(Feature Image: On April 29, thousands of Pune citizens join Chipko Andolan against the planned cutting of over 7,000 trees for the Mula Mutha Riverfront Development (RFD) project. Image Credit: Rahul Deshmukh, Source: Pune Mirror.)
It is heartening to see thousands of Pune citizens out on the streets over the last two weeks protesting against felling of thousands of trees for the destructive Mula Mutha River Front Development Project. The project will destroy the best biodiversity habitat along the rivers in Pune, fell thousands of trees, encroach on riverbeds and floodplains, destroy bird migration corridor, and create fresh flood hazards for the city, which will further worsen in changing climate.
We hope this protests continue and intensify till the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Maharashtra government wakes up and scraps the project and instead, uses the scarce available resources for protecting and rejuvenating the water bodies and biodiversity in Pune in collaboration with the people of Pune.
Mula-Mutha; Pune Citizens oppose RFD project When the river enters the Salim Ali Biodiversity Park, it flows through a rocky bed which supports diverse habitats like small river islands, pools, small rapids, aquatic vegetation and muddy banks – all of which support more than 150 species of birds including several migratory water birds, Kedar Champhekar, a Pune-based independent ecologist told The Wire. “Ironically, this stretch from the confluence downstream is where the riverfront is being implemented, destroying the best habitat on the river system in Pune,” he said.
“This will drastically reduce the bird diversity as the flow will be channelized and made uniform, thus destroying the habitat diversity that is required by different birds.” The old and dense trees on the banks that the PMC plans to cut also supports a large diversity of woodland birds, and serves as a shelter for water birds, and provides a corridor for biodiversity and stabilises the river banks, said Champhekar. https://thewire.in/environment/why-punes-citizens-are-up-in-arms-about-a-riverfront-development-project (05 May 2023)
Experts want riverfront devpt plan scrapped A group of environmentalists and environment lovers on Sunday (May 07) said the Mula and Mutha riverfront development project, in its current form, should be scrapped. They reasoned the project will not serve the purpose of river rejuvenation. The project, if implemented in its current form, will adversely affect all stakeholders. Instead of just beautification, the focus should be on cleaning and restoring the rivers, said the experts. They were speaking at a panel discussion titled ‘What is happening to Pune’s rivers?’
According to these experts, the entire catchment of a river should be considered for rejuvenation. Water should not be stagnated and the river should not be converted into a canal. As per the organisers of the panel discussion, many people are now asking questions about the project, and many are thinking of alternatives.
“The current project is an example of an urban planner’s project. The river is being used as a tool for urban planning projects. Even the basic characteristics of river rejuvenation are not followed,” said Shailaja Deshpande of the Jeevitnadi organisation. “River rejuvenation should not be about blindly implementing Western models. The restoration work should be done considering local cultural and socio-economic contexts,” said Ketaki Ghate of Oikos. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/experts-want-riverfront-devpt-plan-scrapped/articleshow/100061556.cms (08 May 2023)
First public hearing sparks heat, people object to presence of consultant on dais The first public hearing by the Pune Tree Authority (PTA) on the proposed cutting of over 6,000 trees in the city Monday (May 08) witnessed heated objections from the gathering against the presence of a representative of the RFD project’s consultant on the dais. However, the PTA that has been set up by the PMC said that the person was invited to make a presentation on the project and explain the efforts to restore the ecosystem alongside Mula and Mutha river that passes through the city.
The authority had declared that it would be holding a public hearing for three days from May 8 and had invited all those who had raised objections to the proposal. Most of the people, who took the lead in the recent protests against cutting trees for the project, participated in the public hearing. Activist Sarang Yadwadkar criticised the presence of the consultant’s representative on the stage for the hearing. Soon after the hearing, Yadwadkar and others questioned the civic administration on the issue but were unhappy with the reply. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-riverfront-project-trees-cutting-meeting-8598299/ (08 May 2023)
What is happening to Pune rivers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZtaeBQBO-Y (07 May 2023)
As the protest against the proposed cutting of trees for the implementation of River Front Development (RFD) project hots up, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is all set to put the ball in the court of the Maharashtra government to take a final call on the matter after holding a public hearing. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-riverfront-project-trees-pmc-8593748/ (06 May 2023)
Flood risks in Pune as a consequence of the RFD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfGHmCMVmtE (29 April 2023)
At Chipko Andolan site, rising chorus Several hundreds people participated in the Chipko Andolan on Jangali Maharaj Road in Pune on Saturday, Apr 29 2023. Residents turned up in huge numbers to protest against the plan to fell approximately 7,000 trees for a riverfront development project. The project includes the river front work of a 44km river stretch, which includes 22.2 km of the Mula river, 10.4 km of the Mutha river and 11.8 km of Mula-Mutha river. The project is divided into multiple stretches and work has begun on two stretches.
– 70-year-old Mayuri Gandhi, a school teacher, used to love spending her time outdoors, trekking or birdwatching. But lately she feels that she does not enjoy these activities quite so much as nature is getting harmed. “Under the guise of river development, they are actually doing more harm to the river than good. The trees are being uprooted and replaced with concrete, which will in turn damage the roots of other trees and disturb the entire ecosystem,” she said.
– Mrunal Vaidya, 50, a homemaker and a member of the Jivit Nadi Living Rivers Foundation highlighted another important aspect of trees and the damage the decision to cut the trees could cause. “A classic riparian tree, called locally as ‘shindi’ takes close to a 100 years to reach its maximum height and has a small girth. If trees like these are cut down, not only is the tree lost but along with that the 500-odd bird and insect species it is supporting are also damaged. If you are replacing that with a new, small ‘parijat’ tree, how can it support these species? Also, which trees will be planted and whether they can adapt and survive on the riverbank are other important points to be factored in. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/punes-chipko-andolan-site-rising-chorus-time-for-trees-8583088/ (29 April 2023)
Activist Sarang Yadwadkar said that flood levels of the Mula and Mutha rivers would rise by five feet due to the project as the width of the water course is being reduced. “Environmental clearance was given on the condition that not a single tree will be cut, but without any permission, the PMC has already started felling trees inside the river bed,” he said. PM Modi had laid the foundation stone of the project in March 2022. https://www.ndtv.com/pune-news/chipko-protest-in-pune-against-tree-felling-for-riverfront-project-3991703 (30 April 2023)
The city’s environmental activists have decided to return Pune Municipal Corporation’s “Paryavaran Doot” award while condemning the civic body’s decision to cut around 6,000 trees for the proposed riverfront development project. The activists will hold a “public hearing” on rampant tree cutting in the form of a “Chalo Chipko” protest to be carried out near Sambhaji Park, Deccan Gymkhana Pune on April 29. They have appealed to residents to join the protest to protest the natural ecosystems of Pune city and its surroundings.
The activists issued a statement saying PMC’s detailed project report (DPR) of the riverfront project claims that the existing trees along the riverbanks have been accommodated in the planning of the project. “But a few thousand trees, including some rare and old trees, are being cut just for a 1-km stretch of the riverfront being constructed to showcase the project,” the statement reads. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/environmentalists-return-award-protest-6-000-tree-cutting-for-pune-riverfront-project-pmc-treecutting-riverfrontdevelopment-protest-pune-101682359816385.html (24 April 2023)
“In a desperate attempt at damage control, PMC released this statement at 11 pm on Monday (April 24) night. There are so many contradictions between this release, the RFD DPR and the tree docket that even at first glance, it raises concerns.” Sushma Date https://www.punekarnews.in/pune-pmc-clarifies-misconceptions-about-mula-mutha-river-rejuvenation-project-and-trees-cutting/ (24 April 2023)
Debri dumping on riverbank sparks concern Hundreds of trees are being buried under construction and other debris on the Mula riverbank. And the dumping activity, eyewitnesses allege, has been going on around the clock.While Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) claimed there was a possibility that the dumping was being done by a third party not attached to the Riverfront Development (RFD) project, the contractor who has taken up work on a stretch near the dumping site said that part of the riverbank did not come under his jurisdiction.
The question then is, who has been doing such work near PMC’s ambitious RFD project with such audacity? The stretch where trucks are constantly dumping debris and damaging trees can be accessed through the Kailash crematorium. When activists got an inkling of the activity, they rushed to the spot. The people present at the site said they had the required permission for dumping debris and burying the trees. https://punemirror.com/pune/cover-story/debri-dumping-on-mula-riverbank-sparks-concern/cid1682621561.htm (28 April 2023)
Hyacinth continues to rule water bodies It has come to notice that contractors, after bagging the tender, delay the removal of hyacinth until the arrival of the monsoon, after which it flows away naturally. While the health and environment departments figure out whether to remove the hyacinth or spray chemicals over it, it looks like citizens will have to live with the problem for now. https://punemirror.com/pune/health/hyacinth-continues-to-rule-water-bodies-in-pune/cid1683147446.htm (04 May 2023)
The PMC has spent more than INR 20 crore ($2.7m) over the past decade trying to eliminate water hyacinths. The PMC environment department has hiked its budget from ₹2 crore to ₹4.50 crore and the tendering process to remove hyacinth. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/pune-municipal-corporation-to-use-drones-for-pesticide-spraying-to-control-mosquito-menace-in-hyacinth-infested-areas-101683136531125.html (03 May 2023)
The Mula-Mutha river flows through seven of the 15 ward offices of the PMC but Aundh and Warje are the worst affected by water hyacinth. Bopodi and Mundhwa too face water hyacinth problems. Earlier, the PMC used JCB to remove hyacinth from the Mula-Mutha river however it has started using spider machines to remove hyacinth since 2013. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/pmc-appeals-to-pcmc-khadki-cantonment-and-pmrda-metro-for-help-in-removing-water-hyacinth-from-mula-mutha-river-in-pune-101683042914300.html (02 May 2023)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
Ex-CMD of WAPCOS arrested in corruption case CBI has arrested Rajindra Kumar Gupta, former CMD of WAPCOS (Apr 2011 to March 2019) and his son for possessing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. During raids cash of approx Rs 38.38, FDs and other valuables were recovered. WAPCOS is a PSU under Union Jal Shakti Ministry. An FIR has been registered. He has started a consultancy firm after retirement.
– The FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a CBI Superintendent of Police, Suman Kumar. “A reliable information has been received to the effect that Gupta, while posted [at WAPCOS]…committed criminal misconduct and enriched himself illicitly in active connivance with his family members and accumulated assets, which are disproportionate to all his legal known sources of Income by Rs 7.8 crore during his tenure,” Kumar said in the FIR.
– After graduating in B.Tech (Civil) from REC, Kurukshetra, Haryana, Gupta joined WAPCOS in 1989 and became CMD of the PSU on April 27, 2010 for a period of five years, the FIR noted. “Subsequently, his tenure was extended up to the date of his superannuation on September 30, 2018 and he was given a further extension of two years up to September 30, 2020,” it stated. “The source information discloses a steady accumulation of assets by Gupta in his name and his family members during this period.
– “[The] source has revealed that Gupta and his family members were in possession of assets worth Rs 95,02,000 at the beginning of this period (as on April 1, 2011) and held assets worth Rs 13,74,98,219 at the end of the period (as on March 31),” Kumar alleged. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/cbi-wapcos-rajinder-kumar-gupta-cash-seizure-8589255/ (04 May 2023) According to the official, the former bureaucrat and his family were also alleged to have set up a private consultancy business in Delhi after his retirement from service. The alleged immovable properties of the accused consist of flats, commercial properties, a farm houses spread across Delhi, Gurugram, Panchkula, Sonipat, and Chandigarh, he said. https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2023/05/03/del25-cbi-wapcos-cash.html (03 May 2023)
Report Ritwick Dutta’s case could stifle the fight for environmental justice Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case against Dutta, the fear of the process initiated against him will be enough of a deterrent for others seeking to achieve environmental justice in India.
LIFE’s work includes successful attempts at litigating for local communities and the environment against varied industries and for various ecosystems, at every stage of the environmental law procedure. These include challenges against permissions granted for ecologically devastating projects such as the Hydroelectric Project planned within the eco-sensitive stretch of Naymjang Chhu River basin in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang; Bauxite mining by Vedanta in the Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha; the Industrial Zone proposed in the Sompeta wetland of Andhra Pradesh; as well as petitions seeking compensation for victims of environmental damage in the case of the Alaknanda Hydro Power project in Kashmir’s Srinagar, to name a few. https://www.barandbench.com/columns/the-chilling-effect-of-ritwick-duttas-case-could-stifle-the-fight-for-environmental-justice (06 May 2023)
New tracker for hydropower includes almost 4000 projects and those are put on map!! https://globalenergymonitor.org/projects/global-hydropower-tracker/
Telangana NGT orders separate EC for Sitamma Sagar project The NGT has said that the state government cannot start work on the Sitammasagar multipurpose project without obtaining a separate environmental clearance (EC) for it. The government had submitted to the NGT that the multipurpose project was a part of the Sitarama lift irrigation project which had secured the clearance.
The NGT observed that a separate environmental impact assessment study was conducted for the Sitammasagar project and the Union environment, forest and climate change ministry had issued terms of reference. This showed that the multipurpose project required a separate environmental clearance, the NGT said.
In an order dated April 26, the NGT said, “Unless and until the environmental clearance is obtained by them, they cannot commence the project.” The tribunal stressed that if the project proponent was in a hurry, it was for them to expedite the process to get appropriate certificates and approvals from various departments and that they could commence on the project only upon getting the environmental clearance. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/environment/030523/ngt-orders-separate-ec-for-sitamma-sagar-multi-purpose-project.html (03 May 2023) EC mandatory to continue Sitamma Sagar works, reiterates NGT. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/ngt-reiterates-need-of-ec-mandatory-to-continue-sitamma-sagar-works/article66790084.ece (29 April 2023)
NGT has ordered Telangana not to proceed with Sitamma Sagar multi-purpose irrigation project on river Godavari in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district without obtaining EC. Tellam Naresh of Bhadradri-Kothagudem and Bura Laxminarayana of Mulugu filed an application before the NGT Southern Bench alleging that the Sitamma Sagar multi-purpose project at Ammagaripalli village of Aswapuram mandal, Bhadradri-Kothagudem district had commenced work without the EC. They alleged it was a violation of EIA Notification, 2006. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/ngt-directs-telangana-not-to-proceed-with-sitamma-sagar-project-without-ec/articleshow/99102051.cms (30 March 2023)
According to OSD to CM on Irrigation, Sridhar Rao Deshpande, the State already has the EC for the project and the EAC had granted fresh ToR for it in June 2022. However, since the govt wanted to construct a 320 Mw power plant, it requested a change in the existing EC and the EAC suggested a detailed assessment of possible environmental and social concerns, following which the State government prepared a fresh DPR and sent it to the CWC and the Environment Ministry, he said. https://telanganatoday.com/telangana-to-press-for-environmental-clearance-for-sitamma-sagar-project (02 May 2023)
Madhya Pradesh अडानी की कंपनी बनाएगी शक्कर नदी पर डैम शक्कर नदी (a tributary of Narmada) पर 95.4 m high बांध बनाने का काम अडानी की कंपनी करेगी। शक्कर और दूधी नदी पर बांध बनाने के लिए सर्वेक्षण का कार्य शुरू हो चुका है। गाडरवारा के सुदूर पहाड़ी गांव हथनापुर में हग नदी के संगम के पास करीब 100 मीटर नीचे की तरफ इस बांध का निर्माण होगा। The proposed Rs 3825 Cr dam is expected to irrigate areas in Naringhpur and Chhindwara.
– नरसिंहपुर जिले की एक और नदी दूधी पर बांध का निर्माण बनखेड़ी के पास धड़ापाव गांव के नजदीक होगा। बांध का निर्माण महाराष्ट्र कोल्हापुर की एक कंपनी लक्ष्मी कंस्ट्रक्शन के जरिये कराया जाएगा। Expected to irrigate areas in Chhindwara and Hoshangabad. https://www.deshgaon.com/mp-news/narsinghpur/adanis-company-will-build-dam-on-shakkar-river-survey-work-started/ (01 May 2023)
Karam Dam Even though nine months have elapsed, the government is yet to start the work to repair Karam dam. Last year in mid-August, the under-construction dam in MP’s Dhar district had developed cracks trigerring panic among villagers nearby. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/nine-months-after-it-developed-cracks-work-to-repair-karam-dam-yet-to-begin/articleshow/100044940.cms (07 May 2023)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Krishna Water Dispute KRMB to discuss Telangana’s demand for 50% share in water The water-sharing issue is among 22 agenda items proposed for the KRMB meeting on May 10. While the TS demanded a 50:50 ratio in sharing Krishna waters, the AP opposed the same last year. With this, an ad hoc arrangement of a 66:34 ratio was followed in sharing Krishna water between AP and TS respectively for 2022-23. However, TS officials wanted a 50 per cent share from 2023-24 onwards.
The KRMB meeting will also deliberate on the supply of water to the unapproved projects mentioned in the Jal Shakti gazette notification issued on July 15, 2021. The meeting will also discuss the modernisation of the Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme (RDS) anicut, which is in critical condition due to which Telangana is unable to realise its share for the past three decades. The RDS Anicut is in dilapidated condition and may collapse without any notice. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2023/may/06/krmb-to-discuss-telanganasdemand-for-50-per-centshare-in-krishna-water-2572559.html (06 May 2023)
Opinion Drip irrigation needs further push by a Narawanamoorthy The widespread growth in rural electrification has brought about a major change in groundwater irrigation. The number of electric pumpsets has increased from just 16 lakh in 1970-71 to 207 lakh in 2018-19 — an almost 13-fold increase. This has hugely transformed India’s irrigation map. For instance, the share of groundwater in the total irrigated area has grown exponentially from 34 per cent in 1970-71 to 65 per cent in 2019-20. Electricity consumption of the agriculture sector has, therefore, increased 48 times during the same period.
An acre of sugarcane or banana crop needs only one hour for each turn of irrigation by the drip method. But the same crops require 10-15 hours to irrigate using the flood method, because of which the consumption of both power and water increases. An Agriculture Ministry-initiated field study conducted in Maharashtra, an important drip-irrigated State, shows that about 1,065 kWh of electricity per hectare can be saved by adopting the drip method in sugarcane cultivation. A 2014 study by the Agriculture Ministry, covering 13 States, reveals drip irrigation can increase crop yield by 42-53 per cent, reduce irrigation costs by 20-50 per cent and fertilizer use by 7-43 per cent.
More efforts are needed to achieve an appreciable growth in the area under drip irrigation. The Task Force has estimated that 270 lakh hectares of cultivated land is suitable for drip irrigation. But, India’s drip irrigated area was only 6 per cent of the total irrigated area in 2020-21. Besides horticultural crops, more than 80 crops including cotton, groundnut, sugarcane, banana and tur can be cultivated through drip irrigation. Therefore, it is important to create awareness among the farmers about the benefits of drip irrigation on a continuous basis. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/drip-irrigation-needs-further-push/article66813275.ece (04 May 2023)
Report Dead rivers, flaming lakes: India’s sewage failure Of the 72 Million Cubic Meters (MCM) of sewage currently generated in urban centers in India every day, 45 MCM aren’t treated, according to government figures for 2020-21. India’s sewerage system does not connect to about two-thirds of its urban homes, according to the National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance (NFSSM). Many of the sewage treatment plants in operation don’t comply with standards—including 26 out of Delhi’s 35 facilities, according to media reports.
– India will add 27 cr to Urban population by 2040. About 1.6 Cr every year. https://phys.org/news/2023-05-dead-rivers-flaming-lakes-india.html (03 May 2023)
Chennai Plans to build dams on Kosasthalaiyar river The WRD is studying technical feasibility of creating a riverine reservoir across the Kosasthalaiyar river at Sadayankuppam-Edayanchavadi in north Chennai. The reservoir, with a tail end regulator, would be formed on about 400 hectares of space available between the two arms of the Kosasthalaiyar under the Napalayam bridge. The two dilapidated check dams at Edayanchavadi and Sadayankuppam arms of the river would be converted into regulators. The department had announced that a study would be conducted at a cost of ₹5 crore to create riverine reservoirs in four locations on the Kosasthalaiyar riverbed this year.
Meanwhile, hydrogeologists have expressed concern over interventions close to the coast. L. Elango, professor, department of Geology, Anna University, said there are possibilities of the region east of reservoir to become more saline during monsoon failures and the reservoir drying up. Waterbodies may be created in upper reaches for groundwater recharge. Nature-based projects such as increasing mangroves in the triangular region and along the water courses may be chalked out. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/plans-afoot-to-build-riverine-reservoir-near-sadayankuppam-to-recharge-groundwater/article66808316.ece (03 May 2023)
Book Review नदी किनारे बसे गांव के बहाने भारत की आत्मा को उजागर करती है पुस्तक ‘नदी सिंदूरी’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybNb18A5G-c (04 May 2023)
GODAVARI Andhra Pradesh Green crusader on Godavari revival mission A 15-year-old NRI girl, Umasri Pujyam has set a goal to contribute her time and energy in reducing water pollution in the Godavari river. The once clean and safe Godavari is now rampantly polluted. Umasri has not merely focused on raising the alarm and educating communities about the perils of this crisis, but over the past couple of years, she has organised over a 100 cleanup drives on the river Godavari. Using her passion for environmental engineering, Umasri aspires to engineer innovative and effective sewage treatment solutions, which prioritise access to clean water. https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2023/may/07/green-crusader-on-godavarirevival-mission-2572855.html (07 May 2023)
GANGA Uttar Pradesh कानपुर गंगा को बचाने के लिए जल निगम और 24 करोड़ रुपये खर्च करेगा बैराज के पास गंगा में गिर रहे परमियापुरवा नाला को रोकने के लिए मैनावती मार्ग से बनियापुरवा स्थित सीवरेज ट्रीटमेंट प्लांट तक सीवर लाइन डाली जाएगी। शासन ने धन स्वीकृत कर दिया है। अभी परमियापुरवा नाला ओवर फ्लो होने से रोज 50 लाख लीटर दूषित पानी गंगा में गिर रहा है। वर्ष 2018 में नमामि गंगे के तहत जल निगम सीसामऊ, नवाबगंज नाला, परमियापुरवा नाला, परमट नाला समेत छह नालों को गंगा में गिरने से रोकने के लिए 63 करोड़ रुपये से टेप किया गया था। सीसामऊ नाला समेत अन्य नालों को टेप करने में लापरवाही होने पर शासन ने पूर्व जल निगम महाप्रबंधक आरके अग्रवाल व परियोजना प्रबंधक धनश्याम द्विवेदी को निलंबित कर दिया गया था। परमियापुरवा नाला के पानी को गंगा में जाने से रोकने के लिए लाइन बिछाई लेकिन परीक्षण में पानी ट्रीटमेंट प्लांट तक पहुंचा ही नहीं। दरअसल लाइन में गड़बड़ी की वजह से ये स्थिति हुई। इसको लेकर नाले से सीवर के पानी को अलग किया जा रहा है। https://www.jagran.com/news/state-kanpur-news-24-crore-will-be-spent-to-save-ganga-sewer-line-will-be-laid-from-mainavati-marg-to-baniyapurwa-stp-kanpur-news-23400925.html (02 May 2023)
गंगा को निर्मल बनाने के लिए हर साल करोड़ों रुपए पानी की तरह बहाया जा रहा है. बावजूद इसके कुछ ऑफिसर्स की लापरवाही से गंगा में अभी भी नालों का दूषित पानी गिर रहा है. इसकी पोल तब खुली, जब पॉल्यूशन कंट्रोल बोर्ड की टीम ने नालों का मुआयना किया. टीम ने पाया कि अभी भी जाजमऊ स्थित कॉमन सीवेज पंंपिंग स्टेशन (सीएसपीएस) और शीतला बाजार से नाले को दूषित पानी डायरेक्ट गंगा में गिर रहा है. जिसे लेकर यूपी पॉल्यूशन कंट्रोल बोर्ड के ऑफिसर अमित मिश्रा ने जल निगम को फटकार लगाई और कहा कि फौरन इस दूषित पानी को गंगा में जाने से रोकें, ताकि गंगा को निर्मल किया जा सके. https://www.inextlive.com/uttar-pradesh/kanpur/crores-spent-in-ganga-yet-39-stains-39-of-dirt-on-the-hem-1677516631 (27 Feb. 2023)
गंगा को प्रदूषण से बचाने के लिए वर्ष 2018 में 63 करोड़ रुपये की लागत से सीसामऊ, परमट, नवाबगंज, म्योर मिल, डबका और गुप्तार घाट नाले को बंद किया गया था। 28 करोड़ रुपये अकेले सीसामऊ नाले को बंद करने पर खर्च हुए थे। गंगा में गिरने वाले 14 करोड़ लीटर दूषित पानी को रोकने के लिए दो जगह यह नाला टेप किया गया था। एशिया के सबसे बड़े इस नाले को प्रधानमंत्री नरेन्द्र मोदी ने 14 दिसंबर 2019 को स्टीमर से देखा था। जल निगम के अफसरों ने वाहवाही लूटी थी। हालांकि, अब निगरानी बंद हो चुकी है। क्षेत्रीय पार्षद मनोज पांडेय ने बताया कि पिछले चार दिन से लगातार नाले का दूषित पानी गंगा में गिर रहा है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/kanpur-city-seesamau-sewage-is-still-droping-polluted-water-in-ganga-22566616.html (24 March 2022)
मिर्जापुर: गंगा को स्वच्छ और सुंदर बनाने के लिए करोड़ों रुपये भले ही खर्च किए जा रहे हों, लेकिन अभी भी मिर्जापुर जिले में 17 बड़े नालों का गंदा पानी सीधे गंगा नदी में गिराया जा रहा है। बिना शोधन के पानी गिराए जाने से गंगा प्रदूषित हो रही है। सवाल यह उठता है कि सरकार के ऐक्शन प्लान के बावजूद भी गंगा नदी के जल को प्रदूषित करने का सिलसिला क्यों जारी है? कुछ बड़े नालों के पानी को शोधन करने के बाद गंगा में गिराया जा रहा है तो कुछ नालों का पानी को सीधे गंगा नदी में गिराया जा रहा है, जिससे गंगा प्रदूषित हो रही है।
मिर्जापुर नगर पालिका परिषद के मुताबिक, कुल 27 बड़े नाले हैं। ऐसे में 17 बड़े नालों का पानी बगैर शोधन के सीधे गंगा नदी में गिराया जा रहा है, जिससे गंगा में प्रदूषण बढ़ रहा है। कार्यदायी संस्था का दावा है कि जनवरी 2024 तक सभी नालों को टेप्ड करके एसटीपी से जोड़कर दिया जाएगा, जिसके बाद पानी को गंगा में शोधन करने के बाद गिराया जाएगा, इसको लेकर काम भी जारी है। जिले में अबतक 10 बड़े नालों के पानी को सीवेज ट्रीटमेंट प्लांट से जोड़कर शोधन के बाद गंगा नदी में गिराया जा रहा है। नगर में हर दिन 31 एमएलडी सीवेज का निस्तारण होता है। इनमें से तीन प्लांटों से 16.50 एमएलडी पानी का शोधन किया जा रहा है, लेकिन 14 एमएलडी पानी को बिना सोधित किए गंगा नदी में गिराया जा रहा है।
मिर्जापुर जिले में नमामि गंगे परियोजना के तहत 129 करोड़ की लागत से गंगा नदी को स्वच्छ रखने को लेकर काम किया जा रहा है। अभी तक जिले में नमामि गंगे परियोजना के तहत लगभग 50 प्रतिशत काम पूरा हो चुका है। 17 बड़े नालों का पानी गंगा को सीधे प्रदूषित कर रहा है। सवाल यह है कि आखिर इतने दावों के बावजूद भी अब तक काम क्यों नहीं पूरा हो सका। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttar-pradesh/mirzapur/water-of-17-big-drains-is-falling-directly-into-ganga-in-mirzapur-how-pure-and-clean-will-ganges-water-be/articleshow/99886511.cms (30 April 2023)
उन्नाव के मिश्रा कॉलोनी से लेकर सीताराम कॉलोनी, मनोहर नगर, रविदास नगर, इंद्रा नगर व जाजमऊ चंदन घाट तक सैकड़ों छोटे-नाले नालियों का गंदा पानी सीधे गंगा में गिर रहा है। जिससे मोक्षदायिनी का जल आंचमन लायक नहीं बचा है। इस वक्त मिश्रा कॉलोनी के पास हरे रंग की गंगा में काई जमा है। पालिका से लेकर प्रदूषण विभाग तक ने कोई भी कारगर कदम नहीं उठाया है।
गंगा का स्वच्छ रखने के लिये इंद्रा नगर में एसटीपी बनाया जा रहा है, अधिकारियों की लापरवाही के चलते दो साल से काम चल रहा है, फिर भी अधूरा है। जून माह में जल शक्ति मंत्री ने डकारी एसटीपी का निरीक्षण किया था, जहां जल निगम के अधिशाषी अभियंता ने पंद्रह दिन में कार्य पूर्ण करने का आश्वासन दिया था। दस माह हो गये, फिर भी अधूरा है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/unnao/news/drains-falling-indiscriminately-accumulated-moss-131162877.html (April 2023)
Bihar Number of PRS increases 3 times in 4 years The number of polluted river stretches (PRS) in the state increased from 6 in 2018 to 18 in 2022. The water of Sirsiya river in East Champaran has been found to be the most polluted, the CPCB study says. The 18 polluted rivers of the state are Bagmati, Burhi Gandak/Sikrahna, Daha, Dhous, Gandak, Ganga, Gangi, Ghaghara, Harbora, Kamala, Kohra, Lakhandei, Manusmar, Parmar, Punpun, Ramrekha, Sirsiya and Sone.
SPCB chairman Ashok Kumar Ghosh pointed out that the number of PRS in the state has increased mainly due to the fact that the number of water quality monitoring stations has increased in the state in recent years. Earlier, only the water quality of Ganga river was being monitored, but now the quality of various tributaries was also being monitored regularly as they were also adding to the Ganga’s pollution load, he said.
The urban centres draw water from the river to meet their requirements and almost the entire wastewater generated by these centres is disposed of into the river. It leads to deterioration of water quality and there is need to ensure treatment of entire wastewater generated, Ghosh added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/number-of-polluted-river-stretchesincreases-3-times-in-4-years-cpcb/articleshow/97217902.cms (22 Jan. 2023)
NGT slaps Rs 4,000 cr fine for poor waste management The principal bench comprising NGT chairperson Justice AK Goel, in its hearing on Thursday (May 04), directed that the amount be deposited within two months in a “ring-fenced account” to be operated according to the chief secretary’s directions only for waste management in the state. It also said the amount should be kept as “non-lapsable”, meaning it should not lapse beyond the stipulated deadline. The amount will be used for setting up solid waste processing facilities, remediation of legacy waste and setting up of STPs and faecal sludge and septage treatment plants, so that there remains no gap, it ordered.
As per the order-sheet, Bihar produces around 5,437 tonnes per day (TPD) of solid waste, out of which only around 1,365 TPD is processed, leaving a whopping gap of 4,072 TPD. During the hearing, the NGT bench noted that there was a legacy waste of more than 11.7 lakh metric tonnes as well as unprocessed urban waste of 4,072 metric tonnes per day in Bihar and the gap in liquid waste generation and treatment was 2,193 MLD. The bench hoped the state government will take further measures in the matter by innovative approach and stringent monitoring. On September 1, 2022, it NGT imposed compensation of Rs3,500 crore on the West Bengal government on the same issue. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ngt-slaps-rs-4000cr-fine-on-bihar-for-poor-waste-management/articleshow/100022775.cms (06 May 2023)
West Bengal Centre not allocating money for erosion prevention: CM Mamta Banerjee while addressing a meeting in erosion-affected Murshidabad on May 05 said, “The Centre does not give money to prevent river erosion. Prevention of erosion is not a state but a central issue. Still not giving money, withheld. Rs 700 crore allocated for Ganga erosion prevention and area development has not yet been given. One hundred days’ worth of money has been withheld from Awas. Not giving us any of the money we deserve.”
She also increased the allocation from Rs 50 crore to Rs 100 crore to prevent the erosion of the Ganges in Samsher Ganj of West Bengal. She added, “The Centre is not giving any help to the Farakka Barrage either. No dredging. Does not clean silt. I have said it many times.”
Earlier, Irrigation Department Minister of West Bengal Partha Bhowmik also complained about the lack of central allocation to prevent the erosion of the Ganges. His complaint was, “Ganga is a national river. Even though the work is supposed to be a joint initiative between the Center and the State, no help from the Center is available to prevent erosion.” https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/west-bengal-cm-mamata-banerjee-ganga-erosion-prevention-2368949-2023-05-05 (05 May 2023) State govt has drawn a comprehensive plan to stop Ganga erosion in Malda and Murshidabad districts. CM Banerjee on Friday (May 05) announced an allocation of Rs 100 crore for the ten-year plan to stop erosion in the vulnerable blocks of the districts. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/bengal-draws-a-plan-to-stop-ganga-erosion-in-malda-and-murshidabad/articleshow/100020911.cms (05 May 2023)
The state govt will clean septic tanks of households in 42 towns on the banks of Ganga to ensure that the water of the river is free from coliform bacteria and faecal contents, environment minister Manas Bhuniya said on Tuesday (April 25). https://www.telegraphindia.com/my-kolkata/news/west-bengal-to-clean-septic-tanks-of-houses-in-42-towns-to-clear-ganga-of-coliform/cid/1932470 (26 April 2023)
Ichhamati pollution ruins livelihood of local residents
Large-scale pollution of the Ichhamati river, caused by a variety of factors, has ruined livelihoods and led to the migration of many people from places along the course of the river, people from the areas and environment activists said at a conference on Tuesday (April 25). https://www.telegraphindia.com/my-kolkata/news/ichhamati-pollution-ruins-livelihood-of-local-residents/cid/1932357 (26 April 2023)
YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh Farmhouses on floodplain: HC directs status quo While directing the authority and NMCG to file counter affidavits, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh directed to list the case in the week commencing July 2, 2023 for the next hearing. It was also pointed out that Noida had failed to deal with specific objections raised by individual farmhouse owners regarding its jurisdiction. The petitioner said the central government had instituted NMCG in October 2016, one of whose functions was to determine the flood plain zone area, demarcate it and to assert if they were causing any problem with the natural flow of Ganga or its tributaries (in this case Yamuna).
The present petition was filed on February 14, 2023, by Ratna Mitra, a farmhouse owner, after the Noida Authority rejected his objections to a public notice whereby the authority had directed the demolition of farmhouses in Sector 135 in July 2022 on the pretext of the same being built on floodplains of Yamuna. Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, senior advocate VK Singh assisted by Ashwarya Sinha and Devika Kapoor contended that Noida Authority didn’t have the necessary jurisdiction to order demolition of farmhouses, especially in the absence of any floodplain demarcation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/farmhouses-on-yamuna-flood-plain-allahabad-hc-directs-status-quo/articleshow/100026458.cms (06 May 2023)
Delhi DDA to plant Chinar trees, Cherry blossoms along Yamuna Pradip Krishen, environmentalist and author of the book Trees of Delhi, said both cherry blossom and chinar are unlkely to survive in Delhi’s climate as they are accustomed to much cooler temperatures. “The cherry blossom does well in Japan as that country has a much cooler, temperate climate, whereas in Delhi, the mercury can go beyond 45 degrees Celsius, which will put tremendous stress on the sapling. Agencies will have to work overtime and put in extra efforts to make it survive. Similarly, the Chinar tree is also an exotic species, which can grow well in Jammu and Kashmir as it has a much cooler temperature than Delhi. It is not a good idea to plant them in the floodplains or anywhere in Delhi,” Krishen said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/reviving-delhi-s-landscape-lieutenant-governor-oversees-plantation-of-cherry-blossoms-and-chinar-trees-on-yamuna-s-floodplains-101683485457009.html
Mosques join clean river initiative Around a dozen prominent mosques across Delhi, including Jama Masjid, Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin Shahi Kalan Masjid and Mufti Nisar Badwali Masjid, Daryaganj, were part of the initiative. More are expected to follow suit over the coming days, according to sources. The L-G had asked city priests to promote the use of eco-friendly materials in religious offerings, discourage the dumping of waste or plastic in the river, and educate people about waste management practices in temples and ashrams located on the banks of the Yamuna. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/mosques-across-delhi-join-initiative-for-a-clean-yamuna-8594237/ (06 May 2023)
SANDRP Blog India Lost 10 More Gangetic River Dolphins In One Year
May 18, 2023, would mark 13 year of declaration of Gangetic dolphin as a national aquatic animal. However, the habitats of this ‘highly endangered’ species continue to suffer anthropogenic threats including wrong operations of dams & barrages, inland waterways projects, decreasing flows & increasing pollution in rivers, sand mining and poaching etc. in India. As a result, there are frequent incidents of mysterious and unnatural deaths of these fresh water mammals. https://sandrp.in/2023/05/06/india-lost-10-more-gangetic-river-dolphins-in-one-year/ (6 May 2023)
W Bengal Gill nets causing deaths of endangered Gangetic dolphins The frequency of deaths has increased desperately in the last three years, claiming lives of at least 14 dolphins within just 45 km of the Bhagirathi river stretch between Katwa in East Burdwan and Nadia.
Thickly knitted fishing gill nets have caused the death of yet another river dolphin today (April 29) leaving the state fishery and the forest officials in jeopardy. Gill nets used indiscriminately in the Bhagirathi river by the fishermen communities have been killing the endangered Gangetic Dolphins over the years. “It was a 12-year-old fully grown female dolphin and its carcass was recovered from the sand beds between Kabirajpur in Nadia and Kalikapur,” said Shibaprasad Sinha, Forest Ranger, Katwa. He said, “In most of the death cases, we’ve observed injury marks in the dolphins that indicate they were either stuck in the fishing nets laid unauthorisedly in the river or were hit by the whirling propellers of the mechanised boats.” https://www.thestatesman.com/bengal/gill-nets-causing-deaths-of-endangered-gangetic-dolphins-1503176537.html (29 April 2023)
उत्तर प्रदेश के कतर्नियाघाट वन्यजीव अभयारण्य से सटे गिरिजापुरी बैराज पर एक मादा डॉल्फिन मृत पाई गई है। वन विभाग के सूत्रों ने गुरुवार (Nov. 03, 2022) को बताया कि मंगलवार (Nov. 01, 2022) रात बैराज के गेट संख्या-एक पर एक डॉल्फिन के फंसे होने की सूचना मिली थी। वन क्षेत्राधिकारी विजय कुमार मिश्र अपने दल के साथ मौके पर पहुंचे तो उन्हें डॉल्फिन मृत मिली। पोस्टमार्टम रिपोर्ट में मरने वाली मादा डॉल्फिन की उम्र 10 वर्ष के करीब आंकी गई है और उसकी लंबाई 1.97 मीटर थी। पोस्टमार्टम रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक, डॉल्फिन की मौत दम घुटने के कारण हुई और उसके गले, नाक व मुंह पर खून के धब्बे भी थे। कतर्नियाघाट अभयारण्य में बहने वाली गेरूआ नदी में इनकी संख्या 50 से 60 के बीच होने का अनुमान है। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttar-pradesh/others/dolphin-dies-of-suffocation-in-up/articleshow/95273051.cms (03 Nov. 2022) https://www.amritvichar.com/article/308605/bahraich-dolphin-found-dead-in-barrage-gate-postmortem-will-be-done-tomorrow#gsc.tab=0 (01 Nov. 2022)
कतर्नियाघाट वन्यजीव प्रभाग से होकर निकली घाघरा पर बने गिरिजा बैराज के फाटक नंबर 32 के पास रविवार (14 March 2021) की सुबह डॉल्फिन का शव उतराता मिला। दो सदस्यीय चिकित्सकों की टीम ने पोस्टमार्टम किया। रिपोर्ट में गर्भस्थ शिशु की मौत से फैले संक्रमण से मादा डॉल्फिन के मौत की पुष्टि हुई है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/bahraich-dead-body-of-dolfin-found-in-girija-dam-21463845.html (14 March 2021) कतर्नियाघाट वन्यजीव प्रभाग अंतर्गत चौधरी चरण सिंह गिरिजापुरी बैराज के गेट संख्या तीन में शुक्रवार (Feb. 28, 2020 (की सुबह एक डॉल्फिन फंसी हुई थी। करीब एक घंटे की कड़ी मशक्कत के बाद डॉल्फिन को बाहर निकाला गया। उसकी मौत हो चुकी थी। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/bahraich/dolphin-found-dead-in-girijapuri-barrage-bahraich-news-lko5111328192 (28 Feb. 2020) गेरुआ और कौड़ियाला नदियों के संगम पर स्थित चौधरी चरण सिंह गिरिजापुरी बैराज के गेट नंबर आठ पर शनिवार (03 Oct. 2015) शाम एक डॉल्फिन मृत मिली। डीएफओ ने कहा मृत डॉल्फिन की खाल सुरक्षित है। इससे लग रहा है कि उसका शिकार नहीं किया गया है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/bahraich/dead-dolphin-found-on-girijapuri-barage-hindi-news (03 Oct. 2015)
वैशाली के गोपालपुर दियारा में एक जुबेनाइनल डॉल्फिन का शव पीपा पुल के नीचे गंगा नदी के किनारे मिला। मृत मिला डॉल्फिन लगभग 4 फीट लंबा और पूरी तरह तंदुरुस्त है। उसके शरीर पर कोई भी खरोच वगैरा के निशान नहीं है। जिससे ऐसा प्रतीत हो रहा है कि शॉक से डॉल्फिन की मृत्यु हुई है। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/bihar/hajipur/dolphin-dead-body-found-on-the-banks-of-river-ganga-in-vaishali-fear-of-death-due-to-shock/articleshow/97197518.cms (21 Jan. 2023)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Delhi Revived pond contaminated by toxic sewage Sewage discharge into a 1.5 acre pond in Dwarka Sector 23 resulted in the death of all the fish in it even as residents of the area alleged on Thursday (May 04) that the water body was polluted by a drain belonging to the Delhi Development Authority.
According to residents of sectors 22, 23 and the nearby Pochanpur village, the discharge of sewage on Wednesday (May 03) into the pond — revived by them almost a decade ago — was through DDA’s trunk drain-II for which the body is currently carrying out beautification work. Hundreds of fish were seen floating on the surface in a matter of hours, the locals alleged.
In a similar incident in July last year, hundreds of fish were found dead in the Najafgarh drain, resulting in the NGT ordering an inquiry into the incident. An NGT-appointed committee in October identified a number of factors resulting in their death, including discharge of untreated waste from Haryana’s STPs, heavy rain a day before the incident, and high organic and chemical pollution in the drain. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/sewage-discharge-kills-fish-in-revived-pond-residents-blame-delhi-development-authority-s-drain-beautification-work-101683225362400.html (05 May 2023)
Himachal Pradesh Trout production sinks to bottom over decade Trout fish production has taken a nosedive over the decade. The Economic Survey report for the year 2022-23 suggests that this figure dropped from 19.18 tonnes in 2012-13 to 6.73 tonnes in 2020-21 and is estimated to hit a low of 6.33 tonnes in 2022-23 with a negative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -10.49%.
– This decline has come when the state’s overall fish production has risen consistently in the same decade, from 8,560.8 metric tonnes in 2012-13 to an estimated 17.136.9 MT in 2022-23 at an overall growth rate of 7%. The total value of fish produced also jumped from Rs 58.1 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 233.5 crore in 2021-22 with a growth rate of 15.7% and is expected to touch Rs 249.9 crore in 2022-23, at a growth rate of 7%. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/himachal-pradesh-trout-production-sinks-to-bottom-over-decade/articleshow/99883764.cms (30 April 2023)
Report Beneath the sand The Environmental Reporting Collective (ERC) investigation, Beneath the Sands, exposes how greed for grains of sand comes at a fatal human cost: As cities rise in number and countries urbanize rapidly, sand mining-related murders and other associated crimes have taken a toll on poverty-stricken communities. https://www.beneaththesands.earth The South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has documented 418 deaths in 16 months across the country from December 2020 to March 2022 due to violence and accidents linked to sand-mining activities. However, the actual death toll could be higher. https://www.beneaththesands.earth/we-cant-run-away (27 April 2023)
Supreme Court No mining within ESZ even if ESZ is more than 1km from protected forest On 28th April, 2023, the Supreme Court clarified its order dated 26th April 2023, wherein it stated that its previous order mandating a 1 km ESZ around protected forests would not be applicable to the ESZs in respect of which a draft and final notification has been issued by the MoEF&CC and in respect of the proposals which have been received by the Ministry.
In its order dated 26th April, 2023, the Court had categorically recorded – “We also modify the direction contained in paragraph 56.4 of the order dated 3rd June, 2022 (Supra) and direct that mining within the National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and within an area of one kilometre from the boundary of such National Park and Wild Life Sanctuary shall not be permissible.”
The Bench was previously informed that in some of the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries the ESZ areas are less than 1km, where in others it is 500 m or lesser. Accordingly, it had held that even in cases where the ESZ boundaries are less than 1 km from the Protected Area, the ban on mining shall extend up to a distance of 1 km from the boundary of such areas. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/no-mining-activity-within-esz-even-if-eco-sensitive-zone-is-more-than-1-km-from-protected-forest-supreme-court-clarifies-227919 (4 May 2023)
Himachal Pradesh 62 water supply schemes affected due to mining, crisis looms large over Bilapsur Sixty-two out of the total 278 drinking water supply schemes in Bilaspur district have been affected due to legal and illegal mining activities in the area, with officials saying reports of water shortage have started pouring in from different localities.
The water level in small wells — where the water is stored and lifted using motors to supply to households — has gone down by about one-and-a-half metre due to the mining activities in the district and the residents apprehend they would face shortages during the coming summer months. The Jal Shakti Department has prepared a DPR on restoring the water level by erecting checkdams and sent it to the higher authorities. The proposal has been approved by the district level committee headed by deputy commissioner of Bilaspur, and sent to the state level committee for approval. https://theprint.in/india/62-water-supply-schemes-affected-due-to-mining-crisis-looms-large-over-bilapsur/1559649/ (06 May 2023)
Govt sets up STF to curb illegal mining The Govt has set up a special task force (STF) to keep tabs on illegal mining and review the action taken by member departments at different levels. “To prevent the evasion of royalty and for simplification of ‘Form W/X’, the same will be linked with m-parivahan portal. Related departments like PWD, Jal Shakti and Pollution Control Board will also be linked with this portal,” it said.
The department has also initiated the process to identify private land being used for the extraction of illegal minerals by locals under the Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh Development Authority area. As soon as the demarcation of this land by the revenue is completed, a higher penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh as per the Himachal Pradesh Minor Mineral Rules, 2015, shall be imposed on those involved in illegal mining activities, it added. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/himachal-sets-up-task-force-to-curb-illegal-mining-503832 (02 May 2023)
Jammu & Kashmir The Department of Geology & Mining has established about 3,500 million tonne reserves of various minerals including Limestone (major), Gypsum, Marble, Lignite, Slate, Quartzite, and Graphite. The establishment of these industrial minerals enabled the Government to grant about 51 captive and non-captive Mining leases to private and public sector undertakings. In Kashmir Valley, about 12 cement plants, eight POP units, 297 brick kilns and 416 crusher/hot wet mix plants are sustaining on locally available major as well as minor minerals. During the financial year 2021-22, the Kashmir Valley registered mineral production to the tune of about Rs 60 lakh metric tonnes with a collection of Rs 66.43 crore as revenue. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/amp/story/todays-paper/editorial-page/regulate-mining-protect-environment (08 May 2023)
Haryana Firm fakes sale of 40K MT of mining minerals Even as there is no mining site in Jhajjar, a firm based in Bahadurgarh in the district has shown the sale of 40,402 metric tonnes (MT) of mining minerals to screening plants in Yamunanagar in its records. Rajesh Sangwan, Assistant Mining Engineer, Yamunanagar, said this was part of a cover-up act to shield screening plants in Yamunanagar, which reportedly carried out illegal mining in their area and showed the minerals as purchased from the said firm using e-transit passes issued by the latter. He said the illegally mined minerals were then sold by the screening plants in the open market. Sources said this fake sale of 40,402 MT of minerals was shown to have taken place in just five days between April 20 and April 24. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/in-cover-up-act-jhajjar-firm-fakes-sale-of-40k-mt-of-mining-minerals-504148 (03 May 2023)
Madhya Pradesh DGP sends force to stop sand mining in Chambal area For the last few months, news surfaced on media and online, about illegal sand mining in the areas respectively. But the police and local administration did not pay heed to the reports. After NGT objections, the police received a wake-up call and started preventive action.
In the meeting, the DGP said that one company each of the armed forces has been provided to district Morena by the Police Headquarters to stop illegal sand mining. Through that company, the force has been deployed by the superintendent of police, Morena, at Rajghat and Barwashin of the district. In this way, SAF will establish check posts equipped with state-of-the-art weapons in 17 places in Morena district, to stop illegal sand mining and its transportation.
The DGP informed that 39 FIRs have been registered in Morena district. 25 accused have also been arrested. Section 144 of CrPC was also imposed against the vehicles in the district and now diesel and petrol cannot be given to such numberless vehicles. Drones are also being monitored by the police in National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary. District Bhind has also been given a SAF company, to stop illegal sand mining in the district. Check posts have been set up along with armed forces at Uttar Pradesh border and other places. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-dgp-sends-force-to-stop-sand-mining-in-chambal-area (12 April 2023)
Bihar ‘Scale of violence unprecedented’ The attack on three officials of Mines and Geology Department has left officials shocked. “This was not the first attack on mine officials by the sand mafia, but the scale and intensity of violence was unprecedented,” Mohammad Nayyer Iqubal, director of the mines department, told ThePrint Tuesday (April 18). “We have lodged an FIR and around 50 persons have been arrested. We have also decided that in the future raiding teams will be sent with adequate armed forces,” he added. Iqubal also appeared puzzled by the local population’s support for the illegal sand miners. “There are two villages and all of them seemed to be working for them,” he said.
Speaking to ThePrint, Janak Ram, former minister of mines and geology department, highlighted the lack of fear among the sand mafia. “There is a lot of money in sand mining. When I tightened the screws, the revenue shot up from Rs 1,600 crore to Rs 2,100 crore. The fact is that illegal miners are getting government patronage and the fear of law has evaporated. The cost of sand is perhaps the highest in Bihar. Here it is Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 per CFT (cubic feet), which is three times more than the cost in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
After the bifurcation of Bihar and Jharkhand in 2000, the deposits of coal and iron became concentrated in the latter, leaving Bihar with sand. This resulted in the rise of sand mining in Bihar on the stretch along the Ganga River, with Bhojpur district being one of the main locations for such activity. “JCBs and Poclain machines are brought during the night hours and the local population works as labourers. Everyone gets kickbacks — the local police, mines officials and politicians,” said an official of the state’s mines department who wished to not be named.
In December last year, the state’s mines department had decided to form a dedicated force to curb illegal sand mining and transportation of minerals in the state. The decision was taken after a series of violent attacks on mines officials in Patna, Bhojpur, Rohtas, Saran, Vaishali and Aurangabad districts. Five months on, the department appears to be still short of forces and remains vulnerable to violent attacks by illegal miners. https://theprint.in/india/scale-of-violence-unprecedented-shock-confusion-after-sand-mafia-attack-on-officials-in-bihar/1525092/ (18 April 2023)
शुक्रवार (May 05) की रात नवादा से बारात चलकर नालंदा पहुंची थी। शादी की रस्में पूरी होने के बाद दूल्हा अपनी दुल्हन को लेकर घर लौट रहे थे। इसी बीच हसनपुर गांव के समीप विपरीत दिशा से आ रही अवैध बालू लोड ट्रैक्टर ने कार में टक्कर मार दी। इससे कार का एक हिस्सा क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया और मौके पर पुष्पा और श्याम की मौत हो गई। हादसे में ड्राइवर बाल-बाल बच गया है। वहीं दूल्हे का बहनोई गंभीर रूप से घायल है। जिसका इलाज वर्धमान आयुर्विज्ञान संस्थान पावापुरी में चल रहा है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/nalanda/news/bride-and-groom-died-in-road-accident-in-nalanda-bihar-bhaskar-latest-news-131252165.html (06 May 2023)
Uttar Pradesh बालू लदे ट्रक ने बाइक सवार दंपती को कुचला चित्रकूट में गुरुवार (April 27) देर रात एक सड़क हादसे में तेज रफ्तार बालू लदे ट्रक की टक्कर से बाइक सवार युवक की मौत हो गई। वहीं युवक की पत्नी को गंभीर हालत में जिला अस्पताल में भर्ती कराया गया। युवक ससुराल से पत्नी को लेकर घर जा रहा था। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/chitrakoot-horrific-accident-in-chitrakoot-sand-laden-truck-crushed-bike-rider-couple-and-husband-died-23397596.html (28 April 2023)
Tamil Nadu VAO hacked to death for reporting illegal sand mining Lourdu Francis (55), a Village Administrative Officer (VAO) of Murappanadu in Thoothukudi district, was hacked to death by two men on Tuesday, April 25, for taking action against illegal sand mining. The police arrested one of the two accused on the day of the incident itself and formed four special teams to nab the second accused, Marimuthu, who was arrested on April 26.
Two weeks earlier, on April 13, Lourdu lodged a complaint against one of the accused for illegally mining sand from the Thamiraparani river bed. On Lourdu’s complaint, the Murappanadu police booked Ramasubbu and two other men under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code for theft.
On April 25, Ramasubbu barged into the Murappanadu VAO office with another man and hacked Lourdu with matchets, and fled the spot. Injured badly, Lourdu was rushed to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital where he failed to respond to treatment and died. The police arrested the duo and the second accused was identified as Marimuthu. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/thoothukudi-vao-hacked-death-reporting-illegal-sand-mining-176403 (26 April 2023)
New bridge collapses in Thanjavur A recently rebuilt small bridge under the Smart City Scheme in the Thanjavur Corporation limits collapsed on Thursday (April 20) after a heavy goods carrier attempted to pass through it. According to sources, the small bridge across a drain at Sirajudheen Nagar in the Keezhavasal area was rebuilt at a cost of ₹2.40 lakh as part of the ₹6.25 crore stormwater drain project taken up by the civic body under the Central government-sponsored Smart City Scheme. Rebuilding of the eight feet wide 15 feet long bridge was completed by the contractor a fortnight ago and the facility wasn’t open for the public. However, on Thursday (April 20) morning the driver of a sand-laden heavy goods carrier attempted to pass through the newly rebuilt bridge, and in the process, the bridge collapsed resulting in the vehicle hanging from the bridge. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/new-bridge-collapses-in-thanjavur/article66759594.ece (20 April 2023)
Andhra Pradesh British-era bridge collapses in Srikakulam A historic bridge constructed during the British era in Srikakulam district has collapsed. The bridge over the Bahuda river near Ichhapuram gave way suddenly around 6 am on May 03 while a stone lorry weighing 70 tons was passing over it. Fortunately, there were no casualties in the incident. The bridge, which was built in 1929, was a major thoroughfare connecting Ichchapuram town to the national highway, and its collapse is likely to cause traffic disruptions. Locals had previously alerted the authorities about the dilapidated state of the bridge, but their warnings were ignored. https://www.ap7am.com/lv-373648-british-era-bridge-collapses-in-srikakulam (03 May 2023)
श्रीकाकुलम जिले के इच्चापुरम के पास बाहुदा नदी पर बना एक पुल धराशायी हो गया है. दरअसल, पुल के ऊपर से 70 टन वजन वाली पत्थर की लॉरी यानी ट्रक गुजर रहा था, जिसके वजन को पुल संभाल नहीं पाया और फिर भरभराकर जमींदोज हो गया. https://www.tv9hindi.com/india/andhra-pradesh-srikakulam-bridge-collapsed-on-bahuda-river-video-1845238.html (03 May 2023)
Granite industry halts operations opposing mining policy As many as 120 granite industries and quarries have halted their operations in Srikakulam district for the last one week, opposing the State government’s new rules and regulations and hike in fees. Around 20,000 labourers have lost their livelihood with the shutting down of operations in all the units. According to industry owners and representatives, the State government had enhanced taxes and fees abnormally in the last few months. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/granite-industries-halt-operations-in-srikakulam-district-of-andhra-pradesh-opposing-mining-policy/article66811237.ece (4 May 2023) The members of the Federation of Minor Minerals Industries on May 7 (Sunday) urged the Andhra Pradesh government to introduce a ‘first-come-first-served’ system instead of the auction system for the allocation of lease for granite quarry. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/first-come-first-served-system-sought-for-allocation-of-lease-for-granite-quarries-in-andhra-pradesh/article66822762.ece (07 May 2023)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Report India among 11 countries to work on CAF protection Eleven countries have agreed on an institutional framework for the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) to strengthen conservation efforts for migratory birds and their habitats in a coordinated manner. The decision on the institutional framework for CFY was taken in the meeting of range countries of the central Asian region here during May 2-4. The meeting was jointly organised by the environment ministry and the United Nations Environment Programme/ Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS).
The agreed institutional framework for the CAF carries details of priority areas for implementation with countries giving their consent on a draft roadmap for updating the CMS CAF action plan. It has a compilation of best practices to ensure the sustainable conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. Out of 370 species of migratory birds that visit the sub-continent annually, 310 species use wetlands as their home while remaining species are landbirds, inhabiting dispersed terrestrial areas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-gears-up-for-a-leadership-role-in-central-asian-flyway-for-conserving-migratory-birds-and-their-habitats/articleshow/100041778.cms (6 May 2023)
First waterbody survey:Some questionable statements Data on reservoirs and rivers has been available on the India Water Resources Information System (WRIS) for the last few years, but thus far there has been no data on smaller water bodies that are the lifeline of rural India and critical cultural, flood-control and recreational spaces in cities. (Both aspects are wrong, availability of data on rivers and NO data on smaller water bodies).
– Similarly this unqualified certificate is also wrong: “The census built on existing and publicly available satellite-derived datasets. This dataset was also extremely rich, allowing citizens to hone in on a specific village and download the historical time series data on each water body. But it only includes attributes that can be observed from space. The water body census extends this to social characteristics including ownership, use and condition.” The data has huge problems.
– The issues highlighted with the data are useful, particularly lack of ecosystem assessment, among others. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/water-census-ministry-jal-shakti-findings-analysis/article66822865.ece (08 May 2023)
Maharashtra Greens cry foul as govt maps only 1,243 wetlands The 7,57,040 wetlands listed by the National Wetlands Atlas appear to have lost their significance as just 1,243 of these water bodies are added to the list mapped by the Indian Wetlands website. An RTI application for details of wetlands identified and notified has opened a pandora’s box. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/navi-mumbai-wetlands-lose-significance-as-only-a-fraction-listed-on-indian-wetlands-website-rti-reveals-pandora-s-box-101683284602590.html (05 May 2023)
Uttar Pradesh Map and save water bodies Venkatesh Dutta Despite its immense ecological significance, Baghel Taal was not yet classified as a ‘protected wetland’, and its jurisdiction was a subject of confusion between the district forest officer of Bahraich and the forest officials of Katarniaghat, a nearby protected wildlife sanctuary that encompasses several swamps and wetlands. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/column/living-rivers/map-and-save-water-bodies/
Delhi Lesser flamingo spotted in Najafgarh lake A lone lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) was spotted by a bird aficionado at Najafgarh lake. There has been no record of lesser flamingos in the area in the e-bird — online database for all birds. This species is rare in the region as it is mostly found in coastal areas. Though the area has several greater flamingos, lesser flamingos are rare. The greater flamingo is around five feet tall and whitish pink in colour while the lesser flamingo is around three feet tall and rose-pinkish in colour. “I had spotted four lesser flamingos two years back which was the first record of this region. Now, after two years, this time I spotted one solo lesser flamingo along with a ground of greater flamingos. Which is also strange,” said Yatin Verma, a bird expert. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/lesser-flamingo-spotted-in-najafgarh-lake/articleshow/99898295.cms (01 May 2023)
Kolkata Saving One Pond at a Time Local grassroots initiatives, such as the Jaladarsha Collective (JC), are drawing attention to the importance of the wetlands. Sayantoni Datta, researcher and founder of the Jaladarsha Collective, notes: “Over 50 percent of water bodies we surveyed are in a state of neglect. Satellite images of the East Kolkata Wetlands show a similar scale of loss. There are over 350 complaints of encroachment registered.” Theater practitioners, writers, dancers, painters, and community members formed the Collective in 2019. Its members direct art to reclaim our connection to the environment. JC nurtures collective community art practices and does barefoot research to raise the voices of the most marginalized communities directly affected by climate crisis and environmental hazards.
– In 2022, JC surveyed eight wards in southeastern Kolkata where there was rapid urbanization and expansion to assess the health of 250 water bodies. They note that though over 50 percent of the water bodies are dumps for wastewater and garbage, poor people rely on them for bathing, washing, and cooking. In 2023 they conducted a similar audit of four wards in eastern Kolkata surveying 61 ponds. Jaladarsha has published two booklets on their findings with recommendations for preserving these water bodies for local government authorities, developers and for citizens to undertake action-based programs for conservation.
– Thus, the Birji Patauli fishing cooperative was keen to partner JC in cleaning the waters that had become stagnant and rancid due to the dense growth of water hyacinth in three ponds covering 15.5 bighas of EKW. On April 22nd, Earth Day, the Jaladarsha Collective held a community event to celebrate the cleaning of ponds at Patuli and to raise awareness on the importance of revitalizing the wetlands. https://thespace.ink/cover-story/save-east-kolkata-wetlands/ (01 May 2023)
Madhya Pradesh झाबुआ और अलीराजपुर में भील आदिवासियों ने समुदायिक भागीदारी के जरिए गाँवों में हलमा बुला कर 91 तालाबों का निर्माण किया है। झाबुआ और अलीराजपुर के 900 गांवों में 900 युवाओं ने ग्राम इंजीनियर के तौर पर प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त किया है। मेड बधान, कुआँ बनाने और गहरीकरण, नलकूप सुधारने, चैकडैम, बोरीबधान बनाने के काम में पारंगत हुए हैं।
अभी तक 481.43 करोड़ लीटर से ज्यादा की जल धारण क्षमता की जल संरचनाएँ हलमा के जरिए बनाई गईं हैं। झाबुआ-अलीराजपुर के 1,322 गांवों में 500 कुओं की मरम्मत और गहरीकरण,मेड बधान, नलकूप सुधारने, चैकडैम, बोरीबधान बनाने जैसी जल संरचनाओं के निर्माण का काम हलमा से भील समुदाय ने किए हैं। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2023/05/01/tribals-of-jhabua-solving-drought-through-community-participation-halma/ (01 May 2023)
Report Bhujal app helps monitor borewell water levels digitally The Bhujal water monitoring apps works on the sonar technology, says Vijay Gawade, founder of Waterlab Solutions. “Every borewell is covered with a metal cap by default. One needs to tap the metal cap with a hammer or iron rod at an interval of two seconds. The echo generated by tapping the metal cap captured on the Bhujal app, helps to figure out the water level in the borewell and the entire process takes less than 30 seconds,” he adds. “The process does not require opening of the cap of the borewell. Measuring water level helps individuals and agencies to manage the usage.” Gawade said, adding that the company was getting good traction.
The Bhujal app, which works on android system, can be freely downloaded from Google Playstore. The company charges a subscription fee of ₹199 per year. There are over 1,600 downloads, so far, Gawade said adding that the company is targeting farmers, urban households and the government agencies among others with its app, which helps in better water management. “We are targeting users in the Southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where the borewell usage is relatively higher than other States,” Gawade said. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/pune-based-start-ups-bhujal-app-helps-monitor-borewell-water-levels-digitally/article66816914.ece (05 May 2023)
Andhra Pradesh Natural farming becomes popular in Nellore The area under Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) has been steadily increasing in the Nellore district. According to official sources, 53,764 farmers are practising natural farming and raising 18 varieties of crops on 67,356 acres. A majority of farmers in Udayagiri, Atmakur and Kavali have switched to Zero Budget Natural Farming, attracted by its benefits, including a reduction in cultivation cost and good crop yield. The Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming (APCNF) has been creating awareness among farmers about the benefits of natural farming methods. Crops are being raised using natural farming methods in 222 villages of 46 mandals in the erstwhile Nellore district. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2023/may/01/natural-farming-becomes-popular-in-andhra-pradeshs-nellore-2570957.html (01 May 2023)
Pune PMC provided 16 cr litres of treated sewage water for construction activities PMC has provided 16 crore litres of treated sewage water for construction activities in the last year, with 16,714 tankers dispatched to various stakeholders. The water is tested and can be used for this purpose. The solid waste department instructed contractors and builders to use treated sewage water last year. Aniruddha Pawaskar, chief superintendent engineer of the water supply department, said action has been taken against 25 people for using drinking water for vehicle washing and other activities. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/pune-municipal-corporation-provides-16-crore-litres-of-treated-sewage-water-for-construction-activities-in-last-year-101683394604527.html (06 May 2023)
Palghar A 14-year school boy dug a small well which is enough to cater for the family’s needs for water. He dug this well about 15 meters in-depth in just five days. The efforts of the boy were blessed with a source of potable water in his well. His efforts were appreciated by Zillha Parishad and were gifted Rs 11 thousand as a prize and a Gharkul (house aided by govt) to his family. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/palghar-14-year-school-boy-digs-up-well-after-seeing-mothers-woes-of-walking-half-km-daily-for-water (04 May 2023)
Jane Jacobs urban renewal agenda is still relevant Jane Jacobs was a woman who spoke her mind, wrote for a living, nurtured deep interest in cities as her passion. Jane Jacobs was a strident street activist. The grand dame of urban renewal took on the Goliaths of urban planning of her time. The Question of Cities remembers her because we, the living, need to remember her, her words and work. https://questionofcities.org/reading-jane-jacobs-today-why-her-urban-renewal-agenda-is-still-relevant/ (05 May 2023)
Ludhiana Gas tragedy points to a longstanding problem with waste management in cities Dealing with such problems requires joining the dots with municipal governance, urban planning and environmental management. Unfortunately, Indian cities have rarely been up to this task. Giaspura is a reminder that the task cannot be postponed for long.
Giaspura has much in common with urban conurbations in several parts of the country where factories co-exist with residential buildings. Areas with such mixed land-use profiles require stringent pollution monitoring and well-maintained sewerage networks. But pipes and drains are in a poor state of upkeep in most parts of the country and pollution control bodies in the states rarely manage to do justice to their mandate. Unlike the CPCB, which has robust laboratories and specialised units, SPCBs do not offer a congenial environment for developing expertise.
In February, MoEF informed the Rajya Sabha that 49% of the positions in SPCBs and pollution control committees are vacant. Last year, a CPR study of 9 SPCBs — including that of Punjab — revealed that scientists, medical practitioners and academics constitute only 7% of the members of these boards while potential polluters, such as industries and public sector corporations, have a more than 50% representation. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/express-view-ludhiana-gas-tragedy-points-to-a-longstanding-problem-with-waste-management-in-indian-cities-8586139/ (02 May 2023)
What exactly happened A former MC official was sceptical about the MC sewer releasing such toxic fumes. MC superintending engineer (retd) Rajinder Singh said, “It is not possible for the MC sewer to produce such deadly gases but there is a possibility of mixing of some kind of chemical with sewer water. Even so, whether it can cause such a reaction should be examined.” Environmentalist Col J S Gill called for an order for a detailed sewerage outlet chemicals audit. This audit is a must to prevent poisonous gas deaths where a chemical concoction put in sewerage lines reacts with water to form deadly gas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/people-started-dropping-dead-what-exactly-happened-in-ludhiana-gas-leak-tragedy/articleshow/99899761.cms (01 May 2023)
Hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide gases trapped in the manholes were responsible for the death of 11 persons at Giaspura on Sunday (April 30). There is no evidence of dumping of industrial waste/chemicals in sewers by any industry, reveals an inquiry report submitted by Ludhiana DC Surbhi Malik to the government May 04. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/no-proof-of-industrial-waste-dumping-in-giaspura-sewers-says-probe-report-504826 (05 May 2023)
Ludhiana Municipal Corporation caught a cloth/textile printing unit – Print Vision India – in Focal Point (Phase-6) area dumping untreated waste in sewer lines on Thursday (May 04). The MC’s drive is a follow up measure on the horrific gas leak tragedy in the Giaspura area of Ludhiana. It has been suspected that illegal dumping of chemical waste in the sewer line led to the formation of toxic gases that caused the deaths. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/ludhiana- municipal-corporation-catches-textile-printing-unit-dumping-untreated-waste-in-sewer-lines-amid-drive-against-illegal-activity-101683223262282.html (04 May 2023)
The fact finding joint committee constituted by NGT to look into the Giaspura Gas Leak tragedy at Ludhiana will be meeting on coming Monday (May 08). This 8 member committee is likely to complete its task of finding the reasons for the gas leak that led to 11 deaths on April 30, within a month. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/ngt-panel-to-meet-next-week-over-giaspura-gas-leak-tragedy-that-left-11-dead-in-ludhiana-505013 (05 May 2023)
NGT on Tuesday (May 02) directed the Ludhiana district magistrate (DM) to pay ₹20 lakh each to kin of the 11 persons who died in the gas leak incident in Ludhiana’s Giaspur locality on April 30. https://www.barandbench.com/news/ludhiana-gas-leak-ngt-orders-20-lakhs-compensation-to-kin-of-11-deceased (05 May 2023)
Mangaluru Water rationing from May 4 due to acute water scarcity Due to the scorching heat of summer, the inflow of water into Netravati River has stopped, and the water level at Tumbe Dam is declining. As a result, the district administration has decided to ration water in the city corporation limits from May 4 onwards. After reviewing the pros and cons, the administration has made the following decisions: Water will be released for Mangaluru south and Surathkal on alternate days. Water supply for construction activities and service centers washing vehicles will be discontinued until further notice. Water supply will be disconnected without notice if it is found that water is being wasted. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1076293 (03 May 2023)
With water storage level at the Thumbe vented dam, built across the Netravathi coming down, the Mangaluru City Corporation took to water rationing in the city from Friday (May 05) after a gap of three years. To tide over the situation, the corporation has been pumping the river water from the downstream of the dam into the dam for over a week now using 13 pumps. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/mangaluru-city-corporation-resorts-to-water-rationing-after-three-years/article66815861.ece (05 May 2023)
Most of the colleges are holding classes in both districts and many of them are having drinking water shortages. The plight of colleges with hostels is pathetic. In some colleges, online classes have started. Others have curtailed their timings from 9 am to 4 pm to 9 am to 1 pm only. In some colleges, students are instructed to bring their own drinking water. Recently, a college in Mangaluru, which has around 1000 students declared a holiday due to no water. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1077313 (06 May 2023)
DYFI accused of illegally opening dam gates The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the public allegedly opened the Harekal – Adyar Bridge and the gate for breakwall for salt water at Kindi dam on April 4 without obtaining permission from the Department of Small Irrigation. In this connection, the assistant executive engineer of the department has filed a police complaint against DYFI at Konaje police station. The work that was approved under the Paschima Vahini project was completed on March 31. The gates were not opened for traffic as the model code of conduct was in force from March 29. However, the gates were illegally opened by DYFI at 7:45 am on April 4. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1076652 (04 May 2023)
District administration of Dakshina Kannada is planning to conduct a survey of main dams of the district using drones to find a solution to the water scarcity that is bothering the district during the summer months. Those who do the survey through drones have been already approached by the administration and the survey is likely to be conducted once the elections are over.
Water inflows reach the brim in Netravati, Kumaradhara, Phalguni, Nandini and Shambhavi rivers of the district during monsoon. Despite the district receiving copious rainfall there is a shortage of water during summer. So the survey will help in knowing how much of deep silt should be removed in AMR, Thumbay and Harekala dams so that more water can be stored in these dams. The survey will also give an account of the number of days the water can be used. A comprehensive report will be submitted to the government by the district administration. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1077500 (07 May 2023)
Bengaluru Experts point to flaws in rejuvenation plan of Subbarayanakere Lake Experts have pointed out flaws in the ongoing restoration work of Subbarayanakere Lake near Gottigere in Bengaluru. The civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), is carrying out the restoration from May 2022. BBMP records show that the lake is being restored at a cost of Rs 3 crore.
A lake activist, Raghavendra B Pachhapur, said: “The BBMP needs to be transparent with DPRs and works undertaken in lakes. They need to place the documents related to lake rejuvenation in the public domain. I had to obtain the basic concept plan of the restoration of Subbarayanakere Lake through RTI.”
As per the concept plan, the BBMP will fence off the waterbody along with constructing a walkway around the lake, toilets, and a security room. Pachhapur further said, “The lake is naturally placed on a lower terrain and has the potential to collect rainwater from adjacent areas, but the DPR does not show any such provision.” Last year in June, the rejuvenation was questioned by experts after a portion of the bund at Subbarayanakere Lake sank. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-experts-flaws-rejuvenation-plan-subbarayanakere-lake-8595348/ (07 May 2023)
Groundwater abuse has sucked city dry Experts highlight that while rainwater harvesting is one way to revive the city’s depleting groundwater table, overexploitation of the precious resource can be stopped only if existing rules are implemented. While CGWA, following multiple orders by the NGT on judicious usage of groundwater, came up with a policy under which groundwater users will first have to register with the concerned authority and obtain a NOC before they can use it, the Karnataka Groundwater Authority (KGWA) said the rule does not apply to the state.
According to KGWA, since water is a state matter, the CGWA rules do not apply to Karnataka. KGWA had also suggested it might soon come up with its own rules on borewell registration in the state. However, as of now, NOC is mandatory only for commercial use. Nonetheless, experts say while industries have to obtain a NOC before extracting groundwater, there are no measures in place to ensure water neutrality. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/groundwater-abuse-has-sucked-city-dry/articleshow/99917207.cms (02 May 2023)
Water pollution leave residents in distress Unabated garbage dumping in an abandoned quarry in north-east Bengaluru has been causing distress to residents of the area, particularly immune compromised inmates of a care home. The quarry known as Byrathi bande is situated in survey number 14 of Doddagubbi Village off Hennur-Bagalur Road and Doddagubbi Main Road.
Residents allege that over the past six months, either the BBMP or an unidentified private entity has been dumping truckloads of garbage, including medical waste, into the abandoned quarry, polluting groundwater in the area. At the beginning of April, the care centre’s management noticed foul odour and discoloration in water from their borewells. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-infrastructure/unchecked-garbage-dumping-polluted-water-leave-residents-in-distress-in-northeast-bengaluru-1214819.html (2 May 2023)
Residents and members of the Green Circle living near Avalahalli Lake in Yelahanka have raised concerns of illegal activities and ecological damage being done to the waterbody. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/shady-happenings-at-avalahalli-lake/articleshow/99916296.cms (02 May 2023)
Chennai Krishna water to quench city’s thirst during summer To cater to Chennai’s water demands during the summer, Krishna water was released from the Kandaleru reservoir in Andhra Pradesh on Monday (May 01). Water is likely to reach Uthukkottai in the Tiruvallur district by Friday or Saturday. A senior Water Resources Department official said, “As per the agreement between the two states, 2,000 cusecs of Krishna water has been released on May 1.” The official also pointed out that 30 cusecs of water were received by Tamil Nadu on Thursday. The water will reach Poondi reservoir and then will be let out to other reservoirs. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2023/may/05/krishna-water-to-help-chennai-quench-thirst-during-summer-2572165.html (05 May 2023)
Hyderabad Noornagar dyed in toxins, water raises stink Flustered by the persistent problem of water contamination, around 100 families from Noornagar in Banjara Hills are now demanding that all dyeing units in the area be pushed out to a different location. They allege the continuous discharge of chemicals into the neighbourhood drains by these units has turned the groundwater toxic. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/hyderabads-noornagar-dyed-in-toxins-water-raises-stink/articleshow/100023902.cms (06 May 2023)
Bhubaneswar Groundwater acidic, surface water low on oxygen’ The quality of both ground and surface water in the city is on a rapid decline with the former found to be acidic at several places and latter low on dissolved oxygen and high on coliform. According to the data provided by the SPCB in an RTI reply, the authorities tested groundwater to ascertain its quality in Khandagiri, Old Town, Laxmisagar, Chandrasekharpur, Capital Hospital and Governor House areas. The groundwater quality at all six testing stations was found to be low on potential of hydrogen (pH) which makes it more acidic.
The surface water in the city is equally polluted at several locations. The board undertakes the testing of the surface water in the Kuakhai river (two stations), Daya river (four stations) and Gangua Nallah (four stations), they said in the RTI reply. The board in its reply citied various reasons for decline in the surface water quality. It said that in the Daya river and Gangua Nallah, the primary reasons for downgrading of the water quality are mainly human activities and dumping of wastewater from Bhubaneswar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/capitals-groundwater-acidic-surface-water-low-on-oxygen/articleshow/99600485.cms (19 April 2023)
Uttar Pradesh NGT fined govt, 3 private realtors Rs 50 cr The NGT has levied a total fine of Rs 50 crore on four housing projects in Ghaziabad district, including the Uttar Pradesh Aawas and Vikas Parishad, for flouting environmental rules. The NGT was hearing a petition alleging violation of environmental norms by four project proponents (PPs), Uttar Pradesh Aawas and Vikas Parishad (UPAVP), Prateek Realtors India Pvt Ltd, Apex Heights Pvt Ltd and Gaur and Sons India Pvt Ltd in developing construction projects at Ghaziabad. According to the petition, the major violations include inadequacy of plantations and STPs resulting in continuing damage to the environment and public health.
The bench underlined the violations by the four PP’s. “UPAVP has constructed and sold 1,844 economically weaker section (EWS homes) – 1,376 homes are under Kanshi Ram Scheme and 1,292 homes in Ganga, Yamuna and Hindon Apartments Scheme. None of the said schemes have captive STPs and sewage is being carried by trunk sewer line and disposed of in open areas and the sewer line is not connected to the terminal STP which is still under construction,” the bench said. It said before handing over the project to the Nagar Nigam, it was mandatory for UPAVP to set up the requisite sewage treatment facility which was not done and there were also violations about the green belt and uncontrolled dust from roads. The matter has been posted for further proceedings on August 10. https://theprint.in/india/ngt-directs-up-aawas-and-vikas-parishad-3-private-realtors-to-pay-environmental-compensation-of-rs-50-crore/1560842/ (07 May 2023)
NGT sets 2 months deadline for govt to decide EC for slaughter houses NGT has directed the MoEF&CC to take a call within two months on the recommendations of the Expert Committee headed by Dr. S.R. Wate to include slaughterhouses and meat processing under Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.
The bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Dr.A Senthil Vel further directed that, “…If no decision is taken by MoEF&CC within two months as directed above, the requirement for EC will apply to all large slaughter houses as per classification in the ‘Revised Comprehensive Industry Document on Slaughter Houses’ i.e. “Large: More than 200 large animal i.e. bovines per day, or more than 1000 small animal i.e. goat and sheep per day (any day in a week)” with effect from 01.08.2023.”
The Court was hearing an application that raised concerns over the inadequacy of the environmental regulatory framework to evaluate and remedy the adverse impact of slaughterhouse activities. This is despite the recommendations of the expert Committee of the MoEF&CC on the subject, the applicant submitted. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/national-green-tribunal-directs-moefcc-slaughterhouses-environmental-impact-assessment-228034 (05 May 2023)
Tamil Nadu Sterlite unit: SC directs govt to take decisions by June 1 The Supreme Court on Thursday (May 04) asked the state govt to take appropriate decisions by June 1 in pursuance of the apex court’s April 10 direction by which it had allowed the Vedanta group to carry out upkeep of its Sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin under the supervision of a local level monitoring committee. In its April 10 order, the top court had also allowed evacuation of the remaining gypsum at the plant and making available the required manpower as requested by the company.
The apex court said matter will now be listed for hearing and final disposal on August 22 and 23. At least 13 people were killed and many injured on May 22, 2018 when police had opened fire on a huge crowd of people protesting against environment pollution being allegedly caused by the copper smelting unit. https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/sterlite-copper-unit-sc-directs-tamil-nadu-to-take-decisions-by-june-1-123050401006_1.html (04 May 2023) The Tamil Nadu government had on May 28, 2018 ordered the SPCB to seal and “permanently” close the mining group’s plant following violent protests over pollution concerns. https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/sterlite-copper-unit-sc-directs-tamil-nadu-to-take-decisions-by-june-1-123050401006_1.html (04 May 2023)
JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY
Meghalaya The poor implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) scheme has once again come to the fore with the newly constructed water tank, meant to supply water to villagers at Bansinggre village in East Garo Hills, already developing a huge crack, rendering it useless. Interestingly, the village comes under the constituency of PHE Minister Marcuise N Marak. https://theshillongtimes.com/2023/05/05/water-tank-under-jjm-scheme-develops-crack-in-egh-village/ (05 May 2023)
Meghalaya A portion of the old Guwahati-Shillong road is visible as the water level in the Umiam reservoir falls to abnormally low levels following a prolonged spell of dry weather. https://theshillongtimes.com/2023/05/04/a-portion-of-the-old-guwahati-shillong-road-is-visible-as-the-water-level-in-the-umiam-reservoir-falls-to-abnormally-low-levels/ (4 May 2023)
WMO El Niño likely to bring extreme weather across world WMO on May 03 said the likelihood of El Niño developing this monsoon season (June to September) is increasing. It added this would have the opposite impact on weather and climate patterns in many regions of the world to the long-running La Niña and likely fuel higher global temperatures. La Niña has now ended after persisting for three years. The tropical Pacific is currently in an ENSO-neutral state (neither El Niño nor La Niña).
“There is a 60% chance for a transition from ENSO-neutral to El Niño during May-July 2023, and this will increase to about 70% in June to August and 80% between July and September,” said WMO. “At this stage, there is no indication of the strength or duration of El Nino.”
A map WMO issued on expected rainfall patterns globally during El Niño years showed most parts of north, northeast, northwest, and central India experiencing dry periods during the June to September monsoon season. It shows largely wet months during the October to December northeast monsoon season in the peninsular region. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/world-meteorological-organisation-warns-of-el-ni-o-s-development-associated-with-severe-droughts-and-extreme-rain-globally-by-2024-101683138629803.html (04 May 2023)
Rajasthan 4x Rainfall So Far This Summer From March 1 to May 3 this year, the rainfall across the desert state has amounted to 44.1 mm — a 329% ‘large excess’ compared to the long-term average for this period (10.3 mm). Of this total, Rajasthan received about 11 mm in just the first four days of May. On a district level, the average rainfall has surpassed 50 mm in 10 districts, including Rajsamand, Alwar, Nagaur, Bundi and Jaipur. Rajsamand district in the Udaipur division has received particularly excessive rains, having recorded 71.1 mm of precipitation compared to its seasonal normal of 7.8 mm. This wetter-than-usual pre-monsoon period is primarily down to the back-to-back western disturbances that have been impacting North & NW India for the past two months. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2023-05-05-rajasthan-has-received-4x-rainfall-so-far-this-summer (5 May 2023)
Study Atmospheric rivers caused 70% of India’s floods between 1985 & 2020 The devastating floods that occurred in the country between 1985 and 2020 during the SW monsoon season were directly associated with atmospheric rivers, a phenomenon of a stream of water vapour moving in the sky like a river flowing on the land, says a new study. It says severe weather events like the 2013 Uttarakhand floods and the 2018 floods in Kerala that claimed several lives were all due to severe atmospheric rivers (ARs). The study, jointly conducted by climate scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar, the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, and the University of Washington, says a warming climate is increasing the moisture-holding capacity of atmospheric rivers, which leads to concerns about more devastating floods in the future.
– The research team used the high-resolution atmospheric fields from the European Reanalysis Version, along with observed precipitation from the India Meteorological Department and a historical flood database from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory of the University of Colorado, USA, to study the impact of ARs formed during the summer monsoon season on flooding in India, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive study in this regard in India. The study was published in the latest issue of Communications Earth and Environment journal. “We found that India experienced 596 major AR events from 1951 – 2020. More than 95% of these ARs occurred during the summer monsoon season, i.e., between June and September,” Professor Shanti Shwarup Mahto, lead author from IIT, Gandhinagar said.
– He said out of one-third of the top AR events, 54% occurred in the recent three decades, ie, between 1991 and 2020. “The frequency and severity of ARs show an increasing trend in India in recent decades. Daily and sub-daily precipitation extremes have increased in recent decades and are likely to rise as the climate continues to warm,” the report said. Seven out of the 10 floods with the highest mortality between 1985-2020 were associated with ARs. These floods caused the loss of more than 9,000 human lives and several billion dollars worth of damages and displacements.
– The report says the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, which claimed 6000 lives, the 2007 floods in South East Asia, including India, with 2000 human lives lost, the 1988 floods in Punjab, the 2018 floods in Kerala that claimed 400 lives, the 2006 floods in Gujarat, the 1993 floods in Assam, and the 2004 floods that caused extensive damage in Eastern India and Bangladesh were all due to severe ARs. “The ARs are narrower and carry more moisture. The precipitation levels of these ARs are more in Western Ghat and Eastern Ghat regions, causing extreme rain events,” Mohto said.
– So experts suggest that comprehensive monitoring, or AR would also be necessary for early warning systems during the summer monsoon season in India to understand the possibility of extreme rain events and subsequent flooding. “Floods have devastating impacts on the economy and society and understanding the role of ARs in the observed and projected future climate is crucial in mitigating the flood risks. In addition, ARs should be an integral part of the existing flood early warning systems in India, which can help in adaptation and mitigation,” the report said. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/atmospheric-rivers-caused-70-of-indias-floods-between-1985-and-2020/article66815846.ece (05 May 2023)
Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has decided to set up a special flood control office at an estimated cost of Rs 1.15 crore. The office, for which a tender has been floated, will be functional ahead of the monsoon and will ensure smooth functioning of the stormwater and drainage system, thereby reducing waterlogging. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/gmda-to-set-up-flood-control-office-503913 (02 May 2023)
Bengaluru With the heavy rains on Wednesday (May 03), the DSR Rainbow Heights Apartment complex in HSR Layout Sector Two had water gushing into the basement of the building, damaging many cars and bike. According to the residents, the force of water coming through the stormwater drain was so strong that the retaining wall collapsed and the water flowed into the houses. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/wall-washed-away-in-the-rain/articleshow/99995602.cms (05 May 2023)
Kolkata The Assembly standing committee on municipal affairs and urban development has red-flagged a huge number of plastic and styrofoam products choking the mouth of a canal in southeastern Kolkata that could block the flow of rainwater and trigger waterlogging in monsoon. https://www.telegraphindia.com/my-kolkata/news/plastic-choked-canal-flagged-by-assembly-standing-committee-on-municipal-affairs-and-urban-development/cid/1934914 (07 May 2023)
Manipur New railway track at Khongsang station sinks In an alarming development that raises serious concern over the quality of railway construction in Manipur and safety concern, the newly constructed broad gauge line track No 1 of the North East Frontier Railway’s Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal line at Khongsang railway station was found sinking, posing great danger to travellers. Speaking to the media, Surojit Ojha expressed concern and warned that the situation might worsen if there is heavy rainfall for three to four days. It may be mentioned that the place receive heavy rainfall during the rainy season, which begins as early as April/May in this rainforest region, and landslides caused by heavy rains are common. https://www.ifp.co.in/manipur/manipurs-new-railway-track-at-khongsang-station-sinks (03 May 2023)
Landslides are a global injustice Dave Petley Landslides are destroying communities right across the high mountains of South Asia, most frequently small, isolated settlements that do not command the attention that has been heaped on Joshimath. Over and again, people lose their major economic assets – their house and land – and are rendered destitute. Women and girls often fare particularly poorly in these circumstances.
In the vast majority of cases, the landslides result from things outside of the control of the people affected, making these events a travesty of social justice. At the macro-level, the increases in rainfall intensity that are occurring in many mountain areas result principally from greenhouse gas emissions that occurred thousands of kilometres away in far richer economies. In other cases, the landslides are the result of large energy projects that will bring security of supply to distant cities, while isolated communities may still have no reliable supply, and that will generate profits that will bring little benefit to the mountain regions.
More locally, landslides often result from roads that serve to bypass their communities, and are sometimes associated with local corruption as the owners of construction machinery bribe officials to allow road building in unsuitable areas. There is a paucity of social justice, or even of discussion about social justice, when it comes to these landslides. The victims at every stage are the local people, who lose their home, their land, their possessions and their livelihood, and sometimes their lives. It is time to make changes. In the mountains of South Asia, the current rampant, poorly-coordinated development needs to be controlled for the sake of the environment and the local population. https://theconversation.com/landslides-are-a-global-injustice-theyre-rarely-caused-by-the-people-worst-affected-201885 (04 May 2023)
Uttarakhand Massive landslide near Helang blocks Badrinath highway A massive landslide occurred near Helang, about 14km from subsidence-hit Joshimath, on Thursday (May 04) evening. The landslide completely blocked the NH-58 which connects to Badrinath. The landslide incident took place near the construction site of the proposed Helang-Marwari bypass road on Badrinath highway which is part of the under-construction Char Dham all-weather road project. The bypass route, construction of which has been suspended in the wake of subsidence problems in Joshimath, was expected to reduce the distance to Badrinath by 30 km. Meanwhile, another landslide took place at Sirobagad in Rudraprayag district, a chronic landslide zone, on Thursday. Its debris was cleared by evening, according to Rudraprayag police. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/massive-landslide-near-helang-blocks-badrinath-highway/articleshow/99999264.cms (05 May 2023)
Himachal Pradesh Chandigarh-Manali highway blocked following landslide in Mandi The Chandigarh-Manali highway was blocked near Four Miles in Mandi district on Friday (May 05). As a result, traffic movement between Mandi and Kullu came to a standstill. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/chandigarh-manali-highway-blocked-following-landslide-in-mandi-505028 (05 May 2023)
CLOUD BURSTS 2023
Jammu & Kashmir Cloudburst triggers flash-flood in Kulgam villages Flash flood triggered by a cloudburst occurred in upper reaches of Lammar Hallan area in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Wednesday (May 03). “A cloudburst may have occurred in the upper reaches of the Lammar-Hallan area in Devsar Tehsil, causing overflow in the down streams and minor flash floods in the Hallan area. However, the situation is under control, and teams were dispatched to the area,” Tehsildar Devsar Shakeel Ahmad said. Locals revealed that panic gripped the area when a local school was submerged due to flash floods. “As the water began to enter the school rooms due to the heavy rainfall and hailstorm, we immediately evacuated the students and relocated them to safer locations. Water entered some rooms and might have caused minor damage to school infrastructure,” a teacher at the school said, adding that all the students were safe and sound. http://risingkashmir.com/cloudburst-triggers-flash-flood-in-kulgam-villages-7642f00a-c854-424e-b7fb-979405f6dab6 (04 May 2023) The authorities have dismissed fears of floods hitting Kashmir Valley this year, despite spells of heavy rainfall raising water level considerably in all major water bodies, including Jhelum and its tributaries for over a fortnight. https://kashmirobserver.net/2023/05/03/authorities-rule-out-flood-situation-in-kashmir-this-year/ (03 May 2023)
Report India 2nd-most dangerous country in 2022 for those flagging concerns about corporate projects India recorded the second highest number of attacks on defenders protesting harmful business practices in 2022, according to a new report. The country saw 54 such incidents of attacks (affecting one or more individual), which is lower only than Brazil’s record of 63, the report by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), an international non-profit.
Globally, there were 4,700 attacks on human rights defenders raising concerns about harmful business practice from January 2015-March 2023, the organisation observed. Of them, 555 were in 2022, “revealing that on average more than 10 defenders were attacked every single week for raising legitimate concerns about irresponsible business activity”, the report mentioned.
As much as 75 per cent of the attacks were against climate, land and environmental defenders, the findings showed. “Over a fifth of attacks (23 per cent) were against Indigenous defenders, who are protecting over 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, although they comprise approximately six per cent of the global population,” the authors noted.
Mining has remained the most dangerous sector for defenders, with 30 per cent of all the attacks in 2022 being linked to it, according to the report. “The sector is even more dangerous for Indigenous defenders — 41 per cent of attacks against Indigenous peoples in 2022 related to mining.”
Nearly a quarter of the attacks were against women who challenged “both corporate power and patriarchal gender norms”, the report highlighted. Many of these attacks were online threats and smear campaigns that caused them immense long-term psychological harm, women interviewed for another study cited by the report said. “These tactics are meant to stigmatise, isolate and silence women defenders.”
The researchers suggested a slew of measures states, companies and investors can adopt to prevent such gross acts of human rights violations. States should “pass and implement legislation recognising the right to defend rights and the vital role of defenders, both individual and collective, in promoting human rights, sustainable development, and a healthy environment and committing to zero-tolerance for attacks,” they mentioned among other suggestions. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/mining/india-2nd-most-dangerous-country-in-2022-for-those-flagging-concerns-about-corporate-projects-report-89142 (05 May 2023)
Maharashtra SBWL clears all projects in 5 minutes State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) stooped to a new low on Tuesday (May 02) with its 20th meeting ending in just five minutes, clearing all the linear projects affecting protected areas (PAs), Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) and tiger corridors without any discussions. “There were no discussions on detrimental proposals like the proposed Guguldoh manganese mine, and airport at Rajura tehsil, both falling in the tiger corridor of Pench-Navegaon-Nagzira and Tadoba-Kawal tiger reserves respectively,” said sources who attended the meeting.
Environmentalist Debi Goenka said, “For the first time in Maharashtra, meeting of the improperly constituted wildlife board ended in 5 minutes. There was no discussion and no presentations.” “Agenda papers were not circulated to NGO members in advance, and almost all projects on the agenda, including those in critical wildlife corridors in Vidarbha were cleared. It seems this is the strategy formulated by our forest minister to reduce the tiger population in Central India to reduce man-animal conflicts,” Goenka said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/wildlife-board-meeting-ends-in-5-min-clears-all-projects-barring-2-nhs/articleshow/99947910.cms (03 May 2023)
Study ESZ of 0 km notified by 60 national parks Several states did not notify large ESZs in view of ongoing or upcoming infrastructure projects along the wildlife sanctuaries.
A preliminary analysis of 109 national parks and sanctuaries in India by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has found that 60 national parks have notified a minimum eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of 0 km. This would mean they have no ESZ on one or more of the sides/ borders of these sanctuaries. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/indias-national-parks-and-sanctuaries-without-eco-sensitive-zones-preliminary-analysis-by-vidhi-centre-for-legal-policy-101682968028044.html (02 May 2023)
Great Nicobar Project ‘Extremely detrimental’ to Adivasi groups:CCG A group of 70 former civil servants on Tuesday urged the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to prevent the displacement of two Adivasi groups due to a Rs 72,000-crore infrastructure project on the Great Nicobar Island. The Great Nicobar project involves the construction of a Rs 35,000-crore trans-shipment port, an international airport, a power plant, a township and tourism infrastructure spread over more than 160 square kilometers of land. It was granted final environmental clearance on November 4.
The ex-bureaucrats, who are part of the Constitutional Conduct Group, said that the infrastructure project will harm the Shompen, a particularly vulnerable tribal group that could lose much of its traditional forest foraging grounds, and the southern Great Nicobarese, a Scheduled Tribe, who were already displaced after the 2004 tsunami. The former civil servants said that they had also written to President Droupadi Murmu on January 27 to express their concerns that the project would “virtually destroy the unique ecology of this island and the habitat of vulnerable tribal groups”. However, they said that their letter appeared to have had no effect in making the Centre rethink its proposal. https://scroll.in/latest/1048418/great-nicobar-project-will-be-extremely-detrimental-to-adivasi-groups-warn-ex-bureaucrats (02 May 2023)
Nepal-India River deals need a thorough revision Dipak Gyawali: “Take the case of the Mahakali Treaty. It has a provision for revision every 10 years. But none of the leaders have bothered to press for a revision in Nepal’s favor all these years. This is because such a move will leave them red-faced as none of their promises—a new dawn from the west, earnings of trillions of rupees every year—have materialized.”
– “Recently though, Bhutan said no to the Indian proposal to develop the Sunkoshi project. This example should inspire us to put our national priorities first… As for the Indians, they are very clever, they take their national interest seriously. When it comes to water-sharing arrangements with Nepal, they refuse even to abide by the Helsinki Convention, leave alone the guidelines of the World Commission on Dams.”
– “For Nepal, India is a monopsony market, meaning that Nepal cannot command price for its green energy in the Indian market. This is because per unit hydropower generation cost in Nepal is higher than in India and other countries. We cannot sell it cheap, given a high cost of power generation.”
– On export of hydropower from Nepal to Bangladesh: “If such projects materialize, Nepali territories coping with seasonal floods and inundation will have to deal with floods and inundation all year round. Even this is okay, I say to them, provided they are willing to foot the associated costs, including the cost of inundation of our territories for the sake of protecting Bangladesh from flooding and inundation. I don’t think India will allow the use of its territories for the transmission of hydroelectricity generated in Nepal to Bangladesh.”
– “India has introduced provisions stating that it will not purchase power generated with Chinese investment. Despite a toughening of stance, India sold the Upper Marsyangdi hydel license to a Chinese company. On the contrary, India is weaponizing water through such provisions, not Nepal, by taking it as a strategic asset.” https://theannapurnaexpress.com/news/dipak-gyawali-nepal-india-river-deals-need-a-thorough-revision-41793 (01 May 2023)
India-Bangladesh Hydro politics & hegemony For India and Bangladesh, an opportunity exists to come to an agreement where a more equitable relationship over shared rivers can be had. (By Shafiqul Elahi, a retired government official of Bangladesh)
– The two countries have advanced cooperation in technical and infrastructure development over trans-boundary rivers, though the water sharing issue is often lopsided or delayed to the future. For example, the inauguration of the Maitri Setu over the trans-boundary Feni River was a successful venture in both parts in 2019. However, the Feni-water sharing agreement is yet to be concluded by India, which will allow Bangladesh to be able to withdraw 1.82 cusecs of water. Also, the Aminbazar-Gopalganj 400KV power transmission line over the Padma River came to function in 2022, allowing the country to transport electricity from the Payra and Rampal power plants to Dhaka. A Teesta River water sharing agreement, by contrast, is yet to come. This is a grave situation, particularly given that India is about to establish three hydro-electric plants in the Darjeeling hills. The West Bengal government has recently decided to build two canals to divert water flows – a worrisome development for the lower riparian Bangladesh. https://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/hydro-politics-and-hydro-hegemony-in-south-asia/ (03 May 2023)
Bangladesh Padma lost 50pcvolume in 40 yrs In the span of 40 years, the volume of the Padma river has decreased by half. This has reduced the flow along with the depth of the water. Various native species of fish are in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat. The entire biodiversity of Padma is under threat. Researchers have said that this crisis has arisen because of the Farakka Dam.
-A group of researchers said that this information appeared in the January 2023 issue of the international science journal ‘Biodiversity and Conservation’ published by Springer.
– Associate Professor of Fisheries Department of Rajshahi University Shams Muha Ghalibwas in the research team. He told Vanik Barta, ‘We were investigating the process of fish species relationship with hydrological, climatic and anthropogenic changes in Padma from 1982 to 2017. In doing so, Padma’s volume has now halved. This has affected the entire biodiversity of Padma. The study was conducted on a 70 km stretch of Padma from Godagari in Rajshahi to Sarada in Charghat. Samples of fish species were collected at nine points in the area. Data is taken from 27 fishing villages of Padmapar. The research team has tried to bring out the current image of Padma by analyzing the images taken from the satellite. https://dailyindustry.news/padma-lost-50pcvolume-in-40-yrs/ (07 May 2023)
Nepal Helicopter carrying Arun-3 hydro project materials crashes According to an ANI report, the helicopter was ferrying construction material for the Arun-III hydro-electric project which is co-funded by India and was approved by the Centre in 2017. One person died and 4 were injured in the crash, as per other reports. https://www.cnbctv18.com/world/helicopter-crash-nepal-arun-3-hydro-project-simrik-air-rescue-pilot-casualties-sankhuwasbha-16579631.htm (05 May 2023)
Arun III HEP worker dies, 2 injured A worker of the under-construction 900 MW Arun III Hydropower Project died after he was hit by a falling rock inside the project’s audit-2 tunnel at Amarang of Makalu Rural Municipality-5. The deceased has been identified as Prem Rai, 27, of Silichong Rural Municipality-5. The incident occurred during May 2 night and Rai breathed his last this morning while undergoing treatment at Sankhuwasabha District Hospital. Two other people who were injured in the incident are from Guwahati and are under treatment.
– Over 300 workers including those from India have been hired for the project. The lack of a health facility at the project site has caused problems. In some cases, they are likely to face life-threatening circumstances in the absence of timely treatment. The workers also demand regular health-checkup. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/arun-iii-hydropower-worker-dies-two-injured/ (03 May 2023)
Myanmar AFRY backs out of hydropower work, citing human rights situation AFRY has announced it will end its commitment to hydropower projects in Myanmar due to the negative development with deteriorating human rights and on the back of an enhanced human rights due diligence process. AFRY provides engineering, design, digital and advisory services in the industry, energy and infrastructure sectors. AFRY is involved in three hydropower projects in Myanmar, one being active. https://www.hydroreview.com/business-finance/afry-backs-out-of-hydropower-work-in-myanmar-citing-human-rights-situation/ (28 April 2023)
Pakistan The project team at Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project in Pakistan has restored the 150ft long tunnel collapse in the project’s tailrace tunnel. Power generation is targeted to start by July end. https://www.waterpowermagazine.com/news/newsneelum-jhelum-tunnel-restored-power-generation-expected-to-resume-by-end-of-july-10808310 (02 May 2023)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Report Oceans are missing their rivers Sediment plays vital roles in river and coastal systems. When rivers overflow onto their floodplains, water slows, dropping silt that shapes its flows and nourishes vegetation growing amidst the channels. The sediment also brings nutrients to the floodplain, helping to jumpstart algae blooms that in turn feed phytoplankton and juvenile fish. At the sea’s edge, sediment continually rebuilds coastal land otherwise eroded by ocean waves. Rising seas deservedly get headlines, but sinking land is an equally grave problem for people living in river deltas now starved of sediment.
The stories of rivers and the sediment they carry don’t end there. The ocean is turbulent, which can cause its currents to meander back and forth, like streams do on land. Meanders become unstable, forming eddies, where strong currents meet weak ones, and where freshwater meets denser, often colder, saltwater. When rivers enter oceans, they form a plume of freshwater that can extend 80 miles offshore; the resulting collision of freshwater and saltwater, their differences in temperature, and the sediment they carry, generate eddy trains, like a conga line of eddies, which impact larger ocean circulation patterns. https://nautil.us/the-oceans-are-missing-their-rivers-302187/ (03 May 2023)
UK River pollution becomes key issue in English local elections A poll by River Action shows public concern about river pollution has soared. The findings revealed 94% of the public support the drive for healthy rivers by 2030, and almost half saying their voting decision would be influenced if healthy rivers were a top priority in a political party’s manifesto.
Despite the attention of all the major political parties, however, the state of rivers in England and Wales remains dire. No English river is considered healthy, and in Wales only 40% of rivers are deemed to have achieved good biological status. The climate crisis and population growth are adding pressures on already vulnerable river systems.
According to the Rivers Trust, pollution from sewage, both treated and untreated, caused 53% of English rivers to fail to meet good standards, and agricultural pollution amounted to about 40% of the reasons for failure. The use of fertilisers and pesticides and the intensive farming of livestock and poultry contribute to poor water quality. In the four years since the 2019 elections, the light shone on sewage discharges into rivers has enabled the public to challenge water companies and politicians with the facts. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/01/river-pollution-becomes-key-issue-in-english-local-elections (01 May 2023)
Compiled by SANDRP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also see: DRP News Bulletin 01 May 2023 & DRP News Bulletin 24 April 2023
Follow us on: www.facebook.com/sandrp.in; https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers