Thursday, May 28, 2015

Focus on sewage treatment plants misplaced? (The Hindu 29 May 2015)

VIDYA VENKAT
The holy city of Varanasi sees 60,000 to one lakh visitors every day, a majority of them pilgrims, according to its mayor Ram Gopal Mohale.
For most pilgrims, a journey to the city is incomplete without taking a ‘holy’ dip in the Ganga, despite its water being deemed unfit for bathing. As part of the municipal body’s efforts to clean the river, the city’s sewage treatment capacity will be increased to 400 mld from the current 102 mld by 2017, Mr. Mohale says.
However, activists, involved in the movement to save the Ganga, point out that the Namami Ganga project’s singular focus on sewage treatment plants (STPs), with little attention to problems posed by the restricted flow of the river, is a recipe for failure.
Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, professor at Benares Hindu University and mahant (chief priest) of the Sankat Mochan Temple, told The Hindu that the government had betrayed the trust of the people of Varanasi by revealing its intention to build new barrages and waterway projects from Haldia to Allahabad. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced these plans during the Ganga Manthan programme held soon after the NDA came to power.
Dr. Mishra said activated sludge plants now deployed for sewage treatment did not have the capacity to remove faecal coliform bacteria. The earlier clean-up efforts, into which crores of rupees was pumped, failed as these plants ran out of capacity, he said.
Swami Avimukteshwaranand, mahant of the Vidya Matt, said if the Narendra Modi government really meant business, it should commit itself to maintaining the ‘aviral dhara’ of the river.

Interlinking of rivers, construction of new dams, water diversion and extraction for drinking water supply and other purposes had also resulted in the deterioration of the water quality, but there was no commitment on the part of the government to address this issue as of now, he said.

Dark flows the Ganga a year since Modi’s famous ‘aarti’ (The Hindu 29 May 2015)

VIDYA VENKAT
·       
Open sewer nullah connects to holy River Ganges at Shivala Ghat. NDA government which will complete its one year term on May 26, set aside Rs. 20,000 Cr budget for 'Clean Ganga', one of the ambitious project of Mr. Modi, who started
Open sewer nullah connects to holy River Ganges at Shivala Ghat. NDA government which will complete its one year term on May 26, set aside Rs. 20,000 Cr budget for 'Clean Ganga', one of the ambitious project of Mr. Modi, who started "Clean Ganga' campaign on Sept 8, 2014 from Assi Ghat, Varanasi, which is his constituency. Photo: Prashant Nakwe.

A view of the polluted River Ganga.
A view of the polluted River Ganga.
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Rs. 20,000 crore pumped in, but cleaning the river is a daunting task

A year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to serve the Ganga after attending a Ganga “aarti” at the Dashashwamedh Ghat here to celebrate his electoral victory. But as the government completed its first year in office on Tuesday, Varanasi, Mr. Modi’s constituency, is divided on whether his government can succeed in the mammoth task of cleaning the river, worshipped as a mother goddess in this ancient pilgrim city.
No success yet

Efforts to clean the river have been on since 1986, when the first Ganga Action Plan was announced by the then Congress government. Since then, thousands of crores of rupees has been pumped into river conservation efforts without any success.
This year, the Centre set aside Rs. 20,000 crore for “Namami Ganga”, a project to fix the river’s long-standing pollution problem.
Pushkal Upadhyay, Director, National Mission for Clean Ganga told The Hindu that the main focus of Namami Ganga project is to reduce the volume of raw sewage entering into the river currently. It will alsoINVEST  in pollution monitoring and public awareness and participation. "The Rs. 20,000 crore will be utilised for completing pending sewage treatment plants, and upkeep of existing ones and building new ones where required. Other project priorities are maintenance of the ghats, roping in local citizens such as boatmen into river conservation efforts, and monitoring pollution from a central server. The government also has plans to rope in ex-servicemen to form a Ganga task force, for which the Ministry of Defence has given in-principle approval," he said.
Enthusiastic support

“If Modiji succeeds in making the river aviral [continuous] and nirmal [clean], he will be worshipped by his voters,” says Rama Rauta, a former member of the National Ganga River Basin Authority and prominent figure in the “Save the Ganga” movement. Her statement reinforces the strong emotions evoked by the river.
In Varanasi, Hindu believers and staunch BJP supporters are enthused by the prospect of a cleaner Ganga. Ordinary citizens and party workers pitched in for a massive clean-up as part of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan on the riverfront on May 3. The usually heavily silted ghats now appear clean.
But cleaning the river will be a more daunting exercise than cleaning the ghats, river conservation activists says.

Pointing to the dozens of people bathing and washing clothes by the river side, Dinesh, a boat rower at the Assi Ghat for 30 years now, says: “Nothing has changed so far as pollution of the river is concerned. Isn’t that obvious?”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Amaravathi to be elevated by 2 metres to avoid floods (The Hindu 27 May 2015)

 APPAJI REDDEM
·         G. V. RAMANA RAO

India

Andhra Pradesh

The initiative is likely to cost about Rs. 1,500 crore, according to the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA).

Amaravathi, the planned capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is most likely to be elevated by 2 metres to protect it from the Krishna river and the flood-prone Kondaveeti Vaagu reservoir.
The initiative is likely to cost about Rs. 1,500 crore, according to the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA).
“We can’t have a city with floods. The Kondaveeti Vaagu inundates 13,000 acres with about three TMC water each year. Elevating 10,000 acres of the capital city is one solution on the cards, and the initiative costs around Rs. 1,500 crore. Technically, they felt it’s worth it,” CRDA Commissioner N. Srikanth said. This apart, there are also plans to route water through drainage system, reservoirs, widening of channels and building flood gates, he said.
Apparently, the Singapore planners were able to identify the problem immediately because of a similar experience they had with the Singapore River, according to a senior engineer of the Irrigation Department, who was part of the capital planning team. Using various strategies, they were able to reduce the area being inundated from 370 acres to 120 acres in Singapore, he said.
Small reservoirs
“They [Singapore] built small reservoirs at different points to retain the run-off. They also built the Marina Barrage at the mouth of the river. The water in the barrage was used according to need. Besides having structures and small tanks to retain water at different places, two big reservoirs, which can hold more than one tmcft, have been incorporated in the plan,” said the engineer who did not wish to be named.
The on-line reservoir will be somewhere between Nidamarru, Neeru Konda and Tadikonda, while the off-line reservoir will be near Vaddamanu. The off-line reservoir will be a high-level one, and water will have to be pumped up to it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

VHP wants ban on cow slaughter, no dams on Ganga (The Indian Express 26 May 2015)

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Vishwa Hindu Parishad is seeking a complete ban on cow slaughter from the NDA government and also asked it not to plan any dam on the Ganga in order to ensure the river’s uninterrupted flow.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Monday demanded that the NDA governmentenact a legislation imposing a complete ban on cow slaughter, and also asked it not to plan any dam on the Ganga in order to ensure the river’s uninterrupted flow.
The VHP’s central governing body, on the first day of its two-day conclave in Hardwar, unanimously passed two resolutions — “Save Ganga” and “Save Cow”.

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In a press note, the saffron body said only a white revolution can save the farmers and rural India.
During the conclave, in which around 110 seers are debating VHP’s future plans, Swami Satyamitranand suggested that reciting Hanuman Chalisa and reading Sundarakand could help bring down incidents of rape.
Swami Avdeshanand Giri of Juna Akhara praised the government’s Namami Gange Mission, but said it should ensure free flow of the river. Swami Dayanand Das wanted a ban on rafting in Ganga. The seers pointed out that the construction of dams have “destroyed” rivers like Yamuna, and such projects could affect Ganga too.
VHP leader Praveen Togadia asked the BJP government to enact a law banning cow slaughter in India.

“Hindus should keep one roti for cows everyday. In order to address the declining number of cows of Indian breeds, we should understand the utility and the usage of cow dung and its urine,” he said.

NGT orders land grant to DJB for sewage plants (The Indian Express 26 May 2015)

Civic bodies face tribunal’s ire for ‘not cleaning a single drain’ .

NGT, DJB, Clean Yamuna, Yamuna river, delhi govt, AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, Kejriwal Govt,delhi police,  delhi news, city news, local news, Indian Express
Constructing 15 new plants and setting up sewage pumping stations at a cost of Rs 1,666 crore constitutes the first phase of this plan, officials said.
Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Updated: May 26, 2015 6:13 am
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday told the Delhi government’s Revenue department to transfer land to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for setting up of sewage treatment plants in different areas. It has also asked the Delhi Police to aid the DJB in acquiring the land.
Civic bodies also faced flak from the NGT after they failed to show a single drain cleaned by them, in compliance with a previous order on May 8.
Acquiring land remains the biggest challenge for the DJB, in order to execute the NGT’s ambitious plan to clean the Yamuna — Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017.

Yamuna text

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·         Slow Death Of A River
Constructing 15 new plants and setting up sewage pumping stations at a cost of Rs 1,666 crore constitutes the first phase of this plan, officials said.
“We have identified land in 11 locations. Of this five are owned by the gram sabha, two are partially owned privately with the gram sabha, while three are privately owned. In one case, we own land near the coronation pillar, where a 40 MGD plant is to be built over the supplementary drain,” an official said.
The NGT also warned the Delhi chief secretary and other officials of coercive action such as attachment of salary. “We make it clear that the senior-most authority of the department concerned and chief secretary will be personally responsible, besides bearing the costfor non-compliance of the order,” the bench said.
The Haryana government also got a piece of the judge’s mind for not complying with its order regarding the setting up of a treatment plant at the Gurgaon border, where the drain from Haryana joins the Najafgarh drain in Delhi.
The tribunal said none of the civic bodies, except for the New Delhi Municipal Council were able to provide evidence of cleaning or dredging drains. Neither had they shown they had fined anyone Rs 5,000 for throwing or dumping waste in the drains, the bench said.

“Everybody cooks up a story and tells us something. If you have not done any work, you should have the courage to accept it,” the bench said and gave a “last opportunity” to the officials to implement them while posting the matter for June 8.

Nepal landslide: Bihar still at risk of flooding (Hindustan Times 26 May 2015)

Binod Dubey letters@hindustantimes.com

PATNA: The flood threat facing five districts of Bihar bordering Nepal receded on Monday after the flow of the Kali Gandaki river in Nepal’s Mayagdi district that was obstructed by a landslide resumed to some extent. But the danger of flooding had not blown over completely, officials said.
“The resumption of the flow of the river is a good sign. But we have to keep a watch to spot any sign of decease in flow that may be a cause of concern”, said Bihar water resources minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary.
The state government had on Sunday sounded a high alert in East and West Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan and Chapra districts following the buildup of an artificial lake on the Kali Gandaki river after the massive landslide blocked its flow.
“If there is a heavy downpour in catchment areas of Nepal, the situation may again turn ugly as the blockage may give way under pressure from the gushing water. This may release a wall of water that may flood border districts of Bihar”, he said.
The minister said the government had decided not to withdraw the alert till the crisis had blown over completely. The state hasn’t issued instructions to evacuate people from vulnerable areas. “We have simply asked them to remain vigilant and maintain calm,” he said.

 

PM’s ambitious Clean Ganga plan faces biggest hurdle at Kanpur (Hindustan Times 26 May 2015)

Zia Haq ■ zia.haq@hindustantimes.com

Pollution hotspot Kanpur will need complex engineering and closure of some notorious factories

The Modi government’s plan to clean the Ganga faces its toughest challenge yet in Kanpur, a heavily industrialised north Indian riverside town which could make or mar the mission, since it is crucial to plugging pollution elsewhere, experts say.

GRAPHIC: MUKESH SHARMA

A strategy document of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, viewed by HT, identifies the Kanpur-Varanasi leg as the “most critical stretch”.
The overall mission itself is so daunting that the government has now been forced to settle for some more “realistic targets”. This means sticking to achieving “zero-sewerage” flow in the next five years. Economic goals, such as har nessing power, tourism and river commerce, can wait, according to the government’s strategy.
“If we do too many things, then we may lose focus and end up doing little,” a senior official requesting anonymity said.
Once known as the Manchester of India, Kanpur is a pollution hotspot that will require complex engineering, “tapping” of some of the largest nullahs — one nearly 250 km long — and possibly packing off some notorious factories.
In terms of the BOD or biological oxygen demand load — a key pollution indicator — Kanpur is the worst city in the country. BOD is the amount of dissolved oxygen a river needs to clean itself. The higher the BOD, the greater the amount of pollution. The city’s biggest drain — the Sismau — carries the highest BOD load of 544,980 kg a day. This must drop to just 10 mg a day per litre.
To create infrastructure for combined treatment of both municipal and factory waste, nearly 600 acres of land is needed in and around Kanpur. Not an inch is available. This means demolitions may have to make way for treatment sites, an official said.
According to the Centre for Science and Environment, just 10 drains in Kanpur discharge 20% of its wastewater but account for 86% of the Ganga’s BOD load.
Built as storm-water outlets, these nullahs were not meant to carry human excreta. The Sismau’s course may have to be changed so that it discharges into the Pandu river and not the Ganga.
Kanpur needs cleaning on a priority basis, according to Prof Vinod Tare of IIT-Kanpur, a key adviser to the government.

Kanpur’s over 100 highly toxic tanneries need relocation. The National Green Tribunal recently ordered the closure of 98 of these units. The UP government called the ruling impractical, while a much talked about plan to shift factories to nearby Unnao is stuck.