SANDRP, Issue 3, March 2002

This March 2002 update has been split into 4 separate files for ease of downloading. Click on the following links to read all of them:
1. Index and updates
2. Redesigning the Uchangi Dam
3. Hydropower dams in North East India (Tables 1 - 4)
4. Hydropower dams in North East India (Table 5)


Redesigning the Uchangi Dam:


Bhakra and Pong dam oustees still not rehabilitated

Displaced and jobless by Upper Krishna Project

Opposition to Pagladia Dam

Raising of Periyar dam level ‘a threat to biodiversity’

Alter Tehri power lines, says SC panel

Athirappilly HEP Public Hearing becomes Peoples’ Verdict

Madras objected to Cauvery dam even in 1911

Koyna to be quake prone, say experts




Properties of Maheshwar Project to be sold to recover loans

Maheshwar may be another Enron

Delays may upset NHPC's target

Higher allocation for hydel Sector

IDBI sanctions Rs 3 B for Baglihar project

Tipaimukh Project


Costly KG A starts generation in Nepal

Pak may move World Court on Indus Waters Treaty

Biological and social diversities

Tarbela gets investment offer

Pakistan in negotiation with China on Ghazi Brotha HEP

Arsenic problem in Nepal

Melmachi Affected oppose low compensation

12 people die in water conflict


German opposition to dams on the Danube

Swiss bank quits Turkish Ilisu dam

Fresh Protests Over Turkish Dam

Irreparable Impacts of Belize dam

Bujagali Faces Delay

WB attacked for ignoring WCD findings

World Social Forum : Conference on Water


World Bank funded unviable Guhai Dam

Cost overruns, under performance of Irrigation Projects


Big increase in water table due to check-dams

Rethinking watershed strategy


Hundreds of houses submerged due to embankment breach

Heavy floods in Indonesia

Dangers of Water Privatization


Bore well scandal in Gujarat


Bottled water a major environmental concern


Rajkot has Big potential for water harvesting

HC on Wetland Destruction in UP by WB


Concern over pollution in Gulf of Khambat




Food security turns in to food stocks nightmare?




Massive outlay for power generation

31 power projects may not see financial closure

Delhi to set up power projects in Chhattisgarh


Public money must for power sector

IDBI not to fund power projects sans LC


World wind generating capacity up

Small hydel projects need of the hour in Kerala



No Guarantee for Dabhol-II

FIs warn Enron to return Dabhol stuff


HP Villagers help regenerate forests

'Save Forest' campaign by WB tribals bears fruit

WB aid for Chhattisgarh




SPECIAL REPORT: Big Dams in North East India

CONTACT INFORMATION: Himanshu Thakkar, Bipin Chandra, Ganesh Gaud, South Asia Network on Dams, River and People (A YUVA Project), C/o 53B, AD Block, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi 110 088. India. Ph: 747 9916. Email: cwaterp@vsnl.com Web: www.narmada.org/sandrp


Bhakra and Pong dam oustees still not rehabilitated

Even after four decades, the oustees of Bhakra dam have not been rehabilitated. The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Mr. P K Dhumal said that 56 plots had been allotted to the oustees by the present government during January 2002 and 137 more plots will be allotted to oustee families very soon. He said the state government has taken up the matter of Pong dam oustees with the Rajasthan Government and soon plots will be provided to Pong dam oustees. (THE TRIBUNE 19/02/02)

Displaced and jobless by Upper Krishna Project When the UKP gets completed in several phases, 201 villages spread across five districts and a part of Bagalkot town will be submerged to impound water in the Almatti and Narayanpur reservoirs. An estimated 80,000 families comprising 4,00,000 people will be shifted to new settlements to facilitate acquisition of 1,44,000 ha of land. It will also affect another 20,000 families who will lose their lands for canals and roads in the command area. Already 41 villages in the Narayanpur reservoir area and 60 villages in the Almatti reservoir zone besides a part of Bagalkot town have been shifted. Another 41 villages in the Almatti area will have to be evacuated. In all, 135 new settlements or rehabilitation centres have been formed. The government claims that the evacuation in the UKP is ''very well planned, organised and systematically executed''. But one fact the authorities cannot dispute is the large-scale unemployment among the oustees. Affluent land-holders, who have parted with their agricultural lands, have managed to remain as land-lords by purchasing alternative lands elsewhere, while scores of agricultural labourers have become jobless. (DECCAN HERALD 30/12/01)

Opposition to Pagladia Dam According to the influential All Bodo Students Union, 27 villages of Tamulpur and Mushalpur Revenue Circle would be completely submerged if the Pagladia dam is implemented. The ABSU leaders have raised a strong argument that since 1968 when the survey for the dam was done, the environmental scenario in the area has undergone drastic changes making the construction of the dam now irrelevant. The apprehension expressed by the tribal groups that the implementation of the dam in the present form would completely submerge 70,000 bighas of agricultural land cannot be ignored. The Central Govt. has earmarked a sum of Rs 6 B for the project comprising a huge dam covering a stretch of 23 km. A sum of Rs 400 M has been recently released by the Central Govt. to accelerate the construction work to complete the project. (THE ASSAM TRIBUNE 01/11/01)

Raising of Periyar dam level ‘a threat to biodiversity’ A study on the ‘Impact of the raising of water level in the Mullapperiyar reservoir of the Periyar Tiger Reserve’ carried out at the instance of the Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala concluded that a higher dam would lead to a drastic reduction in the wealth of flora and fauna. The raising of Mullapperiyar reservoir water level from the present 136 feet to the proposed 152 feet may reduce the population of tigers and elephants in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The proposal would also lead to submergence of the grasslands and marshy land on the lake fringe and would also endanger the safety of the dam as the dam is in seismically active area. (THE HINDU-D 08/01/02, 19/01/02)

Alter Tehri power lines, says SC panel A committee set up by the Supreme Court in Nov. 2001 to study the impact of a 800 mw transmission line of the Tehri project through 36 Km of Rajaji National Park (one of the country’s richest elephant habitats), recommended that the power line be shifted eastwards, close to the Haridwar-Dehradun Road, to exclude the elephant habitat. This corridor is already highly disturbed with two highways, two railway lines, three existing power lines, and industries such as the BHEL and IDPL. The other three routes that were considered were either through the core area of the park, involved defence land, or meant disrupting an area of rich bio-diversity with rare wildlife. Local NGOs had recently alleged that nearly 500,000 trees would be cut for the transmission lines. The Ministry of Environment and Forests had referred to the February 2000 SC order that prohibits removal of trees from national parks and sanctuaries while revoking in June 2001 the original sanction given for the power lines. Power Grid Corp, which was in charge of constructing the Power Lines, had filed a petition in the SC. (INDIAN EXPRESS-D 19/02/02)

Police brutality on Tehri displaced The police have beaten up the residents of Malidewal, Dobra and Sirain villages in the Bhagirathi valley on January 6th when people were demonstrating against the lifting of the red earth for the Tehri dam until their demands were met. 24 of them, including 11 women, were arrested. The protesters were demanding owner rights of the land that had been allotted to them in Pashulok, on the road to Hardwar, where they were rehabilitated. The allotted land is forestland and they fear that they would have to face legal disputes. (FRONTLINE 15/02/02 & PR MATU 07/01/02)

Athirappilly HEP Public Hearing becomes Peoples’ Verdict

In accordance to the Kerala High Court orders, a public hearing on the proposed Athirappilly HEP was convened at Thrissur on the 06/02/02. Of the 500 plus people who came from all walks to attend the hearing more than 400 were opposed to the Athirappilly HEP. Sixty people representing the audience presented their concerns / views in front of the panel and submitted in writing the same. Of these 55 people spoke against the project and only 5 found the dam indispensable to the state of which 3 were KSEB employees. The local body representatives from 7 panchayats spoke for the hundreds of thousands of people living along the river both upstream and downstream, clearly stating that the river, with already having seven dams on it will be seriously affected. This will further shrink the drinking and irrigation water availability. The violation of right to information was also questioned.

Tribal community from Vazhachal and Pokalappara exposed the baseless and cruelly fabricated data in the EIA, which says that the settlement is 3 kms away from the proposed dam site, whereas actually it is less than 400m, and within the immediate impact area. The Pokalappara representative Kanchana painfully described that their settlement will be submerged in the proposed reservoir. The Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samiti in its detailed memorandum (21 documents) touched upon various subjects. Several scientists and engineers exposed the discrepancies, distortions, misleading and erroneous information in the project report and TBGRI study.

The Expert warned the panel, that once the riparian forests in the proposed reservoir area is lost, the connectivity between the upstream and downstream remnants of the original vegetation will be broken resulting in total destruction of the only remaining patch of riparian forests at such low altitudes. A Fisheries scientist, explained that the situation created here due to the river getting dry for a stretch of 25 kms from 10 PM to 6 am is a most unnatural phenomena, since it would curtail any long term adaptations of the flora and fauna due to the stressful condition induced through alternate flowing and stopping of the river.

Experts and researchers pointed out about the rare species of flora and fauna. The Chalakudy river is one of the fish diversity rich rivers of India (104 species of which 5 are new to science). As per the affidavit submitted by KSEB in the Kerala High Court, there is no difference in the flow data from 1942 to 1996 though the Parambikulam group dams and upper Sholayar commissioned in 1960’s divert 33tmcft. of water  to Tamil Nadu and Edamalayar augmentation scheme divert waters from Poringal reservoir to Periyar basin since 1992. Also the data shows maximum flow in Poringal reservoir in 1987-1988, which was the drought year in India. (Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samiti 08/02/02)

SC order on Tehri and avoiding road through Corbett On Tehri Dam, the Supreme Court has stated, “the state will file an affidavit indicating its stand on the aspects of dam safety, environmental impact and rehabilitation of the dam oustees. The state will indicate its stand particularly on the rehabilitation aspects, stating the step taken in that regard.” In a separate petition, the Supreme Court asked the Uttaranchal Govt. to realign a proposed Garhwal-Kumaon link road to avoid its passing through Corbett National Park. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 25/01/02)

Madras objected to Cauvery dam even in 1911Tami Nadu counsel on Cauvery Waters Dispute Tribunal told tribunal that the erstwhile Mysore state had proposed a 124 feet high Krishnasagar dam to store 45 tmc of water in 1911, but the then Madras state had objected.  The project as proposed by Mysore would lead to its failure every three years in a block of 20 years and adversely affect irrigation to an area of nearly 50,000 acres in Mysore itself – an area accounting for one third of irrigation land in Mysore. The then inspector general of irrigation, Sir John Benton had also noted that the dam over a period of time would accumulate a large quantity of silt. The Mysore government, however, did not agree with Benton’s recommendations. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 16/02/02)

Koyna to be quake prone, say experts Koyana in Maharashtra, the site of one of India's largest dams, will continue getting up to five magnitude earthquakes for another three to four decades, researchers have said. (INDIAN EXPRESS-D 07/02/02)

SUPREME COURT SENDS ARUNDHATI TO JAIL On March 6, Supreme Court bench of Just. Pattanaik and Just. Sethi sent Arundhati Roy to Jail and also imposed a fine of Rs. 2000/-. Arundhati said she stands by whatever she said. Media and commentators across the country and outside came down heavily on this judgement. Hundreds of supports of Arundhati camped outside Tihar Jail till she came out on March 7. At a jam packed press conference on March 7, beamed live across the country, leading national media and public personalities including Vinod Mehta, N Ram, Prabhash Joshi, Ajit Bhattacharjee, Praful Bidwai, Medha Patkar and Prashant Bhushan paid tributes to Roy and demanded removal of criminal contempt powers of the unaccountable higher judiciary.


SSP Submergence Area, Affected Population Go Up NCA officials agree that the violation of the legal norms is apparent from the fact that people to be affected by increase in dam height from 90 M to 100 M as being pushed by the authorities were to be resettled by 31st December 2001 and this has not happened with hundreds of families officially balance. Officials confirmed that the MP Govt. has admitted that submergence area has increased by 2703 Ha (12.75% increase) while the number of affected families in MP has increased from 33014 to 35716 and will surely increase further by ‘few thousands’.

CAG Reports overpayment and financial loss As per the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam made overpayment of Rs 35.1 M and also paid price escalation by incorrect application of indices. The Company's failure in securing a valid bank guarantee and undue granting of advance has exposed the Company to loss. In addition, the objective for which the expenditure was incurred has also remained unfulfilled. Investment of Rs 9 M towards the construction of residential quarters for accommodating specific service staff remained idle due to vacant quarters.

MP CM agrees to withdraw SC case on SSP height Following the meeting called at PM's intervention on January 24, MP CM assured to withdraw the case from the Supreme Court pertaining to the height of the dam.

States to look possibilities of ‘amending’ NWDT award The three-state committee to look into the possibility of amending the Narmada Water Distribution Tribunal Award for allowing MP to give cash compensation to the SSP oustees against the land they would lose has failed to arrive at any final solution on the issue. A senior official said, "Of the 3,000 MP oustees at the SSP dam level of 100 M, 1,043 were to be given land by December 31. So far, MP has given land to a mere 14 families. As for the rest, even the award has not been declared, not to talk of acquiring land." Officials consider this a clear violation of the SC directive. Gujarat has agreed 'in principle' to allow MP to give cash against the land to the oustees (sans amending the NWDT award), and set aside Rs 2.39 B for that. A govt. resolution to make cash compensations has 'not been put out' by MP despite umpteen promises. MP is finding a pretext to evade rehabilitation: amend the NWDT award, lest no progress would be made, something Gujarat finds difficult to accept.

PM urged to review move to raise dam height Several eminent persons have written to the PM to reconsider the decision to raise the height of the SSP even before all displaced people were resettled as per norms as that would entail violation of human rights and also violate the orders of the SC. The signatories include Kuldip Nayyar, Surendra Mohan, Mohini Giri, Shanti Bhushan, Admiral Ramdas, Rajendra Sachchar and Swami Agnivesh. Former SC judge, Jst Krishna Iyer, in a separate letter to MP CM has expressed surprise that "your Govt. is party to raising the dam height from 90 M to 100 M. This will be inhumanity in the absence of alternative provision for land. This would be injustice, violation of the order of SC, which may entail serious consequences”. He urged CM to "stop construction beyond 90 M".

Legal notice to Sub Groups of NCA NBA has issued legal notices to the R&R and Env. Sub-Groups of the NCA for dereliction of the duty in having failed to ensure proper resettlement of affected families and ensuring proper studies and actions on env. aspects of the project. The notice also warns the Sub-groups from sanctioning any further construction, as this would imply the violation of the resettlement laws governing the project and also constitute contempt of Supreme Court directives.  

SSP dharna in Delhi About 1000 tribals and farmers of the SSP staged a dharna on 7-9 Feb. in front of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, demanding that further construction on SSP be stopped before proper rehabilitation of affected persons according to NWDT award and Supreme Court. “The protest is in the context of the PM’s directive to complete the rehabilitation of at least 3,000 families who have been affected by the dam but have not been resettled. Over 4000 families will be affected if the height of the dam is raised from the present 90 M to 100 M. The dharna ended after the Minister informed the people that the R&R subgroup had not given any permission for further construction on SSP.

Doubts over raising dam height "The NCA's R&R sub-group, which met on Feb. 8 in Delhi, decided that MP finish its resettlement work by March-end", said an official. Contrary to the claim, officials clarified, at best, the dam could be taken to 95 M early March onwards 'provided MP finishes the resettlement work of those families that would lose their land at the 95 M level'. At the 95 M level, too, things are proving to be 'quite difficult'. "Even the land acquisition process of the villages that would go into submergence at that level has not begun. Nor is MP providing any detail of the number of families to lose land at the 95 M level”. (CAG Report Gujarat, commercial 2000, THE HINDUSTAN TIMES-D, INDIAN EXPRESS-D 08/02/02, THE HINDU-D 07/02/02, 10/02/02, THE TIMES OF INDIA 06/01/02, 26/01/02, 13/02/02, NBA PR 19/01/02, 06/02/02, 08/02/02)


Properties of Maheshwar Project to be sold to recover loans It has now become evident that the S. Kumars have once again willfully defaulted on public money and this time around the consequences are disastrous for them. The S. Kumars group company – the Induj Enertech Limited, which has defaulted on the outstanding payments of Rs 190 M out of a total tranche of Inter- Corporate deposits of Rs 450 M taken from the MPSIDC in 1999-2000 for the purpose of financing the Maheshwar HEP. Following the default, the MPSIDC has now directed that recoveries against the defaulted sum are to be made from the properties of the Maheshwar Project in the Khargone district of MP. It has directed that this recovery be made through the attachment and sale of properties. The MPSIDC has begun legal proceedings for the recovery of this amount and has asked the district administration to make the recovery from the moveable and immovable properties of the Maheshwar Project. This legal action has now put a grave question mark on the future of this Project. (NBA PR 21/01/01)

Maheshwar may be another Enron In 1994 before the privatisation, the cost of the Maheshwar HEP was estimated at Rs 4.65 B. After privatisation, the estimated cost has increased almost five fold to Rs 22.31 B. According to its project report, it will generate power at an average plant load factor of less than 25 per cent, out of which 80 per cent will be produced during the monsoon months when power is least needed. The average cost of power from the project will exceed Rs. 6 per unit at the dam site. Maheshwar power during the period where it may be needed will cost well over Rs 10 per unit. In the last four years, there has been a procession of foreign collaborators for Maheshwar Project who have come and gone, after the financial and social nonviability of the project has been brought home to them by the relentless campaign of the NBA. They include the US power utility Pacgen, the German power utilities, VEW Energie and Bayernwerk and finally another US power utility, Ogden. Even the proposed equipment suppliers, Siemens and ABB, had to bow out because of the refusal of the German and Portuguese govts to provide the necessary guarantees. The result of all this was that out of the total estimated cost of the project, the total private investment came to be limited to S Kumars equity of Rs 1.36 B (about 6 % of the cost of the project). (THE HINDUSTAN TIMES-D 02/02/02)

Delays may upset NHPC's target Delays in government clearances have crippled several of NHPC's projects involving 10 000 MW capacity, affecting official target of adding 100 000 MW by 2012. "After August 2000 government has not sanctioned even a single MW of capacity addition," NHPC sources said. Almost a dozen projects have been pending with the government for clearance at various stages for the last 18 months, some projects were awaiting the clearance of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs while others were at the stage of Public Investment Board's consideration. (THE ECONOMIC TIMES 05/01/02)

Higher allocation for hydel Sector The Ministry of Power has made higher budgetary allocation for the hydel sector. NHPC is giving priority to languishing state sector projects and levy of 5 % development surcharge to supplement resources for HEPs, said NHPC Chief. He said the CEA had prepared a vision paper on development of hydroelectric potential, which envisaged harnessing of the entire balance hydropower potential of India by the year 2025-26. During the 10th and 11th plans, the vision paper envisaged a hydro capacity addition of 10,400 MW and 21,300 MW, respectively. The requirement of the funds for this capacity addition would be of the order of Rs 1 300 B. (THE TRIBUNE 08/02/02)

India ranks 5th in hydropower potentialIndia ranks fifth in the world in terms of hydropower potential as per a report prepared by NHPC. At 600 B kilowatt-hours of energy annually, India’s HEP potential is equivalent to a nameplate capacity of 1,50,000 MW, out of which 17 % has so far been developed. The power demand projections made in the 16th electric power survey would require a need based capacity addition of 55,000 MW and 52,000 MW respectively during 10th and 11th plans. (DAILY EXCELSIOR 24/01/02)

IDBI sanctions Rs 3 B for Baglihar project The Industrial Development Bank of India has sanctioned Rs 3 B for the 450 MW Baglihar HEP in Jammu and Kashmir being constructed at a cost of Rs 46 B. IDBI sources said that the process required for sanctioning of term loan of Rs 26.67 B, of which Rs 3 B have been sanctioned. (The Economic Times 09/01/02)

Tipaimukh Project Manipur, which had opposed the 1500 MW Tipaimukh power project, has finally decided to sign the MoU with the NEEPCO. The NEEPCO official claimed that the dam would affect eight villages in the two districts, of which three would be completely submerged. The firm power of the project would be 411 MW. The revised cost of the project with interest is Rs 63.51 B. The project has to be completed within 10 years and, by that time, the project cost could rise up to Rs 88.67 B.  (THE TELEGRAPH-NORTHEAST 01/02/02)


Costly KG A starts generation in Nepal On 24 Feb. 2002, electricity generated by one of the project's three 48 MW turbines of Nepal's newest and largest HEP, Kali Gandaki A was connected to the national grid. The initial cost estimate for the project was NRs. 25 B, the project was delayed by two years and the final cost went up by 48 %.

In comparison, several small-scale power projects have also started to come on line but at a cheaper cost. A 24 KW hydropower plant at Gaudi Khola in Baglung, which started generating power, will provide electricity to 250 households of Dudilabhati VDC. This project has been completed at a total cost of NRs. 31,02,000.

Similarly, last month the Rs. 19 M Syange Hydropower project (183 KW capacity) supplied its first unit of electricity to the national grid. The 3 MW Piluwa Khola project is due to start generating power in April. This project will cost US$ 1,200 per KW compared to US$ 3,300 for Kali Gandaki A.

NEA cancelled its agreement of Oct. 2001 with the Singapore based Elysee Frontiere Trust, to develop the 300 MW Upper Karnali Project, because the company failed to show its financing sources.

Similarly, even after five years of effort, Snowy Mountain Engineering Company has not been able to do anything with the proposed 750 MW West Seti Project because it still has not been able to sign a power purchase agreement with India's State Electricity Board. Construction of the US$1.2 B project, designed to sell electricity to India, was supposed to have started in 2002. India has agreed to purchase the electricity at 5 cents per unit but SMEC wants more. (Spacetime Dainik-Nepal 16/02/02, Kantipur Daily-Nepal 25/02/02, Nepali Times 22-28/02/02 & Nepal Samacharpatra 24/02/02)

Pak may move World Court on Indus Waters Treaty The Pakistan Government might move the International Court of Justice against India, which, it alleges, had violated the Indus Basin Treaty by building reservoirs on the Chenab, said an official of Pakistan. The official said, water discharge into the Chenab was abruptly reduced from 5,700 cusecs to 3,900 cusecs. Later, the water inflow was reduced constantly below the average level. The official said Pakistan would continue its efforts to impress upon India to stop work on the Baglihar project. But if Delhi refused to wind up the project, Islamabad would approach the ICJ. He said Pakistan felt that India might be diverting water to some canals near Akhnor in Kashmir in violation of the treaty, and storing the water in the Salal Dam in Jammu. (THE TRIBUNE 13/02/02)

CM asked for Review Indus water treaty The J&K Chief Minister, said that the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan should be reviewed as the State has been unable to harness the full hydel potential. On Pakistan threat to move International Court of Justice on “breach of treaty” he said, “Let Pakistan go there, it will get exposed.” (THE HINDU-D 21/02/02)

Biological and social diversities A public discussion was held at Multan on the issue of development-induced challenges to biological diversity. Farmers, political and social activists at Multan, denounced the proposed Thal Canal and Gomal Dam with particular reference to already completed Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project, for jeopardising biological and social diversities. Prof. Akram Mirani demonstrated that ecology is a chain-like correlation of living communities, including man, which have positioned themselves according to their needs, habits and interdependence. Ustad Ejaz Khan from Khansar, discussed the importance of local biological diversities with particular reference to threats posed by Thal Canal. The speakers emphasised that biological diversity shapes social diversity i.e. the diversity of human knowledge, expression and processes, which synchronise themselves into a culture. (PR From DAMAAN, Pakistan, Dec. 27, 2001)

Tarbela gets investment offer A US-based energy firm has offered to invest $30 M for the refurbishment and upgrading of four power generation units of the Tarbela Dam project, Pakistan Power Ministry sources said. The company is also pursuing two HEPs of $1.3 B including 84 MW Matiltan Power Project in the NWFP at a cost of $135 million and 700 MW Kohala Power Project in Azad Kashmir at a cost of $1.2 billion. (THE DAWN- PAKISTAN 06/02/02)

Pakistan in negotiation with China on Ghazi Brotha HEP WAPDA was in negotiation with China East Power Co. on taking over the Ghazi Brotha HEP. Since Sept. 11 incident, the Italian contractor has given up the construction. WAPDA hoped that the Chinese firm can take over the remaining parts of the project. The 1450 MW dam was planned to be completed by August 2001. But the recent incidents has not only the delayed the completion date, but has also raised the cost of construction. On the other hand, Chinese President has signed contract with Pakistani President on 7 construction projects, including a 1,500 kV power transmission project. (CHINA ELECTRICITY NEWS 01/01/02)

Arsenic problem in Nepal Based on the investigation carried out so far, 1.9 M people in Nepal are using water with arsenic of 10 mg/litre and about 390,000 with 50 mg/litre. A study report shows that 20 districts in Nepal are using groundwater sources containing arsenic. The findings show that about 20 % samples have arsenic contamination of between 10-50 mg/1 and 5% have more than 50 mg/1. (KATHMANDU POST-NEPAL 05/02/02)

Melmachi Affected oppose low compensation With the affected people refusing to accept the accorded compensation, the construction work of the Melamchi Project has come to a standstill. The affected people of Melmachi Project in Nepal recently lodged a complaint at the Home Ministry saying that they would not accept the compensation amount set by the govt., as it was too low. They appealed to stop the construction work until the compensation matter was settled.  The Home Ministry sources said that the ministry is now planning to study the problem. (THE KATHMANDU POST-NEPAL 09/02/02)

12 people die in water conflict 12 people have died in water conflict in southwestern Baluchistan province in Pakistan. The conflict started between two groups for irrigation water and after some time it turned in armed battle. (RASHTRIYA SAHARA 27/02/02)


German opposition to dams on the Danube The SPD/Green coalition declared itself in favour of a Danube with no further dams or canalization, following the expert hearing of February 20th. This is a clear decision of the parliamentary majority in favour of the "A" solution for the improvement of the navigability of the Danube. This will keep the Danube free flowing between Straubing and Vilshofen and respect the priceless floodplains of the area. This decision will enable the Danube to be developed in an ecological way. The "A" solution, respecting the river structure, can also be implemented very quickly, is the cheapest solution, and is the only one to be compatible with European legislation. (http://www.rivernet.org/danube/danube.htm)

Swiss bank quits Turkish Ilisu dam Switzerland's largest bank UBS said yesterday it was pulling out of its mandate to advise on the financing of a controversial Turkish dam because of fears about the dam's social and environmental impacts. "The decisive factor behind this termination is that the general progress of the project has been unsatisfactory in recent years," UBS said in a statement. "Until now there has been no definitive decision on what accompanying measures are to be taken to minimise the social and environmental impacts of the project," it said. (REUTERS NEWS SERVICE 28/02/02)

Fresh Protests Over Turkish Dam The British government is considering backing a new dam in Turkey which threatens to uproot thousands from their homes and destroy sites of historical and environmental interest. A public meeting--bringing together a range of NGOs—in the House of Commons, will condemn a branch of the Department of Trade and Industry for looking at a US $99 M finance application for the Yusufeli HEP on northeast Turkey's Coruh river. British engineering firm Amec first requested Export Credit Guarantee Department backing for the dam in 1998. Campaigners say the 540 MW dam--which would entail a dramatic reshaping of the local topography--would displace tens of thousands of the area's Georgian minority, disturb a diverse range of wildlife, and adversely affect monuments from the medieval era. "A minimum of 30,000 people stand to be directly or indirectly affected by the dam," said Kerim Yildiz, executive director of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, which has been active in protests over previous dam projects in Turkey. ECGD's role in a separate Turkish project--the Ilisu dam, which won the personal backing of PM Tony Blair despite concerns over the impact on some 50,000 local Kurdish residents--was called into question last year when British construction firm Balfour Beatty, with the main stake in the joint venture, pulled out. (http://www.oneworld.net 22/01/02)

Irreparable Impacts of Belize dam Scientists from the Natural History Museum in London conducted an EIA of the proposed dam, which is scheduled to start construction in Belize in Central America. In their official report, the researchers say that the Chalillo dam would do irreparable harm to one of the most biologically rich and diverse regions left in Central America, and they "highly recommend" that the scheme be dropped. The proposed 35-metre dam is to be built on a remote stretch of Belize's Macal River and produce electricity for the surrounding provinces. It would flood 11 square km of the river's pristine forested flood plain in remote mountains near the border with Guatemala. (New Scientist 19/12/01)

Bujagali Faces Delay AES Corp., a US power company facing a cash crunch, said a financing shortfall will delay construction of a dam in Uganda, only two months after the company won World Bank backing for the $550 M project. The delay in the Nile River project – East Africa's largest investment ever – comes after AES overruled years of protest by environmentalists, who questioned the cost of the dam and its potential to deliver power to one of the world's poorest nations. The Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board, an agency known as EKN, refused AES's application. (IRN PR 22/02/02)

WB attacked for ignoring WCD findings The WCD report was issued in November 2000 with 100% consensus, and was greeted by cautious optimism by companies, governments and other organisations. But in the first test of its shiny-new guidelines, the WB has decided to back the Bujagali Dam even though it acknowledges that the project is "unacceptable from environmental and social perspectives." The bank rationalises that the WCD guidelines "offer guidance, not a regulatory framework." The bank also promises that no more such dams will be built on the upper Nile. How can a co-sponsor of this groundbreaking achievement justify ignoring WCD's findings? Any mother of a teenager knows the reason: "Everybody does it," or, in the bureaucratic language of the World Bank's statement, "To the best of its knowledge [the] process proposed by the WCD has never been implemented in a major dam project." (Engineering News Records 21/01/02)

2003 to be International year of freshwater The UN General Assembly in a resolution proclaimed the year 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater. It encourages Governments, the UN system and all actors to take advantage of the Year to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable freshwater use, management and protection. (PR-RIGHT TO WATER 14/01/02)

World Social Forum : Conference on Water

Water is a fundamental resource for life, and therefore is the common heritage of all. Therefore, it cannot be privatized, nor converted into a market product. The right to water is an inalienable social, economic, and human right. The existing economic system has caused the degradation and the destruction of water sources, inequality in access to water and its growing scarcity, particularly for the poorest sectors of the population, through destructive development projects and with strong impacts on local populations and the environment. These projects include large dams, polluting industries, large-scale agriculture, industrial waterways, and mining. The international financial institutions and the WTO are the financial motors of this process, resulting in the destruction of watercourses and the privatization and mercantilization of water resources, and the placing of them in the hands of transnational corporations. Sustainable water resources management, including in its distribution and use is vital to resolve the survival of populations. In order to achieve sustainable water management, the current economic system will have to change. This sustainable management will also require the effective participation of local communities in decision-making processes. Civil society organizations should join at the local, national, regional, and international level to promote changes in the economic system and establish sustainable alternatives. The victories in local struggles such as that of the Coordinadora de Cochabamba in Bolivia and others in resisting the privatization process and in re-establishing sustainable community-based water management systems demonstrates the importance of organizing and in forming alliances at the level of local communities. The fight against dams is an important part of the struggle by local communities and civil society for control of water resources and for the right to water, and against the current economic model. In order to achieve change at the planetary level, local voices must be heard at the international level, and local struggles must be linked to the global level.

For Sustainable Water Management:

Managing water from its sources, through sustainable management of territories and through the effective participation of civil society, in particular indigenous communities, in decision-making processes.

Requiring companies that destroy water sources, including those responsible for unsustainable land uses, mining, and production of toxic industrial, mining, and agricultural wastes and effluents to repair the social and environmental damages they have caused and to restore the quality of these water sources.

Prohibit the use of chemical products that destroy water quality

Promote campaigns against the conversion of rivers into industrial waterways

To implement alternative biological systems for sewage management

To promote rainwater harvesting methods for domestic and agricultural use

The Fight against dams

To establish a moratorium on new dams until all the economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts they have caused are resolved.

To pressure national governments, export credit agencies, and international financial institutions to adopt the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams.

To promote a new energy model, based upon efficiency, conservation, and use of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass.

To support and express solidarity with the populations fighting Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river in India by signing a petition aimed at the Indian Prime Minister. (World Soc. Forum, Feb. 2002, Porto Alegre, Brazil)

Dam projects threaten to flood Thai wildlife sanctuary The Irrigation Department of Thailand has proposed to build two dams in Khao Soi Dao wildlife sanctuary that would put 4,000 rai of protected forestland under water. The department says the projects are aimed at preventing floods and supplying water to fruit orchards in eastern Chanthaburi. The cost of building Klong Ta Lew dam is estimated at 1.458 B baht, and Klong Ta Rong dam at 1.348 B baht. But a local group said the reservoirs would not help ease flooding or drought. ``To prevent floods and water shortages, we have to protect the forests, not destroy them by building reservoirs,'' said head of the Chanthaburi civic group. (Bangkok Post 05/01/02)

New Partnership for Cooperation Over Water? Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, currently president of the non-governmental Green Cross International and UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura have signed a two year cooperative agreement to pool their complementary approaches to water conservation. While UNESCO will continue to develop educational tools aimed at decision-makers and governments, Green Cross International will raise awareness at grassroots level. The new initiative is called "From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential: Water for Peace". Global demand for drinking water has multiplied seven times during the 20th century. Some 261 river basins worldwide extend over more than one country and demand for water continues to rise and supplies of clean water are limited by drought and pollution. UNESCO will focus its attention on the Rhine, Aral Sea Basin, Incomati, the Mekong, Jordan, Danube and Columbia Rivers. The joint 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 set for Kyoto, Japan in 2003. WWAP is a joint response by 23 UN agencies to address key challenges defined by ministers at last year's Second World Water Forum in the Hague. UNESCO acts as host for the WWAP Secretariat. The last war over water was 4,500 years ago. (ENS 09/01/02)


World Bank funded unviable Guhai Dam As per the norms prescribed by CWC, Irrigation project having benefit cost ratio less than 1.5 is considered economically unviable and such project should not be taken up. It was however seen that Guhai Reservoir Project across river Guhai near village Khandiol of Himatnagar taluka of Sabarkantha district was administratively approved for Rs 80.3 M by Govt. in Dec. 1978 with benefit cost ratio of 1.33. The project was thereafter brought under World Bank assistance and estimates were revised to Rs 168.9 M in Jan. 1981. Due to increase in cost, benefit cost ratio reduced from 1.33 to 1.03 making the project further unviable. Total assistance of Rs 155.5 M was obtained from WB during 1981-94 on the unviable project. The project was scheduled to be completed by March 1985, but full command area was developed in March 1998. expenditure of Rs 678.2 M was incurred upto March 2000. The project was not able to realise even Maintenance & Repair expenditure during any year. In fact, for the period 1992-2000, the project could generate revenue of only 20% of the M&R expenses on the project. (CAG Report Gujarat, Commercial 2000)

Rajasthan seeks higher share of water The Rajasthan govt. has sought a higher share of water from the Bhakra Beas Management Board, which decides on release of water to the Indira Gandhi Canal. (THE HINDU-D 24/01/02)

NABARD to give Rs 1.09 B for Rajasthan CanalsNABARD has sanctioned Rs 1.09 B to Rajasthan under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund-VII for the Bisalpur Irrigation cum drinking water supply project. The sanction under RIDF – VII accorded for second phase of the project – is meant for completion of remaining canal works, payment of compensation and rehabilitation of the villagers coming under submergence area of the project. With the latest sanction, it is claimed that it will be possible to store up to 315.5 M water in the Bisalpur dam and provide irrigation to 81,800 Ha land in Tonk district. (THE HINDU-D 19/01/02)

Cost & Time overruns, under performance of Bihar Irrigation Projects The 14 ongoing irrigation schemes seem to have become a big drain on the Bihar’s economy as after consuming about Rs 16 B, additional irrigation facility has been created in only 153,000 Ha so far against a target of 872,000 Ha. While major schemes have remained under construction for the last 21 to 40 years, the medium schemes have already taken 4 to 29 years and are still to be completed. The cost of Durgawati Project, which began at an estimated cost of Rs 253 M in 1976, has shot up to Rs 2.344 B, the cost of the North Koel Project was originally estimated at Rs 300 M, which now stood at 8.361 B. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 11/02/02)

Punjab goes to SC for review of SYL Punjab filed a review petition before the SC seeking a review of the earlier judgement pronounced by the court on the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal. The petition follows the SC verdict passed on January 15, where it had given Punjab one year to complete the SYL canal. The review has been sought on seven counts beginning with the SC not treating the case as a water dispute, the case not attracting provision of Article 131 and that of no legal claims of Haryana. It also said the construction is not possible or cost effective and that the SC had failed to appreciate Punjab’s equity while noting the assertions in favour of Haryana. The review petition claims that the Court’s findings are not only contradictory but have also preempted the pending decision of the tribunal to decide the sharing of river waters. (INDIAN EXPRESS-D 09/02/02)


Big increase in water table due to check-dams The construction of 15,000 check-dams during the last two years in Gujarat has resulted in remarkable rise in the fast-depleting water table, said Gujarat Irrigation Minister. The minister pointed out that the storage of 7,500 million cubic feet of water in thousands of wells and bores helped irrigate 1,50,000 Ha. He said the water table in wells rose by three to 12 m following overflowing of check-dams in 2001. It may be recalled that in the year 2000, the water table in wells had risen from two to 17 m. The minister said in Bhavnagar district the sub-soil water table had registered increase of 30.20 m, followed by Junagadh 23.50 m, Rajkot 6.50 m, Jamnagar 9.38 m, Surendranagar 7.38 m and Amreli 17.50 m. He said with the construction of 5,500 more check-dams during 2001-02 an estimated 55,000 Ha would get additional irrigation, and there would be additional water storage of 2,750 MCFt. He said so far 20,500 check-dams had been constructed, increasing the total water storage capacity to 10,250 MCFt and creating irrigation in about 2,05,000 Ha. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-A 07/02/02)

Rethinking watershed strategy The last four decades have seen an increasingly widening gap between the productivity of irrigated and dryland agriculture. India's drylands have suffered massive neglect, both in terms of public investment and appropriate R&D. These, especially the tribal pockets within them, are the flash points of often-violent protests, a reflection of intense disenchantment with the national mainstream. Micro-watersheds of between 1,000-2,500 Ha are allotted funds at the (recently revised) rate of a theoretical maximum of Rs 6,000 per Ha. Each micro-watershed can get up to Rs 15 M, to be spent in a short span of 5 years. This leads to a massive concentration of resources in a few villages, creating inequities across selected and left-out villages, especially given the absence of justifiable criteria of selection of villages, in the first place. There are around 600,000 villages in India. 400,000 villages can be said to be in need of urgent watershed intervention. If this effort continues at the necessary pace, over the next 20 years, we could look forward to 200 M Ha of India's most needy areas being covered by people-centred watershed programmes. 600 M people inhabit these areas. Thus, both 60 % of India's area and population could be covered over 20 years. (THE HINDU 29/01/02)

TBS water harvesting model for AfghanistanThe UN bodies are keen on introducing the model of Rainwater harvesting practiced by Tarun Bharat Sangha, in Afghanistan. The UN Assistant Secretary General and assistant administrator for UNDP Hafiz Pasha said, “we will request TBS to help us in Afghanistan. The UNDP officials, who are looking forward to rebuilding Afghanistan, have invited TBS to visit Kabul at the earliest and teach the people how water can bring about a sea change in their lives. (THE HINDU-D 16/02/02, PIB 27/02/02)


Hundreds of houses submerged due to embankment breach The water of Yamuna entered in the Indira Colony slums in Delhi due to breach in embankment of the river. Hundreds of houses and huts were submerged. The local persons have alleged that due to dumping of fly ash of Rajghat power station, the bank of river has reached up to embankment level. (RASHTRIYA SAHARA 22/01/02)

Assam flood problem Assam has urged the Central Govt. to take into consideration the urgent need to mitigate the flood problem of Assam while constructing the multi-purpose dam projects like Subansiri and Dehang in Arunachal Pradesh. The State Flood Control Minister stated that those multi-purpose dams were envisaged in order to facilitate irrigation, flood control and power generation. The Minister informed that as coming up of multi-purpose dam projects may take long, State Govt. has proposed to enhance allocation to the tune of about Rs 26.70 B for the next 10 years for proper strengthening, maintenance and upkeep of the existing short-term measures of flood control. He claimed that short-term flood control measures so far executed by the State Govt. resulted in protection of about 1.63 M Ha of flood prone land. So far 4454 kms of embankment, 850 kms of drainage works, 667 anti-erosion projects and 85 sluice gates have been constructed as short-term measures. (ASSAM TRIBUNE 16/02/02)

Heavy floods in Indonesia More than 300,000 people of Jakarta in Indonesia have been affected from the floods. About 40 people had been killed in flooding and landslides throughout Indonesia triggered by monsoon rains. Floodwaters have reached up to 20 feet in several areas of Jakarta. (THE TRIBUNE 02/02/02)


Dangers of Water Privatization The Pacific Institute has released a new report on water privatization that aims to ensure water privatization deals are fair, protect the public health, and don't harm the environment. The New Economy of Water: The Risks and Benefits of Globalization and Privatization of Fresh Water is an examination of the issue of water privatization. The report looks at the dangers and benefits of water privatization and offers case studies from around the world. "Water privatization efforts have been growing rapidly both in the US and abroad, but public understanding and oversight of these deals lags far behind. Water privatization must be subject to much stronger public scrutiny," emphasized Dr. Peter H. Gleick, lead author. "There is little doubt that the headlong rush to private markets has failed to address some of the most critical issues and concerns about water. How can we protect the world's poorest people, how can we ensure that the environment gets a fair share, how can water quality be protected for future generations? All of these questions must be answered before we move forward with more privatization." (http://www.pacinst.org/reports/new_economy.htm)

WB water projects in UP, Rajasthan The World Bank has approved two loans which claim to improve income and fight rural poverty in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh through two water restructuring projects totalling $289.2 M. The Rajasthan Water Sector Restructuring aims to promote more sustainable development and the use of the state’s limited water resources by improving its management, particularly in the irrigation sector. In UP, agricultural performance as a share of the economy is dwindling. To enhance rural income, agricultural growth needs to be higher than 3 %. In reality, it has averaged 1 % in recent years. (BUSINESS LINE-D 21/02/02)


Bore well scandal in Gujarat The recently exposed financial irregularities in the Rajkot civic body is estimated to be Rs 300 M just in drilling bores since 1999 to supply water to the city. The standing committee had passed a resolution to drill bores at Rs 34 per sq. ft and within days, the prices were jacked up to Rs 58 per sq. ft. Though the civic body had the machinery and pipes that could fit only in 165 mm bore, contracts were given to drill bores with 200 mm that were of no use. Bores were drilled at spots that geologists had ruled out. And where geologists had recommended going down to 600 m, contractors had drilled just up to 500 m and when water was not found, the bores were said to have been 'dead'. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-A 21/01/02)

WB-aided Karnataka rural water supply projectThe World Bank funded rural water supply and sanitation project has been launched to cover 11 northern districts of Karnataka. The WB is providing Rs 8.108 B of the total cost of Rs 10.353 B Jal Nirmal project, to be implemented upto 2008. The rural water scheme is part of the six State projects proposed for a total bank aid of Rs 120 B. (THE HINDU-D 12/02/02, BUSINESSLINE-D 13/02/02)


Indian Railway would launch Railneer The Union Rail Minister has announced, “The Indian Railways will manufacture its own brand of mineral water for supply on trains and platforms. Currently, the Railway makes use of roughly 200 brands of packaged water. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 04/02/02)

Bottled water a major environmental concernPlastic containers are the accepted form for bottled water. 72 % of bottled water packages in the US contain less than five liters. Every year 1.5 M tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water and toxic chemicals can be released during the manufacture and disposal of the bottles. Along with the problem with bottles themselves is the problem with getting them to consumers. A quarter of the 89 B liters of water bottled worldwide annually are consumed outside of their country of origin and carbon dioxide emissions, caused by transporting bottled water within and between countries can contribute to global climate change. (Earth Times News Service 06/12/01)


Rajkot has Big potential for water harvestingA study conducted by Sandipani Institute of Economic Research has revealed that Rajkot city has tremendous potential for water harvesting and bore recharging. The study stated, "around 70 % of the houses in the city have domestic bores and with the recharging, the water table could come up by 3-4 m every year and the domestic bores could meet the demand of drinking water of the entire household throughout the year". At present only 10 % of the households have adopted recharging of their bores. The paper stated that the aggregate demand of water in the city was 137.18 M litres per day and by 2021 it would go up to 243.31 MLD. The three main sources of water - the Aji, Nyari and Bhadar dams - could supply just 8 MLD of water and hence, all water supply schemes were an exercise of temporary patch work. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-A 02/02/02)

MCD to Preserve Water Bodies The Municipal Corporation of Delhi decided to preserve and regenerate historical water bodies in the capital. The MCD told the Delhi High Court that there are 508 water bodies in the capital, which can be preserved and maintained. According to the MCD, it will initiate steps to preserve those wells and acquifers whose minimum wet surface area is 4,000 sq. m. Similarly, water-bodies of 4,000 sq. m will be reclaimed even in rural area. The MCD took this decision after conducting a survey alongwith INTACH on how many water bodies could actually be preserved and recharged in Delhi. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 14/01/02)

Soil 'loaning' to help Nawabganj bird sanctuary In 'one of its kind' tie-up with the National Highway Authority – currently constructing an express highway between Kanpur and Lucknow, the state forest department has sealed a 'contract' to 'loan' out soil from lake and thus meet the soil requirement of the NHA to level the road stretch around the Nawabganj area of the highway. Foresters are happy for two reasons: the uphill task of de-silting the 1.5 square km lake at the Nawabganj bird sanctuary which was shrinking at an alarming pace and attracting rare migratory birds back to the sanctuary would be accomplished almost free of cost. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 09/09/01)

HC on Wetland Destruction in UP by WBAllahabad High Court has admitted a petition seeking to stop the Uttar Pradesh Govt. from draining the wetlands in Etawah and Mainpuri, home to the world’s largest concentration of sarus cranes. On a Wildlife Trust of India petition, it directed the UP forest dept. secretary to submit a status report. Notices have been issued to Union ministries of Agriculture and Env. and Forest. The wetlands are being drained as part of a World Bank project to turn saline wasteland into agriculture land through a 54-km drain.(THE INDIAN EXPRESS-D 31/01/02)


Concern over pollution in Gulf of Khambat The Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti in Gujarat, has decided to take up the issue of industrial waste which is polluting the Gulf of Khambat, and has warned that with the completion of the Narmada project the only source of fresh water for the Gulf would be blocked. It said 70 % of the ground water across the Golden Corridor was contaminated by polluting industries. The Golden Corridor was well known for its rich water resources from rivers like Sabarmati, Mahi, Narmada, Tapi etc, but due to big and medium dams on the rivers, the down stream flow of the rivers had drastically reduced. Now these rivers do not carry any fresh water into the Gulf of Khambat, in reality they carry industrial effluents and domestic wastewater discharges. The Gulf has suffered severe degradation in a short span of 25 to 30 years, resulting in rapid decline in mangrove cover. The 7.45 % area of the Gulf coast was salt affected in 1960, but rose to 54 % in 1984, 57.6 % in 1986 and 64 % in 1993 and is about to reach 70 %. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 03/01/02)

Water pollution unchecked in Mumbai The latest report of CAG reveals that 99 % of the sewage water generated by municipal councils and over 50 % of sewage discharged by municipal corporations goes untreated and government had failed to take effective steps to compel local self-governments to treat waste water and permitted their raw discharge into the water bodies. The report said Mumbai generated 2 562 MLD of domestic effluents, of which only 929 MLD was adequately treated. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 09/01/02)

Polluted Narayani River in Nepal Increasing pollution in the Narayani river is spelling doom for its aquatic lives. Locals say the number of aquatic lives in the river—crocodiles, tortoises and different species of fish—have started declining due to acute pollution. The river is also home to dolphins, the number of which has declined because of the dumping of toxic substances. "Now that fish have become so rare in the river, it is impossible to sustain life by just sticking to the profession," says a fisherman. (KATHMANDU POST-NEPAL 12/01/02)


Ganga can be as clean as the Thames Mark Lloyd, director of Thames 21, a London-based NGO that has been involved in keeping the Thames clean said that the only way to keep rivers like the Yamuna and the Ganga clean is by involving the local people. This will help the people reconnect with the river and inculcate a sense of ownership in them. He gave the example about Thames, “We got together to encourage the public and businesses not to allow litter and waste to end up in London’s rivers. With the help of nearly 5,000 volunteers and four boats, we manage to clear 1,000 tonnes of waste from 400 miles of the river annually. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 13/02/02)

Fly ash flows into Sutlej In a major ecological catastrophe, thousands of tonnes fly ash flowed in to Sutlej River due to breach in the ash dyke of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant. (THE TRIBUNE 24/01/02)

Guidelines for sharing of river waters to be reviewed A Working Group set up under the chairmanship of the Minister for Water Resources, has recommended that the draft National Policy Guidelines for water Allocation among the states be referred to the National Water Board headed by the Water Resource Secretary. (THE HINDU-D 03/01/02)

India, China sign MoU on river data India and China signed a MoU to share hydrological data on the rivers including Brahmaputra and Siang, flowing through China into the country to aid flood forecasting. The MoU on making available to India hydrological data has a special bearing on the North-East and is expected to go a long way in better flood management in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Similarly, with Bhutan, a “Comprehensive Scheme for establishment of Hydro-meteorological and Flood forecasting Network on Rivers Common to India and Bhutan” is in operation. (ASSAM TRIBUNE 16/01/02)

India, China to conduct hydrographic studies of Sutlej India and China are likely to go in for joint hydrographic studies of the Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh to enable flood control as this had been causing immense damage to the state. The exchange of information on the river had been stopped since 1962. (Rediff News, 23/01/02)

Centre takes up Karnataka cause in Cauvery row The Centre has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, in Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, supporting the stand of Karnataka and seeking dismissal of the suit filed by TN. TN, in its suit, had sought a direction to Karnataka to comply fully with the various interim orders of the Cauvery Tribunal and also a direction that Karnataka should release one tmcft of water daily to TN to save the withering crops. The 11th meeting of the Cauvery monitoring committee decided that the CWC would rework formula for sharing the Cauvery waters in a distress year, after taking in to consideration the comments of the State Governments. Karnataka said that as per the interim order of the tribunal, the State was required to insure a flow of 205-tmc ft at Mettur in a water year from June to May. TN urged the Cauvery Tribunal to treat the entire Cauvery basin comprising Karnataka, TN, and other riparian States as one Zone and evolve a formula for equitable distribution of water as per the requirement of the each State. (THE HINDU-D 13/02/02 & 15/02/02)

Demand for Partial Removal of Dam A coalition of environmental and other groups have filed objections to a plan for dredging the Lower Snake River. As part of its 20-year, multimillion-dollar plan to maintain the channel and dispose of the sediment, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin dredging the river next winter. The environmental groups maintain the plan will not solve the long-range problem of persistent sediment buildup behind Lower Granite Dam. "Raising the levees and dredging are not long-term solutions," Bowler said. "The best long-term, safest and most cost-effective way out of this predicament is to partially remove Lower Granite Dam." (Associated Press 07/01/02)


Decline in the farm income Agriculture output is increasing and boosting the growth statistics but all farmers do not benefit, as brought out in an official report. Because all farmers are not protected by the MSP nor by government procurement by the FCI. Only Punjab and Haryana enjoy the privilege of 100 % procurement at the MSP.(THE TRIBUNE 05/01/02)

Panel Advises diversion of farm subsidiesM S Swaminathan Committee report on agriculture and allied sectors for Tenth Plan said some of the subsidies like free electricity for ground water use and canal irrigation have adversely affected natural resources and financial health of states. “While subsidies may be desirable to adopt improved production technologies and entrepreneurship the ones adversely affecting natural resources have to be redeployed,” the report said. It also recommends a bigger role in some of this for private players. (THE ECONOMIC TIMES-D & THE TIMES OF INDIA-D 04/01/02)

Tamil Nadu to develop 2 M Ha of wastelandIn order to promote the development of the farming sector, the TN Govt. has proposed to develop 2 M Ha of wasteland over the next five years.(BUSINESS LINE-D 07/01/02)

AP to continue power subsidy for farm sector The Andhra Pradesh Government will continue the power subsidy to the agriculture sector. The govt. will bear an additional burden of Rs 8 B, over the committed subsidy of Rs 15.62 B during the current year. (BUSINESS LINE-D 05/02/02)

Quick reforms in farm sector urged The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry has called for carrying out urgent reforms in agricultural sector. These include freeing crop-pricing policy from controls and removing or relaxing export ceiling on commodities. IT would like the Govt. to increase public spending on physical expenditure to stimulate demand for basic and capital goods industry.  (BUSINESS LINE-D 23/02/02)

A treaty to establish the gene pool as a global commons Biotech activists from more than 50 nations announced their support for a treaty, which would establish the earth's gene pool as a global commons. NGO leaders say they will challenge govt. and corporate claims on patents on life in every country. The treaty is the first globally coordinated campaign among biotech activists, and already has the support of over 250 organizations. The Treaty Initiative is being announced simultaneously in New York at the UN preparatory meetings for the Rio Plus 10 meeting, and in Porto Alegre, Brazil at the World Social Forum. The Treaty Initiative to Share the Genetic Commons aims to prohibit all patents on plant, microorganism, animal, and human life. (www.tradeobservatory.org 01/02/02)


Food security turns in to food stocks nightmare? The food subsidy has almost doubled in last four years – Rs 136.70 B in 2001-02 from Rs 75 B in 1997-98. But Rs 56.80 B out of the Rs 136.70 B food subsidy bill is wasted in only maintaining the huge foodgrains stocks in the government’s godowns. 58 MT of foodgrains were in the gowodns – wheat stocks at 32.4 MT, were four times the requisite buffer stock requirement of 8.4 MT. Similar was the case of the rice stocks of which were estimated at 25.6 MT, around three times the buffer stock norm of 8.4 MT as on January 2002. (Indian Express-d 27/02/02)

Plan panel recommends smart-card system for PDS The Tenth Plan Working Group of PDS & Food Security has recommended introduction of smart-card system in the form of a credit or debit cards to eliminate the rampant corruption in the PDS. The food credit cards may be used by the poor to buy foodgrains at subsidised rates from the open market and the retailers may claim the subsidy from the government later, say once in the month. (INDIAN EXPRESS-D 08/01/02)


TN may privatise sugar co-operativesThe Tami Nadu govt. is mulling to privatise some of the unlivable co-operative and public sector sugar mills. The Govt. would also consider converting into equity the ways and means advances amounting to Rs. 3.5 B granted earlier. (BUSINESS LINE-D 17/01/02)

Sugar decontrolled The Central Cabinet has approved complete decontrol of sugar during 2002-03 after futures trading in sugar kicks off in November. This implies that the existing levy sugar system and quota release mechanism for sugar would be abolished. Currently, under the levy sugar system, sugar mills are required to sell 15 % of sugar production to the govt. at an administered price that is below the market price. Also, under the quota release system the mills can sell only a government prescribed quota of sugar in particular quarter in the open market. (THE ECONOMIC TIMES-D 06/02/02)

Plan for vitamin ‘A’ added sugar The Govt. is to start a programme in which vitamin A-added sugar would be distributed by PDS for BPL people. National Cooperative Sugar Mills Organisation has started a pilot unit at Dhule in Maharashtra for production of vitamin A-added sugar. (RASHTRIYA SAHARA 10/01/02)


We have been talking of reforms and privatisation for the last 10 years as if privatisation is the panacea for all this... However, for privatisation there are no bidders and buyers waiting at our borders… The ground level work has to be done first. In fact, that has been the problem with the reform process in Orissa…

The lesson we have learnt is that the base line data and information that should have been gone into was not complied with… when we went in for privatisation in Orissa, the T&D losses, estimated at about 23-24%, eventually turned out to be in excess of 50%. That is one of the root causes of the failure of the Orissa reforms programme…We have decided to do a proper appraisal of the Orissa model… Increase in tariffs cannot be the criterion of success of the reform process. We must make sure that reforms really lead to tariff reduction…

I am thoroughly convinced that if anybody has to come to power, in the next five years, it should be public money. Nowhere in the world has any country achieved self-sufficiency in power through private money. France today is an example where power continues to be a public monopoly. It is only later that private money comes in, after the sector starts functioning well. We have not reached that stage yet, as 65% of the rural households are still without electricity. The remaining 35% complain about the quality of electricity… In China, 99% of the capacity addition has been through public investment… In the last 10 years, we thought private and foreign money would solve our power problems. It has not come true… But if you expect that the private sector will come in to create that platform, then we are living in wonderland… But fortunately for us, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and our Finance Minister agree with the perception that power sector development and creation of new capacities must necessarily come from public money…

Our experience over the last decade shows that whenever we tried to tap private investment into generation, we had to necessarily rely on counter guarantees… It means we are actually creating a contingent liability from day one. And we have to pay for it eventually because when contingent liabilities are created and structural changes are not implemented, it is sure way to ensuring that the contingent liability becomes a real liability down the line and has to be paid for…

Union Power Minister Suresh Prabhu (THE BUSINESS LINE-D, 22 & 23 Jan. 2002)


Massive outlay for power generation With an expected 55,158 MW of additional power generation capacity planned for the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-07), an expert group set up by the planning commission has estimated that fund requirement to achieve the target would be about Rs 5 660 B. The break up provided by the commission shows that the bulk of the funds, Rs 3 235.33 B, would be required for new generation schemes. The nuclear projects would cost Rs 281.27 B. The supporting infrastructure for T&D would call for an expenditure of Rs 1509.57 B while load dispatch and telecommunication would cost about Rs 8.77 B. Rs 122.26 B would be required for Renovation & Modernisation of the existing generating units while research and technology development would cost about Rs 50 B.  The additional investment is expected to be Rs 429 B for Rural electrification while the demand side management would cost about Rs 25 B. (THE HINDU-D 22/01/02)

Outlay for energy sector In the Ninth Plan, the total investment in the private and public sectors in the energy sectors has been less than Rs 750 B.   The Ninth Plan outlay for the entire public sector was just about Rs 6 500 B with the total gross budgetary support at Rs 3 250 B for all sectors combined. (BUSINESS STANDARD-D 08/02/02)

In the 10th Plan 28,000 MW additional generation capacity is to come from Thermal, 17,000 MW from Hydro and rest are planned from other sources. In 9th plan the target had been set up for 40,245 MW additional capacity, but in first four-years 15,751 MW capacity addition has been achieved. In 8th plan the achievement was 16,422 MW, while the target had been set up for 30,538 MW.(RASHTRIYA SAHARA 11/01/02)

31 power projects may not see financial closure Of the 40 independent projects expected to come up in the country, the ministry of power has narrowed its focus on nine projects with a generation capacity of 4 287 MW, which have reasonable chances of achieving financial closure over the next years. A total of 31 projects, with a cumulative capacity of 18 715 MW, are stuck with no hope of achieving financial closure in the near future. A majority of these projects are in the doldrums on account of non-availability of escrow cover and inability of the states to extend guarantees. (BUSINESS STANDARD-D 21/02/02) 

NTPC, Railways sign pact on power plantsThe NTPC will create additional capacity of 2000 MW from its joint venture with the Indian Railways by setting up power plants to meet the energy requirements of the Railways. The projects are likely to be commissioned in around five years period. The tie up will help the Indian Railways save close to Rs 10 B annually on the energy bill. The investment requirement in the joint venture would be around Rs 80 B. The Railways and NTPC will hold 50 % of the equity each. (BUSINESS LINE-D 19/02/02)

Delhi to set up power projects in Chhattisgarh The Delhi govt. is exploring the possibility of setting up a 1 000 MW TPS in Chhattisgarh. (THE HINDU-D 23/01/02)


Public money must for power sector The Union Minister for Power Mr. Suresh Prabhu has said, “The very fact that you are starting a fresh means that the ten years of reforms have failed.” The Government has decided to adopt a six-level strategy. The Central Government will have to do needful such as introduce the Electricity Bill. The Second level is the States and the third is the SEBs. The fourth layer is the district, the fifth the feeder and sixth and final level is the consumer. The government has now decided to convert the entire country on the basis of 63-feeder/distribution circle. Currently about Rs 200 B is lost due to thefts and this amount, if made good through better technology, should be passed on to consumers. One way to of preventing thefts of electricity is to switch over to high voltage T&D. At the feeder level, we are bringing the accountability so that the blame can be pinpointed at each feeder for theft and high T&D losses. (BUSINESS LINE-D 22/01/02 & 23/01/02)

Bengal power bodies to contest new tariff rates All the three major power utilities in West Bengal are preparing to challenge their new tariff rates in the High Court. The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission recently completed its process of announcing the tariff revision for all the five utilities under its jurisdiction. (BUSINESS LINE-D 03/01/02)

Uninterrupted power supply for villages in AP The Andhra Pradesh CM has announced that uninterrupted power would be supplied to all non-agricultural services in all villages by August this year. (THE HINDU-D 03/01/02)

Free power supply ruled out Ruling out free power supply, Union Power Minister and AP CM termed the demand by political parties in this regard as "most unreasonable" and "unjustified". (Daily Excelsior 23/02/02)

WB argues small farmers' case in AP Even as the state govt. subsidy bill is of over Rs 15 B on supplying power at nominal rates to farmers, the World Bank has expressed the view that the small and marginal farmers of AP are paying a bit too much for electricity. In a document titled India Power Supply to Agriculture — AP Case Study (report no. 22171-IN), the bank says these farmers are paying a higher price than revealed by the state’s power utility. The poor quality of power supply is adding to farmers’ costs on account of various factors including frequent motor burnouts, interruptions due to transformer burnouts, unscheduled power cuts, which erode crop yields. However, the document also recommends a hike in tariff for power supplied to the farm sector, as the current charges are inadequate to recover costs. “The present tariff in the state, based on a flat rate structure, is regressive and is penalising marginal and small farmers who are using less electricity for a given connected capacity,” the document says. (THE TIMES OF INDIA 05/01/02)

Karnataka to privatise power sector after forming DisCos The Karnataka Govt. has decided to kick off privatisation in the power sector next fiscal once the four distribution companies are set up. These DisCos will comprise Bangalore, Mangalore, Hubli and Gulbarga centres. (BUSINESS LINE-D 21/01/02)

IDBI not to fund power projects sans LCIDBI has decided to insist on a three-tier security mechanism including escrow or Letter of Credit mechanism as a pre-condition for taking up fresh power projects in any of the states. The FI has also decided to ensure escrow cover to projects before commencing disbursements of the sanctioned loans to such projects.  IDBI board has approved the new decisions regarding the power sector financing. IDBI, which had earlier decided to ‘go slow’ on financing projects in the power sector, has now almost decided against extending finances including the sanctioned loans to many of the projects, which are still struggling to take off.  The decision apparently is because of the looming threat of a sizeable part of its exposure in this sector turning into NPA. (THE ECONOMC TIMES-D 10/01/02)


World wind generating capacity up The world wind power generating capacity has climbed from 17,800 MW in 2000 to an estimated 23,300 MW in 2001—a dramatic gain of 5,500 MW or 31 %. Since 1995, world wind-generating capacity has increased an astounding 487 %. In wind electric-generating capacity, Germany leads the world with 8,000 MW. The US follows with 4,150 MW. Spain is in third place, with 3,300 MW. Denmark, which is fourth with 2,500 MW, now gets 18 % of its electricity from wind. Two thirds of the capacity added in 2001 was concentrated in the top three countries: Germany added 1,890 MW; the US, 1,600; and Spain, 1,065.(http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update5_data.htm.)

Small hydel projects need of the hour in Kerala Experts in the power sector are of the opinion that the KSEB appeared to be sidelining the very high SHP potential of the State, despite the fact that, if fully exploited, it could very well solve the power crisis. A survey conducted by the KSEB has identified 76 SHPs with a total potential of 405 MW. The installed power capacity in the state has increased from 1,505.5 MW in 1996 to 2,385.5 MW by Dec. 1999. (THE HINDU-D 03/01/02)

NABARD funds small hydel plant in MP NABARD has sanctioned Rs 540 M for construction of a small hydel plant, five minor irrigation projects and other projects in Madhya Pradesh. The hydel plant would be constructed on the left bank canal of Bargi diversion project in Jabalpur district. The hydel plant, first ever to be sanctioned by NABARD, would generate 43.848 M units of power. (THE ECONOMIC TIMES 18/01/02)

World’s first wave energy generator Scientist have successfully developed the world’s first commercial wave-power station. (THE TRIBUNE 19/01/02)


A good beginning. The content is rich and well selection very appropriate. The range of issues is as broad as it should be!  What about having people struggles as a category, only with law and policy issues?

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan

We are thankful for the SANDRP update you have started sending us. We are finding it useful in our struggle forward.

S. Unnikrishnan, Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithi, Kerala

Your Update has come out well. It creates an impact in the mind as its contents flow from Dams to people though I saw very little on rivers.

Dilip Fouzdar, Delhi

I just received SANDRP January 2002 update and it seems very informative on diverse issues. Keep it up.

Naeem Iqbal, Pakistan Network on Dams, Rivers and People

Generation electricity from mud Research conducted by University of Massachusetts microbiologists concludes that certain micro organic matter commonly found at the bottom of the ocean can transform into electrical energy. (THE HINDU-D 24/01/02)

Power plant to run on Municipal solid wasteTIFAC has evolved a technology by which power plants can be run on solid fuel derived from processing the Municipal Solid wastes. A 6.6 MW power plant will be integrated with the Municipal Solid Waste processing plant commissioned in Hyderabad. The project is expected to cost about Rs. 280 M and completed in about a year. The Municipal waste plant, also developed with TIFAC technology, processes about 700 tonnes of wastes per day from which 210 tonnes of solid fuel can be produced. (PIB 11/02/02)


No Guarantee for Dabhol-II The Finance Ministry has informally told the FIs that it is not willing to offer guarantees to them to finance the remaining portion of the Dabhol Phase II having a generation capacity of 1,444 MW and a five mmtpa LNG regassification terminal. The FIs had earlier proposed to the govt. for sovereign guarantees amounting to Rs 21.55 B as one of the sacrifices on the part of the Centre to make the project competitive. (BUSINESS LINE-D 02/01/02)

FIs warn Enron to return Dabhol stuffIDBI led Indian lenders have asked DPC to return e-chips and coded CDs, among other equipment and documents, as early as possible to the plant site. DPC had removed equipment and documents to Enron’s headquarters in Houston, citing possible vandalism. IDBI officials said they were not initiating any legal action against DPC. (THE ECONOMIC TIMES-D 17/01/02)

Four petitions against DPC Four petitions have been filed in Bombay high court challenging the legality of the 2184 MW DPC, the PPA between DPC and MSEB, tariff charged by DPC, and guarantees provided by the government to the US multinational. The petitions were mentioned by advocate Rajiv Patil before justices Ajit Shah and Vijaya Tahilramani who decided to hear them. (Rediff News 24/01/02)

Maharashtra sets terms for Dabhol power offtakeThe Maharashtra govt. has set pre-conditions for evacuation of power by the MSEB. The state govt. has asked that mega power project status should be accorded to the 2,184 MW project. It has also sought a refund of the customs duty paid on the import of capital equipment. (BUSINESS STANDARD-D 14/02/02)


Power Finance

Financial Institutions in India’s Hydropower Sector

A Report by Peter Bosshard

Published in India by

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People

Pages 132, (Suggested Minimum Contribution) Rs. 100/-

The report analyses the new trends in power finance. It looks at where the money comes from, which policies funders apply, and who can eventually be held responsible for particular projects.

“The most percipient analysis of India’s hydro finance that I have ever seen”

- Robert Goodland, former environment advisor, the World Bank Group

Send your orders to SANDRP, c/o 53-B, AD block, Shalimar bagh, Delhi 110 088

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HP Villagers help regenerate forestsThe people of Chail Chowk valley of Gohar forest division in Himachal Pradesh have regenerated the forest with the joint efforts of village forest development committees and forest department. Astonishing results have followed. The oak and wild fruit trees made their appearance within just one year and villagers harvested a bumper grass crop. Over 160 families have been associated with this effort. The thick growth of forest has given yet another surprise to villagers. Their only source of water – Dari spring –, which was drying up, has recorded three times increase in the water level. It is an open demonstration to the people that forests play such an important role in the conservation of water.  (THE TRIBUNE 07/02/02)

'Save Forest' campaign by WB tribals bears fruit Shambhu Charan Kerayee, living in the dense forests of Uishiya village in Noamundi block of West Singbhhum, is a proud man today. He has succeeded where the govt. has failed. It was in his village one-and-a-half decades back that the "Save Forest" movement began. The movement has now graduated to a regular committee of 42 villages, which frames its own rules to protect the forest and also punishes anyone found violating the rules. The committee is now actively engaged in protecting and regenerating more than 2 000 Ha of forest. Almost 70 % of the population of Noamundi comprises of tribals, mainly from the Ho community, who reside in 67 villages in the block. In August 1988, a group of villagers decided that it was time to take forest management in their own hands. (THE TIMES OF INDIA-Patna 23/01/02)

Assam forests do the vanishing trick despite SC ban Despite the Supreme Court ban on felling of trees and movement of timber in 1996, the forest cover in Assam has declined during the last five years. In  1997, Assam ranked 11th in the country’s list of states having forestland. However, it came down to 12th in 1999. During this period, Assam’s forestland has reduced by 850 sq km. In 1993, the area of forestland in Assam was 24,508 sq km, which came down to 23,688 sq km in 1999.  (SENTINEL 16/02/02)

Affected would not get land right in MP The list of Tawa dam, Proof Range and ordnance factory oustees, prepared by Hosangabad district administration, is faulty and incomplete. In this list very big part of the oustees have not been counted. Kishan Adivasi Sangathan of Hosangabad has written a letter to the DM and demanded immediate meeting in this regard. It is clearly written in the decision of revenue department that the definition of the affected would be taken as that in the Narmada project. According to this definition, each adult member of affected family would be entitled for 5 acres of land. Instead, the district administration has taken only those who were listed in land acquisition list. Hence none of the forest villages have been counted. (SARVODAYA PRESS SERVICE 15/02/02)

In quake prone zones HP government okays for five floors The Himachal Pradesh govt., in a complete reversal of its own decision, has okayed construction of all buildings up to five storeys. Less than a year ago the govt. had frozen the limit to three storyes and imposed a complete ban on construction of new buildings in Shimla’s green belt areas. It is well known that Shimla and other areas of the HP are in the heavy quake prone zone. (THE INDIAN EXPRESS-D 30/01/02)

Fertiliser scam in Bihar According to the report of Finance Management and Internal Resource committee of Bihar Legislative Council, the nexus of govt. persons and big fertiliser companies has  led to a Rs 580 B fertiliser scam. (RASHTRIYA SAHARA 22/01/02)

WB aid for Chhattisgarh The World Bank has approved a Rs 3 B aid to the Chhattisgarh Govt. for forest development in the state. Chhattisgarh has a forest cover of 44 %.(THE HINDU-D 06/02/02)


This Update on Dams, Options and Related Issues from SANDRP is being brought out with a hope that it will become a medium of useful information dissemination, information sharing and interaction. The update has been produced mainly from information from media sources, both from internet and printed editions and also from official websites and existing networks. We would be happy to know your responses and suggestions about the update.

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1. Power Finance, Financial Institutions in India’s Hydropower Sector, By Peter Bosshard, Published in India by SANDRP, March 2002, pp 132, Rs. 100/-

2. Bade Bandh, Bharat ka Anubhav Hindi Translation of WCD India Country study, By R Rangachari, Nirmal Sengupta, Ramaswamy Iyer, Pranab Banerji & Shekhar Singh, SANDRP, 2001, pp 268, Rs. 100/-.

3. The Drought, the State and the People: An Experience in Gujarat SANDRP Dossier on Gujarat Drought 2000, Edited by Sanjay Sangvai, pp 90, Rs. 75/-.

4. Large Dams and Their Alternatives: South Asia Consultation   Dossier on WCD South Asia Public Hearing, 1999, pp 166, Rs. 100/-.

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7. Proceedings of the Consultation on the Report of the World Commission on Dams, Ranchi 7-8 August, 2001, Edited by DK Mishra, Barh Mukti Abhiyan, Oct. 2001, Rs. 40/-.

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