Himachal Pradesh · Hydro Disaster

Fatal Disaster at Shongtong Hydro in Himachal Pradesh in June 2022

Two workers of 450 MW Shongtong hydropower Project[i] were killed when the trolley they were using overturned inside the tunn[ii]el of the under-construction project near Ralli in Kalpa Tehsil of Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. The police have registered a case in connection with the incident.

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Beas · Dams · Environment · Environment Impact Assessment · Environmental Flow · Fish · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk · Free flowing rivers · Gharat · Himachal Pradesh · Hydropower · Rivers

Muktadhara Tirthan

How one fish and many people saved a river

“Hark! What is that? What is that sound? It is laughter, bubbling up from the heart of the darkness. It is the sound of water! There is no doubt. The water of Muktadhara is free!”

As I stepped on the wooden slats across the joyously gurgling Tirthan River, I remembered Rabindranath Tagore’s lines from his first play, Muktadhara (Free-flowing). I was in the Himalayas to listen to the story of Tirthan, a Muktadhara in her own right! Tirthan is the rarest, possibly the only river valley in India to be declared as a “No-Go Valley” for hydropower or dam development, protected in perpetuity.

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Delhi · Yamuna River

Making Yamuna Flow Again

Guest Blog by Manoj Misra

It is no secret that the master key to Yamuna rejuvenation or for that matter any other perennial river is to make it flow as close to its natural flow pattern as possible. How to go about it is no rocket science but is no easy task either for we humans have burdened them with so many of our selfish stakes.

What flows in a river is not just water, but water enriched with energy, minerals, sediments, detritus and life, macro and microscopic plants and animals. It’s only such flow that enables and has enabled rivers over the millennia to fulfill various ecological (& social) functions like erosion and deposition of earth, meander and form floodplains, feed aquifers to replenish the ground water, host aquatic and riparian life forms, connect with the floodplain and its water bodies and complete the water cycle. (Feature image above: Dead Yamuna river at Panipat (Pic by Bhim SIngh Rawat))

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Arunachal Pradesh

Muddy Kameng River waters & mass fish death in Oct 2021

In a development described as unprecedented, by 1030 hours on Friday, Oct 29, 2021, the waters of Kameng River in Arunachal Pradesh in North East India suddenly became dark with large amount of silt and debris and thousands of dead fish floating on the surface. A video on twitter by 1300 hours[i] showed the dark Kameng waters. (The Feature image above is from twitter post by The Arunachal Pradesh on Oct 31, 2021)

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Agriculture · Climate Change · Kerala

Paddy farming in times of climate change – field notes – A sequel

Guest Article by Dr. Sreeja KG and Dr. Madhusoodhanan CG

Climate change and its impacts in the tropics are changing the once familiar landscapes, once certain weather patterns, once secure living spaces beyond recognition. The disasters that can be as local as a tidal surge to national level episodes of cyclones, wildfires and massive floods are being managed in the same administrative mode as has been the practice during the more forgiving past: without training, without relevant real time information, without involvement of the communities and often merely with the strong will and dedication of the field staff and local volunteers. With events far in between, episodic and with time to recoup, we have been spared total and irrevocable breakdown of the system and society. But for how long?

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Bihar · Ganga · Water Access for the poor

Water on Wheels to Dying Fishes in Ganga River Basin in Bhagalpur

Guest Blog by Dr. Ruchi Shree (TMBU, Bhagalpur-Bihar)

Last year, I wrote three stories on dying Champa river in Bhagalpur and challenges/ prospects of its rejuvenation[i]. That exercise helped me in exploring the city through a river which used be an important waterbody in this region but now at the verge of extinction. Situated at the banks of river Ganga, the Bhagalpur city faces three to four major problems related to water and sanitation, namely, arsenic contaminated groundwater, falling water level, recurrent floods, open drainage, etc. This year, I pedaled (cycling) in the local vicinity to make sense of ‘piped water’ and its limitations in the city. One more concern was to document the growing ecological crisis in the university area as captured and reflected in this blog. This photo essay is based on my observations over a period of last three months in Nathnagar block of Bhagalpur (south-west part of the city). Bhagalpur, a “smart city” of south Bihar is close to Jharkhand. I visited the ward no. 13 and ward no.17 of the Nathnagar block to write this story. Two pictures (near Ganga) towards the end of the blog were taken in a different part of the city i.e. in Adampur area of Bhagalpur.

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Delhi · Urban Water Bodies

Revival Of Hauz Khas Lake, Delhi: A Pioneering Adventure of INTACH

Guest Blog by Manu Bhatnagar

Even as the water crisis gathers pace time is playing out a requiem for lakes and wetlands. Poor understanding of hydrology, greed driven capture of wetlands by real estate, the adoption of the shortest straight line path by infrastructure development agencies, the effort by engineers to make everything straight and neat by concretization, the plummeting of groundwater tables and the interception of free flowing surface runoff by alteration of basin characteristics are the major drivers of the rapid extinction of our waterbodies.

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Agriculture · Climate Change · Kerala

Paddy farming in times of climate change – field notes

Guest Article by Dr. Sreeja KG and Dr. Madhusoodhanan CG

January 6, 2021– An unexpected turn of the weather in the afternoon. Rain clouds gathered from the east and a sudden downpour that lasted through the evening. Heady smells of slaked earth and a welcome respite to the day’s heat. The joy of the surprise shower overshadowed by the worry of harvested paddy in gunny sacks stacked on the field bunds. The paddy which had dried to the satisfaction of the procurement agency’s rigorous moisture tests, is now again wet. Drying it will be an added, unforeseen expense.

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Arunachal Pradesh · brahmaputra · China · Dams · Hydropower

Why is India not demanding TEIA for the Great Bend Hydro proposal of China?

While one can never be too sure what is the exact meaning of Chinese whispers, a thoughtful response has to take into account the available facts and the context. This report tries to take stock of available facts and context of this latest episode that started at the end of November 2020 and is still going on: China’s proposed massive hydropower project on the Great Bend of Yarlung Tsangpo River just before the river enters India as Siang, a tributary of Brahmaputra river. It also reviews the key media reports published on this issue.

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Maharashtra · Photoblog · River Pollution · Urban Rivers

Photo Story:Worm Collectors of a Polluted River

For the past few years, I walk along the bridges and riverbanks of Pune, taking pictures of the unique happenings here. I have made several silent friends who sit at the riverbanks grazing their cattle, or recline on the bridges, looking at the river. As a photographer, their body language and stories have fascinated me, as has the river.

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