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I.     INTRODUCTION

This update is prepared and sent by the Centre for Water Policy on behalf of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People. The SANDRP network that began earlier in late 1998 with a view to interact on issues of concern in the context of formation of the World Commission on Dams hopes to work beyond the WCD issues too. The update is being brought out with a hope that it will add to the ongoing efforts to strengthen this network and will also become a medium of interaction and information sharing.

The update has been produced mainly from information from media sources, both from internet and printed sources and also from existing networks including Pakistan Network on Dams, Rivers and People. We hope to have more information on related issues from the South Asian countries outside India in the future issues.

  • We intend to bring out such updates regularly. Let us know your suggestions about the update.
  • We would like the update to be more interactive affair so we would like you to send us your responses, suggestions and most importantly, contributions for future issues. Particularly about the dams and related struggles and issues in your area.
  • The update will be available both in electronic (text and word versions) and printed versions. Do let us know how you would like to get it. We are also trying to get it posted on friendly web page. We will let you know as soon as we can do it.
  • The italicized (you won't notice this in text version) among the sources mentioned at the end of each brief story are available with SANDRP. If you want copies of any of these in full, you may write to us.
This and first few issues are not priced, but we hope to price it so that it also becomes more sustainable affair. These first few issues are being brought out from the resources received by SANDRP. However, you are welcome to send us contributions for these first few issues too.

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II.     WCD CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

For optimum results out of WCD, we would like all concerned about the impacts of large dams to send as many submissions you feel necessary to WCD in areas of their interest and in line with WCD work plan. (WCD work plan is available on their web page at www.dams.org. If you want us to send you hard copy of the work plan, please write to us and we will send the same to you.) Below we have copied the WCD call for submissions for the information of the readers.

The WCD seeks written submissions through the WCD web site, in addition to receiving them by regular mail and via email. The WCD will also receive submissions through its stakeholder consultation process. Submission content . Your communication may pertain to specific dams or river basins. The submission may also deal with the subjects such as energy, water supply and flood control alternatives; displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation; sustainability, development effectiveness of dams; decommissioning; the policy and institutional framework for decision-making in the project and planning cycle etc. For an expanded description of issues in the proposed thematic reviews and case studies please look at the work programme section available on the WCD web site or contact the WCD.

Some guidelines:

  1. Please read the list of proposed case studies and thematic reviews in the WCD work programme and identify potential linkages with your submission to ensure it reaches the relevant focal point within the WCD.
  2. Even if your submission concerns a theme, dam or region not directly addressed in the work programme, please do send it.
  3. The Commission appeals for brevity and focus in external submissions. The recommended length is between 5-10 single-spaced pages. However, attachments/annexes can be included. Photographs and videos to illustrate an issue may be sent but are not essential.
  4. The official working language of the Commission is English, and submissions should be in this language wherever possible. Submissions sent in any other language must be accompanied by a two-page abstract in English.
  5. It would help us if you send a copy of submissions to SANDRP too.
WCD Lating America Publich Hearing. WCD has invited submissions for the second Regional Consultation to be held in Latin America during 12-13 August 1999. The submissions on experiences with large dams and related issues are to reach WCD by June 15.

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III.    TOP STORIES

A river Parliament.

In a development that is pregnant with far reaching possibilities, the people of Alwar district in Rajasthan, who helped rebirth of a dried Arvari river through local rainwater harvesting schemes, have formed their own river parliament for management of the river.

The Parliament is to have two-tier structure, in which the Lok Sabha is to have a member from each of the village in the river basin and the Rajya Sabha is to have representative from each of the cluster of villages. At the first meeting, the Parliament adopted eleven articles that bound them down to a code of rules. For example, they have agreed not to grow water intensive crops like sugar cane for some years. (Tarun Bharat Sangh communications)

  • Volunteers of the Tarun Bharat Sangh have successfully rejuvenated 650 villages that had been long been ravaged by drought and despair in Alwar district of Rajasthan. (The Hindustan Times, 08/04/99)
  • Arvari may not even find a mention on India's map, but it is a heartening tale of people harnessing an old water-management technique to bring a river back of life. (The Indian Express, 11/04/99)
German companies pull out from the Maheshwar Project

Two German companies, the utilities VEW and Bayernwerk, cancelled their involvement in the controversial Maheshwar hydro-electric dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh due to serious social and environmental impacts of the projects. They were planning to pick up 49% of the project costs.

Joachim Adams, the speaker of VEW's Board stated "We are no longer involved in the project and are also not planning to become involved in the future." The press office of Bayernwerk confirms that the contracts for the project with the Indian Project Company owned by S Kumars have run out and would only be renewed if the resettlement of people from the flood zone of the dam on new lands could be guaranteed.

Heffa Schucking of German organisation Urgewald calls it "a scandal" that German companies Siemens and the HypoVereinsbank are still involved in the project although they have been informed of its massive problems.

They claim they will however only participate if the environmental and resettlement problems can be satisfactorily solved.

This withdrawal is a victory of the struggle of the over 20,000 people to be affected by this 400 MW project, the first hydro project in private sector in the country.

It may be recalled that earlier, American power company has also withdrawn from this project on same grounds. (German Newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau 250499, Financial Times 270499, German Newspapers Die Zeit & Die tageszeiturg, 290499 and many other newspapers)

Maheshwar Project likely to wreak havoc in Jalud Village

The numerous cracks on the walls of a number of small dwelling houses in this sleepy village on the banks of Narmada river reflect the fear under which the 250-odd families live here.

Jalud is the first village to be the part of history once the S. Kumar's -promoted Rs 1500-crore Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Ltd dam comes up here. (The Hindustan Times, April 10, 1999)

Madhya Pradesh case in Supreme Court for new Tribunal on Narmada

In a significant move, the Government of Madhya Pradesh has filed a suit in the Supreme court challenging the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award with a demand for constituting a new Tribunal "to adjudicate the water dispute" between Madhya Pradesh and other states including Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

The state government has also asked for the reduction of the height of the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) from proposed 455 feet. The state has further prayed the apex court for a stay on the construction on the dam till the disposal of the suit. (NBA note, 270499)

Dam displaced forced to kill and sell children to survive poverty and hardship

Tribals displaced by Nagarjunsagar dam in Andhra Pradesh four decades ago are forced to kill and sell their children to survive poverty and hardship. Each of the family in 11 villages and 60 hamlets where these people leave have at least two cases of girl child deaths. 90% of reported sell of children in Andhra Pradesh is from these villages. Forty years after displacement, there are no roads, no power supply, no drinking water facilities in these villages. (Indian Express (front page), April 10, 1999)

Barh Mukti Abhyan questions efficacy of dams and embankments

Eminent activist Dinesh Kumar Mishra posed questions before the state water resources department minister as to who would be responsible for the floods in the remaining 39 lakh hectares?

He was reacting to the WRD's August 1998 statement which had stated that the state has a flood prone area of 68 lakh hectares of which the department had provided protection only to 29 lakh hectares and if the floods inundate the remaining 39 lakh hectares, the WRD is in no way responsible for it.

The department had also assumed the responsibility of only 16 breaches in the embankments instead of 125 breaches reported to have taken place in 1998. The WRD also had exonerated itself of any breaches in the Zamindari or the Maharaji embankments saying that these embankments does not come into its purview.

More than a hundred activists of the Barh Mukti Abhiyan alongwith a few experts from West Bengal discussed the issue of the plight of the flood affected population of the state in detail for two days, from April 5-6 at Khagaria, the worst flood effected district of Bihar. Assembled activists unanimously felt that the real remedy of the flood lies inadequate arrangement of drainage of flood water.

The activists also were unified on the point that all the projects, be it irrigation, power or flood-control projects, should be re-evaluated from public interest point of view. The participants also demanded setting up of a "Water Drainage Commission" on the lines of a new Flood Commission to evaluate a real change in the nature of the floods in the state.

The flood meet decided to launch state-wide satyagrah programme demanding proper solution of flood and flood-related problems like soil erosion, flood relief and displacement. (The Times of India, Patna, 060499, 110499)

National workshop on rivers in East India

To highlight the issues related to controlling of rivers in Eastern India, with special emphasis on the destructive effects of barrages like Farakka which is responsible for massive floods and fish depletion in Ganga affecting West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Koshi Project, proposed high dam on Nepal and others, a National Workshop was organised in Calcutta on 18th April, 1999.

The workshop was attended by participants from West Bengal, Bihar, U.P., Orissa.

The major problems identified by the workshop are that the construction of dams, canals, hydro-electric power stations create problems in natural flow of water resulting in floods, erosion of river banks, rapid siltation on river bed, restriction in fish migration, stagnation of saline water, causing great damage to cultivable land, earthquakes, pollution from dumping waste apart from the human problem of massive displacement of local inhabitants and destruction of their livelihood.

More than 7 lakhs of people have been displaced in Malda and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal due to the havoc caused by Ganga as a result of Farakka Barrage. With massive siltation the bed of Ganga in West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has gone up. This has resulted in flood increase, waterlogging and displacement in the three states.

The Central Water Commission report two years back has stated that in these three states two and half crore acres of land in the proximity of Ganga is submerged. Due to blockade of their migration routes by the barrage, fish breeding process is hampered and has resulted in the depletion of seventy-five percent of fish population of this area, resulting in large-scale displacement of fishworkers who have lost their livelihood. Big projects like Farakka are contributing more towards disaster than development.

The workshop feels that an extensive review of all the projects built on the rivers of eastern India should be done from a people's perspective and through people's participation. Renewable sources of energy should be explored in place of resource-based energy. (Message from Ganga Mukti Andolan, April 22, 1999)

Kerala villagers determined to reclaim Chaliar

India's longest running environmental crusade is against a rayon and pulp factory on the Chaliyar river in north Kerala that recently claimed the life of an activist who died of cancer. K. Abdul Rahman who had led a people's movement for more than three decades succumbed to the disease caused by the poisoned water of the Chaliyar, once the lifeline of six serene, paddy and coconut growing hamlets including his Vazhakkad Village.

Grasim Industries Ltd., owned by the Birlas, was commissioned at Mavoor in 1963 to produce rayon and pulp for their textile unit in north India.

Chaliyar river has become a dumping ground for effluents from Grasim Industries and over 200 villagers of Vazhakkad situated on its banks are now suffering from cancer. The environmentalist-cum-poet Sugathakumari says no agitation or litigation has so far succeeded in getting the industry to stop polluting the air and water near Chaliyar. (The Indian Express 80499, The Financial Express 110499)

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IV.    WATER POLICY

RAJASTHAN WATER RESOURCE POLICY
Rajasthan government has formulated a water resource policy. (Business Standard 140499)

WATER POLICY PROPOSED IN SRI LANKA
There has been no national policy for the allocation of water for diverse uses so far, but a proposed National Water Resources Policy prepared by the Water Resources Secretariat --currently being studied by the government -- may provide some relief to water users. The plan lists out water rights and allocations and says that the right to use water would be granted through a process of water entitlements. It also has provision for the voluntary transfer of water entitlements between entitlement holders; the development of river basins; a water management cost sharing basis and the development of groundwater resources. Another important segment in the proposed policy is the setting up of a water tribunal as an independent body to resolve disputes over the use of water. (SLNEWS 220499)

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V.     DAMS

FARMERS NOT READY TO MOVE TO IGNP AREA
According to Rajasthan Canal minister, as much as 3.75 lakh ha of land was lying undistributed in the command areas of the IG Canal in Jaisalmer and Barmer districts. Farmers were reluctant to go there due to inhospitable terrain. Even those who had purchased land left the place. (The Hindu 100499)

SUBARNAREKHA MULTIPURPOSE PROJECT BEING REVIVED?
Seven years after it was abandoned, the Subarnarekha Multipurpose Project has received a new lease of life, due to the Bihar government and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. The project superintending engineer pointed out that by 1991-92 much of the work on the concrete-and-earth dam was complete and only the radial gates were to be put in place. That was when work was stalled as the World Bank, which was funding the project decided to stop sanctioning more money. (The Statesman 280499)

INTER-LINKING RIVER BASINS TO COST RS 3,30,000 CRORES
The National Water Development Agency has estimated that the total cost of inter-linking river basins of both the Himalayan and peninsular components for the dual purpose of creating inland waterways and irrigation facilities would be about Rs 3,30,000 crore. (The Financial Express 180499)

IRRIGATION PROJECT IN LEGAL TANGLE IN MAHARASHTRA
Khadakpurna Irrigation Project in Buldana district may never see the light of the day. The Rs. 200 crore project that is to submerge six villages and irrigate 18,000 ha of land faces a case filed in Mumbai High court by Marathawada Janata Vikas Parishad. (Indian Express 140499)

8000 TRIBALS TO GET DISPLACED AS BARVI DAM HEIGHT RAISED
The height of the Barvi dam on Barvi river in Thane district in Maharashtra is being raised from 41m to 49m, thus causing further displacement of about 8000 tribals, out of which only 3000 are being considered Project affected persons. 3000 acres of prime forest will also get submerged due to the increase in height. The dam built by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation for supply of water to urban and industrial areas in 1973 displaced 2000 people of 7 villages, many of them are again being displaced. No environmental impact assessment of the increase in height of the project is done. (The Indian Express 140499)

NARMADA PROTESTS, ARRESTS, INDEFINITE FAST
Anti-Narmada dam activists has staged demonstrations against the Maharashtra Government for the false affidavit filed by the latter in the court over the issue of rehabilitation of the Dam oustees.

  • The Union Government displayed its intolerance to voices of thousands of people displaced from the Sardar Sarovar Project on Narmada, who travelled here from villages in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to air their grievances and seek justice. Instead of giving them a hearing, the Government in Delhi on April 7 ordered their arrest, unmindful of who was mowed down, whether it were hundreds of women, old men, along with a bedridden Baba Amte, Medha Patkar, Kishan Patnaik or Swami Agnivesh. (The Hindustan Times 70499, The Indian Express 80499, 13/04/99, The Hindu 80499)
  • The NBA called off the dharna by about 2,500 villagers at Rajghat in Delhi, following a meeting with the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment. The Minister announced the formation of a three-member team of senior officials who would make an independent assessment of the rehabilitation and resettlement(R and R) claims of the State Governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in regard to the people displaced by the SSP. (The Hindu 90499)
  • Under political pressure from government in Gujarat, the Prime minister has turned down the suggestion of Social Justice Minister to set up a three-member committee of officials to reassess the claims of compensation for Project Affected People of the SSP. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 11/04/99)
  • Several prominent persons have sought the President Mr. K.R. Narayanan to exercise his powers to stop work on SSP as "it would cause great human, cultural and environmental loss" during the coming monsoon, due to submergence of villagers and tribal lands and homes. (The Hindu, 11/04/99)
  • The NBA, on a protest sit-in at Bhopal, while strongly condemning the arrest of its activists in Delhi, has reiterated it allegation that no land was available for the rehabilitation of the project-affected families in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. (M P Chronicle, Bhopal, 09/04/99)
  • The families affected by the projects on the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh intensified their campaign on April 12 with seven persons starting a fast unto death at Roshanpura naka in Bhopal. Several hundred people from Jhabua, Dhar, Badwani and Khargone districts have been sitting on dharna since April 7.
  • The troubles of Narmada dam oustees are quite justified. Both government and Supreme Court should immediately suspend the works of the dam and make permanent arrangement for rehabilitation of all those people who come under the precincts of inundated land. This is the question of survival of lakhs of villagers and any laxity in this regard would prove to be an inhuman torture to them. (M P Chronicle, Bhopal, 13/04/99)
  • The NBA asserted that the series of big dams being built on the river Narmada and its tributaries are essentially flawed and several crucial facts regarding these projects are hidden from public view and scrutiny. The Madhya Pradesh State Government will publish a status paper about the proposed and ongoing Narmada valley development projects. A decision to this effect was taken after discussion of the Chief Minister with the representatives of NBA. (The Pioneer 160499, M P Chronicle, Bhopal 170499)
  • Police cracked down on the agitating NBA activists - on a fast unto-death since 12 April. At least 15 NBA activists were arrested for preventing police from shifting the fasting activists to hospital. Both Baba Amte and Miss Medha Patkar described the exercise as "disgraceful" and "barbaric". (The Statesman 240499)
  • The Madhya Pradesh government has raised tribals' hackles with its rigid stand on dam construction. Digvijay Singh government's alleged neglect of the dam oustees' plight has drawn much flak. (The Telegraph, Calcutta, 24/04/99)
  • For the second time in the last 18 days, the police resorted to direct action and forcibly picked up two of the NBA activists sitting on hunger strike and took them to hospital where they were put on intravenous drips. (The Hindu 300499)
  • Seven Project Affected Persons of the SSP over Narmada have died at the resettlement site of Rameshwarpura under Vaghodia taluka in Vadodara district. A senior official said the victims had died of a "mysterious disease". (The Times of India, Ahmedabad, 24/04/99, TISS report)
GUJARAT READY TO HAND OVER DAM MANAGEMENT TO NGOS
Chief Minister has expressed the state government's willingness to hand over the management of the existing irrigation dams to voluntary organisations for equitable distribution of irrigation water and maintenance of the dams. (The Times of India, 26/04/99)

QUAKE EXPERTS RAP GOVERNMENT FOR TEHRI DAM INACTION
Eminent scientists and seismologists have taken on the government for rejecting their report-which the government had solicited in the first place-on the safety aspects of the Tehri dam. The experts were chosen by the ministry of power to study the safety of the dam located on the Garhwal mountains. But when the report was submitted, the ministry rejected two crucial recommendations. One of them was a suggestions to test whether the controversial dam could withstand an earthquake measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale. (The Telegraph, 28/04/99)

  • Chamoli earthquake measuring 6.8 on ritcher scale on 28th March has renewed fears about Tehri dam. (Asian Age, 030499)
  • The Tehri dam project needs a fresh review for seismic viability in view of the recent devastating earthquake, the Malpa landslide and the 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake, experts have said. (The Statesman 10499)
RESERVOIR BREACH

In what could have been a major disaster, the Red Hills reservoir, which supplies water to Chennai city, developed a 30 feet wide and 25 feet deep breach. The entire tarred road on the embankment of the reservoir was washed out and water entered some 150 hamlets. (The Indian Express 01/04/99)

PRAKASHAM BARRAGE REPAIR IN AP
Constructed over river Krishna in the 50s, the barrage irrigates 12 lakh acres in the four districts of Krishna, West Godavari, Prakasam and Guntur. The barrage has been in a state of disrepair since the commissioning of the Vijaywada thermal power station in the early 80s as 12 feet of water had to be maintained to facilitate gravitational flow of water into the VTPS cooling canal. The barrage was under threat due to silt accumulation at the sluice gates. (Business Line 300499)

CLOSURE OF PUNJAB CANAL HITS 301 VILLAGES IN RAJASTHAN
The Punjab government's unilateral decision to begin construction work on the cross drainage system at the Indira Gandhi Canal and the Sirhind Feeder canal and closure of the canals for 15 days has adversely affected the crops as well the drinking water supply in more than 301 villages in Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Bikaner, Barmer, Jodhpur and Churu districts. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 01/04/99)

  • The release of water into the Rajasthan feeder canal has been delayed following a major breach that occurred in the common bank of the Sirhind feeder canal and the Rajasthan feeder canal near Lalbai village, 12km from Gidderbaha.
  • About 1600 cusecs from the Sirhind feeder canal entered the Rajasthan feeder canal after a 200-feet-wide breach occurred in the bank common to both canals running parallel to each other. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 21/04/99)
ALMATTI
AP not in favour of joint authority Leaders of different political parties at a meeting called by the Chief Minister to discuss a proposal from the Karnataka Government to constitute an inter-State authority to monitor flows in the Krishna river, felt that the AP Government should not entertain the Karnataka proposal in the light of the "bitter experiences" under the existing Thungabhadra Board. According to them the Tungabhadra Board has "miserably failed" to ensure the allocated quantum to different projects in AP. (The Hindu 100499)
  • The Supreme Court has asked the states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and the Union government to file their response to a proposal by Karnataka which sought to impound 155 tmc ft water annually at Almatti reservoir. According to the proposal, the crest level of the dam will not be raised beyond 509 mts. (Business Standard 240499)
  • The Comptroller and Auditors General in its 1997-98 report has criticised the Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam for unnecessary and ineffective expenditure. The company had paid Rs. 73 crores higher than necessary in an expenditure of Rs. 797 crores. (The Hindu 020499)
  • The Karnataka Cabinet has decided to go ahead with the Rs. 2786 crores second phase of the Upper Krishna Project. Central Water Commission is yet to approve the scheme.
  • Irrigation bonds scheme Karnataka cabinet has approved the Rs. 200 crores bonds scheme of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd for taking up Ghataprabha and other irrigation schemes. (The Hindu 240499)
ANG RIVER PROJECT IN ORISSA
The state government has submitted a Rs.717 crores proposal to Central Water Commission for Ang river irrigation project in Padampur sub division of Bargarh district. (Indian Express 200499)

WORLD BANK URGES CLIENT FOCUSSED IRRIGATION
The World Bank has called for "a total revolution" in India's irrigated agriculture, "balancing expansion with quickest possible development of ultimate irrigation potential", together with much more focus on improving the performance of extant irrigation facilities, and provision of "a client-focussed irrigation service". (Business Line, 13/04/99)

SOUTH ASIA WORKSHOP ON NATIONAL DRAINAGE PROJECT
The Sungi Development Foundation workshop on the controversial NDP threw new light on this World Bank funded project. The first phase of this 25 year project to cost USD 785 million will be of 6.5 years from January 1998. The participants raised many issues about the safe disposal of the saline water.

The district of Badin is likely to face massive salinity as the tidal link and the Left Bank Outflow Drainage will carry the saline water without any provision of increasing their capacity or strength. Similar problems are also likely to be faced by RBOD. Thus, the project that has been taken up to solve the problems created by irrigation due to earlier WB funded large dams like Tarbela and Mangla is likely to create more problems. (Communication from Sungi 200499)

PAKISTAN MINISTER ACCEPTS SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH TARBELA
In an interview Pakistan minister for Water and Power has accepted that Tarbela and other dams in Pakistan are facing serious siltation problems with Tarbela already silted upto 32%. The interview made it clear that there has been very little thinking or effort towards exploring alternative means of fulfilling water and energy needs. (Financial Post 290499)

REST OF ASIA PAK MUN PROTESTS
Assembly of the Poor (AOP) has been demonstrating for justice since March 23, 1999 at Pak Mun Dam site in Ubon Ratchathani. More than 5,000 villagers have set up a temporary village on the riverbank. Despite the hot weather and heavy rain conditions, they continue to demonstrate. People have been agitating for copensation for damages due to a number of dams including the World Bank funded Pak Mun dam, which caused havoc to the fisheries. (IRN releases of 290499 and others)

PROTESTS AGAINST DAM IN MALAYSIA
A proposed dam near the Malaysian capital that would threaten the area's environment has drawn vociferous protests from a wide range of citizens. The proposed dam will inundate 600 hectares of primary forest, two villages of Orang Asil, thought to be original inhabitants of Malaysia and a raft of fish pond, orchards and scenic river spots. (Far Eastern Economic Review 080499)

GRANDIOSE DAMS IN LAOS THREATEN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER
Plans to drag Southeast Asia's most underdeveloped nation into a new century with an ambitious dam-building programme are risking environmental and economic catastrophe, according to a major new study. The scathing report by the International Rivers Network demanded an urgent rethink of the one-sided policies of the Laotian Government and its United Nations, World Bank and Asian Development Bank advisers. Network investigators found "fundamental problems" at all six projects visited - including doubtful financial viability, uncontrolled logging and growing mortality among tens of thousands of ethnic minorities forced to resettle, often with little compensation. (South China Morning Post(Hong Kong), Internet, 21/04/99)

YOSHINO DAM NOT A DONE DEAL
The Government of Japan's plans to build a movable dam on the Yoshino River will be canceled if a referendum is held and more than half of the voters express opposition to the project, Construction Minister said. The minister's remark followed a city assembly election in Tokushima in which proponents of a referendum won 22 of the 40 seats being contested. (Asahi Shimbun 270499)

THREE GORGES
Dai Qing, an Chinese critic of the Three Gorges dam has called for a public debate on the world's biggest hydro-electric project and urged foreign investors to pull their funds out of it. The no of people to be affected as gone up 2.5 times, the cost of the project has gone up ten times and the claimed benefits of the project are already in doubt. At no time since the first shovel hit the ground five years ago has the dam's completion been in greater doubt. At the Morgan Stanely annual meeting, shareholders voted to establish operational guidelines that could preclude providing assistance for such destructive projects in the future. (Far Eastern Economic Review 10499, The Observer of Business & Politics 60499, IRN PR 30499, National Post (Canada), 060499)

RECESSION PUTS BREAKS ON MEGA PROJECTS
What has really been stalling governments from going ahead with the megaprojects is lack of funds due to the Asian crisis. With the collapse of South-east Asian economies, the governments in Indochina are having second thoughts about rushing into unsustainable development projects. Several large dams have already been pared down or put on hold due to falling energy demand in Thailand, the region's main market for energy. (Inter Press Service 160499)

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HYDROPOWER

HIMACHAL ASKS FOR ITS SHARE IN BHAKRA-PONG POWER
Himachal Pradesh assembly has passed unanimous resolution demanding 12% free power from three major projects: Bhakra, Beas-Sutlej link and Pong Dam, besides settling its legitimate claim of 7.19% share under Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. (Indian Express, 090499)

600 MW HEP IN ARUNACHAL
The state govt. and the North-Eastern Electric Power Corp. have signed a MOU for execution of Rs. 2500 crores, 600 MW HEP in Kameng district to harness the waters of Tenga and Bichom rivers. (Business Line 020499)

405 MW RANGANADI HEP COMMISSIONING IN 2001
Commissioning of all the three units of 405 MW (3X 135 MW) Ranganadi HEP of the North Eastern Electric Power Cor. In lower Subansiri dist. is expected by Jan. 2001. Original commissioning date was Aug. 1994. 80% excavation and 90% concreting work is complete. (Business Line, 080499)

BHEL TIE-UPS FOR RS. 7000 CR. TALA HEP
At lease four overseas corporations are in the race for entering into a design and manufacturing tie-up with BHEL for implementing the mechanical and electro-mechanical portion of the Rs. 7000 crore 1020 (6X 170) MW Tala HEP. The project is being jointly set up by India and Bhutan and the power is also to be shared by the two countries. Tala is downstream of the Chukha HEP. BHEL has been given letter of intent by the Tala Project Authority. The four companies are: Kvaerner of Norway, Alsthom of France and two German companies - Wyeth and Voith Siemens. Civil works is expected to start in Oct. this year. (Business Line, 130499)

900 MW PURULIA PUMP STORAGE PROJECT
Rs. 3189 crores PPSP that the West Bengal Electricity Board is implementing with OECF aid is to go for rebid of Rs. 515 crores civil works including earthfill and rockfill dams, underground power house and six under grounds tunnels each around one km long. The companies in race are Taisei Corp. of Japan with Itochu as partner, Daikerhoff of Germany and Skanska of Sweden. First of the four units of 225 MW is now slated to be commissioned in March 2004. The site is at Kestobazar Nallah along with three other sites of similar magnitude on the Audhya Hills in Purulia district. OECF component is Rs. 2620 crores. (Business Line 300499)

BHAGALIAR PROJECT PACT WITH JP IND.
Jaiprakash Ind. and the Jammu and Kashmir state govt. has signed an agreement to build a 450 MW hydel plant at Bhagliar in Jammu at a cost of Rs. 3495 crores ($ 819 million). A consortium of Germany's Siemens AG and Vevey Ltd will execute the electromechanical part of the project as agreed with the state last year. (Reuters, April 11, 1999)

KPC HYDRO PROJECTS
The Karnataka Power Corporation has commissioned units two and three of Kadra project (100 MW) and units one and two of Kodasalli project (80 MW) during 1998-99. KPC hopes to commission further two units each of Kodasalli and Kadra project. It hopes to take up Rs. 370 crores, 90 MW Sarapadi hydel project among its new projects. It also hopes to get 270 MW Shivasamudram project on Cauvery river. (Business Line, 090499)

ACTIVISTS DEMAND FRESH LOOK AT BEDTHI PROJECTS
While Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. wants to conduct pre-feasibility study of small hydel project on Bedthi river, environmentalists opposing the same are saying that the projects cannot be seen in isolation and an integrated study of the basin is necessary. (The Hindu 170499)

H.P. HYDEL PROJECT BY 2002
The 126-MW Larji hydel project in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh would be commissioned by 2002. (The Hindu, 25/04/99)

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RIVERS

RIVERS SUTLEJ-YAMUNA LINK CANAL
The Congress in Haryana further toughened its stand on the issue regarding the completion of the SYL project to facilitate the carriage of the Ravi-Beas waters to the state from Punjab. (The Tribune-Chandigarh 120499) * The dispute between Punjab and Haryana in building Sutlej Yamuna link canal to provide Ravi Beas waters to Haryana continued as Punjab refused to build the canal on the plea that it does not have any water to spare. It said it needs 52 MAF of water to grow wheat-paddy crops on 105 lakh acres and has only 26 MAF including groundwater. Rs. 611 crores have already been spent on the project so far. * Haryana has asked for appointment of the 3rd member of the Eradi Tribunal looking into the sharing of Beas-Ravi waters. (The Hindu 160499, Indian Express 40499)

DELHI HARYANA BATTLE FOR YAMUNA WATER
The Haryana Government quashed allegations of denying Delhi is share of waters of the Yamuna. Haryana said that it is releasing the same quantity of water for Delhi from the Tajewala head-works in Yamunagar district, as it has been doing for the last two years according to the Supreme Court ruling of 1996. Delhi's new 40 MGD water treatment plant at Nangloi is ready since Oct. 1998, but there is no water for it. The Delhi Congress government has issued an ultimatum to the Centre to intervene and ask Haryana to release water to Delhi. (The Hindu, 01/04/99, Indian Express, 270499). About the possibility of getting Bhakra water for Nangloi plant, Haryana had expressed its inability as the capacity of the carrier system has reduced from 10,794 cusecs to 9100 cusecs thereby depriving Haryana of its due share of Satluj and Ravi Beas water. Regarding building an independent 723 cusecs Munak canal parallel to western Yamuna canal to carry Delhi's supply, Haryana has prepared project cost estimate at Rs. 330 crores and it will be sent to Delhi. According to Haryana irrigation minister, long term solution of the problem is to build Kisau and Lakhawar Vyasi dams in UP and Renuka dam in HP on Yamuna. (The Hindu, 040499)

CAUVERY POWER PROJECTS MOU IN DISPUTE IN KARNATAKA
Karnataka congress leaders have strongly objected to certain clauses in the proposed MOU between Cauvery basin states for building four hydel power stations at Mekedatu, Hogenakal, Rasimanal and Sivasamudram with a total capacity of 1140 MW. Karnataka minister said that state government had yet to decide on the issue. (The Hindu, 020499)

SHIFTING ALAKNANDA, LANDSLIDES AND LARGE DAMS
Alaknanda has shifted its course to the left by about 500 mts in the last 15 years. According to a Srinagar geologist H C Nainwal, the landslides in August 1998 were due to tectonic activities. More of them are possible in coming monsoons due to hydrogeological reasons. He also said that all our dams have been built on thrusts. The Tehri dam will be on the North Almora thrust and is big enough to cause reservoir induced seismicity. (Indian Express, 070499)

DREDGING OF RIVER GORAI COMPLETED
The River Gorai which was heavily silted up and lost her navigability for months together during the lean period is now flowing again from Kushtia to the Sunderbans (Bangladesh). This has been possible following the re-excavation of the Gorai over 20km starting from the mouth of Gorai and the dredging work has been completed. (The Bangladesh Observer, Dhaka, 20/04/99)

INDIA-NEPAL-BANGLADESH STUDY ON RIVERS
Organized jointly by the Centre for Policy Studies, New Delhi, the Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad, Dhaka and the Institute for Integrated development Studies, Kathmandu, the decade long study discussed the possibilities of cooperation in the sub-region on water resources. The meeting called upon their governments to establish an institution to further cooperation in the region. The three institute paper accepted that there was a lack of adequate and reliable data on the hydrology, geology and Seismicity of the region. Ajay Dixit of Nepal Water Conservation Foundation asserted that it is not wise to go for large dams in the region even on economic grounds, besides hydrological, siltation, geological, social and environmental grounds. Besides, the so called surplus from electricity generation is not necessary for the kind of development Nepal now needs. (The Hindu, 07/04/99)

BETTER ALTERNATIVES TO LARGE DAMS AVAILABLE
The effort by the three institutes of India, Nepal and Bangladesh to arrive at a ``consensus'' on ``harnessing'' water resources at a recent meeting has tended to hide the value of alternatives. Thus, the easily agreed upon strategies of building large projects are projected as solutions while hidden in the text are viable alternatives that are not given equal weightage. This is a pity. Approaches to the use of resources have to be developed internally based on an honest assessment of the lessons of the past - including the cost of pursuing capital-intensive strategies instead of low-cost alternatives - and a realistic assessment of the needs of the future. (The Hindu, 270499, 280499)

INDO-BANGLA TALKS ON RIVERS
The 33rd meeting of the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission concluded with the adoption of a Communiqué in which both sides expressed need to extend the Ganges water sharing treat to other rivers too. (The Hindu, 11/04/99, Business Line, 140499)

DHAKA, BANGKOK TO COOPERATE ON WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Bangladesh and Thailand have agreed to cooperate on long term basis for developing the water resources. (The Bangladesh Observer 20499)

USA'S TEN MOST ENDANGERED RIVERS
American Rivers has issued its annual list of the ten "most endangered rivers". Top of the list is Washington state's Lower Snake River, where four dams constructed in the 1960s and 1970s have now threatened migrating salmon and steelhead fish to the point of extinction. The main culprit is the growing sprawl of America's cities. But American Rivers, also blames the army Corps of Engineers: "For nearly 200 years the Corps has removed snags, straightened, deepened and dammed rivers, and constructed levees and floodwalls-dramatically altering more than 30,000 miles of river and streams and placing hundreds of species at risk of extinction." (The Economist, London, 17/04/99)

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GROUNDWATER

GROUNDWATER HC ADMITS PLEA TO CURB TAPPING GROUNDWATER IN CHENNAI
The Madras High Court has admitted a petition from the Federation of Welfare Associations praying for a direction to the authorities in-charge of drinking water supply from utilising the ground water in some village panchayats in Chennai. Petitioners prayed that uncontrolled exploitation of groundwater could lead to salinity ingress. (Business Line 17/04/99)

WB AID SOUGHT FOR MALWA WATER PROBLEMS
In view of the depleting ground water table in Malwa region in Madhya Pradesh, the Water Resources Department has finalised a proposal for seeking financial assistance from the World Bank for tackling this problem. Water Resources Minister has informed that the proposal covered detailed study of the problem and schemes for ground-water recharge. (M P Chronicle, Bhopal, 17/04/99)

GROUNDWATER LEVEL DROPPING IN DIU
Diu is facing a threat of severe salinity ingress, due to rapid depletion of groundwater and increase in the salinity of water. A survey of abstraction structures is being undertaken. (The Times of India, Ahmedabad, 09/04/99)

GUJARAT FACES GROUND WATER PROBLEM
A water crisis is building up in 31 of the total of 183 talukas of Gujarat because of over-exploitation of groundwater, according to a state government report. The report suggests that more water is being pumped out than is being recharged every year. Water is also disappearing from the static zone. In addition, 8 talukas are exploiting over 90% of groundwater recharge and 42 talukas 70-90% of recharge. (The Indian Express, 29/04/99)

BAN ON DRILLING TUBEWELLS IN SOUTH DELHI AREAS
The Central Ground Water Authority has banned drilling of new tubewells in Vasant Kunj and Vasant Vihar areas of Mehrauli block, in view of the deteriorating ground water level. (The Times of India 27/04/99)

EFFLUENTS CONTAMINATE GROUNDWATER
Jagjit Distillery, a unit at Hamira, is involved in a raging controversy. The effluents it discharges are causing serious health problems by polluting water, local residents allege. The distillery, however, displays a clean chit from the pollution control board. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 30/04/99)

GROUNDWATER IN GUWAHATI
There has been an unprecedented growth in the number of deep tube-wells in Guwahati. (The Sentinel, Guwahati, 27/04/99)

TUBEWELLS GO OUT OF OPERATION IN BANGLADESH
The underground water level in northern districts of Bangladesh including Dinajpur is falling gradually posing a threat to Irri-Boro cultivation. About 15% tubewells in the region have become inoperative for want of water as the underground level has fallen. (The Bangladesh Observer, 90499)

WATER PROJECT COMMENDED IN NEPAL
Infrastructure laid down under the Bhairahawa-Lumbini Ground Water Project has brought about notable improvements in agro-based industry in Rupandehi district of Nepal. Under a loan agreement reached between the Nepal Government and the World Bank in 1975, irrigation water was made available through the use of tube wells and electric pumps. (The Kathmandu Post, 18/04/99)

ADB TO FUND GROUNDWATER PROJECT IN NEPAL
ADB has agreed to provide $ 30 mln for community groundwater projects in 12 districts in the Terai region. (AFP 171198)

GROUNDWATER COCKTAIL
According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin, current testing methods of most agricultural chemicals in groundwater are flawed as they focus on the chemical in isolation. But agrochemical include fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides and their cumulative impact could be more serious. (The Hindu, 220499)

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FOOD PRODUCTION

FOOD PRODUCTION /IRRIGATION ISSUES NORMAL MONSOON PREDICTED FOR 12TH YEAR
The country is on the threshold of a good monsoon, the 12th year in a row, according to the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation. (The Times of India 90499)

RECORD FOODGRAINS PRODUCTION
India is set to achieve a record foodgrains production of over 200 million tonnes in 1998-99. The rice production would be around 84.48 million tonnes and wheat production would be between 70.63 and 73 million tonnes according to varying estimates. (Indian Express 150499)

PUNJAB, HARYANA, UP TO HAVE BUMPER WHEAT CROP
Punjab (135.76 lakh tonnes) and Haryana (79.2 lakh tonnes) are set to harvest a bumper wheat crop of 214.95 lakh tonnes against 202.60 lakh tonnes last year. The acreage under the crop in the two states has gone up from 50.65 lakh ha to 51.20 lakh ha. In Punjab, the area under wheat has gone upto 30.32 lakh ha and yield to 4.074 t/ha. In Haryana, the acreage this year was 20.87 lakh ha and yield was 3.8 t/ha. Even though there are bright prospects of a bumper wheat crop in Uttar Pradesh too, farmers' mood here is anything but buoyant. With the Food Corporation of India(FCI) yet to begin procurement of what, the fear of distress sale is haunting the farmers. In UP, the wheat production is expected to be 250 lakh tonnes and area under wheat 93 lakh ha. (The Indian Express 90499)

NEW SCHEME FOR EASTERN REGION
A centrally sponsored scheme for increasing agricultural production in eastern region with a thrust on utilisation of groundwater potential and involving an outlay of Rs. 500 crores during the Ninth Plan is under consideration. An estimated 2.5 lakh ha is expected to be brought under irrigation, yielding production of a million tonnes of foodgrains annually. (Indian Express 150499)

IRRIGATION CESS UP AND DOWN IN RAJASTHAN AFTER 17 YEARS
The state government has increased the irrigation cess by 50% first time after 1982. The govt. first announced a 100% increase, but rolled it back under pressure. In the meantime, the operation and maintenance costs of irrigation systems have gone up by 600%. (The Economic Times 020499, The Hindu 24499)

PUNJAB FARMERS FACING DEBT
Farmers in Punjab are under a debt of Rs 5700 crore and are paying an annual interest of Rs 1200 per acre. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 19/04/99)

RETURNS GOING DOWN IN PUNJAB
Under green revolution in Punjab and MP, unit cost of production of foodgrains have been going up. For Rs. 1 of input in the seventies, an average production of Rs. 9.25 could be achieved in Punjab. In the eighties, every Rs. 1 yielded only Rs. 1.50 worth of foodgrains. (Business Line 090499)

GROUNDWATER TABLE GOING DOWN IN CENTRAL PUNJAB
In central Punjab, comprising of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar districts, where rice is the predominant kharif crop, the water table is declining at the rate of 23 cm per year. (Indian Express, 0499)

MYOPIC CANE FARMING PRACTICES ARE INCREASING SALINITY OF LAND
Thousands of farmers' livelihood and their land has been rendered unproductive due to salinity. Excess use of water for sugarcane farming is partly to blame. Some of the most fertile, black soil has become unproductive in the districts of Sangli, Satara and Ahmedanagar in Western Maharashtra. (The Times of India, Mumbai, 26/04/99)

AREA UNDER CULTIVATION GOES DOWN IN W. BENGAL
The area under cultivation in West Bengal has gone down by at least 67,462 hectares since 1990-91 as a result of urbanisation and fragmentation of holdings. Large and medium holdings are also getting reduced while there has been a steep increase in the number of marginal holdings. These are among the findings of the sixth agricultural census launched in the State in 1995-96. (The Hindustan Times 26/04/99)

INDIA'S AGRICULTURAL GROWTH RATE HIGHER THAN WORLD RATE
According to FAO published figures of agricultural production for the period 1987-97, the annual agricultural growth rate of India was 3.45% as against 2.18% for the world. The figures for Pakistan and China are 4.09% and 6.42%, much higher than those of India. (GOI Press Release)

CANAL AUTOMATION IN AP
The state govt. is planning to introduce computerised canal management system at a cost of Rs. 120 crores under Systems Improvement and Farmers' Turnover component of the World Bank funded AP Economic Restructuring Project. Four international consultants from the US, the Netherlands and Israel had come forward to prepare the project report. (Business Line 090499)

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DROUGHTS

DROUGHTS DROUGHT IN RAJASTHAN
20,069 villages in 20 districts of Rajasthan have been identified as drought-hit by the Government. (The Hindu 160499)

DROUGHT IN PARTS OF WEST BENGAL
A severe hot spell is sweeping the state causing acute drinking water scarcity. Irrigation water has also become scarce affecting boro crops. The Problem is acute in Kharagpur, Jhargram and Midnapore Sadar sub-division where about 6,000 tube wells have been defunct as the water table has already dropped by 70 feet. (The Statesman, 06/04/99) * The Midnapore district had virtually no rainfall since November. While three persons have already died, 100 are suffering from heat stroke. Rivers have dried up. At least 10,981 of the total of 37,000 tubewells were nonfunctional. District magistrate said the boro crop has been destroyed. (Business Line, 200499, The Telegraph, Calcutta, 25/04/99) * The Government has admitted that it had received 10 unconfirmed death reports related to the longest dry spell in the state since 1901. (The Indian Express 270499)

DROUGHT IN TRIPURA
There is an acute shortage of drinking water throughout the State. Tea, the most important crop, is likely to suffer 30% drop in production. (The Hindu 210499)

DROUGHT IN HP Concerned over the spectre of drought looming large over the state, the Chief Minister assured that the government would take all possible steps to ensure regular supply of water in scarcity-hit areas. The Chief Secretary has stressed the need for tapping traditional sources of water. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 14/03/99, Indian Express, 280499) * Shimla (population 1.7 lakhs) is heading in for severe water crisis this year due to scanty rains, continued dry spell and deficient snowfall. (The Hindu 240499)

WATER SHORTAGE IN DOON
Mussoorie and the Doon valley are faced with acute shortage of drinking water. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 30/04/99)

DROUGHT IN KATHMANDU
Factors aggravating the water crisis include inability of successive governments to resolve this problem in time. After World Bank's pull out from the Melamchi project the Nepal government has not been able to come with any alternative plan to alleviate the problems the people are facing due to water shortage. (editorial) (The Kathmandu Post, 10/04/99) * Kathmandu's perennial drinking water shortage has erupted as a major crisis this year, the driest in recent times with only one-third of the current demand of 180 million liter per day being met. The Nepal Water Supply Corporation is supplying only 55 to 60 mld. (The Kathmandu Post, 26/04/99)

DROUGHT LEAVES 19 M. CHINESE THIRSTY
Less than a year after suffering record flooding that devastated much of the nation, China is experiencing its worst drought for more than a decade, the official media has reported. 8.7 million hectares of its farmland affected. (The Hindustan Times, 01/04/99)

IRAQ FACES WORST DROUGHT IN 50 YEARS UN
Relief organisations are working to alleviate the impact of what could be Iraq's worst drought in 50 years. Water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers have dropped so much across this year that people can cross them on foot. (The Bangladesh Observer, 22/04/99)

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DRINKING WATER

DRINKING WATER PIL IN HC ON DRINKING WATER SCARCITY
A public interest litigation was filed today in Gauhati High Court seeking direction from the court on the unprecedented drinking water crisis in the city. (The Assam Tribune, 10/04/99)

SLUM DWELLERS GETTING CONTAMINATED WATER
A large number of slum-dwellers in Ahmedabad sare getting supply of contaminated water. The drainage line has been laid above that of water. So slightest leakage in this line results in mixing of contaminated water flowing below. (The Times of India, Ahmedabad, 13/04/99)

TIRUPUR WATER SUPPLY HITS SNAG
Rs. 1350 crore Tirupur Industrial water supply and sanitation project has not been able to achieve financial closure. A dispute about water rate has also arisen with the promoter asking for Rs. 45 per kilo litre and the industries saying it should be Rs. 30 per kilo litre as industry is presently paying about Rs. 25 per kilo litre. (Business Line 190499)

ADB PROJECT FOR MYSORE WATER SUPPLY
ADB's Rs. 131.40 Crores urban improvement scheme for Mysore includes a Rs. 31.47 crores water supply scheme of which ADB is to fund Rs. 23.15 crores. The scheme includes the fourth stage drinking water scheme from Melapura in Srirangapatna taluka in Mandya district. (The Hindu 200499)

HUDCO STOPS LOAN FOR WATER PROJECT
The Bihar Government's failure to release matching grants to a HUDCO-assisted scheme of easing the drinking water scarcity in Patna has led the HUDCO to stop loan after releasing only one third of the loan amount. The scope of the scheme has drastically been curtailed leaving no hopes for easing of the water scarcity in Patna in near future. (The Hindustan Times 210499)

WATER SUPPLY DOUBTFUL IN BAKRESWAR PROJECT
The first phase (3 X 210 MW) of the Bakreswar thermal power plant in Birbhum district in West Bengal is likely to face water supply problems even as it is getting ready to be commissioned. The Tilpara Barrage on the Myurakshi river is fully committed to irrigation and the Bakreswar dam on the Bakreswar river being constructed for the TPS is unlikely to be ready before 2000. These are the proposed sources of 50 cusecs water the plant needs. Sinking 200 minor tubewells in Birbhum and Murshidabad for compensating the loss of irrigation water is also opposed as that is likely to worsen the groundwater arsenic problem of Murshidabad. (Business Line 170499)

DRINKING WATER CRISIS GRIPS BHOPAL
A severe crisis of drinking water has gripped the state capital with the onset of summer. (M P Chronicle, 11/04/99)

DELHI WATER UNFIT FOR DRINKING
The Comptroller and Auditor General in his report has maintained that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi alone was responsible for 85 per cent of the water pollution and that it was discharging 200 million gallons of untreated water into the Yamuna every day. The CAG report says the water supplied in Delhi was unsafe for drinking and did not meet the standards prescribed by the World Health Organisation and the Bureau of Indian Standards. (The Hindustan Times, 10/04/99, The Times of India, 12/04/99) * Get water tested The Delhi Jal Board has advised users of private tubewells to get their water tested to ascertain if it is fit for consumption. (The Statesman, 28/04/99)

HC SEEKS REPORT ON ARSENIC POISONING
The Environment Bench of Calcutta High Court has directed the secretary of the department of environment, Union government to appear before the court and to submit a report stating what steps had been taken in regard to the arsenic poisoning of drinking water in a number of districts of West Bengal. (The Statesman, Calcutta, 25/04/99)

ARSENIC REMOVAL TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED
Scientists from Bangladesh have developed a low cost household technology for removal of soluble arsenic from water suitable for use by rural people. (The Bangladesh Observer, 22/04/99)

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WATER POLLUTION

WOMEN PROTEST AGAINST CONSTRUCTION NEAR RESERVOIR
Several women's organisations of Bangalore city, under the banner of Sanmathi, staged a dharna on the banks of the Thippagondanahalli reservoir, a major source of drinking water to the city, in protest against an upcoming housing complex on the banks of river Arkavathy which feeds the reservoir. (Deccan Herald, 28/04/99)

PUNE TAKES STEPS TO CONTROL RIVER POLLUTION
The Pune Municipal Commissioner has undertaken the task of ensuring clean rivers for the city. The commissioner has initiated the drive to control river pollution with the identification of the industrial units that do not follow the norms and let the effluents into the rivers. (The Observer of Business & Politics, 22/04/99)

BAN ON POLLUTING INDUSTRIES IN CERTAIN DISTRICTS IN AP
The AP State Government has issued a notification banning permanently establishment and expansion of certain polluting industries in the districts of Medak, Ranga Reddy, Hyderabad, Mahaboobnagar and Nalgonda (The Hindu, New Delhi, 26/04/99)

MINING IS POLLUTING RIVERS IN NORTH GOA
Mining is seriously polluting the rivers and other water bodies of north Goa, according to a recent study conducted by Goa University. (The Times of India, Mumbai, 14/04/99)

COKE'S GOA PLANT IN TROUBLE
Soft drink multinational Coca Cola's mega plant in Goa has come into trouble at the commencement stage. The State Pollution Control Board has alleged that Coke has started production without fulfilling the prescribed conditions. (The Observer of Business & Politics, 15/04/99)

POLLUTION HARMING FISHING INDUSTRY IN PAKISTAN
The fishing industry in Pakistan is on the verge of collapse because of chemical waste having contaminated the sea water. If immediate measures are not taken to wrest the spread of this menace Pakistan's export of fish and shrimps would be imperilled. (Dawn (Pakistan), Internet, 27/04/99)

CHINA SPENDS BIG MONEY SAVING PLATEAU LAKE FROM POLLUTION
The Chinese Government has spend 3.5 billion yuan and will invest some eight billion more in the next decade to clean up a seriously polluted lake in the southwestern province of Yunnan. A report from the local environmental monitoring department shows that each year as much as 200 million tons of waste-water is discharged into Dianchi. (News From China, New Delhi, 07/04/99)

COURT TELLS FARMERS TO RESTRICT USE OF NITRATE FERTILIZERS
The European Court of Justice has said that farmers along the Rivers Waveney, Blackwater and Chelmer must restrict their use of nitrate-based fertilizers. The court's ruling upheld environmental protection rules adopted by the European Union designed to protect drinking water from excessive nitrate pollution caused by farming. Answering a question referred from the High Court of England and Wales the EU court said surface waters affected by nitrate discharge from agricultural sources in concentrations greater than 50mg/litre must be identified. (World Environment News (Reuters), Internet, 30/04/99)

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FLOODS

M.P. AND U.P. TO JOIN HANDS FOR FLOOD CONTROL
The Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have decided to work in tandem to control floods in their common rivers during the monsoon. (The Hindu, 07/04/99)

MORE ROOM FOR RHINE
The River Rhine is to enjoy more comprehensive protection under a new international convention signed by five countries of the Basin. At the most recent ministerial level meeting of the international commission signatories acknowledged that the river needs more "room to flood." The redrafting of the convention was given further impetus when areas of Germany and the Netherlands bordering the Rhine suffered major floods last autumn. The convention now seeks to re-establish "as far as possible" the natural course of the river. (ENS news 140499)

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IRRIGATION/WATER ALTERNATIVES

SMALL DAMS IMPROVE THE LIVES OF INDIAN FARMERS
Small farmers in India are showing how small dams, built by the people and for the people with the help of non-governmental organisations, have helped to improve the lives of all those living and farming in the surrounding areas. The technology is now undergoing a revival as villagers all over India grow disenchanted with large-scale government water products. (Third World Network Features, E-mail, 23/04/99)

RAINWATER HARVESTING IN HP
The Himachal Pradesh Government has made compulsory for all new building owners to prepare structures at their premises for collection of rainwater from roof tops of their buildings for meeting water scarcity, by introducing an important amendment in the building bye-laws of the State. The order issued recently will be applicable to all government, institutional and commercial buildings, having plinth area greater than 1000 sq mts. (The Hindustan Times 210499)

RAINWATER HARVESTING SCHEME FOR FARIDABAD
The Faridabad Municipal Corporation plans to implement a central government scheme to tap rain water for drinking purposes and recharge the ground water level which is falling rapidly. The scheme, which has been sent to the Haryana Government for approval envisages the collection of rainwater in deep pits through pipes to be connected to roofs of buildings in the city. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 17/04/99)

WATER AUGMENTATION PLANS FOR DELHI
The Delhi Government has constituted a committee to initiate study of steps for water augmentation in Delhi based on the report 'Blue-print for Water Augmentation in Delhi' submitted by the Indian Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. According to the INTACH report, it was possible to bring about additional supply of 150 MGD in Delhi. There was need to curb further deterioration of 50 village tanks and 355 ponds. (The Hindu 27/04/99)

RE-GREENING DRYLAND
The watershed development programme in Beitul district of MP launched four years ago has evoked a mixed response. While there are benefits for the landed sections, the plight of the landless remains the same. (The Hindu 180499)

896 WATERSHEDS SANCTIONS OF AP
The Central Government has sanctioned 896 new watersheds to Andhra Pradesh which will be implemented over a period of four years from current financial year to cover an area of 4.48 lakh hectares with an outlay of Rs. 179 crores. A Rs. 400 crores DFID scheme is to be taken up in five DPAP districts of Anantapur, Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Prakasam and Nalgonda from June. These are in consonance with a massive campaign launched by the govt. for development of approximately 100 lakh ha of wastelands and and degraded drylands in 10 years at a cost of Rs. 3718 crores. (The Hindu, 13/04/99)

OECF SCHEME FOR AFFORESTATION IN TAMIL NADU
A Rs. 500 crore, five years Tamil Nadu Afforestation Programme scheme to cover 1000 villages is in operation since April 1997 for watershed development in forest areas. The programme covers 24 of the 29 districts of the state. (Business Line 020499)

NABARD SANCTIONS RS 41 CR FOR IRRIGATION
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has sanctioned Rs 41 crore for irrigation projects under Rural Infrastructure Development Programme. (The Tribune, Chandigarh, 18/04/99)

MAHARASHTRA LEADS IN DRIP IRRIGATION
With over one lakh ha under drip irrigation, Maharashtra is leading the nation in adopting drip irrigation, according to a study by the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. (The Times of India-Mumbai 240499)

WETLAND DEGRADATION
Degradation of various wetland sites in India is the foremost environmental problem faced by the country, said senior advisor to the ministry of environment and forests, Government of India, Harjit Singh. The first copies of the status report on India's wetlands titled Wetlands of India and state-wise atlases and directories of wetlands were also released. (The Times of India, Ahmedabad, 16/04/99)

CALCUTTA WETLANDS UNDER THREAT

  • A water sports park is proposed on the fringes of the wetland area, unmindful of an earlier Calcutta High Court judgement in 1992, that called for the protection of the fragile eco-system, by ordering no change in the land-use pattern in the area. The People United for Better Living in Calcutta has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Calcutta High Court's order of August 11, 1998 which directed the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority and the State Pollution Control Board to issue No-Objection Certificates to the project. (Business Line 190499)
  • Out of the 17 case studies for wise use of wetlands selected all over the world by the Ramsar Convention, the east Calcutta wetlands happens to be the only case from India. But international prominence has done nothing to prevent the systematic dismantling of this ecologically sensitive habitat. (The Financial Express 180499)
  • Calcutta Municipal corporation has decided to impose a blanket ban on construction over waterbodies in the city. The number of existing water bodies which has survived the onslaught of landsharks add up to about 5100, totaling about 25,000 bighas. The decision to ban construction on waterbodies is aimed at maintaining the city's ecological balance. (The Telegraph, Calcutta, 21/04/99)
RAINWATER HARVESTING IN NEPAL
Projects funded by Finland have started rainwater harvesting in some villages in Gulmi district in Nepal. (Kathmandu Post 290499)

POLITICS VS THE WATERSHED IN NEW YORK
There is no higher environmental priority for New York city than protection of the watershed around the upstate reservoirs that supply 10 million people with high-quality drinking water at remarkably low prices. But in recent months there have been charges from the environmental community that Mayor has allowed his statewide political ambitions to compromise his commitment to watershed protection. (New York Times, E-mail, 07/04/99)

RESTORING THE EVERGLADES
A $7.8 billion restoration plan for the Florida Everglades proposed would help return the famed "River of Grass" to a semblance of its natural state by removing canals and levees and storing billions of gallons of fresh water underground. The proposal from the US Army Corps of Engineers, which faces an uncertain fate before the US Congress, represents a revamped blueprint for one of the world's largest and costliest nature restoration projects. (World Environment News (Reuters), 08/04/99)

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POWER ALTERNATIVES

WIND ENERGY RISES TO 10,000 MW WORLDWIDE
Sometime this month worldwide wind energy capacity will reach a record 10,000 MW. A demonstration that wind is the fastest growing of all renewable energy sources. (International Energy Agency PR 230499) * According to European Wind Energy Association and American Wind Energy Association, dramatic growth is expected in wind energy generation in early 21st century. EWEA puts target of additional 40,000-mw capacity by 2010 and 100,000 MW by 2020 in Europe. Worldwide, wind energy capacity has grown by 25.7% in 1990s. This environmental friendly and employment generating mode of energy generation has seen cost of generation dropping significantly. The cost has gone down to one sixth of what it was in early 1980s and there is further scope for reduction in cost. (EWEA/AWEA PR, 300499)

NATIONAL POLICY ON WIND ENERGY DEMANDED
Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association has asked the centre to announce a national policy to encourage greater wind energy generation. India occupies fourth position in wind power generation after USA, Germany and Denmark, harnessing 990 MW of wind energy, though it has potential of 20,000 MW. State wise installed capacity (potentials in bracket) is as follows. Tamil Nadu 719 MW (900 MW), Gujarat 167 MW (3100 MW), Andhra Pradesh 58 MW (2200 MW), MP 19 MW (3000 MW), Karnataka 18 MW and Maharashtra 8 MW (1920 MW), Orissa 8 MW (1920 MW), Kerala 2 MW (380 MW), Rajasthan nil (1210 MW) West Bengal nil (180 MW) Other states nil (2150 MW). (Business Line, The Hindu, 06/04/99)

WIND POWER PLANT IN JAISALMER
The Rajasthan State Power Corporation is setting up a pilot project for the wind energy generation in Jaisalmer with assistance from the ministry of non-conventional energy sources. The corporation is a state government enterprise initially incorporated for the 140 MW integrated solar combined cycle project at Mathania. (The Economic Times, 9/04/99) * Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. will set up the first wind power project in Rajasthan. BHEL will set up the 2 mw, Rs. 7.54 crores project at Amarsagar in Jaisalmer district. (Business Line, 19/04/99)

NEW WIND POWER STATIONS
Tatas, Reliance, NTPC and the NHPC are planning to set up four different wind power projects with an aggregate capacity of 210 MW. (Business Line, 240499)

SMALL HYDRO, SOLAR IN NORTHEAST
The centre would conduct a comprehensive survey and investigation of the potential of small hydro power sites and series of projects on single river system in the north-eastern states. NHPC and NEEPCO had agreed to take up projects up to 25 MW capacity. Centre may give 100% grant for small hydro and solar projects here. (Business Line, 100499)

ORISSA POWER CORP. TO SELL SEVEN HEP
The Orissa Power Generating Corporation, a state public sector undertaking, has put up for sale seven mini hydel projects to raise funds required for expanding thermal capacity. (Business Standard 220499)

UP SMALL HYDRO
UP Jal Vidyut Nigam has taken up 3X1.2 MW Sheetla HEP in Jhansi district. (Business Line, 290499)

HARYANA SMALL HYDRO
The state govt. has allowed sites to six small hydel projects of 7025 KW total capacity coming up in private sector. (Business Line)

MINI HYDEL PLANTS IN KARNATKA
The Tungabhadra board intends to award BOOT contracts to private sector for mini hydel plant at the head of Right Bank High Level Canal. (Business Line, 100499)

SMALL HYDRO IN TN
7.5 MW, Rs. 30 crore Sathanur HEP has been commissioned on a dam that was in existence for decades but had no hydro station. Sulzer Flovel Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture with Sulzer of Germany has set up the plant. (Business Line, 130499)

ANANDPUR SAHIB TO BE A SOLAR CITY
Anandpur Sahib in Punjab will be developed as the first solar city of India. (The Asian Age 60499) SDS SOLAR SYSTEM A new non-conventional system using solar power is being promoted in India. Claimed to be an efficient utiliser of solar energy, the system is called the Solar Dish Striling System. It could be used for rural energy requirements, especially for irrigation pumpsets. Promoted in India by the Karnataka Energy Management Service. (The Observer of Business & Politics 190499)

BENGAL DISTRICT GETS SOLAR ENERGY PARK
People in the tribal-dominated Purulia district of West Bengal have a park with solar gadgets like street lamps, solar pump and improved chullah. (The Asian Age 80499)

$ 45 MILLION IN SOLAREX STAKE
BP Amoco stepped up investment in its growing solar energy business with an announcement that it is to buy the 50 percent stake it did not already own in Solarex, one of the world's leading solar companies in the US, for $45 million. (BP Amoco PR, E-mail, 07/04/99)

GULF OF KUTCH TIDAL WAVE PROJECT
The government in Gujarat is making fresh efforts to revive the 900mw Gulf of Kutch tidal wave power project. The file pertaining to the project in the ministry of non-conventional energy sources have recently been fished out. (The Financial Express 160499)

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OTHER POWER ISSUES

CAPTIVE POWER PLANTS
The CPP capacity in the country is about 11,600 MW as per CEA and about 12,300 MW as per industry experts. (Business Line, 070499) INTER REGIONAL POWER EXPORTS Inter regional power exports in the country have gone up from 2053 million units in 1996-97 to 8000 MU in 1998-99. Eastern and northeastern grids often have surplus power. Eastern Region has power surpluses of around 1500 MW of which 750 MW is being exported to neighbouring states. (Indian Express 280499)

INDEFINITE FATE FOR IPPS IN MP
The Madhya Pradesh government's reluctance to set up an expert committee to examine the financial evaluation criteria for power projects has led to further delay in setting up independent power projects. The state is also considering appealing to the Supreme Court against a high court order that had asked for committee to be constituted. (The Financial Express 200499)

NORTH EAST POWER SCENE
Assam SEB's four thermal power stations have not been functioning properly for decades. The 133.5 MW Namrup thermal power station, set up in early '60s, is currently producing hardly 40 MW. Bongaigaon thermal power station, having an installed capacity of 240 MW, is producing only 30MW. Hydro electric power potential of the North-east is 43,000 MW, 455 MW is currently drawn from four projects in Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur. Total capacity of projects under construction is 680 MW and DPRs have been prepared for 7100 MW more. Brahmputra Board set up in 1982 had proposed to build a 269 m high dam on Dehang, Bramputra's main tributary at a cost of Rs. 20,000 crores at 1984 prices to produce 20,000 MW. A simultaneous proposal for a 240 m high dam on the Subansiri at a cost of Rs. 6800 crores was also made. Arunachal Pradesh opposed both the projects on grounds of submergence. In 1997 BB came out with a proposal to build three dams on the Dehang at a cost of Rs. 23,444 MW apart from another dam on Subansiri at a cost of Rs. 12,500 crores. (Indian Express 100499)

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GENERAL


ENVIRONMENT PANEL
Union Minister for Environment and Forests has directed his Ministry officials to set up a national-level body under the Environment Protection Act for the redressal of environment and forest complaints. (The Hindustan Times 90499)

PUBLIC HEARING ON FOREST PROJECTS
Public hearing has been made mandatory before granting clearance to forest projects involving more than 20 hectares of forest land. An order to this effect has been issued by Union environment and forests minister. (Business Standard 90499)

HARYANA TOPS IN INLAND FISH CATCH
Haryana has achieved the maximum average production of fish in inland water in the country with 419 kg per hectare as compared to the national average of 218 kg per ha. About 70 per cent of the inland water in Haryana had been brought under intensive pisciculture. (Business Line 130499)

GUJRAT TO LAUNCH ENVIRONMENT ACTION PLAN
The Gujarat government will launch a major World Bank sponsored state environment action plan. The plan will be prepared in two years by the Gujarat Ecology Commission at a cost of Rs. 5 crore. (The Times of India, Ahmedabad, 13/04/99, 16/04/99)

GUJARAT MANGROVE FOREST UNDER THREAT FROM CEMENT INDUSTRY
The fishing community in the Kutch district of Gujarat faces a serious threat to its livelihood following attempts to de-reserve the West Mangrove Reserve Forest to facilitate setting up of cement industries in the area, the report, prepared by the National Fishworkers' Forum said. (Business Line, 13/04/99)

GRAFT IN WATER DIVISION COSTING LAKHS
Graft in water div. costing lakhs The Haryana Government has been suffering a huge financial loss due to the preparation of bogus muster rolls for various works by certain officials of the Irrigation Department. (The Hindustan Times 160499)

NATURAL RESOURCE ACCOUNTING TAKEN UP IN GOA
Goa will be the first state in India to attempt a natural resource accounting exercise. (The Asian Age 170499)

GLOBAL WARMING TO AFFECT INDIA SEVERELY
Some 5,763 sq. km of low-lying coastal land in India may be inundated, affecting millions of people by 2100, due to global warming, says a report prepared for the environment ministry. The economic loss has been estimated to be Rs 1,84,767 crore at current prices. (The Statesman 270499)

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QUOTES

  • "The Era of the large hydel projects, causing relocation of people, was almost over and that there was a great potential in small sized hydro projects." Dr. Maurice Strong, Under Secretary General of United Nations (Business Line, 80499)
  • "In Assam we have floods every year and every year the Army is called in. And every year we submit a report to the state administration asking them to take certain steps and they agree it needs to be done but nothing is done." An Army officer posted in Assam (Indian Express, 060499)
  • "Large dams destroy not only the environment but also the lives of those people at whose cost they are built. Besides, these dams have proved to unreliable." Kuldip Nayar, well known columnist and Member of Parliament (The Hindu, 060499)

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