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Renuka lake is a Ramsar site but also has a temple near it which makes it a battle site of conflicting interests. Is a solution possible?

Renuka can be forgiven if she were to feel a bit crazy at times. Like many other women, she could be finding it hard to balance her pious and wild sides.

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Fish traders in the state, which has the highest freshwater fish yield at 2,500 kg per hectare, are mainly groups of Bihari migrants playing to their strengths.

“This is my business, I am nobody’s slave,” says Kapal Nishad. He is one of the over two million migrants who came to Punjab over 20 years ago. Many worked in Ludhiana's industries and Mandi Gobindgarh while others spread out to harvest wheat, sow paddy or pluck cotton over the state's 42 lakh hectares of farmland. Comparatively fewer worked on construction sites, roadside eateries or pulled rickshaws.

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Farm ponds, rediscovered by a few farmers in Patiala, could be the answer to the state's growing groundwater crisis as they can harvest rainwater and cushion against flooding.

The northern region of India is facing drought for the second consecutive year.

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The current rice-wheat crop cycle and the cost of safe disposal of the straw push farmers towards burning, thereby causing them health issues as well as draining available natural resources.

A few days ago, there were news items galore with NASA's images of the burning of rice straw in Punjab. The red dots were presumed to be the fields on fire and though no scientific assessment has yet been made, it is also believed that the smoke is causing smog as far as Delhi. But that is only one side of the story.

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At Punjab's Mand island, not many children go to school and pregnant women deliver at the river bank -- all because there is no bridge connecting it to the mainland.

Bakshish Singh once had 13 acres of farmland; now he only has one. He lost the rest in 2013 when the Beas river changed its course and started flowing near his house. Bakshish lives at Rampur Gaura village in Kapurthala district of Punjab, the state generally known for good roads, urbanised villages and wealthy farmers. Amidst this prosperity however, are islands of desperation and loss. Mand is one such island which lies between two streams of the Beas. 

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This video deals with Harike wetland, a designated Ramsar site that has a high density of migratory water fowls.

Source of video: thenitindas

Experience the joy of flying with the water fowls at Harike wetland, Punjab 

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This article in Economic and Political Weekly, by analysing various budget documents, attempts to capture the quantum of budgetary outlay for Water and Sanitation Services (WSS) in the slums of Bawana and Bhalaswa in Delhi. Further it captures various systemic weaknesses that impede the effective delivery of WSS in these two slum areas.

This article in Economic and Political Weekly by analysing various budget documents, attempts to capture the quantum of budgetary outlay for Water and Sanitation Services (WSS) in the slums of Bawana and Bhalaswa in Delhi. Further it captures various systemic weaknesses that impede the effective delivery of WSS in these two slum areas. 

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This paper published in the journal Bulletin of Environment, Pharmacology & Life Sciences describes the findings of a study that was carried out to check the effects of industrial and agricultural activities on the groundwater properties in terms of heavy metal concentration. Polluted groundwater is defined as groundwater that has higher concentrations of dissolved or suspended elements than the maximum permissible concentrations fixed by national or international standards for drinking, industrial or agricultural purposes. Sometimes natural groundwater pollution may also occur because of the presence of the respective substances above the prescribed limits.

The main sources of groundwater contamination are industrial, municipal and agricultural wastes (both solid and liquid), rocks, sludge and slimes, refuse, pesticides, herbicides, effluents from livestock and poultry farms. Many pollutants are even able to penetrate into groundwater aquifers. In the lower Siwalik area, where this study was carried out, various types of industries like fruit processing, small scale electroplating, pharmaceuticals, distilleries, paper and electronics are located and discharging wastewaters.

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There is need to extend the gains of zero tillage more rigorously to the less endowed areas and farmers, the paper says.

zero tillageThis paper by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reviews the success of zero-tillage wheat in the rice-wheat systems of the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Diffusion of the zero-tillage technology increased in the last decade, particularly in northwest India.

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This study by Greenpeace India Society is an initial investigation into the effects of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer on groundwater pollution in intensive agriculture areas in Punjab.

NitratesThe level of nitrate in drinking water was tested from groundwater artesian wells located within farms and surrounded by crops (mostly rice and wheat rotations).

Nitrate pollution in groundwater is associated with nitrogen loads in the environment. In urban areas, it is associated with sewage and in agriculture areas, with livestock sources and nitrogen fertiliser inputs. Nitrate pollution in drinking water can have serious health impact on humans, especially for babies and children. The most significant potential health effects of drinking water contaminated with nitrate are the blue-baby syndrome (methemoglobinemia) and cancer.

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