Chicu Lokgariwar

  • The chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, called for the decommissioning of the Farakka barrage recently. This demand, unlike what may be expected, was not motivated by a love for free-flowing rivers. On the contrary, Kumar believes that with its upstream neighbour Uttar Pradesh usurping all the wa...
    chicuposted 3 years 3 months agoread more
  • “When I was a boy, a family and their livestock could feed on just one crop for three years,” says Jugal Mandal of Sakhwar village in Darbhanga district. “For the last five years though, the village fields have been fallow because we have not had water,” he adds. This statement could come a...
    chicuposted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • He is called Mobi Dick's Avenger. The 33-year-old captain of M/V Steve Irwin, the flagship of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Siddharth Chakravarty has been sailing the oceans for the last one-and-a-half decades; crusading much of that time for the marine life. Sea Shepherd leads the world in dir...
    chicuposted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • Kishan Yadav has a lot in common with the popular flute-playing god whose namesake he is. They share a name, a caste, a profession, and the land they live on. Despite the separation of 8,000 years between their lifetimes, the two Kishans would be comfortable speaking to each other - Maithili is the ...
    chicuposted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. A visit to almost any village or small town in India today will serve to confirm that statement. In an undoubtedly laudable attempt to keep the village clean, gram panchayats tend to dump waste in a convenient patch of land on the outskirts....
    chicuposted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • The Mandovi river is picture perfect. She is the wide, placid river fringed by the coconut palms and dotted by the boats that we think of when we think of Goa. For the Goans, the Mandovi is a lifeline as she provides drinking water and fish. She also waters the rice crop that they live on and serves...
    chicuposted 3 years 9 months agoread more
  • Forest guards in India have fought many things over time in the course of their daily work--poachers, irate citizens, even animals at times! But they are now facing a threat that may well be beyond their capacity to overcome. A threat that is not just responsible for the death of individual ani...
    chicuposted 3 years 10 months agoread more
  • No temple is as venerated in Uttarakhand as the little unassuming naulas. These small hut-like structures dot the mountains and hold within them a great treasure--water. Usually made of stone masonry with pyramid-like slate roofs, every naula respresents within it a residing spirit which can ra...
    chicuposted 3 years 11 months agoread more
  • "If you do good work on the ground, policy will happen", says Himanshu Kulkarni of ACWADAM. This has proven to be in true at least in the case of springs. Nearly three decades of research and ground work on spring conservation has convinced the government and development workers of the importance of...
    chicuposted 4 years 4 days agoread more
  • It was a sultry Sunday afternoon in Goa, the time traditionally reserved for heavy lunches followed by long siestas but the small crowd gathered at Arjuntree One in Margao defied the stereotype. They had come from all over the city to learn about an activity close to their hearts--growing ...
    chicuposted 4 years 2 weeks agoread more
  • 'Brahmaputra edge lost to China' screamed the front page of one of India's leading newspapers on October 17, 2015. This was followed by outraged discussions over the impact of China's dam on downstream India. The author stated, “Under the doctrine of prior appropriation, a priority right falls on ...
    chicuposted 4 years 4 weeks agoread more
  • When I first spoke with Bhagoti Devi, I attempted to break the ice by telling her how warmly our mutual acquaintances spoke of her. She was nonchalant. "Of course they will recommend you speak to me”, she said. “After all, it took a lot of hard work to have such a thick forest standing here.” ...
    chicuposted 4 years 1 month agoread more
  • The Galo tribe has lived in the Eastern Himalayan forests for centuries. Like their neighbours, this tribe had a well-defined territory, the boundaries of which were marked by various topographical features such as rock formations or mountain ridges. Kalidasa's Meghdoot, which describes the journey ...
    chicuposted 4 years 1 month agoread more
  • It was 1995. A 34 year old doctor working in the Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Jabalpur received an appeal for help from the District Collector of Mandla, Madhya Pradesh. A distressing number of young people in the two villages of Tilai...
    chicuposted 4 years 2 months agoread more
  • I keep seeing news about dengue everywhere. Why is it such a big deal?India is experiencing a dengue outbreak now. As of September 13, 2015 about 22,000 people in India have been diagnosed with the disease; nearly 2000 of these cases are in Delhi alone. Thankfully, fatalaties this year are at 0.2 pe...
    chicuposted 4 years 2 months agoread more
  • Indian activists have been campaigning for the last three years for a justiciable right to water and sanitation. According to the framework of this right, it provides a legal framework to hold states accountable, and provides principles to assist states in prioritising where resources should be dedi...
    chicuposted 4 years 3 months agoread more
  • Ghiyas-ud-din-khilji is a man about whom history is confused. Contemporary records speak of 'a lover of peace, particular in his daily prayers'. Modern references invariably mention his (unsubstantiated) harem of 15,000 women. There is only one thing we can all agree on: Ghiyas-ud-din-khilji and his...
    chicuposted 4 years 3 months agoread more
  • Urmila can neither walk upright, nor run about, nor do her chores easily. She is loved in her parents' house and they do not grudge her the extra care she requires. In rural India, this state of affairs does not last long for a girl, especially since she's only six years old. This is a wre...
    chicuposted 4 years 4 months agoread more
  • 'To be or not to be' may well be the new mantra for people undertaking the Himalayan Char Dham pilgrimage this year. The Char Dham, which is a pilgrimage to four venerated temples in Uttarakhand -- Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath -- is undertaken by lakhs of pilgrims annually (about six...
    chicuposted 4 years 4 months agoread more
  • I first met Kunti and Priya at a meeting of the Springs Initiative, which is a network of organisations and individuals working across India to restore their springs. Both from Kulgad village, they had come to talk about the work they had done on their spring. The officials present at that meet...
    chicuposted 4 years 5 months agoread more

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In a two-part series, we look at the health of rivers across India. Here’s a comprehensive assessment of the rivers of the north and the east.

Rivers in India are always in the news whether it’s the interstate water sharing disputes, dams, sand mining or the recent order of the Uttarakhand high court declaring Ganga and Yamuna as living entities. Seven major river systems, over 400 rivers and numerous streams have sustained lives and livelihoods in India for centuries. Enormous pressure from faulty management practices is confining these lifelines to dams and canals, encroaching their space, pouring untreated sewage into them, and lifting sands from their banks.

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Sexism is as glaring in development sector as it is in any other professional field. Feminist activist Nandini Rao says both causes cannot be mutually exclusive for the development to be holistic.

“That was a very scary place to be in,” says Nandini frowning at the memory of dealing with a rape allegation against a colleague. The allegation had severely fractured the community of activists that she worked with. “These were people who we knew really well, we were comrades on so many issues. But when the rape case broke, we were suddenly on two sides of the fence and could not sit down and have the same conversation,” she says. The confusion in Nandini’s voice is palpable as we chat sitting on a sunny wall.

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Though natural disasters and destruction of rivers are major concerns of the people of Uttarakhand, they fail to move the contesting parties.

The people of Uttarakhand, like other Himalayan states, follow many unique and traditional practices to live in sync with nature.

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Assembly elections will be conducted in Goa on February 4. What do the contesting parties say about managing its waters?

Two hundred and fifty candidates are contesting 40 seats in the elections for Goa's legislative assembly scheduled for February 4, 2017.

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During a dismal year that spelt doom for the conservation of the country’s natural resources, some politicians made headlines with their bizarre ideas and statements. Here’s a roundup.

The year 2016 was an abysmal year in terms of environmental policy and conservation in India. At India Water Portal, we have already spoken of the major policy changes of 2016, analysed both India's largest river conservation programme and the government's flagship river-linking plan.

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Fish species are rapidly disappearing from Himalayan rivers. Dams are not the reason. Human activity is.

Jaman Ram, a resident of Bhikia Sain, a tehsil in Uttarakhand, remembers fishing with his father in the Ramganga. “We could catch 80-100 kilograms of fish a day. That is no longer possible,” he says. Shafiq of Haldwani shares an unsettling memory of the Ramganga. As a young man on a holiday, he was paddling in the river near Marchula when the rock he was standing on shifted. Thinking he was standing on a loose boulder, he stepped away from it only to see the “rock” glide away. It was a large “goonch”, a fish mighty enough to support a man on its back.

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The banks of Yamuna have witnessed many forced evictions of illegal settlers over the years. The officials, however, turn a blind eye to encroachment by massive infrastructures.

Shalu’s household was evicted from Koyla Basti of the Yamuna pushta (embankment), a massive slum cluster on the banks of the Yamuna river in the year 2004. Earthmoving machines bulldozed thousands of homes at the site which was to host the Commonwealth Games of 2010.

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Renuka lake is a Ramsar site but also has a temple near it which makes it a battle site of conflicting interests. Is a solution possible?

Renuka can be forgiven if she were to feel a bit crazy at times. Like many other women, she could be finding it hard to balance her pious and wild sides.

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Pristine Tso Moriri attracts hundreds of visitors, both winged and biped. Today, it is the human visitors that threaten the survival of this Ramsar wetland.

Poised at a breathtaking 4,595 metres above sea level, Tso Moriri is a clear lake fed by multiple springs as well as snowmelt that drains into it from the nearby mountains. Of the streams that feed it, the two primary stream systems lie to the north and the south-west. Tso Moriri once had an outlet that drained water away from it, but it has been blocked for several years now. This has led to the water becoming slightly brackish.

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The UP government is on a mission to replicate Osaka's riverfront in Lucknow. This spells doom for the families dependent on the Gomti for sustenance.

Raghunath Lakhpat is a terrified man. He can only watch warily as the land on either side of his modest home is being dug up by huge earthmovers. “We are stuck in the middle. Sooner or later, we will have to leave. But where will we go? What will we eat?” he asks helplessly.

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