Himanshu Thakkar

  • (Image is from the Sage Publications webpage listed below)TOWARDS WATER WISDOMLimits, Justice, Harmony RAMASWAMY R IYER : Centre for Policy Research, New DelhiThere is a widespread view that a water crisis is looming. This book stresses the need for an urgent and radical transformation of our think...
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The article features the workshop organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University to address the conflict issues over shared rivers in the South Asian region.

Guest Post by Himanshu Thakkar

New Delhi: A workshop organised yesterday on the sidelines of a South Asia civil society gathering under the banner of Assembly of a Union of South Asian Peoples at Jawaharlal Nehru University came up with a set of recommendations to address the question of conflict over shared rivers in the region. The key message from the meeting, which addressed issues pertaining to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and India, was that South Asia’s rivers should be a source of uniting peoples, not dividing them. The Assembly is being organised as a civil society counter to the official SAARC meeting to be held in Thimpu from 28-29 April 2010.

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An article on the objection to TERI Corporate Awards for Environmental Excellence given to NHPC

The TERI Corporate Awards for Environmental Excellence is an Award given in recognition of corporate leadership efforts towards environmental management and sustainable initiatives. The objective is to encourage and provide momentum to innovative environmental initiatives. This year the award was given to National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd (NHPC)in recognition for its contribution towards the environment. But a number of persons and organisations, including Senior Supreme Court lawyer Shri Prashant Bhushan (Ph: 09811164068) and a detailed study by South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People (SANDRP) a letter objecting the award to NHPC was sent to the jury of TERI.

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Dams, Rivers and People (April - May 09): Poor track record of the NDA & UPA in the water sector

Forwarded to the Portal by: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP

The latest edition of the Dams, Rivers and People Newsletter is out !

Access here: April - May 2009 The latest issue keeps an eye on the poor track record of the NDA & UPA in the water sector, the importance of water in the elections, importance of water as an industry & much more !

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IMD Data on website: Monthly, district wise rainfall data for five years!

Guest Post by: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP

 

You may recall that following an appeal by SANDRP before the Central Information Commission, CIC had in January 2009 asked India Met Dept to review their policy and put up district wise monthly rainfall data for at least five years on its website. The relevant order of CIC can be seen here: CIC to IMD Review Info Policy and relevant Press Release from SANDRP can be seen at: CIC Directs IMD to Review Information Policy Now, IMD has put up the requested data on its website, see: http://imd.gov.in/section/hydro/distrainfall/districtrain.html IMD tells us that they are still in the process of collecting, collating the data and data of more districts would be uploaded as they are ready. We have also suggested to IMD to also provide annual figures (total of the monthly data) so that people get quick picture about the same. We also notice that links for some of the districts (e.g. Nalgonda in AP) are not working. Let us know if you have other feedback. We would like to thank all those who have also submitted their comments on the India Water Portal, supporting our position, the comments were submitted to IMD and CIC.

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Little attention paid to past failures in the hydro power sector and to the possibility that many of these failures will recur in new projects too

"Hydro-power guidelines flawed", is a critique by Himanshu Thakkar, written in June 2006, of the recent guidelines from the Ministry of Power, that encourage private sector participation in the development of large hydro projects. The author argues that there is little attention paid to past failures, and to the possibility that many of these failures will recur in new projects too.

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Instead of using their powers, the central agencies work more like the agents and catalysts for irrigation projects that have not been approved by either CWC or the Planning Commission

"Centre absent from water projects", is a report by Himanshu Thakkar, written in May 2007, on the need for developing procedures to ensure that projects that have not been approved by either CWC or the Planning Commission do not get statutory clearances, so that such central agencies do not work more like agents for sub-optimal development.
Read the report

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Central government imposes large water storage projects on state governments even when the states were against such projects

"Unreasoned push for large storage projects", is a note by Himanshu Thakkar written in July 2006, on the central government's unreasoned preference for large multi-purpose storage projects, inspite of evidence and experience contrary to the same.
Read the note

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Storage capacities of the reservoirs have been dropping and the loss is alarming; what's worse, little is being to done to stop the wastage

"Wake up call on reservoir siltation nationwide", is a note by Himanshu Thakkar & Swarup Bhattacharyya, written in October 2006, on how storage capacities of the reservoirs have been dropping at an alarming rate, and how little is being to done to stop the wastage. The note is based on siltation studies of 27 dam-created reservoirs spanning the nation, obtained using the RTI law.
Read the note

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A memorandum demanding the scrapping of the proposed Renuka Dam Project in Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh was sent to the Prime Minister, Union Minister of Water Resources, the Delhi Jal Board, the Central Water Commission and the Ministry of Social Justice today by concerned environment groups as well as representatives of the dam affected communities.

Forwarded to the Portal by: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP

Submission Sent to Prime Minister, DJB, Ministry of Water Resources & HP Govt.

A memorandum demanding the scrapping of the proposed Renuka Dam Project in Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh was sent to the Prime Minister, Union Minister of Water Resources, the Delhi Jal Board, the Central Water Commission and the Ministry of Social Justice today by concerned environment groups as well as representatives of the dam affected communities. The 5 page detailed submission has made this demand on three basic grounds - technical/conceptual issues, environment implications and the social impacts of the project. Attacking the very root and concept of the project the memorandum highlights the point that the agreement that was signed in May 1994 is no longer valid, as per the opinion of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, since Rajasthan, one of the parties, did not sign the agreement. The Delhi Jal Board has admitted in response to an RTI application that no options assessment has been done to arrive at the least cost option before taking up the Renuka dam proposal. Without such an assessment, taking up a proposal like the Renuka dam would be completely wrong and inappropriate use of public resources. Moreover, several Studies have proved that Delhi itself is thirsty not because there is shortage of water but actually due to mismanagement and misappropriation of water. According to the Performance Audit report of the Delhi Jal Board for 2008, Delhi has distribution losses of 40 per cent of total water supply which is abnormal and significantly higher than the acceptable norms of 15 per cent prescribed by the Ministry of Urban Development.

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The plan will help neither the climate, nor the poor. NAPCC lacks urgency, democracy and equity perspective

The South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People has published a critique of the India's National Action Plan on Climate change (NAPCC), titled: "There is little Hope here". India is more vulnerable to the climate change impacts than the US, the Europe or even China. And the poor within India, whose contribution to the climate change is the least, are the most vulnerable, considering their dependence on natural resources. The report, which includes recommendations of several civil society consultations, concludes that the NAPCC has been formulated through a most non transparent process; it will help neither the poor, nor the climate. The climate change provides a unique opportunity to make India's development path people and environment friendly, but the NAPCC completely misses that opportunity. There is little doubt that the responsibility of having created this specter that threatens our very survival, lies with the policies and practices of the counties of the Global North. It is also true that the western world, the UN and all the various multilateral agencies, including the UNFCCC have not managed to come up with anything more than feeble, cosmetic efforts towards addressing this challenge. Given these circumstances, the western world has forfeited the right to lecture on this issue.

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