Book Review · Narmada

Book Review: Narmada Valley’s gripping story!

Guest blog by Abhilash Khandekar

BOOK: Rediscovering Narmada Valley; Author: Adil Khan; Publishers: Niyogi Books, New Delhi; 2020; Pages-208; Price: Rs 695/-

A life-giving organism can not be controversial, but in India rivers that ought to be naturally free-flowing have been made controversial by policy makers and politicians over the past few decades. Narmada is one of them! Continue reading “Book Review: Narmada Valley’s gripping story!”

Indian Meteorological Department · Monsoon · Rainfall

District Wise rainfall in India in June 2020

Here we present the rainfall figures from India Meteorological Department in the just concluded month of June 2020, the first month of SW Monsoon 2020. The overall rainfall at all India level in June 2020 was 196.2 mm, 18% above normal rainfall in the month at 166.9 mm. It was 33% deficit last year.

This is India’s wettest June 12 years, The Times of India reported on July 1, 2020. Agriculture Ministry Data shows that sowing is 68% higher at 31.56 m ha. The June rainfall was 202 mm in 2008, the rainfall this year is the highest since then. All four IMD regions (Northwest, Central, South, East & NE) have recorded surplus rainfall, the surplus is the highest in Central (30.5% surplus) and E-NE (15.7%) regions. North West India had the lowest surplus at 3.5%. IMD Head Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that whole of India was covered by monsoon on June 26, 12 days ahead of the normal date of July 8.

State wise rainfall Three states had large excess rainfall (above 60% surplus rainfall), namely Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim. Eight states/UTs (Union Territories) had excess rainfall (20-59% surplus): Assam, Meghalaya, UP, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh & Andaman and Nicobar. Nine had deficient rainfall (20-59% deficit): Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Manipur, J&K, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Dadar & Nagar Haveli. Rest of India had Normal Rainfall. Continue reading “District Wise rainfall in India in June 2020”

Groundwater · Ken River

Groundwater in Bundelkhand: Unique geological features in upper Ken River catchment need to be conserved

Guest Blog by Seema Ravandale, People’s Science Institute, Dehradun

Kathayi (Shahnagar, Panna district), a ST (Scheduled Tribe) dominated village with 75 household amid the forested area of Shahnagar block, faces acute water scarcity during summer season – almost for 3-4 months. Under the government schemes, three wells and two hand pumps were installed in last 10-15 years, but most of them are dysfunctional. The problem becomes acute in the months of May-June, when there is a shortage of water everywhere and only perennial spring in the village supplies drinking water to 75 families. Women have to spend whole night queueing to fetch water. After a lot of perusal, water tanker was provided by Gram Panchayat, but supply is intermittent. Continue reading “Groundwater in Bundelkhand: Unique geological features in upper Ken River catchment need to be conserved”

Rainfall

State wise rainfall Pre Monsoon 2020 & Post monsoon 2019

India Meteorological Department (IMD) divides a water year (June 1 to May 31) into four seasons: Monsoon: (June 1 to Sept 30), Post monsoon (Oct 1 to Dec 31), Winter (Jan 1 to Feb 28/9) and Pre Monsoon (March 1 to May 31). For rainfall during all these seasons, IMD’s hydro-meteorological website[i] provides a lot of data on daily basis, including daily district wise rainfall, state-wise, sub division wise and river wise daily rainfall maps among many other weekly, monthly and seasonal products. However, one problem with it is that none of this information is achieved. So if you missed seeing or downloading available data on any date, there is no way to look at it even next day. This is even true of the seasonal rainfall maps, unfortunately.

Most observers look at the monsoon rainfall data, which is clearly the most important season, without doubt. However, the rainfall in other seasons is also very important from a number of perspectives.

Here we are giving a detailed account of the pre-monsoon season rainfall that India received in the season just ended on May 31, 2020, including state wise, sub division wise, river wise and also district wise figures. Along with it, we also provide the figures of post monsoon figures for the just concluded water year. For the winter season (Jan-Feb 2020) we have only the figures for Jan 2020 since we missed downloading the Feb 2020 figures. We had already provided the monsoon 2019 figures through two blogs in October 2019[ii].

Continue reading “State wise rainfall Pre Monsoon 2020 & Post monsoon 2019”

Betwa River

Photo blog: Walking Upstream the River-The Betwa and its people

Guest Blog by Mohit M Rao

The impetuous flow of River Betwa is the lodestar for Astha Choudhary and Mohit M. Rao, who for the first 14 days of December 2019, walk from the historic city of Orccha to the confluence of Betwa and Bina rivers. The walk, as part of Veditum’s Moving Upstream fellowship, traverses through forests, endless fields of florescent-green wheat fields, overflowing streams and the rocky banks of the river. Fueling the 270-km journey is the kindness of villagers along the way.

The map below depicts the walking route, stretching to some 270-km, from Orccha to Padoccha in the South where the Betwa and Bina rivers converge. The 14 day journey saw us halt in the friendly homes of villagers or in temples or religious institutions for the night. Three major dams and two barrages were seen along the way. The photo story aims to encapsulate the landscape, its forests and the joys and concerns of the riparian communities for whom River Betwa is a lifeline. Continue reading “Photo blog: Walking Upstream the River-The Betwa and its people”

Culture · Narmada

Experience of Narmada Parikrama in 2020: a 3500 km pilgrimage along the river

Guest Blog by Jubin Mehta

Narmada is a sacred river originating in the Maikal Hills of central India from a place called Amarkantak. Parikrama is a Sanskrit word derived from the root ‘pari‘ meaning around and ‘krama‘ meaning going. And hence, Narmada Parikrama means circumambulating the river. This is a spiritual/religious tradition of the Hindus existing from centuries wherein pilgrims start walking from any point along the river after collecting Narmadaji’s water in a vial and start walking with the river to their right.

If a person has started from the north bank, they’d walk upstream to the origin of the river in Amarkantak, cross over from beyond the origin point, come to the south bank and walk downstream till the point where the river meets the ocean in south Gujarat. From here, pilgrims board a large boat for an estimated four to seven hours to cross over and reach back to north bank at a place called Mithi Talai. From here, the pilgrim starts walking upstream again to arrive again at the point where they started from. At the end of the journey, pilgrims go to the super sacred Omkareshwar which is one of the 12 ‘Jyotirlingas’ and also a river island which means a person cannot go to this point during the parikrama. One of the rules of the walk is that a person cannot cross over the river and go to the other bank or in the middle. At Omkareshwar, the pilgrim pours back the water that she collected in a vial when she started the walk and completes the parikrama. Continue reading “Experience of Narmada Parikrama in 2020: a 3500 km pilgrimage along the river”

Sand Mining

Madhya Pradesh River Sand Mining 2019: Rivers mined Dry; Govt not bothered

The residents of villages abutting the sanctuary see sand mining as an important livelihood option because agriculture in the arid region is neither productive nor dependable. (HT Photo )

Madhya Pradesh is at the forefront of illegal sand mining activities. There have been violent attacks on government officials, reporters and villagers in recent years. The year 2019 saw change in state government and concerned people were hopeful that things will turn better now. However this overview shows not much have changed for rivers and people while attacks and fatalities continued in 2019.

Continue reading “Madhya Pradesh River Sand Mining 2019: Rivers mined Dry; Govt not bothered”

Agriculture · Disasters · Rainfall

44% above normal rainfall in Oct 2019 creates hopes for Rabi, Disaster for Kharif crops at many places

The Oct 2019 rainfall all over India was 109.7 mm, 44% above normal expected rainfall of 76 mm, following 53% above normal in Sept 2019. The rainfall this month has been unusual and has had some major impacts. One of the reasons has been that the SW monsoon withdrawal continued well into Oct 2019, when it almost always gets over by the end of Sept. There were also several cyclonic circulations and depressions mostly from Arabian sea. Continue reading “44% above normal rainfall in Oct 2019 creates hopes for Rabi, Disaster for Kharif crops at many places”

Chambal · Dam floods

Man made National Crisis at Gandhi Sagar Dam in Sept 2019

Its not everyday that Government of India’s National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meets. It’s even rarer when the NCMC meets to deal with issues related to a dam. And that too on a Sunday.

The National Crisis So when on Sunday, Sept 15, 2019, the Cabinet Secretary chaired the NCMC meeting[i] to discuss the issues surrounding the Gandhi Sagar Dam on Chambal river in Madhya Pradesh (close to Rajasthan border) and called it a National Crisis, it signified how serious was the situation. Continue reading “Man made National Crisis at Gandhi Sagar Dam in Sept 2019”