( A dumper driver being rescued from smashed cabin of a dumper after it rammed into a stationary sand loaded truck causing death of a mechanic in Varanasi in May 2022. Source: Amar Ujala)
The unsustainable and unlawful riverbed mining activities in India have not only been damaging the precious river eco-systems, livelihoods of riparian communities and crucial public infrastructures but also have been causing untimely, avoidable deaths of innocent people including common citizens, villagers, farmers, activists, reporters and government officials.
For the past five years, SANDRP has been trying to track the sand mining related deaths and violence in India. Like previous years, we have prepared a compilation of reports and a summary report on human death toll due to sand mining related violence and accidents during April 2022 and February 2023 in North Indian states and Union Territories including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi. We would publish similar reports for North East & East, West, South Zones and final summary report on the topic soon.
Continue reading “2023: Riverbed Mining Death & Violence in North India” →
1. Need for an independent committee to incorporate the feedback On Feb 15, 2023, Union Ministry of Power issued draft guidelines for Pump Storage Projects, inviting comments from stakeholders in 15 days to the email id – firstname.lastname@example.org. The publication of draft guidelines and inviting comments from the stakeholders is welcome step. However, it may have been good if an independent panel had been constituted to go through the submissions and bring out redrafted guidelines along with a report explaining how the comments were taken into account. This would have inspired greater confidence among the stakeholders that their comments would get serious consideration. It may also have been better if there was longer consultation process then just 15 days.
Continue reading “Comments on Power Ministry Draft Guidelines on Pump Storage Projects in India” →
In the just concluded Winter Season 2023 (January 1 2023 to February 28 2023), as per India Meteorological Department (IMD), India received 45% below Normal Rainfall (it was 44% above normal rainfall in winter 2022[i] and 32% below normal rainfall in winter 2021[ii]). This is coming on top of 6.5% above normal in SW Monsoon 2022[iii] and 19% above normal rainfall in Post Monsoon season 2022[iv].
Continue reading “District wise Winter 2023 Rainfall in India” →
(Feature Image: State steps up pumped hydro storage projects amid coal crisis. Source: EQ Mag Pro/ May 2022)
On Feb 15, 2023, Union Ministry of Power issued draft guidelines for Pump Storage Projects, inviting comments from stakeholders in 15 days to the email id – email@example.com. The guidelines say that more Pump Storage Projects (PSPs) are required in view of increasing solar and wind power capacity connected to the grid, to stabilize the grid, store the power to make it available during non-solar and non-wind power hours and for peaking power, reactive power, etc. It describes the PSP as “clean, green, safe, and non-explosive” and “environment friendly” option. No studies or basis are provided for this sweeping conclusion.
Continue reading “DRP NB 270223: How much Pump Storage Hydro capacity is required in India?” →
(Feature Image: Screen shot of undated google earth image showing multiple vertical, horizontal bunds created by deep, mechanized riverbed mining across Betwa near Bheri Dariya in Sarila tehsil of Hamirpur district.)
The comparison of Sentinel satellite images dated February 20, 2023 with images of September-October 2022 reveal large scale riverbed mining operations along Betwa river at multiple sites in Jhansi, Jaluan and Hamirpur districts. The details of some of the sites is given in table below followed by the satellite imageries and time lapse animation of few sites.
Continue reading “Uttar Pradesh: Satellite Images Reveal Betwa River Ravaged by Mining” →
(Feature Image:-Vyasi HEP dam reservoir on Yamuna river in Dehradun. Credit: Varsha Singh/Third Pole, Jan. 2022)
In a landmark move, United States Environment Protection Agency has started reporting methane emissions from dams and hydropower projects in its annual reporting to UN in 2022. It needs to go a step further and make it mandatory for all dams and hydropower projects to annually report such emissions on their websites. This will not only help clear the mistaken notion that hydropower projects are climate friendly, it will also help take right policy measures and project construction or decommissioning decisions. It will also lead to more scientific accounting of global warming causing emissions. It will also give the consumer right picture about GHG emissions from such projects when they look at options for electricity supply. There is a lot that India and rest of the world that needs to learn from this and implement on urgent basis as US EPA seems to be the first agency to do this.
Continue reading “DRP NB 200223: US EPA starts reporting methane emissions from dams” →
Sikkim High Court Order on Dec 5, 2022 in the matter of death of two persons on May 23 2020 due to drowning following sudden release of water from a private hydropower project flags very important lessons that are relevant for all hydropower projects in India.[i]
Continue reading “Sikkim HC Order on Public Safety at Hydropower projects” →
After four years (SW Monsoons of 2019 [110.4%], 2020 [108.74% compared to normal rainfall], 2021 [99.3% or almost normal rainfall], 2022 [106.5%]) of normal or surplus monsoon rainfall, SW Monsoon 2023 could face rainfall deficit and uncertainties as per US Govt weather agency NOAA and also India’s IMD. El Nino conditions are many times associated with poor monsoon rainfall in India. Since SW Monsoon provides more than 75% of total annual rainfall of India, this can be critical for India. The shift from particularly prolonged La Nina conditions to El Nino conditions should be a warning sign for India. IMD DG has said that the department will come out with an update on Feb 28, which should be sufficient advance notice to take necessary steps to tackle its possible impacts on upcoming Summer and SW Monsoon. We hope the government is ready to take the necessary steps to tackle any eventuality.
Continue reading “DRP NB 130223: El Nino set to endanger 2023 SW Monsoon rains” →
The 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower project of NTPC (formerly National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) has remained controversial at least since 2009 as it is again now in January 2023. This time it is in the dock over the sinking of Joshimath town in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
Continue reading “Systemic failures at the root of Joshimath disaster” →
Is it a legitimate, valid question, or is this question a product of old fashioned, romantic mind? If we go by the way we are treating the rivers and its various essential components in big cities or small, the answer seems a clear no.
State of Urban Rivers The urban rivers in India are not only in poor state, but their condition is worsening with every passing day[i]. Pollution, encroachments, solid waste dumping, damming, water diversions, groundwater over-exploitation, catchment degradation, destruction of water bodies, wetlands and forests, indiscriminate mining, the impact of building bridges, flyovers and metros are some of the known physical threats to the Urban rivers. Complete lack of any legal or institutional protection, and a mindset that sees rivers as non-essential, expendable entities are some of the major causes for this situation. This is true of rivers like Yamuna (Delhi, Agra, Mathura), Ganga (Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna), Gomati (Lucknow), Mithi (Mumbai), Mula-Mutha (Pune), Sabarmati (Ahmedabad), Dravyawati (Jaipur), Khan (Indore), Kshipra (Ujjain), Jhelum (Srinagar), Mahi and Vishvamitri (Vadodara), Tapi (Surat), Arkavathi & Virishabhavati (Bangalore), to name a few.
Continue reading “Do we have space for Rivers in our cities?” →