(Joshimath residents staging protest against land sinking and damages to their homes demanding rehabilitation & halt in NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad HEP tunnel work on Dec. 24, 2022. Image source: Atul Sati, Joshimath)
People of at least four states are opposing hydropower projects that the central and state governments are pushing, ignoring all the ground realities. In Uttarakhand, the Joshimath residents are on roads to wake up the government that seems deaf to their protests due to their houses cracking and land subsiding due to the tunnels being blasted for hydropower projects and Char Dham highway being built ignoring the voices of not only the affected people, but also the experts.
In Arunachal Pradesh, people have been writing to the central govt authorities against the Etalin and Dibang projects being pushed in Dibang valley of Brahmaputra basin.
In Himachal Pradesh, the people of Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti districts have made it an election issue the destructive hydropower projects being pushed there both by the state and central governments.
In Andhra Pradesh too people have been protesting against the pump storage projects being given permission in schedule tribe areas without their prior informed consent and ignoring the statutory requirements.
2022 is thus ending with people’s active protests across the country against destructive, disaster prone and unviable projects being pushed against their wishes and in violation of any proper consultations or even any credible impact assessments. In the escalating impacts of climate change, these projects are even more problematic as they not only worsen the adaptive capacity of people and invite more frequent, intense and spread of the disasters, but they also destroy the mitigation tools like forests and flowing rivers. This when all these projects are not even economically viable, and when better, cheaper options are available. It would be best if sooner the government listens to the people and stop pursuing such projects.
Uttarakhand The Sinking Feeling in Joshimath The multi-institutional team was set up by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority. Piyoosh Rautela (Executive Director, Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority) and MPS Bisht (Director, Uttarakhand Space Application Centre), had cautioned of disastrous consequence of an underground tunnel dug by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for hydropower project in 2009. In the process of tunnel excavation, the machinery punctured the aquifer, resulting in discharge of about 60-70 million litres of water daily. In their report published in Current Science, they clearly stated that this large-scale discharge, the implication of which was negligibly visible around then, will lead to subsidence in future. Rautela was also part of the team who surveyed the area in August this year.
Too much construction has led to several large-scale landslides. Between 2009 and 2012, there were 128 landslides recorded in Chamoli-Joshimath region by CSIR’s chief scientist, Kanungo. He published his findings in Landslides: Journal of the International Consortium on Landslides, in 2014. In 2018, a report published in Current Science, highlighted major landslides in the region. It spoke of the massive landslide on 19 May 2017 at Vishnuprayag, the confluence of rivers Dhauliganga and Alaknanda, eight kms away from Joshimath.
There was a protest against construction of a tunnel for a hydropower project in Hathi Parvat in 1999-2000. The tunnel was to change the direction of the Alaknanda river to Joshimath. The underground tunnel was a part of the Rishiganga and Vishnugad hydro power projects. Underground tunnels create cavities, said Kanungo. It was therefore important to understand the tunnel alignments. “It is essential to properly investigate and observe the area. And only after that engineering solutions or measures can be designed to check further subsidence,” he said. Kanungo feared that many development bodies such as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) did not really understand the terrain, hill slopes or the cause behind landslides.
This lack of awareness could be a source of great danger. “Remedial measures need integration of knowledge on landslides into the infrastructure process,” the scientist said, and added that just putting a retaining wall is not enough. Each landslide is different and its impact differs. Environmentalists complain that recommendations by scientific bodies and experts seem to be falling on deaf ears. Joshimath still lacks a proper drainage system. And, a wide range of development projects are underway. https://www.gaonconnection.com/lead-stories/joshimath-landslides-sinking-land-uttarakhand-construction-sustainable-development-environment-cracks-disasters-risks-deaths-51463 (04 Dec. 2022)
जोशीमठ के धंसने का कारण है जल विद्युत परियोजना करीब 14 महीने पहले चमोली जिले के जोशीमठ के एक हिस्से के लोगों ने महसूस किया कि उनके घरों में जगह-जगह दरारें आ रही हैं। उन्होंने महसूस किया कि दिन प्रति दिन ये दरारें ज्यादा चौड़ी होती जा रही हैं। जोशीमठ का वह क्षेत्र छावनी बाजार कहलाता है, जहां सबसे पहले इस तरह की दरारें देखी गई। यहां के लोगों ने संबंधित अधिकारियों को सूचना दी, लेकिन कोई कार्रवाई नहीं हुई। राज्य के लगभग हर आंदोलन में शामिल होने वाले जोशीमठ के एक्टिविस्ट अतुल सती को पता चला तो वे प्रभावित लोगों को लेकर संबंधित अधिकारियों से मिले, ज्ञापन दिये गये। लेकिन, अधिकारी तो दूर जोशीमठ के दूसरे हिस्सों में रहने वालों ने भी इस पर ध्यान नहीं दिया।
अब जबकि लगभग हर क्षेत्र धंसने लगा है। घरों और सड़कों पर हर जगह दरारें आने लगी हैं और लोग घरों को छोड़ने के लिए मजबूर होने लगे हैं तो 24 दिसंबर को जोशीमठ के हजारों लोग सड़कों पर उतरे। सड़क जाम रही, बाजार पूरी तरह से बंद रहे। जोशीमठ बचाओ संघर्ष समिति के बैनर तले किये गये इस प्रदर्शन में लोगों ने तपोवन-विष्णुगाड परियोजना बना नहीं एनटीपीसी कंपनी और राज्य सरकार के खिलाफ नारेबाजी की। लोगों को कहना है कि बिजली परियोजना की सुरंग जोशीमठ से नीचे से गुजर रही है और जोशीमठ के धंसाव को कारण यही सुरंग है। नारेबाजी करते हुए लोग तहसील पहुंचे और एसडीएम के माध्यम से सरकार के ज्ञापन भेजा। ज्ञापन में जोशीमठ के धंसने का कारण तपोवन-विष्णुगाड जल विद्युत परियोजना और हेलंग विष्णुप्रयाग बाइपास को बताया गया है। इसे दोनों निर्माणों को तुरंत बंद करने की मांग की गई है। इस प्रदर्शन के तीन दिन बीत जाने के बाद भी अब तक राज्य सरकार चुप है। http://baatbolegi.com/joshimath-sinking-ntpc-hydropower-project-responsible/ (26 Dec. 2022)
50 years of Chipko: Villagers leaving disaster riddled Raini There have been many disasters in Chamoli since 1970. Most notable in recent history was a flood in February 2021, triggered by a massive chunk of a glacier breaking away. More than 200 people died in the resulting flash flooding of the Rishi Ganga River.
In Raini, villagers say they live in fear of disasters that are becoming more frequent and intense. The village was once home to many generations of the Bhutia settling in the mountain ranges along the Indo-Tibet border. Now it only has elderly residents. All the people we speak with say they are demanding to be relocated. This was also the recommendation of an official report in the aftermath of the 2021 disaster.
The flood in February 2021 caused severe damage in Raini, and residents say it is no longer a safe place to live. Cracks have appeared in their houses and the slopes the village is built on have become unstable. Just downhill, the land is being eroded by the Rishi Ganga River. Their spirits battered by recent disasters, Raini’s last inhabitants are preparing to follow in the younger generation’s footsteps, leaving behind the forests they and their descendants once fought to protect. https://chinadialogue.net/en/nature/chipko-50-years-on-uttarakhand-villagers-describe-how-life-has-changed/ (12 Dec. 2022)
CM seeks Centre’s support to start 44 stalled HEPs Pushkar Singh Dhami raised the issue of the stalled hydro power projects in his meeting with PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday (Dec. 14). He sought support of the Union government in resolving the issue of the 44 hydro power projects in the State, the work on which is stalled for a long time. He requested that the Prime Minister’s office should convene a meeting of Jal Shakti, Forest and Environment, and the Power ministries along with the State government on the issue.
He further said that an agency as renowned as Mckinsey has been roped in for providing consultancy and help in preparing a rational roadmap for development of the State and the State Institute for Empowering and Transforming Uttarakhand (SETU) set up on the lines of NITI Aayog has started functioning in the State. Dhami informed that 15 places have been earmarked in the plain and mountainous districts for developing green field cities. The CM told the PM that 35 ropeways have been earmarked under the Parvat Mala project. Dhami said that the work on the all weather road is going at a fast pace but in view of the strategic importance the road needs to be extended to the border areas.
Dhami claimed that the single window system has been strengthened in the State under ease of doing business and compliance burden has been reduced. Dhami suggested that if the innovative idea of linking the rain fed rivers of the State with the glacial rivers is implemented then it could prove beneficial for the entire northern India. He requested that while allocating the financial resources the fact that a floating population of four to five crore people visits the State every year should also be considered. https://www.dailypioneer.com/2022/state-editions/dhami-meets-modi-in-delhi–shares-the-development-roadmap-of-the-state-with-him.html (14 Dec. 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh Excellent report on Etalin Project and about opposition to it. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-seeks-arunachal-s-views-on-hydro-project-amid-protests-by-indigenous-people-101671647590528.html (22 Dec. 2022) The Hindustan Times edit on Dec 23 2022 asks the govt to listen to the Dibang hydropower project rather than blindly pushing the project. https://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/listen-to-the-dibang-valley-protesters-101671722107557.html (22 Dec. 2022)
First hydropower project in LAC According to this report, India is building a small hydro power project costing Rs 47 Cr close to Tawang line of control with China on Tagsang Chu river which will also provide electricity to T Gompa, the last village on the India-China border. https://pkbnews.in/exclusive-china-to-get-electricity-from-water-now-india-builds-first-hydropower-project-in-lac/ (20 Dec. 2022)
Himachal Pradesh The Urni landslide: a recurring slope failure DAVE PETLEY ON KINNAUR LANDSLIDE, QUOTES SANDRP: On Monday 19 December 2022 a significant slope failure occurred at the Urni Landslide in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh in northern India on the banks of Sutlej River. This event was notable for the fact that it was caught on camera by users of National Highway 5, which passes close to the landslide site. Of interest at this site is the ongoing works to construct the Karcham Wangtoo Hydro Power Project – some elements of this are visible in the image above. It has long been asserted that these works have led to an increase in the occurrence of landslides in this area. For example, the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People has an article from 2014 documenting some of the impacts. Construction started in 2005.
– Of course, of immediate concern is the potential risk to the houses upslope of the Urni landslide. In October 2022 the crown of the landslide was perilously close to the houses. A major failure could exacerbate this situation. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2022/12/21/urni-landslide-1/ (21 Dec. 2022) This document by HIMDHARA is an updated compilation of primary evidences of the impacts of disturbances triggered by construction of tunnels and other underground components for hydropower projects. The evidences mostly comprise of documentation from Kinnaur, Kullu and Chamba districts, falling in the Satluj, Beas and Ravi basins respectively, carried out from 2011 onwards upto 2018. http://www.himdhara.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-Hidden-Cost-of-Hydropower_2019.pdf (June 2019)
Report The people living in Himalayan areas are more vulnerable to climate induced disasters like avalanches, debris flow, flash floods, landslides etc as human induced activities like construction of roads, hydropower projects, mining and other ‘developmental’ activities further enhance the vulnerability of the region. Experts at the Nauni conclave called for studies for establishing the frequency of the disasters and for a check on non-scientific infrastructures such as dams, bridges, hydropower, and non-farm activities that may have an impact on the base of the Himalayas for economic gain. https://www.thecitizen.in/in-depth/the-himalayas-face-multiple-assaults-553311 (21 Dec. 2022)
Andhra Pradesh ‘Cancel permission to hydro power projects’ Former Union Power Minister EAS Sarma has asked the Union Govt to cancel the permission given to three hydropower projects in coastal Andhra as the permission of the National Commission on Schedule Tribes has not been taken. The projects in question are the hydro-pumped storage projects at Kurukutti and Karrivalasa in Parvathipuram Manyam and at Yerravaram in Alluri Sitarama Raju district.
– In a letter addressed to CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday (Dec. 18), Sarma who is also a former AP State tribal welfare commissioner, said the conduct of grama sabhas is mandatory to get permission from tribals for the projects as per the two Acts. He urged the Chief Minister to withdraw the consent given to the hydro projects honouring the rights of tribals and Acts enshrined in the Constitution for the protection of their interests. it was not proper to hand over the projects without going for competitive bidding as per the national hydroelectric policy. Sarma felt that the three projects will seriously impact the living conditions and culture of tribals as they will disrupt the natural resources. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2022/dec/19/cancel-permission-to-hydro-power-projects-former-union-secy-to-govt-2529630.html (19 Dec. 2022)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
SANDRP Blog 2022: People’s Resistance against Unviable HEPs, Destructive Dams There have been many instances of opposition by local people, organizations and experts against unviable hydroelectric power (HEP) and destructive dam projects in 2022.
Such instances of the resistance from across the country have been successful in a number of ways including leading to the funding agencies, corporate houses and government agreeing to withdraw from the project in many cases. This overview presents top ten stories highlighting successful opposition to hydro and dams projects in 2022 in India followed by some relevant reports on the issue. https://sandrp.in/2022/12/22/2022-peoples-resistance-against-unviable-heps-destructive-dams/ (22 Dec. 2022)
2022: Accidents & Damages related to Hydro projects in India In this annual review, SANDRP compiles the hydro power related accidents, disasters and damages in North West and North East Himalayan states during 2022. It also covers relevant reports revealing gradual decline in power generation by hydro power projects amid growing concerns over physical and financial viabilities of new projects. There are also reports highlighting the looming climatic and geological threats over these projects. It is good to see that taking lessons from Chamoli disaster in Feb. 2021, NDMA has officially asked central govt not to rely on hydro power. https://sandrp.in/2022/12/24/2022-accidents-damages-related-to-hydro-projects-in-india/ (24 Dec. 2022)
Haryana संकट में जलीय जीव, बिजली उत्पादन पर भी असर हथनीकुंड बैराज पर जल स्तर घटकर 4700 क्यूसेक है। यमुना में केवल 352 क्यूसेक व पश्चिमी यमुना नहर में 4400 क्यूसेक पानी का बहाव है। पानी की कमी के चलते पूर्वी यमुना नहर इन दिनों खाली है। पश्चिमी यमुना नहर पर आधारित पन बिजली परियोजनाएं भी पानी की कमी से जूझ रही हैं। यमुना जल पर आधारित चार पन बिजली इकाइयां हैं और प्रत्येक इकाई की बिजली उत्पादन क्षमता 16 मेगावाट है। यह इकाइयां ताजेवाला, नैनावाली, भुंडकलां व बेगम पुर में हैं। एक इकाई पर दो-दो मशीनें लगी हैं। सामान्य बिजली उत्पादन के लिए सभी इकाईयों को 5400 क्यूसिक पानी चाहिए। 5400 क्यूसिक पानी मिलने पर यह इकाईयां प्रति 24 घंटे में 10 से 12 लाख युनिट बिजली उत्पादन की क्षमता रखती हैं। पिछले लंबे समय से पहाड़ी क्षेत्रों से पानी का बहाव लगातार कम हो रहा है और प्रतिदिन करीब आठ से 10 लाख यूनिट बिजली का लास हो रहा है। उत्पादन घटकर दो से ढाई लाख यूनिट रह गया है। हालांकि प्रति परियोजना पर दो-दो मशीनें हैं, लेकिन पानी न मिलने के कारण एक-एक मशीन बंद है। https://www.jagran.com/haryana/yamunanagar-effect-of-snowfall-in-rivers-aquatic-life-and-power-generation-trouble-23218353.html (21 Nov. 2022)
MoEF Minutes of EAC meeting on River Valley Projects held on Nov 30 2022:
1. Shongtong-Karcham (402 MW) HEP in Dist Kinnaur of Himachal Pradesh by Shongtong Karchham HEP, HPPCL – Extension of Validity of Environmental Clearance, including for enhanced capacity to 450 MW: EAC sub com to visit the site. Decision Deferred.
2. Cumulative Impact Assessment and Carrying Capacity Study (CIA & CSS) of Teesta River Basin Study in W Bengal by W Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd-For acceptance of study report: APPROVED http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/2012202214518473ApprovedMoM_37_EAC_River_valley_30_Nov_2022.pdf
Agenda for EAC on River Valley Projects meeting to be held on Dec 28, 2022:
1. 600 MW Astha Telangana Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project in 419.43 Ha at Village Mailaram, Dist Nizamabad (Telangana) by Astha Green Energy Ventures India Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference
2. 1440 MW Malshej Ghat Bhorande Pumped Storage Project in 116.5 Ha in Village Adoshi & Bhorande, Tehsil Junnar & Murbad, Dist Pune & Thane (Mah) by Adani Green Energy Ltd – Terms of Reference http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/_22122022FJDN4TY8.pdf
SANDRP Blog 2022: Growing Concerns over Dam Safety, Sustainability & Impacts This annual overview is focussed on issues concerning structural and operational safety of dams that arose in 2022. It includes issues related to how climatic threats and siltation is making the large dams unsustainable. It also highlights the impacts of dams on river eco-system and riverine people amid some corrective measures being taken by the various state and central governments including the formation of National Dam Safety Authority.
https://sandrp.in/2022/12/26/2022-growing-concerns-over-dam-safety-sustainability-impacts/ (26 Dec. 2022)
Jharkhand Govt agrees to Bengal’s proposal on joint regulation of Tenughat Dam’ Jharkhand govt has agreed to the proposal of the Bengal government for joint regulation of the Tenughat dam at the Eastern Zonal Council meeting on Dec 17 2022 under the chairmanship of union Home Minister. So far, the dam has been regulated solely by Jharakhand. In the meeting, the Bengal government also agreed to the Jharkhand CM’s proposal for joint management of Massanjore Dam.
– “The Tenughat Dam has been solely regulated by Jharkhand and we hardly used to get any information of release of water from Tenughat Dam. So, when large volume of water is released from the dam it hits Panchet Dam in our state which gets overflowed and is compelled to release water resulting in flood like situation in areas like Khanakul in Hooghly, Udaynarayanpur in Howrah to name a few” a senior official of WB said. https://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/jkhand-agrees-to-bengals-proposal-on-joint-regulation-of-tenughat-dam-502794 (20 Dec. 2022)
Mumbai Forest Dept cleared Kolhapuri dams The forest department has finally given clearance for the construction of three Kolhapuri dams (better known as KT weirs) across Chena river nestled in Ghodbunder hills in Kashimira. After examining the technical feasibility, geological investigations and a drone-aided topographical survey, the irrigation department tabled a proposal first before the forest department and then the district planning committee, with the latter allotting Rs44 crore for nine such weirs across rivers in Chene and Yeoor.
Mr Sarnaik said, “The project will augment existing water supply of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation and its Thane counterpart by at least three and four MLD, respectively.” Unlike the normal check dams, construction of KT weirs are not only more economical and faster, they can also store additional amounts apart from helping recharge the ground water table. They also help restore the natural ecosystem of a river.
As against the requirement of over 225 MLD, the twin-city has an allotted supply of 221 MLD provided jointly by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC; 135 MLD) and Shahad Temghar (STEM) water supply authority (86 MLD). However, the actual supply continues to hover below 200 MLD due to a shortfall owing to leakages, unaccounted supply and theft. The weirs across Chena river will be the first independent source of water for the MBMC. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mira-bhayandar-decks-cleared-for-kolhapuri-dams-across-chena-river (19 Dec. 2022)
Madhya Pradesh Raj Kumar Sinha:-2009 – 2010 में नर्मदा नदी पर प्रस्तावित बसनिया बांध से 50 हजार हेक्टेयर में सिंचाई और 20 मेगावाट विद्युत उत्पादन का लक्ष्य था। अब 8780 हेक्टेयर में सिंचाई और 100 मेगावाट विद्युत उत्पादन का लक्ष्य रखा गया है।हरित उर्जा के नाम पर 2107 हे जंगल डूबेगा।
Documentary filmmaker K.P. Sasi passes away Documentary filmmaker K.P.Sasi, who used his craft to highlight people’s struggles across the country over the past four decades, passed away in Thrissur on December 25.
Remembering Film Maker K P Sasi whom we lost on Dec 25, 2022 with these great series of cartoons from him. Salutes, Sasi!
He was 64. One of the earliest to adopt documentary filmmaking in the country, and a scathing critic of the development model being followed by the Indian state, he has given a voice to the oppressed from Narmada valley to Kashipur. https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/documentary-filmmaker-kp-sasi-passes-away/article66304997.ece (25 Dec. 2022)
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Study Changing flow of rivers can alter monsoon patterns A new study has found that inter basin transfer of water can alter the land climate interactions and rainfall pattern. The study was done by scientists of IIT-B, IITM, University of Hyderabad and University of New South Wales. No scientific study so far has been done about the feedback impact of any such water transfer. The study showed that land atmosphere, atmosphere to atmosphere and atmosphere to land interactions are not independent of hydrology.
The perturbations can have impact on atmosphere across the basins. Study shows that increased irrigation from transferred water can reduce Sept rainfall by upto 12% in different basins which can impact river flows in post monsoon months, besides affecting the basin wide farming. More drying was found to be happening in La nina years compared to EL nino years. Thus such transfers can worsen the climate induced vulnerability and risks. The study calls for rethinking about the interlinking of rivers proposals. https://www.deccanherald.com/science-and-environment/changing-flow-of-rivers-can-alter-monsoon-patterns-1173115.html (19 Dec. 2022)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Maharashtra May rethink on sharing water with Karnataka: Minister Amid the boiling border row, Maharashtra excise minister Shambhuraj Desai has warned the state will have to rethink about releasing water to Karnataka if its CM Basavaraj Bommai did not stop making “irresponsible and disrespectful remarks against the Marathi-speaking people and Maharashtra”.
Addressing media persons outside the state assembly on Wednesday (Dec. 21), Desai said there are more ways to reply to the Karnataka CM’s diatribe. “This would ultimately cause a lot of suffering to the people of Karnataka,” he said. Reacting to reports of a Karnataka legislature resolution about not parting with an inch of soil till the border dispute is settled, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) spokesperson Sanjay Raut raised a controversy, saying ‘we will enter Karnataka just like China had entered the country’.
The ratcheting up of the tit-for-tat politics over the border dispute became clear in Maharashtra as Desai and Chandrakant Patil have been appointed coordinating ministers to address the dispute. Desai said every summer, Karnataka approaches Maharashtra with a request to release water from Koyna and Krishna rivers. “Our state always ensures quenching the thirst of people from the neighbouring state by releasing the water. But we will have to rethink our decision,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/may-rethink-on-sharing-water-with-karnataka-maharashtra-minister/articleshow/96408094.cms (22 Dec. 2022)
Telangana Govt likely to challenge NGT verdict on PRLIS, Dindi LIS in SC The Irrigation department has decided to take legal recourse against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order on Palamuru-Rangareddy and Dindi Lift Irrigation schemes. A day after the NGT delivered its verdict, staying the continuation of works and slapping a penalty of hundreds of crores on Telangana, top officials of the TS irrigation department held a meeting with legal experts. The NGT directed the State government to pay Rs 920 crore within three months for violating the rules during the construction of the PRLIS and Dindi LIS. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/dec/24/telanganalikely-to-challenge-ngt-verdict-on-prlis-dindi-lis-in-sc-2531189.html (24 Dec. 2022)
NGT practically trashed the Telangana state government on its commitment to environmental protection, and following the laws of the land. On Dec 22, 2022, the Tribunal castigated it for deliberately ignoring mandatory environmental clearances and attempting to bypass them for the Palamuru-Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS), as well as the Dindi Lift Irrigation Scheme (DLIS). In its 48-page order the NGT made repeated references to how Telangana did not follow the law of the land, sought to get away, and even presented incorrect claims about the projects. Among the terms used by the NGT to describe Telangana’s approach to PRLIS and DLIS were ‘wilful violations’, ‘utter disregard’ of the law, and ‘false undertakings’ given by the state. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/231222/ngt-lays-bare-telanganas-approach-to-environmental-protection.html (23 Dec. 2022)
Gujarat Narmada water to be pumped into dams in Saurashtra for Rabi crops With an aim to make augment the supply of irrigation water for Rabi crops this year in the water-starved Saurashtra region, the Gujarat government on Friday (Dec. 23) decided to pump 15420 million cubic feet (mcft) of Narmada waters to various dams and check-dams of Saurashtra through the extensive pipeline network of Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/narmada-water-to-be-pumped-into-dams-in-saurashtra-for-rabi-crops-8341340/ (24 Dec. 2022)
Tamil Nadu Lower Bhavani Project canal breach plugged The discharge of water from the Bhavanisagar Dam was resumed on Saturday as the breach in the Lower Bhavani Project (LBP) canal was repaired. TN Housing and Urban Development Minister S Muthusamy inspected the place and said that water will be opened for additional days as per the demand of the farmers. The Lower Bhavani Dam in Erode district was opened to the LBP (Lower Bhavani Project) canal for irrigation purposes on August 12. However, the release of water was temporarily halted due to a breach in the LBP canal near Perundurai on December 10. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/dec/25/lower-bhavani-project-canal-breach-plugged-water-discharge-resumes-2531524.html (25 Dec. 2022)
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is planning to build a dedicated and uninterrupted, 18 km-long ‘cycle track and walkway’ along the canal from Sinhagad road to Hadapsar. Additional city engineer Shrinivas Bonala said, “The PMC has made a detailed project report (DPR) for it. Even the general body of the PMC had approved the project a few years ago. The PMC had floated tenders for the same in 2017 but the project did not materialise. Now however, the municipal commissioner has to restart the project.”
Another officer from the PMC road department said that as per the 2018 proposal, the estimated cost of this project was Rs66.82 crore. The PMC is now also thinking of including areas from Khadakwasla to Hadapsar in the project. There are some issues like getting approval from the irrigation department as ownership of the canal lies with them. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/pune-civic-body-to-build-18-km-cycle-track-walkway-along-canal-101671732438702.html (22 Dec. 2022)
Moving Upstream: Sindh: A short video essay
A short video essay, with excerpts from larger pieces written by Veditum’s Moving Upstream: Sindh fellows. More audio visuals with each of their larger pieces as voiceovers will be released over the next few months. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS1FUTXeu1c (23 Dec. 2022)
BRAHMAPUTRA Assam MP explains why he introduced Climate Migrants Bill On Dec. 9, Pradyut Bordoloi, a Congress parliamentarian from Nagaon introduced the Climate Migrants (Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill as a private member’s bill. While introducing the bill, perhaps the first of its kind, Bordoloi said it sought to “establish an appropriate policy framework for the protection and rehabilitation of internally displaced climate migrants and for all matters connected therewith”.
First thing is home-driven observations. A large number of people in Assam live on the chars, or the riverine islands. The Brahmaputra river system is dotted with such islands where mostly people of migrant origin, usually from the minority community, settle down. They settle down, start their cultivation, and build their houses.
Earlier, the life cycle of an established riverine island [till it would get submerged] would be around 20 years. But, of late, in the last 10 years or so, because of the erratic water flow in the Brahmaputra, it’s gone down to four-five years. This is happening because of a variety of reasons, primarily because of environmental degradation, deforestation in the upper reaches, etc. There are also apprehensions that China is diverting water, building dams.
Regardless, the waterflow in the Brahmaputra has become erratic. Earlier, you couldn’t see one bank from another, but now the same river has been reduced to a rivulet for many months of the year. Then suddenly, there’s heavy rainfall and there’s inundation. In short, there is now constant friction on the banks of the Brahmaputra.
So, the inhabitants of the riverine islands become homeless all of a sudden and are forced to move and settle down in forest land, grazing areas, where the law prohibits human settlement. There’s no legal framework to protect these people, so that was one of the main reasons. https://scroll.in/article/1040137/interview-you-cant-brush-aside-people-affected-by-climate-change-as-bangladeshi-illegal-migrants (20 Dec. 2022)
IWP Categorising watersheds for freshwater ecosystem conservation Watershed scales maps by TNC, FES to ensure inclusion of different freshwater ecosystems, their connectivity and hydrological processes and to provide a spatial context for conservation decisions. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/categorising-watersheds-freshwater-ecosystem-conservation-india (25 Nov. 2022)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Nadi Samvad MORISIKA: THE STORY OF THE BOATMAN The River Project and its pilot Morisika; The Story of the Boatman has been conceptualised and created by Debashish Nandi and Vandana Menon. It is a collaboration between film makers, photographers, folk artists and local riverine communities in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. https://soanas.org/morisika-mirage-the-story-of-the-boatman/ (19 Dec. 2022)
Bihar About 16 lakh below poverty line fisherfolks to get compensation at the rate of Rs 4500 for not fishing during the two monsoon months of June 15 to Aug 15 in 2023. Applications are invited for this by Jan 31 2023. This is for conservation of riverine fish. https://dailybihar.com/bihar-may-do-mahiney-machhli-maarney-par-rok
Goa NIO identifies sand mining zones in Zuari, Mandovi with riders The CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) has identified 10 zones each in the Mandovi and Zuari rivers for the extraction of sand by the traditional (manual) method. It has also recommended constant monitoring of sand mining in these zones through drones and, if possible, night surveillance through night-vision drones to curb illegal activity. The zones identified in the Mandovi contain over 70,000 cubic meters of sand, while those identified in the Zuari contain 27,000 cubic meters.
The directorate of mines and geology (DMG) will now approach the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for environmental clearance (EC) to start sand extraction in both rivers after the completion of a public consultation environment impact assessment (EIA) report. Only after the clearance is granted will the directorate invite applications to commence sand extraction in both rivers. “Sand extraction has to be conducted by the traditional (manual) method only. No mechanised boats or machinery to be operated. The activity shall be restricted to the areas mentioned and the depth of extraction should not exceed three meters from the existing baseline profiles,” EIA reports stated.
They also called for the implementation of the delineated environmental conservation and management plan once the lease areas are issued. The plan describes the team or committee that should be capable to address, execute and monitor all its aspects. The team or committee is also expected to appoint sub-teams, self-help groups (SHG), and village committees as per requirement. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/nio-identifies-sand-mining-zones-in-zuari-mandovi-with-riders/articleshow/95588891.cms (18 Nov. 2022)
Tamil Nadu Panchayat president’s son held for bashing villagers The son of a panchayat president on Saturday (Dec. 17) allegedly assaulted men from his village for exposing to media his family’s involvement in sand mining at Meenambur near Gingee. The incident was recorded by a few local reporters who visited the village to interview the whistleblowers.
On Friday (Dec. 16) night, posters declaring Basha’s involvement in sand mining were pasted on walls of houses in the village and the collectorate complex here. They read, “Tamil Nadu government must take action against Meenambur panchayat president and his family, for illegally mining sand in the village lake area. The sand in the lake is being stolen, and the district collector, Gingee tahsildar and block development officer are not taking any action.” A few mobile numbers were also printed on these posters. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/dec/19/sand-mining-panchayat-presidents-son-held-for-bashing-villagers-in-tamil-nadu-2529565.html (19 Dec.2022)
Karnataka Mangaluru: Fishermen oppose sand mining activity in rivers under CRZ jurisdiction Leaders of fishermen association have opposed the sand mining activities in the rivers that come under the ambit of CRZ jurisdiction. The leaders said sand mining would affect fishing activity and their livelihood. Abdul Taqub, president of Bengre Phalguni Traditional Fishermen Association told reporters here that sand mining from rivers destroys algae, shellfish, cowry, prawns which are the lifeline and livelihood of so many fishermen and their families. He said rivers were already facing a shortage of fish. He said due to sand mining fishermen have the danger of losing their lives when they venture into deep river fishing.
Abdul Taqub said they had already met the deputy commissioner and submitted their request but said they had not got any response. He said there is no provision to undertake sand mining in Netravati, Gurpur and Phalguni rivers. Movement of boats has not been affected. But, he said there are 17 sand mounds from Netravati and Kuloor which come under the deputy commissioner’s jurisdiction. He said the survey undertaken by the DC is not adequate as there are no fishermen in the panel. He said if permission is given for sand mining in rivers the fishermen would be forced to stage protests on the streets. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1031645 (21 Dec. 2022)
Himachal Pradesh Thural villagers protest mining in Neugal Villagers of three panchayats of Thural tehsil of Palampur subdivision protested the illegal mining going on in the Neugal river. They said the illegal activity posed a threat to the bridge linking a dozen villages. The villagers, comprising mostly youths and women from Bathan, Gharana and Bharnata panchayats, assembled in large numbers at Thural. Later, they thronged the mining site along with police and IPH officials and apprised them about the illegal mining going on private and government land. IPH and police officials assured the villagers that necessary action would be taken against the mining mafia.
The villagers alleged that despite ban, large-scale mining was going on unabated in the Neugal river under the shelter of the Mining Department. The protesters further said that roads, irrigation channels, cremation grounds and village pastures had been badly damaged because of continuous mining in the area. The PWD, the IPH, revenue and forest departments, which had suffered maximum damage to their property, had become mute spectators and failed to act against the culprits, they alleged. Speaking on behalf of villagers, Seema Devi, pradhan, Sat Pal, up-pradhan of Batthan and Shammi Rana, pradhan, Gharana panchayat, said they would continue their fight against the illegal mining till the practice was stopped and the matter was resolved. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/thural-villagers-protest-mining-in-neugal-463662 (23 Dec. 2022)
Haryana यमुनानगर: स्क्रीनिंग प्लांट के पास 34.66 लाख रुपये का अवैध खनन यमुनानगर में बिलासपुर क्षेत्र के गांव भगवानपुर के एक स्क्रीनिंग प्लांट के पास जमकर अवैध खनन हुआ। नौ दिसंबर को खनन विभाग द्वारा बनाई संयुक्त टीम ने पाया कि यमुनानगर में बिलासपुर क्षेत्र के गांव भगवानपुर के एक स्क्रीनिंग प्लांट के पास जमकर अवैध खनन किया गया था। इस जमीन से 20 फीट की गहराई तक लगभग 11,520 मीट्रिक टन खनिज की खोदाई की गई थी। जिसकी कीमत 34.66 लाख रुपये (खनिज की कीमत के रूप में 28.80 लाख रुपये, रॉयल्टी के रूप में 5.76 लाख रुपये और जुर्माने के रूप में 10,000 रुपये शामिल) थी। इतना ही नहीं माफिया ने अवैध खनन को छुपाने के लिए वेस्ट मैटेरियल को डालना शुरू कर दिया। प्लांट के पास खोदे गए गड्ढों में काफी मात्रा तक वेस्ट मैटेरियल को भर दिया गया जिसकी फोटो भी संयुक्त टीम ने खींच कर अपने रिकॉर्ड में रख ली है। खनन विभाग के मुताबिक इस क्षेत्र में सरकार द्वारा दिया गया खनन का ठेका, लीज निदेशक खान एवं भूविज्ञान विभाग पंचकूला के द्वारा अप्रैल माह में निरस्त कर दिया गया है व यह अवैध खनन की प्रक्रिया माइनिंग एक्ट 1957 व राष्ट्रीय राष्ट्रीय हरित प्राधिकरण द्वारा पारित आदेश 23 अप्रैल 2019 व 19 फरवरी 2020 की उल्लंघन है। https://www.amarujala.com/haryana/yamuna-nagar/crime/illegal-mining-near-a-screening-plant-in-bhagwanpur-village-of-yamunanagar (14 Dec, 2022)
Illustration to help understand District Mineral Fund.
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Delhi The Wetlands authority of Delhi has failed to notify any wetlands as protected area a year after identifying 20 wetlands and declaring intention to declare 4 wetlands as protected areas. 1040 wetlands have been identified for restoration in Delhi in August 2021. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/in-troubled-waters-a-year-on-no-legal-tag-for-any-wetland/articleshow/96325786.cms (19 Dec. 2022)
Tamil Nadu Anna University to study carbon content in wetland sediments The govt has roped in the Centre for Environmental Studies of the Anna University to conduct “sediment analysis” of 100 wetlands in the State, the Additional Principal Chief Conservator and Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Wetlands Authority, Deepak Srivastava said on Tuesday (Nov. 15). Speaking at the release of a report on the restoration of the Sembakkam lake located in Chennai, Srivastava said that Tamil Nadu wanted to “see what is there in the soil and sediments” in the State’s wetlands. The report was prepared by the environmental advocacy body The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
The study would reveal how much of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide lie embedded in soil and sediments. “We don’t have data on how much carbon is stored in the soil and sediments,” Srivastava said. Armed with data from the study, whenever restoration work such as that of the Sembakkam lake happens, the State would “tap the carbon credit market”, he said. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/tamil-nadu-ropes-in-anna-university-to-study-carbon-content-in-wetland-sediments/article66143255.ece (16 Nov. 2022)
Karnataka Know all about wetlands, at IISc The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will organize 13th biennial lake symposium between December 28 and 30 to discuss various aspects of ecosystem and wetland conservation. Children from as many as 45 schools and 60 higher educational institutions will take part in the symposium. The symposium will also discuss research gaps and activities to be initiated by researchers to evolve appropriate strategies towards the conservation of ecosystems in Western Ghats, assess the present status and conservation aspects of the ecosystem and will look at current initiatives of the conservation and management of ecosystems. This is a biannual symposium that started way back in 1998 and includes deliberation between national and international experts. But the uniqueness is the participation of school and college students, he further added. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/know-all-about-wetlands-at-iisc/articleshow/96488093.cms (25 Dec. 2022)
Hyderabad Mundikunta lake shrinks to 4 acres Mundikunta Lake is now one of the fastest shrinking lakes in HiTec City due to the extensive construction activity and sewage discharge. Currently, the lake is left with a four acre area with a bund splitting it into two and construction of residential buildings are enveloping it. The sewage water from the residential buildings near Gachibowli-Miyapur Road also flows into the lake while the water inflows from nearby Nerella Lake has been disconnected. On the other hand, most of the Mundikunta lake stands as a dry patch of land with several trees uprooted and two patches of sewerage water stagnated on either side of the bund that divided the lake remains.
Residents, who have been fighting against the alleged encroachments by private builders since 2015, managed to get the lake fenced outside the road. “In recent weeks, we have been noticing construction activity intensifying on the lake bed and we have alerted the revenue officials and the town planning wing of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC),” Mani Rao, a resident of Meenakshi Towers situated near the lake told TOI. Residents now demand that the revenue department resurvey the lake area and take down all the construction work taking place around the lake premises. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/mundikunta-lake-shrinks-to-4-acres-as-grabbers-effluents-choke-waterbody-in-telangana/articleshow/96411788.cms (22 Dec. 2022)
According to the latest report of the Pollution Control Board, 30 of the city’s 185 lakes were reported to have gone dry in August, with two lakes identified as encroached and the other two as non-existent. Lakes in Shaikpet, Kukatpally, Medchal-Malkajgiri, and Qutubullapur were the most affected, according to the PCB report.
Four lakes in Shaikpet and Kukatpally have dried up as also six in Medchal-Malkajgiri and eight in Quthbullapur. The report stated that two lakes, Mangalavani Kunta in Hafeezpet and Thouthu Kunta in Khajaguda, were non-existent, while Khanamet lake in Khanamet and Masjid Banda lake in Kondapur were encroached upon. Gurram Cheruvu, which had caused major floods in the Old City region in recent years, was also declared dry, which was also questionable.
Environmentalists voiced concerns about water bodies drying up or becoming non-existent, citing encroachment as the primary cause. “The city has received excess rainfall up to 35% this year and at least twice it has witnessed flood in this monsoon season, then how come we have deserts within the city,” wondered B.V.Subba Rao, technical member of Water Domain, Bureau of Indian Standards. The main factors of lakes drying up are diversion and blocking of inflow rainwater from the lakes, encroachment on lake areas, and breaking of the surplus weir that holds water in the lakes, he stated. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/231222/city-lakes-drying-up-experts-say-critical-times-ahead.html (26 Dec. 2022)
Punjab The administration in Barnala, the district with the least forest cover in Punjab, is embarked on a first-of-its-kind project to create the state’s first man-made wetland, in Badbar village. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/barnala-man-made-wetland-punjab-8342489/ (24 Dec. 2022)
A tribute to Anupam Mishra ji on his anniversary. https://youtu.be/Vbwr-E-nLOQ
हरियाणा में एक चोरों की बावड़ी है, जो काफी प्रसिद्ध है और इसकी कहानियां भी खूब प्रचलित हैं. इस बावड़ी को रहस्यमय माना जाता है. इस बावड़ी का निर्माण 1658-59 ईसवी में मुगल राजा शाहजहां के सूबेदार सैद्यू कलाल ने करवाया था. बावड़ी में एक कुआं है, जिसमें भीतर जाने के लिए 101 सीढियां उतरनी पड़ती है. इस बावड़ी में किसी वक्त में कमरे भी थे. फिलहाल अभी यह बावड़ी जर्जर है, लेकिन इसकी रहस्यमय बातों को सुनकर पर्यटक इसे देखने के लिए जाते हैं. यहां के कुएं का पानी अब काला हो चुका है. बावड़ी से एक शातिर चोर की कहानी भी जुड़ी हुई है. जिसकी वजह से इसे चोरों की बावड़ी भी कहते हैं. यहां अंदर प्रवेश नहीं करने दिया जाता क्योंकि इसकी सुरंगों में कोई भी खो सकता है! https://www.india.com/hindi-news/travel/choron-ki-baoli-haryana-the-story-of-a-baoli-where-the-thief-used-to-disappear-by-jumping-5804382/ (17 Dec. 2022)
Punjab Raise Zira distillery issue in Parl, NGOs write to Pb MPs Complaints of groundwater contamination against the distillery near Zira have prompted social organisations to ask the authorities to solve the matter in a judicious manner by taking care of the impact of the contamination on people’s health. Organisation like ‘Warrior Moms’, Public Action Committee and ‘We Support Our Farmers’ have sent emails to all Punjab MPs representing both the houses asking them to raise the issue in Parliament and the state government.
In their emails, the organisations have said Malbros International at Mansurwala village near Zira is not following environmental norms, leading to toxins polluting the groundwater. “People and livestock from nearby villages are suffering from severe health issues. About 70 cattle have died in nearby villages in the past, the organisations said. The organisations said in July, a four-year-old child of Ratol Rohi village had died of multiple organ damages, which, it claimed, was due to contamination of groundwater. A Canada-based soil and underground water scientist, Harman Singh Dhandli, has claimed the pollution tests conducted in the area were inadequate. “There was need to conduct tests for ethanol and methanol and their penetration into the soil. But these did not figure in the PPCB reports,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/raise-zira-distillery-issue-in-parl-ngos-write-to-pb-mps/articleshow/96489847.cms (25 Dec. 2022)
Zira stir against liquor factory – A Scientist’s observations Dr Sanjeev Ahluwalia Conclusions: It is evident that AMW effluent needs to be further treated and polished off by some chemical oxidation techniques coupled with UV treatment to bring down the levels of pollutants to the prescribed dischargeable limits before it could be discharged on the land or in a water body. I am not even sure, if there is a treatment being carried out for treating the MW generated at production unit, following the standard protocols and established norms for the treatment of such wastewater. It would be very easy to establish this fact. Some third-party, other than the Punjab Pollution Control Board, should be involved to find out the level of COD, BOD, Hg, K, and Se in the effluent. The results can help the authorities to decide about the future course of action if they carry an honest and serious intent to solve this issue. https://www.punjabtodaytv.com/english/effluent/ (22 Dec. 2022)
Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday (Dec. 23) adjourned the hearing and listed the matter for hearing in the last week of January. The detailed order is yet to come from the High Court. From what we have come to know so far, the end date of January has been found. The court directed the testing team for soil testing Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) high committee, Gadhwasu high committee for animal husbandary and for Team from Chandigarh to check health hazards has been told to complete its work in 2 weeks and submit the reports.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday (Dec. 20) agreed to constitute a committee to retest the water in the vicinity of Malbros International Private Limited, an alcohol-making an alcohol-making unit in Mansurwal village of Zira assembly segment, Ferozepur, for any contamination. “As the farmers have demanded for water, soil and health hazards should be tested. Three teams have arrived for testing. As farmers had demanded before testing our representatives will be there,” said Kanwardeep kaur SSP Ferozpure.
Punjab administration on Friday (Dec. 23) deployed around 2000 cops in Firozpur amid protests by farmers demanding the Liquor factory in Zira be shut down as it was allegedly polluting groundwater in several villages. Farmers under the banner of the Sanjha Morcha Zira have been protesting in front of the distillery “Malbros International Private Limited”, owned by a Shiromani Akali Dal leader, demanding it be shut down as it was allegedly polluting groundwater in several villages besides causing air pollution. According to farmers, due to the water emanating from the Liquor factory, the groundwater of around 40 villages is getting polluted. “Children are getting sick and infected with other life-threatening diseases. The future of around 40 villages is at stake,” they said. Farmers threatened to intensify their protests “if the decision of the court was not in the favour of the public”. https://theprint.in/india/zira-liquor-factory-panel-to-submit-reports-on-water-pollution-in-2-weeks/1278876/ (23 Dec. 2022)
After BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), farmers’ body BKU (Ekta Dakaunda) has come out in support of the Zira Sanjha Morcha and has prepared a roster for its district units to perform duties at the protest site outside the distillery at Mansoorwal village near Zira in Ferozepur district.
The farmer leaders alleged that the state government was pro corporates and doing nothing to save the residents of various villages from contaminated water. “The farmers fully support the demands of various villages situated in the vicinity of the distillery and want the state government to listen to them,” they said. Farm and rural labourer unions joined the protest on Friday. The PSPCL and PSTCL contractual employees have also come out in support of the protest. Public Action Committee (PAC) – a social and environmental organisation – said the state government was trying to mislead people by making claims that the NGT had given a clean chit to the distillery. The committee formed by the NGT, especially to look into the Zira distillery issue, has not taken samples, it said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/support-for-protest-against-distillery-pollution-grows/articleshow/96470235.cms (24 Dec. 2022)
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has slapped a fine of Rs 20 crore on the Punjab government after it failed to remove protesters from a private distillery-cum-ethanol manufacturing plant in Zira town of Ferozepur. A petition, claiming the unit was incurring huge losses after the protesters blocked the gates, was moved by the distillery owner. The fine was imposed twice and the state authorities have been asked to deposit the amount with the registry.
On December 19, nearly 200 protesters were booked by the Ferozepur police under various sections of the IPC. Three separate FIRs were also filed in connection with the case. Following the court’s orders, the state authorities have vacated the entrance of the distillery and have asked the protesters to move beyond 300 mts from the industrial unit. The administration has also been directed to prepare a list of the properties owned by the protesters. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/punjab-zira-ethanol-manufacturing-plant-protesters-demand-closure-of-ferozepur-distillery-haryana-high-court-2312198-2022-12-22 (22 Dec. 2022)
Karnataka Water table warning bells According to the recent groundwater level fluctuation report by Groundwater Directorate Bangalore, nine out of 227 taluks including the Bengaluru East taluk’s groundwater levels have receded by more than four metres below the ground level between Nov 2021- 2022. The other eight taluks are from Dakshina Kannada, Koppala, Belagavi, Kalburgi and Bidar districts.
Lack of Cauvery water supply in some areas, a booming construction industry, and unchecked extraction of borewell water are some of the reasons cited behind this drop. Experts say the plummeting groundwater table in the city despite unusually high rainfall this monsoon is puzzling. They say it is the indiscriminate digging of borewells and lack of rainwater harvesting facilities that are pushing us towards a bleak future. “The Karnataka Groundwater Act, 2011 calls for the declaration of existing borewells and tubewells and mandates registration before digging any new borewells. There are rules in place by the Central Ground Water Authority too. However, implementation of these rules is lacking,” added Nagaraja. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/water-table-warning-bells/articleshow/96378793.cms (21 Dec. 2022)
MoJS Climate change, groundwater depletion major challenges: Jal Shakti minister Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 27th international conference on “Hydraulics, water resources, environmental and coastal engineering” at Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday (Dec. 22) said climate change and groundwater depletion were among the major challenges being faced by the country. Citing a World Bank Report, the Union minister said that by 2027 India would be the third largest economy and its water requirement would also increase, accordingly. “Thus, it is essential to use water efficiently, and recycle it.” The three-day conference is being organised by PEC’s department of civil engineering and the Indian Society for Hydraulics (ISH), Pune. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/climate-change-groundwater-depletion-major-challenges-jal-shakti-minister-101671737406367.html (23 Dec. 2022)
Study GW replenishes much faster than scientists previously thought In a new study, Berghuijs et al. found that recharge rates might double previous estimates. The research team produced an updated model of groundwater recharge using a recent global synthesis of regional groundwater measurements. They found that a single factor, climate aridity, accurately estimated how much precipitation trickled into groundwater across the globe: Arid locations had lower recharge rates than humid ones. The aridity-based model results closely mirrored field measurements and indicated that previous models vastly underestimated recharge rates.
This finding has implications for the water cycle, the authors say. For instance, groundwater likely contributes more to river flow and plant water use than previous models predicted. That could scale up to affect the entire ecosystem. Although groundwater might recharge more quickly than expected, the team cautions that groundwater is still overused in many places, especially in arid regions. Groundwater depletion threatens water security in these areas, they say, and the impacts of climate change remain unknown. https://eos.org/research-spotlights/groundwater-replenishes-much-faster-than-scientists-previously-thought (20 Dec. 2022)
Chennai Sikkarayapuram quarry to supply water in the summer Following heavy rains triggered by cyclone Mandous, water storage at Sikkarayapuram quarries has improved. The water resources department and Chennai Metro Water are planning to utilise it during the summer.
A senior WRD officer said waterbodies in Sikkarayapuram quarries near Mangadu in the western part of the city were identified to store rainwater and that they were able to store nearly 400 million cubic feet of water. The official added that during the monsoon period, residents living on the outskirts were affected due to flood water. To avoid this, the state government planned to divert floodwater to the quarries through a canal that was constructed between the Vandalur-Minjur outer ring road and the quarries at a cost of Rs 4 crore. As of now, a few quarries have reached full capacity after the recent downpour.
A senior Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) official said Anna Nagar, Mogappair, Porur, Valasaravakkam, and surrounding areas would benefit from the water stored in the quarries. “To draw water from the quarries, 4.5 km of pipelines have been laid. The water is likely to reach the treatment plant before being pumped into Chembarambakkam lake,” the official added. He also said that there was a plan to set up a fence around the quarries. After getting a feasibility report, the detailed project report would be submitted to the government. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2022/dec/21/sikkarayapuram-quarry-to-supply-water-to-chennai-in-the-summer-2530180.html (21 Dec. 2022)
Bengaluru Later, at the Lake The BBMP had fixed a 11-month deadline to complete the development of the Gangashetty lake; but dewatering of the lake began only after the expiry of the deadline. The civic body issued the work order to the contractor on January 13, 2022. As per the work order, the development of the lake should have been completed by December 12, 2022. But the dewatering of the lake has just begun on December 20; it will take more than a week to complete. Lake activists and residents of KR Puram expressed displeasure and disappointment over the delay in completing lake development work.
The BBMP has sanctioned Rs 3,73,71,000 for the development of Gangashetty Lake that spreads over 21 acres and 27 guntas (as per the RTC). The development of the lake includes dewatering and desilting, improvement of the main bund, formation of walkway bund, construction of rectangular drain at inlet-1, construction of chain link fencing (lake boundary), construction of diversion at inlet-4, construction of wetland, construction of security room and construction of a toilet block and entrance gate. Newly installed children’s play equipment near the lake is another example of BBMP apathy.
Bangalore Mirror published a series of stories – Palike Sweepers are dumping dirt in lake (April 10, 2020), Dust, debris to end Gangashetty lake’s life (November 5, 2020), Fence will hence keep debris out at this lake (November 30, 2020), Another day, another walkathon in Bengaluru (February 16, 2021), Finally, Gangashetty Lake to be surveyed (February 25, 2021), Gangashetty Lake survey has begun (February 26, 2021), Everybody wants a piece of this lake (July 18, 2022) – narrating how the waterbody was neglected, misused and encroached. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/later-at-the-lake/articleshow/96464694.cms (24 Dec. 2022)
Demolition drive slows down The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had taken up the removal of encroachments all along rajakaluves after the deluge in the city this monsoon. They have now halted the same, but officials have said that they will resume work soon. There were a total of 2,671 encroachments that were identified along the rajakaluves since 2015-16. So far, only 2,073 have been cleared and 595 are yet to be removed. 595, 67 cases are pending with various courts. For now, the Palike is planning to remove encroachments at 470 points on rajakaluves. It may be noted that during the rain-induced deluge in the city this year, it was found that rajakaluves were either blocked, encroached, or narrowed down. This had resulted in flooding when there was huge inflow of water from overflowing lakes. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/demolition-drive-slows-down/articleshow/96380130.cms (21 Dec. 2022) The BBMP has resumed clearing encroachments on storm-water drains in all of its zones. The eviction drive was stopped in November, after some property owners got a stay order from a court. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-storm-water-drain-eviction-drive-resumes-dec-28-deadline-for-survey-8337298/ (22 Dec. 2022)
A complaint has been lodged with the Karnataka Lokayukta on Monday (Dec. 19) against the BBMP South Zonal Commissioners and five others regarding the Palike not taking measures against 48 private property owners who allegedly encroached upon marginal land meant for the pathways and planting saplings. It may be recalled that the State Urban Development Principal Secretary wrote a letter to the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) on November 29, 2005 stating that the vacant space in front of the buildings on 8th and 10th Cross in Jayanagar 2nd Block should be reserved for planting saplings and pathways. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/bbmp-in-trouble-over-private-encroachment/articleshow/96380065.cms (21 Dec. 2022)
BWSSB official among 9 arrested in water meter scam. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-crime/bwssb-official-among-9-arrested-in-water-meter-scam-1174264.html (23 Dec. 2022)
Gurugram No environmental nod, housing society served closure notice The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has ordered that all constructions in Malibu Towne, a residential society across 225 acres in Sector 47, be stopped with “immediate effect” over lack of environmental clearances. According to the order, the developer will not be allowed to carry out any sale deed related to a flat, plot, house, shop or any other component of the project. All construction activities will have to stop. The power distribution utility has also been asked not to provide any new connections to the project.
The project came under the pollution board’s scanner when it carried out an inspection of the 3 STPs at the society. The sewer line was found directly connected to the GMDA’s drain network and all waste was being released into it without being treated. As expected, all samples exceeded the prescribed limits. The BOD level of the sewage samples collected from Malibu Towne was 48 mg/l, while the COD was 260 mg/l. Several other components, like sulphide and the amount of oil and grease, exceeded the prescribed limits. Repeated calls to the number displayed at the developer’s website went unanswered. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/haryana-no-environmental-nod-housing-society-served-closure-notice/articleshow/96505249.cms (25 Dec. 2022)
Ansal Properties fined Rs 153cr for violating green norms at housing project NGT has directed Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd to pay compensation of over 150 crores for violation of green norms at its Sushant Lok Phase 1 property. The property spread across around 600 acres is a residential complex. In 2019, the builder was asked to stop all construction/expansion activity at property. As per NGT orders the builder did not obtain environment clearance, consent to establish and even consent to operate. It was also found guilty of illegal extraction of groundwater.
A penalty has also been imposed for discharge of untreated sewage or partly treated sewage directly in a stormwater drain, encroachment on land meant for the green belt, non-compliance with Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, and non-compliance with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. A penalty of around Rs 98.53 crore has been imposed for the discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage into a stormwater drain. For violation of the provision with regard to environment clearance, a fine of Rs 30 crore has been imposed. The builder has been asked to pay around Rs 4.97 crore for extraction of groundwater from 39 borewells without approval from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).
The tribunal’s order highlighted that case demonstrated gross dereliction of duties in the functioning of the responsible authorities or local bodies, other sanctioning authorities and statutory regulators responsible for enforcement of environmental laws. NGT also took a stern stance on the role of authorities including town and country planning department (TCPD) in the violations. “TCPD Haryana in a mechanical manner granted licenses without ensuring whether earlier conditions of licenses were complied with by APIL-PP and for years together licenses were issued,” the NGT’s order notes.
The department has been directed to deposit environment compensation of Rs 2 crore to the SPCB. THe NGT has also pulled up HSPCB for not having effective regulatory or monitoring action to ensure compliance of environmental laws. The order states that if there is otherwise any order by the Supreme Court or High Court “in regard to the present matter, the same shall operate and above direction would be subject to final decision by such court.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/ansal-properties-fined-rs-153-crore-by-national-green-tribunal-for-violating-green-norms-at-housing-project-409768 (05 July 2022)
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued directions to Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd to pay environment compensation of Rs 100 crore for alleged violation of norms at its Sushant Lok Phase I property in Gurgaon. Issued on June 7 to the company’s chairman, the direction asks for the amount to be paid in 15 days of its receipt. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/gurgaon-builder-told-to-pay-rs-100-crore-for-violation-of-green-norms-7977871/ (29 June 2022)
Punjab Report on deformities delayed, NGT imposes cost on pollution board NGT has imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 on the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) for not responding to the issues of public importance and asked for a report on water contamination’s link to the deformities among 40 children of Fazilka district’s Dharangwala village. The bench of judicial member Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert member Afroz Ahmad gave the joint committee of the board, chief medical officer, and Fazilka’s deputy commissioner two months to submit its report. The matter was deferred to December 9. Based on TOI’s news report of May 1, 2022, lawyer H C Arora had filed a petition before the NGT, seeking directions for inquiry into the deformities, for these could be due to the contaminated canal water.
On May 17, the NGT had constituted the joint committee that has now been directed to submit its report. The PPCB was the nodal agency for coordination and compliance but no report has been received, so far, from the joint committee. In the September 21 orders published on October 1, the tribunal stated that no request for extension of time for submission of report had come from the PPCB, and so inaction on its part must be viewed seriously. All the waiting for this report has caused repeated adjournments. Taking the circumstances into consideration, the NGT said it was constrained to impose a cost on the state’s pollution control board. This money should be deposited with the Punjab State Legal Authority. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/report-on-deformities-delayed-ngt-imposes-cost-on-pollution-board/articleshow/94593807.cms (02 Oct. 2022)
‘Water released to Raj not fit for drinking’ The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and Rajasthan irrigation department are trying to flush contaminants downstream to Pakistan through the Satluj at Harike headworks. But since Rajasthan drinks this canal water, they advise it to use it for irrigation. The water being released into the canal is unfit for drinking for the time being, said the advisory. Punjab Pollution Control Board member secretary Karunesh Garg said: “Certain pollutants require flushing through the Sutlej. The water quality is graded ‘C’, which we are trying to convert to ‘B’ to make it fit for drinking.”
A few days ago, environmentalists had gathered at a Fazilka village and claimed that the Sirhind Feeder was so polluted that its water was killing fruit orchards and livestock, besides causing deformities among the children. The chief engineer (irrigation) wrote to the superintending engineer at Ferozepur on Monday (May 16), telling him to use BBMB’s standard operating procedure (SOP) to stop contamination of the canal. The PPCB and the Rajasthan irrigation department have found the water that’s reaching Harike to be fit only for irrigation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/water-released-to-raj-not-fit-for-drinking/articleshow/91605881.cms (17 May 2022)
Bathinda: Toxic canal water kills Abohar fish, kinnow orchards Contaminated water released from the Sirhind Feeder canal’s Malukpur minor has killed the fish kept at Abohar’s kinnow farms and forced the growers to uproot their mature plants. The solid waste and heavy metal content of the discharge declined the ponds’ dissolved oxygen level. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/toxic-canal-water-kills-abohar-fish-kinnow-orchards/articleshow/92737675.cms (08 July 2022)
In Himalayan apple belt, farmers wait for snow In the prime apple-growing belt of the country’s Himalayan states – J&K, Himachal and Uttarakhand — farmers are increasingly a worried lot these days. December is nearing its end, yet “no snowfall or rain has taken place”. If this weather condition persists, a white Christmas may not be on the cards this time, meteorologists pointed out, attributing it to “feeble western disturbances”. Usually by this time of the year, decent spells of winter rains and snowfall are recorded across these states. Bearing the brunt of the weather conditions, apple growers are facing a difficult time.
The crop requires at least 1,200 hours of below 7 degrees Celsius temperature for good flowering and fruiting; this period is also known as “chilling hours” when temperature is low and there is sufficient watering of the apple trees. It starts from December but this year the apple-producing areas have witnessed “100% deficit in snowfall and rain”. Regional meteorological centre director Bikram Singh said, “This year, our minimum temperature is above 2 degrees so far.” Chain Singh, an applegrower from Harsil in Uttarakhand, said,
“Our forefathers would compare December snowfall to ‘gold’ because it would not melt easily due to extremely cold weather, and the soil would thus get enriched with water and moisture. But this year, December is almost gone without snow or rain. This will impact flowering and fruiting, and affect the quality of the crop.” Another farmer added that even if temperature is dipping, the “absence of snow and rain” which is primarily called “dry winters”, would pose a serious threat to the crop. The soil won’t get any moisture or nutrition in its present dormant form, he further said. The “advance snowfall” in the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir hasn’t been helpful either. “Snow fell during harvesting season and not chilling season. We need snow now so that our apples are crunchier, colourful and tasty. Only such quality of apples give us good profit,” said Suresh Chand, a fruit-grower from Kishtwar district of J&K. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/in-himalayan-apple-belt-farmers-wait-for-snow/articleshow/96437860.cms (23 Dec. 2022)
Madhya Pradesh DAM FLOODS: Thousands of farmers of 41 villages of three tehsils of Narmadapuram dist in MP along 35 km of river downstream of the Tawa dam have been facing submergence of their farms since 1999, but there is no policy for compensation and they have received none. Land revenue code has no provision for such disaster losses. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/narmadapuram/news/due-to-the-release-of-water-from-the-dam-the-land-of-41-villages-got-absorbed-in-the-river-every-year-there-is-no-compensation-policy-for-the-farmers-130692776.html (19 Dec. 2022)
Report Best practices on flood resilience from Indian & global cities A recent report ‘Catalogue of best practices for building flood resilience’ showcases some of the measures which have been successfully implemented by Indian and global cities towards mitigating floods and building water resilience. The intent is to create a basket of solutions that Indian cities can choose based on their need and priority. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/best-practices-flood-resilience-indian-and-global-cities (21 Dec. 2022)
Himachal Pradesh The rain-related incidents have claimed 384 lives while 711 persons have been injured. The state has suffered a loss to the tune of Rs 2,097 crore during the ongoing monsoon season. As many as 81 road accidents, 69 flash floods 87 landslides and 14 cloudbursts have been reported so far. About 181 houses were completely damaged while 864 were partially damaged and loss to private property was estimated at Rs 22.8 crore. The Public Works Department has suffered a loss of Rs 989 crore followed by the Jal Shakti Vibhag (Rs 919 crore) and the electricity department (Rs 36.4 crore.) As many as 38 roads were still closed and 460 transformers were damaged. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/downpour-triggers-landslips-flash-floods-in-sirmaur-chamba-435333 (26 Sept. 2022)
Five members of a family were killed while another was seriously injured after their house collapsed due to landslide following heavy rainfall at Khijwari village under Raast Panchayat in Ronhat area in Sirmaur district during wee hours on Monday (Sept. 26). Apple orchards in Koti panchatyat of Ronhat area have also suffered extensive damage due to landslides and heavy rains. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/himachal-pradesh-five-of-family-killed-in-landslide-in-sirmaur-district/articleshow/94449443.cms (27 Sept. 2022)
Cenozoic tectonic history and its constraints on the formation mechanism. https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa/geosphere/article/7/4/1013/132446/Cenozoic-tectonic-history-of-the-Himachal-Himalaya (01 Aug. 2011)
Maharashtra Crops set to die for 3rd time as coal washery continues operations The coming March will be the third consecutive year that farmers of Warada will have seen their crops dying due to coal pollution. With their cry for help going unheard, farmers of Warada and Yesamba villages held a mass protest outside Gondegaon coal washery on Friday (Dec. 23). The agitated farmers demanded closure of the polluting unit which has been killing their crops and polluting air ever since it started. As reported by TOI, the monstrous coal washery is situated right in the middle of farmlands. After remaining closed for about 15 years, the washery has restarted its operation without the mandatory permits. According to the villagers, huge amount of coal dust emitted from the washery settles on the standing crops, stunting their growth and degrading the quality of crops.
In October this year, a similar protest was held following which the district collector Dr Bipin Itankar had intervened in the matter. “The collector had also assured us that a follow up meeting will be held on December 15. As these promises were not fulfilled, we decided to agitate today,” the farmers said. They added that none of the compliances have been met by the coal washery which continues to flout various environmental norms. “The district collector had directed local authorities to conduct a survey around a range of one-kilometer and give due compensation to the affected farmers, However, the authorities did the survey in hardly 200 meters. Farmlands of 600 acres and 80-100 farmers have been severely impacted by the coal pollution,” added Chikhale. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/crops-set-to-die-for-3rd-time-as-coal-washery-continues-ops/articleshow/96464199.cms (24 Dec. 2022)
Two years of frustration over their angry voices going unheard, farmers of Warada and Yesamba villages in Nagpur district made their way to the entrance of the Gondegaon coal washery to hold a protest sit-in on Thursday (Oct. 20). Not allowing the coal-laden trucks to enter the premises, the agitated farmers demanded closure of the polluting unit which has been completely destroying their crops and polluting the air ever since it started. Over the last few days, agricultural fields of nearly 15 farmers were rendered completely useless as coal-laden water overflowed into their farms.
Despite repeated complaints to the washery, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), state deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other authorities, the washery continued its operations. “We waited patiently but our tolerance is being taken for granted. For how long are we supposed to sit quiet and put our lives at stake? The air we breathe is toxic, water is polluted and the food that we are growing is turning black and dying. We won’t let the washery function now,” said villagers. TOI learnt that the officials of washery, which is run by the Maharashtra Minerals Mining and Benefication Private Limited, had promised to hold a meeting with the villagers. But when the latter didn’t hear them, they stormed the washery premises forcing the officials to step out to meet them. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nagpur/irate-villagers-storm-washery-demand-its-complete-closure/articleshow/94999886.cms (21 Oct. 2022)
In yet another tragic incident of crop failure due to coal pollution, standing crops of around 50 farmers got destroyed in Warada village, near Nagpur, after contaminated water mixed with coal flowed onto the agricultural fields. While the villagers were already suffering due to coal-dust pollution which was not just destroying their crops but also impacting their health, their troubles escalated when toxic water from the washery started flowing inside their fields. “Despite our complaints, the washery officials took no precautions and the coal is kept out in the open. After heavy rainfall this week, our farms were flooded with black coloured water. All the crops got destroyed,” said villagers. Farmers of Warada were already staring at huge financial losses due to crop failure from coal-ash pollution. “Whatever is happening to us is criminal. Right from cotton, brinjals to our mosambi orchards and other vegetables, the coal pollution is killing all our crops. We are even breathing toxic air,” they said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/standing-crops-destroyed-as-coal-water-flows-into-warada-village/articleshow/94951299.cms (19 Oct. 2022)
Report Roof top solar installations in India fell 4% for nine months period from 1.14 GW in Jan Sept 2021 to 1.09 GW in Jan Sept 2022 due to supply chain disruptions, slow tendering, etc. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/rooftop-solar-installations-fall-due-to-supply-chain-disruptions-other-reasons-mnre-minister/96440060 (22 Dec. 2022)
Upcoming SC Hearing on FRA Crucial for 78 Lakh Adivasis The apex court will soon revisit a 2008 petition which described FRA as “unconstitutional”, “anti-conservation” and beneficial to “encroachers”. The verdict could either uproot or improve the lives of over 16.3 lakh families. https://thewire.in/rights/why-is-the-upcoming-sc-hearing-on-forest-rights-act-crucial-for-78-lakh-adivasis (21 Dec. 2022)
Gujarat Govt Panel returns chemical complex’s environment report Last month, The Probe flagged off the potential ecological impacts of a chemical complex near the Gulf of Kutch. The central government has now taken cognisance of the environmental threat posed by the chemical complex and has returned the application of the Dalmia Group, citing multiple insufficiencies. https://theprobe.in/stories/the-probe-impact-government-panel-returns-gujarat-chemical-complexs-environment-report-citing-shortcomings/ (19 Dec. 2022)
Chhattisgarh The coal mine that ate an Indian village The people of Kete who I spoke to were mourning the loss of something hard to measure: the feeling of community. The resettlement with a few tiny houses is nowhere close to what a village means to them. After being displaced, Kete’s villagers have found it hard to integrate themselves in the community and rituals of their new village or town. “The thing is you can never build a village by uprooting a village,” said Shukla, the Chhattisgarh-based activist. You cannot restore the relationships Adivasis had with each other and their forest. “A village has a culture. A soul of its own.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/20/india-adani-coal-mine-kete-hasdeo-arand-forest-displaced-villages (20 Dec. 2022)
Kerala Angel Valley, Pampa Valley ‘vanish’ in satellite survey Even as the buffer zone issue is raging in the state, as many as 1,200 families in Angel Valley and Pampavalley areas in the eastern tip of Kottayam district are facing a peculiar situation. The satellite survey conducted by the government to determine populated areas in the buffer zone has apparently put their habitats within the forest area. As per the findings of the satellite survey, two wards (11-Pampavalley, 12- Angel Valley) in Erumely grama panchayat have ‘vanished’ and have been marked as forest.
While the government has advised the people in the buffer zone to fill up a pro forma and submit it to the expert panel to exempt them from the buffer zone guidelines, the residents in Pampavalley and Angel Valley areas are in panic as they are not even in the buffer zone! “Government admits that people are living in buffer zones. However, government does not even know of our existence as our land has been marked as forest in the survey. How can we fill up the pro forma, which is intended to prove one’s existence in a buffer zone? Even the minister and MLA failed to give a proper answer to our queries,” said Fr James Kollamparambil, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Angel Valley. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/dec/21/angel-valley-pampa-valley-vanish-in-satellite-survey-2530120.html (21 Dec. 2022)
CoP 15 ANew global biodiversity framework The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) agreement adopted by 188 of the 196 member nations during the Convention on Biological Diversity sets out four goals for 2050, and 23 targets for 2030, to save existing biodiversity and ensure that 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems come under effective restoration. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/explained-a-new-global-biodiversity-framework/article66286519.ece (20 Dec. 2022) The talking is over, and a text has been agreed on the next decade of targets to save the natural world. Here are the highs and lows of the Convention of Biological Diversity’s (CBD) agreement. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/20/cop15-montreal-did-it-deliver-for-natural-world-aoe (20 Dec. 2022)
Rethinking Transboundary Water Governance Dr. Venkatesh Dutta The Political will, Enlightened leadership, Constructive collaboration, Trust (PECT) framework emphasizes the fluid and networked nature of power relations between and across various levels of governments, institutions, agencies, and actors. The idea behind this framework is to expand the ongoing debate about building social and ecological resilience, democratic legitimacy, economic efficiency, and equity in transboundary water governance. The concept of multilevel water federalism can stimulate broader deliberations and scholarly inquiry relating to transboundary water governance in South Asia that will help water, ecosystem, and communities in South Asia re-emerge stronger and resilient. https://soanas.org/rethinking-transboundary-water-governance/ (23 Dec. 2022)
India- Nepal CWC flood forecasting on rivers As a non-structural measure of flood management, flood forecasts are formulated and issued for rivers common to Nepal and India, namely Sharda, Ghaghra, Rapti, Gandak, Burhi-Gandak, Bagmati, Kamala, Kosi and Mahananda using meteorological and hydro-meteorological data available through the website of Department of Hydrology & Meteorology, Government of Nepal. These data are updated on hourly basis during monsoon season and are utilised directly in the 24 hour flood forecasts being formulated by Divisional Flood Control Rooms of Central Water Commission in Lucknow and Patna. Info shared by Jal Shakti Minister in Rajya Sabha on Dec 19 2022. https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1884890 (19 Dec. 2022)
Conflicts over embankments construction on Mahakali river India has stopped the unilateral construction of an embankment along the Mahakali River in Darchula district. Earlier, India had started building the embankment without any coordination with Nepal, in violation of international law. Tension arose after the locals protested against the construction of the embankment by India and now the Indian side has stopped the construction of the embankment. The locals protested as there is a high risk of the Darchula headquarters, Khalanga, and other settlements being washed away in case of a flood as the embankment would push the Mahakali River toward Nepal. The Chief District Officer (CDO) of Darchula, Dirgharaj Upadhyay, said that the Indian side has stopped the construction of the embankment after widespread protests. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/amp/india-halts-embankment-construction-along-mahakali-river-in-darchula/news.html
नेपाल की शेर बहादुर देउबा सरकार ने पिछले एक साल में भारत को तीन राजनयिक नोट भेजे हैं। तीनों राजनयिक नोटो में भारत के साथ अलग-अलग मुद्दों पर कड़ी आपत्ति जताई गई है। ताजा नोट मंगलवार को महाकाली नदी पर तटबंध निर्माण को लेकर दार्चुला में सीमा पर हुई झड़प के बाद भेजा गया है। इस नोट में नेपाल ने महाकाली नदी पर बने बांध को एकतरफा बताते हुए कड़ी आपत्ति जाहिर की है। इस नोट में नेपाली विदेश मंत्रालय ने झड़प वाली जगह को विवादित बताते हुए संयुक्त निरीक्षण का अनुरोध भी किया है। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/world/asian-countries/india-nepal-relations-why-is-nepal-sher-bahadur-deuba-government-sending-diplomatic-notes-to-india/articleshow/96084599.cms (08 Dec. 2022)
नेपाल की ओर से मिले आश्वासन के बाद भी सोमवार (Dec. 19) को फिर विप्लव गुट की छात्र इकाई ने भारत की तरफ पथराव कर माहौल बिगाड़ने की कोशिश की। इससे धारचूला में काली नदी के किनारे तटबंध निर्माण कार्य में लगे मजदूरों में अफरातफरी मच गई। सूचना पर नेपाल के ही सुरक्षा कर्मियों ने पथराव करने वालों को खदेड़ा। पखवाड़े भर पूर्व भी नेपाल की ओर से शरारती तत्वों ने भारत में तटबंध का निर्माण कर रहे मजदूरों पर पथराव किया था। इससे यहां कार्य कर रहा एक नेपाली मजदूर घायल हो गया था। इसके बाद भारत और नेपाल के अधिकारियों के बीच दो दौर की वार्ता हुई। इसमें नेपाल की ओर से भविष्य में पथराव जैसी घटना नहीं होने देने का भरोसा दिया गया था। वार्ता के बाद भारत और नेपाल ने काली नदी में अपने-अपने क्षेत्र में जमा मलबा हटाने का काम भी शुरू कर दिया था। पूर्व में पथराव करने वाले लोगों के विरुद्ध भारत में तटबंध का निर्माण कर रही कंपनी ने धारचूला कोतवाली में प्राथमिकी दर्ज कराई थी। इसी के विरोध में नेपाली छात्र इकाई ने दार्चुला बाजार में भारत विरोधी नारे लगाते हुए जुलूस निकाला। जुलूस में शामिल आधा दर्जन लोगों ने धारचूला में तटबंध निर्माण कर रहे मजदूरों पर पथराव कर दिया। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/pithoragarh-stone-pelting-again-in-india-from-nepal-chaos-among-laborers-constructing-embankment-on-kali-river-in-dharchula-23264445.html (20 Dec. 2022) भारत-नेपाल समन्वय समिति की सात दिसंबर को एनएचपीसी में हुई बैठक के बाद नेपाल ने काली नदी किनारे जमा मलबे को हटाने का कार्य शुरू कर दिया है। मलबा जमा होने से भारतीय क्षेत्र घटखोला में तटबंध का निर्माण कार्य प्रभावित हो रहा है। मलबा हटने के बाद तटबंध का निर्माण कार्य शुरू हो सकेगा। भारत धारचूला नगर सहित आसपास के गांवों की काली नदी से सुरक्षा के लिए तटबंध का निर्माण करा रहा है।
नेपाल की ओर से काली नदी में जमा मलबे को हटाने के लिए केवल एक पोकलैंड मशीन, ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉली लगाई है। इससे मलबे में से रेत छानकर शेष बचे मलबे को फिर से काली नदी के किनारे ही डाला जा रहा है। ऐसे में मलबा हटने में लंबा समय लग सकता है। इससे भारत के लोगों की चिंता बढ़ गई है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/pithoragarh/more-debris-in-kali-river-dharchula-pithoragarh-news-hld4856202108 (17 Dec. 2022)
नेपाल और भारत बुधवार को महाकाली नदी को उसके मूल प्रवाह में बहने देने पर सहमत हुए. अधिकारियों ने इसकी जानकारी दी. उन्होंने कहा कि यह फैसला भारत के पिथौरागढ़ जिले के धारचूला में नेपाल-भारत सीमा पर बैठक के दौरान लिया गया, जहां दोनों पक्ष अस्थायी तटबंध को हटाने और नदी को प्राकृतिक मार्ग पर बहने देने पर सहमत हुए. उन्होंने बताया कि इससे पहले भारत द्वारा महाकाली नदी के प्रवाह को मोड़ने के लिए अस्थायी तटबंध बनाने के बाद क्षेत्र में तनाव था. धारचूला दीर्घ के मुख्य जिला अधिकारी राज उपाध्याय ने कहा कि दोनों देशों के सुरक्षा अधिकारियों के बीच बैठक के दौरान भारतीय पक्ष ने नेपाल द्वारा किए गए अनुरोध के मुताबिक 10 दिनों के भीतर अस्थायी तटबंध का मलबा हटाने पर सहमति व्यक्त की. https://www.tv9hindi.com/world/other-countries/nepal-india-agree-mahakali-river-darchula-flow-in-original-course-after-dispute-au100-1598810.html (08 Dec. 2022)
धारचूला के घटखोला में काली नदी किनारे दीवार (तटबंध) निर्माण के दौरान नेपाल की ओर से की गई पत्थरबाजी के कारण निर्माण कार्य में लगा नेपाली मूल का एक मजदूर घायल हो गया। मिनी स्टेडियम के पास भी मजदूरों पर पथराव किया गया। नेपाली नागरिकों ने भारत-नेपाल को जोड़ने वाले अंतरराष्ट्रीय झूलापुल को बंद कर दिया। इससे दोनों तरफ चार बरातें फंस गईं। नेपाल की तरफ झूलापुल पर इकट्ठी भीड़ को खदेड़ने के लिए नेपाल पुलिस ने लाठीचार्ज किया जिसमें एक भारतीय रमेश कुटियाल को भी चोटें आईं।
बाढ़ से धारचूला कस्बे की सुरक्षा के लिए इन दिनों सिंचाई विभाग काली नदी किनारे तटबंध बना रहा है। कंस्ट्रक्शन कंपनी के मजदूर रविवार (Dec. 04) को घटखोला में तटबंध निर्माण के कार्य में लगे थे, तभी नेपाल की ओर से कुछ लोगों ने पथराव कर दिया। निर्माण स्थल पर पथराव करने से वहां अफरातफरी मच गई। निर्माण में लगे मजदूर पत्थरों से बचने के लिए इधर-उधर भागे। कुछ देर बाद ही मिनी स्टेडियम के पास भी मजदूरों की ओर पत्थर फेंके गए। निर्माण कार्य में लगे डडेलधूरा नेपाल निवासी जय सिंह सिर पर पत्थर लगने से घायल हो गया। मजदूर को धारचूला के संयुक्त अस्पताल ले जाया गया जहां उसके सिर में पांच टांके लगे। नेपाल की ओर से पत्थर फेंके जाने से निर्माण कार्य प्रभावित हुआ।
पत्थरबाजी की घटना के बाद नेपाल के सीडीओ दिर्घराज उपाध्याय ने भारत के धारचूला पहुंचकर एसडीएम दिवेश शाशनी से मुलाकात की। उन्होंने कहा कि आपसी समन्वय से मामले को सुलझाया जाएगा। उन्होंने कहा कि मिलकर सीमा क्षेत्र में शांति व्यवस्था और संबंधों को मधुर रखने के प्रयास किए जाएंगे। https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/nepal-india-dispute-kali-river-stone-pelting-from-nepal-side-pithoragarh-dharchula-uttarakhand-news-in-hindi (04 Dec. 2022)
इन दिनों महाकाली नदी के तट पर बाढ़ सुरक्षा कार्य चल रहा है। नेपाल इसको लेकर आपत्ति जता रहा है। नेपाल के नागरिकों द्वारा सीमा पार से पत्थरबाजी की जा रही है, जिससे निर्माण कार्य कार्य तो प्रभावित हो ही रहा है, साथ ही दोनों देशों के बीच आपसी संबंधों में भी खट्टास आ रही है। नेपाल स्थित दार्चुला के विधायक गेलबू बोहरा का कहना है कि भारतीय क्षेत्र में चल रहे कार्य से नेपाल के तटबंधों को खतरा हो रहा है। ठेकेदार द्वारा नदी तट पर मनमानी से कार्य किया जा रहा है, जिसका वे विरोध करते हैं।
वहीं मामले की गंभीरता को देखते हुए पिथौरागढ़ जिला प्रशासन की ओर से धारचूला के उप जिलाधिकारी दिपेश शाशनी ने नेपाल जाकर विधायक और नेपाली प्रशासकों से वार्ता की। एसडीएम ने बताया कि सिंचाई विभाग को सामंजस्य बनाकर कार्य करवाने के आदेश दिए गए हैं। ताकि नेपाल की ओर से कोई आपत्ति न होने पाए। गौरतलब है कि नेपाली जनता पहले भी भारत में हो रहे तटबंद कार्य का विरोध करती रही है। समय समय पर विरोध और सीमा पार से होने वाली पत्थरबाजी सिंचाई विभाग की मुश्किल बड़ा रही है। अब दोपक्षीय वार्ता के बाद कार्य में कितनी तेजी आएगी ये देखने वाली बात होगी। https://uttarakhandsamachar.com/nepal-objected-to-embankment-work-in-dharchula-nepalese-pelting-stones/ (05 Nov. 2022)
Nepalese organisations have objected to an embankment being built by India over the Kali river. The organisations — Nepal Dalit Sangh, Nepal Tarun Dal and Nepal Vidhyarthi Sangh — accused India of diverting the flow of the river towards Nepal and constructing the embankment by encroaching 10 metres of Nepalese land. They have also lodged a complaint in this regard with the Nepal government through Darchula district administration. Darchula in Nepal is adjacent to Dharchula in the border district of Pithoragarh on the Indian side. “We have written to our government requesting it to check if international parametres are being violated by India on the construction of the embankment by diverting the flow of the river artificially at Ghatkhola,” Ramesh Bhatt, president, Nepal Vidyarthi Sangh said.
Meanwhile, a group of Nepalese youth threw stones on Indian workers at the embankment construction site in Ghatkhola on Sunday (March 13). However, no one was injured in the incident. The protesting youth later fled the spot, Dharchula SDM A K Shukla said. “We have continued the work as we have to complete it in time before this monsoon,” he said. According to sources, the protesting youth belonged to Bangabagar village of Nepal. Commenting on the apprehension of the Nepalese side, Shukla said depositing debris in the middle of the river might direct its flow towards Nepal and wash away the sand deposits.
However, Deepak Rongkali, president, Rung Kalyan Sanstha at Dharchula asserted that India is making the embankment on its own side and it should not bother the Himalayan nation. “While they (Nepal) were constructing the embankment on their side, we did not object, then why are they objecting when we are constructing the embankment on our side?” he asked.The construction of more than 1,700 metres long embankment on the Indian side of the river Kali began last week. https://theprint.in/india/nepalese-organisations-object-to-construction-of-embankment-by-india-over-kali-river/874950/ (15 March 2022)
Nepal About Tamor Storage Hydro Project Since 2013, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has been studying to build the Tamor storage project of 762 MW by erecting a 210 meters dam that will be constructed at Lumbuwaghat, a border area between Panchthar and Tehrathum districts. Currently, the project has been awarded to a Nepal-China joint venture company. In 2019, the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) called for a proposal for foreign investment in the project. In response to IBN’s call, Power China Corporation and Hydropower Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL), a company owned by Nepal Government jointly proposed to develop the project. As no other proposal was received, the project was awarded to Nepal China JV.
– A preliminary report prepared by NEA indicates that the geographical location, social impact assessment and environmental conditions are feasible to build the storage project in the area. But the main obstacle to the project is two upstream hydropower projects, namely 37.5 MW Kabeli ‘A’ which is under construction and 21.5 MW Lower Hewakhola which has been generating electricity since April 2017. There is a possibility that these projects will be submerged. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/tamor-storage-hydro-project-a-game-changer-for-eastern-nepal/ (25 Dec. 2022)
Bhutan About PHPA-II dam The 1020 MW Punatsangchu II HEP has achieved a milestone when the dam became ready in Nov 2022 and achieve second stage river diversion tunnel this month. The reservoir filling is expected to start in Apr 2023.
A 91-meter high concrete gravity dam with a storage capacity of 4.64 million cubic meters, an 8.51-km long Head Race Tunnel (HRT) and an underground Power House make the major components of the project that cost Nu 94.45B. The MD said that the progress of the powerhouse is 84.20 percent, and 99 percent of the work is completed in HRT. The project commissioning is targeted for October 2024. https://kuenselonline.com/phpa-ii-dam-is-ready/ (22 Dec. 2022)
China completes the 16 X 1000 MW Baihetan hydropower project on Yangtze river, upstream of the biggest capacity hydropower project of China and the World. The last unit of the project started generating power on Dec 20, 2022. This is now China’s and world’s second largest capacity hydropower project. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/china-completes-construction-of-second-biggest-hydro-plant/96391092 (21 Dec. 2022)
MEKONG Data Exposes Flaws in Delta Resilience Plans Resilience plans focus on exploiting Vietnam’s scarce water resources instead of shifting agriculture away from water-intensive crops and practices. https://earthjournalism.net/stories/data-exposes-flaws-in-mekong-delta-resilience-plans (31 Jan. 2022)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Brazil BHP set to face $12 bl UK suit over dam disaster A UK judge set a trial date of April 2024 for a case against BHP Group over a Brazilian mining-waste disaster, with claimants seeking an estimated £10 billion ($12 billion). An eight-week hearing is scheduled to proceed almost nine years after a dam collapse unleashed a torrent of waste, killing 19 and polluting waterways in two Brazilian states. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-22/bhp-set-to-face-12-billion-uk-suit-over-brazil-dam-disaster (22 Dec. 2022)
New Zealand Plastic rains New estimates by a team of scientists from the University of Auckland in New Zealand suggest an average of nearly 5000 microplastic particles settles on every square meter of Auckland’s urban rooftops on any given day. https://www.sciencealert.com/plastic-rain-is-a-now-a-thing-and-weve-underestimated-just-how-heavy-it-is (14 Dec. 2022)
Compiled by SANDRP (email@example.com)
Also see: DRP News Bulletin 19 Dec. 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 12 Dec. 2022
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