Arunachal Pradesh · brahmaputra · China · Landslide dam

Another Landslide Dam on Yarlung Tsangpo raises more questions

On Oct 29, 2018, another landslide dam blocked the path of Yarlung Tsangpo Dam, reportedly at the same location as the Oct 17,2018 landslide dam[i]. It breached on Oct 31, without any reported major calamity, but these repeated occurrences, twice in two weeks and third time in ten months (if we include Dec 2017[ii] landslides) raises a lot of questions. The silence of government of India institutions about the possible causes or other analysis, including by Central Water Commission, Union Ministry of Water Resources, National Disaster Management Authority or even National Remote Sensing Agency has, as expected, raised questions and speculations in Arunachal Pradesh. Continue reading “Another Landslide Dam on Yarlung Tsangpo raises more questions”

Lohit River

Photo Journey along free flowing Lohit River in Arunachal Pradesh

Guest Blog by Nivedita Khandekar

An abundance of a river and fast diminishing forests This photo-story chronicles the various moods of Lohit river from the point it enters India to the point where it is joined by two equally big rivers to form the mighty Brahmaputra. All photographs taken by Nivedita Khandekar during various journeys over the last decade, mostly in winters.

From references in Indian mythology to the location for proposed cascade of hydro-power projects, Lohit river of Arunachal Pradesh in north-eastern India is unique in many ways. It enters India at the juncture of Tibet, Myanmar and India at the easternmost point. It is as if this free-flowing, almost tempestuous river, cutting across the Himalayan hills, draws its tenacity from the people abounding its path. It would not be wrong to say that the unpretentious Meyor and the Mishmi communities lend their character to the river they call their own. After meandering through the Mishmi Hills, it traverses a short distance at the foothills as if freed from hilly prison only to assimilate its huge volume of waters with two other giant rivers to form the colossal Brahmaputra. Continue reading “Photo Journey along free flowing Lohit River in Arunachal Pradesh”

brahmaputra · China · Siang

Muddy Siang is sign of danger ahead, wake up call for Indian authorities

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. This is revealed by the satellite pictures and work of two researchers, first published in Arunachal Times on Dec 21, 2017[i]. These landslides are partly blocking the Siang flow and could lead to massive floods in the downstream Arunachal Pradesh and Assam any day.

A similar event in year 2000 led to sudden, massive floods in Siang River in Arunachal Pradesh on June 1, 2000. That episode, like the current one, started about 53 days before the floods, on April 9, 2000 due to landslides along a tributary of Yarlung Tsangpo, as Siang is known in Tibet. Continue reading “Muddy Siang is sign of danger ahead, wake up call for Indian authorities”

Arunachal Pradesh · Assam · brahmaputra · Dams · Lohit River

‘Banks of the Lohit will shine’: Glimpses of a free-flowing river

Above: Lohit River, Parshuram Kund on the right. Photo: Parineeta Dandekar

Assam, Arunachal and the North East India, West Bengal and Bangladesh are riverine entities in many ways. Ancient rivers flowing through this landscape have moulded not only the mountains and the silt-heavy banks, but cultural identity of the region itself.  Rivers permeate through the literature, folklore, songs, poems, cuisine, even dressing… Bhupen Hazarika, the Bard of the Brahmaputra, likened the red ripples of the Assamese Gamcha (red and white stole)  to the braided filigree of the Red River. When Guwahati University opened on the banks of Luit, Hazarika sang “Jilikabo Luiter Paar”..Banks of the Luit will Shine. Rivers stood for revolution as they stood for Love.. Jyoti Prasad Agarwal wrote “Luitar Parore Ami Deka Lora.. Moribole Bhoi Nai.” (“We are the youth from the banks of the Luit/ We are not afraid of death”). Older poets like Parvato Prasad Baruah wrote entire books full of poems of Luit and today modern poets in Assam like Jeeban Narah  link their creative processes inextricably to rivers. Continue reading “‘Banks of the Lohit will shine’: Glimpses of a free-flowing river”

Dams · Indus

So who will suffer in the Indus water imbroglio?

Diplomatic and military strategies, by definition, are not decided through public debates. So the jingoism around Indus treaty with Pakistan seems more like an attempt at sending threatening signals. But it will have multiple serious ramifications in any case, so it is worth deliberating about.

The 1960 Indus treaty has allocated rights of development on three eastern tributaries (Sutlej, Beas & Ravi) to India, and we have exhausted that entitlement almost fully. Attempts to use the occasional remaining flow will mean a huge impact in Indian Punjab, which is unlikely to resonate well with the people of Punjab.  The treaty gave Pakistan dominant right of development of the three western tributaries (Chenab, Jhelum and Indus), India has limitations about water use (both in terms of quantity and manner of use) in case of the western rivers. India has not yet exhausted the entitlement in this case.

Continue reading “So who will suffer in the Indus water imbroglio?”

Climate Change · Dams · Maharashtra · Marathwada

Battered Maharashtra and Melting Tibet: The Climate Change Connection

Above: Nagpur or Anantnag? Hailstorms of March 2015 in Nagpur  Photo by: Atul Patne

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It seems like a bad deja vu.

On the 11th March last year, we wrote about hailstorms in Maharashtra. Back then, the hail, unprecedented rains, strong winds and changes in temperature had affected more than 10 lakh hectares, mainly in Marathwada and Vidarbha. After near-exact one year, we write about the issue again.

Late February and March rains have battered farmers in Vidarbha, Konkan, Marathwada and Uttar Maharashtra (Nashik, Jalgaon and Dhule Districts). Preliminary estimates state that over 8.5 lakh hectares of crops have been impacted in just 17 days and thousands of farmers and landless laborers have been affected. Continue reading “Battered Maharashtra and Melting Tibet: The Climate Change Connection”