In a recent article Ashwin B Pandya, Former, Chairman Central Water Commission (CWC) refuses to acknowledge either the adverse impacts of dams or the better option of using groundwater aquifer for storing water. And thus making unscientific arguments against dam decommissioning and for dams. No one is talking of removal ALL dams as the author seems to postulate and then dismiss it as impossible and irresponsible.
When Central Government is trying to push Ken Betwa link project terming it as beneficial for both Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, local people of Banda are now also protesting against it, in addition to the people of Panna that are already opposing it. On Feb. 13, 2018, the Ken Bachao Samiti comprising of farmers, citizens and social workers in Banda sat on a Dharna before district magistrate office. The group have also sent a memorandum to the President of India, demanding immediate cancelling of the project. Raising serious concerns over environmental and social of the linking project, they asked demanded proper impact assessment and public consultation and said the project wont be allowed to go forward. Indeed, as they have said, there has been no downstream impact assessment and people of Banda are likely to loose their river. https://www.livehindustan.com/uttar-pradesh/banda/story-demonstrate-against-ken-betwa-alliance-1800951.html (Hindustan Hindi,13 Feb. 2018)
The Prime Minister, on Dec 16, 2017, while dedicating to nation the 60 MW Turial HEP, should have also mentioned:
– PUBLIC PROTESTS: The project faced strong protests from local people, so much so that work had to be stopped for over 7 years from 2004 to 2011. Even a day before PM dedicated the project, people took out a protest march.
– NO PUBLIC CONSULTATION: One of the reasons people protested was that the project did not have any proper public consultation.
– NO PROPER IMPACT ASSESSMENT: Another reason for people’s anger was no proper environment or social impact assessment, or proper compensation and rehabilitation.
– HIGH COST: The project cost was Rs 368.72 Crores, but now already has gone above Rs 1441 crores officially, likely to go up further. That means per MW cost is already above Rs 24 crores, one of the highest in the country. WHO WILL PAY THE HIGH COST OF ELECTRICITY FROM THE PROJECT?
– HUGE COST ESCALATION from Rs 369 crores to over Rs 1440 crores
– HUGE TIME OVER RUN: The project was supposed to be completed many decades back but has seen huge time over run, not only because of protests, but also because of inadequate mobilisation by the contractor, poor approach road, power house slope failure, among many other reasons.
This latest project once again shows that big hydro is no longer viable, one wishes, the Prime Minister would also highlight these realities in his speeches.
A brilliant coverage by NDTV INDIA at PRIME TIME (08 Dec 2017) on so many issues related to the proposed controversial Pancheshwar Dam, World’s tallest dam in the Himalayas that has neither credible impact assessment nor proper public hearings. Please watch and share.
Meanwhile, residents and various political organizations at Almora, Pithoragarh and Jhulaghat staged a protest against public hearings held for environmental clearance of Pancheshwar projec, saying that the sessions were unfair and flouted procedure. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/pancheshwar-row-residents-protest-against-public-hearings/articleshow/61946615.cms
The wrong process of dam clearance for the Pancheshwar and Rupaligad Dams have been strongly condemned by Mahakali Lok Sangathan, Uttarakhand Parivartan Party, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, the National Alliance of People’s Movements: Uttarakhand Akta Manch, Delhi Solidarity Group and others. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1874936619200669
2005 से 2008 के बीच पन्ना जिले की कलेक्टर ने अपने कार्यकाल के दौरान केन-बेतवा परियोजना के बारे में अपने शीर्ष अधिकारियों और विभागों को पत्रों की एक श्रृंखला लिखी थी। इन पत्रों में उन्होंने एक चौंकानेवाला निष्कर्ष दिया था कि यदि केन बेसिन के लोगों की पानी की बुनियादी जरूरतें पूरी की जाए, तो केन नदी में कोई अतिरिक्त पानी ही नहीं बचेगा। उन्होंने यहाँ तक लिखा था कि केन-बेतवा नदी जोड़ो परियोजना केन बेसिन के लोगों के लिए एक त्रासदी होगी।
एसएएनडीआरपी (SANDRP) को मिले दस्तावेजों से यह पता चलता है कि 2005 से 2008 के बीच पन्ना कलेक्टर के रूप में अपने कार्यकाल के दौरान उन्होंने केन बेतवा परियोजना को रोकने के लिए कड़ा संघर्ष किया था। उन्होंने दिखाया था कि यदि मध्य प्रदेश 1983 के अपने जल संसाधन मास्टर प्लान को केन बेसिन में लागू करता, तो बेतवा बेसिन में भेजने के लिए कोई पानी ही नहीं बचता। इसे देखते हुए उन्होंने हताश होकर अंततः यह निष्कर्ष निकाला कि केन-बेतवा परियोजना “पन्ना जिले के निवासियों और केन नदी बेसिन के अन्य जिलों के लिए विनाशकारी दुष्परिणामों वाली होगी।”
In a remarkable development, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on October 24 has suspended the clearances given to the 1750-megawatt (MW) Demwe Lower Hydroelectric Project (HEP) planned on the Lohit river in Arunachal Pradesh.
In its detailed order, released on October 27, the NGT ruled that the Environment Minister as Chairperson of the National Board for Wildlife (NWBL), a statutory body constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, could not “just brush aside” the views of the majority of NBWL standing committee members.
Suspending the clearances given by the Centre and the state govt, the NGT order added that “the decision taken by the Standing Committee is not in accordance with established principles of law and hence the Standing Committee shall reconsider the issue and pass appropriate orders within a period of six months from the date of the judgment”.
Environmental clearance for the project was given by the Union environment ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for river valley and hydroelectric projects back in 2009. An in-principle forest clearance for the Lower project was given in February 2012 and agreed upon in 2013.
However, the in-principle clearance of the project was opposed by a majority of the Standing Committee of the NBWL but subsequently cleared by the then-environment minister of state (independent charge), Jayanthi Natarajan, who was also the chairperson of the Standing Committee.
Natarajan is currently under the CBI’s scanner for alleged anomalies in clearance given for diversion of land in Saranda forest in Singhbhum district, Jharkhand to mining company Electrosteel during the previous UPA regime.
The NGT said that it is “of the view that either the Chairperson (Natarajan) should have given a proper reason for rejecting the objection of the majority of the non-official members or the decision ought to have been arrived at based on the opinion of the majority of the members. Even though the Standing Committee is a recommendatory body, the same being a statutory committee, is bound by the laudable principles of justice and fair play”.
Over 250 residents along with environmentalists, activists and members of civil societies formed a human chain at Elliot’s beach on Oct 28, asking State Govt to protect the wetlands, rivers, environment in Ennore creek area from willful destruction of govt agencies and industries. The human chain was joined by all the walk of society irrespective of age group from kids to senior citizens who were holding placards that explain the sorry state of Ennore Creek. http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/residents-chennai-form-human-chain-save-ennore-creek-70724
The Coastal Resource Centre and members of the Save Ennore campaign organized the human chain to raise awareness in the city ahead of the monsoons about the encroachments in Ennore Creek, a backwater located in Thiruvallur district. Residents from all 52 villages in Ennore, who have witnessed the ecology die a slow death, also joined the rally, hoping that the govt would react.
Industrial effluents from the thermal power stations here and domestic sewage from North Chennai have killed various fish species. More than 1000 acres of Kosasthalaiyar River’s backwaters have already been lost due to the deposition of fly ash by the Tangedco units. http://chennai.citizenmatters.in/chennai-human-chain-ennore-creek-encroachment-2862
As per the online petition, ten Lakh Chennai residents are at higher risk of disastrous flooding because Govt of Tamil Nadu has allowed Kamarajar Port to convert 1000 acres of Ennore wetlands into industrial real estate. Chennai has barely recovered from the 2015 floods. Don’t let Chennai get flooded again.
Above: Ken River in Panna district (Photo by SANDRP)
In a series of letters that then collector of Panna district wrote when she was collector of this Bundelkhand district for close to three and a half years, she made startling conclusion that Ken river has no surplus water, if the basic water needs of people of Ken Basin residents are fulfilled. The documents that SANDRP has now received show that during her tenure as Panna collector between 2005 and 2008, she fought hard to stop the Ken Betwa project. She showed that if the Madhya Pradesh’s own water resources master plan of 1983 were to be implemented in Ken Basin, there would be no water left for export to Betwa basin. An exasperated IAS officer ultimately had to conclude that the Ken Betwa project “holds disastrous implications for the residents of Panna district as also other districts of the Ken river basin.” Continue reading ““Ken Betwa Project is Disaster for Ken Basin People, there is NO surplus water in Ken Basin”: Panna Collector”
This week there have been three incidents of canals and dam breach in three States raising concern over quality of construction of dams and canals in India.
All these incidents are a result of negligence exercised by concerned departments. These incidents also proves that the quality of construction of dams and canals in India is not as par standard.
It is surprising that no government official or private contractor has been held responsible for these avoidable incidents. To avoid recurrence of such incidents, governments of these states bring the involved officials and persons to justice. It also strictly monitor the quality of construction to avoid wastage of public money. The safety of the public is also uncompromising and hence should not rush through the irrigation projects without proper consultation care.
The news media is filled with this new kid on the block, trying to wake the nation about the need to save our rivers… amazing to see so many film stars, politicians, governments, and public personalities, many of them rather innocently joining the band wagon… some friends were pleading that see, he is able to take the message of rivers to so many people, including lakhs of children… let us try and see if there is something positive here… may be, may be this is just the entry point, but the guy and his team have bigger vision? May be we need to give him longer rope, be more charitable and not jump to negativity?
We have kept all this in mind while writing this.
We see nothing from the people who are leading the rally, or their websites or messages that they understand the real threats faced by and reasons for the state of our rivers, are ready to even list such causes or protest any further move to destroy our rivers. The website claims it is “a nationwide awareness campaign to revive our rivers”. Can missed call save our rivers?