DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 17 May 2021: Dead Bodies in Rivers & Civilization

The human dead bodies in the rivers and on the river banks are one of the many defining images of the Corona pandemic that India is in grip of currently. There is clearly complete failure of governments at several levels in this pandemic, starting from complete failure to have systems in place to ensure that the pandemic situation would not have become such a massive disaster. No explanation or accountability is likely to come our way from the governments. They are too busy suppressing the critical voices exposing the abject failure of the governments, building Central Vista project or harassing the elected governments ruled by other parties.

As one of the reports mentioned in this issue of weekly DRP Bulletin shows, similar scenes were seen also during the 1918-19 Spanish Flu pandemic in India. But we may remind our rulers and ourselves that a century latter our governance is supposed to have improved and the 1918-19 pandemic was several times much larger one. Moreover our governance today should be much better than the governance of the British Govt a century ago?

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 10 May 2021: Velcan Holdings provide another evidence of unviable large hydro in India

Velcan Holdings Group is developing Heo and Tato-1 Hydropower projects with total installed capacity of 426 MW in Siang basin in Arunachal Pradesh since 2007. The international company with deep pockets and access to international capital markets has not been able to start work even in 2021. It obtained a number clearances, some of the like the CEA (Central Electricity Authority) techno-economic clearance has lapsed. No significant progress is seen in Land Acquisition as local people are rightly opposing. It is unable to find any buyers for the power to be generated, no one is ready to sign PPA (Power Purchase Agreement). The company questions if the low allocation to hydropower purchase obligations will at all help in making the projects bankable (clearly implying that the projects are not bankable currently). This is the state what it describes its Siang basin hydropower projects as the “the only hydropower projects of such size in India owned and developed by a foreign investor”, which “are amongst the most advanced private projects and present competitive techno-economic and environmental features”. The state of the rest of the large hydro projects will clearly be much worse. Why is the government pushing such unviable, destructive projects?

Read the excerpts from the company’s statutory filing in Europe on Apr 30, 2021 below.

Continue reading “DRP NB 10 May 2021: Velcan Holdings provide another evidence of unviable large hydro in India”
DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 03 May 2021: Miners violating norms, Yamuna & people’s lives

(Feature image:- Rampant sand mining damaging Yamuna’s ecology. Hridesh Joshi/Mongabay India)

The Yamuna river has been facing excessive riverbed mining along Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states in upper segment for over last two years. There have been umpteen numbers of local people, mainly part of Yamuna Nadi Mitra Mandli have shared pictures, videos showing gross violation of norms. They have even been alerting and appealing the respective agencies including pollution control boards, district administration, mining departments to take strict action against the open violations but their pleas have largely been ignored.

This stretch is so mining ridden that in the last two years more than 30 people particularly teenagers have died after falling in deep sand mining pits. Similarly more than a dozen innocent people lost their live in accidents involving the transportation of Yamuna sand. The damage to village roads, flood protection structures, crops is immense. The noise and air pollution due to unabated mining operations have taken heavy toll on villagers’ health.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 19 Apr 2021: Hydro lobby at work, but it won’t help forget the WCD guidelines

The Hydropower lobby continues to push unsustainable, unviable, destructive hydropower projects. They want everyone to forget about the World Commission on Dams report and guidelines and the lobby keeps bringing out its own guidelines which has zero credibility. They are looking for new voices to sing their song, and have appointed Ashok Khosla, as the Chair of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council but Ashok Khosla already stands discredited. He or his organisation is not known to be doing any credible work in the area of hydropower projects. He or his organisation Development Alternatives has never taken a stand on any public spirited campaign against destructive hydropower projects in India. So that voice is neither independent nor credible. So this new move by the hydro lobby is not going to help the cause of the lobby either in India or beyond. The write up below, as expected does not mention the WCD report or guidelines. Mr Khosla possibly does not even know about the existence of the WCD report or guidelines because he had no credible role to play there or in any hydropower related work in the past. The write up has loads of misleading and wrong statements too. But all these attempts are not going to help forget people about WCD guidelines as the only globally credible and accepted guidelines on dams and hydropower projects.

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Yamuna River

Yamuna Jayanti 2021: River needs flows; not dam, mining & pollution

Yamuna Jayanti the birthday of Yamuna river is celebrated every year on sixth day of summer Navratri. This year the day occurred on Sunday, April 18. On this occasion, Yamuna Nadi Mitra Mandlis [NMM (Friends of Yamuna River groups)] from all along the river through pics, videos share the latest updates on the issues affecting the river health and riverine community’s wellbeing. They also celebrate the river for its innumerable/ services and carry out activities to draw the attention of concerned governments and public at large towards gradual decline in river’s health.

This year due to Covid 19 pandemic and resultant restrictions, they could not organize public gatherings and undertake river related activities as usual, however they have shared some relevant pictures and videos depicting present status of River Yamuna which are presented here.

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Expert Appraisal Committee · Hydropower · Uttarakhand

Ltr to Expert Appraisal Committee on Env Clearance for 120 MW Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP in Uttarakhand

                                                                                                                              Date: 12.4.2021

To:
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley Projects,
Ministry of Environment and Forest Officials, Government of India

1. Dr. K. Gopakumar (Chairman), Professor, Department of Electronic Systems
Engineering (Formerly CEDT), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-12. e-mail Id:
kgopa@iisc.ac.in

2. Dr. N. Lakshman, Professor, Dept. of Applied Mechanics, National Institute of
Technology Karnataka, Surathkal Srinivasnagar, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
575025. e-mail Id: lnand@rocketmail.com

3. Dr. Mukesh Sharma Professor, Civil Engg. Department, IIT Kanpur, Kanpur
208016, India. e-mail Id: mukesh@iitk.ac.in

4. Dr. B.K. Panigrahi, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Head, Centre
for Automotive Research and Tribology, (CART), IIT Delhi, New Delhi-110016, email Id: bijayaketan.panigrahi@gmail.com

5. Dr. Chandrahas Deshpande, Professor (Economics), Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra. e-mail Id:chandrahas.despande@welingkar.com

6. Dr. A.K. Malhotra, C-6, Subhavna Niketan, Road No. 41, Pitampura, New Delhi –110 034. e-mail Id: ajitkumarmalhotra463@gmail.com

7. Dr. Uday Kumar R. Y. Director, Malviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur. Email Id: udaykumarry@yahoo.com, director@mnit.ac.in

8. Dr. Narayan Shenoy K. Associate Director (Student Welfare) Professor, Department of Civil Engineering M.I.T., Manipal – 576 104. e-mail Id: kn.shenoy@manipal.edu

9. Shri Balraj Joshi Former CMD NHPC Ltd. Flat No. 406, Urja Vihar, Sector-45, Faridabad-10. e-mail Id: balrajjoshi@hotmail.com, balrajjoshi@gmail.com

10.Nominated Member of CEA Representative of Central Electricity Authority (CEA),Sewa Bhawan, R.K. Puram, Sector-I, New Delhi-110 066. e-mail Id: Dirhpa3@gmail.com

11. Shri Amrendra Kumar Singh, Chief Engineer, CWC, Representative of CentralWater Commission (CWC), Sewa Bhawan, R.K. Puram, New Delhi 110 066. e-mailId: ceenvtmgmt@nic.in

12.Shri A.K. Johnson, Representative of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Post BoxNo.18, Chandrbani, Dehradun- 248001, e-mail Id: jaj@wii.gov.in

13.Dr. B. K. Das / Shri Amiya Sahoo, Representative of Central Inland FisheriesResearch Institute (CIFRI), Barrakpore, 700120 West Bengal e-mail Id: amiya.sahoo@icar.gov.in, amiya7@gmail.com

14.Shri Vijay Kumar, Representative of Ministry of Earth Sciences, Prithvi Bhawan, IMD Campus, Opp. India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003. e-mail Id: vijay.kumar66@nic.in

15.Dr. S. Kerketta, Director IA – 1, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh Road, New Delhi – 110003. e-mail Id: s.kerketta66@gov.in

16.Dr. Mohit Saxena, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change · ImpactAssessment, Ph.D, Scientist/ Deputy Director, MoEF&CC, GoI, e-mail Id: mohit.saxena@gov.in

17. Shri Yogendra Pal Singh, Member Secretary EAC

Regarding Environmental Clearance being sought by UJVNL for the 120 MW Sirkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP on the Gori river, Uttarakhand.

Dear Chairman and Members of the EAC,

UJVNL has sought Environmental Clearance for a proposed 120 MW HEP on the Gori river in Uttarakhand, and a final draft EIA is under consideration for approval by the Expert Appraisal Committee. We, citizens of Uttarakhand and other parts of the country are appalled that such a proposal for Environmental clearance should be submitted to you as a final draft. Not only because of its lack of critical information on the most important aspects required by the TOR, but also for providing false information to you, and most importantly, because of its attempt to obscure hazards and environmental impacts. The procedural flaws include 1. The lack of spatio-temporal coverage of the assessment, 2. The lack of standard methodology in assessing ecological and geo-hydrological parameters, and 3. Factual errors and information plagiarized from other reports.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 12 Apr 2021: Meghalaya, Himachal, MP people oppose Dam & Hydro projects

(Feature image: Locals protest against the proposed mega dam project on the Umngot river. Shillong Times)

From the news this week we can see news reports of strong protests to dam and hydro projects from North East India (protests against the proposed 240 MW Umngot hydropower project), North India (protests against the Jangi Thopan power project in Himachal Pradesh) and Central India (protests against the Ken Betwa Link Project and Basania Dam on Narmada, both in Madhya Pradesh), among others. These protests underline not only the protests against the social and environmental destruction such projects bring, but also the abysmally poor environmental governance and decision making processes, the shoddy Environment Impact Assessments, the Public Hearings and over all undemocratic decision making process. One hopes the government realises the underlying issues and addresses them urgently rather than ignoring the messages and messengers.

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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.

Continue reading “Revival Of Hauz Khas Lake, Delhi: A Pioneering Adventure of INTACH”
DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 5 Apr 2021: Maan Dam affected get hope for justice: Salutes to NBA

A Supreme Court appointed Appeal Forum, appointed as per the SC order in 2012 has directed the Madhya Pradesh (MP) Govt to provide minimum 2 ha land to every displaced family as per the policy. This has raised hopes for just rehabilitation for the thousands of people displaced by the Maan dam in Dhar district of MP by the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA). This is a major victory for the three decades long struggle of the affected people, led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). The Forum has asked the govt to provide land to the affected in three months. The dam has been constructed on Maan river, a tributary of Narmada. One hopes the displaced get the justice soon as per the orders of the SC appointed appeal forum. Salutes to NBA for this. One hope the Supreme Court will ensure this happens in a just and expeditious way.

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Dam Safety

Uttarakhand: Aging Bhimtal Dam Raising Serious Safety Concerns

(Feature image: Arial view of Bhimtal Lake and dam. Source:- Postoast.com)

All is not well with Bhimtal dam in Nainital district, Uttarakhand. On March 8, 2021 morning, the fillers from its protection wall wobbled out. It sparked panic among local residents living near the largest lake of Kumaon region. For past couple of years they have been concerned about the structural safety of the aging dam. The 138 years old dam has already been in news for vertical cracks and recurring seepages.

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