Chicu Lokgariwar

  • Kanhar, 1976; Polavaram 1941. These are just two of the several dam projects that were proposed decades ago but are yet to see the light of day. Capitalist media is quick to denounce 'anti-development' activists as being the roadblocks on the glorious path of progress but there is more to it. U...
    chicuposted 4 years 6 months agoread more
  • If Babasaheb Ambedkar had been alive today -- April 14, 2015 -- he would have been 125 years old. In the predominantly tribal and dalit district of Sonbhadra, it was natural that Gambhira Prasad, President of the Kanhar Bandh Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti (KBVSS), decided to mark the day. He chose t...
    chicuposted 4 years 7 months agoread more
  • World Water Day 2015 proved to be significant to the people of Meghalaya. That day is when the state's Springshed Management Initiative was launched. The Chief Secretary, PBO Warjri said that the people of Shillong have traditionally depended on springs but in recent years, land use changes and...
    chicuposted 4 years 7 months agoread more
  • “Every inch of our planning is directed towards human beings. At least leave environmental flows alone!”, said the professor, revealing a side to himself that I had not dreamt existed. The professor, who shall remain anonymous here, is a member of the prestigious IIT consortium that is entrusted...
    chicuposted 4 years 7 months agoread more
  • Bihar is working hard to achieve total sanitation. Sanjay Kumar Sinha, of  the Public Health Engineerng Department spoke about Bihar's efforts in this direction during a conference on the Right to Sanitation. He said, "On 02 October 2014, the government launched the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan whic...
    chicuposted 4 years 8 months agoread more
  • The story of the Falgu is one of greed. Unlike most other rivers, the Falgu is not just a victim of greed, but also an oppressor -- she oppressed none other than Sita herself as she flowed through Gaya in Bihar. The story Legend has it that during their exile, Rama and Sita decided to rest fo...
    chicuposted 4 years 8 months agoread more
  • Come March and it's that time of the year again -- spring cleaning! On March 22, 2015, this takes on a slightly different meaning to some as it becomes a day to spring clean our attitudes towards water for yet another year. World Water Day looms large and with it, the current year's focus. 2015's t...
    swatiposted 4 years 8 months agoread more
  • Professor Jay O'Keeffe is well-known to all those who are interested in the concept of environmental flow releases. The Professor has been involved in this, all over the world, since the seventies. The phrase 'environmental flow releases' encompasses a complex set of assessments and negotiations. S...
    chicuposted 4 years 8 months agoread more
  • SOPPECOM and Water Aid have been working for the last three years on the right to water and sanitation. They have engaged in consultations with people across the nation, and used these discussions to articulate their campaign demands. The campaign has also come up with a wealth of resources on the t...
    chicuposted 4 years 8 months agoread more
  • For as long as local records exist, the countryside of  South Bihar has witnessed a lone man striding across the fields night and day. In the past, he was accompanied by a lantern and a lathi. Today, his companions are a bicycle and a mobile phone. He is the Bandhwe, a man charged with overseei...
    chicuposted 4 years 9 months agoread more
  • The Bhuiyas, a group of people who belong to the Scheduled Castes in Jharkhand and Bihar, have historically been landless foragers -- a fact reflected in their name which means 'of the earth'. During the Bhoodaan movement, a group of Bhuiyas received a small amount of land on the Chhota Nagpur plate...
    chicuposted 4 years 9 months agoread more
  • Hydrogeology has, before this, been considered a highly specialised field known only to dedicated academics. Today, this arcane science is being studied by villagers and development workers across India's mountain regions. The reason for this surge of interest? It is, quite simply, a matter of life ...
    chicuposted 4 years 9 months agoread more
  • A consortium of the seven Indian Institutes of Technology has been formed and charged with the preparation of a basin-wide management plan to restore the Ganga. What have they proposed for the river? In an exclusive interview with the India Water Portal, Dr. Tare explained the IIT consortium's visi...
    chicuposted 4 years 11 months agoread more
  • "Just having the people of Delhi look at their water meters everyday will enable the city to deal with its current water supply", said K.P Singh. He should know. Singh is a resident of Rainbow Drive, a bungalow community in Bangalore. Led by him, the society has revolutionised its water availabili...
    chicuposted 4 years 11 months agoread more
  • The people I was listening to challenged all my prejudices about government officials' tendencies to bury their heads in the sand. On the contrary, these officials had studied the science of climate change, had witnessed (and been moved by) its impacts on subsistence farmers and urban dwellers alike...
    chicuposted 4 years 11 months agoread more
  • The Koel Karo Jan Sanghatana was awarded the first Bhagirath Award during the India Rivers Week 2014 for protecting the Koel and the Karo rivers. That this is not an organisation that many people have heard of is a shame. The struggle that this organisation has faced against the Koel Karo dam i...
    chicuposted 5 years 1 week agoread more
  • "Clean water", emphasized the woman. "'Close to the house. Whenever it is needed", she added. She was speaking at a village meeting organised to determine what was needed to make the village water secure. The discussions had begun with an attempt to define water security. The leader of the gro...
    chicuposted 5 years 1 month agoread more
  • There is nothing special about Mahewa. It is a small ward in the town of Gorakhpur, far enough on the outskirts of the city, and it hasn't seem to have made up its mind on whether it is a city or a village. Part of it is in the form of 'bungalow colonies', part in the form of small farms. Small shar...
    chicuposted 5 years 1 month agoread more
  • 'Sabarmati ke Sant, tune kar diya kamaal'. Oh Saint of Sabarmati, you have done wonders' goes the popular song. Today, it is the Sabarmati herself who is supposed to be the subject of  a miracle. After all, she is the star of the much acclaimed riverfront development, along the lines of which e...
    chicuposted 5 years 2 months agoread more
  • Bihar is no stranger to floods. The high-volume, high-velocity floods caused by large infrastructure projects regularly disrupt lives and decimate entire villages. This is the oft-repeated narrative, one of a helpless population as victims. A little less well known is the other story- the one where...
    chicuposted 5 years 2 months agoread more

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The Farakka barrage is an ageing symbol of our need to control rivers and our inability to do so. Can we do away with it?

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.

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The floodplains of Bihar have an excellent natural flood control and irrigation system in place. Why is the government ignoring it at the cost of lives and livelihoods?

“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.

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Our oceans are facing a bleak future. Captain Siddharth Chakravarty speaks about his work in controlling poaching, pollution and other criminal activities at sea

He is called Mobi Dick's Avenger.

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Livestock herders are the unreported victims of unpredictable rainfall, denied access to existing sources of water, and xenophobia. India Water Portal speaks to one such set of refugees.

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 oldest living language spoken today. There is also a vast gulf between them.

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While solid waste management is largely ignored by Panchayats and citizens, Goa manages to go against this trend. How does it do this?

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. That is, those few of them who actually think of the issue of solid waste management (SWM) at all. For most panchayats, sanitation begins and ends with defecation.

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Goa and Karnataka have been fighting over the Mhadei since 2002. How does this affect the extensive cooperation expected from the states for the interlinking plan?

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 as transport--cargo ranging from iron ore to coconuts are carried down the river on boats of varying sizes.

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Poachers, citizens and sometimes animals themselves are threats to the parks but the biggest new threat is climate change. Do our national parks stand a chance of surviving it?

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 animals, but for the destruction of entire groups of species--climate change.

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Constructing naulas, the small structures that house springs in Uttarakhand, requires an intimate knowledge of many sciences. One of the last practitioners of this dying craft tells his story.

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 range from a simple stone piece to an ornately carved statue. Often, there is also an alcove big enough for a lamp. Inside, the naulas are shaped like a step-well. The number of steps--always odd in count--are usually 3, 5, 7 or more.

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Springs exist in the most biodiverse regions of the country and anchor entire ecosystems. That fact must be respected while undertaking springs conservation work.

"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 springs for rural water security. This awareness has led to an increased interest in spring conservation benefiting villagers across India.

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Terrace kitchen gardens are slowly making their mark in the tourist hotspot. A couple helps those interested in organic farming either find good farmers or become one themselves!

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 their own food.

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