Update on dams, options & related issues sandrp issue four june 2002



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POLLUTION


SC okays GAP Phase-II The Supreme Court gave the green signal for the resumption of the Rs 2.5 B Ganga Action Plan Phase II, which was held up for some time by stay orders from courts. The Project includes five effluent treatment plants, designed to meet the requirements of Varanasi for the next 30 years. The National River Conservation Directorate pointed out to the Court that of the 240 M litres a day of sewage, only 80 M litres was being treated and the rest flowed untreated in to the Ganga. (BUSINESS STANDARD 230402)
Project to reduce river pollution launched Rs 33.29 B action plan for pollution reduction along stretches of 27 rivers, including the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Cauvery, has been launched. The Union Minister for Environment and Forests said that the impact of the scheme under the National River Conservation Plan in 152 towns in 16 states would visible after the work, which is to be completed by 2005. (THE HINDU-D 160402)
Yamuna Pollution in Delhi While the Yamuna river traverse the 22 Km Delhi stretch of its 1,367 km long journey for Yamunotri to Allahabad, where it merges with the Ganga, it gets 80 % of its pollutants. About 1 800 M litres of untreated domestic waste and another 300 M litres of industrial waste ends up in the river daily. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 230402)
Environment Atlas CPCB and National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Org has brought out an Environmental Atlas of India. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 250302)


ISSUES ABOUT RIVERS


Supreme Court admits petition on Bheema waters The Supreme Court had admitted a public interest litigation, which has sought to ensure supply of water in the river for people to have access to their drinking water throughout the year. The court has issued notices to Karnataka, the Union Govt. and the Central Water Commission. The petitioner, the Bheema Nadi Neeru Rakshana Raithavarga Samithi contended that the Bheema river remained dry between Nov. and May every year since 1998. This caused hardship to 0.3 M people living in 134 villages on the banks of the Bheema in Karnataka, as they did not have access to water. This also caused adverse impact on the flora and fauna in the region and caused ecological imbalances in the river system. The petition alleged that the depletion of water was caused by Maharashtra as it was storing and utilising more than the quota allotted by Bachawat Tribunal. Farmers were very happy with what they called the first victory in their agitation. (THE HINDU 090402)

Indus Water Treaty review demand The J&K Assembly has called for a review of the Indus Water Treaty between the India and Pakistan so as to reduce the alleged losses being suffered by J and K since 1960, when the treaty was signed. According to discussion, when the treaty was signed the interests of J and K had not been kept in view.

  • Demand unjustified The govt. should pay no heed to such demands. The proposition is dangerous, as it would legitimize counter calls for the bombing or sabotage of Bhakra-Pong and other Indian dams. The treaty permits India to formulate schemes for rural and urban water supply in J&K as far the three western rivers of Indus basin are concerned. Other non-consumptive uses are also permitted. The treaty allows India to build storages aggregating 3.60 M acre ft on the three western rivers in the J&K: 1.60 MAF for hydropower, 0.75 MAF for flood moderation and 1.25 MAF for general storage for non-consumptive uses, including power generation. The western rivers collectively have an assessed hydropower potential of 8825 MW at 60 % load factor. At the turn of the century, however, under 1400 MW has been harnessed, only 4 MW of this on the Indus itself. India is entitled to irrigate 0.54 M Ha from the three western rivers against which only about 0.324 M Ha are currently irrigated. One negative byproduct of the Indus Treaty was the callous disregard of R&R of the large numbers displaced by Mangla Dam on Jhelum in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. This caused thousands of Mirpuris to migrate to the UK in the 1960s. Pakistan now contemplates raising the height of the Mangla Dam, which needs watching. On the whole, the demand comes from megalomaniac politicians. (THE TRIBUNE 040402, 290402)



Ganga is changing its course The river Ganga, which used to flow along the Kanpur ghats about 50 years ago, started to change its course in 1960s and gradually drifted away toward Unnao and the main stream now flows about 9 km from the Bhairon ghat intake point in Kanpur. Efforts are being made by the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh govt. and various NGOs to bring back the Bhagirathi to the city banks and make it pollution free. An ambitious Rs 3 B Ganga Barrage project and movement for cleaning the river form part of these efforts. Recently, the State govt. had sought an assistance of Rs 3 B from the Japanese govt. for strengthening facilities of sewage and effluent treatment plants and for diversion of sewage drains. However, the mining of sand in the riverbed poses a major threat. (BUSINESS LINE-D 020402)
China to give Hydrological Data to India According to a recently signed India-China agreement, the three hydrological stations, all located along the Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra) River, will offer hydrological data to India from June 1 to Oct 15. The forecasts will help cut losses caused by floods. (People's Daily 250402)
Bihar sanctions 1 B for GAP The Bihar Cabinet has approved a Rs 1 B proposal for work under the Ganga Action Plan of the Bihar State Water Board to be used for repair of sewerage plant and other works relating to GAP. (THE HINDU-D 070302)

Hotel owned by politician’s family fined Rs 1 M The Supreme Court found a hotel owned by the family of a senior political leader guilty of environment degradation and asked it to pay a fine of Rs 1 M as damages. Noted lawyer M.C. Mehta, had filed a suit against building a motel in Kullu on the banks of the Beas River in Himachal Pradesh. Following damages due to floods on Sept. 5, 1995, the hotel management attempted to divert the flow of Beas upstream from the hotel with total disregard of its impact on people or environment. The order referred to the report of the CPCB, which enumerated activities of Span Motels which "constituted callous interference with the natural flow of the river Beas, resulting in the degradation of the environment and which have interfered with the natural flow of the river.” The court had found in 1996 that Span Motels Private Limited owned a resort near the Beas and had encroached upon 30 000 square mts of protected forestland. The court has also held HP govt. guilty of “patent breach of public trust”. (IANS 150302, INDIAN EXPRESS 180302)

UNESCO and Green Cross International Join forces to avert Water Conflicts Mikhail Gorbachev, President of Green Cross International, and UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura signed a two-year agreement aimed at joining forces to help avert potential conflicts over the world's water resources, particularly the 261 river basins which extend over more than one country. The joint UNESCO/GCI initiative will contribute to the World Water Assessment Programme's first World Water Development Report, due to come out in time for the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, in March 2003. (www.greencrossinternational.net)

The state of Indus River Keti Bander in Pakistan, once a bustling city and important seaport, is now reduced to a tiny village of a few hundred inhabitants, who are deprived of all basic facilities. Drinking water is transported from distance of 75 kms. Local residents and experts attribute the problems of this region with the continuous decrease in the flow of fresh water in Indus. Not a single drop of fresh water has flown in the delta downstream of Kotri barrage for last several years. About two-thirds of the population of this area is fisherfolk, depending on fishing for their livelihood. Now the fish resources are also depleting making earning of livelihood hard for these fishermen. After the construction of Sukkur Barrage and Indus Water Treaty in 1940 and 1960, respectively, Indus water was diverted to agriculture land, storage for reservoirs and for hydropower generation. On the one hand, flow of fresh water into the delta is stopped while on the other hand, agriculture; industrial as well as urban effluent of the entire country is being dumped into the Indus Delta. Presently, more than 2 500 cusses of Left Bank Out Fall Drain effluent comprising poisonous pesticides residues are thrown in the delta daily. (SUNGI Development Foundation-Pak 260302)




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