The State will now seek a Rs. 4,300-crore package for providing succour to over 16,000 drought-affected villages. Earlier State Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Eknath Khadse had declared over 14,708 villages drought-affected. He now said that the State’s assessment by October 31 showed that drought-like conditions also prevailed in 1,420 villages in Buldhana district in Vidarbha, and they would be added to the list of drought-affected villages.
People of a village in Morigaon district of Assam fish in groups to celebrate ‘Kati Bihu’ on Sunday. The festival is closely related to agriculture, celebrated on the first day of the Kati month of the Assamese calendar. It is that time of the year when paddy grows in the fields and cultivators work hard for a good harvest.— Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar, The Hindu
Tamirabarani teaches: Saving tiger is saving river After Kalakkad-Mundanthurai was declared tiger reserve in 1992, Tamirabarani river has regained its perennial status. Though shorter than Cauvery and Vaigai, Tamirabarani has always held a special place in the state. It started turning dry for four months every year. People of Tirunelveli and Tuticorin thought their river too was going the way of other state rivers. But a move to save the tiger inadvertently became a save the-river policy. The Union ministry of environment and forests declared the Kalakkad – Mundanthurai area as a tiger reserve in 1992. In three years, there was a noticeable change. A study on water inflow into the Karayar river, a tributary, inside the reserve was taken up. Records show that from 1946 till 1990, the river received only 13,000 cubic feet of water annually. After the area was declared as a tiger reserve, the inflow increased to 23,000 cubic feet.
Hydro fast loosing sheen in renewable energy basket and the share of hydro is likely to decline further as through the past three years, the installed capacity of hydropower projects has remained around 40,000 Mw. While the report superficially may appear as a sigh of relief nevertheless on ground Indian Govt. is still in a hurry to push many big hydro power projects particularly in North-Eastern States. Last month only Piyush Goyal Power Minister cleared the Teesta-III and spoke of clearing Subansiri too. In Siang basin Pauk, Heo, Tato-I are recently approved by MoEF Panel. Protest against 780 Nyamjang Chhu HEP is going on. Similarly several projects in Ganga, Barhamputra and Satluj basin are being cleared and constructed in plain violation of stipulated green norms. Public and private developers are repeatedly ignoring environmental concerns and not addressing the issues raised by local people.
Rohan Chakraborty’s cartoon on the threat from 780 MW Nyamjang Chhu hydel project to Black- necked Cranes revered by the Buddhist Monpas of Tawang.
UTTARAKHAND: Hydro Power companies, BRO, PWD still dumping debris in Uttarakhand rivers, forest department under pressure as administration and judiciary stand in defence of culprits MOST SHOCKING STATE OF AFFAIRS IN UTTARAKHAND HYDRO AND RIVERS: “SS Rasailey, director of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve said, “BRO and PWD have been throwing all the road construction-related garbage into the rivers on a regular basis. Similarly, companies behind the THDC run Pipalkoti-Vishnuprayag and NTPC-run Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel projects have been doing this as well, despite the fact that all of them have to dispose waste on a separate piece of land as per the guidelines. While they show that they are following the rules on paper, in reality they don’t.” Rasailey added that while forest officials have taken up this issue, filing cases and even getting the people arrested for alleged waste disposal in Chamoli district, they have not received cooperation from the administration or the judiciary in prosecuting the big companies which are among the violators.
This story sheds light on the plight of people displaced by Tehri Dam as thousands of them are still waiting for proper compensation and rehabilitation. The woes of the displaced people never end. Himangshu Thakkar of SANDRP, who has been working on issues associated with large dams, warned of playing with rivers, “With dams, our politicians are inviting disaster and playing with the lives of people, the Himalayas, the Ganges and future generations. They didn’t learn anything from the June 2013 disaster”.
ARUNACHAL PRADESH MoEFCC massive clearance spree of Arunachal hydro power projects bound to have repercussions as there have been no public consultations in Arunachal Pradesh or Assam. Surprisingly, Subansiri river basin study was not even listed among the 14 subjects that were placed for discussion. However, this did not stop the Committee from taking a decision to go ahead with 26 projects. On 3097 MW Etalin by Jindal group on Dibang, the EAC has recommended primary surveys only in monsoon, not in winter and pre-monsoon, which experts say is an attempt to enable faster clearances while compromising ecological and social security as lot of use of areas by people and wildlife is in winter and pre-monsoon, not just monsoon.
Water has become a closely guarded resource in Latur city which receives municipal supply only once every 15 days. The Dhanegaon dam which supplies water here has been at “dead storage level” for the last four years because of the meagre rains. But this year the water crisis is much worse: the arid Marathwada belt where Latur is located has reported the highest rain deficit in the entire country.
JAMMU & KASHMIR: Eco concerns over Baglihar hydel project worry experts, locals The 900-MW Baglihar hydroelectric project continues to increase the worries of experts and inhabitants in the erstwhile Doda district comprising Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts as the region faces a major threat of severe climate change, courtesy successive regimes which have ignored all environmental concerns attached to the project. Torrential rain, cloudbursts and massive landslides are said to be new dangers confronting the people of the erstwhile Doda district which are mostly due to creation of the reservoir of between 30 km and 35 km in length. The region falls in Seismic Zone IV. In another interesting development referring to the All India Power Survey findings, the J&K government’s report—State Action Plan on Climate Change—states that climate change would have drastic impact on hydropower generation capacity in J&K in three possible ways. Firstly, the available discharge of a river may change since hydrology is usually related to local weather conditions, such as temperature and precipitation in the catchment area. Secondly, an unexpected increase in climate variability may trigger extreme climate events, i.e. floods and droughts, and thirdly, changing hydrology and possible extreme events may increase sediment risks. It further reveals that more sediment, along with other factors such as changed composition of water, raises the probability that a hydropower project suffers greater exposure to turbine erosion. Moreover, an unexpected amount of sediment will also lower turbine and generator efficiency, resulting in a decline in energy generated. Since the majority of power is generated from hydropower sources, there are high chances that Jammu and Kashmir may face power crisis if the projected impact of climate change happens. Higher demand of energy due to climatic variability and lower generation due to projected impact of climate change would widen the power supply-demand deficit in Jammu and Kashmir.
Nothing covert about it: We think of northeast India only as a frontier (12 June 2015) BRILLIANT and yet VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING piece from Nitin Sethi: “Take the case of dams in Himalayas. The religious value of Ganga for us in the mainland forces governments to at least pretend to save the river and the people around it from the contract and concrete driven madness. But the same governments do not think twice about displacing entire cultures that flourish in the Brahmaputra basin building the same bumper to bumper dams on the Brahmaputra basin, bending rules regulations and policies for ‘strategic interests’. The irony is lost on us when we cordon leftover lands of these cultures in ‘compensation’ for the loss of ‘India’s’ wildlife and forests to the inundation that follows… We govern their homelands like a frontier – sending out-of-favour governors and officials on punishment postings.” http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/nothing-covert-about-it-we-think-of-northeast-india-only-as-a-frontier-115061200799_1.html
Hydropower: Down to a trickle (10 June 2013) Uttarakhand flashflood put a fresh spanner in the works amid concerns over climate change and its impact on rainfall and on river flow and its patterns, which in turn may have an impact on plans for hydropower generation. Most of India’s hydropower potential falls in seismic zone 5, a region classified as highly vulnerable to high-intensity quakes. Even among green projects, hydro takes top billing. In March, during the first half of the Budget session, power, coal and renewables minister Piyush Goyal admitted in the Lok Sabha that uncertainties in the hydropower sector were keeping investors away. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/hydropower-down-to-a-trickle/#sthash.72LEpqvn.dpuf
NORTH-EAST: Activists in Arunachal Pradesh oppose Centre’s plans to build dams on Siang river (12 June 2015) Very apt: “”on the one hand you are diligently busy in Clean Ganga and Save Ganga and on the other hand you are planning a disaster on Siang sitting at Delhi. ” The forum’s general secretary Oyar Gao also raised the issue of the river’s sanctity saying that the Siang is referred to as Aane (mother) in the same manner as Ganga Maiya.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47642482.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst