In SANDRP’s weekly News Bulletins, we select lead story each week. Here we try to look back and take stock of major happenings of 2020 through a compilation of DRP lead stories to recapitulate major happenings related Dams, Rivers, Water and Environment. While doing this we are aware that this may not completely capture all the key happenings in this sector, since not all the major developments are captured by the media and their headlines. However, it does provide some idea about what were the major developments in this sector in the just outgoing year 2020. We have divided the lead stories under several key classifications like River Management, Environment Governance, Dams, Hydropower projects, Flood management, groundwater management etc.Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People 2020 through the DRP LEAD STORIES”
Four different news on River Sand Mining catch our eye, with common underlying theme of NEXUS of government and miners on the one hand and IMPUNITY of the sand miners in indulging in mindless violence. In Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, no less than the Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT) respectively expose nexus between the state government and illegal sand mining. In Agra (UP again) the sand miners have again shown impunity in attempting to crush the forest officials trying to stop incessant illegal river sand mining from Yamuna River, they managed to run away, as usual. In Tamil Nadu, the High Court has appointed an advocate to ascertain the extent of illegal mining.
On any day, and in any sector, this should have been seen as eye widening affairs. It indeed should. But in sand mining this seems like regular dog biting man kind of news. One hopes it is not and that serious consequences follow. Kind of consequences that would not only help bring commensurate punishment to those responsible, but before that the identification of the guilty. And that punishment will be exemplary enough to bring some fear into the sand miners and those indulging in corruption in sand mining. It’s a bit tall order, but not unwarranted.Continue reading “DRP NB 7 Dec 2020: Courts expose NEXUS and IMPUNITY in Sand Mining. Will any commensurate consequences follow?”
International media has been full of stories this last few weeks, about the likely fate of the world’s biggest dam project: The Three Gorges Dam of China. The stories ranged from possible imminent threat of collapse of the dam to those from China that rubbished all such ideas. Part of it was fuelled by the World’s anti China mood due to the Covid and its expansionist activities including at Indian borders. But part of the reason was the difficulty to getting hard facts, since China does not have free media or democracy and suppresses any critical information. One direct evidence of this Chinese tendency was apparent when Reuters was the first one to publish on July 22, 2020, the story of a dam collapse in China on June 7, full 45 days after the event and even that story could not find any official to quote about the dam collapse. A more telling example of China’s tendency to suppress basic facts would be difficult to come by from recent times. Continue reading “DRP NB 27 July 2020: China’s Three Gorges Dam may be safe for now, but at what cost?”
Lot of media persons asked this question over the last few weeks ever since Union Cabinet cleared India’s largest proposed hydropower project, the 2880 MW Dibang Multipurpose Project, involving construction of one of the highest dam, and destruction of pristine Dibang river, one of the tributaries of the Brahmaputra and also destruction of over 4550 ha of one of the most bio-diversity rich forests. Particularly when pointed out that the project is not even economically viable and its clearances involved all kind of violations, manipulations and frauds. And when highlighted that the every reason why the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Project remains stalled since Dec 2011 also applies to the Dibang project. Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 30 July 2019: Why is Centre pushing unviable, destructive Dibang Project?”
Private Hydro remain in stalled Himachal The State Govt has sought the revised completion schedules of 21 stalled hydropower projects (above 5 MW capacity) having a capacity of 684 MW. Additional Chief Secretary (Power) Tarun Kapoor on June 19, 2018 held a meeting with independent power producers to take feedback from them on the hurdles being faced in completion of the 10 stalled projects on which work has not begun. In the remaining 11 projects also, the progress is extremely slow. “We have asked the power producers to expedite work on these 21 projects and also cancelled the Joiner-II (8 MW) in Kinnaur,” revealed Kapoor. Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 25 June 2018: Himachal Hydro remain stalled: Big Hydro no longer viable”
Paani Foundation work in 4000 villages in Maharashtra Aamir Khan (Satyamev Jayate) and Kiran Rao’s Paani Foundation has been running inter-village competition for water related work each year since 2016. Directed by Satyajit Bhatkal, the competition in which no one loses out, as Aamir says, 116 villages in 3 talukas of Maharashtra participated in 2016. Next year, 30 taluksa and over 1300 villages participated and this year over 4000 villages from 75 talukas are participating. He also tries to involve Urban people through Chala Gaavi (almost 25000 people came) and this year on May 1 Jal Mitra Maha Shramdaan, with about 1.3 lakh volunteering.
ANY ONE HAS ANY INDEPENDENT THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS, INCLUDING OBSERVATIONS FROM GROUND about appropriateness, longevity, sustainability and equity? http://www.thehindu.com/society/aamir-khans-paani-foundations-water-conservation-efforts/article23696288.ece Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 30 April 2018: Paani Foundation expands to 4000 villages in Maharashtra”
MOBILE APP FOR RIVER MONITORING: HUGE POTENTIAL FOR CITIZENS IN INDIA? If you added up the length of all the streams around the world, the total would be at least 89 million kilometers [Downing et al., 2012]. More than half of the global stream channel network is likely intermittent (i.e., the streams do not have flow year-round [Datry et al., 2014]), yet most streamflow monitoring stations are located on perennial streams. Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 16 April 2018: HOW Citizens can use mobile app to monitor Rivers”
Mississippi floods get worse with flood control engineering Groundbreaking research suggests that floods in 3800 km long Mississippi River passing through ten US states have got worse over the centuries, a new study suggests, with Flood Protection Engineering! “Floods on the mighty Mississippi River are larger and more frequent today than at any time in the past 500 years — in part, a new study suggests, because structures erected to control the river have increased the flood risk. Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 9 April 2018: Flood control makes Mississippi floods worse”
New Rivers appearing in Morro Basin in Argentina This is unheard of, amazing story, a frightening and yet fascinating one, of how large scale deforestation, combined with wet cycle and fragile top soil has lead to NEW RIVERS suddenly appearing in Morro Basin in Argentina over the last decade. The deforestation has been mostly done for brining the land under Soya Beans, the biggest contributor to exports from Argentina, Argentina is the world’s third largest producer after US and Brazil, 60% of its arable land under this single crop. So much so that commentators have called the new river as Soya Bean river and Argentina as Soya Bean republic, in line with Banana republic. Some 2.4m hectares of native forest have been lost in the last 10 years, according to Greenpeace. Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 2 April 2018: How New Rivers are born in Argentina”
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.