DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 9 May 2022: Forensic Team report: Michigan 2020 Dams failures were preventable

A Forensic engineering Team appointed by the USA’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission post the May 19, 2020 failure of Edinville and Sanford Dams in Michigan state of USA has published a 502 page comprehensive report on the dam failure within less than two years of the disaster. The full report published on May 4, 2022 is in public domain and has concluded that the dam failures were foreseeable and preventable.

There are a number of things we can learn from this. Firstly that there are such credible independent assessment of dam failures, we have none in India even after multiple dam failures each year. Secondly, such assessments are promptly in public domain. Thirdly, the reports are completed in less then two years. We have none of these. Even the Dam Safety Act passed by the parliament does not have provisions for any of these.

There are a lot of implications for India here. It means for example that we will never know the real reasons for the dam related disasters. Secondly, we won’t be able to learn any lessons. Thirdly we will never be able to improve the governance of our dams and rivers. Fourthly, we won’t be able to fix accountability.

There is so much at stake related to governance of our dams, but we seem completely unconcerned about it. There is a lot we can learn from others here.

Michigan 2020 dam failures were preventable The failure of two Michigan dams that forced evacuation of 10,000 people and destroyed 150 homes was “foreseeable and preventable,” resulting from errors and miscalculations over nearly a century, an expert panel said May 4, 2022 (https://damsafety.org/MI-Final-Report). The Edenville Dam on the Tittabawassee River in central Michigan collapsed May 19, 2020, releasing a torrent that overtopped the downstream Sanford Dam and flooded the city of Midland. Damages exceeded $200 million.

– In a 502-page report, a forensic engineering team appointed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission described the Edenville Dam as flawed from the outset. Design and construction shortcomings in the 1920s were followed by years of operating and maintenance deficiencies that finally doomed the structure under pressure from the rain-swollen river. “The failure cannot reasonably by attributed to any one individual, group, or organization,” the report said.

– The report discounted overtopping or internal erosion as causes of the failure, pointing instead to “static liquefaction,” which it describes as “a sudden loss of soil strength” in saturated, loose sands contained in a portion of the embankment. Use of such sands “significantly deviated from the design plans and construction specifications,” the report said.

– In some spots, including the one that failed, embankments were made with steep downstream slopes that didn’t meet modern safety requirements, it said. Occasional stability analyses during the 90-plus years of operation didn’t catch the defects, which could have been fixed. Dam engineers also failed to adequately consider potentially high runoff and lake levels, the report said, while spillway capacity wasn’t upgraded. “The dam failures were foreseeable and preventable,” it said. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/report-says-michigan-2020-dam-failures-were-preventable/2022/05/04/d201efea-cc05-11ec-b7ee-74f09d827ca6_story.html; https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ts/news/world/us/2022/05/04/report-says-michigan-2020-dam-failures-were-preventable.html  (04 May 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

SANDRP Blog Disaster at Tidong Hydropower project kills 2 in May 2022 Early morning around 5.45 am on Saturday, May 7, 2022, five labourers were stuck while coming out from the 180 m deep tunnel of the under construction 100 MW Tidong Hydropower project in Murang Tehsil of Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh when debris fell into the tunnel (according to one report) and the lift in which the 5 labourers were coming out over turned. The trolley with 5 workers inside pressure shaft of adit 2 tunnel slipped off its track. The workers were coming out as their shift had ended. https://sandrp.in/2022/05/08/disaster-at-tidong-hydropower-project-kills-2-in-may-2022/  (08 May 2022)

Report Hydel’s Viability Is in Question India’s BJP government wants to hike India’s installed hydel capacity to 70,000 MW by 2030 – a 50% jump from the current 45,700 MW – and is also readying pumped storage. The catch: this push coincindes with a time when batteries and electrolysers are evolving rapidly, and when the cost of green hydrogen is expected to plummet as well. New hydel projects are expected to go live by 2030, but their viability hinges on an external variable: the price of battery and electrolyser storage by then. https://science.thewire.in/environment/india-three-way-energy-storage-race-hydel-viability/  (07 May 2022)

The NDA govt is looking at hydroelectric power to balance the grid as it moves away from coal, but as past attempts have proven, this will be easier said than done. The BJP-led NDA government has announced new and/or expanded dams in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Kashmir and – most of all – Arunachal Pradesh. But hidden underneath all these announcements is a state-financed gamble over hydel’s role in India’s decarbonisation, and the fact of its price. https://science.thewire.in/environment/hydroelectric-power-role-india-decarbonisation/  (05 May 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh MoEFCC again writes over non-compliance with compensatory afforestation against SLHEP The ministry of environment, forest & climate change (MoEFCC) on 12 April wrote a reminder letter to the government of Arunachal Pradesh as the state government did not respond to an earlier letter seeking details regarding compensatory afforestation against the NHPC’s 2,000 mw Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP). The ministry had written to the state government on 16 December last year, seeking details regarding the compensatory afforestation (CA).

“Despite repeated requests and the fact that the proposal was accorded in 2004, ie, 18 years back, and compensatory afforestation is yet to be done, it is not known as to why the state government is not making efforts in carrying out compensatory afforestation towards instant diversion,” the letter written on 12 April read.

The techno-economic clearance for the project was accorded on 13 January, 2003 by the Central Electricity Authority at the cost of Rs 6,608.68 crores, with the expected commissioning date in September 2010, and an installed capacity of 2,000 mw (8×250 mw) of the project. An expenditure of Rs 15,506.40 crores has been incurred till March 2022. The revised cost of the project is Rs 19,992.43 crores. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/05/06/moefcc-again-writes-to-goap-over-non-compliance-with-compensatory-afforestation-against-slhep/  (06 May 2022)

Kishau Dam Government is yet again considering a dam, rejected for 50 years In February 2022, the government issued a tender for a detailed project report of the Kishau dam project. DK Garg, General Manager, Kishau Corp Ltd, a joint venture company of both (Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) state governments that will implement the project, said, “The tender of Rs 1.24 crore has been awarded to Tracktowel for the revised detailed project report of the dam project. The company will prepare the complete detailed project report in January 2024.”

– Surat Singh, the co-founder of the collective Kishau Bandh Sangharsh Samiti, said, “The government wants to displace thousands of villagers of Himachal and Uttarakhand and construct the Kishau Dam.” “This is not acceptable to the people of the area,” Singh said. “We have been protesting against the project for a decade”.

– In 1965, a detailed project report envisaging a 236-metre Kishau dam was submitted to the Central Water and Power Commission but was rejected on the grounds that the proposed site was in an active seismic zone. In 2000, a Technical Advisory Committee of the Central Electricity Authority deferred the techno-economic clearance of the Kishau project in the absence of established economic viability of the project. https://scroll.in/article/1022927/indian-government-is-yet-again-considering-a-dam-that-has-been-rejected-repeatedly-over-50-years  (06 May 2022)

Uttarakhand व्यासी बांध में नही हो रहा बिजली उत्पादन व्यासी बांध परियोजना की साठ मेगावाट की पहली टरबाइन से रविवार (April 24) दिन में पानी की कमी के चलते उत्पादन ठप रहा। व्यासी बांध परियोजना प्रबंधन ने पानी की कमी को पूरा करने के लिए दिनभर झील में पानी को भरकर 627 आरएल मीटर तक पहुंचाया। इसके बाद शाम छह बजे से नौ बजे तक परियोजना से तीन घंटे तक साठ मेगावाट के हिसाब से बिजली का उत्पादन किया गया।

बांध परियोजना की पहली टरबाइन भी सभी टेस्टिंग को पूरा करने के बाद कुछ दिनों से बिजली उत्पादन कर रही है, जबकि दूसरी टरबाइन भी उत्पादन के लिए पूरी तरह तैयार है। दूसरी टरबाइन की कुछ औपचारिक टेस्टिंग शेष हैं। बांध की झील का जल स्तर 626 आरएल है। जिसके बाद जलस्तर को घटाया नहीं जा सकता है। जलस्तर 626 आरएल मीटर आने के बाद रविवार को बिजली का उत्पादन बंद कर दिया गया।

यूजेवीएनएल के अधिशासी निदेशक हिमांशु अवस्थी का कहना है कि यह परियोजना पीक आवर में ही उत्पादन करने के लिए बनी है। अधिशासी निदेशक पावर हाउस हिमांशु जोशी ने बताया कि सोमवार (May 25) से पहली टरबाइन को बंद कर दूसरी टरबाइन को ट्रायल रन पर रखा जाना था। लेकिन दूसरी टरबाइन के कुछ टेस्ट शेष हैं, जिनको बीएचएल लगातार कर रहा है। कहा कि सोमवार को भी कुछ टेस्टिंग के काम होने बचे हैं। उनके पूरे होने के बाद सोमवार देर रात अथवा मंगलवार (May 26) से दूसरी टरबाइन को ट्रायल रन पर चलाया जायेगा।

व्यासी बांध परियोजना की झील में 12 अप्रैल तक पानी भर जाने से झील का पानी लोहारी गांव तक पहुंचा। जल स्तर बढ़ने से गांव तक हजारों मछलियां पहुंच गयी। लेकिन जब झील के पानी का डिस्चार्ज बांध परियोजना में किया गया तो जल स्तर घटने के साथ ही हजारों मछलियां मर गईं। झील में बने तालाबों का पानी सूखने के बादे जगह- जगह मरी हुई मछलियों के ढेर लगे हैं। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttarakhand/story-power-generation-is-not-happening-in-vyasi-dam-turbine-stopped-due-to-lack-of-water-in-yamuna-river-6348506.html  (25 April 2022)

Maharashtra 212 ha of forest land proposed to be diverted for Bhavali hydel project  Just over 212 hectares of forest land, about the size of 21 Azad Maidans, are proposed to be diverted in Nashik and Thane districts for a 1500MW hydel energy development known as the Bhavali Pumped Storage Project. The project will consist of two water reservoirs created at different elevations, with a turbine between the two to generate power as water is discharged over it. The water will then be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir.

The water for the project is proposed to be drawn on a one-time basis from the nearby Bhavali dam in Igatpuri, and to make up for evaporation losses as and when required either on a quarterly, semi-annually or annual basis. The site of the project is located at Jamunde village, about 50kms away from Nashik district headquarters, and is easily approachable from Mumbai using National Highway-160 via Shahapur. The project is expected to net the Maharashtra government ₹1,325 crore per year in revenue from the sale of electricity, as per publicly available documents. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/212-ha-of-forest-land-proposed-to-be-diverted-for-bhavali-hydel-project-101651585487796.html  (03 May 2022)

MoEF Decisions of EAC meeting on River Valley Projects 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, Maharashtra by Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Department Corp – Env Clearance: More Info Sought

2. Channaka-Korata (Rudha) barrage on Penganga River-Interstate Irrigation Project in 228.08 ha., Adilabad dist by Irrigation & CAD Dept, Govt of Telangana-Env Clearance: PP absent

3. Idukki Hydro Electric Project (780 MW) in 127 ha at Village -Arakulam, Tehsil Thodupuzha, Dist Idukki, Kerala, KSEBL – Terms of Reference: PP absent

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

5. Renukaji Dam Project (40 MW) with CCA 32372 Ha in an area of 49800 ha. at Village Dadahu, Tehsil – Dadahu (S.T) District. Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh by Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd–Terms of Reference: More Info Sought http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/0105202213620169DraftMoM_26th_EACRVHEP_8-04-2022.pdf 

Agenda of EAC for River Valley Projects’ meeting to be held on May 9, 2022:

1. Kopra Medium Irrigation Project (48.43 MCM) in 1044.72 Ha at village Bagaspura Tehsil Rehli, Dist Sagar, Madhya Pradesh by Water Resources Division-Sagar – Terms of Reference

2. Bhavali Pumped Storage Project (1500 MW) in 256.16 ha, Village Jamunde (Tehsil Igatpuri) of district Nashik and Kalbhonde (Tehsil Shahpur) of District Thane by JSW Energy PSP Two Limited – Terms of Reference

3. 900 MW Somasila Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, in 183 ha at village Racheyapeta & Ramapuram, Tehsil Gopovaram Mandal, Dist Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh by New & Renewable Energy Development Corp of AP Ltd.– Terms of Reference http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/0305202250706435RevisedFinalAgenda-RiverValley_27thEAC.pdf 

Relevant Agenda for FAC on River Valley Projects meeting to be held on May 11 2022:

1. REVISED PROPOSAL FOR DIVERSION OF 1165.66 HA INCLUDING (91.33 HA UNDER GROUND AREA) OF FORESTLAND FOR ETALIN HYDRO ELECTRIC PROJECT (3097 MW) IN DIBANG VALLEY DIST OF ARUNCHAL PRADESH BY ETALIN HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY LTD

2. DIVERSION OF 126.42 HA FOREST LAND FOR SARKULA MEDIUM LIFT IRRIGATION PROJECT in SHIVPURI DISTRICT OF MADHYA PRADESH http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx?id=269!dis1

DAMS

Polavaram Project In August 2020, Godavari river witnessed massive floods with a flow of 21 lakh cusecs (cubic feet per second).The half-built upper coffer dam (built to divert water during the construction of the reservoir) was washed away causing huge scouring at two places in the diaphragm wall, constructed 90 ft deep in the river-bed for blocking the water and arrest seepage via foundation, on which the main earth-cum-rock-fill (ECRF) dam of 48 metres height and 1.75 km length was supposed to be constructed.

– The diaphragm wall, which is a 1.5 metres-thick concrete structure up to depths from 40 to 120 m below the river bed, is the first of its kind structure in the irrigation projects in India, meant to provide stability to the dam to withstand the water pressure. On this diaphragm wall, an ECRF of 2,310 metres was constructed. According to the Union ministry’s consultant, the massive floods to the extent of 21 lakh cusecs caused scouring at two places in the diaphragm wall over an area of 200 square meters. The main reason for this damage was the mistake committed by the contractor in the construction of upper coffer dam.

– “Before construction of the coffer dam, the surrounding villages have to be evacuated, as it would cause their inundation. When they realised the mistake, they left the upper coffer dam midway and it resulted in damages to the coffer dam as well as diaphragm wall,” the consultant said. I S N Raju, retired chief engineer of Central Designs Organisation (CDO) which approved the project designs, said the works should have been completed before the flood season itself. “Due to the slackness in the works, the dam suffered major damages,” he said. In March 2022, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat visited the Polavaram dam area. “As per his instructions, we have taken up a study of the extent of damage done to the project and will come out with solutions to address the issue,” irrigation expert and advisor to the ministry Sriram Vedire said.

– In April 2022, a team of experts constituted by the state, inspected the project site to work out the design and methodology for repair of the diaphragm wall and fix a timeline for construction of the ECRF dam. “The committee led by former director of IIT, Delhi, V S Raju is learnt to have come up with various options – whether to carry out the repairs to the existing diaphragm wall or construct a parallel wall again. The committee will submit its report to the Centre soon and a decision on how to proceed further will we be taken,” state irrigation minister Ambati Rambabu said. According to the minister, there was a suggestion to drain out the entire water from the area to carry out the repairs. “But it is not so easy and is quite expensive. The CWC is exploring other options,” the consultant quoted above said.

– As per the state minister, it requires at least ₹800 crore to repair the damage caused to the diaphragm wall. “If pumping of water has to be done, the total cost would be around ₹2,000 crore,” Rambabu said. Retired chief engineer Raju, however, said the expenditure might not be so huge. “I think, the repairs can be carried out at ₹500 crore to ₹600 crore,” he said.

– The Herculean task to repair the diaphragm wall has left the experts from the state and the central government gasping for a solution. As a result, the state government has virtually thrown up its hands on when the project would be completed. “We don’t know how much time it will take to complete the project. But we will make every effort to complete it at the earliest,” newly-appointed state irrigation minister Ambati Rambabu said, after visiting the Polavaram dam site on May 5, 2022.

– The original project cost was ₹10,151 crore (in 2004-05), when then chief minister late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy of the combined Andhra Pradesh regime commenced the work on the project. As per the revised estimates in 2017-18, the project cost shot up to ₹ 55,548 crore. The Centre appointed a Revised Cost Committee in 2021, which projected the cost at ₹47,725 crore, including ₹28,191 crore only for rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of project evacuees.

– According to original estimates of 2014, the project envisages displacement of as many as 44,570 families from 271 revenue villages of eight revenue blocks but the number went up to 98,818 families, 80% of whom are tribals in 2014-15. They are supposed to be rehabilitated in several alternative locations like Buttaigudem, Jeelugumilli, Darbhagudem and Yetapaka in East and West Godavari districts. “Now, the number of families has gone up to 1.06 lakh. Each family would get a monetary compensation of ₹6.8 lakh to ₹10 lakh depending on the location, apart from land to land and housing facilities. This is a huge task,” the consultant said.

– The Jagan government has decided to maintain the water level in phases, so that rehabilitation of evacuees could be taken up in a phased manner. In the first phase, the state is contemplating maintaining the reservoir level of Polavaram project at a contour of 41.15 metres, as against the full reservoir level of 45.72 meters. At this water level, the evacuation would be confined to around 40 villages and the R&R cost could drastically come down to around ₹ 2,000 crore. “We can take up evacuation in a phased manner,” the official said.

– “At the FRL of 45.72 metres, the project can store 194 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) of water. If the level is reduced to 41.15, the storage will come down to less than 100 tmc ft,” former TDP govt Irrigation minister Uma Maheshwar Rao said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/floods-to-resistance-the-polavaram-hurdles-101652035401794.html  (09 May 2022)

Gujarat Dams’ capacity down by 14.31% due to siltation 60 major dams’ capacity, which is calculated at 16,768 million cubic metres, has gone down by about 14.31 per cent as a result of the silt that has gathered in their reservoirs. Revealing this, Paryavaran Mitra director Mahesh Pandya said, quoting official state government figures that in the dams’ capacity has gone down by about 2,400 million cubic metres due to siltation. https://www.counterview.net/2022/05/gujarat-dams-capacity-down-by-1431-due.html  (07 May 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Govt forms new body forupkeep, safety of dams The state government has established a new body, State Dam Safety Organisation, which will carry out periodic maintenance and ensure safety of 139 dams across Uttar Pradesh. Of the total 139 dams, 71 were constructed more than 50 years ago. Till now, it was the irrigation department which used to carry out maintenance and repair works through superintendent engineers.

The network of dams has been broadly divided into three divisions – Rohilkhand, comprising eastern Ganga and Sharda river channels and tributaries, Vindhyachal which covers Son and Saryu channels, and Bundelkhand, comprising Betwa and its tributaries. While the civil division of the irrigation department is responsible for strengthening embankment and desilting of streams near the structure of the dam, the mechanical division of the department is responsible for ensuring smooth functioning of the stop gates and hydraulics.

At least 18 assistant and junior engineers will be deputed as key officers under eight divisional executive engineers. The final responsibility to ensure the safety of dams will be on three superintendent engineers. Director of the central design directorate of the department, VK Mishra, said: “Till now, departmental orders were issued before the monsoon for safety of dams and barrages. However, the government order will now be binding for the members of the organisation. The hierarchy, tasks, responsibility and accountability has been defined for the first time.”

The organisation has been constituted as per the directives of the Union ministry of Jal Shakti which has set up a National Dam Safety Authority and asked the state government to take similar measures. In Uttar Pradesh, three dams –Rihand Dam on Rihand river in Sonbhadra (1962), Matatila Dam on Betwa river in Jhansi (1964), and Rajghat on Betwa in Lalitpur (2005) – have been classified as dams of national importance. Officials said 70 dams in the state were more than 15 metres high and have extremely large reservoirs. “The ones built in the past are structurally strong. Regular maintenance is required for the dams that were established after 1971. Also, the dams of national importance have the height of over 100 metre and storage capacity of 1 billion cubic metre or above,” said an irrigation department officer. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/up-forms-new-body-forupkeep-safety-of-dams/articleshow/91387607.cms  (07 May 2022)

Goa ‘4 locations identified for minor and major dams’ Water resources minister Subhash Shirodkar recently said that the state government has identified four locations to set up minor and major irrigation dams in the Mhadei basin keeping in mind the state’s water needs for the next 25 years. He also said that the projects will be set up after getting permission from the central government. Stating that there is no shortage of raw water, Shirodkar said that the state has to, however, increase raw water storage capacity keeping in mind the next 25 years. “In the next 25 years there should be no shortfall of water for public consumption as well as for irrigation.”

Shirodkar said that considering the state’s water requirement for the next five to 10 years reservoirs have to be built. “In the Mhadei basin there are many points where small and minor irrigation projects can be taken up and we have to do it. Based on a study I have identified two points — Nanoda and Sonal. We will carry out a detailed survey and take the necessary NoCs from departments concerned and start the project,” Shirodkar said.

He also said that there are two more places where they have to conduct a detailed survey as they fall partly in forest and partly in private area. “It will require a lot of time, but the process has started,” the minister said. Shirodkar said that the water level decreases in summer, but storage has to be done in the monsoon. Speaking on desilting of dams, Shirodkar said all dams cannot be desilted at one go because in the course of time a thick layer of mud settles at the bottom of the dam, which prevents percolation of water.

“We cannot disturb the surface, but we can disturb the upper portion of the dam,” he said. Shirodkar said that the state requires water and at some places they are providing water from borewells. That is the reason we require minor and major dams, he said, adding that there is no issue of funds for the project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/four-locations-identified-for-minor-and-major-dams-wrd-minister/articleshow/91424146.cms  (08 May 2022)

BBMB Water level in dams below normal While the current storage is better than it was at this time last year, it is lower than the past 10-year average, data compiled by the Central Water Commission (CWC) shows. The reservoir at Bhakra Dam, which lies on the Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh, is at present filled up to 23 per cent of its total capacity, compared to the 10-year average of 28 per cent. Last year, the storage at this time was 11 per cent.

The current storage at Pong on the Beas in Himachal is 28 per cent, which happens to be the same level the 10-year average. It was 15 per cent last year. At Thein Dam on the Ravi in Punjab, the current storage is 40 per cent of its capacity. It was 31 per cent last year and the average was 52 per cent over the past 10 years. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/water-level-in-dams-below-normal-393060  (09 May 2022)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa Link Some experts also believe that the focus on canals and dams does not take into account the complexities of the region and could have deleterious climate impacts. Seema Ravandale, a researcher with the PSI, says the region’s varying topography and hydro-geology play an important role in determining what irrigation methods will work in these contexts. In a working paper, Ravandale along with other researchers noted that there was a “significant dependence on specific irrigation strategies (including canals and dams) and persistent neglect of traditional water harvesting facilities”. no guarantee that this won’t happen to the Daudhan dam in the years to come,” she says.

Himanshu Thakkar, a river researcher and former member of a government committee on river interlinking projects, who is currently challenging the project’s wildlife clearance in the NGT, points out that the data hasn’t been independently reviewed. “The truth is that the Ken river does not have a surplus of water to give, but we are expected to believe it without questioning,” he says. https://theprint.in/environment/in-deadly-dry-bundelkhand-ken-betwa-link-finally-seems-real-but-critics-have-questions-fears/888236/ ; https://hindi.theprint.in/india/severe-drought-ken-betwa-bundelkhand-river-linking/299739/  (29 March 2022)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

TN to Send Team to Kerala to Resolve Siruvani Water Issue Tamil Nadu will soon send a high-level team to Kerala to find a solution regarding the release of water from the Siruvani dam, state Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply Minister K N Nehru said on Sunday (May 08). https://www.outlookindia.com/national/tn-to-send-team-to-kerala-to-resolve-siruvani-water-issue-news-195592   (08 May 2022)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

National Waterway-1 Decks cleared for waterway project on Ganga After considering for 6 years if the Centre’s ambitious National Waterway-1 project on the river Ganga requires an environmental clearance, the NGT has virtually cleared the decks for the inland waterway project, saying there is no scope for it to decide the matter as the Allahabad High Court has already decided the issue. The HC had, in an order dated April 28, 2016, allowed the project, subject to receipt of all required statutory clearances. “Any contra order by this tribunal will be improper,” the NGT bench headed by Chairperson Justice A K Goel said.

In its order dated May 6, the NGT bench said, “The High Court has expressly referred to the issue of environmental clearance and allowed the project proponents to proceed with the project and get an environmental impact assessment conducted after commissioning of the project.” The Tribunal, however, passed a stricture against the MoEF saying it failed to respond to the NGT’s calls that an expert body should look into the environmental impact of the project. “MoEF remains unrepresented. It needs to put its house in order by taking remedial action and fixing responsibility to avoid such lapses in failure.

As already suggested, for future consideration, MoEF may study and clarify the matter for technical and governance clarity for inland waterways projects,” the bench said. The Tribunal added it would be open to an aggrieved party to take remedy against any violation of environmental norms in executing the project. There has been growing concern regarding the waterways project’s impact on rivers and species, with environmental experts demanding that it be brought under EIA regime. https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2022/may/08/decks-cleared-for-waterway-project-on-ganga-2450988.html  (08 May 2022)

Assam Electric boats may hit waterways including on Brahmaputra Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has proposed to introduce hybrid electric boats in five locations including on the Brahmaputra in Guwahati and Dibrugarh in Assam to provide a green and cheaper mode of transport to commuters in urban centres. Varanasi, Kolkata and Patna (Ganga) are the three other locations where the IWAI wants to introduce the electric boats manufactured by Cochin Shipyards Limited. The boats can carry 100 passengers.

The proposal was made during a meeting of the National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) on May 6 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, chaired by Sarbananda Sonowal, the union minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Ayush. Sonowal hails from Assam. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/east-and-northeast/electric-boats-may-hit-indian-waterways-including-on-brahmaputra-in-assam-1107490.html  (08 May 2022)

IRRIGATION

Jharkhand L&T bags water project; to irrigate 22,283 hectares in Dumka Engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Monday (May 09) said it has bagged a significant project from Jharkhand government for irrigation. The project envisages to provide water to irrigate 22,283 hectare of Culturable Command Area (CCA) in Dumka district of Jharkhand by way of pumping water from the Sidheshwari river. The scope includes survey, design, and constructing a barrage across the river.

“The water & effluent treatment business of L&T Construction has secured a repeat EPC order from the Department of Water Resources, Government of Jharkhand, to execute the Masalia Ranishwar Megalift irrigation scheme on a turnkey basis,” the company said in statement. The company is already executing a similar lift irrigation project in Garhwa district. As per the company, a contract valued at Rs 1,000-2,500 crore is categorised as a significant order. https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/l-t-bags-order-from-jharkhand-govt-122050900461_1.html  (09 May 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

Sabarmati; Ahmedabad Water hyacinth choking river Vast stretches of the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad near Indira Bridge is covered by this invasive species. Ahmedabad Municipal Corp engineering department officials said that pollution and lack of water are behind the sudden spread.

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“These nutrients are mainly because at some points sewage is discharged into the river,” added a AMC official. Last week, the AMC admitted to the high court that its 25 MLD sewage treatment plant at Shankar Bhuvan did not meet the prescribed standards for fecal coliform bacteria and total nitrogen. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/water-hyacinth-choking-sabarmati-near-indira-bridge/articleshow/91328531.cms  (05 May 2022)

Pune PMCs response to NGOs queries to be submitted to state govt More than a month ago, the NGOs and the government authorities came together to reach a consensus on the Pune’s riverfront development project which has now come to a standstill, with no update after the first meeting. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had filed responses to the queries raised by the NGOs, which was then sent to the water resources department. The department will address the queries and send the report to the state government, after which a call will be taken. Meanwhile, the NGOs are now preparing to respond to the civic body. In its 12-page response to each query, the PMC has stated that it has addressed every query, and that all the permissions taken by the civic body are valid.

After the first meeting held on March 16 between the NGOs and the PMC under the aegis of the water department, it was decided that both parties, NGOs and government agencies, would arrive at a consensus on common solutions for the project. The project was opposed by city environmentalists due to excess concretisation, change in flood lines, alleged wrongful permissions for the project and commercialisation of the plots.

Environmentalist Sarang Yadwadkar said, “The replies filed by the PMC are vague and they have not proven their point. The calculations which we showed with respect to waterfall in the free catchment areas and also the flood lines and the eventual rise in the water level at Mula-Mutha sangam is not explained.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/pune-riverfront-project-pmcs-response-to-ngos-queries-to-be-submitted-to-state-govt-101651932574022.html  (07 May 2022)

Buddha Nullah; Ludhiana Cleaning project based on faulty report: MLA Gurpreet Gogi said that the ₹650-crore Buddha Nullah rejuvenation project will prove to be a waste of public money as it based on a faulty report. Gogi took up the matter during a meeting called by Member of Parliament (MP) Ravneet Singh Bittu to review projects under the Smart City Mission, at municipal corporation (MC)’s Zone D office in Sarabha Nagar on Monday (May 02).

The MLA said the project is based on a report tabled by Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board in 2019, which states that 519 MLD waste flows through the Nullah on a daily basis. Just a few months after the report was submitted, a report by IIT, Roorkee, had stated that 874 MLD waste flows through Buddha Nullah on a daily basis. Another report recently submitted by the irrigation department of Ludhiana also found that 801 MLD waste flows through the drain every day.

He further said, “The MC should either ascertain the quantity of waste flowing through the Nullah on its own or hire a third party to do so. The Buddha Nullah rejuvenation project should be put on hold until then.” As per MC officials, the STPs in the city currently have the capacity to treat 735 MLD waste on a daily basis. The project to clean the Nullah had commenced last year with a deadline of December 2022. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/buddha-nullah-cleaning-project-based-on-faulty-report-will-lead-to-loss-of-public-money-mla-gurpreet-gogi-101651521095484.html  (03 May 2022)

RIVERS

Tamil Nadu Alien Plants and Water Stress in the Nilgiris The unseen impact of exotic invasive plants on the ecology and water security of the Upper Bhavani region of the Nilgiris. This is an economically important region for tourism but also a global biodiversity hotspot. It holds significance for the water security and hydroelectric sector for Tamil Nadu state. The higher elevations of its escarpments have a unique ecosystem — the shola-grasslands. There you find rolling hills of grasslands, with pockets of stunted evergreen forests in the valleys; the latter are referred to as shola or “cholai” forests.

– This ecosystem is also uniquely important for water conservation in the region. In the southwestern part of the Nilgiris district is the Upper Bhavani region, which forms the catchment area of the Bhavani River, and is mostly a shola-grassland ecosystem. The grasslands and the adjoining sholas here act like sponges for incoming rainfall, retaining a lot of the water as groundwater and slowly releasing it through streams and ultimately into the river. The Bhavani is a major sub-basin of the Cauvery River. With several large hydropower dams, this region produces more than half the hydropower for the state and is extremely important for drinking water supply and irrigation for many districts in the river’s floodplains. However, all is not well with the balance between the shola grasslands and the water of this region.

– Invasive species here can increase dry season water stress by depleting soil moisture, reducing stream flows and increasing evapotranspiration losses while also increasing monsoon flood risks. All is not lost, though. Efforts are underway to recognise the multidimensional impacts of these invasives, and some publicly driven momentum to restore these unique shola-grasslands has also gathered pace. https://sustain.round.glass/conservation/invasive-plants-nilgiris/ 

Odisha NGT slaps Rs 25 cr fine on Vedanta’s plant for EC violations The NGT has imposed a fine of Rs 25 crore on Vedanta Limited for violating the environmental norms by expanding its plant at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district. A special bench of NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel was dealing with an appeal against the environmental clearance dated November 20, 2015 granted to Vedanta Limited (formerly Sesa Sterlite Ltd.), Bhubaneshwar, for expansion of Alumina Refinery and Captive Power Plant at Lanjigarh.

“In the present case, the prosecution has been initiated for illegal expansion. Liability for compensation on the polluter pays principle is assessed at Rs 25,00,00,000 (Rupees twenty five crore only) having regard to the clear violation and financial capacity of the unit to be used for the restoration of the environment in terms of the environment plan to be prepared and executed as per the direction in later part of this order,” said the green court in the order passed on May 2. It directed the company to deposit the amount with the SPCB within one month to be kept in a separate account to be utilised for the restoration of the environment.

The green court held the company accountable for the violation of a partly undertaken expansion without prior environmental clearance from the MoEF. The other main issue was of the drawal of water from River Tel. Though it is stated that the drawal of water may not affect the flow of the river, considering the increasing need for water from the river not only by the PP but also by others, permissibility of drawal of water should not remain static and unconditional forever, the NGT noted. Further, the tribunal said its impact should be considered from time to time and the provision by way of additional conditions made to safeguard this aspect. Accordingly, the green court also constituted a Committee comprising of the Secretary, Irrigation Department, Orrisa, CWC, SPCB and Regional Offices of MoEF&CC and CPCB in the matter. The panel has to formulate additional conditions based on periodical impact assessments within three months, it directed. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ngt-slaps-rs-25-cr-fine-on-vedanta-s-odisha-plant-for-green-violations-122050600441_1.html  (06 May 2022)

GANGA Uttarakhand भागीरथी इको सेंसेटिव जोन में पेड़ों पर मंडराता खतरा गंगोत्री नेशनल हाइवे पर इको सेंसटिव ज़ोन पर हज़ारों देवदार और अन्य प्रजातियों के पेड़ चारधाम यात्रा मार्ग के लिये काटे जा सकते हैं। साल 2012 में इस क्षेत्र को भागीरथी इको सेंसटिव ज़ोन घोषित किया गया जिसके बाद से यह एक संरक्षित क्षेत्र है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/05/05/char-dham-all-weather-road-to-claim-forest/  (05 May 2022)

This describes the new dangers along the Char Dham Highway in Uttarakhand, as pointed out by the Uttarakhand State Space Application Scientists and also suggesting some remedial measures. (Dainik Bhaskar 08 May 2022)

Uttar Pradesh गंगा के बीच में सूख गया पानी, दिख रही सतह प्रयागराज में स्थिति यह है कि गंगा के बीचो-बीच पानी ही सूख गया है और नीचे की सतह दिखाई दे रही है। लोग अचानक यह स्थिति देखकर हैरान हो रहे हैं कि दो दिन पहले ही गंगा का तेजी से जाे बहाव था वह खत्म ही हो गया। फाफामऊ में पुल के ऊपर से देखने पर लग रहा है कि जैसे गंगा जी दो धाराओं में बहती दिख रही हैं। बीच में पूरा पानी सूख गया है और दोनों तरफ पतली धाराओं में पानी का धीमी गति से बहाव हो रहा है। बताते हैं कि भीषण गर्मी की वजह से भी यह स्थिति हो रही है और जलस्तर काफी कम होने की वजह से यह स्थिति हो रही है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/prayagraj/news/the-nature-of-maa-gaga-changed-in-prayagraj-the-water-level-of-the-ganges-decreased-in-two-days-the-water-dried-up-in-the-middle-of-the-ganges-the-surface-is-visible-129752536.html  (03 May 2022)

तीन तरफ से नदियों से घिरे शहर प्रयागराज में तो हालत यहा तक पहुच गए है की अपने अथाह जल से भरी रहने वाली गंगा की धारा भी सूख गई है । शहर में पेय जल देने वाली गंगा की मुख्य धारा में जगह जगह रेत के टीले निकल आये है। https://newstrack.com/uttar-pradesh/prayagraj-news-weather-report-ganga-river-started-drying-summer-2022-heat-316703   (05 May 2022)

वोट क्लब द्वारा गंगा बैराज के निकट जल क्रीड़ा केंद्र बनाया जा रहा है। जहां पर लोगों को समुद्री तटों का अनुभव मिलेगा। मंडलायुक्त ने राजशेखर ने कहा कि जल्द से जल्द जल क्रीड़ा केंद्र का कार्य पूरा कराया जाए और सभी नाव को भी ले आया जाए। नाव की जिम्मेदारी सिंचाई विभाग को दी गई है। जिसे जल क्रीड़ा केंद्र के लिए नाव उपलब्ध कराना है। https://www.patrika.com/kanpur-news/enjoy-the-sea-in-kanpur-plan-complete-7518964/   (08 May 2022)

Study Toxic waters, struggling fish Studies have shown that pesticide use is not only a threat to humans, but also animals such as fish that reside in its waters. Reduced flow, change in habitat, pollution have affected fish production in the riverine system. Invasive species have are fast replacing the traditional ones. Recent studies show that around 21000 MT of pesticides are applied in the basin annually and among these, insecticides dominate followed by herbicides and fungicides.

Pesticides have been found to be one of the important polluters of the river waters due to their high application in the agricultural fields along the river basin. The total usage of pesticides in Ganga basin between year 2012–2017 was 72,741 MT, which is as high as 27 percent of the countries’ total pesticide consumption. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/toxic-waters-struggling-fish  (08 May 2022)

Bihar 5 bodies fished out of Ganges near Buxar Five bodies were recovered from river Ganga in Buxar district on Thursday (May 05), a year after 70 bodies were fished out from the river in the same district, officials said. Buxar (Sadar) SDO Dhirendra Kumar Mishra said, “Four bodies were of males while the fifth was of a woman. There is no tradition in Buxar to throw bodies in the Ganges. It seems family members of all the deceased may have thrown the bodies in the river after they were handed to them after autopsy. It seems they threw the bodies without performing any rituals. The Buxar district administration will perform the last rites and as per protocol,” the SDO said. According to Buxar DM Aman Samir, the bodies may have reached here from other places upstream Ganga. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/5-bodies-fished-out-of-ganges-near-buxar-101651765025646.html  (05 May 2022)

Documentary Ganga: River From The Skies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0gYQrebGwY  (19 May 2022)

YAMUNA Haryana Notice over waste water release into WJC The authorities of the HSPCB, Yamunanagar, has issued a show cause notice to an Executive Engineer of the Irrigation and Water Resources Department of Yamunanagar district for prosecution under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and Environmental Compensation Policy under various NGT directions. The action came after Deputy Commissioner Parth Gupta and a joint team of Jagadhri SDM, HSPCB authorities, Yamunanagar-Jagadhri Municipal Corporation and Irrigation and Water Resources Department inspected the ditch drain in Jammu Colony of Yamunanagar on April 29.

The team found that all of the untreated discharge (untreated waste water) of the ditch drain was being diverted into WJC by demolishing the embankment between the ditch drain and canal. According to information, the Irrigation Department has started the construction work to make a stretch of 500-feet of the ditch drain ‘pakka’ in Jammu Colony. However, before starting the construction work, the department reportedly didn’t make appropriate arrangements (except installing a few pumping sets) to ensure the supply of untreated waste water in the ditch drain ahead of its portion being constructed, and let the supply of the said untreated waste water go into the canal. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/yamunanagar-xen-gets-notice-over-waste-water-release-into-western-jamuna-canal-391832  (05 May 2022)

14 STPs sanctioned for Ghaggar-Yamuna areas Chief secretary Sanjeev Kaushal said the central government has sanctioned 14 STPs under a micro-irrigation system in Ghaggar and Yamuna river areas. The construction work on these will start soon, Kaushal said, who chaired a meeting regarding the implementation of the action plan for excessive river pollution and other related matters. The chief secretary said the capacity of 156 STPs is being increased in the state by public health department, Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran, urban local bodies and Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority. Of these, work on 74 STPs is nearing completion and the rest will be completed soon, he added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/haryana-14-stps-sanctioned-for-ghaggar-yamuna-areas-101652046505591.html  (09 May 2022)

Delhi How polluted Yamuna shrunk livelihoods The rising pollution in Yamuna has led to a negative socio-economic impact on several communities in Delhi, especially among the low-income groups who made their permanent professions into temporary ones while suffering health issues, reveals a study by Tata Centre of Development at University of Chicago. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/how-polluted-yamuna-shrunk-livelihoods-left-many-poorer/articleshow/91241751.cms  (02 May 2022)

There has been no significant improvement in the concentration of ammoniacal nitrogen in the Yamuna in Delhi from 2016 to 2020, a study group set up by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has said. The CPCB monitors the water quality of the Yamuna at 30 locations under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWMP) in association with state pollution control boards of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Based on the data generated under the NWMP, the study group has concluded that the concentration of ammoniacal nitrogen in the river water increases during the winter season (November to March), mainly in January. It has also identified Panipat and Sonipat in Haryana as hotspots with respect to high ammoniacal nitrogen levels. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/no-significant-improvement-in-ammonia-levels-in-yamuna-cpcb-study-122050601274_1.html  (06 May 2022)

The Supreme Court on Friday (May 06) asked BJP MP Subramanian Swamy to intervene in a suo motu petition on remediation of polluted rivers instead of pursuing his PIL on cleanness of river Yamuna. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant told Swamy, who has moved a PIL seeking to construct a parallel channel/canal alongside the river Yamuna in Delhi, which would collect the sewage and untreated water and divert it, that there is already a suo motu petition pending before the court.

Justice Chandrachud told Swamy it would be appropriate if he files an intervention application in the said petition instead of pursuing a fresh petition. “We have issued a notice in the suo motu petition. We are seized of the matter. You can intervene in that matter. In fact, we would like to have your assistance in that matter,” Justice Chandrachud said. Swamy agreed to the suggestion and urged the court to pass a direction in this regard. The bench then passed the order and asked Swamy to keep track of a matter related to cleaning or river Yamuna which is pending before the NGT. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/may/06/sc-asks-bjp-mp-subramanian-swamy-to-intervene-in-pending-case-on-cleanness-of-river-yamuna-2450565.html  (06 May 2022)

Delhi Sends SOS To Haryana As Yamuna Dries Delhi is staring at a water crisis amid the rising heat, with the water levels at the Wazirabad pond depleting alarmingly due to acute shortage in water flow in the Yamuna river, officials said. Delhi government has written to the Haryana Irrigation Department, for a second time in a week, asking it to release additional water in the river to prevent disruption in water supply in the capital, they said.

An official said the water level at the Wazirabad Barrage dropped to a critical low of 672.30 feet on Wednesday (May 04) morning, against the normal level of 674.5 feet. “Also, the raw water flow in the Carrier Line Canal has decreased from 683 cusec to 566 cusec. The water production is affected,” the official said. Haryana supplies a total of 610 million gallons of water a day to Delhi through two canals – Carrier-Lined Channel (CLC) and Delhi Sub-Branch (DSB) – and the Yamuna.

According to government data, Delhi required 1,380 MGD of water in 2021, while the DJB could supply around 950 MGD. The government has now targeted increasing the water supply to 998 MGD to meet the growing demand this summer season and to 1,180 MGD by June 2023.  With scanty rains owing to feeble western disturbances, Delhi had recorded its second hottest April this year since 1951 with a monthly average maximum temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius. https://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/delhi-stares-at-severe-water-crisis-sends-sos-to-haryana-as-yamuna-dries-2944538  (04 May 2022)

दिल्ली में यमुना नदी मई की शुरुआत में ही सूखने लगी है. जिसके चलते आने वाले समय में लोगों के सामने जलसंकट पैदा होने की स्थिति बनती जा रही है. https://ndtv.in/videos/ground-report-summer-breaks-records-and-yamuna-river-starts-drying-up-in-delhi-631034  (02 May 2022) https://www.india.com/hindi-news/delhi/yamuna-river-facing-water-deficit-in-may-start-delhi-poeple-facing-water-supply-shortage-in-area-5368869/  (01 May 2022)

दिल्ली जल बोर्ड में एक ही सप्ताह में दूसरी बार हरियाणा से अतिरिक्त पानी छोड़ने की अपील की है। 30 अप्रैल को भी दिल्ली सरकार द्वारा हरियाणा से इसी तरह की मांग की गई थी। दिल्ली जल बोर्ड ने हरियाणा के सिंचाई विभाग को बताया था कि दिल्ली के वजीराबाद में यमुना के जल स्तर में दो फीट की गिरावट दर्ज की गई है। https://www.newsnationtv.com/india/news/new-delhi-a-layer-of-toxic-foam-ha-covered-the-yamuna-river-in-delhi-a-a-reult-of-water-pollution-on-tueday-november-09-2021photo-anupam-gautamians-272256.html   (04 May 2022)

More catchment reservoirs along river to help ensure taps don’t run dry  In a letter to the Delhi government’s revenue department, the Delhi Jal Board has sought help to take 460 acres of land on lease in north Delhi’s Burari and neighbouring areas along the river. While 100 acres of this land belongs to the government’s flood and irrigation control department, the DJB has shown interest in taking the remaining 360 acres of land from the individuals on a 30-year lease.

Sources said a five-member committee comprising the divisional commissioner, officials of the finance, revenue and irrigation and flood control departments and DJB is being constituted to negotiate with individuals and acquire the land. “The bigger reservoir will be able to store 1735 million gallons of floodwater while the smaller one will have the capacity of approximately 220 million gallons, as it will be much deeper,” said a Delhi government official privy to the project, adding that it will have minimal or no adverse impact on the river ecology. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/banking-on-rain-more-catchment-reservoirs-along-river-to-help-ensure-taps-dont-run-dry/articleshow/91057162.cms  (25 April 2022)

Uttar Pradesh सिर्फ बरसाती नाला बनकर रह गई यमुना-कृष्णा पश्चिमी उत्तर प्रदेश और हरियाणा के किसानों के लिए जीवनदायिनी कहने जाने वाली यमुना नदी का स्वरूप सिर्फ बरसाती नाला बनकर रह गया है। अतिक्रमण ने यमुना की के फैलाव को ग्रहण कर दिया है। जिस कारण लगातार यमुना का आकार घटता जा रहा है। यमुना और कृष्णा की भूमि पर खेती हो रही है। कम पानी होने से गर्मी के मौसम में यमुना सूख रही है। जबकि कृष्णा नदी पूरी तरह प्रदूषित हो चुकी है। सहारनपुर और बागपत जिले के बीच शामली जिले का 52 किमी लंबाई का क्षेत्र है। ग्राम चौसाना, बिडौली, कैराना, कांधला क्षेत्र के इस्सोपुरटील सीमा तक यमुना के किनारे दोनों प्रांतों के किसान अतिक्रमण करके गन्ना, गेहूं, धान आदि फसल बुवाई कर रहे हैं। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/shamli/the-size-of-the-rivers-is-decreasing-the-life-giver-needs-bhagirath-shamli-news-mrt583460641  (07 April 2022)

शामली: दम तोड़ रही जीर्णोद्घार परियोजना ऊन तहसील क्षेत्र का काठा नाला और खोखरी नदी में पानी न होने से सूख गई है। खोखरी और काठा की जीर्णोद्घार योजना ने भी दम तोड़ दिया। पांच साल पहले तैयार की गई काठा नाले की 296 करोड़ रुपये की परियोजना सिर्फ कागजों पर सिमट कर रह गई। खोखरी नदी का हाल यह हो गया है कि सहारनपुर जिले के गंगोह ब्लाक के लखनौती गांव से शुरू होकर शामली जिले के चौसाना, सकौती, कमालपुर केरटू गांव से होते हुए यमुना नदी में गिर जाती है। खोखरी नदी की भूमि पर जिले के चौसाना, सकौती गांवों में अतिक्रमण हटाने के लिए ड्रेनेज खंड ने गत 17 जून 2021 को ग्रामीणों को नोटिस जारी करके अभियान शुरू किया था। लेकिन अतिक्रमण हटाओ अभियान दम तोड़ गया। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/shamli/growing-water-crisis-renovation-project-dying-shamli-news-mrt5837496153  (08 April 2022)

45 किमी लंबी उटंगन नदी का होगा पुर्नउद्धार  आगरा सीमा में करीब 45 किमी लंबी नदी का पुर्नउद्धार होगा। 500-500 मीटर पर 110 मिट्टी के बांध बनाकर पानी रोका जाएगा। नदी का सर्वे पूरा हो चुका है। मई के पहले सप्ताह में 20 हजार से अधिक मनरेगा श्रमिकों को नदी की डिसिल्टिंग से रोजगार भी मिलेगा। राजस्थान के करौली जिले से निकलने वाली उटंगन 288 किमी लंबी है। साल के 10 महीने नदी सूखी रहती है। इसे बारहमासी नदी बनाने के लिए पिछले साल इसकी डिसिल्टिंग कराई गई थी। इस बार पानी रोकने के लिए बंधे बनाए जाएंगे। 

सीडीओ ए मनिकन्डन ने बताया कि उटंगन के अलावा खारी नदी, यमुना नदी और करबन नदी का सर्वे भी कराया जा रहा है। सर्वे के बाद इन नदियों की सफाई, जल भंडारण व अन्य कार्यों के लिए प्रस्ताव बनाए जाएंगे। उटंगन की तर्ज पर ही खारी नदी में शमसाबाद एवं सैंया क्षेत्र में सात मिट्टी के बांध प्रस्तावित हैं। सभी कार्य मई के पहले सप्ताह में शुरू हो जाएंगे। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/agra/45-km-long-utangan-river-will-be-revived-in-agra?pageId=1  (25 April 2022)

ताजमहल के पीछे नदी में रबर डैम बनाने के लिए नीरी ने दी मंजूरी नगला पैमा में रबर डैम बनाने की नीरी से सशर्त अनुमति के बाद सोमवार (April 25) को टीटीजेड (ताज ट्रिपिजियम जोन) की 56वीं बैठक में चेयरमैन एवं कमिश्नर अमित गुप्ता ने डैम निर्माण के लिए एनओसी जारी करने का निर्णय लिया है। टीटीजेड कमेटी के चेयरमैन व कमिश्नर अमित गुप्ता ने बताया कि रबर डैम का मामला स्टेट एक्सपर्ट एप्रेजल कमेटी में भेजा गया था। वहां से टीटीजेड की एनओसी देने से पहले नीरी व सेंट्रल इंपावर्ड कमेटी से अनुमति लेने को कहा गया। टीटीजेड ने नीरी को प्रस्ताव भेजा था। पांच शर्तों के साथ निर्माण के लिए नीरी से अनुमति मिल गई है। अन्य औपचारिकताएं पूर्ण कर जल्द निर्माण शुरू कराया जाएगा।

सिंचाई विभाग ने 2017 में रबर डैम की योजना बनाई थी, तब इसकी लागत 350 करोड़ रुपये थी। पांच साल में प्रोजेक्ट की लागत बढ़ने का अनुमान है। कार्यों की दरों में बदलाव संभव है। ऐसे में संशोधित प्राक्कलन तैयार होगा। रबर डैम की ऊंचाई करीब 2.5 मीटर होगी। ताजमहल से 1.5 किमी डाउन स्ट्रीम में निर्माण प्रस्तावित है। एनओसी देते समय एएसआई ने रबर डैम के पीछे यमुना में 146 मीटर जलस्तर तय किया था। रबर डैम से यमुना में ताज के पार्श्व में करीब 3.50 लाख क्यूसेक पानी रोका जा सकेगा। ताजनगरी में बैराज का ख्वाब 34 साल से अधूरा है। दो बार शिलान्यास हो चुका है। सबसे पहले 1986-87 में तत्कालीन मुख्यमंत्री नारायण दत्त तिवारी ने कैलाश गांव के पास मनोहपुर में शिलान्यास किया था। 1.50 करोड़ रुपये खर्च हुए थे। फिर 1993 में तत्कालीन राज्यपाल रामेश भंडारी ने मनोहरपुर में ही बैराज निर्माण के लिए नारियल फोड़ कर शिलान्यास किया। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/uttar-pradesh/agra/neeri-gives-conditional-approval-to-build-rubber-dam-behind-the-taj-mahal  (26 April 2022)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Uttarakhand In A First, King Crow Butterfly Spotted The presence of king crow butterfly, an uncommon species, has been recorded for the first time in Uttarakhand, officials said on Sunday (May 1). The discovery assumes significant as it is an attractive new addition to the existing list of 450 butterfly species found in the state, they said. The research wing of state forest department recorded its presence at Nainital’s Bhujia Ghat area, Chief Conservator of Forest (research) Sanjeev Chaturvedi said. The discovery also assumes importance because it marks the western most recording of the uncommon butterfly species after Katrania Ghat Wildlife Sanctuary of Uttar Pradesh, he said. Its presence had earlier been recorded in the Northeast where both its subspecies – brown and blue – were found and also down south where the presence of its brown-coloured subspecies has been recorded. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-a-first-king-crow-butterfly-spotted-in-uttarakhand-2936818  (01 May 2022)

Tamil Nadu Fireflies illuminate ATR forests Officials of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) were awestruck as several lakhs of fireflies perched on every plant and tree and illuminated the forests, turning them into a magical world of yellowish green light.

The synchronous display of light by several lakhs of fireflies near Top Slip in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve recently. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement/ The Hindu

The insects emitted light synchronously, starting from one tree, and the relay was carried across the forest. The cyclic phenomenon continued throughout the night for a few days. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/in-a-rare-phenomenon-fireflies-illuminate-anamalai-tiger-reserve-forests/article65381520.ece  (04 May 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Maharashtra Dead fish sightings at heritage lake reflect govt neglect Environmentalists and locals raised an alarm after brackish water and dead fish were sighted at the Dhamapur Lake in Sindhudurg district for the last two-three days.

Credit : Shubham Patil/Sachin Desai

While the exact reason behind this is unclear, researchers point out that the condition reflects government apathy and lack of conservation in this biodiversity-rich water body. https://www.indiejournal.in/article/dead-fish-sightings-at-heritage-lake-reflect-govt-neglect  (06 May 2022)

Madhya Pradesh क्वारी नदी में मरी हजारों मछलियां मुरैना के कैलारस में क्वारी नदी में हजारों की संख्या में मछलियों के मरने का मामला सामने आया है। इनके मरने के बाद उनमें से दुर्घंध उठने लगी है जिससे नदी में पानी पीने आने वाले दुधारु पशुओं के जीवन पर संकट मंडरा गया है। स्थानीय लोगों की माने तो मछलियों के मरने के पीछे डेयरी संचालकों का हाथ है। उनके द्वारा तेजाब फट्‌टा क्रेसिंग का जहरीला पानी नदी में छोड़ा जाता है जिसके कारण मछलियां मरी हैं। जब हजारों की संख्या में मरी मछलियों को स्थानीय लोगों ने देखा तो आस-पास शोर मच गया। मछलियों को देखने के लिए दर्जनों लोगों भी भीड़ लग गई। इसके बाद इसकी सूचना स्थानीय पुलिस को भी दी जा चुकी है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/morena/news/fish-killed-due-to-poisonous-substance-by-dairy-operators-129731105.html   (28 April 2022)

करीब डेढ़ दशक से क्वारी नदी अक्टूबर-नवंबर माह में ही सूख जाती थी। इस बार क्वारी में अप्रैल माह में भी तेज जल प्रवाह है। इससे आम जन, सेंचुरी के वन्य जीव और पशु-पक्षी भी अपनी प्यास बुझा रहे हैं। पशुपालक राम सिंह ने बताया इस वर्ष क्वारी नदी में कमर तक पानी बह रहा है। जबकि हर साल दीपावली तक नदी का पानी सूख जाता था। https://www.patrika.com/etawah-news/quarry-river-lots-of-water-in-summer-after-15-year-etawah-miracle-7481493/  (21 April 2022)

गौला में बड़ी संख्या में मछलियों की मौत जमरानी स्थित गौला नदी में कुछ असामाजिक तत्वों द्वारा नदी में केमिकल डाले जाने से बड़ी संख्या में मछलियों की मौत हो गई. मछलियों की मौत के बाद लोगों में आक्रोश देखा जा रहा है. लोगों का कहना है कि जो भी लोग मछलियों की मौत के दोषी हैं, उनके खिलाफ सख्त कार्रवाई की जाए. वहीं स्थानीय लोगों ने इसकी शिकायत राजस्व उप निरीक्षक से की है. वहीं मछलियों के मरने से नदी का पानी भी दूषित हो गया है. https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttarakhand/state/nainital/death-of-fishes-due-to-chemical-pouring-in-gaula-river-of-haldwani/uttarakhand20220413132305112  (13 April 2022)

Gujarat Muslim fishermen seek mass euthanasia A leader from the local Muslim fishing community has approached the Gujarat High Court seeking permission to undergo euthanasia for himself and 600 members of his people. Allarakha Ismailbhai Thimmar from the Gosabara wetlands in Porbandar filed the petition on Thursday (May 05), lamenting the fishing community’s deteriorating economic situation. The application, filed on behalf of the Gosabara Muslim Fishermen’s Society, alleged “the government does not provide facilities to people belonging to a particular community.”

Faced with “political persecution,” the petitioners are seeking to end their life, pending several submissions from the local level to the Governor.  The petitioner’s counsel, Dharmesh Gurjar, says the mooring of boats has been banned at Gosabara port since 2016. “Thimmar and his community are being denied their rights despite having licences.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/may/07/gujarats-muslim-fishermen-seek-mass-euthanasia-2450733.html  (07 May 2022)

West Bengal Darjeeling’s cold water carp farming system Farming in flow-through concrete ponds known as jhora, which is practised in the hills, is not only helping locals to get healthy diet of food but has been also supplementing their families’ incomes. https://thefishsite.com/articles/a-look-at-darjeelings-cold-water-carp-farming-system-india  (04 May 2022)

SAND MINING

SANDRP Blog Govts, Judiciary fail as Sand mining ravaging Chambal Sanctuary The reports evidently reveal the proliferation of sand mafia and unabated destructive sand mining activities in and around National Chambal River Sanctuary area particularly near Rajghat bridge on Morena side of Madhya Pradesh state despite a ban by Supreme Court of India. The mechanized, excessive mining along the banks and through flowing course of river have been impacting the endangered gharial, turtle and several other aquatic, riparian species in worst possible manner apart from posing safety threat to Rajghat bridge structure. https://sandrp.in/2022/05/08/govts-judiciary-fail-as-sand-mining-ravaging-chambal-sanctuary/  (08 May 2022)

Madhya Pradesh Illegal sand mining is devastating Narmada ecosystem The erosion has not only adversely impacted the flora and fauna, but also the livelihoods of fishers. Illegal sand mining has not only affected the livelihood of fisherfolk, but also that of riverbed cultivators.

– It also quotes SANDRP: “A study conducted in collaboration with the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People revealed that sand mining should also be listed as a major factor” threatening the river. https://scroll.in/article/1023093/illegal-sand-mining-is-devastating-the-ecosystem-around-narmada-in-madhya-pradesh  (05 May 2022)

मनमाफिक चीरा हलफलउमराड़ महानदी का सीना कटनी जिले में अवैध खनन से नदियों के अस्तित्व पर खतरा मंडरा आ रहा है। 365 दिन अविरल बहने वाली नदियां अब सूखने लगी हैं। कई जगह तो छोटी नदियां समाप्त हो गई हैं, तो कई मरणासन्न हैं। जिले की चार प्रमुख नदियां महानदी, उमराड़ नदी, हलफल नदी और कटनी नदी के अस्तित्व पर संकट आ बना है। ग्रामीण मानते हैं कि जब क्षेत्र की नदियों से मनमाना रेत का खनन नहीं होता था तब नदियों का पानी गर्मियों में सूखता नहीं था, लेकिन खनन से नदियों का प्रवाह रुक गया है। ग्रामीणों की मानें तो अगर यही हालत रही तो क्षेत्र में जबर्दस्त जल संकट खड़ा हो सकता है। https://www.patrika.com/katni-news/illegal-mining-in-rivers-7510360/  (04 May 2022)

केन और धसान नदी में पानी के अंदर से निकाल रहे रेत छतरपुर जिला प्रशासन द्वारा कार्रवाई न करने से रेत माफिया बैखौफ होकर नदियों का सीना चीर रहे हैं। केन के बाद अब धसान नदी में भी अवैध उत्खनन शुरु हो गया है। रेत माफिया के हौसले इतने बढ़ गए है कि अब रात के अंधेरे में चोरी छिपे नहीं बल्कि दिन दहाड़े नदियों का सीना चीरकर रेत लूट रहे हैं। इधर, घाट के किनारे की रेत अवैध उत्खनन के चलते खत्म हो गई है। अब रेत माफिया नदी के पानी के अंदर से रेत निकाल रहे हैं। इसके लिए डीजल इंजन से चलने वाले लिफ्टर नदी में उतारे गए हैं। इन लिफ्टरों से पानी के अंदर की रेत खींचकर किनारे लाई जा रही है, जिसे हैवी मशीनों से ट्रकों, डंफरों और ट्रैक्ट्रर में भरकर सप्लाई किया जा रहा है। https://www.patrika.com/chhatarpur-news/lifters-put-in-ken-and-dhasan-river-removing-sand-from-under-water-7518448/  (06 May 2022)

जगह-जगह चंबल रेत की अवैध मंडी चंबल नदी से रेत का अवैध उत्खनन रुक नहीं रहा है। रेत का वाहन किसी की जान ले ले या माफिया पुलिस-प्रशासन पर हमला कर दे तो अफसर कुछ दिन सक्रिय हो जाते हैं, फिर पहले की तरह रेत का कारोबार चालू हो जाता है। इन दिनों आगरा-मुंबई हाईवे हो या एमएस रोड, हर जगह रेत की मंडियां खुलेआम लग रही हैं। माफिया का दुस्साहस देखिए कि डीएफओ बंगले से 100 मीटर दूर, एसपी-कलेक्टर बंगले के सामने बेखौफ होकर ट्रैक्टर चालक रेत बेच जाते हैं। दैनिक भास्कर ने सोमवार को जब शहर के चारों कोनों पर रेत उत्खनन का हाल जाना तो स्थिति चौंकाने वाली मिली।

वहीं चंबल नदी से रेत का अवैध उत्खनन रोकने के लिए हाईकोर्ट के निर्देश पर एसएएफ के 120 जवानों की कंपनी मुरैना में तैनात है लेकिन इस कंपनी के जवानों को तभी रेत के वाहन पकड़ने का अधिकार है, जब वन विभाग के डीएफओ, रेंजर, अधीक्षक उनके साथ हों। गंभीर बात यह है कि अफसर सिर्फ पेट्रोलिंग करके लौट आते हैं। जबकि शहर में खुलेआम रेत के वाहन खड़े हो रहे हैं।  रेत उत्खनन रोकने में अक्षम टास्क फोर्स (जिला प्रशासन, पुलिस, वन विभाग) की लापरवाही इसी से पता चलती है कि 2 साल में रेत के वाहन करीब 12 लोगों की जान ले चुके हैं। रेत रोकने को लेकर एक ग्रामीण की मौत पर वन विभाग के ही 8 जवानों पर एफआईआर हो चुकी है। रेत माफिया पर नकेल कसने वाली अधीक्षक श्रद्धा पंद्रे पर छह से अधिक हमले हुए लेकिन रेत उत्खनन रोकने के लिए नियमित कार्रवाई नहीं होती। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/morena/news/illegal-market-of-chambal-sand-everywhere-tractor-trolleys-coming-out-in-front-of-bungalows-of-officers-129751292.html  (02 May 2022)

छात्र को अवैध रेत ले जा रहे ट्रैक्टरट्राली ने कुचला मुरैना के अंबाह कालेज में परीक्षा देने आ रहे छात्र को तेज रफ्तार में आ रहे रेत से भरे ट्रैक्टर-ट्राली ने मारी टक्कर, फिर ट्रैक्टर का टायर छात्र पर चढ़ गया। छात्र ने मौके पर ही दम तोड़ दिया हैै। हादसे के बाद गुस्साए ग्रामीणों दो घंटे तक सड़क पर जाम लगा दिया। यह हादसा शनिवार (April 09) की सुबह अंबाह थाना क्षेत्र के गूंज बंधा रोड पर गोसिन के पुरा पर हुआ हादसा। https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/morena-morena-accident-news-tractor-trolley-carrying-illegal-sand-crushed-student-going-to-take-examination-villagers-jammed-7444294  (09 April 2022)

चंबल की तीन नदियों का अस्तित्व खतरे में विभिन्न नदियां इन दिनों अपने अस्तित्व के लिए संघर्ष करने को मजबूर बनी हुईं हैं। एक ओर जहां अवैध खनन इनके लिए परेशानी उत्पन्न कर रहा है, वहीं छोटी नदियों के किनारे होने वाला अतिक्रमण इनके लिए एक बड़ी समस्या बना रहा है। ऐसे में साल 1990 तक चंबल संभाग के भिंड जिले के ग्रामीण अंचल में जीवनदायीनी साबित होती आ रही बेसली, झिलमिल और क्वारी नदी का अस्तित्व अब खत्म होने के कगार पर हैं। आलम ये है कि नदियों के किनारे की जमीन पर लगातार बढ़ रहे अतिक्रमण के चलते नदियां नाले में तब्दील हो रही हैं।

क्वारी नदी मुरैना जिले के बुधारा के पास से भिण्ड जिले में प्रवेश होकर गोरमी, अटेर, भिण्ड सहित 400 से ज्यादा गांवों को लाभान्वित करती आ रही है। क्वारी नदी की चौड़ाई करीब 600 फीट है जो नदी के किनारों पर किए गए अतिक्रमण के चलते 35 से 40 फीट कम हो गई है। ज्ञात हो कि भिण्ड जिले में 60 से 65 किलो मीटर लंबाई में है। नदी से न केवल लोग अपने खेतों की फसल को सिंचित करते आ रहे हैं बल्कि गांवों का जल स्तर भी स्थिर बनाए रखने में योगदान देती आ रही है। नदी के सिंकुडऩे के कारण न केवल नदी की धार टूट गई है बल्कि पानी ही खत्म हो चला है। ऐसे में पालतू पशुओं के अलावा जंगली जानवरों के लिए भी पेयजल संकट उत्पन्न हो गया है।

गौरतलब है कि क्वारी, बेसली तथा झिलमिल नदी किनारे बसे गांवों का जल स्तर वर्ष 1990 तक 18 से 20 फीट नीचे था। नदियों में पर्याप्त पानी नहीं रहने के चलते साल दर साल गिर रहे भूजल स्तर के कारण गुजरे 30 साल में पानी 50 फीट नीचे चला गया है। लिहाजा कहा जा सकता है कि जल स्तर औसतन प्रति वर्ष एक फीट नीचे खिसक रहा है। बावजूद इसके शासन और प्रशासनिक स्तर दर नदियों का जीवन बचाने के जमीनी स्तर पर प्रयास नहीं किए जा रहे। https://www.patrika.com/bhind-news/existence-of-three-rivers-of-chambal-is-in-danger-7513812/  (06 May 2022)

मुरैना में चंबल का सीना छलनी किया जा रहा है। हजारों की संख्या में ट्रेक्टर ट्रालियों द्वारा रेत का अवैध खनन किया जा रहा है। यह खनन राजघाट के नए पुल के नीचे किया जा रहा है। खनन सबके सामने व दिन में किया जा रहा है। सुबह से माफिया की जेसेबी मशीनें धड़धड़ाने लगती है, हजारों ट्रालियों की लाइनें लग जाती हैं। यह सिलसिला देर शाम तक चलता रहता है। सबसे अहम बात यह है कि चंबल में पर्यटक आ रहे हैं। इन पर्यटकों के सामने रेत का अवैध खनन हो रहा है। जिला, पुलिस व वन विभाग के अधिकारी अपने परिवार के साथ चंबल घूम रहे हैं। उनके सामने अवैध रेत भरा जा रहा है और रेत से भरी ट्रेक्टर ट्रालियां धड़धड़ाती गुजर रही हैं। किसी की क्या मजाल जो उन्हें रोक सके। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/morena/news/illegal-mining-of-sand-taking-place-from-morning-till-evening-thousands-of-trolleys-129258522.html  (Dec. 2021)

चंबल नदी के 435 किमी लंबे अभयारण्य क्षेत्र से रेत माफिया बेखौफ होकर रेत उत्खनन कर रहा है। हालत यह है कि सबलगढ़ से भिंड जिले की सीमा तक रोज 100 डंपर और 5 हजार ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉली से रेत खोदकर निकाली जा रही है। मुरैना-धौलपुर के बीच स्थित राजघाट से ग्वालियर तक एक चौकी, पांच थाने व वन चेक पोस्ट के सामने से रेत की ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉलियों कतार लगाकर फर्राटे भरते हुए निकल जाती हैं लेकिन उन्हें पकड़ने की हिम्मत न वन विभाग में है न पुलिस में। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/morena/news/illegal-excavation-of-100-dumper-five-thousand-trolley-sand-daily-5000-pits-are-within-a-radius-of-5-km-at-rajghat-128702099.html  (July 2021)

चंबल नदी से रेत का अवैध उत्खनन करने के लिए माफिया अपनी जान को दाव पर लगाने से भी परहेज नहीं कर रहा। सबलगढ़ क्षेत्र में स्थित रहूघाट की तरफ रेत की कमी है, इसलिए माफिया चंबल नदी पार करके राजस्थान पहुंच जाता है और वहां से रेत खोदकर दोबारा मप्र की ओर ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉली ले आते हैं। रहूघाट पर चंबल नदी का जलस्तर कम है। फिर भी ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉली निकालने के लिए माफिया ने बाकायदा चट्‌टान के टुकड़े डालकर अस्थायी रास्ता बना लिया है। इनके ऊपर से रेत से भरे ट्रैक्टर चढ़ाकर सबलगढ़ साइड आ जाते हैं। शुक्रवार को रहूघाट पर रेत से भरी ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉली नदी की बीच धार में चट्‌टानों के बीच फंस गई। काफी जद्दोजहद के बाद वह नहीं निकली तो बाद में माफिया के लोगों ने जेसीबी व एक अन्य ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉली की मदद से खींचकर नदी से बाहर निकाला। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/morena/news/excavated-from-rajasthan-to-bring-illegal-sand-to-mp-a-path-made-by-putting-stones-in-chambal-river-128707985.html  (July 2021) रेत का अवैध उत्खनन करते समय बीच नदी में फंसा Tractor और Driver https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKTpizlZo1g  (28 July 2021)

वन मंत्री के सामने अवैध रेत परिवहन-डंप रेत, बोले माफिया पर करेंगे कार्रवाई https://www.patrika.com/morena-news/illegal-sand-transport-dump-in-front-of-forest-minister-said-to-take-6673749/  (06 Feb. 2021)

जलीय जीव संरक्षण की सबसे बड़ी सेंचुरी में से एक चंबल में हालात खतरनाक हो गए हैं। प्रशासन के सरेंडर की वजह से रेत माफिया पहुंच वाले चंबल के हर घाट से प्रतिदिन हजारों ट्रॉली रेत का खनन बेखौफ कर रहा है। रेत से भरी ट्रैक्टर ट्रॉलियां शृंखला में शहर और गांवों में थानो के सामने से गुजर रही हैं। https://www.patrika.com/morena-news/extreme-sand-mining-from-the-chambal-the-escape-of-aquatic-organisms-4393641/  (07 April 2019)

रायसेन की सबसे बड़ी रेत खदान गौरा मछुराई में बीते कुछ दिनों से अवैध रेत खनन की शिकायत मिल रही थी। इसके बाद कलेक्टर अरविंद दुबे, पुलिस अधीक्षक विकास शहवाल के निर्देशन में बुधवार देर रात और गुरुवार अल सुबह खनिज अधिकारी और पुलिस बल के साथ ग्राम गौरा खदान में रेत का अवैध उत्खनन और परिवहन करते 1 पोकलेन मशीन, 15 डंपर जब्त कर थाना भारकच्छ की अभिरक्षा में रखा जाने की कार्रवाई जारी है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhopal/raisen/news/15-dumpers-1-poklen-machine-seized-while-mining-illegal-sand-on-the-instructions-of-the-collector-129623786.html  (April 2022)

रायसेन को मध्यप्रदेश में धान का कटोरा कहा जाता है। यहां बेतवा के उद्गम स्थल से लेकर विदिशा तक नदी के पानी का उपयोग किसान सिंचाई के लिए करते हैं। पीने के पानी के लिए भी ग्रामीण बेतवा नदी पर ही निर्भर हैं। किसान मोटर पंप के जरिए काफी मात्रा में पानी खींच लेते हैं। लेकिन अब ये नदी सूख रही है। 2005 के बाद से ही हर साल गर्मी में ऐसी स्थिति बन रही है। नदी में पानी नहीं होने का बड़ा कारण ये भी है कि किसान मोटर पंप लगाकर सिंचाई के लिए पानी खींच लेते है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhopal/raisen/news/scary-picture-for-300-villages-in-early-summer-farmers-dream-of-makodia-dam-still-unfulfilled-129629915.html  (1st Week April 2022)

बेतवा नदी के उद्गम स्थल से लेकर विदिशा तक कोई भी बांध नहीं है, जिससे गर्मी शुरू होते ही बेतवा नदी का आंचल कई स्थानों पर सूख जाता है, जबकि एक समय बेतवा नदी 12 महीने पानी बना रहता था, लेकिन जब से सिंचाई के लिए पानी का दोहन शुरू हुआ है, तब से बेतवा नदी समय से पहले ही सूखने लगी है, जिसका असर यह हो रहा है कि गर्मी के दिनों में नदी से मवेशियों के लिए पानी मिलना तक मुश्किल होने लगा है। नदी के सूखने से जल स्तर भी कम हो जाता है। गर्मी के दिनों में हैंडपंपों और ट्यूबवेल का पानी काफी नीचे जला जाता है।

बेतवा नदी पर रायसेन के पास मकोड़िया गांव में बांध बनाने की मांग लंबे से उठती रही है। इस गांव के पास यह बांध बन जाता है तो बारिश के पानी को बांध में रोका जा सकता है और उसे जरूरत के समय सिंचाई व पीने के पानी के रूप में उपयोग में लाया सकता है। इस बांध के निर्माण के लिए विदिशा और रायसेन के लोग आंदोलन भी कर चुके हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhopal/raisen/news/betwa-river-hand-pump-started-looking-like-a-road-the-water-level-of-tube-wells-also-fell-129676475.html  (17 April 2022)

Uttar Pradesh चंदौली में इंस्पेक्टर समेत 6 पुलिसवालों पर केस चंदौली में बालू करोबारी के घर दबिश के दौरान हुई युवती की मौत मामले में इंस्पेक्टर समेत 6 पुलिसवालों के खिलाफ गैर-इरादतन हत्या का केस दर्ज हुआ है। गांव के एक हिस्से में कर्फ्यू जैसा माहौल है। रातभर पीएससी और पुलिस तैनात रही है। रात में भी वीडियोग्राफी के साथ युवती का पोस्टमॉर्टम कराया गया। उधर, भीड़ की पिटाई से घायल सिपाही मुकेश कुमार की हालत गंभीर है। उसको वाराणसी के लिए रेफर कर दिया गया है। वारदात सैयदराजा थाना क्षेत्र के मनराजपुर गांव की रविवार (May 01) शाम की है। पुलिस की टीम जिला बदर बालू के आढ़त कारोबारी को पकड़ने उसके घर पहुंची थी। कारोबारी घर पर नहीं मिला। आरोप है कि पुलिस टीम ने कारोबारी के परिवार को बुरी तरह पीटा। इस दौरान 19 साल की बेटी सामने दिख गई तो उसे भी पीटना शुरू कर दिया। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/chandauli/news/police-beaten-and-rape-with-accused-daughter-in-chandauli-up-police-in-news-129747884.html  (02 May 2022)

चंबल सेंचुरी मे अवैध खनन, 5 पर धमकी देने की FIR इटावा जिले के राष्ट्रीय चंबल सेंचुरी मे खनन माफियाओ ने वन्य जीव संरक्षक को मौत के घाट उतारने की घमकी दी है। सहसो पुलिस थाने मे दर्ज किये गये मामले के मुताबिक यह मामला 26 अप्रैल का है लेकिन इसका मामला 2 मई को देर रात नौ बजे के आसपास दर्ज कराया गया। राष्ट्रीय चंबल सेंचुरी के पिपरौली गढिया के वीट प्रभारी वन जीव संरक्षक प्रताप सिंह ने इसी गांव के गौरव समेत 5 अन्य खनन माफियाओ के खिलाफ मामला दर्ज कराया है। सहसों थाना के गांव पिपरौली गढ़िया में प्रवाहित चंबल नदी से अवैध बालू खनन में एक ही गांव के पांच ऊंट वालों के खिलाफ अवैध बालू खनन एवं जान से मारने की धमकी देने के आरोप में वन्यजीव रक्षक की तहरीर पर मुकदमा दर्ज किया गया। https://www.patrika.com/etawah-news/illegal-mining-from-camels-in-national-chambal-century-in-etawah-7507919/  (03 May 2022)

अवैध खनन से बैसाख में ही सूख गई बेतवा हमीरपुर जिले में बैसाख महीने में यहां की ऐतिहासिक बेतवा नदी के सूखने से तटवर्ती इलाकों में हलचल मच गई है। बेतवा नदी में लगी लिफ्ट केनाल का संचालन भी पानी न होने के कारण पूरी तरह से ठप हो गया है जबकि तापमान के लगातार बढऩे से अन्य स्थानीय नदियां भी सूखने के मुहाने है। कभी गर्मी के दिनों में पानी से लबालब रहने वाली बेतवा नदी के बीस किमी के दायरे में जगह-जगह नाले में तब्दील होने से आम लोग भी चिंतित है।

लिफ्टर और पोकलैण्ड जैसी प्रतिबंधित मशीनों से दिन रात मोरम का खनन होने के कारण बेतवा नदी का अस्तित्व अब खतरे पर पड़ गया है। किसी जमाने में गर्मी के दिनों में लोग नाव से बेतवा नदी पार करते थे लेकिन अब लोग पैदल ही नदी पार कर लेते हैं। हमीरपुर शहर के डिग्गी रमेड़ी के पास बेतवा नदी किनारे गहरे पानी में कई दशक पहले लगाई गई लिफ्ट केनाल का संचालन ठप हो गया है जबकि सहजना गांव के पास बेतवा नदी में संचालित लिफ्ट केनाल भी पानी कम होने के कारण प्रभावित हुई है। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttar-pradesh/others/betwa-river-dried-up-in-baisakh-due-to-illegal-mining-in-hamirpur/articleshow/91333578.cms  (05 May 2022)

बेतवा और केन नदी में पिछले कई महीने से हो रहे अंधाधुंध खनन से चन्द्रावल नदी का अस्तित्व ही खतरे में पड़ गया है। जिले में मौदहा तहसील क्षेत्र में मोरम के खनन का सबसे बुरा असर चन्द्रावल के साथ विरमा नदी पर पड़ा है। जिले के राठ क्षेत्र के छानी गांव के पास विरमा नदी में मौदहा डैम बन जाने से चन्द्रावल नदी मुस्करा सरीला ब्लाक में अपना अस्तित्व खो चुकी है। दोनों ही क्षेत्रों के गांवों को अब विरमा नदी से किसी तरह के उपयोग के लिए पानी नसीब नहीं हो रहा है। इसी तरह का कमोवेश हालात मौदहा, सुमेरपुर ब्लाक क्षेत्र में बहने वाली चन्द्रावल नदी की है जो गर्मी का पारा चढ़ते ही इस नदी की जलधारा विलुप्त हो गई है।

1980 के दशक में चन्द्रावल नदी में भीषण बाढ़ आई थी जिससे नदी किनारे बसे दर्जनों गांवों का इतिहास ही बदल गया था। हजारों लोगों को घर छोड़कर ऊंचाई वाले स्थानों पर जाना पड़ा था। कानपुर-सागर नेशनल हाइवे में नरायच गांव का पुल भी नदी के उफनाने से ढह गया था। जबकि इस नदी की बाढ़ ने कानपुर-बांदा रेल ट्रैक का यातायात भी ठप कर सिजनौड़ा गांव के निकट बांदा रोड पर बने पुल की छत को अपने वेग से बहाकर अलग कर दिया था।  https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttar-pradesh/others/up-as-soon-as-the-summer-started-in-hamirpur-the-chandrawal-river-turned-into-a-drain/articleshow/90401488.cms  (23 March 2022)

Uttarakhand 23 करोड़ की लागत से बचेगा गौला पुल पिछले साल आई बाढ़ के कारण गौलापुल की एप्रोच रोड बह गई थी। साथ ही पुल को भी खतरा पैदा हो गया था। इसके बाद एनएचएआई ने गौला पुल, एप्रोच रोड को बचाने के लिए आईआईटी रुड़की की टीम को बुलाया था। आईआईटी रुड़की ने पुल और एप्रोच रोड को बचाने के लिए गौला नदी में खनन पूर्ण बंद करने को कहा था। इसके बाद एनएचएआई ने यह प्रस्ताव जिलाधिकारी को भिजवाया लेकिन वहां से कोई उत्तर नहीं मिला।

Amar Ujala image

इसके बाद एनएचएआई ने आईआईटी रुड़की से इसके अलावा पुल को बचाने के लिए दूसरा प्लान मांगा। उस प्लान में अब एनएचएआई काम कर रहा है। एनएचएआई ने इस प्लान को लोक निर्माण विभाग को भेजते हुए कार्यदायी संस्था बनने का अनुरोध किया था। लोनिवि ने इस अनुरोध को मानते हुए इसके लिए विस्तृत डीपीआर बनाते हुए एनएचएआई को भेज दी है। इस डिजाइन के अनुसार गौला पुल को बचाने के लिए 23 करोड़ रुपया खर्च होगा। अब एनएचएआई इस प्रस्ताव को सड़क परिवहन और राजमार्ग मंत्रालय को भेजेगा। वहां से बजट स्वीकृत होते ही गौला पुल को बचाने का काम शुरू होगा।

आईआईटी रुड़की ने गौला पुल और एप्रोच बचाने के लिए रिवर के डाउन और अप स्ट्रीम में नदी के बहाव को चैनेलाइज (धीमा) करने के लिए कहा था। लोनिवि के अधिशासी अभियंता अशोक चौधरी ने बताया कि आईआईटी रुड़की ने गौला पुल के 50 मीटर डाउन स्ट्रीम में डैम बनाने के लिए कहा था। इसमें नदी तल से 8 मीटर ऊंचाई में जीआई जाल की मदद से ब्लॉक बनाने, ऊपरी हिस्से में सीमेंट के ब्लॉक बनाने और अप स्ट्रीम में रिवर आबादी क्षेत्र की ओर न कटान करे इसके लिए सीमेंट के क्यूबिक आकार के ब्लॉक बनाने के लिए कहा था। साथ ही पिलरों को बचाने के लिए भी पिलर के बाहरी भाग में प्रोटेक्शन वाल बनाई जाएगी। कहा कि गौला नदी में बाढ़ आने पर पत्थर, रेत इस ब्लॉक में अटक जाएंगे। इससे नदी का तल आगे की तरफ ऊंचा हो जाएगा। इससे पुल और एप्रोच रोड को कोई खतरा नहीं होगा। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/nainital/gaula-bridge-will-be-saved-at-a-cost-of-23-crores-haldwani-news-hld4613691179  (03 May 2022)

रामपुर रोड, हल्द्वानी, नंधौर और बरेली रोड के अधिकांश स्टोन क्रशर स्वामियों ने अपने बोर्ड में तीन मई से खनन सामग्री नहीं लेने का नोटिस चस्पा कर दिया है। स्टोन क्रशर संचालकों की ओर से अचानक लिए गए इस निर्णय से खनन व्यवसायी सकते में है। क्रशर एसोसिएशन के अध्यक्ष राजेश कुमार अग्रवाल का कहना है कि मार्केट में रेता बजरी की डिमांड बहुत ही कम हो गई है। उत्तराखंड पुलिस की ओर से ओवरलोड के नाम पर वाहन स्वामियों का उत्पीड़न किया जा रहा है। दूसरे प्रदेशों से रेता बजरी लेने वाहन बहुत ही कम आ रहे हैं। सरकार द्वारा गौला नदी की रॉयल्टी के रेट अधिक करने तथा समतलीकरण की रॉयल्टी के रेट कम होने से भी इस क्षेत्र के स्टोन क्रशरों को नुकसान हो रहा है। चारों तरफ से गौला नदी से जुड़े स्टोन क्रशरों को चोट पहुंचने और मंदी का दौर आने से उन्हें खरीद बंद करनी पड़ रही है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/nainital/stone-crusher-operators-announced-to-stop-the-purchase-of-rbm-from-today-there-was-panic-among-thousands-of-mining-businessmen-lalkuan-news-hld4613742134  (03 May 2022)

स्टोन क्रशर संचालकों की ओर से आरबीएम की खरीद पर रोक के निर्णय के खिलाफ बरेली रोड क्षेत्र के खनन कारोबारियों ने मोटाहल्दू में बैठक की। उन्होंने कहा कि स्टोन क्रशर संचालक जब तक आरबीएम की खरीद नहीं करेंगे उन्हें रेता बजरी की बिक्री भी नहीं करने देंगे। बैठक में गौला संघर्ष समिति के संयोजक रमेश चंद्र जोशी ने कहा कि क्रशर संचालकों ने वाहन स्वामियों को अंधेरे में रखा है। अन्य खनन कारोबारियों ने कहा कि क्रशर संचालकों की ओर से उन्हें मानसिक रूप से परेशान किया जा रहा है, जिसका विरोध करते रहेंगे। खनन कारोबारी क्रशर के मुख्य गेट पर टेंट लगाकर धरना प्रदर्शन करेंगे। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/nainital/if-you-don-t-buy-rbm-you-won-t-even-sell-sand-and-gravel-lalkuan-news-hld461468080?src=story-related-top-auto  (04 May 2022)

गौला नदी अब तक सरकार की झोली में 145 करोड़ रुपये जमा कर चुकी है। नदी से 29 लाख घनमीटर उपखनिज अभी तक निकला। इस बार निकासी का कुल लक्ष्य 38 लाख घनमीटर है। वन निगम के मुताबिक जिला खनिज न्यास फाउंडेशन के खाते में 11.84 करोड़ रुपये अब तक जा चुके हैं।

शीशमहल से लेकर शांतिपुरी तक गौला के अलग-अलग गेटों पर साढ़े सात हजार वाहन निकासी करते हैं। इसके अलावा तीन गेटों पर बुग्गियों के संचालन की भी अनुमति है। भाबर से लेकर तराई के करीब एक लाख लोग प्रत्यक्ष-अप्रत्यक्ष तौर पर गौला के जरिये आजीविका चलाते हैं। 15 नवंबर से धीरे-धीरे निकासी गेट खुलने लग गए थे। लेकिन बीच में वाहनस्वामियों और क्रशर संचालकों के बीच हड़ताल होने से दो सप्ताह से ज्यादा तक खनन का काम ठप रहा। वहीं, केंद्रीय मृदा एवं जल संरक्षण संस्थान की टीम ने इस बार निकासी का लक्ष्य 38 लाख घनमीटर रखा है। बीच सत्र में हड़ताल नहीं होती तो टारगेट मई के पहले हफ्ते में भी पूरा हो जाता। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-huge-profit-in-government-revenue-from-gaula-river-in-haldwani-22645127.html  (22 April 2022)

अंधाधुंध खनन के चलते गौला नदी करीब 30 फीट से अधिक गहरी हो चुकी है। खनन के कारण मिट्टी की ढांग गिरने से आए दिन हादसे हो रहे हैं। लापरवाही का आलम यह है कि शासन से बनी टीम गौला नदी से उपखनिज निकासी का लक्ष्य तय बढ़ाने की तैयारी कर रही है। सूत्रों के अनुसार वन विभाग और वन विकास निगम के अधिकारी इसका विरोध कर रहे हैं। गौला नदी से जुड़े कई वाहन स्वामी भी नदी से निकासी बढ़ाने का विरोध कर रहे हैं। अब नदी से निकलने वाले उपखनिज में 60 प्रतिशत तक मिट्टी आ रही है। इस कारण उपखनिज के रेट भी अच्छे नहीं मिल रहे हैं। लोग गौला का रेता सीधे लेने से मना कर रहे हैं। गौला नदी से उपखनिज निकासी का लक्ष्य 32.92 लाख घनमीटर रखा गया था। अब नदी से मात्र 2.5 लाख घनमीटर उपखनिज निकासी ही शेष है। नदी से एक दिन में 30 हजार घनमीटर उपखनिज निकलता है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/nainital/worrying-the-gaula-river-becomes-30-feet-deep-haldwani-news-hld420905852  (21 April 2021)

Odisha Tehsildar missing after NGT whip The Tehsildar of Badasahi in Mayurbhanj went missing just a day before a sand mafia Pradeep Bindhani was arrested on April 30 for lifting sand way beyond his lease area. The Tehsildar identified as Mumtaz Maharana was allegedly hands in gloves with the accused Bindhani and had received severe reprimand from the NGT who after reviewing the ground situation at the Dingira and Arapata riverbed on Budhabalang river had sought an explanation from the district Collector on her conduct. The NGT even went on to ask the Collector why action should not be taken against the Tehsildar.

As per reports, Pradeep Bindhani was awarded the sand mining lease at Dingira and Arapata riverbeds near Badasahi, but he mined more than his limits and flouted all the guidelines. After repeated complaints by the locals, the NGT took the matter into cognisance and sent a team to the spot to review the situation. As per the NGT ruling, Bindhani mined 200 percent more sand from his stipulated lease and used heavy machinery to mine the sands altering the flow path of the river. It was alleged that the Tehsildar helped him in doing so and shielded him from the law until the NGT arrived into the scene.

The NGT had ordered the Collector to collect Rs 17.3 Cr from Bindhani as fine for his illegal lifting of sand. The matter becomes more sensitive because the Revenue Minister, Sudam Marndi hails from the same district. Union MoS for Water Resources, Bisweswar Tudu said, “It is very unfortunate that despite hailing from the district, Minister Marndi has been silent all this while when sand worth crores of Rupees being siphoned of by the mafias.” https://odishatv.in/news/miscellaneous/illegal-sand-mining-odisha-tehsildar-missing-after-ngt-whip-176045  (02 May 2022)

NGT intervention later, panel inspects two river beds Acting on the orders of the NGT of East Zone bench, Kolkata, a four-member official committee, on Wednesday (April 06) inspected two river beds of Budhabalanga in Badasahi block of Mayurbhanj district  following allegation of illegal sand mining in the region. The NGT intervention came after hearing the petition of one Radha Mohan Singh, a resident of Chhelia-Pundal village who alleged illegal mining by a lessee without renewal of environmental clearance (EC) and consent to operate (CTO) besides excess mining causing huge loss to the State exchequer.

The petitioner had pointed out that the daily mining permissible limit was nine cubic metres and annual sand mining capacity was 2,000 cubic metres but the lessee was taking out 2,295 cubic metres per day and 4.819 lakh cubic metres per year which was 240 times of the permissible limit. As a result, it was causing loss to the State exchequer to the tune of around Rs 43.68 crore considering the value of one cubic metre of sand to be Rs 1,365. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/apr/07/illegal-sand-mining-ngt-intervention-later-panel-inspects-two-river-beds-2439007.html  (07 April 2022)

Maharashtra Bombay HC orders release of boats Justice N J Jamadar of Bombay high court on May 2 directed release of boats of a farmer Farid Ubhare allegedly used for illegal excavation and transportation of sand in Konkan. Ubhare had challenged orders passed by a judicial Magistrate and sessions court in Raigad, rejecting his applications for release of his vessels.

His counsel Mubin Solkar argued that both the lower courts had approached the issue with an incorrect perspective and erred in refusing to return the vessels without proof of ownership of the boats to the hilt. The HC after hearing government lawyer A S Lohakare who opposed the petition observed that considering the nature of the property (vessels) keeping them at the shore would pose a risk to persons and property.

The courts ought to have considered that the vessels were seized from the Petitioner and no other person had claimed the boats, said Justice Jamadar and directed Ubhare to execute a bond of ₹7 lakhs and an undertaking that the vessels would not be used for illegal excavation of sand. “Judicial Magistrate as well as the Additional Sessions Judge fell in error in insisting for proof of ownership of boats, to the hilt. The fact that the boats were seized from the possession of the Petitioner ought to have taken into account. For the foregoing reasons, the impugned orders deserve to be quashed and set aside,” the HC concluded. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/illegal-sand-mining-bombay-hc-directs-release-of-boats/articleshow/91420379.cms  (08 May 2022)

Karnataka Stopping sand mining in CRZ can prevent sea erosion: Panel The Karnataka Legislature Assurance Committee, that visited areas affected by sea erosion in Ullal, suggested that it can be stopped, if sand mining is allowed only in non-CRZ areas. Locals affected by sea erosion, told the committee that the authorities have failed in finding a permanent solution to the issue, and that the projects taken up to tackle this issue so far, have failed.

Farooq said that under an Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded scheme, the government has spent Rs 911 crore to tackle sea erosion. In 2021, reef construction work was carried out, he said. “Sea erosion can be stopped, if the rampant sand mining is stopped in CRZ areas. The deputy commissioner has informed that sand mining is now allowed in Maravoor, Shambur and Thumbe dam areas,” he said.

Farooq later visited a STP, where the locals objected to the overhead plant, and urged that it be constructed underground. He added that water pollution has resulted in extinction of local fish species. During the visit, the members said that they noticed the contamination of waterbodies like rivers and ponds, and found a foul smell emanating from waterbodies and wells, where oil had mixed with water.

Farooq added that huge pipelines installed adjacent to the Phalguni River, where the road leads to the MSEZ and MRPL, is inviting trouble. The road is narrow, and the committee has planned to ask land from KIOCL, for expanding the road, which will help motorists, he added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/stopping-sand-mining-in-crz-can-prevent-sea-erosion-panel/articleshow/91354799.cms  (06 May 2022)

Tamil Nadu Officer arrested in TN in illegal sand mining case Nilgiris District Assistant Director of Mining and Geology arrested in illegal sand mining case related to Malankara Catholic Church. Safia (40), a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested by CBCI officials.

Safia was the Assistant Director of Tirunelveli District Mining and Geology at the time of the incident. She was questioned by CBCID officials on Saturday (April 09) in connection with the case and later arrested. She helped the accused illegally mine sand, the agency said.

The crime branch had booked a case in 2019 on a complaint received that sand from the river was being mined illegally on 300 acres of land owned by the Pathanamthitta diocese on the banks of the Thamarabharani river at Pottal near Tirunelveli Ambasamudram. This was under the direction of the Madras High Court.  https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/malayali-officer-arrested-in-tn-in-illegal-sand-mining-case-related-to-malankara-catholic-church-1.7424988  (11 April 2022)

Telangana Illegal sand mining rampant in erstwhile Adilabad district There is rampant illegal sand mining going on in areas through which Rivers Penganga, Pranahitha and Godavari flow. Village gram panchayats are complicit in the illegality, where 100 times more than permitted quantities of sand are being excavated and sold.

A result of such mining is that groundwater levels in surrounding areas have gone down. There are reports that even people from Maharashtra are mining sand illegally from the bordering areas of the erstwhile Adilabad district. A bike rider of Masala village lost his life after a sand-laden lorry ran over him. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/crime/120422/illegal-sand-mining-rampant-in-erstwhile-adilabad-district.html  (12 April 2022)

Punjab Illegal sand mining goes unabated in Mohali Another illegal sand mining case was unearthed in Mohali district on Sunday (May 08) – this time in Kurali – taking the number of such cases in the last three weeks to 11. The other 10 cases had come to fore from Dera Bassi, Kurali, Dhakoli, Majri block of Mullnapur, and Sohana. Majri block in Mullanpur area has remained a hotbed of illegal mining in the district. All cases have been registered under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 in different police stations across the district. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/illegal-sand-mining-goes-unabated-in-mohali-11-cases-in-3-weeks-101652042189966.html  (09 May 2022)

Meghalaya 3 MLAs to push for quarrying, sand mining National People’s Party MLAs, Banteidor Lyngdoh and Pyniaid Sing Syiem and Independent legislator, Lambor Malngiang said they would take up the plight of people suffering from the ban on sand and stone mining with CM, Conrad K. Sangma. The three MLAs made the commitment while attending a meeting convened by the Joint Action Committee of Stone Crusher Owners’ Association and Quarry Owners’ & Workers’ Association of East Khasi Hills, held at Lad Nongkrem on Monday (May 02).

The association had invited all the seven MLAs from East Khasi Hills to attend the meeting which was convened to oppose the ban on mining and quarrying of sand and stone by the Forest and Environment department. The ban was implemented in 2016 after the Meghalaya Minor Mineral Concession Rules (MMMCR), 2016 came into force.

Earlier, the District Magistrate of East Khasi Hills had promulgated an order under Section 144 CrPC prohibiting illegal mining and quarrying without obtaining a mining licence, quarry permit and other clearance certificates from concerned authorities. Prior to that, the NGT had also issued an order restraining mining and quarry activity or removal of sand from river beds anywhere in the country without obtaining valid mining licence, quarry permit and other clearance certificates prescribed by the EIA. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/05/03/three-mlas-to-push-for-quarrying-sand-mining/  (03 May 2022)

DC bans Illegal mining of sand in SWGH South West Garo Hills District Magistrate S.K. Marak has issued an order under Section 144 CrPC prohibiting illegal mining or quarrying of sand in the district by any individual, institution or organization without permission or clearance from the competent authorities with immediate effect. The prohibition comes after the recent direction from the State Forests & Environment that any grant of quarry permit and mining lease of sand should be strictly regulated in accordance with Meghalaya Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2016 and grant of mining leases and quarry permits without prior environmental clearance under Environmental Protection Act, 1986 should be prohibited. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/05/06/dc-bans-illegal-mining-of-sand-in-swgh/  (06 May 2022)

Maharashtra 5 of family drown in quarry in Dombivli Five members of a family including three children drowned in a water-filled quarry in Dombivlai in Thane district on Saturday (May 07), a fire brigade official said. The incident took place around 4 pm in Sandip village, he said. “A woman and her daughter-in-law were washing clothes near the quarry when one of the woman’s three grandchildren, who were sitting close by, slipped into the water. The other four tried to rescue the child but they all drowned,” he said. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/thane-five-of-family-drown-in-quarry-in-dombivli-23226234  (08 May 2022)

The incident occurred around 4pm at Sandap village which comes under the 27 villages in Kalyan that for the last few months has been facing an acute water supply problem. According to the police, the victims were busy washing the clothes when one of the grandsons, who was sitting on the bank of the quarry, slipped and fell into the water, in order to save him his brothers and both women jumped into the water as well. However, all five drowned. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thane/thane-5-of-family-drown-in-a-quarry-in-dombivli/articleshow/91409123.cms; https://www.amarujala.com/india-news/five-members-of-same-family-drown-in-water-filled-quarry-in-dombivli-maharashtra  (08 May 2022)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Maharashtra HC holds Powai lake cycling project work illegal  The Bombay high court on May 6, 2022 stopped all work holding it was illegal under the current laws and directed BMC to remove any construction material and restore the lake areas to its original status. The ruling came on two PIL filed first by an IIT Bombay PhD student Omkar Supekar and then by environmental rights NGO Vanashakti and its founder Stalin D alleging the work violated Wetland rules.

– Senior counsel Gayatri Singh with advocate Zaman Ali appearing for the NGO, Vanashakti argued that there is a crocodile park so permission is required from National Wildlife board and that the heritage clearance clearly stated that no construction or reclamation of any kind should be allowed.

Singh and Rajmani said Powai lake was a wetland area under the Wetlands Atlas 2011 and hence protected under the orders of the HC and the Supreme Court. Rajmani Verma, counsel for an IIT Bombay PhD student Omkar Supekar in the second PIL also argued that there can be no reclamation or damage to the heritage lake when the DCR clearly states that within 100 meters of the water body there could be no construction. Advocate Manoj Shirsat counsel for intervenor activist Zoru Bhathena had also argued that the cycle track project work was nothing but reclamation being done which is impermissible. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/bombay-hc-holds-powai-lake-cycling-project-work-illegal-stops-it-orders-removal-of-work/articleshow/91375446.cms  (07 May 2022)

Green join hands for first flamingo festival on May 14 Celebrating the World Migratory Bird Day (WBMD) on May 14, a group of environment-focused groups have joined hands to hold the city’s first ever Flamingo Festival. WBMD is a twice-a-year awareness-raising campaign held on the second week-ends of May and September highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them, the WBMD website said. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/navi-mumbai-environmentalist-join-hands-for-citys-first-flamingo-festival-on-may-14  (07 May 2022)

Assam NGT dissatisfied at efforts to save Deepor Beel wetlands NGT has expressed dissatisfaction over the slow progress of waste management at Deepor Beel, a Ramsar wetland on the banks of Brahmaputra near Guwahati. The NGT made the observation on April 28 while disposing an eight-year-old application filed by environment activist Rohit Choudhury seeking control on flow of effluents into the wetland spread over 40-sq-km.

“It is seen that solid waste is not scientifically managed nor legacy waste has been remediated. Capacity of proposed integrated waste management plant has not been specified,” the NGT order read. “There is also no water quality monitoring programme of the wetland. In spite of monitoring by the tribunal for a long period, no satisfactory progress has taken place so far,” it added.

The present application was filed in 2014 against damage to Deepor Beel due to violations of Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 (now SWM Rules, 2016) and Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 (now Wetland Rules 2017). https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/green-watchdog-dissatisfied-at-efforts-to-save-deepor-beel-wetlands-in-assam-101651592257854.html  (03 May 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir SOS from Hokersar Wetland Just 10 kms away from Srinagar city, the Hokersar wetland, a refuge of thousands of migratory birds, is now dying silently. “For the last three years, the wetland has been pushed to the brink of extinction due lack of manpower by the concerned department,” said Ali Mohd, 45, a local.

– Known as the ‘queen of wetlands’ in Kashmir, Hokersar was declared as a Conservation Reserve under the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Wild protection Act 1978. It was declared as a bird sanctuary under the Indian national wetlands conservation programme. According to official data, the active area of Hokersar has shrunk from 14 square kilometers to less than six square kilometers in the last 10 years. https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/newsdetail/index/14/21821/sos-from–hokersar-wetland-  (05 May 2022)

Principal Secretary Housing & Urban Development Department, Dheeraj Gupta, on May 07 launched “Save Hokersar-Save Srinagar” campaign at Hokersar. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/srinagar/save-hokersar-save-srinagar-campaign-launched  (08 May 2022)

West Bengal Kolkata: Wetlands start getting boundary pillars to resolve territory tussle Two decades after East Kolkata Wetlands was declared a Ramsar site, the East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority (EKWMA) has finally started demarcating the wetlands to remove jurisdictional ambiguity, especially in peripheral areas where encroachment is rampant. An EKWMA official said 100 pillars had been installed in Nayabad and Kantipota mouzas under South 24 Parganas. A sum of Rs 10 lakh each had been initially disbursed to the DMs of the two Parganas across which the 12,500- hectare EKW is situated. EKWMA officials said the demarcation work has commenced on 5%-6% land owned by government agencies.  

“It has taken more than three decades to get the ball rolling. We are glad it is finally happening,” said Bonani Kakkar of PUBLIC, whose PIL before the Calcutta High Court led to a landmark judgment recognising the wetland’s importance and calling for its protection. She recounted that 30 years ago a government official had told the court that the demarcation of EKW would be completed within two months.

“The pillars should be prominently painted and marked so that there is no longer any ambiguity on whether a land is within EKWMA or outside. But this is just the beginning. The integrated management plan has to be implemented, an interpretation centre set up and maps with information boards on the Ramsar site installed along the periphery. Police must also carry out patrolling,” she said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/wetlands-start-getting-boundary-pillars-to-resolve-territory-tussle/articleshow/90505511.cms  (29 March 2022)

Bihar Story from Bihar showing how land sharks are taking over the water bodies. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/patna/news/gunasagar-not-even-18-axles-are-left-in-the-18-acre-pond-all-these-accused-whose-houses-were-built-129767261.html (6 May 2022)  

Report The cat that is the soul of the wetlands Little is known of the fishing cat, an ‘umbrella species’ for wetlands, but conservationists are now trying to raise awareness—and count their numbers. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/big-story/the-cat-that-is-the-soul-of-the-wetlands-111651967790960.html  (08 May 2022)

5 stunning mangroves India has a very long coastline, shared by nine states and three Union Territories. Mangroves make these coastal areas a rich habitat for many species of flora and fauna. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/travel/destinations/get-to-know-these-stunning-mangroves-in-india/photostory/91370236.cms  (06 May 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Jammu & Kashmir Panzath’s Yearly Spring Cleansing, Fishing Festival Is Over PHOTO ESSAY: For generations, the residents in Panzath, a village in Qazigund Kashmir, have sustained the tradition of taking extreme care of their springs. It has gradually emerged as a local festival that is now attracted people from other villages also.

On May 8, 2022, the residents of Panzath village in Qazigund carried the wicker basket clearing the weeds from their spring and catching fish. This is a yearly festival. Image: Aaquib Gull

– On a particular day, the villages assemble and get into the Panzath Naag spring and clear it of the weeds. They use the wicker basket to clean the bed of the water body. Some of them are fortunate enough to have a number of fish in the baskets.

– The village is known for its springs. Residents said the village name is the skirted form of Pantch Hath (500) springs. They also call their major spring Naagbal.

– Residents said they have been observing it for a very long time, for generations. It has no proper calendar but the elders said it is being observed to coincide with Rohne Posh, the annual fruit blossom festival. https://kashmirlife.net/panzaths-yearly-spring-cleansing-fishing-festival-is-over-291928/  (08 May 2022)

Pune SPPU rejuvenates British-era Hatti Haud for RWH The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) in a joint effort with the Karve Institute of Social Service has successfully rebuilt the defunct Hatti Haud (pond) for rainwater collection as part of a revival mission. The project began in 2019 but faced hurdles due to the Covid-19 pandemic with the original target year of 2021 pushed to this year. According to SPPU officials, the revitalised pond will be ready by the end of May to accumulate rainwater June onwards.

Hatti Haud, located behind the centre for modeling and simulation department of SPPU, was constructed by Mahatma Jyotiba Phule during the British era as part of building a ‘bund’, as per old records. The reservoir was used by British officers for their elephants and horses. However before 2019, the 30 metre long historic pond was filled with construction debris and waste. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/sppu-rejuvenates-british-era-hatti-haud-for-rainwater-accumulation-101651598209400.html  (03 May 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Study Potential of SRI to Contribute to the Policy Objectives ABSTRACT: A programme effort for SRI impact assessment has been undertaken in 20 project villages in the Narayanpet block of Telangana. The villages have been pooled under four clusters, for which quantitative and qualitative analyses have been car- ried out on water usage, input cost, plant growth, farmer group collectiviza- tion, gross and net returns of SRI, and conventional paddy cultivation. The result shows that significant water saving was achieved for SRI, i.e., 8586 m3∙ha−1 under tubewell irrigation over conventional. This approximation has served as an auxiliary to the number of pumping hours and number of irriga- tion days that have been reduced for SRI. Less utilisation of water and dis- tance maintained in SRI has benefited in reducing the biotic and abiotic stress caused by snails and nutrient deprivation, respectively. The total yield for a sampled number of SRI farmers has been found to have a 22% increase for the total expenditure difference of Rs. 6153, i.e., 13% less than conventional paddy farmers, which highly impacts the SRI farmers’ net income, i.e., 69% more than the conventional returns. The SRI method has a lower labour de- ployment of 8 people/ha than the conventional method, which requires 16 people/ha with a constant price of Rs 250/person. Input cost saving in these two categories has ranked top and has fetched maximum production efficiency among the others. The seed cost at a fixed price of 32 Rs/kg was significantly (87%) reduced for SRI as 8 kg per ha was required rather than the conventional that required 62 kg/ha. Social benefits were listed based on the qualitative analysis and were transformed using the theory of planned behaviour. https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=116542  (April 2022)

Punjab How much groundwater will DSR save The government recently announced Rs 1,500 incentive per acre for farmers opting for Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR), which is known for saving water. Last year, 18% (5.62 lakh hectares) of the total rice area in the state was under DSR against government target of bringing 10 lakh hectares under it.

– 31.42 to 31.49 lakh ha is under kharif paddy in Punjab in last three years: 2019-20 to 2021-22. On an average 3,900 to 4,000 litres water is required to grow one kg rice in the state. In one year – based on last year’s estimate – Punjab needed 5,400 billion litres of water to produce 135 lakh tonnes rice.

– According to PAU, DSR technique can help save 15% to 20% water. In some cases, water saving can reach 22% to 23%. With DSR,15-18 irrigation rounds are required against 25 to 27 irrigation rounds in traditional method. DSR can save 810 to 1,080 billion litres water every year if entire rice crop is brought under the technique, said experts.

– PAU experts said that DSR offers avenues for ground water recharge as it prevent the development of hard crust just beneath the plough layer due to puddled transplanting and it matures 7-10 days earlier than puddle transplanted crop, therefore giving more time for management of paddy straw. A PAU study said that results from research trials & farmers’ field survey have indicated that yield, after DSR, are 1-2 quintals/ acre higher than puddled transplanted rice. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-punjabs-dsr-push-matters-how-much-groundwater-will-it-save-farmers-7903504/ (7 May 2022)

CM announces MSP on maize, pulses, bajra Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday (May 03) announced that his government will provide minimum support price (MSP) on alternative crops such as maize, pulses and bajra. Mann made the announcement during his interaction with farmers after kick starting the ambitious Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) drive here. He also appealed to them to take up this technique to check the depleting groundwater table.

Launching the DSR drive from his native village Satoj, he exhorted local farmers to also take up this technique of paddy sowing in a big way.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/to-encourage-crop-diversification-punjab-cm-bhagwant-mann-announces-msp-on-maize-pulses-bajra-391490  (03 May 2022)

Haryana Deep state & baby steps towards big leap Dr Satbir Singh Kadian (left) is the engineer-in-chief with the Irrigation and Water Resources Department, Haryana and Partik Kumar (right) is State Social Development Expert in Atal Bhujal Yojana, Haryana They explain how serious is the depleting water level problem in the state and how is it being checked.

– Almost 60 per cent of villages in Haryana are categorised as “groundwater stressed” or “potential groundwater stressed”. There is a direct impact on the life and livelihood of close to 20 million people. The impact on ecology and economy is yet to be envisaged and emphasised. In some regions, over the past five decades, the groundwater level has seen a depletion of more than a hundred feet. Lack of institutional setup for groundwater governance, absenteeism of stakeholder institutions, prominence of water-intensive crops and undesirable behaviour of stakeholders have been some of the key challenges.

– The Atal Bhujal Yojana aims that all necessary decisions relating to groundwater management should be taken by last-mile stakeholders i.e. village level institutions and community members. In the process to empower the community to take the decision, it is necessary to demystify the science of groundwater or in other words, the groundwater needs to be made visible to them. To ensure effective groundwater visibility, the state is establishing a Hydrogeological Monitoring Network (HMN) at the gram panchayat (GP) level. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/haryana-groundwater-crisis-the-deep-state-and-baby-steps-towards-the-big-leap-7874386/  (18 April 2022)

Telangana Groundwater levels increase Notwithstanding the scorching summer, the groundwater levels in Telangana recorded a net average rise of 0.29 metre during April 2022 compared to April 2021. Out of 33 districts, the rise in groundwater levels was observed in 19 districts. Jayashankar Bhupalpally recorded the highest rise of 3.97 m compared to last year.

The officials of Groundwater department observed that the multi-pronged efforts to improve the groundwater table in the State, have helped bring up the groundwater level over the years. Measures like the revival of minor irrigation tanks taken up under Mission Kakatiya, their re-filling with river water for irrigation and construction of checkdams across rivulets for water conservation and irrigation, among others, helped in rejuvenating the groundwater table and thus, increased the sustainability of borewells. https://telanganatoday.com/groundwater-levels-in-telangana-increase-despite-scorching-summer  (02 May 2022)

URBAN WATER

Mumbai STP project: BMC finalises contractors The BMC has finalised contractors for its ambitious Rs 29,653 crore- STPs project, after several hiccups since it was first planned in 2002. Now, the corporation will submit an affidavit before the Supreme Court seeking further direction for the project. The BMC has proposed to construct 7 STPs at Worli, Bandra, Dharavi, Versova, Malad, Ghatkopar and Bhandup having capacity of treating 2464 million litres of sewage daily under the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project-II (MSDP).

In February, the civic body had scrapped the tenders following a controversy over the high bidding price from the contractors and the Opposition’s allegation of cartelisation. Contractors had quoted 30% to 70% above the BMC estimates of six STPs. It was the fourth time in the last few years when the tender for MSDP-II had to be cancelled. Details from the MSDP department show that while the revised estimated cost for construction and maintenance of all 7 STPs is Rs 29,653 crore, the contractors finalised have agreed to execute the project for Rs 25,963.32 crore.

While this time civic body has invited tenders for all seven STPs, In August, 2020, the BMC had floated tenders for construction of six STPs (excluding Malad). The revised estimated cost for six STPs has seen a 42 per cent increase in the last 20 months. Back then, all six were costing Rs 16,412 crore. BMC officials said the latest estimates were made in consultation with the Peer Review Committee (PRC) that has experts from IIT-Mumbai and VJTI. On February 1, the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition on coastal pollution due to discharge of untreated sewage into the sea, had slammed the civic body. Expressing anger over the delay in the project, the apex court had said that it will monitor the process and directed the BMC to submit a report after contractors are finalised. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/sewage-treatment-plant-project-bmc-finalises-contractors-7898517/  (03 May 2022)

With a population of 12.5 million, Mumbai generates around 2,400 million litres of sewage every day. The city currently has a sewer line network of 2,025 km. However, the existing lines do not cover the entire city, and the BMC is in the process of laying new lines. The sewage generated across the city is collected at 7 STP sewage zones — Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Versova, Malad, Ghatkopar and Bhandup. Except for Colaba, the other STPs can only do primary treatment of sewage before discharging it into the Arabian Sea. This contributes to high-level pollution in the sea and impacts coastal biodiversity.

A study had previously found that coastal water around Juhu, Girgaum Chowpatty and Haji Ali was the dirtiest. The 17.6 km Mithi river that flows into Mahim Creek and the Arabian Sea was also found to have very high levels of pollution due to the discharge of sewage as well as industrial waste. Besides this, in the absence of a 100 per cent sewerage network, about 25 per cent of the city’s sewage enters water bodies without any treatment, thus polluting the coast.

The cost of the MSDP-II has been hiked three fold from its initial proposed cost of Rs 5,500 crore in 2009. The BMC has said the cost of the project has increased due to delays and changes in discharge and stringent treatment norms. As per the estimates prepared in August 2020, the contract for the six STPs was to cost Rs 16,412 crore. The tenders, however, were scrapped after contractors quoted 30-70 per cent above the BMC’s estimate. Now, as per fresh estimates prepared for the STPs, the cost for the initial six STPs has gone up to Rs 23,247 crore. With the inclusion of Malad, the cost has risen to Rs 29,653 crore. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/mumbai-sewage-disposal-project-explained-7900269/  (04 May 2022)

Chennai Lake next to landfill in Perungudi turns bright pink TNPCB officials said bacteria normally grows in water bodies contaminated with methane. Indumati , professor at IIT(M), who has studied the harmful impacts of Pallikaranai marshlands, said they have taken water samples from this lake for testing. TNPCB’s district environmental engineer, Vasudevan said that in an anaerobic environment, the waste in either watery or slurry form results in decomposition, generating methane and hydrogen sulphide. “The further reduction of hydrogen sulphide leads to pink coloured sulphur bacteria. Methylobacterium acts on the methane and it is the reason for the pink colour.”

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Environmentalists say the pink colour could be from an algal bloom (cynobacteria) in the lake caused by leachate leak from the dumpyard. “The bacteria thrives in methane. It could affect the ecosystem as it can reduce the oxygen supply, leading to death of flora and fauna in the water,” said an environmentalist who did n  ot want to be quoted, and has worked for the Perungudi dumpyard restoration for nearly three decades. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/lake-next-to-landfill-in-perungudi-turns-bright-pink-in-colour/articleshow/91357808.cms  (06 May 2022)

Down the road from this facility, portions of the original Pallikaranai marshland attempt to peek out from between foetid garbage heaps and weeds. A pool of water that flows towards the main road from inside the landfill is a lurid pink. Inside the landfill too, the pink-coloured water is most stark at where the water’s edges meet the hillocks of rubbish. The tilt of the land seems to be moving the water towards the road. The situation begs the question: what from these piles of waste is changing the water so drastically? Environmentalist Nityanandan Jayaraman tells us that the colour is likely due to the presence of cyanobacteria in the water, a sure indicator of severe pollution. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/recycling-plant-may-have-lit-spark-chennai-perungudi-landfill-fire-163595  (04 May 2022)

Environmental activists urge the government to at least use a scientific method to segregate the waste, and stop any further dumping of garbage in the Perungudi region. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/why-chennai-s-perungudi-residents-put-toxic-environment-163634  (05 May 2022)

Concrete blocks slip into Perumbakkam wetland. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/concrete-blocks-slip-into-perumbakkam-wetland/article65389068.ece  (09 May 2022)

Mengaluru Committee favours independent study of air and water pollution  Expressing concern over air and water pollution caused by industrial units in Mangaluru, the Karnataka Legislative Council’s Assurance Committee headed by MLC B.M. Farooq on Thursday (May 05) asked the State Government to conduct an independent study by a reputed agency on the issue. The Committee also expressed the need for the Government to carry out ecological and social impact study of Mangaluru region, which, Mr. Farooq said, is not in a position to accommodate any more industrial units.

Talking to reporters after the conclusion of the committee’s two-day study tour of Dakshina Kannada, Mr. Farooq said the committee visited a portion of the Phalguni (Gurupura) river that has completely turned into black with discharge of untreated effluents by some industrial units flowing into the river. Untreated effluents is also entering the sea. Mr. Farooq said the Fisheries Department has reported about the threat of extinction of the native fish species namely Pearls Spot and Sea Bass. “The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, which has to periodically check effluents, has failed to do it,” he said. Air and water pollution in the city has gone beyond control, he added.

Residents of several houses in Permude and adjoining areas have complained to the committee about crude oil deposits in their open wells. The residents attribute this to seepage of crude stocked in the underground rock cavern of the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd. (ISPRL), said Mr. Farooq said. “The ISPRL have denied of any seepage. But, we are asking the State Government to carry out a study and rule out apprehension of residents,“ he said. The Government will be asked to further upgrade the disaster management setup for the sensitive ISPRL’s cavern, he said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/assurance-committee-favours-independent-study-of-air-and-water-pollution-in-mangaluru/article65385538.ece  (07 May 2022)

Ghaziabad Groundwater to STP rules: 60cr fine on realtor NGT has slapped a steep fine of Rs 60.23 crore on a developer for flouting various environment norms in its residential project in Ghaziabad. A three-member bench, headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, on Thursday (May 05) imposed the penalty on Savfab Buildtech Pvt Ltd, the developer of Saviour Park Society in Mohan Nagar, for violating STP rules, unauthorised construction and illegal extraction of groundwater. The court also asked the developer to deposit the fine with the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) in two months.

The order related to a petition filed by the society’s RWA in July 2021. In March this year, the panel submitted its report, listing the violations — from environmental to building bylaws. The panel also recommended fines and environmental compensation on each violation — Rs 7.43 crore for illegal extraction of groundwater, Rs 12.80 crore for violation of STP norms, and Rs 40 crore penalty for other violations, including construction without permission.

The developer has also been ordered to ensure compliance with all the deficiencies found in the report within three months failing which, “the statutory regulators will be at liberty to levy further compensation and take further coercive measures”, the order further said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ghaziabad/groundwater-to-stp-rules-60cr-fine-on-realtor/articleshow/91408045.cms  (08 May 2022)

Delhi Groundwater toxic near landfills The groundwater near the landfill sites — Bhalswa, Ghazipur and Okhla — and the engineered sanitary landfill at Bawana continues to be contaminated. Delhi Pollution Control Committee, which had collected samples from 4-5 sites near each landfill site in December last year, found that total dissolved solids (TDS), calcium, sulphate and magnesium levels were beyond the desirable limit.

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According to experts, the primary source of contamination in groundwater is unsegregated waste at the landfill sites leaching into the soil. Shashank Shekhar, professor, department of geology, Delhi University, said, “The observed high level of major irons like calcium, magnesium, etc in groundwater in close proximity to landfill site may be attributed to leachate to the landfill site, which enter and contaminate the groundwater within its vicinity. Further investigation with regards to ammonia and nitrate is desired to confirm the groundwater quality in its vicinity.”

“It has also been observed that these landfill sites have crossed their carrying capacity and it should have been proposed a long time ago that further dumping of garbage in them would pollute the groundwater systems and have an undesirable environmental impact in the vicinity. It is desired that the government look for alternate sites or process the waste in a scientific way to adhere to environmental laws,” added Shekhar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/dangers-above-down-under-as-groundwater-toxic-near-landfills/articleshow/91423970.cms  (09 May 2022)

3 garbage mountains The environmental damage, and consequently, the damage caused to people in the vicinity of these landfills, is enormous. “The leachate generated from these landfills that are more than 20 years old has already contaminated the groundwater. Landfills pollute the air when they burn, and through uncontrolled methane emissions even when not on fire,” Suneel Pandey, Director of the Environment and Waste Management Division at TERI. Methane is a greenhouse gas. Landfill gas includes methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide.

Water in borewells near Bhalswa and Ghazipur was found to contain cadmium, copper, chlorides and total dissolved solids in excess of permissible limits in 2019, according to a report submitted to the NGT by the committee that was constituted to determine the impact of the landfills on the environment. High levels of chemical oxygen demand and iron was reported in ground water at all three sites, “which may be due to leachate from the dumpsite,” according to the report. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-has-a-burning-problem-three-garbage-mountains-ghazipur-bhalswa-and-okhla-landfills-7900065/  (04 May 2022)

Punjab All 163 urban local bodies fined for violating pollution norms Acting tough, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has slapped a penalty on all 163 urban local bodies (ULBs) in Punjab for failing to comply with the directions of the National Green Tribunal on solid waste management. Not even a single municipal corporation or municipal council was able to fully comply with the norms defined by the NGT under its Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, as per a PPCB report. The ULBs were fined Rs 35.26 crore as “environmental compensation” for the period from April 1, 2021, to Feb 28, 2022. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjabs-all-163-urban-local-bodies-fined-391253 (3 May 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

Role of Bio-Enzymes in Water Purification Wednesday for Water panel discussion on the impact of the increased use of chemical solutions as cleansers in our daily activities and its effects on our lifestyle as well as the environment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKkJWb_bXdM  (06 May 2022)

Telangana NGT slaps Rs 41 crore fine on SCCL The NGT on Friday (April 06) ordered Singareni Collieries Company Limited to pay a compensation of Rs 41 crore for violation of environmental clearance (EC) conditions and mining excess coal.The NGT’s southern bench, in its order, said: “SCCL is directed to pay a compensation of Rs 41.2 crore in three months to the SPCB and if the amount is not paid within that time, the SPCB is directed to take steps to recover the amount from the SCCL by asking the district collector to initiate revenue recovery proceedings.”

The NGT said the SPCB in consultation with the collector should identify the houses which suffered damage due to vibrations caused by blasting. It said the amount required for repairing the houses will have to quantified and paid. This amount will have to be realised from the SCCL. “The EC amount will have to be utilised for preparing a scheme for protecting the welfare and interests of the people who reside in and around the coal mining area and who are likely to be affected by the project activities,” the NGT said.

It also said a portion of the compensation will have to be utilised for tribal settlements, if any, located in Khammam and nearby districts. The NGT also directed the SCCL to comply with the recommendations of the joint committee and also conditions imposed in the environmental clearance that has been already granted.The petitioner along with 700 families are living adjacent to the opencast coal mine and facing severe air, noise and water pollution besides severe heat due to massive blasting, drilling, extraction of coal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/ngt-slaps-41-cr-fine-on-sccl/articleshow/91386731.cms  (07 May 2022)

Himachal Pradesh NGT directs authorities to expedite remedial measures to curb air, water pollution in Hamirpur NGT directed the authorities to take further remedial measures expeditiously and to file a status report on the plea moved against alleged air and water pollution in the area of Dughneri village, Hamirpur. The tribunal took on record the previous report filed by the state authorities. The bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed that further remedial measures be taken expeditiously in the light of observation and status report filed with the Registrar General of NGT before September 15, 2022 by email.

The bench observed, “We find from the photographs that though the retaining wall has been constructed, the waste remains un-remediated and not quantified for further processing and utilisation. Providing a retaining wall should not be taken as a holding area of waste dumping. The Tribunal observed, “Based on available infrastructure, decentralized processing systems need to be designed and operated. There has to be proper utilisation of compost which at present is about 7 tonnes. The same should not be burnt. Legacy waste be appropriately remedied. https://theprint.in/india/ngt-directs-authorities-to-expedite-remedial-measures-to-curb-air-water-pollution-in-himachals-hamirpur/913561/  (12 April 2022)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Nagaland Rs 26-cr water supply project still incomplete In 2011, the water treatment plant and balancing reservoir for the Chiephobozou RD block, taken up by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), received a sanction of Rs 26.2 crore for the project, following which the work began in November that year. On July 30, 2019, when the department scheduled the commissioning of the water supply project, locals obstructed the commissioning of the incomplete water supply project. That very day, PHED minister Jacob Zhimomi had assured that the project will be completed that year. Fast forward to 2022, the mega water supply is yet to see the light of day.

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Although the RTI from the PHED claimed that “assets constructed are functional” and the “structures are lying unused because the villagers were demanding more water tanks”, the village council chairman said, “We, the people of Zhadima village, never asked for more tanks. We only asked the government to complete the work. But till now, not a drop of water has reached the village. So we appeal the government to complete the work at the earliest, and provide water to the people.” As the project is under investigation in the Nagaland Lokayukta, the village leaders made an appeal to the lokayukta to judiciously investigate the lapses and anomalies of the project. Further, they urged the state government to bring in the highest investigating authority of the country to examine the project that remains “unattended”. https://www.eastmojo.com/nagaland/2022/05/06/a-decade-on-nagalands-rs-26-cr-mega-water-supply-project-still-incomplete/  (06 May 2022)

Uttar Pradesh CM reviews drinking water scheme in Jhansi On a two-day visit to Jhansi, the CM reviewed the Amrit Drinking Water Scheme at Gulara village in Chirgaon block. Under the scheme, tapped water will reach two lakh rural households, benefitting 11.5 lakh people. Adityanath directed officials to expedite the project. In Bundelkhand, the drinking water project is being implemented at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore. He also said that by December 2022, every village and every house in Bundelkhand will get pure RO water. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/may/08/adityanath-reviews-drinking-water-scheme-in-jhansi-2451307.html  (08 May 2022)

छतरपुर जिले के ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों के दो दर्जन से अधिक ऐसे गांव हैं, जहां पर गांव के अंदर पानी की एक-एक बूंद के लिए लोगों तरस रहे हैं। https://www.patrika.com/chhatarpur-news/no-drinking-water-system-in-remote-villages-of-the-district-dry-water-7518302/  (08 May 2022)

Maharashtra Video report on water scarcity in a Nasik village. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUAroJni2Sw  (08 May 2022)

Gujarat Villagers walk 2-3 km to fetch clean drinking water in Navsari despite receiving high rainfall https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/water-woes-villagers-walk-2-3-km-to-fetch-clean-drinking-water-in-gujarats-navsari-despite-receiving-high-rainfall-article-91413550  (08 May 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Srikakulam tribal pockets reel under drinking water shortage. However, many of the water tanks are not functioning due to lack of maintenance of the solar systems, which were damaged in gales. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2022/may/08/srikakulam-tribal-pockets-reel-under-drinking-water-shortage-2451164.html  (08 May 2022)

AGRICULTURE

Report Farmers focus on diversifying crops The report starts with the story of Kakola, an arid village in Havery dist that rejuvenated its water sources in 3-4 yrs from 2004-05, but how the village is again arid due to change in cropping pattern leading to excessive water use for cash crops.

– The report goes on to show how water intensive crops like sugarcane, Arecanut, maize and cotton in North Karnataka has dire consequences also fro the soil and water situation.

– Ultimately a World Bank funded detailed study recommended bulding a Land Resource Inventory (LRI) system and incentivising right crops and practices and dis-incentivising wrong ones, but that has not yet been properly implemented. The farmer leader is rightly saying that this be demonstrated through pilots on farmer land by the agriculture research bodies.

– Climate change is making the situation worse. https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/no-options-farmers-focus-on-diversifying-crops-1107373.html     (08 May 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Hailstorm damages 70% fruit crop in Srinagar The hailstorm which hit parts of Kashmir on Friday (May 06) has caused heavy damage to fruit trees on Srinagar outskirts. As per a preliminary assessment by the Horticulture Department in Kashmir, the hailstorm caused 70% damage to cherry, walnut and apple orchards located in Harwan and Fakeer Gujri on the outskirts of Srinagar.

“In Fakeer Gujri, Dhara and Harwan the hailstorm lasted for about an hour, leaving many crops like Cherry, Walnut, Apple, Mustard Oil, Vegetable and Pulses annihilated,” Director General Horticulture, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat told Greater Kashmir. The affected farmers have demanded a waiver for their Kisan Credit Card Loan (KCC Loan) for this year. Bhat, who visited Harwan and adjacent areas to assess the situation said he has paid Rs 10,000 to farmers for now and “will do more whatever is in my capacity,” he said. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/srinagar/farmers-demand-loan-waiver-as-hailstorm-damages-70-fruit-crop-in-srinagar  (07 May 2022)

Very few flowers are left on an apple tree due to dry weather and lack of precipitation. Photo by Mudassir Kuloo/Monga Bay India

Farmers fear low fruit production as records decline in precipitation Despite early flowering this season for the fruit crops in Kashmir, the lack of precipitation has led to the falling of flowers, thereby impacting fruit production. According to data from the meteorological department, there has been 70-80 per cent deficiency of normal precipitation in Kashmir between March 1 and April 21 this year. Rising temperatures would have been beneficial for the fruit growers if there was adequate irrigation in the orchards. Dry conditions are also causing an influx of pests leading to many diseases, eventually damaging the trees and affecting the production. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/05/farmers-fear-low-fruit-production-as-kashmir-records-decline-in-precipitation/  (03 May 2022)

MONSOON 2022

“Large Deficient” Rainfall In Pre-Monsoon Period Pre-monsoon rainfall was in the ‘large deficient’ category in 13 and “Deficient” in 12 of the 36 hydrological sub-divisions as of May 05, according to the latest data by the IMD. Only five sub-divisions had ‘large excess’ rainfall. Arunachal Pradesh was the only subdivision with ‘normal’ rainfall, according to IMD.

The country as a whole experienced a drier pre-monsoon season, with a current deficiency of 27 per cent compared to what it normally receives at this time of the year (March 1 to May 05, 2022).  A month-wise analysis showed that the country had a rainfall departure of a little over -70 per cent in the month of March. But in May (1 to 05), the country saw a normal pre-monsoon, with rainfall departure of 20 per cent over the normal, according to IMD. https://thedialogue.co.in/article/j0hAQfbkXKMs4MyFfX0f/india-heading-towards-large-deficient-rainfall-in-pre-monsoon-period  (06 May 2022)

URBAN FLOOD

Mumbai BMC completes only 1/3 of its drain-cleaning target  With little over a month to go before the monsoon hits the city, the BMC has completed just 34 per cent of its drain-cleaning target. While civic chief I S Chahal had asked his teams to get nullahs cleaned in double shifts and finish the work by May 15, it is unlikely that it would be done even by May 31. The cleaning of nullahs starts from the first week of March. But this year it was delayed. Of the seven civic zones in the city, the BMC’s standing committee approved a proposal to clean drains only in one zone before the corporation’s term ended on March 7.  The BMC chief cleared the rest of the proposals and the work started on April 4.

A machine removes silt from Mithi river, at BKC, on April 14. Pic/Shadab Khan/Mid Day

The BMC will spend Rs 162 crore for the pre-monsoon desilting job, including cleaning of Mithi river. Of its annual target of clearing silt from nullahs and the Mithi river, 75 per cent of the work is done before monsoon, 10 per cent during the rainy season and 15 per cent is taken up post-rain. This year, BMC has set a target of clearing 4.63 lakh metric tonnes of silt from nullahs and 2.75 lakh metric tonnes of sediments from Mithi.

BMC wants to remove 3.48 lakh tonnes of silt from nullahs before May 31. “Of this, 1.2 lakh tonnes have been removed till May 3, which is 34 per cent of the target. In the western suburbs, the progress is 34 per cent, while it is 43 per cent in the eastern suburbs. About 16 per cent of the silt has been cleared in the south city,” said a BMC official.  About 80 per cent of the target for Mithi desilting has been completed, said civic officials. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/ahead-of-monsoon-bmc-completes-only-34-per-cent-of-its-drain-cleaning-target-23225771  (05 May 2022)

Bengaluru Heavy rainfall leads to waterlogging in parts of city https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/heavy-rainfall-in-bengaluru-leads-to-waterlogging-in-parts-of-city-101651471735661.html  (02 May 2022)

Gurugram GMDA says ready with Aravali dams To prevent waterlogging in the city, the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), over the last few weeks, has been strengthening some of the check dams it created in the Aravali hills three years ago. According to the GMDA officials, ten earthen dams, constructed in creek number 3 and located behind Sun City society on Golf Course Road, have been redeveloped.

These structures, which came up in 2019, were supposed to hold rainwater and prevent it from flowing towards Golf Course Road, which houses several residential societies, commercial spaces, offices, and malls. In addition, the dams were to also help in recharging subsoil, raising subsoil water levels.

The GMDA officials, over the last two years, have been giving credit to these dams for reducing waterlogging in portions of Golf Course Road near Sun City, including AIT Chowk. Before the dams came up, these locations were susceptible to heavy waterlogging, even after the shortest spells of heavy rainfall, throwing traffic out of gear and causing other issues for residents. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/flood-check-plan-gmda-says-ready-with-aravali-dams/articleshow/91408028.cms  (08 May 2022)

CLOUD BURSTS

Himachal Pradesh चंबा में भारी बारिश से उफान पर आए नाले से दुकान क्षतिग्रस्, NH ठप जिला चंबा में भारी बारिश हुई है। भारी बारिश के कारण सड़कों पर पानी भर गया। चंबा-पठानकोट राष्‍ट्रीय राजमार्ग पर चनेड में काली माता मंदिर के पास नाले में भारी मात्रा में पानी आने से वाहनों की आवाजाही बंद हो गई। सुबह करीब 10 बजे एकाएक भारी बारिश हुई और नाले में उफान आ गया। इस कारण एक साथ में लगती दुकान को अपनी चपेट में ले लिया। लेकिन गनीमत रही कि जानी नुकसान नहीं हुआ है। भारी मात्रा में मलबा भी एनएच पर आ गया, इस कारण एक घंटे तक वाहनों की आवाजाही ठप रही। कसाकड़ा मोहल्ला में भी एक पेड़ गिरने से कई लोग बाल-बाल बच गए। https://www.jagran.com/himachal-pradesh/kangra-himachal-pradesh-news-heavy-rainfall-in-chamba-a-shop-damage-and-nh-also-closed-22680385.html   (03 May 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Odisha How to cheat forest dwellers of their rights Odisha rejected around 80,000 forest dwellers’ claims over forest land as the country was battered by Covid-19. Many rejections were done on dubious grounds writes Ishan Kukreti. https://scroll.in/article/1023166/how-to-cheat-forest-dwellers-of-their-rights-and-enable-mining  (04 May 2022)

Karnataka Govt denotifies two thirds of forest land The government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court fixing the total deemed forest area in the state at 3.3 lakh hectares, 6.64 lakh hectares less than the figure arrived at 20 years ago, drawing charges of helping encroachers. The government has thus denotified 6.64 lakh hectares of the 9.94 lakh hectares of deemed forest land. Of this, 1,62,073.52 hectares of land was denotified because it does not meet the criterion of having 50 trees per hectare, and over 27,604.61 hectares have lost forest status because of the repetition of survey numbers. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/karnataka-denotifies-two-thirds-of-forest-land-draws-flak-from-conservationists-7903184/  (05 May 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Tamil Nadu Ministers, MLAs discuss urgent need to tackle climate crisis in focus Indeed Historic meeting called by TN’s Poovulagin Nanbargal of legislators, MPs and politicians to tell them about climate change, its impact on TN and what TN can do. To activists and bureaucrats in the government, the ruling DMK’s receptiveness to existing problems is already a step ahead from the previous administration’s record with environmental issues.

TNM Image

– Sundarrajan too said that environmentalists are gearing up to hold more presentations and discussions about the subject with different stakeholders. “We will go district to district to address specific issues there concerning the climate. These meetings with leaders will also continue, we’re planning the next one in September where the IPCC is likely to release another report,” he explained. “We have to engage constantly with policy makers and influencers to ensure that Tamil Nadu will keep moving towards a zero emission goal.” https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/historic-meet-tn-ministers-mlas-urgent-need-tackle-climate-crisis-focus-163547  (03 May 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

Shishper glacial lake outburst flood created havoc in Hassanabad village in Hunza. The flood-induced erosion damaged five houses, hundreds of fruit and forest trees, cultivate and forest lands, two power houses in PoK. 4th GLOF event from same location each year since 2019 consecutively. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FSKGGiJWQAIZZaK?format=jpg&name=large

Hassanabad Bridge on KKH collapses due to Shishper glacial lake outburst flood in Hunza, PoK. https://twitter.com/pamirtimes/status/1522906408391680000?fbclid=IwAR32Iz-JUXuMfP20WfwtH5xKPlkU33rKR7Tp0FWK-9151q6ywpavmYG8K4A

Shishper glacial lake outburst flood damages micro-hydel power house in Hassanabad, Hunza, in PoK. https://twitter.com/irfansalroo/status/1522924990978420736?s=20&t=DD_VnXP2B-dIDIGU1Rc33A&fbclid=IwAR33lsFVPQc1tWcsSJX2pH57JvaYwc_Gu_0mCivbA5irrcntks7-iaeM4VE 

IWT Pakistan blames India for delay in water talks A three-day meeting of water experts from both countries was held on March 1 in Islamabad. According to sources, it was agreed in that meeting to hold talks in New Delhi in May. The Indus Water Commission will soon write a second letter to its Indian counterpart to convene a meeting. Islamabad has objections over New Delhi’s plans to build projects on Chenab River, sources said. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/05/09/pakistan-blames-india-for-delay-in-water-talks/  (09 May 2022)

Pakistan 10-year ban on commercial fishing in Punjab rivers The Punjab government has for the first time imposed a 10-year ban on commercial fishing in the provincial water due to critical depletion of fisheries in the rivers. An order issued by Fisheries Department Secretary Shahid Zaman reveals that the ban shall come into force from Sept 1, 2022, and shall remain in force till July 31, 2032. There shall be a complete ban on fishing by means of all gears except by rod and line in the waters, including River Indus within the boundaries of Punjab, its reservoirs and pond areas linked to barrages/headworks, says the order.

– For fishing through rod and line, weekly and monthly angling permits will be issued with a fee of Rs500 and Rs5,000 each permit, respectively, for every district and the angling time will be from sunrise to sunset, the order says. Only five fish or total eight kilo weight, whichever is higher, per permit per day shall be allowed to be taken away, it says. https://www.dawn.com/news/1687971/10-year-ban-on-commercial-fishing-in-punjab-rivers (3 May 2022)

Op-Ed Brahmaputra Dams Made By China Reduce Water Level; Halts Indo-Bangladesh River Trade Recently around 45-numbers to 50-numbers of boat loaded with stone bearing the national flags of Bangladesh were grounded at International River Port (IRP) at district head-quarter town Dhubri in Indian State of Assam, near India-Bangladesh International Borderline for more than 40-days. But, when these boats were actually set to sail towards Chilmari Ghat of Bangladesh sometime in an around end of December, 2021, at that time they couldn’t further navigate due to sudden low water level in the aforementioned International Border River (IBR), Brahmaputra and ultimately had got stuck. Since then, nearly 200-numbers of sailor manning those vessels are having a tough time stranded in the river. The crew members of the above vessels are also experiencing food and their monetary crisis. https://www.eurasiareview.com/02052022-brahmaputra-dams-made-by-china-reduce-water-level-halt-indo-bangladesh-river-trade-oped/  (02 May 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Condition of some dams kept secret in national database Americans wondering whether a nearby dam could be dangerous can look up the condition and hazard ratings of tens of thousands of dams nationwide using an online database run by the federal government. But they won’t find the condition of Hoover Dam, which impounds one the nation’s largest reservoirs on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Nor is there any condition listed for California’s Oroville Dam, the country’s tallest, which underwent a $1 billion makeover after its spillway failed.

– Details about the conditions of these and other prominent dams are kept secret from the public, listed as “not available” in the National Inventory of Dams. The lack of publicly available data about potentially hazardous dams has raised concern among some experts.

– “These structures impact people, and this is what we’re obviously most worried about. So it is important to share this information,” said Del Shannon, a Colorado-based engineer who has assessed hundreds of dams and is president of the U.S. Society on Dams.

– In a move toward greater transparency, the Corps launched an updated website late last year that includes hazard ratings and condition assessments for more than one-quarter of the roughly 92,000 structures. Yet the status of many dams remains a mystery. That’s because some federal agencies failed to update their data. The Corps also allowed federal agencies and states to restrict the release of information about the dams they oversee, and some continue to do so citing terrorism concerns. The conditions remain unknown for more than 4,600 high-hazard dams that could cause a loss of life if they fail.

– In the Corps’ database, nearly two-thirds of the 18 federal entities that own or oversee dams provided no condition assessments. That includes the largest federal regulator of dams, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees more than 1,750 dams in 42 states. A FERC spokeswoman said the agency is overhauling its assessment process and intends to have conditions available this summer. The Corps also declined to include condition assessments for the roughly 740 dams it owns, which include some of the largest in the nation. Instead, the agency posted its own “risk assessments,” ranging from “very low” to “very high.”

– The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — both part of the U.S. Department of Interior — disclosed hazard and condition details for their dams. But the department’s Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees 430 dams in the West, denied the AP’s public records request for dam conditions, citing a legal exemption for “information compiled for law enforcement purposes.” The bureau said in an email that disclosing dam conditions “would compromise the protection of our facilities and allow targeted attacks of critical infrastructure.”

– Because dam failures carry big consequences, the public should be made aware of a dam’s hazard rating and what lies in its downstream flood zone, said Travis Attanasio, a former dam inspector who is president-elect of the Texas section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. https://apnews.com/article/technology-dams-ac3d7561181d622b29983c15de84520b  (06 May 2022)

UK Raw sewage ‘pumped into bathing waters 25K times in 2021’ Untreated sewage was discharged into England’s coastal bathing waters for more than 160,000 hours last year, according to figures collated by the Liberal Democrats to mark the start of the summer sea-swimming season. Data compiled by the party using Environment Agency figures on 2021 discharges shows that water companies released raw sewage 25,000 times into designated bathing waters off the English coast. Figures collated by the campaign group Top of the Poops reveal that when also including the bathing waters in Wales, water companies released untreated sewage for 217,804 hours.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/02/untreated-sewage-discharge-england-coastal-bathing-waters-2021  (02 May 2022)

Hydraulic Flume Demonstration Fascinating experiment demonstrating the hydrodynamics after channelising a river through bridge, culvert or screens upstream.

It shows how the in water level rise on the upstream i.e., on our left, which in turn can have multiple impacts on the upstream river.https://youtu.be/awsnbnljy78  (13 Sept. 2013)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 02 May 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 25 April 2022  

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

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