#India- Well got robbed in Amravati #WTFnews


 

By Jai Maharashtra News | 23 Feb Sat, 2013 |

Amravati: In a very strange case here at Amravati, a village named Kovala Jateshwar, which is almost 50 km away from Amravati, the local villagers are facing a unique problem.

The locals have complained that the well in their village has gone missing. They claimed that their well has been stolen.

Under the National Drinking water policy, two years ago, the village was granted Rs 36 lakh to avail the supply of drinking water.

Under this policy a water hole and water tank was build. But in fact one cannot see any of these in the village. Later the villagers found out that the well showed by the Grampanchayat actually belonged to a peasant.

Apparently the locals are wondering where the well actually went.

According to the sources, the documents have record stating that the work of the water hole and water tank is completed. But the fact is, until now no well is built in this village, only a pit is formed to build the well. The process to build water tank has not even started.

The village has only one drinking water pool through which the local villagers use to fill water. The local people are blaming the Grampanchayat for this situation.

When the state is severely hit by the drought, one cannot believe the fact that funds raised from the government policies are being misused.

 

#India- Between thirst and darkness in Maharashtra


Rivers are diverted for generating electricity, while the government plans water trains for its people. Baba Umar reports on an impossible situation in the state
Baba Umar

January 31, 2013, Issue 6 Volume 10

Parched earth Eight districts in the Marathwada region of the state are expected to run completely dry by March, Photo: Getty Images

THIS SUMMER, people in southern Maharashtra can enjoy either electricity or water, not both. Until recently, the state had prioritised use of water for industrial purposes over agriculture. But now the government finds itself at odds to explain the diversion of water to hydel projects when water activists claim that the diverted water can be used to meet the requirements of eight drought-hit districts, which are expected to run completely dry by March.

Activists say the state government diverts massive quantities of water from the drought-hit regions of southern Maharashtra to hydel projects in the water surplus western regions of the state, eventually ending up in the Arabian Sea. But stopping the diversion may also mean shortage of electricity in an energy-starved state.

“If the government is serious about quenching the thirst of millions of people, then it has to stop diverting water from east flowing rivers to the west, which is a water surplus area and receives over 3,000 mm rainfall annually,” explains water resources expert Himanshu Thakkar a water rights activist.

Maharashtra diverts 1,413 MCM of water annually to three hydel projects from the Krishna river basin, while the Koyna dam in Satara district diverts 1,911.4 MCM of water from the Krishna basin to five hydel projects. Currently, these projects have 2,835 MCM of water in live storage. And this water is sent to Konkan areas where it ends up in Arabian sea.

“The water available in live storage capacity of these dams today is sufficient to provide 100 litres per capita per day for about 7 crore people for the entire year, provided it’s not diverted,” Thakkar says.

According to him this water, besides the additional flow into these dams through the rest of the year, can be useful for the drought-prone areas if no more water from any of these dams are allowed to drain into the Konkan rivers until monsoon arrives.

The three hydel projects in the Krishna- basin collectively produce 297 MW of electricity, while the five hydel projects based around the Koyna dam collectively produce around 1,956 MW of power. The eight projects add up to 8.5 percent of the state’s total installed power capacity.

“A decision should have been taken as soon as it became apparent that the monsoon is a failure and the state is in dire need of all available water,” says Thakkar. “We are already at least five months late in taking a decision on this. When people are facing severe water scarcity, it is high time the diversions were stopped.”

Currently, water is being supplied across the region by tankers. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has already spent Rs 414 crore to combat the situation, of which Rs 248 crore was released for erecting cattle shelters for nearly 70,000 cattle head in the drought-hit villages and hamlets. According to reports, the government has also finalised plans to send water-filled train carriages to the droughthit region.

Earlier this month, a high-level committee that studies which states affected by natural calamities need the Central government’s help approved assistance of Rs 778.09 crore to Maharashtra. But people living in the districts of Aurangabad, Nanded, Latur, Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Hingoli, which are the worst-hit in the region, are yet to see the crisis subsiding.

“The state government must work on long-term solutions. Sending water by tankers is a only short-term effort,” says Shrikant Katre, a local journalist. In Jalna, people are taking their cattle to government shelters “because they can’t afford to provide the animals with water and fodder”, he adds.

A media report suggested that stopping water diversion was discussed during a meeting at the water resources ministry, but the option was rejected.

“Stopping diversion would also mean hampering energy production in the already distressed state,” a senior official in the water resources ministry told TEHELKA on the condition of anonymity. “The government, I think, would continue to remain in limbo. We can’t see power cuts in the state, neither can we see people dying of water. It’s a double-edged sword.”

In the past five years, the state’s peak electricity demand deficit has risen from 17 percent in 2005-06, to 22 percent in 2011-12.

But water expert Thakkar says: “In times of crisis, such decisions need to be considered. Maharashtra is already facing the possibility of conflicts and clashes, with the people and cattle in the Krishna basin facing dire water scarcity. When there is talk of running water-tanker trains, shouldn’t this option too be explored?”

WATER RESOURCES Minister Sunil Tatkare couldn’t be reached for his comments. His public relations officer, however, referred TEHELKA to Dr Patangrao Shripatrao Kadam, minister for rehabilitation and relief works saying, “His ministry is managing the present drought condition.” But Kadam’s staff denied access saying, “He is busy in a meeting and can’t comment right now.” An SMS sent to Kadam elicited no response.

Suniti Su Ra of the National Alliance of People’s Movements says the water from these dams have been flowing into the sea for more than 60 years and in all these years the government could have developed a mechanism to stop this water from going waste.

“The state needs to overhaul its water policy. Water for industries has all along been prioritised over water for agriculture and drinking purposes. Water meant for farmers and drinking purposes is guzzled by industries across the state,” she says.

While the government is struggling to help people survive the drought, Thakkar says the only option left is to stop the diversion of water from ending up in the sea.

But is the government listening?

babaumar@tehelka.com

 

Maharashtra sits on multiple irrigation acts, doesn’t bother to frame rules


 

 

Published: Saturday, Sep 1, 2012, 9:45 IST
By Sandeep Pai | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Farmer suicides in Maharashtra are more a routine than an exception. Everyone knows drought is to blame, but the state government, too, cannot shirk its responsibility.

While successive governments have created several irrigation acts, none bothered to frame rules. Absence of proper framework and foundation for water management precipitates drought conditions as irrigation projects suffer.

“If act is the soul, rules are the body,” Rajan Ksirsagar, a Communist Party of India (CPI) trade union leader, said. “It is impossible to implement an Act without rules. Strangely, governments have ignored this problem.”

The major irrigation acts are: Maharashtra Irrigation Act, 1976 (MIA), five Irrigation Development Corporation Acts (one each for five Irrigation Development Corporations, enacted between 1996 and 1998), Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by Farmers Act, 2005 (MMISF) and Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act, 2005 (MWRRA).

Except MMISF, none of the others has any rules. MIA is the parent act because it is supposed to provide the state with a water management structure. “And implementing the other acts, IDC, MMISF, and MWRRA, depends on how MIA is implemented,” Pradeep Purandare, former associate professor, faculty of engineering, Water and Land Management Institute in Aurangabad, said.

Thirty-six years have passed since MIA was passed. None of the governments to date has formed rules pertaining to the act.If there are no rules for any of the acts, what does the government follow? Ancient rules framed in the British era, mainly Bombay Canal Rules, 1934, and Central Provinces & Berar [CP&B.]Rules are followed even today. These old rules are, expectedly, based on old acts like the Bombay Irrigation Act of 1879.

These old rules are incompatible with MIA since ground reality and water management practices have changed with time. In some cases, MIA has even repealed certain rules. l Turn to p3

An act is the intention of law describing the applicability, defining governing provisions, explaining fines and penalties and how it should be applied.

And rules are the prescribed methods and procedures in relation to any provision contained in the act. “Without any legally prescribed method, water management has become a big headache,” Purandare said.

It is well known that extensive areas in the Vidarbha belt and other areas are prone to drought. Since MIA has no rules, there is rampant water theft. Anybody can get away by stealing water because there is nothing “prescribed as per rules made under this act”. So, if someone is caught stealing, he/she cannot be prosecuted while farmers do not get any water.

What this means is MIA, a parent act, cannot be implemented. And this has a cascading effect on the other acts — IDC, MMISF & MWRRA. None can be implemented. “An unprecedented legal crisis would crop up if someone were to move court,” Purandare said.

The MWRRA Act has provisions to resolve disputes. But it is not in force because there are no rules pertaining to the act. “With no rules in place, guidelines to classify crime and punishment or how appeals should be processed are unclear,” Mandar V Sathe of the Resources and Livelihoods Group, Prayas,said.

Also, compensation to farmers in case of water scarcity is arbitrarily fixed because there isn’t any prescribed procedure for day to day functioning.

Ideally, if rules were in place then the quantity of water based on what crop is cultivated would be fixed. “Several instances have come to the fore, where farmers have lost out on compensation because there is no proper,” said CPI trade union leader Ksirsagar.

The absence of proper rules leads to confusion over responsibility and accountability. Canals maintenance is irregular because the powers and duties of a canal officer are not fixed. The MIA says a canal officer’s duties must be specified once rules are framed.

 

Exclusive jurisdiction of states over water hinders its proper management



Status of water

Nikhilesh Jha : Wed Aug 01 2012, 01:31 hrs

Exclusive jurisdiction of states over water hinders its proper management

Many significant developments have taken place in the past few months regarding water resources management (WRM) in the country. The Supreme Court, in February, gave its go-ahead to the interlinking of rivers and asked the government to ensure that the project is implemented expeditiously. The judgment seems to have more opponents than supporters. Then, inaugurating the India Water Week in April, Prime Minister Manmohan Singhobserved that a problem that hindered better WRM was the fragmented and inadequate institutional and legal structure for water, and that there was an urgent need for reforms.

A solution to the water problem requires a revisiting of the entire gamut of WRM. The subject “water” is placed in the Constitution in Entry 17 of List II (State List) of Schedule VII. However, the caveat is Entry 56 of List I (Union List), which says, “Regulations and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of the Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest.” Unfortunately, the Centre has made little use of the powers vested in it vide Entry 56 of List I. The result is that by virtue of Article 246 read with Entry 17, List II, states have exclusive jurisdiction over waters that are located within their territories, including inter-state rivers and river valleys. It is arguably this status of water in the Constitution that constrains the highest in the executive and the judiciary, despite their pronouncements on and commitment to resolving the problem. It also makes a mockery of the National Water Policy that declares water a “prime natural resource, a basic human need and a precious national asset”. It has also stopped the Centre from establishing allocation rules and clearly defined water rights among states that have unending disputes over the sharing of inter-state water resources. The latest example is the second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, which has turned into a warzone, with a battery of lawyers, technical staff and irrigation department officials from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh fighting to win the maximum allocation of the Krishna river for their respective state.

The Centre has also been reluctant to take a proactive position on the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (CLNNUIW), a document adopted by the UN on May 21, 1997, pertaining to the use and conservation of all waters that cross international boundaries, including surface and ground water. Unfortunately, the convention is not yet ratified. Alongside the US, China, Canada and Australia, India is among the major opponents of the CLNNUIW. A ratification by India would have at least given it the support of other ratifying nations to pressure China against the diversion of the Brahmaputra. Several Chinese projects in west-central Tibet may have a bearing on river water flow into India as well as Bangladesh. There are also reports that China is planning to divert 200 billion cubic metres (BCM) of the Brahmaputra from south to north to feed the Yellow River. If this is true, India will face a severe crisis once the Chinese projects are completed. Many of the hydel projects in the Northeast may have to be shelved. Of the 1,900 BCM of river runoff available in the country, about 600 BCM is generated in the Brahmaputra, one can imagine what would happen if the bulk of this is diverted by China.

According to a recent World Bank report, entitled “India’s Water Economy: Bracing for a Turbulent Future”, “faced with poor water supply services, farmers and urban dwellers alike have resorted to helping themselves by pumping out ground water through tube-wells… it has led to rapidly declining water tables and critically depleted aquifers, and is no longer sustainable (at many places).” The report adds that “government actions — including the provision of highly subsidised or even free power — have exacerbated rather than addressed the problem.”

India is getting seriously water-stressed; and we need to act fast. Water has to be treated not as a local resource, but a global resource. We need to see if a change in its constitutional status is required. Similarly, we need to proactively decide on our stand on the proposed UN convention. Our opposition is not helping us nor the cause of humanity. We also need to enhance our water-storage capacity, as we suffer the most from the vagaries of the monsoon.

The river-linking project, alongside a chain of water-conservation projects, would offer a solution.

The writer is joint secretary and CVO, CPWD. Views are personal
express@expressindia.com

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