Expert Appraisal Committee · Interlinking of RIvers · NWDA

Thanks, Dr Sharad Jain: But Plz step down from EAC: Let us understand Conflict of Interest!

Above: Ken Yamuna Confluence at Chilla Ghat (Photo by Siddharth Agarwal)

We are thankful & glad that Dr Sharad Jain has responded to our open letter to MoEF, circulated through email and blog[i] that he holding the charge of NWDA Director General and Chairman of Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley and Hydropower Projects (RVP) involves Conflict of Interest. We are also thankful that through the Indian Express report (on June 3, 2017), he has provided another set of answers.

Unfortunately, Dr Jain, all this only expose our lack of basic understanding as to WHAT CONSTITUTES CONFLICT OF INTEREST. You have failed in trying to defend the indefensible, and we would rather urge you to resign as we continue this debate. Continue reading “Thanks, Dr Sharad Jain: But Plz step down from EAC: Let us understand Conflict of Interest!”

Dams

Ken Betwa Project will facilitate water export out of Bundelkhand, It will destroy Panna Tiger Reserve: Letter to EAC

June 1, 2016

To

Chairman and Members of EAC on River Valley Projects, MoEF, New Delhi

Urgent: Concerns about Ken Betwa Project on EAC agenda for Environment Clearance for meeting on June 2-3, 2016

Respected Chairman and Members,

  1. No documents since Feb EAC meeting: In continuation of our earlier submissions of Aug 21, 2015, Oct 24, 2015, Feb 6, 2016 and April 15, 2016, we are writing to you again since the Ken Betwa Link is again on the EAC agenda for the meeting on June 2-3, 2016. It may be noted that after the project was earlier considered by the EAC latest in the meeting on Feb 8-9, 2016, no new documents are available on the EC website. This itself is a serious lacuna since this means that all concerned are in dark as to why the project is being reconsidered by the EAC, what progress has been achieved since the last meeting. This is also in violation of the orders of the Central Information Commission that required all such documents be available in public domain at least ten days in advance of the meeting.

Continue reading “Ken Betwa Project will facilitate water export out of Bundelkhand, It will destroy Panna Tiger Reserve: Letter to EAC”

Interlinking of RIvers

What ails DPR and EIA of Ken-Betwa Link Project: A Note for EAC of MoEF&CC

Above: Ken River in PTR – Glimpse of long deep gorge (Photo by RS Murthy, former Field Director of PTR)

Guest Blog by Hemendra Singh Panwar (Padma Bhushan, director of Project Tiger (1981-85 and first director of Wildlife Institute of India (1985-94)

My professional conscience impels me to make this submission, challenged as it is by the reliance on half-truths and misinformation by the Project proponents to justify environmental and wildlife clearances for Ken-Betwa River Linking Project (KBLP) from the State and Union governments.  Let me at the outset clarify that I am not and have never been an activist even to promote conservation, though I did strive my best to this end within the system.  I also have no phobia against dams and canals but do carry the conviction that ill-conceived such projects using wanton half-truths to present a mirage of unachievable benefits can but severely impact ecological and field conservation status while failing to deliver the claimed outcomes.
Continue reading “What ails DPR and EIA of Ken-Betwa Link Project: A Note for EAC of MoEF&CC”

Interlinking of RIvers

Ken Betwa River Link Project involves India’s first Major Dam inside National Park: It needs, fresh, credible EIA, not misleading falsehoods from NWDA

Above: A fabulous view of Ken river. Nesting sites of Long-billed vultures are to the right. All will go under water if Ken-Betwa linkup is carried out (Photo by AJT Johnsingh)

PREFACE: Following is a submission by the authors to the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects, sent on Oct 25, 2015, as the EAC was to consider the Ken Betwa River Link Project for Environment Clearance on Oct 27, 2015. The authors had sent a submission to EAC in Aug 2015, when the EAC considered this project for the first time. In response to the various submissions that EAC received on this proposal, including one by the authors and another by SANDRP, among others, the EAC had asked the project proponent, NWDA (National Water Development Agency, an organisation under Union Water Resources Ministry) to provide a point wise reply. The NWDA response can be seen here: http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Online/EDS/0_0_15_Oct_2015_1405329601eac.pdf

One has to wonder that if the Ken-Betwa is such a worthwhile project, why is it necessary for the proponents to lie and obfuscate facts in order to promote it.  We are not unreasonable individuals and have no reason not to want people to be benefited by appropriate development. If the project had more overall benefit than detriment, why would everyone not support it. However we find that it is prejudiced, not argued on reason, much is being obscured and alternate views have not been taken into consideration.  The project is being undertaken in an area that has been evaluated as important enough to set aside for the tigers’ welfare. High priority must therefore be given to this species; but throughout totally inadequate consideration has been given to this. Continue reading “Ken Betwa River Link Project involves India’s first Major Dam inside National Park: It needs, fresh, credible EIA, not misleading falsehoods from NWDA”

Expert Appraisal Committee · River Valley Projects

Why the Decisions and minutes of the 86th meeting of EAC on River Valley Projects need to be reviewed

September 22, 2015

To

Chairman and Members,

Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects,

Ministry of Environment and Forests,

New Delhi

Respected Chairman and Members,

We have just seen the minutes of the 86th meeting (uploaded on Sept 14, 2015, but clearance letters in some cases have already been issued even before the EAC minutes are made public or the minutes are finalised at the next EAC meeting) of the Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Committee, held on Aug 24-25, 2015.

The minutes make a disturbing reading. The EAC seems to be bending every ecological norm, facts and even legal stipulations to push ahead with every project that the government wants them to clear. There seems to be no application of mind from the EAC on the proposals. The minutes are not even internally consistent. It is putting forward facts in misleading fashion to give a wrong picture. Continue reading “Why the Decisions and minutes of the 86th meeting of EAC on River Valley Projects need to be reviewed”

Interlinking of RIvers

Letter to MoEF Expert Appraisal Committee: Reject Ken Betwa Proposal

August 21, 2015

To:

Chairman and Members,

Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects,

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests,

New Delhi

Subject: Concerns about Ken Betwa River Link Proposal

Respected Chairman and Members,

The agenda for the Aug 24-25, 2015 meeting of EAC includes the proposal to consider Environment Clearance for the Ken Betwa River Link Project in Madhya Pradesh. In that context, we would like to raise following concerns: Continue reading “Letter to MoEF Expert Appraisal Committee: Reject Ken Betwa Proposal”

Ministry of Water Resources

Rajasthan Remains Silent As Madhya Pradesh Goes Ahead with Dam Projects in Interstate Chambal Basin

It seems Rajasthan state is ignored and is silent as Madhya Pradesh is going ahead with massive water resources development projects in interstate ChambalRiver basin. Some of these projects were even part of the interstate projects discussed for several years between the two states and now Madhya Pradesh is going ahead with them unilaterally. Mohanpura and Kundaliya projects were also part of the ParbatiKalisindh ChambalRiver link, one of the priority links of Union Government, but now MP is going ahead with them without any consultation with Rajathan or Government. In response to SANDRP questions, Madhya Pradesh responded, as recorded in the minutes of 68th meeting of EAC held in Sept 2013, “It was clarified that the NWDA scheme has not been accepted by the M.P. Government and is not likely to be implemented in the near future. The M. P. Government wants immediate implementation of Mohanpura Project”.

Life irrigation project in the NCS. Source: SANDRP partners
Lift irrigation project in NCS. Source: SANDRP partners

Not only that, the MP has ten times increased the size of the projects, which will have huge, unassessed downstream impacts on people, river and environment. The interstate National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) will also be seriously adversely affected, but the downstream Rajasthan seems neither consulted nor concerned.

Gharial resting on a sand bank with Indian Cormorants and Lesser Whistling-ducks in the NCS  Source: SANDRP partners
Gharial resting on a sand bank with Indian Cormorants and Lesser Whistling-ducks in NCS
Source: SANDRP partners

Below we have given some information about some of the projects that have come up for clearance before the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects (the meeting number and date of meetings are given) over the last couple of years. All of these projects are in Chambal basin in Madhya Pradesh and are being taken up without consent of or consultation with state or people of Rajasthan.

Mohanpura Major Irrigation Project

Dist/ State Rajgarh / Madhya Pradesh
River/ Basin                       Newaj
Proposal TOR
Developer Water Resource Department, Bhopal, Govt of Madhya Pradesh
Height of Dam (m) 47.90
Drinking water supply 20 MCM
Industrial Water Supply 60 MCM
CCA (Ha) 65,000
Submergence area (Ha) 7051
Area required (Ha) NA
Villages affected 36 (1800 families) (10,240 persons)
ForestLand NO

Decision

52nd Meeting (16-17.09.2011) Decided that some additional information may be submitted
53rd Meeting (11-12.11.2011)  No effective discussion on the parameters of the project could be made and it was decided that the project shall be discussed again along with the information submitted by the M.P. Govt.
54th Meeting (26-27.12.2011) Recommended scoping clearance and TORs with the same comments and observations made for Kundaliya Project.

This Mohanpura project (for more information on this, see: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/mohanpura-dam-in-madhya-pradesh/) have been under discussed in the EAC now for full environment clearance and does not include any reference to Rajasthan, interstate aspects, downstream impacts, or impact on Chambal River of National Chambal Sanctuary. Some details in this respect are given below.

Much bigger Mohanpura Reservoir proposed compared to the PKC proposal It is clear from the perusal of the Feasibility Report of the PKC link given on the NWDA website that the project now proposed by the Govt of Madhya Pradesh is much bigger and an unviable scheme. The Gross and live storage of the NWDA scheme is 140 MCM and 52.5 MCM, where as the proposal now has gross storage of 616.27 MCM and live storage of 539.42 MCM, which means the live storage proposed now is more than ten times the live storage proposed in NWDA scheme. In fact the NWDA scheme had the proposal to transfer 464 MCM from the Patanpur Dam to the Mohanpura dam and yet, under the Mohanpura live storage capacity proposed under NWDA scheme was much smaller. 

Location map of the Mohanpura Project (Source: Project EIA)
Location map of the Mohanpura Project (Source: Project EIA)

Interstate aspects ignored The project is coming up on an interstate river basin and will have clear implications for the downstream state of Rajasthan, but there is no mention of this in the EIA. Several meetings have also happened between Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan about the PKC link mentioned above. The Government of India has prioritized this link, but by taking up this project unilaterally without consent of Rajasthan or Centre (Ministry of Water Resources) the Madhya Pradesh government is violating the interstate and federal norms. The EIA does not even mention any of these issues.

Kundaliya Major Irrigation Project

Dist/ State Rajgarh and Shajapur Districts/ Madhya Pradesh
River/ Basin                       Kalisindh
Proposal TOR
Developer Water Resource Department, Bhopal, Govt of Madhya Pradesh
Height of Dam (m) 44.50
Drinking water supply 18 MCM
Industrial Water Supply 84 MCM
Diversion 1037 cumecs of LakhundarRiver to river Kalisindh
Live storage capacity 495.20 MCM
CCA (Ha) 58040
Catchment Area (sq km) 4900
Submergence area (Ha) 7476
Villages affected 56 (8630 persons)
Forest land 680 ha

Decision

52nd Meeting (16-17.09.2011) Desired some more info.
53rd Meeting (11-12.11.2011) It was decided that the project shall be discussed again along with the information submitted by the M.P. Govt. The Committee felt that considerable area of forest land is to be submerged in the project (680 ha). The forest maps provided as a part of additional information lack clarity.
54th Meeting (26-27.12.2011) Recommended scoping clearance and TORs with some suggestions/comments.

Kalisindh Major irrigation project

Dist/ State Sajapur/ Madhya Pradesh
River/ Basin Kalisindh
Proposal TOR
Developer Water Resources Department, Govt of Madhya Pradesh
CCA 49023
Submergence area (Ha) 4239
Area Req (Ha) 4919
Village affected 15 (2384 PAFs)

Decision

61st Meeting (12-13.10.2012) Sought some additional information.
62nd Meeting (23-24.11.2012) Recommended clearance for pre-construction activities and TOR with some additional TORs.

It is high time Rajasthan government and people wake up to this reality of upstream developments and write to Madhya Pradesh, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and also Union Water Resources Ministry against these developments.

Himanshu Thakkar (ht.sandrp@gmail.com)