Two interesting orders from National Green Tribunal (NGT) marked important developments on water-environment issues this week. NGT asking for PERFORMANCE AUDIT of pollution Control Mechanism is indeed long overdue necessity, considering the complete, abject failure of the pollution control mechanism in India. The hopes of effective action, like in the past, however, were dashed since CPCB, which is PART OF THE PROBLEM has been asked to do the audit. An independent audit, in addition to one possibly by CAG may have helped. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ngt-slams-state-pollution-bodies/article26008687.ece (17 Jan. 2019)
Whatever positive signs were available by this order were further dashed by another NGT order in which it declared that EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessment) reports are already taking climate change into account, while the tribunal dismissed a petition asking that all development activities be screened/ regulated keeping climate change in mind.
This is totally WRONG contention. Just to illustrate, SANDRP has been pointing out to the EAC, MoEF and the developers how the EIAs of dams and hydropower projects are ignoring the climate change related issues and impacts. In response the consultants and developers have responded, approved by the silent or spoken nods by the EAC and MoEF that these were not even part of their TORs! One only wishes NGT was most discerning before making such claims and would have gone through a few EIAs to see if at all EIAs are dealing with these issues with any rigour or credibility. https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/climate-change-already-covered-under-environment-impact-assessment-ngt-119011600897_1.html (16 Jan. 2019)
Good to see NGT rejecting the flawed Groundwater notification dated Dec 12, 2018 from CGWA that was also critiqued by SANDRP: https://sandrp.in/2018/12/31/groundwater-governance-why-dec-12-2018-cgwa-notification-would-be-disastrous/. However, NGT should have asked an independent panel to formulate the policy for sustainable groundwater use, rather than a committee of the same government persons. Besides, there is also need for restructuring of currently totally ineffective CGWA and make it COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of government.
Best Advertisement of What Dam Building can do. Great Expose by NYT: “The dam sits under the glare of an active volcano, with columns of ash spewing toward the sky. Officials had warned against the dam for decades. Geologists said an earthquake could wipe it away. Now, only two years after opening, thousands of cracks are splintering the dam’s machinery. Its reservoir is clogged with silt, sand and trees.
And the only time engineers tried to throttle up the facility completely, it shook violently and shorted out the national electricity grid. This giant dam in the jungle, financed and built by China, was supposed to christen Ecuador’s vast ambitions, solve its energy needs and help lift the small South American country out of poverty. Instead, it has become part of a national scandal engulfing the country in corruption, perilous amounts of debt — and a future tethered to China. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/world/americas/ecuador-china-dam.html (24 Dec. 2018)
READ MORE: Nearly every top Ecuadorean official involved in the dam’s construction is either imprisoned or sentenced on bribery charges. That includes a former vice president, a former electricity minister and even the former anti-corruption official monitoring the project, who was caught on tape talking about Chinese bribes.
Then there is the price tag: around $19 billion in Chinese loans, not only for this dam, known as Coca Codo Sinclair, but also for bridges, highways, irrigation, schools, health clinics and a half dozen other dams the government is scrambling to pay for. It doesn’t matter whether Ecuador can afford them. China gets paid either way. To settle the bill, China gets to keep 80 percent of Ecuador’s most valuable export — oil — because many of the contracts are repaid in petroleum, not dollars. In fact, China gets the oil at a discount, then sells it for an additional profit.
What applies to Ecuadorean Dam applies to almost every BIG dam that we are building.
The report says an important meeting was held by PMO over fate of stalled hydro projects on Ganga and its tributaries in Uttrakhand: गंगा व उसकी सहायक नदियों पर प्रस्तावित जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं के भविष्य पर गुरुवार को प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय में अहम बैठक होने जा रही है। इस बैठक में परियोजनाओं को लेकर राज्य की ओर से मजबूती के साथ अपना पक्ष रखा जाएगा।
मेगावाट क्षमता के 25 प्रोजेक्ट
पर करीब 25 हजार
करोड़ का बजट खर्च होना है। अधिकतर प्रोजेक्ट गंगा व उसकी सहायक नदियों से जुड़े हैं। इनपर यूजेवीएनएल, एनएचपीसी
समेत कई केंद्रीय उपक्रमों की ओर से काम होना है। राज्य की परियोजनाओं पर रोक को दबाव बढ़ रहा है। पूर्व में भी इको सेंसटिव जोन से जुड़ी नौ परियोजनाओं को राज्य सरेंडर कर चुका है। 80 मेगावाट
क्षमता के नौ प्रोजेक्ट पर करीब 940 करोड़
खर्च होने है। 90 करोड़
खर्च हो चुके थे। प्रधान सचिव पीएमओ नृपेंद्र मिश्रा के समक्ष ब्यौरा रखा जाएगा।
(26 Dec. 2018)
On the other hand, Raini villagers known for Chipko movement (Joshimath) accuse 14 MW Rishganga HEP developers of grabbing village land. The project was closed in 2016 after Rishiganga Hydro Power Construction Company declared itself bankrupt. The project was then taken over by Kundan Group.
takers for hydro power projects in Chenab basin ANOTHER CASE OF UNVIABLE LARGE HYDRO
PROJECTS: There are no takers for power projects in the Chenab basin at
Lahaul-Spiti. The IPPs said that HEPs were unviable: “The cost of producing
1-MW electricity from hydropower has reached Rs 10 crore,” they added.
Independent power producers (IPPs) have surrendered seven projects allotted to
them, saying high cost of power generation and lack of infrastructure had made
IIPs are now pressuring the state government to pay them the upfront premium,
which the latter refused, saying the term and conditions did not permit them to
do so. “As a result, the IPPs – Reliance, Tata, Moser Baer, Larsen and Toubro —
have moved court, which has sabotaged the government’s plan to seek bids for
these projects,” sources said.
Reliance was the first to surrender the 300-MW Purthi project located in Pangi,
Chamba district. Then it surrendered 34-MW Schling and 90-MW Tailing in the
basin. The company has cited that the projects have become unviable. Moser
Baer, which was allotted the 400-MW Seli power project near Udaipur town of
Lahaul-Spiti district, also surrendered the project. Tribals had been opposing
the Seli project as they feared that it would submerge the green forest of
mini-Manali near Udaipur.
Tata surrendered the 450-MW Duggar power project located in the Pangi area this
year. The project was allotted to it in 2007-2008.
Larsen and Toubro surrendered the 190-MW Sach Khas and 400-MW Raili-Dugli
project downstream of Udaipur on the Chenab.
ABG energy surrendered the 126-MW Bardang project.
the same time, on the issue of rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected
families, whose houses were acquired for the implementation of a project of
National Hydro Power Corporation, Himachal Pradesh high court has observed that
the amount of compensation fixed per housing unit by the divisional
commissioner, Kangra at Dharamshala, lacks a pragmatic, practical and
progressive approach. The court said it appears prima facie, that the land
owners whose properties, including the residential houses, have been acquired
for implementation of the project of National Hydro Power Corporation cannot be
treated at par with landless/house-less persons for the purpose of rehabilitation.
https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/rehabilitation-of-nhpc-project-rs-1-42-lakh-per-housing-unit-too-low-says-hc/67307793 (30 Dec. 2018)
partners with IIT Roorkee for R&D collaboration WOW. What does “an ambassador of
hydropower development” do? Lobby FOR hydropower development? So IITR has
no qualms about it? What do the other academia think? Is this ok? Or is this
unacceptable for an academic institute?
statements here from JSW are totally fake, since they have not constructed ANY
big hydro in India. The statement from PwC suggests they are working as part of
hydro lobby. “Whatever
government support is required will be given as a part of the policy package,”
says AK Bhalla, Power Secretary. https://www.fortuneindia.com/enterprise/jsw-energy-harnessing-hydropower/102806
Hour long discussion on REVIVING OUR RIVERS on INDIA SCIENCE, a Union Ministry of Science and Technology initiated OTT TV channel. Moderated by Shalini Verma and panel includes former water resources secretary Shri Shashi Shekhar and Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP. https://www.indiascience.in/videodetails?id=5c1a1166c8954
Modi to lay foundation of Mandal dam project on Jan. 5PM Modi will lay the foundation of
North Koel Reservoir, also known as Mandal Dam Project in Palamu on January 5.
The project on North Koel River flowing through Palamu and Garhwa districts in
Jharkhand was started in 1972. It was, however, stopped by the forest
department, Bihar, in 1993. The union cabinet in August 2017 approved a proposal
to complete the remaining work of the project. The total cost of the project
assessed on the date was Rs 2,391.36 crore and an expenditure amounting to Rs
769.09 crore has been incurred till date. The project would benefit both
Jharkhand and Bihar. It is expected to irrigate 1.11 lakh ha, including over
91,000 ha in Bihar and 20,000 ha in Jharkhand.
The PM would also lay foundation of a water pipeline project for two dry
districts of Jharkhand, Palamu and Garhwa. “Water from Sone river will be
brought to the two districts through the pipeline. The project would cost
around Rs 1,138 crore. Feasibility tests has been done and the detailed project
report is being prepared,” said Jharkhand CM Das.
Tamil Nadu HC
seeks report on damage to check dams A division bench of Justices K.K. Sasidharan and P.D.
Audikesavalu of the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai has directed the Madurai
Collector to inspect the condition of four small check dams constructed near
Karumathur and file an action taken report since a PIL claimed that miscreants
had damaged the structures.
Mekedatu Dam DisputeGadkari
to call CMs’ meet on Karnataka’s water project
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will convene a meeting of Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers on the implementation of the controversial Cauvery
river project at Mekedatu for drinking water supply, said an official on Dec.
has sought the Central govt’s approval to build a dam at Mekedatu on the river
near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district, about 100km southwest of Bengaluru,
for storing and supplying its water to the parched districts of Chikkaballapur
and Kolar districts.
also sought Gadkari’s intervention to make Goa allow Karnataka utilise the
Mahadayi river water for drinking purpose in the four drought-prone districts
in the state’s northwest region. Objecting to the project fearing denial of its
share of the river water, Tamil Nadu has also petitioned the Central government
and the Supreme Court not to allow Karnataka to build the balancing reservoir
at the goat’s leap gorge. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/gadkari-to-call-cms-meet-on-karnatakas-water-project/1447170
(27 Dec. 2018)
New Dam on Tungabhadra RiverCWC
nod needed for new dam on Tungabhadra river: Telangana to Karnataka
Karnataka irrigation officials have proposed to construct a new dam with a
capacity of 40 tmcft on Tungabhadra river as the present Tungabhadra dam’s
capacity was reduced considerably due to siltation and desilting was
impossible. The Karnataka officials made this proposal at the Tungabhadra Board
meeting held on Dec 27, 2018.
Himachal Pradesh Sirsa
river facing ecological disaster Himdhara Environment Research and Action
Collective has asked the River Rejuvenation Committee and the Special
Environment Surveillance Task Force to look into ecological issues facing the
Sirsa river, a tributary of the Satluj river. In a memorandum on Dec 28, 2018
to state-level bodies set up by the NGT, Himdhara has highlighted that
industrial effluents from Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh industrial areas in
Solan district, the discharge from a common effluent treatment plant, illegal
dumping of garbage and unlawful sand mining are the chief sources of threat to
the Sirsa river.
In Sept., the CPCB in its report “River Stretches for Restoration of Water
Quality” identified 351 polluted stretches on 323 rivers. In Himachal, seven
river stretches have been identified as “critically polluted”: Sukhana,
Markanda, Sirsa, Ashwani, stretches of the Beas, Giri and Pabbar. Following the
CPCB report, the NGT on Sept. 20 issued order to states to form the River
Rejuvenation Committees for identifying the sources and nature of pollution of
rivers and make time-bound action plan for reviving them.
committee of the NGT headed by Justice DP Singh on Dec. 24, expressed its displeasure
with the state government for failing to plan solid waste management for the
massive event which is slated to take place for a major part of January-
A recent study covering 100 km of rivers and channels around the Sunderbans have revealed that the national aquatic animal is no longer sighted in the central and eastern parts of the archipelago. Only in the western part of Sunderbans, where the salinity is lower, could researchers find some evidence of the species.
details of the study have been published in Journal of Threatened Taxa, in an
article titled Possible Range Decline of Ganges River Dolphin Platanista
Gangetica in Indian Sundarban. The paper, authored by Sangita Mitra and Mahua
Roy Chowdhury, states that “sighting records in the present study reveal that
distribution of GRD (Ganges River Dolphin) is influenced by the salinity level
of the waterways”.
the study, the researchers noted a higher rate of encounter with the species in
rivers and stretches that had limited use of motorised boats, less river
traffic and more country boats. The encounter rate was higher by almost 55 % in
such stretches, the publication stated.
PR Dec 26, 2018Save Bhandardaha Bill Campaign; Demands
Restoration of Bhandardaha Bill; Implores Concerned Citizens to Unite with
400 to 500 years ago Bhagirathi River flowed through Bhandardaha. In course of
time with shifting of the course of river large water bodies like Bhandardaha
were created in the Bhagirathi-Padma-Jalangi basin.
has been a very important water body of Murshidabad. Its contributions to
natural environment and historical sites of the district are undeniable.
Thousands of fishers earn their livelihood from this water body. Once a source
of large amounts of fish, Bhandardaha played a very important role in the food
security and nutritional status of local population. The farmlands around are
watered from this water body. Now water inflow from Padma and adjoining areas
has almost stopped. Silt, water hyacinth
and pollution have devastating effects on the water and fish resources of the
bil. Without getting fish the fishers are incessantly roaming around in search
of livelihood. There are reports that a fund of Rupees 400 crores had been been
sanctioned for restoration of Bhandardaha, but nothing happened on the ground.
Most of the fishermen’s cooperatives that had come up around Bhandardaha have
been usurped by people with vested interest. The water areas under these
cooperatives are illegally sub-leased and general fishermen members are deprived of livelihood opportunities.
Administrative indifference and delay-dallying make the situation worse.
this situation Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum, as the organisation of small fish
workers, organised a big cycle rally and campaign for restoration of
Bhandardaha from 16th to 18th December 2018. The campaign started from
Kharibona-Nasipur of Akhriganj in Bhagobangola-II Block and ended at Tungi of Naoda
Block. The campaign concluded with a Citizens’ Meet and Press Conference in the
city of Baharampur.
mowed down by truck for trying to stop sand mafia In another testimony to the rapid
rise of the sand mafia in Karnataka, a village official was killed in broad
daylight while he was conducting a raid against the same in a village in the
Raichur district. The accountant was conducting a survey when he suspected a
lorry to be carrying illegal sand from Tungabadra River. He tried to stop the
vehicle when he was run over by the driver. The villagers tried to rush him to
the nearest hospital but he succumbed to his injuries by the time any treatment
could be administered to him.
the recent past, there have been multiple cases of illegal sand mining near the
Krishna and Tungabadra rivers and officials have often been attacked on duty.
Last year, the Deputy Commissioner, Priyanka Mari Francis, and the then
Assistant Commissioner Shilpa Nag raided the illegal sand mining activities in
Kandlur village and were assaulted by a gang of people. In 2016, the sand mafia
was suspected to be involved the incident where thirteen crest gates of the
Hingani barrage were broken and a large amount of water saved for irrigation
and drinking had gone to waste. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/crime/article/karnataka-shocker-official-mowed-down-by-truck-for-trying-to-stop-sand-mafia/335981 (24 Dec. 2018)
Krishna and Thungabhadra rivers flow into Raichur and the sand on the banks of
these two rivers have been fodder for sand mafia for many years now. Sources in
the district administration said that their efforts to curb illegal mining had
failed to yield desired results since many involved in sand mining had strong
Sand mafia in Raichur appears to be thriving because of the ever rising demand
for sand from other cities in the state, and from neighbouring Telangana and
Andhra Pradesh. The miners charge Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 70,000 per truckload of
sand and are reportedly walking off with handsome profits.
CCTV camewras at quarries to prevent illegal sand mining :HC
The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has laid down a set of
guidelines which have to be followed by licensed quarry operators mining gravel
in Virudhunagar district, after concerns were raised about indiscriminate and
illegal mining in Gundaru river sand before the court.
Uttar Pradesh Red flag against 36 UP sand mining projects NGT has withheld the environmental clearance (EC) given to at least 36 sand mining projects in Uttar Pradesh on the ground that it was obtained in violation of rules specified in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006.
mines, located in the floodplains of the Ken, Yamuna and Betwa rivers, had got
a “Regional Environmental Impact Assessment (REIA)” done by a private
consultant. Based on the REIA, many projects were granted environmental
clearance by the Statelevel Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEAC).
according to the EIA 2006 notification, there is no concept called REIA. Each
sand mining project is required to submit an individual EIA report, which is to
be appraised individually by the SEAC. Some lawyers and competitors of the
private EIA consultant who did the REIA had noticed the aberration and informed
SEAC about it. https://www.pressreader.com/india/hindustan-times-st-mumbai/20181223/281840054779503 (23 Dec. 20118)
sand mining eroding Kihim Beach near Mumbai
Illegal sand mining at Kihim Beach, near Alibaug, has been going on
unchecked for a decade and is leading to soil erosion and loss of tree cover,
according to Awaaz Foundation which on Dec. 24 filed a complaint with the
Konkan commissioner and district administration of Raigad in this regard and
attached week-old pictures of bullock carts transporting sand away from the
recorded 26,628 cases of illegal mining in 2017, the highest across the
country, according to data from the Ministry of Mines. This year, data up to
June showed 2,751 cases. Between 2013 and 2018, 2,228 people were booked for
illegal mining, one court case was filed, and 163,366 vehicles were seized. The
fines collected for illegal mining over six years was ₹36,502 lakh.
officials demanded documents from a person present at the spot, Kalidas
Mangela, who failed to submit the necessary papers following which they seized
six pipes, two boats, and other equipment, all worth Rs 3 lakh. Kalidas in his
statements confessed that sand mining work was in progress since the last ten
days and the sand taken out from the dam has been sold in the market, officials
bans quarrying on Nandhaur riverThe
NGT has put a stop on quarrying on the Nandhaur river citing its proximity to
the Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary in Nainital district, barely a month after the
process of extracting sand and gravel for construction purposes had begun for
the current season.
Forest Development Corporation (FDC) had in late April allowed the quarrying
following the state government’s repeated attempts at seeking necessary
clearances from the Union ministry of forest and environment after the 10-year
lease for quarrying had ended in 2016.
the NGT, which was looking into a plea challenging the quarrying on the banks
of the river, accepted the petitioner’s contention that the site of quarrying
was within 10km of the sanctuary, whose boundaries establishing the limits of
eco-sensitive zone had still not been determined by the state government. Petitioners
Nandan Singh and Bahadur Singh of Chorgaliya have said that the government must
define the eco-sensitive zone of the wildlife sanctuary, which was created in
(20 Dec. 2018)
On the other hand, 115 years old British era bridge on Tons river in Birpur, Dehradun collapsed on Dec. 28 morning killing two people. The incident occurred while overloaded sand truck was passing through it.
arrested for illegal sand mining in Ravi riverThe
Ajnala police have arrested Rajbir Singh, a resident of Dabbar village, on
charge of illegal sand mining. Assistant mining officer Manjit Kumar arrested
him from Sarandev village, where he intercepted the truck bearing registration
No. PB-23-F-5324 carrying sand, which was illegally excavated from the Ravi
and Efficiency of Groundwater Use and Power Consumption in Haryana High power subsidy, along with
assured minimum support price and procurement by public agencies, has changed
the cropping pattern in favour of water-intensive crops, especially paddy, in
Haryana and Punjab. This has placed groundwater resources under severe stress
and also increased the demand for energy for extraction of water.
PunjabNGT team visit villages hit by water pollution On Dec. 24, NGT Team visited Chamiara, Gazipur, Athaula, Balerkhanpur, Gurdwara Tahli Sahib, Fatehpur and Nawa Pind Khalewal villages in the Jalandhar district which are affected by water pollution.
by NGT’s supervisory committee member Chander Babu, the team members visited
the Kala Sanghian drain and the Chitti Bein. While environmentalist Balbir
Singh Seechewal had recently raised the issue of pollution in the drain, he had
also written to the NGT on the defunct STPs across the state which were adding
to untreated water and creating pollution in the state.
living on the banks of the Kala Sanghian drain gave a long declaration to the
NGT. Detailing their experiences, they said they could not go to any other
village now. They complained that they were facing troubles in marrying their
children as no one wanted to marry their kin in a village which was affected by
diseases. They said a large number of people in the villages were dying of
cancer and hepatitis. Residents of Nawa Pind Khalewal said there had been over
10 deaths in the village due to cancer. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jalandhar/ngt-team-visits-villages-hit-by-water-pollution/703336.html
(24 Dec. 2018)
notice to govt over water pollutionThe Gujarat high court on Dec. 26
issued a notice to the state government and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board
(GPCB) over a PIL complaining about water contamination in three villages near
Dholka town in Ahmedabad district due to the release of drainage water and
industrial discharge into an open canal. The HC has sought reply from
authorities concerned by January 24, when it will take up the matter for
petitioner has complained that Dholka municipality discharges drainage water
and chemical and pharma companies in the area release industrial discharge into
an open canal that passes through Trasad, Bhetavada and Nesda villages. He said
that the polluted water leaks from the canal and flows into farms and houses
affecting crops and drinking water. Villagers are fleeing due to water contamination
in the area, he said.
villagers have complained about water pollution to GPCB many times. GPCB has
not initiated any action against violators. The PIL has urged to the HC to
direct the government to stop the release of dirty water and chemicals into the
canal, to direct authorities to arrange for water for drinking and agriculture
because water has been contaminated in borewells. It also requested that Dholka
municipality be told to start its STP, which was built a few years ago but has
not been used. The petitioner has also demanded extraction of polluted water
from the fields. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/hc-notice-to-govt-over-water-pollution/articleshow/67263055.cms
(27 Dec. 2018)
Uttarakhand40 parched villages threaten to boycott election People from about 40 villages in Pauri Garhwal district have threatened to boycott the 2019 Lok Sabha elections if water crisis in their area is not solved. The villagers from Kot block held a protest outside the district magistrate’s office on Dec. 29, demanding a drinking water scheme.
Andhra PradeshSome farmers return to their rootsKey message: Even as the people of Anantapur were trying to survive one of the worst droughts in living memory, rains finally arrived in October last year. The initial delight led to another sombre experience, as the heavy rains led to flooding and even the death of a child. The district received its heaviest single-day rainfall in 15 years.
To deal with such extreme weather, many farmers in Anantapur as well as the rest of Andhra Pradesh are going back to farming as they used to before high-yield crop varieties, hybrid seeds, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides became the norm. They have found that crops grown the traditional way, with a little bit of agro-ecological innovation, have a better chance of survival in this errant climate.”
Despite an understanding of the need for this diversity, government policy is
still largely an obstacle rather than an enabler for CSA. There is a lack of
proper crop insurance mechanisms for multi-crop systems. Systems in India are
geared towards promoting mono cropping and growing certain prevalent crops. As
Kuruganti says, “If I want to grow millets, for instance, I won’t get bank
credit with a good scale of finance for it but if I do the wrong kind of
cropping, I’ll get at least INR 10,000 (USD 154) more on my Kisan Credit
shows an alternative to farm loan waivers Govt’s Rythu
Bandhu scheme, an alternative to farm loan waiver, is not without criticism.
Telangana farmer groups have demanded that 1.5 million tenant cultivators be
included in it. A senior official from the Telangana agriculture department,
requesting anonymity, said since the flagship scheme was announced, cheques
worth ₹5,256 crore were disbursed.
was some delay in cheque distribution for the rabi season because the model
code of conduct was in place before the assembly elections. More than 5 million
farmers have been given cheques out of the total 5.8 million. Some may not have
received it due to problems with their land records, or they may have been
absent when cheques were distributed.”
KarnatakaNearly 90% of taluks drought-hit again The Govt has on Dec. 26 declared that close to 90% of the state’s taluks were drought-hit in the Rabi season. 156 out of 176 taluks across 30 districts were declared drought-hit based on central government guidelines.
drought condition in the state has deteriorated since September, when 100
talukas across 23 districts were declared drought-hit. The state has been
facing three successive years of drought leading to low agricultural produce,
and has already sought central government assistance of Rs 2,434 crore.
meet drinking water needs, the government is supplying water to 283 villages
through 524 tankers and 315 private borewells (through pipelines) in 17
districts. For the next 90 days, the restriction on the supply of drinking
water through tankers has been removed.
tackle drought & climate changes, govt plans crop mapping by drones and on
groundAll the four
agriculture universities in Maharashtra have been roped in for the exercise.
Almost 62,000 students studying in these universities and colleges under it
would take part in the exercise along with Maharashtra officials and the
recommendations based on it implemented in the next kharif season. Teams would
fan out across 40,913 villages in Vidarbha, Marathwada, North Maharashtra,
Western Maharashtra and Konkan for the exercise.
laws in IndusTransboundary
Indus Basin Groundwater policy brief from Lead Pakistan. Its of 2016, but these
key takeaways remain valid: They key takeaways from this policy brief are:
groundwater use in the Indus basin threatens the quality and availability of
the resource, and has far-reaching transboundary repercussions;
is no legal arrangement between India and Pakistan – or any of the Indus basin’s
riparian States, with respect to groundwater;
water law is moving towards promoting sustainable and equitable utilization of
transboundary groundwater, in conjunction with surface water resources;
and regulation of groundwater is weak at the federal/union and province/state
levels in India and Pakistan;
and shareable measurement, quantification and assessment of the Indus River
plain aquifer is necessary for groundwater policy formulation and legal
regulation of transboundary groundwater in the Indus basin.
article shows how important the tariff of 720 MW Mangdechhu Project is for
Bhutan. The earlier gap between Bhutan demand of Rs 4.4 vs Indian offer of Rs
3.9 per unit has now narrowed to 4.27 vs 4.1, yet to be finalised. It seems
there were seven earlier rounds of talks between officials of two govts and
Bhutan argued that this is cheaper that Rs 6 that a new hydro in India offers
and in line with cost plus approach India followed in Tala. This article also
shows that Sankosh was third priority on Bhutan’s agenda. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/bhutan-prime-minister-lotay-tshering-india-visit-5512504/ (28 Dec. 2018)
export tariff for Mangdechhu project, this report says: “Describing himself as “quite
happy” with the outcome, he said that towards the end, India was asking for 4.1
ngultrum per unit, while Bhutan’s proposal was for 4.27 ngultrum (1 ngultram =
1 rupee).” “So, there was not much difference actually… Whatever
difference is there can be reached with increase in rates periodically over the
new few years. This will be decided technically in a day or two,” Dorji said.
The tariff for Mangdechhu will be higher than the rates for power from five
operational hydropower projects. This has been predicated on the financing
structure of the Rs 5,000 crore Mangdechhu project. Unlike previous projects,
the loan to grant ratio is 70 to 30, which means that more revenue will be
diverted to service debt in the initial years.
In his press statement, the Bhutan prime minister specifically mentioned the
Indian prime minister’s support for starting the Sunkosh project, which has
received special focus from Thimpu as it will be the first reservoir hydropower
The Bhutanese foreign minister revealed that there were discussions on one more
stalled hydropower project. “(The) Kholongchu (power project) was also
discussed. It had been paused due to India’s cross-border guidelines,” said
Dorji. The foundation stone was laid by Modi in 2014, but Bhutan had refused
the sign the concession agreement for the 600 megawatt project, which was to be
a joint venture between the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) and India’s
SJVN Limited. The point of contention was the 2016 Cross Border Trade in
Electricity guidelines issued by the Indian power ministry, which Bhutan felt
restricted access to Indian power exchange and also ability to execute
tripartite projects. Ten days ago, the Indian power ministry issued a revised
set of rules – 2018 Guidelines for Import/Export (Cross Border) of Electricity
– which purported to address some of these concerns. “We have not been handed
over the guidelines. We have seen it on the website and looked at it carefully.
At first glance, it seems conducive,” said Dorji. https://thewire.in/diplomacy/india-bhutan-mangdechhu-hydropower-project (29 Dec. 2018)
agree to set up ‘energy bank’India and Nepal have agreed to set up
an energy banking mechanism to prevent spilling of electricity when production
surpasses demand. The two countries agreed to the ‘Nepal-India energy banking
deal’ at the 13th meeting of the Power Exchange Committee held in New Delhi on
Dec 25, 2018. The Nepal Electricity Authority, and India’s Central Electricity
Authority have agreed to the draft guidelines, which would be presented for
approval before the energy secretary-level joint steering committee’s meeting
banking system would involve exchanging electricity for electricity instead of
cash. Under this, one country exports electricity to the other when it has a
surplus, and imports back the same amount of energy when it has a deficit.
“This agreement is a milestone in the country’s energy sector as it will secure
the market for the surplus energy we are on track to produce within a few
years,” said NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising. Ghising further stated in
the report that Nepal would supply electricity to India during the wet season
when the domestic output is high and import it back during the winter when
domestic production is much lower than the demand. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/india-nepal-agree-to-set-up-energy-bank/67288280
(28 Dec. 2018)
Australia Drought 10K native fish found dead in Darling riverThe Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is expecting more mass fish deaths with a blue-green algae bloom blamed for 10,000 dead fish in the Darling River. The dead fish, mainly native species such as bony bream, Murray cod, and golden and silver perch, were found along a 50-kilometre stretch of the river.
treatment chemicals market outlook
The Global Water Treatment Chemicals Industry valued approximately 39.70
billion in 2016 in the U.S. and is anticipated to grow with a growth rate of
more than 6.40% over the forecast period 2017-2025.
to Market Journal, major factors driving the growth are growing usage of water
treatment chemicals in various industries to satisfy the escalating demand for
chemically treated quality water at a reduced price. The other factors
affecting the growth of the industry are increasing GDP, awareness about reuse
of wastewater, global population, upgrading of economic conditions and rising
number of new oil and gas sector discoveries. https://www.wwdmag.com/instrumentation-water-quality-monitoring/water-treatment-chemicals-market-outlook (25 Dec. 2018)
Ministry’s no to drone mapping of glaciers Defence Ministry has refused to give permission to Himachal Pradesh Council for
Science, Technology and Environment to map the glaciers of Himachal Pradesh
using Drone, following approval of Rs 40 lakh project for the purpose by the
Dept of S & T, Govt of India.
A study of 302 glaciers in Kullu district by Dr SS Randhawa, senior scientific
officer, between 1962 and 2002 has indicated 14 per cent deglaciation while
during the period between 2002 and 2006, it was 8 per cent. This clearly
indicates that the deglacaition is taking place at a faster pace. Even in case
of Spiti, 21 per cent deglaciation had taken place between 1962 and 2000, while
from 2001 to 2007, it was 8 per cent.
says biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev’s Divya PharmacyWelcome Order from UKD HC: In a significant decision, the
Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition
filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan,
challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing
fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS). The
judgment delivered by Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held that the Court is of the
opinion that SBB has got powers to demand Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing
from the Divya Pharmacy.
Divya Pharmacy has claimed that UBB cannot raise a demand, under the head of “Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing” (FEBS), as the Board neither has the powers nor the jurisdiction to do that and, secondly, the Divya Pharmacy also claimed that it is not liable to pay any amount or make any kind of contribution under the head of FEBS.
main contention was that only a foreign entity was liable to pay under the FEBS
and not an Indian entity. Since Divya Pharmacy is a ‘purely Indian company’, it
was not required to pay any fees under FBES. In addition, unlike a foreign
company, an Indian company was not required to obtain ‘prior approval’ from the
National Biodiversity Authority but only ‘intimate’ the State Biodiversity
State Biodiversity Board however contented that there is no distinction between
an Indian entity and a foreign entity and the only entities who are not liable
to pay are growers and cultivators of biological resources including vaids and
According to the Court: “The Indigenous and local communities, who either
grow ‘biological resources’, or have a traditional knowledge of these
resources, are the beneficiaries under the Act. In return for their parting
with this traditional knowledge, certain benefits accrue to them as FEBS, and
this is what FEBS is actually all about. This benefit the ‘indigenous and local
communities’, get under the law is over and above the market price of their
‘biological resources’.” https://www.counterview.net/2018/12/uttarakhand-high-court-biodiversity.html
gets drones to keep a check on illegal forest activities Uttarakhand becomes the first-ever
state to get the Forest Drone Force, a security force to keep a check over
state of forest. Uttarakhand Forest Drone Force to be equipped with a set of 25
drones to keep a tight vigil over illegal mining, tree felling, and poaching
amongst other activities in the forest areas. The drones will be operated by
senior Indian Forest Services officers from the state and experts from Drone
Application Research Centre, Dehradun.
IUCN 6th NR Number of Indian species in endangered list going up The 6th national report, submitted on Dec. 29, lists habitat fragmentation, overexploitation of resources; shrinking genetic diversity; invasive alien species; declining forest resource base; climate change and desertification; impact of development projects; and impact of pollution as threats to genetic diversity. The list of animal species from the country under the international ‘red list’ in the critically endangered, endangered and threatened categories has been increasing over the years, according to the sixth national report (NR6) submitted to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
– India has a total of 683 animal species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable categories, as compared to 646 species in 2014 when the fifth national report was submitted, and 413 in these categories in 2009 when the fourth national report was submitted.
Meghalaya rat-hole mine incident:District
admin, NDRF team waiting for powerful 100HP pumps for the past 3 days The search and rescue operations to
look for 15 miners trapped since December 13 at a rat-hole mine in Meghalaya
have stopped now. Two 25-horsepower (hp) pumps used to drain out the flooded
illegal mine in the state’s East Jaintia Hills were ineffective, officials
said. Water from a nearby river kept flooding the mine, they said.
district administration and the NDRF teams have been waiting for powerful 100
hp pumps to arrive for the past three days, officials said. The state
government is yet to send them, people with direct knowledge of the matter
information about various parliamentary documents of Lok Sabha, the House of
People. The debates of Lok Sabha, from the First Lok Sabha to the Sixteenth Lok
Sabha are placed in this portal. The Reports of several
Committees, Presidential Addresses to Parliament, Budget Speeches, and several
publications of the Lok Sabha Secretariat are also part of its collections. The
treasured and historic legislative debates, tracing the growth and development
of modern parliamentary institutions in India, from 1858 to 1952, thereby
covering the period of 95 years, is being uploaded periodically. The portal
provides the users a single window information retrieval technology with
filtered and federated search from multiple searchable resources. http://eparlib.nic.in/
In case of the 3097 MW Etalin project being developed by Jindal and Arunachal Pradesh govt, the IE report says: “the WII was asked by the Ministry (MoEF) to assess the feasibility of the plan that requires 1,166 hectares of forestland in the valley. The Ministry’s move followed a recommendation from its Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) to conduct an environment impact assessment study. Instead, the WII initiated a study to find how the project’s impact on wildlife can be minimised”. Thus instead of doing the mandated scientific impact assessment, the WII initiated a study to minimise the project’s impact.
On Dec 12, 2018, The government introduced the Dam Safety Billamid din in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday even as Biju Janata Dal group leader Bhartruhari Mahtab questioned the legislative competence of the House on the matter.
Dams and reservoirs make rivers sediment-starved and menacing manifold downstream. While heavy rainfall is also a key factor behind the floods, hungry water had a more pronounced effect, says D. Padmalal, Scientist and Head, Hydrological process group, National Centre for Earth Science Studies.
– “When the sediment transport is interrupted, the potential energy of the hungry water released from dams will scour the river banks downstream, uprooting trees or riparian vegetation and damaging bridges and other engineering structures,” explains Dr. Padmalal. Overloaded with silt and clay from the eroding river banks, the highly turbid and viscous water clogs drainage channels. Subsequent discharge of water from the dam will lead to inundation and waterlogging of large areas.
– Hungry water can also develop in high gradient river channels devoid of adequate quantity of sand and gravel, especially during periods of high rainfall. “Years of uncontrolled sand mining have left most of the rivers in Kerala depleted or exhausted of sand and gravel. This creates a situation similar to the release of hungry water from dams,” notes Dr. Padmalal. When the river channel has adequate supply of sand and gravel, the potential energy of the water is used to transport the mixture. The water does not scour the banks or turn muddy.
Kutch and North Gujarat are likely to face severe water scarcity this year, officials said. The Kutch region has received a mere 26.51 percent of average rainfall so far, while North Gujarat has received 42.93 percent, central Gujarat 66.83 percent, Saurashtra 72.20 percent and South Gujarat the highest 94.79 percent.
However, the Sardar Sarovar Dam is filled up to 125.82 meters, and it can provide drinking water for the entire state till the next summer, the govt said. As per Govt. storage in Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada, which will be enough to meet the state’s need for drinking water through the next summer.
The Narmada water will also be used to fill up empty dams in Saurashtra including Aji 1, Macchu 2, Vadod and Ankadia through the Sauni scheme, officials said.
“The state govt will provide 20,000 cusecs water for the next 20 days to save the crops in water-starved areas,” Deputy CM Nitin Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar said.
“We plan to fill up 400 big and small ponds in North Gujarat by Narmada water through canals and pipeline network of the Sujlam Suflam scheme,” he said.
RajasthanRainfall deficit in many districts As per IMD, Badmer district of Rajasthan has received rainfall 48 percent below normal till Sept. 16. Similarly rainfall deficit in Hanumangarh 58 percent so far. Jallor district is facing maximum rainfall deficit of 60 per cent less than normal. Likewise the rainfall in Pali district is 35 per cent below the normal and in Jaislmer is facing a rainfall deficit of 38 per cent. In Western Rajasthan it rained only 193 mm during entire monsoon season causing a deficit of 24 per cent below the normal.
This sixth compilation under Rivers Review series, presents situation of rivers in Tamil Nadu in the year 2017.
Tamirabarani River Opposition grows against Tamirabarani water to soft drink units In March 2017, various citizen groups submitted petitions to Collector M. Karuankaran, opposing the decision to supply huge quantity of water from the Tamirabarani to beverage manufacturing units in Gangaikondan Industrial area. They also asked the State Government to cancel the agreement with the soft drink manufacturing units on supplying the river water and make sincere efforts to revive the river. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamirabarani-protest-intensifies-tirunelveli/article17457199.ece (The Hindu, 13 March 2017)