Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 01 January 2018 (NGT Ordered Com on Subansiri: MoEF Again Fails To Understand Conflict of Interest)

As per NGT’s October 16, order, the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) was asked to set up a “neutral” panel to objectively consider conflicting recommendations that have stalled the 2,000-MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (HEP) on the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border and come up with an “independent opinion” in three months.

The NGT said this was the only way to break the six-year logjam that has stalled a project vital to the “national interest.”

Contrary to this, MoEF on November 16, 2017 has set up a three-member panel with experts -who or their organisations- have all backed NHPC’s positions on the project in the past: Prabhas Pande, I D Gupta and P M Scott.

Pande retired as Additional Director General of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in 2011. The GSI researched the Subansiri project and was part of the National Committee on Seismic Design Parameters (NCSDP) which cleared the project based on seismic design parameters which are currently under dispute. Scott is chief engineer, Brahmaputra and Barak Basin, Central Water Commission (CWC), which has been involved in conceiving and reviewing the Subansiri project. Both the Dam Design Review Panel (DDRP) and the NCSDP had members from the CWC.

Between 2009 and 2013, Gupta was director of Pune-based Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS) which was involved in the designing process of the Subansiri project. As director, CWPRS, Gupta was also part of the NCSDP which re-examined the seismic design parameters of the project and held, in March 2013, that further revisions were not required.

After completing his tenure as director, CWPRS, Gupta attended at least two meetings — in December 2013 at Guwahati and in December 2014 at Delhi — as an “Expert from the Government of India” and contradicted views of the Assam Expert Group on quake-related dam safety issues.

As per the NGT order, this panel had to meet members of earlier committees, NHPC officials and applicants in the case before the Tribunal. However, applicant Tularam Gogoi, a Guwahati-based lawyer and former vice-president of All Assam Students Union (AASU), refused to meet the panel at its first meeting in Delhi on December 21-22 and served the ministry with a legal notice alleging “bias and conflict of interest which will prejudice the decision-making.”

Gogoi alleged that all three experts were from organisations that had green-flagged the project design in the past over-ruling objections raised by the Assam Expert Group, a committee set up by the state government to examine the project in 2007.

Conceived as the country’s largest hydel project, Subansiri lower dam construction began in 2005 and over Rs 6,000 crore was already spent by NHPC Ltd before work was suspended due to local opposition in 2011.

This is amazing, why does the govt NOT want to restart work on Lower Subansiri? By trying to FIX the outcome of the “INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE” as mandated by NGT, by selecting KNOWN PRO PROJECT PEOPLE, they are ensuring that it will have NO credibility. And that is not going to help in restarting the project. Amazing, they learn NOTHING after achieving six year stoppage of project. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/hydel-project-ngt-wants-neutral-panel-centre-picks-known-experts-5003166/ (The Indian Express 29 December 2017)


Sikkim Teesta III Hydro Project Running Energy Loss & Harming Environment Reports of the Ministry of Power (MOP) and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) indicate that the 1200 MW Teesta stage III hydro power project suffered an energy loss of over 1450 million units during the period June-September 2017. The loss is accountable to the non-completion of the 400 kv dc transmission line of Teesta III from Sikkim to Kishanganj Bihar. This highlights many imp issues related to Teesta III: https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/teesta-hydropower-project-running-losses-harming-environment (The Quint, 31 December 2017)

Also see, Tussles over Teesta The story of a tug-of-war over a river is the fruition of a year-long research exploring various conflicts and hydropolitics in the Teesta river basin, shared by India and Bangladesh, and tries to unearth domestic-transboundary linkages and provide pragmatic solutions. https://gaurinoolkar.wordpress.com/

Uttarakhand  Hydro project  on Song river proposed To provide drinking water to a large population from Rajpur to Lal Tappar in Dehradun, CM on Dec 25 has announced construction of a hydro power dam on Song River. He also laid the foundation stone of projects worth Rs 85.97 crores of PWD and irrigation department on the occasion. The other projects unveiled included head extension and rejuvenation work of Jolly Grant canal, rejuvenation of Badowala and Doodhli- Kishanpur grant canals. http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/dehradun/dam-on-song-river–will-solve-drinking-water-problem-cm.html (The Pioneer, 26 December 2017)

Song is one of the largest rivers that drains central and eastern part of the Doon Valley. A tributary of Sooswa river, which in turn is a tributary of the Ganges, it originates as spring-fed stream in the southern slopes of the Mussoorie ridge of the Himalayan range and runs from Dhanaulti towards Narendra Nagar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_river_(Dehradun) (As on 26 December 2017)

In another separate development surrounding the Song river, around 25 villagers of Gohri Mafi situated on the outskirts of Rajaji Tiger Reserve are protesting since the last two days inside the core area of the reserve demanding a flood control wall to protect their village from the Song river, a tributary of the Ganga.

The Gohri Mafi village, situated on the outskirts of Rajaji Tiger Reserve, is home to around 350 people. The authorities had started constructing a wall three years ago but the NGT had stopped the work as it was flouting guidelines. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/villagers-sit-on-dharna-inside-rajaji-demand-flood-control-wall/articleshow/62318088.cms (The Times of India, 31 December 2017)

Centre Status of Hydro Small Hydro Projects upto Nov 2017 Statement of Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh, in Lok Sabha on Dec 28: A total 1085 small hydro power projects with aggregate capacity of 4399.355 MW capacity have been set up upto Nov 2017 & 7133 Small Hydro Project potential sites have been identified with aggregate capacity of 21,133.65 MW.  Against the, 1085 small hydro power projects aggregating to 4399.355 MW capacity have been set up (by Nov 2017) while work on 140 sites aggregating to 772.56 MW is ongoing.- Highest capacity: 1. Karnataka: 1230.73 MW; 2. Himachal Pradesh: 842.11 MW; 3. Maharashtra: 347.375 MW. Explore the link to see State wise number of Small Hydro Projects installed. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1514461 (PIB; 28 December 2017)  

Another PIB release shows that even small hydro projects are not doing well as out of total 27.07GW capacity addition of renewable energy reported during the last two and half years under Grid Connected Renewable Power only 0.59 GW is from Small Hydro Power.

Programme/ Scheme wise Physical Progress in year 2017-18 (Jan0- Nov 2017)
Sector FY- 2017-18
Achievement (Jan-Nov 2017) Cumulative Achievement as on 30.11.2017
Wind Power 4046.44 32746.87
Solar Power 7599.31 16611.73
Small Hydro Power 64.80 4399.35
Bio Power (Biomass & Gasification and Bagasse Cogeneration)# 60.95 8181.70
Waste to Power 16.00 114.08
Total 11787.50 62053.73

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174832 (PIB, December 2017)


SANDRP Report Is the Pancheshwar Dam really needed?  The question is whether such a large hydropower project should come up in the ecologically sensitive Himalayas, already besieged by climate change and melting glaciers. It’s clear that even if we were to set aside the social and environmental costs and risks for a moment, even in terms of pure economics the project is unviable. So are we going to allow such a disastrous, risky and unviable project so that some businesses can make money?  http://www.civilsocietyonline.com/cover-story/will-the-pancheshwar-dam-do-more-harm-than-good/ (Civil Society, December 2017)

Mahakali River: Image Credit Manoj Matwal (Mannu Daffali) 

Highlighting serious discrepancies in Project SIA, Mahakali Lok Sangathan says that 84% of land compensation will be received by only 23 villages, while around 134 villages will be affected by the project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/23-families-will-get-bulk-compensation-for-pancheshwar-dam/articleshow/62257885.cms (The Times of India, 27 December 2017)  

On December 30, renowned Narmada activist, Medha Patkar during her visit to Haldwani has termed the dam a disaster for society and Himalayas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/pancheshwar-dam-a-disaster-will-shake-himalayas-patkar/articleshow/62310117.cms (The Times on India, 31 December 2017)

Farraka Dam Siltation Problem Arial survey of Ganga river done Arial survey of Ganga river form Buxar to Farraka has been done by Central Govt team led by Arun Kumar Sinha of Ganga Flood Control Commission. NN Roy, director, National Water Commission, Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP, Indu Bhusan Kumar, technical consultant, state water resources department and K Murlidhar Singh, chief engineer, water resources department, Gopalganj, were accompanying Sinha were other members of the team. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/bihar/ganga-silt-worries-experts-196735 (The Telegraph, 28 December 2017)

Sardar Sarovar Dam SSNNL begins work to change structure of Narmada canal The flow of water in the 458-km-long canal will remain affected over the next nine days as engineers will construct bypass canals at four downstream locations. PROMPTED BY the devastating floods in July this year, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) on Dec 27, 2017 started work to effect changes in the structure of Narmada main canal in Patan and Banaskantha districts.

– The flow of water in the 458-km-long canal will remain affected over the next nine days as engineers will construct bypass canals at four downstream locations. The bypass canals will divert flow of water from NMC to allow changes in its structures at Kasra village of Patna taluka in Patan district, Khariya and Ranakpur villages in Kankrej taluka of Banaskantha district and Runi village in Dhanera taluka of Banaskantha. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/ssnnl-begins-work-to-change-structure-of-narmada-canal/ (The Indian Express, 28 December 2017)

Maharashtra Dam projects cost rose by Rs 40,000 cr: NCP The NCP on Dec 28 asked DM Devendra Fadnavis to clarify on whether or not the cost escalation in 307 irrigation projects since he took over in October 2014 amounted to graft.

“In the last three years, 307 projects were given revised administrative approval worth Rs 40,000 crore,” Malik, former minister, claimed.

– For central irrigation projects worth Rs 20,000 crore under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme, the state was to bear 40 per cent and Centre 60 per cent of the total cost, he said.

– “The Fadnavis government sent a revised administrative approval proposal of Rs 12,000 crore to the Centre which was rejected. Fadnavis should clarify what led to the rejection,” Malik said. http://www.firstpost.com/india/ncp-alleges-rs-40000-crore-irrigation-scam-in-maharashtra-questions-approvals-for-cost-escalations-4279499.html (First Post, 28 December 2017) (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/dam-projects-cost-rose-by-rs-40000cr-ncp/articleshow/62283811.cms The Times of India, 29 December 2017)

Polavaram Dam Centre should look into rehab of displaced: CPI Senior CPI leader D Raja met PM Modi and told him that central laws are not being implemented for the rehabilitation of those displaced because of the project. In a memorandum submitted to the PM, Raja and his party colleague K Narayana said land acquisition and forest rights acts and the central national rehabilitation policy of 2008 are not being implemented in the Polavaram project. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/polavaram-dam-centre-should-look-into-rehab-of-displaced-says-cpi-5004461/ (The Indian Express 30 December 2017)

In another interesting move Congress party has decided to launch the Polavaram ‘maha padayatra’ on January 7 from Dowleswaram barrage and it will be inaugurated by Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy. Addressing the media here on Saturday, APCC president N. Raghuveera Reddy said the three-day padayatra would conclude on January 10 at the Polavaram dam site, where a “mass satyagraha” would be staged. Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge would address a public meeting on that day. Farmers from all the 13 districts of the State would participate, he said.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/congress-to-launch-polavaram-maha-padayatra-on-january-7/article22335994.ece (The Hindu, 30 December 2017)

About Polavaram Coffer dam controversy: “Experts of the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) have come up with a “via media” solution to the Polavaram cofferdam problem raised by the Union Ministry of Water Resources. The experts, in a report to the Central government, have suggested that water could be diverted into the canals by building the main earth-cum-rock filled (ECRF) dam halfway into the Godavari and then constructing a temporary dam to bridge the gap. The ECRF dam could be completed in the subsequent season.”

– A nationalised bank has filed a petition in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) demanding that the prime contractor of the project, Transstroy, be declared insolvent. The firm owes the bank ₹725 crore. While the outstanding is ₹490 crore, the contingent liability is to the tune of ₹380 crore. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/cofferdam-issue-end-to-stalemate-in-sight/article22335328.ece (The Hindu, 30 December 2017)

Andhra Pradesh Prakasham dam turns 60, some interesting facts The barrage has been built at a point where River Krishna passes through a narrow gorge and enters the plains of the Coramandel Coast. It replaced an anicut built by the British in 1852 a little downstream. The anicut was designed by none other than Sir Arthur Cotton and built by a naval engineer Capitain Charles Orr for the irrigation of just 5.80 lakh acres in the districts of West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam. The anicut, built by Captain Orr, breached exactly 100 years after its construction. The present barrage was constructed between 1954 and 1957 at a cost of ₹2.278 crore. It was named after the first CM of the state Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu who laid the foundation stone. The ayacut of the barrage which is 12 feet higher than the anicut, is 13.08 lakh acres. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/prakasam-barrage-anniversary-fete-today/article22321335.ece (The Hindu, 29 December 2017)

Center Year End Review 2017 –Cabinet Decisions Gist note on important cabinet decisions taken in 2017 concerning to Environment, Agriculture, Water, Renewable Energy, Irrigation etc. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174838


Ken Betwa Link Drought triggers large-scale migration in Bundelkhand Huge rainfall deficits lead to large scale migration from Bundelkhand districts of Tikamgarh (highest rainfall deficit and drop in Rabi sowing), Chhattarpur, Panna and Damoh districts. The govt, unfortunately, only pushes destructive Ken Betwa Project that will further destroy Bundelkhand and facilitate water export to Upper Betwa districts, rather than addressing other viable, lower cost and immediate options. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/drought-triggers-large-scale-migration-in-bundelkhand/story-PNPNypioJGoFhQQ8CO5uvN.html (The Hindustan Times, 30 December 2017)

MoWR PIB Release Ineter Linking Of Rivers The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation in August 1980. Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links (16 under Peninsular Component & 14 under Himalayan Component) for preparation of Feasibility Reports. The Pre-Feasibility Report of the all 30 links have been prepared and circulated to the concerned State Governments by the NWDA. After survey and investigations, Feasibility Reports of 14 links under Peninsular Component and Feasibility Reports of 2 links and draft Feasibility Reports of 7 links (Indian portion) under Himalayan Component have been completed. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1514461 (PIB, 28 December 2017)


PAP Row Tamil Nadu flouting rules on dam water drawal says Kerala Tamil Nadu has again begun taking water from the Parambikulam dam through the contour canal to the Thirumoorthy dam in violation of the interstate river water sharing agreement. This took place after protests before the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) office in Pollachi by the farmers of Tamil Nadu. The Joint Water Regulatory Development Board meet held in Palakkad on December 22 between the representatives of Kerala and Tamil Nadu failed to reach an agreement on the release of water for the month of January 2018. Therefore, under the agreement it was for the governments of both states to hold talks and arrive at a solution. (http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/dec/28/tamil-nadu-flouting-rules-on-dam-water-drawal-says-kerala-1738548.html The New Indian Express 2017)

Image Credit: The Hindu

Earlier in August 2017, expressing deep concern over Tamil Nadu’s failure to abide by the inter-State river water sharing agreement under the PAP, the Kerala government had said that it wanted a review of the pact. CM Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly that Kerala had been denied its legitimate share of water under the PAP agreement for many years. (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-seeks-review-of-pap-water-pact-with-tn/article19475609.ece The Hindu, 11 August 2017)

Mahadayi River Water Sharing Row Karnataka bandh hits normal life Karnataka-Goa-Maharashtra Mahadayi row reaches the streets in North Karnataka districts of Dharwad, Belgavi, Gadg and Bagalkot. Essentially it’s BJP Vs Congress battle.   http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/mahadayi-row-bandh-hits-normal-life/article22290044.ece (The Hindu 28 November 2017)

Marathi Yuva Manch, a youth organisation affiliated to the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti, has urged the Maharashtra government not to agree to sharing Mahadayi waters between Goa and Karnataka till the Karnataka-Maharashtra border row is decided in the Supreme Court.

This, they reason is because the river is born in Khanapur taluk, that is part of the region that MES wants to be merged with Maharashtra. In a letter to CM Devendra Fadnavis, the youth organisation leaders have said that the issue was not just related to Goa but Maharashtra too as the river flows through its border.

However, Kannada organisations have dismissed this development as a meaningless attempt. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/maharashtra-urged-not-to-agree-to-mahadayi-water-sharing/article22340215.ece (The Hindu, 01 January 2018)


Dredging in Brahmaputra & Barak National Waterway-2 (NW-2), Brahamputra river, from Dhubri to Sadiya (891 km) in Assam, is an operational waterway for shipping and navigation.  Inland Wateways Authority of India (IWAI) undertakes regular maintenance dredging annually on NW-2 for maintaining the navigable channel of 2.5 m depth between Dhubri and Neamati; 2.0 m depth between Neamati & Dibrugarh and 1.5 m depth between Dibrugarh and Oriumghat.

The details of the funds allocated and utilized for development of fairway in NW-2 and NW-16 during 2016-17 and 2017-18 are given below:         

National Waterways Year Funds Allocated

(Rs. in lakhs)

Expenditure in Lakhs

(Rs. in lakhs)

NW-2 2016-17 681.14 373.88
2017-18 784.90 306.52 (up to November, 2017)
NW-16 2016-17 NIL NIL
2017-18 700.00 (Work commenced on 18.11.2017)

   http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1514461 (PIB, 28 December 2017)

On Dec. 28, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadakari has flagged off the first movement of cement cargo through NW 2 on River Brahmaputra. He has also laid the foundation stone for bank protection work of Majuli Island. Kindly explore the link to know more about various activities done by Govt regarding development of NW in North East.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174913 (PIB, 28 December 2017)


Tamil Nadu $318 million WB loan for irrigation projects  A tripartite agreement has been signed between the central government, the World Bank and the Tamil Nadu government, an official statement said. “About 500,000 farmers, of which a majority are small and marginal, are expected to benefit from improved and modernised tank irrigation systems,” it said.

Under the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation Project, about 4,800 irrigation tanks and 477 check dams across 66 sub-basins will be rehabilitated and modernised to deliver bulk water to irrigation systems in the state. Tamil Nadu is a water stressed state that continues to experience water shortages which are expected to exacerbate in future, said Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. Under the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation Project, about 4,800 irrigation tanks and 477 check dams across 66 sub-basins will be rehabilitated and modernised. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/world-bank-to-provide-318-million-loan-to-tamil-nadu-for-irrigation-projects-4999777/ (The Indian Express 26 December 2017)


SANDRP Blog Muddy Siang wake up call for Indian authorities  Article on the reasons and implications of MUDDY SIANG/ BRAHMAPUTRA river currently. The current ongoing episode of Muddy Siang River water in Arunachal Pradesh is due to landslides in the upstream Tibet, triggered by the earthquakes starting on Nov 17, 2017 or possibly earlier. Please read, share, and send comments.  https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/muddy-siang-is-sign-of-danger-ahead-wake-up-call-for-indian-authorities/ (24 December 2017)

GoogleEarth_Image Bhim
Landslide Dams along Yarlung Tsangpo following Nov 17 2017 earthquake (Google Map by SANDRP)

Meanwhile, NDTV December 2017 report, quotes Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying saying that a 6.9-magnitude earthquake in mid-November near Mainling County in Tibet, as a cause behind turbidity in river water. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/china-says-earthquake-in-tibet-behind-brahmaputras-turbidity-1792830

Similarly, Dainik Jagran Hindi Newspaper report dated December 27, 2017 confirms 3 landslide dams on Yarlung Tsangpo following earthquakes in Tibbet area. Meeting  between National Security Advisor Ajit Dobhal and State Councillor Yang Jeichi on Dec, 22, 2017 on the issue also reported.  http://epaper.jagran.com/ePaperArticle/27-dec-2017-edition-Delhi-City-page_17-6409-4978-4.html

Amid this, there are reports of two earthquakes striking the same region on Dec 20, 2017:1. 5.0-magnitude quake hits Tibet: CENC  2.  6.9-magnitude earthquake hit Tibet

Further, reviving the China angle to the pollution of the Siang river, Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Dec 28 said apprehensions about China’s role in the issue were not misguided (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/chinas-hand-in-brahmaputra-pollution-irrefutable-himanta-biswa-sarma/articleshow/62276866.cms The Times of India, 29 December 2017)

As per Arunchal Times Jan, 01, 2018 report, “It seems both the state and central governments failed to take a lesson from the devastating flash-flood caused by the breaking of an artificial dam following the Tibet earthquake in 2000.” https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2018/01/01/a-river-that-needs-special-attention/

Indeed, as this report quotes SANDRP, Indian authorities, including the centre (CWC and others) and states of Assam & Arunachal Pradesh have failed to show necessary urgency and alertness to assess the situation arising out of landslide dams on Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, already muddying the Siang and Brahmaputra waters for over a month now. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=dec3117/at060 (Assam Tribune, 30 December 2017)

The latest report, mentions some additional information about the Siang landslides: “The area of the prime mountain slide zone is measured to be approximately 78 sq km as extracted from the satellite imagery. This slide zone is relatively close to eastern Tibet major tourist city of Nyingchi at a distance of 139 km downstream.” “From an inspection of multi-date satellite images of the affected zone, it could be inferred that the landslide process resulting in debris dam growth is yet to reach its final equilibrium stable state. This is a worrisome occurrence, especially pertaining to potential debris dam breach flood in coming days or months with serious portents for downstream habitation areas in eastern Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam”, he said adding that the major mountain slide zone extends over a river length of about 33 km which is located about 47 km away from the commencement of Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon. http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/010118/artificial-lakes-in-mystical-beyul-pemako-still-growing.html (The Asian Age, 01 January 2017)

Satluj River Pollution NGT orders closure of 19 tanneries in Jalandhar NGT has ordered closure of 19 tanneries for discharging pollutants including heavy metals into drains in Punjab’s Jalandhar district which was resulting in serious environmental hazards. A bench headed by former chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar constituted a high powered committee to inspect 61 industries and directed it to prepare a complete and comprehensive report on tanneries. The committee would submit report on source of water of these tanneries, consumption of water, whether any flow metres to the conveyor belts have been fixed and if they have permission from Central Ground Water Authority. http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/ngt-orders-closure-of-19-tanneries-in-jalandhar/story-NQgaARzr682I4O1QkuPmnL.html  (The Hindustan Times, 29 December 2017)

Maharashtra 49 factories in Pune closed for polluting environment  The factories found to be discharging pollutants into the Mula-Mutha river streams were investigated by the MPCB and have been found to have violated the Water Act, 1974, and the Air Act, 1981. Maharashtra has the maximum number of polluted river stretches in the country – 49 of 315. Around 3,000 MLD of untreated sewage and industrial effluents regularly flow into the rivers, lakes, and other water bodies of the state. Maharashtra generates 13% of the country’s sewage, about 8,143 MLD it has facilities to treat only 5,160.36 MLD of sewage on a daily basis. http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/mpcb-shuts-down-49-factories-in-pune-for-polluting-environment/story-XwN6tzMbkhCKGypBYfLwmM.html (The Hindustan Times, 25 December 2017)

In a similar action, MPCB disconnected electric supply to the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation building for an hour for releasing untreated sewage into the Panchganga river due to a pipeline burst in September. Such an act, under section 33A of the Water Act, 1974, was done earlier in the year 2003. Will these symbolic actions help the river in anyway? https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pollution-board-cuts-power-at-civic-body-office-as-symbolic-action-for-polluting-river-1793246 (NDTV, 28 December 2017)

Tamil Nadu Massive plastic waste flows in storm water drain A stormwater drain flowing through Kannanendhal (Ward 25)in Thiruppalai, North Madurai is chocked with garbage. This shows how massive amount of plastic waste is reaching our rivers. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/plastic-flows-in-storm-water-drain/article22284499.ece (The Hindu, 27 December 2017)

BRAHMAPUTRA Inauguration of projects to restore Majuli  Majuli Island has been under severe threat of bank erosion by the flow of river Brahmaputra since formation of the Island and particularly after the Assam earthquake of August 15, 1950.

To address the issues of erosion in vulnerable reaches and reclaim more land by pro-siltation and other measures in the east-west reach length of about 80 km on south bank, a DPR was formulated for “Protection of Majuli Island from flood and erosion of river Brahmaputra” as per the recommendations of the Standing Committee of Experts for Majuli Island and Technical Advisory Committee of Brahmaputra Board (TAC- BB). An SFC of Rs. 233.57 core for the above work has been approved by Government of India. Out of Rs. 233.57 crore, the Ministry of DoNER will fund an amount of Rs. 207.00 crore under NLCPR mode.

The average elevation of the Island is 87 m (at Bessamara) above mean sea level as against the High Flood Level of 88.32 m. The present area of Main Island is about 524 sq-km with a population of 1.68 lakh as per 2011 Census. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174833 (PIB, 28 December 2017)

On Dec, 29 Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for a new scheme for protection of Majuli Island in Assam from flood and erosion of river Brahmaputra, at an estimated cost of Rs. 233.57 crore.

As per report, reclamation of land started and area of Majuli Island increased from 502.21 sq km in 2004 to 524.29 sq km in 2016 with net gain of 22.08 sq km as per study on satellite imageries. Thus, not only overall erosion of the Island is arrested, but the trend has been reversed favourably. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174947 (PIB, 28 December 2017)

Majuli Island is surrounded by the mighty Brahmaputra River on the south, Kherkatia Suti, Luit Suti and Subansiri Rivers on the North and is susceptible to both floods and erosion almost every year. On the request of Government of Assam, Union Water Resources Ministry entrusted the Brahmaputra Board the task of ‘Protection of Majuli Island from Flood and Erosion’ in 2003. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174996 (PIB 29 December 2017)

GANGA Center  Year End Review 2017- Ministry of Water Resources Major activities under National Mission for Clean Ganga: Water Resources & River Development:- http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174952 (PIB, 28 December 2017)

Also see status of sewage pollution and STPs construction under Ganga Action Plan. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1514461 (PIB, 28 December 2017)

Meanwhile, report based on recent CAG audit suggest the Govt has only used $260 million of the $1.05 billion earmarked for the NMCG programme between April 2015 and March 2017. The water quality in eight of 10 towns surveyed along the Ganges did not meet outdoor bathing standards. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/dec/29/pm-modis-promise-to-clean-up-ganga-nowhere-close-to-being-fulfilled-river-dying-from-pollutants-1739591.html (The New India Express 29 December 2017)

Another report says that NMCG has neither finalised an action plan after six-and-a-half years of signing an agreement with a consortium of IITs nor is there a river basin management plan. National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), set up in 2009, was dissolved only last year—it was replaced by the National Ganga Council that more or less has the same remit as NGRBA. http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/how-government-lethargy-is-muddying-ganga-clean-up/995222/ (The Financial Express, 30 December 2017)

Bihar Dolphins in river Ganga are suffering Gillnet emerges biggest killer of Gangetic dolphins followed by poaching. Schemes and growth of inland fisheries also appear affecting  their pollution as per this report.  http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/gangetic-dolphins-condition-india-river-ganga-bihar-gillnet-fishing-lifest/1/1119887.html (India Today, 29 December 2017)

YAMUNA Delhi Northern Railway speeds up work on new Yamuna Bridge The Northern Railway has started working steadily for the construction of a new Yamuna Bridge in Delhi in replacement of the old Yamuna Bridge. The work of construction for the bridge was sanctioned in 1997-98 at an estimated cost of Rs 137 crore. There are informative figures on Old Railway bridge and flood history of River Yamuna. (http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/delhi/northern-railway-speeds-up-work-on-new-yamuna-bridge/520393.html The Tribune, 29 December 2017)

Uttar Pradesh Illegal farmhouses on Yamuna floodplains demolished Following an order from the Allahabad high court, the Gautam Budh Nagar district administration on Dec. 27, freed 40 acres of Yamuna floodplain.

The land was cleared of encroachments following a high court order.
The land was cleared of encroachments following a high court order.(Salman Ali/HT Photo)

The land grabbers had constructed illegal farm houses which were involved in commercial activities. The petitioner in July 2015 had alleged the land mafia had encroached upon the floodplain that was reserved for a bombing range for Air Force since 1950. http://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/noida-illegal-farmhouses-on-yamuna-flood-plains-demolished/story-63ewadjE93fieN9gOEhzLM.html (The Hindustan Times, 28 December 2017)


Punjab 2 scams in linked by a Rs 5-crore money transfer A contractor, has been sent to jail after a probe uncovered alleged large scale irregularities in the Punjab irrigation department, partly funded the successful sand mine auction bid of Rajbir Enterprises, the firm in which a former employee of Power & Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh is a working partner. The CM constituted a three-member panel to look into the Narang Commission recommendations. The panel is yet to submit its views. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/two-scams-in-punjab-linked-by-a-rs-5-cr-money-transfer-5004427/ (The Indian Express 30 December 2017)

Uttarakhand Haridwar admin probes if Matri Sadan ashram is built illegally Matri Sadan ashram, fighting to stop quarrying on the Ganga riverbed, has cried vendetta after the Haridwar district administration launched a probe to find if the ashram was built illegally. Notably, ashram founder Swami Shivanand Saraswati is into his second week of sit-in fast demanding ban on quarrying and one of its seers Nigamanand died in 2011 while fasting for the same cause. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/matri-sadan-cries-vendetta-as-haridwar-admin-probes-if-ashram-is-built-illegally/story-2eNIZhMu3PjtXoNHSnWc7I.html (The Hindustan Times, 31 December 2017)

For years Matri Sadan has devoted itself to the cause of Ganga river. The saint is again on fast unto death since Dec. 16, 2017.  https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/about-matri-sadan-fight-against-illegal-mining-in-river-ganga/ (SANDRP, 06 June 2017)

Illegal mining from the Ganga river bed is rampant in Uttarakhand with police alleging that politicians own major stakes in them.
Illegal mining from the Ganga river bed is rampant in Uttarakhand with police alleging that politicians own major stakes in them.(HT File Photo)

Also see, a candid report exposing unknown facts behind illegal mining of Ganga riverbed in Haridwar. Very sad, illegal mining funding polls a serious issue for free fair elections in democracy. http://www.hindustantimes.com/assembly-elections/uttarakhand-election-menace-of-illegal-mining-along-rivers-not-on-poll-agenda/story-ivAKzbVVbC00d4BUymy3iO.html (The Hindustan Times, 15 February 2017)

Uttar Pradesh  372 trucks carrying illegally-mined sand impounded In one of the biggest actions against mining mafia, around 372 trucks and dumpers carrying illegally mined sand and stones have been impounded by the police in coordination with regional transport office (RTO) and mining department on UP-MP border in Etawah on Dec 29. In 6 hours operation, nearly 1.24 crore of revenue was earned. The step is good, but the govt must probe how 372 trucks were at work at first place.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/372-trucks-carrying-illegally-mined-sand-impounded/articleshow/62303383.cms (The Times of India, 30 December 2017)

Madhya Pradesh Actions against officers colluding with illegal sand miners The Sidhi police has taken action against nearly 50 police personnel by either suspending them, instituting departmental inquiry against them or removing them from service in the last two months for their involvement in illegal sand mining. The government had passed a proposal in the state cabinet in November under which 821 of the 1,266 sand mines in the state would be handed over to the panchayats, while the remaining 445 would be given through auction. http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/madhya-pradesh-cracks-the-whip-on-officers-colluding-with-illegal-sand-miners/story-73d72SJeYTUbbldgwCZz2H.html (The Hindustan Times, 25 December 2017) 

Rajasthan Mining ban delays tigers’ relocation plan Due to ban on river sand mining, the state forest department has deferred its plans to introduce tigers in the Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR), at least till February. River sand is not available due to the mining ban. As a result, the department is not able to complete the construction of fence around the reserve to prevent human and cattle intrusion. http://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/ban-on-river-sand-mining-delays-plan-to-relocate-tigers-in-rajasthan-s-mukundra/story-iX2RetQ8lwrjHAUmlsKPPI.html (The Hindustan Times, 31 December 2017)

Jharkhand Detailed report on brutal murder of 3 villagers by sandmafia in Jatpura village, Garwha district Jharkhand in May 2017. Wish such reports mention River names also. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/30/india-sand-mining-conflict-deaths-building-boom-environmental-damage (The Guardian, 30 December 2017)

Karnataka Illegal mining at TG Halli dam as officials look the other way Miners have carved a road to the Thippagondanahalli dam, by axing many trees thus causing soil erosion but the dam Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and local administration is unaware of the activity. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/650631/illegal-sand-mining-tg-halli.html (29 December 2017)

Telangana Illegal miers let soct free Allegations of illegal red sand mining has surfaced at Dasugadd Tanda area barely 15 km from the Sangareddy district headquarters. As per report, officials have seized vehicles and imposed a fine but the offenders were allowed to go scot-free. Officials reason that the accused were let off since they belonged to Lambada community and any action against them would have created unnecessary trouble for the administration. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/deep-pits-found-illegal-mining-of-red-sand-alleged/article22277688.ece (The Hindu, 26 December 2017)

Andhra Pradesh Illegal sand mining in Krishna Sand is mined through several kms of river with the use of heavy machines. https://plus.google.com/109593364842051008515/posts/Rm7yg51GqN5

Bihar New corporation to take over ‘mafia-ruled’ sand trade The Bihar government is setting up a new corporation, Bihar Minerals Corporation to replace the existing Bihar state mineral development corporation (BSMDC), in existence since 1972, to regulate the sale of sand and other minerals in the state. http://www.hindustantimes.com/patna/new-corporation-to-take-over-hitherto-mafia-ruled-sand-trade-in-bihar/story-NvPR1L3LQPG9ximRGyhOxH.html (The Hindustan Times, 15 September 2017)

Meanwhile a detailed report shows adverse impact on construction industries, labourers and stake holders after strict actions by govt against illegal sand mining.  http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/nitish-kumar-s-action-on-sand-mafia-lands-bihar-construction-biz-in-crisis-117122700245_1.html (Business Standard, 27 December 2017)


National Gist note on legal initiative for wetlands in 2017 This year, a new legal framework for wetlands was passed, the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, replacing the earlier Rules of 2010. There are challenges ahead in identifying wetlands – multiple and competing use is just one of them. Understanding the historic spread and ecological character will be an important safeguard for the way forward. Setting clear governance systems would be the next. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Hans/2017-12-26/Safeguarding-wetlands/348169 (The Hans India, 26 December 2017)

Maharashtra  Pashan lake loses its charm Due to detrimental impact of PMC ₹20 crore beautification project, Peshan a thriving lake earlier is now covered with green algae, hyacinth and floating plastic garbage near the banks. Sadly, the project has badly messed up the habitat for the birds. As a result, instead of 300 earlier now only 150 migratory bird species are visiting the lake. http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/pune-s-pashan-lake-loses-its-charm-of-attracting-migratory-birds-from-siberia/story-zzREMzueazi5n6laymkRQJ.html (The Hindustan Times, 25 December 2017)

Similarly, a 100-acre wetland patch near VK Krishna Menon College in Bhandup has become a dumping ground for construction debris, according to a complaint filed by citizens’ group Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP). The complainants have satellite images of the site, indicating illegal reclamation of wetlands, banned by Bombay HC in 2012. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/100-acre-wetland-in-mumbai-becomes-dumpyard-as-construction-debris-piles-up/story-nYFqd2vfAnVu41zVINv9HO.html (The Hindustan Times, 24 December 2017)

Despite a court order from 2014 banning reclamation of wetlands, a 100-acre patch near Kasheli village in Bhiwandi district is being reclaimed for real-estate development, alleged a local fishing group. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/100-acre-wetland-patch-near-mumbai-destroyed-say-fishermen/story-LzUBXBN27FddHMfAZ7xtrN.html (The Hindustan Times, 02 June 2017)

More than 100 mangrove trees have been destroyed in a five-acre area in Sector 20, near Airoli Kalba complex at Navi Mumbai. Environment activists alleged the local fishing community is responsible for the hacking of the trees to convert the area into a pond for fishing purposes. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/100-mangrove-trees-destroyed-in-navi-mumbai/story-AzdFQBe2divayRmDXi3vDM.html (The Hindustan Times, 23 April 2017)

Assam 1,367 wetlands in State facing serious threat A study by Prof Kaliprasad Sarma of the Department of Environmental Science, Tezpur University finds that, out of its total 3,513 wetlands, 1,367 are facing serious threats to their existence and warns that these water bodies will become myths in the near future. Wetlands have been occupying around 7, 64,372 hectares of the State’s land, covering around 9.74 per cent of its area. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=dec2617/state050 (Assam Tribune, 25 December 2017)  

Gujarat Sharp rise in “destruction” of water bodies Gujarat’s well-known environmentalists led by Rohit Prajapati have taken strong exception to sudden sharp rise in demolitions, tree felling and clearing of vegetation, dumping of debris, and discharge of sewage, dredging, digging, filling, levelling, construction, etc. along the Vishwamitri river in the state’s cultural capital, Vadodara. http://www.counterview.net/2017/12/gujarats-cultural-capital-sees-sharp.html (Counter View, 25 December 2017)

Meanwhile, with winter at its peak, the Chhaya Rann, a wetland in Porbandar is still waiting for the lesser flamingos, its annual visitors. While local birdwatchers are intrigued by the delay in arrival, forest officials expect the birds to arrive in some weeks.  The lesser flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor) have been categorised as near-threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). After Little Rann of Kutch, Great Rann of Kutch and Nal Sarovar (in Ahmedabad district), Chhaya Rann is believed to be fourth largest roosting place of lesser flamingos.  http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-birdwatchers-officials-puzzled-as-lesser-flamingos-delay-arrival-5005688/ (The Indian Express, 31 December 2017)

The water beetles’ scientific names (from left): Enochrus nigropiceus, Chasmogenus abnormalis, Paracymus Sp, Elmomophes brevicornis, Hydrocanthus guinuoti, Helochares atropiceus.
The water beetles’ scientific names (from left): Enochrus nigropiceus, Chasmogenus abnormalis, Paracymus Sp, Elmomophes brevicornis, Hydrocanthus guinuoti, Helochares atropiceus.(HT Photo)

Manipur Six new species of water beetle found in wetlands Scientists have discovered six new species of water beetle in water bodies of the north eastern state of Manipur during a three year study on importance of aquatic beetle (coleoptera) in fresh eco-systems of Manipur. Although these species are new to Indian science, locals popularly call them Tharaikokpi macha (means beetle in local language) and have known them for years. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/six-new-species-of-water-beetle-found-in-manipur-wetlands/story-9bohx9qPCRf5s5b2jpN4hO.html (Hindustan Times, 28 December 2017)

Haryana Notify Basai as wetland, birders write to state govt     Birding enthusiasts have written to the state wetland authority appealing it to notify Basai as a wetland. NGT had, on December 14, asked birders to appeal to the state government to declare the area as a wetland. http://www.hindustantimes.com/gurgaon/notify-basai-as-wetland-birders-write-to-state-govt/story-RebB31uzOxcEYZg7zjs1PP.html (The Hindustan Times 30 December 2017)

Tamil Nadu A rare bird sighted at the city lake The Great Crested Grebe a resident bird of the U.K. that breeds in Central Asia and migrates to Northern India for winter is spotted  by Coimbatore. While the resident little grebes (small in size), are often seen in wetlands in India, the Great Crested Grebes are much larger and rarely seen in Tamil Nadu. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/the-great-crested-grebe-stops-by-coimbatore/article22258043.ece (The Hindu, 22 December 2017)

Uttarakhand Migratory birds make their way to wetlands  The wetlands, lakes, ponds and riverbanks are presenting a splendid spectacle with thousands of multi-hued winged guests chirping and frisking in water these days. http://www.uniindia.com/migratory-birds-make-their-way-to-wetlands-in-u-khand/states/news/1090652.html#irWc5XLOTfMq2ygF.99 (United News of India, 29 December 2017)

Karnataka Unseasonal rain throws winged migration out of gear Heavy rain that lashed areas around Mysuru late till October and November has led to a decline in the number of migratory birds, which tend to roost in southern parts of Karnataka during winter. D. Rajkumar of Wildlife Conservation Foundation pointed out that dredging along the lake shores has also caused havoc to the bird habitat. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/unseasonal-rain-throws-winged-migration-out-of-gear/article22277476.ece (The Hindu 25 December 2017)

Kerala A haven no longer for migratory birds Known as a haven for birds, the Changaram wetlands (Changaram padam) at Ezhupunna will not live up to its reputation owing to the large-scale laying of traps in the name of prawn cultivation. The birds, especially ducks, are trapped in the nylon threads when they hit the ground during nights. The trap is not the only threat being faced by the birds, their natural habitat has degraded considerably owing to rampant waste dumping and construction activities not to mention of poaching.  http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-haven-no-longer-for-migratory-birds/article22328540.ece (The Hindu, 30 December 2017)


Tamil Nadu Effluents from cottage unit polluting groundwater: TNPCB The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (Tnpcb) officials, who were investigating reports of groundwater turning red at Lakshmi Nagar in Karaiputhur panchayat, found a cottage unit that could be causing the pollution. Meanwhile, environmentalists said that such a small unit cannot be behind groundwater pollution and blamed large-scale textile dyeing units in the area. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/effluents-from-cottage-unit-polluting-groundwater-tnpcb/articleshow/62273747.cms (The Times of India, December 2017)

Haryana Water table dipping very fast Statement of PWD minister Rao Narbir Singh: The state is facing a water supply deficit of 20.73 million acres feet (MAF) and the water table was “depleting very fast” because of a rise in number of tubewells. The minister said Haryana required nearly 33 MAF of water per year, of which 11.28 MAF was being sourced from below the ground. 64 of the 117 blocks in the state have been exploiting ground water and number of tube-wells has gone up to 9 lakh from 25,000 a few years ago. The water table in the state had depleted from 7 metres in 1980 to 17-18 metres in 2017. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/water-table-dipping-very-fast-minister/articleshow/62311743.cms (The Times of India, 31 December 2017)


National Contaminated water kills 1 every 4 hours  Reports submitted by various state health departments show that from January 1 to September-end this year, 1,412 deaths were attributed to diseases caused by contaminated water against the total number of cases of water-borne diseases was 1.08 crore. Between January 2014 and September 2017, a total of 8,324 lives were lost to water-borne diseases.

The water purifier market in the country is slated to touch $4.1 billion by the end of 2024, yet at least one person dies every four hours due to contaminated water.

According to separate data from the MoWR and the CPCB, 68 crore Indians depend on groundwater, and more than 50% of the districts in India have reported groundwater contamination of one kind or another. Surface water too is polluted with 40% of the samples containing coliform bacteria and 60% faecal coliform bacteria. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/contaminated-water-kills-1-every-4-hours/articleshow/62286683.cms The Times of India, 29 December 2017) 


MNRE  Year End Review 2017 Highlights: Government is on its way to achieving 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. India attains global 4th and 6th position in global Wind and Solar Power installed capacity. By November 2017, a total of 62 GW Renewable Power installed, of which 27 GW installed since May 2014 and 11.79 GW since January 2017. Historic Low Tariffs for Solar (Rs. 2.44/ unit) and Wind (Rs. 2.64/ unit) achieved through transparent bidding and facilitation. Ambitious Bidding Trajectory for 100 GW capacity of Solar Energy and 60 GW capacity of Wind over the next 3 years laid down. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174832 (PIB, December 2017)

Also see, Schemes launched by the Government to promote Solar Energy in the country http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1514461 (PIB, December 2017)

As per Govt, the present installed capacity of power generation from the Municipal Solid Waste is 65.75 MW which is about 0.02% of total power generation capacity in the country. See, the state-wise details of six Municipal Solid Waste to Energy plants set up, as on 15.12.2017. http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1514461 (PIB, December 2017)

Also see, Cumulative Capacity of 467 MW of grid interactive Wind Power already installed; to be expanded to 9500 MW during the current financial year http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1514461 (PIB, December 2017)


India prepares DPR for Ujh project in J&K Looking to fast-track utilisation of India’s rights under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), the Central Water Commission (CWC) has finalised a detailed project report on Ujh multi-purpose project and the government made it clear that the proposal aims to harness water that was flowing untapped across the border. The project report has been submitted to the J&K government for evaluation. The project will store around 0.65 million acre feet (MAF) of water from Ujh (a tributary of Ravi) to irrigate 30,000 hectares and produce more than 200 MW of hydro-power. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-sets-the-ball-rolling-on-its-rights-under-indus-waters-treaty-prepares-dpr-for-ujh-project-in-jk/articleshow/62298262.cms (The Times of India, 30 December 2017)

PIB Release on the same. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=175011 (PIB 29 December 2017)

Pakistan Activists want Indus River declared human with all fundamental rights Speakers at the ‘Dialogue on restoration of Indus delta’ organised by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) at Sindhi Language Authority a seminar called for protection of ecology and livelihood resources in Indus delta and stressed the need for launching a social movement to pressurise the government to declare the Indus as a human being with all fundamental human rights and protect her health.

The speakers demanded that at least 35 MAF (million acre-feet) freshwater per year should flow downstream Kotri Barrage for the protection of the delta and provision of adequate freshwater to natural lakes. Interesting demand at a Pakistan Fishworkers Forum meeting that INDUS RIVER be given a status of Human being with fundamental rights. https://www.dawn.com/news/1349184/activists-want-indus-river-declared-human-with-all-fundamental-rights (The Dawn, 03 August 2017)

Meanwhile, Pakistan Indus Waters Commissioner Mirza Asif Baig while responding to a question of the media after the three-day 74th Annual Session of Pakistan Engineering Congress does not blame India of stealing its water rather the conflict between the two neighbouring countries is on the issue of water flow in the river systemhttp://nation.com.pk/28-Dec-2017/pakistan-doesn-t-blame-india-for-water-theft (The Nation, 28 December 2017)


Egypt and Ethiopia clash over huge River Nile dam Cairo fears that an Ethiopian plan to build a huge hydropower dam on the Blue Nile, the source of most of the water reaching Egypt, will reduce its access to water. In recent weeks, tensions have risen between Cairo and Addis Ababa. In November, talks between the three countries on how best to manage the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) — a $4.8bn hydropower project that will be the largest in Africa and a linchpin of Ethiopia’s plans for economic development — broke down. Egypt’s immediate concern is how long Ethiopia will take to fill the reservoir. https://www.ft.com/content/58f66390-dfda-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c (The Financial Times, 26 December 2017)

Photo provided by Egypt's state news agency MENA shows Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (3rd-L) meeting with his counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu (3rd-R) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dec. 26, 2017.
Photo provided by Egypt’s state news agency MENA shows Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (3rd-L) meeting with his counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu (3rd-R) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dec. 26, 2017.

Egypt has requested that the World Bank should be brought in to resolve tensions with Ethiopia over a massive dam on the Nile River that Egypt says threatens its water security. http://www.africanews.com/2017/12/26/egypt-wants-world-bank-to-intervene-in-ethiopia-dam-impasse/ (The African News, 26 December 2017)

While Ethiopia has said the dam is a “matter of life or death” for its people, Egypt has said water is a “matter of life or death” for his country. https://www.voanews.com/a/egypt-wants-world-bank-help-ethiopia-dam-impasse/4179623.html (Voa News, 26 December 2017)

Egypt’s presidency spokesman, Bassam Rady, stated that Cairo is committed to a peaceful course in negotiations on the GERD. The spokesman said that there are disagreements on the report issued in October 2017 by the European firms tasked with assessing the impact of the dam on downstream countries. https://www.ezega.com/News/NewsDetails/6138/Egypt-Committed-to-Peaceful-Negotiations-on-Ethiopian-Dam-Spokesman (Ethiopian News, 26 December 2017)


Study Rapid decline in Tonle Sap raises alarms The damage done to fish migration to and from the Tonle Sap by upstream dams in China and Laos has already been widely reported. But the damage to the Tonle Sap caused by a decline in sediment flows which have been disrupted by the dams has been less well studied.

Tonle Sap and the Mekong region.
Tonle Sap and the Mekong region.

According the SEI report, factors leading to “a drastic reduction in sediment loads” in the Mekong include hydroelectric dams, riverbed mining for sand, land-use changes, and climate change. Among these factors, the report says, the most important are the dams’ reservoirs and riverbed mining. http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/tonlesap-12272017145028.html (Radio Free Asia 27 December 2017)

Vietnam Climate change impacts worsen in Mekong Delta Scholars attribute reoccurring flood, landslides and drought issues in Mekong Delta to global climate change, rough interventions in the Mekong River’s course made by countries along the river, and low environmental awareness of the public. As per them, 2016 was worst drought in a century that hit the delta last year. In 2017, the region went through its annual flooding season, finding almost no resources coming from the upstream areas. Upstream dams have led to a reduction of alluvium, thus causing landslides. https://en.vietnamplus.vn/climate-change-impacts-worsen-in-mekong-delta/124093.vnp (The Vietnam, 29 December 2017)

Bali declares Plastic Garbage Emergency’ as rising tide of plastic buries beaches For decades the Indonesian island of Bali a byword for tropical paradise, now the island has declared a “garbage emergency” after its most popular tourist beaches were inundated with a rising tide of plastic waste. (http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/bali-declares-garbage-emergency-amid-sea-of-waste Star Times 29 December 2017)

Indonesia is the second biggest plastic polluter in the world after China. The river of Citarum in West Java has been described as the most polluted river in the world with detritus dumped in it by nearby factories.

An estimated eight million tons of plastic were released into the world’s oceans in 2010, according to a University of Georgia study. Indonesia accounted for up to 1.29 million tons, or more than 15 per cent of the total. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/28/bali-declares-rubbish-emergency-rising-tide-plastic-buries-beaches/  The Telegraph 28 December 2017)


International Rivers The Zambezi River, Drained Bone Dry A good overview of issues facing Zambezi Basin, there are so many parallels.  When a river is regulated for the purpose of producing hydroelectric power, the downstream ecological effects are usually severe. Occasionally, regulation results in the extinction of species. The Zambezi delta is particularly at risk. Currently, 13,000 Mw of new large-dam hydropower is proposed for the Zambezi and its tributaries.  https://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/1104/the-zambezi-river-drained-bone-dry (International Rivers, 01 December 2017)

Kenya Work on Kirinyaga mega dam yet to start weeks after launch Kirinyaga residents have raised concern over the delay in starting work on the Sh20 billion Mwea Thiba Dam four weeks after it was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The construction of dam was launched at a colourful ceremony attended by high-ranking national and county officials.

Thiba Dam
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto unveil a commemorative plaque as they launch the building of Thiba Dam in Kirinyaga County on November 23, 2017. Residents have raised concern over the delay in starting work on the Sh20 billion project. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The German firm which won the tender delivered machinery to the site and withdrew immediately after the ceremony. The residents fear that there was a plot to sabotage the project.  “We fear the cash may be secretly diverted and the project, which we have been waiting for eagerly, stalls,” said another resident, Ms Jane Wanjiru.  http://www.nation.co.ke/counties/kirinyaga/Mwea-Thiba-Dam-project/3444752-4244812-egs879/index.html (Daily Nation, 30 December 2017)

US Dilution of regulations to reverse restoration work of last 3 decades Environmentalists fear Donald Trump’s plan to roll back regulations to “1960s levels” is poised to make things worse.  Since entering the White House, President Trump has already signed several executive orders that worked to undo many of the environmental regulations introduced by Barack Obama. (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/news/lake-erie-pollution-margaret-brouwer-oratorio-cleveland-a8117426.html The Independent 18 December 2017)

As Alaska Glaciers Shrink, Salmon Populations May Also Decline Interesting insights on how Glacial rivers function, how they are different than non glacial rivers and how this affects the biodiversity. Though the piece is about Chinook Salmon, it applies to Himalayan rivers as well. http://glacierhub.org/2017/12/28/alaska-glaciers-shrink-salmon-populations-may-also-decline/ (Glaicier Hub 28 December 2017)

Report World running out of sand Interesting statistical, info-graphical report revealing impact of unsustainable sand mining on rivers, lakes, beaches in Asia.


  • -Sand and gravel are the most-extracted materials in the world.
  • -UN believes that sand and gravel, or aggregates, account for up to 85 percent of all mining activity around the world, measured in weight.
  • -While sand might seem like an abundant resource, it is being mined at a pace much faster than its natural renewal rate.
  • -A 2014 report by the UN estimates that globally, more than 40 billion tonnes of sand and gravel are extracted every year.
  • -Worldwide, the legal sand extraction industry is worth $70bn, roughly the equivalent of the GDP of Kenya. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/running-sand-numbers-171218092024986.html (Al Jazeera, 26 December 2017)


Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP to get Vasundhara Award New Delhi-based filmmaker Gurmeet Sapal, SANDRP Parineeta Dandekar and Youth of Integration, a Tripura-based organization, will receive this year’s Vasundhara Mitra Award. Addressing a news conference, festival director Virendra Chitrav said, “Dandekar is a well-known name in the area of river conservation and rejuvenation. The award will be presented at the 12th Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival on January 4 at Balgandharva Rangmandir, PUNE. The festival will be organized from January 4 to 8 at Balgandharva Rangamandir and Ghole Road Art Gallery. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/filmmaker-from-delhi-us-based-activist-to-take-home-green-award/articleshow/62273676.cms

National Did a ban on hunting help India’s wildlife, forests thrive, or ruin them? INSIGHTFUL piece by Peter Smetacek:- In the early 1970s, hunters and naturalists (there were no environmentalists in those days) petitioned the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi, to ban tiger hunting for three years, to allow populations to recover.

– Gandhi responded with what seemed an overwhelming gesture with the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, which banned hunting of every being from mammals to birds and reptiles. Fish were not included, since the fishing industry constituted a valuable vote bank. Insects were not included because no one thought that small in those days.

– 45 years later, the benefit or even the reasoning behind the act is not clear.

There might be one or two who can meaningfully explain what factors cause the bharal and other Himalayan mammals to be restricted to their chosen altitudinal belts. Photo: Great Himalayan National Park

– If our MoEFCC has been tasked with “restoring the ecological balance” vide the National Forest Policy, 1988, what have they done towards this non-existent goal during the past 30 years?

– Natural history, which is the field of naturalists, depends on reliable reference collections. Our national reference collections are pitiable, with only the bird collection of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) approaching anything on the lines of what should have been in place for all groups of animals. For everything else, we have to approach international institutions that possess collections of Indian material. This is why we have less than a handful of Indian authorities in any field related to nature.

– What, you might ask, does the Wildlife (Protection) Act have to do with this? In one telling example, a scholar pursuing her doctorate wanted to survey the butterflies of a protected area in Gujarat. The chief wildlife warden’s office replied to her request, asking her, among other things, to furnish a list of species she wished to survey (as required under the law)! Such are the provisions of our Act. The Act provides for the burial or incineration of wildlife trophies, at a time when our museums are practically empty. Our public has no access to reference collections of insects, birds or mammals (we do not have a complete collection of mammals at any Indian institution). We have one taxidermist left in Mysore!

It is high time provisions of Wildlife Protection Act are reviewed to extend genuine preservation to wildlife other than tigers. https://www.dailyo.in/politics/hunting-ban-india-wildlife-protection-act-1972-indira-gandhi/story/1/21447.html (Daily O, 29 December 2017)

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 25 December 2017DRP News Bulletin 18 December 2017  

Kindly follow us on http:sandrp.worldpress.com/; www.facebook.com/sandrp.in; https:/twitter.com/Indian_Rivers 

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 25 December 2017 (CAG Report Shows Ganga River Has No Hope Under NMCG)

Apart from mentioning Govt failure in checking Ganga pollution, the Comptroller & Auditor General’s (CAG) performance audit report on Ganga rejuvenation tabled in Parliament on December 19, 2017 specifically mentions that National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) “could not finalize the long-term action plans even after more than six-and-a-half years of signing of agreement with the consortium of Indian Institutes of Technology”. The fact that NMCG does not have a “river basin management plan even after a lapse of more than 8 years of National Ganga River Basin Authority notification”, mentioned in the report also has great significance. 

It is surprising that NMCG is working without a river basin management plan or a long-term action plan. The CAG performance audit is also lacking. It rightly mentions that infrastructure to treat pollution has not been created but does no assessment whether the creation of infrastructure alone would revive the river.

Further, CAG audit does not look into the issues if lessons from past failures have been learnt, corrections done, independent scrutiny institutionalised, participatory governance achieved, and if this business as usual approach is going to achieve any better results even if all the money were spent, all the DPRs were sanctioned, all the meetings happened, all the manpower available and all the STPs constructed?

Hence it critical that CAG performance audit should have tried to address these issues. Can the state of Ganga improve without improving the state of tributaries? CAG does not even look at this issue.

The CAG report shows that this programme provides no real hope for better future of Ganga and Modi and his government will have a lot to answer when they go to polls in less than 1.5 years. It’s a serious indictment for the govt in general and Modi in particular since he has said right from the beginning that Ganga is their priority and all that they have tried is audited here. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/KW6MIOrOvMvZvEGeozwifJ/CAG-slams-Centre-for-failing-to-utilize-funds-for-Ganga-reju.html;                                 http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ganga-pollution-hc-orders-uttarakhand-govt-to-seal-establishments-polluting-rivers-4991923/; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/building-of-ghats-crematoria-on-ganga-misses-nov-deadline/articleshow/62234114.cms https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/environment/pm-modi-fails-to-clean-up-his-mother-ganga

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 25 December 2017 (CAG Report Shows Ganga River Has No Hope Under NMCG)”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 06 November 2017 (NGT Asks For Fresh Appraisal Of Lower Subansiri Hydro Project)

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”.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 06 November 2017 (NGT Asks For Fresh Appraisal Of Lower Subansiri Hydro Project)”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 09 October 2017 (Gujarat Fishermen Protest Against Bhadbhut Dam)

This Sunday (October 08) has been a sad day for Narmada River and thousands of fisherfolk families who will further suffer due to the Rs 4350 Cr Bhadbhut dam of which PM Modi has laid the foundation Stone. The PM seems to love dams so much!

However, the project is facing opposition because it would adversely affect over 12000 fisherfolk families and their livelihoods. Neither they have been consulted, nor there have been any impact assessment, nor any question of compensation or rehabilitation.

The new dam is claimed to mitigate the impacts of upstream dams! It will actually store polluted water from urban and industrial areas and further destroy the estuarine ecosystems.

Raising these concerns, over 100 fishermen took out a boat protest with black flags against the PM laying foundation stone of the dam. They all were arrested and released only after PM left. Similarly, 250 women who were silently marching were arrested. They were denied permission to hold protest walk. Indeed, fishermen have amazing courage. But the national media unfortunately seems happy to ignore this.


Also see following links to know more why fishermen are objecting to the project. 

















Here are few more links on Kalpsar project of with Bhadbhut is part

Bhadbhut Dam











Center Govt needs to understand that hydro power projects are no longer viable  RK Singh, New Union Power Minister, got a presentation by Archana Agarwal, Jt Secretary in Ministry of Power, on the very next day after he took over, about the issues that is troubling the hydropower sector. If we take totality of the factors, the ministry needs to understand that Hydropower projects are NO LONGER VIABLE options, and all their attempts to flog this unviability is not going to turn into viability. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/hydro-power-generation-high-tariff-green-clearances-trouble-sector-4873266/

Arunachal Pradesh Kameng hydel project, still a long way from commissioning According to Energy Line India update on Oct 3, 2017NEEPCO’s 600 Mw project was meant to be commissioned in January, 2016. Until August, 2017 however, the project is yet to go through commissioning activities. The civil contractor is reported to be at fault. So far there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. http://www.energylineindia.com/  

Amid this another committee has been set up to push dams in North East India. The past committees did not succeed since they were blind to ground realities. Let us see what this committee does. Establishing first user right is such a nonsensical objective.  http://www.livemint.com/Politics/SNxWae2Uuiy91Cm32wYmCI/Govt-sets-up-committee-for-water-management-in-northeast.html


Himachal Pradesh CCEA to revise Rampur hydro project cost to Rs 4,233 cr As per report the CCEA will revise the cost of the project to Rs 4,233.21 crore from Rs 2,047.06 crore estimated on March, 2006 price level during detailed project report stage. There is smell of scandal? The Rampur project is a 412 MW project, the cost now proposed is in excess of Rs 10 crore per MW, for a project that does not need a dam or even desilting chambers. PM dedicated the costly affair to nation in Oct 2016. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/ccea-to-revise-rampur-hydro-power-project-cost-to-rs-4233-crore/60932841

Karnataka 3 fold rise in upper Krishana project- III The estimated cost of the third phase of Upper Krishna Project has been increased to Rs 51,148 crore from the original cost of Rs 17,602 in 2012. The project, which aims to irrigate 6.19 lakh hectares of land in nine drought-prone districts of north Karnataka, will acquire 1.33 lakh hectares while rehabilitating 22 villages.  http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ukp-iii-cost-rises-three-fold/article19764489.ece


DRP 23

SARDAR SAROVAR DAM Medha Patkar asks a lot of uncomfortable questions In an Indian Express Op-Ed she writes that in fact, there are several clues that can help us decide exactly what was dedicated to the nation — the project or the dam wall. For a project to be dedicated to the nation, shouldn’t it be completed in the first place? When the project in question pertains to a dam, is it enough to raise a wall to its envisaged height or should canals be constructed as well? Only 33 per cent of the canals in Gujarat have been constructed. Can the one dedicating the project and the one receiving the project — the nation — be satisfied if the enormous impacts of the 138.68 metre-high wall on communities upstream and the downstream, about 10 lakh people, and the ecosystem are not taken into account? The nation may not be aware of what has been gifted to it, but will soon realise the betrayal.  http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/drowned-by-the-dam-sardar-sarovar-narmada-narendra-modi-4878153/

Here is link to a video report taking us through a time travel journey of last six decades on the issue of Sardar Sarovar Dam and explaining the cost behind the Sardar Sarovar dam. https://www.thequint.com/explainers/sardar-sarovar-dam-explained-narmada-river-narendra-modi

Karnataka NGT okays first phase of Yettinahole project In a setback, the govt has received the green signal on the controversial Yettinahole drinking water project with the NGT overriding objections to it and permitting its first phase with some pre-conditions. The ambitious Rs 13,000 crore project aims to divert the Yettinahole, a vital tributary of the Netravathi river originating in the Western ghats to provide drinking water to the parched villages of three districts. ANOTHER DISASTROUS DECISION BY NGT: It has taken many such decisions, while also taking many welcome ones. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/071017/ngt-okays-first-phase-of-yettinahole-project.html

DRP 13

Telangana NGT stays Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project In the latest development NGT on Oct. 05, has ordered an interim stay on Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, pointing out that the state govt did not have adequate environmental clearance. Kaleshwaram is stated to be the costliest irrigation project taken up in the country with an estimated expenditure of Rs 80,500 crore. NGT should have been much stronger. they should have in fact asked that there is no logic in excluding such massive projects in the name of drinking water project, in any case why did they start work without forest clearance and in fact held the officers accountable. http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/big-blow-telangana-govt-ngt-stays-construction-work-kaleshwaram-project-69498

Meanwhile in a strange development, before the stay, a consortium of lenders headed by Punjab National Bank has agreed to pitch in by extending a ₹11,400-crore loan. As per the arrangement, of the ₹11,400 crore, Punjab National Bank has agreed to extend ₹1900 crore, Bank of India and Canara Bank (₹1500 crore each), Allahabad Bank, Syndicate Bank, Punjab & Sindh Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce ₹1000 crore each, Indian Bank ₹750 crore, Union Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of Maharashtra, ₹500 crore each and Central Bank of India ₹250 crore. This will surely prove seeds of massive non performing asset. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/kaleshwaram-irrigation-project-phase-ii-achieves-financial-closure-pnb-leads-consortium-of-lenders/article9878467.ece

It is worth to mention that last week, an under construction tunnel of massive 80, 500 crore Kaleshwaram Project lift irrigation project on Godavari river collapsed leading to death of six workers. More details about the project. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/telangana-kaleshwaram-project-roof-top-collapse-4874901/

DRP 19

Andhra Pradesh Polavaram project affected to intensify protest People displaced due to the Polavaram Project are intensifying their agitation to get better compensation on the lines of the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project. The public representatives of Odisha (Mattunagari) and Chattisgarh (Kunta) states, who come under Polavaram Project area have also joined hands with the agitators for better compensation package.  http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/061017/andhra-pradesh-displaced-ryots-intensify-protest.html

Meanwhile, it looks like Andhra CM is trying to hoodwink the central leaders by showcasing Pattiseema project as the major part of the Polavaram project works to seek more funds. Even during the visit of Parliamentary Committee, too, he had played the same trick and the team members were all praise for him for completing the Pattiseema project, ignoring the actual Polavaram project.  This is interesting to see that this club of Naidu and Gadkari, one trying to hoodwink and the other acting to be hoodwinked will be able to hoodwink everyone else how long. http://www.greatandhra.com/politics/gossip/naidu-hoodwinks-gadkari-with-pattiseema-84723.html

Tamil Nadu Mettur dam opens for Delta irrigation Mettur gates opened on Oct 2 to release water for Cauvery delta farmers. This is the most delayed opening of the gates in eleven years since 2007. The customary date is June 12 and in last 11 years,it was opened on that date or earlier only twice. In the last 84 years, that happened 26 times (15 times on June 12 and 11 times before that). http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/oct/03/mettur-dam-opens-for-delta-irrigation-1665891–1.html


Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 2.50.05 PM
Screenshot from MP Tourism Website about Raneh Falls

SANDRP Blog “Ken Betwa Project is Disaster for Ken Basin People, there is NO surplus water in Ken Basin”: Panna Collector  Based on documents that SANDRP received recently from independent sources, we found that the then Panna district about a decade back, based on official facts, figures and papers, concluded that There is no surplus in Ken Basin, if the water of Ken River is first used for the people of Ken Basin, as it should be, and that the whole project would be a disaster for the Ken Basin in MP. Plz read, share and send your feedback. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/ken-betwa-project-is-disaster-for-ken-basin-people-there-is-no-surplus-water-in-ken-basin-panna-collector/

SANDRP earlier blog on the issue has been carried out by ASIA TIMES http://www.atimes.com/indias-grand-canyon-will-drown-ken-betwa-linkage/ The blog is also published by Counter View https://counterview.org/2017/10/04/ken-betwa-project-to-destroy-raneh-falls-indias-mini-grand-canyon-cum-mini-niagra/

Here is the link ToI report carrying the story about former Panna Collector writing to state govt and planning commission that there is NO SURPLUS in Ken basin. This was published by SANDRP two days back, it also quotes SANDRP. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/ex-panna-collector-had-warned-govt-of-ken-betwa-project-flaws/articleshow/60986982.cms

Meanwhile there are reports of confirming agreement between UP & MP over the linking project. The report has two interesting facts: “It has also been decided that Panna will get a share of water for irrigating 70,000 hectares of land. An IAS officer, who accompanied CM Chouhan to the meeting, tried to pitch an old agreement for MP’s cause, but the Union minister wasn’t pleased. “Gadkari got angry and asked the officer to not to talk like a politician. The officer remained quiet after that,”” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/chouhan-yogi-agree-to-ken-betwa-solution-on-gadkari-table/articleshow/60905420.cms

Amidst reports of reconciliation between UP and MP, concerned and to be affected in Panna have started protesting. It may become an election issue in Panna during the assembly polls in the state. Opposing the project for “undermining the interests of the backward district of Bundelkhand”, the ‘rajmata’ of Panna has decided to take up cudgels against it. Indeed people of Panna needs to rise up united and unequivocally against the project in collaboration with other Ken Basin district and also downstream Banda in UP. There is still hope to stop this nonsense. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/rajmata-of-panna-against-ken-betwa-linking-project/articleshow/60931188.cms

In one more significant related development National Tiger Conservation Authority reports of  death of 17 tigers in MP state during past one year. Indeed, with Panna Tiger Reserve slated to lose huge chunk of over 200 sq km to the Ken Betwa link, I have been told that the management of PTR is totally incompetent. NTCA itself is to be blamed for meekly allowing such decisions. Destruction of Panna will give a signal that there is no hope for tigers in India.  http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/mp-loses-17-tigers-in-2017-ntca/article9890231.ece

Gujarat Tribals oppose Par-Tapi-Narmada link Another Massive, disastrous project to AGAIN take more water to Central Gujarat. Good that the opposition launched multiple rallies. The report does not do justice to the issue though. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/par-tapi-narmada-link-tribals-oppose-river-interlinking-project-in-gujarat-4881302/lite/

Also see, Par-Tapi-Narmada Link: Divided States, United Tribals https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/par-tapi-narmada-link-divided-states-united-tribals/

It is surprising that Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that linkage of rivers will help farmers of the country to grow more crops and increase their earnings which in turn will contribute towards the progress of the nation. http://delhincrnews.in/2017/10/04/river-linking-help-farmers-grow-more-and-contribute-in-progress-of-the-country-vice-president/

Also see text of Vice President speech while addressing culmination of Rally for Rivers campaign. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=171332


Foundation for NW-4 laid In the presence of Nitin Gadkari and Andhra CM the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has laid foundation stone for the development of Muktyala to Vijayawada stretch of Krishna River (National Waterways – 4) in Vijayawada.  National Waterway No.4 was declared in November, 2008 for a total length of 1078 km. This length was extended to  2890 km by NW Act-2016. The following stretches are included in this :

  1. a) River Godavari (Bhadrachalam to Rajahmundry) = 171 km
  2. b) River Krishna (Wazirabad to Vijayawada) = 157 km
  3. c) Kakinada Canal (Kakinada to Rajahmundry)   =  50 km
  4. d) Eluru Canal (Rajahmundry to Vijayawada) = 139 Km
  5. e) Commamur Canal (Vijayawada to Pedaganjam) = 113 km
  6. f) North Buckingham Canal (Pedaganjam to Chennai) = 316 km
  7. g) South Buckingham Canal (Chennai to Merkanam) = 110 km
  8. h) Kaluvelly Tank (Markanam to Puducherry) =   22 km

                   Extended sections

  1. River Krishna from Wazirabad to Galagali (628 Km)
  2. River Godavari from Bhadrachalam to Nasik (1184Km)

A proposal for Phase-II has been recommended by IWAI board for PIB/Cabinet. Also, a proposal for formation of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of the project is under consideration for the approval of Cabinet. The SPV is expected to be formed by November 2017. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171321


MAHA IRRIGATION SCAM Protest over CM sharing dais with named in irrigation scam In a move that has raised eyebrows, CM Devendra Fadnavis is set to share the stage with controversial NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, who are under investigation in the irrigation scam. As per Anjali Damania the irrigation scam is bound to be buried with likes of Gadakari at the helm of even water resources now. “Bravo CM, you have done a great job. You will now share the dais with the cleanest people of Maharashtra. Why did you even fight the irrigation scam, was it a show? Rest in Peace irrigation scam,” social worker Anjali Damania said in a message. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/cm-plan-to-share-stage-with-ajit-tatkare-raises-eyebrows/articleshow/60989006.cms  

Tamil Nadu Piles of garbage hinder Bhavanisagar dam water from reaching farmers Sad at critical juncture of farming season, garbage dumped in Lower Bhavani Canal of Bhavanisagar dam in Erode affecting irrigation services to 3200 acres of farmers of Kavindapadi at Gobichettipalayam taluk. The villagers alleged that panchayat officials were disposing the garbage that were collected in the villages into the canal. They said many hospitals in Erode city and Gobichettipalayam town were also dumping the medical wastes into the canal.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/erode/piles-of-garbage-hinder-bhavanisagar-dam-water-from-reaching-farmers/articleshow/60989062.cms


DRP 22

Study  Negative rainfall in 8 out of 14 normal monsoons in 18 years Data from the IMD revealed majority of monsoons over the past 18 years had been below average like 2017, which ended on a below average note at -5% departure. From 2000, the country has seen as many as 12 monsoons with less rain than the long period average, more so from 2014 to 2017— a period marked by consecutive monsoons ending on a negative note.

Experts stressed there was a possibility of monsoon weakening due to the impact of the climate change, but this was something that researchers were unclear about. A K Srivastava, the head of IMD’s climate monitoring and analysis group, Pune, said, “The current epoch — from 1991 to 2020 — has shown a trend of negative or low rainfall. Past statistics show the epochal behaviour of monsoon, but how long will this rainall trend continues beyond the year 2020 cannot be gauged.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/negative-rainfall-in-8-out-of-14-normal-monsoons-in-18-years/articleshow/60916411.cms

Also see PATHBREAKING study mentioning that Northern and Northwest Arabian sea is warming up so much that it contributes 36% of moisture in the monsoon, compared to just 26% by Bay of Bengal (29% by land). This has lead to three fold rises in incidents of extreme high rainfall, flash floods and landslides. There is lot more here and lot more in the study that it quotes. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rapid-warming-of-arabian-sea-among-causes-of-3-fold-rise-in-erratic-rain-in-central-india-weather-experts-4873351/

Here are key findings of another important study:

– “There have been 268 reported flooding events in India over 1950-2015 affecting about 825 million people, leaving 17 million homeless and killing 69,000 people (according to the International Disaster Data Base),” the study said. According to lead author Roxy Mathew Koll, a scientist with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, a premium research body under the Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), extreme rainfall is defined as more than 15 cm of rain in a day and “spread over a large region, enough to cause floods”. “These widespread extremes were two per year in central India during 1950s. Now, it’s six per year,” Koll told PTI.

– “As the atmosphere and the oceans are getting warmer due to increasing carbon dioxide, a result of human activities, atmosphere holds more moisture. This results in two factors. The first is that warm moist air is lighter than cold dry air and hence makes the atmosphere unstable as it rises up,” Koll explained.

– The second factor, Koll added, is that since the atmosphere holds more moisture, it dumps it all together – a heavy rainfall event. But why is central India the focal point of erratic and extreme rain events? “The low pressure areas (circulation) that brings rains move around this region. Cloud formation also forms around this area,” Rajeevan told PTI.

– The fact that this intensification is against the background of a declining monsoon rainfall, which has been observed in previous studies, makes it catastrophic, as it puts several millions of lives, property and agriculture at risk, experts say. According to the paper, floods alone lead to losses amounting to $3 billion in India, 10 per cent of global economic losses.

– “The plains of central India are largely flood-prone. Flash floods, landslides and torrential rains often kill thousands and displace millions of people as well as animals, underscoring the urgency in comprehending and predicting these events,” Koll said. http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/extreme-rainfall-events-over-central-india-tripled-since-1950-study-4875917/ \

Similarly Mridula Chari analyses Monsoon rainfall this year. As per the report, of the 630 districts for which the India Meteorological Department tracks rainfall data, 308 received between 19% more and 19% less than normal rain. But 219 received deficient rain, or 20% less than normal rain. Of those, 12 had scanty rain, or 60% less than normal rain. On the other end, 103 districts received excess rain, or 20% more than normal rain. Of those, 27 were 60% above normal.” https://scroll.in/article/852793/after-uneven-monsoon-in-india-some-districts-that-faced-floods-end-with-deficient-rain

In a news report, IMD chief K J Ramesh on Oct 05, has said that the number of rainy days are going to shrink but the intensity of rainfall will increase. He also said that the amount of rainfall in the country this year was in line with the IMD’s forecast and the distribution has also been good. WHICH RAINWATER IS IMD CHIEF CONSUMING? What is the basis for this claim of IMD CHIEF? Does he not have access to all the data about such disastrous distribution both spatially and temporally?  http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/expect-fewer-but-intense-rainy-days-in-coming-days-says-imd-chief-117100501147_1.html

Meanwhile IMD has predicted normal (89-111%) NORTHEAST MONSOON (Oct-Dec) this year, even though some global weather experts expect it to be slightly below normal for Tamil Nadu. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/winter-monsoon-to-be-normal-this-year-imd-4873271/

FLOOD 2017

Report India fails to manage flood As per the report 14 percent of India’s landmass is vulnerable to flooding and more than 15 percent of this area gets flooded every year. Since 1953, almost 1,600 lives have been lost every year on an average due to floods.Yet, the central govt has not released 61 percent of the funds promised for flood management between April 2007 and March 2016, and 43 percent of the 517 projects approved have not been completed, a recent report by the CAG revealed. Indeed, India’s flood management has failed due to the failure of institutions like CWC, CAG and media needs to focus on that.  https://www.thequint.com/news/india/flood-related-deaths-in-india

Urban Flood Highest Oct day rainfall in Hyderabad since 1903 The rainfall in Hyderabad on Oct 2, 2017 seems to have broken the highest one day rainfall of Oct since 1903. The 13.2 cm of rain at Mir Alam was the highest Hyderabad is believed to have witnessed in October ever. According to data with the India Meteorological Department, Hyderabad received 11.7 cm of rain on October 6, 1903, recorded at Begumpet. That number paled in comparison with the rainfall recorded near Mir Alam on Monday. In fact, two other areas, Rajendra Nagar and Amberpet, recorded more than the all-time record in about four hours.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/record-set-for-rainfall/article19787029.ece


As per GHMC executive engineer R. Srinivas Reddy there are two records. Usually rainfall is calculated over 24 hours. If the 24-hour rainfall from Sept 19 8.30 am to Sept 20 8.30 am is taken, then the highest is still the 24 cm rainfall of August 2000. But if we consider the two-hour spell, around 10 cm of rain was recorded at Shapurnagar in Quthbullapur, the highest short spell in city’s history. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/220916/hyderabad-floods-167-cm-rain-breaks-16-year-old-record.html

Indeed, haphazard construction blocking the natural course of water, slow drainage due to choked storm water drains, and insufficiency of the existing drains were apparently the reasons behind the heavy inundation at the Biodiverstiy Junction, Gachibowli.

The engineering staffs were shocked to see the storm water pipes which were dug up after the water was cleared. The three pipes– two with the diameter of 900 mm and one with two metres– were fully choked with garbage, and plastic waste. The garbage which accumulated over long time, hardened into obstinate blocks of dirt, and hampered the flow of rain water leading to stagnation on the road. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/choked-storm-water-drains-drown-gachibowli/article19800638.ece

Jammu & Kashmir Increased siltation raises flood threat Kashmir’s deforested hills have been the prime cause of the heavy siltation of its water bodies. This is now being aggravated by changes in land use due to water scarcity in the catchments of the Jhelum – caused partially by climate change – adding to the siltation load in the river that feeds the Wular Lake, Kashmir’s largest flood basin.

Interesting: “silt load of nearly one million cubic meters stands removed at a cost of INR 600 million… An estimated 20 million cubic meters of slit load, Wani said, is yet to be dredged out of the lake. He added that WUCMA will soon start work to de-silt the remaining amount with the help of a INR 4 billion (USD 60 million) project… In Jhelum River, a project for de-silting an estimated 1.6 million cubic meters of sediment is going on. Close to one million cubic meters of silt has been dredged out so far.”

Where is the silt going? How far it is taken and how it is disposed off?

This somehow does not sound right… orchards in longer terms will have less erosion than agri land? “Experts have called for massive afforestation programmes in the catchments of Jhelum in both degraded forests and barren lands; and stopping conversion of paddy land into orchards for curbing the siltation of water bodies.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/09/18/increased-siltation-raises-kashmir-flood-threat/

Meghalaya Flash floods destroy fisheries Due to incessant rains in the Meghalaya hills for the past few days, a devastating flash flood occurred in the entire Kalapani area under Mankachar revenue circle of South Salmara-Mankachar district and caused huge damages to agricultural fields and fisheries. The rush of flood water, while it came down from the hills, was so fast that within a few minutes three wooden bridges on Kalo river located at Boisabari, Tokpara and Lakhishari were washed away causing total disruption of road communication in greater Kalapani areas. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=oct0317/state050


Tamil Nadu Change in the crop pattern need of the hour: River Parliament This is very interesting. Would like to know more:

– Farmers participated in the river water parliament, constituted to find amicable solutions to water disputes, which met for the first time in Trichy on Oct 6.

– Rainwater should be harvested and river water should be utilised judiciously only when there is no other option

– the river water parliament was proposed for five rivers including Cauvery, Vaigai, Palaru, Thamirabarani, and Thenpennai by Retrieval of Tamil Nadu Rivers and Water Resources in July 2017. It attempts to emulate the success of efficient water management mechanism of Arvari river parliament in Alwar district of Rajasthan.

– Leading farmers in the state like Mahadhanapuram V Rajaram, C Nallasamy, and Puliyur A Nagarajan were appointed president, general secretary and secretary respectively of Cauvery river parliament on Friday. Further, the farmers have planned to sensitise those in their respective blocks and villages about the functions of water parliament. The second meeting of the river parliament to be attended by farmers from all southern states has been scheduled at Chennai on December 10

– Farmers demanded that the Tamil Nadu government pass a GO recognising such river parliaments which would enable farmers to amicably solve the disputes. “we would work for preventing encroachments along river banks and to regulate river sand mining,” Advocate D Gurusamy, convener of Retrieval of Tamil Nadu Rivers and Water Resources, said  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/change-in-crop-pattern-need-of-the-hour-river-parliament/articleshow/60978049.cms

DRP 16

CPCB Report Maharashtra has the most polluted rivers in India While CPCB seems busy with experimenting new methodologies and SPCBs finding fault with technicalities, degeneration of Rivers continue unabated. Recent report by CBCB found Maharashtra had 49 polluted river stretches, including Mithi, Godavari, Bhima, Krishna, Ulhas, Tapi, Kundalika, Panchganga, Mula-Mutha, Pelhar, Penganga and Vaitarna, among others , Assam ranked second at 28, Madhya Pradesh third with 21, Gujarat 20, and West Bengal 17. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-has-the-most-polluted-rivers-in-india-report/story-niJlawYJcUykXtDmo1DQzJ.html

On Oct 06, the Supreme Court (SC) has also rapped the Maharashtra state govt yet again regarding inadequate efforts taken to check pollution at the Ulhas river and has directed the state chief secretary and municipal commissioners from Ulhasnagar, Kalyan Dombivili, the Ambarnath and Badlapur Municipal Corporations to be present in person during the next hearing scheduled on Nov 14 and respond regarding steps being taken to restore the river. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/revival-of-ulhas-river-supreme-court-summons-maharashtra-secretary-municipal-chiefs/story-ZLFLmTAQq3m2xBD03XfxAO.html

It is right that many cleanliness drives have been undertaken in Pune city in response to PM’s clarion call for Swachh Bharat but how far will these symbolic and cosmetic acts go towards reclaiming our dead rivers? http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/citizens-worried-with-little-progress-on-cleaning-pune-s-rivers/story-QGstt9PVbZCT3YpIfxFASM.html

As per another report Civic Agencies and Civil Societies in Pune to great extent have achieved success in making citizens aware of pollution by idol immersion and positive results have started appearing.

Interestingly Pune district has five rivers, namely, Mula and Mutha being the main rivers and the three smaller rivers in the form of Ram Nadi, Dev Nadi and Ambil nullah. The Mula river runs for 22.2 km, the Mutha for 10.4 km and after confluence at Sangam, the Mula-Mutha runs for another 11.8 km.  http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/ganesh-festival-greener-than-last-year-pune-rivers-see-lesser-pollution-levels-4871937/

There is one more report highlighting dwindling aquatic life in Mula Mutha river. As per the report in 1840, a British scientist had conducted a study on the fishes of Mula-Mutha and found that the water body had 120 species. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/experts-say-damage-done-to-wetlands-is-beyond-repair-pune-govt-resolution-maharashtra-environment-4875090/

Jammu & Kashmir  Jhelum faces water pollution in Baramulla town As per report, the absence of a solid waste plant in Baramulla town is directly impacting the health of the Jhelum here with tons of garbage and waste including human excreta daily finding its way into it. Notably, the drinking water for the town comprising over 80,000 souls is being supplied from the Jhelum.  According to locals, the local administration had been in the process of identifying land for solid waste plant for last more than a decade. Surprisingly, the garbage dumping site at Jetty is in violation of the rules as the pollution control department Baramulla has served several notices to the municipal council authorities directing them to stop the use of land for dumping of garbage as the area “is close to the banks of river Jhelum”. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/jhelum-faces-water-pollution-in-baramulla-town/262193.html

Tamil Nadu Adyar desilting to stop airport flood Ahead of the northeast monsoon, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has started work to prevent a repeat of the 2015 floods which inundated the runway , taxiways and aircraft parking stands at the city airport. A series of checks are being conducted as the airport is located in an area through which rainwater from southern and eastern neighbour hoods flows into the Adyar river via drains crisscrossing the airport. It was these drains along with the river that caused the flooding. The AAI would also be clearing garbage and plastic that had choked the river 500 metres upstream and downstream from the runway bridge. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/adyar-desilting-to-stop-airport-flood/articleshow/60999272.cms

Uttarakhand 50 साल में सूख गईं उत्तराखण्ड की 300 नदियां प्रदेश सरकार ने इस बार हरेला पर्व की थीम ‘नदियों का संरक्षण एवं पुनर्जीवन’ रख विलुप्त होती नदियों को बचाने की एक कोशिश तो की है, लेकिन प्रदेश में बहने वाली नदियों की स्थिति यह है कि पिछले पांच दशक में 300 से अधिक नदियां एवं 5000 से अधिक चाल-खाल विलुप्त हो चुके हैं। http://www.janjwar.com/post/pachas-saal-men-sookh-gayin-uttarakhand-kee-300-nadiyan-dinesh-pant

GANGA Centre Future of Varanasi and Allahabad turtle sanctuary hangs in balance Another example how Nitin Gadkari headed Inland Water Ways Ministry projects are against the very purpose of Ganga rejuvenation work. Sad Ganga seems on the losing side in this conflict. NMCG to establish a turtle sanctuary in Allahabad at an estimated cost ₹1.34 cr. that would contribute to the sustenance of more than 2,000 aquatic species, including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171361

However, it’s FUTURE HANGS IN BALANCE as the UP Govt & MoEF are considering de-notifying it over construction activities along the bank. It’s is worth to mention that MoEF in June 2017 set up a committee to decide whether the Varanasi Turtle Sanctuary should be de-notified. It has also ordered a “third-party” evaluation of the sanctuary to determine whether it is of any importance. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/centre-sets-up-committee-to-decide-if-turtle-sanctuary-in-varanasi-should-be-de-notified/articleshow/59047347.cms

The Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles, the National Aquatic Animal — Gangetic dolphin, the Gharial and numerous migratory and resident birds. The government had planned such a sanctuary in Varanasi in 1989 under the Ganga Action Plan-I. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ganga-mission-plans-turtle-sanctuary-in-allahabad/article19797657.ece,

Similarly, it seems a lot more going on behind the door which is not in the interest of National River. A change of ministry has led to a sudden cloud of uncertainty over funds for an afforestation scheme along the Ganga in five states, including Uttarakhand. Post Uma exit Rs 2200 cr Ganga afforestation project to be carried out in five basin states has been transferred to MoEF causing some confusion among official over arrangement of funds for the project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/change-of-ministry-jeopardises-funds-for-massive-afforestation-scheme-along-ganga/articleshow/60959622.cms

Meanwhile infighting going on among various religious group over demand of shifting the Kumbh venue. Last Kumbh in 2010, during Shahi snaan of April 12-14 about 1.63 crore pilgrims arrived in Haridwar. Current, Har-Ki-Pauri mela ghats are not sufficient to cater to such overwhelming pressure of pilgrims, which in 2021 will surpass 2 crore mark. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/akhara-parishad-wants-kumbh-bath-area-shifted-ganga-sabha-priests-object/story-1LEY7lrbwUyNJv59XHnxQJ.html


YAMUNA Delhi Illegal roads across Yamuna will damage the river The illegal road across the Yamuna constricting its flow could not only play havoc with the river’s ecology but also inundate the river’s banks threatening human settlements in the future. Experts claimed that as the Yamuna is already highly polluted, blocking its flow further would tantamount to increasing the pollution load further. This could contaminate the groundwater and aquifers, which the river used to recharge. http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/road-across-yamuna-will-harm-river-trigger-flood-experts/story-DwNFheAZt1vx6dLi5I2C6H.html

LG Anil Baijal reviewed DDA’s Yamuna rejuvenation and restoration plan on Oct 07 and  directed it to finish the first phase by April 2018.  DDA has identified 4,885 acres (four land parcels) of land on the Yamuna riverbed which will be taken up for redevelopment. In the first phase, 500 acres of area on western bank of the river — from old railway bridge to ITO barrage — will be taken up. What that DDA is so far doing is beautification of Yamuna banks which has nothing to do with restoration. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/finish-ph-i-revival-of-yamuna-by-april-lg/articleshow/60988706.cms

Meanwhile, the govt agencies in the Capital have failed the Yamuna yet again with tonnes of toxic and non-biodegradable waste choking the river post Durga idol immersions during Durga Puja.  http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/no-lessons-learnt-immersion-remains-choke-yamuna-again/article19782215.ece 

Here is photo report showing Yamuna neck deep in trash after Durga Puja idol immersion http://www.hindustantimes.com/photos/india-news/photos-yamuna-neck-deep-in-trash-after-durga-puja-idol-immersion/photo-pw8nlqDnyWWrXgUrAioUpN.html

Amid this DDA has told NGT that it removed around 80 tonnes of debris dumped on the Yamuna floodplains after idol immersions. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/80-tonnes-of-debris-picked-up-from-yamuna-dda/article19798666.ece

As per another report UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Oct 7 has stressed on the need for carrying out a massive plantation drive on the banks of Yamuna, reiterating the state govt’s commitment for the cleaning of the river. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/need-for-carrying-out-plantation-drive-on-yamuna-banks-up-cm-117100700019_1.html

Similarly, supporting Rally for Rivers campaign, Varun Gandhi, BJP MP has said that, the tree plantation drive should start with Yamuna floodplains that were destroyed last year for an event. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/i-support-rally-for-rivers-but-start-with-yamuna-floodplains-ruined-last-year-varun-gandhi-4871518/



National 80000 water bodies in country unusable for irrigation Shocking, but could be worse? “Pollution, encroachments and urbanization are eating into waterbodies meant for irrigation, even as rain-dependent farmers continue to commit suicide. According to information accessed from the ministry of water resources, 80,128 (15.29%) of the 5.23 lakh waterbodies dedicated for minor irrigation in rural areas have become unusable due to these factors.”

– Among the worst-affected states are Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, whose farmers’ woes have made national headlines. The three states account for 61% of the 80,128 waterbodies, followed by Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Of the 72,000 waterbodies dedicated for minor irrigation in Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, 22,877 are unusable.The numbers stand at 29,481 and 14,918 for Karnataka, and 37,174 and 11,039 for Tamil Nadu.

– Karnataka fares the worst among the three states, with 50.6% of its waterbodies having become unusable compared to 31.6% in Andhra Pradesh-Telangana and 29.6% in Tamil Nadu.

– “It is a major crime.” said former environment secretary, Karnataka, A N Yellappa Reddy.


Report Difference between 2010 & 2017 Wetland rules The report pins down some significant difference between Wetland conservation & Management Rules 2010 & 2017. The 2010 Rules specifically included in the definition of wetlands “all inland waters such as lakes, reservoir, tanks, backwaters, lagoon, creeks, estuaries and man-made wetland and the zone of direct influence on wetlands”. These have not been spelt out in the 2017 Rules. Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority (CWRA) under the 2010 Rules has been replaced by the National Wetland Committee, which has a merely advisory role.

The differences between the old and new Rules are also apparent in their applicability. The 2010 Rules listed six points describing protected wetlands; the new Rules have done away with them, and instead state that wetlands are limited to and do not include wetlands under forest and coastal regulation zones. Under ‘Restrictions of activities in wetlands’, the new Rules say conservation and management would be “in accordance with the principle of ‘wise use’ as determined by the Wetlands Authority”. Environmentalists had criticised this principle when the draft Rules were circulated for comments and suggestions. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/central-control-out-subjective-aspects-in-why-new-wetlands-rules-are-different-4876406/

Supreme Court Wetlands deserve more attention The Supreme Court on Oct 05 has expressed concern over the disappearance of wetlands in the country and told the government that this was an important issue which deserved very serious attention. The court also asked the Centre to inform it about the status of funds disbursed by them to the states for preservation of wetlands and also about how these have been spent by the states. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/wetlands-issue-deserves-very-serious-attention-sc-to-centre/articleshow/60941144.cms

The court had earlier observed that even after Rs 900 crore was spent on works related to wetlands, the activities shown were extremely general in nature. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/central-control-out-subjective-aspects-in-why-new-wetlands-rules-are-different-4876406/

Madhaya Pradesh Bhopal lakes lose out to water pollution, poor sewer network Bhopal, the city of lakes, which has been declared country’s second cleanest city, has failed to keep its water bodies clean. According to reports, about 300 MLD of sewage is discharged from the city out of which only 50 MLD gets treated in the STP. This is because the existing sewer pipeline network does not have capacity to carry more sewage than this. As a result, remaining sewage gets mixed in other water bodies. http://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-lakes-lose-out-to-water-pollution-poor-sewer-network/1149594

India Water Portal Story of degradation of another wetland Ousteri lake is the largest water body in the Puducherry region. Every year, the lake provides irrigation and tourism benefits worth Rs 11.5 million and Rs 5.72 million respectively and plays a crucial role in recharging groundwater aquifers. The lake is also a resting ground for many migratory birds and provides livelihood to thousands of people. It has been recognised as one of the important wetlands of Asia by IUCN. It is the largest freshwater lake in the Puducherry region. The lake, which is 390 hectares in area, supports a variety of fauna and flora. But, in the last one decade, 2800 acres of land around the lake has been converted into commercial non-agricultural purposes. The lake has suffered pressure from land-use changes in the catchment area, encroachment, siltation, pollution from the industry and agriculture.” http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/ousteri-lake-needs-help



Op-Ed Benefits of Water Tanks Vishwanath Srikanthiah so well celebrates the wisdom behind tanks and calls it way advanced than inter linking of rivers. The tank water harvesting system is a project linking the sky and the earth. It is a much bigger project than the linking of rivers for at its heart it teaches the lesson of cooperation and living within ecological means of a place. Building strong equitable communities is to build water resilience. Understanding that would be water wisdom. http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/the-benefits-of-tank-water-harvesting/article19811533.ece


Gurgaon gw.png

Haryana Groundwater levels sinking in Gurugram Gurgaon ground water level fell 16 metres in 10 years due to Illegal extraction and private water tanker mafia thrives. With an estimate that its current population is 20 lakh, the city requires around 150 MGD (million gallons per day) water but Huda supplies only 75-80 MGD. The rest is met by groundwater extraction through illegal borewells which are more than 20000. The sad part is that the enforcement authorities have sealed not more a dozen such borewells in the past one-and-a-half years, despite a NGT ban on such illegal extraction in Delhi-NCR. Even though a 2012 Punjab and Haryana high court order prohibited extraction of groundwater through borewells, the practice is rampant in the city. There are around 40 water tanker services in the city. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/groundwater-levels-sinking-but-city-does-nothing-to-stop-extraction/articleshow/60931034.cms


Madhya Pradesh Sand mining ban lifted The State Govt has resumed sand mining in the rivers across the state except for the Narmada river. The state had imposed a ban on sand mining from May 22 to September 30. The govt has formed a committee that has tied up with IIT Kharagpur to provide a recommendation for sand mining in the Narmada river. The committee is also likely to finalise the new Sand Mining and Sale Policy 2017 by mid-October. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/sand-mining-in-mp-rivers-barring-narmada-begins-today/articleshow/60896750.cms

Odisha Sand mining poses threat to Kolab river ecology Rampant extraction of sand and its smuggling to Andhra from the riverbed of Kolab near Ghatbagara has apparently taken a toll on the ecological balance. Blame it on the alleged nexus between some officials and a local contractor, the extraction of sand beyond permissible limits continues unabated in the region. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/oct/09/sand-mining-poses-threat-to-kolab-river-ecology-1668966.html


DRP 25

Poorly maintained storm-water drains prove hazardous The 20-foot-wide drain has put the lives of several families living in Dwarka Sector-1 at risk. The resident body of Apna Niwas, a DDA SFS colony in Pocket-2, has been seeking relief from the pollution, but no help has been extended by either the Delhi govt or the SDMC. This is the state of over 50 residential neighbourhoods across the Capital, which are situated on the sides of open storm-water drains. Instead of maintaining cleanliness, the civic agencies have turned a blind eye towards it. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/poorly-maintained-storm-water-drains-prove-hazardous/article19825138.ece


Interview Beginning of farmers rebellion Yogendra Yadav rightly says that we are passing through a historic phase for Indian farmers’ movement. Historic because the farmers face a triple crisis today: economic – of not being able to obtain income; ecological – where a certain form of agriculture which was advocated to them as progressive agriculture has reached a dead end; and existential – a crisis. https://scroll.in/article/851846/interview-we-are-witnessing-the-beginning-of-a-peasant-rebellion-in-india-says-yogendra-yadav


India gets Lowest Wind Tariff of Rs. 2.64 per kWh The wind tariff in India touched lowest level of Rs.2.64 per kWh in the second wind auction conducted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) on behalf of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India yesterday. The tariff discovered is much lower than first wind auction concluded at Rs. 3.46 per kWh in February this year. With improving technology and reducing tariffs Ministry is not only confident of achieving the target of 175 GW by 2022 but exceeding it.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171394


Nepal PM Modi to visit Nepal in Oct 2017 During the visit, Modi and Nepali PM Sher Bahadur Deuba will jointly lay the foundation stone for the construction of 900 megawatt Arun III Hydropower Project. The project is being constructed by Indian developer Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited at an estimated cost of Rs 104 billion. Nepal will get 198 MW (22%) power free of cost from the project.” http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-10-03/indian-pm-modi-likely-to-visit-nepal-this-month.html

DRP 20

Bangladesh Court jails 15 fishermen over Hilsa ban violation 15 fishermen jailed, fined for defying Hilsa ban Courts sends fisherman to JAIL for defying Hilsa ban. While one feels sad for the fisherman who are generally the poorest of the lot, if this is helping save the fish and hence the river, that is welcome. http://en.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/news/161525/15-fishermen-jailed-fined-for-defying-Hilsa-ban

As per one more news, Indian fisherman are intruding to catch fish in Bangladesh waters, this report alleges, when fishing is banned by Bangladesh govt. Bangladesh govt has imposed a ban on catching, sales and transportation of hilsa for 22 days from 1 October to October 22 in order to save mother hilsa during the breeding and thus increase national hilsa output. http://en.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/news/161509/Indian-fishermen-intrude-into-Bangladesh-water

IWT No agreement  on Kishanganga and Ratle Projects  The World Bank statement after the Sept 14-15, 2017 India Pakistan meeting on Indus water disputes regarding Kishanganga and Ratle Projects of India, held in World Bank at Washington. Both countries and the World Bank appreciated the discussions and reconfirmed their commitment to the preservation of the Treaty. While an agreement has not been reached at the conclusion of the meetings, the World Bank will continue to work with both countries to resolve the issues in an amicable manner and in line with the Treaty provisions. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/09/15/world-bank-statement-on-the-indus-waters-treaty-meetings


DRP 17

Urban China turns sewage into power There is a lot we can learn here, though it would be good if thermal hydrolysis could be avoided. https://www.thesourcemagazine.org/urban-china-turns-sewage-power/

As per another detailed report, the China govt is also keen to clean up water pollution. https://www.policyforum.net/tackling-chinas-water-pollution/


DRP 18

New Research Satellite Radar “Sees” Invisible Changes in Groundwater Levels WOW, seems like very useful. Scientists have found that satellite-mounted radar can accurately detect subsidence or deformation to within just a few millimeters, precise enough to help scientists accurately estimate groundwater levels. In doing so, the scientists may have developed a low-cost way to monitor aquifer health. Satellite radar could potentially supplement other groundwater monitoring systems, or serve as a primary tool in places where no monitoring is done today. https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/satellite-radar-sees-invisible-changes-in-groundwater-levels



WESTERN GHATS Destruction of India’s green gold Origin of some 58 years, habitat of 50 million people, about 4000 species of flowering plants, 645 species of evergreen trees, about 120 species of mammals, 500 species of birds and many reptiles, butterflies and fishes.

– The results of their findings by a team of IISc and IIT (Mumbai) were astounding. Just one square km of forest in Uttara Kannada provides close to Rs 7.38 million worth of timber, about Rs 1.1 million worth of fuelwood and Rs 3.2 million worth of medicinal plants and fruits. Add to that, the recreational benefits from Dandeli and Anshi protected areas which are part of a tiger reserve are worth about Rs 11.37 billion. If all these benefits come from just ONE SQ KM of forest, then one can imagine the value of over 1,29,000 sq km of the Western Ghats!

Putting too much faith in monetisation of ecosystem goods is of course dangerous. The currency printing presses of govt are capable of printing a lot of currency. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/western-ghats-green-gold-india

DRP 12

Gujarat Students object to cutting of crops for PM helipad Students of an agricultural college in Gujarat’s Bharuch district have objected to the administration making a helipad on its campus for PM Modi to land as the area given for the purpose had standing cotton crops that are required for research.This is the second time this year — the first was in March — that the College of Agriculture, affiliated to Navsari Agricultural University (NAU), has been told that a helipad needs to be built there. The process of clearing the cotton crops has started. Good to see students are speaking up and media reporting, but amazing to see how insensitive and anti people, anti farmer this administration can get. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-helipad-for-pm-narendra-modi-students-object-to-cutting-of-crops-4874969/

DRP 17

Similarly, farmers and fishermen who sued an arm of the World Bank – for funding an Indian power plant they say hurts their livelihoods – have vowed to appeal a U.S. court ruling that the institution has “absolute immunity”. The Indian communities, represented by advocacy Earth Rights International (ERI), had sued the International Finance Corporation over its $450-million loan for a coal-fired plant operated by a Tata Power unit near Mundra, in Gujarat state. http://www.eco-business.com/news/indian-fishermen-vow-to-keep-fighting-devastating-world-bank-project/

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 02 October 2017 &   DRP News Bulletin 25 September 2017



Happy Birthday, Narendrabhai. But why drown the Narmada Valley this day?

Sept 17, happens to be birthday for India’s Prime Minister Naredrabhai Modi. We join the Nation in wishing him Happy Birthday.

But the Prime Minister has also decided to celebrate his 2017 birthday by declaring completion of the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), as several media reports announced[i]. To achieve this, the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam are closed. The reservoir behind the dam is being filled up to raise water level that was so far at maximum of 121.92 m, to Full Reservoir Level of 138.68 m. This will lead to submergence and displacement of habitat of over 40 000 families of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, when their rehabilitation, as required by law, has not happened. Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Narendrabhai. But why drown the Narmada Valley this day?”


Chhattisgarh Rivers Profile

About Chhattisgarh

The state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of the state of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. The total area of CG state is 135,100 sq km. The state has been divided into 27 districts. The total human population of the state is 27.94 million. 

Climate: The climate of Chhattisgarh is tropical. It is hot and humid because of its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and its dependence on the monsoons for rains. Summer temperatures in Chhattisgarh can reach 45 °C (113 °F). The monsoon season is from late June to October and is a welcome respite from the heat.

Continue reading “Chhattisgarh Rivers Profile”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 15 May 2017 (MP talks about Narmada Seva after destroying the River with Dams, displacement of Lakhs of people)

On conclusion of five month long Narmada Sewa Yatra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is today ( May 15, 2017) launching a road-map for steps to be taken for the conservation of the Narmada river. The MP state assembly has also recently declared river Narmada a living entity. Even otherwise quiet on rivers environment minister Anil Madhav Dave has expressed concerns for Narmada.

Contrary to all this, the Central Govt and 3 states of MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat have begun a process towards sanctioning completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, with closure of the 17 meters high gates. It is a countdown towards impounding waters in the 214 km land stretch where more than 40,000 families are residing till date. There are standing crops and massive plantations; thousands of pakka houses, schools, other public and private services erected; hundreds of temples, tens of mosques (as opposed to three temples claimed by the authorities), adivasi gods and worship places, all of which will be submerged. In protest thousands of people from Narmada valley, to be affected by Sardar Sarovar Project created a Human Chain on the borders of living village communities and on the banks of the river, protesting against any decision to close the dam gates.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 15 May 2017 (MP talks about Narmada Seva after destroying the River with Dams, displacement of Lakhs of people)”