Large scale Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) are being promoted as must have infrastructure to control Urban sewage pollution in rivers across the country. However, most of the Large Scale STPs are mired in controversies from planning to construction and during operational phase, often failing to achieve the basic objective for which they are built, investing crores of rupees. A case in point is Ramna STP of Kashi, Uttar Pradesh. Interestingly, this is a story from Varanasi, many also call it Banaras, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.Continue reading “Uttar Pradesh: Curious Case of Ramna STP in Kashi”
Guest Blog by Manu Bhatnagar
Even as the water crisis gathers pace time is playing out a requiem for lakes and wetlands. Poor understanding of hydrology, greed driven capture of wetlands by real estate, the adoption of the shortest straight line path by infrastructure development agencies, the effort by engineers to make everything straight and neat by concretization, the plummeting of groundwater tables and the interception of free flowing surface runoff by alteration of basin characteristics are the major drivers of the rapid extinction of our waterbodies.Continue reading “Revival Of Hauz Khas Lake, Delhi: A Pioneering Adventure of INTACH”
Guest Article by: Ritu Rao
A short drive on the Golf Course Road in Dwarka followed by a turn towards Goyla Dairy and subsequently a sharp left just short of Goyla Dairy brings us to the famous Inspection Road /Embankment Road. Flanked by Najafgarh Drain on one side and the arable lands of Delhi on the other, the embankment road was constructed after the 1964 floods of Delhi. The thick mud embankments are covered with trees and shrubs which provide the much-needed habitat for the local flora and fauna to thrive. This thicket starts clearing off after Jhatikara crossing (say after about a half an hour drive on this road) and the Najafgarh drain suddenly transforms into a vast expanse of water known as the Najafgarh jheel. This spectacular sight continues for a good 5-6 kms before it once again narrows down into a stream. The road meets the now extinct Sahibi Nadi and Outfall from Drain No.8 at Dhansa, 5 km upstream of the jheel. The Sahibi Nadi which originates in Jaipur district and drains parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, now has diminished flow and disappears in the arid soil near Dharuhera after the Masani Barrage in Haryana. Once fed by the Sahibi nadi and storm water runoff from the surrounding areas, the Najafgarh jheel is now fed primarily by the waste water from the Badshahpur Drain and the Outfall Drain No.8 and the rain water in monsoons.Continue reading “NAJAFGARH JHEEL – SAGA OF A FORGOTTEN RIVER”
The sixth addition of India Rivers Day (IRD) 2019 held on Nov. 23 in New Delhi saw participation of scientists, academicians, experts, government officials and civil society groups. In the day long day seminar organized by India Rivers Forum (IRF) presentations, debates and panel discussion were held on the theme “Envisioning the Institutional Framework for River Governance in India”.
After honoring Mustaqueem Mallah with Bhagirath Prayas Samman (BPS) for his sustained efforts made in revival Katha river, Manoj Misra, member Organizing Committee (OC) IRF, presented the summary of “Rejuvenating Ganga A Citizen’s Report”. The report highlighted that most of the government work under Ganga Action Plan (GAP) and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is done on the main stem of Ganga river which forms only three per cent of the entire basin.
For last 22 years, 14 March is celebrated globally as International Day of Action for Rivers.
As per India Rivers Week Assessment 70 per cent of our rivers are facing existential threats. Over 60 per cent of sewage generated in India is dumped untreated in rivers and water bodies. As per latest official assessment the number of polluted river stretches in country has increased to 352 from 302 two years ago. Similarly the number of critically polluted stretches has gone up to 45 from 34 in two years. Our rivers are facing lack flow, pollution, encroachments, unsustainable mining and destruction of habitat. In mountains, streams are running dry for most of the time, while in urban areas they are over loaded with pollution.
Amid this gloomy scenario, many small initiatives are being taken to reverse the plight of our rivers. This compilation shows few of such recent and inspiring initiatives.
In a mountain village in southwest China’s Sichuan province, authorities have demolished seven small dam projects this year along a river to clear illegal developments in a new nature reserve. The demolition is part of a nationwide programme to close hundreds of tiny and often ramshackle dams and turbines and bring order to China’s massive hydropower sector after years of unconstrained construction.
The dams sat on an unnamed tributary of the fierce and flood-prone Dadu river, which feeds into the Yangtze, Asia’s largest and longest river, where the government says the “irregular development” of thousands of small hydropower projects has wrecked the ecology. But green groups say the campaign will not necessarily save the environment because it will not affect big state hydropower stations, which they say have caused the most damage.
On the 48 km Zhougong, authorities have already demolished small projects built in nature reserves or encroaching upon new “ecological red lines” drawn up to shield a quarter of China’s territory from development.
The government says small dams have disrupted the habitats and breeding patterns of many rare species of fish, although green groups argue the damage wrought by bigger dams is more severe, with entire towns and ecosystems submerged in water, which they say increases the risk of earthquakes, landslides and even climate change.
The health and future of our country is critically dependent on the health of our rivers. To compromise upon our rivers’ health is to endanger our own existence and future. Most of the urban rivers in Maharashtra are in poor state affected by problems like pollution, with little or no biodiversity, little or no flow during most of the year, encroachment, dumping of waste, concretization and sometimes even mining. Water pollution from Urban Industrial effluents is a serious problem for the river, floodplain as well as ground water. With unplanned development, as the floodplains and riverbeds are being encroached, we are experiencing increased intensity and frequency of floods and flash floods. This can lead to an increasing possibility of water scarcity, depletion of groundwater levels and drought in spite of rains. Continue reading “Pune Dialogue on Urban Rivers of Maharashtra on April 20-21, 2018”
Guest Blog by Manu Bhatnagar, INTACH
During India Rivers Day on Nov 25, 2017, a Gazetteer on Hindon River, part of Yamuna River basin in North India, was released by Shri Shashi Shekhar, former secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources, Govt of India. It is first in a series of River Gazetteer that India Rivers Week hopes to bring out. Each Gazetteer is expected to provide a overview of various aspects of the concerned river basin. The Hindon River Gazetteer, titled “Reviving Hindon River: A Basin Approach” has been brought out by INTACH. This is the first attempt at building a basin level picture of a medium river. The document, we hope, would serve as a first template subsequent gazetteers on other rivers. We invite feedback from all concerned.
This article provides an overview of the contents of the Hindon River Gazetteer. For hard copy of the Gazetteerr, please contact: Manu Bhatnagar firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a 248 + xi page report in addition to additional maps provided for pull out viewing. The report is divided into five chapters has five annexures, 158 images, 75 maps (pullout maps are additional) and 77 tables. One of the short comings of the quickly brought out publication is that it does not contain list of acronyms used in the report.
देश की नदियों की दुर्दशा किसी से छिपी नहीं है। एक ओर नदियों का जलप्रवाह लगातार घट रहा है, दूसरी ओर उनमें प्रदूषण की मात्रा चिंताजनक स्तर पर पहुॅच गई है। बढ़ती बॉध, पनबिजली, सिंचाई परियोजनाओं, भूजल दोहन, वनविनाश, बाढ़ भूमि अतिक्रमण और अवैध खनन से हमारी नदियों की जैवविविधता पर विपरीत प्रभाव सामने आ रहे हैं। साथ में नदियों पर गुजर बसर करने वाले मछवारों, मल्लाहों, किसानों की आजीविका पर गंभीर खतरा मंडरा रहा है।
इन सबके बीच, नदियों को बचाने के सरकारी प्रयास नाकेवल नाकाफी और निष्फल साबित हो रहे है, अपितु अब यह स्पष्ट है कि नदी विरोधी सरकारी योजनाओं के चलते ही छोटी बडी जलधाराएॅ सूख रही है, मैला हो रही है और बाढ़ के समय आपदा का कारण भी बन रही है। वास्तव में नदी संरक्षण संबंधी नियम कानूनों और व्यापक जनभागीदारी के अभाव के चलते आज हमारी जीवनदायनी नदियॉ, खुद के स्वछंद बहते जल को तरस रही है।
इन्हीं सब महत्वपूर्ण मुद्दों को उजागर करने के लिए 25 नवम्बर 2017 को दिल्ली भारतीय नदी दिवस समारोह आयोजित किया गया। इस बार के एक दिवसीय आयोजन में शहरी नदियों को केंद्र में रखकर मनाया गया। कार्यक्रम में भारत के विभिन्न क्षेत्रों से अस्सी से अधिक सरकारी विभागों -गैरसरकारी संस्थाओं से जुडे़ नदीप्रेमियों, चितंको और विचारकों ने भाग किया। यह कार्यक्रम वर्ष 2014 से निरंतर मनाया जा रहा है। हर साल की तरह, इस बार भी देश में नदियों को बचाने में संघर्षरत व्यक्तियों और नदी संगठनों को ‘भगीरथ प्रयास सम्मान’ से नवाजा गया। प्रभावी नदी लेखन, छायांकन और चित्रण के माध्यम से नदियों की आवाज उठाने वाले मीडियाकर्मी के लिए, इस साल से अनुपम मिश्र मैमोरियल मैडल का शुभांरभ किया गया।
From left Arti Kumar Rao, winner of first ever Anupam Misra Memorial Award, Mahavir Singh Sukarlai, of Prayavaran Kisan Sanghrash Samiti, Pali; Winner of BPS 2017 in individual category and S. Ramachandran and Eby Emmaunuel of Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi, Kerala; Winner of BPS 2017 in organization category.
The eventful India Rivers Day (IRD) has just concluded. It was held on 25 November 2017 at INTACH Delhi office. The theme for this year was ‘Rivers in the Urban Context’. An exhibition on the issue is open till December 01, 2017. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/exhibition-on-indias-urban-rivers-at-india-rivers-day-2017/
The program started with the welcome address by Manoj Misra. It was followed by an introductory speech on the theme by Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP in which he described the deteriorating relationships between urban rivers and citizens and how urban areas are treating their rivers as parasite.
In the key note address by Dr. Ravi Chopra of PSI threw light on the lost, ignored and abused rivers in Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun and Chennai.