For past many years, incidents of illegal river sand mining across the country are on the rise. Given its resultant and adverse impact on river system and dependent communities, various state and central governments continue to go through the motions of devising a mechanism for judicious excavation of this minor mineral. But there seems no will to achieve compliance. At the same the time, people and concerned groups affected by illegitimate riverbed mining practices are approaching judiciary seeking legal intervention to curb the unsustainable mining of the natural resource.
In this backdrop, continuing tracking of this issue (like in 2015) SANDRP is providing an overview of various aspects related abstraction of the finite grit material from the rivers through a three part blog series. The first part of the series presents description of the most of the illegal riverbed sand mining incidents that have taken place in different Indian States through the year 2016. The second part of the blog gives account of the measures taken by governments at States and Central level to check the pilferage of this natural resource. The third part will highlight on the legal interventions by respective courts including Honorable Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT) to regulate unscientific quarrying of riverbeds.
Continue reading “River Sand Mining in India in 2016”
Above: Landslide Dam over Sonam River in Uttarkashi Dist in Uttarakhand (Photo from Jagran.com)
A landslide on Sonam river (Bhagirathi basin) in Bhatwari block in Uttarakashi district in Uttarakhand has blocked the flow of the river and created a lake about 90 m long, 80 m wide and 1.5-3 m deep. The landslide dam in Nelong valley in Jadhganga river basin about 145 km from Uttarkashi town, apparently was formed due to landslide during cloud burst on July 27, 2016, but the information about it reached the administration only on Sept 4, 2016, 39 days later. The landslide dam, about 24 km from the India China border has created a threat to the downstream river bank communities, roads and bridges and other structures and also ecology. The reservoir has been formed at the confluence of Angar Nallah, a local stream, with Sonam River. A team of officials sent by the District Collector on Sept 5, 2016 has submitted a report, but the report is not yet in public domain. Continue reading “Landslide Dam on Sonam River in Uttarkashi: Threat to people and structures in the downstream area”
Arunachal Tawang residents protest against unfulfilled promises Hundreds of residents on July 22 marched through the streets of Tawang, the home district of newly elected CM Pema Khandu, in protest against non-fulfillment of their demand for jobs to kith and kins of two anti-dam activists killed in police firing on May 2. During the protest march they also led a signature campaign against large dams planned in Tawang, where the predominantly Buddhist Monpa tribe feared that many of the proposed hydro-power projects would damage sacred Buddhist sites in the district. At least 13 large hydro-power projects have been planned in the district, which shares border with China’s Tibet region. On June 21 the Lamas-led Save Mon Region Federation had issued six-point charter of demand to the state government for fulfillment in 30 days. Arunachal comprises a fragile, rich parcel of wildlife and ecosystem, among the richest ecosystems in India. But planning & building of hydro projects has been and will cause irreversible environmental damage. Perhaps it’s time for an aggressive freeze on all the un-built projects and an evaluation of other models of energy. Mr Prema Khandu must consider why Arunachal should become India’s mitochondria-the country’s energy provider, while losing its own enormous wealth. But contrary to this new while addressing a press conference, the new CM, on July 18 said that the govt would find ways to tap the petroleum resources & harness the hydropower potential which could be a money spinner for the state. On the 2000Mw Lower Subanisiri HEP at Gerukamukh, Mr Khandu has emphatically said he would discuss the issue with the Assam govt as well as the Centre for a solution. He said that in all the hydropower projects the affected people should be taken into confidence by both the executing agencies as well as the state govt. The new CM elected from Tawang, seeing the hydropower projects as money spinner does not sound very encouraging. Let us see how far he actually goes to take people into confidence as promised by him.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 25 July 2016 (Tawang residents protest against unfulfilled promises)”
Ganga Manthan to Ganga Act: No progress made Chairing the 6th meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority on July 04 Water Minister Uma Bharti has said that a new act will be formulated for speedy implementation of Namami Gange programme. On July 06, giving a major boost to Namami Gange Programme Ms Uma Bharti has also announced that 231 projects will be inaugurated at various locations in Uttrakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi on July 07. Incidentally, on July 07, 2014 NDA Govt. launched the Namami Gange programme to rejuvenate the river to be executed over five years. The project has a budget outlay of Rs 20K crore which is 10 times more than what was allocated in previous Ganga Action Plan (GAP) phase I and II. But more money and the PM minister’s zeal, notwithstanding, Namami Gange seems a carryover from its predecessor in one crucial respect. The overwhelming emphasis on pollution abatement that had led to the GAP’s failure bedevils Namami Gange as well. In certain respects, Namami Gange is an improvement on the GAP. It seems that the govt has not learnt lessons from the GAP’s failure. The lag between sewage generation and treatment has remained between 55% & 60% even as new STPs were built under the GAP. This is because a lot of the waste is generated outside the sewerage network and is not conveyed to the STPs. A large section of the country’s urban population lives outside this network. Moreover, the STPs can only do so much. The official statistics show that the STPs are currently running at a deficiency of 55%. The problem of STPs is three-fold: underestimation, shortage and underutilization due to lack of a well-connected underground sewage system.
The problems associated with river Ganga, however, do not end or begin in its middle course dotted by factories. The upstream of the river, where Bhagirathi and Alaknanda join to form the Ganga, is part of a very fragile Himalayan ecosystem. Caution is needed in implementing the Namame Gange projects along this stretch. The Kedarnath flood of Uttarakhand is an example of what a combination of melting glaciers and mindless construction can do to a sensitive geological zone. With more than 40 dams, barrages and weirs and many more planned aviral Ganga seems nothing more than an empty catchphrase. Ganga is the sum total of the contribution of some 12 major tributaries. Without a rejuvenation strategy for each of Ganga’s tributaries, there can be no Ganga rejuvenation.
Meanwhile, increased fishing activity and vessel traffic are proving to be the disturbing element downstream. Deploying more scientific methods for fishing and limiting it to levels enough for species’ sustenance might help without significantly affecting livelihoods. The direct consequences of climate change are also felt in the lower belts, around the Ganga Sagar region. Land is disappearing but no comprehensive plans have emerged as yet to provide for the rehabilitation of the region’s inhabitants.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 11 July 2016 (Namami Gange proving mere an extension of Ganga Action Plan)”
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), International Rivers, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP)
December 3, 2015
In a global manifesto released today, a coalition of more than 300 civil society organizations from 53 countries called on governments and financiers at the Paris climate talks to keep large hydropower projects out of climate initiatives such as the Clean Development Mechanism, the World Bank’s Clean Investment Funds, and green bonds. Continue reading “COP21: Climate Initiatives Must Not Include Large Hydropower Projects- NGOs”
River Yamuna is fifth longest river of India. For past many centuries the river has been integral part of Indian culture. It has been sustaining means of livelihoods to millions. Many, in pursuit of spiritual inspiration venerate it with great hope. But at present, the river is more in news for its highly polluted state. In this blog SANDRP attempts to presents the picture of the River Yamuna. The blog also briefly mentions the places of cultural, religious, historical and environmental significance on and around the river, pointing out the various factors which has led to present state of the river. Continue reading “Yamuna River Story”
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.
Continue reading “Maletha; Battle won but war remains to be fought”
NORTH-EAST: ARUNACHAL PRADESH: 4 hydroelectric projects including 2000 MW Subansiri denied environmental clearance (02 July 2015) ” The committee also noted that public hearings for the projects had not been conducted and asked the power developers to submit response to the various issues raised by the New Delhi-based NGO South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.” http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150702/jsp/northeast/story_29019.jsp#.VZXfvqRdz5d Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, July 06, 2015”
Dams, Rivers & People News Update (22-31 May 2015)
MORE BAD NEWS FOR INDIAN FARMERS:
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Earth Science
02-June-2015 15:20 IST
Dr Harsh Vardhan Says – “It’s not Just an Unusually Hot Summer, It is a Climate Change” Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin: June 1, 2015”