SANDRP

A report by the India Rivers Forum highlights the need to focus further than the main stem of the Ganga river.

The National Mission for Cleaning Ganga was set up in 2014 and the Namami Gange programme was launched the year after, with a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore. The implementation of the flagship programme was followed by the framing of a draft National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill, 2019 to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.

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National water policies are extremely important legal and institutional tools as they reflect the basic intent and direction that the government is planning to take regarding water resources.

Source: SANDRP

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This presentation by Himanshu Thakker, South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and people (SANDRP) deals with key groundwater policy concerns - framework and equity issues, the emerging realities and responses. It begins with a description of the basic characteristics of groundwater and how the resource has become a private property resource by use and legal situation.

 

This has been followed with a discussion on issues of quality and quantity. The importance of groundwater in India’s water sector is highlighted. The presentation discusses how an increase in overall irrigated area, in spite of decrease in contribution from big dam irrigation projects was possible due to the steep increase in groundwater irrigated areas.

The presentation provides the following agenda for action on three broad fronts –

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The Asian Development Bank is financing four hydro projects under the misleading name of 'Himachal Clean Energy Development Programme'.


South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and PeopleReport questions ADB funded projects under the 'Himachal Clean Energy Development Programme'.

  • ADB loans for four hydroprojects at eco-fragile zones
  • Livelihood concerns and environmental issues un-addressed
  • Section 17/4 – Urgency clause being used by HPPCL for forced acquisition of land
  • Poor EIA reports and non compliance to environmental norms

Recently, a Public Hearing for the World Bank funded Luhri Hydro Electric had to be cancelled after public protests making it clear that the environmental and social impacts of Hydropower projects as well as the increasing gap between their promise and performance, especially in the Himalayan region have become issues of serious concern. And yet these projects continue to be promoted in the garb of renewable and clean energy. So much so that governments are borrowing millions of rupees from international banks and financial institutions to fund these so called 'green' projects.The four ADB financed hydro power projects being constructed by HPPCL include the 195 MW Integrated Kashang Stage I, II and III and the 402 MW Shongtong-Karccham in Kinnaur. The other two projects are the 111 MW Sawara-Kuddu hydropower projects in Shimla district and the 100 MW Sainj hydropower project in Kullu District.

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The SANDRP newsletter for June-July 2010

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People

The SANDRP newsletter for June-July 2010 continues its critical analysis of dams, irrigation and related issues:

  • Unprecedented floods in Ghaggar Basin in Punjab and Haryana
  • Free-flowing rivers around the World
  • Artificial Glaciers to Survive Global Warming
  • Babli row between AP & Maharashtra
  • Successful campaign against Rupsiyabagar Khasiyabada HEP

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The Apr- May 2010 issue focusses on thhe state government policies, programmes and practices in water resources and the need to bring focus of water & agriculture policies onto rainfed farming.

Dams, Rivers & People

The Dams, Rivers and People issue for Apr-May 2010 is out. The state government policies, programmes and practices in water resources and highlights the need to bring focus of water & agriculture policies onto rainfed Farming. It is likely to yeild better economic, hydrologic, sustainable, equitable and climate friendly results and foodgrains production as per our future demands.

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The February/March 2010 issue of SANDRP Newsletter features "Kerala’s initiative to desilt reservoirs: the Euphoria & the Concerns" and other articles.

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A bi-monthly newsletter - Dams, Rivers & People: February / March 2010 issue of the newsletter

Hihghlights

  • Kerala’s initiative to desilt reservoirs: the Euphoria & the Concerns     
  • Book Review: Why are the rivers source of conflicts?
  • Gujarat makes up stories about Sardar Sarovar Project
  • Only 13-17% water losses in Mumbai, Chennai, why not Delhi?
  • World Bank’s Double speak on Large Hydro: Renewable or not? 
  • Pakistan: Glacial lake dam threatens Hunza Valley

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The press release by the SANDRP, is about the opposition of various social and environmental groups to the appointment of Mr P Abraham, who is chairing Ministry of Environment.

mmForwarded to the Portal by: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP

PROJECT PROMOTER IS CHAIRING ENVIRONMENT CLEARANCE COMMITTEE LETTER SENT TO ENVIRONMENT MINISTER: TEST FOR UPA'S CLAIMS ON GOVERNANCE

For over two years now, Mr. P Abhraham who is on the Board of several hydropower and dam companies has been chairing the Ministry of Environment and Forests' Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley and Hydropower projects. The committee, set up under the EIA Notification 2006 and EPA 1986, screens proposals for dams and hydropower projects for clearances at various stages. The committee also takes decisions on several very crucial policies governing the clearances for these projects. There is clear conflict of interest here between Abraham's role as director of companies and as this most crucial regulatory position in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Over the past two years, there has been at least six occasions when a project of the companies where Abraham is a director has come for clearance before the committee he chairs. This is a completely unacceptable situation and a number of social and environment groups have written to the New Union Environment Minister to remove Abraham from this position, before the next meeting of the committee he chairs happens (it is scheduled for June 15-16, 2009).

Among many other power and dam companies, Abraham is on the Board of Lanco Infratech, GVK Industries Ltd, JSW Energy Ltd, PTC Ltd, Nagarjun Construction and Maharashtra Power Generation Company. Some of the projects from such companies that came up before the EAC that Abraham chairs over the last two years include the 3000 MW Demwe Hydropower project (Arunachal Pradesh), the 76 MW Phata Byung HEP (Uttarakhand), the 76 MW Rambara HEP (Uttarakhand), the 170 MW Bogudiyar-Sirkari Bhyol HEP (Uttarakhand), the 200 MW Mapang Bogudiyar HEP (Uttarakhand) and the 260 MW Kuther HEP (Himachal Pradesh). Abraham has been abstaining from the meetings whenever these projects came up before the EAC, but this is clearly not sufficient.

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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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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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