Pakistan: Tarbela-affected still await resettlement According to a report, many of the people affected by Tarbela dam are still not resettled after 26 years. These people allegedly refused to settle in Sindh when the govt. was forced to offer them land there under a WB condition for the release of $ 2.5 B for Ghazi Barotha Power Project. The Social Organisation for Mutaasirin-i-Tarbela claimed that in 1996, a WB team held meetings with the affected people of Tarbela, collected copies of the claims and found out that more than 3 000 claims had not been entertained. An Independent Tarbela Commission was then constituted. ITC received 11 000 applications, out of which 5 000 claims were for residential plots and 6 000 for agriculture land. However, the applications were unilaterally processed and out of 6 000 of them, only 1 954 were declared genuine. The deputy secretary West Pakistan had issued orders for the allocation of 40 000 Ha of land in Sindh and Punjab for resettlement of the displaced people. So far, only 12 000 Ha has been allocated, which means that 70 % of the cases are still outstanding. (SUNGI Development Foundation-Pak 21/03/02)
Pakistan to pay Impregilio for Ghazi Barotha Pakistan has agreed to pay $ 45 M to the Impregilio lead consortium constructing the $ 2.5 B Ghazi Barotha HEP. The payment is required by the consortium to resume construction of the project. The contractor submitted claims worth $ 70 M after the suspension of work following the 11 Sept. attacks. The project is already behind schedule by 2 years. (DAILY EXCELSIOR 040402)
Opposition to Thal Canal project in PakistanThe Chief Executive Secretariat decided to review the controversial Greater Thal Canal Project, increase water supply to Sindh to facilitate sowing of Kharif crops, and approach the Supreme Court over the interpretation of Clause 14-B of the Water Accord, 1991. As a consequence of the decisions, the construction of Thal Flood Canal, which had been started by WAPDA even before ECNEC could have accorded approval to it, would be stopped. The meeting agreed on preparing a fresh PC-1 of the Thal Flood Water Canal, and restored its earlier nomenclature 'Greater Thal Canal'. Under the 1991 Water Accord, no irrigation project could be undertaken by the federal government or any provincial government without prior certification of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) about the availability of water.
Sindhi Activists from different part of UK gathered on 23 March in front of Pak High Commission in London expressed their opposition to the construction of Greater Thal Canal Project.
PNRDP Resolution The participants of the political dialogue on "Greater Thal Flood Canal" scheme under the auspices of Pakistan Network Of Rivers, Dams and People, unanimously rejected the decision of ECNEC & CDWP of approving the project. They also termed this decision as detrimental to the national interest as well as social, political and environmental interests of lower riparian. They demanded immediate release of water from Mangla for the Kharif crops of Sindh. (Sindh Water Committee PR 210302 DAWN 190302 PNDRP PR 160302)
Opposition to CRBCP in Pakistan The govt has allocated Rs 3.1 billion for Chashma Right Bank Canal project, which will now, to be completed in 2004. The Chashma irrigation was an ongoing project, which envisaged construction of 170-mile long canal taking off from the Right Bank of Chashma Barrage at River Indus and 700-mile long distributaries and minors. The project was being implemented in three stages. Besides other reasons the project could not take off due to differences between Punjab and the NWFP.
After ADB’s inability to solve the problems due to CRBC, the affected people and Sungi Foundation has sent a petition to the ADB inspection panel that the project violates fundamental policies of ADB. (Dawn 190402, PNDRP)
Sri Lanka to commence Upper Kotmale HEP The Japan funded 150 MW project to be completed in five years will cost $ 336 M. Power Minister assured the local residents affected by the project would be given housing and job opportunities. (Xinhua News Agency 260402)
Nepal: Arun HEP The water resources and energy secretaries from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, have agreed to develop the Arun Valley HEPs. According to the plan, Arun River cascading down the eastern hills of the Nepal will have 1 100 MW capacity — with the Arun III to have 401 MW, Upper Arun 350 MW and Lower Arun 355 MW— that would feed a sub-regional grid interconnecting the national systems of the four neighbours. The ADB has agreed to analyse the detailed financial, technical and implementation aspects of the projects, and provide technical assistance for the studies. However experts say that the project may not move ahead in the light of the country’s worsening security situation. The feasibility studies of Arun III had been finished in 1993. But the then Govt. was forced to abort it after the WB, which had supported it for 10 years, decided to pull out in 1995. There are experts who say, "Nepal will not have any problem so long as the development cost is at par with the international price—that is less than $ 1,200 a KW." (KATHMANDU POST 120302)
Reliance, Sahara interested in Nepal Hydro? Reliance and Sahara Groups have separately shown interest in setting up HEPs in Nepal. Reliance had earlier shown interest in 300 MW upper Karnali HEP. It was ultimately allotted to Elysee Frontiere, a Singapore based French company. That allocation now stands cancelled and the project is available for allocation to any company. However, the Nepalese officials are hopeful that Reliance would take up much more ambitious, 10 800 MW Karnali Chisapani project, in which the infamous Enron group had earlier shown interest. (THE ECONOMIC TIMES 230302)
Expensive Melamchi water The $ 468 M Melamchi Drinking Water Project in Nepal would supply water from 2007. The executive director of Environment and Public Health Organisation said, "On completion of the Melamchi project, 10,000 litres of water will cost Rs. 440, which is available at Rs. 40 these days." Five NGOs, including ENPHO, have formed a consortium to study the availability, price and quality of drinking water in the Valley. According to their calculations, the water will cost Rs. 30 per 1,000 litres per month for first 6,000 litres and Rs. 65 up to 15,000 litres and Rs. 85 for over 15,000 litres of water. They alleged that the Govt. did not ask for any suggestions from the locals before bringing in such an extravagant scheme for less than a million people living in the Valley. The local govts. like municipalities were not involved in the decision. According to the new provision, all the connections, including the public tap stands will have meters. Homes and business houses with deep tube wells will need to have a licence and make payments for the water they extract. (KATHMANDU POST 260302)
AROUND THE WORLD Massive demonstrations against Big Dams in Spain On March 10 some 300 000 people demonstrated in the streets of Catalonian capital, protesting against Spain govt.’s 15 year old proposal of Euro 4.2 B project that include over 100 dams and vast network of canals to divert water from the river Ebro in the North to the southeast of the country. One of the demonstrators said, “What Medha Patkar and Arundhati Roy have done to increase awareness about the damage that such megalomaniac projects can cause is phenomenal. Their dedication has told us that intellectuals must also become activists if humanity is to progress”. (THE HINDU 140302)
Canada scrapes costly dam proposal Alberta and Saskatchewan scrapped plans for a multibillion-dollar dam in the western Canadian provinces, saying the costs would outweigh the benefits. A study into the Meridian Dam, commissioned by the two govts. last year, concluded the cost could have been $ 2.3 B to $ 3.5 B. (IRN PR 130302)
Demolition of Juru Dam in MalaysiaThe problem of flash floods faced by some 120 000 people living in housing estates and traditional villages in Malaysia will be resolved to some extent when the Juru Dam built in 1950 is demolished. The dam was built for irrigation and to restrict the flow of seawater. (Bernama (Malaysian National News Agency), 220202)
Swiss bank quits Turkish damSwitzerland's largest bank, UBS, has pulled out of a controversial Ilisu dam project in Turkey, saying it was concerned about its social and environmental impacts. Its future had already been thrown into doubt after the main contractors in the $ 1.5 B project - British consortium firm Balfour Beatty and Impregilo of Italy - withdrew in Nov. 2001 for similar reasons. Critics have argued that it would flood hundreds of sq km of land, including the sites of ancient Ottoman and Byzantine towns and villages. More than 30 000 local people, mostly ethnic Kurds, would be displaced. Neighbouring Syria and Iraq have also objected to what they say is a potential reduction of the water flow in the River Tigris. (BBC News 270202)
AMEC pulls out of Yusufeli Dam in Turkey Just before the launch of a major campaign against AMEC's participation in the controversial Yusufeli Dam in Turkey, the company has announced its withdrawal. The company was seeking a £ 68 M export credit for the project from the UK Export Credits Guarantee Department. Export credits are also being sought from COFACE, France's export credit agency, by the French company Spie Batignoles, in which AMEC has a 46 % share. The Executive Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Project said, "We are delighted that AMEC has withdrawn from this project. For minorities on the ground whose homes livelihood and ways of life are threatened by this project this a huge victory." (IRN PR 130302)
China: Three Gorges a toxic bomb The Chinese academics and govt. advisers say officials are rushing the job, leaving a “time bomb” of toxic waste in the form of 3-G reservoir on the Yangtze river. That would create a tragedy of astonishing proportions as the Yangtze basin is home to 350 M people. The dam threatens a double blow to the Yangtze’s water quality. Not only will pollutants on the reservoir bed ooze into the water, but also some 155 B cubic feet of wastewater, which currently reaches the sea, will concentrate behind the dam. That will stock a cocktail of arsenic, mercury, lead, cyanide and other cancer-causing heavy metals in reservoir designed to water some of China’s most fertile farmland. It is also due to provide drinking water for millions. Beijing gave final approval last year to the largest water diversion project in history, the South-to-North project, which will divert fresh water from the Yangtze to the northern cities. Critics say the clean-up plan concentrates on removing physical threats to navigation- such as buildings, trees and bridges – and largely ignores the domestic and industrial pollution which encrusts the river’s banks or lies buried in the earth. The dam will flood 137 cities and towns; 1300 factories; 1100 villages; 4000 hospitals and clinics; 40 000 grave-sites and at least 178 rubbish dumps containing 2.8 million tonnes of garbage.
China plans to resolve funding problems for its $ 22 B Three Gorges HEP by offering shares on the domestic stock market and through a Hong Kong listing. It could also seek a listing in London. The 18 200 MW generating capacity of the world's biggest dam will be injected into the listed company at a cost of about $ 12.2 B, making it potentially China's largest listed company. The project will require the mandatory resettlement of more than 1 M people, and it may increase the risk of earthquakes. (IRN PR 130302, THE HINDU-D 170302)