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DRP News Bulletin 19 February 2018 (How Are We Treating Our Urban Rivers?)

In this comprehensive article Mumbai-based author Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar throws the light on the plight of Uraban Rivers. “Rivers and streams have borne the brunt of the recent urban explosion in India, a nation whose population has nearly doubled in the last 40 years to 1.35 billion. Unplanned growth has led to the use of water bodies as dumping grounds for sewage and industrial effluent. According to CPCB, 63 % of the urban sewage flowing into rivers (some 62 billion liters a day) is untreated.

In addition, riverbanks, wetlands, and floodplains have been claimed over time by infrastructure, slums, offices, and housing developments – all of which has narrowed natural river channels and distorted flow, greatly reducing the ability of India’s rivers to buffer flooding. It also has taken a toll on biodiversity. http://e360.yale.edu/features/dying-waters-india-struggles-to-clean-up-its-polluted-urban-rivers (Yale Environment 360, 15 Feb. 2018) 

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Maletha; Battle won but war remains to be fought

Chronicle of an emphatic victory against crushers continued from May 2015 onwards

After hosting two days long workshop on Sustainable Mountain Development (02-03 May 2015) Maletha continued its agitation against stone crushers. The event popularised the villagers’ strength and struggle on wider platform.

On 8th of May 2015, villagers issued warnings of resuming indefinite hunger strike if the govt. failed to take a stand on the issue of stone crushers. A protest march was organized on 15th of May 2015 and two villagers Vimla Devi, head of Mahila Sangrash Samiti and Dev Singh Negi started observing fast on alternate days. Setting 25th May 2015 as deadline for State Govt. to act, villagers again demanded closing down of all illegal stone crushers running in Kirti Nagar block.

Meanwhile referring to High Court Nainital (HCN) April 2015 order, State Govt communicated that firm action will be taken against crusher units violating the stipulated norms. Following that, Commissioner Garhwal (GC) CS Napalchyal visited Maletha. Despite finding one stone crusher belonging to Satyam Shivam Sundaram Company violating environmental norms, he ordered a magisterial probe in the matter. Feeling disappointed by state machinery, Hemanti Negi a village woman sat on indefinite hunger strike on 25th May 2015.

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