DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 31×22: Unviable Hydro Projects rejected in Himachal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam

(Feature Image: Group photo during No Means No campaign in April 2022 against destructive hydro power projects in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. Source: The Pahari Zone, You Tube)

A number of developments this week once again show how unviable large hydropower projects are facing rejection in a number of states. In Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh) the local youth are demanding that the candidates in the state assembly elections to be held in November 2022 promise to work against the hydropower projects in the district.

In Arunachal Pradesh, the state government has told that High Court that they have cancelled all the 44 large hydropower projects proposed in Siang basin when locals alleged in the petition “the projects have been initiated in a reckless manner without any regard to the consequences of the same and without following any scientific research”.

In Assam with new accidents, the commissioning of the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri HEP has been pushed back further, making the over Rs 20000 crore project even more unviable. In J&K, the landslides killing 4 people at the under construction Ratel Hydropower project in Kishtwar district on Chenab River has again rung a warning as to what is in store for future if proper appraisal studies are not done. In Uttarakhand, the bid to take over the Lanco Hydropower project on Mandakini river, now undergoing bankruptcy case in the court have been rejected and same is likely to be the fate for the revised bid.


Himachal Pradesh Youth seek affidavit against construction of hydro projects As Himachal Pradesh prepares for the Assembly election on November 12, a group of youngsters in the State’s tribal district of Kinnaur — which over the years has bore the brunt of environmental catastrophes — have decided to confront the candidates in the poll fray, asking them to give an ‘affidavit’ surrounding a promise against setting up of any new hydropower project in the district. https://www.thehindu.com/elections/himachal-pradesh-assembly/himachal-pradesh-assembly-polls-kinnaur-youth-seek-affidavit-from-candidates-against-construction-of-hydropower-projects/article66069683.ece  (29 Oct. 2022)  

The construction of a large number of hydropower projects leading to environmental degradation, climate change, increasing landslides and frequent road blockades are the major poll issues in the reserved Kinnaur Assembly constituency, bordering Tibet. The construction of hydropower projects has contributed in climate change and incidents of cracks developing on the walls of houses in nearby villages due to digging for tunnels, says RS Negi, convener of the Him Lok Jagriti Manch, a retired IAS officer. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/hydropower-projects-road-blockades-main-issues-443887  (23 Oct. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir 4 dead, 6 injured as two landslides hit power project in Kishtwar 4 persons, including a JCB driver and a policeman, died, and at least 15 others were injured after two landslides hit an under-construction road in quick succession at Ratle power project in the Kishtwar district late on Saturday, Oct 29, 2022. Kishtwar SSP, Shafqat Bhat, who is at the site, said, “Four dead, one rescued. JCB driver Manoj Kumar’s body, along with three others retrieved. We have rescued another man Vinay Roy from the debris. Around 10 to 15 others have sustained minor injuries in the two landslides.” The operation is over, he added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/4-dead-6-injured-as-two-landslides-hit-power-project-in-kishtwar-101667071654091.html  (30 Oct. 2022)

Official sources told news agency GNS that there was a landslide, trapping a JCB operator and few others at work in the Rattle power project. As the rescue operation was launched, they said, there was another landslide, trapping a few more persons. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/chenab-valley/four-feared-dead-after-multiple-landslides-hit-rattle-power-project-in-kishtwar  (29 Oct. 2022)

Senior superintendent of police Kishtwar, Shafqat Bhat said that a portion of a tunnel at Rattle Power Project collapsed today evening, in which several workers got trapped. http://risingkashmir.com/one-dead-five-injured-several-feared-trapped-as-landslides-hit-ratle-power-project-in-kishtwar  (29 Oct. 2022)

As per police sources, a driver identified as Manoj Kumar, son of Hari Lal of Gujjar Kothan was working at 850 MW Ratle Hydro Electric project in Drabshalla when his excavator was hit by a landslide. The driver got trapped under the debris and later died. A rescue team of around dozen persons including police cops rushed to the spot to retrieve the body of the driver when another landslide hit the project site and all of them got trapped under the debris. https://www.dailyexcelsior.com/cop-engg-among-4-killed-9-injured-as-landslides-hit-ratle-project/  (30 Oct. 2022) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqW3zhbomGM

Under construction hydro project: The seven new dams that India is constructing in the fragile ecology of Indian-administered Kashmir will carry a high human and environmental cost – Bursar Dam (800 MW), Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Kwar Dam (540 MW), Kiru Dam (624 MW), Kirthai-I (390 MW), Kirthai II (930 MW), and Ratle Hydroelectric project (930 MW). Work on four of the dams has already begun. Aimed at generating 5,190 megawatts of hydroelectricity, these projects will, however, affect the lives of over 20,000 locals, including members of Indigenous communities who depend on the forest for survival. https://thediplomat.com/2022/10/indias-grand-plan-for-kashmir-dams/  (15 Oct. 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh HC directs govt to cancel construction of 44 hydro projects on Siang In a significant development, the Guwahati High Court-Itanagar Bench  while  hearing the PIL N.10/2014 has directed the state government to  cancel  contracts for the construction of at least  44 Hydropower Dams in the Siang valley over the River Siang and its tributaries. Senior Advocate and the counsel for the PIL,  Nalo Pada informed that the PIL was filed way in  2014 by the indigenous people of Siang belt raising serious issues with regards to the initiative of the government to build Hydro-Power Projects in the Siang valley over the River Siang. In the petition, locals said that 233 Nos. of MoAs/MoUs have been executed and out of those at least fifty were over the Siang River and its tributaries. It has been stated that the projects have been initiated in a reckless manner without any regard to the consequences of the same and without following any scientific research.

– On 6th September 2022, Court chaired by Justice SK Medhi and Justice Malasri Nandi directed to cancel the contracts for the construction of Hydro-Power Dams in the Siang River, informed Advocate Pada. The  Advocate General of Arunachal Pradesh K Ete , in its additional affidavit dated 26.07.2022 has submitted that all the projects have been abandoned and the process for cancellation of the contracts, if any, are also being taken up. He also submits that in case of any such projects being taken up, the same can be done only by following the procedure established by law including clearance from statutory authorities in which the adequate safeguard and safety of the indigenous people would be taken care of. However, the court has submitted that in the event the State of Arunachal Pradesh takes a decision to go ahead with the construction of new dams, those are required to be done strictly in accordance with the law and taking into consideration the safety, security, and all other aspects of the affected people, asserted Advocate Nalo Pada. http://www.easternsentinel.in/news/state/high-court-directs-arunachal-government-to-cancel-construction-of-44-hydropower-dams-over-the-siang.html  (28 Oct. 2022)

NHPC director giving run of the mill figures about its Hydropower sector, not mentioning nor asked about the cost of power from the Subansiri Lower and the Parbati projects. https://youtube.com/watch?v=QWMc5A2ayck  (28 Oct. 2022)

MINT’s Utpak Bhaskar continues to do speculative stories to push unviable hydropower projects. “India’s first (Rs 16000 Cr) sovereign green bond could be used to finance a string of clean energy schemes, including viability gap funding for battery storage, energy efficiency schemes for small and medium businesses and equity support for hydropower projects in the North-East.” The usual trick is to quote anonymous officials. https://www.livemint.com/politics/policy/govt-may-tap-green-bonds-to-fund-battery-storage-north-east-hydel-projects-11666809763082.html  (27 Oct. 2022)

Uttarakhand Statkraft submits debt resolution plan for Lanco unit  Norway’s Statekraft submits Debt Resolution Plan for 76 Mw Lanco Mandakini Hydro project in Ukhimath, Rudrapryayag. The project now undergoing bankruptcy proceedings before the NCLT. The first such offer of Rs 130 Cr was rejected as being too low. Even the second one, speculated to be four times higher is also likely to be rejected. Axis Bank is trying to recover Rs 1300 cr loan given for the project destroyed in 2013 floods. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/norways-statkraft-submits-debt-resolution-plan-for-lanco-unit/95133149  (28 Oct. 2022)

Meghalaya Power minister signs agreement with NEEPCO to set up Umiam 1-3 HEPs. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/meghalaya-signs-agreement-with-neepco-to-commission-hydro-power-plants/95089355  (26 Oct. 2022)

MoEF Minutes of EAC on River Valley Projects, held on Oct 11 2022: Decisions: 1. Ranapur Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project (1200MW) at Village Ranapur, Tehsil Sarangapur & Neradigonda, Distr Adilabad & Nirmal (Telangana) by Sri Siddharth Infratech & Services Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference: OK

2. CHIREC Pumped Storage Project (75MW) at Chikni village, Tehsil Odagi, Dist Surajpur (Chhatisgragh) by Venika Green Power Pvt Ltd– Terms of Reference: PP absent http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/2510202239279546FinalMoM35th_EAC_RIV.pdf


Polavaram Project AP, Telangana to begin joint survey on the backwater effects A joint team of irrigation engineers from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will survey the impact of backwaters of Polavaram major irrigation project on the areas in Telangana during the Godavari river floods every year, from Saturday, Oct 29, 2022. The survey will ascertain the extent of submergence areas in Telangana if the water in Polavaram is maintained at full (45.72 m) and minimum reservoir levels (41.15 m) from July to September. “The joint survey will be done under the aegis of Polavaram Project Authority, a wing of the Union minister of Jal Shakti, as per the guidelines of the National Green Tribunal,” said an irrigation official of Telangana. It will also study the impact of backwaters of Polavaram on the streams and tributaries like Kinnerasani and Sabari, which might swell due to the impact resulting in submergence of more areas than originally estimated when the project was conceived. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ap-telangana-to-begin-joint-survey-on-the-backwater-effects-of-polavaram-101666984238585.html  (29 Oct. 2022)

Expert panel for acquisition of 892 ac land by Polavaram Authority A high-level meeting of the Irrigation department attended by senior engineers and expert committee formed to come up with suitable measures for combating the frequent flood affecting Bhadradri-Kothagudem district has proposed to the Polavaram Project Authority to take up acquisition of 892 acres land submerged in six villages of four mandals during the July flood. Special Chief Secretary asks committee to submit detailed report by November 6.

Chairman of the expert committee and Engineer-in-Chief (O&M) B. Nagender Rao explained at the meeting chaired by Special Chief Secretary (Irrigation) Rajat Kumar that Bhadradri-Kothagudem district would get affected with Polavaram project in 3 ways — with backwater, standing water inundation and drainage congestion of local streams.

In addition, 3 outfall regulators at Vista Complex, Kotha Colony and Etapaka would also be blocked. Stagnation of drain and rain water would occur round-the-clock at the three sluices and need continuous pumping with high discharge pumps. The expert committee also brought to the meeting’s notice that the existing flood banks in and around Bhadrachalam stretch for 7.37 km having 8 outfall sluices at different locations and still levels.

It was also explained that during the July flood, the estimated maximum flood discharge (MFD) at Polavaram, as per Central Water Commission, was 21.59 lakh cusecs against 24.22 lakh cusecs estimated at Bhadrachalam. It clearly indicates afflux or backwater effect due to non-free flow condition at Polavaram and 103 villages were submerged covering an area of 40,446 acres and displacing 28,000 people during the July flood due to afflux.

During the recent floods to Godavari in July, water level at Bhadrachalam reached 71.3 feet due to discharge of 24.88 lakh cusecs and it resulted in submergence of hundreds of villages and thousands of acres of standing crops. (HT Archives)

The expert committee opined that it happened primarily due to local drainage congestion of 36 streams joining river Godavari caused by Polavaram backwater for a flood of 21.59 lakh cusecs apart from river morphology changes. It has also pointed out that another 46 villages would come under submergence if the MFD is in the measure of 36 lakh cusecs.

The only possible solution for drainage of the low-lying areas of Bhadrachalam and adjoining Burgampahad and Sarapaka would be continuous pumping with a separate O&M plan, the committee suggested. The Special Chief Secretary called for a detailed report by Nov 6 from the committee on flood hazards faced by people in Bhadradri-Kothadudem district & recommendations for permanent remedial measures to be placed before the Cabinet for approval. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/expert-panel-for-acquisition-of-892-acres-land-in-telangana-by-polavaram-authority/article66066514.ece (28 Oct 2022)

Sardar Sarovar Project Vikramaditya Thakur: My response to Swaminathan Aiyar’s two articles on the Narmada Dam and its resettlement in the Times of India is below. My letter to the editor on Aiyar’s Part 1 (next to his essay part 2) is also attached. My Scroll essay part 1: In its efforts to ensure justice for Adivasis, Narmada Bachao Andolan strengthened Indian democracy https://scroll.in/article/1035152/in-its-efforts-to-ensure-justice-for-adivasis-narmada-bachao-andolan-strengthened-indian-democracy  (25 Oct. 2022) My Scroll.in essay part 2: The real price of development: Shifting the debate is the Narmada movement’s greatest contribution: The attacks on Medha Patkar have ignored the displacement of Adivasis and the fact that fertile areas have been submerged for irrigation. https://scroll.in/article/1035148/the-real-price-of-development-shifting-the-debate-is-the-narmada-movements-greatest-contribution  (24 Oct. 2022)

Mullaperiyar Dam Technical panel for preparing EAP The state govt has constituted a technical committee for preparing an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for the downstream part of the Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki district. Headed by the Chief Engineer (Inter-State Waters), Irrigation department, the six-member technical committee is expected to draft and submit the EAP within three months. The court-appointed supervisory committee on the Mullaperiyar dam, in its 15th meeting in June, had directed Kerala and Tamil Nadu to update the EAP for the dam. Earlier this month, the Water Resources department issued orders creating the technical committee for preparing the EAP ”downstream of the Mullaperiyar dam (Kerala part) in line with the provisions of the Dam Safety Act, 2021 and guidelines issued by the Central Water Commission for developing EAP for dams.” https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mullaperiyar-technical-panel-for-preparing-emergency-action-plan/article66056936.ece  (26 Oct. 2022)

No need for 2nd tunnel, TN tells Madras HC Additional Chief Secretary of Water Resources Dept (WRD) Sandeep Saxena said in a counter affidavit submitted by the TN government in a PIL filed by M Sundararaj of Madurai  that the construction of a second tunnel will not increase the reservoir’s yield as the catchment area remains the same. “A tunnel at the lower level is only a suggestion given by the Member of Kerala in the Empowered Committee and is not a direction by the Supreme Court and it cannot be thrusted upon the State.

On the contrary, the decreed judgment has permitted to restore the storage level to 142 ft and after completion of the strengthening measures and review by experts in safety angle, the water level be restored to original Full Reservoir Level (FRL) +152 ft,” he said, adding that  the government is unable to commence the strengthening work at the dam due to the “obstructionist attitude” of Kerala in giving clearance for felling 23 trees downstream of Baby Dam and repairing the approach road. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/oct/30/no-need-for-second-tunnel-in-mullaiperiyar-dam-tn-tells-madras-hc-2513128.html  (30 Oct. 2022)

Odisha Spillway plan stutters Depleted water holding capacity of Hirakud Dam reservoir and extreme rainfall events induced by climate change can present an unprecedented challenge of flood management in Mahanadi river, if the medium level flood of August was any indication. Dam safety is a whole different issue in such a scenario.

Recently, the dam safety division had alerted Hirakud dam authorities about cracks in gate operation gallery and suggested drone based inspection for frequent monitoring of seepage quantity and further study of foundation gallery, gate shaft and sluice barrels. Though survey was to be taken up at least once in every five years, it pointed out, no fresh survey for mapping of new cracks and checking status of old cracks has been undertaken since 1999.

Additional Chief Secretary of Water Resources department Anu Garg said construction of additional spillways is priority of the government. “The work will start soon once the revised estimate gets Finance department’s nod,” she said. Chief Engineer of Mahanadi basin Anand Chandra Sahu said, revised estimate for the first additional spillway is in the final stage of approval. “Since the revised estimate is more than 15 per cent of the primary estimate, the Finance department sought some clarifications, which we submitted recently. Hopefully, the proposal will soon get the administrative and financial approvals,” he said.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/sep/17/between-hirakud-dam-and-climate-change-spillway-plan-stutters-2498974.html  (17 Sept. 2022)


Bihar 2 villager, 50 buffaloes drowned during dredging  In a major accident nearly fifty buffalos were feared killed on Oct. 9 near Mushari Ghat when heard of buffalos came in front of a dredger machine while crossing the Ganga river in Bhagalpur. Two herdsmen had gone missing following the accident. As per locals the herd that came in front of dredger, consisted approximately hundred buffalos. Due to suction impact the animals were drawn near the machine subsequently losing control and getting drowned.

Nearly half a dozen herdsmen who were crossing the river with their animals somehow managed to save their lives. As per locals the people residing in this side of river having bovine population in number of cases take their cattle population to other side of river in diara area every day for purpose of grazing. De-silting of stretch of river here forming part of national waterways one was being done to ensure smooth passage of cargo vessels. https://view19.in/bhagalpur-two-shepherds-50-buffaloes-drowned-during-dredging-in-ganga/  (10 Oct. 2022)

भागलपुर के बड़ी खंजरपुर स्थित मठ घाट में रविवार (Oct. 9) को 60 मवेशियों के साथ आठ चरवाहाें को ड्रेजिंग जहाज ने खींच लिया। गंगा में चल रही ड्रेजिंग मशीन (जहाज) में मवेशी फंस गए और इसके पंखों की चपेट में आकर कट गए। 40-42 भैंस के कटकर मारे जाने की सूचना है। किसी तरह जान बचकर छह चरवाहे बाहर निकल गए। लेकिन दो लोग लापता हैं। उनके जहाज से कट जाने की आशंका है।

शंकरपुर दियारा ले जाने के क्रम में चार ड्रेजिंग जहाज खंजरपुर घाट से गुजर रहा था। इसी बीच पानी के तेज धार मवेशिशें सहित चरवाहों को बहा ले गई। देखते-देखते 60 मवेशियों के साथ सभी आठ चरवाहों को जहाज के प्रोपेलर ने खींच लिया। जहाज से कटकर 40-42 मवेशियों की मौत हो गई। https://www.jagran.com/bihar/bhagalpur-major-accident-in-bhagalpur-eight-shepherds-with-60-cattle-entered-the-dredging-ship-45-buffaloes-and-two-men-were-cut-to-death-23128486.html  (09 Oct. 2022)

उन्होंने आरोप लगाया कि जहाज के चालक को जब भैंसें दिखी तो उसे अपने जहाज को नियंत्रित करना चाहिए था या टर्न लेना चाहिए था। इसमें पूरी तरह से जहाज के चालक का दोष है। चालक को पता है कि जहाज में कितनी क्षमता की मशीन लगी और क्या दुर्घटना हो सकती है तो उन्होंने लोगों को सचेत क्यों नहीं किया। आज तक कभी मुशहरी घाट पर चरवाहे को दियारा जाने से रोका भी नहीं गया था।

गंगा में ड्रेजिंग मशीन से तल में जमा गाद को निकाला जाता है। पिछले कई महीनें से यह काम चल रहा है। गंगा में पानी वाले मालवाहक जहाजों के आवागमन के लिए यह काम किया जाता है। बकायदा भागलपुर में इसके लिए एक स्टेशन भी बनाया गया है जो खंजरपुर मोहल्ले में महराज घाट के पास है। बताया गया कि दुर्घटना के बाद ड्रेजिंग मशीन वाली जहाज स्टेशन पर जाकर लगा दी गई। https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/story-approx-50-cattle-cut-by-dredging-machine-in-ganga-river-in-bhagalpur-bihar-two-persons-missing-6-narrow-escape-7195575.html  (09 Oct. 2022) https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/bihar/bhagalpur/bihar-bhagalpur-ganga-river-dredging-ship-accident-45-buffaloes-and-two-men-missing/articleshow/94746747.cms  (10 Oct. 2022)

पशुपालक अधिक यादव के पुत्र प्रदीप यादव ने बताया कि वह अपने 20 भैंसों को लेकर शंकरपुर दियारा चराने के लिए ले जा रहे थे। गंगा के तेज धार में मवेशी सहित वह भी बहने लगे। इसी दौरान गंगा में मिट्टी खुदाई करते हुए एक जहाज आगे बढ़ रहा था। जहाज रोकने के लिए उसके साथ अन्य चरवाहे चिल्लाने लगे। लेकिन जहाज आगे बढ़ रहा था। पानी के तेज धार में भैंस सहित वह भी जहाज के भीतर चला गए। भैंसों को जहाज अपनी ओर खींचने लगा। इसी बीच उसने जहाज का किनारा पकड़ लिया और जहाज के ऊपर चढ़कर अपनी जान बचाई। https://www.jagran.com/bihar/bhagalpur-cattle-farmers-of-bhagalpur-after-escaping-from-the-accident-in-the-ganges-23128913.html  (09 Oct. 2022)


Krishna; Vijaywada Concern over ‘declining water quality’ Marking the World Rivers Day swimmers from the Amaravati Walkers and Runners Association (AWARA) demonstrated swimming feats in the Krishna River on Sunday (Sept. 25). Speaking on the occasion, the association’s coordinator, Sakuntala Devi said there was a decline in the quality of water in the river, which was the only source of drinking water and irrigation for 4 cities and districts, despite the fact that hundreds of eco-volunteers were engaged in the cleaning crusades. “It is unfortunate that no government agency has made any attempt to check release of untreated sewage, sullage, meat, fish officials released by markets and garbage brazenly dumped by the local municipalities,” she said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/vijayawada-concern-over-declining-water-quality-in-krishna/article65935226.ece  (25 Sept. 2022)

Explorer Classroom: Urban Rivers Explorer Safa Fanaian who will teach us about the importance of urban rivers – and how to connect with and protect the river in your community!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPLO8Uw06Cw   (24 Oct. 2022)


Women and Rivers Accelerator The 23 women river protectors now part of the International Rivers Program includes Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP: https://www.womenandrivers.com/women-and-rivers-accelerator 

Bengaluru Rivers of Life is an initiative by Azim Premji University, the first of a series that aims to depict nature in all its forms depicting the splendour of our rivers through the vivid imaginations of young interns. Their work, intermeshed with generous contributions from civil society groups, come together to form a multi-layered narrative of the river. The exhibition will help students understand the lifecycle of a river, its civilisations, a source of livelihood, and biodiversity. https://azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/rivers-of-life

Jammu & Kashmir Doodh Ganga Has Become a Drain More than 5 lakh people in Srinagar’s uptown area and some areas of district Budgam get their drinking water from the Doodh Ganga supply plant in Kralpora. However, municipal liquid waste – from homes as well as government pumping stations located on its banks – is dumped into its water without being treated.

– The Doodh Ganga had clear water around two decades ago. I spent my childhood learning to swim in its waters; today, it is not available for my son to do so. The NGT has directed the J&K government to deposit Rs 35 crore as penalty – the largest penalty of its kind imposed thus far in Kashmir. https://science.thewire.in/environment/kashmir-doodh-ganga-drain/  (26 Oct. 2022)

GANGA Uttar Pradesh Scientists from Allahabad University’s Centre of Environmental Sciences have found the presence of a large number of bacteria that are resistant to commonly-used antibiotics, in the Ganga. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/antibioticresistant-bacteria-present-in-ganga-study-101667061435628.html  (29 Oct. 2022)

The state government has completed 23 projects under Namami Gange in the state since the implementation of the scheme in 2015. The officer said that more than 460 MLD of sewage is being prevented from flowing into the Ganga. “Additional treatment capacity of about 33 MLD has also been created -in the districts of Jhansi, Kanpur, Unnao, Sultanpur Budhana, Jaunpur and Baghpat at a cost of Rs 2,304 crore. It is expected that by December 2022, a treatment capacity of 1,336 MLD will be created in the entire Ganga basin. The total sewage treatment capacity generation by the end of 2022 will be 2,109 MLD,” the officer added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/dolphins-start-breeding-again-as-water-quality-of-ganga-improves/articleshow/95191592.cms  (31 Oct. 2022)

YAMUNA Delhi Why river froths every year  “Every year, we see froth formation around this time as the temperatures are low and water flow is slower. Phosphates from detergents and industrial effluents are the major cause of foam formation. Until these are stopped, this will continue to happen,” said Manoj Misra, convener of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan.

Bhim Singh Rawat, a Yamuna activist and part of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) said until sewage continues to be dumped into the river, the water quality is unlikely to improve. “Sewage, industrial effluents and detergents and dyes all lead to different problems for the river. Controlling flow of detergents and industrial effluents into the river can stop froth formation, and trapping of all sewage will improve the river’s water quality,” said Rawat. He added that the froth problem is particularly acute near Okhla Barrage as water full of phosphates falls from a height there, aiding the formation of foam. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/why-the-yamuna-in-delhi-froths-every-year-an-explainer-101666894188821.html  (27 Oct. 2022)

The controversy around DJB and Yamuna’s toxic foam. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/chhath-pooja-delhi-jal-board-yamuna-toxic-foam-8239143/  (30 Oct. 2022) ‘Poisonous chemical’ used to hide toxic foam https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/bjp-claims-poisonous-chemical-used-to-hide-toxic-foam-in-yamuna-aap-says-as-per-centres-advice/article66060720.ece  (27 Oct. 2022)

As per the NGT laws, no offerings are allowed to be immersed in the river Yamuna during the festivities. For the devotees, the Delhi Jal Board officials sprayed chemicals into the river Yamuna to deal with the problem of foam formation on the surface of the river. https://zeenews.india.com/india/chhath-puja-2022-no-offerings-allowed-to-be-immersed-in-yamuna-as-per-ngt-2528381.html  (30 Oct. 2022)

DDA Land measuring around 9,000 hectares is available in the Yamuna floodplains, which could be used for raising plantation suitable to the river ecology and compensatory afforestation for projects of national importance, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has been informed by the city forest department. The forest department said it has conducted a detailed analysis of the land available for plantation in the Yamuna floodplains, considering the Centre’s project to rejuvenate 13 major rivers, including the Yamuna, through forestry intervention. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/9-000-ha-land-available-in-yamuna-floodplains-for-plantation-delhi-122080600286_1.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Haryana Make Yamuna, Ghaggar rivers pollution free: CM While reviewing the Yamuna action plan on Thursday (Oct. 13), Khattar said that since Ghaggar and Yamuna are the only two major natural rivers of Haryana, their protection is essential. He said for effective implementation of Yamuna action plan, a joint meeting should also be held with the officers of neighbouring states. He said inter-state meetings should also be organised to deal with pollution whether it is water or air pollution. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/make-yamuna-ghaggar-rivers-pollution-free-khattar-to-officials-101665693182708.html  (14 Oct. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Authorities failed to take remedial measures: NGT Noting the failure of the state authorities to take remedial measures directed by the green court last year, a bench of NGT Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (retd), directed a committee led by the Additional Chief Secretary to furnish a factual and action taken report in the matter. It also asked the panel to specify the extent of sewage generation, installed treatment capacity, actual utilisation, the performance of STPs, and utilisation of treated sewage for irrigation and other purposes. The committee may ascertain the gap in terms of disposal of treated or untreated sewage into river Yamuna through different drains and recommend compensation to be levied for remedial action on the pattern of recent order of the Tribunal, it said. In the grievance, the petitioner claimed that at present sewage generation in Mathura- Vrindavan is 77.42 mId and there are 36 drains in Mathura-Vrindavan discharging sewage into the river. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/national/yamuna-pollution-up-authorities-failed-to-take-remedial-measures-says-ngt-766182  (20 Oct. 2022)


Report Researchers’ proposals to save Asia’s wetland wild cat Researchers across the fishing cat’s range are working to save the elusive wetland-dwelling cat, which is declining due to habitat loss and conflict with fishers.

– Representing approximately 40% of the fishing cat’s known distribution, India is crucial for the future of the species. When Divyashree Rana visited some of these areas as part of her Master’s research on fishing cats, she noticed that each habitat presented its own unique challenges for the species. For example, along the northern east coast, she found that they are killed because people are precious about the fish they cultivate in their backyard ponds. Further south, where fish were abundant in natural waters, fishers did not mind fishing cats stealing their catch. There, habitat loss was a bigger threat. This sparked Rana, now a PhD student at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, to design a ‘conservation blueprint’ for the species.

A fishing cat photographed in an unprotected patch of mangroves in the Godavari River Delta, southern India (Image: Sri Chakra Pranav/The Third Pole)

– They identified several areas of potential fishing cat habitat in the Terai Arc, a region of grassland and swamps that spans northern India and southern Nepal. The Indian Terai is an understudied part of the fishing cat’s range, says Rana. It is also one of three regions in India her study predicts as having high habitat connectivity, the other two being the east coast and the Brahmaputra floodplains in the north-east.

– Rana and her team also gave each of the 12 Indian states where fishing cats are known to occur a ‘conservation likelihood’ score, based on its conservation budget and net GDP – both used as positive indicators – and fisher population. They used fisher populations as a negative indicator: a sign of more wetland use and hence likely hostility towards conservation projects. Using these indices, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand emerged as states with “the least potential for conservation success”. On the other hand, Uttarakhand emerged with the highest conservation potential.

– Tiasa Adhya, co-founder of The Fishing Cat Project, a research and conservation project launched in 2010 and currently operating in West Bengal and Odisha, is not convinced by the study’s methodology. Adhya points out that conservation is not funded by the government alone, and the study does not take non-governmental investment into account, such as funds from conservation charities Panthera, WWF-India and the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance. She also says GDP can be more an indicator of environmental destruction than of conservation potential. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/nature/fishing-cat-in-troubled-waters/  (20 Oct. 2022)


Kerala Fisherfolk protest gathers steam on 100th day Marking the 100th day of their anti-port agitation, fisherfolk led by the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archdiocese massed in huge numbers along the coast under the blazing sun at Vizhinjam and Muthalapozhi on Thursday (Oct. 27). The message was clear: Until the port construction was abandoned, the agitation will continue. The fisherfolk began protesting against the Vizhinjam port raising seven major demands, including a construction freeze at the Adani port site. In these 100 days, mutual suspicion has grown. Stopping construction work, the primary demand of the striking coastal folk, has been declared non-negotiable by the government. https://www.onmanorama.com/news/kerala/2022/10/27/vizhinjam-protest-100-days-boats-fire.html  (27 Oct. 2022)

Haryana Fish in Najafgarh drain died of pollution, sewage in July: Report Untreated waste from STPs, heavy rain, and high organic and chemical pollution led to the depletion of DO in Najafgarh drain, causing the deaths of several hundred fish in July, a NGT report said Friday (Oct. 21).

According to the report, a committee formed by the green court on July 14 – a week after the incident– comprising officials from the DPCC, CPCB, DJB, the flood control department and the district magistrate of southwest Delhi inspected the drain and collected 8 water samples on September 1, 2022. Of the 8 locations they analysed in the drain, only 2 were found to be compliant with the general standards of discharge of environmental pollutants laid down by the CPCB. The committee also found that the deaths only took place between a small stretch from Dhansa regulator and the Ghummanhera bridge, both located on the Najafgarh drain.

“Heavy rain occurred the day before these deaths did, which may have caused sediment churning, which choked the gills of these fish. During or after heavy rain, the DO levels gets depleted, causing ecological hypoxia,” the report said, adding on the same day, Haryana’s STPs are likely to have added to this problem by discharging untreated waste into the river. “Washout of the deposited sewage sludge and other toxic chemicals at the bottom of the drain is also likely to have affected the water quality of the drain,” the report said.

In its recommendations, the committee has not only asked for real-time monitoring of the water quality of the drain, but also requested the NGT to direct both Delhi and Haryana to form an action plan that ensures 100% treatment of sewage, industrial effluents and waste. “Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) should carry out random inspections and ensure compliance of environmental norms. They should also enhance the monitoring frequency of drains,” the report added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/fish-in-najafgarh-drain-died-of-pollution-sewage-in-july-report-101666375943450.html  (22 Oct. 2022)


Report Every River Is Under Attack By The Sand Mafia According to data collected by the SANDRP, 418 people lost their lives and another 434 sustained injuries in sand mining related violence and accidents between December 2020 and March 2022. In March this year, a Haryana road transport official and a truck driver were burnt to death for having dared to expose large scale illegal mining on the banks of the Yamuna. UP has the worst record amongst all our states having witnessed 102 deaths and 90 injuries in cases of sand mining operations according to data accessed by the SANDRP team.

Manoj Mishra, an activist who has spent decades fighting to save the Yamuna, observed, “Mining and sand mining in particular are part of the political economy. These operations are run by local politicians. It allows for low investment at very low risk, but gives back very high profits. So everyone has made a beeline for it.” https://m.rediff.com/news/special/every-river-is-under-attack-by-the-sand-mafia/20221028.htm  (28 Oct. 2022)

Bihar 5 labourers feared drowned as sand-laden boat sinks Five labourers were feared drowned when their sand-laden boat capsized in the Ganga after hitting one of the pillars of the JP Setu bridge near Patna on Sunday (Oct. 23). Eight labourers were rescued by sailors of another boat coming from the other side with the help of bamboo sticks. The country-made boat piled with sand lost balance after hitting the bridge pillar near Digha owing to the strong currents in the river. The site falls in Saran, police said, adding that four teams of SDRF, flood relief squads and local divers were searching for the five, but none had been traced so far.

In a separate incident 4 girls, aged between 12 and 16 years, drowned while bathing in the Punpun river at Kusmara Ghat in Bihar’s Aurangabad on Sunday. A villager who tried to save them also slipped into deep waters and drowned, police said, reports Madan Kumar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/five-labourers-feared-drowned-as-sand-laden-boat-sinks/articleshow/95056233.cms  (24 Oct. 2022)

सभी लोग पटना और भोजपुर जिले के बीच कोईलवर से सोन नदी का बालू लेकर सोनपुर जा रहे थे। इसी बीच हादसा हो गया। लापता सभी लोग पटना जिले के अंतर्गत मनेर के महिनावां गांव के रहने वाले हैं। हादसे के बाद दो जिलों के तीन थानों की पुलिस सीमा विवाद में उलझ गई। दीघा थाना का कहना है कि छह नंबर पाया तक उनका इलाका है। सोनपुर पुलिस का कहना है कि 13 नंबर पाया से उसके थाना क्षेत्र में आता है तो फिर 7 से 12 नंबर पाया जेपी सेतु का किस थाने में है।

अवैध बालू के खेल में पटना और सारण (छपरा) जिले के बीच ऐसे हादसे आम हैं। यहां नाव डूबने की घटनाएं होती ही रहती हैं। कई बार निर्जन में घटना होती, तो किसी को पता भी नहीं चलता। इस बार पटना के सामने हादसा हुआ, तो वीडियो भी सामने आ गया। इन नावों पर बालू तस्‍करी होती है। इसलिए न तो पुलिस और न ही प्रभावित मामले में खुलकर कुछ बोलते हैं। हर बाद पटना और छपरा की पुलिस मामले को एक-दूसरे के क्षेत्र में बताकर टाल देती है। कई बार तो कोई पुलिस घटनास्‍थल पर पहुंचती ही नहीं है। https://www.jagran.com/bihar/patna-city-boat-drowned-in-ganga-after-collided-with-jp-setu-in-patna-many-people-are-missing-23158926.html  (23 Oct. 2022)

गंगा और सोन नदी के संगम में बालू लेकर छपरा जा रही बड़ी नाव में पानी की तेज लहर होने के कारण रिसाव होने लगा। इसके बाद नाव पर सवार 20 से 25 मजदूरों ने नदी में छलांग लगा दी। दो मजदूर लापता हैं। हादसा शुक्रवार (Oct. 21) शाम का है, लेकिन इसका वीडियो अब सामने आया है। वीडियो में दिख रहा है कि नदी की तेज लहरों के बीच मजदूर तैर करे अपनी जान बचा रहे हैं। उन्हें बाहर निकालने के लिए दूसरी नाव से सवार लोग रस्सी फेंक रहे हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/bhojpur/arrah/news/accident-happened-in-sangam-between-ganga-and-son-workers-jumped-and-saved-their-lives-video-went-viral-130475013.html  (24 Oct. 2022)

गत बुधवार (Oct. 19) को भी दीघा पुल के पिलर से टकराकर एक नाव पलट गई थी। इस नाव में सवार 9 लोगों को बचा लिया गया था। जबकि 2 लोग अब भी लापता हैं। 16 अक्टूबर को कटिहार जिले में भी बड़ा नाव हादसा हुआ था। ब्रांडी नदी में नाव डूबने के बाद 7 लोगों की मौत हो घई थी। जबकि तीन ने तैरकर अपनी जान बचा ली थी। बता दें कि पूर्वी चंपारण जिले में भी एक हफ्ते पहले गंडक नदी में छोटी नाव डूबने से एक महिला की मौत हो गई थी। जबकि 9 लोगों को रेस्क्यू कर लिया गया था। सभी लोग नाव में सवार होकर काम पर जा रहे थे। https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/story-boat-capsized-in-ganga-river-in-sonpur-near-patna-many-people-missing-big-accident-in-bihar-again-7258691.html  (23 Oct. 2022)

रविवार (Oct. 23) की दोपहर नदी में नहाने के दौरान चार किशोरी डूब गई। बचाने के दौरान एक अधेड़ भी डूब गया। जिसके कारण सभी की मौत हो गई। तीन शव को बरामद कर लिया गया है। जबकि दो शव अभी भी लापता है। जिसकी तलाश की जा रही है। घटना उपहारा थाना क्षेत्र के हमीदनगर गांव समीप पुनपुन नदी कुशंभरा घाट की है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/patna/maner/news/a-sand-laden-boat-collided-with-the-pillar-of-jp-setu-in-patna-five-missing-130476344.html  (24 Oct. 2022)

छपरा में गंगा नदी में नाव हादसा हुआ है. जिसमें कई लोगों के डूबने की आशंका है. पटना और सारण जिले के बीच हादसा होने के कारण सीमा विवाद में भी मामला उलझ गया है. इस मामले में 18 लोग लापता बताए जा रहे हैं. घटना डोरीगंज के पास गंगा और सरयू नदी के संगम पर छपरा-आरा वीर कुंवर सिंह सेतु के दाहिने साइड में हुई है. यह इलाका सारण जिले में ही आता है, लेकिन यह दियारा का इलाका है. सभी नाव मध्यम श्रेणी की नाव थी, जो बालू निकालने का काम कर रही थी और हवा के तेज थपेड़े के कारण सभी असंतुलित हो गई और एक-एक करके डूब गईं. सभी नाव अवैध रूप से बालू निकालने का काम कर रही थी. इस कारण भी स्थानीय लोग कुछ बोलने से बच रहे हैं.

बताया ये भी जा रहा है कि दो नावें तेज हवा के कारण आपस में टकरा गईं जिसकी वजह से एक नाव डूब गई. नाव पर सवार मजदूर और नाविक भी डूब गए. स्थानीय नाविकों का कहना है कि टक्कर के बाद डूबनेवाली नाव से निकलकर कुछ लोगों को दूसरी नाव पर चढ़ते हुए देखा गया है. बता दें कि बालू खनन पर रोक के बावजूद बालू माफिया ओवरलोडेड नाव लेकर गंगा में परिवहन करते हैं. इससे अक्सर गंगा नदी मेंनाव हादसा होता रहता है. गंगा और सोन के दियारा में भोजपुर, सारण और पटना जिलेके बालू तस्‍कर नावों के जरिए अवैध बालू खोदकर नाव से ही दूसरी जगह लेकर बेचने के लिए जाते हैं. प्रशासनिक टीम कभी कभी कार्रवाई भी करती है. पिछले दिनों पटना में एक नाव पर सिलेंडर ब्लास्ट में चार से ज्यादा मजदूर जिंदा जल गए थे. बावजूद इसके प्रशासन इन बालू तस्करों को रोकने में नाकाम दिख रहा है।  https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/bihar/state/patna/sand-laden-boat-drowned-in-river-at-patna/bh20220821103641027027374   (21 Aug. 2022) https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/saran/chhapra/news/6-boats-laden-with-sand-sinks-in-river-ganga-in-chhapra-18-laborers-aboard-the-boat-missing-ndrf-team-is-being-helped-130213783.html

पटना के मनेर रामपुर पतीला घाट के समीप नाव पर हुए सिलेंडर ब्लास्ट में खाना बन रहे चार मजदूरों की झुलस कर मौत हो गई, जबकि इस घटना में दर्जनों लोग घायल हो गए हैं. गैर आधिकारिक तौर पर 5 लोगों की मौत की बात कही जा रही है. अवैध बालू ले कर जा रहे नाव पर लगभग 20 मजदूर सवार थे जिसमें 4 मजदूर झोपड़ी में खाना बना रहे थे. उसी दौरान गैस रिसाव हुआ और उसमें आग लग गई. उसी झोपड़ी में नाव की मशीन के लिए डीजल भी रखा हुआ था, उसमें भी आग लग गई. बताया जाता है कि आग लगने की वजह से सिलेंडर ब्लास्ट कर गया और नाव के किनारे में फंसकर चार लोग जीवित ही जल गए; जिससे सभी की मौत हो गई.

गैस सिलेंडर के ब्लास्ट होने की वजह से और अन्य दर्जनों मजदूर भी घायल हो गए. जख्मी मजदूरों को इलाज के लिए ले अस्पताल ले जाया गया है, लेकिन वो कहां गए हैं यह पता नहीं चला है. बताया जाता है कि ये सभी मजदूर सोन नदी से अवैध बालू को लेकर सोनपुर सारण की तरफ जा रहे थे, तभी ये हादसा हुआ. ग्रामीण संजय कुमार सिंह के मुताबिक इस हादसे में पांच लोगों की मौत की पुष्टि की जा रही है हालांकि पुलिस ने चार लोगों की मौत की पुष्टि की है. https://hindi.news18.com/news/bihar/patna-four-labors-killed-in-cylinder-blast-on-illegal-sand-mining-boat-at-maner-patna-bramk-4449105.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

रेत के काले खेल में गिर रही हैं लाशें  राजधानी पटना से महज 20 किलोमीटर की दूरी पर स्थित बिहटा थाना इलाके में अमनाबाद में पीला सोना (बालू) के काले खेल में लगातार लाशें गिर रही हैं। अवैध खनन के मामले में यह इलाका बिहार के ‘वासेपुर’ के रूप में चर्चित हो गया है। यहां गैंग्‍स आफ फौजी और सिपाही का राज चलता है। यहां गोलियां की तड़तड़ाहट से पुलिस भी सहम जाती है। हाल यह है कि गोलियां तो चलती हैं, लेकिन उसकी गिनती नहीं होती। लाशें गिरती हैं तो उनकी खबर तक बाहर नहीं आती है।

उल्लेखनीय है कि गुरुवार (Sept. 29) को बालू के अवैध खनन को लेकर वर्चस्व की लड़ाई में दो गिरोहों के बीच अंधाधुंध फायरिंग होती रही , लेकिन 11 घंटे तक पुलिस को हिम्मत नहीं हुई कि वह घटना स्थल तक जा सके। माफियाओं के बीच चली गोलियों से पूरा इलाका खौफजदा है।  कहा जा रहा है कि इस दौरान 16 से अधिक लोगों की मौत हुई है। हालांकि पुलिस सिर्फ एक की मौत की पुष्टि कर रही है। घटना के संबंध में यह बात भी सामने आई है कि इस गोलीबारी में दोनों गुटों की तरफ से एके-47 जैसे अत्याधुनिक हथियारो का भी इस्तेमाल किया गया । ग्रामीणों का कहना है गोलीबारी में 16 लोगों की मौत हुई है। इस वारदात के बाद कई लोग लापता हैं। उनके परिवारों का दावा है कि बालू तस्‍करों ने शव को पोकलैंड से खोदकर बालू के अंदर दबा दिया है।

इस दियारा में छोटी-मोटी वारदातें हो जाएं, दो-चार राउंड गोली चल जाए, एक-दो मजदूरों की मौत या हत्‍या ही हो जाए, तो कई बार खबर तक बाहर नहीं आती है। लाश का बाहर आना तो दूर है। प्रशासन अपनी बदनामी से बचने के लिए ऐसी खबरों पर पर्दा डालता है और तस्‍कर अपनी परेशानी से बचने के लिए। वहीं , यह बात भी सामने आई है कि इस इलाके में गोलीबारी की घटना पिछले तीन माह से चल रही थी । लोगों ने पुलिस को इसकी जानकारी भी दी थी, लेकिन कोई कार्रवाई नहीं की गई। यहां तक कि घटना के दौरान भी पुलिस को गांववाले सूचित करते रहे, लेकिन कोई रिस्पांस नहीं लिया गया । बताया जाता है गंगा और सोन नदी के पटना, सारण (छपरा), भोजपुर और अरवल जिले से लगते दियारा में बालू तस्‍करों का समांतर राज चलता है। इनका खौफ ऐसा है कि बालू का ठीका लेने वाली बड़ी कंपनी ब्राडसन ने हाथ खड़े कर दिए थे। https://www.lokmatnews.in/crime/bihar-dead-bodies-are-falling-in-the-black-game-of-sindh-aminabad-is-being-called-wasseypur-b639/  (01 Oct. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Suspicious death of man triggers row The suspicious death of a 33-year-old man at Ellapalle village in Gangadhara Nellore mandal of Chittoor district has triggered a controversy. TDP national general secretary Nara Lokesh has blamed the sand mafia for the ‘murder’. The deceased, identified as A Kishan (33), was one among the villagers who opposed sand mining in the Anantapuram sand reach near Ellapalle. On August 18, Kishan was found drowned in a pit, which was formed due to sand mining in the reach, along the Neeva river bed.

Meanwhile, Raghu, a farmer from Ellapalle, held sand mafia responsible for the ‘murder’ of Kishan. “We have asked the operators several times to stop mining in the reach as it was impacting our borewells. Despite our repeated requests, the Tahsildar did not take any action against them,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Lokesh alleged that the sand mafia had been taking the lives of innocent people. “The YSRC government tonsured a Dalit youth Varaprasad for obstructing sand smuggling. Now, the locals and family members of Kishan are alleging that he was killed by the sand mafia for protesting against sand mining,” Lokesh tweeted. The MLC demanded a thorough investigation into the incident. The ASI said the family members of the deceased did not name any individual in their complaint. He said sand mining in the village was legally permitted, but the villagers were opposing it. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2022/aug/21/suspicious-death-of-man-triggers-row-family-tdp-allege-role-of-sand-mafia-2489767.html  (21 Aug. 2022)

Himachal, Punjab ED detects illegal mining worth Rs 35 cr near Swan Himachal Pradesh, Punjab The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said that illegal mining of sand and stone worth Rs 35 crore has been done in and near the Swan in Una district of Himachal Pradesh.

Sources said that Rs 35 crore is just a preliminary figure and that the mining has been done on such a huge scale in areas falling between Haroli in Una and Nangal in Punjab that ED officials have started doing a physical survey to assess the exact loss caused to the exchequer by the accused behind this nexus. This discovery by ED is a fallout of raids conducted by the agency on several stone crushers, their owners and associates and several premises in Una, Nangal, Ropar, Jalandhar, Mohali and Panchkula among others from Monday to Friday. Several incriminating documents, electronic gadgets and unaccounted cash has also been seized by ED in the action so far.

ED initiated a money-laundering investigation on the basis of an FIR registered at Police Station Sadar, Una, in 2021 against illegal mining at Swan river in Una. Investigation has revealed that rampant illegal mining was being carried out at locations in Una district of HP and the illegal mining included illegal mining of sand from river bed as well as stone mining from quarries. The modus operandi adopted by the persons includes excavation of sand and gravel beyond leased mining area, overshooting prescribed depth of mining thus causing excess mining.” ED also stated, “Searches also revealed that illegally mined sand, gravel and stone boulders were being transported suspiciously without payment of requisite royalty, taxes to the state government. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/ed-detects-illegal-mining-worth-rs-35-crore-near-swan-in-himachal-pradesh-punjab/articleshow/94408558.cms  (24 Sept. 2022)

Punjab Deep pits found, illegal sand mining suspected in Ajnala The Amritsar rural police have booked seven persons in five different cases of illegal mining in Ajnala subdivision. However, no arrests have been made till now. All suspects were booked following demarcation of the agricultural land where Mining Department officials found huge pits indicating illegal sand mining.

Yash Kakkar, junior engineer-cum-mining inspector, lodged a complaint with the Ajnala police regarding illegal sand mining in Raipur Kalan village. Following which a police team led by ASI Kewal Singh visited the spot and found a 15-ft deep ditch which was 220-ft long and over 82-ft wide. The police found marks of JCB tyres on the spot. During the demarcation, the land found to be belonged to Sehraj Singh and his brother Sardool Singh. In the village, another 12-ft deep pit with 82-ft breadth and 110-ft length was found. The police found high level illegal sand mining from the spot. The land belonged to Amar Singh.

Similarly, following complaint by Mining inspector Sandeep Garg, the police found a 15-ft deep trench with 110-ft length and breadth from Saidogazi village. Here also, the police teams found fresh signs machinery involved in illegal sand mining at the spot. The land found to be in the name of Sukhjinder Singh. Another big pit of illegal sand mining was found in Sarangdev and Ballarwal village. In Sarangdev, a 15-ft deep pit with 137-ft breadth and 275-ft length was found while in Ballarwal village a huge crater of 18-ft depth and 154-ft breadth and 302-ft length was found. The lands belonged to Rajwant Singh and Khuddar Singh and Sardara Singh respectively. These pits indicate towards mass level illegal sand mining in the border belt. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/deep-pits-found-illegal-sand-mining-suspected-in-ajnala-432486  (17 Sept. 2022)

Officials of the Mining Department discovered an illegal sand mining quarry in Raipur Kalan border village in the Ajnala subdivision. Following a complaint by Anmol Garg, Junior Engineer-cum-Mining officer, the police have booked Jatinder Singh of Raipur Kalan village as the land belonged to him. No arrest has been made till now. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/illegal-sand-mining-continues-unabated-440205  (11 Oct. 2022)


Odisha Drones to monitor illegal prawn ponds in wetlands in 4 districts The Orissa High Court on Wednesday (Oct. 26) accepted a proposal submitted by Amicus Curiae Mohit Agarwal for the deployment of drones to monitor illegal prawn culture ponds or gherries encroaching wetlands in at least four coastal districts of the state.The districts in which the drones will be deployed are Balasore, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam and the state government has been asked to submit an affidavit in this regard by the next date of hearing on December 5, Agarwal said. The Amicus Curiae had made the proposal for the deployment of drones after it was revealed from different affidavits made by the district administrations that physical deployment of police force is unable to check the re-emergence of dismantled gherries. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/drones-to-monitor-illegal-prawn-ponds-in-odisha-wetlands-in-4-districts-122102601063_1.html  (27 Oct. 2022)

Assam Remember Silsako Silsako is a wetland on the outskirts of Guwahati that has been dwindling in size because of haphazard development activities over the past few decades. The wetland in picture has been providing various sources of livelihoods for the people and many of them are still dependent on this resource.

With eviction drives that displace people and their homes, it also displaces hopes and aspirations. Climate change and mindless human activities surrounding the beel has reduced the life of this wetland. It has once again ignited the debate, whether development should take precedence over ecology and environment.  Silsako evokes a poignant memory and this film is an attempt to revisit a space that will determine the future of the city. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kdUcvT9CEM  (27 Oct. 2022)


Centre Recharge wells to power multi-city groundwater project. A pilot project on shallow aquifer management, initiated by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for 10 cities, under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), has identified recharge wells as key to improving groundwater availability. Experts have cited the non-availability of space to allow the percolation of rainwater as a major hurdle to recharging Bengaluru’s groundwater table. The Million Wells programme was launched by Biome Environmental Trust in 2015 to encourage citizens and communities to dig and maintain their own recharge wells. It also opened up employment for the traditional well-digger community, the mannu vaddars.

In Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will be the nodal agency for the project. Credit: Special arrangement/DH

In Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will be the nodal agency for the project. Biome Environmental Trust and Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) will be technical partners in the project, which is led by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, a national think-tank on urban planning and development. The pilot project also covers Chennai, Dhanbad, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Rajkot, Thane, and Pune. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/recharge-wells-to-power-multi-city-groundwater-project-1157262.html  (28 Oct. 2022)

Mumbai Pipe Dream Prachi Adesara and Suraj Katra have made this film ’Kanooni Pani (Legal Water)’ for Charles Correa Foundation’s Nagri Film Festival. The film tries to showcase the efforts of Pani Haq Samiti. https://youtu.be/ADhHHcRom1k  (27 Oct. 2022)


Uttar Pradesh Close commercial establishments extracting groundwater illegally: NGT  The NGT said that according to the Central Ground Water Authority’s report, more than 70 per cent of hotels or commercial establishments across 9 districts were found to be extracting groundwater illegally.  A bench headed by chairperson Justice A K Goel said that the situation was alarming as shown by rampant violations, defeating the directions of the Supreme Court for control and regulation of groundwater extractions.

“There is a grey area of about 25 per cent for want of information being furnished or collected,” the bench said, adding, “We have no other option but to hold that there is an all-round failure of the statutory authorities in complying with the mandate of the judgement of the Supreme Court.” The approvals for groundwater extraction were being granted mechanically, while alternatives to groundwater extraction were not being considered, resulting in a shortage of potable water for drinking purposes, the bench said.

“Under the circumstances, the case appears to be made out to direct sealing of all establishments operating without mandatory consent to operate as per the Water Act, till compliance and registering criminal cases for theft of groundwater against owners of the establishments,” the green panel said. Determining the amount of interim compensation, the bench said it was Rs 50 lakh per establishment having more than 100 rooms, Rs 25 lakh per establishment having 50-100 rooms and Rs 10 lakh per establishment having up to 50 rooms.

The deposit has to be made within one month with the respective District Magistrates, failing which theft cases would be registered against the establishments concerned and borewells sealed, the NGT said. The already constituted joint committee of the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) had to assess the final compensation after giving an opportunity to the establishments concerned, within three months, it said. The committee also had to verify the compliance for non-verified establishments within one month, the NGT said.

“We further direct that while granting consents, the requirement of installing digital water meters connected to central servers may be laid down and in respect of establishments having water supply from the local bodies and also extracting groundwater, there should be separate digital meters in respect of both sources,” the NGT said. If consent was not applied for within one month, the establishments could be closed by the state pollution control board, it said.

“States other than Uttar Pradesh may also study the above directions and take further action by issuing necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) through their Water Resources Departments and State PCBs within one month,” the NGT said. Report of the status of compliance as on April 30, 2023, had to be filed before the tribunal by May 15, 2023, the NGT said.

The tribunal was hearing an application against the unauthorised withdrawal of groundwater by 122 hotels in Ghaziabad and during the course of the hearing it took up the larger issue of such problems in nine major cities of the state — Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Meerut, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bareilly, Varanasi, Jhansi, and Gorakhpur. https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2022/10/29/lgd6-green-up-groundwater.html  (29 Oct. 2022)


Bengaluru Hebbal Lake back with forest department An Oberoi Group company maintaining Hebbal lake since 2006 will not get to maintain it any longer. In October 2021, then principal chief conservator of forests Sanjai Mohan had recommended renewal of the lease, sparking outrage among activists opposing the government’s move to “privatise” public commons. Leo F Saldanha, trustee of the Environment Support Group, wrote to the department that any move to renew the lease would be a direct violation of the November 2008 order of the high court (in writ petition 817/2008). The court had held that the Lake Development Authority should “not enter into any fresh agreement with whomsoever and with reference to whatsoever lake is concerned”.

Hebbal lake is among the water bodies still under the custody of the forest department. The custody was renewed two months ago. The forest department has turned down EIH’s request for a 15-year extension of the maintenance lease. Spread over 192 acres and 19 guntas, the lake was leased to EIH for 15 years from May 19, 2006. When the lease expired in May 2021, the company sought renewal.

Responding to the development, Saldanha said besides the danger of commercialisation, providing custody of lakes to private agencies is against the public trust doctrine. “Public commons, from lakes to grazing lands, should remain in the hands of the people,” he said.

The forest department has approached the BBMP for funds to maintain the lake. Deputy Conservator of Forests S S Ravishankar said, “We have to make the lake public-friendly and safe. We need staff to clean it as well. All of this might cost about Rs 15 lakh a year,” he said. The BBMP has not responded to his request yet. K V Shashikumar, BBMP chief engineer (lakes), said decisions on funds and lake custody had to be taken at the secretariat level. “We at the BBMP can’t take any decision on such matters,” he said. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengalurus-hebbal-lake-back-with-forest-department-1157235.html  (28 Oct. 2022)

“Public commons, from lakes to grazing lands, should remain in the hands of the people,” Deepak Arya, who passed on years ago, will rest easier knowing the cause he fought for till his untimely death has finally succeeded. See more about this: https://esgindia.org/new/events/esg-kslsa-seminar/  and https://esgindia.org/new/education/karnataka-high-court-directs-state-to-ensure-karnataka-lakes-are-protected-per-2012-order-in-esg-pil/ ; Also see: https://esgindia.org/new/support/

Hesaraghatta lake fills to the brim after hiatus of 28 years Built in 1894, the Hesaraghatta lake situated in Bengaluru, which has supplied water to several parts of Bengaluru for over a century, is filled to the brim after a long interval of 28 years. Torrential rainfall in the Arkavathi river catchment area and around Nandi Hills has caused an increase in the reservoir’s inflow. According to a report in the Times of India, the lake is only a foot away from its full capacity and may overflow any minute.

Hesaraghatta lake. Credit: DH Photo

The lake is said to have come to full capacity for the first time since 1994. The lake, now over 128 years old and spread over 450 hectares, was built across the Arkavathi river. It was a part of the ‘Chamarajendra Water Works’ project devised by MC Hutchins, the then chief engineer of Mysuru, to meet the growing demand for potable water in Bengaluru. The lake began to lose its prominence and the inflow into the reservoir was affected by soil erosion, relentless sand and stone quarrying and degradation of the Arkavathi catchment area.

The reservoir has aqueducts built using bricks, lime and mortar that helped in getting water to places like Tarabanahalli where it would be purified and pumped to the city from the Soladevanahalli pumping station. The lake was completely dry by 2010 and was even converted into grazing land by locals at one point. Hesaraghatta’s spillway was designed by the chief engineer of Mysuru, Sir M Visvesvaraya. It is considered a unique spillway system in Karnataka with the ‘volute siphon spillway’ design comprising a vertical shaft in the form of inverted U-tubes. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/karnatakas-hesaraghatta-lake-fills-to-the-brim-after-hiatus-of-28-years-1156366.html  (24 Oct. 2022)

Delhi NGT penalises govt ₹900cr for failing to manage waste at landfill sites The NGT in its order has also paved way for the expansion of waste to energy (WtE) plants without an environmental clearance, stating this was causing a delay in these projects. “Since one of the obstacles pointed out by the Chief Secretary is the delay in getting environmental clearance for expanding waste to energy plant, we direct that expansion of such project can proceed without such a clearance, but consistent with environment norms,” the order said, asking for the end users of these landfill sites to also be identified. Bharati Chaturvedi, founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, a waste management NGO, said while the NGT judgement paves way to end landfills in Delhi completely, doing it through WtE plants was the improper way forward.. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/ngt-penalises-delhi-govt-900-crore-for-failing-to-manage-waste-at-landfill-sites-101665600176370.html  (13 Oct. 2022)

Gurugram 1,000 cops guard Gurugram garbage pickers amid stir The ongoing strike of sanitation workers has led to the entire city being “buried” under garbage. The protesters have not only dumped 1,300 tonnes of garbage on the streets across the city, but are also waging a war against Ecogreen Energy, the concessionaire engaged by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) for waste management, to stop it from picking up garbage. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/1-000-cops-guard-gurugram-garbage-pickers-amid-stir-444999  (28 Oct. 2022)

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will take up 81 government-owned lakes in the city to boost the groundwater level and develop new areas for recreation. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel allocated the lakes to the civic body Monday (Aug. 02). https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/amc-allotted-81-lakes-for-boosting-level-of-groundwater-8064683/  (02 Aug. 2022)


Meghalaya No water, no third party inspection, no tap connection but JJM project complete The NDA government’s flagship programme, the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), seems to be unravelling rather quickly in the Garo Hills region with another project in the district of East Garo Hills (EGH) down in the dumps in the village of Imsamdrop near Rongjeng in the district.

Imsamdrop is a village of about 37 households and falls under the Rongjeng C&RD Block. It is about 15 kms from Rongjeng where the entire village is involved in the creation of bamboo stools. These stools are then sold to the rest of the state as well as outside.

As per the villagers, a project under JJM was sanctioned for the village for an amount of close to Rs 41 lakhs and was apparently completed by the contractor, identified as one Sahidur Rehman this year. However, since the apparent ‘completion’ not only have the villagers not seen a drop of water but many households (more than half) were without even a connection.

The villagers claimed that they were not only robbed of drinking water but the overseer of the PHE department tricked them to show the project’s completion. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/10/25/no-water-no-third-party-inspection-no-tap-connection-but-jjm-project-complete/  (25 Oct. 2022)

The contractor in question, Sahidur Rehman, has close to 30 projects in the districts of NGH and EGH, all under JJM. However two of the projects that were visited were not only incomplete but provided no water. Other projects by the same contractor, most of which have been shown completed on paper will now need to come under investigation.

The latest failed JJM project in Garo Hills comes in the backdrop of the state being awarded for implementation of the scheme by the centre. The award is being shown by the present government as the seriousness with which such projects are being undertaken in the state. While implementation may be the state’s strong point, success in the projects is definitely not. Unless those involved in such massive manipulations are taken to task, many such stories of JJM’s failure in the state can be expected in the coming days. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/10/26/locals-of-rongjeng-village-vent-ire-over-jjm-project/  (26 Oct. 2022)

PHE Minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar on Wednesday (Oct. 26) said he will inquire into the allegations of “false reports” produced by the authorities with regard to the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission at Rongjeng village in East Garo Hills. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/10/27/phe-minister-to-seek-report-on-jjm-anomalies-in-rongjeng/  (27 Oct. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir  2.25 lakh new household tap connections An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in its fifth APEX committee meeting approved that under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation of Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0 about 2.25 lakh new household tap connections would be provided and more than 4 lakh connections augmented.

The meeting also approved that 72,872 sewage connections in three mission cities of Srinagar, Jammu, and Anantnag would be provided and 54 MLD capacities of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) would be augmented under AMRUT 2.0. The meeting also approved the Union Territory Water Action Plan (UTWAP) for 153 projects amounting to Rs 1665.10 crore for 78 ULBs of J&K under AMRUT 2.0. The UTWAP would cover 99 projects under water supply, 4 under sewerage and seepage management, and 50 water bodies.

The spokesman said that during the meeting it was informed that of the total approved allocation of Rs 1665 crore, an amount of Rs 744.18 had been earmarked under the CAPEX Budget of the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) for providing round-the-clock quality water supply, universal households water tap connections to all the urban areas of J&K, and coverage of households under sewerage and seepage management in three mission cities of AMRUT including Srinagar, Jammu, and Anantnag. AMRUT 2.0 has been designed to provide universal coverage of water supply through functional taps to all households in all the statutory towns of the country and coverage of sewerage and seepage management in AMRUT cities by 2025-26. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/front-page/jk-to-get-225-lakh-new-household-tap-connections-4-lakh-connections-to-be-augmented  (30 Oct. 2022)

FLOOD 2022

SANDRP Blog India’s Rivers Crossing Highest Flood Level in Oct 2022 It is quite unusual that 26 sites have crossed HFLs in initial 20 days of October month. Remarkably, there 11 sites where rivers have been in extreme flood condition for more than 100 hours.

Before this about 5 HFL breach incidents has taken place in June month and about 55 HFL breach incidents has been registered during July-September 2022. The total tally of CWC flood monitoring sites crossing HFLs between May-October 2022 stands at 86 so far. https://sandrp.in/2022/10/27/indias-rivers-crossing-highest-flood-level-in-oct-2022/ (27 Oct 2022)

Tamil Nadu Dams full, flood threat looms large in Dharmapuri Due to the surplus rainfall in Southwest monsoon, water level in 8 dams in Dharmapuri district has increased and 4 dams have reached their maximum capacity. Data from the PWD (WRO) shows that at present 91% of the total storage capacity of 1762.88 mcft has been filled. While farmers are happy about the amount of water available, they are also worried that the upcoming Northeast monsoon would cause severe flooding to low-lying areas and urged the PWD department to improve canals and clear overgrowths in canals to prevent flooding during the NE monsoon.

While dams are important for storing water, lakes are crucial for groundwater recharge, especially in Dharmapuri, where well irrigation is practised. The water released from the dams is unable to reach the lakes as most of the canals and lakes are severely dilapidated or overrun with shrubs. These overgrowths destroy the lake ecosystem and the administration must bring schemes to renovate the canals. There is also a high chance of floods as the canals may divert water into cultivation lands and homes.” S Kannan, a farmer from Palacode said, “There is an increased chance of flooding as dams have reached their maximum capacity even without the NE monsoon. We request the administration to take steps to prevent flooding.”  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/oct/28/dams-full-flood-threat-looms-large-in-dpuri-2512359.html  (20 Oct. 2022)


Chennai Residents of flood prone areas prep to move out After the devastating December 2015 floods, people got their homes in low lying areas raised. Despite that, they are now looking to move within the city and come back to their homes after the rains settle by mid-December. Chennai has been a mess due to ongoing work on widening the stormwater drain network. Authorities are building new links and reconstructing old ones such as in T Nagar, where the drain has been expanded from two feet to four.

Last year, incessant rains in November made it one of the wettest for Chennai, which had registered a rainfall of 882.4mm up to November 28, leaving several residents marooned. In the past decade from 2011, November 2021 witnessed the second highest rainfall recorded for the month. In November 2015, Chennai received a record rainfall of 1049 mm, according to the weather bureau. The all-time record for November is from 1918, when Chennai received 1088.4 mm of rain.

K N Nehru, minister for municipal administration, urban and water supply on Thursday told reporters in Namakkal district that there is an effort to create a reservoir like the one in Chembarambakkam to store rainwater. “Everyday, we are working towards meeting the effects of northeast monsoon,” Nehru said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/residents-of-areas-in-chennai-prone-to-flooding-prep-to-move-out-ahead-of-monsoon-101666551724739.html  (24 Oct. 2022)

Bengaluru Stormwater drains for cash Environment conscious residents of Varthur in Mahadevapura Assembly constituency are worried about the fate of stormwater drains in their locality. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Chief Commissioner, State Revenue Minister R Ashok ,and even Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai issued statements on the need for clearing encroachments on them to avoid flooding whenever it rains in the city.

However, residents of Varthur complain that the BBMP Stormwater Drains Department engineers are not restoring the width of the stormwater drains in the area because of rampant corruption or pressure from local politicians.

They said that despite many environmental laws, NGT, Supreme Court guidelines, and court orders, nothing has ever changed on the ground, but the same laws and guidelines are effectively being used for extortion by people in power and BBMP engineers. They opined that unless the ‘kaluves for cash’ scam in East Bengaluru is probed by the Green Court and culprits are brought to justice, the mockery of the judiciary would never stop. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/stormwater-drains-for-cash/articleshow/95085589.cms  (26 Oct. 2022)

Kolkata Opposing a multi-crore drainage project Churial is a 16 km natural canal which originates at Behala in the south of the city and culminates in the river Hooghly at Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas district. A few weeks ago, a group of experts and environmental activists released a research report titled ‘Killing of The Churial Canal: Social & Environmental Impacts of ADB financed KEIIP Project’. The 50-page report published by advocacy groups Amra Ek Sachetan Prayas and Growthwatch raised questions over the laying of sewage lines through micro-tunnelling and construction of the pumping station in a waterbody that has existed naturally and is connected to a river.

Micro-tunneling work underway in the Churial Canal, a natural canal which runs for 16 km and culminates in the river Hooghly. | Photo Credit: Debasish Bhaduri/The Hindu

Activists pointed out that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and KEIIP (Kolkata Environment Improvement Investment Programme) consider this living canal – stretching across six wards of the city – “as simply a drain” and have devised a project to carry sewage using pipelines along the canal. Jayanta Ghosh, who resides in an area adjoining the Churial Canal, says because of its connection with the river, water in the canal would increase and decrease daily during high and low tide. Mr. Ghosh said a few decades ago, even small boats would ply in the canal. However, the current project may turn it into just another drain, he said, adding that the local population would be impacted by the canal’s slow death.

Another issue pointed out by the locals and activists is micro-tunnelling, which involves laying of drainage pipes underneath the canal bed. The bigger immediate concern, however, is the shrinking of the canal bed due to the construction activity. River activist Tapas Das said till 2019, the Churial Canal was under the control of the Department of Irrigation. He asks how it landed in the hands of KMC and KEIIP. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/killing-of-a-canal-why-environmentalists-are-opposing-a-multi-crore-drainage-project-in-kolkata/article66044442.ece  (25 Oct. 2022)


Jharkhand 226 blocks in 22 districts drought-hit The state govt on Oct 29 2022 declared 226 (blocks from 22 districts) out of the total 260 blocks of the state as drought-affected and decided to provide a cash relief of ₹ 3,500 to each of 30 lak affected farmer families, Chief Minister Hemant Soren said. The decisions were taken in a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), chaired by the chief minister. Two districts – Simdega and East Singhbhum- were left out. The report suggests that 154 blocks are severely drought-hit, while 72 blocks are moderately affected.

– In the first two months of monsoon, the state’s overall rainfall deficit was at 49 per cent. Jharkhand received 258.7 mm of rainfall from June 1 to July 31 against the normal rainfall of 508.2mm, which was the highest shortfall since 2014, according to the Meteorological Centre, Ranchi. The agriculture department said that overall sowing of kharif crops in Jharkhand was a mere 24.64 per cent till July 31 this year, which was 56.19 per cent in July 2021. Sowing coverage of paddy till July 31 was 15.78 per cent, which should be near 100 per cent by the time. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/226-blocks-in-jharkhands-22-districts-drought-hit-seeks-help-from-centre-3473126  (29 Oct. 2022)

Bihar Amid drought compensation, floods hit parts of state The state govt has officially declared 11 districts as drought-hit. Meanwhile, several other districts have been hit by the floods in October. Agricultural scientists warn that the changing monsoon rainfall patterns were a direct threat to the livelihoods of millions of farmers in the state, and there is a need to adopt alternative farming practices. https://www.gaonconnection.com/lead-stories/bihar-floods-drought-declaration-compensation-farmers-climate-change-rice-production-poverty-agriculture-farming-51380   (29 Oct. 2022)  


Gujarat Cable Bridge Collapses in Morbi Officials said the recently renovated bridge collapsed as it could not bear the weight of the people standing on it. The famous suspension bridge over the Machchhu river near Mani Mandir in Morbi was reopened only 5 days ago after being closed for renovation for 6 months. The bridge was renovated at the cost of Rs 2 crore. The permission of the municipal corporation was not taken, nor any fitness certificate submitted before opening the bridge. Why the state government and the municipal body allowed this is a moot question.

People gather as rescuers search for survivors after a suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi town. (REUTERS)

The 140 years old and 765 feet long bridge was first inaugurated on February 20, 1879, by Mumbai governor Richard Temple. It was completed in 1880 at the cost of around Rs 3.5 lakh back then. All the material came from England and it was built to connect Darbargarh to Nazarbagh. It connects the seat of Mahaprabhuji and the entire Samakantha area. https://www.news18.com/news/india/gujarat-cable-bridge-collapses-in-morbi-many-tourists-fall-in-river-rescue-ops-underway-6271981.html  (30 Oct. 2022) At least 141 people have died Morbi bridge collapse incident and some 177 people have been saved and teams are searching for several others who are still missing. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/death-count-in-gujarat-bridge-collapse-climbs-to-130-177-rescued-so-far-3475418  (31 Oct. 2022) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-63445154  (31 Oct. 2022)


Uttarakhand 4 killed as massive boulder falls on houses ins Chamoli Four people of a family were killed after a massive boulder came crashing on three houses following a landslide in Paingarh village in Tharali tehsil in Chamoli district around 1.35am on Saturday (Oct. 22), the state disaster response force (SDRF) said. District disaster management officer (Chamoli) Nand Kishore Joshi said one of the three houses was completely damaged in the incident.

-On September 17, a man from Uttar Pradesh died, while three others were injured in Nainital district when a boulder rolled down the mountain slope and smashed their car on the Khairna-Almora highway. On June 29, one person died and two were injured in Chamoli district as a boulder fell over a car of pilgrims returning from Badrinath temple. On June 26, a 27-year-old pilgrim from Uttar Pradesh died after a boulder fell from the hilltop on the bus he was travelling in. The incident took place near Kakragad on the Rudraprayag-Gaurikund highway in Rudraprayag district.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/dehradun-news/4-killed-as-massive-boulder-falls-on-houses-in-uttarakhand-s-chamoli-101666435899300.html  (22 Oct. 2022) -पैनगढ़ गांव भूगर्भीय दृष्टि से संवेदनशील है। यहां गांव के ऊपर पहाड़ी पर पांच साल पहले दरार पड़ गई थी और जो बाद में बढ़ती गई। पिछले साल बरसात के दौरान यहां के करीब 40 परिवारों को दूसरी जगह टेंट व छानियों में सुरक्षित स्थान पर भेजा गया था। https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/big-accident-in-karnaprayag-three-houses-damaged-by-boulders-that-fell-after-landslide-many-died  (22 Oct. 2022)


SANDRP Blog Uttarakhand Cloud Burst 2022: Road Debris, Drainage Encroachment Magnify Destruction Dumping of road, hill cutting debris, muck into streams and encroachment of drainage channels throughout the state are proving the second biggest reason for disaster force multiplier after dams, hydropower and large infrastructure projects. This account has documented over a dozen such cases where destruction on ground have mainly been aggravated by these anthropogenic activities. Despite that government agencies have learnt no lesson and dumping of road, hill cutting debris, rubbles in drainage and encroachment along streams, rivers are rampant across the state triggering a domino effect during cloud burst disaster. 

The government is yet to look seriously into cloud burst disaster mitigation at policy, planning and execution level. Some general and opaque guidelines are included in rather ineffective disaster management plans and programs. In reality, most government departments and plans, be it construction of roads, urban development, tourism infrastructure, riverbed mining, muck dumping plans, etc. are only feeding the cloud burst disasters.    https://sandrp.in/2022/10/27/uttarakhand-cloud-burst-2022-road-debris-drainage-encroachment-magnify-destruction/  (27 Oct. 2022)


Urbanization in the Himalayas – how much is too much? Managing the Himalayan ecosystem’s sustainability is critical not only for preserving its pristine beauty and spectacular landscape but also for ensuring the ecological security of the entire Indian subcontinent. https://www.thestatesman.com/lifestyle/urbanization-in-the-himalayas-1503125654.html  (27 Oct. 2022)


Report Source of Clean Energy Is Evaporating Fast  From California to Germany and China, climate change-fueled heatwaves and droughts have shrunk rivers that feed giant hydropower plants. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-10-26/drought-from-china-to-us-hits-hydro-dams-slashing-the-top-clean-energy-source  (26 Oct. 2022)

Climate Change Drying Up China’s Three Gorges Dam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOljaWi6bno  (26 Oct. 2022)

The Global South Climate Database is a publicly available, searchable database of scientists and experts in the fields of climate science, climate policy and energy. The goal of the project, set up by Carbon Brief with the support of the Reuters Institute’s Oxford Climate Journalism Network, is to ensure that journalists from all over the world can contact scientists from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/global-south-climate-database 

460-km-long river discovered snaking through base of Antarctic ice sheet Among the many mechanisms shaping the Antarctic ice sheet are the processes playing out in its lower layers, and a newly discovered sub-glacial river suggests it may drain away faster than we thought. Scientists say the 460-km-long river shows the base of the ice sheet features more flowing water than we realized, which may accelerate its melting as the planet continues to warm. https://newatlas.com/environment/river-base-antarctic-ice-sheet-melting/  (27 Oct. 202)


Bangladesh Hilsa ban: Policeman hurt in attack by fishermen in Meghna Complicated issue:- A policeman was injured as fishermen attacked law enforcers during a drive against hilsa catching in Meghna River in Chandpur. Md Kamruzzaman said the river police, including the fisheries officer of Sadar upazila, went to the river to monitor the hilsa ban situation as part of their regular operation on Oct 10, 2022 evening. When they reached Safarmali area of the Meghna River, they saw a fisherman’s boat in the river. Sensing their presence, the fishermen started throwing brickbats from the boat targeting the law enforcers. Hasan Mia was injured in the incident and was sent to Dhaka’s Rajarbagh Police Hospital in critical condition. https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/crime-justice/news/hilsa-ban-policeman-hurt-attack-fishermen-meghna-3139831  (11 Oct. 2022)


‘Don’t overestimate water diversion under extreme weather’ Geographer Mark Wang “I have reservations about continuing to invest in physical infrastructure, to be building more dams and water transfer projects, under these circumstances. I’m more in agreement with Xi Jinping’s “16-character water governance plan”: save water first, distribute water evenly, manage water systematically, and make use of both the market and government. I’m excited about that as it prioritises water conservation, which is a change from engineering-first thinking. The idea of simply transferring enough water across river basins to meet demand is no good. We need to work with what nature gives us, not insist on remaking it.

The exposed bed of the Yangtze River in Wuhan during this summer’s record-breaking heatwave (Image: Ren Yong / Alamy)

Rivers are living things. The course of the river, its oxbow lakes, all have evolved in different ways and have different ecological worth. Rivers need a certain amount of water, the ecological flow, to keep ecosystems functioning. A river drying up can have catastrophic outcomes, with many organisms perishing. It’s something we don’t pay enough attention to. We worry about the major rivers, but the smaller ones, the tributaries and streams, have long been overlooked. China is adopting a “river chief” system, which will see a local official take responsibility for each river. That’s a great system, but the vast majority of river chiefs don’t understand how rivers work. They worry about preventing pollution, illegal sand extraction or illegal occupation of the river course. But we rarely hear of them ensuring ecological flows. We need to take a comprehensive approach to keeping our rivers alive.

So where should the money that’s being spent on those projects go instead? I think our water infrastructure is already good enough. We have world-leading technology and hardware. What if we spend it on water-conservation measures? What if we expend the same amount of effort in that direction? And could we make use of our institutional advantages and make a major social engineering push for better management of water resources? It’s not that China isn’t trying to conserve water. You hear talk of “sponge cities” everywhere. But it’s not doing enough. Irrigation accounts for 60% of China’s water use. Drip irrigation is developing well, but the majority of farmland is still using flood irrigation, which is a massive waste of water. Reducing agriculture water use would significantly decrease water stress.” https://chinadialogue.net/en/climate/mark-wang-dont-overestimate-water-diversion-extreme-weather/  (12 Oct. 2022)


MEKONG Laos The cost of quest to be Southeast Asia’s ‘battery’ Laos, which bet big on hydropower to draw foreign investment, supplies electricity to several countries but is swimming in a sea of debt. A dam near its ancient capital has become another cause for worry, the programme Insight finds out. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/cna-insider/cost-laos-hydropower-quest-southeast-asia-battery-electricity-dams-risk-3029086  (30 Oct. 2022)

GRAPHIC: Michael Salzwedel / Earth Journalism Network/ Mekong Eye

Thailand’s last free-flowing Mekong River tributary is losing valuable fish species due to the mainstream dams. https://www.mekongeye.com/2022/10/31/dams-mekong-tributary-fisheries/  (31 Oct. 2022)


Hydroelectric dams as weapons: virtual and actual Dam-based hydropower plants (HPPs) present risks in both wartime and peacetime. Today, the main site of concern in Ukraine is the Dnipro hydropower cascade (whose reservoirs supply two-thirds of the country’s population). A breach of just one of the cascade’s dams could provoke a humanitarian catastrophe, loss of life, large-scale destruction. This article analyzes military aspects of the risks of hydropower. https://uwecworkgroup.info/hydroelectric-dams-as-weapons-virtual-and-actual/  (26 Oct 2022)

A hydroelectric dam (Nova Kakhovka) could be a linchpin in the looming battle for Kherson. If Ukraine retook the dam, Russian soldiers would have nowhere to retreat, but Russia could breach the dam to slow Ukraine’s advance. The dam on Dnipro river is hardly 50 miles NE of Kherson. Aside from being a military asset, the dam is also a critical piece of infrastructure that even before the war was a flash point. Its reservoir is crucial to the operations of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, about 100 miles upriver, because it provides water necessary for cooling functions. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/10/26/world/russia-ukraine-war-news  (26 Oct. 2022)

Brazil ‘People of the river’ pay price for Amazon hydropower Try replacing Brazil with North East India:- “It’s not true that Belo Monte dam’s energy is clean,” said Mariel Nakane, an economist working with ISA. “(Brazilians) are paying less for the hydroelectric power energy… but the costs are here on the people who live in the Volta Grande.”

The waters of the Xingu River below the Belo Monte hydropower dam, in Brazil’s Amazon, used to flood the river’s forested islands during the rainy season, allowing fish to glide among the trees and gorge on fallen fruit.

But since the controversial dam opened six years ago, the forests no longer flood consistently, and the fish have lost a key place to feed and spawn, local people say.

“Today, these fruits all fall onto dry land, so the fish can’t get the food,” said Josiel Pereira, an indigenous Juruna man from the village of Mïratu, in Pará state.

During the dry season, in turn, the dam sometimes releases too much water at once, drowning sandy beaches and destroying the nests where turtles have long laid their eggs, said Pereira, who is helping scientists understand the ecological impacts of the dam’s construction.

“It has been very difficult for us to survive after the Belo Monte dam development,” he said in an interview. “It has caused a lot of impact on our food, on our source of income.”

Estimated to cost at least 40 billion Brazilian real ($7.6 billion), the Belo Monte hydroelectric complex, the world’s fourth biggest hydropower dam, includes a main dam called Pimental and the Belo Monte reservoir. https://www.eco-business.com/news/brazils-people-of-the-river-pay-price-for-amazon-hydropower/  (13 Oct. 2022)

Mississippi Communities look at nature-based solutions When it comes to protecting against future flood risk for Mississippi River basin communities, experts agree: levees and floodwalls alone aren’t working anymore. Flood risk will continue to increase, and communities will need to make room for the water. And the time to act is now.

“Locks and dams are the concrete and steel embodiment of past visions for the river,” author John Anfinson said. “What is our 21st Century vision?” https://www.kbia.org/missouri-news/2022-10-10/n-10072022whenitrains4  (10 Oct. 2022)

The Mississippi river and its tributaries have dropped to record lows.

The water decreased so much that it revealed human remains and a 200-year-old shipwreck. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/mississippi-river-continues-to-sink-to-record-lows-due-to-historic-drought-3464816  (26 Oct. 2022)

5 big threats to rivers One of the largest threats to river biodiversity comes from dams, as the loss of free-flowing rivers impacts fish, aquatic insects, birds and plants. US efforts to progress the River Democracy Act are yet to yield progress, while other countries are also proposing new laws that are yet to be ratified. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/10/5-big-threats-to-rivers/  (12 Oct. 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 24 Oct. 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 17 Oct. 2022  

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

One thought on “DRP NB 31×22: Unviable Hydro Projects rejected in Himachal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam

  1. India is competing with china in road infrastructure building and dams on Himalayas but the latter has built all these on the other side of the watershed of the great Himalayas where there’s very little or no rain in Pamir Plateau while we are on the southern slope where maintaining normal road network becomes a challenge during and after every rainy season.
    They can call border road infrastructure building as “strategic reason” but cannot say the same about dams on Himalayan rivers.
    So, we can celebrate a little victory over rejection of dams in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Himachal Pradesh for the local people of these states; it is their victory of course. And start acting on alternative energy sources to meet the demands.


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