As per Counter View report, a well-informed Gujarat government source has told it that a major reason why the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) recently declared there would be “no water” from the multi-purpose irrigation scheme, Sardar Sarovar dam, to Gujarat farmers starting March 15, 2018, is Madhya Pradesh elections, scheduled for this year-end.
The source, refusing to be identified, said, “Already, massive preparations are on in Madhya Pradesh to provide as much Narmada water to the state’s farmers by storing as much water as possible. The idea is to appease the farmers with Narmada waters in the same way as it was done last year before the elections took place in Gujarat.”
This shows how dams in Narmada Valley are being used for achieving political ends, once again. Earlier they were used for Gujarat elections, now they are being used for Madhya Pradesh elections. https://www.counterview.net/2018/01/narmada-waters-in-gujarat-stopped-to.html (Counter View, 20 January 2018)
In another report, anonymous official admits water shortage apparent in Nov 2017 before Gujarat polls was not announced, another indicator of how Narmada dams are used to achieve political ends. https://www.counterview.net/2018/01/narmada-water-for-irrigation-state.html (Counter View, 21 January 2018)
However, this is not happening for the first time. This also happened before the Nov 2017 Gujarat elections and also before 2014 General elections and 2012 Punjab elections, as illustrated below.
Before 2014 general elections too the level of water in Narmada reservoirs was depleted to generate additional power keeping in mind the elections. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/narmada-dams-levels-depleted-to-generate-more-electricity-threatening-water-security-for-gujarat-and-madhya-pradesh/
In case of Bhakra, the way the reservoir level was allowed to deplete in summer of 2012 had consequences in subsequent monsoon. https://sandrp.in/dams/PR_Why_precarious_water_situation_at_Bhakra_dams_was_avoidable_July_2012.pdf
The news media is filled with this new kid on the block, trying to wake the nation about the need to save our rivers… amazing to see so many film stars, politicians, governments, and public personalities, many of them rather innocently joining the band wagon… some friends were pleading that see, he is able to take the message of rivers to so many people, including lakhs of children… let us try and see if there is something positive here… may be, may be this is just the entry point, but the guy and his team have bigger vision? May be we need to give him longer rope, be more charitable and not jump to negativity?
We have kept all this in mind while writing this.
We see nothing from the people who are leading the rally, or their websites or messages that they understand the real threats faced by and reasons for the state of our rivers, are ready to even list such causes or protest any further move to destroy our rivers. The website claims it is “a nationwide awareness campaign to revive our rivers”. Can missed call save our rivers?
In the middle of monsoon season, authorities have fixed August 7, 11 and 17 as public hearing dates for the Pancheshwar Dam project, a giant dam on Mahakali river at India Nepal border. The proposed dam will submerge 134 villages in Pithoragarh, Champawat and Almora districts. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/public-hearing-dates-for-land-fixed/437736.html
The public hearing is happening, when media news reports have widely revealed that villagers have not been informed properly. Many to be affected villagers have even said that they have no information regarding the public hearing. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ngo-seeks-postpone-of-pancheshwar-dam-hearing/articleshow/59727412.cms Social media reports, too have disclosed that the state govt has disseminated no relevant information regarding Pancheshwar dam public hearing. https://www.facebook.com/pg/dev1bhoomi/posts/?ref=page_internal
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project is incomplete and not shared with villagers in affected area in local language. On the contrary the environment ministry has waived off the requirement of a joint mechanism to assess its environmental impact. https://www.masterbuilder.co.in/india-nepal-pancheshwar-project-assessment-guidelines-now-eased/
The public hearing place is far away from the dam site making the public hearing site unreachable for many concerned villagers. It is worth to mention that its monsoon season, the region in landslide affected, several roads are blocked and it’s not possible for the most of the concerned villagers to reach the hearing venue.
Local people, regional parties, individuals and civil societies groups have been raising concerns on the disastrous impact of second highest dam project of the world. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/pancheshwar-dam-spells-doom-for-locals-of-130-villages-who-fear-tehri-re-run/articleshow/57561939.cms
Experts’ demand of postponing the meaningless is right. In a democratic system, the concerned authorities must hear the public voices. It is their responsibilities to share all the relevant information in public domain beforehand, conduct the public hearing in each and every dam affected districts instead of just one place. The present weather conditions are not favorable for the public hearing at all and it must be postponed. http://matuganga.blogspot.com/2017/07/23-8-2017.html
Its also beyond understanding that why such a unviable, high impact, risky project is being pushed in a seismically active region is a multi billion rupee question. http://www.firstpost.com/india/pancheswar-dam-uttarakhand-makes-steady-progress-project-to-generate-employment-power-irrigation-3837837.html
Himachal Pradesh Lahaul-Spiti people condemn Jispa dam, demand eco tourism During a public hearing held on July 17, 2017, regarding 300 mw Jispa hydro project, local people of Jispa village have severely criticized the project making it clear that they would not allow the project. Agitated people also forced the officials to leave the meeting without any outcome. It is worth to mention that since 2009, people of Todh valley in Lahaul-Spiti district are opposing the Jispa Dam project proposed over Bhaga river, a tributary of Chenab, at Jispa village. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/jispa-dam-locals-demand-eco-tourism-not-hydel-project/articleshow/59665492.cms
As per, Rigzin Samphel Hayerpa, Convener of Jispa Baandh Jan Sangarsh Samiti (JBJSS), hundreds of residents of the affected villages had made it clear to the officials that they would not allow the valley to be ruined in the name of development. He added that merely on the ground that the project was of national importance, destruction of fragile ecology could not be allowed.
Zila parishad member from Kwaring Chhime Lhamo said the state government wanted to construct the dam against the wishes of the local people. She said that from the start the people were against the project but the government was not scrapping it. She also said that development at the cost of destruction cannot be allowed. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/meeting-over-jispa-dam-yields-no-result/articleshow/59657026.cms
National There is very interesting discussion with Union Power Minister, which clearly shows that Hydro is no longer viable even with all the additional subsidies the govt is considering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaGujdFCwCA&sns=em
20 hydro projects stalled or stressed The Power Minister Piyush Goyal on March 09, 2017 in a written statement has informed the parliament that as many as 20 under construction HPPs totalling 6,329 MW are either stalled or stressed in the country and Rs 30,147.08 crore has already been spent on them. These projects include 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower of NHPC Ltd, 500 Mw Teesta VI of Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd, 120 MW Rangit-IV of Jal Power Corp, 300 Mw Panan of Himagiri Hydro Energy Pvt Ltd, 850 MW Ratle of GVK Ratle HEP Pvt Ltd, 100 Mw Sorang of Himachal Sorang Power Ltd and 960 MW Polavaram of Polavaram Project Authority.
Is India facing its worst-ever water crisis? On 11 March first time in 30 years history power generation at Farakka power plant in West Bengal was suspended for 10 days due to non-availability of water in Ganges. Nobody is sure why but the evidence about the declining water levels and waning health of the 2,500km long Ganges is mounting. Monsoon rains have been scanty for the second year in succession. The melting of snow in the Himalayas has been delayed. Water tables have also been declining in the Ganges basin due to the reckless extraction of groundwater. The 3-month-long summer is barely weeks away but water availability in India’s 91 reservoirs is at its lowest in a decade, with stocks at a paltry 29% of their total storage capacity, according to the Central Water Commission. Thousands of villagers in drought-hit region of Maharashtra depend on tankers for water & authorities in Latur district, fearing violence, have imposed prohibitory orders on gatherings of more than 5 people around storage tanks. Tens of thousands of farmers and livestock have moved to camps providing free fodder and water for animals in parched districts. The govt has asked local municipalities to stop supplying water to swimming pools. States like Punjab are squabbling over ownership of river waters. In water-scarce Orissa, farmers have reportedly breached embankments to save their crops. Realy the waning health of the sacred river underscores the rising crisis of water in India.
Govt plans National Water Commission In one of the most significant reforms in the water sector in a long time, the govt is in the process of ordering a complete restructuring of the organisations responsible for regulating the use of water resources, with the objective of bringing in greater efficiency, better planning and increased emphasis on conservation of water. According to news report the Central Water Commission (CWC), which oversees irrigation projects, flood management and drinking water supply, and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) are likely to be disbanded, and a National Water Commission is proposed to be set up in their place. A few other smaller organisations with specialised mandate like data gathering and analysis are also likely to be created.
A team under Mihir Shah, a former member of the then Planning Commission of India, is already preparing a blueprint for better management of water resources. The idea of institutional restructuring is said to have the backing of this panel. It is likely to submit its report in the next two months. In the new scheme of things, more emphasis is being given to judicious use, and conservation, of ground water. It is estimated that despite elaborate irrigation projects, about 60 per cent of irrigation during the non-rainy season is still done by pumping out ground water. The large irrigation projects, meanwhile, have given sub-optimal results.
A large number of sewage treatment plants, being built as part of the Clean Ganga initiative that will eventually spread to other rivers as well, will provide a new source of water that is fit not only for industrial use but also for irrigation and many other purposes. The river rejuvenation plans, not just of Ganga but others as well, will become an integral part of overall water resources management. Apart from reducing pollution in the rivers, and maintaining a minimum ecological flow, the rejuvenation plans would also ensure that the rivers are able to adequately recharge the aquifers in its basins.
Allocation of water resources to each state is also on the agenda. But this process is likely to take time as it would involve extensive consultations with the state governments. Once a consensus emerges, a central legislation on allocation of water resources is planned to be brought in. This is aimed at reducing inter-state water disputes.