Maharashtra reels under hail storms
Farmers of Marathwada, Vidarbha, Northern Maharashtra and parts of Western Maharashtra are facing the impacts of unprecedented hail storms and unseasonal rainfall. Nearly, 12 lakh hectares of crops have been destroyed due to the disaster, along with spread of diseases among thousands of livestock, animals and birds. The situation has triggered farmers' suicide in the state with around 18 farmers committing suicide between February 22 and March 18.
Fear of a developing El Nino is on the rise
Two global weather prediction agencies have forecast a possibility of an El Nino forming this year. El Nino is a weather phenomenon in which the unusual warming of sea surface waters in eastern and central equatorial Pacific occurs along with changes in wind patterns. The update has raised fears of a weak Indian monsoon in 2014. Anticipating a weak monsoon this year, the government has suggested to farmers to sow short and medium duration crops.
India's water crisis to worsen in the coming years: UN
India's per capita availability of water has reached to 1,600 cubic metre in 2014 against 5000 cubic metre in 1951, owing to the rapid population growth, says the United Nations World Water Development Report 2014. India will be a water-scarce country by 2050, projects the report and calls for priortising water-related issues in all planning activities.
India wins accolade for best water management practices
The 2014 edition of the UN-Water 'Water for Life- best water management practices' award went to the the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)-Tata Water Policy Programme. As per the jury, the programme has been able to bring together both scientists and policy makers for tackling socio-economic environmental challenges pertaining to the energy-irrigation nexus.
Activists object to reduction of ESZ around Pulicat
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has proposed to reduce the mandatory Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) from 10 km to 2 km around Pulicat lake in Chennai. Activists, ecologists and fishermen are objecting to the Ministry's proposal and claiming that the recommendation is being made to develop the upcoming port at Dugarajapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. A petition has also been sent to the Ministry to drop the proposal.
Final report on Kosi floods 2008 submitted
The inquiry commission has submitted the final report on Kosi floods that occurred in August 2008 in Bihar after the breaching of the river embankment in Kusaha, Sunsari district in Nepal. Following the floods the opposition party had demanded an investigation to fix the responsibility for embankment breach and an inquiry commission was appointed in September 2008. The content of the report is not yet revealed to the public.
Monsoon failure leads to fodder shortage in Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu
Farmers in Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu, are forced to sell their milch animals due to acute shortage of fodder and water. They are not able to raise any crop owing to the failure of the monsoon over the past three years and buying hay for cattle feeding is quite an expensive option for them. Even the open wells and borewells in the district have run dry, to as low as 400-500 depth.
Bangalore civic body has reduced 20% of water leakages
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has managed to plug water leakages to less than 20% in the South Division through its ongoing 'Unaccounted-for Water' project. The civic body has been able to cover 36 district metering areas out of the 82 through the project, worth Rs. 173.49 crore. Apart from plugging of leaks the project also includes identifyingf faulty meters, detecting water thefts and replacing corroded and old pipes.
Kerala govt refuses funds to Kozhikode water conservation project
The state government has refused to provide funds to a project to build check dams in Kozhikode district. The project, worth Rs. 44.19 crore, was proposed by the Minor Irrigation Department, that had observed a sharp dip in the water table in the district. Groundwater is depleting fast in the district owing to indiscriminate consumption, urbanisation and levelling of paddy fields.
Green initiative of the month:
A farmer in TN uses tree oil to irrigate five acres of land
C. Rajasekaran of Kilvelur taluk in Nagappattinam district uses oil from Punnai (Calophyllum inophyllum) tree seeds to operate his five hp motor pump that irrigates five acres of his agricultural land. The garden which now has nearly 35 tree varieties grown on it, was once barren. Rajasekaran had been using the oil to run his motor for the past four years and till date there is no rust formation in the engine and the motor emits little noise.
This is a roundup of important news from March 9-29, 2014. Also read last month's policy matters updates.