Southwest monsoon claims 227 lives
At least 227 people across the country have been reported dead in floods, lightning and landslides occurring due to the southwest monsoon. With 80 casualties, Kerala is the worst affected state in the south. Several parts of Gujarat, including Saurashtra and Kutch regions, have received heavy rainfall in the last few days and nearly 31 people have died in the state in rain-related incidents. In Karnataka, the death toll stands at 48 with 581,000 people displaced due to flooding since August 1. However, after several months of severe drought, farmers in various regions are rejoicing as reservoirs, including the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur, Tamil Nadu and the Krishna Raja Sagara reservoir near Mysuru in Karnataka are almost full. (Hindustan Times)
Government plans law to manage 13 river basins for flood management
To combat floods in the country, the Jal Shakti Ministry is planning a River Basin Management Bill to manage all 13 river basins in India by setting up exclusive umbrella authorities for each of them. The inter-state river basins for which authorities are to be constituted, include the Ganga, Indus, Godavari, Mahanadi, Mahi, Narmada, Pennar, Cauvery, Krishna, Tapi, Subarnrekha, Brahmani-Baitarini and Brahamaputra-Barak inter-state rivers of the North East.
Under the Bill, a master plan for all river basins will be prepared to help stakeholders collectively address larger issues of flood management, irrigation, navigation, water conservation and distribution without getting into the complexities of multiplicity at different levels.
(The Times of India)
Dam mismanagement led to Maharashtra floods
As per a report,'August 2019 Krishna Basin Floods in Maharashtra - Karnataka: How dams are harming rather than helping' prepared by the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), dam operators could have helped reduce the floods in Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts had they acted promptly. The report revealed that the dams should have started releasing water by July 25th, when the Koyna and Warna dams were already half full. However, dam operators refrained from releasing water in the context of recurring droughts that have also plagued this region. The report added that dam operators are never held responsible for mismanagement as they are protected by the big dam lobby. Moreover, dam operation rules are not put in the public domain and hence dam operators are not held accountable for their actions. (India Today)
Essar Energy fined for damage to crops, property in Singrauli
On August 6-7, ash-laden water from the Mahan Power plant ash dam spilled into over 200 acres of land after one of the walls of the dam breached while it was raining heavily in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh. Residents of two villages in the Singrauli district suffered heavy damage to crops and property and held Mauritius-based energy industry company Essar Energy responsible for the damage. A team of the pollution control board visited the spot to access the environmental damage caused by the ash-laden water and has asked Essar Energy to deposit Rs 50 lakh as compensation to the Singrauli district administration. (India Today)
Clinical ecotoxicology facility launched in Delhi
A first-of-its-kind clinical ecotoxicology facility has been launched in AIIMS, Delhi, to investigate increasing cases of diseases resulting from exposure to environmental toxins contaminating water, food and air. According to the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, contaminated water, air and soil are responsible for about nine million early deaths. The facility which will be the nodal point for leading research in clinical ecotoxicology in the country, will also provide diagnostic consultation to all the clinical departments dealing with diseases due to ecotoxicity. (The New Indian Express)
This is a roundup of important news published between August 7 - 13, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.