DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 250722: State of Yamuna River ignored by NMCG and MoEF

(Feature Image:- A drain choked with solid waste and untreated effluents running through Yamuna floodplains in Mathura. Source: News 18, 13072022.)

This year, even in the middle of monsoon, the Yamuna river in the national capital is in such a pathetic state, there is insufficient flows in the most of the days. The govt may jump to blame it on poor monsoon rains, ignoring that the upstream dams like the recently commissioned Vyasi dam not releasing water in the downstream is also a major reason beside the unsustainable riverbed mining and also dumping of solid waste in the upstream, including due to the building of mindless projects like the Char Dham highway, all in the news this week. Both National Mission on Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) should be concerned about this lack of flows downstream from the dam and other issues listed above, but they clearly seem least bothered.

It is interesting to see NMCG conducting cleanliness drive along Yamuna ghats in Delhi in the midst of all this. While such drives are welcome, we need to see them in the larger context of inaction of NMCG about the river Yamuna (& Ganga).

Similarly the NMCG’s preoccupation with setting up India’s and Asia’s the largest capacity Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) is noteworthy, particularly in complete absence of cocern for addressing the issues of governance of existing and new STPs. Without making the governance of the STPs transparent, participatory and accountable, what hope is there about their functioning as designed? The NGT directions on Najafgarh drain pollution to Haryana and Delhi Pollution Control Boards, one hopes brings out truth about the functioning of STPs and pollution of the drain in the Yamuna basin.

YAMUNA Uttarakhand Unusual, Yamuna river almost trickling downstream Vyasi Dam in Dehradun even during monsoon as UJVNL is impounding water for power generation and depriving river of flows while its breeding season for fish. 21.07.2022 Video.

NMCG plans to develop ‘green riverfront’ The NMCG plans to develop a green riverfront at Kalindi Kunj that can attract tourists. The mission hopes to implement the innovative concept of Ghat Mein Haat on that section of the Yamuna that is stigmatised by images of white froth caused by pollution. At the latest executive committee meeting, NMCG gave the green light to the proposal, but it has to be approved by two authorities. “This intervention may help prevent the froth that forms at Kalindi Kunj. We are in talks with UP govt’s irrigation department for this,” said Kumar. He added, “Also, by December-end, the biggest wastewater treatment plant in the country at Okhla, with a capacity of 564 MLD, will be ready. This is an important project under the Yamuna Action Plan for which the entire funding has come from the central government. No permanent structure will be erected at Kalindi Kunj.”

Ghat Mein Haat idea involves combining cultural heritage, tourism and livelihood opportunities on a riverbank. The intervention will promote livelihood opportunities where local products, such as ayurveda items and medicinal plants, will be considered, to start with. The concept also envisages boat tourism, yoga and wellness and medical tourism opportunities available to the public on the riverbank. A green belt, with slopes and walkways for people, and seating areas will be created. A sculpture park with shaded spaces will be developed, keeping in mind the fauna in the river and the river ecology. The sculptures will be made from recycled materials. A selfie point for visitors is also planned. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/on-yamuna-bank-a-rich-ensemble-of-wellness-tourism/articleshow/92964700.cms  (19 July 2022)

NMCG Organizes Clean Yamuna Campaign at 7 Ghats on River Yamuna in Delhi Cleanliness Drive aims to Generate Awareness on Importance of keeping the Rivers Clean for a Better & Sustainable Future. (https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1844199 Jul 23 2022)

NGT forms panel to probe fish deaths in Najafgarh drain Taking cognisance of a TOI report, NGT said: “We require a factual and action report from a joint committee of Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Delhi Jal Board, irrigation and flood control department and district magistrate of southwest Delhi within one month.”

NGT, in its order, mentioned a report by DPCC on water samples collected from the Najafgarh drain in May this year. The report revealed that the standard for BOD is 30 mg/l, but it was more than double at the Najafgarh drain at 76 mg/l. Similarly, COD was 320 mg/l as against the standard of 250 mg/l.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/ngt-forms-panel-to-probe-fish-deaths-in-delhis-najafgarh-drain/articleshow/92863000.cms  (14 July 2022)

Haryana Gurugram polluting water at Najafgarh drain? HSPCB to check The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) is planning inspections at the Najafgarh drain to prepare a report on its water quality and check if Gurugram is polluting it, following a July 13 NGT order. After the 1977 floods, the order had stated that it is not the Sahibi River water but sewage and industrial waste from Gurugram that goes into the Najafgarh drain. “However, there is a gap of 86 MLD in generation and treatment of sewage. At least 218 MLD of sewage through three STPs goes into the drain,” the NGT order had said, directing the joint committee to furnish the report within a month. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/city-polluting-water-at-najafgarh-drain-hspcb-to-check/articleshow/93016927.cms  (21 July 2022)

SANDRP organization has yet again raised an issue regarding the DDA allowing the dumping of rock boulders in the Yamuna River floodplain near CWG village, despite the NGT order prohibiting any permanent construction at the site. https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2022/jul/24/delhi-development-authority-flouting-norm-allows-dumping-of-rocks-at-yamuna-floodplain-2479947.html  (24 July 2022)

SANDRP said that the Yamuna is witnessing frothing leading to a foul smell as some of the ITO barrage gates have not been functioning, creating problem in smooth flow in the river. Bheem Singh Rawat, Associate coordinator of SANDRP said, “Normally during the monsoon season, the flow of river is normal which helps in diluting pollutants. However, this time the sight was unusual and unprecedented. In the past three-four days, we have witnessed good spells of rain, after which a low level of flood spell should have reached the Yamuna by now but nothing of that sought happened.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2022/jul/03/frothing-in-yamuna-a-rare-sight-in-monsoon-season-saysexperts-2472253.html  (03 July 2022)

In addition to over 60 trucks concrete malba, DDA has now allowed dumping of rock boulders in Yamuna river floodplain near CWG village despite NGT order clearly prohibiting any permanent construction there.

Anand Sharma on FB post comment:- Disgusting. All DDA colonies have rampant unauthorised construction and have added extra floors. DDA is not taking any action. It is a potential disaster ready to happen. Apart from that illegally constructed houses are also involved in theft of water and electricity and they throw garbage from the top floor. They have made Delhi a Bimaru state. Nobody is taking action. Corruption is the root cause.

Waterproofing work on Pragati Maidan tunnel The 6th and final underpass of the Pragati Maidan integrated corridor project is likely to be ready only by end-September, the public works department (PWD) has said, adding that water-proofing measures have to be undertaken at the underpass given its proximity to the Yamuna and its vulnerability to inundation.

Under the integrated corridor project, the construction work of which started in 2017, a 1.2km long tunnel connecting Mathura Road to Outer Ring Road and six underpasses were envisaged.

While the rest of the underpasses as well as the main tunnel were inaugurated by PM Modi on June 19, the sixth and final underpass, on Bhairon Marg-Ring Road junction (officially it is designated as underpass number 5), is yet to be completed owing to frequent inundation of the area on account of its proximity to the Yamuna, the PWD, the agency executing the project said. At the time of the inauguration of the project in June, the ITPO, the agency overseeing the project, said the underpass will be opened to traffic in “four to six weeks”.

A senior PWD official said the department has completely redesigned the water network at underpass number 5 to prevent waterlogging. “We hired a consultant to find a permanent solution to the problem. The locations of all the pump houses in its vicinity have been modified to increase the efficiency and reduce the water level. The site is vulnerable as it is hardly 100m from the Yamuna banks and groundwater levels are also very high there,” the official said, asking not to be named. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/waterproofing-work-may-keep-final-pragati-maidan-tunnel-from-opening-till-september-pwd-101658092169291.html  (18 July 2022)

Demolition drive resumes near Yamuna Houses were torn down at Gyaspur basti in Sarai Kale Khan on Wednesday (July 06) as part of a demolition drive by the Delhi Development Authority even though the Delhi High Court bench had ordered status quo in the area till July 11. On June 27, demolitions had begun at Gyaspur basti, which is close to the Yamuna, and 23 houses were razed. Eleven residents of the settlement had petitioned the Delhi High Court asking that the DDA be restrained from carrying out evictions or demolitions against them. On June 28, the court had stated in its order, “The documents filed by the petitioners prima facie show that they are occupying the premises since 1995. Considering the long possession of the parties and their assertions that it is a jhuggi cluster having more than 100 jhuggis, the respondents are directed to maintain status quo till July 11, 2022.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/demolition-drive-resumes-near-yamuna-residents-say-they-had-protection-from-hc-8013635/  (07 July 2022)

LG VK Saxena on Tuesday (July 05) invited suggestions from the public to make the Yamuna River clean in the national capital. The LG said Delhi’s water demands are unsustainable and there is a shortage of around 280 MGD of drinking water in the city. https://www.indiatoday.in/cities/delhi/story/delhi-lg-seeks-public-opinion-yamuna-river-cleaning-1970503-2022-07-05  (05 July 2022)

मथुरा अपनी बदहाली पर आंसू बहा रही यमुना नदी केंद्र सरकार के नमामि गंगे प्रोजेक्‍ट के तहत यमुना शुद्धिकरण पर करोड़ों रुपए खर्च किए गए, लेकिन आज भी यह बदहाल है. यमुना में आज भी गंदे नाले सीधे गिर रहे हैं. 2017 में मथुरा, वृंदावन क्षेत्र को नगर निगम बनाया गया, लेकिन अभी तक हालातों में कोई सुधार नहीं हुआ. यमुना के किनारे लगा गंदगी का अंबार यमुना की दुर्दशा को दर्शा रहा है. यमुना में गिरते गंदे नाले यह साफ बयां कर रहे हैं कि यमुना की तरफदारी और यमुना शुद्धिकरण की बात करने वाले सिर्फ दावे करते हैं. धरातल पर कोई भी इन दावों का असर दिखाई नहीं देता है. मथुरा नगर निगम की तरफ से जाने वाली कचरे की गाड़ियां भी यमुना किनारे कचरे को डाल कर चली जाती हैं. यमुना का किनारा धीरे-धीरे कचरे के ढेर में तब्दील होता जा रहा है, लेकिन कोई भी अधिकारी इसकी तरफ ध्यान नहीं दे रहा है. https://hindi.news18.com/photogallery/uttar-pradesh/mathura-yamuna-river-will-be-cleaned-by-december-2023-know-realty-check-in-mathura-nodark-4378408-page-2.html  (13 July 2022)

NCR यमुना हिंडन नदी के डूब क्षेत्र में अवैध निर्माण की बाढ़ नोएडा जिले में हरनंदी व यमुना नदी के डूब क्षेत्र में धड़ल्ले से अवैध निर्माण हो रहा है। डूब क्षेत्र में कालोनी काटनेवाले नदी के तट तक पहुंच गए हैं। साथ ही बहुत से लोगों ने दबंगई से नदी के किनारे तक कब्जा कर अवैध गतिविधियों का संचालन कर रहे हैं। स्थिति यह हो गई है दोनों नदियां सिमटती जा रही हैं और अवैध निर्माण बढ़ते जा रहे हैं। गर्दन फंसती देख सिचाई विभाग अपने आप को बचाने में जुट गया है। एडवाइजरी जारी कर लोगों से अपील कर रहा है कि बाढ़ आने से पहले अपने-अपने निर्माण हटा लें। बाढ़ आने पर निर्माण के क्षतिग्रस्त होने से भारी जन-धन की हानि हो सकती है। बाढ़ के समय सिचाई विभाग, जिला प्रशासन एवं शासन द्वारा सुरक्षा प्रदान किया जाना संभव नही होगा। बाढ़ से नुकसान होने पर पीड़ित लोगों को शासन से भी कोई क्षतिपूर्ति नहीं मिलेगी। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/noida-the-responsible-first-closed-his-eyes-now-raised-his-hands-22862374.html  (04 July 2022)

सिचाई विभाग के अधिशासी अभियंता संजय कुमार ने बताया कि हिंडन नदी में वर्ष 1978 में बाढ़ आई थी। उस दौरान नदी का पानी कई किलोमीटर तक आवासीय क्षेत्र में प्रवेश कर गया था। उसके बाद से हिंडन नदी पर तटवर्ती बंध बनाए गए। नदी के बाढ़ की एक सीमा तय की गई। जिसे डूब क्षेत्र कहा गया। इस डूब क्षेत्र में अतिक्रमण या फिर पक्का निर्माण मान्य नहीं है। नदी के डूब क्षेत्र में अतिक्रमण होता चला गया। बरसात के दिनों में नदी का जल स्तर बढ़ा भी और डूब क्षेत्र तय फैला।इस बार सामान्य से अधिक वर्षा होने की संभावना है। बाढ़ की तीव्रता अत्यधिक होने की आशंका जाहिर की जा रही है। https://www.livehindustan.com/ncr/ghaziabad/story-warning-after-44-years-there-is-a-danger-of-flood-in-30-villages-of-two-districts-6565750.html  (30 May 2022)

सिंचाई निर्माण खंड के अधिशासी अभियंता ने कहा है कि इन 56 गांवों के किनारे वाली जमीन हिंडन या यमुना नदी किनारे पड़ती है। इन जमीनों पर लोगों ने स्कूल, फार्म हाउस, क्रेशर प्लांट, हॉट मिक्स प्लांट, कंक्रीट, रेहड़ी मिक्स प्लांट, बदरपुर सैंड, धुलाई हौंदियां आदि अवैध निर्माण बना लिए हैं। इस साल बारिश अधिक होने से बाढ़ की तीव्रता अधिक होने की आशंका है। बाढ़ में इन निमार्णों को नुकसान पहुंच सकता है। अवैध निर्माण क्षेत्र होने की वजह से उस वक्त सिंचाई विभाग और जिला प्रशासन कोई सुरक्षा प्रदान नहीं कर पाएगा। इसलिए ऐलान किया जा रहा है कि लोग अपने अवैध निर्माण हटा लें या तोड़कर दूसरे स्थानों पर चले जाएं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/ghaziabad/news/illegal-constructions-are-there-in-56-villages-of-khadar-region-irrigation-department-said-people-should-break-them-129858687.html  ( June 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Report Climate change adding layer of vulnerability to fragile Himalayas: Experts The Himalayas are inherently vulnerable to heavy rains, flash floods, landslides etc, as these are new mountains which are still growing and are seismically very active. Climate change has added another layer of vulnerability. It is acting as a force multiplier and making landslides, flash floods and cloudbursts more disastrous, said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator SANDRP.

– The fragility of the mountains has increased due ill-thought human interventions dams, hydropower projects, highways, mining, deforestation, buildings, unregulated tourism and pilgrimage. “We do not do any honest environmental impact assessment, nor do we keep in mind the carrying capacity of the mountains. We do not even have a credible disaster management system in place for the Himalayas,” Thakkar said. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/climate-change-adding-layer-of-vulnerability-to-fragile-himalayas-experts-122072300104_1.html  (23 July 2022)

Suresh Bhai FB post on Helang event चमोली जिले में जहां से अलकनंदा बह रही है ।इसके सिरहाने पर बसे हुए हेलंग गांव के लोग आजकल अपने जंगल और चारागाह बचाने के लिए संघर्षशील है क्योंकि उनके चारागाह का इस्तेमाल इस क्षेत्र में निर्माणाधीन पीपलकोटी विष्णु गाड जल विद्युत परियोजना से निकल रहे मलवा को फेंकने के लिए डंपिंग जोन के रूप में किया जा रहा है  ।

इस बांध को बनाने वाली कंपनी टीएचडीसी और इसकी सहयोगी अन्य निर्माण कंपनियों के द्वारा रात- दिन इस चारागाह के अंदर जितने भी पेड़ थे उन्हें धीरे-धीरे काटा जा रहा है इसकी स्वीकृति निश्चित ही वन विभाग से मिली होगी । राज्य सरकार उनकी मदद कर रही होगी ।लेकिन हेलंग गांव के लोगों का पशुपालन तो यहां की चारा पत्ती पर निर्भर है। गांव के लोगों ने अपनी पारंपरिक व्यवस्था के आधार पर इस चारागाह का संरक्षण किया है लेकिन उनको पूछे बगैर आज इस चारागाह पर मलवा डाला जा रहा है। उसके कुछ हिस्सों में बची हुई घास को महिलाएं रोज काट कर  ले जाती है। जब 15 जुलाई को यहां की महिलाएं मंदोदरी देवी, लीला देवी ,विमला देवी, संगीता आदि इस चारागाह से घास काट कर ले जा रही थी तो केंद्रीय औद्योगिक सुरक्षा बल के लोगों ने उनसे घास छीन ना शुरू किया । और उन्हें दूर जोशीमठ थाने में ले जाकर  6 घंटे तक बिठा कर रखा ।महिलाएं अपने चारागाह और घास को बचाने के लिए बहुत चिल्लायी लेकिन सुरक्षा बल ने इसकी कोई परवाह नहीं की । उन्हें इतना अपमानित किया कि उन पर जुर्माना भी काट दिया गया। अब हम यह नहीं समझ पा रहे हैं कि इस उत्तराखंड राज्य में लोग कैसे गांव में रहेंगे? क्योंकि गांव में रहने वाले लोग पशुपालन का काम करते हैं और पशुपालन के लिए उन्हें चारागाह चाहिए ।उत्तराखंड में कई स्थानों पर चारागाह या तो चौड़ी सड़कों के निर्माण के मलवे का डंपिंग यार्ड बन गई है या इसी तरह बांधों से निकल रहे मलवे के उपयोग में आ रहे हैं ।और भी कई कारणों से चारागाह संकट में है।

चमोली जिले का यह सीमांत क्षेत्र चिपको आंदोलन की धरती रही है ।यहां से गौरा देवी ने दुनिया के लोगों के सामने जंगल बचाने की मिसाल कायम की है। आज भी कई गांव में महिलाएं अपने जंगल व चारागाह बचाने के लिए संघर्षशील है ।गौरा देवी का काम अभी भी गांव- गांव में चल रहा है। लेकिन अभी की परिस्थिति ऐसी है कि कोई सुन नहीं रहा  ।ऐसा लगता है कि राज -समाज के बीच में 36 का आंकड़ा आ गया है।

 बहुत जरूरी है कि उत्तराखंड के लोगों की जल, जंगल, जमीन की सुरक्षा और इसके संतुलित दोहन के लिए क्या-क्या उपाय हो सकते हैं, कई बार इस संबंध में राज्य सरकार को लोग ज्ञापन सौंपते चुके हैं  ।

इसके बावजूद भी न तो कोई मंत्री न कोई विधायक या अन्य प्रतिनिधि भी इस पर बात करने के लिए तैयार नहीं है । इस घटना के बाद इस सूचना को प्रेषित करने तक हेलग गांव  की इन महिलाओं को मिलने के लिए शासन -प्रशासन का कोई व्यक्ति भी वहां नहीं पहुंचा है ।

यह बहुत चिंता का विषय है ।इससे निश्चित ही लोग आंदोलित होंगे और एक न एक दिन फिर चिपको , रक्षा सूत्र, छीना झपटो ,जंगल बचाओ जैसे आंदोलन फिर से शुरू हो सकते हैं।

Agenda for the MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley Projects meeting to be held on July 29 2022:

1. Oju Hydroelectric Project (8 X 231.25)1850 MW +2 X14) 28 MW, Tehsil: Limeking Circle District: Upper Subansiri, Arunachal Pradesh of Oju Subansiri Hydropower Corp P Ltd for TOR

2. Greenko TS02 Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage project in Tehsil: Neeradigonda District: Adilabad State: Telangana of Greenko Energies Pvt Ltd for TOR

3. Rana Pratap Sagar Off- Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project (1200 MW) in Tehsil: Rawatbhata District: chittorgarh State: Rajasthan, of Semaliya Energy Pvt Ltd for TOR amendment

4. Renukaji Dam Project in Dadahu Tehsil, Sirmour Dist, HP of HP Power Corp Ltd for TOR

5. Veeraballi Off stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project in Dist Kadapa, Telangana, of Astha Green Energy ventures India Pvt Ltd for TOR amendment

6. Saundatti HEP (1200 MW) Integrated Renewable Energy with Pumped Storage Project at village Karlakatti, Tehsil – Saundatti, District – Belgaum, Karnataka by Greenko Solar Energy Pvt. Ltd. – Environmental Clearance

7. Cumulative Impact Assessment and Carrying Capacity Study (CIA & CCS) of Tirap Basin. Inclusion of Chinglum Hydroelectric Project in Subansiri Basin http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/_19072022JQ3GF7UB.pdf 

DAMS

Mekedatu Project Cauvery body can’t form opinion on Mekedatu: SC Supreme Court on July 20, 2022 asked Cauvery Management Authority not to form any opinion on Mekedatu project as it is beyond its jurisdiction on a petition by TN. The matter will be heard next on July 26. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/sc-allows-discussion-on-mekedatu-dam-project-1128385.html  (20 July 2022)

NBA ‘Traditional knowledge should be integrated with scientific research’  Activist Nandini Oza, who recently published The Struggle for Narmada, says oral history is a means to record and understand local environmental knowledge.  https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/big-story/traditional-knowledge-should-be-integrated-with-scientific-research-111658218917577.html  (19 July 2022)

Maharashtra MPCB to issue prosecution notice to Koradi plant official The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has decided to issue a prosecution notice against the concerned official of Koradi Thermal Power Station following the major breach of a fly-ash bund that submerged three villages. The board has also forfeited the plant’s bank guarantee of Rs 12 lakh. The action was taken a day after the board held a meeting with all stakeholders. MPCB regional officer AM Kare informed TOI that further action will be taken against the plant authorities after they reply to the prosecution notice. “This is not a regular showcause notice. Serious action will be taken against the offenders. We have also directed the chief engineer of the power plant to submit additional bank guarantee with a top-up of Rs 24 lakh,” he said.

Apart from this, the board is also assessing the environmental damage that occurred due to the mishap. “We are calculating this as per the formula suggested by the National Green Tribunal. The findings will be sent to the Central Pollution Control Board for approval of environmental compensation. Simultaneously, we have also initiated action against Khaparkheda plant for not adhering to fly-ash utilization norms,” said officials. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/mpcb-to-issue-prosecution-notice-to-koradi-plant-official/articleshow/92964910.cms  (19 July 2022) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9teTQ–3fpM  (18 July 2022)

Scientists from the MoEF have found various violations by Koradi and Khaparkheda power plants, which are leading to contamination of water sources and a massive public health issue. The ministry officials have directed Mahagenco to constitute a committee of its officials, MPCB, NGOs, sarpanchs of impacted villages to regularly monitor the site and curb pollution. Following a complaint filed by Leena Buddhe, director of CFSD, officials from the MoEFCC on Friday (Feb. 04) conducted the site inspection. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/scientists-find-fly-ash-from-power-plants-polluting-water/articleshow/89353682.cms  (05 Feb. 2022)

Fly ash from two thermal power plants in Nagpur has left people gasping for breath and created a host of other health problems, along with water insecurity. https://www.indiaspend.com/pollution/how-villagers-living-near-coal-power-plants-lost-health-water-security-814019  (21 April 2022)

Kaleshwaram Project Telangana didn’t obtain investment clearance from Centre The Central government has made it clear that the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) is not eligible for inclusion under the National Project (NP) scheme as the Telangana government has not obtained the mandatory investment clearance from the Centre. For inclusion of a project for funding under the National Projects scheme of the Jal Shakthi Ministry, it is required to be first appraised by Central Water Commission (CWC) and accepted by the Advisory Committee, Minister of State for Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu said in Parliament on Thursday (July 21 2022).

The Minister further stated that after CWC’s appraisal investment clearance was required to be obtained by the State government. “Subsequently, if the project meets the laid down norms for the NP scheme, it is required to be considered by the High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) set up for the purpose”. Replying to a question raised by the Congress Member of Parliament from Nalgonda N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, the Minister said that in February 2016 as well as in December 2018, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project under National Project scheme. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/telangana-didnt-obtain-investment-clearance-from-centre-for-kaleshwaram/article65666806.ece  (21 July 2022)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa Linking New body to enforce env. management Strange. What credibility will be there for a body that is headed by the project pushing ministry? “Headed by Jal Shakti (water resources) ministry’s secretary and comprised of four other secretaries of different ministries including environment, the 20-member steering committee is entrusted with the task to monitor implementation of the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) as per the tripartite memorandum of agreement signed by the Centre and the state governments of MP and UP.”  https://breakingblog.in/ken-betwa-project-new-body-to-enforce-environment-management-india-news-times-of-india/  (24 July 2022)

IRRIGATION

Madhya Pradesh – बाधाओं के कारण अटकता था नर्मदा नहर का काम, अब 15 माह में Completion plan

– 7 लाख हेक्टेयर में होगी खेतों की सिंचाई, बरगी डेम से मैहर तक 197 किलोमीटर की नहर तैयार, टनल का 3.3 किलोमीटर का काम शेष, अक्टूबर 23 तक सतना पहुंच जाएगा नर्मदा जल

– बरगी डेम से विंध्य पहुंचाया जा रहा है नर्मदा का जल https://www.patrika.com/katni-news/narmada-canal-katni-7660758/  (18 July 2022)

Report तय लक्ष्यों से कोसों दूर पीएमकुसुम योजना; फीडर सौरीकरण पर 0% काम कुसुम योजना से 3 साल में (फरवरी 2022 तक) स‍िर्फ 20 मेगावाट के सोलर पावर प्‍लांट लग पाए। जबकि केंद्र सरकार का लक्ष्‍य है कि 2022 के अंत तक 10 हजार मेगावाट के पावर प्‍लांट लगेंगे। https://indiaspendhindi.com/top-stories/pm-kusum-scheme-far-away-from-targets-827076  (20 July 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

Chennai Study Only 38% of river basin has poor groundwater potential Nearly 38% of the river basin in Chennai has poor groundwater potential, indicating increased exploitation and extensive changes in land use pattern, according to a study by the Department of Geology, Anna University. The study observed that the concrete areas have less recharge potential and rapid population increase had influenced changes in land use pattern. “We must adopt strategies to suit intense rainfall in a short span and create artificial recharge structures. Urbanisation may be restricted in coastal region. Underground sumps could be one of the solutions,” said Prof. Elango.

A buried channel of the Palar, which has now changed its course to south of Kalpakkkam, still remains in the Tiruvallur district. In its geological past, the river would have met the sea near Ennore. The belt remains enriched with good soil condition and groundwater potential because of the river system and deposits, said Prof.Elango. The study, which was published in Sustainability, an international open access journal, had used 11 thematic layers and the AHP, a decision making tool, for identifying the groundwater potential in various areas. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/study-finds-only-38-of-river-basin-in-chennai-has-poor-groundwater-potential/article65640552.ece  (19 July 2022)

Sabarmati; Ahmedabad ‘Rs 282 cr spent river cleaning in 3 yrs’ A whopping Rs 282.17 crore has been spent on cleaning the Sabarmati river in Gujarat in the past three years, stated Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, in Rajya Sabha Monday (July 18). Works worth almost 64 per cent, or Rs 179.4 crore, of the total expenditure have already been completed, stated the government in a written response to a question asked by Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil. Of the completed works on Sabarmati River, the biggest is the construction of a 155 MLD STP at Pirana worth Rs 151 crore. The money for the project under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) was shared by the Centre and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in a 60:40 ratio.

Another STP having a capacity of 25 MLD was also completed near Sankarbhuvan, Shahpur worth Rs 27.5 crore. This project under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation was funded by the Central and state governments and AMC. A third project of fixing gates of the stormwater outlet at Dafnala Behrampura and Hansol has also been completed. Among the works that are under progress include cleaning of “floating and green waste” from Sabarmati river where AMC has already spent Rs 4.81 crore in the past three years. The other projects where work is still incomplete includes a 60 MLD STP near Kotarpur worth an estimated Rs 103 crore and a 30-MLD CETP in Danilimda, worth Rs 112.75 crore. https://indianexpress-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/rs-282-cr-spent-on-sabarmati-river-cleaning-in-3-yrs-puri-in-rajya-sabha-8037796/lite/  (19 July 2022)

Suswa; Dehradun सुसवा नदी बांट रही है मौत  देहरादून के दक्षिण से होकर गुजरने वाली सुसवा नदी इतनी प्रदूषित हो चुकी है की इसके लिए अब समाजसेवियों  स्थानीय जनप्रतिनिधियों और आम लोगो को सड़को पर उतर कर जागरूकता रैली निकालनी पड़ रही है. स्थानीय लोगो का कहना है की इस नदी के सिलसिले में वो कई बार सरकार और प्रशासन से मदद की गुहार लगा चुके है लेकिन सिस्टम है की इस और कोई ध्यान ही नहीं दे रहा है और अब हालात ये हो चुके है की सुसवा नदी का जल दिन प्रतिदिन और प्रदूषित होता जा रहा है. स्थानीय लोग इस नदी के जल को खेतो की सिंचाई के लिए भी इस्तेमाल करते थे लेकिन अब जल इतना प्रदूषित हो चूका है कि प्रदूषित पानी से लोगो की फसलों को भी नुकसान  पहुंच रहा है. इसके साथ ही स्थानीय लोगो को इस प्रदूषित पानी की वजह से कई बीमारियों का सामना भी करना पड़ रहा है, जैसे चार्म रोग आदि. इंसानो के अल्वा इस प्रदूषित पानी से जानवर भी प्रभावित हो रहे है क्यूंकि उनके लिए भी पानी पीने का यही एक मात्रा स्रोत है. https://m-hindi.indiawaterportal.org/content/susva-nadi-baant-rahi-hai-maut/content-type-page/1319338227  (18 July 2022)

RIVERS

एक कवि क्यों बचा रहता है ………………………

जंगल की नदी लाल हो रही है, वह रोज़ ख़ून के आंसू रो रही है

और सारी मछलियां मर रही हैं, गांव के लोग हर रात, सुनते हैं

नदी के रोने की आवाज़, और वे भी धीरे-धीरे सिसकते हैं

उनकी नींद में मछलियां भी सिसकती हैं, उस नदी को रोज़    

एक कवि देखता है, उससे होकर गुजरता है

पर जब कविता लिखने बैठता है, तब अपनी कविता में वह

एक गीत गाती सुंदर नदी, और झिलमिलाती मछलियों के बारे लिखता है

शहर वाह-वाह करता है, और कवि शहर की चर्चा में रहता है

एक कवि जानता है, मछलियों के मारे जाने का सच

रात-रात नदियों के रोने का सच, अगर वह कविता में लिख दे

तो खतरे में पड़ सकता है, एक कवि डरता है

इसलिए ऐसी कविता लिखता है, जिसकी आड़ में वह, खुद बचा रहता है । © जसिंता केरकेट्टा     12/04/2022

India Rivers Forum Press Release inviting nominations for Bhagirath Prayas Samman and Anupam Mishra Medal 2022. Last date for submission of nomination is Sept 30, 2022. The posters for the two awards are also attached. Plz do nominate deserving candidates and also help us spread the word about it.

Jammu & Kashmir Govt Sanctions Rs.149 Cr For Setting Up STP Around Doodh Ganga  The setting up of STP is part of the comprehensive action plan to prevent direct discharge of untreated sewage into the Doodh Ganga tributary. The salient features of the project include “Technology intervention for Discharging DWF into Doodh Ganga Nallah from Chadoora, Budgam to Tengpora, Srinagar”. The project has been divided into two parts. The estimated cost of setting up STP from Chadura to Baghe Mehtab is Rs 84.34 crores. Similarly, the estimated project cost from Baghe Mehtab to Tengpora is Rs. 59.14 crores which amounts to Rs 149 crores.

The government response comes in view of the petition filed by Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat Chairman of RTI Movement to SHRC. In the petition Bhat, the petitioner had alleged hundreds of lavatories go in the Doodh Ganga Nallah near Chadoora area of Budgam District and PHE supplies the same water from its water filtration plant located in the city outskirts. The NGT took a serious view on the petition and had constituted a 5 member committee to identify the factors contributing to its pollution and submit a factual report regarding the measure being taken for the cleanliness of the tributary. In the petition, it was alleged that extensive pollution of the Doodh Ganga River in Kashmir was caused by government agencies over the last several years and the government had failed to acknowledge and address the issue.

More than five hundred thousand people get their drinking water supply from the river, over the decades the water body has been turned into a drain as people put both solid and liquid waste into the tributary. Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is accused of pumping all its liquid waste, which includes hazardous waste and human excreta, into it without any treatment. https://kashmirobserver.net/2022/07/18/govt-sanctions-rs-149-crores-for-setting-up-stp-around-doodh-ganga/  (18 July 2022)

Kerala Water resources dept rejuvenates 3 Munnar rivers Munnar derives its name from the Malayalam words ‘Moonnu Aar’ meaning three rivers which refers to its location of the confluence of the rivers – Nallathanni, Kannimala and Kundala. These rivers join together to form the Muthirapuzha river that flows through the heart of Munnar town. The natural flow of the river and its tributaries have been severely affected due to encroachments and accumulation of silt.

– In 2018, following the floods, the state water resources department initiated immediate steps to restore the rivers and prevent encroachments on them and launched the state-wide river desilting and widening project ‘Operation Smooth Flow’ and brought back the rivers of Munnar to life. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/jul/12/alive-and-flowing-smooth-water-resources-dept-rejuvenates-three-munnar-rivers-2475532.html  (12 July 2022)

Punjab On Day 3, women lead protests against industrial water pollution Women leaders of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ugrahan and Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) led the third day of dharna across Punjab protesting against water pollution by industries Saturday. While women of BKU Ugrahan wore yellow dupattas, those of the KMSC women wore green dupattas. At the same time, farmer leaders claimed that effluent discharge in water bodies has reduced considerably because of the dharnas. Baljinder Singh of the KMSC said: “Dharnas by both unions are near the banks of the chitti vein (canal), buddha nallah in Ludhiana, harike pattan in Ferozepur, near distilleries etc. Hence the industry is either properly treating the water or is avoiding the discharge of effluents in drains which eventually mix up with the main water bodies.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjab-on-day-3-women-lead-protests-against-industrial-water-pollution-8048466/  (24 July 2022)

CM Bhagwant Singh Mann drank the polluted water containing sewage waste of towns and villages falling in the sacred kali bein rivulet during his visit to Sultanpurlodhi on July 17.  Deputy Commissioner Vishesh Sarangal during media interaction with “Vartalap” function organised by Press information Bureau of government of India confirmed that CM had consumed the sewage polluted water.  According to reports CM got infection in stomach and is admitted in a Delhi hospital. There is bowever no official confirmation of it. https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/nobody-stopped-punjab-cm-bhagwant-mann-from-drinking-sewage-polluted-water-of-kali-bein-at-sultanpurlodhi-175065  (20 July 2022)

GANGA Nearly 50% of untreated sewage still being discharged in Ganga: NGT Untreated sewage and effluents continue to flow into the River Ganga even after decades of monitoring, the NGT has said, noting that the NMCG does not appear to be in a position to take stringent measures against non-compliance.

While seeking an action taken report from the National Ganga Council (NGC) on the matter, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Aadesh Kumar Goel said the quality of water in Ganga has to be as per norms as it is used not only for bathing but also ‘achman’ (taking sips of water before prayers or rituals). It directed the Member Secretary, NGC to file an action taken report before October 14, the next date of hearing.

“Instead of indefinitely continuing the proceedings without success, as has happened in the last 37 years, we suggest that the Member Secretary, NGC i.e. DG, NMCG may place the agenda of reviewing the existing mechanism for executing the work of setting up and maintaining requisite treatment systems to ensure prevention of pollution of Ganga in the next meeting of the NGC, which is the highest authority under the 2016 Ganga Order, preferably within one month or as early as possible,” it said.

The NGT said in view of the disappointing factual position, a paradigm shift in execution and monitoring appears to be necessary. The Tribunal said it appears that execution by State authorities is not adequate, too slow and lacking ownership and the National Mission for Clean Ganga does not appear to be in a position to take stringent measures against non-compliances and failure to achieve goals in a time bound manner.

“In dealing with such a long pending challenge, the executing agency has to be proactive and effective, with simpler and flexible procedures and timelines being sacrosanct. There has to be zero tolerance to further delay. Working has to be goal oriented with defined accountability, followed by strict consequences for defaults. It may not be advisable to fix loose and convenient distant timelines with no consequences for breach. At the moment the reverse is happening,” it observed.

“None is accountable for breaching the timelines in the last four decades. Blame is shifted from one authority to another. In dealing with Ganga pollution, there has to be a change in attitude of those who have to execute remedial measures. Unless such change takes place, no purpose is achieved in the ritual of monitoring by this Tribunal and direction of the Supreme Court for effective monitoring is defeated,” the bench said.

The NGT said close monitoring by the Tribunal even in recent years shows that progress in preventing discharge of sewage and trade effluents is not taking place on expected lines. “Either the necessary treatment systems are yet to be set up at several locations or STPs/treatment facilities established are not fully functional. There is unacceptable and unchecked delay with no accountability.

“Substantial funds are provided by the NMCG without expected results. Reasons for not achieving results may be due to tardy processes or lack of effective credible mechanisms. Timelines have kept changing conveniently since decades. Even now there is no commitment for any fixed timeline in future, to the great and irreversible detriment of Ganga,” the bench said. This disappointing state of affairs needs change which is possible with the intervention of highest authority under the 2016 order, it said. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/nearly-50-of-untreated-sewage-still-being-discharged-in-ganga-ngt/article65677753.ece  (24 July 2022)

Uttarakhand  Whole State Has Become Large Garbage Dump: HC Outlining that it is the constitutional right of all persons to be provided with a clean environment, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe remarked, “It is something that we can take notice of, since we see mounds of plastic waste collected within the municipal limits of the towns, as well as along the highways, in rivers and rivulets, meadows and plains, glaciers, and even in fields in the State.”

Further stating that it is evident to the bench that any restrictions regarding the dumping of the waste into the open have only remained on paper, and no significant, effective or perceptible effort has been made by the State to enforce the same on the ground, the bench in the order said that environmental degradation is directly impinging on the Right to Life of the people in the State, which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Expressing its disappointment the court said that it fails to understand how the statutory authorities in the state – the Commissioners, the District Magistrates, the executive officers of the municipalities of the local bodies, the authorities in the state pollution control board, and the police – can be so insensitive, and how they can shut their eyes to what is evident for all to see throughout the state. The HC especially pointed out the condition in rural areas of the hill state remarking that solid waste, on account of the use of plastic, is rampant in all rural areas of the state.

The court issued multiple directions to the state government authorities directing all the district magistrates in Uttarakhand to launch awareness campaigns about the Environment (Protection) Act as well as the Uttarakhand Plastic and Other Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Regulation of Use and Disposal) Act, 2013 and other rules and guidelines regarding plastic and solid waste management so that the public at large are sensitized about the need to manage plastic waste in a proper manner to prevent environmental degradation. The HC also noticed an ‘utter non-compliance’ of the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018 and ‘hardly any registrations obtained by producers, importers or brand owners with the State Pollution Control Board. https://newindian.in/uttarakhand-hc-the-whole-state-has-become-large-garbage-dump/  (16 July 2022)

No solid waste mgmt system in Uttarkashi, trash ends up in Ganga Piles of untreated garbage are accumulating in Uttarkashi town due to the lack of a solid waste management system. The town generates about 8-10 tonnes of garbage every day during non-tourist seasons but during the Char Dham yatra, the amount of waste generated increases to 16 tonnes. This waste is dumped along the Tambakhani tunnel, the entry point of the town. The garbage often drains into the Ganga, contaminating the river.

“This huge pile of untreated waste is dumped into the open. It often mixes with the Bhagirathi river, which drains into the Ganga. This poses serious health risks for locals. Tourists coming from all over the world have to bear the stench of this waste pile. Many a time, civic workers burn this garbage, polluting the air,” said social activist American Puri. Ashish Mishra, an Uttarkashi resident, said, “Apart from the negligence of municipality officials, impractical solid waste management is also increasing the garbage menace.”

When asked about the issue, Ramesh Semwal, municipality chairman, said, “The land for the construction of a solid waste management plant has been identified. The facility will be completed in the next six months. Meanwhile, we are focussing on waste collection from all wards. For proper disposal of organic waste, we are preparing compost pits in every ward. We are also running awareness campaigns and penalising people who are found littering.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/no-solid-waste-mgmt-system-in-uttarkashi-trash-ends-up-in-ganga/articleshow/92945008.cms  (18 July 2022)

Debris carried by rain increasing height of Bhagirathi riverbed Rain spells in the past few days have increased the water level of the Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi. The rainwater also carries the debris from natural degradation of mountains into the river, raising its water level further. This increase in water level of the river poses a threat to the riverside areas of the Gangotri shrine, say priests. Besides, area residents fear that increasing water level of the river may also damage the commercial establishments along the river.

“In 2016, flooded river caused severe damage to the riverside areas of Gangotri. After recent rain spells, the swelled-up river has also damaged a part of safety wall, posing a threat to several shops and temple route. This threat is increasing every year and if ignored, may lead to a massive disaster. Therefore, we have urged the authorities to channelise the flow of river,” said Rajesh Semwal, priest, Gangotri shrine. When asked about the issue, Uttarkashi DM Abhishek Ruhela told TOI, “Gangotri comes under the eco-sensitive zone. Therefore, we cannot take any action without scientific guidance and government approvals. However, we will discuss the issue with senior authorities.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/debris-carried-by-rain-increasing-height-of-ganga-bhagirathi-riverbed/articleshow/92966373.cms  (19 July 2022)

White landscapes of Gangotri turning green Over 50,000 different types of bacteria found in the deglaciated area of the Gangotri glacier, 92% of which are “unknown” to mankind, have been turning it from white to green, discovered scientists at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in a first-of-its-kind study of the Indian side of the Himalayas. It was published in America’s ‘Current Microbiology’ journal this month. The research, which studies a time period of over 300 years, shows the relationship between “deglaciated landscapes, bacterial community succession, flora, and climate change”, scientists said. ‘Bacteria transforming landscape indicative of climate change’

Using next-generation DNA barcoding techniques, scientists found 48,454 types of bacteria that were “unknown”, with no mention in the world database maintained by the US-based National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The research found 53,129 types of bacteria overall. Researchers said these bacteria diversified over a period of 300 years and helped in “stabilising the soil of the deglaciated valley, resulting in its greening”.

The study states that the Himalayan region represents the highest mountain range globally and it has warmed significantly in recent years. Almost 17% of the Himalayan landscape is glaciated, of which 21% of glaciers have retreated over the past 50 years as per researchers. The Gangotri glacier is the largest in the Himalayas, having a total ice cover of 200 square km. This glacier is the primary source of the river Ganga, on which 42% of the Indian population has been dependent. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-white-landscapes-of-gangotri-turning-green/articleshow/93082990.cms  (24 July 2022)

Centre exempts highways in border areas from EC With the final notification on exempting border roads from prior environmental clearance being issued, environmentalists are concerned that the environmental impact assessment for the Bhagirathi zone may also be skipped now.

“If the government skips this, then we stand to lose the only pristine stretch of the Ganga left in the country. The Bhagirathi watershed just like Alaknanda, Mandakini and Yamuna basins will be irreparably destroyed by muck and debris from this project. Nobody is or has been against road widening of feeder roads but oblivious to the growing impact of climate change and the precarious nature of Himalayas, building an excessively wide 12mtr feeder road, even when the border road is only 7m, is irrational and suicidal,” said Mallika Bhanot, member of Uttarakhand based Ganga Ahvaan, an environmental group. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-exempts-highways-in-border-areas-from-environmental-clearance-101658170498847.html  (19 July 2022)

Uttar Pradesh गंगा कर रही रेत का कटान  वाराणसी में गंगा भी बढ़ रहीं है और गंगा अपने बायीं तरफ रामनगर की ओर रेत का कटान कर रही है, जिसे देख आईआईटी बीएचयू के प्रोफ़ेसर विश्वम्भर नाथ मिश्रा ने चिंता जताई है। उन्होंने अपने ट्विटर अकाउंट पर एक वीडियो शेयर करते हुए इसे पिछले वर्ष गंगा की रेत पर बनायीं जा रही नहर का परिणाम बताया है। बता दें कि पिछले साल बनायी जा रही नहर बाढ़ में जलमग्न हो गयी थी जिसके बाद NGT में एक याचिका भी डाली गयी जिसकी सुनवाई चल रही है। यह याचिका वाराणसी के सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता डॉ अवधेश दीक्षित ने डाली है। NGT की 3 सदस्यीय पीठ ने इस मामले में सुनवाई की अगली तारीख 21 अक्टूबर निर्धारित की है।

इस सम्बन्ध में समाजक कार्यकर्ता के अधिवक्ता सौरभ तिवारी ने बताया कि गंगा में वर्ष 2021 में बरसात के ठीक पहले खुदाई करके नहर बनाई गई। खुदाई से निकले बालू के उठान के लिए टेंडर जारी किया गया, लेकिन बाढ़ ने नहर का अस्तित्व समाप्त कर दिया था। गंगा में खुदाई से निकले बालू का वजूद न होने के बावजूद हजारों ट्रैक्टर से अवैध खनन किया गया। सौरभ तिवारी ने कहा कि यह ऐसा प्रोजेक्ट था, जिसमें लगभग 11.95 करोड़ रुपए खर्च हुए और सरकार को मात्र 2.5 करोड़ का राजस्व लाभ सरकार को हुआ। यानी, सरकार को लगभग 9.45 करोड़ रुपए के राजस्व का नुकसान हुआ।  NGT नें 17 फरवरी 2022 को इस मामले में सुनवाई करते हुए नमामि गंगे, उत्तर प्रदेश प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड, राज्य पर्यावरण प्रभाव आकलन प्राधिकरण उत्तर प्रदेश और वाराणसी के जिलाधिकारी की अगुवाई में संयुक्त समिति का गठन कर अवैध बालू खनन के मामले में रिपोर्ट मांगी थी। एडवोकेट सौरभ तिवारी ने बताया कि संयुक्त जांच समिति ने अपनी रिपोर्ट में कहा कि इस तरह के काम के लिए नमामि गंगे की सहमति के साथ ही जिला सर्वे रिपोर्ट और पर्यावरण प्रभाव आकलन रिपोर्ट जरूरी होनी चाहिए। https://livevns.news/Top-Headlines/Ganga-is-cutting-sand-concerned-IIT-BHU-professor-tweeted-s/cid8096272.htm  (23 July 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Maharashtra Dead fish float in Krishna, locals blame effluent release from sugar mills The swollen Krishna river is witnessing death of a large number of fish from Nagthane to Sangli city’s Mai Ghat stretch. The locals claimed that the mills release the molasses in large quantities when the river is swollen during rains, since the muddy river water makes the molasses unnoticeable. The mills stocks up the molasses to be released in the monsoon. The swollen river washes away the molasses. However, aquatic life gets destroyed.

The fish death is not common along the Krishna river and had last happened in 2019. A senior MPCB official, requesting anonymity, said, “Our primary investigation has revealed that the effluent released by the sugar mills located upstream has caused the fish death. We have sent the samples for testing to a laboratory in Chiplun. We will get the results in a week. Meanwhile, we will inspect the mills located along the banks of the river.”

Sandip Nazare, environmental activist from Sangli, said, “Not just the fish, but the other water animals are also dying. The aquatic cycle has been destroyed. The crocodiles, which live on fish, are not getting food. Currently, it is the breeding period of the fish. Large number of newborn fish have succumbed to the effluent. The pollution board authorities need to look at these aspects rather than merely imposing fine on the polluters.” He claimed that some mills reuse the effluent, the technology is available, however many do not have and thus cause the pollution of the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/dead-fish-float-in-krishna-river-locals-blame-effluent-release-from-sugar-mills/articleshow/92909543.cms  (16 July 2022)

Bengaluru 8 instances of fish kill in 7 months of 2022  In an alarming trend, a total of eight instances of fish kill were reported in Bengaluru lakes within seven months of 2022, surpassing the annual fish kill numbers in the last five years. A report, ‘Fishkill in Lakes of Bengaluru (2017-2022)’, released by ActionAid, shows that while six incidents were reported in 2017 and 2018, the numbers came down during the lockdown years between 2019 and 2021. In the last five years, a total of 32 cases of fish kill were identified in the city. This report is a secondary research, taking news reports as the database.

The report has also identified four vulnerable lakes which are prone to fish kill, based on the number of times of incidence. The Haralur lake, in particular, has seen three cases within five years. The Madiwala, the Bellandur, and the Kommaghatta lakes have had two incidents each. “Three cases of fish kill in Haralur lake within five years is a matter of serious concern and sewage seems to be the major reason, apart from industrial chemicals, for the fish kill,” the report says. 

Entry of sewage seems to be the most common factor in most of these incidents; it has been identified as the main reason for 51% of the cases of fish kill in lakes. This is followed by toxins and chemicals which accounted for 23%. Apart from them, industrial effluents, pesticides and fertilisers and STPs are the other identified causes. The report further explains, “Sewage constituting 51% seems to be the biggest challenge making lakes vulnerable to fish kill in Bengaluru. Organic matter in sewage uses up the dissolved oxygen (DO) in the lake causing levels of DO to reduce, which ultimately causes fish kill”.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, however, say that sewage was not the reason. “Fish kill happens when it rains and silt flows into lakes through drains and these silt particles get accumulated in the gills of the fish. This causes oxygen deprivation in them and that is why they die. This is why many cases of fish kill happen around the rainy season. This year, as the amount of rainfall was more, it might have caused a greater number of incidents,” said Ravi K.V., Executive Engineer, Lakes, BBMP. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-lakes-see-eight-instances-of-fish-kill-in-seven-months-of-2022-finds-actionaid-report/article65631936.ece  (12 July 2022)

Explainer What’s causing mass fish death in India’s ponds and lakes? The primary cause for this phenomenon is water pollution, most often stemming from anthropogenic activities. A key parameter of water quality is dissolved oxygen which can indicate the capacity of a water body to support aquatic life. In a survey of water bodies across six Indian states, not a single water body had a dissolved oxygen range, where all fish can survive. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/07/explainer-whats-causing-mass-fish-deaths-in-indias-ponds-and-lakes/  (19 July 2022)

Hyderabad Fish choke to death as flood washes up garbage into lake The recent deluge in the city has led to scores of fish dying in the Regulkunta lake in Deepthisrinagar, after water from the uphill Serilingampally dumping yard (1.5 kms away) started flowing into the water. Parts of the lake turned black due to this. Fish started dying 4-5 days back and are still lying around raising a strong stench adding to the smell of water from the dumping yard. Over 4 lakh fingerlings were released into the lake around six months back and the fishermen dependant on the lake are now a worried lot. They fear that majority of the fish are already dead or will die in the coming days due to polluted water from the dumpyard entering the lake.

Meanwhile, residents in the locality demand that the rotten fish be cleared immediately. Locals say that they have reached out to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) authorities and although an inspection was conducted by the GHMC, the fish is still lying there.  However, locals blamed the GHMC’s apathy for the situation which has risen for the first time ever at the lake. “The mixing of dirty water overflowing from the dumpyard is happening as GHMC authorities are not clearing the dumpyard frequently,” said Kaviraj Palari, another resident. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/fish-choke-to-death-as-flood-washes-up-garbage-into-lake/articleshow/92909097.cms  (16 July 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Fish die in Fashkoori wetland Pampore Many fish were found dead in Fashkoori wetland in Saffron town Pampore area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday (July 08). Some dead fish weighed more than two-three kilograms. The Fashkoori wetland is spread over 2 kilometers from Namlabal to Tulbagh in the Saffron. Thousands of migratory birds visit Fashkoori wetland during winter. Many local told Kashmir Reader that they have been noticing dead fish floating to the shore from some days.

“The exit drainage system of the wetland towards the Namblabal side has been closed by encroachers,” John Mohammad, a local, told Kashmir Reader. He told Kashmir Reader that many residents cause pollution in the water body by throwing garbage and waste. Talking to Kashmir Reader Wildlife Ranger, Sajjid Farooq said that the death has been caused due to toxicity caused by phosphate and ammoniacal nitrate. He added that oxygen level is at normal but levels of phosphate and ammoniacal nitrate are alarmingly high.

The officer warned local residents from causing pollution in the water body. He said that they had already requested urban local bodies for a sewerage treatment plant. ” A meeting was held in this regard here in Pampore last year which was attended by director Urban Local bodies and concerned wildlife warden, they suggested that a STP will be established but one and half year passes since then,” he said, adding no work was initiated on STP. https://kashmirreader.com/2022/07/09/fish-die-in-fashkoori-wetland-pampore/  (09 July 2022)

SAND MINING

Haryana DSP killed by mafia Tawdu DSP Surender Singh was on Tuesday (July 18) killed by a dumper driver for intercepting him and checking his papers. Singh, along with his team, had gone to raid illegal mining on Aravali hills in Pachgaon area near Tauru. It was around 11.50am that the DSP, accompanied by two policemen, a driver and a gunman, spotted a suspicious dumper and signalled it to stop. He asked the driver for the papers, but he sped and tried to run the men over. The driver and the gunman jumped to save their lives, but the DSP was hit. Nuh district is notorious for attack on cops by the mining mafia. On an average, 50 such complaints have been registered every year since 2015. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/dsp-killed-during-illegal-mining-raid-in-haryanas-nuh-413802  (19 July 2022)

Surendra Singh Bishnoi, a DSP rank officer, had received information that stones were being illegally mined at Pachgaon near the Aravalli mountain range. He reached the spot around 11 am on July 19, 2022 along with a police team. On spotting the police personnel, those involved in the illegal mining started fleeing the spot. The senior officer stood in the way and signalled the stone-laden vehicles to stop. But the driver of a truck ran him over, killing him on the spot. The culprits ran away after the incident. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/nuh-police-officer-run-over-by-mining-mafia-during-check-in-haryana-3172197  (19 July 2022)

This is not the first time that those involved in illegal mining have targeted the police. On December 17, 2021, during a night domination exercise to check illegal mining in Nuh, a dumper carrying stones had rammed into a police vehicle. In January 2022, five persons were killed and three injured in a landslide at the Dadam mining site in Bhiwani, prompting a probe.

Between 2019 and March 2022, we seized 2,400 vehicles involved in mining activities in the South Haryana region,” said a senior officer. The Haryana government on Tuesday (July 19) said that as many as 68 vehicles involved in illegal mining have been seized and 23 FIRs registered in Nuh district in this financial year alone. During this period, a fine of Rs 4.28 lakh has been recovered from illegal miners in Nuh. According to a spokesperson of the Haryana government, 138 FIRs have been registered for illegal mining in Haryana during the same period and a fine of Rs 1.31 crore has been recovered by confiscating 253 vehicles. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/dsp-killing-puts-illegal-mining-back-in-focus-haryana-plans-steps-to-end-menace-for-good-8039967/  (20 July 2022)

This extensively quotes SANDRP figures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M9jhJ_yEQ0  (19 July 2022)

According to the FIR, a copy of which is with The New Indian, the incident happened at about 11.50 am. “As soon as they reached the hillside, they spotted a dumper carrying stones. When the truck driver saw the police team, he stopped the vehicle and started unloading the stones and bricks.”

Police said they unloaded thinking a lighter vehicle will help them escape. But the police team, by then, reached closer to them. “When DSP inquired about the bricks, one of the occupants of the trucks brandished a pistol and dared the police team to stay away,” police stated in their FIR.

There were five to six people inside the truck and they decided among themselves not to stop the vehicle. “They will fine us for mining. Let us teach them a lesson for stopping us,” the occupants said according to the FIR. https://newindian.in/exc-let-us-teach-them-a-lesson-for-stopping-us/  (20 July 2022)

Illegal mining in the Aravalis has defied the Supreme Court ban of 2009 and government crackdowns in Nuh, with its roots running deep and the undulating terrain aiding an undercover operation that often happens in the middle of the night.

In the past 3 years, around 700 vehicles involved in mining have been seized by the authorities in Nuh. While 194 vehicles were confiscated in 2020 and Rs 2.5 crore recovered from mining gangs, 387 vehicles were seized in 2021 but fines worth only Rs 17 lakh were imposed. Till July 19 this year, the authorities seized 102 vehicles and recovered Rs 4.9 lakh.

Environmentalists feared that Gurugram, Faridabad and Nuh could go the Rajasthan way if mining was left unchecked. In a 2018 report, a Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) had pointed out that around 25% of the Aravali range in Rajasthan had been lost to illegal mining in the past 50 years.

Haryana has a total of 119 mines, of which 61 are lying vacant. Most of the active mines are in Yamunanagar, Charkhi Dadri, Mahendragarh and Bhiwani. Despite the momentary brakes slammed by the pandemic, Haryana earned about Rs 770 crore from mining activities in 2020-21 compared to Rs 702 in 2019-20, according to official data. In 2018-19, it earned Rs 583 crore from mining. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/mining-rampant-in-haryanas-nuh-700-vehicles-seized-in-3-years/articleshow/92991461.cms  (20 July 2022)

Hindi report on illegal, unsustainable sand mining in Yamuna river in Haryana.

Rajesh Jakhar on FB Post: अवैध खनन में बेईमानी और चोरी का इतना बेइंतिहा पैसा है जिसके लिए इसे रोकने वाले सरकारी लोग ही अपने पाले हुए माफियाओं से इसे चलवाए रहते हैं । और जो ये देश भर में सड़क व भवन निर्माण के लिए सरकारी पेमेंट्स की जा रही हैं उनके बिलों के साथ रेता बजरी के वैध खनन से आने की पुष्टि के बगैर बिल पास हो जाते हैं ।

जब अवैध खनन के इस्तेमाल को रोकना रुकवाना है ही नहीं तो क्यों कभी मजदूरों को कभी पुलिस को रोकथाम के ढोंग की बलि चढ़ाती है सरकारें । अवैध खनन जो करवाते हैं वह कभी इसे रुकवाएँगे नहीं ।  रुकवाएँगे तो फिर न सड़कें न हवाई अड्डे न मेट्रो , कुछ भी नहीं इतनी गति से इतने कर्ज ले लेकर नहीं बना पाएंगे । फिर कमीशन कहाँ से खाएंगे ।

खनन रोकने वाले लोगों में डर बिठाकर ही ऐसा सम्भव रह सकता है । वही करती है माफिया ।  माफिया के संरक्षकों का नाम कभी बाहर न आए इस लिए एनकाउंटर से लेकर निर्माण सामग्री के रेट आसमान छूने के पैंतरे सब खेल सरकारों की असलियत जाहिर करने के लिए काफी नहीं हैं क्या ।

Sunil Harsana: Illegal mining and real estate continue to threaten the biodiversity of the Aravalli hill range in north-western India, despite several orders by the Supreme Court of India and National Green Tribunal. In fact, it would not be wrong to say illegal mining and real estate are synonymous. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/environment/why-the-land-and-mining-mafia-in-the-aravallis-can-t-be-touched-83846  (21 July 2022)

Himachal Pradesh 4 more trains suspended on Pathankot- Jogindernagar line

The dilapidated railway bridge on Chakki rivulet at Kandwal in Nurpur. Tribune photo

Due to indiscriminate sand mining in Chakki riverlet leading to weaking of railway bridge, all train services have been stopped along Pathankot Jogindernagar railway line in Punjab HP. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/four-more-trains-suspended-on-pathankot-jogindernagar-line-413344  (18 July 2022)

Punjab Ruling, Opposition benches spar over sand mining. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/question-hour-ruling-opposition-benches-in-punjab-spar-over-sand-mining-101656190292022.html  (26 June 2022)

Madhya Pradesh It would be a major disaster if Sand Mining is legalised in Chambal Sanctuary In June 2022, the National Board for Wildlife found itself considering a proposal by the state government to denotify almost 300 hectares of Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary for legal sand mining. The MP government says the move would reduce wasteful expenditure on monitoring illegal sand mining, while simultaneously increasing state revenue, helping meet local livelihoods’ needs, and protecting the environment. How valid is this reasoning? Where is such a proposal coming from? https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/environment/conservation-and-development/profits-protection-and-people-is-legalising-sand-mining-in-mps-chambal-sanctuary-worth-it/  (22 July 2022)

Bihar One labourer dies, 6 injured in Bihta illegal sand mining One labourer died of suffocation and five others were pulled out in a serious condition under sand after a huge chunk fell on them during illegal mining at Suraundha Balu Ghat under Bihta police station on Saturday (July 23). Later, with the use of a poclain machine, the sand was removed and the labourers were pulled out. The deceased has been identified as Rajkumar, a resident of Dhajwa Tola village under Maner police station. He was working as a labourer at the illegal site. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/one-labourer-dies-6-injured-in-bihta-illegal-sand-mining/articleshow/93082010.cms  (24 July 2022)

Mangaluru A 21-year-old youth drowned in a water-logged stone quarry on Sunday (July 24). The deceased is identified as Shiyab from Jokatte. Shiyab and his friends were playing cricket at Ulaibettu Kayarapadav ground. After playing he went to take a bath in the Water-logged stone quarry and drowned. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=982408  (24 July 2022)

Andhra Pradesh NGT directs AP Chief Secretary to ensure strict implementation of aquaculture and sand mining regulations in coastal areas. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ngt-directs-andhra-pradesh-chief-secretary-to-ensure-strict-implementation-of-aquaculture-and-sand-mining-regulations-in-coastal-areas/article65661033.ece  (20 July 2022)

Telangana Residents band together to save Manair river from illegal sand mining Save Manair,’ a people’s movement to save the river from illegal sand mining, is gaining momentum. It is headed by a retired librarian Ambati Karunakar Reddy. The movement, in which villagers and a few people’s representatives are members, is raising levels of consciousness among the people in preventing the unconscionable loss to the river, as the sand smugglers’ operations continue unbridled. For the sand smugglers, the permission given for desilting check dams in 18 sand reachers has come in handy to excavate sand everywhere and transport it out from the river. The Manair Parirakshana Samithi, which is leading the movement, alleges that the government was indirectly supporting the sand mafia. As part of their movement, pamphlets on the need for protection of the river, have been distributed to people in Madaka, Pothkapalli, Indurthi, Kanagarthi and Gumpula villages.

The activists are explaining to the villagers how the illegal activity would affect the groundwater table and irrigation facility in the villagers. “If sand mafia’s activities continue, agriculture will take a hit in the coming days,” says Ambati Karunakar Reddy. Another deeply disturbing development was that the sand smugglers were hiring villagers for smuggling the sand out, he points out.The Samiti is also planning to launch a ‘Sand Satyagraha’. The organisation wants farmers, environmentalists, and youth to remain united to fight against the sand mafia.He alleges that the District Sand Committee was cooperating with the sand mafia even though they are violating the rules.Mirjampeta MPTC Gudem Janardhan Reddy says: “It is time everyone lent their hands in protecting Manair River. https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2022/jul/24/save-manair-residents-band-together-to-save-manair-river-fromillegal-sand-mining-2480079.html  (24 July 2022)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Manipur CM’s dream project might be a nightmare The government’s proposed mega ecotourism project at the Loktak lake – a site of global significance under the Ramsar convention and home to the critically endangered sangai deer – has again waded in troubled waters. Tenders to appoint consultants for the Rs 1,700 crore project in Bishnupur district were floated in 2020, but the Asian Development Bank, which was likely to pump in 80 percent of the money, is learnt to have sought a review considering the possible adverse ecological impact. https://www.newslaundry.com/2022/07/21/trading-ecology-for-tourism-why-biren-singhs-dream-project-might-be-a-nightmare  (21 July 2022)

Proposed Tourism Infrastructure in Manipur puts Loktak Lake Residents at Eviction Risk. https://www.landconflictwatch.org/conflicts/loktak-lake-area-tourism-plan-displaces-local-people  (18 July 2022)

Tamil Nadu TANGEDCO Fined Rs5 Cr for Constructing Roads Within Ennore Wetlands In a 2016 case filed by Ennore fisher R.L Srinivasan challenging the construction of roads within the Ennore wetlands, the NGT imposed a penalty of Rs. 5 crores on state electricity utility, TANGEDCO. The amount should be used for developing and implementing an integrated restoration plan for the Ennore Creek, Buckingham Canal and Kosasthalaiyar River. Regarding TANGEDCOs illegal and wetland-degrading activities, a committee involving MOEFCC, State Coastal Zone Management Authority, NEERI and IIT-Madras recommended that any further such construction must be subject to a detailed EIA. https://storyofennore.wordpress.com/2022/07/21/tangedco-fined-rs-5-crores-for-constructing-roads-within-the-ennore-wetlands-for-the-construction-of-a-coal-conveyor-belt/  (21 July 2022)

Maharashtra Cidco puts CRZ plot for sale, greens write to CMO Environmentalists have expressed shock and concern over the tender sale of a land plot in Nerul, Seawoods area, whose 30% area falls under CRZ-1A, which means highly protected. Activists have questioned how such a plot near Nerul jetty can begiven to builders for bidding when one can’t develop such a CRZ area. Meanwhile, the chief minister’s office (CMO) has directed the UD and environment departments to look into this matter following the complaint.

“The huge Nerul plot (2A) measuring 25138 sq metres in sectors 54, 56, 58 has thick mangroves, and almost a third of it falls under CRZ-A. So, is it even legal for Cidco for try to do a tender sale for this land as no construction activity is allowed in such areas.” said Sunil Agarwal of Save Navi Mumbai Environment group. Agarwal added that in the past, the occupation certificates of 130 buildings along Palm Beach Road were held up for want of CRZ clearance.

Terming this as “an absolute fraud”, NatConnect Foundation has complained to the state environment department and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) against Cidco for advertising for the tender of the CRZ1 plot. This gives false hopes to builders that they can apply to MCZMA and get approvals, Kumar said and argued “this also leads to waste of precious time for the Authority as it has to conduct meetings to consider such proposals”.

Kumar also informed that it is shocking that Cidco has even asked builders to bid for the Nerul plot despite the MCZMA recently rejecting permission for a CRZ1 plot at Dronagiri, allotted by CIDCO under 12.5% compensation to a project affected person. This left the developer and the PAP in the lurch. These are in addition to 94 projects at Dronagiri awaiting OCs, he said and remarked: “we fail to understand as to why Cidco keeps committing these blunders and making consumers suffer”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-cidco-puts-crz-plot-for-sale-greens-write-to-cmo/articleshow/92984006.cms  (19 July 2022)

Activists in Kharghar are looking forward to some concrete action from the CIDCO towards the removal of nets laid down by local fishermen at the Kharghar Sector 16 wetlands to prevent birds’ entry into the area used for prawn farming. Minutes of the order passed by the Wetland Complaint Redressal Committee recently, in response to a complaint made by one of its own panel members, D Stalin, is the basis for the activists having some hope in the preservation of the wetlands. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/activists-demand-removal-of-nets-surrounding-wetlands-in-kharghar-101658594849154.html  (23 July 2022)

Goa WRD to use drones to monitor encroachments on notified wetlands Of the nine wetlands notified across the country so far under the Union government’s Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, seven are in Goa. Sources said that the water resources department (WRD) has now been asked by officials of the Goa wetland authority to monitor wetlands for encroachments and other violations every six months using drones. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/wrd-to-use-drones-to-monitor-encroachments-on-notified-wetlands/articleshow/92789708.cms  (11 July 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Rajasthan Greening of barren lands – the local way The Chauka system of Rajasthan can not only provide a sustainable way to manage water resources in water stressed regions, but also support livelihoods through development of pastures. Many structures are used for rainwater harvesting in arid to semi-arid environments and one such example of localised solutions to catch the rainfall includes shallow infiltration ponds, namely Chaukas of Rajasthan – a system developed by a local community organisation, Gram Vikas Navuyak Mandal Lapodiya (GVNML). This study aimed at quantifying the recharge potential of Chaukas in barren lands of Lapodiya region in Rajasthan and their impact on vegetation cover.

– “The Chauka system can provide a sustainable alternative to manage water resources in water stressed regions and  livelihood support through development of pastures for animal husbandry. These advantages highlight their potential to be scaled up and replicated in other water stressed parts of India or the world that have barren land that is slightly sloping, together with permeable soils, which are the only necessary conditions needed for the construction of Chaukas” concludes the study. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/greening-barren-lands-local-way  (11 July 2022)

Gujarat Malki practice for conserving Dang forests The word ‘Malki’ means ‘ownership’ and in 1984, the Government of Gujarat introduced the practice wherein the landholders were permitted to cut the trees for economic gains provided they had initiated the plantation of the requisite number of trees against the trees to be cut. The provisions contained in the practice gradually evolved during the 25 years (1984-2009).

– The environmental success of the Malki practice can be seen from the fact that 74% of the Dang forests witnessed an increasing trend in the green cover density which backs the fact that around one million trees would have been planted in the forest in-lieu of the 200,000 trees which were cut during 1994–2019. Also, the economic success of the Malki practice can be attributed to the fact that 19,936 land holders earned 39.4 million US $ through the sale of logs. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/how-effective-malki-practice-conserving-gujarats-dang-forests  (11 July 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Gujarat Groundwater registration delay to attract 1L fine  The notification on July 1 for all users of groundwater to get a no-objection certificate (NOC) from Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) created flutter across residences and industries in Gujarat. While several of the areas have heavy dependence on groundwater despite availability of surface water, the experts said that majority of the borewells in the state are not registered with the authorities. The officials said that with rules in force since 2018 and implemented in 2020, the delay in registration may attract fines of up to Rs 1 lakh depending on the category of registration. The new registrations will also cost Rs 10,000.

G Krishnamurthy, regional director of CGWB, said that ever since the publication of notification, the office is getting about 20-odd applications every day. “Purpose of the current notification and overall initiative is to first get to know the extent of the groundwater usage – there is no record of the total volume of the water extracted,” he said. “Only a fraction of industries is renewing water extraction NOCs in the state.” Experts pointed at the CGWB site for the online procedure to apply for the NOCs. Compared to earlier rules, the new ones are different in terms of compulsory installation of digital flow meters with telemetry which would allow the officials to monitor exact volume of water extracted even remotely. Those getting NOCs will also have to maintain a register of water extracted for the renewal of NOCs. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/groundwater-registration-delay-to-attract-1l-fine/articleshow/93099764.cms  (25 July 2022)

Students’ device makes drinking water arsenic free An undergraduate student of the Faculty of Science at M S University, along with two school students, has developed a magnetic filtration device for arsenic removal from drinking water. The filtration device which has already been installed in five villages in two of the worst arsenic-hit districts of Bihar has now earned a patent from Government of India’s Patent Office. The 16th Bihar economic survey report 2021-22 that was recently tabled in Bihar assembly had stated that groundwater in rural areas in 31 of 38 districts in the state was affected by high concentration of arsenic posing severe health risk to people. Bihar’s heavy cancer burden is largely due to high levels of arsenic, a known carcinogen. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/students-device-makes-drinking-water-arsenic-free/articleshow/93100101.cms  (25 July 2022)

Maharashtra Detailed mapping plan to locate potential groundwater resources in state The Maharashtra Department of Water Supply and Sanitation will embark on a minute mapping plan that will cover 25 lakh groundwater resources and water conservation works amid fall in water levels and scarcity, an official said. The mapping will be carried out at a ratio of 1:10000, which means every centimetre on the map will represent 10,000 centimetres on the ground, giving a detailed assessment of such resources, he said. “It will be done under the Jal Jeevan Mission. Maharashtra will be the first state to take up such an initiative,” he said.

Emphasizing the importance of the plan, Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) Commissioner Chintaman Joshi said around 80 per cent of irrigation and 85 per cent of supply for drinking purposes in Maharashtra was based on groundwater resources. “Moreover, micro and small-scale industries and other businesses also pump out groundwater on a large scale. This has resulted in a fall in groundwater levels and has led to water scarcity in many places,” he said. https://www.mid-day.com/news/india-news/article/maharashtra-detailed-mapping-plan-to-locate-potential-groundwater-resources-in-state-23237496  (24 July 2022)

Loksabha According to the study, the occurrence of Uranium in ground water beyond the BIS permissible limits (0.03 mg/l) of water were observed in around 409 groundwater samples against 14,377 samples analysed by the CGWB in around 18 States. Bishweswar Tudu, Minister of state, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha said that the data generated by CGWB is shared with respective State Governments for taking suitable remedial action. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/high-levels-of-uranium-observed-in-409-groundwater-samples-in-18-states-11658407121089.html  (21 July 2022)

Book Freely available book to understand how groundwater flows. https://gw-project.org/books/conceptual-and-visual-understanding-of-hydraulic-head-and-groundwater-flow/ 

URBAN WATER

Shimla 24×7 supply for Shimla on cards, water channelling for Mandi CM Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday called on Union jal shakti minister Gajendera Singh Shekhawat to discuss the state’s water-related issues. He sought funds for channelling Suketi river in the district of Mandi during the meeting. Urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj, meanwhile, said the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO), the technical wing of Union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA), has accorded its approval for round-the-clock water supply project of ₹492 crore to improve water supply service within Shimla municipal corporation area.

Speaking about the same, he said it was one of the key projects approved under Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Services Delivery Programme for improvement of water supply in greater Shimla area with financial assistance from World Bank at a total financial outlay of ₹1,825 crore. Of the total sum, World Bank will provide financial assistance to the tune of ₹1,168 crore and remaining amount of ₹657 crore will be borne by the state government. The tender process for the 24×7 water supply project has been initiated with a target of October 31 to award the tender to the successful bidder. The project is expected to be completed by the year 2025 and will provide 24×7 pressurised water supply to citizens of Shimla city, thus reducing the coping costs. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/24×7-supply-for-shimla-on-cards-water-channelling-for-mandi-101658611596258.html  (24 July 2022)

Navi Mumbai ‘Dirty’ water causes gastro ailments in parts of Kharghar Residents of Kharghar have been suffering from gastro ailments due to contaminated water allegedly being supplied to various parts of this node. Residents of sector 12 have lodged a complaint with Cidco water supply department. Angry residents have demanded tanker water be supplied till the problem is resolved. Cidco officials stated that water tanks in housing complexes in sector 12 may have been contaminated, since the source is the same and no other areas are facing any problem. Cidco said that the cause of contamination may be due to lack of maintenance of society water tanks. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-dirty-water-causes-gastro-ailments-in-parts-of-kharghar/articleshow/93096931.cms  (25 July 2022)

Despite a good rainfall, residents of Kamothe and adjoining nodes are not getting adequate water supply. The party workers of Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) staged a protest outside the CIDCO office in Kamothe and put a garland of shoes on CIDCO’s water department notice board. In the last three weeks, the catchment areas of most of the dams received good rainfall and almost all agencies have restored the water supply. However, there is no change in areas that fall under the CIDCO jurisdiction. In the Kamothe and Kharghar areas, water is supplied by CIDCO from Hetawane dam. Although CIDCO claims that the water supply has been improved, citizens are facing a water crisis. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/navi-mumbai-pwp-workers-protest-outside-cidco-put-garland-of-shoes-on-water-department-notice-board  (24 July 2022)

Pune Research carried out under the Food-water-energy for Urban Sustainable Environments (FUSE) initiative by Stanford University, USA, Austrian partners Austrian Foundation for Development Research (ÖFSE) and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Germany predicts distress of residents in Pune if there is a possibility of multiple drought years due to climate change. This research project started in May 2018 and is nearing completion now. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/research-warns-of-distress-to-residents-due-to-inequitable-access-to-water-101658689259753.html  (25 July 2022)

Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) Friday (July 22) admitted that there has been a “nagging issue” of water contamination due to overloading of stormwater drains in the cluster neighbourhoods. The civic body, which has been facing flak over the issue, has decided to identify over 50 spots where the water supply and sewage networks are mixing up, causing contamination. The development came after Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani Friday demanded the Vadodara mayor’s resignation after a 20-year-old girl died on July 16. The deceased lived in Harijanvas on Jetalpur Road where the residents have been imploring the civic body to look into the issue of water contamination. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/vadodara-municipal-corporation-admits-to-water-contamination-to-identify-problematic-spots-8046346/  (23 July 2022)

Hyderbad With increased turbidity in waters coming from the Godavari, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) is taking measures to ensure quality with additional chemical treatment to the water. Turbidity crossed 200 NTU (nephelometric turbidity unit) and in places like Ramagundam it is close to 800 NTU, more than 20 times the normal (8-10 NTU). https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/240722/water-board-to-further-purify-godavari-water.html  (24 July 2022)

Kolkata Housing society complexes try to decipher groundwater board notification https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/hsg-complexes-try-to-decipher-groundwater-board-notification/articleshow/92586057.cms  (01 July 2022)

Ballari A child died and more than 20 people have been hospitalised after drinking polluted water in Karnataka’s Ballari area. Cops suspect that drainage water got mixed with drinking water and that was consumed by the villagers. The tragic incident reportedly took place in a small village located in Ballari. The villagers reportedly consumed water from a place which was recently established for availing clean drinking water. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/ballari-one-dead-over-20-people-hospitalised-after-drinking-polluted-water-watch-article-93108942  (25 July 2022)

Panchkula Power snag hits water supply in Sector 8 After dirty water supply, residents of Sector 8 found that they did not have any water supply in the area due to a power snag. Residents alleged that the genset kept for use in case of power failure was lying non-functional with the HUDA water division. Resident welfare association members said that there was no fresh water supply in Sector 8 since morning. Water department officials attributed this to power failure. Residents further alleged that in case of power failure, gensets have been provided to booster stations but the genset was not in working condition. They alleged that on the one hand, Haryana Assembly speaker Gian Chand Gupta wanted to take the city among the top 10 smart cities of the country but even water supply was not provided to residents. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/power-snag-hits-water-supply-in-pkls-sector-8/articleshow/93099939.cms  (25 July 2022)

Ghaziabad 2 minors die The district health department has found the presence of contamination in drinking water samples at Swarn Jayanti Puram residential locality, where two children —aged five and seven — died on July 20 and 21 respectively due to diarrhoea, vomiting and other health complications. Officials said that four of the five water samples they picked up for testing were found to have the presence of H2S (hydrogen sulfide), which indicates that the drinking water sources got mixed with sewerage.

The deaths of the two minors were reported from the locality’s residential pocket meant for the economically weaker sections (EWS). The colony is yet to be handed over to the Ghaziabad municipal corporation and is maintained by the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA). The two agencies are already blaming each other over the two deaths after the health department wrote to them and also to the state administration. According to local residents, about 20 persons, including 10-12 children are still suffering from ailments due to the water contamination. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/days-after-two-minors-die-in-ghaziabad-water-samples-confirm-contamination-101658686202655.html  (24 July 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

Telangana Flood-hit residents allege contamination of water supply under Mission Bhagiratha Residents of flood-hit villages have alleged that drinking water supplied under the Mission Bhagiratha is contaminated, with irrigation officials asking people not to consume it in several instances. Instead, people are drinking water supplied through borewells as the recent spells of heavy rains have enhanced groundwater levels, according to residents of Dongachintha, Chapral, Mattadi, Rajulamadugu, Gangapur, Kamai and Aliguda villages in Utnoor mandal. They also alleged that consumption of contaminated water led to cases of diarrhoea, typhoid and fever in flood-affected colonies of NTR, Ramnagar, Rallapet Colony, and Old Mancherial town in Mancherial district. Meanwhile, cases of seasonal diseases are also on the rise in flood-affected areas, residents said. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/250722/flood-hit-residents-allege-contamination-of-water-supply-under-mission.html  (25 July 2022)

Report Why India needs a new law to combat deaths of workers in sewers, septic tanks The prohibition in the 2013 legislation has been diluted while a confusing Supreme Court order makes it difficult to get compensation. https://scroll.in/article/1028150/why-india-needs-a-new-law-to-combat-the-deaths-of-workers-in-sewers-and-septic-tanks  (19 July 2022)

MONSOON 2022

Report Unusual atmospheric patterns behind downpour in some parts, scanty rain This tries to explain huge deficit rainfall in Gangetic plains so far this SW Monsoon while there is huge surplus in Central India, in terms of a stationary low pressure area over Odisha for over a week and a depression developed over Saurashtra Coast on Saturday, moving inland now. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/unusual-atmospheric-patterns-behind-downpour-in-some-parts-scanty-rain-in-others-say-experts-101657994412903.html  (17 July 2022)

अतिवृष्टि वाले स्थान पर कम हो रही बारिश भारत के पूर्वोत्तर राज्यों में 119 साल के बारिश के आंकड़ों का विश्लेषण बता रहा है कि अधिक बारिश वाले स्थानों पर बारिश में कमी आई है। वर्ष 1973 के बाद के आंकड़ों का रुझान बारिश में कमी दिखा रहा है। विश्व के सबसे अधिक बारिश वाले इलाकों में बरसात में कमी से पानी के प्रबंधन पर इसका असर पड़ सकता है।

बारिश में कमी के पीछे समुद्र का तापमान बढ़ना हो सकता है। पिछले दो दशक से जंगल तेजी से खत्म कर खेत बनाने की वजह से भी मौसम का संतुलन बिगड़ रहा है। सटीक आंकड़ों के अभाव में विश्लेषण के परिणाम उतने प्रभावी नहीं हैं। लंबे अंतराल का आंकड़ा उपलब्ध हो तो रुझान और अधिक प्रभावी तरीके से सामने आ सकते हैं। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/07/21/working-out-rainfall-changes-in-worlds-wettest-place/  (21 July 2022)

FLOOD 2022

Webinar बाढ़ की तबाही: सरकारों की जवाबदेही रविवार, 24 जुलाई, शाम 6 बजे ज़ूम: https://zoom.us/j/95839499599?pwd=WmtWYVFlTGJFekk1OGFSU3MvVjlwQT09#success   या  NAPM के फेसबुक पेज पर लाइव देखें: https://www.facebook.com/NAPMindia/ सत्र हिंदी और अंग्रेज़ी में, संक्षिप्त अनुवाद के साथ होगा.

Opinion Flood not a disaster Nirmalya Choudhury writes: Holistic flood management strategies can help vulnerable communities thrive, not just survive.

-Hazards like floods — fluvial or pluvial — are often triggered by extreme weather events, but they translate into disaster risk due to anthropogenic factors. The latter share a complex relationship with biophysical and social vulnerability. A logical corollary of this is to move away from the sole focus on structural interventions and river engineering to prevent floods and instead, address the underlying factors that drive the multiple dimensions of vulnerability. It is only by reducing the causes of vulnerability that one can contribute to building people’s resilience. The riparian population and their lives and livelihoods should be at the centre of the planning process of flood management.

-Flood risk management strategies would need to expand their scope from river engineering and embankment construction and address the diverse root causes through a set of interventions targeted to address the drivers of vulnerability. Risk management cannot be done just by the water resources department. It needs convergence across multiple departments. In the overall flood risk management strategy, the role of agriculture, animal husbandry, education, PHED and health departments are as important – if not more.

-Climate scientists predict an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and hence the importance of warning systems will continue to increase. But from a risk management perspective, warning technologies are only as good as their reach in remote villages. It is here that the convergence with the tiered community institutions promoted under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission becomes important. With proper training, these institutions could act as a response force of the community to calamities in disaster-prone areas.https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-we-can-have-disaster-free-floods-8044624/  (23 July 2022)

Polavaram Project Telangana Blames Polavaram For Godavari Floods The Telangana government on Tuesday (July 19 2022) blamed Polavaram project under construction in Andhra Pradesh for recent floods in Godavari, triggering a new inter-state row. Transport minister P. Ajay Kumar said that there was negligence in releasing water from Polavaram which led to floods at Bhadrachalam, inundating parts of the town and several villages along the course of the river in Bhadradri Kothagudem district. The minister demanded that Andhra Pradesh government reduce the height of Polavaram dam to avoid floods at Bhadrachalam due to backwaters.

– Following heavy rains in catchment areas and massive inflows from upstream resulted in the flood level at Bhadrachalam last week crossing 71 feet, the highest in more than three decades. About 25,000 people from flood-hit areas were evacuated to relief camps. https://news.abplive.com/telangana/telangana-blames-under-construction-polavaram-project-in-andhra-pradesh-for-godavari-floods-1543355 (19 July 2022)

This article suggests that CWC needs to take up studies to resolve the concerns of Riparian states. It does not though mention about there being no Public Hearings or Impact Assessment in Odisha or Chhattisgarh parts of impacted areas. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/politics-over-polavaram/article65678990.ece  (25 July 2022)

With inflows into major water bodies in Godavari river basin in north Telangana dropping significantly, officials of the Irrigation department are now focused on the safety of dams across the State as more rainfall is expected during peak monsoon in August and September. Senior officials, who deal with safety aspects of the dams in the State, are collecting information from engineers working at each dam site as major water bodies received heavy inflows during the recent torrential rains. https://telanganatoday.com/ts-irrigation-dept-focuses-on-safety-of-dams-as-inflows-dip-in-godavari-basin  (24 July 2022)

Impact on Bhadrachalam floods A technical study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, (IIT-H) has clearly indicated that the impact of the Polavaram dam in Andhra Pradesh on surface water levels in Bhadrachalam town in the event of Godavari floods is as small as two-centimetre increase.

The study, ‘Backwater Effect Due to Polavaram Dam Project under Different Return Periods,” carried out by research scholars C.R. Amarnath and T. Shashidhar, was funded by the Telangana state government.

– According to the study, given the discharge of 36 lakh cusecs, the highest level of flood recorded in the history of the Godavari, the water level in Bhadrachalam in steady state condition after constructing the Polavaram dam would be 57.02 metres against 57 metres without the dam.

Similarly, if the discharge went up to 50 lakh cusecs, which the Polavaram dam was re-designed to withstand, the water level in Bhadrachalam would be 61.79 metres post completion of Polavaram dam against 61.77 metres without the dam.

The study pointed out that the water levels in Bhadrachalam in unsteady conditions would be 59.84 metres if the dam gates kept closed even after the discharge level reached 36 lakh cusecs. The study said the level would be 59.52 metres if there was no dam which in other words the increase in water level the dam might be forcing, that too with all gates closed, will be 20 cm.

– The IIT-H study gave utmost importance to the maintenance of dam gates, the failure of which it warned, would endanger Bhadrachalam and surrounding areas.

“Regular and periodic maintenance of the gates of the Polavaram dam is a must for the safety of upstream areas. Dam gates should be well operated, keeping in mind the inflows and submergence that would be caused by improper closing/opening of the gate walls,” the study pointed out. It also stressed the need for construction of levees and dredging of riverbeds to reduce the water surface elevation.

– An officer added that the backwater effect on Bhadrachalam was also due to congestion of the river cross section at Papikondalu. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/220722/polavaram-had-scant-impact-on-bhadrachalam-floods-study.html  (23 July 2022)

Following the State government’s decision to increase the height of Polavaram upper coffer dam by 1 meter to 44 m in view of expectation of higher than design flood capacity of 28 lakh cusecs in Godavari, works for increasing the height of 2.5 kms upper coffer dam was started on July 15 and completed by July 17. The upper cofferdam was built to withstand 28 lakh cusecs of flood water. If inflow is more than the capacity, water will flow over the upper cofferdam. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/25-km-long-upper-coffer-dam-height-raised-by-3-ft-754096  (19 July 2022)

Kadam project to get 8 more gates to prevent future flooding The authorities are planning to add eight more gates at the Kadam project in Nirmal districtfour on each side to help ease the release of upto 5 lakh cusecs of floodwater to avoid any problems in  the future. A technical team from Hyderabad inspected the project in on Monday to assess its structural safety and damages due to the recent flood. Led by Chief Engineer (operation & maintenance), the team inspected the damaged gates and breach in the left canal. The officials found that several gates of the dam and electricity wire had been damaged due to overflowing water, due to which the gates could not be closed. This has caused a shortage of water in the dam.

– A Central design team will also visit the dam within two days for inspection. Further action will be taken based on the report.  The farmers who rely on the project for irrigation have expressed concerns over the possible shortage of water as the current level in the dam is minimal due to damaged gates. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/jul/19/kadam-project-to-get-8-more-gates-to-prevent-future-flooding-2478188.html  (19 July 2022)

Kaleshwaram under water: Learn lessons to move forward Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project and its costs, the current massive damage to its pumping stations and its lack of any cost benefit ratio logic discussion, if any, need to be understood in that larger context prevailing at national level. There are two more additional specifics with regard to Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project first one is that this massive spending is through borrowed money from commercial banks with commercial interest rates, second one this entire project is driven by a single contractor and Government engineers seem to have played supporting role than any controlling, supervising the construction of this project’s components.

– The Kaleshwaram project, its size, scale and the complexity has truly created national and internal sensation. Never before this type of project was implemented in India or elsewhere.  Below is highly simplified version to explain what is this project.

– Physical and engineering works: There are about 20 reservoirs along the way to store the water of 147.7 TMC of water (4,100 million cu.m) and of this several are on the river, but six storage facilities required 35,000 ac of land of that close to 4000 ac are forest land. About 31,000 ac of land from farmers have been acquired to construct these reservoirs. In addition to that close to 6,704 existing houses have to demolished in 21 villages to construct these reservoirs. The high speed, high-capacity pumps are were dazing. Total of 96 machines of total capacity of 4,680 MW have been installed. These machines can lift 195 TMC of water several times transport several hundred KM. This is first of its kind in the world.

– The main objective of the project is to lift 195 TMC of water and transporting 1600 km of canals and 203 km of tunnels pumping same water 9 stages to lift nearly 600 m from the source. The barrages, the underground massive pumping, the tunnels, the canals, the impressive man-made storages middle of nowhere, the concrete, the power stations, etc., has attracted attention. Truly this project is so far the biggest in spending, biggest in lifting water, the world record high speed pumps and all this has created truly sensational, making a tourist destination for many politicians in the country. The Telangana Government was proud to say its global records of highest this, and largest that generated huge media sensation. Even the Discovery Channel made a film and several international magazines such as Forbes. Most of this excitement is about the construction, concrete, records not about the purpose. Neither Discovery Channel or Forbes magazine or for that matter any serious reporting was on the displacement, purpose, costs or its end goals. This media campaign is not even about benefits of the Kaleshwaram project but its physical structures blatantly looked like advertisement campaign for a contractor who is building the project with public money. Some national media outlets did report on issues such as rehabilitation around 2021 and costs as early as 2018. The banks which financed the project did not even consider any independent review or any further analysis of this projects. Some of the public finance corporations such as REC, rural electrification corporation has given A grade, since they funded to the tune of Rs.14,000 crores.

– The estimated cost of this project was Rs.80,000 crores, But the spending already reached Rs.120,000 crores and still there is extension of the project to draw additional one TMC of water per day. The current capacity is 2 TMC. It is not clear what is the final estimates and what has already been spent and who actually financing the extension phase. The papers reported in August 2021 that the cost of this project is Rs.110,000 crores. As and when this project is completed with distributary canals and other structures, additional land acquisition, pipes for additional TMC, etc., may exceed more than Rs.150,000 crores.

– Cost of water delivery: The project is proposed to provide 165 TMC water which expected irrigate  18 lakh ac. This will come to 2593 cu.m per ac. The cost of pumping and other operational and maintenance costs are going to close to at least 70,000 per ac. per season. This is going to be one of the most expensive waters ever used for irrigation. All these analyses and calculations were done and presented well before the project was started.

– The benefits of this project are still to be seen and so far it provided no significant irrigation, water for domestic use or for Industry. Before that the project has run into several unexpected problems. Damage due to flooding in July 2022 to equipment and safety of structures, crops, private properties may run into thousands of crores. It is important to mention here that the water discharges are much higher during the 1986 floods. So, the current water discharges of Godavari is not the highest recorded. Imagine the damage, if 1986 level of water discharge occurs. Why the pumps are submerged? Last year too water entered pumping stations.

– Independent review of the project is the only way forward. https://www.siasat.com/kaleshwaram-under-water-learn-lessons-to-move-forward-2372618/ (Biksham Gujja, July 19 2022)

GUJARAT DAM FLOODS: Banana farmers in Narmada and Bharuch districts said that the final nail in the coffin for their crop was the sudden release of water from the Karjan reservoir due to heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of the river in Maharashtra. Harvesting was still going on these areas and up to 70 per cent of the standing crop was lost. “We lost 70 per cent of our standing crop and 100 per cent of the fresh plantations. The river rushed into several inland farms when water from the reservoir was suddenly released without warning,” Mahendrasinh Karmaria, a farmer in Bharuch, said. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/sudden-release-of-water-destroyed-gujarat-banana-crop-allege-farmers-83752  (15 July 2022)

Bhopal 15 villages flooded as sluice gates of 3 dams open Eleven sluice gates of Bhadbhada dam, nine sluice gates of Kaliasot dam and four sluice gates of Kolar Dam were opened on Sunday (July 24) leading to flood like situation in 15 villages in Kolar belt. With the opening of 11 sluice gates of Bhadbhada dam, water from Upper Lake was released into Kaliasot river. The sluice gates of Kaliasot dam were opened as it attained full tank level on Sunday (July 24). As many as 15 villages received 4 feet water after nine gates of Kaliasot dam were opened on Sunday. The people were not evacuated as water drained out. Alert was sounded in villages before gates were opened. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-15-villages-flooded-as-sluice-gates-of-3-dams-open  (24 July 2022)

Maharashtra River Wardha in Godavari basin at Patala level monitoring site in Chandrapur district has crossed old HFL 189.77 m dated 13.07.1994. Present water level 192.72 m at 07:00 hours on 19.07.2022 with rising trend.

Madhya Pradesh River Narmada at Abna level monitoring site in Khandawa district has breached previous HFL 301.02 m dated 06.08.2019. Present level 301.27 m at 20:00 hrs on 18.07.2022 with rising trend.

River Narmada at Hathed at Misrod level monitoring site in Hoshangabad district has breached previous HFL 297 m dated 12.09.2019. Present level 297.35 m at 18:00 hrs on 18.07.2022 with rising trend.

Telangana River Musi in Krishna basin at Anantharam level monitoring site in Nalgonda district has crossed old HFL 230.21 m dated 14.10.2020 by 0.49 m thus setting up new HFL 230.7 m at 06:00 hrs on 23.07.2022.  The flood level stayed over old HFL for 13 hours.

URBAN FLOODS

Mumbai A critique of the anti-flood measures in Mumbai by Shweta Wagh. https://questionofcities.org/techno-fixes-for-flood-risk-mitigation-in-mumbai-an-ecological-critique/  (15 July 2022)

DROUGHT

Uttar Pradesh गोरखपुर में सूखे की मार झेल रहे किसानों के सामने जेल जाने का खतरा बाढ़ बचाव के साथ ही सूखे से निपटने की तैयारियों को लेकर सोमवार (July 18) को एडीएम वित्त एवं राजस्व राजेश कुमार सिंह की अध्यक्षता में बैठक हुई। सरयू नहर खंड प्रथम के सहायक अभियंता सुशील कुमार शर्मा ने कहा कि नहरों में पर्याप्त पानी है। उन्होंने शिकायत की कि कुछ स्थानों पर किसान नहर काट दे रहे हैं। इसपर एडीएम ने ऐसे किसानों के खिलाफ मुकदमा दर्ज कराने का निर्देश दिया है।  यह भी कहा कि यदि यह नहीं साफ हो पा रहा है कि किसने नहर काटी तो उन किसानों पर एफआईआर दर्ज कराई जाए जिनके खेतों में पानी जा रहा है। हालांकि उन्होंने यह भी कहा कि इस तरह की घटना की जानकारी संबंधित एसडीएम व तहसीलदार को लिखित तौर पर दी जाए और फोटोग्राफ समेत आख्या आपदा विभाग के व्हाट्सएप ग्रुप पर उपलब्ध कराई जाए। बैठक में बताया गया कि मौसम विभाग द्वारा प्रस्तुत रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक 17 जुलाई तक औसत 443 मिमी बारिश होनी चाहिए थी मगर उसके सापेक्ष 115 मिमी ही बारिश हुई।  https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/gorakhpur/going-to-jail-in-front-of-farmers-facing-drought-in-gorakhpur?pageId=2  (19 July 2022)

यूपी, बिहार और झारखंड में बारिश न होने से किसानों को सता रहा सूखे का डर; धान की फसल हो रही प्रभावित https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNSlURHjqzY  (14 July 2022)  

LANDSLIDES

Maharashtra Heavy rain triggered 10,000 landslides in July 2021: Study Maharashtra might have recorded up to 10,000 landslides in July 2021, research data shows. The study was conducted by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM), Pune. Landslides across Western Ghats have increased and an early warning system is needed to protect the infrastructure and prevent damage to lives, the study said. Incessant rainfall played a crucial role in surface runoff, soil-water and groundwater for all the landslide events. The locations received about 100 mm of rainfall in five hours within a fortnight, triggering the landslides.

There were widespread landslides across Mumbai, Pune, Satara, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts in late July 2021. The researchers looked into 85 landslides and shared their observations and recommendations with the state disaster management.  Over 600 landslides small and large landslides were reported in 14 hours on July 22 and 23 across five districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur, Satara and Pune, the study found. The number of landslides in the area had been increasing exponentially since 2011, it noted.

ACWADAM field visits to the affected areas showed an average density of five events per square kilometre. If the average value was extrapolated to the hilly areas of the five districts, there might have been close to 5,000 slides in the area. If Sindhudurg, Thane, Palghar and Nashik were also added, the number of small and large landslides could have been close to 10,000 in a span of 14-16 hours, the research said.

The study aimed to understand landslides with regard to slope failures, causative factors, triggers and the movement of material. “The landslides surveyed represented a random sample taken after reconnaissance from a larger set of hundreds of landslides located in five districts of western Maharashtra,” said Himanshu Kulkarni, executive director of ACWADAM.  A common observation was the presence of natural springs in the proximity of many landslides. This would lead to discharge in springs of the landslides and give rise to more springs in the neighbouring areas, he added.

A significant number of landslides were on the forested slopes, dominated by older trees.  “Forest cover is assumed to behave as a buffer against the high water runoff. However, the combination of water pressures, wind speed and the tall growth of old trees played a key role in triggering the slopes,” said Uma Aslekar, executive director of the study. The geological and hydrological factors and anthropogenic disturbances in the region complemented the biological factors to initiate a landslide, Aslekar said. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/heavy-rain-triggered-10-000-landslides-in-maharashtra-in-july-2021-study-83782  (19 July 2022)

Kerala Disaster-hit tribes struggle to relocate The forest department has allotted 35,521.19 acres of land to the tribes people across the state under individual rights of the Forest Rights Act 2006 as on May 31, 2022. As many as 26,867 title documents were also issued during the period. The department continues to receive more such claims every year. At the same time, what is little known is that many of the tribes people who received individual rights on such lands years ago are being forced to relocate to new lands with the same rights. The department has been receiving several such requests, said forest officers.

Climate change-induced disasters like landslides and floods, increasing man-animal conflicts and meagre crop yields from the allotted land are some of the key reasons prompting the tribespeople to demand new forest lands. Aanakkayam in Vazhachal and Vaniyampuzha in Malappuram are among the regions from where the tribes people have been looking to relocate.

“A massive landslide occurred near the tribal settlement in Anakkayam in 2018. Further examination of the land indicated it was not safe for people to stay there. The department had given 1.79ha of land for 12 families under individual rights years ago. Now, the number of families has increased to 23. But they have said they will resettle in Pothupara even if they are allotted only the same extent of land. We have written to the government about their demand,” said a forest department official in Vazhachal.

In Vaniyambuzha, it is flood threat that poses a risk for 92 families. “Families living near water bodies complain of flood situations whenever there is heavy rain. They want to relocate to a new place,” said range officer K G Anwar. However, there is no provision for allotting new forest land after giving rights for land in another area, said a forest officer. “We receive many requests from tribal people demanding land in other regions. But the issue is that there is no provision in the Act to provide new land for the tribes people who are already title holders,” said a senior official in the department in Thiruvananthapuram. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/disaster-hit-tribespeople-struggle-to-relocate/articleshow/92930123.cms  (17 July 2022)

Uttarakhand 2 labourers dead, 6 critically hurt as part of under-construction bridge collapses At least two labourers from Uttar Pradesh died and six others sustained injuries after a part of an under-construction bridge being built to connect Sirobagad and Narkota areas in Rudrapraya8g on the Char Dham all-weather road, collapsed around 9 am on Wednesday (July 20). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-2-labourers-dead-6-critically-hurt-as-part-of-under-construction-bridge-collapses/articleshow/93016203.cms  (21 July 2022)

Mapping soil loss in disaster-prone Indian scientists have developed a soil loss map of Uttarakhand that will help pinpoint areas battling soil erosion and the degree of severity of top soil loss brought on by a combination of both human-induced and natural factors. Close to 50 percent of the state’s area is above the tolerance limit of soil loss. Sheet erosion and landslides contribute substantially to soil loss resulting in the decline of productivity of agricultural land. Anthropogenic activities like uncontrolled deforestation and unscientific land-use, including shifting cultivation, have accelerated the process of soil erosion. The major causes of erosion in the state could be attributed to weak geological formation, active seismicity and deforestation. https://scroll.in/article/894023/on-fragile-ground-uttarakhand-risks-agricultural-disaster-as-soil-is-eroded-at-an-alarming-rate  (11 Sept. 2018)

Heavy unprecedented rains on 13.07.2022 in District-Chamoli, of 79.4 mm against an average rainfall of 39mm during last one week has  caused extensive damage to certain parts of NH-07 Highway which has been promptly attended to and traffic restored. Traffic with caution has also been restored in two severely damaged locations of Km. 398+500(Karanprayag) and Km. 419+900(Pursari) and contractor is in the process of restoring the road in full width.

Recent media reports have alleged that the government has engaged a blacklisted company for execution of prestigious Chardham Project. NHIDCL hereby clarifies that no blacklisted contractor is engaged on any of its projects and the selection of contractors for its projects are made after a prescribed due diligent process. The companies engaged are executing number of Central and State Government infrastructure projects. The roads are being constructed on EPC mode in which the contractor is responsible for restoration of defects for four years even after construction. https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1842095  (17 July 2022)

Himachal Pradesh किन्नौर के निगुलसरी में लैंडस्लाइड की चेतावनी जारी की गई है.  चेतावनी के बाद हाईवे को बंद कर दिया गया है. बता दें कि निकुलसरी के पास गत वर्ष भूस्खलन में 28 लोगों की मौत गई थी. इसके बाद यहां पर आईआईटी मंडी की ओर से अर्ली वार्निंग सिस्टम लगाया गया है. इस सिस्टम के जरिये लैंडस्लाइड का अलर्ट मिला है. https://hindi.news18.com/news/himachal-pradesh/reckong-peo-weather-updates-landslide-alert-at-kinnaur-nigulsari-area-iit-mandi-send-sos-call-to-dc-hpvk-4403229.html  (19 July 2022)

CLOUD BURSTS

Himachal Pradesh किन्नौर में बादल फटा, बाढ़ ने मचाई तबाही जनजातीय जिला किन्नौर के पूह खंड की शलखर पंचायत में सोमवार (July 18) शाम बादल फटने के बाद आठ नालों में बाढ़ आ गई। इससे पंचायत में अफरा-तफरी मच गई है। बाढ़ के कारण कई वाहन मलबे में दब गए हैं तो वहीं घरों में मलबा और पानी भर गया है। आवाजाही के रास्ते बंद होने की वजह से क्षेत्र के लोग सुरक्षित स्थान पर पहुंचने में भी असमर्थ हैं। इसको देखते हुए ग्रामीणों ने आपदा प्रबंधन, जिला प्रशासन और प्रदेश सरकार से बचाव कार्य शुरू करने की गुहार लगाई है।

स्थानीय लोगों से मिली जानकारी के मुताबिक क्षेत्र में दोपहर से ही भारी बारिश हो रही है। इसी दौरान शाम करीब 6:00 बजे अचानक क्षेत्र के ऊपरी हिस्से में बादल फट गया। इससे गोतांग क्षेत्र से निकलने वाले पकते नाला, ढूनाला, देनानाला, बस स्टैंड नाला, शारंग नाला, मूर्तिक्यू नाला, गीप और गौतांग नाले में बाढ़ आ गई। इससे शलखर गांव में चारों तरफ पानी घुस गया। मलबा और पानी लोगों के घरों में घुस गया।

पानी के तेज बहाव और मलबे में सड़क और घरों के बाहर खड़े वाहन मलबे में दब गए हैं। इसके अलावा जलशक्ति विभाग समेत स्थानीय करीब छह कूहलें क्षतिग्रस्त हो गई है। घरों में पानी घुसने से लोगों को के सामान को भी नुकसान पहुंचा है। क्षेत्र में देर रात तक भारी बारिश हो रही है, जिससे क्षेत्र के लोग बुरी तरह से सहमे हुए हैं। ग्रामीण सुरक्षित रहने के लिए दूसरे गांव में जाने की कोशिश भी कर रहे हैं लेकिन बाढ़ और मलबे के कारण यहां से बाहर नहीं निकल पा रहे हैं। https://www.amarujala.com/shimla/himachal-weather-update-cloudburst-in-kinnaur-flash-flood-in-kinnaur-himachal-pradesh  (18 July 2022)

Shalkhar and Chango villages of Kinnaur are located 7 to 10 kms from Sumdo check post towards Pooh (in Lahaul-Spiti district) and located close to China border. There have been no casualties so far. The road is completely closed and movement of vehicles has been stopped from Sumdo and Nako sides towards Shalkhar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/himachal-pradesh-cloudburst-in-shalakhar-village-of-kinnaur-sweeps-away-entire-area/articleshow/92963100.cms  (18 July 2022)

Heavy rain on Sunday (July 17) triggered flash floods at Sangla Valley in Kinnaur. A video shared by news agency ANI shows water pushing stones in full spate and making its way to the nearby areas. At the time of filing this news, no injury or damage was reported in the region. For weeks, heavy incessant rains have been lashing most parts of Himachal Pradesh, causing landslides and flood-like situation in several areas. In July last year, at least 15 people, including 10 in Lahaul-Spiti and five in Kullu, were killed in flash floods due to heavy rain. https://www.firstpost.com/india/himachal-pradesh-heavy-rain-triggers-flash-floods-at-sangla-valley-in-kinnaur-10922321.html  (17 July 2022)

h Another incident of cloudburst was reported in Shalkhar and adjoining villages of Pooh sub division of Kinnaur district late on Tuesday evening; 25 houses, 12 cow sheds, 7 irrigation schemes and 4 water mills, one pedestrian bridge and one bridge were damaged. https://twitter.com/nagarkoti/status/1549592257874890752?s=20&t=AQf7RcccHyRHFtP82mP1Rg

The science of cloudbursts -In 2021, Himachal Pradesh recorded around 30 cloudburst events and Uttarakhand 50, according to SANDRP that work on related issues. SANDRP collated data from news articles on these disasters. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/dte-explains-the-science-of-cloudbursts-83766  (18 July 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Report MoEF Plans to Dilute law Entailing Jail-term The Union environment ministry has issued a public notice for amending the Indian Forest Act, 1927, to do away with imprisonment for ‘minor offences’. https://www.newsclick.in/modi-govt-plans-dilute-law-entailing-jail-term-damaging-reserve-forests-and-trees  (20 July 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

India- Bhutan  Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma shares the outcome of his four-day visit to New Delhi (July 18 to 21).

– Punatasangchu II: The main agenda was to attend the 16th Authority meeting of Puna-II HEP. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, face-to-face authority meetings couldn’t be held for more than two and half years. As such, there were several pending project-related issues to be discussed and decisions to be made, so as to enable the project management to push the project forward. Further project authority meetings are to happen twice a year at alternate venues between Thimphu and Delhi. The Authority members could deliberate on the cost to completion and commissioning dates of different units of the project.

– PHPA I: The GoI has entrusted an independent committee to review the barrage detailed project report (DPR) for PHPA-I, and has requested the government of Bhutan to provide time till the independent committee submits their finding. The GoI impressed that their decision will be based on the outcome of the independent committee. It is also agreed that the pending decision on PHPA-1 is costly and overrun to both sides, thus, efforts will be made to conclude including the Authority meeting for PHPA-1 by a month’s time. The Bhutanese delegation impressed on the need to firm up the decision on the barrage option since the current dam site is not feasible. To this effect, the GoI side informed that the DPR is still with the Center Water Commission (CWC) and an Independent Committee is being instituted to review the DPR. The GoI side maintained that only after completion of review and receipt of the report from the committee, would then be possible for the two Governments to sit together and discuss a way ahead.

– Kholongchhu HEP: Both the parties agreed to work towards closing the Joint Venture (JV) company and to initiate a discussion on the way forward for the project. It is decided to close the current JV model as quickly as possible which the government will convey to DGPC and GoI will convey to SJVNL. https://kuenselonline.com/india-bhutan-decide-to-close-kholongchhu-joint-venture/  (23 July 2022)

Pakistan Neelum-Jhelum plant shut for 13 days The 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Plant Project (NJHPP) has been shut since July 6, 2022. “There is no fault in the hydropower plant or in the tunnel that is used to bring water from the river to the power plant. However, another tunnel that diverts water from the plant to the river has suffered a blockage while efforts are underway to remove the fault,” a source in the Water Resources Ministry said. There is need for foreign consultants, but the project authorities do not have funds for it. https://www.thecorrespondent.pk/featured/consumers-suffer-rs350m-additional-burden-as-neelum-jhelum-plant-shut-for-13-days/  (20 July 2022)

Nepal GMR given 2 more years to complete financial management of Upper Karnali Hydro Project Nepal government has decided to give two more years to the Indian company GMR to complete the financial management of the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project. Government Spokesperson in a press conference on Sunday (July 17 2022) said that the meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Friday had taken this decision.

– Even after eight years of signing the Project Development Agreement (PDA) of the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project, GMR has not been able to complete important tasks including the power purchase agreement (PPA) and the financial management of the project. A PDA was signed between the IBN and GMR on 19 September 2014.  https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/gmr-given-two-more-years-to-complete-financial-management-of-upper-karnali-hydro-project/  (18 July 2022)

Story of freshwater fish in South Asia The Sher Mahi, an indigenous fish of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is facing serious threats to survival due to climatic changes, water pollution and overfishing. The scientific name of the fish is “Clupisoma Naziri” and it is found in river basins adjacent to Afghanistan. Fish lovers proudly compare it with trout, because both the species have spine horns and such small scales that they do not have to be removed to cook the fish.

But this fish may be in trouble. Experts in the fisheries department of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, zoologists and those in the fish business have observed a decrease in the population of Sher Mahi in its main habitat, the Kabul river.

They believe extreme weather events – especially severe floods and erratic rainfall – combined with water contamination and over-fishing are the main cause of the depletion. The construction of the Warsak dam in 1960, also added problems. The dam blocked the migratory route of the fish, which winds from Kunar-Kabul-Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Torkhem-Peshawar to Charsadda-Mardan and to some areas of Indus river at Nizampur (Nowshera district) in KP and finally to Kalabagh in Punjab. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/kabul-rivers-famous-sher-mahi-fish-in-peril/  (01 May 2018)

EUROPE

France Large La Roche qui Boit dam removed from Sélune River After many postponements, the second 17-metre high dam “La Roche qui boit” on the Sélune has been demolished. A 45-metre wide breach has already been opened to allow the flow of any floods. The remaining sides of the 120 m wide structure and the renaturation work should be completed by the end of 2022. After the demolition of the 37 m high Vezins dam two years ago, the ecological continuity of the historic salmon river Sélune is now restored after about 100 years. In the main river alone, more than 60 km are free and allow access to former spawning sites. Salmons could swim up the Sélune from the Baie Saint Michel during the next salmon migration, at the latest in spring 2023. https://www.transrivers.org/2022/3707/   (22 July 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA NASA images show extreme withering of Lake Mead over 22 years Stark images of the “bathtub ring” around Lake Mead have come to symbolize the devastating effects of drought at America’s largest reservoir. Now, newly released satellite pictures from Nasa offer a new view of how dramatically water levels have declined over the past 22 years.

– The images, which cover the years 2000, 2021 and 2022, show once-full tributaries transformed into dry crevasses. The lake, which supplies water to roughly 25 million people across the American west, is currently at its lowest levels since it was filled in 1937. As of 18 July, it stands at just 27% of its capacity.

Michael Carlowicz, managing editor of the Nasa Earth Observatory, described it as “a stark illustration of climate change and a long-term drought that may be the worst in the US west in 12 centuries” in a post on the agency’s site.

– But climate scientists believe the disaster is not a temporary condition. It is a systemic shift that must be prepared for and adapted to. Cuts may be coming – but far more is needed to sustain the system as conditions intensify.

“This is not a drought, this is aridification,” Rhett Larson, a water law professor at Arizona State University, told the Denver Post, reflecting on the decline of the Colorado River. “This is not something we can wait out. This is not something we can survive,” he said. “This is the new world we live in.”  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/21/nasa-images-lake-mead-drought  (22 July 2022)

Explosion, fire at base of the HOOVER DAM in USA at one of the transformers, not major damage reported. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/hoover-dam-explosion-reported-in-tourist-video-3175116  (20 July 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 18 July 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 11 July 2022  

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

One thought on “DRP NB 250722: State of Yamuna River ignored by NMCG and MoEF

  1. Looks like our authorities have planned to level up the Himalayas for making comfortable seating arrangements for long.
    Both local administration and local people are responsible for dumping trash on hill sides and river slopes, outside famous towns like Uttarkashi or even in Rishikesh.
    Besides, rampant constructions for tourism purpose was always there and without proper sewage treatment plants, dumping directly into River Bhagirathi, right at Gangotri, a few feet away from the temple can be seen still now.
    Similar observations can be found at all other places, specially of religious importance. It’s truly sad. For one hand, we call “Mother Ganges” and on other hand, destroying it with our daily activities that someday, we will have to regret.

    Like

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