Bd water ministry: Give up ‘Lajja’ to oppose dams, Indian ministry halts

Bd water ministry: Give up ‘Lajja’ to oppose dams, Indian ministry halts

0

GreenWatch Report
Leading Indian water expert and activist, Himanshu Thakkar his written in a latest post in the Waterwatch@yahoogroups – ” Interesting, MoWR secretary writes a letter dated Aug 25, 2015 to CWC Chair: ““Environmental flow of rivers is a necessity for survival of a river and also for it to perform its ecological functions and to ensure that cultural dependence of the community is maintained. Unfortunately, in the past, structures like dams and barrages were designed without factoring in e-flow. In the process, not only have the rivers got fragmented, most of the floral and faunal species have also become extinct… There are certain stretches where a river has become completely dry… The quantum of e-flow is being determined by a committee which is yet to submit its report. Therefore, I have been asked to inform you that till the committee submits its report, CWC may not approve… any dam or barrage or any structure…”
The relevant news item as published in the livemint.com is as follow:New Delhi: In what can be construed as an admission that mushrooming dams have destroyed rivers and their environmental flow, or e-flow, the (Indian) ministry of water resources has directed the Central Water Commission (CWC) to not approve or design any dam until a committee formed to determine the quantum of e-flow submits its report.
The move can have serious repercussions on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s plans of harnessing hydropower to increase the country’s power generation capacity as a delay in approval of design could result in delays in dam construction.
“Environmental flow of rivers is a necessity for survival of a river and also for it to perform its ecological functions and to ensure that cultural dependence of the community is maintained. Unfortunately, in the past, structures like dams and barrages were designed without factoring in e-flow. In the process, not only have the rivers got fragmented, most of the floral and faunal species have also become extinct,” read a letter written by Shashi Shekhar, secretary in the ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, to CWC chairman A.B. Pandya.
“There are certain stretches where a river has become completely dry,” he added.
The letter, dated 25 August, has been reviewed by Mint. It stated that minister Uma Bharati wanted CWC to not approve any dam or barrage without factoring in e-flow.
“The quantum of e-flow is being determined by a committee which is yet to submit its report. Therefore, I have been asked to inform you that till the committee submits its report, CWC may not approve… any dam or barrage or any structure…” the letter stated.
A panel, including professors from several Indian Institutes of Technology, and other experts, has been studying the impact of existing and proposed dams on the e-flow of rivers. It was set up earlier this year and is expected to submit its report in three to six months.
As per the World Bank definition, the e-flow of a river can be described as “the quality, quantity and timing of water flows required to maintain the components, functions, processes and resilience of aquatic ecosystems which provide goods and services to people”.
River flows are modified when water is withdrawn for agriculture, urban use and hydropower and not returned to the river through drainage or groundwater flow.
Url: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/zSnRraKhEAidoWlr0gFkZI/Water-ministry-halts-approvals-for-dams.html
This development has come as a second eye-opener for water policy planners in Bangladesh who have proven they believe anything they might speak against diversion of water from rivers that flow through Bangladesh should cause their counterparts in our virtual only neighbouring country as unnecessary agitation to harm bilateral relations. ‘They keep their eyes shut to the harmful effects of such actions’, and thus fail to drive home the point that die at downstream due to unsustainable interventions would in time die also at the upstream which will be harmful for all countries that share common rivers.
The first eye-opener was the stoppage of the Tipaimukh Dam go-ahead by the Indian Ministry of Forests Advisory Committee about a couple of years ago on the ground that the forest resources that the said dam would destroy outweigh the benefits that it could bring. But the water bosses in Bangladesh used to hold a different view – that better should not be mentioned to cushion them from public humiliation – of the project.  The cost benefit analyses of this project are still on in both the countries.
One thing that the water bosses of the two countries should appreciate is that what the water experts and activists in the countries sharing common Himalayan rivers talk about and demand today, they understand the same tomorrow. But for this lack of understanding a lot of harm is done to the rivers which in turn only erode feelings of friendliness from the minds of those who directly suffer the adverse effects of harmful actions. So one thing is more than abundantly clear – the Bangladesh Water Ministry should be very quick to change mindset and speak in the language of its Indian counterpart for the benefit of both the countries and their peoples.

Share.

Comments are closed.