Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) one of flagship schemes of Central Government aiming to provide tap connection to every households in the country by 2024 has been affected by financial constraints as per the statement of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the Jal Shakti Minister published in an interview to the Live Mint on May 16, 2022. The Minister has also admitted that the progress of work has suffered due to inflation in commodity prices.
There can be some truth to the Jal Shakti Minister’s claim that ‘commodity super cycle’ slowing down the implementation of JJM. But a closer look reveals that blaming ‘commodity super cycle’ for slowing down of the project is also a convenient way to deflect attention from poor policy planning and execution that has marked the JJM project.
It is worth to mention that one ground the scheme has mainly focused on laying of pipelines and tapping of water sources without adequate attention to sustainability of sources, quality of supplied water, overall impact on water sources and management of resultant waste water in rural areas.
JJM facing financial constraints Interesting: There is admission here in opening para that the Jal Jeevan Mission has been stalled due to “Commodity Super cycle” hinting at financial constraints and a committee has been set up to restart it.
– The Minister admits: “The inflation in commodity prices is a huge impediment because it has affected the tenders and ultimately the work. The rise in prices of steel and plastic has affected the costs of pipes, which were previously available at 50% of the current costs. Because of the price rise, the contracts awarded earlier have become unviable for the concessioners. We conducted a meeting to address this issue. While new tenders have been issued, but the projects with old tenders have stopped, which has affected the speed with which the project was progressing. We have constructed a committee to resolve such issues under the chairmanship of the secretary, Jal Shakti and Water Resources. We have also instituted a technical committee where along with the secretary, we have additional secretaries from states, engineering chiefs and concessioners… The work in Uttar Pradesh was delayed as we were stuck in resolving areas like Bundelkhand.” https://www.livemint.com/news/india/we-are-determined-to-complete-jal-jeevan-mission-by-end-of-2024-11652641572256.html (16 May 2022)
There can be some truth to the Jal Shakti Minister’s claim that ‘commodity super cycle’ with regard to price of steel, plastic and other materials has slowed down the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). Price rise has affected execution of contracts across the board as some of these reports show: “A sharp spike in prices of steel and cement coupled with a rise in wages will likely push up the cost of key government-funded infrastructure projects in highways, railways and low-cost housing sectors. Officials in the ministries of housing and urban affairs and road transport and highways said contractors had approached the respective ministries to rework the costs, citing the price increase. Experts said the cost of new contracts could go up by about 15-20%.” The government, as yet, does not seem to have a plan to address the effect of rising prices of commodities on contracts, as the reports points out. See https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/inflation-gets-to-the-core-project-costs-may-go-up/articleshow/91604103.cms (17 May 2022) and https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/from-steel-to-dairy-companies-in-a-fix-as-suppliers-shun-long-term-contracts/articleshow/91611895.cms (17 May 2022).
But a closer look reveals that blaming ‘commodity super cycle’ for slowing down of the project is also a convenient way to deflect attention from poor policy planning and execution that has marked the JJM project. A parliamentary standing committee pointed out last month (in April) that JJM was poorly implemented because of massive under-utilisation of funds. “…During the fiscal year 2021-22, under Jal Jeevan Mission, Rs 50,011 crore was allocated at BE (budget estimate) stage which was reduced to Rs 45,011 crore at RE (revised estimate) stage, while the actual expenditure incurred was only Rs 28,238 crore.” The utilisation of the fund was even lower in some states. According to the report, states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have utilised less than 25 per cent of central allocation. The report said the committee was “dismayed” about the under-utilisation of funds, “which clearly indicates lack of financial prudence and fiscal discipline, thus, adversely affecting the implementation and monitoring of the programme as a whole.” See https://indianexpress.com/article/india/house-panel-flags-low-coverage-of-rural-drinking-water-scheme-in-big-states-7833565/ (24 March 2022). State-wise trends of expenditure on the scheme can also be found here https://accountabilityindia.in/publication/jal-jeevan-mission-budget-briefs-2022-accountability-initiative-centre-for-policy-research/
Clearly, the Jal Shakti Ministry has sufficient funds to offset the effects of ‘commodity supercycle’ as significant volumes of allocated funds remain unutilized. In addition, there is a strange reluctance to include price variation of commodities as a factor in the contracts, especially when this surge in prices was anticipated from last year itself. Acknowledging the upcoming inflation would have meant asking RBI to act faster on taking steps to curb it, which the government has been reluctant to do. Governments focused more on advertising its policies rather than implementing them is bound to suffer from a lack of foresight as regards planning and execution.
While in the case of JJM the funds allocated for it were not utilized fully, in general there is always a way to ensure that such supercycles or other such exigencies or shortages do not affect welfare expenditure. And that is to enhance the revenue basket with progressive taxation measures like the wealth tax on the super rich.
While underutilization of funds is a problem and there is wide variation in the targets the project has achieved in different states it must be taken into account that as per its own figures the project has led to increased water accessibility. For instance, “the ministry data indicates during the inception of JJM, only 18.10 per cent of the rural households had access to piped water. By the end of FY20, only 21.3 per cent of rural households had access to a water pipeline. During the next financial year, a 37.99 per cent of the rural households had access. As of February 2022, the coverage is 47.28 per cent.” This is important to take into account if we are to undertake any evaluation of the possible political salience of the project, since there is a likelihood that BJP may showcase it as an achievement in the 2024 elections. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/data-stories/data-focus/jal-jeevan-mission-less-than-half-of-rural-households-have-access-to-piped-water-supply/article65186436.ece (03 March 2022)
उत्तराखंड बिना जल के चलती हर घर जल योजना जल जीवन मिशन की वेबसाइट पर उपलब्ध जानकारी के अनुसार राज्य के ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में कुल 15,18,115 परिवार हैं जिनमें से 15 अगस्त 2019 तक मात्र 1,30,325 घरों में पानी की सुविधा थी लेकिन वर्तमान में जल जीवन मिशन के तहत 9,34,259 घरों में नल लग चुके हैं जो राज्य के कुल ग्रामीण परिवारों का 61.54% है। जल जीवन मिशन के तहत सबसे ज़्यादा देहरादून जिले में 94.89% घरों में नल लग चुके हैं और हरिद्वार जिले में सबसे कम 39.06%; लेकिन यहां पर सवाल है कि क्या ये 61.54% ग्रामीण परिवार हर घर जल योजना का लाभ उठा रहे हैं?
केदार घाटी में मंदाकिनी नदी के किनारे पर बसा मैखंडा गाँव रुद्रप्रयाग जिले के ऊखीमठ ब्लॉक में आता है। मैखंडा में लगभग 250 परिवार रहते हैं, जिनके लिये गांव में केवल एक ही नल है। पानी से सम्बंधित अपनी सभी प्रकार की जरूरतों के लिये गांव के लोग इसी नल पर निर्भर रहते हैं। मैखंडा में दो साल पहले घरों में हर घर जल योजना के तहत नल लगे थे लेकिन इन नलों में अभी तक पानी नहीं आया है। जल जीवन मिशन के डैशबोर्ड के अनुसार मैखंडा गाँव में 238 परिवार रहते हैं जिनमें से 192 यानिकि 80% से ज़्यादा घरों में नल से जल प्रदाय होता है। लेकिन, वास्तविकता में पूरे गाँव की पानी की ज़रूरतों को सिर्फ एक ही नल पूरा करता है।
इसी प्रकार चमोली जिले के पैनी गांव में भी क्षमता से अधिक नल लगाने के कारण जिस प्रकार गांव में पानी की समस्या बढ़ी है उसको देखकर तो ऐसा ही लगता है जैसे हर घर जल परियोजना को जल्बाजी में बिना किसी पूर्व अध्यन के किया जा रहा है। “घरो में नया नल तो लगा है लेकिन पानी का स्रोत वही पुराना है प्रत्येक घर में नल होने से लोग इस पानी का इस्तेमाल अपने घर के कामों के साथ-साथ घर के आसपास के खेतो की सिंचाई के लिए भी करने लगे हैं जिसके कारण पानी की खपत और बढ़ी है पर जल आपूर्ति नहीं। यह एक नयी समस्या आज हमारे गांव के लोगों के सामने खड़ी है,” पैनी गांव के मनमोहन बताते हैं। मनमोहन बताते हैं कि हमारे गांव में पानी तो पहले भी आता था लेकिन जिस स्त्रोत से पानी आता है जो एक खुला गदेरा है, अगर थोड़ी भी बारिश होती है तो इसके पानी में मिट्टी मिल जाती है और पानी गंदला हो जाता है ऐसे में गाँव के लोगों को धारा से पानी लाना होता है जो गांव से काफी दूर है। https://indiaspendhindi.com/uttarakhand/jal-jeevan-missions-har-ghar-jal-scheme-running-without-water-in-uttarakhand-819020 (23 May 2022)
Problems on the ground The Jal Shakti Ministry set out the ambitious target of providing functional household tap connection (FHTC) to the remaining 16 crore (83 per cent) households by 2024. However, not all is hunky-dory; issues galore at implementation level.
The truly remote areas that are otherwise also outside the radar of administration are still waiting. In some, the focus is on raising infrastructure for the scheme without much thought to the location/site. Case in point Anuppur, the tribal dominated Shahdol and Umariya districts in eastern Madhya Pradesh. Around here, the JJM has reached only to those areas that are easily accessible by motorable roads.
Santosh Shukla from Shahdol’s Satguru Mission, an NGO working in the field of rural development, gives the example of a tribal hamlet atop a hill, Dongariya Tola, about a 100 kms from the district headquarters, Anuppur, is where people climb up and down the hills to fetch drinking water even today. “Where the officials can go or take people to showcase, the taps have reached only those areas. The real needy people are still waiting,” he said. Many other places, its implementation is like any other government scheme. At several places taps don’t yield water; at some places only the pipeline has been laid but no taps are there, and at some other places the taps are there, the pipelines are there but the tank from which these will get water has no connection to the source, Shukla said.
Similar is the problem in remote tribal areas of Arunachal Pradesh, which too has almost 2/3rd of mountainous area. Longding and surrounding areas in eastern Arunachal Pradesh are hilly habitations that are parched for six months of a year. Lines of plastic drums dot the sides of the lanes with people complaining that there is no fixed time for the tankers. Said a government official from the area, on conditions of anonymity, “The springs that supply water in the mountain areas are all drying up fast. The villages along the rivers and rivulets still have some or the other hope, but places such as Longding, do not even fall in that category. Many residents take their clothes once a week to a riverbank that is about six kms away by road.
Eklavya Prasad of Megh Pyne Abhiyan, an NGO working in the water sector in that state, draws a parallel to the great learnings from the toilet building exercise carried out under the Swachcha Bharat Abhiyan in Bihar. “During the flood times, these toilets were either washed away completely or remained inaccessible due to flooding. The toilet construction should have been done keeping in mind the recurring disasters and also the fact that the facility should not just survive (the disaster) but also provide service in disaster time,” Prasad said.
Major concern for Himalayan states Among the Himalayan states and UTs, Ladakh is amongst the states to catch up fast with the Mission objectives. The UT witnesses minus 30 temperature at night in peak winters and for almost all other normal times, the day time temperature runs somewhere between zero to minus five. The public taps are never shut in this cold desert as running water does not freeze. The tanks atop the houses or hotels are wrapped to keep the cold away. And overall water availability and usage has restrictions because of the freezing cold temperatures.
Himalayan states such as Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh are already facing lots of problems owing to the overall water availability near the habitations.
Bringing in the mountain perspective — water scarcity hotspots, changing developmental paradigm and erratic rainfall pattern — that matter most, Vishal Singh of NGO Centre for Ecological Development and Research (CEDAR) from Uttarakhand, asserted this scheme will be successful in the mountains, only when the sources are secure. “There is a need to focus more on source sustainability. Nature based solutions –retain, recharge, release — are necessary rather than engineering solutions,” he said.
He, however, offered a point to ponder: “There is no incentive for saving water. The whole talk is about bringing water to the doorstep of the people, which is understandable. But long term sustainability needs to be regenerative and the government has offered no incentive whatsoever for people who save water and thus lessen the demand pressure.” https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/jal-jeevan-mission-not-yet-har-ghar-jal-but-getting-there-one-tap-at-a-time/articleshow/88582561.cms (30 Dec. 2021)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
Arunachal Pradesh CEA asks NHPC to reassess slope stability, protection wall, improvement in safety measures in Subansiri Lower HEP The Central Electric Authority (CEA) has asked the developer of the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP), NHPC Ltd, to improve its construction safety measures, including reassessment of slope stability of surrounding mountains, strength of the protection wall, and workers’ safety.
-A team consisting of HPPI Division Director Balwan Kumar and HPM Division Deputy Director Faraz, which was on a site visit to review the physical progress of various works for the project, has suggested that reassessment of the impact of river diversion through diversion tunnel (DT) on the slope stability of surrounding mountains may be carried out by the NHPC.
-In its report, it said that, due to “left bank slide earlier, one of the diversion tunnels had got blocked and currently, only four Diversion Tunnels (DTs) are diverting the river. The continuous water flow through diversion for such a long time in the case of Subansiri Lower HEP might have the effect of eroding its walls.”
*The latest incident is in contradiction to the MoEFCC’s misleading claim in its June 2019 letter, in which it had said that there was no significant instability. “The studies carried out in the thickly forested Lower Subansiri HEP reservoir indicate that the area is free from any major active landslide problem and no significant instability condition exists in the immediate vicinity of the river,” the MoEFCC had written to the NHPC.*
*Meanwhile, the powerhouse protection wall had collapsed in 1 April because of the tail race channel construction activities of Units 1 and 2. Following the collapse of the wall, the CEA team advised that the adequacy of powerhouse protection wall’s strength to bear maximum water pressure during monsoons be “vetted by a specialised agency before the coming monsoons.”*
*It also suggested that the contractors submit the details of the accidents mentioned in their monthly accident reports. Further, it asked the NHPC to engage adequate resources for ensuring safety of the workers in the project premises. The CEA had noted that a few workers were without safety helmets and safety harnesses. The team, citing audit report, said that safety committee meetings were not held periodically in the recent past.* https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/05/14/cea-asks-nhpc-to-reassess-slope-stability-protection-wall-improvement-in-safety-measures-in-subansiri-lower-hep/ (14 May 2022)
After NGT notice, FAC seeks report on Arunachal projects The Environment Ministry’s Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has sought a report within three weeks about the compliance status on conditions stipulated for forest clearances granted in the past for hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh. This comes after the NGT took “suo motu notice” of an investigative report by The Indian Express (Feb 4 2022) on how two key hydel power projects in Arunachal were among six mega initiatives in the country, between 2004 and 2020, where stringent conditions to compensate for the high environmental impact were sidestepped, ignored or met only on paper. On Thursday (May 19, 2022), the Tribunal asked the Ministry to remove the defects in its affidavit before the next hearing on July 14.
– After being rejected twice, the Dibang project got preliminary forest clearance in 2015 with the precondition that a national park would be declared to protect the river basin. Despite no compliance, the final forest clearance was issued in 2020. The 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri hydel project was granted forest clearance in 2004 on the condition that over 900 sq km in the catchment and submergence areas would be declared as a sanctuary. The requirement was later cut to 168 sq km of sanctuary space and 332 sq km of conservation reserve — after 17 years, the state has notified only 127 sq km.
– In a meeting held on May 11, the FAC recommended setting up a committee for monitoring the compliance status of conditions for past clearances to all hydel projects in Arunachal. The aim, it said, was to address various concerns “in a holistic manner” before it could take a call on diverting 1165.66 hectare forest land for the 3,097-MW Etalin hydroelectric project in the Dibang Valley district. In its meeting, the FAC also sought the setting up of another committee to examine representations received on the Etalin project and report within three weeks. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/after-ngt-notice-govt-forest-panel-seeks-report-on-arunachal-projects-7926743/ (20 May 2022)
MoEF Minutes FAC meeting held on May 11 2022; RELEVANT DECISIONS:
1. Diversion of 1165.66 ha (including 91.331 ha underground area) of forest land for Etalin Hydro Electric Project (EHEP) (3097 MW) in Dibang Valley Dist of Arunachal Pradesh by EHEP Company Ltd, Arunachal Pradesh: FAC Decision:
(i) A committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Sanjay Deshmukh, FAC member comprising the following members may be constituted to examine the content of all such representations made against the proposal:
a. Dr. Sanjay Deshmukh, FAC member-Chairperson
b. AIGF (FC), MoEF&CC, New Delhi.
c. A representative from concern IRO
d. A representative from Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh
The committee may submit their comments/report within three weeks.
ii. A committee under the chairmanship of Regional Officer, Integrated Regional Office, Guwahati and Nodal Officer (FCA),Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh as a member may also be constituted to visit and monitor the compliance of conditions of various FC approvals for Hydro-electric Projects in past in the
State of Arunachal Pradesh and submit their report within three weeks.
iii.Both the committees are to be facilitated by the government of Arunachal Pradesh / PCCF (HoFF) and may provide all the logistics regarding visits to the area and arrangement of venue of the meeting.
2. Diversion of 126.42 ha forest land for the construction of Sarkula Medium Lift Irrigation Project in favour of Water Resource Division under Shivpuri District of Madhya Pradesh State (Online No. FP/MP/IRRIG/34676/2018). APPROVED http://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FAC_Minutes/51119123812111MoM.pdf
Himachal Pradesh Govt invites bids to run for 27 hydro projects Of the 27 projects (total 722.4 MW tentative capacity), 9 are in Chamba, 7 in Kinnaur, 5 in Kullu, 2 on the border of Chamba and Kangra, One each in Kangra, Lahaul-Spiti, Shimla and Chamba-Lahaul Spiti border, from private sector on BOOT basis. DPRs of 7 and PFRs of rest are available. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/hp-invites-bids-to-run-27-hydro-power-projects/91585218 (16 May 2022)
NHPC Ltd plans to set up 20.8 GW of pumped storage plants at an investment of around ₹62,400 crore in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Mizoram to aid the country’s energy transition, according to the top executive. https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/nhpc-in-talks-with-states-for-62-4k-cr-storage-plants-push-11653245954062.html (23 May 2022)
Maharashtra Govt continues work on Fukeri dam Despite the objections raised by the Goa government, neighbouring Maharashtra has continued its unilateral work of the irrigation dam construction at Fukeri in Dodamarg. Though the project site falls in an ecologically rich forested area, no environment clearance has been obtained by Maharashtra, while it has also not taken the necessary consent from the riparian state. The earthen dam with a height of 44.1ms and length of 345ms has been proposed to meet irrigation requirement of Zolambe and Fukeri villages in Dodamarg. The dam is being constructed across a tributary of River Kalane, which originates from the Western Ghats forest at Donikhol. Maharashtra has earmarked Rs 88.1 crore for this project.
Narayan Sopte Kerkar, president of Jeevandayini, working for protection of rivers and water bodies in Pernem, told TOI, “Presently, work of enhancing capacity of the 15 MLD water treatment plant at Chandel is going on to meet increasing drinking water needs of the villages of Pernem taluka. The work in Fukeri will seriously affect the flow of raw water to Kalane river.” Locals have raised questions as to from where the Goa government will source raw water for the upgraded Chandel water treatment plant. “We have already written to our counterpart expressing the apprehension. I will again send a reminder in the matter,” said WRD chief engineer Pramod Badami. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/maharashtra-continues-work-on-fukeri-dam/articleshow/91550455.cms (13 May 2022)
Kerala Security up at state dams after IB warns of sabotage bid A report from the Intelligence Bureau regarding security threat to the Idukki hydro-electric project has prompted the government to hand over the security of major dams under Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd (KSEBL) to the state industrial security force (SISF). On government’s instructions, SISF conducted a detailed security audit of 14 dams under various hydro-electric projects (HEPs) under KSEBL. A government clearance is awaited after which the dam security will be taken over by armed SISF personnel. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/sisf-may-guard-dams-after-ib-warns-of-sabotage-bid/articleshow/91583407.cms (16 May 2022)
Telangana Big projects yield no cash, hits state plans Mission Bhagiratha and the Kaleshwaram project account for a major chunk of bank guarantees given by the state government for raising loans. These projects are not in a position to repay the debt as the government is not imposing user charges. These bank guarantees have now become an obstacle for the government to auction bonds through the RBI. The Centre wants to treat bank guarantees as part of state government debt, which the Telangana state government is strongly opposed to. This has led to a situation whereupon the Centre is halting the state government’s bid to auction bonds in 2022-23.
Official sources said that the government has spent Rs 70,000 crore on Kaleshwaram and Rs 40,000 crore on Mission Bhagiratha. Over 90 per cent of these funds were mobilised through bank guarantees. These loans come under off-budget borrowings by the government, which stood at Rs 1,05,006 crore by the end of 2021-22 fiscal. The government proposed to go in for another Rs 40,000 crore off-budget borrowings in the current fiscal taking the total to Rs 1,45,455 crore by the end of 2022-23.
The Centre now wants to treat the overall off-budget borrowings as part of state government debt and allow auction of bonds in the open market to raise fresh loans in 2022-23 only for the remaining portion of its eligibility as under the FRBM Act, which makes it clear that state’s debt burden should not exceed 25 per cent of its GSDP. The state government’s total debt burden, including budget and off-budget borrowings by the end of 2022-23, will increase to Rs 4,75,44 crore, of which Rs 3,44,792 crore are budget borrowings and Rs 1,45,456 crore are off-budget borrowings. The government has proposed to raise Rs 59,672 crore through auction of bonds this fiscal, which has been halted by the RBI. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/160522/telangana-big-projects-yield-no-cash-hits-state-plans.html (16 May 2022)
Polavaram Project The works on the Polavaram Project are expected to gain momentum following consensus by various experts’ committees to take the work ahead. The experts have decided to take up works phase by phase to restore normalcy at the project site. The high-level committee has given the green signal to take up strengthening of the dam site and other repairs to the cofferdams before finalizing the designs for the damaged diaphragm wall.
– The designs for the diaphragm wall would be finalized only after two months. The committee is likely to sit together with the field level project engineers and the executives of the contractor firm Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (Meil) to chalk out the action plan for resumption of the works.
– The massive floods of two successive years in 2019 and 2020 have caused immeasurable damage to the project installations. The quantum of damage had surprised the engineering and hydrology experts as they were unable to assess the damage. Several teams of experts from different national level agencies including Central Water Commission, Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, engineering brains from Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) and a team of hydrology experts comprising former IITians, struggled to suggest the remedies to take up repairs to the damaged portions for nearly six months.
– There are no studies or experiences of diaphragm wall getting damaged in the floods anywhere in the world. Instead of stalling the entire project till the completion of the designs, the experts committee had decided to resume the other key works at the project.
– The experts committee studied three options to strengthen the damaged dam site. While dewatering the project site is one option, going for vibro-compaction model to strengthen the sand bund at the bottom of the dam site is another one. The committee found that dewatering of the project site is not only laborious but also expensive. The experts have opted to go for the third option of taking up dredging-cum-vibro-compaction to strengthen the site. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/work-on-polavaram-can-resume-experts/articleshow/91674552.cms (20 May 2022)
Tamil Nadu 103 check dams being constructed in Erode: Collector District Collector H. Krishnanunni has said that a total of 103 check dams were being constructed at a total cost of ₹ 16.02 crore in the district. For 2021-22, under the MGNREGS, work is in progress to construct 23 dams at ₹ 281.23 lakh at Anthiyur block, nine dams at ₹ 112.70 lakh at Bhavani block, Gobichettipalayam – four dams at ₹ 90 lakh, Kodumudi – two dams at ₹ 8.43 lakh, Modakkurichi – four dams at ₹ 63 lakh, Chennimalai – one dam at ₹ 49.88 lakh, Nambiyur – 14 dams at ₹ 133.92 lakh, Perundurai – four dams at ₹ 43 lakh, Talavadi block – 21 dams at ₹ 446.67 lakh and T.N. Palayam block – five check dams at ₹ 87.61 lakh. In all the blocks, 103 check dams were being constructed at a total cost of ₹1,601.95 lakh, he added. He said that in hill areas, 21 check dams are being constructed at Bargur panchayat while 21 check dams are being constructed at Talavadi. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/103-check-dams-being-constructed-in-erode-district-collector/article65362817.ece (28 April 2022)
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Ken Betwa Linking पन्ना। केन नदी के किनारे स्थित गांव के लोग बहु चर्चित केन-बेतवा लिंक परियोजना को लेकर सशंकित और चिंतित हैं। वीरा गांव के वीरेंद्र सिंह (75 वर्ष) अपनी चिंता जाहिर करते हुए कहते हैं कि “केन को पानी यदि ऊपर छेंक लेहें तो हम का करबी। हमसे कउनो राय व सहमति नहीं ली गई, जा तो हम लोगन के संगे सरासर धोखाधड़ी है”। ग्रामीणों का साफ कहना है कि केन के पानी पर पहला हक हमारा है। हम केन के पानी को रोककर बांध बनाने तथा उस पानी को दूसरी जगह ले जाने की योजना का विरोध करते हैं। हम किसी भी कीमत पर जिंदा नदी को मरने नहीं देंगे, क्योंकि इस नदी की जलधार पर ही हमारा जीवन निर्भर है।
– मध्यप्रदेश शासन की पूर्व कैबिनेट मंत्री व भाजपा की वरिष्ठ नेता सुश्री कुसुम सिंह महदेले ने केन-बेतवा लिंक परियोजना को पन्ना जिले के लिए घातक बताया है। इस परियोजना के बारे में उनकी राय जानने के लिए जब संपर्क किया गया तो उन्होंने बड़े बेबाकी से कहा कि पन्ना जिले में पानी की कमी हो जाएगी तथा केन किनारे के गांव पेयजल के साथ-साथ सिंचाई से भी वंचित हो जाएंगे। यह पन्ना जिलावासियों के साथ बहुत बड़ा अन्याय हो रहा है, जिसका विरोध होना चाहिए। सुश्री महदेले का कहना है कि बीते एक दशक में ही रेत कारोबारियों ने केन नदी को इस कदर खोखला कर दिया है कि वह कंगाल हो गई है। गर्मी शुरू होते ही मार्च और अप्रैल के महीने में इस सदानीरा नदी की जलधारा टूट जाती है। जिससे केन किनारे स्थित ग्रामों के लोगों को भीषण पेयजल संकट का सामना करना पड़ता है।
– पन्ना जिले की पूर्व कलेक्टर दीपाली रस्तोगी जिनके कार्यकाल (2005 – only other flood in Ken in last four decades came in 2011) में बाढ़ आई थी। उन्होंने एक दशक पूर्व ही केन-बेतवा लिंक परियोजना के दुष्परिणामों की ओर ध्यान आकृष्ट कराते हुए चेताया था। पूर्व कलेक्टर ने शीर्ष अधिकारियों को बताया था कि यदि केन बेसिन के लोगों की बुनियादी जरूरतें पूरी की जाएं तो केन नदी में कोई अतिरिक्त पानी नहीं बचेगा। उन्होंने यहां तक लिखा था कि केन-बेतवा नदी जोड़ो परियोजना केन बेसिन के लोगों के लिए एक त्रासदी होगी।
– प्रारंभ में परियोजना के दस्तावेजों में डूब में आने वाले पेड़ों की संख्या सिर्फ 9525 से अधिक बताई गई थी, जो अब 23 लाख पेड़ों तक जा पहुंची है। एक रिपोर्ट में तो यहां तक कहा गया है कि परियोजना में तकरीबन 44 लाख पेड़ कटेंगे। सूखे की विभीषिका झेलने वाले इस इलाके में क्या इतनी बड़ी संख्या में वृक्षों के विनाश का जोखिम उठाना समझदारी होगी ? पर्यटन पर आधारित एक मात्र आजीविका की धरोहर पन्ना टाइगर रिजर्व 70 से भी अधिक बाघों का घर है। यहां तेंदुआ, भालू , नीलगाय, फिशिंग कैट, चिंकारा, चीतल, चौसिंगा व सांभर जैसे सैकड़ों प्रजाति के वन्यजीवों सहित 247 प्रजाति के पक्षी रहते हैं। यहां विलुप्त प्राय गिद्धों की सात प्रजातियां भी निवास करती हैं। यूनेस्को ने जिस वन क्षेत्र को बायोस्फीयर रिजर्व की वैश्विक सूची में शामिल किया है, उस अनमोल धरोहर को नष्ट करने की योजना भला कैसे हितकारी साबित होगी ?
– जानकारों का यह मानना है कि यदि दो से तीन सौ करोड रुपए खर्च कर बुंदेलखंड क्षेत्र के प्राचीन चंदेल कालीन तालाबों को पुनर्जीवित कर दिया जाए तो 3 साल में ही जल की समस्या का समाधान हो सकता है। अब विचारणीय बात यह है कि जब इतनी कम धनराशि खर्च कर समस्या का समाधान हो सकता है तो पर्यावरण के लिए विनाशकारी व बेहद खर्चीली (44 हजार करोड़) परियोजना के लिए आखिर इतनी ज़िद क्यों? https://pannastories.blogspot.com/2022/05/blog-post_17.html (17 May 2022)
– Self Contradictory statements by union water minister on Ken Betwa: “All the statutory clearances for Ken-Betwa are completed. There are two stages for forest and wildlife clearance, of which stage one we have achieved. For stage two, the money that we had to give to MoEF, has been deposited. We will start the tender proceedings as soon as we get the clearances. ” https://www.livemint.com/news/india/we-are-determined-to-complete-jal-jeevan-mission-by-end-of-2024-11652641572256.html
Report in Patrika on May 19 2022 on Ken Betwa suggesting that besides 8 villages of Chhattarpur to submerge in the proposed KBL, 13 villages (7 of Panna and 6 of Chhattarpur) will be affected due to conversion of 4396 ha of buffer zone to core zone of PTR. It says the land acquisition process has started and official visited the area.
Gujarat CM announces cancellation of Damanganga-Par-Tapi-Narmada link project Announcing the cancellation of the river project, the CM said the project has been successfully cancelled after conveying to the Central government the representation and sentiment of the tribal community that the tribal areas around the rivers would be affected. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/gujarat-cm-announces-cancellation-of-damanganga-par-tapi-narmada-link-project (22 May 2022)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Mahanadi Water Dispute Mahanadi on Chhattisgarh side of Kalma a ‘sea’, on Odisha side a ‘desert’ Mahandi Banchao Andolan convenor Sudarshan Das said, “It is unfortunate that the Chhattisgarh government is not letting Mahandi water to flow by closing 66 gates of the barrage. Up to seven kilometres from the barrage along Chhattisgarh, the river gives an illusion of a sea while the same river on the Odisha side looks like desert. We will demand the Chhattisgarh government to open at least five sluice gates in order to ensure water inflows to Hirakud dam. The government should let the river flow.” According to sources, the perennial stream of the Mahanadi towards Odisha has dried up triggering a water and power crisis for the state. This is after all the 66 head sluice gates of Chhattisgarh’s Kalma barrage in the Mahanadi having been shut down recently. https://odishatv.in/news/miscellaneous/mahanadi-on-chhattisgarh-side-of-kalma-a-sea-on-odisha-side-a-desert–177233 (19 May 2022)
Punjab-Rajasthan ‘Water from Ferozepur feeder be used for irrigation only’ The controversy surrounding release of brackish water in the Ferozepur feeder canal continued on Friday (May 20) , with the Punjab water resources department stating that they had released an advisory on May 16 that stated that water was released only ” due to regular demand of water for irrigation purposes from Rajasthan state.” The department said that their advisory also makes it categorically clear that the water being released in Ferozepur feeder from May 17 onwards can only be used for irrigation purposes and not for drinking.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) had stoked a controversy on Thursday by stating that the brackish water being fed through the Ferozepur canal could be used for drinking if it is treated properly. The advisory mentions that in order to stop the release of polluted water in rivers, Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) was also putting in place SoPs for operation of Harike headworks. Bikaner canal takes water from Harike headworks and the water is needed for irrigation in areas of Rajasthan. Hence, we decided to send water only for irrigation purposes,” the advisory said. https://indianexpress.com/article/chandigarh/water-from-ferozepur-feeder-be-used-for-irrigation-only-7928587/ (21 May 2022)
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
Andhra Pradesh Probe launched into appointment of Dredging Corporation of India MD An inquiry has been launched into the appointment of Dredging Corporation of India Limited (DCIL) CEO and Managing Director G.Y.V. Victor, after allegations of irregularities surfaced. The investigation is being done by the Chief Vigilance Officer of Visakhapatnam Port Authority Pradeep Kumar, who is also the CVO of DCIL, as the dredging major has been taken over by a consortium of four ports — Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradip Port Trust, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Deendayal Port Trust. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/visakhapatnam-inquiry-initiated-against-managing-director-of-dredging-corporation-of-india/article65429950.ece (19 May 2022)
Odisha Government is likely to begin river cruises in an effort to upgrade the tourism industry in the State. The tourism department is likely to launch a luxury houseboat, Garuda for commercial operations in Chilika lake. The tour packages shall be focused on tourists and shall cover Bhitarkanika National Park and adjoining areas of Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary. https://kalingatv.com/state/odisha-to-commence-river-cruises-to-upgrade-tourism/ (19 May 2022)
RBI India needs to redesign irrigation policy India needs to redesign its irrigation policy, including by promoting improved technological interventions in the wake of depleting ground water, according to an article published in the latest issue of RBI Bulletin.
– “The inefficiency appears to be driven by the energy consumption in the farm sector and ground water accessibility,” it said, and added that the findings call for policy focus on energy and water efficient irrigation technologies, particularly in states where irrigation efficiency is declining. “Cost and availability of energy to the farm sector along with the depth of ground water level appear to influence the irrigation efficiency.
– The share of irrigation in overall water demand is predicted to moderate from 85 per cent in 2010 to around 74 per cent by 2050; however, the quantity of water demanded in absolute terms is expected to increase by 1.6 times, as per the Standing Sub-committee of the Ministry of Water Resources. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/india-needs-to-redesign-irrigation-policy-says-rbi-article/articleshow/91626343.cms (18 May 2022)
Gujarat ₹1,550cr Kutch canal work sanctioned The state government on Saturday sanctioned the project to lengthen the Dudhai sub-branch Narmada canal in Kutch district by another 45km at a cost of Rs 1,550 crore. The decision will help irrigate an additional 13,175 hectares of land in Anjar and Bhuj talukas of the district, an official statement said. Farmers of Bhuj and Anjar talukas had been demanding water from the Narmda canal network for irrigating their crops. A review meeting in this regard was held in Gandhinagar on Saturday under the chairmanship of chief minister Bhupendra Patel. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/1550cr-kutch-canal-work-sanctioned/articleshow/91569700.cms (15 May 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir HC seeks report on Jehlum flood control scheme, improvement of its embankments Hearing a batch of PILs including the one filed by Environmental Policy Group (EPG), a bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Moksha Kazmi also directed the government to show how the funds sanctioned by the Union of India have been utilized for the purpose. At the very outset Advocate Shafqat Nazir on behalf of EPG said that a devastating flood threat still exists in Kashmir as there is no change on ground vis a vis improving the strength of river Jehlum embankments. He submitted that the funds said to be more than 250 crores released by the Center have not been utilised by the J&K government. Advocate Nadeem Qadri assisting the Court as Amicus Curie also vented similar concerns before the Court. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/kashmir/hc-seeks-report-on-jehlum-flood-control-scheme-improvement-of-its-embankments (22 May 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh NGT directs APSPCB to file fresh affidavit on payment of ECCs NGT Kolkata (WB)-based eastern zone bench on Wednesday (May 11) directed the Arunachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board (APSPCB) to file a fresh affidavit “indicating the nature of violations and the action taken report against each of the non-compliant unit, such as hotels, automobile workshops, garage, etc, in Itanagar and Naharlagun who have failed to pay environmental compensation charges (ECC) for grossly violating the environmental norms by installing effluent treatment plant (ETP) or sewage treatment plant (STP) in their respective units.”
The direction comes following the hearing of a petition filed by activist and lawyer SD Loda against the union of India and the state government over unmindful pollution of the Senki river in Itanagar. In his petition, Loda alleged that the sewage generated in Itanagar city is flowing untreated into the Senki-Pachin stretch, downstream of the Senki river.
APSPCB informed the NGT that, out of 54 units, 7 units have complied with the board’s show cause notice by installing ETP and STP in their outlets. The board further informed that 32 units (25 hotels and 7 automobile workshops and garages) located in Itanagar and Naharlagun have been directed to pay ECC for failing to install ETP and STP, “out of which 17 units deposited their respective ECC amount total Rs 5,90,250.” The NGT will hear the matter on 14 July. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/05/14/ngt-directs-apspcb-to-file-fresh-affidavit-on-payment-of-eccs/ (14 May 2022)
Kerala HC approached for conservation of Bharathapuzha The Friends of Bharatapuzha (FoB), an organisation working towards the conservation of the Bharathapuzha river, has approached the High Court seeking its intervention for the protection of the river.
Several personalities, including technocrat E. Sreedharan, have been involved in the conservation of the river. Headed by Mr. Sreedharan, the FoB has sought an environmental impact study on the basis of the unscientific constructions in the Bharathapuzha. It has also sought a ‘legal entity’ status for the river considering the similar status accorded to some waterbodies across the globe. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-high-court-approached-for-conservation-of-bharathapuzha/article65440000.ece (20 May 2022)
Fight against a pipeline travelled downstream Residents of a riverside village object to a gelatin manufacturer’s plan to dump effluents near them. The government has overridden them to greenlight the plan. https://scroll.in/article/1024070/how-the-fight-against-a-pipeline-in-kerala-travelled-downstream (18 May 2022)
GANGA NGT asks UP, Bihar govts to inform number of human corpses found in river before the onset of Covid-19 till March 31 this year and submit factual verification reports on the issue. The tribunal sought to know whether any criminal case was registered and any prosecution was launched against any person for violation of the guidelines for the management of dead bodies covid infected or otherwise. The green panel also asked if there was any violation of environmental norms and, if so, the details of the remedial measures taken may be furnished. The NGT was hearing a plea filed by journalist Sanjay Sharma seeking directions to ensure that proper COVID-19 protocol is followed for the disposal of the coronavirus impacted human corpses. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/bodies-floating-on-ganga-ngt-asks-up-bihar-governments-to-inform-number-of-human-corpses-found-in-river/articleshow/91597670.cms (16 May 2022)
Centre said of the 1,080 industries causing pollution in Ganga in five states, 190 have been closed while 165 are still not complying with norms. Of the 165, closure orders have been issued to nine and show-cause notices has been served to 156 grossly polluting industries, it said. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/190-of-1-080-industries-polluting-ganga-shut-down-says-govt-122032100811_1.html (22 March 2022)
Uttarakhand ‘Mountains of waste’ at Char Dham as pilgrim footfall sees steep rise The solid waste generation at just Kedarnath, one of the four dhams, has increased from 5,000 kg to 10,000 kg per day, as per officials. “It was just about half in the pre-Covid days. We’re talking about 2019,” said an official. “In 2022, it has doubled. In fact, in just the past 15 days, Kedarnath alone has hosted 2.35 lakh pilgrims.”
About 32 lakh pilgrims visited Char Dham in 2019; it was 27.69 lakh in 2018, and 23.24 lakh in 2017, a steady rise. This year, the first fortnight alone has witnessed 6.71 lakh pilgrims thronging the dhams, the official said.
Daily waste generation at Badrinath, which is an Alpine zone, has gone up to 4,000 kg/day since the opening of its portal this year. It was below 3,000 kg/day in 2019. About 8,000 kg of solid waste is getting accumulated daily at the two other dhams of Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttarkashi district. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/mountains-of-waste-at-char-dham-as-pilgrim-footfall-sees-steep-rise/articleshow/91671632.cms (20 May 2022) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/mountains-of-waste-at-char-dham-as-footfall-rises/articleshow/91674936.cms (22 May 2022)
-A ravine near the buffer zone of Rajaji National Park, a short distance away from Haridwar’s Har-Ki-Pauri, is being used by some dharamshala owners to dump garbage. Sambar deer is categorized as ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red list. https://twitter.com/shivaniazadTOI/status/1528212039235055616?s=20&t=uPceoJOVIha-z2FkBKy62w (22 May 2022)
According to environmentalists, the ravine is a habitat of the Sambar deer and that the trash in it will ultimately drain into the Ganga during monsoon, contaminating the river. Rajaji is home to a host of wild animals, including elephants, leopards and tigers and photos and videos of animals feeding on plastic have surfaced earlier from Corbett Tiger Reserve as well. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ravine-turns-into-dump-video-shows-deer-chewing-on-waste/articleshow/91716820.cms (22 May 2022)
उत्तराखंड के पहाड़ों पर जगह-जगह कचरे का ढेर https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeZ4AWVZI40 (22 May 2022)
Threads of cloths being found inside fish bodies.
Water unfit for drinking even at Har-ki-Pauri: PCB report A major stretch of the Ganga river flowing in Uttarakhand, including Haridwar’s Har-ki-Pauri ghat, is unfit for “direct drinking”, as per a recent report by Uttarakhand pollution control board. The data collated by the board shows that the river carries fecal coliform (human excreta) and industrial effluents making it unsafe for consumption. The total coliform (TC) load of the ‘contaminated stretch’ is 63, higher than the safe limit of 50.
Samples taken before the start of the Char Dham yatra were collected by the state pollution control board from Bhagirath Bindu up to Roorkee at 12 spots and in all the points, the pollution levels were found to be of major concern. What is worrying authorities further is that the river is likely to get polluted even more during the Char Dham yatra due to the huge influx of pilgrims and ineffective solid waste management in the hills. Most of the waste is being directly dumped into the river or burnt along the riverside. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ganga-water-unfit-for-drinking-at-har-ki-pauri-in-haridwar-finds-ukhand-pollution-board/articleshow/91525241.cms (13 May 2022)
Early melting of Tipra glacier triggers premature blooming in valley of flowers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/early-melting-of-tipra-glacier-triggers-premature-blooming-in-valley-of-flowers/articleshow/91625419.cms (18 May 2022)
Uttar Pradesh Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) is likely to set up a temporary ‘Tent City’ on the sandy bed of river Ganga on the opposite side of the ghats in Kashi immediately after the end of flood season in October, when tourist load starts increasing massively in the city. “As the turtle sanctuary has been shifted to Mirzapur-Prayagraj stretch of the Ganga river,” they said, “Around 500 hectares of land on the sand bed has become available for establishment of the ‘Tent City’. VDA has selected the site considering its connectivity with highways, prime tourist locations including Assi and other ghats, Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi railway station and Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Junction. The distance of the airport will be 33 km from the site.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/tent-city-on-ganga-bank-in-varanasi-to-meet-tourist-rush/articleshow/91131663.cms (27 April 2022)
Saints in Muzaffarnagar’s Shukteerth are spearheading a mission to bring a continuous stream of the holy Ganga to the pilgrimage town and merge it with Solani river here to facilitate pilgrims performing religious rituals. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/stream-of-ganges-will-revive-old-glory-of-shukteerth-101652373788301.html (12 May 2022)
Bihar Ganga water supply to Gaya likely to start by May-end Water supply under the Ganga Water Lift Project (GWLP) is likely to start by May 30 this year to many households in Gaya and Bodh Gaya, as around 94% work is near completion. While reviewing the progress of works in Gaya and Rajgir, a team of senior administrative officials on Thursday issued directions to officials of the water resources department to complete the project work by July end this year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/ganga-water-supply-to-gaya-likely-to-start-by-may-end/articleshow/91163673.cms (29 April 2022)
YAMUNA Himachal, UP, Haryana ‘back out’ from plan to give extra water to Delhi Delhi had d a plan to exchange 140 MGD of treated wastewater for freshwater from Uttar Pradesh. “Uttar Pradesh said it could share 270 cusecs of water from the Ganga through the Murad Nagar regulator and Delhi had promised to release an equal amount of treated wastewater to UP from Okhla for irrigation purposes. “After multiple meetings and field inspections, Uttar Pradesh wrote to us around six months ago that the idea has been dropped,” an official said on condition of anonymity. The Centre was in favour of the proposal but Uttar Pradesh denied it. They did not give any reason for doing so, he said.
Delhi also held deliberations with Haryana on a proposal to share 20 MGD of treated wastewater for irrigation through Jaunti and Auchandi regulators in lieu of freshwater through Carrier Lined Canal (CLC) and Delhi Sub Branch (DSB). “Haryana has not agreed to the proposal yet. There is a very slim chance of it happening now,” the official said. Another official said the proposal for a water exchange with Haryana is pending at the level of the Upper Yamuna River Board.
In December 2019, Himachal Pradesh signed an MoU to sell its share of Yamuna water to Delhi at Rs 21 crore per annum. Water had to be delivered at Tajewala (in Haryana’s Yamuna Nagar district) to Delhi. According to a statement released at that time, Himachal Pradesh was supposed to “provide regular, daily supply of 368 cusecs (198 MGD) from November to February and 268 cusecs (144 MGD) from March to June every year”.
According to a multi-state agreement signed in 1994, Himachal Pradesh gets a 3 per cent share of Yamuna water. This share has remained unclaimed since then. It was Haryana which had first opposed the Himachal Pradesh’s plan to sell its share of Yamuna water to Delhi. Haryana contended that its “canals did not have the capacity to carry extra water from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi”, another official said. Thereafter, Himachal Pradesh also “backed out” from the agreement around six months ago. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/himachal-pradesh-up-back-out-from-plan-to-give-extra-water-to-delhi-haryana-not-keen-either/articleshow/91722260.cms (22 May 2022)
Uttarakhand Second landslide on Yamunotri NH in a week strands 10,000 for hours Over 10,000 pilgrims going to or returning from the Yamunotri shrine were affected as a massive landslide, the second in a week, washed away a stretch of the road with a safety wall on Yamunotri national highway near Ranachatti on Friday (May 20) evening. Traffic was impacted for several hours on Friday (May 20) and most of Saturday (May 21) with buses going to and returning from Yamunotri being stopped at Janki chatti and Barkot respectively and pilgrims being put up at homestays along the highway. The roads were finally cleared by Saturday (May 21) evening and buses and small vehicles allowed to move.
Incidentally, the fresh landslide happened at the same spot. The first landslide had occurred on May 18 (Wednesday) following heavy rains and it had washed away a 12-meter-long patch of the Yamunotri highway. It had taken the administration over 24 hours to restore the traffic by cutting the rocky hillside and carving out space from the mountainous patch but a day later, on Friday (May 20) evening, things went back to square one when the fresh landslide hit the same place. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/second-landslide-on-yamunotri-nh-in-a-week-strands-10000-for-hours/articleshow/91715281.cms (22 May 2022)
The movement of tourist buses and other heavy vehicles on Yamunotri NH was once again interrupted on Saturday (May 21), after fresh slide near Ranachatti area. The administration has advised pilgrims to visit Gangotri shrine first and later come back to Yamunotri, as it may take 2 to 3 days to restore the highway. Around 12-meter-long patch of the highway was affected after a safety wall collapsed on Wednesday evening following heavy rains. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-pilgrims-stranded-on-yamunotri-highway-as-safety-wall-collapses/articleshow/91704060.cms (21 May 2022)
Hours after reopening, the Rishikesh-Yamunotri National Highway was shut down again on Friday (May 20) after a portion of the road collapsed. Around 10,000 people are stuck after the security wall of the highway leading to the Yamunotri temple collapsed. https://www.news18.com/news/india/over-10000-stranded-traffic-stopped-after-portion-of-road-collapses-rishikesh-yamunotri-highway-in-uttarakhand-5219233.html (21 May 2022)
यमुना नदी के अविरल प्रवाह को उसके ही मायके में अवरुद्ध किया जा रहा है। जानकी चट्टी में बस पार्किंग के नाम पर निर्माण एजेंसी पेयजल निगम यमुना नदी में एनजीटी की गाइडलाइंस को दरकिनार करके बड़ी पोकलेन मशीन उतार कर मलबा उडे़ल रही है। यमुना के पुजारी दुर्गेश उनियाल ने आरोप लगाया कि मलबा सीधे यमुना नदी में उड़ेलने से जहां एक ओर यमुना नदी प्रदूषित हो रही है, वहीं दूसरी तरफ मलबे से यमुना नदी का प्रवाह अवरुद्ध होने की स्थिति में है। जिससे बाढ़ और कटाव का खतरा बना हुआ है। यही स्थिति निर्माणाधीन दुर्बिल मोटर मार्ग के निकट की है। यहां मोटर मार्ग का मलबा सीधे यमुना नदी में उड़ेला जा रह है। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/uttarkashi-the-effect-of-yamuna-is-being-blocked-in-the-maternal-house-22638660.html (18 April 2022)
Delhi River runs dry, water supply to be hit Water production at the Chandrawal, Wazirabad and Okhla water treatment plants (WTPs) had fallen by around 25% on Monday on account of depleting water levels in the Yamuna, according to the DJB. A statement from the DJB stated that the water level at the Wazirabad pond had fallen to 669.40 ft, against a normal level of around 674.50 ft. The level at the pond has fallen further from 671.80 ft on May 12. The release of raw water from Haryana had also reduced, according to the statement. Water supply is likely to be affected from Tuesday (May 17) morning onwards till the pond level improves. The three WTPs together produce around 230 MGD — 90 MGD from Chandrawal, 120 MGD from Wazirabad and 20 MGD from Okhla — out of the total of around 921 MGD of water as of March 2021, according to the Economic Survey of Delhi. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/yamuna-runs-dry-water-supply-in-capital-to-be-hit-from-today-7920941/ (17 May 2022)
For the second time in a week, the DJB has written to the Haryana Irrigation Department requesting it to release additional water to raise the depleting levels at Wazirabad and prevent a disruption in the production of water. A similar request was made on April 30. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/water-level-depletes-yamuna-delhi-jal-board-haryana-release-more-7899837/ (03 May 2022)
According to the DJB, the Yamuna has become dry therefore the water level at Wazirabad pond has also depleted to 668.3 feet, lowest this year against the normal 674.5 feet. The officials at Delhi Jal Board are diverting water from the Carrier Lined Canal (CLC) and the Delhi Sub Branch (DSB) toward Wazirabad. The DJB had on Tuesday (May 17) written another letter to the Haryana Irrigation Department, asking it to urgently release 150 cusecs of additional water in the “almost dry” Yamuna. This was the fourth time in less than three weeks that the utility has written to the Haryana Irrigation Department. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/delhiwater-supply-to-be-affected-in-several-areas-as-yamuna-almost-dries-up-11653182736370.html (22 May 2022)
In the name of cleaning the Yamuna river, Rs 1500 crore was spent in the Yamuna Action Plan and a plan of Rs 1174 crore was redrawn. While Rs 460 crore has been given for cleaning Yamuna under the Namami Gange scheme. But, the Yamuna remained the same and even worse. https://www.indiatimes.com/explainers/news/how-every-action-to-save-yamuna-river-has-failed-miserably-569866.html (19 May 2022)
Divers of Yamuna: risking their lives to save others The divers work without any protective gear or insurance cover all through the year in the most polluted stretch of the river. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/risking-their-own-lives-to-save-others/article65281984.ece (01 April 2022)
Local residents said the civic body should also check illegal constructions in the area, including in the Yamuna O zone, where construction is prohibited. “There are buildings being erected quite brazenly near the Yamuna, but there seem to be no checks on such illegal activities,” alleged an elderly resident of Shaheen Bagh, who did not want to give his name. “The heights of the buildings are beyond the permissible limit and the roads are encroached too.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/illegal-constructions-in-o-zone-of-yamuna-go-unchecked-locals/articleshow/91451876.cms (10 May 2022)
Noida Authority demolishes farmhouses on floodplains The NGT, in a May 20, 2013 order, had directed the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments to clear all concrete structures built illegally on notified no-development zones on the NCR floodplains.
According to an old UP government survey, there were 319 illegal farmhouses occupying 124 hectares of the Yamuna floodplains in Noida till 2012. After that, several more illegal structures came up in the area. In 2018, the authority’s survey showed there were at least 1,000 farmhouses on the floodplain in violation of rules.Then Uttar Pradesh solid waste management monitoring committee chairman justice DP Singh had on June 12, 2019 directed the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation department and the Noida authority to demolish all illegal houses and define the flood zone where no construction is allowed.
On March 24, farmers of Nagli Nagla village located along the Yamuna river threatened to sit on a fast unto death outside the Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate’s office to protest against the authorities for failing to stop the land mafia from constructing buildings on the Yamuna floodplains. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/noida-authority-demolishes-farmhouses-on-yamuna-floodplains-101648840513862.html (02 April 2022)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Maharashtra Worli fisherfolk threaten to restart protests A day after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) stated that 60 metres gap in the navigation span between the two pillars of the Coastal Road interchange is sufficient, the fishing community in Worli said it is preparing for more protests at the construction site. Between October 2021 and January, fisherfolk from Worli Koliwada prevented the contractor from beginning the construction on the interchange. With machinery lying unused at the site, freight charges, manpower and other overhead expenses, BMC had then estimated that the halting of work had led to a loss of Rs 5 crore per month.
Nitesh Patil of the Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsya Vyavsay Sahakari Society, who led the earlier protest, said he cannot understand why the civic body was not expanding the span between the two pillars. “We will halt construction at the site again as BMC is adamant at not changing the navigation span. We have held multiple meetings in the past year but the only thing the civic body has done is delay addressing our concerns or divert attention to the compensation and insurance claims,” he said.
The coastal road was to be completed in four years since it commenced in October 2018. To date, 53 per cent of the Coastal Road project work has been completed and BMC said that the same is expected to be ready by December 2023. The BMC is constructing a 10.58-km-long coastal road from Princess Street at Marine Lines to Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link Road for Rs 12,721 crore. For the project, the civic body is reclaiming 111 hectares land from the sea of which 70 hectares will be developed as an open space. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/worli-fisherfolk-threaten-to-restart-protests-at-coastal-road-construction-site-7926513/ (19 May 2022)
उत्तर प्रदेश मच्छर नियंत्रण के लिए हो रहा गम्बूसिया मछली का इस्तेमाल, भविष्य के लिए खतरनाक मच्छरों की संख्या में बीते कुछ सालों बड़ा इजाफा हुआ है और इस वजह से डेंगू और मलेरिया जैसी बीमारी का भी डर बना ही रहता है। उत्तर प्रदेश में कई जगह स्थानीय प्रशासन, तालाब और अन्य पानी के स्रोतों में गम्बूसिया मछ्ली छोड़कर मच्छरों से निपटना चाहता है। गम्बूसिया मछली मच्छरों के लार्वा को खाती है और इससे मच्छरों की संख्या कम हो जाती है। मच्छरों से निपटने के लिए आजकल कई जगह इसका इस्तेमाल किया जाता है। अनुसंधानकर्ताओं का मानना है कि उत्तर प्रदेश में प्रशासन का यह कदम उचित नहीं है और इससे भविष्य में इकोसिस्टम को नुकसान हो सकता है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/05/23/twin-lives-of-the-gambusia-fish-a-protector-against-disease-or-a-pest/ (23 May 2022)
Odisha Ban sand mining in Satkosia, save Gharials’ A reduced water flow and THE rampant sand mining in the Mahanadi have posed a serious threat to the ecosystem, particularly to the Gharials. The river Mahanadi is the ecological lifeline of Odisha with rich biodiversity and wildlife. Along with the Satkosia Tiger Reserve and Mahanadi Elephant Reserve, the Gharial Research Centre and Conservation Unit is completely dependent on the river ecosystem. Rampant illegal sand mining at Mahanadi near Athamallik has seriously affected the Gharial conservation. The illegal sand mining has further degraded the riverine habitat. Nesting and basking sites of the crocodiles are disturbed and lost and riverine species are affected. https://www.dailypioneer.com/2022/state-editions/—ban-sand-mining-in-satkosia–save-gharials—.html (17 May 2022)
Punjab Illegal mining unabated in Ropar villages, locals plan stir After a brief lull since the new state government took over, residents of Tarf Majari and Bhallan villages are up in arms against start of “illegal mining” in the area again in the Swan. The residents, who had formed an Ilaqa Sangharsh Committee last year to oppose illegal mining in the area, said they would start an agitation in case the authorities failed to keep a check on it.
A source in mining business claimed that the mafia had sold material worth more than Rs 100 crore from riverbed from September to December last year. From 20-acre area in the Swan river near Tarf Majari village, the mafia had transported material in at least 50,000 tippers within just three months after the last monsoon. One tipper-load of material fetches a minimum of Rs 5,500 at the pit head, he said. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/illegal-mining-unabated-locals-plan-stir-395421 (17 May 2022)
Farmer arrested with 5 kg illegal sand A farmer, identified as Krishan Singh, was arrested on May 2 by Fazilka police on the basis of a tip-off that the man was mining sand in his field. The police, after conducting a raid and arresting Singh from Mohar Singh Wala Assembly constituency of Jalalabad, claimed to have seized a mortar pan, a hoe, as well as 5 kilos of sand that had been mined by the man, and Rs 100 from his possession.
The SHO of Jalalabad Sadar police station, which conducted the arrest, later claimed that Krishan Singh was carrying out illegal mining in around three kanals on his agricultural land. The SHO, however, had vehemently denied claims of five kilos of sand having been recovered from the accused.
Police have sometimes linked the illegal sand mining mafia with the drug smuggling one like in the case of an FIR filed against former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia. Recently, the Punjab police had arrested one Jagtar Singh Jagga with RDX, which he was trying to ferry in a tractor trolly used for transportation of sand in the border area of Ajnala. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/amritsar/a-hoe-a-mortar-pan-and-allegations-of-sand-mining-that-kicked-up-a-social-media-storm-7924720/ (19 May 2022)
Haryana 2 minor kids drown in Yamuna Two minor kids have died after drowning in Yamuna river near Kamalpur village in Yamunanagar district on Friday (May 14) evening. This deceased have been identified as Abhishek (14) and Jahid (17) of Mandoli village in Yamunanagar district. Yamunanagar Sadar police station house officer (SHO) inspector Narender said, “Both the boys had gone to bath in Yamuna river near Kamalpur village with their friends, where they drowned. Their dead bodies were fished out late in the night from Yamuna river after calling the private divers.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/haryana-two-minor-kids-drown-in-yamuna-river-in-yamunanagar/articleshow/91567688.cms (14 May 2022) This is due to illegal sand mine pits, however the report does not mention this.
Uttar Pradesh Mining mafia construct illegal path across Ganga in Unnao Adding to the large-scale illegal mining incidents, the mining mafia has now built a road cutting the Ganga at Sumerpur Ghat in the Unnao district. The road has divided the stream of the Ganga into two parts.
Trucks laden with sand and mud are being sent out at night on the newly built road. However, the administration was not informed about the construction of the road. Due to stagnant water, a huge amount of moss has also accumulated on either side of the path. According to the information, mining operations in the area have been carried out over the last several days. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/uttar-pradesh-mining-mafia-construct-illegal-path-across-ganga-at-sumerpur-ghat-1936629-2022-04-12 (12 April 2022)
शुक्रवार (May 20) को बाँदा के पैलानी क्षेत्र की रेहुटा मौरम खदान में ट्रक क्लीनर दीपक राजपूत उर्फ भाटा की मौत हो गई। मृतक दीपक को पोकलैंड मशीन चालक ने बालू भरते वक्त गम्भीर घायल कर दिया। दीपक के मौरम में दबने का सच देखकर पोकलैंड चालक फरार हो गया हैं। खदान में साथी प्रदीप सिंह व अन्य कर्मचारियों ने जब तक दीपक को जिला अस्पताल पहुंचाया वह मर चुका था। https://ashishsagarptb.com/banda/details/1370/—————— (21 May 2022)
Meghalaya Group opposes order banning sand mining The Damalgre to Garobadha Sand Association has opposed the recent order banning the mining of sand without permit/lease from the Forest and Environment departments, pointing out that local people have been depending on the activity for decades and would find it difficult to survive without it. In its appeal to CM Conrad Sangma, the association said that the local villagers of the area would be the hardest hit if the activity is prohibited as they have known no other way to earn for themselves for all these years. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/05/16/group-opposes-order-banning-sand-mining/ (16 May 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir 8 booked for illegal sand mining in Sopore village, boats seized Sopore police held eight persons, who were involved in illegal sand mining from Haritar Nallah in north kashmir’s Sopore. Police official said that multiple complaints were coming from Haritar village of Sopore that some vested interests are indulging in illegal practice of sand extraction in and around the nallah flowing through the area. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/kashmir-todays-paper/8-booked-for-illegal-sand-mining-in-sopore-village-boats-seized (21 April 2022)
Tamil Nadu Illegal mining doesn’t come under our purview: TNPCB to HC In an independent report submitted to the Madras High Court, the Additional Chief Environmental Engineer of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has distanced himself from the illegal beach sand mining case stating that mining is not covered under the TNPCB purview as it involved no effluent discharge. The Madras High Court on November 12 last year added the TNPCB as a party, and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) as a respondent to the case pertaining to illegal beach sand mining that took place in three southern districts until 2016. The court also directed the TNPCB to submit an independent report on the action taken against illegal mining.
In the independent report recently submitted, TNPCB Additional Chief Environmental Engineer R Vijayabaskaran said the board enforces only the Water (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1981. However, the mining of beach sand comes under the category of Mining Major Minerals. TNPCB issues Consent to Establish (CTE) and Consent to Operate (CTO) as per the amended provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006. No sewage, trade effluent or process emission is involved in beach sand mining activities, the report said.
“TNPCB has a role in renewing the CTE and CTO granted for mining projects as approved by the Department of Mining and Geology, and the environment clearance granted by the MoEF and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA). As allegations in the case are related to illegal mining, the case would not come under the purview of the TNPCB,” the report added. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/may/19/illegal-sand-mining-doesnt-come-under-pollution-control-board-purview-says-report-submitted-in-hc-2455406.html (19 May 2022)
Centre gives nod for IREL to mine beach sand for heavy minerals After two decades, the Ministry of Mines (MoM) had provided approval for the IREL (India) to carry out beach sand mining and extract heavy minerals at an area of 1,144.06 hectare in eight villages of Kanniyakumari district. According to a gazette notification dated June 11, 2021, the MoM had reserved 1,144.06 hectares for mining beach sand minerals through IREL(India) following consultation with the Tamil Nadu government.
The teri sand being excavated for a distance of 8.10 km at an area of 157.42 hectare in Thoothukudi district, for the “formation of flood carrier canal”as apart of Thamirabarani river interlinking project which aims to divert the surpluswater from Kannadian channel to drought prone area of Thisayanvilai and Sathankulam. It is anticipated that at least 11,43,748 cubic metre of teri sand out of 16,43,850 cubic metre to be dug from the 8.10 km long stretch through the villages of Arasur 1 , Arasur 2 and Naduvakurichi of Sathankulam taluk, supposed to be disposed off immediately.
As mineralogical analysis had revealed the presence of heavy minerals to the tune of 10.04 % in the canal and 15.10 % at ponds along the flood carrier project, the Thoothukudi collector Dr K Senthil Raj had proposed to Water Resource Department to transport the teri sand to IREL (IREL), functioning in Manavalakurichi, said an official sources. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/may/22/centre-gives-nod-for-irel-to-mine-beach-sand-for-heavy-minerals-in-kanniyakumari-after-21-years-2456532.html (22 May 2022)
2 Dead, 2 Trapped For Over 60 Hours in Quarry One more worker died inside a quarry (or an open-pit mine) in Tamil Nadu, raising the death count to two after six of them were trapped due to falling boulders. Of the six workers, two remain trapped at a depth of 300 feet for over 60 hours while two others have been rescued. An official said the workers got trapped in the Muneer Pallam area of Tirunelveli district on Saturday (May 14) night after boulders rolled down from the top and a giant stone fell into the quarry. https://www.ndtv.com/tamil-nadu-news/2-dead-2-still-trapped-for-over-60-hours-in-tamil-nadu-quarry-2983299 (17 May 2022)
The three fatalities in the stone quarry mishap could have been avoided if workers’ concerns had been addressed, say the two survivors of the incident in Adaimithipankulam in Tirunelveli district. One person is yet to be found. “Just about 20 days ago, a rock fell due to a landslide in the quarry. But when we informed the senior staff, we were simply told to return to work,” says M Murugan (31), a crane operator from Thoothukudi.
Murugan and the other survivor, J Vijayan (25), also a crane operator from Thoothukudi, are now at the Tirunelveli Government Superspeciality Hospital. Their health is stable.“There were not many people at the site at that time. If the mishap had occurred in the morning, many more people would have died,” says Murugan, who has been working in the quarry for four years. Vijayan, who’s been employed there for nearly seven years, points out all six people at the quarry at the time ended up being trapped.
“We loaded six lorries with stones, and when the seventh arrived and we were breaking rocks, a gigantic boulder fell from above,” Vijayan recalls. “We couldn’t see anything for a few minutes as the quarry was filled with dust. So I shouted out, and got a response from Murugan. Later, Selvan also shouted for help. He was trapped in a vehicle under the rock.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/may/20/tirunelveli-quarry-mishap-similar-mishap-occurred-20-days-earlier-says-eye-witness-2455677.html (20 May 2022)
Former MLA K Raviarunan, who is leading the protests against the erring quarries in the district, urged the State government on Sunday to inspect the stone quarries with drones in all the down south districts. He said digging deeper for stones will lead to an earthquake. In a petition to CM M K Stalin, Raviarunan said some parts of the down south districts have been identified as Seismic Damage Risk Zone by the State government. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/may/16/tn-govt-should-inspect-all-quarries-with-drone-take-legal-action-against-violators-former-mla-2454182.html (16 May 2022)
Karnataka Udupi NGT order forbids selling of sand of CRZ NGT has issued an order on May 18 stating that the sand extracted in the CRZ area cannot be sold for commercial purposes. The judicial member of NGT, south bench, based in Chennai said that Karnataka government’s permit process, collection of royalty and allowing the sale of sand from CRZ to the outside parties is equal to sand mining that is prohibited in the notification concerned. The tribunal said that the sand removed from the CRZ area should not be sold and it can be used only in the low lying areas of the river bed, sand nourishment in beaches and strengthening of the river bunds. It also said that only permit holders or their family members have to use traditional methods to remove the sand. It should not be sublet and no external workers should be deployed for this work.
Petitioners Udaya Suvarana of Brahmavar and Dinesh Kunder of Kallianpur had accused in their complaint that permit is given to private parties by the district administration without following the order of the NGT to extract sand from CRZ area of rivers Sauparnika, Varahi, Papanashini, Swarna, Sita and Yadamavu rivulets. The petitioners also mentioned that the sand extraction has caused extensive damage to the environment. The state CRZ authority had identified 23 sand dunes under its limits. Out of this four were in Kundapur taluk, the permit period of which has expired. At present, sand is being extracted in 19 sand dunes at Udupi and Brahmavar. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=960662 (21 May 2022)
As many as 161 temporary permits were issued for clearing of sand mounds from the river banks in Udupi district coastal zone. The no objection letter KSCZMA in connection with four sand mounds issued for 39 temporary permits expired on March 29, 2022. Therefore, the permits were withheld. The no objection letter KSCZMA in connection with 122 temporary sand permits to clear 19 sand mounds in Udupi and Brahmavar taluk limits is valid till August 22, 2022. But as per the orders of the green tribunal, Chennai south zone, dated May 18, 2022 the 7-member committee of the Udupi district has acted and written requesting the director of mining and geology, Bengaluru to withhold 122 temporary permits. Likewise, all the 122 temporary permits have been withheld. The boats and vehicles that were being used to transport sand have also been asked to vacate. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=960770 (21 May 2022)
2 workers missing from stone quarry site after landslides 2 persons working at a white stone quarry site at Gundlupet in Chamarajanagar district, some 200 km far from Bengaluru are said to be missing after landslides happened at three different locations on Friday (March 04). Three other workers who were injured in the incidents were rescued and hospitalized. The incident happened around 12.15pm at Madalli on the outskirts of Gundlupet. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/karnataka-2-workers-missing-from-stone-quarry-site-after-landslides-in-chamarajanagar/articleshow/89998702.cms (04 March 2022)
More than two days after a landslide triggered a tragedy at a quarrying site in Chamarajanagar district, the toll has gone up to 3 with 2 more workers confirmed dead on Sunday (March 06). The tragedy occurred at the white stone quarry site in Madahalli village in Gundlupet taluk, Chamarajanagar district, when workers operating two heavy earth-moving vehicles were buried in sand caused by the landslip.
The department of mines and geology has formed eight teams to inspect all the mining sites and quarries in the border district from Monday (March 07). Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj staged a protest in Mysuru, demanding a high-level investigation into the quarry tragedy. He urged the government to stop all mining activities in the district till the inquiry is completed. He accused officials of being blind towards the mining mafia with “at least 100 sites” being operated illegally. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/chamarajanagar-quarry-tragedy-toll-touches-3/articleshow/90039470.cms (07 March 2022)
Chamarajanagar district in-charge Minister V Somanna on Saturday (March 14) said that quarrying activities in the district have been suspended for a month until the district administration could verify that mining and quarrying in the district follow all safety processes laid out. Officials of DMG said there could be more than 2,000 illegal quarries across Karnataka. “There are around 450 licenses issued for decorative stone quarries and 300 stone quarries. But there are way more quarries, we estimate it to be around 2,000,” said an official on the condition of anonymity. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/quarrying-suspended-in-k-taka-distt-after-landslidesminister-101646506062847.html (16 March 2022)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
SANDRP Blog Uttar Pradesh Govt Builds University in Suraha Tal Wetlands In blatant defiance of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Wetlands (Conservation & Management) Rules, 2017, Suraha Tal Eco-Sensitive Zone Notification 2019, National Mission for Clean Ganga Notification 2016, the Uttar Pradesh State Government has allowed and funded construction of a college in core zone of Suraha Tal wetlands, a notified bird sanctuary in Balia District. https://sandrp.in/2022/05/21/uttar-pradesh-govt-builds-university-in-suraha-tal-wetlands/ (21 May 2022)
The blog has been republished here:- Instead of protecting the notified bird sanctuary, the government has not only allowed conversion of memorial trust into university campus but also funded various kinds of infrastructures inside Suraha Tal’s ESZ. The waterlogging during and after the monsoon months in 2019 and 2021 has severely affected about 60 acre of wetlands area mostly under JNCU occupation. The flooding has also damaged University infrastructure, furniture and disrupted academic sessions for months. https://thedialogue.co.in/article/C7AOFuu7D3wgHAvQOyzs/up-govt-accused-of-destroying-wetlands-for-university-named-on-freedom-fighter-chandrashekhar- (23 May 2022)
Mongabay India has also filed a story on this in English and Hindi. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/05/how-a-bird-sanctuarys-survival-is-being-threatened/ / https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/05/20/how-a-bird-sanctuarys-survival-is-being-threatened/ (20 May 2022)
Uttar Pradesh Forest dept to free Sarsai Nawar Wetland of encroachment The Forest Department is making efforts to take the possession of 133 hectares land of the total 161 hectares of Etawah’s Sarsai Nawar Wetland -a Ramsar site, occupied by the villagers. The name of the lake is derived from the Sarus, a large non-migratory crane—Sarsai from Sarus Crane and Nawar meaning shallow wetland; Wetland for the Sarus Crane. It was officially named Sarsai Nawar Jheel and is also called Sarsai Nawar Wetland. Sarsai Nawar Wetland designated as a Ramsar Site on September 19, 2019, is around 161.3 hectares. It is typical of the Indo-Gangetic plains and receives most of its water from monsoon rains. The wetland comprises of two small lakes that attract the Sarus Cranes. It has a depth of about 2 meters, and three ponds can be found around the island here.
Dr Rajiv Chauhan, secretary general, Society for Conservation of Nature said, “In the 161 hectares of land, 133 hectares land is occupied by the villagers, reducing the area of the wetland, a Ramsar site, to just 28 hectares.” At the same time, the department is also engaged in assessing the land of the forest department in the villages of Nagla Bhage, Ridauli, Tirkhi Triralokpur, Kau Maman. At present, 75 people have been issued land eviction notices, of which 73 notices were issued to people of Nagla Bhage village alone. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/forest-dept-to-free-sarsai-nawar-wetland-of-encroachment/articleshow/91479133.cms (11 May 2022)
Maharashtra Conserve Kharghar, DPS wetlands, too, for air safety: BNHS With the safety of birds and aircrafts in sharp focus, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has added two more wetlands at Kharghar and Nerul to the list of six water bodies to be conserved under the satellite wetland management plan for Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS). Environmentalists say that this is a big development and reinforce their campaign to save the wetlands in the city. BNHS has earlier listed the wetlands at Belpada, Bhendkhal, Panje-Funde in Uran, NRI-TS Chanakya in Nerul and the Bhandup pumping station for conservation to allow migratory and local birds to roost and nest. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/conserve-kharghar-dps-wetlands-too-for-air-safety-bnhs (29 April 2022)
Flamingos paint Navi Mumbai pink in large numbers. https://indianexpress.com/photos/lifestyle-gallery/flamingos-colony-paint-navi-mumbai-pink-7916945/ (21 May 2022)
Tamil Nadu Seawater intrusion turns groundwater saline in Thoothukudi A comprehensive analysis of the groundwater quality of Thoothukudi with reference to various research papers since 1985 emphasises the possible intrusion of seawater as far as 12 km from the shoreline of the Thoothukudi city. The academicians zeroed in on the fact that seawater intrusion has disrupted the water quality due to the observance of vast hydrogeochemical variation in the groundwater.
Assistant professor G Singaraja of Presidency College, who worked in groundwater research in Thoothukudi, said that the excess withdrawal of groundwater for industrial purposes and salt pan activities has led to seawater intrusion. It can be prevented only when the excessive pumping of groundwater is regulated, he added. Public say that many fresh water bodies in and around the Thoothukudi corporation areas such as Kokur, Pulipanchankulam, and many small ponds have been converted into residential colonies and housing plots. Many water canals have been eaten up during road expansion, and are obstructed by elevated roads.
When asked, a senior official from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) on conditions of anonymity, concurred with seawater intrusion by excess pumping and also due to in-situ salinity. Over 14 districts including Thoothukudi witness groundwater salinity. Further, studies are on to find the salinity levels, he added. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/mar/24/seawater-intrusion-turns-groundwater-saline-in-thoothukudi-2433700.html (24 March 2022)
Punjab ‘High flouride’ levels in Malwa groundwater Fresh evidence of the presence of alarming levels of chemicals, especially flouride, in groundwater in the southern Malwa region has emerged in a study. The study revealed fluoride levels in 745 groundwater samples from the Malwa belt. Nearly 49 per cent of the samples exceeded the WHO guideline value of 1.5 mg L-1. High fluoride levels were observed in industrial and agricultural areas. Health risk assessment was computed for different age groups. Children and teenagers were more vulnerable to high fluoride exposure than infants, the study found. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/high-flouride-levels-in-malwa-groundwater-395423 (17 May 2022)
Defying advisory, farmers water fields for paddy Though paddy sowing is more than a month away, some farmers have already started watering their fields unmindful of wastage of water and electricity. When asked why they were watering his fields now, a farmer replied that the purpose was to cool the land. At many places, fields can be seen filled with water even when farm experts say it is not required at all. The state government has divided the state into four zones for staggered transplantation of paddy in from June 18 to 24. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/defying-advisory-farmers-water-fields-for-paddy-395424 (17 May 2022)
Only 17 years of groundwater left in Punjab, says NGT panel. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jalandhar/only-17-years-of-groundwater-left-in-state-says-ngt-panel-396690 (21 May 2022)
Hyderabad Lakes can supply water for 500 years Does the city of Hyderabad require projects like intake well station at Sunkishala in Nalgonda district which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 1500 crore? Water conservationists point out that the existing water bodies are enough to meet the drinking water needs of Hyderabad. The successive governments had deliberately killed the fresh water bodies in Hyderabad and promoted the construction of big projects with huge funds. The Telangana Government was one step forward by giving fast approvals to construct big reservoirs, they rue.
Water conservationists said Hyderabad, which was known as ‘City of Lakes’, has the potential to meet the drinking water supply of the city for at least 500 years if the government adopted sustainable water conservation methods. The state government ignored freshwater lakes and relied on the external water resources by spending thousands of crores on constructing the drinking water projects far away from the state capital.
It began during the regime of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh Government, which took up the project to pump water from Krishna and Godavari to Hyderabad. The present Telangana Government was also continuing the practice of laying huge pipelines and constructing giant reservoirs to bring river water. In the process, lakes in the greater Hyderabad limits have been ignored and allowed to die. Over 3,000 natural fresh water bodies vanished in and around Hyderabad in the last 70 years. About 185 lakes exist and are on the verge of extinction.
The foundation stone laid by Municipal Administration and Urban Development KT Rama Rao for the intake well station at Sunkishala in Nalgonda district last week is the part of extension of Krishna phase 1,2 and 3 drinking water projects. “The other projects to lift Godavari water from Mallanna Sagar and Yallampally cost more than Rs 3,000 crore. In all, the government is spending nearly Rs 10,000 crore to construct drinking water reservoirs in Hyderabad,” rued environmentalists.
Noted environmentalist Prof K Purushotham Reddy said that the civic bodies like GHMC and HMDA were not realising the importance of the lakes. The major challenge is the sustainability of the lakes and protecting the city from climate change and meeting drinking water needs. He said the famous Firangi Nala, which passed through the Old City in Hyderabad, has been made to dry up. The stream originated at Chandanvalli village in Chevella and flows via Shamshabad, Old City merging with Ibrahimpatnam lake. It is called as a contour canal. It used to fill about 25 reservoirs along the route. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/hyderabad/hyderabad-lakes-can-supply-water-for-500-years-743168 (17 May 2022)
Ongoing studies at the IIT Hyderabad show that city has a varied depth at which ground water is found —ranging from 100-200 feet to 1500 feet. Surprisingly, the place lying in the lower area will have ample water, where as upper areas in the same locality will have fewer water levels, the report said.
“During our study, the old residents of the city reported that about 15-20 years back, they never felt the need for borewells, but today almost everyone needs one. Reasons: Skepticism about public wa- ter supply and the high cost of water tankers,” said Dr Haripriya Narasimhan, from the Department of liberal Arts, IIT Hyderabad. While the rise in water levels is seen mostly in postmonsoon season, it is the contour of the city which places many areas at a disadvantage. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/hyderabad-has-groundwater-from-100-to-1500-feet/articleshow/91043658.cms (24 April 2022)
Bengaluru CM scraps BDA’s controversial water body conversion notice The Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) came under fire on social media when it put out a notice looking to categorise a ‘water body’ as residential property as there was a cartographical error in its 2015 plan. Considering the outrage it sparked by the citizens, CM Basavaraj Bommai, who holds the Bengaluru Development portfolio himself, on Friday (May 20) decided to scrap the notice. The notification issued on May 12 said that the director of Casa Grand Garden City Builders Pvt Ltd has requested to change the land use of about four acres of land in Yelahanka taluk from ‘water body’ to residential purpose under the cartographical error provision which is wrongly assigned. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/cm-bommai-scraps-bda-s-controversial-water-body-conversion-notice-after-outrage-101653033217266.html (20 May 2022)
Pollution in Amruthahalli lake affects economic dependency of people Though several issues have been raised over the inflow of sewage into the lakes around Bengaluru, the government bodies pass the buck citing lack of funds. And because of this apathy, the Amruthahalli lake in the Yelahanka zone is dying a slow death due to huge inflow of sewage from nearby areas.
“The dependency of the community on Rachenhalli lake is about Rs 900 per day during fishing season. But Amruthahalli lake has no value due to lack of oxygen concentration or oxygen deficiency,” says a report. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-pollution-in-amruthahalli-lake-affects-economic-dependency-of-people-live-near-the-waterbody-7929400/ (22 May 2022)
Rains affect lake disilting work The rainfall in the last few weeks, which wreaked havoc in many parts of the city, has also put the brakes on the rejuvenation of Bellandur and Varthur lakes among others. Desilting will have to be stopped for at least three months now as lakes are getting filled up again. This, accompanied with slush around the lake, will make it difficult for vehicles used for desilting to reach the lakes, said civic officials. While Bellandur and Varthur lakes are being rejuvenated by the BDA, a few others — such as the upstream Kaggadasapura lake — are being done by the BBMP. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/rain-puts-the-brakes-on-rejuvenation-of-lakes/article65440002.ece (21 May 2022)
Residents wade through filth to fetch drinking water With water levels not receding even after two days of rain and some localities in the city continuing to resemble archipelagos, thousands of residents have been left with no water to drink or bathe as their underground tanks are filled with sewage. When a TOI team visited the marooned Sri Sai Layout in Vaddarapalya (which had recorded 155mm of rainfall on Tuesday night; May 17) on Thursday, several residents, including kids and senior citizens, were seen wading through flooded roads with cans, covering a distance of over 1,000 metres to get drinking water for their families. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/residents-wade-through-filth-to-fetch-drinking-water/articleshow/91676512.cms (20 May 2022)
BBMP to build sewage diversion drains near four RR Nagar lakes The construction of sewage diversion drains near lakes is a new phenomenon in Bengaluru to arrest the flow of sewage into the waterbodies constantly fed with contaminated water. The success rate of these projects is, however, very low as the sewage gets mixed with rainwater whenever the flow is high.
Bengaluru Funds for the project have been taken from the sums earmarked to set up pre-processing plants near scientific landfills. The Urban Development Department (UDD) last week gave its consent for the project by slashing the tender rates quoted by the lowest bidders. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bbmp-to-build-sewage-diversion-drains-near-four-rr-nagar-lakes-1110819.html (19 May 2022)
Coimbatore Residents complain of chemical infested toxic water contamination Kaniyur village residents on the outskirts of Coimbatore say that a private company is dumping toxic chemical waste and effluents in the ground which is contaminating the water unfit for human consumption as well as agricultural purposes. According to a local survey, the contamination has seeped in up to 1,200 feet deep. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/watch-coimbatore-residents-complain-of-chemical-infested-toxic-water-contamination-article-91254411 (02 May 2022)
Plea to stop water pollution in Perundurai Sipcot area Members of the Perundurai Sipcot Affected People Welfare Association have urged the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to take effective steps and prevent discharge of polluted water from the Sipcot Industrial Growth Centre in Perundurai.
A meeting was held recently in which S. Chinnasamy, coordinator of the association, submitted a petition to K. Uthayakumar, District Environmental Engineer, TNPCB, Sipcot, Perundurai. The petition said water was discharged from the Sipcot premises into Odaikattur lake in Varapalayam Panchayat, Kannaikadu Kuttai in Vaipadi Panchayat and into the Punjai Palatholuvu Kulam that is spread across 400 acre. Also, the polluted water affected water bodies in and around the premises.
The petition called for forming a monitoring committee with public representatives and environment activists to inspect and monitor the industries at Sipcot. Also, they should be included in the District Coordination Committee set up to initiate action against polluting industries. An expert team from National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, should be appointed to study the level of groundwater pollution in and around Sipcot premise s. The petition wanted a report on air pollution, water samples tested and other tests undertaken to check the pollution level to be tabled during the monthly meetings. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/plea-to-stop-water-pollution-in-perundurai-sipcot-area/article65422204.ece (17 May 2022)
Kolkata KMC channels groundwater to fill up swimming pools A Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) move to pump out groundwater to fill up two swimming pools in Padmapukur off Sarat Bose Road has kicked up a controversy. The job of filling up these swimming pools started on Saturday (March 27) after a permission for digging a big-diameter tube-well was given on a war-footing. However, eyebrows are being raised in the manner the permission was granted for digging a bore-well in Bhowanipore at a time when the civic brass has declared a ban on drawing groundwater as its level in and around Kolkata is depleting at an alarming rate.
According to KMC water supply department norms, permission for drawing groundwater has been restricted to only Tollygunge-Jadavpur belt where KMC doesn’t supply potable water in some neighbourhoods from the Garden Reach water treatment plant. Sources in the KMC water supply department said permission was sought by a ruling party councillor in Bhowanipore to dig a bore-well to fill the swimming pools in Padmapukur after an old water supply pipeline from Taktaghat in Kidderpore became defunct and stopped supplying water to these pools. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/kmc-channels-groundwater-to-fill-up-padmapukur-swimming-pools/articleshow/90467288.cms (27 March 2022)
Land subsidence lens on excessive groundwater withdrawal in East-West Metro project Environment scientists who had studied the 2019 subsidence in Bowbazar have pointed a finger at “excessive” withdrawal of groundwater for the East-West Metro, claiming the same set of factors were at play a few days back when several buildings in the area developed cracks again. One of the experts associated with the study called for an immediate halt to groundwater extraction in adjoining areas to prevent further cave-ins. The “dynamics” seem to have got repeated, Professor Pradip Sikdar, of the department of environment management in the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata, has told The Plurals.
The study, conducted by Sumanta Banerjee and Prof. Sikdar, had gone into the September 2019 incident when a tunnel boring machine (TBM) hit an unidentified sand bed 14 metres below ground level. “On 2nd September 2019, (a) TBM (tunnel boring machine) named ‘Chundee’ hit an unidentified sand bed at a depth of 14 m bgl (below ground level), resulting in (the) flooding of the Metro tunnel…,” Banerjee and Sikdar said in a paper they co-authored.
The paper, published in the Journal of Geological Society of India in November 2020, said that because of that incident, “buildings at Durga Pithuri Lane, Sankra Para Lane, Gaur De Lane and Hidaram Banerjee Lane in Bowbazar of Central Kolkata developed cracks”. “Land subsidence,” the paper added, occurred “due to (the) decline of piezometric (groundwater level) surface which results in vertical compression of the sub-surface materials”. https://www.telegraphindia.com/my-kolkata/news/land-subsidence-lens-on-excessive-groundwater-withdrawal-in-east-west-metro-project/cid/1866076 (20 May 2022)
Ludhiana MC to create demo zone for canal-based water supply Though the tenders for the 24×7 canal-based water supply funded with the help of the World Bank are yet to be floated, the officials have started preparing for the project. First, they are going to create a demonstration zone where 24×7 water will be supplied in a pattern which would be followed once the project is commissioned at ground level. A private contractor will be hired to provide water meters in each household and then check the water consumption as well as collect bills according to usage. However, this proposal will be put up in the next municipal corporation (MC) general house meeting.
This Rs 3,200 crore, long-awaited project is being funded by the World Bank. It took a long time to finalise the location for establishing the water treatment plant (WTP), because it is the first step for the project. Once WTP is established, the authorities will move ahead with the work of laying the water supply lines from WTP to city points. After trying various villages, the officials finally gave a go ahead to Bilga village. According to the civic officials they are drawing ground water from over 1,000 tube wells for providing water to the city residents whereas this much water is not being recharged back into the ground. Therefore, surface water is required and moreover in some places harmful chemicals were also found mixed in the ground water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/mc-to-create-demo-zone-for-canal-based-water-supply/articleshow/91697916.cms (21 May 2022)
Shillong Take garbage disposal seriously: HC A division bench of the High Court of Meghalaya on Friday (March 20) said the judges sitting in courtrooms cannot identify sites to be used for permanent or temporary dumping of garbage and it is high time the authorities got more proactive instead of training the gun from the court’s shoulders. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/05/21/take-garbage-disposal-seriously-hc/ (21 May 2022)
Punjab Dera Bassi pharma firm fined ₹5 lakh for violating Water Act The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has imposed a fine of ₹5 lakh on a Dera Bassi-based pharmaceutical company for multiple violations of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. Located in Saidpura village, the firm, Nectar Life Sciences, manufactures antibiotic drugs. During an inspection of the firm’s plant in the village on March 29, a PPCB team found untreated effluents being discharged into the fly ash area for stagnation. Besides, JCB machines were working to cover the stagnant effluent accumulated in the fly ash area.
A retaining wall erected by the firm was not adequate to stop the discharge of effluent and fly ash into a nearby drain. The PPCB team found that the firm had developed multiple plantation areas for management of effluent, but these were not made as per Karnal Technology. There was no proper network of pipelines for the utilisation of treated water and flexible pipes were seen lying in a number of places. These pipes were being used to partially pump its treated effluents across the drain for irrigation purposes, the PPCB team observed. From the plantation area, creeks were leading to the drain, indicating that effluent is discharged into the drain off and on. Even stagnation of water was noticed in some of the stretches of the plantation area. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/dera-bassi-pharma-firm-fined-5-lakh-for-violating-water-act-101652997539242.html (20 May 2022)
CWC O RESERVOIR STORAGE BULLETIN OF 19.05.2022 As perreservoir storage bulletin dated 19.05.2022, live storage available in these reservoirs is 56.877 BCM, which is 32% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 53.543 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 44.414 BCM. Thus, the live storage available in 140 reservoirs as per 19.05.2022 Bulletin is 106% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 128% of storage of average of last ten years. http://www.cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/19052022-bulletin.pdf
DTE Water levels critically low in reservoirs, river basins Absence of pre-monsoon rainfall in large parts of the country combined with heat waves have caused most of the country’s major reservoirs and river basins to dry up, data from Central Water Commission (CWC) released May 19, 2022 showed. The important 140 reservoirs in the country monitored by CWC have only 32 per cent live water storage compared to their capacity. There has been a steady weekly drop in storage from 43 per cent in the beginning of April.
Many river basins also have storage below the average of the last 10 years, according to CWC. Sabarmati, which has just 8.54 per cent storage compared to its capacity, is staring at a departure of almost 63 per cent from normal. Mahi river basin has recorded a negative departure of 23.15 per cent, while Mahanadi and neighbouring east-flowing rivers have 13.46 per cent less storage than normal. Storage is less than the full capacity in all 13 river basins for which data was collected by CWC. Ganga basin had just 39.89 per cent storage compared to its capacity, Narmada had 23 per cent, Godavari had 31.64 per cent and Krishna 23.92 per cent. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/water-storage-critically-low-in-india-s-reservoirs-river-basins-due-to-absence-of-pre-monsoon-rain-in-areas-82946 (20 May 2022)
Punjab To save water, govt to seek NGO help The public policy wing of Punjab water resources department has initiated a process to engage non- governmental organisations and various stakeholders to contribute in achieving success in the core issues by collaborating with the government. An official of water resources department said that going by the water table going down for which water guzzling cropping pattern is being held responsible, the department wants to get valuable suggestions from the various organisations working in water conservation.
Punjab has the ground water availability of 21.58 billion cubic metre (BCM) whereas the draft or extraction is 35.78 billion cubic metre, through over 14.5 lakh tube wells which is 165% of the availability. 109 of the 138 blocks (79%) of Punjab are over exploited and as per CGWB. As per statistics 2,110 MLD sewage is generated in Punjab and the 96 STPs in 73 towns have the capacity to treat 1,598 MLD sewage per day. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/to-save-water-pb-to-seek-ngo-help/articleshow/91697984.cms (21 May 2022)
Gujarat Villagers in Mehsana decide to boycott polls In INDIA TODAY special report from Mehsana, watch how people are battling water emergency. From kids to adults, everyone waits for hours to fetch water. And now, after facing the water crisis for years, the people of Mehsana have now decided to boycott the upcoming Gujarat polls. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/video/water-crisis-villagers-in-mehsana-decide-to-boycott-gujarat-polls-1950248-2022-05-16 (16 May 2022)
DTE 88 districts have not received any rains, drought-like situation in 12 states Data from March 1 to May 17 shows that although India has received only seven per cent less rainfall than normal, the distribution of rainfall has not been even. Some 88 districts (13 per cent) in the country have not received any rainfall at all. Another 242 districts (35 per cent) have received ‘large deficit’ rainfall, while 124 districts (18 per cent) have received ‘deficient’ rainfall.
Twenty to 59 per cent less rainfall than normal is called ‘deficit’, while 60 to 99 per cent less rainfall than normal is called ‘large deficit’, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Only 13 per cent of India (91 districts) has received ‘normal’ rainfall. Another 13 per cent (92) of the country has received ‘large access’ rainfall and are experiencing flood conditions. The final eight per cent (57 districts) have received more rainfall. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/a-poor-pre-monsoon-88-indian-districts-have-not-received-any-rains-drought-like-situation-in-12-states-82931 (19 May 2022) 88 जिलों में बिल्कुल भी नहीं हुई मॉनसून पूर्व बारिश, 12 राज्यों में सूखे जैसे हालात https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/natural-disasters/drought/no-pre-monsoon-rain-in-88-districts-drought-like-situation-in-12-states-82908 (18 May 2022)
Karnataka Excessive rains affect agricultural activity in Mysuru Incessant rains in Mysuru and surrounding regions since the last few days has affected agricultural activity with water logging reported in several areas. Though pre-monsoon showers in late April and early May gives an impetus to farm work and agricultural activity commences with a new zest for the kharif season, there is a threat of crop damage due to excessive rains.
Mysuru has received 192 mm of rainfall during May against a normal of 69 mm and the cumulative pre-monsoon rains between March 1 and May 18 is 296 mm against a normal of 150 mm, according to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC). During the last 24 hours ending 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday (May 18), the district received 38.6 mm of rainfall against a normal of 3.6 mm.
The scenario is similar in the neighbouring district of Chamarajanagar and Mandya as well. While Chamarajanagar district has received 181 mm of rainfall during May against a normal of 68 mm, the cumulative pre-monsoon rainfall since March as on date is 282 mm against a normal of 147 mm. Mandya received 211 mm of rainfall during May against a normal of 57 mm and 298 mm of cumulative rainfall since March against a normal of 116 mm. Rainfall across the taluks was also higher than average and there were reports of crop damage in parts of Mandya recently. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/excessive-rains-affect-agricultural-activity-in-mysuru/article65425932.ece (18 May 2022)
Pre-monsoon showers, which is lashing across the State since a couple of days, has caused miseries. Usually, Kodagu received more rainfall but this time, Mysuru has recorded more rainfall (236.1 mm). Yesterday night (May 17), Gandanahalli in K.R. Nagar has recorded 231 mm rainfall while Thattekere in Hunsur has recorded 141 mm rainfall. The rainfall recording is taken from May 17 at 8.30 am to May 18 at 8.30 am. Following heavy rains, crops such as tomato and chilli are submerged in rainwater causing huge losses to farmers. Kodagu has recorded 49.12 mm rainfall last night. https://starofmysore.com/ksndmc-predicts-early-monsoon-mysuru-receives-more-pre-monsoon-showers-than-kodagu-district/ (18 May 2022)
Farmers and food processing cottage industries across Karnataka have taken a big hit due to the pre-monsoon rain that has been battering the state for several days now. The revenue department has estimated the extent of crop loss at 7,010 hectares of agriculture land while horticulture crops on 5,736 hectares have also been destroyed, according to government sources. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/rains-leave-farmers-food-processing-industries-reeling-1111615.html (23 May 2022)
Assam Water level of Barak at Annapurna Ghat static As per report received from Assam Water Resource Department, river Barak at Annapurna Ghat, Silchar at midnight on Monday (May 16) was flowing much above the danger level and was recorded at 20.60 metre. The danger level at this point is 19.83 metre. The water level was steady at this hour. This is the highest level of water (20.60 mt) at Annapurna Ghat recorded this year. https://way2barak.com/water-level-of-barak-at-annapurna-ghat-static-at-20-60-mt-till-midnight-since-last-6-hours/ (16 May 2022)
Incessant rainfall and landslides over the past few days have thrown life out of gear in several parts of the state. https://www.hindustantimes.com/photos/news/floods-landslides-wreak-havoc-in-assam-over-6-lakh-affected-in-photos-101652960800795.html (19 May 2022)
“The worst affected district is Dima Hasao where rail and road connectivity has been affected due to erosion due to floods and landslides. Efforts are underway to restore connectivity soon and ensure supply of food and other essentials,” chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday (May 18). Due to disruption in connectivity, supply of essentials has been affected to Barak Valley in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. Both Tripura and Mizoram have already started rationing petroleum products. Sarma said that if rains don’t cause further damage, it will take another 45 days to completely resume rail connectivity between Silchar and Guwahati. He added that road connectivity would resume completely within the next few days. According to a bulletin released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), one more person drowned in the state due to floods, taking the total number of deaths to 9 since Friday. It added that 48,304 persons displaced due to floods are taking shelter in 135 relief camps. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/over-660-000-affected-by-floods-in-27-districts-of-assam-govt-101652894803599.html (18 May 2022)
As Assam battles flood fury, over 500 families from two villages of the Jamunamukh district, are living on the railway tracks, the only high ground that did not submerge in the floodwaters. People from Changjurai and Patia Pathar village have been left in the lurch after they lost almost everything they had in the floods. The villagers, who have taken refuge under temporary shreds made of tarpaulin sheets, claim they have not received much help from the state government and district administration over the last five days.
The flood situation in Assam remains grave, with over 8 lakh people across 2,585 villages in 29 districts hit by the natural disaster. Fourteen people have died in the floods and landslides triggered by pre-monsoon rains. As many as 86,772 people have taken shelter in 343 relief camps, while another 411 relief distribution centres are also operational. The Army, paramilitary forces, and national and state disaster relief forces have evacuated 21,884 people from various flood-hit areas using boats and helicopters. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/assam-floods-over-500-families-living-on-railway-tracks-in-assam-to-survive-floods-2995711 (21 May 2022)
River Kopili at Kampur Level Forecast site continues to flow in Extreme Flood Situation for past 5 days. The flood level has breached previous HFL 61.79 m (attained on 20.07.2004) at 16:00 hours on May 15, 2022 setting new HFL 62.17 m at 20:00 hours on May 18, 2022 which is 0.38 m higher than previous HFL. The flood level 62.09 m at 10:00 hours on May 20, 2022 is still higher than previous HFL.
Infrastructuring Floods in the Brahmaputra River Basin Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman:- The effects of infrastructural projects in Assam that lead to floods in the Brahmaputra river are discussed. These projects play a prominent role in “engineering” floods, thereby creating hazardscapes and precarious conditions for the riverine communities. A people-centric approach involving these communities in the decision-making process is needed to curb the recurrent floods and their aftermath. https://www.epw.in/journal/2020/39/commentary/infrastructuring-floods-brahmaputra-river-basin.html (29 Sept. 2020)
Manipur Major rivers flow above danger level The flash flood situation in Manipur continues to be alarming as the water level in almost all the major rivers are flowing above the danger mark on Thursday (May 19) after incessant rain for the past eight days. Many low-lying areas in the valley areas continue to be submerged while there are reports of landslides in hill districts.
In the past one week, Manipur has witnessed flash floods and landslides, many localities in the state capital have been inundated due to incessant rainfall in the northeastern border state. On Sunday (May 15), the sudden rise of water level of Jiri River washed away four houses besides submerging many houses in Jiribam district, which borders Assam’s Silchar district.
This year monsoon has advanced in Manipur. The rainfall from January this year is in excess of normal rain till May 18 except March, an official of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Manipur Centre said on Thursday (May 19). The northeastern state received 30.4mm of rainfall in January against the normal rainfall of 12.8, according to the official rainfall data of ICAR. Similarly, it received 47.9mm of rainfall in February against the normal rainfall of 38.8. April received 141mm against the normal rainfall of 122.9mm. But, only 57mm rainfall against the normal rainfall of 76mm was recorded in March while a total of 318.1mm of rainfall against normal rainfall of 173.6mm in May was recorded till May 18. “It has exceeded double the normal May rainfall,” the official who has been analysing the weather data of ICAR said.
In 2017, Manipur’s capital Imphal received the highest rainfall since 1956, recording 2,439.4mm till December 13 or 68.71% above the state’s annual precipitation of 1446.3mm, the ICAR Imphal centre said. In that particular year, the highest rainfall was recorded on March 31 (103.4mm) and highest monthly record in December with 116.3mm of rain till December 13. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/manipur-flash-floods-major-rivers-flow-above-danger-level-101652969387086.html (19 May 2022)
Incessant rain has triggered a landslide in Manipur’s Tamenglong district which borders Assam and cut off the road connectivity between Tamenglong and Tamei towns, residents of Tamenglong said on Friday (May 20). The landslide that occurred between Kabonram and Machenglong, 35 km away from Tamenglong district headquarters, took away a portion of the road measuring around 30 feet on Thursday (May 19), people familiar with the matter said. Tamenglong district received 100mm rainfall, highest among all the districts of the state, on May 12.
Last week, the Imphal-Jiribam sector of National Highway 37, the second life line of the state, was cut off after a bailey bridge over Irang River collapsed while the Manipur-Mizoram route had also been cut off after the newly built diversion road was washed away by rain on May 11. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/landslide-cuts-off-tamenglong-tamei-route-in-manipur-101653066892824.html (20 May 2022)
Torrential rains have led to massive floods in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Manipur while preparations are underway in Nagaland and Mizoram to prepare for the looming threat on essential supplies as transport facilities have been thrown out of gear due to landslides. https://www.gaonconnection.com/read/assam-floods-northeast-landslides-arunachal-pradesh-meghalaya-nagaland-meghalaya-deaths-50796 (18 May 2022)
Imphal-Jiribam sector of National Highway 37, which is considered as Manipur’s second supply route, has been cut off after a Bailey bridge over Irang River collapsed as torrential rain washed away its foundation. The normal movement of goods laden trucks, passenger vehicles and other private vehicles along the route has been suspended, people familiar with the development said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/manipurs-second-supply-line-cut-off-after-rains-wash-away-bridge-foundation-101652373280124.html (12 May 2022)
Kerala Dams swollen, rain continues Water level in major dams in Kerala has gone up considerably as heavy rain continues to lash many parts of the state for the past one week. Adding to the woes, monsoon is expected to reach the state by next week. Shutters of two dams, Peringalkoothu (Thrissur) and Aruvikkara (Thiruvananthapuram), were opened on Thursday (May 19) to ease pressure.
Irrigation officials said usually storing capacity of major dams will be between 20 and 30 per cent in pre-monsoon days but now it has gone up to more than 60 per cent. Once the monsoon starts, it is expected on May 27 (five days before its usual date on June 1), there will be a heavy flow of water to dams. Another major concern is carrying capacity of major rivers have shrunk due to silting and deposit of sludge. Many people in Pathanamthitta district complained that in Pambha river many uprooted trees during the 2018 flood were still lying idle affecting the free flow of water.
In Kerala, most of the major dams are under the irrigation department and state electricity board. But both put up a brave face saying there is no need of any concern now. This year, the state received 94% excess rainfall during the pre-monsoon period from March 1 to May 18 – the average fall is 235 mm but it crossed 460 mm this time. Most of the dams are getting a steady flow of water in past few days – inflow to Idukki dam, the largest in the state, was 0.5 MCM on May 10, but it reached 5.50 MCM on Wednesday (May 18). https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/dams-swollen-rain-continues-in-kerala-101652987807978.html (20 May 2022)
Water level in the Idukki reservoir reached 2,340.36 ft on Friday (May 20). There was an increased inflow in the Periyar and other tributaries for over three days. The water level on the same day last year was 2,336.72 ft. The full reservoir level is 2,403 ft. The power generation at the Moolamattom power station on Thursday was 8.315 mu. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/water-level-on-rise-in-idukki-dam/article65440020.ece (20 May 2022)
Karnataka Dist admins alert residents as dams fill up Mysuru: Heavy rain has pushed up the water inflow into major and minor reservoirs in the Cauvery basin, prompting district administrations to warn people to move to safer areas. The water level in the minor dams of Suvarnavathi, Chakihole and Yagachi have reached near maximum capacity. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/dist-admins-alert-residents-as-dams-fill-up/articleshow/91674517.cms (20 May 2022)
The crest gates of Yagachi reservoir at Belur in Hassan district of Karnataka were opened on May 19 night as the water level was reaching the maximum capacity following heavy rains in the catchment area. Parts of Belur, Mudigere and Chikkamagaluru taluks have been receiving heavy rains, increasing the inflow to the reservoir.
The water level reached 3164.06 ft against the maximum of 3164.90 ft around 10 p.m. on May 19. Officials released 500 cusecs of water from the reservoir. It is said that for the first time the reservoir is full in the month of May. The reservoir has the capacity to hold 3.603 TMC of water and the live capacity is 3.055 TMC. The inflow was 370 cusecs. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/water-released-from-yagachi-reservoir-following-heavy-rains/article65438462.ece (20 May 2022)
Above normal rainfall in April and May has resulted in increased inflows to the Harangi Dam, Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam and the Kabini Dam along the Cauvery Basin, a phenomenon that is normally observed in August-September every year. https://starofmysore.com/cauvery-basin-dams-getting-filled-up-before-monsoon/ (21 May 2022)
Bengaluru: At least two deaths were reported in Bengaluru as overnight heavy rainfall flooded streets and houses in several parts of the city on Wednesday (May 18), raising question on the civic body’s preparedness ahead of the monsoon and amid forecast of more downpour.
“For two days, there have been continuous rain at several places (in the city) and there have been over 100 mm rainfall, inundating several low-lying areas. I have already spoken to the municipal commissioner (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) and engineers and have put the taskforce, home guards and SDRF to work to de-clog and pump the water out,” Bommai told reporters.
“As rain is expected to continue for the next two-three days, directions have been given to take precautionary measures, especially in low-lying areas….preparations were made for the rainy season and drains cleaned, but there are some geographical reasons too: Bengaluru cannot hold even 90 mm rains; adding to that gas line, water and cable work is on,” said Bommai.
Most of the inconvenience is caused due to simultaneous works being carried out on underground drains, gas pipelines and telecom cables in the city, the CM said. “Encroachments on Rajakaluves (major storm water drains) have been identified and action is being taken to clear them. Most of the inconvenience is being caused due to simultaneous works of underground drains, gas pipelines, telecom cables, water supply going on in the city. Roads have been dug up for these works. Therefore, a task force is being constituted. Road works would be taken up after completion of these ongoing works,” he added.
Horamavu, in the eastern side of the city received 155 mm of rains while at least another 10 localities received over 100 mm of rains, according to data from IMD. Overall, the city received 114.6 mm of rain while the international airport area received 65.6 mm. Localities around the HAL airport area received 86.4 mm rainfall, according to IMD data. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/heavy-rain-floods-bengaluru-two-dead-101652901346962.html (19 May 2022)
Nearly 3-4 feet of water in localities such as Nayandahalli, Wilson Garden, Silk Board, Cambridge layout, among other places, left people and vehicles wading to safety. “There are many low-lying areas in Bengaluru. The geographical terrain is such that after one point, when it rains more, everything will come downward. They have built homes next to Raja Kaluve (storm water drains) and there is a situation in which water has nowhere else to go,” chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said after visiting Hosakere Halli.
Incidentally, his predecessor BS Yediyurappa visited this locality around the same time last year when it was flooded. He had then announced that he would get it fixed, and spent several crores to create drainage infrastructure which has had no impact on the woes. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/torrential-rainfall-triggers-massive-floods-in-bengaluru-imd-says-more-to-come-101652847412377.html (18 May 2022)
Heavy rain in Bengaluru has prompted residents to take to social media to complain about potholes and flooding due to poor infrastructure and failing drainage systems. The rains have led to widespread damage – uprooting of trees and electric poles leading to power outages, waterlogging and traffic jams – and the death of at least two people. https://www.hindustantimes.com/photos/heavy-downpour-in-bengaluru-floods-roads-in-pics-101652849927587.html (18 May 2022)
CM Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday (May 19) blamed rains and the rapid growth of Bengaluru for the flooding seen in the city, absolving his government and the corporation of their roles in allowing this unregulated expansion that brings India’s IT capital on its knees every time it rains.
“The average 15-day rainfall for the month of May was witnessed in just 4-5 hours in the city. It is one of the heaviest rains that the city has witnessed in the month of May in the last 40-50 years. Naturally all the low-lying areas are flooded. This is happening over the last three to four decades in Bengaluru whenever it rains heavily. Though the relief works are ongoing, the rapid growth of the city is making it a tough task to find a comprehensive solution,” Bommai said.
The statements by Bommai come even as the 12 million residents of Bengaluru continue to express outrage on social media and other platforms against the government and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP, the city’s civic body) for its continued apathy, corruption and lack of concern for one of the biggest revenue earners for the state and country. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bommaiblames-record-rain-rapid-growth-for-flooding-in-bengaluru-101652987088206.html (20 May 2022)
Mangaluru Mud, waste left on road sides flow into drains again with the rainwater Due to the work for namesake by the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC), taxpayers’ money is going down the drain. Negligence of people’s representatives and officials is the reason for this failure. With monsoon round the corner, MCC has taken up the work of clearing the drains. The work is done in a hurry and the mud and other garbage removed from the drains are kept in heaps by the side of the drains and no one takes care to clear it for weeks together. When it rains, the same garbage and mud flows back into the drain and the work goes a waste. https://daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=960711 (21 May 2022)
Hyderabad Check dam across Balkapur Nala to go After the inspection, GHMC Commissioner D S Lokesh Kumar addressed a letter to the General Officer Commanding, Telangana and Andhra Sub Area (TASA), Secunderabad, seeking formal permission for the removal of the check dam which is in the military area and to construct Interception and Diversion (I&D) structure and 1,000 mm dia RCC NP3 sewerage pipeline from Balkapur nala check dam in Military premises to Military outlet at Syed Nagar Ek Minar Masjid (Chainage : 2760 metres to 4,470 mm). The works would be taken up with GHMC funds.
This arrangement will also help in tackling the sewerage flowing from Siddiqui Nagar apart from connecting the sewerage of the local military area. The total length of the Balkapur nala is about 8.250 km with a total discharge of 67.14 cubic metre per second (cumecs). The Balkapur nala passes through the Military area starting point Ch 2760 metres to ending point Ch 4,470 metres. The Balkapur nala stretch inside the military premises is about 1.710 km.
The Balkapur nala starts at Malkam Cheruvu and passes through Kotha Cheruvu at Virat Nagar, Hakeempet, Military Area (Mehdipatnam Garrison), Ahmed Nagar, Pension office and Chintal Basti and joins Hussainsagar lake. Due to rains in the past three years, Tolichowki, Nadeem Nagar, Nizam Colony and a few other colonies bore the brunt of rains as the colonies get inundated and residents faced untold hardships. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2022/may/14/check-dam-across-hyderabads-balkapur-nala-to-go-relief-for-10000-families-2453361.html (14 May 2022)
Himachal Pradesh Lahaul & Spiti farmers facing water shortage Most of the water resources in Lahaul and Spiti region have dried up. Drought has affected exotic vegetables. These main cash crops of the district need adequate water supply for irrigation purpose to ensure a better yield. In many villages, farmers are spending money to make arrangement of water for irrigation. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/lahaul-spiti-farmers-facing-water-shortage-396622 (21 May 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir At least 10 trapped after under-construction tunnel collapses A part of an under-construction tunnel at Khoni Nallah on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district collapsed on Thursday (May 19) night during an audit, injuring four people and trapping several others, officials said. The collapsed portion is about 30 to 40 metres inside the tunnel.
A joint rescue operation was launched immediately by police and the Army after a small portion of the front side of the tunnel collapsed. The intermittent shooting stones, however, have been hampering the rescue operation. Three workers have been rescued and at least 10 persons are believed to be still trapped under the debris, according to officials. Officials said that several machines and vehicles parked on the front side of the tunnel suffered damage. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/few-feared-trapped-in-j-k-s-ramban-as-under-construction-tunnel-collapses-101653005353560.html (20 May 2022)
At least 10 labourers working inside T3 tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway at Makerkote in Ramsu near Khooni Nallah were trapped inside it after a portion of it caved in around 10.15 pm on Thursday (May 19). This tunnel is being constructed to by-pass the landslide prone area in Panthial on National Highway 44.
According to Ramban Deputy Commissioner Mussarat Islam, the labourers worked with the Sarla Company engaged in the construction of the tunnel. While three of them have been rescued, at least 10 others are still trapped under the debris. While five of them are from West Bengal, two are from Nepal, one from Assam, and the remaining two were locals. Those rescued were admitted to the District Hospital in Ramban Ameen. One of them was later referred to GMC Jammu. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/jammu/jammu-and-kashmir-tunnel-collapse-ramban-live-updates-7926942/ (20 May 2022)
One of the reasons for people getting caught under the debris and chances of less survival is the construction of the tunnel. The Sarla Company just started the construction a few days ago and only four metres of the edit tunnel was constructed till date. So after the landslide and debris fell from the mountain, the chances of survival of the stuck workers is less as they don’t have free space in the tunnel to save themselves. https://www.jagrantv.com/en-show/ramban-tunnel-collapsed-people-trapped-after-part-of-tunnel-collapsed-on-ramban-national-highway-rescue-operation-in-process-rc1031408 (21 May 2022)
शुक्रवार (May 20) शाम को टनल के बाहर फिर से लैंडस्लाइड हो गया। डिप्टी कमिश्नर मसर्रतुल इस्लाम के मुताबिक, फिर से हुए लैंडस्लाइड और तेज आंधी की वजह से बचाव कार्य में बाधा आई है। भूस्खलन के कारण गिरी पहाड़ी के मलबे में दो मशीनें दब गई हैं। इससे बचाव कार्य और बाधित हुआ है। https://www.bhaskar.com/national/news/jammu-kashmir-updates-tunnel-under-construction-collapses-in-jammu-and-kashmirs-ramban-129828842.html (20 May 2022)
All 10 bodies found, families informed, say officials. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ramban-tunnel-collapse-rescue-ops-on-for-day-2-one-more-body-recovered-101653119537332.html ; https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/all-10-bodies-recovered-from-site-of-ramban-tunnel-cavein-101653175781220.html (21/22 May 2022)
Some pics of rescue operations. https://www.hindustantimes.com/photos/news/ramban-tunnel-collapse-photos-rescue-ops-underway-9-bodies-recovered-so-far-101653136454189-1.html (21 May 2022)
On Saturday (May 21), the deputy commissioner of Ramban Mussarat Islam quoted the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to say that a landslide had hit the mouth of the adit tunnel to T4. “As clarified by NHAI, it is informed that there is no tunnel collapse near Khooni Nallah. A slide occurred on the mouth of the adit tunnel to T4 on Thursday night under which a labourer component of concessionaire company was working. Operation continues,” Islam tweeted.
Senior CPI (M) leader and former MLA M Y Tarigami demanded a judicial probe into the incident and Rs 40 lakh compensation for the kin of the deceased. “This is not an ordinary incident. There seems to be criminal negligence. A judicial inquiry should be ordered to probe the horrific incident so that the guilty are identified and brought to justice,” he said in a statement. Tarigami, who is the Jammu and Kashmir unit president of CITU, said, “Reportedly NHAI had handed over the execution of the work of this patch to SIGAL company which in turn handed it over to a little-known sublet SARLA, which is reportedly a software company and not technical.” https://www.greaterkashmir.com/chenab-valley/ramban-tunnel-collapse-9-more-bodies-recovered-as-rescue-operation-ends-death-toll-reaches-10 (22 May 2022)
All safety standard measures in place for under construction tunnels: NHIDCL. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/front-page-2/all-safety-standard-measures-in-place-for-under-construction-tunnels-nhidcl (21 May 2022)
The Centre has constituted a committee of 3 independent experts to investigate the reasons for recent collapse of a part of under-construction tunnel in Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar highway and suggest remedial measures. According to the official statement, the stretch between Digdole and Khooni Nallah of Ramban Banihal section is prone to frequent landslide and shooting stones due to fragile geology. Considering the strategic importance of maintaining all- weather connectivity to Srinagar and after assessing the challenges in ensuring stability of hill slopes on existing alignment, tunnels, viaducts are proposed under 3 packages in Ramban-Banihal section, it said.
It is yet to be determined whether the incident occurred due to work being executed or due to natural reasons, the statement added. The twin tube tunnel work in 4-laning from Digdole to Panthyal on Jammu-Srinagar highway was awarded to Ceigall India Limited in JV with Patel Engineering Limited. The construction work started on February 1, 2022. https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/ramban-tunnel-collapse-centre-forms-three-member-panel-for-probe-latest-ramban-news-updates-khooni-nallah-jammu-and-kashmir-2022-05-22-778444 (22 May 2022)
A day after the incident, Police on Saturday (May 21) registered an FIR in this connection. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/front-page/ramban-tunnel-collapse-fir-registered-against-construction-company-for-negligence (22 May 2022)
Assam Dave Petley on Dima Hasao Dist-Assam landslide during May 15-16, 2022.
SANDRP comment posted on the blog: Thanks for highlighting this. More than Assam, the rainfall in the upstream Meghalaya flowing into Assam is a factor. According to IMD daily district wise rainfall figures for 24 hrs ending at 0800 am (IST) on May 16, the rainfall in some of the Meghalaya districts were: Jaintia Hills: 268 mm; East Khasi Hills: 242 mm; W Khasi Hills: 194.3 mm; E Garo Hills: 170 mm. The state of Meghalaya had 164.6 mm rainfall in those 24 hours, 1344% above normal rainfall of 11 mm. Lot of that water from Meghalaya (e.g. Jaintia Hills dist) flows into Kopili River in downstream Dima Haso Dist of Assam. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2022/05/16/assam-1/ (16 May 2022)
New Haflong railway station in Assam’s Dima Hasao district after more heavy rainfall and mudslides. The Hindu. https://twitter.com/the_hindu/status/1526107425664905219?s=20&t=hDEhSkjaGT9cK2inpLPpOA (16 May 2022)
Several train cancelled after incessant rains, landslide Massive landslides and waterlogging resulted in huge damages to the railway track, bridges, and road communications in hilly terrain, according to Indian Railways. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/indian-railways-cancels-these-trains-after-incessant-rain-landslides-in-assam-full-list-11652666413156.html (16 May 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh 5 dead in Itanagar landslides At least five persons have died and several others were injured after two heavy landslides hit Itanagar on Sunday (May 15) night and Monday (May 16) morning. Three persons were killed when landslide flattened dwelling houses at Yagumso colony near Punjabi Dhaba in ‘D’ Sector Itanagar, around 9.30 pm on Sunday (May 15). https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/05/17/five-dead-in-itanagar-landslides/ (17 May 2022)
2 killed after landslide flattens house Two people died when their house was hit by a massive landslide triggered by incessant downpour near Punjabi Dhaba here, police said on Monday (May 16). Most parts of the northeast have been receiving heavy rainfall over the last few days, with landslides being reported from several districts, officials said. https://www.eastmojo.com/arunachal-pradesh/2022/05/16/2-killed-after-landslide-flattens-house-in-arunachal/ (16 May 2022)
Early monsoon rains have triggered landslides in various parts of Arunachal Pradesh, snapping surface communication and disrupting normal life, officials said on Tuesday. Moderate to heavy rainfall has been recorded at several places in the northeastern state in the last five days, and the weather office has forecast more downpour for the next 48 hours, they said. https://www.eastmojo.com/arunachal-pradesh/2022/04/05/arunachal-torrential-rain-triggers-landslides-throws-life-out-of-gear/ (05 April 2022)
Meghalaya The death toll in rains in Meghalaya rose to three on Saturday (May 14) as one more person drowned in a swollen river in East Khasi Hills district, an official said. “Two persons who went fishing from Mawber village yesterday went missing. One of them was found dead after getting washed ashore downstream. Another one is missing,” a senior police officer told PTI. https://www.eastmojo.com/meghalaya/2022/05/15/meghalaya-rain-death-toll-rises-to-3/ (15 May 2022)
Two people from Mawkynrew have reportedly died following incessant rain that has been lashing many parts of Meghalaya for the past week. The victims, reportedly washed away in a landslide, have been identified as a female from Mawkria and one male from Mawlat. https://www.eastmojo.com/meghalaya/2022/04/04/meghalaya-two-dead-as-incessant-rains-cause-landslides-damage/ (04 April 2022)
Supreme Court Direct Appeals From NGT To SC Do Not Undermine HCs The Supreme Court on Wednesday (May 18) upheld the constitutionality of Section 3 of the NGT Act 2010, which provides for the establishment of the NGT by the Central Government The court also held that the NGT under Section 14 & 22 of the NGT Act does not oust the High Court’s jurisdiction under Article 226 & 227 as the same is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. The bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy also held that the remedy of direct appeal to the Supreme Court under Section 22 of the NGT Act is intra vires the Constitution of India. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/national-green-tribunal-jurisdiction-high-courts-direct-appeals-from-ngt-sc-do-not-undermine-high-courts-supreme-court-199405 (18 May 2022)
Dismissing the plea of the bar body, which also sought a branch of NGT in all 28 States and 8 union territories, Justice Roy, writing the verdict, said there were 2237 pending cases in five NGT branches in the country. “With the low caseload, if the NGT Benches are set up in all 28 States and 8 union territories as is suggested by the petitioners, the judges and other members in these forums might be left twiddling their thumbs. Accordingly, no basis is seen to allow one NGT bench in every State,” the 37-page verdict said. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/national-green-tribunal-supreme-court-on-ngt-supreme-court-upholds-validity-of-ngt-rules-out-branches-in-all-states-2989266 (19 May 2022)
Study Wrong trees in wrong places wastes tree plantation budget Nature-based solutions, such as large-scale forest restoration, to mitigate climate change, can fail if the wrong trees are planted in the wrong places, leading to financial losses.
In Himachal Pradesh, nearly 40% of afforestation spending was going to places that already had moderate or high tree density, whereas only 14.1% of spending was targeted at areas with low tree-density likely to be degraded forests having high reforestation potential.
With India’s climate mitigation strategy pivoted on the land and forest sector, critics have suggested a forest rights-centric strategy for a just climate change action plan that doesn’t burden forest-based communities. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/05/wrong-trees-in-wrong-places-wastes-tree-plantation-budget-finds-study/ (06 May 2022)
Locals Blame Chirpine Trees For Forest Fires In Uttarakhand, Experts Disagree https://www.indiaspend.com/earthcheck/locals-blame-chirpine-trees-for-forest-fires-in-uttarakhand-experts-disagree-818176 (18 May 2022)
Report ‘Holes’ in Biodiversity Bill. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/explained-holes-in-biodiversity-bill/article65442328.ece (22 May 2022)
India-Nepal MoUs on hydro project Among the key bilateral agreements signed between India and Nepal when Indian PM visited Lumbini in Nepal on May 16, 2022 included, the government note said:
– Agreement between Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for Development and implementation of Arun 4 Project. The estimated cost of the project situated in Sankhuwasabha District Province-1 of Nepal, is ₹4,900 crore. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-nepal-sign-mous-on-hydro-project-buddhist-studies-chair-full-details-101652701476953.html (16 May 2022)
The total installed capacity of the project, which was earlier 490.2 Mw, now will be 695 Mw. Nepal will receive 21.9 percent, or 152 megawatts, of electricity free, as per the agreement. The estimated cost of the project is Rs79.12 billion. https://kathmandupost.com/national/2022/05/16/nepal-india-sign-six-pacts-including-development-of-arun-iv-hydel-project (16 May 2022)
Nepal has reserved the right to purchase electricity generated from the project if it can afford to consume it. Only then, power generated from the project will be sold elsewhere to India or Bangladesh. https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/nepal-india-sign-mou-to-construct-arun-4-hydropower-project (16 May 2022)
Ukraine opens dam to flood residential area to stop Russian forces Ukrainian forces opened a dam early in the war in Demydiv, causing the Irpin River to flood the village and thousands of acres around. The move has since been credited with stopping Russian soldiers and tanks from breaking through Ukraine’s lines. More than a third of some fields have been flooded, said Oleksandr Rybalko, 39. Some two months later, people in the village were still dealing with the aftermath of the flooding, using inflatable boats to move around and planting whatever dry swaths of lands were left with flowers and vegetables. https://www.livemint.com/news/world/in-pics-to-stop-russian-forces-ukraine-opens-dam-to-flood-residential-area-11652697809606.html (16 May 2022)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
2021 Dam Removal Progress report At least 239 barriers – a record figure – were removed from rivers across 17 countries of Europe, the 2021 Dam Removal Progress report has revealed. This is a 137 per cent increase from the previous year. A total of 4,984 dams have been removed so far, according to data from nations across Europe —France, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Scotland, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Estonia, Germany, and England and Wales,
The report serves as a means for European countries to evaluate EU policies and track the progress and impact of the removal of dams and subsequent river restoration. The 2021 report shows an increase in both the total number of removals and the number of European countries reporting barrier removals.
The EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy lists restoring 25,000 km of rivers across the bloc to a “free-flowing state” as one of the key steps to improve degraded ecosystems. The Biodiversity Strategy is a core part of the European Green Deal.
Spain led the way in barrier removal in 2021, removing 108 barriers over its rivers, while Portugal, Montenegro, and Slovakia reported removing riverine barriers for the first time. There was a 55 per cent jump in the number of countries which reported their barrier removal statistics in 2021 as compared to the previous year.
In Finland, the first of three dams under the Hiitolanjoki restoration project was demolished in 2021, and the rest of the dams are expected to be removed in the coming years. The main objective of the project is to enable upstream migration of the landlocked salmon population at Lake Ladoga. The Hiitolanjoki project is the largest river restoration project in Finland.
Data presented in the 2021 Dam Removal Progress report has been collected from three sources: Direct written requests to public authorities in various European countries; Relative requests to the European DRE network (more than 3,200 people from 41 countries); Online survey on the DRE website active from April-December 2021.
The Dam Removal Progress report has been prepared by Dam Removal Europe (DRE), an organisation that aims to restore rivers in the continent that have high cultural or natural importance. It is a coalition of seven organisations – World Wildlife Fund, The Rivers Trust, The Nature Conservancy, the European Rivers Network, Rewilding Europe, Wetlands International, and the World Fish Migration Foundation. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/explained-the-2021-dam-removal-progress-report-and-why-removing-obsolete-river-barriers-is-important/article65420440.ece (17 May 2022)
USA Task Force responds to forensic report of Midland, Gladwin dam failures The Four Lakes Task Force has issued a statement to the community and will thoroughly respond to the state and federal departments of oversight. “While we have not completed a comprehensive review of the Independent Forensic Team’s (IFT) Final Report (released in early May 2022) in connection with the failures of Edenville and Sanford dams, we wanted to provide the community with a summary of our initial review of the report,” said Stacey Trapani in an emailed statement on May 12. “The experts created a report with over 500 pages of analysis and data. This document is a summary and we will share a more robust analysis later.” Task force will develop an analysis for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a couple of weeks. https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/Task-Force-responds-to-forensic-report-of-17170808.php (19 May 2022)
Hydropower’s future is clouded by droughts, floods and climate change The United States has over 2,100 operational hydroelectric dams, with locations in nearly every state. They play essential roles in their regional power grids. But most were built in the past century under a different climate than they face today.
– Here are three key things to understand about hydropower projects in USA.
– Hydropower contributes 6% to 7% of all power generation in the U.S., but it is a crucial resource for managing the U.S. electric grids. Because it can quickly be turned on and off, hydroelectric power can help control minute-to-minute supply and demand changes. It can also help power grids quickly bounce back when blackouts occur. In addition, it can also serve as a giant battery for the grid. The U.S. has over 40 pumped hydropower plants, which pump water uphill into a reservoir and later send it through turbines to generate electricity as needed.
– Globally, drought has already decreased hydropower generation. How climate change affects hydropower in the U.S. going forward will depend in large part on each plants’ location.
– In areas where melting snow affects the river flow, hydropower potential is expected to increase in winter, when more snow falls as rain, but then decrease in summer when less snowpack is left to become meltwater. This pattern is expected to occur in much of the WESTERN U.S., along with worsening multiyear droughts that could decrease some hydropower production, depending on the how much storage capacity the reservoir has.
– The NORTH EAST US has a different challenge. There, extreme precipitation that can cause flooding is expected to increase. More rain can increase power generation potential, and there are discussions about retrofitting more existing dams to produce hydropower. But since many dams there are also used for flood control, the opportunity to produce extra energy from that increasing rainfall could be lost if water is released through an overflow channel.
– In the SOUTHERN U.S., decreasing precipitation and intensified drought are expected, which will likely result in decreased hydropower production.
– The largest balancing authority in terms of hydroelectric generation is the Bonneville Power Administration in the Northwest. It coordinates around 83,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually across 59 dams, primarily in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Grand Coulee Dam complex alone can produce enough power for 1.8 million homes. A regional drought or snowless year could hit many of the Bonneville Power Administration’s hydropower producers at the same time. Researchers have found that this region’s climate impacts on hydropower present both a risk and opportunity for grid operators by increasing summer management challenges but also lowering winter electricity shortfalls.
– In the Midwest, it’s a different story. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, has 176 hydropower plants across an area 50% larger than that of Bonneville, from northern Minnesota to Louisiana. Since its hydropower plants are more likely to experience different climates and regional effects at different times, MISO and similarly broad operators have the capability to balance out hydropower deficits in one area with generation in other areas. https://theconversation.com/hydropowers-future-is-clouded-by-droughts-floods-and-climate-change-its-also-essential-to-the-us-electric-grid-182314 (18 May 2022)
Report The banks collapsed in 2008 – and our food system is about to do the same George Monbiot For the past few years, scientists have been frantically sounding an alarm that governments refuse to hear: the global food system is beginning to look like the global financial system in the run-up to 2008. While financial collapse would have been devastating to human welfare, food system collapse doesn’t bear thinking about. Yet the evidence that something is going badly wrong has been escalating rapidly. The current surge in food prices looks like the latest sign of systemic instability. Hunger has been rising since 2015 after reducing till then: From 607 million in 2014, to 650 million in 2019, and back to 811 million in 2020. This year is likely to be much worse. In 2014, when fewer people were hungry than at any time since, the global food price index stood at 115 points. In 2015, it fell to 93, and remained below 100 until 2021, surging thereafter. The global food production has also been rising.
– On one estimate, just four corporations control 90% of the global grain trade. The same corporations have been buying into seed, chemicals, processing, packing, distribution and retail. In the course of 18 years, the number of trade connections between the exporters and importers of wheat and rice doubled. Nations are now polarising into super-importers and super-exporters. Much of this trade passes through vulnerable chokepoints, such as the Turkish Straits (now obstructed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine), the Suez and Panama canals and the Straits of Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandeb and Malacca.
– Just four crops – wheat, rice, maize and soy – account for almost 60% of the calories grown by farmers. Their production is now highly concentrated in a handful of nations, including Russia and Ukraine. The Global Standard Diet is grown by the Global Standard Farm, supplied by the same corporations with the same packages of seed, chemicals and machinery, and vulnerable to the same environmental shocks. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/19/banks-collapsed-in-2008-food-system-same-producers-regulators (19 May 2022)
Compiled by SANDRP (email@example.com)
Also see: DRP News Bulletin 16 May 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 09 May 2022
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