DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 290822: MP’s Dam safety mess: Publish the Karam inquiry report

(Feature Image: Karam dam after breach. Source: Patrika)

Every week we get more evidence of the massive Dam safety mess in Madhya Pradesh. The Karam dam disaster that started on the eve of independence day is still unfolding. The inquiry committee report has been submitted, but it has not been made public. This is totally wrong and shocking. Dam Safety is a public interest issue and all information related to dam safety has to be in public domain. The inquiry committee report should be immediately put in public domain. More importantly an independent inquiry should be set up as the inquiry set up earlier was more of an in-house inquiry.

Close on heals of Karam dam disaster comes the news of risks due to unattended Maheshwar dam, a massive dam on Narmada river that remains unfinished and unattended, with one of the gates damaged and story of stolen motors, wires and other spare parts and power cut, which means the hydraulic system for gates is non-functional. Again the report of the NVDA-MWR officials after visit to the dam site should be in out in public domain, as also the reports of the dam safety committee reportedly set up the MP govt for assessing safety of all the dams of MP.

There is also the news of collapse and damage to more dams including Lateri dam in Vidisha and also some other dams as reported by media. All this requires urgent action to achieve a much more credible and confidence inspiring dam safety situation in MP.

Karam Dam: Report raises finger at quality of construction A four-member team constituted to investigate the quality of construction of Karam dam in Dhar district submitted its report to the government on Sunday, according to sources of water resource department (WRD). The WRD officials refused to comment.

– The report states that there has been negligence at the local level in the construction of the dam. Firstly, there was haste in filling water in the dam. As the dam is high, experienced engineers should have been engaged, which was not done. Although the team has pointed out irregularities in the construction work, it is also being said that several disclosures have been made in the report, which are aimed to give a clean chit to contractor and the officials. According to sources, the investigation team has pointed out several flaws in the wall of the dam. The soil of dam was black cotton soil, which was not covered with stone and mud from above. There were pebbles in the soil, which caused erosion in soil when the water was filled. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-water-filled-in-haste-states-report-on-karam-dam-leak-raises-finger-at-quality-of-construction  (21 Aug. 2022)

Fifteen days after seepage in Karam dam created a flood-like situation in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday announced suspension of eight engineers of the state’s water resource department. The action comes after two companies, Delhi’s ANS Construction and Gwalior’s Sarthi Construction, associated with the construction of the dam were blacklisted after a four-member panel was constituted to probe the incident. The committee was supposed to submit its report within five days.

– Those suspended on Aug 26, 2022 were chief engineer CS Ghatole, superintendent engineer P Joshi, executive engineer BL Ninama, assistant engineer Wakar Ahmed Siddiqui and sub engineers Ashok Kumar, Vijay Kumar Jathhap, Dashabanta Sisodia and RK Shrivastava. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bhopal/madhya-pradesh-dam-breach-cm-shivraj-singh-chouhan-suspends-eight-engineers-8114263/  (27 Aug. 2022) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/cm-suspends-8-officials-over-karam-dam-breach/articleshow/93810384.cms  (27 Aug. 2022)

Maheshwar Dam on Narmada river is standing unattended for six years since 2016 when last inspection was done. One gate of the 27 spillway gates have already fallen down. Each gate weighs 225 tons, needs hydraulic power operated lift to operate them, but there is no electric supply and lot of motors, wires, other parts have been stolen and continues to be stolen. If more gates fall, there is risk of submergence in the upstream and then overflow. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhopal/news/people-trapped-in-floods-living-on-mountains-shifted-9000-people-from-60-villages-of-bhind-morena-130234107.html  (26 Aug 2022)

After publication of Bhaskar report, on Aug 27, a team of NVDA-WRD visited the dam site and will send a report to the dam inspection team that has been set up in MP after the Karam dam disaster.

SANDRP Blog Madhya Pradesh: Collapse of Lateri Stop Dam in Vidisha The incident has flooded farming land and damaged crops belonging to seven villages in downstream areas. There are reports of flash flood washing away agricultural equipment, pipes of some farmers. The administration had to evacuate affected villagers to safer places before the deluge. There is no report of any human causality due to the incident.  https://sandrp.in/2022/08/23/madhya-pradesh-collapse-of-lateri-stop-dam-in-vidisha/  (23 Aug. 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Uttarakhand SC Seeks Govt’s Response On Plea Seeking To Start HEP The Supreme Court on Aug 22 2022 sought a response from the state government on a plea seeking permission to start a hydroelectric project in the Alaknanda river basin. The top court on August 13, 2013, expressed concern over the climate tragedy in Uttarakhand and prohibited the setting up of any new hydroelectric power project on the Alaknanda and Bhagirath river basins in the state till further orders. “We would like to issue notice on the petition. Let them file their response and we will hear it on a non-miscellaneous day,” the bench said. A bench of Justices S A Nazeer and J K Maheshwari issued notice to the Uttarakhand government and sought its reply. Prashant Bhushan opposed the plea. [SC should not have taken this up. The SC proceedings have been a saga of manipulation of facts by the govt & the vested interests.] https://www.outlookindia.com/national/sc-seeks-uttarakhand-government-s-response-on-plea-seeking-to-start-hydroelectric-project-in-the-state-news-218161 (22 Aug 2022)

WB panel mulls investigation into complaints against Vishnugadh HEP An independent panel of the World Bank is considering a plea by residents of Haat village, Chamoli district, Uttarakhand to investigate environmental damage from the under-construction 444 MW Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (VPHEP) of THDC. The project is primarily funded by the World Bank and was sanctioned in 2011. About 40% of the funds for the $792 million project (₹64,000 crore approx.) had already been disbursed.

– Residents in their complaint to the bank panel have said muck dumping from the dam threatens the local Lakshmi Narayan Temple, which is deemed to be of historical and cultural importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The historical significance of the temple wasn’t known until the ASI investigated and submitted its report this year, said Mallika Bhanot, an environmentalist based in Uttarakhand. 83 people of the affected villages have filed the complaint, their identity is confidential.

– The panel noted that this time, fresh issues were being raised and the third request presented “new evidence or describes new circumstances that relate to i) physical cultural resources and the allegation that muck dumping is threatening the stability and the existence of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, ii) the allegation of worsening economic conditions of community members, and iii) the allegation of limited accessibility to water sources by community members.” The panel also noted the requesters’ claim that they are not being heard on these issues. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/world-bank-panel-mulls-investigation-into-complaints-against-vishnugadh-hydropower-project/article65814816.ece  (26 Aug. 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh PAFs in Etalin demand release of compensation Etalin project affected people demand the compensation due to them, not received even though the land acquisition process has been completed since 2019 and wonder if they will have to fight for scrapping the project. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/08/23/pafs-in-etalin-demand-release-of-compensation/  (23 Aug. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh Incessant rains, reservoir-induced seismicity, HEPs Bharat Dogra The cumulative impact of several such disasters has led to a situation in which a large number of families have been devastated over the years and another significant number live with increasing fear in danger zones. A recent report by the state government has stated that Himachal Pradesh is vulnerable to 25 out of 33 hazards identified by the Government of India. Overall, the districts of Chamba, Kinnaur and Kullu, as well as parts of Kangra and Shimla fall in the ‘ very high’ vulnerable status.

When looked at in the context of earthquakes, the districts of Kangra, Hamirpur and Mandi fall in the ‘very high’ vulnerability category. In this context the extent to which risks can be aggravated by the location of several hydro-electricity projects in high-risk areas and high seismicity areas has been frequently debated.  https://www.counterview.net/2022/08/of-himachals-incessant-rains-reservoir.html  (23 Aug. 2022)

Himachal government has entered into an agreement with NHPC and BBMB for construction of 500 MW Dugar Hydroelectric Project (in Killar of Chamba district, cost Rs 3987 Cr, likely to multiply several fold) and 42 MW Baggi project (in Baggi of Mandi district, current cost Rs 285 Cr, likely to go up hugely) in presence of HP CM on Aug 26 2022.

– The project was allotted to NHPC on Aug 7, 2018 and the MoU was signed on Sep 26, 2019. The Govt of India gave technical approval to the detailed report of the project in April 2022. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/542mw-hydroelectric-power-himachal-government-signs-agreement-with-nhpc-bbmb-101661608692663.html (27 Aug 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Kisthwar has following projects under construction: 1000 MW Pakal Dul (river diversion carried out), 624 MW Kiru (river diversion carried out recently), 540 MW Kwar, 930 MW Kirthai and 850 MW Ratle hydropower projects.  https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/kishtwar-in-j-k-set-to-become-major-power-generation-hub-of-north-india/93764939  (25 Aug. 2022)

Everything you need to know about frequent tremors in Doda Kishtwar belt since last 5 days . Dr Bikram Singh Professor & Head Earth sciences Department University of Kashmir talks in detail about the recent low intensity earthquakes. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2276144669214705&extid=CL-UNK-UNK-UNK-AN_GK0T-GK1C&ref=sharing  (26 Aug. 2022)

Nagaland Church member gets ‘vision’ of Umiam dam collapse In what could be called a rare spiritual phenomenon, some members of the Baptist Revival Church in Dimapur and Kohima went on a three-day fasting and prayer from Aug 13-15 after one member of the group had a ‘vision’ of the Umiam dam bursting and taking a heavy toll of human lives and property. The prophecy came to one of the prayer warriors from amongst a group of 24 whilst they were praying for their own programme. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/08/22/nagaland-church-member-gets-vision-of-umiam-dam-collapse/  (22 Aug. 2022)

DAMS

Hirakud Dam This report mentions the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh recently about water data sharing, but very strangely, does not even mention the role of CWC, the only flood forecasting organisation in India in this issue. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/integrated-risk-assessment-of-dams-required-to-prevent-human-made-disasters-experts-84519  (24 Aug. 2022)

Sardar Sarovar Project PIL challenges SoU law The Gujarat high court on Tuesday (Aug. 23) asked the state government to file an affidavit in response to a PIL filed by the tribals of Narmada district, challenging the validity of the Statue of Unity Area Development and Tourism Governance Act and questioning the state legislative assembly’s competence to legislate such a law. The Court has asked Gujarat Govt to file a short reply by Sept 1, 2022.

– The PIL has objected to the functioning and formation of SOU Tourism Development Authority in a scheduled tribal area, according to provisions of Article 243ZC of the Constitution, and submitted that such a dispensation is not permissible at all. This is because the SoU Act provides for a nominated municipal body and town planning has taken place in a tribal area without any representation of the tribals. This is against the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension of the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), which empowers only gram sabhas to take final decisions in such matters. However, the new legal provisions bypass PESA and local people will lose their land under the development plan. The PIL also contended that this exercise is against provisions of the new land acquisition laws, the Forest Dwellers Act, and Forest Conservation Act. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/pil-challenges-sou-law-court-asks-govt-to-file-affidavit/articleshow/93742202.cms  (24 Aug. 2022)

On Aug 28 2022 PM Modi will inaugurate the much delayed 357.18-km of which 82.3 km is in Patan and Banaskantha dists and 10 km in desert-long Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) that stretched to the villages of Gujarat’s Mandvi taluka, Mod Kuba. Built at the cost of Rs 6493 crore, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) officials claim KBC as the “longest branch canal in the world”. About 1200 km of a total of 5000 km network of minor canals for laying the distribution network is yet to be completed.

– The KBC, which offtakes from the Narmada Main Canal (NMC) at Salimnagar in Kankrej taluka of Banaskantha district, was delayed. Land acquisition of about 115 ha, which was pending in Anjar, Gandhidham, Mandvi and Mundra talukas covering a total of 13.860 km. The KBC is to provide water for irrigation to 182 villages that have a culturable command area (CCA) of 1,12,778 ha and drinking water in all 948 villages and 10 towns of the Kutch district.

– Given the topography and the fact that the destination of the water lies on a higher plane in Kutch district, three pumping stations have been built at heights of 18.21 metres each at 100.97 km (Munjasar) and 111.75 km (Nani Hamirpur), the third at 18.72 metre height at 189.97 km at Bhachau. The water is lifted, in all, up to a height of 56 metres.

– So Kutch in whose name the project was pushed, is last to get water from the dam, almost two decades after water started flowing into the Narmada canals and even now huge section of the minor canals that actually take the water to the fields remain incomplete. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/kutch-branch-canal-pm-modi-inaugurate-8115418/  (27 Aug. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh UPHPCL to seek Rs 850 cr to desilt, strengthen Rihand dam U.P. Hydro Power Corporation Ltd, the owner of the Rihand dam, will soon prepare a proposal seeking funds under the DRIP Phase-II from the Central government, apart from chalking out an action plan for strengthening of the dam. The decision in this regard was taken in a meeting chaired by chief secretary Durga Shankar Mishra on Friday ( June 24).

“The UP hydro power corporation has been asked to prepare a proposal to seek funds to the tune of ₹850 crore under the DRIP Phase-II and move the same immediately to the Centre’s Jal Shakti ministry for necessary action,” a senior energy department official said. “Of the total ₹850 crore to be sought from the Centre, ₹650 crore will be spent on desilting the dam and the remaining to carry out other dam strengthening activities,” he added. Under the scheme, 70% of the project cost will be provided by the Centre while 30% will come from the state government as its share. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/rihand-dam-to-be-maintained-under-new-safety-guidelines-strengthened-101656177571069.html  (26 June 2022)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa Linking There is demand in Panna that the Ken Betwa project needs a review as the DPR is outdated and flawed. There is also demand to shift the location of the dam about 40 km upstream from the current location.

Bedti-Varada Linking Project is not technically feasible The pre-feasibility report of the ‘Bedti-Varada link proposal’, was submitted by NWDA in August 2021. It envisaged the diversion of 242 million cubic metre (mcm) from the Bedti Basin to the water-scarce Tungabhadra sub-basin to irrigate 60,200 hectares (ha) in the Tungabhadra Project command Area of Raichur district. The headworks proposed are to construct two weirs across Pattanada Halla and Shalmala Halla and interlinking systems between these two reservoirs.

– About 1,005 ha of area in Uttara Kannada district would be submerged if this proposal is implemented. Some 787 ha of the 1,005 ha is forest land, 130 ha is cultivable land and 88 ha is under non-agricultural use. There is also a village with a population of 967. The draft detailed project report (DPR) of the Bedti-Dharma-Varada link and the drawings submitted by NWDA to the Government of Karnataka in February 2022, cover parts of the Bedti-Conservation Reserve and Shalmala Riparian Conservation Reserve. These are in the Western Ghats, which is eco-sensitive and a biodiversity hotspot.

– It is ironical that the draft DPR talks about conducting topographical surveys, geological and geotechnical investigations, bore hole drilling on the weir / barrage sites, seismo-tectonic studies, etc, after getting approval. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/why-the-bedti-varada-river-inter-linking-project-is-not-technically-feasible-84074  (01 Aug. 2022)

IRRIGATION

Punjab CM seeks special central package to strengthen canal system CM Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday (July 26) urged Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to allocate special funds for rejuvenation of the canal system in the state. The chief minister, who called on Shekhawat at his office here, underlined the need for a special package to strengthen and repair the existing canal system in the state, according to a statement issued by the Punjab government. He said the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) that was constructed during the pre-independence era is in dire straits now due to which farmers are facing a lot of problems.

Mann apprised the Union Minister that even the canals constructed after the independence needs to be strengthened and upgraded for which the Union government must allocate special package to the state, the statement said. The chief minister said it is the need of hour as the food growers of the state, who have played a key role in making country self-reliant in food production, have to face lot of problems due to dilapidated canal system. He sought the Union minister’s intervention for clearing proposals submitted by the state government in this regard, it said. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/punjab-cm-seeks-special-central-package-to-strengthen-canal-system-in-state-122072601453_1.html  (27 July 2022)

Telangana Govt approved the construction of seven check dams in Balkonda constituency at a cost of Rs 57 crore. https://telanganatoday.com/nizamabad-vemula-thanks-cm-for-seven-check-dams  (13 June 2022)

West Bengal Ambuja Cement built check dam across Kalnoi river Ambuja Cements has built a check dam across the Kalnoi river at Murshidabad which will supply water to six villages for 75 years. The dam built in coordination with the local community in 45 days, has ten gates and two distillation gates with a storage capacity of 91,000 cubic meters of water which can store the water up to 10 kilometers upstream as the river bed gradient is very less, according to a press statement. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/ambuja-cements-check-dam-across-kalnoi-river-to-solve-local-water-troubles/article65681278.ece  (25 July 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

Mula-Mutha; Pune Riverfront development project to pick up pace The project attracted concerns from environmentalists and activists believing that over 80% concretisation along riverbanks, barrages to block free-flowing nature of both rivers, Mula and Mutha, and change of floodlines might cause flooding in areas along riverbanks. However, after getting environment clearance, PMC started tender process in March and awarded two contracts – first to J Kumar on a PPP model and another to BG Shirke. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/punes-riverfront-development-project-to-pick-up-pace-101661278514976.html  (23 Aug. 2022)

RIVERS

Tamil Nadu Environmentalist starts Thamirabarani rejuvenation project  Sneha Shahi, who as a student, led the plastic clean-up and rejuvenation of the Bhukhi Nala stream in Vadodara hopes to bring the experience she gained from it to her new mission, though it is at a much larger scale this time.

The project which started in January this year is set to complete its first phase by March 2023. Initial findings from the project suggest that the Thamirabarani river gets polluted due to industrial discharge and the dumping of solid waste, especially in the form of clothes and flowers by devotees visiting the Sri Papanasa Swami Temple.

It was also found that the baseflow of the river, which is the minimum amount of flow that has to be there throughout the year is reduced. The growth of aquatic weeds, including invasive species has also been found along the river banks.

Sneha blames unplanned development activities for the current poor state of water bodies across India. “If you look across cities, unplanned developments have resulted in rivers and rivulets turning into sewers. Even in Bengaluru, all the lakes in the city were interconnected, which is not the case now, as they have been filled up, to build roads, buildings, and other infrastructure. We are to blame for destroying the water bodies and it is up on us to restore them. The restoration is an evolutionary process and it will take a lot of years,” she said. https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/environmentalist-sneha-shahi-now-leads-the-clean-up-a-river-in-tamil-nadu-578038.html  (25 Aug. 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh YMCR seeks APSPCB’s intervention to protect Kameng river from pollution The Youth Mission for Clean River (YMCR) has sought the Arunachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board’s (APSPCB) intervention to protect the Kameng river in East Kameng district from pollution. On Monday (Aug. 22), the NGO lodged a complaint with APSPCB Member Secretary Tapek Riba against indiscriminate dumping of garbage into the river in Seppa, near Nicham Sonam bridge, allegedly by the District Urban Development Agency (DUDA).

“Garbage collected by DUDA is recklessly dumped into Kameng river on a daily basis for the last many years. The repeated dumping of medical and domestic wastes in this river – a major river of the district – continues unabated and unchecked. “Instead of disposing of garbage and other waste materials at a designated dumping ground, the DUDA authorities and workers are directly throwing garbage into the river near Nicham Sonam bridge on a regular basis,” the YMCR said.

It said that dumping of wastes is not only polluting the river but also leading to death of aquatic animals, besides producing foul smell. Stating that the then deputy commissioner, Gaurav Singh Rajawat, had in April 2019 imposed a ban on dumping of garbage into the Kameng river, the YMCR threatened to lodge an FIR without further notice if the order is not complied with. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/08/23/ymcr-seeks-apspcbs-intervention-to-protect-kameng-river-from-pollution/  (23 Aug. 2022)

Court directs expediting SWMP installation in Aalo. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/08/27/court-directs-expediting-swmp-installation-in-aalo/  (27 Aug. 2022)

Meghalaya ‘Catchment areas, water sources under threat’ Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar has expressed concern over the threat to the catchment areas in the state due to various human activities. He also lamented the drying up of some sources of water. Speaking at the inaugural function of the North East Water Conclave on Friday (Aug. 26), he said the state government can explore the possibility of acquiring the at-risk catchment areas to put a stop to such unwanted activities.

Tongkhar revealed that the PHE department had to divert the source of many of the water supply schemes since the sources identified initially had dried up. The PHE Minister also suggested an in-depth study for finding ways and means to contain the rainwater the state is blessed with. He observed that people engaged in stone quarrying and sand mining will be affected if the state government decides to ban any activities along the river beds. “But the people should realise the importance of water for the survival of mankind on this planet,” he said. Raising concerns over the drying up of check dams and rivers, Tongkhar said it is necessary to find the reasons why this is happening and urged all the stakeholders to work together to tackle the problems and solve them at the right time. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/08/27/catchment-areas-water-sources-under-threat/  (27 Aug. 2022)

According to the latest data available with the MSPCB, the present network comprises of 54 stations in the state under the National Water Monitoring Programme (NWMP) and the monitoring network covers 20 rivers, four lakes and seven spring wells. Out of the 54 stations, few water bodies that have been identified as polluted stretch in the state in respect to the BOD level by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) include Umkhrah and Umshyrpi rivers in East Khasi Hills, Kyrhukhla river and Lunar river (tributary of Lukha river) at Myndihati, East Jaintia Hills, Umtrew Byrnihat rivers, Ri-Bhoi district, Myntdu (Jowai) West Jaintia Hills and Nanbah (Nongstoin) West Khasi Hills. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/08/28/umkhrah-umshyrpi-rivers-among-polluted-water-bodies-report/  (28 Aug. 2022)

GANGA West Bengal The study reveals that despite the implementation of several schemes for cleaning the Ganga River, its lower reaches remain the most polluted. https://thediplomat.com/2022/07/new-research-raises-doubts-over-indian-governments-clean-ganga-mission/  (25 July 2022)

YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh NMCG signs MoU with UPJN for STPs in Agra The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and Vishvaraj Environment Private Limited (VEPL) on 25 August signed a tripartite Concession Agreement for development of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for Agra under hybrid annuity mode at a total cost of ₹582.84 crores.  The NMCG approved the project for construction of STPs of total capacity of 177.6 MLD, including developing interception & diversion (I&D) structures, I&D network laying, sewage pumping stations including operation and maintenance for 15 years. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/nmcg-signs-mou-with-state-bodies-for-sewage-treatment-plants-to-clean-yamuna-11661447819530.html  (25 Aug. 2022)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Assam Gangetic river dolphins decline in the wake of anthropogenic pressures  Brahmaputra and the tributaries Kulsi and Subansiri are strongholds of the endangered Gangetic river dolphin. However, local communities and researchers note decline in populations. Dolphins in the Kulsi river are affected by relentless mechanised sand mining on the banks. The construction of dams in several regions in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh cut through dolphin habitats and limit the access to prey. Dolphins are more or less extinct in the Barak river system, with a handful found in tributaries such as Kushiyara and Soorma. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/08/gangetic-river-dolphins-in-assam-decline-in-the-wake-of-anthropogenic-pressures/#Echobox=1661344199  (24 Aug. 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Bengaluru 100 fish swim away to a watery grave It is too late for fish in the Kothnur Lake as many died due to the poor water quality of the lake. Experts say that the lake had been receiving sewage water for quite some time now. Raghavendra B Pacchapur, a member of ActionAid, an NGO, told Bangalore Mirror that the fishes that died were called Tilapia fish. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/100-fish-swim-away-to-a-watery-grave/articleshow/93716919.cms  (23 Aug. 2022)

There have been at least 32 recorded incidents of fish deaths in Bangalore lakes since 2017 and there is rising trend. https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/point-blank/bengaluru-refreshed-lakes-dying-fish-1139649.html  (27 Aug. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Many farmers giving up aquaculture this season Many aqua farmers have not taken up aquaculture during this August due to adverse weather conditions, high feed rates and uncertainties over power subsidy. Aqua sources say adamant attitude of state government in not reducing or controlling feed rates, apart from not extending power subsidy to all aquafarmers, will cause the government a loss of ₹6,000 crore by way of various taxes. More importantly, about 25 lakh to 30 lakh workers have lost employment. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/200822/many-farmers-giving-up-aquaculture-this-season.html  (20 Aug. 2022)

SAND MINING

Himachal Pradesh Illegal Mining Blamed for Collapse of Railway Bridge in Kangra Amid heavy rains, the 800-metre-long railway bridge over the Chakki rivulet on the border of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in Kangra district collapsed on the morning of August 20. A flash flood in the Chakki rivulet washed away the weakened pillar of the bridge, say reports.

The 90-year-old railway bridge was weakened following illegal mining in the riverbed. The railway authorities had repeatedly complained regarding the damage being caused to the bridge due to illegal mining.

Pathankot Deputy Commissioner Harbir Singh was also reported to be saying that no mining was taking place within 1 km upstream and downstream of the railway bridge. “About eight years ago when the rail bridge was damaged, the railway authorities constructed a platform under the bridge to save it. The NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) had asked the railways to break the platform as it was diverting the entire water flow towards one side. The diversion of 70,000 cusecs towards one pillar can be one of the reasons behind the bridge’s collapse,” he said. https://www.newsclick.in/HP-Unabated-Illegal-Mining-Blamed-Collapse-Railway-Bridge-Kangra  (24 Aug. 2022)

A committee formed in 2012 had recommended no sand mining at least 500 mts from both sides of a bridge. Who is going to get it implemented? https://thenewzradar.com/northern-railway-officials-to-meet-himachal-chief-secretary-on-august-26-to-plan-restoration-of-british-era-chakki-bridge/  (22 Aug. 2022)

The Ministry of Railways has asked the government to ensure that all mining activity around the railway bridges in the state must be stopped immediately as it threatens the safety of the bridges.

In a letter to the state government, the ministry said: “It has come to our notice that during the monsoon, Bridge No. 32 on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar narrow gauge section has become unsafe due to mining in Chakki river. “You will appreciate that this has a serious impact on railway connectivity. It is requested that steps to control illegal mining may kindly be intensified,” reads the letter.

It also draws the attention to a judgment passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh in 2012 where a panel was set up under the Deputy Commissioners of Kangra and Pathankot to suggest protection measures for Bridge No.32. The state government has assured that no mining would be allowed 500 metres upstream and downstream of the bridge. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjab-government-told-to-stop-mining-around-railway-bridges-422746  (18 Aug. 2022)

Locals consistently flagged the mining threat to the bridges on the Chakki rivulet, a tributary of the Beas, in Nurpur but the administration paid no heed to their warnings. Had the government taken note of the persistent demand of villagers to check illegal mining on the banks of the Chakki rivulet, the collapse of the inter-state railway and national highway bridges connecting the state with Punjab could have been averted. Despite the successive governments’ tall claims to curb the mining, the menace continues unabated, allegedly indicating a deep nexus between the mining mafia, political leaders and bureaucracy.

The collapsed railway bridge over the Chakki rivulet in Nurpur. File photo/The Tribune

Hoshiyar Singh, president of Kangra unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, claimed that 15 villages under Jikli Khanni, Uprli-Khanni, Hadal and Baduee panchayats in Nurpur were badly affected due to the illegal mining. “Illegal mining is carried out at night, but the authorities concerned turn a blind eye,” he alleged. The illegal mining has also rendered the agricultural land barren and dried up the underground water sources, he added. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/deep-nexus-locals-blame-collapse-of-railway-nh-bridges-on-illegal-mining-in-nurpur-424310  (23 Aug. 2022)

Pathankot deputy commissioner Harbir Singh on Wednesday (Aug. 24) ordered a probe into the collapse of around a century-old British-era railway bridge over Chakki river connecting Pathankot in Punjab with Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, amid the talk that the bridge has collapsed due to illegal mining on the riverbed and “the government did not take measures to stop it”.

Requesting anonymity, a senior official said that illegal mining was a minor factor. “Main factors behind the collapse are not being talked about. For example, the railways cast concrete below the bridge to strengthen the pillars caused a blockade for flow of water. As a result, water finds a way to flow from a small stretch below the bridge on the Punjab side. Consistent flow of water from that stretch weakened the pillars falling in this stretch and they could not face the force of the flash floods. The NHAI has pointed out this factor in its report sent to the railways,” he said.

He said, “A committee constituted by Punjab and Haryana high court six years ago also gave its observation about the bridge. It too stated that the water flowing on the Punjab side is resulting in creation of a gorge in the bed of the river and weakening the pillars of the bridge on this side.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/dc-orders-probe-into-collapse-of-british-era-chakki-rly-bridge-101661370504915.html  (25 Aug. 2022)

NHAI intensifies efforts to prevent damage to Chakki highway bridge The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) with the help of army has intensified its operation to prevent damage to the Chakki highway bridge after the foundation of its two support pillars was exposed due to riverbed erosion in August 20 floods. The double-lane bridge over Chakki rivulet, a tributary of Beas, on Pathankot-Mandi Highway (NH 154) connecting Himachal with Punjab is currently closed for traffic amid fears that it may collapse if preventive measures are not taken. The highway bridge runs parallel to the colonial-era railway bridge that was washed away in the flood. Illegal mining in the Chakki rivulet is said to be the main reason behind the damage to the bridges.

The Chakki bridge was earlier closed for traffic on August 20 but reopened on August 23 after the preliminary report of NHAI cited no damage to the bridge. It, however, was closed again on August 24 after the NHAI wrote to the Kangra and Pathankot districts mentioning potential damage. The NHAI in its report said that the Chakki rivulet after its course change was flowing through between pillar number 1 and 2 on the Punjab side posing a threat to the bridge.

The project director, NHAI, Palampur, Colonel Anil Sen said the riverbed has eroded near the pillars exposing their foundation beyond the permissible level. He said machinery has been deployed since Monday and efforts have been intensified with the help of the army to change the course of the river away from Pillar 1 and 2 without causing damage to the bridge. Filling up the trench would not be easy given the fast flow of the water and there is also a forecast for heavy rains from August 28 onward. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/nhai-intensifies-efforts-to-prevent-damage-to-chakki-highway-bridge-101661549473319.html  (27 Aug. 2022)

Illegal mining threatens another historic railway bridge Illegal mining that continues unabated in the Binwa rivulet at Baijnath in Kangra has endangered another railway bridge on the heritage Pathankot-Jogindernagar track, besides posing threat to an adjoining highway bridge and the famous 13th century Shiva temple in the town. Despite tall claims by the local administration and the Mining Department, a large number of mules can be seen carrying extracted sand and gravel from the rivulet’s banks. The illegally mined material was transported on mules to certain points from where it was shifted to vehicles by the mining mafia for further sale, said Ghanshyam Awasthi, an environmental activist. Deep trenches dug by the mining mafia on the riverbed had weakened the retaining walls of the temple as well as the pillars of the two bridges, said residents Subhash Chand and Neeraj Mehta. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/illegal-mining-threatens-another-historic-rly-bridge-in-kangra-425363  (26 Aug. 2022)

MoEF FAC meeting on Aug 29, 2022, relevant agenda: PROPOSAL FOR NON-FORESTRY USE OF 54.668 HA OF FOREST LAND FOR EXTRACTION OF SAND, STONE AND BAJRI FROM BED OF RIVER YAMUNA MINING PROJECT BY RANDEEP SINGH, MAUZA AND MOHAL BHAGANI, DISTRICT SIRMOUR, IN PAONTA FOREST DIVISION, DISTRICT, SIRMOUR HIMACHAL PRADESH: http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx?id=274!dis1

Punjab 3 held for attacking forest dept staff in Mullanpur Police have nabbed 3 men who assaulted forest department staff after being caught transporting illegally mined sand in a tractor at Perch village, Mullanpur, on the intervening night between Tuesday (Aug. 23) and Wednesday (Aug. 24). In the attack, forest department field staff Nirmal Singh had suffered serious injuries, while forest guard Vipandeep Kaur was manhandled and subjected to abuses. Nirmal, who suffered the most injuries, was admitted to the civil hospital in Kharar for treatment. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/illegal-sand-mining-three-held-for-attacking-forest-dept-staff-in-mullanpur-101661458594911.html  (26 Aug. 2022)

Bihar About sand mining in South Bihar rivers even as sand mining is banned from June 1 to Sept 30. Dinesh Kumar Mishra, a river expert in Bihar and convener of NGO Barh Mukti Abhiyan, tells The Third Pole that mindless sand mining, largely the illegal activities of the sand mafia, is destroying the Sone and other rivers in the state. “It is scientifically established that a riverbed is like a sponge and contains water even during the dry summer. If you remove sand from the river, you are digging your own grave.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/nature/bihar-illegal-sand-mining-devastates-rivers  (18 Aug. 2022)

Chhattisgarh बरसात शुरू होते ही यानी 15 जून से 15 अक्टूबर तक रायपुर समेत सभी जिला प्रशासनों ने नदियों के किनारे से रेत खनन पर प्रतिबंध लगा दिया। भास्कर टीम ने सोमवार और मंगलवार को रायपुर, गरियाबंद और धमतरी में रेत खदानों की पड़ताल की तो पाया कि प्रतिबंध कहीं भी नहीं लगा है।

जहां नदियां लबालब हैं, वहां किनारे जमा की गई रेत खोदी जा रही है। खुले सीजन में यह काम ट्रक से हो रहा है, लेकिन अभी नदी किनारों से रेत खोदकर ले जाने में सबसे बड़ी भूमिका ट्रैक्टर ट्रालियों की है, वह भी बिना नंबर के। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/chhattisgarh/raipur/news/take-the-empty-tractor-to-the-river-bank-by-filling-it-with-sand-for-only-500-collectors-claim-continuous-action-130224949.html  (24 Aug. 2022)

Haryana Mining officials beaten up in Aravalis A month after Nuh DSP Surender Singh was run over by a dumper carrying illegally mined stones in the Aravalis, two mining department officials on an inspection were thrashed when they tried to stop two tractors transporting soil in Sehjawas village of Sohna on Friday (Aug. 19). None of the officials had any serious injury but the assault underlined the stiff challenge that law enforcement officials face in trying to stop illegal stone mining, which is ravaging the eco-sensitive Aravalis and was banned by the Supreme Court in three Haryana districts – Gurugram , Faridabad and Nuh – in 2009.

Police said three persons attacked the two officials and fled. The assault came a day after the Haryana government constituted a single-member commission of inquiry, headed by a retired high court judge, to probe the killing of DSP Singh in Pachgaon village on July 19. The DSP had just intercepted the dumper when the driver pressed the accelerator and mowed Singh down. So far, 12 people, including the dumper driver, have been arrested in connection with the case. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/haryana-month-after-dsp-murder-mining-officials-beaten-up-in-aravalis/articleshow/93684458.cms  (21 Aug. 2022)

Install piezometers at mining sites for groundwater table status: CM Taking serious note of depletion of water level within and nearby areas of mining sites in the state, CM Manohar Lal Khattar Monday directed the officers concerned to install piezometers at the mining sites to determine the status of the groundwater table. Ensuring maintenance of roads within the radius of mining sites, Khattar also directed the Deputy Commissioners to ensure that the maintenance of all the roads within the radius of five kilometres of any mining site is done by the miners concerned. “The Deputy Commissioners should prepare a proposal regarding the same as per the District Mineral Foundation Rules, 2017,” Khattar said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/khattar-piezometers-mining-sites-groundwater-table-status-8105960/  (23 Aug. 2022)

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren Penalised For Giving Mining Lease To Himself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXJoDgkwjEc  (26 Aug. 2022)

Kerala Residents hit by quarrying demand safe distance norms at NGT hearing The hearings will be followed by a scientific assessment of the issue based on which the committee will form conclusions. The NGT, through an order dated July 21, 2020 had approved the CPCB report on the minimum distance criteria for operation of stone quarries at 200m. This was challenged by quarry owners and lessees and following directives by the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court the NGT on December 9, 2021 formed the expert panel for studying safe distance criteria.

At present, the safe distance for stone quarries in Kerala is 50 metres from residential buildings. While quarry owners claim that this distance is more than sufficient to ensure safe mining, members of the public allege that buildings situated more than 50m from quarries have developed cracks and leaks and face the threat of flyrock. Calling the 50m distance inadequate, they demanded that it be increased to 500m ideally or at least 200 m. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kerala-residents-hit-quarrying-demand-safe-distance-norms-ngt-hearing-167214  (25 Aug. 2022)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Tamil Nadu HC restrains villagers from protesting against wetland acquisition for CPCL refinery expansion The Madras High Court has restrained villagers owning land around the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) refinery at Muttam near Nagore in Nagapattinam district from staging an indefinite sit-in on a private land against the acquisition of 696.93 acres for the expansion of the refinery. Admitting a State appeal against permission granted by a single judge for the protest, Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy said it would be advisable for the landowners not to indulge in any protest and instead await the outcome of the cases filed by some of the land-owners seeking fair compensation.

According to Advocate-General R. Shunmugasundaram, CPCL, a Central public sector undertaking functioning under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, had decided to expand at an estimated cost of ₹27,460 crore. It planned to acquire 633.74 acres of private wetland, 16.62 acres of private dryland and 46.57 acres of government land. While the acquisition of government land was complete, the State government had appointed tahsildars to complete the acquisition of private land under the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997. The land is being acquired in Panangudi, Gopurajapuram and Narimanam villages. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-restrains-villagers-from-protesting-against-wetland-acquisition-for-cpcl-refinery-expansion/article65750242.ece  (09 Aug. 2022)

Way ahead for the Pallikaranai marshland Pallikaranai marshland has become the first wetland in Chennai to get the Ramsar tag in July 2022. The award of the Ramsar tag is part of UNESCO’s Ramsar Convention, which is an intergovernmental treaty aimed to conserve wetlands. India has been a party to the treaty since 1982.

While this is welcome news, Pallikaranai has also seen a lot of damage over the years, despite being a “protected zone” as per the Tamil Nadu Forest Act. From 2,650 hectares, the wetland has shrunk to around 700 hectares, thanks to encroachments by government and private entities, garbage dumping, leakage of untreated sewage and urbanisation. Even though 700 hectares of the marshland remain, only 370 hectares has been awarded the coveted Ramsar tag.

A panel of experts weighed in on how the Ramsar tag will help in reviving the Pallikaranai marshlands, the challenges in the process and what kind of scientific methods would help along with the various ways the public can get involved. https://chennai.citizenmatters.in/pallikaranai-marshland-ramsar-status-conservation-ecosystem-45190  (29 Aug. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Water Chestnut Extraction in Wular Lake The nuts, which are extracted from mid-July till November, grow in abundance in the marshy or muddy areas along the banks of the Wular-one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/photos/in-pictures-water-chestnut-extraction-in-wular-lake  (23 Aug. 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Assam Revival of traditional irrigation system along Assam Bhutan border has benefitted 6000 people of 16 villages in Tamulpur dist of North Assam. A diversion structure was built in 1968 on Bornadi inside Bhutan, which broke in 2005 floods and was repaired subsequently during 2013-2018. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/east-and-northeast/how-voluntary-work-keeps-traditional-irrigation-system-going-alive-for-farmers-on-assam-bhutan-border-1138031.html   (21 Aug. 2022)

Tamil Nadu Coimbatore’s water warrior Recently, due to Manikandan’s undaunted efforts, the officials of Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, with the help of Public Works Department (PWD), relocated people living in a three-kilometre channel of Vellalore lake, which was an impediment for reviving the lake, and the lake breathed again after a gap of two decades. Soon after the area was cleared, he and his friends planted 25,000 native tree species and 10,000 varieties of flowering plants using the Miyawaki method. This arrangement is now attracting around 150 birds and 98 varieties of butterflies to the area.

So far, the team has revived around four ponds with CSR funds, and their efforts have helped increase the area’s groundwater level.During the Adi Perukku and Amavasai, Manikandan and his team convinced people who were leaving offerings (especially food items) for their forefathers in the Noyyal River and handed over those food items to the people in need.

“Now, my aim is to save the Noyyal River from pollution and increase the green cover of the place. For this, we are creating awareness among the public as their participation is an important tool for achieving success,” says Manikandan. His ardent efforts have brought him countless laurels, including the Water Warrior Award from Jal Sakthi Ministry in 2020. At present, Manikandan and his team are in an effort to document as many as 1,200 ponds in Coimbatore and put them in the public domain with survey numbers. They hope this will help the civic bodies to deal with encroachment and replenish the waterbodies with CSR funds. https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2022/aug/28/coimbatores-water-warrior—meet-manikandan-2492214.html  (28 Aug. 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Odisha Govt to implement ARUA to replenish groundwater table The state govt will soon launch a scheme called ‘artificial recharge to underground acquifer’ (ARUA) to replenish the depleting groundwater table in the State. As per a resolution of the Water Resources department, the scheme will be implemented in six semi-critical and 26 approaching semi-critical blocks having groundwater extraction of more than 65 per cent of the entire State at an estimated cost of Rs 49.23 crores over a period of five years from 2022-23 to 2026-27.

The scheme will be implemented from the budget of the Water Resources department. Under the scheme, groundwater recharge shafts will be installed in 2,400 existing tanks. Official sources said maintenance of the structures will be done by Pani Panchayats where available or by the staff of groundwater directorate. In the case of Pani Panchayats taking up maintenance in a block, funds will be provided by the Water Resources department for maintenance. Besides, they will also impart necessary training for taking up maintenance. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/aug/27/odisha-to-implement-arua-to-replenish-groundwater-table-2491932.html  (27 Aug. 2022)

URBAN WATER

Ghaziabad NGT warns authorities over precarious condition of ground water The Tribunal while deferring the matter for September 28, 2022 also said that since, UPPCB and CGWA are also part of the Committee, the officials representing the said bodies shall also explain us as to why the joint Committee report as required to be submitted as per direction has also not been submitted. According to a complaint filed by one Aarti the condition of ground water in District Ghaziabad is very precarious and all the four blocks of District Ghaziabad are under over-stressed category and ground water is depleting very rapidly particularly on account of illegal and unauthorized abstraction by various hotels, marriage halls, party lawns etc. located in District Ghaziabad. https://theprint.in/india/ngt-warns-ghaziabad-authorities-over-precarious-condition-of-ground-water/1101045/  (26 Aug. 2022)

Sonipat Haryana NGT Issues Notice to Jal Shakti Ministry on Potable Water Contamination NGT has sought the response of the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti on the issue of using potable water for industrial purposes and its contamination. NGT Chairperson Justice (retd) Adarsh Kumar Goel issued notice to the Ministry and other respondents while dealing a plea against alleged green violations of industrial units at Barhi Industrial area in Haryana’s Sonipat.

“We note that on the one hand, potable water is being allowed to be used for industrial purposes, on the other hand, the sewage water which can be used for such purposes is being mixed with potable water in stormwater drains and rivers resulting in contamination of potable water. A comprehensive water management strategy may require preventing pollution and the use of potable water for industrial purposes. “For this purpose, we find it necessary to implead as party and to issue notice to the Ministry of Jal Shakti for its response,” the tribunal said in its order.

The bench also issued notice to the Haryana Water Resource Authority to consider the issue of whether permission can be granted for the extraction of groundwater in the over-exploited areas. The extraction of groundwater for commercial/industrial purposes was being allowed even in over exploited area where recharge was not taking place, defeating the ‘sustainable development’ principle, said the tribunal. https://www.news18.com/news/india/ngt-issues-notice-to-jal-shakti-ministry-on-potable-water-contamination-5788489.html  (20 Aug. 2022)

Delhi Jamia students study traditional water bodies A group of students and professors from Jamia Millia Islamia university have carried out a study on rejuvenating and preserving traditional local water bodies in Delhi “to ensure water security and community development”. Three teams from the university’s Department of Civil Engineering were created with 15 students each and each team was headed by a professor. The teams conducted their respective studies at Satpula water channel near Khirki Masjid, Gandhak ki Baoli in Mehrauli village and the Baoli or water tank at Wazirpur Ka Gumbad.

Between July 1 and August 5, the teams collected information on these water bodies through the internet, by reading literature, visiting the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) office and urban local bodies such as the horticulture departments of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and through interactions with locals. According to university officials, the findings were that encroachments around the water bodies are common and significant, and that these water bodies are either devoid of water or are used to dump waste. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/jamia-students-traditional-water-bodies-delhi-rejuvenation-plans-8108328/  (24 Aug. 2022)

Anang Tal lake declared monument of national importance The Anang Tal lake in South Delhi, believed to have been built a thousand years ago, has been declared a monument of national importance through a gazette notification by the Ministry of Culture earlier this week. As per the website of National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities, a government agency, Anang Tal is situated “to the north of Jog Maya temple and approximately 500 metres to the northwest of Qutub Complex”, and dates back to 1,060 AD. “Tradition ascribes this tank to a Tomar King, Anangpal II, the builder of Lal Kot. It is said to have been a place of a general resort but now it is dried up and used for cultivation…,” said the NMMA website. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/anang-tal-lake-declared-monument-of-national-importance-8110070/  (25 Aug. 2022)

A solution used in Norway can help reduce water pollution To bring down the water pollution levels in Delhi, a big goal was announced by the government a couple of months ago that the city would be able to process 95 per cent of the wastewater by the end of 2022.

A ‘first-ever study if its kind’ study has also been cited by the UN body to review how the national capital can be more efficient with recycling of water. Various technologies – used by STPs – “for nutrient recovery and recycling for safe and sustainable re-use of wastewater in Delhi,” were assessed as a part of the study, the UN body says. “These include activated sludge process (ASP), extended aeration (EA), moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR), sequential batch reactor (SBR), or fluidized aerobic bed reactor (FAB) processes,” it added.

A system also used in Norway – the MBBR was found to be most effective. It relies on a combination of biological methods, and not just chemical or mechanical processes to treat the water. However, it comes with its own set of challenges. “The adoption of MBBR technology for large sewage treatment plants is challenging as maintenance costs are large,” said Sangeeta Bansal, a lead researcher on the project. For large sewage treatment plants, SBR and ASP systems have found to be effective. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/a-solution-used-in-norway-can-help-reduce-delhi-water-pollution-as-per-un-body-101661391006826.html  (25 Aug. 2022)

Rainwater harvesting systems have been installed at 150 parks under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by converting defunct tubewells to curb water scarcity, officials said on Thursday (25 Aug. 2022). MCD has identified 258 parks under this project and a budget of Rs 41 lakh was allocated for it, it said in a statement. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2022/aug/26/rain-water-harvesting-systems-at-150-parks-under-mcd-officials-2491545.html  (26 Aug. 2022)

Bengaluru The citizens of Bengaluru feel the Land Use-Land Cover (LULC), which includes reduction in green spaces and overexploitation of groundwater are the major environmental concerns bothering them, according to the ‘Bengaluru Environment Report Card’ released by the Centre for Science and Development. The study examined the citizens’ perspectives on the environmental issues concerning Bengaluru through a random sample survey carried out in 1,842 households and 440 commercial establishments across the municipal limits between 2020 and 2021. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-overexploitation-groundwater-major-environmental-concerns-8108910/lite/  (24 Aug. 2022)

Coimbatore Residents of VMC Colony complain of water contamination For the past one-and-a-half years, it has become a routine for the residents of VMC colony at R.S. Puram in the city to let out drinking water for an hour, every time it is supplied, in order to collect clean water. The Corporation supplies Siruvani water to the area that comes under the West Zone. “Earlier, the Corporation supplied water once in 15 days. Now, the frequency has improved to five days, but is of no use,” said N. Srinivasan, a resident of the colony.

When the water is supplied, the residents have to let it out at least for an hour because of the turbidity. Even if the colour changes, the water smells of sewage. Because of water contamination, the elderly and children fall ill frequently. Recently many of them were diagnosed with diarrhoea, cough and fever, he added. “Even during the peak COVID-19, we received contaminated water,” said M.K. Sudha, another resident. In spite of raising complaints, the Corporation has not taken any step to resolve the issue, she said. For cooking and drinking needs, the residents rely on water cans. Instead of a temporary fix, the residents demand a long-term solution for the problem. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/residents-of-vmc-colony-in-coimbatore-complain-of-water-contamination/article65778780.ece  (17 Aug. 2022)

AGRICULTURE

Punjab; Haryana Scientists track cause of mystery paddy dwarfing Agriculture scientists have narrowed down the cause of a mystery disease causing “dwarfing” of rice plants in Punjab and Haryana – as first reported by The Indian Express — to either grassy stunt virus or phytoplasma bacteria. The vector responsible for their transmission is the brown plant hopper, an insect pest that sucks sap from the stems and leaves of rice plants.

Scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), who had collected samples of plants from farmers’ fields – which showed symptoms of stunting and yellowing — have undertaken their electron microscopy analysis and DNA isolation through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technique.

Preliminary laboratory analysis indicates the “phytoreovirus” or rice grassy stunt virus as the source of infection. This virus, which induces stunting and yellowing of rice plants, is transmitted by brown plant hopper. “The infected plants remained stunted even after application of the recommended dose of fertilisers,” a preliminary report submitted by the IARI to the Union Agriculture Ministry has said. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/scientists-track-cause-of-mystery-paddy-dwarfing-in-punjab-and-haryana-8105794/  (23 Aug. 2022)

Farmers from Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana and Patiala, have reported stunted growth of paddy. As a result, experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) are carrying out a detailed research and are expected to submit the report in a day or two. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/stunted-paddy-growth-stuns-farming-community-experts-424353  (23 Aug. 2022)  

MONSOON 2022

EDIT in The Times of India on Aug 25, 2022 on changing rainfall and cropping pattern. Need to ensure remunerative prices for farmers is rightly emphasised if we want to achieve change in cropping pattern. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-editorials/water-of-india-poor-rainfall-in-east-is-a-reminder-on-conserving-a-scarce-resource-by-changing-cropping-patterns/  (25 Aug. 2022)

Delhi Safdarjung stares at rain deficit of 81% in August so far With just 33.7mm of rainfall recorded in August so far, Safdarjung, the city’s base weather station, has recorded a deficit of 81% this month. IMD said no major rain activity was expected in the next six days. The normal rainfall for August (247.7mm) is the highest in the entire year. However, IMD’s data showed that Safdarjung was able to surpass the normal mark only twice in the past 10 years recording excess rainfall of 321.4 and 378.8mm in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Since 2014, the city has been recording a rainfall deficit in August continuously. This August, the city has witnessed 10 rainy days, but of low intensity. Safdarjung reported just “trace” rainfall for three days and on other days mostly recorded “very light” to “light” showers. According to IMD, August 2021 ended in deficit, but logged 214.5mm of rainfall and saw one day of “heavy” rain activity. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/safdarjung-stares-at-rain-deficit-of-81-in-august-so-far/articleshow/93717355.cms  (23 Aug. 2022)

FLOOD 2022

Opinion Darpan Singh From Assam to Odisha and in many other states, floods were a natural phenomenon. But we turned them into monsoon mayhem by squeezing our rivers. https://www.indiatoday.in/opinion-columns/story/natural-floods-monsoon-mayhem-squeezing-rivers-odisha-floods-1991944-2022-08-24  (24 Aug. 2022)

Madhya Pradesh Extremely heavy rainfall has led to massive floods in Madhya Pradesh. More than a thousand villages in five districts are flood-hit. Hundreds of thousand people have lost their homes, belongings, stored food grains and crops in the field. A ground report from marooned villages in Vidisha district. https://www.gaonconnection.com/lead-stories/madhya-pradesh-floods-villages-vidisha-excess-rainfall-paddy-farmers-crop-damage-food-poverty-rural-india-51179  (26 Aug. 2022)

Odisha Unable to get potable water in marooned villages in parts of Odisha, a number of people are forced to drink what is available – the muddy and contaminated water that has accumulated in villages in the past few days due to flood. https://www.newindianexpress.com/galleries/nation/2022/aug/26/in-pics–people-forced-to-drink-flood-waterin-marooned-odisha-villages-103335–1.html  (26 Aug. 2022)

Coimbatore Heavy rain causes breach in left main canal of Kelavarapalli dam Heavy rain in Hosur led to a breach in the left main canal of Kelavarapalli dam in Kothur village. The breach resulted from a collapse in the section of a wall of the left main canal passing through Kothur village, causing the dam water to rush through agri lands. Kelavarapalli dam was opened for irrigation on August 4, with the water being released through the left main canal and the right main canal. Hosur witnessed heavy rain from Thursday evening, adding to the water discharge in the two main canals from the dam.

After the night-long rain, according to the locals, a breach was found in the left main canal on Friday (Aug. 26) morning and the water entered the fields in Kothur village. This led to protests by farmers, who alleged that they had asked for scaling down the quantum of water released due to heavy rain, but in vain. Over 82 mm rainfall was recorded in Hosur on Thursday (Aug. 25). The breach would affect over 2,000 acres of paddy crop, say the farmers. The water continued to get drained out of the breached canal in the wake of the continuing downpour in Kelavarapalli watershed area. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/heavy-rain-causes-breach-in-left-main-canal-of-kelavarapalli-dam/article65814488.ece  (26 Aug. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Tungabhadra dam records flash floods after 38 years After 38 years, the Tungabhadra reservoir witnessed flash floods and full storage of water during mid-July. Since decades, the TB Board had a tradition to release water by lifting the gates at least on August 15, Independence Day. The dam received heavy floods for the first time after 38 years. The dam’s water storage level is being maintained at 98.258tmc-ft as against a capacity of 105tmc-ft. Inflows were recorded 1.67 lakh cusecs and outflows at 1.50 lakh cusecs. Though all 32 crest gates were opened for a couple of days, the first gate was closed on Tuesday (July 19) due to a technical defect. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/200722/tungabhadra-dam-records-flash-floods-after-38-years.html  (20 July 2022)

Gujarat Dharoi dam to release 76,000 cusecs of water The lower walkway of the Sabarmati riverfront was once again closed to the public from 9:30 am Wednesday (Aug. 24) as part of precautionary measure as 76,000 cusecs of water is about to be released from the Dharoi dam. “Around 45,000 cusecs of water has been released from Sant Sarovar dam into Sabarmati on Wednesday (Aug. 24) morning. As of now, 55,000 cusecs of water have been received in the Sabarmati river in the Ahmedabad region,” said I K Patel, executive director of Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation.

“After the release of 76,000 cusecs of water from the Dharoi dam, it is expected that about 65,000 cusecs of water will be received in Sabarmati in the Ahmedabad region by Wednesday (Aug. 24) afternoon. So, as a precautionary measure, we closed the riverfront to the public once again,” Patel further said. Earlier, the lower promenade of the Sabarmati riverfront was closed to the public on the evening of August 17 as a precautionary measure. “It was opened after 24 hours when the water level subsided to a safer level in the city,” said Patel. According to Patel, the riverfront will be opened to the public once the water level in the river comes down to safer limits. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-dharoi-dam-release-76000-cusecs-water-sabarmati-riverfront-lower-walkway-closed-again-8108908/  (24 Aug. 2022)

Telangana Farmers injured at Mallannasagar when water gushed In a shocking incident some farmers were reportedly injured when huge quantity of water was released from Mallannasagar in Toguta mandal in Siddipet district. The incident took place on Friday (Aug. 26) afternoon and the injured were shifted to a hospital at Hyderabad. According to sources, Rytu Bandhu Samithi president and MLC Palla Rajeshwar Reddy arranged a visit for about 75 farmers of various states. They were taken to Mallannasagar by Telangana Tourism Development Corporation buses.

There irrigation department Engineer in Chief B. Hari Ram explained to the farmers the Kaleshwaram project and other reservoirs. They were taken to pump house and, as water was released from the delivery channel, water gushed with heavy force, resulting in injuries to some farmers. Some farmers were recording videos while water was coming from the pump and then all of a sudden there was a huge force. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/farmers-injured-at-mallannasagar-when-water-gushed/article65815473.ece  (26 Aug. 2022)

Rajasthan 2 gates of Bisalpur dam opened as water level breaches full capacity 2 gates of Bisalpur dam in Tonk district were opened on Friday (Aug. 26) morning after its water level breached its full capacity of 315.50 RL/metre. This was the sixth time in the history of the dam when the gates were opened. The last time the gates were opened was on August 20, 2019. Since Thursday (Aug. 25), the authorities were waiting for the water level to reach the point when they could open the gates.

The dam has 18 gates. Bisalpur dam caters to the drinking water needs of Jaipur, Ajmer and Tonk districts. It may be recalled that foundation stone for the construction of dam was laid by former chief minister Shiv Charan Mathur in 1985 and construction started in 1987. In 1999, construction was completed and in 2004 the dam got fully filled for the first time. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/rajasthan-two-gates-of-bisalpur-dam-opened-as-water-level-breaches-full-capacity/articleshow/93807242.cms  (26 Aug. 2022)

HFL BREACH

Madhya Pradesh River Betwa in Ganga basin at Basod level monitoring site has crossed old HFL 404.22 m dated 27.07.1986. Present flood level is 404.99 m at 06:00 hour on 23.08.2022.

River Narmada at Silgi Kotrai level forecasting site in Dindori district has crossed old HFL 513.65 m dated 08.08.2019.

Uttarakhand River Amlav in Yamuna basin at Kalsi level monitoring site in Dehradun district continues to be in extreme flood situation since 19.08.2022. Present flood level is 512.85 m at 07:00 hour on 23.08.2022.

Rajasthan River Chambal at Manderial level forecast site in Karauli district has breached old HFL 169.96 m dated 23.08.1996 setting new HFL 170.05 m at 04:00 hour on 25.08.2022 which is 0.09 m higher than the old HFL. The river remained in extreme flood situation for 07 hours and the current flood level is 169.88 m at 13:00 hour on 25.08.2022. 

River Chambal at Pali level forecast site in Sawai Madhopur district has crossed old HFL 203.5 m dated 23.08.1996 setting up new HFL 204.1 m at 00:00 hour on 25.08.2022 which is 0.6 m higher than the old HFL. The river stayed in extreme flood condition for about 14 hours and present flood level is 201.5 m at 13:00 hour on 25.08.2022.

River Chambal at Dholpur level forecast site in Dholpur district has crossed old HFL 145.54 m (dated 23.08.1996) at 06:00 hour on 25.08.2022. Present flood level is 146.22 m at 13:00 hour on 25.08.2022 with rising trend.

River Dai in Chambal Basin at Devlia Khurd level monitoring site has crossed old HFL 318.35 m dated 17.08.2019. Present flood level is 318.35 m at 07:00 hour on 23.08.2022 with falling trend.

River Chandralohi in Ganga basin at Borkhandi level forecast site has crossed old HFL 244.15 m dated 16.08.2019. Present flood level is 244.95 m at 13:00 hour on 22.08.2022. The Warning level (244.5 m) and Danger level (246 m) are higher than old HFL (244.15 m) at this site.  

River Mej in Chambal basin at Lakheri level monitoring site in Bundi district has crossed old HFL 210.26 m (dated 06.08.2021) at 08:00 hour on 23.08.2022. Present flood level is 212.6 m at 22:00 hour on 23.08.2022 with rising trend.

River Som at Amarpura level monitoring site has crossed old HFL 288.96 m (dated 10.08.2019) at 12:00 hour on 23.08.2022. Present flood level is 289.35 m at 21:00 hour on 23.08.2022 with rising trend.

Uttar Pradesh River Ganga at Kachhla bridge level forecast site in Budaun district has continues to be in severe flood situation and missed breaching HFL 162.79 m (dated 24.09.2010) by 0.06 m. Present flood level is 162.48 at 16:00 hour on 24.08.2022 with declining trend.

Uttar Pradesh:- River Chambal at Udi level monitoring site in Etawah district has crossed previous HFL 128.53 m (dated 28.09.2019) at 19:00 hour on 25.08.2022. Present flood level is 128.84 m at 21:00 hour on 25.08.2022 with rising trend.

River Yamuna at Marka level monitoring site in Banda district has breached previous HFL 97.07 m (dated 21.09.2019) at 21:00 hour on 24.08.2022. Present flood level is 97.95 m at 21:00 hour on 25.08.2022 with rising trend.

River Paisuni in Ganga basin at Sardhua level monitoring site in Shahjhanpur (Chitrakoot) district has crossed previous HFL 90.07 m (dated 21.09.2019) at 22:00 hour on 25.08.2022. Present flood level is 90.1 m with rising trend.

Drainage map of Paisuni river basin. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Map-showing-drainage-of-Paisuni-River-basin-arranged-according-to-stream-order_fig15_342411788 

River Ken in Pailani Dera level monitoring site in Banda district (wrongly mentioned in Shahjhanpur district) has crossed previous HFL 102.28 m (date unknown) at 17:00 hour on 26.08.2022. Current flood level is 102.58 m at 22:00 hour on 26.08.2022 with rising trend.

River Chandrawal at Kaithi level monitoring site in Hamirpur district (wrongly mentioned in Himachal Pradesh state) has crossed old HFL 101.41 m (date unknown). Present flood level is 101.45 m at 22:00 hour on 26.08.2022.

River Baghain a tributary of Yamuna in Banda district at Lamyari level monitoring site has crossed previous HFL 94.2 m (dated 23.09.2019) at 03:00 hour on 27.08.2022. Present flood level is 94.42 m at 12:00 hour on 27.08.2022 with rising trend.

Uttar Pradesh:- Yamuna in lower parts witnessing massive flood for second consecutive year. This is Mahobatpura primary school in Rampura block in Jalaun district under more than 12 feet water due to backflow in river. Locals say level rising but still about 1 meter lower than August 2021 floods. Video 26.08.22, around 06:30 pm by NMM Pachnada. https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers/status/1563464474455027712?s=20&t=izBzlzwLWXhdb-fCvl_3Mw

Some images shared by locals showing flooded areas under Rampura block in Jalaun district and Dhakra-Shason bridge on Chambal river. Some pillars of this bridge have reportedly caved in due to flood following which it has been closed for heavy vehicles. https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers/status/1563772621476401154?s=20&t=izBzlzwLWXhdb-fCvl_3Mw

Current flood situation in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Four sites (3 in Chambal river and 1 in Yamuna) are in extreme flood situation while 7 sites (2 in Chambal and 5 in Yamuna) are in severe flood situation. https://ffs.india-water.gov.in  (25 Aug. 2022)

Karnataka River Shimsa at T.K. Halli level forecast site in Mandya district has breached old HFL 585.95 m (dated 03.10.1984) at 13:00 hour on 27.08.2022. Present flood level is 586.35 m at 19:00 hour on 27.08.2022 on 27.08.2022 with rising trend. Before this, the river had breached the HFL and attained 588.05 m as new HFL on 04.08.2022.

Tamil Nadu River Ponnaiyar at Singasadanapalli level forecast site in Krishnagiri district has breached old HFL 845.73 m (dated 20.11.2021) and set new HFL 845.78 m at 09:00 hour on 26.08.2022. which is 0.05 m higher than the old HFL. The water level remained over old HFL for one hour. Present flood level is 844.98 m at 19:00 hour on 27.08.2022 with declining trend.

DROUGHT

Bihar, India’s most flood-prone state and one of the key paddy growing states, has been facing drought conditions. The state has reported a deficient rainfall of minus 41%, which has affected the paddy crop. Demands for drought declaration are growing stronger by the day. https://www.gaonconnection.com/lead-stories/bihar-drought-announcement-declaration-rainfall-deficit-farmers-paddy-rice-production-agriculture-compensation-51174  (25 Aug. 2022)

Report India, the world’s largest producer of milk, relies on 80 million farmers to generate more than 200 million tons every year, mostly for domestic use. But those oceans of milk are growing more difficult to produce, and more expensive to buy, largely because of climate change. Wilting heat came earlier and lingered longer this year than usual, which scientists found stressed cattle and created a decline in milk yield of 11 percent. Erratic rainfall and extreme weather exacerbated an already troubling fodder deficit. A majority of India’s dairy farmers are small producers, and a lot of the heat-mitigation measures they’ve long relied on, such as shared village ponds, are no longer tenable because of water shortages and pollution. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/24/world/asia/india-climate-change-milk-prices.html  (24 Aug. 2022)

DISASTERS

Uttarakhand ‘Helipad in highly unstable Atalakodi avalanche zone a time bomb’ Local residents, activists and experts have raised their voice against the ongoing construction of a helipad in the Atalakodi avalanche zone, a nearly 7-km-long stretch from Ghangaria to Hemkund Sahib near the Valley of Flowers, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Chamoli region of the Garhwal Himalayas. Chamoli saw heating and early melting of a glacier this year and a devastating flash flood last year.

The avalanche zone is among some of the worst-affected parts of Lakshman Ganga catchment, which has 58 avalanches (loose snow accumulated over years of snowfall that can roll down at any time), as per a 2011 Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) study. Snow and ice avalanches are common sights here. The daily mean temperature varies from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, which in winter, plunges to minus five to seven degrees, say WIHG studies. Air traffic, combined with already-high human interference could spell disaster in the area. In just three months, a staggering 2,09,970 pilgrims visited Hemkund Sahib since May 22, when portals of the revered Sikh shrine were opened.

DP Dobhal, co-author of the 2011 study said heavy construction in such a small valley at such a great height (12,000 feet, barely 7km away from Hemkund Sahib), would “simply multiply the natural disasters already happening here”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/helipad-in-highly-unstable-avalanche-zone-a-time-bomb/articleshow/93765518.cms  (25 Aug. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh कोटरोपी झील से रिसाव शुरू मंडी जिले के द्रंग हलके की कोटरोपी की पहाड़ी पर बनी झील से रिसाव शुरू हो गया है। पहाड़ी से पानी पठानकोट-मंडी राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग पर आ रहा है। ड्रोन से किए गए सर्वे के बाद आई तस्वीरों से इसका पता चला है। यहां 2017 जैसे हालात पैदा हो गए हैं। झील का पानी यहां कहर बनकर बरप सकता है।

मंडी जिले के द्रंग हलके की कोटरोपी की पहाड़ी पर बनी झील से रिसाव शुरू हो गया है। पहाड़ी से पानी पठानकोट-मंडी राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग पर आ रहा है। ड्रोन से किए गए सर्वे के बाद आई तस्वीरों से इसका पता चला है। Dainik Jagran

संभावित खतरे को देखते हुए प्रशासन ने क्षेत्र के लोगों को सुरक्षित ठिकानों पर जाने के निर्देश दिए हैं। 2017 में 12 अगस्त की रात कोटरोपी की पहाड़ी दरकने से मलबे की चपेट में हिमाचल पथ परिवहन निगम (HRTC) की दो बसों के आने से 49 लोगों की मौत हो गई थी। उस समय भी पहाड़ी में झील बन गई थी। https://www.jagran.com/himachal-pradesh/kangra-danger-looms-over-kotropi-again-leak-starts-from-the-lake-built-on-the-hill-revealed-in-survey-by-drone-22999725.html  (22 Aug. 2022)

LANDSLIDES

Uttarakhand जोशीमठ के सैंकड़ों मकानों में दरार है. परेशान लोगों ने शिकायत दर्ज कराई तो सरकार ने उच्‍चस्‍तरीय टीम गठित की, जिसने इलाके का सर्वेक्षण किया. छह संस्‍थानों की एक टीम दरार की वजह और उससे बचाव को लेकर एक रिपोर्ट दाखिल करने वाली है. https://ndtv.in/videos/crack-in-hundreds-of-houses-of-joshimath-government-constituted-high-level-team-650846  (26 Aug. 2022)

जोशीमठ नवंबर 2021 से भूस्खलन, भू धँसाव व घरों में निरंतर आ रही दरारों से प्रभावित है. इससे कभी भी बड़ी आपदा की आशंका लगातार बनी हुई है. जोशीमठ क्षेत्र मोरेन यानि हिमोड पर बसा हुआ है व पुराना भू स्खलन क्षेत्र है. 1976 में तत्कालीन उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार द्वारा गठित मिश्रा कमेटी ने जोशीमठ के भूगर्भीय अध्ययन के उपरांत कहा था कि यह क्षेत्र लगातार नदी के कटाव व मोरेन होने के कारण नीचे की ओर खिसक रहा है. इसके बचाव के लिए कमेटी ने कई सुझाव भी दिये थे, जिन पर कभी अमल नहीं किया गया । इसके बाद भी जोशीमठ पर कई अध्ययन हुए, जिनमें इस शहर के आपदा के लिहाज से संवेदनशील होने के तथ्य को चिन्हित किया गया है. 1998 के भूकंप ने, 2013 व 07 फरवरी 2021 की आपदा ने तथा उसके पश्चात 17-18-19 अक्टूबर 2021 की बरसात ने भी इस नगर को क्षति पहुंचाई, जिसका परिणाम है कि नवंबर 2021 से भू स्खलन, भू धँसाव एवं घरों में दरारों का बढ़ना दिखाई देने लगा. http://garhwalheritage.com/1joshimath-bachao-sangharsh-samiti-met-the-disaster-secretary-for-a-permanent-solution-to-the-damage-being-caused-to-joshimath-by-the-landslide/  (16 Aug. 2022)

CLOUD BURSTS

Uttarakhand रुद्रप्रयाग जखोली में घराड़ और त्युंखर गांव में देर रात बादल फटने से भारी नुकसान हुआ है। इससे हिलाऊं नदी के किनारे बना प्रसिद्ध शिव मंदिर का आधा हिस्सा नदी के तेज बहाव में बह गया। गांव का एक भैरव मंदिर भी नदी में बह गया है। मंदिर के पुजारी और सेवकों ने किसी तरह अपनी जान बचाई। वहीं ग्रामीणों के हजारों हैक्टेयर खेत भी बर्बाद हो गए। साथ ही घरों और गौशालाओं में मलबा घुसने से ग्रामीणों ने रात के अंधेरे में ही भाग कर अपनी व पशुओं की जान बचाई। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttarakhand/dehradun/uttarakhand-cloudburst-gharad-and-tunkhar-villages-affected-people-home-destroyed/articleshow/93759078.cms

टिहरी गढ़वाल के घनसाली के चिरबाटिया क्षेत्र में बादल फटने की सूचना है। बताया जा रहा है कि यहां थार्ती-भटवाड़ा गांव के नेलचामी गाड़ में बादल फटने से भारी मलबा आ गया। इसके चलते ग्रामीणों की सिंचित कई हेक्टेयर भूमि को भारी नुकसान हुआ। धान की फसल को भी भारी नुकसान हुआ है। खबर है कि थार्ती-भटवाड़ा में 3 पुलिया भी बह गई हैं। https://www.rajyasameeksha.com/uttarakhand/23583-cloud-burst-in-rudraprayag-and-tehri-garhwal-on-august-24 

पौड़ी जिले में शनिवार तड़के हुई बारिश यमकेश्वर तहसील के लिए आफत बनकर टूट पड़ी. बदल फटने से यमकेश्वर तहसील में तीन गांवों में जनजीवन प्रभावित हो गया है. कई गांवों में लोगों के घर जमींदोज हो गए हैं. एक महिला की मलबे में दबकर मौत हो गयी है. वहीं ग्रामीणों के कई मवेशियों के बह जाने का भी अंदेशा है.

पौड़ी के जिला आपदा प्रबंधन केंद्र के अनुसार यमकेश्वर तहसील क्षेत्र के अंतर्गत तड़के साढ़े 3 बजे बादल फटने से भारी तबाही हो गयी है. बताया जा रहा है कि तहसील के ग्राम बिनक में भवन के क्षतिग्रस्त होने से 70 वर्षीय महिला की मौत हो गयी. वहीं डिवोगी निवासी धर्म सिंह की दुकान क्षतिग्रस्त हो गई है. गौशाला ढह गई है. गौशाला में बंधे मवेशी भी बह गए. ग्राम आवई, उदयपुर मल्ला व ग्राम पम्बा वल्ला में एक एक आवासीय भवन बारिश से जमींदोज हो गये हैं. गनीमत रही कि समय रहते सभी वाशिंदे सही सलामत सुरक्षित जगह पहुंच गए. https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/delhi/bharat/devastation-due-to-heavy-rain-and-cloudburst-in-uttarakhand/na20220820094734300300961  (20 Aug. 2022)

Dehradun cloud bursts The region has been vulnerable to extreme weather events. Bandal flooded Sarkhet village August 15, 2014. The Maldevta Silla-Kyara motor road was washed away. The village has been facing such events every now and then. This year too, the village is in ruins. “Illegal mining continues in the name of riverbed material extraction, though Pyrite Phosphorite and Chemical Ltd (PPCL) abandoned underground mining after the Supreme Court’s Order in 1983,” a resident on condition of anonymity told Down To Earth.

One of the many reasons behind the incidence is the high-scale anthropogenic interference in the Song valley, according to Ayush Joshi, a Dehradun-based climate change researcher. Raipur is categorised as a reserve forest, but in the recent past, it has seen a multi-fold increase in construction. For example, a dam is proposed on the river. Roads that connect the area to Tehri are being cut. “Without any scientific study or assessment of  river, how can a dam be proposed on the river?” asks Reenu Paul, a Dehradun-based lawyer who has filed several petitions in her effort to conserve the valley. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/uttarakhand-cloudburst-aftermath-heavy-water-flow-disrupts-road-connection-to-villages-84440  (22 Aug. 2022)

देहरादून के पास मालदेवता सरखेत, टिहरी और यमकेश्वर इलाके में  बादल फटने से भारी तबाही मची है। जिलाधिकारी सोनिका के मुताबिक आपदा में सात लोग लापता बताए जा रहे हैं। जबकि तीन ग्रामीण गंभीर रूप से घायल हैं। घायलों को अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया है। वहीं कीर्तिनगर क्षेत्र में सुबह 7 बजे ग्राम कोठार में 14-15 कमरों का आवासीय भवन भूस्खलन होने से मलबे में दब गया है। जिससे  80 वर्षीय बचनी देवी दब गई है। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/dehradun/cloudburst-in-uttarakhand-dehradun-weather-heavy-rainfall-tapkeshwar-mahadev   (20 Aug. 2022)

देहरादून के सरखेत गांव और मालदेवता सबसे बुरी तरह प्रभावित क्षेत्र थे। इस बारिश में कई लोगों के मारे जाने की खबर है। इसके आलावा क्षेत्र के कई मकान, मवेशी, सड़कें और पुल बह गए। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smmOBP1GOY4  (25 Aug. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh 249 deaths in Himachal, Rs 1,337 crore loss As many as 249 persons have died in rain-related incidents in Himachal during the current monsoon season. Also, the state has suffered loss to the tune of Rs 1,337 crore. As many as eight persons have been killed in flash floods, 19 in landslides, one in cloudburst, 27 have drowned, 34 in tree and rock falling incidents while 41 persons have died in other monsoon-related incidents. Besides, 119 persons have died in 40 accidents and 444 have been injured while 10 are still missing.

About 71 incidents of landslides, 64 flash floods, 12 cloudbursts, 12 of drowning, 34 tree/rock fall and 27 others have been reported in the state since June 29, says Sudesh Kumar Mokhta, Special Secretary (Disaster Management). Landslides, flash floods and cloudbursts caused by continuous heavy rainfall have damaged government property, roads, water supply schemes and transformers. The loss to private property is estimated at over Rs 13 crore.

As many as 128 houses have been completely damaged while 587 houses have suffered partial damage. Besides, 665 cowsheds, shops and other private establishments have also been damaged. The Public Works Department (PWD) has suffered the maximum loss of Rs 700.6 crore and the Jal Shakti Department Rs 602.7 crore. Himachal has received 552.8 mm of rainfall during the current monsoon season. The 64-year-old record of heaviest rainfall was broken on August 20 when Dharamsala recorded 333 mm of rain in 24 hours; the previous record was 316 mm of rainfall on August 6, 1958. The state had suffered losses to the tune of Rs 1,578 crore in 2018, Rs 1,202 crore in 2019, Rs 872 in 2020 and Rs 1,151 in 2021. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/249-deaths-in-himachal-rs-1-337-crore-loss-424288  (23 Aug. 2022)

हिमाचल प्रदेश में मानसून में अब तक 715 घरों को नुक्सान हुआ है। कुल 249 लोगों की जान जा चुकी है। 10 लोग लापता हैं और 444 लोग घायल हुए हैं। राज्य आपदा प्रबंधन प्राधिकरण की ओर से जारी रिपोर्ट के अनुसार प्रदेश में 104 सड़कें अभी भी बंद हैं। 33 सड़कें चम्बा, 40 सड़कें कुल्लू, 25 सड़कें मंडी और 3 सड़कें शिमला जिले में बंद हैं। प्रदेश में बिजली व्यवस्था भी अभी तक बहाल नहीं हो पाई है। प्रदेश में 145 ट्रांसफार्मर अभी भी बंद हैं। https://himachal.punjabkesari.in/himachal-pradesh/news/shimla-himachal-monsoon-1660688  (22 Aug. 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Indian Forest Act: MoEF&CC proposes to replace jail term with Rs 500 fine for illegal tree cutting in forests. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/env-ministry-proposes-to-replace-jail-term-with-rs-500-fine-for-illegal-tree-cutting-in-forests/articleshow/92811781.cms  (11 July 2022)

Study Mapping the distribution and extent of India’s semi-arid open natural ecosystems M. D. Madhusudan, Abi Tamim Vanak Non-forested open natural ecosystems (ONEs) support high biodiversity as well as livelihoods of millions of pastoralists, but are highly threatened due to land conversion. To improve the recognition of their value, we generated a high-resolution (30 m) map of ONEs in the low elevation arid and semi-arid regions of India. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jbi.14471  (24 Aug. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Not a single brick can be laid without police & authorities collusion: SC Not a single brick can be laid without collusion of local police and the municipal authorities, the Supreme Court Wednesday said while voicing concern over unauthorised constructions in the national capital. The top court said there should be judicial scrutiny of these matters and said it would constitute a judicial committee of two retired judges to deal with the decisions of the monitoring committee, formed to check illegal constructions. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/national-2/unauthorised-constructions-not-a-single-brick-can-be-laid-without-police-authorities-collusion-sc  (25 Aug. 2022)

Tamil Nadu Govt notifies rules for employment, rehabilitation of manual scavengers Any person engaged to clean a sewer or a septic tank would have to be provided a list of 44 items of protective gear and safety devices by his employer, according to the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Rules, 2022 notified by the State government recently.

“Employment of any person for manual scavenging or hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks is completely banned under the Act. Manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks with safety precautions including protective gear and devices can be undertaken under exceptional cases only, with the permission of the local authority for reasons to be recorded,” it said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-government-notifies-rules-for-employing-manual-scavengers-and-their-rehabilitation/article65809154.ece  (25 August 2022)

Editorial Deaths during manual cleaning of sewage are unacceptable. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/murder-in-the-sewer-on-deaths-during-manual-cleaning-of-sewage/article65815201.ece  (27 Aug. 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan Govt declares national emergency as flood death toll reaches 937 According to the NDMA, Pakistan received 166.8 mm of rain in August, as opposed to the average of 48 mm — an increase of 241 per cent. Sindh and Balochistan — the worst-hit regions — witnessed a 784 per cent and 496 per cent increase in the monsoon deluge, respectively, the Dawn News reported. The abnormal increase in rainfall generated flash floods across the country, particularly in the southern part of Pakistan, which rem­ains inundated at the moment with 23 districts of Sindh being declared “calamity-hit”, the newspaper reported.

Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said on Thursday (Aug. 25) that a “war room” has been set up by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at NDMA, which would spearhead relief operations across the country. She said that the incessant “monstrous” rainfall had “made it hard to carry out relief operations, especially helicopter sorties”. “Pakistan is going through its 8th cycle of monsoon; normally the country has only three to four cycles of [monsoon] rain,” the minister said during a press conference in Islamabad. “Pakistan is under an unprecedented monsoon spell and data suggests the possibility of re-emergence of another cycle in September,” she was quoted as saying by the daily.

Senator Rehman, who compared the current situation with the devastating 2010 floods earlier this week, said the current situation was worse than that. “The water is not only flowing from the north as in 2010, but it is equally or more devastating in its sweep and destructive power,” she added. According to the senator, flash floods caused by heavy rains had swept away bridges and communication infrastructure in various areas of the country. “Almost 30 million people are without shelter, thousands of them displaced and have no food,” she said. https://indianexpress.com/article/pakistan/pakistan-declares-national-emergency-flood-death-toll-8112530/  (26 Aug. 20222)

With over 30 million people affected, far higher than 20 million in 2010 floods. Sindh and Baluchistan are majorly devastated. Over 1000 people have died already. https://countercurrents.org/2022/08/with-one-out-of-7-persons-affected-by-floods-pakistan-declares-emergency/  (27 Aug. 2022)

The normal rainfall in Pakistan for the three-month July 1 to September 30 period is 140.9 mm, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). Last year (2021), Pakistan was in 11.3% deficit of this figure, having received 125 mm of rain. This year, the country received as much as 354.3 mm of rain between July 1 and August 26, the PMD said. This was 211% more than the normal of 113.7 mm during this period. PMD data for the period August 1-26 showed Pakistan as a whole received 176.8 mm of rain, a deviation of 251% from the normal of 50.4 mm for this period.

– The southern region of Sindh has been the worst affected in August, having received 442.5 mm of rain this month until the 26th, which is 784% more than the 50 mm normal for the period August 1-26, according to the PMD. Balochistan is the other badly-hit region, which has got 129.7 mm of rain from August 1-26, a deviation of 522% from the normal 20.9 mm in the region for this period. Even Gilgit Baltistan, which receives a meagre 12.4 mm of rain, has received 40.1 mm during August 1-26, a deviation of 225%. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/explained-pakistan-under-water-catastrophic-floods-8116181/  (28 Aug. 2022)

Heavy rain has pounded large areas of Pakistan as the government declared an emergency to deal with monsoon flooding it said had affected more than 30 million people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3DnGQz7528  (26 Aug. 2022)

Devastation captured in pics. https://www.hindustantimes.com/photos/news/more-than-4-million-in-pakistan-affected-by-floods-devastation-captured-in-pics-101661514339167-1.html  (26 Aug. 2022)

EUROPE

UK Avonr tells story rivers in distress A journey down the waterway in an area of outstanding natural beauty highlights troubles facing UK rivers. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/26/drought-pollution-floods-avon-devon-story-uk-rivers-distress  (26 Aug. 2022)

River-flow rates in England at lowest point since 2002, data shows. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/26/river-flow-rate-england-water-drought-environment-data  (26 Aug. 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

World’s Rivers, Canals and Reservoirs Are Turning to Dust The Rhine — a pillar of the German, Dutch and Swiss economies — has been virtually impassable at times in recent weeks. The Danube, which winds its way 1,800 miles (roughly 2,900 kilometers) through central Europe to the Black Sea, is gummed up too. Trade on Europe’s rivers and canals contribute about $80 billion to the region’s economy just as a mode of transport.

In China, an extreme summer has taken a toll on Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze. Diminished water levels have hobbled electricity generation at many key hydropower plants. Mega cities including Shanghai are turning off lights to curb power use, and Tesla Inc. has warned of disruptions in the supply chain for its local plant. Toyota Motor Corp. and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., the world’s top maker of batteries for electric vehicles, have shuttered factories.

Drought plaguing the Colorado River — a source of water for 40 million people between Denver and Los Angeles — has gotten so extreme that a second round of drastic water cuts are hitting Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. The reasons global waterways have dried to a trickle are complex. There’s the impact of the weather-roiling La Nina, prolonged drought in many regions and also simple bad luck. But the biggest driver underpinning the shift is climate change. https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/the-worlds-rivers-canals-and-reservoirs-are-turning-to-dust  (26 Aug. 2022)

Global analysis and prediction of fluoride in groundwater By applying the geospatial random forest model to the predictor datasets, a global fluoride prediction map with a pixel-size of 250 m (the higher resolution of the predictors) was created (Fig. 1; more detailed views in Supplementary Figs. 3–8). The map identifies Africa as being particularly exposed to a considerably greater fluoride hazard than all other continents. That is, in 15% of the area of Africa, there is a greater than 50% probability that fluoride concentrations in groundwater exceed 1.5 mg/L (Supplementary Table 3). The continents with the next highest proportions of high-fluoride areas are Australia/Oceania and South America (each 8%), followed by 2% for Asia and North America and less than 1% for Europe.  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-31940-x  (01 Aug. 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 22 August 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 15 August 2022  

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

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