Delhi · Urban Rivers · Yamuna River

A beginning of the Pipe Solution: Policy Intervention To Reduce Phosphates in Detergents

Guest Article by: Manu Bhatnagar

Consequent to INTACH’s efforts with the Yamuna Monitoring Committee [YMC] of NGT the following results were obtained in 2021:  

“The Delhi government on Monday (June 14, 2021) banned the sale, storage, transportation, and marketing of soaps and detergents not conforming to the latest BIS parameters to curb pollution in the Yamuna river. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had in January (2021) accepted recommendations of the Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC) which had suggested directing the Delhi government to issue orders “prohibiting sale, storage and transportation and marketing of detergents which do not conform to the revised BIS standards”. All the authorities concerned, including local bodies, civil supplies department and district administrations having control over shops and other establishments dealing with sale, storage, transportation and marketing facilities for soaps and detergents in Delhi should ensure the compliance of directions through strict vigil and surprise checks, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) said in an order issued on Monday. 

In its report submitted to the NGT, the YMC had also suggested that all the manufacturers of soaps and detergents be directed to disclose the ingredients present in the product and display the same on the package.” – The above as reported in Business Standard of 15 June, 2021. [i]

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Dams · Madhya Pradesh · Rehabilitation

Legally enforceable Humane Rehabilitation, not compensation needed: Madikheda Dam in Madhya Pradesh

Guest Article by Bageshwer Singh and Pooja Chand

Dam construction on any river is often preceded by displacement of locals and followed by submergence of villages, turning them into ghost villages. All the major river water projects involve large scale displacement of locals, and most of these displacements lead to creation of vulnerable groups. The stories of displacement and forced evictions can be traced back to construction of dams like Sardar Sarovar Dam on river Narmada, or Tehri Dam on Bhagirathi or Hirakud Dam on Mahanadi. Almost always, these displacements are rife with little insight into the village specific consequences of dam construction, villagers are left with no option but to give up on their ancestral lands to move out to alien colonies with no land to their name. Arundhati Roy, in her essay, ‘The greater common good’, while arriving at the figure of number of people displaced in the developmental projects in the last fifty years writes, “Fifty million people. I feel like someone who’s just stumbled on a mass grave.” 

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Art, Literature, Culture · Ganga · W Bengal · West Bengal

Boat Races of Bengal: A River Carnival

In the Nadi-Matrik land (born to the river) of Bengal, where a blade of grass takes on layered meanings, river boats are not to be taken lightly. For boatmen who row down a vast river for days at end, a boat is more than a mode of transport. It is symbolic of the mortal body: frail, tattered and adrift, in search of a safe harbor.

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Dam Disaster · Madhya Pradesh

Bharudpura Dam in MP faces disaster after first filling in Aug 2022

Bharudpura dam (also called Karam dam) on Karam river, a tributary of Narmada river, near Gujari village in Dharampuri Tehsil of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh faced major disaster after the very first filling in August 2022 when there was seepage from and massive erosion of the dam wall starting from Aug 11, 2022. The disaster at the Rs 304.44 crore project whose construction started in 2018 created a major turbulence in Madhya Pradesh with allegations of sub-standard work, corruption and attempts to hush up the safety issues. As a precaution, the administration has on Aug 12, 2022 vacated 12 downstream villages in Dhar district and 6 in Khargone district[i] and stopped traffic on roads close to the dam[ii]. Dhar Collector also said that the efforts to stop the seepage were not successful and that possible reason for erosion is the use of black rather than red soil in the construction of the earthn dam.

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Disasters · Landslide dam · Manipur

Manipur’s Ejei river blocking landslide at under construction railway line involved violations, no EIA, NGT pending case

Eighteen Territorial Army personnel among 24 people were killed in a massive landslide in Manipur’s Noney district[i] on Wednesday (June 29, 2022), and at least another 40, including 18 soldiers, are feared trapped or buried in the rubble of an under-construction railway yard. An adjoining construction camp and security camp engulfed in the avalanche of rock and mud.[ii] The Railway line is under construction since a decade.

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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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