India should not push Pancheshwar Project in Nepal DIPAK GYAWALI asks a lot of pertinent questions here, including this one about PANCHESHWAR DAM: “Did it (India) not ram the Mahakali Treaty down Nepali throats in 1996 against all sane voices of caution and then has been unable to move an inch forward in all these two decades since then? As per the agreement, Nepal was to have received additional irrigation benefits from Tanakpur from an outlet with a sill level built maliciously high: Nepal has already spent billions building canals and distribution structures on its side but not only is there no movement on the Indian side, rather the latest Mughlani communication has been that you Nepalis can build all the canals you want on your side but we will do nothing until after the 6480 MW Pancheshwar high dam is built (when, in the next century?).” Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 26 June 2017 (Why India should not push Pancheshwar Project in Nepal)”
Farmers Protest spreads Crops of Wrath: Demonetisation played big role From a persisting cash crunch due to demonetisation to a price free fall because of a bumper produce, it’s a big bag of woes for farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The report explains how demonetisation played a major role in current farmer’s crisis. Another article explains how demonetization has a role in addition to other factors. In addition to low prices, what has aggravated the situation is the Central government’s demonetisation move late last year that has adversely hit the rural and agrarian economy. According to Lalchand Mali, a farmer from Barkheda Panth, notebandi has almost finished the farmers in the rural areas. Even after selling their produce, they do not get money in our hands before at least two-three weeks and sometimes even a month. A third article again mentioned demonetisation along with bumper harvest and lack of water as reasons for the farmers’ situation.
Skewed farm policies continue to anger farmers Key message here that rainfed area needs to get similar support as do the irrigated area is very important point. Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 19 June 2017 (Farmers across the country are angry: Demonetisation has played a big role here)”
Is there hope for India’s Environment from Mr Anil Dave? Most shocking statements from India’s environment Minister. He says let us do Ken Betwa link when the project has NONE of the statutory clearances from his own ministries. The independent committees are yet to appraise the project and yet he is saying: “This Ken-Betwa river link we should do it and have an impact assessment after five years. If it is good, then great, if not they don’t go for other linkages.” Is there any hope for India’s environment? As he says, YE SAB CHALTA HAI!!
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/interview-won-t-put-a-cap-on-new-dams-in-uttarakhand-river-linking-should-go-ahead-anil-dave-2251391 Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 5 Sept 2016: Is there hope for India’s Environment from Mr Anil Dave?”
On this day in 2015, the massive Nepal earthquake of 7.9 intensity (Richter scale) shook the scenic Himalayan Nation. The earthquake left a major trail of destruction affecting over 20 districts and killing over 9 thousand people. According to expert Dave Petley, Langtang rock and ice avalanche was the most dramatic and significant landslide, that killed the most individuals. The earthquake killed over 9000 people, with 255 still missing. The severity of the quake can be gauged from the fact that more than a third of the disaster related deaths in 2015 occurred in Nepal’s April 25 earthquake. The earthquake-induced flash floods, landslides and aftershocks also damaged up to 15 hydropower plants, which has not been still restored fully. Surprisingly despite the increasing number of disasters taking place across the globe, world only spends less than a fifth of the money on Disaster Risk Reduction Compared to Disaster management. Nepal will still take years from recovering socio-economic losses caused by the quake. But it is pertinent that in the wake of the quake and other disasters, human civilisation must learn its lesson. It’s true that development and disaster cannot be stopped but we must make our developmental decisions more informed, rule based and democratic so that it helps us deal better with disasters by decreasing their intensity and velocity and our short-sighted developmental choices do not get translated into a disaster itself. Continue reading “DRP NEWS BULLETIN 25 APRIL 2016 (One Year After Nepal Earthquake, Has the World Learnt Any Lesson ?)”
SANDRP Comments India Water Week continues to show absence of any fresh thinking from water resources establishment The 4th India Water Week being organized by Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation during April 4-8, 2016 in Delhi shows continued absence of any fresh thinking from water resources establishment.
The Information Brochure of the event says: “Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR is to organize the India Water Week -2016 between April 4-8, 2016 to use it as a platform to elicit ideas and opinions from global level decision makers, politicians, researchers and entrepreneurs in the field of water resources for mutual benefit and goodwill… This is the fourth event of its kind with the theme “Water for all : Striving together” focusing on improving efficiencies of water use across all sectors… ”
Tamil Nadu A people’s initiative to restore a river’s glory The Noyyal River Restoration Federation will launch ‘Noyyalai Nokki’ (Towards Noyyal), a people’s initiative to restore the Noyyal river system on 26 March. Social activist Anna Hazare will launch the project at Kooduthurai in Alandurai in Coimbatore district. The river originates in the Western Ghats and runs through the four districts to join the Cauvery at Noyyal village. Known as Jungle stream, in olden times as many as 34 streams used to feed water into it and the river would flow throughout the year with two or three annual flood spell. But now, just 4 or 5 streams feed the river. In many places, the river is encroached upon, sewage is let into it, or the river needs to be desilted. The river is all set to regain its glory with the ‘Noyyalai Nokki’ initiative. What is encouraging is the willingness of the public to be part of it. The project proposes to divide the river into segments of 500 metres for restoration and maintenance. Ownership groups will be formed for every 500 metres and it will consist of the local people, experts and patrons (divide-distribute-develop model).
Dam levels down, ‘rain dance’ for Holi dropped Pune district, where a water cut is in effect due to depleting water levels in the dams, will not have any kind of “rain dance” functions this Holi. As water reserved in the dams is to be used only for drinking purposes as per the district administration’s instructions, the collectorate has urged people to go for a “Dry Holi” this year and will ensure that there are no such functions during Holi. With dam levels coming down to as much as 23% of their capacity, the entertainment department of the collectorate will ensure that permissions are not given for events like the “rain dance” during the festival. Meanwhile, a BJP legislator in Mumbai has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner seeking a ban on “rain dance” functions in Mumbai in the metro during Holi. Ameet Satam, in a letter to the BMC, said that the civic body should ban rain dance and even asked the corporation to slap a fine of Rs 50,000 on those who indulge in waste of water.
Govt plans National Water Commission In one of the most significant reforms in the water sector in a long time, the govt is in the process of ordering a complete restructuring of the organisations responsible for regulating the use of water resources, with the objective of bringing in greater efficiency, better planning and increased emphasis on conservation of water. According to news report the Central Water Commission (CWC), which oversees irrigation projects, flood management and drinking water supply, and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) are likely to be disbanded, and a National Water Commission is proposed to be set up in their place. A few other smaller organisations with specialised mandate like data gathering and analysis are also likely to be created.
A team under Mihir Shah, a former member of the then Planning Commission of India, is already preparing a blueprint for better management of water resources. The idea of institutional restructuring is said to have the backing of this panel. It is likely to submit its report in the next two months. In the new scheme of things, more emphasis is being given to judicious use, and conservation, of ground water. It is estimated that despite elaborate irrigation projects, about 60 per cent of irrigation during the non-rainy season is still done by pumping out ground water. The large irrigation projects, meanwhile, have given sub-optimal results.
A large number of sewage treatment plants, being built as part of the Clean Ganga initiative that will eventually spread to other rivers as well, will provide a new source of water that is fit not only for industrial use but also for irrigation and many other purposes. The river rejuvenation plans, not just of Ganga but others as well, will become an integral part of overall water resources management. Apart from reducing pollution in the rivers, and maintaining a minimum ecological flow, the rejuvenation plans would also ensure that the rivers are able to adequately recharge the aquifers in its basins.
Allocation of water resources to each state is also on the agenda. But this process is likely to take time as it would involve extensive consultations with the state governments. Once a consensus emerges, a central legislation on allocation of water resources is planned to be brought in. This is aimed at reducing inter-state water disputes.
SANDRP Open Letter to MoEF&CC Is Not Hiding Environment Information Against Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas? Even as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has been sanctioning cascades of hydro power projects on here-to free flowing rivers in the Himalaya and North East India, Cumulative Assessment of the Impacts of these projects became a crucial area of concern. The cumulative impacts of these projects on the hydrology, downstream flow, sudden water releases, deforestation, muck disposal, influx of migrant workers, seismicity of the region etc. is huge as compared to individual impacts. The projects together stand to change the social and ecological fabric of these regions.
Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) studies are a part of the Environment Impact Assessment Process under the EIA Notification (2006) and Environment (Protection) Act 1986. The documents of these CIAs have been uploaded on the Environment Clearance website in the past, as was required under number of laws. However, as the EAC is slated to consider whopping 4 CIAs in its upcoming meeting on the 8 and 9th Feb, not a single CIA-related document is available on the MoEF and CC website! We are told that these may not be made available in the future.
Tamil Nadu Experts suggest six ways to revive dying Madurai’s rivers According to a paper entitled Future Proofing Indian Cities: Towards an approach to spatial and social analysis for sustainable development of Madurai by Jayaraj Sundaresan Development Planning Unit, University College London J. Kanagavalli DHAN Foundation, Madurai their documentation has revealed the significant role of Kruthumal River in the historic, cultural, ecological and economic growth of Madurai. Centuries ago, Madurai city developed as a small urban settlement on the banks between the rivers Kruthumal and Vaigai. Appearing in epics and sacred texts such as Srimad Bhagavatham and Narayaneeyam, Kruthumal has significant presence in the written history of Madurai. It was also known as Narayana Cauvery. It supplied water to the Ahazhi (moat) around the Tirumalai Nayakkar palace in Madurai. The paper gave six methods to look after Vaigai and Kruthumal Rivers in Madurai. Looking at the condition of the rivers one feels it is hopeless, but there is hope if together with the government, something is done to control the destruction of the river, by law. And with organizations like DHAN Madurai can hope for a clean Vaigai in the future.