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DRP News Bulletin 16 October 2017: New Groundwater Guidelines threat to India’s Water Lifeline

GROUND WATER

New Draft Guidelines designed to privatise & destroy Groundwater The Ministry of Water Resources of the Union Government has on Oct 11, 2017 (see notice: http://www.wrmin.nic.in/forms/List.aspx?lid=1180&Id=6) put up draft guidelines on Groundwater management in India (see draft Guidelines: http://www.wrmin.nic.in/writereaddata/guideline-NOC-CGWA.pdf), with comment period of 60 days. The comments are to be sent to: Member Secretary, Central Ground Water Authority, West Block-2, Wing 3 (Ground Floor), Sector 1, RK Puram, New Delhi – 110066, e-mail: cgwa@nic.in.

New Draft Groundwater guidelines designed to destroy groundwater further and open floodgates for privatisation of common property resource? “Groundwater is a common property resource and should be used for greater good. But these guidelines are not doing that. Groundwater governance and management should happen in a transparent, participatory and accountable way but that too is not happening through guidelines,” Thakkar said.

Explaining, Thakkar said that the guidelines are “trying to make a system wherein state or district level authorities will be giving NOCs but whether those authorities have capacity to give NOCs after understanding the implications is the question.” “The draft guidelines also take out the need to recharge groundwater. Present regulations say that you if you take out groundwater you need to put in recharge capacity but now they are saying that’s not necessary and are only seeking charges. These things will definitely lead to further destruction of groundwater,” he added. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/irx1jFCWMFjGJk82Z8VZ2O/Govt-proposes-new-guidelines-on-groundwater-usage-by-industr.html, http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/oct/13/centre-proposes-water-conservation-fee-for-use-of-groundwater-1673480.html, http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/oct/14/townships-with-gym-club-must-pay-water-fee-1673790.htmlhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/centre-proposes-nixing-recharge-requirement-for-industries-extracting-groundwater/story-kN3iPmO9m4MIoYkUX32n7I.html   Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 16 October 2017: New Groundwater Guidelines threat to India’s Water Lifeline”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 07 August 2017 (MANIPUR GOVT DEMANDS DECOMMISSIONING OF LOKTAK DAM & HYDROPOWER PROJECT)

In an interesting development, Biren Singh the Chief Minister of Manipur on August 01, 2017, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a review of the Loktak Dam (Ithai barrage) and Hydropower Project, leading to decommissioning to the dam.  https://thenortheasttoday.com/manipur-cm-biren-singh-apprises-pm-modi-of-worst-man-made-ecological-disasters-faced-by-state/  

Mentioning that Ithai barrage has become the main cause of frequent flood in the State, the CM has also demanded Prime Minister to figure out a permanent solution to the frequent floods in the state. Stating that Manipur is facing one of the worst man made ecological disasters and the floods have severely affected the socio-economic life of the people, the CM asserted that the Ithai barrage should be removed so that natural course of water could be maintained. . He mentioned that at present, the state is having sufficient power resources from other sources.  http://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/modi-urged-to-review-manipurs-loktak-project-ithai-barrage/

Before this, on July 27, in a very significant statement, M. Asnikumar, the vice chairman of Manipur Infrastructure Development Agency (MIDA) and also the state vice president of BJP Manipur has said that the Loktak Hydro Electric Project and Ithai dam have been disastrous projects and they must be decommissioned. The people of Manipur can live better without the Loktak Project. But we cannot develop without the Loktak. The statement Ithai dam has been the main reason for flash flood in an around the Loktak lake.  http://www.ifp.co.in/item/2247-time-to-decommission-loktak-hydro-electric-project

Since the commissioning of Ithai Barrage in 1983, there have been disastrous flash floods in and around the lake. These floods have severely affected the socio-economic life of the people of Manipur. Since the construction and commissioning of this dam, there have been drastic overnight changes in the hydrological path of Loktak that have in turn adversely affected the environment and socio-economic condition of the people of Manipur, Loktak dwellers being the most affected.

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Dams · Ganga

About Matri Sadan Fight Against Illegal Mining In River Ganga  

Finally on World Environment Day, Swami Shivanand has withdrawn[I] his fast unto death agitation. It was thirteenth day of his indefinite hunger strike including six days of water fast (from May 25 – 30, 2017) against illegal mining in Ganga.

The saint ended his protest around 6pm on June 05, 2017, only after receiving written assurance from the Central Government. As per information, referring to Matri Sandan repeated pleas, UP Singh Director General of National Mission for Clean Ganga has accepted that there were violations[II] of rules specially Rule No. V of Environment Protection Act during mining in Ganga. Subsequently he has asked Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board initiate criminal proceedings against the officials[III] concerned for non-compliance of the rules.

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 06 March 2017 (Farm Ponds In Maharashtra Causing Groundwater Decline)

SANDRP Blog Farm ponds in Maharashtra Causing Groundwater Decline Farm ponds recognized as a drought proofing measure have received a great push from the central Govt recently. On the flip side however serious concerns are being raised over implementation of the farm ponds and more importantly –their use. Civil society organizations like Watershed Organization Trust and also SANDRP have been pointing out that the use of farm ponds has long drifted from its objective of storing rainwater for protective irrigation. Most of the farm ponds are instead being used as storage tanks for pumped out groundwater exposing this underground resource to losses through evaporation, etc. In the process they are accelerating the rate of groundwater exploitation multi fold.

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 20 Feb. 2017 (Bihar Govt Demands Decommissioning of Farakka Dam)

Bihar wants Farakka barrage to be decommissioned The Nitish Kumar govt has held the Farakka barrage in West Bengal responsible for heavy floods in Bihar and asked the Centre to decommission it to de-silt the heavily loaded upstream of Ganga River. The state has made the recommendation, observing that the dam is the “genesis of severe” flood consequences and responsible for “alarming” silt increase in the river’s upstream. According to sources, Nitish Kumar dispensation has made the demand before an experts’ committee formed by the Centre to work out guidelines for de-silting Ganga following last year’s devastating floods. 

As per the statement, decommissioning the barrage will help automatically de-silt the heavily loaded upstream, allowing silt to move to deltas before the sea thus helping  in restoration of deltas and its eco-system which is also getting adversely affected due to this barrage. To buttress its point, the state government has referred to Kolkata Port Trust’s data, which suggests that silt dredging at the port has increased from 6.40 million cubic metres annually from pre-Farakka days to four times, i.e. at 21.88 MCM annually, during 2003. The state government has also recommended the panel to come up with ‘National Silt Policy’ to address the problem. Bihar faced one of its worst floods as Ganga swelled in August last year, claiming lives of over 20 persons and affecting 20 lakh people.

Bihar Government has rightly asked for decommissioning of Farakka barrage and held it as the genesis of severe, destructive and prolonged floods that Bihar and other regions upstream from Farakka face year after year. Good to see that Bihar government has officially demanded decommissioning of the Farakka barrage before an expert committee of Ministry of Water Resources. Hope this starts the ball rolling to remove this unnecessary and giant dam on Ganga, which will also help the cause of fisheries (including Hilsa), downstream Bengal and also the river in general. The road cum rail line on the  barrage can continue to exist.

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Dams · Sand Mining

River Sand Mining in India in 2015–III–Judicial Actions

Unsustainable sand mining from riverbeds can have huge social, environmental, geomorphic and disastrous impacts for rivers. In this three part reports; SANDRP is trying to provide a picture of what happened on this issue in 2015 in India. The first part covered the detail of illegal sand extraction across many Indian States in 2015. The second part presented an account of measures and actions taken by Central and State Governments (Govts).

This third and final part provides information on significant judicial decisions issued by different Courts particularly National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2015.  Continue reading “River Sand Mining in India in 2015–III–Judicial Actions”

Dams

Maletha; Redefining ‘Development’ to Protect Cultural and Natural Heritage

About Maletha Placed in middle Himalaya, Maletha[1] is a prosperous village of about 450 households in Tehri district of Uttarakhand. The village is settled next to National Highway 58, on right bank of Alaknanda River at a vertical distance of 400 meters in Kirti Nagar block. It is about 25 km upstream from Devprayag where Alaknanda from left and Bhagirathi from right side, unite to form the Ganga River. 

Goggle Imagery of Maletha Village
Goggle Imagery of Maletha Village (30*14’01.95” N 78*43’24.69”E elev 572 meter)
1- Maletha Village 5-Tunnel part of irrigation channel* 9- 2013 flood affected farm * 13- Stone Crusher
2-Maletha Farmland 6-Alaknanda River 10-Stone Crusher 14- Stone Crusher
3- Maletha Temple 7-Chandrabhaga River 11- Stone Crusher 15-Proposed Railway line
4- Maletha Irrigation Channel 8-National Highway-58 12- Stone Crusher 16-Proposed Railway Station

5* Villagers have built Madho Singh Bhandari’s memorial there                                                                                              9* June 2013 flood has deposited about 25feet high sand on river banks and submersed around 10 acres of agricultural land turning them unproductive.

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