Interlinking of RIvers

NWDA & EIA lies on Ken Betwa River Link nailed by IGF (WL): Will EAC take action against them now?

A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out,AJT Johnsingh
ABOVE: A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out,AJT Johnsingh

The official minutes of the 37th meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL) held on Feb 26, 2016, about the Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP) Phase I have exposed the lies of project developer National Water Development Agency (NWDA) and its consultant for Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) about a number of crucial aspects of the project impact on the Panna Tiger Reserve, Vulture Habitat and Ken Ghariyal Sanctuary.

It now becomes clear that both NWDA and EIA consultant AFCL (formerly Agriculture Finance Corporation Ltd) are guilty of misleading the MoEF’s (Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change) Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley Projects, when the KBPL was discussed by the EAC during Aug 24-25, 2015, Oct 26-27, 2015 and Feb 7-8, 2016. We hope the EAC will take appropriate action against the developer and the EIA consultant for misleading the statutory official agency. Continue reading “NWDA & EIA lies on Ken Betwa River Link nailed by IGF (WL): Will EAC take action against them now?”

Agriculture · Dams · Groundwater · Interlinking of RIvers · Krishna River · Maharashtra

Maharashtra’s Water Sector in 2015: Did anything change with the government?

Above: A huge protest march against water release to Marathwada Photo: Zee 24 Taas

In 2015, with the change in the ruling party after 15 long years, Maharashtra had a massive opportunity to break free from the crisis-ridden and scam-ridden image of its water sector. Water and dams have been central behind the embarrassing loss of Congress-NCP government in the 2014 Loksabha elections. But could the ruling BJP government actually deliver such a “Paradigm Shift” as it likes to call it? Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the state that is facing not only management scams, but repeated droughts and extreme weather events?

We try to review happenings around water, dams and rivers in Maharashtra for the past year 2015 and to look for a possible direction where the sector is heading, trying to fathom what it holds for the rivers and the people of the state. Continue reading “Maharashtra’s Water Sector in 2015: Did anything change with the government?”

Dams · Interlinking of RIvers · Rivers · Sand Mining

Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin 16 Nov. 2015 (Tamil Nadu floods claim 95 lives)

Incessant rains continued to disrupt normal life in Chennai and across Tamil Nadu on Monday, with the death toll rising to 95. Many areas in Chennai have been inundated, road traffic has been severely hit and schools and colleges are shut across Chennai as a result of the inclement weather. Boats are being used in flooded areas to rescue stranded people. Also see, Rain continues to batter Tamil Nadu, disaster response teams deployed

Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin 16 Nov. 2015 (Tamil Nadu floods claim 95 lives)”

Interlinking of RIvers

What ails DPR and EIA of Ken-Betwa Link Project: A Note for EAC of MoEF&CC

Above: Ken River in PTR – Glimpse of long deep gorge (Photo by RS Murthy, former Field Director of PTR)

Guest Blog by Hemendra Singh Panwar (Padma Bhushan, director of Project Tiger (1981-85 and first director of Wildlife Institute of India (1985-94)

My professional conscience impels me to make this submission, challenged as it is by the reliance on half-truths and misinformation by the Project proponents to justify environmental and wildlife clearances for Ken-Betwa River Linking Project (KBLP) from the State and Union governments.  Let me at the outset clarify that I am not and have never been an activist even to promote conservation, though I did strive my best to this end within the system.  I also have no phobia against dams and canals but do carry the conviction that ill-conceived such projects using wanton half-truths to present a mirage of unachievable benefits can but severely impact ecological and field conservation status while failing to deliver the claimed outcomes.
Continue reading “What ails DPR and EIA of Ken-Betwa Link Project: A Note for EAC of MoEF&CC”

Interlinking of RIvers

Ken Betwa River Link Project involves India’s first Major Dam inside National Park: It needs, fresh, credible EIA, not misleading falsehoods from NWDA

Above: A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out (Photo by AJT Johnsingh)

PREFACE: Following is a submission by the authors to the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects, sent on Oct 25, 2015, as the EAC was to consider the Ken Betwa River Link Project for Environment Clearance on Oct 27, 2015. The authors had sent a submission to EAC in Aug 2015, when the EAC considered this project for the first time. In response to the various submissions that EAC received on this proposal, including one by the authors and another by SANDRP, among others, the EAC had asked the project proponent, NWDA (National Water Development Agency, an organisation under Union Water Resources Ministry) to provide a point wise reply. The NWDA response can be seen here: http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Online/EDS/0_0_15_Oct_2015_1405329601eac.pdf

One has to wonder that if the Ken-Betwa is such a worthwhile project, why is it necessary for the proponents to lie and obfuscate facts in order to promote it.  We are not unreasonable individuals and have no reason not to want people to be benefited by appropriate development. If the project had more overall benefit than detriment, why would everyone not support it. However we find that it is prejudiced, not argued on reason, much is being obscured and alternate views have not been taken into consideration.  The project is being undertaken in an area that has been evaluated as important enough to set aside for the tigers’ welfare. High priority must therefore be given to this species; but throughout totally inadequate consideration has been given to this. Continue reading “Ken Betwa River Link Project involves India’s first Major Dam inside National Park: It needs, fresh, credible EIA, not misleading falsehoods from NWDA”

Climate Change · Dams · Drought · Environment · Ganga · Hydropower · Interlinking of RIvers · Irrigation · Rivers

DRP News Bulletin 31 Aug. 2015: Drought hit Latur residents are not guarding gold or money but water

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.

HYDROPOWER

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.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 31 Aug. 2015: Drought hit Latur residents are not guarding gold or money but water”

Interlinking of RIvers

Letter to MoEF Expert Appraisal Committee: Reject Ken Betwa Proposal

August 21, 2015

To:

Chairman and Members,

Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects,

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests,

New Delhi

Subject: Concerns about Ken Betwa River Link Proposal

Respected Chairman and Members,

The agenda for the Aug 24-25, 2015 meeting of EAC includes the proposal to consider Environment Clearance for the Ken Betwa River Link Project in Madhya Pradesh. In that context, we would like to raise following concerns: Continue reading “Letter to MoEF Expert Appraisal Committee: Reject Ken Betwa Proposal”

Dams · Interlinking of RIvers · Maharashtra · NWDA

Par-Tapi-Narmada Link: Divided States, United Tribals

Above: Just a few hundred meters upstream the proposed Jhari Dam, a tribal woman struggles to find water in the dry Par river bed Photo: Parineeta Dandekar

Village of Jhari at the northern most corner of Western Ghats has some of the loveliest houses I have seen. Appreciation for the evolved vernacular architecture goes beyond the obvious urban romanticisng of anything tribal. Homes in this region of tribes like Kokani, Warli, Thakurs, etc, are unique in their architecture, building materials, craftsmanship and the seamless mix of beauty and functionality. The tiled roof of our host Haribhau had intricate wooden trimmings, the mudfloor was cool and the door frame was carved in exquisite motifs. Vines arched and spread in disarray over courtyards. We were assembled under a passion fruit or ‘Rasna’ vine, bursting with white flowers. Inside, cane baskets creaked under the weight of Ragi, Udid and Rice filled to the brim: This year’s harvest has been good, though that’s not always the case. The hosts, both men and women, were busy with lunch preparations. Continue reading “Par-Tapi-Narmada Link: Divided States, United Tribals”

Godavari · Interlinking of RIvers · Krishna River · Telangana

Pranahita-Chevella Project: Gargantuan Project with Gargantuan Violations

Can you imagine a project-not any project, perhaps India’s largest irrigation project till date- going on for years without most statutory clearances? Can you imagine a project on which Rs 7000 Crores[1] have been spent already but its Dam height (FRL – Full Reservoir Level) is yet undecided? Can you imagine a project whose canal works are ongoing in full swing, without having any idea of the submergence? Can you imagine a Public Hearing where the Project Engineer says that the meeting is only about compensation not about environmental impacts or fundamental questions? Can you imagine a state which is set to lose thousands of hectares of rich forests, protected areas, villages for a project of a different state, but is happy to oblige? Can you imagine a Ministry which turns a stony Nelson’s Eye to a project continuing right under its nose without Environmental Clearance, Wildlife Clearance or Forest Clearance?

Continue reading “Pranahita-Chevella Project: Gargantuan Project with Gargantuan Violations”

Interlinking of RIvers

Interlinking ‘Conflicts’: Maharashtra se Gujarat tak

Above: A girl from the Par Basin. With drinking water problems plaguing her village and the impending diversion project either from Gujarat or Maharashtra, her hardships will only increase. Photo: Parineeta Dandekar

Even as the second meeting of the Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers was held on the 6th January 2015[i], the Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti sought “co-operation of various States in this project” and said that “States can discuss their apprehensions if any, in the next meeting of the committee.” She informed the meeting that on 07 January 2015, she will meet Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Devendra Fadnavis to discuss Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada link projects.

Continue reading “Interlinking ‘Conflicts’: Maharashtra se Gujarat tak”