Hydropower

Judicial Interventions in Hydro Projects in India in 2020

This report is about the interventions by various judicial bodies in India in the hydro power projects related issues in 2020. This also covers judicial decisions either delaying the justice or facilitating the projects thus unhelpful for the public interest cause and paving way for financially unviable and environmentally destructive projects. The account first looks at judicial interventions at the National level and then in states in North, North East and South Zones. 

Continue reading “Judicial Interventions in Hydro Projects in India in 2020”
DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 7 Dec 2020: Courts expose NEXUS and IMPUNITY in Sand Mining. Will any commensurate consequences follow?

Four different news on River Sand Mining catch our eye, with common underlying theme of NEXUS of government and miners on the one hand and IMPUNITY of the sand miners in indulging in mindless violence. In Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, no less than the Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT) respectively expose nexus between the state government and illegal sand mining. In Agra (UP again) the sand miners have again shown impunity in attempting to crush the forest officials trying to stop incessant illegal river sand mining from Yamuna River, they managed to run away, as usual. In Tamil Nadu, the High Court has appointed an advocate to ascertain the extent of illegal mining.

On any day, and in any sector, this should have been seen as eye widening affairs. It indeed should. But in sand mining this seems like regular dog biting man kind of news. One hopes it is not and that serious consequences follow. Kind of consequences that would not only help bring commensurate punishment to those responsible, but before that the identification of the guilty. And that punishment will be exemplary enough to bring some fear into the sand miners and those indulging in corruption in sand mining. It’s a bit tall order, but not unwarranted.

Continue reading “DRP NB 7 Dec 2020: Courts expose NEXUS and IMPUNITY in Sand Mining. Will any commensurate consequences follow?”
Sand Mining

Note from a lawyer to citizens on illegal River Sand Mining

Guest Article by Parul Gupta

[This note has been prepared in the context of citizens in Pune city alerting the police about illegal sand mining in the middle of the night earlier this month, see lead story at: https://sandrp.in/2020/11/23/drp-nb-9-nov-2020-pune-citizens-expose-illegal-river-sand-mining-in-pune-city/. However, this provides useful guidance for all citizens across the country in similar situation, hence this is being shared for wider use.]

Illegal sand mining is an offence under the Indian Penal Code, Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Continue reading “Note from a lawyer to citizens on illegal River Sand Mining”
Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 17 August 2020: The Contempt of Court case against MoEF

[Feature image: Cartoon on Draft EIA 2020 by Surendra, The Hindu https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/cartoon/cartoonscape-august-12-2020/article32328005.ece (12 Aug. 2020)]

This last week, one Contempt of Court case was deservedly in news, when on the eve of India’s 74th Independence day, the apex Court found public spirited Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of Court. Prashant Bhushan’s commitment for the cause of the people and responsible governance of various institutions is beyond question. He is known for being critical of the government and judiciary’s track record and is supported in this by most independent minded persons.

However, there was another contempt case this last week, related to environmental issues, that was not so much in the news. On June 30, 2020, Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan in response to petition by environmentalist Vikrant Tongad had directed, among other things, that Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) should translate the Draft EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) Notification of 2020 into all the official languages of India and disseminate widely in ten days. (https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-hc-extends-public-response-deadline-to-draft-eia-2020/article31951610.ece)

Continue reading “DRP NB 17 August 2020: The Contempt of Court case against MoEF”

Dams · Sand Mining

Bihar Sand Mining 2020: Ruining rivers; aggravating floods

{Feature image: Up to 300 trucks a day take their fill of sand at a mine on the Sone River in Bihar state. India’s construction boom is stripping large volumes of sand, a vital ingredient in concrete, from its rivers. Environmentalists say the extraction is unsustainable, harming local hydrology and wildlife. Paul Salopek}

The 2018 review of sand mining[i] for Bihar highlighted how mismanagement by govt and then National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on sand mining in Ganga river, Son rivers particularly during monsoon months resulted in sand scarcity and soaring prices affected public and livelihoods of mining laborers.

The video report featuring local people revealed that illegal mining was causing floods in West Champaran by damaging embankments. Similarly, the report on Gaya mentioned sand mining among reasons behind increasing air pollution. The death of four kids by drowning into sand mine pits was shocking. This compilation presents the situation after 2018 so far.

Continue reading “Bihar Sand Mining 2020: Ruining rivers; aggravating floods”

Dam floods

Ireland Supreme Court holds dam operator responsible for 2009 floods

In a landmark, trend setting judgement, the Ireland Supreme Court delivered an important ruling[i]  on July 8, 2020 that the dam operator ESB (Electricity Supply Board, https://www.esb.ie/) was guilty of negligence concerning extensive flood damage to buildings on the campus of UCC.

UCC’s action over the damage is among about 400 sets of proceedings initiated against the ESB arising from the flooding. The finding of negligence by four of the five judges has implications for those cases, and wider implications for the ESB’s liability arising from its management of hydroelectric dams in the State. Aviva, UCC’s insurer sought €20m damages for losses at UCC, plus another €14m for losses suffered by other property owners. The Supreme Court had decided it should first determine whether the ESB had a liability.[ii] Continue reading “Ireland Supreme Court holds dam operator responsible for 2009 floods”

Book Review · Narmada

Book Review: Narmada Valley’s gripping story!

Guest blog by Abhilash Khandekar

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

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

DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 03 Feb. 2020: Some welcome news on Pinjal and other dams

A number of welcome developments around dams appear in this week’s DRP News Bulletin from SANDRP. The prominent is the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation declaring that it may not need Pinjal Dam, which SANDRP had said in its report way back in 2012-13 and the then BMC commissioner had agreed to in an interview to NDTV. This should also lead to cancellation of the Damanganga Pinjal River Link proposal. The Maharashtra govt decision to review the need for Human dam is also welcome. The Kerala State Information Commissioner’s decision to direct that the Dam Break Analysis should be in public domain is also a useful precedent that all states and CWC need to follow immediately and also amend the proposed Dam Safety Act to include a provision that all Dam Safety related information, including meeting minutes, agenda, decisions, status reports etc will be in public domain.

Continue reading “DRP NB 03 Feb. 2020: Some welcome news on Pinjal and other dams”

Wetlands

World Wetlands Day 2020: Positive Stories from India

On February 2, the World Wetlands Day is celebrated globally. The theme of 2020 is Wetlands and Biodiversity to emphasize the critical roles the wetlands plays for wildlife, aquatic life, and native vegetation. They also play crucial role in harvesting rainwater, recharging groundwater, providing livelihoods, acting as carbon sinks and providing cushion against flash floods thus they hold immense significance in changing climate.

This compilation puts together some of the positive developments related to wetlands that took place in 2019. It also includes few individual initiatives of lakes and water bodies cleaning from greater Noida, Chennai and Udaipur. There have been some fruitful efforts by citizen and community groups in Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala.

Continue reading “World Wetlands Day 2020: Positive Stories from India”

Wetlands

J&K Wetlands Overview 2019: New Threats Looming, Old Remain Unresolved

Jammu and Kashmir has many wetlands of national importance and international recognition. These water bodies are critical source of livelihood and job opportunities for a large number of population in form of fishing, farming, tourism etc. Moreover, most of the wetlands in the region fall under Central Asian Flyway Zone (CAF) and visited by lakhs of migratory and endangered birds during their annual migration march. These wetlands areas also provide safe refuge to native vegetation and wild animals. Their protection is crucial to combat the dual impact of climate change, water scarcity and flooding.  

Continue reading “J&K Wetlands Overview 2019: New Threats Looming, Old Remain Unresolved”