Odisha is located on the eastern coast of India, between 17o31‟ and 22o 31‟ N latitude and 81o 31‟ and 87 o 31‟ E longitude. It covers 155,707 km2 , which represents about 4.74% of the area of India. The climate of state is tropical with 1450mm average rainfall.
The 2011 Census established the State‟s population at 41.9 million, 16% of which lived in urban centres. The average population density is 270 persons per km2, compared to 382 for India. Odisha is a land of possibilities. The State is endowed with bountiful of resources, people, land, water, forest, minerals and other minor resources. The State is divided into 30 districts, of which Mayurbhanj is the largest (1042km2) and Jagatsinghpur the smallest (197km2). The districts are subdivided into 314 CD Blocks. There are 58 sub-divisions and 171 tahasils. According to 2001 census there are 51,349 villages and 6234 Gram Panchayats.(ORISSA STATE WATER PLAN, 2004).
Continue reading “Odisha Rivers Profile”
EAC against entertaining ‘anti-development’ representations The expert appraisal committee (EAC) on river valley and hydel projects of the Union Environment Ministry has decided “not to take any cognizance of such representations” received by its members. In its Dec. 30, 2016 meeting, the committee concluded that once a project proposal reaches the EAC for appraisal, it has crossed the stage of public consultation and “the EAC should not go back in time, and should not reopen it, by entertaining unsubstantiated representations received from the people”.
The EAC noted that in case of any clarification regarding action taken on such representations under the RTI Act, the EAC prescribed that a standard reply “action has been taken in accordance with the decisions taken in the 1st meeting of the EAC for River Valley and HEP on 30.12.2016” should suffice. “It was also felt that many of the objections raised are repetitive. Many such kind of representations have an anti-development attitude so that the projects are kept on hold or delayed. This has financial implications to the developers in particular and to the nation in general.
The committee emphasized that relevant ministries scrutinised every aspect of a project and proposed it for final appraisal only when all details were in place. If not satisfied that public consultation had been completed properly, the EAC said it could ask the project promoter to do the needful. The committee also made allowance for representations with “new points” and “grave consequences” on which comments from project proponents could be sought. The EAC considered 13 projects in its December 30 meeting and cleared eight of them.
Environmental activists, however, pointed out the impracticality of the contention that representations should be restricted to the 30-day public consultation window. Sripad Dharmadhikari also, in his blog has mentions various reasons to counter the EAC’s suspicious justifications. He also says that the fact that a body which is supposed to represent the environmental perspective displays such an attitude is the biggest critique of the EAC and the environmental clearance process that it is a part of. The newly constituted MOEF’s EAC on River Valley Projects has in their very first meeting shown anti people, anti democratic and anti environment attitude.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 16 Jan. 2017 (MoEF’s Expert Committee Shows Anti-People, Anti-Environment Biases)”