Society, Culture, Religion and History

  • Vrindavan, the small dusty twin town of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, has a special place in the Hindu mythology. This is where Lord Krishna is believed to have spent most of his childhood and adolescence. The river Yamuna straddles through the town, a hot destination for thousands of devotees lining up...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 3 days 35 min agoread more
  • PM Modi inaugurates the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project On his birthday on September 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Project. The gates of the dam have been closed and the reservoir behind the dam is getting filled up to raise water level fro...
    swatiposted 6 days 16 hours agoread more
  • The problem of Bengaluru’s water is well known. The demand for water tankers skyrockets during the summer months, when municipal and borewell water supplies run dry, and many of the city’s lakes, actually man-made tanks, lie neglected and polluted. While legislation on rainwater harvesting ...
    priyadposted 1 week 5 days agoread more
  • In the afternoons these days, Basai wears a deserted look. Known as a bird’s delight and privileged by the protected status of a national park, the wetland is located just eight kilometres from Sultanpur bird sanctuary in Gurugram in Haryana. No birds can be spotted foraging the soil of the Basai ...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 1 week 5 days agoread more
  • The Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has decided to expand the coverage of Rs 34,022-crore farm loan waiver scheme to extend the benefit to farmers indebted since 2009. The government had earlier said 89 lakh farmers would benefit from the scheme. The expansion of the scheme's ambit ...
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 2 weeks 2 hours agoread more
  • Back in 2015, the Member of Parliament (MP) from Balasore, Odisha got to know about a strange problem in his constituency. There were reports of a number of bone deformities and crippled people in areas surrounding Patripal village of Remuna block. They seemed to be related to fluoride in water, cau...
    priyadposted 2 weeks 5 days agoread more
  • Gorakhpur is back in the news with 42 more children dying in 48 hours at one of the biggest hospitals here--Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital or BRD hospital. This small city located in the north-eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh has seen 1256 such deaths since January, a large number of childre...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 3 weeks 1 day agoread more
  • Despite ban, immersion of Ganpati idols made of PoP continue in Bengaluru lakes According to data released by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, a total of 2,08,585 idols were immersed in Bengaluru lakes this year on the first day of the Ganesh festival. Despite the Karnataka State Pollution C...
    swatiposted 3 weeks 6 days agoread more
  • In our effort to make space for infrastructural developments, India's green cover is declining at an alarming rate. The overall mangrove cover in the country stands at 4,740 sq. km., which is 0.14 sq. km of India’s overall geographical area.  Mangroves provide the ideal space for breedi...
    makarandpurohitposted 1 month 3 days agoread more
  • Does gender matter when it comes to sanitation? Apparently, it does. Women suffer more than men in case of poor access to sanitation that compromises their health, mobility and freedom. Since there is a possibility of being sexually assaulted or harassed while answering nature’s call in the o...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 1 month 1 week agoread more
  • When Satya Devi was a child, the open well near her house in the village of Malku Majra was the water source for the household. She reminisces, “The water was clean and soft. The well would never go dry. Once when there was a drought, we went to the bed of the Sirsa river, dug a few holes in the b...
    chicuposted 1 month 2 weeks agoread more
  • Groundwater rules might get relaxed The Central Ground Water Authority has drafted new guidelines to regulate the use of groundwater. If the draft gets approved, water-guzzling industries such as packaged drinking water and paper manufacturers could be allowed to drill water even in areas...
    swatiposted 1 month 2 weeks agoread more
  • Floods are generally considered destructive but in some cases, overflowing rivers have the potential to create wetlands. These wetlands can serve as agreeable landscapes that turn resourceful due to the multiple functions it can host. The Kanwar Lake in Bihar is a striking example of this shared, al...
    makarandpurohitposted 1 month 3 weeks agoread more
  • Vasant Baburao Parkale, a 52-year-old farmer, has become a role model for many farmers in the drought-prone Marathwada region. His determination and the will to excel in life have helped him to transform his dreams into reality. In 1984, he was just another labourer working for Bhagwan Yashwantrao ...
    makarandpurohitposted 2 months 16 hours agoread more
  • Maharashtra cabinet decides on drip irrigation for sugarcane cultivation  In a bid to save water, the Maharashtra cabinet has decided to make drip irrigation a must for sugarcane cultivation. The state is estimated to save 7,500 to 12,500 cubic metre water per hectare by bringing around 3.05 l...
    swatiposted 2 months 2 days agoread more
  • Over the last few months, we saw protests by distressed farmers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and other states over farming crisis and farmer suicides. In what seemed like a knee-jerk reaction, many state governments announced farm loan waivers without thinking if it would actually help the farmers...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 months 3 days agoread more
  • Supreme Court pulls Centre over preservation of wetlands The Supreme Court has reprimanded the Centre over noncompliance with international conventions regarding preservation of wetland sites across the country. In its earlier order, the apex court has identified over two lakh wetlands and asked fo...
    swatiposted 2 months 1 week agoread more
  • When I meet Puran Chand, an activist in the forefront of the anti-Renuka dam struggle, he dictates from the two much-thumbed pages of his notebook the several objections he has against the government’s plan for the rehabilitation of people displaced by the Renuka dam. Here is a man who has repeate...
    chicuposted 2 months 1 week agoread more
  • SC stays order granting human status to Ganga and Yamuna rivers In a major relief to the Uttarakhand government, the Supreme Court has stayed the high court order which granted the status of a living human entity to Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The stay has come into effect following the government's p...
    swatiposted 2 months 2 weeks agoread more
  • Uttarakhand challenges living person status to Ganga and Yamuna rivers, moves SC On the grounds that the Ganga and the Yamuna are interstate rivers, the Uttarakhand government has sought a stay from the Supreme Court on the living person status conferred to the two rivers. Earlier this year, the hi...
    swatiposted 2 months 3 weeks agoread more

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An NGO comes forward to restore the forgotten kunds of Vrindavan which are not just historical marvels but are also freshwater sources.

Vrindavan, the small dusty twin town of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, has a special place in the Hindu mythology. This is where Lord Krishna is believed to have spent most of his childhood and adolescence. The river Yamuna straddles through the town, a hot destination for thousands of devotees lining up for a dip in it every day. The place is also known for the rich saturated colours and messy revelry during “lathmar” holi where people hit each other with sticks.

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Policy matters this week

PM Modi inaugurates the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project

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A partnership between Biome, ACWADAM and WIPRO brought stakeholders together to map Sarjapur's aquifer.

The problem of Bengaluru’s water is well known. The demand for water tankers skyrockets during the summer months, when municipal and borewell water supplies run dry, and many of the city’s lakes, actually man-made tanks, lie neglected and polluted.

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No wetlands have been notified in Delhi-NCR since the wetlands rules were brought out in 2010. Meanwhile, draft wetlands rules are set to decentralise its management to states.

In the afternoons these days, Basai wears a deserted look. Known as a bird’s delight and privileged by the protected status of a national park, the wetland is located just eight kilometres from Sultanpur bird sanctuary in Gurugram in Haryana. No birds can be spotted foraging the soil of the Basai wetland or its waters. “Till a few years ago, the area was host to a constantly changing cast of wetland birds.

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It's the rich farmer who benefits from the government's loan waiver. As long as moneylenders lend money to the poor farmer, he would continue to be mired in debt.

The Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has decided to expand the coverage of Rs 34,022-crore farm loan waiver scheme to extend the benefit to farmers indebted since 2009. The government had earlier said 89 lakh farmers would benefit from the scheme. The expansion of the scheme's ambit means the number of farmers, as well as the amount, will rise. Though the state is yet to come up with new figures, it is estimated that the number of farmers to be benefited may go up by 10 lakh and the total loan amount by Rs 4,000 crore. 

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How Balasore became recognised as a fluorosis-affected district in Odisha

Back in 2015, the Member of Parliament (MP) from Balasore, Odisha got to know about a strange problem in his constituency. There were reports of a number of bone deformities and crippled people in areas surrounding Patripal village of Remuna block. They seemed to be related to fluoride in water, causing a disease called Skeletal Fluorosis.

The problem was that Government data seemed to indicate the entire Balasore district to be free from fluoride (See above figure). But how then were people getting crippled? This started a journey for the MP from Balasore, Rabindra Kumar Jena.

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Recent encephalitis deaths in Gorakhpur put the spotlight back on the disease and the importance of better sanitation as a preventive measure.

Gorakhpur is back in the news with 42 more children dying in 48 hours at one of the biggest hospitals here--Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital or BRD hospital. This small city located in the north-eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh has seen 1256 such deaths since January, a large number of children dying from encephalitis alone.

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News this week

Despite ban, immersion of Ganpati idols made of PoP continue in Bengaluru lakes

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Mangroves in the country are under threat from rapid development. A video tells us how investing in nature can reverse this ecological crisis.

In our effort to make space for infrastructural developments, India's green cover is declining at an alarming rate. The overall mangrove cover in the country stands at 4,740 sq. km., which is 0.14 sq. km of India’s overall geographical area. 

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Women, who need safe sanitation the most, are often left out of crucial sanitation-related decisions at households, a study says.

Does gender matter when it comes to sanitation? Apparently, it does. Women suffer more than men in case of poor access to sanitation that compromises their health, mobility and freedom. Since there is a possibility of being sexually assaulted or harassed while answering nature’s call in the open, they hesitate to drink enough water to avoid urinating leading to various diseases like urinary tract infections, heat stroke, kidney infections, etc. Women often hold the urge to defecate due to the lack of access to sanitation leading to chronic constipation and intestinal damage.

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