Skip to main content

BJP's poll exigencies behind sharp dip in Narmada's hydropower generation

By Our Representative
Senior environmentalist Himanshu Thakkar of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that India’s “biggest dip” in hydropower generation has taken place in the Narmada dam’s 1,450 MW capacity, witnessing a reduction of 50.31% in 2014-15 compared to 2013-14. This was followed by a 35.9% reduction in power generation upstream dams on Narmada river situation in Madhya Pradesh, with a capacity of 1,520 MW, channeled through Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC).
Accusing the BJP-ruled Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments for this, Thakkar, in a recent analysis, titled “Diminishing returns from large hydropower projects in India”, has said, “One of the reasons for the reduced power generation at the Narmada dam and upstream Narmada projects of NHDC was the unjustified depletion of the reservoir before the 2014 parliamentary elections.”
Basing his analysis of the latest power generation figures just released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Thakkar said, “The hydropower generation during 2014-15 was 4.25% lower than the previous year’s generation even though the installed capacity went up.” He added, “Average generation per MW of hydro capacity in India in 2014-15 was over 20% less power than what our average generation was in 1993-94.”
Pointing out that this is not a one-year phenomenon, Thakkar said, SANDRP analysis based on the official data from CEA for total annual power generated by all existing operating large hydropower projects of India and total installed capacity of such projects, for each of the last 20 years from 1993-94, has drawn a trend line of power generation of big hydropower projects.
The trend line shows that “per MW generation in 2014-15 has dropped by over 20% from the generation figure for 1993-94”, Thakkar said, wondering as to why, despite being a serious matter, neither the CEA, nor the Power Ministry nor none of the other bodies, have analysed this. “The falling generation cannot be attributed to lower monsoon rainfall, since rainfall has been average or above average in most of the years under consideration”, he added.
Thakkar further said, “A separate analysis showed that 89% of the projects generate at below the design or promised generation level at 90% dependability. And among the underperforming projects, 50% were generating below the 50% of the promised power generation. And yet no questions were asked, no accountability fixed.”
Giving reasons behind reducing capacity, Thakkar said, “There are many reasons why the generation per MW is dipping: unviable projects, unviable installed capacities, over-optimistic hydrological assumptions, overdevelopment (development beyond the carrying capacity of the basin), catchment degradation, high rates of sedimentation, inadequate repair and maintenance, run of river projects, changing monsoon patterns due to climate change, etc.”
He believed, “Here it should be added that the destruction of forests, rivers, fisheries, biodiversity and submergence of lands is also making the impact of climate related disasters worse for the people and also for the hydropower projects, as could be seen during the June 2013 Uttarakhand disaster. All this needs to be part of our impact assessment and decision making process.”

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.