Skip to main content

J&K floods: Why Central Water Commission has no flood forecasting mechanism in place, wonders SANDRP

By Our Representative
South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), a premier Indian non-profit organization focused on the impact of dams and river water projects on people, has asked a pointed question to the Government of India as to why the body controlled by it, Central Water Commission (CWC), does not have any flood forecasting mechanism for Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which suffered from one of the worst-ever floods. In a recent article it has posted on its site, it has said, “Shockingly, India’s premier water resources body, CWC, responsible for flood forecasting and providing advisory to the states for tackling floods, has no flood forecast for any place in J&K.”
Referring to the CWC’s flood forecast list as on September 6, 2014, when heavy rainfall lashed the state, SANDRP said, the list has “18 level forecasts and eight inflow forecasts, but none of them are from J&K.” It further says, “CWC’s flood forecast site has another option -- which provides hydrographs for various rivers and location. Again, for J&K, the CWC provides no hydrographs.” The SANDRP adds, “The options on CWC’s flood forecast site for list based selection and map based selection again has no information about J&K.”
Calling this as a “shocking omission on the part of the CWC”, which functions directly under the Union Ministry of Water Resources, SANDRP says, this only shows how the top body has failed to update its work despite the past experience of Uttarakhand flood. In fact, the CWC at that time also “completely failed to provide any flood forecast when Uttarakhand faced its worst floods in June 2013.” Asking the CWC to “urgently include flood vulnerable sites of J&K in its flood forecasting”, SANDRP wants the Central body to also explain “to the people of J&K and rest of the country why these sites were not included so far”.
There is no word on this either from the CWC or the Government of India so far on the contentious issue.
Pointing towards how the floods in J&K got accelerated because of “mismanaged hydro projects”, SANDRP said, “The Dulhasti hydropower project on Chenab river opened its flood gates during the worst flood period, which led to further increase in flood levels in the downstream areas.” SANDRP quotes media reports to say how the release of water by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) dam increased the levels of the Chenab massively between Kishtwar and Ramban. “Surged level led to submergence of the highway”, they added.
Insisting that such additional floods could have been avoided if the gates were kept opened in anticipation of floods, SANDRP has said, “Such opening of gates during the floods can lead to catastrophic consequences for the downstream areas as happened in case of Srinagar Hydropower project in Uttarakhand in June 2013.”
SANDRP points towards another disturbing trend. It says, “The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has been clearing hydropower projects in the Chenab basin even without proper social and environment impact assessment.” Saying that this was “evident in case of Sach Khas project most recently”, it adds, “As SANDRP pointed out in a submission to the Expert Appraisal Committee, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and public hearing process of the Sach Khas Hydro Electric Project (HEP) has been fundamentally inadequate and flawed, and yet without even acknowledging the issues raised in this submission the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has recommended approval of the project.”
Emphasizing that this is bound to be “legally untenable decision”, SANDRP has said, “Such decisions by the EAC and the MoEF are likely to add to the disaster potential in Chanab and other basins in J&K. There is also no cumulative impact assessment of such massive number of big hydropower projects any basins of J&K.” It concludes, “It is well known, as witnessed in case of Uttarakhand in 2013, that hydropower projects hugely add to the disaster potential of the vulnerable areas. We hope the J&K and Cgovernments make this assessment on urgent basis and the Supreme Court does not have to intervene for such assessment, as it had to do through its order of Aug 13, 2013 in case of Uttarakhand.”

Comments

TRENDING

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Why nobody objected to Gautam Gambhir, Sunny Deol in t-shirt, jean?: Activists

By Our Representative
Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan’s excitement on their first day as MPs was overshadowed by a barrage of sexism over their ‘non- sanskari’ outfits, a group of civil society activists have said in a statement. According to Aarushi Nigam, Divya Kaushik, Riya Sharma, Ruman Ganguly, and Anulekha Agarwal, both Bengali actors and first-time MPs "were certainly excited to take them on when they posted pictures from their new workplace on social media."
Hit by misogynistic comments, the activists say, "Their choice of workwear – jeans and a white button-down shirt for Mimi, a wine-coloured peplum suit for Nusrat – was the first and last word on their political competence for many."
“You’re not on vacation”, “they have mistaken Parliament for Kolkata’s Nicco Park or City Centre”, “this is not a photo studio, this is a place where you should fight for people’s rights and legislate”, “keep some respect towards your Bengali society” were some of the &quo…

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat CM aide 'doubts' authenticity of Gandhi article published in 'Harijan'

By Rajiv Shah
A top aide of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has doubted the authenticity of the article written by Mahatma on Gandhi January 27, 1948, three days before his death. Hitesh Pandya, who was assistant public relations officer (PRO) under Narendra Modi’s chief ministership in Gujarat, and is currently serving as PRO of Rupani, has said, there is “reason to doubt”, since the article appeared on February 1, 1948, two days after Gandhi’s assassination.

Denied permission in Ahmedabad to protest on Kashmir, NGO seeks online support

By Our Representative
Gujarat chapter of the Delhi-based Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which calls itself is a socio-cultural organization established “as a response to 2002 Gujarat riots”, has sought support from state academics, activists and professionals for a petition against the “unilateral” decision of the Government of India to “revoke” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) legislature’s “right to self-governance”.

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.

RSS chief's Hindutva motto seems to be: Down with lynching, long live vadh

By Shamsul Islam*
India has turned into the lynching capital of the world. Our country has been tagged with this infamous identity with Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister of India in 2014. The Modi rule herald the beginning of nation-wide spree of lynching of Dalits and minorities. Unfortunately, there is no government data collection on hate-crimes but few media outlets have been collecting the lynch data.