Rains wreak havoc in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab
Following the southern states witnessing heavy rainfall and floods this monsoon, the northern parts of India are now also experiencing incessant rains.
At least 28 people are feared dead and 22 missing in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab as of Sunday, while a flood alert was sounded in parts of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh as the Yamuna and other rivers were in full spate.
Cloudbursts in Mori block of Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand caused chaos, damaging many houses in Arakot, Makuri and Tikochi villages. As the water level rose in the Beas and Sutlej rivers, the administration had to open the gates of the Pandoh and the Nathpa Jhakri dams in Himachal Pradesh. (India Today)
Conservationists criticise planting of exotic species in Kotagiri wetland, Tamil Nadu
Local residents and conservationists have criticised a government initiative to plant saplings of exotic tree species in a wetland known as Rifle Range, in Kotagiri in the Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu, under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan campaign. The activists say the trees being planted in the wetland were ornamental varieties that were not native to the landscape. It is feared that these exotic species will cause irreversible damage to the biodiversity in the wetland, and will impact the hydrology leading to the spread of invasive species in the Rifle Range. Therefore, the conservationists have requested that the district administration remove the saplings before any irreversible damage is done to the last remaining wetland within Kotagiri town. (The Hindu)
Nathpa Jhakri hydel project suspended due to rise in silt levels in Sutlej River
Electricity production in Nathpa Jhakri hydroelectric project in Kinnaur district has been suspended, as the amount of silt in the Sutlej river has crossed 8000 parts per million (ppm) in the dam. The 412 MW Rampur Dam in Shimla has also suspended operations after silt levels increased in the river following excessive rainfall over the past few days. As per authorities, electricity production will remain suspended until silt in the Sutlej river at the Nathpa Jhakri dam reduces to below 5000 ppm.
Himachal Pradesh has been experiencing moderate to heavy rainfall since Saturday, causing landslides in some areas and blocking highways; all the major rivers and their tributaries that flow through the mountain state are in spate.
Panaji's water supply disrupted after pipeline burst
Following heavy rains on August 15th in Goa, a pipeline burst due to a landslide, disrupting water supply to the capital, Panaji. Goa has entered its sixth day with no water supply, as a result. Some schools have been shut, with taps running dry in the state's premier public health institution. Angry residents have lashed out at authorities for failing to have a Plan B in place, calling the entire situation an administrative failure. (The Times of India, NDTV)
CPCB adds 20 more cities to most polluted list
The CPCB recently submitted a list of an additional 20 cities which do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and, therefore, require focussed attention on multiple fronts to deal with the hazards of unhealthy air quality. The addition includes eight cities from Andhra Pradesh, six from West Bengal and one each from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttarakhand. (The Economic Times)
This is a roundup of important news published between August 14 - 21, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.