One of the central themes of the lively presentations and discussion at the South India Sand Mining Dialogue was that the grain of sand is a habitat for so many lives, as so brilliantly put forward by Munmun Dhalaria, one of the panelists. Another key highlight was that Yogeshwaran, the lawyer painfully noted that sand mining laws are neither environment friendly nor people friendly and can be environment friendly only if they are people friendly.Continue reading “South Zone Sand Mining Dialogue: The grain of sand is habitat for many lives”
देश की नदियों की दुर्दशा किसी से छिपी नहीं है। एक ओर नदियों का जलप्रवाह लगातार घट रहा है, दूसरी ओर उनमें प्रदूषण की मात्रा चिंताजनक स्तर पर पहुॅच गई है। बढ़ती बॉध, पनबिजली, सिंचाई परियोजनाओं, भूजल दोहन, वनविनाश, बाढ़ भूमि अतिक्रमण और अवैध खनन से हमारी नदियों की जैवविविधता पर विपरीत प्रभाव सामने आ रहे हैं। साथ में नदियों पर गुजर बसर करने वाले मछवारों, मल्लाहों, किसानों की आजीविका पर गंभीर खतरा मंडरा रहा है।
इन सबके बीच, नदियों को बचाने के सरकारी प्रयास नाकेवल नाकाफी और निष्फल साबित हो रहे है, अपितु अब यह स्पष्ट है कि नदी विरोधी सरकारी योजनाओं के चलते ही छोटी बडी जलधाराएॅ सूख रही है, मैला हो रही है और बाढ़ के समय आपदा का कारण भी बन रही है। वास्तव में नदी संरक्षण संबंधी नियम कानूनों और व्यापक जनभागीदारी के अभाव के चलते आज हमारी जीवनदायनी नदियॉ, खुद के स्वछंद बहते जल को तरस रही है।
इन्हीं सब महत्वपूर्ण मुद्दों को उजागर करने के लिए 25 नवम्बर 2017 को दिल्ली भारतीय नदी दिवस समारोह आयोजित किया गया। इस बार के एक दिवसीय आयोजन में शहरी नदियों को केंद्र में रखकर मनाया गया। कार्यक्रम में भारत के विभिन्न क्षेत्रों से अस्सी से अधिक सरकारी विभागों -गैरसरकारी संस्थाओं से जुडे़ नदीप्रेमियों, चितंको और विचारकों ने भाग किया। यह कार्यक्रम वर्ष 2014 से निरंतर मनाया जा रहा है। हर साल की तरह, इस बार भी देश में नदियों को बचाने में संघर्षरत व्यक्तियों और नदी संगठनों को ‘भगीरथ प्रयास सम्मान’ से नवाजा गया। प्रभावी नदी लेखन, छायांकन और चित्रण के माध्यम से नदियों की आवाज उठाने वाले मीडियाकर्मी के लिए, इस साल से अनुपम मिश्र मैमोरियल मैडल का शुभांरभ किया गया।
The 2017 Bhagirath Prayas Samman (BPS) awards and the inaugural Anupam Mishra Medal for the exemplary media work on rivers were announced at a packed hall at INTACH on Nov 25, 2017, the India Rivers Day 2017, and given away by Supreme Court Judge, Honourable Justice Madan Lokur. The BPS award in organisation category has been awarded to Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi of Kerala and in individual category to Mahavir Singh of Rajasthan. The AMM has been awarded to Arati Rao, who has used her multiple talents, including writing, photography and arts with focus on rivers.
The BPS awards were started in 2014, the inaugural year of India Rivers week, and this is the fourth year of the awards. The details about each awardee of this year are given below. Continue reading “2017 BPS Awards to Meenachil Samiti in Kerala & Mahaveer Singh in Rajasthan Inaugural Anupam Mishra Medal for River focussed media work to Arati Rao”
The theme for India Rivers Day 2017 (IRD 2017), held on 25th November, 2017 at the INTACH Delhi premises, was ‘Rivers in the Urban Context’. Various formats of engagement were deployed for discussion among the participants from across India present for the event. India Rivers Day was organised by a group of organisations that have come together under the name India Rivers Week, these include: INTACH, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, WWF India, Toxics Link, Peace Institute Charitable Trust, People’s Science Institute and SANDRP.
As part of the IRD 2017 celebrations, an exhibition based on the event theme has also been set up. It displays photos related to various issues related to urban rivers. The exhibition was inaugurated during the IRD 2017 event by our eminent Chief Guest Shri Shashi Shekhar, former secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Govt of India.
Greetings from the India Rivers Week (IRW) Organising Committee!
This is to request for nominations for Bhagirath Prayaas Samman (BPS) 2017.
As you will recall BPS is an attempt to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding, inspirational, unsung initiatives in river conservation.
This year we are also initiating Shri Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal to celebrate media professionals who have established an exceptional body of credible work on various aspects of rivers leading to changes in behaviour, public discourse, law and policy. Self nominations will also be considered.
Please find attached the announcement and the nomination forms.
Last date for nominations: September 25, 2017. A jury will take decision about the final awardees based on set of criteria.
The River system in North East, other than the Brahmaputra, can be classified as the Barak River system and minor Rivers flowing to Bangladesh and Burma. The Barak River, Gumti River, Myntdu River etc are some of the major Rivers flowing to Bangladesh, while the Kaladan River, the Manipur River, Tizu River etc flowing in the States of Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland are main Rivers flowing to Burma.
The Barak River basin covers parts of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. In India it spreads over states of Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Tripura and Nagaland having an area of 41,723 Sq.km.
The Barak River originates from the Manipur hills, from Liyai Village in Senapati district in Manipur at an elevation of 2,331 m and flows through Assam and further down to Bangladesh, where it is known by the name of the Surma and the Kushiyara and later called the Meghna before receiving the combined flow of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. The principal tributaries of Barak joining from north bank are the Jiri, the Chiri, the Modhura, the Jatinga, the Harang, the Kalain and the Gumra whereas the Dhaleswari, the Singla, the Longai, the Sonai and the Katakhal joins from south bank. The Barak sub-basin lies in the States of Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Tripura and Nagaland.
Manipur in the North East is characterized by lush terrain, flowing rivers, and diverse flora and fauna. This region forms an important part of the Indo-Myanmar biodiversity hotspot, one of the 25 global biodiversity hotspots recognized recently. This picturesque setting has however become a fertile ground for large-scale hydro power projects and dams by the government, involving violations of human rights and unbridled exploitation of natural resources. Continue reading ““Citizens’ Concern for Dams and Development”: the voice of vulnerable honored with Bhagirath Prayas Samman at India Rivers Week 2016″
In the midst of a serious meeting pontificating on water issues, suddenly one hears an evocative sher in impeccable Urdu, followed by laughter and rounds of Irshad. The sher captures a lot in a few lines.
For an MTech Engineer from IIT and a Ph D Structural Engineer, Dr Dinesh Kumar Mishra, Mishra ji, is a colourful personality.
His erudition on rivers and floods in Bihar is tempered by folklore, songs, myths and shayari. A polyglot, Mishraji speaks and writes with eloquence in not only in Hindi and English, but in Bengali, Odiya and Urdu with equal ease. He holds a doctorate from the University of South Gujarat and has been an Ashoka Fellow. Mishraji is an institution in himself when it comes to rivers and floods of North Bihar and has single-handedly contributed to a gradually changing perception of flooding rivers as a catastrophe or “something to be tamed”.
And hence, it gives us great pleasure to share that Mishraji was honored with the Bhagirath Parayas Samman at the India Rivers Week held in New Delhi on the 29th November 2016. India Rivers Week is being organized since November 2014 by a consortium of NGOs including WWF India, INTACH, SANDRP, Toxics Link and PEACE Institute Charitable Trust. More than 100 River experts, planners, researchers, artists, enthusiasts and activists from different parts of the country have been coming together to celebrate India Rivers Week in Delhi in last week of November to discuss, deliberate and exchange their experiences and ideas aimed at the conserving, rejuvenation, restoration of rivers in the country.
Citation of Bhagirtah Prayas Samman states “Dinesh Mishra, an engineer from IIT Kharagpur, has laid the foundation for an extensive knowledge base on floods in rivers. Through his writings, lectures, advocacy and public interactions he has inspired many individuals and organisations to record local knowledge about floods and generate information that creates awareness among communities. All this has become part of a larger social movement… It is an honour to recognize and celebrate Dr Dinesh Mishra’s extraordinary Bhagirath efforts in institutionalizing traditional ways of living with floods.”
Born just prior to independence in a village in Utter Pradesh, Mishraji has dedicated his life in telling us about destruction wrought by infrastructure centric-flood control measures on rivers… especially rivers of the Ganga basin in North Bihar. Since 1984, Mirshraji is engaged in the study of floods, water-logging and irrigation and has slowly nurtured a diverse army which is able to see a lot more in floods than only destruction. He has helped us see the impact of flood control infrastructure like embankments.
Mishraji believes that India’s flood control policy revolves mainly around embankments resulting in severe environmental problems. The maintenance of such structures is in the hands of “indifferent technocracy” which does not take cognizance of the fact that investment in the flood control sector is doing more harm than good. Rising flood prone area of the country is a pointer to that. There are a wide range of aspects that need to be looked into afresh like agriculture, non-farm employment, migration, health, education, and access to civic amenities etc. He finds it intriguing that reciprocal inaccessibility of the flooded areas during the peak season and prolonged water-logging during the peace-time has not attracted the imagination of most of the responsible people. He is trying to learn from the people, their perception of the problem and take it up with those in power while keeping in touch with the people about the probable official intervention. These bridges are rare and much-needed in India. He has raised the issue of floods and water-logging and the links with infrastructure in state, national and international levels.
He has highlighted the futility of embankments as a flood control measures in rivers like Kosi and its tributaries. Through his persistent efforts of over more than three decades, Mishraji has helped change the way river floods are understood and managed. Using an approach which respects the natural cycle of floods, founded on local knowledge, he has robustly challenged the main stream flood control approach. For him, the long-term sustenance of rivers as well as their natural processes is the key, supported by meticulous research into the historical and cultural aspects of rivers.
Mishraji’s narration of how people used to come out in boats to enjoy flooded areas at full moon nights in Bihar is not only poignant, it also reminds us of the paradigm shift that came into our water management when we discarded age-old wisdom and adopted measures which were out of sync for our rivers.
Mishraji’s work is a confluence of solid grass root level contacts, extensive knowledge of local traditions, topography, geography and hydrology, robust field research and unique analysis. His writings including articles, books and films have made a deep impact on current understanding and thinking about floods in rivers and how best to deal with them. Through all this, he has made notable contributions towards developing a new policy dialogue on India’s flood control system, and the impact they have had on livelihood practices.
Mishraji is also the convener of an informal group of flood activists called Barh Mukti Abhiyan, an effective informal group with wide acceptance and vast contacts. He is currently engaged in writing about river Gandak and Ghaghara and thus shall complete the entire landscape of rivers of north Bihar.
He has over hundreds of Notable among his large number of publications, are “Trapped! Between the Devil and Deep Waters: The Story of Bihar’s Kosi River” and “River Bagmati: Bounties Become a Curse”. His book “Boya Per Babool Ka’ was chosen as one of the best books written over the subject of environment by the Ministry of Forest and Environment, Government of India in 2002. This was later translated into English and published titled, ‘Living with Politics of Floods’ in 2002.
He was a member of the Dams and Development Forum of UNEP and represented Project Affected People there during 2003-07. He was also a member of the Working Group on Flood Control and Water Logging of the Planning Commission of India to review the progress made in eleventh Five Year Plan and make recommendations for the Twelfth.
He has encouraged many organizations to take up the issue of floods and water-logging in their respective river basins, in Bihar and other states as well, and they are carrying on their works. He has encouraged many groups to take up drainage works of small chaurs (land depressions) and resume agriculture on the land that emerges out of water. He provides them with basic technical details and help them executing the work. This has shown very encouraging results as compared to heavily budgeted drainage schemes taken up by the Irrigation Departments.
He has published a book on the River Mahananda (titled Bandini Mahananda in Hindi), a boundary river between Bihar and Bengal, in 1994 followed by a bi-lingual (Hindi and English) book on the Bhutahi Balan (2004) (Bhutahi Nadi aur Takniki Jhar Phoonk / Story of a Ghost River and Engineering Witchcraft) and on the Kamla River (2005) titled Baghawat Par Majboor Mithila Ki Kamala Nadi/ The Kamla-River and People on Collision Course.
His book on the River Kosi titled ‘Dui Paatan Ke Beech Mein – Kosi Nadi Ki Kahaani’ was published in Hindi in 2006. Its updated English version titled “Trapped! Between the Devil and Deep Waters – Story of Bihar’s Kosi River”, co-published by SANDRP, came out in 2008 just before the famous breach of the Kosi embankment at Kusaha in Nepal. Book on Bagmati was published in 2010, titled Bagmati Ki Sadgati. Its English version is also co-published by SANDRP titled “River Bagmati: Bounties Become a Curse” in August 2012. He has now started working on the major river of North Bihar, the Gandak and that will complete detailing the major rivers of north Bihar. This book will touch the Ghaghara and the Burhi Gandak too that flow almost parallel to the Gandak.
Mishraji’s crusade to highlight the wisdom behind age-old methods to “live with the floods”, his fight to expose the utterly destructive impacts of embankments and their role in amplifying flood misery, coupled with his sensitive and scholarly love of folklore and literature make his work accessible and engaging. We need more people like Mishraji who can tell us the stories of our rivers.
We congratulate him for the Bhagirath Prayas Samman and thank him, on behalf of our rivers, for his Bhagirath efforts.
Dear River Friends,
You may recall many of us celebrated India’s Rivers at the first ever India Rivers Week (IRW) held at the WWF-India Secretariat New Delhi from 24-27, Nov 2014.
IRW 2014 was organized by an organising committee (OC) chaired by Shri Ramaswamy R Iyer and included PEACE Institute Charitable Trust, WWF – India, INTACH, Toxics Link and SANDRP, besides support from International Rivers, People’s Science Institute & Arghyam Trust. One of the key outputs of the event was “Delhi Declaration – Let Our Rivers Live”. Continue reading “India Rivers Day to be celebrated on Nov 28, 2015 – Letter from Organisers”
India Rivers Week, 24-27 November 2014, New Delhi Continue reading “LET OUR RIVERS LIVE – DELHI DECLARATION”