Rahul Banerjee

Nature has now sent a stern message calling out our foolishness.

Which industry has seen phenomenal growth since World War II? It is food. People have been encouraged to eat more and more as part of the general consumerist thrust to increase consumption. So, the moment people's incomes have gone up they have begun consuming more food along with other things. The economy can grow only if we consume more. This is why we also have to eat more. Not just in quantity but also in variety. Our plates these days not only have more helpings but they also have more categories of food.

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A report by NIUA brings to light the chinks in Jaipur's sewage system and suggests some solutions.

A major area of concern currently for India is the proper disposal of wastewater in urban areas. The huge increase in supply of potable water to cater to the needs of modern urban households has correspondingly increased the quantum of wastewater. The implementation of the Swacch Bharat Mission has also led to a substantial increase in the number of toilets and this has increased the faecal sludge and the wastewater load considerably.

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Solar irrigation pumps have been hailed as a one stop solution to meet the irrigation needs of the farmers as they provide sustainable energy at a cheap price.

Agriculture in Bihar has languished primarily because of high input costs, especially that of energy due to inadequate grid electricity supply and a high price of diesel. Rural electrification through grid supply is not happening in Bihar due to lack of public investment. Also, the existing groundwater markets are neither increasing irrigation nor achieving equity. So, there is a need for an alternative.

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The reason behind Kerala floods is a lot more than what the CWC wants us to believe.

Every time there is a huge flood in India with massive loss of lives and extensive physical damage, there is a hue and cry. Especially, if this takes place in an area not normally prone to such floods. Assam and Bihar, for instance, are regularly laid waste by floods and so, there is not much agitation over that anymore.

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The holy city of Ujjain is dealing with severe water and sanitation issues. A study reveals serious anomalies in the WASH situation in the city.

Despite all the hype around Swachh Bharat Mission, the situation on the ground remains dismal. The city of Ujjain is located on the western part of Madhya Pradesh on the Malwa Plateau and is primarily a religious tourism centre due to the Mahakal temple. The temple is not only one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India but also has prominence as the location for the Simhastha Kumbh Mela every 12 years.

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A village school in Madhya Pradesh deals with the micro-realities of the area and gets out of a sanitation crisis.

Sajan, a 14 year old Bhilala Adivasi boy studying in the Rani Kajal school in Kakrana in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh says, "We now save a lot of time as we bathe in the bathrooms and defecate in the toilets rather than in the open fields; and so we study better". The school on the banks of the River Narmada run by the Kalpantar Shikshan Kendra, now has functional bathrooms and toilets which is an exception in this country as despite the hype around the Swachh Bharat campaign, the reality is that most schools are without functional toilets.

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This video demonstrates an alternative way of dealing with waste through a decentralised waste disposal method. Rahul Banerjee, Director, Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra, believes in managing the waste at the point of origin itself, rather than expecting an already inefficient and over burdened local body to find a conducive solution.

 

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The simultaneous attainment of financial, environmental and social sustainability of urban services is an important requirement of development. Given the huge investments that are being made in the improvement of urban infrastructure and services in India, it is of the utmost importance that these investments are made in a manner that brings about the greatest good of the greatest number in a sustainable manner. Within urban infrastructure the supply of water and its disposal after use in cities has become one of the most problematic aspects of planning and management.

indore

Slum area in Indore 

Image courtesy: http://www.ugo.cn/photo/nn/pt/48743.htm

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Rahul Banerjee comments on Ramaswamy Iyer's draft a National Water Policy.

Guest Post: Rahul Banerjee

Ramaswamy Iyer has made a commendable effort to draft a National Water Policy that tries to reform the current unsustainable approach to water resource management in this country  (EPW Vol XLVI Nos 26&27 Supplement pp 201). Assuming that this draft is an invitation to a larger public debate on the issues involved I would like to make a few comments on it.

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The paper reviews contentious issues related to water governance in the Narmada river basin rights of States over apportionment of the use of the waters for large dam-centred canal irrigation.

The paper reviews contentious issues related to water governance in the Narmada river basin like the riparian rights of States over apportionment of the use of the waters for large dam-centered canal irrigation and hydro-electric power development and the later disputes around the appropriateness of this model of development given the tremendous environmental and social costs associated with it.

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