On March 20 2017, the High Court of Uttarakhand in an unforeseen move, bestowed ‘legal personhood’ on the Ganga and the Yamuna. Ten days later, as people were still trying to understand the implications of this order, the Court declared the glaciers, lakes, and wetlands of these basins as legal persons. What does this mean exactly?
The decree:As per an order passed on 20th March 2017, while ruling on a public interest litigation filed by Mohammed Salim against the State of Uttarakhand, the High Court has declared the entire length of the Ganga and the Yamuna, including their tributaries to be juristic persons.
The order states, ‘..the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams, every natural water flowing with flow continuously or intermittently of these rivers, are declared as juristic/legal persons/living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve river Ganga and Yamuna.’
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.
Above: Entirely destabilised house next to 100 MW Sorang HEP transmission lines Photo: Sumit Mahar
Immediate Press Statementfrom Himdhara02/12/15
In the last two weeks a half a dozen lives have been lost in the Kinnaur region alone in three separate incidents that have one thing in common – accidents at hydropower project sites. The first event took place in Burang village on the 18th of November 2015 where a penstock pipe burst of the 100 MW Sorang Hydro-electric project led to the death of three people. On 29th November, two labourers died in blasting operations in the 450 MW Shongthong Karchham project, some others were seriously injured. And on the same day in the Bhabha Valley, a young teacher lost her life in a landslide that occurred in the area. Continue reading “Kinnaur in crisis; Sheer Negligence in hydro projects claiming lives. Who is accountable?”→
“Right now, hydel is almost stalled”: Piyush Goyal (18 May 2015)
Union Power Minister makes some candid comments on Hydro: “Right now, hydel is almost stalled. We have Teesta stuck for various reasons. Subansiri, Maheshwar, Lower Subansiri, all of them have different challenges. Small hydros are facing challenges of transmission, they are facing challenges of local area problems. So, by and by, the hydro sector will need a more holistic thinking. The courts have also taken up certain matters, particularly in Uttarakhand, post the tragedy (of floods in 2013). There is the mission of Ganga to ensure that there is a reasonable flow—Aviral Ganga, which we are committed to. We are working on all of these plans… For example, Subansiri had an issue where the local population had concerns. We immediately got an eight-member very, very high-level expert committee, including Central Water Commission, Central Electricity Authority, and experts from Assam. They are all working together to see the environmental impact, structural impact, riparian state impact and riverbed impact.
About Maletha Placed in middle Himalaya, Maletha 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.
1- Maletha Village
5-Tunnel part of irrigation channel*
9- 2013 flood affected farm *
13- Stone Crusher
14- Stone Crusher
3- Maletha Temple
11- Stone Crusher
15-Proposed Railway line
4- Maletha Irrigation Channel
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.