(During monsoon the polluted river cleanses itself allowing migrant fishermen to move in and seek out their livelihood through fishing ; Photo by Burhaan Kinu)
The exploitation of Yamuna Rivers that starts in upper basin comprising Uttarakhand (UKH) and Himachal Pradesh (HP) gets worse as the river is dammed at Hathini Kund Barrage (HKB) while passing through Shivalik Hills located at the border of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (UP), the barrage has severely compromised lean season (8-9 months) water flow in the river downstream.
As a result, the waterless riverbed resembles a desert till Delhi’s potable water is released back into the river at Palla village, the border of Delhi and Haryana. The absence of flow facilitates intensive illegal riverbed mining for sand and boulders for longer periods in a year which further destroys the river’s eco-system. More over industrial and domestic effluents in great volume from nearby towns reach the river via tributaries, storm water drains. Amid all this successive State Governments show no will to achieve even basic flow of freshwater in the river, even as they keep pushing more dams.
Here is an account of the projects planned and launched in 2016 related to the River Yamuna.
For past many years, incidents of illegal river sand mining across the country are on the rise. Given its resultant and adverse impact on river system and dependent communities, various state and central governments continue to go through the motions of devising a mechanism for judicious excavation of this minor mineral. But there seems no will to achieve compliance. At the same the time, people and concerned groups affected by illegitimate riverbed mining practices are approaching judiciary seeking legal intervention to curb the unsustainable mining of the natural resource.
In this backdrop, continuing tracking of this issue (like in 2015) SANDRP is providing an overview of various aspects related abstraction of the finite grit material from the rivers through a three part blog series. The first part of the series presents description of the most of the illegal riverbed sand mining incidents that have taken place in different Indian States through the year 2016. The second part of the blog gives account of the measures taken by governments at States and Central level to check the pilferage of this natural resource. The third part will highlight on the legal interventions by respective courts including Honorable Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT) to regulate unscientific quarrying of riverbeds.
The SYL Row has been going on inconclusively for over last about 50 years. The matter also has been languishing in SC for last 40 years without any resolution. The seemingly unending disputes have been raising questions in the mind of many as to why the issue remains undecided and for how long the controversy will go on. To have better understanding of the issue we have put together a chronology of the events around the SYL dispute.
On November 10, 2016, Honorable Supreme Court (SC) of India has pronounced its judgment on Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal (SYL). In the decision, the apex court has termed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act 2004 invalid and ruled that Punjab is bound to share Ravi-Beas river waters with Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi. The court has also ordered Punjab to comply with its two judgments for completion of the SYL canal.
सतलुज यमुना नहर (एसवाइएल ) पर हरियाणा के पक्ष में निर्णय आते ही पंजाब ओर हरियाणा में राजनीति तेज हो गई। पंजाब का कहना है वें अपनी जान दे देंगे लेकिन पानी नहीं देंगे। इधर हरियाणा का कहना है कि उन्हें पानी चाहिए क्यांकि यह पानी उनका हक है। अब सवाल यह उठ रहा है कि दोनों राज्यों में से कोई एक राज्य तो गलत बोल रहा है। लेकिन हकीकत यह है कि एसवाइएल पर दोना ही राज्य झूठ बोल रहे हैं।
A PIL under Article 32 was filed by the NGO, Swaraj Abhiyan praying for directions for declaration of drought and relief in affected areas. The apex court came out with a 3 part judgment earlier this month – the first one dealt with the issue of drought and the latter judgments took up the poor implementation of the National Food Security Act, 200513 (NFSA) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (NREGA). These directions largely signify the failure of the governance in tackling drought and suggest actions to be taken hence, we need to be thankful to the petitioners and apex court for this. We also hope the apex court continues to monitor the implementation of the directions.
Shimla Gujran village on the other side of DN-2 (Photo by Vikas Sharma, village doctor who had to fix an air tight aluminimum framed glass door at his clinic to avoid to deadly stench)
The news of ammonia laden pollution entering Delhi’s water supply via Yamuna River has become more of a routine. The periodical nuisance forces closure of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) water treatment plants for few days, leading in disruption of water supply to lakhs of people. But as usual, within couple of days things fall back to normalcy until the cycle strike back.
The source of pollution remains undisclosed with only hint that the origin presumably a drain carrying pollutants from Haryana sneaks into river somewhere upstream of Delhi. Much is not talked or heard about the mystic drain and the problem largely remains unfixed. Haunted time and again Delhi Government has now installed one Ammonia-Neutralizers and planning to buy more as a remedial measures.
Delhi water supply from Yamuna River through Munak canal has been severely impacted by Jat quota stir as the violent mob has damaged the Munak canal. As a result thousands of Delhiites are facing great difficulty in securing potable water. By the time the canal based water supply is restored which may take about a month, the discharged of industrial effluents in Yamuna upstream by Haryana has forced shutting downof two water treatment plants further jeopardizing the already wrenched out water supply in Delhi.
Delhi water supply has become so vulnerable to causalities that experts have been rightly suggesting development and conservation of Delhi’s own water resources in terms of wetland protection, rain water harvesting etc. to deal with such crisis.
Apart from these two reasons there is a third bigger and still not known reason ignoring which may cause severest of water crisis in national capital and that is rampant mining of riverbed material around Hathini Kund Barrage (HKB). SANDRP in this blog try to highlight how the uncontrolled mining around HKB is endangering the barrage structure which in turn will surely lead to suspense of Delhi water supply for many months.
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.
In the first part SANDRP has published the detail of illegal sand extraction that was found rampant across many Indian States in 2015. It specifically covered the increased numbers of attacks on Govt. officials including common men against their attempt to expose and oppose illegal removal of sand from riverbeds.
This second part presents detail of some of the significant steps taken by Central and various State Governments (Govt.) to control and regulate unsustainable excavation of riverbed sand mining.
Unsustainable sand mining from riverbeds can have huge social, environmental, geomorphic and disastrous impacts for rivers. In this three part report, SANDRP is trying to provide a picture of what happened on this issue in 2015 in India.
This first part looks into 2015 putting together instances of illegal sand mining that occurred throughout the year in different Indian States. The successive blogs would make an attempt to cover all governmental measures and judicial interventions taken in 2015 to reign in uncontrolled extraction of this possibly most consumed natural resource after air and water.
Illegal mining of sand is profoundly linked to growth in construction industry that have accelerated in recent decades. Since then demand for this mineral is only going up. Today possibly there is not a single river in the country that is not ruined by sand mining. As a result, while the state of rivers has gone worse, the number of violent instances around illegal sand mining is on the increase.
A 75 feet wide breach on right bank of Yamuna Augmentation Canal (AC) has drowned vast agricultural land area belonging to three villages of Alahar, Palewala and Nachron falling under Radaur block of Yamuna Nagar district, Haryana.
The breach reportedly occurred about 14 km downstream Hamida Head on Western Jamuna Canal (WJC) in Yamuna Nagar district around 03:00 am on 12th of April 2015. From all accounts, it seems like an avoidable manmade disaster about which credible independet inquiry alone can help arrive at truth. Continue reading “Yamuna Augmentation Canal Breach – Man-made Disaster?”→