DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 270323: Bleak future of Large Hydro

(Feature Image: Anti dam graffiti on the wall of the civil secretariat building in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh in July 2022. Source: Social Media)

Large Hydropower projects have bleak future as number of reports this week suggest, including the following Video. The large hydro is not renewable, sustainable or green or people friendly. In fact, it is increasingly seen as invitation to disasters. Much better options exist. In the changing climate situation, the destruction that hydropower projects bring about becomes even more relevant when we need the Rivers, Forests, the biodiversity and less disaster prone options. Earlier our governments see this writing on the dam walls from across the world, better it will be for all concerned.

Future of Hydros This sort of argues that we do not need more dams for hydropower. That hydro is not really renewable or sustainable or green or people friendly. (It also uses SANDRP map of hydro projects. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTFDVZU-Nv0 (24 March 2023)

Uttarakhand Ranjit Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Disaster Management, said on March 11 that after the Mishra Committee report in 1976, “major investigation, master plan or mitigation measures” were missing in Joshimath. said roads were built and widened without any consideration for water channels, while huge colonies and Army bases were allowed to come up in the region. He said the lines between man-made and natural disasters had blurred and before thinking about development, the dynamics of mountains and hills should be considered. Mr. Sinha was speaking before a panel of experts on the topic ‘Disaster Mitigation and Resilience’ on the second day of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction Conference (NPDRR) in Delhi.

– “What happened in Joshimath? Land subsidence, first reported by the Mishra committee report in 1976. What have we done after that? Any major investigation, master plan or mitigation measure? We were missing many points. We have built and widened roads without any consideration for slope or water channels, we have allowed heavy vehicles to ply, allowed people to construct multi-storeyed houses and huge colonies, allowed Army and ITBP [Indo Tibetan Border Police] to construct big base. These are necessary but we should have done something for Joshimath as a whole. There was no investigation but now the investigation is being done,” Mr. Sinha said. He said the gaps in regulations and guidelines should be plugged so that people are made responsible for their acts.

– “There is no institutional framework for exchange of ideas… landslide mitigation requires serious attention,” he stated, adding that landslides are a major concern in hilly areas. “The Ministry of Mines had submitted a proposal for a landslide management centre but the proposal has been rejected. Uttarakhand is coming up with a landslide management centre,” he concluded. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/lines-between-natural-and-man-made-disasters-blurred-uttarakhand-disaster-management-secretary/article66607506.ece  (11 March 2023)

Sikkim Major landslide above Dikchu NHPC Teesta V Dam A major landslide triggered at Sokpay on Dikchu-Rakdong road at the wee hour of this morning (March 26). Fortunately, no human casualties has been reported. But the several public properties is said to have damaged which can be scaled in day. There has been report of livestock losses. Village sits atop Teesta Stage V NHPC Damsite. https://voiceofsikkim.com/major-landslide-triggers-above-dikchu-nhpc-teesta-stage-v-dam-at-sokpay-village/  (26 March 2023)

The residents of Sokpay village on the Dikchu-Rakdong road in the Gangtok district of Sikkim think that the Teesta stage V NHPC dam was responsible for a massive landslide that occurred there during the wee hours of March 26, 2023. Four houses were damaged in the slide. Eighteen families have been evacuated to safer locations nearby. Basic facilities like electricity and drinking water supply have also been hit in the village situated about 40 kms from state capital Gangtok. The slide also cut off the National Highway that connects the area to North Sikkim district and damaged more than 2 kms of the Dikchu hills.

The landslide site. Photo: Dichen Ongmu/DTE

– The village is located above the site. Residents this reporter spoke to also urged the authorities to shift them from the spot given the frequent landslides in the region. “Every monsoon we have to evacuate and stay somewhere else. The authorities tell us that we will be shifted but it never really happens. We feel that the government can set up a colony somewhere nearby and shift us,” said Manju Sharma, a villager. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/urbanisation/echoes-of-joshimath-residents-assume-teesta-nhpc-dam-could-have-caused-landslide-near-gangtok-on-march-26-88465  (27 March 2023)

Arunachal Pradesh Farmers’ body rejects 10,000 Mw HEP plan on Siang River Accusing the State Government of inking a deal with the National Hydropower Power Corporation (NHPC) for the mega-dam without taking the local people into confidence, Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum (SIFF) and the Indigenous Rights Advocacy Dibang (IRAD) threatened to launch a stir if the project is not scrapped. SIFF president, Tasik Pangkam said the Adi community in the Siang River belt will never accept the mega project that would threaten their existence and make them landless.

He cited the example of the Chakma and Hajong people who were displaced by the Kaptai Hydroelectric Project in present-day Bangladesh in the 1960s and were forced to take refuge in India. He said the authorities should have consulted the people and organised public hearings before going ahead with the project. IFAD member Ebo Milli, also a lawyer, slammed the State Government and NHPC for failing to disclose the cumulative impact assessment of another proposed dam — the 2,880 MW Dibang Multipurpose Hydroelectric project. He advised the people to be wary of the government’s strategy of declaring a forest area as a wildlife reserve or a protected area in order to take control of the land and push environmentally-unsafe projects. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/arunachal-pradesh-farmers-body-rejects-10000-mw-hydropower-plan-on-siang-river/article66663803.ece  (26 March 2023) “The NHPC and the government have been behaving arrogantly and undemo-cratically,” said Pangkam, adding that “even the officials from the Jal Jeevan Mission came to our village without intimating us.” “We Adis are different from other tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. We have our own land holding system. We will launch a democratic movement if the government doesn’t hear our pleas,” he said, and added that “this is not the first time that we are voicing out like this.” https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2023/03/26/farmers-threaten-to-launch-stir-over-hep/  (26 March 2023)

Proposed mega dams cause of concern: Arunachalees The United Nations South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights (UNSAFBHR), held here during March 22-23, forum provided an opportunity for participants to discuss challenges faced by workers and employees in Asia, particularly violations of human rights. Representatives from India’s state of Arunachal Pradesh – namely Tasik Pangkam, Bhanu Tatak and Ebo Mili attended this 4th edition of the UNSAFBHR. Pangkam represented SIFF while Tatak and. Mili represented Dibang Resistance and Indigenous Rights Advocacy Dibang respectively.

– Pangkam submitted a memorandum to UNSAFBHR working group chairman Dr. Pichamon Yeophantong, highlighting about 10,000MW dam over Siang River and hinted about socio economic anxieties of people in future to be caused by the mega dams. He also highlighted that their forum during last 13 yearshas sent representation to high court, Indian PM, Arunachal Pradesh Govt and governor and Human Rights Commission of Assam. He stressed that Adis of Siang cannot accept the proposed 10,000 MW in their ancestral territory that threatens the very existence and identity of the Adis. He implored UN working group and other international environment and indigenous people’s bodies, residents of downstream Assam and Bangladesh to oppose the mega dam.

– Tatak presented three hydropower cases of the state, namely 2880 MW Dibang Multipurpose Hydro Electric power project, 10,000 MW Siang HEP and 3097 MW Etalin HEP. She highlighted that NHPC’s bad track record and violation of indigenous people’s rights, especially in Sikkim, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh states and said that PIL filed in Itanagar permanent bench of Gauhati High Court by SIFF received the jurisdiction in favor of SIFF despite NHPC is still conducting surveys and studies across Siang without people’s consent. https://arunachalobserver.org/2023/03/24/unsafbhr-meets-in-nepal-proposed-mega-dams-cause-of-concern-arunachalees/  (24 March 2023)

Arunachal orgs take dam issue to UN forum Civil societies from Arunachal Pradesh share about struggles, threats and govts’ regressive, undemocratic responses regarding local people’s resistance against big dam projects in North East during the 4th edition of the United Nations Business and Human Rights Forum, which was held on 22-23 March in Kathmandu, Nepal.

-Touching upon the climate anxieties of the future, Tatak highlighted the Kaptai hydroelectric project in Bangladesh that displaced the indigenous Chakmas, who are forced to become climate migrants in indigenous territories of Arunachal, “which is leading to unwanted confrontations between both the vulnerable communities.” The mega dams in Arunachal in Lower Subansiri (2,000 mw), Siang (10,000 mw) and Dibang (2,880 mw), if sanctioned, have the potential to displace and imbalance more than 1 million lives in Arunachal and downstream Assam, which will intensify forced migration and unskilled and informal labourers, denting the nation’s economy and performance.

-Mili asked about “the role of the UN in defending the defenders,” and gave examples of journalists and activists being harassed by the state and branded as antinational. He also quoted an article published on ‘The Third Pole’ on 7 April, 2020, in which the chief minister of Arunachal stated that “… any opposition to development projects is antinational” and warned that he had already instructed the intelligence bureau to act against any officials found misguiding people. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2023/03/24/arunachal-orgs-take-dam-issue-to-un-forum/  (24 March 2023)

Himachal Pradesh Lahaul & Spiti residents oppose power projects Sonam Targe, a resident of the Spiti valley, says, “We will continue to raise our voice against blatant commodification and destruction of the Himalayan rivers. This district lies in the lap of the Himalayas. In the age of profit-making, it is alarming to see the rate at which rivers have been caged and tunnelled by large hydropower dams, mined for sand and dumped with chemicals and garbage.”

– “Today, there is hardly any river left in the Himalayas on which a hydropower project has not been built. The Sutlej now flows in tunnels and has been locked up into reservoirs. We, the residents of Lahaul and Spiti, are against the setting up of hydropower projects in this eco-fragile district, which falls under seismic zone-IV,” says Vikram Katoch, a resident of Lahaul. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/lahaul-spiti-residents-oppose-power-projects-490523  (23 March 2023)

In search of finding the ground reality of HEP, the team is visiting affected areas and in our recent visit to the village of Kandar,Just shocked us. Kandar is the first displaced village of Kinnaur and it is very unfortunate after being affected by two major power-making companies Kandar village still struggling to get the basic facility of Water, road and health. All the views are of the people of the Village of Kandar and many things fade away with time but pain and suffering from displacement can not be left behind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r7KRQfMOMM  (23 March 2023)

Units of Kishenganga and Sainj HEP remain under outage since Nov 2022 Recently, the power ministry asked NHPC and Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd (HPSEBL) to operationalize unit 1 of Kishenganga project and unit 2 of Sainj project, respectively, by 31 March. “The availability of non-operational generation units is required as April is expected to be a crunch demand month,” said one of the persons mentioned above.

Unit number 1 of Kishenganga hydroelectric project has been under forced outage since 23 November 2022 and unit 2 of the Sainj Hydroelectric Project has been under planned or forced outage since 24 November 2022. Queries sent to the Union power ministry, NHPC and HPSEBL remained unanswered. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/govt-calls-for-reviving-defunct-hydro-projects-to-meet-summer-demand-11679247282470.html  (20 March 2023)

Scarred for life: the Himalayan towns sinking into oblivion Lining the road on the way up to Joshimath are signs erected by the electricity dept hailing ‘Hydro ki Laher Taraqqi ki Sahar (wave of hydro, a morning of progress).” But hydropower is now a dirty word in this town.

Experts say there is no way back from the subsidence, and people in the vulnerable areas will have to be removed, probably for many years. The government, however, has yet to give affected people definitive answers about their future, to the anger of many in the town who have been staging daily protests for more than 50 days, accusing the administration of obstructing the truth and failing to provide them with proper shelter and security. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2023/mar/20/scarred-for-life-the-himalayan-towns-sinking-into-oblivion  (20 March 2023)

Work remains stalled New Ganderbal HEP for several years The 93 Mw (31X3) RoR New Ganderbal Hydropower project on Sindh river costing over 800 crore was announced in 1996. Official sources said that in 2014 a two-stage bidding process was adopted for the selection of the EPC contractor for the construction of the project in which HCC emerged as the successful bidder with a negotiated cost of Rs. 819.18 Crore. However, for a variety of reasons M/S HCC failed to implement the project till 2017, and subsequently the contract was canceled. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/kashmir-todays-paper/work-remains-stalled-on-93-mw-new-ganderbal-power-project-for-several-years  (24 March 2023)

Scrapped NTPC project triggers sleepless nights However, water expert Himanshu Thakkar told Newslaundry, “Defunct tunnel can definitely create a lot of hazards, risks and disasters. If the area is landslide prone, tunnels won’t stabilise easily. They risk getting collapsed.” https://www.newslaundry.com/2023/03/23/cracked-walls-repeat-of-joshimath-scrapped-ntpc-project-triggers-sleepless-nights-in-uttarkashi-homes (23 Mar 2023)


Himachal Pradesh SJVN signs EPC contract agreement for Sunni HEP Rithwik Projects gets contract for Rs 1098 Cr civil and hydro mechanical works of the 382 MW Sunni Dam Hydro Project of SJVN on Sutlej river in Shimla and Mandi district. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/rithwik-projects-to-build-382-mw-sunni-dam-hydro-project-of-sjvn/98960191  (24 March 2023)

Punjab and Haryana oppose HP decision to levy water charges from Hydro projects Punjab and Haryana state assemblies on Wednesday, March 22, unanimously passed resolutions against the Himachal Pradesh government’s decision to levy a water cess on hydropower power projects for non-consumptive use of water. While urging Himachal Pradesh to revoke the decision, Punjab and Haryana governments sought the Union government’s intervention in the matter. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh is of the view that it is well within its rights to impose a cess. https://thewire.in/government/punjab-haryana-assemblies-pass-unanimous-resolutions-on-himachals-illegal-water-cess ; https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/resolutions-in-punjab-haryana-houses-against-hp-water-cess-490388  (23 March 2023)  Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday March 22 unanimously passed a resolution condemning the hill state’s recent ordinance levying the water cess. As CM Bhagwant Mann and Water Resources minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer said they would not pay a single paisa, Cabinet minister Aman Arora warned that Punjab could also levy cess on apple trucks coming to the state from Himachal and also on tourists going to the hills. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/wont-pay-a-single-paisa-to-himachal-as-water-cess-punjab-cm-in-assembly-8513676/  (23 March 2023) Adopting a stern stand against opposition by Punjab and Haryana to the imposition of water cess by Himachal, CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday March 23 said Himachal Government was well within its right to impose water cess on hydro-power generation as it had not violated the Inter State River Dispute Act 1956. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/himachal-cm-sukhu-defends-his-governments-move-to-impose-water-cess-on-hydro-power-generation-490652  (24 March 2023)

Jammu & Kashmir Doda area ‘uninhabitable’, victims of land subsidence seek admn’s help About Joshimath like cracks in houses and roads in Nai Basti village in Thathari block of Doda dist of J&K. Lack of sufficient drainage, unstable slopes, large number of houses and heavy rainfall are some of the reasons given by GSI report. The proximity of HIghway is also mentioned. No mention of hydropower projects or tunneling. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/doda-area-uninhabitable-victims-of-land-subsidence-seek-admns-help-490711  (24 March 2023)

According to the report, the affected area received 27.8 mm of rainfall on 31 January, the day before the incident. There was 201.2 mm rainfall from 20 January to 31 January which might have saturated the slope forming material to a significant extent, the report, a copy of which is with The Tribune claims. “Prima-facie, saturation of the slope forming material due to rainfall (on 30 and 31 January) and poor drainage arrangements in the affected slope might have triggered the recent slope failure” the report suggests. Meanwhile the victims are still waiting for compensation as their files have already been forwarded to claim State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Even if they get compensation, it will not be more than Rs 1.30 lakh. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/land-subsidence-in-jks-doda-victims-face-dark-future-as-gsi-recommends-no-habitation-in-affected-area-490655  (23 March 2023)

Uttarakhand Chipko at fifty Ramchandra Guha Chipko’s lesson, that humans need to respect nature and live within its boundaries if they wish to survive and indeed prosper, is being violated everywhere in India today. And nowhere as brutally as in Chipko’s own Himalayan homeland. The tragedy of Joshimath is symptomatic here. From the 1970s, scientists and activists (including the Chipko leader, Chandi Prasad Bhatt) issued a series of cautionary warnings against the reckless expansion of roads and hotels, the blasting of tunnels, and the building of hydroelectric projects in this ecologically fragile mountain region.  https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/chipko-at-fifty-looking-back-at-the-famous-movement-to-protect-forests/cid/1924877   (25 March 2023) “Development”, destruction and resistance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lcz6ZUev6I  (24 March 2023)

7 HEPs to be commissioned in FY 2023-24 Early this month, the government reviewed the timelines for under-construction hydropower projects, after which the deadline for the commissioning of seven projects was pushed to the next financial year. These are Naitwar Mori (60 MW) and Tehri (1,000 MW) in Uttarakhand, Pallivasal (60 MW) and Thottiyar (40 MW) in Kerala, Tidong-1 (150 MW) and Parbati (800 MW) in Himachal Pradesh and Subansiri (1,000 MW) in Arunachal Pradesh.

As per provisional data till February 28, India could add only 120 MW of hydropower capacity in FY 2023. As per the plan, the commissioning of a part of the controversial Tapovan Vishnugad project has been pushed to December 2024. For the second part, the government has done away with the deadline altogether stating, saying the project in the Chamoli district of the hill state of Uttarakhand has been stalled “until further orders”. The project has faced stiff opposition from locals and a section of environmentalists who blame it for Joshimath’s land subsidence.

“The main challenges in the development of hydroelectric potential in the country are remote location, unpredictable geology, natural calamities, environment and forest issues, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) issues, law and order issues and inter-state issues,” Union power minister RK Singh told the Rajya Sabha on March 21. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/power/7-hydropower-projects-with-3110-mw-to-be-commissioned-in-fy-24-10300221.html  (23 March 2023)

Mizoram Govt plans to set up 5 hydropower projects with total capacity of 800 MW: DPRs already prepared for the Kolodyne-II HEP (460 MW), Tuival HEP (210 MW), Bairabi Dam Project (80 MW), Tuirini HEP (24 MW) and Tuivawl HEP (24 MW). https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/mizoram-plans-to-set-up-5-hydro-power-plants-of-800-mw-capacity/98890293  (22 March 2023)

Jharkhand Micro hydel plant by college dropout catches Nabard’s eye The bank is reviewing both technical and financial aspects before deciding if it can finance such initiatives in villages. Mahto’s dream is to provide free electricity to his native village, Bayang where most of the families are farmers and irrigation with free power could be a boon for them. The Nabard officials estimated that using conventional technology a 2MW hydel power plant would require 10 crore but if the model used by Mahto is scaled to generate 2MW the estimated expenses would be merely 2 crore.

The officials estimated that the plant has the capacity to generate 30-40 KV but it has not been used to the full capacity. The plant has been made with bamboo sticks and a self-made turbine and a crude generator. Mahto who never studied science runs plant 4-5 hours every day and claims that it incurs no cost at all. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ranchi/micro-hydel-plant-by-college-dropout-catches-nabards-eye/articleshow/98846830.cms  (21 March 2023)

MoEF Key decisions from the minutes of the EAC’s meeting held on March 7 2023:

1. Completion of Balance Works of Two Units (2×115 MW) at Lower Sileru Hydro Power House & Improvement of Power Canal Works at Mothugudem (v), Chintoor (m) of Alluri Sita Rama Raju Dist, Andhra Pradesh by AP Power Generation Corp Ltd – Environmental Clearance: APPROVED

2. Paidipalem North Pumped Storage Project (1000 MW) in 282.61 ha at village Paidipalem, Dist YSR (Andhra Pradesh) by New and Renewable Energy Development Corp of AP Ltd– Terms of Reference: APPROVED

3. Paidipalem East Pumped Storage Project (1200 MW) in 279.84 ha at village Paidipalem, Dist YSR (Andhra Pradesh) by M/s New and Renewable Energy Development Corp of AP Ltd – Terms of Reference: APPROVED

4. Kodayar Pumped Storage Hydro Electric Project of capacity 1500 MW at Village Pechiparai, Taluk Thiruvattar, Dist Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) by TN Generation & Distribution Corp Ltd- Terms of Reference: Sub Com to visit the site.

5. Demwe Lower Hydroelectric Project (1750 MW) in Lohit District of Arunachal Pradesh by M/s Athena Demwe Power Ltd – Extension validity of Environmental Clearance: PP asked to apply as validity till 11.02.2026. https://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/2103202340054026Final_MOM_43rd_EAC_River_07_03_23.pdf 

Decisions of MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee meeting held on Feb 23, 2023, as per the minutes now available:

1. Shahpur Pumped Storage Project (1800 MW) in 624.905 ha at Kaloni, Baint and Mungawali villages, Shahabad Tehsil, Dist Baran, (Rajasthan) by Greenko Energies Pvt Ltd–Environmental Clearance: More Info sought

2. Greenko TS01 Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project (750 MW) in 319.50 Ha, at Village Jhari, Tehsil Talamadugu, Dist Adilabad (Telangana) by Greenko Energies Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference: APPROVED

3. Greenko OD01 Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project (1200 MW) in 317.52 Ha, located at Village Talgad, Tehsil Jayapatna, Dist Kalahandi (Odisha) by Greenko Energies Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference: APPROVED

4. Astha MP Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project (1200 MW) at Village Navrangpura, Tehsil Maheshwar, Dist Khargone (Madhya Pradesh) by Astha Green Energy Ventures India Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference: APPROVED

5. Manalar Pumped Storage Hydro Electric Project of capacity 1200 MW at Village Surulipatti, Taluk Uthamapalayam, District Theni (Tamil Nadu) by TN Generation and Distribution Corp – Terms of Reference: APPROVED

6. Phata Byung Hydro Electric Project (76 MW) in 23.323 Ha, at Village Sitapur, Tehsil Okhimath, District Rudraprayag (Uttarakhand) by Lanco Mandakini Hydro Energy Pvt Ltd – Terms of Reference: INFO SOUGHT, SITE VISIT PLANNED https://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/2103202385039222FinalMoM_42_EAC_River_valley_23_02_2023.pdf


Karnataka De-silting of dams not exempted from EC: NGT NGT South Zone has imposed a penalty of 50 crore rupees on the Irrigation Department of Karnataka for conducting mining activities in Adyapadi and Shamburu Dams in the Dakshin Kannada district without obtaining environmental clearance, in violation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification of 2006. The bench held that dredging and desilting of dams are not exempted from obtaining prior Environmental Clearance as the sand was being extracted for commercial purposes.

In the present case, 14,51,680 MT of sand is going to be extracted from the silt, and the extracted sand will be sold commercially. The applicant states that the EIA Notification of 2006 exempts the taking of Environmental Clearance only for the purpose of maintenance, upkeep, and disaster management related to the dredging and desilting of dams, but not for commercial sand mining.

The Tribunal found that in this case, the desilting was done not only for the upkeep and maintenance of the dams but also to extract sand from the silt to be sold at a rate fixed by the government, which is an admitted commercial activity. As it involves commercial activity, it cannot be stated that the dredging activity is exempted as provided in Clause 6 of Appendix IX of the EIA Notification, 2006. Therefore, the impugned work order is contrary to the EIA Notification, 2006 for not having obtained the Environmental Clearance. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/ngt-impose-costs-karnataka-government-mining-activities-in-adyapadi-and-shamburu-dams-without-environmental-clearance-224741  (25 May 2023)

Madhya Pradesh Tribal people of Bothi village in Harda district of MP, to face submergence due to the proposed Morand Ganjal dam, have declared that they will submerge, but not leave the village. https://hindi.news18.com/news/madhya-pradesh/harda-tribals-protest-against-dam-construction-on-ganjal-river-irrigation-project-as-it-will-submerge-village-bothi-cited-pesa-act-5641963.html   (24 March 2023)

CWC to now supervise the repair and reconstruction of the Karam Dam in Dhar (MP) that broke during monsoon in 2022, starting from April 2023.

धार जिले में टूटे कारम डैम के बचे काम का जिम्मा फिर उसी कंपनी को सौपा गया है, जिसकी लापरवाही के कारण हजारों लोगों की जान पर बन आई थी। विभाग इसके पीछे तर्क दे रहा है कि बांध का काम जिस कंपनी को दिया गया है, उसे पूरा करना होगा। जानकारों का कहना है कि कंपनी पर अफसरों ने मेहरबानी दिखाई और काम अधूरा होने के बावजूद 90 प्रतिशत तक भुगतान कंपनी को कर दिया था। बांध टूटा तो यह पोल खुल गई। अब यदि उस कंपनी से बचा काम नहीं कराया जाता तो अफसर कंपनी को लाभ पहुंचाने के मामले में फंस सकते थे।

कंपनी ने ज्यादा भुगतान लेकर भी काम समय पर पूरा नहीं किया और वर्षाकाल में डैम में दरार आने के कारण उसके फूटने का खतरा पैदा हो गया था।  जल संसाधन विभाग 300 करोड़ रुपये की लागत से कारम डैम बनवाया था। काम समय पर नहीं हुआ। बांध में गेट भी नहीं लगाए गए। अफसरों ने मैदानी स्थिति देखे बगैर वर्षाकाल में बांध भरने की अनुमति दे डाली। जल संग्रहण का दबाव बांध की दीवार सह नहीं सकी और उसके टूटने का खतरा पैदा हो गया। बाद में अफसरों ने बांध के एक हिस्से में कट लगाकर बांध खाली कराया। https://www.amarujala.com/madhya-pradesh/dhar/karam-dam-dhar-only-the-blacklisted-company-was-given-the-work-of-karam-dam-again  (05 Nov. 2023)

सरकार के गले की घंटी बन चुके कारम डैम को लेकर एक बार फिर लापरवाही सामने आई है। पांच माह में भी सरकार तय नहीं कर पाई कि फूटे कारम डैम का क्या करना है? पांच महीने में मानसून फिर आएगा और फूटा डैम बड़ी परेशानी बन सकता है। ठीक पांच माह पहले 14 अगस्त को कारम डैम फूटा था। इसका निर्माण अब तक शुरू नहीं हुआ है। लापरवाही सामने आने पर कंपनी को ब्लैक लिस्ट कर दिया। फिर गुपचुप तरिके से बचा काम करने का वर्क प्लान भी मांग लिया। कंपनी ने पांच माह बाद भी काम शुरू नहीं किया है। अफसर किसी दूसरी कंपनी से भी काम नहीं करा रहे हैं। 

कारम डैम का काम 300 करोड़ रुपये में एएनएस कंपनी को दिया था। कंपनी ने जरूरत से ज्यादा पैसा ले लिया, लेकिन काम उतना नहीं किया। न ठीक से मिट्टी की पाल बनाई और न गेट लगाए। अफसरों ने भी बांध की गुणवत्ता देखे बिना उसे भरने की अनुमति दे दी। डैम पानी का दबाव सह नहीं पाया और उसमें दरार आ गई थी। तब उसमें सुराख कर तालाब खाली करना पड़ा था। https://www.amarujala.com/madhya-pradesh/indore/what-to-do-with-the-burst-karam-dam-the-government-could-not-decide-in-five-months-2023-01-14  (14 Jan. 2023)

नयाखेड़ा बांध बना तालाब:क्रेशरों के कारण बांध का कैचमेंट एरिया खत्म धार जिले के कारम बांध मामले के बाद केंद्रीय जल आयोग ने प्रदेश भर के बांधों की जांच कराकर रिपोर्ट जारी कर दी है। रिपोर्ट में आयोग ने MP के तीन बांधों को जर्जर घोषित किया है। इसमें सागर का नयाखेड़ा टैंक बांध शामिल है। इसके अलावा विदिशा के सम्राट अशोक सागर बांध (हलाली बांध) और नर्मदापुरम के खोरीपुरा बांध को जर्जर घोषित किया है। केंद्रीय जल आयोग की रिपोर्ट के बाद जल संसाधन विभाग सागर के अधिकारियों में हड़कंप है। अधिकारी बांध के संबंध में वरिष्ठ अधिकारियों को यह रिपोर्ट भेज रहे हैं कि बांध की रिपोर्ट भेजते समय गलती हुई थी। इस कारण बांध जर्जर की श्रेणी में पहुंच गया। बांध से किसी को खतरा नहीं है।

दरअसल, केंद्रीय जल आयोग ने अपनी रिपोर्ट में सागर के दमोह रोड स्थित 1992 में बने नयाखेड़ा बांध को जर्जर बताया है। बांध में दरार होने और पानी के रिसाव की आशंका जताई गई है। इससे बारिश के मौसम में संकट हो सकता है। पिछले वर्ष धार जिले में कारम बांध के टूटने के बाद केंद्रीय जल आयोग ने प्रदेश के बांधों की जांच कराई थी। इसी जांच की रिपोर्ट में प्रदेश के तीनों बांध को जर्जर घोषित किया गया है।

सागर के दमोह रोड पर चनाटौरिया के पास नयाखेड़ा टैंक बांध वर्तमान स्थिति में जर्जर हो चुका है। यहां बांध की चाबी, गेट चोरी हो गए हैं। पाल खस्ताहाल है। पत्थर उखड़ने लगे हैं। वहीं बांध की दीवार में दरारें आ गई हैं। इतना ही नहीं बांध का कैचमेंट एरिया कम हुआ है। इसका कारण आसपास क्रेशर मशीनों का संचालन और माइनिंग है। बांध के कैचमेंट एरिया में खुदाई होने से गड्‌ढे हो गए हैं। जिस कारण बारिश का पानी बांध में नहीं पहुंच पा रहा है। नतीजा बांध अपनी क्षमता से नहीं भर पाता। जिससे गर्मी के मौसम में न के बराबर पानी बांध में रह जाता है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/sagar/news/the-catchment-area-of-the-dam-is-over-due-to-the-crushers-the-central-water-commission-told-the-31-year-old-dam-dilapidated-131008895.html   (06 March 2023)

Uttarakhand Nod given to include Jamrani dam project in PMKSY The Public Investment Board (Ministry of Finance) has given its approval to include the Jamrani dam project in Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), a statement from the Chief Minister’s office (CMO) said on Saturday (March 25). https://theprint.in/india/uttarakhand-public-investment-board-gives-its-nod-to-include-jamrani-dam-project-in-pmksy/1472993/  (26 March 2023)

Mullaperiyar Dam CWC, SC panel say dam is safe Kerala and Tamil Nadu have not reported any issue with Mullaperiyar Dam, said the supervisory panel and the Central Water Commission (CWC) in a report submitted in the Supreme Court, Manorama News reported. The SC panel had visited the dam site in May, 2022 and technical teams from Kerala and Tamil Nadu were part of the inspections. The panel will visit the dam again on March 27 and a meeting will also be held the next day. https://www.onmanorama.com/news/kerala/2023/03/20/mullaperiyar-dam-supreme-court-panel-central-water-commission.html  (20 March 2023)

Sardar Sarovar Dam Reliance Industries plans hotels, resorts near Statue of Unity in Gujarat https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/hotels-/-restaurants/reliance-industries-plans-hotels-resorts-near-statue-of-unity-in-gujarat/articleshow/98843157.cms   (21 March 2023) Another Modi scheme stalled in less than a year after launch: The sea plan service between Sabarmati river front and Statue of Unity at Kevadiya, inaugurated by PM Modi on Oct 31 2020 has remained stalled since Apr 2021 for being too expensive. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/seaplane-service-to-statue-of-unity-discontinued-in-2021-gujarat-assembly-told-3886370  (23 March 2023)

Telangana Water flow into Godavari decreases Usually, SRSP officials release water for the yasangi crop at the end of March. However, they did so on March 20 as due to a dry spell, farmers from north Telangana districts demanded an early release of water. As a result, 3500 cusecs of water for Kakatiya canal, 800 cusecs for Saraswathi canal, 300 cusecs for Laxmi canal and 486 cusecs for Alisagar lift irrigation scheme were released. On the other hand, 152 cusecs of water is being released to serve the drinking water needs of people in undivided Nizamabad, Adilabad and Karimnagar districts through Mission Bhagiratha. Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a SRSP official said that the early release from the project has resulted in decrease into river Godavari. The water levels will decrease further in both the project and river Godavari next month, they said. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/260323/water-flow-into-river-godavari-decreases-on-ts-maharashtra-border.html  (26 March 2023)

Kerala Wild elephants camping near Malampuzha dam A herd of wild elephants that have been spotted in the area adjacent to the reservoir of the Malampuzha Dam in Palakkad district has likely arrived in search of water. Over 40 elephants, including calves, are present near the human habitation, the Forest Department has confirmed. Normally, herds of wild elephants do not camp in the dam area. But it is suspected that this herd has stayed put in the catchment area, without returning to the deep forest, owing to water scarcity in the forest as summer has peaked.  https://www.onmanorama.com/news/kerala/2023/03/24/wild-elephants-malampuzha-dam-palakkad.html  (24 March 2023)


Centre The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has issued addendum to the Dredging Guidelines for Major Ports 2021. This will make provision for use of dredging material for beneficial purposes in bidding process with necessary clearance from the authorities. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1910356  (24 March 2023)

Fly Ash Barge Accidents Tracker This tracker provides information on the accidents involving fly ash barges on National Waterways in India. The purple shipwreck icon in the map, when clicked gives a brief description of the capsized barges carrying fly ash, and links and references for further information. https://www.manthan-india.org/work-theme/inland-waterways/maps-trackers-national-waterways-in-india/ 


Karnataka Hundreds of farmers walk 300km to raise water woes Hundreds of farmers from around Bengaluru — especially from Chikkaballapur district and parts of Bengaluru Rural — who said have had no access to potable water for over two decades, completed an over 300km padayatra to push for safe drinking water and irrigation facilities. Farmers said they decided on the march after exhausting “all options” for a solution to the issue and to sensitize citizens about “false promises” of political parties in the past. The timing too is significant since elections are around the corner. Premier scientific research organisations have painted a grim picture of the region’s water situation. Recent samples even show traces of uranium. Farmers are seeking to build collective opinion on possible solutions. While flagging off the padayatra on March 3 at Vidurashwatha, near Gauribidanur, in Chikkaballapur district, retired Supreme Court Justice V Gopala Gowda said the region spread over 8,000sqkm was once dotted with over 4,000 lakes and 2,000 ponds but now has no water.   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/hundreds-of-farmers-walk-300km-to-raise-water-woes/articleshow/99004317.cms  (26 March 2023)

Madhya Pradesh किसानों ने अधूरे पड़े नहर में किया विरोध प्रदर्शन रीवा जिले के सिरमौर तहसील अंतर्गत लालगांव सर्किल के आस-पास सिसवां, टेहरा और लालगांव के कई किसानों ने सूखी पड़ी टेहरा-सिसवां की तरफ जाने वाली नहर के बीचों बीच पैदल मार्च कर प्रदर्शन किया. किसानों का कहना है कि कई बार अधिकारियों और जनप्रतिंधियों के सामने बात रखी गई. लेकिन अभी तक कोई हल नहीं निकला है. किसानों का कहना है कि उन्हें पानी की जरूरत है. पानी नहीं होने की वजह से उनकी खेती प्रभावित हो रही है. किसानों ने कहा कि नहर में यदि पानी नहीं दिया जाता और नहर की मरम्मत नहीं की जाती तो किसान आगे बड़ा आंदोलन कर सकते है. किसानों और गांव वालों का कहना है कि बाणसागर के नाम पर कई सिंचाई परियोजनाएं आईं और गईं लेकिन हालात जस के तस बने हुए है.अपने निजी उपयोग के लिए कराए गए बोरवेल से किसान सिंचाई से लेकर पेयजल की आवश्यकताओं की पूर्ति कर रहे हैं. जहां तक सिंचाई का सवाल है तो नहरों में पानी ही नहीं रहता. इसका एक बड़ा कारण नहर का टूटा-फूटा होना भी है. https://hindi.news18.com/news/madhya-pradesh/rewa-bad-condition-due-to-heat-in-march-ponds-and-wells-dried-up-farmers-protested-in-incomplete-canal-5520561.html  (12 March 2023)

Andhra Pradesh 9 irrigation projects near completion Since 2019 till the end of 2022, a total Rs 543.25 crore was spent on these nine projects, as disclosed in the State Legislative Assembly on the first day of the ongoing Budget session. In the budget 2023, a fund worth Rs 394.23 crore was allocated for irrigation projects in the coastal districts. Among these, most of them commenced more than a decade ago, but have picked up pace in the last few years.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2023/mar/21/irrigation-projects-in-ap-to-be-a-game-changer-2558059.html  (21 March 2023)


Mithi; Mumbai Experts propose 5 ways that can alter the course of its future An urbanist and environmental engineer pair curious about the potential of taming Mumbai’s most capricious river fashion five opportunities that can alter the course of its future. https://www.mid-day.com/sunday-mid-day/article/mithi-on-my-mind-23276016  (21 March 2023)

Jhelum; Srinagar People will be able to enjoy RFD works by August: LG https://www.greaterkashmir.com/videos/video-people-will-be-able-to-enjoy-jhelums-river-front-works-in-srinagar-by-august-lg  (21 March 2023)


Interview Rivers need scientific revival, not cosmetic changes Prof Venkatesh Dutta:-Sadly, government interventions remain cosmetic and expensive. The emphasis is to follow the ecological principles and science of restoration that allows a river its natural flow. This science is not money-centric. The government has set up many departments, but you don’t need a lot of money to implement these basic principles. In our report, we emphasise how the Gomti river basin recharges underground water tables before and after the monsoons, while its underground water table helps the river maintain its flow. https://www.newsclick.in/rivers-need-scientific-revival-not-money-and-cosmetic-changes  (22 March 2023)

Author Shirish Khare talks about his new book Nadi Sinduri. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA61ql055Y8   (01 March 2023)

Report How serious is India’s water crisis “Pollution compromises the water and river bed soil quality, which adversely affects the biota (life forms) in it, and developmental projects play havoc with the river as a system, changing its pattern of flow, extent of floodplains, and its propensity to freely meander and erode and deposit silt on its banks,” said Manoj Misra, a retired Indian Forest Service officer who is an expert on water issues and convener of the not-for-profit ‘Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan’. Misra added that the harm to rivers endangers the habitat conditions for aquatic and riparian biota (both plants and animals) and impacts rivers’ ability to recharge groundwater “affecting the nation’s water security”.

Mindless development takes a toll on river beds, ponds, tanks, lakes, etc. Statistics show 1.6% (38,496) of India’s 24.2 lakh waterbodies have already been encroached while 53,396 of them in rural areas are not in use as they have dried up, silted or turned saline, increasing the use of groundwater. “Encroachment due to development projects, which alters the system in a far more fundamental manner, is often ignored or seen more as a mitigational challenge, which is a reflection of the poor understanding of rivers as an ecosystem by planners and engineers,” said Misra. Eklavya Prasad, founder of the non-profit Megh Pyne Abhiyan that works on groundwater management issues in eastern India, said high levels of salinity, fluoride, nitrate, iron, arsenic, uranium, and some toxic metal ions had been observed over large areas, making groundwater hazardous. Prasad said the over-exploitation of groundwater is threatening agriculture, drinking water availability, industry, and even water-based cultural practices. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/how-serious-is-indias-water-crisis/articleshow/98887141.cms  (22 March 2023)

Arunachal Pradesh MLA assures infra funds in erosion-affected Sigar As many as 47 families out of the total 70 have been displaced due to massive river erosion in the village. The affected families have been relocated to a nearby place. The Siang river also washed away the building and the playground of the lower primary school (LPS) here, besides the anganwadi centre, the community hall, orchards, and several acres of fertile land.

Addressing a public meeting organised by the villagers here on Tuesday (March 21), local MLA Lombo Tayeng said, “The state government has submitted a proposal for an erosion protection project with an estimated cost of Rs 228 crore to the union jal shakti ministry for protection of erosion on the left bank of the Siang river in Mebo subdivision, covering 28 kms,” Tayeng said. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2023/03/22/mla-assures-to-seek-funds-for-infra-development-in-erosion-affected-sigar/  (22 March 2023)

Jammu & Kashmir Time to save Jhelum Presently, the water quality of the river has extremely worsened. According to official sources, the water of the river is not only unfit for consumption but it has actually turned into a source for various water borne diseases. All the waste from slaughter houses and human excreta coming from the city are drained into river Jhelum. We do not have any holistic sewerage project even in Srinagar. Free access of silt, liquid and solid waste has ruined the whole river and subsequently the Wular Lake too.

The experts reveal that fast urban growth coupled with intensified agricultural practices, disposal of municipal drainage and sewage has altered the aquatic ecosystem in the river Jhelum, which has resulted in alarming increase in eutrophication and pollution level of the water body. From industrial wastes produced by hotels and factories to household garbage, plastics and all kinds of scrap material left behind by the unmindful construction activities, everything seems to be finally finding its way into the river Jhelum. The irony is that the big claims made by the then authorities in light of 2014 floods to save the river from unwanted human interference have proved vacuous. This can prove disastrous for Kashmir. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/editorial-page/time-is-now-save-river-jhelum  (14 March 2023)

Meghalaya NGT orders state govt to stop sewage dumping into rivers In a hard-hitting remark, the NGT has castigated government officials for bungling in solid waste management and preventing pollution since sewage is directly being dumped into the Umshyrpi river near Shillong Law College and Wah Umkhrah.The NGT, in its hearing on Wednesday (March 22), said that it appears during interaction that the officers are not acquainted with the steps which need to be taken to mitigate the problem as per established guidelines. The Tribunal had taken up the matter following a report on this issue published in The Shillong Times on February 23, 2022. The Tribunal commented that untreated sewage or other waste should not be discharged into sources of potable water which is an offence under the Water Act.

Old image of Jhelum in Srinagar. Dr. Showkat Rashid Wani/GK

“The State of Meghalaya must re-visit its practices and policies accordingly and ensure that no faecal enters into drains or through drains to the rivers in question,” it said in the order. “Tribunal noted the huge gap in compliance of solid and liquid waste management norms and the state government committed to deposit Rs 109 crore in a ring-fenced account to address the gaps,” the order said. The matter has been taken up in view of captioned media reports that untreated sewage is directly being dumped into river Umshyrpi near Shillong Law College and river Wah Umkhrah at Demthring. Trade effluents are also being discharged in the Lukha river and on inspection, the SPCB found the river water to have turned blue and also found Lunar river to be highly acidic. There are cement factories which are also a source of pollution, apart from power plants, breweries and ferro-alloy companies, the tribunal observed. https://theshillongtimes.com/2023/03/24/ngt-orders-state-govt-to-stop-sewage-dumping-into-rivers/  (24 March 2023)

Odisha NGT suspends EC for JSW’s steel project The NGT issued the order while hearing an appeal of Prafulla Samantara, rights activist and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, who had challenged the validity of the EC granted to the project. Mr. Samantara said the appraisal conducted by the EAC was procedurally, as well as, substantively erroneous. Stating that the project was detrimental to the environment, the activist pointed out that water would be sourced from the Mahanadi river which was a source of water supply to the inhabitants, while it would add pollution to the already polluted area. It would result in a decrease in the forest cover and impact the flora and fauna in the eco sensitive area.

“We are conscious that the project involves huge investment. At the same time, the principle of sustainable development cannot be ignored. Apart from the significant issue of the public hearing, the project being located near a polluted area, the jetty being unnecessarily close to an established port, the huge water being drawn from the river which may affect the drinking water needs and the flow of the river, are other important issues which need express consideration,” the NGT said. “Permissibility of sourcing water from Mahanadi when drinking water is scarce has not been duly evaluated,” the NGT noted.

Mr. Samantara said: “the order of the NGT exposed the hush-hush manner in which the EIA was conducted for the project. People were kept in the dark about the EIA in the public hearing. The project would prove to be a disaster for a locality where people are self-sustained for their reliance on fishing and betel leaf farming.”  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngt-suspends-environmental-clearance-for-jsw-proposed-65000-crore-mega-steel-project-in-odisha/article66654128.ece  (24 March 2023)

Goa Locals accuse Railways of blocking tributaries Goencho Ekvott members and other local villagers, including Velsao Sarpanch Diana Gouveia, on Saturday, (March 11) accused the Railways of blocking the tributaries of River Sal and natural drains as part of double tracking works. Villagers feared that blocking of tributaries would lead to flood-like situations in the village, as the waterway is connected to the sea.  The Goencho Ekvott also alleged that ex-Panch Ashok Souza, who is also Vice-Chairman of Goencho Ekvott, was threatened by the police. 

Goencho Ekvott Founder Member Orville Dourado Rodrigues claimed that the RVNL with the tacit support of Goa Police placed two concrete pipes in the path of the natural flow/tidal movements adjacent to an over 133-year-old masonry culvert on which are laid the existing railway track. He said the work was done despite stiff opposition from locals who spontaneously gathered at the site of the tributary of the river Sal on noticing the construction activity.  https://www.thegoan.net/goa-news/ngo-and-velsao-locals-accuse-railways-of-blocking-tributaries/96358.html  (12 March 2023)

Gujarat Highest number of ‘highly polluted’ river stretches The MoEFCC has revealed that Gujarat has the highest number of highly polluted river stretches (PRS) in India. Six stretches in Gujarat were classified under Priority-I i.e. critically polluted for four years from 2018 to 2022. This is the highest for a single state in India, along with Uttar Pradesh. The data has been compiled by the CPCB. Sabarmati, Amlakhadi, Bhadar and Khari have remained under Priority-I for the past four years. Three of these rivers – Sabarmati (292mg/ L); Bhadar (258.6 mg/L) and Khari (195 mg/L) – have among the highest biological oxygen demand (BOD) levels against permissible level of 3mg/L. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-has-highest-number-of-highly-polluted-river-stretches-in-india/articleshow/98982122.cms  (25 March 2023)

GANGA Uttarakhand Chardham Project work in high-risk seismic zones can put tremendous pressure on a super-sensitive ecological area Priyadarshini Patel. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/tremors-from-himalayas-chardham-project-work-in-high-risk-seismic-zones-can-put-tremendous-pressure-on-a-super-sensitive-ecological-area/  (22 March 2023)

लक्ष्मणझूला, स्वर्गाश्रम और बैराज में गंगा जल आचमन योग्य है। प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड की रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक यहां गंगाजल ए श्रेणी का है। वहीं लक्कड़घाट से गंगाजल की गुणवत्ता घटकर बी श्रेणी यानी केवल नहाने योग्य हो जाती है। इसका सबसे कारण यह कि श्यामपुर से लेकर रायवाला तक गंदे नाले अब भी गंगा में गिर रहे हैं। https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-pollution-control-board-report-revealed-ganga-river-is-not-clean-beyond-rishikesh-2023-03-21  (21 March 2023)

Uttar Pradesh SC stays NGT’s Rs. 120cr fine for untreated sewage discharge On March 21, the Supreme Court stayed the NGT’s order dated Sept. 13, 2022 imposing an environmental compensation of 120 crores rupees for discharging untreated sewage into the rivers of Gorakhpur district and improper solid waste management. The bench further explained, “We, however, clarify that this shall not be construed as obviating the duty of the State to comply with all other directions and to report compliance to the Tribunal.” Proceeding Before NGT In 2014, an application was filed in NGT raising concerns about the contamination of water bodies and groundwater due to the discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents, particularly in Ramgarh Lake, Ami, Rapti, and Rohani Rivers.

On the issue of control of water pollution the Tribunal found that “From the data presented by the State itself, apart from past violations, continuing violations of discharge of untreated sewage into the drains, rivers and other water bodies is more than 50 MLD. As against reported generation of sewage in Gorakhpur to the extent of about 100 MLD, treatment is not more than 45 MLD.” The NGT also constituted a six-member joint committee to plan and execute remedial measures aimed at achieving environmental norms, preferably within six months. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-ngt-order-compensation-discharge-of-untreated-sewage-improper-solid-waste-management-224358  (21 March 2023)

Kolkata KMDA mulls master plan to reduce Ganga pollution Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) plans to engage a consultant to prepare a master plan for pollution abatement in the Ganga and its tributary basin in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area for the projected population of 2042. Officials said that the overall plan was to thoroughly upgrade and further develop the existing drainage and sewerage network system of riverfront cities and townships here. The master plan will mention ways on how to prevent the polluted drainage and sewer water of riverfront townships from going into the river, and where the solid waste disposal system could be upgraded to prevent river water pollution. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/kolkata-metropolitan-development-authority-mulls-master-plan-to-reduce-ganga-pollution/articleshow/99003252.cms  (26 March 2023)

YAMUNA Delhi Order to vacate floodplains in 3 days challenged Bela Estate residents plea before the single judge was for rehabilitation and a stay on the demolition of their jhuggis till the pendency of their plea. The single judge had in its order noted that the High Court on August 17, 2022 had recorded that the residents had concealed certain material facts in their plea, including that the fathers of the eighteen of the residents had instituted litigation in respect of the same property right up to the Supreme Court and lost.

In the appeal before the division bench, the residents claimed that “all the documents pertaining to were on record of the court and the court could have seen that the land in question in the previous litigations were large tracts of agricultural land on which they were farming”. “The petitioners had never before filed any petition for rehabilitation and the rehabilitation issue of the petitioners was never considered by any court and unfortunately neither by the court which has passed the impugned order,” the appeal states. The appeal claims that the residents are “poor farmers” and seeks a direction against any demolition of the jhuggies till the pendency of the appeal along with a survey of the area as well as an appropriate rehabilitation scheme be drawn. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/bela-estate-occupants-vacate-yamuna-floodplains-8510589/  (21 March 2023)

Report According to a CSE report, 63% of wetlands and water bodies in Yamuna floodplains in Delhi are dried. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/63-of-waterbodies-in-yamuna-floodplain-dry-report/articleshow/98951636.cms  (24 March 2023)

Pragati Maidan tunnel plagued by water leakage Months after its opening, water leakage and seepage inside the 1.2-km-long Pragati Maidan tunnel remains a persistent problem. The six-lane tunnel, which connects the Ring Road with India Gate, via Purana Qila Road near National Sports Club, will be used by foreign delegates coming to the city for the G-20 Summit that will be held at the Pragati Maidan convention centre in September. The tunnel provides direct access to the centre.

Since its inauguration in June last year by the Prime Minister, the tunnel has faced seepage issues due to which the surface is mostly wet. A small portion of the wall on the Supreme Court side and the exit towards Noida and ITO was also in poor shape. According to the PWD, work is underway to repair the surface and side walls before the G-20 Summit. Meanwhile, the 1.8-km-long Benito Juarez Marg underpass, which was also inaugurated last year, is facing similar leakage issues. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/pragati-maidan-tunnel-plagued-by-water-leakage-delhi-8519847/  (26 March 2023)

No Delhi drain met pollution standard None of the 18 major drains in Delhi met the BOD limit of 30mg/litre or less in the month of March, the latest water analysis report released by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) showed. This indicates that considerable efforts are still required to control sewage and industrial effluents flowing through these drains into the Yamuna. The report also found that the BOD level at Najafgarh drain, which carries nearly 69% of Delhi’s total sewage into the Yamuna, has continued to rise for the third consecutive month and was recorded at 58mg/litre in March. In February, it was 55mg/litre, and 53mg/litre in January. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/no-delhi-drain-met-pollution-standard-data-101679854313551.html  (26 March 2023)

Pink foam seen floating Pink foam from toxic industrial waste was seen floating in the Yamuna river near Okhla Barrage in New Delhi on March 21.

However, this is not the first time toxic foam has been spotted on the Yamuna river; last year, in October, just ahead of Chhath Puja, heavy foam was spotted on the river. The Delhi Jal Board then sprayed chemicals on the toxic foam to dissolve it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zrG5aAWm1c  https://indianexpress.com/videos/news-video/pink-foam-from-toxic-industrial-waste-seen-floating-in-yamuna-river-near-okhla-barrage-new-delhi-2/   (21 March 2023)

Water supply from Ganga canal affected According to officials of the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam, the Upper Ganga Canal was shut around 4pm on March 21 from Haridwar to avoid the deposition of silt due to excess rainfall in upstream areas. “Farmers also don’t need water, as it is harvesting time. So, this has reduced supply by about 50%. We expect the canal to resume operations in a week,” said Unmesh Shukla, executive engineer, UP Jal Nigam, adding the canal is cleaned of silt every year. Water from the Upper Ganga Canal accounts for 26.5% of the daily water needs of the national capital, and feeds two water treatment plants of the DJB, Sonia Vihar and Bhagirathi, which cater to areas in east, and north-east Delhi, and some colonies in south Delhi. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhis-water-supply-from-ganga-canal-hit-as-jal-board-warns-of-tough-days-ahead-101679595771827.html  (24 March 2024)

Budget: 6-point plan to clean river According to the government’s plan, over the next year there will be a 41% rise in Delhi’s sewage treatment capacity from the existing 632MGD to 890MGD, and 570 new unauthorised colonies will be added to sewage network. The CM had announced the six-point action plan on November 18, 2021, to clean the river by February 2025. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-budget-6-point-plan-to-clean-yamuna-amid-proposalto-expand-sewer-network-101679510632987.html  (23 March 2023)

Ammonia removal plant to help cleanse water The Delhi government on Friday (March 24) announced the setting up of an ammonia removal plant to treat polluted Yamuna water coming from Haryana. The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting where CM asked to set up the plant within six months. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2023/mar/25/ammonia-removal-plant-to-help-cleanse-yamuna-water-2559379.html  (25 March 2023)

Uttar Pradesh ‘Action plan only on paper, nothing done on ground level’: NGT Observing that there is rampant unregulated industrial and sewage pollution in the Hindon River and neglect by authorities, the NGT came down heavily on the state government for not following its earlier orders while hearing a petition seeking action against polluters and cleaning of the river. The petitioner said in spite of the categorical direction, authorities in UP have failed to take any meaningful action and are thus neglecting their constitutional duty.

Considering this, a bench of Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel and Members Sudhir Agrawal, and Dr A Senthil Vel on Friday (March 17) directed to constitute a joint committee headed by the chief secretary of UP with the involvement of the MoEF&CC, NMCG, CPCB, UPPCB, and concerned district magistrate to take remedial action for control of pollution of Hindon without further delay and also to deploy field monitoring teams to assess the real ground situation. Along with this, the tribunal has also directed to involve concerned commissioners or superintendents of police, additional chief secretary, Environment, and ACS/principal secretary, Urban Development Department, State Irrigation and Flood Control, Uttar Pradesh in the committee. NGT also said that an action taken report in all aspects should be filed before June 30.

According to the report submitted by UPPCB in NGT, there are 310 grossly polluting industries (GPIs) discharging their effluent in the river. Out of this, 220 such industries are in Ghaziabad, 22 in Greater Noida, 7 in Baghpat, 35 in Saharanpur, 32 in Muzaffarnagar, and 4 in Meerut. The report also stated that the STPs are inadequate and not meeting the norms resulting in untreated sewage being discharged into the river. According to UPPCB, 844.63 MLD of sewage is being discharged into the river. The maximum amount of sewage flown to the river from Ghaziabad which is 381 MLD.  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/action-plan-paper-nothing-done-ground-level-ngt-raps-up-hindon-river-pollution-8507453/  (20 March 2023) https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/ngt-hindon-river-up-industrial-sewage-pollution-224174  (19 March 2023)


Chandigarh To maintain ecological balance in the Sukhna Lake, the UT Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department has removed nearly 221 quintals of large and old fish from the lake in the past 10 days. The contract for removing the fish was worth 33 lakh. The department started the activity in consultation with the Forest Department and Zoology Department, Panjab University, on March 12. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/221quintals-of-big-fish-removed-from-sukhna-490737  (24 March 2023)


SANDRP Blog 2023: Riverbed Mining Deaths & Violence in South India On the basis of media reports we could track, there has been death of at least 24 persons in sand mining related accidents and violence in 5 states of South India including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala between April 2022 and February 2023.

Maximum deaths 15 and injuries 11 have taken place in 07 road accidents involving sand transporting vehicles followed by 07 death in a single incident of drowning in sand pits while 01 during mishaps at mining site and 01 due to assault by illegal sand miners. Tamil Nadu has seen the most human deaths at 15 including 8 deaths and 11 injuries in 2 road accidents by sand carrying vehicles. All the 7 drowning deaths have also happened in Tamil Nadu in a single incident taking place in Gedilam near Nellikuppam in Cuddalore district on 5 June 2022. https://sandrp.in/2023/03/21/2023-riverbed-mining-deaths-violence-in-south-india/  (21 March 2023)

Haryana Is sand mining affecting Yamuna flows? Himanshu Thakkar of the SANDRP said, “The basic issue when it comes to riverbed mining is governance. It should be legal mining, which means that only what is permitted should happen and there should be a credible mechanism to ensure that. The stakeholder who can ensure legal mining is the local community.”

On whether riverbed mining can have an impact on water downstream in Delhi, he said, “It can have an impact. To what extent it can be affected at different locations needs to be studied. The sand in the river plays an important role in sustaining the river’s flow and its biodiversity, ensuring groundwater recharge. When you remove that unsustainably and disturb the stream by creating bridges or embankments, the ecosystem will get destroyed. The MoEFCC guidelines say that miners cannot disturb the flowing stream.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-hardlook-disquiet-flows-the-yamuna-8507100/  (20 March 2023)

No action against Rajasthan firm for illegal mining The local police are yet to take action against a lease-holding Rajasthan firm that was booked 12 days ago for carrying out illegal mining at Dostpur village here located on the border of Haryana and Rajasthan. The illegal mining, as claimed by residents, continues in the village. The police and mining officials say it is yet to be re-verified whether the mining zone falls in the limit of Haryana or not because the Rajasthan authorities claim that they are not carrying out mining in Haryana.

Early in 2022, villagers had complained of illegal mining and the Deputy Commissioner had formed a joint committee of officials of Mining, Revenue, Forest and Police Departments for the demarcation of the area where the mining was conducted. The committee then got the demarcation done on December 21, 2022 and found that illegal mining was conducted by M/s Sahaj Bharti Mines, said sources. In the FIR registered on March 7 on the complaint of a local mining officer, it has clearly been mentioned that the Deputy Commissioner had formed a joint committee for the demarcation of the area. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/criminal-nexus-no-action-against-rajasthan-firm-for-illegal-mining-in-haryana-489514  (20 March 2023)

Chambal Sanctuary Three States begin joint action to stop illegal sand mining Three States have commenced joint action to stop illegal sand mining in National Chambal Sanctuary, situated at the trijunction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, which is known for its population of critically endangered gharials. The Chambal river cuts through the mazes of ravines and hills in the sanctuary.

Coordination among the three States was discussed at a high-level meeting in Jaipur on Tuesday (March 21) with emphasis on protecting the fragile lotic ecosystem critical for breeding of gharials, which are fish-eating crocodiles. Illegal sand mining is threatening the flora and fauna in some parts of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is listed as an ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Area’ and is also a proposed Ramsar site. About 320 species of resident and migratory birds inhabit the sanctuary, and migratory birds from Siberia form part of its rich avian fauna. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/three-states-begin-joint-action-to-stop-illegal-sand-mining-in-the-chambal-sanctuary/article66645763.ece  (21 March 2023)

Uttarakhand क्रशर माफिया को खदेड़ने वाली कुलसारी की योद्धा महिलायें, 9 माह से स्टोन क्रशर माफियाओं के खिलाफ कमर कसकर खड़ी है नारी शक्ति

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSGmFN6wDSc  (24 March 2023)

Uttar Pradesh राजधानी लखनऊ में सीतापुर के माहोली से एक बुजुर्ग अवैध खनन की शिकायत लेकर पहुंचे। वह सड़क किनारे मुख्यमंत्री योगी आदित्यनाथ से मिलने के लिए एक पत्र लिखते मिले। वीडियो में बुजुर्ग कह रहे हैं, “गांव में हमारी जमीन और नदी के पास जोरदार खनन हो रहा है। यह गांव के 17 लोग करा रहे हैं जिसमें दो प्रधान शामिल हैं। अगर हम बोले तो वो लोग हमको मार डालेंगे।” बुजुर्ग बता रहे हैं कि आज तक कोई बाकी नहीं रहा जिसको उन्होंने शिकायत न की हो। बुजुर्ग ने बताया कि उन्होंने इसकी शिकायत प्रधानमंत्री से लेकर मुख्यमंत्री, पुलिस महानिदेशक, खनन विभाग और मंडलायुक्त में रजिस्ट्री भेजकर की है, लेकिन कोई सुनवाई नहीं हुई। उन्होंने बताया कि बिना अनुमति हो रहे अवैध खनन की शिकायत के लिए अखिलेश यादव से भी मिलने गए थे, लेकिन वह यहां हैं नहीं। वीडियो पर सीतापुर पुलिस ने संज्ञान लिया है। https://hindi.newsbytesapp.com/news/india/uttar-pradesh-elderly-reached-lucknow-complaining-of-illegal-mining-in-sitapur/story  (16 March 2023) बुजुर्ग ने बताया, “गांव में हमारी जमीन और नदी के पास जोरदार खनन हो रहा है। यह गांव के 17 लोग करा रहे हैं इसमें दो प्रधान शामिल हैं। अगर हम बोले तो वो लोग हमको मार डालेंगे। इस मामले में दर्जन भर से ज्यादा शिकायतें अलग अलग स्तर पर कर चुके हैं। फिर से वह यूपी सीएम से मिलने की कोशिशें कर रहे हैं। https://www.patrika.com/lucknow-news/a-man-write-a-letter-to-yogi-adityanath-8105712/  (17 March 2023)

सोनभद्र में जाम में फंसी एम्बुलेंस में बालक की हुई मौत सोनभद्र मुख्यालय के पास रॉबर्ट्सगंज के लोढ़ी टोल प्लाजा पर बुधवार को खनिज विभाग की जांच के चलते मारकुंडी घाटी में लगे भीषण जाम में एक एम्बुलेंस फंस गयी।जाम में कई घंटे फंसी रही एम्बुलेंस में जा रहे एक सात वर्षीय बीमार बालक की मौत हो गयी।पूर्व में कई घटनाओं के बावजूद बुधवार को बालू गिट्टी लदे ट्रकों की जांच खनिज विभाग द्वारा की जा रही थी। इसी दौरान सिंगरौली से आ रही एक प्राइवेट एंबुलेंस जाम में फस गयी। एंबुलेंस में दो बीमार बच्चे मौजूद थे। घंटों तक जाम में फंसे रहने के कारण एक बच्चे ने एंबुलेंस में ही दम तोड़ दिया।बच्चे की मौत के बाद मौके पर कोहराम मच गया।मौत की खबर सुनते ही सैकड़ों की भीड़ मौके पर आक्रोशित हो गयी। बच्चे के शव को सड़क पर रख परिजनों सहित लोग प्रदर्शन करने लगे। इस दौरान जमकर हंगामा हुआ। हंगामे की सूचना मिलने पर मौके पर पहुँची ने पीड़ित परिवार को समझा-बुझाकर जाम खुलवाया और बच्चे के परिजनों को वापस भेज दिया गया। जानकारी के मुताबिक मारकुंडी घाटी में खनिज विभाग के इंस्पेक्टर द्वारा लगातार बालू गिट्टी लदे ट्रकों की आए दिन चेकिंग की जाती है। जिसके चलते ट्रकों का भीषण जाम अक्सर लगा रहता है। सिंगरौली निवासी सद्दाम हुसैन ने बताया कि वह सर्पदंश के शिकार अपने भतीजे चांद बाबू को लेकर वाराणसी इलाज के लिए जा रहे थे। जाम कई किलोमीटर लम्बा लगा हुआ था। एम्बुलेंस बैरियर से लगभग एक-डेढ़ किलोमीटर पहले ही जाम में फंसी हुयी थी। https://www.thepowertime.com/article/2023/6411b9ae2aa4c  (15 March 2023) बता दें कि यह कोई पहली घटना नहीं है. इससे पहलेभी एंबुएं लेंस में आ रहे मरीजों के जाम मेंफंसनेकी घटनाएं हो चुकी हैं, जिसके चलतेलोगों को परेशानी होती है, लेकिन न तो जिला प्रशासन और ना ही खनिज विभाग इस समस्या की तरफ ध्यान दे रहा है. https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/delhi/bharat/ambulance-stuck-in-sonbhadra-lodhi-toll-plaza-jam-for-hours-child-dies/na20230315162424202202606   (15 March 2023) सोनभद्र: राबर्ट्सगंज के इको प्वाइंट के पास बुधवार को घंटों जाम में एक एम्बुलेंस फंसी रही. एम्बुलेंस में जुगैल थाना क्षेत्र के बरगवां में सड़क दुर्घटना मेंघायल हुआ मरीज था, जिसे ऑक्सीजन भी लगाई गई थी. जाम बालू-गिट्टी की ट्रकों द्वारा लगाया गया था. इस दौरान एम्बुलेंस चालक वाहन को निकालने के प्रयास में लगा रहा. बाद में एम्बुलेंस चालक ने पुलिस को सूचना दी. मौके पर पहुंची पुलिस ने किसी तरह दो घंटे बाद एम्बुलेंस को जाम से निकालकर जिला अस्पताल भिजवाया  https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttar-pradesh/state/sonbhadra/traffic-jam-in-sonbhadra-ambulance-stuck-in-traffic-jam-in-sonbhadra/up20230202072839905905570  (02 Feb. 2023)

Madhya Pradesh जिलाध्यक्ष का आरोप- खनिज मंत्री के संरक्षण में रेत माफिया सक्रिय नर्मदा नदी में वीडियो बनाते समय कुछ लोगों ने सांडियां कांग्रेस मंडलम नेता महेश पटेल और उनके साथी सचिन शर्मा की घेरकर जमकर पिटाई कर दी। इसके बाद दोनों के खिलाफ बरेली थाने में मामला दर्ज करा दिया था। रेत माफिया के गुर्गों के चंगुल से छूट कर सचिन शर्मा गुरुवार रात पिपरिया पहुंचे। यहां कांग्रेस सहित संगठनों ने अवैध रेत उत्खनन के खिलाफ सरकार पर हमला बोला। कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ताओं ने रात में मंगलवार (March 21) थाने पहुंचकर मारपीट करने वालों के खिलाफ FIR दर्ज करने की मांग की।

कांग्रेस जिला अध्यक्ष पुष्पराज सिंह पटेल ने आरोप लगाया कि जिले में 18 साल से भू माफियाओं की अलग सरकार चल रही। जिले के प्रभारी मंत्री के पास खनिज विभाग है, उनके इशारे पर जिले में रेत माफिया सक्रिय हैं। यहां दिन-रात अवैध उत्खनन हो रहा है। जिले की हर खदान पर अवैध उत्खनन हो रहा है। राजस्व अधिकारियों को खदानों की सीमा के बारे में जानकारी नहीं है। पूछने पर हर बात को टालते हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/amp/local/mp/narmadapuram/pipariya/news/congress-district-presidents-allegation-sand-mafia-active-under-the-protection-of-mineral-minister-call-for-market-shutdown-tomorrow-131078372.html  (24 March 2023)

BJP नेता के ट्रैक्टर से अवैध रेत खनन के बुरहानपुर में अवैध रेत माफियाओं की गुंडागर्दी का मामला सामने आया है. रेत माफियाओं पर कार्रवाई करने के लिए पहुंचे खनिज निरीक्षक के साथ बदसलूकी और छीना-झपटी की गई है. पुलिस बल पहुंचने के बाद भी माफिया रेत से भरा ट्रैक्टर ले गए. अवैध रेत से भरी ट्रैक्टर ट्राली शाहपुर के बीजेपी नेता वीरेंद्र तिवारी की है. अब इस मामले पर खनिज निरीक्षक ने शाहपुर थाने में केस दर्ज किया है. बुरहानपुर के शाहपुर क्षेत्र के सुपपुरी के घाट से निरीक्षक टीम ने अवैध रेत उत्खनन और परिवहन करते हुए एक ट्रैक्टर ट्राली को पकड़ा.

उसी दौरान ट्रैक्टर का ड्राइवर और उसके साथियों ने खनिज विभाग के निरीक्षक गोविंद पाल और उनकी टीम के साथ बदसलूकी और छीना-झपटी की. साथ ही शाहपुर क्षेत्र के सत्ताधारी नेता वीरेंद्र तिवारी को फोन कर खनिज निरीक्षक की बात भी करवाई. इसमें बीजेपी नेता वीरेंद्र तिवारी बार-बार अपने ड्राइवर और साथियों को बोलते हुए नजर आ रहे हैं कि ट्रैक्टर वहां से ले जाओ. इसके बाद अवैध खनन से जुड़े लोगों ने रेत से भरा ट्रैक्टर वहां से भगा कर ले गए. इतना ही नहीं खनिज निरीक्षक गोविंद पाल और उनकी टीम को कहा कि आपसे जो बनता है. वह कर लो. यह ट्रैक्टर वीरेंद्र तिवारी का है. शाहपुर के बीजेपी नेता और उनकी पत्नी शाहपुर नगर पंचायत की अध्यक्ष हैं. आप हमारा कुछ नहीं कर पाओगे. https://www.tv9hindi.com/state/madhya-pradesh/illegal-sand-mining-from-bjp-leader-tractor-in-madhya-pradesh-burhanpur-au568-1786716.html  (25 March 2023)

Chhattisgarh अवैध उत्खनन से बने तालाब में डूबने से दो छात्रों की मौत रायपुर में दो मासूमों की तालाब में डूबने से मौत हो गई है। दोनों छात्र तुलसी गांव के सरकारी स्कूल में पढ़ाई करते थे। मृतक छात्रों का नाम गगन यादव और यश यादव है, और दोनों की उम्र 6 साल थी। पूरा मामला मंदिर हसौद थाना क्षेत्र का है। कल स्कूल में दोनों बच्चों ने मध्यान्ह भोजन किया था। इसके बाद से दोनों लापता थे। अब तालाब में उनकी लाश मिलने से ग्रामीणों में भारी आक्रोश है। बताया जा रहा है कि जिस तालाब में छात्रों की लाश मिली है, वो अवैध उत्खनन कर बनाया गया है। https://statebreaking.com/news.php?id=two-students-died-due-to-drowning-in-a-pond-made-of-illegal-excavation-in-raipur-416655  (23 March 2023)

Karnataka Sand mining may affect rail bridge: Seer Sri Eshapriya Theertha Swamiji of Sri Admar Mutt, Udupi, has taken exception to unabated illegal sand mining at Udyavara Matada Kudru area in Udupi taluk. The seer, known for his green initiatives, said even the Konkan Railway bridge across the Papanashini river may collapse because of illegal sand mining. At least 150 truckloads of sand is lifted illegally from the river daily, he said on Saturday (March 25). He said he will support local organisations and people if they launch a protest against illegal sand mining. Udyavara Matada Kudru is a scenic island close to NH 66. The sand mafia entered this area six months ago. There are 22 houses on the island and people living there face the threat of soil erosion.

The seer said authorities have not taken any action to stop illegal sand mining. Meanwhile, sources said Udyavara GP president Radhakrishna Bo­lje has received many complai­nts seeking action, and he forwarded them to the district mi­n­ing and geology departme­nt officials. Bolje said officials have not taken any action. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2023/mar/19/sand-mining-may-affect-rail-bridge-seer-2557356.html  (19 March 2023)

Meghalaya No NOC provided to quarry owner: Nokma Opposition to the quarrying of stones at Chokpot in South Garo Hills with the Nokma of the A’king concerned denying giving any NOC (no objection certificate) to the owner of the quarry as claimed earlier. Dismissing the claim of the quarry owner, Alpha D Marak, the Nokma of Budugre, Analson R Sangma said that his statement was misleading and holds no water. “When did he come to Budugre Village to obtain a No Objection Certificate from me? When did he convene a meeting to discuss the quarrying of stones with the concerned villagers and my wife, Brother-In- Law and the clan? When was the consent and signature taken from any of us?” the Nokma questioned.

The Nokma said that it was probable that one Morphin Marak may have handed over a forged Nokma document to the quarry owner adding, in which case, it was invalid. Meanwhile, the Chokpot Area Vigilance Committee has also strongly rejected the claim made by the quarry owner that there was no objection when earthwork was going on to ensure smooth transition of vehicles to the quarry site. “This is misleading as there has been objection since the activity came to the fore. We even filed a complaint on May 21, 2021 and managed to stop the activity for a short time,” it said. https://theshillongtimes.com/2023/03/21/no-noc-provided-to-quarry-owner-nokma/  (21 March 2023)

The Forest department on Friday shut down several illegal sawmills and pulled the plug on illegal sand mining activities in North Garo Hills. According to officials, a total of three illegal sawmills operating at Takurbella, Bolsong and Aniaga areas under Bajengdoba were shut down in the operation. A sand mining activity that was being undertaken along the River Didram was also stopped, officials informed. https://theshillongtimes.com/2023/03/25/forest-dept-crackdown-on-illegal-sawmills-sand-mining-in-ngh/  (25 March 2023)

Arunachal Pradesh Villagers erect spurs to prevent erosion by river The villagers of Lingka in Ruksin circle of East Siang district have taken up anti-erosion measures to protect their village and fertile cropland from erosion by the Sille river. The youths of the village erected spurs, using locally available cane, bamboo and grass, to control the flow of the water on the river’s right bank near Lingka, and on the left side of the Poba reserve forest. However, the effort of the villagers was in vain as high tides of the river washed away the spurs, and the erosion continues. The river has eroded several acres of land, and the villagers are unable to take up an effective anti-erosion measure.

According to village secretary Sagge Gade, “The Sille river is now just 100 metres away from the village. Seeing the grim situation, the village authority has requested job holders and PRI members of the village to contribute according to their grade to save their own village from further erosion.” He informed that the erosion occurs because of collection of natural resources from the river, such as stones, sand and gravel, every year. “This was the fourth time that the villagers voluntarily erected anti-erosion spurs. More than 1,000 bamboos have been used so far,” he added. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2023/03/22/villagers-erect-spurs-to-prevent-erosion-by-river/  (22 March 2023)


Kerala NGT slaps ₹10 cr penalty on govt for failure to protect Ramsar sites  The Principal Bench of the NGT in New Delhi has slapped a penalty of ₹10 crore on the Kerala government for its failure to check the indiscriminate pollution of the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes, listed as Ramsar sites. The Bench, led by its chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, said in its order dated March 22 that the penalty imposed on the basis of the ‘polluter pays principle’ had to be deposited in a ring-fenced account to be operated under the authority of the Chief Secretary. The deposit had to be made within a month, it said while disposing of a petition alleging failure of statutory and administrative authorities in taking remedial action for protection of the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes hit by illegal waste dumping.

Indiscriminate waste dumping into the Kochi backwaters near the Marine Drive walkway continues, despite several studies that had warned that the ecosystem of the waterbody will be adversely affected in view of the unchecked pollution. Plastic bottles and other non degradable items choke the lifeline of the backwaters. | Photo Credit: H VIBHU/The Hindu

The Bench said the report depicted the disappointing state of affairs in ensuring the mandatory duty of protecting wetlands, which are Ramsar sites, in spite of binding orders of the Supreme Court in similar cases. Action taken at the State level was also inadequate to remedy the situation. The State cannot plead helplessness in implementing guaranteed rights of the citizens and also in taking stringent measures for protection of environment and public health, it said. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/ngts-principal-bench-slaps-10-cr-penalty-on-govt-for-failure-to-protect-ramsar-sites/article66657114.ece  (24 March 2023)

Vembanad wetland system highly degragded A five-year study by the Centre for Aquatic Resource Management and Conservation, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, has revealed a highly degraded, dysfunctional, and debilitated Vembanad wetland system that affects the lives and livelihood of around eight million people in Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts. The study released on Saturday (March 18) says the wetland system faces declining ecosystem services and degradation in functional abilities from anthropogenic and natural disturbances. “The probability of a natural revival of the system is limited and therefore science and technology-based interventions are recommended,” says a brief for policymakers.

The wetland system has seen what the study called “alarming depth shrinkage” of the south and central Vembanad Lake. The study says the current fish diversity in the lake is represented by 90 species, a 40% decrease in diversity as 150 species were reported in the 1980s. The study has reported the presence of 30 different compounds of pesticides in the surface sediments in the south and central Vembanad Lake. Plastic pollution of the lake is much higher than reported from most estuaries world over. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fisheries-varsity-study-reveals-a-highly-degraded-vembanad-wetland-system/article66634994.ece  (18 March 2023)

‘Wetland of dragonflies’ mires Technopark’s expansion plans Nearly 61 acres of land at Technopark’s Phase III campus, in the state capital, acquired in 2007, remain unutilised, as the agriculture department had submitted a report to the revenue department stating the area is a “wetland” that hosts a significant number of dragonflies. However, the state government is likely to take a call soon on whether to allow buildings on the plot, despite the agriculture department’s report.

As per government records, the entire land parcel within Phase III was classified as paddy land, with conversion allowed subject to conditions. The government had issued a gazette notification dated February 6, 2007, during the land acquisition procedures, clearly stating that some portions were reclaimed paddy fields. However, there was no mention of a wetland. As per the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008, there are provisions for converting paddy land for other purposes. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2023/mar/24/wetland-of-dragonflies-mires-technoparks-expansion-plans-2558905.html  (24 March 2023)

Property cannot be termed ‘Paddy Land’ just for lying fallow: HC The High Court recently reiterated that a property cannot be termed as paddy land under the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008 for the sole reason that property is lying as fallow. The court observed that the Revenue Divisional Officer must also be satisfied that the land is suitable for paddy cultivation apart from it being fallow, for it to fall under the category of paddy land under the 2008 Act. The petitioner in this case had approached the court after his application under Rule 4 (4d) of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy and Wetland Rules 2008 to delete his property from the land data bank was rejected.

The reason given for rejecting his application was that his property was lying fallow and there was paddy cultivation in the vicinity and converting the property into garden land would affect the flow of water in the area. The court held that the rejection of the petitioner’s application without ascertaining the property’s character and fitness as on 12.08.2008 and without a site inspection or report of the KSREC, is arbitrary and unjust. In light of the above, the application of the petitioner was directed to be considered afresh. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/kerala-conservation-of-paddy-land-and-wetland-act-2008-property-cannot-be-termed-paddy-land-for-sole-reason-lying-fallow-224248  (20 March 2023)

Maharashtra Mira-Bhayandar: Mangroves vanish as officials sit still over complaint for 5 months Yet another classic case exposing the glaring insensitivity and apathy shown by the district authorities towards the protection and preservation of mangroves has come to light in Bhayandar. Despite a complaint registered by a social activist- Krishna Gupta on 13, October 2022, against dumping of debris to reclaim pristine stretches of mangroves on private land in Bhayandar (west), it took more than five months for the revenue department to register an offence against the violators.

Image source: FPJ

Moreover, the entire government machinery chose to remain mute spectators allowing the land sharks to continue with the destruction by dumping truckloads of debris and levelling Environment the land with brazen impunity. An offence was finally registered by Naib Tehsildar (revenue officer)-Smita Gurav under the relevant sections of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 at the Bhayandar police station on Friday (March 24). However, by then the mangroves had been wiped-off. Moreover, none of the landowners have been named in the FIR. Revenue department officials attributed the delay to the lengthy process of ascertaining the exact survey number of the site amidst a vast land parcel. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mira-bhayandar-mangroves-vanish-as-officials-sit-still-over-complaint-for-5-months-complaint-registered-by-social-activist-in-october-2022  (25 March 2023)

First-of-its-kind mangrove park in Gorai to open for public soon. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/mumbai-first-of-its-kind-mangrove-park-in-gorai-to-open-for-public-soon-23277314  (26 March 2023)

A national study in 2020 by WI South Asia showed that among 22 Indian cities, Mumbai had lost the maximum number of wetlands—71 per cent in 44 years. India has 7.7 lakh wetlands—5.5 lakh small ones and 2.2 lakh large ones covering 2.2 hectares. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/the-loss-of-wetland-leads-to-ecological-and-economic-collapse-23271449  (20 Feb. 2023)

Assam Eviction on cards to free wetlands Following the massive eviction drive in Silsako Beel wetland in Guwahati, the government has decided to carry out a statewide eviction drive across the state to clear water bodies, lakes and water carrying channels ahead of the monsoon season. Encroachments of wetlands and channels is considered as a major cause of waterlogging in several districts, including Guwahati.

Government sources said principal secretary to the CM, Samir K Sinha has asked the deputy commissioners of all the districts to inform without delay the status of encroachment upon the water bodies. State urban affairs minister Ashok Singhal told TOI, “Many declared wetlands and waterbodies have been found under encroachment, which is directly leading to artificial floods in many parts of the state.” He added that the government is serious about preservation of water bodies. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/eviction-on-cards-to-free-assam-wetlands/articleshow/98421451.cms  (05 March 2023)

Jammu & Kashmir Wetlands are shrinking fast The wetland ecosystems of Kashmir mostly includes Dal Lake, Anchar, Wular, Haigam, Shallabugh, Narkara and Hokersar. However, according to an environmentalist at the University of Kashmir, most of these waterbodies, referred to as nature’s kidneys, have shrunk in size in the last five decades and are on the brink of extinction.

Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat, on whose petition the NGT passed orders for conservation of wetlands in Kashmir, said that although J&K Wetland Authority was formed for the protection and conservation of wetlands, it has not been proactive. “Government should first stop illegal mining in tributaries because the constant river bed mining has degraded the wetlands and then siltation is another big challenge. Dredging, de-silting and de-weeding should be actively done for restoration and rejuvenation of wetlands ,” said Bhat, founder of J&K RTI Movement. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/environment/kashmirs-wetlands-are-shrinking-fast-dal-lake-is-just-one-of-them-10311111.html   (25 March 2023)

Advisor to LG, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar today (Jan. 15) visited the Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve, R S Pura and reviewed the progress on ongoing developmental works there. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/jammu/advisor-bhatnagar-visits-gharana-wetland-conservation-reserve-inspects-ongoing-works  (16 Jan. 2023)

Study Methane emissions from wetlands rose 5-6% since 2000-2006 Researchers from China, the United States and France investigated climate-change-driven wetland methane emissions from 2000 to 2021. They simulated methane emissions based on data from ground-based meteorological stations.The other source of data was from reanalysis, which is observations with past short-range weather forecasts rerun with modern weather forecasting models.  Their analysis showed that global mean annual methane emissions in 2007–2021 due to climate change impacts on wetlands increased by 8–10 Tg per year compared to 2000–2006. This represents a 5–6 per cent jump. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/methane-emissions-from-wetlands-rose-5-6-since-2000-2006-study-88405  (22 March 2023)


SANDRP Blog World Water Day 2023: Positive Urban Water Stories from India Marking World Water Day 2023; this compilation by SANDRP highlights top ten successful and worth replicable initiatives and actions being taken in Indian cities for revival of surface water sources and recharge of depleting groundwater table. https://sandrp.in/2023/03/22/world-water-day-2023-positive-urban-water-stories-from-india/  (22 March 2023)

World Water Day 2023: Positive Water Stories from India This report highlights top ten positive water stories from rural India from last one year. 

SANDRP has been marking the World Water Day by presenting the stories of some remarkable efforts undertaken for protection, revival and management of water sources by individuals, local communities and governments. https://sandrp.in/2023/03/22/world-water-day-2023-positive-water-stories-from-india/  (22 March 2023)

Rajasthan Jagsa village in Barmer district is an excellent example of how a village receiving just 284 millimetres of rainfall in a year can manage its water sources. The village that was once struggling for even drinking water is now thriving with pomegranate farms. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/rainwater-harvesting-changed-lives-of-farmers-in-a-rajasthan-village-here-is-how-88447  (24 March 2023)

Interview Oxfort University historian Peter Frankopan: “What is interesting, however, is that the Indus Valley Civilisation differs from others because inequality levels were far lower than other locations. The likely answer is because the Indus, unlike the other rivers, changed course often. That meant that the location of the best land changed, sometimes each year. And that meant the structures of the society was different. Fascinating!” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/cash-flow/indus-valley-civilisation-differs-from-others-as-inequality-levels-were-far-lower-likely-because-the-indus-changed-course-often/  (16 March 2023)

Opinion Rejuvenate small water bodies A Narayanamoorthy But unfortunately, the small water bodies (tanks and others) which have been supporting the agriculture and domestic requirement of water for many years in India are fast vanishing now.

From 46.30 lakh hectares (lha) in 1960-61, the area irrigated by tanks in India declined to 16.68 lha in 2019-20. As a result, the share of tank area in India’s net irrigated area (NIA) declined from 20 per cent to 2 per cent during this period. In States like Tamil Nadu, where tank irrigation accounted for one-third of irrigated area in the 1960s and 1970s, the area under tank irrigation declined from 9.36 lha to 3.72 lha during this period. The Standing Committee on Water Resources (2012-13) underlined in its 16th report that most of the water bodies in the country were encroached upon by State agencies themselves. Policymakers must understand that if SWBs continue to be neglected, the recharge mechanism of wells will collapse. In such a case, even wells will not have water. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/rejuvenate-small-water-bodies/article66650348.ece  (22 March 2023)

Indira Khurana The answer for equitable water security for all and for always lies in decentralised approaches, in catching the rain, slowing its flow and directing it for groundwater recharge. The Earth is wounded and in dire need of healing, for which nature needs to be rejuvenated. Water holds the key for nature rejuvenation.  Rain conservation leads to groundwater recharge and revival of rivers, increase in greenery and healthy forests. It leads to carbon sequestration and green economies d.  The communities live in peace and security. This nature rejuvenation lead to climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and water security.

If the UN is really serious about the right to water and sanitation, it’s time that people were put at the centre of all efforts of water security. Or else the world will be left with superfluous infrastructure, no water, and desperate families who have no choice but to migrate, traffic their children, or worse still, bury their dehydrated and starving children as they trudge towards what they think are better situations. And sometimes also drown in the process. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/eco-sensitive/was-the-un-water-conference-able-to-meet-the-great-expectations/  (26 March 2023)

Shankkar Aiyar Water crisis is one of the five issues chronicled in my book The Gated Republic on India’s public policy failures and private solutions. There are global success stories aplenty. Israel is a pioneer in the use of drip irrigation and is able to even export water to Jordan. Countries are leveraging technologies to recycle water. Recycled water accounts for over 40 per cent of Singapore’s need for water. India can scarcely afford coexistence of scarcity and wasteful inefficiency. Water security is critical for national security. https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/columns/shankkar-aiyar/2023/mar/26/meanwhile-indias-silent-water-crisis-2559485.html  (26 March 2023)

Mumbai Siddharth Nagar finally gets water after 10 years The residents of Siddharth Nagar in Versova are finally getting legal tap water after a 10-year-long fight. It was in 2015 when the Pani Haq Samiti applied for a legal water connection, but the fight had already begun in 2013. After a decade, BMC engineers finally connected the pipeline and hundreds of families living in the area witnessed legal water flowing from the new red taps installed. Pani Haq Samiti (PHS) is a people’s campaign for universal access to water. They are actively involved in informal settlements across Mumbai. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/mumbai-siddharth-nagar-finally-gets-water-after-10-years-23277312  (26 March 2023)

नोएडा के वाटर हीरो विक्रांत टोंगड, जल संरक्षण के लिए भारत सरकार ने दिया था अवार्ड https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttar-pradesh/noida-world-water-day-2023-jal-shakti-ministry-awarded-vikrant-tongad-form-water-hero-5614461.html  (22 March 2023)

Delhi CM has opened to public the rejuvenated Pappankalan lake in Dwarka, Delhi. As water activist Diwan Singh has said, Delhi govt will have to ensure in a publicly verifiable way that the treated sewage being released in the lake is of sufficiently good quality so that there is no contamination of groundwater due to it. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/revamped-dwarka-lake-opened-by-kejriwal-101679164076282.html  (18 March 2023)

Hyderabad Leachate treatment plant is now operational The 2 MLD capacity (increased from 1 MLD) leachate treatment plant, built at the cost of Rs 250 crores is now fully operational to resolve the issues associated with Jawaharnagar dump yard. Ramky Infrastructure Ltd was assigned the task of building the plant by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Jawaharnagar has been the site of unscientific waste dumping for decades. The treatment plant is expected to wave off the issue of foul smell, groundwater pollution, and other hazards triggered from the dump yard.  https://www.siasat.com/hyderabad-leachate-treatment-plant-is-now-operational-2550756/  (20 March 2023)

Puducherry Former LG, Kiran Bedi, recounts how her team turned the UT into a water-rich place by involving corporates in cleaning up its streams and ponds. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/how-we-raised-puducherrys-water-table-by-7ft/articleshow/98888688.cms  (22 March 2023)

Report As flooding increases, these cities are designed to work with – not against – the water. https://edition.cnn.com/2023/03/26/world/flooding-cities-water-design-climate-intl/index.html  (26 March 2023)


Lok Sabha Changing water use patterns The parliamentary committee report on groundwater tabled in Lok Sabha this week has excellent data. Groundwater meets 67% of irrigation needs and is the source of 80% of drinking water. About 89% of the annual groundwater extraction of 218 billion cubic metres is for irrigation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-editorials/watering-holes-ipcc-house-committee-reports-are-reminders-on-changing-water-use-patterns-but-its-a-political-challenge/  (21 March 2023)

House panel suggests prepaid cards for power to save groundwater Observing that the primary reason for excessive exploitation of groundwater is wide cultivation of water guzzler paddy and sugarcane crops, which are “heavily incentivized”, a Parliamentary Standing Committee has said that use of electric pumps needs to be further discouraged by introducing measures such pre-paid cards for power supply and restricting power supply to few hours a day.

The committee has recommended that the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation under Jal Shakti Ministry should take the initiative by urging both the Power Ministry and Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare along with state governments to take measures on the suggested lines. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/house-panel-suggests-prepaid-cards-for-power-to-save-groundwater-8508938/  (21 March 2023)

Jharkhand Govt to set up groundwater board: Minister Jharkhand government will soon set up a board to stop depletion of groundwater table, minister Mithilesh Thakur said in the assembly on Monday (March 20). Pointing out that only 14 states have groundwater boards, Thakur, the Minister of State, Water Resource department, said a draft has been prepared and the board will be functional by next year. Thakur said this in reply to a question from Congress MLA Pradip Yadav on depleting groundwater table across the state. https://www.outlookindia.com/national/jharkhand-to-set-up-its-groundwater-board-soon-minister-news-271673  (20 March 2023)

Kerala Govt relaxes borewell norms As per the latest notification, no prior permission is needed to dig a borewell up to a depth of 100 metre in areas with adequate groundwater availability– also called safe blocks. However, many argue that the relaxation of norms could lead to widespread water misuse in the state. As per the existing rules, officials should inspect and issue certificates based on groundwater level. The applicant should also receive permission from the concerned local self-government institution. As per the availability of water in the area, permission is granted under safe block, critical, and semi-critical categories. https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/kerala-govt-relaxes-borewell-norms-1.8425305  (26 March 2023)

Odisha 17 districts facing salinity in groundwater This outcome of a study conducted by SwitchOn Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation working on climate change and environment. The report, which will be submitted to the state government, recommended a series of policy initiatives for groundwater recharge and better water management.

The study also assessed availability of water by 2051 and found that surface water availability from own drainage boundary remains more or less fixed but the inflow from neighbouring states will reduced from 37.556 BCM (billion cubic metres) to 25.272 BCM. An assessment done by researchers of water resources indicated that by 2051, the total water requirement may go up to 85 BCM from the present 55 BCM, and the state may face severe water scarcity. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/17-dists-facing-salinity-in-groundwater-says-report/articleshow/99004859.cms  (26 March 2023)


Bengaluru Road construction on Hosakerehalli Lake stopped On March 11th, BBMP Special Commissioner (Projects) P M Ravindra said that engineers will remove mud immediately and restore the 59-acre Hosakerehalli lake, the main water source at Rajarajeshwari Nagar, to its original condition. Meanwhile, the NGT has issued notices to authorities for failing to collect penalties from Mantri Techzone and Core Mind Software and Services that had been asked to pay Rs 130 crore for the damage caused to the Bellandur and Varthur lake drains and their catchment areas. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/bengaluru-buzz-road-at-hosakerehalli-lake-stopped-bike-taxi-association-protest-109553  (25 March 2023)

In a damage-control exercise, the BBMP on Thursday promised to clear truckloads of mud and debris it dumped into Hosakerehalli lake in the last four months. Credit: Special Arrangement/DH

Over 300 truck loads of soil have been dumped in the heart of the Hosakerehalli lake, reducing the storage capacity of the waterbody. Work is being done by BBMP, but it has yet to declare why this is being done. BBMP did not seek approval of the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/hosakerehalli-lake-split-in-two-for-unknown-civic-project-1202143.html  (21 March 2023) This is turning out to be an amazing story showing how authorities try to destroy Bangalore lakes. Now BBMP says it will remove all the hundreds of trucks of mud dumped on lake bed, it was for drainage channel!! https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/citizens-cheer-as-bbmp-drops-controversial-roadwork-on-hosakerehalli-lake-1202978.html  (24 March 2023) This report shows how BBMP lied about building a road through the Hosakerehalli lake in Bangalore and now claims it is to desilt the lake!! https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bbmp-tries-to-build-road-through-lake-then-lies-about-it-1202449.html  (22 March 2023) BBMP’s Road On Hosakerehalli Lake Controversy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNbsQYhRIy4   (23 March 2023)

Dumping in Venkateshpura lake by private trust The remains are currently being dumped into their neighbourhood lake, Venkateshpura. Chokkanahalli Sampigehalli Abhivriddhi Forum (CSAF), a residents group in the area, alleges that the BDA notified a portion of the lake as a Civic Amenity (CA) site and allotted it to a private trust. They have been trying to stop the construction and demand a resurvey of the lake. But neither BDA, which has allotted the land, nor BBMP, which is in charge of the lake, has taken sufficient action. A trail of maps, documents and public statements from the BBMP suggest that the lake area has indeed been reduced in official documents, over the years, without any clear explanation.   https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/venkateshpura-lake-ca-site-leased-to-private-trust-by-bda-109358  (24 March 2023) The CSAF, a residents’ group, has been asking the BBMP and BDA to conduct a fresh survey and protect the entire lake. At stake, according to the residents, is biodiversity, loss of grazing land, and a historical monument. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/venkateshpura-lake-biodiversity-sampigehalli-ancient-monument-and-grazing-land-109720  (27 March 2023)

Nayandahalli lake gets Rs 7.5 cr facelift with treated water BBMP has spent about Rs 7.5 crore on the renovation and restoration of Nayandahalli lake that comes under Vrishabhavathi Valley. The lake covers 15 acres and 8 guntas with water spread over 8 acres and 32 guntas. Its water-holding capacity is 120 million litres. It was filled with treated water from the sewage treatment plant of BWSSB at Vrishabhavathi Valley.

– According to BBMP sources, Nayandahalli lake is the only one among the over 200 lakes in the city that has been filled with 100% treated water. BWSSB pumped treated water into Agara and Jakkur lakes too, but they also received rainwater. Sources said rainwater will be allowed to enter this lake only after ensuring no sewage is mixed with stormwater. The civic agency spent over Rs 2 crore to lay pipes from the sewage treatment plant to the lake and pump the water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bengalurus-nayandahalli-lake-gets-rs-7-5-crore-facelift-with-treated-water-to-open-tomorrow/articleshow/98887752.cms  (22 March 2023) https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bengalurus-nayandahalli-lake-gets-a-facelift/article66653834.ece  (24 March 2023)

Benniganahalli Lake’s rejuvenation is model for other lakes Benniganahalli Lake was full of weeds, garbage, and sewage until a few years ago. Now, the lake is clean, and a lot of developmental work has been in progress for the last two years. The lake has become a potential destination for organising water sports. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/weeds-to-water-sports/articleshow/99016915.cms  (27 March 2023)

200-year-old Jakkur lake has its own integrated wetland In a first, scientists at the IISc created an integrated wetland at the lake. Treated water from a sewage treatment plant enters this wetland before emptying into the lake. This purifies the water further.

In 2020, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru revealed that only six lakes in the city have good water quality and one of them was the two-century-old Jakkur Lake. Located in the north-eastern part of Bengaluru, its rejuvenation and maintenance is a prime example of collective action of citizens, academic institutions and government agencies in improving its ecosystem. Besides, the lake also makes use of an innovative mechanism – an integrated wetland that serves to cleanse its water further. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-200-year-old-jakkur-lake-has-its-own-integrated-wetland-8518741/  (26 March 2023)

Mysore Water crisis grips Chamundi Hill A mega drinking water project that was sanctioned in July 2017 was implemented in 2019 at the foot and atop Chamundi Hill by Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWS&DB). The  Rs. 6.95 crore project was to cater the demands of population growth and the devotees visiting the Hill till 2050. But the works to lay new pipeline stopped three years ago and about 2,000 people residing in 500 to 600 houses atop the Hill are now reeling under severe shortage of water. https://starofmysore.com/water-crisis-grips-chamundi-hill/  (20 March 2023)

Chennai What the metro water manual workers face. https://chennai.citizenmatters.in/manual-workers-chennai-scavenging-jet-rodding-machines-manholes-cmwssb-67258  (14 March 2023) Madras’s smarter ways with water. https://www.dtnext.in/city/2023/03/26/madrass-smarter-ways-with-water  (26 March 2023)

Vellore Growth of water hyacinth, weeds, and dumping of plastic waste in the moat of the 16th century Vellore Fort has led to blockages, resulting in foul smell and a survival risk for a large variety of fish in the moat. At present, the moat is under the control of the ASI and maintained in coordination with Vellore Corporation due to inadequate staff and expertise with the national heritage body. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/water-hyacinth-weeds-affect-water-flow-in-moat-at-vellore-fort/article66661120.ece  (25 March 2023)

Thiruvananthapuram WtE plants unsuitable: Expert Even as the govt is marching ahead with its plans for waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, a former member of the SC-appointed committee on waste management, Renjith Devaraj, warns that besides highly toxic dioxins and furans expelled by such plants, the solid waste generated in the state would not have enough calorific value to produce energy. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/2023/mar/20/waste-to-energy-plants-unsuitable-for-kerala-expert-2557651.html  (20 March 2023)

Kochi Brahmapuram waste dumping yard catches fire, again. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2023/mar/26/kochis-brahmapuram-waste-dumping-yard-catches-fire-again-2559741.html  (26 March 2023)

Mumbai Govt orders inquiry into ‘Rs 10,000-cr’ tanker mafia Responding to allegations by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar in the state assembly on Friday (March 24) that a tanker mafia doing business worth Rs 10,000 crore was operating in Mumbai, industries minister Uday Samant ordered an inquiry under an additional municipal commissioner of the BMC. He also said that a detailed project report would be prepared on a plan to curb water wastage during transit in the city. “There are 19,000 wells in Mumbai, of which 12,500 are borewells. According to a survey by the Central Groundwater Department, water worth nearly Rs 80 crore is stolen from borewells by water tanker operators. That means a scam of Rs 10,000 crore is taking place,” Shelar said.

He was raising questions about the BMC’s promise to provide water for all in the city by May 2022. “However, this has failed. Even the pilot project in two wards H/West and T ward has not been fulfilled,” said Shelar. He said that the BMC had hired a consultant for the project for Rs 150 crore and then spent Rs 250 crore on a contractor. “The BMC has spent Rs 500 crore on the project in the two wards but nothing has been gained. If it had given the money to my constituency, they would all have been able to buy bottled water,” he claimed. He also said that 30% of the city’s water gets wasted owing to leakages.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/maharashtra-govt-orders-inquiry-into-rs-10000-crore-tanker-mafia/articleshow/98983155.cms  (25 March 2023)

Pimpri-Chinchwad PCMC to soon get additional 100 MLD water from Andra dam As per civic officials, the Pavana dam, the lifeline of Pimpri-Chinchwad, currently has 48.93 per cent water. Last year on this day, the total storage was 49.03 per cent. Meanwhile, the civic administration is gearing up to inaugurate the Chikhli water treatment plant next week. Once operational, the city will get additional 100 MLD water. “As of now, we are drawing 500 MLD water from the Pavana dam daily. Once the Chikhli water treatment plant is inaugurated, we will get 600 MLD water every day,” said Savane.

The industrial city has had an alternate day water supply since November 25, 2019. The 100 MLD water has been lifted from Andra dam, which is located in Maval taluka of Pune district. The dam is located about 22 km from Chikhli. The PCMC is also laying a pipeline to lift 167 MLD of water from the Bhama Askhed dam, which is also located in the Maval taluka. “We are laying a direct pipeline from Bhama Askhed dam to Pimpri-Chinchwad. The same line will be joined to Andhra dam,” Savane said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pavana-dam-water-pimpri-chinchwad-additional-100-mld-water-andra-dam-8519751/  (26 March 2023)

Pune 4 suffocate to death while cleaning sewer Four people died due to asphyxiation while attempting to clean the sewage pit in Pune, police said on March 15. The incident occurred in Baramati area when Praveen Atole went inside the pit to clean a motor pipe but immediately fainted due to toxic gases. https://www.catchnews.com/national-news/four-suffocate-to-death-while-cleaning-sewer-in-pune-245594.html  (15 March 2023)

Dharamsala Centre rejects project to revive dried Dal Lake The Centre has rejected the Rs 22-crore project submitted by the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department to the Urban Development Department for the revival of the dried Dal Lake here. The proposal was submitted under the AMRUT scheme of the Centre. Sources said the project had been rejected by the Centre as the funds sought for the revival of the lake under the AMRUT scheme were beyond the upper limit set for such projects.

The Dal Lake, 11 km from Dharamsala, is vital for the ecosystem of the surrounding hills. photo: Kamaljeet/The Tribune

About half of the lake area is filled with silt which has been converted into grassland. A massive operation with the help of the locals was launched in 2011 for removing the silt from the lake. The silt was used to create a parking near the temple area. Since then, the lake has dried up rapidly. Sources said the district administration had called the geological experts to study the reasons as to why the lake was losing water. They had said that the unscientific digging might have created aquaducts at the base of the lake, which was leading to draining of water. The sources said no solution had been found to the problem. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/centre-rejects-project-to-revive-dried-dal-lake-in-dharamsala-490814  (24 March 2023)

No investors, Dharamsala’s not-so-Smart City project The Dharamsala Smart City project will come to an end in June. The project, which was proposed for Rs 2,109 crore when it was sanctioned for Dharamsala city in August 2015, now has been limited to just Rs 631 crore. The remaining parts of the project worth Rs 1,478 crore have been shelved.

Meanwhile in the Smart City project in Shimla, the proposed outlay of Rs 2,905 crore has been shrunk to Rs 706 crore. An official said that the scope had to be reduced because of NGT restrictions on construction of buildings, issues related to forest land and clearances and restriction on construction within the core area of the city. But Tikender Panwar, who was MC Deputy Mayor when the project came to the city, alleged the project had been “distorted”. Many projects not part of the original plan have been inserted and several original projects have been thrown out. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/no-investors-dharamsalas-not-so-smart-city-project-489513  (20 March 2023)

Prayagraj 3 robots deployed to clean sewers In a first, the holy city of Prayagraj has deployed three robots to clean sewers. The machines are controlled with the help of a remote and they can remove garbage by going inside the manhole up to a depth of 20 feet. https://www.indiatoday.in/programme/good-news-today/video/3-robots-deployed-in-prayagraj-to-clean-sewers-2349271-2023-03-20  (20 March 2023)

Can manhole-cleaning robots eradicate manual scavenging? https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/manhole-vs-machines/articleshow/98760046.cms   (19 March 2023)

Ghaziabad 3 residential blocks see alarming decline in water table The densely populated residential blocks of Ghaziabad City, Loni and Bhojpur blocks continued to experience a decline in the groundwater level in 2022, figures released by the Uttar Pradesh groundwater department has shown. Two other blocks, Muradnagar and Razapur, registered a minor improvement in water level in the pre-monsoon period of 2022 as compared to pre-monsoon figures of 2016, the figures showed. The 2022 groundwater assessment report released by the Uttar Pradesh groundwater department last year categorises the four blocks of Loni, Razapur, Bhojpur and Ghaziabad City as “overexploited”, and the Muradnagar block as “semi-critical”.

The survey stated that residential wards face a supply deficit of about 107.02 MLD — the production is only 264.75 MLD while the daily demand is 371.78 MLD. The drinking water supplies are replenished through two operational Ganga water treatment plants of 50 cusecs and 100 cusecs capacity, while a third one, with 50 cusecs capacity, is likely to get operational soon in Ghaziabad. These plants receive supply from the Upper Ganga Canal and supply water to Noida and Ghaziabad. “We are focussing on awareness among citizens for preserving and make judicious use of water. Further, about 110 water bodies, of the existing 850, have been revived and rejuvenated in the district,” said Hari Om, executive engineer from UP minor irrigation department and nodal officer for district groundwater council. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/three-residential-blocks-in-ghaziabad-see-alarming-decline-in-water-table-101679768034260.html  (25 March 2023)


Report Refine policies to manage waste water from farm, dairy Vague policies, loose legal frameworks, lack of clear financial models, and overlapping responsibilities were some of the weaknesses of many action plans for water pollution control in India. Learning from these lacunae, recent schemes addressing livestock and agricultural waste management in rural areas like Swachh Bharat Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission etc. highlight the importance of convergence of schemes for better coordination, clarity of responsibilities and fund transfer. Subsequently, national agendas and policies that resonate with community aspirations have been implemented successfully. Structural interventions co-designed and co-managed with local stakeholders have proven to be effective in curbing non-point source pollution in India. Therefore, reducing and managing non-point sources of pollution in the country will require rigid policy framework, practical financial models and community involvement and commitment. https://thewire.in/environment/india-agriculture-waste-water-pollution-manage    (23 March 2023)


Opinion Unsustainability of system can’not beget sustainable solutions Tikender Singh Panwar Whether water is a right or a need is a question that requires considerable attention. The advocates of private control over water- the ‘Washington Consensus’ – terms water as a need and not a right. The need can be fulfilled either by the State apparatus or by a private entity. The difference is that in the former (right), the citizens accrue a right from the State, whereas, in the latter, it is just a matter of demand and supply. Unfortunately, the Indian government also follows the same dictum of water being a need, though not explicitly. Much propagated Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) results from such fault lines. https://www.newsclick.in/world-water-day-unsustainability-system-beget-sustainable-solutions  (22 March 2023)


IWP Making rural India water smart Poor management of water and over dependence on groundwater is making India a water stressed country, which can spell doom for agricultural productivity. How India manages and governs water will be important in the future. Adopting water smart attitudes and behaviours by rural communities is crucial. How can that be achieved? This book shows the way.

Crispino Lobo, Managing Trustee and Co-founder, Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), and the lead author of the book titled ‘The Water Governance Standard: Making Water Everybody’s Business’ speaks to the India Water Portal about the idea behind the Water Governance Standard toolkit and the way forward. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/making-rural-india-water-smart  (16 March 2023)


Report Soil crisis: Yields, dreams turn to dust The article starts with the soil crisis due to water logging, salinisation, over irrigation, over use of chemicals and soil erosion in dry areas of Karnataka close to Krishna river, but then talks about the crisis all over India. https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/soil-crisis-yields-dreams-turn-to-dust-1203523.html  (25 March 2023)

Edit El Nino predictions should translate into preparedness The five States that have declared the most number of droughts since 2000 must be on high alert and beef up water and fodder levels

The paper observes that there is a higher chance of an El Nino turning into a drought if the warming of the oceans were to occur between April and November, rather than between October and April. Whatever the outcome this time, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive in drought management. The National Crisis Management Plan for Drought, brought out last year, as well as earlier such documents, spell out a plan of action, as well as some early warning indicators, such as rising fodder prices, dipping reservoir levels, migration of rural population and shortage of drinking water in rural areas, leading to water tanker movements.

According to the Drought Management Plan document of 2017, northern Karnataka, Telangana, Rayalseema, Marathwada and almost all of Rajasthan are India’s most drought prone regions, with the States having declared drought in 10 or more out of 16 years since 2000. These States should be on alert, beefing up fodder and drinking water levels, while cutting down on wasteful use of groundwater. Centre-State coordination on this score should rise above political differences. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/editorial/el-nino-predictions-should-translate-into-preparedness/article66638730.ece  (19 March 2023)

Punjab A rarity: Tornado in Fazilka, damages crops and houses A tornado damaged houses and crops in two villages of border district Fazilka on Friday (March 24). Walls and roofs of houses are learnt to have caved in at Bakenwala and Haripura villages. IMD confirmed it was a tornado, but is yet to get details about its intensity. K P S Shante, a former professor of geography and dean (academic affairs) at Post Graduate College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh, said, “The mid-vest region of the USA is famous for tornadoes. I have not read or heard much about tornadoes in these parts, although they are possible.”

An expert said the way the funnel was created with a small circumference at bottom, but enlarged as it went up, was unprecedented in this part of the country. The tornado lasted only some time, but left behind a trail of destruction. It also caused losses to kinnow orchards. Electricity poles were also uprooted. In the meanwhile, there was a hailstorm at Jhunir in Mansa even as both Punjab and Haryana prepared for special survey to assess crop loss. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/a-rarity-tornado-in-fazilka-damages-crops-and-houses/articleshow/98983294.cms  (25 March 2023)

The untimely rain, accompanied by hail and high-velocity winds, has severely damaged the wheat crop across the state. As per the estimates of the Agriculture Department, Punjab may see a 10 to 15 per cent yield loss this wheat harvesting season. A total of 34.90 lakh hectares is under wheat in the state. Fazilka is among the districts which have seen the maximum damage. As per reports sent by field staff, 50 per cent of the wheat crop has been affected. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjab-stares-at-15-decline-in-wheat-yield-491279  (26 March 2023)

Sangrur: Crop damaged, farmers seek compensation https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/crop-damaged-farmers-seek-compensation-489567  (20 March 2023)

Haryana February heat & untimely March showers hit crops, say farmers, seek compensation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/haryana-february-heat-untimely-march-showers-hit-crops-say-farmers-seek-compensation/articleshow/99019729.cms  (27 March 2023)

Untimely rain coupled with hailstorm unleashed misery on farmers in Haryana, who were waiting to harvest their rabi crops. The farmers said wheat, mustard and gram crops suffered major losses, while experts said wheat production could fall short of the target for the second consecutive year. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/huge-losses-haryana-may-miss-wheat-output-target-again-490970  (25 March 2023)

Madhya Pradesh Continuous hailstorms and rains for six days have destroyed crops of wheat, grams and mustard in 20 districts of Madhya Pradesh, officials said. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday (March 202)  held a high-level meeting to assess the crop loss and distribution of compensation. Meanwhile, a meteorological department scientist said the hailstorm was not an unusual phenomena in March but as compared to previous years the duration of rains and hailstorms has increased from average three days in a year to six to eight days this year. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bhopal-news/hailstorm-hits-20-districts-of-madhya-pradesh-crops-damaged-101679315866941.html  (20 March 2023)

Maharashtra Unseasonal rains, hail wipe out 50,000 acres of vineyards “In Pune, Sangli, Solapur and Nashik are the four major grape growing divisions. Of these regions, Nashik suffered major damage. An average of about 0.4 million acres of land here is under grape cultivation, of which over 10 per cent is affected,” he said. It is estimated that about 40,000 to 50,000 acres of grape cultivation have been affected, Bhosle said. “The government officials have initiated the assessment, but these are the primary figures. The extent of damage is usually seen about a week after the extreme weather event. Hence, more losses are expected,” he added. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/maharashtra-grape-farmers-worried-as-unseasonal-rains-hail-wipe-out-50-000-acres-of-vineyards-88448  (24 March 2023)

Andhra Pradesh Unseasonal rains destroy crops, add to farm distress. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/210323/unseasonal-rains-destroy-crops-add-to-farm-distress.html  (21 March 2023)

Report Farmers stare at huge losses due to rain, hailstorm Rains, accompanied by hailstorms, over Northwest and East India on March 18 have wreaked havoc on rabi crops, especially ready-to-harvest wheat, gram and mustard crops. According to the IMD data, the rain registered in wheat-growing regions ranged from 137 per cent to 10,000 per cent above the normal on March 18. On March 17, the excess rainfall of the same region ranged from 540 per cent to 10,000 per cent. Moreover, the rainfall distribution is erratic. For instance, on March 16, only the Etawah district received 4,900 per cent rainfall above the normal. On March 17 in Eastern UP, seven out of 42 districts only received significant rain of 292 per cent above normal. The extreme weather events would threaten India’s food security as these regions are known for wheat production. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/mar/20/farmers-stare-at-huge-losses-due-to-rain-hailstorm-2557747.html  (20 March 2023)

Unseasonal rains, hailstorms and strong winds have left fields of grains flattened and harvested fruits damaged and destroyed across several states. The CMs of affected states are now getting down to assessing the damage, so compensation can be paid to farmers. The weather department has advised farmers of Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana to postpone harvesting. Assam farmers have also been asked to postpone harvesting of fruits and vegetables and move the already harvested produce to safer places immediately. The impact of climate change – evident in freak weather patterns like these – are a warning that how it can impact food security and agricultural incomes. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/unseasonal-rain-destroys-crops-across-states-3879671  (21 March 2023)

Yet to receive full report from states: Centre The Centre on Monday (March 20) said there has been some damage to the rabi (winter) crops including wheat due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm brought about by western disturbance, but it is yet to receive a report from the states. Speaking to PTI, Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary said the state governments are utilising the funds under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF). “There has been some damage. We have not received an assessment report on the extent of damage from the state governments,” Choudhary said. https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/some-damage-to-rabi-crops-due-to-unseasonal-rains-yet-to-receive-full-report-from-states-centre/3016064/  (20 March 2023)

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday (March 21) said there is not much impact on standing rabi crops like wheat due to the current untimely rains and hailstorm, as per preliminary report. Farmers have been told to postpone maize sowing in Sikkim and jute sowing in sub-Himalayan West Bengal. Farmers should drain out excess water from crop fields, provide mechanical support to horticultural crops and staking to vegetables, use hail nets to protect apple, pear, plum and peach orchards in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and orchards in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, East Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. https://www.news18.com/india/standing-rabi-crops-not-impacted-much-by-untimely-rains-hail-says-agriculture-minister-tomar-7346473.html  (21 March 2023)


Report India’s disputed compensatory afforestation policy at odds with new IPCC report Not degrading existing ecosystems in the first place will do more to lower the impact of the climate crisis than restoring ecosystems that have been destroyed – a finding that speaks to an increasingly contested policy in India that has allowed forests in one part of the country to be cut down and ‘replaced’ with those elsewhere. The finding originates in the Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a U.N. expert body that determines the global scientific consensus on the consequences of climate change. The report was released on March 20. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/campa-fund-compensatory-afforestation-ipcc-synthesis-report/article66649373.ece  (23 March 2023)

India lost 668,400 ha of forest cover in the last 30 years  India ranked the second highest for the rate of deforestation after losing 668,400 hectares of forest cover in the last 30 years, a report by UK-based Utility Bidder said. Brazil and Indonesia clocked in at first and third respectively with Brazil recording 1,695,700 hectares and Indonesia recording 650,000 hectares of deforestation. India also topped the chart for biggest increase in deforestation between 1990 and 2020 with a difference of 284,400 hectares in forestry loss. The study highlighted the trend of deforestation of 98 countries with data collated from 1990 to 2000 and from 2015 to 2020 by Our World In Data, an online data repository. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/why-it-matter-india-has-lost-668400-ha-of-forest-cover-in-the-last-30-years/article66645294.ece  (21 March 2023)

According to India State of Forest Report (ISFR), there is an overall increase in forest cover of the country by 5,516sq.km between ISFR 2017 and ISFR 2021. Some states have shown an increase in forest cover, while others have shown a decline. Meanwhile, in 13 Himalayan states, only three states’ forest areas increased in the last ten years between 2011 and 2021. These states are West Bengal (61 sq. km), Himachal Pradesh (764 sq.km) and Jammu Kashmir (5,331sq.km).  However, the rest of the 10 states that have seen a reduction in forest areas are Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Ladakh. The total cumulative forest area reduction in all 13 states is from 222,534 sq. km to 219,866 sq.km. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/mar/24/forest-cover-down-in-10-out-of-13-himalayan-states-report-2558990.html  (24 March 2023)

Western Ghats SC asks Centre to file response The Supreme Court bench comprising CJI D.Y Chandrachud, Justice P.S Narasimha, and Justice J.B Pardiwala passed an order directing the Central government to file reply in 4 weeks. The matter will be next heard on 25 June 2023. Case title -M. Kaviya & ors. v. UOI & ors. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-protection-of-western-ghat-deforestation-destruction-conservation-writ-petition-224560  (23 March 2023)

Illegal resorts and homestays in Uttara Kannada are posing a threat to the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats besides causing losses to the state exchequer. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/uttara-kannada-belagavi-city/illegal-homestays-turn-into-bane-for-karnataka-ghats-1203858.html  (27 March 2023)

CSE Courts need to double pace to dispose of all environmental crime cases in a year. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2023/03/26/courts-need-to-double-pace-to-dispose-of-all-environmental-crime-cases-in-a-year-report/  (26 March 2023)

MoEF Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed Rajya Sabha today that 92 Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) and 2 Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) have been notified in 13 states of the Indian Himalayan region. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/92-eco-sensitive-zones-notified-in-13-states-centre-in-rajya-sabha-3886599  (23 March 2023)

The National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS), MoEF&CC has approved a pre-feasibility study in Darjeeling for integrated solid waste management for the Himalayan regions.  https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/solid-waste-solutions-for-himalayan-area/cid/1924165  (22 March 2023)

Goa The wildfires silently crept into the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, charring 100-year-old trees, cashew plantations and animals for over a day before the state found out about the dance of death that was playing out in the Western Ghats. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-forest-fires-in-goa-are-such-a-big-worry/articleshow/98987676.cms  (25 March 2023)

Arunachal Pradesh Ensure adequate fund & community involvement to prevent forest fire. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2023/03/27/ensure-adequate-fund-community-involvement-to-prevent-forest-fire/  (27 March 2023)

Opinion When forest fire turns a curse There is a need to review forest laws due to which people’s rights and association with forests have ended. https://telanganatoday.com/opinion-when-forest-fire-turns-a-curse  (27 March 2023)

Kerala Background radiation high, but no risk In parts of Kerala, background radiation levels, or that emitted from natural sources such as rocks, sand, or mountains, are nearly three times more than what’s been assumed, a pan-India study by scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has found. This doesn’t however translate to an elevated health risk. India’s plans to increase reliance on nuclear energy meant that it was time to update estimates on the natural background radiation, Dr. Aswal said. The current study measured radiation levels from nearly 100,000 locations across the country as opposed to the 1986 survey that only mapped 214 locations. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/background-radiation-levels-in-parts-of-kerala-are-nearly-thrice-previous-estimates-but-are-not-an-elevated-health-risk/article66639502.ece  (20 March 2023)


Interview Monsoon-dependent Indian subcontinent is highly climate exposed: Aditi Mukherji  Aditi Mukherji, co-author of the IPCC Synthesis Report and Director, Climate Change Impact platform, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR):- The report states that vulnerable communities who have historically contributed the least to current climate change are disproportionately affected, which is a very strong message. IPCC is also linking equity to unsustainable energy use, land use, lifestyles, patterns of consumption and production which leads to unequal emissions. What comes out strongly is also the issue of finance where we are saying not enough finance goes to adaptation and that a lot of the proposed finance will be in the form of loans instead of grants. It is quite problematic when it comes to adaptation. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/monsoondependent-indian-subcontinent-is-highly-climate-exposed-aditi-mukherji-101679419738666.html  (21 March 2023)

Odisha 10 cyclones in 12 years; climate change impacts eroding coastline. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/10-cyclones-in-12-years-eroding-coastline-odisha-impacted-by-climate-change/articleshow/99005986.cms  (26 March 2023)

Maharashtra IPCC authors warn of floods, worsening heatwaves, inundation of coastline. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/ipcc-authors-warn-of-floods-worsening-heatwaves-inundation-of-coastline-in-maha-101679685389895.html  (25 March 2023)

UN Flow in Ganga, Brahmaputra, Indus rivers could dip severely Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, while speaking at the UN 2023 Water Conference, expressed the stark warning that climate change-terrorised receding glaciers and ice sheets could hamper the amount of water that fills these rivers. “As glaciers and ice sheets continue to recede over the coming decades, major Himalayan rivers like the Indus, the Ganges and Brahmaputra will feel the impact — seeing their flows reduced,” Guterres notes. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/climate-change/news/2023-03-24-flow-in-ganga-brahmaputra-rivers-could-dip-severely-due-to  (24 March 2023)

Opinion The climate crisis is a water crisis by March Yaggi. https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/3917128-the-climate-crisis-is-a-water-crisis/  (25 March 2023)


India-Bangladesh Future course of action after response from India: Bangladesh This PTI story from Bangladesh now says Bangladesh is waiting for India’s response on India’s plans of building additional canals to divert Teesta water for irrigation in WB districts of Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri. Bangladesh will determine its course of action after that. “This is an old project which was stuck due to some land-acquisition-related problems and a lack of funds from the central government. We have solved the land-related problems and sent a report to the centre,” Yeasmin, WB minister of state for irrigation and waterways said on March 16 when Bangladesh raised the issue. https://theprint.in/world/future-course-of-action-on-teesta-river-issue-after-getting-response-from-india-bangladesh/1467582/  (23 March 2023)


MEKONG Thailand China’s dams turn Thai fishing villages into ‘ghost towns’ China’s dam-building on the Mekong River is altering water flows and holding back sediment, affecting millions living downstream. Eager to boost its renewable energy capacity and reduce its reliance on coal, China has built nearly a dozen dams – including five mega-dams each more than 100 metres tall – since 1995 on the Mekong, which it calls the Lancang. China has also built at least 95 hydroelectric dams on tributaries flowing into the Mekong. Dozens more are planned in China, which is also financing others in the Lower Mekong Basin.

Conservationist Niwat Roykaew and Pianporn Deetes, campaign director for Thailand and Myanmar at Rivers International, hold river weed on a boat on the Mekong River on the Thai-Laos border. February 6, 2023. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Rina Chandran/Context

Yet various studies estimate that nearly all of the river’s sediment load will be trapped upstream if all dams proposed in the Mekong Basin are developed, which could impact the cultivation of rice, a major food source for millions in the region. In addition, the decline of the Mekong’s fisheries – as the dams block fish migration and alter water flow – is predicted by MRC to cost nearly $23 billion by 2040, with the loss of forests, wetlands, and mangroves valued at up to $145 billion. https://www.context.news/just-transition/chinas-mekong-dams-turn-thai-fishing-villages-into-ghost-towns  (21 March 2023)


‘The hydropower goldrush’: how Europe’s first wild river national park saw off the dams. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/22/hydropower-goldrush-europe-first-wild-river-national-park-vjosa-albania-aoe  (22 March 2023)


USA What California’s atmospheric rivers mean for drought, floods, fires Atmospheric rivers are vast airborne currents of dense moisture carried aloft for hundreds of miles from the Pacific and funneled over land to fall as bouts of heavy rain and snow. Here’s what such storms mean for the near and long term. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/california-atmospheric-rivers-drought-floods-fires-8511428/  (22 March 2023)

Report Deep-sea mining for rare metals will destroy ecosystems, say scientists. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/26/deep-sea-mining-for-rare-metals-will-destroy-ecosystems-say-scientists  (26 March 2023)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 20 March 2023 & DRP News Bulletin 13 March 2023  

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

One thought on “DRP NB 270323: Bleak future of Large Hydro

  1. “No More Dams” this should be the motto of every country that aims to be called developed. Previously other options were not made available but now we have. Besides, HEPs damage environment during construction and make the area more fragile and weak after commissioning. While most part of Indian Himalayas falls under Seismic zone V, the HEPs tend to make the subterranean earth more prone to earthquakes triggering landslides. Who knows that Feb 7, 2021 avalanche that ultimately led to more than 200 lives lost, would have happened or not if there were no major construction activities in that region! Once disaster strikes, there’s no end of mass casualties and damages in billions. Therefore, government(s ) can always consult all concerned experts (not about who thinks what but genuinely concerned geologists, seismologists, hydrologists and environmentalists) before planning any more HEPs. Of course, small power generation units can be maintained for a small area electricity supply but major big HEPs, a big no.

    Thank you for compiling these reports (for the authorities to take note).


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