Assam · Dam Safety

Major disaster at Kopili Dam of NEEPCO in Assam

The 275 MW Kopili Dam Power House of NEEPCO (North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited, a Union Ministry of Power Underaking) in Assam suffered major disaster on Oct 7, 2019. The penstock pipe that takes water from the Umrangso dam to the hydropower house burst during early hours in Assam’s Dima Hasao (earlier called North Cachar Hill) district, and massive quantity of water erupted, a lot of it entered the power house, where four employees of NEEPCO are feared to have been trapped/ washed away[i]. A large portion of the Kopili Hydro Electric Plant was also inundated and a temporary bridge was also washed away[ii]. Some videos of the situation are also available.[iii] Continue reading “Major disaster at Kopili Dam of NEEPCO in Assam”

DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 7 Oct 2019: Patna – another of India’s water unsmart city – goes under due to man made disaster

There is a lot that Bihar and Union Govt that need to answer why did Patna go under water in spite of fully knowing its vulnerabilities. Why was the city not prepared to face this kind of situation? Some of the major man made reasons include: Sewage Pumps not working, drainage map not available, no emergency plan in place. Not too many people know that there is GANGA FLOOD CONTROL COMMISSION, sitting right in Patna, an organisation under Union Ministry of Water Resources, existing since 47 years now. WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN DOING is a mystery.

Its high time questions are asked if GFCC is doing any useful work. The government may like to brush aside the issues, saying its too high rainfall due to climate change, but that wont help. Patna is bang in the way of Ganga and it doing all kind of mindless activities including river front development, destruction of local water bodies and wetlands, and of course not knowing its drainage map. It shows abysmal failure of the World Bank funded flood management project that existed not so long ago, housed in Patna. And Patna was being funded under Smart city program to do all kinds of water unsmart activities. Over a week since the flooding started, parts of the city is still under water and now the city is facing fresh crisis in the shape of Dengue. The trouble is, there is no sign that the city, state or the country is doing anything to learn from this man made disaster.

Continue reading “DRP NB 7 Oct 2019: Patna – another of India’s water unsmart city – goes under due to man made disaster”

DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 9 Sept 2019: Sand Mining issues proliferate even in monsoon

One expects that River sand mining issues will be minimal in monsoon, with riverbeds flooded, but that is far from the case, as we can see from this week’s bulletin. Recent news include the positive story of Dakshin Kannada deputy commissioner being remembered for curbing illegal sand mining; Institute of Engineers demanding curb in sand mining around the 90 year old Krishna Raj Sagar dam on Cauvery considering its safety; in Tamil Nadu, the most dangerous place in the context of sand mining, there is the news of police forcing activists to apologise; While the TN minister is in denial mode about illegal sand mining round Chennai; firing between sand mafia and police in Rajasthan leading to two deaths and several injuries; in MP, a video is in circulation showing police negotiation with sand mafia; new sand mining policies in several states including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and in Delhi the DJB has written to NGT to take steps to curb illegal sand mining downstream of Hathnikund barrage. And there is more.

That’s a lot of news during monsoon on River Sand mining. Unfortunately, there is no light at the end of the sandy tunnel. There is no effective policy or action on the horizon either from the states, centre or judiciary. It seems a lot more focused work is required on this issue.

Continue reading “DRP NB 9 Sept 2019: Sand Mining issues proliferate even in monsoon”

DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 15 July 2019: How Early Flood warnings using WhatsAPP saves lives

The following is an excellent example of how early flood warnings from Bhutan, shared with downstream Assam communities using WhatsApp messages, saves lives. This needs to be highlighted and word spread to implement it in all flood prone areas on Urgent basis, including in trans-boundary areas, as this is an example of the same.

In the last few weeks of June 2019, a series of WhatsApp messages (sent via unofficial channels) were sent from Bhutan to India to warn “cross-border friends” downstream of the Aai, Saralbhanga and Manas rivers about cloud-bursts, swollen rivers and possible flash floods affecting people in the Indian state of Assam.

Continue reading “DRP NB 15 July 2019: How Early Flood warnings using WhatsAPP saves lives”

DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 8 July 2019: Kerala CRZ Norms Violation; Senior Lawyers ‘Play Fraud’ On Court, Invite SC Wrath

Irked over “judicial impropriety” by some senior advocates in taking relief from its vacation benches by suppressing facts, the Supreme Court July 5 blasted them for “playing fraud” upon it. Terming this practice as “the height of judicial misconduct”, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha said senior advocates were “not above the law” and such conduct reflected that “no morality” is left in some of them.

It also took exception to the passing of order by the vacation bench, which had stayed the demolition of some buildings in Kerala for six weeks. Hearing the matter earlier, a bench headed by Justice Mishra had directed on May 8 that these buildings be removed within a month as they were constructed in the notified Coastal Regulations Zones (CRZ), which is part of the tidally influenced water body in Kerala.

When the matter came up for hearing on July 5, the bench said it has “serious objection” to what has happened in the case as “height of judicial impropriety has been done”. “During the vacation, the matter was mentioned before me but I refused to hear it. Then it came before another vacation bench. That bench should not have passed the order. You (lawyers) are permitting the court to commit judicial impropriety,” the bench told senior advocate Kalyan Banerjee, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from All India Trinamool Congress.

Continue reading “DRP NB 8 July 2019: Kerala CRZ Norms Violation; Senior Lawyers ‘Play Fraud’ On Court, Invite SC Wrath”

Cloud Burst

चौथान में बादल फटा; स्थानीय प्रशासन, आपदा प्रबंधन पौड़ी को नहीं पता

गत 23 जून 2019 को, उत्तराखंड की चौथान पट्टी में तेज और असामान्य बरसात हुई। थलीसैंण तहसील के अंतर्गत लगने वाली चौथान पट्टी में 72 गांव आते हैं। पौड़ी जिले के दूरस्थ क्षेत्र में बसी चौथान पट्टी, दूधातोली आरक्षित वन के बफर जोन के आस पास बसी हुई है।  साथ में यह पट्टी अल्मोड़ा और चमोली जिले की सीमाओं से सटी हुई है। 

(“इति जोरग बरख लागि छ, हम भैर-भीतर नि अय स्की, हमूल अपण जमन मै यैस अंधकोप नी देख, हमूल  जाण याल छ, गाढ़-गेदरयुग गुगाट, जरूर कखि ढोल-फ़ोल करल”) “इतने जोर से बारिश हुई थी कि हम लोग घरों में कैद हो गए। हमारी याद में ऐसी घनघोर बरसात पहले कभी नहीं हुई। गाड़ गदेरों में आई बाढ़ की गड़गड़ाहट से ही हम समझ गए थे, कहीं कुछ नुकसान जरूर होगा”, स्यूंसाल गांव की एक बुजुर्ग महिला ने बताया।

बारिश रविवार शाम लगभग तीन बजे के शुरू हुई और करीब दो घंटे तक लगातार चलती रही। अतिवृष्टि के दो बाद ग्रामीण लोग इसे बादल फटने की घटना मान रहे हैं और इलाके में इससे हुए नुकसान की सूचनाएं किस्तों में मिल रही है। 

Continue reading “चौथान में बादल फटा; स्थानीय प्रशासन, आपदा प्रबंधन पौड़ी को नहीं पता”

Cloud Burst

‘CLOUD BURST’ in Chouthan; NO RAIN says Disaster Control Room Pouri Garhwal

Heavy and unusual rainfall struck, Chauthan Patti, on June 23, 2019. The region is comprised of 72 villages in Thailisain Tehsil of Pouri Garhwal, Uttrakhand. The remote mountain region is settled in and around buffer zone of Dudhatoli reserve forest. It also borders the Almora and Chamoli districts of Uttarakhand.

(“इति जोरग बरख लागि छ, हम भैर-भीतर नि अय स्की, हमूल अपण जमन मै यैस अंधकोप नी देख, हमूल  जाण याल छ, गाढ़-गेदरयुग गुगाट, जरूर कखि ढोल-फ़ोल करल”) “It rained so heavily that we could not move from inside-out vice a versa, we had never seen such a heavy downpour in our lifetime, the streams were full and roaring, we had guessed, it would certainly cause damages” said an elderly woman of Syunsal village, in Garhwali language.

The rain lasted for about two hours beginning around 3 pm. Two days after the deluge, which many villagers are now terming as cloud burst, the details of damages is coming out, though in piece meal.

Continue reading “‘CLOUD BURST’ in Chouthan; NO RAIN says Disaster Control Room Pouri Garhwal”

DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 3 June 2019: Illegal Sand Mining Impacting Rivers, People & Infrastructure across India

Five months have passed of 2019. There is apparently no reduction in illegal sand mining activities which are continue to  ruin rivers, kill people and damage public infrastructure across the country.

In North India, the Ghaggar, Yamuna, Ken, Betwa and Chambal rivers have been severely affected. The Narmada, Krishan, Godavari and Cauvery are prominent rivers bearing the burnt of unsustainable extraction.

There are reports hinting that uncontrolled mining menace is also aggravating the drought situation. On one hand it is causing siltation of reservoirs thus reducing storage capacity while on the other it is inhibiting recharge of shallow aquifers supplying base flow to rivers during lean season. This is one of the main reasons many of perennial rivers like Cauvery, Narmada, Yamuna, Ken, Betwa and Godavari at many places are running dry this year.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 3 June 2019: Illegal Sand Mining Impacting Rivers, People & Infrastructure across India”

DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 29 April 2019: Sindhudurg shows the way for wetlands documentation and protection

Sindhudurg has become the country’s first district to have successfully documented and mapped wetlands, following a Mumbai HC order in Vanashakti petition. Engaging community participation in the eight-month long process, the district is now training bodies of other districts in the state to replicate its documentation model. This was the state response to Mumbai HC as a pilot in Sindhudurg district. The district administration approached the team of local organization Syamantak, which suggested engaging community participation in the documentation and mapping process.

– “Conducting mapping through community is an effective way to save public money. If this model is implemented across the state, the government can save crores,” said Sachin Desai, who is running Syamantak’s study centre for experiential learning in Dhamapur. The committee completed the task of mapping 57 wetlands in the district in about eight months. Sindhudurg will soon be releasing the first volume of magazine ‘Sindhudurg — Land of Wetland’, the first-of-it-kind in the country. The district planning and development council (DPDC) is giving financial support to the magazine through the forest department.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 29 April 2019: Sindhudurg shows the way for wetlands documentation and protection”