can be completed by mid-May if time is extended. It was expected to be completed by April first week.  https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/silverline-agencies-halt-survey-in-3-districts-seek-extension-in-another-5-krail-1.7401854  (03 April 2022)

A Chennai-based company that was awarded the tender by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (K-Rail) to place marker stones as part of a survey for the SilverLine semi-high-speed rail project has now withdrawn from the work. The company- Velciti, has withdrawn from the contract following stiff protest from the people living in the area where survey stones had to be laid. But K-Rail contradicted the company’s statement and said it has terminated the contract with the company as its performance was not up to the mark. The firm was supposed to install the survey stones along the stretches from Kottayam to Ernakulam and Thrissur to Malappuram. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/kerala-silverline-railway-project-company-contract-survey-protests-1932031-2022-03-31  (02 April 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Report Increase in ethanol derived from feedstock could burden farms, groundwater India has achieved 9.45 percent of ethanol blending with petrol and is likely to achieve 10 percent blending by end of this year. It has targetted 20 percent blending by 2025. Ethanol is a renewable source of energy used for its benefits such as increase in engine efficiency, better fuel quality, reduced emissions among other environmental benefits. However, experts say that the 20 percent blending target, with a focus on feedstock as the source, could be harmful as it would lead to changes in land use patterns and demand for more water. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/03/increase-in-ethanol-derived-from-feedstock-could-burden-farms-groundwater/  (29 March 2022)

URBAN WATER

Hyderabad Illegal bore-wells, trenches choke Himayatsagar and Osmansagar Officials, admitting the presence of illegal bore-wells, trenches and quarrying, said they controlled them only to a certain extent and the higher authorities should make policy decisions and deploy men to curb illegal activities. Authorities said feeder channels from Tandur and Vikarabad, which were major water sources, were also blocked by illegal structures that hindered the flow of water into twin reservoirs. When queried about the illegal trenching, revenue and HMWSSB officials said the issue was not brought to their notice and they would give a detailed report in a couple of days after their field visits. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/210322/illegal-bore-wells-trenches-choke-twin-lakes.html  (22 March 2022)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Himachal Pradesh Muddy water supply irks Keylong residents From Lahual Spiti: Keylong Jal Shakti Department Sub-Divisional Officer Hem Chand Chauhan said: “Due to rising temperatures, the snow is melting at a fast pace in Lahaul valley. As a result, muddy water mingles with the water supply source leading to the problem. Due to flash floods in Lahaul valley, the water supply infrastructure was damaged last year also.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/muddy-water-supply-irks-keylong-residents-381424  (28 March 2022)

WATER

Global water pact with Netherlands India and Netherlands to prepare ground work for deal that will be discussed at UN conference next year. India’s efforts under the jal shakti ministry appreciated by the Dutch envoy for global water affairs Henk Ovink. The three-day UN conference around 22 March 2023 will set the agenda for taking action on sustainable water management. It will be co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands. https://www.livemint.com/news/world/netherlands-to-join-hands-with-india-on-global-water-pact-11648615889200.html  (31 March 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Supreme Court Environment or other rights: SC differs in 4 days The Supreme Court has expressed, in the course of four days, divergent views on whether preservation of the environment should take a backseat when other rights are at stake.

– On March 25, Justice Indira Banerjee observed in a judgment that industrial units, which provided livelihood to several thousands of workers and contributed to the nation’s economy, should not be shut down for not getting prior environmental clearance. The case concerned a unit in Haryana that employed 8,000 workers but had not got prior environmental clearance for operations. Justice Banerjee said the lack of prior environmental clearance was only a “procedural lapse”. “The court cannot be oblivious to the economy or the need to protect the livelihood of hundreds of employees and others employed in the project and others dependent on the project, if such projects comply with environmental norms,” he reasoned.

Resurgence of forest cover:- However, on Tuesday (March 29, 2022), a Bench led by Justice Khanwilkar tipped the scale in favour of the environment. Justice Khanwilkar orally said the environment “must prevail” over other rights. It was the court’s constant vigil that had seen a resurgence of the forest cover. Forests must be preserved. “Forest has to be preserved… It is only because of the strict interpretation and exposition by this court that the forest cover is increasing,” he stated. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/environment-or-other-rights-supreme-court-differs-in-4-days/article65271269.ece  (29 March 2022)

The bench of Justices A. M. Khanwilkar, A. S. Oka and C. T. Ravikumar was hearing the pleas which raised the issue regarding forest and non-forest land in reference to interplay between provisions of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and the land which forms part of development plan under the Faridabad Complex (Regulation and Development) Act, 1971. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-environment-forest-land-forest-conservation-act-punjab-land-preservation-act-195314  (30 March 2022)

Report Doubts emerge over Jaggi’s environmental mission According to Isha Foundation, Vasudev’s awareness raising approach is “ecology married with economy.” But how traveling across continents, as an approach, marries economy with ecology remains a mystery.

– Professor Prakash Kashwan is an expert on environmental governance. For him, “the campaigns that Sadhguru and celebrities run can contribute positively only if they are tied to institutional arrangements that hold public and private institutions accountable.” Agreeing with Kashwan on this, environmentalist Leo Saldanha, says that “a review of the public records of the financials of Isha Outreach reveals that the foundation has spent nothing at all on planting trees from the millions they have raised abroad.”

– According to Saldanha, “to build soil health we need to build biomass. Which can only happen if we were to return to agroecological practices suited to particular agroecological zones.” This cannot happen as the Indian soil is “acutely carbon deficit,” says Saldanha. https://www.dw.com/en/india-doubts-emerge-over-spiritual-yogis-environmental-mission/a-61290189  (29 March 2022)

Karnataka Natural green cover of dry and semi-arid down 10% More than 75% of Karnataka’s area is categorised as a dry zone, comprising semi-arid and arid regions, based on the average annual rainfall it receives. The naturally occurring vegetation covering this geographical expanse, which includes native species of trees, climbers and shrubs, has shrunk to 10% of its area, as per a report released in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry and Allied Sciences, Karnataka forest department. The study underlines that owing to pressure from illegal removal of firewood and small timber, overgrazing, recurrent fires and encroachments among others, vegetation in three-fourths of Karnataka’s land kept getting decimated, resulting in the formation of ‘scrub forests’.

– Author of the study Dipak Sarmah (retd IFS officer) said: “Karnataka’s dry forest cover has been reduced from being tropical dry deciduous to thorny scrub. The latter is a term we apply to classify a degraded forest that has become confined to small isolated patches along the land.” “Post mid 1980s, the forest department took cognizance of the matter and has been trying to resolve it but afforestation is not the solution, in fact, it must be avoided. The existing cover needs to be protected first. Officials must protect it from overgrazing, encroachment, and fires. Their existing quality needs to be replenished before new seeds are sown,” he said.

– All taluks of Bidar, Yadgiri, Kalaburagi, Raichur, Koppal, Ballari, Vijayapura, Bagalkote, Gadag, Chitradurga, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapura and Kolar come under the dry zone. Some taluks of Belagavi, Dharwad, Haveri, Davanagere, Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, and Mysuru districts also fall under the category. The southern districts of Bengaluru Rural, Bengaluru Urban, Ramanagara, and Mandya exhibit semi-arid characteristics in spite of receiving higher rain than northern, central and eastern districts. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/natural-green-cover-of-dry-and-semi-arid-karnataka-down-10/articleshow/90552872.cms  (31 March 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

DTE Indian insurers among worst performers in climate sector globally Indian insurance companies are among the worst performers in the world when it comes to covering climate-linked losses, with the lowest rate of insurance penetration across Asia, according to a recent analysis of the global climate insurance sector. Indian insurance companies have, in fact, failed to pay close to three-fourths of the claimed amount for Cyclone Amphan, the devastating cyclone that flattened the Sundarbans in West Bengal during May 2021. This is despite them releasing record amount of insurance claims for any natural disaster.

– A spate of recently published climate reports by the IPCC have pointed out that India is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries globally.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/indian-insurers-listed-among-worst-performers-in-climate-sector-globally-82166  (21 March 2022)

Kerala Scary and bleak situation of Kumbalangi Panchayat in Kochi due to tidal inundation getting worse due to climate change.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPRf_RBAK9k  (23 Feb. 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh The story on impacts of climate change via sea level rise and increased storms. https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/in-focus/life-in-the-saltlands/index.html 

Nepal For villagers, climate change is a signal of divine revenge Residents of Walung in north eastern Nepal see disrupted snowfall and other environmental change as evidence of divine retribution for moral failings, risking a crisis among the community. When snow finally comes, on December 29, 2021, it comes all at once. Three feet fall within hours – one foot for each month the snowfall has been delayed. When Pemba was a child, the first snows used to fall in September. Yak herders are no longer able to depend on their traditional knowledge for forecasting weather.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/culture/walung-villagers-nepal-himalayas-climate-change-signal-of-divine-revenge/  (25 March 2022)  

India-Nepal India and Nepal PMs met in Delhi on Apr 2, 2022. Both sides agreed to speed up progress in implementation of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, beginning with finalisation of detailed project report. The last meeting of the official level mechanism on DPR happened in Feb 2019. https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/sher-bahadur-deuba-urges-narendra-modi-to-resolve-border-dispute/cid/1858843  (03 April 2022)

Authorities say that without intervention from the political leadership, the chances of agreement on DPR remain slim. https://theannapurnaexpress.com/news/nepal-india-agree-to-finalize-the-pancheshwar-dpr-pronto-5171  (02 April 2022)

Nepal Arun III HEP worked disrupted The local people have disrupted the work of Arun III HEP for a week now as they have not received the compensation for their land acquired for the project. https://english.khabarhub.com/2022/29/244312/  (29 March 2022) 

Pakistan $7 billion ‘green’ city project, takes grim turn RUDA aims to build a man-made channel and a series of barrages along the Ravi’s path to control its water level, which the authority says will help conserve what limited flow remains and restore Lahore’s supply of groundwater. But some opponents are skeptical of those claims and what they see as a land grab by RUDA. The city’s high court halted the project last year — one ruling in an ongoing legal fight for the future of the river that could reach Pakistan’s Supreme Court. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistans-7-billion-green-city-imran-khan-s-pet-project-takes-grim-turn-101642654953152-amp.html  (20 Jan. 2022)

ASIA

Iraq Oil reliance versus vanishing water Iraq could suffer a 20 percent drop in water resources by 2050 with nearly one-third of irrigated land parched. Despite continuing political instability, pressure from Iranian and US influence, and a resurgent ISIL (ISIS) presence, Iraq faces its most significant challenge elsewhere: climate change. The environment is increasingly becoming an issue for the country, with the future habitability of vast areas now in question. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/28/iraqs-climate-conundrum-oil-reliance-versus-vanishing-water  (28 Jan. 2022)

AFRICA

Kenya A drowning world Fascinating and yet bewildering story of how water levels in lakes in Kenya are rising since around 2010, this is happening on both sides of the Great Rift Valley (4000 miles long fault line stretching from Lebanon to Mozambique), though slower rise in western size compared to eastern side. There is tectonic movement along the rift valley and both sides are separating from each other at a rate of about 2 mm per year. However, it is not clear what is the cause of the rise in lake levels, some are saying it is climate change, others are talking about tectonic movement along the rift valley.

– For years after he first stumbled upon the problem in 2013, geologist Onywere had also been pushing the national government to study the rising lakes and to determine how best to help the people who had been affected. In October 2020, he got his wish. The government announced the formation of a multi-agency team of geologists and hydrologists that would investigate the rise of the lakes. Onywere was appointed head of the team to Lake Turkana.

– The UN Environment Program published its own report about Lake Turkana in July 2021.

– In October 2021, the government finally released the report. While allowing for the possibility that tectonic activity was partly responsible, it stated that greater levels of rainfall, caused by the climate crisis, was the main cause. Other forms of human interference with the environment – such as deforestation – had also led to landslides and increased water runoff, which had in turn contributed to the rising water levels. The report noted that nearly 400,000 Kenyans had been displaced, and that they required “urgent humanitarian assistance”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kenya-quiet-slide-underwater-great-rift-valley-lakes-east-africa-flooding  (17 March 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Study Dams alter river temperatures and endanger fish “Somebody can just plug in the size of a dam, and then they can know, ‘If my dam is this big and this wide and has this massive capacity, it will cause thermal change of this much range,’” Ahmad said. “This is where our study maybe comes in really handy.”

The team designed the machine learning model as a publicly available tool so people can model the effect of their future dams on river temperature. https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2022/02/09/dam-temperatures-fish-future-study/ (09 Feb. 2022)

Forest fires increasingly affecting rivers and streams Forest fires can have a significant effect on the amount of water flowing in nearby rivers and streams, and the impact can continue even years after the smoke clears. https://phys.org/news/2022-02-forest-increasingly-affecting-rivers-streams.html  (22 Feb. 2022)

Brazil Torrential downpours trigger flash floods Two days of heavy rain have battered a broad swathe of the south eastern state Rio de Janeiro’s Atlantic coast, the latest in a series of deadly storms in Brazil that are being aggravated by climate change. Killing at least 14 people including eight children, and leaving five missing. The victims included a mother and six of her children, who were buried when a landslide swept away their home.

A man takes a picture to an emergency service helicopter flying over a large landslide caused by severe flash floods in Petropolis, Brazil. AFP

– The new incidents come six weeks after flash floods and landslides killed 233 people in the scenic city of Petropolis, the Brazilian empire’s 19th-century summer capital, also in Rio state. https://www.firstpost.com/world/torrential-downpours-trigger-flash-floods-in-brazil-at-least-14-people-killed-five-missing-10512361.html  (03 April 2022)

USA Tracking the pulse of rivers Bernhardt waded into the shallow stream and dipped a gas sensor into the water. She and colleagues have been monitoring fluctuations in oxygen and carbon dioxide that occur as these gases are taken up and released by algae, insects, fish and other stream organisms while they go about the business of life: photosynthesizing, growing, digesting, decomposing.

“This ‘breathing in and breathing out’ of all the organisms living in a river is sort of the pulse of a stream,” Bernhardt said. “It’s a fundamental measure of the energy going in and out of the system.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220222135158.htm  (22 Feb. 2022)

Gila River from Gila Hot Springs to Mogollon Creek. Aerial imagery with Ecoflight. American Rivers

American Rivers proposes a budget for Rivers for the year 2023. Innovative effort. We need something on similar lines rather than spending all funds of dams.  https://www.americanrivers.org/2022/03/2023-river-budget/  (25 March 2022)

In US more than 700,000 miles of waterways, accounting for about 51 percent of assessed river and stream miles, remain impaired with pollution. That’s in addition to another 55 percent of lake acres and 26 percent of estuary miles. A new report by the Environmental Integrity Project has found that 50 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act, the country’s waterways are severely polluted. Researchers argued the Environmental Protection Agency needs to update water assessment regulations and allocate more funding for staff and resources. https://thehill.com/changing-america/sustainability/environment/600070-about-half-of-us-water-too-polluted-for-swimming/?  (28 March 2022)

UK Beavers back in London after 400-year absence Beavers have been brought back to London for the first time in more than 400 years to help restore nature and river habitat and reduce flood risks.

A pair of beavers were released in Enfield. BBC, UK

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-60763438  (17 March 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 28 March 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 21 March 2022

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

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