Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Gujarat · Narmada

How SSNNL violated its own Flood Memorandum 2020 during recent SSD induced floods

During the recent Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) induced flood disaster in areas downstream of the dam in Gujarat, the dam operator, SSNNL (Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited) violated its own Flood Memorandum (FM) 2020[i] in multiple ways.

The FM-2020 titled “Disaster Management Plan – 2020” provides detailed information about how the dam operation is to be done during South West Monsoon 2020, that is from June 1, 2020 to Oct 15, 2020, or whenever the monsoon has withdrawn. It is published by SSNNL’s Flood Control Cell and carries the names of six highest functionaries of SSNNL on second page: Chairman, Managing Director, Jt MD, Director (CAD), Director (Canal) and Director (Civil). It says Officer in charge of Flood Control Cell of SSNNL is Executive Engineer (Narmada Project Main Canal Division-2) and the FM-2020 is compiled by Superintending Engineer, Narmada Project Design Circle.

An earlier version of the Flood Memorandum for 2018[ii] is also available, which is useful as it has some additional information.

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Floods · Urban Water Sector

Janta Parliament discussion on the state of water in India

While Indian Parliament has not met since March 2020 (it is now slated to meet from Sept 14, 2020, though without a number of key features including absence of question hour), Civil Society Groups came together and held a Janta (people’s) Parliament from Aug 16 to 21 Aug 2020, where citizens from across the country from all walks of life enthusiastically participated. On Aug 18 there was a three-hour session on Environment issues[i] (such a session is a rarity in Indian Parliament), as part of which, there was a presentation on Water related issues where SANDRP coordinator was invited to speak. Two water related resolutions were passed among others, by the Janta Parliament, one on Flood Management and another on Urban Water Management. See below for details.

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Bihar · Ganga · Rivers

River Stories, Walking Across India – II

Guest Blog by Siddharth Agarwal

In the years 2018 and 2019, I spent months walking East across India with Paul Salopek on the Out of Eden Walk[i]. His trail started in the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia in East Africa, roughly following the path of the early human migration out of Africa and across the globe.

The India trail of the Out of Eden Walk started from the India-Pakistan border at Wagah, Punjab. It then moved East through the Indus Basin, followed by the basins of West flowing rivers like Luni, then a large chunk through the southern Gangetic plains in Central India before crossing over to the Brahmaputra basin close to Siliguri in West Bengal. The crossover to Myanmar happened at Moreh in Manipur, also incidentally very close to the basin boundary of Brahmaputra and Irrawady. He entered India in March 2018, and crossed over to Myanmar in July 2019.

The Out of Eden Walk trail in India was ~4000kms, of which I was present for about 1500kms in different sections. These stretches were spread across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and bit of Assam & Manipur.

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River Health

Demystifying River Health-2

Guest Blog by Manoj Misra

This article is in two parts. Part I was about a new name and Part II suggests a way forward. It is more in nature of loud thinking and is an expression of a personal discomfort with a ‘missing’ terminology with respect to ‘streams’ against few parallels including that with humans and the latter’s unscientific propensity to view a stream as being little more than a carrier of utilizable water.

This is primarily to stir ‘thinking’ and ‘debate’. Comments are most welcome. Terms ‘river’ and ‘stream’ have been used here interchangeably.

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River Health · Rivers

Demystifying River Health-1

Guest Blog by Manoj Misra

We humans know it when we are unwell, but when and how would we know that a river is ‘unwell’?

This article is in two parts. Part I attempts a new name and Part II suggests a way forward. It is more in nature of loud thinking and is an expression of a personal discomfort with a ‘missing’ terminology with respect to ‘streams’ against few parallels including that with humans and the latter’s unscientific propensity to view a stream as being little more than a carrier of utilizable water.

This is primarily to stir ‘thinking’ and ‘debate’. Comments are most welcome. Terms ‘river’ and ‘stream’ have been used here interchangeably.

Continue reading “Demystifying River Health-1”
DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 7 Sep 2020: On Himalaya Diwas, will Supreme Court stop destruction of Himalaya by Char Dham Road?

The people and state government of Uttarakhand would be celebrating Himalayan Diwas on September 9; the Supreme Court of India would be hearing the issues related to the controversial Char Dham Road project a day before it on September 08. During the last hearing on August 31, the apex court has rescheduled the case by extending the hearing date by a week amid concerns of recurring landslides raised by the petitioners.

The ongoing adverse impacts on forests, rivers, streams, soil covers, hills and people continue to concerns scientists, geologist who are alarmed by the scale of destruction and shocked by the brazen manner the state and central governments have been marching ahead without bothering to assess the impacts or address the genuine issues being raised by all concerned.

Multiple reports have been showing that the deliberate dilution of environmental rules and violations of already weakened norms applied by none other than governments themselves to avoid scientific scrutiny and push the project through climatically and ecologically sensitive mountains is proving to be a Himalaya blunder. There is still time to pause, ponder, review the project, assess the impacts, reduce road width and prepare an action plan to restore the damages and pay heed to scientific suggestions before the blunder leads to another inevitable disaster of Kedarnath or larger scale. Hope the apex court would not fail Himalayas.  

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Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Gujarat · Gujarati blog · Narmada

સરદાર સરોવરને કારણે ભરૂચ પૂરમાં સપડાયું: નિગમના દાવાની પાછળનું સત્ય

સપ્ટેમ્બર ૨, ૨૦૨૦[i]ના અમારા લેખમાં અમે સત્તાવાર માહિતીનો ઉપયોગ કરીને દેખાડ્યું હતું કે સરદાર સરોવર ડેમ (SSD)ને કારણે ભરૂચમાં જે પૂર આવ્યાં તેને ટાળવાનું શક્ય હતું. ડેમના હેઠવાસમાં ઑગસ્ટ ૨૯, ૨૦૨૦થી ઓચિંતા જ ૧૦.૭૨ લાખ ક્યુસેક પાણીનો જબ્બરદસ્ત જથ્થો છોડવામાં આવ્યો અને ભરૂચને પૂરની આફતે ઘેરી લીધું. સરદાર સરોવર ડૅમને લગતા બધા કાર્યકલાપ માટે જવાબદાર સરદાર સરોવર નર્મદા નિગમ લિમિટેડે (SSNNL) હજી સુધી એનો સ્પષ્ટ, સુસંગત અને તથ્ય આધારિત જવાબ નથી આપ્યો. જો કે, નિગમ/ગુજરાત સરકાર (GoG)ના કેટલાક પ્રવક્તાઓએ દાવો કર્યો છે કે  સરદાર સરોવર ડેમને કારણે ભરૂચ બહુ મોટી હોનારતમાંથી બચી ગયું છે.  આ દાવો પાયા વિનાનો તો છેજ, એ તાજા જખમ પર મીઠું ભભરાવવા જેવો પણ છે.

SSDનું સંચાલન કેમ થયું, કેમ થવું જોઈતું હતું,  ભરૂચે જે જબ્બર સંકટ ભોગવ્યું તેના માટે કોણ જવાબદાર હતા તેની તપાસ માત્ર કોઈ સ્વતંત્ર પેનલ (જેમાં સરકારના કાર્યરત કે નિવૃત્ત અધિકારીઓ ન હોય) દ્વારા થાય તો જ આ સત્યને બહાર લાવી શકાશે.

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Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Gujarat · Narmada

SSD induced Bharuch Flood disaster: Reality behind SSNNL claims that it saved Bharuch

We showed on Sept 2, 2020[i] using official information that Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) created an avoidable flood disaster in Bharuch, downstream of SSD starting on Aug 29, 2020, due to sudden, adhoc release of massive quantities water upto 10.72 lakh cusecs. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), official agency responsible for operation of the SSD is yet to provide any clear, coherent and fact based response. However, some of the spokespersons of SSNNL/ Government of Gujarat (GOG) are claiming that scientific operation of SSD saved Bharuch from bigger disaster. While this claim has no basis, this is like spraying salt on the fresh wounds.

Only an independent (not by serving or retired bureaucrats of the government) investigation would be able to bring out the truth as to how SSD operated, how it should have been operated, who is responsible for the massive disaster that Bharuch experienced, how can we fix accountability and what lessons we can learn for future.

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Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Gujarat · Gujarati blog · Narmada

ભરૂચમાં પૂરની તારાજી માટે સરદાર સરોવર જવાબદાર

સરદાર સરોવર ડૅમ (SSD)ના સંચાલકો જરાય વિચાર કર્યા વિના, અને કહી શકો કે, ક્રૂરતાથી, પાણી કેટલું છોડવું, ક્યારે છોડવું તેના નિર્ણયો લે છે. એમના નિર્ણયની અસર હેઠવાસમાં શું થશે તેના પર તો જરાય ધ્યાન નથી આપતા.  કંઈ નહીં તો, ૨૬મી ઑગસ્ટ ૨૦૨૦થી જ એમને સત્તાવાર માહિતી મળી ગઈ હતી કે  ભારે વરસાદને કારણે નર્મદાના ઉપરવાસમાં પાણી વધવા લાગ્યું છે. આ માહિતી પર એ કામ કરી શક્યા હોત તેમ છતાં ૨૯મી ઑગસ્ટ, શનિવારની વહેલી સવાર સુધી એમણે ડેમનાં સ્પિલ-વે ગેટ્સમાંથી પાણી ન છોડ્યું.  ડૅમ ૭૦ ટકા ભરાઈ ગયો હોવા છતાં એમણે પાવર હાઉસો પણ ન ચલાવ્યાં. ઓચિંતા જ ૨૯મીની રાતે એમણે દસ લાખ ક્યુસેક – દર સેકંડે ઘન ફૂટ (૨૮,૩૨૦ ક્યુમૅક એટલે કે દર સેકંડે ઘન મીટર) પાણી  છોડવાનું શરૂ કરી દીધું [i].. ત્રણ દિવસ પછી ૧ સપ્ટેમ્બર, મંગળવારની સાંજે એમણે મોટા ભાગનાં સ્પિલ ગેટ બંધ કરી દીધાં. આમ સ્પિલ-વેમાંથી નીકળતા પાણીનો જથ્થો પહેલાં કરતાં માત્ર દસમા ભાગનો રહ્યો. આ ૩-૪ દિવસમાં (૨૯મી ઑગસ્ટ અને ૧લી સપ્ટેમ્બર વચ્ચે) પાણીનો ૩૦,૦૦૦ ક્યુમૅક સુધીનોજબ્બરદસ્ત જથ્થો સ્પિલ-વે મારફતે છોડવામાં આવ્યો; એના પહેલાં કે તેના પછી કંઈ જ નહીં! પરિણામે હેઠવાસમાં ગરૂડેશ્વરથી ચાંદોદ અને ભરૂચ સુધી પૂરનાં વિનાશકારી પાણી ફરી વળ્યાં. પરંતુ લાગે છે કે, સરદાર સરોવર પ્રોજેક્ટ (SSP)ના સત્તાવાળાઓ અથવા ગુજરાત સરકારના પેટનું પાણી પણ નથી હાલ્યું. હવે સમય આવી ગયો છે કે ગુજરાતની જનતા જાગે અને આ માનવસર્જિત તારાજી માટે SSPના ખેરખાંઓનો જવાબ માગે.

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Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Narmada

Sardar Sarovar Creates avoidable flood disaster in Bharuch

Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) operators are operating the dam callously, almost cruelly, without consideration of the impact of the operation in the downstream area. Till Saturday-Aug 29, 2020 early hours, they were not releasing any water from the spillway gates of the dam, in spite of sufficient actionably information at least since Aug 26 that rainfall is hugely increasing in upstream Narmada basin. They were not even operating powerhouses even though the dam was close to 70% full. Suddenly, by Aug 29 night they started releasing upto ten lakh cusecs – Cubic Feet Per Second (28320 cumecs or Cubic Meters per second) of water[i]. Three days later, in the evening of Tuesday, Sept 1, they closed most of the spillway gates, thus reducing releases from spillway to less than a tenth of the earlier figure. During these 3-4 days (Aug 29-Sept 1), massive quantities were released, upto 30 000 cumecs through spillways, and almost nothing before or after! It created massive flood disaster all along the downstream from Gaudeshwar to Chandod to Bharuch, but the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) authorities or the Gujarat government seem least bothered. It is high time people of Gujarat wake up and hold the SSP operators accountable for this man made disaster.

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