Dams · Environment Impact Assessment · Expert Appraisal Committee · Himalayas · Irrigation · Landslide · Ministry of Environment and Forests · Nepal · Public Hearing

Who exactly needs the Pancheshwar Dam?

Bolo Jai Jai Baba Bhole”, the Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi, while speaking at Kedarnath in Uttarakhand in Oct 2017[i], asked the people in audience to chant with him. Indian deity Mahadev, the presiding deity at Kedarnath on the banks of Mandakini river is possibly the closest to rivers and nature among all the deities, as is also clear from his attire. Baba Bhole is one of the many names of this deity. Incidentally, the massive, controversial Pancheshwar Dam a pet project of Mr Modi will also submerge the Pancheshwar Mahadev Temple, where too, the presiding deity is same Bhole Baba. But we will come back to Bhole Baba. Continue reading “Who exactly needs the Pancheshwar Dam?”

Interlinking of RIvers · Madhya Pradesh · Ministry of Environment and Forests · Ministry of Water Resources

NGT Admits Appeal Challenging Environment Clearance to Ken Betwa Project

Press Release                                                                                                                  Oct 30, 2017

National Green Tribunal Admits Appeal Challenging

Environment Clearance to Ken Betwa Project:

No claim of equity for work done during pendency of application

The Principle Bench of National Green Tribunal on Oct 27, 2017 admitted a comprehensive Appeal (No 33 of 2017) challenging the Environment Clearance to Phase I of Ken Betwa River Linking Project. The order of the Bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice Swatanter Kumar (Chairperson of NGT), Hon’ble Justice Jawad Rahim (Judicial Member) and Hon’ble Bikram Singh Sajwan (Expert Member) on Oct 27, 2017 (available on Oct 28, 2017) noted: “Learned Counsel for the respective respondents accepts notice and prays for time to file reply. Copy of the application be furnished during the course of the date. Let the reply to be filed within two weeks from today and rejoinder within two weeks thereafter. List the mater on 27th November, 2017.” Ritwick Dutta, Rahul Choudhary and Meera Gopal are the lawyers representing the petition.  Continue reading “NGT Admits Appeal Challenging Environment Clearance to Ken Betwa Project”

Environment Impact Assessment · Ganga · Nepal · Public Hearing · Uttarakhand

Letter to MoEF’s Expert Committee: Why Pancheshwar Project should not be considered for Environment Clearance

(Above: Protest outside MoEF on Oct 24, 2017 when EAC met to consider EC for Pancheshwar Project)

Oct 23, 2017

To

Chairman and Members, Expert Appraisal Committee (River Valley Projects), Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, Jor Bagh, New Delhi

Respected Chairman and Members,

The agenda of the EAC (for RVP) to be held on Oct 24, 2017, put up on the EC website only on Oct 18, 2017, just six days before the EAC meeting includes the 5040 MW Pancheshwar Multipurpose project (PMP), India’s largest proposed hydropower projects. The agenda should be available at least ten days before the meeting, and this should also be a reason for not considering the Pancheshwar project by EAC for its meeting on Oct 24. Moreover agenda mentions 5600 MW Pancheshwar project, where as the capacity as per EIA is 5040 MW. Is MoEF just callous in mentioning wrong installed capacity or has the capacity gone up? In either case, the 5040 MW Pancheshwar project should not be on EAC agenda. Continue reading “Letter to MoEF’s Expert Committee: Why Pancheshwar Project should not be considered for Environment Clearance”

Interlinking of RIvers · Madhya Pradesh

Ken Betwa Project to destroy Raneh Falls: India’s Mini Grand Canyon-cum- Mini Niagra

“Oh my god! I wont have believed that such an amazingly beautiful river canyon exists in India had I not seen this!” These were my first words, believe or not, on seeing Raneh Falls earlier this year. It was such mesmerizingly beautiful scene that I could not believe no one has even mentioned that this whole site is likely to be destroyed by the proposed Ken Betwa Project (KWP).

In fact, there are Amazing number of untold stories of the destruction that the proposed Ken Betwa link will cause. One of them is the story of Raneh Falls. The name is a bit of misnomer, but let us stick to it. Continue reading “Ken Betwa Project to destroy Raneh Falls: India’s Mini Grand Canyon-cum- Mini Niagra”

Dams · Environment Impact Assessment · Ministry of Environment and Forests · Ministry of Water Resources · Nepal · Public Hearing

Cancel Pancheshwar Dam Public Hearings: It involves too many violations and illegalities

From: SANDRP,

50-D, AD block, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi 88

we4earth@gmail.com, https://sandrp.wordpress.com/

August 11 2017

To

1. District Magistrate,

Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand

dm-pit-ua@nic.in

2. Chairman/ Regional office incharge,

Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board,

Dehradun, dkjoshi21@yahoo.com

COPY to: 1. IA Division (River Valley Projects) MoEF, Delhi

2. Chairman and Members of Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects

Respected Members of Public Hearing Panel for Pancheshwar Dam,

The public hearing now being conducted for the massive Pancheshwar Dam at Pithoragarh today, as part of the requirement under the EIA notification of Sept 2006 is being held in complete violation of letter and spirit of many norms of the EIA notification. Hence these public hearings should be cancelled. They should be rescheduled after appropriate conditions are achieved for the public hearing. Some of the key reasons for this are listed below, but these are not exhaustive reasons, but only a list of key indicative reasons. Continue reading “Cancel Pancheshwar Dam Public Hearings: It involves too many violations and illegalities”

Interlinking of RIvers

Little for Bundelkhand, lot for contractors in Ken Betwa river-link

Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave on January 5, 2017 reportedly told a meeting called by his ministry of non-official members of statutory bodies like expert appraisal committees and forest advisory committee, “How can we hold up development and not fulfill the needs of the poor for the sake of birds and animals?” This is of course a shocking statement to come from a minister whose mandate is to protect environment!

No less disturbingly, even as an environment minister, he has several times advocated pushing the Ken Betwa River Link Project (KBLRP) as a pilot scheme, when the project does not have any of the final clearances from his own Ministry! Continue reading “Little for Bundelkhand, lot for contractors in Ken Betwa river-link”

Dams · Environmental Laws

Handbook on EIA Notification, 2006: An effort in making EIA accessible to all

Review of new book titled ‘Environment Impact Assessment – Law, Practice & Procedure in India 2016’, edited by Dr R.K Singh and Ritwick Dutta, LIFE, New Delhi, Oct 2016, p 374 + xvi

About the Book This book is a comprehensive compilation of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification (EIA), 2006, along with the amendments. It also has all Office Memorandums and Circulars issued by MoEF&CC for implementation of the EIA Notification, 2006 up to March, 2016. Environment Resource Center (ERC) plans to publish the book annually with incorporation of new updates, amendments, Circulars and OMs. It provides subject wise classification various Office Memorandums (OMs) and Circulars. The book also contains the text of all the official orders and amendments, classified according to subjects like: Prior/ Scoping clearances, public hearings, appraisal, violations, etc.

This is a much needed document and ERC team has done a commendable job by compiling all the relevant amendments and notifications in a single book in useful format and organized way.  The document will be of great value for all including Legal Experts, Academicians, Researchers, EIA professionals, Government Officers, Journalists, concerned NGOs, Civil Society activists, local community as well.

Continue reading “Handbook on EIA Notification, 2006: An effort in making EIA accessible to all”

Interlinking of RIvers

NWDA & EIA lies on Ken Betwa River Link nailed by IGF (WL): Will EAC take action against them now?

A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out,AJT Johnsingh
ABOVE: A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out,AJT Johnsingh

The official minutes of the 37th meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL) held on Feb 26, 2016, about the Ken Betwa Link Project (KBLP) Phase I have exposed the lies of project developer National Water Development Agency (NWDA) and its consultant for Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) about a number of crucial aspects of the project impact on the Panna Tiger Reserve, Vulture Habitat and Ken Ghariyal Sanctuary.

It now becomes clear that both NWDA and EIA consultant AFCL (formerly Agriculture Finance Corporation Ltd) are guilty of misleading the MoEF’s (Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change) Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley Projects, when the KBPL was discussed by the EAC during Aug 24-25, 2015, Oct 26-27, 2015 and Feb 7-8, 2016. We hope the EAC will take appropriate action against the developer and the EIA consultant for misleading the statutory official agency. Continue reading “NWDA & EIA lies on Ken Betwa River Link nailed by IGF (WL): Will EAC take action against them now?”

Chenab · Jammu and Kashmir

Open Letter to J&KSPCB: Cancel Public Hearings for Sawalkote HEP for violations

Above: Title page of Sawalkote EIA Executive Summary

January 14, 2016

TO:

J&K State Pollution Control Board,

Parivesh Bhawan, Forest Complex, Gladni, Narwal, transport Nagar,

Jammu (J&K) Telephone Nos:- 0191-2476925, 2476927

  1. Sh. Abdul Razak, IFS

Chairman, J&K State Pollution Control Board, Mob:- +91-9419188852, chairman87jkspcb@gmail.com

  1. Sh. Vasu Yadav, IFS

Member Secretary, J&K State Pollution Control Board, Mob:- 0194-2311165, membersecretaryjkspcb@gmail.com

  1. Regional Director, Jammu,

J&K State Pollution Control Board, Jammu. Email:  regionaldirectorspcbjmu@gmail.com

Sub: Violations in public hearing for 1856 MW Sawalkote HEP

in Ramban, Udhampur and Reasi districts in J&K

Respected Chairman, Member Secretary and Regional Director,

We understand from J&K SPCB website that the pubic hearings for the proposed 1856 MW Sawalkote Hydropower project is to be held in Udhampur (Village Panchari), Reasi (Village Mahore) and Ramban (Village Tanger) districts at 10 am on January 18, 21 and 28, 2016 respectively. However, we notice a number of problems in this context, some of the key ones include: Continue reading “Open Letter to J&KSPCB: Cancel Public Hearings for Sawalkote HEP for violations”

Interlinking of RIvers

Ken Betwa River Link Project involves India’s first Major Dam inside National Park: It needs, fresh, credible EIA, not misleading falsehoods from NWDA

Above: A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out (Photo by AJT Johnsingh)

PREFACE: Following is a submission by the authors to the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects, sent on Oct 25, 2015, as the EAC was to consider the Ken Betwa River Link Project for Environment Clearance on Oct 27, 2015. The authors had sent a submission to EAC in Aug 2015, when the EAC considered this project for the first time. In response to the various submissions that EAC received on this proposal, including one by the authors and another by SANDRP, among others, the EAC had asked the project proponent, NWDA (National Water Development Agency, an organisation under Union Water Resources Ministry) to provide a point wise reply. The NWDA response can be seen here: http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Online/EDS/0_0_15_Oct_2015_1405329601eac.pdf

One has to wonder that if the Ken-Betwa is such a worthwhile project, why is it necessary for the proponents to lie and obfuscate facts in order to promote it.  We are not unreasonable individuals and have no reason not to want people to be benefited by appropriate development. If the project had more overall benefit than detriment, why would everyone not support it. However we find that it is prejudiced, not argued on reason, much is being obscured and alternate views have not been taken into consideration.  The project is being undertaken in an area that has been evaluated as important enough to set aside for the tigers’ welfare. High priority must therefore be given to this species; but throughout totally inadequate consideration has been given to this. Continue reading “Ken Betwa River Link Project involves India’s first Major Dam inside National Park: It needs, fresh, credible EIA, not misleading falsehoods from NWDA”