(Feature Image:-Damaged Tapovan hydel project tunnel, after glacier burst in Joshimath causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river, in Chamoli. PTI/HT)
It is good to see the report of the National Disaster Management Authority, incidentally chaired by the Prime Minister of India mincing no words regarding the Chamoli disaster of 2021, holding the hydropower project authorities (again basically central agencies including Ministry of Environment and Forests, Central Water Commission, Central Electricity Authority and also NDMA itself), district disaster administration and lack of early warning systems.
The stark conclusion of the NDMA that the government needs to pursue alternative sources of Energy rather than the hydropower. Projects in what it calls environmentally fragile area has many implications, but the first one is to stop pursuing more hydropower projects all across the Himalayas. However in the same week we also get the reports that the central government, pushed by vested interests of hydropower lobby, is going for clearing the disastrous Etalin Hydropower project in Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh in North East India. The Forest Advisory Committee of the same MoEF is indulging in all kinds of manipulations to clear the Etalin project.
One only hopes that the NDMA will fearlessly take this report to its logical conclusion in terms of practical impact on the norms, policies, practices and projects at the earliest. One expects NDMA to fearlessly achieve these objectives and also work towards reducing the future disasters and their impacts.
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
Uttarakhand Can’t rely on hydropower in long run: NDMA In February 2021, a flood in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli killed 80 people. A year later, NDMA report says many hydropower plants set up in Himalayan region located in ‘environmentally fragile’ area.
– The government may need to pursue alternative sources of energy in the long run instead of relying on hydropower from Uttarakhand, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said in a report investigating the aftermath of the 2021 Chamoli disaster.
– The NDMA has said that, among other reasons, a lack of predictive thinking by the district administration and project proponents, as well as a dearth of early warning systems, led to the disaster taking on massive proportions. It also says that as an immediate measure, no houses, buildings, or infrastructure projects should be constructed at a high flood level — historically the highest level a flood has reached — without a site-specific study being conducted first. Impending risks remain, the report says, with debris from the disaster forming an artificial lake and dam in the Raunthi Gadhera valley. The report warns that if the water level rises too much, there could be a breach. https://theprint.in/environment/cant-rely-on-hydropower-in-long-run-says-ndma-in-report-examining-chamoli-disaster/954792/ (01 June 2022)
About the WB funded 444 MW Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydropower project: https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/evicted-villagers-pay-a-high-price-for-indias-hydropower-push/91882929 (30 May 2022)
But building more hydropower plants makes little economic sense when India can get cheaper clean energy from solar and wind projects, said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, an advocacy group. He said installing 1 MW of hydroelectric capacity in India costs more than 100 million rupees, about double the amount for the same solar or wind-based capacity. Corruption and lax regulation, he added, are the only reasons India’s authorities are so focused on hydropower. “There is huge scope for padding up the costs in the absence of credible regulatory oversight,” Thakkar said. https://news.trust.org/item/20220530023738-9oglt/ (30 May 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh Etalin hydel: Experts warn of biodiversity loss Wildlife scientists and conservationists flagged threats to local biodiversity from the proposed Etalin hydroelectric project in a letter to the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) under the MoEF&CC. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/etalin-hydel-experts-warn-of-biodiversity-loss-in-dibang-valley-in-letter-to-forest-advisory-panel-83087 (31 May 2022)
Conservationists have urged the FAC under the Union environment ministry to “unanimously reject” clearance for the Etalin Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh’s Dibang Valley. In a letter to the Committee on May 27, they wrote that apart from the ecological and environmental threats the project poses, there is also a “lack of transparency” in the approval process. Other conservationists have also written separately to the FAC highlighting similar concerns. https://thewire.in/environment/reject-clearance-for-etalin-dam-in-arunachal-pradesh-conservationists-urge-govt-again (30 May 2022)
Webinar NAPM discussion on Hydropower projects under Addressing Issues of Energy Requirements & Ecological Justice. 6 pm on June 5, 2022. See details below.
Meghalaya Four dams in state to get Rs 441-cr facelift 4 dams under the Meghalaya Power Generation Corporation Limited (MePGCL) will get a facelift under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) at a cost of Rs 441 crore. According to official documents, the dams approved are Umiam Stage-I dam (Rs 215.45 crore), Umiam-Umtru Stage-III concrete dam (Rs 73.10 crore), Umiam-Umtru Stage-IV concrete dam (Rs 77.42 crore) and Myntdu-Leshka Stage-I dam (Rs 75.03 crore). https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/06/04/four-dams-in-state-to-get-rs-441-cr-facelift/ (04 June 2022)
Himachal Pradesh HPERC Chairman Devendra Kumar Sharma elected on ICOLD Dam Safety body. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/himachal-dam-expert-elected-to-global-body/91885868 (30 May 2022)
Time To Let Our Rivers Flow Freely Again Former HP official Avay Shukla: https://hillpost.in/2022/05/free-dammed-rivers-to-their-wild-state/117582/ (08 May 2022)
Centre Govt may invoke emergency powers to let power producers step out of PPAs The government would allow these plants to sell electricity on the power exchanges if the states that they have PPAs with do not buy the costly power generated by them, insiders say. The govt would use emergency powers under section 11 of the Electricity Act for this. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/govt-may-invoke-emergency-powers-to-let-power-producers-step-out-of-ppas/91754396 (24 May 2022)
Report Recent environment rules mirror controversial EIA draft According to guidelines of the environment ministry, the draft EIA 2020, issued in a notification on March 23, 2020, has expired. But, through a slew of other draft notifications, office memorandums and orders, the environment ministry has introduced clauses that mirror those in EIA 2020, experts said.
For example, on April 11, the ministry issued a draft notification stating that highway projects near the country’s borders are sensitive and need to be exempted from the requirement of seeking an environment clearance. Instead, the draft prescribed environmental safeguards for self-compliance by project developers.
On April 12, the ministry issued another draft notification that said environmental clearances granted to hydropower projects will be valid for 13 years. The clearances given to nuclear projects will last for 15 years and for up to 50 years for mining projects. Under EIA 2006, the validity of prior environmental clearance granted to a river valley project or activity was 10 years, for mining, a maximum of 30 years and seven years for other projects. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/recent-environment-rules-mirror-controversial-draft-101654367194857.html (05 June 2022)
Report Can we manage ill consequences of dams? – Dam construction is one of the oldest, most preferred tools to manage freshwater for various uses. The practice reached a peak internationally in the 1960s and ’70s, but in recent years dam construction has faced increasing global criticism as the hefty environmental price paid for their benefits piles up.
– The flows of most major waterways have been impacted by dams globally. Only 37% of rivers longer than 1,000 km (620 mi) remain free-flowing, and just 23% flow uninterrupted to the sea. Natural flows will be altered for 93% of river volume worldwide by 2030, if all planned and ongoing hydropower construction goes ahead.
– This global fragmentation of rivers has led to severe impacts. Dams have contributed to an 84% average decline in freshwater wildlife population sizes since 1970. More than a quarter of Earth’s land-to-ocean sediment flux is trapped behind dams. Dams also impact Earth’s climate in complex ways via modification of the carbon cycle. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/06/dams-are-a-necessary-evil-across-the-world-but-can-we-manage-their-consequences/ (03 June 2022)
Mekedatu Dam As Karnataka takes further steps towards the realisation of the Mekedatu dam, here is a look at the issue that has been a bone of contention between the two riparian States that have also historically fought over the sharing of Cauvery water. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/why-the-mekedatu-water-project-continues-to-divide-karnataka-and-tamil-nadu/article65493653.ece (04 June 2022)
Sardar Sarovar Dam नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन के दिग्गजों में से एक, स्वर्गीय सीतारामभाई पाटीदार का हाल ही में, सितम्बर 2021 में निधन हुआ। खुद एक विस्थापित होने के नाते, सीतारामभाई इस साक्षात्कार में आज़ाद बहने वाली नर्मदा नदी के महत्त्व को बहुत ही स्पष्ट रूप से समझाते हैं। वे सरदार सरोवर के निर्माण के पहले, जब नर्मदा सिर्फ एक जलाशय बन कर नहीं रह गयी थी, उस वक़्त की नर्मदा नदी के कई पहलुओं पर चर्चा करते हैं। सीतारामभाई का यह साक्षात्कार, विशालकाय बांधों के विनाशकारी होने और नदियों को स्वछंद बहने दिए जाने के तर्कों की पुष्टि करता है। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrxE9SH_e44 (08 Feb. 2022)
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Ken-Betwa Linking Ken is not water ‘surplus’ The classification of Ken river as water surplus had to be reconsidered, said Himanshu Thakkar, an environment expert and coordinator of SANDRP. “A river can only be classified as water surplus on the basis of the water flow data of the river, and the government hasn’t mentioned the water flow data of the Ken river. On what basis was such a classification made,” he asked. Thakkar told Gaon Connection that there was no data in the public domain that indicates that Ken has enough water to transfer to a water-scarce region.
“Dams will swell once water from the Ken river is transferred to areas around Betwa. After this when water is shifted towards the Betwa region, new dams will have to be built which, as a hydrological impact, will submerge and destroy the ecology including thousands of trees over large areas,” the environmentalist warned. Also, Thakkar said that the Central Empowered Committee which was appointed by the Supreme Court, in a report in September 2019, said that the ecological cost of the project outweighs its purported purpose.
KG Vyas, a Bhopal-based environmentalist, told Gaon Connection that the conservation of rivers and groundwater cannot be the sole responsibility of the farmers and the local communities at large. “The government has to intervene and take up the task of conserving water. Ponds should be dug at a large scale to capture the rainwater which will not only help in conserving water but also help in replenishing the falling groundwater levels,” Vyas said. “It should be ensured that the ponds are not merely the ones that are built to somehow utilise the MGNREGA labour. Those ponds are too small, much larger ponds need to be built. That is the only long term solution to this crisis,” he added. https://www.gaonconnection.com/read/madhya-pradesh-water-crisis-shortage-ken-betwa-river-vidisha-raisen-linking-project-summers-groundwater-depletion-rural-paani-yatra-50847 (03 June 2022)
Arun Singh:- कभी यहां कंचन जल नजर आता था, लेकिन इस समय सिर्फ पत्थर दिखते हैं। जी हां, यह केन नदी है जिसका पानी बेतवा में ले जाना है। 2 मई 22 / 3 जून 2022 को नदी किनारे स्थित नहरी गांव के पास की यह तस्वीर है।;
A joint telemetry project conducted by the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) and Wild Institute of India (WII) on 25 vultures has found that Indian and red-headed vultures stayed in the Greater Panna landscape in areas that will find themselves submerged under the proposed Ken Betwa river linking project. “While Himalayan Griffons and Eurasian Griffons travelled to different parts including Pakistan and China, the Indian vultures, especially the red-headed vultures have caused us concern as they mostly stayed in the Greater Panna landscape, a part of which is going to be submerged in Ken-Betwa Link Project,” said a scientist associated with the study. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/study-that-tracked-25-vultures-highlights-their-habitat-threat-101654025169060.html (01 June 2022)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Krishna Water Dispute Restrain Andhra from pumped water storage projects: Telangana The Telangana irrigation department urged the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) to restrain Andhra Pradesh from going ahead with the pumped-storage hydroelectric projects on Krishna. In a letter to KRMB chairman, Telangana irrigation engineer-in-chief C Muralidhar on Tuesday said the hydroelectric projects are unapproved and based on drawl of water from Krishna. Though the issue was brought to the notice of the Board, no action has been taken on the issue to stop the AP government.
– The ENC said the AP government has taken up a project and awarded work to M/s Greenko AP01 IREP Pvt Ltd for setting up an integrated renewable energy project at Pinnapuram, Panyam mandal in Kurnool district for a pumped storage scheme. For the scheme water will be drawn from Gorakallu reservoir of the SRMBC through Pothireddypadu Head Regulator. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/restrain-andhra-pradesh-from-pumped-water-storage-projects-telangana/articleshow/91924437.cms (31 May 2022)
Maharashtra-Goa Water supply from Tillari canal cut off for soil testing With testing and sampling of Tillari canal soil currently under way, water supply has been stopped simultaneously at various places in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra and some villages in Goa. The testing began on Sunday (May 29) by a team of experts from Kolhapur, Maharashtra along with Goa’s water resources department (WRD) team. Locals had informed officials that the condition of the left and right canals of Tillari dam has been deteriorating since the past few years, and this was affecting normal water discharge. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/water-supply-from-tillari-canal-cut-off-for-soil-testing/articleshow/91900298.cms (31 May 2022)
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
Report No Clarity on EC for Ganga Waterway. Why? Avli VermaThe NGT’s final order is disappointing because it notes that the matter is beyond its scope, even though the tribunal has been deliberating it for seven years. Its order is also ineffective in holding the Union environment ministry accountable for its blatant disregard of a previous order, to hold expert consultations. Here’s why.
Effectively, the NGT denied its jurisdiction on the matter in toto when in fact the high court had dealt with only one part of the project. This is more disappointing because the NGT’s order itself also says that “the [project proponent] is splitting the project in smaller standalone components for the purpose of evading scrutiny under the EIA notification.”
Second, the Allahabad high court order was placed on record in the NGT on October 21, 2016 – six years ago – in an affidavit filed by the project proponent, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). If the high court order was really the reason for the NGT to find the matter to be beyond its scope, it should have clarified and disposed of the case in 2016 itself!
Third, under the Section 20 of the National Green Tribunal Act 2010, the NGT is to apply the principles of sustainable development and the precautionary principle when it adjudicates on matters of environmental concern. The tribunal had also noted in an order dated November 1, 2018, about the inland waterways projects that “there is no doubt about the fact that such projects are first of its kind and may increase in the coming days.” https://science.thewire.in/environment/national-green-tribunal-national-water-1-environment-clearance/ (03 June 2022)
Adyar; Chennai Widening of Adyar expected to prevent floods? As usual a costly civil engineering approach to deal with Nature! The Water Resources Department has started work to widen the stretch of the Adyar near Kundrathur to facilitate free flow of water and prevent spill over to the surrounding localities in the southern suburbs. In a bid to alleviate inundation, the department has started work on widening the 1.8-km portion of the river between the confluence point of the Chembarambakkam lake’s surplus course near Kundrathur and the Anakaputhur bridge. Nearly 20.6 acres of land on the flood plain would be acquired at Kundrathur to widen the river up to 120 metres.
– Once the project was completed, the flood-carrying capacity of the river is estimated to increase to 48,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) at the stretch. The department is enumerating nearly 676 encroached structures in Anakaputhur under the aegis of the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust. “We plan to commence clearing of encroachments shortly after the residents are resettled. The project will be completed before the onset of the northeast monsoon this year,” the official added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/widening-of-adyar-expected-to-prevent-floods/article65467431.ece (27 May 2022)
Godavari; Nasik Sewage entering river at 10 locations: NMC Municipal commissioner Ramesh Pawar during his 5 hour long visit on Wednesday (June 01) of river stretch between the Ahilyabai Holkar bridge and the Govardhan limit of the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) found that the sewage was being mixed in Godavari river at 10 locations. During the recent meeting of Bombay high court appointed high-powered committee on Godavari river pollution, committee chairperson and divisional commissioner Radhakrishna Game had directed the civic body, MPCB, zilla parishad and other authorities to take immediate measures to stop the release of sewage into the Godavari. Moreover, during a recent virtual meeting on water hyacinth, experts from Kerala had suggested the NMC to stop the release of sewage into the Godavari if it wants to eradicate water hyacinth from the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/sewage-entering-godavari-at-10-locations-nmc-chief/articleshow/91950147.cms (02 June 2022)
Mithi; Mumbai BMC proposes 8.85-km promenade along river As part of the beautification work along the banks of the Mithi river, the BMC has proposed an 8.85-km long promenade, including a cycle track and a walkway. The beautification work will start from CST Bridge in Kurla and stretch to Mahim Causeway, according to the proposal. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/beautification-work-bmc-proposes-8-85-km-promenade-along-mithi-river-7951865/ (04 June 2022)
Poisar-Dahisar Raising a stink over Mumbai’s polluted rivers About polluted and stinking Poisar, Dahisar rivers of Mumbai. “The city stinks, and we have stopped noticing it,” said Gopal Jhaveri, co-founder of River March, a public movement to restore and rejuvenate Mumbai’s environment. “But when people visit from outside, it’s the first thing that hits them,” he said.
Dr Rakesh Kumar, a former director NEERI explained that the bad odour we smell are actually from the gases that emanate from polluted water bodies…adding that in small concentrations, these gases may not be harmful, but long-term exposure is bound to have an impact on human health. “Such strong odours can trigger headaches or nausea. It may not be uncommon to see such an impact when people are in close proximity of the polluted water body,” said Kumar. There are no studies documenting such impact but beach and river clean-up volunteers often complain of these side effects after spending hours at the water bodies during their drives.
In December 2021, state environment minister Aaditya Thackeray inaugurated the ₹246 crore Dahisar River Rejuvenation project that had been in the works since the 2005 deluge in Mumbai. The project included the construction of two wastewater treatment facilities and sewer lines that connected the nearby settlements to them, desludging the river bed and creating green spaces along the river, among others. Till now, the work orders for the sewage treatment facilities have been issued. No other work has commenced. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/raising-a-stink-over-mumbai-s-polluted-rivers-101654110371108.html (02 June 2022)
Ramnadi; Pune PMC to review waste transition centre project in Bavdhan after protests Amid opposition to the solid waste management project in Bavdhan, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has promised to review it to ensure it does not create environmental issues for the Ramnadi river, which will undergo a riverfront development project. “A committee will be set up to review the project and issues raised by local residents, environmentalists and elected representatives will be taken into consideration,” Kumar told the delegation on Monday (May 09). Residents and environmentalists had formed a human chain Sunday (May 08) to protest against the project. The garbage processing plant in Vanaz is being shifted to Bavdhan because the former site will be given over to the Pune Metro project. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pmc-to-review-waste-transition-centre-project-in-bavdhan-after-protests-7908613/ (10 May 2022)
Kochi NGT moots underground sewage scheme to check river pollution The NGT has asked the Kerala government to implement an underground sewage scheme (UGSS) in local bodies to resolve the menace of dumping untreated sewage into rivers. “If any additional STPs are required, that also must be included in action plan… If such proposals are made and forwarded to the government through proper channel, then the Chief Secretary, State of Kerala, is directed to look into the matter and take necessary steps to get administrative and financial sanction for the same and provide all assistance to the local bodies to implement it,” stated the order issued by the tribunal on May 12.
The Bench said it could be taken up as an action plan to be implemented throughout the State to resolve the problem of river pollution caused by the discharge of untreated sewage. The tribunal suggested the setting up of a permanent committee at the State-level with Principal Secretary for Environment as chairman, and the secretaries of Revenue, Irrigation and Public Works departments and the local administration as its members to prepare an action plan to prevent the dumping of untreated sewage into rivers. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ngt-moots-underground-sewage-scheme-to-check-river-pollution/article65416416.ece (15 May 2022)
Chambal;Kota ‘World’s largest bell’ riverfront project draws flak A temporary unit set up to cast an 84,000kg swinging bell on the banks of Chambal river as part of the riverfront project in Kota has drawn flak from environmentalists, residents and politicians. Once it’s made, the bell, which will be hung on the riverfront, is expected to set a record as being one of the largest bells in the world.
Environmentalists allege that the casting unit, which falls under the red category of the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB), has been set up without taking the board’s consent. Moreover, the unit has been established in the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS). It has also not taken the mandatory permission from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).
The estimated cost of the bell is Rs 15–18 crore. It will weigh a total of 8.4 tonnes, have a width of 35 feet and height of 34 feet. The engineers claimed it would hang at a height of 70 feet from the ground on a platform. Around 400 people will be able to stand beneath it. As per estimates, 225 trucks of green sand, five trucks of sodium silicate, 12 trucks of carbon dioxide, three trucks of LPG and 20,000 litres of diesel are likely to be used to cast the bell. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/worlds-largest-bell-riverfront-project-on-chambal-draws-flak-from-public/articleshow/90241788.cms (16 March 2022)
With a whopping budget of Rs 700 crore, the Chambal Riverfront Project is set to change the face of coaching city Kota. Designed on basis of Hadoti and Rajputana architecture, the riverfront is being constructed on a 3km-stretch on both banks of Chambal river and is situated at the entry point of the city near Landmark coaching zone. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/700-cr-chambal-riverfront-in-kota-likely-to-be-ready-by-march-dhariwal/articleshow/89081863.cms (24 Jan. 2022)
Dravyavati; Jaipur Govt to dispose of pending cases of land compensation Around 300 farmers of 34 revenue villages whose plots were allegedly acquired for the Dravyavati river project have not received compensation. The farmers alleged that over 600 bighas of private land was acquired without providing compensation to them and (JDA) had proposed to earn revenue after auctioning. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/govt-to-dispose-of-pending-cases-of-those-awaiting-land-compensation/articleshow/91753028.cms (24 May 2022)
Tapi; Surat MC team to visit Netherlands, Spain to study river front projects A technical experts team of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) along with world bank officials will visit Netherlands and Spain for a study tour of river front development projects. SMC is moving ahead with Tapi river front development project worth Rs 3,900 crores. The first phase of the project will be of Rs 1,990 crores. The World Bank will fund 70 percent of the project in the first phase while the remaining amount will be borne equally by SMC and state government, said Surat municipal corporation engineer A M Dubey. The entire expenses of the study tour of SMC officials will be borne by the World Bank, says SMC sources. The administration department of SMC had put forth a proposal before the Standing Committee of SMC for such a study tour starting from May 29 to June 5. A decision on the same will be taken in a committee meeting on April 28. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/surat/surat-municipal-corporation-visit-netherlands-spain-tapi-river-front-7889279/ (27 April 2022)
Saryu; Ayodhya Riverfront to be developed Reviewing development works worth Rs 19,000 crore in the temple town on Friday (May 06), CM Yogi Adityanath directed the officials concerned to immediately take up the development work of the riverfront project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/riverfront-to-be-developed-along-saryu-in-ayodhya/articleshow/91387619.cms (07 May 2022)
Madhya Pradesh Walking in the shadow devastating floods A walk along the River Sindh in central India reveals lasting damage from floods in August 2021, when unprecedented rainfall and mismanaged water reservoirs led to widespread losses for the region’s farmers https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/walking-shadow-of-sindh-river-devastating-floods/ (02 June 2022)
CSE 75% of river monitoring stations report heavy metal pollution Three out of every four river monitoring stations in India posted alarming levels of heavy toxic metals such as lead, iron, nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium and copper. In about a fourth of the monitoring stations, which are spread across 117 rivers and tributaries, high levels of two or more toxic metals were reported. Of the 33 monitoring stations in Ganga, 10 had high levels of contaminants. The river, which is the focus of the Centre’s Namami Gange mission, has high levels of lead, iron, nickel, cadmium and arsenic, according to the State of Environment Report 2022 from the the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
Over a third of India’s coastline that is spread across 6,907 km saw some degree of erosion between 1990 and 2018. West Bengal is the worst hit with over 60% of its shoreline under erosion. The reasons for coastal erosion include increase in frequency of cyclones and sea level rise and anthropogenic activities such as construction of harbours, beach mining and building of dams. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/75-of-river-monitoring-stations-report-heavy-metal-pollution-centre-for-science-and-environment/article65487675.ece (05 June 2022)
NARMADA पीने के लायक नहीं बचा यहां नर्मदा का पानी मध्य प्रदेश की जीवनरेखा नर्मदा का पानी बड़वानी में पीने लायक नहीं बचा है। यहां तक कि घरेलू कार्यों के लिए भी इसे अयोग्य बताया गया है। इस पानी में ऐसे बैक्टीरिया पाए गए हैं जो मानव स्वास्थ्य के लिए ठीक नहीं हैं। यह खुलासा मुंबई की एक अंतराष्ट्रीय स्तर की प्रयोगशाला में जल का वैज्ञानिक परीक्षण कराने पर हुआ है। यह परीक्षण नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन से जुड़ी एक कार्यकर्ता और बड़वानी निवासी कमला यादव ने करवाया है। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/pollution/water-pollution/narmada-water-here-is-not-fit-for-drinking-83143 (04 June 2022)
Industries dump chemicals into fields, pollute Ajnar river Industrial waste from factories is allegedly being dumped into empty borings in fields, claim activists. In Manpur town of Indore district, the river water, as well as other water sources, including tube wells, have become polluted, affecting 50 villages. Many cattle, aquatic animals, and wild animals have allegedly died after consuming polluted river water following which, the local tribal communities are seeking compensation. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/06/industries-dump-chemicals-into-fields-pollute-ajnar-river-in-madhya-pradesh/ (03 June 2022)
Himachal Pradesh River pollution: NGT dismisses MoEF’s review plea Dealing with the matter of remedial action against the failure of the authorities in preventing pollution in Balad, Sirsa and Satluj rivers in Baddi industrial area in Solan district, the NGT has dismissed the review application filed by the MoEF&CC seeking review of tribunal’s April 6 judgment. In the review application, the MoEF&CC said since the standards in the draft notification have not been included in the final notification, order of this tribunal is not called for. But the tribunal did not find any merit in the review application, saying that the issue in question was duly considered and rehearing cannot be allowed in the guise of a review application.
Dismissing the application, the principal bench of NGT headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel on Tuesday (May 24) said the jurisdiction of this tribunal is not dependent on MoEF&CC’s decision alone. To enforce sustainable development under Section 20 of the NGT Act, direction under Section 15 can be issued even beyond the decision of the MoEF&CC, as held inter alia in Mantri Techzone, (2019) 18 SCC 494, prs 41-42. Referring to the draft notification of MoEF&CC, the NGT had pointed out that on the issue of pharma industries, draft standards were formulated and notified on January 23, 2020, which was more than two years ago, based on a study by the experts. Regulatory mechanism in such important issues cannot remain in abeyance for indefinite period on the ground that the MoEF&CC had been unable to finalise the draft standards even after two years, the NGT had said.
The NGT in its judgment said in view of serious consequences of unregulated discharge of API residue to the detriment of environment and public health, the tribunal considers it appropriate to direct under Section 15(1) of the NGT Act that standards proposed in the draft be strictly followed by all concerned. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/river-pollution-in-himachal-pradesh-ngt-dismisses-centres-review-plea/articleshow/91829952.cms (27 May 2022)
GANGA Bihar All ‘Namami Gange’ sewerage projects to be completed by FY23: Deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad on Monday (May 02) said he has instructed officials of his urban development and housing department to ensure that all long-pending projects related to sewerage infrastructure in the state capital must be completed within the current fiscal. “Construction work of all sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Patna will be completed in 2022-23. Officials have been directed to ensure quality in building such infrastructure under the Centre’s ‘Namami Gange’ programme,” Prasad told PTI.
The instruction came after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report tabled in the assembly in March had pulled up Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd, the executing agency, for failing to complete such projects under the “Namami Gange’ initiative in the stipulated timeline. Six STPs and five sewerage networks were to be constructed in Patna and of them, nine were supposed to be completed by May 2021. Of the nine projects, only four were completed by July 2021 and the progress ranged from 53 to 93 per cent in others, the CAG had said in its report. As far as STPs at Digha and Kankarbagh, the progress was “negligible”, it said.
“The executing agency, Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd, failed to adhere to the stipulated timeline for completion of works, as no STP along with sewerage network completed till date and the discharge of sewage in Ganga and its tributaries could not be stopped in Patna as desired,” the CAG said. It also observed that only 16 to 50 per cent of funds were utilised during 2016-17 to 2019-20 financial year. “As against the sanctioned cost, only 35.48 per cent financial progress was achieved till December 2020,” the report pointed out. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/all-namami-gange-sewerage-projects-to-be-completed-by-fy23-deputy-cm/articleshow/91273353.cms (03 May 2022)
Uttarakhand Alaknanda River Photo at Dev Prayag in Uttarakhand is in news. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/viral-photo-shows-flawless-alaknanda-in-uttarakhand-internet-says-heaven-on-earth-3033000 (02 June 2022)
YAMUNA Delhi Toxic Foam Returns The Yamuna has been the subject of concern for many years, and as recently as last month an official from the DJB said that the river has “almost dried up”. According to the board, this would worsen the drinking water problem in the capital. https://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/watch-toxic-foam-returns-to-the-yamuna-in-delhis-ito-3031544 (02 June 2022)
Convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan Manoj Misra said cleaning the Yamuna to bathing standards within the stipulated time seems less likely going by the track record of agencies like the Delhi Jal Board. “But it can be done if you set your benchmark high and think of achieving the impossible,” he said. Besides rehabilitating sewage treatment plants, equal attention should be given to unauthorised industrial activity. Industrial effluent is far worse than sewage, Mr. Misra said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/possible-to-clean-yamuna-to-bathing-standards-by-2025-experts/article65404714.ece (11 May 2022)
Noida On Yamuna & Hindon edges, scores of farmhouses, polluting industries As one hits the dusty road towards Garhi Samsatipur village along the Yamuna’s arid banks after crossing the boulevards that will be future addresses of towering buildings in Sector 150 that cranes are busy giving shape to, a large green signboard warns: “This is a notified area of the Noida Authority and buying and selling of land or construction work is prohibited. Action will be taken against violators as per orders of the Uttar Pradesh government.” In its backdrop stand swanky farmhouses, studded with plush clubhouses and manicured lawns, inviting patrons to “enjoy nature”, seemingly in the lap of luxury. These farmhouses, scores of them, skirt the banks of the river – a wide bed of brown with the river shrunk to a docile stream here – have been built near sectors 136, 128, and 130 and villages Tilwada, Gulavali, Kambuxpur and Nangli Wajidpur, among others.
Chandan Bind, a villager from Samastipur, told TOI that most of these farmhouses have come up over the past three years. “Many people visit them for parties. Loud music and a festive environment are a part of the ‘farmhouse culture’ here,” he added. Restoring the eco-sensitive floodplains of the Yamuna and Hindon rivers in Noida – the two rivers form a loop on either side of Sector 150 – will be a stiff challenge for government agencies, a task they have belatedly woken up to with the demolition of more than 60 farmhouses in the area this week. But while farmhouses skirt the edges of the Yamuna, some of which have armed guards on the avenues leading to them, plants for crushing, hot mix, concrete ready-mix and quartzite-washing dot the Hindon banks, some operating right on the riverbed.
Vashisht, who has filed several cases related to the floodplains in the NGT, said the irrigation and forest departments, the pollution control board and the authorities had “utterly failed” in curbing illegal constructions on the Yamuna and Hindon floodplains. According to a notice issued by the irrigation department in 2015, cities are required to demarcate riverbeds within their limits that have experienced floods even once in 50 years as floodplains. In rural areas, the state has to mark floodplain areas that have faced floods once in 25 years.
Noida Authority’s officer on special duty (OSD) Prasun Dwivedi said around 75 farmhouses have been demolished in the past three months, occupying 1.5 lakh square metres of land, with as many as 62 farmhouses demolished in Tilwara and Gulavali villages on Wednesday alone. The official added that several other illegal farmhouses have also been identified and will be demolished in the coming days. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/on-yamuna-hindon-edges-scores-of-farmhouses-polluting-industries/articleshow/91976664.cms (03 June 2022)
The Gautam Budh Nagar District Ganga Committee, headed by district magistrate Suhas LY, has asked all government bodies to jointly prepare a revival plan for the Yamuna and Hindon rivers. The teams have been told to conduct inspections and come up with actionable insights to protect the ecology of the two rivers. Both rivers are facing threats from pollution and rampant illegal construction on their flood plains.
At least 5,000 hectares of the Yamuna floodplain located in Noida are facing threat from illegal construction. The Noida authority said that it is demolishing all illegal construction. “We have freed around two lakh square meters of land and demolished around 100 farmhouses recently. We are carrying out a weekly demolition drive to act against illegal farmhouses on flood plains,” said Prasoon Diwvedi, officer on special duty, Noida authority. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/district-ganga-committee-orders-development-of-riverfront-on-yamuna-floodplains-101654282400470.html (04 June 2022)
More than 60 farmhouses were demolished by Noida Authority along the Yamuna floodplains Wednesday (June 02). As per officials, 55 farmhouses situated at Tilwada and 7 structures at Gulavali were brought down by the Authority as part of the anti-encroachment drive. The houses were built on the river bed area. “As per the rules, permanent structures cannot be maintained on floodplains, and any construction is liable to be dismantled. Further drives will be carried out as per the given laws. Legal action against the individuals carrying out unlawful construction will also be taken,” said Prasun Dwivedi, Officer on Special Duty, Noida Authority.
The Authority freed nearly 1.2 lakh sq metre area in Tilwada village while action was taken on 5,000 sq metre area in Gulavali village. The Authority has been specifically focusing on houses and colonies built on the river bed since they are in direct violation of environmental norms, officials said. The anti-encroachment drive was carried out by a joint team of the Authority and officials of the Irrigation Department using nine bulldozers. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/over-60-farmhouses-along-yamuna-floodplains-demolished-noida-authority-7949585/ (03 June 2022)
Mathura Around 13 buffaloes died on 4 June, allegedly after drinking water from a drain in Kosikalan industrial area of Mathura, officials said. Chhata Sub-Divisional Magistrate Kamlesh Goyal said some farmers had brought the cattle here from Bayana of Rajasthan’s Bharatpur for fodder and water. https://www.firstpost.com/india/mathura-over-dozen-buffaloes-die-after-drinking-toxic-water-from-drain-10760511.html; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/mathura-over-dozen-buffaloes-die-after-drinking-toxic-water-from-drain/articleshow/92010866.cms (05 June 2022)
कोटवन-नवीपुर औद्योगिक क्षेत्र में फैक्टरियों से निकलने वाला केमिकल युक्त पानी लगातार बेजुबानों की जान पर भारी पड़ रहा है। बिना ट्रीटमेंट फैक्टरी से बाहर छोड़ा गया जहरीला पानी पीने से 12 भैंसें मर गईं, जबकि एक गंभीर रूप से बीमार हो गई। इससे ग्रामीणों ने नाराजगी जताई है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/mathura/mathura-12-buffaloes-died-after-drinking-poisonous-water-from-factories-mathura-news-mtr5187390141 ; ग्रामीणों का कहना है, कई बार प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड से नाले में केमिकल का पानी फैक्ट्री डाल रही है। इससे सिंचाई किए जाने पर फसलों पर नुकसान होता है। https://m.jagran.com/lite/uttar-pradesh/agra-city-a-dozen-buffaloes-died-due-to-the-poisonous-water-of-the-drain-in-mathura-22774596.html (04 June 2022)
Agra River activists and devotees gathered on the bank of Yamuna on the occasion of World Environment Day and reminded everyone about the various promises made in past for the revival and survival of this river which has the status of a mother in the Braj region and is connected to Lord Krishna. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/on-world-environment-day-river-activists-seek-revival-of-yamuna-101654441244803.html (05 June 2022)
SANDRP Blog When a gharial landed in a cow shelter It’s been more than six months since I got a Whatsapp video forward from my friend Yayati Bhardwaj along with a message in Hindi about some cow vigilant rescuing a ‘crocodile’ from Swaroop Nagar area of Delhi and sending it to a cow shelter in Narela, a bustling town in North West Delhi bordering Haryana. https://sandrp.in/2022/06/03/when-a-gharial-landed-in-a-cow-shelter-in-delhi/ (03 June 2022)
CHAMBAL Protecting red-crowned roofed turtle The Batagur kachuga or the red-crowned roofed turtle is found in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. In India, the Chambal sanctuary is among the last viable habitats. But a number of factors make the Chambal sanctuary vulnerable not only for this species but for all freshwater turtles. For one, illegal sand mining is a threat to these animals that use the sandy riverbank for basking as well as nesting. Other problems include pumping out of water from the Chambal river for agriculture in lean seasons and overfishing. Additionally, the turtles have to compete for space on the sandbanks with vine crops such as watermelons, cucumbers and musk melons are cultivated there. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/05/protecting-the-critical-chambal-landscape-one-of-last-viable-habitats-for-red-crowned-roofed-turtle/ (31 May 2022)
Andhra Pradesh Gecko’s new species found A gecko found in Visakhapatnam in 2017, then thought to belong to a known species, has now been identified as a member of a new species. The species, Eublepharis pictus, also known as the Painted Leopard Gecko, has been described in the journal Evolutionary Systematics. The gecko genus Eublepharis now has 7 species. Before Eublepharis pictus, Mirza had also previously described Eublepharis satpuraensis. “The new species differs from all members of the genus Eublepharis except for E hardwickii… Geographically the two species appear to be separated by the Brahmani River,” Mirza and Gnaneswar wrote in their paper. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/gecko-found-andhra-odisha-turns-out-new-species-7949916/ (03 June 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh ‘Lipstick’ plant rediscovered in Arunachal after 100 years Researchers at the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have rediscovered a rare plant, which is sometimes called the ‘Indian lipstick plant’, from Anjaw district after more than a century. The plant (Aeschynanthus monetaria Dunn) was first identified by British botanist Stephen Troyte Dunn in 1912, based on the plant samples gathered from Arunachal Pradesh by another English botanist, Isaac Henry Burkill.
Landslides are frequent in Anjaw district. Developmental activities such as broadening of roads, construction of schools, new settlements and markets, and jhum cultivation are some of the major threats to this species in Arunachal, Chowlu said in the abstract of the Current Science report. There have been lots of rediscoveries of various species in Arunachal, which speaks of the rich biodiversity of the state, but experts say that more dedicated explorations are needed to unravel more, according to Chowlu. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/06/06/lipstick-plant-rediscovered-in-arunachal-after-100-years/ (06 June 2022)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
West Bengal Endangered Hilsa, Kajri, Vacha back, fish diversity up in Ganga Among the fish species that have revived and are now available in towns along the Ganga include Hilsa, Kajri or Sutri, Vacha, Garua and Morari or Piyali. Fish diversity studies in the river, conducted over the past five decades, reveal a wave-like curve: 207 species in the inaugural study in 1974, rising to 266 in 1991 before witnessing a precipitous decline to just 140 species in 2012 and then making a smart recovery to 190 in 2021. The diversity study has been conducted along the main channel of the Ganga, not its tributaries and distributaries.
The improvement in fish diversity and population follows multiple initiatives taken by CIFRI, including ranching and seed production of indigenous Gangetic fish species. Over 47 lakh fingerlings of major Indian carps have been ranched. The decline between 1991 and 2012, CIFRI scientists said was due to deterioration in the river’s water quality because of effluent from civic bodies and industries, and overfishing. But species like pangasius, pabda catfish, giant river goonch, chitala and silond catfish are less abundant in the river and require more effort. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/west-bengal-endangered-hilsa-kajri-vacha-back-fish-diversity-up-in-ganga/articleshow/91928722.cms (01 June 2022)
Karnataka 61-day fishing ban comes into force As monsoon is the breeding season for fishes, government had banned fishing till July 31 under the Karnataka Coastal Fishing (Regulation) Act, 1986. The ban is to facilitate breeding of fish in sea. According to the Fisheries department, mechanised boats and traditional boats fitted with inboard or outboard engines of 10 HP and above are banned from fishing during the period. The ban was enforced following excessive fishing during monsoon having an adverse impact on fish catch during the fishing season. The traditional fishing boats fitted with less than 10 hp engines are permitted to carry out fishing. Those violating the ban will not be eligible for subsidised diesel for a period of 12 months. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/61-day-fishing-ban-comes-into-force-in-karnataka-1114465.html (01 June 2022)
Maharashtra Govt compensates 288 fishermen The government has given compensation of Rs 44 lakh to as many as 288 fishermen — for setting protected marine species which were caught in their nets free – in the past three years. The compensation scheme is a joint effort by the Mangrove Cell and Mangrove Foundation, and the Fisheries Department of Maharashtra. Monetary compensation up to Rs 25,000 is given to fishermen as they have to cut off their fishing nets in order to release marine species that get accidentally tangled in their fishing nets. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/288-fishermen-compensated-for-releasing-endangered-marine-species-from-their-nets-7948289/ (02 June 2022)
Gujarat Cast Away Vaishnavi Suresh For two decades now, fish have dwindled along Gujarat’s shores. So local fishermen have to go further out, closer and closer to danger: the unmarked, watery border between India and Pakistan. https://fiftytwo.in/story/cast-away/ (04 June 2022)
नदी ही नहीं इंसान की भी जान ले रहा रेत खनन Good to see Pankaj Chaturvedi blog and articles in Hindi and Urdu highlighting human casualties and violence due to illegal sand mining in the country following SANDRP’s detailed reports on the same. बीते सवा सालों के दौरान नदियों से रेत निकालने को ले कर हमारे देश में कम से कम 418 लोग मारे गए और 438 घायल हुए। गैर-सरकारी संस्था साउथ एशिया नेटवर्क ऑन डैम्स, रिवर्स एंड पीपल (एसएएनडीआरपी) द्वारा दिसंबर 2020 से मार्च 2022 तक, 16 महीने में रेत खनन की वजह से होने वाली दुर्घटनाओं और हिंसा के मामलों का मीडिया रिपोर्टिंग के आधार पर किए गए अध्ययन के मुताबिक इनमें 49 मौत खनन के लिए नदियों में खोदे गए कुंड में डूबने से हुई हैं।
ये आंकड़े बताते हैं कि खनन के दौरान खदान ढहने और अन्य दुर्घटनाओं में कुल 95 मौत और 21 लोग घायल हुए। खनन से जुड़े सड़क हादसों में 294 लोगों की जान गई और 221 घायल हुए हैं। खनन से जुड़ी हिंसा में 12 लोगों को जान गंवानी पड़ी और 53 घायल हुए हैं। अवैध खनन के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठाने वाले कार्यकर्ताओं-पत्रकारों पर हमले में घायल होने वालों का आंकड़ा 10 है। जबकि सरकारी अधिकारियों पर खनन माफिया के हमले में दो मौत और 126 अधिकारी घायल हुए हैं। खनन से जुड़े आपसी झगड़े या गैंगवार में सात मौत और इतने ही घायल हुए हैं। https://pankajbooks.blogspot.com/2022/06/sand-mining-is-killing-not-only-river.html (03 June 2022)
Supreme Court No Mining In Wildlife Sanctuaries & National Parks In a significant order, the Supreme Court on Friday (June 03) directed that each protected forest should have an Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of 1 kilimoter. The Court further directed that no permanent structure will be allowed within the ESZ. Mining within national wildlife sanctuary or national park cannot be permitted and thus will not be allowed. If the existing ESZ goes beyond 1 km buffer zone or if any statutory instrument prescribes a higher limit, then such extended boundary shall prevail.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and Aniruddha Bose passed the directions in applications filed in the TN Godavarman Thirumalpad case. Justice Bose read out the operative portion of the judgment. The Chief Conservator of Forests of each state has been directed to make a list of subsisting structures at the ESZs and submit a report to the court within 3 months period. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-1-km-esz-protected-forests-bans-permanent-structures-no-mining-wildlife-sanctuaries-national-parks-200760 (03 June 2022)
Uttar Pradesh Replenishment study of riverbed sand must for sand mining: NGT Govt should not permit any sand mining before completing replenishment studies for riverbed sand, a two-member bench of the NGT directed May 6, 2022. Such studies for riverbed sand must be done by credible institutions, following due procedure, in accordance with Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020. Uttar Pradesh must ensure that regulatory authorities are adequately equipped and capable to assess quantities of mined material, the order said. When it comes to “instream mining”, it has to be ensured that the machinery permitted or used otherwise “comply with semi mechanised mining operations in true sense,” it added.
In all districts with potential for sand-mining, environmental damage assessment has to be carried out and annual assessment reports placed in public domain on the websites of the mining department, as well as the SPCB. The NGT order came in the wake of applications filed before the court on the occurrence of illegal mining in the submerged water area in Kanwara and Bendakhadar villages in Banda district. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/replenishment-study-of-riverbed-sand-must-for-sand-mining-in-uttar-pradesh-ngt-82785 (11 May 2022)
Entire police outpost attached to police lines over illegal mining Following complaints of illegal sand mining and a confidential probe, Firozabad senior superintendent of police (SSP) Ashish Tiwari removed all cops attached to a police outpost from active duty and sent them to police lines on Monday (May 09). The cops included the Kotla police outpost in-charge, two head constables and one constable. They were found to be hand in glove with the mining mafia, according to an internal report. The SSP said a departmental probe has been ordered into the matter.
According to officers, illegal mining of clay and sand has been on for the past several years in village Wazirpur Kotla under Kotla police outpost. In the wake of this, local residents filed a complaint through the state integrated grievance redressal system last month. Acting on the complaint, sub-divisional magistrate Abhishek Kumar Singh directed police to coordinate with the revenue department team and take action against people involved in the criminal activity. However, the Kotla police outpost in-charge failed to take any action.
In 2017, constable Ravi Rawat was mowed down by a sand-laden tractor driven by an operative of the sand mafia in Firozabad district. In another incident, a sub-divisional magistrate survived an attack when a sand-laden tractor tried to mow him down. In the last five years, over 10 incidents of sand mafia attacks on anti-mining squads have taken place in the Yamuna belt. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/entire-police-outpost-attached-to-police-lines-over-illegal-mining/articleshow/91479294.cms (11 May 2022)
Kanpur District authorities on Monday booked a private construction company for illegal mining in Ganga and imposed a fine of Rs 2,09,664 on it. A case is being registered against Moti Bai, the proprietor of Moti Construction Company, for illegal sand mining of 537.6 cubic metres. The mining lease was given to the company for five years, but the company was mining beyond the prescribed area, besides using pokland machine in the main stream of the river. It had also constructed a temporary bridge. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/2l-fine-on-company-for-illegal-mining-in-ganga/articleshow/91930486.cms (01 June 2022)
Haryana NGT stops mining in three more villages in Yamunanagar The NGT has directed the Haryana government to stop the mining of boulder and gravel in Mandoli Ghaggar (West) and (East), Kanalsi, and Jairampur Jagir villages of Yamunanagar district on Tuesday (May 31). The NGT directed SPCB and SEIAA to recover environmental compensation from the firms for mining boulder & gravel illegally without any environmental clearance or consent for mining such minerals. The NGT directed the firms to pay penalty for illegal extraction of groundwater in terms of the Notification dated March 17, 2022, issued by the Haryana Water Resources Authority.
The NGT order reads that the firms were “granted mining leases for mining of sand only in the respective mining sites, and environmental clearance and CTO (consent to operate) and CTE (consent to establish) were granted by the SEIAA and state pollution control board and mining lease contracts were executed for mining sand only.” “…as per rules, the project proponents were bound to inform without any delay regarding the discovery of new mineral at the lease site but they did not inform the mining department regarding the discovery of boulder and gravel on the lease site and indulged in illegal mining of boulder and gravel,” the NGT order reads. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/haryana-ngt-stops-mining-in-three-more-villages-in-yamunanagar/articleshow/91947400.cms (01 June 2022)
Joint team finds no illegal mining at Bailgarh, mining dept states otherwise A joint committee of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh formed by the NGT to check alleged illegal mining changing the flow of Yamuna in Belgarh village of Chhachhrauli block in Yamunanagar has prepared a contradictory report to be submitted to the green court. The joint team of 14 members, including officials of pollution control board, SEIAA, mining and revenue departments of Saharanpur and Yamunanagar districts, said during inspection, no illegal mining was observed at the UP-Haryana border and adjacent area of Belgarh village.
“As per site observations, machinery of Star Mines (Saharanpur) was operating substantially away from the border area and within the jurisdiction of UP. No footprints of mining vehicles were observed approaching the border area near Bailgarh. On question raised by complainant Jahangir regarding diversion of flow of Yamuna, no such footprints were observed in the area of dispute,” the committee stated in its report. The inspection was carried out on May 12, when complainant Jahangir also accompanied the team. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/joint-team-finds-no-illegal-mining-at-bailgarh-mining-dept-states-otherwise-101654284861143.html (04 June 2022)
NGT to assess mining toll on Aravallis NGT has constituted a high-level panel to assess the quantum of illegal mining at 16 locations in the Aravallis, its impact on environment and loss to the state exchequer. The orders came on a plea by the Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement, which alleged despite a ban, illegal mining had been taking place in the Aravallis for years. Group members claimed they undertook field visits and found illegal mining taking place at 16 sites. At some places, the hills were completely razed.
The members took photographs and made videos of the destruction. Before moving the NGT, the group filed police complaints, but in vain. The NGT has directed the Director, Mines and Geology, and Haryana DGP to file affidavits on complaints regarding illegal mining in the area in the past five years. They have been told to explain in how many cases FIRs were registered and challans submitted and the number of vehicles impounded or released after payment of fine. https://m-tribuneindia-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/ngt-to-assess-mining-toll-on-aravallis-401015 (04 June 2022)
Goa Submit compliance report on illegal sand mining: HC to DGP The high court of Bombay at Goa has directed the director general of police to submit an affidavit explaining the compliance status of his standing order to curb illegal sand mining. The court has sought details of the daily patrolling record and information of sand extraction at four hotspots — Amona-Virdi Bridge, Kankan (Ponda), Volvoi (Ponda), and Camurlim (Bardez). The court has also asked the DGP to inform it whether action is proposed to be taken against police officials in Pernem, where illegal sand extraction was taking place.
It was submitted to the high court that sand extraction at least in Terekhol has now stopped, and some action has been taken against those involved. Advocate general Devidas Pangam told the court that Terekhol was not styled as one of the hotspots, and therefore, there was no 24×7 police vigilance. “The learned advocate general may be right in his submission,” the HC said.
“Nevertheless, we feel that if an operation of this scale goes on in a small village, it is difficult to accept that law enforcement agencies like police officials, mamlatdars, coastal guards, and RTO (road transport office) were completely unaware of the incidents.” “There is no proper explanation why complaints filed by concerned citizens, perhaps a significant danger to them, were ignored. In any case, this is a matter that is required to be inquired into with seriousness, as indicated by the DGP himself in his standing order dated March 17, 2022,” added the division bench comprising justices M S Sonak and R N Laddha.
“There is virtually a game of hide and seek that is going on. If that has to be tackled with seriousness, we feel that it is high time some action is necessary against those who failed to prevent such instances,” the high court stated. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/submit-compliance-report-on-illegal-sand-mining-hc-to-dgp/articleshow/91385586.cms (06 May 2022)
Punjab Sohana police have booked four people, including the sarpanch of Shampur village, for allowing illegal sand mining from the village’s shamlat land (village common land). The case was registered after AAP workers informed the mining department who then conducted a raid. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/sas-nagar-mohali/4-booked-after-aap-workers-report-illegal-sand-mining-7943029/ (30 May 2022)
Odisha Tehsildar hand in gloves with sand mafia: Kendrapara Sarpanch The Sarpanch of Juania Gram Panchayat in Kendrapara’s Aul block has alleged that the mafias are indiscriminately lifting sand illegally from the Kharasrota riverbed posing a great danger to the ecology. As per the allegations made by the Sarpanch, Subrat Nayak, the local Tehsildar is hand in gloves with the mafia and providing them support to steal the sand by tractors and trucks.
Speaking to OTV, Nayak said, “The sands are being lifted illegally since six months from the Kharasrota riverbed near Govindpur-Juania village.” “I have many times informed the Tehsildar about the theft. I have even written to him. But he seems to have turned a deaf ear towards all my grievances,” Nayak added. Nayak further threatened if no action is taken within the next seven days, he along with other villagers will stage a dharna in front of the Tehsil office.
Earlier on May 8, the sand mafia had attacked an Additional Tehsildar and three Revenue Inspectors (RIs) at the Rushikulya riverbed near Malijagannathpur village under Ganjam police limits. The Additional Tehsildar of Ganjam Tehsil, Suvendu Jena and three RIs (Bhaskar Sahu, Sitaram Sahu and Sushant Behera) were at the spot to raid following a tip-off about illegal sand mining. Enraged by the raid, sand mafia allegedly launched an attack on the officials and thrashed them with iron rods and sticks. https://odishatv.in/news/miscellaneous/illegal-sand-mining-tehsildar-hand-in-gloves-with-sand-mafia-says-kendrapara-sarpanch-177020 (16 May 2022)
RI, police attacked by sand mafia Two Revenue Inspectors and three police personnel were injured in an attack allegedly by sand mafia in Gadasahibaliapal under Jaleswar police station in Balasore district while conducting raids on illegal sand mining in Subarnarekha river on Friday (May 28). The officials were taken to Baliapal hospital and discharged after first-aid. Sources said, on a tip off about rampant illegal sand mining on the river bed, three Revenue Inspectors from different circles under Jaleswar tehsil along with three police personnel went to the spot and found the local people and labourers engaged in loading sand as sand mafias stood guard. When the officials asked to stop as lease was not granted to any person at the river bed, the mafia started attacking them.
From May 23 even when the district administration imposed CrPC 144 on the river beds of Subarnarekha to check sand theft, the mafias continued to lift sand allegedly with the support of local people. Soon after the attack, a platoon of police force along with SDPO and IIC of Jaleswar police station rushed to the spot and shifted the injured to hospital. Police have been deployed in the village to check further violence. Sources said more than 100 trucks have regularly been lifting sand for the last some days causing revenue loss to the government. Jaleswar Additional Tehsildar Hemanta Kumar Naik said an enforcement team of police and two RIs were attacked by a mob when they tried stopping the sand mafia. Later, another RI and a platoon of police force rushed to the spot. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/may/29/ri-police-attacked-by-sand-mafia-2459341.html (29 May 2022)
Tamil Nadu 7 Drown After Getting Stuck In Quicksand Seven people from a family, including three children, drowned after getting caught in quicksand while bathing in a river in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district on Sunday (June 5, 2022). The victims were reportedly taking a bath in the Gedilam river when they were stuck in sand. The incident happened at Kilarungunam village near Panrutty in the district. https://www.ndtv.com/tamil-nadu-news/7-drown-after-getting-stuck-in-quicksand-in-gedilam-river-tamil-nadu-3041421 (06 June 2022) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5F8P7UnAew
In a statement, Stalin said that several instances of young children and women drowning in water bodies like rivers and lakes are being reported in recent times and precautionary measures have to be taken to avert these incidents in future. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/tamil-nadu-seven-girls-drown-in-river-7954907/ (06 June 2022)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Najafgarh Jheel Haryana govt puts EMP on hold for 2 years The Haryana government intends to reassess the status of Najafgarh Jheel with a two-year action plan that puts on hold implementation of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) directed by the NGT, and as a result, at least a delay in notifying the area as a wetland. State officials said on Sunday (May 29) that the government will submit a report for the two-year assessment plan within 10 days to the inter-ministerial committee formed by the Union environment ministry. The committee will likely submit the report before the NGT on July 31.
Over the next two years, this plan will aim at draining water from the submerged area in Najafgarh because officials believe most of the region is under wastewater released from Gurugram . It involves creating a 6km-bundh near the water body, installation of gates and pumps around to it to divert wastewater to the Jhajjar drain, and connecting the Najafgarh drain to the Badshapur and Dhanwapur drains. Experts said the move by the Haryana government could not just delay the EMP, but also completely do away with the need to declare it as a wetland. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/on-hold-haryanas-green-plan-for-najafgarh-jheel/articleshow/91877888.cms (30 May 2022)
Tamil Nadu 2 IAS officers pool funds to save wetlands, waterbodies Two young IAS officers serving as collectors in Tirunelveli and Tiruvallur are trying to reverse the trend and protect the remaining wetlands in their districts with innovative approaches like active citizen volunteering. A couple of months ago, Tirunelveli Collector V Vishnu launched a first-of-its-kind initiative called ‘Nellai Digital Water Atlas’ to document and map all the waterbodies in the district. “We mapped 1,200 plus water bodies or wetlands and published the data in nellaineervalam.in, on which the public can track the implementation of waterbody-related projects. Tirunelveli is the first district to do it,” he said.
– In Tiruvallur, Collector Alby John is launching an initiative called Oor Koodi Oorani Kappom on Sunday. The project aims to rejuvenate 75 waterbodies this year with 100 per cent funding and support from industries, NGOs and the public. “We have already identified the 75 waterbodies. On Sunday, we will initiate bund construction and other restoration activities in 30 lakes. The inauguration will be done at Pandeswaram tank,” Alby John said. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/05/two-ias-officers-in-tamil-nadu-inspire-people-pool-funds-to-save-wetlands-and-waterbodies-2461936.html (05 June 202)
Gujarat Villagers turn farm into wetland to save crane eggs A Saras crane couple in the family way has found surprise custodians in the people of Ganasar village, 8km from Motown Sanand. In their zeal to protect two eggs laid in a farm, villagers have turned the 1- acre agricultural plot into a makeshift ‘artificial wetland’ — filling it with water brought in pots and with a makeshift canal — and are keeping an almost 24×7 vigil to ensure the two eggs are not attacked by wild animals or dogs. The farm owned by one Bachubhai Thakore is now the most frequented spot by villagers, who are brimming with excitement over the likely hatching of the eggs anytime next week. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/gujarat-villagers-turn-farm-into-wetland-to-save-crane-eggs/articleshow/91949619.cms (02 June 2022)
World’s first fishing cat census done in Chilika The Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, has 176 fishing cats, according to a census conducted by Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in collaboration with The Fishing Cat Project (TFCP). This is the world’s first population estimation of the fishing cat, which has been conducted outside the protected area network. According to CDA, the estimation was conducted in 2 phases. Phase-I was conducted in 2021 in the 115 sq km marshland present in the north and north-eastern section of Chilika and its surrounding areas. Phase II was conducted in 2022 in the Parikud side along the coastal islands of Chilika. Earlier this year, CDA had declared its intent to adopt a five year action plan for fishing cat conservation in Chilika. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/worlds-first-fishing-cat-census-done-in-chilika/article65496773.ece (05 June 2022)
Maharashtra Open gym in wetland area: Cidco seeks action Cidco has asked Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to take action against those who installed open gym equipment in the wetland area in Sector 17, Kharghar. The PCMC staffers had installed the open gym on the reclaimed portion of the wetland using a BJP corporator’s official fund. A PMC team had visited the site on Monday. The wetland is listed by BNHS. Meanwhile, dead fishes were found near the gym on Friday (June 03). “Dumping and development activity is prohibited in the CRZ 1B area wetland. It’s shocking that a government agency’s fund was misused for an an open gym under political influence,” activist Nareshchandra Singh of Kharghar Wetland and Hills Group said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/open-gym-in-wetland-area-cidco-seeks-action/articleshow/91996426.cms (04 June 2022)
Ranvijay Singh:- Images of 2017 and 2011 shows Ekana Stadium, Finix Mall built on a wetland area in Lucknow. https://twitter.com/ranvijaylive/status/1533317538985017344?s=20&t=LB_1qFAI1ctcxJmpykUSQg
Assam Conserving wetlands important for poverty alleviation: Minister It is important for poverty alleviation and food and livelihood security for marginal and poor segments of the society, Assam minister for environment and forest, fisheries and excise Parimal Suklabaidya said while inaugurating a workshop. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/conserving-wetlands-important-for-poverty-alleviation-minister/articleshow/92013796.cms (05 June 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir On the occasion of World Environment Day, the Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) has made a fervent appeal to the general public in Jammu and Kashmir to exercise maximum restraint in the use of land and water resources and desist from making encroachments on water bodies like rivers, lakes and wetlands. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/kashmir/gcc-decries-encroachment-of-water-bodies (06 June 2022)
Assam From IIT Guwahati, a device to turn wastewater into energy Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati have developed a microbial fuel cell (MFC), a bio-electrochemical device that can generate “green energy” by treating wastewater. The researchers said the device offered a dual benefit — generation of bioelectricity and waste management — by converting chemical energy contained in organic substrates into electrical energy through microbes. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/from-iit-guwahati-a-device-to-turn-wastewater-into-energy/article65482952.ece (01 June 2022)
Haryana जलभराव की वजह से खेत बेचने को मजबूर किसान चरखी दादरी के कृषि क्षेत्रों में सालभर जलभराव की वजह से जमीन खेती लायक नहीं रह गई है। किसान वैकल्पिक व्यवसाय अपना रहे हैं, या खेती जारी रखने के लिए दूसरे गांवों में पट्टे पर जमीन ले रहे हैं। उत्तर भारत के कई हिस्सों में भूजल की कमी एक समस्या है। जबकि इसके विपरीत हरियाणा के 319 गांवों में भूजल के उच्च स्तर के कारण जलभराव की समस्या बनी रहती है।
कृषि विभाग के द्वारा हुए गांवों में जलभराव खारे क्षेत्रों के सर्वे में चरखी दादरी में 2017 से 2022 तक कुल 79,595 एकड़ कृषि भूमि में से 9,190 एकड़ में 2017 में जलभराव पाया गया। यह संख्या हर साल बढ़ती गई। 2018 में जलभराव क्षेत्र बढ़कर 9,540 एकड़ हो गया और 2019 में यह बढ़कर 9,840 एकड़ हो गया। 2020 में यह 9,840 एकड़ पर स्थिर रहा। हालांकि, 2021 में जिले में जलभराव के दायरे में 10,490 एकड़ हो गई है।
इमलोटा में सर्वेक्षण किए गए कुल 3,450 एकड़ में से 1,900 एकड़ में जलभराव और फसल का न होना पाया गया। सर्वेक्षण में यह भी पाया गया कि 2017 में इमलोटा में 600 एकड़ भूमि जलमग्न हो गई थी और 2022 में यह क्षेत्र बढ़कर 1,900 एकड़ हो गया। इमलोटा हरियाणा के चरखी दादरी जिले के सात गांवों के समूह का एक हिस्सा है, जो 2008-09 से बारहमासी जलभराव के मुद्दों का सामना कर रहे हैं। अन्य छह गांव स्वरूपगढ़, सत्तोर, मोरवाला, कान्हेती, बिगोवा और बडवी हैं। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/05/31/waterlogging-pushes-haryana-farmers-to-sell-agricultural-land/ (31 May 2022)
Bengaluru Report exposes condition of BMRCL’s RWH pits A report released by ActionAid Association shows that in the stretch between four metro stations in the heart of the city – MG Road to Swami Vivekananda Road – a number of problems like broken and leaky pipes, clogged pits, and water storage tanks have been identified in the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited’s (BMRCL) rainwater harvesting (RWH) pits. The report, titled ‘Rainwater Harvesting at Namma Metro,’ carries the findings from a survey conducted in the last week of May covering 156 metro pillars. Several other issues like non-uniform placement of pits between stations, overflowing pits due to the hardening of soil and water being discharged on road dividers which ran into the roads and then into local drains, were identified. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/broken-pipes-and-clogged-pits-report-exposes-condition-of-bmrcls-rwh-pits/article65491430.ece (03 June 2022)
Citizens raise issues of clogged drains ahead monsoon. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/don-t-wait-till-monsoons-to-desilt-clogged-drains-1115056.html (04 June 2022)
Chola dynasty lake was revived by crowd fund The Singena Agrahara lake in the Anekal taluk dates back thousands of years and is said to have been constructed by Rajaraja 1, an emperor of the Chola dynasty. Local residents say that the lake was traditionally used for irrigation but over the years, not only was the 106-acre waterbody encroached but also did it become a major spot to dump garbage. Last year, it was also observed that the farming has been taken up in the buffer zone of the lake.. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/karnataka-singena-agrahara-lake-anekal-rejuvenation-7952814/ (05 June 2022)
After a gap of almost three years, boating in Madiwala Lake has been resumed by the Karnataka forest department. The custody of the lake was transferred from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to the department in April. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/boating-bengaluru-madiwala-lake-restarts-three-years-7951433/ (04 June 2022)
The members of the national and state wetland committee have listed Bellandur and Varthur lakes in the proposed list of 10 water bodies from Karnataka which is part of 100 priority wetlands being identified and listed. During meetings held in March and May, the 10-member committee has given Aghanashini estuary top priority in the list. Once again, the site has been proposed to be declared as the first Ramsar site of Karnataka. The site is importance as it is being conserved with the coastal regulatory zone and an eco-sensitive zone. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2022/jun/05/bengalurus-bellandur-varthur-lakes-on-priority-wetland-list-2461933.html (05 June 2022)
BWSSB’s Rs 11-lakh work down the drain The 30 odd families residing in KHB Colony, Basaveshwara Nagar, are peeved with the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), and no, it’s not due to the lack of work being done by the civic body. On the contrary, it’s the opposite. BWSSB recently spent around 11 lakh on new water lines and sanitary connections and newly constructed manholes, much to the dismay of the residents, who say the initiative was completely unnecessary. These 30 families say they have been residing at KHB Colony without facing civic issues for more than two decades. They never complained to the BWSSB engineers about clogging of sewer lines or overflowing manholes.
However, the BWSSB has engaged a contractor to dig up 17th C Cross and other cross roads to lay underground drainage pipes and the residents were compelled to spend extra money to connect their sanitary pipes to the newly laid underground pipeline. The residents complain that the newly constructed manholes have become a nuisance for them whenever it rains. They said the cross road becomes a mini pond. “Rainwater mixed with drain water and sewage overflows from manholes whenever it rains heavily. We have suffered a lot. We have to wade through ankle-deep dirty water,’’ said Mariam, a resident. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/bwssbs-rs-11-lakh-work-down-the-drain/articleshow/91948872.cms (02 June 2022)
BBMP will soon be using recycled wastewater for the upkeep of parks and playgrounds across the city. This will be made possible through a project taken up by the Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) in association with Bengaluru Apartment Federation (BAF) and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/grey-water-to-make-bengaluru-greener/articleshow/91948982.cms (02 June 2022)
Custody of Madiwala Lake handed over back to forest dept The custody of the Madiwala Lake located in the BTM Layout neighbourhood has been handed over back to the Karnataka Forest Department from the BBMP, following the department’s repeated requests to the state government. Though the handover took place in April, confusion still prevails over the allocation of funds to the department to carry out development work in the lake.
Since there is a perennial problem of flooding in the vicinity of the lake, the forest department, in association with the Biome Environmental Trust, dug a recharge well and an open well in February near the department’s office next to the lake. These wells have the potential to recharge 1,45,000 litres of water into the ground, and water from these wells will be used to water the garden and the nursery, thereby reducing the dependency on borewells. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-custody-madiwala-lake-handed-forest-department-7943692/ (30 May 2022)
Ill-maintained Seegehalli Lake has come of sewage Choked drains cannot take the rain and sewage overflow is dragged into the lake that citizens have been struggling to rejuvenate While rain after-effects are seen on the roads of the city, even lakes are not spared. The Seegehalli Lake that was slowly getting in better shape after fishkill due to sewage in 2018, but the recent rain saw a torrent of trash being dragged into the lake. After sewage flowed into the lake last year due to clogged underground drains, the BWSSB engineers created a diversion channel. But the drains continued to be choked and so with a heavy lashing of rain, the sewage overflow from the drain and trash has flown into the lake. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/ill-maintained-seegehalli-lake-has-come-of-sewage/articleshow/91672198.cms (20 May 2022)
Sewage into Haralur Lake causes loss of aquatic life Located in Bengaluru’s Bellandur, the Haralur Lake’s condition is deteriorating each day due to the entry of sewage. Owing to this reason, last week, dead fish were seen floating on the surface of the waterbody. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Ravi, superintendent engineer, BBMP, said, “The BWSSB is yet to lay the sanitary pipelines and this is the reason due to which sewage flows into the network of storm water drains.”
A local resident, Rashmi Nangia, said, “The Haralur Lake was renovated in 2013. It is surrounded with substantial green cover which contributes to the biodiversity of the area. The main source of water for the lake are the three storm water drains (inlets). However, unfortunately, over the years a large amount of untreated sewage is finding its way into the drains, resulting in a drastic drop of the quality of water. This has adversely impacted the aquatic life in the lake. During the renovation, an underground drainage system was installed on the periphery of the lake with the objective to divert sewage water but the same is not effective since solid waste clogs the system.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-sewage-haralur-lake-loss-of-aquatic-life-threat-7917615/ (15 May 2022)
Haralur Lake looks drained, out of life Haralur Lake, a threatened biodiversity habitat and a recreational site for 30,000 residents of ward 150, is in a deteriorating state. From sewage entering the lake to improper walking tracks, residents had a lot to complain about. They said sewage being released into the lake is causing fish to die and causing a foul stench too. The lake is spread across 14 acres and the walking path covers about 1.75 km. A budget of Rs 1.5 crore for developing Haralur Lake was proposed to BBMP in 2019. However, the lakes department kept saying it didn’t have adequate funds for the development and maintenance of the lake. Residents also complained about not holding ward committee meetings to discuss their issues. Bengaluru NavaNirmana Party (BNP) said the civic body must take immediate action to clean up the lake. So far, the BBMP has developed many outdoor parks in different zones. Among 1,348 parks, there are over 1,118 parks that have been developed while 230 are yet to see any development. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/haralur-lake-looks-drained-out-of-life/articleshow/91550660.cms (14 May 2022)
After two long years of waiting, residents near Benniganahalli lake are likely to get various facilities under lake development work by September. Due to the ongoing Metro work, BMRCL has undertaken to complete the lake development work at an estimated cost of Rs 2.5 crore. The project was delayed due to opposition from residents and lake activists over cutting of trees, which were eventually translocated. A 15-m footpath will come up all around the 10 acres of the lake area. The rejuvenation work for Benniganahalli lake near Pai Layout was completed in 2018 at the cost of Rs 3 crore. “We had asked BMRCL to provide Rs 4 crore initially but settled on Rs 2.5 crore. Under the project, an entrance for Pai Layout will be constructed, a 15 m cobblestone walking/jogging track (on lake bund), two gazebos, a children’s park spanning roughly 1,000 sq ft and an open gym, lightning, and security guards will be provided for. Since toilets are not permitted inside lake premises, we have asked for two temporary toilets to be installed. Unauthorised settlers will also be served notice. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/care-for-a-stroll-around-the-benniganahalli-lake/articleshow/91384717.cms (07 May 2022)
Thousands of fish were found dead at Mahadevapura Lake due to inflow of contaminated water after the heavy downpour on Sunday. Residents who found dead fish floating on the surface reached out to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) for assistance. The lake was revived by the BBMP a couple of years ago. The waterbody has a STP in the vicinity to recycle the wastewater before releasing it into the lake. “The STP treats wastewater flowing in through one of the inlets.
This inlet carries water from upstream areas such as Garudachar Palya and Whitefield. Many of these areas do not have underground drainage systems (UGDs). All the wastewater, a combination of domestic and commercial sewage enters the SWDs. Diversion drains set up by the BBMP keep the lake in good condition during the dry seasons; however, heavy downpours channel the water from flooded SWDs into the lake,” said Sandeep Shetty, a resident of Mahadevapura. The SWDs are also filled with plastic bottles, domestic sewage, industrial effluents and commercial waste. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/death-metal/articleshow/91355598.cms (06 May 2022)
Hoodi Lake restoration face paucity of fund Last year, the Hoodi Lake located in the Hoodi village under the Mahadevapura zone was restored at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore. While the BBMP diverted the sewage and restored the lake, the work is half way through due to paucity of funds. Spread in an extent of more than 15 acre, the lake wears a dry look during the summers since it is completely dependent on rain.
Balaji Raghotham, a lake activist, said, “The lake is now in a good state. It is free from sewage and properly fenced. However, the plan to construct a jogging path is not something I would approve of. The concentration should not be more on the beautification of the lake. Since the lake is not connected to the STP, there is no scope of treated water coming to the lake. It is completely dependent on the rainwater. BBMP should work on getting the rainwater towards the lake.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/hoodi-lake-rejuvenation-bengaluru-7895311/ (02 May 2022)
Chennai Mining will destroy Siruthavur lake near Chennai: Experts Over the last few weeks, hundreds of tonnes of earth was mined out of Siruthavur lake, a prominent wetland just 45 km from Chennai. So far, 2,800 lorry loads were removed from the lake, and the Chengalpattu district administration granted permission to excavate another 2,225 loads by June 7, raising concerns of environmental degradation.
This is contrary to the State government’s plan to notify 100 wetlands in the next five years under the TN Wetland Mission launched by Chief Minister MK Stalin. With over 225 species recorded, Siruthavur is an important birding hotspot in North Tamil Nadu. The site hosts the vanishing Oriental Pratincole and Indian Courser. “The benthic life of a wetland develops over time on the undisturbed lake bed, which attracts birds and fish. Unplanned and unscientific dredging disturbs the lake-bed ecosystem and sediment gradient drastically, which will then take years to form again,” said M Yuvan from the Madras Naturalists Society. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2022/jun/01/mining-will-destroy-siruthavur-lake-near-chennai-experts-2460276.html (01 June 2022)
Water Resources Department is racing against time to augment water storage facilities and complete flood mitigation work in Chennai before the onset of monsoon to save nearly 22 tmcft of additional water. Chennai needs at least one tmcft of water every month for its drinking water needs and 22tmcft of water may be enough to meet the city’s two-year requirement. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/06/water-projects-to-help-chennai-city-save-22tmcft-to-complete-flood-mitigation-works-2462279.html (06 June 2022)
Hyderabad Tunnel road under KBR can deplete groundwater, say expert The proposed four-way tunnel road underneath the KBR park will cause heavy damage to the groundwater table in the rocky terrain resulting in shortage of groundwater in the areas served by the aquifers beneath the picturesque national park, said a senior geophysicist. Moreover, a fault line passes through the KBR park from Banjara lake to Shankarpalli. Any tinkering with the geomorphology of the KBR park and Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills in the vicinity may impact the fault line resulting in tremors. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/tunnel-road-under-kbr-can-deplete-groundwater-expert/articleshow/92011675.cms (05 June 2022)
Pune 8 water ATMs run dry in PCB Eight water ATMs installed in all the eight wards of the Pune Cantonment area in 2016-17 are lying defunct for the past three years. The Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) had initiated the pilot project under the “Smart Cantonment” initiative at a cost of Rs.35 lakhs. And a Gujarat-based company had installed the ATMs. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/8-water-atms-run-dry-in-pcb-101654441239275.html (05 June 2022)
Itanagar City to get lift water supply in 2 months The new 7 mld ‘lift water supply project’ for Itanagar township will be completed within the next two months. The project is being undertaken at Senki View here. Informing this, Itanagar PHE&WS Executive Engineer Tadar Mangku informed that, once completed, the project will somewhat help in meeting the growing need for drinking water. “The total requirement of drinking water for Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) is 57 mld. At present, Itanagar has a 25 mld supply and has a deficit of 12 mld. Naharlagun town at present has an 11 mld water supply and is facing a deficit of 17 mld. The Senki lift water supply project is part of the effort to ease the improvement of drinking water supply,” he said.
Mangku further said that three more new drinking water projects in the ICR are on the verge of completion. “We have 1 mld project in Damsite, Naharlagun, which is almost on the verge of finishing. Another 1 mld project in Model Village, Naharlagun, and a .5 mld in Banderdewa are also on the verge of completion,” he added. The EE also informed that “a proposal for 42 mld from the Senki source in Itanagar has been submitted to the state government.” “The state government has announced Rs 30 crores for it in the budget. The DPR is in the final stage. We are also proposing to change the old water supply pipeline in the ICR,” said Mangku. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/05/31/itanagar-to-get-lift-water-supply-in-2-months/ (31 May 2022)
Karnataka NGT imposes ₹52cr penalty on Adani power plant The NGT imposed penalty of ₹52 crore on Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL), part of Adani Power, for violating environmental laws and polluting its surroundings at Nandikur near Padubidri in Udupi district. On May 31, Judicial Member K. Ramakrishnan and expert members Satyagopal Korlapati and Vijay Kulkarni of NGT’s southern bench in Chennai said the environmental compensation was being levied on the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle.
The southern bench said 50% of the compensation should be utilised for improving environmental infrastructure, including water supply, sewage, STP, solid waste management, healthcare and skill development, by Central Pollution and KSPCB s in consultation with the Udupi Deputy Commissioner. If UPCL does not pay the compensation to CPCB within three months, the board should recover it as per law. CPCB and KSPCB may direct UPCL to adopt Zero Liquid Discharge system to protect the marine environment.
MoEFCC should consider the carrying capacity study of the region done by the Karnataka Government and incorporate fresh terms of reference (ToR) for another study, before directing UPCL to conduct a fresh EIA study by an accredited agency. Only thereafter, it may consider issuing EC for the project’s expansion, NGT said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/ngt-imposes-52-crore-penalty-on-adani-upcl-for-environmental-pollution-in-coastal-karnataka/article65486921.ece (02 June 2022)
JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY
Madhya Pradesh Villagers risk lives, climb in and out of dry wells for water People of Dindori’s Ghusiya village have been climbing into and out of deep wells without the support of any rope only to collect water from the apparent puddle at the bottom. Speaking to the agency, villagers said that all the three wells in the village and the handpumps have dried up. “Be it day or night, we have to go down into the well to collect water. There are three wells in the village and all are mostly dry. No hand pumps have water. The situation remains like this for twelve months,” villager Rudiya Bai told ANI. Criticising the government of not resolving the water crisis, the villagers have decided to boycott Gram Panchayat elections until every household in the village gets a connection to tap drinking water. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/watch-madhya-pradesh-villagers-risk-lives-climb-in-and-out-of-dry-wells-for-water-8633471.html (02 June 2022)
Maharashtra Villagers in Nashik have had to walk for 3 km carrying vessels to fetch water from wells that have dried up leaving only muddy puddles at the bottom. Without any other source of water available, the villagers have been climbing down the wells to collect the dirty water, and “filter” it using a cloth as a sieve before walking back home. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/current-affairs-trends/watch-maharashtra-villagers-walk-3-km-climb-down-dry-wells-to-fetch-muddy-water-8642921.html (05 June 2022)
Himachal Pradesh Will this impact community efforts at water conservation?
Webinar Summary Decentralised governance to sustain the precious resource? This discussion end with enlightening all of us with an overview of the journey of water in India in the last 75+ years. This comprehensive summary will help us understand the today’s water problems more objectively. The key takeways remain emphasis on people’s participation, people-centric policies, and the need for a decentralised governance approach to sustain the precious water resources. https://www.counterview.in/2022/05/75-yrs-of-water-in-india-whither.html (31 May 2022)
Report How bad is India’s water crisis? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHPgoQ7Rk1Q (02 June 2022)
SANDRP Blog Pre Monsoon 2022: District wise rainfall in India In the just concluded three month pre monsoon season (March 1 to May 31, 2022) India received 130.6 mm rainfall, 1% below the normal rainfall of 131.7 mm as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD). In 2020 and 2021 India received 158.5 mm and 155.2 mm or 20% and 18% above normal rainfall respectively. So this year, India has received much lower pre monsoon season rainfall compared to previous two years. https://sandrp.in/2022/05/31/state-wise-rainfall-in-pre-monsoon-2022-season-in-india/ (31 May 2022)
Experts slammed the IMD’s announcement as “premature” and also alleged this could affect future studies on rainfall patterns and climate change. https://www.thequint.com/south-india/southwest-monsoon-kerala-india-meteorological-department-declaration-onset-rain-climate-change#read-more (03 June 2022)
“Declaring monsoon based on single day observations amounts to gross violation of standards, never attempted in the past. Any reputed scientific body can ill afford to bend rules and criteria, just to prove the forecast right. Such a step, if taken knowingly, becomes highly objectionable and if otherwise amounts to illusion of knowledge (sic),” Skymet said in a note posted on its website. The IMD had predicted that the monsoon onset would be on May 27. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/imd-declares-monsoon-onset-over-kerala-how-scientific-its-assessment-164514 (30 May 2022)
Skymet said on Sunday (June 05) that there might not be any significant uptick in monsoon activity over Southern India in parts where it has already reached while the rains will be vigorous over North-Eastern India. The state-run IMD, in its last weather update, had said rainfall will increase over the south peninsular India from June 7. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/no-uptick-in-monsoon-over-south-india-to-enter-weak-phase-skymet-122060500392_1.html (06 June 2022)
The Southwest monsoon will be normal and quantitatively be 103 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA), according to the second stage Long Range Forecast issued by the IMD on Tuesday (May 31).
Notably, it will be the seventh consecutive year when the country would receive normal rainfall during June to September months. Previously, India has recorded consecutive normal monsoons for 12 years between 1953 – 1964 and 1988 – 1999, four years between 1975 – 1978 , 2005 – 2008 and 2010 – 2013. After two deficient monsoons in 2014 and 2015, there have been six years of normal rainfall since 2016. This includes two consecutive above normal rainfall years recorded in 2019 (110 per cent of LPA) and 2020 (109 per cent of LPA). https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/monsoon-normal-imd-long-range-forecast-7945365/ (01 June 2022)
IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra predicted that the country will receive 103 percent of its long-term average rainfall this year. MET department had earlier projected southwest monsoon rains at 99% of LPA. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/monsoon-rainfall-in-2022-to-be-normal-for-india/articleshow/91910407.cms (31 May 2022)
“There’s a reason why monsoons have long been a part of popular imagination. Rains have inspired myths and music, art and literature. In Indian mythology alone, there are several deities associated with the rain; Indra, Varuna, Varshini, Surupa, Mariamman. As per the Ṛg Veda, even the raincloud Parjanya is considered divine – he brings the life-giving rain in the form of a furious bull or a cow with heavy udders, accompanied by three voices; lightning, thunder and rain. From the Hindustani classical rāga, Malhār associated with torrential rains, or the many indigenous styles of paintings depicting the rains, or the 4th-5th CE lyric poem, Meghdootam penned by Kālidāsa – rains are an integral part of our culture.” https://mailchi.mp/a392f70319a8/the-geosophy-newsletter-edition-11-june2022 (11 June 2022)
कैसे विकसित होता है भारतीय मॉनसून? https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/06/03/how-does-the-indian-monsoon-develop/ (03 June 2022)
SANDRP Blog Assam: Kopili River Flows above Kampur HFL for 6 Days in Pre-Monsoon Season This is an unusual event on more than one count. Firstly, the Kopili river at Kampur LF site breached HFL in pre-monsoon season. Secondly, the river had stayed in extreme flood situation flowing above previous HFL for over 6 days. Going by the records SANDRP has been maintaining on HFL breach events since 2018, no other river in North-East has witnessed this kind of extreme flooding. https://sandrp.in/2022/06/01/assam-kopili-river-flows-above-kampur-hfl-for-6-days-in-pre-monsoon-season/ (01 June 2022)
Bihar Changing Kosi keeps land ownership under question As per the Special Survey Settlement Rules 2012, any farmland submerged in the Kosi river will become the property of the state government and the original owner will have to forego their claim over the land. A land survey in Bihar, started two years ago, has been completed in 20 districts and the remaining 18 districts are expected to be covered by 2023.
Farmers along the Kosi river in Bihar argue that since the river changes its course from time to time, the law enforcing them to give up their land is unjust. They are demanding ownership of the land along the river streams. In view of the farmers’ protest, government has postponed the land survey in the inner part of the Kosi embankment. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/05/as-kosi-river-keep-changing-ownership-of-land-on-its-embankments-under-question/ (31 May 2022)
Ahead of Monsoon, Villagers Begin Abandoning Villages In what can be termed as a strange occurrence, some 50 households have dismantled their homes with their own hands, abandoned their village and migrated to safety, given the threat of river erosion and failure of the government to implement anti-erosion work.
“At the moment, monsoon is at least two weeks away, the river is not in spate or swollen, there is no flood, but we strongly fear the threat of river erosion that washed away everything including homes, agriculture land, school, mosque last year and before. Erosion is a reality that threatens us every year; we have no option but to migrate if we want to get rid of fear,” said Halim, who was a resident of erosion-prone Babla Banna village under Amdabad block till recent.
This village is situated near the bank of river Ganga, and the villagers have been real victims of river erosion for years due to official apathy. Despite repeated demands made by villagers to the local administration to protect them from the threat of river erosion, no anti-erosion work has been done.
Gopal Chander Mishra, superintendent engineer, flood control, Katihar, said no order had been given to date for anti-erosion works near Babla Banna. Anti-erosion works are undertaken only after the order is passed at the department level. Mishra admitted that Katihar is worst affected by river erosion that displaces thousands every year. This fact has exposed the negligence on the part of the government and its seriousness in dealing with increasing river erosion year after year in the state.
In flood-prone Katihar, erosion by four major rivers – Ganga, Mahananda, Koshi and Barandi displaced thousands during monsoon. However, there is no official data on the number of people displaced by river erosion in the state. Ironically, the State government claimed that anti-erosion works are underway as a part of flood control measures in Katihar and other vulnerable districts. On the paper, flood-control measures, mainly the maintenance of long embankments and anti-erosion works, should have been completed by May 15, but works are still underway at several places. https://www.newsclick.in/bihar-monsoon-fearing-river-erosion-villagers-abandoning-villages (31 May 2022)
Srinagar Monsoon rainfall increases, raising flood fears Urbanisation is leading to increased monsoon rainfall in the Kashmir valley, say researchers, raising fears of catastrophic flooding exacerbated by poor urban planning
Kashmir has, historically, received low levels of rainfall during the South Asian monsoon season (typically June to September). But new research suggests this may be changing, creating the conditions for more catastrophic floods unless authorities can better plan and prepare.
A recent research paper analysed 30 years of rainfall data across the Kashmir valley, from 1980 to 2017. “We saw an increased activity of Indian summer monsoons,” said Mohammad Muslim, a professor at the University of Kashmir and one of the paper’s five authors. Their research found that the contribution of overall rainfall in the Kashmir valley from the summer monsoon rose by about 10% between 1980-1990 and 2010-2017. The research suggests that the Indian summer monsoon winds, which bring rain to the Indian subcontinent but would previously stop at the southern border of the valley, are increasingly making their way inwards into the valley. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/monsoon-rainfall-increases-in-kashmir-raising-flood-fears/ (30 May 2022)
Report झीलों को ‘मारकर’ बसाया गया बेंगलुरु पंकज चतुर्वेदी :देशभर में जलस्रोतों को जिस हिंसक क्रूरता के साथ ध्वस्त किया जा रहा है, उससे एक समाज की हैसियत से अपने आत्महंता होने की तस्दीक तो होती ही है। बेंगलुरु समेत मुम्बई, चेन्नई, पुणे, दिल्ली, कोलकता, इंदौर, भोपाल जैसे नगर-महानगर तालाबों की बर्बादी के नतीजे में साल-दर-साल डूबते-उतराते हैं। बेंगलुरु शहर के 43 तालाब देखते-ही-देखते मैदानों और फिर दुकानों-मकानों में तब्दील हो गए। पिछले दिनों आई बाढ़ का सबसे अधिक असर इन्हीं इलाकों में देखा गया । कई जगह तो झील के नाम के ही उपनगर बस गए हैं, जैसे – मरेनहल्ली , कलासीपाल्या , कोडुगांडाहल्ली , मुरगेशपाल्या , टिंबरयार्ड, विजयनगर आदि । महानगर की सबसे प्रतिष्ठि त कही जाने वाली आवासीय परियोजना ‘बणशंकरी फेज-2’ ‘कडीरेनहल्ली सरोवर’ पर है। ‘सोनेहल्ली ’ पर आस्टीन टाउन है, तो त्यागराजनगर ‘त्यागराज झील’पर। https://www.spsmedia.in/global-environment/bangalore-was-built-by-killing-the-lakes/ (02 June 2022)
Andhra Pradesh SC sets aside NGT order, says tribunals subordinate to HC Taking note of apprehensions of irreversible damage to Rushikonda hills in Visakhapatnam due to excavations for a tourism project, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (June 01) directed that the construction be restricted to the area where a now-demolished resort stood and the flat areas until the state High Court, where the dispute is pending, takes a fresh call. A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Hima Kohli said although development activities are necessary for economic development, it is equally necessary to safeguard the environment.
The apex court set aside the May 6 order of the principal bench of the NGT, which had halted all further constructions at the project site. The bench pointed out that the matter was also pending before the HC, in which case, it said, the HC’s orders would prevail over those passed by the Tribunal. The court also expressed its displeasure over NGT entertaining the matter when HC was already seized of it.
“In so far as Tribunals are concerned, they would be subordinate to the High Court as territorial jurisdiction is concerned,” the top court said. The court said it is of the “considered view that it was not appropriate on part of NGT to have continued with proceedings before it, specifically when it was pointed to it that HC was already seized of the matter and had passed order”.
The top court said that “conflicting orders passed by NGT and High Court could lead to an anomalous situation”, and the “authorities would be faced with difficulty as to which orders they are required to follow”. “In such a situation, it is orders passed by the Constitutional courts which would prevail over orders passed by Tribunals,” the bench pointed out. It said continuation of proceedings before NGT for the same course of action pending before HC “would not be in the interest of justice”.
Quashing the NGT proceedings, the apex court, however, said “Taking into consideration serious allegations levelled by the respondents, it will be appropriate that all these facts are placed before HC and HC considers passing appropriate orders in accordance with the law so as to strike a balance between development and environmental issues.”
It said, “Though the HC has permitted construction to proceed in accordance with the law, we find that till HC takes call on the said issue, it will be necessary to issue certain directions”. Accordingly, the top court directed that “construction will be permitted only on the area where the construction existed earlier and which has been demolished and the flat areas”. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/city-others/orders-of-constitutional-courts-would-prevail-over-statutory-tribunals-sc-7947166/ (02 June 2022)
Why is NGT entertaining letters from politicians? The Supreme Court on Tuesday (May 31) wondered why the NGT is taking up letter petitions filed by lawmakers. A vacation bench of Justices B R Gavai and Hima Kohli said it thought the NGT jurisdiction was available to persons who can’t approach courts.
“What is this, the NGT is also entertaining letters from Members of Parliament. We thought that this jurisdiction was available for have-nots and persons who can’t approach courts. Ordinary citizens and not legislators,” the bench observed. The observation came while hearing the Andhra Pradesh government’s appeal against an NGT order halting construction work at Rushikonda Hills in Visakhapatnam. The NGT had passed the order on a petition filed by M P K. Raghu Ramakrishna Raju, alleging violation of CRZ norms by the project. https://www.freepressjournal.in/legal/supreme-court-why-is-national-green-tribunal-entertaining-letters-from-politicians (31 May 2022)
Mend The Mind – Deserts And Ravines Are Not Wastelands by Manoj Misra https://thedialogue.co.in/article/MV2lInsMbXOprwmgxLOo/mend-the-mind–deserts-and-ravines-are-not-wastelands (05 June 2022)
Uttarakhand जंगल और वन अधिकारों का वही संघर्ष by Hridayesh Joshi तिलाड़ी कांड को जंगलात क़ानूनों के खिलाफ भारत के पहले बड़े विद्रोह के रूप में जाना जाता है। तिलाड़ी विद्रोह के 92 साल बाद आज भी लोग वनाधिकारों के लिये लड़ रहे हैं। छत्तीसगढ़ के हसदेव अरण्य समेत देश के कई हिस्सों में चल रहे आंदोलनों में तिलाड़ी का अक्स दिखता है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/05/30/tiladi-movement-indias-first-struggle-for-forest-right/ (30 May 2022)
Meghalaya Indigenous community offers lessons in climate resilience The indigenous food system of the Khasi community in Nongtraw village in Meghalaya offers lessons in climate resilience and sustainable food systems, says a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report. The traditional food production system is supported by jhum (shifting cultivation), home gardens, forest and water bodies and shies away from the use of synthetic chemicals. It is based on community-led landscape management practices, regulated by local governance.
Factors such as the emergence of cash crop production (broom grass), the impact of India’s public distribution system on the local subsistence system and over-reliance on market-based products are weakening the food system’s resilience. Research priorities on indigenous food systems should include systematic documentation of a wide variety of indigenous foods known to the indigenous communities, their contribution to food security and dietary diversity. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/11/an-indigenous-community-in-meghalaya-offers-lessons-in-climate-resilience/ (04 Nov. 2021)
Study Snow cover ‘shrinks’ in HKH region Jharkhand-based premier tech cradle IIT (ISM) Dhanbad ‘eye opener’ research reveals significant decrease in snow cover of low altitudinal region of Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region and calls for efforts to reduce emission of greenhouse gases and implementing carbon capture technology in oil and gas sector. A recent research conducted by the department of applied geology of IIT (ISM) Dhanbad indicated significant decline in the snow cover (from 5%-15%) in the central zone and eastern zone of Hindu Kush Himalayan region.
The study conducted by the department as part of the research of PhD scholar Nirasindhu Desinayak under the guidance, associate professor of applied geology department Anup Krishna Prasad attributed the depletion of snow cover and melting of glaciers etc to warming tendency of the atmosphere (troposphere) over the Himalayas. The research was conducted for five years from 2017 and released to the media on Wednesday (June 1). https://www.telegraphindia.com/jharkhand/snow-cover-shrinks-in-hindu-kush-himalayan-region/cid/1868037 (03 June 2022)
IWT Need to focus on role of rivers as connectors India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami on May 28, 2022 said all economic and political contexts of a river system along with its historical and cultural dimensions need to be taken into consideration for formulating policies surrounding it. The focus of discussion on rivers should shift from “hydro diplomacy” to “water cooperation”, he said. “The notion of a river as a separator has been in focus for long… but the role of a river as a connector is more fundamental,” Doraiswami said. He was speaking at a session on ‘Rivers of the Bay of Bengal: Connecting the Blue Economy, the Mountain Economy and the Plains Economy’ as part of ‘NADI 3: Asian Confluence River Conclave 2022’ in Guwahati.
– The third edition of the programme – Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence – is being organised by Shillong-based think tank Asian Confluence in collaboration with the External Affairs Ministry, Act East Policy Affairs Department of the Assam government, North Eastern Council and other partners. https://theprint.in/india/need-to-focus-on-role-of-rivers-as-connectors-indias-high-commissioner-to-bdesh/974783/ (28 May 2022)
118th Meeting of Permanent Indus Commission held in Delhi on May 30-31, 2022. India on Tuesday expressed its willingness to discuss Pakistan’s outstanding objections on hydroelectric projects on the western rivers. Responding to Pakistan’s objections on the Indian projects, including Pakal Dul was also sought. The Indian side was also urged to communicate flood flow information in advance as per the provisions of the treaty and the practice in vogue since 1989 until 2018. The Indian side also assured that Pakistan’s outstanding objections would be discussed in the next meeting, as the Indian side is still in the process of examining the details. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2359360/india-assures-pakistan-to-address-concerns-on-hydropower-projects (31 May 2022)
“Pakistan also highlighted its objections on India’s hydroelectric projects on the Western rivers. Response to Pakistan’s objections on Indian projects, including Pakal Dul, was also sought. The Indian side was also urged to communicate advance flood-flow information as per the provisions of the treaty and the practice in vogue since 1989 until 2018,” the statement said.
“Indian side assured to arrange tours/inspections after the coming flood season. The Indian side also assured that Pakistan’s outstanding objections will be discussed in the next meeting as the Indian side is still in the process of examining the details,” it said.. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-pakistan-news-discuss-river-water-issues-at-permanent-indus-commission-meeting-ministry-of-external-affairs-7946216/ (01 June 2022)
Ratle project to cause huge loss to Punjab crops Pakistan has sought details from the World Bank on how to advance on constitution of Court of Arbitration (CoA) and appointment of Neutral Expert (NE) to resolve the dispute on 330MW Kishanganga project on Jhelum River and 850MW Ratle hydropower project being erected on the Chenab River.
– “In case the Ratle project is completed with its objectionable design, Pakistan would have to bear 40 percent loss in water flows destined to reach Head Marala, Sialkot. This means a huge loss to various crops in Punjab. Ratle project, once completed, will directly damage the food basket of the country,” authorities concerned in Pakistan said.
– Pakistan believes Kishanganga’s poundage should be maximum of one million cubic metres instead of 7.5 million cubic metres, while its intake should be up to four metres and spillways raised to nine metres.
– “Yes, Pakistan’s Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali wrote a letter to the World Bank seeking details on how to advance on the constitution of Court of Arbitration (CoA) and appointment of Neutral Expert after the Bank agreed to re-initiate the process to constitute Court of Arbitration demanded by Pakistan and appointment of Neutral Expert asked by India to resolve the design issues of both the projects. Pakistan is of the view that designs of both the projects are violative of provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty,” a senior official of the Law Division confirmed.
– Official sources said the Court of Arbitration would be composed of one chairman, two umpires and two arbitrators from Pakistan and two from India. The Neutral Expert is one-man court, which is appointed with consultation of both the countries in the dispute. And in case the two countries could not develop a consensus on one personality, then the World Bank would appoint a Neutral Expert on its own. The World Bank on March 31, 2022 in a letter to the-then Pakistan’s Attorney General Khalid Jawed and Indian Secretary of Department of Water Resources P. Kumar informing about its decision that it has lifted the ‘stay’ it took in December 2016 and announced to reinitiate the process to constitute the Court of Arbitration (CoA). The World Bank took five years and four months to lift the pause.
– Pakistan had four objections to the Ratle project; the freeboard should be one metre instead of two metres; poundage should be a maximum of eight million cubic metres instead of 24 million; the intake level should be at 8.8 meters and spillways must be located at the height of 20 metres. As far as Ratle project is concerned, sources said, India has completed significant civil work, including two diversion tunnels, upstream bridge, upstream and downstream roads, and will soon start construction work on the dam portion having a height of almost 134 metres. India will also initiate construction of the pressure shaft and powerhouse. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/962766-ratle-project-to-cause-huge-loss-to-punjab-crops (02 June 2022)
Leaders and activists of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) took out a rally titled ‘Provincial water rights’ and staged a sit-in outside local press club on Tuesday, May 31 2022. The rally started from Shahbaz Building and ended outside the club. https://www.dawn.com/news/1692449/pff-rally-demands-personhood-status-for-river-indus (01 June 2022)
India-Bangladesh Bengal villagers bear the burnt of toxic Mathabhanga river In Chandpur, fishing and farming are the primary occupations of the residents. “But due to pollution in the Mathabhanga river, fishing has stopped in this village for the last four to five years. Paddy and jute cultivation have also been affected,” said Rai, who collects river water samples for the Central Water Commission.
Chandpur is not the only village whose people have lost their livelihood. In fact, increased pollution in the Mathabhanga river has cost about 10,000 fishermen their jobs. “The Matabhanga river has become polluted because of waste from factories in Bangladesh. The river barely contains any fish. We now work as labourers,” said Sukumar Haldar, who once earned his livelihood as a fisherman.
Apart from causing death of aquatic life, the increased pollution has also resulted in the decrease of the depth of the river. Moreover, agriculture and the manufacture of bricks are causing the river to shrink, turning it into a thin canal. Pollution has affected the underground water flow, and due to this, people’s dependence on electric and diesel pumps has increased. https://www.101reporters.com/article/environment/Effluents_from_Bangladesh_factory_render_transboundary_Mathabhanga_river_toxic_villages_in_Bengal_bear_the_brunt (01 June 2022)
India-Nepal The Nepal Electricity Authority started selling an additional 140MW of electricity generated by Kaligandaki A Hydropower Project to India through its power exchange market starting Saturday (June 4, 2022) midnight. The state owned power utility body first started selling 37.7 MW electricity generated by 24MW Trishuli and 15MW Devighat power plants from Wednesday (June 1, 2022) midnight after the country’s power plants started to generate surplus energy. “After the addition of electricity generated from 144MW Kaligandaki Hydropower Project, we will be selling a total of 177.7MW electricity to our southern neighbour through India Energy Exchange Limited (IEX),” Suresh Bhattarai, spokesperson for the NEA said.
– “Average clearing price of our electricity has been maintained at INR7.04 per unit,” said Bhattarai. In a statement, NEA said that the highest price for Nepal’s electricity has been maintained at INR 12 per unit and the lowest price at INR 1.49 per unit. The Indian authorities have so far allowed the NEA to sell a total of 364 megawatts in the open markets of India from the electricity generated by Marsyangdi (67MW), Madhya Marsyangdi (68MW), Trishuli (22MW), Devighat (14MW), Kaligandaki A (140MW) and Likhu (51MW). https://kathmandupost.com/national/2022/06/04/nepal-exporting-more-electricity-to-india-from-saturday-midnight (05 June 2022) https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/for-second-consecutive-year-nepal-exports-surplus-electricity-to-india-3036394 (03 June 2022)
Nepal Drowning in sorrow Despite protests, defiant sand mining and quarry contractors have continued to leave large abandoned pits along Nepal’s rivers in which children drown by the dozens every year. There is no exact count of how many children lose their lives every monsoon in the pits and ditches left by sand mining contractors because police only record these deaths as generalised “deaths by drowning.”
Sand mining is rampant in Nepal, and illegal and uncontrolled excavations of riverbeds and low streams are taking lives, besides causing environmental hazards. In Dhanusa district alone, 206 children have drowned in the past two years — most of them were under 15 years of age, and they died while swimming in these water-filled sand mining pits. https://globalvoices.org/2021/11/16/nepal-drowning-in-sorrow/ (16 Nov. 2021)
MEKONG A win for Kru Ti and the Mekong River Over the past 20 years, Niwat Roykaew, a teacher, activist and founder of the Chiang Khong Conservation Group in Chiang Rai province has been campaigning to bolster the grassroots movement he initiated to protect the Mekong River, a crucial lifeline for countries in the Mekong Region. The movement began in earnest in opposition to a state-endorsed project to blast rapids along the river. It needs to be mentioned that the rapid clearance is the result of cooperation between Thai and Chinese authorities, with the goal of opening a logistical route for large cargo barges from Yunnan in China’s southwestern region to Luang Prabang in Laos.
Now the long struggle has started to bear fruit with another small conservation group, the Mekong School on Local Knowledge, emerging as a learning centre for children, students, civil servants, Buddhist monks and the general public. This week, the Goldman Environmental Prize 2022 went to Mr Niwat, also known as Kru Ti, who is playing an important role in opposing the Mekong rapids blasting project, officially called the Lancang-Mekong Navigation Channel Improvement Project. Kru Ti is one of six recipients of this year’s prize, a prestigious award for grassroots environmental activism. His efforts, along with those of other civil groups, ultimately led to a cabinet resolution scrapping the project. https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/2317282/a-win-for-kru-ti-and-the-mekong-river (28 May 2022)
Ancient City Discovered After Reservoir Dries Up Due To Drought An ancient Iraqi city, estimated to be close to 3,400 years old, has been unearthed in the Kurdistan region of Kemune in the country. The reason behind its sudden discovery is actually a drought that has depleted the water levels in Iraq’s largest reservoir. The settlement, which is thought to be from the Bronze Age was found after a certain area in the Tigris River dried up, allowing the city to be excavated before the dam filled up again. The German and Kurdish team of archaeologists have stated that this ancient city was probably a key hub during the reign of the Mittani Empire from 1550 BC to 1350 BC. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/ancient-city-discovered-after-reservoir-dries-up-due-to-drought-3041862 (06 June 2022)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
USA Extreme drought could cost California half its hydro power this summer California is no stranger to drought, but things have gotten historically bad this year. Two of California’s most important water reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, were already “critically low” by early May. The first few months of 2022 were the driest in over 100 years.
As climate change shapes a future with worsening droughts, it could become difficult for the US to rely on hydropower as a clean energy source to reach its climate goals. The nation relied on hydropower for nearly a third of its renewable electricity in 2021. https://www.theverge.com/2022/6/1/23149952/drought-california-hydroelectricity-energy-costs-emissions (01 June 2022)
Warming Takes a Toll on a Legendary River The Rio Grande, which flows out of the Rockies and later forms the U.S.-Mexico border, has long been impacted by withdrawals for agriculture and other uses. Now, rising temperatures and an unprecedented drought pose a grave and growing peril to the river and its ecosystems. Experts predict the Rio Grande will dry up completely all the way to Albuquerque this summer for the first time since the 1980s. Now, as a megadrought has descended on the West, the most severe in 1,200 years, the flows are at crisis levels. https://e360.yale.edu/features/warming-and-drought-take-a-toll-on-the-once-mighty-rio-grande (02 June 2022)
Brazil Images of the deadly landslides in Recife Over the last few days heavy rainfall has triggered another wave of deadly landslides in urban areas in Brazil, this time in the Recife area. As of this morning reports indicate that 93 people have died in the rains, with 26 more missing.
Once again the deadly cost of urban landslides in Brazil is evident. The country has suffered multiple events of this type over the years, and more will occur in the future. A paper published a few years ago (Bandeiro and Coutinho 2015) recorded 214 landslide fatalities in the Recife area between 1984 and 2012, and noted that “… the management activities in risk areas in Brazil need to be upgraded (structural and non-structural actions). Many people are living in a risk situation on hillsides and it is impossible to eliminate this risk in the short term.” https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2022/05/31/recife-1/ (31 May 2022)
Report No bridges over 6400 km long Amazon river In an interview with Live Science, Kaufmann simply said there are no bridges and crossings over the Amazon because there is no need for them. Firstly, many of the areas the river runs through are sparsely populated. This means there aren’t any major roads for a bridge to connect to. Secondly, bigger towns the river touches have well-establised transport facilities to ferry people from one side to another without the need for a bridge.
According to Kaufmann, the major reason why there are no bridges over the Amazon is due to the lack of demand for them. He also said there are ‘technical and logistical difficulties’ to building bridges along the banks and would need hefty financial investment as the river’s marshes and soft soils would create a need for ‘very long access viaducts and very deep foundations’. https://www.timesnownews.com/viral/the-6400-km-long-amazon-river-runs-across-9-countries-but-there-are-no-bridges-over-it-ever-wondered-why-article-91878922 (30 May 2022)
Nearly half of planet’s land in need of ‘conservation attention’ to halt biodiversity crisis Almost half the planet’s land surface needs extra conservation protection if the biodiversity crisis is to be halted, a major new study has found. At least 64.7 million sq km (25 million sq miles) needs “conservation attention” but overlaps with areas where 1.8 billion people live – about a quarter of the world’s population – raising critical human rights challenges for conservationists, communities and governments.
Much of the land area is already covered by some level of protection – such as a national park – or is ecologically intact, but the research finds 12.4 million sq km will need to be added as protected areas. Later this year, countries are expected to agree to new targets to protect 30% of land and ocean under the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by 2030. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/03/nearly-half-of-planets-land-in-need-of-conservation-attention-to-halt-biodiversity-crisis (03 June 2022)
Compiled by SANDRP (email@example.com)