Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 19 March 2018 (PM Abandons Inauguration of Mapithel Dam in Manipur Following Protests)

In an important development in Manipur this week, PM Narendra Modi could not commission the controversial Mapithel dam due to local protest. As per, the official statement notifying The PM was  was supposed to launch is the Mapithel dam, part of the Thoubal Multipurpose Project.

As per CRA Manipur blog report, the forum of Mapithel dam affected “Joint Action Committee Against Forced Inauguration of Mapithel Dam had threatened a 48-hour shutdown to coincide with the dam’s scheduled inauguration by Modi. The committee withdrew its call late on March 14, reportedly after the Manipur government agreed to shelve the inauguration.

The action committee is primarily demanding compensation for the people displaced by the project as mandated by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

Apart from complaints of inadequate compensation, opposition to the commissioning of the dam itself has grown louder over the years. Local communities claim the project violates the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 and its new avatar, the Forest Rights Act of 2006.  https://cramanipur.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/as-local-communities-protest-manipur-government-cancels-plan-of-modi-inaugurating-mapithel-dam/

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 19 March 2018 (PM Abandons Inauguration of Mapithel Dam in Manipur Following Protests)”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 05 February 2018 (J&K Shows The Way To The Nation: To Assess The Viability Of Big Hydro Pojects)

In a remarkable development, Jammu & Kashmir Govt is reviewing its Hydro policy to assess whether the Hydro Electric Power Projects (HEPs) are still viable. As per sources, this is for the first time that the Govt is discussing the viability of generating hydro power.

An empowered committee led by the Chief Secretary has started this discussion by calling for an “approach paper” that will give an overall picture of the hydropower industry in India. Top sources in the State Power Development Corporation (SPDC), a government-owned company, told Kashmir Reader that the empowered committee wants to lay a roadmap for power generation in the state. “It will reflect the vision of the government. It will give the picture of hydropower generation in India, its rates, market, demand and supply. It will also lay down a roadmap for large power projects,”

The approach paper will be part of a new hydropower policy which will be submitted before the same committee, and then before the cabinet for approval. The SPDC had submitted a hydro policy draft in April last year, which was returned to it in December. Sources said the approach paper has to be submitted in two months’ time.

At present, India has a surplus generation of hydropower, which has plummeted its rate. This has led to losses for SPDC as it invested in projects whose generation costs were high. The blunt example is that of the 450-MW Baglihar II. SPDC has failed to lure any buyer for more than a year as its selling cost of per unit of energy, Rs 4.4, is nearly Rs 2 higher than the market rate. The SPDC has finally managed to sell the power at about Rs 4 per unit to the Uttar Pradesh government but for one year only. The SPDC may have to struggle again next year if the state of UP does not continue the contract.

Another example is that of Nimuno Bezgo, and Chutak hydropower projects, which sell energy at Rs 13 per unit. The SPDC also buys power from Dulhasti project at Rs 7, when the available rates for power in the market is around Rs 2 and Rs 4. https://kashmirreader.com/2018/02/02/cs-led-panel-to-lay-roadmap-for-power-generation-in-jk/ (Kashmir Reader. 2 Feb. 2018)

As per another report, facing a growing demand for electricity and unable to tap its vast potential for generating hydroelectric power, the state government is looking to boost solar power generation. Given the long gestation period of hydel projects, it is unlikely the generation of hydroelectric power will expand significantly in the near future, said. Hence,  the focus on solar power. Indeed, when solar power potential exists, with lower installation and operation costs and impacts, why States continue after destructive, expensive hydro projects? https://scroll.in/article/866058/kashmir-can-generate-a-lot-more-hydel-electricity-than-it-requires-why-is-it-eyeing-solar-power (Scroll.In, 30 Jan. 2018)

There is one more interesting hydro power development in which the state cabinet of Bihar has approved closing 3 and cancelling the development of 2 others in addition to handing over of 8 hydropower projects to neighboring Jharkhand.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 05 February 2018 (J&K Shows The Way To The Nation: To Assess The Viability Of Big Hydro Pojects)”

Dams

Union Budget 2018: Looking for farmers, rivers or environment

Finance Minister Arun Jaitely presented the last full budget of the Modi led NDA govt at centre on Feb 1, 2018. Considering the impending elections and the prospects of facing the elections next year (possibly earlier as some speculate), one thought the Budget will try to do justice to the promises the BJP made to the people in 2014 elections, particularly to farmers, about Ganga and other rivers. Modi has just returned from Davos where he said climate change is one of the biggest challenges of future, so one expected that the budget will also have something on environment and climate change. Even the ECONOMIC SERVEY 2017 put out on Jan 29, 2018 was focused on climate change impact on farmers. Considering the Rural distress that got reflected in Gujarat election results in Dec 2017, one expected credible and substantial better deal for villages and agriculture.

Unfortunately, we are mostly disappointed in all these aspects. Continue reading “Union Budget 2018: Looking for farmers, rivers or environment”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 10 July 2017 (Private Companies Exit Unviable Large Hydro Projects)

In a remarkable trend emerging in hydro sector in Himachal Pradesh, many leading private companies have started surrendering hydro power projects allotted to them by State Govt. As per the news report, Tata Group, Reliance, Jindal and Larsen & Toubro have either surrendered or are in process of surrendering numbers of hydro projects given to them over past one and half decade. These companies are now increasingly terming the projects as  non-viable and unprofitable. 

In the last week of June, 2017, Tata group reportedly has written to Directorate Energy, expressing its desire to surrender the 450 MW Duggar power project in Pangi area of Chamba district. The project had been allotted to them in 2007-08 and post feasibility study done by its consultants the group has found the unviable. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/tatas-give-up-chamba-power-project/428456.html

Before this the Reliance group had declined to set up  300 Mw Purty and 130 Mw Sumte Kothan hydro projects in Spiti. Following this, the State Cabinet on June 24, 2017 meeting agreed to return Rs 85 crore paid as upfront money by Reliance group. 

Similarly in recent past, the Jindal group, which was allotted the 250 MW Kutehar power project in Chamba, put the project on hold for some time without citing specific reasons. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/reliance-power-to-get-back-rs-85-cr-it-paid-to-govt-for-2-projects/427112.html

In the latest incident, anticipating problems in evacuating power, with the market being very grim as far as buyers and power rates are concerned, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is reported to have urged the state govt to enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with it for two of its hydel projects — Reoli Dugli (Lahaul-Spiti) and Sach Khas (Pangi), located in the arduous Chenab basin.

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 08 May 2017 (Inspiring Tale: How Kerala Panchayat bring a dying river back to life)

The Kuttamperoor stream in Kerala, connecting the Pampa and Achankovil rivers, had been a nearly stagnant, shrunken cesspool of dumped waste and weeds for more than a decade. Some weeks ago, it was resuscitated as a flowing river, thanks to the will of the Budhanur gram panchayat in Alappuzha district, and the commitment of 700 local men and women who worked to bring the river back to life under the MGNREGA.

The Kuttamperoor was once a full 12 kilometres long and, at places, over 100 feet wide. The river originates from Achankovil at Ulunthi, near Mavelikkara, and flows through Ennackad, Budhanur, Kuttamperoor, Mannar, and Pandanad before merging with the Pampa at Nakkida near Parumala in Pathanamthitta district.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 08 May 2017 (Inspiring Tale: How Kerala Panchayat bring a dying river back to life)”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 01 May 2017 (Ken Betwa won’t help, but here is what can REALLY help Bundelkhand)

Union Water Ministry has launched an extensive water conservation program for drought prone areas of Bundelkhand, Marathwada, Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput in Odisha on April 28, 2017 at Bandri, Sagar Madhya Pradesh. As per report, the Water Ministry has prepared a master plan for artificial recharge of ground water in Bundelkhand region.

In UP region of Bundelkhand, around 1100 percolation tanks, 14000 small check dams/Nala bunds and 7200 Recharge pits/shafts have been identified. In MP region of Bundelkhand, around 2000 percolation tanks, 55000 small check dams/Nala bunds and 17000 Recharge shafts have been identified. She said as a part of ground water exploration, 234 wells in UP are proposed to be constructed in five districts of Bundelkhand i.e., Banda, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Chitrakoot and Mahoba. As a part of ground water exploration, 259 wells in MP are proposed to be constructed in six districts of Bundelkhand.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 01 May 2017 (Ken Betwa won’t help, but here is what can REALLY help Bundelkhand)”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 26 Dec 2016 (Corruption & Fraud in 600 MW Kameng HEP in Northeast India)

In addition to allegations of fraud related to inflated bills, the officials report of Satish Verma the former chief vigilance officer (CVO) of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) mentioned that there have been numerous instances of top government officials allegedly accepting hospitality and gifts that cost the PSU lakhs of rupees. These include gifts for officials in the Ministry of Power: a teak wood cabinet for the Personal Secretary to the Union Power Minister; an iPad Air 2 for the Secretary; payment of a Vodafone bill for a Special Secretary; and a mobile handset for an Additional Secretary. Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 26 Dec 2016 (Corruption & Fraud in 600 MW Kameng HEP in Northeast India)”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 11 Oct 2016 (Is there any justification for DESTRUCTION of Panna Tiger Reserve?)

Is there any justification for DESTRUCTION of Panna Tiger Reserve? Can we save our Natural Heritage like the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) from being destroyed in the name of baseless, questionable, non transparent, undemocratic and manipulated projects like Ken Betwa inter linking ? It will facilitate export of water from Bundelkhand to OUTSIDE Bundelkhand. Whatever little benefits are claimed, some of them are already available and much more can become available at much lower costs, faster and without destroying the Forests and Tiger Reserve. The project will actually lead to destruction of Ken catchment and hence the Ken River itself. Watch this FASCINATING, AWESOME story of tigers of PTR. This BBC film where Raghu Chandawat is the story teller and Pradip Kishen is lending his voice, tells the story of Tigers of Panna till 2003, it seems. Please watch and let us all try to save it from destruction that is now writ large in terms of Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP). One more short film by wildlife biologist Koustubh Sharma illustrates how the Daudhan Dam under KBLP will submerge and destroy the PTR.

Meanwhile, a new analysis of rainfall data reveals that monsoon shortages are growing in river basins with surplus water and falling in those with scarcities, raising questions about India’s Rs 11 lakh crore plan to transfer water from “surplus” to “deficit” basins. According to Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP river basin interlinking should be considered only after exhausting the local potential for harvesting rain, recharging groundwater, watershed development, introducing better cropping patterns (non water-intensive crops) and methods (such as rice intensification), improving the soil moisture-holding capacity and saving and storing water. Raising alarm over significant increase in ground water use, increasing reliance and fast declining ground water table, he warns that inter-basin links would actually reduce groundwater recharge because forests would be destroyed, the river flow stopped and the local systems neglected.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 11 Oct 2016 (Is there any justification for DESTRUCTION of Panna Tiger Reserve?)”

Agriculture · Dams · Irrigation · Maharashtra · Marathwada

This is the time to protect Pulse Farmers in Marathwada

I have harvested Moong (green gram) from my farm, now I’m harvesting Udad (black gram). Their price is crashing each day…I may not get even the Minimum Support Price (MSP)…But I’m not supposed to care about the price… its solely the farmer’s responsibility to reduce inflation and make India a superpower.”

…says Ashok Bhau, a dry land farmer dependent on rainfall and groundwater in the heart of Marathwada: Osmanabad.

Last year his Moong failed completely, there was no seed development and although his Tur (Pegion Pea/Arhar) fetched a very good price, it did not mean anything for the family as the productivity was dismally low following three droughts and dry wells[i]. Like many farmers in Marathwada, he burned his sugarcane on 4 acres after watering it for many months… finally there was no water to sustain it. We had written about soaring pulses last year.udad (1).jpg Continue reading “This is the time to protect Pulse Farmers in Marathwada”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 04 July 2016 (In Proposed Hydro Policy, Govt Unjustifiably Pushing Hydro Through Subsidies)

New Hydro Policy: Govt unjustifiably pushing hydro through subsidies A comprehensive policy to promote hydropower generation is set to be announced by September—with viability gap funding for projects, compulsory hydropower purchase obligations for distribution companies and a set of good practices that states have to follow. The idea is to address factors that currently drive hydropower costs up way above those of other sources of power and give policy support in its market development, according to a government official, who asked not to be named. The policy being prepared by the power ministry will have provisions for viability gap funding, which will help in meeting the shortfall in project costs and reducing hydroelectricity tariffs for consumers. Hydropower is expensive and in some cases more than double the cost of power from coal-based thermal plants, which is available at Rs.3-5 per unit.The ministry will also expand the scope of power distribution companies’ renewable power purchase obligations to include hydropower from projects with a capacity greater than 25 Mw. At the moment only power from those with less than 25MW is considered renewable power. According to officials, compulsory hydropower purchase from large projects will either be made part of the existing renewable power purchase obligation of distribution companies or a separate requirement, so that its inclusion does not affect the market for other renewable sources of energy like wind, solar or biomass. Govt unjustifiably pushing hydro through subsidies in proposed new hydro policy can be lead story. It is not going to help push hydro.   Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 04 July 2016 (In Proposed Hydro Policy, Govt Unjustifiably Pushing Hydro Through Subsidies)”